Snacks For Kids and Jasper’s Cooking Show

To be quite honest, finding snacks for kids isn’t very hard in my household because Jasper does all the finding himself. 🙄 He’s been known to eat an entire stick of butter, chunks of garlic (why??), whole tubs of ice cream (though who can blame him)…you get the idea. Say what you will about the boy, he’ll never starve!

Jasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Still, I’d rather he ate food a little less…chaotically. Like, wouldn’t it be nice if instead of just finding an empty butter wrapper and lots of greasy fingerprints, then putting together the clues I handed him a plate of something healthy? Even better, wouldn’t it be nice if Jasper were able to assemble some reasonable food on his own? It sounds pretty great to me.

Jasper holds a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. His hands are in focus.

I know that it can be hard to think up intentional snacks for kids when you have a hangry toddler hanging onto your leg. So why not give the toddler some ideas so he can come up with his own snacks? Nothing could go wrong, right?

Without further ado, I present:

Cooking with Jasper: Ants on a Log

Watch me teach Jasper to make my culinary magnum opus, ants on a log!

It will probably be a few years before I can set Jasper free in the kitchen with total confidence (did you see that knife grab? 😮 Yikes!!). Still, ants on a log is definitely a snack that kids can make without too much help.

My 5 go-to snacks for kids

Ants on a log

  1. Wash and slice celery into 3-4 inch lengths.
  2. Spread some peanut butter into the celery divot.
  3. Top with raisins. Tadaa!

ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Apples and cheese

  1. Slice your favorite cheddar cheese.
  2. Slice some apples.
  3. Put the cheese on the apples. A salty and sweet symphony.

Snack-uterie board

Okay, this one takes some more time. But I’d much rather arrange food than actually cook it, so I don’t mind.

  1. Gather your and your kid’s favorite snacks. I like using crackers, dried and sliced fruit, a few cookies, popcorn, cheeses, a few candies, and some sliced ham.
  2. Arrange your treats on the board. This is where the craftiness kicks in!
  3. Enjoy the tasty spread of snacks and treats together.

Snack-uterie boards are perfect for movie nights, game nights, or other times when the family is all sitting around and snacking. Check out my most recent one, the Char-boo-terie board, and my original Painted Charcuterie board.

a painted charcuterie board loaded with colorful snacks.A ghost-shaped halloween snack board on a black background.

Babybel and wheat thins

You know those babybel cheeses that come in the cute red wax wrappers? I think they’re great snacks for kids because they’re compact and don’t require any knives or slicing, and they’re delicious. They’re delicious, and the wax wrappers are also fun to model into little shapes.

  1. Unwrap your cheese.
  2. Use a stiff cracker (like a wheat thin) to chop of some of the cheese, and enjoy.

hummus with pita strips, carrots, and celery

  1. Spoon some hummus into a bowl.
  2. Slice a few pitas into strips or triangles (bonus points if you toast them first, but it’s not necessary).
  3. Wash and slice a few carrots and celery sticks into 3-4 inch sticks.
  4. Dip, then relish the combination of creamy and crunchy.

Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.

What are your go-to snacks for kids? I’d love to hear what your favorites are (and add them to my snacking arsenal)!

My Body Needs a Vegetable! Easy Recipes For the Cooking-Averse

You know how some “easy recipes” are actually ridiculously complex? 🙄 Um, excuse me. I’m looking for low effort, high reward meals, so I definitely don’t want to have to julienne anything. Who do you think I am?

Finding an easy recipe

When I say that I want an easy recipe, here’s what I mean:

  • MAXIMUM two pots or pans, but ideally one.
  • No special equipment necessary. Please just assume that I only have/know how to use the basics.
  • It shouldn’t take more than an hour to make.
  • No more than 5-10 ingredients are allowed, but preferably 5. This recipe was pushing it with 9 ingredients, but my team justified to me that salt, pepper, and olive oil hardly count because they’re countertop staples.
  • If I have to pay close attention to anything that might suddenly burn, boil over, or be suddenly ruined, I’m out.

That’s one of the reasons I love Smitten Kitchen recipes. Sure, she has some more advanced meals and recipes, and when someone else is cooking I’m all for them. But Deb, the author and founder of Smitten Kitchen, seems like someone who really knows what I mean when I say that I want an easy recipe. And I love her for it.

Brittany puts a mint leaf into a bowl of bowtie pasta with peas and cheese. She has a yellow-painted thumbnail.

