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Around Here: New Baby/ZZZzzzz/Coffee/Brothers Sharing/Extra Cuddles/Island of Testosterone

Around Here: Baby #2/ZZZZzzzzz/Learning to Share/Extra Cuddles/More Coffee Please/Island of Testosterone

Ok, here comes the real deal! Adjusting to two kids has been harder than we thought. I honestly don’t know what we expected?! It’s double the diaper duty, double the mouths to feed (with both boys being on very different diets… milk vs. solids), double the mess, double the laundry, and unfortunately double the exhaustion. :(

The first 6 weeks of Hardy Boy’s life have been tough, but we are slowly getting caught up on sleep, house duties, and a even fitting in a few blog posts here and there (Yay!)! On top of juggling a newborn and a toddler Cale has been working 10 hour days trying to finish a big project at work so things have been beyond stressful! I don’t know how we would have survived without the support of our amazing family and friends. They’ve rallied behind us and brought us meals, played with James so I could rest, folded laundry, changed stinky diapers without even questioning what we’ve been feeding our toddler for the last few days, and been that encouraging word and/or swift kick in the booty when we’ve really needed it!

My mom has reminded us over and over again; “Focus on what you have control over and let the rest go!”

And that’s exactly what we’ve been learning to do.

It’s ironic cause “control” is the last thing you feel right after having a baby. If anything the only thing you have “control over” is letting go. We’re learning to be ok with throwing all plans out the window, no matter how stacked up the dishes may be (or stinky), and being ok with resting instead. If momma isn’t healthy and happy she won’t have any patience (or love) to take care of two little minions, let alone motivation to do anything else!

Lets just say sleep has become an important part of our nightly AND daily routine. When the heavens open up and decide to give us a few minutes to a few hours we take it! We take it and refuse to feel guilty about it!

Everyone asks how is James adjusting? Big brother is doing better and better. Other then the typical smothering and randomly hitting baby with a car… for the most part he’s learning to share and is pretty sweet about the whole thing. I’ve been teaching him how to swaddle his stuffed cow and sing him to sleep along with Hardy Boy. There are days where the details of being a mom of two are a blur, but occasionally you’ll have these moments open up where time stands still and you know you are catching a moment that will never be again. Those are my favorite moments. When I have the camera phone down and I take a mental image that I’ll carry in my heart forever.

Hardy Boy is growing like a weed. At six weeks he’s already in 3-6 month clothes and seems to be too long for even some 9 month onesies! We are thankful that both of our boys have been good eaters and breastfeeding, for the most part, has been really smooth.

Some of the things we love about Hardy… He is a lover for sure. A snuggler that likes to sleep on our chests. I picture him as this big ole Oklahoma boy with a heart of gold, who likes hugs, and has a deep belly laugh. He’s not nearly as serious as James. James is gonna figure things out while Hardy Boy will just jump in and go for it. I already see it now. It’s amazing, beautiful, and a bit overwhelming! Pray for us as we learn how to shepherd these unique spirits we’ve been given! :)

Rest and good coffee to you all! :)

From The Farm

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Creatives Near You: Tamara Staples [Commercial Photographer]

Gourd: Tamara Staples Photographer Interview | Bringing Design Home

The crazy thing about social media is meeting people online that inspire you, that you get to actually chat with and follow their life on a daily basis, but yet you may never actually meet in person! Tamara Staples is one of those people in my life. She first stood out to Cale and I when we featured her beautiful Chicken Photography as an Everyday Design Blog Post. When I reached out to Tamara to ask for her permission about using her photographs we started emailing back and forth and following each other on Facebook. I love it when you reach out to an artist or maker and they actually have time to engage in real conversations with you. No matter how much traffic your feature may or may not send to their site, you can just tell when someone is genuinely thrilled that their work caught your eye and that you want to showcase it. I immediately felt that response from Tamara and have since then really enjoyed following her work as an artist and a commercial photographer in Brooklyn, NY.

I asked Tamara to give us the low down on what exactly it is she does when it comes to photography and her day to day life as a professional, mom, wife, woman, and friend.

“My usual schedule includes regular photography assignments such as book covers, magazine photo illustrations and other assorted jobs, for instance, a non-for-profit shoot about organic-raised chickens.

