Simple City Life

Friday, July 31, 2015

Beach Boys. #DearMKE

Milwaukee is pretty amazing for those 4 months out of the year. Kidding, it's more like 5. If we could just get the extreme temperature drops taken care of we would for sure have 7 wonderful months here.In all honesty, besides the weather, I love this city. We are able to spend hours at the beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan, attend festivals every weekend, be surrounded with talented artists and still be able to afford living the city life we enjoy. 
 Last week we found ourselves at the Milwaukee Air Show. What was a two hour plan on the hill over looking the lake, turned into a five hour beach day. We ended up getting these extremely early, therefore allowing us a front row spot on the beach. Needless to say the boys were in love.
Once the show started it was pointless to get the boys attention. There are huge jets flying above and they are all consumed with digging holes in the sand. Or covering up their ears since the jets are so loud!
Meanwhile, the rest of us are all mesmerized. It's amazing to see these planes up close, truly breathtaking.
The skill of these pilots. Such precision.  I could watch them all day. However, I am glad we did not stay too much longer because those beautiful skies burnt us to the crisp- even after multiple sunscreen layers!

 Ummmm, I promise they didn't crash. But seriously how cool is this shot.
 Again, busy in the sand, paying zero attention to what is happening in the sky!
 So proud...I dug a hole. Meanwhile skilled pilots are flying through the sky...
 Lesson learned, no matter what is happening around us, if we are at the beach the boys will not pay attention, they will only play in the sand. And lesson learned, men will always be solely focused, while the women are multitasking! ;)
~Courtney 



Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bathroom Makeover On A Budget

It's been a long while since I have posted about our home. I was able to get so much done when we first moved in, but had lost some steam towards the end of the school year. With summer upon us, I have started to get restless and feeling the urge to get some rooms completed. Having house guests might have also factored in a bit! Which I am very excited to be hosting Scott's parents in a few weeks! Of course I am so thrilled to show them our new home, and I would like to show them as much of a finished product as I can manage.

One of the rooms that has been an absolute annoyance to me is the bathroom. I have spent hours pouring over Pinterest, paint samples and diy websites. Nothing really grabbed me.
Everything thing was so cookie cutter. I wanted something that preserved the historic look of the house, but made the space inviting and functional. Since we were tight on money, I needed to find a solution that was affordable. Paint is always the simplest fix and can make the biggest impact.  However paint is so hard to chose especially in a smaller bathroom. I didn't want to color cast on the white trim, or to feel like the room was shrinking. I started looking at colonial bathrooms and found a image of a room with dark trim and neutral walls. I felt like I finally had a vision in place.


Since we had recently purchased all new towels and a shower curtain, I had to compliment what we had. I loved our grays and teals. Without going completely black with the tri, and vanity, I found a beautiful, deep neutral grey, Forest Black by Glidden.  I ended up having it mixed in to a Valspar quart due to our local Ace Hardware closing and I was able to save some money. The Valspar was amazing. With one quart I was able to get all the trim, vanity and the back or the door.  The gentleman at the Ace helped me pick a white for the rest of the walls. I was surprised when he suggested a premixed premium Ace Royal in High Hiding White. He showed me a sample and it was perfect. White with a light grey hue. I walked out with my paint and some other miscellaneous items for under 50$.
The biggest change I wanted, other than the color, was adding a decorative shelf as well as a place to hang up our towels.  We have a large linen closet on the hallways, so I really do not need much for storage. The medicine cabinet and rolling Ikea cart are more than enough. I just really wanted something that would add some dramatic flare. We decided to add a industrial look with plumbing pipes. This is a simple and affordable option to traditional shelving brackets and bathroom accessories. My sweet husband who happens to be brilliant in DIY's but horrible in math, calculated the shelf supports wrongly. Thankfully, it ended up being a great mishap, because I love the look of the 5 brackets over the originally planned 3.  We also installed a large towel bar under the shelf. On the opposite wall we placed an additional smaller shelf. The wood we used is reclaimed wood that we recovered from a local church playground. They were tearing it down and allowed you to take what you wanted. Needless to say, we have a ton of playground wood in the garage and the kids have a climbing wall addition to their swing set.

In the name of saving money, I searched through my paint supply. Found my old paints in teal, orange and white. After mixing the white into the orange, I had a lovely shade of coral. I can't give you the names of any of the decoration colors since they are all my own mixes. One thing I have learned over the year is do not be afraid to mix your own colors. I'm always throwing colors together and creating some wonderful combination. I grabbed a variety of canning jars since we have a million of them around the house, poured them 1/4 of the way full of pain, and slowly turned them upside down until the entire inside was covered. Turn the right side up again and let them completely dry. I then searched through some old home decor bins and found a few items that complimented the color scheme. I grabbed a few towels, back stock of bath products and my decor items. Once everything was places it still seemed to lack in color and warmth. So I ran back down stairs, grabbed a few more canning jars, a spoon and went to work dividing up a few house plants. Within a few minutes I had a collection of  plants for the bathroom. I simply used my spoon to fill the jars half way with soil, divided the plants and buried them into the soil. Once I cleaned them up and placed them the room felt complete.

I am so in love with this space. I loathed this project for months and now that it is complete I could't be happier. I still would love to replace the floors and shower tiles, but all in due time. This project cost us less that 100$. Making a space new does not have to cost much, just a lot of hard work, your creative juices and determination. When ever I get restless with a space in the house, I often walk around and swap decor. It's amazing how moving a few things around can make everything seem new.

Have you recently spruced up a space in your house? I'd love to see what you have done!
Courtney

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sandy Toes and Paws.

I woke up incredibly eager to get out of the house. The thought of spending a hot sticky Friday at home made me all sorts of crazy. After a week of dead end house hunting for my mom, I needed to get out of the city and let the kids roam like the little wild things that they are. I laid in bed for a little while searching for the perfect plan, google searched Wisconsin dog beaches and found one close by at the State park. I decided to go all in and head out for the day with the lunatic hound, Fred. Of course the kids were thrilled and also ready for a day of complete exploration. We tidied-up our rooms, packed a healthy lunch and set out. Once we arrived, we found out that the dog beach was about 1/4 mile down the path, so with our arms full, we ventured down in search of the perfect location. 


 Other than the water being fairly high, we settled in for a lovely afternoon. Fred, was not too sure about the rushing waves. He preferred to stay close to shore. He loved the freedom to explore as well. However, he was not a fan of the biting flies. I could have watched him spin in circles for a very long time trying to get the little boogers. He finally ignored them and wandered around for a while. Being that he isn't off leach very often, he did rather well. He was curious a few times and ventured too far requiring my three children to chase after him. He was recovered quickly each time and had to spend some time on leash as a consequence. ;)

 The rest of the day was spet swimming, exploring the shoreline, digging in the sand and eating. I think Raichlen spend the most time on the blanket eating good things. I swear that kids is ALWAYS hungry (except at actual meal times).  I packed a few GoPicnic meals for us. I love having these on hand this summer. They are seriously so delicious. However with a little higher price point, I tend to hold out using them too often.

 The day was beyond beautiful. Everyone was happy to be out of the house, enjoying fresh air and no fuss about the time. I love these types of summer days. even in the midst of summer vacation the days can be busy and stressful. I need more of these days to keep me sane. The kids do too. I am sure we will be back at Harrington Beach soon, it was a perfect day for all!

 Lot of smiles and sunshine, 
Courtney