The Day I Took The TV Away.

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Guys, I did something crazy. I took away our tv. Like completely got rid of it in the living room. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but have always felt too scared to go through with it. How would it go? Would it be too exhausting to entertain the kids alllll day? Would they whine about it? How would I watch the bachelor? I had been having this heavy guilt about it though for about 6 months. Our kids didn’t ever watch a ton of tv, but it was there and when I wanted to get stuff done, I would use it as a tool to give me space. I wholeheartedly believe there is nothing wrong with that- Mom’s need a break too. However, it just wasn’t sitting well with me anymore (again, just for us). I don’t know why? It all the sudden just felt like it was more of my problem then theirs. It was too easy to rely on I guess and I felt like I wanted to change that. I love the idea of letting kids get bored. When the girls would say they were bored, they would ask to watch tv. Like that is what you do when you are bored. I hated that the tv just sat there in the living room staring at them when they were playing. I wanted to create a space that was warm, welcoming and not where the tv was the center of the room. I wanted them to know that if they felt bored and Mommy was doing stuff, they had to figure something out themselves to do. Go color, go build blocks, go ride bikes, go dig in the dirt. I don’t care what it is but they have to figure it out themselves though. It’s a balance because I make sure I am there most of the day to play with them together, but I want them to learn to use their own creativity the other times when I am cooking dinner or nursing the baby or whatever.

It’s taken some getting used to on all parts. And there is definitely a detox period. It worked out that we were in Florida for 2 weeks and were super busy out doing stuff pretty much everyday. The girls hardly watched tv at all while we were there, so when we came home I knew it was time. I didn’t want to fall back into old habits so out the tv went. I rearranged the living room, made a small play area off the kitchen and brought up a few toys from the basement (blocks, legos, doll house) and that was that. No more tv. So far so good. The girls have been playing so well together. Their attitudes are better overall and it has been awesome seeing what they come up with when they play. Rowan ended up creating all these birthday cards the other day, that Finley and her went door to door to sell around our neighborhood. Hahaha. Kev was such a good sport, he went with them. They knocked on all our neighbor’s doors and made like $7 bucks. We sure have some sweet neighbors! It was so cute. Rowan worked really hard and spent her time coming up and executing the whole thing and we wanted to honor her creativity. That’s what makes my heart full, seeing them use their little imaginations!

I will say that it does make more of a mess not having a tv. hahaha. Playing and finding fun makes much more of a mess than sitting in front of the tv. It’s a small price to pay though, right? Don’t get me wrong, it’s been an adjustment for me as well. I’ve never been someone who loves to watch tv but it’s been an adjustment to not turn it on for the kids. There are moments when I want so badly for everyone to stop touching me, asking me questions or fighting and I want to turn the tv on for them so badly. It’s an exercise for myself as well. To work on being the kind of Mom I want to be. I loved this post a while back on Monica’s blog about expanding. It’s true. I think when we get to the point where we think we can’t take anymore, if we stop, take a deep breath, pray a little and move forward we can expand a bit more for our children. I know I have a shorter fuse with them then say a friend. Why is that? Anyway- this is a chance for me to look at my own short comings and expand as well. In full disclosure I didn’t throw out the tv. It’s up in our room for maybe a movie on the weekend or special occasions like the Olympics, but day to day during the week there is no tv allowed.

Annnnnnd Spring/Summer is here guys! This makes life sooooooo much easier, am I right? Who needs a tv when the warm weather is here. Long days outside in the sun does the soul good. We love heading out and finding fun wherever the day leads us. We teamed up with Zappos and Crocs for this post and are loving these super comfy jellies for all our summer adventures. Like these are seriously the most comfortable shoes I own. I’ve never owned a pair of Crocs before! I was pleasantly surprised by how many different styles they have to offer. I also got this pair for Kev for when he hikes and cliff jumps up in the Adirondacks, and this pair for myself for gardening!

