The Mini Man Cave

For the last couple of months, the boys have been asking to share a room. They were sleeping in each other’s room for some time after the most recent hurricane, and decided they liked that better than staying in their own rooms. We weighed out the pro’s and cons of moving them in together- they do get along really well, Nolan’s room was plenty big enough for 2 kids, we could have a designated guest room and Chris could have his office to himself. So, we decided to go ahead and make the transition. And, in true Smith fashion, we took this project on riiiiiight before Christmas. Because there’s not enough going on that time of year!

Here’s what the boys’ rooms looked like before the big change…

This was Nolan’s room when it was still “Nolan’s room.” It is a nice sized room so it made sense that they would go into that space.



Ok, this was during the transition. It’s not usually quite this much of a hot mess.

Here was Brady’s room, which has turned into our guest room.


We decided to stick with the boys’ full sized mattresses that were not that old, and got the boys a full over full bunk bed. They LOVE it. We are using Brady’s old dresser and bookshelf and Nolan’s old dresser is now in the guest room. There was a lot of re-arranging during this process figuring out what would fit where. We also painted both spaces and added a cool feature wall in the boys’ room. Here’s the work in progress pics…


Feature wall in progress…


We first started painting the room that light blue color you see, but realized it was too baby-ish for our big boys. *tear* So we ended up re-painting it a darker “denim blue.”

Here is how the boys’ room looks now!

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I love how this wall turned out! For now we have Nolan’s big old train table taking over this space, but eventually I hope to put in some sort of desk or maybe Lego building station.

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Brady is on the top bunk because OMG Nolan can’t be trusted up there.

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That little train print was purchased at the Strasburg Railroad during our time in Pennsylvania and it always makes me smile. The boys will have this in their room FOREVER if for nothing else because the custom framing was ridiculously pricy and I’m getting my moneys worth whether they like it or not!

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Love their little rockers that my Grandma bought them!

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Hello toy storage under that bottom bunk!

So far the boys are really loving sharing a room. I get such a kick out of hearing their little conversations at night…pretending to be Star Wars characters, acting out football games, and recounting the day’s events. Who knows how long they’ll love living together, but for now, it’s adorable!

And, Chris is loving having an office to himself. He just purchased a new desk and is planning to install hardwood floors and make it his own man cave. (Little known fact, Chris HATES the phrase “man cave.” So naturally I call his office a man cave every chance I get.) Enjoy your new man cave, honey!

We also did a quick paint job on Brady’s old room and turned it into a guest space. Btw, so sorry to our guests we had over Christmas who were surely breathing in brand new paint fumes as we finished painting it 2 days before Christmas. Aaaahh!


Can we talk about how sweet this little yellow chair is in the guest room nook? Shout out to my neighbor Cynthia who was giving it away. I love the pop of color!




This was taken right after we finished painting (before I got the cool yellow chair and moved this gray one back where it originally belonged!) Notice the window open desperately trying to get rid of the fumes. ūüôā



Brady’s room is now the guest room-


And Nolan’s room is now the mini man cave-


Stay tuned to see how long the boys want to share a room. Lord willing, I will not be spending next Christmas break putting it all back how it was!

Kitchen Spruce Up Part 2

We (Chris) have been hard at work updating our home. When we bought it, we didn’t really see any areas that needed too much updating, but of course the longer I am in a space, the more I want to change it. As I’ve mentioned before, our kitchen was my least favorite part of the house. Last year when we moved in we did a little updating by changing out the backsplash and appliances.¬†Over the¬†past couple¬†months, we (Chris) updated the cabinets, lighting,¬†and fixtures/hardware. Here’s some reminders of where we started…

Before: (These were actually the listing photos from Sorry previous owners, the rest of your home was lovely!!!)



That backsplash though!

It was functional and had lots of space and storage, but not my style at all.

Here’s some pictures of what it looked like shortly after we moved in and did a little updating…we added bead board under the bar, put in a subway tile backsplash, and put in new appliances.

