The Fat Hydrangea

Sara Michelle - Cleveland, Ohio

White Painted Dining Room Chairs and a White Pumpkin Centerpiece

Dining Room, DIY Projects, Flowers, Fall DecorSara Michelle B.1 Comment

The project that I thought would take a day but actually ended up taking a month is FINALLY DONE! Yes, my dining room chairs are finally 100% painted white, and I LOVE them! Totally worth the wait. 


Why did it take so long? I think we started this project a month ago with plans to finish them in a weekend. We got them sanded right away and planned to spray paint them that day, but the wind was so bad it kept blowing back in my husband's face so we had to stop. The next days we had planned to paint them called for rain, so we couldn't bring the chairs out. The weekend after that I was not feeling well and had my scare with the baby, so it went on the back burner again. Finally this past weekend, it was beautiful and we got them 100% done! They ended up needing three light coats of spray paint and some final touch ups. For less than $100, it definitely was a project with a big impact!

(Yes, you may have noticed in my recent fall home tour that the chairs desperately needed another coat of paint... I tried to photoshop and angle the photos the best I could! I just couldn't get them done in time... that's life for you sometimes!) 


They absolutely achieve what I wanted to achieve in terms of giving the dining room a new look and brightening things up! 


The classic black was nice too, but sometimes you just need a change and I was definitely at that point!


I also realized that for my last few dining room shoots (here,  here, and here) I used the same vase for my centerpiece, so I decided to totally switch that up too and go with something completely different. Usually I prefer tall vases and big flowers, but I am kind of liking the understated and low arrangement this time! I also think I'm in super nesting mode (36 weeks, 6 days!) so I am decorating/organizing like a mad woman. 

What do you think? Do you like the change as much as I do? My only question is whether I should put a coat of poly on them... any avid furniture painters have any advice? I think it might help with the durability (though we did use a high gloss paint!) but I'm afraid of them eventually yellowing. I'd love your feedback!

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15 Rules to Live by When Labor is Near

Sara Michelle B.Comment

I know this particular topic - preparing for an impending labor - will apply to about 0.01% of my readers, but this has been the majority of what I've been thinking about lately, so I thought it share it anyway! As I mentioned here, my second labor was EXTREMELY fast and my first labor happened a couple of weeks early. What I've learned from these experiences? It is good to be EXTREMELY prepared! Having two toddlers to worry about this time around only complicates the process more, so planning is everything! 


That being said, here are the "rules" I live by when labor could happen at any time: 

