Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I must admit, this is one year I will be glad to put behind me. And I can't believe that the first decade of the "new millenium" has past. Do you remember Y2K and what a big deal it was? We all thought our computers were going to stop working or something. Boy have things changed.

Here's to a fantastic 2010! What are YOU doing New Year's Eve?

Monday, December 28, 2009


Image from The Lettered cottage

I entered my Super easy apron and dish towel set tutorial over at The Lettered Cottage. To see it over there along with tons of other greats of 2009, click here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


What to do with the after-Christmas clutter? DIVIDE AND CONQUER!
1. Make piles and then put them away. One for trash. One for recycled paper, bows and tags. One for presents of each family member. One for food items. One for returns. And then after step 2, one for Goodwill.
2. Clean out old to make room for the new. As you put all the stuff from step 1 away, take note of what you already have. For example, if you got a book for Christmas, take one book out of the bookcase you don't want or need and put it in the Goodwill pile. If your kids got a ton of stocking stuffers, take that basket full of little "stuff" from their room and find a new home for it. Take a good look at EVERYTHING before you go out and buy more storage for more stuff. You'll be suprised at what you have and what you won't mind parting with.
3. Put some away for later. Do your kids really need all these presents all at once? It's a long year until next Christmas and a wise mom would stash some away when the "boredom bug" hits in a couple months. Or put away their old toys, and bring them out again, and they'll be new! And hide some of that candy and chocolate- once the family gets back into "the grind" after the holidays, you're gonna need it!
4. Don't clean until after the decorations are put away. Put them away first, and then clean away. It will feel SO GOOD having your space back to normal and you will be motivated and it will be a breeze to clean once you follow the first three steps!

Image from Better Homes and Gardens

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In my own little corner in my own little world...Christmas

My bedside table decked out for Christmas. Just a little something pretty to look at that makes me smile:)

Friday, December 18, 2009


BEFORE: Plain wooden gift tags from craft store with 40% off coupon
AFTER: Cute collection of tags for my family that will last forever for those special presents!
Materials used: wood tags, leftover scrapbook paper, ribbon, and other scrapbooking supplies, glue stick and hot glue. Santa picture and words- computer clipart.

I CAN MAKE THAT: ponytail holder ring

Thanks to my Grandma who sent my daughters this lovely little doohickey. It is a Goody brand ponytail holder ring. It came with the bands. The minute I saw it I said, "WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT??!" This little doohickey has simplified our life overnight! Now all our bands are in one place, and my daughters can easily see them all and choose which color they would like. No more fishing for the one color they HAVE to have that day that I can never find!
You can easily make this yourself with a metal binder ring clip or overlapping bracelet. Do you have any other ideas that would work for this?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I LOVE making my kids' birthday cakes every year. This is an art I began learning and observing from my dad. When I was little I watched him fashion beautiful roses out of frosting and I love using this "talent" for my own loved ones. I am definitely an amateur, but I really enjoy it nonetheless. Some time this year I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. "Creative cakes anyone can make" by Jill Foster. I highly recommend it to beginners. Her method explains that basically you can decorate with frosting by using cursive letters that you repeat in a design to decorate the cake, along with the other basics of cake making and decorating.
Another reason why I like making cakes is because I am a do-it-yourselfer and it is resourceful. Not to mention it is great customizing it to your own little princesse's desires. It is SO exciting to say "I want a lavender cake with blue decoration" and VOILA your momma creates it just for you!
In this book, she made a "Happily ever after castle" cake. So I basically copied it and this is what I came up with:

