end of the year gifts. um, you da’ balm.

End of the year is coming. I repeat, the end of the year is coming. Now it is time to ask yourself, “What on earth am I going to get the teachers, bus drivers, assistants, office staff, friends, and everyone else in between?”

Well, here’s an idea for you. Simple. Sweet. Perfect.  Oh, and did I mention it won’t break the bank? A few dollars and cute little gift for someone you know.

The task is simple and will take you a little less than five minutes to get er’ done. You can thank me later.

{you will need}
scissors
hole punch
thick paper
you da’ balm printable template

{your task}

step 1. print the you da’ balm template by clicking {here}.

step 2. cut the gift tags out of the attached template.

step 3. have your kiddo write their name, or not. up to you.

step 4. hole punch the top.

step 5. add a colorful eos lip balm. tie. give.

Give a little extra love to those people in your lift and let them know they da‘ balm.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

 

did you miss other valentine’s day posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{printable hope you likey tags.}

{diy notepad.}

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a new kind of nightly prayer. so worth it.

You know have that little thought that pesters you over and over again. You hear it and don’t listen. Then you think {if you’re dense like me}, I think God might be trying to tell me something. Indeed he did.

We have done the same prayer every night with all of the kids since grayson was just a few weeks old. It’s a twist on the prayer that the hub’s parents said to him. You know, a little something like this… now I lay me down to sleep... And, then we follow it up with all the family members and friends we want to bless. It had become some kind of a tradition, even other family members and friends started adding it to their own little nighttime diddy.

It was great, but I noticed the kids were getting restless. Ok, they were just plain goofing off and it was driving me craze-eee. It was turning our much needed prayer time into me scolding or telling them to stop goofing around. Not my finest moments. That’s when I heard it. Change it. 

And we did. It has since been changed. And it has made our evening prayers so much better, but more importantly so much more meaningful. It makes my heart smile each night we start. The things they say serious MELT MY HEAR. So, it was worth the practice it took to get us there.

It’s the same way we started before, but the boys {and us} get to choose what we are praying for that night. It goes a little something like this…

family prayer

A great new addition to our nighty-night time. And, a chance for the kids to really pray. Pray for what they are thankful for. Pray for others. Pray for them. Really, just pray.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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auction project. teepee time.

Don’t worry. I didn’t fall off the face of the earth. I know you were worried. Nope. It’s just that projects overtook my life and finding the time to blog didn’t happen. But I’m back, for now.

Most of you know, I’m a project girl. To my hub’s dismay I am usually either knee-deep in one project or have multiple projects going on at one time. This time, it was the latter. Too many projects and one little lady that seriously loves to “help”. A little trickier than when I got my sta-uff done during her naps. Oh well.

First project. Teepee. Tag it. Remind yourself for next year. You won’t regret it. Promise. The cutest darn teepee you will ever find. Don’t you think?

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This little beauty was for G’s 1st grade auction project. I’m not going to lie, it had a huge learning curve, but I promise that it was worth it. It was in our front room for a few weeks and we were in it every night reading books and practicing our spelling. The kiddos loved it so much that I promised I would make one for them. Another thing to add to the list.

If you ever come across a need for an auction project and you can sew {even if just a little} I think you should tackle this one. I used this tutorial as a reference, but changed a few things along the way. Also, they are assuming you use a 45″ width for the top fabric. Remember that. I didn’t and mine was 54″. Had to do lots of recutting. Oops!

I am hoping it will be a real money maker. And, it is just too, too cute.

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Want to get the kids involved?

First, I went into the classroom and had them make tassels {they loved} for the garland out of colorful yarn. I also drilled small holes in birch circles which they wrote their name and favorite book on. The hope is that whatever lucky winner has some reading adventures while sitting in their new teepee.

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At the end, I brought in the teepee and had them stitch Xs on the bottom using the same cream yarn and upholstery needles. Canvas is pretty easy to poke a hope through, so my other half helped me to measure and mark where each kid was to sew. The kids seriously loved the “sewing” part and it add the perfect final touch.

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Crossing my fingers its a money maker. If not, at least someone has a cute place to play, read or just be. Are you thinking it might be a winner for your next auction project too?

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

did you miss other similar posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{etsy shop. build-a-fort kits.}

{diy outdoor clock.}

{diy outdoor curtains.}

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lamp makeover. less than $3. no commitment necessary.

You may have already heard… I have been {finally} getting around to decorating our dining room. It’s taken about forever. If you missed my big reveal you can find it here.

dining after 1

It just might be one of my favorite places to now visit in our home. And, I did it on a budget. Doesn’t that make it even better?

