Sunday, October 1, 2017

5 Free Halloween Decorating Ideas

Happy October! Today was seriously the perfect Fall weather day here in NC.  I swear I could have worn a sweater and I wouldn't have even been too hot. CRAZY!

We are on a super tight budget lately, but when Amelia asked if we could decorate for Halloween, you know my answer. I suck at being on budgets.  We spent 20 dollars on Halloween lights, ok?? Don't judge.  But I tried to go cheap/free for everything else.

Here are five ideas for free!

1. First we made a monster face for my window.  There are some really sweet ones out there, all made with paper! Or if you have some craft foam around that would make the decoration reusable, and sturdier.

2.  A Halloween bunting banner cut from paper. Anything orange, black, brown or tan will do for Fall.  I could even see some green and black to make a creepier-type banner for Halloween.

3. Paper Bats! Draw one on a piece of paper, then use it as a stencil to make more. If you are going truly free here, you options are usually paper or wood that you have laying around. In the future I would like to do some free Fall or Halloween pallet pumpkins or decor.

4.  Ok this I have done in the past but I don't have a picture of it, and that is a spider web entryway.  Pretty sweet idea.  Made out of black duct tape.  I actually have black duct tape, so when I do this, I'll exchange the picture.  I can't find where the picture came from, so sorry!

5. This last one won't be free unless you have stuff laying around like me.  But I couldn't have a list of "4 free decorations." Use a piece of plank wood, an old shutter, or whatever you have around and paint a "Welcome" sign on it.  Or you could use Harvest, Hello Fall, or something else cute. Then free-hand a witches hat, a pumpkin, spider, whatever floats yo' Halloween boat.

For mine, I had a 5 dollar shutter sitting in my living room for the last 2 months. I cut the letters out on my silhouette and used the outside of the letters to make a stencil.  You definitely do not need a Silhouette or Cricket to make letter stencils though.  You can print out large letters using a regular ink printer, then cut them out, and they make a great single-use stencil.

Happy Fall Y'all!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Burlap Pumpkins + Fall Home Tour

Why do I get the overwhelming urge to start EVERY blog post with "Yo Yo Yo!"??? I don't even use this phrase in real life. My brain is a strange place.  Anyways... I have been inspired to write a new blog post!
I wanted to decorate a space in my house with non-orange Fall decor.  Have you seen this on Pinterest too? Like calming neutral Fall colors? Here's my attempt:

If you go back into the early early days of this blog you will find one of my first ever projects I did in the tiny less than 600 square feet apartment - burlap curtains.  Even though the actual curtains never got hung up again, I have carried the burlap from those curtains from home to home knowing that I would find a use for the fabric eventually.  When I was trying to come up with a way to inexpensively decorate my house for fall I had the thought to use twine, an old pillow, squares of burlap and twigs to create little faux pumpkins.  
Here's my process:  

So as you can see, wrap some cotton up like a present.  First fold the corners in, then wrap twine around the burlap-encased cotton to make 8 separate sections of the pumpkins.  Once formed, cut a 1/2-inch hole in the top center of the pumpkin in between the twine and then stick in a small twig all the way to the bottom of the pumpkin for the stem. You'll have to "dig" through the cotton to get the stick in there good.
These take like max 3 minutes each, so make a lot and put 'em around the house to feel all Fall-y and festive.  

Want to see the rest of my Fall decorations.  As much as I would like to have my whole house be all neutral Fall and calming, I wanted to use what I already had so I decided use it too.  Let's start at the very beginning... 
First is my Fall wreath.  My Mother-in-law gave me a giftcard to Home Goods for my birthday, and this is my first purchase with the money.  Soon to join this on my front porch will be the bench I just ordered with the birthday money my mom sent me! *eek*

Next comes the living room and the entry way. I found my "Welcome Fall" sign on my entry table from Kirklands.  The pitcher is from target (similar Here) The tin bucket is from Hobby Lobby (similar Here)

A home tour has to include the family that lives there, right? These pictures were taken on my birthday with my brand new from Goodwill tripod! Too bad my camera wasn't focused all the way...
Then comes my dining room. I found this and that around the house to decorate the top of my china hutch.  

