Valentine’s Day Fun

Hello friends! I hope you had an amazing weekend. Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year, we decided to celebrate on Saturday. I’m sure I will do a little something for the kids and Jason on the actual day, but since we have school and church it just made more sense to celebrate on Saturday when we had more time together. Read on for more about our Valentine’s Day Fun!

First up, the table! Y’all who know me know that any holiday starts with a decorated table. This is something I love to do for my kids, and I try my best to do it for each holiday. There’s just something about fun themed decorations and balloons that make their faces light up as they enter the room.

More Examples: Boo to You Halloween Dinner * Back to School Table Decor

Valentine's Day table decor

We do presents for each child. I know some people don’t do presents and that’s completely OK! I set a $10-15 budget for each child and Jason and I have recently implemented a rule that they can’t have toys with a million tiny pieces (Legos are the exception). Poppy got a Princess Belle doll, Sullivan got a Mickey and Roadster Races race car track (that I found on clearance), and Cooper got a Pokemon Lego set.

Valentine's Day table decor

The table runner is old fabric from Hobby Lobby. I’m not honestly sure where the heart boxes are from; I’ve had them for years. The center heart is plastic and was from the Dollar Tree, as were the plates and napkins. Do you recognize the envelopes? They are old and from the Target Dollar Spot.

Valentine's Day

My kids love balloons. LOVE. I mean they honestly were more excited about the balloons than the presents. I got these from the Dollar Tree.

I picked up doughnuts the night before and we had a sweet treat breakfast and opened their presents.

Valentine's Day table decor

This is a little tradition I started a few years back. I have different colored hearts for each child, and Jason and I take turns writing reasons that we love them. Some years we get the kids in on the action and they write hearts for their siblings. I used heart doilies this year, and foam hearts for Poppy. All were from – you guessed it – the Dollar Tree.

Valentine's Day appreciation gifts

Next up are some Valentine’s Day goodies. The cookies are for my girlfriends – the package of Oreo Red Hot cookies says “Valentine, you are red hot!” The bottom cookie is Chips Ahoy Smores and the tag says “I need SMORE friends like you in my life.”

The gift on the left is a teacher gift. It was a hand towel from Wal-Mart ($1), a package of Lindt chocolate truffles, and I’ll be adding a $5 gift card before I give it to Cooper’s teacher on Wednesday.

Valentine's Day

Everyone needs some soft and sexy makeup for Valentine’s Day, right? On Tuesday, I’ll be sharing how to achieve this makeup look on Instagram. You can find me @andrearhouse. I will post the tutorial to my Instastories, and if you are viewing after the 24 hour period has elapsed, it will be saved to my highlights. Come check it out!

Update: Unfortunately I was not able to post a tutorial on Instastories on Tuesday, but it is coming soon! Make sure you are following me, and you can always check my Highlights for pas tutorials, product reviews, and swatches.

What are you planning for Valentine’s Day?

Nursery to Big Girl Room Transition

My daughter, Poppy Grace, is 2.5 years old. She’s my last baby, a precious firecracker who brings excitement and laughter to our lives each day. I truly can’t fathom how in the world she’s already 2… didn’t I just have her? Wasn’t she just a newborn baby, snuggly and sweet? Did I not just paint her nursery and lovingly hang pictures and canvases on her wall?

I’ve been denying the passage of time, and as I’m sure you other mothers know, somehow time always catches up to you. I had this idea in my head that if I just kept her nursery intact that she would still be my baby. But she’s growing up and I’m slowly realizing that her room needs to grow up with her.

Her latest achievement is that she’s finally figured out that she doesn’t have to (physically) stay in her crib if she doesn’t want to stay in her crib. A couple of weeks ago, my husband laid her down for a nap so that I could take a hot bath (my favorite form of relaxation). I was lounging in the tub, reading a book, when I heard her chatting with her brothers in their room. I got out of the tub, dressed, and went into my boys’ room to find out what had happened, expecting that it was one of them who had helped her out of the crib. Nope! she informed me. She had gotten out on her own, and she was all too happy to show me how she had done it. Turns out my petite girl can now pull herself up, hike a leg over the railing, and then jump down.

Fun times.

