Friday, December 13, 2013

Advent in a Colander

Though we've had kids now for almost 5 years, I feel like we are still settling in to our routines. One routine I've never done with my kids and I was sad about, was the advent wreath. We did it as a child and I loved lighting it each week at dinner. But I wasn't' sure what kind to get. I didn't want to spend a fortune, (do I ever!?!?) and wanted it to reflect my style, but also have the tiniest kitchen table known to man, no dining room, and kids always touching, moving, coloring, spilling... 

This year I decided to use the $7 antique colander I found at a garage sale this summer. I bought some $4 spanish moss at Wallies, some green foam to hold the candles under the moss, and a pack of advent candles 60% off at JoAnns. I'm suprised JoAnns and Michaels already have their Christmas sutff at 60-70% off!!

I think the final result turned out just perfect for me :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Old Crib Turned Christmas Card Holder

Old Crib turned Holiday Card Holder

I usually tape all the Christmas cards to the back of our door. It's fine, but I was inspired this year!

Remember the old crib that I SO wish I could actually use on a baby? Well, since I legally can't, and I don't have a baby anymore (I was googling twin mattresses today, it's time for my now 3 year old to get out of her toddler bed... ok, well past time... wah.) I had the springs sitting by my trash can in the garage waiting for a day where I thought the trash man was in a good mood (and had forgotten about that day we left a bag of very heavy tiling trash on a 100 degree day that may or may not have pretty much melted the bag and when he picked it up it ripped, spreading tile all over the street... I won't tell you that.)

Anyway, I saw this post recently:

and thought OH MY UPCYCLED WONDERFULNESS!!! Not everyone's style for sure, but SO mine. Not only am I keeping this out of the landfill, but I happen to think it's cuteness at it's best!

Holiday Card Holder from Old Crib

I recently started using They have this setting that is called 'darkened edges.' I think I'm in love with it. So be prepared for darkened pics every time :)

I hung up some cards on it from last year and wove some ribbon through the edges. Not sure what else will be added to it, but I know lots of cards!! I think when all is said and done it will hang in our laundry room/guest bathroom/backpack command station holding school papers and field trip permission slips. Probably above my Pallet Backpack Holder Shelf thingy.

DIY Show Off

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lemony Gingerbread Whoopie Pies

Oh, how I love these. My Oma (the namesake for my blog) bought me a subscription to Taste of Home magazine one year. I found this recipe in the March 2011 blog and it is definitely one of my favorites!! I've turned it into a Christmas cookie around here, since it is gingerbread and all.

The HIGH today is 14. Right now it is -7, and -18 with the windchill. Let's just say we will be staying inside making cookies with Christmas music today. I put up some of our Christmas decorations last night while watching BigFoot the New Science (lol very Christmas-y I know. I DVR'd it and wanted to watch it.) When the girly-goos woke up to go find Chippy the Elf they thought he brought all the decorations, it was so cute. You would've thought it was Christmas morning with how excited they were. It reminded me of the first day my 1st graders would come to school and I'd have the holiday books out.

Anyway, I'm going to spend today continuing to decorate, listen to Christmas music, and making cookies. I guess I"ll have to venture out to swim lessons at 5... but that's it! Oh, and I guess I have to give the chickens fresh water every so often, since theirs freezes up. It's nice to get a blast of fresh cold air, then run back inside!

If you want to make a plate of these goodies yourself, here's the recipe:

Lemony Gingerbread Whoopie Pies
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
3 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup marshmallow creme
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 tsp lemon extract

1. in a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. beat in molasses and egg. combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

2. shape into 1 inch balls (make them smaller than you think you should!!! like the size of a big marble, because when you're all done you put two together with icing, so if you make them too big you'll have giant massive things!) roll in sugar to flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. (the original recipe says to use a cup dipped in sugar. I used my palm.) bake at 350 for 8-10 mins. cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire cooling racks.

3. for filling: beat butter and marshmallow creme until light and fluffy. gradually beat in confectioners sugar and extract.

4. spread filling on the bottoms of half the cookies, top with remaining cookies.

