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Showing posts from 2013

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Year-End Re-cap...

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Well, it's been a while.  We made it through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with lots of fun memories.  The 31 Day Challenge took it out of me, I must admit.  Challenging it was for sure.  Lots of debate in my head was going on about continuing to blog or not but I decided I don't really need to make a decision, I can just do it when the mood hits.  So here I am with my year-end re-cap.  I have a love/hate relationship with these re-caps - I love the idea of looking back on the year - seeing what was popular with readers, what was a dud, looking at the pictures I took, getting re-inspired, etc.  But I hate them because I think they're kind of a lazy way to create a new post. So, here goes, some of my most popular posts of 2013:


The first day of any 31 Day Challenge is always a biggie and this year was no exception. The overview of 31 Days of Making your House your Home can be found here.  This is where all the other 31 Days posts can be accessed.My Front Door Update

Day 31 - Making your House your Home - Recap

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I got a little behind a few days but the 31 Days Challenge is complete (a few days late!)   It was a really busy month around here so keeping up with blogging was definitely a challenge this month.

I enjoyed writing this series and I hope everyone took away a few things to help 'make your house your home'.

All my 31 Days posts can be found here.

Thank you to The Nester for hosting this fun challenge again this year.

Day 30- Making your House your Home -Getting Ready for the Holidays...

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Halloween is tomorrow.  Then we will head into Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah &Kwanzaa.  The prime entertaining season.  I am sure we all take on too much during this time of year. Baking, cooking, shopping, wrapping, cards, shipping, volunteering, shopping, traveling, more shopping.  And entertaining.  ON TOP OF WHAT WE DO EVERYDAY to keep things humming along: cleaning, cooking, laundry, working, volunteering.  You get the idea.  We are stretched t h i n during the holiday season.  I don't know about you but the entertaining part is my favorite.  What's a girl to do?

We all know the answer is to say 'no' more often, right?  Easier said than done for sure.  But every year, right about this time, I vow to have things run smoother and calmer than last year.  As I was hauling my supply of Christmas wrapping paper through Target yesterday I was getting some looks.  I know what they were thinking, 'Lady, here we are dragging our kids through the store looking for…

Day 29 - Making your House your Home - It's OK to Let Go...

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This is a re-post from my 31 Days of Organization series.

As you're going through your home trying to make it more 'you', you will likely find that getting rid of some of your belongings is the only thing that will give you the space or serenity you desire.  Don't keep anything just because: 
It was a gift from someone you care about.  We all have objects that we don't like but keep because they are from our grandma/best friend/sister and we don't have the heart to part with them.  If a gift is hidden in your closet because you hate it, what good is it doing anyone?  Donate it to the Goodwill and let someone love it.It represents what you used to be.  The mauve dinnerware you got for your wedding in 1992 may not work for you in 2013.  It's okay.  Let it go.You think you may fit into or need it one day. The size 4 jeans from high school?  Toss them - trust me, styles have changed since 1988 and you'll want to buy a new pair when you are a size 4 again.  …

Day 28 - Making your House your Home - At the Front Door....

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This is a re-post from my 31 Days of Organization Series.


Keys, phones and more.  Seems we're always looking for them.  How about this easy way to keep them from being misplaced?
This is a cutlery tray with spots for keys, phones, wallets & sunglasses.  This is a brilliant idea I got from Better Homes & Gardens.
I think I'll be looking for a cutlery tray this weekend. 
How do you keep these things from getting lost?
The rest of my 31 Days of Making your House your Home posts can be found here. 

Day 27- Making your House your Home- The Party's in the Kitchen...

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This is a re-post from my 31 Days of Hospitality Series. It seems like just about every party ends up in the kitchen.  Big or small, it doesn't seem to matter.  Should it?  Does it matter to you?  Sometimes it's hard to steer the guests to another room.  Sometimes it's downright impossible.  If you want to get the group to mingle with your other rooms, try these ideas:
Move the drinks out of the kitchen.  Try to set up a 'drink station' in another room.  We have a wet bar in our living room area.  This is a perfect place for us to set up drinks.  You can also set up a drink station on a table in the living room or great room- just remove your usual decor from that table and set the drinks up there.  You can even add a small card table to a corner and make that your drink area.  Likewise, you can take it all outside. Move the food out of the kitchen. Same idea as moving the drinks out.  Be creative - look at your space and see how you can accommodate the food with th…

Day 26 - Making your House your Home - Home Management notebook...

