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Thanksgiving Kids’ Table & Tips for Entertaining Kids During the Holidays

November 10, 2017

I just love the holiday season, and Thanksgiving might be one of my favorite holidays because it’s a great time to get together to see family and friends. Because of the season of life we’re in, it means we are often accommodating to feeding and entertaining children who come over for these family and friendsgiving get-togethers. Eating is still hit or miss for us with a toddler, so keeping him occupied while food prep is happening is key. I love putting crayons and stickers out for the kids to get a little crafty with before they eat dinner!

In my head I’d like to think I can create amazing Pinterest-inspired tablescapes, but in reality, I’m barely getting by, so this Thanksgiving kids’ table setting is very accessible for anyone using some basic festive items you can get at Target or Amazon. Some of my decor like the chair backers and plates I picked up on sale from Pottery Barn Kids in previous years, but you can find pretty similar pieces out now like these backers and plates that are adorable. I found some other kids’ table decor items that are on sale like these platesbowlsplacemats and napkins.

I’ve included a few tips below for keeping the kiddos happy and occupied while the adults are mingling or doing food prep.

Tips for Keeping Kids Entertained during Thanksgiving

  • Crayons with built-in coloring placements are perfect for the kids’ table, and it also gives you the opportunity to talk to your kids about what they’re thankful for this season so you can write down those memories. I’m a sucker for my my kid’s homemade art, so having him color a place setting every year and seeing how they progress over the years is something I plan to do for the next few years. We are having our second annual Friendsgiving ( pot luck get-together with all my yummy holiday favorites) so I’ll probably use this tablecloth for a larger kids’ table.
  • These cute pumpkins are festive and are great way to bribe the kids to eat some veggies. These little jelly pumpkins are delicious, too.
  • Give them some things to keep them entertained after dinner, too. I’ve filled the chair backers with fall stickers, playdoh and bubbles, which are all some of Braden’s favorite things right now.
  • Make things personalized. I love the little place card settings, as it makes each child feel special and causes them to know they have specific spot claimed at the table which, in turn, might make them stay put for a little longer than usual. 🙂

I feel like I’m learning new tips all the time about being a mom and dealing with toddlers. If you have any secrets for making the holidays fun and stress-free for the whole family, I’d love to hear them!

thanksgiving kids table


pumpkin candy, thanksgiving kids table

thanksgiving kids table

chair backer, kids thanksgiving table, thanksgiving decorThis table and chairs are my husband’s from his childhood. He can remember eating at this table with his siblings during the holidays, and I just love that we have it now and Braden is using it everyday. I have dreams of B and his cousins eating together at this little table! We did repaint it to make it feel a little more modern.

thanksgiving decor, thanksgiving kids table

thanksgiving decor, thanksgiving kids table




Gifts Home Design + Decor Shopping

Holiday Gift Guide: Hearth & Hand with Magnolia at Target

November 6, 2017
gifts for kids, gifts for holiday, joanna gaines, target, hearth and hand

hostess gifts, holiday gift guide, home decor gifts, magnolia home, joanna gaines, target, hearth and handI know I’m not the only one drinking the Fixer Upper/Magnolia/Chip and Joanna Gaines kool-aid. The Gaines’ authenticity and refined modern farmhouse style has won over many, myself included, and their new Hearth & Hand partnership launched at the motherland yesterday.

Perfect timing since it seems everyone likes to get rid of all their pumpkins as of Nov. 1 to trade them in for wreaths, garland and shiny Christmas décor. I don’t really have my life together to be at this point yet, but I definitely made a trip to Target this weekend and scoped out the best of the new Hearth and Hand line to put together this little gift guide for you. Overall, there is a little bit of everything at various price points, so it’s pretty easy to get a piece of their style without breaking the bank. And, all of it just really, really nice quality, too. Win, win!

I have been jotting down more holiday gift guide ideas, and I’ll be sharing at least one per week since I’m all about the online shopping these days since I don’t like to take my kid with me into stores unless I like apologizing repeatedly to sales people and haphazardly trying to refold everything he touches. :/

What’s on your wishlist from the Hearth & Hand with Magnolia collection? Let me know!

