Sunday, December 9, 2012

DIY Christmas Decor-Part 2

Happy end of the weekend!  Hope you had a great one.  With my illness the last couple weeks I  am waaaay behind with shopping, decorating, and just enjoying it all. Thank goodness I am now my normal (?) self.  Now I need to slow down and soak in all of the glory and peace and love of the season.

I wanted to share some fun little projects I've been working on to spruce up the dining room.  On my last post, I shared my snowflake and red ornament window.  This is the same room, but there are some other projects that I wanted to highlight.  I haven't filled the tin pails with anything yet (I am trying hard not to buy much, and can't decide what to put in there, maybe lots of candy canes?).....

Isn't the chalkboard cute?  I have a set of three of them and they are fun to write little messages on!  There's more of that wrapping paper from the Target Dollar section..  I also plan to add some peppermints in the small mason jars you see at the top.  The whole room is done is simple silver, red, and lots of pinecones that I already had from previous seasons.  Unpacking my Christmas stuff was like Pine-cone-polooza.    I really tried to use what I had and be creative with fun little touches here and there. This is the dining room table, not done yet.  My kiddos sprayed simple wooden stars just like they did the snowflakes and we also glittered the pinecones.  I had extra silver bells, so I tossed them in there, too.  I had our red tray out on our porch I shared with you this past summer.

I have lots of these bead garlands that used to be on our tree and used them in this glass hurricane and also this wooden bowl.

More pincones.  Told you I had a lot. :)  I tucked glittered stars in random places.

Two of my favorite {very little} touches are the pine cone I painted white to make it look snowy then stuck in a tiny silver pail I had.....

and using a red pom-pom to add some fun to Rudolph, my silver reindeer.  He makes me smile every time I see him.

This room is bright, simple, and fun.  What little touches have you added to your rooms to make them festive?

Pin It!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

DIY Christmas Decor-Part 1

Geez, I had totally meant to be able to get right back on the wagon and post all-week-long but life got in the way.  Or, should I say, more headaches and being 2 weeks behind on my schoolwork got in the way.  Ick.  I have fun things to show you but have not even had a chance to take pictures, let alone post about them!  I leave in the morning for work before it is light and when I come home, I hit the ground running to be a full-time mommy, wife, and domestic goddess. HA!

I was able to take a few pics the other day on a little project my hubby and I did.  You may remember my easy-sprayed-glittered snowflakes that the kids helped me with a while back?  I used those,  red ornaments in 2 sizes and types that I had on hand already, and some red and white baker's twine I  bought at Target last month.  I hung the snowflakes and red balls across the curtain rod that is on our front window in our dining room and voila! fun and festive look for very little cost and effort!  {tip on using baker's twine:  mine kept order to stop it from fraying at the ends, dab a little white or craft glue at the end and it will harden clear and not fray!  woo hoo!}  Isn't it cute?  I love how it turned out!

Could you guess that the "table runner" on this table is wrapping paper from Target's dollar section? Score!

Sharing with:
Centsational Girl
Hi, Sugarplum!

Pin It!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Tree 2012 {And I'm Back...}

Hello, hello!!!  I did not skip town...I have had the craziest, most un-fun 3 weeks.  I had my first migraine ever along with complete facial numbness on the right side of my face.  Scary, right?  This crazy thing is just now finally going away.   3 weeks with a numb face, horrible headaches and dizziness is about enough to make someone nuts!  I've had lots and lots of doctor appointments, medications, tests administered,  and time on the couch.  I missed several days of school (never an easy thing for an elementary teacher!) and many fun times with my family!  Thanksgiving was mostly spent on the couch.  Thank goodness the doctors don't think anything is seriously wrong.   I have developed total empathy for people that struggle with illness much of the time or cannot function normally for extended periods.

Let's get to the tree!  Throughout this time, I had been able to do very little around the house to doll it up for the holidays.  Hubby and the kids put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving and we got some of the other festive stuff out.  Luckily before my illness I had started making some little DIY projects.  I was able to work on some of those this weekend now that I am feeling somewhat normal and I can't wait to share them with you later this week.

When my family went to put up the tree this year many of the white lights were out.  In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?  I had a lot of thinkin' about life to do on that couch, I tell ya.  ;)  We had plenty of colored lights on hand so we decided we'd go against our regular tradition of white lights.  Color us happy, we think it looks great.

