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Life Can be Crazy…

September vignette

Sometimes things get soooo crazy you just have to shake your head and laugh. Have you ever had a string of weeks like that – where one crazy thing is followed by another?  August went out with a bang for us, and I wanted to share some of the craziness with you so that you wouldn’t think I was just rudely ignoring you.  I have been a little um… distracted.  Let me just start with two weeks ago with our daughter. (Sorry for the fuzzy phone picture.)

dorm room bed

You may remember we moved our daughter into her on-campus apartment at college a couple of weeks ago.  What you probably don’t know is that when her third roommate opened the door to her bedroom, she was attacked by fleas.:( Yes, fleas. Not good.  They contacted housing, and we went shopping to buy out Target.  When we returned at 5:30 (after 3 hours in Target – which daughter’s boyfriend claims has to be some kind of world record), the pest control folks told us we could not enter the room until 9:30.  Not good again.  But we left, came back at 9:30, worked until 1:00 a.m., and over that weekend we did finally get the room finished, and the bugs were laid to rest (at least for awhile.)

dorm desk

Fast forward to last week.  At 10:30 p.m. last Tuesday, daughter called to let us know that a pipe in the ceiling burst and flooded their apartment.  She and her 3 roommates had to totally move out. There is no vacant housing in their college except for one “emergency room” with two beds (which the girls said was gross.) There were 4 girls in that apartment.  Hmmm…not good again.

dorm bathroom

So with the help of many folks on their floor, they got all their things moved into the gross emergency apartment.  For the following week the 4 of them alternated between staying with friends, driving home and commuting to class, and staying in a nearby hotel (at the expense of the college.) Crazy week for all of them, but now their apartment has some newly painted walls and all new carpeting.  Hopefully, there will be no more craziness in the college housing area of our lives for awhile. (But then again, these same young ladies lived in the building where one of the guys on the floor above them accidentally knocked a head off the sprinkler system and flooded that building last year.)  Never a dull moment.:)

And now to the boys (nothing bad.)

If you read the last post, you may remember that both of our sons are moving to Seattle this week.  So there are piles of boxes everywhere, and the garage is one big jumble of furniture – just waiting on the moving truck to arrive here tomorrow to be loaded.  What you probably don’t know is that along with this move, they are making a 10 day drive across the country for another road trip to many national parks out west.  So along with packing all their things for moving, they are also packing all their belongings for a big camping trip.


And my big old tent has been set up outside to see if it leaks.  They want to take it along as well.

big tentAnd amid all the packing here our air conditioner has decided to die. We have two units – one on the bedroom side, and one on the side that cools the family room, kitchen, and dining room.  The bedroom side unit works, but the other side – the side where we spend most of our time – that side is h-o-t.  So we have tried to blow the cooler air from one side of the house to the other (but we have had little luck with that.)

fanBut I guess it is a good thing it went out.  You see, the other evening it was too hot to do any work in that part of the house, so I was sitting in the bedroom hallway working on a project.  It was pouring rain, and I began to hear a drip..drip..drip in the wall beside me.  I sent my husband up to the attic to see if he could see a leak anywhere, and oh yes…there was a big leak around the chimney.  So now there are buckets catching water in the attic.

And then…my husband was mowing the grass yesterday and noticed an area that was wetter than all the other areas around it.  He dug up a little of the grass and found a leak in an underground pipe.  After a trip to the hardware store, he did get that problem repaired.:)

So the moving truck comes tomorrow, and everything gets loaded on it.  Then the guys leave on Thursday, and we will actually be empty nesters.  I know I will miss them terribly, but a little peace and quiet will be a good thing after the craziness of the last few weeks.  The blog should return to normal this weekend.  I hope to share some decorating from around here and a couple of pretty houses with you very soon and answer the 69 emails that have been waiting in my inbox.  And…

I also have a new book I can’t wait to have time to read.:)

somewhere safe with somebody good by jan karon

Hope your week is going well!

Until next time…

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Mimi - September 3, 2014 - 12:31 am

Oh my goodness! When it rains, it pours! (No pun intended.) :-) I just figured you were busy with school–and we all know that’s busy enough! Hopefully, things will start to settle down for you this week.
What an adventure your sons will have! Definitely the stuff that memories are made of. I would imagine they’re taking a northern route, but tell them that Nebraska’s state motto is “The good life”…lots of great stuff to be found.
Enjoy the rest of your week…please! It’s gotta get better! :-)

Rae Hilhorst - September 3, 2014 - 4:40 am

Hello, I have been missing your posts, I don’t know where they have gone. We have been empty nesters for a year now and I can say I’m not a fan. We have fathers day here in Perth Western Australia on Sunday and I am looking forward to having a full house x

