Friday Favorites-Wedding Celebration, Candy Fun, & Surgery Update

Happy Friday, friends! As always I hope it's been a great week for you. I'm still living off of the fun from my sister's wedding and having all five of us, my brothers and sister, together again. My brothers went back to FL and Chicago and we're hoping to all get together again around the holidays. I'm looking forward to a semi low-key weekend and getting ready for fall to officially start next week. 

Here's a look at some of my favorites from the week...

Love Is In The Air: 

I've always seen these gorgeous farm weddings on Pinterest but never actually got to go to one. Went to some beautiful outdoor weddings before but on an acutal farm. They weren't really a thing when Eric and I got married, almost 10 years ago. If they were, I'm almost 99% sure we would have had one. But my sister, she blew it out of the park with her gorgeous setting, beautiful details, and night of endless fun. The weather was absolutely perfect which made the whole feel of the night even more magical. We danced the night away and boy did my legs pay for it the next day, and the day after, and I'm still asking Eric for foot rubs. I thought I got my workouts in from running around after the boys, but maybe I'm doing it all wrong. I think we need to up our dance party game and I need to just dance around while I clean. Stay tuned, I might even share some of that on my insta stories ;)

Surgery Update: 

My sweet little squish. Sometimes I don't know where to start and where to end with what I want to say about him. There are moments I wonder if sharing details are unnecessary, but so many have told us they appreciate learning about the journey of someone with a cleft lip and palate and that he's inspiring them in so many ways. For that, I am grateful. We are two weeks post-op from his lip surgery and I am amazed by the results! He's also 10 months old today. How in the world did that happen?!? You guys, we're hitting double digit months and that just make my heart feel all kind of things. You can check out my instagram for his monthly picture to come. 

We did learn after surgery that his premaxilla (center jaw line area) does sit lower than the rest of his upper jaw, which will need to be corrected. Most people think he's sticking his tongue out, but I like to say, he's just rocking his smile. The first few days after surgery were rough, Motrin was our bff, and sleeping felt like we were back to those newborn days. He slept with us for a good week because it's the only place he would fall asleep. This week he seemed to really turn a corner. He seems more like himself, he's eating like a champ again, and melting our hearts like always. Many have asked us if this will be his last surgery. I wish that was the case, but unfortunately it's not. He will have another in December to start correcting his palate, rhinoplasty around two years old, a bone graft as he gets older, and any in between which we are praying are minimal. This little guy's strength and determination continues to amaze me and I feel so blessed to be his mama. We continue to praise God for our perfect little boy and the endless joy that he brings us.


Candytopia:

I love how there are so many fun pop-up tours that make their way around with some great events. Candytopia has made its way to Philly and we were so happy to be invited to come visit before it opens up to the public today. If you're local to the area, it's a really cool experience to checkout. They did a really good job with the different rooms, all the things that are made out of candy, and so many interactive things to do. It's great to go with kids or to come and just act like a big kid. I'm actually not sure who had more fun, my boys, or Eric and I. I will say, I absolutely loved being there with really no one else and having the place to ourselves felt extra special. If it was crazy crowded and packed I'm sure it would have been a little different. I do know that when you purchase tickets there are time slots and I know they try their best to limit the amount of people from being in there at one time. My only real downfall to the whole thing was, there was no bathroom there. Now, it is in the new Fashion District mall that also opened yesterday in Philly on 9th and Market. You can leave, go out into the mall to use the restroom and then come back in. But honestly, who wants to do all of that. I just wanted to give you a heads up because with little ones I know I would appreciate that kind of information. Thankfully no one really needed to go and we could all hold it and continue the fun. Eric and I were cracking up at A's face in that second pic. We had no clue he was making goofy faces. Haha what is he doing?! 


Giving Back: 

After my time with the America Red Cross I've been thinking more and more about where I want to focus some of my spare time (although most days it feels so limited). I know there are ways we can work in more volunteer hours and setting a better example for the boys about giving back. I shared my thoughts on community service and different ways we can get involved and some you might not be familiar with. 


Wallpaper DIY: 

Sometimes I struggle to pull the trigger and decide on what I want to add to my walls. I always seem to get these ideas in my head and then have a hard time finding what I have in mind. I need to get some sort of digital program where I can put in a picture and then transform it electronically. Haha I feel like someone who is behind on the times with that because I'm using the pictures in my phone to doodle on them to show where I want something. Anyway, none of that has much to do with my little DIY project. I shared more about how we framed these wallpaper panels and how they look in my dining room. 
I hope you have a great weekend! 

