Update to the Dining Room

I have some updates to our dining room to share.  Or, should I say, I have some updates to our family room to share.  It’s all a bit confusing, you see, because the dining room is in the family room and the family room is in the dining room.   Maybe I should start from the beginning, nearly 6 years ago when we purchased this house.

Here is the lovely traditional dining room at the front of the house:


It’s hard to tell the dimensions of the room from this photo, but the dining room was very tight.  You could just barely squeeze past the dining table to get through to the kitchen.  It felt very boxed in with just a small doorway to the adjoining kitchen.  I knew as soon as I saw the house that the wall between the kitchen and dining room would need to go.  When we updated the kitchen last year, it was the first thing to come down.  It definitely helped open up the space, but it still felt awkward and cramped.  We lived with it for a while after the kitchen was completed, but it was always sort of bugging me in the back of my mind.

Until, one day, I said to my husband, “Let’s put the dining room in the living room and the living room in the dining room!”  Awesome idea, right!  He was so not on board.  I think it was not having the fireplace in a real living space that made him unbudgeable (hey, back off autocorrect, unbudgeable should totally be a word).  I was not to be deterred, however.  Next I said, “Let’s put the dining room in the family room and the family room in the dining room!”  I think I was met with an eye roll on that one, which I took to mean, “Great idea, honey!  Go for it!”.  So, that’s what I did.

First, as a frame of reference, here’s the original before we bought the house before of the family room that was about to become a dining room:


And here is the first phase of it turning into a dining room:


(I see you peeking at the kitchen… Avert your eyes!  That’s an update for another day. A day when I’ve made it camera ready!)

The dining table fits comfortably.  In fact, it most often has both leaves in it and it’s still comfortable in that room.  I didn’t love the yellow anymore, so I started thinking about what I would like for color in there.  And then, somewhere along the way, I found this:


That is wallpaper.  It’s by a company called Komar and you can find it here (this is not where I bought it.  I bought it from Zulily for a lot less than the price it’s listed at on Wayfair). I can’t really describe how gorgeous it is.  It makes more sense when you see it in the space, I think.  Before I put it up, I pulled a color out of it for the walls.  I liked the blue that’s sort of just at the edges.  And, bonus, I already had a color, Blue Nose from Benjamin Moore (worst paint color name nominee, by the way) left over from something.  So, a coat of paint and a few hours of figuring out how to hang the wallpaper with my mom and the dining roomthat used to be a family room now looks like this:


I am totally in love with it, even in it’s not quite there yet state.  I want to and need to add a light of some type over the table.  I actually have a crazy idea about the original chandelier (see the pic at the top of the post), but I’ll save that for a someday maybe surprise.  I’d also like some type of a buffet/sideboard for some storage in there.  But, for now, I could stare at that wall all day and all night and twice on Sunday (props to my dad for that line).

PS, I know someone out there is looking at this blog.  I see the stats on WordPress when I check them every couple of days, okay hours.  Fine, every couple of minutes!  Please leave me a note!  Tell me I’m crazy or my house is a disaster, or tell me you love that wallpaper as much as I do!

Target Cartwheel

Disclosure: I am receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post.  All opinions are mine!

Cartwheel by Target   A Chance to Win $1000!

I adore Target.  I could live there.  Oddly, I was driving in to work today and thought, I think I could only shop at Target for the rest of my life and I don’t think I would ever want for anything.  Ok, maybe I’d need a Home Depot, too, but, for the most part, Target has everything I need AND, more importantly, everything I WANT.

One of the blogs that I frequent, Chronicles of Home, had a post today about a new app that Target has called Target Cartwheel.  It offers hundreds of discounts that can be applied in addition to your 5% off if you are a Red Card user and in addition to manufacturers coupons.  The App is super easy to use for those that are somewhat technologically savvy (i.e. my mom may need some help with it, but my 9 year old daughter would be able to use it in a flash!).  The post at the Chronicles of Home has all the details, so please visit there for all of the details.  There are also instructions on how to enter to win a $1000 Target Gift Card.  Can you imagine the possibilities??  Here is my virtual shopping spree:

Burke Armless Slipper Chair - Red FloralHudson Swoop Chair - Slate VelvetHayden Armless Chair - Ikat Seaglass

All of these chairs!

lamps & lighting, home décor, home : TargetThreshold™ Seersucker Duvet Cover SetThreshold™ Fretwork Border Window Panel

Lamps (Lots of them!), crisp white bedding and fuss free curtains!

