Happy Friday from our wintery little corner of the world! Grab yourself a cozy mug of something and let’s get caught up.
Little change of plans on the exposed brick wall project in the bedroom: Remember how I said that I’ve been decluttering and organizing like crazy? Well, it turns out that I ended up decluttering our two new dressers right out of the plans for this little update. I got a notification from the company that I ordered from that they were canceling my order because they had “oversold” the dressers, and they were now currently out of stock. They were on sale at the time that I ordered them, but they said that I could feel free to place my order again at full price and they’d be back in stock soon. That didn’t quite seem right. Why not just delay my order and send it out when the dressers came back in stock? It seemed like a bit of a ploy to get people who had already planned a space in their home for the dressers to come back and give them a few hundred extra dollars. So we got to thinking. What if we just didn’t have the dressers? What if it was just open wall space? I re-shuffled a few things and decluttered a few more, and it turned out that we’d be just fine without the dressers. So now we’ll just have beautiful open space in front of our exposed brick. I’m actually maybe even a little more excited about it now? Anyway, no big updates to show you yet because we’ve had frigid temperatures here alternating with rain, so traveling back and forth from the garage to cut trim hasn’t been an option for most of the last couple of weeks, but soon! Soon, I hope!
My phone is full of pictures of snow right now. Not that we’ve had a lot of it, but every time we do get a dusting, I feel the need to run out and document it. We don’t get temperatures that are cold enough for the snow to actually stick very often, but when we do, I try to enjoy it thoroughly. So if I scroll through my camera roll, it truly looks like we’re living in such a lovely winter wonderland these days, even though it always goes back to a rainy, muddy mess pretty quickly.
Jack made his school’s basketball team, and it’s so fun. Of course, most of our kids’ sports activities have always been soccer-related, but it’s been so great to watch him try something different with his school friends and challenge himself to practice new skills. As it worked out, we don’t have any full-day shoots scheduled for the afternoons where he has games, so we’ll be able to get out and watch every single one this season. It’s just good for everyone to get out and do something different in the middle of these coldest winter days. Yay for school sports.
I wanted to talk a little bit more about the massive decluttering mission that I’ve been on because my little system has been working so well for me. Basically, I just started a checklist on my phone with the goal of creating a list of 100 different areas and item categories around the house that needed to be addressed. Every time I see one or think of one, I just add it to the list. For example, it could be something like “our closet”, “extra shoes”, “catalog and magazines” or “games cabinet”. So far I’m up to about 57. When I want to work on decluttering a little, I just go to the list and see which area seems like a good pick for that moment, either because it’s the right size of task or because there’s no one else in that area of the house at the moment and I have the chance. Then I go through with the goal of removing everything that isn’t useful or loved in some way. The goal is to make a big visual change when I put everything back and that’s kind of what spurs me on to want to keep going with different areas around the house. That feeling of opening a drawer and finding it tidy and organized just makes me feel so happy and like a big weight has been lifted. Anyway, if you need an easy system, give it a try!
