Turning a House into a Home on a Thrift Store Budget: Day 2

It’s day #2 of our room renovation project, and today we’re going to talk about the transformation process.

How do we pull something together and make it feel like a home?

I wrestle with this a lot.

I overanalyze, deliberate, buy too many things that I’m not sure if I like, and I’m indecisive as to what to do with it all when I get home. So I’m thankful that The Nester is with us today to share tangible ways to pull a room together. Check out the video below for more:

(If you’re viewing this in an email, click here to watch the video.)

“Nester Notes”: 3 Steps for Pulling a Room Together

1. Pull everything, except the big furniture, out of the room. Put the big things in the right place.
2. Focus on your main wall(s). For us, this was the gallery wall and the fireplace.
3. Spruce things up by adding in the “Tchotchkes and Gee-gaws.”

This all seems pretty do-able now, even for me. That’s a miracle.

Turning a House into a Home on a Thrift Store Budget: Day 2

Maybe you’re wishing you could invite The Nester into your space. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough Nesters to come into everyone’s home, but you can buy her amazing book, The Nesting Place, for help with all of your decorating needs. It’s so easy to understand – I feel like she jumps right out of the pages and into my space.

The Nesting Place

Click here to purchase your copy.

Stay tuned for one more post tomorrow on the finished room. I promise you don’t want to miss the big reveal!

Today, I’m giving away 3 signed copies of The Nesting Place. To enter, leave a comment below telling me which room in your home you’re going to tackle with all the new tips you’ve learned this week.


Turning a House into a Home on a Thrift Store Budget: Day 1

I stood in the grocery store line staring at all the picture perfect homes featured on the displayed magazine covers. Their glistening perfection mocked my reality.

Those homes looked so inviting and put together.

How did they know to paint that table that color? Put those different patterned pillows on the same couch? And hang those pictures in an offset way that still looks so very balanced?

I decided to go home and give it a whirl. But I walked into my space and felt overwhelmed and paralyzed.

Have you ever felt that way?

We want our homes to have a welcoming look that functions well for our family but for the life of us, we can’t figure out how to pull it all together. And even if we have a decorator’s knack and a grand vision for making our space lovely, our budget taps us on the shoulder and reminds us of just how limited we are.

Well… what if I told you that what you’ve already got in your home, coupled with a little thrift store shopping, is enough to turn at least one of your rooms into a space you’ll love?

Turning Your House into a Home on a Thrift Store Budget: Day 1

That’s why I want to do a special series this week. We are about to learn together how to turn a house into a home on a thrift store budget. One of my co-workers, Alison, has agreed to be our featured makeover.

Alison only has $250 and three days to take her den from drab to fab.

And since I’m really no help at all in this area, I’ve invited my sweet friend, Myquillyn Smith (also known as The Nester), to do this fun decorating project with me and my team. You don’t want to miss our thrifting and sifting and wandering through all kinds of fun places!

I think you’ll find some simple ideas that you can easily incorporate into your own space.

And the best part? You won’t break the bank. Not even close.

Watch the video below to see what I mean. (If you’re viewing this in an email, click here to watch the video.)

“Nester Notes”: 5 Simple Reminders for Thrifting, Yard Saleing and Antiquing

1. Go with an open mind. Don’t walk in looking for a 20-inch green leather ottoman. Instead have a general idea of things you could use like a wooden chair, a lamp, a large decorative vase, etc.

2. Ask yourself, “If this was in Anthropologie would I love it and want to buy it?” If the answer is yes, you should buy it now!

3. Look first at size, shape, condition and function of items. You can usually change the color and fabric if you like it.

4. Don’t expect to find something every time you shop. Grab a drink from Sonic and just enjoy the process of looking through the items. If I can hit five stores in one day, I usually (but not always) end up with a few interesting items.

5. Start small and work up to bigger risks. Don’t buy the $150 dresser from the thrift store in hopes of refinishing it if you’ve never tried it before. Instead, start with the $7 night stand. What’s the worst that can happen? You hate it and lose $7. But if it works?! You now have a nightstand you LOVE for just a few dollars; this is SO worth the risk.

Isn’t Nester so smart and adorable? You will absolutely want to get her book, The Nesting Place. Click here to purchase your copy! You’ll find it chock-full of great tips, beautiful pictures from Nester’s home, and sweet perspectives teaching “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” You’ll feel right at home reading it.

The Nesting Place

Today, I’m giving 3 commenters a signed copy of The Nesting Place. To enter, leave a comment below telling me which friend you plan to invite to join us here on the blog this week.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for more decorating tips and to see the exciting progress on Alison’s room makeover.


