Sunday, February 27, 2011

Goodbye Winter- Fresh Ideas for Spring Decor!

I am so done with winter.
The snow was pretty back in December,
but now I am REALLY longing for some green.
{Those of you from the midwest, can I get an amen?}

Time to get rid of this:

{and this}

{and this}

Good bye, and good riddance!
{until November}

Longer daylight hours, melting snow, and 40 degree temps
have me psyched about 
all of the fresh spring/summer
decorating ideas that I'm seeing
plastered all over blogland.

Here are a few that inspire me...

{Love this! It would look great in the entryway makeover that I'm planning, dontcha thing?
Check out how the talented Alison from Oopsy Daisy
made this adorable wall art here}

How FUN is this springy wreath?!?!
Add this to my to-do list...

{See how to make it here at Kiki Creates}

No, I don't have a new nursery to decorate, but if I did, you can bet I'd be making these
bright and cheery personalized nursery canvases...

There is much to love about this spring-ified entryway 

I've been thinking about a big 'G' for our entryway makeover...
maybe a fabric-covered letter would be the way to go?

Aha! This is sort of what I'm envisioning for our entryway!

I could go on and on, but these are a few things 
that struck my eye this week!

I hope you've been inspired!
This week, I'm excited about an upcoming craft night
with my friend Becky and my sister,
as well as Claire's 1st birthday party next weekend!
{pics of both to come}

As for Claire, I think she is ready for warmer temps too,
so that she can play on the new swing set she is getting (shh, don't tell!)
What do you think?

Happy nesting!

Friday, February 25, 2011

What's on my mind?

So, I'm sure you are all dying to know what's been on my mind today.
Well you're in luck... you're about to find out.

1. I LOVE babies in sweatshirts. This is a new discovery for me. I put Claire in a sweet little sweatshirt with my and husband's college alma mater plastered on it. It was soo cute, I wanted to eat her all day.

2. Not going to work on Fridays is a-mazing. It's true. I played hookie today. But I had a legit reason. Poor husband is sick (why I call him husband on my blog is beyond me... I never call him this in real life), and all of my back up sitters were either sick or unavailable. So, I got to stay home and play with Claire nurse husband all day. The bad part: I feel a little woozy myself. HOPEFULLY, it's just me being a hypochondriac knowing that I've been around a sick person all day!

3. Birthday parties. First birthday parties. Claire's is coming up SOON and I need to get on it. I am planning on doing a "little sunshine" theme. I've made one thing for it so far, but have a few little projects left. Don't worry, I'll post pictures when the time comes. This thought leads me to my next two:

4. I have commitment issues. Not on major life decisions like buying a house or getting married. But the little decisions get me, like which invitations to choose for Claire's party, what to hang on my walls, what to write about next on this blog. Silly things. Maybe it's because the possibilities are so many, I can't narrow it down. I need to get better at picking something and going with it.

And last but not least...

5. You need to call Shutterfly's customer service number. I had to do this today because I was experiencing technical difficulties when trying to order some pictures online for a project for Claire's party and I'm pretty sure as I'm listening to the help menu, this is what I hear:
"If you would like to track the status of your order, choose 1. If you are experiencing technical difficulties with an order, choose 2." And so and so on, until it came to option 6, and this is what I heard:
"If you would like to hear this menu in a pirate voice, choose 6."
Umm... come again? Did it really just say that?
Well, of course I had to choose option 6 to find out if my ears had deceived me or not.
Don't believe me?
See for yourself: 888-225-7159

Ay ay mateys!
Have a great weekend and happy nesting!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Get your "clook" on!

Hello friends! I've missed you!

First, I am giddy at the moment because:

a) The kiddy is bathed and tucked away to sleep (she goes to bed at 6:30.... don't hate)
b) Dinner has been made and consumed
c) Bible reading is done for the day (more on this in a later post)
d) I received my new copy of Better Homes & Gardens today in the mail
e) I invented the "clooking" concept (I'll explain in a minute)
f) Bills have been paid
g) I still have a piece of Texas sheet cake left to eat (see previous post), along with Edy's Thin Mint ice cream
g) Thanks to clooking, I now have the next 2.5 hours to RELAX
(I will spend this time reclining on the couch, blogging, reading said BH&G magazine, occasionally
glancing at the movie husband is watching)

Aaah, life is good!

