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cheers to 10 years!

March 25, 2020

It’s been almost five years since I logged in to update this blog — as many of you know, I hit a major speedbump in 2015 with my health and have spent the last few years recovering. Throughout, I’ve been so grateful for this wonderful house to shelter and comfort me (especially when I was spending hour upon hour on my living room couch, enveloped in those gorgeous teal walls). At the same time, remembering how much energy I had “before” and how much work I used to do on the house, well, it made me feel pretty low by comparison. So, I took a little break from house projects and the blog, which turned into a long break. “Comparison is the thief of joy” never felt truer than during the years I spent recovering. So for the most part, I just lived here and enjoyed it and tried to spend increasing time away from the house as a measure of success in healing.

And now, it’s March 2020. I’m back to good (maybe great) physical health, and spending all my days inside the little farmhouse … thanks to the coronavirus. I just spent the 10th anniversary of home ownership conducting my day job responsibilities from a desk I’ve set up in my dining room, and raking last autumn’s leaves out of the garden beds. One benefit is for certain: my garden has never looked better, and it’s barely even spring yet.

So, I’m dusting off the blog to document a few highlights of this, the 10th year. It’s already proving to be an unexpected one. But there have already been more than a handful of deja vu moments that have transported me back to the first year. Similarities like the earlier-than-normal snow melt, the mid-March signs of spring, the stock-up trips to the grocery store and hardware store, the hours upon hours spent alone in the house tackling projects, the sowing of seeds, and the excitement of all I can cook and make in my very own kitchen. I have some more time to cook, which means revisiting recipes from my early years of the little farmhouse, and trying some new ones like a gluten-free sourdough starter (started it today … we’ll see!) And, I’ll fill you in on the few projects that I did tackle in the last five years.

the living room, March 2020

Whoever might be reading this — you’re probably at home a lot these days, too. I hope your home is safe, I hope you’re able to spend quality time with people you love, and I hope you’ll reach out if you want to connect.


the big 1-1-5 … happy birthday farmhouse!

The farmhouse turned 115 this year, and I hosted a big backyard bash in July. It was amazing to have so many friends and family members show up to help celebrate. I’ve had the idea in my head for a few years, and have been dreaming up party food ideas all year. Some awesome girlfriends helped me bring the idea to life, preparing party fare from every decade that the house has been around. It was so much fun. We rounded out the menu with home-smoked pork from my awesome cousins, Maggie’s famous German potato salad, and the most amazing ribs from Smoke in the Pit (a neighborhood BBQ place).


  • 1900s: Jell-O salad (yeah Rachel!)
  • 1910s: root beer floats
  • 1920s: Rice Krispies treats
  • 1930s: Fritos
  • 1940s: deviled eggs (thanks aunt Mary!)
  • 1950s: Chex Mix (great job Brianna!)
  • 1960s: Sangria
  • 1970s: cheese ball (way to go Mary!)
  • 1980s: 7-layer dip
  • 1990s: Bagel Bites
  • 2000s: Millenium cupcakes (amazing job, Sarah!)
  • 2010s: the best kale chips ever (thanks mom!)

And, by popular request, the white sangria recipe:

4 bottles vinho verde
2 L. club soda
1.5 c. Triple Sec
2 cans frozen lemonade
3 oranges, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 peaches, sliced
Bags of frozen fruit (1 of each): raspberries, strawberries, pineapple
//combine and pack dispenser in ice or refrigerate for a few hours prior to serving//

So much <3 to everyone who showed up and made it a party. xoxo





I forgot what day it was, and then I saw this photo in my timehop stream. I guess this makes 4 years of Lauren + the little farmhouse!

I should probably get around to finishing the paint job in the kitchen that I started the first weekend, eh?

carrot soup and apple cornbread

I tried the most divine roasted carrot + coconut soup at a dinner party last month, and was inspired to try recreating it when I saw a beautiful bunch of carrots at the farmer’s market. Read more…


You’ve met Danica before, here on the blog. Usually in the context of crafts and projects, at which she is a creative genius. She is a full-time photographer, which I admire (and envy, just a little bit). I love her style, her eye for visual storytelling, and her kind soul. We’re bartering skills from our day jobs to help each other out, so she came over last week to snap a few shots of me around the house (I needed a new headshot for something coming up this spring). But I especially adore this one from the kitchen:

More of her lovely work here, on her blog.

Thanks, Danica 🙂

*GPOYS = gratuitous picture of you Saturday (GPOYW = gratuitous picture of you Wednesday, a popular Tumblr phenomenon that I do not normally participate in, being that this is not a Tumblr blog… 😉 )

thank you, Mr. Squirrel

… for carving my pumpkin for me.


