It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigLotsHoliday #CollectiveBias

Christmas is coming!!! Usually I wait until after Thanksgiving to get all of my pretty holiday décor out, especially since my husband doesn’t like for Christmas to overrun Thanksgiving, but he was out of town, and I was so excited about my amazing Big Lots Christmas decoration finds, that I couldn’t wait to decorate just a few areas of the house.

(that picture above is shoppable by the way! So if you see something you like, just hover over it!)
If you’re like me, you probably have already added in some pops of red to your décor as fall and Thanksgiving started coming in, and it makes for such an easy transition into Christmas. One of the main areas that I really wanted to go all out decorating this year was my mantle. A couple of months ago, I woke up one day and decided to add the faux-shiplap paneling to it, and two hours later, my mantle went from meh to a total statement piece in our downstairs living room. I couldn’t believe what a difference that little bit of wood made, and I have had this big, beautiful blank canvas just waiting for boughs of green and pops of red. DSC_0012

When I was shopping in Big Lots, I came across their display of Holiday lanterns and I had to have some of them. I honestly could have bought them all, they were all so beautiful, but I chose a few of my favorites to mix and match.

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Aren’t they all so cute? I spent forever right there choosing which ones I was going to get and which ones would go best on my mantle. I seriously considered buying one of each! Before I put them up on my mantle though, I started off with two of these pretty, sparkly garlands that I got at Big Lots. I was tempted to buy like 10 of these things, they are so pretty and could go just about anywhere in my house for winter décor.  An employee was even super helpful by getting down more boxes of them from off the top shelf so I could buy a bunch haha.

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I love incorporating natural elements like pinecones into my Christmas décor, it gives that rustic, cozy feeling to my mostly white home. To give my garlands that extra something special, I also bought a couple boxes of these dainty little lights and wrapped them around my garlands. They are so thin, you can barely even seem them when they are off, but at night they give off such a pretty glow.

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Next I added in my lanterns, trying to vary colors and heights to give it a mismatched, yet uniform look. I love the pretty bows and candles in the two red ones. In the wood one, I later added a red candle and more of the tiny lights for a little color and shine.DSC_0034DSC_0040

One of the first things that grabbed my eye while I was shopping at Big Lots for Christmas decorations was this reindeer head. I love the rustic vine wrapped around the antlers, and I’m always a sucker for white.

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I originally planned on putting it inside the wreath shown above, but when I got home, it wouldn’t fit! Luckily, I have quite a few everyday wreaths through out my house, and just decided to borrow the one that is usually above the sink, and I’ll have the Christmas one above the sink for the holidays!DSC_0064DSC_0067

How amazing are those Big Lots finds, and I was able to do my entire mantle without going over budget, so basically what I’m saying is run to your closest Big Lots so you can get them before they’re gone! Once I had all of  my Big Lots finds, I added in a few more small decorations that I had collected over the years like a little sled, my candlesticks (which are usually always on the mantle),
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What do you think? Are you a classic reds and greens decorator, go with the silvers and blues, or have your own awesome holiday taste? I’d love to hear! One thing I loved about that sparkly garland is that it would match anyones holiday décor.DSC_0125

It looks so pretty in person. I think the lanterns are my favorite part. Once I had snuck some Christmas lanterns into the downstairs living room, I figured I was probably safe to add some red and green into the upstairs living room as well. We spend most of our time in our upstairs living room, and that is where we put our real tree and open presents on Christmas morning. There isn’t really any where up there to hang stockings, and while we were working on fencing in our yard, I had a great idea- why not build a stocking holder myself out of fence pallets? The boards are around $1.25 a piece, so they are a really great price for some pine wood.

DIY Stocking Holder Easy

Here’s how I did it: Easy DIY Stocking Holder

Supplies:
5 fence picket boards (more or less if you want to make yours smaller, we have 5 people but I used double hooks so we can use it still if we have more kids)
1X3 board- two 25” pieces (if you use a different amount of fence pickets, you’ll need to get a different length, multiply the number of boards you are using X5. You’ll need two boards that are that many inches [For example, I used 5 boards, so 5X5=25, I needed two 25” boards}). This is a great chance to use any scrap pallet wood you have sitting around. They are usually right around 24” (which would work just fine) and are the perfect size.
2X2 board– The length of these is going to depend on how straight you want your stand to stand up, mine were 10 inches long each before cutting them. You’ll need two (you could also use some scrap pallet wood here, I used 2X2’s because I had some scrap pieces of it)
5 Hooks (You can usually find these for like 90 cents each)
10 Screws- these need to be 1.25 inch wood screws
2 Screws- these need to be 1” wood screws.
White Spray Paint

Total cost of supplies if you don’t have any of this on hand: About $20.

