Friday, December 27, 2013

Gingerbread House Alternatives

Usually I just buy gingerbread house kits at Trader Joe's and let my kids build and decorate them, without eating. If I've planned well, I do this on a rainy morning, then let them enjoy using the vacuum to clean up all the sprinkles:)

This year, my parents discovered Hannukkah Houses in New York, and shipped them home to us. Super cute:)

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Monday, December 23, 2013


I know I missed the whole Thanksgiving blogging about thankfulness business, see this post and my pregnant aversion to screens, but this is as good a time as any.

While I don't celebrate the holiday this week, Hanukkah is long since over, and the gifts are already well worn and in full rotation, this end of the year is a great time to think of everything I'm thankful for.

1. My husband. He must have taken a secret husband training course sometime after the birth of our firstborn, but he's just been getting better and better as the years go on. We have been doing a great job of communicating, checking in, and just being supportive of the other, which usually also means we have to actually *know* what is going on with the other one:)

2. Our new baby-to-be. While I was a tad more than hesitant to add to our family, my husband had his heart set on 4, and intellectually I agreed with him. If only *he* were the one who had to be pregnant! Regardless, I'm incredibly happy to be expecting another little one into our family, and more than a little bit relieved that we seem to be on the same page, and 95% sure it will be our last.

3. The crazy, adorable, snuggable, kissable, loveable pack of three munchkins I have now. The best time of day is the first hour of the morning, when they all pile into our bed in pajamas, snuggle, give kisses, read books, chase each other around our bed, build pillow forts, and just generally be adorable kids before the go-go-go of the day really begins. This also makes 6am wakeups bearable.

4. My family, who drives and picks up from elementary school and preschool, has us over for brunch/lunch/dinner, hosts sleepovers for kids, lets my kids play with their dog, etc. All the great things I had growing up with local family is exactly what my kids are getting now. There can never be too many helping hands or too many people to love your children.

I'll be back in 2014 with more pregnancy posts, and TONS more about the new house! Pray for snow (and peace and love and all that other good stuff)!

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Big Dig... Foundations

This is mostly a story in images, of how this summer, our vacation house got started in foundations, and why my construction loving 4 year old thinks we are he best parents ever.

Here's a little sneak peak of some of the unpacking I did last weekend- more "finished" pics coming in 2014!

Stayathomeista modern vacation house living room with glass curtain walls

To review, we are building a vacation house (see our announcement here), and construction started in May of 2013. We are done/will be done mid-December 2013 which is something of a record. All I can say, is that we have a great contractor, and my husband and I are micro-managers, who visited every 2-3 weeks for the entire time. Although at the end, when my pregnancy sickness was too much, just hubby and our son went:)

So here's the less-than-interesting-to-most, update of what went on in May and early June.

Lovely board-formed concrete walls,

trucks for hauling gravel and soil,

me resting (it was 90+ degrees) with my little guy,

getting to stand in/on a loader,

the garage slab being poured and floated,

and a view from the driveway.


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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Let's Bring Back Stationery

And nice letterpress cards,

but without the hassle.

Which is where Nicely Noted (who has no idea I'm writing this) comes in. Every month they send me 3 beautiful cards along with postage, so I can send thank-you notes, birthday wishes, and friendship messages in style.

Maybe a last-minute gift? Or a gift for yourself?

Let's bring back stationery, shall we?


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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ombre Painted Pinecones

Ombre painted pinecones

Just a quick holiday craft.

Glitter painted pinecone holiday craft

We used craft paint, some with glitter, and the results we super cute!

Ombre painted pinecones

Quick word of warning- pop these in the freezer or a plastic bag for a day or two before you start, that way any little bugs will die and not come in and make your casa, their casa:)

How to paint a pinecone

Plus, my helper was adorable and totally into it:)


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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jumping in again, deciding to build a second home

In case you missed our big announcement, we are expecting 2 new additions to our family. A baby in the spring, and a vacation house mid-December!

