Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Construction Themed 4th Birthday Party

This past weekend was my son's 4th birthday party.  We alternate each year on which child gets the big party and this year was his turn.  I'm all about doing up cute parties, but within reason.  They still have to fit into our one income budget.  Thankfully, I had a few Etsy sales beforehand so I had a little bit extra to spend.

Months ago I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday and he and I perused Pinterest for ideas and when he saw this one from Fredillicious that was it, that was the one he wanted!  He had that exact same backhoe already so this was "his" cake!

(source)

So that's how we came up with our construction theme. 

We found this cute set of plates at Hobby Lobby and that's what I based everything around.


Instead of sending out paper invitations, I designed this one on the Red Stamp app using a picture of the napkins from our party supplies, and texted digital invites instead.  They're free to design and free to send, that = cheap!  



I kept the decor fairly simple, but still fun.


Our buffet was set up to be the gift area.  I got mylar balloons from the dollar store instead of latex balloons because they hold their air so much better and they're the same price as getting latex ones filled at the grocery store.  It saved me from having to run back to town the morning of the party to get balloons filled.  I bought them the day before and they were still just fine.  The same would not have been true of latex balloons.  I was very thankful for my moment of genius when I thought of this.  :D


In the windows on either side of the buffet I placed a couple of his construction toys that he already had.  Cheap decor!  


On another wall I made this little photo op area using a dollar store tablecloth and streamers, cutouts from the Hobby Lobby set, and caution tape I found on Amazon.  
(link will be at the end of the post)

On the dining room table I set out little hard hats for each of the kids.  They were pretty flimsy, but the kids didn't seem to care.  We also found the little traffic cones at Hobby Lobby.  I used a black plastic tablecloth folded up as a runner down the middle and just put a strip of the caution tape in the middle of that to mimic a road.


The centerpiece was his beloved cake that he had talked about for months!  :)


It was a bit of a comedy of errors to get it to this point, but he and I were both happy with how it turned out in the end.


He already had all the little toys and they made the perfect cake toppers.  I found the traffic cone candles on Amazon.


He spotted the candy rocks while we were at Hobby Lobby and he was SO excited when I told him they would be perfect for his cake!  They were good too, tasted like M&M's.




I set up the bar as the food area and put this cute little banner on the front (also from Hobby Lobby).  Again, I kept it really simple.  I had seen a lot of cute ideas for themed food for this type of party, but I decided against the extra stress and the extra cost that would involve.  Hubby grilled hot dogs, I made baked mac-n-cheese, and we had chips to go with it.  It was perfect and stress free.


I found the cute little orange caddy at Winn-Dixie for $1.50 and it was just perfect to hold the utensils.


For the goody bags I bought these little orange bags at Dollar Tree, 3 for $1, and I used a paint marker to draw the construction lines and "thank you" on them.  It was done rather hastily at sort of the last minute and they certainly were far from perfect, BUT...they were cute enough and they worked.  


They each had a can of silly string, a few pieces of candy, and a rubber eraser shaped like a dump truck (Hobby Lobby).  Nothing too overboard.


The drink table sported a couple more of his toys that he already had.  

I only planned one game and I'm glad I did it that way.  They had so much fun just playing in our kids' rooms with all of their toys and it gave me a chance to sit and chat with the other adults instead of running around trying to coordinate everything.

The one game came from an idea I saw, on Pinterest of course, lol!  It worked out perfectly because we already had a large floor puzzle that was construction themed.  We kicked the kids outside for a little bit (Hubby ended up piling them all into the Kawasaki Mule and taking them for a fun ride) while we adults hid all 60 pieces of the puzzle around the house.  When they came back they had such a blast hunting for the pieces and then working together to complete the puzzle.


Even the oldest boy there, who originally claimed he wasn't playing any games, got in on it and had  way more fun than he would probably admit to, lol!




The nearest I can figure I spent approx. $85 on decor, and about $15 on food.  So for around $100 I was able to give him a fun little construction themed party that was cute and festive, but not overboard, incredibly expensive, or stressful.  

That's my kind of party!

