New Home Tour: Family Room and Kitchen

I’m continuing with my New Home Tour this week. So far, I’ve given you a peak at the basement, all the sweet little details of the nursery and the cuteness of the girls’ room, as well as the upstairs sitting room and master bed/bath, aka “The Master Suite.” I welcomed you into our home through the front door, showing you the entryway and dining room, so now let’s check out the family room and kitchen. I added a little touch of autumn decor because I love all things fall! The kids are ready to cover the house with Halloween decorations, but they’ll just have to wait until October before we put out all the black and orange. Sorry kids!

New Home Tour: The Basement

New Home Tour: Nursery

New Home Tour: The Girls’ Room

New Home Tour: Master Suite

New Home Tour: Entryway and Dining Room

New Home Tour: Family Room and Kitchen


Welcome to the heart of our home, the family room and kitchen. This is where our family spends most of our time, lounging around, reading books, watching movies, and of course, cooking and eating. None of the houses we’ve lived in have had this open concept. I must say, I love the convenience and practicality of this layout. The biggest dilemma we had when we first moved in was whether or not we should put our  television in the family room. In our previous home, we had a TV in the basement and in our first floor master bedroom. It was difficult to keep tabs on what the children were watching and how long they were watching it. So far, I like having the TV here in the middle of everything. Now that it’s football season, the boys can watch the game up in the sitting room while the girls hang here to watch a movie together. It works!


Back at it again with the white built-ins! I cannot express how much of a selling point this was for us. When you’re searching for a bigger home for your big-ish family, built-ins aren’t just a nice feature, they’re a huge money saver. Think of all the furniture we didn’t have to purchase because of the three built-ins in this home! I’m so grateful, once again, for the previous owners’ attention to detail.


We received so many thoughtful cards and notes from friends when we left Northern Virginia. I keep them in the little tin bucket you see there on the bottom shelf of the end table in the family room as a reminder of all the love and friendship we left behind. {insert crying emojis}


I just had to share a photo of these coasters I gave The Hubs for his birthday last January. Every time we have company they have a little chuckle when they see our “East Coasters” on our side table. Other regions available!


I rescued this statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from a shelf at Homegoods for $15.00! I grew up with sacred images and statues in my parents’ home, as did The Hubs. I don’t think he could ever top this story, though. It’s all about keeping reminders of Our Lord and Our Lady’s presence in our Domestic Church.


This statue of Our Lady was a wedding gift that I have always thought of as such a graceful and feminine representation of Mary. The Sacred and Immaculate hearts were a housewarming gift from a dear friend here in Indiana. Aren’t they gorgeous? In those moments when mothering with love is difficult, this little corner of our home serves as a visual reminder of who I’m striving to be.


I mentioned this in my sitting room post, but it bears repeating: The two couches, armchair, and ottoman were all purchased from the previous owners of our home. The upholstery is in great shape and we are happy with the neutral color. Most importantly, they’re comfortable! We feel very blessed that they gave us such a good price on these pieces. We sure did need them and are putting them to good use.


The shelves in the family room built-ins are a focal point in this open space. After looking at them everyday, several times a day for a couple of weeks, all I could picture was wallpaper. I borrowed some wallpaper books from our local Sherwin-Williams store but I just couldn’t justify the purchase cost, the cost of labor, and worrying about whether I would still like the pattern and color within a couple of years. The Hubs found a company that prints wallpaper that you can apply yourself and remove yourself. They even have options for designing your own pattern, or the option to change the color of one of the patterns they sell. Tempaper Designs took the color I wanted and an example pattern to create the grasscloth pattern that I liked in my color. I received a mock-up from their graphic designer via email as well as a sample in the mail. As soon as I approved the sample, they printed and mailed the wallpaper via Fed-Ex. It took me thirty minutes to hang the Tempaper! I absolutely love how it looks. I also love that I will be able to change it out if I ever get tired of it without breaking the bank. {Tempaper did not sponsor this post. I just loved working with them and I love how it turned out, so I want to spread the word!}

This is the view of the sunken patio from the family room. I cleaned up the beds down there, perhaps too soon, so it’s looking a little sparse compared to how full and lush it was in June. I have some plans for it in the springtime!


This is the view of the kitchen from the family room. Top on my list of things I want to change: The light fixtures over the island. I’m thinking something like this.


I also want to paint the chairs at our kitchen table. What color do you think I should choose? I’m leaning toward French Linen.


Over the summer, while my brother-in-law was in town, he and The Hubs made two leaves to place on top of our old table. We desperately needed more space at our kitchen table, but we just didn’t feel like it was necessary to buy a new one. The advantage of having two leaves is that if we ever want the table small again (haven’t taken the leaves off the table yet!) then we can easily store them in two pieces. The table is 8′ x 4′ now, allowing us to seat twelve. I think we’re all enjoying the elbow room that the leaves provide. I found the oil cloth in the fabrics by the yard at Hobby Lobby. It is a thin oil cloth that you would use to sew a rain coat, so it is machine washable. Score!