This is my more in depth post about our reasons behind deciding to build a second home. It's not quite as simple as I explained before "we got antsy when this house was done", but it is a part of it. Our kids are currently 2, 4 and 6, and while we thought a vacation house would be somewhere off on the 10 year future, we realized that if we could pull it off, having a house for our family now, at this stage, would make more memories and have a big impact on our lives. This is assuming that teens *might* not want to spend as much time with their parents and little ones do:)

We drove up to what I call "ski country" last October, just after I'd finished nursing our youngest, for a fun, no-kids weekend. Being trained as architects, we naturally wanted to look at land and houses "just in case". After building our house through the great recession, I was also adamant that we be able to afford a second home, without threatening our current house, private school tuition, charitable gifts, etc.

Well, we fell in love with empty land, and the idea of designing another house ourselves. This time we wanted something different, not the classical modernist house we have now, rather a "true" modern, or "capital M modern" house. (look that was an architecture school reference)!

Modern vacation house in the woods, by Brick LLP architecture
courtesy of Brick LLP

My main theme was "glass box in the woods". We are lucky enough to have an amazing view from our current house, so I didn't need that. I wanted a level-out yard that kids could play in, lots of trees, nature, snow play potential and less "stuff". This time around, I didn't draw the plans up in AutoCad, I drew plans on graph paper, handed them to our friend and architect, Rob Zirkle of Brick LLP, and sent links to a Pinterest board for a modern vacation house.

Follow Jessica Stay At Home-ista Modern Vacation House on Pinterest

Doing it all at one time, also let me fully indulge my Type-A self, and I made an excel budget for constructin and soft costs, as well as one for furniture. So over the last year I've been pinning, stalking, buying, and hoarding collecting items for the new house. Currently our mudroom and storage are full with pots and pans, sheets, nightstands, sleds, everything I will need in the new house. More on my process later. Feel free to browse my Guest House Furniture board for ideas about what I bought:)

Follow Jessica Stay At Home-ista Guest House Furniture on Pinterest

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Favorite Baby Names I Won't be Using

Now that the pregnancy is out of the bag, see this announcement post, it's time for me to start getting these posts out that have been sitting in draft for for months, just taunting me:) Because we don't believe in sharing the baby's name until it/he/she is actually here, this isn't the best spot for me to pontificate about *actual* name choices. So I present to you names that I love and won't be using:)

Ryan (hello Ryan Reynolds:)
Jacob Micah (I thought, for sure, we would have one, but time passes, and tastes change...)
Pendragon (although it's awesome)

Jospehine (too much time reading Little Women)
Josephine March...
Viviane and Morgaine (from the Mysts of Avalon)

Any names you would put on there? I'm in baby-brain-fog, which means any name ideas are super fun and exciting for me!

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2 BIG Announcements

#1- I'm pregnant.

Not the biggest of surprises, since that's the usual "big announcement" you see in the mommy blogger world:)

I'm due mid-April, and as per the last 3, I'm a miserable, sick, nauseous wreck. Just to add to the fun, this time looking at a screen of any kind (TV, computer, phone) makes me extra sick. So I hope this explains the blogging absence as well as the proliferation of pregnancy posts to come.

But, if preggo posts aren't for you, Announcement #2 should help...

We are building a vacation house!

Vacation house by Brick LLP Architects
courtesy of Brick LLP

That's the amazing rendering of the whole thing, we are only building the right third now, which will be the future-guest-house, once we make enough money to build the rest of it. With 3 kids, I drew up a plan on graph paper, handed it to our friend Rob Zirkle, an architect, and said, "make this a modern glass box in the woods". I also referenced my Modern Vacation House pinterest board a lot:)

Well, technically, we already built it, and it finishes next week. I'm not a follow-along-in-real-time type of person, mostly because if I learned anything from the construction of our main house, it's that things happen, cost more, take longer, and I have no desire to broadcast them:)

This time around, I had planned to blog about it all fall, but then, see announcement #1, and my aversion to screens.

The good news, is that the final images should be up in January/February, so I'll be mixing in vacation house posts with my other usual fare. The short story, soon to be elaborated, is that we got a little antsy after this house was "done", saw some raw land in ski country that we loved, got a crazy-good deal, designed the house and got it approved in 4 months last winter, and built it in the last 6 months (since May).

Hopefully, now that all that news is out, I can pull off more posts!


ps- the screen aversion also means I haven't been reading other blogs, so if you had any big announcements in the last 4 months, please let me know:)

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