Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Tour of Homes {2012}

{Before I start, let me just say that there is no easy or classy way to transition from the horrific events of last week to a “normal” blog posting routine again.  My mommy and teacher heart is still grieving for those families and the intense suffering they are going through.  I posted on Facebook last week that even though there is unspeakable evil in the world, I believe that the light of God shines brightest in the darkness.  Over the past week, I have seen SO many amazing stories and videos and pictures of people doing wonderful things and coming together in the face of this horror.  Prayers are still with all of those still in mourning.}

And because there is really no good way to do it…I’m just going to dive right into this post. 

I’m a day late and a dollar short to these Christmas parties, but oh well!  This is what happens when you’re 8 months pregnant at Christmas – some things just don’t get done quickly.  Okay make that nothing gets done quickly.  haha!

This year I left more than half of my decorations in the boxes.  My mind just craved uncluttered and simple.  Plus my smart husband reminded me that whatever I took out of the box would need to be put back into the box even closer to my delivery date.  Smart, smart man! ;)

Some of these pictures you already saw in my “mantel” post, but I figured I’ll show them again here so they’re in once concise spot.  Oh and if you’re new here, nearly everything in my house is from the thrift store! It’s the only way I can afford anything my favorite way to shop. 

Come on in! :)

Here is our “hutch” {aka dresser} in our “entryway”  {aka living room} – I love to make things sound fancier than they are, apparently! ;)

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Another shot you saw previously…this is on top of the mini bookcase in the living room.


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If you’d like to see more details on my “mantels,” including links to the burlap trees and the ornament garlands I made, you can hop on over here. 


The little tree in front of the window is actually from JoAnn’s this year.  Those brassy deer were a yard sale find years ago and I still love them.

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I took some embroidery thread and hung some gold snowflakes along the front window to add a little sparkle. 

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One of my favorite finds: my $5 Pottery Barn mercury-glass tree.  I filled the old canning jar with 2 packs of jingle bells from the Dollar Tree. 

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Still love my little Goodwill pillow from a few years ago!  So cute. :)

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Our tree has NO topper this year because of my two choices of bows from years past, neither one appealed to me.  Weird, I know..but that’s how it is for 2012.  We got a Fraser fir (I think that’s what it’s called?) for the first time and we love the way it smells AND the fact that its soft needles aren’t scary for our son to touch (he has sensory issues and this tree has been awesome for him this year!).  Oh and if it looks like it’s balding and lopsided, you’re totally right – he keeps jacking the ornaments left and right!  haha

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I am loving my sweet little boy’s school ornaments this year!  I am totally a sentimental mom and I will be displaying these every year until they fall apart on me! 

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We made salt dough ornaments together, too. He had so much fun helping me cut them out and then paint them. I love that he calls them “bunamints.”

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His little corner.  :) I know the frames might seem a little tacky but I think they’re cute! A little red tree holds the coasters. 

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A little chalkboard sign I made above our kitchen sink – yup, the words are starting to run and I haven’t fixed it yet! :)

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On the kitchen island…aren’t those vintage ornaments super cute?  Church sale find!  :) Oh and those candle holders are EMPTY because I never got around to finding candles to fit them.  Are you starting to feel better about yourself yet?!  haha

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This year I decided to hang our cards over my chalkboard.  It’s a little cluttered looking, but I really like it.  The twine was 30 cents from Target clearance this fall and the clothespins you’ve seen before on here  - Michaels!  The ornament garland I made last year. 

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Moving on to the bathroom…this chalkboard print was a free printable!  I liked keeping this display pretty neutral. 

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My little vintage enamelware bowl filled with more of the vintage ornaments and pinecones. 

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Keeping it real:  I took down the fall leaves from my homemade wreath and put nothing back in their place.  So now I have a brown wreath hanging from a brown burlap strip on a brown front door.  If that doesn’t scream happy holidays, I just don’t know what does, people!  lol!

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And last but not least, our Christmas card this year! 

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Merry Christmas to all of you – and thanks for visiting this pregnant girl’s house! :)




Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Favorite Things {2012 Edition}

Hey everybody!  Melissa at 320 Sycamore is hosting her annual Favorite Things party, and I'm back for the fourth year in a row to join in on the fun!  {ETA: I’m joining The Nester’s $15 and under party, too, since the majority of these items fit that category.  So fun!}  I love browsing other people's favorite lists and getting neat gift ideas - so if you're participating, too, definitely leave your link in a comment so I can come visit you! 