This is what the table looks like under the cloth…


Looking at this photo of the kitchen, the first thing that comes to mind is, “That’s a lotta brown!” The second, “I wish it was always this clean, but, people live here.” The third, “How do I break up all this brown?” Rugs? Pops of color with a few decorative items on the island? Hang something above the pantry door? I think eventually we’ll get a couple of runners, one by the sink and one by my command center. When it comes to decorating, one thing is for sure: It’s a process. There is no hurry. The key is to take your time and enjoy the process, a process that sometimes requires patience and restraint — not my specialties.



My favorite feature in our kitchen is the window. I love seeing the pretty tree line and a slice of Indiana sky while I’m doing dishes. The big windowsill is the perfect spot for our statue of St. Joseph, the guy who got us here in the first place! I thank him daily for all the ways he has interceded for our family on this journey to heaven.


This is what I like to call “Mom’s Command Center.” I was originally going to make this my baking counter, but I just don’t do enough baking to sacrifice all that precious real estate!


Everything the children need to complete their homework and school projects as well as make homemade cards is here. I also have some crafting items stored here. The drawer on the left is filled with office supplies and the drawer on the right is my junk drawer. I go through it every once in a while and throw away the stuff I don’t need and put away the rest. I really like having a place where I can dump little odds and ends when people are coming over or when I just can’t take another second of the clutter!


Just through the door on the left is the basement entry, the front door, and the stairs. Through the door on the right is the dining room. Excellent layout, super practical for our family.


The back of the house gets the afternoon sun, so we had to purchase black-out curtains to save our floors and furniture from fading. Thankfully, every August, JC Penney’s has a big drapery sale, so I was able to purchase six blackout panels at a great price. The tricky part was finding a rod long enough to extend over both windows in the family room — fourteen feet. I was able to find some really nice drapery hardware on sale on line and I’m really happy with it.


The last feature I’d like to share with you is the transom window between the two pillars that divide the kitchen from the family room. It’s difficult to see in the picture and in real life, but there is actual glass up there. Interesting, isn’t it? I can picture the kids wanting to tape some birthday decorations up there at some point. We’ll see what they come up with.

So that’s it! I hope you’ve found some inspiration from this post. If you’d like to see a quick live tour, check out my Instagram Stories! The icon at the top of this blog page will take you straight there. See you next week with a quick tour of the guest room and guest bathroom. I might also throw in the laundry room as well, since they’re right next to each other.


New Home Tour: Entryway and Dining Room

As expected, this series is taking me for—eh—-ver! I’m going to blame it on summer. Now that the kids are back in school, I have more time to sit down and enjoy the process of blogging, something that I have really missed for the past several months. So far, I’ve given you a tour of the basement and I’ve shown you all the sweet little details of the nursery and the cuteness of the girls’ room, as well as the upstairs sitting room and master bed/bath, also known as the Master Suite. Now, on to the main floor, since the boys’ room isn’t finished yet. The entryway and dining room are connected, so we’ll start there!

New Home Tour: The Basement

New Home Tour: Nursery

New Home Tour: The Girls’ Room

New Home Tour: Master Suite

New Home Tour: Entryway and Dining Room


Welcome! I wish I could actually have you over for a cup of coffee and a tour of our Indiana home. Wouldn’t that be fun? Well, if you did come over for a visit, this is what you’d see as soon as you walked in the front door. We haven’t purchased a rug for this space just yet, but I have my eye on a large round rug from Wayfair that I just can’t get out of my head. What do you think? It’s daring, but I think it would work in this space.



Just to the left is the dining room, and through the right archway is the kitchen/family room. I really like that there are two doorways to the kitchen, one from the entryway and one from the dining room. It makes it easy to get food to and from the kitchen on the rare occasion that we actually use the dining room for eating.


You can see the sitting room window and the kids bedroom doors from the entryway as well. And from the upstairs hallway, you can see the little nooks above the front door really well:


It’s difficult to see in this photo, but those are evergreen topiaries. The kids would love it if we’d buy giant nutcrackers or toy soldiers to place in the nooks for the holidays, but I think we’ll just put some twinkle lights on the topiaries instead. Sorry, kids!


Directly to your left from the entryway is the dining room. I have really enjoyed decorating this room. Add to the list of purchases I’d like to make: a new chandelier, two upholstered chairs for the Lord and Lady of the House, some artwork, and two more doors for the left set of shelves. It’s going to take awhile, but it’ll be worth the wait and sticking to the budget is always a good idea!



This whole unit, Liatorp from IKEA  used to be the entertainment center in the basement of our old house. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it here in the dining room, but now that it’s all set up and filled with china and glassware, bar ware and cake plates, I love it! I’m thinking about painting the bead board that backs the shelves and sideboard a shade or two darker than the walls. I think all my white dishes and glassware will stand out more with a colored background.


