Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ten House Goals of 2013

I thought long and hard about house goals for this upcoming year. 2012 was such an amazing year that it would be very hard for 2013 to top it. However, I didn’t expect 2012 to be such an outstanding year either. The Lord has definitely blessed us in the past year, and without him we would not be in the place we are now. In an effort to build upon that, I have set us some goals once again for our house. Last year, we did achieve some goals from the list, but not many. This year I wanted to make some more attainable goals.

So let me share some ideas for the upcoming year…..

2013 Goals


Get seating for the living room


Paint the living room


Get lamps for the guest bedroom


Paint built in cabinets in den


Buy one large rug for the house


Remove vertical blinds in bathroom and replace with curtains


Replace at least two light fixtures


Have rocking chair reupholstered


Have one piece of art framed and hung


Have carpet replaced in guest bedroom


There are some pretty expensive goals on the list, but some are already in the works as we speak. They just haven’t been put into complete action yet. I’m excited about crossing these things off of the list. If I mark half off of the list, I think that would be satisfactory.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Unexpected {but greatly accepted} Change in Plans

This year has been a year that held a very wonderful blessing. We certainly didn’t see it coming and had no idea that we would be buying a house. Of course the thought ran through my head constantly, but after a big fail in the house buying department {which was a blessing in disguise} I really thought we would be living at the 203 for much longer. While I loved our first little house together that we put blood, sweat, and tears into, it just wasn’t home. It didn’t have that feeling of safety that you should always have within the walls of your home. Packing went quick and so did the moving, which left little time to miss it. Truth be told….I haven’t missed it since we’ve moved. It’s been a refreshing change.


With that being said, I didn’t completely finish my twelve goals for the year. I actually was pretty far from completing them, but I’m going to make an exception since our extra money went to our new home. This year though, I am just writing ten goals. I want to at least accomplish one per month. I figured that was reasonable. Plus, if I kept on with the yearly goals {12 in 2012….13 in 2013}, it would become completely ridiculous. That’s why this year I’m sticking with just ten attainable goals….nothing ridiculous…nothing that will happen in my dreams. It’s just ten simple goals.


Want to know what they are? That will have to wait. Right now, I’m challenging you to make your own list. Write it down on a piece of paper. Write a blog post. Post it on my comments. Do all of the above. Whatever suits you. Just make it visible to yourself. Start making a plan for completing those goals and be prepared to mark them off. Seeing them will definitely motivate you, and marking them off will motivate you even more.

I will be back later with my official list!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Going a Different Route in the Christmas Card Dept.

Am I the only one who is late on Christmas cards this year? I almost opted out, but I seriously couldn’t allow myself to do that two years in a row. When it comes to Christmas cards, I’ve done it all. I’ve ordered online, I’ve bought from Wal-Mart, and I’ve {obviously} chosen not to send Christmas cards at all because I couldn’t get my act together. I really thought this year was going to be one of those years.

holly jolly

Christmas cards can be so pricey, and I did not have the moo-lah left in the bank account to be jumping the gun and going all out. With that being said, I went for an option I use frequently for other occasions, but never for Christmas cards. I went the DIY route, the print it yourself route, the cheap route.


How cheap? $10 cheap!


10 George Washingtons, and it was a done deal.

People, I tell you now that if you are not familiar with Etsy then you need to be. You can find tremendous deals, and most of the time you’re helping other women make a little extra money while they raise their family. It’s a win-win.

All you have to do is create an account. Type in printable Christmas cards. Search. Put a heart on your favorites. Browse your favorites list. Follow the shop owner’s directions and place an order. Wait 24-48 hours, and you’ve got yourself a Christmas card ready to print at home {or Walgreens or some other printing place if you are so led to spend more money}.

This year I went with a shop named OhDarlingPaper. I swear to you that I placed my order and a couple of hours later she emailed me my card. Seriously fast service! You even get to choose if you just want a jpeg or a pdf with the cutting lines already there!


