Easy Neutral Thanksgiving Tablescape

I’m doing something new this week! I’ve teamed up with Kristi from French Creek Farmhouse as well as a great group of other bloggers to bring you a TON of tablescape inspiration all week! Each day this week Kristi will feature 5 talented bloggers on her blog and Instagram. Each has created their own Thanksgiving tablescape – so much talent to be inspired by!

Honestly? I’ve never put any kind of tablescape together before! My idea of table decor is usually a vase of flowers and call it good. I tend to prefer simple, and a lot of extras can feel like clutter to me. So when I decided I wanted to do a little something extra this year for fall, I knew I would still want it to feel classic and simple. I also didn’t want to spend too much on it, so finding inexpensive items that would pull it all together and feel elegant and beautiful was my goal. My home is very neutral overall, lots of white, grey, and black. I love bringing in a fresh feel with plants, so I have a little green in just about every room. This overall theme carried over into my Thanksgiving tablescape and I love the way it both flows naturally with the rest of my home, but goes just above what I’d typically do to make it feel festive for the season.

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I wanted a good starting point – something that could stand alone, and wouldn’t need too many extras to make it feel complete. In keeping with my love of greenery to add color to my neutral palette, I opted for this gorgeous garland from Floral Treasure. It’s true dried eucalyptus so it smells as nice as it looks! All of their garlands are beautiful, but I chose the Italian Creme Greenery Garland for the little pops of white it has mixed in.

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Because I wanted a classic fall feel, I added a few white pumpkins (these were only $3 each from the dollar bins at Target),  a few pine cones, and another couple small pumpkins I’d already picked up. (Also in the dollar bins at Target. Target had the best fall decor in those bins this year! Totally saved my budget!) Lastly, to create a little more height for the whole display, I added these tall candle sticks from Hobby Lobby. I fell in LOVE with a similar set from Magnolia, but unfortunately they were out of my budget. These ones from Hobby Lobby, while not exactly the same, gave me the look I was hoping for, at about a third of the price. Needless to say I was pretty excited when I found them! I love the touch of black they add, tying the whole thing in with the dining chairs and other black elements I have in my home.

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To complete the table I would need place settings! We already use white dishes, so that part was easy enough. I needed something to create a distinction between the white/linen table and the white dishes so the whole thing didn’t feel washed out. These burlap covered chargers kept the neutral feel, broke up the white, and were very inexpensive Hobby Lobby finds. Lastly, I layered small appetizer plates shaped like white pumpkins and soft green leaves on top of the white dinner plates. These little plates were another Target dollar bin find!

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Overall, I’m very happy with my first tablescape! I think I accomplished my goal – classic, elegant, neutral, and fairly inexpensive and/or able to be re-purposed. The garland is easily able to transition from fall to Christmas decor, and all of the pumpkins, pine cones, and place settings can be tucked away in a box ready to be pulled out for use again next year.

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Don’t forget to head to Kristi’s blog to check out the other Thanksgiving tablescapes being shared all week long. With so many different bloggers, each putting their own touch of style into their table, I’m sure you’ll find inspiration for your own beautiful Thanksgiving table.

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2018 Fall Decor Trends You Can Get Online

There are affiliate links included in this article, but all of the opinions are my own and these are truly items I love (and many of them I actually own!). Including the affiliate links (to share items I would happily share anyway) helps me turn my passions into a financial contribution to my family. Thank you for your support, always! 

Decorating for fall is almost as exciting to me as decorating for Christmas. I love it when the air gets crisp, the leaves change, and I can pull out my sweaters and boots. As fun as it is to find new things for my house, shopping is time consuming and one day dragging my kids all over town made me realize online shopping is definitely the way to go. I’ve compiled some of my favorite fall decor finds, and you can order it all without having to leave your couch! Grab a hot beverage and let’s go shopping!

1. Buffalo Check Rug

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Buffalo check has been a favorite of mine for fall, and I love my buffalo check rug on my front porch. These are great by themselves or layered under a traditional welcome mat to add a little more interest. A huge bonus: this rug will be just as perfect for Christmas as it is for fall! It’s also machine washable so just pop it in the washer and it will be fresh and ready to go when it’s time to switch out the pumpkins for Christmas trees.

