Tuesday, February 28, 2017

We're having a PaRtY!!! Sorta....

 If you know me, you know one of my biggest passions is throwing a themed party.  Some of my favorites have been:  The 50's Party, The Tutu and Ties Party, and the Lady Bug Party!  Well, the last time I was on Real Milwaukee, Nicole, one of the anchors asked me about a Moana banner she wanted to order on Etsy.  My heart started racing....the thought of a Moana party made me giddy.  I, naturally, told Nicole that I could make her a banner.  I was so glad she reached out to me!  Well, as you can see, I didn't just make her a banner!  Right away I started looking for ideas and sent her many emails with lots of ideas.  I am pretty sure she thinks I am a little crazy.  Well, I rolled with the idea and came up with some super easy and super cheap craft ideas to help create a Hawaiian themed Moana party.  I will be airing on Real Milwaukee on Wednesday, March 1st at 9:40 with this themed party!  My kids are so confused....we have a party set up in the house, but we aren't really having a party.  Talk about weird!
 I happen to have a graphic designer as one of my best friends.  Her name is Nellie and she is amazing.  I reached out to her and told her all about this Moana themed party idea.  Nellie has her own Etsy shop where she sells printable parties so I knew she could help me rock this idea!  She created a Moana themed printable party to add all the cuteness to the table.  Before I met Nellie, I had NO idea printable parties even existed.  This is the deal.  You buy a printable party and then print it at home and decorate away.  It is the best idea...ever!  It has made my life so much easier!  If you can't print at home, you can take it to a UPS or an Office Max type store and they print it there too!  After you print out the party, you follow the cutting instructions and Boom....you have extreme cuteness.  You can find this Moana themed party HERE in Nellie's etsy store.  She has quite a bit of printable parties or you can request her to help you create a new idea!  Her turn around time is lightning fast!
 I used Nellie's juice box wraps, water bottle wraps, straw flags, cupcake wraps and toppers and the printable banner!  The cost of the party is only $24.00!
 Okay, so on to some other cheap and easy party decorating ideas.  The large flowers are made from coffee filters.  I followed THIS tutorial to make them.  You can get coffee filters for super cheap.  Like $1 from the dollar store.  You add in some acrylic paint (approx $0.50) a bottle and then I attached them with staples to a paper straw.  You can create these coffee filter flowers in any color or in multi-color!  They are a little more time consuming as you have to soak and let the filters dry...however, they are super cheap and way cute!

 The number "5" was probably the easiest thing I created and makes the table complete!  I purchased the #5 from Joann fabric with a coupon.  I paid $3.99 for it.  I used some spray paint that I had as it is a quick way to coat the number.  You could use acrylic paint as well to paint your number or letter.  I used my rose flower tutorial idea from my previous news segment to make matching flowers to add to the #5.  I hot glued the flowers on and there you have it....a table statement piece for about $5!


 Nicole asked me if I had any ideas on making palm trees.  Of course I have never made palm tress before so what do I do when I need to learn how to make something....I head to Pinterest.  I found THIS tutorial on making Palm trees and got to work.  I spent on 2 palm trees: $3 for the pool noodles, $2 on paper lunch bags, $5 on tissue paper, and $3 on the floral wire.  So for about $15 you can create 2 super cute palm trees that are WAY better than those blow up ones you can buy!!  In a nutshell, you glue 1 1/2 pool noodles together.  Cut off the bottoms of paper lunch bags and slide the bag up the pool noodle so it scrunches up.  You glue the floral wire in between the tissue paper and cut slits....and boom...Palm Tress.  I know that was basic so if you want more details I would suggest following the instructions like I did!
 To add a little pop of color, we painted the tops of some pineapples with acrylic paint on both sides of the leaves.  So super cute and so super easy and cheap!

I found a picture of these cupcake liner lights on Pinterest and knew that I HAD to make them!  I purchased both large and small cupcake liners from Joann Fabrics as well.  They were on sale and then I had an additional coupon.  I would say I paid no more than $4 for all the liners.  I used a strand of battery operated lights because #1, that is what I had at home and #2, that is what I thought would be easiest to use for my segment.  If I were going to make these for a party at my house, I would have done a longer strand of regular Christmas lights.

This is the picture idea I found on Pinterest.  When I went to click on the link it didn't work...so I had to just use the pictures.  I followed the pictures and was able to create the same look.  Just keep in mind you have to turn the liners the opposite way for some of the flower look.  