Last of what's clean and I'm took a picture of to share is my Family room.  We took the plunge and decided to mount the TV above the fireplace, which means I can no longer go crazy decorating my mantle, but look I still decorated it! Three little pumpkins :) Kitchen update to come soon!!!

Amelia makes my Fall decor exponentially more cute.  

Hope you enjoyed, have a great day!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Amelia is 4! Princess photo shoot and party

No one told me before I became a parent that my kids will get older and older, and the moments with my children are so fleeting! Amelia turned four and is about to start pre-school, and I. just. can't. handle. it. I will miss her too much! OK truth be told she is at a really hard stage these past few weeks where literally anything that happens could offend her and she will decide to run up to her room crying.  The running away to cry is what is so hard for me because she will just cry louder and louder until someone comes and appeases her.  Can't watch that show? Run up to room and cry. Don't hit your brother? Run up to room and cry. Must eat dinner? Run up to room and cry. Although once it hits bedtime she is sure to find a different place besides her bedroom to cry! 

But for the other 98% of the time when she isn't crying she is such a joy. She is a fabulous older sister to Noah and will play with him for hours on end.  Like really hours each day they play together.  She is so curious about the world and usually she is up for anything.  She can entertain herself for hours while Noah is taking a nap too.  She loves pretend play and comes up with the most interesting characters and stories.  She is so ready for school and I'm really hoping preschool goes smoothly for her. 

For Amelia's birthday party I wanted to keep it really simple and inexpensive.  For a four year old's birthday party, having a friend's party is still so new so it is a perfect time to introduce simple party games.  We ended up playing "Duck, Duck, Goose" (or in our case "Crown, Crown, Princess/Prince"), dance party, freeze dance, and "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" (Pin the Crown on the Princess or Prince).  I also bought 150 plastic gold coins and hid (read: scattered) them around the room. Then we gave the kids bags and went on a treasure hunt.  When that game lasted 2 seconds we had the kids help us hide them and then did that all over again 5 more times. Here's a peek at the mayhem. 

For decorations I brought down a few princess toys, found some old pink tassel garlands from Amelia's first birthday and then taped some of her dresses on the walls.  I bought pink plasticware and called it good! 

We bought the "Frozen" chicken nuggets bag from Costco and Nick put them in the oven while we were playing the games.  The chicken nuggets were the shapes of crowns, hearts, stars. Very princess-esque I'm sure.  We also had watermelon and costco croissants and chicken salad sandwiches for the parents that stayed.  Oh and can't forget the PINK raspberry lemonade and cute straws.  

Notice my cute painted cabinets? Hopefully they will be done soon and I'll do a post of them.  

And this was me after trying to elevate my calf because I had fallen in the garage and injured it the day before and it was swelling to unheard of proportions after all the work of getting ready for the party. 

For Amelia's birthday photos, I saw the idea of princess dresses on a clothesline on Pinterest and knew I had to do that! Amelia LOVES to stick her tongue out lately instead of smiling for a picture but not so during this shoot.  She was seriously so happy and thought it was the most fun thing ever to have a tea party with her princesses on the grass.  Seriously I think they turned out darling and the smiles I caught are 100% natural which makes me 100% happy.  

And of course Beau had to get in on the action.  Poodles go with a royalty photoshoot right???

Now to frame this in a huge print because I think it's my favorite picture I've ever taken!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Why Is It Important to Believe?

There's a piece of marriage advice that goes something like this: "Choose someone you want to suffer through life with." That's such a horrible thought, right? Yet how true is it? Of course I believe people should marry the person that complements them the best, who they know will love them through thick and thin, and who they can trust and love. But for people that have been married for awhile, this saying rings a little too true, right?

There is a quote given in a talk by a man I admire and he says: “[The fact is] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. … Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.  The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride” - Gordon B. Hinckley quoting Jenkin Lloyd Jones. The full article and attributions can be found by clicking here.
Life is hard. We are filled with the everyday minutia that fills our days and then quickly our lives. 

But We Get To Choose!

