Two Year Old Birthday Party Theme Roundup

Hello lovelies! I’m popping in today to share some ideas with you about two year old birthday parties.  I can.not. believe that we will have a two year old in two weeks! It is just so crazy how fast time is going.  

I am in full swing planning mode for our sweet girls second birthday party and let me tell you, there are so many cute ideas that I would love to have like 10 different parties if I could. But that would be totally excessive and I’m thankful that we are able to have 1 party for her.  

I remember as a kid we didn’t really have birthday parties. Not like they do today.  I had a lot of siblings so we always just celebrated our birthday as a family. We usually got to go out to dinner at our favorite restaurant as a family. Totally not saying there is anything wrong with that, in fact we are keeping that same tradition in our family and I love it. When we were older we were able to have friend birthday parties, but even that was just basically having a sleepover with your closest girlfriends.  

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that birthday parties are nothing like they used to be.  Now a days there is so much pressure to have the perfect party with the perfect invitations, decorations, food and theme. Oh you were thinking about having a party without a theme?! GASP!

For me this is what I love to do though. I love to get creative and host parties so its almost more fun for me than for our daughter.  But this year she totally understand what her birthday is, and that she will be two, and that it will be a Minnie Mouse theme.  I will share all the pictures and ideas with you after the party in a few weeks but here are some ideas I found while searching the internet for two year old birthday parties.  

Two-tti Fruity Party

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I love, love, love this theme and the ideas from Pizzazzerie. I really wanted to do it for Anika’s birthday this year, but because her birthday is in February it just didn’t seem to fit.  Maybe someday if I have a child born in the summer we could do this. It’s just so bright and fun I love it! 

Tea for Two

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This theme so adorable. It’s sweet and pretty and I just love it. I’m not sure at this age Anika would do well with a tea party but maybe a future birthday.  There are so many cute ideas for this theme out there it was hard to find just one image. I can just imagine inviting all your little friends over and they wear their pretty dresses and play, sigh, I love little girls.  I’m a huge pink and gold fan, obviously from my wedding you can tell that.  Maybe someday I’ll share wedding photos on the blog lol.  Anyway, so cute! 

Minnie Mouse Party- Oh Two-dles

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We are obviously going with the Minnie Mouse theme because, hello, girl is obsessed.  She loves everything about Minnie and she is slowly taking over our house.  So since it is HER birthday, I suppose we can have a theme of something she actually loves. But I’m totally digging the pink and gold minnie theme over the traditional black and pink.  

Elmo Party 

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It was kind of a toss up between an Elmo party and a Minnie Party.  Anika loves both equally, but in the end she decided on Minnie.  I even ask her opinion. Its really funny if you give her a choice of two things she will usually pick the second option, probably because you said it last. But when I asked her both ways, she chose Minnie both times.  

Sprinkled With Love Party

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Isn’t this the sweetest? I love the whole thing.  It’s super easy and doable as well. Colorful and fun! 

Sparkle & Glitter Party 

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Ok, what little girl wouldn’t want a sparkle and glitter party? I love this theme. The possibilities are endless and it would make any little girl feel so special. 

 Unicorn Party

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I just love this unicorn party idea. Anika can’t yet tell the difference between a horse and a unicorn but I still think it’s so cute and whimsical. 

There are literally so many different ideas out there but these are just a few of my favorites.  Have you ever hosted a little girls party? What’s your favorite theme?  Stay tuned for the reveal of how our sweet girls party turns out.  

xoxo

 

 

Living Room Gallery Wall

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience see my disclosure policy for more information


Hey, Hey! How are you all doing? I’m back to work this week after a long 12 day break. I’m pretty proud to say that I  did get a lot of things done around the house over the break though, and one of them was creating a gallery wall in the living room.  

I have always struggled with this wall and I have probably decorated it 30 different times.  Literally, there are probably over 30 holes in the wall, you can imagine how my husband feels about that. I don’t have any of the original paint left so I’m not able to fill them, but I love how my new gallery wall covers most of them. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this sooner! 

I put together a combination of things I already had, and some new things I got with some Christmas money.  I might add things as I find them, but overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I would love to share it with you all! 

