Staycation 2012

I've been on vacation this week and its been glorious.  We've done a lot, but yet we haven't done anything.  I'll try to share more later, but I'm on vacation after all.  For now, I'm soaking up my time with the kiddos and trying to find balance between house projects and afternoons in the sun.  Hubby and I take turns sleeping in/lounging in bed until 10am, cleaning up kid messes, and making coffee runs the afternoon.  At this point, I think I could be on vacation forever.  How many days off does it take before you miss work?  Or maybe it's better measured in how many messes your kiddos make.  Either way, I still have time.

this is totally my style
via pinterest

Plus, I am very thankful I get to sleep in my own, sweet bed, with delicious blankets, and a breezy fan.  Camping in a tent, without running water, rocks in your back, and bugs in your shoes will never compare.


More flowers.

I know, I've already posted about my garden, but I'm still excited about it.  So, you'll have to forgive my while I brag and post a few more pictures.

Quite possibly the most lovely flower.  And its in my yard.

I wish you could smell this.

Hello, handsome.

Hot pink and sassy.

This one looks innocent, but she's lovely just the same.

I adore the colors in nature, these posies are perfect for putting a smile on my face!  I just hope my kiddos don't pick them all.


Making a House a Home, Garden Style

As you may remember, I had lofty plans for the weekend my momma visited.  And in order to achieve checking off another item on the list, I actually took pictures.  I'm so proud of myself.

We are blessed enough to have our yard already landscaped.  The plants are all rather nice and native to the area, but its the same as many of our neighbors.  I've been waiting 10 years or so to have my own garden and plant what I fancy.  My momma helped make that happen.

Here are the before pictures.  They really aren't horrible.  I really just wanted to clean up the weeds, plant a few flower pots, and maybe replace the pine straw with mulch.

Right side of the house.  No plants here, just pine straw.

Front of the house.

Front porch with lovely pots my mom gave me.

Then, the fun began!  We brainstormed what I like and what my dream yard would have.  I knew we needed some bright pops of color (bright pink?) against all the gray and blue.  Plus, I'd love to have a fragrant flower  (jasmine, gardenia) to welcome guests.  I have always loved hydrangeas, so they made the top of the list.  Next, we planned where the plants would go, and made a list of how many to purchase.  I think I made three trips to Lowes and one to Home Depot.

Now, for the afters.

We transplanted the grassy mounds from the front of the house and added three gardenia bushes, plus mulch.

My hydrangeas!

 Gerber daisies and Confederate jasmine.

 Two jasmine frame the front porch.  I can't wait for these suckers to grow, bloom, and smell amazing.  They turn the air sweet.

And here are the lovely pots.  I really don't remember what we planted, I mainly chose based on color and sun requirement.

I'm terribly excited to enjoy the plants for the next several years.  It feels like a dream come true to have these beautiful and fragrant flowers in my own yard!  I need to pinch myself.  Anyone else garden this weekend?  What's your favorite plant or flower?


Weekend To Do List

My Momma is coming this weekend!  Last time we were together it was to pack up the old place.  She hasn't been to the new house since we moved in.  It will just be the two of us and I have great plans. My hubby left with the kiddos to visit his family and play in a show for the weekend, so I have the house to myself. I am planning on some serious girl-time and knock-out-project time.  I have high hopes for this kid-free weekend.  Perhaps I am a bit too ambitious, but we shall see.  For those moms out there, do you exaggerate how much you can get done with your kiddos and hubby gone?
  • Clean out townhouse (kitchen/bathrooms/freshen-up)
  • Clean MY house ( without my momma, I'll own up to this one)
  • Plant flower pots for my front porch
  • Weed/mulch the frontyard
  • Hang hooks and plants on back porch
  • Paint a chalkboard wall in my kitchen
  • Paint a side table
  • Pick out paint samples for my bedroom
  • Visit the Habitat ReStore
  • Visit a furniture store/second hand store
  • Walk on the beach
  • Drink Starbucks on the beach
  • EAT lots of yummy food and drink margaritas
  • Re-arrange my furniture/decor pieces
  • Bounce ideas for future projects
  • Go to the bank
  • Make a meal plan
  • Grocery shop
  • Put away laundry
  • Take pictures so I have proof I did some of this.
 The two of us, Christmas 2011

Wow, that's quite the list.  Its a good thing I'm not showing this to my Mom or Hubby.  I'll let them discover this on Monday after its all done.  Ha.

