New Year — New Goals

I prefer to call them goals and not resolutions. Resolutions seems so predictable and are often {OK, almost always} broken. I’m also trying to come up with my word of the year. I was torn between two but starting this post gave me the clarity that I needed to settle on one. The two I love  are ‘breathe’ and ‘focus’. I love them both but I have chosen breathe as my 2014 word. I might have to repeat it to myself a million times but hopefully I can get it to stick.  Both apply to my main goal of being more present and less stressed. If I can remind myself to just breathe in stressful situations then the focus comes. Or so I have been reminded by some of my super smart Facebook friends ;)

I’m playing over at Pinterest {and this is where focus or the lack of comes into play} and I found this great list of goals. I think it’s a great way to assess goals and by writing typing them out, I can maybe be a bit more accountable. I love this quote that I found on Pinterest. Little things are much more achievable and can still make us feel like we succeeded.

Focus

I also found this list over at Run Lucas Run. I think we will wrap up our Winter Break tomorrow as a family by having a yummy dinner and then we can each fill out these lists. There are actually two lists to download, one is for grownups and the other for kids. The kids version is so much more simple. Lucky kids.

2014I’m getting a jump start on mine to share with you.

A BAD HABIT I’M GOING TO BREAK: Getting so worked up about things that really aren’t worth it.
A NEW SKILL I’D LIKE TO LEARN: Canning 
A PERSON I HOPE TO BE MORE LIKE: This is a loaded question, there are so many people that inspire me.
A GOOD DEED I’M GOING TO DO: Dedicate more time to Hands 4 Hope
A PLACE I’D LIKE TO VISIT: The Oregon/Washington Coast.
A BOOK I’D LIKE TO READ: Fly Away by Kristen Hannah
A LETTER I’M GOING TO WRITE: Be more consistent in the letters I write to my boys.
A NEW FOOD I’D LIKE TO TRY: Eggplant — it kinda freaks me out.
I’M GOING TO BE BETTER AT: Using my time wisely/Gardening more/Being patient/Exercising and eating better  for my mental and physical health {not aiming for perfection but being better}/spending less and saving more/blog more

There you have it. My 2014 goals. Do you set goals or resolutions? I’d love to hear them and how you stick to them as well.

Cheers to a New Year. I hope 2014 is a good one for you!

 

 

Thanksgiving 2013 Menu

Thanksgiving-Autumn-Leaves

Happy Fall Y’all! A fellow blogger and friend of mine shared her Thanksgiving menu and I thought, “what a great idea”. So I am being a bit of a copy cat. Hopefully flattery will get me everywhere ;) Charene’s blog is Copper Lantern Cooking. I actually found her a few years back when she had a local cupcake business and was generous enough to donate to a fundraiser at my kids school. We have since become Facebook friends and recipe sharers. I love social media for just these type of friendships. I get to meet people that I otherwise would not and share fun things like well, food!

So let me preface by saying that I have a pretty straight forward, stick to the classics type of family. However, I like to mix it up so I’ve added a few things with flair.

Appetizers

  • Salami, cheese and crackers – we grew up with this on hand at every family function. My dad is adding deer salami which I do not like so I asked for regular ol’ salami for me.
  • Black olives – you know, for wearing on your fingers.
  • Deviled eggs — another dad specialty

Main Course

Desert

My dad is in charge of deserts. I am the queen of baking in my house but for Thanksgiving, I appreciate the pies that show up in my kitchen. We get various versions of apple pie from Apple Hill, a banana cream pie from Buttercream Bakery and the pumpkin pies are from Costco. Trust me, I make it up with the loads of cookies that I crank out throughout the rest of the holiday season. Oh, I’ll take a little credit cause I do make homemade whipped cream for the pies. Homemade. No canned or Cool Whip {yes, I know some people love it but I have to make the real stuff, I’ve even added a little bourbon for a kick.}

Do you host or travel for Thanksgiving? Do you have a standard menu or do you serve things unique? I’d love to hear about your families favorite recipes.

However you spend Thanksgiving, I wish you a happy one. Count your blessings everyday.