Get yours from Amazon here.

2. Wood Pumpkin

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The Dotted Bow sells these hand made wood pumpkins in so many different styles, it’s easy to find one that fits the fall style you’re wanting to create in your home. The whites and grays of the Farmhouse Style pumpkin match my house perfectly, and mine has a big burlap bow. Find them here. Bonus: Use my code “revivalfarmhouse” to get 10% off anything from The Dotted Bow.

3. Pumpkin Door Mat

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Olive Creative Co. makes this ADORABLE door mat for fall. Layer it with your buffalo check rug (or not, as shown above), add a few pumpkins, and your porch will be fall perfection. Get it here. 

4. Pumpkin Patch Sign

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I’m totally obsessed with this sign from Wild Elm Design Co. Every time I see it, I love it! I’m not the only one – these signs were so popular they couldn’t keep them in stock and they’ve been unavailable for weeks. But I have big news! Starting TODAY they are back in stock for a limited time! Get yours here before they sell out again.

Photo by Jess from @carcabaroad.

5. Pumpkin Chai Candle

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If you don’t have a pumpkin scented candle burning is it even fall? A clean house and a fall candle burning…that is my happy place! My favorite is this Pumpkin Chai soy candle by Cozy Candle Co. The packaging looks great in my house and it smells like Fall Heaven.

6. Fall Quote Signs

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Aren’t we all glad we live in a world where there are Octobers? Sigh. This fall quote sign from one of my favorite Etsy shops Willow Hill Signs is sure to put you in the fall spirit whenever you see it. I may or may not have this same sign in my house (I totally do). Get it here.

7. Buffalo Check Pillow

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Do you see a theme here? Ha! Add another pop of buffalo check with these adorable pillows from The Dotted Bow. Mine tend to move around between the couch, our porch rockers, or this entry bench.  Shop them here.

8. Plaid Table Runner

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I have this plaid table runner on my own dining room table, and I absolutely love it. It’s perfect for fall, and looks great alone or layered. It’s from the Hearth and Hand line by Magnolia, one of my favorites! Get it here.

9. Plaid Throw Blanket

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Obviously I have a thing for plaid right now, but it just feels like fall to me. I want to buy this blanket for my porch rockers! It looks like it belongs on a festive fall front porch, or curled up in front of a cozy fire. Get it here.

10. Amber Bottles

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Pretty sure it was Liz Marie Galvan who started this trend, and these amber bottles are everywhere this season! They add a touch of warmth and look great in groups. Tuck a dried leaf or flower in the top, or leave empty for an ultra subtle fall feeling. These are probably best to find at antique and vintage shops, but you can find them online too! I found them here. 

Photo by Holly at rusticwildarrow.

Those are some of my favorite fall finds, all totally accessible without ever leaving your house. Did I miss any of your favorites? What have been your favorite fall trends this year?


Thriving As a Stay-at-Home Mom

 

Before I was a stay-at-home mom, I worked full time.  I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and daydreamed about quiet, cozy days snuggled up on the couch together reading books to my children. When the opportunity came for me to quit my job and stay home with my then 3-year-old Sadie and newborn Noah I was ecstatic. It was my dream come true to get to spend every day with those awesome kids of mine. I did think maybe I should take up a few hobbies, sure that I would have more free time than I would know what to do with – if you are or have ever been a stay-at-home mom, I’ll wait while you have a good laugh at that! No, too much free time has never been an issue. More like, where do I get some of this “free time” you speak of? It’s exhausting, challenging, and can leave you feeling like no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you do in a day – it’s never enough. I’ve been there my friends! I’ve been staying home with my kids full time for 6 years, and homeschooling them for 5. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re just trying to survive this time, when I think a lot of us went into this role wanting it to be so much more than survival. I know I did, and I still do! I’ve put together my own list of ways to not just survive, but thrive in your role as a stay-at-home mom.

Disclaimer: This is just my list! I know all things related to parenting can become controversial very quickly, and I’m not here to tell you this is what I think you should do. This is what works for me, and maybe it could work for you too. Or maybe you’re wired a little differently than me and what I need is the opposite of what you need – that’s okay too.