Here’s the skinny. Home Goods is my fave place to find lamps. I found some little gems months ago and they have traveled from room to room looking for the perfect home. They have a metallic finish on the shades and are some kind of adorable, but once I put them in my room the linen blended in with the wall color. Oh boo. What is a girl to do?

Easy. A $3 {or less} transformation. All you need is…

{materials}
twine or ribbon
scissors

dining console after

Truly, it’s as easy as tie in a knot as a starting point, wrap in a criss cross fashion, and secure the ends. Say what? Yep, that’s it. No real rhyme or reason, except for getting those {X} shapes to be the same size.

revamp a lamp shade

I mean, really, just look at these gorgeous {and unique} lamp shades. The good news is it adds a little something to your standard shade, costs virtually nothing and if you aren’t a fan of commitment {that’s me} you can change them at any time. Perfect, right?

dining console after 2

Are you sold? Are you going to try it? Who knows, you may have found just the thing that was needed with your own lamp shades at home. Give it a try, won’t you?

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

did you miss other similar posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{striped linoleum floors. amaze-ing.}

playroom floors collage

{master bath redo. on a budget.}
DSC_0105

{dining room reveal.}
dining after 2

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dining room. finally done. reveal time.

Empty rooms. That has been our story for awhile. But, after a year and a half I thought it was time to really tackle one of the rooms. None other than the dining room, which is the room EVERYONE sees when they walk in the house.

It was calling my name. It was time. It is amaze-ing. I love it. In fact, it might be my {new} favorite room.

dining after 1

bar cart 2

I live for decorating. I heart it. But, I also am a girl who likes to do it in a cost effective way. Ok, if we are being honest, I am cheap and thrive on some bargain shopping. That’s the truth. With that said, here are a few ways I was able to outfit this dining room on a nickel, maybe a dime.

{trick no. 1}

I absolutely heart Restore the Habitat for Humanity store. You can’t believe how many treasures I find there. Case in point, this table shaped perfectly for the dining room, but a little sore on the eyes. Did I mention it was a laminate top? It looked like it came from an older dive of a diner. A little sanding on the top, crazy amounts of stain {i just couldn’t get that exact color i wanted}, a little elbow grease and voila. Admit it, a much better version, right?

dining table before

dining after 2

 {trick no. 2}

Stripes. Need I say more?  Truth be told, I thought through a million different versions of this room. Originally, I was going to do wallpaper. But, once I started pricing it out I wasn’t so into it any more. And, the reality is that my other half was not willing to put it up AND THEN take it down if I despised it. If I don’t love something it won’t stay that way, and my commitment issues came into play.

But, paint can always be changed and the stripes were the perfect way to add a little personality. Yes, it was tedious. Yes, I touched up each line with a small paintbrush. Yes, I would do it again. Maybe you should try too. Make an impact, stripe-style.

dining console after 2

 {trick no. 3}

Someone’s trash is another person’s treasure. This beauty was left at one of my other half’s projects. Some serious sanding {poor thing was used and abused} and about 10 cans of spray paint, a little pure white annie sloan chalk paint {to take away the cold/gray white of it} and it was good as new. Don’t you think so?

Seriously so in love. This might be the thing that ties it all together. Well, it truly is the thing that ties it all together because there have been two {maybe even three!} other pieces here already and none made my heart pitter patter like this one. A little gem.

console before

dining console after

 {trick no. 4}

If you find a deal and you don’t love it, change it. I found this chandler on sale at Lowes for $60. It was silver and outfitted with green and gray beads. Not my color scheme. Not my favorite. But, could definitely be perfect in the room. Three different cans of spray paint {brushed gold, oil rubbed bronze, metallic} and some dark wax made the perfect piece.  Sometimes you just need to think a little outside of the box. Do you love it as much as I do?

dining chandelier

Whenever I walk into a room in my house I feel like I should smile. This dining room now makes me smile. I’m crossing my fingers you found a few ways to make the most of your empty rooms.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

did you miss other similar posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{striped linoleum floors. amaze-ing.}

playroom floors collage

{master bath redo. on a budget.}
DSC_0105

{mercury glass chandelier.}
mercury chand 1

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oh yes, more lemons. idea three.

The lemon ideas keep a comin’. If you missed my earlier lemon ideas, you can find them below with links to each of the recipes.

