Thursday, July 12, 2018

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale PART 2

I'm baaaaaack!  With more fun stuff from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!  I think my eyeballs may pop out of my head because I have been staring at my computer for so long!  But, it's worth it if I can help you guys navigate the sale and find what you have been wanting, needing...and maybe a few things you didn't know you needed (wink wink).

No really, in all seriousness, I do want to tell those of you who don't have a Nordstrom card, and aren't shopping the early access sale...that I don't want you to get a case of FOMO (fear of missing out).  Yes, things do sell out quickly.  And yes, if there is something you want and you wait until the public access on July 20, there is a good chance it won't be available.  BUT, there are always other sales and things often come back in stock eventually.  You may have to wait a while to get what you want at the price you want to pay, but I don't want anyone to feel like they HAVE to get a Nordstrom card and HAVE to shop this sale.

Bloggers make a big deal about this sale because it's rare that a retailer discounts NEW merchandise.  But, again, there will always be another sale, another cardigan, another bootie.  So, no FOMO, m'kay?

Now, moving on to the rest of the sale stuff I promised you.  If you missed Part 1 of the sale picks, you can go read that, and if you have questions about the sale, you may find the answers in this post.

Also, just a reminder that Nordstrom has free shipping BOTH WAYS!  So, if you are debating on something, I would go ahead and order it, see it in person, and then if you don't like it, you can send it back at no charge to you!


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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks PART 1

It's here!  Incase you've been hiding under a rock, let me inform you that Nordstrom is having thier Anniversary Sale, and currently the sale is only open to Nordstrom cardholders.  You can read more about that in my previous post.

Sizes are already going fast, but I wanted to round up some of my faves in certain categories.  With SOOOOO many items for sale, it can be extremely overwhelming.  But, I have scoured through the pages and I am linking things I either ordered, wanted to order, or wish I had somewhere to wear!  I hope these are helpful to you and as soon as I receive my order, I will definitely share what worked and what I love!

Use the arrows on the left and right of the widget to scroll through each category.  I tried to add comments on most of the items, sharing why I chose them for my favorites list!  First up:


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Patio Reveal

We have had quite the transformation in our back patio area this year!  Shortly after we moved into this house, we noticed that the basement flooded frequently during heavy rains.  We had a few different specialists come out and offer their opinions and basically, our backyard sloped down towards our house, which meant all of the rain would pool at the foundation and cause our basement to retain a lot of water.  This was an issue we were going to have to address sooner rather than later.  

Swimming Pool Patio Makeover / Black and White Patio Decor

The amount of excavation work we would have needed was not something we were excited to spend money on. I shared in a previous post, we decided to install a swimming pool and kill two birds with one stone!  After all, a pool and a patio makeover is a much more fun way to spend your dollars than on plain ole dirt work!  
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Friday, July 6, 2018

Perfect White Dresses for Summer

I don't wear dresses often.  I'm much more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal, as I am sure you have gathered by now, but sometimes it's fun to change things up a bit and go girlie for the day!  I love a crisp, white dress in the summer.  They are so versatile because you can wear it alone, or throw on a jean jacket, add a cardigan, wrap something around your waist, or layer it over another shirt.  And, they look great against a sun-kissed glow!  This particular dress was calling my name, and it's the perfect, breezy, white summer dress.

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: What's the Hype?

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale catalog dropped last week, and style bloggers everywhere went cray, flipping through the pages, scouring for the latest trends and deals.  Why?  Because this is the biggest sale that Nordstrom has on PRE-season items.  Usually, sales happen at the end of the season on items that need to be cleared off the shelves in order to make room for new stuff coming in.  But, this sale is unique and highly anticipated because you can score some really great fall/winter goodies at up to 40% off!  So, here's the scoop:

Nordstrom grants early access to it's cardmembers.  If you want to get in on the action before things sell out, you will need a Nordstrom credit card to do so.  Sometimes they restock certain things before opening the sale to the public, but a lot of times things sell out during the early access sale and those who wait just miss out.  If you want to guarantee yourself the best selection, you can sign up for a card HERE.  Early access starts July 12.

The sale opens to the public on July 20.  I know from experience that waiting can be really frustrating.  I did it a few years in a row because I didn't want another credit card, but I finally bit the bullet because you really do get a much better selection during early access.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Search for the Best White Tee

The basic white tee.... It's such a classic, and a staple to any wardrobe.  You'd think it would be so simple to find a good one.  But, nope!  It can become so frustrating!  They can be too short, too sheer, have a weird neckline, too clingy, etc.  I went on the hunt, and tried several different brands, with different price points.  And you know what?  I found it!  Actually, I found more than one perfect white tee!  Cue the angels singing!

