This beautiful oak tree shades the entirety of our tiny front yard.

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I did absolutely nothing to edit these photos (aside from resizing them). I took the one above while lying on my back on the front walk and pointing my camera directly overhead. Jack and I spend a lot of time out here when the weather’s nice. It’s shady and cool and between the fence and the tree it feels cozy despite the fact that it’s in the middle of a small city on a street that sees a lot of through traffic.

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Spring is really the most beautiful time of year in Louisiana. In a month it will be sticky and hot outside and we’ll barely be able to tolerate it even in the shade, but April is perfection. I wish it could be like this for always. It’s magical.

This is one of my favorite quotes.

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There have been lots of changes in my life lately. I’m taking on some new things professionally and it is really exciting to try something new after five years as a social worker. It feels like I’m fresh out of school again (in a good way). But change is not always easy for me and there have been some growing pains. It’s scary to take a leap sometimes. The thing that keeps me going as a social worker is the motivation to help people–that’s what’s most important. Even if you’re not in a helping profession, you can make an effort to be the change. Be nice to strangers whether in the grocery store or on the internet. Treat others the way that you would like to be treated. Recycle. And when you have a chance to do good, do it.

I’ve never really minded the light in our kitchen. I think it’s pretty, actually. The problem is that it is not exactly functional for the space. It’s designed to double as a pot rack but hangs in the middle of the room, where even little ‘ol me would bump my head if pots were actually hanging from it. And although the three lights are minimally sufficient they only cast light directly downward to the floor, leaving the kitchen work areas poorly lit.

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I’m thrilled to say that we installed a new light this weekend! It went MUCH more smoothly than the last time we switched a light fixture (that light is still crooked, btw). But before I show you the new light, here’s Nick holding the old one up in a more appropriate place for a pot rack. That spot is sorely in need of task lighting so I’m thinking of hiring an electrician to install a box over there. It would crowd the cabinets a bit though.

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And ta da! Here’s the new light. I picked it out at Lowe’s and my parents generously got it for me for my birthday. It came with four 13-watt CFL bulbs and was a cinch to install.

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I am a little bummed, though, that the hole cut around the junction box is bigger than the canopy. And ugh I don’t want to paint the ceiling but I need to.

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It’s kind of tricky to get a picture of a light while it’s on, but this is a fairly accurate representation. It’s much brighter than our old one.

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I’m surprised to say that my favorite part is the increased head room. It’s a lot smaller than our old fixture and is much lighter visually, so it just kind of fades into the background and does its job. I like that in a light sometimes. And in a relatively small kitchen the open space overhead makes a difference. This is exactly why I’m hesitant to hang the old light over the counter as a pot rack. I’d love to get my pots out of the pantry but I’m worried they’ll feel oppressive looming overhead while I chop veggies or whatever.

kitchen light before and after.

When I think back to what the kitchen looked like a few years ago I am so, so pleased that I made the effort to change it. The new look is so much more my style. (it also helps that my photography skills have improved)

So, questions: What should I do about the gaps in the ceiling? Should I install the pot rack light over the counter? If not, should I consider installing some other task lighting there, or leave it as is? And will you come over to help paint my ceiling and crown molding?

Ps, if you usually get by posts in your email inbox, did you get this one today? I just switched hosting companies and am still working out the kinks

After I decided to hang the larger of two silver platters over my stove the smaller one sat on my dining room table for a week or two waiting to go back to my mother in law. One day while I was tidying up it occurred to me that I might as well find a pretty place for it in the meantime and within a few minutes I’d set it up in this little corner of the kitchen. The grouping of canisters and jars looks so much neater now! (you can see a picture of them sans platter in this post)

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I also spent about sixty seconds decluttering all of the magnets and papers on the side of our refrigerator. Now there are only a few small magnets, a timer, our menu, our family meeting agenda (still going strong with both of those!), and the memo board where we jot down things we need from the grocery that aren’t on my regular list.

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Since I’ve been making a more efficient use of space in the pantry I now have room to put things near where we actually use them, like potholders next to the stove and stuff for beverages right below where we store all of our cups and glasses. I drink black tea every morning so I keep a couple dozen bags in a tall canister on the counter, but it’s much easier to restock now that the big box is right here instead of shoved back on the top shelf of the pantry.

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Nick’s mom came to visit this weekend and said that as long as I was using the platter I could keep it. I was thrilled! She gave me a yummy Mrs. Meyer’s candle too (along with a bunch of other goodies; she is so sweet). The label was small and cute but I pulled it off anyway and now it sits on the platter. It’s the little jelly jar with a black lid.

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It’s funny how sometimes the smallest details, like having a tray or platter under a grouping of several functional items, can make me so happy. It inspired me to tidy up that whole corner and now it’s my favorite spot in the kitchen. That could have something to do with the fact that it’s where I get caffeine in the morning and wine in the evenings, but, you know, I like it even better since it looks pretty.