Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap and Our Real Tree

I've been a slow blogger lately. Fail! :) My family came in town for Thanksgiving, which was super fun! We ate a yummy meal together with our friend James, then my mom and brother and I hit the stores at midnight for Black Friday specials. We found some great deals!

I felt so spoiled while they were here. Mom brought the turkey, twice baked potatoes, bread, and a sweet potato pie with her, so I only had to cook half of the Thanksgiving meal. How awesome is that? AND, she washed all the dishes without me knowing! I'm one of those people that if you do something for me in front of my, I feel guilty and have to help, but she totally did it behind my back. All I could do was grin like a goofball and thank her profusely.

As if that wasn't enough, she altered some curtains for our living room and surprised us with the curtains we've been wanting for our dining room. Oh yeah, and she had already altered them to fit our windows before they came! Yup, totally spoiled. Sneak peek at the living room curtains in the pics below. I'll do a full post on them after we get them all hung up!

Mom knows my track record with sewing and would not even let me cut or pin for fear that I'd ruin them. She's totally right. Sad, but true. ;) Here's some Instagram photos of Mom happily slaving away on the curtains and a super grainy picture of us chilling before dinner.

After my family headed home, Hubby, Little One, and I went out and bought our first real tree! Wahoo! This is Hubby and I's 6th married Christmas and we finally got a real tree like we've been wanting!

When we first got married, we had zero moola to be spending on Christmas decor. We bought the cheapest fake tree at Wal-Mart that we could find. It was ridiculously ugly and you could see straight through it. We were, of course, super proud of it (at first) and excitedly set up the tree. After we got it all decorated, I had Hubby stand in front of the tree so I could take a picture. I immediately busted out laughing when I saw the picture because when he stood in front of the tree, you couldn't see the tree behind him at all! I've been searching for the pic and can't find it for the life of me. Boo.

I'll leave you with our the obligatory stand in front of the tree picture (He purposely stands so he covers it up. haha) as well as the obligatory "touch the tree" pose. You know your mom made you pose like that in the 80's. Admit it!

Next up, a DIY Christmas tree skirt!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sweet and Simple Christmas Centerpiece

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas at our house! I still can't believe it's already time to put up Christmas decorations, though. I feel like it's still July...

I'll post later about our tree soon, but in the meantime, I'll show you our table centerpiece. Ta da!

I left the table runner I used for fall out on the table since it was nice and neutral, then added three Dollar Tree vases filled with cranberries. I got the cranberries several years ago and can't remember where I bought them. Target or Michael's are my best guess.

I found a 25' live pine garland at Home Depot on Saturday for $5! Apparently, their Black Friday specials went past Friday--woot! At first, I lined the garland all down the table, but then remembered I'm a simplistic freak (remember this?), so stewed over how to make it simple and easy to move when we use the table. Cue a Walmart clearance basket from a couple years ago. I think I paid $3 or $4 for it. It was a great size to contain the decorations and made it easy to move around. I lined the basket with parchment paper since the pine garland was kind of sappy. Then, I just plopped the vases into the basket and filled in the basket with clippings from the pine garland.

Done! So easy and cheap, especially since I had almost all of it on hand already! Love it! Of course, you could snazz it up a bit with candles or pine cones, etc, but I like it simple. Surprised? ;)

I'll post soon about more Christmas decor!

Linking up to Two Twenty One!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm Digging It: Second Edition

More random things that have made me smile.

1.) Young House Love. John and Sherry Petersik's blog Young House Love is an absolute favorite of mine and I'll admit I got really giddy when they announced they were writing a book and pre-ordered it the first day it was available for ordering. I got even more giddy when it finally came out! It's awesome and at the risk of sounding's so inspiring! I've gotten so many new ideas from the book, as if their blog wasn't already chock full of good ideas to begin with! Go, run, get this book! Your house will thank you! :)

2.) Mommy Guilt. I'm totally digging the Mommy guilt since Halloween. It's the only thing that keeps me from sitting and polishing off Little Ones Halloween candy in one sitting. I just can't bring myself to eat his candy without him, so the only time I eat it is when we share an occasional piece. Thank goodness for Mommy guilt saving me a few pounds. Too bad I don't have the same guilt with the giant bag of leftover Tootsie Rolls that were for the trick-or-treaters! Tootsie Rolls are my kryptonite. 
3.) Goblets. Goblets are definitely on my Christmas list this year. We're in need of new cups and I'm thinking these would fancy things up around this joint. I'd feel so swanky chilling in my sweats with my hair in a bun eating my grilled cheese and drinking Kool-aid out of my fancy cup. ;) Hahaha
4.) Patriots. Do I even need to explain this one?! They're awesome. The end. And, no, I don't want to talk about the super bowl last year. Duh. ;) 

5.) Thermometer. With Thanksgiving cooking on the brain, I had to mention this thermometer that allows you to see the temperature of what you're cooking, even with the door closed. It's on my Christmas list, too! 
Good night! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall Decor: Simplified

So when we left off, this is what parts of our house were looking like all decked out for Fall:

Festive Tablescape...
 Decorated Mantel with Burlap Banner...