My fate in your hands

My team chose a few recipes that they thought I could handle, and then turned my culinary fate over to you in an Instagram poll. You chose this pasta with peas, lemon, and ricotta, and let me say– good choice! I didn’t do a perfect job and my taste buds still aren’t up to par (thanks, COVID), but even so it was very good, and I would make it again. That’s right, even though I hate cooking I would subject myself to this recipe repeatedly. That’s high praise.

Brittany cuts a lemon open. Her fingernails are painted spectacularly with checkers, flowers, and lines. Brittany grates cheese while wearing a light blue apron with red poppies.

You can watch me muddle my way through this recipe in this video!

More easy recipes

Here are some more easy recipes that the team likes making. We’ll see if I get around to making them, but they’re all Lars-approved via the team.

Lars Recipes

Over the years I’ve released a few recipes on the blog. They’re clearly mostly desserts (which are much more motivating to make than nutritious meals, sorry!), so satisfy your sweet tooth and learn a new recipe with these!

Thanks to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe and instructions! Do you have any favorite easy recipes? Send them my way!

A Lars Girl’s Back to School Guide

I put together a back to school themed roundup of my favorite school supplies and dorm essentials, so if I can’t start a new semester in a few weeks at least I can shop as if I were!

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Lars-Approved School Supplies

If you look at them the right way, school supplies are the educational version of craft supplies. At least I get excited about them as if they were. Here are my current favorites!

I also put together a list of my current favorite laptop covers and stickers, which you can see here. Another great addition to your back to school supply list is this DIY beeswax wrap and this reusable lunch sack.

My friend Michele Brummer Everett designed these back to school stickers, and they’d be the perfect addition to your water bottle, notebook, or laptop.

back to school stickers on notebooks

Dorm Room Design

In the college town where I live, the end of August means lots of new students being dropped off at dorms for their first-ever foray into living outside their parents’ house. That means that there are LOTS of fresh-faced students moving into drab, depressing dorm rooms and shabby apartments. Check out this post full of rental-friendly interior design hacks to level up your space. And here are my favorite additions to any student housing situation:

If you’re looking for more dorm inspiration, check it out here and here.

Any time you buy something from our affiliate links, we get a small commission at no cost to you! Hooray!

DIY Reusable Lunch Sack

While I definitely don’t live the lifestyle described above, a colorful and eco-friendly reusable lunch sack is within my reach. I think it’s safe to say that it’s within yours, too! And maybe one day we’ll all be there with our imaginary put-together dream girl, living our best lives.

A wooden pear and banana tumble out of a colorblocked lunch sack on a yellow and pink backdropColorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Make Your Own Reusable Lunch Sack

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Materials

You’ll need some fabric (cotton is nice here) in a few fun colors, matching thread, scissors or a rotary cutter and mat, a ruler, sewing pins, an iron and ironing board, and a sewing machine.

step-by-step instructions showing how to make a reusable fabric lunch sackBrittany sits at a sewing machine and makes a beeswax snack wrap. She's wearing a striped green dress and surrounded by colorful, solid fabric.

Instructions

  1. First pick out your colors! We used three colors for each lunch sack.
  2. Download and print the DIY Reusable Sack Lunch Pattern.
  3. Measure out and cut your fabric. You’ll need two different colored rectangles that are 6×10″ for the front and back of the bag and two of the same colored rectangles that are 4×10″ for the sides of the bag.
  4. Pin the rectangles together along the long sides.
  5. Sew all the sides together. This will make a long strip.
  6. Press all the seams flat.
  7. Pin the end rectangles on the long side together (with the right sides together). This will make a loop.
  8. Sew the rectangles together and press the seams flat.
  9. Fold the fabric at one opening on the loop back toward the seam side half an inch. Fold it over again to hide the raw edge and pin.
  10. Sew the hem that you just pinned.
  11. Now let’s finish the bottom of the bag. Pin the bottom of the lunch sack together so that the seams between the front and back meet on either side of the side fabric.
  12. Sew the bottom of the lunch sack closed.
  13. From the bottom where you just sewed the lunch sack closed, set it on a flat surface so that the base forms a rectangle with triangular flaps coming off each side.
  14. Pin the triangular flaps and sew them from corner to corner. Repeat this for the other side. Now that the 2 triangular flaps are sewed cut off the excess fabric.
  15. Turn your lunch sack right side out and put together a great sack lunch! Yum!

Colorblocked lunch sack sitting on a wooden block surrounded by wooden fruit.

Brittany stands in her rainbow office wearing a green striped dress. Next to her on the desk are some colorblocked reusable lunch sacks.

Looking for more back to school inspiration? Check out these back to school stickers (and find them in our shop), this whiteboard upgrade, this apple paper lunchsack DIY, these creative homeschool activities, these dorm room tips and tricks, and more!