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Jen:
Knit Top: LOFT (on sale and 50% off!)
Jeans: Urban Outfitters
Crocs Isabella Jellies: Zappos
Sunglasses: LOFT

Rowan:
Denim Top: H&M (similar)
Pants: Target (similar)
Crocs Isabella Jellies: Zappos
Sunglasses: Target

Finley:
Denim Top: Carter’s (similar)
Skirt: Old Navy
Crocs Isabella Jellies: Zappos
Sunglasses: Carter’s

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This post was sponsored by our friends at Zappos and Crocs. Love the Zappos’ promise of fast, free shipping, 365 day return policy, and world class customer service. Thanks guys!

The Kitchen Reveal!

BEFORE

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Eeeeek! We are so happy with how this all came out. I’ve been so excited to share. It feels so fancy- I’ve never had a fancy kitchen before!! So above you can see how outdated our old kitchen was. We did our best when we moved in, but I’ve longed to redo it the last 3.5 years. When we moved in, the walls were yellow and there was a floral type backsplash. We painted both the walls and the tile with white paint as a quick band-aid. So when the chance to redo the kitchen in partnership with Frigidaire Professional and Lowe’s came up, we knew we wanted a major update! What we love most about the Frigidaire Professional Collection, is that you can have professional-grade appliances in your home, without having to do any kind of renovation. The collection’s appliances are all designed to fit existing kitchen cutouts, making upgrading your kitchen totally accessible to even remodeling newbies, like ourselves!

AFTER

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Appliances: 
Oh baby! Let’s talk about the stars of the kitchen. I have always LOVED to cook, but since everything has been finished I’ve been extra excited to get in there and cook on my new Frigidaire Professional appliances. I’ve been cooking up a storm these last few weeks. I’ve only ever had an electric range, so switching to gas was such a treat. I love that the Gas Cooktop has grates on top that are continuous. It makes sliding heavy pots and pans across the burners super easy. It also comes with a griddle/grill attachment that fits over the center burner! Let’s just say Rowan is pretty pumped about this feature. That girl loves her pancakes!

One of my favorite decisions we made for the kitchen is the cooktop and wall oven combination. I love the finished look!! I was totally surprised that a wall oven didn’t have to go, you know, up in a wall. We weren’t in the position to tear walls down and restructure the kitchen. The Frigidaire Professional Wall Oven fits perfectly below the counter and gives such a clean, professional style. I also love the powerful performance and No Preheat feature.

The Frigidaire Professional Dishwasher runs quietly and has lots of great features, We love the blue light that turns on when the load is clean. With all the cooking I’ve been doing, I’ve found that you can’t beat a 30-minute wash cycle. Washes dishes in a quarter of the time with a powerful and fast clean!

Now. Let’s all bow down to the king of the kitchen, shall we? I’ve never had a refrigerator that could hold all the fresh produce I buy, and I buy a lot. Four out of five of us are vegetarian so we consume fruits and veggies like whoa in this house. Our old fridge was always stuffed to the max and I would get so frustrated trying to find stuff. I’d be super bummed out when I would have to throw something away that had gone bad just because I forgot it was in there. The Frigidaire Professional French Door Refrigerator is my knight in shining armor. THERE IS SO MUCH ROOM IN THERE! And when you open the doors, it all lights up fancy like angels are singing about the glorious food inside. Am I getting too carried away with how much I love this fridge? Maybe, but it’s true. I love it! It’s got awesome shelves that you can change in a flash to organize all your stuff. It’s perfect.

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Open Shelving:
 The big thing we wanted to do was take down the upper cabinets and replace them with open shelving. Our kitchen has always felt super dark. There’s really only the one window above the sink and with the heavy cabinets up top, it really made it feel smaller than it was. We got some great thick wood from Lowe’s and had it cut right there in the store to the exact sizes we needed. I just simply stained them, and the result was the perfect natural, yet slightly worn looking shelf. I was so weary of finding the right stain and I can’t say enough for how beautiful the shelves came out! DIY post and tips for having open shelving and an open pantry to come soon!

