Giving the Gift of Scent {and Win a Gift from Me!}

When I woke up this morning, I checked the Weather Channel app on my phone.  It’s always the first thing I do every morning, as it helps me see what the day is going to bring.  I am a warm weather person at heart, so this time of year (literally) sends a chill down my spine.

Today, the app announced that it was 28° with a windchill of 19°.  WHAT?!?  Okay, some of you are laughing at me right now and others of you are equally as horrified.  Not only did I have to send my kids out the door to school wearing heavy coats and scarves this morning, but I had to throw on my fleece pants and pour myself an extra large cup of coffee.  I’m glad I don’t have a ton of errands to go and run today – I live in Central Texas for a reason!

The only thing that I like about the cold weather is that it is a signal that the holidays are on their way. It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Christmas is not far behind it.  Of course, the stores (and some of my neighbors) have already decorated big time for the holidays, so it’s hard to forget that we are getting ready to enter the holiday season.

I’ve always been a stickler for not decorating for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over.  I love Thanksgiving (family+food+football=greatest day ever), so I don’t want to push it out of the way so that I can enjoy Christmas decor for a few weeks longer.  Instead, I get busy trimming the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving  But just because I don’t decorate early doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy some things about the Christmas season!  One of the best way to do that is to add in some scents of the season.  Doesn’t the smell of cinnamon and gingerbread bring back such wonderful memories of holidays past?

This year, the Thymes company sent me their delicious collection of Gingerbread scented home fragrance products.  The products include two sizes of candles, a reed diffuser, an ornament sachet, hand lotion, hand wash and a home fragrance mist.  I love that the gingerbread scent is subtle enough not to be overwhelming but sophisticated enough that it doesn’t scream, “ZOMG, CHRISTMAS!”  It smells so good – I wish the Internet was scratch and sniff.

Delicious and sophisticated home fragrance scents - Thymes Holiday Gingerbread Collection

The reed diffuser and ornament sachet are my favorite products since they deliver the gingerbread scent all day long.  But, obviously, candles are always fabulous and the hand lotion, hand wash, and home fragrance mist are great ways to have a delicious scent in your home.  And how cute is the little bakers twine and house charms?  The Gingerbread Collection is new to Thymes this year, and I hope it’s one that they bring back every year.

Delicious and sophisticated home fragrance scents - Thymes Holiday Gingerbread Collection

The $30 Closet Makeover

Over the past six years (OMG, six?) years of writing this blog, it’s been no secret that I’m a a slow worker with tons of big plans.  I have a huge list of things that I want to – and need to – do around the house, but sometimes that list itself just gets overwhelming.  And when I’m overwhelmed, I tune out and ignore.

Speaking of ignoring, please meet Emma’s closet.

The $30 Closet Makeover #YourBigFinish

The $30 Closet Makeover #YourBigFinish

I will admit that most of this closet situation is my fault.  It’s hard to tell from the above images, but she only has one little side of her closet to put her clothes and toys.  And…that’s because the other side is filled with my crap that has been there since long before she was born.

The $30 Closet Makeover #YourBigFinish
Yep, yep, yep.

So, I really have been meaning to makeover Emma’s closet.  The older she gets, the more space that she needs.  The builder’s grade closet only has one shelf and one hanging bar, leaving tons of poorly used space.  I have been planning on doing either a Container Store style closet or some sort of built in, but time and my own budget hasn’t allowed that to happen.  Closet, consider yourself ignored.

Why I’m “Nuts” for my DIY Melted Crayon Teal Pumpkin

Growing up with a severe peanut allergy was nuts.  I developed the allergy before I was two years old, and my parents didn’t know anyone else who had the same allergy.  There wasn’t a huge food allergy movement back in the 1980s, so other parents didn’t believe that I could possibly be *that* allergic to peanuts (thanks to that one mom for the anaphylactic shock!).  Halloween and Christmas were always scary times with nut riddled candy and homemade baked goods.

My own children tested negative for a peanut allergy when they were infants.  But, because you can become allergic to anything at any time AND because they have the genetic predisposition for a peanut allergy, they live by the same peanut-free rules that I do.  Whomp, whomp.  No Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for us.