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1. Get Dressed

This one is HUGE for me. If I don’t take a shower, get dressed, and usually put on a little makeup in the morning I don’t feel productive or good about myself throughout the day. I know this one may not apply to everyone and so many moms live in their yoga pants and operate just fine -but if you’re anything like me, a daily shower and wearing something you feel good about yourself in will make a big difference for your state of mind and productivity level. I know this isn’t always an easy task, but some ways I’ve found to make it work through different baby and kid stages are:

  • Getting up early enough to get myself ready for the day before my husband leaves for work
  • Setting baby in a bouncy seat/swing/exercauser in the bathroom doorway and playing peekaboo or talking to them to keep them entertained while I shower
  • Letting them watch a few minutes of TV while I get myself ready

Once I discovered how much better I felt taking care of myself each morning, I realized I needed to get creative and do what I could to make it happen.

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2. Have a routine.

Another thing I’ve found helpful is sticking to some kind of a routine during the day. I don’t know about you, but my day is pretty much structured however I want to structure it. No one is standing over my shoulder making sure I do laundry, or clean out the litter box, or not spend half the day on my phone. I have to use some self discipline to keep my home running the way I really desire it to be. Often times I go with the flow and find myself not exactly proud of the way I spent my day. I truly need structure to feel good about the way I spend my time. One way I’ve found that helps me do this, is to have set “markers” in my day that keep me on track. For example, I strive to always do all of the dishes and wipe down the counters after lunch every day. This little “rule” I’ve set for myself becomes a habit and eventually it feels like that is just happening on autopilot. Another example is I always make my bed as soon as I’m dressed, before I go downstairs – and as a homeschool mom, I’ve decided that our school day starts at 8. This keeps us focused and on track first thing in the morning and also helps us to usually be done with school by lunch! Building some structure into your day can make a big difference.

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3. Do A Little Everyday

We’ve all been there. The baby isn’t sleeping, we’ve been rushing from one activity to the next, life gets in the way and nobody is keeping up on the house. The dishes are piling up, the counters are covered in clutter, and please don’t mention Laundry Mountain. It just happens! It’s so much easier to climb back out (or not get buried to begin with) if I just do a little everyday. My goal is to empty and load the dishwasher and do one load of laundry every single day. I never feel like doing those things, I don’t enjoy those tasks one bit – but keeping up on them daily keeps them from becoming an overwhelming time consuming chore.

4. Leave the House. Also, Stay Home.

This one is all about balance. There are many stay-at-home moms who spend much of their time at home and find themselves feeling isolated and bored. I can’t do it. I go stir crazy! When Sadie was a baby I was super intimidated to take her anywhere by myself. I was 21 and she was colicky and screamed every time we got in the car – so we stayed home a lot. Those days felt so long and lonely. I loved my baby girl and we had fun together, but I remember feeling crushed if my husband called and said he was stuck at work and would be an hour later than normal. I needed adult interaction and a change of scenery. Things got better when we started venturing out. I would take her to the park, the children’s museum, story time at the library. Our local parks and recreation department even offered inexpensive classes like toddler gym and ballet. Getting out of the house saved my sanity.

On the other side of the spectrum is the mom who is always on the go. This one is closer to me these days now that my kids are older and the opportunities for activities are everywhere. We’ve done it all – soccer, homeschool co-op, basketball, church choir, swim lessons, piano lessons, singing lessons, play dates, park dates, field trips. I could go on but I’m getting stressed just thinking about it! I’m learning there are a lot of good things that I need to say no to. Sometimes I need to say no to a fun time or a good opportunity, so I can say yes to my  mental health. I need home days in the mix to stay caught up on my kid’s schoolwork, the housework, and the laundry. I think my kid’s need quiet time at home too. Being constantly stimulated with kid-focused activities is probably not super healthy. I want them to be bored. I want them to learn how to entertain themselves. I want to give them room to create something, or read, or draw. I’m a big believer in intentionally staying home. (With a healthy dose of getting out of the house!)

