Home {4 Year House Anniversary}

Last friday marked four years since I signed on the 392 dotted lines and became a homeowner. It was a real life dream come true. I had waited and waited and I was finally there.

Home Sweet HereAnd I’m still here. I got engaged in this house. I started my marriage here. I found out about Tripp here and this is where we brought him home. This is not my “dream home,” but somehow, it is where my dreams have come true and that is really something special.

TrippI had a list of pros and cons a mile long and wide but when it came down to it, this place was exactly where I was supposed to be then and it still is now.

But I have house envy big time. One of my biggest hobbies is looking at floor plans and visiting new construction houses. (It isn’t technically breaking and entering if the door is unlocked, right?) I want a new house like yesterday. Bigger,  fancier, custom-er (totally a word) and with more room to grow.

But I have to remember that four short years ago this was my dream. As I was going through the negotiating/inspecting/closing process I could see the finish line. That line looked a lot like me getting up the first morning in this place, walking to the kitchen and pouring a nice cup of coffee. I would take a sip as I looked out the back door to  a big green backyard. My coffee. My backyard. My home. It still has a sweet sound to it, doesn’t it? coffee

I still dream of my future house and it will be incredible, you can count on that, but I want to take time to appreciate this one. I might love to look at the shiny new houses, but this is home.

And you know what? Before that, my teeny, tiny, little house was home. I didn’t own it (I may have not even paid rent for it- thanks mama and daddy!) but it was my home for six years because that is what I made it.

When I started Home Sweet Here two and a half years ago, that was what I wanted to share and promote. I still truly believe you can make where you are your home sweet home but I need that reminder so I’m guessing you might, too. Home is a dream come true.  It doesn’t have to be your forever dream home- it’s wherever you make your dreams happen. We can see dreams come true each and every day: laughter with your family and friends, the best meal you’ve ever cooked, a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, first steps and smiles or a cucumber straight from your garden. tripp's first cucumber

Your dreams are up to you but I encourage you to dream big and dream small and make sure you celebrate each and every one. Treasure them. Use them to make where you are truly home- be it a mansion, apartment, shack or house.

Will you do that with me? Will you embrace where you are and celebrate your dreams? Will you make your house your home sweet home?

To truly be home and love it sometimes takes some effort. Accept where you are, celebrate how awesome it is and watch your dreams come true. Treasure it and you’ve found home.

Making the Grade {2012 Goal Review}

Can you believe January is over halfway over? Christmas will be here again like tomorrow and I’m still cleaning up red glitter! 2012 flew by and (surprise, surprise) I did NOT accomplish all my goals but I made progress. Let’s take a look back at how I did, shall we? (Did you miss these? I started them here and did a check in here)

AROUND THE HOUSE:

1. Bonus Room – Surprisingly, this one is about to pick us some steam. WE BOUGHT A COUCH! Woohoo! And paint! Putting it all together is a January goal so stay tuned but here’s a little sneak preview until then.  Grade: Bbonus room curtain

2. Guest Bedroom– This is barely progress, but I bought curtains at Ikea that I plan to use in there and I think I’ve picked out bedding and a paint color. Hopefully February or March will bring some progress but for now, this is a very rough idea of what I’m thinking. It looks like lots of crazy pattern, but I have a plan Grade: C-Home Sweet Here: Guest Room Inspiration

3. Laundry Room- Does having a vision in my head count? I didn’t think so. I reorganize and change out baskets and such, but it’s still a work in progress. Until I can get some cabinets for over the washer and dryer there won’t be much change.  Grade: F

4. Grow something- Done! There were a few minor setbacks (aphids on the tomatoes and awful squash beetles) but I count my garden as a HUGE success. We had lettuce, peppers, tomatoes and HERBS galore.  I can’t wait for round 2 in the Spring! Grade: A+ 

Home Sweet Here Lettuce(more on the garden here, here, here and here)

5. Hang Curtains-This was a slam dunk. We totally took care of this. Thanks, BFF! Grade: A+ DSC_0463

6. Light It UpI completed one set of lamps and moved the other set to a different room but that’s about it. I still cannot decide what I want to do with them, so for now they stay the same. Grade: CLamp Before and After

7. Christmas in July- I did a little better, but still not as good as I wanted to. Remind me next year that I really want to get things done super early, please? Grade: C-Red and Green Tree: Home Sweet Here

