Sunday, December 26, 2010

Whatchya see....


Christmas is over. A mixture of happiness and sadness for many. What a beautiful time of year and an amazing season for those that celebrate the birth of our Saviour. This year was a bit more difficult for me. Things have been a little stressful around the homestead and quite frankly, time just got away from me. For the first time in.....forever {?} I didn't send out Christmas cards. Last minute shopping was something I can honestly say I don't ever want to have to do again! Sometimes what you see isn't always how things are. My point being this...many of my friends think I am an organized freak of nature. While, at times, this can be true, most days I am just winging it! I have some of the BEST inlaws ever. At Christmas, I struggle to come up with unique gift ideas for them. In typical last minute fashion, and yes, I mean on Christmas morning, I came up with this...
I took an old window for our neighbors remodeling job.

I copied a scroll from a free scrapbooking site online and inserted a 'C' in the font I thought looked best using my photo program on the computer. Then I printed it out and taped it to the back side of the window. On the front side of the window, I stuck a big piece of clear contact paper. Using my craft knife, I cut / traced the design. Originally, I was going to have the design look etched, but I reversed my thought and I like the outcome. 
This is the pane before it was spray painted. I used a flat clear spray paint, three coats and let it dry completely. After it was dry, I peeled off the contact paper and this is what I got...

Forgive the dirty door and not so great I said, this was done after the kids opened their gifts and before we left for lunch with the family. I was nervous with this being the first time I had tried this. My goal was to use etching cream, but never fail, I could'nt find any in town. I am happy to report they liked it and I will be trying my luck at a few more. It was so easy!  

Well, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and were able to spend it with the people you love. Best Wishes for the New Year! Cheers! Emily

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Book of the Month..or Every Other Month..or Quarterly..

See! I told you I had 'hopes' of getting a book suggestion every month, but that I was sure I would slip. Well, let me tell you why. I bought this book for my BFF last year for Christmas. Her lovely mother had been ill and had Alzheimers as well. When I saw this book, I had to get it for her. She loved it. In fact, she gave it to me to read...and I loved it too. When I returned the book to her, she gave it to her sister. Sadly, their lovely mother passed away in September. The book has sat at the sister's house, unable to be read at this time. I am suggesting this book because it's a deep and beautifully written novel, and no matter your family structure, you will be enveloped into this story. Yes. You will probably cry. But who doesn't like a tearjerker every now and then?  For me personally, the dynamics of each relationship in this book, pulled something from my own life. I lost my grandma two years ago during a very stressful time for our family. She was my 'mother' every summer until I was 9 years old. {I was raised by a single working mom, she needed a break too!} She was sassy and funny and you always knew where you stood with her. She didn't fear telling you her thoughts on anything. Sometimes you liked it, most times you didn't. But she loved me so. She would randomly tell me things, just so out of the blue, and I remember these things nearly every day. I wish my girls had these memories. I wish my little man could have met her. Months before she passed, I was alone with her in the hospital and I told her good bye. I knew she understood, she was still sparkly-eyed but she also knew her time was coming. As I sat there telling her my heart, she had a tear roll down her soft cheek. My grandma rarely cried. Forever I will remember that night and I will always remember what she said. It is mine to hold. When she passed away, I wasn't with her. I was with my mom, fresh out of her life saving and life altering surgery. I told my mother her mother had passed away. The events of that time are burned into my heart forever. I hope you give Things I Want My Daughters To Know a chance. I haven't read a novel yet by Elizabeth Noble that I didn't like! As always, let me know what you think! Thanks and happy reading... Emily

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bring Back Thanksgiving!

Perhaps our family is freakish. (seriously...we are) But REALLY? Christmas stuff comes out before Halloween is even over? Did 'they' forget about Thanksgiving? I will admit, our personal holiday decorations are lacking in the Turkey Day decor, but this year.....I kicked it up a notch.

The hubby's birthday is at the end of November. Every few years, Thanksgiving falls on his birthday, or visa versa...whatever you choose. When the little red-headed curly girl was about 3-ish, said holiday did just that. And so it began. Turkey Daddy. Since that fateful day many years ago, turkeys have crept into our lives. And this year, I want to share with you... 
The Turkey Wreath!

