Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Tis the Season to Give . . .

Ok, so I totally can't believe it's been 20 days since I last blogged!! I really couldn't believe it when I actually checked the date or that tomorrow is December 1. Now I am sitting in pretty good shape for Christmas. Half my gifts have been purchased. I just finished making (yes, you read that right!) our Christmas cards (blog post to follow this month). 95% of our Christmas decorations are up (uh, ok maybe 85%; make that 80%!). Both trees have been purchased and are in their stands, no lights or ornaments though but we are well on our way.

Once the turkey has been eaten and a crazy shopper has pepper sprayed other shoppers during Black Friday (seriously people, is this what we have come to?? So glad I no longer work retail!), the holidays hit us hard. One big sign that the holiday season is here is the sound of the Salvation Army bell ringers. They are out in front of every store!! Does anyone feel guilty every time you walk by the bell ringer without putting some money in their bucket? I know I do but I can't afford to give money every time I pass one (does this mean I need to get a job or go in stores less?? Hummm?)! My girls also like to give so we came up with what we think is a great solution! A roll of quarters!

Now, this little roll has a lot of power. When my girls were younger and we took road trips, we gave each girl a roll of quarters at the start of the trip. If they misbehaved or asked "are we almost there?", they lost a quarter. When we reached our destination, they were able to use the money they had left for their souvenirs. Genius, I know (I think I stole this idea from Family Fun magazine but don't quote me on that!).

For the holidays, I give each girl a roll of quarters on December 1. They keep their quarters in a coin purse in the back pocket of the front seats of our car. That way they are out of sight but the girls know where their money is at all times. Then they have the power of the of giving - and they love it! Anytime they want to give some money to a bell ringer, they can. They can give it all to one person (I do try to discourage that though) or spread it out for the holiday season. This way, they are not asking me for money in front of the bell ringer (especially embarrassing when I don't have ANY money in my wallet, which is more often than not!) and they feel like they are also giving back. At the end of the holiday season, we have given $20 to a great cause (in addition to our yearly charitable contributions) and the girls feel like they were a part of it. Just had a brainstorm while typing - maybe have the girls earn their quarters. I like that! There are already pine needles all over my house and they are not going to sweep themselves!

Well, off to work on that other 20% of our holiday decorations. I won't wait so long to blog next time and will start posting Christmas decorating photos in the next week but, that is for another blog!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where Does All the Time Go . . .

Ok, I have all these grandiose plans to do all the little projects in my house before the holidays hit. I see ideas on-line or in catalogs and get SO inspired. They are all great and would look perfect in my house. The problem is . . .  I am so busy pinning items on Pinterest, I don't leave myself anytime to make/do/cook any of my pins!! It's so addictive!

Every time I log on to Pinterest, I feel a little giddy. There, categorized in fabulous categories, are all my favorite things (insert obligatory except for husband, kids and family - yada, yada, yada). My eyes light up when my boards pull up. I feel proud when someone Repins or Likes one of my pins. I like to see what my followers are repinning. It's like Disney, the happiest place on earth!

So, here are some of my favorite pins for the upcoming Christmas season, pins I AM GOING TO MAKE THIS SEASON (one hand on the keyboard, one raised in my Girl Scout promise sign!):

1.  It's so simple but I just love the look of this. Now I just have to find the snowflakes!

2. I have been wanting to make something cute for the teachers so going to make this over Thanksgiving break so they can have in their classrooms during the holidays.

3. Must print this off and put in my craft room. I love Elf, it's the first movie our family watches during the Christmas season.

4. Every year I host a Cookie Exchange and I have this year's theme all planned out (for a future post!). I really like the looks of this. Mine won't be exact but I will use the basic gist for my party!

5. This has a nice, clean look. Can't afford fresh carnations for the wreaths but will come up with an alternative. I plan on using my milk glass and ornaments and recreating this feel.

Ok, there are about 50 more ideas I want to make/use but I have to set some realistic expectations!! Of course the only way I can actually make it all happen, is to log off my blog, kiss Pinterest good-bye for the day (parting is such sweet sorrow!) and get off the couch!! I will share all my projects come to life, but that will be for another post!

P.S. If you want to make any of the above ideas, click onto my Pinterest account, under my board labeled Christmas (real creative title, huh??)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Turn Out the Lights . . .

Halloween is over and ALL packed up! Yes, I said it. I worked like a mad woman yesterday and packed, stuffed, and shoved all my Halloween and now it's neatly put away!! Yeah!! It's nice to have a sense of accomplishment!

Now, the big question in our family is . . . do we put Fall/Thanksgiving up or go straight to Christmas? For the past two years, we have been in Italy over Thanksgiving break. Yes, we ate pizza for Thanksgiving and loved every minute of it! This year, we will be home but not celebrating at our house.

So what's the big decision? We decided to forgo Thanksgiving decs, hold off on Christmas and use those few weeks in between to finish ALL the projects that have been on my "To Do" list.

So here's the plan:

1. Olivia's Room - Remember this makeover? This room needs valance/curtains, finish the shower curtain turned closet doors, fill frames and recover and paint bench. (Note: the pink Olivia is now a matching green).

2. Playroom to Craft Room Conversion - The painting is done but nothing has been hung on the walls! Organization needs to be done. Curtains need to be sewn. New bedding needs to be ironed and put on the bed. Oh, did I forget to add on my To Do list, clear all the clutter or as my husband calls it, crap!

3. Caitlin's Room - Fill frames with new photos, hang Ikea desktop (converting to vanity/dresser), find cool nightstand and refluff room!

4. Caitlin's Bathroom - Organization. Organization. Organization. Lots of ideas pinned on Pinterest. Time to make them happen!

5. Girls' Office - This room is getting close to being done and has been used a ton! We need to add some more color with fabric. Going to recover those lovely pink chairs, add a curtain/valance above the window, repaint the door, organize the girl's school supplies, add some shelving by my desk, and rework the bookcase.

Those are my big ones, in addition to making some Christmas crafts and starting Christmas cards. I got a lot to do and a short time to get it done but it will be nice going into the holidays organized, all those little items checked off my To Do list and the house looking guuud (head bob up and down)! I will keep you updated on my progress but that will be for another post!