Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shutterfly Coupon!

I made this book as a small softcover book for my mom's birthday a while ago. Then I sent it and it got lost in the mail. :( But maybe it was a happy accident because I just upgraded the book to a hard cover 8*8 and used "BOOK40" to get it for 40% off! Plus I had a $10 coupon. Can't wait till she gets it. I love giving a photo gift because it's something that people often don't have the time, skill, or inclination to make for themselves. I'm still a little sad the other one got lost but who knows--maybe it'll come back to me one day and I'll get to keep it for myself! Just maybe!

 
Create your own custom photo books at Shutterfly.com.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nadia's Dedication.


We recently dedicated Nadia to the Lord.  I always thought of dedications as something Christian parents do as an equivalent to a baptism….I never thought of it as something God desired, if that makes sense.  When we dedicated Genevieve, our pastor, Pastor Don came to our home and spoke of the importance of a dedication ceremony (Did you know that Jesus Himself, was dedicated or “presented” to the Lord [Luke 2:22]?!).  I also like that during the ceremony our pastors challenge the church to be a positive influence on the child’s life as well.  I love the thought of our church body praying for our little ones, protecting them, and being our eyes and ears!  It takes a village right?!  The dedication itself was awesome- to hear Pastor Don and Pastor Ed speak words of encouragement to us and over our sweet Nadia blessed my heart! 

As for the brunch afterward--of course, it’s me, so I started out planning to do all this cute d├ęcor, including digital scrap paper, tags for the drinks, and fabric table runners.  The little girl blowing a dandelion on the invitation was my inspiration.  This is the ‘design board’ I started with:


However I quickly came to my senses and reminded myself that I was trying to keep this party really low key and more importantly inexpensive.  I really want to use some of these ideas in the future though.  I love the idea of dandelions as a theme!  Although I ditched most of the ideas above, I did make a few poms, use mason jars wrapped with raffia and adorned with cute paper straws, and bright tablecloths.  Let me tell you- it’s not as easy to find aqua and coral as you might think!  Fortunately I found enough of it to get my color scheme across. These pictures aren't the greatest but hopefully you'll get the idea and just trust me that it was cuter in person. ;)




As for the food, I was a little nervous about it. It was only immediate family but other than Joe’s birthday, I've barely hosted anything without my mama’s help.  I decided on a brunch mostly because I love breakfast food but also because it’s easy and inexpensive.  I was careful to choose a menu that would allow me to do most of the prep the night before.  

I’ll tell you my menu just in case you’re anything like me—the menu is always the hardest part for me! I like finding recipes that others have used and liked so here’s mine:

Appetizers:
Fruit- my MIL brought this.
Veggies/Ranch- keeping things simple!
Deviled Eggs- made the night before.
Monkey Bread (made by my sister-in-law).

Main:
Jimmy Dean Sausage Casserole- did all the chopping/prep the night before.  This is actually a crock pot recipe and took a bit longer than I expected making it in the oven... 
Hash brown casserole- all chopping/prep the night before
Ultimate Chicken Salad- I LOVE this chicken salad.  I made this the night before.

Drinks:
Princess Punch (& water)- found the recipe for this punch on pinterest but I didn't pin it so I can't find it!  
Dessert:
Ball Jar Cheesecake with raspberries, mint, and chocolate chips- made the night before. 


The brunch was yummy and the weather was beautiful—allowing most of our family to hang out outside.  Our house is tiny and our recent remodel left us with no ‘real’ dining area so entertaining when it’s cold and rainy is nearly impossible.  It was gorgeous and in the 70s so most everyone ate outside and the kids stayed outside almost the entire time.  







My little princess slept through almost the entire event, which actually worked out well!  Here she is afterward (along with a few other pictures).  The day was a success and I believe that my little Nadia will walk with the Lord all the days of her life.  Amen. ;)  





Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Look for Less: Casbah Mirror.

I'm at it again.  Spray painting that is. :)  I won't even link to all my posts about spray paint because there are just too many (and soon to be many more).  But I did want to highlight this look-for-less project. A while ago I was researching decor ideas for my mantle.  I never know what to do there and the old standby of a mirror, framed pictures, and candles just seemed so boring.  I came across this photo over at Centsational Girl and fell in love with not only her seasonal mantle decor but also this mirror! When I saw it, I immediately clicked the link to Lamps Plus and was just as quickly disappointed at the price tag.  I'm a bit annoyed that I can't remember just how much it was (and now it is sold out there and on Amazon who also used to sell it) but I think it was somewhere around $160.  I can barely spend that on a rug, let alone a mirror.  Of course I searched the Internet trying to find it for less but to no avail.  Enter HomeGoods.  I am in love with that place for so many reasons and this mirror is just the latest of them.  I scored a Casbah look alike for $24.99.  It was smaller but so is my fireplace so that was ok.  It was also black, so I spray painted it gloss white.  I was scared- I'd never spray painted something brand new.  If you mess up a $10 find from a thrift store or a cute little 'found object' that you got at the dollar store- who cares.  But to mess up something brand new...Let's just say I tried my hardest not to rush through the project like I usually do.  Unfortunately I failed to take 'before' and 'process' pictures, but here is the after.  You can imagine it black right? :)



As you can see, I still haven't styled my mantel! And I'm not naming names Joe DeLangie, but someone has been procrastinating on actually hanging the mirror for months so there it sits propped against the wall.