The Importance of Giving Back-My Thoughts On Community Service

Thank you to the American Red Cross for sponsoring this post. All opinions remain my own.

It seems like a common reoccurring thing with me that around this time of year I do some reflecting. There's something about summer ending and moving forward into the last two seasons of the year that get my wheels turning. I usually end up in denial that the year will be over before we know it, but I keep reminding myself that life will just keep on moving by whether we embrace it, make the most of it, or let it pass by. 

When I think about all of the things I'm thankful for I also realize there's so much more giving I could be doing. If I'm being honest, this isn't the first time I've thought like this, or had these feelings. There's so much I think about that I would like to be doing, but a lot of it feels so long-term term, and if things move into the direction we hope for. Things like donating food to others if we ever have a really successful garden (we all know how that's been going so that might need a miracle), helping others with housing situations, and giving Christmas trees to those that might not be able to afford them. I know these are all things that won't happen over night, but they're nice to think about and start the groundwork for. 

Then I think about things I could be doing right now. The things I can be doing to play a bigger part in the many needs that surround us. Sadly, even though these thoughts seem to flood my mind around this time of year, there also has been moments where I haven't acted on them. Life can get so crazy some days. Most of the time it feels like my day is over before it even starts. I try to wonder how in the world I can even fit things in, between daily life, blogging, being a mother, sporting commitments, church activities, and keeping our house in order. But you know what, if we all sounded like me, helping hands would never be extended. And the sad part is, I was taught differently. I was taught to be an extension of others and to be the hands and feet for those in need.

That's why my experience and time with the American Red Cross was so important and such an eye opener for me. There were many things I learned about the Red Cross that I was not aware of. Like how majority of their humanitarian work is carried out by volunteers of the organization with 95% of disaster relief workers being volunteers. That is amazing to me. It's those people that are ready to put their lives on hold to go and help others that truly make a difference. While serving on a disaster relief effort might be something I can do in the short-term, it's definitely something I can explore later on down the road when I'm at a different stage of life.

In the meantime, there are so many other ways we can all get involved that work best for our lifestyle. I had no clue prior to my time with the Red Cross that there are virtual positions available. You don't even have to leave your house. How cool is that? You can be a digital volunteer where you can monitor and respond to online conversations for disaster affected people who may need the help of the Red Cross.

What I also love is there are so many options to explore that you can decide where your passions lie and the time you're able to give. Maybe you aren't the first to jump in a seat to donate blood, unfortunately I'm not. I have the weakest stomach, ever. My Doctors probably dread when I come in because I'm always passing out #reallife. But, I did learn that you can host a blood drive which can be as easy as getting your child's school involved or your local church. Remember how I mentioned they have a sound the alarm campaign? Well, those are other ways to help get involved, and many times those are monthly opportunities for a few hours. 

Maybe you are someone who wants to be at the forefront when disaster strikes. There's an opportunity for that, and an app for that. I think what it all comes down to, is the time we're willing to give. I know for me, I want to do a lot more than just saying or thinking about it. I also want to lead more by example for our little ones. I know that there will be situations where my time will be limited, and that's ok. I don't want to beat myself up over that. What I do want to do is, help out when and where I can. Whether it be a small part in something big, it's always rewarding to give to others and make the effort to do more.

What about you...do you enjoy community service or do you think you could be doing more? 

DIY Framed Wallpaper Panels

Ok, real talk, this probably seems so silly, but I just sat here for the last 5 minutes staring at my screen trying to figure out what to title this. Framed wallpaper art, DIY make your own framed wallpaper panels, DIY wallpaper (no, that's not really right because I didn't make the wallpaper). Is wallpaper really considered art? What exactly did I DIY? I mean, so much flooding my mind in such a small amount of time. And now I think I need a drink, of water that is...hold on brb. 

Ok, I got my water, even added a slice of lemon to it (we fancy), and now I'm sitting at my desk with full focus (hopefully) to share with you how we created these wallpaper masterpieces. Ah ha! Maybe that's what I should title this? Although, masterpiece status could probably be argued 10 ways to Sunday, so let's move on. 

