Saturday, December 31, 2011

Home Made Harry Potter Broom

So my son has been wanting a Quiddich broom from Harry Potter to play around in, but I wasn't too into all the cheap looking plastic ones, and the more realistic ones came with a pretty hefty price tag. My husband and I decided that we could make one ourselves and so we got to it.

The first thing my husband did was go out and find a large branch that was about the right size and shape of a broom. Silly me forgot to take a photo of the branch, but that would have been nice, wouldn't it? (I'm still getting used to doing these DIY tutorials so please forgive me).


Anyhow my husband started stripping away with his knife to get all the bark off of the tree branch and get it to some sort of shape. Once he did that he sanded it like CRAZY and got it silk smooth and to the right shape.

We were not trying to go for a prop replica.  Our son is only TEN and he will probably wear this thing out playing with it, we just wanted something similar for him to goof around with! I found  GREAT tutorial online here at Instructables, but it was WAY after we had all ready been building ours.  Anyhow, it's a great post so I recommend you check it out!

We stained it first with a dark walnut stain, then went over it with some Java gel stain.

I then went to Hobby Lobby and found some Prairie Grass for $9.99 (minus 40% off coupon) that I thought would work for the bristles of the broom.

I grabbed an old towel and curtain that I was no longer in need of to wrap it as padding and give it the shape underneath that it needed.  You could also use foam or styrofoam.  I just went for what I had on hand.


After I got the general shape of it my husband and I added the prairie grass to it and taped it.  There MAY or MAY not have been a slight argument about how to get it to stay on there properly.  I really need to stop questioning his judgment.  The man is always right.  (Please don't tell him I said that though.)

We taped it on there as a temporary hold then went and got pipe clamps to clamp the top and the bottom and screw it on tight.  My husband then COATED the thing in spray adhesive to get it to stick, cut off the top and bottom of the bristles to make it even, then wrapped it in twine.  If I had to do anything over again, it would be that I would have taken the time like the guy on Instructables did to painstakingly put on the bristles, but we were running out of time nearing Christmas eve, so we went for a quick fix.  Also, this is a kids TOY and I'm certain one day we will be replacing the bristles on it.  When we do that I may change some things up.

Next I went and added "Nimbus 2000" in gold paint on the handle.

Then last added a coat of polyurethane to the handle and it was complete!  Someday we may go back and add the footrests, but for now, he is perfectly happy with it how it is, and the total project cost us less than $10.00 to complete for a pretty awesome gift!

I think he was pretty thrilled with his gift!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

DIY Snowflake Napkin Rings

I wanted some really cute silver snowflake napkin rings for my table setting Christmas day, so I started searching the web.

I found some that I absolutely LOVED. They were perfect, except for the $95 price tag that came along with them.

Img found at

Anyhow, I wasn't willing to shell out that kind of money so I thought MAYBE there was a way that I could come up with something cute and similar for MUCH less cash.

And I did.

I started searching at Hobby Lobby and found in packs of six snowflake shaped wooden pieces. They were $0.99 a pack. I needed twelve so I purchased two packs. 

There was a problem though.  I got REALLY busy before Christmas and didn't finish them.

Fast forward to Christmas day.  It's 12:15pm.  Turkey is in the oven cooking, mashed potatoes boiling on the stove, rolls are rising and we are prepping to eat a 2pm dinner.  Suddenly I decide to make my napkin ring holders.

I tell you only I could be this nuts.

So I went and grabbed those Hobby Lobby snowflakes I bought and ripped them open.  Silly me forgot to get a photo BEFORE I ripped open the packet of my snowflakes.

Then I grabbed a BIG leftover wrapping paper roll.  Anything would work though, toilet paper roll, paper towel roll. 

I measured and made marks at 1 inch wide (enough to make twelve of them) and just went along and cut them.

Next I grabbed some of my Krylon brushed nickel spray paint that I had left over from my hinges in my bathroom renovation.

I spray painted the little bad boys and let them dry in the garage for about an hour.  1:45 pm and I'm in my kitchen hot gluing the snowflakes to the round rings while my company starts to arrive.  It's all ok though, they are family and they understand my nuttiness and love me in spite of it.

