Family Room Christmas Chalkboard

Somewhere between the Christmas decorating and the wreath making and popping popcorn….

… son turned thirteen.

A teenager.


The transformation was almost instantaneous.   He  just started sauntering around the house……nodding in response to most questions and reducing his vocabulary to words like “cool” and “great” and “thanks.”

And flipping his hair.

He is all about that hair.

It’s his crowning glory.

He brushes it and styles it and lets it casually droop over one eyebrow….just waiting to be flipped with a shake of his head.




The other day he came home from school….tossed his backpack on the counter and sighed a deep sigh of teenage distress.

“Mom,” he said with a toss of his head.  “You are never going to believe what happened at school today.”

“Hmmmm?” I responded in a distracted manner as I continued to hot glue pipe cleaners together.

I have developed relative immunity to dramatic stories of teenage angst.


Family Room Thistlewood


“Mom….are you listening to me?”  he asked.

“This girl started following me around at school today.  And then she kept walking by my locker with her friends and giggling and staring at me.  And then one of her friends came up and told me that she liked me.

Did you hear me?”

And  the story spilled out in a rush of words and true dramatic flair….each sentence punctuated by a toss of the head.

And a swing of his bangs.

“Oh no,” I said sympathetically….trying not to laugh.  “All those girls trying to talk to you.  It sounds really terrible.”

“I know….right?” he sighed.


Felt Trees


“And then….” he continued.

“You haven’t even heard the worst of it.  Another girl stopped me before I got on the bus and told me that she liked me”  he groaned.

“Can you even believe it?”

And with that he plopped down on the couch in a pose of abject despair.


Merry Mantel


I put down my pipe cleaners and my glue and gave him my complete and undivided attention.

“This sounds like a lot of challenge in one day,” I said with all the seriousness I could muster.  “What did you do?”

He just stared at me and rolled his eyes.

Then he swung his hair a few more times and said, “Really, Mom?  I didn’t do anything. I didn’t know what to say to so I just walked away.”

Stocking with monograms

“I’m not really sure about all these girls.  But I do know one thing.”  he said.

“What?” I responded as I turned back to my project.

“I think that girls giggle a lot.” he said earnestly.

“And that they are always getting their friends to say stuff for them.

And I learned…..” and he paused and swung his bangs again for dramatic emphasis.  “I learned that…..

…..this hair is lethal.”


Teenage self-confidence at its finest.


And now I’m going to have to stop hot gluing pipe cleaners and enlarge all the door frames…..

…..just to make sure his super-sized teenage ego fits through them. 🙂

PS  Look what just came in the mail!

I laughed so hard that tears were running down my face.

My wonderful, incredible friend, Kim sent me these in the mail after she read this story.

Isn’t she the absolute best!

Afterall….nothing says Christmas like a one-legged gingerbread man. 🙂


Gingerbread Men

See you tomorrow for Day 11!

Be sure to stop by and see what these incredible bloggers are featuring for their tenth day of Christmas!



Funky Junk InteriorsInspiredByCharm132Photobucket


All of these ideas and many, many more are pinned to our pinterest board.

And here’s the first eight days of my 12 Days of Christmas.

Click on each picture to take you to the link!

Fruit Roll-Up Ribbon Cake spring tree with pine coneBoxwood TagDining_Room_ThistlewoodMagnolia Leaf Wreath
Star_Ornament Table Display ChristmasNoel Mantel


Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Marianne@Songbird Marianne@Songbird

    Your family room is out of this world gorgeous. Did you post about that big chalkboard frame yet? And the baskets with pompom snowballs! And those adorable fabric trees. Are those homemade? I want to know everything about every detail in this room. I wish we did family rooms over here, it sure be copying yours.

  2. Image for Funky Junk Interiors Funky Junk Interiors

    HAHAHA... lethal indeed! It's like visiting two blog posts in one... I have to read and ignore the glorious photos rolling out... then I have to not read and stare at the photos with my jaw on the floor. Laugh... jaw... laugh... jaw... I'm so confused! In the best of ways. :) LOVE IT ALL!

  3. Image for Donna Kelly Donna Kelly

    Todays story was great as all of them, but my fav is still about the gingerbread men....and to see that your friend sent you one missing a leg!!! O M G!!!! I dont tell my hubby too many blog stories, as he really thinks this is all dumb (I know, how dare he??) But I really did share the gingerbread story with all the drama !!!! He knows if it were me, there would have been a way, lot more drama!!!! He just needed to know that I am not the only chicken when it involves rodents!!!! Anyways Karianne, keep your stories coming....we love you!