I am still on a lemon mission. One that will use up my bowlfuls of that gorgeous fruit. For today, a dinner idea. And, I might add that ALL of my kids gobbled it up. That tells you something, right?

| idea three. |
{lemon pepper shrimp pasta.}
adapted from all recipes

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lemon pepper shrimp pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package pasta, such as angel hair or linguine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons, juiced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
  • parmesan for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook based on packaging until al dente; drain.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and saute garlic for 1 minute. Mix in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by at least 1/2.
  3. Mix shrimp, butter, and basil into the saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp is opaque. Stir in the cooked pasta, and continue cooking 2 minutes, until well coated.
  4. Sprinkle shaved parmesan on top and serve alongside crusty bread.
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http://www.luluandlinen.com/recipes/oh-yes-more-lemons-idea-three/

No joke. A quick and unbelievably delicious dinner recipe. Perfect for those busy weeknights when you have just a little time and a lot of hungry mouths to feed. Oh, and did I mention that my little 7 year old helped the entire time? Kind of adorable and a perfect way to spend your evening with your little ones.

eat. enjoy. share.
Letter J  XO

if you missed my other {lemon ideas} take a lookey loo.
see something you like?

{citrus infused water.}
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{lemon & orange bars.}
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lemons, oh lemons. idea two.

The lemons still overflow. If you missed it earlier this week, I was the grateful recipient of boxes {literally boxes!} of lemons and some mandarin oranges compliments of my sis-in-law.

One word. PRETTY. They are almost too pretty to eat, but a girls got to do what a girls got to do.

Yesterday, I shared a simple trick that is one of my favorites, {citrus infused water}. Put it on the counter and the kids {and husbands} will come running for glassfuls of water. If you missed it, you can find it here.

For today, a serious favorite. A twist on your traditional lemon bar. Think of it as a lemon bar with a twist of orange zest. Seriously, delish. Scouts honor. Try it. You will love it.

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| idea two |
{orange & lemon bars.}
adapted from a recipe from better homes & gardens, may 2013

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lemon and orange bars.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup butter, diced in small cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup {fresh squeezed} lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/3 cup {fresh squeezed} orange juice
  • {note. i used mandarins for a sweeter taste}

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9x13x2 baking pan and line with parchment paper. Press the paper onto the bottom and sides of the pan. For crust, in a large bowl, combine the 2 cups flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Using blender {or hands}, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly into bottom of pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, half and half, and 3 tablespoons flour. Divide equally into two separate bowls. To one bowl add lemon zest and lemon juice; to the other bowl add orange zest and orange juice. Pour lemon filling over crust hot crust {immediately pour after removing from oven} and bake 10-13 minutes until set. Remove from oven and quickly pour orange filling over lemon filling; bake additional 10-13 minutes until set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  3. Use paper to life uncut bars out of pan. Cut into bars {i like rectangular} and sift powdered sugar over the top. Refrigerate to store.
  4. Eat. Or, package up and deliver to some lucky friends and family.
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http://www.luluandlinen.com/recipes/lemons-oh-lemons-idea-two/

These treats are so good you just might need to box some up in pretty packaging for some friends or family. Just look at how cute they are?

Want the label for yourself? Well, you are in luck. Click below for an adorable way to share your hard work with others.

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Trust me. This lil’ sweet treat will leave nothing but smiles and second helpings. You have my word, it will be a crowd pleaser. Give it a try. You just might fall in love too.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

if you missed my other {lemon ideas} take a lookey loo. 
see something you like?

{citrus infused water}
DSC_0377

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a bowl or two of lemons. what to do? idea one.

Lemons. Oh so many lemons. All the lemon talk? Well, my sis-in-law had a few citrus trees in her backyard that were calling her name. Or rather, calling her to cut some of the beauties off the tree.

Lucky me. She dropped off a box or two of the pretties. Seriously the prettiest fruit in the world. If you follow along on instagram you saw my gorgeous gift from her. An overflowing bowl of lemon and oranges. Delish.

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The real questions was, what to do with all those lemons and oranges? For you, a few tasty treats that you might want to try when you, too, have an overflowing bowl of lemons or oranges. For today, the lemons take center stage with one idea just for you.

| idea one |
{citrus infused water.}

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citrus infused water

Ingredients

  • lemons
  • oranges
  • water
  • beverage container

Instructions

  1. Fill container with water and {optional} ice
  2. Slice fruit
  3. Add to beverage container
  4. Let it sit and get relish
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http://www.luluandlinen.com/recipes/a-bowl-or-two-of-lemons-what-to-do-idea-one/

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So simple we sometimes forget about it. Try it today and impress those guests {or family} of yours. Tomorrow? More lemon ideas to come. Follow along, lemon style.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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valentine’s day {candy free} treats. helicopter fun.

