Tuesday, January 27, 2015

For Sale!

Darren and I are making some changes.  Up for sale is our dining room set and our master bedroom set.  If you are interested, please call me at 540.520.1853. 

Our dining room is NEVER used, so we want to make use of the room.  We are turning it into an "office", craft room, homework nook!  I cannot wait to start designing it.  I can't really begin unit YOU buy my furniture :)  IF you are in the market for a dining room set or know anyone who is, please forward this post to them.  The dining room set includes: (1) Table, (6) Chairs, (1) Buffet Table, (1) Wine/Cocktail Chest, (1) Ladder Shelf, and (1) China Cabinet.  The wood is two-toned, table tops being light oak, and the bases being espresso wood.  ALL furniture comes from a local furniture store called Trapezi's.  The rug is from Pottery Barn.  I am willing to sell it, but it is NOT included in the price of the dining room set.  
Our bedroom is just in need of a little change.  It's where the magic happens, LOL, so it's the room that should be the most enticing to enter, right?  Included in this bedroom set is (1) Queen-King Size Foot and Head Board, (2) Night Stands With Two Drawers, (1) Armoire With Three Drawers, (1) Square Mirror, and (1) Dresser With Six Drawers.  Our bedroom looks a little plain, but  it's only because I took off our brown and cream zebra duvet cover so the details of the bedroom pieces could be seen.  ALL of the furniture is from a local furniture store called Grand Home Furnishings.  It actually still exists in their store and the current price of this set is over $10,000.00. Our price is MUCH better than that since it is used. The wood finish is cherry.  
Thanks for spreading the word!!!! Please only inquire if you are interested.  We are located in Salem, VA, for anyone who is randomly reading our blog and is interested, but has no idea where we live!!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The BEST Drink At Starbucks!!!!

It's completely unfathomable that I did NOT start drinking coffee until I was 34 years old and I am now less than 15 days away from turning 38.  Coffee seems to be a necessity of life.  I don't really rely on it to wake me up, like most people. I just enjoy a warm "cup of Joe" in my tummy, upon rising.  "The Best Part OF Waking Up Is Coffee In My Cup!" Sing that to the tune of the Folgers commercial.  I drink my morning coffee black with ONE Splenda.  I have to admit, around 1:30 pm, daily, I visit Starbucks (give or take an hour). I have designed the BEST LOW CALORIE, sugar-free drink ever.  Darren and ALL of my friends LAUGH, with embarrassment, at me, because it's a LOOOOONG, "complicated" order.  AND Darren won't even order it for me if he's the driver.  I have to order it myself.  LOL!  He has a comical skit he does, with his hands, almost as if he's signing my drink. We all laugh watching him, well... I roll my eyes.  The Starbuck's clerks know me by name (I'm blushing, a little, at that one!), but they have reassured me that there are MANY other WORSE, complicated drinks that people order compared to mine.  Here's is my order for the PERFECT and BEST low-cal, low fat, sugar-free drink...

An Iced Grande Coffee
In A VENTI cup
Extra Ice
No Classic Syrup
Add Two Splenda 
Add Light, Heavy Whipping Cream

Shew! It IS a mouth full, but I cannot drink it any other way.  I like LOADS of ice, making it almost as if I am drinking coffee ice cream. The venti cup provides room for MORE ice, making it extra cold.  I remove that nasty, HIGH SUGARED syrup (loads of calories and carbs) and in it's place I add two splenda packets (making it sugar-fee) and a hint of whipping cream (Atkins diet approved). I am NOT a fan of milk, but because I add so much ice, I can handle the creamy taste.  If Starbucks accidentally adds the classic syrup, ONE SIP causes me to feel like I need to go to the dentist and I do a "U-ey" aka a u-turn and make them refix it.  
I called Starbucks and they broke down the nutritional value as follows:
 Ice Grande Coffee                               5 calories, 0 fat, 0 carbs, 0 Sugar
(2) Splenda Packets                             0 calories, 0 fat, 0 carbs, 0 Sugar
A Splash Of Heavy Whipping Cream         52 calories, 5 g of fat, 0 carbs, 0 Sugar

This drink has less than 57 calories and 5 grams of fat.  I'll take it.  Beats a coke (90 calories, 26 grams of sugar)  or a small fry (231 calories and 11.5 grams of fat), and it keeps me going throughout the day, instead of giving me a HI-LOW or worse making me feel sluggish and chubby.  

