houseguest how-to

Sponsored by Quilted Northern®. All thoughts are my own!

So my sister and her family stayed with us for Thanksgiving, and our bunk room was put to full use! My older sister and I haven’t lived in the same state in 10+ years and if you’ve ever dealt with this, you know that I feel like I’m making up for lost time! All the missed playdates and sitter swapping and grocery store runs and nights out. I wanted her whole family to feel accommodated, of course, but especially her. I hoped that she’ feel pampered and that it’s a little bit of a vacation for her instead of a lot of work, like traveling with kids tends to be!

Houseguest How-ToSo, how about a grazing plate full of favorite shelf-stable snacks that you can store in their room for late night snack cravings? Plus plenty of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush® because who likes the walk of shame to ask the host where they can find an extra roll?One quick Walmart run (my closest grocery store and go-to!) and I had everything I needed.  Nuts and apples for healthy options. Chocolate-covered pretzels and foil-wrapped chocolates for a sweet treat. Nighttime teas like chamomile, peppermint or a pumpkin roobois that feel festive and timely this winter.Since her kids go down early (and so do mine God willing, ha!) I wanted to have some fun treatments to do with her! Nail polish, face masks, and peels—all found at Walmart as well! I love putting gel eye masks on ice for that extra refreshing kick and to help with tired under-eyes. I put ice in a bowl and then another bowl of the eye masks on top! You can also just keep the whole container in the fridge, but I like having a room-temperature option sometimes, too!

And don’t forget plenty of soft, fluffy towels and that 3-layered, cushiony Ultra Plush toilet paper to make everything feel luxe. Plus, their 4-in-1 Mega Roll is four times bigger than their regular roll so you can worry less about changing your toilet paper roll. Why Quilted Northern? They say it best: It’s just really nice toilet paper. Skimping on a tissue that feels like thin sandpaper is not an option for my best older sis! 😉

Anything I missed for next time? Let me know in the comments!

 

Light The World 2018

So excited to participate in church’s annual service oriented Holiday Advent starting December 1st (Saturday!) They do such a good job making the month of December more meaningful with daily ideas and tasks. I have loved doing it with my kids and feel like we need it more than ever this year. You can download it here!light the world 2018

I love that they have weekly videos to inspire and share with my family to recenter ourselves each week of the month, too! Here is the first week’s!

And now for the real story + the why!

Hunter FowlerI read somewhere that traditions give children a sense of belonging. I 100% attest to that and found it to be true not just for kids. My parents divorced when I was a young married student and it’s been so interesting and bittersweet to see how it turned my extended family life upside down. I think ultimately since both Russ and I come from split homes (I won’t speak for Russ) I have felt that grander sense of belonging missing. Of course I feel safe and secure and loved in my own home, but in that larger familial sense. Brene said
“Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.”  That vulnerability, the ability to move and work through life without the paralyzing need to be perfect, all things that come from that sense of belonging. Things I see now as an adult I totally lack! I want this so badly for my kids!

My parents divorce was and, although it has improved, is ugly. I know healthy partnerships exist post-marriage and I respect the HELL out of those people. I know it’s possible and if you’re navigating that situation: don’t stop fighting for that civility and peace! I can only imagine how wonderful that must feel for everyone involved! I just know the damage the opposite can do, and it is far-reaching.

I didn’t anticipate all the adapting we’d need to do! Small things: Where do we go for holidays, who arranges the gift exchange? Or big: How do we spend time together when people can’t be in the same room together. So many relationships are strained or estranged. Sometimes it feels easier to just avoid it altogether!

Can’t we just be with our friends? That poses it’s own issues, especially in Utah where so many people have extended family nearby and they spend holidays and Sundays and special occasions and even grocery store runs together it can be hard to find that sense of belonging elsewhere. Everyone’s covered, ya know? They’ve got their people for the important days. It’s made me feel an immense need to be that place for my own kids, always. And also to be that place for others who need it, too.