Since then, she takes great joy in getting herself out of the crib whenever she objects to the atrocity of me trying to get her to go to sleep. That’s quite often. I’m thinking maybe it is time to start thinking about transitioning her to an actual bed.

I’ve begun making some initial plans about how to best transition her room from a nursery to a big girl room. I know that I don’t want to do anything drastic to her room. The accent wall and wall colors will stay the same, and I want to keep the same color palette. The furniture, except the crib, is in good condition and will remain.

This is the view of her room as you enter the door. I’m so very sad that the crib has to go. It has held all three of my babies and has been in use since 2010. I’m thinking I’m either going to have it made into some sort of furniture or keep it in the attic for any future grandchildren.

Right now my plan is to replace the crib with a twin bed, placing the bed where the crib is now. Her dollhouse will have to be moved either to the hallway outside her room or downstairs to the playroom. I’d like to keep the chair in the room for now because she does like to be rocked (and I’m not giving that up until she refuses to do it anymore).

I absolutely love her accent wall – it’s pink gingham, and yes, my husband and I painted that ourselves. It was a labor of love, let me tell you.

The curtains will remain as well. My mom made the curtains with fabric we found at a fabric store that has since gone out of business. We also made the cornice board ourselves and covered it with fabric.

I have a large gold monogram that hangs above her crib but it is in her closet at the moment.

I love her bedding. LOVE. The colors, the print… it is beautiful, soft, sweet, innocent…. all the things I wanted her room to be. I’m thinking I would like to perhaps track down the fabric and make a twin bed skirt. That can’t be that hard… right? My mom has been promising to teach me to sew for years, but she works full time and is busy so it has just never happened. A friend recently shared SewingMachine with me. They are a business based out of Atlanta, which is an easy day trip, that sells sewing machines, supplies, and even offers classes to teach you how to use what you buy! Let’s face it – I love my mom, but we’d probably kill each other if she had to teach me to use a machine, so maybe I’m better offer learning from a professional. Ha!

Here’s what I refer to as “Bow Corner.” I’d like to add some decorative hooks or shelving for headbands, purses, and assorted little girl accessories.

This is the wall that faces the crib. To the left is her closet. I’d like to get the frames up off the dresser and expand the gallery wall. What I really need help with is styling – any tips? What would you put on top of her dresser? I need it to be practical yet pretty.

Here’s the other corner of her room. The dollhouse will need to be moved, but as I said, I’d like to keep the chair. The bookcase baskets hold diapers (every day, nighttime, and swim diapers). I’m hoping by summer we can get rid of those. The top basket holds her sound machine (a must) and my breast pump (so random – why is that still there?!).

I’ve had that mirror since Jason and I first got married in 2003, and it has hung in all three of my babies’ nurseries. It will definitely stay.

I’d love to get some feedback from you! What changes would you make to the room? Do you have styling tips for me? Help a girl out and send me some sources for bedding that you think would go well in the room!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Spooky Halloween Dinner

Y’all who know me know that I love any excuse to celebrate. I also love traditions. I love the looks on my children’s faces when I take the time to elevate a seemingly normal day into something special. It’s my hope that one day, when they recount their childhoods, they will look back and remember these days with fondness. I hope they continue these traditions with their children… and if not, no worries. Grandma will have it covered. Ha!

Every fall we have a Spooky Halloween Dinner.

I set the table with “spooky” decorations. I’ve got quite the stash going by now, so I don’t really *need* to buy anything, but my go-to spots for holiday decorations on the cheap at the Target Dollar Spot, the Christmas Tree Shop, the Dollar Tree, and Walmart.

I plan a menu. For the kids, simple is always best. Typically I include mummy dogs, zombie brains, pumpkins, jack o’lanterns, and some sweet treats.

Mummy Dogs

You will need a pack of hot dogs, ketchup, and a tube of crescent rolls. If you can find the sheet of crescent rolls, that will make less work for you. Simply roll out the crescent rolls and pinch two together to make a rectangle. Cut into strips (I use a pizza cutter). Then wrap the strips haphazardly around your (uncooked) hot dogs. Don’t be neat – loop over and around just like mummy wrappings. Place the hot dogs on a cookie sheet and cook according to the directions for the crescent rolls. Make eyes with ketchup.