Tile: 
I also really wanted to subway tile from the counter up to the ceiling to help brighten up the kitchen. The tiling was by far the biggest project. The nice people at Lowe’s were so helpful when I showed up with 3 crazy kids and explained I had no idea what I was doing or what I needed, but I needed them to help me out quickly before everyone started having a meltdown. Hahahah. We went with your standard white subway tile and a lighter grey grout. It was the most labor-intensive part of the project, but so worth it. The finished product is gorgeous!

Countertops: 
This was our biggest investment, but totally worth it. We really wanted a nice countertop! We decided to go with quartz and you know what color we chose? It was called Blanco Orion!! It was the first sample I picked, and when I found out it was called Orion–Duh! Of course I was sold. It’s so beautiful and totally makes the entire kitchen. I love the subtle grey hues throughout the piece of stone.

Cabinets: 
We were planning on just painting the bottom cabinets, but when we decided to replace the countertops we thought, here is our chance to actually do something with the bottom cabinets. We wanted to keep the footprint the same to keep things easy on us. We decided to go with cabinets that Lowe’s has in stock, instead of getting custom cabinets made. It really helped keep the cost down and we loved the white Arcadia style. It was a win-win for cost and convenience.

Island: 
 Do you remember the custom pipe desk/shelf thing I built right off our kitchen? Well, I wanted to create an island that tied those two pieces together. Lowe’s sells these beautiful precut butcher blocks in two different sizes that you can get right at the store. All we had to do was assemble the parts and attach them together. DIY post to come so you can all build your own kitchen island as well!

Hardware + Fixtures: 
I have been drooling over brass hardware for quite some time now and decided to go for it. It may be trendy, but it’s an easy switch if I ever get tired of them. The faucet we went with was a matte black to match the black shelf brackets and black iron pipe under the island. And the sink… ooooh the sink. I love this sink. It’s this beautiful extra large single basin white granite sink. It’s so pretty! hahaha. Omgosh I’m such an adult. My 16-year-old self would hate me for just saying I loved a sink.

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Resources: Refrigerator | Gas Cooktop | Wall Oven | Dishwasher | Blender | Hood | Frigidaire Professional Collection | Sink | Faucet | Track Lights | Cabinets | Brass Hardware | Shelf Brackets | Hanging Brass Planters (fruit holders) | Letter Board | Floor Mat | Stools

This post is in partnership with Frigidaire Professional, but all words, opinions and styling are my own. A big huge thank you to Frigidaire Professional and Lowe’s for helping our kitchen dreams come true.

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WORKING ON:

Pretty much rearranging the entire house. Once the kitchen was done, it all the sudden felt so apparent that nothing else was finished as well as the kitchen. It’s always a hard balance for me to strike with living simply, being content with what we have but also wanting everything to function well and look nice. I’ve moved pretty much every piece of furniture we have around this house lately. It’s like you start in one area and then bring in something from another area, finish the first area but then are left with holes in the area you took from so you have to fix that area too. Make sense? or am I crazy? Probably crazy. Anyway, we are working on getting rid of lots and just keeping what really works in our space. But rugs! I am at a loss for rugs. Rugs are something I do not enjoy spending money on and they are sooooooooooo expensive so you kind of have to. ugh!

THINKING ABOUT:

Maybe it’s because the school year is ending and that there are some other big changes happening around us but I am feeling a little unsettled or well, maybe just like there is something stirring inside. Antsy? I don’t know quite how to describe it, but I feel like there is a bunch of change coming or I am at the beginning of something new or big or whatever?? I don’t know. Just been thinking a lot about well, everything lately.

ANTICIPATING:

THE END OF SCHOOL!!! We are in the final weeks of this school year AND.I.CAN.NOT.WAIT for summer. Rowan has had a fantastic school year, we really love the classical school she goes to BUT we’ve had a hard year adjusting to being on a school schedule. We just felt like fish swimming against the current all year. I kept waiting for it to click or be better but it just never did. We finally came to terms that we just don’t think we are a regular school schedule type of family. We kind of want more. We have some different overall goals for our family and sending her to school just doesnt allow us to make those possible. So Rowan actually wont be going back to her school next year (well full time anyways) we are going to dive deep back into homeschooling and we’re pretty darn excited about it. She will probably still go to her school for a class or two which will be great for her to see her friends and be in a group setting.

