Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Living Room Addition Update

It's March!

Hard to believe we started our house addition project in January.  And, to tell you the truth, it's moved along rather quickly.  The inside of our house is done with the exception of a little decorating but I think I'm going to drag that out so I don't make all kinds of impulse purchases that seem to add up (money and stuff) over time.  Not to mention, I just can't decide on art for the space - hopefully I can get a more clear vision for it once our new couch comes (fingers crossed it comes Friday!)

I really should have taken more "before" pictures but construction happen REALLY quickly.  Our contractor called the day before he started so it was a mad house trying to get prepared for them to come.  Before pictures had to take a back seat.  I have some and will write a before and after post once I get some furniture in place (and dig up my old house pictures).

Here is a look at progress...

I wanted a clean, airy, almost organic feel to the space with deep wood tones and black accents.  I'm using light colors and dark walnut accents to achieve the feel I'm going for.  I also opted for a patterned carpet.  I like the look of texture and this is one of the ways I'm bringing texture into the space.
One of the best things we did was add recessed lighting with a dimmer.  Let me tell you - it's AMAZING!  If you are thinking about lighting, I'd encourage you to think about recessed lighting with a dimmer.  It's looks clean, floods our space with light and can be dimmed in the evenings which helps our boys to wind down before bed.  In our old living room we only used lamps so it felt dark because we couldn't light up all four corners of the room.

The other thing we did was save ourselves some money by keeping this big custom window.  It's crazy how many people have come to our house and noticed this window.  They never knew it was there because it was somewhat blocked by the porch on front of the window and covered by a shade on the inside. Without the porch or the shade, we can see for what feels like miles and miles.

In the kitchen and dining room we decided to change the floors - since we were making all kinds of changes anyhow. We previously had a dark laminate flooring that was hard to clean and blended in with the cabinets.  It was inexpensive when we bought it and it showed four years later.  I opted to go for something lighter and high quality. This is an LVT flooring that is waterproof and virtually indestructible.  When it was being installed I was nervous I'd hate it because it was SO drastically different but I love it.  Not to mention, my floor stays clean-looking rather than smudged and smeared from the wear and tear of two boys.

We are loving this extra space!  The fact that we can all spread out is incredible - we can have rodeos in the living room (I have two boys that want to be cowboys) and the boys can wrestle with their dad on the floor without the chance of wrecking anything.

Do you all want to see decorating updates and how-to's?  Let me know!

Want to see the full design board - check out this post. My kitchen rug is linked in that post.

Carpet - Resista Soft Style, Framework in Kahki | Paint - Silver Birch by Glidden

If you want to see more of this space, how I'm decorating it and how we live in the space, follow me on instagram - @bethmariekohler

Thursday, February 22, 2018

February Favorite Things

Well, February is going to pass us by before we know it!  I'm not one to complain, it just means that spring weather is coming. (Let's just forget it's snowing today though, ok?)

One of the things I like about blogging and social media is that I get to discover new things and share things that I love.  Here's what I've been loving for February.

GRACE NOT PERFECTION | I actually read this book awhile back but I can't get it out of my mind.  It was so good! This book is an easy read full of practical advice for simplifying your life and teaching  yourself to be ok with it.  As a mom, I needed this read. Click here to get your copy.

NO. 7 SKINCARE | I just started using the No. 7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum and Day Cream.  I love it! I started to see it advertised all over the place and it just so happened that I needed to re-think my skincare program so I gave it a go.  It definitely helps to smooth wrinkles (man, mid-30's suck) and brighten skin with a dose of Vitamin C.  I've found that in just a few uses my skin is soft & supple, brighter and the appearance of pores has lessened.  Target and Walgreens carry this line.

YOUNIQUE MOODSTRUCK ESTEEM LASH SERUM | I'm a skeptic, I'm also a lash product junkie always wanting thick, full, lashes.  This lash serum does the trick. Just apply 2x day and in a few weeks you have lashes you will love! Who knew a lash serum actually worked?!  Since my lashes are both longer and thicker, there are days that I forget eye liner and just run with a few coats of my favorite mascara.

NICKLE & SUEDE PINK VELVET EARRINGS | These earrings are the bomb and actually nickle and suede earrings have become the only earrings I wear (with the exception of basic studs once in awhile.)  The pink velvet earrings are my most recent purchase. I wear size medium. The add the perfect splash of color to my otherwise dull (very dull) wardrobe that includes gray, white, black, denim and sometimes green, if I'm feeling wild.