Gail - September 3, 2014 - 7:11 am

Hi Kelly: Just remember…..those children come back….and bring others with them:-) Just last week I had occasion to host all my children…3 to be exact….and 9 of my 10 grands…all in a small house!!!! Yikees! We so enjoyed having them there because it rarely happens but it was hectic. Then I drove down to Raleigh along with some of them to help my daughter move this weekend. If it doesn’t rain, it pours:-) So enjoy the quiet for the time being:-) So sorry for all that you had to go through this past week but glad that it was rectified so quickly. Life….isn’t it interesting:-) Blessings

Julie - September 3, 2014 - 7:38 am

Wow. You have had a rough go of it recently! The minor inconveniences always seem to be the really irritating ones, don’t they? And they always seem to travel together and visit all at once! Thanks for sharing not only why you’ve been “quiet”, but also your sweet perspective looking ahead. I still have one son at home (17 and a HS junior), but I know college move-in day will be here too quickly. As the kids move on with their lives, a new chapter begins for us as well. I will be praying for your adjustment to a quiet house…and to a new normal. Thanks for sharing. I love your blog, your words, your perspective!

Stacey - September 3, 2014 - 8:34 am

Life is like that, isn’t it?! When it rains it pours. :)

Nan, Odessa, DE - September 3, 2014 - 8:42 am

Adjusting to being an empty nester was a difficult time thefor me, the MOM, but one of my quickest adjustment! Enjoy! They return with additional love ones.

Woes in life is what builds character. Remember? Ha! Ha!

Started this Jan Karon book yesterday. Good as all her books on Tim/Mitford have been in the past.

Terri - September 3, 2014 - 8:43 am

ummmmmm……. WOW!!!!!!! a LITTLE CRAZY is an understatement!! But you survived!! lol…. been missing your posts… I can see that you have had a very good reason for putting the blog on the back burner… :) … hope by now, you are enjoying some AC in the whole house!! Here in Florida, the humidity would be an extreme downer without AC!! Lots of exciting things happening around your neck of the woods…. Empty nesting can be fun… really.. it can!!! lolol…. Looking forward to your next post!!!

Arlene@Nanaland - September 3, 2014 - 8:44 am

Why does it seem that calamities always happen at the most inconvenient time. I have heard it forms our character but oh my goodness! I am really enjoying Coming to Rosemont. I noted that you said some ladies were offended by the language but it is in context for these characters so it is not gratuitous. I am almost finished with book one and then on to book two!! I really love the character, Maggie. Hope you get your AC back on soon Kelly!!

Donnamae - September 3, 2014 - 8:46 am

Oh wow what a time you’ve had! All that would probably make a great comedic movie…sounds like you need a rest from chaos! ;)

Garden, Home and Party - September 3, 2014 - 9:01 am

I was beginning to wonder if you had decided to take a late vacation. Little did I realize. Maybe this is life’s way of making the empty nest a little less challenging?! I’m happy to hear most everything has been taken care of and I think you all have handled the fleas and floods with grace! :-)
Be sure to review the book, I haven’t gotten it yet but it’s on my list.
May the rest of the week go without incident.

Jayne - September 3, 2014 - 9:06 am

OK… Can’t help myself… When it rains, it pores! Bless your heart! You have had a lot of craziness, haven’t you? I think is cool how God uses all of that for your good. Your might not have caught that leak for a long time if your ac hadn’t gone out. We can relate to the fleas. We had to bomb for them this past weekend and Sally need to do it again. Seems it killed every bug but the fleas! Give me an excuse to go shopping haha. Hope every thing settles down for you. Enjoy your empty nest.

Katrina Cantler - September 3, 2014 - 9:11 am

Yikes…. Sorry about all the craziness!!!!! I know your daughter is a trooper but bless her sweet heart for dealing with all that. Glad she has a sweet mom to help her deal with it. Her room is cute. Good luck to your sons’ new adventures. Ahhh…empty nesting… they do return with even more people!
Hope by now your air is fixed, Kelly! Glad this is only a four day work week for you!

judy - September 3, 2014 - 9:18 am

oh my goodness kelly! you sure have had your share of bad luck recently. one day you might be able to look back and have a good laugh but right now it’s all too much to take in….hope nothing else goes wrong and you can have some peace and quiet.

please don’t worry about responding to any emails/comments i’ve left you…i know how much you care about your “fans” so just consider this a small gift to you from me and know that i understand that you appreciate each and every one of us but you need some rest girl!

Cheri - September 3, 2014 - 9:24 am

Wow…that is crazy. Doesn’t it always seem like when one thing happens a few more come along. That happened with us this past weekend but NOTHING like you. You win the prize. Hope this is a better week/month for you and your family.