Kitchen Remodel Part 1



Getting brighter!

I thought I was good with that previous re-model until I lived in it a year and stared at it long enough to realize, nope, it needs more! So here’s how it looks now!

Kitchen Remodel Part 2!



So much lighter and brighter and ME!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Chris! This cabinet refinishing project took about 35 hours to complete. So much sanding and painting! I love how it brightens everything up and is so much cheerier! It feels clean and airy and much bigger. We don’t get much natural light in this room, so this was the face lift it needed!


Again, thank you Chris! I promise to give you at least a month or so before I start bugging you to consider doing something about updating those floors… ūüôā Also, I promise that as long as you never ask me to move again, you’ll never have to refinish¬†kitchen¬†cabinets again. ¬†(Notice I specified KITCHEN. The bathroom cabinets still need some TLC, hun.)Love you!



One last comparison to show how far we’ve come!





Kitchen Spruce Up!

While we are loving our new house here in Florida (and it really is a great house!) it’s no secret that I reeeeeally loved the one we built in Raleigh. We picked out every little detail and put so much work into it, especially the kitchen. It was my favorite kitchen ever. Unfortunately, the kitchen in our new home was the one area that did not make me happy when we initially saw the house. We knew when we purchased the home that we’d be putting in a little T.L.C. (money) to make it what we wanted.

Recently, we replaced the older black appliances that came with the house, put up some fun beadboard, replaced the under cabinet lights, got some new furniture, and had a contractor help us re-do our backsplash. The result is so much more “us” and overall lighter and brighter!

Here’s some before pics…


Not terrible. Just a little dark and sad. And that backsplash though…


Not only was this tile a dreary geometrical nightmare to look at, it was so stuck on it would have survived a nuclear bomb. It took our contractor so long to rip it all down and all the walls came down with it!

Now on to the after pictures!



Nothing a little stainless steel and white subways can’t fix!


This kitchen is definitely more our style now and is a place I’m excited to cook in. I’m still looking to¬†replace our drawer pulls with¬†something more of a cup style since these are a little too modern for my taste, but¬†we’re on our way to making this my favorite house yet!


Winter Weather Wackiness!

Ah, Winter time. That lovely time of year where noses never stop running, feet never seem warm enough, and cabin fever sets in. Admittedly, this North Carolina winter has paled in comparison to what went down last winter in Pennsylvania, but when you’re a mom of two small kids, cold is cold. No outside playtime and¬†always having to bundle up to go anywhere is a drag. Then when you add snow or ice that keeps you housebound, well, that’s a lot of togetherness!

So, I’m sharing what we do to keep sane in Winter months.

First of all, without a doubt, there is more T.V. watching and iPad time. I just don’t know how to completely avoid that.


At least it’s educational!


We have literally played with every.single.toy. in our house. We build and take apart various train tracks all day long. We paint pictures. We play with Play-doh. We read and re-read our favorite books. We do puzzles. We make buildings with Legos and blocks. We have races around the house. We jump on our trampoline. Aaand, that gets us to right around lunch time. Whew!



Working on those fine motor skills!


Another life saver during winter months is a new toy added in the mix. Anything new that can be a distraction, is always a win! Except for this toy. It’s called a Wubble. It was described by Brady as, “The BEST toy ever!” And, it popped the day after we got it. We didn’t even have time for the novelty to wear off! Ugh…


The real winter fun begins when we can get out and play in some cold weather. Last week we had this weird ice/snow storm that froze everything, made roads impossible to drive on, and canceled school all week. Thankfully we were stocked with lots of food and Chris was home with us as his travel plans were canceled for the week because of the weather. We couldn’t go anywhere, so we just used that time to bundle up and play on the ice.




Nolan kept saying “Pretty Snow. Wow.” but he only kinda tolerated being outside in the cold. He refused to wear gloves and was much more interested in coming inside the warm house to eat breakfast.

