Dirt Road Dreams

Sorry for the unplanned absence folks! I am back! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of changes, excitement & chores. More on that later.


Today I just wanted to share a few snapshots from yesterday. As I mentioned before, here on the farm we have chores to do and some of them we would rather not do. Scratch that, most of them we would rather not do but this year, it was a little more exciting. My Dad has ALWAYS driven the tractor to cut the hay, rake the hay & bale the hay. As children we were the ones on the wagon stacking & NEVER was my Dad on a wagon. He was always the driver.



Since my hubby & I moved to the family farm, we have been learning more as adults about how to manage the farm, take care of the property and help my parents when we can. So this year it was Ryan’s turn to drive the tractor. Not that he hasn’t driven the tractor before but this is the first time mowing, raking & baling hay! So I took a ride to the hay field and saw something surprising. Something I had never seen before. My DAD ON THE WAGON! I had to take a picture for proof. Seriously folks, this has never happened.


Being on the farm with my family may seem crazy to some, living as close as we do to each other, although we can’t see the other’s house out our window, seems crazy right? Honestly though, we love it. Charlie the Sunshine Dog loves it. For the past year we have been able to casually pop in and sit on the porch and enjoy conversations that we normally wouldn’t when seeing each other only at family gatherings.


It is amazing to me how dreams change. Dreams of our own HUGE two story home with three bedrooms & three acres have now changed in to dreams of our own one story, smaller home with two bedrooms & 26 acres of my parents first generation farm at the end of a dirt road. Dreams change people whether you want to admit it or not but I as I sit on our porch and listen to the birds chirp, away from the busy traffic of the road, in the middle of the woods, I love our new dreams. I love the way things have changed. I love saying YES to my husband who had to keep asking over and over can we PLEASE start all over again, from scratch, and build a whole new house?? Like who does that?? I love my new kitchen & all the quirks that goes along with it. I love all of the new memories we made, all of the mess ups that happened and all of the imperfections I see in the new house that are lessons learned. Well, I don’t love ALL of them, but most of them! Change isn’t always a bad thing.



Better Than New

I have shared with you how I love to use reclaimed wood where I can. Like our barnwood ceiling, our rustic reclaimed wood vanities and even our reclaimed wood farmhouse table. Farmhouse charm was my mail goal in the new house! I love everything about the idea of a fixer upper and rehab for an old farmhouse etc… Sometimes though, like in our situation, there was nothing to start with so instead of renovating an old house, we started from scratch. We made sure to use reclaimed wood where ever we could. I would have LOVED to do reclaimed wood on the floors but, with the radiant floor heat, they recommend not to use solid wood, so we opted for this engineered hardwood from Kraus. Our kitchen has all white cabinets so between the wood floors and the wood ceiling, it really pops.


I have been watching Rehab Addict with Nicole Curtis since it first came out. I love everything about her show and how she takes so many old pieces and completely rehabs them into something gorgeous. Especially the reclaimed wood. She also completely rehabs homes and restores them to their original look and let me tell you, they are gorgeous! I have been wanting to pick up her book forever but honestly, I haven’t had time to read for the past year. Now that things have slowed down, I ordered it! YAY for two day shipping from Amazon. I order everything on Amazon, do you?


Originally when my parents bought the farm, there was just a very small old farmhouse and the concrete floor of an old barn. No walls, just the floor. So my parents renovated what they could on the farmhouse at the time, and built the barn! The old barn is still here and it is looking old… but who doesn’t love an old barn???


This morning as I sit on our brand new porch, and soak up the sunshine while I work, I am going to enjoy every bit of our new home and think of reading my new book about restoring old homes…. Hmm…. Our next project???


Have you read Nicole’s book? What did you think?

Spring Cleaning

Years ago when our grandmothers mentioned spring cleaning, they meant getting out the bleach and the Spic N Span or whatever other heavy cleaner with a crazy strong smell. They meant wiping down every nook and cranny of every window, moving every piece of furniture out of the way and washing all the drapes, and ironing them or starching them, or both. I remember my Grandmother talking about the prep ahead of time and the time she spent cleaning, and then the time she spent redecorating for spring after she was finished.