If you make these lunch sacks we’d love to see them! Tag us on Instagram with #LarsMakes and check out this video of our process!

How to Make a DIY Beeswax Wrap

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Make Your Own DIY Beeswax Wraps

Did you know one study found in 2020 that “9.71 million Americans used 21 or more sandwich bags” in seven days?! If you take into consideration that the run-of-the-mill plastic sandwich bag has been making it into our lunches since the late 1960s, that’s a lot of plastic. Save the planet and your wallet by creating these reusable DIY beeswax wraps. Every little bit helps! 

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Along with these snack wraps, we’ve made some reusable lunch sacks (which you can see in the photos). Keep your eyes peeled for a tutorial!

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit.Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

What You’ll Need

Brittany sits at a sewing machine and makes a beeswax snack wrap. She's wearing a striped green dress and surrounded by colorful, solid fabric.

step by step photos of making beeswax wraps

Instructions

  1. Measure 5 x 9 inch rectangles onto your fabric. Alternatively, measure rectangles that will fit onto the baking sheet you are using. The measurements aren’t fussy, but whatever size you make cut out rectangles.
  2. Lining a baking sheet with tin foil, then lay down the fabric rectangles flat side by side. 
  3. Begin to sprinkle beeswax making sure to distribute evenly (Tip: Because the beeswax will melt in the oven, you don’t have to cover generously. Think sprinkling an ice cream sundae instead of salting a sidewalk).
  4. When all three rectangles have been covered with beeswax, place in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to set your timer!
  5. After 10 minutes, the beeswax should be melted. When you pull your baking tray out of the oven, the fabric color will look uneven. Don’t be afraid of the splotchiness!
  6. Sprinkle a second layer of beeswax, especially making sure to target the areas that didn’t have enough wax the first time around. You’ll be able to see them because they’ll be lighter.
  7. Put back in the oven at the same temperature for another 10 minutes. 
  8.  Pull out of the oven and let cool. Fabric should feel firm and waxy. 
  9. Take one rectangle and fold onto itself leaving a 2 inch flap similar to a plastic sandwich bag.
  10. With a sewing machine, sew up one side using a zigzag stitch. Repeat on the other side.
  11. You should now have a little pouch. Fold over the 2 inch flap to close. Voila! The perfect on-the-go snack pouch!

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Can’t wait to see your DIY Beeswax wraps using #larsmakes on Instagram!

Everything we’ve done to our house in one year

To remind you, we started out with a gutted house. Here’s how it looked when we closed on it:

Well, this is how the bathroom looked when we first looked at the house:

But because it took a week to put down our offer they had proceeded with gutting it and took out all the bathrooms:

Which cost us SO much money! We decided to put a basic bathroom in place to start so that we can take our time on a go forward basis.

First step: Flooring

The first thing we did when we moved in was put in flooring. Our friends at Stuga provided all the beautiful wood floors. We went with the warm Tivoli and I’m in love with it. I’ve received so many comments on it from neighbors dropping their heads in (ha! COVID!) You can read more about the process here. It’s easy to clean and looks so so good. beautiful wood floors from Stuga

The flooring brought an immediate warmth to the space acting as a great foundation to the vibe we are going for.

Second step: Bathrooms

Once the floors were in place we needed to get some bathrooms in ASAP. Once again, we wanted to get something basic in before committing to anything long term because I couldn’t fathom designing everything so quickly. I was pregnant at the time and time was lacking!

So we put in some white tile, some in a herringbone style and a classic basketweave in another. They look great and work well! You can read about the process here.

Main bathroom

We worked with a bathroom furniture company on a whole suite of items for the main bathroom so this is the first room that will actually be complete SOON (anytime now!) with the permanent design. I worked with my friend Meta Coleman on it and it’s looking SO GOOD. You can read more about the mood board and concepts here. It’s so hard to get contractors to work on small projects so it’s going as slow as molasses. I thought we’d be done before the baby was born…At this point now we have up wallpaper and are just awaiting a piece of art for the walls and mirrors up. It’s functional and beautiful. Here are some sneak peeks:

Step 3: Kitchen

Ok, the kitchen was challenging as you might guess. The idea was to think of something totally affordable that wasn’t Ikea since Ikea during COVID was SO backed up. Like months backed up. So, we got some of those unfinished cabinets from Home Depot with the intent to get something in fast so we could move in and then spend time on it later. At this point I couldn’t even get anyone to come help us put the cabinets in and counter so my brother in law graciously offered to do it for us. He can pretty much do anything! 

Thankfully, the house came with the dishwasher, oven, and fridge so we had something to start with.