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5. Make Home Your Haven

Since you’re probably going to be spending more time at home, make your home a place you want to be. Paint that bathroom that you’ve always hated, buy a new lamp, pick up some flowers at the grocery store and put them on the kitchen table. You’ll enjoy being home more if you love your home. The cleanliness and amount of clutter in my home also contribute to my state of mind in a big way! Have you ever heard the quote “the state of your bed is the state of your head”? That is true for me! Even more important is the state of my kitchen! As much as I don’t enjoy the cleaning itself, I enjoy being in my home MUCH more when the cleaning has been done. It really is worth the reward of feeling good in my house.

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6. Don’t Stop Growing

There are so many ways to keep growing as a stay-at-home mom. I get bored easily, so I’m always looking for a new goal. Find an encouraging podcast and listen to it while you fold laundry (it also helps the laundry to seem faster – bonus!). Start implementing new ideas. Scrap them if they don’t work for you, and try something different next week. Try a cleaning schedule, cook something new every night for a week, start a blog. Keep working on yourself and keep pushing to become a better wife/mom/friend/human being than you were yesterday.

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7. Have Fun With Your Kids

You’re a stay at home mom, so I know you probably spend a lot of time with your kids. You probably feel like ALL you do is spend time with your kids! And while I’m sure that’s true, I know I have to be intentional about what kind of time I’m spending with them. I can easily spend my days assigning their spelling lessons, cooking their meals, folding their laundry, and breaking up their fights, without truly seeing them and enjoying their company. I have to make a decision to pause my to-do list and choose to sit down and play Mario Brothers for 30 minutes, or do a puzzle, or join them on the trampoline. Their faces light up, because this is what they really want. Just Mom, having fun with them. I don’t want to be so busy that I forget to have fun with my kids.

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8. Have Company

NOTHING motivates me to get up, get dressed, and clean my house like knowing someone is coming over. That in itself is a good reason to invite a friend over sometimes! Not to mention the benefits of adult conversation and getting to catch up with a friend or maybe get to know someone better. It’s an extra bonus if the friend you invite over also has kids who can keep your kids entertained and give you time to actually talk. Or will at least understand the twenty thousand interruptions for a drink/snack/toddler needing you to take them potty.

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9. Give Yourself Grace

I truly believe in the advice I’ve shared with you, and I have no doubt each one has helped me enjoy this stay at home mama life a little more – but every home runs differently and every season is different. If reading this made you feel defeated because something, everything on this list has been slipping right now and you just can’t make it happen – give yourself a big dose of grace. Sometimes we cook elaborate dinners, and sometimes we make cold sandwiches. Some days I get caught up on the laundry, do an art project with the kids, vacuum AND mop the floors, and the kitchen looks amazing. Other days the kids watch way too much TV and we get drive thru on the way to soccer practice. Let yourself be in the season you’re in. You’ll never “do it all” perfectly all the time, and that’s okay. Just keep trying to grow, and know that the season you’re in right now won’t be forever.

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9 Ways To Survive Building A House (With a Little of Your Sanity in Tact)

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It’s no secret that going through a new home build is a stressful process. Our own farmhouse build was so much more challenging than we ever could have expected, and it took a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. Whether it be the seemingly endless list of decisions to make, weather delays, or trying to keep it all under budget – the possible causes of stress are all around you. It’s even been known to take a toll on marriages, although thankfully that wasn’t the case for us.

Sitting on the other side, with a finished (well, you know, mostly) house and the build behind us, we can now look back and see what helped us get through the bumpy process, and a few things we wish we could go back and tell ourselves before we ever bought our first piece of property.

  1. Expect Delays.

You know that date you have in your mind that you’re expecting to be all moved into your new house? You probably won’t be. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but you will most likely have delays in your build. Even if you’re expecting some delays, expect more. I hope I’m not sounding too pessimistic here, but I think it’s so much easier to deal with delays and setbacks when you’re mentally prepared for them. We expected delays, but we didn’t expect MONTHS of them. Every holiday, every milestone, every date on the calendar we had looked forward to in our new house that came and went HURT. It’s fun to look ahead and look forward to those things of course, but it helps to keep a little wiggle room in your planning (And daydreaming!). That being said, you could be one of the lucky ones whose build stays completely on schedule, and if you are consider yourself very fortunate!

