Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yikes! My House is Spooked

Last week, I pulled in the driveway when I came home from work and was totally freaked out by what hung in my doorway.

Jason finished spooking up the house for our favorite season.

These guys have been up for about a week but they still scare me when I'm cooking in the kitchen and I look out the window or when I'm pulling in the driveway.
Noah is fascinated by them.


This year, J didn't go crazy with the cobwebs like last year.

Instead, he kept it fairly simple. I think my favorite Halloween decoration is this skeleton that Jason placed on a candle holder. It's so simple and I love it.

He also strategically placed these Halloween masks on our bookshelves and again, I had to do a double-take a couple of times!

If you're opposed to gore,  you wouldn't like Jason's decorating.  I generally keep things pretty mild, but Jason really gets into the season and he doesn't hold back on the spook factor.

If Martha Stewart can pull it off, why can't we?
Of course our whole house isn't gruesome. 

We still have our spooky tree with adorable Halloween decorations we found a few years ago at Pier One Imports.

The werewolf stayed in the same spot as last year, peeking out from behind a ladder.
Our bay window is spooked with oversized spiders, tombstones, and a knife stabbed into a plant.

The house is all set for Halloween.  Now we just need to get our costumes!





Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween mantel

It's that time of year again! Our favorite holiday season is in full swing -
Aisles at stores are packed with all kinds of creepy Halloween decorations and costumes (and candy, of course)!
We're gearing up for the season by doing our annual decorating.  I always love when I pull out the Halloween bins and discover new decorations because I always shop at the end of the season, when everything is 75% off. 
I usually forget about what I purchased until I start to decorate the following year, like these little spider candle votives that we got at Big Lots last year for 90% off.
It's a good thing because I've been trying to scale back on making purchases of any kind of "stuff" lately.  I'm telling you that reading that Garbology book really impacted me as a consumer.
Anyway, I decided this year I was going to create a black and white mantel.  It all started because I pulled out the witch silhouette Jason made a few years ago.  I used to frame her above the mantel with a black picture frame, but you might remember that we spray-painted that frame an off-white when we created Noah's nursery?
Well Noah moved upstairs to our room and we took his nursery downstairs (did I even post about that bedroom switcheroo move? I can't remember).
So the off-white frame hasn't really been in use.  So I pulled it out and put the witch in the center and a black and white themed Halloween mantel was born.
I searched around our house for anything I could find that was black, white or cream and started pulling a spooky mantel together.
I moved our bird cage filled with cream candles and placed that on the mantel.  I might need to add some plastic spiders on the candles or something to spook it up a bit.
I also had this old, beat up ironstone plate, so I printed out a spider web using my Silhouette machine and created a little Halloween plate.
I tossed some plastic skulls in an apothecary jar and added them to the display.
We had this black and white sign that my mom bought for us a few years ago for a Halloween party we had for Imani and it fit perfectly with the theme this year.
I added one of my Halloween trees, along with an oversized bat.
And of course I kept my homemade chalk board, but changed it to read "Trick or Treat."
I also had some black candlesticks and a black cheese-plate pedestal so I added a white skull (that lights up at night) and some cream colored candles.
I really want a white pumpkin with an "A" monogram to sit on the pedestal instead of the skull, but I have to get Mr. Coupon Cowboy to sit down and paint one for me. I think I've told you that I am not an artist

nor am I neat
so I stay away from paint and paint brushes.

I just come up with the ideas and my husband makes them a reality.  I feel bad he gets suckered into crafts when his degree is in fine arts.
I haven't had the time to convince him I need a white monogrammed pumpkin yet.   He's healing up from his dental implant surgery, which actually went very well in case you were wondering.
But he did create an awesome pumpkin for me as a surprise when I came home from work a few weeks ago.  It's the only item in my display that isn't black or white.
I had shown Jason a picture in a magazine of a pumpkin painted with a super cool "31" on it.  The next thing I knew, this baby was sitting on my table when I came home.

