Going Electronics Free


Arden lost in her own little world

I mentioned last week that we've eliminated TV and the iPad for the kids for the last 5 months.  I had some questions from people that I thought I could answer.  I want to mention, like I did in my instastory, that I would've eye rolled me so hard in the past.  I don't want anyone to feel guilty about what they are doing...if something is working for you, then keep it up.  Or if you're in the trenches of life and you're just surviving, keep doing that too.  This is a judgement free zone!! BUT, if you've thought about getting rid of electronics, I just wanted to share that it's possible!

Adam and I found that the TV and the iPad were causing so many problems in our house. Constant fighting about whose turn it was to play on the iPad or pick a show to watch.  And then they just seemed so grumpy and zoned out when they were done with it.  It also seemed to consume their thoughts...they were always asking to watch a show (or 2 or 4) from morning until evening, even though they knew that wasn't a possibility.  So we decided to make a change!

Here are some answers to questions people have messaged me about:

How did you get rid of the TV/iPad?

Cold turkey!  I hid the iPad (truth be told, I don't actually know where I hid it...oops) and made a new rule that we wouldn't be watching the TV.  You may have to unplug the TV or hide the remotes if your kids need that!  Don't be afraid...just try it!  I know it seems like it's impossible...I remember that thinking a week without electronics just wouldn't be doable.  And there were probably times when it wouldn't have been something I could've started.  There are seasons for everything!  But it wasn't as hard as I thought and I only see the benefits now.

How long did it take for them to get used to it?

I'd say it probably took about 2 weeks for them to stop asking about electronics.  And now that it's been several months, it's extremely rare that they do ask.  Instead they just PLAY!  It's amazing.

Has it created more work for you? Are you constantly entertaining them?

No, it hasn't created any more work for me!  I'll of course read books or play games, but for the large majority of the time, it's all self-directed play.  If you feel like your kids can't do that, I've found the more they do it, the easier and more natural it becomes for them to play on their own.  You may have to ease them into it...create some loosely structured activities and then slowly pull yourself away.  I still enjoy watching them play, engaging with them or narrating what's happening, but I try to let their play, be their play, without any adult ideas or sanctions on it.  They are definitely to the point that I can fold laundry, or do the dishes or sneak in a little work if necessary and they know how to occupy themselves!

The toddler years can be tricky for independent play.  I love this article and this article from Janet Lansbury on how to encourage children to learn to play on their own.

So no TV ever?

We aren't 100% electronics free...we now do family movie nights!  About once a week, we sit down together and pick out a movie we want to watch.  It's turned the whole experience into a fun, bonding time. On some nights, I insist that they help fold laundry if they'd like to earn a movie night.  And they somehow happily comply.  So we all sit with a pile of laundry and fold...even my 3 year old!  We did watch a season of Master Chef Jr. this summer, but again, it was only when we all sat down together and folded laundry, so it was a family experience as opposed to mindless watching.

I can't say that by some miracle, all fighting in my house has ceased.  I wish!!  BUT, that particular stress and source of contention is GONE.  I feel happier and I like to think that they do too!  And the amount of play that happens without the TV/iPad as a crutch is amazing to watch. I can't say this is forever, but I do think we'll continue it as long as possible!


Our 70s Dream House

I have a lot of requests for more house stuff so I thought I could start posting a little about it! I'm giving a little backstory on how we got to this house, so if real estate/house hunting is uninteresting, scroll down to all the before photos!

We LOVED our last house...it still holds a special place in our hearts. There wasn't a day I didn't walk up the stairs in that house and think how incredibly lucky we were to live there. It was a great house but after 4 years we knew it wasn't our forever home.  (Side note: our dear friends bought it so we still get to see it.  And we bought it from a friend so I love that the friend tradition continues!)

