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Saturday, January 30, 2016

the kitchen {restyled}

I mentioned in this post that I got a Keurig for Christmas. Fun, right? Well what I didn't mention is that the addition of one simple thing to my kitchen was a game changer for everything else. 

Ever read the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books?
{Moose a Muffin, Pig a Pancake, Cat a Cupcake - they're all so fun!}
Well, the premise of those fun books is this: one small, small silly act leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to another. And before long, you're in way over your head. 
That's kind of what happened in my kitchen. 
I couldn't just put the Keurig on the counter because where would the breadbox go? And then if I moved the breadbox, where would the cutting boards move to? And now does the garland really match? And what about that decorative frame?
{My head is a scary place, you guys...}

So before my k-cup addiction could be in full swing, I knew I'd want to sort out my kitchen so that everything was in its place. The result? A restyled kitchen!

So come on in...

I started with some new styling on this bookshelf in the breakfast area.

 And then jumped over onto the items on the kitchen counters.

On the counters, I used the far corner space for my Kuerig and some mugs. 
In front of the window, there's a little handmade tray with pitchers holding my utensils. I also love the little cement pots and succulents. {They're fabulous fakes from Target!}


Farther down are some decorative cutting boards, nik-nacks, and my lovely old recipe tin. 
{more about my recipe tin HERE
And then in the other corner are my knives and my iPad.
{because Pinterest access and tunes in the kitchen are mandatory}

I posted earlier this week about my new farmhouse sign
It's hanging proudly above that old window. 
On the far wall, I switched out the chalkboard sign for a decorative shelf. 
{Cup Runneth Over print can be found in the print shop - HERE!}

My favorite thing about all of this? It cost me virtually nothing!
It's so nice to shop my own decor closets and shift a few things around for a fresh look. I almost feel like I have a whole new kitchen!

{with k-cups, of course}

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

diy farmhouse sign {tutorial}

I've really been itching to make a old farmhouse sign for awhile now. 
(perhaps one too many episodes of Fixer Upper!)

So when we were all cooped up inside for the great blizzard of 2016 (in which we got three inches, haha!), I decided why not? And the best part of this project? It cost me exactly $0!

I nabbed a board from the garage that was the exact width and length that I needed. Because hello! Divine intervention. Clearly this farmhouse sign has God's blessing. For the record, I used a 1 by 8 that's about 40 inches long.

Since it was a newer board, I knew I'd need it a bit more banged up. So I told J.B. to have at it. I'm pretty sure he just took a bunch of tools and beat the crap out of it. Whatever works, man.
So therapeutic, this project!

Next up, I gave my board a layer or two of paint. Super light. 
I used white spray paint because I'm lazy and impatient and its what I had on hand. 
Just keeping it real... 
But I really like how it went onto the badly beaten distressed wood!

And last is the magic of the lettering. I used freezer paper impressions! 
Here is a quick play by play:

1. Create your freezer paper pages. So you need your freezer paper to go through the printer. Trouble is, by itself freezer paper is too flimsy. Simple fix? Grab some sheets of card stock and lightly glue them to freezer paper. You want your waxy side exposed.  And make sure you trim right down to the 8.5 x 11 sheet. 

2. Print your images onto the waxy side in transverse! The waxy side is what holds the ink. And it needs to be transverse because we're turning imprinting it face down.

3. Press the image down onto the surface. I like to go over it with a credit card or something similar to make sure I can imprint as much of the ink as possible.

If you need more help with steps 1-3, check out this great tutorial.

4. Lastly, smooth the area out with a q-tip. This is my own special trick. It allows the ink to spread and darken.

Once you have all your letters on it, feel free to seal the board with a wax paste or a clear spray.

Or be lazy like me and just hang it right up!

A $0 project that satisfies my farm house twinge for the moment!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

daily organization printable & a DIY!

I'm busy. It's a description I get often. Not just because I have two kids. Not just because I have hobbies or a blog or a print shop.  I think I just have a busy air about me. I like to volunteer, be involved, plan, execute, and just generally never ever ever sit down. 
 Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaing. I like to be busy. 
But sometimes I can't help but feel like I'm about to start twitching...
So here's what I did: 

Y'all, I'm so type A that it's painful. 
The list of all lists, that's what I made. Errands, dinner plans, to-do's notes, etc. It's all there. Because who else forget to thaw the chicken? Or run to the bank? Or add time to that last load of laundry in the dryer? This girl. Sometimes the business wins. But this list is my new weapon. 

Then I went a step further.
And mass produced my weapon. 

That's right, ladies. The list became a notepad. Boom!
Because I firmly believe that with the right stationary, you can rule the world.

