March Goals- a recap

My original list was here.

My plan this month was basically to make a plan. I felt like I had a million things I wanted to do but unless I started somewhere, nothing was going to get finished!

1. Unpack the remaining boxes. Done. And thrilled that this chore is over! Really what was holding me back was my collection of picture frames. I wasn't sure I had them all together (and I didn't), so I gathered them, and put them in the garage, a handy place to grab them for projects! This little kick of motivation made Josh want to reorganize a little nook in our basement. Here's the after:

The before was pretty much this, but everything was stacked on top of each other. And to access 1 box, everything had to come out. It was getting old. Plus with me selling a ton of stuff in consignment sales, that freed up more plastic boxes. Now just the 3 boxes on the right have to get pulled in order to access the back shelves. Also cardboard boxes just don't do stuff justice!

And that corner where the pile was outta control? Much better!

2. Finish painting Emmie's room. Although I was able to accomplish alot of painting projects this month (here and here) I was unable to knock this out. This has proven to be a difficult room because it seems like she's always in there asleep! Whenever I have time to knock it out, she was snoozing away. Seriously girl- work with me. I did work about an hour in here and got mostly 1 coat on everything (except parts of the ceiling) and most of it still needs a second coat. Also the far wall is going to be gray, and I have started it, but am no where near done. It's also incredibly difficult to work in here with all the furniture (moving the ladder, maneuvering the extension pole for the roller) but it will get done!

And excuse how dark these photos are. We have a darkening panel on the window that we don't open since she's still taking 2 naps a day.



3. Monogram orders! Done! I had a fairly large order to complete and then a last minute rush order to finish. Although I didn't do my personal monogramming, I did get around to some personal sewing that I've wanted to do for a while. Here is some photographic evidence:

These gowns... seriously I wish there was a touch and feel feature through the internet (kinda like scratch and sniff). They are gloriously soft. 


4. Polish our hardwood floors. This didn't happen. Well I lied. I tested one tiny small section. Josh was away most of the month and honestly after wrangling the kids, driving places, and making sure we were all still alive, the condition of my floors was the last thing on my mind. I was busy making sure the toilets were flushed and the dog was taken out.

5. Paint the accent wall. Done! Thankfully before Josh left we were able to tag team one evening. I can't believe the depth and "pop" this simple upgrade made!

I kinda miss my monthly lists! I am a list maker by nature and these are fun challenges for me. Not sure I'm going to do one every month (honestly I'm a little burned out right now), but maybe more often than not!

High Five for Friday!

It's Friday again!! Friday is self proclaimed pajama day around here. What am I going to do when Luke goes to school 5 days a week? Except I'm not in my pjs today! I'm headed to Savannah with the hubby for a weekend away! Yay!

1. Going for walks and bike rides has become almost a daily routine. Luke found some buddies. I promised him that we'd bring bread next time. These guys are incredibly friendly and when Luke threw a piece of grass in the water they flew FAST toward him thinking it was food. Sweet.

2. Emmie is getting into e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I mean I've had a mobile baby before and I don't remember this! Any speck on the floor will be in her mouth in no time. And anything that looks fun (besides toys) is played with!
3. I am getting really excited about Luke's big boy bed. One night when I was putting him down for bed I asked him if he still liked his Thomas bed. He said "Yeah, but I really want a bigger bed." I told him we could do that but that Thomas would be going to someone else's home. And I keep telling him that just so when we make the transition it isn't a meltdown.
His mattress arrived (in a box!) and I'm excited to open it and get it set up! Details later!
4. I'm going to mention it again in the monthly recap on Monday, but I've been in a sewing mood! Strike while the iron's hot right? Mom and I sat down one night this week to try make sense of a pattern (ha!).
5. I snagged this beauty from an online yard sale (it was FREE). All 7.5 feet of it. I didn't think it'd be as wide as it is, but it was free so who cares. Confession? It's too heavy to take apart myself so it will sit. And to all my neighbors totally giving me the side eye about there being a Christmas Tree in the garage... Merry Christmas!

How I snagged Frozen: for FREE

We caved and jumped on the Frozen frenzy. I wasn't sure if Luke would like it since it seemed like all my momma friends who raved about it had mostly girls. We wanted to do something with just Luke (no sissy stealing the attention) so we took him to the theater to see it.

