Summertime means grilling out with family and friends! We loving having people over, and we love it even more when we can entertain outside. There are somethings that we believe are ‘must haves’ when having a BBQ.
Beverage Tub – a necessity to keep drinks cool but visually appealing as well (perk, you can see easily if anything needs to be refilled!) If the rattan one shown isn’t your style we also love this copper one and this metal one
Happy National Sunscreen Day! Very fitting that we celebrate this day before MDW aka the kickoff to summer! I’m not sure about you but I am SO ready for summer. With pools (our baby pool here) opening up this weekend, BBQ’s with family and friends, and more time spent playing outside we have rounded up our favorite must-have sunscreens for yourself and the kids! Our favorite brands are Blue Lizard, Think, and Tubby Todd (see all 3 below).
PSA – Making your own vanilla extract is SO easy, I will (probably) never buy vanilla again! This is such a fun little project to do with your sister(in-law)/mother(in-law), friends, or by yourself. At the beginning of May we made vanilla with our mom and are planning on gifting the bottles away at Christmas (it takes 6 months for the bottles to be ready). We figured we would share this easy recipe with you all so that you could make bottles, and have them ready by Christmas.
Materials Needed: 1. Bottles – we used these bottles 2. Funnels – to pour the vodka into the bottles 3. Vodka – any type, it does not need to be high quality 4. Vanilla Beans – these are the beans we used, and for 24 bottles we bought 6 packages. Yes they are expensive (vanilla extract is expensive) but you can reuse the beans when you are finished making the first bottle! 5. A fun label (not required) – Ansley from Ellington Paper Co. is making cute custom labels for our bottles!
Instructions 1. Using a sharp knife, cut the vanilla beans down the middle so the inside is exposed (depending on the length of the bean vs jar you may need to cut them in half to shorten the beans) 2. Place 5-6 vanilla beans in each jar. 3. Pour 8 oz of vodka on top. Make sure the beans are fully submerged. Cover and shake a few times. 4. Store vanilla at room temperature out of direct sunlight. 5. Everyday for 1 month you will need to shake the vanilla bottles a bit. After one month of daily shaking, just leave the bottles and they will work themselves into vanilla extract that is ready to use in 5 months.
We’re here showing you another space in my house! Our home is an older home but although it’s old, it isn’t extremely outdated. Our kitchen, although old, is pretty simple and basic (we didn’t need to fix it right away). The bathrooms, liveable. The living spaces, nothing a little paint couldn’t fix. We are so fortunate that although our house was built in the 70’s, it doesn’t scream 70’s style house!
This goes for all spaces in our house, except for the master ensuite. The ensuite needed to be gutted immediately, so we did just that. And let me tell you, I could not be more pleased with how it ended up. Pre-renovation, the my now closet space was the closet and the bathroom (we will show you the bathroom another time) but we opened it up to make it just closet.
The basic setup before was a long “hallway”. When you first walked in to the left was a room for the toilet and shower, to the right was a door to one closet area. Moving down the hallway, next on the left came the sink and on the right was a little vanity situation. Then the end of the closet on both sides was an additional space for closet storage. It was carpeted, wallpapered, and dark.
When renovating the closet, we called Closet Works to help us. I knew the basic design I wanted but they were able to confirm, based on the amount of clothes/shoes I had, if it was going to be a well functioning space. They measured, counted long hanging items, provided a diagram of the setup – everything! They made this process so easy and it was done in such a timely fashion. They are a local company that was established in 1987 and all of their products and designed are manufactured in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Now, as I said earlier, we took that choppy space, and opened the entire area up to make it just closet. This space is now, bright, airy, organized, and pretty (IMO). It is such a wonderful place to get ready before heading out to work or out for the evening! I just love this space so much.
With Cinco De Mayo right around the corner, we figured we would share a festive dinner that would work perfectly for the occasion! This dinner is so easy to make and all three of my boys eat it (with a little extra cheese on Preston’s to hide the chicken). I love Cinco De Mayo – it is such a fun excuse to get a little festive, make a delicious meal, and enjoy a margarita.
Chicken Tostadas This recipe is from ifoodreal and is delicious. One great thing about this recipe is that flexibility of it. I love that you can add more or less toppings depending on the person eating the tostada. Don’t like black beans? Great, swap them for refried. Want salsa? Add it on! You get the point.