Most of the ornaments on our tree have special meaning.  Each year since my husband and I have been together I have bought a matching ornament for each of our 4 kids.  (Riley wasn't born yet, but when she was, we went from 3 to 4 matching ones to get) I write their name of the back of the ornament and the year.  So now we have 25+ ornaments on our tree from this tradition, which I love.  We also have silver stars that we got a few years ago that say "HOPE", "PEACE", AND "LOVE" and silver reindeer in different poses.  My hubby and I picked these out together.

A new addition this year is a collection of hand-painted ornaments that my hubby's mother painted years ago.  She did an amazing job and they are a cute addition to our tree.  Since she is gone now, they are especially meaningful.   We all agreed that this is our favorite tree yet.   Downstairs in our finished basement we have a smaller kids tree that has Disney and kid ornaments and handmade treasures that the kids have made through the years.

Make sure to stop back this week to check what I've done in other areas of our house.  I am giddy about how some of my easy-DIY projects turned out and I hope to inspire you!
Pin It!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Puttin' on the Glitz: Using Glitter Paint

While at the beloved JoAnn's today, I picked up some unfinished wooden snowflake ornaments and a bag of unfinished wooden stars ($3.99 for a bag 20 of small-ish assorted sizes).

The snowflake ornaments were $1.29 each but on sale for $0.77 each.  They came with a little red ribbon to hang them, which I took off because I am not going to use them as ornaments.

I bought a small can of silver spray paint for $3.99.

We gave these babies a coat or two of this paint, and let them dry.  Then we used glitter craft paint
in silver by none other than Martha.  I've used this paint before in another color and it has a translucent look to it that I love.  I let my two sweet youngest get in on the action and go over the snowflakes with this paint.

It's an amazing 67 degrees outside today in Ohio, so they could do this on the deck!  Didn't they do a great job?

We also sprayed the bag of wooden stars, let them dry and went over them with Martha's paint like we did the snowflakes.

I have plans for both the stars and the snowflakes and I can't wait to share how I incorporate them into our holiday decor!

I loved this glitter look so much, I had the kids then use the glitter paint to paint the edges of some cinnamon pine cones that I had.  It made them look like snow.  These pictures are before the paint dried, so it looks a little gloppy (is that a word?), but pretty none the less.

I love that we were able to create these easy, inexpensive projects that will be beautiful during the holidays.  Best of all, my kids were able to help create them.  Think of all of the ways you could use these!  As ornaments, hanging on mirrors or windows (which is what I am going to do with a lot of them, hint, hint...), adorning the outside of a gift you give.....the possibilities are endless.

What are you going to go glitter-ize now???

Sharing this project with:
Six Sisters Stuff
Tutus and Teaparties
Delightful Order
Pin It!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Organized Coupon Binder

Hello, hello!  I'm making my first appearance after recovering from posting for 31+ days straight.  I thought knew I needed a few days off to re-gain some steam.  My Blogger account has also not been letting me add pictures, so that extended my posting "vacation".  Now it's working and I'm back and ready to roar!

First and foremost, it feels almost silly posting about coupon binders when so many on the East Coast are suffering and more and more stories of survival and tragedy are surfacing.    I join all of America in sending out blessings, prayers, hope, and sympathies.  I feel incredibly blessed to have our home safe and dry and to be able to live life as normal.


Speaking of normal, for a while now I've wanted and needed to do a better job of using grocery coupons.  I would ashamedly answer "no" when a cashier would ask if I had any coupons.   It's not that we don't like to save money.  It's that our grocery shopping was not planned out well enough and we did not prepare at all in way of coupons, deals, and what stores had on sale.  I know, shame.  I guess our excuse is that we are so busy and that preparing takes time and isn't-so-fun.  BUT the money that can be saved by planning ahead is enormous.  I decided that taking the small amount of time it takes to plan better is worth it!  (Don't worry, I won't be on Extreme Couponing or diving into dumpsters to get coupon pages!)

I created a Coupon Binder for our home.  I bought an inexpensive binder, baseball card sleeves for small coupons (found at Target), and actual coupon sleeves to hold larger coupons (found at Staples).

I used file folders I already had, cut them in half at the fold, and used them as section dividers.  They work fine.  I printed out labels of categories that I wanted and affixed them to the "dividers".

For department store coupons, like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Target, or Kohl's, I used plastic pouches that I also already had.  These particular ones are from Office Max and are the [InPlace] brand.  They already have the 3 holes to go on the rings of any binder and a snap closure.  I had a couple different styles of these and I labeled them by store or type of coupon.  I also used one for restaurant and pizza coupons.

To say I am glad I have finally organized my coupons is an understatement.  Now that I have a system, I feel that hubby and I will be much better when we make a grocery list to look at ads and compare what coupons we have.  We also can plan our meals more wisely based on what items we have coupons for and that are also on sale.