Every time Russ and I talked about our house layout or made even the smallest decisions it was with this in mind. How can we be a place for others to come and feel at home. To be a place that will always fit and no one would ever feel like an imposition. We looked forward so much to hosting for the holidays and having family come stay and this first Thanksgiving felt so amazing for all of these reasons! I showed a clip of the party left-overs and sure it’s annoying to clean, but I honestly loved it. I love seeing the remnants of belonging. Of my kids and their cousins having dance parties in the loft, building race tracks in the toy room. Cuddling in blankets in front of the TV. Chatting by the crackling fire, and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the deer in the yard or the horses in the pasture or the view. It all means so much to me.

As a mom I feel the pressure to be the creator and executor of traditions. The whole thing can be exhausting! I love simple aids like this advent to help guide the way! I have navigated A LOT of activities and ideas to see what felt right for our family. What should stick as tradition, little or grand! I think it all comes down to the feeling it creates in your home, and in your family. Here’s some of the ones we’ve tried out!

I’m challenging myself this year to have a magical Christmas without spending money. (Minus presents on the day of, of course!) As I went through our favorite traditions and saw the $$ piling up, instead of feeling dread over how to afford it without going into debt. How to fit it all in. I’m taking those stressors out of the equation. And focusing on creating the magic without extras. Using creativity, what we already have, our own sweat equity, to serve one another and those around us. I’ll be sure to share all my ideas as we go, but would love to hear yours, too!!

FREE

Riding the train to see the lights at Temple Square, or Grand America Window Display and Giant Gingerbread (train tickets are $5 each I think but worth not dealing with parking!)

Service Advent

Christmas Book Advent

Singing Carols at the Piano

Scavenger Hunt for big or exciting gifts on Christmas morning

A special breakfast or breakfast item for after presents

Family movie night with hot cocoa and popcorn

Sledding / Snowball Fights / Build a Snowman

Cousin Handmade Gift Exchange

Have kids write their own year in review and share with family or mail with Christmas card. Save each year and make a book!

Gather donations for those in need.

Go caroling, deliver treats, offer service or help with projects.

WITH COST

Lower Lights Hymn Revival Concert

Utah Symphony Here Comes Santa Claus

Sibling Gift Exchange – game gift exchange with game night attached

One on one dates! Let each child pick one holiday themed thing to do with just their parents. Or one parent if you don’t want to worry about childcare.

MIA

Where have I been? Let me tell you!

Dress // Shoes // Jacket

If you saw the Home Tour on Instagram last week you know that we had a photo and film shoot here at the house for a couple of days! I’m not able to share about it just yet, but it has consumed my thoughts for months! Knowing that I’d need to have the house photo-ready was more overwhelming than I realized when I signed on to do it. Somehow, Russ powered through and had it ready to go by about 2 am the night before. For someone whose anxiety peaks when I don’t have control in a situation – this was brutal for me! I could only do so much to get the house ready, most of it was on others’ shoulders. Now that we wrapped the project I can’t tell you how relieved I am! It went amazingly well and everything worked out gratefully!

Now for the second project! As most of you know I run Bijou Market (going on this weekend!)

@bijoumarket It’s a handmade, vintage and curated shop show, held 3 times a year which houses 60+ vendors from around Utah and the Southwest for a weekend at a time. Our first market was in 2009 and since that point we have had to move the market NINE different times. Three in the last couple years alone. Not one of these places was “ideal”, but we’d make it work and keep moving forward. Dealing with landlords has been, honestly, the worst part of running the market, and we got (literally) robbed a couple years ago! Ha! For many, many years my partner Rashelle and I have said how badly we wished we had our own space. And what that space would look like and how we’d do things differently. Our bandwidth for this business has fluctuated with having babies, moves, financial struggles, and then on top of that we’d get news that we’d have to find a new venue and it was all so deflating. It seemed like we could never get out of “Survival Mode” to do what it takes to grow a business, instead of just keep it afloat.

So we decided to start actually looking for a space a couple years ago. We toured probably 4 or 5 spots, had countless listings sent back and forth, and once again found ourselves with options that weren’t “ideal” but we were willing to make them work. Talking about demolishing entire floor plans, taking down cement walls, or even starting from scratch.