When I’m not in the studio, I play mahjong with a group of ladies, run 15 miles a week and enjoy time with my 8 year old son, Emmett and my husband, Bill Newell.” – Tamara Staples

Q1) What was is it about photography that made you want to pursue it as a career?

I’ve loved photography since childhood when I pinned a picture from a box of Girl Scout cookies on my wall. In this photograph, a young girl kneels in the sand behind her tripod and camera, staring out into the distance waiting for something to happen so that she might capture it. This girl struck me as a confident person, the kind of person I’d like to be, who was able to observe life around her in a non-threatening way.

Q2) What are some of the key factors that helped shape and develop your photographic eye?

I’ve always loved Irving Penn as a key source of inspiration, but for me, I need a variety of inspirations. All of life’s rich experiences influence my work.

Q3) What has been the most challenging, and the most rewarding part about being a full-time freelance photographer?

Free-lancing has its ups and downs.  At times I’m so busy I can barely keep it all straight, and then there are times when no one is calling no matter how much I reach out to market myself. I can get a little blue, but my husband is always reminding me not to equate my self-worth to the momentary lack of work. The upside of the free-lance gig is setting my own schedule. I have the freedom to be with my family when I want or need to be.

Q4) How have you found balance running your own business and maintaining a healthy family life?

My husband works a healthy 75 hours a week so he’s not able to contribute to the day-to-day domestic duties. My photography hours pale in comparison, but when you add the care of my 8 year old, the domestic chores, my fine art work, marketing, my weekly Mahjong game and a 15 mile-a-week running schedule it can get very hectic. I’m incredibly independent, so it works for us, but not without a lot of juggling.

Q5) As a freelancer what advice do you have for networking and building a consistent client base?

Finding new clients outweigh the actual work by a wide margin, so when I get new business, it’s gold. The best advice I can give for building a consistent client base is to service each individual client with the best you can give, no matter the circumstances. I hire a lot of other free-lancers and if they are on set complaining about other clients, I generally won’t hire them again.

Q6) How has being a mom changed or shaped you as a creative person?

As a parent, I’ve become particularly efficient. And because I adore being a mom, I’m a happier, more fulfilled person. But being a parent is a difficult job. Figuring out how to be a good parent is ever changing, there’s so much to consider. When I go to work, I almost feel like I’m on vacation!

Q7) What are some tips for approaching publishers for a book deal?

There are many ways to get your projects in front of publishers. The most popular way lately is to attend a Portfolio Review. They are seemingly everywhere these days, but beware: they are expensive. However, you will meet face to face with the very people who could help you. Exposure is very important. Submit work to contests and the research to find the right people and contact them directly. I find the shotgun approach works best for me.

Q8) What is your favorite leisurely activity you do at home with your family?

We live in Greenwood Heights on top of a hill that happens to be the tallest point in Brooklyn. This apartment is new to us in that we purchased it in May of 2013. The reason we chose this apartment is because of the large balcony on the top floor with sweeping views of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty, a huge chunk of Brooklyn (including the BQE) and all of Manhattan. Every night after dinner, we rush to the balcony and watch the sunset. This is our favorite family activity. Nothing to do but watch the colors collect in the sky and the lights coming up in the city.

Q9) How do you keep creativity fresh in your day to day?

Lately I’ve been shooting with a tungsten light that will focus. I love how the subject matter will sparkle and I especially like the sharp black shadows that instantly create a sense of design. Most of these images are “experiments” or “tests”, as we call them in the business. I’m showing my clients how this lighting looks great for the right project. It’s so important to try new things, to stay fresh and to challenge yourself.

Now, let’s all take a breath and savor each of these beautiful photographs! I just love the layouts and the way she makes you wanna study and see the art forms in ordinary objects. Truly amazing!

Thank you Tamara for taking the time to share more about your life and your work. I hope our paths do cross Tamara and maybe you can teach me how to play mahjong sometime?! I love card games. We play a mean game of pitch here in Oklahoma! ;)

From The Farm

Keep up with Tamara’s work via her website or blog. And just for fun, make sure you checkout her Pretty Chicken Photography Project too!      

