Ok ok, I'm sure you're thinking, really? She really wanted to live through a reno.
Well NO I did not purposely add that to my bucket list of things to do before my next birthday. But it did happen and it definitely made me stretch and grow and y'all, it was only a two week thing! I can't even imagine what it feels like to have something like that go on for months, or even to go through the process of building a home or have a fixer upper situation (love you Jo Jo!).
So basically, we decided for a few reasons, to move in before we did any sort of painting or renovations to our new house. It was in great condition and didn't technically need any work done, but because we sold our old home for more than we were expecting, we both thought it would be an ideal time to make the kitchen more our style and to freshen up most of the paint in the house. Side note : dear Pinterest, you are awesome, thank you for filling up my time with tons and tons of beautiful kitchen inspo!
Here's what the kitchen looked like from the previous owners-
See, totally fine, just not really our style! The kitchen/ dining room/ living room is one long room and everything was just so plain, so we wanted to make it a little more fun and brighten up the space. We decided to get painters for most of the house, and then my husband and several of his buddies did all the other work (backsplash, countertops, etc) in the kitchen. Pro tip - cabinets are a beast, so if you think you may want to paint them, just save up the money for the professionals to do it! It takes FOREVER and I totally think it's worth the extra money to not have to do them yourself. We also decided to replace the countertops, and after going back and forth, we went with butcher block for the whole space. If you are local to Nashville, Southeastern Salvage sells big pieces that you just have to cut yourself, but it is a huge savings if you are able to install yourself! (We also have this for our kitchen table from a previous project Danny did). We also went with subway tile backsplash with light grey grout, and I am SO in love with how it turned out. It seriously is a dream kitchen and I don't even want to cook in it because it's too beautiful to get messy!
We wanted to connect the kitchen with the "formal dining room", so we had the walls painted the same colors as the kitchen cabinets. And since no one has time for any sort of formal dining in this house, we opted for a cute play room for the girls! Danny and I made that teepee for Olive a few months back, and Danny killed it with a really fun and bright gallery wall. This is the first room you see when you walk in the house, and I really love how fun all the colors are in the space.
I would show you more rooms, but life has been insane lately so my house is not as neat and tidy as I would like it to be! Speaking of, I am 100% overwhelmed with the daunting fact that I've only done six of these bucket list items, so bear with me as I push through! (Encouragement welcome!)
We're finally settled in to our new home! And I'm so thankful everything came together and we feel at home. Yesterday we came in from getting coffee and Olive yelled "I love my new house!" So glad the three-nager approves!
What better way to make a home feel even more homey and inviting than having a fresh, beautiful floral arrangement. I don't know the first thing about arranging flowers, I typically just buy a bouquet at the grocery store, put the fancy pack of flower food in some water, and find a bottle or vase to display them. I have a dear friend, Sarah, who is an incredible artist in every sense of the word. She literally has more creative talent in her little pinky than I can even imagine. And of course, she kills it in the floral design realm. So much so that she created Gold Leaf Floral, located in Birmingham, AL, a floral design studio specializing in events and weddings. And since we're good friends, I asked her to teach me all the ins and outs of floral design and arranging! Sarah set up Flower School, and it was SO FUN! I took so many notes and pictures, and couldn't believe how much went into arranging such beautiful bouquets and arrangements. I have so much more respect and understanding for the industry, and completely understand why flowers cost so much for weddings and events! Holy cow it's a lot of work!
Some of the big takeaways I had (and there were a lot, but here are a few big ones)
That big soft green leaf is dusty miller - it is SO soft and added a lot of really fun texture to my arrangement
I MADE THIS! Can you even handle this beauty?! (pats self on back) I can't wait to go to the grocery store soon and pick up a few bouquets and create something original and beautiful for my home! Have you ever created your own arrangement on your own? I'd love to hear your experience and how you liked it!
Coming soon - living through a reno and pictures of our new home!
OH! Check out Sarah's beautiful floral work for my baby "sprinkle" earlier this year! She created some amazing and really unique pieces and our friend Ginger shared them on her blog! (Big thanks to Ginger for also taking these photos from our flower school!)
I am quickly starting to realize that this bucket list revolves mostly around food. Which is totally fine by me. Food brings everyone together!