Lemony Gingerbread goodness! I promise if you like gingerbread and lemon and soft cookies and rich yummy-ness you won't be disappointed!

design dazzle christmas wonderful  Moonlight and Mason Jars Link Party Button

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rustic Jewelry Organizer

This is my latest nap time creation. I gave the cutest Raggedy Ann Jewelry box that my sister gave me when we were girls. I'll have to take a picture... once I un-bury it from the tangle of necklaces that are covering it.

That tangle was the inspiration for my nap time creation yesterday: my painted and distressed rustic nail necklace holder jewelry organizer thing! Quite the name, I know :) PS this project was free as it was all leftovers I found in the garage.

Can't wait to hang it in our new master bathroom... that is still not done :) We took like a month off because we have to sand out the thin-set concrete between the tiles and neither of us want to! :)
Prodigal Pieces    The Scoop
Beyond The Picket Fence

Monday, December 2, 2013

Antique Secretary Desk

To chalkpaint or not to chalkpaint... that is the question.

So I bought this antique secretary desk on Craigslist about a month ago...

I really wanted a mommy station. Somewhere near the kitchen to permanently keep my receipts, my laptop, and my necessary mommy organization stuff. Oh, and a cup of tea. Our house is like 1700 square finished feet. It's not tiny, but it's not big, so I like to have all our furniture be functional, help keep us clean and organized, and be cute, too.

There was this space by the stairs I used to have an old sewing machine table:

Cute and perfectly fit to the little spot. The problem was that it was completely useless. The sewing machine didn't work. You can't fit your legs under the table part to use it for the computer. And that drawer wouldn't even hold anything because it wasn't a drawer, it was a door to open to pop out the non-working sewing machine. Waste of space. My husband liked it, but I've always wanted a hutch there. Much better use of space. Wandering around on Craigslist one day I stumbled across the perfect secretary desk the fit the spot! It's an incredibly narrow spot so pretty much nothing would ever fit there. Until I found...

My beautiful new secretary desk. It fit's the spot like a glove, and has tons of storage, with a fold out desk. My laptop just happens to fit perfectly inside of it even when it's closed. 

I can sit on my $5 distressed white garage sale chair  and type away while still being around my family, not escaping up to the craft/play/sewing room upstairs. 

The real question is.... chalkpaint or no? I saw this secretary desk while craigslist shopping...

It's cuter painted, right? I should do a nice gray blue? I do love the dark wood, too...

I'm leaning towards gray blue distressed with dark oil rubbed bronze hardware... do you agree or disagree?

DIY Show Off

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Teacher Christmas Presents

Confession time... when I was a teacher, though I adored all the homemade cookie mixes and candles I received at Christmas, or the nothing that some families gave because they obviously knew I made too much money already :), I did have a tiny thought in the back of my mind that if my 28 students each just pitched in a couple bucks I'd have a nice sized gift card to get myself a new sweater to wear in my always freezing classroom, or a new pair of shoes because my toes were going to peek out of the front of mine from always kneeling by desks, or maybe just a nice dinner out while on vacation. So now that I am a second year school mom, I'm trying to spread the love and organize the teacher presents for my daughters teachers. 

Last year I learned a very important lesson: START EARLY! Parents forget things... a lot. I know from experience. We can barely get out the door with our kids, lunchboxes, and mittens, let alone cash for 'that one kid's mom who's organizing the presents.' This year I started in October, gathered interest and was given the green light over email by every parent but one (?) and collected money by Thanksgiving break. I just finished making the teachers presents this morning. I am super, super excited that they will be done and ready to go during the busy week of our Christmas program and holiday parties. 

See how cute the  teacher presents are in all their DIY glory:

Keep Calm and Teach On Teacher Presents
I used Avery iron on transfers ($8.88 from Walmart) to DIY the KEEP CALM and TEACH ON canvas bags.
Avery Stretchable Fabric Transfers 3302 Packaging Image
I used the website to create the image to print and iron on the white canvas bags (found in the craft section of Walmart or any craft store.) 

KEEP CALM and TEACH ON DIY canvas bag teacher present

I used a cute little clothespin to attach my DIY target gift card holder. It says, 'Thanks for Keeping us on TARGET!!' Cuteness. 

DIY Target Gift Card- puntastic!

