Patriotic Porch

I’ve been having a blast being a part of our social media team for Country North Gifts (Instagram @countrynorthgifts).

We started doing a weekly feature and it’s been so. Much. Fun!

I had to travel really far to do this week’s concept. That jaunt across my driveway and my neighbor’s to their front porch was a killer in this Maine heat. (I’m working really hard to keep a straight face.)

We combined her two rockers with mine and scrounged up little tables for her gorgeous plants. Our decor? Items from our selection at the store – flags, blanket, pillow, etc). I love how just a few accessories can complete a look and create a space you love.

Boxes. Boxes everywhere.

Hey there! Long time, no write. As you can see we’ve arrived in NE Maine and we’re EXHAUSTED!!!!!

As I sit here in the midst of a sea of boxes, I thought I’d drop a quick line.

I’m using my phone because my computer is somewhere here. Oh and the whole “no internet yet” thing.

We’re alive and we’re officially the proud owners of two mortgages. Woooo. Yay!

And they laughed and laughed some more.

I’ll write more just as soon as I recover. Or at least as soon as I get my coffee maker hooked up.

Thank you for all the good vibes and prayers. They were appreciated. Before I go, here’s a small glimpse into the chaos that is now. All I can say is unpacking is way more fun than packing. And GEEZ I’ve got a lot of stuff.

Playing Photographer For A Day

We’re down to the wire here at Casa Dulinsky.

Just ten more days and the place we called home for a decade will just be a longing glance in the rear view mirror.

Our last days here have been an ever increasing whir of activity. So when a good friend invited me along to take senior photos of her daughters, I screamed yes, grabbed my camera and jumped into the car.

We have a few more locations and poses to shoot, but we ran out of time today. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the week sneaking in an hour here and there with some very, very special people.

I had fun pretending to be some professional photographer- and yes, I yelled out crazy cues and spun the camera frantically.

It was a blast, but sheesh. Talk about a workout. Can we call that my cardio?

Anyhow here’s a little sample of the fun we had today.

Transforming A Bathroom For Less Than $200

We’re just a week away from finally listing our house and I have definitely learned a valuable lesson with all of this.

Don’t wait until later to do what you can now.

For four and a half years I’ve been thinking of redoing our kids bathroom upstairs, but I always put it off.  My reason? It’d be too much work and would cost too much.

Oh how wrong I was!

In the end we spent less than $200.  I’d like to say it was under $150, but I’m just too tired to do the math right now.  Yes, worst blogger ever, but there you have it.  I’ll tell you what though- I’ll do an item run down at the end and you can do the math.

So follow along (and grab your calculator) and see how I turned a dark and outdated bathroom into a light and bright hall bath perfect for all ages.

It started with this.  Or at least something like this.

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I managed, in the chaos, not to take pictures of the bathroom before I let the painters loose in the house.  So using my amazing (limited) tech skills I searched Zillow for the listing of our house when we bought it back in 2013.

I’d been thinking for quite awhile now that I’d like to remove the mirrors.  My theory?  If I took those heavy dark mirrors off, the room would feel bigger.  I just kept putting it off for reasons already explained.

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So when I walked past the bathroom and saw the guys had removed the mirrors to prep the room I couldn’t help but do a fist pump of victory (and cringe at the mess).   I was right!  Instantly the room had grown, or at least felt like it. img_3294

Armed with resolve to transform more than just the walls, I informed them to not bother putting the mirrors back up and then proceeded to list them for sale on Let Go. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a yard sale app and I love it.  I’d say more but I’m not an advertisement. However, I did sell them within hours which was great because I was then able to take that money and transform the light fixture.

From this.

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To this.

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You might recognize these glass shades- they’re the same ones we used to update the dining room light fixtures. Then again, you might not because I just realized I never posted that because I’ve been sleep deprived since the holidays and I have the worst memory ever.  So here’s a tiny recap of that.

Once the paint was dry it was time to put some mirrors on the walls.  You can’t have a bathroom without mirrors, not when you have three girls….unless you like having them sneak into your bathroom at all times.