I will post a list of sources at the end of the post. 

Ohh I also wanted to share with you all how I hung all of these things without adding any more new holes to the wall. 3M Command Strips, they are seriously a life saver.  I don’t hang anything with nails anymore since I found them. They make them in a few different size options, but the ones I hung the gather sign with can hold up to 16 pounds.  So the possibilities are endless with these things. 

All you need is some command strips and a level and you can easily make a gallery wall yourself.  I just planned out my layout flat on the ground first and added the pieces one by one. I pressed the command strips on the back of the pieces and laid a level on them to make sure they were straight on the wall. Once they were straight I pressed hard for 30 seconds and they were totally stuck.  So easy! 

I also did a little re-arranging with my foyer.  This little dresser used to be there but once I added the built-ins in the living room I had two extra console tables.  I gave one to my sister and put the other in the foyer.  

I even hung the shelf with them and feel totally secure adding decor to it.  If you change your mind a lot like me, these will become your best friend.  You can get them at most hardware stores, Target, even Amazon. 

So what do you think? I’m really loving it! Do you have a gallery wall in your home? Do you think you will add one? Let me know! I also listed the sources for some of  the things that I have on my wall below. 

Sources

Letter M- Marshalls – similar 

Wicker Circle Basket- Hobby Lobby

Distressed white shelf- Hobby Lobby

Home wood sign- Hobby Lobby

Wreath- thrifted 

Grateful Sign- handmade 

xo

2016 Review

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a safe and fun New Years Eve. I spent it at home with my best girl, while Pat went to a party a friends of ours were hosting.  We weren’t able to find a babysitter so I stayed home and honestly…I’m not even mad. I remember (barely) the NYE’s spent out at a bar until way past midnight but those just aren’t as fun for me anymore when I know I have a toddler to be present with the next day.  Hangovers are not fun, and I’m not immune to them, unfortunately.  Maybe someday we will go all out and fancy again, but for a while I’m totally ok with staying home.

2016 was a pretty crazy year for us. There were a lot of ups and downs, more up’s than downs but I’m really ready to see what 2017 has in store for us.  I just wanted to share a little bit of all the things that happened for us and our family in 2016. 

Maier Farms Members

Patrick and I officially became partners in his family’s dairy farm.  I just want to say that I am so proud of my hubby and how hard he works. He really has a passion for farming and I am so happy that he can continue to help build on what his grandfather, dad and uncle helped build before him.  

Our Baby Girl turned 1 

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I can not even explain how fast her first year of life went. It was such a whirlwind of emotions, just trying to acclimate to life as new parents and make sure that you are doing everything right.  She is such a smart happy girl and we love her so much. I actually can’t even believe that she will be two in less than two months.  It’s so cliche but it truly does go by so fast, so make sure that you soak up each and every moment you can. 

Bachelors Degree

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Shortly after we got married I decided to go back to school and get my bachelors degree. About a week into classes I found out that I was pregnant with Anika.  I made the decisions to stick with it and get my degree.  Almost 2 years later I managed to graduate with my bachelors degree in graphic design. I am so glad that I accomplished this goal and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my amazing family. 

Promotion

Shortly after graduating I accepted a position as Marketing Coordinator at the company that I had been working with for almost 10 years.  I can actually say that I love my job and couldn’t be more happy with where I am in my career. It may have taken me a little longer to decide what I want to be when I grow up but I’m so happy that I am finally realizing and achieving these goals.  

Expecting our 2nd child

In June we found out that we were expecting our second child. We were so excited that Anika was going to be a big sister. A little surprised that it happened so quickly, but so excited.  It was funny because  I actually found out the same way that I found out we were pregnant with Anika.  It was a Saturday morning and we had a wedding to go to. Things just didn’t feel “normal” so I decided to take a pregnancy test. Lo and behold it was positive.  Patrick was already busy in the fields that summer so we were always running late. I just laid the test out on the bathroom counter for him to find when he came home.  It was such an exciting day, especially since we went to the wedding and found out later that our best friends were also expecting! We literally had due dates a day apart, how crazy is that?!

