Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kitchen Mood Board

I have been dreaming of updating our kitchen since we bought this house.  But, as I'm sure you are aware, the kitchen is usually the most expensive room in the house to renovate...so we have been putting it off and tackling other smaller projects.  We don't have any set plans on when we will work on the kitchen, or even what we will do to it, but I have been saving ideas for a while now, so I thought I would share my thoughts with you.


We agree that the kitchen needs to be updated whenever we decide to sell this house (no plans to do that anytime soon), so we are currently of the mindset that we might as well update it sooner rather than later and be able to enjoy it instead of waiting and updating it right before we sell (whenever that may be).

 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Monday, April 9, 2018

Opalhouse at Target

I am loving this new home decor line that just came out at Target!  The colors, oh the COLORS!  It's very much Anthropologie meets World Market, but the price points are very reasonable.  They have everything from furniture to dish towels and tons in between!


There is a lot to choose from, but I wanted to share some of my favorites,  I have seen what our store has on display and I have to say I was impressed with the textures and the quality!  The faux plants looked life-like, the velvet pillows were extremely soft, the poufs are absolutely adorable, and there are lots and lots of details that get lost in the pictures online.

 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter Scavenger Hunt

This is a new-to-us tradition, one that came out of panic last year.

In our house, the Easter Bunny brings the baskets.  Mom and Dad don't get credit for them.  I am not sure how that got started, because honestly, I would appreciate a little credit sometimes, but at any rate, the Bunny gets all the thanks...at least for now.  I love that Chase still believes in the Easter Bunny, so I am willing to give up my cred for as long as it takes!

As most of you know, we have 2 large dogs, who like to eat EVERYTHING.  Last year was the first Easter with them, and we knew we couldn't set eggs out for the boys without the dogs ruining each and every one of them.  We ended up doing an egg hunt at my brother-in-law's house, so the kids still got to have their fun and get their fill of candy, etc.  But, that posed an issue for how the Easter Bunny was going to deliver the baskets and not the eggs.  Since we were not doing an egg hunt at home, I decided it would be fun to do a scavenger hunt to find their Easter baskets.  It was a complete last minute decision...I quickly typed up some random clues (the clues were from the Easter Bunny), printed them on plain white paper, cut them out, and then frantically tried to hide them when no one was looking.

But, it was SO much fun!  The boys absolutely loved it and they were almost as excited about finding their baskets as they were on Christmas morning!  That excitement motivated me to do it again this year.  However, this year I have planned and prepped.  Such a nice feeling to have things planned instead of running around at the 11th hour, you know!  Live and learn.

Anywho, I wanted to share what I put together incase you are looking for a fun, new tradition for your little crew!  You could of course change the wording and make them personalized to suit your family.  I am attaching a blank sheet of the eggs along with the clues I typed up this year.


I ultimately decided to print the introduction on a separate page.  I wanted it to be larger because I am going to put it on the front door...as if the Bunny left it there for them.  
Click HERE to access all of the free printables....both the blank egg sheets and the scavenger hunt clues from this year and last year.

What is one of your favorite Easter traditions?




 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

5 Random Facts About Me

Well hello there!  It's been a while.  I had a couple of posts 95% complete and ready to publish last week, and then computer issues arose and we went out of town, so I said forget it!  It's good to take a little break, even if it's not intentional.  Last week was Spring Break for us, and that meant a lot of togetherness...which is so fun for the first few days, and then I start thinking about that whole distance makes the heart grow fonder saying.  Kidding.  Sort-of.  Luckily, the boys and I had plans to venture down to AR for a few days, so that was a good distraction.  There's an amazing children's museum in Bentonville, AR, called The Amazeum and they absolutely love it!  We also got to celebrate birthdays for my niece and nephew while we were there!  So many yummy baby faces to kiss!

I thought I would share some random things about myself.  I love getting to know other people whether that be face to face or via the internet, and I thought this would be a chance for you to get to know me a little bit better!  So, here it goes...

 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Shepherd's Pie

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, a recipe with Irish roots! 

Shepherd's Pie / Midwestern Mama  This delicious Irish-based comfort food meal is a family favorite!

