Home Decor & DIY

How To Elevate 4 Meals From Dreary To Dreamy In A Flash

How To Elevate 4 Meals From Dreary To Dreamy In A Flash

You know I’m all about cutting corners, right? But I also want to present my family with meals so delicious, I’ll forever be one step above whoever my boys marry someday. 

That my boys will always show gratitude for their sweetheart making them a meal, but that they’ll also give an invisible-to-the-naked-eye shake of the head while thinking - deep inside - “My mother would be horrified if she could see this.”

That, no matter how much butter or sugar is involved, every recipe is sub-optimal in comparison to what they grew up with.

Of course, I know the likelihood of this is close to nil, considering that - to this day - I still have to make an alternate meal for my youngest, just like most people do for their toddlers, despite my sweet baby angel closing in on 143 months old.

How To Install Sconce Lights Without Electricity

How To Install Sconce Lights Without Electricity

We just completed this fun tween boy’s bedroom update and I’m in love with how it turned out. We put in a shiplap accent wall, repainted some previously hodge-podge furniture, and got his room organized and grown-up looking.

But my most favorite part is these farmhouse sconce lights, which I installed without having to run electricity, and I’m currently in love with myself even more than normal.

I’m sharing a tutorial on how I did it, and I’ll warn you: there were moments when I thought it would have been easier to just call in a damn electrician, but then it became a quest to get this thing done by myself.

And I did it!

Here’s how to install sconce lighting without electricity:

How To Install Shiplap

How To Install Shiplap

We just finished an overhaul of our tween boy’s bedroom, taking it from hodge-podge to rustic-modern-almost-teenager-friendly.  

This is a pretty new house - just two years old - and we’re still trying to make it look warm and homey. The thing about newer homes is that the open concept - which makes things feel bigger and open and airy - also can feel cold and sterile.

To warm up my son’s bedroom without making it feel small and dark, we installed a shiplap wall, and it was so, so easy. 

Tween Boy's Bedroom Update

Tween Boy's Bedroom Update

We’ve only lived in this house for two years, but we’ve already ruined it. 

Am I the only mom who’s raised a bunch of filthy animals who shove things onto shelves and set things aside to “deal with later,” creating piles everywhere, until, before you know it, you’re surrounded by so much clutter, you can’t escape and your family’s had to carve their names into the sides of the cave that used to be their bedroom, just so that someone knows there are humans inside, if they’re ever rescued?

No? Just me?

I had a few projects planned to tackle this summer, to rein in the clutter, and I’ve finally completed the first one: my 11-year-old son’s room.

He had a hodge-podge of furniture from his Texas-themed room at our old house that didn’t match his new Texas Stars hockey theme here at the new house.

Also, he’s not into toys. So all the toys he’s gotten for Christmas and birthdays have just gotten shoved onto shelves, where they’ve sat collecting dust.

Our Back Patio Makeover

Our Back Patio Makeover

Our back yard and patio have been a work in progress since we moved into our house two years ago, but we’re finally getting it all pulled together, and I love hanging out back there when it's not too hot.

We just had a built-in grill and countertop put in, which makes everything look finished out, but we had a hodge-podge of furniture that needed to be replaced so the producers of Junkyard Wars would stop reaching out to us for a feature.

This is the perfect time of year - mid- to late-summer - to shop for outdoor furniture and accessories, because prices are cut to start making room for fall stuff.

4 Lessons From Hosting A Classroom Party (or, How To Have Your Room Mom Of The Year Award Revoked)

4 Lessons From Hosting A Classroom Party (or, How To Have Your Room Mom Of The Year Award Revoked)

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you how to win the Room Mom of the Year Award?  I didn’t want to just write about the craft that would help you win the award, I also did the craft myself, because what kind of person would I be if I just claimed I was sharing the magic recipe for Room Mom success, without even trying it for myself to make sure?

I want to take this moment to update you on the craft, the party, and about that day in general, so you’ll know how it all went down.  

Let me start by saying that a few days prior to the party, things were right on schedule and everything was coming together as planned.  

Super-fun Craft You Can Do Today To Win Room Mom of the Year Award

Super-fun Craft You Can Do Today To Win Room Mom of the Year Award

There’s not really a Room Mom of the Year award.  At least, there isn’t at my kid’s school.  And if there were, I promise you I wouldn’t win it.  

The only thing I’m going to win is a shiny trophy for cutting corners.  

Because that’s what I’m best at.  People don’t know that, though.  

Every year (except last year, because I was overwhelmed and shirked most of my duties as co-room-parent, but thankfully my counterpart was kind enough to let me off the hook, and my son is oblivious, so he still thought I was doing everything for his class, making it a double-win for me) I come up with a craft for the class Christmas party, and every year people think the craft is soooo cute and so hard and complicated.

