Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Decor in Our Home

It's one of those holidays that holds a special meaning for my family and I (and of course, our church community). For us, it's about celebrating the birth of our Savior and making sure we teach that to our kids. It's easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of this time of year with family events, presents, food, and decorating that we forget what the holiday is actually about. That's not to say that you shouldn't decorate or put up a Christmas tree. In fact, this post will have plenty of pictures of Christmas decor in our home. It's fun to celebrate this month with our creativity and knowing that it's something God has generously given us another year to do together. 
So with that, here are some photos of our home decorated for this holiday.

We'll begin downstairs with our kitchen.

We kept it simple in here by hanging stockings and plastic ornament reindeer from the cabinets.

We also added this faux wreath to our closet door. I love this wood door (and so does my husband) so it will probably never get painted. :)

Next up we have our dining room- a space that has truly become one of my favorite spots in the house.


The B/W photo above our buffet table has had this garland with the painted pine cones around it since last Christmas. I never bothered to take it down and just changed out the lights when necessary. 

I added some ornaments and pine cones to the wooden centerpiece. Something simple that adds a nice holiday touch.

Our entryway is a favorite to decorate this time of year because of the staircase. I finally bought real garland this year (on sale at Home Depot right now) and I love it! Not only does it smell nice, it also looks beautiful.

After reading many blogs over the years, I noticed that bloggers, around Christmastime, like to use wreaths over rectangular mirrors. I guess it helps break up the box-iness of a room. Anyhow, I like how it looked in other peoples home so we tried it here. It works!

This is the space where we put our Christmas tree. It's a bit small so I'm thinking of adding a basket underneath to hide the pole that the tree is standing on a bit better. :)

We also added these paper mache houses that the girls and I worked on together. I really love how they look on top of this dresser. Definitely a fun project to try with little ones at home.

We hung up more stockings by the french doors. Bought those at Party City for a good deal a few years ago.

That's all for the tour. I hope to have some photos ready of the kids' rooms sometime soon since we did a bit of decorating there too.

Happy December!! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fairy Canopy Fit for a Princess (or two)

My oldest daughter has been asking us for a fairy/princess canopy to have over her bed for about 6 months. Whenever she would see one in a magazine or in a movie (the most recent being The Tale of Despereaux) she'd say, "Mommy, can I have one of those?" I would think about it a little bit and say, "Maybe for Christmas sweetie." And I was going to leave it at that until 2 things happened: 

1. When I looked up the cost of one of these canopies, I was a bit surprised at the cost. They run about $99 per. I didn't really like that and knew there had to be a way to make one for much, much cheaper. 

2. We were visiting with a neighbor and while the kids were playing I mentioned to my friend that I had been thinking about making a hanging canopy for my girls room. Our conversation went a little something like this afterwards:
Neighbor: "What color fabric are you thinking about using for the canopies?" 
Me: "Not really sure, but probably a sheer white fabric."
Neighbor: "The people that lived here before us left some sheer curtains in white and green. I don't want them but do you want to take a look at them to see if it's something you could use?"
Me: "Uhhh, yesssss please!! That would be great!"

My neighbor then took the fabric out of a large garbage bag in her atic where they were stored and showed me this long beautiful green sheer fabric. The previous owners of their house used them as draperies but didn't want them anymore. There were 3 of them so I didn't hesitate to take them. I knew they would work perfectly for the girl's room...and best of all, they were free!!!!

So here is a little breakdown of how I made the canopies.

#1. After searching a couple of stores for those wooden embroidery hoops and seeing that a large size would cost me $19 just for one, I wanted to think of a better/cheaper way to get one. I searched our home and remember we had 2 large unused lampshades in the atic. One was purchased at a thrift store for a couple bucks and had served no purpose because I wanted to use the lamp base, but not the shade itself...that is until now. I cut out the wire circle from both lamp shades and used that as the hoop.

#2: Because I only had 3 long pieces of this fabric, I had to make a couple cuts to make sure each girl got an equal amount of fabric. I also wanted to canopies to have enough fabric to move around and not pulled taut. 