OK, since I know the suspense is killing you,
"clooking" defined:
Clooking is the act of combing cleaning with cooking. 
No, it does not entail drinking Windex.
What I mean is, you get your dinner in the oven, set the oven's timer, and 
clean, clean, clean
until the timer goes off.

But, when done in 20-30 minute increments, 
it suddenly seems less unbearable.
In fact, it almost feels like a little game.
How much can I get done in 20 minutes?, you find yourself wondering.

Tonight, I was able to:
Mop all the hard floor surfaces in our house. 
Clean the master bathroom.
And, I even talked husband into dusting!

(I'm a lucky girl!)

Now, I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact
that our little nest
is cleaner than it was 20 minutes ago.

Clooking is where it's at people.
Try it for yourself! 

Oh, and in case you were wondering what this domestic goddess
threw together for dinner tonight....

(That would be a frozen pizza. Cut me some slack, I worked all day. I can' t be Martha all the time!)

Happy nesting!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mission: Get out of Debt

I have come to a conclusion.
Debt stinks.
Many of you have probably come to this conclusion as well.

For the longest time,
we complained about our debt.
We talked about managing our money better.
I created hypothetical budgets.
But all of the complaining and planning
never translated into action.

Month after month,
we found ourselves borrowing from our small
savings account.
Until one day...

our savings account ran out.

I believe this would be our "rock bottom" moment.
{financially speaking}

But then... something clicked.
We created a budget and got serious about it.

We cut WAY back on our debit card usage,
and we said HELLO to cash.

"Cash is king," as Dave Ramsey would say.

(If you haven't read this book, you probably should)

We now budget our money using these:

{Glass jars with labels stuck on them- we have 13 of them total}

And WOW!
We couldn't believe the results in our first month on this plan!

In our first month, we were able to achieve Dave's baby step #1:
gain an emergency fund of $1000.
Did you hear me people?
One thousand in savings in one month!
This was huge for us!
{Where was all of our money going before... that's what I'd like to know!}

For the first time in our marriage,
we began to feel like we have a hold on our finances
rather than our finances having a hold on us.

While we are walking in much more freedom
than we were 8 months ago,
we look forward to the day when we are
debt free!
{Don't worry, I'll let you know when that day comes!}

I can't claim that I'm as frugal as I could be.
I don't clip coupons
{but I might take after my friend Andi and follow her advice here, and start!}
and I quit shopping at Aldi.
{I got tired of having to hit up two grocery stores with a baby tagging along.}
But, I'm happy for now with the progress we've made.

"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." ~ Proverbs 22:7

For some great money saving tips and motivation, check out these sights:

If you've got a "getting out of debt" success story, I'd love to hear it!
Leave me a comment with your story, or a link to your blog post about it, if you have one!

Because a debt free nest, is a more blessed nest!
Happy nesting!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The next June Cleaver?

I just have to tell you
that I feel like a domestic goddess this week.

On Saturday I made homemade french toast.

On Wednesday night 
I made this chicken spaghetti,
compliments of The Pioneer Woman.

Tonight, I made
Pasta Pesto with Asparagus and Mushrooms. 
Probably the most gourmet dish I've ever made in my life.
I got the recipe from my good friend Andi's blog, Milestones and Memories, here.

{This is Andi's finished product, not mine! She is DEFINITELY a domestic goddess!}

I also baked 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies tonight
for our local food pantry.
{I used this recipe}

(Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies}

What's that you say?

Making french toast, two dinners, and 6 dozen cookies
in a one week span
does not qualify me as
Martha Stewart?

Too bad.
I'm sticking with the thought
that I'm the next Rachel Ray.
And the husband is pretty happy too :).

Happy nesting!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let it be known...

Claire cried for the first time today
when I dropped her off at the baby-sitter's.
She reached her little arms out toward me and cried, cried, cried.
Talk. About. Heartbreak.

