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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Most-Pinned Item From My Blog And Free Printables

Do you remember this post about the re-do we did in our kid's bathroom a while ago?

 You may be surprised to find out (as I was) that the most pinned image from this blog on Pinterest is this one of the wall art I DIY-ed.

So I figured why not give this word art away as free printables!

You can download all four words HERE. (You DO NOT have to sign up for box to be able to download them.) They are 8x10, but for the bathroom I printed them as 5x7's and matted them in inexpensive 8x10 frames.

I will tell you that they are you might want to save them and have them printed somewhere instead of doing them yourself. Your choice.


** For personal use only. Not intended for resale. **

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Taming Kitchen Counter Clutter

First things first.....HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!!!!

Are we all excited, or what?  We knew it would get here if we were just patient, right?
And now, as I see it, things can only get better....or at least warmer!

So today I wanted to share something that I have a bit of trouble counter clutter. In my case, just one particular part of my counter. You can see from this picture I took back in September that this peninsula counter in our kitchen gets lots of action.

**Disclaimer - The counter was looking particularly horrible on this day. It doesn't always look quite that bad.

You see, it's right inside our back door. So it just becomes the drop spot for everyone to leave their stuff when they come in....besides all the papers that come home from school and in the mail. It is also my command center since that's where the phone is.

Over the years, I have tried different "filing" systems in this spot to try and tame all the paper. Usually they work for a while, but then get so stuffed and out of control that I can't stand to look at them! Then what usually happens is that we will be having company (the peninsula is usually our buffet area too) and so I will stuff the "filing system" in a closet....and will forget about it until I need to go looking for something that is in the files.

That's what happened last week. And when I looked at my nice clean, uncluttered counter I started thinking that maybe I need to come up with a new tactic in order to keep it looking nice.

So here is my new three-step plan.

STEP ONE:  Keep it simple. No elaborate filing system needed. If I keep things simple I will be more likely to maintain the order.

STEP TWO: Make it pretty. My eyes like pretty. If it looks good I will want it to stay that way.

STEP THREE: And this is the real key.... Handle papers as they come in and don't let things pile up. Now sometimes that is easier said than done, but I am going to make more effort to do this. Even now, since I took these photos, there is a little pile of papers that includes some coupons which I need to put in my purse, a birthday party invitation that I need to RSVP to, and one or two other things. I have to keep on top of it.  

This is what I came up with for now. I used this lazy Susan that I purchased on my recent trip to IKEA as kind of a tray to contain things. I added the phone and other important items for this area, like note paper and pens and pencils for messages. This is also the spot where I charge my iPad so the charging cord needed to be here too. Then I added the pretty with a plant and this little robin statuette. Simple. Pretty. And hopefully easy to maintain.

I have also decided that I still need to maintain some files for some important paperwork, but I need to find a more inconspicuous place to keep this so I don't have to hide it every time we have guests over. I hope to give my desk area a little makeover in the coming months so that will be part of that project.

So that's my plan and hopefully I can stick to it. Sometimes you just have to rethink what isn't working and find a better way that makes more sense for how you really live your life.

Do you have a clutter trouble spot in your home? Hopefully my plan will help you think about how you can improve that space and make it work better for you.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Four Things For Friday 3.14.14

Good Friday Morning Everyone!

It's been kind of slim pickin's on the blog here lately, but if you've been dying to know what's on my mind, here are today's Four Things!

1.)  I have promised myself I will not write one more blog post that contains comments on Winter weather. (Thus, the quiet here.)  I'm done. The end.

2.) My sweet white tulips from last week are unfortunately also done. I've replaced them with some faux daffodils for the time being. As faux flowers go, these daffodils I got at WalMart ($3/bush) are pretty nice, I think.

(What do you think about the word "faux?" Is it really better than just calling something fake?")

3.) Our son who is wheelchair dependent has figured out that in June he will be old enough to get his temporary permit to drive. Help me, Lord! That will take a miracle on so many levels. But who am I to squash his dreams? ( He also wants to manage a professional baseball team, preferably the Cleveland Indians) In the meantime, Hubster has begun quizzing him on traffic laws. OY!
4.) Remember that old song.....
            Make new friends, but keep the old.
         One is silver, and the other gold.
Today, Mom, Sal, and I are having lunch with a couple dear old friends. Then tomorrow evening, we are having some new friends over for dinner. It should be fun!
I hope that whatever your plans are that you have a great weekend!

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Weekend, Sisters, And Another Favorite Blog

Sisters, Sisters.
There were never such devoted sisters.

My sister, Sal, and I used to sing that song (from White Christmas) when we were kids. I'm not so sure we meant it as much then as we do now. We argued and pulled each other's hair back then. But I'm so thankful that these days I am able to count her as one of my best friends in the whole world. 

My kids adore their Aunt Sal too. (Oh, and don't call her Aunt Sally. My Mom referred to her as Sally the other day and they were like, "HUH?") For a couple Christmases now their gift from Aunt Sal and her family has been some kind of party at her house. One year was a pizza-making party, but usually it's cookie-baking. Saturday was the day for this year's big party and the kids were so excited.