Oh be still my heart : )

Honestly, I set off to find a feather or fur boa at Joanne's, but that didn't happen. I DID find funky fur yarn on sale and I. Fell. In. Love. Wrap it up with a $2 bag of feathers and a clearance turkey for a buck. Yay! I had a styrofoam wreath form which I spray painted a coppery color, but you could wrap it with ribbon or fabric if you had it on hand. I like cheap, I had the paint ; )   The only 'problem' I ran into was the yarn was so 'stringy' it knotted up as I wrapped. So, like every other mom, I used what I had on hand...a can of soup. Perhaps 'knit masters' have special 'tools'....I am not one of those gifted people (hee hee) But, it worked for me and that's what I did today.
I hope you like our newest turkey and I hope you take a few spaces in your life to be thankful for all that you have. I won't fib and tell you our Christmas tree won't be up by Thanksgiving, but the 'big' deco has to wait until after we give thanks for all we have. Love & Thanks, Emily

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Well, Hello!

Yes, I's been a while. But, the flu has struck our home, the mean laundry fairy came and dropped an unbelievable amount of dirty socks and school uniforms, plus it seemed like a {wonderful} idea to paint the front two rooms of our house....and the porches.
So, instead of sitting in front of the tv and catching up on football, I have decided to blog. Perhaps a bit of normalicy for the day? We shall see.

Do your kids pack their lunch? Do they bother you to pack their lunch? You want a new approach to lunches? I am with the majority of the vote which thinks school lunches are not what they 'should' be. However, I also do not have the time for creating anything better, so...most times, pizza dippers it is! (honestly, our school's lunches are not too bad. Check out other school websites and you will be amazed! For a while we had tossed the idea of relocating to another state, I checked that area's school lunch menu and I was shocked. Eek!)

 My BFF bought a really cool magazine for me back in August which had a section on bento boxes and lunch ideas. I found a great website and ordered one for each of my girls. You can google or web search bento boxes if you choose, but I just wanted to say, they are a hit in our house. It has cut down on the 'crap' you might normally be guilted in to filling your normal lunch box. Additionally, the reduced amount of waste is a big selling point to me and my girls as well. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! I pair up the boxes with a thermos for drinks (we don't normally buy juice boxes, but from the pictures, you can see dad did the shopping lol) and we also have a hot food thermos for soup, spaghetti o's or mac & cheese.
They all fit in their lunch bags, with no spills, no mess, no worries.   

My kids LOVE deviled eggs. So, to make them a fun packable item, I add cooked diced chicken or tuna. Fill the egg halves and make a little sandwiches. You could go so many ways with this, diced ham, veggies, cheese pieces. I was nervous the first time I tried this but my little red-headed curly girl said some one tried to trade for them and she said no way! {score one for mom!}

Those little silicone baking cups sweeping the fancy cooking stores really come in handy too. I picked a pack of heart shaped ones up at Goodwill for $2 a few weeks back. Put one in your bento box and fill with grapes or berries or freeze applesauce or yogurt in them for an instant ice pack. This is wonderful for kids that don't like their food to 'touch'.  

So, this is the final lunch. My kids do eat cheese sticks like they are going out of style. Yes, it produces waste. Yes, I hate it. But until I can carve mozzarella into the wonderful 'peel-y' strips that cheese stick are, this is what we get. The boxes have a rubber seal around the locking lid. We have not had a spilled lunch yet.
{I just think they are super cute}
; )

So, I hope I haven't bored you. I guess I was a bit wind-y today lol. Chalk it up to being locked in the house for a week! I do have a few ideas brewing for Halloween and looking ahead to Thanksgiving. I am praying we are on the upswing of the illnesses and can get back to creating soon. Do you have lunch ideas? I would LOVE to hear them! Leave me a message!

Love, Emily 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Finally, a wreath (or two) for me!

