Wednesday, November 18, 2009

a favorite of mine

One of my most favorite holiday decorations are white lights. I think they rank right up there with candle light to add atmosphere and ambiance to your home. I practically use them for all holidays and find myself filling glass containers with them even after the new year for something pretty inside when it looks so awful outside. I will decorate my whole house for Christmas and inevitably it will be this simple idea that gets the most comments.
I don't have Christmas stuff out yet so this looks a little pathetic, but you get the idea. Fill with something fun like colored bulbs or silver stars, add lights and your done. This is certainly a project you can find things around the house for-even get the kids out there to collect pine cones and rocks.

I am going to try something a little different with this lantern. I bought some paper to mod podge onto the glass, add some embellishments, put in lights and hopefully have something fun for Christmas. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

who knew and DIY day

I have actually started my Christmas crafts and I hope your sitting down because I actually purchased a few gifts this weekend as well. I have previously been someone who shops better and creates better under pressure and certainly would not even consider Christmas stuff until December. BUT with three kids I realized I am always under pressure, so I better use it to my benefit and get some things done. This might be my wreath year, I seem to be running into quite a few that I want to try. This wreath from Pottery Barn came at a hefty price and IS beautiful. The Queen Bee recreated one for her kitchen a while back and I made a much smaller version for Christmas. ( photo from Pottery Barn)

Have you ever been to the Dollar Store-just kidding, of course you have. It's me that is just realizing what a wonderful place it is. The wreath form cost one dollar! It's small, but I'm thrifty so who cares. The moss is Reindeer moss(?). This project only took one bag. I picked it up at Michaels with my coupon for 2.50. The picture is not doing this moss justice. It is a very pretty green. They have several shades at Michaels so beware. Stay away from the brown and blue-so look for the one labeled light green.

I tied the ribbon and then glued a push pin onto it. The form is foam so I can just stick it in and change ribbon color easily for the season. I love the original brown from Pottery Barn. I bet that would look good in the spring.

I'm not sure where I will end up hanging it, but I love the finished product. All said it cost 4.50. Not to shabby for a new thrifty thrifter like me. If I get a chance I may make a bigger version for the front door-it is just that cute! The next wreath I am going to try is this one from Living with Lindsay. It looks a little more complicated so wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas card fiasco

I love Christmas cards. I love getting Christmas cards in the mail, love sending Christmas cards to friends and family and I love making them on years that I decide to be so adventurous. I do not like taking the photo for the Christmas card. It's a bad bad bad bad bad bad time had by all. This past weekend was going to be beautiful so I stepped into high gear and planned an outing for this beloved documentation of family. I asked my dad to follow us out to Jester Park to be the photographer, I found(literally) something for all of us to wear(ok-don't usually do the matchy thing with clothes, but Sloan had a cute sweater and I didn't want to clash-forgive me), brushed hair, cleaned faces, put on jeans that don't have holes etc, etc...

So we all drove out to our favorite spot in the park. It was windy, and the sun was intense from all angles-obstacles that we over came. Go team Van Ahn! Snip, snap we took several pictures. We were done, on to playing.

Came home to download pictures from camera. Moment ruined. We had used Todd's camera from work because to use my camera I have to use a ball point pen to zoom(don't ask) and wanted things to be simpler than bringing camera tools. Todd forgot that his camera is set at higher pixels(?) so everything is small. UNUSABLE! Good gravy it is always something. Do you remember that year Kristen P. (06 maybe)that your wonderful husband superimposed new eyes on Asher for me so I could use a picture that the majority of us looked ok. It really is always something.

My usual philosophy to photo selection is if I look great in it and everyone else looks at least better than a cyclopes-I'm using it. In these pictures I can't even tell if I look good :) uggg!

Alright-Todd does not look like a cyclopes, but next time we are taking the picture inside-why can't he open his eyeballs when the sun is out? Boys look cute. My version of matchy looks pathetic(I am really lucky not to be the mother of three girls-they would never forgive me).

Afternoon not a total loss. The boys did enjoy the park and I have some picture of Sloan in his sweater. He is sure to grow out of it by Christmas.

love them

nature boy in his element.

