From the moment I stepped into the one and only bedroom upstairs in the farmhouse, I knew it was meant to be the Claire Bear's.
It had a beautiful eastern view, where the sun would rise every morning for my sweet early-bird.
It had two closet doors with a long closet that met in the middle...a "secret-passageway" as she says.
And it had a little hatch that went into some attic storage that really made the oldest daughter nervous. "Who knows what might come out of there?" Harlee said that first day.
After the room was painted, we started to fit Claire's furniture in.
She knew she wanted BOTH closet doors accessible, so that left ONE place for her bed.
My mom had found an antique bedroom set at an auction that had "Claire" written all over it. There was a full bed and matching vanity. We fit those pieces in first and went from there. We covered the "creepy attic hatch" (as Harlee calls it) with her dresser and saved room for her desk by the window.
Since those pictures were taken back in July of 2017, we've gotten the windows in the farmhouse replaced and Claire Bear has her dream desk with her dream view.
It's not perfect, but it's all Claire!
I really can't wait to watch my sweet girl grow up in this bedroom. ❤️🏡❤️
When I knew I was going to be leaving the classroom at the end of last school year, I discovered that there was lots of work to be done...starting with cleaning out 13 years of teaching supplies from my classroom.
I was moving from a room that housed myself, over twenty children at any given time, and years and years of classroom materials, personal belongings, and random items I had kept "just in case".
As I mentioned in my blog post on Monday...usually, "just in case" never came.
I started the process of getting my room emptied just as soon as school was out.
I boxed up.
And I even sold a few items.
By the end of June, all that was left was a pile of tubs in the middle of the room that needed to be moved down to my new office.
On the afternoon of June 29th, I started the process of transforming my new office into my own.
I started to think of my office in terms of the "zones" I would need to have.
With these goals in mind, I started the process of going through every single drawer and shelf in the office.
After I had been through every piece of paper and book in the office, I started to organize what was there.
Finally, I decided what items I would keep from my tubs and sent the rest home or to the donate pile.
When my systems were clear, I was ready to decorate.
Armed with my clearance finds from Hobby Lobby and Big Lots, the transformation was complete.
So without further ado...here's my farmhouse office.
The new position has been all I had dreamed of and more.
I'm so thankful for God's providence and guidance over the last several years to bring me to the place I am right now.
Happy Sunday night from the farmhouse, friends.
When we moved into the farmhouse, the upstairs consisted of one bedroom and an open loft area.
The whole upstairs is in a plus-sign shape, so there was the potential for three smaller "rooms".
We needed one more bedroom to give the girls each their own rooms, so we will finally build a wall in the next few weeks to give Harlee some privacy. We also added a bathroom, so the girls could have their own bathroom up there.
The leftover loft space became our farmhouse playroom.
And now....the moment you've all been waiting for...the Room Reveal for our Farmhouse Playroom.
To be quite honest, this room has already evolved a bit since we moved in last July.
We had originally planned to have the Barbies and doll clothes housed upstairs, but with the older two girls having bedrooms up there and our three-year-old downstairs, that setup just didn't make sense anymore.
So we moved the Barbie house downstairs to Mattie's bedroom and made the playroom a little more functional for the preteens.
For nine years at the old house, we tried to carve out a place for the girls to relax that was "their own".
First, we had a nursery in one bedroom and a playroom in the other.
When we brought Baby #2 home, the playroom got changed into a "big girl bedroom" for Baby #1 and the toys stayed in there.
We put the girls together eventually and moved the playroom to where the nursery had originally been.
When Baby #3 came home, the playroom became a nursery/playroom combo.
Before we moved out here to the farmhouse, we even tried to put all three girls in one room to sleep and have the toys and desks in the other.
It just never worked out quite like we had pictured.
The farmhouse playroom is all I had ever hoped for.
It sits opposite the new bathroom, with the older girls' bedrooms on either side.
When Harlee's wall is complete and the new bathroom has a door, I will do a walk-through of the whole upstairs.
Can't wait to share it with you SOON!
Happy Sunny Saturday from the Farmhouse, friends!
The "heart of the home".
Often the central location of what's going on in our house, our kitchen can quickly turn into the catch all.
In the old house, we had a peninsula that we had built-in to house the dishwasher we added a few years after we moved in.
