Thursday, November 5, 2009

I am dreaming of a heartfelt Christmas

( from: myplaceoryours)

It seems like Christmas is right around the corner especially when you are tooling around the internet, blogs are filled with Christmas ideas already. Of course this makes since when most of the blogs I read are stay at home moms that make everything and are trying to make and do great things as frugally as possible. And this takes time people. If you have never made homemade gifts or decorations, or tried to pull off a Christmas with little money you have no idea how much time and work this is to pull off. So As I am looking around for great inspiring ideas on the dear blogs I follow. I came across Roots and Wings blog. It is new to me . But I enjoyed spending some time there seeing what she is all about. And I came across her 8 weeks of heartfelt and homemade holidays Just reading about it Puts you in the right frame of mind to gear up for the holiday season. She asked what are your priorities for the Christmas season this year. I have been thinking about this allot this year. As I am in a nesting mood lately. Or as I say I want to circle the wagons , meaning making a circle of wagons to keep my family in and safe and keep everything else out.
This tends to happen when ever we have had a very busy time or stressful time. It makes me want to circle the wagons pull what I love close and ignore the rest.

My priorities for Christmas are always the same I would say. I want to have allot of family time .
I want to watch Christmas movies all snuggled on the couch, drink hot chocolate after being outside in the cold. Having a home filled with home cooking and plenty of baking. looking at Christmas lights, seeing Santa. My ultimate vision in my head would be my home decorated and the mess cleaned up, we always decorate together but its the mess after that, that distorts that image. So in this image the house is decorated There is Christmas music playing, and Everyone is around in our small Living room and dining room either reading, working on a craft, or baking. But we are all together just content in our little world we have here. o.k in my image its calm and fairly quiet but that is so not reality around here. Our house is never quite if we are all in one room it is loud crazy and funny. Never a dull quiet moment around here. But with 6 kids what should I expect.... Not quiet. So I am happy when its all noisy and crazy as long as it is happy noise. I leave out the shopping part in this image all together if you didn't notice because it is the most stressful part of Christmas Its never ending , the wrapping is never ending. I use to really enjoy it and the wrapping but I am past all that . Again the whole trying to pull of a great Christmas with little money is allot of work and can be exhausting. So in my image it is all done and wrapped. This year I want to find some new ways to have the Jesus Christ in our Christmas this year, Something interesting and truly meaningful to all the kids It is hard to do these kind of things which such a wide age span in kids, so I am on the lookout for this this year. That is my project.

Now you have seen my vision now for some reality that we do do and is a MUST DO every year And it is a big chunk of my vision. We have our Annual ______ Christmas Slumber Party. We started it when our oldest was about 4 ( he will turn 20 in Jan) so it has been going on for awhile now.
We start out the party with putting t0gether a gingerbread house it is usually not ready for a magazine cover when finished but certainly done by 6 kids. ( last year we tried to make a rice krispy house it was a disaster within minutes!! then the scavenger hunt starts we buy 3-4 items for each kid ( for $1 or less each) and we have clues for them to follow around the house to find their gift. It is a BIG deal around here. The present itself has very little to do in the fun. This takes awhile. And while they are doing this I am cooking our buffet or unhealthy foods for this party. we have our favorites that we must have such as reindeer poop dip ( cream cheese and chili ) , pizza rolls, deep fried ravioli, cheese dip, veggies w/ ranch, chick nuggets, cheese , sausage and crackers. Its a big buffet that we can always eat the leftovers the next day. We then have a long list of movies to watch the most important Muppet Christmas carol, Jingle all the way, Grinch both cartoon and movie. polar express, elf, I'll be home for Christmas. As you can see we have to start early and stay up till weeee hours in the morning. I would say this is my favorite Christmas party , and the one I stay up for the latest. If the kids write at school about their favorite thing to do at Christmas time this is what they write about. My husband and I are already making plans on how to do this when they are all older and grown. We have ideas like scavenger hunts they have to drive around town for. And ginger bread house competitions with prizes.
I am in the Christmas spirit already and I am still deluded that if I get a jump start I will have more down time in December. HAhAhahah . But until Dec actually gets here and I am behind then I can tell myself that.
Actually until Nov 27th I can tell myself that.
It is like anything you do before thanksgiving you are on the ball, ahead of the game. and black Friday you are on time and that Sat you are officially behind in the game. We get one day to be one time!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

This lady is unbelievable with her sewing skills. I seen her contest for the Halloween costumes she made, allice in wonderland they are AMAZING! I have a couple girls that would love them and it would be so cute for them to be these matching costumes. I really really want to win.

Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

Check it out and get your entry in also.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Bathroom Finally!

We are finally done. It was a labor of love. it was a cheap redo , well of course it was, I did it but this might be the ultimate cheap redo for me. This is a Tiny tiny bath room so it needed all the help it could get to seem bigger. Before we bask in the pretty lets look at the before

Look at that expensive big crown molding, of course all 100 year old homes have that right.... Well not this one. We had door trim molding in the basement we painted it white, and we bought very small trim at Sutherlands that was like $1.79 a piece we painted that white . We hung them both up there with about 6 inch space between and then we painted the wall white between. It looks fabulous. You do not know it is not big crown molding just looking at it. And the total cost for that was $6.50 I believe since we had the top trim in the basement. But even that is cheap cheap stuff about $2.75 a piece.
My Fan makes me so Happy because it did make me so unhappy we got everything all painted looking good and the fan ( sorry no before, but imagine a $20 fan with wood grain blades, and bright gold metal, that had seen its better day. ) I looked terrible up there. I decided I would try to paint it before I bought one , I had nothing to lose it wasn't staying up there looking like that. So I ( I, meaning dear hubby) took all the blades down I cleaned them well, and spray painted them white and dear hubby sprayed the fan rubbed bronze spray paint while it hung on the ceiling. It looks sooo good, it looks like we bought a new fan. cost $0 we had the paint . but it was $1.00 white from Walmart and $5.00 paint from Sutherlands.
Do you remember this cabinet? I know it looks like it is new. but it is but a labor of love. Same cabinet as this
So I sanded it all , used wood putty to fill in the carved in designs, sanded them flush on the drawers, We added trim ( screen trim , super cheap $1.25 , for 8 ft) we added the trim to the front top and the door. It covered up the engraved section on 99% of it , but nothing a little caulk can't fix, We primed and painted it country white semi gloss same at the walls. I needed different handles but needed a cheap fix, I took of the excisting knobs off sanded them ( they were porcelain ) spray primed them and spray painted silver on them. Again if it didn't work I wasn't out anything if it didn't work they had to go. I chose silver to match the faucet and shower faucet, I really wanted black. But silver looks fine and they are holding up GREAT not one scratch and with a family of 8 that is good. I do need to add one back to the door. I took it off it was in the center of the door I thought it made it looked dated, so I filled in that hole and I want to put the knob in the corner but I need a longer bolt since it will have to also go through the trim work.

How about that black mirror. I just took the door down and spray painted it black. I could not decide what to paint it with it being on both the white and green wall I couln't use either of those colors so good old black it was and I think it looks great. cost part of a $1.oo can of gloss black paint.

The shower curtan was a $.10 find at a garage sale I was sooo excited it had the cloth curtain and plastic liner. I think it is perfect.

the paneling was sanded , primed and painted semi gloss country white from walmart $15.00.
The walls are a custom green. For my laundry room that joins this room I wanted a green so I bought an oops can of green paint I didn't like it it was too minty. So we added a gallon of white it did nothing , so we added another, and a 1/2 gallon of dark brown to darken it a little. and a couple bottles of craft paint brown and we got this green so my one can of painted ended up being in a 5 gallon bucket, so the bathroom is that color. and probably another room will still be this color someday.

We had a new vanity top white we got at a garage sale for $10.00 but it got broke while waiting on the this project so that is sad.

I think that is about it. I had a couple things for the wall I got some big frames from a garage sale for 4 for $1 that I painted white to go on big wall behind door.I was going to layer them on top of each other , and I also got a stack of white platters and saucers to hang on wall behind toilet, however hanging things on plaster walls can not be pretty. and since we are selling I haven't hung anything up I do not want to have chips on the wall. I got the stack of plates of .50 for 8 of them.

