Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Stop on The Nester's Tour of Homes

Welcome everybody! I'm so glad you're here to visit! About 95% of what you'll see in my house was purchased at yard sales, Goodwill, or the flea market, but if I did buy something at a "real" store, I'll be sure to let you know which one!

I am excited to sit down later this afternoon and drink a cup of coffee and check out everyone's links! I love using my 25 cent snowman mug (it's the little things in life, right?!) - if you enjoy coffee, check out my friend Kathy's fabulous Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe (made in the crockpot)!

While we're in the kitchen, here's the counter by the stove. I love the way those fat peppermint sticks (from the Dollar Tree!) look in my glass jar. Credit for this idea goes to Melissa from 320 Sycamore.

By the toaster, I mixed some jewel-toned ornaments (40 cents from Goodwill on Black Friday!) with one of my long pearl necklaces.

On top of the stove:

Hopping upstairs to the bathroom:

Moving on to the dining room, we have my yarn trees with a 25 cent tree that came with its own mini ornaments and lights!

I love this little tree and will let Luke have it in his room in a few years.

I've had this garland for years and still like it.

I know there are much cuter ways to display Christmas cards, but my mom always taped them to our kitchen door frame growing up and I've always done the same (just on our living room entry instead).

Above the bookcase, I wrapped the yard-sale tree with burlap. The two deer are one of my favorite yard sale finds ever.

Side table (bright ornaments are from Wal-Mart):

Other side table:

I found this pillow for $1.20 at Goodwill on Black Friday (don't worry, I washed it!).

I used to waitress at Cracker Barrel and I was able to purchase my Willow Tree set for only $13! It is one of my most favorite things and I like the juxtaposition of the sparkly ornaments with the rustic feel of burlap.

(Champagne ornaments - 12 for $1 at Dollar Tree)

This will be our last year of having a real tree for a while - I'm kinda sad about that but know it's for the best to avoid ingested needles and spilled water since next year Luke will be walking!

(Ribbon is $4.99 at Target this year.)

The ornaments are a mix of new and very old - a lot of them are very sentimental, either from old students of mine or places Chris and I have been or ornaments from Chris's childhood.

Two of my favorites are residing in clearance ornaments from Target - the very first two pictures of our baby, taken on December 2nd and December 11th last year.

They'll always hold a very special place in my heart.

That's the majority of my Christmas decorating!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a fabulous Christmas!

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Burlap and Yarn Trees

Well, we drove all the way to church today and then found out that Chris had to go plowing. so we got there and left before the service even started. I'm not gonna lie, I cried in the car - some people were getting baptized today and I really wanted to see it! Plus, I was already dressed and Luke looked super cute in a new Christmas sweater and I just did not want to sit at home by myself!

But here I am anyways! I have my favorite Pandora station on and Luke is sitting in his Johnny-jump-up so I figured I'd write this post up quickly.
Since burlap is so "hot" this year (I've seen that written so many times that it makes me laugh now!) I purchased a yard of it at JoAnn's over Thanksgiving break. I had really wanted to do this craft that I saw on Under The Table and Dreaming, but unfortunately my local Dollar Tree was out of the plain silver trees. I tried painting my colored tree anyway and I just knew it was going to be a total flop so I just stopped. However, after it dried, the paint had firmed the tree really well so I decided that I would use it as the base for my burlap tree that I had seen on Tatertots and Jello. Plus, it was only $1 compared to the $5-$7 foam trees at Michael's!

I just cut strips of burlap and hot-glued them to the base.

Then I took the template that Jen from Tatertots and Jello had made and used it to make three more trees out of posterboard. I tried to make my own shapes but got tilting trees, because apparently I am too stupid to realize that to make a cone you want 1/4 of a circle shape. I appreciate that she put that template online for people like me! Duh!

(These pictures came out so dark because I had to use the flash - the front porch made it too dark otherwise.)

and then made another burlap tree using this ADORABLE idea from Red Writing (this one was the hardest to do but definitely my favorite!).

I love how cozy all my trees look, and I especially like the way my burlap ones complement my Willow Tree nativity. It is addicting to make these! I am so grateful for these creative ladies for sharing their fab ideas. Go visit all of them!

Cost breakdown:
Tree - $1
Posterboard - $.50
Burlap - $2.99 (tons left)
Yarn - $2.99 (also have tons left)

Not bad in my book!

I will be linking this to Kimba's DIY Day on Tuesday, but be sure to come back tomorrow to see my Christmas decorations for the Nester's Tour of Homes! See you then!

Also linked to Blue Eyed Blessings for the "Holly Bloggy Christmas Bash" and The Shabby Nest for Frugal Friday Holiday Edition.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Craft for Less than $1

I have been busy doing lots of really easy, simple, "Christmasy" crafts lately. For some reason I've been in the crafting mood - maybe because I'm not lesson planning anymore so all my creativity has to be channeled elsewhere. (If you're a teacher, you'll recognize that as total saracasm!)