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Shared Nursery & Toddler Combo Room Design [REVEAL]

Nursery & Toddler Combo Room Design | Bringing Design Home

After many late night design discussions, floor plan ideas, garage sale hunts, IKEA pitstops, Home Depot trips, and Saturday mornings painting, sewing, sawing, and nailing things to the wall we are finally DONE!! :D

Our original nursery for our first born was a combination room shared with our laundry and dryer. We live in a small house so we have to take advantage of every square foot. When we found out we were pregnant with baby #2 we knew it was time to move the kids into a more permanent space that they could really grow into. Our friends, Andrew and Crystal, fit three little minions in one room so surly we could figure out a way to design and organize a space for two?! ;)

We were originally going to share a lot more design thoughts and details of the room in this post, but felt like that was a whole nother post once we started it writing it all out. Instead, we just want you to enjoy these yummy photos and find some inspiration for your own kids room. Other then a few side notes we’ve added underneath some of the photos, we’ve kept it simple.

Enjoy! :)

Toddler bed was a garage sale find for $10.00 while the white chest of drawers was a hand me down. We just painted the handles orange and called it good.

Buying baskets and/or buckets to fill all 4-6 slots seemed ridiculously expensive. Instead, we made these simple storage units out of old diaper boxes, craft paper, and orange spray paint. Look for a DIY on this project in the future!

Instead of plastic diaper pales we used 6 gallon metal trash bins with locking lids for dirty cloth diapers, laundry, trash, etc.

We used the same handmade curtains from our original nursery, but made another set to cover all the windows. Who needs fancy curtain rods when you can paint chunky dowel rods any color to match your room! :)

Small metal pails picked up at a hardware store were purchased to match the trash cans. They are perfect for storing and organizing tiny toys.

The whale poster is a free French Paper Sample that Meg had been saving for a few years now. It just fits perfectly in our adventure themed room!

These knitted mini puff balls bring a pop of green to the room, but also make great side tables, stools, and throw around pillows for the kids. Chairs are nice to have in a kids’ room, but they take up a lot of space. We probably could have figured out a way to make these ourselves, but since we were hand making everything else, we decided to splurge a little!

Even though our OSB accent walls were built to help insulate and cover up an unused exterior door, they also help separate private and play space.

We re-used and added a few more blue/gray shelves and orange hardware from our original nursery design.

Our old farmhouse doesn’t have closets in most of it’s bedrooms. Luckily, we have two boys so they don’t have a lot of hanging items. We made a make-shift area behind the door to hang a few fancy shirts, jackets, and daily travel/diaper bags.

Additional toy storage fits perfectly under the bed with these $3 bins from IKEA! James also loves his IKEA Car Rug, and we love that it was only $15.00!

It was a lot of work, but something we are very proud of. Cale got his white walls, while Meg got to have fun bringing in color through books, toys, and artwork. We’re working on a post now that will hopefully give you some design tips and rules to creating a shared kids’ space that is functional and fun! In our opinion, it doesn’t matter how “cool” it looks, if the space doesn’t work properly, it’s not doing it’s job! We love every nook and cranny about this room and are very pleased with how it works in the daily rhythm of our family.

We shall see how things progress as the boys continue to grow! ;) Look for a more detailed post with our design breakdown of what makes a great shared kid space soon!

What is your favorite element of the new room!?

From The Farm

 

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Three Pepper Jam: Canning with Joy

Canning with Joy: Three Pepper Jam | Bringing Design Home

Sadly, for those of us here in the Midwest, we’ve reached the end of our summers bounty. It’s always during this time of year when the heat starts to really kick in and the only thing left is your feisty pepper plants. I’ve always had a hard time figuring out how to preserve that last batch of peppers until I recently started experimenting with pepper jams. I don’t know if it’s because I’m pregnant or what, but I’ve truly fallen for any and all kinds of pepper jams–and any other types of spicy foods really! After staring at a giant bowl of peppers leftover from our garden I decided I had to do something! I couldn’t stand the injustice of just letting them go to waste, so I came up with this lovely Three Pepper Jam that is so versatile, and forgiving… even the worst caner in the world can make it!

I promise!