If you'd like to see more of my small budget parties you can visit these links:

   

                                                 

(Affiliate Links)

Monday, September 8, 2014

100 Sales Giveaway!

** The winner is......PJ Harrison!!  Thank you so much to all of you who entered the giveaway, it made it so much fun for me.  And congratulations to Pamela!  I've sent out an email to you so if you could get back to me with your address right away I can get your vintage prize pack sent out this week. **

So I've been promising a giveaway to celebrate when I reached 100 sales in my Etsy shop.  100 sales came (woot woot!!)....and went... and I kept promising, but life got busy and I just couldn't manage to fit it all in.  But never fear, I got it together and it's finally giveaway time once again!

Up for grabs is a vintage prize pack that includes: 1 cute little jelly jar & lid, 10 vintage wooden clothespins, and a vintage tea towel with sweet red stitching around the edges.


The giveaway will start at midnight tonight and end on Sunday the 14th.  Just leave me a comment on this post telling me how you would incorporate these items into your decor if you were to win.  And that's it!  I kept it simple, there's only one way to enter. Make sure you go back and click on the Rafflecopter widget where it says "I commented!" so that you'll be entered.  Also, be sure to leave me an email address so that I can contact you should you win.  A winner will be announced on Monday morning, September 15th.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
                                 
                                                              

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fun Friday Finds #25

I wasn't even planning on going to any yard sales today.  I have family coming in tonight and I had lots to do to get ready for them coming and the kids and I were just going into town to get groceries.  Believe it or not, yard sales hadn't even crossed my mind.  BUT...on the way to the store we passed a yard sale sign and I whipped out a u-ey right quick.  Before the kids even realized what had happened we were pulling in the driveway and they were saying "Oh mom!" :D

It turned out to be more of an indoor estate sale.  I found a couple of things and dickered back and forth with the guy on the price and finally settled.  I dug out my $1's and scrounged for quarters and paid him.  As we were walking out I noticed the table and chairs.  I figured he would be asking at least $150 for the set, but out of curiosity I asked him how much.  "Wellll...my wife was really wantin' $65 for 'em, but she ain't here so I guess I could take $50."  "For the whole set?!?"  "Yap."  I poked and prodded and checked for wobbles, I looked for a brand (found an original paper tag under one chair) and decided this was a really good price.  And it just so happened that I had exactly $50 cash left.  I almost never have that much cash on me that isn't already designated for something else, but there was some left from a check I had cashed from one of Hubby's side jobs.  I figured he wouldn't mind.  :)




I did a little research on the brand after I got home and found that just the chairs can easily sell for $50 each!


Like I said before, one chair still has its original paper label on it. 


Add in the two chairs I got free from the side of the road a few weeks ago and it makes for a mighty decent set.  Now don't get me wrong, I still want my huge 10ft, rustic, chunky, handmade farmhouse table someday, but until we can make that happen this will suit us just fine.  And after eating off of a plastic folding table for over a year now it'll feel great to have a "real" table again.  

You might remember me mentioning that I got another dining room table for free a few weeks ago, and that I've been working on refinishing it.  I was planning to use that table to replace the folding table, but it doesn't have any leaves with it and can only seat 4 people comfortably.  When I saw that this one had 2 extra leaves with it I was sold.  I still plan to finish the other table, but now I'll just try to sell it on Craigslist and recoup the cost of what I spent on this set.


At the same sale I also got this piece of artwork.  Other than the gallery wall in the living room we have absolutely nothing on our walls and I've been on the lookout for some art.  I liked the simplicity of this, it felt "farmhouse" to me.  This is what the seller and I haggled about before I saw the table.  I was offering $2, he wanted $3...we settled on $2.50.  : )


I plan to hang it above the buffet in the dining room.  I think the red strawberries will pair very nicely with our red gingham curtains.

I got a few other smaller things as well that I plan to list on Ebay and in my Etsy shop, but I'm in a hurry today with company coming tonight so I decided just to share the two things I was most excited about.  

And remember, you're always welcome to share pictures of your Fun Friday Finds over on the Facebook group page.  We love seeing everyone's good deals!