We're knee deep in a kitchen reno, as well as having painters paint almost our entire house. Have any of y'all lived through something like that?? It never goes as planned and always takes entirely too long. And I mean, it's only been a week and a half, and I'm about to lose it. Luckily we're in the home stretch and I can not wait to unpack my kitchen! It's going to be a dreamy farmhouse kitchen and I can not wait to share photos with all of you!
With that said, there's almost no way of actually using our kitchen right now, I've eaten at Chick-fil-a one too many times over the last few weeks y'all...BUT I did have the amazing opportunity of getting some of my best girls together to take a really fun baking class last week! It was so fun to step away from moving and kids and renovations and have treats and drinks and learn to make from scratch biscuits from my girl Dani of Homemade Hostess! She is instinctually hospitable and has an incredibly natural and effortless talent at baking.
I love biscuits. It's kind of unhealthy, the love I have for biscuits, really all breakfast foods in general. I would eat breakfast for every meal and never get tired of it. Luckily you can make these and have them with any meal, they go with everything! We each made our own variations and took them home to freeze to make whenever we wanted! Unfortunately we baked them and ate them all before I could snap a photo, they were that good!
Did you know you could put jam IN your dough before you bake them?!? I seriously had NO idea and it blew my mind. Haha, this is probably common knowledge, but it was news to me and I can't wait to recreate this recipe again at home.
Here's a few of my favorite moments from the class!
Here's Dani's recipe -
2 cups Flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup buttermilk
Here's where the fun begins - we added rosemary, as much or as little as we wanted. After we made the dough and rolled it out once, we added whatever kind of jam we liked on top, I added a light layer of strawberry preserves, but for next time I'll add more! Then just fold the dough and roll it flat again and use cookie cutters to make your biscuits!
Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes, depending on your oven, until lightly brown.
We had a blast and I feel way more confident in the kitchen! Yay baby steps! Make sure to follow Dani on Instagram and if you make these biscuits, let me know how they turn out! Or just bring them over and let me eat them with you!
It's been a month, y'all. A MONTH. Danny and I were talking the other day and just came to the realization that 2016 has been the most insane year for us. I don't think any one part I can recall as being calm or relaxed. We have a new baby, we are knee deep in moving to a new home, we are even deeper in the phase of toddlerhood eloquently referred to as the "three-ager" phase.
I won't lie. The last few weeks have been less than joyous. Yes, the Lord has provided a beautiful home for us, and we are just a week out from moving. Things have absolutely lined up and I can not be more grateful. But real talk, moving sucks. Packing sucks. Living with a toddler and a baby during a move sucks. I have struggled more deeply than I'd like to admit on motherhood and toddlerhood and have asked on more than one occasion, "Lord, are you there? Have you left me hanging?"
The last three days have been mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually (basically every thing you can think of) draining. I hear about abundant living A LOT and for real, this does not seem like it. I have definitely felt like a failure in more ways that one and questioned if this stay-at-home thing is really my calling*
*note - I'm not begging for sympathy by posting all this, I'm just challenging myself to be an open book, even when that's ugly. I hope there's someone out there in the trenches that finds some sort of comfort knowing they aren't alone in this*
ANYWAY. Yesterday was particularly hard, and Danny came home and sent me on my way for some alone time, and to listen to a podcast some sweet friends of ours have called White Flag Wealth. He had listened to it the day prior and felt like the Lord needed me to hear it. The title of the episode is "Abundance is Unachievable" and OH MY, I felt a shift in my heart and my spirit. I want you to listen so I'm not going to share every detail, but the connection between abundance and gratitude really changed my heart. Abundance is our identity, not something that we can achieve or gain. It's who we are. Being grateful even when you can't see what the Lord has planned. Y'all...just go listen with an open heart.
I'm sure at this point you're like, "Kelly, what does this even have to do with making homemade donuts?" Well, basically, I'm super thankful for donuts and for the new mini donut maker we bought, and honestly, after our crazy week, we just needed a win. A sugary, sweet, delicious win. I found an amazing and easy recipe for Lemon Poppyseed Donuts on The Novice Chef (thanks Pinterest!), and the best part - my kid didn't even like them, so more for ME!
Wish us luck as we navigate our big move next week, that it would be an easy transition for the girls, and that the settling in will happen quickly and smoothly! (I'll be making a bonus post of before and after photos, as we are doing a small reno in the kitchen!) It's already a beautiful home, and I can't wait to add our personal touch to it!
