ROSY CHEEKS & TAN LINES

by christine victoria alexander

People assume because I post pictures of painted dreidels and colored pictures that I am an arts and crafts mom. I am not. I love the arts, not so much the crafts. Over here we do all the painting, drawing, watercolors, pastels and crayons, but you won't find any Elmers glue or popsicle sticks at my house! I am so excited to see my love of the arts being passed down to my girls! Olive is an incredible artist - I just bought her two new sketch books to fill during nap time. I have stacks of her pictures saved to frame once we paint her room. She loves drawing and her pictures are so happy! Rosie enjoys drawing too, but I think she might lean more towards music. She recently discovered the piano and doesn't even change out of her pajamas before sitting down to play in the mornings. She can't wait to take lessons from her aunt when she gets a little bigger. It makes me so happy to have a home filled with music and drawing and laughter all day! It's like living in a toddler version of Little Women! 😂



Today we didn't have anywhere to be, so we pulled out our watercolors and painted dreidels for Hanukkah! I was a little nervous it might be a huge mess letting paints loose with three children under 5 at the table, but I was pleasantly surprised! We spent about an hour painting away and then cleaned up for lunch. The watercolors were a lot more manageable than acrylic paints and aside from the little bowls of water my only cleanup was wiping the table down after we finished. I let the dreidels dry on paper towels while we ate lunch and then used a black sharpie to write the Hebrew letters on them. I know these will make me smile every year when I pull out our Hanukkah bin! 

Hope you are all having a wonderful Hanukkah week! Tag me in your photos if you try painting dreidels! xx

Sometimes a week will go by and someone will ask me, "So what did you do this week?" and I can't seem to think of anything really significant I did all week. There's an awkward pause as I fumble around in my head for anything more exciting than "I cleaned the bathroom and cooked dinner every night." Does this happen to you, too?

Even when you break down the most exciting careers, they are all just a series of small tasks and actions that come together to create something that we view altogether as "exciting". This morning, as I made breakfast for the girls, put in a grocery order, wiped up my kitchen and put a load of laundry on, I realized that all these not-so-noteworthy tasks add up to me being a successful wife and mother!  

If you are in a similar place, maybe reading through this list will remind you that you are not alone in your motherhood journey. The little things are sometimes the things that matter the most. 

20 SMALL BUT IMPORTANT THINGS I DID THIS WEEK

1. I read books to my girls.

2. I washed my sheets. 

3. I cooked dinner every night.

4. I had lunch with my mom. 

5. I tucked my girls in and prayed for them every night. 

6. I sat at the table and colored with Olive and Rosie while dinner cooked. 

7. I gave my girls a bath.

8. I listened to my Hypnobabies audio and visualized my birth. 

9. I brushed Olive's hair.

10. I kissed more boo boos than I can count.

11. I hugged my girls. 

12. I sang songs with Rosie.

13. I helped Olive practice her handwriting.

14. I cleaned the dishes in the sink.

15. I washed and folded the laundry.

16. I took the girls on a date. 

17. I vacuumed my house.

18. I rocked Madeline when she woke up in the night. 

19. I planned activities to make our holiday season memorable. 

20. I took a nap. 

Charles Spurgeon once said, "You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God's fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts." 

The next time someone asks me what I did all week, I might just point to my clean home and my healthy, happy children and say, "I did THIS!" and leave it at that! 

We still don't have cabinet doors but that's not stopping me from tackling the heap of kitchen items in my dining room! I am slowly, and intentionally, finding new places to store everything. When we moved into this house the kitchen was as big as out entire downstairs at our old townhouse. I'm being serious. I think I filled up maybe 3 of the kitchen cabinets with all of my cookware. 4 years later... our family has grown, my cookware collection has grown, we entertain more, and it's time to start filling these cabinets! I never really liked using the lower cabinets because they were so dark and the idea of reaching around in one to fish out a mason jar for a smoothie sounded gross. I mostly used the uppers and stored odds and ends like booster seats or placemats in the lower ones. As we start to put the kitchen back together, I really want to utilize the space a little more, be more practical with my storage, and really make my kitchen work for me

We (literally Isaac and I - I am SO proud of us for doing this ourselves!) installed sliding drawers in almost all of the lower cabinets and they might be THE most amazing part of this kitchen renovation! I love that I can pull them out to see what's in the cabinet! Talk about feeling like a new kitchen! Paint is one thing but being able to USE my space more is so rewarding! I'm storing tea, coffee, mason jars, mugs, glass-locks, vitamins, coloring books, diapers, wipes, pots and pans in my lower cabinets now and all of that used to be somewhere else - somehow!