You should try it!!!! It's the BEST, non-guilty pleasure drink, at STARBUCKS!!! And just incase you are curious about the price... it's $2.73.  Don't judge me... this is MY ONLY daily splurge, other than a bi-monthly mani/pedi, which my hubby requires I do :) 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Evelyn, A Classmate, Turns 6!

This weekend was seriously the most jam packed weekend we've had in years.  We had a total of 3 basketball games, puppy training, church, and three birthday parties. The only party I attended was for one of the twins' classmates, Evelyn, at the Green Ridge Recreation Center. I think it's wonderful when the kids get to spend some time together, with their peers, outside of the structured, classroom setting.  
Evelyn turned 6!!! She invited her entire kindergarten class to celebrate with her. Evelyn's party included pizza, cake, and swimming!!!! We also got to enjoy watching Evelyn open up all of her presents.  
Big brother Ty came along!!!
Jax LOVED the whirlpool and hot tub the most.
Below: Evelyn enjoying the pool!
Evan and Cheyanne!
Ben's little brother!
These kids will be spending the next 12 years together, so capturing these photos will come in handy one day....ahem...graduation day :)
These photos are my favorite.  I love that I was able to capture these action shots, which included the splashes, the laughter, and all of the rough play!
Little Matthew checking things out! Playing it safe!!!
Lilah and Rose played so nicely together until Rose stubbed her knee! Then she ran to mom for some tender loving care.
Jax and Easton.
 Wishing Evelyn a Happy, Happy 6th Birthday and upcoming year!!!

How Did Getting A Puppy Transpire?!?!?!

I'm not sure ANYONE, who knows us and knows us well, ever thought getting a puppy would ever happen. We are busy, clean, and slightly overwhelmed people as it is, with three children.  We also love to go places, near and far, and we had no desire to be tied down. But, as my momma always said, "Never say never!" AND it's so true.  

As promised, I had planned to share the when, what, where, who, how, and why regarding our Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, Sadie, and her arrival into our lives.  I know she's just a puppy, but this soulless animal is a 10-12 year commitment (unless something tragic happens). Being Sadie could potentially be with us for up to 12 years, I plan to document our time with her. So I hope you will enjoy seeing all the cute, funny, challenging, and sometimes frustrating moments.  I'm being 100% honest, when I say, I have only been challenged and frustrated ONCE by her, otherwise, she has been the funnest, funniest, sweetest little addition to our lives.  The frustration came when I decided to take her on a loooooong walk and she refused to walk the first 5 minutes, so I had to drag her instead.  Once she realized who was boss, she ran the rest of the way. LOL! SO let me share all of the details or you can just bypass this post altogether, if it doesn't interest you.

When: It all started about two weeks after Christmas, when Darren came to me and said, "I've been doing a lot of thinking.  I really love our home and see us here for a long time.  As long as you agree, I'd like to do some home enhancements."  I'm totally content, so I asked, "What type of enhancements are you referring to?" Once Darren and I has his mind made up about something, the rest of the storyline happens fairly quickly, but we are definitely not spontaneous or impulsive about our decisions.  Our decisions come with much thought.

What: So what type of enhancements did Darren have in mind? Darren discussed his ideas: a fence, a puppy, and a "sunken trampoline". I was blown away.  He was very specific. Oh and it wasn't just "a puppy", he had a specific breed picked out...a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy.  We had a dog book that describes all of the breeds and apparently he had bent the Rhodesian Ridgeback's page over 12 years ago, but never told me.  My step-mom, Carlene, even recalls Darren saying (12 years ago), "If I ever get a dog of my own, I want a Rhodesian Ridgeback!"

