Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Spooky Black Halloween Branches

I saw these darling black painted branches on a display at Oh Sweet Sadie this last weekend. Doesn't it look darling for displaying spooky ornaments and halloween decorations? Go find some twisty, branches and spray paint them black. Place them in a cute vase or jar and decorate the container with some cute ribbon.

Here are some other cute black branches used as Halloween decor:
Design Mom's branches
Spooky Halloween Tree
Branches w/ Halloween Garland
Bewitching Branch w/ instructions

Monday, September 29, 2008

30 Minute Almond Chicken

I got this recipe in my email from Kraft Foods last week and thought it looked delicious.

It calls for:
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups green beans, trimmed, halved
1 cup instant white rice, uncooked
1/4 cup PLANTERS Sliced Almonds

You can find the complete recipe here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ready, Set, Christmas Shop!

Thursday marked the 3-month countdown to Christmas. I like to get all of my Christmas shopping done early so I can enjoy the holidays without the stress. Today I want you to sit down and make a list of all the people you need to buy for. Start brainstorming gift ideas and get clothing sizes. Keep all of your information in one place. I keep my list on my computer and print out a copy for my purse. For the next few months, I can keep my eye out for sales, deals, free shipping and buy one get one free deals for the recipients on my list. It spreads out the financial burden and keeps those costly last-minute purchases to a minimum. Help yourself to a stress-free holiday this year.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One Day as a Lion

"It's better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand years as a lamb."
~the quote that inspired Zack de la Rocha (formely of Rage Against The Machine) to call his new band 'One Day as a Lion'
This is one of my hubby's favorite quotes, so I thought I'd share it with you.
Go be bold and lion-like today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Do-It-Yourself Charging Station

(Photo courtesy of http://www.momready.com/)

Are you drowning in chargers and cords? Between the iPods, the cameras, cell phones, and portable video games, we've got cords everywhere. That's why I fell in love with this simple do-it-yourself idea from MomReady. Go here for a step by step picture tutorial on how to make your very own charging station. Best of all, it looks easy and it will hide our jumbled mess of cords.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall Decorating

(Photo and instructions for feather wreath can be found at www.marthastewart.com)

I love the warm colors of fall and the cozy and whimsical decor that starts to pop up this time of year. Here are some fantastic links to get you inspired...
  1. Black stenciled white pumpkin on a pedestal
  2. 20 fall decor ideas along with instructions from Martha Stewart
  3. Berry branch photo holder
  4. Black & orange mantel decor
  5. Fruits & vines for decor
  6. A bunch of cute autumn decor

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blueberry Scones

I ran across this recipe for blueberry scones made with sour cream on Vanilla Joy. Go check out the recipe here. I think it looks and sounds delicious!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sales & Hot Deals

1. Old Navy: 20% off your entire purchase + FREE shipping! Use code: BFF (expires 9/21/08)
2. The Children's Place: Huge sale $9.99 and under (no code required)

And...if you're itching to start your Halloween shopping...
~Spirit Halloween Store has a bunch of online coupons here.
~Disney has many costumes on sale too. You can use the code: TREATS to get FREE shipping (expiration unknown)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Autumn Color I-Spy Car Game

The leaves here are starting to turn beautiful shades of red, orange, yellow and brown. Pile the family into the car and drive around to look at the vibrant colors of autumn. Take your camera and squeeze in a family picture while you're out. Make the drive fun for the kids by giving them a list of things to spy. Here are a few ideas:

  • An all-red tree
  • A burned tree
  • A lake
  • A river
  • A bright yellow tree
  • An animal
  • A tree with no leaves
  • A red bush
  • Yellow wildflowers
  • Blue wildflowers
  • A pine tree
  • A tree with orange leaves
  • A waterfall
  • A green bush
  • A tree with brown leaves

Tailor the list to the kinds of trees and plants you'll see on your drive. Have fun!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Everyone's an Artist

(Photo courtesy of www.toothpastefordinner.com)

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
~Pablo Picasso

Release your inner artist and do something colorful today. You've got it in you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Organizing & Storing Your Small Jewelry

Looking for ways to organize your small jewelry? Here are a few ideas...

1. Buy an earring stand like the one above from this website.

2. Use a pill box and put pairs of earrings together in each different day's compartment.

3. Use a tackle box to hold your jewelry. (Remember Caboodles?)

4. Thread small earring pairs through a button to keep them together.

5. Use the containers made for storing small nails, screws, nuts, etc. You can pick one up at your local hardware store.

6. Cover a piece of foam with cute fabric and wrap ribbon horizontally across the board like a french memo board. Coordinate with your decor and you can hang the foam on the wall. Press your earrings into the foam.

How do you store your jewelry?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pumpkin Topiaries

(Photo courtesy of http://www.lowes.com/)

(Photo courtesy of http://www.hgtv.com/)

This is a project I'd love to make this fall season. You use the craft foam pumpkins to create something that will last a long time. You can view instructions here on the Lowe's website.
Here are some beautiful topiaries for inspiration.
Halloween topiary
Polka dot topiary
Happy creating!

Monday, September 15, 2008

8 Creative Pizza Toppings

I've been using my bread machine dough setting to make homemade pizza dough lately. You can put almost anything on your pizza and it tastes yummy. I wonder why that is? Here are some of the creative pizza combinations and toppings I think I'd like to try...