The thing I love about this recipe is that you can seriously mix and match whatever peppers are leftover from your garden. All you need is three cups of chopped peppers. Personally, I try and break it down some so that I have a good mix of sweet, medium, and hot peppers, but you can mix and match however you’d like! I’ve even chopped and blended cups of peppers at different times and frozen them until I’ve had four cups of peppers to make the jam. Pull out those freezer bags of pepper juice on a cold winter day and I promise this Three Pepper Jam will not only help heat up your house, but your heart as well! :)

If you have never made jam before this is the perfect starter for you! It’s very forgiving and I love all the warm flavors that come out of it. Enjoy!

Canned Three Pepper Jam

Yields: About 8 Half Pint Jars

1 1/4 cup of sweet chopped peppers (banana peppers, green, red, yellow, or purple bell peppers, etc.)

1 1/4 cup of medium chopped peppers (jalapeno, Anaheim, etc.)

1/2 cup of hot chopped peppers (cayenne, habanero, Serrano, etc.

1 cup White Vinegar

5 cups of sugar

1 box of Pectin

 

STEP 1: Bring boiling-water caner or large sauce pot, half-full with water to a simmer (takes about 30 minutes). Fill a small sauce pan with 1 in of warm water. Keeping it on medium-low heat let the lids sit in the hot bath until you are ready to seal the pepper jam into the jars in STEP 8.

STEP 2: If needed wash the jars with hot soap and water. Place as many as you can (might have to do two batches of jars at a time) in the simmering water without lids or screw bands to heat up the jars. Remove when you are ready to pour the pepper jam into the jars in STEP 8.

STEP 3: Wearing gloves stem and half the peppers in three separate batches. Discard seeds. Blend and pulsate each batch at a time in a food processor or blender until smooth and chunky. You’ll need to blend enough peppers for three cups of pepper juice.

STEP 4: Blend together all three cups of pepper juice and the white vinegar.

STEP 5: Measure exact amount of sugar into a bowl.

STEP 6: Pour the blended pepper juice and white vinegar, and sugar into a large sauce pot. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.

STEP 7: Once the mixture is boiling mix in the box of pectin. Let the pepper jam return to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute, and the remove the pot from its heat source. Quickly skim off any foam from the top of the jelly surface.

STEP 8: Pour pepper jam into hot sterilized jars, within 1/2 inch from the top. Remove any air bubbles by moving a wooden or plastic (not metal!) utensil up and down the middle of the jar. Seal with hot lids and apply screw bands.

STEP 9: Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

STEP 10: Remove and let the jars completely cool and seal for 12-24 hours. If a jar lid still pops up and down when you press on it, after the cooling stage, the jar did not seal properly. Simply place this jar in the fridge and eat first. Store in a cool dark place up to 1 year.

 

 * WEAR GLOVES! The first time I prepped the peppers I didn’t think I needed gloves. Thought I could muscle through it and I swear my fingers burned for two days! Seriously, just wear the gloves. You’ll thank me later. :)  

This summer we’ve canned some of my favorite salsas ever! From our Cilantro & Lime Salsa to our Smokehouse Garden Salsa we’ve used up as many peppers as we can. I also use peppers in our Canned Pizza Sauce and Tomato Soup & MORE recipes, but those dang peppers still keep growing! If you find that your tomato plants are finished and all you have is a bunch of peppers, I promise you won’t be let down by this wonderful Three Pepper Jam.

PLUS you can pour it on top of a block of cream cheese and it makes this amazing creamy and spicy treat that will have all your friends talking! It’s sooooo good and such an easy party treat to throw together without having to heat up the house or cook a thing!

How do you make the most of your last few garden peppers?!

From The Farm

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16 Positive Sides to Carrying Your Baby Well Past Your Due Date :)

16 Positive Sides of Carrying a Baby Well Past Your Due Date :) | Bringing Design Home

(NOTE: Our baby boy #2 arrived healthy and happy exactly at 42 weeks! Even though I wrote this a few days before that, I still wanted to share it for those mommas that need an extra boost of encouragement and humor to get them through those last few days of waiting for baby. Hang in there!).