We had a few things we were looking for in a long term home. We definitely wanted a garage! Our last two houses were both over 100 years old so neither had a garage. After 8 years without one, we thought it was time to stop scraping ice off of our cars every morning! We also really wanted a master bedroom/bathroom. In our last house, the kids' bathroom and 2 of the bedrooms were actually larger than the "master". We were hoping to upgrade to a king bed. And the main thing we really wanted was to get off of a busy street. Our last 2 homes were actually right across the street from each other, so they were on the same busy road. While our backyard made up for the busy street, we wanted to feel comfortable sending the kids out to ride bikes and visit friends.

Other considerations were a good sized backyard, since we were coming from a house with a larger yard, 4-5 bedrooms, room to entertain and something that spoke to us and had character like our last homes.

We started looking in February of 2016. There was a cool house with an indoor pool that we considered briefly and that jumpstarted the search more seriously. If you've been through the process you know it can be long and difficult...and this definitely was for us. I spent every day obsessively looking at the MLS listings and texting with our realtor, Aaron Oldham (@thehomescoop). I have to plug Aaron, not just because he is our good friend, because he really goes above and beyond for every client! He made the whole process so great and was instrumental in getting us our house. He also has an incredible eye for design/remodeling and has great ideas.

Living room from the first house we put an offer on

Living room from the first house we put an offer on

In August, I decided to look at a for sale by owner house that had been on the market for awhile. It had a good sized backyard and had some character. After taking Adam through it, we saw it's potential and made an offer. Unfortunately after stringing us along, we found out they had an offer put in weeks before ours, from someone who was trying to move by their mother. Can I plug having an agent? That whole experience was terribly annoying, all because they were not agents and definitely did NOT know what they were doing.

Vaulted living room from the second house

Vaulted living room from the second house we put an offer on

I spent the next 2 months thinking we would NEVER find anything else and that we had missed THE ONE. Ha, looking back I can't even imagine being in that house. In October, another one finally popped up that we were interested in. It had these amazing decks with an incredible view and a great living/entertaining space. We made an offer against several other offers and it was accepted! It was going to take some finagling to get it to work though. A side porch was going to need to be converted into a mudroom and office and then a storage room was going to be storage/guest room/exercise room. And then we got a bid for the yard...it was sloped down the mountainside. To level it out and make it useable, it was going to be at least 100k. Yikes!! And then the biggest blow came...it appraised for 100k LESS than our offer and their list price. We were also able to find out that this same thing had happened a few months prior and the deal had fallen through. The sellers were unwilling to budge and wanted us to still pay what we had originally offered.

In the midst of this ordeal, a house popped up on the market.  I looked at it on the MLS for a week, over and over again.  It was more than we were initially planning on spending and larger than we were looking to buy, but I kept going back to the photos.  It looked incredible!  So we went to look at it "for fun". Adam says this was just like when I wanted to go look at puppies "for fun" and we came home with a puppy.  Ha!  Of course, we both fell in love with the house.  Again, there were multiple offers and Aaron (@thehomescoop) was instrumental in getting us the house without overspending.  Our offer was accepted and the appraisal came back above our offer price!  Hallelujah!  It had everything we were looking for and more.  The yard is large and feels incredibly private, it's on a quiet street, has plenty of bedrooms and entertaining space and has so much character!

The original owners had built the house and lived there for 30+ years and then both passed away.  The house feels so special to us.  We are only the second family to have lived in it!  It has amazing bones and was well taken care of...it just needed a little updating!  It is definitely our 70s dream house and we keep pinching ourselves that it's ours.  I can't wait to share all the before/afters, hopefully in the next few weeks!



Formal Living Room/My Office




Kitchen looking into the family room.


Kitchen. Above the kitchen is a play loft



Master Bedroom and the coolest fireplace


"Japanese Spa" Master bath


Adam's Office


Laundry Room


Family Room




One of the things I was so excited about in our new house was the entryway. Our last house walked right into our living room so having this space feels extra exciting. I fell in love with the Blu Dot Strut Console Table in this awesome watermelon. However, the price jumped up an extra $100 right before I finally convinced myself to splurge. And well, then I really couldn't justify the splurge.

