The Playroom: Before Photos and The Plan

It’s taken awhile, but we’re finally starting to find our groove with this house. We’ve moved around a lot of furniture in the two years we’ve been here, and one space that stumped us for a long time is what the builder of this house probably called the formal living and dining room. These are the first two rooms you see when you enter the house. Here’s how they looked when we saw our home for the first time.

Playroom Before

And this is how the space looked right after we bought the house. The white door you see here is our front door, so those windows face our street. I immediately knew we’d be replacing the window treatments and painting the walls, but those changes took a lot longer to achieve than I hoped!

Empty Playroom

This home had two living areas but no dedicated playroom. We originally thought we’d use the sunken den as a play area, but at the time our oldest was just learning to walk and couldn’t manage the split level stairs down to the den on her own. Now that’s the case for her little sister! Since this formal living room was on the main living floor, it became the playroom by default.

Here’s a photo I found that shows how we initially set up the space. We anchored those bookshelves to the long wall and began filling them up. For awhile, we placed our books on the top shelves and toys filled the lower ones.

Playroom One Chair

I eventually found a second chair for the space and later replaced the pile of pillows (fun while it lasted!) with an end table between the chairs.  This was about a year ago. Notice the window treatments and wall color hadn’t changed yet!

Playroom Two Chairs

I’ll write soon about adding seating in our dining room on the other side of this space. When we made that change, we were able to remove the adult chairs in the photo above and replace them with a wooden shelf, kid-sized chair, and chalkboard. I also finally took down the previous owner’s cornice boards and started thinking about paint colors.

Playroom During

We liked having our books on display and a place for toys, but those open shelves always ended up looking messy. As the girls got taller, it was harder and harder to keep them from pulling heavy books off the upper shelves that were supposed to be off limits.

The wooden shelf under the window created a sort of window seat and good storage for stuffed animals, but again, it always looked messy. I also didn’t love how the chalkboard blocked the window, and the blinds were in terrible shape and hard to operate.

Here was our plan for the space!

Playroom Plan

First, the walls had to go lighter. The girls loved the play kitchen, so it had to stay. We decided replacing the bookshelves with closed storage would go a long way towards keeping the room looking tidy. I also wanted to bring in some texture with new roller blinds, a DIY wall hanging, baskets, and colorful art.

So how did it all turn out? Stay tuned – I’ll be sharing the after photos of this room very soon!

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Our Favorite Whole30 Recipes

I thought I’d share something Stephen and I tried recently that was honestly pretty life-changing. Have you heard of Whole30? It’s a 30+ day limited ingredient diet you can read about here that basically eliminates major food types that can negatively affect mood, energy levels, allergies, and weight. It’s all about eating good food (as much as you want) and paying attention to how your body feels.


We were both a bit skeptical, but when our program ended we felt awesome! Both of us lost 10+ pounds without counting calories (weight loss wasn’t even the goal) and have so much more energy than before, which is important for keeping up with our littles!

Heard Family

The steps are really basic and most of the information about what foods to eat and avoid is readily available online, but there are also some great books with more information and recipes to help you get started. Here’s the book that explains the program, here’s the step by step guide with recipes, and here’s another cookbook with 150 compliant recipes. These are all currently on sale on Amazon prime!

I wanted to share a few recipes that were our go-tos over the past month AND that we’ll continue to eat now that our Whole30 month is over. These are delicious regardless of which “food rules” you are or are not following!

Please pin these recipes from the original source.

Sweet Potato and Beef Stew

This was by far our absolute favorite new recipe. We followed this recipe from Kelley and Cricket very closely, except we added 3-4 diced white potatoes and at least half a bunch of kale and cooked it for 30-35 minutes in our Instant Pot.


Whole30 BBQ Sauce

Next, this recipe for BBQ sauce from Happy Wife Style. We put this on boneless skinless chicken thighs or 2″ slices of pork tenderloin and pop them in the Instant Pot for melt-in-your-mouth barbecue in 20 minutes.

Whole30 BBQ Sauce

Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

We’ve served these Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by Living Loving Paleo to company several times, and they are awesome! We love ours topped with homemade guacamole. They make a completely filling and satisfying meal.

One note, we reduce both the chili powder and cumin to 2 teaspoons each. This still makes the sauce super flavorful!

Enchilada Sweet Potatoes

Tuscan Chicken Spaghetti Squash

This recipe from Physical Kitchness was a nice change of pace – lighter with the shredded chicken and spaghetti squash but still super filling. She also includes a great tip for cooking the spaghetti squash quickly.

