Monday, January 31, 2011

Organized Lipstick - random, I know

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and were able to soak up the delicious weather.  Too bad we're headed into the teens this week....only in Texas.

I love any good organizing tips.  I read this over at Deliciously Organized and thought it was definitely worth passing along. Don't we all have random lipsticks floating around (some still brand new) that perhaps we'd  use if we saw them daily?  Well, here is a great solution.  Plus, it adds a fun little "decoration" to a vanity tray, bathroom shelf or empty corner. It's the little things, right?

Friday, January 28, 2011

One More Martha Plug

Okay, this is my last one.  I couldn't resist sending you back to Martha for some FREE Vday printables.  You know I can't pass up anything free. Check these out....
The above would be great to let your little one's color.

This would be darling on a bag of homemade fudge.  There are so many easy recipes out there. 

Cute name label.

I love this, but you do have to find some "forget me" not seeds. 

These are just simple little banners that could further embellish stationery you already have. 

Enjoy the free goodies and have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 At-A-Glance Calendar

If you're still looking for an at-at-glance calendar for 2011, have I found a source for you.  They are cure and.....I know you know what I'm going to say....FREE!!  Here is my favorite:

Here is a link to some other cute options! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vday Breakfast Ideas

Want to start the day rising a little earlier with a little extra love?  Here are some great breakfast idea that are sure to excite your little ones (and your hubby).  Again, they are from Martha Stewart. I'm sure I'll rely on her heavily come heart day. Why recreate what she's already done so well?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Valentine Ideas from Martha Stewart

I know it's not February yet, but I'm shocked at how quickly we've landed in the last part of January. Because time is flying, I've got to get my Valentines Day game on. Here are some really cute Vday crafts from Martha Stewart.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, 
if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35

Friday, January 21, 2011

Art on the Cheap

I've been exploring some options for art around my home. Unfortunately, most of the things that I love are ruled out by budget options that I don't have. So, I think I'm going to have to resort to DIY. My first project is painting some abstract paintings on a series of 3 canvases.  After that, I think I might just tackle a gallery wall. Did you know you can visit the New York Public Library and search countless documents for fantastic prints? They are FREE! Did you hear that? Free. All you need is a printer. Here are some beauties I found....

...And here are some ideas of what you can do with some of these free prints (sorry they are not closer up)....

(image via Canadian House and Home)

(via Bella Casa Design)

 (via Bella Casa Design)

(via Canadian House and Home)

Here's to art on a dime!  If you have any great resources for inexpensive art, I'd love to know what they are. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eternal Purpose

I receive a devotional each day called "Parenting By Design." This particular devotional resonated with me as I strive (although don't always success) to keep my life simple and have room for more than just busyness.  I hope it encourages you like it did me.  I'm going to spend some time asking the Lord, "What am I missing? What greater things do you have for me beyond the mundane of this world?"  I can handle missing a dance class, a meeting, or a social obligation, but I sure don't want to miss out on something God has for me.

Eternity-minded living

Ps. 39:4-5: Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath (NIV).

When asked, "How are you?" a common reply is, "Busy!" As we try to balance family, friends, school, church, etc., we tend to be preoccupied with the details of everyday life and forget the true purpose of our time on earth. When we focus on our eternal hope, however, we are able to put things in their proper perspective.

In this passage, David asks the Lord to remind him of the shortness of this life. Why? So that he could remain focused on the eternal life to come. Our labor is in vain if it is not focused on the Lord. One day our bodies will be transformed and we will live in a glorified, eternal state with Christ. Praise God!

Let your actions be a reflection of your true purpose on earth.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Product Plug

I try not to plug things too often because what's right for me may not be right for you. But when I find something that really works for us, I like to share in hopes it may meet a similar need of yours.

As I've mentioned before my oldest seems to respond best to creative ways of learning.  She gets quickly worn out by school work even though she is only five and has no real homework other than what I make up for her. But still, we work on numbers, counting, phonograms, sight words, sequencing, math problems, etc. For a little girl who's imagination could keep her occupied all day long, these things offer little fun or satisfaction.  So, I found this "game" and gave it to her for Christmas (cruel, maybe) and I'm so glad to say she loves it.

