February recap

This winter has been a little busier work-wise than normal, so this blog, which normally sees much activity in the winter months, has languished.

I long ago gave up hopes of making regular appearances here, but I definitely miss the time I used to have for visiting others’ little spaces on the interwebs. ūüė¶

Here are a few February highlights:

Husband and I got to attend a marriage retreat, which was fabulous and just what we needed. This is at the “dress-up night” banquet.

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I’ve had that skirt since high school. It fits a little differently now, but it was nice to get another wear out of it. ūüôā

Markus transitioned to a toddler bed (since he was climbing out of his crib 10-20 times a day/night anyway, we figured this just made it slightly less dangerous).

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Anja and I made a bunch of valentines for her classmates. We used this printable butterfly version.

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I made a spur-of-the-moment decision while the kids were napping on V-day to have a tea party as our snack. Nothing too special, but it seems special to them! The cupcake frosting had been frozen, so its texture was a bit iffy, but both kids and Daddy assured me it tasted fine.

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We’ve had out the marble run a couple more times. They both enjoy it.

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Anja and Daddy went to the Daddy-Daughter dance again this past weekend. She has talked about it–I kid you not–probably weekly since she went last year, describing what a good time it was, so she was stoked to go again. Her hair was too short to do any fancy up-dos this year, but I dug out my old curling iron and was pleased with the results.

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Husband wearing a tie twice in one week has never happened before, I don’t think. He’s not a fan, so we appreciate him being such a sport! Markus came out the door after them and decided he needed to be in a picture, too.

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She is SO hard to get decent smiles out of right now! I ask for a smile, get some sort of weird face, and then tell her just to keep her face straight. I crack a few jokes, and then I can at least get something genuine-looking, if not “perfection.”

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That’s about it so far. How has your month been? I wish I had some great craft, or even some clean house photos, to post, but my crafting has been finger paints and cotton balls and glue and popcorn and rice.

Blank

Our coffee table has been bare (other than the occasional toy or this stack of IKEA coasters) for the better part of a month now.  Last year it had a giant basket full of yarn and a blanket I was crocheting.

In recent months it has held piles (and piles and piles) of books, some of our own and some from the library.  And toys.  And the coasters.  And other random things that got set there.

So I have been enjoying it bare, blank, stark.  It makes the whole room seem cleaner.

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What’s on your coffee table?

The Current House

I realized, as I’ve been posting all these photos of The New House progress, I have been remiss in posting photos from the small renovation/room switcheroo we did at our current home last March! Egads.

And since the space will probably not receive enough attention to ever be considered “finished” before we move, you get it “as is.” ūüôā

Here is Anja’s side of the room the kids share, which used to be an office/TV room. ¬†The fabric hoop art has seen better days, unfortunately. ¬†Anja regularly knocks them down, so they’re losing tension. ¬†The bed was mine growing up (just freshened up with a coat of white spray paint). ¬†More than one adult cannot sit on it or the side bows out and the mattress falls through. ¬†We may have to get a new bed frame.

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I have been searching for the perfect (read: cute but not $35) toss pillow for Anja’s bed and scored this one at an occasional sale last weekend.

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Unfortunately, as I was taking those pictures, I heard my boy shuffling around behind me and turned to find THIS.

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Yep, he pushed almost an entire section of books out of the bookshelf. And since we have soooo many children’s books (a blessing, to be sure!), there are not one, but two sets of books in each cube. The side facing Anja’s bed has more of the “big kid” books.

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And Markus’s side has the board books.

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Here is the changing table area. That magazine rack thing we hung on the wall as a diaper-stacker is probably one of my best ideas ever. That’s pretty sad, I realize. ūüôā

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Markus’s side of the room. The lovely bedding on the chair (pillow and quilt) were purchased when Anja was but a seedling in my belly (thanks, Mom!). Markus will use it as his crib set once he’s out of the wearable blanket phase. The chair was my grandparents’, and it has some “farmer sweat stains,” which I covered with some beautiful white hand-crocheted blankets. Fast, easy slip-cover, right?

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And, as is my life, Anja emptied half of the toy bin while I was photographing Markus’s side of the room.

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That’s about it for their room tour! Maybe one day I’ll get some photos of the current office/TV room, too. But no promises. Ha!

Stainless Steel for 2011?

So.  We are in the market for a new refrigerator, since the one in our new home has issues.

As you can seen in this post, we have cream cabinets, a white microwave, a black stove, and across from the stove, a black dishwasher. ¬†Talk about a mish-mash. ¬†The fridge is the first thing we’re replacing in the kitchen, and I don’t want to get stainless steel unless we plan to eventually buy all stainless steel appliances. ¬†Here are my reservations:

1. I don’t know that it will go that well with cream. ¬†Most of the colors we’re using on the main floor are softened blues and greens that go well with cream. ¬†To me, stainless doesn’t seem like it would go well. ¬†But…I don’t know that white would, either, and “bisque” varies so much from company to company that unless we buy all one brand at one time (which we don’t need to and can’t afford), our appliances could be very mis-matched. Here is an example of a kitchen where I think the stainless doesn’t fit successfully:

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2. My style is not modern.  I love the look of stainless steel in a sleek, modern kitchen with black or white cupboards.

