Archive for the ‘Home & Organization’ Category

Organization Tips for Easier Mornings

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

I’m so happy to have Melissa of The Polished Habitat with us today sharing some easy organizing tips to help your mornings go smoother by having a place for everything – yes!

Use these easy organization tips to make your mornings go smoother!

Can anyone relate to the annoyance I feel in the morning when I can’t find what I need to get ready for the day? I used to have a least a couple days each week that I’d be cranky before I even left for work because I wasted time searching for things, or just frustrated that the bathroom was disorganized.

So I’ve become pretty passionate about making all the trouble spots in our house SUSTAINABLY organized. Not just tidied up, because things get un-tidy quickly. But, with real thought and systems that make it easier to keep neat than it would be to let chaos reign. And coming from a girl with a tendency to be a mess, this has made a HUGE difference in our home and life.

Here are a few organizing projects in the bathroom that I’ve done to create a happy start to each day:

Great idea! Organize hair products under the sink on a tiered organizer.

1. Hair Product Organization

For hair products, I added a spice rack under my bathroom sink. It gets the bottles off the counter, but I can still grab any of them easily thanks to the tiered design. Having a designated space also provides a built-it limit to the number of products I keep. If the rack is full, something has to go before a new product comes in.

I finally organized my bathroom vanity cabinet

2. Under-Cabinet Organization

While I was working on the fix to the hair products, I organized the rest of the cabinet as well. For things I use every day, like face wash, makeup sponges, and Q-Tips, I added vertical storage on the back of the cabinet door. Attaching IKEA bins with Command Strips makes this is a solution that would even work in a rental!

Polished Habitat Bathroom Closet

3. Linen Closet Organization

Plastic storage drawers may be my #1 organizing obsession. Adding one in the linen closet between stacks of towels serves double-duty. It keeps the stacks of bath towels on both sides neat, and holds washcloths and hand towels inside.

Bathroom Storage Ideas

4. Bathroom Supplies Organization

Photo boxes are a non-traditional pick for bathroom storage, but they are still perfect for a wide range of items. I use them for things picked up on sale, like extra toothbrushes, razors, etc. There is also a box dedicated to travel/sample size items, which used to be scattered in different drawers. Now when we pack, we grab the “Mini” box and pick out whatever we need. It’s like having our own little store. If you have a Michael’s nearby, they often have the boxes on sale for 6 for $10, making them one of the cheapest organizing solutions available.

Jewelry Organization - Love these ideas for storing earrings and necklaces!

5. Jewelry Organization

My newest and possibly favorite “getting ready” solution involves earrings. I found that bead organizers from the craft store are PERFECT for earrings and completely affordable. I used to have a tray for jewelry, and would end up frustrated that no matter what pair of earrings I was looking for, I’d have to dig to find a match. Using round bead organizers means each pair of earrings has it’s own space AND I can quickly see what I have. Instead of buying two organizers, I actually used the top and bottom separately to double the space without doubling the cost.

I implemented each of these ideas over time, and every one of them costs less than $10. I love frugal solutions that make a huge difference in my mornings!

Even though things like disorganized bathrooms are VERY minor in the large scheme of life, don’t underestimate the difference you’ll feel when your space is neat and calm. Dang it, I guess my mom was right during my teenage years.

I hope you found some inspiration that will help make your mornings happy!

_______________

Thanks, Melissa – I can’t wait to put some of these into practice in our home for some happy in our mornings!

How to Consume More Books This Year

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

How to Consume More Books This Year from MomAdvice.com

Almost weekly I get a request to share how I am able to consume so many books. Over the years we have visited this conversation often, but over the last year or two my strategies for consuming books has changed a lot thanks to new formats and new ideas about how I can get more books in throughout my day.  Reading is truly one of my biggest passions and I love sharing my love of reading with others.  Even my volunteerism is connected with this passion as I mentor two struggling elementary school readers each week to hopefully help them not only become stronger readers, but ignite a lifelong passion for reading too.

How to Consume More Books This Year from MomAdvice.com

I have always been a reader and I can point to one person in my life who helped make that happen.

My Dad.

Even as he juggled his swing shift position at work, he promised me a weekly trip to the library that he honored each week and rarely rushed me at the library, leaving me contentedly working my way down the aisles. When the bookmobile made our corner the stop on it’s route, I was able to trade my finished books out even sooner for another stack and still enjoy those weekly visits with my father. I count those visits among some of my favorite memories.

Admittedly, my parent’s biggest hurdle with me was to stop reading when it was bedtime and to stop reading books that were too mature for me. I am sure you can envision a ten year-old girl with a stack of V.C. Andrews books stacked under her mattress each night, a big no-no writer in our Christian household, especially at that age. Thankfully, I still turned out okay despite my reading choices.

When I became a mom, I felt like I didn’t have the time to sit down and read.  I was too busy bouncing colicky babies and trying to cobble some semblance of a clean house to make time for myself and to read.  I say this because maybe you are in a life stage where reading isn’t happening and the best you can do is bounce those babies and try to just keep up a household routine, that is okay! Books will ALWAYS be there for you though when you are ready to come back. 