It was just as good as everyone said, and my biggest surprise? Luke loved it. I asked him why he liked it so much and he said "Cause she changes the weather and that's REALLY COOL!" #boyswillbeboys

As parents we loved the message it sent girls/daughters- that you don't need a man to show you love. And that sister/sister relationship? Beautiful.

Josh and I knew it would be a movie we'd add to our collection at some point. You know, to show Emberly in a few years. I was going to wait until this madness of the release ended and hopefully grab it on clearance or as a black friday deal.

I would say the best way to save money and know the deals are to "like" various coupon sites on facebook. I am friends with Southern Savers and I love all the deals she passes on.

Last Friday a deal popped up in my newsfeed that said if you sign up at topcashback.com and go through their site to Walmart's site and order the Blu-Ray "Frozen" (and ship it site to store) then Top Cash Back will give you $22 back in your account. I was skeptical.
I took this shot a few hours later and the Blu-Ray was sold out. You could still get the $14 one and I believe they gave back $17. 
yes Teen Mom is pulled up in the browser. #dontjudge

#1 I know these sites- Ibotta, Checkout51- they're all the same. And you have to wait until your account gets to a certain balance to "cash it out".

#2 I was worried that the "tracking" didn't work because I was on my phone and I hadn't verified my account. I took a risk and did it anyways. I knew the deal wouldn't last and worst case? It's Walmart. I could always return it.

#3 If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I was pleasantly surprised. It did seem too good to be true. And it wasn't!!

After ordering I did a little bit of research about the site. Different sites have written articles about Top Cash Back and how customer friendly they are. I also found out in the FAQ that you don't have to verify your account to snag the deal (it just has to be verified before the cash is given back). Well I kept waiting and kept waiting for the verification email. Nothing. I thought "I knew this was too good to be true". But after resending the verification 6 times, I finally checked my spam folder. And all 6 verifications were sitting there!! Phew.

So I verified and waited a few days. Nothing was showing in my account so I wondered if it went through. The FAQ did say that if the website didn't track properly that they would do everything in their power to get the customer the deal. I took screenshots as I went just incase. Kinda like a virtual receipt. Except honestly? I'm not sure how I took these because I did it from my phone. Must have signed in to check my account.
The DVD was ready at Wally World less than 45 minutes after ordering. If you know me personally you know I don't go to Walmart. Ever. I actually went almost an entire year without going. And now will only go if it's vitally necessary. You know... for Christmas decorations and Mild Taco Bell Sauce.

I was very pleased with how easy the site-to-store was (I've waited for 30 minutes before for my items to be retrieved). The process this time was seamless. It was a surprise to Luke that we got the movie (and in all honestly my frugal side didn't want to open it "just in case" the deal didn't go through). But whatev. Kids do something to you that make you not even care about how much you are spending.

The money was pending in my account 3 days later (and the website says it can take up to 7 days). I spend $21.16 and will receive $22.00 back. It was a small money maker! The only downfall is that it can take up to 14 weeks to process. But knowing that it's there is fine with me! And I'm so glad I didn't fall "sucker" to a too goo to be true deal!
**Top Cash Back has no idea that I exist or that I went through their site for this transaction. I was not perked in anyways to share this information. You know I just love passing on good deals when I see them!

Go get connected with a site like southern savers! It's so nice to have these deals delivered directly to my Facebook feed!

Ceiling Whimsy

We left off in the play room here. I said there that I was really loving this room. It's really the house's dining room so it is right off the kitchen which makes it super easy for me to keep an eye on the kids while I'm cooking dinner or cleaning. Someone needs to be on crayon eating patrol at all times. 

Here's where we started. 
and the room quickly got filled with toys. Sorry I didn't clean up for a lovely before. Kid's don't believe in that nonsense.
Since we have crown moulding in here that nicely breaks up the tan, I thought it would be the perfect place for a whimsical ceiling. Also most of our house flows together from room to room. But this room is separated by four walls and 2 doorways. It's the perfect place to try out some paint without having to commit to the rest of the house. 

Here's a peek at the ceiling before:
Throughout the whole house the ceilings are the same color as the walls. Which I actually like. Although it doesn't seem like it would, it makes the rooms feel larger. 