I’m becoming a bit of a plant lady… just trying to keep up with the decorating trends, I guess. Although it’s funny, as usual, my mom is ahead of the trend. She’s had house plants all over her home for years! This pretty fern seems to be doing well here on the sideboard. I think it was good to start with something easy to take care of before moving on to this mama-jama of a plant:


I read up on Fiddle Leaf Figs and visited a garden center and decided I was up for the challenge of caring for this big guy, Figgle. The plant expert at the garden center suggested I put a ceramic plant nanny with a wine bottle filled with water in the soil, just to be sure that the soil never gets too dry. And I decided to go with a basket instead of a pot simply because of cost. As it turns out, I really like the look! The basket was on clearance at Target and cost only $20! There is no way I could have found a pot the correct size for that cheap. I’ll keep you posted on how Figgle is doing. So far, he’s adjusting well!

So that about sums up the entryway and dining room in our new home. I’m looking forward to sharing the changes and improvements we make to this space as time goes by. I personally cannot wait to play around with fall decor in these rooms!

Enjoy your day and come back next week for part six of our new home tour: The kitchen and family room!

entryway and dining room pinterest pin

New Home Tour: The Sitting Room and Master

As expected, this series is taking me for—eh—-ver! I’m going to blame it on summer. Now that the kids are back in school, I have more time to sit down and enjoy the process of blogging, something that I have really missed for the past several months. So far, I’ve given you a tour of the basement and I’ve shown you all the sweet little details of the nursery and the cuteness of the girls’ room! Today, it’s all about the upstairs sitting room and master bed/bath… Shall we call it the Master Suite? Yes, let’s! 

New Home Tour: The Basement

New Home Tour: Nursery

New Home Tour: The Girls’ Room

New Home Tour: Master Suite

Let me just start by saying that I find the term “Master Suite” to be obnoxious. Although it is an accurate description of the three rooms I’m about to share with you, the “Sitting Room” or “Bonus Room” just outside the Master Bedroom is really for the family. And, eventually, we could convert it into a nursery if need be. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! It’s nice to think that we could enclose the Sitting Room with glass in the big opening to create some privacy, which is what we’d do to make it a nursery. But for now, it’s a place for our family to gather and pray, as well as watch movies together.

sitting room from upstairs hall

View from upstairs hallway.

sitting room view of MBR

sitting room couch

sitting room red chair and bookcase


sitting room tv armoire

This is truly my favorite room in the house. Wait, did I say that about the girls’ room too? I guess it’s just that I feel calm and peaceful whenever I relax in the Sitting Room and the Girls’ Room (especially when they’re not there). If you’ve ever been to our old house in Virginia, or if you look through my blog archives for a tour of our last home, you’ll recognize almost all of the furniture in these photos. One of the most enjoyable aspects of moving has been to re-imagine where to place our furniture and how to put it to good use in a new space. One of the end tables and the coffee table were purchased from the previous owners at a really great deal. Just a little tip for you if you’re about to move: if you see something you like in the home you’re buying, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they owners are looking to off-load any of their stuff. We purchased a three-in-one ping pong/pool/air hockey table, two couches, an arm-chair and ottoman, coffee table, and two end tables for a song and everything was here waiting for us the day we arrived.

Alright, welcome to the Master Bedroom!


MBR settee and gallery wall

This is just to the left as soon as you walk in the door.

MBR bed 2

MBR Nina's dresser

So I hear it’s really bad Feng Shui to have your headboard up against windows. But, because of the closet door and the bathroom door, I think there’s only one wall to put the headboard against, and then the bed would have to be sideways. Wouldn’t that be bad Feng Shui as well? Any experts with suggestions? I’m thinking about just pulling the bed away from the windows so that we don’t feel like we’re sleeping in the bow of a boat during a rain storm. We’ve had a few huge thunderstorms here since we moved and each time, they’ve woken me up, like to the point where I’m wide awake and can’t fall back asleep.

Okay, before I show you photos of the Master Closet, please know that I find the size of this closet to be a bit over the top. Having said that, words cannot express how happy I am to no longer have any clothes, shoes, bags, purses, bathing suits, or winter gear in storage. Oh, the time this will save at the change of the seasons!!!

MBR closet

Now onto the Master Bath!
Master Bath

Storage, storage, and more storage! Then a little dressing table for me! That white shelf was an Ikea purchase years and years ago. I never thought that a single piece of furniture could be used for so many different purposes! I like having a pretty little feminine place to put all my jewelry, perfumes, lotions, etc.

Master Bath shower

Master bath tub

Then on the other side of the bathroom we have our shower and tub, both bathed in natural light. Never in a million years would I have planned or sought out a master bathroom like this one, so grand and fancy. But I loved the rest of the house, so, there it is.

The boys’ room isn’t finished yet, so I think next week I’ll show you one of the rooms on the main floor. Can’t wait! Have a lovely day.

