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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DIY Burlap Rag Christmas Wreath

I love pretty wreaths, but I don't love that the cool handmade ones cost upwards of $40. I mean, I think it's totally fair for people to charge that much, but I just don't have that extra cash lying around.

I've been coveting this wreath on Pinterest for awhile now, and I finally crossed "make Christmas wreath" off my to do list this week.

The tutorial I used was super helpful, but I wanted to document my own specifics and helpful hints in case I want to make another in the future or any of you lovely readers want to save your cash and try your hand at wreath making!

What you'll need:
  • 2 yds burlap (I scored a rare 60% off coupon at Joann, making the $4/yd fabric only $3.20 total)
  • 20" Wire wreath ($4 at Hobby Lobby, which means it's $2.40 with their regular 40% off coupon)
  • Bow, ornaments, or whatever you want to use as an accent (with strict directions, Matt found this glitter bow for me at Big Lots for only $2)
What you'll do:

Grab your rotary cutter and mat (and if you don't have one, you need to find someone who does, because trust me when I tell you that you do NOT want to do this just with scissors) and cut 300 12"x1" strips of burlap. Yeah, you'll want to start a marathon of your favorite TV show or movies for this one. And honestly, 12" was probably too long, even for the bigger wreath. I'd do just 10" in the future.

Now start tying! Start on the inside ring and, using a simple knot, tie as many strips of burlap that will fit in each section. Don't try to cram them in, because once the whole thing is done, the burlap will have spread out enough to cover any exposed wire.

There are four layers of wire on the wreath, so I tied the burlap over the middle two layers at once (making it to where I was basically just tying three layers total, the innermost, the middle two, and the outermost).

Place your accent wherever you think it looks best. My bow had a twisty tie thing on the back, so it was easy to attach and will be easy to change out for the different seasons.

Start to finish, this took 2.5 hours and all my sanity. Seriously, burlap is messy. Just make sure your vacuum is in working order when you're finished.

But hey, I have a pretty wreath that cost less than $8. I call that success.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Week

Happy Thanksgiving week! Matt's officially off work for the WHOLE WEEK and we have a mile-long to do list. But between all the cleaning, decorating, and yard work we fully intend on having lots of fun.

Avery has already started her Thanksgiving celebrations at preschool and Cubbies. Isn't she cute?? Hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Few Current Favorites

Just in case you're wondering, here's what I'm...

...watching. We don't actually watch a lot of TV, mostly because we had to give up all the good channels so we could do things like eat food and pay our electricity bill when I quit my job. Hooray for Netflix to get me absolutely HOOKED on a show and allow me to watch it in marathon fashion.  Case in point? Friday Night Lights. Sigh. That is my favorite drama of all time. (Friends is my favorite comedy if anyone is keeping track.) My current obsession?

Revenge. Oh. my. goodness. There just aren't words. We picked this one to start on Netflix since the show is currently only in its second season, which meant it was less to catch up on. And as of last night, we are officially caught up. Watch it. Just watch it. And if you already do, I need you to talk with me about it because I think Matt is getting tired of hearing me talk about the storylines as if they are actual events in our real life.

I'm also loving Nashville! I knew I would (you know, with the return of Tami Taylor, I mean Connie Britton, and all), but I was still glad not to be disappointed. I love the music and the story lines and the pretty boys. Okay, just Deacon is pretty. (I love you, Matt!) And I love that it comes on at 9:00 so I can actually watch it when it airs instead of trying to find time to catch it on Hulu and then forgetting.

And you know I'll be watching the Bachelor when it starts up again. I guess I'm an ABC girl at the moment!

Oh, and we got to catch a sneak preview of Lincoln last week and it is definitely worth shelling out your hard-earned cash to see it in the theater. Daniel Day-Lewis was obviously amazing (which you know if you've even seen the previews), but Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones absolutely blew me away.

