Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Grandparent's Day Gift Idea

Grandparent's Day is coming up on September 7th and in case you didn't know/weren't prepared/have no clue what to do, I'm here to help!

This project started in June before Father's Day. I wanted to find something meaningful and special that my husband could hang on the wall in his "man cave". And by man cave I mean a sliver of the basement where he keeps some items that mean something to him. The rest of the space if filled with toys for the boys, but he does have a small area to himself. So, I looked around on Pinterest and found this.

I sat down with my four year old and asked him the questions.  I printed the "form" out and hand wrote the answers.  One day my son will write his own responses, but until he learns how to write a little bit smaller I'll happily write whatever he tells me.  I grabbed a cute, manly frame from Target (because where else) and wrapped it up. I think my husband really liked it and it has some funny but true things on it.  A true keepsake.

Here's our finished product:

So, since both of my parents had birthdays this summer and my dad would also be celebrating Father's Day (he's a simple guy so we usually double up his Father's Day and birthday gifts) I figured this would be a good gift for them as well.  The only problem is that my parents go by GG and Poppy.  There are NO printables on Pinterest or with Poppy or GG in the title.  Who knew?

So I made our own.  If you know a Poppy or GG, feel free to use these.  I would just love for you to pin the image or comment below letting me know you used it and loved it.  As I said, these would be great for any occasion, but that Grandparent's Day is sneaking up on us and I'm sure this is the perfect way to show them how loved they are.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The easiest DIY on the planet!

If you have visited my house anytime in the past 12 months, you would have seen this when you walked into our guest bathroom, which is really our children's bathroom:

That's right, two doggie booties and pictures of strangers.
Upside down strangers at that.

Back story: about a year ago I updated this bathroom because we started the process of putting a true guest bath in our basement.  Everything that was in this bath was going to be used down there.  My boys and I went to Target and picked out some cute new bathroom accessories.  We went with an underwater theme. Then I went to Gordmans and picked up these two cute frames.  You know I went with chevron, anyone could have guessed that I'm sure! 

Fast forward to last week and I FINALLY updated the frames.  Hey, somethings take time.  And time is not something I have a lot of, plus it helps me to really commit to an idea.  That or I just totally got used to those strangers starring at us.  I kind of felt like they were now part of our family.  I used my cricut, some black self adhesive vinyl, cut out the words splish and splash and put them on each of the frames.  I added a couple pictures of my boys playing in the tub and voila, this project was checked off my list.  

I did have one little mishap though.  A few hours after I finished this I walked into the bathroom to find all of the letters on the floor!  Sad face.  So I just grabbed my mod podge, stuck the letters back on and put a thin coat of the mod podge over the top.  I thought that the moisture from the bathroom would have eventually done this.  I just didn't know that eventually meant 3 hours later after no one had even taken a bath or shower!  It's been a few days and the letters are holding on strong.  Mission complete! 

Total cost for this project: $0...boom! 

Now, this is the view: 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Organizing: The Master Closet

A few months ago I started a project that involved organizing.  Are you surprised?  If you have been following along for a while, probably not! If you are new, then you probably are.  In which case you should check out this, this, this and even this.

Here's the before:
I know what you're thinking, it doesn't look THAT bad...
but you'll notice that the purses are just thrown on the top shelf.
There are maternity shirts hanging on the lower left side of this picture.
(Yes, maternity.  I haven't been pregnant for 2+ years!)
Nothing is color coded, which my little heart loves.

The folded pants below are not organized in any way, which always happens over time. 
There are wallets and jewelry hanging from my mirror.

This wall = sad.

My first step was to purge.  I went through my closet and got rid of anything I hadn't worn in a while.  I was left with about 50 empty hangers and a few extras bucks in my pocket.  It was FUN!  Yes, this is my idea of a good time.  Cleaning things out, making room for new items, earning some cash.  Then I organized by sleeve length and color!  I used to have my closet organized by color all the time.  Then it happened.  Kids My life got busy and I didn't have as much time to put away laundry as I did before they came along.
Here's an in process picture:
Those scarves on the right used to be hanging from one of the bars.

I decided to put them on display.

