Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Wrap Up & Year in Review

We traveled to my sister’s for Christmas again this year.  Rest assured, we sent Santa a note telling him we would not be in our own home.  Thankfully, he heard us :).  We had a fantastic time!  The current state of my home is beyond me right now.  I don’t know where to start with all the laundry, “stuff” that we are tripping over, and putting away Christmas decorations, so I will drink coffee and blog instead!

I have to admit that having a white Christmas and a nip in the air made everything feel so cozy and festive.  The dads and kids went sledding the first day we were there.  Had the sun not set, they would have stayed out there for hours!






Last year, because the weather was so mild, we took a sleigh ride that was more of a hay ride.  This year, we woke up on Christmas Eve, and it was snowing for our sleigh ride!  It was truly magical!  It was 17 degrees, the trees were snow filled, the horses had jingle bells on their bottoms, we were all cozied up under blankets, and it was snowing!  Truly an awesome memory to have with our family.






It’s back to reality now and I am so ready for the new year!  Something about a fresh start and looking forward to what is in store for us puts a smile on my face.  And I love organizing a new planner (everyone loves this, right)?  In 2012, we made our 6th move (to Kansas).  It’s hard to believe we will be in our new house for almost a year.  We are settled and this is home.  Of course, there are still so many projects on the horizon for our home.  I am hoping to tackle a master bedroom makeover this year, finish up the dining room, and spruce up our backyard space, along with several small projects.  In 2013, our oldest child will start kindergarten and Steve and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary (with a big trip)!  I hope you will stay tuned!

I’ve been blogging for two years now, with a total of 193 posts in 2012.  That’s a lot of words and ramblings!  Thanks for checking in!  I hope you have found something that has inspired you along the way.  I hope you already know that I like to keep this a positive place for myself and everyone who reads.  I never want to act or seem that our lives are perfect or that my house is never messy or that my kids never get on my nerves.  THAT IS NOT THE CASE!  I get to show you the positive things going on in our home because that is what I am sure you want to hear!  For example, this is what my house looks like right now…scary!













I still have a few Christmas related items to post about (better late than never, I guess)!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vintage Bar Cart

A few weeks ago, Steve, the kids and I went shopping in the West Bottoms on my birthday.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday…coffee and vintage shopping!  And, the best part is, I scored a great piece!


We have been in search of the right piece for our dining room niche for several months.  I didn’t want to just buy something to buy something, and I decided I would try to look for something that was not made of wood to keep the texture in the space interesting.  We already have a built-in buffet piece in our kitchen area where I store my china, glasses, etc, so I didn’t really need a lot of closed off storage space.

I turned the corner in one particular booth and saw a bunch of stuff being displayed on this gem of a bar cart.  The cart itself did not have a price on it, so I inquired.  The lady in the booth was hesitant to say it was for sale.  She even told me she was considering taking it back to her house.  She knew I was interested and asked if I would pay $95 for it.  SOLD, SOLD, SOLD!  She told me she was giving me a huge deal and she said it must be my lucky day because she could have sold it 100 times over that weekend.  I was trying to play it cool when she said the price…happy birthday to me!!


It is large, heavy, gold (obsessed), three glass shelves, curved handles, on wheels…I could go on and on about how much I love this piece!  It does not fill up the niche, but it is still a great size.  I will probably add a large plant/tree next to it and a large piece of artwork above it. 

Next up is styling this bad boy.  Here are a few inspiration photos that I am loving (all photos via Pinterest).  Loving all the color and texture these bar carts add to a space!







The dining room is still coming together and I am okay with that (one year later!).  I much prefer a thought out space, that evolves over time, that I really love, rather than a thrown together room that I half love.

Dining Room To-Do List:

piece of furniture for niche
Rug or no rug? (sort of siding towards a rug because of the dust on the dark hardwoods)
Paint the wall of the niche space or leave as is?
Window coverings for the front two windows (think I am going cell shades)
Style the bar cart
Large art piece for niche
Add something next to the bar cart (fiddle leaf fig?)
Have a dinner party!

You can see the entire progress of our dining room here.  Now I need to go shopping for some fun barware!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Snow Day & Some Holiday Decor

I am officially signing off until after Christmas!  We are traveling to my sister’s, so I am busy getting packed up and getting last minute things in order.  It did snow here yesterday, but it’s already starting to melt.  My sister, just 3 hours north of us, got dumped on!  We are taking our cold weather gear up there so the kids can go sledding and play in the huge mounds with their cousins.  What a difference 3 hours makes!

The kids in our backyard (Samson got in on the action too)…


And here is a picture of where we are going (my sister’s in Iowa).  It/s –1 wind chill right now.  Steve and I grew up with this, but after living in the south for 10 years, it is hard to revert back to this!photo (5)

I didn’t do a lot of holiday décor this year.  Last Christmas, while our house was being finished, we were living in a hotel room, so I did not have any decorations out.  This year, I kept it simple.  I already have a lot of red in my house, so it looks festive without putting much out!


pom garland 1




natural wreath 1



Best “winter” hand soap.  Period.