Our Baby Went to Heaven 

I went in for our regular 12 week scan just to see how things were progressing and meet with our doctor when we found out that our babies heart had stopped beating a few weeks prior.  It was a normal checkup and I still felt very pregnant so we had no idea. I had really bad morning/all day sickness with Anika for almost 14 weeks so nothing seemed any different with this pregnancy.  Sadly, we will never get to meet that sweet baby here on earth, but we understand that there is a reason for everything and trust that God has a plan for everyone. 

Steamboat Springs Trip

Patrick and I took our first trip away from our girl to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It was such a fun little weekend getaway and I will always remember it. I shared some details of our trip in this post

Sold Our Childhood Home

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My parents sold our childhood home to build a new house. This was a bittersweet moment for me in 2016. There were so many memories in that home, growing up with 6 siblings and all our neighbors and friends, they will never be forgotten.  It has been really fun helping my parents build their new home though. Thankfully they trust me to help them make some of the design decisions and it has been awesome. I hope to get a little tour for  you once they get moved in because I think it’s going to be beautiful! 

Back to Blogging

As you may have noticed, I started to blog again.  I took a break right before we got married and then I went back to school and had Anika, so it definitely took a back seat to a lot of my priorities. However, it is something that I really enjoy doing, even if I’m the only one that reads it, so I am going to try to post more often and constantly in 2017.  Decorating and house projects are always on my mind and I’m always changing things around our house, so make sure you tune in for the latest on those projects as well as life.  Being a mother is the most amazing thing and I’m glad that I have a place to share all the ups and downs.  

Well that was just a little recap of some of the events/milestones that happened for us in 2016. I cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store for us because so far, there are some really great things on the horizon that hopefully someday I can share with you all.  

Make 2017 your best year yet! 

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xo

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Christmas Home Tour | 2016

Hello lovelies! Can you believe its almost Christmas? Like how fast did this season go? I am finally here today to share a little Christmas home tour with you. I’m especially excited this year because it is officially my first time hosting a family holiday at our house.  My parents are in the middle of building a new house and are living in a small apartment, so their place was not an option for our large family gathering.  I happily volunteered to host it at our house and I’m so excited, a bit stressed, but still excited to have everyone over.  I wanted to share with you all a little bit of how I decorated this year. Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite drink and enjoy! 

Christmas Home Tour  
Christmas Home Tour

Christmas Home Tour

Christmas Home Tour

We got a fake tree this year, that I actually bought from my sister. I like how big and full it is, but I definitely missed having a real tree.  Next year I think I’m going to attempt to flock it myself because I just love the look of flocked trees, but not the price. My favorite thing on my tree is the JOY banner that I made a few years ago. I try to incorporate it somewhere every year and this year it fit nicely on our tree.  

Christmas Home Tour

Christmas Home Tour

 

Christmas Home Tour

 

Christmas Home Tour

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I made this skinny “fresh cut trees” sign by hand the other day.  It’s just a skinny scrap board that I painted white with a green border and then I stenciled the letters with some stencils that I had. I hand drew the trees on each side too.  I think it turned out pretty cute, for being a quick handmade project.  I added some strands of berry to my natural wreath to dress it up a little bit. 

Christmas Home Tour
Christmas Home Tour

You can check out this post to see my shelves all decked out for Christmas but there is a little peak here too.  I just added some white and red garland to the mantle along with the stockings. I really want to have all matching stockings but I’m going to wait until after Christmas to hopefully find a good sale. 

So I didn’t get too crazy this year. Just a few touches here and there in the living room and dining room, which are our main living spaces.  I have been really attracted to white and gold and red this year as you can see.  I repurposed a lot of my same decor because it can get pretty expensive buying new stuff each year.  I try to go right after Christmas when a lot of stores discount their stuff way down. 

Well thats a small little update I have for you today. I’m off to planning for the busy weekend ahead! 

Check out some Christmas home tours from a few years ago herehere & here. It’s actually kind of funny looking back that far when I first started blogging. 