And life went on. Then we got news that our 9th venue was closing. At this point our options were few. The conversations about what to do were grim. There was no peace to be had, everything felt so confusing.

And then we found one more listing.

The pictures looked promising, so we went and toured it. It was everything we ever said we wanted. It needed work, but NOTHING like the work we were looking at with the other venue options. We both felt it was right, and even cried happy tears at different points of the tour. Finally our IDEAL. And from then on things fell into place. Time after time, even when they weren’t looking good, they’d work out better than we could’ve hoped.

And now TODAY we open its doors. It’s not done, not even close, but it’s beautiful and it’s OURS! So that’s where I have been! Juggling two of the biggest projects of my career. After 18 months of building our home and all that came with that. I have wondered countlessly why the timing worked this way. I don’t think it could’ve been worse timing to be honest! I had told myself on hard days that once the house was done, Russ and I could rest. I truly didn’t think I could take another step (can’t imagine what he’s going through now renovating the building with an insane deadline for us), but my life has always been a constant state of showing me what I’m made of. I know without any doubt that there is a much greater plan in the works and my small view can’t fathom all the reasons just yet, but I know one day it will be clear.

It’s another feather in my cap when it comes to one simple truth. When things are right, they will fall into place. If you’re forcing pieces to fit, it’s not right. Or it’s not yet. Suddenly things start to click and then you’ll know. Does that mean right equals easy? Or no work? Definitely not, but the peace that comes when things are correct or correct timing can’t be bought. They are priceless!

I think the old me would’ve forced myself to do all the things, to keep posting 5 times a week which is what I’ve done since Small Fry’s beginning. But instead I let my passion and energy go where it flowed. And I tried real hard to give myself grace instead of guilt. I know it’s just a season and so I appreciate all of YOUR patience with me while I try to accomplish these big dreams. Sharing my life on a blog is something I’ve done consistently since 2005! It’s such a part of me and I’m so grateful for the chance to do it with a whip-smart, genuine and generous audience. Truly grateful for all of you and can’t wait to be back to scheduled programming!

You can follow along with the Venue’s progress on @statehousevenue Instagram page I posted a ton of before pictures and I’ll get some good afters once the market is done! And if you want to come see it for yourself it will be open this weekend for our Holiday Market!

#framefarme: mud + garage

I feel like I always come in from the car with my hands full of groceries, babies, the babies’ stuff (he’s obsessed with carrying his backpack around) and messing with keys is just not gonna happen. Kwikset partnered up with us for our home build and one of their awesome locks solved all my full-hands problems! #framefarme mud + garageTheir Kevo line is all smart, blue tooth technology locks and we have loved the look of their Contemporary lock! #framefarme mud + garageYou sync it on your phone with an app and then all you have to do is wave your hand across the lock and it senses with your phone in your pocket or bag and it unlocks! #framefarme mud + garageSO cool, right?   #framefarme mud + garageOnce you’ve synced the lock you can access and view it from anywhere, which is always a relief to me when we leave town or I’m almost asleep in bed and can’t remember if I locked the door or not! #framefarme mud + garage  And for those who want to see here’s a bit of the rest of our garage! We have a lot of organizing to do with the rest but one thing I’ve really loved is the 1/2 space! We have 3 spots and then this random 1/2 of a space that isn’t accessible from the driveway which has been perfect for bikes, the pantry door, random storage, and shoes! I am loving having the shoes NOT in the house but also not in the way of anything else in the garage. We did a shelf for them (should’ve doubled the size.) #framefarme mud + garageAnd the rest of the mudroom! If you’re questioning a drinking fountain I give it two thumbs up. My kids use it several times a day and I’m pretty sure have increase their water intake by 100%. Not sure why Russ installed it this way, but either way, stoked about it! Also, this is the second garage door I’ve painted and I really love it because these doors from the garage get SO dirty and I feel like it camouflages it a little bit when there’s more going on than just a white door!