Zombie Brains

These are cut frozen meatballs that I cook in the crockpot. The sauce is a jar of grape jelly and a bottle of chili sauce. (Don’t be scared of the chili sauce – it isn’t hot at all.) If you can’t find chili sauce or you don’t wish to use it, you can sub with a bottle of red BBQ sauce.

Jack O’Lanterns

I mean, this couldn’t be easier. I used boxed macaroni and cheese, served it in clear cups, and drew a jack o’lantern face on the front.

Pumpkins

The pumpkins are mandarin oranges, peeled, with a small piece of celery used as the stem.

Ghosts

I don’t have a picture of the ghosts, but you can make these by peeling bananas and creating eyes and a mouth by sticking the pointed end of a chocolate chip into the banana.

Mummy pizzas are also an October stable in our house! You can customize the pizzas with whatever toppings you want, and you just create the mummy effect with mozzarella cheese cut into strips.

Mummy Pizzas

I use french bread as the base. Cut into half length-wise and cover with pizza sauce. Use whatever toppings you desire. You will need to use sliced mozzarella cheese that has been cut into strips. I alternate directions and place them diagonally on the bread. The eyes are just sliced olives. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes – make sure to watch these so they don’t burn.

My kids love tombstone puddings! I don’t make these every year, but I do when I can find the tombstones. They are just peeps! If you can’t find peeps, I’ve also used milano cookies and written on the cookies with icing.

Tombstone Pudding Cups

Use a clear cup, and fill with prepared pudding (either homemade or buy pre-made to make it even easier!). Crush up oreo cookies to use as dirt and place on top of the pudding. The tombstone is a Halloween peep I found at Target in the Halloween food section. Gummy worms provide a spooky finishing touch!

Our Spooky Halloween Dinner is typically when we carve pumpkins and/or decorate our Halloween gingerbread house. We actually haven’t yet had our Spooky Halloween dinner, but its on the schedule for this week. I’ll be sure to post pictures of this year’s dinner once we have it.

Tell me – do you have any Halloween traditions? I’d love to see your pictures if you decide to have a Spooky Halloween Dinner of your own!

Boo To You Halloween Dinner

If you know me well, you know it is no secret that I love celebrations. I love taking seemingly ordinary days and turning them into special parties for my kids. Life is too short not to grab a little fun when and where you can. Cooper in particular gets so excited about our celebrations which is why I continue to do it.

This year was our first annual Boo To You Halloween Dinner and I wanted to share in case you wanted to plan a Halloween dinner for your family! It isn’t too late and you probably have most of what you need already on hand.

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First – decorations! I can’t throw any party without fun decorations. Thank goodness for Target’s one dollar spot, right?! The tablecloth, spiderweb chargers, tree and ornaments, pumpkins, and aliens are from Target. The plates are from Kroger.

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Each child got a Halloween pajamas (except Cooper – he’s unfortunately out of child pajamas and into the big boy sizes now) and a Halloween book.

I themed our food as well.

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We had pumpkin oranges, mac and cheese in jack o lantern cups, vampire doughnuts, monster rice crispy treats, zombie brains (meatballs), and mummy dogs. I also served my Copycat Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice to drink.

Do you do any special themed meals to celebrate Halloween? Share your ideas in the comments.

Check back tomorrow for recipes and more ideas for Halloween food!

How to Make a Spiral Mesh Wreath

spiralmeshwreath

I’m absolutely obsessed with mesh wreaths. I like big wreaths and I cannot lie; what can I say? I think mesh wreaths make such an impact on your door. I want people to see my wreath as they drive by my house!

I’ve been making traditional mesh wreaths for about 2 years, but recently I took a class at Carolina Pottery to learn how to make a spiral mesh wreath. It was so much easier than I thought, and I’m going to share a step by step tutorial with you today!

(In case you are a more visual person, I’ve got a quick video tutorial at the bottom of this post.)

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Step One: Gather your supplies. You’ll need mesh, a wreath form, and embellishments if you chose to add them. I added ribbon and some patriotic accessories to my wreath.

You can just do one color wreath, but you’ll need to make some adjustments in your technique if you choose just one color. I talk about this in the video.

All the supplies for this wreath were $60;however , you can make two wreaths out of what you see above. The ribbon was what really made my total so expensive. The burlap ribbon was $10!

