Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas & Looking Ahead to 2014

Since Christmas is over I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that you were able to spend time with the people that matter to you most. And eats lots of good food too!

Well, I had intentions to post a few recipes that I bake every year but that just didn't happen.

The last few weeks have been busy to put it mildly and by the end of the day I just want to crash!

At least our cat, Sammy, got to take a few naps by the warm fireplace

Jake, our elf, was back again this year. A few times he got a little out of hand! I must say the Mr. had more fun with him than I did! At one point we had to touch him because he fell and the next morning we found him like this (his upper body was under the burlap tree).
The kids both had awesome art work and crafts that they completed at school this month, both will be added to their scrapbooks/boxes for safe keeping. However, this one was made by our youngest. He showed it to me and said "Mommy, this is you, an angel just like you!" That was so sweet!

You see, our youngest got the flu. He missed his birthday celebration at school and and we had to cancel the party here at home. I felt so bad, every year I have made an effort to separate his birthday from Christmas and this year that just didn't happen. We had a small party just the 4 of us but it was no big deal and I hate that. Hopefully next year we can have a big celebration!
The boys also got to decorate their very own ornaments

Once the flu was over we were able to concentrate on Christmas. It has been fantastic! My car has not left the garage in over a week! In fact the only time I left the house in the last week was for a quick 3 hour trip to the ER.  The Mr. thought he would take the extra trash we had that wouldn't fit into our large trash can to the dump and in one of those trash bags was a glass that I had broken on Christmas Eve. The glass I broke wasn't one of those little thin classes, it was one of those thick tall beer glasses. As he reached in the back of the truck to pull out the bag he cut his thumb. I will spare you the details, it was alot of blood and honestly made me a little lightheaded to see it.... But just for future reference, if you cut yourself and you think you need stitches, just clean it really well, put a splint on it and carry on because after waiting in the ER for over 2 hours just to be seen, it will go back together and begin to heal on its own. Just saying...Can you tell I have little patience?

I love being at home and having no where to go, no where to be.
Enjoying that:
extra cup of coffee in the morning,
extra drink after dinner,
extra Christmas movie,
extra chapter at night before bed,
extra game of Mario on the Wii,
extra glass of wine before bed,
extra yummy Christmas dessert,
extra hour on the Internet,
extra snuggles on the couch.

As you can see I have indulged a little.... :) and honestly I am fighting every minute to keep the obligations low for now. However, I am aware that it will soon come to an end and we will be right back to the hustle and bustle of everyday "normal" life.  But hey! I can hope for snow days, right?!

Anyway, as we look forward to 2014 it looks as if it is going to be a busy one. Lots to look forward to and also an opportunity to meet a few goals both personally and professionally.

Even though I am now working, I will continue to post here about projects and happenings in my life. This blog has been going  since 2009 and I plan to continue. In the upcoming year, I plan to post more about happenings in my life, more photos, getting more real with you guys and sharing more. That part excites me!

Thank you for reading and staying with me all this time! I am looking forward to what is ahead in the New Year!

Monday, December 9, 2013

DIY Christmas Star & Wall Art

For my Christmas Mantle, I wanted to add a little something crafty...

You can see my Christmas Mantle here.

I began by cutting pieces of quarter round floor molding into equal sizes. Then I used my hot glue gun to glue the pieces together and let it dry overnight. I cut strips of burlap and then used my hot glue gun to glue the burlap onto the wood. I wrapped the burlap around the wood and glued it into place.

One little tip of careful not to burn yourself, that is all I have to say about that!

I wanted the star to hang, so I used fishing line. Using a small piece of fishing line, I looped it around the point at the top of the star and tied in a knot then in another knot to make sure it was secure. Then, I looked for a rock that stuck out a little for me to "hook" my fishing line onto. (This is the reason the star is off center and the reason I had to make the art below for balance). In my head it looked a little different from what I had thought to begin with but I just went with the flow, I mean lets be real, there is no way I am putting a nail in that rock!