 

xoxo

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8 Traditions to Start this Holiday Season

We have been listening to a lot of Christmas music on the radio lately.  Our favorite local station 102.5, it’s normally the Christian station but between Thanksgiving and Christmas they are all Christmas music all the time.  They are a listener supported radio station, so there are no commercials, even better! But the other night we were driving home from the store and they were talking about all the different traditions that people have around the holidays and it got me thinking about all the traditions we had growing up and the ones I would like to create for the future for our family. 

I feel like as the years pass the memories of the gifts given will fade but the ones of the traditions you created will last.  If you are a young or old family I think there is always room for a new tradition.  Here are some that I thought of that would be fun to start this year.  

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8 Traditions to Start This Holiday Season

Cut down a real Christmas tree

This is a tradition that I remember fondly from my childhood.  We would always go the day after Thanksgiving to our local tree farm and hunt for a real tree. The farm we went to had real live reindeer and free hot apple cider.  We would bring the tree home and blast Christmas music while we decorated. 

Adopt a Family

There are so many people who are less fortunate than you all year round and the holidays can be especially hard for some families.  Wouldn’t it be so great if you could help a family during this time of year? You could get in touch with your local church, community center, or ask some of your friends on Facebook if they know how to get in touch to support a local family.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a whole group of people to join in with you? We do this at my office and it feels really good to help a family in need.  I think this is also a great way to teach your children the power of giving. 

Christmas Cookie Bake

I shared some pictures from this years Christmas cookie bake and I think this is one of my favorite traditions during the holiday season.  One because we get together with some family members that we don’t see that often, and well…cookies. But seriously its been such a fun tradition that Patricks family has included me on, and I like extending that tradition to my family. 

Christmas Pajamas

Ok I am totally going to start this tradition with my family.  I’m pretty much obsessed with matching pajamas and you don’t even want to know how much time I spent looking for girl and boy matching pajamas online this weekend. Wouldn’t it be so cute for Anika and Vince to have matching jammies on Christmas Eve? Umm thats a yes in case you were thinking about it.  

Christ in Christmas

After all, Jesus is the reason for the season. A wonderful family tradition could be setting up the nativity scene. I set ours out already, and every day Anika and I talk about everyone who is in the nativity scene and the story of Christmas.  I know Baby Jesus shouldn’t technically be in the manger yet, but I think it is a great way for her to learn about why we really celebrate Christmas.  

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Christmas Village

Collecting a Christmas village is a great tradition. My grandmothers both loved setting out their villages each year and had a wonderful collection. My sister and I have been passed down the collections and each year we enjoy setting up the village because it brings back special memories of our grandmothers.  

Anonymous Giving

Sometime around Christmas buy someone’s meal for them.  My in-laws do something like this and I think it is so special. They go to a restaurant and pick someone who they think might deserve a free meal. You never know someone story, it could really make their day, week or year.  But doing it anonymously makes it even more special. 

Christmas Lights

Just driving around your neighborhood and looking at Christmas lights can be a magical thing. This time of year can be so busy.  And a lot of times I feel like we are rushing from one place to another.  I think just taking the time to drive around with music on or off in your car and look at Christmas lights can help you slow down and appreciate the time you have with your loved ones.  You shouldn’t have any electronics because you will be driving so you can give your full undivided attention to just being in the moment.  I have seen some cute Christmas light scavenger hunts before too if you want to make it more fun! 

I think having traditions is so important for families, especially children. It gives them a sense of belonging and makes the season even more special.  It’s really not all about gifts.  

What traditions do you have with your family? 

 

xoxo

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traditions to start with family holiday season

 

Weekend Rewind & How to Make Money Shopping Online

Hey! I hope you all had a really great holiday weekend. Doesn’t it seem like it when by so fast? I hope you are all adjusting well back into your routines.

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We had such a great weekend spent with so much family, it was really the best. We had Thanksgiving on Thursday, and then Friday and Saturday we baked cookies.

Pat’s family has been doing an annual cookie bake for a long time and they have always so graciously invited me to join them, even knowing my level of baking abilities. This cookie bake was extra special because Anika and Vince got to decorate their own cookies. They did such a great job with grandmas help. 