While North Carolina does have it’s share of warmer winter days where temperatures reach into the 50’s, for the most part it’s much¬†chillier this time of year and you are forced to find inside activities to fill the day. Some of our go-to places to venture to are the mall play area (if I’m up for dousing the kids with hand sanitizer afterwards), the train table in the children’s section of Barnes-n-Noble, a friend’s house for a playdate, the Chick-fil-a play area (so mommy can get an iced tea and a moment of sanity), story time at the library, Marbles Kids Museum (definitely getting our money’s worth out of those annual passes!) and the North Carolina Science Museum.


At the “World’s Largest Dinosaurs” exhibit at the Science Museum.


Dino dig at the Science Museum. Brady was in heaven.

When all else fails and we just can’t think of anything else to do, we make music, play music, and dance.

Another winter pastime of ours is finding a house project/re-decorating. It must be all that time spent sitting around the house that makes me start to critique every piece of furniture, paint color or throw pillow. Our house is new, so theoretically I shouldn’t have that much I’d want to change, but my dining room table has been on my mind for sometime now. I’ve always loved the table as it used to belong to my grandparents, but the chairs were not my style. During our week of being stuck inside, I finally bit the bullet and ordered some new chairs. Then, our first outing after the ice storm was to Home Depot for a new light fixture for the dining room. Thanks to winter storms, my hubby was in town all week and had some time in the evenings to put this all together for me!



I’m a much bigger fan of the “After” look.

We try to make the most of our time together during all the cold weather, cabin fever loveliness, but some days seem to turn into a blur of baking cookies, watching movies, and taming toddler madness. I’m sure Spring is right around the corner, but for now we’ll keep searching for our lost gloves, watching the Planes movie on a continuous loop, and checking the news for school closures. cbn1 cbn2

Keep warm, friends! And for goodness sake, if you’ve got some better ideas for entertaining kiddos during the winter, please share them with me!



Pirate Party- Arrghh!!

Recently, a sweet little girl I know, named Ryley, turned 4. Her momma, Darrah,¬†and I became friends in grad school, and have remained close since. It’s hard to believe we both have little ones now, let alone little ones who have turned 4!!


Throwback! This was baby Brady and Ry right before her 1st birthday. Where has the time gone?!

Darrah had a fantastic Pirate themed party planned¬†for Ry’s big day, and asked if Chris and I could help her come up with some printables for the food and d√©cor. Of course we obliged, and her party turned out so cute! Here’s some pictures from the party.

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LOVE this Fleet of Cupcakes!

Darrah’s creativity teamed up with a few of these Pirate printables, made for an amazing party that any 4 year old would love to have! Here’s the links to the printables that we designed with Ry’s party in mind, but would be perfect for any Pirate themed event. There are game titles, thank you notes, and food labels. Just click on the link below the image you want to download and print!

O coconuts

O coconuts

Pirate option2

Pirate option2

Pirate photo op

Pirate photo op

Sail Away

Sail Away



Tic Toc Croc Toss

Tic Toc Croc Toss

Walk the Plank

Walk the Plank



Brady’s First Day of Pre-School

Today was Brady’s first day of 3 year old Pre-School. This year he will go Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:15-1:15. He was so excited about playing with new friends and seeing his teacher, “Miss Cwad-yah” (Miss Claudia.) He specifically requested a special lunch for his lunch box…a bologna sandwich, grapes, and a muffin (a cupcake.) He couldn’t wait to wear his new Gator backpack and his “Vroom Vroom” shirt. I love that he was so brave and ready to take on a new school year!

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Breakfast with Nolan on the 1st day of school


A little first day gift for “Miss Cwad-yah.”



His first lunch box!!

I couldn’t help but think how cool it was that over 11 years ago Chris and I met at UF and now, here we are with a 3 year old going to school with his Gator backpack and an Orange and Blue cupcake in his lunchbox!!!


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Nolan fit right in…and couldn’t quite understand why he couldn’t stay and play!