We grew up eating Shepherd's Pie, but I haven't always been a fan of this dish.  It was one of 2 meals my dad prepared on a whim when he was in charge of dinner (the other meal being spaghetti).  I don't know if it was the can of Veg-all or the half a bottle of ketchup he added to his concoction that turned me off, but I always assumed all Shepherd's Pie was created equal and I didn't eat it for many years after I left home. 
 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Thursday, March 8, 2018

What I Am Ordering From Amazon This Month (March)

I don't know about you, but after that little taste of warm weather we had, I am so ready for spring to be here pronto!  Although, my toes desperately need some TLC before sandal season.  I had hoped to get another post out to you guys this week, but things have been a little crazy around here lately!  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we had the beams on our ceiling removed in our kitchen/ breakfast area and I am extremely happy with the results!  Our ceilings were very low, and the beams were quite dated, so while I love a good, chunky beam, these were not something I wanted to keep around.  We love it so much, we are moving forward with removing the beams in our living room too!  So, we get about a week break, then back to living in a construction zone.

Alright friends, here are the things I am getting this month from Amazon's Subscribe and Save program this month.


For those of you who are not familiar with Subscribe and Save, I'll give you a run down below.  If you already know the ins and outs, please feel free to scroll on down!
 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My Favorite Natural Deodorant (Store Bought)

Hey, hey, hey!  How goes it friends?  I know most of you are aware of my hippie ways when it comes to deodorant and other personal care products.  Not everything I use is 100% free of junky chemicals, but I try to avoid them when I can.  I have previously shared how I make my own deodorant, and I know a lot of you are probably thinking that's crazy, but it is super easy to make and it really does work!

Best Natural Deodorants:  A Review / Midwesternmama.com

However, I'll be honest with you...sometimes I don't want to rub the homemade stuff on with my fingers.  And sometimes I would like a little fragrance.  I am always on the hunt for something new and amazing, but after trying several different types of natural deodorants and being disappointed, I eventually just resorted to making my own.  I can now say I have converted to purchasing deodorant in stick form again and I LOVE IT!  It's free of aluminum and parabens, it comes in some amazing scent options, and I don't have to wash my hands after I apply it!

 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

DIY Rustic Shelves

I posted a pic of these shelves in my master bathroom last week, and I received a few requests asking where I got them.  Well folks, I am here to tell ya, I made them and they are super easy!  Like most of my DIY projects, if I can do it, so can you!

DIY Rustic Barnwood Shelves / Midwestern Mama.  Don't have access to old barn wood, no problem!  Grab some at Home Depot and make some of these custom shelves!

I looked and looked for some rustic style brackets, but no stores around here had what I was wanting.  I found these online and they were perfect!

I opted for a grey barn wood--the same wood I used for my jewelry organizer frame--which I purchased from Home Depot.  But, you could easily get any kind of wood and stain or paint it any color your heart desires!

 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Friday, February 16, 2018

Master Bathroom Remodel

It was this time last year that we finally said sayonara to our master bathroom.  I have been meaning to share this update for a long time, but you know when you have really good intentions of doing something, and then....LIFE happens?  Yeah.  I can't believe it has been ONE YEAR since we renovated 2 of our bathrooms!  Crazy!  This post has been a long time coming.  I knew it was going to be a rather lengthy one, so it took me a while to get it all put together.  I would work on it and then forget about it for a few days months.  Then, I'd come back to it, only to abandon it once more.  And now, the time has come my friends!  I finally hit publish.


Bathroom remodel with herringbone carrera look tile, chevron marble tile and raised white subway tile


We have lived in our current home for about two and a half years now. The first time we looked at this house, my immediate impression was not exactly warm and fuzzy.  The kitchen and the bathrooms were terrible. Those are the 2 things that usually end up making or breaking a house sale and this house was definitely lacking appeal in these areas, among others.  There was old, dark wallpaper on most of the walls, the floorpan was rather choppy, the bedrooms were small, bathrooms were smaller, and the basement was not anything we could really finish into a living space.  Buuuuuuut we loved the land and the setting, so I swallowed my pride and we bought it.  I enjoy a challenge, but this is definitely my biggest challenge to date! 
 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Monday, February 12, 2018

Personalized Valentines

Each year I make my kiddos a personalized Valentine for them to give out to their friends.  If I'm being completely honest, I really just make it for myself, and then print extra copies for them to hand out.  I don't know why, but I just really love this little tradition we started and I am going to do it as long as they comply!