I'm also excited about a few future posts that will be happening in the next couple of months - one, a baking class, and two, a flower arranging class! Two things I've always wanted to do, and I can't wait to share my experiences!
It's been a hot minute since I've been able to sit down and write. We put our house up on the market last week, then left for vacation, so it's been a busy few weeks! Which has seriously been cutting into my bucket list items. And let's just be real, there were several (many) days thrown in there where I literally did nothing and stayed in pjs all day. Sometimes we just need those days, right? Right. (just agree with me and let's move on...)
ANYWAY. Vacation. We went down to Orange Beach, AL with my side of the family for a week. It. Was. Hot. I mean I'm not sure what I was expecting, it's July in the South. We had a really great time, spent most of our time in the pool and eating too much food. Our last full day, which was also Danny's 29th birthday, we decided, what the heck, let's go parasailing. I've always wanted to try something like this, we're here, why not??
Let me preface by saying that it had been SO windy the entire week. It seemed to have died down a little that morning, so we set it up and went on our way. Got all our paper work filled out, the "your family can't sue us if you fall out of your harness and a shark eats you" type of paperwork. Got our life jackets on (Fun fact: this picture of Danny and I was the only picture I actually took during this whole adventure)
We got on the boat, started toward the Gulf from the bay, the boat driver says "Does anyone get seasick?" I have gotten seasick before (not to mention I basically spent my entire pregnancy with Lola feeling seasick all.the.time.) Everyone said no so of course I wasn't going to be a big baby so I said no too. Then he responded with "well, today would be the day to get seasick." Apparently in my plan to go parasailing, I completely disregarded the whole getting out into the actual water thing, that I didn't even think that it was probably going to be really choppy with how windy it had been. YALL. The second we got out on the Gulf, I thought, this was it for me. I was flopping through the boat holding on for dear life. It was miserable. The deck hand said that in the five years he's been doing this, it was probably the second roughest water he had ever seen. Awesome. So glad I'm here to experience that with you, guy. We were third in line to go up and I was just praying to sweet Jesus I wouldn't throw up off the side of the boat. Finally it's our turn to go up, I'm pumped because everyone before had said how smooth and nice it was up there, which sounds incredible at this point with all the previous flopping through the boat. We got up in the air, I think he said it was about 600 feet, and it is beautiful. Seriously really beautiful. I was expecting to see a whole bunch of sharks, but surprisingly I didn't see any! It was windy but still not as bad as being in that boat, so I wasn't complaining. But then a huge gust of wind hit us and I swear it felt like we were about to get dumped face first into the Gulf of Mexico. From 600 friggin feet. No thank you. I looked at Danny and said "I literally never want to do this ever again." to which he responded "Yeah no never again." We spent roughly 8-10 minutes in the air, got dunked about waist high into the water, and then got back on the boat.
This is where things turned south quickly. One more group had to go up, so we had probably 20 more minutes till it was over. That's when it hit me. That "Oh my goodness this is going to happen with all these strangers staring at me" feeling. I tapped Danny on the shoulder, while getting pounded in the face by huge waves of water, and he quickly realized I was about to lose it. He asked if I could sit in the lower spot at the back of the boat, apparently sitting lower helps?
I did what I prayed wouldn't happen.
I was THAT GIRL who threw up off the side of the boat.
I knew in writing this blog and challenging myself to a bunch of new experiences that there was sure to be a few that I didn't like. That's the whole point, right? I guess I just didn't expect it to happen on challenge two.
I basically hated everything about parasailing, but to be fair, if the water hadn't been so choppy (red flags - high hazard) and it hadn't been so windy, I'm sure my experience would have been MUCH different. I am so glad I did it, to have that once in a lifetime experience, to share this crazy story with you guys, to laugh about it now.
But yes, never ever ever going to do that ever ever again
Pausing a moment from my personal challenges (I mean, I've done one so far, probably need to get moving on that) to set a challenge for all of us.
This week has been HELL. The state of our country, the state of our world, is heart breaking and unspeakable. I'm sitting here with my two baby girls, listening to Thomas the Train play on TV, holding back tears because WHAT IS HAPPENING?? What will it be like when they are my age? What will the state of the world be like for them? I can't go there.
My husband Danny said something once about who we are as a family, and it stuck with me, it grew roots in my heart - Love is our culture. That's it. That's who we are. That's what we teach our girls, it's something I fail at often but strive for always. To be love. To show love. To give love.