I strive to choose to be grateful for what I have and to take as many opportunities as I can to feel the awe of my small life in the grand scheme of Earth and eternity.  I choose to believe that I have an all-loving God who allowed me to come here on this Earth so that I could learn and grow and find my way back to Him.  

I live in a beautiful place and I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and two children. Most of my husband's family and one of my sisters live very close to me.  However, one thing that is always a tough thing for me is that my mom and dad live all the way across the country. To add to this, my mom has major health problems that have lead to her being hospitalized and close to death many times since I have been living away from them.  It can be heart-wrenching to be so far away and it is easy for me to get down when I feel so helpless and unhelpful. As most parents of small children know, we can't just hop on a plane with our babes at the drop of a hat.  With not only missing my mom and wishing she could see my children more, but also missing out on being able to help her and bring her happiness by spending time with her and sharing more of our lives together, this has been a trial in my life. 

Me and Momma
So what can I do? 


I can pray.  I can give all of my fears and sorrows to my Heavenly Father in prayer and keep going. Things aren't perfect for me - and they never will be - but I can still find peace and happiness in my circumstances because of my faith and my knowledge of good things to come.  I know from experience and from the feelings I have felt when I pray that God can lift my burdens and make them feel light. If you want to see how I order my prayers, click here for an example


Another major thing that stems from my belief in God and helps me immensely is service.  In my church, I am given a lot of ways to serve, and whenever I do, I am filled with a God-like love for those that I serve.  Also, when I serve, I pray that my loved ones far away will get the help that they need and I can't give them.  This fills my heart with peace and I have hope that things will work out.  

My belief in Heavenly Father and in my Savior Jesus Christ help me see past pain and sickness, and know that everything in this life can be for my good as long as I choose to believe.  I believe our sorrows and sins have been felt and suffered for by our Savior and that God is available to all of us and longs for us to return to Him.  

If you would like more information, you can start with this post on my church's website: Is God Real? 

My Reasons to Believe

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kids' Playroom Update + Chalkboard Table

Hey Hey Hey! I've been spending a little bit of time sprucing up my kids' playroom.  The room we decided to make a playroom is the designated "office" according to my home's floorplan. Since I prefer to be super unorganized and I like my papers flying around my house like something out of a Harry Potter movie, we changed it up and made the office into a kid's playroom instead.

The playroom is the first room on the left when you enter my house behind a set of french doors.  The windows are see-through (duh), so eventually I want to buy this cool window privacy film from Amazon so that when it becomes a total mess in there, I can just shut the doors and forget about life for a while (and my kids).

The main big ticket items in my playroom are the kids' craft table and teepee.  My sister-in-law gave me the kids craft table and chairs when she was moving away so the only one I actually purchased was this Teepee from Amazon.  It was actually the first ever review I've written on Amazon too.  I think I gave it three stars, because as soon as we put it up the strings that hold the canvas up onto the sticks immediately lost their stitching. So after a few days I dusted off the ol' sewing machine and spent an hour sewing on every single string and sewing up the end of every seam that was loose (which was every SINGLE seam) and already coming apart.  Moral of the story? This goes against literally everything I believe but maybe buy a higher quality tent??? I really don't know anymore and I don't want to have a personality crisis so I guess I'll just stop thinking about it.

The table was originally all dark brown wood, but when we lived in our rental house I put leg extenders on the kids table and used it as extra counter space for a couple of years, so the top is basically trashed.  What I ended up doing is painting the bottom with leftover paint (SW Blithe Blue) from my front door (pro tip: don't buy an entire gallon of paint just to paint your front door). And the top I used Rustoleum's Chalkboard Paint (chalkboard as in you can draw on it with chalk, not as in chalk paint).  I didn't prep the surface and so far it has held up just fine with 2 coats of paint. (but I still recommend prepping the surface with TSP or sanding or primer).