So you're lucky take away is two fold today. 
A. Snag this printable for yourself and take no prisoners in your own busy life. 
B. Learn how to make your own notepads! 
And if you're me, that means one tiny step away from the Target dollar spot, ha!

To make a notepad, start by printing out several copies of these pages. I created a couple of options for you with the printable. There's an 8.5x11 that has two sheets on it that you can cut out, and there's the plain 5x7 that I used.  
Shortcut Alert!: I grabbed a pack of 5x7 white card stock from Hobby Lobby (on sale!) for $2.50. Then ran about 40 pieces of paper through the printer for this project. So no cutting!

I stacked the pages together and then cut a piece of poster board to a 5x7 and placed it at the back of the pages to help stiffen the notepad. 

I attached two clips to either side to hold the whole thing together. Then I ran a row of Tacky Glue along the seam. I used to a brush to smooth out the glue and then left it out to dry. 

After a bit, it'll be ready to go! And you'll be unstoppable!

Friday, January 15, 2016

4 & 5 months! {eliza}

I started writing this post a couple of days ago, but I kept getting distracted by other things. This morning, I knew I needed to sit down to complete it, but instead, my baby girl wanted to play. I'm so glad that I stepped away from the computer and got down on the floor with her. 

Because she decided it was a great day to start rolling over!!  Today!

Normally, four months is around the time that babies tend to learn to roll around. With Eliza's spina bifida, we knew things like that wouldn't come as easy to her. She has to figure out how she can move her own body, her own way. If you're a friend that keeps up with us on social media (like Instagram) then you've seen how discouraging this can be at time for me. I just get sad watching other babies pass her by. In regards to rolling, the goal our therapists gave us was around seven months. In my head, I was wishing and hoping we could get here there before six months. 

And Eliza? Well, she decided that it was more of a five month activity. 
I love how this girl keeps surprising us!!


Height: 25 inches
Weight: About 13 1/2 pounds
Eats: Like a boss. 
Sleeps: Naps three times a days and sleeps 11 hours at night.
Loves: Blowing spit bubbles, growling and talking gibberish. If she keeps this up, she'll be at chatty as J.B. and Jake and I'll never get a word in.
Hates: Being hungry. But who doesn't, right?

 Back to that hard work with physical therapy...
This has recently become a much more active thing. Eliza has an Early Intervention therapist that comes to our home, and also a private therapist that we see in office. Both are working on the same things in their own ways, which I think is pretty neat. Eliza will have to learn how to hit a lot of the milestone's in her own special way, and we don't know how that code will be cracked! So two heads (or therapists) are definitely better than one, I say. 
Now that we've conquered one half of rolling over, our goals are sitting up independently and also rolling back to belly.

We head back to Vanderbilt in about 10 days to finish up this round's Spina Bifida Clinic. It's another busy appointment day, but the goal at the end of the day is to be released for another three months. 

Other than that, she's just doing normal baby stuff like laughing at her brother, blowing spit bubbles galore, and drooling all over everything! 
Proud of you, gal!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

homebrew cafe mocha {recipe}

Shew, y'all. I feel like this post is the culmination of so many things. 

The good: I got a Keurig for Christmas and am now k-cup obsessed! 
The bad: The downstairs heat is out in our house. It's so cold down there. And the fix later this week is an expensive one. Boo!
The good: Alabama won the National Championship last night! Roll Tide! 
The bad: I stayed up waaaay past by bedtime to watch the game and then was woken up early by two little minions this morning. 

Suffice it to say, the perfection of this homemade recipe couldn't come at a better time.
Bring on all the coffee! 

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a hardened coffee drinker. I like my coffee really sweet and preferably chocolately. 
Upon further review, I think everything in life is better with chocolate... 

So my coffee drink of choice is usually an iced mocha or a mocha latte. Grabbing one of these from Starbucks is a great treat, but by no means something that I can afford do every day. Or logistically pull off with two small kids. 
Cue my lovely surprise Keurig for Christmas! Now I'm diving into the world of k-cups and quick, easy coffee recipes while still at home in my sweatpants.

My experimenting has finally produced a perfected mocha coffee recipe. Think coffee plus hot chocolate! Yum!! And just in time to warm my toes on this ice-cold-ain't-got-no-heat floor.

Start with two heaping spoonfuls of hot cocoa mix in your mug.
Three if you're like me, the sweet the better!

Add four ounces of coffee. That's the smallest brew option on my Keurig. If you're using a traditional coffee pot, call it half a mug and just make it strong.

Top up with milk (preferably warm) and stir!

Go ahead and give it a taste test! 
Feel free experiment on your own by adding or subtracting cocoa mix. Or maybe try a special coffee blend you like.

Then, if you're really committed, add in a jumbo marshmallow! 
JetPuff makes these fabulous giant versions!

