Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ding Dong

Having a pizza delivered has been a little awkward at our house for a while now. Odd I know, but when you have a doorbell that looks like something out of a serial killer movie, it's no shocker the delivery guys give us the side eye as we open the door to get our goods.

The culprit:

It wasn't pretty and due to it's sharp and unappealing nature, delivery people, trick-or-treaters, carolers and guests had to either knock really loud or call us to let us know they were there. 

Embarrassing, ugly, annoying....so many adjectives to describe our predicament. It's one of those issues that we have been aware of for ages, but never made a priority to fix. Then, one day I saw some really cool doorbell options ON SALE over at Rejuvenation and thought...today is the day we make a change. 

The boys got to work un-installing the old doorbell.....

And then boom, the new one was installed. 

15 minutes and $15 bucks later we made an update that will save the finger tips of our guests for years to come. I'm going to go order a pizza now to show the delivery guy we've got at least some part of our life together. 

Get your own - here. And don't pay full price, they go on sale all the time!

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Pizza Pizza


Our Pizza oven finally makes the perfect wood fire pizza!
Photo via Sometimes I Draw Things
It has been nearly a year since I last checked in with an update on the pizza oven. Last we chatted, I filled you guys in on a few of our dilemmas, the main one being...the pizza oven looked legit but the pizzas were not cooking evenly. The edges and top of the pizzas would be close to burned while the center would remain doughy. Over the course of a year we increased the height of the chimney, added a ceramic fiber blanket and most recently laid pizza stone tiles across the floor.

On top of that we considered it was possible the pizza oven just needed to heat up longer before we attempted to cook anything inside. However, regardless of how early we lit the fire, the oven itself would get to 600-700 degrees but the floor would only be about 400.

A few Sundays ago we decided to buckle down and figure this thing out once and for all. Brent started the fire around 10:00 a.m. Back inside he made two different doughs and some homemade pizza sauce. Around 2:30 the first pizza went in. Out it came 10 minutes later, with similar results. Soft bottom, doughy middle and near burnt top. Over the next 5 tries we played with increasing the fire, decreasing the fire and letting the overall oven heat up more but nothing seemed to work.

Finally Brent did what any red-blooded american millennial would do and googled it. And just like that the answer to our year long quest for perfect pizza was found in a video titled something like " Is your pizza oven floor not getting hot?" The trick? Are you ready for it?

Build the fire directly on top of where you will be cooking!

Then after a short time, move fire over to the side and place pizza where the fires was just sitting. This rapidly heats up the floor/cooking surface, bringing it to 700 degrees (approximately), consistent with the rest of the oven.... then.... 90 seconds later...POOF...the perfect pizza, cooked evenly and deliciously through and through. It's so obvious.... the hottest part of the floor would be where the fire was sitting. How did we not think of this?! It was equal parts embarrassing and thrilling, but mostly thrilling because now our pizza oven works!

I realize this is not a post filled with beautiful imagery, but you guys have been along for this ride so I wanted to share the good news. I also wanted to document the "how to" here in hopes that someone else, just getting started on a DIY pizza oven can be spared the long road of trial and error and just zip right to the part where they were enjoying yummy pizza!

All images are my own

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Kevo = Keys No More

Happy Wednesday! It's a snow day here for us in Atlanta, our second one this winter, which is pretty unusual and exciting for us southerners.

Tonight's post is a riveting one all about our new door lock. I'd say it's a fair assessment to assume you are officially getting old when upgrading your door lock is a blog worthy event! Ha!  But last year we installed a Kevo Smart Lock and WE LOVE IT!!

Kevo is a digital door lock that operates off blue tooth. No keys, no codes. Just easy-peasy access. Brent knew of Kevo and suggested we install one for our new Bell Cabinetry & Design showroom last summer. Our entire design team needed access to the space and we felt this was the best avenue to give unrestricted access to those that would need it without making a dozen + keys and then having to change the locks should one of the keys get lost. The set-up worked so well that Brent and I opted to add Kevo to our house when we upgraded our garage entry door last fall. 

The perks of this thing were even more apparent on the home front. As the administrator you can see who and when the door is locked or unlocked right on your phone. If you are anything like us, as we are pulling out of the neighborhood one of us usually questions the other on if we locked the door. Even if you are SURE you did, you become instantly less sure when questioned. Well, now we can open the app and clearly see if the door is locked or unlocked.

Another highlight is the ability to issue temporary keys. The housekeeper, a babysitter or even a friend who might be staying for the weekend can all be issued a key for a set amount of time. No more leaving a key under the mat. And finally it all comes down to convenience. Between the push start car and this Kevo lock I literally never have to take my keys out of my purse. Any Mom can attest that carrying a kid, a purse, a work bag and a diaper bag into the house at the same time whilst trying to finagle your keys out of your purse and into the door lock is no easy feat. Now Croix can run ahead of me and simply tap the link and POOF the door is unlocked.

We got the Kevo 2 which retails for around $230. We went with the Satin Nickel finish for the showroom and the bronze finish for our house so it would blend in with the door hardware throughout the rest of our space. It's a small thing, sure, but the busier life gets the more I appreciate any and all conveinances I can create around me.

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Breakfast Room - PLANKED

My first house related post of 2018 is a little project we had done at the verrrry end of last year...

We added planks to our breakfast room walls!

Our breakfast room is a space we use a lot, but you have seen very little of here on the blog. The area sits right off the kitchen and is a highly utilized area of our home. We eat there, we work there, I fold laundry there, it's really a central hub for us. The space is big and currently holds our china cabinet and a large 6' round table we purchased right after we moved in.

The Before:

Not bad, just a little plain. 