After my kids got a little older, I remember making a public proclamation that I was going to start reading again and I was going to share about the books here. At the time, this had nothing to do with our site and I only hoped you would hold me accountable. Now the books section and our interview series are two of the most popular sections, thanks to that commitment I made years ago.

Is your goal to consume more books this year? I would love to share a few strategies that I have found work for me and would love to hear from you, my fellow bookworms, how you make time for reading in your life! 

How to Consume More Books This Year from MomAdvice.com

Start By Making a Commitment

Like I said, the way that I started was by vocalizing my commitment and setting a reading goal. As an overachiever, the urge to set ridiculous goals is always an issue for me. I encourage you start with a modest goal and make your own public commitment. A great place to do that is on GoodReads where you can not only set goals, but you can also connect with fellow readers (like me!) to help inspire your book stacks!  Setting goals helps give you something to work toward, whether that is five books this year or a hundred!

Another option to challenge yourself is to join in on an online challenge. These types of challenges not only motivate you to read, but often push you outside of your usual genres into new literary territory. Here are nine great challenge options to get you started this year!

Carve Out One Hour Minimum At YOUR Optimum Time

Notice that I didn’t tell you to just rise earlier? I am a morning person so I set my alarm at 5AM to tackle an hour of reading before I need to get my kids off to school. That, it turns out, is my optimum reading time.  If you aren’t a morning person though, this probably will not work for you and, no, it’s highly unlikely you can make yourself be a morning person despite what you may have heard. Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before, was recently on The Simple Show where she talks about how we can’t all force ourselves to be morning people and you should set realistic goals during hours that are realistic for YOU in order to succeed at your goals. 

For me, the hour of 5AM is complete bliss with hot coffee and quiet reading, which helps set an intention for me to have a balanced and calm day. As a highly sensitive person, I really need this quiet introverted time or I feel out of sorts once the kids get up. For others though, you might find that an hour in the afternoon or a staying up later with a good book is a better fit.

I put my phone on do not disturb and stay off of social media and it is amazing how many pages I can consume in that hour with uninterrupted time. I encourage you to do the same!  Hours can also be broken into ten to fifteen minute sessions throughout the day, particularly for moms with little ones or for moms who are always running their kids. As long as you are carrying a book with you wherever you go, it’s very easy to reach a one hour goal.

Not sure if you can commit to an hour? Try a 10% reading goal each day, particularly if you are reading digitally! 

To read as much as I do though, I have to have a minimum of two to three hours of reading time daily. That means one hour first thing in the morning, one hour before the kids get off the bus, and usually an hour or two at the end of the day or before I head to the gym.

How to Consume More Books This Year from MomAdvice.com

(current stack)

Find a Format That Works For You

For a long time, the only way I thought that I could consume books was in the printed format. These past two years though a world of reading possibilities opened to me when I finally embraced electronic books and audiobooks.

The beauty in electronic books is that I always have my phone with me so I always have my Kindle app to open and dive into a book. An old-fashioned printed book is always on my bedside table for grabbing and screen-free time. Audiobooks have become my new companion while tackling laundry, cooking, or tidying our house. With a set of earbuds, I can consume a book just about anywhere. 

Experiment with different formats or consider tackling different types throughout the day (more below) to find what works best for you!

Try Reading a Few Books at the Same Time

I often have to be in the right frame of mind to read certain books and many bookworms echo my theory that having a few books going at once can help you through a mindset hurdle on reading. Last week I was reading a memoir, a thriller, and a contemporary fiction novel. In What Should I Read Next guest Seth Haines shared that he reads a different book in the morning, afternoon, and evening of his day. For me, I know when I wake up what I am in the mood for. I usually lean into something heavy in that first peaceful hour and then sprinkle lighter books in later in the day. It was comforting to hear someone echo that philosophy of different books at different times. It helps me to never stop consuming books.

I do know that many people say that they can only read one book at a time and that is okay, but in order for me to continue moving through books when mindset hurdles are standing in my  own way, I need to have a variety going to continue pressing forward.

How to Consume More Books This Year from MomAdvice.com

Try Reading As a Family

The reason I was such a big reader was the influence of my father and witnessing him reading all the time. The reason that I think I have two great readers in my house is because they see their mom reading all the time and they are modeling what is happening in our home.

On nights we don’t have activities going on or on weekends, you will often find us in a room together all reading our own books. I love reading alongside of my children as much as I love reading to them. I am still reading to my daughter as we work our way through Laura Ingall’s adventures, but I also love the freedom of everyone tackling what they love.  Either way, whether reading on our own or together, I know that I am getting in more books and I get to do it with my kids. 

How to Consume More Books This Year from MomAdvice.com

(photo credit: scribd)

Make Reading an Investment

Are you the type of person where making a financial commitment to something is what motivates you to do it? Just like your financial commitment that you make to your gym membership that you just HAVE to get every dollar out of, you can do the same with reading especially if you lack a good or close public library system.