Step 1: Cut all of your boards. Decide how tall you want your Stocking Holder, and cut your fence boards that length. Mine is right at 40” tall, which is the perfect height. Make sure you are measuring from the picket down, so all of your boards have the cute picket at the top. For your 1X3’s, use the measurements above. For the 2X2’s, you are going to need to cut each end at a 45 degree angle using a miter saw or miter template. You want both of the long ends of the miter cut on the same side. For reference, look at my 2X2’s in the picture below. If you’re boards need sanding, run some sandpaper over them to get off any splinters or rough spots.
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Step 2: Lay out your fence boards side by side, making sure to put all the good sides down. Level the top (I simply used one of my 1X3’s to level as you can see below) and make sure your gaps are even in between boards (I put my boards all right up against each other, it inevitably leaves a tiny gap and I liked that look).DIY Stocking Holder (4)DIY Stocking Holder (5)

Step 3: Lay your first 1X3 across the fence boards, about six inches from the top of the pickets. Screw a 1.25” screw into each board. When you’re done, lay your second 1X3 about two feet down and screw it in to each board as well. DIY Stocking Holder (6)

Yay! Most of the work is done! I told you this was easy! If you want to just lean your stocking holder up against the wall you can skip the next step but I wanted mine to be freestanding, so I added some legs to hold it up. NOTE: I realized later it would have been much easier to spray paint my boards at this step and put on the hooks before adding the legs. Feel free to do steps 5 and 6 now and then come back to step 4.

Step 4: Alright, you’re gonna have to really follow along with me here, because I couldn’t take pictures of myself doing it, but I think if I show you the final product, you’ll get it. It’s simple. Stand your stocking holder up vertically. Deicide how vertical you want yours to be, I wanted mine to lean back just ever so slightly. Take one of your 2X2’s, and while your board is up, slide the 2X2 up against it so that you can see where it needs to be to hold it at that angle. Draw a straight line along the top of the 2X2. Do the same thing on the other side. Now, lay your stocking holder on the ground, hold your first 2X2 where it goes along the line you drew and screw a screw about 1.5” up the 2X2 to secure it to the holder. Do the same on the other side. Stand it up and there ya go! Yes, I do realize that I split my wood on the right side, I fixed it later. I thought I could be all sneaky using drywall screws because that’s what I had, but lesson learned. Only use wood screws in wood.DIY Stocking Holder (1)

Step 5: Spray paint your stocking holder! You of course can use any white paint you have sitting around, if you’re like me, I have lots. It took me right at 3 cans of spray paint to finish this. I think rolling on some home point would work even better, but I’m all about using what you already have!

Step 6: Add your hooks, making sure that they are all even, and hanging up your stockings!DIY Stocking Holder (9)DSC_0602

I can’t wait to see my boys faces on Christmas morning when they come out and see their stocking filled and hanging there. I love what a statement piece it makes too, and I think I’m going to use it for other holidays too. I can see little Easter baskets hanging here in the Spring.

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Now you can stand back and take at look at your handiwork! I’m sure yours will turn out so cute, probably even better than mine! Add some Big Lots decorations and it’s the perfect little Holiday corner. It’d be adorable background for all your Christmas morning pictures too! So, the real questions is, how soon are you heading to Big Lots to get your décor and make this cute little display?

Perfect Holiday Outfits For Your Littles

“This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.”

With the holidays coming up, it seems like I bring the camera out more and more. Family comes into town and you want to get those great pictures with cousins or Grandma, you see them celebrating all of their “first” holiday activities, and it’s finally cool enough to go outside (It’s still been 85 degrees everyday here!). There’s just a certain magic and fun to the holidays that reminds us to get out our cameras and preserve those memories so we can have them forever. Ford has been growing so fast and so we needed some new baby holiday clothes for him, and I have been looking for some playclothes that would double as adorable photo outfits.
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I was able to check out Carter’s new arrivals for little guys, including their little boy pajamas, and found exactly what I was looking: stylish outfits that are baby-friendly. I love tiny shoes and flannels for winter and fall, and there’s not much cuter than a sleepy baby in Christmas pjs. We have already welcomed in the season of friends and family coming to visit; my cousin and his family stayed with us this last week, and we went on all kinds of adventures that were great for taking pictures and capturing the fun age that Ford is. We headed down to Senoia, GA, so they could see some film sets for movies and shows they are filming there and just take in the local scene. While they were walking around, my kids needed a little play break and I snapped a few quick pictures of him in one of his new outfits.DSC_8685