I’ve fought against sharing with you all that I’m over my due date (again). Not just over my due date, but approaching the 42 week mark (again). A lot of people freak out about this, so I’ve been a little hesitant to share my exact status, but you know what… it is what it is. I can’t help it that for whatever reason both my pregnancies have ran late. Either way I’m thankful to be surrounded by a birth team of professionals that I trust, that are willing to wait alongside us, and do all that we can to naturally let my body do it’s thing. Apparently our babies like to bake till their extra crispy, and outside of our septic tank collapsing into a giant sink hole in our backyard, the wait hasn’t been that bad! :/

It’s true… you can plan and plan for the perfect birth and yet the most random things will happen. We are doing our best to be patient and trusting this process. Even with this being our second time around, it’s still a day to day struggle of looking at the positive side of things. That in the end, someday… we will laugh about the poop hole in our yard right now (even though I may or may not have been crying about it earlier today). And that someday, like in the very near future, all that will matter is that we have a healthy baby and a new septic tank! :)

16 Positive Sides to Carrying Your Baby Well Past Your Due Date:

  1. You get everything done on your “nesting” to do list!
  2. You get to add more to your to do list, and then even MORE to that to do list! :)
  3. You are ready for labor! No matter how hard it is gonna be, you are willing to do whatever it takes to not be pregnant one more day!
  4. You are a master at prepping meals in bulk. The last few weeks have come and gone and each week you prepare a handful of crockpot and throw together meals for when the baby gets here. They are of course quickly gobbled up within the following week of “waiting” for the baby to get here. The pattern continues… you buy, you cook, you plan, and then you eat. Push repeat.
  5. Your friends on Facebook who had their babies “early” (and were due after you!) start sharing encouraging status updates about their babies being close to a month old (awesome!)! :/
  6. Any maternity shirts that have not already been stained on, have fully been worn to the point of being worn out and covered in stains. Meaning next pregnancy you’ll be due for a good shopping trip! :)
  7. You have a copy and paste message ready to go for when people text you and want a status update!
  8. You give yourself permission to take more naps. What else are you gonna do when you’ve finished everything on your to do list and your ankles swell up like vienna sausages within 30 minutes of attempting any other kind of physical activity?
  9. You begin taking on new crafts and planning for a “Homemade Christmas”… thinking this will be the year you make ALL your gifts from scratch (until baby gets here of course)!
  10. Since you are already peeing every 30 minutes and having to switch sides every hour during the night your body is prepped and ready for the 2 1/2-3 hour feeding/sleeping cycle when baby gets here! You’re gonna rock this breastfeeding thing!
  11. You have time to visit all the antique malls you’ve been wanting to checkout all year long. Where else are you gonna walk this baby out in the heat of July!?! Plus, your husband doesn’t question any weird vintage purchases you bring home, he’s just happy that you are happy! :)
  12. You get to eat your own words about “not skipping the process” (see #4!). :/
  13. You get some extra one-on-one cuddle and snuggle time with your first born (been enjoying that a lot)! 
  14. You are an encyclopedia of momma information (experienced or not) because you’ve had time to read and re-read any and all books on baby, birth, breastfeeding, sleeping, and any other problem that could ever come up within your child’s first year. Guess you could always get a head start on potty training ideas…
  15. You get the royal treatment by total strangers who constantly offer to help you carry your bags and open your doors because it’s that obvious that you are indeed THAT pregnant!!
  16. You can sell off your newborn clothes and use that money to buy yourself a BIG FAT ICE CREAM CONE, cause let’s get real… you’re not birthing a 6 pound baby!

Whether you find yourself approaching 40 weeks, or well past… hang in there mommas! They can’t stay in there forever! ;)

I’d love to hear some of the positive things you’ve experienced going over your due date or just general encouragement really!? 

Happy waiting, and laughing, and crying… xoxo

From The Farm

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Creatives Near You: Stephen Griffen [Food Truck]

Creatives Near You: Pie on the Fly Food Truck | Bringing Design Home

We’ve known Stephen and his wife Mehgan back when we were all just starting to date, fall in love, and get married. Stephen is the type of guy who is always dreaming and coming up with new ideas for potential businesses. Over the last few years we’ve watched him pursue one of those dreams and that is owning his own food truck. Together, with his business partners, Stephen refinished an old box truck and started selling handheld pies. Based out of Stillwater, OK, Pie on the Fly sells delicious fruit and cream fried pies to a more savory variety for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Plus, who doesn’t just love that name?! Pie on the Fly! So perfect for a mobile food vendor selling handheld pies.

