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No matter how much you probably love your current home, do you ever just find yourself daydreaming about living in the perfect house?

We bought our house in April of 2006, a month before we got married. It’s our first house and we expected to live here for only about five years. (Side note: why is it that young people can only think ahead about 5 years? Saying you’re going to live somewhere for 10 years or more is basically saying you’re going to be there forever. So five years is the max for everyone.) We didn’t buy for the area (mistake #1) or even pay attention to the school district (mistake #2). We just wanted the best house for our budget. Seven years later and I now have a love/hate relationship with our house. I love that we have 4 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms. I love that we have a basement. I love that we have a huge driveway that can fit about 7 cars, plus street parking. I love that we have a spacious side yard, plus a deck and a patio. I love that we have TWO parks within walking distance. I love how easy my commute is most days. I love that we have a basement, and plenty of storage space. And I love that we have mostly pergo/wood/tile floors rather than carpet.

But there are also a lot of things I don’t love. I don’t love not having a two-car garage (we have a carport). I don’t love not having a ranch, or a suitable pantry in the kitchen. I don’t love not having an on-suite master bathroom. I don’t love having a backyard that overlooks our neighbors’ backyard (even though they’re nice, quiet people). I don’t love having neighbors in general. No matter how nice they all are (well, most of them anyway). I don’t love having low ceilings. I don’t love not having a spacious bedroom or open floor plan. I don’t love not having an eat-in kitchen.

While we haven’t started the hunt for our second house quite yet, I’ve been stockpiling a list of qualities I want in my future home. For all of those house-hunting shows on HGTV that say first-time home buyers are the worst because of their high and unreasonable expectations, I almost think second and third time buyers are even worse because we have an even greater idea of what we want/don’t want in a home based on our previous experiences.

Anyway, enough talking. On with the inspiration photos.

pantry

Isn’t this pantry just perfect? The wicker baskets, the wire baskets, the drawers, the open shelves… I could store ALL THE THINGS in here!

LaundryRoom

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to laundry rooms. While this one is by far one of the least extravagant, I love it for its simplicity. I can almost smell the fresh towels in the dryer. The only thing I might add would be a closet on the other side of those drawers (the not pictured area) for a dirty clothes hamper. With our washer and dryer in the basement, we are notorious for just dumping the dirty clothes on the floor and leaving them there until we wash them. It’s a bad habit but I know myself and I’d need a place to dispose of dirty clothes until I could get around to washing them.

cozybackyard

I love having a backyard. I’d love it even more if I couldn’t see my neighbors. My parents have an awesome covered deck on the back of their house.  It’s by no means this luxurious, but doesn’t this look cozy? I also have a Pinterest board for backyards, most of which also have outdoor kitchens in them but when I thought about it, would I really use an outdoor kitchen that much? Probably not. They just look so cool! I mean, look at this!

backyardkitchen

Fancy, no?

In my mind, I’ve convinced myself that I would be in much better shape if I had enough space at home to work out. Having a kid plus working full time outside the home means the last thing I want to do is leave again to go to the gym. If I could do at-home workouts while he plays, I’d be so much better at working out. Maybe.

playroom

 

So how cute is this exercise room/playroom combo? I’d maybe change up the colors a bit but it’s just so darn functional. I even see a large flatscreen mounted on the wall, opposite the mirror. Just add a treadmill or elliptical and I’d be all set.

shower

 

 

I really don’t know how this shower works without getting water all over the floor but I love the multiple shower heads.

 

On a slightly more practical scale, this is much more my jam when it comes to a bathroom.

bathroom

 

Or maybe this one:

firetub

 

Ok so a fireplace in the bathroom really isn’t practical but my goodness it’s pretty. My only requirement for a future bathroom is dual sinks.

When it comes to kitchens, my style preference is all over the place. I would kill to have something like this:

rustickitchen

 

Though the practical girl in me would even be over-the-moon for something like this:

benchCouldn’t you just envision lovely breakfasts here every morning before the kids go off to school? I just love it so much.

And since we’re dreaming here, I’d love to have a movie room. Maybe when I no longer have a need for a playroom, I could turn it into a movie room. Most movie rooms I’ve seen are super cheesy looking though. They’ve tried too hard to make them feel like the real movie theater, but I’d much rather have something stylish and comfortable with just a giant flatscreen instead of a projector screen.

This was about the least cheesy image I could find for the seating.

movieroom

 

So tell me, what would you want in your dream home?

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So remember D’s birthday party post and the glimpse of my weekly photo project?