I really liked the metal legs so I searched for something similar. I found this one at JCPenney for under $100 so I snatched it up.

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 2.13.52 PM
Adam and I sprayed the legs hot pink because I liked the way it tied in with my persian rug (which I bought from eSale rugs). The huge mirror was from an antique store in Arizona, the lamp was $2 from a local campus sale, red box and candle from Target, plant from Ikea and gold basket from a St. Louis thrift store.

{collected} Entryway1

{collected} Entryway2

{collected} Entryway3

{collected} Entryway4
This area is still unfinished...I want 2 chairs to on either side of the console to help balance out how large the mirror is. The Blu Dot console was probably the better size, but I still don't think it would have been worth the cost. I might also add some smaller pieces of art on the wall as well.


12 Days of Christmas Downloads: Giveaway on Little Yellow Barn

Awhile ago I helped Ashley and Jourdan with their site, Little Yellow Barn. Today I'm over there giving away a custom party kit (invitations, banner, cupcake toppers, water bottle labels, etc.). Basically every printable you need to have a great party! OR you can choose $50 towards my design services, for something like a logo or blog header! So I suppose today's download will really only be for ONE person, but maybe that will be you!?
Head over to Little Yellow Barn to enter! And check back the rest of the week for the last of my free Christmas printables! Some great downloads coming up!


Silas’ 1st Birthday Party: Nautical

I knew my friend Britt was going to throw a great 1st birthday for her guy Silas but I didn't realize how perfectly planned it would be.  She had all the little details down and it was such a fun party!  There was a seafood boil, plenty of food, a candy bar, outdoor games and one cute little 1 year old!


You can also see his invitations here!

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Blogger Meet Up

Don't forget the Blogger Meet Up at Soel Boutique is tonight! I'll be there in all my post-baby glory!  Let's hope I can find something to wear that fits.  See you there!


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Alice Lane Blogger Social

I feel like this week may turn into party week.  I attended 3 great parties this past weekend that I have to share!  The first was a blogger social hosted by Alice Lane and Kirsten Krason from 6th Street Design School.  Yummy treats, a handmade gift exchange and lots of talk with friends made it a great evening.  I somehow managed to stay out of every single picture the photographer took, but here are a few of the event!


{Susan, Emily, Nicole}


And here's a list of all the fun people who attended:


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Happy Belated Fourth

We had a nice relaxing holiday. Well Adam had to work for part of it, so maybe his day wasn't as relaxing as mine was! We had a little bbq with the wives and then Rilo and I played outside and enjoyed the day. As you can tell from her picture, she was seriously loving some food!



I'll be back this week in full force on this poor, neglected blog!

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Summer Rental Redesign II

Last summer, while in Chicago, I challenged myself to redesign our summer rental apartment with just $200.  We had such a blast fixing up furniture and transforming the space into something more "homey" that we've decided to do it again.  We have a bit more rental furniture this year than last year, so that frees up some of the money to do other rooms (Rilo's perhaps?).  I'll be updating you on my projects as we move along.



I purchased some fabrics at Home Fabrics again before we left for $1.50 a yard, for decorator fabric.  Amazing!  Now that I have internet, I'll be stalking Craigslist and I'll also be hitting up some local thrift store.  You can see the before and after pictures from last year here and read more about the project here.
And I FINALLY have internet.  Is it sad that being without internet for 5 days nearly made me crazy?!  I had my iPhone, but it's just not the same on there.  I have so much to catch up with on the blog!  Sweet baby Jude, an engagement session, favorite finds across the web, AND guess what?!  My site is going to be completed after 3 loooong months of waiting.  I'm beyond excited.   I'm back, and have lots of free time, so I hope to have lots of projects, sewing creations, downloads and other fun stuff for you.  Thanks for hanging in there!