Our Garage Entry

If your house is at all like mine then you have kid paraphernalia everywhere. I’m constantly on a mission for the perfect system to keep my kids from throwing their stuff all over the ground. I have found socks in so many odd places including stuffed in-between the couch cushions, in the magazine rack in my bathroom and under my bed. I don’t know what it is but socks {dirty ones mind you} show up everywhere. Well, now that I go on and on about socks I realize my latest storage solution will do nothing to remedy the sock debacle BUT it does help with getting backpacks and jackets hung up upon coming home from school. We have a coat rack by the front door but we usually enter from the garage so this just makes more sense.

This simple DIY involved a 1 x 6 board cut down to fit my wall and then we {by ‘we’ I mean my husband} attached 6 coat hooks which I picked up at Target. I found the idea here. I like her use of bronze hooks but I had silver so it made sense to use what I had. Resourceful eh? I also stumbled upon this super cute burlap weaved cork board over at Jones Design Co and because I ‘had to’ make one, I also ‘had to’ find a space for it. This worked out perfectly. I also had an old cork board and the burlap on hand. Because it’s not in a space that I utilize for my daily must do’s, it will really just be a fun space filler. I’ll just hang up  photos, some quotes, maybe a hand made flower or two, etc.

I think this whole project cost about $20 and that it has already been so useful.

Garage entry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, if anyone has any tips about the dirty sock situation, I’d love to hear it ;)

My New Office Lamp and Corkboard

As you might have guessed, I am all about being organized and I love how a cork board can help you stay that way {just make sure you purge and reorganize every now and again or you will look like a hoarder – just sayin!} Anyway, awhile ago I found this lampshade at Target that I was just in love with. It was $25 though and that was just too much for one lampshade. So I watched and waited. It went on clearance to $17 and some change. I still waited. Then I went back and it was not marked down but seemed like it should have been so I scanned the barcode just in case. My intuition paid off cause it was on clearance for $7.48 Woo hoo! Done. Mine. I bought it immediately. Then of course I had to find a base. Well bases are also not so cheap so I ended up with a $15 base plus ugly shade at Ross. The shade is burlap which I love but it has some funky burgundy swirls. I’ll probably attempt to recover it at some point. The base was a dark cherry brown. Not quite my thing so I got crafty with some spray paint. I painted it a cream which matched the lampshade. I wanted to make it look a little rustic so I took the sander to it and roughed it up a bit. Now I love it! I ended up paying about $30 for the whole project which included the lampshade, base and spray paint. The original shade was $24.95 all by itself pre-clearance.

Here is the finished product — not quite the way it’s typically set up but I wanted you to get the full view of the color scheme.

office diy

Of course I needed to tie the colors of the shade to something else in the space so I went on a mission to recover another old cork board. I couldn’t find a fabric that I loved at any of my local fabric stores so I made a trip to Triad Plus in Roseville. I’d wanted to go for some time so this was the perfect excuse opportunity. I headed there with my lampshade in hand so I could pull from the colors in the shade. I really loved the orange in the lamp but I just couldn’t find a good match. I ended up pulling from the shade of grey-blue.

I used a spray adhesive and voila, done! I was going to add tacks to serve as a nailhead edge but I opted to keep it simple. I could go back and add that at another time if I felt like it. Note: the spray adhesive worked awesome on this fabric but I also tried using it on burlap and it would not hold which was so weird.

To finish it off, I added a burlap pennant made by me. These are just 6×6 squares of burlap which I then stencil my choice of word on. Finish it up by tying the squares together with twine. It’s a cheap and adorable way to dress up a space. I chose the word Create because that is what this space is supposed to be used  for. I end up crafting and creating in the kitchen most often though cause it’s the hub of the house. I like to be where the action is!!

Fabulous Organizing

I {heart} organizing so I thought I’d share some fun stuff that has popped up over on Pinterest as of late.

Let’s start with some awesome kitchen organizing, shall we?

Kitchen Organization

Organized Kitchen Collage

1} Design Dining and Diapers pantry DIY

2} wine wall

3} Heart 2 Home – organized fridge

4} Tip Junkie’s kitchen command center

5} door storage

6} Vertical silverware storage at Apartment Therapy

7} BH&G snack jars

8} I love these divided walls although I can’t locate the original source.

