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Paint Pails, Playlists and Painting the Nursery

This year, we’ve partnered with HANDy Paint Products, our favorite painting tools that make the job so much easier,  to tackle four paint projects in our home. Naturally, the first project on deck was painting the wainscoting we added to the nursery last week before the wallpaper had to go up. Since the main walls, above the trim, were getting wallpapered, there was a lot of brushwork to do. In fact, the only thing we rolled was the ceiling. Inside each box and everything else including the crown molding, chair molding, wainscoting (plus the thin portion of wall around the wainscoting a roller couldn’t get to) and baseboards all needed to be cut in and brushed. Years ago, we upgraded from using the red SOLO cup (you know the ones) for cutting in, to these HANDy Paint Pails for trim work and it has made the whole process so much more enjoyable. There’s a…

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100 year old home gets a 3 Day Kitchen Makeover for less than $5K!

Back in February, we went through more than 2600 applications that poured in over 48 hours for a makeover, sponsored by Lowe’s. It was our second time traveling anywhere in the country making over one of your spaces in a weekend, although this year was a little different. Last time we ended up on Long Island, transforming an entry/sitting area, but the stakes were a little higher this year as all of the entries were bathrooms and kitchens. The decision was not easy or quick, and included a lot of discussion around, “Could we really do this in 3 days?!” but we found ourselves enamored with a small, early 1900s kitchen in a Baltimore row house and knew that it was the perfect candidate for our weekend refresh. Over the weeks that followed, we spent hours upon hours designing the space, collecting measurements, picking out and ordering everything from Lowe’s and Skyping with the homeowners to try…

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2 Tips for Making Laundry LOADS easier.

This post is sponsored by Persil ProClean, now available at Target! Laundry is the one chore we have always struggled to stay on top of. Okay, I dreaded it. Since our laundry room renovation, (check out the before and afters here!) the functionality of the space has improved 10 fold. But this year, I made it a goal of mine to not only get it done, but learn to enjoy it. If I can love vacuuming, or a freshly scrubbed sink, or cleared counters–surely I can learn to love laundry, too? My mom, on the other hand, absolutely adores laundry. It’s her favorite job and surely that gene is somewhere in me. When I shared with her my goal, she shared with me her two laundry-changing tips that helped her become a laundry queen and they are slowly helping me achieve my goal. TIP #1: Wash clothes by type For most…

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One Simple Tip To Making At-Home Dinners Feel More Special

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.   I’ve always loved and advocated for family dinners. From when I was little to present day, most weeknights, the dinner bell was rung and everyone would come running to a set table to sit down, say a prayer, and dish up and eat dinner as a family. It’s fun being on the other side of things now. Being the parent. Asking the questions. Making this all feel like the kind of quality time I cherished and loved growing up. But in the last year, Chris started doing one tiny thing that has made dinner feel even more special (and I’m surprised how much the girls have loved it, too!)–he has started plating our dinners. We have been using Blue Apron’s family plan (they also have a 2-person plan) twice a week for over two years now. Although Chris is always imaginative in the meals he…

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A Guest Room Update + Our Favorite Things to Include

This post is sponsored by The Bouqs Co. Enjoy 20% site wide, for a limited time, with the promo code at the bottom of the post! Over the last few days, we’ve been working to get our guest room in shape for our family that is arriving this Friday for the holidays! You can see all the plans here.The room is not complete yet, and I’m not sure everything will arrive in time (only stressing a tiny bit about that), but I thought we’d give you an update on how things are progressing. I once read that a guest room should make guests feel at home, but also like they’re away. Cozy, clean, and minimal with a few special touches. Here’s how we’re accomplishing that. This was Greta’s old room and the 3/4 Rose Quartz pink walls got 2 coats of Farrow & Ball’s Wimborne White. We actually had a gallon leftover from the…

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A Simple, Little Gadget that Changed our Lives + A simplehuman giveaway!

This post is sponsored by simplehuman. Chris has always been hyper-aware of cross-contamination in the kitchen. He wears gloves when handling raw meat. We have a touch faucet so he can turn on the water–with his elbow!–and we now have a sensor soap dispenser from simplehuman. (We love it so much, at the end of the post we’re giving one away!)   While Chris does the cooking around here, I can’t tell you how many times the girls or I have been covered in stickiness or germs from school or paint or some other crafty mess that got transferred onto the soap dispenser to live until it was sanitized. Or how many times Chris has said, “Jules, can you squirt some soap in my hands” after handling raw chicken. A hands-free soap dispenser makes so. much. sense. I love the sleek, but discreet dispenser–it fits so well next to the sink and…

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When to DIY or Hire out Home Maintenance?

This post is sponsored by Esurance While we definitely prefer the fixing-up-spaces side of home ownership, homes need constant care and maintenance. We’ve tried to insert a few of these realistic parts of owning a home sporadically in our content like when we shared how to trim back trees, replacing loose plugs, or the PSA on getting your heaters serviced and buying carbon monoxide detectors so you don’t find yourself in the scary situation we did earlier this year. I’ve heard it said that you should budget for about 1% of your home’s price for maintenance every year. (i.e.If your home cost $200,000, set aside $2000 a year for maintenance.) Some years, we’re able to roll that over to the next year by doing a lot of the maintenance ourselves and then other times, we have to dip deep into the maintenance fund to pay a professional to fix our DIY gone…

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Top 5 Tips for Cooking With Kids

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron While Chris cooks 99.9% of all the meals around here, he doesn’t always do it alone. A lot of Sundays, when we all want time to go a little slower, he enlists Greta as his “sous chef” (tiny chef!) and they make the meal together. This past Sunday, it was our Butternut Squash and Fontina Calzones from our long-time sponsor, Blue Apron. The meal, from prepping to licking their plates clean, was a huge hit. Since sometimes cooking with kids can be an exercise in extreme patience, today, we wanted to share a few tips on cooking with kids to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. 1. Let them be involved in the meal planning. Whether they are going to help cook the food or not, we’ve learned pretty early on that if our girls are invested in what we’re having for dinner…

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How We Paid off our Student Loans In One Lump Sum

This post is sponsored by Regions Bank. Did you have student loans while in college? How did you pay them off? Maybe you still are. A fresh fall semester just started here in the small university town where we live–which happens to be the same University Chris and I graduated from nearly ten years ago. While we may be in a different life stage now living here, we got married 2 semesters before finishing our degrees and we came into the marriage with two different college financial experiences. I had a full-ride scholarship so I had no student loans, about $300 of credit card debt (which I remember feeling like felt like so much!) and worked as a waitress all through college which allowed me to have some savings, but not a ton. Chris had accrued about $23,000 in student loans before we got married, had about $700 in his checking account and was…

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That Time My Family Got a Video Camera and We All Freaked Out

Without trying to jump any guns, there are just 11 weeks until Christmas (!!) And even less until all of my sisters are reunited again. I wanted to do something special this year for our annual holiday reunion, so we partnered with Legacybox to pull it off (and scored a huge discount for all of you, too, at the bottom of the post!) A few weeks ago, I snuck over to my parents’ house and dug through hundreds of old home videos finding the best ones. While videos seem so instant and plentiful now (I probably have as many videos of Greta and Faye on my phone as there are of my entire childhood), my mom had a tupperware bin of VHS tapes and those smaller mini tapes of my sisters and I filming our own video shorts and skits, Christmas mornings, our family Olympics, how we bunkered down in the basement to prepare for Y2K,…

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