I have been checking out ~a lot~ of Blog Land Fall deco ideas this past weekend. I am not normally too big of a wreath person, but I found two I just had to try. All of the material used, I had on hand, except the eyeballs and I stopped at Goodwill and found a baggie full of golf ball cupcake sticks. For $1. {woot woot!} I had taken a lot of pictures to show my wreaths before and after, but my memory card took a poo and all you get is the completed pictures. Errr. The black one was an already decorated fall wreath. I just took off the styrofoam pumpkins & goards and sprayed away! I am sure the pumpkins & goards will pop up soon elsewhere. ; )

Yes, I must be a loser because I cannot figure out how to grab buttons or any of the really cool Linky things. But here is my attempt to link to the blog where the wreaths came from (under the picture). I am LOVING Craftily Ever After She is 'new' to Blog Land is has me truly inspired. Also, as always, Jen at Tatertots and Jello rocks. Hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather and maybe I can learn to decorate my own blog soon enough! Thanks All!

Love, Emily

Friday, October 1, 2010

A bit of 'Tweaking'

Have you ever set up a system, be it pantry, bill paying or otherwise, only to find that you out grow the system? My school paper organizing has been operating like a well oiled machine......until this year. I am not sure if it is because we have three kids in shool or the homework and papers coming home is higher this year or what! But it just.wasn't.working. So, in typical 'Emily' fashion, I decided to tear apart our pantry and REVAMP the shelving and storage area. typical 'Emily' fashion...I got bored. (hee hee) So I went outside during nap time and painted some more window trim. By the time the kids were home from school, I had the 'new' shelf up and running in the kitchen. 

I use crockpots about 4-5 nights a week. It is essential they be in my kitchen. I have tried to store them out of the way or in the pantry, but it just irritates me, so they are back for good. The girls are starting to pack their lunches a bit more regularly and everytime we opened the previous cabinet where we stored the supplies,most of the stuff fell out and, yep, you guessed it! irritated me. : ) So, I put it all in a basket on the shelf and viola`! Happy place.

To keep the paper clutter in control and help reduce the search time of supplies I put a wicker type tray I had laying around to use and a plastic storage box. I went old school with stickers and card stock for simple labels. It sits high enough on the shelf so my lil man can't attack it, but low enough for my 5 y/o to put her papers in place.

Something fun I have started with the girls lunch packing this year in the use of bento boxes. Silicone muffin holders are a huge help in keeping things seperated in their lunches and you can also freeze applesauce in them and use them as ice packs within the lunch. I stopped at Goodwill today and found a full set of heart shaped one for $2. I nearly did a happy dance.

Here are a few other items I found that just make me smile. The glass dome has been on my mind for a while and normally they are about $2 at Goodwill, but today it was marked for $1 and it was the 'special color' sticker sale, so I got it for 50 cents. Woot! The dish is just a pattern I really love and keep hoping I run into a full set some day. I don't have any mini loaf baking dishes but I do now and it only cost me $1. My Goodwill trip today totaled $6 and some change. It included a foam wreath form and part of my 8 y/o's Halloween costume as well. It was a good day.  

The busy-ness of the weekend is upon us and I 'suppose' I should finish putting the pantry back together. I hope you enjoyed my rambling today, and hopefully you'll stop by again!

Love, Emily

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Salsa - Round 1

45 pints and 18 quarts of salsa.....just the beginning for us! Gotta love homemade salsa.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do you cry over spilt milk?

To be honest, I haven't been doing much inside lately. Since painting the exterior of our house, I have been acting like a kid in the candy shop. It seems our house is a big white canvas and I have been trimming windows and spray painting flower pots for fall. Sadly, the rain this week and part of last week, has sent me into a tizzy. So, I am here to show you my ceiling fan 'redo'. It was a very nice old school white and gold fan.

I am picking out colors to paint the living room and I am leaning toward browns. So, I thought I would paint the fan brown and cream. On the globes, I used Mod Podge and food coloring to give them a swirly glass look. The picture really doesn't do it justice, but it gives a very warm glow now, and I love it.

Since I had most every thing on hand, this was a very cheap overhaul. I like cheap. : )

It is raining again today so I am working on a few freezer meals and laundry. This morning as we were getting breakfast around, my little man (17 months) tried to help by grabbing a full gallon of milk from the stool I had 'temporarily' set it on to get my 5 year old a box of cereal down.....
Yep. It exploded on the floor. He cried, as it scared him, but the older kids grabbed the rags and we had it all cleaned up in a jiffy. What a way to start the day! It made me laugh out loud on the way to dropping the girls off at school. Usually it is a glass of milk....not a gallon. (Especially at $4 a gallon!) But, what are ya gonna do!? Hope you have a great day and don't sweat the small stuff. ; )

Love, Emily

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Baby Plum!

