Getting Ready for House Guests

Tis the season for house guests – this time of the year can feel like a swinging door with family and friends coming in and out for Christmas parties, Thanksgiving dinners and long weekends. I love it.

Guest Room, Toiletries, Tips & Tricks, Out of town Guests

It can be nice to have your home back after a few days of craziness, but it can be so fun and special to host out-of-towners. Board games, giant jig saw puzzles by the fire and early mornings sharing the newspaper – just a few things I love about family in town.

Guest Room, Toiletries, Tips & Tricks, Out of town Guests, towels, candles, basket of toiletries, flowers

I was thinking about what I can pull together to help guests feel cozy and special: soft towels stacked and easy to find, fresh flowers on the dresser, scented candles (I cheat and light them about an hour before expecting guests so the house smells like the holidays), a basket of toiletries (I keep a basket ready with little hotel shampoos, soaps, razors, etc to make it easy for guests to hunt down what they have forgotten), a collection of teas by the bedstand (they can help themselves in the morning or afternoon), fresh reading material (paper backs or new magazines – not the three year old versions), an extra blanket for the night, several hangers and maybe even a couple of drawers to unpack, an alarm clock and lotion by the bed.


BeSpoke shares a delicious recipe to have ready:

Pumpkin Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups pumpkin puree, 4 eggs beaten, 3/4 cup canola oil, 3/4 cup applesauce, 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 cup coconut flakes, 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then spray muffin tin with nonstick oil. Whisk together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, applesauce and sugar until smooth. Combine all dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture. Fold in coconut flakes and chocolate chips. Pour batter into muffin tins, then bake 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool, then enjoy!

Oh delicious!


We don’t have a guest room at the moment (with the nursery taking its place) so putting a few extra goodies together for guests is even more special (since they’ll be couchin’ or air mattressen’ it for a while). That very top image is beautiful inspiration for a future addition – ditto on the deliciousness for that too.

Week 4.5 of the New Kitchen: Little Projects Add Up

These last few weeks have found us in the land of ‘little projects’. You know, those projects that take just a couple of hours to tackle and aren’t that exciting, but make a difference just the same? Truth be told, the kitchen reno has halted a bit while we use spare weekends to tear apart the future nursery and to finish other minor updates.

But we did make a bit of progress that I’m anxious to share with you – and the goal is to have a working kitchen in just a few short days! We initially went into the makeover with the hopes of completing it – start to finish – in 30 days. Not 30 straight days – but 30 days of dedicated work. Here’s a quick post line up of days 1-6, 7-12, 13-19, 20-28, plus the inspiration board and ‘before’ pictures.

And now for days 29 & 30:

Day 29 was devoted to the light fixtures and a working hood over the range. Because the kitchen was built out of an old bedroom, we needed to cut new vents and airways for additions like a hood range (and pretty much build the rest from scratch). When it came to tracking down hanging pendants that we both loved, we found the perfect set at Lowe’s (for a great price) despite much online searching. They have that Spanish feel without feeling too rustic and we love how they look with the other dark metals in the room.

By Day 30, Kevin was ready to install the molding around the doors. He placed special orders for the same stain as our cabinets from the manufacturer (Kraftsman) and the same wood (pine) as the doors and windows. Then he painted, planed and installed the flat molding around the edges – we have plans to do the same for the floor boards and cabinets.

That brought us to 30 days of labor (over the course of three months) and so sadly we won’t be hitting that dreamy deadline… but hopefully it won’t be much more than a few extra days until we cross the finish line! Our list of little projects is growing, but the determination to get everything wrapped up is hugely motivating.

A few of those little projects include: installing appliances (as well as connecting to gas, water, etc), adding finishing cabinet touches (such as molding, uplighting and cabinet can lights) and modifying our current Craigslist barstools to fit the new counters (a couple of inches off of each leg and new cushions ought to do the trick).

We’ll keep plugging along over here and hopefully after the Thanksgiving weekend we’ll be able to show off a brand new space!

Christmas Cards by Tiny Prints

I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner! I love this time of the year and even though it’s not yet Thanksgiving I’m making progress on crossing items off of my to-do-before-Christmas list. The goal is to have presents bought (not easy when you have 7 brothers between the hubby and myself) and the house decorated by the first week of December. I’m very much trying to avoid a 9 1/2 month pregnant me cruising down the aisles of Target before closing on Christmas Eve!

On one note, offering up our home in an open-house sort of fashion for family over the holidays made sense. We’re not planning on traveling (both of our families live a good 6 hour drive away) but we’d love to be surrounded by our loved ones during this special time. On another note, the realization that we are a home under construction with a babe shortly to follow while hosting three families is now catching up to me.

So! Back to knocking out those items on the list early. First up? Christmas cards.

Tiny Prints, Contemporary Christmas Cards, Modern, Pepper Design Blog, Maternity

I knew I wanted to invest in maternity photos and the fact that they will play double duty as our 2010 holiday card is even better. We shot family photos with the very talented Robert Goold here in San Diego just last week (a wonderful team to work with if you’re in the area!) and now I’m editing and pulling together my favorites. (Kevin insisted Bodie be included!)

Tiny Prints, Maternity Christmas Cards, Modern, Contemporary

I love love the contemporary Christmas designs offered by Tiny Prints this year. The graphic designer in me has a deep affection for beautiful fonts and I was all over the options in their Signature and Premium collections (the pop-up and tri-fold designs are very cool, too).

Tiny Prints, Maternity Christmas Cards, Modern, Contemporary

Ultimately, I was won over by this unique card shape and beautiful design layout (I love the colors!):

Tiny Prints, Maternity Christmas Cards

Loading, cropping and editing the images directly in Tiny Prints was super easy – and since I had created 8 different mock-ups (not unusual…) I was pleased to find an easy-to-sort folder to save my favorites for comparing.

One big item on the list complete – now I just have to figure out what neat & exciting gifts I can purchase for college-aged boys and if I can get a bulk discount ;).

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