Besides meal prep and clean-up messes, you would often find lunch boxes thrown down after school, bills dropped on the counter, and various other items that would find their way to the flat surfaces of the kitchen.
This peninsula quickly became a hot spot for everything that was in our arms when we walked through the door.
It was a huge, flat space and it naturally seemed to attract clutter.
When we bought the farmhouse, I really wanted to try and avoid having a hot spot area like this.
The dining room table definitely has the potential to become this "hot spot", but by keeping seasonal decorations on there, the problem has been fairly minimal. Surprisingly.
And by being intentional with our kitchen counter spaces, we've avoided a lot of that "hot spot clutter".
The yellow cabinet holds a few cookbooks and my Ninja blender that I use most every day.
It also houses the plates and bowls we use most often. I moved them down there so they were more accessible for the girls.
We have onions and potatoes on the bottom shelf (and sitting over to the side if they won't fit inside!)
Bread and veggies go on top!
Sidenote: Glittery hand sanitizing gel in the hands of a toddler WILL take the paint off of the top of a Target clearance cabinet like this one. Or so we've heard.
Originally, the farmhouse kitchen was an eat-in kitchen.
It had a small space for a table where the sink is now and the stove and sink were on the whole other side of the room.
The refrigerator was where the coffee bar is now and there was a little peninsula jutting out into the room where our refrigerator sits.
The kitchen also had a tile floor that had been added right over the beautiful hardwood floors that the previous owner refinished.
One of my favorite things to do early in the morning before the sun comes up is to get my coffee and my Bible and go sit in the living room to talk to Jesus.
I don't turn any lights on in the kitchen, but just enjoy the ambiance of the white lights and all the various items that have been placed on top of the cabinets for a specific reason.
If you look closely, you can see silhouette cut-out of the girls' profiles,
a clay bowl that says "Hemple, Missouri" on it that reminds me of a very special family,
a navy blue spool that I purchased the very first time I went antiquing with my mother-in-law,
a "Welcome to the Farmhouse" sign that my mom bought me the very first week we lived here,
a can that has a poppy on it that I bought on a trip to Oklahoma with my mom & sisters-in-law,
and many other small sentimental items that bring joy to my heart.
I really love Amazon.
We have had a Prime account for several years and use it for everything from coffee to toilet paper, books to home decor, music to movies.
Some day, I will talk to you about the joys of Amazon's "Subscribe & Save" program and my new-found love for Audible.
Some day, I will talk to you about how amazing the Amazon app is and the fact that I have a dream to sell a children's book I wrote on Amazon someday.
Amazon has a host of items that fit my taste...and my budget.
As you've probably seen in some of my other posts, I love signs and wall-hangings to fill the walls of the farmhouse.
Amazon has a nice selection of high-quality signs.
I have tried to be very intentional with the items I bring into the farmhouse, since we moved in last July.
One of the things I try to think about when I purchase items is the functional purpose that they could serve in our home.
These containers are perfect for organizing AND looking adorable.
A nice warm throw is always a good item to have lying over a chair, reading available for snuggling up with a good book. I also love the natural pop of color that this wreath brings.
Seek out items that bring joy to your heart and make your home feel peace and calming to you.
Be responsible in your spending and intentional in what you allow into your home.
And enjoy the process!
Happy Friday from the Farmhouse, friends!
Mr. Farmhouse has been working tirelessly in all of his spare time to get the girls a second bathroom.
We paid a buddy of ours to do the rough-in work and plumbing (thanks, Brent!), but Mr. Farmhouse decided he could finish the rest out himself.
With lots of help from our dads, we have finished the sheetrock, cement board for the tile, and wiring.
Next up is paint,
then putting in the vanity & sink,
finishing the accent wall with barn wood & metal from the barn that is lying beside our house,
the tile work,
and installing the toilet & plumbing fixtures.
I have always loved the story of Ruth in the Bible and have admired her for her commitment to her mother-in-law, Naomi.
Ruth's husband passes away and yet she stays with Naomi.
She commits to staying with Naomi instead of going back to her own family no matter what.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." Ruth 1:16
When I saw this sign on Rashall's Facebook page, I knew I had to have it.
So I asked Rashall (again) to create something that would bring these words to mind.
And she did.