It's funny - as I was thinking of this year's list I decided to look back at my previous posts from years past.  I have to say that everything I've liked before I still really like and/or use.  At least I'm consistent - and honest!  haha :)

So without further ado, here's what I'm loving in 2012:


{1} Leopard Flats from Target

Women's Mossimo® Ona Ballet Flat - Assorted Colors

I blogged about these flats before, but I really am obsessed with them!  Such a fun and inexpensive way {$15!} to add a little something extra to an outfit.  I'm a traditional-style dresser all the way, so I love when I can find a pattern that also acts as a neutral.  


{2} "Lovely" by Sarah Jessica Parker


  Lovely Sarah Jessica Parker Eau de Parfum Spray 1.7 oz

This made the list in 2010, but I'm bringing it back because thanks to an amazing Living Social deal I have a big bottle of it again!  I have absolutely NO idea how to describe a perfume scent to you {?} but it really is lovely.  Promise. ;)


{3} It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product, Mane and Tail Shampoo and Conditioner, and John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon



I’ve had very fine, damaged hair since I had Luke in 2009.  These products, plus a round brush and my hair dryer, are my trifecta of hair products.  Believe me, I’m not gonna win any hair awards in Texas, but my hair is a LOT fuller looking than it was 3 years ago (aka no more drowned rat look for Mommy!).  


{4} Old Navy Maternity Jersey-Stretch Tanks

  Maternity Jersey-Stretch Tanks

I can’t tell you how much I have been loving these tanks for this pregnancy.  I have 4 different colors, and I appreciate them for the fact that they actually COVER my belly all the way and allow me to wear all my non-maternity cardis over them.  They’ve really helped stretched my maternity wardrobe this time around (no pun intended! ha.ha.)


{5} Indigo Blue Straight-Cut jeans from Motherhood

Indigo Blue Petite Secret Fit Belly(r) 5 Pocket Straight Leg Maternity Jeans


One more maternity item: I love these jeans (I got them for only $29.99 so maybe wait for a sale?).  I am really short and I love that the panel on these comes all the way over my belly and very comfortably.  I’m usually not a fan of Motherhood’s products – to be blunt, I think they’re cheaply made and ridiculously overpriced – but these pants actually fit my body type and don’t fall down my hips and butt.  WIN-WIN FOR ALL, my friends.


{6} Downton Abbey

I feel like I was the last girl on planet earth to get into this show, but I’m soooo glad I did.  OBSESSED.  I love that it’s so interesting and sucks you right in but – hey novel idea here! – there’s no raunch factor.  They don’t have to keep upping the ante each time to bring you back – it’s good enough on its own.  LOVE.  {Also I know that Season 3 isn’t coming out until January on PBS but I may or may not have watched it already online which according to friends may or may not be legal?!  lol  But I mean you can order all 3 seasons on DVD if you want…I’m just saying…}


{7} Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Bark

{via The Legume Loyalist – recipe here}

People, according to my BFF (and she’s right!) this should be re-named Christmas Crack.  It’s killer.  And so easy!


{8} Pampered Chef Paring Knives

I haven’t always had the best luck with Pampered Chef products, but I got these paring knives (they come in a set of 3) from my sister-in-law last year and I still love them! I use them every day.


{9} Bloom {Kelle Hampton} & Heaven is Here {Stephanie Nielson}


This year two of my favorite bloggers came out with books, and they did not disappoint.  Kelle writes at Enjoying the Small Things and Stephanie writes at NieNie Dialogues.  Both fabulous books and I highly recommend!  {My local library had both so check yours out, too!}


{10} Alexia Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries


One of the downfalls of eating a mostly unprocessed and whole foods diet is the lack of convenience foods – unless you want to pay an arm and a leg.  These fries are some of our favorites – I like them dipped in organic ranch or organic ketchup (or…maybe sometimes both?! haha).  You can find them at Target or most grocery stores.  Yum-o. 


{11} Anthropolgie’s Latte Bowls and Homegrown Initial Mug



I’ve joked before that Target is my happy place, but Anthro is like the store equivalent of my Christmas and my birthday rolled into one.  While paying $238 for a sweater has never appealed to me, their kitchen section is super affordable and when you're in the kitchen as much as I am, having their products just makes everything so much happier.  I have their latte bowls in mint {I think the color got discontinued?} and their “J” intial mug.  Love!