Paint and decorate the mantle (and buy new sconces) has been on my to-do list for some time so when that project is complete I'll be sure to blog it.  (wow I just totally depressed myself by revisiting that to-do post only to find not one thing is complete.  Well I suppose I was busy carrying, having, and caring for her  not to mention decorating her nursery which kind of took priority over everything else...so I guess I'll give myself a break)! ;)

As for the process, I basically taped it off with blue painter's tape using newspaper to cover the mirror.  A word of advice for painting mirrors, make sure you cover it thoroughly to make sure no paint seeps through.  Paint did get on my mirror but lucky for me, I was able to scrape it off.  I'm not gonna lie though; I panicked a little.  If I paint a mirror again, I might use plastic just to be on the safe side.  I probably sound like a stalker at this point, but Live the Fancy Life prompted this post, as she took on a very similar project recently.  Take a look at her post- she has a photo of the before, during, and after.  Next time I'll remember to do that!  I promise! ;)

So, are you a spray paint fan yet?!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Awesome Free Printables.

Speaking of being a bargainista, I am in love with Paper Coterie and their free printables!  I learned of them through How Does She.  A while ago they offered a $30 credit and I bought this cute growth chart for Genevieve.  I signed up for their newsletter and am so glad I did.  They've offered a few sets of awesome free printables since then and I am in love with today's Mother's Day set.  My favorite one is below:


Isn't that the truth?!  

Can't wait to print this out and send it to my mama.  Oh and they are in JPEG format so you can even use a photo printing website to print them.  Lately I've been sending photos I need in a hurry to CVS's one hour printing service and picking them up, literally within an hour and less than a mile away.  Now that's convenient!  Head over to Paper Coterie and while you're there, look around!  You may find the perfect gift for a mama in your life.  

PS- I know this post sounds sponsored but it's totally not. ;)

Are there any free printables that we should know about?  Why are you holding out?!  Share your fave sources in a comment below :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bargainistas Shop at Marshalls.

This is a random post...I just wanted to talk a tiny bit about being a bargainista.  I love getting a good deal and since I'm a reformed shopaholic, it's actually essential for me.  But I swear even if I won the lottery tomorrow I'd still hunt for a bargain.  And shop at thrift stores.  It's in my blood.  Now that I'm a stay at home mama, It's even more crucial that I stick to a budget.  Sometimes in blog land, it seems like everyone has a ton of money.  I don't.  And I'm not ashamed of it!  I'm actually really proud of the fact that I find 95% of what I buy on sale or clearance or a discount store.  I think I'm the only one who loves Wal-Mart.  No it's not glossy and pretty and fashionable like Target.  But it's cheap.  And I dig cheap.  But, I also like to look good (although unfortunately that's less of a priority lately) and for my kids to look good and for my home to look good.  It doesn't.  But I want it to.  [Man, this is totally a stream of consciousness. I hope you're still reading!].  So in order to accomplish that I hunt for a bargain.  I bring up Marshalls (and TJ Maxx) because I've often been asked where I got something and when I name one of those places, I always hear "Oh, I forget to go there."  So this is just a tiny bit of encouragement not to forget.  Our latest obsession is buying gifts from there.  I'll be honest- we don't typically end up spending less but we do end up buying a couple of items for what we would have spent on just one...so the giftee gets more and that's so fun!  In fact at Christmas I bought my niece a my little pony play set from there.  It was only $9.99 and I felt like that was cheap so I picked up another gift for her.  Later I looked on Amazon and Walmart.com and the exact same gift set was $24.99.  Score!  Ok, this obviously isn't a tutorial or lesson in getting a good deal.  It's just an encouragement to hunt for a bargain and not to forget Marshalls and TJ Maxx.  It's also an excuse to brag about these adorable items I scored the last time I was there:

 
The gray dress is from Marshalls for $9.99.  When I saw it I immediately thought of the one on the right which is from Baby Gap and cost $39.95 (of course I got it for 40% off of the clearance price last season).  The gray one is lined (the orange one isn't) and seems just as well made! 

Oh this brings up a point of advice--shop off season whenever you can!  It's been hard for me lately what with the prego chasing around a toddler and then having a newborn on her hands. ;)  I really haven't gotten out as much.  But if you can swing it, you can find the cutest stuff and pay a fraction of the cost for it.  Then you shove it under your kiddos bed till the next season.  It can be hard to guess sizes but just err on the side of a little big and try to buy somewhat seasonless or clothes you can layer.  For instance, this dress could totally be worn with leggings or a sweater if she couldn't fit it till the fall.  Lucky enough I guessed right and it fits her well and will probably work all summer.


This adorable little swimsuit was only $5.99 at Marshalls.  Can you even believe that?  It's so cute and the cheerful yellow is perfect for my little sunshine.

So I know this post wasn't my most cohesive ever (I have a crying baby in the next room who just doesn't care much about Taste{full}!) but I hope you're inspired and encouraged that your little one can still be stylin on a budget!!  For you local ladies, the Marshalls in Bedford has a great selection and is close to Shiloh.  (i.e. you can run in after church while the husband entertains the children in the car or in the toy section). ;)  

Happy Shopping!

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