Practical Ways to Keep Your Family Connected

The paper plates all worn out from the dinner well enjoyed. The farm table sticky. The new Brussels sprout recipe loved by me but rejected by everyone else. Have mercy. The little sister aggravated to tears by the big sisters. The husband slightly overwhelmed by the female drama.

It’s what I call home. A snapshot from one of our weekly Monday night dinners.

As Mom, I comfort that one whose feelings got hurt while scolding the other two. We navigate lessons in kindness and the power of words and why we must watch the way we treat each other.

A boy’s name is mentioned. This is a kind boy. A boy who loves Jesus and says “yes ma’am” in his deep 20-year-old voice. I like respectful boys. My daughter, the same age, smiles at the mention of him. My husband and I notice. In a matter of minutes we’re all laughing together.


This beautifully messy band of people I call my own need time together. Space to connect and process. Conversational threads are what make up the fabric of relationships. We must take time. Make time. To talk.

And today, my sweet friends and partners in ministry, Glynnis Whitwer and Karen Ehman are popping in to give practical ways to find this time and maximize it. Take it away, friends…


As moms of busy children, we know how hard it is to carve out time with family. But in most homes, it is possible to set aside time every week to strengthen your family unity, to turn your hearts toward God, and to have fun in the process.

The key is commitment, consistency, and a small amount of creativity.

Don’t worry about it being exactly right, and don’t compare your family’s plans with anyone else’s. There’s no perfect day, perfect amount of time, or perfect agenda. Maybe your family only has Saturday mornings, or after church on Sundays, or Tuesday nights.

Grab that time and try to make it non-negotiable.

We think it’s always easier to start simply when trying to establish a habit. So don’t set expectations you can’t continue to meet. A little food, a little conversation, some laughter, and you’ve got a memory in the making.

A few years ago, Glynnis met a pastor’s wife at a small church in Louisiana. This grandma of many was discussing her dinner menu for later that day. The guest list numbered around twenty and included children, grandchildren, and a few friends invited into the fold. Was it someone’s birthday? Or anniversary?

“No,” she answered. “It’s just Sunday dinner. We do this every week. It’s how we keep our family connected.”

What a wonderful practice. A simple dinner. A standing invitation. A reason to reconnect with friends and family after a busy week.

What might this look like in your home? The type of food doesn’t matter as much as making enough to feed a few extra friends who might be invited.

Maybe your special family time is you and your husband . . . or maybe it’s a passel of children and grandkids. No matter the size of the gathering, the fanciness of your table, or the spot on the calendar, establishing time together with people you love is worth the investment.

Here are some ideas you can try as you gather your people:

1. Devotional time

Pick a short passage of the Bible to read together. Depending on the ages of your children, take turns coming up with a few discussion questions. Keep this simple to help make the Bible accessible to every member of your family. Close with a short prayer thanking God for His Word and message to you tonight. Pray also for others.

2. Make-your-own _____ night.

Get the family involved in making dinner. One idea is make-your-own pizza. Using French bread or hoagie rolls as your base, set out an assortment of toppings, pizza sauce, and cheese and let everyone assemble their own creation. You might also try a salad bar, sub sandwiches, or Cincinnati chili (with optional five toppings).

3. Board games

Board games can be expensive, but compare their cost with taking your family out to the movies and you might have a new perspective. Some of our favorites include Ticket to Ride, Apples to Apples, and Imaginiff.

4. Arts and crafts

A craft project stimulates creativity and camaraderie. Paint flower pots, color eggs at Easter, decorate cookies at Christmas, or make pinecone bird feeders using peanut butter.

5. Read out loud.

Pick a book to read through as a family. This is a family tradition your children will appreciate (coming from a woman –Glynnis – whose mother read faithfully to her). Some family-friendly selections include The Trumpet of the Swan, The Secret Garden, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and any of the Chronicles of Narnia series.

6. Family sleepover

When Glynnis’ children were small, they’d spread blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows on the floor of the master bedroom for a sleepover. There was something special about ending the night together . . . sort of like a camping experience without the dirt. Karen’s children developed a “Siblings Night” where her three children piled into one room for a parent-free night of snacks, stories and song.


Everyday Confetti Thank you, Karen and Glynnis! If you like these ideas, you’ll enjoy their newest book, Everyday Confetti. In this go-to guide, they’ll give you planning suggestions and the motivation needed to make time with family more intentional. They provide creative ideas and menu plans for:
• Holidays
• Birthdays
• Special Events
• Everyday Occasions
They’ll also be posting ideas monthly on their blog! Click here to check it out.

And today, I’m giving away 5 copies of Everyday Confetti. For your chance to win, leave a comment below with the one step you’re taking today to keep your family connected.