Are you still with me after all that random rambling? I hope so. Because we're just about to get into the good stuff. These wallpaper thing-u-ma-bobs. If you caught my insta stories over the summer, then you probably saw a sneak peek that we were working on this little project. Most of you have probably heard me mention this before, that my decor approach has been about having less and focusing on some statement pieces throughout the house. If you're visiting, hear me out for a minute. I used to think that my walls needed to be filled with things, or a lot of decor pieces scattered throughout each room, in order for it to feel finished. Maybe it was more so that I thought I needed more to show because that showed I had somewhat of a sense of style. But what I think makes someone's style so unique, is their own approach to it. The things that make them happy, and what they feel when they walk into a room in their own home. Maybe some like having a lot on their walls because that's their sense of cozy. But what I noticed about myself was, that walking into rooms like that made me feel overwhelmed. Almost like I'm walking into some sort of museum with so much on display and secretly thinking to myself, oh gosh, that would probably be destroyed at my house with the boys. For now, the season I'm in is working with statement pieces and featured pieces.

What do I mean by featured pieces? It's those focal points in a room that your eyes are directly drawn to. The pieces that kind of make the whole room. That's where this wallpaper art, whatever you want to call it comes into play for me.

Framed Wallpaper
I love my dining room, but let's face it, it's not a room that gets used all the time. It is however one of the first rooms you see when you walk into my home. I shared about creating a statement entryway, and this is right off to the side when you walk in. You can look one way and see my living room (hoping to share more of that soon) or look the other and there is my dining room. The dining room has some great open wall space that I always knew I didn't want to clutter up. Not for anything, I actually love a clean and fresh blank wall, but I knew that I didn't want every wall in the dining room  to be blank. I took some time and thought through what would make me happy to see in there all the time. Ahhhh, there we go, some framed peonies would make me happy.

My sister recently did a wallpaper accent wall in her bathroom with a similar print and I loved how it came out. We painted the base of our dining room table black so working in a black and white look with the peony wallpaper really ties things together. There are some great options for different peony designs, or you could really use any type of wallpaper that you like. 

I knew that I wanted to keep the wallpaper exposed without getting a standard frame that had glass in front of it. I also knew that finding a frame with the exact measurements that I had in mind for our particular wall would be really difficult. By the time that happened I might as well have made them myself. So that's what I did. Of course with the help of my husband who is always my righthand man.

This post contains affiliate links in which I get commission for purchases or clicks made at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your continued support.

PRODUCTS WE USED:

This section contains affiliate links in which I
Peony wallpaper (based off the the measurement we specifically needed) 
Masonite hardboard panels (also based off of our specific measurements) 
Semi gloss white trim paint 
Measuring tape
Liquid nails 
Caulk 

HOW TO:

First you need to measure your wall space and decide how many panels you want to make and how much wallpaper you need to order. After you decide on a pattern you can start shopping for your other products. I feel like we pretty much live at home depot, so majority of the products I linked are from there or could can be found there. We had the masonite board cut in-store to the exact measurements we needed so it was set and ready to go.

A very important point I want to mention, is that where ever you are working on this project to make sure it is a very clean area. We have a dog, and three little ones, so crumbs and dog hair are kind of unavoidable, but man, they made things a little tricky. I swept and vacuumed twice, but then the dog would walk by and wag his tail, and well, you know how that goes. So anyway, try to have a very clean area because if a speck of dirt ends up under the wallpaper adhesive, it could be noticeable, and you also don't want it to rip through.

Once you have your hardboard panel laid out, start with the first pattern from your wallpaper order. This will depend on the style, and type you decide to go with. If it's a continuous pattern, they should be numbers in order of how they go. Depending on the size you are creating, there may be a seam on the panel, or you can measure and try to order to the exact size you need so that you only need to roll it out without a seam.

We used a peel and stick wallpaper which made it a lot easier because there were a few times we had to peel it back and realign it. Once you have your wallpaper set, you can make the cuts you need for your trim. You can decide if you want to paint them before you adhere them or paint them after you have them on. We used liquid nails for the trim and also put a few weighted items on the corners so they didn't turn up. We also did this project when it was extremely hot out, so I'm sure that played a factor in it.

Once the paint and liquid nails were dried, we used white caulk to go around the outside edges to give it a more finished look and fill in any gaps between where the corners of the trim meet. We let them sit and cure for a day or so and then hung them up.

We used picture frame hangers and made sure they would hold the appropriate weight for the size we went with and added felt pads to the back four corners to help prevent scratches on our wall. After your pictures are hung, you can sit back and admire them and enjoy the transformation that takes place. 