Did you get the memo? Valentine’s Day is nearly here. If you have kids you have probably already thought, “Wait, how many kids are in the class?” I know. Brace yourself. The countdown is on.

I’ve said it before. Truth. I am one of those moms who can’t pick the valentines off the shelf and my poor kids suffer for it. And, I am extra mean because I usually don’t put any candy  in their valentines {um, I’m pretty sure they will get plenty, or that’s what I tell myself}.

So I try to come up with some valentine that is a little creative. Oh, and I am a dork and love this kind of stuff. This year {helicopters}. The boys are pretty gosh darn excited, but probably only because I have promised them each  a spinning copter of their own. Regardless, they got them done and they are tucked away for February 14th. It will  be here before you know it.

For you, a {free} valentine printable that you can use to celebrate the month of love and check off your list. All you need is some helicopters {thanks, target} and you are set. Oh so easy.

vday copter printable

{you will need}

scissors
stapler
thick paper
helicopter valentine template
helicopters/spinners from target
{i bought mine at target here in the birthday favor section. super inexpensive, yay!}

vday where to buy (2)

{your task}


step 1
. print the valentine template by clicking {here}.

step 2. cut the valentines out of the attached template.

step 3. have your kiddo write their name on the dotted line.

step 4. fold on the dotted {arrow} line.

step 5. slip over top of a clear cellophane bag with a spinner inside and staple.

vday copter close up

Not your ordinary valentine. And, an easy way to bring a little less candy and a little more smiles to those little ones this valentine season. Happy heart day to you and your family.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

did you miss other valentine’s day posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{valentine glider printable cards.}
Glider 2 with Label

{valentine’s day teacher notes.}
1-DSC_2170

{valentine’s lunchbox notes.}
Lunchbox with title

 

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laundry tips. for those of us who don’t love it.

Um, this is a little embarrassing. I love laundry. Like, seriously love. Mind you, I know that I am in a very small percentage of people who actually enjoy the act of laundering, folding and putting away.

Rumor has it laundry is not a fun task for many. So, I am here to share {three} quick tips that might make it a little less daunting and a lot more efficient. If you know me well, you know that I am a bit of an organized and efficient girl. That’s putting it nicely.

laundry room

{LizMarie Blog. 25 Dreamy Laundry Rooms}


tip one

I have one rule in my laundry room, NO laundry baskets allowed. Two reasons. It totally makes sense, don’t you think?

1. The basket is the perfect place for clothes to sit and sit and sit.
I will get it done if they are not in a pile. Instead, fold clothes as you take them out of the dryer. Don’t let them sit in a  laundry basket, you can always tell yourself it will get done in another hour or another day. If you commit to folding as you take out of the dryer you are more likely to have them folded in a quick manner. Scouts honor.

2. Get some exercise.
Fold it. Make piles in your arms. Walk it to the appropriate room. Now it’s off the top of your dryer and you’ve even burned a few calories while at it. Feel free to eat an extra cookie. There is a good chance you will walk a few extra steps if you don’t put it all in a basket and carry it in one load.

tip two

Each of my kids {and us parents} have our own collapsible laundry baskets. My rule? Never do it all in one day and never mix baskets. That’s just plain torture.

Number one. I never mix the kids baskets. I do them individually, which makes folding a cinch. No checking tags for sizes or wondering who the shirt belongs to who. I wash, dry, fold and put away before the next dryer load is done. Easy as pie.

Number two. I spilt up days. I tend to do the boys’ laundry on Saturday nights after our sports are over and we are gearing up for the next week. And, the little lady gets hers done during the week when I am at home getting things done. The parents? Well, when the laundry basket is brimming I usually think it is about time.

02WreathC

Don’t think I am too crazy. I tell myself it must be that type-a in me, so blame it on my genes. I have serious issues with laundry folding. I can’t handle disorganized, messy piles. While I am folding I have to have a little order and organization to be as efficient as possible.

I fold. I make piles. Yes, piles. It goes a little something like this. T-shirts all go in one pile. Jeans go in another pile. Pajamas in another pile. Do you see my crazy coming out? When you fold and place in separate piles it makes putting the clothes away SO much easier. I literally grab a pile, open the drawer, put away and move on to the next pile. Organized. Efficient. Just what I love.


There you go. Three tips that I hope will make your laundry a little less messy and a little easier. Who knows, maybe laundry will become a happier part of your day. You think?

love. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

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