Tuesday, April 22, 2014

oh, sweet poland!

I cannot believe that I was just halfway across the world for a week, and am now back home again. There is so much to share, and I want to give it the attention it deserves in being documented without being overwhelming, too. 

So I'll share it in pieces. 

I spent Friday afternoon through Saturday in Chicago visiting with family. It was a sweet time to see them this spring, as we don't make it up to Chicago nearly as often as I wish we did. My mom, Auntie Donna, and I left for an 8 1/2 hour flight from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, had a few hour layover, and then a 1 1/2 hour flight from Frankfurt to Krakow, Poland. With the time change, we lost an entire night of sleep but spent our Sunday evening with family. 

My aunt has spent the past 2+ years researching our family ancestry, during which she met my 3rd cousin, Maria. Maria has been a huge asset as she has had the means to find records we never would have been able to find living in the United States. We spent a lot of our trip with Maria, her parents Joseph and Isabella, and some of her older siblings. It was very sweet to meet our Polish family.

Monday, we went sight seeing around Old Town Krakow. My momma is a traveling pro and booked our hotel as close to the square as possible, and it was less than a 5 minute walk to the market, Cloth Hall, and St. Mary's Basilica. My cousin, Maria, joined us and translated ((seeing as our Polish vocabulary consists of: tak (yes), nie (no), dupa (ass), Dzien dobry (good day), and paczki (a cream filled donut that I could eat all day, every day)...)).

Aside from the regular sight seeing of St. Mary's Basilica, we also climbed in Eros' head and I took pictures next to knights in shining armor while holding a sword.

We also went up to Wawel Castle, which was right down the street from our hotel. The only part of the castle we saw that day was the Catholic Church, but we climbed to the top of the clock tower to get a view of the city and see the ancient bell.

After getting stuck in a hail storm, running for cover into the closest restaurant and eating a traditional Polish lunch of pierogies and kielbasa, my momma, aunt, and I went back to the Old Town square and Easter market to do a little shopping. We found some Polish pottery, pysanky Easter eggs ((they are wooden eggs with detailed and intricate designs painted on them)), and got a chimney cake rolled in cinnamon to share. The perfect snack for our cold walk back to the hotel.

I'm pretty much in love with Old Town Krakow. I could go to that market and spend hours there. Heck, we did! 

I promise to share more this week, but not a daily play-by-play. Monday was just such a lovely, relaxed day of enjoying Krakow that it was one of my favorite days we had! If only every Monday was like this, Mondays wouldn't have the bad reputation that they get. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

happily ever strader

Today, I have a sweet and precious blog friend to share with ya'll. I first found Victoria when she was featured on another blog's monthly shout outs. I started following her, mostly because she lives in the same area of Texas that we're from. I loved watching her newlywed marriage and transformation of making a house into a home. She is an absolute doll, completely authentic 110% of the time, and has a darling home ((and bulldog!)). I am completely honored and flattered to have her share with ya'll today!


Hi there! I'm Victoria and I blog at Happily Ever Strader. I'm so honored and blessed to be posting on Katie's blog today. She has been such a loving support to me in my time blogging, and I hope she's enjoying her trip away!

I married my sweet husband on December 29, 2012, and we purchased our first home two months before. It was built in the 1960's by a couple who lived there until they died. We bought the untouched home from their grandson. Saying that it had a lot of work to do would be an understatement. I love that we were able to transform our home and give it life again.

I've recently been thinking about some things that I wish I had known upon purchasing our home, and am excited to share them today!

1. Take photos and videos of your home when you move in.

I only wish I had video footage, and lots more photos of our place. Even if you move in somewhere brand new, you're going to make it your own and see changes take place. I really think that seeing a before and after can be encouraging and inspiring. It's important to think about recording these things going in.

This room was mostly empty for the first 9  months we lived here. 

2. Progress takes Time

I remember moving into our new space and feeling overwhelmed at the idea of filling it. We had two beds, two dressers, and not a whole lot else. Taking our time allowed us to find treasures for wonderful deals, and to truly realize what we wanted to fill our home. I would have chosen totally different things upon move in and am so thankful for the time we took building our home in layers. This didn't hurt our budget, either! :)

3. Open your Doors

I think especially upon moving in and feeling like you constantly have a project to be done can really create anxiety when it comes to visitors. We get this idea that our homes need to be perfect for people to feel loved there. We get bogged down by wanting others to see a materialized image in our homes. But what people really need is a place that they feel welcomed. That's all they need. Okay, and snacks. Part of the joy of having a space to call your own is being able to host whenever and however you desire. I truly believe that life is fuller when you are welcoming others into your home.

Thank y'all SO much for reading my post and to Katie for having me! If you're interested in reading more about my thoughts on home, faith, life, and marriage.. come say hi on my blog! You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Bloglovin!

Monday, April 14, 2014

simply sweet melissa

I'm kicking off my guest posts while I'm gone for spring break with the sweetest Melissa. She is an absolute doll! Her blog is filled with fun Friday favorites, pictures of her sweet pup, Miller, and outings she & her boyfriend share. Ya'll will love her blog, so go say hello! I am so honored to have her share here at sweet pea's today. 