As for being an empty nester…I have been for 7 years and at first it is nice but then it gets too quiet. Now the girls are all married and giving us our Grands but they all live so far away in other states. I wish they all lived closer because when they come it is for long visits and at the end I am ready for them to go home. Does that sound mean? I love them all but I think with having our own routine etc: it is hard to go from zero to 90 with noise. I just tell myself there is a light at the end of the tunnel and just enjoy our time with them, because all too soon it will be quiet again.

Katherine LeightyMeand - September 3, 2014 - 9:29 am

These are the times to be remembered and laughed about later! I remember when my oldest daughter left home! my youngest daughter and I were heartbroken and crying! Finally I said lets go to the store get some goodies and have a picnic at the park! As we were wandering the store aisles, I in my sunglasses, little Heather would sniffle, sigh and tears would com pouring…me too but I had the sunglasses! I leaned To her shoulder and said,”heather you are going to have to quit crying, people think I am beating you! she broke out laughing, then so did I and with a big hug we went on to have a wonderful time!

Here is to your wonderful times ahead!

Louvina - September 3, 2014 - 10:27 am

I knew something was going on– but mercy me– that is just crazy! Never a dull moment around your place!! Hoping things are fixed and running smoothly very soon!! I feel my life is whirling around but all is good– celebrating many happy occasions, exploring new beach condo and surrounding area– on an island between Atlantic and Halifax River, remodeling at home, 2 mountain trips and another mini resort trip in Orlando! My goodness, I didn’t know retirement would be so busy and exciting!! Flying off tomorrow back to my hometown for class reunion- class of 1964!! Wow! How quickly that passed by– life IS good and God has given many blessings!

Debra - September 3, 2014 - 11:08 am

Oh Gosh Kelly, you sure have had your share of “Happenings”! Oh, such is Life! You and your husband are such great parents. Well, I can relate to the air conditioner incident. Ours went out early summer, but luckily it was an easy fix with just a switch problem. I was glad it was covered under warranty. Yes, we had just put it in a whole new unit the year before. I guess we did pretty good, since we our going on our 26th year in our home. I am sick of summer at this point. I am tired of having the air on and the mosquitoes are once again horrible, since the rains are down pours here. Oh, I am giggling at the pictures of the camping gear. Like the boys wouldn’t take advantage of all the possible stops along the way, hmm? How exciting. We have moved our two older girls enough in years past that I can relate to your loaded garage. What a task. We still have two yet at home with us. They are claiming they are purchasing a place by the time they move out. Should I be a bit worried? They are savers, but really we might not be empty nesters for quite a while yet. Ha! I don’t care. Their schedules are such that it is even hard to have all four if us sitting for dinner anymore. Oh, to retirement days ahead….I can wait a bit longer. No worries. Smiles Kelly, you are such a TROOPER!

Barbara (WA) - September 3, 2014 - 12:02 pm

Good Grief, Kelly!!!! May things calm down and soon. . . It’ll be a rather abrupt empty nest for you but thankfully technology keeps people connected (boys do not write letters, heh! Mother of two sons!).

classic•casual•home - September 3, 2014 - 12:16 pm

What a great room for your daughter!!! So cute. I just sent my son a bunch of things from Overstock (he’s in Florida and I’m in Calif)…I’m sure he won’t arrange it all as you have but at least I feel a little better.

Marianne in Mo. - September 3, 2014 - 12:59 pm

Oh my stars! You have had a rough time! Hope you handle stress well! Here’s wishing you peace and calm days ahead.

Teresa H, Fields - September 3, 2014 - 2:18 pm

Oh my, what a crazy time. So thankful that all those things that happened are just that things. It is just a season and you all will laugh about it. I think all of us have been there at one time or many times in our lives. Thanks for sharing, it makes my life at the moment sound dull.

Susie in MO - September 3, 2014 - 2:59 pm

What a busy month or so! I hope your sons found a suitable place to land in Seattle – would love to hear what they decided. I LOVE your daughter’s shower curtain, almost bought that one myself a few weeks ago. Enjoy the book, you got me hooked on Jan Karon, need to find the 8th Mitford book for my collection…

Scribbler Unfocused - September 3, 2014 - 3:15 pm

Never a dull moment! I can totally understand your looking forward to an empty nest!


It is so exciting, though, when they all spread their wings. You worry, and hope you did a good job. They still call though, when things get a little overwhelming. Just today I sent off a box of homemade cookies to my baby in LA. (He is 46!) They never get too old for that.

Gracia @ Gracious Offering - September 3, 2014 - 4:56 pm

Wow, Kelly, that is a lot of things to deal with on many fronts! Hopefully the “calm” will come after the “storms”! Yep….even our grown kids still need a little help from their Mama’s now and then :). Hope your sons have a fun trip out West and settle into our Seattle area more seamlessly than your daughter’s move. Blessings to you.