Where: Okay, so although we were BOTH on board with the plan, I'm not going to deny that we still had a little hesitation.  We exchanged comments like, "Let's be realistic, the kids will love it the FRIST 10 days, and then, the responsibility will be all ours!" and "Will we ever get to travel again?" etc... After we got over some of those fears and ways to resolve them, our next step was WHERE do we get a Rhodesian Ridgeback?  The breed is definitely rare in this area.  Our vet, Dr. DeRolf, was stunned when we brought Sadie in, simply because they are so rare.  He even asked where we found her.  LOL! Darren began sending me breeders names and photos of some cute RR puppies that were set to release soon.  I contacted ONE breeder in Roanoke, but she wasn't breeding again for another year.  Sigh... This won't be as easy as walking into your local pet shop and picking out the dog of your dreams.  I contacted breeders from Texas ALLLLLLL the way to Florida. Our pup, would potentially be flown to us. After speaking with many many many breeders (6 to be exact) and spotting our Sadie girl, we chose to go with a breeder in Gaffney, SC.  The plus about using this breeder was that we wouldn't have to purchase a plane ticket, for our pup, literally.  It was just a car ride away.

Who: Who did we choose?  Our breeder's name is Frances Wood.  We were happy with the conversations we had, with Frances, enough to drive 3.5 hours there and 3.5 back to, both, meet and pick up our sweet Sadie. Buying a puppy, if you do it correctly, is like a job interview. I fully believe the breeder should be kind of interviewing you and visa versa. Frances takes great pride in breeding her pups and while many of her pups are show quality, and ALL of her pups are AKC registered, Frances doesn't have the "dogs are better than humans" mentality.  Oh trust me, this business is brutal.  Almost all of the breeders I spoke to had some "beef" with one of the other breeders I was considering.  It's crazy.  

How: Once we decided on our breeder, it was up to us to decide if we were going to drive to Gaffney or if Sadie was going to take an airplane to the Roanoke airport.  HOW did Sadie get to her new home? Darren and I took a drive up to Frances' home, without the kids.  When we arrived, we pulled up to a gate, which required a passcode, to get to her precious pups. I thought it was a good first impression. Francis breeds Silver Labs, Brittnays, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  We were greeted by Sadie's momma, who barked and chased our vehicle the entire way down.
Frances' "kennels" were VERY clean.  She had video cameras monitoring every "pen".  I wanted a tour, but she was very protective over the pregnant mommies and the nursing mommies. Frances did let me take ONE peak, at one Rhodesian Ridgeback mommy, who was nursing her pups.
Isn't this so stinkin' cute?  I wouldn't want to be nursing 4-10 pups, but she wears it well. Hehe
 Why: Why Sadie!?!? When I spoke to Frances, she originally had one male pup and one female pup left, but she said, "The female pup is the pick of the litter. I kept her for myself, but I travel a ton, with my other job, so if you are really interested in her, after seeing her, I might be willing to give her to you!" Darren and I wanted a female and the more and more we spoke to breeders and the more and more we went through the motions of having a puppy, the more and more anxious excited we became. So we didn't wait a moment longer. Darren and I did agree that if we got there and it wasn't "love at first sight", we would wait for the next litter.  AND look what happened.... WE FELL IN LOVE immediately.  Sadie was a tad bigger than I had expected an 11-week old puppy to be, but the reality was, she wasn't going to be getting any smaller, that's for sure.  She was 25 pounds when we took her home.
I felt like a new mom being handed over a newborn and then told, "It's all yours! See ya!!!" I've had dogs my entire life, but it had been 3 years since Ninja passed away and at least 20-22 years since I've been responsible for a puppy.  As the old saying goes, "If you don't use it, you loose it."  We were so unprepared.  We had NO DOG supplies, minus the 3 cups of dog food that Frances sent us home with.  No leash, no collar, no crate, no bed, no dog bowls, no dog treats, no chew toys, no clothing :), N-O-T-H-I-N-G.  So, we drove a little ways and stopped at a PetSmart about halfway home.  Sadie came in with us.  LOL! We were hoping she would lead us to some things she wanted.  
She was a timid little thing.  The world is a big place and she was just used to her tiny, little living quarters as a pup.  She wasn't even willing to walk on a leash at PetSmart.  I'm not even sure she knew what a leash was. Speaking of leash, Darren and I had are first "argument", regarding Sadie, in PetSmart.  He said he refused to walk a dog with a BIG flowered collar and a girlie leash.  He tried to get Sadie a Duck Dynasty GREEN and BLACK camo collar.  Uh, no!
We arrived home with some of the important necessities. All of our children wound up spending the night out so Darren and I could experience the first night, with Sadie, alone.  Sadie really did make herself right at home. Check out her fashionable collar, by Martha Stewart.  Looks like I won the collar battle.  LOL!
All nestled in her new mommy's lap: safe and warm.  Wow, she's grown SO MUCH since this photo was taken 2 weeks ago.
We love her dearly and have zero regrets.  She's literally the sweetest, cleanest, calmest, smartest, most "chillest" pup I have ever had AND I've had many dogs: Pugs, Labs, Shiba Inus, Dobermans, Boxers, Jack Russell Terriers, and Mutts. Finally, I haven't seen ONE piece of hair...NO LIE, in the last 2 weeks. Now that is the type of dog for a Bolling home.  