I made the most alterations to this recipe, so I’ll just include my version below.


Tuscan Chicken Spaghetti Squash

1 whole spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small salad package of prewashed spinach leaves
3 eggs
1 Tbsp coconut milk fat
1 package grape tomatoes, cut in halves
1 Tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
olive oil for sautéing and for the baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of 9×13 baking dish with olive oil.

On stovetop, sauté onion 3-4 minutes in olive oil until brown, then add garlic and spinach and continue cooking until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, and spices.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients then spread in baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges begin to brown and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken

Finally, another of our absolute favorites, this Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken recipe from A Pinch of Healthy. I made this for the first time just this week, and OH MY WORD it was amazing! I followed the recipe exactly – no changes required!


One kitchen tool we could not have survived Whole30 without? Our Instant Pot! We’d been doing lots of research into the world of pressure cookers, and when our slow cooker bit the dust THE DAY we started Whole30, we decided it was time to upgrade.

Our Instant Pot

We got the 8 Qt pot because we tend to cook lots of food and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day, but there’s the more standard 6 Qt version, too. This particular pressure cooker can also slow cook, steam, make rice and yogurt, sauté, and more. Amazingly, even though this was meant to replace our slow cooker, we haven’t used the slow cook feature once. It is just too darn easy to put a whole chicken in the pot, turn it on, and eat 45 minutes later!

So, if you’re considering Whole30 or just want some new delicious recipes, give these a try. I’ve also shared more Whole30 compliant recipes on my Whole30 Pinterest board.

Let me know if you try any of these recipes or if you have any favorite healthy dinner recipes to share!

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DIY Tassel Garland

Why is it that just when you’ve decided “not to spend money” Target releases a new line of ALL THE CUTE THINGS? I spotted this Threshold beauty at Target a few weeks ago, but we were in the middle of a “no spend” month, so I decided to see if I could make something similar using craft supplies I had on hand.

Threshold Tassel Garland

The garland I was trying to create consisted of a strand of wooden beads and about 25 colorful tassels. After some thought, I figured I could use embroidery thread for the tassels. I happened to have 8-9 different colors of embroidery thread (some skeins were partially used). From one full skein I made three tassels, first by wrapping the thread in three sections around a cardboard template, then by sliding one section off the cardboard and tying a short length of string around the top of the loops and another about 1/4 of the way down, and finally by cutting the bottom of the loops to create the bottom ends of the tassel.

Tassel Making Steps

Then, amazingly, I found beads. In a former life I spent a lot (a LOT) of time making beaded jewelry, and, lucky for me, if there’s one thing I hoard it’s craft supplies. And home decor. Two things I hoard. And baby girl clothes. Ok, three things I hoard. Geesh!

Anyway, I’m glad I just happened to have this strand of wooden beads already or I might have had to spend a little during our no spend month.

Beaded Strand and Tassels

If you went out and bought all these supplies, it would probably set you back more than the $12.99 you’d spend just to buy the thing (actually it’s even on sale right now!). Lucky for me, I had all of this in a box in the basement AND these craft supplies are now out and looking pretty instead of sitting in a box in the basement.

Tassel Garland

I hung the garland around this adorable print in Cece’s nursery. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since we finished this room, and I still love it just as much!

Tassel Garland in Nursery

This room still looks about like it did when we revealed it last year. Here’s a link to the reveal if you want to check it out again. Thanks for visiting!

Changing Table + Shelves

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DIY Wall Hanging

Hi friends!

I was feeling crafty this weekend when I came across this really pretty area rug at TJ Maxx. I’ve been looking for something to hang above the cabinets in my girls’ playroom for awhile, and while an area rug isn’t typically what I’d choose, this particular rug was so pretty! I knew I could make it awesome with a few supplies – most I had on hand.

Wall Hanging Supplies

I picked up a couple yards of pretty white fringe from Hobby Lobby and hot glued two rows onto the bottom edge of the rug. Then I placed a pre-stained dowel rod (from our wedding!) at the top of the rug and hot glued the top edge over it to create a pocket for the rod. All that was left was tying on the string and hanging it on the wall.

DIY Wall Hanging

Voila! A do-it-yourself wall hanging and super cute playroom decor. That adorable basket (also from Hobby Lobby) holds our wooden train set. I love practical toy storage that’s attractive, too!

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Our DIY Headboard

We’ve been without a proper bed frame since we moved to Colorado. We kept saying we’d replace the bedroom set we left in Arkansas, but buying a house will quickly drain your furniture budget! This is the bed I’d been eyeing forever, but we could never make ourselves pull the $600+ trigger.