Q1) What inspired you to start your food truck vs. opening a restaurant?

When Alex and I were in our final semester studying entrepreneurship at OSU, we were on a business plan team attempting to prove the viability of retail expansion for a fried pie restaurant. Despite having proved viability, we were unable to find a bank willing to lend funds to a couple of college grads with no experience. We decided to go a route we could fund ourselves: a food truck. After taking on our third partner, Brady, we had enough funds and knowledge to build the truck ourselves.

Q2) How did you develop your menu? What attracted you to handheld pies?

During the summer of 2013, Alex, Brady, and I would spend our days from sun up to sun down building the truck. We would then spend our evenings developing recipes for dough and fillings from scratch. None of us grew up on fried pies; we just knew how much we liked them and that other people would too!

Q3) What is your favorite pie filling, why?!

We get this question very often. My response is always the same: “Our signature savory pie is the sausage mac & cheese. Our most popular dessert pie is apple because everyone loves apple. But what will really get you is the customer created PBCB: chocolate and banana cream inside and then covered with Reese’s peanut butter sauce when it comes out of the fryer.” Truthfully, my favorite is just cherry pie with a side of vanilla ice cream.

Q4) What has been the most challenging, and the most rewarding part about running a food truck?

The most challenging part of running the truck has been figuring out where our product sells. What we have discovered is our truck [product] does better at events and festivals than it does working day to day services. The next challenge is figuring out which events are worthwhile and which just make a lot of noise.

I would say there are three rewards I particularly enjoy about running our food truck. First, I get to see the successful operation of something we built ourselves from an empty box truck. Second, I get to pick the hours, services, and events I want to work. Third, food truckers are their own people and there is a culture among food truckers that is raw and exciting!

Q5) How do you balance working a lot of evenings and weekends while maintaining a healthy and happy marriage?

We have made our food truck a hang out spot. Mehgan has worked alongside me from the beginning doing services and making pies herself. Because of the new job I just took, Mehgan has actually been working more shifts in the truck than I have lately. There are a lot of days we don’t get a lot of time together, but we make sure that we take intentional time to catch up when we are around each other.

Q6) Who is the better food truck driver?

I am. I don’t think Alex or Brady would argue this either. If there is a tricky spot to be parked in, I’m the one that hops in the driver’s seat.

Q7) What has been the best promotional tool you’ve used to get the word out and drive traffic to your truck?

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have been huge as you might expect. Beyond these, word of mouth has brought loads of people to our truck thanks to others who tried our pies and sent them our way. Finally, our big blue graphic wrap thanks to Mitch Johnson at Speedpro Texas has done wonders for being noticed everywhere we go.

Q8) When you get a night off, what does a typical Stephen & Mehgan date night look like?

We usually go for a stuffed crust pizza and a movie on the couch with the dogs. When we want to get crazy, we open up a bottle of wine for Mehgan and a good whiskey for me. Usually these nights end in us both turning in early to take advantage of the opportunity for some extra sleep.

I have been so excited to share with you all our first Food Truck as a Creatives Near You blog feature. Everyday I’m just amazed at all the forms creativity can take shape… like a fried pie of course! ;)

Thanks Stephen for sharing a little bit of how you got started, lessons you’ve learned thus far, and how you and Mehgan find a healthy balance juggling it all! Wishing you all our best.

From The Farm

Find out where Pie on the Fly will be next by following them on Facebook & Twitter.

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He #2 is Here :)

Hardy Boy | Bringing Design Home

Once again we managed to cook baby boy #2 till he was nice and crispy! Arriving just at 42 weeks we are so thankful we were still able to get him here naturally and have our second homebirth experience! Even with his big brother James running around, life still feels like it’s slowed down a bit. It’s quieter around here, and the days are bit more peaceful. There are not a lot of life events where you can STOP everything and truly cherish every moment. We are enjoying one of those rare life events right now, and drinking in every last drop.