I thought maybe she was going to 
bypass the separation anxiety thing,
seeing as how she is eleven months old
and up until now the Wicked Witch of the West 
could have picked her up
and she probably would have smiled and pinched the witch's nose.
(Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration)

But, today was different.
Today, Claire wanted her mom!
Walking out the door to head to work,
while I was soo sad that I had to leave
and I wished so much that this wasn't the case.
a small part of me felt a tinge of relief
that my little girl
wanted me.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Claire.
It captures her joyful, silly spirit
that I love so much!
No wonder it's hard for me to leave her every day.
But, I'm happy to share...

that next year I will be a part-time school counselor
and a part-time stay-at-home-mom!

I truly believe that God saw the desires of my heart
and worked out the details.
He made a "stream in the desert"
as I like to call it.
He made a way where I didn't think there was one.
He worked out our finances, he created a part-time position
where there had been none.
And I couldn't be more excited!!!

What area of your life do you need to ask God
for a stream in the desert?

Happy nesting everyone!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Make a Great First Impression: Entryway Inspiration

Is it sad that I found myself
thinking in hypothetical blog posts most of the day today?
I shouldn't be surprised.
I tend to be pretty extreme.
Take for instance the time I signed up to be a Mary Kay consultant.
I went so all out that I practically stopped eating and sleeping.
{I know. I have issues.}

Today I would like to talk entryways.
Mine needs some help I've decided.

This is not my entry. I wish it was.
I love how bright and fresh this entryway looks. 
Pretty sure I need a pretty rug to freshen our entry up!

I always like these coat rack/bench combos (whatever they are called... it's after 8pm people, my brain is shutting down by now if you recall from an earlier post).
I also like the idea of having a mirror in our entry.
I'll need to add that to my idea list.

I'm always a fan of a fun wall collage...

Be still my beating heart.
I ADORE this wall!
Hmmm... is wallpaper, or perhaps wall stenciling in my future?

There are so many things to love about this entry...
a clever spot to hang coats and bags,
hanging plates (I'm kinda obsessed with these right now),
personal matted picture arrangement,
super fun pillows,
the list goes on and on...

Light, airy, refreshing, organized.
Love it.

Well, plenty of inspiration abounds.
Now, something MUST be done about this drab entry:
I'll keep you posted as I makeover our entryway!

There you have it. I'd love to hear from you
if you've been inspired to do a little sprucing up
of your own entryway.

Speaking of inspired, my little sister Erin
over at Living in Yellow
has inspired me to run another half-marathon.
We were supposed to run today,
but she bailed on me.
She had a massage to go to instead.
This, I suppose, is why she's "living in yellow."
She has massages to go to.
Just thought I'd point that out... love you sis!

Happy nesting!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Bug

I'm not a proud momma or anything.
Happy Valentine's Day love birds!

Love is in the air

I wish I could tell you
that my hubby and I had a romantic dinner
complete with flowers
and romantic music.
But, our reality is that Wes didn't get home until 8pm from work.
And frankly, I sometimes have a hard time keeping my eyes open by 8pm.
{OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration}
But, I did try to muster up a bit of romance.
I made this.
{They say the key to a man's heart is through his stomach, right?}
And then I made our kitchen look like this picture.

Except that Chuck is on tonight.And Chuck is our favorite show.
So we had to eat in front of the TV, which was just fine with me.
Maybe Valentine's Day doesn't have to be all frilly or exotic to be special.
Maybe just taking some time out to let your loved one
know how special they are to you
is enough.
{But it does help that Wes bought me chocolate}
I hope you all have enjoyed your Valentine's Day with the special people in your life.
I would leave you with a sweet picture of Claire in her Valentine outfit, but blogger won't let me post pictures in the middle or end of my posts.
Anyone know why?

Good night!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New girl in town...

Look out people, there's a new girl in town. Not that I'm any kind of threat or anything. In fact, I'm hoping we can be friends :). Maybe I can inspire, encourage, and amuse you... but if I don't, at least I'll have a record of some precious times in my life as a new mom and as the head of all things homey at our house. I'll leave you with a picture of my little family. There. Now you know what we look like :). Welcome to Nesting Time!