In the end, I only spent $10 on Christmas cards. I already had the envelopes, paper cutter, stamps, and printer ready to go from other projects.

Wondering how it turned out? Look below!


I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. The owner of the shop is incredibly kind and helpful! I’m sure you can find something from her shop that will suit your needs. All of the photos above are samples of cards from her shop. How precious are those designs! Very classic designs!

I’ve had several people ask me about my printer. I scored a great deal at Office Depot on my printer a couple of years back. My printer is an HP Color LaserJet Printer CM1312nfi.It has earned its worth through my wedding and countless parties and showers. The only thing I wish it had would be a bypass tray.

Well, the next couple of days are going to be crazy busy, so I hope you all have a magnificent week full of Christmas joy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It’s the most wonderful time, and it’s the busiest time of the year. However, it is my favorite time of the year. I may complain from time to time about going here or there, but I really do enjoy it all. Christmas makes the winter season so much more beautiful than it would be without all of the sparkling lights. I’m a sucker for driving down the streets just to admire everyone’s Christmas decorations. My favorites are the classic white light decorations, but I do get a kick out of seeing the Griswald family décor on the lawn.

On top of all of that, I love decorating for Christmas around the house, too. Since this year is our first time in the house for Christmas, I’m living and learning about what works and what doesn’t. I can’t wait until I can make this a two {big} tree house…one for the living room for all the passerbyers to see and one for the den for me to constantly admire. That’s a goal for next year. We’ll see if it happens.

For now though, this is a sample of the Christmas décor you’ll see when you take a stroll around the house. Nothing too major….just some simple ideas thrown together.





I hope you all are enjoying the Christmas season and remembering the true reason for the season!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

{Trying} to Give Up on Perfection

About a week ago, I had a complete meltdown. Every encounter that people had with me probably consisted of me melting down of how there was no way I was going to be able to get everything done before Christmas. Most people would be concerned with the main things….buying gifts, putting up the tree, and maybe even figuring out what they were going to bring to this party or that.


You see, though, my list went way beyond that. When I was looking around at my house, all I was seeing were all of the projects on my to-do list that were not done or all of the things that I need to get to give the rooms a more completed look. That’s realistic, right? I would suppose so if we hit the lotto, or were self-made millionaires, or if we had all the time in the world to do all of those things all of the time. Even then….not so realistic.

In my conversations with a sub {and good friend} at school, my mom, my sister, and another co-worker and good friend, I made my case about how there was no way everything was going to get done. Then, I would remind myself that my expectations are impossible and totally ridiculous. After all, we just moved in the house in August. We’ve only be married two years. We don’t have some crazy triple digit income {not to mention the fact that I’m cheap}, and we work day in and day out {and I do not mean in the house….although that’s a never-ending job}.


In my head, all I could think of was all of the Christmas decorations that I wanted to put up and such with the reality in the back of my head. In the end, I compromised. I made myself a ridiculous list of things that wouldn’t cost me a dime {or not much moo-lah at all}. I marked things off as I completed then and felt terrific about my progress, and I tried to forget all of the things that weren’t getting done and weren’t going to. I also tried to focus more on the things that mattered most, my family and the true reason for the season.

I’m constantly at battle with my head and my heart. Sometimes I get too caught up in the worldly things when I should really be spending my time with my family and building a stronger relationship with God. I get too caught up in what people might think of me, and they probably don’t even give a hill of beans.

So, my house isn’t perfect, and if it were it would be boring. It’s never going to be “finished”. It’s going to be a constant work in progress.


Prepare yourself for tomorrow. I’m going to share some ways I’ve incorporated the Christmas season in my house and brought the beautiful creations of God right on in to remind me that He is the reason of the season and not the gifts and perfect presents that commercial America thinks it should be instead. I’ll also share some ideas I have for next year’s Christmas.

Typical me….always planning…….

Even a year in advance.