When I saw that the national non-profit group FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) was pushing for a new Halloween tradition, I immediately got on board.  The group is encouraging families to put a teal pumpkin on their front porch as a sign to Trick-or-Treaters that the home has non-food treats available.  Their Teal Pumpkin Project has gotten a lot of interest in the media, and I’m hoping that a lot of homes will be participating.  As a family, we have always offered nut-free candy, but now we are also going to have non-food treats, too.

Of course, a teal pumpkin was an excellent excuse for me to put together a crafty Halloween project. Since I’ve been eyeing the crayon drip pumpkins for years, I decided that this was my chance!

DIY melted crayon pumpkin for Teal Pumpkin Project

I started by grabbing a live white pumpkin to decorate.  I really wanted a fake craft pumpkin, but those have apparently been sold out for over a week at my local Michael’s.  A WEEK!  People have moved on to Christmas.  Poor guy at Michael’s had to hear my “But it’s not even Halloween yet!” rant.  Bless his heart

Five Things to Do When You Hate Your Living Room

I have a confession.  I hate my living room.  Now, I know that hate is a strong word, but I really do mean it in this case.

In its current state, my living room is a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture – and not ‘mismatched’ in a good way.  The “media center” is too small, the coffee table is too large, and the top of the room doesn’t coordinate with the bottom of the room in any shape, form or fashion.

What to do When You Hate Your Living Room

I can’t believe I just revealed this to you.  This is honestly what my living room looks like on a good day.  I’ve lived with it like this for about six years, and I will probably live with it like this for a few more.

If you have a room in your house that you hate (or strongly dislike), here’s how to live with it.

 

What to do When You Hate Your Living Room

1.  Make Peace – One of the best things you can do about a room that you hate is to make peace with it.  Sometimes I feel silly writing each week about decorating, because it’s not one of the “big” things in life.  It may feel big when you have a room that you hate, but it obviously pales in comparison to what a lot of other people are dealing with.

What to do When You Hate Your Living Room

In the past few years, my kids have managed to destroy this chair that I rescued, meaning that there is old, exposed hot glue on its sides and wash faded throw pillows on its back.  That’s okay.  I know that I won’t have this chair in my home forever (or at least this chair in its current state), and if I do, I at least know that it’s comfy and well-loved.

Make peace with your room (or rooms) in their current state, and remember that they won’t always look like they do today.

Anatomy of a Simple Fall Tablescape

Fall Table Styling

I absolutely love fall entertaining.  And better than that, I love SIMPLE fall entertaining.

You can create a beautiful table in just a few simple steps.

How to Create a “Make a Change” Kids’ Chore Chart

Recently, Tom and I agreed that in order to have more quality family time, our kids were going to need to start helping out around the house.  As it stood, Zack (8) and Emma (4) acted like the world was coming to an end if I asked them to pick up their dirty socks.  I was spending all of my work day picking up after the kids (and including Tom, if we are being honest), so little of my own tasks were being accomplished.

I still have tons of tiny little squares to paint, people!  No, I’m not done.  Just shush.

As we were figuring out what responsibilities each child should have, an idea was brewing in my head.  If we were really going to make this change for our family, I was going to make it cute.  And use real change.  And put magnet strips behind two metal boards we’ve had in the attic for years and real change would stick to it.  And the kids would just collect their change (10 cents per task – $7/week if they do everything they are supposed to) at the end of the week put it into their piggy banks.  And I was an awesome genius!

Well, until Tom pointed out to me that dimes aren’t magnetic.  Neither are pennies, nickels, quarters, 50-cent pieces, dollar coins, or any other random piece of change that the Toothfairy or your grandmother gives you.  Doh!  That’s too bad, because that was a fantastic idea.

Back to the drawing board I went.  I never could figure out an easy (and inexpensive) way to have a magnetic board where the kids collect their change at the end of the week (I could have used jars, but I was determine to make it a chart).  However, I think I figured out the next best thing:  penny magnets.  And now I don’t have to have endless amounts of change sitting around the house each week.

"Make a Change" Chore Chart for kids - use pennies as magnets to mark completed chores

I call it the “Make a Change” chore chart.  I  crack myself up.