#3. Next up, after adding some twine we had stored in the garage to the hoop, was the take my small but mighty glue gun and attach the fabric.

 #4. I added some eye hooks to the twine and wrapped it tightly so it could hang nicely/safely from the ceiling.

#5. After they were finished and hung, it was time to take pictures and let my girls see their princess canopies. :)

It's safe to say they love them and so do I! They really turned out better than I expected and didn't cost us a dime (unless you count what it would have cost us to buy what we had already...but I didn't, haha).


And here are some more shots from the other side of their room.

This is the side of their room with the desks my husband helped make. The girls still use them frequently.

The flower hooks we bought at Hobby Lobby- they were 50% off when we got them. Great deal!

I've also seen that you could use hula hoops as well, but since we didn't have one, I had to get creative. I'm sure there are other ways to do this, so if you try it out, let me know how it worked!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Some More Organizing (in the playroom)

It's part of my personality to organize and clean. It probably stems from my childhood. My sister and I had to do daily chores around the house and this is something that stuck with me as I grew. 
True story: At church one morning, I was cleaning up the room where my husband and I volunteer and a lady was coming in to take the next shift. She was quietly watching me pick up toys and clean the tables and politely said, "That's enough, Stephanie. You don't have to do all that. Really, just stop." She was being kind about it, but definitely had this look of 'your being a little obsessive.' I looked at her and had to laugh. All I said back was, "You don't understand. This is just part of my personality. I actually enjoy doing this." I'm sure she thought I was being a little nutty, but it's true. I do enjoy it!

Bathing suit attire is a common sight around our house- even in the winter months

The same is true in my own home. One area that I feel I am constantly thinking of ways to clean and organize is my kid's playroom (the fact that we even have a "playroom" does seem a bit excessive and it's one of the many, many reasons why we want to adopt. We have the space and feel we need to share that with others- besides neighbors and friends).

Our playroom does change quite a bit- and what I've found is that my kids actually enjoy the changes. It's almost like Christmas to them all over again because they begin playing with things they may have forgotten about or taken a break from. 

Bins and storage containers have been essential in keeping this place organized. The plastic container in the photo below and above holds Lego's and plastic building supplies. The shoe bins hold all of our plastic and felt food items for the kids to play "kitchen." And most of the items in our playroom we've either had  
1. for many years, 
2. have been gifted to us, or 
3. have been handed down to us by wonderful friends.

Another clever way to display things is by uisng rain gutters. I know I've posted about these many a times before, but they are great for book storage! 
And hooks that otherwise would just sit in our garage without any purpose now are used to hang various hats for dress up.

My mother-in-law bought these alphabet cards years ago for the kids and now they hang on one of the play room walls. The kids still occasionally look at them and point out letters, sounds, and words.
The bookshelf was handed down to me from a friend in college years and years ago. I just held onto it and have used it for a variety of things over the years- even to hold shoes at one point! Now we use it to store the girl's dress up clothes using an IKEA metal rack. 

So you can see that there are many ways to keep a place organized for the kids to have easy access to their toys. I've found that thrift store dressers and nightstands, shoe bins, plastic bins, bookshelves and even a $5 wall hutch are great for storage. You really don't have to buy new or spend a fortune on storage furniture. Shop your house first and then look at thrift stores for these items that are cheap and can be re-purposed. 

Our wall hutch we found at a local thrift store for $5 and I just painted it white. We made the 4 cubed stand for it and painted it to match the hutch so it looks like one large piece that was meant to be together. The nightstand next to the hutch is also a thrift store find. I think it was about $15.
The circular table was $8 and the chairs were $5 a piece. Why would I want to pay any more than that on something that will be painted, colored, stained, etc. on? Plus, when this happens (as it often does in a kids space) I don't mind at all because it was very inexpensive to begin with and we made it work!

I'd love to hear any other thrifty ways you use storage in your home! I'm sure there are tons.