...listening to. Spotify is my new best friend! You can listen online to anything your heart desires. It's brilliant. The app works like Pandora and plays a "station" based on music you like, but on the computer you can choose from any artist, CD, or song.

I've been digging the newest Christy Nockels CD (her last one was a severe disappointment) for awhile now and Seeds Family Worship when the munchkins want something a little more kiddish. Speaking of, if you need some kid music that won't drive you crazy, Seeds is awesome. It's literally the Bible to music and it's really well done. Check it out on Spotify if you don't believe me. :)

...reading. I'm co-leading a college Bible study right now and we're doing a Navigators study on Romans. It's safe to say that it's kicking my butt. In a good way, of course. Although just because it's good doesn't mean it's not painful. Paul doesn't pull any punches, and the book is still completely relevant even though it was written two thousand years ago. How crazy is God that he can do that? (And through human beings no less.) Anyway, it's been super beneficial for me to have accountability in spending time in the Word because I have a tendency to become complacent and fill my time with less important things (like Facebook, blogging, and Pinterest). Go figure.

I'm not reading any books at the moment, so I'm catching up on my stacks of Real Simple, Parents, and People. Magazines are far less committal than books. Can you believe I was an English major? I don't even know myself anymore.

...eating. These things are my comfort food:

Chocolate chip cookies (just go with the Toll House recipe; Monica and Phoebe knew what they were talking about)

Cilantro lime chicken (this crock pot can't be beat for its ease, taste, and versatility. We eat it the first night over brown rice and topped with sour cream and/or cheese, and then the leftovers make perfect taco or quesadilla filling.)

...doing. Sewing, cleaning, working at church, playing outside, coloring, changing diapers, doing laundry, spending time with my people, and generally hanging out. Things are good; I can't complain.

And Christmas is coming (after Thanksgiving, of course), so there is much sugar to be eaten, Jesus to be celebrated, and gifts to be given! I love this time of year.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Baytown Weekend

We were waaaayyyy overdue for a visit with NeNe, Pop Pop, and Carrie. So go figure that we were attacked by The Great Stomach Bug of 2012 on the day we were supposed to leave.

We disinfected the house for our dog sitter and trudged out by 11 (so grateful that Matt had taken the day off), making it to Baytown by dinner time. FYI, the Dallas to Houston route on 45 is a million times more bearable during the day than at night.

Anyway, we had a great weekend with family and took full advantage of the gorgeous weather by spending most daylight non-napping hours outside. Matt got to fish with his dad, the kids got to play at two parks, and I got to eat at my second favorite Tex Mex eatery (El Toro!!).

Since Blogger's app is atrocious, here are all our pictures at once and in completely random order. Sorry, I can't figure a way around that and I'm using our drive time wisely, so phone posting it is!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Avery Update

Avery's three. She is crazy. One minute she is growling or screaming at us in annoyance (teenage preview, anyone?), and the next she is giving us the sweetest hugs and cracking us up.

Today we'll focus on the happy side of our precious girl because that's the best part. :) (And in all fairness, that's the side we see the most.)

A refrigerator is a "fridgelator" to Avery.

She likes to hang "upslide down" whenever she can.

When she started gymnastics, she announced that she was going to take "dramastics" and be a great "dramasticer." She even told us that she didn't need the teacher to give her lessons because she could teach them her "tricks." But a couple months in, I can see so much improvement in her coordination and confidence. She can even skip and do a (preschool style) cartwheel and a back bend.

Any time we're in the car, we play one of three games: knock knock jokes, I Spy, or Simon Says. She always asks to listen to "the CD with the verses" (aka Hide 'Em in Your Heart-- we're old school!!). Some of the songs have helped with her Cubbie memorization, too!

Avery LOVES her brother. She likes to boss him around, but she really does love to play with him. She's so sweet with him.

She is a big helper, especially at the grocery store. She insists on putting all of the items in the cart and then unloading them to the checkout belt. I'm sorry if you've ever gotten stuck behind us in line.