Personalized Valentines / Midwestern Mama

As Chase gets older, it has become a little more challenging to think of something that he approves of.  Last year was just a simple picture of him with a Valentine graphic.  It was cute but pretty simple and I thought for sure he would not be into my silly ideas this year.  I was pleasantly surprised!

 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Friday, February 9, 2018

What I'm Ordering From Amazon This Month (February)

It's that time of the month again!  No, not that time of the month...  It's time for me to share what I order from Amazon's Subscribe and Save program.  I have loved this subscription service for years and years, but I am always finding different things to add to my order.  I thought I would be helpful to share what I have delivered to my door in hopes that it may save you a trip to the store in this cold COLD winter!  




For those of you who are not familiar with Subscribe and Save, I'll give you a run down below.  If you already know the ins and outs, please feel free to scroll on down!

 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Monday, February 5, 2018

Target Does it Again

Just when I think Target can't possibly get any more trendy...they come out with a new line that is pretty freaking awesome! 


I have been very impressed with their new Universal Threads line and I wanted to share some of my favorites.  I recently ordered a few pairs of shoes to try, and it's going to be hard to decide which ones I need to return.  Especially since the prices are unbeatable!

 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Friday, February 2, 2018

Everyday Makeup Tutorial Video

Hey there fellow makeup lovers!  I think makeup is such a fascinating thing.  I love how it can boost a woman's confidence and make us feel grrrrrrrrreat (am I right, Tony the Tiger?).  I used to wear makeup every.single.day, but then....motherhood.  I noticed that when I would go a while without putting it on, I just felt blah.  It's amazing how a little bit of makeup will make you feel human again on days you may otherwise not.  You know, those days when you are sleep deprived, have dried spit-up in your hair, and are wearing the same shirt you wore yesterday and maybe all week.


I am by no means a makeup professional!  Not at all!  But, I have been getting some questions about what products I use, so I am stepping out of my comfort zone and showing you everything via video!  Some of my products are department store brands, others are drug store brands.  Some of them are more natural and free of toxic chemicals, and unfortunately others aren't so great with their ingredient lists.  It's just a big giant mix of everything!  Below, I'll try to explain a few more details, things I may have forgotten to mention in the video.  And, I will link up everything incase you see something you would like to try!
 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

DIY Board and Batten under $100

Hey friends!  I have been bitten by the DIY bug and have been itching to make some changes around casa de French.  I have a long list of things I want to do, and some are more complicated than others.  So, like any other to do list, I started with the easiest thing first.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Enter this board and batten wall I created for our coat and backpack storage.  We have a small coat closet, which does have a few coats in it, but the reality is that the coats we use on a regular basis don't get hung up in the closet.  They are draped over the back of a chair or the couch because to open the closet door, get a hanger, and hang up the coat is just too.much.work.  I had a small coat rack for the boys' coats and backpacks, but it was overflowing and it crowded our small hallway that leads to the garage.


The wall I chose to put the board and batten on is part of a random hallway that has a closet on one side (which we use as a pantry) and a blank wall on the other side.  The door at the end of this hallway leads outside to our back patio.  We didn't previously use this door because there are 2 other doors that also lead to this same patio, so we stuck a time-out chair at the end of the hall and never went in and out of that door.  Up until now, this was known as the "time-out hallway".

Materials:
1x6 pine boards for top horizontal board  **I used pine, but not the cheapest knotty pine.  I wanted a smooth finish, so I paid a small amount more for the smooth pine boards.
1x4 pine boards for lower horizontal board
1x3 pine boards for vertical boards
trim piece for the top (optional)
finishing nails
2.5" wood screws
hammer
tape measure
drill
sand paper and/or electric sander
paintable caulk
spackling
paint
paintbrush
painter's tape
level
stud finder

Your wall and measurements will obviously differ from mine, but just to give you an idea, my wall is 118" long.  I spaced the vertical boards 14.5" apart from each other, and the top and bottom horizontal boards were 13" apart.