Framed Wallpaper Panels

Friday Favorites-Getting Rest, Favorite Finds, & Wedding Time

Happy Friday, friends! I hope it's been a great week for you. It's been a slow but also a very fast one over here. I'm always baffled at how that happens. Ekkk! I am so excited, you guys! Today is my baby sister's wedding reception. We are all so excited to celebrate her and my new brother in-law. Let's get right into my favorites, shall we...

Baby C Update: 

I cannot thank you all enough for your prayers, words of encouragement, taking the time to check in on us, or just to let us know you were thinking of us. It seriously means so much. Many of you know that last Friday our sweet baby boy had a cleft lip repair surgery. Overall, the surgery went very well. We did find out that his little premaxilla area that was sticking out beforehand, now sits lower than the rest of his upper jaw line. We didn't know this until they did the surgery and rotated it back. Our hope and prayer is, that over the next few months before his palate his surgery, it will lift up and be more aligned. If not, unfortunately, that would mean another surgery. 

When he woke up from his surgery he was not a happy camper. At all. I mean, I wouldn't be either, so rightfully so. He was making the weirdest noises that did not sound like him. They warned us that could happen and that he could sound scratchy from them putting in a breathing tube. It seemed like we were in recovery for awhile this time around before being transferred to our room. You could tell he was in pain and not himself. You guys, it broke my heart so much. He would not let us put him down and just wanted to be held. Eric and I took turns holding him throughout the night, on this small little sofa. All he wanted to do was sleep on us, and that's exactly what we let him do. A friend of a friend works at the hospital he was at and saw my post that I shared. She got in contact with us and came to his room to bring us food. She was so sweet and it was so appreciated. It seems like the first thing you do in these situations is forget to eat because all you want to do is help your little one.

We shared a room with a sweet baby girl who had neurosurgery that day, and man, she was a trooper. These kids are so inspiring and somehow resilient. Come to find out, her and baby C had the same birthday, and were exactly the same age. I felt bad because as soon as she would calm down and go to sleep, he would start crying and then vise versa. If any of us got more than two hours of sleep, that was a lot. I felt like a zombie. We were all excited to go home, get some rest, and be able to get him better there. Each day has been better than the last. His swelling went down a ton, his sweet eyes are still a little black and blue, and his stitches and the glue they used are starting to dissolve. He still makes his way into our bed every night, usually around 4am, and Motrin has been our trusty friend. I feel so bad at times because he has no clue what's going on, yet is still showing us glimpses of his smile and being as sweet as can be. I know that he won't remember this part of it, but I do get worried about how I am going to explain things to him when he's old enough to know what's going on and there are more procedures to come. I guess that will be another bridge we cross when it comes.

Family Time: 

My brothers are in for my sister's wedding and it's been really nice to have some time to visit with them. My mom offered to watch the baby while the boys were at school so I could go out to lunch with them and my cousin. It's always so nice to have everyone together and I'm looking forward to a fun weekend ahead.

Sonflowers (see what I did there):

I know I previously shared this as one of my favorites, but I couldn't help giving it a dedicated post and sharing more about our time at this beautiful sunflower field. For me, I've been working on sharing little details about our adventures on my different social media platforms without trying to sound redundant. I love that my blog gives me a chance to really share more about things in detail and have a place to collect all of those memories, thoughts, and feelings. 

Fireplace Renovation: 

I'm happy to say that one of our fireplaces got a little makeover and I am loving the way it came out. I shared more about how I got rid of the existing design, repurposed some of the materials, changed my mind a bit, and stayed on budget. If you're into projects like that, or need some inspiration, I'd love for you to check it out! 

Favorite Finds: 

I had a semi-solo Target trip this week, the baby was napping in his stroller, and I almost didn't know what to do with myself. Naturally, I found may way around just fine and happened to stumble into their clothing section, accessories section, and sure enough, shoes. You guys, they had some really, really cute things. Here's what I got and came across. Animal print is in this season and I had seen this sweater floating around. I wasn't sure if I liked it at first but now that I saw it in person, I really like it. They didn't have it in my size (bummer), so what's the next best thing, well shopping online, of course. I also loved these animal print mules, but again, didn't have them in my size. I also really liked this fringe printed cardigan with a fun tee underneath. I was able to pick up this extra comfy oversized sweater in a rust color. I do need to wear a cami or bralette underneath it, which is cool with me because I love a good layered look. 

