Autumn Decor

Inspired by Pinterest and other blogs, I’ve been making a real effort to decorate a little more for holidays.  We go all out at Christmas, but other than that it’s usually nothing more than my “wreath of the month” on the front door.

Of course, you know me, I can’t just go out and buy decorations all willy-nilly.  I had to make a plan.  I decided the best areas to decorate were 1.) our mantle,

2.) our entry way, specifically the entry table,

and 3.) our dinning room table.

It sounds silly, but choosing areas to focus on really helped me.  Here are my results: Read more [+]

Surprise “Big Girl Room” Decorating!

Last week Andy decided it was time for us to make Lauren a “big girl room.”  (No, no news of baby number 2. I PROMISE!) She’s had a toddler bed for over a year now, but we both agree she needs a bigger bed she can sleep in for the next few years….

In any case, I hate the idea of her growing up and I started to get a little stressed because, on top of that, I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do decor wise for her next bedroom.  I have no Pinterest board for this! I think I’m in denial and have been majorly slacking off! (I do consider it a HUGE blessing that decorating Lauren’s room is the biggest problem in my life.)







Read more [+]

Mason Jar Herb Garden Update

Remember my Mason Jar Herb Garden (it was a gift from my little sister)?  Well, I though I’d give you a little update on it’s progress! All three herbs are still alive and growing!!! YAY!!!

I’m not a gardener AT ALL, so I feel really proud of myself.  I have my fingers crossed they’ll survive while we’re away on vacation.  I’m looking forward to a caprese salad with some Jersey tomatoes and my own fresh basil!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Packing Check List

I think I’ve mentioned a time or two before that I LOVE making lists.  It’s just something I do.  It helps me feel in control which is kind of an issue for me…

Anyhow, we’re getting ready for our big summer vacation and I happened to come across this awesome packing check list on Pinterest.

I’m seriously in love!  I really wish I could take credit for creating this masterpiece, but I can’t.  That honor goes to Brian Sibley via flickr and the original can be found here. Just click the link at the top of the page to download your own PDF copy.  I can’t wait to start packing!

Spring Cleaning Update

If you’re still thinking about spring cleaning I found a great checklist here.  It really helped me come up with my list.

But then I remembered this:

(Image from Lay Baby Lay via Paiges of Style)

Beautiful! It’s one of my favorite quotes, and thinking about it, while trying to do other things this weekend, reminded me of this quote:

“I really am your gift. I am not just a little person who needs to be ‘raised’ and taught, and taken to activities….I came to the people in my life to bring a message: slow down. Feel. Be. Over and over again. When you do, you will notice immediately, that I am not an obstacle to your work, or inconvenient to your daily life. Instead, you will come to appreciate my honesty, humor, presence and love.” - Bruce Scott

Really powerful, right?

So, my house is clean.  That’s it. The floors are vacuumed (and recently mopped), there are crumbs and I’m sure many stray dog hairs, but it could be worse.  There are no dirty dishes out in the kitchen.  There’s no laundry sitting in baskets (at the moment).  Things are picked up, and I can say I wouldn’t be too embarrassed if company dropped by right now.  I’d be more embarrassed by my own appearance (I ran this morning and still haven’t showered) than by our home’s.  Sure I’d love to say that the casing/tracks of my windows have been scrubbed clean with a toothbrush, but they haven’t, and is that really going to kill me?  No.  Maybe one day they will be, but not today and not this spring.  I’m too busy with my precious gift, my little sweetie.

Favorite Things: Spring Cleaning Edition

I think I’ve said it before, but I used to think that I actually liked cleaning.  Now, I realize that it’s not really cleaning I enjoy as much as having a clean house.  I can’t stand clutter, so I spend a lot of time picking up and organizing.  I wish I was a little better about sticking to a cleaning routine.  What I really wish for is a housekeeper, once a week, even once a month would be a super help.  When it comes down to it though, I’m like Andy and I just can’t see paying someone to do a job I’m perfectly capable of doing.  I’d rather spend that money on Lauren, or vacations, or shoes! (Andy works all the time, lots of hours, and he still does all our yard work and other “manly” jobs around the house. Lucky for me he’s great at it and very handy.) The truth is I have a hard time relaxing when housekeeping chores are hanging over my head, so that pretty much means I never relax.  I’m working on it…

When the March issue of Martha Stewart Living arrived back in February, I started to really think stress about spring cleaning.  I don’t want to do it, but it’s just something you feel like you have to do, at least a little.

Here are a few products I use that you might not have heard of:

For wooden furniture like Guardsman.

It’s what our Stickley dealer recommend and it works great.  There’s a traditional spray can version, but what I really like is the reusable dust cloths.

They’re great for quick weekly touch-ups and they don’t leave any dust-attracting residue behind.  Once a cloth gets dirty you just throw it in the wash and you can reuse it again and again.  Guardsman is available all over the place, but a great thing is that you can buy it with a coupon at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Moving on…  On our wood floors I use Bona.

You just spray in on and wipe with a dust mop.  It’s available at places like Home Depot and Lowes (I even found a huge container of it at Costco recently!), and I love that it’s totally non-toxic.   It doesn’t totally take away the need to mop for me (remember I have a toddler and a very hairy dog) but it does a really good job of cleaning spots and making our floors shine.

I’ve save my favorite for last.  When we bough our first house back in Texas, I learned that stainless steel is really tricky to clean, or at least to clean without leaving streaks.  Windex just won’t cut it. My in-laws introduced us to a product called Signature Polish.

