Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Company is here.They flew in safe and sound and we are loving it! They are loving my puppy. My Uncle plays musical chairs around the room strategically placing himself next to  whoever has the puppy so he can find ANY oppurtunity to have the lil guy. Even the 'Do you want me to take him outside?' Translated. "Give me the puppy NOW! I want a turn!'  I am loving it. My Aunt and I have been a whirlwind in the kitchen. I love it. My cousin crashed my place last night as I tried to stay up and watch a Brad Pitt movie. Girls- not even his handsomeness could keep my eyelids up last night!
 In less than 48 hours I have hosted 2 events, as well as a Christmas party for 1st graders at my sons school. I cooked for 20 people after cooking for 10 women the night before. i have stayed up late making gifts for little girls and family and gotten up early to bake, cook, clean, etc. My puppy is an early bird. EARLY early bird. He is great but it is rather like having a 6 wk old baby! I adore hosting- I am truly in my element when cooking and entertaining. However, this morning I am glad the past 3 days are behind me. This morning I have NOTHING to do. Nothing. NICE. Give me some coffee, my bible, and a snuggly kid wanting to curl up and watch Pink Panther.  This afternoon is Christmas at the grandparent In-laws. Awesome! :-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cookie Exchange recap

I had so very much fun tonight! A Lovely group of women, and delightful edibles! I made this soup recipe and it was KILLER! Maybe a little less basil, but really, really delicious! I wanted my friends to have something to take home with them besides sweets and so I whipped these up last minute. Literally.


I had 2 different verses and an enlarged Noel Noel Born is the King of Israel. I let them fight out what verse/saying they wanted. It almost came to blows with a red maglight... Poor Ali- she was rather fiesty! ;-)
The ornaments didn't turn out quite as nice as I wanted, and yet as I was modge podging and drilling and tying I realized that as we are trying to teach our children that Christ is the best gift EVER, that He came for our imperfection, my friends could be reminded of His perfection to redeem our imperfection as this ornament hung on their tree.
I enjoyed the girly talk, and the chocolate. I feel like my belly will pop if its poked. And now I am off to finish the kids teachers ornaments, my sons teachers scarf, and 11 brooches for the girls that always say to me 'Mrs. C. I like your flower!'
Sleep tight my bloggy friends.



Aw Fudge!

I spent yesterday baking. Tonight i am having a cookie exchange, and had cookies to make. I  also made fudge and truffles, the boys made Chocolate covered pretzels for their teachers. Do you have any idea how messy  a 6, 5, and 3 yr old can make a kitchen with melted chocolate???? Anyways- I had hubby sample my fudge and I wanted to shae this recipe! he said it was 'fudge heaven'- and this man is NOT a big sweets eater!


Candy Bar Fudge
1/2 cup butter 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
 1/4 cup milk 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11 oz  of caramel melts,  1 tablespoon water 2 cups salted peanuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup milk chocolate chips


Directions

Grease an 8x8 inch square baking pan.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, cocoa powder, brown sugar and milk. Microwave until mixture boils. Stir in confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract. Pour into prepared pan. Let set in fridge for 30 minutes.

In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave caramels and water until caramels melt. Stir in  chopped peanuts. Spread mixture over chocolate layer. Spread CAREFULLY!

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine semisweet and milk chocolate chips; microwave until melted. Spread over caramel layer. Chill for 4 hours, or until firm.
It looked heavenly and I SO wanted some! But alas, I am an almond allergic and Nestles Milk chocolate chips state they are made on the same equipment as tree nuts.I read this AFTER making the fudge, but BEFORE I tried it.  Im heading to the store today to look for more Milk chocolate chips that I can eat!
I also made a coffee fudge- it was good. it called for a dash of cinnamon and I realize i am just NOT a cinnamon kinda gal.
What have you made this week?


