Thursday, November 28, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Be Thankful and Show Gratitude

Thankful Printable - All In Good Twine

Free Printable from All In Good Twine
As Thanksgiving approaches, I have been thinking a lot about how this holiday is about showing your gratitude for all the good things in life. Sometimes when I am too busy and stressed out by all that is happening in a day, I focus too much on the negative, and it does take me a moment to remember that it is not all bad and that there are still things to be thankful for.
Recently, I have been trying to instill this positive trait with my children. My sons are at the age where if you ask them what happened at school that day they will say that not much went on, and then be done with the conversation. So I have started saying to them, "Tell me one good thing that happened." This always gets the wheels turning in their heads, and they come up with some great insights into their day. I hope it shows them that there are many moments in life that they can be thankful for and to practice expressing their gratitude for them every day.
Melissa over at The Inspired Room recently shared a list of her families 20 Little Attitudes of Gratitude. As she says, "By making a list of 20 attitudes we can work on and putting them into practice, we can make our homes a much happier place to be not only for Thanksgiving but every day of the year." Make sure to check it out  the list here.
I am going to set aside sometime after dinner one night this week, so we can all brainstorm, as a family, our own gratitude list. I don't know if we will come up with twenty for our list, but I think just the act of discussing it and writing it down will improve everyone's attitude. Plus, it will definitely put us into a very grateful Thanksgiving mood!

What would you put on your Little Attitudes of Gratitude List?


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Decorate the Table for Thanksgiving


We are all traveling to my in-laws for the Thanksgiving holiday. They have all the cooking part handled for the big meal, so since I still wanted to find a way to contribute, I offered to create a center piece for the dinner table.

I needed inspiration, so I did a little research.
Last Minute Thanksgiving Preparations
I think I will use pumpkins, gourds, and squash as the main part of the centerpiece. I like the idea of a "bounty of the harvest" theme. I also have a few tea lights left over from our Halloween pumpkins that I can scatter around the length of the table.
Thanksgiving table
I like the idea of adding a black and white striped fabric to the table. Hopefully, I can find some napkins to fit the bill.

 I love this free printable, and will definitely make this banner. It gave me the idea to add an activity to the festivities. I am going to have everyone write on a colorful piece of paper what they are thankful for. Then I will hang them up on another piece of ribbon hung below the banner, so everyone in the family can see them.
After checking out all these ideas, I think I will be able to pull together a very nice centerpiece for the table.
For more inspiration check out my pinterest board here.
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Make an Art Wall

I am inspired lately by all the art walls I see around the design world.

If you can't decide on only one piece of art...just put them all up on the wall. Love that idea.

Of course being the organized, symmetrical person I am, my current art wall looks like this...

But I think it would be neat to step out of my box, and do something a little more eclectic and haphazard.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Remember My Passwords

Ok, so I can't take it anymore. I have way too many passwords, and I keep forgetting them.

Actually, I can remember them just fine...the first time I create one.

Then I have to change them every few months.

Or what I was using no longer confirms to the "strong" password requirements. I now have to add one upper case and three lower case letters. Plus a number...and a symbol...add a frowny face.

And then the worst is when a username is assigned to me. I didn't know before how many different combinations of my name could be used. And there is no way to change a user name!

Uggg!! It makes a girl wish that all passwords were either voice recognition or bio-metrics. I would be fine with putting a thumbprint on the screen to get into my computer system at work. I can't forget that!

So how am I going to solve it?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Read a Good Book: November Twitterature Link Up

Today I am participating in a link up the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy. In this link up, called Twitterature, bloggers are asked to create short, Twitter-style reviews of their recent reads.
Here are books I read over the past few weeks...
A Good American by Alex George


A multi-generational book about an immigrant family. I did get a little tired of the fact that most of the people in this book died...and most went in pretty bad ways.  But overall I liked this book, and it had a good theme.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I so didn't get this book. Who were the people at the end of the lane? Were they a metaphor for a god like person, possibly witches or maybe aliens? Then someone explained to me that it was about how your memories are not always correct, and when you look back on childhood events it can sometimes be clouded by childhood fantasies. I get it! I took it all way too literally. I think I need to try this book again...if I have the time.
I have taken up running in the past several months, and always listen as I exercise to Play-Aways (the portable version of a book-on-tape) that I get from our library. I like to pick the most cheesy chic-lit to listen to as I run. Listening to something fun and light hearted keeps me moving. These recently fit the bill...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Check Out Other People's Books

Anne over at the wonderful and very thought provoking blog Modern Mrs Darcy is doing a great link up today.

You get to check out other people's bookshelves...and there are no worries that you will look nosey when doing it!

I'll be honest. I always like to see what other people liked reading enough that they put it on their bookshelf. I often get some great suggestions on what I should pick up as my next book. Plus you learn a lot about the other person!

Be sure to check out the other participants by clicking here.

I am sharing this oldy but goody.

I needed to organize my bookshelves.

I do not have a before picture to show you, but let's just say it looked something like this...

And here is the after...

These bookshelves have been around through four moves and three paint jobs. A couple of the shelves have footprints in the paint from where my then toddler son ran across them, while they were drying on the floor, during one of the repaints. Needless to say these bookshelves and I have been through a lot together, and I love that now the shelves are cleared and organized. It really shows my books off to their best advantages. I also now have the room to add a few extra decorative items to the shelves.

First thing I did was pare down the books to only the ones I truly could not part with. This was so hard to do! It was a bit like having to say good bye to old, dear friends. I kept stopping to read them.

I looked something like this....