Susan M - September 3, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Holy cow Kelly!!! That IS a crazy couple of weeks! So sorry for your daughter having all that disruption while in her first weeks at college. You know my two have graduated college and married recently…..another crazy and EXPENSIVE time when its the girl and you are footing the wedding bill…….and its funny but you Never stop worrying about everybody. However, my hubby and I have enjoyed being empty nesters and doing our own thing….although it takes a while to completely start relaxing and finding a new you….not defined by your kids anymore. I hope things calm down for your family and you can relax on your beautiful porch and read that book….let us know what you think of it!!! Your blog is one of my favorite relaxing, me time joys!!! You have a gift with this bog for sure!! : )

Barb - September 3, 2014 - 6:06 pm

I was at work, headphones on, listening to Christmas music, which reminded me of you. Wow, what a couple of weeks you have had. I love the fact that even though everyone is going in a million directions, you still find time to work on a project (in the hallway, no less). Glad things have started to settle down. Enjoy the book and the changing Season.

Leslie - September 3, 2014 - 7:54 pm

I’m sorry that you have had such a time of it! Yes, when it rains, it pours! When we came home from our Tybee trip we started packing to move our oldest son down to Ohio State. He’s never really been away from home, so what an adjustment for all of us. My father’s chemo sessions were still there for us all to struggle through and then my washer died. I wish all of those things hadn’t happened to you, but you seem to be handling it with great humor! Thanks because it reminds me that we all need to do just that. BTW, I adored our little Mermaid Cottage! It was my favorite part of the whole trip, just being there with my husband and three teenagers. Also I was CRAZY about the Paris Market! What a fantastic store. The fish tacos were fab. Seaside Sisters was darling. You are so sweet, Kelly. Thank you for all your posts and sharing real life. I hope your September is doubly blessed.

Megan - September 3, 2014 - 8:24 pm

Oh Kelly — You have had quite a time of it these past few weeks! Thank goodness everything was fixable :) So happy to have you back!


Shirley@Housepitality Designs - September 3, 2014 - 8:55 pm

When it rains, it pours…and how true for you lately!….So sorry to hear that your daughter and friends had to go through so many problems with their rooms…and of course things break at the most inopportune times!….but you seem to keep on your “happy face” and deal with all that comes your way….Hoping that better things come your way…Enjoy your “empty nesting”…

kathy - September 3, 2014 - 9:02 pm

I hope things are getting back to normal for you. It does seem that everything like that happens at once and in multiples of three. Have a better rest of the week!

Dawn - September 3, 2014 - 9:15 pm

Wow, Kelly!

You have had a lot going on. I am glad things are settling down a bit for you. Keep us posted and get to that book a bit so you can relax!

Pat @ Life At Lydias House - September 4, 2014 - 9:50 am

Wow! What a month. I feel like you need some type of prize or award for surviving that one!!Hope things settle down soon!

Becky in 'Bama - September 4, 2014 - 10:58 am

All I can say is OH MY WORD. Pestilence, floods, extreme heat, weather extremes: you guys are like the Children of Israel living in Egypt!! You even have your tents. Ha. Thankfully no frogs or sores (at least you didn’t mention them).
Thank you for your VERY funny comment Becky! You indeed made me laugh out loud. :)

Cindy Ross - September 4, 2014 - 9:47 pm

OMG, you have had your share of mishaps! Hopefully they will all pass. Hope the guys will have a safe travels. I remember when my son left for Washington State. My husband and I called him on the phone every couple of hours. My heart was broken being a empty nester but nervous about him driving by himself clear across country. He is in the Navy so he had to report within a certain amount of days. He said Washington State is a beautiful state but it rained a lot there. I wish your son’s much success in there new life in Washington. Enjoy your time with your husband as a empty nester. May your next several weeks remain calm for you and the rest of your family. <3

Design Chic - September 7, 2014 - 10:46 pm

Good gracious, Kelly. What a time you have had (so badly wanted to say when it rains it pours!) Empty nest is certainly a new phase in life, but I must say, as the mother of an only child, I just couldn’t imagine what life would be like. Those college years go so quickly and before long they will be returning with spouses and children…it’s just the best!! Wishing you a week of calm…

Back to School: Homemade Pizza (and a yummy dessert)

back to school pizza night dinnerWith school back in session, meals that can be whipped up quickly and still taste delicious are always needed.  My favorite is homemade pizza, but since I seem to be in a back to school mood, and I needed a party-ish thing for our middle child’s birthday, I made it into a back to school pizza night – with a dessert treat just for the birthday guy.:)

Here are all the details:

For the placemats, I cut a large black foam board (from Hobby Lobby) into fourths.

chalkboard placemat  1Then I covered each with chalk.
chalkboard placemat 2With a paper towel, I smeared the chalk all over it.
chalkboard placemat 3

Then I wrote in my best second grade student handwriting:)on each placemat.  One read I will not push in line.  One read I will not throw paper airplanes. Another had I will not talk in class, and the final one said, I will remember to raise my hand.