Monday, December 14, 2009

In awe

Can I tell you all how amazed, excited and flabberghasted I am at your sweet commetns about my Christmas Decor? Seriously! I mean it. You see- where you guys see beauty I see chole.sputter.cough.hack. subfloors.
Where you all see a tree skirt worthy of compliment I see that I cannot.drape.garland. and more subfloors.missingbaseboards.
God is SO teaching me patience and true beauty gals. If you are new to my blog let me tell you it's been one heck of a year, or two or 6. Last MARCH we had a flood caused by our youngest, some poo, a faulty toilet, and a washcloth. (NEVER leave a decorative bowl of rolled up washcloths on the back of your toilet when theres a 2 yr old around!) Anywho- we had a rather large insurance claim and began tearing into the house. I got EXCITED. Understatement ladies. Then life happened. Our van got crushed, and somehow when we added it to the insurance 4 months prior and just told them to SWITCH our current coverage amounts they left off the comprehensive. Dear hubby somehow missed that in the paperwork. OOPS. UNDERSTATEMENT. So- all that nice new flooring? On hold. My couch reupholstering? on Hold. I got mad. Understatement. The medical bills kept pouring in, my hubby took a 15% paycut,  etc, etc, etc. I do not blog this to complain, or air our laundry so to speak. This is our reality. And it flat out SUCKED! Yet I was reminded that what Satan meant for our harm, God meant for good. Not at first of course. I was hacked off. I wanted MY hosue to look MY way. NOW. After all, I'd waited so long. My kids were getting bigger- it was time to do these things and have more ME time. Self. Self. Icky sticky sinful fleshy self! Thankfully God didn't leave me in my mad.raging.spooiledbrat.can't. have. my. floors. NOW. way.
I am learning so much. We as a husband and wife have grown so much closer, and have seen how every tiny or not so tiny event in our lives has had a purpose to mold us and make us more Christlike. I was actually considering not posting Christmas Tour photos because of the backgrounds of my pictures. I was wishing for amazing photoshop skills, or heck, to actually HAVE photo shop! For awhile I didnt want to have company over. But then I realized thats crazy! Shallow. So what if I am on subfloors for now? Yes, its been 9 months. But my house is clean. My cooking, or so I have heard, is company worthy. And I have come to realize many people get the whole new floors vs. a new car (we are currently sharing 1 car) and if they don't so what. God gets it, He gets my heart, I know what he is asking of me. And asking me to wait until next month or February isn't THAT big of a deal. I think Dave Ramsey would agree?...Thanks for seeing the beauty not the unfinished floors, gals! May God continue to mold me and make me more like Him! Amen? Amen.

The Pasta IS HERE!

We brought home Noodle yesterday. He was ready, and my hubby couldn't handle waiting any longer. Seriously- he's worse than a kid! So- heres some pictures to enjoy!


















Ahh... A boy and his dog!



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hey all! I Just wanted to let you know that my Etsy shop and Blog were featured on Hopefull Home this week.
If you haven't checked out her blog pop on over and look at her for an Etsy Alphabet featuring fabulous stores on Etsy with great last minute gift ideas. Yes, you heard me right. LAST. MINUTE. To me this is last minute folks! GET YOUR SHOPPING DONE! Then you can RELAX! Ahhhh......
She also has many great inspirational ideas. I loved the Christmas inspiration post and may just have to go buy a bag of walnuts to paint...
Thanks for the feature Hopeful Home!




Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas tour of homes entry preview

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester
 
And Over at Southern Hospitality
 
And at the Hooked On houses Tour.
 


I am SOO excited about this years decor. Mainly because Ive never done so much decorating for Christmas. With 3 boys in 3 years there was always a toddler/baby to keep me running half ragged and eat anything I wanted to display. NOW not so much! I was also int he middle of a changing of tastes, mine hadn't developed yet fulyl and it was kinda scary...
 I am also proud of how I have done everything so beautifully (at least I think so) for so frugally. I shopped my house, SA, and DT for frugal finds. As we got hrough my home I will do the rude thing and tell ya how much I spent. I know, talking about MONEY! AHH! But seriously- I want you to know how you can have a beautiful Chrsitmas for less!
First we shall start with my
 Roadkill Rescue Dresser.












I have fresh greenery here that my neighbor allowed me to clip from her many pine trees, and some from my 1 lone pine. The ONLY things I bought were the 3 gold frames- the largest one is so old an unique- the mat is actually carved wood! I LOVE it! total for the 3 frames $3.00.-  and the bird in the sticks ($2.75 maybe?)  Everything else you see I shopped the house or yard for! I became creative and made the words myself, the tassel was on a gaudy wine bag, the candlesticks were in my candle basket, they just needed some glitter, etc. Oh- the Peace ornament was a gift from my dear M-I-L.
The cone tree was $1.00 from DT, it was disco -ballish SO I wiped it down with Walnut gel stain to antique it. MUCH BETTER!
Grand total for this display is $6.75

On to the the
Hallway










I purchased 2 frames and a mirror months back, knowing they would be great for Christmas. Maybe $4.00 at the most. I repainted some of my frames, and used clippings from garland I had, and a dollar store pick at 2 for $1.00. The topiary container was $1.00 and got a fresh coat of paint, the moss was $1.00 and so was the star. Everything else I had. I plan on reusing the topiary year round without the gold star, and a coat of heirloom white on the base...
Total $6.50

Tree
I purchase a new ornament every year- this years was $2.00. I also made the garland this year that will last for many years to come. buttons were $8.00, ribbon $2.00. I still have some left over!
 I redressed my angel out of fabric I already had...


My tree skirt is a hodge podge of stash and freebies











It's patches were printed out on my computer. i love it! i know some people think a tree skirt is a waste of money, but we don't put ANYTHING under the tree until our children are fast asleep on Christmas Eve, so we look at that skirt for a month before the big day! To me it is worth it!
Total $12.00

Coffee table top


An antique soup tureen and more fresh greens with picks and pears from the DT already included in costs elsewhere. My table has a small burlp runner that was a cocoa bean sack, given to me.
$0.00


Stockings






LOVE the print on this one, and how quaint the burlap garland looks!