The Bookworm by Carl Spitzweg
Finally, I had two boxes full of books, and I carted them off to donate to the local Friends of the Library Book Sale.
I decided to organize the books roughly by subject. This has really helped me be able to quickly find what I am looking for.
I placed some of the books at different angles to add interest to the shelves.
My mother gave me this pillow, and it is one of my favorite things.  The glass vase was hand blown at a glass factory near my hometown.
The organized bookshelves were such an improvement to my living room, that I went to work on the bookshelf in my children's room. 
We mainly group the books here by subject, author or reading level.
Now that our bookshelves look so great, I declared a ban in our more buying books just to be buying books. As a result, I have to really like the book for me to purchase it and put it on my bookshelf. We almost exclusively get all of our books from the public library now. I would love to see the data of which family checks out the most books at our library. I think we would win.

How do you organize your books, and how do you decide which make the cut to put on the shelves?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pin Picks V

So yesterday was the big day for all my fellow linking participants with the One Room Challenge hosted by the beautiful blog Calling it Home. I had the best time going through all the posts about the finished rooms. I was a pinning machine!

Here a few of my favorites...

Great Blue Color Boys Bedroom Love the Reader's Alley
Mudroom w Chandelier

Add if you would like to see more, check out the One Room Challenge Linking Party Board by clicking here.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

One Room Challenge with Calling It Home: Week Six

It's the last day of the One Room Challenge.  I had the best time participating in this, and I am so glad that Linda of Calling It Home opened this challenge up to other bloggers who wanted to join in.

Here is the inspiration board from Week One...

First the before...

And then the after...

Let me give you a quick tour.

Here's a close up of the finished wall treatment that I talked about in Week Four. It is truly my most favorite part of the room. With just green painter's tape, I created a pattern that I love for about a third of what a roll of wallpaper with a green trellis design would have cost.
 It was so easy. If I made a mistake, I just pulled off the tape and repositioned it. (The walls were pretty uneven with it being a basement in an older home, so I had to eyeball most of it.)

I am also excited about the first thing you see as you walk into the laundry room. Before it was a wall of  cleaning supplies.

I put all of these items in a rolling storage caddy nestled now between the washer and the wall.

After that was done, I took down the shelves and put up a picture of flowers that grew in my backyard last spring. A much better view.

The laundry detergent packets and the Borax got new glass containers. And the dryer sheets are now in a pretty box.

I sorted the items I wanted to store in the laundry room into low cost plastic bins, and put decorative tape on the fronts to add a little color. Then I labeled everything to keep things in their place. I reused a black pencil tray to store all the batteries we buy in bulk.

Now I said back in Week Five that I had big plans for  a metal box I found at Home Goods. First, I spray painted it black. Then, I put a label on it that said Match Box (like the toy cars) and added two checkered flag stickers. I plan to store in the box all the socks that some how go in the laundry as a matched pair, but come out as a solo item. Of course, a few weeks later the match miraculously surfaces. So do you get it? Match Box for my socks that Need a Match. Your laughing with me, right?

And finally the ironing board. I used this tutorial to cover it was heavy outdoor fabric. I love the black and white pattern it brings into the room.

This laundry room is such an improvement from what it use to look like. I might actually enjoy doing laundry now. Wait a minute...let's not get too crazy! At least it is a space that I really do want to spend time in now.

And since I still have laundry on the brain, I put together a few tips on how I get through this chore here.

Be sure to check out the 20 designers, who revealed their rooms on Wednesday, by clicking here, and the final rooms of my fellow linking participants by clicking here. So much decorating inspiration!

Also linking up to I Heart Organizing, Thrifty D├ęcor Chick, Remodelaholic

List My Laundry Tips

Entrepreneur Mom: Laundry Guide Procedures

Tomorrow is the last day of the One Room Challenge. I am so excited to reveal my finished laundry room. Today, I was up in the wee hours of the morning putting on the finishing touches to the room.

Since I have laundry now on the brain, I thought I would list a few tips I have picked up along the way to get through the chore. (To put it mildly, it is not my favorite activity, but it must be done!)

1. Wash Often
I use to always wait until late Sunday night to do all the laundry for the week. I would end up tired and frustrated, and the laundry would for the most part only get half done as a result. Now, I make it a point to do a few smaller loads every few days. It prevents a big back log of laundry, and improves the chances I will actually fold everything right after it comes out the dryer.

2. Don't Sort Everything
Now that I washed clothes more frequently, I needed to increase the size of the load of laundry to justify the water use. Pretty much now I do one pile of delicates and one pile of everything else. No longer are towels washed on their own. I even will combine color clothes with whites as long as I know the color will not bleed.
3. Some Things Aren't Really Dirty
I know some people won't agree with this, but there are a few times that I won't wash something after we wear it. For example, if I only wore a dress to church for a couple of hours, it goes back on the hanger. Also, I try to get a few wears out of our jeans before they go into the washing machine.
(This excludes the many times my boys become covered in mud.)

4. Fold the Laundry Where It Can't Be Avoided
I use to have a bad habit of managing to fold the laundry, but since it was very late on a Sunday by then (See #1), I would stack everything back into the laundry basket instead of putting it into the various drawers around the house, where they belonged. It would then take me a few days to get around to putting things away, and in the mean time everything would get unfolded when we would dig through the basket to find a clothing item. Now I fold the laundry on my bed. I have to put things away or I can't get under my sheets. Since I like to sleep, I put the folded laundry away.
5. Focus On the Goal
This tip gets me though a lot of things in life. But when it come to laundry, I just keep thinking you have to do it, so there is no reason to fight it. Plus, one of my favorite little-things-in-life is to slip into a bed with freshly cleaned sheets. So happy!

These small changes have made a big improvement to our laundry routine. Do you have any laundry tips to share?

Linking Up with Serenity Now