back to school centerpieceFor the centerpiece, I used a potted mum wrapped in three paper napkins that were printed with the alphabet and then tied with red grosgrain ribbon.  School supplies (books, chalk, eraser, and pencils) were added to the table for a few more school details.

back to school dinner tableI had some paper rulers, and they made great napkin rings.
back to school placemat

For this simple meal, we just had our homemade pizza and Caesar salad.  I had planned to make some garlic knots to have with it, but we had our Open House at school tonight, so the bread got cut from the menu.:(back to school dinnerThe pizza was super easy to make.  Spray a large cast iron skillet with vegetable oil.  Sprinkle 2 teaspoons corn meal mix in the bottom of the pan.  Then line the pan with refrigerated pizza dough.   pizza crust in panBrown 1 pound ground beef in a skillet with 1/2 t. garlic salt, 2 t. parsley, 1/2 t. ground oregano, and 2 t. basil.  Drain.  Spread 1/2 c. tomato basil pasta sauce  on the dough.  Top with the browned ground beef. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Put 2 c. grated mozzarella on top of the beef, and then top that with pepperoni slices.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 ready for oven

Fresh from the oven.

homemade pizza Talk of the House

homemade pizza recipe Talk of the House

Since we were celebrating middle child’s birthday (belatedly) and he is a true lover of peanut butter, I thought a peanut butter pie(complete with oreo cookie crust) would be better than a cake.  (Plus we have had quite a few birthday cakes this month!)
peanut butter pie

Here is the recipe (but I forgot to add that I drizzled a little bit of chocolate sauce on it before serving.)

frozen peanut butter pie recipe Talk of the House

And that was our simple pizza night with peanut butter pie for dessert.

peanut butter pie Talk of the House

 I hope you will enjoy a pizza night one evening soon – perhaps on this Labor Day weekend!:) We are hanging out here for the holiday just trying to finish up all the packing for our sons’ move. Do you have big plans as we bid farewell to Summer?

We’d love to hear!

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Louvina - August 28, 2014 - 11:49 pm

What a neat BD supper/back to school theme! Seems like you are always in some transitional phase with your family. But in all the hustle and bustle, you still find so many ways to make it special and a time to remember. How are you dealing with all these changes and full time teaching? We are off to the beach for our first “mini” vaca away! Right in the midst of remodeling bathroom (oh my) and my class reunion trip ( 50 years! Oh my) Trying to handle all the to do lists so I won’t forget anything!! No stress, mind you— but really enjoying everything! Really ready to bid summer weather farewell– especially this terrible hot weather. So looking forward to my favorite season– Autumn– where are you?! :)
Glad you liked the meal! Yes, we are always in some transitional phase here, but it sounds like you are super duper busy yourself, Louvina! You need to take a break from all your adventures and just rest for a little while. :) I am sooo looking forward to some cooler temps too.

L J - August 29, 2014 - 12:21 am

Kelly, you do amaze me with all you manage to get done! Whew, do you sleep? lol The place mats are just the right touch–cute too. I do remember being disciplined and required to write 100x “I will not talk in class”…and at that more than on one occasion.
Birthdays–my son requests mint chocolate chip ice cream pie with chocolate cookie crumb crust for his birthday desert; his day is Aug 22. I’m sure your son and the entire family enjoyed the peanut butter pie–sounds yummy. Is a going-away or movin’ out party in the offing for you/your son?
No going away party – too busy packing! We had a dinner to celebrate and tell everyone goodbye a week or so ago that I will share soon. There were 8 of us at a restaurant I want to tell you all about.

Debra - August 29, 2014 - 7:37 am

Oh my gosh woman! Cute enough for a Pottery Barn Kids catalog photo, I swear!! Though this is a simple meal, it still took enough time to put together. I loved those placemats. Your family is blessed. I will have to try your version of homemade pizza. Your frozen pie sounds yummy too. Not sure what our weekend will bring yet, though every Labor Day brings a birthday on September 1st, for our third daughter. Yes, I labored on Labor day! Birthday celebrations here too. Smiles… :)
Ha ha! The pizza and pie are delicious (but I am sure NOT healthy.) Happy b-day to your daughter. How funny that you labored on Labor Day. Love it!

Jill - August 29, 2014 - 7:47 am

I love your table….especially the placemats. So cute! I never thought of making pizza in my cast iron skillet. Great idea! I bet it gives the crust a nice crisp. This weekend we are going to make homemade personal pizzas using pita bread for the crust. It makes a good, easy crust and the kids enjoy picking out what to put on their own little pizza.
Yes, that cast iron skillet gives it a very cristy crust…I don’t like it “whimpy”!

