We’re Buying a House!

Mandi Makes a New Home

You guys! Something absolutely crazy is happening in my life. On Saturday, April 1st (yes, April Fool’s Day), I asked Phil if he wanted to go to an open house for an amazing 1970s house I found on Zillow that had a CONVERSATION PIT in the living room! He said, “Sure!” We talked about how fun it would be to move, how ready we were, and how we should probably start getting our house ready to sell. Not that this ’70s house would be “the one.” But you know, this was a fun idea, and it made us realize we should probably gear up to sell our house and move on to the next adventure.

Fast forward to the next day, we attended the open house and fell in love. Should’ve seen it comin’. We wanted to put an offer in, and we were even pre-approved for a mortgage to do so. But we decided this was financially stupid, seeing as how we weren’t even close to being ready to put our house on the market. Two mortgages? Yeah, no.

So, I got on Instagram, shared the day through live videos, and then ended the day telling you all that we were going to put our house on the market in two weeks. Maybe we could get it on the market in time to put an offer in on that amazing ’70s house! Crazy, right?! But something even crazier happened the next day.

A friend of mine texted me to tell me he knew someone interested in our house. I let her see it that evening, and she was very interested. And Phil and I were very excited. That week, I barely slept. I worked on our house night and day, preparing it to sell. I wanted to move, and I wanted to move badly. Well, six days later we entered into contract with the absolute perfect buyer for our home, and had been crushed to find out our dream home was already in contract as well. Wow, what a whirlwind! I had been emotionally to the moon and back (and then back to the moon?) and while I was sad to have missed out on what I knew would’ve been an amazing house, I was excited about taking our time to find a new house, as we saved money while living with our parents while we waited. How many months would it take? We didn’t know. The thought of waiting and not knowing if or when to settle made me very stir crazy. Would we ever find what we wanted and in our budget?!

Mandi Makes a New Home

But then I found the above images on Zillow for a house I had scrolled past countless times— its lead image showed a boring looking home which lacked curb appeal— nothing about its exterior photos that would lead me to think this could be “the one.” I remember (because it wasn’t that long ago— ha!) clicking through the photos thinking, “Hmmm… I could work with that!” And Phil said, “You could work with that, but do you really love it? Is it really ‘the one’?” I said, “No, probably not.” But I made an appointment to see it the next day anyway. And wow— it was so perfect for us!

We had made a list of qualifications for our dream home, but figured we’d not be able to find a place that met all the criteria. At least, not in our price point. Still, we needed to start somewhere. So here’s what we put on our list:

An entryway separate from the rest of the house, a large kitchen open to a dining area big enough for my heirloom farmhouse table, a private office for Phil big enough for a sofa and chairs for his mentoring and Bible studies, an office for me that was big enough to work on all of my crafts and projects, a large great room with high ceilings, a basement with potential for finishing down the road, a room the kids could call their own (to house most of their toys), three bedrooms, two baths, a two car garage, a decent yard, not on a busy road, in a nice neighborhood, and a house that was asking for cosmetic upgrades, but didn’t need big renovation done. WHEW! What a list, right? And did I mention, our budget was around 175k? Ha!

Well, what would you know, we sold our house and found that exact house (that met all of our criteria and then some— partially finished basement, 3 and a half baths, and a three car garage) and got it for the exact price we were hoping for! We are basically in shock. So much is changing so quickly, and my far off house dreams are coming true in such a short amount of time. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up and find out this was all a really fun dream. (Please don’t pinch me.)

Mandi Makes a New Home

If all goes according to plan (we trust God that it will), we’ll be  closing on our new house at the beginning of June and will be starting renovations on the first floor immediately. We are ripping out all of the flooring material, removing much of the cabinetry in the kitchen, rearranging the cabinetry to move the oven to a different wall, and oh, so much more! Check out my video tour of the house on my Facebook page here, and see my inspiration images for the house below. So excited to share this entire crazy journey with you guys!

click images to see where I found each one

white living room earthy accents

Floating shelving around floor to ceiling fireplace

Open Pantry System

california modern

velvet banquette

gray lower cabinets, white and gray subway tile

neutral kitchen with floating shelves

Crock Pot // Stuffed Peppers with Turkey + Quinoa

Sharing delicious food with your family is easy, but finding healthy recipes that are easy to make and enjoyed by all is a bit more challenging! I have learned a few tricks lately that make cooking healthy meals easier for me, with minimal prep work and cook time on my end. This turkey, kale, and quinoa stuffed peppers recipe has proved to be one of the easiest to throw together. What’s the trick?