LISTENING TO:

Oh man! I’ve been all over the place with music lately. I’ve been listening to the newest Macklemore and Ryan Lewis cd a ton, the newest Hillsong a ton, Piebald, Bane (going old school here), coeur de pirate, Cat Power and Head and the Heart, and I love the Rend Collective Art of Celebration CD.

EATING:

ALL.THE.FOOD. Nursing and training for a half marathon is no joke. I am hungry all the time. Trying to eat only whole, real foods and with the new kitchen, I’ve been LOVING cooking at night. Last night I made up some thai chili ramen bowl with honey garlic tofu and a soft boiled egg. OMG. It was like the best thing I’ve ever made. The night before I made a power bowl with quinoa, sweet potato fries, sautéed kale, Roasted chickpeas and drizzled this lemon tahini dressing on top. OMG AGAIN. So Freakin’ good. Maybe the best part of having to run 11 miles is that I am so hungry afterwards I make up the most delicious meals of my life. hahaah. You know the saying “Eat to live or Live to eat?” Maybe I just run to eat. Although, I do for sure live to eat. I love good, healthy delicious food. It’s a love language for sure.

THANKFUL FOR:

The sun. It feels fantastic that the sun is out and that the warm weather is so close. It means we survived another winter! Whew! We did it. Love when we get to spend our entire day outside. It makes life so much more enjoyable.

PLANNING FOR:

We celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next month and we’re going on a big trip! I am so excited. I can’t wait. We haven’t settled on an exact location/itinerary yet, we’ve been dreaming of going to these 2 particular countries for the last 2 years but we’re planning it all out at the moment and eeeeeeeek! it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait to just spend some solo time with Kev exploring and having fun. Love him so much!

READING:

I am currently reading Wild and Free- oooh it is good. Love Jess and Haley so much. Then Kev and I are both reading For Men Only and For Women Only. We are actually reading the opposite book first and highlighting parts we would love for each other to know is important to us. That way when we read the book meant for husband or the wife I have all his notes in it and he has mine. It’s going to be a cool way to learn more about how he ticks and what he finds to be particularly highlighter worthy in the book.

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Kitchen Renovation | The Planning

BEFORE PHOTOS

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So if you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (you can find me both under @jenloveskev) you know we’ve been neck deep in a big ol’ kitchen renovation project since February. We basically ripped everything out and started fresh with new everything. It was the biggest renovation project, well it’s actually the only real renovation project we’ve ever tackled before. We usually just freshen everything up with a good can of white paint (Valspar Du Jour in case you’re wondering what color white I like). We were sooooo nervous because we are not that handy. I can style and paint a room, but when it comes to construction, Kev and I both kind of fail in knowledge. We do however make up for it in motivation and YouTube watching ability. Honestly, how did anyone do anything with out YouTube before?? It ended up being totally manageable and came out even better than I had hoped for. It was a true labor of love and we are so proud that we were able to complete it by ourselves (of course with a bit of help from some great friends too).

I am going to share the big reveal very soon, but today I wanted to talk a bit about the planning stage and how we got started. It can be a bit daunting to take those first steps! I started by doing LOTS of looking around Pinterest. What a great place for inspiration!! We also teamed up with our friends at Frigidaire Professional and Lowe’s for this renovation and we knew ahead that the beautiful Frigidaire Professional Collection appliances would be going into the kitchen. I let their modern, professional-grade look drive the design of the kitchen. From there, I created a mood board with all the items I wanted to help set the look of the kitchen…

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FAUCET | TRACK LIGHT | WOOD STAIN | HARDWARE | COUNTER | CABINETS DISHWASHER | REFRIGERATOR | COOKTOP | WALL OVEN

