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. 🙂



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… 🙂 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!



I realized recently that while I did write a blog post about our home, I failed to ever write a follow-up post with pictures of the upstairs. I love these kinds of posts for 3 reasons. 1- if any of you are anything like me, then you agree that it’s fun to snoop around and see what other people’s houses look like. 2- not all of my friends and family are able to get up to visit us, so this helps them feel like they’ve gotten to see how we live and peek into our boys’ world. 3- it’s a virtual keepsake so I can always look back and show our boys what their house looked like when they were little.

With that being said, here’s the rest of our home. And, apologies to Chris who may have mentioned that I overshare 🙂

Starting with our bedroom- kind of a kid free zone. Not kid free, as in they aren’t allowed in there, just kid free in that we only have pictures of Chris and me in there.


Like how I cleverly cropped out our treadmill?

In addition to pictures of the 2 of us, we have song lyrics (“You & Me”-DMB) and quotes that are meaningful to us.

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The master bathroom- super big deal because our Lititz house did not have a bath tub in the Master bedroom and it always bummed me out. Please excuse the cheesy mirror selfie. There’s no good excuse for that.

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The “bump out” area of our Master. I use it as my little office corner. It’s my happy spot…and where I’m sitting right now.


Ok, so I guess if you count the laptop photo, there’s technically pictures of the kids in our Master bedroom.


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On to the boys’ bedrooms…


Brady’s room…With Nolan playing on the floor. Typical.


Brady’s little transportation themed art gallery- all work he brought home from pre-school.

I love all the things in his room that have special meaning- the blanket that my step-mom made him, the Mickey that my mom sent him before one of our trips to Disney, the train picture that we got from the Lancaster Train Museum.

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The rocking chairs that my Grandma Dot got each of the boys. I love that we have little memories of her all around the house but especially in each of the boys’ rooms.

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And here’s Nolan’s room. It was impossible to get pictures of this room without playing going on. So, it’s a pretty real life snapshot.


Chris picked out so many of the special things in this room- The “34” lamp (Nolan Ryan’s baseball number!) and an autographed Nolan Ryan baseball on the dresser.


And the boys’ bathroom. Tidy for now. Let’s check back in ten years and see if it’s still picture worthy.


Then down the hall…


More of Brady’s artwork.

To….the laundry room! A random thing to post, but it’s my first time owning a house with a laundry room. That’s kind of a big deal, right? Plus, I should mention that the window in there gets a pretty sweet view of the sun setting over the golf course at night. It makes laundry just a tiny bit more appealing.


So now I think the only thing I haven’t posted is a picture of our guest room (Chris’s office). Come stay with us and you can see that too! It’s still not 100% how we want it, but it’s getting there. 5 months have passed since we moved in, and we’re still loving it/ finding projects to complete in it. I suppose the projects will never end, but seeing as I’m kind of a project loving girl, that’s alright with me.

Thanks for taking a peek into our world!



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!




We’ve been in our new home for about 3 weeks now. Honestly, it feels like a lot longer! This place just felt like home from the minute we moved in. Here’s a little recap of how our home has shaped up since December 26…


We had our closing at 8 AM the morning after Christmas. Every year Chris holds back one present for me for the day after Christmas. This year it was keys to a new house!


Shortly after we closed on the house, the movers arrived to load up our stuff from the rental house. Nolan was an excellent supervisor.


Good-bye rental house! You were good to us for those quick 8 months we lived in you. (Sadly, our awesome tree did not come with us. He found a new home in the woods out back.)




Moving into the new house…patiently waiting for the movers to bring all their toys in!


Chris and I did not waste any time unpacking. Our first night in the new house was fueled by Chardonnay as we made our way through the boxes.


Here’s what our house looks like now!



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North Carolina doormat!

Here’s how she looks from the inside…


This is the hallway and stairs that are to the left when you walk in the front door. We hung our very favorite pictures that reflect all the places our family has lived- Florida, NC and Pennsylvania. (Thank you Darrah and Kisha for 2 of those!)



This leads into the boys’ playroom. (Otherwise known as formal dining room, but that’s not how this family is using this room!)



The playroom (doorway leads to the pantry and kitchen) with our Pennsylvania barn star. We also have the boys’ birth announcements hanging (gift from Auntie MB!)



The builder gave us some extra windows in this room so it is nice and bright. Perfect for a cheery playroom! (Or formal dining room someday!)

But truth be told, this room is never this neat and tidy. It usually looks like this…


Down the hall is our kitchen. I love that I can see the playroom from the kitchen now!


Next to the kitchen is a little bump out area that we added. This is where we have our dining table. We really like it because it’s close to the kitchen and next to the living room. It’s all very open. It also has a sliding door that leads to the deck out back.



This is another super bright room!



This is what you see if you look straight down the hall from the front door. Would love to eventually update our dining chairs, but for now, that’ll have to go on the wishlist.


Here’s Brady in the open area between our kitchen and living room. It’s usually where they use their riding toys and race in a circle through the playroom and kitchen.


This leads into the living room. We just hung some pictures, so now it’s really feeling more homey. (Sidenote: the pictures currently hanging are of just me, Chris and Brady! I ordered some new prints to reflect the fact that we are now a family of FOUR! Sorry for the delay, Nolan.)



Hi Albert!

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We’re really happy with how everything has turned out. It’s crazy to think that less than 6 months ago this was all just a plot of uncleared land. We feel very blessed to have been a part of the process of creating our forever home. But of course, regardless of the house we’re in, home is wherever I’m with these guys!

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Guest Room Printable

Creative juices were flowing in the Smith house last night! I’ve been searching for some sort of a cute, printable, gift tag that could be used to attach to a welcome basket for guests who stay in our guest room. I thought it would be fun to have a little something waiting for guests when they come to visit and I wanted a little tag to decorate it with that would match the colors of my guest room. Sadly, Pinterest failed me and I could not find exactly what I wanted. SOOO, my artsy hubby gave me a quick Adobe Illustrator tutorial and helped me make my own! We made one version with Gator colors to match our guest room in 8×10 that could be framed and another version that was 5×7 that could be printed, and cut apart to attach to a gift basket. Then we made both in another green and brown color scheme. I thought I’d share in case anyone else was interested in using these. Just click on the link below the version you like and print!

blessed outlined 8x10

            blessed outlined 8×10

blessed outlined 5x7

blessed outlined 5×7

blessed outlined 8x10 gbr

                 blessed outlined 8×10 gbr

blessed outlined 5x7 gbr

blessed outlined 5×7 gbr