  1. Never get too hungry. You will NEED your energy for labor!
  2. Never get too full. You don't want to feel sick during labor either! Eek!
  3. Stay hydrated! I always remember being super thirsty during labor and Lord knows nursing makes you parched! Drink water 24/7.
  4. Stay well rested. With both of my boys I went into labor at around 10:00 at night. With Miles, my first, I didn't sleep well the night before, had worked all day, and was exhausted before labor even started. With Leo, my second, thankfully I had napped during the day and felt way better going into labor. Nowadays, I try to nap every day and put my feet up when I feel tired. Try to preserve some energy at all times!
  5. Keep your cell phone charged at ALL TIMES! I even keep a portable power battery in my purse just in case!
  6. Have your hospital bags completely packed and ready to go. And not like 80% packed, but 99% packed! I have EVERY SINGLE thing I will need in my bag except for my make-up bag, pillow, and cell phone (since I use these on a daily basis). Clothes, baby stuff, toiletries = all packed for go-time. I got duplicates of almost every item I could (toiletries, cell phone charger) since with Leo and my false alarm (see below) there wasn't a minute to spare between feeling signs of labor and feeling like I needed to go to the hospital. I just want to be able to grab my bags and go! 
  7. Always make sure you have a decent amount of gas in the car. 
  8. Pick up the house every night before bed. Don't underestimate the peace of mind that a clean house can bring! I think it makes everything less stressful and chaotic, not to mention more welcoming and comfortable for guests. Along with this, I also make the beds every morning. 
  9. Stay stocked up on groceries. This way you can be certain your child's caregivers (In our case, Evan's parent's initially will stay when we go to the hospital and then my mom will come up from Columbus as soon as she is able) while you are in the hospital has food on hand to feed everyone, and that it is an easy task!
  10. Never get too far behind on laundry or other chores. Figure you will be in the hospital for about 3-days. You want to make sure your kiddos have plenty of clean clothes/pajamas/undies to make things easy for the caregivers while you are gone. Plus, you don't want to come home to tons of laundry to do. The same goes for cleaning bathrooms, mowing the lawn, making sure bills are paid, etc. So much easier to be a step ahead of these tasks before you leave!
  11. Have a plan A, plan B, and plan C when it comes to who you can call during the middle of the day/middle of the night to stay with your kids when you go to the hospital! With Leo and with our false alarm (see below), plan A did NOT work out! Plan A = Evan's mom comes over to baby-sit while we go to the hospital. With Leo, we knew there wasn't enough time for Evan's mom to come over from her house so we had our next door neighbor come over until Evan's mom could get here. With our false alarm, Evan's mom was downtown so again, we called a friend until she could arrive. Good to prepare a list of a few people ahead of time who are willing to help out!  
  12. Write notes with instructions for your older kids... lots of notes! Even your caregiver may be relatively  familiar with your kids and their schedules, it helps to have things written out and laid out in case there are questions (especially if your kids are really little and may be somewhat difficult/finicky when it comes to certain things, or if they are only used to caring for them during the day and not giving them baths and putting them to bed, etc.!) I feel more calm knowing that I have important aspects of their routine spelled out and I know our caregivers will appreciate it too. I also laid our pajamas in both kids rooms, make sure their night time "lovies" are easy to spot next to their beds, and labeled their special milk cups (because they will lose their minds if they don't have things just right!) 
  13. Have comfortable sleeping arrangements ready for last minute guests. We have our guest room completely ready with fresh sheets, fresh towels, and the works! In case we have a middle of the night emergency,we also have washed some extra blankets and pillowcases for someone who may just be here an hour or two late at night or early in the morning and want to crash on the couch.  
  14. Have all your baby clothes washed and baby-stuff out and ready for use when you get home from the hospital. After having the baby, it can be hard to move around. You're tired. Having everything you can set out and prepared ahead of time can make for an easy transition! With our first this was EASY! We were super ready way ahead of time! With our third, its taken more time to get everything ready.. we're ALMOST there!
  15. REST! I know I already said this, but this is the best thing you can do! I have a lot of my first time mom friends focused on how they can get the baby to come sooner, and they are walking/exercising/eating spicy food, etc.... My advice? Baby will be here soon enough, get your rest while you can! 

As I mentioned above, we had a little scare (thankfully a false alarm!) at 34-weeks. We were driving home from a family trip to the ice cream shop with friends when all the sudden I started having INSANE contractions! They were super strong and were coming about 5-minutes apart. And when I say strong, I mean STRONG! I could barely breathe, could barely move, and I was shaking like a leaf. Under strict instructions not to take any chances, we high tailed it to the hospital. We had nothing packed, we had nothing planned. Our house was a disaster. We had our friend Justin come over because we couldn't get ahold of Evan's mom, and God bless him for what he walked into! (He earned his role as baby #3's Godfather that night, that is for sure!) Our cell phones were both almost dead, the kids had no clean pajamas, there were no bedtime instructions.. Thankfully it was a false alarm (my contractions literally stopped the minute we entered labor & delivery) and we were home within a few hours. However, it was a good lesson to stick to my rules above! 

What do you think? Anything else would add to this list? 

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The House Hunt Continues - Great House, not so Great Timing!

House HuntingSara Michelle B.2 Comments

As I've mentioned many times before, Evan and I really love where we live, but we are always in the back of our minds on the lookout for our "forever" home, essentially something a little bigger with a bigger yard. A house where we can pour our time, energy, and money into to making it 100% "us" without worrying about resale value. 