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Step Two: Prepare your wreath form. Each grouping of wire is two pieces (keep that in mind for later). Right now you want to pinch the two pieces together and pull them straight up. Then, go around your wreath and count how many groups of wire you have. Most wreath forms have about 18 groups of wire.

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Step Three: Arrange your mesh for cutting. To make this much easier, you will want to layer your mesh on top of one another. The white is on the bottom, then the red, and then the blue. Just make sure they line up at the very end.

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Step Four: Cut your mesh. I use a piece of computer paper as my guide. Cut lengthwise. You can cut along the lines of the mesh if you are a perfectionist.

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Step Five: Once you finish cutting, the mesh will curl up naturally. Set it to the side and cut 18 more times – one strip of mesh for every grouping of wire on your wreath form.

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Step Six: Once you have all your strips of mesh cut, it is time to start putting your wreath together. Take one strip of mesh and fold it in half so that the ends meet. Cut the strip of mesh in half. Now you have two strips of mesh.

Step Seven: Take apart the three individual colors of mesh. Fold the mesh into a cylinder shape. Do this for all three colors.

Step Eight: Stack the three colors mesh on top of one another and pinch in the middle.

Step Nine: Remember how I told you to remember that each grouping of mesh was made up of two pieces of wire? Here’s where that comes into play. The mesh you have pinched together in Step Eight now will get secured on the wreath form with one piece of wire. Pull apart the two pieces of wire on the wreath form and secure the mesh using one piece of wire. Then you will go back and grab the other group of mesh – from the one strip you cut in half – and secure to the other piece of wire.

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Step Ten: Pull apart the wire and fluff. Continue this process with all the strips of mesh, moving around the wreath until you have used all the mesh and all the wire on the wreath form.

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Step Eleven: Here is your finished product, pre-embellishment! The whole process, from cutting to placing the mesh on the wreath, took about 2 hours.

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Here is the wreath after I added my embellishments. I talk a little more about how to cut the ribbon and add the accessories in the video.

Here’s the video! I look a hot mess since I filmed at the end of the day. I had dinner on the stove and the kids were fussing, so excuse my appearance and the mess of my kitchen.

Tips:

  • Wear casual clothes when you make the wreath. The mesh catches on your clothes.
  • Place a tablecloth or sheet on your table if it scratches easily.
  • This is a messy process! Do it somewhere that is easy to vacuum or sweep.
  • When you secure your mesh to your wreath, only wrap the wire one time. Leave the excess wire in case you want to add ribbon or accessories. You can use the excess wire for that purpose.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

Playroom Tour & Organization

When we moved into our home three years ago, we decided we wanted to keep all the bedrooms upstairs. We have three bedrooms upstairs. At the time we only had one child, so one was the master bedroom, one was my son’s nursery, and one was a guest room. When I become pregnant with Sullivan, we turned the spare bedroom into Cooper’s “big boy” room and we moved Sullivan into the nursery.

We had one bedroom downstairs that we decided to use as a playroom. I don’t really care to have toys in the kids’ bedrooms. Cooper does have a few toys in his room, and I have two wicker baskets in the living room that are Sullivan’s toys, but in general all the toys stay in the playroom. When we first moved in, this room was a mess. We had several plastic storage bins just filled with toys and we kind of let Cooper do what he wanted as long as the toys stayed in the playroom. As a result this room was always a mess. It got to the point where Cooper couldn’t find anything to play with because everything was in such a chaotic jumble.

When I got pregnant with Sullivan, I went on a mad house organization and decorating binge. We had been in our house for two years at that point and had not painted anything other than Cooper’s nursery – but when nesting mode hit, I insisted we paint Cooper’s (new) room, the downstairs bathroom, the dining room, the kitchen, the living room, the hallway, and the playroom. And when I say “we” I really mean my husband.

Luckily my husband is a trooper and always makes my crazy ideas come to life!

We left this project until the last minute… as in, this was done just a few weeks before I gave birth. I picked up stuff for the room here and there throughout the summer, and we threw it together last August. In the almost year since we decorated and organized, I have to say the system we came up with is working quite well!