Forgive these iPhone photos my lens that can capture longer depths broke! Gotta get that replaced!#framefarme: mud + garageWe did quarter sawn oak for ALL our cabinets which wasn’t the plan originally (I think these were going to be painted navy?) but the more I had seen of painted cabinets wearing pretty poorly over time, I got set on the idea of just staining wood. We fell in love with this finish and our cabinet guy uses a whole slab so the grain follows across multiple doors which was cool so we did it EVERYWHERE! Ha!#framefarme: mud + garageThen off the mud bath – I’ll be sharing that next week! – are the stairs to the basement with this little landing. I am the queen of small piles by stairs so I have to have baskets or it would look wrecked! I have a basket for toys to go back to the toyroom (boys do that as part of their weekly chores), a laundry basket of their clothes to go down to the laundry room, and a plant we’ve had since we got married! It’s lived EVERYWHERE with us!#framefarme: mud + garage

Huge thank you to Kwikset for this amazing lock and partnering with me on this post! You can grab your own lock right here!

 

at home carpet cleaning

After seeing my townhouse carpets looking brand new after a carpet cleaning, I knew that if I could find a way to keep my carpets looking that clean, I might just love carpet again! Part of my problem being I’d have to clean them more than just once every couple of ayears, ha! When Hoover reached out and said they had a new SmartWash Automatic Carpet Cleaner that would do the job without making my head spin — I was in.Hoover SmartWashAt home carpet cleaners always felt daunting to me and I guess I wasn’t alone because Hoover put their engineers to the test to eliminate all my same hesitations! How much soliton do I use? How long do I need to stay off of it? When do I pull that trigger, and when do I release it? This SmartWash takes all the guesswork out, whether its the amount of solution, how to run the machine, how much water it actually puts out, and drying time! It’s all automatic and easily marked on the machine. SO easy!So Russ works in construction and basically swiped it from the house for a few weeks, using it for his professional jobs and loving it! One fateful day I wasn’t watching Raleigh very closely and he made his way up to the loft (our only room with wall-to-wall carpet.) When I finally got to him he had taken up my chocolate protein drink and spilled it ALL over the place. I immediately started crying because he has been known to spill my protein drinks before (when will I learn??) and I have never once been able to get it all the way out of our rugs. I immediately started spraying it with everything I could find and called Russ to tell him the bad news. 

He didn’t even pause, just happily said “Get the Hoover up there!” His confidence immediately calmed me down, but I wasn’t so sure, it being my first time using it. You guys, I know this sounds like the cheesiest infomercial, but it got every last drop out.  Consider me SmartWash’s biggest fan! *Cue “Ah!” and audience applause* I was so relieved, I am sure any of you with new homes or recent renovations know how awful it can feel when some damage occurs. I wish I would’ve thought to grab before and afters, but scout’s honor, I know it exactly where the spills were and I can’t see a trace.

If you have kids or pets or carpets or a mixture of all three, you will love this! It’s given me confidence in carpet again! Hoover is giving the SmartWash+ (valued at $250!) on my Instagram enter here! @emilyframe

#framefarme: living room plans

QUICK LINKS: Firewood Shelves: made by Russ // Mint Green Credenza – Ikea “BESTA” line with the mint green high gloss Selsviken fronts // Swivel Chairs – Target // Coffee Table – Anthropologie // Couch “Forte” by CB2 // Not pictured – Chandelier // Floors are a wood look tile called Chateau Reserve by Marazzi in the color “Hickory Grove” // Painting – Family heirloom // Looking for a rug and cool intake cover for under the credenza!