                                                                      

Monday, August 18, 2014

A DIY Knock-Off Makeover

I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a positive comment on my last post.  I really had no idea what the reaction would be, I just knew I needed to write it, come what may.  All of your sweet and loving comments sure meant a lot to me, so thank you!  I've taken a couple of blogs off of my reading list that were making me feel less than content after reading them, I don't need that pressure in my life.  I haven't been perusing Pinterest quite so much either, wishing and wanting and feeling poor because my house isn't magazine worthy like "theirs."  And you know what?  I've been better for it.  My whole attitude is so much more positive and I just feel happier and more "in the moment."  I will always love decorating, that's just who I am, and I'll always love projects and yard sales, I can't ignore that side of me.  But...when a thought starts to come to mind of, "Man I wish I had...." I just stop it right there and focus on what I do have.  I still have things I want to do to the house, but all in good time.  I no longer feel so anxious about it.

Anyways....on to today's post!

I've slowly but surely been plugging away at the kids' bathroom makeover.  I put up a mini-gallery wall in there a couple of months ago, but I've never shown it to you because 1) I'm a terrible procrastinator and the frames STILL don't have pictures in them (I finally ordered them though!), and 2) I was missing the last piece of the collection.

I knew I wanted that last piece to be a small wall clock and I found this cute retro one online and just loved it.  It had the perfect look and the perfect size.  BUT....

(source)

It cost $60!!

There was absolutely no way I could afford to pay that much for a small clock, nor would I do it even if I could afford it.  That's a bit much for my taste.

So, a few weeks went by while I pondered my dilemma and then I came up with an idea.  A few more weeks went by before I finally remembered to look at the clock section at Walmart.  (Procrastination....air-headedness...see the pattern?)

  I was thinking I could probably find a basic clock for around $10.


I was pleasantly surprised to find this one for only $4.



I brought it home and took it all apart.

I don't have pictures of the next few steps because I was figuring it out as I went, but basically I found an image online of a vintage school clock that I liked.  I uploaded the image to PicMonkey and edited the clock hands out of the picture.  Then I brought the image into my Print Master program on my computer as clip art, enlarged it to the correct size, and printed it out on card stock.  I very carefully cut it out, made a hole in the center for the clock mechanism to fit through, applied a tiny bit of glue stick to the back of it and laid it in place.  

I put it all back together...


and ended up with this!

                                                Before                                                                                                 After

I'm pretty happy with my newly "retro" styled clock.



The only thing I need to change is the second hand.  A friend suggested that I paint it red like the inspiration one, an idea that hadn't even occurred to me before that.  I love the idea and I plan to do it....probably a few weeks from now.  :D

The pictures for the gallery wall should be in soon and when I get it all put together I'll be sure to show you.  There are some other changes on that same wall that I've kept a secret as well, and I'll reveal it all together.

Until then, I'm quite satisfied with my $56 savings and loving my new little $4 "vintage" clock!

                                                                 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Some Real Life Thoughts

Today's post is going to be vastly different than my usual ones have been.  I've had so many thoughts on my mind lately that I felt the need to express them, to get them off my chest so to speak.

I don't know how well you've been keeping up with all that's been happening over in the Middle East or not, but it has really had a profound impact on me.  I've read the articles about the hundreds of Christians who are trapped in the mountains in Iraq because they refused to convert to Islam and couldn't pay the fine for not doing so and so they had to escape.  Now they're dying of thirst and hunger up there.  I see the pictures of the bloodied bodies, even small children shot through the head, murdered for what they believe.  The family executed together with their Bible nearby because they wouldn't refute their God.  The hundreds of charred bodies burnt alive in a Catholic church in Nigeria I believe it was, simply because they were a religion other than Muslim.  It hits a little more close to home with us because my husband was in Iraq 3 times, putting his life on the line, and now all their work has been for naught.  The Iraqi soldiers he made friends with are mostly likely dead, buried in a mass grave by the ISIS.

I read those articles and see those pictures on one website and then out of habit I click over to Pinterest and I'm struck with how shallow and inconsequential that is.  How can I care about the color of paint on my walls when I see blood spatters on their walls?  How can I care about my outdated green carpet when theirs is soaked with unrepenting martyred blood?  How can I care that my couch is a little saggy in the middle when theirs holds their murdered bodies?  

It's simple.  I can't.

So many things about my life feel so petty and unimportant compared to the things that are happening to my brothers and sisters in Christ over there.  I simply cannot bring myself to care about decorating right now.  It doesn't matter in the long run.  What matters is my heart and the hearts of my children and my husband.  Serving our Lord to the best of our ability, and having a faith so strong and a love for our God so great that we, too, would rather face the end of a rifle than to say we no longer believe in the Christ who died for us.

