Welcome to Prospect Dark | Halloween Stoop Decor

It's that time of year again!  Time to open my literal closet full of skeletons and decorate for Halloween. Welcome to Prospect Dark!


A few months ago, I stumbled upon this old baby pram that started me on the idea as a play on our local park, Prospect Park.  Of course our version is only for the dead and their leisurely pursuits.

This park has a mom and dad fussing over baby, a cyclist, a graveyard, spooky plants and of course one angry dog.

I made the two large tombstones using some scrap wood.  One to honor the famous designers of the real Prospect Park and the other to reference our planned family costume, The Addams Family. I usually like to make the décor match our costume more closely but I made an exception this year and just keep the décor in the generally creepy category. I think the Addams family would be happy to spend time in this park, don't you agree?

Nightstand turned into a Mini Dining Room Sideboard

Anyone else living in an old home knows it's a constant battle to find storage for all of the things we need for modern living that our Victorian friends seemed to manage without. Especially now with little kids, the storage space we built during our renovation just never seems enough.  So when said goodbye to our high chair, that spot seemed like the perfect spot for a small sideboard to hold all those little odds and ends that you need for diner parties.

The only problem was that spot on the wall was quite narrow so something ready made just did not exist. So instead of a traditional sideboard, I had to get creative with what would fit in that spot.

Off I went to Lowe's, my go to source for all things DIY.  Not surprisingly, they are also a great source of storage and organizational products (I could spend all day just in that aisle alone). They have everything from bins to pegboards to hooks to closet systems so I knew they would have a solution.

Turns out a small chest or in this case, this beautiful Chevron nightstand was the perfect fit. (I was really hoping this beautiful curved pine chest would fit but alas my wall was too narrow.) Aside from being the exact width I needed and visually lovely, it also has two built-in USB ports on the back which was a total surprise.  I can create a nice charging station right here down the road.

My first step in turning this nightstand into a dining room storage piece was lining each drawer with shelf paper.  I used Duck shelf liner in their 'Grey Gate' pattern - one roll was more than enough. Aside from just looking a little cuter, the plastic lining helps things stay in place when opening and closing the drawers.  Once that was in place I turned to my new obsession; bamboo drawer organizers. Specifically I used these three sizes: 15x6 , 9x3 and 9x6. They turned this open drawer into a custom space for every little small item I use for dinner parties including fancy cutlery, cheese markers, votives, napkin rings, appetizer knives and a corkscrew.  The stackable nature of these trays makes the most of every inch.  It also makes finding these items and putting them away a breeze.  The only problem with them is once you get a few, you will want to fill every drawer in your house with them. It's completely addictive.

The second drawer I used for my linens and placemats as well as some of my favorite wood slice trays. Amazing what can fit into a tiny space when well organized. I thought I might need some of these drawer dividers (which I'm also obsessed with) but everything fit perfectly without me lifting a finger so score!

And finally I saved the third drawer for appetizer plates and serving dishes.  Things I didn't use everyday but wanted to have easy reach to.  I could have stuffed this drawer with a lot more but by purging a bit, I was able to store my favorites safely and with plenty of space.  The shelf paper really helps here keeping each little dish in their place without any extra effort.

Even though this chest is relatively small, it has made setting up for guests so much easier and has freed up some precious room in my cabinets that help me stay organized day to day.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Lowes but all opinions expressed are my own.  Thanks to wonderful sponsors like these for supporting my projects.

Lisbon With Kids

Earlier this year we took a short trip to Lisbon, Portugal and totally fell in love with the city. It's small yet full of life, charming in the most authentic way, has amazing food and drink and is just lovely all around.

We had been avoiding Lisbon because of the steep hills and narrow sidewalks - both which are not especially stroller friendly - until our youngest was old enough to take at least short walks without one. So that time had come and off we went.

Let me start by saying this city is such a visual feast.  There is something beautiful to look at everywhere you turn.  It's also highly walkable which is a nice bonus on a short trip when you don't really want to have to learn the local public transit system.

One of the best decisions we made on this trip was staying at an apartment hotel that had a kid's club.  We weren't sure just how it was going to go but it was so wonderful to be able to drop the kids off for a few hours and have a nice dinner date or even just a walk around.  I found this hotel, the Martinhal Chiado Suites via booking.com and it totally made our trip one of the most relaxing we've ever done since having kids.  Aside from a spacious apartment in the heart of the city, the hotel leaves a few basics for you when you arrive (milk, juice, biscuits, etc) and was super flexible and accommodating to our changing schedule. Highly recommend this place!

Moving on from where we stayed, we spent a lot of time walking the city and exploring all of the different neighborhoods both with our feet and our mouthes! Lisbon is a city for eating. The seafood alone! We ate at several great restaurants but the food tour we took (booked a bit randomly at the last minute via tripadvisor) was completely fabulous. If you are going to Lisbon book with Treasures of Lisboa and you can thank me later. The guide is the owner and we really enjoyed the food and the company. We didn't take the kids (thank you again kids' club) but we totally could have as it was family friendly. Some of the other food related highlights were the Time Out Market (about 5 minutes away from our hotel), Taberna da Rua das Flores (a block from the hotel) and A Cevicheria. Although I think I would be hard pressed to have a bad meal in Lisbon.

While we generally avoid the big tourist sites because I'm just not that kind of traveler, we took a short tram ride over to see the Belem Tower.  It is beautiful but the lines were insane so we admired from outside which is totally fine with me. Instead I tried my first e-scooter ride and let's just say I'm lucky to make it out alive.  I'll stick with my feet for the near future.

Not quite as popular with tourists but closer to the city center and fascinating just the same was the Carmo Convent - an interesting architectural site with some interesting artifacts inside.  I took Aggie with me while Oscar napped and it was the perfect bite sized attraction for a 6 year old.

I'm sure it's pretty obvious by now we enjoyed our trip.  I don't have much more I could say that photos don't do a better job of conveying so here are some favorite snaps from our few days in Lisbon.

Much too soon it was time to pack up and go back home. But Lisbon stole a place in my heart and I can't wait to return.  Hope you find this recap helpful in your own planning.  If you have any questions or comments please add them to the post - I'd love to hear from you!

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