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We had our first annual cookie bake at my moms house on Saturday, with my sisters and my brothers girlfriend.  So many cookies, you guys.  My niece and nephew joined too it was just a really great day.  

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I also might have done a little shopping this weekend. No, I didn’t brave the stores, but I did a lot of shopping online and got a lot of Christmas gifts purchased.  I wanted to share with you how I made money while shopping online this weekend.  

I’m sure you have all seen or heard of the website Ebates by now?I know I have shared it in the past with you here.   It can be kind of deceiving when you first see it like, why would I really get money back just by shopping through this link?  But you guys, I PROMISE it is legit.  I have been using it for a couple years now and my total cash back is $108.36.  In the past I have forgotten to use it,  but thats a lot of money if you really think about it, just for taking one extra click.  

But I found out now, they have this new feature that will help you to never forget to use your Ebates when you are already on a site. All you have to do is download their Cash Back Button after you sign up. It will put the button at the top of your screen and each time you are on a site that is eligible for cash back rewards, you simply click to activate it. So easy! I swear if you don’t use this, your leaving money on the table.  AND they have a new feature where you can link your credit or debit cards through the site and use them IN STORE.  So you can also get cash back if your shopping at a store eligible for cash back. Free money just got so much easier! I haven’t tried this option yet, but you can bet my money saving heart will be. 

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I used my cash back rewards at Gap, Old Navy, Kate Spade & Sorel this weekend.  And most of them had at least 8% cash back.  

Today is Cyber Monday so its the perfect opportunity to sign up and start saving if your going to be shopping online.  

Happy shopping, and saving money! Let me know what your shopping for today in the comments! 

 

Click Below to sign up! 
Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 

xoxo

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Ten Minute Natural Wreath Tutorial

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Hey! I’m stopping in with a quick tutorial for you today on how to create natural wreath. I get so many people who say that “they could never do that” when they see something that I created. And I always think and say, yes you totally can! I believe that if there is a will there is a way, and honestly most of the projects I do aren’t that difficult and it makes them all so much easier if you love doing it. 

I love making wreaths, and changing them out around our house all the time.  I made this wreath, for free, if you can believe it. I literally just went outside my front door and cut branches off the bushes.  I’m not really sure what kind of bushes they are, but they look enough like boxwood to me that I got the idea to cut some branches and make my own.  

Boxwood wreaths are so popular right now, and you can get one at Target that is the same size as the one that I made, for like $45. So yea, I’ll take my free wreath any day.  I already had the grapevine wreath on hand, but you can get them for a few dollars at most craft stores. I think mine is from Hobby Lobby but Amazon has them too. 

Heres a quick how-to make your own! 

10 Minute Natural Wreath Tutorial 

Materials
  • Grapevine wreath 
  • Natural branches- like I said I cut some from the bush in my yard, maybe you have one similar, or someone you know does. Maybe your neighbor does and you would be doing them a favor by trimming it up a bit for them?
  • You could also use fake branches that you can buy at a craft store if you can’t find natural accents
  • Scissors
  • Embellishment or ornament that you would like to add

How to Create a Natural Wreath in 10 Minutes or Less

  • Lay your grapevine wreath flat and start at the bottom in the center by adding your beaches one by one.

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  • I like to start on one side and add branches half way up and then do the same on the other side so it looks even. Then rotate it and start at the bottom and go up the sides. 

Natural Wreath Tutorial. How to make a natural wreath.

  • Then you just fill in the branches around the whole wreath until it is to your desired fullness.  

Natural Wreath Tutorial. How to make a natural wreath.

  • Add any embellishment or ornament that you would like. Or if you want to keep it plain and fresh I love that too. I wanted to add something for the holidays so I added a cute little brass horn that I found at the thrift store. 

Natural Wreath Tutorial. How to make a natural wreath.

  • The last step is to find somewhere to hang it! If you have a nail or hook you could hang it on that. The grapevine wreaths are super nice because you could also tie a little string or ribbon on the back and hang it from that.  

Natural Wreath Tutorial. How to make a natural wreath.



 

I hung ours on our front door. I am going to keep our exterior decor really natural this year for the holidays and I think its super cute and inviting.  What do you think? I’m telling you its so easy to create something like this if you just give it a try! 