Jewelry & Make-up

Of course organizing your make-up and jewelry makes you want to get all dolled up, right?

Jewelry Collage

1} How cool is this magnetic makeup board

2} What an amazing jewelry wall

3}  Towel bar necklace holder.

4} This is my own creation made out of radiator metal and an old frame.

Home Office & Craft Room

I adore craft rooms and how personalized they can be to your own individual tastes, crafts, uses, etc.

Office collage

1} Multi material bulletin boards over at PB Teen.

2} Yet another fab design by PB Teen.

3} I love the sleek look of this one.

4} BH&G always does it right.

5} I love the vibe in this space.

I hope I have provided with your organizational eye candy.

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

Hello there lovelies :)

Hope you are all doing well today. I just had to share a recent “makeover” that occurred in my kitchen. I saw the idea on Pinterest and also in my friend Amy’s kitchen. I love our kitchen cabinets. That are maple with an ivory glaze and we picked them out when we bought the house. We have received many compliments on them but being the quick change artist that I am, I wanted to add something else to them {it has been 8 years since we moved in — a change was due}. So I painted the inside a chocolatey brown. I love how they turned out. My plan it to eventually add glass shelves as I think this will make the brown pop even more plus I just don’t want to paint the shelves. So for now they are left as is.

Before:

During:

After:

There you have it. A little change for well, a little bit of change! I think I paid $8 for the paint.

 

 

 

Hurrah for Teachers

I am not a teacher nor do I feel worthy of being one. I believe that it is one of the most challenging and underpaid careers out there {my own belief — please don’t yell at me if you feel different ;)}. I have friends and a sister that are teachers. I know that they work very hard and sometimes don’t get the respect that they deserve. I also know that I can barely manage my two kids and they manage upwards of 30. So again — they are rock-stars to me!! So aside from the fact that I think teachers rock, it also happens to be the kick off to a new school year. In honor of that and awesome teachers, I wanted to share some fun gifts to start your child’s teacher off on a happy note.rock-stars

Funky Polka Dot Giraffe created this super fun Teachers Survival Bucket. I actually created my own version of this which you will see below.

Below is my version, I left a few things off of the list and switched up a few things {I added a Starbucks gift card but didn’t add the reusable cup} but I think it came out super cute.

The list of what is included — Funky Polka Dot Giraffe has a printable which is much cuter but I had to delete some things so I recreated my own and I don’t have many fonts on my Mac yet. Click here for her free downloadable print. I did add a few school days stickers after I took these photos which dressed them up a bit.

My basket – using baskets I already had {from the Target dollar bins at Christmas time}.

Happy Clippings offered up this idea by repurposing an old can, wrapping colored pencils around it, securing with a  rubber band and pretty ribbon and then using it as a vase by adding some pretty flowers.

 

The Diary of Dave’s Wife did a cute little gift using a soda and a printable that says, “Soda-lighted you are my teacher.” She has the printable on her site. So cute and simple!!

Oh Whipperberry, how I <3 you!! This idea using a rain boot is adorable!!

Catered Crop was showcasing some stamps but I thought this jar of  licorice with the attached, “You’re the sweetest” was a perfect teacher treat.

Everyday Scrapbook added a bunch of pencils to a reusable iced coffee cup {or tea .. or water.. or vodka, wait – did I say that?}. I love these cups and they make for a great gift alone but stocked full of pencils? Awesome!! Maybe stick a Starbucks gift card in the inside too?

Brandy’s Crafts is right up my alley with her ‘One Smart Cookie’ teacher gift. Cause I like to bake cookies and stuff ;)

I hope you enjoyed these fun and creative ideas <3 Remember, be thankful for your teachers — they work so hard!!

 

 

How to Curb your Clutter

Recently a friend asked if I could share a post on how to keep paper clutter at bay. Well, I won’t say I am an expert but I do try and keep up on paperwork that comes into my house. I think it is easy to get overwhelmed when all of the paperwork comes through the door but I am here to give you some very easy and basic tips for taking control of those mountains of paper that overtake our desks, counters, cars, etc. I’m also offering some ideas for that messy pantry and cluttered garage.