It's simply a game that teaches sight words. There are instructions on how to play, but right now we're just focusing on learning the first 50 words.  All I do is "pop" them out of the box and help her learn them.  As she learns the words, we see how fast we can make the popcorn pop.  She is so proud when she can spout off the words in no time at all.  Elementary, I know. So, if your needing a little assistance in the sight words department, this is a great trick to have up your sleeve - at least it has worked for us. Sometimes we do make some popcorn to snack on while we play our game.  I let her listen as it pops from the popper faster and faster and faster. She gets all excited thinking she'll be able to "pop" her words just as fast.  

If this is helpful, I'm so glad. If not, just pop some popcorn, enjoy and forget the rest of this post. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Free Valentine Printable

How about a free Valentine printable to get you going today? I love the simplicity of this note card and how it leaves much room for personal thoughts.  This would be a great way to share some sweet words with your hubby, wouldn't it?  And, I'm not talking just on Valentine's Day.

I'm going to print several out and hide one in his brief case, pack on in his lunch, tape one to his bathroom mirror and put one under his napkin at the dinner table. Don't you know our sweet men would love all that encouragement in one day. If you're like me, my kiddos get most of my words of love and encouragement.  Ugh.....I'm ashamed to even type that. So, maybe I'll save a few for the holiday next month, but then again I'm sure there will be several more cute options between now and then. I'm going to put these to use this week!

Here's to making our husbands feel special - not just on Valentine's Day, but every day. Let's start now!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Valentines Day Goodies

I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of Valentines Day. I just don't think we should look to one day to show love and appreciation to those close to us. Saying that, we still celebrate it and I do love all the fun and festive ideas that come along with it. As you start to think about what you'll give the "valentines" in your life, I thought I'd get you started with some ideas.

I found this yumminess at This Blessed Nest.

She calls it Valentines Confetti and I think a batch of this is in my near future.  If your kids are friends with my kids, I may have just spoiled a V-Day surprise. Follow this link for the recipe and directions.

I hope your week has gotten off to a great start. I'm in "nesting" mode, so we're getting some stuff done around it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Turning Simple Frames Into Something Special

We're getting close to having been in our house for one year.  We've gotten a lot done (although there are always lots of projects), but the one thing that is lacking is some personal touches. I'm looking for some art that I love (the problem lies in my budget) and trying to find the right spot for meaningful family photos. Here are are couple ideas from Woman's Day (follow the link for instructions) that turn ordinary frames into something special and unique. These are my two favorites:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Free Anytime Notes

Here is another FREE download of stationery for any occasion. My challenge to you (and me) is to write your mom, dad, sister, old friend, etc. a quick note just telling them you love them and are thankful for them. Who doesn't love getting an encouraging letter out of the blue?  A pile of these would also make a darling gift. Stack them up, tie them with some twine and you're set. Just be sure you remember to pick up some envelopes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Dogs Life

A more appropriate title would be, Our Dogs Life. I don't know why I felt so inclined to post these pictures, maybe because they'll give you a more personal glimpse into our family. I try not to get too personal on this blog. Not because I don't want to share; merely because I'm still not fully comfortable with having too much information "out there."  But none-the-less, I think this safe.

This is our dog. Her name is Ruthie and we got her just before we found out we were pregnant with our first. We adore her. Yes, we are "those" people. She did not get moved down on the totem pole once are first or second child was born and will likely not when #3 comes. She loves to swim. Even in the winter she loves to swim. She has lost all her baby weight (the kind from babies dropping food on the floor) due to her rigorous swimming schedule. She loves for us to watch her. This is highly annoying because she barks when we don't. So what do we do, we go to the window and let her think we're watching her. See, I told you, we are "those" people.

This picture is after a cold swim. She's sooo tired and the girls bundled her up to make sure she wasn't cold too. Pathetic, I know.

Here she is cuddling with her daddy.  Yes, this is the first shot I've posted of the hottie handy-man. See what I mean?