I have always wanted a blue ceiling somewhere. I would love a patio/porch with a blue ceiling someday. Actually true story- one day when I was a teenager I wanted a blue ceiling in my room. I grabbed a paint brush, ladder, and some paint from the garage and painted the whole thing. My DIY habits craziness goes way back. 

I chose Serene Sky by Behr. Actually I didn't choose it. It's what I already had. Sound familiar?
The color I originally chose was Coastal Mist. See it on the left? After mulling it over for a few weeks and holding up the paint  deck every so often in different lights I was sold. And then I remember that I had 3/4 of a gallon of Serene Sky from Luke's room. I haven't shown his room yet because it's still a work in progress, so you'll have to trust me here. His room took over a gallon so I had to buy a second knowing I wouldn't use all of it. #blessingindisguise

I decided to compare the two colors just to see if they were much different. And honestly? they weren't. Mineral Water and Serene Sky are a little brighter. Coastal Mist was a little more muted. But overall they were very similar. Similar enough that I felt buying a $25 gallon of Coastal Mist was pointless. Plus Serene SKY. Blue ceiling. #matchmadeinheaven It's no secret that I choose paint colors based on their names. 
And a little side story- Luke's old room was painted with Mineral Water. His old room didn't get a ton of natural night so the lighter color was okay. When we got here the 9 foot ceilings plus a larger room and a bunch of natural light really washed the color out. I decided to go one shade darker (Serene Sky) to account for those changes. 

So I had these poor babies sitting around. I figured they'd be the perfect primer for this project. I knew I didn't have enough leftover Serene Sky paint for 2 coats (and so far after painting Em and Luke's room both have needed 2 coats to cover the tan). 
I was a little nervous since the Mineral Water was the eggshell sheen and I am using all flat enamel in this house. All the tan is flat paint and although I never thought I'd like the flat sheen, I am really digging it! It hides alot of imperfections in the wall and I like that the walls don't shine. I am missing the scrubability of eggshell, but flat enamel is just one step down on the sheen ladder. It's actually a fairly new sheen. It wasn't a choice when we painted our last house. It's a teeny tiny bit more shiny than regular flat, but not by much. I worried that the more matte flat enamel wouldn't go on smoothly on top of eggshell, but thankfully I was wrong. 

I started by doing 2 coats of cutting in. I did this over the course of a few days/naptimes. 
Then I did the primer (that isn't really primer) trick. See how the border is darker? That's the Serene Sky. The inside color is the lighter Mineral Water. Sorry about the terrible lighting. It was pushing midnight. 
The only issue I ran into was that paint always dries darker. Which means it goes on lighter. So when I started painting the Serene Sky over the Mineral Water it was the exact.same.color. I had to paint a section and wait for it to dry so I could see what I missed and where I needed to keep going. 

And how's that for a touch of whimsey?
We still haven't decided the fate of the chandy.

This room will eventually be painted. Maybe a dark moody gray? Haven't decided. But the ceiling was a good start! I can't wait to get some art on those walls!

And we all love a good before:
and after:
And literally the same day that I painted this ceiling, I found this in the AJC (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Sunday paper "homefinder" section. How timely! And that room? Drool worthy. Finding inspiration in print AFTER I do a project reminds me of that time I painted our old front door the color of a Zaxby's birthday cake milkshake sprinkle. And I suddenly have a really strong craving for that creamy goodness. 
Painted ceilings. Yay or nay? I was thinking what a good idea it is to just paint the ceiling (of kids rooms especially) when your house is on the market. That way people aren't overwhelmed with your color choices, but the rooms still have personality. A nice bright ceiling with a neutral wall sounds lovely!

High Five For Friday!

Hmmm wonder where Luke is?

1. I felt much better about going into this week (as opposed to last). I think I was more mentally and physically prepared for it! Yay for not treading water.