The living room more than any other space in the house (maybe the ONLY space in the house to be honest) ended up looking exactly like I had envisioned! While the house was still being built, I planned out each room with Google Presentations. So easy to drop photos, rearrange, resize. I had slide for each room so I could overview the house with ease. I would track down photos of all the pieces we kept from our old spaces even down to the plants, so I wouldn’t waste anything. I think it ultimately helped me stay on budget and be more efficient when I was shopping for each room! So this is the Living Room page I made nearly two years ago now:Frame Farme : Living RoomAnd here’s the room! The fireplace wall isn’t done yet, the chandelier needs to come down several feet and I still have to decide on a rug (planning on having some basic carpet bound to the size I need since it needs to be like 12×20. But this room was easy for me to visualize and I love how it turned out!#framefarme LIVING ROOM

Frame Home Tour

WHERE TO BUY + REVIEWS:

FIREWOOD SHELVES: made by Russ // Mint Green Credenza – Ikea “BESTA” line. (looking for a cool vent intake cover currently.) // Swivel Chairs – Target // Coffee Table – Anthropologie // Couch “Forte” by CB2 // Not pictured – chandelier // Floors – Chateau Reserve in Hickory Grove. Wood look tile 12×48 only, via Marazzi // Painting – Family heirloom

I love the story of that painting! Russ’ is very close to his grandparents: Pip and Pop, and he spent a lot of time at their home growing up. There was a painting of Pip that her friend did of her in college that hung in their house ever since. Russ said he always loved it and when she asked him if we needed anything for the house he immediately said this painting. She is the kindest woman so of course she gave it to him and it is one of our most cherished possessions. I knew it needed to be front and center! She is a huge reminder to me of purity, kindness, service, faith, optimism, and seeing the best, and saying so, in others. I look up to her so much!

COUCH – People ask if we like this couch a lot! It’s the Forte couch via CB2 in Saddle Leather. I think the price is great, the quality is excellent and the look and design are exactly what I was looking for. I love that it goes to the ground and I wouldn’t say it’s cozy or for lounging. It’s definitely more for conversation and up-rightedness. 😉 It’s also hard to clean the crevices as I don’t want to damage the leather with a vacuum head or something. Still looking for the best way to clean it! But otherwise it works great for the space because I was hoping that the basement living room would be for more of the TV/movie watching, and upstairs would be for quieter activities. We’ll see if it ends up being that way!

COFFEE TABLE: Another one we get asked about. When I first saw the Targua Moroccan Coffee Table at Anthropologie my jaw dropped. I had everything except a coffee table picked out for this room and it was perfect. I felt like it tied the whole room together. The teal of the swivel chairs especially!  I think it balances the room and gives it that collected feel. For me, it was crazy expensive even with the 25% off coupon I used. I was sick about it but I also couldn’t find anything I loved half as much. So really, it’s the nicest piece in the house and I trimmed the budget elsewhere to make it work. I don’t regret it! It is sturdy, not fussy, I mean I use coasters to be extra safe, but I don’t worry about the kids being too rough with or around it! It’s a show stopper and the first thing people point out when they come over.

Not sure if I missed anything but be sure to ask away if I did! xo -Emily

More home posts here.

#framefarme: ali express

If you’ve been around for awhile you know we purchased a lot of of our home stuff via Ali Express. Ali Express is a branch of Ali Baba which is basically a direct link to shop in China. They cut out the middle man and you buy right from them, saving a TON of money. I know people have fears and worries about factory conditions, quality etc. Ali Express is like Amazon in the sense that Ali represents thousands of smaller companies. Lots of which show you pictures of their factories right in their shop home page. There are reviews and write-ups on products which helps me decide how to shop as well. I love Ali for the price, but also they are ahead of trends here in the states. For instance my chandelier in the living room, I had favorited 2+ years ago. I JUST saw something similar at Lumens this Spring (for $3000.)Ali Express Home Finds - save $6000!

The number one issue with Ali is that everything takes 2-3 weeks to arrive. Even years later I still get anxiety about things arriving, but they always have and they’re very good about covering themselves. If you need to send things back often times they’ll just refund you and you keep the product because shipping is so tricky for them. Ali is VERY strict about their sellers and shuts down any funny business so keep your eye on sellers and products that have been around for awhile, and products that have lots of reviews!

I get asked weekly how these China purchases are holding up and here’s my honest review!

