5 Things to Keep in Mind During a Bathroom Remodel

This post is written by me on behalf of Sears Home Services. All opinions are 100% my own.

A bathroom remodel can be expensive. In fact, it's the second most expensive remodel you can take on behind your kitchen. However, when a bathroom is remodeled well, it can easily pay for itself.  I have some easy and inexpensive updates that you can make during your bathroom remodel that will give you the luxury you are looking for and the timeless design that will give you the return on your investment you need.

diy, projects, around the house, sears, home renovation, remodel, subway tile, grey and white, neutral

How To Ideas You Don't Want to Miss PLUS Create Link Inspire Party

I love a good how to idea don't you? I think those ideas are what makes the internet and blogs like mine our best resource. Remember when we used to clip ideas out of magazines, or read books to get information? Those were the good old days! Thank you internet. I found a few great how to ideas linked up to last week's Create Link Inspire party and wanted to share them with you. If you aren't using these link parties as a resource for finding new recipes, projects and how to ideas, you are missing out! Come check out some of the ideas I think you are going to want to save so you can give them a try.


Basic DIY Yarn and Driftwood Macrame Wall Hanging for Beginners

The retro trends are back, and while I can't embrace all of them {chokers were meant to stay in the 90's!}, I am loving the new shift back to the bohemian style.  I love all things boho right now and even decorated a boho bedroom on a budget last year. Say that three times fast! I am taking baby steps towards embracing the macrame trend, but I think I'm loving that too. In fact, I know I am! I'm not sure I could figure out all the complicated knots and techniques with real macrame, but I did manage to whip up a very basic macrame-esque wall hanging on some pieces of driftwood that even the most beginner of beginners could do. I think they would make a pretty rad wall hanging on their own or even a great backdrop for a photo booth or a party display. I've got the full tutorial so that you can whip up your own. Come check it out!

boho, neutrals, bohemian


30 Minute Meal: Sweet BBQ Meatball Bowl

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cooked Perfect® Meatballs for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's always been important for our family to eat meals together. From the time our oldest was born, we put him in his bouncy seat next to the dinner table so he could join us for meals and we continue to make family dinner time a priority. Since eating meals together is a priority, I have also had to be creative to make it happen. I rarely make meals that require more than five ingredients and take longer than a half an hour to make. I just don't have time to fuss over meals and need something simple that can be prepped and on the table so we can move on to those things that keep us busy on weeknights like homework and practices. I know you are busy too and maybe you are getting bored with the same weeknight meals. I've got a yummy meal that will only take you 30 minutes from start to finish. Come get the recipe for this sweet BBQ meatball bowl your whole family is going to love.

recipes, family meal, family dinner


Fall Projects You Should Try PLUS Create Link Inspire Party

I know those of you who have kids that have already started school are thinking about fall. For those of us that have a few weeks left before school starts {myself included!} we are still soaking up summer. I must confess, I don't particularly love fall. It usually means that the weather is starting to turn and our summer is coming to an end, but I know there are those die hard fall lovers out there that want to drink up everything pumpkin flavored and tromp around a farm in boots every day looking for pumpkins. So for those friends, this post is for you. For the rest of us that just aren't there yet, prepare yourself. Get a little head start with these DIY's and soak in the last days of summer.

fall wreaths, macrame, signs with vinyl


The Secret to Sticking Vinyl on A Canvas

It's no secret that I love my Silhouette machine. It's fun to see the different projects that I can create but I must confess, I'm falling on a steeper learning curve when I use my machine than I probably should. I'm glad I have friends like Melissa at Silhouette School to help bail me out {where was she when I was making these invitations that ended up costing me $115 EACH!}, but sometimes I need to come up with my own solutions. Several years ago, I had a friend ask me to make some canvases for an event. I told her I would but then when it came time to adhere the vinyl to the canvas, I couldn't for the life of me get it to stick. I spent far more hours on it than I should have only to come to the conclusion that it couldn't be done. BUT IT CAN! Why did it take me years to figure it out??? Friends, if you are like me and need a solution to help your vinyl to stick a canvas, I found one. Read on. It will save you!

silhouette, cameo, cutting vinyl, handmade sign, wedding DIY


Why I'm Sending Extra School Supplies This Year

I've been there. I remember wondering why my kid needed 36 sharpened Ticonderoga pencils {yes...a specific brand of pencils...and the most expensive ones at that!} and 24 glue sticks. I may have even complained a little. Why can one kid not use a single glue stick throughout the year? Why does my son need so many pencils? Why does my daughter need to share supplies? Can't they learn responsibility with their own things? I know I'm not the only parent who rolled their eyes when they saw the length and specificity of the school supply list they received.

