Winter 10

Back in December, I drew a 6th grade looking artwork piece of things that I wanted to experience during the holiday season. I hung it up in the kitchen where I saw it everyday- reminding me of great times to be had (and the fact that I am not an drawer). It actually worked, we did almost everything on my picture-goal-experience sheet.

So, I thought I would try to do it again, only this time it would include my projects, some fun and some not as fun.  Maybe I will do this each season? And since I have been playing with PicMonkey, I decided to make my picture a little more graphic.

winter 10

They are all pretty self-explanatory, so I will save the details for later posts after they are done!

Wont you join me for Winter 10? Post a blog like this and link in the comments.

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COMPLETED: click below to link to more info. on that project

1. valentine mantel


YHL’s Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge

I enjoy a good stroll through the thrift shop every now in then. And, by now and then, I mean more “then”. Since the little man came along I’ve cut back on real shopping. Shopping with a toddler consists of snack, songs, pointing, talking to strangers. I though I actually really enjoy being out with the baby… it’s harder with a kid. So when Young House Love encouraged me to get back out there, I took the challengeMy blogging bff HildaGotRocks was taking the challenge too.

So, there is this Thrift Shop song. Have you heard it? It’s silly. But, it is rather catchy. Consider yourself warned.

Oh and as you can see below, something about the challenge has me making weird-mouth-high-schooler-selfie pictures and throwing peace signs. I think that Sherdog’s RAP-piness is spreading like a virus. Got my dough, baby in tow, and ready to go.

thrift shop challengeStep #1. Go to a thrift shop with – just as the chorus of the song says – “$20 in your pocket”and take a picture. 

Step #2. Spend that $20 any way you’d like and photograph your spoils

Step #3. Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic.

I went to Mt. Washington St. Vincent DePaul and here are some of the things that got my attention…

A pokey little pineapple. Something about this reminded me of Sherry. It opens too.
photoLotso lamps just dying for makeovers. I felt bad for them all wanting a home.
photoThere had to be 5987 baskets which had me thinking about Easter. My boy will need a proper Easter Basket and I would like to fashion one up for less than the Pottery Barn cost. photophotoThis dollhouse has so much potential, but needed some deep DIY love.photoThese clean white trays were so pretty, I wanted to take home all 6.photoThese duck bookends would look great in a kids room painted a bright color! photoThough Isaac enjoyed the stroll down toy lane, most of the items were too dirty to stop the cart. The only possibility was this bead maze in great condition.photoSo, I piled all my maybes into the cart then took a minute to contemplate my purchase.photoBefore I tell you what I took home and if I succeeded in my first YHL challenge, we have a little unfinished business of Step #3. Oh Step number 3, you have me taking more selfies! And…here comes another peace sign peeps, right next to a CASIO keyboard. Oh yeah points scored for a picture with a broken keyboard. (Lyrics: “They had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard”) 


More points for… stealing your grandpa’s style…the velcros!  (Lyrics: I’ma take your grandpa’s style, I’ma take your grandpa’s styleNo for real, ask your grandpa, can I have his hand-me-downs?…The sneaker heads would be like “Ah, he got the Velcros”)

And Isaac wanted to get in on the fun but I wouldn’t let him listen to the song. He thought the glasses were cool. Even tried on 3 different pairs.

OK, so let’s get down to business. Here are my spoils…


1. Bead Maze Toy – $1 (half off from $2)
2. Large ‘Easter’ Basket – $4
3. Silver Pineapple – $4.50
4. Mini Purse – $2.50 (half off from $4.99)
5. White Dish – $1
6. Mini Orange Skillet – $2
Grand Total: $15 + tax

So I didn’t spend exactly $20 bucks, but that wasn’t really the point. Here is how I plan to use the items.