Oh and just a little tip if you do plan to use something natural, spray it with water every couple of weeks to keep it looking fresh! 

 

xoxo

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Natural Wreath Tutorial. How to make a natural wreath.

 

Fireplace Makeover Part Two | Built in Shelves

img_5771Ahh you guys! I’m so excited to be here sharing with you today our finished makeover in the living room. I shared last week how we updated our mantle by painting it white.  I can’t believe how much doing that one little thing brightened up the whole room.  I have always wanted built in shelves in my living room beside my fireplace, but it always seemed like a dream.  I got a quote to do it a few years ago and it was almost $1000, so yea I definitely put that on the back burner.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I realized my brother could totally do this for me. He is a great carpenter and has been slowly updating his girlfriends cabin and he builds furniture all the time.  So I asked him if he would be willing to tackle this project with me and he happily obliged!

He did such a great job and I’m so happy with how well they turned out.  And he’s so awesome, it only took him like 6 hours to complete the install.  His girlfriend and I painted the wood the day before to make the install easier (thanks Dana for all your help!)  Ok lets see a little before and after action first. 

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What a difference, right? They help brighten up the room even more. And I have already had so much fun decorating them.  They are dressed up for Christmas and I’m sure they will change often.  I set up my Christmas village this year and I think its so cute. It might not be the most popular thing to do as far as design goes, but it has a special meaning to me and brings me memories of when I used to help my grandmother set up her village each year. I also love how intrigued Anika is with it. She loves to pretend with the people in the village and moves them around all the time. It makes my heart smile to see how much she loves it, the way I did when I was little.  

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Fireplace built-ins

 

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So there they are, friends! I’m so in love with how they turned out.  What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments. 

I hope you all have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving! 

xoxo

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4 Gift Christmas + Toddler Gift Guide

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Hello lovelies! I hope you all had a great week. I wish I was sharing the second half of our fireplace project with you today, but sadly that will have to wait until Monday. I need time to finish decorating and to take pictures. Since I leave for work when its barely light out and come home when it is dark, it makes it hard to get good pics for you all and I want to give you the best, because I love you all so much.

4 Gift Christmas

So I have seen this idea before from a few different people and I always thought it was something I wanted to try when I had children. The concept is that you basically give your child/children 4 gifts each for Christmas and it consists of something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. 

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This is from one of my all time favorite bloggers, Emily at Jones Design Company

I love this idea. I think it really helps you be intentional with your gift giving and teaches your children to be more grateful for the gifts that they do get.  Plus there are so many gifts that are given by other people like grandparents, aunts & uncles that there is definitely no shortage.  I know Anika is still pretty young to get the concept, but I think it will also help me restrain myself from buying her all the things. 

Toddler Gift Guide

As most of you already know, I love a good deal, and Target, and shopping for my little one. So I have rounded up a little shopping guide for your littles! Can you believe its already Black Friday next week? 

I used to be one of the crazies that goes out in the middle of the night/early morning to find the deals but over the past few years I have hung up my hat on that adventure. Now I stay in the comfort of my own home in my PJ’s, by the light of my Christmas tree and shop.

Target is my favorite place to shop for well, everything, but especially for Anika.  I like their toy selection because its not too overwhelming.  Have you ever been in a Toys R Us? Yeah…talk about crazy.  I put together a little guide of some things that she wold love. So if you have a little one around 2 years old you might want to check some of these out and cross some items off your list!

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. This is not a sponsored post by Target, I’m just sharing because its my favorite, but if you make a purchase from one of my links I may be paid a small commission. See my disclosure policy for more information.

 

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Pillowfort Teepee

How cute is this teepee? These are so popular right now and kids love them. Anika’s cousin has one and its so fun to watch them play together in it. We usually try to stick with gender neutral patterns and colors for bigger toy items like this, because you never know if you will have more children someday and you won’t want to have to re-buy something because everything is hot pink or purple.  I pretty much love everything in this Pillowfort Collection at Target.  

Little People HouseLittle People House

Kids love small things. I think its because they fit so well in their little hands and they are easy to play with and take places.  These little people sets are great for imaginative play!