Though it’s VERY basic, it works for now–I literally just left it unfinished! And we’re working on a more permanent design at the moment.

You can read more about the kitchen here.

Because it started to look like we were going to have our “temporary” kitchen longer than I anticipated, I decided to add a bit more to it. 

We painted the cabinets yellow. And I think I’m going to even add a bit more to it. Maybe some floating shelves above too. Just depends on how antsy I get!

My Office

My office is the first room to be “complete” in its phase 1 step. I have long term permanent plans for it, but this one feels the most exciting because it didn’t require much and looks good as is. I used items I already had and we had a sponsor we worked with on a couple of furniture pieces.rainbow calendar home officerainbow calendar blue futon

You can see the office post here. 

Felix’s Phase One Room

We worked with a kid’s furniture company on some amazing furniture for Felix so we hurried to dress up a room to show it off better. Though I love it as is, we are working on a more permanent design for it right now. You can read more about it here.

Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few toys on it. In the background is a wooden dresser.on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

Office Basement

Down in the basement, where we have put Lars, we put in a pink epoxy floor and it immediately set a fun and playful mood.

You can read more about it here. 

Here’s a recap of all the things we’ve worked on or are working on:

Read about our flooring here
Read about our kitchen here
Main Bathroom concept
Current Bathrooms
My office here
Garden mood boards here
Studio mood boards here
House announcement and before photos here
Exterior Inspiration here
Felix’s nursery
Pink epoxy floor in office basement

Ok, put it this way and I actually feel much better about things. This is A LOT especially with everything else going on. Calm down, Brittany!

Rooms we are actively working on and can you show you soon!

  • We’ve been doing a lot to our studio, which we moved down into the basement in November. We have one room that’s quite exciting and we’ll be sharing that in the next couple of weeks.
  • Sounds boring, but we’ve done something with the garage, which is also probably more exciting to me that it will be to you. Ha!
  • The main bathroom should be done any day as well as the closet. If anyone who knows how to install closets wants to come help that would be awesome 😉 our guy hurt his shoulder and is out.
  • We are actively working on a kitchen remodel.
  • Felix’s room has a plan that we just need to implement.

OK! I think that’s it for now. Would love to hear any questions you have!

This post is sponsored by Stuga. All opinions are my own!

Lars Shop Highlight: Floral Art Prints

Last month we did a post about spring cleaning and switching out your art prints, and I shared some art from the Lars print shop. This May, though, I’m focusing on flowers (even more than I do year round! Ha!) so I wanted to show you my curated collection of floral art prints.

Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated, subdued artwork or a playful print there’s something that’s sure to catch your attention in the floral art print shop!

Playful

These prints are charming for children (or children-at-heart)! Ayang Cempaka’s whimsical fairytale-themed prints are colorful and fun, and they are lovely reminders of some favorite stories. Thumbelina’s meadow scene is particularly fitting for Spring, don’t you think?

Four illustrations from fairytales hung above a child's kitchen toy set.

Normandie Luscher’s prints are also inspired by favorite stories. If you’re a reader, these prints are a great way to decorate your space with reminders of your favorite books. You’ll be transported to lovely Avonlea when you look up at Anne’s Way of Delight!

An art print of girls inside and outside a brick building covered with vines and surrounded by trees and flowers. Next to the print are wooden toys shaped like trees and a rainbow. A print of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables walking through a corridor of blossoms against a pink background with real blossoms in front.

Another floral art print that celebrates Spring and promotes literacy is Josefina Schargorodsky’s Reading In the Woods illustration. This artwork would be perfect for a kid’s room or next to the bookshelf.

A print of a girl reading in a garden surrounded by trees, grass, and flowers against a golden background.

Painterly

Decorating with a painterly floral art print is a way to introduce some serenity and style into your space. Helen Dealtry’s Secret Garden print feels like a mysterious portal into another, greener world–just like in the book!

A print of flowers in a green secret garden tunnel hangs on the wall in front of a plant and some craft supplies

Lynne Millar’s paintings are not to be missed! The way she treats shadow and light is dramatic in the same way that a really well-planned garden can be, so you can bring the outdoors in with her prints. Check out this interview of Lynne here!

In interior shot of a pink couch with cushions, a table with a plant, a modern lamp, and artwork on the walls. One of the works is Lynne Millar's Rose painting.

Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle makes glorious paper cut art by painting on paper and then cutting intricate floral designs into them. We have several of her works in our floral art print shop and they would look so lovely in any space!

Field of Colored Flowers Papercut By Julie Marabelle is framed and perched on top of a stack of books next to a yellow bed and a blue and white striped wallpapered wall.