This house is full of giant walls and this space is no exception. I've done pretty much nothing in this area since we moved in because I am stumped on how to decorate the big blank wall. One element that really helped add life and interest to another big, blank space in our house was the shiplap or planking we added in our mudroom area, so we started talking through the idea of adding it in this space as well. Not only were we sure the planks would up the cozy factor, but we thought it would add some nice balance to the back of our house. We have an open floor plan and the breakfast room is in the same visual area as the mudroom; So, the addition of planks here would add cohesiveness. 

This conversation got kick started as we made plans to have our first floor painted. We didn't want to pay to have the wall painted only to cover them with wood. So, Brent asked the painters if they did trim work. Turns out they did and were able to provide us with a very reasonable quote to add 1 x 8 planks to our breakfast room.  It caused us a little heart ache to pay for something we knew we could do ourselves, but at the end of the day it just made sense to go this route this time. Time being the main reason. 

Much like the mudroom, the results were instant and we are SO happy with the vibe now

Still no art, but the room feels 10x's warmer and more interesting. The crisp white color and additional 4 chairs we got for Christmas help too! Oh, and I'm testing the universe and TRYING to pull some of my plants out of the hospital to see if they can thrive in other areas. Fingers crossed!

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Croix's 2nd Birthday

On Saturday we celebrated Croix' 2nd birthday with a Croix Town Party!!

Croix is obsessed with all things car and truck. Specifically red cars and red trucks. So much so in fact, I actually wrote him a song last year. Wanna hear it?

*Set to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star*

Red car, red car where are you?
We've been looking all through town. 

Up, up, up the road we go.
Down, down, down but no one knows. 

Red Car, red car where are you?
Red car, red car, We love you. 

It was an instant hit :) 

As we started thinking about what to do for his birthday, one thing was for sure...He was getting a red car!  And what does any car need? A town to ride around in of course! So, Brent and I went to work and built him a town full of places he frequents often.  Places like......


Complete with popcorn and apples - his favorite items to purchase !

And Home Depot:

He got this little workbench and tools for Christmas and he has been obsessed! Now he can officially pitch in on all of our projects around the house.

And lastly, there was a Starbucks, a bad habit he picked up from his Mom. 

One of the cool things about this car is it can be operated with a remote control. So, everyone took turns maneuvering Croix + friends (Hi Aria!) around the town. 

Even his cousin Gates enjoyed some time on the road with a red car of his own!

The town turned out to be our last DIY of 2017 and was relatively easy to put together. Weeks ago we made a run to Michaels and picked up wooden letters to spell out our 3 stops (Target, Home Depot & Starbucks). We also picked up some foam pieces to form the Target symbol + the red balls that sit outside of Target.

A few days before the party we started getting everything painted.

For the roads we cut out strips of brown paper and painted them black. Once dry, we used white spray paint to make the lines. The day of the party we cleared everything out of the garage and put the town together. It was relatively simple and super cute and most importantly Croix was all about it, especially THE CAR. When we brought the car down he said"wow!" Genuine excitement, it was so cute!

It's hard to believe how much he's grown in a year. The night of his first birthday he was able to stand by himself for the first time and now only 1 year later he can say whole sentences and run, skip and dance anywhere and everywhere. He's growing up and it's equal parts thrilling and heartbreaking to watch. But from what I hear that's what this whole parenting thing is all about. Happy Birthday Croix or as he says it "HAPPY DOO-DAY!!"

All photos are my own. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas - The Shearers

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year from our family to yours! 

I so appreciate all of you for reading The Cow. It's one of my favorite creative outlets and it wouldn't be the same without your feedback and kind words. I wish I could send you all a Christmas Card, but since that seems complicated I thought this would be the next best thing.

The day before Halloween we had some family photos taken for the holidays. If you don't think my head was HUGE the next day due to the fact that for once in my life I was ahead of the game, then you are wrong. I could barely fit through doorways... :) We got the images back a week or so later and were so happy with the results. Time seems to be going by faster than ever so it's nice to capture these moments and seasons of life because before we know it things will change.

All photos by Morgan Blake

Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday House Tour 2017

Merry Christmas Eve's Eve's Eve!

I can not believe we are only 3 days away from the big day! I've decided I'm all about Christmas falling on a Monday. I love that we can work a full week this week and still have two days to prep for festivities! Speaking of prep, I'm very excited to tell you all that I made dressing! ME! The girl who literally learned to boil water like 2 years ago made two big pans of dressing! I'm praying its good because if it is, my street cred in the cooking department is going to quadruple.

This has been a busy month, full of gatherings, shopping, wrapping, cooking, work and planning for 2018. Lucky for us we got started on our decorating right after Thanksgiving so we have been able to enjoy the happy scene all month long! I look forward to decorating for the holidays each year, especially now that I'm a mom. It's fun to transform the space you already deem as your "happy place" into a magical version of itself. Each year we tweak the decor we have and have fun planning out how to spruce up new areas in our house that have recently come to be. This year those areas include our brand new mudroom and our dining room!

Come on in, let me show you around...

As you know the mudroom is the newest space in our house and we are really enjoying it! The area oozes charm without even trying, so throw some plaid, a wreath and a little twinkly tree in the mix and POW. Happy city over here. 

Up next is the dining room which houses the antique mantle we revitalized earlier this year. I have been itching to throw some garland on this beast from day one.

Sigh....so beautiful right? 

This room has been totally transformed as we make way to host a Christmas dinner for 21 this year. 

We really loved the idea of having everyone at the same table so Brent and his brother Scott worked together to add plywood to some folding tables we already had, to act as an extension to our dining room table. Thanks to Brent's Dad for this awesome idea! We threw a table cloth over everything and now it's just one big, giant happy table. 

We've been doing a little bit each night to prepare and I'm happy to say we are in good shape. The goal this season has been to slow down and really enjoy the moment and that's just what we plan to do! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

All photos are my own.