IN THE KITCHEN

1. Add Some Variety- I may have not shared all of it, but I say we definitely tried some new things out. Maybe sharing could be a 2013 goal? Grade: B+

2. Try Some Classics- This had a long list. Basically I made homemade biscuits and that’s about it. Whatevs. Grade: D-biscuits

ORGANIZATION

1. Jewelry- I did it. It worked and then I got tired of it. I already changed it so can that count for 2013 too? Grade: Ajewelry organization

2. My Closet- The thing about organization is it only works when you find the right system for you. You can copy every issue of Real Simple for the rest of your life, but until you find what works for you, it doesn’t work. What am I saying? My closet was a hot mess when 2012 ended BUT that was one of the first things I fixed this year. It will always be a work in progress, but I’m getting there. Grade: C

3. The Office- See above and then go here and here. The short version of this story: does my desk still get cluttery? Yes. Does it stay that way? Nope. Not a perfect system, but it’s working and evolving. I may have some 2013 updates for you soon (hint, hint) Grade: B-Desk Organization

BLOG GOALS

1. Home Tour-Progress, but barely. Here’s to 2013! Grade: Dhome tour

2. Design/Mood/Inspiration Boards- Nope. Never did it. I keep my mood boards in my head and the one above does not count. Maybe next year. Grade: F

3. Get to know you- Well, we added some followers this year (THANK YOU!)  and got more comments so I count this as a success! This was all you, so well done. Keep up the good work with some more comments, please! Grade: A+ for you

AND A FEW PERSONAL THINGS

1. Take a vacation- Done and it was totally worth it. We saved our tax return and went to Hilton Head (read more here and here). We went to the beach everyday, out to dinner every night and even took a little trip to see Paula. I count this as a major success of 2012. Grade: A+++ DSC_0133DSC_0498

2. Paint my fingernails- I did it! I didn’t have them painted all the time, but more than before and I even got some new nail polish. I’m an overachiever, I know :)  Grade: A

3. Enjoy- Done and Done. Let’s try this again in 2013! Grade: A+

Overall, I was actually kind of excited when I checked back. I might have been a bit ambitious with a few of my goals and I don’t know that I will have quite this extensive list for 2013. What is the deadline for setting those? March maybe? :)

Overall, it was a great year and I count any accomplishnemts, big or small, as major victories. How did you do on your 2012 goals and do you have any yet for 2013?

Family Tradition {Thankful}

Happy Monday! While I am singing a Hank WIlliams Junior song in my head thanks to the title, I’m talking about a totally different topic. ‘Tis the season to be thankful (falalala, lalalala) and just about everyone is doing something to celebrate each and every day. While I love seeing all the facebook and instagram posts full of thankfulness, we’re sticking with the tradition we started a long, long time ago. Last year. :)

 Yup, we just write a little note about what we’re thankful for each day and place it in the vessel of choice and then when Thanksgiving rolls around we read them all. Last year they ranged from the more serious like the Bible, Jesus and family stuff to the still serious, but less significant like special band-aids for my special boo-boos (that one might make a comeback. Last year it was a burn, this year it was a run-in with a cheese grater #findmeapaddedroom). I expect this year will be very similar. The only rules are #1 write something daily and #2 be thankful.

We already have a pretty good start this year…

So that’s it. Our second annual Thanksgiving thankfulness fest of November! I even saved my printable in back of the frame from last year to make it super easy.

While we’re being thankful, let me just say thanks to YOU! I am really, genuinely, truly, sincerely thankful for each and everyone of you who click over here, even when I take a little break. Those of you who comment and like and even those of you who tell my mama I need to get back on it (ahem, that means you “sister” Destinee :)). I am thankful to you and for you all. I never set out to break follower or hit records (that made me think of Hank again #imsensingapattern) but the fact that you do follow and you do visit is just amazing to me so THANK YOU. I do a little happy dance inside every time I see you’ve been here (let the record show it is not to a Hank Williams Junior song). Clearly I am thankful for band-aids, Hank and YOU today, so what are YOU thankful for. 1.2.3. GO!

Friday, Oh Friday…

Happy Friday, friends! It’s kind of a bittersweet day around here because it is Friday, the weather is fabulously fallish and we’re off work, but it’s our last vacation day and Monday means a return to normalcy- work and all. Ouch.

I mentioned last week that while I was so ready for Fall, there was still a bit of summer left and that is just where we have been…

ahhh!