The first thing I did was measure out where I thought I wanted the boards to be, then I put tape on the wall to help me visualize it.  I am glad I did this because my original plans were to make the horizontal boards higher then they ended up being.  I was working around the light switch simply because I didn't want to have to cut a board to go around it, so I had to decide if I wanted the lower board above or below the switch.  I decided to put it below because the purpose of this wall was to organize coats and backpacks, and I was worried if I put it above the switch, the boys would not be able to reach the hooks...which defeats the whole purpose.  I have seen board and batten at all different heights, so this is a personal preference and depends on your ceiling height and the purpose of your wall.  Luckily, I think it all looks great, no matter what height it is, so there is a lot of flexibility!

After measuring and determining the distance between boards, I headed to Home Depot to gather my materials.  Here's a little tip: If you don't have a table saw, or other means to cut the boards, they will cut them for you.  Just be sure to have ALL of your measurements when you purchase the boards!  My husband was able to help me cut the boards, so we did all of that at home.

Here are the dimensions of the boards I used:

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Because I was hanging hooks on my board and batten, I needed some of the boards to be secured in the studs.  The horizontal boards were screwed into the studs, while the vertical boards were all just nailed to the wall with finishing nails.


Just like any other DIY project I have attempted, I ran into a little bit of a glitch.  I knew I wanted some sort of trim at the top to make it look more finished.  I originally put a 1"x4" board along the top of the board and batten, but when I put the trim piece over the 1x4, it looked funny.  It was too small and not the look I was going for.  I added a 1x2 to the top of the 1x4 to make it a 1x6 (have I totally confused you yet?) and then put the trim piece over the 1x2.  Those extra 2 inches made all the difference and really made the top more of a statement, especially with the trim piece attached.  I just caulked the seam between the original 1x4 and the added 1x2, and you can't even tell they are 2 separate pieces now.  Live and learn!  That's what it's all about!

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Let's talk about the bottom of the board and batten.  I had looked up numerous inspiration pictures online before tackling this project.  One of my concerns was how to make the new boards blend into the existing trim on the floor.  This same trim is all throughout our house, so I knew changing it was not an option at this point.  Lots of other board and batten walls have a bottom horizontal board to frame out the entire project.  However, with our puny little trim, the new board would have looked awkward next to it.  Instead, I decided to cut the bottom of the boards at a 45° angle.  This way, they merge nicely into the existing trim and don't appear to stick out too far.


After I got all of the boards screwed/nailed to the wall, I caulked all of the seams.  I did this because I didn't want any cracks where the paint might seep in between the wood and the wall.  Just run a thin line of paintable caulk down the seam, then use your index finger to smooth it out.  Wipe any excess away with a damp cloth.  They sell tools for this, but I find that my finger works so much better!  While the caulk is drying, fill in the nail/screw holes with spackling paste, then let everything dry.  I let it dry overnight, but you can read the package for the minimum dry times if you're in a hurry.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

This next step is my least favorite part of the whole process.  SANDING.  Can't say I'm a fan of sanding.  I used an electric sander for the flat boards, but I had to do a lot of sanding by hand when it came to the crevices and the trim.  My arm wanted to fall off and the muscles in my palm were so sore!  But it wouldn't be DIY without a little blood, sweat, and tears!  Thankfully, there was no blood involved in this project.  Or tears for that matter...but you know what I mean!

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Now that the wood and all of the caulk/spackling is as smooth as a babies bum, you are ready to clean it up.  I vacuumed the space and tried to get rid of as much dust as possible, then I wiped down the entire area with a damp cloth, rinsing it often.  Once it dried, I used a tack cloth to pick up any remaining dust particles.  Just lightly run the tack cloth over every surface you plan to paint.


My walls were already painted, so I just primed the boards with 1 coat of primer.  Once that was dry, I painted the entire area, boards and wall, with 2 coats of semi-gloss paint.  I used Sherwin Williams Dover White because that's the color the rest of our trim is painted.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Honestly, I was so happy with the way it turned out, I didn't even want to drill holes in it and hang the hooks!  I just love how it brightened the space and really transformed this otherwise boring little hallway!