Master Suite Pinterest Pin


New Home Tour: The Girls’ Room

As expected, this series is taking me for—eh—-ver! I’m going to blame it on summer. Now that the kids are back in school, I have more time to sit down and enjoy the process of blogging, something that I have really missed for the past several months. So far, I’ve given you a tour of the basement and I’ve shown you all the sweet little details of the nursery. Today, it’s all about the girls’ room!

New Home Tour: The Basement

New Home Tour: Nursery

New Home Tour: The Girls’ Room

girls room pinterest pin

Decorating a space for two girls can be a challenge, especially when one girl is ten, entering her tween years, and the other is six and still very much a little girl. I think the key is to think long-term. What colors, patterns, designs, and styles will stand the test of time for both of them? What furniture will grow with the girls as they get older?

girls room beds

I’m looking forward to making a couple of upholstered headboards like the one in the guest room. I think I’ll go with something in a solid color with very little if any pattern. The bedspreads are from Bed, Bath, & Beyond (yay for Kate Spade!) and the floral shams are from World Market. The silver lamps and lampshades are also from World Market.

upholstered headboard guest room

Or maybe something like this one?

dimples desk

My mom had her old desk painted for Dimples. It’s a Pennsylvania House piece that reminds me of my childhood. I used to love organizing my mom’s stationery, pens, and books in all the little cubbies, drawers and shelves. She always had a beautiful image of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the center cut out there in the middle, a reminder of her beloved Sisters of Charity from Seton Hill College. So when she offered to have it painted for my daughter, well, I was really touched. I removed all the hinges and the small pulls and spray painted them with some silver metallic spray paint. I found the perfect handles for the large drawer at Hobby Lobby. The drawer pulls on the little square drawers are from Lowe’s. Just like her mama, Dimples loves arranging and re-arranging her desk with all her special things. It brings me joy to see a piece that I associate with my mom in our own home, updated and totally functional.

SMAM chalk paint desk chairs

I searched and I searched for just the right chairs for these two desks. I knew I wanted them to be similar but not exactly the same, and that I wanted to try my hand at some Annie Sloan chalk paint, so I looked at Goodwill, Homegoods, At Home, and Hobby Lobby to no avail. Everything was too expensive and too matchy-matchy for my taste. One day I was driving somewhere with Little One and there, on the side of the road, at a yard sale I found these two chairs with perfect caning on the seats for $10 a piece! I purchased the chairs, put them in my van, and drove straight to ReStyled to pick out chalk paint colors. One of the furniture restyling experts there took a look at a photo of the girls’ room I had on my phone and recommended Emile for Social Butterfly’s chair and English Yellow for Dimples’. I can’t say that I ever would have chosen English Yellow myself, but it really looks gorgeous with the white desk. And Emile is perfect with the green, in my opinion.

girls room desk

The drapes are from Bed, Bath, & Beyond and I added a black out liner to them to help with the summer sunlight. Because of the brightness of the stripe on the bedspreads, I wanted something plain but pretty. I think these white silky floor-length window treatments are dramatic enough to keep up with the rest of the decor, without taking center stage.

SB's bed

The metal frame you see above is from Homegoods. It’s the perfect place for the girls to display their artwork, birthday cards, and correspondence from friends back in Virginia.

girls desk chairs

Thanks for stopping by for another room tour of our new home. Next I’ll share with you our upstairs sitting room and master bedroom! I’d like to say that’ll happen next week, at least that’s my goal!


New Home Tour: Nursery

This week’s peek into our new home is of the nursery. I’m a sucker for a cute nursery. Then again, who isn’t? With the wall color, the whimsical flowers painted by hand, and the built-ins, this room already had plenty of charm, so it really was just a matter of arranging furniture and styling the built-ins. Fun and easy!

Welcome to our nursery, also known as “Little One’s Room.” As I mentioned in the basement tour, our first look at our home was with the previous owners. The wife pointed out to me that the desk in the middle would be just the right size to double as a changing table. Yes, we bought the house just because of this little detail. I admit it.


Even the little window valance was here. Isn’t it precious? There is a light box under the wooden valance that we leave on each night as a little night light.

Little One's window

Just look at her, squealing and giggling with delight in her little window looking out at the back yard. Swoon-worthy, for sure.


I decided to put our kids’ library in this room because I just love having our collection of children’s books on display. At our old house, we used to keep all of the books in the cabinets of our living room built-ins. It was fine, but there was a lot of shuffling of books from the living room up to the children’s rooms, and then back down again to switch them out for seasons and holidays. It’s nice having all of our books at our fingertips, ready to read!


Little One won’t be sleeping in a crib for much longer, so I’m thinking this pretty little bed will fit nicely where the crib now stands. It’s Nine by Novogratz, available at WalMart, so it won’t break the bank.