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This is a re-post from last years' 31 Days of Organization series.

I created a notebook for our family that I call our Home Management Notebook and it's filled with all kinds of useful information we need at home.  It started out as a notebook to keep owner's manuals & warranty information after my Keurig broke and I couldn't find the info on it and hadn't registered it.  I kept most of my manuals in a plastic bin in the garage but not everything made it in there (like the Keurig info).  My husband suggested the binder - really, he did. 

I put the manual for my new Keurig in a binder and  I thought it would be nice to have phone numbers of the A/C guy, the pool guy, the yard man, the insurance agent, doctors, vet, etc.  And I went from there - adding information I often needed to access for school, bank, etc.

There are many resources out in blog land for how to put together your notebook.  One blog I particularly liked was The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaki…

Day 25- Making your House your Home - Family Calendar...

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I'm not sure many of us could effectively function without some type of family calendar.  Kids' activities, work commitments, board meetings, school events; there's so much to do that most of us can't possibly keep it all in our heads.

There are so many ways to keep it all organized: on line, paper planners and wall calendars to name a few. Trial and error seems to be the best way to figure out what works best for you.  I've tried many different things and for me a planner works best for me. I wish I could keep everything on my phone and be done with it but it just doesn't work for me.

What type of family calendar do you use?

Day 24 - Making your House your Home - Getting Inspiration...

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Back in the day, most of us probably got our home inspiration from magazines like Southern Living, Country Living and House Beautiful.  These days there is the internet with blogs and other home websites which means we don't have to wait for the latest issues of our magazines to get inspired.

Some of my favorite sites:


HGTV - While I am not as in love with the HGTV channel as I used to be I still love the website and go to it often for inspiration. Better Homes & Gardens - Another wonderful website for all kinds of home inspiration.Southern Hospitality - Rhoda's blog is awesome.  And I love her Feature Friday where we get a peek inside others' homes.  Jennifer Rizzo - Another favorite blog.  I love her Holiday Housewalk each year.  Where do you find your inspiration?
My 31 Days posts can be found here.

Day 23 - Making your House your Home - Family Fun....

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Fall is such a great time for have fun as a family.  Most parts of the country are enjoying beautiful weather this time of year.  It's time to get out of the house and enjoy all things fall.

Some ideas:


Pumpkin Patch - even in Arizona we have pumpkin patches and festivals.  It's always fun to let the kids pick out a pumpkin for carving.Pumpkin Carving - Our friends have a pumpkin carving party every year, the Saturday before Halloween.  It's all about the kids and helping them carve the perfect design.  Even if you do this at home with just your kids, it's a fun activity.  Don't forget to save those pumpkin seeds for roasting.Head to the Park - With the great weather this time of year, a park day is the perfect no cost family activity for a Saturday morning.Take a Drive - if you're lucky enough to live where the leaves change colors now's the time to hop in the car and do some leaf peeping.Take a Ride - Get out those bikes and take a little ride before it …

Day 22 - Making your House your Home - A Creative Garage...

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In an ideal world, the garage would be a place to park your car.  That's all.  For most of us a garage is much more. Storage Room.  Laundry Room.  Workshop.  Craft Room.  Sports Equipment Room.

We are fortunate enough to have our washer and dryer in our garage (can you hear the sarcasm?)  It's especially fun in the summer when it's over 110 degrees.  But I always think: 'it could be worse, at least I don't have to go to the laundromat.'

Our garage is also a storage area.  Our friends recently remodeled their kitchen and we were the recipient of some of the old cabinets which made a huge difference in how the garage looked and functioned.

What do you use your garage for?

My 31 Days posts can be found here.

Day 21 - Making your House your Home - Keeping Up...

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Gone are the days when keeping up meant the kids were fed and the house was clean.  These days most of us are pulled in many different directions.  There's cleaning and washing and cooking and car-pooling and working and teaching and listening and.... the list goes on, right?

I remember thinking that when LM went to kindergarten I'd be all caught up. HA.  Once those little people head off to school it just gets busier with sports, dance, music lessons, volunteering.  I have considered homeschooling on occasion only if to try to keep things a little slower around here.  I'm sure that's all an illusion I have created in my head...

My husband say he always knows when I'm home because things run more smoothly: the house is cleaner, dinner is on time & everything in general is more in order. It's hard to take a day just to stay home and tend to things when you're being pulled in all those directions.  While that's usually not possible for most of us th…

Day 20 - Making your House your Home - To Paint or Not to Paint...