I hung the scarves on the wall, using command hooks.  I also organized my purses and everything else on the top shelf.  I put my sheets into the pillowcase that matched with them.  A tip I saw on Pinterest forever ago and always kept in the back of my mind for later.  Well, it was later.

Here's an after picture:

Maternity shirts, packed away for next time:) 

I hung the race bibs I had kept from most of the 5k's I've run and decided to hang them up instead of having them cluttering the floor in here. I had the bright idea to write the date and my time on the back of all of them so I can always look back and see my progress!  I also left the mirror where it was because I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with it.

Some new after pictures: 
I decided to move the mirror to the opposite wall.
I used another Pinterest idea and got a curtain rod and some shower hooks from Walmart. 
I put all of my jewelry on the rod.  Previously I had some of it in the bathroom and over time the steam from the shower (my guess at least) turned all of my silver items black and I spent way too much time cleaning it.

Then I moved the scarves to the wall where the mirror was. 
(A new scarf that I won was added!) 
Well, most of them at least.  I couldn't move them all because if I put one more hook on the right here, it would have been in the way of those bins that I use almost every day.
You can also see here that I rotated my pants the opposite direction.  They fit much better this way. 

I'm very happy with my newly organized closet.  Finding things to wear is much easier now.  Not having 50 extra shirts that I never wear makes decisions much easier to make!  Less clothing, less options! 

What have you been organizing lately?  Closets? Spice racks? Outdoor toys? 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Fun #1

I feel like the summer is flying by and although we are having had a blast, it's going fast and I don't want to forget these little family outings.  So, I'm documenting our fun here!  Last week we visited a place called Oakridge Farms in Neenah, WI and we had a great time.  I've had it in the back of my head that I wanted to go to a pick-your-own-something farm and this was the perfect day.  It wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cool. I was so surprised that my picky eater ate half a carton of raspberries between the picking and the ride home.  Enjoy the pictures!

He was TOTALLY into the picking!

Dad showing Liam how it's done

Dallas stealing a berry

My boys!

Trying to get artsy. Is it working? 

Dad and Liam are done but...

Dallas is still going strong.

Such a little boy in a great big world

Paying for the raspberries

Our goodies (they didn't have pick your own strawberries, but I had to buy some).

Berry face! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Swoon worthy #3

I want to take this edition of swoon worthy in a different direction.  So we are going to take a look at a few recipes that I've been swooning over that look a little too complicated to make! Some of these may end up on my next monthly meal plan schedule and then I'll come back with a little recap sharing my thoughts about the meal.  I'll let you know if they were tasty, if they were actually as hard to make as they sound and if would ever make them again.

Recipe #1: BBQ Chicken Pizza found over at The Busy Budgeting Mama

Natalie is a super busy mom and she makes some great meals for her family.  Her blog is the first place I found freezer meals!  She has some great tips and recipes there for freezer meals and she has a TON of ideas for fun kids meals.  She even makes fun little videos showing how she makes snacks and meals for her kids that are cute and make eating fun and healthy for them.  

What scares me most about this meal is making the dough.  I have never made dough from scratch, so it sounds intimidating! 

Again, making the "dough" from scratch...scary!!  I have bought pre-made crepes in the grocery store before, so the idea of just buying those and making the filling is much more appealing to me.  But, if I'm gong to make these, why not give it a try the exact way this recipe shows?

Recipe #3: Cauliflower Breadsticks from Mama Grubbs Grub

I'm starting to sense a theme.  Are you?  I must need some carbs soon!  I could never be on a crab free diet! I wouldn't make it two days without.  These are a good alternative to a carb loaded meal.  Maybe with pizza instead of the usual breadsticks?  Who ever thought of that anyway?  Pizza and breadsticks?  Because just having pizza isn't enough bread?  So weird if you ask me.  I digress.  These seem like they would just fall apart.  But again, I'd have to try it for myself. 

Recipe #4: Banana Chocolate Chip BAKED Doughnuts from Sparkrecipes 

Doughnuts...they are my number ONE weakness in life.  I have to stay away from the bakery at the grocery store and don't even mention the fact that Dunkin' Donuts is one block from my house.  But these are supposed to be healthy, so maybe I found a great alternative?  Maybe.  They must be worth it if you ask me. I've had these pinned on my Pinterest "Let's Eat" board since I started pinning things.  It's about time I try to make them.  