I don’t.

So we headed back to Lowe’s and began our search for mirrors.

I really liked these.

I just didn’t like the price tag.

Luckily, on the way to look at those we passed by the home decor section and stumbled upon these which were just under $30 each, making two of them cheaper than even just one of the fancy mirrors that tilt up and down.

Still, we passed by them to go look at the actual bathroom mirrors. The mounted ones were out of stock and we’d decided to just order them online despite the hefty price tag, but these white framed beauties stayed on my mind.

I’m pretty sure I dreamt of them that night so by 9 a.m the next morning, we were back at Lowe’s (they really should give me my own parking spot) and not long after they were up on the wall.  Hooray for handy handsome husbands.

I admit there’s quite the gap between the mirrors and the light, but when you’re on a budget time-wise and financially? you just have to work with what you’ve got.  I’m thinking about finding a thin sign or other wall decor to go between but for now, we’ll just leave it be.

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That cute white bin on the counter is courtesy of Target’s Bullseye Playground. You know, that section right by the entrance- the one that sucks you in only to spew you out with $$$’s worth of stationary and little knickknacks you didn’t need?

Well I needed this for the million toothbrushes my kids owned.  Seriously, I went to clean out their bathroom and I found thirteen toothbrushes.  THIRTEEN!  And yet, they still manage to forget to brush at times.

I mean, at least I didn’t find a sandwich on a tiny pink plate underneath the cabinet, one so hard I could’ve scrubbed the toilet with.  Not that I’m speaking from experience. Okay, fine.  Judge me.  I am speaking from experience.

But I digress, let’s move on before my eye starts to twitch. Again.

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I first thought to use it as a little counter caddy to corral their toothbrushes (which we narrowed down to four) and such, but in the end I stocked it with shampoo, toys, and rubber duckies.  It now resides under the cabinet. The one that used to have a sandwich – wait.  We moved on.

Colors! Let’s talk color schemes!  Exciting.  Oooooh.

I chose to go with navy blue and white for this bathroom because they’re going to be two of the main colors in our new house so everything I’ve bought for staging our old house can be used in the new one. IMG_3344 This shower curtain was also from Target because let’s face it- if I’m not at Lowe’s I’m at Target. 

And oh would you look at that, we’re at the end!  Just to recap and to save you from scrolling up at the risk of spraining your finger here’s a before and after.

And if you’re wondering;  the toilet is to the right behind it’s own door.  I’d show you, but it’s a hot mess right now.  And I’m tired. And it’s late.  And… Oh wait!  Here’s a picture of it. So fancy.

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Okay!!

Before: Dark and Dingy

After: Lighter, Brighter

And now the run down.  Grab them calculators or throw off your shoes and slip off your socks and get to counting. By the way- I’m rounding up here on the prices.

Lowes

Mirrors: $30 x 2 = $60

Light Shades: $8 x 3= $24

Light Bulbs: $5 x 3= $15

Target

Caddy: $5

Shower Curtain: $15

And not shownthe blue and white basket from Ross (it’s on top of the toilet holding toilet paper) : $5

For a grand total of…well you tell me.

Just kidding.

$124!!!

Yeah baby.  And wait.  Hold up.  Back that cart up… I made $45 selling those big mirrors.  Add that in and I spent $79.

Of course, all that money I saved went to Starbucks there at Target.  Hey, a girl needs her caffeine, but not as much as she needs sleep.  Ya have a good night, this girl is gonna go count some sheep.

I’ll leave you with this-  you don’t have to spend a fortune to transform a space.  Have a vision, make a plan and think outside of the box.  Those mirrors weren’t meant for a bathroom, and you can update a light fixture just by changing the shades.  Oh and Bullseye’s Playground has some great stuff that can be used so many different ways.

I Like To Move It, Move It

 

Oh how I love moving

Let me count the ways

…..

………

………….

I don’t think there’s a person on this planet who actually loves the moving process, and if there is and it’s you? Well, feel free to come over and help me.  Seriously.

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Even Fat Cat (Shade) is feeling the effects of packing.