For the kiddos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

For the festive holiday lover: 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

For the hostess: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

For the home decor enthusiast: 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10


Home Design + Decor

Lucas Family Home Progress: Quick catch up and wood floors

April 5, 2017
white oak, solid wood floors, custom home

wood floors, white oak, custom home

Oh, where do I even begin…

If I had to give any advice to anyone considering building a home, I would say try to stock up on patience because you’ll need it for this process! It’s been a crazy, crazy few weeks, and it’s been hard to even have the energy to write about it. We went through a very frustrating few weeks because essentially nothing was happening. Frustrated doesn’t begin to describe it. Let me try to sum it up for you since my last update on the home front which you can read here.

  1. We sold our current house. Yay! We had multiple offers, so we are very thankful for that. The clock started ticking  once we went under contract in Feb. We did not tell our builder we had the option for a lease back and instead told him that we had to be out by the third week in March to light a fire under him. It’s April, and we’re not in our house so that didn’t really work…
  2. We found out our builder was basically misappropriating funds. What does this mean? We would give him money, and then he would not pay subcontractors. The whole time we’ve been building, we have to sign over funds from our construction loan for the work that will be done in the next phase. We found out there were multiple companies who were owed money from Nov. – Jan. for work that had already been done or mostly completed.  Because  they weren’t getting paid, they weren’t coming back to finish the job or delivering materials for other parts of the job. For example, the company who supplies all the trim, molding and doors for the house wouldn’t start making our custom front door because they weren’t paid for all the materials from months ago. Our builder said, “I’ve been working with them for 20 years, that’s BS.” It’s BS that a company wants to get paid for a service they provided? How ludicrous, right? *Insert sarcasm times 10 here*
  3. We let the bank in on how terrible the situation was and they were pretty much livid. By this time, we had already extended our construction loan twice. To have it renewed a third time is pretty rare, and they were pretty much fed up with the builder like us. We made a plan to bypass our builder and start working with the subcontractors directly and issuing them checks vs. having funds given to the builder.
  4.  To fire our builder could cause more issues, putting our house into a holding period, so we were basically being held hostage by his poor planning and mistakes. He pretty much ruined all relationships with subcontractors by being so late on payments. We consulted with multiple attorneys. We threatened legal action. We actually got in contact with another couple who is also building a house with our builder and they were having a similar, frustrating experience with him. We ended up meeting them in person, and walking them through our house which is much farther along than their house is. It was nice to meet very nice people to commiserate with. Half of this couple is an attorney who specializes in construction law. It was shocking to us that our builder would be this daft.
  5. In an effort to get out house done, we started dealing with the subcontractors and started paying them directly. Ben basically took over as the builder, lining up workers, paying people what they were owed even though that money was already dispersed to the builder. The hope was we would just get that money back after suing the builder.
  6. Ben had a little come-to-Jesus talk with the builder, who gave us a mediocre apology and promised to “finish our house.” Once everyone was paid and work was being lined up, we allowed the builder to get involved again, but we still would not issue any funds directly to him. All trust was lost here, so I wasn’t about to sign over any money to him.
  7. Work started happening pretty regularly again. There was still so much poor planning on the builder’s part  with the coordination of getting people in at certain times, etc. But, things were at least moving along.
  8. The countertops were put in the house. We did marble throughout and everything looks great! We went back and found some different marble a couple of weeks ago because the place we got it from, 3KA Stone, had some new options come in from Turkey. I love the clean look of white marble.
  9. Painting happened recently and that was A LOT of work to get done. A ton of prep work goes into painting. We chose colors months ago, which was such a hard process. We kept things pretty neutral and added some color on cabinets, Braden’s room and the bathrooms. I will probably add more color in the dining room and other areas once we figure out furniture and how I want to decorate everything. I will probably do a whole other post on paint at some point.
  10. Floors were stained a few days ago, as you can see from the pictures. It was hard to decide the color. Part of me wanted to do a lighter stain, which you see so much of now in modern farmhouse style homes or coastal homes. But, I’m pretty traditional and wanted a traditional stain would stand the test of time. We ended up doing a color called coffee brown. Fitting since I love me some coffee. 😉 The pictures were taken before the flooring people put down a coat of polyurethane, which seals the floors and makes them look so much better. They look a bit dull in these pictures but look great now that they’re sealed. They’ll get another coat of this later this week and be 100% done by the weekend. Will post more pics soon.