I bought this Canvas Drawer Liner to line my shelves and sliding drawers. I had tried the sticky adhesive kind of shelf paper when we first moved in and had a really tough time with it. I only got one drawer lined and it was so hard to use. This canvas liner, on the other hand, is wonderful and incredibly easy to use! I could not be happier! It's rubbery on the back so it doesn't slip and the canvas feels so nice and soft. Putting away pots and pans has never been so quiet. 😁 I would use it in every drawer and cabinet, and I just might! 

I have two of these madesmart Lazy Susans to store spices in my cabinet, but had never thought to use them in the pantry for my condiments until I saw this photo on Pinterest! Brilliant! 

Another area that needed a little love was the higher shelves in my upper cabinets. It was a a graveyard of baby supplies: baby bottles, pump parts, milk storage bags, a bottle warmer, mesh feeders, baby food containers, and did I mention baby bottles? To clean that space up I used a few of these Water Hyacinth Storage Bins. One bin held all the baby supplies so the other two large ones are actually hiding Christmas gifts right now. 😂 I used the smaller tray to hold cold medicine and teething droppers. I have a bunch of the hyacinth baskets in my pantry as well - they're a great size and very sturdy. 


Once we get our drawers painted I'll be tackling organizing those next! I'm pretty excited about it! I'm not a super neat and tidy person but when I do get something organized I am soooo much better at keeping it that way. Also, it has been my experience that cleanliness = sanity and sanity = a peaceful home. Hugs to you all and thanks for reading along while I share about these little parts of our life right now! xx






Last Saturday marked 30 weeks of growing my sweet girl! I celebrated with an at-home, self-timer photo shoot of my growing, changing, 30-week bump. Since this may be our last pregnancy, I find myself wanting to hang onto these final weeks just a little longer. It has felt so fast this time around... I guess keeping up with three littles and attempting a small home renovation will do that! 

I love pregnancy so much. The good parts, you know? I've had my share of not so pleasant parts, but overall, I really love pregnancy. I love feeling the closeness to a tiny, precious, new life. I love her kicks and squirms and wiggles. I love having a quiet little someone to share my thoughts with, and the feeling of being with a friend, even when I'm alone. I love her hiccups and the little dance party she has whenever I eat chocolate. I love the incredible miracle God works in my body forming this perfect little human and allowing me to grow and stretch alongside her. I am so grateful for the blessing of experiencing all of this four times over. 

Since starting my third trimester I've been listening to the Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations audio in my Hypnobabies course. It immediately makes me feel calm, relaxed and confident about my pregnancy and my birth. If you're currently expecting write some of these down and put them where you can see them every day (better yet, buy the Hypnobabies course - it's wonderful). Here are some of my favorites from the audio...

My baby is healthy and safe inside me now.

My body is nourishing my healthy baby.

My body is healthy and whole. 

My baby is developing normally and is healthy and strong.

Growing my baby is empowering for me. 

I love my pregnant body and accept it every day. 

Pregnancy is natural, normal, healthy, and safe, for me and my baby. 

My changing body is radiantly beautiful.

I accept all of the changes that pregnancy brings to me. 

With every day that goes by, I feel more and more confident about my pregnancy, more and more comfortable about my body and my baby, more and more ready for my baby's wonderful birthing. 

All decisions about my pregnancy and baby's birth are mine to make.

My baby knows how and when to be born, and I am patient. 

I am strong, confident, assured and assertive. 

Babies are born on their birth days, not when doctors decide. 

I have faith that my baby will be born at the perfect time, and I am lovingly patient. 