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

Buuuuuuut, the whole point of this project was to help organize the coat clutter.  So, despite my hesitations, I proceeded with adding hooks.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

All in all, this project was super fun, extremely inexpensive and a huge bang for my buck!  I spent $72 on materials, not including paint or hooks.  I happened to have some paint leftover, but even if I had to purchase paint, the total would have been under $100!  There aren't too many home improvement projects out there with that low of a price tag.  And the best part is, you don't need to be super handy to tackle this one!  THESE are the hooks I added, which also added an extra $50 to the total cost of my wall.

DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama

I hope this tutorial helps you if you are considering adding board and batten to a part of your home!  Now, I need to find a new place for the time-out chair.....


DIY Board and Batten under $100 / Midwestern Mama





 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Learning About Myself and My Struggles with Social Media

I don't really know how to start this post.  I have thought about it for a long time...then come up with an excuse as to why I shouldn't write it.  I am just going to dive in, and it is probably going to be very random and jump around, but I'll try to keep it somewhat cohesive.

Most of you know that I avoided social media like the plague...until I started this blog.  I decided to start a blog because I needed something for myself, something creative, something that I could call my own and work on when I am not doing mommy and wife stuff.  I have not worked in over 6 years, and to be honest, sometimes being a stay at home mom can be lonely.  Yes, I have my kid or kids with me pretty much 24/7, but I miss the adult conversations, the social interactions, the challenges and successes that come with a job.  I wanted my blog to resonate with people and be a way to connect with others.  I knew that if I wanted anyone besides my family to read it, I was going to have to get a social media account and "advertise" my blog by posting about it.


 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Monday, January 15, 2018

Anthropologie Sale Favorites + A Giveaway!

Anthopologie is currently having their winter tag sale, which gives you an extra 40% off their clearance merchandise.  They also currently have 20% off house and home items so I rounded up a few of my favorites!  Take a gander, and then don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the post for a giveaway for an Anthropologie gift card!  I could do some serious damage in this store if I won a gift card!  ***UPDATE:  Giveaway is closed, and the winner is Bianca!  Congrats Bianca and thanks for following!***

Shop my picks for the sale below by using the arrows to scroll to the right.  I tried to choose items that were still in stock, but things are going quickly!


And now, it's time for the really fun part of today's blog post!

I'm so excited to be bringing you a massive giveaway for the new year!  I've teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to give away $1000 to Anthropologie!  All you have to do is enter below in the Rafflecopter widget!  Good luck friends! a Rafflecopter giveaway SaveSave
 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Thursday, January 11, 2018

My Favorite Remedies for Dry, Cracked Hands

Winter is here with a bang this year!  Man, has it been cold or what?  We got a tiny break in the freeze yesterday, only to be followed by ice and school cancellations today.  We have been a little stir crazy in this house because with the exception of one day this week, it's been too cold to go outside and play, even for a little bit.

Cold weather does a number on my skin, and especially my hands.  The dry air and cold temperatures definitely don't help, but I think the addition of extra hand washing (trying to avoid those yucky winter germs) puts my poor hands over the edge.  My skin cracks, my cuticles bleed, and my hands feel like I have a job doing really hard manual labor.  #paulbunyon


 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Monday, January 8, 2018

What I'm Ordering From Amazon This Month (January)

Last month I started a new series where I am sharing what I order from Amazon's Subscribe and Save program each month.  I have loved this subscription service for years and years, but I am always finding different things to add to my order.  I thought I would be helpful to share what I have delivered to my door in hopes that it may save you a trip to the store in this cold COLD winter!  



For those of you who are not familiar with Subscribe and Save, I'll give you a run down below.  If you already know the ins and outs, please feel free to scroll on down!


 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

And A Happy New Year

I hope you all had a GREAT holiday season and a fun New Year's Eve!  We stayed in and celebrated with just the four of us this year.  It ended up being really fun thanks to some great ideas I found on Pinterest!  Gosh, WHAT did we do before Pinterest?  We made it to midnight (even Beckham stayed up!), but I was draaaaaaggggging.  It's pretty sad when your 8 year old can hang longer than you can.  #gettingold



 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png
Back to Top