Christmas in July

We’re heading out for vacation soon. We drive, so my husband wisely buys little dollar store gifts for “on the way,” but we also give gifts just in preparation for the trip.

Because of the timing (leaving in July), and because my daughter missed our church celebrating “Christmas in July” last year because we were on vacation, and probably also because my car wash’s free air freshener was pine scented (aroma inspiration) we decided to surprise the kids and throw our own. My stickler 2nd grader want everyone to know that it was Christmas in June since we did it on the 30th. (Any tips on breaking a semantically-inclined arguer????!!)

We decorated with three outdoor lights we usually put on our play set out back (they’re wonderfully tacky and yes, we saved them from large trash pick up day, so I banish them to the backyard usually).

My husband read the Christmas story with the kids out of the Bible App Kids Bible (any Bible will do or even the actual Bible App for kids).

We streamed a couple of kids worship songs.

Oh What a Special Night

And we watched this… Best Christmas Carol written by kids

Then we opened presents…

Then last night we had family over after church, ate falafel and I made the world’s most epic banana splits (future blog post soon) and the kids opened some gifts from Grandma too (great time to give their patriotic shirts for Independence Day)!

Merry Christmas in July!!!

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De-clutter with a Piñata

For the kids’ birthdays we’ve begun having piñatas. If you need a party game and you don’t want to make a bunch of goody bags for favors, this is a great two-birds one-stone.

It’s supposed to be a doughnut and my son’s favorite color is green. This was my first homemade piñata. I’ve always bought them before. I made it following the instructions on this page.

The best part…

I’ve got a use for leftover Halloween candy in December (daughter’s) and Easter candy in April (son’s). Plus, I keep a gallon size bag with the little plastic treat bag junk they get all year in the game closet…

Then, using my favorite jar funnel, I stuff it in the trap door…

Then my husband wraps the broomstick used as a lock on our sliding glass door, puts an eye hook in the beam, strings the piñata and we all back up.

Manageable Resolution

Seems like everyone by Valentine’s Day is either sick of their resolution(s) or at least we’ve moved on from talking about them or making them.  I’m slow.

I usually make a resolution.  Mine are typically general, vague, and mostly immeasurable, and that works for me.  Last year my resolution was to make more of an effort in putting myself together.  Mostly that meant to shower and get dressed for the day every morning.  Wear jewelry most days.  Very reachable and enjoyable.

I think the year before I made the goal to only eat what was delicious.  That was a fun goal.  I gave myself permission to not finish something if I didn’t like how it tasted.  I don’t think I stuck to that one.  I still like to clean my plate.

This year, my goal is simply put and hard to complete: be more content.

Contentment.  Satisfaction with where I am, what I have, and what I’m doing.  This isn’t lazy; this is hard work.  If I’m content, that means I’m going to take better care of what I have because I’m not giving myself permission to buy something new just because I want it.  So I’m washing my slipcovers so my furniture looks really nice even though it is all the cheap stuff from IKEA.  I’m going to dye my jeans that are fading, making them black again because a bottle of black dye is $2 and new jeans are… a lot more.   I’m not even going to price them out because I don’t need new jeans.  I’m not going to complain about the weather where I live, longing for anywhere but here, but I’m going to enjoy the seasons as they come.  I’m going to have more margin and not pack my day so full my peace spills out and over the edge of a glass too filled.

content mary poppins

There’s a lot of “being present” that seems to be a side-effect of striving to live content.

How about you?  What are your contentment killers?  What helps you feel a sense of contentment?

3ms How I Love Thee…

Gallery arrangements are my favorite way to hang pictures.  Mostly because I can’t decide on just a few pictures to put on the wall and I love that you can add variety.  Maybe gallery style is post-trend, I’m not sure, but I do know the easiest way to do one, 3ms.

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These are mostly before pictures of what our home looked like before we, and my in-laws fixed it up.  It is in our entryway and I love it!
I’ve seen examples of using butcher paper and outlining each frame, marking where the nail goes.  I’ve heard about people putting toothpaste on the hanging bracket and placing it on the wall just so, leaving a minty mark where to drive your nail.  Both good, but I still prefer no holes in the wall.

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The posters are heavy, so I used 4 of the medium velcro strips
I eyeball my arrangements and use Velcro 3ms.  Well, I eyeball and when I do my final sticking I do use a pocket level.  Usually I’ll lay out all my frames and items on the floor and snap a picture for reference on my phone, but it always changes as I’m sticking it on the wall.  When you’re hanging many frames or items, I find that I don’t have to be exact with the distance between.  I just try to line up one with either the top or bottom of the frame next to it leaving approximately the same distance around each one.

Are they more expensive than nails.  Yep.  Do you need to use enough so you don’t hear your frame go bump in the night.  Yep.  Do I still recommend them, ABSOLUTELY.

The velcro is my favorite for picture hanging for the ease of changing your picture out every now and then.  I also love that I can really get a frame level, taking it back off the wall if needed.

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Yes, those are Christmas lights with clear cups with cut up old jeans hot glued to them.
It’s as quick as a sticker so I waste no time doing a whole wall like this.  When we moved in, I had large things hung in every room in under a week.  That makes you feel quite homey.

I use other 3m hanging strips and hooks in other places too.  My kids’ light strands are up with tiny clear hooks.

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Mason jars with herbs are above my kitchen sink with strong 3ms, and my metal colander and library bag are both hung with double 3m plastic rungs.


Hang without holes!

 

Managing the Mess in the Toddler Boy’s Room

I walk in to my son’s room and I’m often momentarily overwhelmed by… 

So tempted to get rid of all of it. But, no. It just needs tidying. It won’t take long if I break it up. 

Dinosaurs

Bed…

No floor space. 

That didn’t help. Now it’s just more. 

Okay. Bed first and throw all of the stuffed animals to the back. It’s where they’re kept for now. 😦

Make the bed…

Stick the weapons in a bag on his chair. Someday I’ll do those awesome peg board walls with all of them on display, but not today. 

Using my dustpan (great for lego bricks and small toys) I scoop the dinos back into the fancy box. Ha!  It’s going in the closet. No one sees it. 

His favorite toys on the window seat. He loves things at chest level. 

That’s better. 

Then later we bought 50 cent brackets and hung shelves using boards from a broken down book case that we saved from being trashed. 


Now he has more chest level play surfaces and the floor is so much less cluttered!

I’m currently reading The Inspired Room (the book) by Melissa Michaels and she calls this “everyday on display.”