Times have changed so much now, spring cleaning now seems like we do a quick sweep/dust/mop with a natural cleaner like Thieves, with plant based ingredients and a heavenly smell, and roll up the heavy down comforter on our beds and bring out the light quilt for the in between seasons until we turn on the air conditioner. At least in Pennsylvania that’s the case anyways. Especially for us here in the new house, we don’t have the AC hooked up yet (hopefully in two weeks) so we are definitely looking for the lighter quilt a few nights. The weather here goes from 45 degrees one day to 80 degrees the next and vice versa. That’s the fun of the four seasons though I think. We typically try to refresh the bedroom, flip the mattress & spray on some linen spray (DIY of course with a little lavender)! Some mattresses now can’t be flipped and some can so depending on your mattress, a good flip is necessary. If your mattress is more than a few years old, sometimes it needs more than a good flip, I have read some great reviews on Leesa foam mattresses. They also have a great program for giving back too.  Next up is usually the closet, we can always reorganize the closet and sort through way too many clothes. I always end up donating a trash bag full every year!

Sometimes we even change the curtains, if we have them! Another way times have changed, I remember my Grandmother asking me if I was going to put up drapes in the new house in the great room, and I explained to her that we live in the middle of the woods and we don’t need curtains. She chuckled. Bless her heart, she passed away in November and I miss her every day. I am so thankful she was able to see our house in the early stages but enough to see the shape of the rooms and the huge windows. She was able to sit on the rocking chair and watch out the big window.


Back to our spring refresh, I have updated the kitchen with some great new spring prints and finally, after so many months of waiting, I decided on stools for the island.




Spring always makes me think of fresh flowers too so I love to have a bunch of flowers on my table! We were away at camp this weekend and of course I had to bring back a bundle of flowers for on my table. I think that it really brightens up the table from the Wooden Whale Workshop. Just ignore the “vase”, it was a jar we had at camp that the previous owners left.

What do you do to brighten up your space for spring?

The Sunshine Dog

We are lucky enough to have another gorgeous sunny day here today in PA. It has been beautiful. The leaves on the trees are finally starting to turn green, we finally have grass in the yard. And by finally, I mean FINALLY. We haven’t had enough grass to mow since we started the excavation February of last year. So this past week when Ryan was able to mow the grass, it was pretty exciting. The first time he used the lawn mower on our new yard. It’s the little things in life that are exciting right??



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The sunshine is something I look forward to daily but I am not the only one in the house that loves it. Charlie, our furkid, better known as Charlie the Sunshine Dog on his Instagram page, loves the sunshine. When I say loves, I mean he wakes up in the morning and goes directly to whatever spot in the house has sunshine at that time. So typically on the weekends, if we are outside, you can find Charlie curled up in his bed in the sunshine or on the seat of the side by side. Napping in the sun.

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Last weekend we hosted both families for Easter dinner and since it was nice enough outside we sat on the porch, well the next day Charlie decided he wanted to go outside. I look out the window and there is Charlie napping already in one of the porch chairs. He loves it.

So today, we were outside snapping a few pictures in this gorgeous sunshine. Charlie loved every bit of it.

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We took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of Charlie in his favorite new collar from Coastal Pet Products. I love the bright color on him and the wider band as well as the sturdy buckle. I was worried that the buckle would open or break but it is very durable.

Do you have a favorite brand of collar for your dog? I am always looking for new prints and colors for Charlie considering they are his only “outfits”.


I am 1 in 8

I have tossed this post around in my head for a long time. I love to write about building our home, decorating and of course about Charlie. I also love to write about new recipes, DIY and everything in between but when it comes time to write something about me, I change my mind. I talk myself out of it for whatever the reason. Recently I asked another amazing blogger to take a look at my blog and let me know what I am missing, as far as a beginner blogger. Of course there are many things I need to learn and I will never stop learning but the biggest thing she mentioned was that I needed to post more about me.


Charlie & I after his first bath.

If you know me, you know that I would much rather talk about something else, for the most part, than myself. I could talk all day about Charlie, but who wants to hear about my dog all day?? So, this is a tough one folks.