{12} Thirty-One Utility Tote

Organizing Utility Tote

I bought this Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote last year at a friend’s home party (I have the brown dots pattern) and I LOVE it as a Mom.  It’s big enough that I can put my entire purse and my 3 coupon booklets in there when I head to the grocery store, plus Luke’s cup and snack in the sides.  It’s so practical and durable! 


So there’s my 2012 list!  Visit the parties to see what other people are loving this year!


favorite things 2012


best gifts under $15

Monday, December 10, 2012

{28 For My 28th}

Friday was my 28th birthday!  I can’t believe it – I still feel 21 in my head and have a feeling that might never change?  haha Anyway, I’ve seen some bloggers do a list like this on their birthdays, and while I’ll be the first to admit that it can totally seem a little self-promoting, I’m doing it more to capture my state of mind at 28 years old.  I’m hoping to read it in 10 years and laugh – or at least smile. :)

Mixed in are some shots from our recent family photo shoot!  Our photographer was a family friend and I think she did a fantastic job.  I chose a Christmas card with 4 photo spots, and even that was incredibly hard to narrow down…I had at least 50 favorites.  :)

Without further ado, 28 random things about me!


1. If I’m not consciously focused on walking up a set of stairs, I will trip {up}. 

2. I prefer salty foods over sweets.  Give me chips and dip or crunchy veggies or pepperoni and cheese over brownies and cookies any day. 

3.  I get really excited to brush my teeth.  I love the feeling.  I’m not irrational about it – I usually only brush 2 times a day - but I do love it.

4.  If I’m eating ice cream at home, I always scoop some into my bowl and then put it in the microwave for 6 seconds.  Ice cream tastes a thousand times better when it’s slightly melted!  Try it. ;)


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5.  I could eat crushed ice all the live long day.  I’m slightly addicted.  I’ve asked Chris a million times if someday when we’re “rich” (our joke) if we can get a fridge that actually makes crushed ice.  I will never leave the house!  haha {Although I just learned it’s super bad for your teeth so I am trying to give up the habit! Saaaad day.}

6.  When I spell words with an “i-e”, I still have to recite the “I before E except after C” thing.  Every. single. time.

7.  I also never spell vacuum right the first try.  That one right there? Got red-underlined by spellcheck.  My brain CANNOT remember!


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8.  I have an irrational fear that either a) my pants will get sucked into the teeth of an escalator or b) that I will miss the step and fall backwards when I get on.  My heart literally starts to beat faster when I know I have to ride on one.  It doesn’t help that growing up we had a family friend who worked on elevators and told us stories about people actually getting stuck.  So maybe not totally irrational? lol

9.  I can’t stand when people touch their belly buttons (even kids) or rub their eyes and it makes that goosh sound.  I can’t believe I even just typed that out.  Siccccccccccccccccck. 

10.  I don’t get stressed out by shopping for gifts during the month of December.  I actually like it – the stores look pretty and the Christmas music is playing!

11.  On that same note, I HATED having a December birthday as a kid.  Getting all your presents for the YEAR in the same month is a serious bummer when you’re 7 years old.  But now that I’m older, I don’t really mind.  Everyone’s in a pretty good mood and happy. :)


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12.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. 

13.  It’s basically sacrilegious to live in New England and say this, but I really don’t like Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee.  I’ve tried it a bunch of different ways and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it’s okay to just not like it.  I don’t mind their mochas, but other than that, give me Starbucks any day!

14.  I’m obsessed with Chipotle. Good thing for my waistline that the nearest one is an hour away.

15.  I have never, not once, successfully parallel parked if there is a car in front of and behind me (I can only do it if my car is the last or first in the line).  I literally can’t do it.  I specifically got my driver’s license at the one DMV in the area that didn’t require that as part of the license.  I’ve never learned how.  I will park far far away from the store or make someone else back the car out for me if I happen to be driving with someone in the car. 

16.  I’m currently loving the song “10,000 Reasons” by Mark Redmond.  So good. :)


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17.  I love mailing out photo Christmas cards.  It’s really not a practical or frugal thing to do, but I just love it.  I mean, I love receiving them so I hope it’s the same on the other end.  I’ve gone with Wal-Mart Photo for 4 years now (like the one time a year I go inside that store) and been super pleased every time. 