View More: http://piercedphotography.pass.us/desmond View More: http://piercedphotography.pass.us/desmond View More: http://piercedphotography.pass.us/desmond

I knew I wanted to document D’s growth in a unique way. I love, Love, LOVE what Young House Love did with their daughter’s weekly photos. Exhibit A:

yhlBut the thought of buying 52 pieces of fabric, taking photos, editing the photos, and photoshopping numbers onto a photo each week just seemed…daunting. I knew it would be too time consuming and I wouldn’t stick with it.

Plus, I didn’t love the idea of just using a white onesie every week when this kid had so many different outfits that I wanted to remember. Instead, I decided to keep the background white and use a different outfit each week so that I wasn’t only capturing his growth and changes, but his outfits too.

A few of my faves:

Week 3:

IMGP0831

Week 11:

IMGP1421

Week 21:

IMGP3216

Week 32:

IMGP5190

Week 43:

IMGP6891

 

For his birthday banner, I simply edited all the photos as best I could (trying to make the photos as bright as possible since I wasn’t always great about getting natural light and white-balancing).  Then I had them all printed as 4x6s at Walmart. I bought a wide ribbon in his party colors (blue and green), mini-clothspins, and some colorful strips of thick cardstock-type paper and a large circle-shape punch-out that I found in the scrapbooking section at a craft store. It took me only a few minutes to punch out 52 circles. Then I used a permanent marker to write 1-52 on each of the circles and made sure my photos matched up with the right weeks. I used 3M adhesive strips to adhere the ribbon to the wall before clipping each of the photos and the numbers to it. And VOILA!

View More: http://piercedphotography.pass.us/desmond

I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it now that the parties are over, but I’m thinking of getting a large metal clip ring and just keeping them all together on something like that and ordering a separate collage print to hang in my office.

Now that we’re beyond the 1 year mark though, I’m just going to do monthly photos, and stick with a different outfit each month. There’s just something about packing up all those sweet little baby clothes that makes me teary, but I have a much easier time knowing I’ve documented my favorite outfits well with photos so I can always look back on them when I’m feeling sentimental.

 

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As much as I hate winter and the post-holiday lull, I tend to get a little excited about starting a new year. A fresh start. It’s a cleansing feeling, even though I’m still holed up in my house, hiding under a blanket until some time in April. For the last couple of years, I’ve been a little bah-humbug about New Years. Probably because I usually fail at whatever resolutions I set for myself.

But this year will be different!! ::fist in the air::

My main resolution? Lose weight.

How’s that for different?

Ok, so it’s not different at all. But you know what? Everyone else is coming up with unique resolutions or non-resolutions in an effort to be different, so maybe losing weight is actually the most different resolution right now. It’s so popular that it’s not popular anymore and therefore, I win. Or something like that.

Anyway, I don’t really care. I NEED to lose weight. For one, I don’t want to buy any more new clothes. I have lots of perfectly good clothes that I haven’t worn in almost 2 years. At this rate, my main reason for needing to replace my clothes will be because they’re out-of-style. Not that I’ve really ever been “in style” to begin with. Secondly, I want to be healthy. Now that I’m 30, it’s only a matter of time before I start feeling the creaks and cracks of experienced adulthood. I’m already one geriatric step away from wearing orthopedic shoes. No doubt this extra weight I’m hauling around isn’t doing any favors for my impending arthritis.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that nothing takes away your feeling of invincibility like becoming a parent. My baby is a daily reminder that I need to take care of myself so that I’m around long enough to take care of him. And with any luck, meet my grandkids.

So I rejoined Weight Watchers and so far, so good. Granted, it’s only been a couple of days, but I’m not going to be too hard on myself. No crazy restrictions like no caffeine or carbs. No “I’m going to work out 5 days a week” mandates or anything like that. Just sensible food tracking with a goal to lose weight. I also picked up a Yoga DVD so that I can try to incorporate some fitness too. If I do it 5 days a week? Fantastic! Only 2? That’s good too. Something is better than nothing and nothing is what I’ve been doing since I found out I was pregnant back in 2011.

So weight loss is my #1 goal for 2012. If I can lose weight the healthy way on Weight Watchers, then I should be able to hit my goal (losing 2 lbs a week) by baby D’s first birthday.

Now I do have a few other goals in mind, but they’re more just for fun. For example, I’d like to do more Pinterest-inspired projects. I haven’t spent a ton of time on there in recent months, but I have a nice collection of boards and pins, just sitting there looking pretty. I’d like to actually do something with them – try new recipes, make a crafty project, try some of the tips & tricks. If I could do one Pinterest-inspired thing a month, that would be great.