I'm not able to fill the little pouch with the gift card yet because one mom wasn't able to get me the money before Thanksgiving break. But out of 17, only one said no and one hasn't paid, so I have great hope that we'll have a nice $100 Target Gift Card sitting in that little pocket. I thought if we each pitched in $6/teacher we'd have a cool $100. I didn't think anyone would say no. Now I'm left with a weird $94 each, as long as I can get that last moms money, and taking into account that one mom only gave $10, not sure why, and that one said no. So if lasty comes through I'll pitch in extra and we'll have a cool $100, or if not I guess it'll be $90. Which brings me to lesson #2 I've learned, just ask for $10. Then you'll always have an even number :) Either way, I hope the teachers appreciate it as much as I appreciate them. They are an amazing blessing to our family, and most importantly to my daughter.

Moonlight and Mason Jars Link Party Button  The Shabby Nest

Sunday, November 24, 2013

James 1:19

I wish I could remember this Bible verse...

so I made this scripture wallpaper for my iPhone to remind to shut my mouth :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Advent by Candlelight

Last night, on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, the Women of Mary ministry at my church hosted Advent by Candlelight. 

Advent by Candlelight Table Decor
The tables are so beautiful, next year I will take a picture of the most fabulous ones! But here's our little table in the back- and thank goodness for that, too, since two 3 month olds sat with us, we had some nursing going on, some giggling, and one of us had to leave right in the middle of the speaker to relieve her babysitter. We are definitely the 'young moms' club at our church! 

Advent by Candlelight Christmas centerpiece
The Advent by Candlelight night at church is an amazing evening where we are preparing ourselves spiritually for the busy and emotionally taxing season to come. We read four scripture verses, each with it's own meditation and song. Then had a wonderfully funny, yet moving, speaker. We also had desserts, wine, coffee, and amazing fellowship with church members and friends.

Advent by Candlelight Table Setting

Our table was a joint effort, and thank heavens Ave Maria doesn't put pretty much any rules on what we can and can't do. Some tables did paper, some did fancy china, we met them somewhere in between and had nice Christmas plates. I used my mismatched goodwill christmas plates and bowls to hold our desserts and nuts. I took the lantern off my wall and filled it with evergreens I cut from the bushes in our cul-de-sac's island (ssshhh!) and grabbed the white candleholders off my night tables. So we didn't have to spend any money, we all pitched in a bit, and it was relaxing for everyone, even the table hosts! 

Advent by Candlelight favor
I quickly put together these favors for each plate with a candy cane Christmas poem. 

Our second year was smashing success! I not only got to spend the evening surrounded by candles and Christmas lights, hearing beautiful music and listening to wonderful speakers and scripture, but I was surrounded by my best friends and reminded of what is truly important in life. 

I hope you are as blessed to have a night like this at your church!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Turtle Party at the Park

My Abber Gabbers turned 3! I can't believe my little baby is 3. 

We had unbelievable fall weather (so far) this year in Colorado so I threw a quickly put together party at the park one Saturday afternoon. (I literally texted a few good friends and family on Friday afternoon!) Thank the good Lord for my blessings, almost everyone was able to adjust their weekend and come enjoy the sunshine next to the lake with us to celebrate our baby turning 3!! It not only warmed my heart that people came with such short notice, but then seeing our children playing and hugging and laughing. There were cousins and friends already so close they are like family! It filled all our hearts with love and happiness!

I don't love posting people pics on my blog, especially of other peoples children, and rarely do of my own, so there won't be pics of the party. Just imagine gorgeous sunshine and laughter :) We picked up 4 pizzas, grabbed some veggie juice boxes and soda, and I made turtle cupcakes. (Since Abby wanted a turtle party.) I got green star balloons from the dollar store for favors, and bought each child a turtle sun catcher for a craft and favor. 

Ok, I'll be honest. two kids painted cats. There may have only been 4 turtles at the store. That's what happens when you shop the night before the party :)

I thoroughly enjoyed the process, and plan on a laidback affair at the park every year. I hope this global warming continues! :) We used the park pavilion and also threw in a couple little tikes picnic tables for the kids. Note to self: put paper down next year when painting suncatchers! It's not washable.

Would you like to see the piece de resistance? My semi-homemade sea turtle cupcakes:  

I followed THIS recipe to make plain vanilla cupcakes, then bought this: 
<strong>Funfetti®</strong> Aqua Blue Vanilla Frosting

and used a tub of fruit slices to make sea turtle cupcake toppers. 

