Closet Makeover Reveal!

You may recall that my resolution for 2015 was to GET ORGANIZED. One of the first projects I tackled in January was our master closets, but then a pipe burst in the bathroom wall in May and we spent 8 weeks getting everything repaired. :(

So, closet - beforeI am finally ready to reveal our closet makeover!

First, I will remind you what it looked like before… I had a wire closet system and I was using plastic shoe racks which regularly fell over. I had wall hooks for necklaces and hung my bags on hangers. Scarves were tucked in a basket. It was ok – not great.

The goal was to make it more functional and better looking. I wanted a mirror to check out my outfits from head to toe and a better storage solution for shoes and bags.

Everything in my closet is clothing I really do wear. Doing an annual purge means I don’t need tons of hanging space.

I group my clothing by type and by color to make it easier to put together an outfit in the morning. Since I am not a professional blogger (just a professional mom) I didn’t stop to make the hangers evenly spaced and photo-ready! Ha!

All my bags are on big brass hooks so I can see them.

I asked Alfonso to make the shelves deep enough for my ladies size 12 shoes! He included space for more boots than I own – I should have been specific about the spacing, but no biggie. I have 20 pair of shoes on the shelves and my flip-flops and tennis shoes are in a big basket. The two shelves you don’t see are my high heels.

I found a mirror at TJMaxx so I can see my whole outfit. #awkwardselfie

The bird hooks are from Hobby Lobby (spray painted gold, of course) and the vintage brass hooks are an estate sale find.

The shelves have space for baskets (socks, underwear, scarves) and this glass bowl where I keep my jewelry. I wear costume jewelry so it’s fine to dump it in a bowl.

The up-side to that pipe bursting in the bathroom is that we decided to replace the wet carpet with hardwood floors in our bedroom!

I have been an organizing fool this summer… There’s more to come! Both kids’ rooms are de-cluttered, newly organized and slightly redecorated just in time for school to start next week!!! :)

Summer of Metamorphosis

As we do each summer, Bryan and I have been teaching Sunday School. This year, we were assigned Michael’s class: boys who just finished kindergarten and first grade. They are wild monkeys!!! (But they’re pretty cute.)

Our children’s minister, Mrs. Amy, goes all out every summer. Instead of doing a week of VBS, she picks a theme for the whole summer and decorates the gym to completely transform it. This summer our theme is Metamorphosis which is all about transforming our hearts and minds to be more like Jesus.

This past Sunday, the kids made spiders. Our craft is always insect-related which Michael loves.

It’s always fun seeing Bryan interacting with the kids.

Blueberry pickin’ in Tennessee

Bryan’s dad has a small orchard and wanted some extra hands to come pick blueberries this summer, so we rounded up the kids and headed to Tennessee. Leah’s friend Andrew was excited to come with us…

The weather that day was perfect – a high of 72˚ F (22˚ C). Michael wore his Christmas pajamas because they’re so comfy. Michael loves pajamas – especially these pajamas.

Jack the dog.

Blueberry picking is a little tedious. I have concluded the ones in the store are a bargain!

Andrew and Leah

Papa P

Bryan

CHEESE!
It’s serious work, folks.

I helped Papa unwrap and re-wrap netting around the bushes that helps ensure the birds don’t eat ALL the berries. Also, let’s pretend that I didn’t get tangled in the netting and was very helpful to this process.

Michael found a little frog…

It was a great day! We have been enjoying blueberry smoothies, blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, blueberry cake, blueberries in cereal and blueberry pie…

Roughing it at church camp…

The kids spent three nights at church camp – the same camp I attended as a kid! This was Michael’s first time to do “sleep away” camp and it seemed a good fit because my friend Sheri’s husband was going to be in the cabin with his little boy and Michael. I told Michael he could ask Mr. Steve to call me if he got really homesick. Michael said, “What if I’m too embarrassed to tell him?” And I replied, “Then you’re not really homesick.” :) Michael did great.