Being organized is half the battle in running a smart, happy, more effective household.  No more coupons lying all around the counter or left at home.  Now I know exactly where to put them!  I plan on keeping this binder  (when we are not adding more to it or making our grocery list) in the side door pocket in my van.  That way if we make a spontaneous or unplanned trip to a store, I have my coupons with me!

What system do you use to store all of your coupons?   Any tricks you want to share?

Sharing this Project with:
Not Just a Housewife:  Show Me What Ya Got
Tutus and Teaparties
Delightful Order

Pin It!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 31: So, Is Your Nest Less Stressed?

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}.

On the last post of the series, I wanted to recap the month and review all of the ways that we can be less stressed.

As usual, I got all ambitious thinking I could do tons of projects this month, start amazing routines that will keep my house stress-free, get ready for the holidays......

I did get lots done and wrote posts that inspired me and hopefully, you, too, to have less stressed  nests.

I realized as I was writing many of these posts that I already know how to be less stressed.  I posted about taking care of myself, not letting small stuff get to me, and how stress can be a blessing.

On the project front, I organized our white cupboards in the basement,  including creating a delightful space for all of my crafting-n-creating gear:

organizing my gift wrap supplies:

the kids school pictures, awards, and special papers:

and transforming our old computer armoire into game and movie storage.

I also listed and talked about how creating routines in your house can really help reduce stress, rushing, and make you and your family feel more calm.  Things like developing evening routines, making little to-do lists,  prioritizing tasks, and combining errands are all tasks I'm working on becoming more a part of my daily life.

With the holidays coming up crazy-soon, I shared ways you can start thinking about the holidays.  I truly had intended to be able to do more posts on this topic, but time got away from me.....instead, November will be more dedicated to some posts about this topic.  

Thanks for joining in my 31 Days Series!  I am proud of myself and all of the other bloggers who made it to the finish line!  Woo Hoo!

Pin It!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 30: Seeing the Finish Line

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}.

In writing all of these posts, I've really tried to write to first help myself.  Selfish, yes, but I think we are all striving to help ourselves feel better and less stressed because then we can impact, help, and love the people around us more.   Like most of us, I struggle daily with little stresses and those evil little thoughts that enter my mind.   After tomorrow I will literally go back and read what I have written and see what I have put into play in my life and what I still need to work on.  What have you started or stopped doing that has helped you have a Less Stressed Nest?  What have you organized or created that made you smile and feel proud?

I always have tried to make my crazy nest a calm, happy place.  Is it easy?  No.  But I love my hubby and kiddos to the ends of their toes.  They are what I do everything for and the reason why I strive to make our home a place of love, happiness, and peace.

Tomorrow will be my last post on this 31 Day adventure!  I can't believe it.  I hope you'll tune in to read it.  Several of the last posts have not linked to all of the other posts in the series--I am working on that, so if you've missed any of the posts, you can catch up.  I can't wait to finish all of the projects I shared and started and have in my head in the coming weeks.

Pin It!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 29: Prioritizing Tasks

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}.

Today I wanted to talk about how my little brain thinks when it comes to prioritizing tasks.   I'm curious to know how you go about your tasks when there are a lot of them.  Do you do the most pressing first? The most desirable first?  What kind of task-doer are you?

Tasks can be stressful, that's for sure.  Especially when there are many, many things going on at home or work or both and you are not even sure how you are going to get it all done.  Sound familiar?

Recently one night (okay, tonight) I had to decide whether to tackle many things that needed done for school (gradecards, reports, filing.....) or tackle many cleaning tasks that needed done in my house.  Experience tells me that I always seem to pick what makes me feel better visually.  For example,  I would clean off the counters first before doing the bills because I can't stand the visual clutter and I always have a hard time concentrating on tasks that need a lot of attention when I can see clutter around me.  

When deciding this most recent priority, I knew that lately school is really stressing me out because I always feel behind, scrambling, and like the list of things to do and that are due soon is getting out of hand.  I chose to work on my school stuff at home, even with dirty bathrooms and gross floors.  Normally this would drive me crazy, but the stress of school and the amount of work that needed to be done that I knew I couldn't get done during the school day HAD to get done at home, and SOON.  Putting off cleaning (which I do get help with, but it's more my crazy little self that has a problem with it than anything else) was difficult for me, but I had to make a choice.  The world will not end with my furry floors and icky bathroom sinks.  Will it?

Sometimes you have to weigh the tasks and figure out, in the long run, which is going to give you the most stress relief when you are done.   How do you weigh your tasks?
Pin It!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 28: It's Okay When Life Gets in the Way

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}.

