Friday, November 30, 2012

Decorating a Tree Like a Pro

My personal Christmas Tree is a mishmosh of handed down, Bought for novelty, trip finds, and clearanced ornaments.  It is not the most glamorous tree but it is definitely full of beautiful memories.  But as much as I love itI have always secretly wanted another tree that looked like the ones in the catalog or department stores..
I work in a lovely office that we enjoy decorating for most of the holidays through out the year.  I cannot take credit for the purchases of decorations.  But, for the last few years I have been the one to organize and decorate for the holidays.  

Here are a few tips for creating a tree like a pro!

 This does not mean you have to buy all ornaments that are the same color, shape or size.  Our scheme is cream and green.  There are various shades, sizes and textures within that. I even threw in a little gold.. Close enough..

 This is especially helpful with artificial trees that have a lot of open spots..  Here I used silk hydrangeas  it fits in with the color scheme and makes the tree look more plush and full.

 Here I added a few bulbs of a deep eggplant purple. It gives a few pops throughout the tree.

  This makes it appear that they are part of the tree and not just hanging on it.  You may have to hang them on 2 branches to make this work.

Try to have 3 to 5 of the same ornaments scattered in different areas throughout the tree for cohesion.  Don't put them all together... Then you just look unorganized : )
 Here is a crazy little elf.. He gives the tree some life. and some grinchiness for that matter : )
make sure you step back and take a peak at your tree from multiple angles.  Add in more where you need to or adjust some that are already on.   Things can look great up close but the whole picture is a different story.  Make sure the tree looks good everywhere and make sure ALL areas look good.  You don't want to walk in from  a different room and see weirdness.

8) know when to hold them, know when to fold them, KNOW WHEN TO WALK AWAY
Overdecorating is one of the worst things you can do.  If someone can't even tell its a tree...  Too much.  If it looks like Santa himself threw up decorations on your tree..  Too much...   If you used 12 Rubbermaid tubs on a 4' tree... Too much...   Edit where you need to..   You should see some green people..  it is a tree... Good grief!

Most of all enjoy yourself and your creation..

Merry almost December all!

I'm linked up@ The Dedicated House
All Things Fee
Artsy Fartsy Mama
Skip to my Lou 
Chef in training

Monday, November 19, 2012

Linky Fiesta #1

Come Join the Party!!  This is my First Linky Party.  Join up and share your creativity!!

Party Rules:
1) You need to follow this blog
2)Entries need to be crafts, food, or DIY that you have created.  Nothing Obscene or stolen.
3) Please link back to my blog
4) Have fun..  It is a Fiesta after all : )

Friday, November 16, 2012


The Station at work has been playing Christmas music since November 1st..  And I've been ticked about it.   Give the Turkey some respect people.... 
Now that being said..  I play music when I put little man to sleep and there is a song on a Disney CD that I absolutely love called My Gift Is You.  It is a Christmas song but... The Lyrics make me think about my family and all that I am Grateful for.  Sooo  here is my rationalization for doing a Christmas Printable at Thanksgiving....LOL..

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Here are All of the Lyrics and the Printable is the 1st verse.

My Gift is You

Words and Music by Gary Powell
Woman-Verse 1
I love a gift wrapped in red, a gift under the tree
When the lights blink only for you and for me
But what I like most and what most rings true
Is the way I feel knowing that my gift is you.
We sip the hot chocolate and we sing “Noel”
Whether first or the second Noel, we won’t tell
I know that I’m tardy and long overdue
In telling my true love that my gift is you
Both-Chorus 1
All that we hold in each other’s heart
Is the hope that each Christmas we won’t be apart
So, our stockings are hung and from my point of view
We’re here with each other, and my gift is you
Man-Verse 2
We hold in our hands what we love the most
We hold in our hearts where others just boast
But what I like most and what most rings true
Is the way I feel knowing that my gift is you.
Both-Chorus 2
All that we hold in each other’s heart
Is the hope that each Christmas we won’t be apart
So, our stockings are hung and from my point of view
We’re here with each other, and my gift is you
Woman-Verse 3
I love a gift wrapped by you, a gift under the tree
When the snow falls lightly for you and for me
But what I like most and what most rings true
Is the way I feel knowing that my gift is you.
We sip apple cider, we sing “Deck the Halls”
We’ve trimmed the tree now and even some of the walls
But you know I am here now and though overdue
I will tell you my true love that my gift is ….
Both-Chorus 3
All that we hold in each other’s heart
is the hope that each Christmas we won’t be apart
But what I like most and what most rings true
Is the way I feel knowing ….
This is the way…
The way I feel knowing that my gift
My gift, my gift is you
(Copyright Jesmax Music, BMI 2006)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eggless Banana Almond Cake

Ok..  Before you go thinking I'm turning Vegan or I'm trying to healthify my cake...  Just know this ended up being eggless because I was eggless and I wasn't going to take a baby out at 9pm to get some.  So.. Thanks to google.. I found an alternative.  I thought this was kinda crazy but it works.!!  I needed 3 eggs so the substitution was 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 3 tablespoons of vinegar..  I know.. It sounds yuck right?   It totally isn't and it works!!!  I am so excited about this because how often do you not have the right ingredients..  and I should be limiting the calories in my dessert...  So... I may have to do this more often....