I hope you’re not as stressed as I’ve been. I’m teaching myself how to take a chill pill. I’m a work in progress.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wanting to Break out the Camera!

Am I the only person who sees these 31 day challenges on Pinterest and thinks that it’s a great idea but then sees an ultimate fail?

I saw this list made by another blogger at A Content Housewife

December Photo Challenge

I thought it was a great idea, but I’m not sure how well I will do by posting each and every day.

The good news is that there’s not a rule that you have to break out your DSLR camera to take and upload these pictures.

Use your iPhone. I know I sure will on some days.

If you use Twitter, you can use the hashtag #ACHdecember to link your photos to the blogger who came up with this idea.

I’m going to at least give it a try! If you want to follow along with at least part of this December photo journey, join me on Twitter or Instagram at brennab52.

If you’re going to join in, let me know. I’d love to follow you as well! Hopefully, I can do a summary post at least once a week on my progress {or lack of}.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hot Chocolate, Anyone?

I’ve seen all of these ideas lately to have a Hot Chocolate Party, and I still haven’t marked that off of my list of possibilities this year.

In the mean time, I thought it would be nice to have a place that is ready to go for anyone {including myself and Colby} who might want to indulge in a little hot cocoa.

This is something anyone can do! No special ingredients or homemade somethings! All store bought!


What could one need for a hot chocolate bar?

The cutest Christmas mugs you can find, napkins, instant hot chocolate packets, Hershey’s kisses, and mini candy canes.



So, come on by and have a cup of hot chocolate and good conversation!

Or, set up your own to offer your visitors on these chilly days.

It can be as complex or as simple as you want to make it.

It’s a great way to spread some Christmas cheer in the dining room or kitchen of you home.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Holiday Makeover

After my poor husband  saw a look of pure distress on my face and heard my complaining as I was trying to figure out how in the world I was going to get a gigantic piece of furniture painted while amidst the cooking and preparing for Thanksgiving & visiting friends and family {nothing like the holidays to make me decide every project in the house must be completed asap}, he decided to save the day and present me with an early Christmas present. I’m not sure how he got that one by me, but he is slicker than I thought. Since I’ve become an iPhone user, I’m posting much more to Instagram, so you might have seen what was laid in my hands.

Paint gun

I felt like I had hit the jackpot, and I would definitely say that a paint gun is the jackpot of the DIY world…..that and a Silhouette machine. I’m still working on that one.

With a paint gun now in my possession, I was ready to prep the china cabinet by taping it off. That was a task in and of itself. One hour of my life spent taping.

Search results for china cabinet

From there, the furniture was hauled out into the garage for a spray down. I warn you now all of you pro-furniture-redoers. I did not do this properly. Time was of the essence, so I skipped the light sanding and went straight to the painting,. I knew it would work since I had already completed the buffet {with brush and rollers}.

Buffet Painting

That took fo-ev-ah! I probably would have saved a tad bit of time if I had taken the time to do that. What’s done is done!

And now it is time for the reveal!


I spray painted all of the hardware with Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze, and I was quite pleased with how it turned out….especially since it was rusted and just flat out ugly before.




The china cabinet was so much fun to paint compared to that two day painting job buffet. If the paint would have been some magical dry instantly paint, I would have had it completed in an hour tops. It was the wait between dry times that took so long.

Big difference, don’t you think?

Want to see an even bigger difference?

Let’s see how the dining room has changed since we first saw the house until now.

New House Dining Room

And now…



It doesn’t look like my Aunt Lucille’s furniture anymore! Here’s to making the old new again! Like I told my mom the other day, I don’t have enough money to go out and buy new furniture, but I sure can make something better with a little paint and furniture that is given to me {or bought on the cheap}.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Blessings of Thanksgiving {My Top 5}

This year has been a crazy year that was full of unexpected things that turned into amazingly wonderful blessings. A year ago I would have never imagined that I would be in the spot I am in now. I had goals set for my life, and I can honestly say that I have crossed a lot of those goals off of my list since I have accomplished them or went far beyond. Sometimes the road was tough, not fun, and extremely stressful, but I put my faith in the Lord {even when it was difficult to do} and trusted that he had a plan for me beyond what I knew. Trusting him definitely proved to be in my favor because without him I wouldn’t be where I am.

