Thursday, December 31, 2009

And so begins the purge...

It's time to get happy! And nothing makes me more happy then having a clutter free home. The new year is upon us and while I normally do not make New Year's resolutions I am this year.

2010 is going to be my year of organization and simplfying my life. I am quite an organized person normally but life does get in the way for me as I am sure it does for you and I find myself knee hip deep in junk. My office aka "the abyss", needs a major overhaul. Some of you have had the opportunity to burn your eyes out with hot coals view this space but I just can't bring myself to post a picture until it is completely clutter free and looking more like an office should.

Once this room is clean and organized I will be able to breath, the world will be still and everything will be as it should be. I will be able to get The Hubs to build me my desk and maybe some shelves. Oh the infinite amount of ways I can decorate this corner of our house that is all my own. The office isn't the only space we will be organizing, oh no trust that I am doing an entire overhaul of the whole house. I started on our master closet and I have (2) 18 gallon bins full of clothes to give away to Goodwill. Sorry for the fuzzy pic's, this was taken from my camera phone.

Wow, they really are right when they say that different camera's take different pictures and colors can get distorted. Our bedroom walls look lavender and they are SOOO not that color at all (I am not that cruel to The Hubs).

We also decided that the space in our laundry room above our upright freezer is wasted space. We need to maximize ALL the space we can since we do not have a garage or shop yet. 'J' built shelves and so instead of packing up the Christmas decor into floppy and broken cardboard boxes once again we will be utilizing clear storage bins. Fred Meyer had 66 quart containers with locking lids on sale for $5.99. I picked up 4 (for now). We just have too much stuff and that is really all it is-STUFF! We combined two fully stocked households and then got married and received more items so it is about time to throw out our "old" stuff and make room for the new.

So whether you are like me and don't make New Year's resolutions or you are like many who vow to do something, make something better year after year please just remember do whatever makes you happy. 2010 is going to be a terrific year and for me it's going to be full of happiness (cleanliness and organization). Happy New Year! I will see you all in the next decade!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Hubs ROCKS!!

My husband is the most generous, kind human being I have ever had the privileged to know. He is a math and science whiz, he is intelligent, warm and funny. And even though he is impossibly smart he is unassuming. To boot, he also has an amazing ability to fix anything and create anything he puts his mind to.
There are several pieces of furniture that I have on "the list", you know the honey-do list. Bless his giant heart; he doesn't have a shop yet and still he managed to make two pieces for me this year for Christmas. For quite some time now I have been bugging him to tell me what he was making because I just don't like surprises. I am a control freak even when it comes down to surprising me with the most beautiful of things. Yes, it's a sickness-I know! To deter the bloodhound (me) from his scent he told me that it was nothing that I asked for and you know what...I BELIEVED HIM!! HA!
This is a hope chest (unstained) that we were planning on putting our guest book from the wedding in. You see, we had our guests sign cedar boards knowing that eventually we will incorporate them into the hope chest. I love it!!

This is my corner hutch that will take permanent home in our dining room. I am completely and utterly blown away.

This piece is gorgeous! It still needs glass in the doors, a wine rack on the bottom and my dark cherry/mahogany stain but it is absolutely perfect! That corner of our house was begging for this piece. I am incredibly blessed with an amazing husband that loves me enough to keep certain things a secret. It was well worth the wait and losing a tiny bit of my control. I love you Babe!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Entertaining

Last Sunday's holiday soiree was a lot of fun. I am very grateful that 'J' and I are able to put this on every year. I planned my menu months ago and had been dreaming of what it would all look like and taste like. The best part of any party is the company but a close second would be the food. We had a total of 14 people over and I really couldn't have asked for a better night except one of the family members had flu-like symptoms and wasn't able to make it. We sure missed her but I made sure to pack up a small plate of food for her to have when she felt well enough to eat.

The first thing I do when I plan any event is figure out the location; this was easy since we always host this party at home. We enjoy entertaining at home; it allows us to share our world with those we love and not to mention it makes it easier for preparing the food. Speaking of food, I then decide on the menu and try to consider (or remember) any dietary needs of my guests. If you don't know it is always good to reach out and ask. I also like to send guests home at the end of the party with a gift, usually homemade, so cookies or a "sweet ending" is the route I usually take. This year it was "Marshmellow Bark". I have left over's so I will be bringing them into work tomorrow.