All of these things have been consuming my thoughts the past week or so and I find myself slipping into a quiet pensive state.  I know there's nothing I can do for them but pray, and I have been.  As well as for our own country and for my own family.  It would be very easy for me to become overwhelmed with these thoughts and even become depressed.  So how can I avoid that?  For the sake of my family.

By being thankful for what's right in front of me.

Decorating and creativity are my passion.  Dreams and visions for my home consume my thoughts more hours of each day than they should, and I find myself focusing only on what I don't have.  Only on the projects that are yet undone.  On the things that work perfectly fine, but that don't match my vision and so I think they need replaced.  I find myself feeling uptight and anxious about this "to do list" because living on only one income is very challenging.  We don't have any extra to spend on these projects.  It's important to us that I be at home raising our children and providing their education, and we have to make sacrifices every single day to make that happen.  I didn't just decide to stay home because we could afford it and I didn't need to work.  It was a choice we made for the future of our children and for the good of our family as a whole.  It requires sacrifice.  We do without a lot of things, we don't really go out to eat, sometimes our meals get creative that last day or two before the next paycheck.  It's just not in our budget to replace all the things I would like to and complete all my dream projects.

The other day the kids and I were driving into town and I was doing some thinking.  I had been a little snappy that morning, irritable with the kids for no apparent reason.  And as I thought about it I realized that my soul felt unsettled.  The fact that I have this big list of dreams for our home and no money to do it with was literally making me feel physically anxious.  I prayed as I drove and I told the Lord how I was feeling and in that instant I heard that still quiet voice saying, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything give thanks."  Wow.  Be thankful.  For what you have right now.  Don't focus on what you don't have, learn to love what you do have.

But you know, you can tell a child she needs to do something but does that mean that they will?  Not necessarily.  And it doesn't mean that even if they do try that they won't struggle with it.  That was me.  Even though I knew I was supposed to be trying to be thankful I was still struggling with not thinking about all the other things.  I'm weak like that.  And then I read {this} and I cried (and laughed).  It was exactly what I needed.  To view my home through a new set of "perspectacles."

So here goes.  I'm sharing my real life perstectacles with you.  I picked up my camera this morning and started snapping pictures of my kitchen, just as it was.  No cleaning.  No staging.  No straightening.  Not one single thing changed.  Just real life.  I didn't even bother with editing the pictures to make the lighting "just right."  I don't have time for editing today.  I told my little girl we'd go into town and look for butterfly plates for her birthday next week.  Now you tell me which one is more important?

So come take a walk through my real life kitchen, seeing it through eyes that are now thankful for what I have and trying very hard not to focus on what's not there.


First off, I'm thankful for appliances that work, well most of the time anyways.  The fridge has given us a few fits, but it's been working great the last couple of months and it has food in it to feed my family.  For that I'm thankful.  I'm thankful for an oven and stove to cook good meals on, and for a microwave that makes my life just a little bit easier.  I'm thankful for my vintage apron hanging on the side of the fridge that keeps my shirts clean.  I'm a messy cook.  I'm thankful for cute second hand decor that makes me smile.


The side of the fridge holds artwork made by my precious daughter and pictures of fun times with our family.  I am grateful each and every day for them.


The front of my fridge has smudgy little fingerprints all over it.  At times I have been so shallow as to resent this stainless steel fridge.   I didn't ask for it, I didn't want it, it came with the house, and "stainless" steel is sort of an oxymoron since it shows everything.  But seriously, how shallow is that?!?  Most people would love to have a stainless steel refrigerator and I've had the audacity to be unhappy with mine.  Smudgy little fingerprints means I have children that are healthy and capable of walking to the fridge and getting their own drinks and their own snacks.  Not every mother can say that.


In the corner is a baggie of leftover homemade hot dog buns.  Remnants of a meal eaten together as a family.  I'm thankful for Lucy, my KitchenAid mixer.  She whips out homemade bread, buns, pizza dough, and a batch of 100 cookies with no problem.  She makes my life easier.  The toaster sits out where my husband left it this morning.  He had waffles.  My 3 year old little boy and I had fun making a boat load of waffles together the other morning and we put all the leftover ones in the freezer.  Hubby was able to eat a couple for his breakfast this morning.  No matter that he didn't put the toaster away.  He never does.  It's a man thing I guess.  He also leaves his socks on the coffee table more often than not.  But he's my husband and my best friend, and I am so very thankful to have him in my life.  Dirty socks and all.