I was in college the last time I went on a real beach vacation and the last longer-than-a-weekend trip Robb and I went on was our honeymoon. We were due a very relaxing fun time away so we saved our pennies (actually our tax return, same thing) and we packed up for five days at Hilton Head. It was awesome and wonderful and I want to go back. Stat.

We stayed in a super cute, but super teeny little condo right on Forrest Beach, spent a day in Savannah (not enough, but we packed a lot in the day and on our plates at the Lady and Sons!), and enjoyed a few days of doing nothing but laying around on the beach and figuring out where to go for dinner. Seriously, can I go back? Please?

As I pause to wipe the tear from my eye, I just wanted to take a moment to tell you that, thanks to my fabulous vacation I have lots to share next week! Like a little window shopping in Savannah, a view inside that cute little condo that has just been totally redecorated and approximately 500 pictures of the sunrise on the beach. Just kidding on that last one. I may have taken about 500 pictures of the sunrise alone, but I promise not to share more than 200 ;)

AND tomorrow marks the first day of FALL so I am ecstatic to add some fall cheer around here. It’s my favorite. Fall and Smiling :)

As I mourn vacations come and gone and look forward to my most favorite season of all I hope you have a great weekend. Go plant a mum or buy a pumpkin!

Fall For It

Sunday morning was pretty typical. I got up early. Started my coffee and took Avery out. That’s how it usually goes, but I got a little bit of a surprise.

It was glorious. I wish I could somehow post the smell because it even smelled like Fall. I spent several months here proclaiming my undying love for Spring. While I love it, it’s more of my on-and-off-again boyfriend. Fall is my soulmate. It completes me.

Winter has Christmas, family and sweaters. Spring has green plants and signs of a fresh start. Summer has terrible heat that makes me want to stay inside amazingly fresh food that we live off. Fall has my heart.

To plan for our reunion, I made a little list. We can call it my wish, bucket, whatever list you want but these are those things I cannot wait to enjoy this autumn.

1. Pumpkins- Since way back when, Robb and I have had this little tradition of carving pumpkins together. We missed last year. We bought the pumpkins and they sat in our garage so long that I probably shouldn’t even tell you that piece of information. But this year, I’m brining pumpkin carving back. Those other squash won’t know how to act.

We have so much fun with this. Robb is the master of traditional face pumpkins and I like to pick a favorite power tool and get creative.

2. Fires- The thing I don’t like so much about fall is how early it gets dark. The best way to make the most of this is beside our little outdoor fireplace. We totally redid our patio/deck this year and it is going to be even better to sit by the little chiminea and enjoy the cool night, in flannel.

3. Flannel and sweatshirts- To me, nothing is cozier than a huge sweatshirt or a stolen borrowed flannel shirt. I may wear them year round, but tis the season for it to be socially acceptable.

4. Pumpkin Muffins- I never thought I liked pumpkin until I got the recipe for pumpkin bread from our dear friend’s mama. I altered it just a bit and created the best muffins I’ve ever eaten. I could make myself sick on them and I plan to do just that all fall.

5. Soup, Chili and more soup- Does this even need an explanation?

6. Thankful Jar– Last year we started a little November Tradition and loved it. Read more here if you’re interested.

7. Getting Crafty with it- Have you seen my Fall Pinterest Board. I need to start some of these things last year!

8. Fall Farmer’s Market- The thing I love most about Summer is our Saturday Market and how well we eat because of it. Thankfully, ours stays around through October so it is almost magical to watch it change from watermelon, zucchini and tomatoes to pumkins and more fall squash than you can imagine.

9. Trip with my BFF- Before houses and car payments and all that other “stuff” you have to pay for as you grow up, Sarah and I always took at least one fantabulous vacation every year. We may not be partying it up in Vegas with the Kardashians again, but we are going to take a little trip that will more than celebrate our shared love of the season.

10. Being amazed at every single color in the beautiful landscape- I don’t know anything more majestic than watching the colors change everyday. God is so amazing and I’m so thankful for how He paints the sky and trees to remind me of that daily.

Do you love Fall like me? What’s on your bucket list?

The part that I’m in denial about is that it’s not here yet. Sunday made it up to a beautiful 80 degrees, it’s a bit too hot to pull out my favorite boots and I still have a little vacation to the beach awaiting me, but, it’s coming. I can smell it.