For my own records, Avery wears a size 4/5 and a size 10 shoe. She likes to dress herself, so some mornings require some creative persuasion. Other mornings I just don't even pick the battle.

Avery is super independent. She insists on brushing her own teeth, getting her own water, feeding our dog, and pretty much everything else.

She's become pretty snuggly and LOVES to read. She sings and has dance parties with her daddy most evenings. She's a really cool mix of OCD and fun.

Avery definitely keeps us on our toes, but we're up for the challenge, and seeing her really "get" the things we're trying to teach her has been extremely rewarding. We love watching her grow into a little lady!

Landon: 17 months

Well, we skipped over the 16 month update (whoops), so here's what our big boy's up to at 17 months instead!

Landon fits best into 18 month clothes, but he also wears 24 month and 2T. (Now if it would just cool off enough for him to wear his cute fall/winter stuff!) He wears a size 4 diaper and size 6 shoe.

He naps anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours (usually closer to 1.5) and goes to bed at 7:30 (getting up around 7 each morning).

He repeats almost any word he's asked to, but he doesn't talk all that much voluntarily (although he's starting to change that). He somehow switched his word for water (a fairly typical "wawa") to "wawie", so that's pretty cute. Lately he's been saying bubbles, Bible, and backpack a lot. Add that to his favorite word (ball) and I guess he likes his B words!

Landon likes food. If you're eating in his presence, be prepared to share. He's a mooch.

If you give him a high five, be prepared for knuckles also (accompanied by a "boom").

He is a climber. If I turn my head for two seconds, he is standing up on the chair. If I haven't caught him immediately, he's also dancing on said chair. And if I startle him by my response, he will fall. On his face. By the way, our table is extra tall and I'm the worst mom ever.

Landon loves to dance, jump, do somersaults, and sing. The dancing is my favorite. :) He dances a LOT!

Landon smiles and laughs and loves to read and PLAY. He is active and fun and we love him like crazy!! Slow down sweet boy, you're growing way too fast!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

We don't do a lot of Halloween celebrations around here (I've just never really gotten into it), but I do love an excuse to dress up my kids and eat candy!

We went the easy route on costumes this year. After making both of their costumes last year, I was lazy wanted a break!

Avery decided to be a ladybug this year, and when she makes up her mind about something, there's no changing it (I wonder where she gets that...). I remembered that a good friend's little girl was a ladybug last year, so I asked to borrow their costume (I have no shame) and then made a fuller tutu to go under it.

Landon doesn't get a say in his costume yet, so he was a Newsie!! I was going to make him a little messenger bag for his "papes" but ran out of time and decided not to sweat it. I just rolled up a newspaper section to carry around with him to help people figure out what he was. His costume was pretty simple since we had most of it. His shirt and vest were from his Easter/wedding/baby dedication suit, and we had some navy shorts that were too long (perfect for knickers!). I found the hat and socks at Children's Place online. Ensemble complete!

The kids had their costume parade at school on Tuesday.

Avery's class! She loves her teachers, Miss Holley and Miss Whitney!

And then last night we took them to a Trunk or Treat at the church where I grew up. My dad and Aaron, Chelsea, and Evelyn came over for dinner before we went, and Mom met us up there.

My mom actually had to restrain this boy until they could set up the blocks from him to run into.

This girl was serious about her candy choices. Next time I'm coaching her on how to pick the chocolate.

This was my favorite booth! They had to pick the dude's nose to get candy, and their hands got wet. HA!

I just want to point out that my three year old kicks with the inside of her foot. I'm a proud mama.

The kids had fun, but it was super crowded and made for a late night. Matt and I talked about just staying in our neighborhood next year since there are lots of trick or treaters out. We always like talking to people in our community, so that might be a better fit for us in the future. Eh, it's a ways out so we'll worry about it next year. Hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween.

Bring on Thanksgiving!