What's Cooking:
Pretzel sticks
Chipotle Honey Mustard dip from Target
Veggie tray: cucumber, celery and carrots with Onion Soup dip
Andes Mints (a must have in our house)
Main Course-
Pork Tenderloin
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Brussel Sprouts
Generic dinner rolls
Meatballs in BBQ sauce
Gluten Free yellow cake with chocolate frosting (for T-ugh, I hope it was decent)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

I try to prepare items that I haven't ever made before but meatballs in BBQ sauce is also staple in our house. The Hubs would be entirely too upset if those didn't make the menu. In addition, I also try to keep it simple. You don't want a "stuffy" feeling party, especially in your own house, and leave guests feeling awkward. Also speaking of awkward, no matter how stressed you are and busy preparing for the shindig remember to greet each guest with a smile and a warm greeting. You don't want to give the impression that you are stressed and in turn make them feel uncomfortable and out of place. I know that this sounds like a no-brainer but I have to admit that I am not well at hiding how I am feeling (you can read it like a billboard across my forehead) and it takes a ton of effort to come back after you have given the impression that your guests are not welcomed.

This Christmas season really slipped away from me faster than Speedy Gonzales. I had so many intentions and ideas and when it came down to it I wasn't as prepared as I had hoped. Here is a picture of the buffet table before the food was served. This is our normal dining room table and we just moved it to the wall to provide a decorative area for food.

Here is a picture of the tables we used for dining that night. I jazzed them up with simple tablecloths from the grocery store (paper with a liner on the backside), my hurricane vases from the wedding stuffed with worship candles (also found at the grocery store, believe it or not) and some festive "diamonds" in my color scheme around the base of the hurricanes. Like I said before, I had tons of ideas to decorate but just simply ran.out.of.time.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I have an amazing, to.die.for (faux) fur vest that I can't wait to put on. I normally wouldn't talk about clothes on this blog (although I talk about clothes and shoes contantly) because that is not what this is about but I just couldn't contain myself. SQUEAL!! Here is a picture of it that I found at JCPenney's.

I have died and gone to heaven folks! I have sought after this vest for several months now and finally took the plunge. It's gorgeous but originally was for $90.00 (YAWOOZA) but it was my lucky day last Saturday because I got it for $45.00. Since I had saved a bundle I decided to get a sweater and pencil skirt to go with it. Why is it that because we saved on one item we feel it is necessary to buy more?!?! In all reality, I didn't save because the price of the whole outfit was the same total as the vest prior to the sale. Either way though I feel so fancy (said like "Foncy" for Isa). I hope that you are all spending time with loved ones and making memories to last and maybe you were able to snag a Christmas present for yourself like I did.


Monday, December 21, 2009

And it rained for 40 days and 40 nights!!

Do you like the title?!?! It sure seems like it has been raining for 40 days and 40 nights but in actuality it has only been a week. A week of rain however, can cause some damage just ask our UPS driver. He got stuck in our driveway tonight and he has been there for over an hour. He is SOOO stuck! While the husband tends to the UPS guy some more I decided I would get in a quick post.

***Update: Our UPS drive kept digging himself deeper and deeper that by the time the semi tow truck came to pull him out (over 3 hrs later) it took him a good 30 minutes to get him out***

This last weekend was an extremely busy one for our house. I had last minute Christmas shopping to get done, grocery shopping for 2 (yes 2) Christmas parties, a really good housecleaning and I wanted to get a few crafts done as well.

Friday night, after work, Maude (my Saint Bernard) and I had the house to ourselves. My husband had boys night out to the hockey match. It was the perfect time to get a few items checked off my list. I made my shopping list from the list of recipes I would be making for the parties, I made a few more fun color crayons (I showed you on an earlier post) for the kiddos and I made two sugar scrubs for last minute gift ideas for anyone.

First, I found these jars at Walmart for $2.97 so I picked up 4 of them.

Then you combine 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of vegetable oil and a few drops of essential oil. I bought massage oil (essential oil included) from Bath and Body Works. I doubled my batch because I was going to make 2 of them.