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2. Choose Your Builder Carefully

If at all possible, choose a builder (or subcontractor) that someone you know has used and recommends. Having a good builder is everything. I don’t want to get into our specific situation here, so I will just say: your choice of builder makes a big difference in the way your build runs, how on schedule you stay, how in the loop you are, how mistakes are handled, etc. etc. If I could go back and give myself one piece of advice, this would be it. Moving on…

3. Plan Ahead For a Few Splurges

It’s going to happen. You’re going to have the budget all set, your resolve strong, and you. will. not. be. moved. And then you’re going to see the bathroom faucet of your dreams and all of that will go out the window because of course it’s three times the cost you have budgeted. Been there, bought that, and yes, it’s quite a dreamy bathroom faucet. Worth every penny. It’s a smart idea to give yourself a little cushion in your budget for those items you just HAVE to have.

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4. Have a Survival Kit

This may not apply to everyone, but if your situation is anything like ours was, you will definitely want to take this advice. Our land was a 35 minute drive from where we were living during our build, and it was in the middle of nowhere. The closest store/restaurant/public bathroom was almost 10 minutes away. We also have 3 young kids and were out at the property often, especially in the early stages when we were doing some of the work on the land ourselves. If this sounds anything like your situation, try to have a way to have a little survival kit for things you may need while you’re out there and might forget to pack every single time – a change of clothes for the kids, wipes/paper towels, snacks, bottles of water. We were really fortunate to be able to keep a camper trailer parked on our property during most of our build. Not only is this a great way to prevent job site theft (because no one knows if someone is staying there), but it was wonderful to have a place to take the kids to warm up and get out of the rain (Washington state build over here), and we stored all kinds of items there just in case. I totally understand that might not be feasible for you, but even keeping a bag packed in the back of your car is a great option.

5. Get Out of Town

Sometimes you just need a break. Building is exhausting, even when you’re not doing the bulk of the “building” yourself. Making all of those decisions for months is exhausting in itself, not to mention if you’re driving out there every other night or doing some of the GC work yourself. Plan a vacation or a weekend getaway at some point during the middle of your build to give yourself a break. It’s nice to have something to look forward to and helps break up the time. Seriously, go somewhere and have some fun and don’t think about which pendants you’re going to choose for over your kitchen island. Just for a few days.

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6. Don’t Worry What Anyone Else Thinks

Maybe you want a pink front door, or blue cabinets, or ship lap pretty much everywhere (ahem). Not everyone is going to get your choices, but not everyone has to live in your house! I felt a little bit of pressure when the finishes started going in, because not everything we were doing was typical. Not everyone was a fan of the ship lap, some didn’t care for our black faucets, some think a white house is boring. You can’t please everyone, and the good news is you don’t have to! This is your house, so as long as you love it that’s really all that matters. The moment I realized that I LOVED my house and I would love it even if ship lap went out of style next week (never!) I felt so much more freedom in my choices. Design a house you love and let the other opinions roll off your back.

7. Check In Often

Even with a great builder, some mistakes may happen. We found it was crucial to check out what was happening at the house often, as we would often find things that had been overlooked. A few examples: two windows completely missed, the kitchen island built differently than we wanted, and our attic trusses were ordered incorrectly. Because we were there often, those mistakes were quickly found and able to be fixed. Had they not been caught as early, they may have become much bigger issues.

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8. Don’t Stress Every Little Detail

I know a beautiful house is all about the details. I love the details. But try to keep perspective. There probably will be something that isn’t perfect about your house when all is said and done. Maybe the tile grout got a little sloppy, or a piece of trim isn’t quite right, or your carpet doesn’t really match the doors as well as you’d hoped (that last one was my example. Sigh). It’s all going to be okay. When your house is complete and you live there, those little details are not going to stick out to you as much as they do the day you first notice them. I know there are some details that will mean a lot to you and can and should be fixed if they’re not working out right. But if it’s something small and you think you can live with it, try not to stress it.