I'll fill you in on how we introduced Sadie to the kids and their reactions.  If you are interested in getting a Rhodi and have questions about our breeder or our breed, feel free to contact me. We've done a ton of research and have asked a crazy amount of questions. We don't claim to know it all, but now that we have a Rhodi, ourselves, we can answer many of those questions that didn't seem to have consistent answers, from one Rhodesian owner to the next.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I Will Be His Firsts...

I am the lucky one who will be...
His First kiss...
 His First Love...
 His First Friend...
I will ALWAYS be HIS MOMMA and NOTHING will ever change that!
It will be so sad handing him off to a wife, one day, but for now, he's MINE! ALL mine!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Valentine's Day LOVE SHACKS!!!

In a clockwise order, our supplies were Wilton Heart-Shaped Sugar Candies, Heart-Shaped Gummies, Heart-Shaped PINK Marshmallows, Wilton Neon Heart-Shaped Candies, Strawberry Shredded Wheat, Wilton Sprinkle Beads, Wilton [Hugs and Kisses] Sugar Candies, Conversation Hearts, Rose Gummies, Valentine M&Ms, Short Bread Cookies, and Valentine Candy Corns.  We also had peppermints and heart-shaped lollipops.  It was quite a nice selection.

Our reusable Candy Cottages have REALLLLY been a great investment.  We have made Halloween houses, Christmas houses, and now... LOVE SHACKS!

This was the FIRST time I was able to make a candy cottage.  I was so excited and so were the twins.  They harassed me ALLLL day to make them.  Designing "Love Shacks" was in the plan, but just not as quickly as they had hoped.
We frosted our homes and got to work decorating our plastic houses.
Or licking our fingers.
Daddy was watching football, so he was our camera man!
They look really into it, don't they?  Well... this only last about 25-30 minutes because our sweet puppy wanted to play chase.  Tyson was at a sleepover, birthday party, so that is WHY you don't see him in these photos.
This was definitely a task that requires patience and a useful tongue willing to lick frosting off of fingers.

The end result wasn't bad, but I don't claim to be an artist by any stretch of the imagination.  
I put the frost on really thick, so it was very heavy and kept sliding off of the side of the roof.  I had to do this tic-tac-toe roof TWICE.  Shoot me... haha.
Either way, it was made with "LOVE".
Heart-felt love, hehe!
I just love everything about Valentine's Day, the colors, the idea of loving people in an extra special way, more than normal, and the romance that goes along with it.  If I could turn the exterior of our home into a Valentine's Day Love Shack for a few weeks, I would.  It's SO FUN to look at!!!

First A House, Now...A Place WE Call Home.