For the money, I find Scribd to be a great value at $8.99 a month that includes unlimited e-books, one audiobook credit per month, and access to sheet music (which is great for this family with a piano player & guitarist on our hands!).  I am a genuine fan, this post is not supported in any way by them. I have also heard great things about Kindle Unlimited, but don’t have any experience with that one- let me know if you have enjoyed that membership or not. Sometimes, particularly in the winter and summer months when I’m not as motivated to head as frequently to the library, I indulge in a membership to keep me moving through books.

For some, a financial commitment can offer great motivation to get every dollar out of a membership. I know that it does for me!

I hope these tips to consume more great books this year are helpful to you! It’s a joy to get to share great books with you each month! xo

What tips and tricks do you use in your life to read more? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below!

This post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though!

How to Create Vignettes in Decorating

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

This is a guest post from Mo Breden, a local designer who stages the most fun spaces. I asked if she would share some of her knowledge with us on how to easily create some spaces that make us happy in our own homes.  How lucky are we to peek into some of their beautiful spaces? I hope you love this as much as I do! xo

affordable-vignette-ideas

The holidays are over and your home looks as though the Grinch visited. The tinsel, garland, and lights are tucked away for next winter, and your home has an empty and cold feeling. The pages of home magazines entice you with their perfectly decorated rooms. How can you get your space to look like that on a budget?

The answer is in a fancy word with a simple concept. – vignette.

A vignette (pronounced: /vinˈyet/) is a decorative design which creates a pretty picture by using an arrangement of several objects. In a nutshell, you’ve got to accessorize with the right pieces and in the right ways.

All you need to create a vignette is a flat surface. They come in all shapes and sizes; mantles, entryway tables, nightstands, end tables, desks, ottoman trays etc. Vignettes can be the focal point of a room and make a big statement or they can be as simple as placing a few beautiful pieces together on a side table.

Follow our DO and DON’T tips below and you’ll be vignette-ing your home in no time:

vignette-cocktail table

DO: Add some of your favorite pieces!

A vase you received for your wedding, a hand-me-down lamp or picture frame of you and your girlfriends. You’re the one walking by it every day so use the things you love. Just because the magazine showed a series of accessories that are pretty all together, add some things that have a story and add character to your spaces.

DON’T: Overcrowd your vignette to the point it loses its function.

Remember to leave room for that coffee cup and spot for your book.

vignette-mantle

DO: Create height!

Whether it’s a vase with sticks in it or a slender buffet lamp, add something that is taller than your other accessories to create pretty visual layers. For added balance use 3’s and 5’s. Either use 3 large accessories/objects in your vignette or bump it put to 5 items. Working with these odd numbers helps in creating balance and offsets the height of your tallest pieces.

DON’T: Break the bank on accessories.

Although you may not think you have an eye for pulling it all together without starting from scratch, sometimes all it takes is one inspiring piece! Grab that gold sunburst accessory from Target and place it on top of an old stack of books, a wooden box or a glass vase. Re-invent some things you already have and your wallet will be thanking you too.

vignette- long buffet

DO: Include light!

A lamp is a great thing to add to your vignette but there are ways to use natural light too. Hang a mirror, use a mirrored tray or add in a mercury glass vase to reflect the natural light and add some sparkle.

DON’T: Forget to add in some unexpected color.

Using colorful pieces adds flare to your vignette and grabs your eye as you pass by. Fresh flowers are another way to bring beauty and color in you your space.

vignette- long buffet

DO: Use textures.

One of our favorite things to do is mix textures into our designs! Mixing woods, silvers, golds, blacks and whites adds a really cool look. Find an old tin box and place it on a white washed night stand, then add in a chrome sphere or a glass table lamp.

DON’T: Expect perfection on your first try.

Whenever we create a vignette we bring options to choose from. You may have to try a few different items to find that perfect piece!

Now you have the tools to kick out the Grinch, and make your home the warm, beautiful space
you desire. Happy Vignette-ing!

Transitioning Your Holiday Decor

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Transitioning Your Holiday Decor from MomAdvice.com

This post is sponsored on behalf of BHG at Walmart.

Now that the holidays are behind us, it is the natural time for many to declutter and organize their spaces . I am partnering up with the BHG Live Better Network to show you some tips for transitioning your holiday decor and adding some organization to a hutch or any open shelving unit in your home.

Transitioning Your Holiday Decor from MomAdvice.com

Here is what my hutch looked like before I added some thoughtful winter touches. I got this hutch  from a thrift store many, many years ago for less than $100, painted it black, and spray painted the handles all on the same day I got it. It was my first DIY, before that was even a thing here, and I loved this piece because it gave me confidence to try painting furniture.

I often think of repainting it in a fresh color or doing something with the backs of those shelves, but for now it serves its most important purpose as extra storage in our home. My kitchen is smaller and I was always struggling with space to prepare our meals on my counters. Relocating our microwave, coffeepot, coffee cups, and fruit bowl help keep my counters clear and made this piece a true workhorse in my kitchen.