UPDATE:  We accomplished a lot!  The weather didn't cooperate for beach time, but we ate well and wore ourselves out!


Cheap House Project #3 (Hook Up)

This has actually been the most expensive house project to date.  However, it's been an important one.  As much as I want everything to disappear and magically unpack itself, that isn't happening.  Additionally, I don't have places to put everything.  And I hate piles on the floor.  Enter in hooks.  I've amassed a small collection, but we needed a few more.  I'd rather see things hanging up then laying on the floor.  Anyone else with me on this one?

So here's what I've been up to.

This is the first one up.  It started as a black metal piece that I've had since my college days. (think it originated from Pier 1)  I decided it needed a bright blue hue and would function fabulously in my Princess's closet to corral her jackets/sweatshirts/etc.

These I've had for a few years (World Market steals) and hung them in my closet behind the door.  They hold my unmentionables and belts.

These were a splurge from Anthropologie.  Now, I can say I have bought something from there.  I was hoping to find more cute hooks from World Market, but they were out.  Alas, I was forced to buy them from Anthropologie.  As you can see, they hold my cardigan collection.

Laundry room hooks for towels/jackets/bags.

Entryway hooks.  I recently purchased this from Target.  I wish we had space for a mudroom or fun entryway organizer, but this will make do.

On a side note, have you ever used a stud finder?  Hubby and I had quite an interesting Saturday night trying to find a stud to hang some of these hooks into.  Yes, we cracked quite a few "stud" jokes.  And for the record, I don't think they are very accurate.  I, for one, am not a stud.

Anyhoo, that about wraps up my hook-hanging spree.  At least until I go buy more, but we are back to the cheap thing and I have to save up more money.  Anyone else organizing by hooks?  Or perhaps you have a good stud finder trick?


May Birchbox

My May Birchbox is here!

This month's theme is Gossip Girl.  I admit, I haven't seen the show so I really didn't know what to expect from this box.  Nevertheless, I'm happy with the products.

  • Miracle Skin Transformer Body SPF 20 in glow
  • fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15
  • Kiehl's Abyssine Cream
  • Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline fragrance
  • Birchbox Notecards
So far, I've tried the body lotion, its kind of like a concealer for legs/arms/wherever you have scars or blemishes you want to cover.  It's really thick and has a tint to it.  I was nervous it would make me look orange, but I was pleasantly surprised. I've also used the lip balm. It is really light and adds nice, sheer color.  The Kiehl's moisturizer is nice, too.  I'm not sold on it yet.  It might be a bit thick for me and the summer humidity.  The fragrance really isn't my thing, but overall, I'm pleased with the products.


Put a (slip)cover on it

I had a fabulous weekend and Mother's Day. Did you? We started off on Saturday by having an afternoon date. We ate at a new restaurant, window shopped at Market Common, browsed Target without screaming kiddos, had frappuccinos, and picked out some plants from Lowes.

On Sunday, we had a lazy day.  I got to sleep-in during a rainstorm.  I absolutely love sleeping while its raining.  Then, we did a few house projects, cleaning the garage, breaking down boxes,  unpacking books onto some bookshelves.  Nothing huge, but sometimes its the little things that make a big mental impact.

And here is another highlight:

We purchased this chair and slipcover from World Market. (love those 10% off coupons)

We decided to move my red West Elm chair to our bedroom.

The kiddos aren't very friendly to it, and since its spot clean only and already has its share of discolorations, we decided to protect it from future harm for a while. Plus, it is nice to have a place to sit in the bedroom while dressing.  Now, I realize its replacement looks even more risky since it is ivory, but it is a slipcover!  I can remove and wash it at will!  Or even replace the slipcover if needed.  Plus, I have a dream of owning a light colored slipcovered couch and this serves as a test run.

Next on the list, an ottoman for the living room....just gotta get hubby on board with that one.

How did you spend your weekend?