I’m not really sure if this is what I’m supposed to do, but I’ve been working on painting and refreshing Kennedy’s room. She has this beautiful built-in bookshelf and desk that Chris built about ten years ago, and of course it’s been well-used. I started by taking everything off and giving it a fresh coat of paint, and now I’m working my way around the room, painting the doors and the old trim around the window, organizing things, freshening things up. I don’t really know for sure if there’s a rule for what you’re supposed to do with your kids’ rooms when they go away to university. I know a lot of people leave them exactly the same as they were when their kids were young for years and years, and then there are lots of jokes about the parents who immediately turn their kids’ rooms into a home gym the day after they’re gone. I just felt like it was kind of rude and sad of me to have her come home to a room that was all neglected and stale when she’s here for school breaks and holidays. I want her to be able to relax and move around and have room for her current stuff without tripping over all her stuff from when she was little. Of course, her closet is full of all kinds of little childhood treasures, but I’m trying to find a nice balance and what works for her right now. Anyway, the fresh paint in there is looking great! I’ve always loved that room, and it has the best light in the whole house. I’ll keep you updated on my progress. 🙂
NEWS AND FINDS
-A few ideas that are currently trending and posts that have been seeing a little extra traffic recently:
Homemade Pancake Syrup Recipe (if you suddenly realize that you’ve run out on Saturday morning)
Easy Three-Ingredient Banana Bread (a go-to recipe that works every time)
The Coin in the Freezer Trick (saves so much money and stress in a power outage or when you’re away)
Everything to Know Before Installing 12×24 Tile (love to see so many people doing diy projects this winter)
-Currently reading: I just finished Weyward this week. I don’t usually love a lot of the popular new novels aimed at women, but I thought this one might be a little different. I love how the story comes together while being told from three different perspectives, hundreds of years apart, and I love the focus on the characters’ connections with nature. It’s actually a book that I think would be great to read around Halloween because it’s got some lightly spooky tones and references to crows and the witch trials. I have found myself enjoying the story and very interested to find out what happens next, but the book overall is definitely a bit of an easier read than I expected it to be. There’s some heavy subject matter addressed, but it also seemed almost a little silly at times. The cover is beautiful though! If you love reading all the latest books that come out and stories about female characters facing challenges, standing up to the patriarchy, and finding the strength within, I think you’ll definitely enjoy this one. I didn’t realize it, but I think this one was actually a NYT best seller last year, so although it’s not really a book that I would say is for me, it’s a good bet if you’re looking for a good winter read.
Also, I’m just getting started on Solito, so I’ll let you know about that! I’ve heard good things. So far, a few pages in, I’m wondering if might be a bit of heavy read for this time of year when something more uplifting might be in order, but time will tell!
-On that note: I would so love any book recommendation that you have, especially anything in the historical fiction or classic literature genres, which is usually what I go for if I just want something cozy and fictional to read. I love a good story, but also anything that’s a little poetic, a unique writing style, or that has interesting and challenging vocabulary so I can learn a new word or two. Let me know if you have anything that fits my very picky book criteria! 🙂
-Is there ever some little thing that you’ve always wanted for some reason? Something that just seems symbolic of stability and having arrived at a certain point in your life that would otherwise just seem like an everyday inanimate object? I have quite a long list of things like that, but for me, one of those things was a coat rack. A solid one made of real wood that looks like it’s always been there. Well, I decided to get one to replace Chris’ chair in the bedroom where he tosses his clothes (we all have that chair, right?) when we were getting the dressers, because there would no longer be space for the chair. Anyway, since we’re not getting the dressers, the chair can stay and the coat rack I ordered can be returned. Well, I opened the box just to take a peak and the wood is absolutely beautiful. Actually, it’s a perfect match to the demi-lune table in the mudroom. So, although I don’t really have a need for it, I’m keeping it and I’ll find a need. It was very affordable and I know it will come in handy at some point, so it will stay and we’ll figure out the rest later.
-Do not get Throw, Throw Avocado, no matter what you do. Your kids/grandkids will think it’s the best thing ever and you’ll all laugh uncontrollably, but it’s also the most terrifying game in the history of games. Jack loves it so much and asks to play it constantly. We always give in, but the fierce competition that breaks out, along with the ruthless whipping of foam avocados that’s bulit-in as part of the game, is always a little horrifying. Come to think of it, I’m probably making it more fun by being so terrified every time one of those avocado battle cards shows up. Ha.
-Pinterest comment of the week: “Omg I never knew! Wonderful soft and fluffy sweet potatoes. I will always use this method!” -m on Pinterest, on my post Baked Sweet Potatoes in the Crock Pot. I do this at least once every couple of weeks for easy and healthy lunches, so I’m happy to see other people are finding this little trick super helpful as well.
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.