Tag Archives: Organization

Family room update

I’ve been absent for a bit because life has been busy! We’ve had lots of guests, the kids have been very active- Caroline is becoming quite the confident walker!- and I’m trying to savor my time with my children before I have to go back to the working world.

Jensen and I had big plans for doing more renovations, but the wind was knocked out of our sails when our retaining wall failed



I hate this fricking wall. 


This is no minor issue- its only ten feet from the side of our house, and it’s nearly fifty feet long. It’s also very expensive to repair- like, three bathroom updates expensive… Needless to say, we lost a little bit of our motivation and got the wind knocked out of our sails, so we’ve been sitting in stasis for a bit, trying to find solutions to this major problem that won’t gut our finances.

On a positive note, I finally got 95% of the boxes unpacked and sorted, so it feels a bit more like home every day. David finally stopped asking about going to his old house, which also helps.

I wanted to do a quick overview of the family room, as this is where we spend most of our time and it’s really the most finished room in the house… besides art work. That’s always something I struggle with.


This is the view from the kitchen dining nook. I love this room- I really do. I love the paint color (Sherwin Williams Sea Salt FOR LYFE!), I love the rug (Costco special, although someday I’ll buy a gorgeous vintage rug when I don’t have to worry about kids destroying it), and I love our sofa- down feather- wrapped cushions are dreamy, people. Dreamy. I also adore the parquet floor, which surprises Jensen to no end. It’s real hardwood, and I am enamored with the way it sounds and feels underfoot. We need to get drawbacks for the sheers (Ikea, by the way), but every single time I go to buy them, I forget when I’m shopping. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!?!?!?!

This is our current toy storage situation. It’s not BAD, but it’s certainly not ideal. I got some really great ideas from readers on Instagram, and  I’m trying to figure out if I want to buy a cubby system or use what I already have and maybe build a simple floating shelf. We also need to refinish the children’s table that we have so we can create an art station. I wanted to keep the kids toys in the family room so that I can keep an eye on them when they’re playing. <No, it’s not this clean during the day, but we clean up toys every night as part of our bedtime routine. See the post here to get more information about how we put our toddler to bed each night.> (Also, peep the bar- I can’t wait to have more parties so I can really utilize this thing!)



I missed putting a pair of little boy’s shoes away… oops. 

There’s only thing I really don’t like in this space- and there’s so much to like, seriously! It’s a large room, it has incredible INCREDIBLE light because of the skylights, the floors, and the sliding glass door (which is okay but we’ll update eventually to French doors… can’t wait…) I hate the fireplace. Some people really like the rock fascia on the fireplace, but it’s just really not my jam. It’s A LOT of rock. Like, an 8 foot corner of rock. And I also prefer to have rooms that are predominately white or light colored, not brown. I think this fireplace just drags the room down. I’ve been doing a lot of Pinterest hunting on this, and have narrowed it down to a few ideas, and I’m drawn to painted white brick or white paneling. (Surprise, surprise) I also want to add a mantle- it needs SOMETHING there to break it up.

Thanks for joining me on this little tour- step by step, this house is coming together!




Makin’ Mini Frittatas

Some people like to call these mini egg cups or egg muffins… but I can’t do it. It just sounds weird to me, so I like to call them mini frittatas. Plus, the way my three year old says frittata is super cute.


I thought that once I didn’t have to hustle two kids out the door every morning before work that somehow, it would be less hectic. I thought wrong. David usually manages to wake up his sister by yelling “Mama! MAMA! MAMA THE SUN IS UP!” and once I let him out of bed, he thunders down the hallway to play with toys. Once Caroline is woken by all the thumping and hollering, she starts to whine to remind me that she, too would like to get up, and then it’s a big rush to get everyone breakfast and changed into fresh diapers and underwear and brush our teeth and comb our hair. I don’t put getting dressed on this list, because pajama life is the way to go until it’s about 10.30AM and it’s time for play time outside.

I was trying to come up with a quick easy breakfast idea that both kids could eat easily, because waffles and pancakes are just too much sugar to eat on a regular basis, and cereal is a non-starter right now. I scrolled Pinterest for quick breakfast ideas, and mini frittatas caught my eye- high protein, veggie loaded. It is a no brainer!

These are really easy to make, and you can use whatever you have on hand. I had the following ingredients, and I really didn’t want to make another trip to the store, so I winged it, and think they turned out great.