I must say though, crazy as I am.  They turned out really cute.  Not bad for about two bucks!  If I wouldn't of had the spray paint, it still would have only cost me about $5 to make them all.  Not too shabby I say!

I'm pretty proud of how these bad boys turned out.  I ended up getting this post featured on Knock off Decor, and you can see that post here!  Also I'm submitting this to Beneath My Heart for the Best DIY projects December Linky Party, so check that out as well!  Both of these blogs are among some of my favorites and I HIGHLY recommend them!
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Christmas Present

Let me start out by saying that I have truly the most loving, kind, thoughtful husband on the planet. I really don't deserve such a wonderful man, and all the credit that he gives me. I also truly don't give him the credit that he deserves for all that he does and the man that he is.

Either that or he is a total evil genius that pawned his gift giving onto someone else ;) I kid...I kid. He really IS a total sweetheart.  Also, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Back in September he told me that he had gotten me the best Christmas present ever, but he couldn't tell me what it was. He said (and I quote) "It's better than a car in the driveway."

REALLY? Because I know our budget, and I just can't see how anything like that is possible.

So, for FOUR yes FOUR months I've been trying to keep this out of my mind, otherwise it would pretty much drive me crazy.

He would give me hints along the way, telling me it's great because not of the money that it would/wouldn't cost, but that it shows he really knows me.

Then about a week ago he gave me one last hint he said "I don't know what your present is."

This really stumped me. What POSSIBLY could he get me, that he doesn't know what it is and shows that he knows me well. I guessed it was a blank canvas, or something to do with some kind of improvement project that I would have to complete and that is how he didn't know what it was.

I could have NEVER in a MILLION years guessed what it was.

Finally Christmas morning he told me that several months ago he wrote three of my favorite bloggers, told them how awesome I was, and how much I enjoyed their blogs, and asked if they would send me a letter, note or if my husband could purchase something crafted by them, because it would mean the world to me.

So he wrote Sarah, from Thrifty Decor Chick, Ashley from Make it and Love it and Ana White. They all sent me gifts and notes.  This would almost be the equivalent of me contacting Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs (whom I kid is my husbands man crush), Norm Abrams (New Yankee Workshop) and Mike Holmes and the Mythbusters and getting stuff from each of them for my husband.

I was VERY happy. I was REALLY shocked. I was a teeny bit embarrassed (I mean, I don't want them to think I'm some crazy weirdo stalker or something).  Most of all I was in awe of how much my husband really knows me and the trouble him and these wonderful ladies went to for me.

I mean, these women, what they have done is inspire me. They have taught me that I can take something on a small budget and make it beautiful. Their homes and projects have truly inspired me. So because I go around the house saying "These are my heroes, if they can do it so can I" and talking about them all the time and their ideas that inspire me, and my husband listened (although I'm pretty sure he didn't he didn't have a choice.  I talk a LOT). He did the sweetest most kindest gesture by showing he loves me and knows me, and these wonderful women opened their heart to me and showed they cared too. I feel overwhelmed and totally grateful that they would take time out of their BUSY schedules to send me something. Oh, and they didn't charge my husband a penny, not even for shipping. That's how awesome these ladies are.

(*disclaimer, this are about the WORST photos of me EVER and I can't believe I'm blogging them, but I really wanted my TRUE reaction about the gifts so here goes it...also sorry they are blurry, I blame the man for that one, and I swear these photos make me look like I've gained back the 15 pounds that I've recently lost.  SIGH.  Most unflattering photos EVER).

Sarah from TDC sent me my own hot pink tool belt embroidered on it "TDC Squeezy"(thats ME), and a sweet hand written card.  The fact that she said in the card that my dining room looked amazing was a HUGE compliment (like I may of passed out for a second or two).  I go around all the time telling my husband TDC is my hero.  She totally is.  She has the most kicking amazing blog ever, she is GREAT when it comes to decor on the cheap.  She has a heart for Goodwill treasures that is almost as big as mine ;)  Also she does it all while shoveling her way out of a pile of debt.  It's SO good to have her as inspiration that I CAN make my home beautiful while staying on track with our budget and our plan.  Someday just like her we will call up Dave and SCREAM "WERE DEBT FREE!!!!"