So the total for the room

$ 15 white paint we only used half of the gallon so $7.50 really
$ 7 mildew preventer added to both paints
$ .25 for silver paint
$ 1.00 for white spray paint for fan blades
$ .10 shower curtain
$ green paint left over from laundry
$ bronze paint already had used about $.75 of it.
$ 11.00 for all of trim work
$ .50 bucket and tray
$ 1.00 black paint for mirror, sticks, tray
$ free sticks painter black

not on here but bought
$1.00 frames
$.50 plates.

total $31.50

How great is that it looks so much better so much brighter, cleaner and bigger. All that for under $40 can't beat that. I love being in there now.
Oh my stick center piece now has a black crow sitting in it for Halloween decor, it freaked the kids out haha that was worth it. I found the bird stuffed under the sink today, I don't think they liked my decor .

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An answer to those that say " I am Lucky I get to stay home"

I just read a great Post over at Clover Lane blog On this subject and I just wanted to pass it on and also keep it in my archive, because it was that good. Here is the Post.

I couldn't even count the times I get told how lucky I am to get to stay home with my kids. And it also rubs me the wrong way. Because I do drive the 11 year old van, shop the garage sales early Sat morning to clothe these kids on my budget of basically zero. I make every penny we have work very hard for us. We do without allot of things like , good t.v channels, two cars, date nights, I cannot even remember the last time we went to the movie theater, vacations, new clothes, new anything really. So that I get to stay home. It has nothing to do with Luck it is hard work for my husband and I both to make this lifestyle decision for our family. It is not a decision I regret for a moment, I have great kids, they are raised with our values , morals, rules. And that was our goal as parents when we started this adventure almost 20 years ago. An we have stuck to it .
One of those days we all have!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bathroom slowly but surely

Does this look better? Does it look like fun?? You can't get true justice from this picture of the mess. This was terrible I had no idea what I was getting into. I simply went to strip off the border and in the process I was stripping off paint, wall texture, paint, border under it all. I guess at some point someone had a border left it on painted over it and put another border on. I then came in and textured, painted again and put another border on. ANYHOO! a big big mess. So I am stripping and retexturing the walls. So no not looking better.

How about this does this look pretty ? This is just primer so don't get to worried like I was when I was doing it. Thinking what did I do??

It is looking much better now. My dear Hubby has been
working on this with me. Originally I had the idea this
would be my project and I would do it all. Well I got over
that pretty quickly. Way to much work to do high up on
a ladder. I am not good at that. especially with kids under
my feet all day.
I am hoping to finish the bathroom today for the most
part so I can show you. I know you are waiting with
baited breath.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Part 1 bathroom makeover The before shots

This is my main bathroom in our house, (with 8 people). Don't think that you are just not seeing everything in the photo because you are. It is that small. But this is not about our tiny bathroom.
This is about a budget redo. This is a before photo .
Now don't go telling me how ugly it is because I did decorate it like this, kinda. The wood paneling was there, the sink, vanity was already there. I just repainted the walls did the plaster texture on the walls and added the border to the wall. The clock is new , my son did just buy that for me for my birthday, Which I love but I am very aware it is too small for that big wall ( it made me chuckle to write big wall, about this bathroom.) I redid this about 5 years ago, and trust me it is sooo much better then it was then.
Well now I am over the border and all the brown in there. Since it is soo small I thought it needed to be brighter and lighter. Also I wanted to tie into the laundry room that it is connected to so it would feel a bit bigger.

This is my very ugly vanity that I am planning a makeover on. It needs an extreme makeover.

This is a photo of a very tall
( 10ft tall ceilings)
wall. That shows off the start of a plan
last time I painted to make the ceiling feel lower. O.k That I never finished it. But the ceilings are so tall with the room so small nobody looks straight up to see.
But that is all about to change. I have
a new plan that everyone is sure to
notice. So I wanted to be sure and
show you what it looked like before so
you will be properly amazed by the after
haha. We hope it turns out better
then my last idea for the ceiling in

So that is the before stay tuned for
a few during and then the After hopefully soon since this is the only real bathroom for us.