Ingredients 8 corn tortillas or store-bought tostada shells
3 medium tomatoes diced
4 medium avocados diced
3 tbsp red onion finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
Lime juice of
15 oz can low sodium black beans drained & rinsed
3 cups shredded chicken
1/2 cup feta or Cotija cheese crumbled
To make homemade tostada shells: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
Arrange tortillas in a single layer, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt on both sides.
Bake for 6 minutes per each side, means flipping once.
Prep toppings: While tostadas are baking, make easy guacamole salsa by combining tomato, avocado, red onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and lime juice. Get other ingredients ready.
Assembly: To assemble tostadas, top each shell with guacamole salsa, beans, chicken and cheese.
Storing tostada shells: You can bake homemade tostada shells for up to 48 hours in advance. Just store in resealable Ziploc bag to keep shells crunchy
Mexican Street Corn Salad This salad can also be used as a salsa/dip for an appetizer if you are having a dinner party, barbecue, or anything really!
Ingredients Dressing ½ cup plain nonfat yogurt 1 Tbsp lime juice 1 tsp honey ½ tsp paprika ¼ tsp cumin
Salad Splash of oil 4 ears of corn about 3 cups (shucked and kernels removed) 1 clove garlic minced 2 TBSP lime juice 1/4 tsp salt 1cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed) 1 red bell pepper (seeded and chopped) 1/2cup chopped red onion 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro chopped 1/2 cup cotija cheese (we used feta)
Let us know what you think if you try either of these recipes for dinner.
Last year sometime, one of our faucet handles in our main floor powder room broke. When we needed to get a new faucet, the one I wanted didn’t match the other hardware in the bathroom … so we got all new hardware (toilet paper holder, towel bar, towel ring, lighting, mirror). When we got all new hardware, the bathroom needed to get painted (and wallpapered on one wall). When we painted….. you get where this is going. Basically we did a little upgrade to our powder bath all because one handle broke.
This was definitely a project that we wanted to get to eventually but just never got around to it because life happens. Needless to say I was thrilled when I realized that we were going to give this bathroom the love and attention it needed. I just got in our new towels for the bathroom and now it is complete, so I figured I would share some before and afters here (because who doesn’t love a good before/after?).
Almost everything we bought for this bathroom glow up was purchased on Amazon. The exceptions are: the towels (Neiman Marcus), the nest fragrance (Nordstrom), light fixture (Wayfair), and the “art” (I made it at Board and Brush!). Everything is linked at the bottom of this post as well. I am beyond thankful that I have a handy husband! Rob did this entire thing himself – he did SUCH an amazing job. I love our new powder room so much, it makes getting the boys ready in the morning so much nicer!
Vacuuming is one of my favorite household chores to do…call me crazy, but I love it! I bring out the vacuum at least once a day and am obsessed with having clean floors. However, for those of you with pets or kids you understand how important it is to deep clean your carpets every now and then and an everyday vacuum isn’t going to cut it for that! This Bissell TurboClean Powerbrush Cleaner has been a game changer for our carpets. Even though we do not have pets, our carpets require deep cleaning with all the playing, snacking, etc. the kids do! Plus, we are always playing on the carpet and it’s important to us that we keep it clean for the kids. This vacuum is lightweight and perfect for heavy traffic areas or even small spaces. The Bissell OXY formula deep cleans the carpet and removes stains and the detachable nozzles make it so easy to clean. It’s a game changer!
As for the everyday clean up, our favorite vacuum is the cordless Dyson which we love with all our heart (LOL, it’s true). The features on the Dyson are so user friendly and make cleaning and vacuuming easy peasy! The Dyson does come with a steep price tag so those looking for a more budget friendly option we recommend this one from amazon (Michelle owns!). It’s great for the everyday mess that is our floors 🙂 We also wanted to add our favorite instant carpet spot remover. This is also an everyday use and it’s so convenient because it requires no rinsing! You just spray and go! Perfect for the juice spills, arts and crafts clean ups, etc!
Major nesting mode happening over here and I just cannot. stop. organizing. It brings me such joy to open a drawer or closet and have it perfectly organized and clean. Are all spaces in my house like that? HA far from it but today I’m sharing out my favorite home organization pieces, all from The Container Store!
iDesign Affixx Adhesive Organizer Bins: I use my bin for storing dishwasher pods (it’s hanging from the inside of our kitchen sink!). There are SO many uses for this clear, strong bin though (spices, cosmetics, frequently used items, etc) This is one of my favorite storage hacks!
