Dining room redesign with a modern mix: white + warm

Like many first time home builders, when we moved into our house three and a half years ago we didn’t have the extra funds to fill every room. And even if we would have, I learned my lesson on impulse decor decisions with our first home. Don’t do it! Therefore, our current dining room remained pretty bare the last four years. As much as it drove me nuts to stare at the big blank grey walls, I appreciate the time we spent getting acquainted with the space. It really helped us figure out the direction we wanted to go with custom designs and decor.

I love both giving and receiving inspiration, especially when it comes to home design. So, for the love of sharing here’s a look at before and after our dining room redesign.

My goal was to create a modern yet warm and inviting, bright and cozy space for family dinners and entertaining. This fall we were able to see our dining room dreams come to fruition. I’m extra grateful that we completed it in time to host Thanksgiving this year. Just as long as no one breaks out in a pumpkin pie fight on my fresh white walls (wink)!

We updated the space with a DIY faux white brick wall, reclaimed wood dining table, super affordable white eiffel style chairs, and a custom dry bar by Franklin Builders.

Finished Product:

My oldest son now asks to eat dinner in this room (versus the kitchen island) every night. You mamas know that stopping kids in their tracks from playing and getting them excited for a meal is a challenge at times. Family dinners are high priority in our family, so I would consider this redesign a win in many ways. Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends at whatever dinner table you are!

 

A fall family photo shoot: flannel + foliage

What to wear, what to wear…it’s always a big question when it comes to finding the perfect outfits for your family photo shoots. In the fall in Minnesota we are mad for plaid! Check out a few photos from this cute family’s session, that I had the privilege of photographing, in their cozy fall getups including the cutest plaid toddler high tops. I mean, couldn’t you just squeeze this little dude? This {now} dad has been a second little brother to me since he was in like the 2nd grade. It’s so much fun to be part of capturing his sweet family’s life.

Autumn (n)
colorful leaves
hearts are glad
twiggy trees
mad for plaid

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Luca is ONE: a woodland wild one cake smash + lifestyle session

Well, that was a quick year! Our little Luca boy turned one this past week. Even amongst the joys and challenges of transitioning to two in our crew, the year definitely flew! We could not be more in love with our sweet and silly little stinker. I think everyone in his life would agree that he brings us all so much light!

My best friend, Photography from Eileen, outdid herself once again with Luca’s one year photo shoot. Here’s a look at his woodland style Wild One cake smash and lifestyle session.

But first…CAKE! And a special shout out to my mama for making this little birch beauty.

“Clean up clean up everybody everywhere, clean up clean up everybody do your share!” Luca loved the cake, if you can’t tell. Game on in the sweets department. Once you start these kids they don’t want to stop. Well, neither do I. So, I think I’ll be feeding him straight broccoli for the next several meals.

Thank you again Auntie EE {Photograpy From Eileen} for sharing your beautiful gift with us, once again!

Happy birthday, Luca! We love you more than words can say!

“Fearfully and ONE-derfully made.” Psalm 139:14

A modern nursery: simplicity + serenity

I’m officially in total nesting mode over here at 34 weeks. After finishing little Luca’s nursery this past week (with a ton of help from my pro-DIYer mama), I am excited to share it! Here is Luca’s woodland style nursery with a modern approach to coordinate with the rest of our home.

 

All of the furniture is from Rocco’s nursery, so this time it was all about the fun stuff! My vision of a reclaimed wood accent piece kicked off the planning process. The current home decor trend of combining rustic with modern inspired me to create a fun focal point above the changing table dresser. After explaining this idea to my mom one day, she was certain we could bring it to life. The wood is actually leftover from a basement renovation at my parents cabin. My mom and dad put it together and I added the marquee letters and an arrow from local craft stores. I love how it makes the room feel modern yet classic.

This bookshelf was already in place, so I just spruced it up with some ceramic woodland creatures and framed art. My goal was to keep it simple and bright.

The crazy creative mama I have also painted these amazing birch trees on the wall…freehand mind you! They make my heart smile every time I enter the room. I originally had nearly a hundred dollars worth of wall decals in my Etsy cart. After sharing my woodland nursery dreams with mom, she told me she could paint them. I know, I’m a very lucky daughter!

Check out this super cute and cozy cloud pillow she sewed up for me as well. This was another item in my Etsy cart I was able to remove.

These sweet star pillows were also part of the pillow package. My favorite part about them all is that they are made with love. I’m not any good at sewing but maybe one of these days I’ll sit down for a tutorial with her so I can pass down the handmade love.

I stuck with simple and neutral functional items like this hook rack and mirror from Ikea.

The name Luca means “light”, so I had the idea to integrate various lighted pieces into the room. One of my favorite purchases is the star pendant above the rocker. It gives off the perfect amount of dimness for nursing at night.

Our little blessing will be here before we know it and we cannot wait to introduce him to his cozy room. I hope you enjoyed the nursery tour and it brings inspiration for your own little ones rooms.

Score, Rocco is 4: Hockey Birthday Party: skating + concession snacks

Four years fly when you’re raising an energetic little guy! Our little hockey lover, Rocco, requested a hockey birthday party this year. We didn’t do a big one with friends last year, so we thought we would pick it up a notch this year. Besides the fact that I truly enjoy planning parties, he’s getting old enough now to really appreciate it, which makes it even more fun. It was actually pretty easy too, since we had a lot of the hockey decor on hand from his bedroom and toy collection. Here’s a look at Rocco’s “score, I’m 4!” birthday party.

Rocco’s friends all met us at the 3o3 hockey and training center to skate and practice their slap shots.

His dad’s buddy that works at the 3o3 rink set up the full hockey experience by stacking pucks just like the pro’s and all!

We even snuck in a team pic before heading over to the concession stand back at our house.

The party room included red, white, blue and black hockey gear.

Each player found their spot with a puck name tag on their straw. I found these in store at Hobby Lobby. They weren’t specifically made for a hockey themed party, but when I spotted them they were the perfect fit!

The cake was an all vanilla (Rocco’s request) custom ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. I ordered the hockey guys topper online. Stacked pucks made the perfect cake platter!

Since there wasn’t any of the delicious cookie fudge inside the ice cream cake, Oreo pucks made a great mix-in.

The marshmallows on the bottom right were homemade and super easy! I just bought some Ghirardelli white cholocate candy making chips,  dipped one side of the marshmallow in the melted chocolate, then dipped it in red sprinkles and let them harden for a few hours. Rocco loves marshmallows so much that he could eat an entire bag if I let him. This was a fun and festive way to add an extra sweet little treat to the concession stand. You could coordinate these to match any event. Slide them onto a stir stick for a hot cocoa treat. Dip them in gold sprinkles for a New Years Eve partie or rainbow sprinkles for Valentines day, you name it!

Once the referee blew the whistle at the end of the game (I mean when the mama’s said their sugar head was ready for bed), each player got to take home a referee style party favor bag.

Now onto the next December event…

Merry Christmas and Happy Hockeydays!