Take a moment to soak up the natural beauty of this place before I show you the “fine” amenities.

The dock has not been repaired or replaced since I first set foot on it in 1980.

The accomodations are “rustic” to say the least. From what I can see, the only change since I was a camper is that someone painted the walls and ceilings of the cabins so we can’t see that “Kim wuz here” and my friend “Dawnn wuz here” year upon year through the 80’s.

Michael gave me a quick hug and ran away when I dropped them off. Sleep away camp is a big step and I was proud of him for giving it a try. He knew all the boys in his cabin from Sunday School.

Henry came along, of course.

Here’s Leah with her friends. Like her little brother, she knew all her cabin mates already from Sunday School. They were all in the Cherokee cabin – my old cabin.

The kids were both soooo sweaty when Dad and I got there on Monday to pick them up!

The cabins are tucked into the trees and the shade does help, but it was HOT that weekend,

Here’s Michael and Mr. Steve.

I stayed in this same cabin many times! We used to come for a whole week and I loved, loved, loved being here at camp. My kids? Not so much. Not feeling the love. They didn’t hate it, but they didn’t love it either, so I think we’re done with church camp which is fine.

Here’s Michael trying to out-muscle his Paw-Paw for the front seat on the ride home. Guess who won? (Hint: Not Michael.)

Friends

We were so excited to have Leah and Michael’s best friends from Texas come visit again this summer! It’s never enough time, but it’s always so much fun! I love that the kids pick up right where they left off. Leah and Ava were 7  and Michael and Tucker were 4 and 5 when our friends moved to Texas, but you would never know. The kids all share stories about when we were neighbors and have such specific funny memories of those years…

I know how this works, because my best friend moved to Texas the summer we were 8 and we are still friends!!!

Leah and Ava

We met at the pool with a bunch of neighbors who wanted to see the family…

Me and Jodi!!!

I call this “Hot Moms of The Cove”. Ha! Sounds like a good “reality” TV show. And I have no idea why Tina has her face in her hands in horror?!?

Michael and Tucker fell right back into their groove…

This picture cracks me up. The girls (and their little brothers) were swimming and having lunch with our friend Andrew at his house on Sunday…

Mike and Jodi with the kids…

We miss this crew so much!!! Little Mr. Graham Cracker (as I call the baby) is so adorable! He leaned right over and kissed me on the lips! Ha! Already a charmer…

Tucker, Ava, Graham, Leah, Andrew and Michael

We are scheming a summer camp option in Texas next summer…

Summer Camp

Leah went back to her favorite summer camp again this year! I posted pictures of the camp last year that are worth a second look – it’s so pretty there. The camp is tucked under a canopy of trees right on the lake – so peaceful. Here are a few pictures of her week…

Zipline!

The wall!

Horseback riding!

The banana!

The blob!

Leah came home with a massive bruise along her right thigh from a hard hit onto the water from the blob. Apparently, the excitement of being catapulted into the air by one of the counselors was ‘totally worth it’ for the injury sustained! This girl is fearless.

Archery!

Leah and her cabin counselor…

Leah and the camp director…

Her Paw-Paw and I were so proud of her for winning the leadership award again!

Quick Refresh

Now, my love of brown and wood and leather and baskets is an enduring love but my favorite color changes – a lot. Thankfully, I don’t feel like I have to redecorate every few months… I can just swap out the covers on my throw pillows.

Lately, I’m in love with white. It’s so fresh. And you know I love owls… So…


I spotted these pillow covers at Hobby Lobby on sale for $5 and $8 each. How crazy is that?!? Check out the quality…

  

Love.

I think they’re definitely sending out a fresh, happy, easy – and perhaps wise – vibe. Ha!! Whatever… I like them. I used some down inserts I’ve had for a long time.


My buddy approves.

This month in the yard: July

It’s prime summer time, folks! June was rainy, rainy, rainy and yet sunny, so everything is thriving! (Except my poor burning bush, but it will make it.) Let’s take a tour, shall we?