Here is the princess herself in front of the cake table. TAKE NOTE: YOU CAN DO THIS TOO, AND SAVE YOURSELF LOTS OF $$$! Homemade cake-cake pans from garage sale, leftover halloween candy-free, how to book-free from library. Reused princess wrapping paper for table covering. Princess watercolor art done by my daughters from gigantic coloring book for $1 from garage sale. Belle princess dress $1 garage sale. Belle happy bday garland and 2 packs of invitations, $1 from another garage sale. Belle princess shoes $2 from consignment sale. Streamers, pink plates and cellophane goody bags from Dollar tree. Party favors: homemade cookies with leftover cake frosting, scrap scrapbook paper, and 5 year pics of bday girl taken by yours truly and downloaded on
This is an art, people! I've talked about this before, but it's all about your shopping habits throughout the year and training your eye to find what to look for, and training your mind to learn the smallest cost you can pay for what you need and want.
My daughter was THRILLED with her princess party, and that CAKE what THE CUTEST thing you have ever seen! I can't wait for the next party!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Last week I attended and participated in a recipe exchange with some friends. The kids played while we ate and talked- my idea of a perfect mom party!
All the recipes were delish! I decided to share my Homemade Chunky Applesauce. This is the stuff I grew up on- puts store bought TO SHAME. It was always great to have it on the table because it tastes like dessert but mom let us have it for dinner! Score!
My mom and I canned A TON of applesauce and apple butter last year (see pics). But if you don't know how to can, or want to make a quick dish, here is the recipe I shared- the easy version. Enjoy! I promise it will be THE BEST applesauce you will ever eat .Period.

From Litton's Meal in One Microwave Cookbook
Note: one medium apple equals about 1 cup cooked.

6 cups peeled, cored and sliced cooking apples (we like Golden Delicious)
1/2 cup water
1 TB lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1. Combine apples, water and lemon juice in 2 quart glass casserole dish
2. Microwave for 10-12 minutes, on High, or until apples are tender (about 200 degrees). Stir in remaining ingredients.

4-6 servings

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It has been too long since I did a project! Right now we have 1 car, so being at home, it was a great opportunity to get out the sewing machine. This is a valance I've had in our living room. It was perfect for the kitchen window in our house, and when we moved here, I just threw it up since I had it. But it has been bugging me for awhile.
With the old valance, and this scrap of fabric from THIS fabulous find...
And my collection of pretty BALLARD DESIGNS curtain pics from my IDEA BOOK...
I created these little numbers. Nothing fabulous but definitely better than before and happy how they turned out. (they look better in person!)
This was my stocking. I've never liked it. BO-OORRRING.
This summer I found this really GREAT fabric fat quarter for cheap on ebay by Michael Miller. It's called "Holiday Hostess," and I think it's adorable. I love the vintage feel. And here's what I did with it.....
My "new" stocking! Before:boring. Now: FUN! And I have a scrap left over to do something else with! Any ideas? I would not want to let ANY of this go to waste!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I CAN MAKE THAT: Holly napkin rings

Flipping through the Crate and Barrel catalog today, I spied these cute napkin rings. But wait, let's take a closer look! Green felt, 3 red pom poms, some green pipe cleaners? I can make that! What have you seen in "designer stores" that you thought to yourself, "I can make that!"?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another idea from Crate and Barrel: Hurricane filler

You might remember this fun idea from two holidays ago which I stole from the Crate and Barrel store. Well I couldn't wait to go again and see all the lovely displays for this holiday.
Well they did it again, using the hurricane and adapting it to the season. Here is the next idea stolen from my visit. (sorry for the bad pic). It is supposed to look like *snow*.
Can you guess what it is???

Sea salt! What a great, organic, easy way to "fake" snow in some pretty glass containers!
Of course they were selling theirs in pretty packaging for 10 bucks, but you can pick this up for about $2 at the local grocery. I only used a fraction of the container and my husband uses this for cooking! If I didn't have kids, I'd be tempted to just scatter it around all decorated surfaces for that fun "fallen snow" look!
Happy December!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ANOTHER LOOK: Thanksgiving Centerpieces

The first picture from Country Living is my original inspiration. Notice the Indian Corn.
The second picture is what I threw together with what I had.
The third picture is what I came up with using my New Blocks and the beautiful fall floral arrangement my SIL brought last weekend. So basically, I couldn't have done this without my SIL's! Thanks, girls, you're the best! :) I love how it turned out.
I took a smaller vase to put the flowers in, and then put them in a bigger hurricane with rafia and fall leaves. Then I took my indian corn and "scattered" it around. The tablerunner is a little number I put together with some fabric given to me, years ago. I love it, it seems to work all year round.
So this is the view I will be enjoying for the next couple of days until the big feast!