As far as decorating goes?

I never have!

That said, these long months after the holidays can feel a little barren with decor and I wanted to make this a little more decorative while still making the most of storage.

Transitioning Your Holiday Decor from MomAdvice.com

I got some little houses and trees from the holiday section of our local Walmart store and added these for decoration, got a beautiful fruit basket (available in stores only) to allow the oranges to bring more color to this set-up,  got plate stands (over by the photo frames) to display my Better Homes & Gardens metallic plates, and added a decorative wood top jar to house my homemade cocoa mix nestled next to a jar of snowy white marshmallows.

The side of our coffeepot got a sprinkle of family photos with a little washi tape. I later discovered this side is also magnetic so now my daily to-do list hangs there too!

Transitioning Your Holiday Decor from MomAdvice.com

Transitioning Your Holiday Decor from MomAdvice.com

Transitioning Your Holiday Decor from MomAdvice.com

 

These affordable and simple additions will help me power through these winter months and then I will tuck them away to be used again next year. Mini trees and houses are perfect for adding a sprinkle of beauty to any bookcase or shelf.  Be sure to check out all the great organization and storage solutions that Better Homes & Gardens offers at Walmart as you ready your home for another winter season!

 

Live-Better-Network-Badge

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from BHG at Walmart for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. Although we have material connection to BHG, any publicly stated opinions of BHG and their products remain my own.

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My Little Holiday Home Tour

Monday, November 30th, 2015

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

Can you believe that December is here? I am so excited to celebrate another holiday with my family in our home. You know bloggers that do those beautiful home tours? I am always in amazement at their beauty & style and it inspires me so much. Our ’60’s fixer upper has never felt blog tour worthy, but I started to think about the types of things that really appeal to me in my real life. They aren’t always the big and elaborate homes with loads of store-bought accessories or even what one might find Pinterest-worthy, but more simplistic in beauty & a nod towards homemade.

Doable stuff, that’s what I am after. I think that our home accomplishes those two things so well so I wanted to invite you in for a bit!

I hope you like coffee because that’s what we serve around here! Please leave your shoes at the door in our beautiful boot tray that I have left out for you. It’s usually one of the first things people remark on and I found that gem at Target years ago! It’s perfect for the narrowest of hallways like ours!

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

(bells: michaels)

Guess what? I will have already known you have arrived because I put bells on our door. Typically, I am more of a wreath girl, but I loved the minimalistic simplicity of these bells. I also happened to get them while they were 60% off  at Michael’s and I had a gift certificate to spend from my birthday so these babies were FREE. Yay! Welcome to our little house- we are awfully proud of it!

Pay no mind to our hideous yard and feel sad for our neighbors who must view it every day. Notice this is not a yard tour because, seriously, we aren’t that amazing at yard work.

Let’s just ignore it for now and move on into our front room where no televisions are allowed, only vinyl.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

(sources: bucky cardboard deer head/yarn pom pom trees tutorial/every day i’m hustlin pillow/knitted leaves centerpiece tutorial/pillows (a daily deal)/curtains (a daily deal)/fabric-lined bookcases tutorial/ thumbtack pumpkin tutorial/charlie brown vinyl)

Here is a wide shot of our front room. I am leaving my mountain of knitted cabled earwarmer projects because I am too lazy to move them.

Now that I think about it, this is probably why I don’t get invited to do blog tours.

Hey, we live here!

We just had this room painted in my favorite Benjamin Moore Gray Owl paint color along with fresh ceilings, new trim, and the window trim painted. This was a much needed update to this tired old house. This is my favorite room in our home now because it houses our record player that was gifted to us by my husband’s father and all the light spills into this room making it warm & cozy in the winter.

Our favorite accessory is our deer (I even included him in our gift guide!). We have way too much fun with this cardboard deer and decided to move the furniture around to really put him on display because Bucky is the star of the show. I loved decking him out for the holidays, although there is rarely a day when Bucky isn’t decked out in some way. In fact, he looks ridiculous now without glasses.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

(sources: love grows best in little houses pillow cover/eddie ross modern mix/vintage home ec trophy (similar)/ pom pom wreath tutorial/ laura ingall’s wilder collection reissued b&n classic (similar)/wuthering heights reissued b&n classic)

I wanted a creative spot to put our keys and found a vintage first place home economics trophy from the 60’s on etsy that I absolutely love for throwing our keys into.  Let’s face it, no one is giving me any awards around here so I have to award myself. Well done, self.  It’s not Christmas-y, but it is one of my favorite things in our house.

My pom pom wreath was so labor intensive that I never put it away and it is now a year-round addition. I find that happens with a lot of homemade goodness around here. When you work that hard on something you really should show it off!