January 17, 2018: We received the email that we’d been waiting for since November. The move up north that we’d only been dreaming of for over eight years was finally happening. All we needed to do was reply back that we indeed wanted to accept the offer and we’d be on our merry way- in three months.

We jumped onto the roller coaster of change, strapped in and went for a ride.  There was the foreboding climb up first.  Should we accept?  Is this what God wants for us?  I mean we prayed, we sought.  Did we find? What if this wasn’t the right move for us (no pun intended)?  It’s amazing how you can be dreaming and hoping for something for so long and yet when it finally comes, everything is suddenly so hazy.  Our direction was so clear when it was all hypothetical.

Goodbye clarity, hello uncertainty.

Then we reached the top, the peak of the roller coaster, where we seized the moment and soared with the confidence that this was His direction. The elation! The excitement!  We were finally on our way.  After a decade in the desert, we would finally get somewhere that had all four seasons again.

This part of the roller coaster only lasts for so long because soon we had reached the descent.

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The ugly reality of dealing with this.  It took two Advils, three hours, and four million boxes but this no longer looks like this- just take my word for it. It’s still a mess, but an organized mess.

The realities of the move, every minuscule detail, each logistical issue just plunged us down further and faster.  Fear of the unknown had dread plummeting down into our very souls faster than the ride could take us, but soon the thrill once again kicked in and with screams of wild abandon we threw our hands up in the air and embraced it.

Until we reached the bottom where we were left with boxes.  Lots and lots of boxes.

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I’m convinced our stuff is really a colony of rabbits disguised as inanimate objects, mating and multiplying at night.  For every box I packed, there seemed to be fifty more waiting for me.  I’m this close to being on a first name basis with the staff of Lowe’s.  Soon you’ll find my picture on their wall of MVC’s. Most Valued Customer.  Okay, I’m totally making that up, but if they did have such a thing, I’d be on it.  My picture framed with bubble wrap.  Like this kind that takes a large mercury glass bowl and turns it into this.

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Why yes, I left myself little notes of encouragement for when we begin unpacking…..Tired me will appreciate sarcastic me’s gesture.  Trust me.

 

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 Balboa Mist is ready to neutralize. I’ll miss the yellow, but I’ll soon have a tangerine dining room in Maine. (More on that later)

 

I’d love to write more, but the painters will be here tomorrow and I’m nowhere near ready for them.  I’d pour myself a cup of coffee and just stay right here, but I need to move my chair into the garage.  That and I packed up all of my coffee mugs.  I have a lot of coffee mugs.  (Actually I’m exaggerating , my chair is safe for now, and I left out a couple of mugs for that sweet sweet nectar of life.)

Hey! Drop a line.  Entertain me with your harrowing stories of when you moved.  Whether it was across the country or just across town, I want to hear from you.  Bonus points if you make me laugh. IMG_3248 I’ll reward you with a cup of coffee.  I saved a mug just for you.  It’s the large one with the picture of a cow wearing glasses.

You’re welcome.

The Maine Event

You want to make God laugh?

Tell him your plans.

When I wrote the “I’m not dead” post, I had no idea that would be my last one for almost two months.  We were doing so good, you and I.  I’d write something witty, occasionally profound (just go with me here) and you’d read it, occasionally like it, maybe comment on it.  We were a team going full steam ahead, and then life waltzed in and swung a giant bat right at my head.  It was a doozy.  I’m still seeing stars here.  So a quick recap and then boy do I have some news for you.

There was the usual holiday hullabaloo involving Christmas pageants, presents, and spontaneous car rides to go look at the lights.

I’ve got a few pointers for you:

  1. Go before 10 pm.
  2. Don’t buy the kids overpriced drinks from the only drive thru open, and for the LOVE!, do NOT, I repeat do NOT take your overly exuberant and highly neurotic dog with you.

Just don’t.

If you do, I’m gonna tell you right now: someone is going to lose it.  The dog is going to kamikaze into your youngest, slamming her soda against her, completely soaking her. She will then complain for the entirety of your ill-fated drive where the only lights you’ll see are the red and green kind that signal traffic.