Ashley from Make it and Love it sent me Itsy Bitsy Spider that she featured on her blog recently, and an autographed photo (which she is probably still shaking her head over that one thinking we are a bit NUTS and possibly a stalker).  I have an idea of where to hang Itsy Bitsy Spider (It will most likely go in my kiddos bathroom when we do the renovation this spring), but I'm still shaking my head on what to do with the autographed photo of her....I think my husband was going more for maybe a signed shirt or something. Too cute.

Ashley, if you read this, I SWEAR I'm not a crazy stalker/obsessed fan. We are honestly FAIRLY normal people.  The photo DID make me smile. Thanks for all your inspiration. ;)  Your blog was the first that got me really into the DIY blogging world.  Thanks so much.

I have NO idea if that is why Ana White featured me on her blog this month as her featured builder, or if it was just a coincidence because I uploaded my kitchen plans to her site, either way, I can't believe with her being in the middle of building the momplex that she would stop and send me a gift card and a Christmas card. She is a total rock star and I think she is awesome. I mean first of all she lives in Alaska and she is out there in weather I would freeze my tush off in building things with power tools and looking all adorable while doing it.   I plan on building another one of her plans with the gift she sent me. Now just to decide which one, kids bunk beds, entryway storage bench, my computer list goes on and on...

So thanks Jamin, my wonderful husband and evil genius, and a few of my heroes in the blogging world Sarah, Ana and Ashley. You guys truly all ROCK.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa Photos 2011

Last night we took the four kids up to the mall to get their photos with Santa. We tried this last Sunday, but their whole system crashed and we got turned away, thankfully last night they got us in and we didn't have to wait too long.

And yes, that is my middle daughter wearing red Jesse boots from Toy Story.  I've given up.  I just let her wear what she wants, and capture these moments in time forever.  Yes, her shirt had pizza on it and I didn't realize this until we were in line to see Santa.  It's all good.

My oldest two know the whole jig with Santa.  We told my boy this year who Santa really was and IS.  He was let down, but he was ok with it.  My oldest didn't want to be in the photo but I made her do it.   We have always told them "we know all Santa's secrets."  When we sat our boy down and told him that daddy was Santa, at first he thought like he was REALLY THE Santa.  Like the Santa Clause Santa or something.  We had to explain that NO, mom and dad are Santa and that's ok.  We told him about St. Nicholas and how he loved Jesus and cared for the poor.  We also told him that he will still get presents from Santa under the tree every year. 

Anyhow.  I digress.

For weeks now the two little girls have been asking for Doodle Bears. It's the only thing they want from "Santa". The only reason Goose wants one is because her big sister wants one too. Evie understands that she won't be getting presents until Christmas day from Santa, but Lucy doesn't quite get that concept.

It became even more obvious after her visit with Santa. The kids sat on his lap, chatted with him and smiled for the photo. Then they were all handed coloring books.

We went and stood in line and waited for our photo to print. Lucy had her brow furrowed and a pretty ticked off/confused look on her face. Looked at the coloring book in her hand and looked at us and said "Doodle Bear?"

Obviously she felt pretty upset with Santa. She was fully expecting her Doodle bear right then and there. I really wish I had snapped a photo or video to capture her expression. It was priceless.

Just so you know, we DO have the Doodle Bear. Its safe and sound hidden away in mommy and daddy's closet, ready to appear Christmas morning. I'm sure Goose will be pleased to see it then.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011


So yesterday I'm at the kids Christmas party at school and I receive a text from my wonderful husband. He tells me that I'm on the front page of Ana White's website as her featured builder!

I knew that I'd been getting TONS of hits from her blog, but I figured that was because I FINALLY got around to putting a brag post on her blog about making our girls kitchen.  I figured it's Christmas, a LOT of people are looking at her post about girls kitchens.

I had NO idea that I was her featured builder.  I guess my sister in law Ashley, stumbled across her site and saw my photo on the front page!

That's me on Ana's homepage! 
In DIY blogland Ana White is like a rock star.  Seriously.  I am TOTALLY thrilled and humbled to be her featured builder, and I'm SO excited about the traffic to my site!