I now feel inner peace and serenity. 

Birth is a safe and wonderful experience.

My baby will be born healthy, and at the perfect time.

My body is made to give birth nice and easy. 

I believe in my ability to give birth easily and in complete comfort. 

I will give birth, easily, comfortably and without complications. 

I am confident about my pregnancy and my baby's birth. 

During my wonderful birthing time I am completely relaxed and comfortable. 

The stronger my pressure waves become, the more deeply I relax. 

During my comfortable birthing time I remain so calm in between my powerful birthing waves, so confident, so wonderfully relaxed, and happy. 

Every time a birthing wave ends I smile and feel very happy and I know that I am very safe. 

I have courage, faith, and patience. 

I see my body as soft, relaxing, open. 

I believe my baby's birth will come quickly, quietly, and easily. 

I am able to birth safely and naturally. 

The thought of birthing my baby makes me feel powerful. 

I help my baby feel safe so that she can be born. 

I am calm and look forward to my birthing calmly. 

My baby is in the perfect position to birth smoothly and easily. 

I trust my body completely. 

I focus on all going right during my easy birthing time. 

I feel the love of those supporting me as I prepare for my birthing. 

Good, strong pressure waves help my baby come into the world. 

My baby and I are working together to prepare for this perfect birthing.

I will birth my baby peacefully, naturally, and joyfully. 

So that is a little peek into my positive mental space while I prepare to meet my sweet girl! I am grateful for this season of growing and changing. I am grateful for a strong body to hold my baby. I am grateful for the gift of motherhood. And I am grateful for all of you! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones! xx

Call me old-fashioned, but I love cooking a feast for the holidays and gathering with family to thank God for His goodness throughout the year. I love making my home look pretty and inviting before the rush of entertaining begins. I love the smells that fill my kitchen throughout the next couple of months as I cook up our favorite holiday foods.

What I don't love is feeling stressed or rushed when I don't have my ducks in a row. I've come to realize that preparation and forethought are the keys to stress-free holidays (especially if you're hosting)! Here are a few tips I have picked up that have helped me feel more relaxed and and present during this busy season:

1. WRITE OUT YOUR MENU

I like to sit down 2 weeks before my dinner party and write out everything I want to serve. If my guests have offered to bring something I add it to the list. If they've asked what to bring I delegate items from my list to them. Then I go back over the menu and make a note of anything I can make ahead. I add a reminder on my calendar for each make-ahead item on the appropriate day so I don't forget. This saves loads of time (and stress!) on the day of an event! 

2. SET THE TABLE A DAY EARLY

I heard this tip (from either Martha Stewart or Ina Garten, I think) but never tried it until last year. As someone who really loves the art of setting a table - creating a table scape, laying out place cards, setting a scene - this tip has been a game changer for me! I wouldn't think this is necessary if you are having a small gathering with just a few people, but for a large table (or two) to set it really saves so much time and energy the day of the party.

3. MAKE A LIST, CHECK IT TWICE

Is there anything more stressful than buying gifts last minute?? (And I'm incredibly indecisive when I'm under pressure so that doesn't help!) To avoid the last minute rush to the store or late night gift wrapping, I make a list of people I'm planning to give to: children, relatives, neighbors, Isaac's co-workers, etc. Once I've figured out what I'm giving each person I purchase gifts or mark my calendar for when I plan to purchase (on a sale weekend, for example). I like to order a bunch of peppermint bark or toffee tins for my neighbors and attach our holiday card with a short handwritten note. All of that can be done ahead! I was just laughing with my sister about how terrible I am at buying gifts early in the year and hiding them away for birthdays or holidays. I'm literally pulling the gifts out the first rainy day and calling it a rainy day surprise! Haha if that's you too don't worry - mark your calendar November 1st to make your gift list and start shopping / making! 

4. USE A CALENDAR

If you haven't picked up on it by now I am huge fan of using my calendar as a reminder system. I'm married to someone who, when we got married, did not use a calendar. 😱 (I still don't understand how he kept a job as a server with constantly changing hours without one!!) I also use the Notes app on my phone and the Stickies app on my laptop for lists. I love making homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. Instead of making it on Thanksgiving morning, (when I would rather be raking giant leaf piles with the girls) I have a note on my calendar to cook up a couple batches Monday morning the week of Thanksgiving and then I'll pop it in the fridge until the big day. 