Me. I will start by saying yesterday marks the first day of National Infertility Awareness Week. You may not have ever heard of this and you may not have struggled with infertility but I can guarantee that someone sitting in the room beside you, the office next to you or in your close circle of friends, has definitely struggled. 1 in 8 women struggles with infertility. 1 in 8! That is a lot! Don’t get me wrong, there are so many other worries and diseases in this world that need awareness but for today, I am supposed to be talking about me.


Ready to start our adventure.

I am 1 in 8. I am one out of eight women struggling. My amazing husband and I have been married for almost 13 years, wow, 13 years, sometimes I can’t believe it when I say it out loud. Or type it, haha. We have had an amazing journey and I can’t wait to see where the next 13+ years takes us. Our infertility journey started 7 years ago. We waited to start a family after we got married because we wanted time to learn about each other, to have fun as newlyweds and take time for ourselves. We also wanted to have a bigger house, which we built and we loved. We built enough bedrooms just in case. Because at that time, you have no idea how many children you might have or want to have. We decided on three bedrooms, plenty of space for 2 kids or more. So, we waited and in the spring of 2000 it was time! Fast forward a year, and nothing.


Still loving life and having fun! 

Everyone around me was getting pregnant and having babies, and by everyone, I mean everyone. The baby shower invitations arrived what seemed like weekly. At this point, it was tricky but not unbearable. We decided to see a Dr. after a year because it is considered infertility after a year of “trying” with no success. I will spare you the details of the testing and uncomfortable situations and sadness, but long story short, I am unable to get pregnant on my own due to blocked fallopian tubes. I never in a million years thought that I would be the person walking out of the doctors office crying because I was told I would never be able to have children on my own, without the help of in vitro fertilization. I was crushed, we were both crushed. I can’t even imagine what my husband was thinking or going through at that time because I couldn’t even talk about it. The doctor suggested I see a specialist and told me that there is a big chance that my only option (if it is an option) is to try IVF.

If you aren’t familiar with IVF, the procedures can cost anywhere between $12,000 – $30,000. Not to mention what you have to go through emotionally and physically. So at that point, we put things on hold. I had to take time to wrap my head around it and just take time. We took time. And more time. And at this point, 6 years after that diagnosis, we are still taking time. Sometimes what is right for one person isn’t right for the next person. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “why don’t you just adopt”? Or, just be patient, if it’s meant to happen, it will happen. Or the best one is “just relax”.  We are waiting, as patiently as possible for our little miracle. Until then, we have an amazing life, an sweet as pie furbaby Charlie, and an amazing family. So we are very blessed. At this point, we are leaving things in God’s hands and waiting. It may not be the right choice or it may be the best choice, but either way, at this point, it is our choice.

In honor of National Infertility Awareness week, I share this post with you not to ask for your sympathy but to ask you to please listen and be there for your friends and family because even if you don’t know it, they need you. Just be a shoulder for them to lean on, and help spread awareness.

If you are struggling yourself and you ever need a friend to talk to, please message me, I would be happy to listen. I know the pain and sadness when you think about the fact that you are so patiently waiting and everything around you is screaming babies and pregnancy and you are still waiting. Everything that pops up on your news feed is another pregnancy announcement, your best friend is pregnant and you are so very happy for her but your heart just aches. I know that feeling and I am here if you need a shoulder to lean on. If you need a shoulder to lean on when every group or club around is a “Mom” club and you don’t know where you fit in, I am here!

I also want to share with you a blog that has been there for me when I need it. Please hop over to In Due Time, my friend Caroline is also in the wait. She is amazing and a great inspiration to all of us. Caroline also has a book about her journey that is a great devotional. I can’t wait to get my copy.

#NationalInfertilityAwarenessWeek2017 #1in8 #NIAW


DIY Lavender Body Butter

I just had to share this recipe that I found last week while searching and searching for something great to make a friend of mine for her baby shower! I am not super familiar with the latest baby products considering we don’t have children. Not that I don’t love babies but as I have mentioned before, the cards are stacked against us in that aspect and we haven’t been blessed with a child aside from our four legged fur baby Charlie. So, when I search for a shower gift, I want to either get something super personal and thoughtful or, make something! So, I started browsing recipes for new Mom’s, or women pregnant with their first kiddo and babies in general. Anything that might help my friend through her pregnancy or the the first couple of months with a newborn. I stumbled on this recipe for body butter and I thought, how perfect is that for the growing belly. I am sure that thing gets itchy from the stretching and growing the precious baby! Right??