Some of the little things I have around as decor are my "PLAY" letters.  I've seen on Pinterest with the galvanized metal letters from Hobby Lobby, but I wasn't prepared to spend 15 per letter (and that's at 50% off mind you).  So I bought the 1/4 inch thick wood letters and painted them with really drippy silver metallic spray paint that I had laying around to give it that sort of metal look.  I also made a real life tassel garland. I have only made "faux" tassel garlands before - as in tissue paper ones.  But if you can believe it buying clearance yarn from Wal-mart was actually cheaper than buying the tissue paper. I think each pack of tissue paper is 2 dollars and each string was 1.50.  So my tassel garland cost me 1.50x5, you do the math :).

While I was at walmart, I bought tiny clothespins to make a little art display for my kids' art.  Don't worry, I know they won't be winning any awards for their art because they got my genes in that department.

I found my "Loved Beyond Measure" sign on clearance at Hobby Lobby, and my deer head drawing on clearance as well there too.  The deer drawing is made by a company called Twelve Timbers and they have some really cute stuff decor.

Last thing, I found my rugs for 5 dollars each at 5 Below! Have you heard of that store? It's like a dollar store but everything is 5 or less dollars.  Do not walk in unless you are ready to spend at least 50 dollars though, fair warning.  I've only been once when I found these rugs so I'll have to stay away for now. But check your area to see if you have a 5 below, because I have NEVER seen cute rugs less expensive than these.

Sometime I am going to add curtains, maybe some shelving, blinds and curtains, AND paint.  For now though we've moved onto painting our kitchen cabinets because I am so fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants for everything I do around my house.  I'm not sure I get a lot done or I just start a lot of projects, but I *think* my house is starting to look better despite my scatterbrain-y ways.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Father's Day Inspiration with JORD Watches (+GIVEAWAY)

Father's Day is just two short weeks away! I am a one-upper (can't help myself), so usually around Mother's Day I start thinking of things I want to get Nick for Father's Day or what I can do for him.

After looking at the calendar, I realized that Father's Day falls on June 18th this year, AKA our anniversary! Nick and I have been married for 6 years, and sharing this day with Father's Day definitely means I need to be giving the better gift for sure this year.

Nick totally deserves a great gift and a great day. He really is the best dad to our kids, and they both just adore him.  Any free time Nick has, he is spending with our kids and me. Anyone can see from spending time with him that home with his family really is his favorite place to be, and I am so beyond grateful for this.  Nick is like the perfect mix of a modern yet traditional dad and husband. He helps with housework and chores, gets down and dirty changing diapers, giving baths, and playing with the kids. He also works hard to support us, and also encourages me to stay home with our kids and raise them the old-fashioned way. I am one lucky woman to be married to him.

When the opportunity to write an opinion post and do a giveaway with JORD Watches came along, I KNEW that this would be the perfect thing that Nick would love not only for a fabulous Father's Day gift, but also a little somethin somethin extra special for our Anniversary.

Do you follow the anniversary gifts by year? I usually look them up on the internet each year, and if it coincides, then I will try to follow along. This year it is so perfect because guess what? The "Modern Theme" for the 6th year anniversary gift is WOOD! So perfect because JORD watches are made from beautifully crafted wood.  Each watch is made with a variety of woods from around the world and they are hand finished, scratch resistant, splash proof and treated with Tung oils.

Nick's watch, the Conway Series - Dark Sandalwood and Burgundy, is a dark chocolate wood with sapphire glass and has hours, seconds, minutes and date display. The watch has a beautiful muted burgundy watch face, which perfectly accents the deep chocolate tones of the band.

Also, something has to be said about their packaging.  Every watch comes in the best smelling magnetic-closing wooden keepsake box that I was beyond impressed with. I'm guessing it is cedar, because it somehow smells like bacon and nature and manly goodness all rolled into one.

I just really can't say enough good things about this watch and this company, and I wasn't even paid to say any of it! Every experience with JORD will be an exceptional one.

Just want to mention real quick that they also sell women's watches, so if you're ever looking for yourself, they sell such beautiful, elegant, and timeless women's watches as well.

That reminds me - JORD is giving my followers a $100 dollar gift card to their website. One lucky person will win, BUT… EVERYONE will receive a consolation code worth $25 once the contest ends!


Thank you, JORD, for this wonderful gift for my husband.  I can't wait to celebrate him!

  Luxury Wooden Watch