Monday, August 25, 2014

Not So Back To School

So I guess its time we made it official: this year we are homeschooling. I know that there are so many opinions out there about schooling: how, where, and why you should do it. Believe me, I'm pretty sure I've heard it all from "your kids will be socially awkward if you homeschool" (ahem, there are socially awkward kids in public school but you don't usually blame it on the school, right?) to "I couldn't possibly do that! I need a break from my kids!" (I get it, as moms we all need breaks. Personally, my mommy heart always broke a little sending my kids off so someone else could enjoy them during the best hours of the day). In the end I think education is such an individualized thing and there is no "right" way to do it.  You have to do what is best for your family and your circumstances.

As someone who has a degree in education I totally understand the importance of public schools, they are absolutely essential.  My boys have gone to public school and loved it. Since my oldest started school a few years ago there has been something in the back of my mind telling me that there might be a different way for my kids to get their education.  I've looked into doctoral dissertations, blogs, and books on it...and yet each year I've still chosen to send my kids to school. This year that something in the back of my mind wouldn't go away and I knew that we needed to homeschool. Its been exciting, stressful, and overwhelming to say the least.  Picking out curriculum, turning a room in our house into a school room, and printing, printing, printing out packets. I'm tired, yet thrilled.

A "before" shot of our future school room.

Next week we will officially start school.  I've been scouring online for some sort of school theme for us this year.  I've read quotes from religious leaders, famous scholars, and world leaders. Nothing has stuck out to me... until I was listening to the radio with my boys the other day.  A song came on from one of our favorite bands.  It was a song my boys love.  As they sang along to the words, it just felt right. It also felt nerdy and uneducated to pick a homeschool theme from a rock song, but in the end it described exactly what this first year of homeschool is for us.

We are walking away from the world this year.  We are leaving the culture of school behind.  It's been hard, and I mean really hard.  Last week all of our neighbor kids went back to school and a part of me ached that my kids were missing out on all the "Back to School" fun...and a part of me really wanted to run over to the school and re-enroll them.  I had to pull myself together and remind myself of why I was doing this: to be a better kind.  Sometimes in life its hard to step away from the norm.  Its hard to break from culture.  The road less travelled by is definitely harder, but I'm hoping it will be worth it in the end.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Utah Valley Parade of Homes Round Up: What's trending in 2014

Whew! The last few weeks have been both exciting and tiring as I've tried to visit most of the homes in the Utah Valley Parade of Homes. If you know me, you'll know that I'm crazy about good design and home decor so getting to tour newly constructed homes was like a dream come true.  And I got to do it all with this girl.

About a year ago she built a house down the road from me, and after my hubby and I walked through their house (ahem, yes, while it was being built, I guess we're trespassers?) I told him that she had pretty much done everything in the house that I would have done and I needed to get to know this girl.  We soon found out we'd gone to the same University at the same time, and our majors were even in the same building, on the same floor! Yet our paths never crossed until now. It was so fun to go on this tour with someone who is as passionate about good design as I am.

I loved seeing all of the things that are trending for 2014.  So here is my rundown (of what stood out to me!) of must haves if you are building or wanting to update your home decor.

(Lots of iPhoneography ahead…I was too lazy to take my nice camera.)

Barn Doors: When my husband tore apart our bathroom three months ago to remodel, I knew that I wanted to replace our two doors with one sliding barn door.  I had NO idea how popular barn doors were until the parade of homes.  I think that there was one in almost every house we visited.

Wallpaper: I have to admit, that when I first heard wallpaper was making a comeback, I was less than thrilled at the idea.  I had visions of early 90's floral prints and wondered how this could be trending again.  However, this home tour completely changed my mind.  Wall paper can be done in a classy way.

 Orb Lights: I didn't get too many pictures of these, but they were in every house we saw.  Considering that these are pretty costly little lights, I'm thinking of making my own.  It can't be that hard, right?

Feature Walls: From grid, to chalkboard, to corrugated metal, it's time to dress up those plain walls with architectural features.

Blue Cupboards: Obviously I'm a huge fan of the color blue, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that blue cupboards in bathrooms and laundry rooms were really trending.  From Mint to Robin Egg Blue, these hughes brought a crisp coolness to each room and added the right pop of color.

Tile: Obviously tile is always in style, but this year I noticed lots of Moroccan tile.

Here are some more unique tiles that I loved.

And last of all here are some of my favorites. There's a lot.  I had a hard time choosing!

Favorite Landscapes:

This house, by far, was very impressive (16,000 sq ft) but the landscape is what really drew me in. Every detail was precise and immaculate. It even impressed my landscape designer husband (who I made come with me one night so I could show him my favorite houses). He is rarely impressed by local landscape companies, but this one got an "OK" out of him.  I take that as a success. He's crazy picky about landscapes.

I also loved this entryway, although it fell flat for my husband.

Favorite Bathrooms:

Favorite Spaces:

I hope you enjoyed this picture tour as much as I enjoyed the real one! Are you ready to update your home with a new barn door or orb light?

I am.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Hey guys! So its been awhile since I've had something new for you, but that's how summer goes around here. We've been busy playing and working hard and just enjoying being together. My kiddos always come first, and its been super fun having so much free time together. Last week we spent the day hanging out at a local water park and celebrating my birthday. I sure do love those boys.

I've also been using my spare time to see the Utah Valley Parade of Homes.  The Parade ends Saturday and I'm hoping to sneak in a few more houses before its all over.  I'll have a complete run down of my favorites up on the blog on Monday.

 In case you missed it, I've had a few more posts up over on Make-It and Love-It. To check out my Raindrop Pillow tutorial head on over here:

And to see my Faux Mantle click here:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Its been a jam packed week for us.  Between end of year book reports, three nights of baseball, and an end of year choir concert there hasn't been much time for me to just to relax and spend time with my little ones. So this morning we whipped out our aprons and made our most favorite chocolate chip cookies.

This recipe was given to me by one of my college roommates.  She was always cooking up something yummy in our kitchen and the moment I tried these cookies I knew that I needed the recipe. I lost contact with her shortly after we both finished our Student Teaching, but every time I make these cookies I think of her and wonder how she has been doing.

Are you ready to make some mouth watering Chocolate Chip Cookies? (And yes, ahem, the dough is delicious…but you don't eat raw cookie dough, right? Me neither…)

Ryann's Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups butter flavor Crisco (yes, it HAS to be butter flavor!)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups four
  •  1 package chocolate chips (or 1/2 bag chocolate chips and 1/2 bag white chips, this is how Ryann made hers)
Pre-heat oven to 375.

Cream brown sugar, sugar, and butter flavor Crisco together.  Add eggs and mix.  Add baking soda, salt, and vanilla.  Add in flour one cup at a time and mix thoroughly.  Add in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes.  Let cool.  Enjoy!

(To print recipe click HERE.)