For this recipe the ingredients were pretty simple.

1/2 cup shea butter

1/2 cup solid coconut oil

1/2 cup almond oil

Melt all the ingredients in a double boiler until completely melted and then cool for at least 30 minutes, until the oils start to solidify. Then whip in stand mixer until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes. Add 10 -20 drops of high quality therapeutic grade essential oils (I use Young Living) and then whip again to mix.

That’s it! How easy is that? I was so nervous to try it and mess it up but it was so easy and it turned out PERFECT! Well, I think so anyways, I hope my friend thought so too when she opened her gift!



I have accumulated quite a few oils so far since my oily journey began a little over a year ago. So when I find a recipe that calls for an oil I already have, I am pretty stoked. I LOVE making recipes from scratch rather than using the crappy store bought stuff with more ingredients that we can even read!






After I added the oils, I put the butter in to these wide mouth mason jars (like these). They are the perfect size. The recipe made enough to fill 5 jars.



What are your favorite baby shower gifts to give? What are your favorites to receive? I am always looking for new ideas! I did a gift basket in a canvas tote matching her theme, with books for the baby, a super soft blanket, the lotion and a bottle of Gentle Baby essential oil blend along with the Gentle Baby book! I hope she loved it!

If you are curious about essential oils or would like to learn more about my oily journey you can check out my website here.


National Puppy Day & DIY Puppy Treats

In honor of National Puppy Day I want to share with you my latest DIY project. I have been making dog treats for Charlie for a while but I finally found these super cute silicone baking molds shaped like paw prints and dog biscuits to make them in. These are much much cuter than the blobs I made before. I didn’t have a mold so I would just use a cookie scoop and plop the batter on the wax paper and spread it out. I spread it out so that it was a thin wide treat so Charlie didn’t inhale the whole treat in one bite. Does anyone else have a dog that would do that??


You can find these molds on Amazon here.


While I was making the treats, this guy waits very impatiently. He knows the smell is familiar and that these are for him.

The recipe for these is so easy, well, there really isn’t a recipe. It is basically whatever I have in my refrigerator at the time that is safe for Charlie.

I start with canned pumpkin (organic if possible), plain yogurt (again organic if possible) and coconut oil. I use Nutiva unrefined coconut oil just because that is what I buy for us so that is what Charlie gets in his treats! I usually get a good deal on it on Amazon or Sams club.

I also add a few sprigs of parsley if I have it and a few drops of Young Living therapeutic grade Peppermint Vitality essential oil. Not all essential oils are made the same so I only recommend Young Living. If you know the source of the oils you are using, just be careful that they are safe for ingesting and not made up of toxic synthetics. I have mentioned before that I love my oils and we use them everyday. You can find that post here.


After I mix all the ingredients well, making sure to mix the coconut oil completely so you don’t have large clumps, then I use a cookie scoop and fill each spot on the molds. Then I put the mold in the freezer and clean up my mess. Usually by this time, poor Charlie is staring me down and drooling. He really doesn’t drool much at all unless he truly believes that a treat is coming his way. In this case, he knows.

After about 30 minutes, I take out the trays and pop the treats out of the mold. They fortunately pop out super easy. I tossed them on a plate for a quick picture then toss them right in a ziploc bag and in to the freezer. Keep these in the freezer and you can take them out one at a time for your pup.




Of course we needed a few pictures of Charlie as a puppy on puppy day!


This picture is where Charlie got his name. Charlie the Sunshine Dog

What are you doing with your puppy to celebrate today? I think we are going to the local park this afternoon to enjoy the sunshine and take some pictures.



DIY Pumpkin Dog Treats

1 can of pumpkin (organic if possible)

1 container plain yogurt (organic if possible)

1/4 cup coconut oil (you can add as much or as little of this as you would like)

3 drops Young Living Peppermint oil

You can adjust all of these ingredients to what you have in your fridge. You can also add some parsley for fresh breath! Mix ingredients thoroughly and scoop with a cookie scoop into molds. Freeze molds for 30 minutes. Keep treats in the freezer and use as needed.