Suddenly the deadlines, the stress, and the to dos don’t feel nearly as important. Somehow, it will all get done. But right here, right now, for the first time… we are a family of four.

And it’s beautiful.

Welcome Hardy Alan

Born July 24th, 2014
8 pounds 10 ounces
21.5 inches long

We are so excited you are here and feel so blessed and completely overwhelmed that God choose you to be a member of our family!

From The Farm

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GCD: Dance Studio Mood Boards

Dance Studio Mood Boards: Bohemian | Green Couch Design

We’ve been working on a really fun and personal branding project. One of my favorite parts about working with our clients-family, friends, or new acquaintances-is helping them visualize their dreams. Ever since I’ve known Jessie, Cale’s sister, she has dreamt of owning her own dance studio and we are so excited that she is finally moving forward with her heart’s desire. It’s been a bit crazy trying to get a full branding package out the door before baby #2, but we have been working away like busy little bees and coming up with some really fun ideas for the studio interiors alongside our standard branding package.

The first mood board we put together (featured above) is titled; Bohemian. Taking on a very yoga, free-style, feel it’s natural tones and materials are warm and inviting to all age groups. The graphics display a process of growth through movement that is not only physical, but mental and spiritual as well. The casual, family-centric, atmosphere created by the collage celebrates a community-wide love and appreciation for all dance forms.

 

The second mood board (featured above) is Classic Meets Modern. Through traditional creams, browns, blacks, and golds the rich history of classical ballet is displayed in contrast to bright pops of modern colors. The simple yet beautiful script fonts show movement without the need of a cheesy dance icon. Samples of the studio space are open, clean, and yet suggest that it’s ok to have a bit of sparkle! ;)

The third mood board was personally my favorite to put together because it is truly about the art of dance! As Jessie and I talked through her branding “For the Love of Dance” kept coming up again and again as her tagline. It was perfect and something that just floated out of everything she said when she described her dream studio. For the Love… mood board is cheerful and modern. It’s simple shapes and graphics are playful, colorful, and truly celebrate the love of dance. A heart is such a simple symbol, and yet it says so much! The bright pops of hot pink and teal next to the stark blacks and grays are a perfect blend of the studios academic and recreational dance philosophy; that their students would grow-up in dance with a developed life long love and appreciation for movement.

After reviewing each mood board and deciding on which direction we should take the brand, the final product is definitely a combination of all three, but their was one that remained a foundational element in all our design decisions.

Of course, you’ll have to stay tuned to see how the whole thing comes together, but you can always checkout Ascend Studios’ Facebook Page to get a little sneaky peaky! ;) Lots of great classes for little dancers if you live in the Midwest City, OKC and OKC area starting this fall, 2014.

Find the links to these images and see what else inspired our branding by visiting our Dance Studio Board on Pinterest.

Which mood board do you like the best?

From The Farm

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Around Here: Skipping Church/Birthdays/Homemade Sandbox/Waiting for Baby/Fireworks/Pickin’ Peaches/Toddler + Baby Room Sneak Peak

Around Here: Skipping Church, Birthdays, Homemade Sandbox, Waiting for Baby, Fireworks, Pickin Peaches, Toddler + Baby Room | Bringing Design Home

Talk about the ultimate pregnant summer dream… 70 degree weather in July! In Oklahoma!? Believe me, I’m not complaining, I’m bragging and am so thankful. I’m enjoying everyday that my ankles don’t swell up like an elephant’s trunk. I just wish I could be picking blackberries right now! The extended family has banned me from the berry patches. Something about ticks and being pregnant just don’t go together I guess?! Talk about this being the PERFECT berry season though. Usually we only have a 2-3 week window because of the heat, but this year we could get 6 weeks worth of blackberry picking in!

Ok, ok… I gotta stop talking about it. It makes me sad. :(

What a beautiful summer we are having here in the midwest. It’s been wonderful and we’ve enjoyed slowing life down, even more, and taking in every last moment as a family of three. To be honest we’ve been skipping a lot of Sunday church lately just to enjoy being home and getting things done before baby #2. Although we are thankful for our church home and fellowship, there is something just so wonderful about a slow sunday morning. I love a good excuse to make a fancy brunch so I like having the morning to fix myself something a little special. I used to make enough for the boys (Cale and James), but they are just as excited to eat a bowl of cereal and drink the milk from their bowls.