So, that’s pretty much the abbreviated version of what’s gone on as of late. We closed on our house last week so we’re renters at this point. Our house looks like it’s been hit by a tornado right now with boxes in corners everywhere. I can’t wait to be out of this transitional period. It’s driving me a little batty, and I’m pretty much run down. I have been sick for the past week and finally went to the ENT and got on antibiotics for a sinus and ear infection after not being able to swallow all weekend. Fun times, ya’ll.

The end is in sight. More to come soon!


Fashion + Style Home Design + Decor

Shades of Green

March 17, 2017

green accessories, green home accessories, green clothing

Partially inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, this post is also inspired by a color palette I’ve really been drawn to lately. A few green wardrobe items have been in my closet for awhile, but I’ve also picked up a couple more lately. I love green home accessories as well. Jewel tones are probably my favorite shade, but I don’t really discriminate! Greenery is the 2017 PANTONE color of the year, and I love the natural feel it brings to a space. I’m heavily leaning on painting some cabinets a moody green color in the #lucasfamilyhome. My husband thinks I’m crazy! Stay tuned to see if I get my way. 😉 I really need to make that decision in the next week or so.

Here are a couple of green items that I already have in my closet and a few more to get the wheels turning for you. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Cheers!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5| 6 | 7 | 8 | 9


Home Design + Decor

Solid Wood Flooring

January 18, 2017

I’m finally getting around to sharing another update on the home front. I have held off a little because it doesn’t look like there’s been much progress since it’s just a lot of little things have been going on behind-the-scenes but if you catch up on my home updates, read here.  Painting prep is starting this week, but thought I’d give a little update on the wood floors since this was such a big milestone in the home building process. You may have seen me post a picture on Instagram about the wood floor prep.

Step 1: Fill in low spots on the concrete slab with self leveling concrete

Step 2: Cover concrete with hot tar to seal the slab from moisture and then lay down 2×4’s perpendicular to final wood floor orientation to provide a nailing surface.

Step 3: Plane (sand) 2×4’s perfectly level.

Step 4: Lay out wood floor and start nailing it down.

Step 5: Climatize house (let the air or heat run for two weeks in the house) to bring moisture in the wood down to what it will be while we live in the house.

Step 6: Sand floors, fill in any holes or imperfections and stain.

We need to be on step 5 at this point but we’re waiting on the gas line to be hooked up so we can have heat. A bit of poor planning on the part of our builder, and we’re a little frustrated to say the least.  As you can see, a lot of steps go into putting solid wood floors. I love the wide-plank floor boards we went with. I am a little on the fence regarding staining. I lean more toward a traditional stain, but the white-washed floor is so pretty, too. I have heard from many people they like this raw wood look. What do you think?

We’re testing out some different stains this week to figure out the look we want. So. Many. Decisions.

More soon!

Disclosure: My handy husband helped with explaining these steps to me so I must give credit. 😉




Wood Floor-3 Wood Floor-2 Wood Floor Wood Floor-5 Wood Floor-4 Wood Floor-7 Wood Floor-10 Wood Floor-8







Home Design + Decor

Tile, tile and more tile

January 3, 2017

Master Shower: We used snow white marble which is similar to carrara marble, but it has a higher quartz content so it makes it more durable and the color is more uniform, which I realized I liked more and more after staring at tile for HOURS. We used 3×6 subway on the ceilings and walls, 1×2 herringbone on the lower walls and 2 inch hex on the floor, which isn’t pictured. I’m really happy with the look overall. The showers are covered and taped now so all the sanding and painting mess doesn’t get on them.

Hello 2017! Well, I thought I’d be in the #lucasfamilyhome  by now, but by early Dec. we were getting the sense it was not going to be until after the first of the year. It’s a moving target at this point, but I’m guessing mid-February now. It’s frustrating to say the least, but I’ll save that for another day. I wanted to share a quick update on tile progress. Much of this was installed a few week ago and if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some  snapshots of tile here and there, particularly on Instastories, which has become my way to document Braden’s cuteness and mood swings. Follow me  – reenlucas – on Instagram to see those shenanigans and other behind-the-scenes home adventures/frustrations.

Tile selection was something I was quite opinionated about, much to my hubby’s dismay. My goal was to pick classic finishes so I could have a clean slate to choose paint colors or include other personal touches to make the room feel like my own. And, of course  – we were always trying to keep budget in mind. My husband was so kind to constantly give me that reality check every step of the way.

