Tuesday, March 17, 2015

{Spring Break: Iowa Style}

Last week was Spring Break for us and we wanted to do what every Minnesota family wants to do over spring break: we wanted to escape to warmer weather. But, we already have two fairly big trips booked in May and June thereby making spending money on yet another week long vacation seem excessive. But, not a single one of us wanted to spend all of Spring Break at home, either! So, we compromised. We still took a bit of a vacation. We still found warmer weather. We still found adventure. But? We went to a not so common destination.

 We went: to Des Moines, Iowa.

Why Iowa you may wonder? Easy. We love it there! We love the country back roads. We love the small towns. We love the slower pace. We love all the fun and unique things to do in Iowa. We also love that it's a ways from home, but not so far away that we can't drive there (or home) in just a few short hours.

So, how did we pick Des Moines exactly? Well, we owe that to Pinterest and a good old fashioned road map. Last summer we took several short trips and explored the Northeastern part of the state and decided that this year we needed to explore the Central part of the state. So after taking two minutes to study my Iowa map, I realized that that pretty much narrowed things down to Mason City, Ames, Fort Dodge and Des Moines. From there, a quick surf on Pinterest narrowed us down to Des Moines.

Des Moines had a plethora of things for us to do. From a sculpture park that's lit up at night, to a super cool history center, to pedestrian bridges that light up at night, to a really cool botanical garden, there was just so much for us to do and experience. And pretty much all of it, was free

While it wasn't our best vacation ever, (we encountered a lot of bumps in the road and a lot of stressful situations) we still managed to have some pretty fun moments and experiences.

And we still managed to enjoy some 70 degree weather and lots of outdoor time!

As well as some indoor time..

But most of all, we made lots of memories--be they good or bad, we made lots of memories, that still have us talking about our trip today!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

{Squirt Bottle O' Dawn}

Want a fresher smelling house and super shiny sinks, toilets and tubs/showers in just a matter of minutes? Then try this "no measuring required" trick of the trade that I learned as I moonlighted as a junior high lunch lady this year:  Dawn + Water = in a squirt bottle.

While I wouldn't recommend using it as your regular cleaning product, I do say to use it when you just want a shiny sink. Or if you just want the house to smell fresher! Works like a charm and only costs pennies to make. :)

BONUS: you can even use a few squirts of it when you need to pre-soak super dirty dishes!

sidenote: if you want your sink to smell really fresh toss a few orange peels down the disposal after you've cleaned it with the Dawn concoction and grind them up. you won't be sorry!

linked: i heart naptime
            the shabby nest 
            someday crafts

Saturday, February 21, 2015

{Weekend Refresh}

It's the weekend.
A time to relax.
To refresh.
To refocus.

A time to put the ugly, yucky, bad stuff from this past week behind me and look to starting fresh.

A time to plot next week's meals. {like this one and this one}
A time to enjoy an extra cup of coffee. Or two.
To read a book.
To go to church.
To read a book. {see sidebar}
To walk the dog.
To watch our Disney Planning DVD.
To squeeze in an extra work out or two.
To catch up on some podcasts. 
To listen to Pandora.
To listen to past messages from here, here and here.
To make something new for dinner.
To find a new TV show to get into off Amazon Prime, Netflix or Hulu.
To catch up on my DVR'd shows.
To rent a movie from Redbox.
To go to the library and find a nook where I can just chill for a bit.
To grab the kids and go for some Shamrock Shakes.
To plot out our Spring Break trip to Des Moines that's coming up in two weeks.
To play a board game or two with the kids.
To clean up old files on my laptop.
To burn my favorite candles.
To sign up for some volunteer opportunities at the kids' schools and at church.
To do my nails. And give myself a pedicure.
To deep condition my hair. And give myself a facial.
To spend a few extra minutes doing my morning devotions.
To spend a few extra minutes writing in my journal.
To catch up with friends and family via texts.
To plan some coffee dates, shopping dates and lunch dates with said friends.
To clean out my car. And get the oil changed. And maybe even get it washed.
To upload pictures and finally get them printed.
To download the Project Life App.  
To drink extra water.