Here's Ruthie with her best friend, my #2.  At least #2 thinks so. I'd have a  hard time believing Ruthie agrees based on this picture. But look how happy #2 is to have her best friend decked out in pink.  I'm sure I have pictures of her decked out in tutus and bows somewhere, but not at my fingertips. 

And finally, this is Ruthie posing as a Starbucks "barkista." I won't even try to explain why we took this picture because I don't want you to think we're too crazy....yet. This is not the most flattering picture of her -----gee, I wonder why? 

So yes, we love our dog. She gets very special treatment.  If you love dogs too, you'll probably appreciate this post. If not, you'll just think we're nuts, which would not be far off.  

So, there is just a glimpse of the goings on over here from day to they relate to our dog, anyway. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rustic Chalkboards

While we're on the subject of chalkboards, I love this rustic style.  Granted, it's not as cheap as making your own, but I don't think the prices are too bad.  This would be a great height for kiddos to access and exhibit all kinds of creative license.  Another great, and even more affordable, option is the one below from Ikea.
My girls have this one in their play room and it has a white board on the other side - double the fun!
To add to the fun, try this set of chalk ink. My sister gave me these for Christmas and I love them!  They are much less messy than chalk and your words come out very crisp with great color. 

If you do decide to make your own, I'd love to hear how it goes and see a picture of the finished product. 

Have a great week!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chalk Board Tutorial

Here is the same picture of our chalk board that I posted last week. This was one of the easiest "do it yourself" projects I have done and the function of it is fabulous.  All I did was found a big frame.  Look at thrift stores, Good Will,  and garage sales. If it's ugly, it doesn't matter; paint changes everything.  

Next I painted the frame and antiqued it. Antiquing is a breeze. Just put a little wood stain on a cloth and rub it onto your painted frame until you like the way it looks (I'm sure there is a much more technical way to explain that, but I'm not too technical).  

Next, go to Home depot and pick out a piece of smooth wood. Ask them to cut it into the size of your frame's opening. They cut for free and wood is cheap. When you buy your wood, also buy some chalk paint. Don't worry about having extra paint...I promise you will find lots of ways to use it.  Then go home and paint your piece of wood following the directions on the chalk paint box.  

And finally, secure the wood into your frame.  

This is what my hubby used on ours. I'm sorry I don not know what it is called, but it's in the hardware area and if you print off this picture, I'm sure someone in an orange apron can show you exactly where it is.

Tada! You're done! Now, hang this baby up and have fun using it for all kinds of things.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Post-Christmas Gift Idea

I've just wrapped up Christmas shopping and it seems like I have several birthdays, house-warming and baby gifts to buy.  I've been lacking ideas until I came across these books from Penguin that have been rebound in darling covers.  The are a great gift idea for someone who loves the classics or just likes to decorate with books.  Anthropologie and Barnes and Noble carry them, but Amazon has them for a much better price.

To make the gift even more personal, I'm going to add free printable book plates that you merely tape inside the book with some double stick tape. In my opinion, they are as classy as the books. 

So, if you're needing a fresh gift idea, I hope this helps. 

Switching gears, I've had several of you all ask about the chalk board in my kitchen. I'll post a tutorial on it soon. Making it could not have been easier.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Getting Organized in 2011

Maybe it's because I'm nesting. Maybe it's because I love organization. Either way, the start of the New Year makes me long to get things super clean, tidy and in ORDER.  Ahhhhh, I love that word. Here are a few simple ideas I found on Martha Stewart Living to help us get certain areas of the house in tip-top shape. If you manage to color coordinate like she does, please send me pictures!!!!

Don't forget to use the inside of closet doors for extra storage... 

...cabinet doors too.

I love using see-through canisters in my pantry. It looks clean and you can see when you're running low on something. I use them for flour, sugar, cereals, raisins, goldfish and other small snacks.

Anyone have too many remotes laying around?

A shelf above the door adds storage in an unnoticeable place. 

Peg Board isn't just for the garage anymore. 

I've used silverware dividers in my bathroom. Their inexpensive and keep drawers tidy.

What a fabulous way to organize jewelry. If I had a free drawer, I'd be all over this!

Here's to getting organized in 2011!