So, there you have it folks.  Carbs, carbs and more carbs that I'm dying to try!  Stay tuned.  I think I may try all of these and all on the same day.  Now I'm off to find a snack and you better believe it's going to have bread of some sort in it! 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Organizing: The Bathroom Cabinets

Eeeekkk!  Did I really go a full month without posting?  I did.  Ooops.  Well, in my defense, we have been super busy.  We have been working on landscaping our yard, giving my oldest a "big boy room", visiting family out of state and enjoying the beautiful summer weather here in Wisconsin.  I've also been focusing on my little Younique business, which has been awesome!  Read more about that here.  The good news is that I'm not the only one, this seems to be a common problem with other bloggers out there in blogland at this time of the year...a few of my favorites have been MIA for weeks now:(

And now I'll get on track!  (Please excuse the poor iPhone pictures in this post...)  I don't know how it happens, but for some reason the cabinets my husband and I have below each of our sinks ALWAYS get messy, disorganized and cluttered with stuff that doesn't belong there.  It was high time I sat down (literally) and got them cleaned out and organized.  For the 145th time since we've lived here.  Our main issue with the items below our sink was the medicine box.  We could NEVER find anything in there. Oh and this turned out to be the perfect time to get rid of any expired medicine we had in there.

The before (under my sink):

The before (under my husbands sink) that's the medicine box piled high on the right, the cover didn't even fit anymore:

The first thing I did was take everything out.  As I was taking it all out, I set the items aside that I wanted to keep and I tossed the things I knew we didn't need into the trash.  This is my system every time I am organizing.

Then I took inventory of what type of organizing bins I would need and how many.  I decided to go "up" with my storage instead of "out".  This is something I always try to consider when I'm cleaning up a space.  I follow a few basic organizing "rules" and one is to maximize my space.  When I can go up, I do.  This works well in most closets and of course any room with high ceilings and wall space.  Our garage and basement storage area are two perfect examples of this.  When I don't have height to work with, I go out.  An example of this would be shoe storage in a closet.  Unless you have awesome built in shoe racks that run floor to ceiling, you have to use the floor.  So, in that case you are going "out", spreading out on the floor, using that available space.

Next up, the fun part.  Looking through my stock pile of organizing bins, baskets, containers, etc.  After looking at what I had I decided nothing at home would work so I had to bite the bullet and go to the store.  I thought that drawers would make more sense that what I had before.  I took a trip to target and $200 later I had these.  (No, they didn't cost $200, it was Target.  Need I say more?)  I did end up having to go back to get one more 3 drawer unit.  

Finally, it was time to put everything back into place.  I sorted my "keep items" into groups to determine how I would sort everything.  Under my sink I have drawers for hair accessories, hair products, scentsy items, extras (backup toothpaste, deodorant, that sort of thing), lotions and miscellaneous (whatever doesn't fit in the other categories goes here).  Then I stuck my Younique case and travel bag on top of one drawer unit. The green stack and carry case is filled with all of my gel nail items.  My light, polishes, files, cotton rounds, etc.  There were a few "extras" that wouldn't fit in the drawer, so those are sitting right inside my cabinet. The good news is that I can still open the drawers all the way, even with those bottles sitting there.

The after (under my sink):

Under my husbands cabinet I ended up with three drawers for the medical items.  All of our vitamins which are in the blue and clear striped container.  His shaving supplies in the green bag and his blood pressure monitor....yes, he's 30 and has to check his blood pressure:(  On the left of his cabinet is the gross stuff I don't like to talk about, but I'm keeping it real here, like the plunger and extra TP!  In the middle I did stick q-tips, toothpaste and saline for the nettie pot since I didn't really have a great place for those items to go. That's the only thing I don't like about organizing.  There is always something that won't fit or doesn't make sense in any other area of the house so it gets stuck somewhere.

The after (under my husbands sink):

I lived with the drawer units in place for a few days and decided they needed a little something extra...can you spot the difference?