5. PLAN YOUR TRADITIONS 

I love watching our girls get excited about the holidays because they're starting to remember our traditions from years before. Traditions don't have to cost a dime and the best traditions aren't stressful. Here are some of our traditions for the holidays:

- Delivering gifts to family, friends & neighbors

- Candlelight game night during Hanukkah  

- Decorating our Christmas tree, with a side of fresh baked cookies & apple cider 

- Playing dreidels with trail mix instead of gelt

- A Hanukkah pajama party 

- Sushi and fries while we watch It's a Wonderful Life

- Lots of treasure hunts (you'd think for the kids, but the girls and I actually make them for Isaac! 😂)

- Donuts during Hanukkah and pancakes Christmas morning 

- Pajama drives through our favorite neighborhoods to see the lights

6. DON'T OVERBOOK

Last tip - don't overbook. I know it's hard when all the invites start coming in and you don't want to miss out on the fun but, trust me, nothing kills the holiday spirit like rushing from one party to the next without time to unwind and just relax. I like to block off a few evenings during the busiest weeks to pull on my big fat cozy knit socks, curl up on the couch, turn some music on, and just watch the candles burn. It's so, so good. 

Wishing you all a happy, healthy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season! 💛

HUGE HUGE update today on Our Great Kitchen Makeover! We have a backsplash, we have lighting, we have new appliances and WE PAINTED THE CABINETS (ourselves)! A week and a half ago this project felt like it was taking f o r e v e r... and then boom! We're sailing towards the finish line! I realize I'm overusing exclamation points but if you knew how exciting this was?! It feels like a new house, but more importantly, it's starting to feel like US. I've shared before how this space, this home, is where I spend so much time with my girls. We cook, we read, we play, we learn, we entertain. It feels so good to pour a little love (and money) into these walls and create something that feels like an extension of us, our taste, our style. The girls would be as happy in a tree fort as they are here, but as a wife and mother that spends so many hours in the kitchen cooking and cleaning, it is so so nice to work in a space that makes me smile. 

Here's a look at the progress...


Lighting went in last week. Four recessed lights in the main part of the kitchen and two pendants over the island. Lighting is one of those things that can change the whole feel of a space. Traditional design can overlap with many other design styles. Here were my three top choices for the pendants:

These rattan and rope ones from Pottery Barn which would have made the kitchen feel a lot more California casual or coastal.

These linen drum shades from Rejuvenation which would have felt softer and more traditional. I actually loved these so much I ordered one to swap out the light in our breakfast nook.

And, the ones we went with in the end, these polished brass cloche pendants from Restoration Hardware which tie in with our sink faucet and add a little touch of glamour. Also love that they have a diffuser on the bottom so I'm not staring up at a bulb while I cook. We had the pendants and the recessed lighting installed on dimmers - life changing. 


Doors are still in progress so the dining room is (still) heaped with all of our belongings while we finish up. Our double oven and cooktop never really worked right since we moved in so we had that all sorted out when we had the new oven installed. Thanksgiving prep is going to be a breeeeeeeze this year! P.S. I hate the microwave sitting out. I really want to get rid of it since I think microwaves are gross BUT I use it daily (gasp) to melt butter and make a mug of tea before bed. Even if I started doing those things a different way I can't seem to talk Isaac into any other way of reheating leftovers. SO I'm going to ask our electrician if he can wire an outlet in the pantry for me so I can put it in there! Hoping it's not against code or anything...

I almost cleaned this counter off before taking a picture this afternoon and then thought WHAT AM I DOING? This is our reality right now and I promised to share all of it with you so here you go. Without drawers we've been stashing all our necessities on the countertop and it's driving me crazy! I'll be the first to admit I am not a super organized person all the time but I can't stand clutter. And right now it's clutter everywhere. EEK 

I ordered these slide-out drawer thingies for some of the cabinets and a few rolls of shelf paper. Once we put those in I can start loading the cabinets back up. So excited to make things pretty and organized! 