The light over our sink isn't the newest trend in farmhouse lighting that certain big name magazines make us think we have to have.  But I bought it for only $11 and it works just fine.


Plus, it gives off the warmest coziest glow that I just love.  I love to sit at the bar early each morning and drink my coffee in that warmth.



I'm thankful for my big window over the sink that looks out on our big beautiful back yard.  I'm thankful for colorful little pots that have herbs sprouting up in them and that cheer me up with their colorfulness.  Especially on a rainy morning like today.


A hummingbird feeder sits empty because I've been busy with a good life and it just hasn't been a priority to get it refilled.  Clean dishes drying from last night's yummy supper.  Perpetual dirty dishes in the sink are signs that I have a family and that we have food to put on those dishes.  A scraping tool leans up against the wall from the table I've been working on.  A dining room table I got for FREE.  I'm thankful for that for sure.  I was tempted to change out the dirty scrubber in the jar for a clean one, but I didn't.  Real life people.  Real life.  I use my cast iron skillets, a lot, and so my scrubber gets blackened. Deal with it.  Even the messy towel thrown haphazardly over the door makes me smile.  I normally take the time to fold it, but as I was drying dishes last evening my son came running in and said, "MOM!  You HAVE to come see this!!  My monster trucks are about to race!!"  He had his little trucks all lined up on the living room floor with croquet mallets making the racing lanes.  So of course I didn't have time to fold that towel.  It was more important that I NOT miss the start of that race!  : )


I'm ever so thankful for all that counter space!  There was a time that we lived in a house that had the world's tiniest kitchen, so this one feels like a mansion compared to that.  I'm thankful for plenty of room for friends and family to gather.  I've wished that I had bar stools that were more on trend and more industrial style instead of the dated oak.  But I need to be thankful that I have bar stools at all.  I didn't when we first moved here.  It took several months before I found these at a really good price on Craigslist.  I'm thankful for Craigslist.  : )


On this end of the counter are some greasy mower parts.  That means I have a hard working husband who cares about our home and works hard to save us money by fixing the mower himself when it breaks down.  His old phone lays there waiting for me to list it on Ebay.  That reminds me that we have family that loves us so much.  They paid for us to upgrade our phones.  Something we wouldn't have been able to afford to do.  I'm even thankful for that silly little Betta fish.  He's spazzy and quirky and quite easily the funniest little fish I've ever had.  He makes me smile.


Over here we have my son's cars lined up on the counter.  I was working on the computer when he woke up and he loves to be near me so after a few minutes of snuggle time he brought his cars out and played next to me while I worked.  The chicken salt shaker left on the counter because we ate dinner on the bar last night because the kids had so many craft supplies from their little project on the dining room table there was no room to eat.


Lots of creativity going on here.  I just didn't have the heart to make them clean it up. 


Sunday School papers laying there mean that my children still have the freedom to worship in a church of our choosing.  A new magazine, fresh from mailbox, means that I have a mother-in-law who loves me and who ordered that magazine for me.  A commentary and notebook lay there from my devotional time, again, I have the freedom to worship the one true God and to study His word.


On the other side of the kitchen we find this old dilapidated bookshelf that holds extra pantry items.  Do I wish I had something nicer, something like an old pie safe or a Hoosier cupboard?  Yes, I have been guilty of wanting more.  But I'm also thankful for this little shelf.  I only paid $5 for it 4 years ago and I've gotten every penny's worth out of it since then.  It holds extra food and snacks for my kiddos.  I'm always thankful for food.  : )


I have gorgeous flooring in my kitchen that I love with much love and I'm certainly thankful for that!  I'm thankful for our pets, for our 10 year old pudgy little Jack Russell who's been the absolute best dog we could ever hope for.  And for our little 4 month old playful kitten that makes us laugh every single day.

There are so many things about these pictures that sadly I was ungrateful about before.  But from now on I'm going to do my best to focus on real life and to be thankful for what I already have right in front of me.  There are so many who have far less than I do, who don't have the freedom to worship God, and who are dying for their beliefs.  The least I can do is not focus on wanting more.

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." 
Philippians 4:6 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...