Divided Lazy Susans: Again, SOOO many ways to use this. I have these divided lazy susans in my fridge, pantry, and playroom! We use them to store snacks in the fridge/pantry and art supplies in the playroom. It’s so convenient for tight spaces since it spins and you can easily access whatever is stored inside!
The Home Edit by iDesign 9″ Lazy Susan: I just can’t get enough of lazy susans lol! But this one is great for storing oils in the kitchen and bath necessities. It fits perfectly in our corner drawer in our kitchen.
Marie Kondo Narrow In-Drawer Knife Organizer: This was a recent purchase (I needed it for my own mentality) to get everything off of my kitchen counters. Love that this piece fits inside a drawer and is a safe way to store knives (and keep them sharp!).
Card Keeper: I’m a sucker for cards and when I see a cute or funny one at Target I’ll buy it and save it. This is the perfect way organize all your cards (greeting, birthday, thinking of you, etc). I also love to tabbed dividers and keep special cards that were given to me here. *see below pic
Acrylic Risers: Another thing that can be used in so many ways! I have these under our bathroom sink and in Kylie’s closet (as shoe display/storage). Another great purchase for small spaces to maximize the area.
Battery Organizer: Anyone with kids knows how important it is to always have extra batteries on hand! I love that this one has organized spaces so you can see the size and easily access them in the moment.
Drawer Organizers: We have these in our kitchen and bathrooms. They are great for keeping drawers organized that have a tendency to get cluttered.
Rob, myself (Kelly), and the boys have been living at my parents house, while construction is happening at our house, for the past week now. It is safe to say that the boys are having the BEST time living with Gigi & Bud Bud and that my parents are a lot more tired at the end of the day than they normally are! haha! But, being here has made me come to love their beautiful, cozy, child and adult friendly space even more than I normally do!
I love how my mom was able to decorate this space so beautifully, you would never know that 3-4 days per week her and my dad are watching our little ones. Her style, although similar to mine and Michelle’s, is also extremely different and it is so refreshing to live (temporarily) in a space that is inspiring some creative flow – especially since we are in the middle of a reno right now!
Product Sources: *Couch – this is the couch they have, except our parents opted out of the chaise/lounger at the end *Floor lamp – i adore the simplicity and elegance of the swoop in this floor lamp *Coffee table – the coffee table is not pictured but it is a stunner (and on sale) so we had to include it! *Throw blanket – this blanket is old but a similar white throw is listed here and I love this chunky knit throw (it comes in so many color options too) *Wall mirror – this specific mirror is no longer sold but here and here are similar options *Wall clock – ours is old but here is a similar one. I also love this one and this one. *Plant – tree is old but I found similar ones here, here, here, and here. *Chair – this is the same chair, but our parents wanted white fabric instead of the patterned on you see here
Today I wanted to share a glimpse into our playroom space aka the mecca of our house! Ha! We spend so much time here and with the pandemic this space has been a lifesaver. While the decor is still lacking a bit (I’ll get there!) this is Kylie’s absolute favorite place in the house to hang out and play!
We keep her “big” item toys here-think ball pit, nugget, trampoline, etc. and we have the smaller piece toys/items (barbies & accessories, etc.) in her room or tucked away in our living room.
Ball pit- our exact one isn’t sold anymore BUT this square one is identical (and same size!) I also love how the circle one looks, too. Here are the balls to fill. Also found this similar one, and balls are included with this one!
Dollhouse-we have this one from Amazon. The accessories are sold separately here and the details of this dollhouse bring out allll the imaginary play! The bathtub with rubber ducky and towels, the pet dog with a bone and doghouse, a bed with pillows and a blanket…it’s so good!
While it’s not a toy, this wood table and chair set has become an essential piece to our playroom. We read books here, color, do puzzles, etc. It’s a must have!
Hands down our most played with item….the nugget! We climb, we jump, we slide, we create, we get alllll our energy out. Well worth the money in my opinion!
Play Kitchen-Kylie (and I) absolutely adore this one. Everything from the neutral colors (gold is neutral IMO), the accessories, and 4.5 star rating! Full disclosure: it takes a good 2-3 hours to set up but once it’s done, sit back and watch the play happen!