Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fireplace Update Inspiration

While our fireplace isn't a project that's at the forefront of our to-do list in the new house, it's definitely on my radar to have the project tackled before it's time to decorate for Christmas this winter, so I have been scouring Pinterest for ideas about some possible solutions. 

Here is the fireplace as it was when we purchased the home. This photo is from the listing, so the room looks slightly different right now, but not much. We've just changed the paint color on the wall so far and that's about it. 

We plan to use this room as a formal sitting room or a more formal living room. It's a really large open space as you can see, but our plans will give it a couple of more defined spaces once it all comes together. The windows where the window seat is in this picture will be where we are doing a porch addition, so that seat is coming out and we will be putting a set of double doors there. I haven't decided exactly how I want to lay out the seating around the fireplace either, but that's a dilemma for another day. Then the far end of the room opposite the fireplace will become a Keeping Room of sorts with a couple of chairs flanking a little bar table. Back to fireplace talk...

Right now, we're pretty wide open about what to do with the fireplace, but we're thinking either paint it, or do some sort of millwork on it. Here are a few inspiration photos for if we were to paint. 

Do we take it completely white and bright?

Do more of a limewash to keep much of the brick exposed? I love this look!

Or do something a bit less conventional and take it dark? The room is so bright with all the natural light, plus a new lighter paint color, so I think it could carry this dark on the fireplace well. 

Then there is the option to go minimal with the mantle and leave most of the brick still exposed, like below. 

To be honest, right now, I'm leaning towards something very similar to what is pictured below. 

We've discussed the possibility of adding shelving and storage on either side, but as silly as it sounds, I wouldn't  have a place to put the Christmas tree if we did that. I have my heart set on having our Christmas tree by the fireplace. But I do like the idea of having the additional storage and visual interest of the shelving.

And then there's the dark side of the woodwork option, which I also love. 

We're fairly certain that we won't be doing a tv above the mantle since we'll have one in the room right behind this one. We will most likely run a cable hookup behind any woodwork we do in the event that whoever buys this house when we move out would want the option to have it. Hiding it behind the woodworking is a great option. The mantle on the fireplace we have is unfortunately bowed pretty bad, so we won't be able to keep it. I'm hoping to find something antique maybe that we can build around. But if not, Juston will build something. 

Anyone have any favorites out of those options? If you've ever painted brick before, please let me know your thoughts. My parents would probably never let me hear the end of it if we do paint it. haha They do not believe in painting brick! I'm hoping to share some kitchen progress late next week, so be sure to check back here for that!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer Succotash

I'm always looking for ways to incorporate the fresh vegetables that are available from produce stands and farmer's markets in the warmer months, so I tried a new recipe for succotash recently. It turned out so good that I wanted to share the recipe here. I originally found the recipe via Southern Living. My husband does not much care for lima beans, but he loved this, so don't be deterred by those, I know they aren't the most popular vegetable. 


2 cups lima beans
1/2 small onion (don't dice it up, use leave the half in tact)
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 whole garlic clove

Put those ingredients listed above into a pot and add enough water to cover them. Bring this to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain the beans, but save 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the thyme, onion and garlic clove. 

Cook 3-4 slices of bacon in a large skillet and remove once cooked through. Leave the grease in the skillet and drain bacon on a paper towel. 


Dice an onion and add it to the skillet. While that cooks, take 6 corn cobs and cut the corn from the cob, then add it to the skillet. Cook about 5 minutes until the corn is tender. Next, add 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes, the cooked lima beans, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1.5 tablespoons chopped fresh dill and 1.5 tablespoons fresh chives. Salt and pepper to taste and top with the crumbled bacon.



Monday, August 14, 2017


  My baby girl turned FIVE last Monday and we spent all last week celebrating. We started last Saturday by spending the day in Lexington. We took Caroline, Carter and my niece Camden and did a fun day just for Caroline.  

First, we went to Get Air, the trampoline park to burn off some energy, followed by a trip to The Cheesecake Factory to grab some of their new celebration cheesecake. If it has sprinkles, Caroline is sold. They sang us Happy Birthday (we share a birthday) and some sweet person paid for all of our cheesecake before we could.


Next, we headed to Toys R Us to let Caroline choose one thing she wanted for her birthday. She chose a small indoor trampoline that she has had a blast playing with since she and Juston put it together. After Toys R US, we headed to Jacobson Park to do some fishing and I'm not exaggerating when I say Caroline caught a fish almost every time she cast out. 

After a couple of hours fishing, we headed back home. On Caroline's actual birthday, Monday, we started off the morning heading out to get some birthday donuts and grabbed a balloon while we were at the store (which Carter later bit and popped). 