Even though I’m a day late and a dollar short, I have so much to be thankful this year….much more than what is going to be on this list. These are just some things that stand out to me.


_MG_2010 edit

I am thankful for my husband. He has celebrated my accomplishments with me. He has talked me through the times when I just felt like giving up in various aspects of my life {mostly graduate school}. He has encouraged me to become a better person and push my limits to get tremendous results. Most of all….he has just believed in me. I even told him last night that he’s hard on me…..and he is. He’s not hard on me in a mean way though. He just knows that if I am pushed that the results will be even greater than I had imagined. He’s right, and I love him for everything he does for me.



I am thankful for a loving and supportive family. They put up with me. They’re patient with me {most of the time}. I am thankful for such a large family that enjoys each other, too. So many families seem to drift away, but my family always seems to find time for each other {especially around the holidays}. Not only do I have a great family that has been a part of my entire life, but I have an amazing family that has accepted me from the day Colby introduced them to me. I felt right at home then, and I feel even more like that now. I most certainly do not have the dreaded in-laws. They are anything but that!



Our new home! This has been one of the greatest blessings to me this year. At the beginning of the year, Colby and I had looked at a house and met with a realtor only for things not to work out. I couldn’t understand why it didn’t work out. Now, I do. That house had far more problems than we realized, and the Lord knew that this house was in our future. It is everything I wanted and more. It’s a lovely home with just enough projects to be done to be happy. What good is a house if it is already perfect….boring! Then, there wouldn’t be a blog.



I am thankful for a job that I enjoy going to each and every day. Is everyday peaches and cream? Hardly, but most days give me the satisfaction that I knew I would get from this profession. I am working with colleagues that I can call friends at a school that feels like home to me {since I went to school there}. They understood what I was going through when I was completing my Master’s degree this year and completely supported my goal to finish it up in a year’s time.



I am thankful for our new addition to our family, Zeb! I didn’t expect to gain a new furry friend this year, but I’m glad we did. Sometimes I wonder if we have lost our minds… when he wakes up the entire neighborhood while he barks at his bowl at 6 a.m. or when he chewed through important wires on our a.c. unit. That doesn’t make up for the fact that he is 100% loving and playful and gorgeous. We truly love this little big guy!

This break from school has also been a true blessing. Seeing family & friends that I don’t normally get to see and seeing the newest addition to our family has been so much fun. I hope to see and enjoy everyone’s company again soon!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How Every Man Wants Spend His Day

Yesterday, we had a half day of school since the Blue Eagles were having to make a  4 1/2 hour drive to north Alabama for a playoff football game. It couldn’t have happened at a better time since Colby and I have been discussing what exactly we want to knock off of the to-do list. Since carpet might be easier to knock off at some point within the year, are final decision was on furniture for our empty living room.

At this point, our living room consists of two televisions that need to hit the road, walls that need to be painted, and a light fixture that must be changed. My grandmother has been trying to sell her piano, but that didn’t last long since this granddaughter desperately wants one so that she’s not ambushed when her mom goes on a vacation and can’t play the piano for the church. If I can ever find {enough} men to transfer the piano from one place to another, the living room will officially be the best place to have a Christmas gathering {once we have furniture of course}.

Colby was such a sport yesterday though. He wants the house to be just as nice as I do, and while we sometimes disagree on décor decisions, we can both agree that the first room you see when you enter the house should be more appealing to the eye than what it is now. This is what it looked like when we first were shown the house. Just imagine it without any furniture, and that will equal what its appearance is today.


