Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Packing: The Burrito Technique

Recently, I’ve started using what I call the burrito technique to pack for trips.  It allows us to see all our outfits for the week easily and know what we have and haven’t worn.  If it’s still in a burrito, then it’s clean.  Here’s what I do:

STEP 1:  Lay out the shirt



STEP 2:  Lay the shorts on top


Add underwear and socks if you like.

I keep socks and undies in mesh lingerie bags instead.  If it’s in the mesh bag, then it’s clean if it’s not, then dirty, which is nice to knowSmile.

(FYI: For pants, I do the opposite.  First pants, then shirt.  Roll shirt inside pants.)


STEP 3:  Fold the sides in.



STEP 4:  Roll your burrito.


This has been so helpful for the boys to keep track of their stuff on vacation and especially for Jake going to sleepover summer camp.


IMG_3571  IMG_3573


My daughter has her own way of doing things and wants no part of the burritos, but then again, she doesn’t need it.  She is well aware of which outfit is which.  The boys not so much.

I’ve even started to do my own packing like this, but I don’t do it by outfit.  I roll each shirt into a burrito.  It helps me to visually see what I’ve got easily instead of rummaging through a pile of clothes.  It works so well, I think I’m going to use this method in my drawers too.

What’s your favorite packing tip?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Warm & Fuzzy

I’ve decided it’s time to end this week and start the weekend a bit early.  Here’s a little warm & fuzzy story to kick off your weekend.  It’s short, but sure to warm your heart.

About a week and a half ago, my mom stole a few hours to have to herself to run errands and just meander a bit while my dad hung out with my sis.  Along the way, she stopped for lunch.  She noticed a woman that looked familiar.  Turns out she did not know this woman and they did not speak a word to each other.

I only mention her because at the end of my mom’s meal, the waiter approached my mom and said, “Your lunch has been paid for.”  My mom was slightly puzzled as anyone would be, and of course beyond grateful.  After speaking with the waiter, she came to find out that it was this woman that she had noticed earlier who paid for lunch.  It turns out this woman does this about once a month, just because. 

How cool is that?

I’m not sure why this woman picked my mom.  Maybe it was because she was eating alone.  Maybe she reminded her of someone.  All I know is that she couldn’t have picked a better person that day.  My mom could use a bit of pampering.  Now that my dad is progressing further in his battle with Alzheimer’s, it’s more and more life changing, leaving my mom with little time for herself.  Without worries.

If I could write a note to this woman, I would.  And by the odd, freakish chance that she comes across my humble, little blog…

Dear Anonymous Woman at California Pizza Kitchen,

I don’t know how or why you picked my mom to treat to lunch that day.  It’s almost as if you were guided to the exact right person.  You were like an angel sent down to brighten my mom’s day and warm her heart.  You gave her more than just a meal.  You gave her a moment to forget her stresses and be taken care of.  Your kindness has definitely left a mark on her heart forever.  She came home that day overwhelmed with tears of gratitude from your simple act of kindness.  You are truly one of God’s angels on earth.

Words cannot express my gratitude.


One deeply moved and very grateful daughter

Monday, July 23, 2012

Obsessions: Trays and Other Stuff

Okay, so if you’ve been following for a little while, you know I’m a sucker for presentation.   And I’ve found that it’s simple, little things that make all the difference aaannnd, doesn’t make anymore work for you.  I’m not talking about creating bunting or pom poms and decorating to the nines.  Just a couple little things to add a little uumph.

My latest obsession:  trays.

Love ‘em!

It’s like going from sweats to a little black dress.

IMG_3547   IMG_3551

So much better, right?

IMG_3549   IMG_3550


Throw wine bottles and wine glasses on a tray and you have yourself a mini bar.


And how about those tiered stands?  Another obsession of mine.  Takes up less space and makes everything look good.  See that fruit up there…lookin good!

It’s the little black dress of serve wear.

I’m just sayin.


Oh, and I can’t leave out my love for drink dispensers.


Sometimes I feel like that SNL public radio skit when I talk about this stuff, but yes, this stuff gets me giddy.  I know my bloggy friends out there appreciate this!  Right?