Zachary: Artificial Orange Flavored...
they were like these only all different colors. I sliced one in half lengthwise and then widthwise and those four pieces became the legs. (I made the front legs longer.) I trimmed a bit off the bottom of the green 'shell.' Then I cut one exactly in half and it became the head. When I started running out of green ones I actually took the bit I trimmed off of the bottom of the shell and rolled it into a ball. It really is quite easy when you get a knife and start playing! 

Our turtle party was such fun I hope to copy it next year! Wonder what the theme will be? She's such a joyful funny girl. Her 2nd year old bday party she wanted Shrek, she was dead set on it. This year turtles, I just think she is the cutest! :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Quick and Easy Bathroom ReDo

So one day I was having company and started to clean the bathroom at naptime. I pulled out the  bleach bottle and rag, walked in there, and realized I just didn't want to clean that trim one more time!!! We painted the bathroom a lovely shade of blue when we moved in, and it was definitely nicer than what was there, but definitely didn't look like the Martha Stewart magazine I copied. I think I am done with color in general in my house :) I'm diggin the white on white look so popular, for the sole reason that it's so much harder to go wrong. We painted our kitchen a nice pale yellow, which is cute, then tried to do green in our living room and my husband said it felt like he was living in an Easter egg. I guess I agree. So now I am painting every room in our house cozy cottage white, or some shade of brown. Yay for neutrals!

Back to the trim problem... it was painted when we moved in, which feels like yesterday, but I realized that afternoon that it has been 7 years!!! Wow. Time flies when you're having babies. Babies that make everything dirty I might add. Which brings me back to the trim again. I couldn't clean it again, it needed to be painted. I went to the garage and pulled out my trim paint. When I brought it in and stared at those blue walls I suddenly remembered I had picked up a random shade of brown in the oops section for $7 a few weeks ago... hmmmm... could I get it done in one naptime? That was the question.

It took me one naptime, plus two Octonauts later and my bathroom was painted! It looks so much better, but the best part is it looks so much cleaner! Then inspiration struck and I ended up chalkpainting the ugly oak vanity, adding some (spray painted) hardware, replacing the builder grade mirror, and even spray painting the ugly toilet paper holder a day or two later.

Total Cost:
$7 for estate sale mirror that I used leftover paint and stain to distress.
$7 Oops paint for the walls
$30 dollars for trim primer and paint
$5 for Goodwill antique style bird prints with frames and mats!
$0 for homemade chalkpaint using supplies in the garage
$0 for spraypaint to update hardware (leftover from dresser redo) and toilet paper holder
= $49!
Sorry I don't have a before pic. Imagine a pale oak builder grade vanity with no hardware, blue walls, and one of those mirrors that have no border. very classic suburban cookie cutter 1990s home.

It's not really a blog worthy bathroom, but I like it and it's ours, and most importantly it's clean :)

A close up of the chalkpainted vanity. I used the toothpaste trick to put the knobs on, (put toothpaste on the back of the knobs and stick them where you want them, then drill the hole where the toothpaste is.)

I found this mirror for $7 at an estate sale and used dark Poly stain, some gray blue paint, and a hammer to make some marks.

I fell in love with these bird frames I found at Goodwill!

And though we haven't retiled, and we will one day, I attempted to cover the floor with a cute rug. 

The other half of our bathroom is the laundry room. On the wall facing the washer and dryer I hung up my DIY pallet backpack holder. I blogged about it here. I originally made it to hold towels in my girls bathroom but then it turned out too big, so I decided to hang it in our soon to be 'command station' for school, as next year I will have TWO KIDS IN SCHOOL!!! crazyness. 

So that is one project keeping my busy the last month... Other things that I've been up to were Halloween (got a bit crazy!), buying a new secretary desk on Craigslist (pics to come soon!), my sister having a baby, (amazing little blessing), hosting donuts at church, a 3 year old bday at the park, and continuing to retile our master bathroom. We almost decided to put caution tape across the door and call in a professional, but we took some time off and recharged, used many days of babysitting by the grandparents, and laid our last tile yesterday. Hooray! Of course pics of that to come soon as well!