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But we are more “casual farmhouse” than “urban industrial,” and I don’t want something completely incongruous. ¬†Here is one kitchen in my style that I think pulls it off successfully (though the cabinets are white, not cream):

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3. Stainless steel has been “in” since the early 2000s, and usually decor trends that have been around that long (chocolate brown, anyone?) are soon “out.” ¬†I’m not that concerned about other pieces of our home, like wall paint and carpet, because they get changed more often (at least, I sure hope!) than something like a refrigerator. ¬†When we were house searching, my husband was definitely drawn to kitchens that had stainless appliances, but I think that’s usually because they were all newer homes, or had recently had the kitchens fully-renovated. ¬†But will stainless steel’s appeal fade over the next few years? ¬†Would we be safer going with a more timeless color, like white?

4. I realize that every Tom, Dick and Harry on HGTV is still using stainless steel (and I think that’s partially what has made it so popular), but how much longer will that last?

5. I’m not sure I like the clean-up that goes along with it. I hear many stories of constantly having to wipe fingerprints, and one more thing to spot-clean doesn’t sound great to me.

 

What is your experience with stainless steel?  What are your predictions regarding its fate?

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Side note:

Thanks to John and Sherry’s post about their washer and dryer purchase, I was able to score the same pair they purchased at 43% off. ¬†I bought white ones.

Soft Things Afoot

One of the things on my “to do” list for the new house is to find an area rug for underneath our bed. ¬†Due to my dust mite allergy, we are putting wood flooring in the master bedroom. ¬†But I still want something soft and warm for my feet to hit until they find my slippers.

The wall color we’ve chosen (and that has been sitting around for almost a month now…) is Benjamin Moore Polished Slate (see swatch below).

Our master bedroom faces north and west, so we wanted a wall color that was bold but not too warm that would also complement our oak bedroom furniture.

My inspiration came from this picture. (Side note: I love that ladder, too, and am contemplating using something like it in our room for clothes that have been worn but aren’t quite ready for the laundry pile.)

Back to the task at hand. ¬†So I am trying to pick a rug that will go well with that color, with our maple floors and the orange-y oak bed. ¬†I’ve found a few at Target in a large floral print that are pretty cool, but I couldn’t find them on their website to show you. ¬†As for the ones I’ve found online, Option #1 is this hemp/white leather one:

Option #2 is this jute one:

Option #3 is an indoor/outdoor rug from Dash & Albert:

And there could be other options out there. I lean toward natural-looking rugs (hence the hemp and jute), but the easy-clean of Option #3 would be nice.

I don’t think we want to spend the $ on a rug big enough for the entire bed to sit on, so I was thinking an 8×10 so it sticks out both sides and some at the foot of the bed.

Have you ever had an area rug under your bed?  If so, what size did you get?

The New House

So…our family has made a rather large purchase recently. ¬†I’m excited about it, and also trepidatious.

We bought a house. ¬†It’s nothing fancy, but it’s ours. ¬†It has one more bedroom and a nice, big yard where the kids can play. ¬†It’s a bit farther from Husband’s work, but he said he doesn’t mind.

Anyway, I’ve been gathering ideas, drawing floor plans to figure out how our current furniture will fit in the new place…we don’t close for a while yet, so we won’t be moving for a couple of months, and I’d like to spend some of that time getting the design solidified in my head. ¬†Some changes will have to wait until we have more $, but we would like to re-do flooring, trim, and some paint colors on the main level of the house. ¬†EEK!

I have had a tumblr account for over a year (just haven’t shared it here before) that gives you some ideas of my taste in decorating, food, and other things.

But I started a new tumblr account specifically for gathering inspiration for my house. ¬†If you know of any websites or blogs that seem like they’d fit my style, let me know!

The “Fit” Challenge

As much as this post should be about getting my body fit (another challenge I’m facing lately), it’s actually about our home.

The Challenge: Fitting all of Anja’s stuff and all of Markus’ stuff plus a new big girl bed into the 2nd bedroom.

The Bigger Challenge: Fitting all of what is currently in the 2nd bedroom (the bigger one) into the 3rd bedroom.

I hope to post photos of progress. ¬†It may be soon, it may not. ¬†I want to get this done sooner than later, but Husband is in no rush. ¬†I’ve been measuring, drawing, rearranging furniture (on paper), picking paint colors…but nothing has been moved or done in real life yet. ¬†However, I found an inspiration photo for the kids’ room that will save me from removing a wall of wallpaper (even though there are four other rooms of wallpaper we want removed eventually).

Anyone have any successful renovating or fix-it-up (big or small!) projects that you’ve completed lately? ¬†I love reading stories and seeing finished products to inspire me, to remind me that it can be done. ¬†Thanks!