Without further adieu…

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Here’s the view of the left side of the room from the doorway. I love statement walls, and I decided to go big or go home in this room. I know a lot of people hate chevron, but I love it. I told my husband I wanted to do multi-color chevrons and he made it happen. The base of the wall is white, and I used blue (the blue of the other three walls in the room), pink, yellow and red for the chevrons. My husband says that painting the chevrons is not as hard as it seems, but it is very time consuming. It involves a lot of measuring and taping.

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Here’s a close up on the storage cubbies you see in the picture above. The two storage cubbies and the bench cubby are from Target. I also purchased the red fabric drawers from Target as well.

When I decided on a cubby system, I knew I wanted to label the drawers in a way that my son could easily view and understand what went into each bin. I sat down and sorted all his toys into categories to decide how many bins I would need. Then I made labels with scrapbook paper and cardstock. I searched for clip art for each category of toy, and then I pasted it into a Word document. I printed on heavy cardstock, cut, mounted each square on scrapbook paper, cut, and then laminated each square. I initially used velcro to attach the labels but those did not work long term. I ended up hot gluing velcro to the fabric drawer – it still detaches easily if I need to change out the content and the label.

One I had the fabric drawers labeled, I asked my son to help me put everything in the correct bin. I explained the system as we went, and the first few times he cleaned up I helped him, explaining what went where. From that point on he could do it himself.

Here are some of the labels I created:

  • Angry Birds
  • Super Heroes
  • Legos
  • Little People (this includes random figurines)
  • Castle
  • Toy Story
  • Mr. Potato

The bookshelf holds his books and some puzzles.

Above the bookshelf I have a shelf with hooks where his dress up clothes hang.

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This is the view of the center and the right side of the room. In the center of the room there is a children’s table with a tabletop easel. Directly behind the table is the train table, and beyond that is the art desk.

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We use the easel for our learning time. I print whatever letters we are working on that week, and my son uses the chalkboard on the back to practice. He also loves using the cups and paintbrushes to paint.

IMG_5851Here is what we call the Creation Station. (A very corny name for where I store art & educational supplies, and where we have Cooper’s art desk.)

IMG_5846The art desk itself stores markers, crayons, colored pens, and paint. The bins to the right and left hold stickers, educational supplies, chalk, paint, play dough, etc. The three drawer bins are from Target and I created the labels the same way I did for the fabric drawers. I repurposed some old plastic bins to hold coloring books and construction paper, and created labels for them as well.

I have to tell you – my friends think I am insane for putting the art supplies out. However, my husband and I had a serious talk with Cooper when we put together the desk. We told him he needed to always ask before using his art supplies, and that if he wanted to paint he needed to have his dad or I supervise. He’s done really well! We have had two accidents with the paint but it is washable so luckily it came up out of the carpet easily.

Here’s some of the art I created for the room.

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I purchased two plaster, open backed frames from Hobby Lobby at 40% off. I painted them red with the same paint we used on the walls. My husband (carefully, since they are plaster) screwed in hooks on the back, and I used twine to make racks where I could pin photos. In between the two frames, we screwed hooks directly into the wall and strung twine between the hooks. I purchased small hangers from Hobby Lobby and printed off Instagram pictures for the frames and the wall.

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I purchased wooden letters from Hobby Lobby and painted them to match the different color chevrons. These letters hang above the closet in the room.

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On our last trip to Disney World, I purchased a book of all the different Disney characters. Every time we saw a character or a character spot, I would stop and have the character autograph his or her page. I pulled out some of our favorite pages and framed them for the wall.

This was my least favorite project in the room. I got the frames from Ikea, super cheap, but they were black. I primed them with spray paint primer meant for plastic, and then I attempted to paint them with the red paint I used on the chevron wall. Even though I had primed, the paint would not stick. It took me about 10 coats, and there are still places where if you get close enough you can see the paint did not adhere.

I do want to point out that the playroom will likely change as Sullivan gets more mobile. We have already went in and pulled out anything that has tiny pieces the baby could choke on. We moved those toys upstairs into Cooper’s room. I am sure as Sullivan gets more mobile that they art supplies will move to a locked closet.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed the Playroom Tour & Organization!

Note: you may see color differences in each photo. This room is very dark and is hard to photograph because of that. I had to go in and lighten each picture, so if the paint colors look different room to room, that is why.