LIGHTS:

We bought 4 light fixtures from Ali and that was first and foremost because I couldn’t find anything I liked better. I worked with Lamps Plus on the rest of our light fixtures and got them donated, but couldn’t shake these! They are LED lights which might bother some, but I don’t mind it at all! This fixture over our tub was $180 the next size up has 20 ($320) lights and the largest has 32 ($475). I haven’t seen anything similar to compare it to, just products with similar amounts of material for about ($400) but it felt like a great deal. This light works for a pitched (slanted ceiling) roof as well which is harder to come by at times. We’ll say I SAVED $220Ali Express Chandelier - $120

These two sconces next to our master bed. I love the round opaque glass and the arms. The base is very small so make sure whoever is wiring it knows! Like 4″ diameter small. $50 each, $260+ elsewhere. SAVED $400Ali Express Sconce - $50

Our living room chandelier took my actual breath away when I spotted it at the beginning of our planning stage. Our ceilings are pretty tall so we’ve been waiting on the same exact wire to arrive so we can extend it down about 6 more feet. I haven’t shown it yet for that reason. But it looks the least well made, to me. I am fine with it because it’s not in anyone’s close range to look at but it still makes a huge statement! Similar option via Lumens $3000. SAVED $2200Ali Express Chandelier

CABINET HARDWARE: I knew I wanted finger pulls and my cabinet guy swore he could find them for the best price. He came back to me toward the end and said, “Order yours. I couldn’t beat them!” So I did! These are 5 inch pulls at $2.84 a piece and you can buy them online between $8-$13. I needed 100 of them so I SAVED $684$2.84 Black Matte Finger Pulls

BATHROOMS:

We used this faucet for all our sinks. Our double vanity, bathtub, 3 bathrooms and our laundry room sink. $90 each and amazing quality! Russ says you’d pay $400+ for this same set with the same quality. So happy with them and they were exactly what I wanted! SAVED $2170

Ali Express Faucet - $90$90 faucet Ali Express

We used this set – $223 for our basement bathroom tub/showers and this one for the master – $268.  It has the extra sprayer which we thought we might want since the shower head is hung so high but it’s so powerful we don’t need the sprayer! It’s honestly the best shower head I’ve ever had, and it’s just as good as the Grand’s or any 5 star hotel I’ve stayed at. It’s like a rainfall. You could find these for $450+ retail so SAVED $400.

This is our pot filler for the kitchen – $75. Same quality as the faucets, we haven’t installed it yet because our quartz guy has a death wish and hasn’t come to do our backsplash piece yet, but if there’s any issues with it after installation, I’ll update this! $260 for the same one here. SAVED $185. 

GRAND TOTAL SAVINGS: $6,175

wallsburg VI

Have you ever heard the saying “Write from your scars, not your wounds”? The last few weeks was all so fresh with the move I just found myself with nothing to say. Not that I have any wounds from this experience, but you get the idea. So, I have just taken my sweet time! To experience it all just for me, just with the fam, and let all the feelings move through me. You better believe I still RAN outside to get a pic of this sunset though.Frame Home Tour I am starting to feel things become more settled (school helped SO much!), which is high time because man am I behind on work!!  But not working means I unpacked the house in a week instead of months, which is time well spent, for sure. I wanted to tackle a few questions I’ve been getting about the move!

#1 – Why am I not doing a home tour?? I never considered myself a perfectionist. I have high standards, but it’s not gonna kill me to have things not be perfect in any sense. But! This house is just not done enough for me to show it all yet. We still have quite a list of things we’re finishing up in the next few weeks. Like a few shelving systems for the loft, our closet, the toy room, and the guest room. And waiting on other people, too. Still waiting on hardware (knobs, rods, pulls ALL the things), kitchen backsplash quartz, then we have a couple more wall tile projects (the boot wash, the kid’s laundry room and the fireplace) to do and once all that is done we’re fixing drywall holes and doing some paint touch-ups and a few other things. I am showing peeks here and there on insta stories, but it’s hard for me to post to the feed when I know even next week it will look more “done.” Am I crazy? As things wrap up you better believe I’ll be touring until you beg for mercy!Frame Home Tour