But most of all, what I'd really like to do, is enjoy a bottle of wine while I sit in my favorite chair and count my blessings. Because I have many. And I'm betting that you do, too!

Monday, December 1, 2014

{My Christmas Notebook}

Ahh, my much treasured Christmas notebook.
It's a tradition of mine to make one for myself every year. 
My holiday season would be such a mess without one.
I know this for a fact, because last year I didn't make one, and I was l-o-s-t lost.
All month long.
And it wasn't pretty.
So, I promised myself that I was 100% for sure making myself one this year.

I originally got the idea eons ago from Eighteen25.
The first couple times I made my Christmas notebook, I copied theirs exactly.
Right down to the paper and category labels they used.
For whatever reason I didn't trust my own skills, I guess.

But then I got brave and did my own thing.

I did my own thing this year, too.
I bought a paper pack from Michaels for $2.00.
Raided my craft supplies for embellishments, a pencil, scissors and adhesive.
Made some coffee.
Turned on a Hallmark Christmas movie.
And got to work.

*I chose three papers I wanted to use from my paper pack.
*Traced the cover of the notebook onto two of the papers.
*Traced a plate for the circles on a third.
*Cut along the all of the traced lines.
*Glued the pieces down.
*Glued on a few embellishments.
*Made some tabs out of the scraps of paper.
*Labeled the tabs with the categories I wanted for this year and called it good.

How's that for an easy project?!
I had my notebook finished before my movie ended.
And??? I have enough paper left over for other Christmas projects. Woohoo!!

I guess I should've taken pictures as I made this. But I didn't think of it. Probably because I wasn't originally planning on posting my notebook. So, sorry about that!

linking here: I Heart Naptime, The Shabby Nest,

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

{The $32.00 Wardrobe}

The $32.00 Wardrobe.
Which is now more like the $36.00 Wardrobe because that's how long it has taken me to write this post. sigh.

But a grand total of $36.00 is all I have spent on Addison's clothes since the middle of March. $41.00 if you count the pair of shoes she found at Kohl's for $5.00 in September.
But I'm not. Which means we're back to $36.00. Which also means I have only spent an average of $5.14 a month on her clothes for the past 7 months.
So what gives??

Well, way, way, way back in early March, probably in a moment of insanity,  I made the decision to not buy Addie any brand new clothes for the spring/summer season if I could help it. I decided that I didn't want to spend this summer stressing about whether or not she ruined a brand new pair of shorts or a brand new dress five minutes after she put them on.

Plus there's the fact that she's six which means she's growing like a weed, and I was/am so tired of spending $20.00-$25.00 on dresses or jeans only to have her outgrow them in two months.
 Or two weeks.
 Or two days.

So? I decided to bag the nagging and go the Goodwill route.

Knowing the Goodwill offers half off kids clothing (and toys) on Thursday's, my plan was to take full advantage. No lie, I was at that store by 9:00/9:30am every Thursday morning ready to scout out the deals.

Some weeks I hit the jackpot and I would find several items in one trip.

Sometimes I'd find items that were brand new.

Other times I'd find name brand things that looked like they had hardly been worn.


Other weeks I left empty handed, carrying only the Starbucks cup or McDonald's Coke I had brought in with me.

I gotta say though, the sweetest part of this whole adventure was/is that I never paid more than $1.50 for each piece. Not even once.

Luckily for me, Addie didn't care that I set out on this adventure.
 And really, at her little age of six, she doesn't know the difference between brand new and thrifted clothes anyway. She was (and still is) just thrilled to be getting "new" clothes every week.

Since she would get so excited to see what I'd come home with every Thursday, and because I had so much fun with all of this, I'm thinking that I may start my "dollar counter" back to zero, see how little I can spend on Addison's fall clothes, and keep this venture going for a little while longer!
If I'm successful, I'll let you know!

{personal disclaimer: I did have to buy Addison some white capri leggings to wear under all the dresses and tunics that I found. but since I used Kohl's cash to purchase those instead of actual money, I didn't include them in my summer running total}

linking here:
A Bowl Full Of Lemons 
The Crafty Blog Stalker 
Ginger Snap Crafts 
Someday Crafts 
The Shabby Nest
I Heart Naptime
Be Different, Act Normal