2. This is going to be a long one but it's kind of a funny story. We got our first real power bill last month (that incorporated an actual whole month at the new house). We were BLOWN away by how high it was. Of course it's been a cold winter, and we had 2 extremely unusual snow storms, but holy moly batman! Our house isn't that old, and it should be pretty well insulated and we just expected it to be lower. We haven't gotten around to switching out all our lightbulbs to CFLs (or LEDs), so this past month we made a point to make sure lights were getting turned off. Of course we've had a milder month (which helped) and we tried to think of various ways to save. We bumped our thermostat down a degree (and use the fireplace more since we are getting a great deal on gas). We have 3 levels so I'm constantly asking Luke to check his closet to make sure the light is out or to run down to the basement an make sure the garage light is out. Another way is watching our washer/hot water usage especially since we cloth diaper. When I turn it on, the buttons automatically switch to using warm water. So I've made a conscious effort to switch it to cold/tap water. Except everytime I opened the washer to transfer it to the dryer, the clothes were warm! What the heck? I thought I could outsmart the machine so I did an all HOT wash (thinking if the pipes were switched then when I chose cold the water would be hot and when I chose hot the water would be cold). Nope still hot. I tried turning off the hot water at the wall just to see what happened. Nothing. No water. I feared that we didn't have cold water running up there. I researched, asked my parents, and researched some more. I was worried that either the cold tap wasn't working ($$$) or the washer somehow broke in the move ($$$). I found a website with a list of ways to troubleshoot and as soon as Josh got behind the washer he realized the pipes were switched! Yay for figuring it out without dropping a cent (minus all the hot washes we've accidentally run)! It was just funny that it took us 3 months to figure out what was happening! And I'm happy to report our powerbill was HALF of the previous one (I'd say the good weather accounted for 25% savings and us watching our usage accounted for the other 25%).

3. We are enjoying exploring this new town! A walk in the park is the perfect afternoon activity. 
We spent Wednesday-Thursday night at my parent's house. It makes the commute to preschool a little more manageable. Instead of a 45 minute commute it's a 10 minute commute. Funny thing? We were still 10 minutes late yesterday morning. :)

4. And speaking of preschools... we are still up in the air about Luke's preschool next year. Why are decisions so hard to make?!

5. Em is eating like a champ. I feel like she is about to majorly wean from bottles (we've cut from 5 to 3) and she's eating 3 full meals a day. She had her first Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets the other night and loved them! So proud of my big girl.


Accent Wall: the fireplace

I made a list at the beginning of this month hoping to get me motivated and to pay some attention to some areas of the house that needed some love. 

One of the things I've wanted to do forever since December is to paint an accent wall where the fireplace and TV are. This house is a whole lotta tan. Tan that was painted when the house went on the market. It's a nice color, and it was done beautifully, so I don't feel right repainting the whole space until there are scuffs and marks in a few years. So the accent wall was born.
Here's a before:

A few things to note. We lowered the TV about 4 inches. It's really not that noticeable, but it was enough to cover the outlets behind it. When we first hung it, we just centered it on the whole wall, not giving a thought to the outlets. Then we went through 3 sound bars that didn't work out, so we were left with a ridiculous amount of holes in the wall. We decided for now that we're going to do without the sound bar. We weren't impressed with the $200 range ones, so we figured we'll get a really nice one after we save for it. We made sure to leave room underneath for one just in case. 

We also left 1 hole visible for the wires for the eventual soundbar. That's the one dot under the TV. It's much less in your face now that everything has been lowered. 
Eventually down the line we will be adding built-ins in those nooks. So this really is just a "phase 1" fix to get us through until we are ready to pull out the big guns. Excited for them, but really happy with this simple, quick fix for now!

I also considered painting the whole column (not just the front of the wall), but I figured I could get a cleaner line by just painting the front as opposed to where the "column" meets the back wall. 
As for the color? I knew I wanted a blue. Early on I thought I wanted brown, but brown with a black TV and lots of brown accents in the room (hello huge brown couches) begged for a light airy color.

I'm cheap and I didn't want to have to buy paint. So I raided our supply (mostly colors from our old house). You can see how I organized our paint here
I had a quart sized mason jar full of "Silver Strand". It was the color I used when I painted an accent wall in our old house. I did it in stripes with 1 stripe being Silver Strand eggshell sheen, the the other stripe being Silver Strand semi-gloss sheen. See it on the far wall in our old bathroom? We loved it. 
After patching a few holes, and a little over an hour of work it was DONE! And I love how nicely it plays off of our new lampshade {and rug}! You can see the color next to the rug in the first picture. 
Projects like this make me happy! $0 dollars spent and a little sweat equity really pays off big time!

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