#2 How are the boys doing with the move? You guys are so sweet to ask!! I went with the public school option after the biggest inner wrestle of my life. But two things tipped the scales. First, I found out the bus only does our small town so it’s about 20 ish minutes to school instead of 40 or longer like I was anticipating. PHEW! Second, most of the kids that live in our town go to this public school. Since we’re already pretty isolated out here I felt like giving them the most access to the kids that are close by was the best choice. As I type this the boys are currently playing with two other boys from our town that they met because of the bus. That’s a win for sure. It is also the school where most of the kids at our church go as well. I went to a private school 2nd-6th grade and have a lot of memories of feeling left out at church or neighborhood birthday parties because I didn’t know them like they knew each other, or their friends from school.  I am not convinced it’s the better school choice, but I think it’s the best overall choice for us considering all the factors. Frame Home Tour#3 How are the boys doing in the basement? SHOCKINGLY, so good! I was prepared for the worst, but I am so happy to say that they’re sleeping better and falling asleep with zero drama and haven’t been to our room in the night once. Cal is a night owl and Hayes is an early bird and it caused a lot of issues. So now Cal can take some time with his light on and Hayes is out cold in seconds. Cal sleeps in while Hayes is up and at ’em early. So relieved! Raleigh is a little harder if he wakes us up in the night and it’s the farthest occupied room from our bed. Ha. Can’t win ’em all! For those of you debating it in your home — if sharing is effecting their sleep I’d say do it. If you’re worried about them being in the basement or far away from you, try it out and see! So glad we did!Frame Home Tour

#4 How do I like it? Truly loving it. If the house burned to the ground and we had to move I would feel like living here for three weeks was worth it. It has been so rewarding for me, for our family, truly a beautiful almost sacred experience. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to say what it means to me! The women nearby have been so amazing and attentive. I found a High Fitness class across the street from my kids’ school (!!) So twice a week I can drive them to school and hit the class with Raleigh in tow. He gets to be around little kids and I get my favorite work out! It ended up being an old work friend of mine that teaches the class — so funny and I can’t deny how well it worked out. I am seeing these tiny miracles all over the place which makes me feel like we’re in the right place at the right time.Frame Home TourIf I feel lonely (which has happened for sure) I plan some errands and go down to Provo and even our old city a couple times a week and Russ is down everyday for work so that makes it great when I run out of something, but don’t want to leave! I can see how doing longer drives everyday would wear on me so I try to space them out! Also, so far I’m cooking 100% more than before and stoked about how much money we’re saving!

Definitely feeling so blessed to finally be here, in this house, and reunited with Russ. We hardly saw him for the last year and everything just feels right and like hard work is paying off.

Watch the kids use the house the way I had hoped they would is so rewarding for me! Reading in the loft, swiveling the chairs to watch TV (hahah!) running around in the Rowdy Room, daydreaming out a window or even watching them unload the dishwasher. It’s all real, tangible evidence of so much thought, effort and of course Russ’ work.

You all made this process infinitely more fun and carried both of us when it felt like we might lose it. I read him your amazing comments when he was down and I’ll never forget the kindness we’ve been shown. Thank you so much!!

If you have any questions or things you want to see specifically let me know! I’ll just keep showing things as they’re ready and once we get things photographed I’ll have a full tour soon!!

SHOP THIS POST

Carpet- We got it at Carpets America and it is Tuftex by Shaw. Apparently it is exclusive to certain stores but it’s blue with a soft light blue/grey plaid through it! // Chandelier 

Kitchen – Faucet // Stools // Black Chairs // Pendant Light

Boys’ Bathroom – Shower Head // Hooded Towels // Rug (Ikea!)