Again- printed on my computer...

I have to have SOMEHING girlie int his house full of men!


Here is a peek of Noodles stocking- he-he! It can't be hung YET!

I used fabrics I already had, for the most part. $2.00 of fabric was purchased for J's stocking, and $1.25 was purchsed for Noodles stocking and some toys for the pup.
Total $3.50

Garland






I found 4 nice garlands at SA this summer with the tags still on them. They were from Michaels and were anywhere from $10-$20- I scored ALL OF THEM for $3.00 TOTAL!
I purchased 5 berry rings from the DT for a total of $5.00
I also purchased some different styles of pine pics from Michaels to mix in for a total of $10.00
I used pinecones from our yard, and wire from hubbys stash.
This FABULOUS garland was  grand total of $18.00
The nice part is that much of  it can be used elsewhere year round, or taken apart and redone in the future.

Okay...
 The top of my mantel!
FIRST- remember the BEFORE of my mantel? Seriously! It overpowered my entire room! And was truly an orange color. Well- I LOVE how simple my new one is. And there is my $4.00 vintage mirror- the date was on the back- it is 69 yrs old! I think it allows my furniture and decor to sing, and serves as a nice backdrop, instead of being the gaudy focus!


Ooop- do I see a Leaning Candle of Pisa?






I used candles I already had, and glitter and candle sticks I already had.
The bowl I had, the greenery I hacked, and some more berries-already accounted for in my garland cost. The glittery pick was $1.00, the pears were $1.00- I used them in my hall, my table, etc. The topiaries were my biggest cost here. I bought cheap plastic ornaments(the biggest ones the DT had) for $1.00 a piece and hot glued old garland chopped up to them. I purchased 2 glass containers for $1.00 a piece and spray painted them black, then wiped Folk Arts Pure Gold acrylic paint over top of the black. More berries already accounted for in my garland price.
 Total $6.00 (of which the topiaries were $4.00 of that)

My armoir
got in on the action with another $1.00 cone, antiqued as well, and some fresh stolen hacked greens.




The glittery pics are a mix from Michaels, also used elsewhere- $2.00 The topiary up top was a plastic ornament from my stash wrapped in fabric from my stash. It was then hotglued with pieces of my thrifty find garlands, and stuck in a $0.50 wood box that I repainted. I LOVE how with a coat of cream on the base I can reuse this year round on my mantel, or right where it is! And the leaves almost remind me of feathers, too...
Total $3.50

Next up
my card display!

An old cabinet door, and some twine, heirloom white paint and staple gun...



On my telephone table





The plate was a gift from my neighbor, the chippy candle holder I had, as well as everythign else you see.
Total $0.00



When you first walk in this wall is what you see-


It really isnt crooked, I promise.

 I painted fabric to say Unto us a Son is given, and put it into the frames that were already there...
my $2.00 nativity sits on the table underneath...



I have been toying with the idea of adding a swag to the top of this display....
Maybe when I am done this post I will!

Am I done?... Let me think... I am sure there are more odds and ends lying around, but if there are I have already had them, so no cost involved.
OH- my Pillows!





I TOTALLY see some cheesecurl and chocolate fingerprints! Into the wash they went after their photo shoot. And yes, the inkjet printing survived the wash just fine!

These were FREE! I used what I had! Really! and my advent envelope garland was also made from my stash.



On the back of my ( needs-to-be-redone-but-are-waiting-for the money in my blow fund) host and hostes chairs I put these wreaths. A $1.00 berry ring, some of my thrifty garlands and some ribbon from my stash.
Total $2.00

My little side table
 got a new cover a while back from leftover fabric and a sack given to me
The birdcage, finial and candle I had in my stash. I just fille dthe birdcage with gold berries, a glass knob and such from my stash.


Isn't this cloth just darling?
I see a lego on the floor! :-)

I think that ABOUT covers my Christmas decor...
So- after adding all of this up I came up with $58.25. not bad! And Definately not bad for someone who has not really decorated for Christmas before.
 GASP!
Yes, I said it... It wasn't for lack of desire, or cheer, just funds, babies, etc... And my $58.25 certainly wasn't spent all at once! I picked things up here and there as early as summer knowing what I wanted to do. As I said, I gleaned from my stash, and reused what I had. My husband was worried that I had too much to store. I laughed- silly man! Most of this is stuff I was already using! He loves what I do, but certainly does not recognize something if its been moved around or repainted. So- how many of you have had a thrifty Christmas? Anyone beat my $58.25? Anyone who hasn't decorated very much before beat my $58.25? Anyone aghast that I talked about money on my blog?? ;-)