Novogratz bedNine by Novogratz 

nursery closet

I’m telling you, the previous owners of this home thought of everything! Just look at this closet! Boxes of clothes that I used to have to lug down to the basement storage at our old house can be kept upstairs now. Changing out seasonal clothes is going to be so much easier! It’s a mom’s dream come true. Before we moved, I went through every box of baby and kids’ clothes and purged. I kept only my favorite outfits and let go of all the unneeded extras and tucked them in the massive drawers.

nursery drawers

If the Good Lord should bless us with another life to love, well, the baby clothes will be easy to find! Eventually, of course, we’ll make good use of these drawers for something other than baby clothes. For now, though, this works.


Thanks for reading! Next up, the girls’ room. Here’s a little sneak peak:


Nursery IG graphic


Independence Day Decor

Happy July 4th Weekend! First of all, how on earth is it already July? I feel like I say that every year at this point of the summer. I guess I’m feeling more surprised by how quickly time is flying because of our big move. So much to do! So many things to see! I’m having a blast decorating our new home, putting my mark on our space. In fact, we’re making kind of a big change next week, one that I know will make this home feel more like it’s ours. All of the walls on the first floor, in the upstairs hallway, and in our bonus room will be painted! We got three different quotes from local painting companies, and were pleasantly surprised at just how reasonable this job will be compared to Northern VA. The kids are not looking forward to living through another paint job, but as I keep telling them, it would take twice as long and would be ten times more stressful if we were to do it ourselves. Todd and his crew are sure to do an amazing job, and I am so ready to get my own color choices up on these walls! I’m also excited to switch out the hardware and have the interior and exterior of the front door painted. Wait until you see the bright and cheery color I chose! It’s a little daring, but I’m trying to step outside my comfort zone with decorating this new space.

Okay, now on to the holiday at hand! First of all, check out my Patriotic Holidays Pinterest Board for all kinds of practical and creative ideas on decorating. You’ll see a few of those ideas in the pics below.

PicMonkey Collage


Patriotic sideboard


July 4th garland at night

I hope you all have a safe and relaxing 4th of July weekend with your friends and family! God bless America!

Pinterest graphic July 4th TWO

New Home Tour: The Basement

Helloooooooo from Indiana!!!!! I sure have missed blogging. I’ve been taking pictures of every little thing I do here in our new home, hoping to motivate myself to get back to sharing here on the blog. Taking the time to actually edit, upload, and write, well, that’s another thing altogether. So I’m going to start simple with the basement. The wall color is great, no painting necessary. The carpet is fantastic, no need for Pergo here! All I had to do is dig deep into the boxes and boxes of basement stuff and go for it. I promise to give you a tour of each part of our new home, but it’ll require some patience on your part. I find it so difficult to find time to blog when all the kids are home for the summer!

Welcome Basement

Welcome to the basement! This is what you see as you come down the steps. The print of Our Lady of Guadalupe was a going away gift from a beautiful family we know at our old parish. I found the frame at my new Hobby Lobby. Isn’t it perfect? I love that she’s the first thing you see when you come down the stairs. Just so you get an idea of the layout, turn to the right and you are in the kitchen area, turn to the left and you’re in the ping pong/air hockey/pool table area.

basement kitchen area SMAM

The previous owners had this little kitchenette put in when the house was built. It consists of a refrigerator, sink, and dishwasher with plenty of cabinets. We use the fridge, for sure, and the cabinets are great for extra decorating items that I haven’t found a use for yet. I suspect, like the previous owners, we will never use the dishwasher. The sink will probably only get turned on to fill teapots and cups for basement tea parties. The art on the wall above the kids’ kitchen set used to be in the guest room at the old house. Remember this?


I removed all the purples and blacks and replaced them with bright and happy colors, adding a couple of canvases to the mix to cover more wall. This space really needed the splash of color and I’m happy with how it turned out.

kitchen basement SMAM

The good old foosball table was a big challenge for our movers to get here. But as the kids get older, I am sure we’ll be happy to have so many games for them to play with their friends.

Lego tables SMAM

I decided to change up the pictures of the kids that used to be on the walls of the basement stairs. I like the big impact, and again, the splash of color on this big wall above the boys’ Lego tables. To the left there we have a full bath, and, not shown, a work out room that could also be a bedroom. We have The Hubs’ heavy bag set up in there, and we intend on putting down some rubberized flooring on top of the carpet so that the girls have a place to practice Irish Dance. Eventually we’d like to purchase a stationary bike or treadmill. Also to the left is the basement storage. The previous owners kindly left up all the shelving they had installed, so we have plenty of places to stack up all those clear plastic bins of holiday decorations and extra toys.