Brompton Tufted Wingback

So our options were to wait to order a bed until it was in the budget (and who knows when that would be with another baby on the way) or make one ourselves. We decided to make just the headboard and pair it with a $20 metal bed frame and $15 white bedskirt to finish the look. We followed this tutorial by Sarah M. Dorsey pretty closely. Here’s how it all went down.

First we built the headboard frame using 1/4″ fiberboard and pine 2x2s. Our fiberboard measured 60″ x 36″.

Headboard Assembly

Then we measured and drilled holes for the 26 buttons. One of the most time consuming parts of this project was covering all those buttons! We used a navy velveteen fabric which was way too thick for the standard button kit. A combination of patience and hot glue eventually did the trick.

Button Holes Drilled

After the holes were drilled, we put down the foam.

First Layer Foam

I found this green 2″ thick foam at Joann Fabrics during a sale and the 1″ thick white foam came from Hobby Lobby. The foam was easily one of the most expensive parts of the project.

Second Layer Foam

I used a meat thermometer to poke holes in the foam from the back side and then a serrated kitchen knife to cut away the excess foam from the front.

Button Holes Cut

Next it was tufting time! First, let me say, this is not a one-person job. I attempted to tuft this bad boy myself one afternoon and got one button on (poorly) before giving up an hour later! You really need two people to apply enough tension to get nice deep tufts.

We laid the headboard across a few chairs so one person could be underneath the headboard and the other could be working on top. We put down some cotton batting and then our velvet, making sure to leave lots of extra material around the edges.

Velvet and Batting

Stephen would send a long needle (using doubled-up extra strength thread) up through the back of the headboard, through the foam, batting, and fabric, and I would thread on the button and send it back down. I’m not going to lie, getting the fabric to lay correctly and finding a good method to tie off the buttons took forever! At this point I was pretty sure this project would be a flop.

Tufting Headboard

Amazingly, after several more buttons, the headboard started to look okay. We ended up using washers on the back of the headboard to tie off the thread. I would push down on the button as hard as I could so Stephen had enough slack to tie the thread. A few of our threads broke during this process, which meant we had to redo that tuft all over again. We were so glad when the last button was in place.

Headboard Tufted

Here’s a look at the back of the headboard, where you can see the washers anchoring the tufts.

Washers Securing Tufts

The next step was stapling the fabric to the back of the headboard, covering the legs with fabric, and adding nailhead trim. Here’s a look at the headboard pre-trim.

Headboard Minus Nailhead

I had saved the leftover brass trim strips from our first DIY headboard project, and amazingly I had more than enough for this headboard, too.

We’re working on finishing up our master bedroom, so here’s just a peek of the bed area and how the headboard turned out.

Headboard Final

What do you think of the finished product? To say we’re happy with how it turned out would be an understatement! We LOVE our new bed!

Headboard After

As for the cost, we figure the total ended up around $150. Certainly not cheap and not much cheaper than some tufted headboards we’ve seen online. I think the project was worth it since we got exactly the headboard we wanted, but based on the hours we spent on it, I’m not sure we’ll tackle another one of these any time soon!

I’m working on a before and after post for our master bedroom. Hopefully it won’t be too long before that post goes up, but since today is my due date with baby girl #2, no guarantees! Thanks for reading. 🙂

Posted in master bedroom, tutorial | 3 Comments

A Nursery for Baby C

Well here we are, officially two weeks until baby girl two is due! Nesting has kicked in full force. As a matter of fact, the very day our last holiday guests left, we had the queen bed out of the guest room and the new crib up within a few hours. As a reminder, here’s how the room looked most recently.

Guest Room After

Here’s the same view today!

Crib and Rocker Wall

We went with a decidedly floral theme in this room with lots of pink and dark green. The view of the opposite wall is my favorite!

Changing Table + Shelves

We’d used that 3-drawer dresser in our closet and guest room at our previous house and in our master bedroom in this house before discovering it was the perfect size for a changing pad. I love that it is petite and keeps this small room from feeling too cramped. I scored the pink flower lamp for free from a local garage sale site. It will be perfect for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.

Changing Station

Based on the monogram above the dresser, you can guess we’ve chosen a name. We’re waiting to share the name publicly until after Baby C arrives, but I think this floral letter (a DIY from cardboard, hot glue, and $30 worth of faux flowers) might be one of my favorite projects ever!