A framed paper-cut floral print on a spruce-themed wallpapered wall by a yellow bed and a blue lamp

These dainty prints by Monica Dorazewski and Yas Imamura will bring whimsy into your home. They would be perfect in a space that needs a breath of light, fresh air, and feminine energy.

Seven Flowers Print by Yas Imamura

Adriana Picker also makes gorgeous, bright, botanical prints. Find her dahlia print here, her tulip print here, her cosmos print here, and her rose print (not pictured) here. You can also read this interview from Adriana Picker and find out more about the artist.

Three pink floral art prints on a white mantle next to a potted plant and a green candlestick

Graphic

Would you describe your style as bold and bright? Some of these more graphic floral art prints might just be calling your name.

Lisa Congdon’s style would look great in a super modern space–I love the idea of kids coming into a living room or kitchen to do homework with “Openness is Essential to Creativity” hanging on the wall next to them. How inspiring, right? Danielle Kroll’s Clementine print would also be so cute in a kitchen.

Openness is Essential To Creativity print by Lisa Congdon among plants and books Clementine Print by Danielle Kroll

For floral art prints in bold colors with less geometric designs, I think that Alli Stocco’s Flamenco Flamingos are a great fit. I also love the Mae West quote written on the print: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Such great words to live by!

Rosie Harbottle’s Iris Apfel print brings bright, bold energy into a space. When I see this print I feel inspired to be daring like Iris, and I think all of us could use some of that oomph in our lives.

Flamenco Flamingos by Alli StoccoIris Apfel print by Rosie Harbottle against a sage wall surrounded by stationary and paper plants.

If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of flowers, check out this roundup of floral interior decor–it would all look great with a print from our shop.

What do you look for when choosing art for your home? I would love to see how you decorate with floral art prints, so tag us with #LarsAtHome to share!

The House That Lars Bought: Our Kitchen Remodel Update!

(Yes, I’ve watched this over 100 times by now).

Come on! 

I do not exaggerate, this faucet has been a symbol of hope for me during these lock down months. Originally, we were going to install this faucet and Glass Rinser in the studio, but we put a lot of projects on hold.  When we bought the house in June I thought, “no big deal, we’ll put it in the new house”. I thought that would take 3 weeks. After delays of this and that, I continued dreaming of the new faucet. It became my literal golden beacon that was always just a bit out of reach. Well, three months later and it’s in! We literally just got it installed on Thursday just in time to move in!

We planned the kitchen to be a phase 1 renovation: installing inexpensive unfinished cabinets without the wall cabinets to make room for open shelving in the coming weeks. Add to that a butcher block countertop that is always in stock at the home improvement store–quick and easy. Lastly, we put two islands together from Ikea to provide a lot of countertop space and fill the elongated room well. The idea was to go for speed and economy so we could move in as quickly as possible.

However, something I don’t mess with is the jewelry of the kitchen, aka the faucet and sink. You don’t want to skimp on these items especially since they can be taken with you with each renovation. I had selected the Broderick™ Pull Down Kitchen Faucet with Touch2O® Technology in Champagne Bronze. I chose it because it feels a bit fancy but still with a touch of industrial so you get the sophistication without the fussiness.

I hadn’t anticipated how much I’d love the touch on touch off feature, which allows you to touch the spout or handle anywhere with just one tap, which is great for messy hands. Or great for say, someone like my two-year-old who he finds great entertainment in just touching it on and off and on and off on repeat (see video!)

Click here to watch!

Another bonus feature is the TempSense™ LED light changes color to alert you to the water’s temperature so, once again, if you’re washing your little one’s hands, you can know when it’s hot, cold, or juuuuust right. I mean, it’s only been 5 days, but I’m already seeing the perks.

We had picked out a gold sink to go with the faucet and I was hoping and praying that the two gold finishes would work and dum, du du dum….success! A gold stainless steel sink AND a faucet? I’m feeling all shades of Midas. But the real fancy moment comes to us in the shape of a glass rinser. What’s a glass rinser you ask? You know when you try and clean your water bottle and you just soak it for days? (anyone else or just me?) Well, a glass rinser shoots water up to give it a nice scrubbing. It’s dreamy. Plus this cover keeps it clean and sleek! And I can’t believe I have one. I’ve been finding it useful for Jasper’s bottles and jars where who knows what got into it.

Watch here!

Now, I haven’t made too many other decisions in the kitchen and I’d love your feedback on what to do. 

But first! I want to show you the process of how we got here, even though I’m completely aware that it’s not quite finished.