Let me know if you use any of these products or if you try any of them and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hank's Toddler Room + How We Transitioned Him to a Bed

It's hard to believe but Hank is going to be two in March! I think your second child (or any child after the first) seems to grow up so much more quickly than the first.  Maybe it's because we are so busy tending to multiple children that time flies by or perhaps it's because they have an older sibling that they learn (way too quickly) everything  from. Likely it's a combination of both.  If you want to see Hank as a baby, check out his cuteness here.

As we began to close in on two-years-old we decided to get Hank into a big-kid bed and transition his room into a toddler space. We did this for a few different reasons.

First, we transitioned Colton out of the crib around 18 months so we felt it was only appropriate to make the move with Hank at about the same age - we like to think we are fair parents. It was out of necessity that we transitioned Colton so early, Hank was only three months from being born.   Second, Hank was starting to outgrow his crib and baby blankets. He would get cold at night which would result in him waking up.  (Yes, I'm a mom that gave her kids blankets in their crib.)  Finally, the kid LOVED beds - his brother's bed, our bed, basically any bed he could crawl into and cover up.  All signs that it was an ok time to make the transition.

Between Christmas and New Years we decided to take the leap and move Hank into a big bed.

Obviously there are some concerns associated with moving a toddler to a big bed.  Will they stay in their bed? What if they fall out?  What if they don't like it?  That's where I suggest getting your head in the right spot to make the transition.  Once you take down the crib there is likely no turning back so you may as well set your expectations low and be ready to handle what comes at you over the next few days (or weeks, hopefully not weeks...)

I had my expectations with Hank set really low. I expected him to be out of bed every hour, on the hour, just because he could.  That's how he rolls. Not to mention getting out of bed was Colton's biggest issue when we transitioned him to a big bed. I was prepared for the worst. Fortunately Hank has stayed in bed since we introduced him to it and he's slept through the night nearly every night since. With Colton, we ended up having to switch around door knobs so he would stay in his room.  Once he figured out he was supposed to stay in his room all night, he began to sleep again. Now he loves his bed too!  We tried to put up a child gate but Colton was too smart for his own good and knew how to take it down.  If this happens, keep in mind that this is just a phase, mama.

Colton (he's 3 1/2) is also an early riser so we got him an ok-to-wake light up clock which has worked really well!  It lights up when it's ok for him to get out of bed.

Personally we like to minimize transitions with our kids, it's just worked for us and we believe it's resulted in less sleepless nights and less frustration. From the day we bring our babies home from the hospital they sleep in their cribs (one less transition from cradle to crib or our room to theirs).  I should mention that our house is small so it was never a problem getting to their room if I heard the slightest peep out of them. Then we go right from their crib to a twin-size bed. (one less transition again from toddler bed to twin-size bed).  Again, our house is small so we don't have a lot of room to store extra stuff like beds or even extra bedding.

Since we are moving them directly into a twin size bed we use a bed-rail and after a couple months we'll take it down once we know they are sleeping comfortably.

Here are three additional things we considered as we've transitioned our kids to big-kid beds.

1. We've rarely (if ever) used their cribs or beds as a "time-out" spot.  We want them to like their beds and their bedrooms (and they truly do!)
2. The mattresses we get for them are memory foam mattresses so they really aren't any fun to jump on.
3. I make sure there is a stool or something for them to be able to get in an out of their bed by themselves.

All of this being shared, now that I'm a mom I've learned to not pass much judgement.  Do things about other people's parenting surprise me once-in-awhile? Absolutely. But, we are all doing the best we know how to for our kids because each child is different. So, you do you because you know what works best for your kids.  Maybe you've found something in this post to try.  Share your best suggestions in the comments!

I'm a true believer that God hand-picked us for our children because He knew they needed mom's like us.

Quilt, Target | Striped Sheet Set, Target | Dresser (8-drawer dresser) Ikea | Nightstand, local thrift store | Airplane picture (similar), Target | 'Hello' wall art, Hobby Lobby | 'Ladies Love a Gentleman' Art, Hobby Lobby | Galvanized Letter, Hobby Lobby | Toddler bed rail, Target

Want to see what Hank's room looked like before?  Check out Hanks nursery  If you want some details on the plank wall, check out this post.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Healthy(er) Eating, Where I Started

You know why I started eating healthier? (This is going to sound weird and crazy) I have always wanted a great pair of legs - Lean, muscular, Miss America-like legs that always look good in a pair of shorts.

But, it's taken me until my 30's and two kids to get on track with healthier eating to (hopefully) get me those legs. Of course I think more about the long-term health benefits for myself and my family.

As I've educated myself more on the topic of health and fitness I found that there are 3 things that are really important. Here they are, in order:

1. Sleep
2. Eating good food
3. Exercise

I seriously thought that just exercise would would do it all. Turns out there is more to it than that. There are some easy changes that I started with and a few resources that keep me pointed in the right direction.