After doing my research, reading lots of blogs, and talking a lot with my amazing SIL over the past couple of years, I knew immediately that I wanted a slipcovered couch. Why, you ask? Think about your couch that has never been cleaned. Do you even want to know what might be lingering on what your cuddle up on each and every day? I prefer my couch to be clean, not only to the eye, but deep down.

I also knew that I wanted a light colored couch {not white, but a nice neutral color}. Remember…you can wash them. It’s okay to choose something that doesn’t hide the unknown since you can wash the nasty away. Speaking of washing, the slipcovers could not be dry clean only. If I find out that my family is coming over from out of town on the following day, I want to be able to strip my couch and throw it in the washer, so it can be clean before they arrive without having to worry about whether or not the dry cleaner will be open and/or could have it done before they arrived.

Once all of the research was done, it was time to make a move because I knew a PB sofa was out of the question, so Colby and I loaded up the car and drove to Andalusia {which is about an hour from where we live}. Barrow’s was the store of choice, and they have a tremendous selection of furniture. While most was not my taste, I immediately noticed the furniture that was. 

It had to be skirted at the bottom and have a nice casual {but refined look}. This was the first sofa that caught my eye.  If it was going to be a sectional, it would have to much larger than that though. Since that didn’t come as an option, this one was off the list.


Right around the corner was this beautiful lady! Unfortunately, it was beautiful, but not very comfy.


Which led us to this amazingly comfortable set, but was a bit to large in size for what I wanted….


And then, I found it. It was just what I wanted….a Rowe Nantucket sofa. My excitement was almost crushed as the dealer thought it was a closeout, but the Lord smiled upon us. It was not a closeout at all. It was perfect.


We then picked out the fabric {a nice cotton and linen} and got everything priced. We haven’t ordered it yet as we’re waiting on the Christmas fairy {aka bonuses} to land in our hands, but I can’t wait to make the call and place the order.


So, here’s the question….do we get a sofa and a loveseat; a sofa, chair, and ottoman; or a sofa, loveseat, chair and ottoman; or maybe even two sofas since there is only a $30 difference between a sofa and a loveseat? Let me know what you think. In the mean time, I’ve got to do some measuring of my own to really figure out what it is going to be. This is the tough part!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Most Fattening Cookies…..Ever!

I’ve been browsing Pinterest quite often over the past couple of weeks. I must have a record for the most pinned things. It’s ridiculous really. While making my grocery list for the month, I thought I would make a couple of extra things aside from the regular menu list. Yes, I make a menu to figure out what we’re going to eat for the month. No need in wasting money!

Anyhow…my sweet tooth took over, and I was all about some “boyfriend cookies”.


Look delicious enough for you? If you’re on diet or counting calories or whatever, just go ahead and hit the red x at the top of the page. No need to tempt you any further! I’m sure one cookie would count for your entire amount of calories for the day. It’s insanely good!

So, here’s the recipe….

Boyfriend Cookies Recipe

If you try them, let me know how you like them! Beware though because you can’t stop at one.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Solving the Christmas Gift Guessing

Quite honestly, I know I’m probably not the only wife in the world whose husband has a difficult time buying for. My husband has such a difficult time because most of the things I desire have to be bought online since we come from such a small town. However, I wanted to have a little bit of a surprise this year at Christmas instead of the typical ordering & wrapping it all on my own. That’s where Pinterest came in!

In an effort to make it easier on my husband, I pinned some items to a special board. I pinned anything and everything that I could possibly want. After all, I don’t want to pin three items and basically know what I’m getting. Don’t get me wrong either. I’m not tying him down and forcing him to purchase any of these things either. It’s just my way of offering some help. He doesn’t want to spend money on something that I’m not even going to use, and I don’t want the excitement of Christmas to be taken away from me just yet.