For the word art, I had a canvas that I had not used for anything yet and it worked perfect. I believe the size was 16x19. First, I had to prime the canvas because for some crazy reason I had painted it blue...then let it dry overnight. I printed the words out with my printer, cut them out and then glued the letters onto the canvas.
I took a step back and thought to myself  that it could use a little sparkle. So I added glitter to the word JOY.  Took another step back and thought it needed a little more sparkle. I had some red glitter spray paint left over from a while back and thought I would just spray the entire canvas. It looked great until the can ran out and only blew out air....see the top right corner.......but that is our little secret..ok? Then I did a layer of glitter spray paint sealer over the canvas to seal the deal ;)

Hope your weekend was great!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Mantle

Sorry for the less than perfect photo, not sure what was happening but it didn't matter what I did the photo looked "foggy."

Anyway, this year I wanted a little different look.  The garland, lantern and trees are the same decor that I used last year. I added the star and word art.

I made this, so easy! As soon as the Mr. saw it he was like "how is that hanging up there?"

Made this too, again so easy. I got a little lazy on this one.

I'll be back next time to share how I did these easy projects!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Dining Room Table


Our Dining Room is visible from several rooms in our home. For this reason, I chose to carry the same color scheme throughout my home. My color scheme this year...same as last, green, and gold with a little burlap thrown in for a little texture ;).

I always put a tablecloth over our dining table during the Christmas holiday. We have lots of family over and with 2 small kids I prefer to protect our table with a tablecloth. We never eat in this room unless it is at Christmas. Terrible, I know, this is just one room that doesn't get alot of action. I continued with my burlap table runner. At first I debated, put in on the table, then took it off....I decided to put it back on since I have burlap accents in our family room I thought why not carry that on into the dining room.

Then I added the center piece. I took a lantern added a red candle, greenery, pine cones, berries and a few twigs and viola!

Oh, I added a few red balls too....

And a few red balls with sparkle...

Don't you just love Christmas!?

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Search for the Perfect Tree

While this weekend was filled with family and way too much food, we decided a few weeks ago that this year we were going to pick out our very own Christmas tree.
Yes, there are more than a few local places to purchase a tree, but why do that when you can drive to the mountains and pick out your own??!

The Christmas tree farm we visited was just outside of Boone, NC. We arrived shortly after lunch so we drove on into Boone for lunch at Our Daily Bread. If you have never eaten at this restaurant, I suggest that you do so on your next trip to Boone. The last couple of times we visited Boone we have eaten here. So good, local food. This time we made sure to save room for dessert, carrot cake. So yummy!

After we filled up on a great lunch we headed to the Christmas tree farm. We were handed a stick to use as a guide to measure the height of our tree, once we found a tree, we swung our stick and the farm guys came up and cut our tree down and brought it to the bottom of the mountain  hill for us, then wrapped it and helped load it on our vehicle.

The view from the mountain was so beautiful. We picked out a 9ft. tree, then headed back down the hill to carry it home.

On the way home the sun was setting behind the mountains again such a gorgeous sight.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Little Gratitude

Gratitude: the state of being grateful: thankfulness.

November always reminds me to focus on the positives, the things in my life that make it worth living.

Sometimes as we all move along our days we tend to move our focus away from the good things. We worry, which is total human nature but sometimes that can bring us down to the point where we are in a constant state of panic or in a state of constant competition. We allow ourselves be compared to our friends, co-workers, etc.

When we focus on what others have and what we don't or they are better than us or they have this or that and it is more than me....You get the idea. We loose sight of what matters, what makes us feel good and we also loose sight of what we have accomplished. You cannot compare yourself to anyone else. That isn't fair to you.

During the year when I began to worry about things, big or small, I try to see the things and people around me that matter the most and focus on those things. This is very difficult at times I assure you, but when I try to see the good it does improve my mood.


This weekend was super busy and flew by so fast. Before I knew it it was Sunday evening and all I wanted to do was stop time, I dreaded to see Monday roll around.

Then I turned my attention to the great weekend we just had. Lots of family time, enjoying the small moments, our oldest spent time with Grandparents & hunted & those memories will last him a lifetime. The youngest got to spend time with us and got lots of Daddy play time which he loved and learned alot about the insides of a truck, that too will stick with him for years to come. Snuggles, movie time, and attention is what happened this weekend. Golf & shopping as well and there again more memories made for our children.