I started with making some simple ingredient swaps - iodized salt, sour-cream, and granulated sugar for sea salt, greek yogurt and pure maple syrup.

Sea salt is less processed than table salt and because it's less processed, it has more flavor resulting in the idea that you may use less. I also think sea salt has a better flavor.

Greek Yogurt is a really easy swap for sour cream.  Anywhere you use sour cream - tacos, fajitas, potatoes, dips - you can swap for greek yogurt. You can also find it in dressings, usually those in the produce aisle. If you are a fan of chip dip, make your own with greek yogurt.

Pure maple syrup  is a really good swap for white, granulated cane sugar. I use it in a lot of recipes and put it in my oatmeal.  There are some online resources that show you how to swap it for granulated sugar. Pure maple syrup does come with a bit of a price tag so buy it on a grocery shopping trip when your husband is not with you (I'm telling you this from experience.) Other really good sugar substitutes are raw honey or coconut sugar.

I've also found a few clean-eating cookbooks that not only have good recipes but are really good resources. I've been able to successfully make these for my strictly meat-and-potatoes and casserole liking husband.

My favorites are the Laura Lea Balanced Cookbook, Dashing Dish, Lexi's Clean Kitchen, and Nutrition Stripped.  The recipes are all pretty normal, run-of-the-mill dishes. They just have healthier ingredients. All of these authors have blogs full of recipes and really good instagram accounts that serve as really good resources.

Additionally I've tried to add a vegetable and protein to every meal, and eat snacks that include a vegetable or fruit, protein and healthy grain or healthy fat. Snacks are my biggest downfall - not because I eat junk, I just don't stop during the day to eat snacks which leads to poor meal decisions sometimes.  I also try to make something healthy I can grab for breakfast as I'm running out the door like these blueberry donuts.

Now that I've shared all of this, you need to know this one important thing about me. I'm a sucker for Cheetos (the Simply kind), Casey's pizza, and sweets (give me all the cookies and caramel m&ms).

However, I did find the perfect healthy cookie for you all (actually my sister found it and recommended it to me). I made these ones last week and they are SO GOOD! Here is the recipe.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Living Room Addition Decorating Plan

Yes - we are putting an addition on our house.  No - we are not expecting another baby.

It seems that we tackle a big renovation project when we are planning to add another member to our family.  When we were expecting Colton we renovated the whole main floor of our home.  When we were expecting Hank we re-configured our second floor to add a third bedroom.  Now, we are putting an addition on our living room and re-doing the front porch on our house.  Needless to say, we are spending the rest of our lives here since we've stuck so much money into this 100+ year old farm house.

But, it's home.

If you are new around here, or even if you're not, I think it's important to tell you that my husband and I are not DIY renovators.  We are more like the hire it done type of renovators.  Our projects usually go something like this....

Me: "Honey, I think we need to add onto the living room.  The boys are getting big, we are crammed when people come to visit and the boys have a lot of stuff."
Him: "We'll be fine, when the boys get older we'll never be around anyhow."
Me: "Right..."
Him: "Ok, I'll call the contractor"

He's good to me like that.  We also have a fantastic contractor in our area.

I do enjoy the decorating part of renovations and additions. I usually tackle this on my own.  For this living room addition I feel like I have a clear idea of how I'd like the space the feel - warm, cozy, modern farmhouse-ish.  I am also in love with texture - a variety of texture is what will give the space the cozy feeling.

I put together a mood board to give you an idea of the look and feel for the space. While some of these items will be exact items, I may find similar items that fit the budget a little better. Like the Pottery barn sectional - unless they want to do a collaboration??!!  (I'd do all the posts and complete a list of 100 requirements if they offered up this sectional!)

You'll probably take a look at a few of the items, like the counter stool and coat rack, and wonder what in the world they have to do with a living room decorating plan but let's be real - one thing always leads to another when you're re-decorating.

For the color, I'm going with Sherwin Williams Pearly White SW7009 for the entire main floor - living room, dining area, kitchen, entry, and staircase to our second floor.

no. 1 curtains | no. 2 bamboo shades | no. 3 sectional | no. 4 black & white pillow | no. 5 green tassel pillow | no. 6 herringbone area rug | no. 7 poster | no. 8 gold circle mirror | no. 9 Moroccan pouf | no. 10 velvet pillow | no. 11 runner rug | no. 12 counter stool | no. 13 coat hanger | no. 14 fiddle leaf fig

Want to see more things I'm thinking about for the space? Check out my Pinterest board.