The backsplash is done! It's so subtle and pretty. I brought a few organic looking subway tiles home but none of them really felt right to me. Then I was up in our master bath looking at the progress in our shower and realized the shower tile is exactly what I've been looking for. So I ordered a bunch more and we had the guy installing the shower tile come down and do the backsplash too. It's this pretty honed marble tile from Lowes. 


A few words about the cabinet painting. I know several people interested in doing something similar including our neighbor who asked if he could come "watch". Here are the details:

We followed this tutorial from Chris Loves Julia (because when you want to DIY right you do it like Chris and Julia). We bought everything on their supplies list and even splurged and bought a fancy paint sprayer so we could do it like professionals. The part that is definitely not talked about enough is the taping / papering / plastic-ing before the spraying! It took us 4+ hours on a Saturday night to get things taped off and we still ended up with overspray EVERYWHERE. #amateurs

Isaac does not enjoy DIY-ing, he does not enjoy painting, and he really doesn't enjoy anything messy, except gardening. This was not Isaac's favorite project. In fact, this was most likely Isaac's last DIY. 😂 I think some people like the creative, "figure it out" part of DIY where you meet challenges head on and have to break through to create something beautiful in the end... and some people don't. Isaac doesn't. 

We have a very nice paint sprayer for sale if anyone is interested. 

Just kidding. I'll probably stash it somewhere and pull it out for a quick project whenever he golfs. Hehe

So if you're thinking about doing this take into account that the prep time is insane. I think it might have been faster for me to roll everything. Chris and Julia did not paint the insides of their cabinets but we wanted to. The sprayer didn't work super well for that so I ended up going over the insides with a small roller afterwards. We also ended up with a few drips that needed to be sanded down and touched up too.

We haven't sprayed the doors yet, but I imagine that part will go a lot more smoothly. We're doing it in the garage so we don't have to worry as much about overspray. Also everything will be laying down so maybe less drips. 

My two cents. Roll your cabinet boxes and either roll or spray your doors. I do not think the sprayer is worth the taping-off insanity that has to happen spraying inside. If you're set on spraying make sure you grab a painting partner that loves the mess and the process as much as you do! 

That's my update! Next up: finishing the cabinet doors and having the ceiling patched & painted! We are so close!

Countertops are in and they are so pretty! I shared in my last kitchen update our decision to go with quartz for this project. Quartz is man-made, requires no sealing and doesn't stain or etch easily like marble. It's a great option for a home with kids and an even better option for a family that cooks a lot! 😁 When we saw the countertops being unloaded from the truck Isaac and I both freaked out a little because they looked SO WHITE and we had remembered more veining. Once we got up close and saw them installed we fell in love with them. I am still a marble lover through and through and if we every build a house I will probably use marble because there is something so unique and romantic about it. But that will be a little down the road. For now, and for this season we are in, I think we made the right choice (low maintenance)! 


We had our new faucet and sink installed at the same time as the countertops and I feel like a domestic goddess going about my everyday tasks. The sink is big enough to swim in. Why on earth did anyone invent the two sided sink? I just don't understand it. Once you've washed a pot in a big sink with no divider there is no going back to a divided sink. Cannot wait to give our newest babe her baths in it next year! =) The faucet is polished brass and looks like jewelry in the kitchen. I love it so so much! Backsplash will go in soon! 


We have one loose end to tie up before we can paint the cabinets... we had the back of the island closed off after we removed the doors, but I'd like to add picture frame molding to it so it feels a little more finished. I sketched up what I wanted and then taped it off so I could see how it looked. When in doubt, tape it off to visualize! Isaac is super visual and doesn't understand many of my ideas until I show him a picture - this helped him get 100% on board with the idea. Here's my lovely painter's tape display alongside my inspiration. I think it's going to look great! 


So that's where we're at! Here's our hit list for November: picture molding, backsplash, painting the cabinets, light fixtures and hardware. There is light at the end of the tunnel! 

Blogger Template Created by pipdig