The perfect warm cafe mocha for a cold and sleepy momma!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

new year, new plans

I'm not really one for hard and fast New Year's resolutions. Too much pressure.
(or maybe too much laziness up in here...) 
But I can't escape the fact that the start of January still feels like a great time to reevaluate yourself and see what improvements could possibly be made. Recently I spent some time thinking about where I felt the most stretched thin and why. And I thought long and hard about what I sincerely could use more or less of in my life, however great or small.  In the end, I was somewhat surprised to see that there was a lot I didn't love and wanted to change.
 (I swear, this is the year I'm totally going to get proper haircuts/coloring... and steam clean my sad carpets... and back off social media... and wear seasonally appropriate clothes... and find a family doctor for J.B. and I... and and and...)
 But I seriously did narrow it down. And I came up with five little lighthearted nooks of my life that I thought could sincerely use better attention. You could call them resolutions, but to avoid stress, I think I'll be referring to them as my new year plans.
Plans for a 2016 even sweeter than our awesome 2015.
Plans just to keep improving myself.

Nerd alert: I love to read. Love it! Its one of the ways that I relax and unwind. It takes me away from dirty diapers or laundry or to-do lists that never seem to end and hey, who doesn't love that?!
For the past five or six years I've kept a book list and goal of books to finish reading each year. 
Confession? It never works out. I haven't completed a single yearly book list since I had kids. 
To say that I don't have as much time as I once did is the really obvious explanation. And I'm more than happy with the sweet little things that are taking time away from reading.
But I'd really like to keep some kind of actual reading list. One that doesn't stress me out because I'm failing miserably at it. Maybe its time to make a more realistic goal so I don't feel so bummed out about being so far behind. 

My new goal? One book a month. 
(no promises...)

In 2015, I opened up an online print shop. It was such a long awaited experience, but I'm still  surprised at how much fun I've had doing it! 
Opening the shop was little nerve wracking, thinking that it might be a total flop (I really don't take failure very well...) but truth be told, I exceeded all of my own expectations last year. Okay so maaaaybe those expectations were minimal, but it did show me that if I buckled down, I really might could make a go of this!
This year I want to spend even more time designing for the shop.  I've set some sales and product goals for 2016 and I'm crossing my fingers!

Swing on by the Live A Little Wilder Print Shop!


This seems to be something that I've struggled with more recently. As a family of four living on small budget, grocery shopping isn't a flippant affair. Neither is eating out. But in the last couple of months, I just feel like I can do a better job cracking down on meal planning.
Few things are more stressful to me as a stay at home mom than to see the clock read 5 p.m. and realize I have no idea what's for dinner or when I'll have time to actually figure it out. Panic mode! 
(Which is not helped by my three year old who typically likes to use this moment to remind me that DEATH IS IMMINENT if he doesn't get something to eat asap.)
Having a specific meal plan for the week really helps me to know what's for dinner off the top of my head and start the process earlier in the day. It also cuts way down on meals out and grocery store bills.
Since I've done it before, this isn't so much a challenge as it is a reminder to get back to basics. So for a small twist, I'm going to add in another element: new recipes! I thrive on simple, quick and tasty meal ideas that I can rotate through the meal plan. This year I'd like to try at least one new recipe a month. They are totally allowed to be a flop, but I'm hoping by year's end, we'll have some new winners!

One of the things that J.B. and I take a lot of pride in is all of the experiences we've try to provide for Jake. I really want to raise kids that try new things and take risks. 
Ironically, a whole new aspect was added to this concept in our family when Eliza was born with spina bifida last year. All the more so, we want both of them to know that they can do anything they want to. As much as our time and budget allows, we want to take them places and teach them to explore the world.
So hopefully, our 2016 contains several new family adventures. The idea is to try something new as a family every quarter.
And I think we've already decided on the first one... 


Caving at Cathedral Caverns!

Last year I talked about an awesome new platform that I'm using in my own devo times. I have seriously been so impacted by several of the She Reads Truth studies! I love all of the different options available so you can really make the whole thing tailored to your own life. 
This year, I'd like to complete at least five devo plans.  
Devo plans can be a week or two. Or a month. Or even a entire year Bible read-thru. I can delve fully into one with a journal and study guide or simply follow along the daily lessons with the app on my phone. Again with the options! So I feel like five completed plans is a pretty realistic idea.

I've started 2016 with the Sermon on the Mount plan which takes you through Matthew 5-7. It's a free plan too! Join me over at She Reads Truth and find an awesome way to learn more about God's love this year!

So that's it for me! Here's hoping a year from now I've knocked all of these out of the park!

What have you come up with to inspire you for a better and brighter year?