A few weeks ago we found a house with HUGE potential! It was on one of the most beautiful streets in our target area, walking distance to the train, with beautiful curb appeal, tons of space, and an awesome yard for the kids. It was pretty much love at first sight for both of us! I honestly felt like "this WILL BE our next house!" We looked at it twice and have been really, really considering it! We even went so far as to get our financing lined up! 


But, as you also know, I'm 36- weeks pregnant and it has been a rougggggh pregnancy. I have not felt good at all! As I write this, I'm currently laying in bed with a heating pad on my aching back and a hot washcloth on my forehead trying to stave off a headache. That being said, this house, while beautiful, needs a lot of work right off the bat (central air, new roof, new windows, new appliances...) While doable, it was definitely a little daunting! Still, the even bigger issue in our minds is that our current house needs a lot of projects completed before we'd put it on the market, not to mention packing, staging, and keeping it clean while we would show it! Quite frankly, it is hard for me to get laundry and dishes done right now so I just can't imagine going through the process of buying and selling a house over the next few weeks/monthsy. We really, really considered it, but as much as I love it and see the potential, I physically and mentally am not up for the stress of the process at this point in life! There are just too many things we'd have to do and it is just too overwhelming to even think about! 

I'm not going to lie... a huge part of me hopes this house is still on the market in a few months when I'm feeling better and we're physically/mentally up for a move! While it's hard to let it go, I think at this point I'm just having faith that eventually we'll end up in the right house at the right time! (I think our awesome realtor will help with that too, lol!) Right now, I'm just relieved to only be focusing on family, resting, and cooking this baby the next few weeks. I think it has been a theme of mine in 2017 that great opportunities at the wrong time are not the right opportunities. 

Still, super beautiful home isn't it? 

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Fall Home Tour 2017

Home Tour, Holiday DecorSara Michelle B.23 Comments

Hello everyone (especially those of you hopping over from Seeking Lavender Lane!) Welcome! I am SO excited to be sharing my fall home tour with you today! 

This isn't just any home tour - this week I've paired up with over THIRTY bloggers who are also sharing their fall home tours (so many ideas for you!) and Kirklands, and one lucky winner will get a $1500 gift card to Kirklands! How awesome is that?

Without further ado, let's tour my house! 


My favorite room to decorate is our dining room! I think it is because 99% of the time it feels like I am in the kitchen, which overlooks the dining room, so I really get to enjoy the decor in this space! My favorite new piece this year is this "Thankful" sign from Kirklands. It fits so perfectly on our leaning bookcases and makes the perfect statement piece (literally). 

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I was also excited to get some new decor for outside, including this doormat and wreath! They totally liven up our entry and make our home festive. I also LOVE that the wreath lights up!


In the family room, I have to keep it relatively simple because most of the time my two boys, Miles (age 3) and Leo (20-months) are dive bombing on the couch, playing trucks, and basically taking over every inch of this space! At this stage in life, I try to keep the decor either durable or out of reach! 


Here's a few other touches I added to the kitchen. A pumpkin candle and pumpkin scented soap are a MUST! 


I also love fall decor at golden hour,  just as the sun begins to set. Doesn't the room just appear to be glowing? It is so cozy and welcoming! 


And of course I had to include one more shot of this wreath at night because it is just so beautiful! 


Hope you all enjoyed my fall home tour! Keep scrolling for links to products, prizes, and the next home on the tour!


You can shop some of my favorite fall items from Kirklands here: 

Enter to win a $1,500 Kirklands Giftcard!

The giveaway below will run through 11:59pm on Friday September 29th. Good luck! 


To continue the tour, head over to Blue Sky at Home to see Carol's fall tour! 


Here is the line-up for the rest of the week, so be sure to check back every day as the links go live so you can see more amazing home tours! 

Thanks again for stopping by and thanks to our awesome host Deb at Seeking Lavender Lane for making this all possible! Don't forget to check back all week to see all of the beautiful tours!

Last but not least, thank you to Kirklands for sponsoring this post!

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