Slide basement SMAM

Here we have our good old little slide, Ikea couch, and the sliding door walkout. Just look at all that day light streaming in through those doors! Heart.Eyed.Emoji.

basement built-ins SMAM

I am in love with these built-ins. So much room for toys and board games! And they’re just pretty, aren’t they? Every time I look at these shelves and cabinets I am just so grateful to the previous owners. They put so much attention into the details of this home that we now get to enjoy!

basement walkout SMAM

And here is the walk-out. The stairs lead up to a cement patio surrounded by planters filled to the brim with perennials. It’s a dreamy spot, the perfect size for the little fire pit you see there at the bottom of the steps. It’s also plenty big for our old table and chairs we’ve had for all thirteen years of our marriage. That was a Target purchase we will never regret!

basement collage SMAM.jpeg

Again, our trusty old Ikea sectional, and an old coffee table — this is the fourth layer of pain on those legs! They’ve been forest green, cranberry red, eggplant purple, and now, Sherwin Williams “Lakeshore” — basically teal. The previous owners offered to sell us some of their stuff before they moved out. One of the items we bought was their three-in-one ping-pong/air hockey/pool table. We use it quite a bit. The kids are having fun learning to play ping-pong. As you can see there on the score board, The Hubs defeated Fr. Haan when he was here to bless the house. More on that story at a later date.

Secret Room

And here is one of my absolute favorite features of our new home: The Secret Room. When we toured the house for the first time, it was with the owners. They showed us this little spot, misty-eyed with memories of their two daughters reading and playing under the stairs. I must admit, it was one of the those moments when I realized, this home that I loved instantly was a place full of memories for another family, just as the home we were about to leave in Virginia was for ours. I decided then and there that this little spot that was so precious to one family, would become precious for us too.

Secret Room entry

I looked through all the paint cans that were left behind and went with yellow. It was so fun to take things from our old home and place them here in the Secret Room. What’s old becomes new somehow when you put it in a new house. Getting creative with our decor that took so much effort and time to wrap and pack and move and unpack makes it all worth it!

Secret Room corner

The kids’ favorite thing to game to play here is school. Isn’t that funny? They’re on summer vacation and they play school.

Secret room book basket

Well, there you have it! The basement tour is complete. I’m so happy to be back to blogging! I hope you’ll come back for another tour.

basement decorating PIN


Our Moving Process, Part 4: Telling the Kids

Telling the Kids IG graphic

Continuing with my series about the story of our move to Indianapolis, I am going to share a little bit with you about how we broke the news to our children. It has been a long process, not all of which I’ll share here. Our experience so far has been a bit of a roller coaster. Just to re-cap, here are the other posts:

When St. Joseph Intercedes: A true story of heavenly friendship

Our Moving Process, Part 1

Our Moving Process, Part 2: Why Indiana?

Our Moving Process, Part 3: Packing!

Our Moving Process, Part 4: Telling the Kids

Parenting is not easy. To date, telling our children that we are taking them out of their school on a Friday, moving them to Indiana, and starting them in a new school the following Monday has been the most difficult thing we’ve had to do. The thing is, it hasn’t been hard because of what we had to say. It’s been hard because we had to say it. Here are a few things we’ve had to tell the kids over the years and how they have responded:

Your pet hamster is dead.

Aw, that’s too bad! Can we get another one?

We’ve decided not to go to the beach this summer. Instead we’re just going to enjoy the pool and play in the yard.

Man! That stinks. Can we go next year?

You can’t go to see that movie, it’s too violent for someone your age.

Darn. How about when I’m thirteen?

It seems that all the tough news we’ve given our kids hasn’t been all that tough. Somehow there’s always a silver lining that they look toward on their own, which is great! But moving? The three month conversation has gone something like this (white lies included):

We’re putting our house on the market because we’d like to move, but we’re not sure where just yet.

But we love this house! What’s wrong with this house? Why do we have to move?

The house is under contract which means that in about six weeks, the buyers will own our home and we have to move.

I don’t get it. What’s a contract and why are we under it?

We’re flying to Indianapolis to go find a house for our family.

What? Why can’t we stay here? Why do we have to move so far away?!

We found a wonderful house for our family to live in. It’s less than half a mile from your new school and our new parish! Our new neighborhood is filled with kids, there’s a lake where you can canoe and fish, and there’s a community pool that’s close enough for you to ride bikes to!

New school?

The owners of the house we love accepted our offer. We will be the official owners of the home at the end of April!

Can we finish out the school year here?

We just found out that there are spaces for you at our new parish school now, and if we want to secure spots for all four of you, we have to move as soon as we close on the house here and in Indy.

Crying, losing sleep, bad dreams, acting out, arguments, and fighting. 

See what I mean? This is hard! It hasn’t been all bad, though. There have been moments of peace, joy, and excitement too. At the end of the day, we have children who love deeply and are extremely loyal to their school, their friends, their parish, even their home. Those fiercely loyal devoted kids are showing us the depths of their love. There have been tears, there have been tough conversations, but you know, I am so moved by the effort they’re making to work through the emotions to get to the truth. They know, in their hearts, that they can trust us in this decision. And they know that we wouldn’t make a decision like this unless we believed it to be the best thing for our family. So the feelings and emotions are getting worked out and hopefully, over time, their big hearts and their intuitive little minds will feel and know that we can make a new home together, in a new house, a new school, a new parish, a new community, in Indiana. Thank goodness we have each other and a God who loves us to get through the adjustment!