I'm lucky though. I have the money to purchase school supplies for my kids and I'm thankful that even during what I felt like were my martyrdom years of purchasing all the supplies on those lists, that I did just that. I've grown in my understanding of why teachers ask for more supplies than one child needs and I'm happy to provide. Do you have any idea how long a pencil or a glue stick lasts in a classroom? Does it annoy you that the school supplies you purchased for your child are being shared? 

Several years ago when college expenses were looming I decided to look into getting a job. There was a shortage of substitutes in our area and I decided to give that a go. I always wanted to be a teacher, how hard could it be? I learned a lot during my stint in the classroom and I want to share some thoughts.


Giving Our Kids Roots and Wings-Parenting in the College Years

It was probably easier having a few busy weeks leading up to the final departure. It was a long summer that went by in a blink. Early this morning, our oldest son packed up a car and headed back to college for his sophomore year. He adapted last year to being far from home, made some great new friends and managed to keep himself alive without the watchful eye of his parents. I spent some time this morning reflecting on his departure as the roots that connect us get thinner and thinner. Sort of how I reflected last year when I wrote this after saying goodbye to him. 

This is the same boy who wouldn't separate from me as a toddler. Nursery workers would call us to get a screaming snotty kid who would work himself up so much that he was gasping for breath. He would instantly calm down as soon as I held him and he would scream and cling to me if I even came close to the vicinity of a drop off area. 

He would sit outside of my shower door playing with trains and would circle them around as I would dry my hair. In those moments I never thought he would go upstairs without me let alone hop in a car and drive 2500 miles away.

tree growing

I kept thinking and reflecting after he drove away about the saying that goes something like this: 

 "The best thing parents can do for their children is give them roots and wings."

We've worked hard at preparing the soil and getting those roots to grow deep and strong but we also worked hard at giving him wings to fly. 

Giving our Kids Roots and Wings-Parenting in the College Years


DIY Leather Glasses Case Plus Shopping With Kids for Glasses

Thank you JCPenney Optical for sponsoring this post. Visit your local JCPenney Optical to find your perfect frames!

I got glasses in third grade. The frames were brown and kind of leopard spotted and my mom let me pick out a decal to put on the lens. I selected a lion because, well....I'm not sure why. My eyes continued to get worse and every few years I would have to replace my glasses. Picking out the frames was so hard! I remember that much. I didn't love the selection 30+ years ago and quite honestly, when you can't really see and everything is blurry, even your reflection in the mirror, it's hard to make your best choice. In junior high I picked out what I thought was a pretty awesome pair of glasses with wire frames. What no one told me was that those frames were actually boys frames. Seriously. In junior high. Why did no one tell me? Actually, people did tell me, just too late... after I already bought them and there was no replacing them because hundreds of dollars later that's why.

So I get it. Shopping for glasses is hard.

JCPenny optical, glasses, kids, teenager, Stadium high school, tacoma

Wearing glasses as a kid sets you apart at a time when you really don't want to be set apart. However, not seeing isn't a better option! So picking out and making a statement with your frames is something we can help our kids roll with. There are so many great options now and I've got a great deal for you so you can find affordable frames and lenses just in time for back to school. I also have a great DIY tutorial so you and your child can protect your glasses with a fun leather case you can make together. Come check it out!


How to Save Money on Back-to-School Outfits

This post was written by me on behalf of JCPenney in partnership with Activate. All opinions are 100% my own.

Back-to-school clothes shopping was always one of my favorite summer traditions when I was a kid. My mom would give us a set budget to shop and we could buy whatever we wanted. I have always been a budget shopper, so I always liked to see how far I could make my money go when shopping, even when I was in elementary school! I wanted to get the most outfits and the most new pieces that I could with the money that I had. My kids have learned through the years to do the same thing so it's fun to see what they end up selecting and how they do it. Back-to-school shopping is even more important to them now that they are older. This year my youngest is in junior high, my middle daughter will be a sophomore in high school and my oldest will be a sophomore in college. Clothes matter to them! They want the latest trends and styles and I want quality at a great value. I've got some tips on how to save money on back-to-school outfits and can't wait to share them with you.

jcpenny, trendy, my style, what to wear
photo by nickl.media

Basic Car Maintenance for Teen Drivers

Tracking Pixel

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mobil 1 at Walmart. All opinions are 100% my own.

It doesn't seem like it was that long ago I was being handed the keys to my parent's car for the first time. I loved having the freedom and ability to go where ever I wanted. But there is more to driving than just having a license and a set of wheels. I know, because now I'm on the other side. Our oldest son has been driving for a few years and now my 15-year-old daughter has her learner's permit and has just completed drivers ed. If you have a child who has recently gone through driver's ed., then you also know that those hours of training officially make them the best driver ever and it instantly gives them permission to point out all of your mistakes when you are in the car together.