9. Keep Your Eyes On The Finish Line

Building a house is a marathon, not a sprint. It will feel slow at times. Sometimes excruciatingly so. Say it with me: slow progress is still progress. Trust me, I wondered if we would EVER live in this house. We dreamed and planned and worked for four years before we finally got to move in. And now, it just feels like home. I have to remind myself how long we waited to get to this point, because those memories fade while you’re making new ones in your new home. Try not to compare your progress with someone else’s and try to not get discouraged if your projected “move in” date arrives and you’re still in the middle of drywall. Slow progress is still progress, and you’re getting a little closer every day.

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Home Sweet Home


Our Building Journey

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Our farmhouse – 2018. It took us YEARS to reach this big dream

If you’ve been following on Instagram for awhile, or know us in “real life,” you probably know some of our backstory – why we wanted to build, how long it took (spoiler alert: it took a long time), and the challenges we faced to get to our dream house. But I think most of you have gotten to know us more recently and probably have no idea.

My husband, Josh, is an architect and it’s always been his dream to design and build a house of our own. Josh has definitely been the dreamer in our marriage, while I often took on the role of Worst Case Scenario Imaginer/Big Dream Buzzkill. You know, the one who asked the no fun questions like: How would we afford to do that? But where would we live while we build? Do you have any idea how expensive land is around here? That kind of thing. So jumping on board this dream was a little scary for me, but we both loved houses and the thought of designing one from scratch together was enticing.

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Accomplishing a goal he’d worked toward since high school – becoming a licensed architect!

About 5-6 years ago we started casually looking at properties. Josh was always keeping an eye out for a deal on land for sale, even though we really thought it would be way in the future. At the time he wasn’t an architect yet – he was studying all the time and going through the testing process to get his license – and I was a stay at home mom to our two kids. Money was pretty tight. That all changed when we found a piece of land for a great price in an amazing location that seemed really perfect for us. One detail I didn’t mention before is that we lived next door to my dad. He lived alone, and when Josh and I were newly married the house next door went up for sale – and we bought it! We liked being neighbors (um hello free babysitting! And if you’re reading this we like your company too, Dad…)  and when we started talking about buying property and building – we all decided it would be ideal if we could somehow buy adjacent properties or a parcel big enough to split up so we could still be neighbors. Well this land that we found just so happened to be two 5-acre parcels side-by-side!

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Dreaming dreams and making plans at our original property

We did our due diligence, we hired an expert to make sure it would be buildable, and we got a great deal on the land. Everything seemed to be falling into place perfectly, and after praying about it and feeling total peace about the whole thing – we went for it! And Dad bought the lot next door. We didn’t have a lot of resources to put into the land or house at that time, so we decided just to take our time and do work on the land ourselves to get it ready to build. We spent many hours, evenings, and weekends there clearing brush and trees and putting in a driveway. My thoughtful husband even built a little playhouse out there so the kids would have somewhere to play while we spent many hours working on the land. We designed our house plan and knew where our backyard would go and where we’d put the kids’ playground and our garden. We were finally ready to start building, so we submitted our site plan to the county – which, based on the info we’d been given from our wetland’s biologist, we thought was an easy approval. Then one day, an e-mail popped into our inbox. I couldn’t tell you the exact wording, it’s all kind of a blur at this point, but the overall message was loud and clear: STOP ALL WORK IMMEDIATELY. I really felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Unbeknownst to us, the wetlands regulations had changed since we purchased the property less than a year previously, and we were left with no buildable land anywhere on our 5 acre parcel. Dad’s 5 acres next door was in the same boat. We were completely shocked, so we did the only thing we could think to do: start looking for a loophole. We had a second opinion of the wetlands done, which unfortunately didn’t come back in our favor. Our last and only option was to apply for something called a Reasonable Use Exemption, which basically is a way for property owners to use land that would otherwise be unbuildable. This was a pretty lengthy process. We even had to have a hearing examiner meeting, which was at the courthouse and felt a little like an interrogation – super intimidating! After all of that, they finally agreed on a site plan for us. Unfortunately the site plan was VERY different from what we’d envisioned. We would have to choose a different house plan with a smaller footprint, have a pretty small yard , and our house would be up against a pretty busy street. We’d envisioned a long driveway with our house tucked away from the road behind the trees. We’d dreamed of a big yard with lots of quiet and privacy. Pretty much the opposite of what we would be able to build there now.

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