I get a lot of questions from friends & readers about where I find inspiration and ideas for house projects. The honest answer is that it’s a full-time hobby. I’ve been collecting magazine pages, jotting notes and saving websites for years. It’s easy to pin photos and magazine pages on a bulletin board. But what do you do with photos you find on blogs, and products you want to bookmark to buy later? There’s never been a truly great way to do that.
Until now.
It’s called Pinterest, and I’m officially addicted.

It’s like someone threw my RSS reader, Amazon wishlist and magazine clippings in a blender. The result is so clean and crisp and fantastically useful that it’s quickly replacing all my other systems. Now I have a place to collect images and ideas from all over the web. Here’s a board I’ve started for house stuff (you’ll recognize at least one item from a previous blog post):
Plus you get to see all the great things that other people are posting, and can repost them to your own boards. Pinterest keeps track of your links for you, so you don’t have to worry about bookmarking or copying&pasting all those URLs anymore. (LOVE that part.)

It’s still in beta, but I have a few invites left. If you want to join the fun right away, let me know and I’ll shoot one your way. Otherwise you can also request an invitation here.
Anyone else out there using Pinterest? Find me! I can’t wait to see your boards.

the first snow

We had flurries a week or two ago, but last night was the first real snow. And by last night, I mean, it’s been snowing steadily for sixteen hours.

bookshelf for sale

For my local readers:

I’m selling my IKEA Billy Bookcase (medium brown, including the five original shelves plus an extra glass shelf). I’ve had it for three years, and it’s in great shape other than a crack in the bottom of the back panel that’s been reinforced and is easily hidden with books from the front. The photo above shows a white-ish area along the side panel but that’s just a reflection from the windows. $50.

Leave a comment or shoot me an email if you’re interested in taking a closer look.


It’s not something I would normally think to write about here, but today is Blog Action Day, and the topic is water. Since I have a blog… and some thoughts on water… it seemed appropriate to join in the fun.

Being a homeowner has absolutely changed my view of water – for practical and economic reasons alike. I was taught to conserve water from an early age – to turn off the faucet while brushing my teeth, to take short showers, to only water the lawn at night and run the dishwasher during off-peak hours.
But things change when you’re the one paying the water bill all alone. And cleaning up the mess from a flood. Etc.
So here are some thoughts on water, for what they’re worth.
1. I’m grateful to live in a city with some of the cleanest, best-tasting public water in the country (#10 on this year’s list from the EWG). Growing up, we always paid for bottled water. Not only is that not in my budget, but I’d rather be able to drink public water since my taxes pay for the infrastructure. (Also, no way do I have room for a bottled water cooler in my kitchen.) I have a Brita pitcher in my fridge for guests, but I’m mostly a tap water girl now… and totally cool with it.
2. My water heater (while only a few years old) is definitely not big enough for a family of five. It’s big compared to other houses my size, according to the realtor and inspector, but when my family is visiting, we’ve learned we have to shower in shifts. When it’s just me, it’s usually not a problem. But knowing that the hot water could run out at any moment does help motivate me to keep my showers short… which is a good thing.
3. Paying a water bill every month is kind of a bummer… but again, it reminds me to be grateful that I even have running water. And clean water. Piped into my house, ready for me anytime I want it. It is unlikely that my house had running water when it was built in 1900, which makes me even more appreciative of this modern convenience.
4. Water is powerful. A flash flood can overtake your street before your very eyes. Basements can be ruined in a big rainstorm, as many of my friends experienced just a few weeks ago. I count myself lucky to have a solid roof and an amazingly dry basement. During our record-breaking deluge in September, I only had a trickle of water find its way in, and no real damage was done. But water damage is unpredictable, and not often covered by homeowners insurance, and something I’ve learned to fear over the last six months.
5. Conserving water is not only the right thing for our world, but it’s the right thing for my budget. There’s no reason to waste water while gardening, cleaning or anything else. I don’t have a dishwasher and I don’t mind it. I do laundry only when necessary, and I water my vegetables at night. Next year I hope to attach my gutters to a rain barrel so I’ll be able to reuse that water as well. It takes a little extra effort, and I know we’ve all heard about it to the point of not listening anymore, but conserving water is important. And it is worth the effort.
For those of you who made it here through Blog Action Day, welcome! For all my regular readers, I’ll be back this weekend with some pretty exciting updates to show you. Stay tuned.