Arlene@Nanaland - August 29, 2014 - 8:11 am

Two new recipes!! Yippee! The writing on the placemats reminds me of the NO DAVID books that all of my grandchildren have enjoyed! I received my giveaway package in the mail yesterday Kelly….Your calligraphy made the package so pretty and special. I was truly blessed to be chosen as the winner!!
I had not thought about the No David books, but you are right Arlene! It IS very much like it. :) Glad you liked the package. Hope you like the contents too.

Garden, Home and Party - August 29, 2014 - 8:18 am

The table turned out so well. I love the idea of the black(?) foam core board and then chalked words. Your pizza looks delicious and I am definitely going to try that sometime this weekend. I’ve never thought of putting it in a cast iron skillet but I can see the benefit…nice crust and sides to hold all of the yummy goodness.
Happy birthday to your son.
Enjoy your long weekend.
Do give that pizza a try. I love it! (And if you like sausage just substitute sausage for the beef.) Thanks for the birthday wishes for our son.

Jackie Caruso - August 29, 2014 - 10:19 am

You are just too clever!!! I love everything about this back to school themed celebration. I have four adult children, one of which is a school teacher, and six grandchildren and we try to get together the weekend before school starts to mourn the end of summer. Your table decorations and settings would sure help to cheer us up.
This would work great for them! The loss of summer is a sad time, but it will come again. (At least that is what I keep repeating to myself. :) )

Shannon - August 29, 2014 - 11:53 am

It IS yummy!

Julia - August 29, 2014 - 1:09 pm

I love the pizza in a cast iron skillet! I will be trying this soon. Also, very clever back to school themed party. Happy belated birthday to your middle child!
I hope you get to try it Julia. It is easy and delicious. Thank you for the b-day wishes. :)

Bonnie Bryant - August 29, 2014 - 7:35 pm

Had my Labor Day fun earlier this week. Just got back from the Cashiers Decorator Showhouse, spurred in that direction by your visit last year. General consensus from everyone was that it was not as good as last year’s, but I did enjoy it. What I enjoyed most was the shopping in both Cashiers and Ashville. Came home through the lovely little town of Landrum, S.C. Just went to one antique mall there, but the town is definitely calling me back for a longer visit!
I am jealous of you Bonnie! With all the moving going on with our children, we did not get to make the trip this year. Even if it wasn’t as good as last year’s I bet it was still great to see. Plus you are in Cashiers – LOVE that area. I will have to check out Landrum. We have never stopped there…I will add it to our travel plans!

Paula B. - August 30, 2014 - 4:10 pm

Loved the tablescape, I don’t know when you have the time to think up and execute all your decorating ideas. AND, manage a home, a family, and a teaching career. Phew! This pizza recipe is one I will definitely be making for “the girls” – it looks so easy and delicious. Had hoped to get to the Cape for a few days, but I am getting ready for the first of my knee surgeries and not getting around so well. However, I am managing to bake a few chocolate treats for our weekend, what with a cookout and a few game nights planned. We are having fabulous “September” weather with warm sunshine, a breeze, and temps in the high seventies (and nights going into the fifties). I know that sounds delightful, but it is a tad cool for swimming! Hope you have some fun amid the straightening up and enjoy the long weekend. Yep, we finally head back to school this coming week!
So glad you liked the table, Paula. I hope your knee is healing better now. Yes, I am jealous of your weather!

phyllis - August 30, 2014 - 7:12 pm

Genius! I love the placemats :)
I make pizza often due to a picky 15 y.o. …you know how that goes…I love Caesar salad and haven’t thought about it in forever (thank you).
Thank you Phyllis! Picky kids are not fun to cook for, are they? I love Caesar salad too. You need to make yourself some (along with the pizza.)

Dawn - August 31, 2014 - 10:45 am


I love the back to school themed birthday party idea. Thanks for sharing your homemade pizza recipe. I will have to make that one night soon. This weekend we are at the lake house relaxing with the family.
Oh how I wish we had a lake house to travel to. We have looked at one recently, but it is very tiny and needs tons of work…so it probably won’t be one we move to. Do give the pizza a try soon Dawn. It is super easy.

Nan, Odessa, DE - September 1, 2014 - 8:11 am

Thanks for sharing!
Enjoyed your celebration.
Tell me about the red plaid drapes (where to buy, name of fabric) and you do get good mileage using your red napkins.
Where can I purchase them. The red just makes what you write and show so enjoyable. I am a big fan of yours and the color RED!
Nan, click on “The House” part of the red menu bar at the top of the blog and then scroll to the dining room info. You will find a link to the drapery fabric. The red napkins came from a small local shop, but I would bet that Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn would have similar with the holiday season coming soon. We could start a fan club for lovers of red here!