Had to sneak one picture after we walked away!

Yay for our big boy!


Brother (& Sister) Printable

Recently, I took a trip to Florida to have a little Gator girl reunion and help celebrate my friend Maribeth’s baby boy, Bennett. I asked Chris to help me make a printable that I could frame¬†for his nursery. I thought I’d share it on my blog because I figured that I had lots of friends who may have searched for something similar. The original printable was geared towards being¬†a brother, but I asked Chris to make a similar version in girly colors for all the people out there with little girls. Plus, baby Bennett has a pretty awesome big sister (Lynlee) who deserves her own little something!


Just click on the word “brother” or “sister” under the picture you like, download the file, and print!

Bennett (2)





Drop a Beet!

Recently, I bought a whole bunch of beets for a recipe that Brady and I made for Food Revolution Day. I’ve never been a beet girl, per se, but they were pretty tasty in the Rainbow Salad Wrap we made. Nonetheless, we had a whole lot of leftover beets. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but after seeing how amazingly vibrant and purplely-red the juice was, I thought, this would make a fabulous paint color!

I sliced the beets in different directions so they would all have a different shape. Then, we went outside and used the beet chunks like big stamps. This was easy, and not nearly as messy as I would have anticipated. If you ever have a leftover beet or happen to find them at a farmer’s market for a really cheap price, give this activity a try with your little one!

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Planting Herbs- Kids Cook Monday

Us Smiths have had a busy couple of weeks. We have now been in our new home for a little over a week. So far we are loving our rental home and all that the Raleigh area has to offer.


We are especially loving the warmer temperatures and being able to hang out on our back deck. It’s great because it has a screened in portion that provides shade and an open area that leads to the backyard.



I recently decided to use a little corner of our deck to plant some herbs.


So many of the recipes we make call for fresh herbs so it just made sense! I wanted Brady to be a part of the planting so that he could see exactly where the ingredients he was cooking with and eating came from and have a little ownership over our meals.

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I love the idea of having fresh herbs on hand. Chris and Brady planted chives, basil, thyme, and cilantro. I can’t wait to add them to our meals! I love to take something store-bought and throw a¬†handful of herbs¬†in it to make it taste fresh. An easy one that is always a hit is basil mashed potatoes. I use store-bought mashed potatoes and fold in a handful of fresh, chopped basil leaves. It gives it a fresh, Italian flair that is so good as a side dish to just about anything!


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=   Delicious!

I can also picture me throwing some cilantro into a pot of rice for a Mexican side dish, chives on a bowl of soup or baked potato, and thyme sprinkled in a bowl of buttered noodles. Let’s hope I have a little, tiny, morsel of my grandma’s green thumb in my genes and I can keep these little guys alive!


Grow, grow, grow!

Nolan’s Hole In ONE Par-tee!

We had a busy, busy weekend full of family, friends, and celebrating Nolan’s first birthday! This year has truly FLOWN by. I can’t believe our baby is¬†now a one year old…a one year old who had an absolute blast at his party! He loved seeing all of his little friends, eating cake, and most of all, balloons! Or as he called them, BALLS!

His party was a golf theme that was put together with the help of Pinterest and Etsy. Seriously, what did we ever do without those sites….wander the craft store, trying to muster up inspiration?? Psshh! Here’s a little glimpse of the party set up, decor, and food…

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We were so thankful that so many of our playgroup friends were able to make it to Nolan’s big day. The kids had a blast running around, decorating hats, and of course, eating!

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Nolan was also blessed to have his Grandma, Uncle Charles, Aunt Gift and cousin Chloe at his party. We did our best to get group shots with everyone looking!

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Not surprisingly, Nolan was a fan of his birthday cake.

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Thanks to our friends and family who sent messages, cards, and gifts to our littlest man. His birthday was so special thanks to all of the people who love him. Nolan is such a sweet, fun-loving, little guy who is bursting with personality and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!


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