Then my husband calls me and tells me that Ana commented on my photo of the girls kitchen.  Squeal!  Happy tears. OH MY GOSH.  I may just pass out and die from the excitement of it all.

Anyhow for the last twenty four hours I've been walking around on cloud nine from my fifteen minutes of fame.  My head is now officially so big, I'm not sure if it will fit through my door ;)

I kid I kid. 

I'm so grateful for all the lovely comments on our girls kitchen.  We really LOVED making it and are very proud of the project, and we LOVE LOVE LOVE Ana's site and all her plans, I really owe most of the credit to her and my husband.  I just painted and sewed a little and sanded.  A LOT.  This is the first of MANY things that we plan to build of hers (I think next up is bunk beds).

Hoping all my new-found readers stick around, I promise I have good things to come!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa's Workshop: Year Two

Well we have been at it again (or should I say my husband has). This time it's for our boy. We are SUPER stoked about how these gifts are turning out this year, I LOVE LOVE LOVE making home made gifts. It's SO much fun.

Can you guess what we are making Bubby for Christmas?

Here is a hint:

Any ideas yet?
Ok, ok just ONE more hint.

I can't wait.  I'm just GIDDY about this gift. 

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Traditions

In our house we have a LOT of Christmas traditions, some conventional, some unconventional and some are just plain fun.

I'm REALLY learning and trying as I get older to make Christmas more about Christs birth, spending time with our family and the spirit of giving more than about the gifts. It's difficult, but we are trying.

Our traditions though we remember year to year.  Our traditions keep us more focused on spending time as a family and the fun of Christmas rather than the gifts, our traditions are important.

One of my favorite traditions/useful Holiday tips that I thought I'd pass along is an idea my husband gave me that his Aunt Kathryn  used to do with her kids and I thought it was just such a brilliant idea.

She would get each of her kids a different wrapping paper and wrap all the gifts in them, and wouldn't tell her girls who's was who's until Christmas morning.

Can you guess who's is who's?
It's a lot of fun to watch my kids try and guess who's is who's (usually wrong because I'm sneaky like that).  It also keeps them from digging under the tree shaking gifts trying to figure out what their gifts are.  I love it and look forward to it every year.

No peeking until Christmas!
My mother in law's birthday is Dec 15, so we always go over to her house on or right near her birthday and get her a real tree (I do an artificial one here at home).  She always makes a big crock pot full of apple cider and has Christmas music on while we all decorate her tree.  I tend to get a bit nutty watching my kids cluster too many ornaments next to each other (my OCD kicks into overdrive), but she is so relaxed and chill she just let's the kids have fun with it.  I need to learn to be more like her on things.  She is one amazing lady.

Kids hanging the lights

the little ones with grandma
 Another fun Christmas tradition that we have is my baking during the week before Christmas (usually Christmas Eve and the day before).  I make white chocolate pretzels, rice crispy treats, fudge, sugar cookies, gingerbread men and sometimes other things, but those are my staples.

My kiddos in the kitchen making sugar cookies

The best part (other than eating them) is decorating them!

My gingerbread men
I think I almost enjoy Christmas eve more than Christmas day.  There is just something magical about that night.  We start out the evening by eating pizza.  Yes, I said pizza.  It's something that my family did when we were kids, and my husband and I carried the tradition on.  We even carried on the tradition in blizzards.

My husband, nephew, and brother in law's going to get pizza in the blizzard of 2009
Yes, we were all trapped in my mother in law's house in the OKC blizzard of 2009 and the men in my family walked about a mile in the snow to Target to get frozen pizzas to carry out our tradition.  You can read all about that Christmas here. It was one of the craziest and best Christmases ever!

After pizza we settle down and get the kids and read about Christ's birth out of Luke.  While we are reading we let the kids take the nativity pieces and move them around to the story.

Each Christmas the kids look forward to this
After we read the Christmas story from the bible, we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

My MIL makes a cake each year
After they do that we let the kids open one present each.  If we were at my MIL's house, we do this when we get home and my husband puts a big fire in the fireplace.

Waiting to open his one present
It's ALWAYS been PJ's
Every year I get the kids new Christmas jammies.  My son still doesn't remember that each year he gets new pajamas.  Every year he thinks it's a toy.  I think this may be the first year he actually remembers. 