First of all, and this is important, I read recently that Ferns are the Fiddle Leaf Figs of 2015. :)

Ta da!
#fernisthenewblack

I got my first Canna Lilly bloom! I planted 5-6 Cana Lillies from bulbs in April – some in pots and some in beds. This one is in a pot is the biggest, which surprises me.

My sunflowers have exploded! I had forgotten how much FUN they are to grow! They grow so fast and so big and so effortlessly!!! Get some. Seriously.

As much as I have always loved this combo, it’s just too much in one spot. Next Spring, I am moving these Hosta Lillies someplace less crowded.

The Firecracker Gladiolus are just about to pop! I grew them from bulbs so this is pretty exciting. And yes, there’s dirt under my fingernail in this photo. <sigh> It’s an occupational hazard.

The Hosta Lillies are all blooming.

I planted Caladiums from bulbs and they are finally popping up. I put some in a pot on the side porch and some in a flowerbed by the driveway.

My Hydrangeas are huge – but they will not bloom! I have a theory that it’s because I haven’t cut them back in a couple years – I read that they will grow larger if you don’t cut them back. Next year: chop! We’ll see what happens.

So, just to clarify, I am completely in love with my Purple Coneflowers. <3

Coneflowers are mounding perennials which means they will spread out from year to year. Photos like this really make me appreciate the colorful gardens I see in Southern Living. My coneflowers have a lot of work to do!

Here’s another Canna Lilly that emerged from a bulb. I am done with bulbs – they require way too much patience!

The last of my little purple Day Lillies…

Claire is demonstrating how soft and lush the lawn is right now from all the rain and sun this summer…

 That’s it folks!

Stevie Food!

The other day, my brother Steve said he wanted to go grocery shopping and bring over food to cook dinner for all of us! (I swear he really was mean to me when we were kids, although he says it’s not true and he’s so sweet now that the kids won’t believe me!) Anyway, I was excited because he said he was going to make a recipe he hadn’t cooked for me in eons.

As Steve started cooking, I pulled out notes I’d taken at his house in Charlotte, NC back in 1999 when he first cooked this for me and our older brother Hal. I tried re-creating it a couple times over the years. The Pickapeppa sauce is the critical ingredient!

It’s unbelievable. You just have to try it.

Here’s a picture of my sweet girl Leah watching Stevie cooking – just because she’s adorable and this picture is so her and she’s growing up so stinking fast that I am going to blink and she’ll be driving back to college from a weekend home. <sigh> I love this girl. <3

I love my sweet brother, too!

Little Man, Director of Paleontology

Michael has been fascinated with dinosaurs since preschool and is loaded with interesting facts. I’ve learned a lot about dinosaurs from Michael. His favorite is the Mosasaurus, so I found a diagram of one online, ran it through a Waterlogue app (to make it look cool) and then through PicMonkey (to personalize it with inspiring/aspirational text) and printed it as a poster on Vistaprint for about $8. When Michael saw it, he was speechless – completely, if you can even imagine Michael being silent for a couple minutes. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking at all. He loved it. Like he LOVED it. I do, too.

My little man is all about strategizing the launch of his zoo. He’s spent the past 4-5 months planning, designing, hiring (his classmates, neighbors, family) and firing (his sister – at least three times) for what will prove to be a magnificent operation once he’s open for business. The zoo will float in space in/on a hover craft (to save the expense of buying land and paying property taxes) and will be home to wild animals – both living and, as of yet, extinct. I am in charge of the baby big cats, running the cafe and playing my trumpet to entertain the guests. Bryan is the engineer in charge of operations and has his own huge office. Leah will be the star of a mermaid show, unless Michael fires her again. My favorite moment in all the months of planning was when the mother of one of Michael’s classmates asked me if there’s any truth to this zoo Michael is opening this summer. “Yes!” I replied, “Of course!” Her kid is in charge of the dinosaurs. What’s unclear about this plan?

For now, Michael’s anole, Emmitt, is the closest thing to a dinosaur living with us.