Women's Fashion: Apparel, Clothes : Target#?lnk=gnav_women_1_0boys new spring arrivalsgirls new clothing arrivals

Spring wardrobe for me and the kids… Oops, hubby can have whatever is left over after my shopping spree for some clothes!



Women's Mossimo® Gail Ankle Strap Open PumpA lifetime supply of e.l.f cosmetics and SHOES!

I wonder if I went over the $1000 dollar limit??

From Chaos, Order

My hall closet was constantly a disaster.  It is a decent size, a shelf on top and a rod across for hanging coats.  But, somehow, nothing ever ended up hanging on the rod.  It just ended up piling up at the bottom of the closet. The only thing that seemed to function in the closet were the two Command hooks for the kids back packs and the big hook that we could hang one or two coats from.  Here is the best before shot I got (my hallway is narrow!):

Closet Before3

So, when I saw this on pinterest, I had a “Duh!” moment:

Take out the rod and put in Hooks. This way the coats will get hung up.


If the hooks were the only things that were working, why not dump the rod and throw up a bunch of hooks!

I did just that.  I bought a bunch of Command hooks, an over the door 4 hook hanger and a tap light at Target.  There were no power tools or any tools at all involved.  Just a bunch of sticky velcro thingies!  So easy.  Well, easy except for the actual cleaning out of the closet and then refilling it.  That was the hardest part.  And now, it looks like this:



I put a big basket on the top shelf for wrapping paper and some of the kids outside toys and I added a small table to hold a basket of accessories (mostly winter hats and gloves).  Now, it has only been a total of two days with the reorganized closet, but, so far so good.  The kids are hanging up their coats (they like that they each have their own side) and the back packs are still on their hooks and now there is plenty of room for the parents coats, too!  Fingers crossed, the organization gods will smile on us and this will last!


What I Made This Weekend

People, it was a good food weekend.  And by good, I mean not good for you.  But delicious.  It was the Super Bowl and I had found a couple of picky/appetizer type recipes that I’ve been dying to try.

Made Hawaiian Sandwiches

Hawaiian Sandwiches

1/2 lb. swiss cheese slices

1/2 lb. ham slices

1/2 lb. turkey slices

2 pkg. hawaiian rolls (12 pack)

Butter topping

Grease 9×13 pans for baking and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Slice through each roll, which will make it easy for assembly.  Alternate 1 slice of swiss, ham and turkey and fold over to fit into the roll.  Stick a toothpick in the middle to keep together.  Continue this process until all meat and cheese is used.  Place all rolls in greased pans.

Poppy Seed Topping

1 stick butter

1 tbsp. poppy seeds

4 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. dry onion flakes

1 tbsp. honey mustard

After rolls are assembled and in the baking dishes, brush the poppyseed topping over the top of each roll and along the sides of the pan, completely covering each roll.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden.  Serve warm.

Click the picture to head over to the blog, http://www.madelikemadeley.blogspot.com/,  I found this on.  I’ll definitely be trying more of those recipes! These sandwiches were so delicious and everyone liked them, so they pleased a variety of palettes including my 7 and 9 year old kids and my mom who likes her food bland and doesn’t like Swiss cheese.  When I was making the sauce that goes on top, I was sure 4 tbsp. of sugar was too much sugar, but it was just right.  These were super easy to make and while I only made twelve, it would be nearly as easy to make 24 or 48.  These will be a frequent flyer at our house!

Brown-Sugar Barbecue Chicken Drumettes

Brown Sugar Barbecue Chicken Drumettes

2 cups ketchup

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Coarse salt and ground pepper

6 pounds chicken drumettes, patted dry

In a medium bowl, whisk together ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Set aside 1 cup sauce for tossing raw chicken; use rest for baked chicken.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds; line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.

Divide drumettes between baking sheets, and toss with reserved 1 cup sauce

Bake chicken until opaque throughout, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating sheets and tossing chicken halfway through. Toss baked drumettes with  1/2 cup sauce, and serve with remaining sauce on the side.

This recipe is from Martha Stewart.  They were super simple to make and they got better as they got cold.  The sauce is very sweet. I didn’t follow the preparation exactly as written, so I need to try these again.  My drumettes were soaked in bbq sauce because rather than serving some in a side dish as pictured, I just dumped all of the reserved sauce on top.  Martha’s way would be way neater.  If you don’t love a super sweet sauce you could probably play around with the ingredients.   I could have done with a smidge less ketchup when they first came out of the oven, but the sweetness mellowed out somehow while the cool down.