 

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

(source: mrs. meyer’s everything/ painted desk with bookshelf tutorial/ painted kitchen table tutorial/painted kitchen cabinets tutorial/ barclay light gray armchairs/yellow metal dining chairs/furry throw/ornament wreath handmade/succulent wreath/ yarn pom pom garland tutorial/chalkboard)

I have found the addition of red to anything green instantly makes it feel like Christmas. I tacked on a few bows to my green wreaths so I don’t have to switch them out for a month and just wired them on with a little floral wire for easy removal. Instant holiday!

Our kitchen is transitioning slowly which can be hard to do for this go-getter, but the funds needed for a complete kitchen overhaul just aren’t there. I wasn’t ready to make a big financial commitment in a new table & chairs so we switched out chairs for now and added a fresh coat of paint to our 13 year-old table to make things feel new again. Those two things have brought a lot of contentment for me in this space.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

(source: owl ornaments/ornaments/bells/plaid ribbon/have yourself a merry little christmas pillow- all from Michael’s! Grab your coupons!)

We divided and conquered our tree this year. The boys went tree shopping and the girls purchased fresh ornaments. Our fifteen year-old ornaments looked REALLY bad last year, but I thought my kids would appreciate the sentiments behind them.  When I “broke the news” that I thought we should get some new ornaments, Emily said, “OH GOOD! You mean we will have Santas for our tree with TWO LEGS?”

So….surprisingly, they did not care one bit.

My husband was the only one who was like, let’s still have a tree with Santas with only one leg, but he got vetoed by the three unsentimental people in the family.

I guess he can have a tree for his office with the Island of Misfit Ornaments and we will keep this shiny tree here for the fancy folks!

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My best friend said I should show you all this because she had never seen anyone do this before. I wire my ribbon garland to the tree limbs. I know it is completely OCD, but I never want it to move once I put it on. You can twist it there or just do what I do which is kind of bubble it up and then cinch it with an ornament hook. It makes it look super PROFESSIONAL. Which I am not.

When I was in high school I worked at a hardware store where we decorated trees every holiday season so I know a lot of things that seem useless like how to make bows and make garland stick and wrap lights around limbs like your life depends on it,  but these useless things definitely comes in handy around the holidays!

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

 

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

(source: bar cart tutorial/blanket scarf tutorial/forbidden desert/carcassonne/boss monster/tapple/ticket to ride/alvin & dexter/boss monster extension/love actually/white christmas/annie (don’t forget a treat!)/nightmare before christmas/yarn garland tutorial)

I switch the bar cart out for the season and it doubles as a great entertaining tool when hosting large groups in our home. Although our house is on the smaller size (about 1,500 square feet), we maximize every space with little storage ideas like this for our home. For the winter, it is loaded with our favorite board games, holiday movies, holiday puzzles, and all my vintage records that I collect from Goodwill for just a quarter each!
My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

 

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

(source: blanket scarf tutorial/diy painted laminate fireplace/furry throw/copper deer head (michael’s)/winter garland (michael’s)/storage ottoman)

The picture above the mantle distracted from the beautiful copper deer head so I covered it with one of my blanket scarves for the holiday. This little fireplace is probably one of the smartest home investments we have made. This is our sub-basement (our home is a quad level) so it can get chilly down here in my office. This addition not only added warmth, but it added a focal point to this room that wasn’t my work and desk.

The only bad part is feeling motivated to work when I have such a cozy spot to curl up in.

I mean…look at that focal point.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

(source: yarn pom pom & ornament garland tutorial/yarn-wrapped letters tutorial/sherpa blanket/bed/nightstand/nobody puts baby in a corner pillow (similar)/q&a for couples/ yarn trees/bell wreath (similar))

I photographed my bed with yarn pom pom garland, but I think I pushed too much yarn bombing on my husband so we are back to the minimalist metal frame. He’s actually such a good sport about yarn, but maybe that is because his mom is a knitter.

Basically, he was raised right.

One vow I have always made to myself is that our room will be treated like a sanctuary which means NO CLUTTER. There is nothing relaxing about sleeping in a room that is filled with stuff so this is truly a retreat space for me during the holiday season. I would stay in this room all day if I didn’t have kids and have to work.

My Little Holiday Home Tour from MomAdvice.com

And just because everything feels more magical at night, I wanted to close with this photo. I love the twinkle of Christmas lights!

I don’t know if this home is “blog tour worthy,” but I couldn’t be prouder of our sweet little home if I tried. It is filled with my favorite people which makes it the most special place of all.

And if I want to retreat from those special people even more, you can find me hiding out in my She Shed thanks to the heating unit out there. It’s like my own private getaway.

I hope you liked touring our little house with us! Happy holidays!  xoxo

*This post contains affiliate links. I promise to only recommend what I love!

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas from MomAdvice.com I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I am hosting both sides of our family and as a hostess, I know the struggles of decorating AND getting the feast on the table. Today I wanted to show you a few easy last minute ideas for decorating your Thanksgiving table that don’t cost a lot and can be pulled together rather quickly for the holiday.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog where I show off these easy to execute ideas for your holiday table today!