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In fourteen years I've painted all of our rooms - some of them more then once.  So, I would always say 'yes' to painting.  I'm of the school that says 'it's paint, if you don't like it you can paint it again.'

Paint is probably the number one way to make your house your home, to make your home express your personality.  Your walls may be white or blue or green or beige.  Whatever color you choose, you'll be saying volumes about your personality and lifestyle.

One of my favorite blogs is Favorite Paint Colors. There are tons of different paint colors that you can actually see in use in people's homes.  It's great inspiration and just fun to look at.

This is part of my 31 Days series. The rest of the posts can be found here.

Day 19- Making your House your Home - Craft Day...

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A rainy or snowy day is the perfect time for a family craft day. It's a great alternative to other indoor activities like tv or video games.  Plan ahead for those inevitable days with the following resources:


Spoonful - this website has tons of great craft ideas as well as recipes, holiday and party ideas.  You'll never run out of inspiration here.Family Fun Magazine - This has long been a go-to craft resource for me.  I especially love this owl project.  Better Homes and Gardens - Another great craft resource - for kids and adults.Martha Stewart - Of course you can find really great ideas for a craft day project on her website.Oriental Trading - If you want to buy craft kids for a group (say for a birthday party) this is a great resource.  Their prices are unbeatable. This is part of my 31 Days series. All posts can be found here.

Day 18-Making your House your Home: How much is too much?

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I would venture to say that most of us struggle at some time with our stuff.  Mostly thinking that maybe we have too much of it.  Do we really need the last 10 years of Country Living Magazine?  Or those size 4 pants that we haven't fit into for the past 5 years? Or those baby clothes, when we know we're done having babies?  That kind of stuff takes up space.  Lots of it.

We had new floors installed in three of our bedrooms recently.  We emptied out the bedrooms before the installers came and put everything in the garage.  The master bedroom was completed in one day and the installers realized that they didn't have enough flooring to finish the other two rooms.  So we lived without our stuff in the rooms for about a week.  We kind of got to the point that we didn't really miss any of the stuff after that week. Some of it needs to come back in the rooms - the desk in the office, for example.  But do we need two bookcases in the office?  Maybe not.

Everyone has a differ…

Day 17 - Making your House your Home: Spic 'n Span...

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For most of us, cleaning isn't at the top of our list of fun things to do.  But it's a necessity. Everyone seems to have a different idea of what clean means.  Can you eat off the kitchen floor?  Or are you just as happy if there is no visible dirt in sight?  I'd guess that most of us are somewhere in between.

I have a cleaning schedule that I stick for the most part.  It changes up a bit if we're out of town but everything pretty much gets done every week.

I look to the internet for inspiration when I get in a cleaning rut.  One of my favorite blogs is Clean Mama. She will teach you how to clean everything and has some wonderful free printables.

This is part of my 31 Days series.

Day 16-Make your House your Home - Fresh Baked...

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The smell of something yummy baking is always welcoming.  My most often baked recipe is banana bread.  I've always got bananas that I need to use.  After years of searching for just the right  recipe I found one in the Martha Stewart cookbook that is perfect.




You can find this yummy recipe here.

Enjoy!

Day 15 - Making your House your Home - Favorite Things

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I always love a good Favorite Things post and I know we all have things that help make our house feel like a home.  Some of mine are:


A nice, high thread count white sheet set. Good sheets are really important to me and well worth the money.  We all have our vices...A welcoming rug in the entry way.A fabulous way to make a fabulous cup of coffee. I love my Verismo and it makes a lovely cup of coffee or espresso.  Your favorite may be a Keurig, or a Nespresso or a Miele or or a french press or a Mr. Coffee but whatever your preference you can't beat a good cup of coffee.
A good book. Or many good books...  My current read is this one: 
It's fascinating.  Such interesting lives the members of this family have lived. Some of my other recent favorites are:


The Things that Matter  by Nate Berkus is one that I re-read and just look at often.
This is part of my 31 Days series.  Find all of the posts here.

Day 14 - Making your House your Home - Homework Station...

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Once our kids hit the school years most of us look for a quiet place for them to do homework.  As they get older homework takes longer and a designated homework spot makes sense for most of our little students. Some of us have the luxury of a separate room for a homework station.  Some of us only have the space for our kids to work at the dining room table.  Either way you can make the space workable for your family.