If you want to see more of Charlie the Sunshine Dog, you can follow him on Instagram here.

Facebook here.

Twitter here.

If you would like to learn more about Young Living essential oils you hop over to my website here.








Stylin’ with Coastal Pet Products

I have some pretty exciting news to share with you today! Are you ready??

Drum roll please……

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Charlie was selected as the dog model for Coastal Pet Products!! Coastal Pet Products is a company out of Ohio and we purchased our first product from them about three years ago when Charlie was a puppy. Charlie LOVED to go on walks, and still does, but unfortunately he had a tendency to pull on the leash.

Does your dog pull on the leash? Unfortunately I didn’t know much about harnesses at that time because Charlie was typically off leash everywhere except at a public trail etc… On the farm and at our camp, he didn’t need a leash. We decided to try the Walk Right front connect harness for Charlie and we were amazed at how well it worked. The concept was brilliant. Instead of the snap of the leash clipping on to the dogs back (like a sled dog – think sled dogs pulling a sled!) the leash clips to the front of the dogs chest and every time the dog decides to pull, their attention gets redirected back to you. Brilliant honestly.

I was so excited that this worked. No more pulling, no choking, no stress on the dogs neck, just a nice walk and much more enjoyment for all of us. Like an other training tool, this harness isn’t used as an immediate miracle fix, it is a training tool for you and your dog to work together and eventually the dog will be able to try a traditional top latch harness but it takes time and patience for you both, working together to accomplish the wanted behavior. It took us a while but Charlie eventually walked much better on a leash and traditional harness however certain times we still use the front connect.

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Coastal was kind enough to send Charlie a brand new Walk Right harness in this bright red as well as a bunch of other goodies to try out! Here he is showing off the bright red. Isn’t he handsome?


My favorite out of the goody bag has to be the Sublime Aztec patterned collar and leash set. Most dog collars are typically about 1″ or sometimes 1 & 1/2″ wide, this one is 2″ wide and we love it. It looks great on Charlie with his fur color.

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At first I was concerned about the durability and strength of the plastic buckle but after testing it, it is great! We wanted to be sure that if Charlie did get excited over a rabbit or another dog, he wasn’t going to break open the buckle! Fortunately, the bucket worked great and didn’t pop open. The snap on the leash is a different snap than most traditional leashes but this model works great when snapping it on to the collar. The metal snap is also durable. With a dog Charlie’s size, durability is important!

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Modeling his gear. Isn’t he a cutie? I think this collar is my new favorite. The color is perfect!

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They also sent us this bright orange camo Remington collar. This is a must for Charlie. Many of the places we go to hike are in the woods so anything bright like this collar is a great option. The plastic buckle works great for when you want to get out the door fast and just snap that collar on right away, it also works great for taking the collar off in a hurry!

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The collars both fit great and are good for the active dog as well as the couch potatoes. Charlie is both and today he is the active dog until we get back inside and he turns into the couch potato. Typically after a long walk outside, the first thing he does is curl up on the couch or on a sunny spot on the floor!

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If you would like to check out Coastal Pet Products you can view their website here.

You can find them on Facebook here.

Instagram here.

Twitter here.

If you would like to follow Charlie the Sunshine Dog you can do that by clicking here for Facebook, here for Instagram and here for Twitter.

If you would like to view the products discussed above, please follow the links below.

The Aztec Sublime collar 

The Walk Right front connect harness 

The Remington orange collar (also in pink) 


Now the big question is, which collar would you choose for your fur baby?


*** Disclaimer – We received this products in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Concrete Counter and Cake


For the past three months we have been using plywood for our kitchen counter while we were waiting for the concrete to be finished. The reason for the long wait time was a mixture of things but the main reason was waiting for our kitchen cabinets to be completed and installed. There was no way we could order the counter tops until the cabinets were installed and we were able to get accurate measurements. So we waited, and waited to order them. The actual waiting period once ordered was about 30 days, it just seemed like forever when you look at plywood counters every day.