  4. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Ahhhh....welcome to the world of teenage angst! The drama of it all. Love your photos as usual. Please tell us how you made your sweet little trees. So cute!

  5. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    I know you know exactly what to say because you used to be one of those girls, BUT you never used friends -you just did yourself. I am sure you if you dig deep and go back to 7th grade - you can keep him lots of "good" advice - interesting to see it from the "other" side. Made my day!

  6. Image for Beverly Beverly

    Our one and only magnificent grandson will be fourteen next week. And, it just so happens that you could have written this exact post for him. Even the hair swinging. And, the self confidence and "modesty" is incredible. I took some photos yesterday for Christmas, and I told him that he is naturally photogenic. His answer. I know, it is cool! We just gotta love these guys. The room looks amazing, KariAnne. Love the trees!!!♥♥♥

  7. Image for Linda Southworth Linda Southworth

    KariAnne, I just signed up for your blog a couple of days ago. The first day I spent 45 minutes going through your fabulous pictures and endearing stories. I love the humor of a story well told and beautiful pictures too. What a gift you have! You make my heart happy!

  8. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    So cute! Giggling! I love this room and your fabric trees! The stocking monograms are fabulous too!

  9. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Someone earlier just commented that she had to read your blog posts too! I cannot look at all the pretty pictures and follow along with the story at the same time! Did you make those fabric trees? Too cute. Happy Belated Birthday to your son and his hair! ;)

  10. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    I love all these touches, the stockings are beautiful and so are the small trees, just fantastic. I also think the big tree is beautiful and the gingerbread are adorable expecially the one with the broken leg...LOL Cynthia

  11. Image for Linda Adams Linda Adams

    Karianne, Oh my it's just beginning - teen years! Very funny story. You have your very own Justin. I''m thinking he could get a line of perfume out and it would sell like hot cakes. Love the family room. All of the trees are beautiful. Did you make the fabric trees? Joyous Wishes, Linda

  12. Image for Mary Ann Mary Ann

    Oh geez, teenage boys and their hair. Unfortunately for my two sons and their hair, they went to parochial school, which had hair rules. The older son gave up fighting them, and cut his hair short. But boy did it grow when he hit college. He had the most gorgeous long tresses to rival any girls, which of course he then had to cut off when the job hunt began. The younger one was always getting into trouble for hair in his eyes, when he wasn't hiding from the principal. When he hit college, he had the bang swoop thing going also. But alas, his girlfriend decided she wanted to see his eyes and cut his hair off. I kinda liked it long. Or maybe it's that he's now grown up also, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

  13. Image for Stephanie @ The Hardscrabble Home Stephanie @ The Hardscrabble Home

    Happy Birthday to your left brained, navigationally correct, lethal hair wearing now teenage son!!! Oh, the years in store for him (and you!). He's got girls pegged, that's for sure. We do giggle a lot AND have our friends speak for us. That will never end no matter how long it's been since we've been teenagers! Very cute post! I've two more years before my youngest son reaches teendom. I'm seeing flashes of what's in store every now and then. I made it through with his older brother and sister, who are now almost 23 and 21. Let's hope I have it in me for #3. :-)

  14. Image for Jill Flory Jill Flory

    Oh my. So you don't miss all the drama by having your teenager be a boy huh?!! Since I have all girls I'll have to live the 'boy drama' through you! And the gingerbread boys?!! Too funny!! What a great friend to send you those! Now you can have gingerbread boys but not the mice ;)

  15. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    LOL. So very funny. :D Who said boys don't do drama? lol, thanks for making my day. Your mantel is beautiful and I just love those gingerbread men! ( but without the mice!)

  16. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Oh how I remember those days...the conversations.....Happy Birthday to your son!!!... Seeing so many wonderful Christmas creations!!...and really loving that "Hope you Dance" sign...incredible!! The trees remind me of the "twirly whirly skirts!"

  17. Image for Amy @ the Avery House Amy @ the Avery House

    Oh my goodness, how funny about your boy and his "lethal" hair! I also think it is so sweet that he is appalled and intrigued by these little giggling girls all at the same time. I love your family room!. It is so fresh and comfy and inviting looking all at once. Have a great Monday!