My sweet little girl is turning 5! Forever I wanted a baby in September. Now, I wonder WHY I would ever had wished for that. She is the youngest in her class, back to school season, fall sports all start and our church festival just wrapped up. Most years, she is honestly lucky if I can remember to pick up supermarket cupcakes or cookies for her to take to school. Well, this year I 'googled' school friendly birthday treats and came up with this...

I would like to share a link or something, but I don't remember the site (it wasn't a blog, just an article) and plus, there were no pictures. But here they are! I took a cardboard juice case container and flipped it upside down. Cut 12 'X' shapes and poked my fingers through them. Wrapped the box in wrapping paper and poked a knife through said holes. Then I just took napkins, wrapped the sugar cones in them and poked them into the hole. I filled the cones with gummi bears and mini marshmallows. Whipped up a batch of rice krispie treats, let it cool for a bit, then rolled 12 balls and spinkled them with sprinkles. Viola! A 'less than messy' ice cream treat and NO frosting or crumbs. (We really like our teachers and TRY to keep treats neat lol...wink wink) I am so happy with the outcome and it was SO quick and easy. Now I just hope they pass the taste test ; )

Happy Birthday to my little Plum!

Love, Emily

Friday, September 10, 2010

Welcome Fall

I really {did} think fall would be a less hectic time for our family. I was SO wrong! This weekend we are neck deep in our church festival and last week we painted our house. Not to mention, school, football and daily occurances. Not much time to blog, but I did want to show you a little before and after of our front door. What a crazy time, hope you are enjoying your 'slow time' ;-)

Love, Emily


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Full Week of School Project

Well, three out of four kiddos are off to school fulltime this year. What is a stay at home mom to do with just ONE little man? Hmmmm....I know! I could paint those kitchen cabinets which have been driving me nuts for 5 years.
Please excuse the crap all over the counters....just be happy I remembered to take a 'before' picture!
You can see against the wall I painted a few different colors, so I could 'adjust' to my new colors slowly. After a week, I was set on black. Satin finish. I know the after pictures look glossy, but they really aren't that glossy. I bought a little thing of oil based paint for $8.50, a can of spray paint in 'nickel' for $3.50 and two new cabinet door spring-y thingies to make my cabinets actually close properly for $3.18. I cleaned all the cabinet hardware and spray painted them. Even the screws (frugal vs. cheap?)
My kids thought this was 'really smart'....their father might have a different opinion...
I painted all the doors and trim, reattached all the hardware and that was it! It was very easy. I wish I had done this before. You may notice I left the upper cabinet doors off. I just like it better that way. 'SOMEDAY' when we actually figure out what we want to do with our kitchen, this will all be gone, but for now, I am enjoying my {NEW} kitchen cabinets. And I am also ordering pizza tonight! ;-)

Take Care, Emily

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Lil' Nibble

Not much time today but I wanted to share the link to a BTS binder for Mom's. I am very happy to have completed mine and it is ready to go for tomorrow. I used to have a binder for each kid, but Lordy that was a pain to keep up with! I hope you like her link, she also does a lot of digital scrapbooking ; )

Also, a little fun thing our family learned when the red-headed curly girl started school was this...
A full box (24 count) of crayons will fit into a travel soap container. We use this for school as well as the baseball-bag-which-is-now-a football-bag for the kids to take to games. A bonus is if they melt in there (like THAT would ever happen!) it cleans up sooo much easier than the original cardboard box. Ok, so I gotta get back to triple checking the schedule for tomorrow morning! YAY! Back to school is upon us! 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Plan o' attack for BTS

While talking to some friends tonight, I found myself admitting to my need to be in control. I had plans in my head about how we would spend our last weekend before 'back to school'. Well....none of them worked out, BUT we had a great weekend! With four kids, I think it is a reasonable thought to have plans. But it is just as reasonable to roll with the tide and let things happen sometimes. I have decided to post a few of my personal steps to preparing for Back To School. Last year I had these cute little hooks for each child to hang up their book bags and coats. They worked really well, until my then 5th grader broke his hook due to the 'workload' in his backpack. ; )