  1. This is the first day that we walked through the house. This is how we bought it! 
  2. As the previous owners were finishing up and getting out.
  3. Getting our flooring in (you can read about it here)
  4. The flooring is in! 
  5. Getting the cabinets in
  6. Then the sink
  7. And this is the stage we were at before the crowning jewel

Now, onto what we need to do. First, the unfinished cabinets. There are currently an endless amount of wood finishes going on and it’s rather distracting. I definitely want to paint the cabinets a color…but which one?

And I wasn’t going to do a back splash for now until we really figure out what permanent cabinets to put in, but I think I might feel a tad more calm if I feel like there’s some sort of water coverage going on on the walls. I’ve been talking to my friend, Meta, who is an amazing interior designer, and she’s really getting me into the idea of doing a cheap tile for now but maybe trying out something with a fun colored grout. I don’t know…could be fun!

As for upper shelving. Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of open shelving. To me it seems like a great option for people who love to spend a lot of time cleaning. And that is just not me at all. And then you have to worry about everything matching all the time. Feeling the need to be all Pinterest-worthy all the time, even for this blogger, is too much pressure! I need to be able to hide stuff you know?!

That leads me to the range. The previous owners had bought a 4’ range and fridge that they had never installed (they almost didn’t let us keep them, but I think they realized how difficult they are to move so they decided to let them go after all). And yes, they were a pain in the bum to install, but that’s a story for another time that involves Paul moving the 550 pound range on his own at midnight last week. Anywhoo, do we put up a vent or do we get something new and less commercial looking? So many questions that I’d love your feedback on.

I have to say, the one thing I’m super stoked about is the island made from two Ikea islands. I’m already LOVING the amount of space it provides as you can tell from the video with my adorable son 😉 

Lastly, I love the idea of not keeping the kitchen white, but what do we do instead? I know it needs to work with the color of the cabinets and tile, but I just don’t know what to do yet, and I haven’t given myself the time to do so yet because I was going insane just trying to get the scheduling under control let alone the aesthetics.

OK! I think that’s it for now, I’d LOVE your feedback! Let me know what you think about 1) the kitchen choices so far 2) what you would do next to finish it up. I’m all ears!!!

This post is sponsored by Delta Faucet but all opinions are my own.

 

Our new hardwood flooring and how to care for it

Which Stuga floor did we go with?

Which selection did we go with? I showed you ten options in the last post (remember these?) and…drumroll please….The winner is….
TIVOLIThey name all their flooring after Scandinavian inspired names or features and Tivoli, the famous charming amusement mark in the middle of Copenhagen, was the site of our first date, so it was only appropriate 😉 AND it’s our anniversary today so this flooring selection is really bringing us full circle I guess!
Mind you, Tivoli was not in your top 7 choices–ha! The top choices from you were Mead and Lucia. Here were the options again (you can see them here) BUT I love something on the warmer side and I wanted something a bit thinner without too much grain and Tivoli was the clear choice in person.
HOWEVER, when I received it, I opened up one box and the one I happened to open was SUPER grainy and a bit green:
I.got.nervous.
And then Paul calmly opened up the next box and then the next and turns out? Each one is super different! One may be more red, the other less grainy, the next more yellow and it’s kind of this mix and when you put it all together it is LOVELY. The depth of all the colors and textures makes it super interesting without being distracting. I LOVE MY FLOORS.

Making it into the house

Anywoo, just getting the shipment of hardwood flooring in was the biggest deal to me that I recorded the whole thing. And it came with its own share of drama. Our house is perched on an incline so no big trucks can get up there, and if they did, there’s no room for them to turn around and come back since it’s a cul-de-sac. SO, I called Paul in a panic and he came with a good friend of ours and helped the guy unload each crate and then transport each box up to the house. Thankfully, I’m pregnant, so I have a great excuse to not pitch in 😉

Here’s how the process worked, but I’ll be sharing more about the installation process in the next blog post.

What did we do to the stairs ?

And then they came back the next week and put the stairs in with the specially made Stuga stair nosings. We went with the square nosings, which is much more modern than I’ll be going with the rest of the house but I think it freshens up the house quite a bit and I’m here for it! I LOVE where it’s going. We still need to finish the top half (not seen) and add in banisters, but in the mean time, it’s so beautiful! Jasper, don’t come near here!

How to care for our Stuga floors

As you can imagine with this type of project, we have a ton of foot traffic from contractors of all kinds and their footprints are not what we would call gentle so this flooring is probably going through more now than hopefully it will ever again. BUT, I do love what Stuga says to maintain it.
Their first piece of advice is to treat your hardwood flooring like the Scandinavians do by taking off your shoes. I know this is common practice in a lot of homes throughout the world and frankly, though I lived in Denmark for awhile, I still don’t adopt it BUT you better believe we will be! And fun fact: a lot of Danes, probably others too, typically leave a basket by the door with extra slippers you can put on. Hyggligt!
We also don’t have window coverings at this point–only plastic from the previous owners who were about to paint, so I’m terrified of the sun’s exposure on the wood. It does patina over time and I’m looking forward to that, but I don’t want to accelerate it you know? I’ll be getting something up soon!