Master Bath – Tub // Chandelier // Faucet //

Living Room – Credenza (Besta via Ikea) // Coffee Table // Chairs // Fireplace shelves made by Russ

DIY Reading Fort

This post is sponsored by Kellogg’s. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Currently my boys share a room and both of them have been known to yell to the other “I just need some space!” so I knew it was time to create another option for them if they need to get some alone time in! A good ol’ sheet fort on my bed (since I’m never in there until way past their bedtime anyway) is just what they doctor ordered.

We’ve had an ongoing incentive at our house that they can earn different rewards for every book that they read. Happily for all of us, they are plowing through all our books! Dollar General has this amazing deal right now that has made it even easier to get our hands on more books.$1 off coupon | Dollar General Deals

RiRight now with every participating box of Kellogg’s products you buy, you can cash it in for a book! You can view the book options here, but we picked up Rules, Diaper Baby and a couple Clifford the Big Red Dog options! On top of that, Kellogg’s products are 3 for $6 AND I have a $1 off coupon for you right here. Christmas in July!!Dollar General Coupon for Free Book!For your at-home fort there are lots of ways to make it happen. I did ours over our bed so the reading nook is extra cozy!$1 off coupon | Dollar General DealsAll you need is a sheet, rope and push-pins. I like push-pins because you can hardly notice the holes in the ceiling! If you want a no hole option just put some stools parallel to each other and put the sheet over top!DIY reading fort

My big boys love to read the Clifford the Big Red Dog books to Raleigh, so we made a DIY Trail Mix or “Puppy Chow” for them to snack on! (I totally realize it’s going to be crumb central on my bed, so they also get armed with my handheld vacuum to take care of that afterward!)

Here’s how we do the DIY Puppy Chow Bar! Just set out bowls with several options that taste good together. Then give them a small cup, and they can layer on their favorites!
$1 off coupon | Dollar General DealsThe worst part of trial mix is that you have to pick out your favorites, leaving the raisins to go to waste (just me?). So by them making their own, they can get their favorites, and I don’t have as much clean up. Dollar General Free Book DealWe did Kellogg’s® Froot Loops® Cereal and Kellogg’s® Frosted Flakes® with gummy fruit snacks and cashews! If you head to Dollar General for the deals I mentioned, these cereals were front and center! Super easy to grab and go!Dollar General Free Book DealHead here to grab the $1 off coupon, and you can find your nearest Dollar General location here.

Quiet Time Tackle Box

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BackToSchoolGoals18 #CollectiveBias

Currently trying to figure out where the boys are going to school this next year.  There is a great charter school that I would drive them to that spends half the day outside gardening, skiing, etc. Or their zoned public school as well! In our new town the bus comes right to our cul-de-sac to take them to the public school a couple cities over. I haven’t confirmed, but I think the bus ride is pretty long, maybe 30-40 minutes each way? It’s so hard when you’re basically choosing your kids’ future for them, how do you decide? Totally stressed but while I mull it over (procrastinate) I came up with this DIY Quiet Time Box that they can bring in their backpack that (hopefully) follows all their bus driver’s rules while we’re at it!For me Post-It® Notes are hands down MY must have back to school supply. You can’t miss them at your local Walmart, just look for the rainbow folder wall and you’re there!DIY Quiet Time BoxI use them like you wouldn’t believe for my own planning at home and work — if it’s not written down it’s not likely getting done  — and the way they’re stuck to everything around our house you can tell the adoration is wearing off onto the kids, too! I love how versatile they are for a box like this which relies heavily on my boys’ creativity to make things fun. Here’s what I included!Quiet Time Box DIYPost-It notes for writing down stories (I love this Super Cube because it has multiple colors in one block!), playing games, or whatever else they need as a base. Add things to glue on like confetti, string, washi tape, fun scissors, a mini stapler, paperclips, embroidery floss for making bracelets or monster hair, a story telling cube, stickers, mints in case of bus sickness, markers and more!Quiet Time Box DIYIt fits perfectly in their backpacks and since neither of them have textbooks to bring home it doesn’t weigh them down too much and hopefully provides some fun for them and their bus-mates.Quiet Time Box DIYDid any of you grow up with a longer trip to school? Looking for all the personal info you’re willing to share, ha!

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