When eating out yesterday at Olive Garden the waiter was fantastic. My in-laws and my husband made the comment that was the best waiter they had ever seen and I had to agree with them. When the bill arrived this small card was inside:

That was awesome. Just to take the time to write a note says alot about a person. He was busy I am sure, and I know he had more on his mind than us but he still took the time to let us know that he appreciated us being there. Now, this may be a new thing that Olive Garden has started or it may just be something our waiter did, who knows, but it adds that special touch that I think shows gratitude toward others.

So as November is here, lets try to see the good in ourselves, each other and to remember the things/people in our lives that make it so great!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Banner (a little late....)

Better late than never right?

The reason I post this now?

Because it just went up last night!

It took me about 15 minutes, if that long, to make it.

Quick  and Easy, just how I like it!

I used Halloween themed scrapbook paper to cut out my triangles. Then trimmed the top with washi tape, to add little visual interest and also for a little extra support on the corners where I punched my holes for the twine.

Punched out 2 different shaped circles and added my green letters.

Thread the twine and hang it up! Easy, oh so easy! You should try it!
Hope you guys have a great Halloween!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wine & Dine Wednesday

The feature today...Fancy Pants from Target.

Cute label, it is a 2010 vintage, red wine.

This has a very fruity flavor, almost too fruity. This is one that you may not want to drink alot  at once...too sweet too fast means major headache for me. Just a warning!

It is not the best but it is still very drinkable, just in small amounts...

Check out my cute wine bottle topper!

This was a Christmas present last year from my In-Laws and so I thought since Christmas isn't that far away I should bring this baby out and show it off! Heck, I might even leave it out all year long. After all, drinking wine is a little gift at the end of the I right?! Oh and it has a little battery so it lights up too! How cute!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is one yummy, moist and can't stop eating kinda recipes. I have made this so many ways and it comes out perfect every time. Don't you just love recipes like that? I found the recipe on Food Network a few years ago and have made it many, many times since, the changes I made was I omitted the pecans and added chocolate chips. But this recipe is so yummy that I just had to share it with you!

I have baked this recipe in loaf pans, casserole dishes and of course as muffins. Just make sure you adjust your baking time. Also, I will give you a heads up....once they come out of the oven, top one with Nutella and OH. MY. GOSH!! Amazingly Yummy!!! I have made these also without chocolate chips and it is still so good!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 cups All-Purpose flour
1&1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 overripe bananas
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your muffin tins.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork, set aside. With a mixer, mix the  remaining 2 bananas and sugar together really well. Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well. Mix in the flour  mixture  just until incorporated. Fold in the mashed bananas and chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into muffin tins. Bake approx. 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The original recipe can be found at Food Network, Banana Nut Muffins by Tyler Florence. The only difference I made was I omitted the nuts and added chocolate chips.

Linking up with Let's Get Bananas,  Jessica and Kristin.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pumpkin Makeover

A while back I completed my Fall Mantel and I painted these cute pumpkins white. At first, I loved the pretty fresh pumpkins, but then it changed. I kept thinking it needs something more, more color, a little sparkle, something!

So I decided gold was it. More gold! My original thought was glitter, but I wasn't in the mood to go all out messy plus finding a can of the glitter spray paint in town is out of the question, so I remembered that I had some leftover ribbon from a past project I worked on and so I used it to tie around the largest pumpkin. Then I remembered I had gold paint so I thought polka-dots would be good. The easiest way to get good circles on the pumpkin was to use these great small circular foam pouncers. Quick, fast and easy clean up. My kinda craft!


On another pumpkin I added washi tape around the middle to add some black. I just love the color black and cannot help it!

And more photos!

Much better, don't you think?!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Landscaping Dilemma-Part 1

This is something that I have been meaning to blog about for a while now.  This space in our yard is almost overwhelming.