Those grave stones were also purchased at Big Lots last year for 90% off.  I"m loving them placed around the bottom of the mantel.
And there you have it.  Here's the mantel all pulled together.
And here you can see the whole fireplace, with Jason's masterpiece pumpkin to add a touch of orange.
Happy Halloween! 
We'll be bringing you more Halloween decorating ideas soon, but if you just can't wait, you can check out some of our past ideas here, here and here.
And if you want to see some of our crazy costumes, click here.
Halloween Mantels

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Charting Chores

I think my kid is spoiled. Not spoiled in the sense that she's ungrateful or rude, but spoiled because I haven't given her any real responsibilities on a regular basis.

I mean she's been getting $20 allowance every month just 'because.' She's supposed to sweep the stairs . . . You know- the stairs I so geniusly had Jason paint black a few years ago?  You can read about it here.

On a side note, do NOT paint your stairs black if
 A.) You like to hide dust

 B.) You have forced-air heat 

C.) You have children

 D.) You have pets

 E.) You want to stay sane.

If you ignore these rules and go ahead and paint your stairs black, do not think your 11-year old will sweep them.

Even if you're paying her $20 per month to do so.

So it was Imani's job to sweep the stairs every day and she'd get $20 in return every month. I will say that she is expected to give 10% to a charity of her choice every month and she has to deposit 10% in her bank account.

The problem was, even though Imani rarely did her expected task, she had her beautiful little brown hand stretched out to me each month for the cash.

Somewhere along the way . . . (probably when Imani was in diapers and I was a young, single mom reading every child-rearing book possible to assure myself that I wouldn't mess up my child) . . . I read some financial advisor's advice to NEVER link allowance to chores.

Clearly I didn't listen.  In fact, not only did I link sweeping the stairs with allowance, but I was paying even when the job wasn't done consistently.

So Jason and I decided something had to change.  As much as we love that sweet little Imani with those big brown peepers, every month we were teaching her that she didn't have to work for money.

So we're revamping allowance . . . I'll post more about that later. 

And we've decided that there are certain chores that are non-negotiable. They need to get done every day by all of us (without pay).

There are mainly three things that we decided to split up:  Combing Maggie (and brushing her teeth), Setting the table (with drinks), and cleaning up the table (which includes putting everything away and loading the dish washer).

As you know, I love Pinterest.  I found the cutest idea on there to rotate these chores so that no one gets stuck doing the same chore each night.

I bought printable magnetic sheets that look like this

I printed a picture of each of us on the magnetic sheets and cut them out so they looked like this.
Then, I made a chart listing each of the three chores.  I put our pictures under each of the three jobs and they just get moved over to the next column when you finish your chore.


We've been doing this for about two weeks and so far, it's working out great!

How is Ms. Imani making money, you wonder?  Stay tuned . . . I've got all the details for you (and she loves it, and so do we!)

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Lately, I've been liking Instagram much more than Facebook. Have you joined yet? It's so much fun to see everyone's photos. Some people use Instagram as a way to preserve memories and share photos of their families while others use it to capture artistic shots of everyday objects.
I enjoy it so much, and it doesn't take up as much time as Facebook.
Last month, I attempted to participate in FatMumSlim's photo a day challenge.  Have you heard of it?
There is a topic each day and you take a picture to go along with the theme and use the hashtag #fmsphotoaday.
It's pretty cool to look back and see the month in review.  Although I missed a few days, I wanted to share my month's photos with you.  I'm joining in again this month if you'd like to join too!
If you follow me on Instagram, sometimes I add a little explanation. If you'd like to read any of them, you can click on the pictures at the bottom right of my blog and it will take you directly to my Instagram page. There are a lot of other great photos there too that don't go along with FatMumSlim's challenge -- just random shots of my life.
September 1 was "You, Now" and I missed that day.
September 2 was: "Father"
I  joined on September 3, and the topic was "Distance." I didn't know how to add text to my photos at this point in the game:
September 4 - "In My Mailbox."  I missed this day too!





September 24: "3 Things" - I missed this day.




If you'd like to join in this month, here are the October topics. It's not too late! Grab that smart phone and start shooting! You can share on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or all three; just use #fmsphotoaday as your hashtag!
Have fun!

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