I’ll be playing some catch-up with my next few home posts, so stay tuned for more on the home front soon!


Braden stepping into his bathroom. This bathroom has two shelves flanking it from the game room entry way making it accessible for people lounging

For this jack and jill style bathroom,  we wanted  durable, classic materials. The  cabinets will get some color to give the room some personality. We chose ceramic tile in a classic white 2 inch hex. The shower is a white ceramic 3×6 subway tile in a crosshatch pattern. Ben was skeptical about this at first, but liked it afterwards. Pretty much the story of my life. 🙂


My original vision for the mudroom was to do a ceramic tile in a fun pattern, but sourcing that was difficult with the timing we were up against and not budget friendly. With it being a relatively small space, it just seemed silly to spend that much on tile that was going to be covered in dirty laundry. So, we went with 12×24 ceramic tile cut to 6×24 and laid that in a herringbone pattern.


Funny story with this. Look very closely when picking the grout color. We made a mistake and accidently chose a brown grout vs. a grey because we didn’t look at the names that closely. We were able to get it fixed and cover it with a grey grout. It seems like I’m obsessed with hex, but I just fell in love with the look of this hex, which is 4 inch marble so it gives the room a different look.  This is the tile in the downstairs guest bathroom which has a door making it accessible from the outdoor living space.


Porch tile we chose is a slate tile called  montauk blue. The tile came in 12×12 and 12×24. Originally, I picked out a different  pattern for this tile, sort of a versaille pattern, but then discovered that was going to be an incredible amount of labor when the tile folks were trying to lay it all out. Each tile would need to be trimmed to accommodate the correct amount of spacing for the grout lines, so it was going to be $$$$ . Lesson learned here: if you have a cool tile pattern in mind, talk through that thoroughly before buying the tile to make sure it will really work for the space, type of material, etc.











Home Design + Decor

Carpentry details

November 23, 2016

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday has started off great! It’s been awhile since I’ve shared an update on the Lucas family home front. In some ways it seems like a lot has happened but in other ways it seems like not much has. So many decisions have to be made on the back end and a lot of work in one area has to happen before the next piece can start. I’m share what I’ll call a carpentry update.

Carpenters have been creating the cased openings, crown molding, door trim, built-ins, and cabinets in every nook of the house. You may have seen a few posts from me here and there on Instagram but I’ve been slacking on the blog front with the #Lucasfamilyhome updates. Ben goes over there pretty much daily to see the progress and measure things to make sure they’re correct and catches things we see that might need to be changed. For instance, we realized we forgot to put an outlet in an area of the kitchen that really needed. It was a relatively easy fix, but walking through the house and thinking through all of this once or twice isn’t enough; some things just seem to get overlooked and I was actually the one who pointed this out last week. It’s like we have to make a weekly or bi-weekly punch list. Are we micromanagers? Probably. But, we’re invested in this home in every way possible, and it’s better to be as thorough as possible in my opinion.

How far are we from completion? We are probably looking at late December or early January to be totally realistic. We wanted to get in by December 1 and that’s not going to happen, and we REALLY wanted to move in by Christmas and that’s looking unlikely as well.

I’ll be back more frequently since we’re just a few weeks out. Next up, I’ll share a tile update, including my top picks if you’re going for a neutral, timeless look.


carpentry-1, Lucas Family Home

Cased opening into dining room


Built-in bookcases upstairs


Reading nook/built-in bench seating with storage at top of staircase


Cabinets in kids’ bathroom


Kitchen cabinets


Master bathroom cabinets


Kitchen area cabinets


Entryway in the making




Home Design + Decor

Insulation and Drywall

October 6, 2016

A quick update on the home front: Insulation and drywall are complete now as of a few days ago, and things were getting prepped so the trim, cased openings and other carpentry details can get started.  It really takes awhile to get the drywall details finished properly and to fill and sand the walls down so they’ll be smooth as possible.

We selected a garage door, but because it’s a bit of a custom size and look, it’ll take awhile to get made. I think a temporary door of some sort will get put on soon because a lot of materials will end up getting stored in the house now. Doors were delivered this week, so those will go on soon. We made 90 percent of the decisions on the flooring and tile last week. We’re heading over there this morning to meet with the cabinet makers and draw out life size sketches of what we have come up so they can get start with making some of the shelves, cabinets an built-ins in the house. Then, we’re heading out of town for a family wedding this weekend.

