Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pin Picks I

Pinterest is so right up my alley. I find inspiration everywhere, and I love that I can keep it organized all in one place. Plus, when I finally get around to doing something, it is easy to find my ideas again.

To share my love of Pinterest I am starting a series, that I am calling Pin Picks.  I plan on posting every Friday.

Here are my recent pins that I picked up from around the web.

I couldn't find the original source, but the room was designed by David Jimenez



Try Something New

Please check out the rest of my pins by clicking on the Pinterest link on the sidebar.

What is your favorite pin that you found this week?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Make Unique Fall Vases

Fall has definitely come to my neck of the woods. Now that the weather is getting chilly, it was time to add a little bit of inspiration from the season to my home. Recently, I highlighted my fall decorating in a post here.

One of my favorite things I made this year was my fall table decoration. It was so easy, yet so unique looking.

First I started with a trip to the grocery store, and purchased the following items.

Then it was over to my favorite place to get affordable flowers, the floral department of the grocery store. (I talked about decorating with grocery store flowers here.) At first, I started to pick out several different combinations of flowers that were being sold in three stem bunches. Then, I saw a "fall floral bouquet" for only $8 dollars. Someone with a little more decorating style than me had already put together complementing flowers, and all I had to do was take apart the bouquet and group them the way I wanted for my project. Score!

I hollowed out the golden acorn squash and the butternut squash pretty easily, but the spaghetti squash was solid inside. It took a fair amount of digging with a spoon to make a hollowed out space.

I put the flower stems, from the grocery store bouquet, into floral water picks, and arranged them as I liked into my fall food vases.

I added a piece of burlap, that I had left over from a Thanksgiving project many years ago, to the table, to ground the arrangement. The golden acorn and spaghetti squash were a little wobbly on the table, so I cut off the bottom of each to make more of a flat surface. I put a small square of plastic wrap over the now exposed insides to try to prevent drying out. 

The acorns I came across while watching my son's soccer game. I placed them in a small bowl I normally use for dipping sauce.

Here are a couple more angles...

I love this floral arrangement and think it is a great improvement to my dining room.

Check out the link up with The Lettered Cottage, Serenity Now, and Centsational Girl

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Improve the House: Boy's Room

I am slowly working on the List I talked about here.

First up was my boy's bedroom. The plan for this room was:

Boy's Room
-Clean up closet
-Tidy desk
-Identify out-grown clothing

I started with talking my boys into putting on the clothes that I had saved from last year, to see if they could still squeeze into them. They responded to this with about as much enthusiasm  as if I declared I was redecorating their room with flower patterned curtains. I tried to tell them that we were having a fashion show, but being boys, this didn't interest them. Finally, I just gave up and bribed them with the chance to watch their favorite movie on DVD if they would give me a half hour of their time to try on clothes. This worked...bad bribing mommy!

Most of the clothes didn't fit them, and I wondered once again why I keep so many each year.

Where I am from we would call these pants High Waters.

I made a pile of clothes that no longer fit. I will donate these to a local store run by a service organization.

The summer clothes that I decided to keep were put in a bin to store in their closet.

I then released the boys from this clothes-trying-on-drudgery,  and they went off to watch their movie. I took advantage of the 92 minutes of quiet, and really set to work on getting their room back in shape.

The only thing that could be described as big in our small 1920's house (great charm, great location!) is my boy's closet. At the moment though, their stuffed animals had apparently exploded inside it.

After a quick tidying up, I could see the floor again.

Oh...such happiness!

I took all the bulky clothes out of their drawers and hung them in the closet.

The drawers were then nicely arranged. I had to take a picture because this is the last time they  will look like this.

Next up was tackling the desk. It quickly went from this.... this. My older son now has a place to do his homework.

I can now check the boy's room off the list.

Check out the Link Up to I Heart Organizing.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Decorate for Fall

Fall is in the air. I love the crispy weather and the beautiful clear blue skies. Watching the leaves change to their bright, brilliant hues is one of my favorite things all year.