I liked it and enjoyed it, but... when I'm busy, I can't stand lots of stuff around. Messes stress me out and I go on a de-cluttering spree. Which is totally what happened with my fall decor. It wasn't a mess and I liked the way it looked, but it was too much for me. I like things simple and basic. No fuss, no frills. So, I took down my cute fall banner (Don't worry, I can use it again next year!) and redid my table decor. Here's my fall decorations, take 2, simplified.
 I liked my previous table decor, but wanted something more basic, neutral, and easier to pull back since we eat at this table at dinnertime. I left the table runner and burlap, but redid the rest.
 I scored the bowl at a yard sale for $1 and put my fake gourds in it, plus a couple real ones I found on sale for 50 cents at the grocery store.
 The vases and candles are from Dollar Tree and are filled with lentils. Score again for cheap decor!
 Here's the fireplace, sans banner. The banner was cute for a while, but it's nice to have a more simple mantel.
And while we're on the subject of fall decor, check out this cute pumpkin I found 80% off at Kohl's! It landed on the end table in the living room and the bronze looking pumpkin got the boot. Love the new pumpkin!

Everything else is pretty much the same. Still loving the wreath, but sad to say that my mums bit the dust. I noticed that the yellow mums at the stores and that other people had out were doing the best, so may try that color next year. 

Ahhhhh, totally digging the simplified decorations! :) Do you change things up mid-season? Do you like more or less decorations out? 

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's a Slippery Slope, People

Remember when the Snuggie first came out? Remember watching that ridiculous commercial and yelling at the people on the tv to just put on a flipping jacket already?! I mean really, right? Here's a refresher, just for kicks. 
My favorite is the guy that looks like Grand Moff Tarkin off of Star Wars. :)

Anywho... Hubby got me all excited tonight when he told me one of the companies his work has a contract with sent him a present. When he got home, it turned out the present was a giant Snuggie with the company name embroidered on it. You should have seen Hubby trying it on. Ha! 

Years of holding firm and refusing to own a Snuggie all undone with one gift. Tonight, we watched tv together covered up in the Snuggie. It's a pretty nice blanket and is big enough for both of us to fit under it, we just didn't use the goofy sleeves. No biggie? Not using the sleeves means we didn't completely cave in, right? 

Then it happened... Hubby was upstairs and I had just gotten a Little Debbie snack cake to munch on. It was chilly in the house. I was cold. The Snuggie was right next to me, just staring up at me. I covered up with it sans sleeves. But it wasn't arms were getting drafty. I needed my hands for the delicious Zebra Cake. My jacket was all the way in the other room. What to do?  

Hubby was still upstairs, so I figured I'd sneak my arms into the sleeves and eat my snack cake, then quietly remove them. No one had to know. I put my arms in, grabbed my snack cake, and relished the full body warmth. I took one bite and even thought, "Gee, this is kinda nice." Then I heard it. Footsteps on the stairs. Caught red handed. Hubby was totally amused and informed me that I should be lucky that his phone was full or else he'd take a picture. He is laughing at me and I may never live it down. 

Dessert always gets me in trouble. 

After years of resisting the Snuggie, I guess it isn't so bad. Only thing missing is the booklight. ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Playroom Progress: Kid Made Art

Every year during the holiday season, we put ourselves on a spending freeze to save money for gifts. This means that home improvement projects get put on hold until after Christmas. I have a long list of house projects I'd like to get done soon, so I've been contemplating how to do some of them using things we already have around the house and not have to spend money. 

After striping the playroom, I've had a major itch to decorate in there. My plan for the striped wall is to hang something to hold Little One's artwork. On the opposite wall, I've been cooking up a collage wall in my head with pictures of Little One and some fun artwork. I picked up a cute print at a craft show last weekend and have been eyeing elephant prints on Etsy. The little elephants are just so cute!

In the midst of my elephant artwork browsing, I remembered that I have extra canvases from previous projects when I've found canvases buy one get one free. I also remembered that I have several bottles of leftover acrylic paints that go with the playroom color scheme. Lots of stewing and contemplating later, I decided to DIY an elephant painting with Little One! Let's just say it turned out more as an adventure than the dreamy Mommy/Little One painting time I had envisioned, but at the end of the day, I like the results and Little One is SO proud of the painting. Success! :) 
Here's the supplies I started with: a square canvas, cheap acrylic craft paints, paintbrushes, paper and pencil, and contact paper. I had all of it on hand except for the contact paper, so my total cost was $5 and some change. Woot! 