More soon!



The master bedroom, all the bathrooms and the laundry room where insulated for sound control.


We chose to use BIB insulation (Blown in Blanket) because it offers increased sound control and increased energy efficiency.

The white blanket gets stapled to the stud and then the insulation gets blown in to fill 100% of the space.


Master bedroom ceiling after the first day of drywall (looks pretty rough)


Master bedroom ceiling after drywall tape, mud and sanding.

Living room is starting to take shape








Home Design + Decor

Odds & Ends

September 19, 2016

A lot has been going on behind the scenes at the house to get it ready to before insulation and drywall. Over the past month, all the things you don’t really think about, but need to have in order to make your house function properly have been going on. So all the HVAC and electrical to do’s have really been the bulk of the work done lately and that’s hard to document. One step has to occur before the next step and inspections have to occur along the way. So, if all of this doesn’t happen in the right order, it can really throw things off.

For instance, the inspector came to the house to see if we were ready for dry wall,  and the gas line to the fireplace wasn’t connected. So, we failed that inspection. The inspector came back the next day first thing in the morning  at 8am, but the plumber didn’t come back until 8:30am. By that time, the inspection failed AGAIN and we have another day wasted. So, it’s a lot of frustration overall. I don’t know a single person who has built a house that wasn’t frustrated along the way and had delays. It’s just really frustrating when you’re in the midst of it and you look at the calendar and realize it’s nearly the fall and we thought we’d be in there by Sept. That’s definitely not happening.

We did get insulation on Saturday and drywall should happen this week. It’s been a loooooong time coming for this, and our builder tells us that typically 60-90 days after drywall is when houses get completed. We will see! I’m sharing some progress pics that we’ve taken along the way.

More decisions have to be made about interior details so we’re working on that, too. Ben met with the cabinet makers to sketch out the layout of the kitchen cabinets and closets. ( I couldn’t make this meeting.) I think we’re pretty good on the kitchen cabinets, but I’m really indecisive on my closet situation. I’m told I need to make a decision in the next two weeks how much shoe space I feel like I need. That sounds really ridiculous, I know. But, I’m really on the fence about this!

More soon,



Straightening out the wall to ensure the drywall sits flat. They cut on the inward side of the 2×4 and shove a larger shim (aka a wedge of wood) to correct the bow. I thought this was really strange, and I don’t think it’s done in every house but apparently it’s one of those little details that makes a difference.


Fireplace install


Pocket door install in Braden’s bathroom upstairs. All of the other interior doors get installed after drywall.

Double checking vanity light placement to reduce drywall repair.



Home Design + Decor

This little light I wish you were mine

July 25, 2016

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

I mentioned in my last home post that we did a walk-through the house a few days ago to take a look at plumbing and electrical that’s been installed to date. In the bathrooms in particular, we have wire-only holes since I can’t decide at this point if I want overhead scones that have two, three or four lights vs. two single light sconces. I feel like I look at lighting online all the time, and I’m not only indecisive, but also overwhelmed by the choices, colors and options out there.  I’ve also realized lighting can be quite pricey, so that’s a budget and mood killer. Womp womp.

During my hunt, I keep going back to a few that I really like, which tend to be lantern style. I already purchased this light for the mudroom, and it’s currently stored away in Ben’s closet. ( I can’t even fit another pair of shoes in my closet at this point much less a massive box with a lantern in it!) I also seem to gravitate toward non-traditional bulbs.

All that said, I’ve rounded up a few of my top lighting picks. I think a big part of my style is traditional and Southern, so maybe that’s why I love lanterns. They seem welcoming and remind me a bit of Louisiana and Charleston, SC, which have some of the most charming and beautiful homes in my opinion.

I am a big fan of these kitchen island lanterns.

I am a big fan of these kitchen island lanterns. Picture found on Pinterest via Southern Living Show House.

I’ve gathered even more picks on my lighting board on Pinterest, so check that out if you’re interested in seeing more. If anyone has any suggestions for places to find lighting, I’m all ears! And, if they’re affordable, then that’s even better. 😉

More soon,