I’d also like to take more photos. I take tons of weekly and monthly photos of baby D – most of which I don’t end up posting here. But I’d like to do some sort of 365 photo-a-day challenge that I could later turn into a collage or book. Babies change so much during these early months/years, that even though I find myself taking tons of photos and a few videos here and there, it still doesn’t seem like I’m capturing it all. Still, I need to make sure I don’t go overboard to where I have to force myself to put down the phone/camera.

Next, I’d like to take an awesome vacation with my little family. A lot of folks would choose to leave their baby behind with a grandparent or aunt/uncle, but we don’t really want to do that. We’re a tad obsessed with him and would rather have him with us wherever we go. Now where to go? We’d love to do a beach destination, but the logistics of getting there are enough to make me give up on that dream. Hopefully we figure something out.

Suggestions for baby-friendly destinations or tips for traveling with a baby? We’ve done 9+ hour car rides, but have yet to attempt a plane ride.

Lastly, I’d like to plan a kick-ass first birthday party for baby D. His birthday isn’t for another almost 5 months, but my inlaws have already asked us about it. They really want us to have it at their house, which, as you all know, is a VERY long drive for us. But, we’ve already done it 3 times now since he’s been born so we sort of know what we’re doing. And part of me feels like that may be the best option. If we host it in STL, my inlaws might come – if my MIL is doing alright – but I doubt any of hubby’s siblings or nieces/nephews would make the trip. It’s just hard to make an argument for 14 people to come to St. Louis, when the three of us could get in the car and go there instead. And it’s about the same distance for my parents either way, so it doesn’t matter much to them. Decisions, decisions. In the meantime, I’ll peruse all the super awesome birthday party themes over on Pinterest. My personal faves so far:

baseball

Baseball themed? It will be during baseball season…

beach

Beach themed? We are beach fanatics, after all…

littleman

Or little man themed? But with different colors.

(Photo sources on my Pinterest page.)

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Ever since I discovered Pinterest a couple of months ago, I’ve been obsessed with pinning things like yummy recipes, ideas for parties, gorgeous photos of places I’d like to travel to, crafty things to make for the holidays, and so much more. I think I’m up to about 420 pins on 20 different “boards”, so a few weeks ago, I decided to stop pinning and start DOING! All of those recipes aren’t going to bake themselves, so I pulled up my recipes board and asked the hubs to pick something. The first thing he picked? Sopapilla cheesecake. It looked – and sounded – difficult just by glancing at the photo. But once I clicked the recipe, it was probably the easiest thing I’ve ever made. Also, the most delicious. I mean, how can you go wrong with sugar, bread, and cheese? Those are my three favorite food groups!

(Fresh out of the oven; makes enough for 12)

Next, I tried Bobby Flay’s Fish Tacos.

(I tried a couple of different sauces to see what worked best. I liked them both.)

Quickly followed by these key lime cupcakes. (Not pictured, but look like plain white cupcakes.)

Then, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these amazing Oreo cupcakes.

(One of my better pieces of work.)

Still apparently on a cupcake kick, I attempted Harry Potter themed butterbeer cupcakes. Instead of looking like the photo in the link, they turned out like this:

(When the recipe called for cream soda, I should’ve steered clear of the PINK cream soda. Lesson learned.)

Next I tried something non-edible when I made an inside-the-cabinet cork board to hold coupons, recipes, and all the miscellaneous paper items that seem to accumulate in the kitchen.

With a hankering for something lemony, I attempted this lemon pull apart bread, except I must’ve bought the wrong rolls so the result looked nothing like this photo. I’d show you, but imagine giant round rolls sliced in half with a lemony-sugar mixture poured on top. Because that’s essentially what they were. Still pretty tasty though!

Then tonight I made these zucchini cakes.

(My iPhone photos never look quite as good as the professional food photographer’s.)

So as you can see, I’ve been using Pinterest as my “pinspiration”** for some time now, so imagine my excitement when I saw that two of my favorite bloggers were putting on a Pinterest Challenge!

Check out Katie Bower at the Bower Power Blog to hear all about it.  Or I can just tell you. Instead of making mostly food items like me, each of the folks participating in this challenge are going to make something for their home, like a chandelier for a laundry room or a headboard piece for a bedroom – something crafty for the home. I really can’t wait to see what they end up doing.

Meanwhile, I’ll probably keep trying recipes that give a little extra jiggle to my thighs because I’m healthy like that.

**Term coined by other Pinterest Challenger and blogger, Sherry at Young House Love.

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