Daphne’s ‘Birth Day’ Lemon Cake Recipe

THE FARMHOUSE

With each of our babies, we’ve celebrated their birth with a ‘birth day’ cake.  For Wilder it was the family’s apple cake recipe, for Brooks it was a hearty carrot cake, and two weeks ago, we made Daphne a summer lemon cake topped with lemon curd, cream, and raspberries from the Farmhouse garden.  Since I’ve had all of my babies at home, we (or more accurately Garrett and my sis) have made these cakes on the day or day after our babies were born and we share them with friends and family as they stop by to meet our newest little one.  You guys know how much I love making layer cakes for special occasions, so it’s probably no surprise that these ‘birth day’ cakes have become one of my very favorite family traditions!

The Grit and Polish - Daphne's Lemon Cake Slices 1

This lemon cake is sweet, strong, and perfect for the summer, just like our little girl.  It’s definitely a bit of an involved recipe and takes the better part of an afternoon to create, so it’s best saved for special occasions with loved ones.  Just like most of my favorite cakes, this recipe was adapted from Leslie Makie’s Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook.

Summer Lemon Cake with Berries (aka Daphne’s ‘Birth Day’ Cake)

*this recipe makes one 9-inch layer cake

for the cake

2 1/2 cups white pastry flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

5 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

8 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup whole milk

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

fresh raspberries or strawberries (for final assembly)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease one 9″ springform pan (3″ deep). Line bottom and sides with parchment paper.  Sift flour and cornstarch together in a medium bowl until combined (about 5 times).  Stir in sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with paddle attachment until butter is smooth and pale (about 5 minutes).  Add the flour mixture and beat on low until fully incorporated.  In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, and milk.  Add 1/3 of egg mixture to butter, beating on low until fully combined and then scrape down bowl and beat again.  Repeat until all ingredients are fully incorporated.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until skewer comes out dry.  Cool cake on a wire rack for 1 hour before cutting into thirds and frosting (recipes and instructions to follow).

for the lemon syrup

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cook water and sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar is totally dissolved (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and add lemon juice.  Let cool before pouring over each cake layer.

for the lemon curd

6 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Combine egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in a metal bowl and mix together with a fork.  Place bowl overtop of a saucepan filled with simmering water, taking care that the water doesn’t touch the bowl.  Whisk lemon mixture continuously and cook until it’s thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes).  Add butter and whisk until fully incorporated.  Remove from heat and pour through a sieve.  Cover top of lemon curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Lemon curd should be completely cooled before using.

for the lemon cream frosting

3 cups heavy cream

1/2 batch of lemon curd

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold in cooled lemon curd using a spatula until fully incorporated.

To assemble cake, cut cooled cake into 3 even layers.  Place first layer on a 9″ round cardboard, pour 1/3 lemon syrup over top and then spread 1/2 of remaining lemon curd over top (I’d recommend skipping the lemon curd if you’re serving to kids or people that don’t enjoy strong lemon flavor) and then spread 1/3 lemon cream on top of that.  Place second layer on top and repeat.  For the third layer, pour lemon syrup over cake and then frost with lemon cream.  I left the sides of my cake bare, but you could do a crumb coat for a rustic look.  Top cake with fresh berries.  Cake can be served at room temperature, but I prefer it chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours.

The Grit and Polish - Daphne's Birth Suite Lemon Cake

Sitting atop that table was the final piece of Daphne’s cake, which Garrett and I shared in this corner of our bedroom one afternoon when the boys went swimming with Nana.  Goodness did that cake ever taste sweet after all those months of pregnancy and hours of labor.  Of course, now that we’re done having babies, I’ll have to find another excuse to bake cakes…or maybe we’ll just have to start celebrating random Wednesdays 😉

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Daphne’s birth and Brooks’ birth

p.p.s. my favorite almond cake recipe

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She’s Here!

THE FARMHOUSE

She’s here!  Our sweet baby girl, Daphne Garrett Poshusta arrived on 7/27 at 7:24pm, right here at the Farmhouse.  She’s 9lbs and 20″ of pure snuggly goodness and we are so in love!

IMG_6196

Our sweet baby Daphne was born at 7:24pm after 13 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing.  I’m so indebted to our wonderful midwives, Garrett, and my sister for their kindness, strength, and persistence in helping me bring this sweet baby into the world.  Because in the end, she was worth every second of it!

The Grit and Polish - Baby Girl Initials

A little about her name.  Daphne’s middle name is obviously in honor of her dada, which we chose both because Garrett is such a good dad (and I happen to love his name) and also because I think it’s pretty special for a little girl to be named after her dad.  Daphne’s first name is one that has topped our ‘girl name’ list since we first got pregnant with Wilder some 5 odd years ago.  We are so happy/thankful/excited that our baby Daphne is finally here!

We’re enjoying some quiet time at home this week as we get to know our newest little one and adjust to life as a family of 5, but I’ll be back to posting regularly next week (I think) with some content on our home office and the Porch House.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get my newborn snuggles while the getting is good…

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Brooks’ birth at the Dexter House

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Master Bedroom Update // Preparing for Baby (and a home birth)

THE FARMHOUSE

We made a few changes to our master bedroom recently in preparation of the arrival of it’s new tenant, our baby girl.  With her due date just a few days away, I eagerly got this space finished up last week.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom hanging crib

all sources are listed at the bottom of this post

I’ve always liked having my babies sleep near me when they’re little, at least until they slow down on night nursings.  So putting a hanging crib up in our master bedroom was pretty exciting.  Isn’t the crib lovely?  I first saw it here and immediately bought it for Brooks back when space was tight at the Dexter House.  Not only is the crib easy to fit virtually anywhere you have a couple of square feet to spare, but it also helps to soothe the baby by bouncing and swaying whenever they fuss.  (For the record, I’ll pull the pillow and stuffies out when baby arrives.)

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Bedroom Hanging CribThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom hanging crib 5The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom baby space 2

The other new addition to our master bedroom, is this old Ikea unit, which we’re using to store baby’s nighttime essentials: diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets, burp rags, and pj’s.  That way we won’t be running back and forth to the nursery (where the rest of her clothes are stored) in the middle of the night. I may eventually swap the shelving unit out for the antique hutch that used to be in our bedroom (and just change her on the bed), but that piece is currently at the Porch House being used for staging (yes, the Porch House is still under renovation).

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom baby space

Those are the essentials we have for baby in our master bedroom, but we have made a few other additions/changes in preparation for a home birth.  We’ve done home births with all of our kiddos thus far (Wilder at the Bryant House, Brooks at the Dexter House, and now baby girl at the Farmhouse) and have enjoyed them.  ‘Enjoy’ is probably not the right word here – labor is labor and they don’t call it that for nothing – but being at home has made for a more comfortable and peaceful birthing process for me.  My favorite part is waking up the next day in my own bed.  Yes, I am a homebody through and through 😉

Speaking of our bed, you may have noticed it’s made a little haphazardly in that photo.  In preparation for labor, I made the bed with sheets and our usual quilt, covered that with a waterproof mattress cover, and then made the bed again with our not-so-nice sheets and a blanket we can quickly pull off.  That makes for easy cleanup and a quick tuck-in after baby is born.  And in case you’re wondering about the sensibility of a wool blanket on our bed in the summer, Garrett needs it since I have the AC on full blast and still can’t stand more than a sheet.  The joys of pregnancy 😉

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom lavendar nightstandThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Lavendar on Nightstand

Another addition I’ve made to our bedroom is lots of lavender, which is supposed to be a calming scent, so I have it on both sides of the bed.  My nightstand also houses my favorite Ina May labor-prep book, a couple of kids books, and lots of enjoyable paperbacks for those long nursing sessions to come.  Plus there’s a giant-sized box of Tums tucked on the bottom shelf because pregnancy indigestion is a real thing.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Home Birth Prep NightstandThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Home Birth Prep Nightstand zoomThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Home Birth Prep books

Of course there are quite a few other supplies we have on hand for the home birth: a box of medical supplies from our midwife, old towels, trash bags, a large bowl, an inflatable tub, and hoses/adaptors to fill said tub up.  It’s great to have everything on hand, but I’m secretly hoping this labor goes so fast that we won’t even have time to set up the tub 😉

You may remember that our 4-year-old, Wilder, is not much of a sleeper and usually ends up in a sleeping bag on our floor sometime in the night.  Well that hasn’t changed.  I’m not sure how Wilder’s continued tenancy in our room will play out with the frequent night wakings of a baby, but I’m hoping that it will be the kick Wilder needs to finally stay in his own bed.  All night long!

A mama can dream anyway 😉

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Wilder's sleeping bag

Sources: hanging crib, Kindekeklein | pillow in crib, Serena and Lily (color discontinued) | unicorn head, Target | bed, Restoration Hardware (ours is from the outlet) | sconces in Aged Brass, Rejuvenation | cord cover, Amazon |Claire Elsaesser print, Etsy | white pitcher, Le CreusetIna May’s Guide to Childbirth book (highly recommend!) | Skyline rug, Rejuvenation | plaid throw, Pendleton (ours are from the outlet) | overhead light, Rejuvenation (6″ Jefferson in old brass with 14″ Classic Opal Schoolhouse Shade) | curtain rods (on sale!), Restoration Hardware | drapes, Pottery Barn | Wilder’s sleeping bag, LL Bean (similar)

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. our master bedroom reveal from last November and surviving a not-so-good sleeper.

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Happy Friday + Links 7/7/17

Happy Friday to you!  We’ve had a bit of an up and down week around here.  There’s so much joy and excitement in our home as we prepare to welcome baby girl (I’m 39 weeks pregnant), but we had a sad event happen last week that left us all teary-eyed and reeling.  Our beloved dog, Hacker Pschorr, passed away after 9 years as part of our family.  In the course of one day, Hacker went from the healthy and energetic pup we had always known, to a seizure-ridden dog unable to stand and unresponsive to medication capable of knocking out dogs twice his size.  My sister-in-law/vet rushed to our local animal hospital and gave us the sad prognosis: there was little hope.  At 6pm, we had to put Hacker down.

Hacker Boy was one of the good ones.  A beloved member of our family.  My running/hiking partner.  The fetching star at every dog park he went to.  Our boys’ first pet.  And a frequent pain in my ass.  But goodness did I love that dog!  And while he didn’t deserve to go like that, I am thankful that his illness didn’t drag out (it sounds like he either had a brain tumor or got into some nasty toxins).

We will miss you Hacker Boy!

Hacker as a Puppy

Despite the sadness, we did manage to have a lot of fun around here.  Since I’m super pregnant, we found someone to help with our Seattle rentals, meaning less awkward bed making for me and more time for hanging with the boys, nesting, and baking/canning/etc at the Farmhouse.  It’s been a blessing having this extra time with my boys before baby arrives and uses up all my attention.  But for the record, I’m ready for our sweet little girl to get here already!

Well it’s Friday, meaning it’s time to grab a cup of coffee and dig into these links!

I took the boys to pick out a “welcome to the family” gift for baby girl, and each selected one of these adorable stuffed fruits/veggies (how cute is the green bean?!).

How to afford home projects while building financial freedom.  Kim has her head on straight and there’s lots of great advice in here (especially “Don’t be normal.”).

Hooray for blue and white kitchens!  And a double hooray for including the 6-day-kitchen reno!

How to foster creativity at work (or just life in general).

I’m on the lookout for a comfy glider.  With every pregnancy, I’ve promised myself one but have yet to actually buy one.  That’s probably because they’re so dang expensive.  I’ve been dreaming about this one or this one, but they are such splurges.  I’d love recommendations if you have a cozy rocker/glider that you love, especially if it didn’t cost a small fortune!

It recently hit me that I’m about done being pregnant…forever!  Which means I get to indulge in the occasional beer, glass of wine, and most definitely these tequila popsicles!

Hope you have a great weekend!

xoxo

-Cathy

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Almond Cake with Rhubarb Strawberry Preserves

THE FARMHOUSE

Our oldest kiddo, Wilder, turned 4 this week, which has me feeling all the feelings.  On the one hand, I can barely remember a life without our wild child in it, but on the other hand, wasn’t he just born like last year?  Ugh, these years are short.  One thing that’s for sure though, I really love the person that Wilder has grown into.  He’s gregarious, active, considerate, and always, always loves to have a good time.  So naturally, we had to celebrate!

Birthdays are a special occasion around our house and they always include a homemade cake.  I spend weeks planning out the perfect pairing of cake and frosting and spend way too long decorating the concoction.  It’s a tradition that started when Wilder was born (he was born at home so I asked my sis to whip up the Poshusta family apple cake recipe in our oven on the day he was born) and has continued for every birthday for everyone in the family.  I’m a bit of a baking addict so channeling the sugar highs into one decadent, celebratory cake (for every holiday, of course) has not only been fun for me but also better for our health than the weekly cookies and cupcakes I used to make.

This year, Wilder requested a chocolate, rainbow dinosaur cake, which had me really scratching my head.  Thankfully, at the last minute, he changed his mind.  I pitched two cakes: a simple chocolate cake (I used the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s coco box) with vanilla buttercream and an almond rhubarb cake stacked with whipped cream.  He was happy with those.  Originally I planned to make mini cakes for everyone, but with the birthday party guest list at 40, I decided to make one mini cake for Wilder to blow out his candle, and larger cakes to serve to the masses.  Today, I wanted to share our almond cake recipe with you guys.

This almond cake is sooo good.  It’s dense and nutty, but still sweet and moist.  My mom, who has had her share of birthday cakes in her day (my whole family is a little obsessed with baking), told me it was the best she’d ever had.  And guys, I might just have to agree.  The cake recipe originally came from the Macrina’s cookbook, which I’ve been baking out of since my sister-in-law gave us their cookbook 10 years ago, and has evolved into a recipe all it’s own.  The rhubarb, strawberry jam was inspired by Molly Yeh’s recipe.

Almond Cake with Rhubarb Strawberry Preserves

*this recipe makes one 9″ layer cake or 4 3-layer (or 6 2-layer) mini cakes

 

for the cake

3 large eggs

¾ cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt

2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

8 ounces butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 ½ cup granulated sugar

¾ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground sea salt

1 ½ cups almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

Grease two 9” round cake pans with butter and line bottom with parchment paper. Combine eggs, yogurt, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk by hand until combined. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the dry ingredients into butter and mix slowly until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for an additional minute. Scrape bowl down, add half of the egg mixture, and mix until combined. Scrape down bowl and repeat with the remaining egg mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in 325-degree oven. Start checking for doneness at 25 minutes (toothpick should come out clean). Let cool on a wire rack.

for the rhubarb jam

2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

1/2 cup strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

juice of 1 small lemon

In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, vanilla, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture gets thick, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, add in lemon, and let cool. Jam should be stored in the fridge.

for the whipped cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp powder sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

In a small bowl, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla with a hand-held mixer until stiff peaks form (or use your stand mixer).  If you don’t use right away, store in fridge.

assembly

9″ layer cake: After cakes cool, remove one layer from pan and place on a cardboard circle atop a cake stand or plate.  Cut the top of the cake flat with a large knife (and share the top with your kiddos to make their day!).  Spread a generous layer of rhubarb strawberry jam on top of cake and then spread 1/2 of the whipped cream over that.  Place second layer on top of cake and spread the remaining whipped cream on top.  Decorate with slivered almonds and sliced strawberries.

Mini cakes: Place cake rounds on a cutting board.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds from each layer.  Follow assembly instructions above.  You can stack cakes 2 or 3 layers high, but 2 layers are more stable, especially if serving to kids.

Do yourself a favor and make this cake for whatever event you have coming up (or can dream up).  Just be sure to let me know how you like it!

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Brooks’ birthday cake from last year, and my nephew George’s first birthday cake.

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Happy Friday! + Links 5/5/17 (Mother’s Day Edition!)

Happy Friday and Cinco de Mayo to you!  I hope you have black beans boiling on the stove and ripe avocados on the counters.  Mexican food is a THING at our Farmhouse so you can bet that we’ll be mashing our beans and salting our pico tonight!  Or if the day runs long, we’ll be stopping by our favorite taco truck.

Mother’s Day weekend is only a week away…are you ready?!  This year Garrett and I invited our mothers over for brunch and a day of gardening at the Farmhouse.  I’m hoping to spend all day with my little loves and the grandmas and also get a vegetable garden planted.  Win/win 😉

Being that I’m pregnant this Mother’s Day (with my third child…how did that happen?!!!), I’ve been feeling nostalgic about it.   I remember my first Mother’s Day present.  I was 37 weeks pregnant with Wilder, and walked into a hospital in Portland on Mother’s Day (turning down a wheelchair from the attendant who thought I was there to give birth myself) to find the room where my sister was laboring with her second child.  After a long and slow afternoon, a perfect little baby was born, and they named her Gweneth Catherine…after me.  No Mother’s Day gift can compare to that (except for my sister who got to take that sweet baby bundle home), but I’ve done my best curating a gift guide for all you home lovers out there.  My only criteria was finding gifts that I’d love to bring home myself.  Hopefully every dada or kiddo can find something their mama/grandma/aunties/friends would love in here.  I asked Garrett and the boys for #4 plus a day of gardening 😉

The Grit and Polish - Mothers Day Gift Guide 2017

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13

And since it’s Friday, here are a few more links to fill your morning.  Grab a cup of coffee and dig in!

Baking celebratory cakes is a big hobby of mine so I’m eagerly planning our Mother’s Day cake. My mom’s favorite cake is a hazelnut torte and my mother-in-law’s is an angel food cake and I’m not really sure there’s any way to combine those, so I’m thinking about this.

A few mama’s share how they work from home with kiddos.  I’m always curious how other moms and dads find that elusive balance, especially when they’re home with kids and have outside work commitments.  But I’m learning that balance isn’t really a thing when parenthood is involved.

I just found this Insta account last week and this post brought me to tears – happy mama tears – and made me so grateful for the joy of motherhood in my own life.

Have you guys been following the One Room Challenge this Spring?  Check it out if you haven’t yet!  I can’t wait to see how everyone’s room turns out in 2 short weeks!

Happy Friday everyone!

xoxo

-Cathy

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Farmhouse // Moving the Boys into a Shared Bedroom (and how it’s going)

THE FARMHOUSE

A couple of weekends ago, we rearranged Wilder’s bedroom and moved Brooks in with him.  The transition hasn’t been without a few hiccups, but it’s going soooo much better than I ever expected.  The room has become so much cozier with the two of them in here, and somehow I love the space even more than I did when it was just Wilder’s room (you can see what that looked like here).  So today I wanted to show you what the boys setup looks like now.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom 2The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom Wilders Bed 2The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom bed closeupThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom stuffies

sources: overhead light // drapes // roman shade // rug (similar) // rug pad // comforter // duvet cover // striped throw // plant hanger // stuffed animals //dinosaur backpack (no longer available, cute option here) // plaid blankets // table lamp // ukulele //dinosaur figurines // crib // animal heads (no longer available, cute options here)

As I mentioned on Friday, moving the boys into one room was one of those things that I had worked up in my head as a huge deal.  We had tried this transition once before when we first moved to the Farmhouse but failed after a couple of nights.  Looking back, I think we failed because Garrett and I were busy and tired with moving so didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with it.  We knew that we would try again at some point but we kept putting it off and putting it off.  Then last Saturday, Garrett and I were Spring cleaning and one of us said, ‘hey, let’s put Brooks’ crib in Wilder’s room’, and that was that.  A couple of hours later, the boys had one shared bedroom.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom both beds

Both of the beds are now pushed against walls, which should limit any falling out of bed.  Wilder is a very active sleeper and every once in a while he’ll just kind of tumble out of bed.  Just last week it happened, and I found him laying on the floor still totally asleep.  Ahh to sleep that hard!

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom from Door

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about our matching twin bed frames since finding them on Craigslist last year.  I don’t know the story behind them, but they’re definitely antique, a wee-bit on the narrow side for a modern twin mattress (we have to sort-of squeeze the mattress into the frame when we put sheets on), and have a lovely dark stain on them that looks nearly black.  I always planned to put them in one room not only because I love the look of side-by-side antique beds but also because we hoped that Wilder and Brooks would share a room by the time that Brooks was ready for a big-boy bed.  And from the looks of it, we’re just about there!

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve had a couple of hiccups since moving the boys into one room.  The first being that Brooks has almost completely refused his crib since making the transition to a shared room.  I’m not entirely sure why that is, but after 20 minutes of crying on Saturday night (in my arms and in his crib), I finally laid him down in his big boy bed and he was instantly quiet.  So I tucked a blanket over him and watched from the door as he dozed off.  We hadn’t planned on having him in a big boy bed at night so young (Wilder made the switch at 2, and I thought we’d repeat that), but if he keeps sleeping through the night then he can sleep wherever he likes!

The second hiccup is that bedtime now takes a good hour plus.  Both boys are so excited to look across the room and see each other, and there are giggles and squirms for way too long.  Of course, I find it soooo sweet, so even if it means an extra hour at bedtime right now, so be it.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom both bedsThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom Blackout 1

For the Spring we have light comforters and duvet covers from Ikea on the beds.  Garrett and I are really careful to keep fire retardants out of the boys bedding and PJs, so natural linen duvet covers were an easy choice, even if they’re a little more expensive.  Of course Wilder already got green marker on his duvet cover, but thankfully they are are two sided so we’ll just have a ‘bad side’ for everyday and a ‘good side’ for photographs and guests 😉   I also bought these summer throws for the boys’ beds during West Elm’s one day sale a few weeks ago (and they’re still on sale!).  I’m not sure they’ll be heavy enough to have on here with a sheet alone, but Wilder runs hot (soooo hot…and soooo the opposite of his mama) that it’ll probably be enough for him.  If not, I’ll layer them with a simple white cotton blanket.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom books

Probably my favorite part of finally having a shared bedroom is shared story time.  When the boys were in separate rooms, we read stories to each of them separately before tucking them in.  But now we shut the blackout blinds (an essential with these longer Spring days), snuggle up in one bed and read a couple of stories before tucking the boys in their own beds.  And I love it!  There is something so special about spending this time together, and it makes this mama’s heart very happy.  I know there will be nights when one of the boys is not happy, and I’m tired and this whole situation is totally exhausting, but right now it’s everything.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom cribThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom stuffies 2The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom

For the record, I hung that plant up for the shoot.  I’m going to have Garrett relocate the hook over the nightstand so the plant is not over a bed (because it’s heavy and plus I don’t want to risk water draining onto a bed).  I’m on the hunt for an alphabet poster or paper tiles for the space as well.  Wilder is finally getting into letters, so it’d be fun to have a spot for him to see them!  I haven’t found one that I love yet, but I’m looking…any suggestions?!

The closet is probably both of the boys’ favorite space in this room, so I wanted to give you a peek.  I’ve mentioned before, but this space has been basically a storage ground for Wilder’s collection of ‘stuff’.  We finally hung up costumes and boxed up a lot of Wilder’s stuff so this space is at least a step above an eye sore now.  Someday I’d like to turn the far end of this closet into a kid hangout spot with cushions and pillows and everything comfy but for now there are a few boxes and stacks of books back there and that’s just fine.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom Closet 1 The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom closet 3 The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Shared Bedroom closet 2

So that’s our experience thus far with our two boys sharing a room.  I’d love to hear any tips or stories you guys have about shared bedrooms….seriously!  Growing up I shared a bedroom with my twin sister until high school, and I still have fond memories of laughing the night away.  Sure there were plenty of arguments but I think it taught me a lot about compromise and living with others.  At least, I’d like to think so 😉

The one thing I haven’t mentioned yet (and have been dying to!) is that the nursery is now empty!!!  I’m chomping at the bit to get started transforming that space for baby girl.  But since she’s not due until July (and will sleep with us for a few months afterwards), I’m trying to keep my focus on thePorch House since we still need to finish that renovaiton and sell it, hopefully before baby girl arrives.  Honestly I’m trying not to even think about the nursery, but somehow that hasn’t stopped me from buying plenty of things for that space 😉

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. how we deal with Wilder not sleeping through the night.  Wilder’s room at the Ravenna House and his room at the Dexter House.  The latter was also featured on coco+kelley last year.

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Master Bedroom Update // How We’ve Survived Our ‘Not So Good’ Sleeper

THE FARMHOUSE

In honor of last weekend’s Daylight Savings – the bane of every parent’s existence – I thought I’d share a little peek into the minor change we’ve made to our master bedroom that has made all the difference in how our toddler sleeps at the Farmhouse.  Spoiler…he and we sleep much better!  I’ll be back back next week with Wilder’s Farmhouse bedroom reveal as promised.

Our toddler has never been much of a sleeper.  I can probably count the number of times that Wilder has slept through the night on two hands (plus maybe two feet) and he’s 3 1/2 years old!  Lack of sleep is one of the things that Garret and I have struggled with the most as parents, especially in Wilder’s first year, but we’ve finally found a way we can all survive.

The Grit and Polish - Sleeping Bag 2

sconce / cord coverbed frame / velvet pillow / accent pillow (similar here) / sheet set / rug / curtains / lion / books: Pajama Time, Lama Lama Nighty Night, The Little Blue Truck / sleeping bag (no longer available, but my favorite alternatives are at the bottom of this post!) / paint: BM Simply White

Yes, that’s a sleeping bag on our master bedroom floor.  I didn’t exactly include that in my master bedroom One Room Challenge reveal, but it gets used Every. Single. Night!  Somewhere between midnight and 4 am, Wilder slides out of his bed, crosses the landing, and tucks himself into his sleeping bag next to Garrett’s side of the bed, where he proceeds to sleep the rest of the night.

And that right there, is the best thing that happened to my night of sleep since becoming a parent!

Let me explain how this all came to be.  Sometime last year, we were at our pediatrician’s office, and the doctor asked us how sleep was going.  After I stopped laughing, I launched into it: Wilder has never been a “sleeper”.  Wilder has woken us up almost every night of his life.  At 5 months old he was sleeping in his crib and waking up 5 times a night, and though sleep got better as he got older, Wilder has never taken to the all-nighter.  We’ve read and tried just about anything, including sleep training, but nothing seemed that helpful.  At 2 1/2, we were putting Wilder down in his own room but he was sneaking into our bed sometime in the middle of the night, and it worked okay, except that Wilder was a restless sleeper, often kicking us and steeling blankets.  Once Brooks came along, our bed was too full and our nights were too short.  The doctor heard us out and then surprised us by saying that she had similar issues when her sons when they were young.  She recommended we put a sleeping bag next to our bed and teach Wilder that it was his own (and *only*) special sleeping place in our bedroom, when he needed it.

It wasn’t a new or particularly creative solution – I’m sure many parents have done something similar in the course of history – but it was a respectful solution we could all live with, and one that had a profound impact on our family’s sleep and thus our lives.

The Grit and Polish - Sleeping Bag 3

The first couple of nights were rough (Wilder really wanted to get in bed with us), but soon his middle of the night antics were reduced to tip-toeing into our room and quietly tucking himself into his sleeping bag.  The best part was that he didn’t even wake Garrett and I up.  It’s worked so well that the sleeping bag is still our policy for Wilder today (thankfully Brooks has proved to be a happier sleeper in his crib), except when he’s sick or needs cuddles after a bad dream.

The Grit and Polish - Sleeping Bag 7The Grit and Polish - Sleeping Bag 4

So that’s the minor change to our bedroom that has made our household majorly happier.  I’m a big proponent of doing what works for your family and your child (because goodness knows they’re all different) when it comes to sleep, so please don’t take any of this as advice.  It’s just fun to show you guys the full story of how we use our bedroom space.  And if you’ve come up with your own creative kid sleeping solution, I’d love to hear about it!

Wilder’s shark sleeping bag (a 2nd birthday gift from Nana) is no longer available, but I found some fun alternatives.  Check out the roundup below.  I’m thinking about getting number 1 or 2 for Brooks (for traveling not for our bedroom floor!).  Or maybe 4.  Goodness, they’re all cute!

The Grit and Polish - Sleeping Bag Roundup

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

I’ll be back next week with Wilder’s bedroom reveal.  In the meantime, you can get caught up on what we’ve done to his space at the Farmhouse here.  For all you parents out there, I wish you an easy Daylight Savings transition.  But if it’s not, you can sign this petition to end Daylight Savings or this one to stay on summer time permanently, aka Daylight Savings time…just saying.

xoxo

-Cathy

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Wilder’s Farmhouse Bedroom // Progress

THE FARMHOUSE

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom 4

This is Wilder’s bedroom at the Farmhouse.  It’s a space that I haven’t shown much of on the blog, and I’m not entirely sure why.  But I aim to fix that.  Over the next two weeks, I’m going to show you how we took this space from dark and carpeted to light and comfortable.

This bedroom is the smallest of the three upstairs rooms at the Farmhouse, but Wilder claimed it as his immediately.  His decision had little to do with the bedroom itself and everything to do with the attached giant “closet”.  With low sloped ceilings, no windows, and no heat/AC/insulation, this closet is just the kind of space kids go gaga over 😉

When we bought the Farmhouse, Wilder’s bedroom had pretty great bones.  There are 9′ ceilings, architectural windows, wood moldings, and so much potential if you could almost look past the carpet and purple curtains.  Almost.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Boys Room WindowThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Boys Room Closet DoorThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Boys Room Closet

When we first moved into the house, we threw a couple of mattresses into this room to make sure Wilder had a comfy spot to sleep while we settled in.  It didn’t take long until Garrett and I found time to work on this room.  Wilder got to camp out on our floor while we took down the curtains, painted the walls and ceiling with Benjamin Moore’s Simply White (the same color as the master bedroom and nursery), replaced the lighting and electrical sockets, and ripped up the carpets.  We had hoped for pristine hardwood floors underneath, but that’s not quite what we got.

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Room Painted

These floors are actually in much better shape than the other upstairs bedrooms (you can check out what the nursery and master bedroom floors looked like), but they still needed a sand and refinish.  Anyone who’s refinished their own hardwood floors knows that it’s a big, dusty job and we just weren’t quite ready to tackle it.  We were still busy moving into the house and enjoying the warm weather outside, so I threw a big jute rug down and put off the refinish for a couple of months.

During the months leading up to the hardwood refinish, I continued to decorate Wilder’s space.  First we installed the matching vintage bed frames I had bought on Craigslist (for $150 if I remember correctly), which Garrett retrofitted with slats.  And if you are wondering why there are two beds in here it’s because this space has always been intended for both Wilder and Brooks.  But Brooks is sleeping so well in the nursery that we’ve been reluctant to move him into this big boy room just yet.  Of course now that we have a baby girl on the way, Brooks’ move is inevitable…

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Room Curtain Hanging

Decorating continued with a new overhead light fixture – my favorite schoolhouse pendant from Rejuvenation with blue stripes – along with new linen blackout drapes and a curtain rod.  Otherwise, most of the furniture and decor in here are things we’ve collected over the years or found in storage.

The small chairs are from my parents storage barn (apparently from my elementary school).  That vintage school map is one that I bought a couple of years ago and have been looking for a good space to display it ever since.  Wilder made the T-Rex and Pterosaur with Nana (the later of which has sadly since broken) and the books are an ongoing collection kind of thing.  Of course all of the furnishings and decor we put up had to be taken down when we began the great floor refinish of 2016 a couple of months later.

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Room Map Install

Before getting into the hardwood floor refinish, let me explain why I went to the effort of decorating Wilder’s bedroom for two months, just to take everything back out.  This is Wilder’s 4th bedroom in 3 years – a statistic that I’m not proud of, but one that was necessary to make our retiring by 35 a reality.  If you have young kids, you know that change can be really hard on them and Wilder is no different.  In fact, his sensitive nature might make change even harder on him.  Wilder has always felt such big feelings and been so sensitive to his environment, making our previous move from Ravenna to Dexter very hard for him.  We didn’t want to repeat that when we moved into the Farmhouse.

Okay, on to the hardwood floor refinish.  We tackled this project at the same time we did the master bedroom and nursery floors.  It required that Wilder and Brooks as well as Garrett and I move out of our bedrooms, and sleep hungajunga style in the guest bedroom for a couple of weeks.  The set up was not ideal, but the floors were definitely worth the sacrifice.

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom FLoor RefinishThe Grit and Polish - Floor Close Up

Refinishing the floors was a big job that we DIY’d ourselves.  I won’t go into the nitty gritty here since I posted about it last year (you can read about the process here and see what it cost us here).  We opted for no stain on the floors, just the natural wood color, finished with a latex sealant.  I’ll show you the finished product next week along with what Wilder’s space looks like now.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear if you guys have ever moved with young kids, and if so, any tips to helping them adjust?

xoxo

-Cathy

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A Valentines Day Surprise

THE FARMHOUSE

Happy Valentines Day!  We’re celebrating the holiday with lots of chocolate and cake and extra snuggles with my little ones.  Speaking of little ones, I wanted to share some exciting family news with you guys.  I mentioned last week that Garrett and I have come up with the perfect use for the nursery (once Brooks moves into Wilder’s bedroom)…a nursery for our baby girl to be!!!

The Grit and Polish - Me in Nursery

That’s right, I am thrilled to announce that we’re adding a third baby to our brood and she’s due in July.  We found out the gender super early this time with a DNA test (at 10 weeks, I think), and let me just say I AM THRILLED to be having a girl.  I absolutely love having boys, but I’ve always wanted a daughter too and since this is *probably* our last baby (I only said probably to appease Garrett…I’m like 99.5% certain we’re done), I was really hoping for a baby girl that could be my partner in crime forever.

Ever since we found out baby’s gender, I’ve been dreaming of how I’ll change up the nursery.  I’m thinking touches of pink (it’s never been my favorite color, but after 2 boys I’m obsessed with it) and feminine dresses hanging on cute hooks (even though I’ve always been more of a jeans kind of girl) and a dresser that’s low enough for diaper changes and wide enough to fit all my nieces very cute hand-me-downs (thanks Auntie Terr for hanging on to them!).  The full-size bed is slated to go to one of our rentals, so I’ll likely fill that space with a new antique daybed – I’m thinking a twin-size spindle bed – or some fun toys like a play house or tall stuffed animals.  There’s plenty of time to decide on the nursery since baby will be in our room for quite some time after she’s born.  But oh goodness, I am EXCITED!

The Grit and Polish - Baby Girl Dress and Pig

dress | pig (old; equally cute hippo here) | quilt

For those of you into pregnancy and such things, I’m 18 weeks along and finally out of the yuck stage.  I was definitely sicker with this pregnancy than the previous two.  And tireder.  And I’ve had way more food aversions.  For those reasons, I had a feeling we were having a girl.  Luckily, both Garrett and I are home right now, so I’ve been able to take it easy; naps and baths have been my salvation.  Of course, we’re about to start a brand new renovation (aka the flip house), so life will get hectic once again.  But that’s nothing new.  It seems that we just can’t renovate a house without a baby on the way 😉

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Brooks’ birth announcement and my pregnancy with him (Wilder was born before I started this blog).

p.p.s. We’ve been reading this new sibling book with the boys. We’ve had a few such books, but this one is definitely the cutest!

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