Archive | November, 2010


30 Nov

I know I showed some more Christmas decorating pictures yesterday, but since today is Layla’s (from The Lettered Cottage, one of my most favorite blogs EVAH!) mantle link party, I figured I’d get in on the action and show more pictures, because I wasn’t kidding, I really, really love it! Here goes.

This is the whole view. I was going for a country Christmas kind of vibe, really organic, not at all fussy. Our fireplace has always reminded my of a lodge fireplace…not that I’ve ever been to or stayed in a lodge, but if I did, it’s how I imagine it would look.

My grandmother had these stockings hand made by a lady she knew. They were a gift for the kids on their first Christmas. They’ve been hung up every year, even when we didn’t have a fireplace! They’re probably my most favorite thing on the mantle. In fact, my brother and I have almost the same exact stockings that we used our whole lives growing up, his is a reindeer, mine is a snowman. They were made by the same lady, how’s that for awesome!

My $2 Goodwill stars and 40% off Michael’s greenery. Love.

A close up of the “Merry & Bright” garland I wrote about here.

I originally bought the vase for our bedroom, but I think it’s working here for now. The kids found me the “filler” of rocks and a cool looking stick.

Now this isn’t ON the mantle, but for us it’s part of the mantle/hearth of it all. My mom got this for me last Christmas. I always wanted a “grown up” Nativity scene, and as soon as I saw the Willow Tree set, I knew that was the one. And because my mom is awesome, she got it for me for Christmas. It was actually one of the only things we had up last year for decorations, and provided a constant reminder that even though we were so far away from “home”, and making our new home, we were never alone. So it’s doubly special to me. There was always just something about the neutral colors, the texture everywhere that I just gravitated to.

So there you have it! This mantle is one of my favorite things this year about Christmas. I love, love, love how it turned out. Thanks to Layla for hosting the link up party to get my lazy bum moving and actually finish decorating early this year and thanks for letting me share it with y’all!

The Lettered Cottage

more christmas decorating

27 Nov

Yesterday, you saw that our tree was all red, silver and cream. I wanted to keep the same color theme as the big tree and the same organic feel as our stick tree throughout the whole house and in all of our Christmas decorating.

I’m really happy with how it turned out.

The greenery was on sale at Michael’s, it was $2.50 per branch, and the pinecones were already attached. I just added some leftover pinecones I had from last Christmas on each side of the greenery to bulk it up. The stars came from Goodwill, $2 for all three. I think they’re supposed to be holders of some kind, but as soon as I saw them, I knew they’d be perfect for my mantle. I had Katherine dig through all the Christmas boxes and get me every red ball she could find. She did pretty well, I’d say. I think I have a thing for the stick tree this year, I think it’s just so organic and not fussy. The garland was an idea from Miss Mustard Seed. She used the most gorgeous German glass glitter on her garland, and I was so inspired, but I didn’t have the budget for that. I emailed her and asked for other suggestions for glitter (since I’m a glitter noob). She suggested Martha Stewart’s tinsel glitter. SUCH a good suggestion! And can I also say, Miss Mustard Seed…so sweet, so kind and so helpful!

I couldn’t find the same letters she used, but the kids liked these, they said they liked how they were all “crazy”. I suppose that kind of fits us! I really love how they turned out, and I can’t believe I did it myself. I’ve never done anything that crafty before! And the best part is (besides the part that they’re totally gorgeous) I only spent about $13 on it. The glitter and letters were both about $5 each, the twine was less that $3. I also made ones that say, “Hope”, “Joy” and “Noel”. Hope and Joy are each around a lampshade (see below) and Noel is over the kitchen window.

The mason jar is a take on Melissa’s Jingle Bell Jar, how cute is that? The bird used to be a scary green ceramic-like bird I got for like a dollar at TJ Maxx this spring. I never really liked it as much as I did in the store, but I finally put it to good use. I just painted glue all over it and covered it with tinsel glitter, same as the letters. I couldn’t get a good evening picture, but with the lights from tree, the glitter really sparkles.