There are so many different options now for counters. You can choose anything from laminate to wood or granite and quartz. The decision making process is painful. I knew I wanted the farmhouse apron front sink in my kitchen from the beginning and for budget reasons, I planned on getting laminate counter top. Until I talked with my favorite laminate counter top people and they informed me that it wasn’t the best option to use the farmhouse sink with laminate. It could be done, but they didn’t recommend it. So, that is when I explored the next options. Unfortunately granite was going to cost more than double what the laminate would. I am generally a very frugal person so when that price popped up, I passed. The next option was DIY concrete counter. I mentioned it to Ryan and he looked at me like I had possibly lost my mind. Maybe I did, but for the price, I was willing to try anything. In our kitchen, we splurged on the size and the cabinets for the space because there are so many. I didn’t get fancy cabinets with a lot of detail just the lower priced, shaker style plain white but… due to the quantity and size, they were more expensive. So, I knew I needed to save on the counter. After a week or so of research and pinning tutorials, we had asked a friend if they knew of someone that made concrete counters and guess what?? He did! So, Ryan was off the hook and we called him. In the end, the price of the concrete counters was less than laminate. Win, win for me.

Fast forward to this weekend and we installed the first half (the right side) of the concrete counter tops. I should mention that by we, I mean my hubby and the guy that made the counter top, not me. I was there for moral support and to take pictures of course.


I opted for the built in dish drainer. I love it. I hope that I don’t regret my decision later but, too late now!


Installing the counters, very carefully! I love them!


Everything in place, now for the finishing touches.

The weekends around here are usually time for family, Sunday family dinners are a thing we do frequently and we love! Do you have family dinners at your house? This particular Sunday, my little brother is home from Germany and leaving in a few days to go out of state again and so we celebrated his birthday while he is here! We know I love to bake so, birthday = birthday cake! I have always been a wanna be cake decorator so I try. I fail and sometimes succeed but I try! Well, this weekend I decided to try a new chocolate cake recipe and considering the size of our family, a yellow cake too.




All set up for family dinner, ignore the mixed matched chairs and no stools at the island, it’s getting there! Soon enough I will have all my chairs and stools but for now, this works. I used the extensions in my table for the first time and I think 11′ of table worked great for our big family.


Maybe I over did it a little on the cakes?? Nah, you can never have too much cake right??

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Waiting patiently for a crumb to drop.


I finally used the cake stand I have had in the back of my pantry for way too long.

Snow Day Decor & The Dog

Only in Pennsylvania do we start with a 54 degree day with sunshine and end with 3 inches of snow the next morning and temperatures in the low 30’s. Brrr. How is the weather where you are? Hopefully warm and sunny. Considering this is already March 10th, let’s hope that this is the last of it. I am ready for green grass and sunshine!

My biggest concern when we moved to the farm, was the long up hill driveway. I was so worried about getting stuck at the bottom of the driveway or the treacherous drive down the hill when it snows. We have been pretty lucky so far this year and with the strangely warm winter, it has been better than expected… so far.

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Charlie enjoys the couch as I am standing in front of him holding up different signs and frames and going from wall to wall trying to decide where I want what frame and wishing Charlie could hold them up on the wall so I could stand back and get a good look. I am slowly getting the walls decorated and working with what I have left. I love to shop, we know that but I am usually very budget conscious and cheap frugal. Throughout the planning process of the house, I selected a few certain things I wanted for the space and then decided to use items from our first home or basic things like new frames etc… that are inexpensive. Our tv stand is one of those things that I brought from the old house but I plan to replace. So my dilemma is, do I decorate the wall behind it for the current TV stand that is shorter and more narrow than the new stand I want, or do I leave the wall empty and wait. I am definitely not going to be able to leave the wall empty. So, I will try to decorate it for now! I will end up changing it but for now, I like it. I wanted something that works well with the reclaimed wood ceiling and the pop of color. I found the barn wood look frames at Walmart! I was pleasantly surprised to find them there. They were so cute and fit my style perfectly. The sign with the pop of color (aqua – my favorite right now) was from Joann Fabrics!

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I think he decided to just continue sleeping, so much for helping.

Did I mention, one side of our concrete counter tops are coming this weekend for the kitchen! So excited. The kitchen has been a long process and a lot of waiting, hopefully not much longer for the other half and I can finally put everything away in my hutch cabinet! Fingers crossed.


Happy Friday!