Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 House Projects Review

In 2012, Tal and I improved our home's curb appeal, as well as focused on decorating the four areas where we spend the most time...our living room, kitchen, entrances, and hallways. We also tackled a few organizational projects and began updating our bedroom and Savannah's bedroom.

Here's a review of the house projects that Tal and I accomplished this year:

1. We hung a mirror in our half bath (which didn't have a mirror when we moved in):

2. We installed beadboard in our kitchen bar area:

3. Tal organized the closet in our garage:

4. Tal and I put a 50-inch TV in our upstairs bonus room (aka Tal's man cave). Since then, the bonus room has been cozy hangout space where our family watches sports and movies:

5. I used clear containers and pretty labels to organize our pantry into simple categories, such as coffee, snacks, and baking:

6. I used black spray paint to update our brassy fireplace:

7. Tal and I painted the backs of our living room bookcases a bold teal color to highlight our white accessories and complement the painting above the fireplace:

8. I created a picture hallway with around 70 family photos and mementos:

 9. I made our garage entrance more welcoming by painting the door a cheerful yellow:

  10. I used colorful baskets and labels to organize our medicine cupboard into easy categories, including "first aid" and "cold and flu:"

11. Tal and I spent 3 months updating our home's curb appeal. In our front yard, we removed 11 dead or overgrown bushes, planted 17 new bushes, put down landscape fabric, and spread mulch:

12. We cleaned up the dead, dying, and overgrown shrubs and trees in our side and back yards.

13. Tal and I bought an old dresser for Savannah, painted it, and added some new hardware:

14. We also transformed two $20 end tables with some paint and hardware and put them in Savannah's bedroom and a guest room:

15. I painted our master bedroom a teal color to coordinate with our new ikat curtains:

16. We added some new artwork and lamps in our living room:

17. We made our home feel more cozy and inviting by putting new rugs in our entry, hallway, and dining room:

18. Tal hung our family name sign in the kitchen:

19. We also hung some artwork in the kitchen:

2012 Goals Revisited

As 2012 comes to a close, I'm looking back at the personal, professional, and home goals that I made at the beginning of the year.

Keep reading to find out how I did:

1. Keep it simple. The first four months of 2012 were incredibly busy and stressful for our family as Tal finished taking computer classes while I coordinated tutoring at my school and finished my National Boards certification. During that time, I kept my priorities simple. I focused on studying and writing for National Boards, as well as taking care of Savannah while Tal studied for his certification exams. Thankfully, our family's hard work paid off when I passed National Boards and Tal launched a new career in information technology. 

2. Simplify. Over the last year, I've reduced my commitments. I've said "no" to numerous leadership and volunteer opportunities at school and church. Instead of donating my time, I've helped by donating supplies or money for church or school events. All in all, I've been very protective of my time with Tal and Savannah and made a conscious effort to make myself and family a priority.

3. Learn how to use my new SLR camera. My goal was to learn how to use all of my camera settings, including ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Truth be told, however, I don't think I've opened the owner's manual AT ALL this year.  Perhaps I'll become good friends with the owner's manual or take a class in manual photography in 2013...

4. Become more active. My goal was to start walking regularly again after I finished National Board and tutoring last April. However, it hasn't happened. To be honest, it's difficult for me to find the time and energy after working 10 hours each day. Plus, when I get home, I only have a few hours to spend with Savannah and addition to fixing dinner, making lunches for the next day, giving Savannah a bath, etc. I feel guilty about exercising for an hour when my time with Tal and Savannah is so limited and precious.

5. Organize and declutter. In 2012, I made our medicine closet and pantry more functional and pretty with color, labels, and baskets.

Medicine Closet Makeover

Pretty Pantry

6. Tackle a few small home improvement and decorating projects. I'm really happy with the progress that Tal and I've made in decorating our home this year. After living in our house for two years, I finally can say that it feels like home and is beginning to reflect our style and personality. In 2012, Tal and I've focused on adding more color, pattern, and functionality to our home by completing some of the projects below:
  • Add wainscoting to our kitchen bar area.
  • Hang a mirror in our half bathroom
  • Hang some artwork in the living room and kitchen
  • Repaint the kitchen
  • Paint the backs of the built-in bookcases in the living room
  • Paint the backs of the built-in bookcases in the bonus room
  • Style the bookcases in the living room and bonus room
  • Organize Savannah's toys in the living room
  • Create a picture wall
  • Add some rugs for the kitchen, entry, and hallways
  • Add a pair of lamps in the living room
  • Buy and paint a dresser for Savannah's bedroom
  • Buy a larger (king-size) bedspread for our bed

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Coastal Christmas

On our way to the beach to celebrate Christmas with
Tal's family, Savannah, Tal, and I
dropped by Grandaddy Anderson's house:


Grandaddy Anderson, Tal, Savannah, and I

On Christmas Eve, Savannah checked out the presents: 

Savannah had a great time opening her gifts,
including this keyboard from Gran and Grandaddy:

Playing piano with Daddy, Uncle Benny, and Gran

Shopping Cart from Grandma Judy

Microphone Stand from Uncle Benny and Aunt EJ

Babydoll from Grandma Barbara


Our family loves Savannah, as evidenced by all of the gifts
she received, including a shopping cart,
vaccuum, camera, nail polish, and a book:

She also received a guitar, microphone stand, art set,
babydoll, baby stroller, baby crib, and baby high chair:

Below is a hair accessory tote from Grandma Judy:

"Curling" Gran's Hair

Putting "lipstick" on Gran

"Blowdrying" Gran's Hair

Savannah loved putting her babies to sleep in their
new crib (from Grandma Barbara):

Baby Stroller from Grandma Barbara

Aunt EJ
(taking care of one of Savannah's dolls)

Our family can't wait for the arrival of
Benny and EJ's baby girl,
 who will be named Harper Grace:

Benny and EJ, who are ECU alums,
received an ECU onesie and hat for Harper:

Below is the cradle swing that Tal, Savannah, and I gave
Benny and EJ to help soothe baby Harper:

We also gave the expectant parents a
custom sign for their home:

Grandma Barbara also received a family name sign from us,
which Tal hung above her pantry door:

Below is the "Savannah Calendar" that I create each year
for Grandma Judy, Grandma Barbara,
Gran, and Benny and EJ:

The 2013 calendar is filled with our favorite
Savannah and family photos from 2012:

In keeping with family tradition, we ate some
yummy prime rib on Christmas Day... well as some tasty salad, corn on the cob, and potatoes
that Grandma Barbara worked so hard to prepare: