Mornings and Lunch Dates

Every morning, my husband has a special time with one of our children individually. There’s never been a complaint at being woken up earlier than the rest. They each look forward to their special morning of the week with Daddy.
The meeting place is the kitchen table and they talk over coffee and hot cocoa. It doesn’t take anything fancy to connect with a child... just time and attention.  And lots of it. They’ve had this tradition now going on 8 years, and I’m betting it will continue into adulthood.

A few years ago I started my own little one-on-one tradition and established lunch dates on Saturdays. The children take turns going out for a slice of pizza with me. Today’s lunch date was with my big boy Gavin.
It’s always amazing to me how few words are necessary (on my part) for Gavin to feel he’s had a terrific time with Mom. He really, really likes to talk. So I listen. And funny enough, what he talks about is mostly over my head, which these days revolves 99% around computer programming.

I'm convinced he didn’t inherit a single thing from me except maybe the blond hair. He takes after my husband all the way.  I enjoy watching him grow and engage in the things he’s passionate about.
He’s been working a lot lately with his daddy, and together they created his first marketable software program. On today’s lunch date, I promised him a plug on my blog.  So here’s the plug…

Before our children ever started a formal math program, we had them learn their math facts backwards and forwards. It’s proven very helpful, and it inspired my husband and son to create a math flashcard software program.
It has features we haven’t been able to find in other programs, and we think it will be useful to other children and schools besides our own.

Have your children try out the free 7-day trial and let us know how you like it. Gavin’s just an email away should you have questions about the program. He’d love to answer them. Remember, he loves to talk. :)

For a link to the 7-day free trial click here.

Magic Spray

Today I lined up the dining chairs outside in a sunny spot...

and tried out (for the first time ever) a fabric protector spray that promises to:

  • repel stains
  • spills
  • and water.

Afterwards, I baked up some blueberry muffins with the girls.

And enjoyed munching them out on the porch... waiting for the spray to work its magic...

with the hope that one day, blueberries and white upholstery will peacefully coexist.

Colors and Paint Cans

Paint colors.  I've gotten lots of emails about them.  Two of my colors have names.  The others are custom, so I have pictures of my paint cans.  It's the best I can do! 

The first color with a name is "China Moon".  It's from Valspar's "Seaside Retreat" line from Lowes.  To me, it's a lovely neutral.  Not too brown and not too gray.  I have it in my kitchen, dining area, living room, and our little master bedroom (above the wainscoting).  I probably would have put it in every room of the house had I found it sooner.  It contrasts nicely with all my whites, browns, and grays.  It's the color on the walls to the left of the bed below.

image courtesy
This next one is on the walls in the girls, boys, and playroom/office rooms. Many people have asked me about this color, and I thought it was a custom color and I didn't have a name for it.  Lo and behold I looked at the paint can this morning and realized I have been wrong all along.  It's actually another color from the Seaside Retreat line from Lowes.  It's called "Stonecastle".  It's the beigy color below.


However, I must tell you this color can be tricky.  Depending on the light in the room, it can go all the way from looking green to gray to beige.  So, definitely do a test spot on your wall in the room you're wanting to paint, and watch how it changes throughout the day.

You've probably noticed by now all of the beadboard and wainscoting throughout our house.  It's a custom white from Home Depot (below):

Last but not least is the most requested paint color in my house (below):

This color is on our island and gutter bookshelves.  I've not only had people from my blog request this color, but also people in real life who come to my house.  It is a really pretty color. 

Some of you will be sad to know that the turquoise color in the sneak peaks of my laundry room did not stay!  Some were asking the color.  That room was painted when we moved in, so I haven't a name or a paint can for it.  I do like it, but for my laundry room, I wanted something more subdued.  So I chose a soft gray color, which I love.  I'll be sharing that paint color once I reveal the laundry room in its entirety. 

I apologize for not getting back to many people who have asked about my paint colors.  And if it's not to late in coming, happy painting!

My Houzz

So have you ever visited  I've been spending some time there recently.  After decorating magazines and blogs, it's the next best thing.  You can create your own "idea books", which are basically a collection of home design images that appeal to you.  And you might surprise yourself!  Here is one image I chose for my idea book.  There's just something I like about this:

Vintage Renewal Loft eclectic kitchen
eclectic kitchen design by other metros showroom Jeanne Connolly

Contrast that one with this, which is also in my idea book:
Kitchen eclectic kitchen
eclectic kitchen design by other metros interior designer Tracery Interiors

I think I'm having some decor schizophrenia going on.  This idea book is just beginning, and I look forward to adding to it more in the future.  I also created my own page there which is basically a cliff notes version of my blog here. 

I hope you'll visit and create some books of your own.  I'd love to see your houzzes!

