House Projects-Mantel

We’ve been wanting to replace the mantel in our house since the day we moved in! The trim work and attention to detail in this house are so beautiful, and it didn’t quite fit. We did our best to work with it, but it’s been on our to-do list. Here’s a shot of the old mantel.

This past weekend we finally did it! Stew worked for two days tearing down the old and rebuilding the new. Here’s the progress:

Once he finished his part, it was my turn. I did all the caulking and nail hole filling. I sanded it down and painted over the brick and wood to match our trim. It came out perfect! It was exactly what we envisioned! Now I’m counting down the days until I can start decorating it for the holidays!!


House Updates

I know it’s been nothing but radio silence over here! But all is well in the Watson abode. I’ve actually been SO productive lately! I’ve been working a ton, spending little time on social media, and soaking up my family time every chance I can get!

After the holidays, I went into spring cleaning mode. It helped that it’s been 70 degrees here (until this week that is)! We took down the decorations the weekend after Christmas and did a super clean of the house. It felt so good! I’ve also been purging like crazy. We’ve collected so much stuff over the years! If it wasn’t nailed down, I sold it or donated it! Then, with that money, I made a few small changes to the house that made a BIG difference! Here are our latest updates:

In Turner’s room, we really just updated the wall art. He had a great room to begin with!

Gracie’s room was a similar story! She had a collage wall above her crib, but it was never quite right. So we took it down, played with ideas on the floor, and created the perfect collage! We also picked up a “Hello Beautiful” sign for above her dresser.

Our room was a bit of a challenge. It’s really big and has three closets in a row with windows on one corner of the room. So I was on Pinterest searching for ideas! I saw a cute little sitting area in one photo that gave me the idea for this arrangement!

And my favorite update of all….the living room! We had two tall bookshelves on either side of the fireplace, but it looked too cluttered. So we replaced them with two sitting chairs with matching wall art on either side. Then opposite that, we created an amazing collage wall above the couch!

The best part of this whole thing was that every piece of art in the living room was from Hobby Lobby! AND they were 50% off!!!! Can you feel my excitement?! Doesn’t it look like I spent a fortune on these art pieces? The chairs we got for the living room were from Hobby Lobby too. Who knew they sold furniture!? My mind was completely blown after walking through there! It’s amazing how a few thought out changes can make our house feel completely different. I love love love it!

House Updates

We’ve been in our new house for about 4 months and I’m really getting the decorating itch! Now that work is calming down, I can start to make some of the changes I’ve been dreaming up in my head! The first major change I’ve wanted to make from day 1 was swapping out the counter tops. I’ve always wanted grey stone counters. After searching and price shopping, we found the ones! The color is called Fantasy Brown Quartzite. They weirdly have “brown” in the title but they’re grey and white. Go figure! Side note, if you’re local and need the most amazing granite company, hit me up! They were incredible. They demoed the old granite nicely and had the new counters installed all within 4 hours. And here is the finished product!

Project number two was the living room. The fireplace has a small space on either side and then a door. I debated putting chairs on either side, but found the exact size shelves I needed to create a “built-in” look without actually getting built-ins made! What are the odds!? They are 28″ wide. I got them from Celadon (local furniture store) and painted them the same color as the trim so they’d blend in. I also found a beautiful wood cabinet (also from Celadon) with glass sliding doors that was just what I’ve been looking for to hide our sound system. And this is what we have now!


We are making progress! It’s starting to feel like our home and not like the house we moved into. I think I can take a break on the house projects for a little while. Next big thing to plan is Gracie’s first birthday party! Have a great weekend!

Our House Before and After Photos!

Prepare to have your mind BLOWN! Looking back at these photos made me exhausted just thinking about the work we’ve put into this house over the past five years! As I mentioned in my previous post, we’re selling our house! We bought this house as a foreclosure in 2011. It was completely abandoned and in the worst condition I’d ever seen! But, we were young, kid-less, and really naive. After all, it was our first house! So we couldn’t wait to tackle this monstrosity of a project together! So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some before and after photos of our beloved home!


Of course, it is stunning now! There isn’t a surface that went untouched! We made a really nice home for someone. But we’re ready to move on to our next (not so exhausting) home!

Play Room Makeover

Well, since Baby #2 is on the way, we need to make room for her! Our FROG (furnished room over garage) was our guest room. But last weekend we moved my office and playroom up there and cleared out my old office for the nursery! It’s so much cooler than my old office! There’s much more room for Turner to play too. We even hooked up our second TV so I can have food network on while I work.