 I searched online for elephant images and found an elephant that was shaped how I was envisioning. I drew it out (well, pretty much traced it off my computer) on a scrap of paper.

 Next, on some blank paper, I free handed a similar elephant in the size I wanted. I had to re-do the legs many times before I got them right. Thank goodness for erasers. ;)

After I got it drawn just right, I cut it out. Walla...a stencil! :)

I cut out a square of contact paper slightly larger than my canvas and used my stencil to draw out my elephant onto the contact paper, making sure to position it in the center like I wanted it to be on the canvas.

I poked a hold in the middle of my elephant for my scissors and cut my elephant out from the middle of my contact paper square. You could use a utility knife if you'd like, but I feel like I have better control over the lines with my scissors.

Now the not so fun part... Carefully peel the contact paper backing off. Warning, it's a pain because it wants to roll up. Be patient and if your contact paper rips a little near the trunk, know you can mend it with tape. Not that I know from experience... ;) Center your elephant on the canvas and stick the contact paper down.

I used a credit card to score the contact paper, but found that the contact paper really did not want to stick. That's where things went south for me. I wanted Little One to just have fun and freely go to town painting the elephant, thinking the contact paper would keep the rest of the canvas clean. But, since the contact paper wouldn't adhere well, it kept peeling up and Little One's paintbrush strokes kept going under the paper. Thankfully, I was able to wipe up the stray paint right away using a wet paper towel. But because the contact paper was not stuck down well, Little One had to be much more careful that I had wished and made the project a bit stressful where I was hoping it'd be more carefree and fun. Oh well, Little One loves the painting, so I'm still calling it a success. :)

If you do this sans kids, the contact paper would not be such a big deal. Just be careful that the paint doesn't bleed under the paper. You could paint a fun pattern or stripes. Polka dots would be cute, too!

If you do it with kids, I'd recommend doing it with kids who are old enough to have the ability to control their strokes and paint carefully. For younger kids, you may have to paint the elephant a solid color and let them just decorate it with other colors. In the end, that's what helped with Little One's painting.

When you're finished painting, carefully peel back the contact paper to reveal your adorable elephant.

I painted on an eye, ear, and tail for some details. Done!

It was a learning experience, that's for sure, but we love the end result and I love that Little One got to participate! I'm digging the plain white background because our walls are colored, but if you want more pizzazz, you could paint the background and let it dry before doing your elephant. A patterned background would be cute, too!

Sweet little elephant. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Money Money Money

So, let's chat about money, shall we? Hubby and I have a divide and conquer type attitude when it comes to managing our finances. We made up a budget together, then split up the sections and both took a share to manage. Hubby takes care of paying all the regular bills like water, electric, mortgage, etc and I take care of all the expenses like food and Target general merchandise that we need each month. Hubby is great at planning ahead and saving. I try to be great at saving us as much money as I can on groceries and other expenses throughout the month. :)

We've found that for us, in order to really track what's going out every month, we need to get all old fashioned and write it down. Every.single.receipt. Checking your account online or using a budget website like can work, too, but for us, it's easiest if I write it all down on one sheet of paper categorized by type. This obviously isn't rocket science, people, just what works for us.

Every month, I yank out a piece of notebook paper and draw some chicken scratch lines to make columns and call my budgeting spreadsheet a success. But, the sloppiness annoys me. This month, I decided to finally make something a teeny bit higher tech (Ya know, with this program called Excel? Ooooo, impressing you with my mad crazy computer skillz aren't I? Ha!). Now I can just update the month heading and print it out. Woot!

Because I'm feeling all overshary with you today, here's a copy just for you. :) Feel free to print it and use it, or use the idea and make your own that fits your personal budget!
(Click picture for link to pdf)
Basically, all I do is write down grocery store receipts (even if not all of it is grocery, like napkins) in the Grocery column, any general merchandise in the GM column (clothes, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc; basically anything we buy that's not from the grocery store), any restaurant receipts in the Eat Out category, and miscellaneous things like doctor co-pays, repair bills, gifts, etc in the Misc column. Then, at the end of the month, I just total them up! It's easy to scan the columns and do a quick add up of expenses throughout the month to make sure we're staying on target with our budget. This month, I may try a new method and draw a line at the end of each week and write in our current totals. It's a thought. So original, right? If I like it, maybe I'll tweak my not-so-fancy spreadsheet next month to make a spot to total each week. Oh, and I should mention that I put all our receipts in a basket in case we need them for some reason, like to make a return. At the end of the month, I throw them in a ziplock bag and write the month on the outside and Hubby files it away.

Well, that's all for tonight! Happy budgeting!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...