How cute is that outfit? I love that the jeans, and the whole outfit, as are comfy as they are cute, because goodness knows if he can’t play in it, I’m gonna hear it. Comfy clothes for the win, and they’re prices are great. While my cousin’s family was here, I took advantage of extra distractions running around the house and bit the bullet, and gave Ford his first big-boy hair cut.
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Doesn’t he look adorable, especially in that bowtie! I love that Carter’s sells so many outfits in sets, like this one, so it’s take the guesswork out of finding coordinating clothes. I would have never thought to pair this bodysuit, army green pants and cute bowtie together, but look how adorable it is, that’s why they are my go-to. I love that his bow-tie and pants are festive and have greens and reds, but it’s still modern and pretty neutral. This outfit can definitely be worn year-round.
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If you’re looking for great holiday pajamas and clothes, Carter’s is going to have awesome Black Friday deals, and their “Dash to Win” sweepstakes where the first 100 people to their Carters/OshKosh stores on Black Friday will all get promo cards to shop with. To help you get your holiday dressing on, Carter’s has made a great coupon for yall, and you can shop online or in-stores with it, below!

http://i1.wp.com/s3.amazonaws.com/carters-ecomm/prkit/CAR_HOL_PRKit_BloggerCoupon_1000x1600.jpg?resize=456%2C731&ssl=1

Best Halloween Ever

I shared this post on my personal Facebook on Saturday night, after coming home from our church’s Trunk or Treat and it so perfectly captured my exact feelings on how our night went, and our Halloween in general, that I want to share it again here. I was so humbled and touched by the response (look at the comments on that post). I received so many messages, comments, and shares, from friends, to the Battlebot community, to total strangers who were touched by Sawyer’s love for Battlebots and the tender mercies I saw unfold that night. God knew exactly what my little boy needed that night, and made it happen. My heart is so full. Here is the text of the post:

“Lately, this kids had a rough time. He needed a win, a pick me up, and tonight he got just that. For months, he has begged to be Chaos Corps – Bombshell for Halloween. Anyone who’s talked to him for more than five seconds, probably has heard him talk about BattleBots (he’s obsessed) and since he’s been awesome through some tough stuff lately, I wanted to make it happen. So for the last month, we’ve been drafting, building, painting, making this Battlebot costume together, and he’s been so excited, wanting to try it on every day and telling everyone about it. Then, this morning, the day of our church’s Halloween party, he got nervous that no one would know who he was (which they probably won’t- it’s not a super well known), and he got sad. All that excitement dimmed, and my heart hurt for him. I even considered texting a friend of mine to tell her what the name of his costume was, just so someone would seem to recognize him. I wanted so bad for him to just have a great night, and I didn’t want him to worry about anything except having fun.DSC_9608

I would have been happy for him just to be happy and proud of the costume he’d worked so hard on, but he got so much more than that. Before we even walked into the building for Trunk or Treat, a boy said “Mom! He’s a Battlebot! You’re Bombshell!” and I saw Sawyer’s eyes light up (Thank you Aundrea Baker DeMille for having an awesome kid who knows what Battlebots is). For the rest of the night, he was so happy. He was so excited to go on stage and show off his costume, and when he sat down, he looked at me and said “Mom, they clapped for me! They like it!” He was beaming. I was so happy. He’s a good kid, and he needed that so badly. He didn’t even hear when they called his name as the 3rd place winner for the kids his age, because he didn’t even realize there were winners, in his mind, he had already won, but he carried that ribbon around in his pocket the rest of the night. Best Halloween ever.14895692_10207798883426323_1161618209_o

PS- because it got asked so much tonight- google “Bombshell Battlebots” to see the Battlebot he’s suppossed to look like, and the hat, glasses, and beard are all meant to look like the guy who controls it. And, thank you @BattleBots on ABC and Chaos Corps for being an awesome obsession for my kid.”DSC_959714881592_10207798875546126_781011606_o