Recipe is as follows..

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake
3 TBS Vinegar and 1 TBS baking soda  ( mix these together separately and then add to the cake mix)
1 1/4 cup sprite 
1/2 cup oil
1 mashed banana
1/2-1 teaspoon of almond extract (i used an emulsion) depending on your taste

Mix all ingredients together, they will be very thick but fluffy.  Bake for 20-25 mins @ 350.  Cake will brown quickly but make sure it is firm (not overcooked) before removing.  Cake will pull away from the sides of the pan as it cools.

1 carton cool whip
1 carton Philadelphia White Chocolate Indulgence

Mix together and cover cooled cake.   Keep Cake Refrigerated until ready to serve.

 The cake is like a banana cake/banana bread hybrid.. It is dense but moist and chewy also.

It looks like it was enjoyed..  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Graco Home Party/Newest Snugride

 I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a party for the new Graco Snugride Click Connect 40. The Party was hosted by Fran in her amazingly beautiful home. Through the SITS girls  She was such a lovely inviting woman.  It was very easy to be comfortable there. Our Awesome Host had yummy Hor d'oeuvres, drinks and cupcakes. In the words of my husbands friend.... The Caramel Apple Cake Pops were smackin! .
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to talk to other mom bloggers and see some of our kiddos interact.  Thankfully Fran had a photographer there because when I went back to look at the pictures I took son had tried to help a few too many times and they all came out blurry..  Note to self.. Set down the baby before pictures : P    Green Vintage Photography. Her pic's were beautiful!  Here is a link to her site
Me and Little man...  He's so cute!!

 These kids are so cute!!  

Fran took the time to show us about the seat and all of it's amazing features.  The American Academy of Pediatric has changed it's recommendations to keep kiddos rear facing until 2 years old.  This awesome seat will allow you to transition from a brand new baby all the way up to a 2 year old.  It has a quick release and even a foot plate for older kids so they are not banging on your seat with their shoes.  

Even the babies were impressed.

She showed us the removable inserts so that it can fit the tiniest and the largest of babies.  It also has 8!! different reclining positions for comfort and growth. She also showed us how easily the seat snaps in and out of the base !  You know that is a necessity!  It comes in 2 color choices: Moonstruck (neutral) and Mina (pink).  Here is a great PDF with all of the specifics.
We had baby testers and models..  so cute!!

These can be found online or at Babies R US.

This is a really awesome seat.  Very sturdy and a great value considering how long you will have it!

The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cookies to blow your diet

So.. I haven't done much baking.. Between chasing a crawling baby and trying to lose extra weight I generally avoid baked goods... Which is still my favorite food thing ever.
But, Hubby needed some for a friend so I thought I would mix it up and make a new cookie.

One of my new fav. things to do is mix jello pudding powder into baked goods to give them a hint of flavor.

So here are my Chocolate Bottomed PB Nana Cookies.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter (I am VERY generous with my 1/2 cup.. it's usually more)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/8 cup banana cream jello pudding powder (the banana flavor is pretty subtle.  So you can add more if you like)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups  flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 bag semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix 1st 7 ingredients together

 Add in dry ingredients and  scoop spoonfuls  onto a cookie sheet.  
 Sprinkle with sugar and make criss crosses with a fork.
 Allow to cool completely.  
Melt remaining chocolate chips and use to coat the backs of the cookies.
 When you don't allow them to cool completely then they break when you go to coat them.  Then I had do eat it.   DARN YOU COOKIE!  I just used the back of a spoon to coat the cookie back.
Once the bottoms are coated let them set up and eat more cookies.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hanging Balls... There has to be a better name..

I've told you before ...  I'm one of those crafters that has grandiose ideas of these amazing projects I am going to do...  and then.. reality kicks in..

I'm sure I'm not the only one who buys beautiful fabric and never uses it.. I'm not sure what makes me think I'm really going to make a quilt...