The little orange skillet (that is half tacky half adorable) is living on my kitchen window sill. When I saw it I knew it would match my kitchen accents and be the perfect drop spot for jewelry while I cook or do dishes.
photo See? Perf. photo  After a thorough Clorox wipe down, the bead maze made it to the dining room shelf. Isaac  likes to sit and play in this corner while Doug and I talk after dinner. I am sure, though, that it will make it’s way around to every room in the house. photo The mini purse was too cute. It was like a canvas on the outside and bright pink lining – very clean! Once I saw it I knew that it would make the perfect gift bag for a little girl gift I already had to give. It is for a 2 year old, so I knew that she would love her own little thing to carry around. Isaac does this all the time my his lunch bag.

photo Just had to fancy it up a little bit. The strawberry footie PJs rolled up perfectly inside. photoThe white dish is currently on my night stand as another jewelry holder. Can you tell I am worried about losing my wedding ring? photoI think the basket will be a perfect Easter Basket. I love how high the handle is. It is clean, sturdy, and still soft to the touch. I’d like to fashion some kind of removable lining for the inside. Here I show a folded yard of fabric on the inside. I see Pinterest research and a project on the horizon. I will make sure to tell you how it turns out. photo Last but not least is the pokey little pineapple. It is sitting in the kitchen right now so I can see it often. I am sure that it will bop around the house until I find a good home for it. Doug hates it by the way. I think his reaction was “WHAT is THAT?!” And later in the evening he said, “How many treasures do you have hiding around the house?” to which I responded, “just a couple more.” photo

So, there you go. Done. Accomplished. Winning!

The challenge made me realize how much I miss shopping alone, including thrifting. I love getting a lot for a little. I think I will be going back out really soon….without baby. And, without silly rap songs in my head.

Just a little crooked…

Isaac had his first haircut back in October (3 months ago). His hair was starting to look straggaley (is that a word?). It was falling in his eyes and hanging over his ears, so I thought that I might try to give him a little haircut. Nothing major, just a trim. Hmm, Doug has the scissors, but I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.  

So, I googled it. Yep, that’s what you do in 2013 when you want to learn something fast. 

I came across a few videos: How To Cut Toddler Hair at Home, watched a few, then felt a little more confident. One video suggested looking at the back of his hair in three sections. Bottom, cut at one finger length, middle at two finger length and next section 3 finger lengths. That really helped me to envision how long the back should be.

My strategy was this:

  • Cut his hair during a prime happy time – morning!
  • Distract him with his current favorite thing – PBS show called Super Why.
  • Use 2 bibs (one of them backwards) to keep the hair off his neck.
  • Cut the bangs first, trim around the ears next, and if then trim the back. That way if he only let me complete one thing, his hair would be out of his eyes.

photoI had all the items ready to go, so as soon as his show started, I buckled him in his highchair.photoHere are the BEFORE PICS: (Notice the I love this show face?)

photo  photophoto

AFTER PICS: (Still liking the show… quietest 25 minutes of the day!)


photo photo

Overall I was pretty happy with how it turned out. A few of his bangs are too long and I might try to fix them up so they aren’t crooked. But, his hair is usually messy from playing and most of the time it’s pretty hard to tell.

Go Momma!

Anybody else tried to cut their kid’s hair? Go for it.

My Shiny Angel Christmas Mantel (and more)!

I love the holidays and there is something that I’ve been looking forward to all month long… a decorated mantel! I blame Pinterest. I had hoped to DIY some things, but time got away from me. I ended up just winging it with what I already had in the house. So here is what I call – My Shiny Angel Christmas Mantel!

Below is what our mantel looks like normally. Simple and I admit kinda boring. Thus, my hopes to get some fun decor up on this bad boy. The mantel is one of the areas that my son cannot reach. So I can put pretty and delicate things up on my adult mantel and he cannot destroy it!  And that, my friend, it is a luxury that I should be taking more advantage of!!

photoSo, I started with a clean slate. This helps me focus on what could be as opposed to what was just there. I kinda had a little plan in my mind, similar to what I had up there last year.

photo I knew that the clock would go back up, we use it and would screw with our minds if it wasn’t there. Since I am lucky to have an outlet on top, I thought about laying lights the length of the mantel.  Unfortunately, the only lights I had were green wired icicle lights. I thought that would look just plain bad, but I wanted some evening ambiance. So I used the glass hurricanes that were on the mantel with candles in them. The lights fell down inside so I just used a few pieces of scotch tape to hold the lights up and the glass hurricane to make the lights a little higher inside. (This picture is pre-tape. Too clumpy and low, right?)