It’s a win-win. Turner is occupied for hours and I get so much work done! He has his basketball hoop and ball-pit up there too, so now we have less clutter in our house. That makes this momma very happy!

Weekend Projects

There’s something about daylight-saving time that makes me want to pop on my boots and get out in the garden! Judging by the lines at Lowe’s, I wasn’t alone! This winter has been COLD. I’ve been looking at our dead grass and plants for the past few months, waiting for the weather to warm up, so I could add some GREEN back into my life!!

We started several projects this past weekend! I cleaned out the front garden beds and pruned my rosebushes to get them ready for mulch! We raked the backyard and put grass seed down in our dirt patches in hopes that we will have a bright green blanket of grass (fingers crossed). I planted lots of veggies in my raised vegetable gardens that Stew built last summer– bibb lettuce, arugula, spinach, squash, red peppers, tomatoes, and tons of herbs!

We picked up our hanging ferns for the porch and planted my window boxes.

We planted some plants around the trees in the center of the yard (I have big visions for this area). It’s definitely a work in progress! This is the before picture:

And here is the BEGINNING of my project. I’m only showing you this because I trust that you have my vision too….think “cozy shade garden” with fluffy green foliage and mason jar lights hanging from the trees…

And I put together some containers for the front porch and back deck! The first one has a fern and hydrangeas. It will be beautiful once it fills out (another one I’m trusting you to have my vision)!

Turner was a HUGE help! He mowed the ENTIRE lawn (don’t mind the outfit…I changed his diaper and was too lazy to go into the attic and bust out the summer gear. We made due with the diaper and sweet kicks).

What a productive weekend! All we have left to do is mulch! I will update you with more pictures once things start to fill out! But, for now, happy almost SPRING!

Organization and Valentine’s Day Decor

It’s hard to believe January is almost over!! I can’t say I’m sad to see it go. We’ve had a rough winter, to say the least. Plus, we have a LOT of exciting things happening next month. We have my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Stew’s Birthday, and Stew’s LAST chemo treatment February 27th!!! And, on top of that, spring is right around the corner!

In the meantime, we’ve been cleaning and organizing. I’ll update you as we go on our never-ending house projects! My first project was to organize my diaper bag. I usually just keep it in the car so we have anything and everything we need in case the world ends. Keeping it in the car equals me not changing anything out for the past 14 months. Soooo, I brought it in and went through it. I put everything in a compartment or in a bag within my bag. I have my Rodan and Fields zipper case filled with all of my bottles–lotion, diaper rash ointment, saline nose spray, lip gloss, and sunscreen. I have my Baby Wipe Case, a spare diaper, and a Diaper Wet Bag. I also have a case of hand wipes and the Tiny Diner for when hunger strikes. I feel better already!

I put a few decorations up for Valentine’s Day (right after the Christmas stuff came down). I love when the house is decorated. And Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays! It brightens up the winter so much! Plus, Stew and I have had a fondue dinner tradition since we started dating a hundred eight years ago which is always exciting. Hopefully I’ll get some good pictures of our fondue this year to share! We’ve never missed a year yet! (P.S. my Valentine’s Day Chalkboard is now available on Etsy in a 4×6 Digital File!)

I have high hopes for getting this house in tip-top organized shape by the time spring rolls around. We’ll see how that goes! And for some Sunday cuteness, here’s some Turner love! Stay warm 😮

Supper Club – Standing Rib Roast

We have our supper club once a month. Stew and I always look forward to it. Four couples together to eat and just hang out! We all love to decorate and entertain, so it’s always a great time! This month, Stew and I hosted. The theme was Silver and Gold. I wanted it to be cozy, yet have all the sparkle of the season! I found a sheer gold sequins fabric at JoAnn Fabrics, which was perfect (and cheap) to lay on top of my white table cloth. For my place mats, I used silver & gold glitter scrapbook paper!! It was nice and thick, so it worked perfectly. I used silver glitter painted pinecones and tied everyone’s names to them with silver string. I used a silver metallic sharpie to write their names. And, of course, white candles and baby’s breath to brighten it up. Here is my table-scape.

And, of course, we can’t forget the chalkboards! Winter Wonderland and Silver and Gold are now available on Etsy as digital prints!

Then, the most important part of the night, THE FOOD! For the main course, I chose a standing rib roast (recipe below). I came across this delicious recipe in Southern Living Magazine. Here is the original recipe. I made a few changes and it came out absolutely delicious!