I wanted the overall feel for the kitchen to be bright, light and airy but with an industrial chef’s kitchen sort of feel! I loved the idea of having open shelves to give a more open feel to our very dark kitchen. I wanted to subway tile from the counter to ceiling to brighten things up a bit too and then have industrial touches with the style of the track lights and use of iron pipes for the island. We decided to replace our old countertop with a new beautiful piece of quartz. With the countertops gone, it was also our chance to change the cabinets. I wanted a nice white cabinet to keep with that overall bright look. The best part is that the Frigidaire Professional Collection is made to have that professional-grade look, but still fit into the standard- sized spaces most kitchens have for appliances. My favorite part was that we could switch to a wall oven and cooktop that would fit perfectly where are range used to be. This is great for us newbies because we wanted to keep total costs down and keep the overall footprint of our kitchen the same. 
We will be showing you the final kitchen reveal soon, but wanted to leave you today with some progress shots. What a journey! Demoing your kitchen with 3
small children is no joke guys. We did most of the work late at night after the kids went to bed. It was a rough 2 month, but oooooh was it worth it! The new kitchen has me all heart eye emojis over here. 

PROGRESS PHOTOS

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More to come soon!!

Thank you to Frigidaire Professional for sponsoring this post. All opinions, words and styling my own.

GoPro x FL 2016

G0382817^^hanging out with papa

Kev got his GoPro for christmas a few years ago, we love it but seem to only really use it on vacations. We should change that though because it’s always such a treat to load the pictures onto the computer after using it. It’s always a big surprise what the photos/videos are going to look like. I stayed up waaaay tooo late last night looking through all the pictures from our recent trip to Florida. Here were my favorites…

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GOPR2537^^my mom and my sister

GOPR2538^^our disney cruise ship in castaway cay

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My Everyday Style | Surprise Yourself with New Possibilities!

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Soooooooo I wear pretty predictable things. I am ok with that. I know what my style is and I stick to it. I like a more laid back, classic type style with a little bit of edge I guess. Hahah does that even make sense? Skinny jeans, a denim shirt and Vans are where it’s at people. I swing very far from the boho style- I always look at sites like Free People and love how beautiful everything is though. Sometimes I even order stuff but I try it on and then I end up returning it because well, it just doesn’t feel like me. So I was very intrigued when Marshalls approached me to challenge myself to try something new. It could have been with anything and maybe it was the fact that we were on vacation or the fact that everything has been about Coachella recently but I totally tried to go with that boho, flowy sleeve, loose dress sort of thing. Love that you can try out new styles with out breaking the bank. I picked this dress out and wore it on a date night with Kev when we were in Florida. He was very sweet and commented like 100 times on how much he loved the dress on me. It was such a surprise to me that I loved this boho style dress just as much as he did. When I pulled it out of the rack my first thought was that it was beautiful (loved the colors and embroidery) but that there was no way I was going to like it on. When I tried it though, I feel in love with the ease and comfort of it. Set the perfect vibe for a date night by the beach. Maybe it’s good to surprise yourself sometimes. Keeps ya young, right?

What new style would you challenge yourself to try out?

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OUTFIT DETAILS

Sunglasses: LOFT (40% off!!)
Roxy Dress: Marshalls
Steve Madden Sandals: Marshalls
Hat: Marshalls

Thank you to Marshalls for sponsoring this post.

Enjoy!

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Hi Friends! Thought I’d give you something sweet to enjoy on this beautiful Friday morning. Don’t you just want to eat him up? Here’s a list of nicknames we seem to use the most for our little Orion…
Dude
Little Dude
Little Man
Bubs
Bubsy boo
lil’ bud
buddy
Boo
Boo Boo
Honey Boo Boo
Boo Boo Bear
Burp Worm (hahaha don’t ask)

Happy Weekend!

Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

  • I know we haven't been homeschooling very long, but I am so thankful that these last few days away ...
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Jen Loves Kev
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