Here I am posting for today at 7 PM.  This weekend we were able to go up and see my sweet step-daughter, Kaitlyn, up by Cleveland where she goes to school and is a senior.  It's about 3 hours away from us.  She plays soccer for her college team and today was Senior Day.  We had a nice visit with her yesterday, went to see a movie, then out to dinner and our littlest, Riley,  got to spend the night with big sissy at her apartment, while the boys, hubby, and I stayed in a nearby hotel.

Today during the game today it poured freezing rain.  We huddled together in the stands to cheer for our girl, fighting over umbrellas, grumbling when the neighboring umbrella dripped water on us,  yet giggling and cheering with numb, shaking fingers holding umbrellas and hoods up.  I have no idea how Kaitlyn and the other players played so hard in those conditions.  It was wicked-nasty out.  Riley kept saying, "I don't like that Sandy," referring to the incoming storm.

Now home, a little bit ago I was in our laundry room, sorting all of our weekend getaway items, wet clothing, blankets, gross, rolled-up socks, and winter coats.  

I could have gotten stressed and overwhelmed by those wet piles but I didn't.  I could have worried that I hadn't thought ahead about what I was going to write about for today but I didn't do that, either.  Because when life happens, those fun, memory-filled, proud moments come, you need to be 100% present and grateful and not worried or you'll miss the important stuff.  Being with family is about the most important stuff there is.

Sometimes it's hard to put things in perspective, ranking them in order of importance.  Listening to my daughter read is more important than looking at Pinterest.  Having a good conversation with my hubby is more important than folding laundry.  Showing my boys that I care by stopping what I am doing to help them or really, truly listen to them is more important than blogging.  

I hope you let life get in your way and put things in perspective.  You'll never look back and wish you had folded more laundry or were on your phone more. 
Pin It!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 27: Ready, Set, Go! Part 2

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}.

Yesterday I gave you 10 things you can do in 5 minutes or less to help you be more organized and feel in control of your nest.

Today, I've got 10 more!

1.  Wipe down the fronts of all of your appliances
2.  Sweep your front porch, back porch, or both
3.  Throw a load of laundry in,  fold a load of laundry, or put a load of laundry away
4.  Make a phone call you've been meaning to make that will take less than 5 minutes
5.  Go into your e-mail and delete all unwanted/old/unnecessary e-mails
6.  Go into your phone and delete all unwanted/old/unnecessary contacts, texts, voicemails, apps, etc.
7.  Read a magazine article you've been meaning to read.
8.  Sort through your magazines and catalogs--make a pile to keep and a pile to donate or pass on
9.  Wipe out all of your bathroom sinks
10.  Zip around a room in your house that has lots of misplaced items.  Take an empty laundry basket you.  Put all items in the basket that don't belong to that room and have each member of your family put any item that belongs to them away.

Pin It!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 26: 5 Minutes...Ready, Set, Go! Part 1

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}. have 5 minutes which is about how long I have to write this post.  Seriously, aren't we all running around like we're crazy sometimes?  Or if you aren't physically moving, your mind is...I made a quickie list of things you can do to feel more on top of things that take 5 minutes or less......tomorrow will be Part 2.  Set your timer.  Ready, Set, GO!

1.  Wipe off your kitchen counters.
2.  Do a quick clean-up of your junk drawer.
3.  Unsubscribe to retail e-mails that you never have any intention of buying things from.
4.  Reply to an e-mail (s) you've been meaning to but have put off.
5.  Write a quick thank-you note or 'thinking of you' note,  put a stamp on it, and throw it in your mailbox to be mailed.
6.  Get in your car and throw away any trash and remove any items that shouldn't be in there.
7.  Cross days off the calendar that have passed and look ahead to the next couple weeks and take note on what is coming up and what you need to do to prepare for those things.
8.  Open the fridge and make things a little more organized in there.  Old take-out? Throw it away.
9.  Tackle the pile of papers/mail/coupons that are sitting on the counter.  Sort them and discard/recycle anything that is junk.  Set the timer again to file or handle things that need done from that pile.
10. Open your pantry or food cupboards.  Like the fridge, go through and straighten, organize, and go through items.

Time's Up!  What'd you get done?
Tune in tomorrow for 10 more 5-minute tasks that will make you feel in control and all-accomplished!
You're on your way to a Less Stressed Nest!
Pin It!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 25: What's Your Small Stuff?

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}.

You've probably heard the book  Don't Sweat the Small Stuff  by Richard Carlson.  If not, you've at least heard that piece of advice.  Problem is, the small stuff is what's so hard not to sweat.