I designed our Christmas card this year and sent them to friends and family in 18 states!

card!!  Merry.everything!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Fun

Certainly at this point, my kids know I am a “blogger”.  The other night we were out looking at Christmas lights and I particularly liked the way one house looked.  Drew says to me, “Mom, why don’t you just take pictures and blog about it already.”  Yep, he knows me!

The festivities are in full swing around here.  Home Alone, Frosty the Snowman, and The Grinch have been watched, I hosted a little holiday get together and ornament exchange, we drove around to see Christmas lights, Drew has seen Santa, Christmas cards have been delivered, we’ve baked, decorated cookies, had preschool caroling, shopped/wrapped and we are hoping for snow tonight! 

I have one child who likes Santa, and one child who is terrified of adults in costume (not looking good for Disney any time soon :).  Drew busted Santa drinking Starbucks in his down time which he thought was pretty funny.  He looks so long here, I can’t stand it!


Goodies for Steve to take to work…


Santa and his elves by Drew Larson


Cookie decorating with preschool friends…


Santa’s beard is getting full!

photo (4)

Love having a real tree in the house.  We decorated in late November this year, and I am still enjoying the holiday decorations (I usually get sick of theme décor after a few weeks).


Amidst all these wonderful things, we are ever thoughtful of the people who lost loved ones in Newtown last week. I cannot even imagine.  Like all of you, I have a heavy heart and am counting my blessings this season.

More to come on the DIY tree skirt (above), teacher gifts, and Christmas decor around our house (there is not much!).  Hope you are all enjoying your festivities and your families, and as always, thanks for stopping by and reading my little blog.  I appreciate it more than you know.  :)

Lastly, a big thank you to Lil’ Luna and Barns & Noodles blogs for recently featuring my Funfetti Cake Batter Treats!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DIY Pom Garland

I wanted to make a little pom garland for my kitchen window for the holidays.  I think they are festive any time of year, but thought it was an especially good time to make one.

pom garland 1

This couldn’t have been any easier.  I bought one of those multipacks of poms from a craft store with a coupon, so they were super cheap.  I used a large needle and some fishing wire to string the poms.  I actually doubled up the fishing wire so the poms didn’t move around so much.  I used same-size poms and strung them in random color order.



My kitchen is pretty neutral, so this garland adds a nice pop of festive color!  After the holidays, I will be moving this to the toy room!

pom garland 1

In case you were wondering, the tin “eat” sign is from the vintage store Silo in Des Moines, IA.  I just love it.  The chevron valance is DIY!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I make these cookies every year, after trying and loving them at a cookie exchange when we lived in South Carolina.  They are festive and delicious!  This year, I made some for our neighbors, and I am getting ready to throw another batch in the oven for Steve to take to work.  These don’t last long, so make a lot!

cookies 1

White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups uncooked quick oats
white chocolate baking bars (I used vanilla flavored almond bark)

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add sugars and beat well.  Add egg and vanilla, beating until blended.  Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a separate bowl, and gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.  Stir in cranberries and oats.

Drop dough on greased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes.  Cool completely.  Microwave white chocolate and shortening together until chocolate melts (the package will tell you the ratio of chocolate to shortening).  Dip half of each cookie and place on wax paper until firm. 

*My sister made these this year and simply added white chocolate chips to the batter before baking to avoid the “dipping” step. 
*You can add toasted pecans if you like nuts.
*I always use a medium size ice cream scoop to when forming cookies.  It allows for even baking and is mess free!

cookies 3

cookies 2

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

“Dipped” Coffee Filter Number

This is the last post about Kate’s birthday party, I promise!  Then on to Christmas stuff!

I decided to make a large coffee filter number “4” to hang on the door for an additional decoration.  This was made over coffee (fittingly, right?) the morning before the party with supplies I had on hand:  a large piece of cardboard, coffee filters, glue gun, craft paint, and command strips.  I found this idea on Pinterest and put my own spin on it. 

coffee filter number 1

I free handed a large “4” on a piece of thin cardboard and cut it out.  This does not have to be perfect, as the coffee filters will hide any imperfections!


Now, start gluing!  This is the part that takes the longest.  I used the same technique I used on my coffee filter wreath.  The basic concept is to fold it in half and then half again, put a dab of glue on the bottom and push onto the cardboard.  You will start to get an idea of how close together to glue them after you do about 20.  The coffee filters will fan out so you don’t have to glue as tight together as you might think.


You can see in the photo above that I trimmed some of the filters down after gluing them on.  Some of mine were sticking up higher than others, so just trim across.

I wanted to add some pink on the ends, so I used craft paint and a paintbrush to “dip” the ends.



I would have probably preferred white coffee filters, but I already had several natural ones on hand and I like to use what I have.  Kate loved the extra little touch, especially because she is so proud of her new number!

You can find the rest of the party posts here…
Princess Tea Party Details, Iced Pound Cake Squares, Mini Pom Treat Bags

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