  1. Spinach, bacon, artichoke, and garlic sauce pizza (a la Papa Murphy's)
  2. Bacon cheeseburger pizza with ground beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, onions and tomatoes
  3. BBQ chicken pizza with grilled chicken, cheese and BBQ sauce
  4. Macaroni & cheese (a la CiCi's Pizza)
  5. Taco pizza with taco with seasoned ground beef, cheddar & mozzarella cheeses, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, olives and sour cream
  6. Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple
  7. Alfredo pizza with alfredo sauce instead of pizza sauce and spinach, mushrooms, bacon and onions
  8. Ham & cheese pizza like a ham and cheese sandwich only on a pizza crust

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Online Shopping 101

Many of my friends and family members are hesitant to take the plunge and start shopping online. I've been doing online shopping for about 10 years. (That's like 50 in computer years, right?) Here are some things I've learned:

1. Never buy anything online without searching for an online coupon code first. Most online stores have a place when you're checking out to enter a coupon code for a % off, free shipping or a free product.

2. If you have to pay for shipping, make sure to buy enough in bulk or on sale to make it worth it. Sometimes it's cheaper to run to your local store than to pay shipping costs. Also look for online stores that offer flat-rate shipping.

3. Become familiar with the online store's return policy. Some places print a return shipping label and include it with your order, so if you have to exchange or return anything, it's already paid for.

Here are some of my favorite coupon code websites:






Do you have any online shopping tips to share? What's your favorite coupon code websites?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Take to the Skies

Take to the skies this weekend. Our family bought a pair of Air Hog remote controlled airplanes for our kids. We went to the park and took turns flying them and chasing them all around. If you don't want to spend the money on a remote controlled airplane, try paper airplanes. Check out some paper airplane books from the library or search online for directions on how to fold paper airplanes. Take your paper airplanes to the park and race them. Give awards for the furthest distance, the coolest trick, the fastest and the most creative. Your kids (and your hubby) will love it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Human Nature

(Photo courtesy of http://wikimedia.org)
“You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.” ~William D. Tammeus

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Family Command Center

(Photo courtesy of www.organizemag.com)

I love the idea of having a family launch pad or a family command center. Check out these links for fantastic ideas for creating your own launch pad.

Article on how to create a family launch pad.

Hallway family command center

Wall-mounted command center

Small spaces around a door

A custom mud room/launch pad

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

10 Ideas for Windows

(Photo courtesy of http://www.hgtv.com/)

Look at your windows. Time for something new? Check out these 10 ideas for inspiration on how to dress them up. I especially love the LED curtain rod and the ceiling mount fixture from Pottery Barn.

Monday, September 8, 2008

5-Minute Southwest Layered Salad

(Photo courtesy of www.kraftcanada.com)
I bookmarked this salad a while ago because I thought it sounded so yummy and easy and I'm all about easy when it comes to cooking! It's made with black beans, corn, salsa, cheese, lettuce, Kraft Rancher's Choice dressing, and tortilla chips. Easy! You can view the full recipe here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Great Weekend Online Deals

Old Navy: 40% off one item. Use code: N2FC1XYZB9N1 (Expires : 9/30/08)
**Also, Old Navy is having their Baby and Maternity Sale where you can buy things at 40% off. Be sure to check it out!
Aeropostale: $10 off $10 or more purchase. Use code: 7B4A39 (Expiration: unknown)
Yankee Candle.com: $10 off $25 or more purchase. Use code: CRM807K (Expires: 12/31/09)
Famous Footwear: 20% off no minimum purchase. Use code: 0708199 (Expires: 9/13/08)

Happy shopping!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Family Mailbox

Here's an idea for a fun family project that you can carry on for weeks, months or even years. Start with a mailbox. If you have young children, they can make a mailbox out of an old cereal box and decorate it. You could also buy a real mailbox and decorate it to match your home decor. Wouldn't it be cute with vinyl lettering on the side? Place it in a prominent location. Introduce your family mailbox to your family. Tell them that they can write notes to anyone in the family and drop the notes into the mailbox. Once a week you can have a different family member be the mailman (or mailwoman) and deliver the mail. When your kids tell you they're bored, tell them to go write a letter to a family member. It will be lots of fun!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Being Unreasonable

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. "
~George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Arranging Books By Color

(Photo courtesy of www.hgtv.com)

I love the idea of organizing your bookshelves by color. I need to buy more colorful books before this will work for me, but check out some of these amazing colorful bookshelves. It's another unique idea to add decor and order to what could otherwise be kind of boring.

1. Rainbow bookcase
2. 2 bright rainbow bookcases
3. Flickr rainbow bookshelf
4. An amazing rainbow bookcase with lots of books

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Paper Pricking

Remember those grade-school days when your teacher would give you an outline of an image and tell you to poke along the lines with a pin onto black paper to make a design? After carefully pricking your design you would proudly hang your black papers in the window and let the light shine through illuminating your work of art. I think today we should introduce our kids to this same project. Do an internet search for kids coloring pages to get great outlined pictures for your kids to poke. Give them a push-pin and lay their picture on the carpet and turn them loose. I think we'll poke out a Disney princess and a Nintendo Mario picture at my house today.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Yummy Smoothies

(Photo courtesy of http://www.bhg.com/)
The hubby and I have been making smoothies all summer long. They make for a great breakfast. Here's the recipe for the smoothies we've made:
Fruit Smoothies
1 -1/1/2 cups frozen fruit (see combinations below)
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup vanilla soy milk
1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder
Pour everything into a blender and blend until smooth.
Fruit Combinations:
Strawberry Banana
Blueberry Banana
Mixed Berries & Banana
Mango Raspberry
Raspberry Banana
Strawberry Mango
Peach Strawberry