After the kiddos go to bed my husband and I bring down all the "Santa" gifts.  The Santa paper I try and find always has an image of Santa on it and is the traditional red color.  I love waking up Christmas morning and seeing the kids faces.  Every year my husband and I are so excited we usually have to wake the kids up!

We take our time opening presents, mixed in with Christmas music, and have pigs in a blanket for breakfast.  For lunch I usually make a ham and we spend the rest of the day enjoying our time together as a family.

This year we have added Advent to our list of traditions we will be doing.  I look forward each Sunday night to our family bible study together when we do Advent.  (Advent is not biblical, it's just tradition to help remember and anticipate the coming of Christmas and to help us keep focused on Christ during this season).

Our first Advent wreath
When it comes down to it, it's not the presents we remember but the traditions and time spent with our kids and family that sticks in our memory year after year.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?  I'd LOVE to hear about them in my comments! No matter how your celebrate Christmas this year, I hope you and your family have a wonderful, awesome VERY Merry Christmas.  God Bless.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This is a family recipe from my husbands Grandma that I've adapted to make my own. Since it's Christmas time I plan to be doing a LOT of cooking (mainly sweets) and I figured I'd post the recipes as I go.

Some people are calling them "little drops of heaven", but, WHATEVER - Monica Friends

I kid, I kid. But I did hear that they were "the best oatmeal cookies ever." So, um, there is that ;)

So, as I turn into crazy Christmas candy/cookie lady, I plan to pass along some of the deliciousness to you.  Enjoy.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
3 cups oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup nuts, optional

Mix in order. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Forced Blog Redesign

So this morning I woke up and to my horror I noticed that my background image was GONE on my blog. Completely gone.

(insert whines and cries here)

Recently Google has been making changes to google reader, Gmail and more, and I'm not certain if these changes effected my blog, but for a while it's been acting kinda funny. It was either that, or MORE LIKELY Cox members site problem where I was hosting all my images. Either way, it was time for a fix.

So, I've pretty much spent all day neglecting my kids working on this blog to get it back in shape.

It's still a work in progress, but I'm liking what I'm seeing. I decided to run a test post because my signature seemed to not be working either, (probably has nothing to do with the fact that the image is a "borrowed" image...ahem...) so (fingers crossed)...hoping it works.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

My Napkin Rings

Anyone that knows me knows we are not people that try to be overly fancy come party time. We try to maintain a nice relaxed atmosphere in our home, and we ALWAYS want our guests to feel comfortable. It's usually grab the Solo cup, put your name on it with a sharpee and then, get your paper plate and fill it with food.

I'm still pretty much that way, but when it comes to our home, except for Holidays. Come holiday time I like to pull out the nice plates, my mothers fancy cups, and set the table really cute. Sill doesn't mean that I know which fork is the proper salad fork, it just means I like things to look pretty.

This year I decided to add some nice napkins to our collection and do some cute napkin ring holders on my Thanksgiving table.  I got a few comments that they were cute, so I thought I'd share how I made them.

I ran across these on Pinterest (of course) from and wanted to make them.

Problem was that it was kinda late into the year to find the acorns and get them in condition in time.

Then I ran across these at Hobby Lobby.

$4.99 at 50% off due to Christmas decor sale that week

I figured they were small enough that they make work in lieu of the acorns.

I didn't have any rings, so I took old paper towel and toilet paper holders and cut them up like so:

Then I spray painted them with Krylon Caramel metallic spray paint.

I got all my fall leaves at Hobby Lobby the Monday before Thanksgiving.  All the fall decor and foliage was 90% off.  It pays to wait till the last minute sometimes.

I cut all the leaves off the vine, so they would be easier to spread and glue like I wanted.
Then I got out my hot glue gun and went to work, gluing down some leaves, some twigs, and some pine cones.

I think they turned out super cute!

For the first few I went ALL the way around with the pine cones, I decided to not do that later.

The best part, they were inexpensive.  All together with my pine cones, leaves and pumpkins, spray paint, plus candles and dollar store vases, I spent less than $30 on all my decorations.

I just spread the rest of the leaves and pine cones on the table.

My spray painted pumpkins looked great against my new dining room walls!

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