So my crafting abilities are even more diminished now because I often have to do things one handed when little man feels like being held. (Did I tell you how cute my kid is... I digress)

SO what to do using my extra fabric that I can do quickly and at times with one hand?  Make an adorable Hanging Wreath Ball!

Begin with a Styrofoam ball of any size.  Just keep in mind you need a good amount of fabric so the bigger the ball the more fabric...

I used a 4in Styrofoam ball that I think I got at Walmart but any craft store should carry.  I also cut a bunch of 2 in squares of my scrap fabric ( approx 7 coordinating colors). You can also do all one color or just a few.  There is no right or wrong way to do this.  I left mine with a  ragged edge.

Here is the really fancy tool i used..  a lollipop stick...  I had some in my baking kit.  You can use anything that is smallish and has a dull end.

You take a piece of fabric and push dead center with your stick into the fabric and ball.  The fabric sucks in and becomes part of the ball. 

Place each piece of fabric very closely to the last one to keep it tight and filled in.  

Continue around the entire ball until it is covered.  Try to alternate the different colors around the ball.
Yes... I was sitting on my bed doing this.. 

Then cut a piece of ribbon to the desired length to hang your ball with.  I pinned mine to make sure I liked the length and then glued it into place.  You do not have to hang them.  They can also be placed in a bowl on a table.

The fun part of this craft is that you can make them to fit any color scheme or holiday you want.

I learned this technique as a kid buy making circle wreaths.  You can do this with any size/style of Styrofoam.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Welcome to the World New Mommy

I haven't been attending to my blog for a long time.  I thought it was about time to get back into the swing of things.  I announced last year that I was expecting my first child. HERE I didn't realize even though I had an easy pregnancy and delivery how much energy growing a human takes.  So alas, my free moments before the baby were spent resting and my time since has been feeding and caring for an adorable little man.

I have been thinking a lot during my time feeding my little nugget and at night before bed about the interesting comments people make when you have children. It seems as though everyone has an opinion, experience or frustration they wish to share. I'm enamored with listening to people talk about how much they love their children young and very old.  I'm also surprised by the negativity that comes out of some peoples mouths about their children.    I'm grateful that I read the blog here at the  Diving for Pearls Blog.  She has so many wonderful thoughts on the beauty of children growing up and your joy as a parent watching and being a part of it.

I've only been a mama for 4 months so I know that there will be times in the future that I will pull my hair out, my kids will get on my nerves and I will need a vacation.  But right now I am trying to savor every second that I can from this blessing in my life.

Do I miss sleeping without interruption?  Do I tire of the flab that has taken over my body? Do I secretly fantasize about getting in my car and doing anything I want for just 2 hours? Do I wish that I could prepare and eat a meal without someone demanding to be fed first?   Of course, and anyone that says otherwise is lying.

But, I will tell you in the scheme of things none of that really matters.

None of those things can quite compare to growing and giving birth to a tiny little human that has characteristics of both you and your husband. ( Adopting in my opinion is just as amazing.. You may not physically create the baby but preparing your home to love and nurture a beautiful child and to give it the love and life another cannot is a miracle)

It is a beautiful and heartwarming sound to hear your child laugh and coo.  To see them smile at you when they're half asleep or when they see you across the room. To see them get startled and look to you for comfort and assurance that they are safe. And once they see you're OK that is all they need to know. It is so entertaining to watch them laugh at you when you make weird sounds or expressions or blow in their faces.

There is nothing quite as sexy as seeing your big ol husband pick out onesies and blankie for or change diapers on a tiny little baby. Or when you hear him make up ridiculous songs to sing to your upset child to make him feel better. And this new found tag team partnership and unspoken appreciation for each other after experiencing such intense excitement and love following giving birth.

I marvel at the joy that this little face brings perfect strangers when they see him at he flirts back.  How amazing it is to see the impact of a little spirit on the world.   And what a great reminder that we all started out so small and precious.  My interactions with others have been permanently altered because now I think of everyone as someone else's baby.

Just the thought of this beautiful little boy growing into a great man brings me to tears for two reasons. Firstly, that means that he will not always be this precious little baby and secondly, that he will have this amazing life he gets to live.

The best thing a person has said to him was this; "Welcome to the world little man.  You are going to have so many awesome experiences"

I thank my Heavenly Father everyday that I get to be with him for some of those experiences and more importantly that I get to be the Mom he runs home to tell about the good and bad.

My goal is to never take for granted this precious gift and I pray that I can be the mother that he needs.

I love this quote and wanted to share it with all of you.

Here is a copy for you to print out for your home.  Now go kiss your babies of all ages : )

Sep 19, 2011