It's time to decorate the house with a few fall themed items.

I decorated the table with gourds and squash that I hollowed out to use as vases for flowers. Click here for the tutorial.

The vase on the end table normally holds fresh flowers from our garden through the spring and summer months. Now that the weather has turned, wheat  is more fitting for the season.

I added the same thing to a vase on our bookcases in the living room. The painting is by one of my favorite older son.

Finally, I few items were added to the front porch. I will add more in a few weeks as the Halloween season approaches, so I kept it fairly simple for now.

Stay tuned for tutorials of how I made the decorations.

Check out the link up on The Inspired Room and Savvy Southern Style

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Improve the House List

I mentioned here about the current state of my house. It's a mess. So I made a plan to improve the house. I hope to spend about 1-2 weeks on each room, but we will has a nasty habit of getting in the way sometimes.

So this is the plan...

Boy's Room
-Clean up closet
-Tidy desk
-Identify out-grown clothing

Master Bedroom
-Get rid of piles of papers
-Order new TV stand
-Get accessories to decorate the room
-De-clutter the closets
-Find art for the room

Living Room
-Make slip covers for the couch and chairs

-Get rid of the clutter
-Designate space for everything
-Tidy up the kid's cubbies
-Organize toys/bags/sports equipment

-Make curtains
-Clean out cabinets
-Organize pantry
-Find designated place for mail and other paperwork
-Edit pencils and pens
-Clean out bins of paper

Dining Area
-Add new light fixture and buffet table

Family room
-De-clutter all toys
-Organize desk area
-Decide what board games are really played with
-Add any needed decorations
-Put pictures back up

Wow that is a long list! But I need to do it. I am keeping my focus on how great my house will look once I am done.  It will be so organize that I will know where everything is at all times! A girl can dream. I will keep everyone updated as I progress.

I can't wait to start checking off these boxes.

What rooms need improvement in your house?

Check out the link up at Not Just a Housewife, and I Heart Organizing.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Clean Up My House

My house is officially a mess. Some of this is due to the formerly relaxed pace of summer and to the current hectic life that the start of school creates. But mostly it is due to laziness on my part! I let mail to be sorted stack up for a few days, put the kid's many toys in a corner of their room instead of the bins designated for them that are two floors down, or let laundry pile up because by the end of the day I am just tired.
But while in the short term this "putting it off till tomorrow" mentality gets me what I really need (i.e. sleep), in the long term I look around my cluttered, disorganized house and feel STRESS.
So I am making a list...did you expect anything else...detailing all the steps I need to do to get my house under control. My first impulse is to spend several days working round the clock and just get it done. But then I remember that I have work, kids activities, and sleep that I need to fit into my schedule, so I know I won't be able to give such a large chunk of my time. Also, I keep telling myself that Rome was not built in a day, and neither will my house be perfect in the same amount of time. I am putting the finishing touches on my plan and will share it with you tomorrow.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Read a Good Book: September Twitterature Link Up

Today I am participating in a link up with the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy. In this link up, called Twitterature, bloggers are asked to create short, Twitter-style reviews of their recent reads.

I recently finished organizing the bookshelves in our home. Check it out here. One of them is the bookcase in my boy's room. Now that they are in elementary school, I let them decide how they wanted to store the books. They choose to group them by author, subject and reading level.They felt so proud of themselves after we all finished putting the books on their shelves. I hope that now that they have a little ownership in this project, they will be proactive in keeping it tidy...a mom can dream, right!

So in honor of my boys newly organized bookshelves, for this month's Twitterature link up with the Modern Mrs. Darcy, I am going to feature books that my elementary age boys read this month.

I've been reading a chapter a night to the boys from the Percy Jackonson series by Rick Riordan. We are now on book 2. It is a very fast pass, high action story. We all enjoy reading these books.