Monday, November 23, 2009


I just watched a movie I had never heard of. It was released last year and based on this book by Louisa May Alcott, one of my most favorite authors. I LOVED it. And I highly recommend it. It really made me think about what is most important in my life and what I am grateful for. A really great family movie, my two little ones sat and watched the whole thing with me. I think I have found a new Thanksgiving tradition! I think I will get the book and then decide if I want to read the book every year or watch the movie. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


OMIGOODNESS. My awesome S-I-L, Karen sent me a present all the way from Idaho. I didn't know what it was, but I couldn't wait to open it!
Look what was inside!
I was so suprised and excited!
Double duty decor: Thanksgiving...
... and Christmas!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


A couple years ago I used this EASY peasy free downloadable template from Martha Stewart. All my nieces and nephews were coming to town for Thanksgiving and I wanted to find an easy "craft" for the kids to do. Instead of using yarn for the "feathers" I just cut out the template where you would put the yarn on and let all the kids color their own "feathers" with crayons. Then we glued them all together and labeled them for every person at the table. It was fun, easy, and free! Gotta love that. The kids were so proud to show off their artwork at Thanksgiving dinner that night.
To get this template, just go here.

Friday, November 13, 2009


(Picture has been removed)
I realize that Halloween was 2 weeks ago (already?!?) but I also just realized that this subject would be good to blog about because the cost for an entire family of four to dress up this year was about $15. Not bad. My husband's farmboy costume was entirely from his closet. My Laura Ingalls farmgirl cost 25 cents for the dress at a garage sale. #1's Pocahontas Disney store dress was a $1 garage sale find, the wig was $3 on sale at Joann's and the "ugg" type slippers were an after Christmas find at Old Navy a few years ago for about $10- a splurge, I know! And the most expensive item on the list. #2's costume was a hand me down with mouse ears thanks to granparents who went on a Disney cruise= free. Although very cheap, the point I want to make is that these are all things that we did not buy specifically for Halloween. That's where companies prey on consumers- but not me! All these items are things bought througout the year and can serve several purposes. The girls wear dress up clothes all the time, #1 uses her slippers, etc. So remember when something comes up, don't panic and run out and buy. Shop your closet, see what you have, and keep an eye out at garage sales, and clearance racks all year long, buying only those things you know you can get good use out of, or that serve more than one purpose.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


After my online window shopping spree on IKEA last night, I decided it was so fun I'd do it again. Thanks to my S-I-L Amber, I found this fun store Faded Plains. As you can see the above picture, the website had me at hello. (Hydrangeas are my favorite flower). And that picture is just scrumptuos! Anyway, if I were rich and were Christmas shopping for real, these are a few things I might put in my cart. Enjoy the eye candy :)

These are for my princess daughters. I think it would be so cute to hang them on their walls with fancy ribbon next to thier names. They would be perfect in their shabby room.
These are for my Queen Bee mother. She loves bees.
These are for me so I can brush up on my French and do it in style. Then I would do something creative and cute with them!
I would buy one of these for my mother in law S, my sister in law A, and myself :) Three gals who I know appreciate all things Paris!

Where do you like to pretend shop?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I was browsing the IKEA website to see what new fun stuff they have and I found these lovelies.
TVILLING posters: adorable set of 2
KYLIGT trays: how fun are these for Christmas, Valentines Day.....
KOTTE: ornament stands, but I would use them for jewelry
And the best part OF COURSE is that they are all under 5 bucks!
What's your favorite thing from IKEA?

Monday, November 9, 2009


What to do with the leftovers?

Here are a few ideas I have gathered:

#1: Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply
chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.

#2: Bite size bars or chunks of chocolate from broken up bars and candies can be placed in the middle of poured cupcake batter. Bake as directed and when you bite into them, there is a delicious melted chocolately suprise!

#3: Make a "candy counter" ~ one piece of candy per child counting the days to Thanksgiving or Christmas. Hang on wall, ties with ribbons, etc...

#4: The best idea for mommy's hips, although may be devastating to children: Throw it away. Ahhh!

Do you have any other ideas???

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Remember when I showed you this? Well, it's as easy as shopping in your backyard!
Check out the eye candy below for some beautiful, simple, and FREE ideas- just use whatever containers, vases, seasonal decor, ribbons, and fabric you have!
Real Simple
Real Simple
Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn
Country Living
Country Living