Y’all.  I don’t do things if they’re hard.  

A Quick Peek At The Rustic Side Of Our Multi-Purpose Room

You know how I’ve been working like little Cinderella on my IKEA faux built-ins upstairs, which is sort-of a catch-all room that I’m trying to make look like it’s not a catch-all room.

It’s the only room we have upstairs (along with its bathroom) and it’s a perfect place to send the kids to play their video games, and it’s where my desk is so that I can get uninterrupted work done. **Note: I have not shared that part of the room with you, yet, because it currently has piles of books I don’t want to part with, but need to, and other things that “I need to go through”  🙄

In the coming weeks, after I get my life together*, I will share the entire room with you, but for now it’s still under construction.

1940's Dining Table Gets New Life As My Game Table

You know how you can admire someone so much because they are just perfect in every single way, and you love them so much that you’re actually disgusted by them at the exact same time as being in love with them?

Like you follow them on Instagram and they post something amazing (as usual) and you get irritated and say, “Dammit” sort-of under your breath, annoyed at their perfection and also annoyed that now you have to spend your time copying their incredible fall centerpiece or autumnal mantle setup because all you want in life is to become that person?

How This Lemonades-From-Lemons Situation Became My Most Favorite DIY EVER

Ok, I’ve just completed the most beautiful lemonades-from-lemons situation and I am currently more in love with myself than Kanye loves Kanye.

Let me tell you how this all came about.  

About a month ago I sent off our kitchen table and chairs to a lady in town who’s refinishing them, and we’ve had to move our dining room table into the kitchen in the meantime.

Last week I was tired of picking at the last bits of gel on my nails, so I did what I would end up murdering my own children for doing, if they were ever so dumb as to do what I did: I soaked my nails in a small bowl of acetone right on my dining room table top.

Like a damn fool.

On Lies I've Been Told & Getting Myself Together

You know we just moved into a new house, right? Well, so something’s--  wait, I can sense that you’re giving me an “I won’t respond to that” face right now.

Ok, so it’s been 15 months since we moved, but I have a hard time with change, you know, and I’ve been mentally dealing with this effing teenager who has turned out to be someone I don’t even know, plus our youngest, who is the ebola monkey, and is constantly sick, and I can’t possibly be expected to keep up with getting this house set up and being a mom to two effed up children* and keep up with my chores so that Mark doesn’t have to dip into his reserve underwear, plus write to you once a week, as well as write a book, and stay groomed, for the love of God, and I am doing my best over here.

I just want to sip lattes and browse fall outfits for my Bitmoji - it’s not like I’m asking for a kidney.

A Shot At Being Supermom

You know that I try to be Supermom, right?  

I want to bake cookies with my kids, but not just once - I want it to be a thing. I want to be at all the sports games. I want to be the Room Mom (and I am), but I want to actually be good at it.  I want to make chores something that my kids feel fulfilled by doing.  I want to make homework time fun and full of learning and reflection.

I want to be that mom.

I mean, really, nothing fills me up more than creating educational games to support what my son is learning in school. Spending an afternoon funneling all my creative energy into making fun flashcards and word puzzles or crafting writing prompts like my dad used to do when I was a kid fills this momma’s heart.

Hahahahahahaha, ohmygosh, that’s such bullshit.

Was that the most boring thing you’ve ever read?  Because I actually fell asleep typing that last paragraph.

The truth is, I would rather eat a bag of human hair than use my “craft time” to make up educational games or crafts.

Barn Door DIY

You probably remember that we moved into a new house last summer, and if you’re going to ask how we’re doing now that we’re “all settled in,” let me stop you to say that I have a stack of wall hangings shoved in the back of a closet that I’m still trying to gather enough emotional energy to deal with.

I’ll get to it, geez.  I just have other projects that keep grabbing my attention.  

Like this Barn Door DIY.

Here's What Makes This Tree-That-Only-A-Mother-Could-Love Beautiful

Our Christmas tree has been up for over a week, but we only just put the ornaments on it yesterday.  It’s hard to get in the Christmas spirit when we’re walking around in shorts and flip-flops (to be clear, we are also wearing shirts).

This was the first time we decorated with only three of us, since the oldest moved off to college this fall.

That’s such a lie.  

What Do Joanna Gaines & A Members Only Jacket Have In Common? Nothing. Absolutely Nothing.

Remember I told you we moved to a new house recently?  We moved over the summer to a town about 10 minutes from where we lived before, and I'm just starting to feel settled. 

I'm like a cat when it comes to change. 

The style of this house is a little more modern than our old house, but I don’t really “do” modern.  I love rustic - not country - but distressed, modern-farmhousey, industrial-ish, old-world European-esque.  

Like if Joanna Gaines and Michelangelo’s David had a baby and pushed it around in a steampunk buggy.