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Courtyard: Before, Concept & After

12/31/2012

The week before last, we had a load of 5 tons of gravel delivered to our courtyard. Jason graciously spent most of a Friday spreading about 3.5 tons. (The rest will be used somewhere else.) I was so tired so walking through the mud to get to the lovely paver stone path Jason made up to our front door steps…and mainly tired of Lucy getting her paws muddy. We’re taking our landscaping one step at a time but there are a few big things we wanted to tackle ASAP. The courtyard is a high priority to me because it’s the front entrance, the first impression of our house, and we’re expecting a lot of guests in the first weeks and months in our new house. When I looked at the pictures I took of the courtyard, I realized it came out really, really close to my Photoshop rendering!

Before:

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Rendering:

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After:

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I love how the windows reflect the sky.

We’re going to add a short fence and gate between the corner of the garage and the concrete wall to enclose all 4 sides and make it a true courtyard. Here’s the mock up I sent to our contractor, based on the fence we designed and built for our last house.We ultimately decided to keep this element out of the construction budget. Jason and I will build this, hopefully in January.  The opening is only 12′ across so it’ll be so easy compared to a whole fence. And maybe will inspire us to add some privacy fencing around the backyard later in 2013.

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Phone Photo Friday

12/28/2012

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We tried out our chalkboard wall in the den/playroom on Christmas Eve. It went really well for about 5 minutes before Ali decided to try eating the chalk.

Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mahlbrandt if you’d like!


Our 1st Christmas at Home

12/27/2012

Ready for Christmas picture overload? OK, here we go!

Our niece Eliza came over to play on Christmas Eve.

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In case it’s not obvious, these girls have a blast together.

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Jason was so awesome and made my family’s traditional Christmas Eve Swedish meatballs while Ginger and I chased the little girls around the house and visited before the rest of the family got there.

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These two can empty a toy box in less than a minute.

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Who me?

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After the house got quiet, it was time for this mama to pack up the stockings.

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This one is for Lucy:

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For Jason (not pictured: pack of underwear. You’re welcome.)

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For Alianna. She’s an awesome gift receiver. Equally excited about the socks and the owl stickers.

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For me; yes I stuff a stocking for myself. (not pictured: pack of underwear. You’re welcome.)

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On Christmas morning I woke up around 9 but Jason and Ali slept until closer to 10. I made a little treat for Ali and I and she learned a new word: cocoa.

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Round 1: stockings and Ali’s presents from Mom and Dad.

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In addition to the stocking littles, Ali gets three gifts from us. (Side note: Jason and I gave each other a house for Christmas. And I recently got a new camera and he got a new computer; both for our work. Merry Christmas to each other!)

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Good morning! It’s Christmas!

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Something to play with: Mind of My Own by Frances England.

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Something to Read: The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

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Something to Wear: “seaspray” Converse low tops

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New car from Grandma and Grandpa

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Yogurt as a finger food?

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We got to FaceTime with my brother’s family in PA. My parents were there for Christmas. My sister’s family was driving there at the time so we didn’t get to see them.

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Eli got a tractor!

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Jason got some egg poachers in his stocking we he tried them out for our breakfast.

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After morning nap she had a bath and got all dressed up for the rest of Christmas day.

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Sometimes “Where’s Ali?” is the only way I can get her to turn towards the camera but this is the facial response I get.

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Round 2 of opening presents. She got some great stuff from her aunts and uncles (my siblings in PA).

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This Leap Frog Phonics toy seemed to be Ali’s favorite of the day.

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Hmm, I might be realizing where Ali gets her “Ooooh!” face from.

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Jason’s parents, brother, sister-in-law and niece spent the afternoon and evening with us. There were lots more presents, little girls running around playing with new toys, and a delicious dinner of ham, chicken, brussel sprouts, roasted beets, macaroni and cheese, rolls, berry delight, pumpkin pie…mmmm…I’m getting hungry again. I didn’t take many pictures during all that fun but after dinner I took these.

My handsome husband:

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Ali checking out one of her new shirts.

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The FP Little People airplane was a big hit.

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Daniel and Ginger

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Daniel, Ginger and Eliza

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Papa showing Ali how to use Nana’s Nook

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Tongue out in concentration? That’s new!

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Jason’s parents: Papa and Nana

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We had a wonderful Christmas. I hope you did too!

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Instagram House Tour

12/26/2012

I love the Instagram community. It’s got to be my favorite iPhone app. A couple of my MCM followers requested an IG house tour so I’m obliging little by little, as rooms are decent enough to share. Since it might be awhile before I’m ready for any kind of more substantial (finished/decorated) house tour with real camera photos, I figured I’d share them here, too.

Kitchen

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Dining Room

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Master Bathroom

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Living Room

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What I’m now calling my work room (tri-purpose: office, craft, laundry)

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This room is also tri-purpose: Den/Playroom/Guestroom … sort of. It pretty much just looks like a playroom for now. One day it might become a bedroom. I’m trying to confuse you… is it working? Let’s just call this the den:

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Hall bathroom

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Master bedroom (we’re shopping for furniture)

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Jason’s studio

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The future kids room has become kind of a catch-all. It’s the only room we have left to unpack and clean up. Besides hanging art everywhere else and coming up with some storage solutions in my office and the garage, we’re settled!

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Are you all sick of seeing photos of our house yet?


Merry Christmas!

12/25/2012

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Thanks for being readers and friends. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


Merry Christmas Eve

12/24/2012

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve. We’re planning on our traditional Swedish meatballs and then I have a surprise gift tucked away with new PJs for all, a Christmas movie, popcorn and hot cocoa. I’m hoping to start a new Christmas eve tradition. Here are some photos from our last couple weeks of Christmas preparations.

I was excited to have this little elf to help me with cookie making this year.

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She loves pushing Dizzy all around the house.

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Ali helped me make the raspberry thumbprint cookies so she got to enjoy one of them fresh from the oven.

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And a peanut butter blossom, too, because what the heck. It’s Christmas. I decided she should get to eat way too many cookies like the rest of us.

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Sugar cookie cut-outs in the oven.

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Next year we’re going to get a traditional green tree for all of these fun and sentimental ornaments. This year to keep them safe I made a wall “tree” with command hooks and ribbon.

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We’ve been using the fireplace a lot so I was afraid to hang the stockings too close to the fire.

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This works!

 

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Our tree can’t support Christmas lights but it’s so sparkly when the sunlight shines on it that it glows!

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Ali woke up on Saturday morning, pointed to her head and said “hat.” She wore her Santa hat most of the day.

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I call this “scowl face.” I was trying really hard to get her to do it the other day so I could capture it in a photo but now she seems to think this is THE face to make for every photo. Haha!

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Merry Christmas Y’all!


Phone Photo Friday

12/21/2012

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I let my jewelry obsessed daughter wear one of my necklaces the other day. I think Ali’s expression says it all!

Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mahlbrandt if you’d like!