I had originally put it in the living room, but I just don't feel like that's where it will end up.
I think I'll display it with some pictures of all my favorite farmers in the hallway.
Or maybe not. We'll see. I'll let you know when I decide!
Church friends. Elementary school friends. Work friends. College friends.
Build a tribe of supporters that can walk through this crazy life with you.
Find your tribe and love them hard.
Thanks again, Rashall.
Be sure to check out Rashall's work right here!
Growing up, I collected keychains.
I would grab a keychain on any family trip we took or even something that seemed interesting to me on a shopping trip.
Family members even started buying me keychains and bringing them home for me when they traveled.
For several years, I looked through the keychains and remembered some fun times with family.
And then one day, I stopped.
They just weren't that enjoyable anymore and they ended up in a big metal coffee can, where they lived until I eventually threw them all away when we moved to the home my parents live in now.
At that point in life, the keychain collection just didn't MEAN anything to me.
In the end of my high school years, Willow Tree angels were just coming out and I loved them.
Do you know the ones I'm talking about?
Beautiful, creamy-colored angels that were were replicas of Susan Lordi's hand-carved angels.
My parents started getting me an angel for big life events...my 16th birthday, high school graduation, holidays.
And I loved them.
Each angel represented a time in life that was important and special to me.
At first, I housed these angels altogether on top of my piano.
Until there were too many.
Then I split them up and put half on the piano and half in my Great-Great-Grandma Hannah's antique secretary that sits in our home.
They were fine there, but I just felt like nobody ever really saw them.
It felt like they were kind of thrown out there much like the keychain collection of yesteryear.
Like when people looked at my house, at my angels, it was hard to appreciate each angel for what it was...a representation of a very specific moment in life.
I had an angel from the day I became a teacher...the day I lost my grandpa...the day we found out we were expecting a baby.
I had an angel that represented my relationship with my parents, Mr. Farmhouse, and each of the girls.
These were reminders of monumental occasions and my most cherished relationships...and they were collecting dust instead, seemingly unloved and unappreciated.
Until I began to decorate using what I call "groupings".
I'm still waiting on five pictures from the photo lab for this grouping. Can you tell where they will go?
The two metal prints on the left and the larger framed print on the right are John Deere pictures.
John Deere runs deep into both sides of our family history.
Mr. Farmhouse and I have both lost our grandpas in the last eight years and they were both John Deere men.
I have a picture of each of them with their tractors getting printed to be hung on this wall, as well as pictures of the girls in their Key overalls.
(Sidenote: Having the DVDs on display like that just about makes me crazy. Still trying to find a way to hide them that won't cost a fortune.)
(top left, represents the stages of our life - marriage, pregnancy, baby, toddler, big girl)
(top right, in my office - my praying & praising angels, my "create" sign)
(bottom left, education - the two books on the left were Matthew's great-grandparents', my reading and teaching angels, and a primitive framed alphabet from my in-laws when I became a teacher)
(bottom right, give thanks...Matthew & I with the girls, displayed in the gathering room)
I love having all of my favorite things on display in the farmhouse.
All of our reminders of our favorite memories, our favorite people, and those big moments in life that have molded us into who we are now.
Decorating with groupings has helped to make this happen. ❤️🏡❤️
In the old house, we didn't have a dining room. We had an eat-in breakfast nook that could seat all five of us if we moved the table out from the wall enough to fit one of the girls there.
It has worked perfectly fine for us, but one of the things that was really exciting to me about the farmhouse is that there will be a separate dining room for us to spend time in, eating as a family or entertaining.
Of course, the farmhouse table I bought on Craigslist was the perfect focal point for the gathering room.
I also found these chairs on www.target.com, but they were unavailable online.
We decided that Mr. Farmhouse's grandma's China cabinet would fit nicely in the gathering room, but instead of filling it with his great-grandma's dishes that we had been storing at the old house, we decided to use those dishes!
The beautiful dishes his great-grandma had left us had been sitting in the China cabinet for ten years, collecting dust. They are beautiful and special and we decided that there is no reason to keep them there taking up space and not being lovingly used by our family!
And now, it has all come together.
The farmhouse table and chairs make a stunning centerpiece.
The China cabinet is now a display case and will be admired and enjoyed, instead of overlooked.