photoI like the stockings hung off the mantel. I used command hooks to hang them with ribbon. In years past, I took cues from off the deep red and hunter green colors for ideas for the rest of the mantel. I love my Nutcrackers. I danced in the Nutcracker Ballet for many years as a child and teen, so they are something that I love to pull out each year. The last few years they have been on the mantel, so that is where I started…. and got stuck. photoThen I found these gold branch and berries that I had picked up from Michael’s earlier in the week. I was not sure where they would end up in the house, but I think they were $1.30  per clump. I had the small green vases in the Living Room and just popped them up there. I really liked the glittery shimmer as the shine from the Christmas lights bounced off the gold glitter.  It needed some height, so I put the gold vases that are usually on the mantel back up there. Hmm, could I do something with the glass vases? I have tons of these in different shapes and sizes. Still a tad boring. I needed more gold or a theme…. thinking….

photo…That is when my son woke from his nap. I went in his room, changed his diaper, then saw this angel music box that sits in his room. I love it because it belonged to my grandmother; she passed away about 6 years ago and we were very close. This angel is very special to me. I loved the idea of bringing it out to the mantel. I had my theme! photoSo, I went digging in the Christmas decor for more gold and angels. I found this set of 4 angel ornaments given to me by a friend. Perfect!
photoThey are each unique, playing a different instrument. They added sweetness and individuality to the decor.photoI found another ceramic angel given to me by a girl I used to care for. She was 7 years old at the time and I am pretty sure that she bought it from her school Christmas sale. You know the kind… where you give a kid $10 and they come home with 10 gifts? It is special to me though, because she thought of me and wrapped it up. She is now 22 and probably has no idea that I still have it. I forgot to get a close up of it though, sorry!

I also found some simple gold ornament balls that I plopped into the glass vases.

photoSo here is the finished product. I really enjoyed how it turned out. Not only festive and free but angelic and sentimental. We also got rid of the baby gate and replaced it with a fire! We are living on the edge people.



Decorating this year was harder than is has been. Isaac is now 15 months and into everything. He is so curious and smart and we cannot be with him every second. Below, you can see him in his daily activity of investigating the tree lights.


So, we limited the decor we put out and even skipped ornaments on the tree. Counters and tabletops were safe!

Here are a few other easy decorations…

Ornaments in  glass bowl and star tablecloth on our Dining Room table.

photo Some kid friendly objects on the bottom shelves of this bookshelf in our Dining Room…photo…and, the other gold branch and berries found a home in a vase on our kitchen table.
photo This gifted reindeer basket has been the card catcher for the last few years, though I’d love to make something clever to display them next year. Check out that cutie in the card in the front – – easily my favorite card this year! (That is one of Isaac’s girlfriends. Her mommy blogs over at hildagotrocks.)photo…and I am sure you are wondering where my Nutcrackers ended up. They are on the Living Room buffet. You also might recognize that red velvet box of from the angel ornaments? I used it to add color and height to my disply. Use what you got, right?  (The candy dish was swapped out later). The frame usually hangs on the wall with a family picture, so I just emptied the frame and hung the wreath with ribbon. Easy. photo

Well, that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed as much as I did! Now it’s time to enjoy that fire.

Weekly Grocery Shopping Made Easy!

Look what I made… a Master Grocery List! So I guess that makes me a master grocer? Hardly!  I am not a fan of grocery shopping, but…. it must be done. So why not make it as easy and efficient as possible. I have been wanting to make myself a list for awhile and finally got around to it tonight.

I quickly did a Pinterest search for some inspiration. Anyone else do that? Here are some ideas I found. Some were beautiful, but I only really needed mine to be functional, low maintenance and quick was good. Here is what I came up with in a half hour + excel + home printer…

banner_grocery-listI made it pretty simple – with only the things that I mostly by for our family. I also left a lot of blank spaces. I added a Misc. category at the end, you know… for those things that you add to your grocery run and don’t want to forget! This is just my first draft, I plan to add and update over the next few weeks as I shop. This is to use on a weekly basis, but I also have plans to make a monthly version, that way I can do a major stock-up on as much as I can in that trip, and pick up produce, dairy, meat and etc. each week.

Want to make your own? Here are a few steps to become a Master Grocer yourself.