Fall Wreaths That Wow

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Fall Wreaths That Wow from MomAdvice.com

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  Of course, the first thing our guests see when they pull up to our house is our front door adorned with a festive wreath for the occasion. I have made a lot of wreaths over the years. In fact, I used to shadow a silk florist at one of my first jobs and she taught me so much about creating beautiful wreaths.

Today I want to talk about dressing up a doorway, mirror, window, wall, or frame in your house with a fall wreath that really wows. There is just something so great about a well-dressed door. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to create a beautiful wreath and I have a stunning collection to share with you today of unexpected ways to decorate.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to find some great ideas for creating beautiful fall wreaths today!

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Cozy Up Your Holiday Bedding

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Cozy Up Your Holiday Bedding with MomAdvice.com

This post is sponsored on behalf of BHG at Walmart.

I just love the holidays and one of the things I love to do for the holidays is cozy up our bedding for the cooler months. I am partnering up with the BHG Live Better Network to show you some incredible bedding offerings that you can find at your local Walmart store when entertaining holiday guests.

Cozy Up Your Holiday Bedding with MomAdvice.com

Can I be honest with you and say that this is one of those purchases that snowballed? I purchased this beautiful Better Homes and Gardens Velvet Plush Reverse to Sherpa Bedding Comforter for our bed and two things ended up happening as a result of this purchase.

1. I could not get out of bed. The womb-like environment of sherpa and velvet has been incredibly awful to leave and I have found myself unmotivated to do anything except lay in this bed with a good book. My family can’t find me and they know…they just know that I am in this bed and not doing what I should be doing around the house.

2. I could not remove the children from my bed. They began to resent me and the coziness that I had and so they would join me in my bed (that I could not rise from) and so I never got any time alone to be lazy anymore.

As a treat for their report cards, I treated them (and myself, frankly!) to two more of these sherpa comforters and now we have them on every bed of our house. Let me repeat, we love them so much that every bed in our house now has them. If that is not a testament to our love, I don’t know what is.

Cozy Up Your Holiday Bedding with MomAdvice.com

I hate to be hot, in fact, I can’t stand it one bit so I debated if these would be a smart investment or not especially since our bedrooms tend to be the warmest in the house. Despite, the warmth of the sherpa, they are surprisingly lightweight and, in fact, are much lighter in weight than our previous comforter. I love that if you get tired of the pattern on one side, you can flip it and show the other side instead, creating an Anthro-feel with that ivory sherpa turned out.

I paired this plaid sherpa comforter with these quilted shams and two faux leather pillows. Last season’s minky blanket is still a big favorite. We also added two more in the Fog color to the rest of the beds and I love the sherpa stripe on them for a little added detail.

Cozy Up Your Holiday Bedding with MomAdvice.com

Although there are many great things about having me as a wife, one of the pitfalls is constantly feeling like someone in yarn bombing you. I decided to pull up my DIY Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland for the holidays and I still have my DIY Yarn-Wrapped Letters spelling LOVE over our bed. I found these adorable yarn trees on Walmart too and loved their affordable $6 price tag to nestle on top of our nightstands.

I hope these ideas inspire you and RUN, RUN, RUN to your store or online to get these sherpa comforters. As a disclaimer, I cannot be responsible for children piling up in your bed or a loss in productivity- ha!

To help your guest feel warmly welcomed,  Sarah Milne with sarah m style, has created these amazing printables that you can print and share to add that special touch to your guest room. Aren’t these BEAUTIFUL? I love a good freebie to round out this budget-friendly holiday room makeover! 

Grab These FREE Printables For Your Guest

Make a Guest Room Welcome Basket (With 5 FREE Printables)

Make a Guest Room Welcome Basket (With 5 FREE Printables)

Download this Printable HERE

Make a Guest Room Welcome Basket (With 5 FREE Printables)

Download this Printable HERE

Make a Guest Room Welcome Basket (With 5 FREE Printables)

Download this Printable HERE

Make a Guest Room Welcome Basket (With 5 FREE Printables)

Download this Printable HERE

Make a Guest Room Welcome Basket (With 5 FREE Printables)

Download this Printable HERE

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In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from BHG at Walmart for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. Although we have material connection to BHG, any publicly stated opinions of BHG and their products remain my own.

My Favorite ePantry Items

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

My Favorite ePantry Items from MomAdvice.com.

This week we won’t have our weekly happiness since I will be sharing my favorite reads with you tomorrow for the month! Instead, I thought I would share my favorite items that I order through ePantry. In case you missed my announcement this week, now through November 1st (9PM EST)  you can get a FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Seasonal Scents hand soap, dish soap, and multi-surface cleaner, plus a Full Circle renewable dish brush with any $20 minimum purchase! Not only that, but shipping will also be free (scroll down to cash in on that offer!)

This offer is valid for new ePantry customers only, however, existing customers can add a FREE Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap to your next order through this link. If you already signed up, be sure to snag your freebie! 

Not sure what to spend your $20 on? I have tried just about every item that ePantry offers and I want to share with you my absolute favorites!

My Favorite ePantry Items from MomAdvice.com.