 The more challenging scenario is the dining room table way.  How can this work on a daily basis?


Keep the Dining Room Table Empty - It's hard to do anything at the dining room table if it's covered with mail and newspapers and who know's what else, right?  That's why it's so important to keep it clean.Turn off the TV- Keep the homework area quiet with no distractions from the TV.Have Supplies Close at Hand - Sharpened pencils, erasers, paper, crayons, glue.  Keep it all in a homework container so there's no excuse to get up mid-homework and get di…

Day 13 - Making your House your Home - Game Night...

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Who doesn't love a game night?  It's a great way to get the family together for some fun.  Include some friends and it can be a big event. Game ideas are everywhere - the traditional board games like Monopoly, Yahtzee and Scrabble, interactive video games and Rock Band are always popular.  A Wii fit challenge is also a fun way to get moving as a family.

Some of our game night favorites:







What are your family favorites?
My 31 Days posts can be found here.

Day 12 - Making your House your Home - TV's in bedrooms?

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I can make this post really short and say 'no TV's in bedrooms, ever.'  That's how I feel and I know it's controversial (is it really?  Is it similar to talking about politics or religion at a dinner party?  Sometimes I think it is.)

That being said you know where this post is headed.  I don't like TV's in bedrooms, ever.  I don't like the aesthetics of a room with a TV.  It's hard to decorate around that big box - even with the flat screens.  I don't like watching TV in bed and luckily I married someone who feels the same way.  We never ever talked about (our pre-marriage counseling never mentioned TV's in the bedroom...) whether or not we would have a TV in the bedroom, it was just a given.

LM has mentioned a few times that she would like a TV in her room.  I asked her if any of her friends had one and she rattled off the names of all of her good friends and letting me know that, yes, she was the ONLY ONE without a TV.

We don't hate …

Day 11- Making your House your Home - Kids' Bedrooms...

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When we find out we're expecting that first baby our minds go to the fabulous nursery we will create for him or her, sparing no expense obviously.  We register for the best of everything & if we're lucky we get some of it.  Everything matches - the bedding, the walls, the rug, the window treatments - everything.  Sometimes we make a compromise when we get a crib handed down from family - it might be brown instead of white but it's a family heirloom for our precious babe.  Weeks before the birth we have the room ready for our new bundle.  Baby comes home to the glorious - just for her - room.  The place we rock and feed our little one. The months and year pass, toys get added into the mix - lots of toys and that precious room changes just a wee bit.....


If you're like most of us your children's rooms have looked better than this and also worse (although we probably haven't taken pictures of the worse!)

What's a mom to do?  Each child has their own perso…

Day 10 - Making your House your Home - Flowers

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Fresh flowers are always a nice way to make your home uniquely yours.  Picking up a bouquet at the grocery store is all you need to add a nice impact in your home.  If you're lucky enough to have a garden in your yard, it makes things even easier.


I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~Emma Goldman

Find my other 31 Days posts here.

Day 9 - Making your House your Home - Movie Night...

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It's always fun to have a family night at home and a movie night is one of our favorites.  Ours are usually pretty basic but you could go all out and make it a real party. If you want to go all out there are some fabulous ideas on Pinterest (of course!)

We usually pick out a family friendly movie, pop some popcorn and choose our favorite seats in front of the TV.  Some of our favorite family movies are:







What are some of your favorite family movies?  
With the holidays right around the corner you might want to have a few festive movies in mind for some quiet nights at home.  Check out last year's Holiday Movie Marathon post for some fun ideas.
I'm participating in The Nester's 31 Days series.  If you've missed any of my posts you can find them here.

Day 8- Making your House your Home - Feeding Them...

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Eat dinner at the table every night.
Don't eat in front of the TV.
Buy organic.
Don't eat in the car.
We've heard all the rules about food and our families.  And they all sound good and make sense but does that mean we need to follow them to a T every single day?  That depends.  It depends on how structured your household is.  It depends on your schedule - which probably changes every day.  It depends on your budget.

We are pretty much an eat at the table every night family.  We do eat the occasional dinner in front of a football or hockey game - that breaks two rules -oops!  We are pretty structured when it comes to food and meal time.  It works for us but it may not work for everyone.  The family knows the rules and although I get some ribbing about them from time to time everyone knows what to expect.


We have at least one vegetable with every meal (not always breakfast though - usually just a fruit then).  But we usually…