Hey everyone, I'm Melissa and I blog over at Simply Sweet Melissa! I am so excited that Katie asked me to take over her blog today (insert lot's of excitement because I adore this girl) while she is enjoying herself over Spring Break in POLAND! How cool is that?! I may be a tad jealous and can't imagine how beautiful it must be there... So Katie, I really hope you take a ton of photos that you'll be able to share with us all when you return ;)

In honor of Katie's trip, I thought I would write a post on all things travel! Seems pretty fitting right? Well one fun fact about me is I LOVE to travel. Period. I'll always say YES to a weekend road trip and you can count me in on any semi-unplanned adventure. It's all just so exciting to me. Life is an adventure after all...so why not get out an explore all that God has created?

As I look back and wander down "memory lane", I have to stop and remind myself of how lucky I have been thus far in my life because of all the opportunities I've had that have allowed me to experience different cultures, customs, dialects, beliefs, family values, etc. I feel so lucky and excited to share with y'all some places I've been, both near and far, and would love to hear of some of your favorite vacation spots, hidden gems you've discovered, and future travel plans you might have!

Charleston, SC (read my full post here)

Charleston is one of the most charming places I have ever been too. From the cobblestone roads, historic churches and gardens galore, to the extremely friendly people and mouth watering good southern food, Charleston is a must for anyone looking to experience a romantic trip. It's hard not to be thankful for all you have while you are wondering down Rainbow Row or relaxing in Battery Park in my opinion. And for those located in North Carolina, it's only a few hours of a drive and well worth it.

Asheville, NC (read my full post here)

My boyfriend Will and I have been to Asheville, NC twice. The first time we went for a few days and ran in the New Year. The second time we to on a tour of The Biltmore Estate, imaging what it would have been like when The Vanderbilt's lived there. Asheville is such a neat place. There are so many great restaurants to check out, tons of events going on, live concerts every weekend and hundreds of things to do for families and couples alike. And no matter what the weather might be like, you will always find something fun to do!

Greece (read my full post here)

Goodness, I don't even know where to begin telling you all about Greece! I studied Art Appreciation in College and was able to travel around Greece while studying abroad there. It was amazing. The weather always seemed perfect. Every photo I took always seemed to turn out perfect. It was like experiencing a fairy tale but in real life. Greece is THAT gorgeous. The artifacts, the culture, all of your surroundings are something I hope each and every one of you gets to experience in real life one day! This is defiantly a place that I could see myself never growing tired of visiting ;)

Ireland (read my full post here)

Ireland...where the grass is always greener and the weather always unpredictable. My senior year of High School my youth group took a Mission's Trip to Ireland for about a week and while there, had the opportunity to go sightseeing, chase sheep walk through castles and hear legends from all the locals. This was such a magical trip. The experience of going to Ireland brought me so much closer to God and left me wanting to travel the world and get to experience being a tourist, all while spending lots of time with locals and helping those who are in need.

And so sweet readers, those are some of my favorite travel spots! I've had fun getting to reminisce on these past trips and already have a list of places I can't wait to check out in the near future! Next stop...Savannah, GA!

Friday, April 11, 2014

the guest room

I am so excited that this upcoming week, I have two very special ladies who will be guest posting here while I'm off in Poland. They are such dolls, have written such meaningful posts, and I know all ya'll will absolutely adore them.

Before I go, I wanted to share a room that has come a long way for me, but still has quite a ways to go. The back story is that when we first moved to Nellis AFB, Austen & I went out shopping for house stuff with my best friend one night. When we moved here, we had our bedroom set, the guest bedroom mattress, and some kitchen dishes. That was it. We needed bedding for our guest room and bathroom finishes. I love my best friend, Jessica, and go figure, we both picked out matching bathroom and bedroom sets. Hers went into their master bedroom while ours went into our guest room.

I decided that while I loved the fullness of the comforter, I wanted a quilt on every bed, so I put it into the closet, as well as the matching shams. I'm keeping with cooler colors, which I usually don't do, and absolutely love it.

We need new Euro shams and eventually ((like when we move)) a new bedskirt, but I really like the way it's coming together! Especially the mix of throw pillows on the bed. I am completely still swooning over the turquoise Hawaiian snowflake pillow and matching knitted throw. That said, the African safari picture probably won't stay forever, but we needed something big on that wall. Yes, it also needs to be rehung higher. Things I know, I just haven't gotten around to.

double Irish chain quilt ((handmade)) / knitted throw ((thrifted))

I wanted this room to come together a little bit more and feel more like our style. We have family coming out to visit this summer and autumn, so I want to have the room pretty much set so that I can decorate other places. Like our sewing room/someday nursery. I am seriously at a loss for making a sewing room and nursery coincide in peace together.

Thank goodness for the guest room I like it too much to get rid of it and make it my sewing room. ;)
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