Yes To Blueberries Brightening Facial Wipes

I am big on washing my face every night, but since the evenings have been so chaotic lately, I have gotten out of the habit of a good facial routine. I purchased these Yes to Blueberries Brightening Facial Wipes and I absolutely love them to get my make-up off before I head to bed. I love the smell of these and they do a great job getting my make-up off without drying out my skin. If you have gotten out of a good skin routine, these are awesome! Although I had hoped to like the Cucumber ones, they actually made my skin flare up (I’m not sure why) so I stick with the Blueberries one for my sensitive skin! ($5.49 for 25 wipes)

My Favorite ePantry Items

ACURE Moroccan Argan Oil

My latest obsession is Argan Oil for my sensitive skin and after about a month of doing this, I see an incredible difference in my skin. After  I wash my face, I apply two pumps of Argan Oil to my face while it is slightly damp. I then layer on a thick layer of nighttime cream before I head to bed. I noticed that ePantry started offering Argan Oil recently and I purchased some and I am in absolute amazement at how good my skin looks. Fine lines appear to be more smooth on my face and my skin has never felt softer. The bonus is that you can use this on dry hands, cuticles, and to calm down frizziness in your hair- all especially necessary in these long winter months. I swear, it’s my new beauty miracle! One bottle lasts me about a month with daily use. ($10.95)

My Favorite ePantry Items from MomAdvice.com.

Grove Orange Thyme & Cardamom Candles

If you are looking for a great smelling candle for the holiday season, I am absolutely in love with the Grove Orange Thyme & Cardamom Candles. It really smells like you are baking something absolutely delicious in your kitchen and the scent is powerful, but not overpowering. Although these candles look small, weighing in at just eight ounces, these burn over seventy hours! That is about twice the length of time of most of the candles I have purchased that were much larger than this one. ($12.95)

My Favorite ePantry Items from MomAdvice.com.

Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste

If you would have told me I would become a natural toothpaste lover, I would have laughed. I absolutely made fun of people that purchased this! When my usual toothpaste wasn’t available through ePantry, I substituted with this and now that I have tried it I will never go back.  I have sensitive gums and teeth and this toothpaste delivers on getting clean teeth without the use of harsh chemicals. I worried my kids wouldn’t like the switch, but they haven’t even said one thing about it so I guess we all adapted easier than we thought and I apologize to anyone I may have made fun of for making a purchase like this! I am a believer now!

My Favorite ePantry Items from MomAdvice.com.

Mrs. Meyer’s Laundry Detergent

When I don’t have a batch of my homemade laundry detergent on hand, I have found that Mrs. Meyer’s Laundry Detergent works incredibly well on our clothes. I use this and the Method Fabric Softener (also available through ePantry) in the Lavender scent and everything comes out smelling so good with only a tablespoon of detergent per load! The bottle doesn’t seem that big, but it actually is enough for 68 loads!  In all honesty, I have discovered that if Mrs. Meyer’s makes it, I know I will love it! ($16.64)

That is exactly why I want to be sure you get to take advantage of the Mrs. Meyer’s Seasonal Bundle! 

Mrs-Meyers-Seasonal-Bundle

Cash In On This Exclusive Offer!

Now through November 1st (9PM EST)  you can get a FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Seasonal Scents hand soap, dish soap, and multi-surface cleaner, plus a Full Circle renewable dish brush with any $20 minimum purchase! Not only that, but shipping will also be free.

This offer is valid for new ePantry customers only, however, existing customers can add a FREE Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap to your next order through this link.

1. Sign-up HERE for Cranberry, HERE for Orange Clove, or HERE for Iowa Pine (you can mix & match once your get to your basket, too). Click on the “get started” button (new customers only).

2. You’ll be asked a few questions to personalize your account a little better. (This only takes about 30 seconds.)

3. After answering the questions, a customized dashboard will pop up with a set basket of suggested items for this deal. You’ll see the Mrs. Meyer’s Seasonal Scents and Dish Brush included. On the right, you will see the discounts for the freebies and free shipping.

What the basket will look like upon checkout

4. Modify your basket to your liking and preferences. Your minimum order amount just has to be $20 or more to get the bonus free products. You can choose any combination of seasonal scents for the freebies, too.

5. Shipping is free.

After the freebies, it’s like paying just $2.33 per item shipped!This is a such a great opportunity to save on festive cleaning products for your home during the holiday season!

Here is a breakdown of pricing:

bundlebreakdown

Remember that this offer is valid only through November 1st (until 9PM EST)! Happy Holidays!

How to Easily Stain Furniture

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

While I usually use paint to makeover furniture, I tried my hand at staining furniture – this sweet table I found that needed a ton of help to be beautiful – and I love how it turned out! It’s been one of my favorite transformations ever, so of course I wanted to share it for our Transforming Your Space M Challenge.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

Staining furniture seems like a pretty intimidating project if you have never stained before. Today’s tutorial is going to showcase how to easily stain wood furniture and how you can turn a tired piece into that piece of furniture you have been dreaming of with a simple stain technique.