I can't tell you how easy these were to make and they totally complete the look of the table! If you use a regular strand of Christmas lights you could make a set of these for around $8!  

And that, my friends, is one of the easiest parties I have done.  Really, everything was simple to make, cheap and not time consuming!  I did buy the table grass skirt from Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon which ended up costing me $6.99!  Once you add in your cute Hawaiian themed treats and snacks, you have yourself one adorable party that will wow any child and the in-laws!  

We have a child with a birthday in April....I better start thinking of a theme!  

Happy birthday to Emma!  I hope your 5th birthday is memorable and your day is so special!  


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Monday, February 27, 2017

What a difference a weekend can make!


Almost 3 years ago (where does the time go?) Dan and I bought the Wilke Farmstead.  (also known as super old farm house that needs a TON of work).  When we moved in, there were certain areas that had to be redone and painted for the house to even be livable.  The previous owners were heavy smokers so almost every room was washed and painted.  Except the mudroom.  The mudroom caused many moments of frustration with myself and the children over the past 2 1/2 years.  It was always dirty and gross and it made me crabby.  I so wish I would have taken legit "before" pictures.  The pictures I have are after we emptied it out of all the junk that was in it!  Last year we acquired some old lockers (for free...I know!!  It had been a dream of mine to find some) and they have been sitting in our garage since we got them.  We knew we wanted to move them in, but space is limited.  So one day, Dan thought he would surprise me and move them into the mudroom.  Little did  he know what was about to take place!

 I was so excited that the lockers were inside the house....and naturally with new pieces of furniture moved in, one must redo an entire room in a weekend, right? I made a comment to Dan that we should really paint the walls....oh what a good idea that sounded like.
 Here are just a few "before" pictures of the dreaded and dark mudroom....and trust me....it was FAR worse that what you are seeing!  (We had all 7 kids' shoes in this area too....no need to say more.)

I had this "awesome" idea in my mind to paint the room in a color pattern.  Once I have an idea it's hard to stop it.  So rainbow colors it was!  

 We started by painting the paneling 2 coats of a bright white.  (And by we, I mean Dan did most of it)  It was 2 weeks ago when it was beautiful outside so the kids kept busy by tracking mud in and out of the house all weekend!  The door going outside from the mudroom was basically useless.  The screen door was broken and it was just a matter of time before someone was going to get cut on the broken glass.  The door was super old and you could feel cold air pouring through the door all around it.  Dan called up his Dad and a new door was in the works!
 I came in the house from painting and saw this.  Molly and Sadie had made a picnic lunch for all the kids to eat while we were hard at work.  It's nice to have older girls, I won't lie.  We put in our time and are reaping the benefits of it now!
 Just like that....a new door was installed.  I told Dan that if I would have known how "easy" it was we should have done it years ago!  What a difference one door can make!
 We painted and painted.  Coat after coat.
 While Dan did more of the manly parts of the mudroom I got to work on my "awesome" idea of painting rainbow stripes on the wall.  This was a true labor of love.  We stayed up super late trying to get one coat of each color on.  We only had 2 brushes so we were constantly rinsing brushes out!
 We did our final touching up this past weekend and I am happy to say the mudroom is done....well, almost!

 The lockers are in place, the bags are hung, the chicken coop shoes have a bin now, the rain boots have a spot and the hats and gloves are in buckets above our lockers.
 We found carpet squares on super sale.  Dan was able to rip up the old brown carpeting and lay the carpet squares down!  This is the only room in the house that has carpeting.  The old brown stuff was so gross.  I can't believe how gross it was.  Ewe.

Aside from the paint, carpeting and door, we were able to repurpose everything we had to reorganize the mudroom.  (Well, I did buy the bins for the hats and gloves from the dollar store.)
 And there you have it.  Our new and much much much improved mudroom!

 It is so bright and colorful.  I know it's not for everyone, but it is for us!  We want to paint the concrete steps yet both going into the house and down into the basement.  We just have to wait for it to warm up again to tackle that!  I am happy to report that the mudroom stayed relatively clean for the past week.  A few shoes were left out here and there....we will see how long it lasts!  I already have the next remodel project in mind... ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A New Chapter in the Life of Us...