The piano now has a home in a room away from the hustle & bustle of the main living room.
The dining room leads directly into my office nook, which I'll be working on this week. I also have plans to build a sliding barn door to close off the laundry room when needed.
I'm still missing a few prints of the kids to put on the wall and need to hang this cool old window I found from a friend's garage sale.
But for now...it's beautiful. I could not love it more.
Since moving into the farmhouse and sharing our journey online, I've had so many people contact me wanting a fresh start.
"I am so jealous that you get to start over."
"Seeing you put the new house together makes me want a fresh start for my house."
"I wish I could empty out our house and start again."
This opportunity to go through every single thing we own and make a decision about whether or not to keep it has been pretty amazing.
Add to it the fact that I get to decide exactly where it goes in the farmhouse, and I am feeling pretty good about our "fresh start".
For now, just hold off on bringing anything new into your home.
Deal with what you have.
There will be plenty of time to buy new things after you've gotten rid of everything you don't love.
2. Set an end date.
This one is something that many people don't think about, but it helped me immensely last summer when I went through and did my big house purge and it's helping now as I put the house together.
Find a date to work towards and mark it on the calendar.
For me, this year, that date is July 25th.
We are hoping to take the girls on a little lake vacation starting on the 26th and I don't want to leave one thing in the house undone.
I want to leave the house all peaceful and put together so when we come home from vacation, it's still all peaceful and put together.
3. Tidy by category.
This phrase is taken directly out of Marie Kondo's book called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up".
By the way, I just looked and the book is on sale on Amazon right now for $9.89!
As I came across any photography-related items in the rest of my tidying endeavors, I put them into a box labeled as such.
I did this with all of my miscellaneous categories and dealt with those boxes when I got to that category on my list.
I left a few blank boxes for you to fill in your own random categories, but if you're like me, you'll need more than a few boxes! Feel free to start your own list on another piece of paper or the back! Don't overthink it!
4. Don't start organizing until you're done with several categories.
The temptation is there to start putting everything away before you're done with the discarding process.
From personal experience...don't do it.
Purge first...then organize.
Otherwise, you'll get one area completely organized and find something later that would have fit there so much better.
5. Think in "stations".
I have started to think about my house in terms of where certain things happen.
This has really helped me to get organized and to stay organized (for the most part).
When you begin to think like this, your house starts to organize itself.
Out in the mud room, our beach towels are now housed with the sunscreen & goggles...far away from the bath towels that they used to be stored with in the old house. It just made sense to have them there, instead of taking up valuable room in the bathroom.
When you've done enough categories that you feel like it's time to start some organizing, make sure to keep this "station" mindset.
6. Go quickly!
Don't think too much!
When you pick up an item, ask yourself, "Does this spark joy?"
If it does, keep it! No questions asked!
If it doesn't spark joy, but it's something you need...keep those things too. Toothpaste doesn't really spark joy for me, but I would sure like my family to continue brushing their teeth!
Go with your gut instinct about things.
Try not to think in terms of what you "might need someday".
If it's something you could borrow or replace pretty inexpensively if you ever "need" it again...throw it out!
Donate it, trash it, or give it away to a friend.
Get it out of your house, as soon as possible!
7. Decorate intentionally.
Put your belongings into categories and go through each category, ruthlessly purging items that you don't love or need.
Organize the leftover items into functional stations throughout the house.
Keep the decorations you love and start to think about what other items you might add to your decor collection.
This isn't something you have to do immediately.
I prefer to check Hobby Lobby every month or so and scour their clearance aisle for things that spark joy for me.
I hardly ever spend over $5 on any sort of decoration for my home.
And when I do, it must be a joy-sparking item that I know will fit perfectly into my home!
These two items were joy-sparkers the moment I laid eyes on them!
The United States map that now hangs in the playroom cost me $39.99 on our mini-vacation to Pawhuska, Oklahoma and it was so worth that price!
Every time I look at it, my heart leaps for joy!
In fact, yesterday when I hung it in it's home up in the girls' playroom, I couldn't stop smiling!
I feel the same way about my Farmhouse sign from Hobby Lobby. It's $22.50 now on Hobby Lobby's website! I spent $27.00 on it because it was originally $45.00 and I had a 40% off coupon. Again...so worth the price!