Moving & a Break


This photo was taken at our new home. In it, Ellie is giving her baby Sweetie a kiss.

Over the next few days, we will be moving and settling into our new house, so I will be taking a short break from the blog. As we move furniture and hang curtains, I’ll be snapping photos on my phone and sharing them on Instagram. If you’d like to follow along, you can find me at @missalaneyus.


Otherwise, feast your eyes on this very old photo of Ellie. How kissable were those chubby cheeks? This one, along with a few others, were taken by the lovely and talented Crazybananas when Ellie was about 6 months old. I love that we have these photos of our old home while she was at this highly squeezable age.

See you again soon! (May 26 to be exact)


8 Years

Twelve years ago, one of my oldest friends got married. She had wanted to set me up with her husband’s brother for a year or two, but we never crossed paths until their rehearsal dinner.

When we met, I thought he was pretty boring. He asked me about a million serious questions: where I wanted to live, my religious beliefs and how many kids I wanted to have. So, I wrote him off. Until the next night, when I came to my senses and noticed how cute he was.


Today, it has been eight years since this photo was taken, and I can’t imagine my life without him in it. He is my perfect match. Funny, hardworking and still very cute, I’m really glad he picked me.

Thank you Jamie for setting me up with “the brother.” I’m so glad he existed. 


Memorial Day Recipes


Memorial Day is a week from today, which blows my mind more than a little. Where did May go?*

But, as my mother would say, “Any who,” my guess is that you might have some fun plans for your three day weekend. A grill might be involved or even a potluck could be in order, so I rounded up some Memorial Day recipes that would be perfecting for what I consider the unofficial start of summer.


Appetizers & Drinks
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Strawberry & Goat Cheese Crostini with a Balsamic Drizzle
Perfectly Easy Margaritas
Wine Spritzer


Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salsa
Lemon Garlic Chicken
Turkey Burgers with Mango & Avocado Salsa


Artichoke, Chickpea & Prosciutto Pasta Salad
Orzo with Feta, Walnuts, Parsley, Lemon & Dried Apricots
Strawberry, Almond & Goat Cheese Salad
Zucchini, Garbanzo & Lemon Couscous

My Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mexican Brownies

*I know talking about how quickly time passes is as about as interesting as discussing the weather, but really, it is hurtling by. Anyone else notice?


Explore: Paper Marbling


Photo via Honestly WTF

While I’d like to pretend I’ll be marbling paper this weekend, I will instead be exploring how many boxes it takes to pack all of our treasures. My guess is the number is higher than I’d like it be.

However you won’t be packing (at least, I don’t think you will be), so you should try this out, and let me know what you think. It sounds really easy. Shaving cream, a baking dish and food coloring are all you need to make the most beautiful cards and envelopes. So pretty, right?

I was thinking paper transformed in this way would also look great matted and framed on a wall in in our new house. So, besides making this for me, what do you have in store for the weekend?

The weekends should be for exploring. Every Friday this month, I’m sharing something fun to check out.


Now, Our House

Yesterday, I shared how the house looked when we bought it. Today, I’ve got photos of how it appears now. In the spirit of full disclosure, it looks a lot barer here than it normally would. We had to remove all personal photos when we put the house on the market, but this should give you an idea of how it generally looks. Just mentally add about a thousand pictures of Ellie, and you’ll get the drift.


This is the living room. You can see we removed the spiral staircase and added a new one.


In the dining room, we removed the wood paneling, added built-ins around the fireplace and refinished the beautiful hardwood floors.


Oh, the kitchen – we did quite a bit here. The cabinets got a coat of new paint. We added backsplash and countertops, along with the entire row of cabinetry on the wall opposite the fridge. And, we added new appliances. Ours were only a few years old, but for some reason, the previous owners selected cream.



I shared the playroom awhile ago here. It is still one of my favorite places in the house.