Bacon and Bell Pepper Mini Frittatas

  • 10-12 eggs
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4-5 strips of bacon, diced or crumbled (we did ours on the barbeque, so it was extra crispy <3)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*you could add red pepper flakes if you want a little kick, but I had to keep my kids in mind, so I passed

1. Heat oven to 350F. Chop ingredients in the meanwhile


2. Grease muffin pan generously. I used Pam with Olive Oil. Don’t be shy with the spray!

3. Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly.


4. Pour mixture into muffin cups. I tried to keep mine about 1/2 to 3/4 full.

5. Put into oven. Mine seemed to need to bake for about 15 minutes, but check them around 11 minutes.


David liked these, except for the bell pepper. Caroline loved them!

Happy Thursday, and may you make it through one more hectic morning until it’s Saturday!




P.S.- I realized the last three posts have been about food. Sorry not sorry. I think about food a lot 🙂

Lessons I’ve learned about moving a family

I consider myself a pretty experienced mover. My husband and I counted how many times we’ve both moved since we began college, and the number between us was 21. That’s a lot of moves! However, we have not moved with small children, and let me tell you- that, my friends, that is a whole different ball game. Also, we haven’t moved a distance this far in quite some time, so that threw a whole level of complication that was unexpected.

Before I get started addressing the mistakes I made, let me shout out my in-laws and parents, without whom this  move would not have happened. Between the four of them, they packed boxes, entertained babies, and fixed things around the house. This move would have been even more chaotic if they hadn’t been there to help! We’re fortunate to have such hands on, loving parents. Thank goodness they were around, I would have lost it without them.

I think the biggest mistake I made was not starting packing soon enough. I started about a week ahead of time, and I should have started AT LEAST two weeks in advance. We were packing until 1 in the morning the night before they came and there was STILL stuff that wasn’t in boxes! I underestimated how much stuff we had (and I’ve been purging our belongings for months) and how difficult it is to pack with two little kids who want to see what you’re doing and look for trouble when you’re not paying attention.


Bless the men in this moving truck. Bless. Them. 

I’ve never had professional movers before, so this wasn’t something I’ve thought about- but labeling which room boxes go in to would have helped the movers with unloading and eliminated some of the quick decision making that bogged and tired out my mind on unloading day. I made some mistakes directing which boxes go where, and that has slowed down my unpacking efforts considerably.


The mystery box pile… Don’t do this to yourself, people 

I also should have brought more cleaning supplies with us when we got there the night before the movers did. Our sellers did pay someone to come clean before they left, but I’m guessing, based on the way that we found the house, those cleaners did not, in fact show up. Moving into a dirty house is just gross, so… lesson painfully learned. A vacuum, mop, and all purpose cleanser would have been miracle workers.

Things to remember to pack for your kids- all of their toiletries and a variety of toys. Trust me on this. I did get all of their bedtime stuff with us, but I forgot toothbrushes (oops), so this  meant an extra run to the store when I was already strapped for time. Don’t forget your own toiletries and bedding, in addition to what your kids need. It’s like you’re packing for the most overwhelming, stressful overnight vacation ever.


My lady bug loves all the boxes because they are easy to pull up on for standing practice. Haha. 

I wish we would have had window coverings, at least for the kids room, installed and ready to go ahead of time. This was a complete slip of the mind on my part, because I had forgotten we had asked the painter to remove all the old vertical blinds. David especially is light sensitive when he sleeps, and I would have loved having him sleep in until 7.30 on move in day, not 6.30.

If you have dogs, bring their beds. Our dogs love their beds, and we forgot to pack those for them. I didn’t forget their food, bowls or medications, however, much to their pleasure.

I/we didn’t do everything wrong, however. Some big pluses for this move include hiring a moving company (worth every penny) and having the house painted before we arrived. Fresh paint makes everything feel bright and clean, I think, and the painter himself commented on how much he liked my paint choices. (Why, thank you! I happen to like them too 🙂 Finally, having a trailer strictly for trash has alleviated a lot of anxiety about what to do with all of the house rubbish, like the old vertical blinds,  and has helped keep our trash area looking not so… trashy.

What words of wisdom do you have to share with families who are planning a big move? Share below in the comments!






Our Sweet Caroline’s Sweet Room

It’s definitely different for the second child. It was really hard to get Caroline’s room ready for her- I was working full time at the time, at least 45 hours a week, my grandmother was ill (terminally, but we didn’t realize it), and my pregnancy had some complications that made life harder. In fact, I was so stressed I went off work early and ended up delivering at 36.5 weeks- so her room was DEFINITELY not finished.