At the back of our driveway there is a huge hill that leads to the back yard. So far we have put down more mulch than you can imagine to make it look somewhat presentable. The slope makes it difficult to mow with a riding mower so that is the reason behind using mulch. When we purchased the mulch, all the times we purchased....the guy says "it will last you years!!!" Guess what? Nope. Never. happens. How about 6 months? Yep that is more like it.

This photo was taken in 2011. By July, grass had taken over the hill. While I can pull the weeds and grass out everyday, it just isn't enough. Needless to say I went a while without weeding and this is what we ended up with.

We knew we needed to get this mess cleaned up because the following weekend we were hosting a community gathering in our back yard and to be honest, this was embarrassing, there was no way we were having people over with this eyesore!
See the Mr. at the top up there, that is where the driveway begins. I was at the bottom looking up, so you can tell it is a really steep hill. The pipe you see there, we  the Mr. buried that during the process to divert the water from the downspout under the hill to the bottom of the hill to prevent erosion. Actually there is one on each side, the left and the right for the same reason.
This time we removed all the grass, cleared all the old mulch away and then placed a weed barrier down. Then came a huge dump truck and dumped the mulch at the top of the hill and spread it out ourselves.  Talk about a huge undertaking. This was a dirty job.
But in the end it looked great and most importantly we could now have our neighbors over. Here is the after, sorry about the photo is was taken just before dark. After all the hard work I almost forgot to photo the after. (This project took an entire weekend).
See much better!
Fast forward to this year, the weed removal has become a monthly task and even then it looks so horrible that something had to be done. Plus the mulch had broken down to the point where it looked discolored and thin. Also, because of the slope of the hill when a downpour of rain comes, it washes alot of it down the hill into the grass.
This is also the way the boys access the back yard so when it is wet, the mulch gets tracked all in the driveway and makes a huge mess. The weed barrier helped some but it got to the point where the weeds were growing to the weed barrier which did not help the situation. Oh and don't even get me started on the ant hill that almost ate us alive or the massive earthworms that scared me to  death! I am not kidding, they were so big I thought it was a baby snake the first time I pulled one up while pulling up the weeds!
For many reasons we needed to rethink the layout of this hill and come up with a better solution.
Our solution?
As I stated earlier, we pulled up the weed barrier and headed to Lowes to see what we could come up with.
Here it is!
#1: Driveway
#2: The top of the hill will now be a small area surrounded by a rubber lining barrier that will keep the pine needles in the bed and the grass out, we added 3 Hawthorne bushes and a small Butterfly bush and filled in with pine needles.
#3:The slope of the hill will now be seeded and will hopefully grow grass. Since the slope is steep the grass will need to be cut down by a weed eater or push mower instead of our riding mower but either way  I feel sure that this will be a better way to maintain this monster of a hill.
The look from the road is improved just by this small adjustment. Once the bushes fill out and get a little bigger is will be perfect!

In a week or so we will work the dirt and seed the area for grass and cover with straw. This time I look forward to seeing the grass grow on the hill!
Well, grass growing on the hill is out. The Mr. thought that would not work and to be honest, it really wouldn't. I mean look at that slope...would you want to mow it?
I didn't think so.
So the Mr. took off and bought plants, weed barrier and more pine needles to finish off this area. He worked past dark then finished it up the following afternoon. And believe me it looks so much better! And another plus...the boys cannot run down the hill because if you try to step in the pine needles with the slick weed barrier underneath you fall instantly on your butt! Trust me on that one!
Here is the after and final photo. Hopefully this is the end of this madness! (not even close...)
 Here is another view from the bottom of the hill.

And here is another angle..from the side. The rocks were there when we had the mulch down. So we just left them this time. There is a drain at the top of the driveway to allow the water to run under the hill and the rocks were placed in case the drain overflowed, the rocks would still hold the mulch in place and the water could go between the rocks to divert it instead of a waterfall situation.
Ok, so in the spring we called our landscaper to come and help us fix this eyesore (the cliff). To us it is no big deal. I mean as we enter our home we never see this side of the driveway but coming from the other direction, all you see is a cinder block wall. By the way, there is a curb along the edge of the driveway that prevents you from driving off the driveway and rolling your car into the neighbors yard.  However, we have had people fall off of it before..and bikes....and scooters...and crock pots....