It really was such a good night, and all of your comments and nice messages just filled my heart to the brim, especially the amazing generosity and kindness shown to Sawyer by the Bombshell team, Chaos Corps, themselves. Earlier this month, I took him up to the Atlanta Maker Faire. He eat, sleeps, and breaths Battlebots (as in literally ask to watch it the second he wakes up and builds fake Battlebots all day and wants to fight them against me haha) and so when I found out that one of his favorites would be there for him to see it in person, there was no question that we were going. The team members who were there were SO nice to him. I was so grateful for the way that they showed him the different parts, explained to him how they worked, and let him touch and ask questions as much as he wanted. A lot of people would have just ignored the four year old kid who was shy at first, but they were awesome to us. He stayed at their display for about a half hour, inspecting each part and asking tons of questions and telling them his favorite fights from Season 2. Then, he went and got Rhett, who had been watching a racing event with my Aunt, and taught everything to Rhett that they had just taught to him. After that day, Bombshell has been his #1 favorite Battlebot and he has been building his own pretend bots at home even more, and trying to utilize some of the things that they showed him that day (like how he asked if he could have the chain off of my bike because he wanted to hide it in the shaft of a bot just like they did and use it to turn a vertical spinner, which he had already created by taking apart one of my pizza cutters. I love his desire to build things and know how things work but we’ve had to have some chats about what can and cannot be taken apart, I am running out of kitchen ware and his brothers are tired of their toys being dissected haha).

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Last night he had an awesome time Trick or Treating and was so proud of his costume and his giant bag of candy. He wouldn’t even take off the box part of his costume to sit down on the golf cart and he never wanted to stop trick or treating, so we stayed out 9:30 (there were still tons of kids out too! Yay for crazy fun families like ours haha). It really has been the best Halloween ever and gave this kid (and his Momma) and much needed awesome weekend.

(Last Minute) Lumberjack 1st Birthday Party

Poor Ford. He is totally getting the “third kid” treatment. I knew his birthday was coming, knew I should probably do something for it, but it wasn’t until two days before when I realized that if I didn’t use Amazon Prime to order things that day, that I would have to actually take my three rambunctious boys into a store, that I actually put something together. I’m not sure how actually “themed” this party can be called, but I was inspired by all the amazingly cute Lumberjack parties on Pinterest. Feel free to note the lack of decorations/games/silly printables and notice the most important thing- everyone’s happy. You can’t beat a birthday party that Mom didn’t break her back trying to plan and the kid is totally happy. He’s a baby anyways, all he cares about is that cupcake. Happy Birthday Ford!DSC_7000DSC_7074

He’s gotten so big! I can’t believe it and I see him every single day. Onto the food!

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Thank goodness for Publix and their delicious always ready desserts. Once again, (if you’re interested), I got the bow-tie, the little trees, and the buffalo plaid pants all off of Amazon Prime just two days before.

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I try not to brag on my kids much, but this kids adorable. Look at those eyes.

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Can you tell he liked it? We had some Publix cake for everyone else, and presents for the little birthday boy.

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Happy Birthday Ford!

Updating the House with Annie Selke

This post was sponsored by Annie Selke as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

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I am always looking for great, All-American brands to bring that light, happy home feel. When I got introduced to Annie Selke’s brands, I loved everything. It all has that light, airy feel and there are tons of amazing rugs, bedding, and more. Browsing the beautiful catalogue (sign up to get one here which will get you 15% off your purchase too!), I loved the comfortable, relaxed feel everything had and knew it would fit great it our house. To update our spaces, I got this gorgeous Dash and Albert (one of the Annie Selke lines) woven rug for our living room. (ignore my rocking chair- it is halfway through a chalk paint project)DSC_7669DSC_7696

It’s perfect for letting the baby roll around on and for wrestling the big boys and better even is that it’s washable. That’s right, the rug is washable. I also got one of their great rug pads to go beneath it to protect the floor and make it even cushier. I protect our hard wood floors from our boys as much as possible.

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I love how it adds some pattern  to the room and makes a statement, but stays neutral at the same time. I’ve had so much trouble finding rugs that are more neutrals pieces and fit the aesthetic I want. Annie Selke has tons that did, and is committed to style and quality. This rug definitely embodies both of those things.

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I  only planned on getting the rug, but then I fell in love with these pillows for my master bedroom It is the one room of our house that just keeps getting pushed aside, never getting any attention, but when I saw these pillows, I just had to have them. DSC_7721

I have looked everywhere for bedding that looks farmhouse-y, and that little stripe on the shams reminds me of feedsacks. I’m trying to go for a farmhouse/boho feel so to mix up the colors, I also got this great blue pillow to go in the front. It’s kind of a different look, but I feel like Joanna Gaines would approve.

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I know you are dying to get your hands on some of their awesome goods, and I’ve partnered up with IC so you can enter to win one of three $500 Gift Cards to Annieselke.com. Contest runs through October 25th so get your entries in below while you can!

Annie Selke Giveaway