Even with all the chaos and calamity we found time to deck the halls, ice the cookies and just be silly.

Next: Good-bye 2017and hellooooooo 2018!

We started January with a spontaneous trip out west to Tombstone, Arizona where we stayed at an amazing ranch.  It was a very short trip, only two nights and two days of exploring Tombstone and nearby Bisbee, Arizona before jumping back into our car and making the four hour drive home.  The entirety of our trip I plotted, planned and photographed to my hearts content- I had plans, big plans to kick off the new year with a blog post all about our short family road trip. I will definitely be blogging about this- just maybe not right this moment because…..

That big bat started swinging again.

I kid you not.  The very next day my husband received word that his transfer to move up North was in fact approved. Suddenly a giant ominous ticking clock appeared, one counting down to mid- April when the Dulinsky’s will be piling 2 adults, 2 teenagers, 2 girls under 11, a kamikaze dog, and three…that’s right, I said three cats into a 2007 Chevy Suburban and begin an extremely long drive to…..

Have you guessed it yet?  I’ll give you a hint:  scroll back up….no, further, more , keep going—there you go.

That’s right folks, these crazies are packing up and moving this circus to Maine.

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Now before you get all excited envisioning $4 lobsters and summers by the coast, let me go ahead and pop that bubble.  We’ll be much much further north.  In fact, if I want a sandwich from Subway I’ll need a passport…. Can you imagine that conversation at the border?

“Ma’am, purpose for your visit to Canada today?”

Uh, I’m hungry?

It’s going to be quite the change from living in a city of 100,000 to  a town of about 6,000, but it’s a change that I’m looking forward to; despite the fact that there will be no Target or Hobby Lobby (the UPS guy and I are gonna be BFF’s by Labor Day….).

So in a nutshell-  I’m not dead, but by the time I finish this move, I’ll wish I was- at least for a little bit. Until then, I hope to be blogging, but let’s just play it by ear.  I definitely have a lot to talk about. I sure have missed you all and as always, thank you for being you and allowing me to be me. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go get more bubble wrap.  So.  Much.  Bubble. Wrap.

Oh, and would anyone like two buy a home in southern New Mexico??????

 

How the Grinch Stole the Christmas Wreath

 

Twas the night before Thanksgiving,
when all through the house the kids were all sleeping because I wore them all out.
There was cleaning, and dusting, and scrubbing of pans.
We were sweeping and mopping and ….just kidding, who do you think I am?

They’re sleeping because it’s Thanksgiving week and we’re chill like that.  Movies have been on almost non-stop and the weather is finally starting to cool down.  Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least by southern New Mexico standards.  Only one thing stands in our way.

Turkey Day.

I cheated this year and ordered a prepared holiday meal from my local grocery store.  I had a choice between a whole turkey or a turkey breast.  I chose the boob.   I’m not lazy.  I’m resourceful. Yeah.  That’s it.  I’m so resourceful I somehow made a really really cute wreath quite by accident and for  less than $10.

It all started when I came across this picture on my Facebook photo albums. I had made this wreath about 5 or so years ago and I can’t believe I hadn’t done it again.338036_10150404699373813_244230887_o

With this simple yarn wreath fresh in my mind, I found myself standing in the craft aisle of Walmart.  They had these green styrofoam rings for less than $4.  Right across the aisle was a nice selection of yarn.  Now, I had planned on reviving my white wreath, but my eyes landed on this gorgeous green.IMG_0946

Armed with my new wreath form and yarn, I headed home and quickly began to wrap it…just kidding it takes forever.  Especially when you have the attention span of a kitten on catnip.  I had plans to later go to Hobby Lobby and pick up a few embellishments to add to the wreath.  No particular plan.  I figured I’d know it when I see it.

Well I couldn’t get to the store when I wanted and I’m not known for my patience……

 I went online to Pinterest to idle away my time and stumbled upon this tutorial.  Well, there I was with almost a full skein of yarn and nothing to do.  After a quick scavenger hunt in the garage, I set about making a wrapping board like the one on the tutorial.