I know this wasn't the most exciting post in the world, but I know there are some people who struggle with organizing *coughkatiecough* and I want to give tips whenever possible.  Next up will be my walk in closet...can't wait to share that one with you all.  It's even color coordinated! What do you like to keep organized?

Linking up to House of Rose this week!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Random Act of Kindness.  It's a simple concept really, but to so many it seems difficult to grasp.  I'm not writing this to toot my own horn.  I'm writing this to share ideas and to ask for new ones.  You may recall me writing about this here.

I have heard so many sad stories.  Partly because I choose to follow so many on Facebook with the hope that the story will have the happy ending it deserves. Partly because they are on the news.  My heart breaks when I hear those stories and it reminds me to take the time to hug my kids just one more time and tell my family I love them each day.  It also reminds me that life is precious.  It can be short.  Too short.  But it can be worth it.  Oh SO SO SO worth it.

These stories have taught me that some things are not meant to be held on to.  Letting go of little things can make you much happier.  If someone made you angry, find it in your heart to forgive.  You may never know when it will be their last day (or your last day), which is upsetting to think about, but unfortunately true.  So, I'm sharing a few of the random acts I have performed and why.

First, let's start with the why.  I heard a story about a mother and son who's lives were taken too soon.  I also heard the story of a little boy who was in a tragic accident.  Because of those two little boys I decided to find a way to give back to children.  So, I set out to collect PJ's from parents who no longer needed them. I heard of an organization called Bennison.  Bennison collects pajamas and sends them to other counties in order to help regulate the body temperature of children who may be at risk of death.  These are countries with high rates of poverty and malnutrition. There is so much more information about Bennison here on their blog.  And here on their website.  I collected so many pairs of pajama's and I donated some of our own.  I also stopped in at Goodwill and picked up a few pairs there.  I sent two boxes of PJ's to the organization and was contacted right after they got them with a loving note of thanks.  I was even reimbursed for shipping!  It seriously cost me a little bit of time and a small amount of effort and I made a difference.  I know it won't bring back those two little boys, but it made me smile that their stories inspired me to give.  It's one of the easiest things I have ever done and it made my heart full of love for the little children I was helping.

As for the mom I talked about, I wanted to find a woman and make her smile.  So, while I was at the drive-thru of Starbucks one day, I offered to pay for the car behind me.  It was a women, about the same age as me.  The Barista said, "she ordered a venti coffee and two refreshers, the total is like $12 do you want to pay for all of it or just one drink?"  Without hesitating I said, "the whole thing."  The Barista was so surprised. I thought that maybe people aren't willing to pay for a $12 order, but what's $12?  I can spend that on one item I don't really need or I can (hopefully) make someones day.  The Barista thanked me again and said I was so nice and he thought that was "so cool" that I paid for her full order.  It's just $12!  I hope I made her day a little brighter, I know it made mine great!

Finally, I wanted to do something nice for someone who is doing something nice (to put it mildly) for me.  I wanted to find someone in the military and give back a little something to them. I knew this wasn't going to even come close to the sacrifices that they are making for me and my freedom, but it was a small gesture to let them know I was thinking of them and I appreciated them. So, I put a post on Facebook to ask if anyone knew of anyone overseas in the military who may need anything.  It turned out that a friend of mine is currently over there.  I messaged her to ask what some things are that she needed.  I boxed up some goodies and sent them her way.  I hope she got them and is enjoying them and maybe she even shared with her fellow soldiers!  I completely support our troops.  After all, if it weren't for the Navy, I would have never met my sailor:)  You have to be the least selfish type of person to join the military in my opinion.  That is a special type of person and there should be more people out there like that.  One thing I know for sure is that I know I don't have that much courage...

I'm also currently running a special for Younique where all week 10% of my sales will be donated to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  This cause hits close to home for me, which is why I chose it.  I will pick a different charity next month and every month after, for as long as I'm selling Younique to donate to.  This makes it easy for others to give and it is just another way I can show my support to find a cure.

What is your favorite way to give back?  What is something you think everyone can benefit from doing? What are some suggestions for other ways I can help others, randomly or not?  Please share in the comments below!

Linking up to House of Rose.