You mix it together and voila! I put it in the jars and tied a red ribbon around it; to make it more festive I may hot glue jingle bells onto the ends of the ribbon but I haven't quite decided on that.

After spending countless hours running all over Spokane (11 stores total) on Saturday, I came home and basically crashed but not before I pulled this off.

I received this tin decor piece months ago from a good friend (Thanks Lori) and it was just meant to have twigs and branches of sort sticking out of it. I found these frosted branches at Michael's; they were normally $7.99 (a bunch of 3) but they were 50% off so I picked up 2 sets. I put a couple foam pieces that I cut to size in the bottom then stuffed the branches in. I also added white tissue paper to cover the foam and make it prettier. It literally took 5 minutes and it is wonderful. The color green works great with my decor this year. I may spray paint the tin white so I can use it year round but for now it's just perfect!

Yesterday morning, the day of one of the parties, I woke early and The Hubs was still in bed, as was our dog so I decided to bust out a craft real quick before the chaos ensued. I took my wooden picture frames from Michaels ($2.99 ea) and with a flat head screwdriver I bent the metal holders on the backside flush with the back of the frame.
I then took an already made cork board ($3.50 after 40% off coupon at Michael's) and cut out the cork and cardboard backing to fit my frame. I then hot glued it to the frame so that the cork side was in the frame cut out if you were looking at it head on. Then I took corks from wine bottles, Thanks again Lori!!, and hot glued them inside to create a cork trivet.

Super cute and very effective. We used them at the party to put a hot pan on them.

I will be making a couple more to keep on hand for gifts throughout the year. Well it wasn't long after I finished that the house was awake and it was time to prepare for the festivities. I will be back later this week to show you the tables, share the recipes and the good and the bad.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jingle bell runner!!

Okay, so for the craft I promised earlier that I discovered in a magazine. I found it in Good Housekeeping and felt adventurous enough to try it. After all it didn't require any sewing on my part-Score! And it didn't look that difficult...HA!

Mine turned out alright but not perfect like theirs. First they tell you to cut a piece of fabric (heavy duty like felt or wool) the size of the runner you want. I went out after work on Friday and because it is the Christmas season everywhere was a ZOO! I had lost all patience for people in general and just wanted to get home so I told the lady at the counter to just cut 2 yards of red felt, thinking it should be plenty. It's a little short...

Then it says about 4 inches up from the runner's bottom and three inches in from the edge (well you know mine isn't large enough for this), cut a 1/2 inch pair of vertical cuts three inches away from the first set. Make another pair of vertical cuts three inches away from the first set of slits. Thread a 1/2 inch velvet ribbon through the slits. Punch a hold through the fabric to insert the end of the ribbon. Tie bells onto the end of the ribbon for a jingly finish.

Okay, so I know where I went wrong. First, I didn't have the directions with me when shopping and just the idea of what was needed (felt, velvet ribbon and bells). It's important to take note the measurements of the ribbon because well it's imporatant as you will soon see. So I couldn't exactly follow their instructions because well first the felt was too short, my ribbon was not the right kind and my bells were slightly too small to push the ribbon through without destroying the ribbon. I decided to make do with what I had anyway and I would creat a version similar but not perfect.

Here are some pictures of my very imperfect runner for a very perfectly imperfect girl...

Well now that I have botched that what else can I get these hands of destruction on!?!?! Maybe some wreaths I plan to give to some co-workers for Christmas. I joke, but really if I were terrible at everything then I wouldn't still be attempting this type of stuff. I always ruin something when I do not take my time and think that I know better than anyone else. I've never been the best at reading instructions...ha ha ha.

These wreaths are actually really easy as long as you have a glue gun. First I grab liked colored items and place them on the premade wreath form to get an idea of what I want it to look like when it is complete. I tend to stick to simple designs and leave room for the owner to either add a ribbon or other items that will work with their Christmas themes. Although sometimes I do go crazy and put items everywhere I didn't do that here.

Once you have pre-placed the items where you want them to be then it's just dobs of hot glue and pushing it into place. If the item has a wire stem or just a wire at all it is best to try to wrap it around the metal ring on the wreath but if not, hot glue should work just fine-at least it always has for me in the past. Here is another one...

Here are the pics of the final looks...