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It took quite awhile to make these pom poms but considering the fact I’m not the craftiest person and I was new to the pom pom game, it’s no surprise.  So I pushed on, trying different methods until I ran out of yarn.

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This one clowned around with the incomplete wreath while I made a trip for more yarn.
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A happy accident occurred at the store.  I bought the wrong shade of green yarn, but I found a Santa hat and green paper plates…..

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Printed out a coloring sheet of the Grinch, colored the eyes with a colored pencil, and then cut them out.  Ended up a perfect fit.  Used pencil and then a permanent marker to create the rest of the face.

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Once I was finished assembling the wreath, I needed something to hang it.  A loop of left over yarn that I hot glued to the back of the hat got the job done.

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He’s a mean one, Mr. Grinch and he’s hanging on my door.

Well,he will.  Just after Turkey Day.

Now, I could’ve went into more detail but to be honest, tutorials are just not my thing.  However, I stumbled across a whole slew of Grinch wreaths on Pinterest.  My ego took a hit- I wasn’t original, but hey it means you can find some helpful tips and ideas.   I plan on making a new one and perhaps using fluffier yarn.  Also, a friend suggested adding a red heart- I love that idea.  And I’ll do it, just as soon as I recover from stuffing my face full of pie.

Until then…..HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

 

KISSing Christmas

 

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I hear sleigh bells as I gaze upon page after glossy page of dreamy winter wonderlands framed by festive windows; the quintessential wreath hanging from a velvet red ribbon. I can smell the glazed ham and pumpkin pie as I click my way through the houseware sections online.  As I gaze upon the festive homes filled with merriment on my Pinterest boards, my heart cries yes as my wallet whimpers out a mournful no, please no, for the love of all things holy, no. 

My wallet is very articulate.

It’s no secret that November and December are a retailers dream.  From small independent mom and pop stores to the big box giants, everyone’s clamoring for a piece of that pie- and I’m not talking that sweet potato one in an adorable pie plate from Amazon.  And they’ll play dirty to come out on top. They are relentless in their pursuit.  They sell dreams of Christmas perfection.  They dazzle us with daydreams of gathering around a fire (below a perfectly decorated mantle), everyone in matching pajamas that cost more than my electric bill (family of six, remember?), eating sweet treats on plates shaped like gingerbread cookies.

They had my number and man did they call me. It was like I was on speed- dial.

Window displays of days gone by would lure me in, promising holiday perfection.   Seasonal music filled my ears as I happily shelled out dollars and coins.  I’d dance with the sugar plum fairies while pushing my cart full of Yuletide booty towards my car; humming along with the radio station as I unloaded my new purchases and began to decorate my home.

When the holiday high finally faded, I’d sit on my couch, surrounded by tinsel and scraps of wrapping paper and try to remember what happened.  And when I’d finally look up from my cup of cocoa and really look at our bank account, the merry music would be replaced by a musical score worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

And the worst part? My home wouldn’t have even gotten close to those decieving, perfect pictures of Merry Bliss. Not only would I feel stupid, but I’d also feel like a complete failure.   I’d realize I had been bamboozled.  Beguiled.  And completely missed out on the simple joy of just being.

It was a cycle.  A vicious cycle dressed up in an ugly sweater and a hideous pair of socks.  You know, the ones your grandmother got you every year.

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This ugly sweater picture is brought to you by a lack of shame and my husband’s sewing skills.

Not anymore.

Each year we seem to be stepping back more and more from the hype of the holidays.  We don’t need the latest and greatest decorations to have an amazing Christmas.  We just need each other.

Yes, I still love to decorate for the holidays. I ooh and aah over the plethora of pretty things.  I love things. I’m not ashamed.  I am most definitely not a minimalist.  I like stuff.  If that makes me materialistic, then fine. I admit it. But as I mentioned in my previous post- I’m not rolling around in a pile of money. No dinero.  At least when it comes to buying things I don’t really need.  And no, I don’t need the stack of coffee cups that look like a snowman.  I just want them. So I’m a broke practical materialistic mama.