All in all, both were a success and I will definitely be trying them again for get togethers!


My Favorites this Week

Saatchi Online Artist: Annie Flynn; Mixed Media, 2012, Painting "Ikat Peonies"

I discovered the “Art” category on Pinterest this week. I don’t know why I never really clicked it before, but it’s like browsing through an online gallery.  I love this piece by Annie Flynn.  The picture links to a profile of her on Saatchi.

Take out the rod and put in Hooks. This way the coats will get hung up.

This is happening in my hall/entry closet.  Hopefully this weekend.  Why aren’t all coat closets like this?

Compassion Bloggers Uganda 2014 - Day Four

Amazing blog entry.  Please read the article.

Sandpaper Printed T-shirt Kids Craft | Alpha Mom

This is a future Girl Scouts activity for sure.  I’ll report back with how it went!

I really like this low profile deck and the rails are cute!  The steps down with the slate is nice.  I also like the planting they did right next to the deck, especially the tree to have some privacy.

Day dreaming about the spring/summer.  In 12 degree New England.

The Classy Cubicle: Fuchsia {express, j. crew, ralph lauren, coach, prada, marc jacobs, work wear, office style, tweed pants with leather details, house of harlow}

Work wear. Love this cropped blazer and I think I like the skirt but I can't decide . . .

Outfit Inspiration!

And some laughs to send you into the weekend

HahaFunny Pictures Of The Day – 87 Pics

Have a great Weekend!  I hope to have lots to share next week!

My Funny Valentine Monster

I am a Girl Scout Troop Leader. It’s so against my character. I’m introverted and it’s a challenge for me to engage a dozen nine year olds. I’m not organized, at all, so it’s a challenge to keep track of when meetings are, what activities should be done and who needs to be contacted. But, I love it. I like being yanked out of my shell and being forced to have at least one area of my life under control. And I love the girls and I hate to let them down, so I usually rise to the occasion and have some sort of fun event well planned for them. This month’s meeting was a Valentine’s Day craft. The girls loved it and I think it’s just adorable. It’s also super easy.


The first step to creating this fluffy little guy is to collect your materials. You’ll need some yarn, googly eyes, a pipe cleaner, glue and scissors.


To get started, you’re going to take your yarn and wrap it around your fingers about 100 times. This takes a little longer and little more yarn than you expect. Or at least more than I expected. Maybe you have excellent yarn estimation skills. For a small puff ball, wrap the yarn around one finger, slightly bigger, two fingers and even a little bigger, three fingers. I did these with three fingers. Special tip, don’t wrap too tight. Try to keep your fingers separated a little to avoid cutting off circulation. Also, take off your rings.


Next, cut the end of the yarn and remove the yarn from your fingers so that you have a little ring of yarn. Cut a piece of yarn (from the skein, not from the ring of yarn you just created) about 10-12 inches long. Tightly tie that piece around the center of your yarn ring. Repeat if you really don’t want your fluff ball to fall apart.


Now, you’re going to snip the loops that were created when you tied that string around your yarn loop. Fluff out the cut loops and trim any long pieces so that you have a nice symmetrical fluff ball.


To finish it off, add your googly eyes with glue. I used Elmer’s Craft Glue, but you could use a glue gun if you felt like hauling out the power tools. Then the antenna. I folded a pipe cleaner in half and twisted the bottom a little, then formed squigglies with my fingers for one monster and heart shaped antenna for the other. I add some glue to the end of the pipe cleaner and then shoved it in the middle of the monster (sorry, monster for shoving a pipe cleaner into your brain). And that’s it! It took me about 10 minutes including the time it took me to take pics of the process. With the 9 year old Girl Scouts, they needed some guidance on the first one, but in our hour long meeting, they each banged out 2-3 of them in between eating Valentine’s cookies.


Have fun!


I started a blog a few months ago.  And then I stopped.  I had many reasons why I stopped.  I needed a new camera because my pictures weren’t very good.  I didn’t have time for projects.  I kept starting things and never finishing them.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to blog about home stuff, food stuff, lifestyle stuff or all of it.  AND if I was going to blog about all of it, when would I do what?  Home stuff on Monday, food stuff on Tuesday, lifestyle on Wednesday?  Then what do Thursday and Friday get?  I wrote lists of things I wanted to blog about and I pinned countless things I wanted to blog about.  I got stuck in the planning mode and couldn’t move into the doing mode.