I just fluff them a bit and they are ready to hang. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend like I did. This imperfect (ha ha ha) girl is truly content with how she spent the weekend. Now I have to get back to real know, laundry, dishes and vaccumming-the inlaws are coming! Yikes! :)

Patty Cake, Patty Cake...Bakers (Wo)Man

I spent the majority of yesterday baking. It was absolutely wonderful!! First I had plans to meet my dear friend to help with her baking for a cookie exchange she had been invited to. I told her about this wonderful recipe that I found on Sarah's blog If you haven't checked out Sarah's site I encourage you to. She is funny and amazing at home decor and pretty much anything she wants to tackle.

My friend didn't want to spend hours slaving in the kitchen making batter because let's face it we all have more exciting things to do and besides she had to make 5 DOZEN COOKIES!! Holy! That's a ton of cookies folks, I don't blame her at all. The recipe I found was soooo easy because the cookies were already premade (Pillsbury). Before I headed out to help though I wanted to bring along a surprise for her 2 1/2 year old daughter who I absolutely adore.

I found this idea here. It was the perfect fun idea I was looking for. I could also use it for the nieces and nephew when they come over for our Christmas party this year. Score!! Thanks Lindsay!! Seriously, check out her site also. Both of these women are absolutely creative and crafty!!

Here are pictures of what mine looked like...

It was extremely difficult for me to get the wrappers off of the crayons so 'J' decided that I should soak them in a bowl of water to see if it would help. And it did...on most of them.

They turned out great! I put them in a white paper bag (I have tons left over from the wedding) and put some holiday stickers on it and wrote her name on them as well. It's a super easy craft!

After I was finished helping my friend with her cookies; well mostly playing with her daughter, not so much helping-Sorry; I came back home and decided that I would make Mr. Wonderful (my husband) cookies also. He loves plain sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles-easy enough. I also decided to make beer bread. I had a box of batter from Pampered Chef but instead of regular beer bread, which is delicious, I was going to substitute beer for sparkling cider and add in chopped apple, walnuts and cinnamon/caramel sprinkles (also from Pampered Chef). I might take the bread to work with me tomorrow. Here are some pic's of my two cooking adventures...

Easy cookies from a package:

A different version of beer bread:

Next up are some Christmas crafts I also did. It was a truly busy, busy weekend. I love it when I stay busy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree, part 2

Seriously!! Seriously!! For the love of all that is good in this world; I am itchin, twitchin and breaking out with hives. This tree is something straight out of another dimension.

I love a theme; whether it be with color, a particular item or a favorite team/food/sport/car etc...this "thing" 'J' calls a Christmas tree is seriously going to give me nightmares. As discussed previously, I get a tree (the best tree EVER) and 'J' gets a tree-wah wah wah ;)

"J's" tree is always a real one, it is always in the living area and it is ALWAYS covered in a variety of items. First we covered the tree with colored lights and then we started adding decorations.
At first I tried to position the god awful looking items in some sort of fashion but it really wasn't going to help (who am I trying to kid), so I then just randomly placed items where ever. Here is a picture of the whole tree and then to follow will be pictures of certain essential decorations.

So he has the typical colored bulbs; red, blue, silver, green, gold and purple but then he adds other items like the skunk

and then the firetruck, the tractor, the bowling pin and an elephant...

Folks, this is why I will be screaming in terror tonight; this tree is something else. Here are some more photos for your amusement.

Why yes, that is a giant squid attacking a Christmas bulb; your eyes are not playing tricks on you.

Oh and the cherry on top, well it's not typical either (why would it be)...'s a moose. on. iceskates. But seriously people, I joke and rough "J" up but it's actually sweet the way he wants his tree--I love you Babe! It is very unconventional and he loves everything random, odd and interesting and that makes me love him even more. And besides he does great work everywhere else; check out the lights outside.

He lined our entire picket fence (trust me when I say it took 7 boxes-45ft each to complete) and also put white lights (my FAV!) on a maple tree (picture didn't turn out-Sorry).

This is the arbor he built for us to stand under at our wedding ceremony. He later moved it to outline the fence and walkway in the front yard. Every time we walk under it to get to our house it makes us both reflect on that day and smile. We are very blessed!!!