So, I found this wooden word at Michael's on clearance for 29 cents:

I took this print from my Sunday paper,

traced the letters on it, modpodged it, added red and green ribbons from my scrap pile and a little twine, and voila:

I was going for the vintagey look here - although my house is not "country" style in the slightest, I have to say I do like this! Although I may decide I hate it next year (that has happened with a lot of the decorations I've pulled out of the box this season - I must have had a big mental style makeover over the last twelve months! haha)

At first I was going to spray paint it white then mod podge it with gold glitter - that would definitely be a easy project with kids! And probably would have looked a lot better on my tree, come to think of it...

For 30 cents, maybe I'll just go buy another one!

Check out The Inspired Room for more holiday ideas and Finding Fabulous for other frugal home decor!
Check out Blue Eyed Blessings for other holiday crafts!
See The Shabby Nest for other frugal holiday ideas today!

I will do my best to post about my other crafts soon!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yogurt Recipe - It's Not What You Think!

If you're visiting from Life as Mom, I'm so glad you're here! I linked up an old post to share in my first URS - I'm excited about this new weekly party!

Hey everybody! Did you all have a fun Thanksgiving?! We spent 5 days in CT with my family and it was nice to just have a change of pace. I did get to Goodwill but accidentally left all of my finds in the back of my parents' Tahoe so I'll have to show you what I found in a month or so.

I don't know about you guys, but I always eat well over Thanksgiving if you know what I mean! This year, since I am still on Weight Watchers, I really did try to eat moderately (I gave myself a little hiatus for the holiday). I am only up 1.5 pounds - and if you know the way my mom cooks, you'd know why I'm excited! (One year, no lie, I gained 5 pounds over Thanksgiving weekend. I'm pretty sure that's because I ate pie for three meals a day, though. lol).

Anyway, I'm back on track with Weight Watchers now that we're home and I wanted to share with you a really, really easy and healthy snack. If you're like me and ready to eat healthy again, you'll definitely want to try this! All of the credit goes to my friend Lindsay for finding this recipe, but she doesn't have a blog, so I can't link to her. When I first heard her talk about this, I thought she had curdled her own milk and stuff and I got a little grossed out - that's not at all the case!

Ultimate "Strawberry" Yogurt

3/4 C strawberries (just to warn you, strawberries make this watery; raspberries are my favorite with this)
2/3 C plain non-fat yogurt
1 T honey

Put berries in blender to chop into smaller pieces. Add yogurt and honey and blend lightly until well mixed. 1/3 C = about 1 pt on Weight Watchers

Guys, I am telling you, this is swoon-worthy! My husband HATES yogurt but absolutely loves it this way. I have made it a personal goal to never buy store-made yogurt again, because they're usually chock-full of chemicals. Plus, once you've had yogurt this way, you'll never go back! I might also add that it's a gorgeous color, too - how often do you get to eat something that is naturally this pink?

Cancer-fighting berries? Gooood.
Probiotic-rich yogurt? Gooood.
All-natural clover honey? Gooood.

(Bonus for you if you know what tv show I'm quoting. ;)


TastyTuesday200pix Welcome to my new home   Tasty Tuesday

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Target - Super Savings Saturday

I mentioned on Thursday that I would post about Target on Frugal Friday - well, I forgot to do it yesterday, so I decided to link up to Super Savings Saturday instead!

I purchased all of this.....

4 cans Campbell's cream of mushroom
2 cans Campbell's tomato
2 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes
5 cans green beans
1 can corn
2 Twix bars (for my husband, unfortunately not for me!)
1 box Pepperidge Farms pretzel crisps
1 travel-sized Tide
1 Reach floss
1 package Rayovac batteries.

Before coupons and sales, I would have paid $20.19. After: $5.07 - just over 75% savings. (Detergent, batteries, floss, and one candy bar were free after coupons.)

As I posted in Why I Love Target, Part One, check on the weekly grocery sales, plus the websites I have listed, to help you find great deals at Target.

You can still go tonight! :)

This post is linked to Crystal's blog for Super Savings Saturday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Favorite Things

One of my favorite bloggers, Melissa from 320 Sycamore, is hosting a "My Favorite Things" Party today. It's like a virtual Oprah show - except you just get ideas, not gifts. But still so much fun! The emphasis is on things that you can actually go out and buy - hence the reason why lip balm is on the list but not my husband and son. :)

Here's a few of my favorite things - and all of them but the purse are under $20!

1. My two favorite movies of all time are Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. I've watched them each at least ten times each and they just never get old.

2. Coconut Cream Organic Lip Balm by Alba. I found mine at CVS, but I also discovered it at Target yesterday. If you are a coconut addict like me, you will adore this. And probably lick it off your lips. And then put it on again. Which is probably why they stay in business, come to think of it. MMMmmmmm......

3. Speaking of Target, I could buy one of everything in there. Love. (Tomorrow I will be posting Target finds for Frugal Friday!)