Project: Master Grocery List
1. Make list of items you buy monthly
2. List these in order as they appear in your regular grocery store, so they are in order as you shop.
3. Start an excel or google spreadsheet of the list, use columns.
4. Leave blank spaces/lines for add ons (items you do not by as often).
5. Highlight the items you need for that shopping trip on the list before you shop.
6. Put a “C” by the items you have coupons for, add notes as needed.
7. “X” out the items you have put into your cart.
8. Update the list as needed.

Eat the Frog

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

How do you eat a frog?
I don’t know…you just eat it?


A friend mentioned a book that he read with the terminology “Eat the Frog.” (*Note this is not the book depicted above. ) If you think about eating a frog, literally, you’d probably look at it, contemplate it, and justify why it should wait for another time. It is awkward, those legs and head. And, that nasty belly. Yeah, I would put that off.

So sometimes that’s what people do with projects – you know the ones that are too huge to accomplish in a day or just boring. I always say, ” I need to do that” and, well, I don’t. Then I feel bad because I know that one thing has been there for so long and I STILL have not done it. Am I the only one?

As a project manager, I have a system to how I work. (Oh and I made this usp, so feel free to use it, tweak it, whatever). It’s as easy as A,B,C. Well, how about A,B,C, and D?

(A) Analyze
Make sure that I understand the project.Decide what the objectives are and write them all down. Decide what this project will look like when it is finished and sustainable.

(B) Blueprint
Take the objectives and set them to time – realistic time. Have a start date, and a deadline. Chunk the items into manageable tasks. (Cut up that frog into bite-sized pieces!) For some this looks like a check list, for others it may be a calendar, for the creative types it might help to draw up an artistic goal sheet with pictures. Whatever your method have a specific plan on paper!

(C) Complete
Now we do the work, one step at a time. Do each item in the plan, while adhering to the schedule. Do it all. Eat that Frog, one bite at a time.

(D) Debrief
Look back at all you’ve done. Note what worked and what could change for next project, and document anything that would help. Call that baby done!

Yes, this seems like a detailed plan for a project right? But, remember this is not for some quick DIY ornament with a baby handprint that I made on the fly in 15 minutes. This is creating a system to accomplish that hard task that has been looming in your closet for too long! I know that there are some things, I must prepare myself for it I will never get to them and do them correctly.

So I introduce to you, my frog…. The Dining Room Closet…dun, dun, dun!

Dining Closet – needing some attention!

I literally have worked on this closet for years, reorganizing, trashing, but it never gets better. And, I have decided, I just need to EAT THE FROG. Stay tuned.

DIY Costume – Jack Jack Incredible

Yep, I did it! Made my first kid’s Halloween costume. My motivation was for Isaac would look different from the popular stuffed animal looking costumes. No offense to his buddies dressed as cows, pigs, chickens, and monkies.  I also wanted to spend little money, since going to Grandpa and Grandma’s house was the extent of our Halloween festivities. So here is what I did.

Step by Step: DIY Jack Jack Incredible Costume

I looked at some pics online for inspiration. I didn’t find anything on Pinterest, so I searched images for “Jack Jack Incredible”. This was my favorite.

Looked to see what I already had to use: red pajama shirt, red pants, and black socks. Also had an old stretched out hair elastic to use for the mask.

I took my inspiration picture and shopped at the local fabric/craft store for felt. The sheets of felt were $.34 and the black felt was $2.99 (I bought 1/2 yard of that, but you don’t need even half of that).

Back at the ranch (we live in a ranch house, not on a ranch)… I simply cut the shapes and used spray adhesive for the logo.  I chose to roughly stitch the logo onto the pajama shirt so that I could re-use both the logo and the shirt once Halloween is over.

I even made him a Mask, even though I knew he would not keep that on for more than a second. Goal: one picture. Also cut a thin piece of felt to act as his belt.

I think it turned out pretty cute.

Both sets of grandparents didn’t really know who he was, but that is OK. I had my reason for no cape all ready to explain, but no one asked. This is my ONE picture of Isaac in his mask (excuse the poor lighting). I call that success.

Since Halloween was so chilly, Isaac and I took pictures the Friday after, too.