It’s a bit pricey ($20 a bottle!), and as far as I know it’s only available online, but it is well worth the special order.  The milky cleaner is great at removing greasy spots and streaks, and best of all, it has NO smell!

Here are a couple of things on my cleaning wishlist, beside the live-in housekeep of course:

We have a Miele canister vacuum that I love, but lugging it up and down between the three floors of our house its a major deterrent (see how I find excuses).

I saw this mini upright a Bloomingdales a while back and I really think having this for the main floor would help me do a better job with crumb and dog hair abatement.

And of course, who wouldn’t clean better with in a cute pair of pink Williams-Sonomma gloves?

I had a pair of these a while back and they got worn out! Maybe a new pair is what I need to help me get motivated this spring!

If actually putting it in writing does cause me to have some type of breakdown, I’ll share my Spring Cleaning To-Do List soon.  What’s on your list or do you have any favorite cleaning products or tools I should know about?

Happy March!

I LOVE decorating our house for Christmas, but I’ve realized that I rarely decorate for any other holiday.  To be honest, we don’t like a lot of any clutter, and we’re kind of picky selective about what we put in our house.  Still, I’d like to try to decorate a little for holidays, especially now that we have Lauren.  I want to make things fun and festive for her, but I don’t want cheesy or cheap holiday items to take over our house.  I’ve fallen way behind on my “Wreath of the Month” project (but that’s a whole other post), but I’ve pinned a few ideas I might just try. Read on and follow the links if you’d like to try them too.

I love this adorable heart-shamrock garland from The Crafting Chicks.  It was be super easy and inexpensive to make, and I think it would look great on my mantle (if I could keep Lauren from pulling it down).  Click here full the full photo tutorial.

I’m also a HUGE fan of pennant banners, and I love when someone else does the design work for me. The talented Kim Stoegbauer, of the TomKat Studio, created this adorable printable for HGTV.  Just print, cut, string together and hang! It doesn’t get much easier than that! Click here to download the banner and see the complete instructions.

Continuing with more great printables, Amanda from Every Creative Endeavors is sharing this darling sign.  Doesn’t it look great in a simple frame? Best of all she has FOUR color schemes  you can choose from! Click on over to her site and take your pick.

Next up from it works for Bobbi is this “Lucky” to Have You 5×7 subway print.   Please click to join her site before downloading here.

Are you a fan of the “KEEP CALM…” trend that seems to be everywhere these days?  I am and I have a hard time keeping myself calm when I come across all the adorable variations out there! Chelsea of two twenty one has created not one but FOUR great 8×10 prints for you to choose from. Click here to check them all out and choose your favorite.

I just love that there are so many talented people out there who share their creativity with the world.  I hope my round up of ideas has inspired you to go green this month.

Favorite Thing: Better Homes & Gardens

My love for Martha Stewart is no secret, but I have a confession to make: Living is not the only magazine I love.  I’m also a big fan of Better Homes & Gardens. I’ve been meaning to express my adoration in a post for a while now (things come up), but when my renewal notice came in the mail it reminded me.

A whole year for just $5.99! I’d have to be crazy not to renew!

What I love about BHG is that it’s classic and simple.  EVERY recipe I’ve tried has turned out and many have become regular favorites (like this one or this one).  I also LOVE all the decorating and organizing tips.  I will admit, I often just skim the “Garden” parts of the magazine. I’m not much for gardening, and I definitely don’t have my mother’s green thumb.  I probably should be reading the articles to learn something…

Here are a few things I loved from the February issue:

*The idea for scratch-off Valentine’s (page 22).  I’ll be trying those next year.

*All the chocolate recipes (page 108), especially the “Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Brownie Sandwich Cookies.” YUM!

*The article about making the perfect pizza at home (page 118) because who doesn’t love pizza?

*The “Chicken Noodle Casserole” recipe (page 128) is something I’d like to try since Lauren LOVES chicken noodle soup.

*Printable Valentine Food Labels (page 170).

If you don’t already subscribe, why not give it a try? Or why not gift a subscription to a relative, friend, or teacher? It feels a little odd to say it, but BHG is a “good thing.”

Here’s what I’m doing…

I’m starting my New Year’s resolution a little early.  When I was younger, I thought I actually liked cleaning. Now, I realize that I don’t really like cleaning, but I do really like having a clean house.

For a while, I’ve had, and tried to follow, a little house cleaning schedule but I always seem to fall behind.  Then, I found the blog Organizing Made Fun (Love the name-organizing is my idea of fun!) through Pinterest. It really inspired me to try again.  I’m going to start off by following her schedule (found here) and tweak as needed.  The basic idea is that with 15-20 minutes of real cleaning a day you can always have a “company clean” house.  This time doesn’t include daily picking up, dishes, etc…, but it seems like it could work if you’re disciplined. Wish me luck!

Of course, I’ll still be devoting most of my time to Lauren and Andy (being mommy and wife is what I really, really LOVE), and we’re really taking a lot of time to enjoy the holidays right now.

…All this adds up to less blogging, so if I don’t have as many new posts each week you’ll know why, and if you have a great schedule for homekeeping leave me a comment and let me know! xo


Wreath of the Month: November

Here’s my “Wreath of the Month” for November.  I think this is the earliest in the month I’ve ever posted my wreath, and that’s because I already had this one made from last year.  Maybe next year I’ll make a new November wreath. (I’m certainly finding plenty of inspiration on Pinterest. Are you following yet?) Maybe something cornucopia-ish with gourds, or maybe even a turkey?  We’ll see…

BTW, this picture totally makes me realize we need to power wash our door before we decorate for Christmas.  Finally a chore Andy will actually be happy to do!