18.  Before I had Luke, I was scared TO DEATH of having a c-section.  Now as I’m looking forward to my repeat one, regular delivery sounds much more terrifying!  haha Fear of the unknown is not a joke. :)

19.  Although I’ve been to 3 countries outside the U.S., I still have yet to cross the Mississippi.  Still on the bucket list!

20.  I know every state capital and can tell you where every state is on the map.  I LOVE geography and have a decent handle on where most countries are around the world. 


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21.  Because of that, I rarely get lost, and if I do, I don’t get nervous.  There’s always a logical way to get to a road you DO know. :)

22.  Oranges are my new pregnant craving.  I bought a 4 or 5 pound bag less than a week ago and there’s only 2 left.  LOL

23.  I am so happy to be back in New England and never want to leave again – but I will admit I am totally in love with all things Southern.  I love the big hair and accents and traditions and foods and hospitality.

24.  My BFF got me started on vintage Pyrex – it’s my new fun find at yard sales.  So far my collection is very small – a casserole dish and 5 mugs thanks to her, and a set of 3 colorful nesting bowls that I use all the time.  The colors and patterns are so happy and fun!


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25.  I totally want to throw a big 10-year anniversary vow renewal party in a few years.  Our wedding day was a blast and it went by SO quickly.  I just keep telling Chris I want to do it all again!  Same man, different date.  lol

26.  I will never understand people who say they love running.  I think they are crazy.  I can appreciate the “high” that exercising gives you, but I can get that from my elliptical, thank you very much.  I’d rather shove bamboo shoots up my fingernails than go for a “fun run.”  And don’t even get me started on women who say they felt the most beautiful when they were pregnant!

27.  I think Alaska is stunningly beautiful, but I can’t imagine paying to go on vacation that far to somewhere COLD.  Hawaii, on the other hand?  Say the word. :)

28. I might be 28 (I still can’t believe that’s real), I am such a klutz still.  I have just learned to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously – life is a whole lot more fun that way!


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Okay, that was actually a lot harder than I thought!  lol  Anyone out there share any of my same quirks? ;)

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Christmas Mantel(s) 2012

Hey everybody!  Between Thanksgiving and all of us having colds I haven’t blogged for a while – but you’ll be seeing me more regularly this month because there’s lots of fun parties to link up with over the next few weeks! 

Today is all about mantels.  I use the word mantel super loosely here because we don’t have a fireplace mantel or even an entertainment center to decorate.  Annnnnd I wasn’t really sure what space in my house to call a “mantel” since there are two places I change up every season – so you’re getting both.  Lucky, lucky you.  :)

This year I have been craving neutral colors in my Christmas decorating.  Reds and bright colors are not appealing to me right now – maybe because my pregnant brain is always on top speed so I need calm things to look at?!  lol

In a few weeks the Nester will do her annual tour of homes and you’ll get to see the rest of the house, but for now, here’s two Christmas-y spots in our home:

The entryway hutch is the first piece of furniture to greet you when you come in the front door.

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The “wreath” is really a garland I got recently at Hobby Lobby (p.s. we just got a Hobby Lobby an hour away!  It was a happy, happy day – on par with birthdays and Christmas in my world.).  It was 50% off the day I went and I just love it.  I didn’t use wire or anything – I just twisted it and put some sheer gold ribbon around the top to attach it to the hutch.  Seriously could not have been easier! I LOVE having the pop of green against the wood – I just might leave it up all year round!


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On the bottom I have my favorite thrifted Goodwill lantern and my beloved $13 Willow Tree Set.  I used scraps of burlap I had already and just wove them in and out of the figurines.  It reminds me of big fettuccine noodles – did I mention I’m 7 months pregnant?!  lol


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The other spot I routinely change out for the seasons is on top of my husband’s grandmother’s antique bookcase (say that five times fast!). 

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I added the Dollar Tree ornament garland I made last year to the artwork to give it a little bling. 

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On one side I have two burlap trees I made years ago and a gold bottlebrush tree that’s only $5.99 this year at Target (love!).  The combination of rustic and glitter makes me so happy (I am a total dork but that is completely true! haha)


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On the other side I have my mini collection of bottlebrush trees (all but two – you’ll see those in a few weeks).  I love how they’re slightly quirky – I’m always on the lookout for more!). 


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So there’s my two “mantels” for 2012.  Thanks for peeking in! If you’d like to see more of our living room, just click here. :)

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Linking up with The Lettered Cottage today!