Today I am working with Cabot Wood Stain to share their new Premium Wood Finish, a stain + sealer product that you can use to restore the finish on your furniture. This H2Oil™ formula provides the best of oil and water-based stains and makes for easy clean up with just a little soap and water!

What I really love about it most though is that it conditions, seals and protects in one step and doesn’t require primer or wood conditioner. You can find this stain at your local Lowes store and the stain color I am working with today is their Espresso finish.  Don’t feel like you have to be committed to just the traditional stain though because it can be tinted to nearly thirty different colors including non-traditional colors like teal and purple!

Premium Wood Finish Colors

Let’s get started on our fun project- I can’t wait for you to see the results!

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

I headed over to our local thrift store and found this beat-up wooden table for $50. I sent a picture of it to my husband and he replied, “Please tell me you didn’t bring that home.” Yes, you know that you have picked the perfect piece if your husband requests that you not bring it home.

As you can see on the top, this was in extremely bad condition. The top of it looked irreparable and the drawers were deeply damaged. I knew that I would have to be creative with this piece, but the legs and pretty drawers made it a piece worth working on for our office. Because this piece is so damaged, my process took a few extra steps, but even with all the damage, I was able to finish it in a mere 24 hours. You won’t believe this transformation.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

Supplies Needed

Cabot Premium Wood Finish Stain + Sealer (in your color choice- I have used espresso)

Optional : Cabot Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (I used this because my piece was so incredibly damaged, but it is an unnecessary step if your piece is in better condition)

Wood Filler

Medium & Fine Grit Sandpaper

Sander (or you can do this by hand)

Rags

Gloves

Drop Cloth

Painting Supplies (if adding painted details like me. The drawers are spray painted using this technique here)

New Hardware or Spray Paint for Old Hardware

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

How to Stain Furniture

1. Begin by thoroughly cleaning your piece well with a clean rag. Once the piece has been cleaned, apply stainable wood filler to any gashes you may see on your piece. Allow the wood filler to dry (two hours) and then using your medium grit sanding paper to smooth and make the filler level to the rest of the surface.

2. Using a sander (or you can do this by hand), sand the piece to remove any old stain and any scratches. Due to the damage on my piece, this took a half hour to do which gave me a chance to begin painting the drawers to this piece.  Make sure that you have on gloves and a mask when sanding your piece and once finished that you clean it well with a clean tack cloth to remove any of the sanding particles before staining.

3. Because of the condition of my piece and how uneven the top still looked on this, I decided to brush on some Cabot Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (be sure to do this with the grain of the wood)  to make sure that my stain really took evenly. If your piece is in better condition though, you can definitely skip this step. 

On larger surfaces, you will want to work quickly in small sections. Saturate wood with a uniform coat of Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner using a clean brush or sponge. Allow no more than 5 minutes for penetration. Then wipe off all excess. Immediately after removal of Conditioner, apply your Cabot Wood Stain If you are pre-conditioning DO NOT allow the Conditioner to dry. Surfaces which are allowed to dry will not accept stain!

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

4. Now we are ready to stain and seal our piece. Before you begin, make sure your piece is clean and free of any debris using a clean tack cloth.  Again, using a foam brush apply the stain with the grain of the wood. Raw wood is very thirsty so it will absorb the stain quickly. After five minutes, using a clean tack cloth, and wipe it down to remove any stain that hasn’t been absorbed.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.Here is what my tabletop looked like after the first coat. You can see that there is definitely still some unevenness to it, but we are off to a good start. Allow this to dry for 2 1/2 hours before applying the next coat.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

Sand very lightly with 600 grit sandpaper to smooth wood grain. Remove sanding dust with tack cloth and apply a second thin coat. For full color and maximum durability, apply 2 or more coats. For a muted, distressed look apply 1 coat.  For my table, I applied just two coats so I still had the distressed look that I was after. Since I am impatient, I really love that the Cabot Wood Stain is a fast drying formula that dries in 2-1/2 hours between coats and fully dries in only 6 hours.

Since I also have two kiddos that are rough and tough on my furniture, I also love that it offers a durable finish that will hold up to our abuse and that it protects against spills, water rings and even household chemicals like bleach, alcohol, and nail polish remover.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

Hello beautiful new table of mine! I am absolutely smitten with this piece and I can’t believe the transformation. We updated the hardware with a couple of new drawer handles since the previous handles were falling apart. The drawers were distressed and antiqued up to match their chippy former days and then I applied my decorative glaze over these spray painted drawers to antique them up a bit more.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

I swear that this new-to-me table looks just like a table I was coveting in my West Elm catalog, but at a fraction of the price. This has become my new favorite corner in our house and I can’t believe the transformation! For other indoor stain ideas, check out Cabot’s Indoor Inspiration Pinterest board and be sure to follow me on Pinterest for more DIY inspiration! 

Have you ever stained furniture before? What are your tips and advice for updating a piece?

This post is sponsored by Cabot Wood Stain.  I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

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