Source  

 You really can do this! I promise!! The first thing to do is figure out a system so that things are quickly sorted and out in there place.  Getting into the habit  of putting things in their place instead of a ‘I’ll get to it later’ pile is key. There are so many options for organization these days. A few of my favorite tools are baskets, binders and a standing file sorter.

This is an office done with very little space. She used some very basic pieces like the cubby shelf from IKEA. A great place to stash baskets and books. Now keep in mind that this is a high functioning work office and has a lot more then what the average person needs to contain.

There are a few areas that add clutter to our homes. The first is our car. How often do you dump all of the stuff from your car on the table, floor or even the kitchen counter? Another is the mailbox. We grab the mail and throw it on the counter and then it stays until we eventually come back to it. Also, clutter comes about in everyday places thanks to clothing, toys and other random household items that end up in the wrong place. Read on for tips:

The Car:

Keep a designated basket in your car to gather things at the end of the day and definitely at the end of a trip. Throw all items in the basket and head inside. Don’t stop, immediately distribute these items to their appropriate homes. You will feel accomplished and less cluttered in your home if you do this daily.

The Mailbox:

Immediately sift through the mail. Is it worth keeping? Can it be recycled? Make two piles. Get rid of the stuff you will never open such as those gabillion credit card offers, catalogs and refi notices that you never requested. Then sort through the ‘keep’ pile. Will you ever really read the catalogs and magazines? If yes, then have a basket to keep them in but make sure once you have read through them that you either pass them on or get rid of them. Don’t hold on to them for one idea, recipe or article. Rip it out and keep a binder to refer back too but get rid of the rest of the magazine. Trust me, you won’t even remember why you kept the magazine to begin with!! As far as bills, keep them in a designated spot. I actually write the check or pay mine on-line immediately. Then I simply write ‘paid on 4/1/12′ and file it with my paid bills. Then it is done and gone. Now, bill pay allows for you to set the date ahead but sometimes you have to wait to mail a check. Keep it ready to go and mail as the time approaches. You can keep track via a file folder or even hang it on a bulletin board. Come up with a system that works for you but work as you go. It is so much easier then sitting down to weeks of paperwork and feeling overwhelmed.

Your Desk:

Basic tools can keep you on top of the craziness that happens on a workspace whether it be at home or work. First, come up with a system. Baskets, file drawers {labeled with exactly what will be filed in them} and perhaps even a binder or two. First you will need to decide what your workspace is for. Once that is established, you can create a basic flow of things. Obviously you will need basic tools such as pens, pencils, scissors and a letter opener. Keep these in a container on top of your desk for easy access. You should also have an in-basket or file. Make it a goal to sift through this daily. Then you can decide what projects are top priority. Once you have removed said item from your in-basket, complete it and file/toss, etc. It’s also OK to add a personal touch or two to your workspace. Something like a plant or a photo. Make it your own. Productivity is something that happens much easier when we are organized. If we know where things are, we can get to them much faster and without the frustration.

More spaces that could use a little clutter control:

The Pantry:

This is often a black hole of ‘stuff’. I like to straighten my pantry every so often {like when things look like they might fall out upon opening the door!}. A great time to do this is before grocery shopping. Then you can assess what you have on hand so that you aren’t buying new when you have items already ‘in stock’. You can get rid of super old {trust me .. I just had expired boxes from 4 years ago. Yuck I know, but it happens.} Purge the oldies and then add the new stuff. Be sure to rotate older items to the front of new items. I tend to stock up on basics when I find that they are sale such as stocks, beans, etc. Make  sure you are really buying items that you will use and not just ones that are a great price. There is a difference and you will see that — when you look at dates years down the road and you never really used that certain BBQ sauce that was on sale so you bought it. Seriously.