So, how do I stay true to myself, get that satisfaction of finding little treasures for my home, and decorating to my hearts content without ringing in the new year with buyers remorse?

I kiss Christmas.

Keep ISimple, Sweetheart. (No need for name calling.)

1. Start with what I have.  I lug it all into the house and take stock of everything.  Then I make a list.  Anything broken that needs replaced?  Anything missing?  Is there anything I truly need that I haven’t bought yet?

This year it’s: One more stocking because I lost one of them and a new tree skirt.  A few more ornaments. And that’s it.

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2. Shop my house. Any non holiday items that I can use?

The answer is a huge resounding yes.

Glass bell jars.  White pitchers, platters, and bowls. Candle pedestals. Even tin cans that I cleaned out and use as vases from time to time.  Any and all of these look amazing with a bit of seasonal floral and branches, pine cones and even loose ornaments.

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3. Focus on one room and let it just flow from there.

I no longer try to decorate my entire downstairs.  It’s impossible, and costly.  And I value my sanity.  So the bulk of our decorating goes on in whatever room holds our Christmas tree.  Our family room.  The bathroom, front room, dining room and kitchen will get little touches that tie them all to the main focal point- the family room.

4. Perspective and purpose. We take our sweet time and remind ourselves not to sweat the small stuff.  In the end, does it really matter? No. What matters is that we lived well and loved often. Besides, I’m pretty sure Jesus is still going to love me, even if my silverware is mismatched and I only own one tablecloth. I’m just saying. I mean, he is the King of Kings and he was born in a manger……

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Christmas 2014

Until next time, comment below!  What’s your favorite Christmas song? When do you start decorating for Christmas? Any family traditions? I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

A Child’s Christmas Comes Early

 

It’s been almost a week since we were stealing our children’s candy, gorging on chocolate, and watching Ghostbusters over and over and over again. The costumes are safely tucked away, our pumpkin luminaries are once more shoved into a box in our garage, and the only cobwebs hanging around are the real ones because my ceilings are really high in the front room, and I’m not that tall. (Don’t worry, I’ll get to them.) All of this can only mean one thing. October has gone, and November has stepped up.

Pumpkins, fall colors, garlands of pine cones, and apple cinnamon scents wafting from the wax warmer lanterns. Pictures of turkeys everywhere.  These are the things that used to take place of pride after the skeletons and ghosts were safely packed away. It’s what many have in their homes right now.

They don’t have an 11 year old named Grace Dulinsky.

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From day one, her downy crown of brown hair and bright blue eyes earned her the nickname Mini-Me.   As she grew, her personality began to shine through, only driving home the fact that she is indeed a miniature version of me.  And so much more.

She’s a force to be reckoned with.

Not quite the middle child nor the baby of the family, she’s an introverted enigma wrapped in a fuzzy blanket of whimsy and fun.  Out of our four kids, she most definitely has inherited the Style Gene. Her ability to style isn’t limited to just her spot on fashion sense either.  She loves all things home decor.  Especially holidays.

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We gave her the lead on halloween decorating this year, and I’ve decided not to stop there.  I’m passing the torch, so to speak. It’s been coming for a few years now.  It started small.  Letting them choose the decorations one year.  Allowing them to decorate the tree. I let go of trying to control it all.  Of trying to create the perfect holiday, only to end up an emotional wreck wrapped in tinsel.

An amazing thing happens when I step back.  Magical things.  They rise to the occasion.  They shine and their joy is infectious. And I stop controlling and start celebrating.

 

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So, Christmas decorating has started, just barely a week after Halloween has ended.  Some will think we’re crazy.  I no longer care.

Life is precious, ladies and gentlemen, and I for one don’t want to waste a second of it.

My children will grow up and have their own homes and families. They won’t be begging me to help them go through the decorations. They won’t be here to snuggle by the fire and watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  One day, I’ll find myself with the perfect tree, arrayed in a color coordinated display of splendor.  I’ll miss the misshapen ornaments made out of salt dough, and the random stuffed animals shoved between the branches.  And I’ll miss the sweet, pure excitement that is a child’s Christmas. 