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Then, Our House


Nine years ago, a newly engaged couple went house hunting. They looked at home after home until they found one that no one in their right mind would want. But, they saw something in it and immediately fell in love. And slowly, they made their mark, lovingly updating each room. But, before that, it was a whole lot of crazy. So, today, a week before we move, I’m sharing before photos of our house for the first time. This is how it looked when we toured it in all its glory. Behold.


I wish this post was scratch and sniff. When we bought the house, it reeked of smoke. You can’t see it in this photo, but the formal living room had a spiral staircase tucked in one corner that was covered in rainbow shag carpeting and made of wrought iron.


Right after we moved in, we cleaned this house from top to bottom, ripped out the carpet, removed the window treatments and painted the whole thing with Killz. The shelves you see here displayed the owner’s owl collection, but were repurposed by Keegan as garage storage.


Our kitchen has probably seen one of the most dramatic transformations. You’ve seen glimpses of it for several years, but I can’t wait to show you the full enchilada tomorrow.


This is now Ellie’s playroom, but the family who lived here before us used it as a living room.


This may have been one of the scariest rooms in the house. On one wall, there were pencil drawings of Sponge Bob Square Pants and the Virgin Mary. Both had been drawn by an adult.


Until I found this photo, I’d completely forgotten the butterflies! (You can see my 26 year old reflection in the mirror if you squint.)


This is now Ellie’s room. We made a few decor changes in here……..


Oh, the master bedroom – Keegan ripped out the wallpaper almost as soon as we moved in and painted it a lovely shade of blue. It’s been the same color for the entire nine years we’ve lived here. It’s one of the few spaces that hasn’t been repainted.


The basement is the other huge transformation. I can’t wait to show you how different it looks finished.


Come back tomorrow to see how it looks now.


Fast Food: Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Salsa & Roasted Carrots


On busy weeknights, getting dinner on the table has to happen fast, so I’m back with another edition of my Fast Food series. This whole meal can be made in around 30 minutes and tastes like the start of summer.

The bright strawberry salsa is spicy, sweet and tangy. Spooned over perfectly grilled chicken, it is a treat. Roasted carrots are tender and crisp. To round it out, I warmed up frozen corn. This lovely spring dinner is so nice that it may have you thinking it’s Friday.


Because Ellie is two and suspicious of anything spicy, I sliced up plain strawberries for her to eat instead of the salsa. She couldn’t have been happier.

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Explore the Web


1. Emily Schuman’s second book, Cupcakes & Cashmere at Home, comes out May 19, and I can’t wait.

2. Kitchy Kitchen shared a vanilla bean souffle that pairs perfectly with Sabrina. I am in.

3. With our move happening soon, I’ve been staring at photos online. This is Emily Henderson’s house, and I love the ecclectic artwork on the white walls.

4. I haven’t tried it on yet, but I love this dress from Loft. So cute, right?

5. This is a great example of pattern mixing.

6. A new salted chocolate chip cookie recipe on Smitten Kitchen sounds delicious.

The weekends should be for exploring. Every Friday this month, I’m sharing something fun to check out.


Mother’s Day Bouquet Video Tutorial


I’m willing to bet your mom likes flowers. I’m also pretty confident she would love it if you made a bouquet just for her. In this simple arrangement, I used tulips, roses, snapdragons and filler. All of these were purchased at my local grocery store. Easy peasy.

Below, you’ll find my first video tutorial on, which will walk you through how to create a Mother’s Day bouquet just like mine. While the video is around 3 minutes long, the actual process took me about 10 minutes. (No one will have to know you didn’t even break a sweat putting this together.)

Step One: Use greenery to create a base for your arrangement.
Step Two: Add the tulips.
Step Three: Add the roses.
Step Four: Place the snapdragons.
Step Five: Rearrange and trim as needed. (You will notice I do a lot of that.)
Step Six: Add a greenery or small flowers with lots of texture to fill in any gaps.
Step Seven: Give the whole thing a once over. Fluff it and move anything you need to.