4. I have a degree in vocal music education, and one year of college I was in our university's Jazz Singers ensemble. My director turned me on Kurt Elling. My husband got me his cd, "Nightmoves," for my birthday last year. Girls, I'm telling you, this voice is like melted chocolate.

5. Last time I was up visiting my parents, my mom introduced me to the 35 calorie Laughing Cow cheese wedges. They're cute and taste great - and only 1 point on Weight Watchers!

6. Starbucks - do I really need to say more?!

7. There is a long story attached to this purse, but suffice it to say that I didn't pay for it (and no, I didn't steal it!) It is "Katie" from Nine West. Love.

Katie Tote

8. I needed a shirt for upcoming Christmas photos - and I found this shirt from Kohl's - aka the perfect plaid shirt. It is definitely not pink - it's crisp red and black and it has pleats on the front and a little tie in back. I absolutely, positively, love it.

9. Godiva makes Extra Dark Chocolate Truffles. These are the best thing I have ever eaten. Ever. Period. I'm not kidding you - I eat them and I think I involuntarily moan! lol If you have a serious chocolate lover on your Christmas list, these babies are perfect. If you're looking to be engaged this Christmas, also perfect.

(The extra dark is the one at the bottom - they're always covered in cocoa dust.)

10. If you have a new baby or someone with a baby on your Christmas list, you cannot go wrong with the Baby Einstein DVDs. We don't have tv, but there are times when our 4-month old will absolutely not calm down for anything else but these. I don't know what it is about them, but they are absolute magic for babies and new parents.

And a peaceful house might just be my favorite thing of all. ;)

Hope you enjoyed the list - I had so much fun making it! I'd love to know if you've tried anything on the list and love it too!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Painting with Stain

I had never in my life used stain, let alone used it to "paint" with. But when my friend and I (hi Linds, if you're reading this! ) had a yard sale this summer and she was about to put it on the free table, I asked her if I could take it. I really had no idea what to do with it, so it just sat for a while.

See full size image

(The color she gave me was English chestnut.)

I had been hating the "tackyness" of my gold frame for a while now. I am ashamed to admit this sat in my house for almost 3 years this way. In my defense, I love Monet and I purchased it at a church yard sale so kids could go on mission trip to Ecuador. That is a deadly combination for me, by the way. As if I need any more incentive to go to a yard sale!

Anyway, I figured it would be impossible to get uglier, so I simply brushed two coats of the stain on, and this was the result.

It has a much more coppery look to it, and it picks up the reddish browns from the print. I most definitely have not cleaned the bottom yet - you can see where my horrible painting ability got on the glass (I couldn't take the print out because it was professionally done.)

Simple, easy, and best of all?



Linking up to Kimba's site!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's November, Baby.

Yes of course I realize that today's the 11th! I have a four-month-old, hence why my November post is 11 days late. But regardless, I have been looking forward to this month for a looong time!

Here's a few reasons why I'm loving this month:

1. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (maybe this will change once Luke and any other kids of mine are old enough to be excited about Christmas, but right now it's my favorite). I love being with family and everything all pumpkiny and orangey and I love all the amazing food my mom cooks and turkey sandwiches the next day with stuffing in them and seeing my family again for the first time in a while and watching the Macy's parade on tv with my sister.

2. Black Friday where I grew up = 60% off at Goodwill. Considering that I grew up in a fairly affluent area of Connecticut, Goodwill there is like shopping at a department store. Okay not quite, but people give away the nicest things! Some of my most favorite possessions have come from that Goodwill. I am SO pumped to get up early and get my thrift on with my sister, mom, and two aunts.

3. My brother has been serving as a short-term missionary in Iraq since June. I haven't seen him since the middle of May, and he has never met Luke. I cannot wait for Luke to meet Uncle Josh, and I can't wait to hug my brother and know that he is back safely on American soil!

4. My brother is an outstanding photographer - he has one of the best eyes I've ever seen. He'll be taking some photos of the 3 of us - our first real family photos - and I can't wait to see how they turn out.

I'm also excited about some things in regards to Luke:

Luke with my Dad.

1. He is totally ready to eat cereal (he salivates every time he watches us eat), but we decided to hold off until Thanksgiving to feed him so that my brother can take some photos. I'm excited to see his reaction to "real food." Although I may or may not have let him lick my fudgesicle once. And he may or may not have loved it.

2. It's my baby's first holiday! I can't wait to put him in the "My 1st Thanksgiving" onesie my mom bought him.

3. Luke turned 4 months. Every month he gets more and more fun to interact with, and I feel more and more comfortable as a mom.

4. I am reeeeeallly hoping that this is the month my stomach-hating kid decides he wants to actually roll over. He teases me all the time by rolling to his side and then just chillin'. lol! I want him to just hit this milestone already!

Hopefully November will bring some exciting times for you, as well. It's a great month to be thankful for all that God has done for us, isn't it?!