Christmas has come early to Casa Dulinsky, and I am embracing the chaos.  Even if I can’t see my desk.

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Whether you choose to decorate early or closer to the season, or not at all, just remember- life is to be embraced, every single day.  The joy of Christmas, the miracle of our Savior’s birth, can be celebrated every day.  So spread the love, and share the cheer.  Christmas is near.

Happy Holidays my friends.  Let the gaiety begin!

 

 

Cereal For Dinner

 

That’s how you feed a family of six without going poor and living in a tent.  Cereal. Every night.

Totally kidding. The sheer amount of milk needed will have you in the poor house within days.  I mean, I already feel like I’m there, and that’s because my soon to be 11- year old daughter could probably drink a gallon a day if I let her.  No wonder we call her Giraffe.  Kid has some legs.  When she’s older I’m going to send her a bill for all the milk I bought when she was a kid.  After all, it’s my contribution to dairy farmers everywhere that she even has them.  So when she’s making bank as a model; the bill will be in the mail….

Now, before the well meaning home management gurus start sending me budget tips and inside info on where to get the best coupons, let me just thank you now and politely decline.  I actually know how to do all that stuff.  Not the biggest ace with the coupon part, but that’s okay.  I’ve got stack upon stack of printable weekly meal planner sheets and grocery lists.  I even have the sacred Home Management Binder.   It’s somewhere in my garage, next to the How To crafting books and such.

I’ve made some pretty awesome meals and my weekly menu planning and grocery shopping lists are on point when I do them; and affordable! I just don’t want to.  Most of the time.  And that’s okay.  It really is okay to just be okay.  This parenthood thing isn’t a competition.  And it’s a really good thing, because I don’t think I’d even rate a participation trophy.

You know what dinner was one of these nights this past week?  Frozen popcorn chicken fried  in oil and then tossed with a bottle of Panda Express orange sauce, steamed white rice (gasp) and microwaved edamame.  It was going to be cereal, but the giraffe drank all the milk, and we’d eaten all the cereal the night before…..  yeah.  Right there.  Mic Drop.

So instead of trying to share with you some mind-blowing home budget savvy tips and recipes, I’ll just give you a list of a few simple meals I serve when we’re close to over-dosing on captain crunch and the pizza delivery guys go on strike from being at our house too much (we’re on a first name basis, and I’m pretty sure we’re just one pizza away from swapping Christmas cards…)

Nachos– that’s right.  We just buy a bag of nacho cheese, a huge bag of tortilla chips and call it dinner.  They love it and so does my wallet.

Baked Potato Night.  This one is a fave for me.  I prep the potatoes and wrap each one in aluminum foil then bake – usually around lunch time, then just toss them into the slow cooker to keep warm until dinner.  Then we just pull out odds and ends from the refrigerator.  Sour Cream and butter of course, but also cheese (oooooh, left over nacho cheese), bacon bits, deli meat chopped up, etc. Add some bread and a salad, if you’re feeling awesome, and viola’!, dinner.

Make your own pasta.  I’ll cook one type, usually rotini, then set it on the counter along with a few different (jar) sauces that have been heated up, along with a few options for meat and topping.  Usually left over meats or rotisserie chicken, etc.  Everyone makes their own, and I am done.

Anything slow cooker.  Toss it all in.  Blah, blah, blah.  Dinner.

Macaroni and Cheese and Hot Dogs  That’s right.  Read it and weep.  And it’s the cheep five cents a box kind.  Well, you know.  Kraft, but sometimes it’s the even cheaper stuff.  Best part of this one?  I don’t cook it.  Mama gets a night off and dad is the hero. Yes.

So there you have it folks.  Now, don’t throw any tomatoes at me.  I do cook actual meals, so keep an eye out for more Food posts. Besides, we could use those tomatoes for salsa or something. In fact, here’s an awesome salsa recipe I use from Pinterest.

Until next time, can anyone get me the number for a direct supplier of milk?

And hey!  I want to hear from YOU.  What are your go-to, no-fuss meals?