Anywaaaaays…just wanted to share some little things that go a long way for presentation.  Sometimes is those little details that do the trick.

What’s one of your favorite little details that gets you giddy?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Flameless Campfire Craft: Using Your Resources

Here’s a cute little craft project perfect for summertime or scout groups.  My nephew’s scout group did this for his blue and gold banquet.  They needed to make a centerpiece using the theme "resources".   So they used natural resources like rocks and sticks and recycled resources like the can and the tissue paper.  The adults put holes in the cans for light to shine through… 

fire can

…and the boys made the faux campfires on top.

fire can

They used battery operated candles under the can to shine light through the holes.

Clever and very resourceful!

fire can

I think they nailed their theme of RESOURCES.

Thanks to my sis, Jackie at Prep Like a Chef for passing along the idea and photos from my nephew’s scout group!

Have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kids’ Bathroom

Since I’ve joined the “Show Us Your Bathroom” fun at Thrifty Décor Chick with my half bath and master bath, I thought I’d keep the ball rollin and give you a peek into the kids’ bathroom.  If you’ve been following along for a while, you first saw part of it here when I took all the doors off the vanity.

kid vanity 2

Once again, I was working with what I’ve got in there and rolling with that awesome faux marble countertop.  I bet you are all getting really jealous by now seeing that I have that counter in not one, not two, but THREE of my bathrooms!

Anyhow, I really didn’t want to go too cutesy so it could grow along with them.  However, I did want it to be a more relaxed atmosphere, so I went with a natural beach theme.  It’s one of our favorite places to go as a family and it just works perfectly in there.  So you’ll find treasures from our beach trips and pictures of the kids at the beach.

Speaking of those pictures…ummm, yes, I do have three kids and I’m not leaving one out, but Jake’s frame mysteriously fell and broke.  Still need to fix that.  Have you noticed lots of mysterious things happen at my house?  Anyhow, the plan is to change out the photos after every summer vacation, but I think it’s only happened once, maybe twice.  I also love to incorporate treasures from our trips like the rocks on the shelves.  It holds meaning for us, plus, it gives a chance to do something with all the rocks we collect every year.

beachy shelves

Here’s the view approaching from the hall.  Besides that horrible sea shell sink and faux marble counter, we were lucky enough to have plain white tiles in there.  Because I was lazy, I mean because I thought white would play off the beach theme, I didn’t bother painting the walls.

kids bath view from hall

I just love this black and white photo of the boat sitting on top of a bed of rocks…kind of beachy chic, I think.  Found it at IKEA a few years back.  And I love the warmth and casual element the wooden pegs add underneath the boat photo.  Unfortunately, we may have to replace it for a different hook system.  The pegs continue to fall out even after gluing them in.   Hanging off the hooks, I actually use our beach towels for a bit of color and playfulness.  I like that it gives them a life beyond three months of the year.  And I just used a simple white terry cloth shower curtain that we’ve had since we were married.

view from sink

Never thought I could incorporate pink with the two boys, but the pink rug was one of my oops updates again.  I bought it for a different spot, but it was too small and I didn’t return it in time, so I thought I’d give it a try in here.  The boys never said a word.  I love the color combo of turquoise, pink and lime green.

view from sink 2

There’s that awesome counter again.  Once, when my niece was visiting, she actually asked her mom what was all over our counters.  Hilarious.  On the counter, you may recognize those striped cups from Target’s summer line this year.  Functional and cute.

view from toilet

IMG_3512 kids counter

And of course, there are more rocks and sand from our travels.

rocks and sand kid bath

On some of the jars, I added little tags indicating the place it came from.

tag on sand jar tag 2

I scattered some of our rocks on the window sill too.  Can’t get enough rocks over here.

rocks on sill

Working with what I’ve got, I think it came together pretty well, buuuuut…..

here are few more ideas brewing in my mind:


  • Frame out that giant mirror with rustic wood, possibly a driftwood look
  • Replace counter with 24x24 cement patio tiles…but don’t know if it’s too heavy for an upstairs bath???  Anyone know????
  • Do I just replace counter or whole vanity unit, that is the question???
  • Board and batten with a hook system??
  • Take down linen closet doors for open shelving system like my master