I remember shortly after I got my license, my tire popped. I was forever grateful that my dad had taught me how to change a tire when I was in my learning phase so that I was prepared. We are doing the same thing with our kids and making sure that they have basic car maintenance skills that will give them the knowledge that they need for a lifetime. While some tasks should be left to the pros, teens can at least know the basics so that they are aware of what to look for and be responsible car drivers.



Lessons Learned from a Kitchen Remodel

I think that it's so important that we learn from other people. I want to hear from other people's experiences and take their advice and use what I need in many situations of my life, but I think that it can be most helpful when we tackle any kind of improvement project, self improvement or otherwise. While these lessons learned from a custom kitchen remodel may not make you into a better person, they may save your sanity and offer you some good tips to getting the best results if you are tackling a large remodeling project.


Kitchen Remodel Makeover Reveal

There aren't many shared spaces in a home that have more time spent in them than the kitchen. As a family that eats together nearly every night and shares most meals I know how much time I personally spend in the kitchen. It's so important to have a functional space to use. When you take on a kitchen remodel you have the opportunity to create a space that fits your families needs and reflects your lifestyle. Dea and Christian Rust have spent the past few years rehabbing a historic mansion in small town Indiana {scroll to the end of the post to see more of the rooms they have transformed} and they have just completed their kitchen remodel, one of the largest projects they have tackled to date. Read on to see why they get to do it all over again, after living with it completed for only two weeks.

But before that, come check out the beautiful transformation they have made in their home. I know that yesterday, I shared a little sneak peek into the remodel and shared some of the demo.

Let's take a glimpse again and see what the kitchen looked like before. Remember this home was built before electricity had even been invented! Kitchens were functional and utilitarian spaces not created to be entertaining hubs of the home the way they have evolved.
The light and bright space is exactly what this couple was hoping for.


Kitchen Remodel in the Fixer Upper Historic Mansion

I am beyond excited to share with you this drool worthy kitchen remodel. If you are new here, we've been following along with Dea and Christian Rust, a young couple that is rehabbing a historic mansion in my old hometown. They just tackled the kitchen and it looks amazing. We are going to be taking a look at it all week, but today, I wanted to give you some of the before pictures so you understand what you are looking at when I show you the big reveal. Dea also has some great tips and advice if you are considering a kitchen remodel in the near future.

The home was built in 1860, when kitchens and modern conveniences we appreciate today weren't something that were part of a home. In the span of more than a hundred years, this home has seen many updates. Some making more sense than others. You can't have an after without a before, so here's a little shot at how far this kitchen has come and what a beautiful space this couple has created together. Why not come see more!


DIY Painted Fabric Bench

I see some pretty bad looking pieces at garage sales. It's funny how some fabric can take you back to a certain time period. Pastel florals? Yep, definitely the late 80's and early 90's. It's taken some training, but I have been doing my best to try to see past the current state of a furniture piece and think about what it really could look like with a coat of paint or a nice sanding job. Usually it doesn't take more than a little TLC, and while I have been able to look at some solid wood pieces and think all they needed was a coat of paint, I haven't tried it yet with any upholstered pieces. That is...until now!

I picked up this solid floral bench for just a few bucks. My daughter had been looking for some similar benches to put at the end of her bed {a bed she made with her grandpa last summer-you can find the tutorial here}, with no luck in our budget. When I spotted this one, I thought I would give it a try.

It was so easy and I love the after! You can still see the subtle hint of the pattern through the paint, but it's not the obnoxious floral pattern that every shoulder-padded vest was made out of in the 90's. Come check out how I did it!


Beach Activities for Kids

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PEOPLE®, InStyle®, and Sunset®. The opinions and text are all mine. 
I was standing in line at my local grocery store prepping for a beach picnic with my family, and I smiled. I heard a mama behind me with little ones anxious to get home and another getting restless in a cart. I remember those days well. It wasn't that long ago that I was loading groceries onto a conveyor belt with a kid screaming under my arm and another begging for candy in the check-out line. I smiled because those days are a distant memory and I can look back like a warrior that survived that phase and now I get to enjoy the sweet spot that our family is in. I picked up the PEOPLE magazine I was eyeing and decided to add it to my beach shopping. I used to look longingly at the moms in their beach chairs devouring a book or a magazine and wonder when it would be my turn to enjoy the giggles of the kids playing in the water as an observer, not as a necessary participant.
Don't get me wrong, the kids aren't at the age that they want to just sit and lounge in a chair and enjoy the sound of the waves. They still need activities that will keep them busy. So, I have a few activities that are kid-tested that will give you some time to sit back and enjoy flipping through a magazine.

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