I like to buy ground turkey in bulk when it’s on sale, brown it the same day, then store one pound increments in storage bags in my freezer. That’s step one to making all of my ground turkey recipes easier. Step two? When I mix up the stuffing for these peppers, I will mix at least a double batch, and sometimes a triple batch. While it’s fresh, I’ll use enough for one batch (about 5 peppers), then freeze the rest, making the next time I prepare stuffed peppers as easy as thawing the stuffing and cutting the peppers. Add in the crock pot factor and this recipe is a breeze— cooking away on my counter while I go about my day, not worrying about needing to start dinner. And these are the days I feel like I’m winning at life.

Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - slow cooker or oven

This stuffed pepper recipe also has me feeling like a boss because it just tastes really, really good. My kids eat it, my husband delights in it, and I am positively gleeful about the nutritional content. It’s definitely a recipe in frequent rotation at our house! I hope you like it as much as we do.

Turkey turkey kale and quinoa stuffed peppersQuinoa Stuffed Peppers - crock pot or oven

Turkey, Quinoa, and Kale Stuffed Peppers
Yields 5
These hearty, flavorful, and nutritious peppers are sure to become a regular at your table!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
  1. 5 peppers (color is up to you
  2. 1 pound ground turkey
  3. 1 small onion, diced
  4. 5 garlic cloves, minced28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  5. 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa (I used a mix of colors)
  6. 3 cups of chopped kale
  7. 1 tablespoon of Italian season or 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning, depending on your mood!
  1. Prepare the peppers by slicing off the tops and removing the seeds and rib of the insides. Set them aside, keeping the lids with their corresponding pepper.
  2. Brown the ground turkey and diced onion in a large non-stick skillet, draining the fat off the meat once it has been cooked through. Add the garlic and brown for about a minute before adding the remaining ingredients. Once ingredients are combined, gradually add the chopped kale, stirring to incorporate the leaves as they wilt with the heat.Once they kale has wilted just a bit, spoon the stuffing into the hollow peppers, top with their lids, and place into your crock pot or baking pan.
  3. Cook on low for 4 hours in a crock pot, or bake at 350 degrees in a covered baking pan for 1-2 hours, depending on how tender you prefer your peppers.
Making Nice in the Midwest http://makingniceinthemidwest.com/
turkey kale and quinoa stuffed peppers

Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - slow cooker or oven
My family doesn’t typically use quinoa as a substitute for rice, as it’s too fine to hold onto a fork or chopsticks like rice does, and it just doesn’t have the same bite and texture. But I believe this is the perfect recipe for using quinoa as a rice substitute, because it clings nicely to the tomato and meat texture, enhancing the hearty and meaty qualities you would crave in stuffed peppers. Why quinoa instead of rice? For me it’s about the added protein. I’m all about that muscle mass, yo!

After my peppers cook, I like to top them with a sprinkle of cheese and fresh herbs, depending on what I have on hand. This time it was grated parmesan and fresh parsley. So delicious!

Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - crock pot or oven

WHAT I WORE | White on White on White

white on white minimal fashion

I’ve been trying new things lately, guys! Shorter pants, and… shorter hair! Yep, I finally sprung for a bob, which was long anticipated but still very shocking once all was said and done. For days after the cut, I found myself being shocked by my shadow, much less my reflection whenever I caught it in the corner of my eye. But now I’m finally used to my new ‘do, and it feels so refreshing and, well… freeing! It’s funny how hair becomes such a part of one’s identity, and I had simply begun to feel encumbered by mine.

And pants! How have you all been feeling about the cropped lengths that have been cropping up in stores this past year? My favorite jumpsuits from last Summer were all wide-legged cropped styles, but I hadn’t yet tried wearing wider leg crop styles in anything but jumpsuits. I was kind of worried short pants would make me look smaller and stumpier than I already am (5′-5″ and around 155lbs, so average, I guess, as far as midwesterners go), but I’ve found the key to my feeling v chic with this cropped look is trying it with a monochromatic color scheme. White on white, ya’ll! And before Easter, even.

big round sunglasses

I’m still getting used to styling the new hair, but in general I’m going for an unfussy look… which you’d think would be easy enough to achieve, but effortless looks are never effortlessly achieved, are they? I’ll share about the hair process soon, in case you’re interested!

O U T F I T   D E T A I L S


top: Colo/Palo | pants: Need Supply | shoes: Nordstrom | sunglasses: TopShop | purse: Collette’s Vintage in Canton, OH

white on white minimal fashion

white on white minimal fashion

block heel sandals

white on white minimal fashion

white on white minimal fashion

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