 I had hopes of taking Caroline swimming since she loves it, but the weather wasn't in a cooperative mood and it was unusually chilly and misting, so instead, we headed to the library to get Caroline her very own library card. You have to be five to get one and she was SO excited for this. She played for a bit in the children's library and chose five books to check out with her own card. 

After the library, the weather had warmed up a bit and the rain moved out, so we took cousin Camden again and went to the park by the river to play. I tried to just plan a little bit of lots of Caroline's favorite things. Juston surprised her by coming home for the evening to watch her open some presents. She chose pizza for dinner, of course. So we ate and when it was time to open presents, Juston's phone got a very important birthday call. Princess Belle called to let Caroline know that both of us birthday girls were taking a trip to Disney World this fall!! We are beyond excited for this trip!

I planned Caroline's birthday party for this past Friday evening. It was small and we just had family out, but she had a blast and was so excited to get her new knee pads and her science kit she's been wanting. 

The party was Trolls themed and my Aunt Judy from Magee's Bakery made the Poppy cake.

We had a fantastic week celebrating my best girl. She's the sweetest, most tender-hearted little blessing and I could not ask for a better daughter. I'm so blessed God made me her mama. I learn so much from her every day. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Greenville, SC

  Warning: picture heavy post ahead.  A couple of weeks ago, Juston and I took off to Charleston for a few days to celebrate our ten year anniversary, which was August 4. Well, we left Charleston on a Tuesday, drove back home to Kentucky, then headed our Wednesday afternoon for Greenville, South Carolina. I know, we're crazy, but our Charleston trip was just the two of us and we really wanted to bring the kids along with us to Greenville, so it worked out great, just lots of driving. 

Neither Juston nor myself had ever been to Greenville, but I'd been hearing wonderful things about it for the last few years, so when he told me he had a conference there, the kids and I were really excited to tag along. We stayed right in downtown at a Marriott in a suite room and it worked out great since Carter does not sleep well in the same room as the rest of us. The suites are a great option when you travel with kids to have seperated sleep space. We were able to put Carter's pack and play in the bedroom and shut the door while Caroline and I worked on crafts in the other room until naptime was over. So...on to out newest city obsession. I'll start with the scenery that was all just a couple of blocks walking distance from our hotel.

The kids and I started every morning off by loading down the double stroller with the essentials and striking out to walk downtown. We'd take the Swamp Rabbit trail until we found something fun that they wanted to get out and explore whether it was watching the ducks swimming around, stopping in O-Cha for pineapple green tea and sprinkle cookies,  or their personal favorite, the splash pad. I'm not kidding when I say that I think we were all sold and ready to move to Greenville after the first day there. Caroline asked if we could just please stay forever. 

Also within walking distance of our hotel were tons of amazing restaurants and shopping. We ate at Tupelo Honey Cafe, Brazwell's Premium Pub (twice) and a pizza place and all were excellent. I was really hoping to hit Sassafras Southern Cafe, but we ran out of time before we could. 

With the exception on Saturday once the conference was over, it was just the kids and myself exploring while Juston was in sessions for his conference. He really got to explore the industry and revitalization side of Greenville as a part of the conference and he really loved it as well. The kids and I also walked to the zoo (which I don't recommend if you're wearing flip flops and pushing two kids in a stroller, but we made it) and walked to the Children's Garden one morning as well. We managed to squeeze in some splash pad time every single day we were there. Priorities :)

Here are a few more snaps from the trip.

Pate family road trips aren't complete without a Cracker Barrel stop

Our first morning out exploring the city.

Splash Pad Heaven for these two. 

 The Barnyard portion of the Greenville Zoo. It's not huge (the zoo), but it's very affordable ($10 for adults, $4 for kids up to twelve and under two free). There are also GREAT playgrounds just outside of the zoo entrance. 

Wore slap out from all the zoo fun. We walked back mainly via the Swamp Rabbit Trail, but part of it was shut down for construction, so we had to detour. 

 Finally getting to explore with Daddy. 

Walking along the Reedy River. 

Enjoying a sprinkle cookie from O-Cha.  This place had amazing flavor infused green tea blends. The pineapple was my favorite. 

I'd say that Greenville is easily in our top three favorite cities after just one visit. We're planning to return in November for a few days. The thing I loved the most was just the constant motion. We were out and about all times of day, different days of the week and no matter when it was, there was always a crowd milling about. Not in a crowded way though, just in a way that made you want to get out and be a part of it all as well. There were tons of great restaurants and shopping, lots of activities for kids, adults, families, single folks, etc. Literally something for everyone. I truly mean it when I say that I think moving to this town just became a very serious consideration for us within the next five years or so. It's just a very neat place that I could see raising our babies and being very happy. 

I'll work on putting together a city guide of all the things we did and would recommend to anyone looking to visit. In the meantime, I'll be planning our return trip :)