This post was written, upon request, by a company called Urban Compass.  It will be reviewed by their "social team" and only their favorite stories lines will be shared through other means of social media. My hope, obviously, is that this post gets approved.  While this project is not a paid collaboration, if approved, it will be shared with all of Urban Compass' twitter followers, in hopes of creating a following for their new platform called, Starter Stories! In return, it will hopefully bring bollingwith5 new followers too.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post and taking a trip down memory lane. I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about how WE all began. This is OUR "Starter Story"...
This sign sits on our dresser, in our master bedroom!
It all started in 1992.  I moved to Roanoke, VA from Smithtown, NY.  I attended Cave Spring Jr. High and then Cave Spring High School, where I was officially known as a "Knight" (our school's mascot).  Within 8 months of living in Roanoke, I met Darren.  He was so funny! I loved that quality the best about him.  We officially became a couple in June of 1992.  Who knew that almost 23 years later, we would still be together? #highschoolsweethearts
We were all of 16 years old here.
We graduated High School in 1995 and off to College we went.  Darren went to Virginia Tech University and I ventured off to a new city... Raleigh, North Carolina to attend Meredith College (an ALL girl College).  My heart was dedicated to Darren and I didn't need the distraction of other males tugging on my heart strings or causing my grades to drop.  After two years of being apart, we couldn't take the long distance relationship thing anymore, so I transferred to Virginia Tech University as well aka #hokienation 
Pictures of pictures are never good quality, so I'm sorry for these terrible images, but back then digital photography was not yet available.  Yes, this information does "date me".
In 1999, Darren and I graduated Virginia Tech University and in December 2000, Darren "popped the question" on Christmas Day! I was thrilled. We became husband and wife on June 8, 2001.  We got married on Paradise Island, in the Bahamas, at the Atlantis Resort and spent 10 days there on our honeymoon.  #collegesweethearts #newlyweds
When we returned home from our honeymoon, we started our lives at 4710 Celtic Circle.  We were very blessed to be able to begin our marriage in a brand new home. It's where many of our FIRSTS happened: first and only marriage, first careers, first set of furniture, and first child. I loved everything about our first home and I never thought we would move.  We loved our neighbors and the space was just enough. Clearly, God knew our lives were about to change and somehow, someway, for some reason we began house hunting. #marriedlife On a side note: when we sold our first home, we sold it "For Sale By Owner", to the FIRST person we showed it too. The buyer even purchased half of our belongings because she loved the way everything looked. We paid $154,000.00 for our first home and sold it for $229,000.00. Talk about making a nice profit. It goes to show you how incredible the Real Estate market was back then.  We sold our home in the height of the Real Estate boom in 2007.
Our 1st born, Tyson, was born on May 11, 2005.
It was then, that we fell in love with our current home.  Again, a new house, but this time, it was a house that was not fully finished.  It was in the process of being built, so we had the luxury/privilege of making our house exactly the way we wanted to. New excitements, new challenges, and a new experience altogether.  Building a new home could definitely be exhausting and stressful. #buildingahome
Our home is the brick home facing the camera.
Our experience building a home contained EITHER of those negative emotions. Thanks to my husband's successful business, we were financially able to build and enjoy every detail.  In addition, my stepmom, an interior designer, provided her assistance, helping us complete the interior of our house, FOR FREE.  SCORE!!!!!
Within a year of moving into our new house, I conceived TWINS! HOLY COW! It was a total shocker.  I am not going to lie, at first, I cried.  I recall crying to the sonogram tech saying, "That's two cribs, and two car seats, and two high chairs!"  I finally saw the grander scope. The reason God pushed us in the direction of moving. It was now up to Darren and I to turn our house into a home. #fromonetothreefast
Lilah and Jax were born March 25, 2009.
First A House, Now A Place WE Call Home.
First, we just had a house. No memories were yet made. It was practically empty because we sold almost everything to the buyer of our first home. We didn't even have any family to celebrate with us, as we were experiencing some very unnecessary family drama. I recall move in day being slightly solemn. There was no one there to really rejoice with us. 
Our sweet dog Ninja, in the above photo, passed away 3 years ago!
As For Me And My House, We Will Serve The Lord.

But all of that changed for the BEST when Darren and I realized that our house could only be a home if CHRIST was present. Darren and I turned our lives over to the Lord and we stand FIRM in our family motto, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  ~Joshua 24:15  This motto is actually the FIRST thing you see on our blog's home page, other than our family photos.  We no longer needed to hang on to the family that we "lost" because we had an even better family...a family in Christ. This is where not only did our house turn into a home, but our dead lives turned ALIVE. #deadheartsmadenew #thewordisalive #jesusislord
And then there was 5...really 6.
We started out in our current home with Darren, Tyson, and myself, but quickly turned into a family of 5.  Since the birth of our 2nd and 3rd children (Lilah and Jax), we have slowly but surely turned our house into a home.  We have many great living spaces. There is very limited wall space for anything else now. Each child has their room designed to fit their style AND we are in the process of having a fence installed because we just added the final puzzle piece to our home.... A PUPPY!!!! We are now a family of 6. #threekidsandadog #theamericandream
We just got our Sadie girl one week ago!
Now that I have shared a very small excerpt of how we began and who we've become, allow me to share a few of MY favorite spaces in our home.  From the repins, on pinterest, I think it's safe to say that many others also LOVE these spaces too!!  