Lame! :/

We continued our Fourth of July tradition for the third year in a row by spending the morning picking peaches at the Wind Drift Orchards in Harrah, Oklahoma. It’s so perfect for the kids cause you can fill up your box or bag in about 30 minutes and spend the rest of the time frolicking and filling your bellies with fresh peaches and nectarines. We only picked enough for one box, but I can tell you it was gone within the week. We made a nectarine cobbler for a Fourth of July get together, grilled some for our favorite summer salad (we add grilled chicken too!), gave some away as the ultimate Fourth of July hostess gift, and saved a few to snack on throughout the rest of the week.

Typically, if I wasn’t 39 weeks pregnant, I would have canned some with honey and fresh basil, but I’ll have to save that for next year!

The summer is always full of celebrations from our anniversary to my birthday. As you get older there are some years where your birthday is a non-event and others, where it just seems to keep going on and on. For me, this was one of those years! I think it was because I’m pregnant, but it seemed like everyone wanted to spoil me a bit extra this year. Cale’s Grandparents gave me a stash of cash (apparently they are VERY excited that I’m giving them TWO Grand Baby Boys!), a girlfriend offered to take me out for pedis, Cale’s mom made me homemade strawberry shortcake, and then my parents visited from KS with a salmon dinner and homemade current wine. They did all the cooking and cleanup, and even helped us get on top of some of the lawn maintenance around here. I know that last part doesn’t sound too exciting, but with Cale working extra hours to meet a big deadline August 1st, we haven’t been able to keep up with some of the lawn maintenance around here. Not only did my parents spend three hours helping us get caught up on weedeating, but they sprayed most of the yard so that the grass would die in certain areas and we wouldn’t have to weedeat those particular areas for the rest of the summer!

Who whooooooo!!

It was completely overwhelming to get served in a such away and to have my family gather around us and help us out so selfishly. Just another reason why I’ve learned that the best gift is to be a giver. You just never know when life will pay it forward (see #5 on my 10 Things I’ve Learned).

I think my nesting is getting to Cale now cause he’s getting all the honey do’s that have been on his list for the past year or two completed! And this momma couldn’t be more happy about it! From cleaning out old barns and wood piles to making a sandbox, he’s been going at it hardcore. My favorite part was watching him and James out our kitchen windows dink around and create the sandbox together. Cale is such a great daddy and he just lets James get in there, even at 20 months old, and pickup the hammer and the level and carry em around. He doesn’t know what exactly they do, but he is daddy’s little shadow and is taking in every move he makes.

We kicked off our Fourth of July celebration with our Oklahoma family by making these DIY Firecracker T-shirts with all the kids. It’s hard to believe just a few years ago we didn’t have babies running around and now we’ve completely exploded! It’s so much fun, and a little overwhelming at times, but we love it. As you can see from the photo below, James’ shirt was completely covered in watermelon juice before the end of the night. :/

My friend Shelley took this photo of James and I just can’t stand the way it captures him so perfectly (checkout more of her work here!). We had bought several different types of kid-friendly fireworks, but as you can guess once we did the “firetruck” firework all he wanted to do was play with it for the rest of the night.

Never in my life did I think I would know so many different variations of trucks; dump truck. bucket truck, garbage truck, cement truck, firetruck, flatbed truck…

And lastly, I’m excited to announce that we have officially finished our nursery + toddler room!! Hear that baby #2!? That means you can come out anytime now?! We are ready to meet you! :) I’m working on editing the photos and can’t wait to share with you all the final design. Cale and I had many fights discussions about the function, layout, and look. Overall, we are VERY happy with the finished product and feel like it’s something the boys can really grow into… at least until we move into our Modern Farmhouse someday! :D

We hope to share with you guys more of our process of designing and building our own Modern Farmhouse in the future. Look for more posts from Cale coming up soon.

Happy summer, happy berry picking and preserving, and happy birthday month to our baby boy #2! :)

From The Farm

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High class design in overalls. It's the simple life of a farm through the eyes of a couple of crazy designers. We call ourselves Green Couch Design and we are Bringing Design Home.

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