I’m back now and writing, so what changed?  I got me some inspiration!  There were four things that came to me in the span of just a couple of weeks and that kicked my butt into gear and made me remember why I wanted to do this in the first place.

Thing 1


I found these two plates while on a weekend getaway with my family in New Hampshire. They were the last two in the cute little gift shop/ice cream place/candy shop (Kellerhaus, Laconia New Hampshire.  Best candy shop ever, hands down.  And I know my stuff.  If they had a website I would provide a link, but they are old school, yo.).  The colors drew me in.  We’ve almost completely finished the kitchen and we need some color and these little guys were perfect.  I adore them.

Thing 2


I know.  I can’t believe how adorable this is either.  And there is a full set of six of them!  I got them at a great consignment shop called Fiddleheads in Canton, MA.  Something was beginning to come together in my head.

Thing 3


Ok, this one is a little hard to grasp if you’re not seeing it to scale, like with a couch in front of it so you can understand how gigantic those flowers are.  This is wallpaper.  And the entire thing is like 8′ x 12′.  So that center flower, the pinky/orange one is huge.  I promise an after picture of this once it is hung so that you can get the full awesomeness.

Thing 4


Right now, I want our home to be nurturing.  A place of learning and learning how to learn.  A safe place to practice taking risks.  A place to come back to.  A place for laughs and for connection.  A place where you don’t have to pretend you are perfect.  A place to let your guard down. A place to just be.”

This pic and quote are from a truly inspiring blog called the Nesting Place.  The author reminded me that things don’t have to be perfect.  Sometimes you just have to start, ready or not.  It reminded me of a post I wrote myself not too long ago.

I’m back in the game.  I’m getting back on the bicycle.  I’m dusting myself off and doing it.  Perfect or not.

My Faves This Week

Lots of lovely items out there this week.  For the home, I love this painted occasional table:

There must be a DIY way to pull that off.  Maybe decoupaged paper?  This is from a Joss & Main sale, but a thrifted bedside table with this treatment seems very doable!

I stumbled upon this beautiful, crisp room on Pinterest.  Love the navy blue with white:


Is it illegal to have two white couches with two children?  I think it is…

I love this color combo and I really like bamboo shades.  My mother thinks they are cheap (well, they are inexpensive), but this ain’t my momma’s house:

Follow this link to a sparkling home.  Allegedly.  I haven’t tried it yet, but sounds good.

After I finish cleaning the house, I want to hang out here:

And some decoration for me:

And for a laugh heading into the weekend…

Getting Ready for Spring

In addition to the  extra lbs. I carry around as documented in this post, I have another issue that hinders me from wearing cute shorts and skirts and dresses throughout the spring and summer.  My skin is pale. The color of skim milk is the best way to describe it. Not pretty, milky white skin.  Like, see through, basically. So I stumbled across a pin that I thought I would try…

This girl has done her research.  I’ve used self tanner before, but it doesn’t usually work out very well.  I’m going to give it another go with her tips. So, as the headline promises, the real before picture:


I’m not even sure if my leg is actually that white or if that is poor photography. Honestly.  I’m going to give myself a couple of days before I post an after.  Does my fat cat distract at all from the whiteness of my leg?  He looks terrified.

Up to Speed

We had a lull in the kitchen action, but there’s some progress to report.  The backsplash is tiled and the crown molding over the cabinets is nearly finished.  Here’s a peek:


Not a great view of the backsplash, but it’s a simple white subway tile.  It let’s the granite take center stage.  Tomorrow should mark the beginning of the end of this project.  We are expecting the electrician and then it’s basically the finishing touches and we’re done!  I do need to order the stools for the island and the hardware for the cabinets…  I’m so ready for this to be done.  It’s probably a good time for a reminder of where this all started…


We’ve come a long way, baby!  Let’s see if there’s anything we can tick off this list:

  • Paint the ceiling
  • Paint the walls
  • Choose and install the trim
  • Choose and install the hardware
  • Choose and install the faucet
  • Install the dishwasher
  • Finish the electrical
  • Choose stools for the island
  • Switch the door on the fridge
  • Tile the backsplash
  • Stain the threshold thingies

Down to 6 items!  It really is getting close.  I guess I won’t have any excuse to have the rest of the house a mess anymore.  Time to get back on the ball.  I need to start working on the curtains for the master bedroom, too.  Remember this:

bedroom inspiration

It’s been at a stand still.  Time to get back to it!