Somehow, though, I managed to finish Caroline’s room by the time she was three months old.. a herculean feat, if I do say so. I honestly couldn’t tell you how it was finished in my postpartum haze. My grandmother had passed only two weeks after she was born, so there was a lot going on that made it even more difficult than the challenge of adding a new baby to the family. It was really, reallly important to me that she was as celebrated and cherished and made over as her older brother, and I wanted her to have her own special, beautiful space- even though I know she won’t remember it.

It feels a little anti-climatic to post this as she approaches almost one year old (!!!!), but it will be nice to have it saved for posterity. And it’s such a sweet room and I love it so much…


11 months old. Stop. It.


We had the room painted with the grey vertical stripes for David (because this room was his and we moved him out when she was born), and I just loved them so much I kept them. The curtains are from //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ourhilltophom-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01CTW3GSY&asins=B01CTW3GSY&linkId=a5b39b50dbc9a30fb1ab896f94ee8fa7&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Amazon, and the dressers were amazing Craigslist finds by my husband. The laundry basket is a very handy size, and I’ve found the handles to be extremely convenient. I couldn’t find the same one, so I linked to a similar.


Our bookcase was a hand-me-down (the best kind!), and as you can tell, we REALLY love children’s books around here. Like, a lot. The sign is from Smallwoods (but is no longer available :(, but they do have some great nursery options.) I found this banner on Etsy and intended it for her first birthday, but I loved it so much I made it a permanent part of her bedroom decor.


This is the part of the room I spend the most time in, by far and away. I love this glider because it has a high back, so I can fall asleep comfortably in the middle of the night (which happens more frequently than I’d like to admit.) This crib quilt came from Pottery Barn Kids Emily & Merritt collection.  I’m obsessed with it, I love the graphic black and white.


Finally, her sweet crib. Modern Burlap sheets and swaddles are the best (seriously, love them!). I get compliments on her swaddle blankets all the time, plus, it’s a mom run company which is always fulfilling to support. The crib is also Pottery Barn . It’s the exact same one David had, and it converts to a toddler bed with a conversion kit.  I bought the streamers for her Sip and See, and thought it would just be a nice touch of color for the wall above her crib. The mobile is super special to me… my aunt Marianne gave it to me for my son at his baby shower. She passed only a few months after David was born, so it’s a way to keep her watching over my sweet babies while they sleep.

I simply love this room, and I hope she sees pictures and loves it when she’s older, too.

Our messy corners

I think EVERYONE has that one spot in their house that they struggle to keep organized. Ours is our built in china cabinet. It’s the place we dump our keys, purses, wallets, mail, magazines, packages, and any odds and ends that haven’t found a place yet. (Any other believers in “a place for everything and everything in it’s place?”) Here’s our messy corner:

I got sick of looking at the mess, so I decided to tackle the project, and in just a few steps, I was able to make it look presentable. I realized that our bar would make a great mail management station, and would ease the eyesore of seeing this  massive mess the moment you walk into our home. The bar is right by the dining table and both entry ways, but its much smaller, making it more difficult to “pile file” on it.

 First- back to that rule of a “place for everything-“ I put the books where they belonged and the Etsy package in my daughter’s room. I also busted out the paper shredder, and destroyed anything that had personal information. If you deal with junk mail right away, it can’t multiply and overwhelm you quite so quickly. I’ve found that if the shredder is in an easy to access spot, you can manage the mail much more easily. I put mine in an out of the way spot behind our dining table so it’s not quite so noticeable.


Continuing with the thread of managing household papers, I found this really neat monitor stand that I’m using to hold important papers in for storage until I can put them into our filing cabinet, or keep them there for easy access if I need them sooner than later.


I’m a magazine addict- I subscribe to at least 10- so I always have something in my to be read pile. I found this clean lined, simple magazine holder where I can corral all my publications. I also get a fair number of catalogs (Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, and Boden come to mind) that I like to peruse for inspiration when I get a spare moment.


I added a few personal touches, like this sweet painting from L’Isle sur la Sorgue that my aunt picked up when we traveled together there when I was a little girl, a cool vintage frame, and a snap I took during our babymoon in Cabo San Lucas in 2014. I also placed an orchid because plants make me happy.



My built in cabinet now looks like this <big smile>:


This little clean up took less than  $30 and an hour. Never underestimate how much you can accomplish in little pockets of time! What little projects have you worked on that took a little bit of effort but gave you a whole lotta payout?