Our living room area is finally almost set and I can't wait to share more with you. It was two rooms that we opened up and made one giant room, and, well, I'll get into all of that later. For now, I have finally come across some pieces that I envisioned for this space. I picked up these wall hanging planters that I'm so excited to get up and find the perfect plants for them. I'm also looking forward to decorating my fireplace mantels for fall and our front porch. This fall welcome mat is too cute and I can't wait to get a bunch of mums and other fun fall things. 

I hope you have a great weekend! 

Fireplace Makeover

I think it's safe to say that many of you know we are always getting into some sort of renovation project around here. For the past six years it seems like we have always had one going on, one on the list, or one that we're preparing for. Aside from taking on our own full home renovation we're also flipping and renting houses on the side. 

After sharing more about my thoughts on our summer and how I really enjoyed having more time with my boys, I've been thinking a lot more about wanting to possibly do this more (maybe even a full time thing) if the right opportunities come about. I know a lot has to do with the market and things can be so up and down, so we will see where this journey takes us. For now, I'm enjoying the projects we are working on and thankful for the ones we've done.

Let's get back to the fireplace makeover for now. The one I'm sharing here is our back fireplace that's in a room that we have now designated as our office/study area. We loved that this room had a fireplace but I knew even when we came to see the house that the fireplace was going to need some updating. I know that everyone has different styles, budgets, and tastes, and I encourage that, but the green marble just wasn't doing it for me. In fact, getting rid of the marble was probably the hardest part of this fireplace renovation.

I took a sledgehammer to that bad boy and banged, and banged, away at it. Once A few areas started to chip, some of them came off in larger pieces, and I continued to bang away. There were some stubborn pieces that I had to chip away at until I was able to eventually get them all off. Let's just say I certainly used muscles that I don't always use. I was able to get Eric to give me a back rub and a foot rub out of it which is always a win in my book. Ahhh I could get a massage everyday if I could. Anyway, he offered to help me, and he did coach me along the way, but I told him I wanted to tackle this one. I also kind of felt like a powerhouse pounding away at the marble with a sledgehammer in tow. Even if I did pay for it the next day. 
We had some leftover paint from an accent wall that we used in one of the bedrooms and decided that the mantel would look good with a pop of color instead of the wood stain that was on there. We could have completely redone the mantel, and if this was our main fireplace I probably would have, but since this isn't, we wanted to keep this project on a budget and use some of the resources we already had. After seeing the mantel painted that blue color, I was not in love with it. I felt bad since it was already painted, and I contemplated just keeping it that way and hoping that it would grow on me. I tried really hard to like it, and it seemed like a good idea at first, but something wasn't doing it for me.

The more I thought about it, I realize that it's ok to change your mind. If you're working on a project, I don't think you have to settle if it's a reasonable change and you don't mind putting in the work. Remember when California Closets did our master closet and our laundry room? Well, they also did our custom desk area. Once that was installed I knew for sure the blue should go. Painting the mantel black felt like the right choice and I am really happy with how it came out. It compliments the desk area so well and really sets the tone for this room. 

We used a white ceramic tile for the surround that has a subtle design to it. I really liked the longer  rectangular shape of them and the contrast between the black mantel and the white tile. We installed it like you would with any other tile using thinset mortar, a wet saw to cut them, and then grout to finish it off. Since the area we were working with around the fireplace was pretty straight forward, we didn't have to make any odd cuts. We did caulk around the tile and fireplace insert to give it a clean edge look.

I knew I wanted the hearth to lay flush with the floor instead of it being raised up. I went to a local stone yard and explored my options. I needed something with certain measurements that would be able to be cut to the size we needed. The width wasn't an issue with cutting it, it was the depth. They cannot cut the depth down on a stone like that. Just an fyi, if you decide on wanting the hearth to have an inset look. You might have to work with the stone options they have or choice a different option. At first we thought about doing a herringbone tile hearth, but with the pattern on our area rug, it felt like things would be too busy and it didn't draw your eye the way I was hoping it would to the fireplace. After seeing the darker mantel, I knew I wanted to go darker on the floor as well.

I can't wait to decorate the mantel for the holidays and all the in between! I would love to hear what some of your favorite things are to decorate your fireplace for the fall?
fireplace-renovation
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