You probably know Bev Weidner already. Bev runs a hugely popular Instagram account called Bev Cooks, where she shares her love of cooking and parenting, and shares her gorgeous photography too. As you read her interview, you’ll find she’s distinctly down-to-earth, and hilariously funny. I’m confident you are going to love getting to know her a bit better today on living with kids.
Bev makes raising two adorable twins, styling a perfect dining table, and keeping dozens of plants alive, not only seem possible, but also downright fun! Welcome, Bev.
Living With Kids: Bev Weidner
Hey, there! We’ve got a family of four in this Prairie Village ranch house. Plus our 11-year old pup Charlie girl, and the two goldfish we put in our backyard statue basin that died within like, three hours.
There’s me, a hyper-active food and lifestyle blogger, constantly messing with my hair and begging to watch Gilmore Girls while drinking rosé. There’s Aaron, my husband with immorally good hair, teetering between freelance writing and building furniture with random found wood from the side of the road. And there’s my four-and-a-half-year-old boy/girl twins Will and Natalie — both with bright blond hair and, um, a lot of energy. (Apparently I have a thing with hair.)
We live in one of the very first suburbs of Kansas City called Prairie Village. The real estate agents call it a “perfect village”. It’s a cluster of ranch and Cape Cod homes, with tall trees covering the roads and quaint little parks at a stone’s throw.
It’s within walking distance of The Village, one of the area’s cutest neighborhood shopping and restaurant districts, complete with a boutique grocery store, movie theater, and locally-owned shops and restaurants — including two establishments with James Beard award-winning chefs. And a Chipotle! (Let’s be real.)
Basically, you can throw your kiddos in a stroller, run errands and/or get wine. Unless it’s August and the oak mites are viciously falling from the trees and eating you alive. But other than that, it’s fabulous!
What you might not know is that Kansas City is slapped right down on the border of Kansas and Missouri, and we’re about three blocks into Kansas. We moved here 11 years ago (at an affordable $172k), and back then our street had most of its original owners from the ‘50s. But over the years we’ve seen a big influx of newlyweds, younger families, all the strollers, pups, etc. It really makes for a lively, connective neighborhood!
But this is what’s happening now: contractors are coming in left and right, tearing down the smaller homes and throwing up McMansions in their place. Which is completely changing the landscape of this vintage neighborhood. On the plus side, it’s quickly ramping up our home values (hi, awesome). And on the wonk side, it’s quickly ramping up our home taxes (n’awesome).
When we first bought our home, we carried our 20-something, eclectic garage sale-chic loft style into our house. All the walls were different, muted colors. We had a number of semi-colorful paintings here and there. The plates were mismatched, the cups all thrifted and funky, the planters different shapes and colors. Over time, Aaron and I both went through this mental shift, where we felt an overwhelming urge to strip it all back and start fresh with white paint and a more minimal approach.
We’ve always been into plants — even since our loft days — but the bug sort of exploded a number of years ago when our tastes began to shift and refine. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a touch of garage-sale chic in our style. That, combined with Scandinavian kitsch, meets FULL-ON JUNGLE. (We even have one wall in the dining area covered in a giant tropical leaf print wallpaper. You can’t hate it.)
I feel like the kitchen is the heart of every home. It’s where people end up hanging out, refilling wine, telling stories. It’s because it smells good in there, man! We renovated our kitchen about six years ago, and it has ALWAYS given me joy. It is all white, with classic subway tile and open wooden shelving. It even has cutting board slots above the fridge and cubby holes in one wall for all my styling props! It’s perfect. I’ll never quit it.
My approach to cooking has always been one formula: comfort meets fresh meets simple. I’m driven by color and texture, but I always like to keep meals simple with minimal ingredients. Citrus is my best friend. You can wake up any dish at the end with citrus. That one’s free. ;)
My path to blogging was fueled by a state of restlessness. I was working in a field that I had zero passion for. On top of that, I was stressed about my seemingly never-ending years of infertility. (Which is a whooooole other story.) I quit my job one day in early March to stay home, garden, do yoga (I never did), and clean my baseboards (also never did).
I launched my official website later in the month, and with persistent posting and constant blabbing, things just took off! There was no real magic, yet it was somehow magical.
I’m already pretty obnoxiously organized with my work/life schedule, but having the kids has somewhat reshaped how I look at my days. I try to get as much done while they’re at school in the mornings, but, you know: real life.
However, they’re honestly really good about entertaining one another, so I’m still able to shoot recipes in the afternoons while they run around the house and destroy everything I cleaned that morning. WHAT? YOU ASKED!
Aaron and I talk all the time about what we hope our kids remember from this time of life! I know we’ll outgrow this home someday, but right now, we ain’t going anywhere. We hope they’ll always have a love for greenery, gardening and plants. We have plants EVERYWHERE. Indoor, outdoor. Yes I’m that plant lady.
We also hope they’ll remember how neutral and simple everything is. How you don’t necessarily need crazy bold colors and patterns to send a message. It might be their personal style later in life (so help me God), but I’d love to see them grow up with a delicate, calming sense of design in their homes.
What I hope they forgot? UH, HOW DISGUSTING AND TRASHED THE BASEMENT ALWAYS IS. Sorry to scream at you. It makes me weep.
What I love most is the fact that we’re both lucky enough to work from home and get to spend so much time with them. On top of that, just watching them with EACH OTHER has been priceless. We get to witness who they’re becoming on a day-to-day basis. Please God let them not end up in prison.
Thank you, Bev Weidner! I was giggling the whole time that I was editing this. It is nice to know that even when you see photos that are beautiful and as well-styled, there is a certain amount of chaos going on just around the corner. And that the basement is a mess. Isn’t everyone’s?
I was also really stuck by what Bev Weidner said when she was describing getting her blog off the ground “There was no real magic, yet it was somehow magical.” It seems like that is often the way life plays out. Sometimes is seems like there isn’t much of a plan, and we are all just moving along doing our day-to-day activities. But then, you look back, and you can see how tiny decisions, changes in direction, and consistent hard work, led to great and beautiful things. That’s really where the magic is — in those seemingly unconnected events that all lead up to massive changes and shifts in our lives. It really is beautiful.
LIVING WITH KIDS SOURCES
Bird of Paradise wallpaper
Wall Shelf (made by Aaron!)
Loving this Living with Kids feature on Bev Weidner? Take a look here for more of my Home Tours!!
Photos by Jessica Cain for Golden & Pine. You can follow Bev Weidner on her blog, and on Instagram. Also, be sure to check out Aaron’s shop for beautiful wood furniture. // Living With Kids is edited by Josh Bingham — you can follow him on Instagram. // Would you like to share your home in our Living With Kids series? It’s lots of fun, I promise! (And we are always looking for more diversity in the families we feature here. Single parents, non-traditional parents, families of color, LGBT parents, multi-generational families. Reach out! We’d love to hear your stories!!) Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.