Keep reading my review to see which shirts won my heart!
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Friday, June 22, 2018

Lululemon: A Review

I finally took the Lululemon plunge!  And it only took about 4 bottles of champagne.  During my girls trip, back in April, my friends and I went to brunch, where they offered bottomless mimosas, and boy did we take advantage of that!  We stayed at the restaurant long enough to order 2 meals, and continuously drank mimosas the entire time.  When we finally decided we had had enough (or maybe the restaurant kicked us out--my memory is a little foggy), we proceeded to invade Lululemon and try on everything in the store.  Now, I was the only one of the group who didn't already own a pair of their famous leggings, so my friends were determined to convert me.  But, I will say I was planning on walking out of there empty handed, with no regrets, if I didn't just absolutely love them.  Because while I was sure they would have to be better than Old Navy, it's hard to beat $15 leggings, ya know?

Align legging / $5 tank (size down) / sports bra / shoes

Anywho, back to the story.  My friend was showing me around the store, and the salesperson who got stuck with me (poor girl) was extremely patient and tried to explain all of the different types of leggings to me...meanwhile, I was leaning up against the wall and searching for the nearest water fountain, while acting like I was paying attention.  I managed to take a few pictures while I was there, but I didn't get a lot, and some of the pictures I can't even tell which leggings I am wearing.  #drunkshopping #bloggerfail

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

Ahhhh, the smell of fresh strawberries!  There's nothing better than having that first taste of summer, especially if you have access to a strawberry patch.  The strawberries you buy from the store are just not nearly as good as the fresh goodness you can pick from a plant with your own two hands.  Any strawberries will do of course, but we were able to pick a load of fresh berries recently, so I was inspired to not let any of them go to waste!

Fresh Strawberry Syrup / Sauce  :  Midwestern Mama

I made this syrup, or sauce, or whatever you want to call it...heaven in a jar maybe?...for the first time two years ago, and it was delicious over pancakes, waffles, poundcake, oatmeal, angel food cake, ice cream, and we actually even made a cocktail out of it one night!  BOOM!  I mean, how could you say no to some sweet, boozy strawberries?

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Easy Chore Chart the Kids Actually Like

Summah summah, sumertime!  Now that the kiddos are home 24/7, I try to enforce responsibilities and chores more than I do during the school year.  They still have things they need to do on a daily and weekly basis throughout the year, but considering Chase is in school most of the day, then has homework and after school activities, sometimes I get a little lax simply because there just aren't enough hours in the day to get it all accomplished and still get to bed at a decent time.
A DIY Chore Chart Your Kids Will Actually Use! / Midwestern Mama

But summer is a different story!  More time = more responsibilities.  We have been using a clothespin type of chore chart for a few years now, and it has been working great!

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Friday, June 1, 2018

What I'm Ordering From Amazon This Month (April & May)

Hey guys!  Or should I say gals?  Maybe there are some guys who read this...  maybe.  
Anyway I'm back for another month of Amazon orders.  I was a super slacker and didn't get this post out last month, so this one will be a combo of April and May.  And considering it's now June, I will probably combine June and July time.  

Anyone else feel like Amazon gets half of your paycheck?  I am willing to pay it though because it's just so damn convenient!

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!
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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

So This Happened....

It was a long winter y'all.  Like really long.   I mean it snowed in April for goodness sake!  Multiple times!  So, what do you do during a long, harsh, cold winter like that?

Well, hubs and I poured a glass of wine, lit some candles, snuggled up under the covers, and...

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale

I was browsing the Half Yearly Sale currently happening at Nordstrom, and thought I would share some things that caught my eye.  I didn't choose a ton of stuff for this post, just the things I either have, or would consider purchasing myself.  With so many items on sale, it’s can be a bit overwhelming!  There are lots of really cute things on sale though, so you can check it all out right here.

If you have a wedding or an event coming up where you need a cute dress, they have so many adorable dress options!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Trying to Find the Right Denim Shorts is Like Finding a Needle in a Haystack!

You would think that getting a pair of jean shorts would be a pretty easy task.  There are so many to choose from out there, but it's near impossible to find one that meets all of my requirements!  If you follow me on Instagram, chances are you have already heard me talk about most of these, but I know there are a lot of you sweet readers who aren't on IG, so I wanted to share this on my blog as well!  And with all of the Memorial Day sales coming up, I am sure most of these will be on major sale!

Denim Shorts Review / Midwestern Mama

I have been ordering and sending back several different pairs of denim shorts over the past couple of months and it finally donned on me that I should be taking pics and sharing this with you because if we can help each other find a decent pair without pulling our hair out, then we have succeeded at something in life!  I am all about little victories, and a good pair of jean shorts has a way of making me smile!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

DIY Wooden Towel Rack

When we remodeled the boys' bathroom last year, we added a couple of hooks for them to hang their towels up.  I had them strategically hung at a lower level so they could reach them, however, that also meant a little too much force was applied while a towel was being hung up.  Or maybe a child hung from the hook themselves just to see if it would hold him?  Just saying.  Needless to say, they started coming loose from the sheetrock very quickly and were about to fall out of the wall.