So, this year, I am just putting hooks up for the girls (Kindergarten and 3rd grade) and letting my 6th grader use a tubby instead. With the amount of football gear and other 'must haves' it is easier to control the clutter in a box. Here is what I have ready for the girls.
The tubbies are filled with BTS gear and supplies. Instead of them having to lug all that stuff in their backpacks,Daddy and I will carry the tubs in to their classrooms to allow them to unload it at their desks. This is what my littlest lady's tubby looks like.
Now, when my lil red-headed curly girl went through her first year of school, she hardly used most of her supplies. Her crayons, colored pencils and markers came home in May ready to be used through out the summer. BUT, her first grade year, she definitely needed to re-stock through out the year. I hate spending $1.00 for a box of crayons...I LOVE spending $1.00 for FIVE boxes of crayons!
crayons, colored pencils and markers
glue, glue sticks, erasers, highlighters and misc. supplies
loose leaf paper and pencils
contained and labeled
folders, wide and college ruled notebooks, loose leaf paper
Stocking up on supplies while cheap is a no brainer. Keeping it organized and easily accessible is essential. My kids know they can come home and be well prepared for any project or assignment. It gives them confidence in themselves and lets them know that we care about their success in school too. I keep the extras out of the kids area. They must come to me to get them. (this saves us from using five notebooks to 'play' school with the neighborhood friends) 

To help with menu planning, I keep a copy of the school lunch menu on the fridge. (we have two schools we deal with in our family, so the other is on the flip side of the one you can see) At the beginning of the week, I can easily reference the school menu and make our supper menu up for the week without duplicating meals. This very simple step has helped me so much! 
I hope to wrap up a few more things tomorrow and share a few links to other ideas from blog land. But, right now, I am so tired and looking forward to my bed. Hope you took an idea or two with you today. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas too! love, Emily

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Finally, Bed Time!

A while back, a good friend (also my cousin) gave me this toddler bed. It had been through the loving affection of two little girls and was in the process of being decoupaged with stickers. ; )

The wood is solid and in great shape. My thoughts raced over all the possiblities of redo-ing this bed. The darling four year old thought PINK would be a great color for her little brother's new 'big boy bed'....Daddy and I, not so much. I re-enforced the wood slats under the matress by wood gluing the ends. I did this in my kitchen....thus the soup cans.

After it dried, I went about spray painting and came up with this...

I am REALLY happy with the outcome! I had planned on adding a vinyl robot or something cute & fun on the headboard, but right now, I am loving the solid bright new color. The best part is that the little man loves it. He has a few months before (I think) he will actually sleep in it, but that is ok. This was a big accomplishment for me, especially with all four kids here this week, along with their friends and football has started and back to school is next week and it has been about 98% humidity for two weeks straight. I feel pretty good. So thanks for stopping and I hope you are all having a great last hurrah for summer.
With Love, Emily 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August Book of The Month

I have got a GREAT end of summer read for you! It is a light and fun read with a wonderful British flare. (oh yea baby...I love the Brits!) Seriously, I have read 2.5 of  Elizabeth Noble's novels and I have and I am currently loving every word. She writes so beautifully. You become part of the book, a must for me....I tend to be a {bit} OCD...  So, I hope you will give this one a chance. I had to keep the 'sippy cup' cropped into this picture simply because that is who I am and that is what you get if you came to my house. If you find the time to pick up Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble, I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did. With love, Emily  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shaking it up in the 'Garden'

While perusing a {somewhat} local garden/nursery center this past weekend, I found something that just begged me to try it out. Amist the indoor salesroom, little wooden crates, long terra cotta pots and open topped glass boxes boasted the most adorable little dollhouse type accesories. I stood in awe of the extreme 'cute-ness' of them all. Each one looked so different from the others (each by a different 'artist') and I was hooked. So, I picked up a few pieces and headed home. I have had this wooden crate thingy in the garage for ages and now, it is the beginning of my 'tabletop garden'. I will (of course) add things as I go, including plants and tiny adorable things, but I had to share it with you. Mine is sitting on my front porch table, but the 'ZEN-ness' of it leads me believe that anyone who perhaps, hates the heat & humidity, lives in a non-garden-able area or even a home-bound loved one would just LOVE this!? Just had to share this quick thing, I have bigger things to turn my mind back to especially with back to school only two weeks away. Hope you  like it! Love, Emily