  18. Image for Tausha Tausha

    Your teenage hair story made my Monday morning! I have an almost 13 yr old. girl. It's all about her hair too. (way too long and takes her way too long to do) What is it with the teens and their hair? Maybe they need the cool hair to help cover their brains that know everything! Thanks for making my morning! As usual, your eye candy decor is fabulous! Happy Day Friend!

  19. Image for Bliss Bliss

    Tell your son it never stops. On a college tour two girls were smiling wantonly at my son and as they passed us on an escalator one quickly blurted out "I like your hair". My son looked at me, smiled and said.... "her friend was better looking". Bliss

  20. Image for Scribbler Scribbler

    I think I remember this conversation with my son a long time ago! I also remember another line: "I think I have too much style for this place!" Those were the good old days. I am still laughing.

  21. Image for Meg @ Revamp Homegoods Meg @ Revamp Homegoods

    Would love to feature your stocking on chalkboard photo for my latest Houzz article, but I need your verbal approval first and need it ASAP since I've already sent it to our editorial team. Hoping to sneak this one in!

  22. Image for Lauren Lauren

    Hahaha, I laughed so hard I almost cried! I have a 15 year old boy and you captured that teenage thing perfectly!! Love reading your posts, you are such a good writer!

  23. Image for laurie laurie

    lolol! Oh my gosh, KerryAnne! I LOVE the way you can spin a story! Thanks for the belly laugh today!!!!! And good luck with......THE HAIR. xoxo laurie

  24. Image for Gwen Gwen

    You;re such a nice mom. Morgan is 13 and I totally tell him to go talk to the girls and bring one home. I can't wait to drive them crazy. Payback.

  25. Image for Becca Becca

    Your son clearly gets his wit and charm from his sweet Mama! (And, yes, girls do giggle a LOT!) Love your story ... and, your Christmas great room is fabulous! Love the banner ... sweet trees ... and, the monograms on the stockings are such a GREAT idea !! Happy Birthday to your precious kiddo!

  26. Image for Anne @ DesignDreamsbyAnne Anne @ DesignDreamsbyAnne

    Wow... all I can say is that if this story were about me (at age 13) and my mom, I'd be ready to kill her for posting this. Just sayin' You are one brave momma. ps I'm so glad I don't have to go through these moments myself. Have a happy day!

  27. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    Damn you have a beautiful house and I do love coming here to see so many wonderful photos of your beautiful house and read about so many great ideas that I would try if I wasn't as lazy as shit.......................ok is shit lazy..................well it maybe if it is all running and such but usually I don't think it really is lazy and yes now I am rambling on so I will stop now

  28. Image for Ashley Johnson Ashley Johnson

    Hello! How in the blog world did I not know that you had this ultra-successful blog until I was reading about it in a local magazine?! Looks like I have some major catching up to do. The Johnson farmstead home is still on hold as we hang onto city life, but maybe one day we will at least be weekend neighbors. Miss you girl!

  29. Image for Jen @ Migonis Home Jen @ Migonis Home

    Ahhhh I almost snorted at the last line about the hair being lethal. And then I read it out loud to AJ. SO funny! I am selling a house to a couple with five children and as we were walking through one recently their 13 year old son could not stop walking back and forth in front of the mirror swishing his hair. I was trying so hard not to laugh... and they say girls are the primpers. :)

  30. Image for Gina Gina

    loved hearing about your son. i have an 11 year old one...same thing...he didn't know what to say, so he just walked away! please share more about the kids. :)

  31. Image for debbiedoos debbiedoos

    Oh girl you better get use to these stories. Having two boys myself, I hear this often...and it is funny to me at how aggressive the girls are to come up to the boys these days. NEVER in my time would we do that!~ Your home looks beautiful. Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday season.

  32. Image for Guerrina Guerrina

    I can barely type I'm laughing/crying so hard! My son is now 23, but I remember all too well the automatic change when he turned 13! Manyof those "horrific" times I had to not burst into uncontrollable laughter...almost bit my tongue off! By the way and not to minimize, I love your decorations!

  33. Image for hilljean hilljean

    This was just brilliant. Your photos are so pretty, but the story was hilarious! He sounds like such a cutie! I have a little brother who had great hair in high school. He had a signature flip too. And the girls loved him.

  34. Image for tara tara

    very kind of your blog friend, Kim, to send you those gingerbread men...what a generous, thoughtful and intentional person she is! Very kind! I love this story...I don't think I was aware that you and I are doing this teenage boy thing together!! Our oldest turns 13 in April....and boy, do we have the drama going on over here with him. He thinks his hair is pretty lethal, too. And, honestly, it kind of is.

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