Faye - September 4, 2014 - 10:49 am

The table setting is adorable! I recreated it with my granddaughter, using her American Girl doll’s school desk as the centerpiece. Around it we placed her class picture, an old dictionary, small calculator, stapler, and composition book, along with pencils, rulers etc and the “chalkboard” placemats. So much fun for our Labor Day lunch. Thank you Kelly for the creative inspiration.
How super smart! I have been wondering where I could find a desk like that. Thanks for the inspiration! I love American Girls dolls and all the accessories. We had Bitty Baby things here (and I have saved all of them for future little ones here.)

Back to School: Homework Stations

girls room desk Talk of the HouseWe have looked at classrooms and back-to-school parties in our last few posts.  Now let’s take a look at some very pretty spaces for getting the dreaded homework done.  When I was a young student, I seem to remember doing my homework at the kitchen table, but now there are entire rooms devoted to that chore.  I like how the desk spaces are back to back in the room below.

bhg homework

The beadboard ceiling and  wall treatment add so much texture and detail in the next one.  Be sure you also note how the cubbies are labelled – small chalkboards!

birmingham homework

A good homework place should have great lighting. Each desk below has its own light, and there are sconces by the window seat (not to mention all the wonderful natural light pouring in from the window there.)

colorful homework

And a homework space should have plenty of storage.  (You know I couldn’t resist that map with the gingham continents!:))

homework area with gingham

Even the youngest of children can appreciate a table and chair for their work.

red and gray homework

There is a lot to love in this one…the bright colors, the bookshelves with contrasting back,  and that cute striped rug.

Trevor Tondro

The next one can easily accomodate three people. Don’t you like the bookshelves built in there and those glass doors?

homework station for several

Storage baskets help to keep things organized.

kid cave homework

How about a closet turned into a homework space?

closet homework

All the homework supplies – from crayons to markers to scissors – are smartly stored in cans at the clever desk below.

homework station with

The lamp in the next one is beautiful! Wish I could find one like that for myself.:)

homework station with double

I like the idea of the homework area being separate from but close by the kitchen like in the one shown here.

homework station off

Now let’s take a look at a few commericial ones.

rhbaby and child homework area with

pbkids homework

pbteen homework

I loved this bedroom with its soothing neutral color scheme.

childrens bedroom study space in

If our children had been seated side by side when doing their homework, it would have never gotten finished.  It would have been too easy to just talk, play, and generally be distracted by the other siblings.  So this separated work station unit would have certainly helped.

homework area with divided

Without some kind of separation, I am sure our house would have been like this!


Do you have a favorite from all of these cute and clever spaces? (Mine was the one with the tan plaid and the black and white photography.:))

I’ll have more back to school eye candy for you soon.

Hope you are having a great week!

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Martha - August 27, 2014 - 7:17 am

These are all great. I like them, but wonder how many get used. Like you, I did my homework at the kitchen table and so did my children. The nice study areas we created in their rooms were rarely used to study. My middle child had the best desk, it was a built in 6 feet long, with lots of storage and book shelves that he kept a huge mess all the time. When he was about 13 and had ignored repeated warnings to clean it I had a “Mommy Dearest” moment and shoved it all on the floor. That was 25 years ago and my kids still talk about it. I was not a neat freak, but enough is enough…….
Anyway, sorry to inject a bit of realism in an otherwise lovely post about beautiful study areas.We can all dream…have a great day!
Sometimes it takes drastic to measures to get someone’s attention…especially the attention of a 13 year old boy!(unless, of course you are a 13 year old girl. :) )

Kathy - August 27, 2014 - 7:57 am

I like the room with the Tomy clock. (Isn’t that what they are called?) But I love the chairs/stools in the Restoration Hardware ad. I like a little of that industrial look. Will you tell Martha (comment above) that we are forgiven for those “PMS Mommy moments”. I had a similar one with spilled glitter that my kids still talk about. I miss the time when my children were young but I don’t miss homework time.
There are Tomy clocks, but I believe these are Judy clocks. I think all the Tomy ones that I have seen look like owls. :) Spilled glitter? Ohhhh…that would be one big mess! Our custodians hate when we use glitter because it gets e v e r y w h e r e. And yes, homework time IS a chore.

Arlene@Nanaland - August 27, 2014 - 8:55 am

I love all those homework spaces but it did bring to mind my own homework space in our small country house! It was on the sofa and as I worked on my homework i had one eye out for Gilligan’s Island as it played on the tv! My mom could never understand how I could do homework and watch tv at the same time but it worked for…
I believe Gilligan accompanied a lot my my homework too!

