Welcome Sweet Friends! If you’re an old (and dear) friend, you know to kick your shoes off at the door, not because we’re at all fussy but because this is a bare-footin’ kind of house. If you’re new, we’re glad to have you. Come in! Come in!
It’s been such a mild December here in Kentucky that we’ve savored every extra day on the front porch we can.
This is a porch made for sipping wassail (I like mine with a little hit of Jack Daniels just like my good friend Lindsay taught me in college) and swinging.
Snuggle up with a fur blanket in one of the vintage rockers if you’d like. We like to sit here and wave at the neighbors; front-porchin’ is a favorite pass time at our house.
If we’re lucky, we’ll catch one of those beautiful sunsets that turns the entire sky pink and purple. Ada, our four-year-old, thinks Gigi (my late-grandma) paints the sky when it’s pink like this. I like to think she’s right.
We added these twinkle-star lights to the ropes of the swings and they are so fun and whimsical that they may end up staying. Yeah, we’re those people.
Where’s my manners? Let me get you something to eat. I can almost feel my Great-Grandma Gertrude kicking me. Let’s head to the kitchen!
Make yourself at home, friend. In the summer, the house (and pool) stays so full that I finally took the cabinet doors off so everyone would know where the glasses and plates were. I love how open the kitchen feels now. This sink is one of my favorite places on earth. Sounds crazy, right? I like to stand here with my hands in hot, soapy water and watch the horses on the neighboring farm. It’s so peaceful. All of the joy of a horse farm without the fuss.
I’ve decorated the open shelves with my collection of Haviland Limoges 12 Days of Christmas plates and some of my favorite vintage pieces. Ada said she wants the Christmas plates when I die. She’s sweet but brutally honest and already has an eye for design. I’m fairly confident she learned how to write her name just so she could claim her favorite vintage pieces for her future collection.
The details of the kitchen are very sweet and simple. I like to surround myself and my family with things that have a story; a muffin tin from Travis’ grandmother, ornaments from his other grandmother, my great-grandma’s wedding dishes and hand-written recipes. Being in this kitchen feels like connecting with generations of women with flour-covered hands and tender hearts.
Speaking of generations of women, have you met Connie, my mother-in-law? She’s a retired home-ec teacher and the real talent behind these cookies. Don’t let her see you sneaking cookie dough. She’s spent the better part of 14 years trying to teach me but I still sneak a nibble. So does my girl. My goodness is that girl like her momma! I’m hoping she picks up her grandma’s sewing skills though because I can’t sew a button on a shirt. I’ll have to put her to work making me throw pillows some day.
Our little guy, Eli, has loved this Christmas season. He is at such a fun age. I love watching him run through the house from tree to tree, pointing and saying “Ma?! Ma?!” He’s my boy. Don’t you just love those wild, little curls on the back of his neck. I can’t bring myself to cut them. Nope. Not yet.
This is a happy kitchen. A loud kitchen. One made for dancing and dishwater-splashing and eating too many chocolate chips.
It’s a kitchen with a sense of humor. Ha, guys. Very funny.
Want a cup of coffee, friend? Cocoa? Let’s sit down and visit awhile! I’ll even let you sit in my favorite wicker chair. I’m very territorial about my chairs but for you, I’ll make an exception.
Travis made my coffee bar out of pallet wood. We made it for Ada’s 3rd birthday party. She used to call hot chocolate “hot cha-cha-cha” so we made a fun bar with marshmallows and different candies so we wouldn’t ever forget that sweet phase. I smile making coffee here thinking about her little voice asking for her hot cha-cha-cha.
How cute are these tiny gingerbread houses?! I got them at the Dollar Tree! Anthropologie is selling them for $10 each. Ten dollars my foot.
Lord, are there stories behind all of these little things on our open shelves. See the open book over there? It’s called My Big Christmas Book. I had a copy of it when I was a kid and loved it so much. It is full of old, German Christmas songs, recipes and stories. The illustrations are stunning. I have looked for a copy for years and Travis surprised me with it a few weeks ago. I cried like a baby.
This bowl is full of old Christmas photos. That little girl on Santa’s lap is my sweet momma, who moved in with us at the end of the summer. It’s a sweet picture but this one of her first Christmas is my favorite. I wish more than anything that I had it made before my grandma passed away. She would have loved it.
