Hi! I’m Kate — a child of God, wife, mother to three, creative type, who thinks too much. I blog to inspire and help with all things decorating, organizing, budgeting, family and faith.
I’m particular about the aesthetics in our home. Sure, we have plastic super heroes lining the ledge by the front door and legos scattered across the dining room table, but the overall design and colors are important to me.
That might seem superficial to some, but it’s meaningful to me. It changes my mood when I am surrounded by things that have a story or particular fondness. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just selected. I have mugs from the dollar store and a used dining table. Actually none of my things cost a lot of money because I’m a frugal shopper and my kids would ruin it anyway!
Here’s the thing: I am NOT handy. I do a lot of DIY projects, but I am not a carpenter. I do not own any power tools. (I do have a drill, but even that is broken, so …) I am not good at math. And I am always looking for the easiest shortcut to: 1) spend the least amount of money possible, 2) do the least amount of work as possible, and 3) do it in the shortest amount of time possible. And I make it work!
- Here is how I painted my entire kitchen — walls, cabinets, event the backsplash. WITHOUT taking the doors off! Seriously.
- Here is my $100 board and batten wall.
I love for each and everything to have a spot to go.
I don’t like to have a lot of things.
I only want to live with things that we use or love.
I love a lived-in home and don’t obsess about keeping everything pristine.
Several years ago we got rid of about half our stuff! My house gets messy (a lot) and dishes pile up around the sink (a lot), but now with half the stuff, it takes half the time to pick up and put away. It’s not as overwhelming. I’m determined to not let material things be the center of my life by allowing them to consume my time, attention, and space.
- Here’s my post that went viral on how I organized and simplified my last house.
- Here’s how to get a clean and organized home in one week.
- I’m also a graphic designer. Check out all the printables I have for you!
Marcello and I have had times of serious debt, little income and worry about how we would pay the bills. We’ve worked hard to not be in that place anymore, but we haven’t veered too far from our roots. We’re still thrifty, we still look for a deal, we still hate waste. We’re no longer living frugally for a season, we’re living frugally because we are frugal. Frugal and happy!
On the flip side, we are thrifty, but we still give ten percent of our income. I give 20 percent of the profits from this blog to Christian charities for children and clean water. We aim to be generous with others, especially those in need. We save money and live within our means.
You don’t have to spend a lot to have a stylized home. My goal is to inspire you with cheap finds, DIYs, furniture makeovers and a good ol’ can of paint.
In my recent money series:
- How we got out of $18,000 of credit card debt
- How we afforded our dream home
- Comprehensive list to living frugally (and happily)
- VIDEO: A tour of my super frugal decor
I haven’t always had strong faith in the Lord. In my 20s I walked so far away I wasn’t sure He existed anymore. One day, alone at the beach, I tearfully asked him if He was there. Could He show me He was real? Two days later a coworker asked me to go to a Bible study. God was answering me and I was ready to listen.
But faith doesn’t come easily to me. I am a natural skeptic and my questions are absolutely endless. Ask my pastor. Is that you too? I wrote a concise, but detailed post on proof God exists. I would love to know what you think about it.
My journey of faith deepens each day. I no longer question whether God exists. I know He does. I have a personal relationship with him and have been saved by His son, Jesus.
If you’re wondering how a man who lived over 2,000 years ago matters to your life today, you need to read this. And if you need someone to talk to, don’t you hesitate to email me: email@example.com
I am married to Marcello (pronounced Marchello for we Americans), and we have three kids. I’m from the Midwest and Marcello is from Italy, but we call southwest Florida home. At our house there is lots of pasta, It-lish (speaking in half Italian and half English), dancing, yelling (usually the good kind), and general chaos.
Marcello and I met in Italy when I was “studying” art history for a semester. He was handsome, mysterious, well put together and I was — well, I was none of those things. I had no idea how to walk in stilettos on cobblestone, follow a train schedule, or speak even conversational Italian. I think I knew about five words and, as my mom not-so-gently pointed out, one of them was Spanish. Communication posed a slight challenge, as Marcello didn’t speak English either. (His best friend always said we got along so well because we didn’t understand each other. Maybe so, but we both kill it in charades!)
Against most odds, we stayed together when I returned to the States (dramatic goodbyes and lots of tissues) and took turns visiting each other every six months. We got married three years later on a pretty summer day in the church my great great grandfather built in Indiana. (And in case you’re wondering, he learned English fluently and I speak subpar Italian.)
My life changed completely when our oldest son was born in 2011. I was a graphic designer for a little over a decade and decided to leave my job to be a stay-at-home mom. I truthfully didn’t know the first thing about babies! I could color with the best of ’em and put on a serious puppet show, but newborn baths and diapers and feedings and sleep training? Whaaaaaat? It was a rude awakening for this first-time mom.
We ended up having three babies in four years despite fertility problems. I had quite the learning curve, but I’ve grown a lot and am finding my stride as a mother. I’m so grateful for these three blessings.
- You can read my honest mom diary here.
- When I’m tired of being a stay-at-home mom.
- See all my baby how-to posts and checklists on this page.
- Best toys by age.
My Italian in-laws
My in-laws live all the way across the driveway in the guest house!
Moving to a new country has been a radical change for this couple in their early 70s. They don’t speak English. Until their son moved here a decade ago, they had never thought about a life outside of Italy. But their government-owned apartment building began to decline. There were too many tenants packing into the small condos. Break-ins began occurring regularly and they didn’t feel safe.
They saved every last cent they could for several years to move here. They had a heater that burned the little pellets for heat all winter. They rationed and planned out their food by sales and season. No new clothes. No eating out. No over-flushing the toilet or leaving all the lights on. No seeing their son or grandchildren to save travel costs. These strong people did it!
“And look at me now,” Dario said in Italian, as he sat in front of his new home. “The same boy who lived off a sandwich of bread and anchovies.” He was referencing the lunches his mother would pack him back in Napoli when he started working full time at the age of 13.
Now they’re here. Now they are with family and things are good!
Well, that’s more about me than anyone wants to know! I hope you’ll subscribe by email, drop me a note and tell me about you, and if you have any tips of your own I’d love to hear them. You can get the inside scoop on upcoming projects and I share a lot of my life on Instagram.
Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you’ll stick around for awhile.