Christmas List

The great thing about Pinterest is that you can go browsing websites and pin an item. Then, when your husband clicks on the link, it will take him straight to it and will take the guess work out of it. Don’t forget those coupon codes either! When you’re Christmas shopping online {or in store}, search for coupon codes or printable coupons before you buy! Don’t leave that little box blank! It’s there for a reason, and 9 times out of 10 you can find a code for at least free shipping.

Those are my Christmas gift ideas! Here’s another plus! If your family members ask you what you want for Christmas, you can direct them to the same board instead of just going blank and offering zero help to them. That’s the story of my life! I get asked 100 times, and I offer them no help.

With all of this being said, don’t think I’m not grateful for well-thought out presents or any gift at all. I feel blessed if someone even thinks enough of me to give me a gift. To be quite honest, my favorite part of Christmas is not receiving gifts, but I would rather give gifts. By far one of my favorite parts!

Want to know another favorite part of the Christmas season? 25 days of Christmas movies on ABC Family!

25 days of Christmas

Sorry for skipping right past Thanksgiving! I promise I won’t do it too much, but I always seem to do my Christmas posts too late! Here’s to preparing for the season ahead, and I’ll be back with some other ideas later!

Monday, November 12, 2012

It’s That Time!

Guess what guys and gals! It is officially the time of year to create a shoe box and fill it full of goodies for a little girl or boy for the Samaritan’s Purse project. I hope to get this done today or tomorrow, so I can turn it in on time. Your shoe box must be turned in by Friday, November 16th. It’s a project that I take part in every year simply because I know that my contribution is going straight to a child that would likely be receiving nothing for Christmas. I know how much receiving random gifts makes me feel, and I’m much more fortunate than those little children. What makes it even more wonderful is that you can contribute your $7 online and track your box!

I’ve compiled a list of good ideas to include in a box:

Samaritan's Purse 3

If you need to know where to take your box to, click here and enter your information for a drop off location. You can click here to get your label & make your donation. Let’s join together and get the Christmas season started early by doing a good deed and making the day of a sweet, innocent child!

Remember….boxes must be in by Friday!

Update! I made my box, and it’s ready to go. I got all of my items from the Dollar Tree and packed it full. Here’s what I bought. Maybe it will give you some ideas!



Here’s a tip! Buy a $1 plastic tote with lid from the Dollar General. Then, it is something that they can use again instead of just a shoe box that will fall apart.


Now, it’s all packed up and ready to go for a 5-9 year old little girl.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Good for Nothing

That has been the story of my weekend. I have accomplished absolutely nothing other than straightening the house up, folding & washing clothes, and baking cookies. The rest of the time I have spent lying on the couch watching Boy Meets World, Andy Griffith, and anything on HGTV. Oh year, and perusing Pinterest, which only makes me think of the thousand and one projects I should really be doing instead of doing absolutely nothing that’s productive.


My husband asked me why I have been so tired and taking so many naps this weekend. My immediate thought was that I have just been plain exhausted from getting up at 5:00 five days a week and going to bed late. Plus, I’ve been waking up earlier than wanted on the weekends because of this stinking time change {anyone else having this problem?} and going to bed even later than I do during the week. Then, I got to thinking though. I feel quite sure that I have actually been left alone long enough to take a nap without any interruptions, the cold weather that makes me want to snuggle up with a pillow and blanket, and a quilt made with love by Colby’s grandmother {I call it our get-well quilt} really adds to it, too.

In the past two weeks, we have gone on two field trips. Both were lots of fun, but exhausting as well. It’s a nice change of pace from the four walls with no windows classroom though. I have such a terrific class that I really don’t mind all that comes with a field trip excursion. They’re not a group I have to worry about a lot.


Anyhow…I do have some things to share with you this week…..some pinterest recipes that I have tried and loved, a buffet makeover, Christmas ideas, and an update on life from the past two weeks since I was too lazy to pull out the computer. Ipads have made me lazy in the blogging department. Maybe if I had a Mac computer I wouldn’t be so lazy! Haha! In my dreams!