SO my challenge to you, to me...show some extra love today. Go out of your way. Not just in your circle (but yes of course, love on your friends and family too!) Smile at a stranger. Buy them coffee. Let people over in traffic. Talk to someone and learn their story. Show joy and kindness even when you're feeling grumpy.
We aren't that different. Hate, indifference, it will never ever solve anything. Make your world a little bigger. We don't have to agree on one dang thing. But I will absolutely treat you with kindness and respect. Love will always be the answer.
Let me start this first post by saying that we're potty training. What better way to celebrate our freedom than to lock ourselves up in the house and potty train our stubborn, strong willed 3 year old.
It's not going as bad as I was expecting, but it does make this mama realllll tired and reallll punchy (feeling way better now that I'm sipping a margarita). We had one accident and two successes, Praise the good Lord for that!
BUT in the midst of saying "go sit on your potty Olive" more than a hundred times today, I got hungry and wanted a treat. We recently went to the 12th South Peach Festival and got a lot of yummy produce and a big bag of The Peach Truck peaches! They are so good, and I've been wanting to bake a sweet something with them..which turned into challenge number one - Make something new with only things I find in my pantry. I found my peaches, some blueberries, a roll of pizza dough, sugar, and vanilla extract, and decided to try out blueberry peach hand pies. I've made pies in the past, but my biggest challenge in the kitchen is getting overwhelmed with tons of ingredients, so I figured this would be great, only a few ingredients and I mean, how hard is it to mess up some pre-made dough, some fruit, and some sugar..
I measured out about a half cup of blueberries, cut up two peaches (and then realized I only needed one, so Danny used the rest for a yummy corn, peach, tomato, basil salad, thanks babe!) some sugar, and a roll of pizza dough. If you're feeling extra inspired, these pies would probably be even better with homemade dough (but we're potty training, so who even has time for that??) I rolled the dough out and cut it with a wide mouth mason jar and filled the pies with a little bit of each fruit and a sprinkle of sugar. Then I topped them with an egg wash mixed with a little more sugar (about 2 tsp for the 8 pies) and a bit of vanilla extract. Popped those babies in the oven on 390 for about 15 minutes. I realize this is not your normal blog recipe post, but I was absolutely winging it with what I had, so these are rough estimates! I really love how they turned out (and we all know that I was praying that at least one would look pretty enough to snap a photo of, luckily I got three, ha!)
Baking stresses me OUT. Well, cooking, in general, gives me anxiety. You'll learn that pretty quickly if you continue to read on. I get overwhelmed with the process, get real frustrated if things look different or it doesn't work the way it says it's supposed to. And also, who really has tapioca flour or xanthan gum just lying around?? I sure don't. BUT I'm realizing that for one, things don't have to be super complicated to be awesome (I mean there were five ingredients in these hand pies). And two, learning to be patient in the process is half the battle. Patience is not my strong suit (another thing you'll learn pretty quickly!) SO basically what I'm saying is that if you can make blueberry peach hand pies on a whim, you're probably capable of potty training your toddler!
Be right back, going to eat all of them right now.
Well journey may be a bit much, but we'll see.
So I turned 32 last week. This isn't an epic age, I totally get that. BUT I had this realization recently, a realization that led me to today. I'm a mama to two sweet angel babes (well, angel is kind of a stretch, I have a strong willed three year old who has a LOT of sass (but brings so much joy and laughter), and a new babe who is new and sweet and sleeps and smiles a whole lot. Anyway, I stay at home with these girls, and in the midst of motherhood, I lost a little of myself. Which happens and is totally normal, right? But I think as a mama I get so wrapped up in that part of my life that I forget who I am and what I'm about.
So here I am, fixing that. Over the next year, I'm challenging myself to achieving thirty three things before I turn thirty three. Some of these things are crazy and scary and big. Others, not so much.
Here I am, being vulnerable and open and scared and so excited, to share my soul-searching journey with you. There may be five of you reading this, and that is seriously awesome! Maybe this year long bucket list will inspire one of you to do something you never thought you'd get to do, who knows. (go for it! be brave!)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy, I hope you don't get too bored. I hope you think I'm a little bit funny. I hope you're ok if I talk about my husband and my kids and my dog a little too much. I'm pretty pumped to let you in and I'm giving you an internet high five right now!