Friday, August 14, 2009


( Here is part of the crew relaxing in the hot tub.)
We have been on Staycation this week, My dear sister went on her Real vacation for a week and a half. And we crashed at their house for a week, I mean we house sit there pool and dogs.
Thier house is like a hotel to us.
They have a pool, hot tub, good t.v, king size bed,
enough t.vs to make everyone happy, and a trampoline.
Its like a hotel a block away. So we staycationed there this last week.
We have watched WAY too much t.v , all of us. I usually never watch t.v and I have logged me some HGTV hours this week. And the kids have watched enough spongebob to last them .ok Me a life time . We don't have any cartoon channels at our house except good old PBS and those cartoons are over at noon. So non-stop cartoons is a Huge treat for the kiddos. Its been relaxing change of pace, even though I still have to clean house every day and cook, take care of a pool, and couple dogs. Its a different routine. That sometimes we all need. So we are so glad that my dear sister and brother in law and there kids can afford a real vacation so we can use there house for ours.

(Dad and the girls roasting marshmallows on grill after dad grilled dinner.)

My Frugal Decorating finds on the Hunt today.

This was a fun day to hit a "goodwill shop " goodwill meaning it is a ministry that uses the money to help people but it is not " goodwill" the chain of stores. We do not have one of those here in my little town. AnyHooo.
I was excited to find these 3 cylinder vases today There were 4 but I knew to rule of 3's in decorating but I keep wondering if I want the 4th to use somewhere else. They are crystal clear They just are dirty in the photo, do you really think I took the time to wash these goodies before I took a picture of my finds NAAAH! I am not sure where they are going or what will go in them first. I think it will be something that changes with the season like christmas balls, lemons, twigs. I don't know. the wheels are turning. Oh ya .25 a piece. Now you see why I had to have these dirty vases don't you.
The other glass thing is.... Well I don't know what it is really. It is upside down in the phots and the stem has a hole in it so its not really a handle. I kept looking at it. Then I seen this lovely little mirror I thought they would look lovely together I will show you soon what I was thinking. Trust me my family is not "getting" it either. And they were each .25 You will be amazed when I get done with them.. I hope. Well that is a chunk of what I found today, Fun day. I love finding junk I can turn into something I can use or love.
Tommorow is Garage sale day YA! I would love it if I could find a sink vanity top to replace the one my hubby broke this week to use in my Bathroom redo I am working on. I will post soon photos of my bathroom redo on the cheapest budget you have ever seen it will be a don't miss.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sometimes getting the blues makes things so much prettier.

I love my blue crate I got at a garage sale , I actually got 2 of them for $6.50 for the pair. They are heavy ! They have metal bottoms. I didn't know what I would do with them when I bought them. I am not much of a blue person So they will probably get a paint job sometime soon.

Anyway... My great Idea for this crate I put my stacking letter trays in it, and I had room to put phone books and , our personal family phone book, and the kids chore binder in there also and it looks so nice and neat. This all sits out in the open on the window seat.

The red thing on top is a Photo file that I got at the dollar store and I use it for filing receipts, I just printed off the Monogram R on the computer and slipped into the front, it is the Monogram for our last name or it could stand for receipts. This works out well to slip receipts in easily and also looks o.k to have sitting out.

Now what to do with the other one of these lovely crates HMMMM.....

This is what it looked like before the
crate. Except that I also cleaned out a basket
that had the phone books in it .
I think it looks so much better, especially
from the front door.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

glass makes ice cream even sweeter

I started to dish up the kids ice cream in regular plastic bowls last night and remembered my new ( to me, from a garage sale for .25 a piece, now that makes me smile) So I pulled them out and dished up the 4 glasses. I was ready for complaints from the kids that it wasn't very much ice cream and requests for more. Because they are not very big. So I called The 4 kids that were home down for ice cream. ( good thing only 4 were home because that would have caused trouble if everyone didn't get one, I have to find 4 more) The kids all said OOOOOOOOOOOOO fancy and were very excited about them no complaints about the small bowl or requests for more. I think the presentation took over, and they were smiling also.
I do need to find 4 more or 8 more so I still will have enough when they get broke. I am glad I bought them even though I knew I did not have room for them in my tiny kitchen. It was defiantly a lesson in " its all in the presentation."

So far I have been unsuccessful in convincing them that my small pretty white bowls are great for cereal. Or that the small glass juice glasses are great for juice. I guess in those cases bigger is better and trumps pretty or fancy.