Monday, November 9, 2009

charity: one cause doesn't fit all

When my kids were smaller I was excited to teach them about giving. I soon found it to be a little bit of a frustrating experience. They couldn't part with even a single block for children without toys and when I wanted to shop for a needy child's Christmas I knew they couldn't come with me because it would become a shopping trip all about them. I clearly started these lessons when they were just to young to understand, but it was not a reason to stop giving. I now simply tailor giving to fit each boy's personality.

When Asher sees a homeless person on the street he wants to build them a house. He makes plans, tells me how he would use his hands to help make that persons troubles less, so we give to organizations that provide shelter. Holden doesn't seem to really notice.

When a group of orphaned African children came to sing at our church Holden could not take his eyes off them. He has talked about them for nearly a year. We decided to sponsor a little girl from Uganda and when she sends us correspondence it's Holden who sits to look at her picture and listen to her letter. Asher actually says he doesn't like her(???).

During the holiday season I always bring out a jar for spare change especially for charity. Both boys like to put pennies they find in it, no pressure- just on the counter as a reminder. Periodically we take it to the Salvation Army red kettle outside the grocery store and they think that is pretty fun. Obviously they cannot grasp what this money needs to do for people, but I hope to be forming some habits that will stick with them for life. I don't even understand the magnitude of world hunger, they cannot understand what happens when the unemployment rate is at 10.2%, but together we can make a difference with just our spare change and some compassion.

Friday, November 6, 2009

giving thanks part 1: pillow talk

I got off the phone the other day with Becca and had to laugh. How do you know when someone is your best friend? When you talk for 60 minutes straight about pillows. Yes-just pillows. Becca and I have known each other for nearly 15 years and I am so thankful to have a friend who gets me. As I get older and I find it hard at times to connect with people(just cancelled my MOMS Club membership because it had about 45 moms I just couldn't pretend to like any more), I always come back to being thankful that I have one who understands the things I am passionate about, who likes the same restaurant, and who needs me as much as I need her.

So you might wonder why/how we talked about pillows for so long. I am afraid to tell you this was about our billionth conversation about them. We covered why they are important, what we dream they would accomplish for our rooms, where to purchase and not to bother. The bottom line is pillows are harder than you might think and we agree(because we are best friends) that the matter cannot be taken lightly. It is especially agonizing(I hope it's ok to to say this) for my lovely Becca. That is why I am giving all of you a Tour de Pillows. Here they are Bec-some of the new pillows I bought when my mom was here.

Here are two things I know about decorating with pillows. I think I know a few more things but I can't think of them.

  • Don't bother buying them from Pottery Barn. You won't be happy because they cost too much money and your kids are just going to booger them up. Even if they aren't boogered up you still won't be happy spending that kind of dough on something you want to be able to change your mind about in a year or two to give your couch a new look.
  • It IS worth buying the Pottery Barn inserts and having covers made. But only if you find fabric on sale. I suggest Hobby Lobby because everything is always on sale there and they have a surprisingly good fabric department. The inserts are nice and full and perfect for fluffing. When your kids throw them around, stand and jump on them, they will bounce right back into shape and you don't have to kill your kids. A win win I would say. Also when your four year old uses one as a kleenex the cover can go right into the washer.

said four year old demonstrating how to use a pillow(the correct way-with his head not nose)

(Funny side note: Today Asher told me that the truck he was playing with on the kitchen floor "was sooo hip hop dancing". I guess that means it was spinning?? Who is this little urbanite I gave birth to?)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

playing catch up

My mom was visiting last week and we had a great time. A week full of all sorts of activities from Holden's birthday to trick or treating. I had a Silpada party and we visited one morning with friends over coffee. She helped me make my family room more "inviting" with the addition of some pillows. We cooked, we studied our favorite magazine(BH&G), we went to the fabric store, we watched House Hunters, she spoiled the kids and kissed the baby like one million times-we just had fun. I am catching up on some stuff this week and decluttering some areas in the house. Here are some highlights from the previous week.