Other than that, I ordered the floor care kit and it comes with everything I need to take care of it. Pretty much it’s what you might expect light water. They also say that you can sand the floor down twice and that’s pretty much only if you want to restain the wood. So we are good for a long time!

And because we need to add in something adorable, here’s a little before and after of Jasper on the floor.

Ok! I’d love to hear your thoughts on our hardwood flooring selection. I know it’s not what most of you chose, but can you see it now?
ALSO curious if you’re like the Scandinavians and take off your shoes at the door?

This post is sponsored by Stuga but all opinions are my own.

In The Mood: Hamilton Inspired Home Decor

How to fill your home with the feeling of Hamilton

If you are unfamiliar with Hamilton, you’ve got to remedy that. Allow this piece to be your introduction into the hit musical. It chronicles the life of Alexander Hamilton who was one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. He was born in the West Indies as an illegitimate child, and his parents died before he reached adulthood. Through hard work, sacrifice, and a fair bit of schmoozing, Alexander made his way to New York and befriended Revolutionaries, forever tying his fate with that of the Fledgling United States. Since the play is based on history, spoilers aren’t really a thing… Just to pique your interest, there is a love triangle, rumors, and even a gun duel. Spoiler: it ends in death. Oh and there’s rap. It’s definitely worth the watch. 

Below you will find our tips on how you fill your home with inspiration from this hit musical!

Be inspired by Colonial Style

Before writing this piece, I actually looked up pictures of Alexander Hamilton’s home. It’s  called The Grange and still stands in New York City though it is much changed. It is totally symmetrical with matching piazza patios, stately lines, mouldings, and mantles. As a result, it has an incredibly airy feel. Neoclassical design deeply influence the Colonial Era. That last bit is super important, as it is what separates Hamilton-inspired design from the Farmhouse look. Alexander Hamilton would shudder if someone were to suggest his architectural choices had anything to do with farming.

Hamilton inspired decor for your home’s exterior

Curate meaningful collections

The easiest way to incorporate this kind of design into your space is through careful collection. It might not be realistic to build ionic columns throughout your whole house or rebuild it to be symmetrical. But, you can collect pieces inspired by the Neoclassical Era. Handmade wooden furniture, ornate trinkets, classic colors, statuettes, gold or brass fixtures, and elaborately patterned textiles all have their place in a Hamilton home. I recommend you search high and low. Buy some pieces new from fancy stores, but also enjoy the hunt in antique shops and the exhilaration of winning an eBay or Facebook marketplace bid. If you can curate a collection of similar items, like antique candlesticks, lanterns, or porcelain dish-ware, those pieces will shine together and become showstoppers.

Hamilton inspired decor for your living room

Fill your home with nostalgia

Part of why the musical is so popular is because it plays on America’s own heritage while reinterpreting it. Alexander Hamilton personified the American Dream. He came from hardship but made it through. He also made mistakes and was complicit in the evils of his time. Despite these contradictions, he tried to set up a nation that would build a better future. People respond to that kind of thing. We’re all complicated. As you curate a Hamilton inspired home, think about your personal history. How can you incorporate that into your home? Paintings that remind you of your favorite places, old books you loved long ago, and photographs of days gone by are all great pieces that will make your space yours. Don’t fret  about it all becoming too complex or not cohesive. You are the unifying theme

Hamilton inspired decor for your bedroom

Form a modern interpretation of the past

If you’re worried about this style complimenting modern ones, don’t be!! The contradictions of Alexander Hamilton and within the play are what inspires good design. The play is a contemporary take on Colonial themes. Your interpretation of Hamilton-design will also be a contemporary take. Design inspired by the musical is bound to be lively, yet stately. That combination really excites me. Colonial America is the setting, but the music is totally inspired by contemporary hip hop and rap. Translating all of this into a visual style requires a keen and selective eye. You got this. Be willing to do a little mixing-and-matching as you incorporate Hamilton into your modern home! 

One of our past interns, Jess Whittaker, illustrated these Hamilton inspired prints we love! This is a fun way to add some Hamilton inspiration into your home without needing to embrace full on colonial style. You can find them here in her shop! You can read more about Jess here and find some of her whimsical work in our shop as well!