In addition to the roast, I made buttermilk biscuits and roasted brussels sprouts. Annie brought a cheese platter as an appetizer, Kirsten brought a spiked hot cider (vanilla vodka to spike it) and Missy brought homemade chocolate truffles. It was a feast fit for a king! The perfect holiday meal spent with great friends.

Standing Rib Roast with Red Wine Gravy
Serves 8-10

1 (7-lb.) 4-bone prime rib roast, chine bone removed
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Digital Thermometer

Red Wine Gravy
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 red onion, minced
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cup beef broth
pinch of salt

1. Prepare Roast: Let roast stand at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 450°. Whisk together mustard and next 3 ingredients; reserve 1 Tbsp. mixture. Rub remaining mixture over roast; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place roast on a lightly greased rack in a roasting pan.

3. Bake at 450° on lower oven rack 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°; bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 120° to 130° (medium-rare) or 130° to 135° (medium). Don’t trust a timer. ALWAYS use a meat thermometer. Let stand 30 minutes; transfer roast to a serving platter.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy: Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and moving pan as necessary to prevent hot spots. Add onion; sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Whisk in flour. Cook, constantly whisking, for about 1 minute. Whisk in wine; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in broth; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Stir in reserved 1 Tbsp. mustard mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slice roast, and serve with gravy.

Note from Southern Living:
Ask your butcher: Have the chine bone removed. A thin bone that runs perpendicular to the rib bones, it will get in the way of slicing once the meat is roasted and has rested.

Roast like a pro: Start roasting at 450° for 45 minutes to form the caramelized crust. Then reduce the temperature and finish cooking to keep the inside pink and juicy.

The right temp: 125° for prime rib lovers. Remember: The internal temp on large roasts like this will continue to rise as the roast rests.

So Very Thankful

This Thanksgiving was one for the books! We had 19 people at our house (including two adorable babies) and a TON of food! My cousins, who I haven’t seen in years, took the long drive from NJ, with all of their adorable kids, to celebrate with us.

I spent the week prepping and getting the table set. I spray painted some of my mini pumpkins from Halloween with a winter white and then a top coat of silver sparkle. I was so over the orange by Thanksgiving. I decided to incorporate more silvers and whites as a nice segue to Christmas! Having the table set early gets it out of the way and lets me just focus on the food the days before Thanksgiving!

The food was a big hit! I made the most delicious turkey! Here is the recipe. I will DEFINITELY be using this every year! Each person was in charge of a few dishes so it wasn’t all ME! This post had our basic meal outline. Splitting it up definitely lowers the stress level for everyone! It left plenty of time for morning PJ playing and snuggles!

Once everyone arrived, it was non-stop eating and playing! We had a BLAST! Turner got to meet his second cousin, who is just a few months younger, and they hit it off great!

We even managed to get a family picture!

It was a Thanksgiving to remember. We have so much to be thankful for! Stew is healing super speedy and we have the most amazing baby! We are definitely blessed!

Pumpkin Carving Party

Every year we have a pumpkin carving party. Each year it’s different. Last year was a huge fest! We had two rooms filled with people carving pumpkins and TONS of food. I made everything Halloween themed (Batty Bites, Snake Stromboli, Witches Brew, etc). This year, it was a smaller crowd, and I have an 11 month old running around, so I wasn’t as adventurous. This was my plan:

*Evite invitations (bring your own pumpkins, carving utensils, and festive dish)
*Large Plastic Tarp to cover rugs (easy cleanup)
*Pumpkin carving kit
*Halloween Cupcake Stencils
*Festive plastic utensils, cups, plates, and napkins from Target

I definitely cheated on the menu. I’m usually a homemade sorta gal. I was way too busy this year to do all that! I made a few dishes and had people bring a dish. There was plenty of food for everyone!

*Chili (similar here)
*Corn Muffins
*Chocolate Cupcakes with Halloween Stencils
*Roasted Acorn Squash

Turner loved Aunt Suzy’s big shiny pumpkin…

After Turner went to bed, the tools came out! We don’t mess around with pumpkin carving in this house! I’m a bit competitive when it comes to things like this (gasp!)…I always find the hardest stencil for my pumpkin! This year, I chose the witch. I like the challenge.

When everyone was done carving, we cleaned our pumpkin seeds and roasted them so everyone could take a goody bag home. It was a blast. It was a great, inexpensive, way to celebrate the season with friends! Can’t wait for trick-or-treating!