I swear I am the calmest of persons when teaching during the day with special needs students all doing and asking and needing different things.  I handle chaos pretty well.  At home I can juggle 10 things at once.  In times of strife or trouble in my life, I step up and figure out what to do.  But the small stuff, I let it get to me.

I could make a list of small stuff that bugs/urks/irritates/stresses me.  I actually started one as I wrote this post but got almost embarrassed because  I realized as I was typing that my stuff isn't even small stuff.  It's MICROSCOPIC stuff.  I laughed out loud!  I allow those silly little things to steal my joy, my positive thinking, and slowly harden my heart and poison my mind.  You know those 'things'-the thoughts you know you shouldn't be thinking, but that rambling is constantly going on in your head never seems to stop.....unless you take control of it.

Love this quote:


So true!  So what's your small stuff?

Pin It!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24: Simplifying the Holidays {What Really Matters}

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}.

In today's post I wanted to talk about how we can simplify the holidays.  So many times we don't because we worry what others will think and that we will let people down.

Think about that.  How many times do we keep up a tradition, whether it be using our best China or making 20 different kinds of cookies, just because that is what our family or friends or colleagues expect?  I think that most of us actually love traditions, for they give us those warm, fuzzy feelings that are familiar and loving for all ages, young and old.  But at the expense of our sanity?  Or budget?  Or health?  Now if you love a tradition, and it truly brings you joy, then, by all means, keep it up.  I'm talking about the ones that are a lot of work and you're doing them because you don't want to disappoint, feel guilty, or not meet others' expectations.


Keeping up the image of a perfectly decorated home, the perfect meal, 20 different kinds of handcrafted and iced cookies, different, unique gifts for each person, IS EXHAUSTING.  Stressed is not how you want to spend your holidays.

No one ever looks back on a holiday and says, "Boy those matching serving platters she had were amazing." They think about how the holidays made them feel, the sounds of sweet laughter they heard, the smells of food that were made by loving hands, and the coziness that, when spent with loved ones, enveloped them.

This year, I do plan to be more organized and on top of things.  And I do plan on making some cookies, making my house pretty, and buying and making gifts for others.  What I don't plan on doing is  rushing, worrying, procrastinating, and stressing.

What are your plans to simplify and enjoy the holidays more this year?

Sharing With:
The Inspired Room, Fall Nesting Party
Pin It!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 23: Meal Planning {Kinda}

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}.

Surely you've heard of meal planning, the genius idea of planning, prepping, and cooking meals ahead of time then freezing meals until ready to thaw and eat.  Some people do it so well they literally have it down to a science.  I'm envious of those people.  Good Lord.


I can't get into it that much.  It's not that I don't want to have my meals planned for a month and have the positive results of all that's that I don't have the brain energy or time to devote to planning that far in advance.  Call me lazy, but I can't (and I guess won't) do what these superwomen do.   Could I change my tune someday?  Maybe.  Till then I'm doin' it my way.  {Insert powerful laugh}.

Okay, my way isn't really a way but it's my version of doing something, albeit small, to semi-plan in advance (key word) what the family is eating.  I write it down on my Message Board I made {HERE}, one week at a time.

It gives me such satisfaction in my craziness to know what I am making and having for dinner.  Even if it's leftovers.  It's like one less thing to cram into this little brain of mine that is way overloaded already.

One of the hundreds of us who have been working hard on our 31 Days Series is Jessica with her
"31 Days of Freezer Cooking".  It's good.  Really good.  It made me want to venture more into this way of cooking.  You definitely need to click on over and check it out.

For right now I am content with my hubby and I sitting down and planning what we are eating for the week.  We talked about trying to "double batch" some things and make some things ahead that are doable for us.  I also plan to learn as much as I can from the experts on this topic, although you will never probably find me cooking for an entire day or  10 pounds of beef at a time. :)  Hey, baby steps.  I am finding what is making me less stressed.  Isn't that what matters?


I am totally curious about you---do you do meal planning?  Freeze-ahead meals?  Stress nightly over what to have for dinner?   Tell the kids Frosted Flakes or Cheerios?  How do you make your meals and meal planning less stressful?

Pin It!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 22: Organizing with Labels

Just joining in?  Read the entire series {HERE}.

Today will be a short post on labels.  I am slightly obsessed with them.  They add function, organization, and style to almost any container, basket, or item.

Here is a collection of a few labeled things I found around blogland.  Hopefully, like me, you will be inspired to make or create some of these.  Many of these are from BHG and you can get these printable labels downloaded free on their site!






Awesome, right?

Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...