Floral Monogram

The prints on the opposite wall are from Rifle Paper Co. and blanket (in perfectly coordinating colors) was a handmade gift from my mom. The crib was an awesome craigslist find and came with a like-new mattress. Funny how I never would have considered a used crib when I was pregnant with our first baby, but this room is furnished with completely second-hand items!

Crib and Blanket

The floating shelves (from CB2) made the move with us from our Arkansas guest bedroom. I love them so much more in this nursery, and they are practical as well as pretty. Since the dresser only had room on top for the changing pad, we decided to install the shelves within reach to house wipes, diaper creams, and little accessories (like socks and bows), along with decor.

Floating Shelves

The owl on the top shelf was a handmade gift – isn’t it so adorable? The print is by Jones Design Co, and the pink frame was a shower gift we received for our first little lady. I just swapped out the photo for our 16 week ultrasound of Baby C.

Upper Shelf Closeup

I especially like this little setup on the middle shelf. The photo was from our family photo/maternity session this fall, and the watercolor is actually an original by big sister for her little sis! Isn’t that sweet?

Watercolor Closeup

So that’s the quick tour of the second nursery at our house. We are all eagerly awaiting Baby C’s arrival and hope she loves the room as much as we do!

Changing Table + Shelves

Posted in Babies, Before and After, C's Nursery | 8 Comments

It’s a Nursery, no it’s a Guest Room, no it’s a …

Almost as soon as we’d started working on the new nursery, we decided to put the brakes on that plan and keep our guest room a little longer. We have so many visitors coming between now and when baby number two arrives that it made sense to purchase a queen bed for the room (which will eventually have a home in a guest room in the basement) and put a little effort into making the room comfortable for our visitors.

When we moved in, this room was an empty green box…

Guest Room Before1Which we painted and spruced a bit for visitors over Memorial Day. Guest Room During1

The first of our fall visitors arrived last week, so we scurried around beforehand and pulled together a nicer guest room. Here’s the room now with the addition of new curtains (which will stay when this becomes the baby’s room), a new bed and bedding, a secondhand chair, and art.

Guest Room AfterGuest Room After2

We found the turquoise chair at a random yard sale one Saturday for $5. It was missing the center button, which I replaced by stealing a swatch of fabric from the underside of the chair skirt and using it to cover a new button. I’m particularly excited about this chair because I want to convert it to a rocker when this room becomes the nursery.

Guest Room ChairI fell in love with these prints from Rifle Paper Co and was so happy when they arrived for this room. I hung them a bit high to account for guests sitting up in bed, but they will also be staying on this wall when the guest room becomes a nursery… Guest Room Art

Because… It’s a GIRL!

Yep, we’re having another baby girl and we couldn’t be more excited! Some of you may remember when we announced we were expecting Libby (funny photo alert!). This time around we shared this photo series with the caption “A three year tradition of picking pumpkins and growing baby girls!”

Pumpkins 2013-15

So that’s the news from Heardmont. Our second nursery is staying a guest room for the time being, but we’re looking forward to turning it into a proper baby girl’s room by January!

Posted in Before and After, guest/craft room, Second Nursery | 2 Comments

Libby’s Nursery Reveal

All of my DIY projects for Libby’s room finally came together, and today I’m back to share her finished nursery! Here’s how her room looked the day we bought our house.

Libby's Room BeforeLibby's Closet Wall Before

This is the only photo I’ve found of how the room looked once we moved in. We basically brought in her crib, dresser, two chairs, and curtains and that was it. No art, no paint, just the bare necessities. The yellow and blue walls with the gold curtains and pink accessories drove me nuts, but it took a few months for Stephen and I to tackle painting.

Libby's Room Just Moved InFinally, here’s how her room looks today! Libby's Room Left Side

Libby's Room Right SideThe Michelle Armas painting above the dresser was the inspiration for the color scheme of the room. Dresser Wall

Once the walls were gray, I decided to swap out the dark gold curtains with a champagne pair I’ve had forever.

Left CornerI added blackout lining and about 12 inches of fabric (leftover from recovering the mint gingham chairs) to make them long enough. Luckily we didn’t have to purchase new window hardware. I just spray painted the existing rod gold! Art CornerAll of the art pieces in her room traveled with us from Arkansas except the bird painting, which was a treasure we found at the beach last year. It’s so nice to finally get art out of the basement and up on the walls.

DIY Chair Pillow CurtainsThe bird pillow was another DIY project. I found this fabric when I was looking for upholstery material for the slipper chairs and fell in love. DIY Bird PillowThe reverse side of the pillow is the mint gingham fabric, and I found tiny pink pom pom trim at Hobby Lobby for the edges. Isn’t it adorable?