DIY Wooden Towel Rack / Backpack Hook  --  Midwestern Mama

I liked the functionality of having them at kid level, but we needed a better solution.  Placing a board behind the hooks provided the stability we needed while also covering up the existing holes!  It was a super easy fix and has been working out great!  I wanted to hide the screws behind the hooks so that the board would be nice and secure without visible screws.  It just makes for a cleaner looking towel rack, don't you think?

DIY Wooden Towel Rack / Backpack Hook  --  Midwestern Mama

I have been seeing a lot of people using this Old Barn Milk Paint stain and I was intrigued for a couple of reasons.  #1, its a one step stain!  Can I get an amen?  It's water based, so you just paint it on and that's it!  You can do as many coats as you want to, but I went with two for this project.  And #2, it is non-toxic.  Enough said.  This is the color Weathered.


1"x 8" board, cut to size.  I used a pine board cut to 28 inches
hooks--I used 3 (These are the ones I have because they match the other bathroom fixtures, but there are less expensive hooks available at Hobby Lobby or Amazon--I like these and these!)
2" construction screws
stain or paint (optional)
paintbrush or rag to apply stain or paint
wall anchor (optional)


Measure your wall and decide how long you want your board to be.  If you know your measurements when you purchase the board, Home Depot or Lowes will cut it for you!

If you are wanting to stain or paint your board, do that next.  Allow plenty of time for your board to dry before you screw it to the wall.  Determine how many hooks you want on your board and where you want the hooks placed on the board.  Use a stud finder to locate the studs on your wall.  Mark them with a pencil to determine where to place your board.  Ideally, you would want to secure the board to 2 studs, but that may not always work out, depending on where your hooks are going to be located.  So, just aim for 1 stud at a minimum and use a wall anchor for the 2nd (and possibly 3rd) screw of you think it is necessary.

DIY Wooden Towel Rack / Backpack Hook  --  Midwestern Mama

Use a drill to secure the board to the wall where your stud is.  Using your level, ensure your board is nice and straight before screwing the remaining screws into the wall.

DIY Wooden Towel Rack / Backpack Hook  --  Midwestern Mama

Attach your hooks over each screw to cover them.  And now you have a custom towel rack that not only looks great, but is super functional and kid friendly!

DIY Wooden Towel Rack / Backpack Hook  --  Midwestern Mama

***Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission.  Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Sausage and Cheese Tortellini Soup

Posting a soup recipe in May is probably not ideal, especially when it’s 90 degrees outside, but this is a fan favorite!  I usually make a crockpot full of this yumminess when we have people over or when I am bringing food to a party or pot luck.  Most recently, I made it for the teachers during teacher appreciation week, and I was asked numerous times for the I thought I'd write a blog post about it to share it with all of you and also have a point of reference for when I want to share it in the future!

Sausage and Cheese Tortellini Soup in the Crockpot!

I knew this soup was good, but the some of the teachers made me feel like Jamie Oliver with comments like "that soup is heaven in a bowl!", and "eating this soup is like getting a hug from your favorite grandma!"  I mean, they were so freaking nice and appreciative for the food that was made for them!  Teachers are amazing, aren't they?
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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Have You Ever Heard of Mother's Day?

Mother's Day is this Sunday, incase you didn't already know!  I came across a video last year that has stuck with much so that I wanted to share it with you for Mother's Day this year.

Most of you know that my Mother's Day last year was a complete disaster, which included me crying in the parking lot of Home Depot.  If you missed that post, you can check it out here.  I don't have a lot of words to add to this post because the link I am about to share pretty much says it all.  Motherhood is a gift.  I know this with my whole heart because conceiving and giving birth to children did not come easy for me.  I tried and tried and tried so hard to get pregnant the 2nd and 3rd time, but that doesn't mean that the day to day grind doesn't get to me sometimes.  I don't take being a mom for granted, and I absolutely love the opportunity I have been given, but sometimes it's just plain hard.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How I Motivate Myself to Workout in the Mornings

I have been working out consistently about 4 times a week (with the exception of a week off around Christmas and another week off around Spring Break) for over a year now.  I go through seasons of life where I am pretty consistent in working out, and then I have definitely been through seasons of pure laziness.  Before I had kids, I usually went to the gym after work, but there was a time period where I was working crazy long hours, so I started getting up early and working out before the sun came up.  I liked getting my workout over with before the day had even begun, but that eventually came to an end.   After having kids, I told myself I need all the sleep I can possibly get, so I started sleeping longer in the mornings to squeeze in every minute of ZZZZZ's I could before they woke up.

tank (only $5!) // sports bra // leggings // shoes

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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 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).

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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.

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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 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 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?

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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...

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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. 
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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!
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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 /

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!

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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!

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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! 
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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!

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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!

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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!

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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, 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!
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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  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".

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
tape measure
sand paper and/or electric sander
paintable caulk
painter's tape
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

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