Cheap House Project #2

Every Princess needs a mirror in her room, right?  Well, my Princess is no exception.  So when my former neighbor offered up this wicker mirror for FREE I snapped it up.  I mean, I didn't think it was cute, but I've been wanting to try my hand at spray painting and witnessing a transformation of ugly furniture, so I thought it was worth a go.

It didn't take long, just a few quick coats.  I didn't even prime it.

ignore the bad lighting, please

Hubby hung it over her dresser.  Now its light, and fresh, and perfect for my little girl to stand on her bed and make faces in.  Is that worth the 4 dollars in spray paint?  I think so.


New Place Tour, Part 3

So I finally took some more pictures of the house, specifically the kids rooms.  It's hard to find time when they aren't napping, in time out, I'm off work, I'm not napping, and the sun is shining.  I managed to find a time when all of these are true, however, the play room wasn't very clean.  You can't win them all.

Here it goes.

My Handsome boy.  I told you the play room was a mess.  Actually, it doesn't look as bad as I remembered.

Handsome's Room.

I would like to create a map feature wall, I just need more maps.  I'd like to have one of Kansas and South Carolina, and maybe a US map.

My Princess' room.

There is only one window in this room, so it was hard to get enough light for the pictures, and get the white balance just right.  I think I switched the camera back to full auto so I could get something decent.

I've done quite a bit to the rooms, but they still feel bare to me.  Maybe I need to paint the walls?  Handsome needs more maps, but I'm not sure what else.  I want the rooms to be relaxing for the kids, no toys or major distractions.  However, in reality, blankets, pillows, clothes, and books are normally strewn about.  No relaxing here.


Cheap House Project #1

Moving in can be expensive.  I'm trying to keep it cheap.  We are blessed to have bought a large house, but are faced with not having furniture to fill it.  Plus, I'm still on the whole get-out-of-debt thing.  Which means I am learning how to become more creative with my house decor.  Enter project number one.

We don't have night stands.  The last place we used bookshelves, and were fortunate to have sconces built in.  Now we don't.  However, I do have an old occasional table (from Target clearance, where else?)  It was dark and dinged up, so I decided to spray paint it and lighten the look.

Here it is in our previous house. 

It took several coats.  I used a primer, then gray paint, then a gloss top coat for extra durability.  Over the course of about a week (I had my work schedule and rain to contend with) we had a new night stand!

Its a light gray, and in person its more of a blue-gray.

It's functional and only cost me a few dollars for spray paint.
What do you think?


Potty-Training a Princess

My three four year old has been in the bathroom for 30 minutes trying to "go".  She went in all by herself without prodding (win!).  She knows if she goes #2 in the potty she gets to wear her swimsuit.  Hilarious, I know, but it's what works for her. 

I absolutely despise potty-training.  For me, it is the most terrifying and difficult part of parenting.  I hate it.  And I still have another kiddo to train.  I want my eldest to have a good grasp before I start on the second.  I don't think my nerves can handle two kiddos peeing on the furniture.

My Princess refuses to go.  She gets distracted or is having too much fun and doesn't want to stop and take a potty break.  As a result, we constantly ask her if she has to go and she screams "No!"  We've tried the timer thing , bribes with treats, and have a routine of going before and after bed/nap and outings.  Some days are great, others are AWFUL.  Luckily, we found something that helps, but accident of course.

Princess LOVES wearing swimsuits.  She's obsessed.  She has names for them, according to color or design and called them swimming "soups".  After a few days of tantrums of not being allowed to wear swimsuits 24/7, we had a wonderful idea.  Why not use them as bribes rewards?  If she goes #2 in the potty, then she is allowed to wear the suit of her choice for the remainder of the day.  It has worked beautifully!  Now, not every day is a success, but I think we are 90% at the moment.  And what is even better, is that we don't have to nag as much.  She goes in on her own and tries!  She announces when she has success and is proud of her achievement!  I am proud, too, and much less stressed out about pre-school this fall!

I have no idea what will work for Handsome, hopefully it won't take me two years of potty training before we figure it out.  Anyone else have suggestions?  And if potty training was easy for you, I don't want to hear about it!