The MOST popular room in the house, according to Pinterest, is our almost 6 year old son, Jax's Room. Jax has a love for Super Heros, so I designed his room around SPIDERMAN.  What boy doesn't LOVE Spiderman? The twins used to share a room, but we put an end to that after they stopped using cribs. Despite giving them their own room, they still sleep together every night. #spidermanbedroom
When Jax (left) and Cohen (right) get together, they always start their playdate wearing their Spiderman costumes.  
The first photo of Jax's room, below, has been repined over 7,000 times.  It's insane.  
You can read all about Jax bedroom's details here.  Since the above photos were taken, I have added a wall quote, next to Spiderman (see below), and a fish tank (not shown in photos). 
Lilah's bedroom is every little girl's dream room.  Every time one of her friends walk into it, you hear unending oooo's and ahhhhh's.  Or "I wish I had...." Of course you never appreciate what you have because if Lilah had it her way, she'd like to have her brother's Spiderman room.  Hehe. Being she is ALL girl and then some, I made her room as girly as I could, which includes a vanity, a dress up corner, a fairy garden with a rocking chair, and many other girl must haves. #agirlandhergirlybedroom
Lilah's bedding was custom made and purchased from a talented seamstress off of Etsy. You can read all about Lilah's room here.  We have since added a small window shutter bookshelf.
We cannot forget to show off our oldest son's bedroom. Ty is a definite athlete and loves anything to do with sports, but typically focuses the MOST on football and basketball, although, he did make the All Stars baseball team this past Summer.  With that being said, it only makes sense that Ty's room would be all about sports.  Here are a few photos of his "NFL Sports" bedroom.  #nflsportsroom 
This art decco light is really cool.  I put this photo on pinterest and it's been repined over 190 times. To see more on Tyson's room and all of the details, you can click here.  I think it's safe to say that this room design fits Ty's age well. It's perfect for a pre-teen boy.
I LOVE ALL of my children's rooms and their furniture because it could all potentially transition with them up until their pre-teen years, if not later. When you invest this amount of time into a room, as well as the money that goes into it all, it's nice knowing it will last a good 5-10  years.  

What room does the lady of the house enjoy most?  Well, I have a few loves, but the "room" that I am most proud of, aside from my children's bedrooms, is my "gift closet." Once a linen closet, I turned it into a very practical and often used gift closet. All of my gift wrapping and most of my craft supplies are stored in this ROY G. BIV organized closet.  #giftcloset
I have done several posts on this closet.  Here is post 1.
 It's so much more efficient and enjoyable to wrap a gift for your loved ones, more so NOW, than ever.

Two rooms in the house that MOST people probably do NOT consider organizing is the garage and the storage room. In our home, we use BOTH rooms, very often, and I cannot STAND when it gets out of control.  I made BOTH rooms very user friendly and systematic.  Everything has a place of its own.  

Here is our garage! #dontagonizeorganize
There is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for our children NOT to put their belongings away.  Every item has a place to live and a label to remind them where exactly that place is.
 If this has inspired you, feel free to read more about our garage makeover here.  

The storage room also received a makeover about a year ago.  I cannot imagine my storage room without it this way! I don't know how we functioned for 6 years without this nice storage system, but it really has allowed us the opportunity to stay on top of things, especially when we are switching out the major holidays or seasons of clothing.  Darren allowed me to do this as part of my birthday present last February.  You can read up on some of the details here and a small update here.  
Since posting the small update, on color coordinating our storage room, I have since gone through every single bin, washed it out, re-organized it, and typed out, onto a word document, what's inside so that I do NOT have to search through 25+ bins every time I need something.  This has been a HUGE lifesaver.
I have so many rooms to still discuss, but I don't want to bore my readers.  As you can see, I have done my best to utilize every space in my home and keep it organized.  As the year's progress, I am finding that I have less and less I am able to decorate, so lately, I have been revamping cabinet and closet spaces and adding some new "touches" to our home.  I think switching things up is key to staying put, but still feeling like you are making your home, YOUR home.  