So there you have it.  You’ve seen them all.  Hopefully next time you see them, it will be a picture of me ripping out those counters!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Master Bath Lipstick Fixes

One thing I like about living in an outdated space and just doing a lipstick fix is that there is no commitment.  If I don’t like it, no biggie.  I’m not out thousands of dollars and I can just change it again.  The hubby and I have have been thinking about taking the plunge on a master bath reno this year.  A real one.  I have to say, it kind of scares me.  I have a hard enough time making decisions on my lipstick fixes, let alone ones that will cost me some big bucks.

The choices we make have to be timeless, yet timely.  I don’t want to spend a pile of money for a trend that will pass in minutes, but I do want to add a little personality in there.  Anyhow, until I figure that balancing act out, I’ll share some of the lipstick fixes we’ve done in there…

…starting with my favorite, taking down the bifold doors on this closet!  Ahhhh!  So much better.  So easy and basically free.





My vanity took a couple tries before I was satisfied with the results.  It all happened by accident really.  First I painted it espresso and it just wasn’t working for me.  So I gathered up paint samples of greys and taupes and just started layering it ending up with sort of an aged wood effect.  I’m telling you, keep your eyes open in the sample or returned paint section…for a couple bucks or even cents, you can do a little project.  Love sample sizes, they take you a long way sometimes.



I bought glass knobs to dress it up, but that required drilling holes.  So guess what…it never happened.  Using those knobs on another project because if we actually go through with the master bath reno this year, why bother?  Right?  Right.


Updated the light fixture with a cheapo from Lowes that you could mix and match shades and light bars.



Actually bought a new mirror that’s been living in my closet for I don’t know how long now.  Don’t think it will find a home in the updated bathroom because I want a double sink next time around, but I’m sure I can figure something to do with it.  Have an idea or two.


My DIY sea fan art.  Go here, to see how I made it – too easy.



Accidental update number 57…a shower curtain to replace the glass door.  Mysteriously there was a crack in the glass door one day.  Actually glad to be rid of it.  It was kind of gross.


Some chrome hardware and pretty towels.




Threw in some beach inspired items including rocks from our vacations and a jar from my mom’s basement…one of the many treasures from her basement.


Didn’t do anything with the fabulous faux marble countertop with the awesome seashell sink.  Couldn’t bring myself to spend money on a short term counter.  Although, looking at these photos, I can’t believe I stuck with them this long.



Wish List for the Real Reno

  • Pretty much the reason behind the reno – a BIGGER shower.  The current one is about the size of a phone booth and we’ve recaulked the base about three times and it never seals correctly.  Let’s just say It’s gross.
  • A shower seat – my husband’s dream
  • Frameless glass doors
  • Rectangular undermount sinks (really want REAL marble counter, but scared of staining)
  • Enlarging the space by walling up the hallway linen closet and making it a part of the bathroom.
  • Enlarging the space by using what was once a vanity area outside the bathroom between the bathroom and closet as a part of the bathroom.


Just look at this wasted space where the shower could be extended!  To the left is the bathroom and to the right is the closet. (there was a vanity and mirror there, but we already took it out and replaced it with this armoire)


  • That would cause a change in door placement …speaking of doors…mini frosted glass French doors with glass knobs.
  • Oh, and wouldn’t it be nice to update the closet system while we’re at it? Smile

So really the guts of our bathroom aren’t that horrible with the white tile and all, but if we are changing vanities and enlarging the space, there won’t be any tile to match for those spots, thus making this a total gut job.  There’s that domino effect again.  It always comes into play doesn’t it?  If we pull the trigger on the whole reno thing, you know I’ll be sharing the adventure.  And if any of you have gone through the process, please pass along any advice you might have.


Linking up here and of course at Thrifty Décor Chick’s show us your bathroom…which is what prompted this post.  I think I’ll continue to follow Sarah’s schedule for highlighting the rooms in my house.  It keeps me on track and focused.  Thanks, Sarah! Smile

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