I’m so, so happy with how everything came out. I could do another post, just with all the pictures I took. That’s how much I love it!

Lastly, for good measure (and because it’s the last regular season Georgia game today), here’s a peek at what we did outside.

Go Dawgs! Gotta show the UGA love!

So how about you? What are you doing for decorations this year?

trees, sticks and miracles

26 Nov

This week the kids and I were really feeling the urge to decorate for Christmas, so much so that we did everything on Tuesday! Two days before Thanksgiving! I’m only getting around to posting about it now because I also finally painted the bare concrete floor in the living room we’ve had since August, but more on that later.

As I told you before, we’d planned on going to Maine for Christmas, unfortunately that’s just not going to happen. Because we had no intention of being here for Christmas, we really didn’t plan on a tree. When we moved from Maine last year, we didn’t take our tree and last Christmas we had a sorry excuse for a Charlie Brown tree (which ended up at Goodwill), so we were out of luck in the tree department. Chris and I started looking for a tree (I don’t do real trees, they’re WAY too messy!), but have you looked at the prices of artificial trees? They’re hundreds of dollars, even for the most basic tree. When I was working outside the home, I wouldn’t have even thought twice about dropping a couple hundred bucks on a tree, but now, there’s no way I’d spend that kind of money on a tree. BUT, when we found out that we weren’t going to Maine, we promised the kids that we would have the most beautiful Christmas tree, and our house would look and feel like Christmas, it would be more beautiful that ever before (no pressure, right?)! We had no idea how we were going to deliver that promise, but lucky for us, we didn’t have to figure it out. I got an email from a new and wonderful friend, saying essentially, don’t think I’m crazy but, God is telling me to give you this Christmas tree. She had a second tree and initially planned on using it, even had it all set up, and would you believe she took it down and gave it us? Now THAT is a God thing! Chris and I were moved to tears, really blown away. So without further adieu, here is that beautiful tree.

Isn’t she beautiful? Here’s a closeup in the daylight, so you can see the ornaments better.

We got all the ornaments at Home Depot, they’re Martha Stewart, so you know they’re coordinated. We got everything on the tree, a 100 piece set, for $29.99! It was my dream to have a gorgeous tree, with all matching, color-coordinated ornaments someday. Someday has arrived! But since we can’t forget that we have sentimental ornaments, we had to have a second tree.


Ok, it’s not a tree, so much as a cool looking stick, but I really wanted to keep everything very organic feeling this year. I’m sure I could’ve found a tree this size pretty inexpensively, but I like this a lot. We’ve got my Gone With the Wind ornament (it does the whole final scene, the one that says, But Rhett, where shall I go? What shall I do? Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. Best movie ever!) It’s got mostly ornaments the kids made, but we’ve got Chris well represented with a Chief’s helmet, and a big scary bulldog choking a yellow jacket, for those not into the whole college football thing, that would be the Georgia Bulldogs grabbing a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket (our in-state rival). And nothing really says Christmas like strangulation, right? *wink* This “tree” is sitting on my kitchen counter, so we get a little Christmas in every room

The kids are thrilled with the two trees (well, one tree and a stick), and Chris and I are so thankful that our prayers were answered, and our dear friends answered that call. Making this transition from Maine to Georgia has been a challenge at times, making this home for the kids has been our number one priority. We knew after the disappointment of not being able to go back to Maine and see our family, we had to make this Christmas extra special. So for us, this tree really was a Christmas miracle.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the rest of the decorations (the mantle, etc.) as well as a couple of things I did outside!


22 Nov

Just a quick update, I have a bunch of projects going on right now, and of course Thanksgiving in a couple of days! I’ll be posting some of my progress really soon (I’m crossing my fingers for tomorrow). I’m really excited to share it with everyone!