After we started reading the Percy Jackson series, one of my sons became interested in greek mythology. We discovered the series Tales from the Odyssey by Mary Pope Osborne on a display at the library, and he is now on book 4. As a big fan of the Magic Tree House series, these books were a great way to introduce him to the story of Odesseus.

For my other son, the sports nuts, he read the Million Dollar Shot by Dan Gutman. He really got into the story and quickly read the others in the series including the Million Dollar Putt and the Million Dollar Kick.

As for me, this month I read:

MWF seeks BFF by Rachel Bertsche
A story about one women's search for a new best friend. It reminded me of when I moved to a new city and needed to restart my social circle.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
A very inspiring read. The book gave me a few ideas on small changes I could make to improve my life.

Ladies' Nights by Mary Kay Andrews
I read other books by this author and liked them. But I just couldn't get into this book. The women in the story were just a little too angry and out for revenge for my taste in what is suppose to be a light chick lit book. Though the main character is a blogger, so the part about her work was interesting for me to read.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fill Up the Calender

The lazy days of summer are over.

I am already starting to miss my favorite day on the calendar...


See how it is blissfully empty. Not one thing planned. It was a day for us just to do whatever we wanted.

Now that school has started, this is what a day on the calendar looks like.


The craziness has begun.

For years I used a paper calendar that was small enough to fit in my purse. I still prefer this method. But as the kids got older, and the schedules got more jammed packed, I needed other people (namely my husband and possibly a babysitter) to also have access to the calendar.

So I switch to an online version. Currently, I use the free version of It works very well for me. I can easily add events that repeat on the calendar, and I can color code each person to keep it all organized. I also like that when my husband is making his own plans, he can easily look up the calendar on the website and see if it works into the family schedule. It was a great improvement  in our household to at least attempt to tame some of the craziness.

And confession...I do still print it out on paper monthly and hang it on the refrigerator. Old habits are hard to break.

What form of calendar do you use?

Check up the link up on Serenity Now

Monday, September 9, 2013

Read for Improvement: Part 3

Today I am showcasing the author A.J. Jacobs. He built his career on spending a year or two working on one goal in an effort to better himself. This guy really takes improvement to the extreme.

I have read three of his books now over the years.

The first I happened upon in the bargain bin of a bookstore several years ago. I picked it up as a gift for my husband. He loves to share random trivia...I am sure he would do it at cocktail parties if we went to them. I would love to spend a year reading the encyclopedia (do they still have it in book form?), but doubt I would have the time. Now after reading the book, I have learned all sorts of interesting facts, and it only took me about 2 weeks to get through this book. Score!

I recently picked up two more of this author's books when I heard Jacobs was planning to give a talk at the local college in my town.

This was definitely an interesting book. I learned a lot about religion that I didn't know. Jacobs really dedicated himself to this subject matter by changing the way he dressed and the way he interacted with people. The beard though was definitely all in...all I have to say is his wife must be a very tolerant women.

This is the third book from this author that I read. It was probably my favorite so far. I learned a lot of great tips on ways to keep healthy. But I would like to think I definitely worked my abs with all the laughing I did at the crazy things Jacobs tries in his attempts to get healthy from head to toe and inside and out.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Find New Uses for Binder Clips

A friend of mine recently gave me several binder clips as a small gift. I was definitely intrigued when I first saw them. Before I always thought of these as utilitarian things that held stacks of paper together. But these were really pretty! I quickly set to work thinking up all the ways I could use them.

I started using them to hold close opened bags of food.

Then I got the idea to clip them to the sides of the trash can to keep the bag from slipping down whenever I put something inside.

Next up was using them to clip together envelopes that I needed to remember to put in the mail.

The best use was clipping together the various items for my children's binder clip per child. This made it so easy to find the dry change of clothes in my normally chaotic pool bag after a day spent swimming.

It was amazing how a few colorful binder clips made such an improvement.

What are the ways you would you use these clips?

Check out the link up on Serenity Now, The Dedicated HouseMy Love for Words, The Pink Pagoda and I Heart Organizing