(Shhh, don't tell....i just totally stole these photos from her Facebook wall.)

And not only is this a gift for the kiddos, but Hubster and I get a few hours out of it for a date too. We got to go out for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant and go browsing around an antique mall. (That Hubster, he knows the way to my heart!)

I've said it before and I'll never stop saying it....I am blessed.

Besides being an awesome sister and aunt, Sal is also a blogger. In fact, she's the one who encouraged me to start my own blog.

Sal blogs at Drinking From My Saucer ['Cause My Cup Has Overflowed]. She writes about all kinds of topics related to home and family. She shares stories, recipes, organizing and home tips, crafts, bargain shopping.....a little bit of everything.....all with wisdom and wit. 

I adore her and I know you will too. Stop by and tell her I sent you!
Hope you had a great weekend too!

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sharing A Little Spring With You

Yesterday when I was at the grocery store, these tulips called out my name.

I gave in and bought them because, wow, aren't they beautiful? And besides, who couldn't use a little dose of Spring right about now?

And they've been making me smile ever since I brought them home yesterday, so I thought I would share them with you.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The March Chalkboard Calendar

It's time for the March calendar!

I know....I'm a little late. What's new?

Funny story.....

The other day my son asked my when I was going to do the March calendar.

He said, "It won't be hard this month. You just have to add a couple numbers."

I was like....huh?

"What do 'ya mean? I have to re-do the name of the month and then I have to erase all the numbers and start all over again for a new month!"

"No you don't! You just have to add 29, 30, and 31!"

All of the sudden it finally hit me. He was right! February and March always start on the same day of the week....except in Leap Year.

"My son," I said, "I love you and you are the smartest boy in the whole world!"

I would have been SO kicking myself if I had erased that whole calendar!

And that's my boy, always thinking, especially when it has to do with numbers.

So, the month of March has arrived! Home to the first official day of Spring (even if it doesn't look like it outside!), Spring Break, and March Madness. (I never knew what March Madness was until I lived in Indiana. Those Hoosiers LOVE their basketball!)

Do you have big plans this month? I hope your March is off to a good start!

** If you'd like to see our chalkboard calendar from other months, you can click on the Our Monthly Chalkboard button over here in the sidebar.**  -------->
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Adding Color To A Room For The Seasons

It's no surprise that I like to decorate for the seasons.  Besides making our home festive for holidays and the different seasons, it always makes me feel good to have some change in my life every once in a while.

Even though I sometimes have holiday decorations that I use, mostly I make changes with color. Today I thought I would share some of the simple things I use to add color to my rooms.

Before I do that, I want to give you two tips that I think give seasonal color punch in a room.

First, I think having a neutral background for your color makes a huge difference. It took me a long time to 1.) figure this out, and 2.) actually make this happen in our home. Over time, with used furniture finds, hand-me-down furniture, and a couple new pieces I have been able to accomplish this. It didn't happen overnight. It took time and patience. But I think in our main rooms we are finally to that place.

Second, if your going to add seasonal color to a room, I think it makes more impact if you stick with a certain color palate. For February, I used  red and turquoise. In the Fall I usually go with orange and yellow. So once you've decided on a color scheme, start gathering things from around your house in those colors.

Here are the four most common things I use to add seasonal color to a room.

I LOVE using dishes to decorate with. There are so many pretty choices. You can go with solids or patterns or shaped dishes like the leaf plates above. To me, it's like adding art to my room. I use plates, bowls, platters, cups, saucers, pitchers all over the place! HomeGoods and TJMaxx are my best sources for dishes, hands down.

You can make a lot of color impact in a room with pillows. There are beautiful ones out there, but they can be outragiously expensive. HomeGoods and Target are great sources. For example, I found the red heart pillow in "The Spot" at Target for about $3. You can also get creative by making your own pillow covers like I did with the red striped ones. They cost me a fraction of the price as similar ones I saw online.

I must confess that I have a bit of a candle issue. I have a lot of them and I have to keep myself from buying more. But candles and candle holders are a SUPER easy way to add some color to a room. You can use colored candles or jazz up a plain white pillar like I did for Valentine's Day. Get creative.  My most favorite candles are actually the jar candles from Bath & Body Works. They have great long-lasting scents and colors, plus their pretty labels often have seasonal looks. Watch for them to be on sale occasionally and be on the lookout for other candles on clearance as well, especially after a holiday

Using things from the outdoors can often add a burst of color to a room besides adding texture as well. And I use that term "living things" loosely because sometimes I use real live things and sometimes I use faux.

Here are some examples....

* fresh or faux flowers 

* potted plants or bulbs

* pinecones

* fresh or faux fruits and vegetables (like lemons in Summer and pumpkins in Fall.)

* forced branches

* wreaths made of greenery

* pine clippings in Winter

So there you go, some simple tips from me on how to add color to your room.....especially if you like to change things up a bit every once in a while and don't want to spend a fortune.

Linking this post up to The Scoop #108 at Stone Gable.

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