Reupholstered ChairsEven though the room is small, I really wanted to have a pair of chairs in there so both parents would have a place to sit for bedtime. Luckily there was just enough room for an old end table of ours between the two chairs. It serves as a surface for our little owl lamp and storage for small toys and bedtime stories. Book NightstandAbove the crib, we hung a shadowbox with a collection of starfish my grandma found at the beach decades ago, a paper heart Stephen made for our first wedding anniversary, and a print I gave him that says “Home is wherever I’m with you.”

Crib WallThis wall is also home to our DIY guitar shelf (the guitar dates back to the early days of our relationship). It’s fun to swap out the stuffed animals who get to sit on it – today it was pink bunny’s turn! Guitar ShelfHere’s another look at the crib with our new chandelier peeking out above it.

Crib and ChandySpeaking of which, how cute is that chandelier?? I was so excited when a local mom posted it for sale on facebook. It’s from Pottery Barn and no longer available, but I was able to get it for 20% of the original price and I think it MAKES the room! Libby's Chandelier

The gold-trimmed closet doors don’t look so out of place with the new color scheme, and Libby loves the mirrors. I don’t know how many dozens of pictures I have of her dancing or making faces at herself in those mirrors! I have a feeling she’ll appreciate them as she gets older and starts picking out her own clothes, too.

Closet WallSo there’s a peek at our little girl’s room. I’m so happy with how it came together! What do you think? Libby's Room Left Side

TDC Before and After
Posted in Before and After, Libby's Nursery | 9 Comments

Two New Nurseries

Today is a big day here at Heardmont. It’s my birthday, and I’m officially leaving one decade for another!

As part of my present this year, I got the green light to decorate two rooms in our house, Libby’s nursery and … another nursery! That’s right, we’re expecting the second little bedroom at our new place to officially be occupied in January or February of next year.

I’m almost 20 weeks along, and here’s how things are looking lately.

18 weeksProgress at our new house had been slow until recently, but I’m finally feeling better and getting the urge to finish some projects before baby #2 shows up. If you’ll recall, Libby’s room looked something like this when we moved in. Nursery BeforeHere’s a progress shot from Labor Day weekend. We rolled a fresh coat of white on the ceiling and two coats of Silver Drop by Behr on the walls. Libby's Room Painted

The guest bedroom/future second nursery was actually the first room we painted. You might remember from this post that it went from this:

Guest Room BeforeTo this: Guest Room During1

It’s been fun working on both rooms at the same time! Amazingly we’re going two completely different directions for such similar starting points. The inspiration for Libby’s room is this Michelle Armas piece that hung in her nursery back in Arkansas. Changing TableWe’ll keep her dresser and crib (she won’t be ready for a big kid bed before the new baby arrives), and I’m working on some sewing projects for the rest of the room. First up, recovering one or both (we have a pair) of these slipper chairs. Here’s the first chair before: Slipper Chair BeforeAnd here it is now! Slipper Chair AfterThe new fabric is a mint gingham upholstery fabric I found at a local fabric store on clearance. It only cost about $15 to recover this bad boy! In the new nursery, I found this pair of curtains and the rest of the room design sort of took off from there. Syssan CurtainsWe’re 99% sure we know baby #2’s gender, but that will be confirmed in October. Until then, we’ll focus on getting Libby’s room ready. Hopefully soon I’ll have a few more sneak peeks to share! Stay tuned…

Posted in Before and After, Libby's Nursery, Second Nursery | 7 Comments

Quick Baby Shower Gift – Burp Cloths

Hi all! I hope your Labor Day weekend was relaxing or productive, or both! Ours was a good mix of the two, and I’m happy to say I should have some projects to share soon.

Before Libby was born, one of the items I felt we were missing in baby prep was enough burp cloths. After some pinning and googling, I came up with a quick tutorial for burp cloths which I shared here. Those puppies got a ton of use in the first six months!

Easy Burp ClothsKnowing that one can never have too many burp cloths, I recently made another set, this time for a friend having a baby boy. My favorite part about this project (aside from how quickly it came together) was picking out the fabrics!

Burp Cloths in Progress

I purchased 1/3 yard of each pattern, 2/3 of turquoise flannel and 1/3 of white flannel, which was enough for six burp cloths. Aren’t those cottons cute? Baby Boy Fabrics

Here’s the finished product, all wrapped up and ready to gift. Quick, easy, and handmade: my kind of baby gift! Finished Burp Cloths

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