Inspirational Limitations

"Thrifty Chic" is a book I've been enjoying lately.  So many inspiring photographs, but the one thing that has resonated most with me is this in the introduction:

"If you can't afford to furnish your home the way you would like to, you may also find that thrift can be inspiring.  It forces you to look at things with a fresh eye..."

This is something I've contemplated time and time again... limitations bring on inspiration.  I've found that true for myself.  If there was no limit to what we could buy, our homes would likely be filled with things inspired by someone else.  

Before They Get Away

If you've ever been to TJ Maxx, you know that what you see is what you get, and if you want it, you need to buy it that day. Shelf life is short. And I can understand why. There are so many goodies to be found.

I wanted to share my new finds from TJ Maxx while they are still in the stores (I hope!).

First up... these lovely jars. You'll find them in the soap aisle (not the homewares section). They did come with two round soaps each.

But I had better plans to fill them with shells and feathers. They are part of our current mantlescape.
Another peek into our laundry room again. No, it's not finished yet.
But this darling apron has made its home here.

The contrasting patterns and colors are so divine.

And this coming from a woman who isn't much into color.

But how could I resist the orange pom-poms? And the funky smocked waistband?
Just like it was plucked out of Anthropologie, yes?


Remember the slipcovered chair with the "distressed" finish? We recently replaced it with this one.

I fell in love with the curved caning on the sides. And how it can sit two smallish people comfortably.

Or two smallish anything.

A Peek into our Weekend

This weekend is dedicated to our laundry room. It's our current project, and when we are finished, it might very well be my favorite room in the house.

Would you like a peek?

Harmony in Marriage

15 years ago this month, I married my best friend for life. My husband and I are very different in many ways... he is a software engineer and well, suffice it to say, I am NOT. I was an artist before my children came along, and that is something he would never attempt to be. Our personalities are a tad different too, but we balance each other well.

Aside from the bigger things in life, like faith and family, we do share some common interests, as evidenced here on this home decor blog. Lucky for me, my husband's hobby is home improvement. I have the vision and he implements it beautifully. We're a good and dangerous team. Dangerous because it's caused many a move in which we got itching to start a whole new project. We're always in the middle of something.

My husband and I met in college at a coffee house we were both performing at. Our musical styles and influences were worlds apart in those days. Over the years though, our tastes started melding as one, and we started writing music together. Being Christians and desiring to meditate on scripture more effectively, we started putting scripture passages, word-for-word, to song. It was our desire for our children to benefit from these songs as well. Some friends started encouraging us to record the songs for their own children. So that's what we did.

The response to the albums has been very positive. The albums won't win any songwriting or production awards... they are just simple songs. We wanted to stick to the KJV or NKJV translations, and let me tell you, it's not an easy task to use words like "hath" and "reckon" and "vessels" in a melodic way. But what the songs lack in style, they are made up for in substance. And that was the whole point.

In celebration of our anniversary, we'd like to share three FREE downloads for you today. The first two songs are from our two Scripture in Song albums. The third song is from an album we are currently working on. It's going to be an album with hymns set to new music. We hope you enjoy them. Thanks for celebrating with us! For free download, click the song titles below.

Free Download: A New Song (Psalm 40:1-4a KJV)

To purchase Volume 1 album: click here

Free Download: In the Morning (Psalm 30:1-5 NKJV)

To purchase Volume 2 album: click here

Free Download: Found by You

Full album to come.

Just a little more pink.

As if the girl's room didn't have enough pink, I went and added some more. At first when I saw these $30 night tables on Craigslist, I was thinking white.

But then I discovered Martha Stewart's "Ballet Slipper" from Home Depot.

And my visions of white started turning a little rosy.

The drawer pulls on top were broken, so I threaded fabric through for temporary handles. One day I'd like to purchase these darling knobs from Anthropologie.

They are a little spendy though, especially considering they cost almost as much as the tables themselves. But they'll definitely add the finishing touch.

We swapped out their table lamps with two swing-arm sconces we had in storage. I'm liking the practicality of them. We also added an old jute throw rug to provide a bit more texture to the room, and my old chippy white bench from childhood now sits at the foot of Middle Bear's bed.

Here is the before:

And after:

Not too drastic of a difference. Just a little more pink.

On the topic of children's rooms, you all need to go see what Erica Cook from Moth Design cooked up. It's a design blog dedicated to children's spaces. What an excellent idea huh? It's called "Little Moth"...big style for little people. SO sweet.

Manners at the Table

Behind the pillow on our dining bench sit two books.

They take turns coming out every night at dinnertime to be read by Mom or Dad, depending. We like to be proactive in teaching manners (rather than REactive). These books help with that. A chapter is read each evening reminding us why manners matter.

Here is one which has a short passage for every day of the year:

We glean much from each chapter of this book as well:

Our children quite enjoy the lessons. We have a laugh most nights, realizing how many times we've gotten things wrong. But we are always encouraged to do things differently the next time around. Together, of course.
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