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Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House Set

Whenever I get the broom out to sweep or the duster Anika has to have one of her own to help me.  Its so cute when she tries to help sweep the floor but I think she would love something like this that is more her size and manageable.  And we just love anything Melissa & Doug.

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Pocket Dolls

These are so fun! They are like paper dolls but wooden, so more sturdy and they have magnets so you can  change their outfits. I remember playing with paper dolls as a little girl, I hope my little girl loves it too. 

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Baby Doll Jogging Stroller

Every little girl needs a stroller for her dollies.  

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Aquadoodle

These are fun, and the best part is that they can only color on the mat and it just uses water. No mess on your couch, or walls or carpet! 

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Play Kitchen

 We have this actual kitchen and Anika loves to make me food and do the dishes. We got this for her first birthday and its really good quality, it took a while to put together but is so worth it.  We got pink because that was the only color in stock at the time, but if I had to do it over I would get white. 

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Nesting Box Blocks

Kids love stacking, and putting things inside other things, these blocks are a great idea for little ones.  These also help with learning animals, shapes and the alphabet! 

So now the best part… Target is having 10 days of deals and their first day is 30% off TOYS!  It’s only good tomorrow 11/19 with the PROMO CODE PLAY.  You can also use your Target Red Card to get an additional 5% off and shipping is free when you spend $25.  I just signed up for a Red Card (debit card) and I don’t know what took me so long! 

AND don’t forget to use your Ebates to shop too because you could get an additional % cash back.  

So, are you one of those people who fights the crowds for a good deal? Or sits home and shops online like me? What are you buying the toddler in your life? Let me know in the comments! 

xoxo

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How to Brighten Up an Oak Mantle

White Mantle

Hey guys! I was super busy this weekend with lots of fun projects and I can’t wait to share them all with you. Today I’m going to share how I FINALLY updated our fireplace mantle.  It has a honey oak stain and I have disliked it since the day we moved in, but I lived with it for a long time because honestly, I was kind of afraid to paint it.  It’s a really big focal point of our house because we have such an open concept and the fireplace is right in the middle of the living room. But oh my gosh you guys, I can’t believe it took me this long.  It has already made SUCH a difference and I absolutely LOVE It.  

Here is what the fireplace looked like before.  

honey oak fireplace mantle

Yeah a lovely orange golden oak and I really was just not a fan. It made the whole room look so dark and orange. So what do you think I did? Obviously I painted it…WHITE. 

Here’s how it turned outbrighten up oak mantle

Don’t you just love it? You will also get a little sneak peak at the other part of this project we worked on this weekend, but I haven’t had time to style everything yet so I will be doing a full reveal soon.  

The room is just so much brighter I can’t believe it. It even makes the brick look totally different.  I wish I would have completed this project sooner.  If you’re thinking of doing a simple quick project like this to brighten up your space, here is how I did it. This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Materials

  • White interior paint 
  • Painters Tape– I prefer this kind
  • Sand paper
  • Paint brush

Steps

  • Tape around your wall and brick – taping is really my least favorite part of painting but its necessary for this because you don’t want to get paint on your brick because its hard to get off…trust me. before
  • Give your mantle a quick sanding.  I used 220 grit paper which isn’t very strong. I just wanted to give it a little scuff in order for the paint to stick better.  If you have a really high gloss or clear coat on your’s you might want to use a more aggressive/lower numbered paper. sanding
  • Once you have given it a quick sanding go back through and wipe it down with a wet wash cloth.  You just want to get it clean of any dust so you have a fresh pallet.  
  • Paint it! I painted two coats on our mantle, but depending on how dark your’s is you might have to do more.

Super simple, right? The power of paint is amazing.  AND the best part for me was my husbands reaction.  He said, and I quote, “do you think if we paint the kitchen cabinets white they will brighten up the kitchen that much?” I literally almost died.  So maybe…someday…I’ll get a white kitchen, you heard it here first.

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Check back later this week for a full reveal of the fireplace makeover we did.  You can also see how I turned the brass trim on our fireplace to silver here

xoxo

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