Everyone who knows us knows how awesome of a husband I have.  For real.  There are so many things to love about Dan...he is a hard worker, he is amazingly good looking...back off ladies, he is the best father to our 7 children, he is incredibly anti-social, he doesn't complain...like ever, he takes care of all the puke situations that happen at the house, he puts the kids to bed, he does laundry (well, he stinks at folding it so we don't let him), he "loves" to watch romantic comedies, he makes the bed for me some mornings because he knows it helps my head be a little less cluttered, he is the most patient person I have ever met... and on and on.  For over 18 years Dan has been trying to make a small business work.  15 years with a family company and the past 3 years with partnering with my brother to build a business.  3 years ago Dan and I accepted a position in Texas where he would work for the company he has always dreamed of working for.  Then, after much prayer and hesitation we un-accepted the job and stayed in Wisconsin.  Dan and my brother worked super hard to build their company.  We will be forever grateful to my brother for the opportunity and the ability to stay in Wisconsin close to friends and family.  

After exhausting jobs and facing a hard reality, things were looking a little grim.  At the same time this was happening the company from 3 years ago contacted Dan and started conversation with him about coming to work for them.  After weeks of talking and praying Dan decided to accept a new position.  This was probably one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make.  Deciding to have another kid was way easier than this!!!  And so last Friday was Dan's last day at his old job and Monday was the start of a new chapter.  This isn't going to be an easy chapter.  Life is going to look a lot different.  We are going to have to figure out life in a new way.  


And so...I snuck some first day pictures of Dan through the window.  He rented a car (they gave him an SUV) and made his way to his first day on the job.  One. Day. At. A. Time.  


The kids and I are gonna be his biggest fans.  We are so proud of him and can't wait to see what God has in store for him.  

....and in other news...this past Saturday we had NOTHING on our schedule until 6:00 p.m.  That hasn't happened in MONTHS.  So naturally we decided to tackle a "weekend" project.  Here's a little sneak peak.  This weekend project deserves a post of it's own for sure!  Stay tuned!  



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

4 weeks in...and update on no carbs...

 So 4 weeks ago I decided I had a sugar addiction problem.  I decided one day I would give up carbs and sugar to the best I could and I did.  This is the deal.  I know there are pros and cons to all diets/life style changes.  I am not saying this the best thing to do on the earth and I know it isn't for everyone.  However, this is working better than anything else I have tried for me.  I am strictly limiting the amount of carbs I eat each day and eating as little sugar as possible.  4 weeks in I am down 11.8 pounds.  This is without exercise as I have some malfunction going on with one of my toes and can't wear real shoes.  (so lame, I know).  I am not going to go in to the details with what I do or not do....cause I am basically doing my own thing that is working for me.  I will show you some of my food I have been eating, though!

 I have never had anything to eat at 5 guys before.  One night while waiting out the ballet schedule I headed to the mall.  There aren't a lot of no/low carb options but I did wander in to 5 guys.  They make bunless burgers....SOLD!  And. It. Was. AMAZING!!!

I am trying to figure out how to make omelets.  I have no idea how to make one.  I have tried 2 times now....both have turned out like scrambled eggs with a few extra foods tossed in.  I added broccoli, cheese, ham cubes, asparagus and avocado.  (Not all in one omelete!!)


This was probably one of my most favorite things I have made...chicken tacos.  I made my own hard shell taco shells by using low carb tortilla shells and baking them.  I added chicken mixed with salsa and then added some cheese and sour cream.  Yummy! 



I made these chocolate chip cookies....they gave me horrible stomach pains and "other" issues.  I won't be making them again!  We (Dan is helping me try new recipes) made some cauliflower bread sticks. They looked SO good on Pinterest.  So good that I made a huge pan of it.  And....it was nasty.  So gross.  Good thing we have chickens.  They loved the low carb cauliflower breadsticks.  Bleh. 


We have gone out a few times for birthdays.  While the others eat huge birthday Sundaes, I munched on steamed broccoli.  


Eating no/low carb doesn't allow for many crunchy things like chips.  A friend told me she made her own tortilla chips so I gave it a try!  They don't taste like the good ole' store ones, but they tasted good enough to eat and make nachos with!  

Here are the changes I have noticed 4 weeks in.  I am not really that hungry anymore.  I don't really crave sugar or sweet things anymore.  I did crave puppy chow for a few days.  My late night snack tonight was cauliflower and dill dip....not oreo cookies and milk.  I can't really explain why/how this is working for me.  I just know I feel better and my head doesn't seem as clouded.  I would say I have more energy too.  I have a lot more weight to drop and I am hoping with some exercise I can gain some more momentum and drop some more pounds.  

We will see what the next month brings for me.  I'll keep you posted!  Happy belated Valentine's Day!!!