The front door: I painted the interior front door from white to black. I really cherish my time alone and try to make the best use of it.  If I feel successful while the children are gone, then it makes me really appreciate the time I have with them when they return home.  #homefacelifts
 You can read all about this project by reading the post titled "Behind Closed Doors".
 Underneath The Kitchen Sink
 Before: Although NOT bad... NOT up to Kristin's standards.
After: Really NEED more details??? Read here.
Game Shelf
I needed to make our selection of 75 board games much more accessible for the kids, so I took our game closet from LAME to FAME.  You can read all about it here.
Air Vents
Who thinks of enhancing their air vents?  MUAH!  LOL!  Here is a post on our air vents and how they went from DRAB to FAB-ulous.  
We are currently in the process of having a fence installed for our new pooch.  Will it be a privacy fence or a typical slotted fence?  5' foot or 6' foot?  Metal or wood?  There is so much to think about, but again, we will choose what WE LIKE and it will be a new addition that helps our house become more of a home.  #newpuppy = #needforafence
In addition, we are super excited about turning our dining room into a space that will get used much more often than JUST Christmas day! It's like saving your guest bedroom for the once a year guest that comes to visit.  Seems rather silly to me. We are NOT really sure what to call the future space yet, but it will be an area where I can blog, edit photos, craft, and do bills, in addition to the kids unloading their daily school work as well as a place to do their homework.  The furniture is FOR SALE if anyone is interested in buying it, please contact me @ bollingwith5@gmail.com #changes #forsale
The Lord does require us to show hospitality, so getting rid of our dining room suite may seem as if we are NOT being obedient.  However, we do host small group at least once a month, the kids have plenty of playdates, we have birthday parties at our homes, and if we choose to have guests over for dinner, we still have a kitchen table and a kitchen island that will seat close to 10-12 people.  It's not practical to reserve a room, in our home, for that "once in a blue moon" dinner you have with friends/family.  
And finally, I think NOW that we have all of our children's rooms complete, it's time for Darren and I's "LOVE SHACK" to be enhanced.  We placed our old bedroom furniture on Craig's List and had a buyer, but it fell through.  For now, this is what our room looks like, but I am reallllllly anxious to switch things up BIG TIME!!!! Darren has approved. 
Below: I had our duvet cover at the dry cleaners when I took this photo.
As you have read, FIRST, it was TRULY the LORD that has turned our house into a home. Then, we designed each room in our house to fit each person's desires and loves.  We made our closet/cabinet spaces practical and useful, not to mention efficient, organized, and  FUN! Changes, additions, "face-lifts" and purges happen ALL THE TIME in our home.  We are people that try NOT to hold on to ANYTHING we do NOT use, unless we are trying to preserve  childhood memories.  

Some people look for a beautiful place, while others make a place beautiful. I believe we did the latter. Although our living spaces are beautiful, I trust, even if our home was to burn to the ground, we would be okay.  It's only God's grace that has allowed us our salvation, our marriage, our children, our puppy, and our house turned home.  We praise Him as He is the God from who ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!!!! I'm thankful that our home is built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ!!!! 
And They Lived Happily Ever After... 
We are always excited about what the future holds, but I try desperately NOT to rush the present day. I try to enjoy it. Somedays are easier than others, but leaning on the Lord, having an amazing husband, healthy/happy/smart children, and loving friends gets me through the good, the bad, and sometimes... the UGLY (fortunately, the ugly is rare).  
There are still so many rooms and closets, in our home, that I did NOT include in this post (such as my very OWN master bedroom, walk-in closet). I realize now that I need to add those spaces to the "Must Blog About" list. For now, I hope you and URBAN Compass have enjoyed this detailed read about a few of the spaces, in our home, that we LOVE and use often.  What makes your house a home?  #iwanttohearyourstarterstory