More Hamilton Inspired Home Decor

For your kitchen

For the bathroom

 

This post is a part of our In the mood for series where we show you how to recreate interior design styles and fashion inspired by people we admire! Click any of the links below to check out the past posts in this series!

Anne of Green GablesEmma WoodhouseIris ApfelWes Andersonthe Royal FamilyLittle Women, Monet, and Alexander Girard

Where to make important investments in your cheap renovation (hint: flooring!)

Is there such thing as a quick and cheap renovation?

Here’s the thing–when we were first planning our “quick and cheap” renovation, I was literally going to put the ugliest, cheapest carpet on the market EVERYWHERE in the house. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to get invested in it. I wanted to take the decision making out of everything and go cheap and quick. I spotted some carpet scraps at ReStore and was ready to move forward. End of discussion.

And, though I run a DIY blog, my husband and I are not, how do we say, “handy” people. I mean, like I can nail things into a wall and screw in lightbulbs and such and Paul is really good (talented even) at lifting heavy objects, but ummm, we are definitely not getting a show on HGTV anytime soon. I’m more of a lightweight in the home improvement arena. And Paul is good at cooking.

But…we were going to attempt to do it ourselves. Ugh. I cringe just thinking about it! I don’t know how to put carpet in. But they make it look SO easy on YouTube!

And THEN, you realize ok, if we’re spending even just a “little” bit on ugly carpeting, well, that’s $—- on something when it could be applied to something nice and then it avalanches from there. PLUS, it’s such a waste in general to put in stuff you’ll just be taking out.

This is what I had resolved to do:

You see where I’m going here.

So then we decide, well, maybe flooring is the one spot we should invest in since it’s really the foundation for the whole house. And it’s so bare now and would have to do a lot of work to rip it back up again…

I went on the hunt for some beautiful flooring and came across Stuga and I was smitten. And maybe you can see why: Stuga works directly with Scandinavia’s most innovative manufacturers to curate a selection of sustainably harvested, crafted, and engineered floors that you can easily browse, sample, and buy online.

So, first they roped me in with their Scandinavian angle. Having lived in Denmark for the first few years of our marriage with my Danish husband, this was big a bonus because I know that Scandinavia does floors excellently. They are hardwood fanatics. PLUS, they believed in sustainability long before it became a buzzword and designed their products to preserve forests. They also removed all solvents and toxic glues found in other engineered floors. Plus, they’re beautiful!

I first spotted them over at Chris Loves Julia and I LOVE how it turned out. So beautiful! I especially loved the treatment to the stairs. So I requested a number of samples:

Lighting is always the curse that comes with seeing examples of flooring online, well, in person too for that matter. Here’s what we are considering and I’d LOVE your feedback on which one you would choose. I’ll be walking you through it over on Instastories too.

A few things to note about our preferences: I tend to gravitate towards warmer tones. And though I love wide plank, I feel like our traditional home needs to be slightly more narrow.

Perhaps I’m going too much into the little details. I know most people like a good before and after, and we’ll get there at some point, but because this is such a big project for us and there is so much $$$$ and time and investment on the line, we are going into the nitty gritty. You can tell me when it gets boring, capeesh?

This post is sponsored by Stuga but all opinions are my own.

In the Mood For: Monet inspired Interior Design

First, a special announcement!

I’m writing about Monet for a few reasons – the first you know, the second is kind of a secret…  This summer we are launching an online summer camp to teach kids all about some master artists, including Monet! It will include daily projects (with videos!) to help kids dive deep into new mediums, art styles, and the lives of great artists of myriad colors, genders, and time periods. Stay tuned for more details!!! Sign up for our newsletter here for early access and a huge discount on this course when it is released! Now onto tips for interior design inspired by Monet:

1 – It’s all about lighting. 

Much of Monet’s passion as a painter was driven by a desire to capture light! He would paint the same scene over and over again at different times of day to capture the shadow play and different colors created. Within the walls of your home, you are somewhat limited with regard to natural light. When choosing a place to live, consider how natural light will affect your space! Select fun curtains or shutters (tres French) and outfit the windows accordingly. 

Monet inspired interior design

You may not be able to control the sun, but a lovely invention called electricity does give you the ability to control light! It is amazing how a simple lamp or light shade can transform any space. An old apartment of mine felt dingy and small. The walls were a funny yellowish color that I thought was terrible, but I couldn’t change it! Eventually I got a floor lamp with a bright, white light. Suddenly, I realized the color wasn’t as bad as it had looked before. With just a lightbulb, I achieved the same effect a can of paint would have had. While lighting might not be the first thing you think of when you hear “interior design,” it should be when the phrase is followed by “inspired by Monet.”