Little One's 2nd birthday

First Holy Communion Food and LINKS GALORE!

1st HC FB graphic SMAM

A little re-post for you since First Holy Communion season is upon us. We’re preparing for our third child to receive this beautiful Sacrament. It’s such a beautiful time in the story of each family, isn’t it? Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I hope you find these links and posts helpful!

Dimples 1st HC buffet FINAL

Yesterday, I shared with you my five favorite First Holy Communion party ideas, but for me, that’s the easy part. The difficult part is planning and executing the food. Being one of seven children, our guest list is always quite long for sacraments. And if you factor in friends and their children, we are usually looking at somewhere between 35-50 people, kids included. Given that First Holy Communion Masses at our parish are on a Saturday morning, we like to offer a buffet lunch at our home afterwards. When our oldest received his 1st HC, I was very pregnant with our fifth, Little One. I really was not up for cooking and prepping, so I ordered all the food from Corner Bakery and then paid our cleaning lady and friend Mariska to come to the house while we were at Mass to brew the coffee and receive the delivery. It ended up being more than we would usually spend if we prepared the food ourselves, but because of the timing with my pregnancy, it was worth every penny. Mariska put the food into serving bowls and arranged things on platters for me. More than anything, it was such a gift to have someone at the house taking care of everything so that I could just focus on Smarty Pants and enjoy the day. I have no regrets doing it the way we did the first time around, however I must say, I really enjoyed the process of doing everything myself last year. I saved us money and I had the satisfaction of proving to myself that I could do it on my own.

The catered luncheon:

  • tossed salad
  • fruit salad
  • a variety of small sandwiches
  • hot pesto and chicken pasta
  • cake, candy pops

The homemade luncheon:

  • ham
  • roast beef
  • All the fixings to make sandwiches with the ham and roast beef
  • pickles
  • potato chips
  • cookies, brownies, muffins, candy pops

As you can see, the foods that were prepared for us were pretty labor intensive. There is no way I would even attempt to make a hot pasta dish for a party that I was hosting. Even assembling sandwiches and cutting up fruit salad would be very time consuming. So when I prepared all the food, with the help of my mom mind you, I only offered things that could be prepared in advance and served at room temperature. My mom saw the list of how many guests we would be serving lunch to and was very concerned that we had no tossed salad or fruit salad. I was not worried at all because we had two different types of meats for sandwiches and tons of desserts. Who needs fruit when you can have a cookie and a brownie and a muffin and a pop?! I also was taking into consideration that the guest of honor, Dimples, said nothing about fruit or salad. As I recall, she asked for “ham and potato chips.” Girl knows what she wants! The spiral ham was pre-cooked, so we just heated it up and did the glaze early that morning before Mass. And the roast beef was a special gift from my parents. Mom prepared it perfectly the night before and then sliced it up the morning of the party and arranged it on a platter, all ready to be put on a Costco roll slathered in mayo or horse radish sauce. It was such a treat. In my book, sacraments are an occasion when, within reason, parents should pull out all the stops to lay out a feast. What it communicates to our sons and daughters is that this is a momentous event, more important than a birthday or a prom or a graduation. Of course, the sacrament itself is the greatest gift, but the celebration afterwards reflects that.

For my son’s party we had a local bakery create something based on a cake I found on Pinterest. It turned out so beautiful and was absolutely delicious. For Dimples, I bought a big container of mini brownies at Costco, baked some little muffins called French Puffs, and made white chocolate cake pops. Then my friend Ashley baked and decorated sugar cookies that were not only beautiful, but delicious as well. She even put Dimples’ monogram on some of the cross-shaped cookies. They were so special and everyone enjoyed having something other than cake.

Smarty Pants 1st HC cake

Dimples 1st HC cross pops/Cross pop mold/ Photo credit Mark Brock

Dimples 1st HC cookiesLittle pieces of edible art! /Photo credit: Mark Brock/

Dimples 1st HC dessertsJust look at my nephew sitting there so patiently, not touching a thing so we could all take photos of the beautiful dessert table. What self-control!

Please feel free to fire away with questions in the Comment Box! I love hearing from you. And listed below are some other posts I’ve done to share ideas surrounding First Holy Communion. It’s such a special time in the lives of our children and I really have enjoyed making sure that the Communicant knows that. I hope these posts are helpful to you as you plan!

Come back tomorrow for a list of our family’s favorite First Holy Communion books!