Stay tuned!

potty mouth? it’ll cost ya.

15 Nov

Inspired by a great church sermon yesterday, Chris and I decided it was time to stop swearing completely. We’re trying really hard to be good examples to the kids, and it’s SO much easier said than done. While we’ve made some great strides in not swearing, we’re still pretty bad, especially with each other. So yesterday after church we made the swear jar (I’ve got a jar thing going on right now, what can I say?). It’s been less than 24 hours, and we’re at about $3.75. In nickels.

I was able to side step some landmines, for instance, when we went to the grocery store. I had to use the restroom, and as I was opening the door to leave, Davey was standing right outside the door. Like, so close that I would’ve walked into him had I not jumped back. And when I jumped back I pulled the bathroom door onto my toes. I hopped up and down and said, “MOTHER….” I hesitated, Davey and Kat both looked at me with wide-eyed anticipation, Chris smirked at me, “OF A GRAVY BOAT!” Yes, that’s right. Mother of a gravy boat.

Some of the money in the jar came from a wildly inappropriate joke that Chris told that ended with him saying, “TOTALLY worth the 25 cents”. I’m not sure I would’ve paid 25 cents for it, but it was funny. Some of it came from me stubbing my toes on the curb in a parking lot. I didn’t say mother of a gravy boat that time. Let me tell you, not a real banner day for me and sandals yesterday.

One of the best things about this little experiment is calling each other out on swearing. We both have always taken great pride in mocking each other, having a good laugh at each other’s expense and making fun of each other. A lot of people would call it mean, cruel or even a disgusting display of marital relations, but that’s just how we roll. It keeps us always laughing and never taking ourselves, or each other, too seriously. So this morning was your typical Monday, no one was ready on time and everyone was cranky. I don’t really know how it started, but I can tell you that it ended up with me pointing my finger at Chris saying, “swear jar!”

Chris: No, screw that. You called me an ass.
Me: Uh, no I didn’t. I haven’t sworn all morning. You owe another nickel.
Chris: I don’t owe anything. You owe. But fine, you want me to put a stupid nickel in, I will.
Me: You want me to owe? Fine, I’m gonna make it count. You’re an ass, ass, ass, ass, ass. (but I really said it about 27 times)
Chris: Oh, real nice babe. Keep it up. I’ve got a whole handful for you. (he starts dropping nickels into the jar)
Me: Oh yeah? ASS ASS ASS ASS. Like that? ASS ASS ASS ASS. (the whole time he just keeps making this pursed lip face at me dropping nickels into the jar every time I said it.)
Me: Would you stop it? Gah, you’re such a…BUTT HEAD!
Chris: Did you just call me a butt head?

That was pretty much the end of our bickering. It’s kind of hard to take anyone seriously when they call you a butthead. And that my friends, is how you get $3.75 in the swear jar, in nickels, in less than 24 hours. It’s also how you take a quick detour back to third grade when you last actually used the phrase, “butt head”.

How about you? Do you have any “acceptable” swears? What do you say instead without feeling like tool?

Image from

love is a battlefield

11 Nov

I know that I said I wouldn’t be writing embarrassing things about the kids, but this really isn’t about them, it’s about me, as a mom and us as parents. Also, you’re welcome in advance for all the Pat Benatar references.

You know how when you see other people’s kids misbehaving and being disrespectful you kinda of raise your eyebrows in judgement because you know that if they were YOUR kid, you’d get them in line? And that if only it was socially acceptable to pull Mom aside and impart your wisdom on her about how to gain control of an unruly kid? Well, today’s your lucky day! I am opening up the door and giving y’all free reign to lay it on me, hit me with your best shot (that’s 2 and I’m only one paragraph in!), let me have it. Deep breath…my daughter is a slob. And I really need advice.