The Garage:

I feel like this is not my area of expertise but I do have a little insight here. The garage is deemed my hubby’s space so I don’t have a lot to do with it. It houses my holiday ornaments and a few old frames that I plan to craft with. I still have an opinion on garages. Clutter: It accumulates everywhere and especially in those out of sight, out of mind places. I’d say that a garage is kind of like a huge junk drawer. It’s great to take the time to PURGE!! Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find those old holiday ornaments that you know are ‘somewhere’ or maybe even park your car in the garage? Take the time to sift through the garage. Have a yard sale — spend the money on something fun {no, not new stuff to add to the garage!!} Maybe you can have a nice dinner out or if you do really well, a trip away. Whatever doesn’t sell gets donated IMMEDIATELY! Don’t save it for another time or you will just start the madness of hoarding collecting all over again.

There are always places that can use a little TLC and reorganizing. Do you have a space that you could use a little help with? Email me — I’d love to offer suggestions on how to minimize and create a clutter free zone for you!!

Photo Gallery Walls

I love photos — really, really love them! I don’t have the wall space I wish I had for displaying them but I do find so many inspirational photo walls that I wish I could make happen in my home. I thought I’d share them with you. Perhaps you will be inspired to create your own photo gallery? If you have a fun wall already created, please share. I’d love to see it!

Source

Source

Source

Source

Source

Source

Source

Source

Source — ME! This is my own wall

Source

Source

Source

Source

Source

There you have it, a little photo wall inspiration. Oh, and in the time it took me to complete this lil’ post — I baked a delicious Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake. Yes, it is Paula Dean style with butter overload but it’s a breakfast treat for the summer heat {I feel less guilty when I make jokes!} In all reality, I just wanted to be popular with my 6 almost 7 year old and this is one way to his heart.

Closet Makeover

I love to organize. In doing so, it calms me. It makes me feel like I have some control in an otherwise crazy, uncontrolled world!! I also love to decorate and merging the two is bliss! I have a large closet as I mentioned in my previous post. It is full of the normal closet stuff – shoes, clothes and crap. OK, so I cut the crap by starting a garage sale pile {and some trips to Goodwill}. I painted it a pretty blue called, Waterscape by Sherwin Williams. I also have to give a little plug. If you are in the El Dorado Hills/Folsom area, Sherwin Williams has the best employee EVER. Her name is Morgan and she is beyond helpful and friendly. I just had to share that because I am all about great customer service. It’s one of my favorite things.

So the room was painted and then I added in some brown and white accessories. I need to add one more shelf to accommodate more Rubbermaid bins but that will come with time. I have to recruit the hubby for help on that. I am not a shelf installer. By choice.  :) I am a little leary of power tools but I know as a DIYer I need to get over this. Baby steps friends, baby steps. ** Update: The shelf is officially in so the closet it complete!! Woot woot.

The original cubbies and storage units came from Home Depot many moons ago. As much as I’d like fancier or custom made ones, these do the trick. Below, I am listing the item and where I purchased it from.

Paint color - Waterscape by Sherwin Williams
Rubbermaid Bins — various shapes and sizes are from both Target and WalMart
Brown Canvas Bins – Target $9.99/each. These are pretty solid and worth the upgrade from the $6.99 ones that they sell
Brown Chest {sitting on the floor — it holds my flip flops and sandals} – Ross for $29.99
Brown Baskets – Cost Plus a few years ago
Old Frame turned Jewelry Holder — The frame was given to me and then I repainted and re-purposed using a sheet of  radiator metal from Lowes.
Keep Calm and Carry on sign – Etsy, Simply Handmade 123 , a sweet lil local vendor

Here are a few pics of the after:

The view when you walk in. It is a hodge podge of stuff but it is all neatly organized and arranged. No ‘junk’ to be found. 

This is my scrapbooks and photo albums as well as boxes of photos.
Keep Calm and Carry on sign – Etsy, Simply Handmade 123 

 Brown Canvas Bins - Target $9.99/each, White Storage Boxes – IKEA

Handmade jewelry holder using an old frame, radiator metal and cup hooks for the necklaces.

I think by working with what I had, adding some fresh paint and a few other accessories that it came out quite organized and nice. Do you have a space that you want to organize?? Just do it, the results are so worth it!