Louvina - August 27, 2014 - 8:59 am

I enjoyed looking at all the study areas but to be honest I truly like your daughter’s the best! My kids had desk areas but always liked the dining table to do their HW. I remember I got a metal desk and chair as a child and I loved it AND used it! Later I received a portable typewriter and it was the best thing ever. We lived in a really small place so I was delighted to have my own special area to really study. I am so amazed how far technology has brought us! How did we ever make it without computers!!? My greatest wish was to have a set of World Books–my parents couldn’t afford them– so my very first job -that was the first thing I bought my children– just donated them to the after school ” Gramma’s House” at church. It really pulled my heart strings to part with them– even though I allowed my granddaughter to cut out pictures and maps for reports. Oh how I loved those books! Remember Child Craft? Sweet memories for book lovers!
Gosh, thank you Louvina. I don’t know how in the world me made it before computer, and yes, I do remember Child Craft!

Garden, Home and Party - August 27, 2014 - 9:05 am

I would love more than one of these spaces for myself! Both of our sons had desks in their rooms and actually used them most of the time. They never looked as orderly as these unless mom tidied up for visitors. :-)
The little white desk with the monogrammed lamp shade is particularly charming. Oh, and my desk, which I rarely use, is in a converted closet in our study. Mr. B. uses the built-in desk along the wall opposite the closet desk set up.
Your daughters desk (the image on top was your daughters, wasn’t it?) is so pretty and I love the bulletin board.
Fun images.
Karen, I am with you in wanting one of these for myself. Thank you for the compliments on our daughters’homework area.

Jayne - August 27, 2014 - 10:09 am

I also noticed all the red! We also did homework at the kitchen table. When they got older, they did homework in their rooms. One thing did stay consistent, though. Homework was done as soon as they got home from school. They started this habit themselves when the twins were in second grade. Whew ‘Cause it never would have happened had I set that rule.
I think my favorite was the second one. I love the twister floor! Back to back keeps their eyes off of each other and their attention a little more focused.
Of course there is red! What else would I be attracted to? LOL It sounds like your children have great study habits.

Becky in 'Bama - August 27, 2014 - 1:44 pm

I’ve commented before that currently my daughter and SIL are between churches, and living close to my home – where my daughter homeschools the FIVE children…yes five. Needless to say I covet (sorry) any these spaces that could be used by the grands. One of my upstairs bedrooms is the school room and to say it is a bit of a mess would be laughable. There is a desk in the room which the oldest uses, with the others at a card table and a child’s table. Though they are beautiful to look at, I scratch my head at all the “white” furniture in these pics because my experience is that ALL my grands will write on a surface in a New York minute (particularly the 3 year old). The commercial setup would be the only reasonable one in my situation. Yes as a child we did homework at the kitchen table, but as a teen I progressed to a small desk in my bedroom which I loved – because I could shut the door to my three rowdy brothers. ~grins~
If you had 3 rowdy brothers, you probably had to LOCK your door as well, Becky!

Vicki - August 27, 2014 - 3:29 pm

I like your top image the best, with the lamp inside the cabinet. Very quiet and cozy space to work- reminds me a little of a library study carrel. The jar of drinks probably also helps keep a student motivated! My daughter has a desk in her room, but ends up doing homework wherever the spirit moves her- the noisier the spot, the better. Go figure.
I had never thought about our daughter’s desk being like a study carrel, but you are right. Your daughter’s study habits sound a lot like my husband’s. In college, I would go study in the quiet library, while he would go study in the very noisy student center. To each his own!

Debra - August 27, 2014 - 9:36 pm

Ok, I have to say my favorites in your post are first the cute closet work station. I have seen that picture before. How convenient and cool is it that you would only have to just close the doors to hide the messy desk. My second is the tan plaid that you favor as well. I think though, it is a bit bland. How about a pop of color to spice it up? Maybe like our favorite red or green?? Well, I have to say, though we have desks in the kids bedrooms, I have too often caught them with their computers on their laps sitting on their beds. How’s that for a comfortable work station! :) Something about lap tops, I am sitting in my chair by the French door right now. Eek! Oh, work stations…. P. S. I really love your little kitchen work station, chalkboard and all! :)

Thank you Debra. I do think some red with all those neutrals would be great. I am glad you like our kitchen desk. It is really best suited to a laptop because it is so very small.

Dawn - August 28, 2014 - 5:28 pm


I really like these homework stations. The first one is my favorite and I think it might be in your daughters room? My second favorite is the separated stations by It would work nicely in any home and could even transition for work/office space for grown kids or adults. The mix of cabinetry, hard woods and counter tops is what draws me in.
Yes, the first one IS our daughter’s desk area. So thank you Dawn! I agree with you that the cabinetry one would be great for grown kids or adults. I would certainly use it!

Katrina Cantler - September 3, 2014 - 9:02 am

Hands down … The painted child’s table and two sweet chairs with the cute little red cushions tied on with ribbon is my favorite!!! I liked it so much that I had my husband paint our granddaughter’s table and chairs white and then distress it a little. I am going to make red gingham cushions with ribbon ties for the chairs! Thanks for the inspiration .
Katrina that sounds precious! And you know I love anything with red gingham! Love it. :)

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