Katherine’s room is in no uncertain terms, a mess of epic proportions. I wish I was exaggerating on this, but I’m not. She has trash all over her floor, clean clothes (that I’ve washed and folded meticulously) all over the floor, papers and books all over every flat surface, even in her bed. I ask nicely, I beg, I plead, I yell, I punish, I threaten, I do everything I can think of and she just doesn’t get it. She just WON’T clean it. I mean, yeah. She’ll spend hours cleaning it, and it stays clean for like a day, then it’s the same thing all over again. I ask her to put her clothes away and she “forgets”. I gave up asking her to make her bed every morning about 3 months ago. I was tired of fighting every morning.

Last night was yet another showdown. This time it ended with me making her put all of her clothes into garbage bags. I think my point was to show that she had such little respect for her stuff she might as well just throw it away, but honestly, I don’t even remember. By the end of these little go-arounds, she’s in tears and is telling me how I don’t understand and I’m so unfair, I’m so worn out I don’t even have the wits about me to finish the argument. This has become our norm of late, and it’s just a Heartbreaker (that’s 3!).

Don’t misunderstand me, Katherine is a good girl. She was just selected to be in the National Elementary Honor Society, she’s involved in community service activities, she’s a leader in her classroom, as well as her school, she’s kind, helps around the house, and is really a dream…except for this one area. And we’re really at our wits end. Chris and I made a pact when we got married, we would never be one of those couples that fight about money and kids. And we don’t, or at least we didn’t. We never fight about money, and up until the last few months, we never fight about the kids. But now it seems that’s all we argue about. He’s being too harsh, I’m being to lenient. He wants punish, I want to let it go. Meanwhile, it’s not solving anything, her room is still a mess, and we’re more confused than ever. (David incidentally is neater, but I think if I didn’t ask him every day, and given the choice, he’d be a slob too. He just doesn’t give me a hard time about it when I ask him to clean up.)

Our concern is that if we bend in this area, will she then expect us to bend in others? What will we be telling her? That it’s ok to drink and do drugs and have under age sex if you put enough of a fight with your parents? Because it isn’t. Everyone says pick your battles, but what if we don’t have any other battles? Or what if this is the battle we’re supposed to pick? What if we let this go and then she thinks that we’re pushovers? From everything I’ve heard, this is normal. But we don’t want “normal”, we want better than that. I want to teach them to respect themselves and their surroundings. I want to teach them responsibilities. I want to teach them that their actions (or inactions) have consequences. But I don’t want to fight every day. I don’t want to alienate them. I don’t want be their friend, but I want to available and I want them to feel like they can come to me with problems. I want them to be able to say “We Belong” (that’s 4!) and mean it, not feel like outsiders with us like I did with my parents. Will they do that if I don’t relent about this room cleaning thing?

She’s definitely her mother’s daughter, which scares me…a lot. What do you think? What would you do? Do you have any suggestions? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

pottery barn giveaway

10 Nov

I’ve never tried to hide my lust love for Pottery Barn. I know the trendy thing is to say that it’s corporate and unoriginal, a sell out, blah, blah, blah. I don’t care. I LOVE Pottery Barn. As much as I love shopping for great vintage finds, every time I go to the mailbox and pull out the newest Pottery Barn catalog, I’m absolutely giddy. Anyway, Urban Farmgirl (who really is as cool as the name would suggest) is hosting a giveaway for a $50 Pottery Barn gift card.

Yes, really.

How cute is this guy? I think he should live on my mantle all winter. I love the crackled finish. He’s on the top of my Christmas wish list. Right after a big ridiculous tree of course…but more on that another day.

You know what? On second thought, I’ll take everything in this picture. This is what PB is calling the “Vintage Silver Mantle”. I call it “Swoon”.

Against my better judgement, I’ll even give you the link to enter again (HERE), even though I hope you don’t win. I really want to win. Alright, I kid. If you win, I’ll take half as a finders fee.

Take some time to check out Urban Farmgirl’s blog too, it’s pretty awesome!