There are so many little baubles and trinkets. So many stories…
The antlers came from my friend Sarah’s farm in Winchester. I used this one to display some of the pretty wood hearts I picked up while having breakfast with my mom at Cracker Barrel. I found the star on vacation last summer in Destin and the oil lamp was from Travis’ grandmother. My dad brought me that big, old jug. He’s a real-life picker and I credit him for my eye for turning trash into treasure.
I’ve collected a lot of old, German ornaments. Growing up in Cincinnati, I’ve come to feel so nostalgic over German-inspired Christmas decor. I think it’s because my mom would take us to the nursing home where she worked and took care of a lot of old, German women. This little felt ornament is one of my favorites. The jadeite bowl was a hand-me-down from Travis’ family and the silver belonged to my Great-Aunt Rose.
I like to linger at the table, don’t you? I think some of the best stories are told after the plates are empty, the tummies are full and the coffee is flowing.
You better check out the new bunk bed while you’re here or Ada will fuss at me. She likes to “decorate,” too, so who knows what it will look like up there! All I can say is watch your step ;) As you’re heading upstairs, take a look at our Storybook Advent Calendar. Every night in December, we’re reading a book together. The kids pick a package as they go up for bed. It’s been a lot of fun!
Travis just started a new job working from home so we put the kids in one room so he could make a home office. I painted the wall in Sherwin Williams’ Urbane Bronze and I love it so much. This room is so cozy and whimsical now. It’s one of my favorite spaces!
Yep, there she goes decorating again. She says, “I’m fixing the details, Momma!”
She helped me paint the background for their little woodland scene on kraft paper and decorated the tree herself. She wanted to use shimmery white yarn to look like a frosted spider web we saw on the porch a few days ago. Details ;)
If you promise to look past the laundry, you can peek into our room…
I chalk-painted the sleigh bed a few years ago and painted that picture (which we call “If He Married Me at 30”) over the bed. It captures how happy and free I feel at this age; I’m much better at 30 than I was at 21 when we married and I sometimes wish he could marry ME now rather than the old me. I made the sign underneath that says “Every day, you’re my gift my darling.” I like to make signs with my real handwriting because I think someday the kids will treasure them. It’s a mess in here but this is our place to be real.
If you’re not too full from all of those chocolate chips, let’s grab some popcorn and watch “Elf.” It’s our favorite. Actually, smiling is our favorite. You like Cheerwine? Maybe that’s our favorite? It’s one of my guilty-pleasures from time-to-time. I blame my roots.
My grandpa built this trunk that we use for our coffee table as a Christmas present to me when I was a kid. It’s made out of the floor boards of my great-great grandma’s house.
Travis’ mom made the stockings by hand. She incorporates fabric from each new stocking she makes so they are all connected. This one even has fabric from the stocking she made Travis when he was a baby. It’s funny, I hadn’t told her this but when I was pregnant with Eli, I often dreamed about sitting in the grass with him and feeding a box turtle. When she gave me this stocking his first Christmas, I cried. If you look closely, there’s a turtle!
We got this bourbon barrel tree skirt this year as a nod to our Kentucky roots. I picked it up at T.J. Maxx and almost had to wrestle it out the door before other Kentucky girls got their hands on it!
Would you believe Travis’ parents bought this tree almost 30 years ago? We’ve had a lot laughs over this tree. It was a hand-me-down after we got married and our first Christmas as a married couple, we stayed up all night trying to put it together. Just as we finished decorating, the tree fell over and landed on Travis’ head. Then one Christmas we had a mouse in our apartment. I kept telling Travis that a mouse was running out of the Christmas tree and he didn’t believe me. Sure enough, that little mouse was living in the branches of our tree.
We kept it pretty simple this year not knowing how Eli (who is 18-months-old) will do. I tucked real branches in between the artificial ones to soften the look and create that real-tree smell. I love using textured yarn as garland and I used three sizes of Christmas lights (small lights, medium round lights and big traditional lights) to make it really glow.
I love how this room glows at night. It’s so cozy.
It’s a place full of light and love and for that, I am deeply grateful.
And I’m grateful for you, too, sweet friends. Merry Christmas from our crazy family!
Special thanks to my dear friend Stacey Bosley who shot many of the photos of our family that we’ve shared here. If you’re in the Cincinnati-area and looking for someone with tremendous heart to capture your extraordinary-ordinary moments, Stacey is your girl.
Don’t miss out on all of the fun! Check out the other stops on the 12 Days of Christmas Tour of Homes hosted by Evolution of Style! Here’s the full schedule: