Posts tagged sponsored
Going Laminate

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.

Where have you been, friends? It's so good to see you! I'm really looking forward to catching you up on all the going-ons. . . but in the meantime, I'm hopping right back into the swing of things. 

We've been busy, busy around here re-imagining our home. Our suburban colonial was built nearly twenty years ago and though we are only the second owners, we have definitely, errr, made our mark on the place. Take for example, our carpeting. Our second floor has had the original ivory-colored carpeting in the bedrooms and hallways (thankfully not the bathrooms), and ivory it was no more. And despite our vacuuming, spotting, and shampooing, two decades of wear and tear had rendered our carpeting pretty gross. 

Thanks to the good people at The Home Depot, we were able to make a great change!! We selected a beautiful Pergo laminate flooring and installed it ourselves over a series of weekends! I am a lightweight DIY pro. I can craft with the best of them, but ripping out carpeting, pulling up staples, and laying down a floating floor was out of my comfort zone. But there's strength in numbers, and two heads are better than one, so my husband and I (maybe more him than me) set our sights on a whole new look for our entire second floor. Head over to The Home Depot blog to see our how-to and reveal!!

With a new dog, a renewed love for houseplants, and a 20-year old carpet, I was convinced that we needed new flooring!

With a new dog, a renewed love for houseplants, and a 20-year old carpet, I was convinced that we needed new flooring!

I wanted a clean break from carpet and a fresh feel for our second floor. All of our bedrooms are on the second floor, and our kids sleep and play in their spaces so easy-to-clean was a top priority for me. With our new dog (there she is, that's Cozi!) and new plants, I wanted something durable.

I'm really happy with how the flooring has refreshed our space. 

Our master bedroom had become too much of a catch all for items no longer needed elsewhere. My first big step was a major re-organization. Once we de-cluttered and removed excess, I began to see the potential for this space. Our master has a beautiful vaulted ceiling, plenty of floor space, furniture that I love, and three large windows that brighten the room for most of the day.

Our master bedroom got a refresh all around with new paint, fresh pillows, and new accents. It feels better than ever!

Our master bedroom got a refresh all around with new paint, fresh pillows, and new accents. It feels better than ever!

Thanks to the recommendation of designer Jeran McConnel, we also decided to repaint our room. It had been cool green shade called Rejuvenation by Sherwin Williams, and we opted for a clean Alabaster shade (also from Sherwin Williams). Alabaster is a warm white that feels like a color and not the blankness that concerned me when we first considered going to white.

We still have a gallery wall to install, and I'm creating a painting for above our bed, but I already love how our once-dated space feels like an artist's loft with the dark floors and white walls. And I am quite partial to artist's spaces.

Today's laminate, like the beauty of Auburn Scraped Oak from Pergo, feels and looks authentic.

Today's laminate, like the beauty of Auburn Scraped Oak from Pergo, feels and looks authentic.

I reshaped and recovered our nursery glider with this great fabric from Minted artists. Now it feels as comfortable as ever but has a graphic quality that matures it for our bedroom space.

I reshaped and recovered our nursery glider with this great fabric from Minted artists. Now it feels as comfortable as ever but has a graphic quality that matures it for our bedroom space.

We also re-imagined some furniture in our space like the baby glider. Anyone have one of those??

When our first child was on her way, we wanted one of the infamous baby gliders. Five years later, not only had the glider outlasted its purpose, but we were left with an eyesore. I can't deny that the chair is really comfortable so I attempted to repurpose the glider for the sitting area of our bedroom. I added foam to reshape the traditional lines, and I recovered the whole thing in a graphic pattern from the artists at Minted. Now, along with a floor lamp and great gold pouf, the chair makes a cozy hideaway in front of our windows. It's a lovely spot for morning prayers and journaling as well as a late night retreat for final emails or great books (like this one that I'm loving right now).

This soft shag rug from The Home Depot grounds the room in comfort, and the translucent curtains remind me of summer even in the perma-gray of winter.

This soft shag rug from The Home Depot grounds the room in comfort, and the translucent curtains remind me of summer even in the perma-gray of winter.

Our new white shag rug grounds the room in comfort and luxury. The philodendron (which I've named Phil) is a great touch of green. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy having plants in my space.

I have more to share!! And I'm looking forward to giving you more peaks into our space. I have some projects that I think you'll love, and I'm happy to be back on the blog with you. Thanks for sticking with me and for supporting this blog and small business for so many years!!

Onward and upward - xoxo, MJ



I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in this Laminate Flooring Installation ("the Program"). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Sponsored by Wayfair: DIY Didn't I Think of This Sooner for Your Car

This post is sponsored by Wayfair I was compensated for this post but all opinions are mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Pars Caeli.


From school to practice to Church and road trips, my family and I spend a lot of time in our car. We plan our journeys carefully, but I always want to be ready for any unexpected adventures we can seize at a given opportunity! Of course, we also have those times when we're stuck in traffic or come upon an emergency, and our car is like a second home and safe haven. 

Thanks to my friends at Wayfair, I'm sharing my top tips to maximize car travel and make any occasion out of the ordinary.

The Just in Case:

  • From bumps and bruises to emergencies, it's a smart idea to keep a First Aid kit handy (even in the back of your car). 

This simple First Aid Kit is all you need.

  • Less major emergencies like dead electronic devices can be avoided by keeping an extra charger for yours and the kids devices in the car.
  • Keeping a few empty, reusable water bottles in the car makes sense and keeps our budget in check during frequent stops.
  • Flashlights or head lamps get more use that you might expect!

For more fun:

  • Between practices or on a beautiful sunny afternoon, spontaneous picnicking is highly encouraged. 

We keep a picnic blanket always ready in the back!

We also keep a set of camping chairs stashed for t-ball and soccer games.

  • This is a little over-the-top, but during warmer months, we keep a simple tent in the back. I think the possibility and the thrill of camping wherever you are is just awesome.
  • Keep some read along CDs/books or audiobooks always at the ready.
  • Don't forget about the fun that you don't have to pack like car games!! I Spy, The Alphabet Game (finding words on signs that start with each letter of the alphabet), word association, 20 Questions, the license plate game. I also recommend printing off these two games - one for kids and one for teens to help pass long trips.

  • When all else fails, have a book, a few CDs, and if your vehicle uses them, DVDs at the ready to entertain.

You might not expect:

  • Crayons, a tablet of paper, and scissors have saved us from tantrums and boredom more than I ever imagined. We use the scissors all the time to cut off tags from new purchases that just have to be worn right away!
  • Playing cards can be used for card games like War, Rummy, Solitaire as well as simple math games to keep young minds busy,

These playing cards are maps, too! They're perfect for road tripping!

  • It's not fancy, but extra trash bags, tissues, napkins, disposable silverware, and straws are always, always helpful!
  • Last but not least, pack your sense of humor. What road trip or fun day of errands would be complete without some jokes!! Pack my lunchbox jokes for 180 illustrated cards and keep them in the side box.

What do you recommend to make the most of every car ride?

xoxo, MJ


Large scale art with Wayfair

Wayfair offers a zillion things home – the largest selection of home furnishings and décor across all styles and price points. For more information and inspiration, visit Wayfair and follow Wayfair on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Wayfair compensated me for this post but all opinions and project ideas are mine.


Welcome to week #2 of Endless Summer Projects! I'm delighted to team up again this week with my blogger pals: Ali, Melissa, Jen, and Amy. We taking our project to the big leagues this week with a large two foot by three foot canvas. Grab your favorite tapes and some scissors and let's get to work.


When my little guy L was an even littler guy, we took he and his sisters to the Art Institute of Chicago. They ate up all the painting and sculptures, but the wing of modern art was a favorite. At 2, L fell in love with this giant striped piece and ever since then I've been thinking about how to bring this idea to his space.


With all of the awesome washi tape and duct tape varieties now available, this striped project got a whole lot easier. The supply list is simple: a large canvas (the large scale can better handle the wide variation in pattern), tapes, and scissors as well as your favorite stripe lover. L is just a little bit bigger than this canvas, which was a fun way to note his relative age/size as we were creating this together.


We decided together that we wanted vertical stripes, and we began off center so that we could create a non-symmetrical striped pattern. You can predetermine the order of your stripes or do what we did and create balance as you go by making some of the stripes extra thick and others thinner.


Secure each stripe by extending the line to the back of the canvas. Perhaps the most challenging part of this DIY (though none of the steps would really be considered challenging) is making sure that your lines stay straight as you pull the tape down the canvas. Little hands can easily select what colored stripe comes along next and guide the roll of tape as you straighten and trim the ends.


Let's just say this project had us at hello, and L was so excited with his new canvas, even if it had one lone stripe. But we kept moving forward, mixing up the width of tapes as we added new colors to the canvas.

We had five different colors and a windy day, but all in all this project took us 30 minutes from start to complete in his room.

L and I worked together to hang our new artwork above his dresser. It already houses some Wayfair pieces! And I've been looking at these three as other fun additions to this big boy room (a fire extinguisher water hose is the best)!


Wayfair Firefighter Gear  + Whitney Bros Mirror  +  WallCandy Arts Mural


The finished art offsets L's very special items and pops all the bright colors in the room in a fun and festive way. L pulled out a classic quote on me while we were making this, "Mommy, whenever I look at this, I'll think of you and all the fun we had making this!" Awh. So sweet. How could I not give this kid something special?!

My blogger gals and I are hopping around today to show off our favorite picks from Wayfair for children's and tween's bedroom and playspace. Click on over and see the adorable ice cream supplies with Alexandra, the colorful picks at Lulu the Baker, the chic art prints at Classic Play, and all the animal love you could want at This Heart of Mine!

Alexandra Hedin, Lulu the Baker, Classic Play, and This Heart of Mine

If you missed it last week, be sure to grab Jen's printable summer banner for end of the academic year celebrations that kicked off our Endless Summer Projects series. Thank you all for visiting and sharing and enjoying time spent with your kids in the creation process!

xoxo, MJ

Pre-game Smoothie

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Nestle, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #BreakfastEssentials

This time of year is getting a little hectic with end-of-the-school-year activities colliding with new summer interests. Our children are wrapping up dance, while starting up soccer, and finishing craft club, while beginning softball. But no matter what time of year it is, we have a pre-game, pre-performance ritual to get ourselves psyched!

A few years ago, my husband introduced a heaping spoon of peanut butter. Gratefully none of us are allergic and we all love it (plus it has some nutritional value), and we were easily convinced that a scoop of peanut butter would set us off on the right foot.

Some of our activities are beginning early these days, and my children are expected to be up and filled with energy right after breakfast.

I decided to take our ritual of mounds of peanut butter and transition it into a morning smoothie. My children love fruit smoothies and chocolate milk so it wasn't a far leap!

These were quick to make and little hands made everything more enjoyable. The recipe is simple using items you likely already have around. Here's what we used to create our Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Smoothies:

To add a little extra loving, I decided to make some straw notes to wish my favorite athletes all the best. It was a cute surprise to greet them at the breakfast table. M is our slugger in her second year of softball, and C is a big kicker in her second year of soccer.

I used flexible straws and attached our notes with some tape on the back. Be sure to tape right above the bend so that your straw can both reach into the glass and the note is low enough to make the straw functional.

Little L is not yet in organized sports or activities, but that didn't stop him from wanting a smoothie to start off his day!

I picked up the Carnation Breakfast Essentials at Walmart. For a limited time while supplies last, they have a coupon available for your own smoothie making. And if you're looking for more smoothie recipes, check out Carnation's host of ideas or follow them on Facebook.

And parents, of course, need a little extra success, too, so pour yourself a glass of these delicious creations.

Do you have any pre-game rituals that get your kids off on the right foot?

xoxo, MJ


Winter's pocket essentials
This is a sponsored post by Kleenex Brand. However, all opinions expressed are my own. Kleenex has been making design accessible for decades, and their new portable packs are super cute for everywhere you're headed.

Welcome to March, lovelies! February breezed by us with its formidable wind chill, and I'm ready to invite in the melt of March. The change in temperatures has my family searching for the closest tissue, and sinus issues have been bothering each of us. We've gone through a lot of Kleenex, even the emergency box in the car, in the last few weeks.

In the cold months of winter, my mom (and her mom, and probably back another generation as well) always has a fresh tissue up her sleeve. She is the kind of lady who is ready at hand for THAT moment when you need it. She's always prepared.

But I know, I, as the mom of 3 littles, am not always excited to trek around a wad of tissues. I find things up my sleeve irritating. In fact, I'm not even that keen on carrying a purse or bag at all.

Most of the time, when I'm heading out the door, my essentials go right in my pockets instead of a tote.

I will admit that I have done the ball of toilet paper in the pocket when called to duty with small, runny noses (have you, too?). But check out what I'm sporting these days. Kleenex has a great line of on-the-go packages in a ton of different styles that go with my gray wool as well as my bright paisley coat. They're super slender to carry, too, so that I still have room for my keys, my phone, and my favorite shade of red lipstick.

When it's necessary for me to act like a grown-up and pull out a canvas tote or an envelope clutch, I take along a few extras.

Throw in my go-to mascara, my lip treatment for the brutality of the Midwest, an alternative pair of earrings to switch up a look, and a great pen. And my Kleenex are making the whole medley of objects somehow look coordinated and intentional... and I'm pretty fond of that.

Check out all the other styles of on-the-go packages that fit with just about any look for men or women.

But do spill... Do you fill your pockets first or go straight to the bag? What are your essentials?

Thanks so much to Kleenex for the perfect timing of these treats. If you're near Grand Central Station on St. Patrick's Day stop by to see the new Kleenex brand designs from Isaac Mizrahi. Oh, yeah, and the prizes will be good.