Anyway, I'll spare you the details...
Here you can see just how much of a drop off we are dealing with.
Well, because of all the rain the spring and summer gave us we are now looking at this project being completed next week......lets just hope it doesn't rain!
While this is something that isn't a big deal to us, I feel sure the neighbors will appreciate it and I hope the people that buy our home will too!
Stay tuned for Part 2!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wine & Dine Wednesday!

Today this feature is well, lacking.

While the label attracted me to this bottle, what was inside turned me off really fast. But as you can see the bottle is almost empty so apparently the Mr. liked it?

We purchased this wine from Target a few months ago and it is for sure the worst one we have ever bought from there, in my opinion.

It lacks in the aroma and taste. Not a good mix of flavors if you ask me so next time I will pass on the Junebug.

Monday, October 7, 2013

We have a (talking) Snowman in our Refrigerator!

Not sure if any of you can say that! I personally do not know anyone who has a snowman in their frig, much less a talking one!

He is cute but don't let that fool you, he has an attitude.

The first time I opened the door to get yogurt for my oldest, it scared me to death! I mean who expects to hear "Is it cold in here or is it just me?" when you reach for your yogurt.
I jumped and our oldest just thought it was so funny!
Me, I thought it was funny and cute once I realized that he had put that snowman in the frig and set me up (the snowman came from Papa & Nana's house).

Mr. Snowman also has a cute little song he sings about keeping the door shut. But he also says "shut the door, you are letting out all the cold!"

If you continue to open the door a few times in row, like when you have kids that want something then change their minds so you have to open it a few more times ..... the attitude begins.

Mr. Snowman will say "You again!, I'm gonna have to put a lock on that door!"

Oh, no he didn't!

Yes, he did!

When I hear that it makes me want to pinch off his little carrot nose!

All funnies aside, it is a cute reminder to the kids to not stand with the door open. So for now he remains, but thank goodness he has an Off switch.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wine & Dine Wednesday

  We purchased this wine from World Market. The flavors of this wine are a mixture of black fruit, berries and plum with a hint of smoky spice. The bottle states that this wine is a perfect compliment to slow-roasted pork or ribs. 

This wine is not one that I would try again. I tried it before dinner and during, pasta, and it was not a good combination. I know that not pairing your wine with the correct dish can end with a horrible taste in your mouth (yes, pun intended!). Let me just say the remaining wine in my glass went down the drain.

If you try this one, try it with the suggested pork.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Simple Fall Mantel & Fireplace Decor

This year I wanted something simple and easy to remove/replace when cleaning. I am still on the lookout for the perfect item for the area above the mantel. It is a large area and I cannot decide if I need a mirror, clock or something else. I had a huge clock picked out but I am afraid that it would not stand out enough against the dark rock. What do you think I need?

On the right side of the mantel is a lantern that is a family heirloom and the wood decor I picked up from Hobby Lobby a while back.

On the left side of the mantel are candles in perfect fall colors.

On the bottom right side of the fireplace are an assortment of pumpkins. The large white one is one I picked up at Michaels last year. It was originally black. The 2 small white pumpkins I picked up at the dollar store last week, they were originally orange. I spray painted the pumpkins white. The gold pumpkin is one that I spray painted last year, also came from the dollar store. The small red and orange pumpkins came in a pack from Wal-Mart that I purchased about 3 years ago. The tall burlap tree, I made several years ago.

On the left is another burlap tree that I made and another white & gold pumpkin that I spray painted. The orange and red pumpkins came in that pack I mentioned above from Wal-Mart. The frame with the "P" I made myself and you can find that tutorial here. All the leaves were part of a garland that I cut to sections.
Just wanted simple and easy. I think I hit that spot on. I was not sure how the white pumpkins were going to fit in. Last year I did alot of black and honestly, it blended in with the rock on the fireplace too much. The rock is dark almost blue/black with lighter white/gold variations. The name of the rock is Black Regency. This time I wanted something that was going to stand out and contrast with the rock and this definitely does that!
Have you started decorating for fall?
Linking up with Savy Southern Style and Liz Marie Blog