5 favorite 1st HC party ideas 11st HC party ideas 25 Favorite 1st Holy Communion Party Ideas

5 favorite 1st communion gift shops 15 favorite 1st Holy Communion shops 25 Favorite Online First Holy Communion Gift Shops

Dimples wedding gown communion dress FINALA Family Heirloom

1st First HCOur Family’s 1st First Holy Communion

Dimples 1st HC walking into houseThe Most Beautiful Day /Photo Credit Mark Brock/ 1st HC Pinterest BoardSMAM 1st Holy Communion Pinterest Board

First Holy Communion Books titleChildren’s Books for 1st Holy Communion

Our Moving Process Part 3: Packing!

boxes 2016

Continuing with my series about the story of our move to Indianapolis, I am going to share a little bit with you about packing up the house. I started the day after Christmas and have gone back to it a few times, but now that the boxes have been dropped off by the moving company, and our move date draws nearer, packing is in full swing! Just to re-cap, here are the first few posts:

When St. Joseph Intercedes: A true story of heavenly friendship

Our Moving Process, Part 1

Our Moving Process, Part 2: Why Indiana?

Our Moving Process, Part 3: Packing!

We have lived here for almost nine years. We’ve brought two babies home to this house, hosted Baptism and First Holy Communion celebrations, birthday parties, Christmas dinners, Easter feasts, Feast Day celebrations, a baby shower, and countless visitors, family and friends. Our back porch has been a gathering place where I have laughed, cried, and laughed some more with girlfriends and sisters. I’ve spent hours upon hours nursing babies in our nursery, folding laundry in our laundry room, and weeding flower beds in our yard. This home is where we’ve had arguments that have drawn us closer, talks that have made us wiser, and conversations that have taught us to love more deeply. Our family has played here, prayed here, grown here.

Dimples 1st HC walking into house

And now, it’s time to pack up all the stuff that we call dear: the clothes, plates, pots, pans, tablecloths and glassware, candlesticks and pillowcases. The children’s books and school work, the Christmas decorations and the photo albums. It’s all coming with us so that we can make new memories in a new home. While the stuff isn’t required, it certainly helps conjure up the good times attached to the presence of the stuff.

SB birthday cake 3

In November, before Thanksgiving, we took as many pictures as we could off the walls without leaving the house looking like no one lived here. We started up in the kids’ rooms and then worked our way around the first floor. Dimples helped me quite a bit with this project, wrapping each and every frame or piece of artwork with bubble wrap. We left a handful of pictures unwrapped, knowing we’d want some for staging later.

In December, after much debate and disagreement, we decided to hire professional painters to come in and paint all the ceilings on the first and second floor of the house. Before we moved in, we had all the walls painted, but we never touched the ceilings. It was one of those jobs that we knew would make an impact once it was done. Boy were we right! The painters had to set up scaffolding in the living room, since it’s a vaulted ceiling that is at roof level, so we thought it would be best if they came in to work while we visited Indy with the kids. Our friend owns the subcontracting company, so we knew we could trust them with the key to our home, etc. So, the day after Christmas, we packed the Christmas decorations so that they’d be move ready. The Hubs took all the Christmas boxes over to a storage unit that we started renting in November. We moved some furniture to the storage unit and took down the drapes and window blinds.

office painting project SMAM

While we were in Indy, they completed all of the ceilings very quickly, then moved on to the walls. We picked out a nice creamy off-white, “Cottage White” by Sherwin Williams, and a bright, glossy white for all the trim. They assured us that it would be easy for us to touch-up with the paint they chose for the walls, which, with seven people in the house, would be necessary before listing.

living room painting project SMAM

When we returned from Indy, the painters were still here! They took a break for about a week and eventually came back to keep going. They re-grouted the kids’ bathroom floor, cleaned the tile in the master bathroom, and laid new tiles on the floor of the master bathroom. Even the garage door, front porch, and front door got a fresh coat of paint. The Hubs replaced all the hinges and door knobs to brushed silver, and voila! Our home was ready for its close-up, and a ton of our belongings were in the basement storage, boxed up in our garage, or taken to our storage unit.

collage of upstairs SMAM

It was chaotic, packing up so much of our stuff in November and December, but I’m glad we did it. Obviously, now that it’s go-time, we have a lot less to do, but also, it got the moving conversation going with the kids. It also helped us tremendously when it was time to list the house and start showing it. So much work had already been completed!

Master BR listing SMAM

So what’s left now? Well, if you’ve read my posts about how I organize toys, school work, craft supplies, etc, you know that they’re already in boxes in the storage area of our basement. There may be a lot of stuff down there, but most of it is ready to go!

basement storage SMAM

As for the rest of the house, we’re talking clothes, kitchen stuff, shoes, tools, cleaning items, too many things to list here, really. And if I were to actually list them I think I might have a coronary.

So! I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on, one box at a time, cranking some Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, forgetting all about things like showering and doing my hair for now. And eventually, I do believe, the packed items will outnumber the unpacked items and we’ll be ready to go! Then I’ll let the professionals come in and move the big stuff.

Stay tuned for our progress….