Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Nostalgic Christmas Gift Idea

 I am always looking for inexpensive Christmas ideas to have on hand for hostess gifts, thank you to church workers, my daughter's team of teachers, my hairdresser, etc. I have done Peppermint Sugar Scrub in the past and wanted something new this year. Pinterest to the rescue!

I don't ever remember my Mom simmering this on the stove, but the smell is pure Christmas of my childhood. Funny how a smell can take you back!

These were super simple to make and thanks to Amazon, inexpensive to buy many of the ingredients in bulk. I highly recommend making a batch of these and you'll be ready for the many little pressies needed over the next few weeks.


Clear Gift Bags- 20 for $3.47 on Amazon
2-3 cinnamon sticks in each bag- $12.92/1 pound bag on Amazon
2 T cloves- $17.99/1 pound bag on Amazon
1 orange
2/3 cup fresh cranberries

If you are short on time and not making a lot of these, you can easily find everything at the grocery store and bags at Hobby Lobby or Michael's. This bulk purchase should make about 20 of these bags and cost less than $2.50/each.


Mix everything in the bag and add a cute little tag with a merry message and directions to the recipient. I added a fun little graphic from a free printable I found online. Thanks Mrs. Craft Berry Bush!

I tied the bag shut and tag on with red bakers twine and then added a simple ribbon. Both were found at Hobby Lobby.

Happy Gift Giving!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Craigslist Stalking Pays Off!

Look at this beauty- a 12 foot long church pew! I have wanted a long church pew in this space for about 6 years and would check on Craigslist every so often. Then I started checking daily! And a few weeks ago- I hit the jackpot. But, my pew wasn't this pretty when I met her....

She looked like this.... her previous owner used her in the backyard for potted plants. She was dirty, oh so dirty. I cleaned her with rags, swept her, vacuumed her and even sanded off layers of dirt. While living in the backyard, she became home to thousands of ants. I have sprayed and laid out traps for days and each morning I sweep up a few hundred more DEAD ants. 

After cleaning it up well, I sanded off most of the turquoise paint. I knew I wanted a more neutral color and that with Annie Sloan paint, sanding all the way wasn't necessary. Here is a clean and sanded pew ready for paint.

I ended up using an entire quart of Annie Sloan graphite on this project. It was so dry and just sucked up the paint. Plus, did I mention it is 12 feet long? Phew!

After two coats of paint, clear wax and my electric sander, I fell in love!

It is the perfect size for my big long foyer! Plus, we love storing backpacks and purses on it, and other things we need for the next day. It is on the way to the front door or the garage which is super convenient.

I added a quilt that used to be on my bed and a few throw pillows I was storing under the guest bed. I am imagining a lot of seasonal decor on the bench too! Can't you see a little Halloween doll sitting on here or a collection of Christmas pillows?

 There you have it- my long lost find on Craigslist that I just love!

To see more Annie Sloan projects I've tackled, click here. Or, to see the making of the gallery wall behind the pew, click here

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

I love making little food gifts. I love fall. I love mason jars. I don't love coffee or the infamous pumpkin spice lattes, but that didn't stop me from making 40 jars of it this past week. 

It smelled like fall in my house all day! I love that this syrup is full of real ingredients including canned pumpkin.

Here is the easy recipe from According to Elle.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Newest Home Improvement Projects- Paint and Lighting

We have had a busy month making some home improvements I've wanted for years! This was the month to get it done!

First, remember my Annie Sloan red kitchen island? Well it isn't red anymore....

I painted it Annie Sloan cream and used a little bit of dark wax on it. I love it! The red was fun, but it didn't stand out like the cream does in comparison to the other cabinets. Most people never even noticed it was different. It is high contrast now! 

We also finally painted an accent wall in the master bedroom. We went with Antiquity by Sherwin Williams at 75%. It is a great apple green color with a hint of gold and matches the bedding perfect.

I love the warm green against the old rustic star above my bed.

Finally, it was time to upgrade our lighting. My black french country chandelier received a big upgrade and it now matches the pendant light above my sink....

I bought the mason jar chandelier from Pottery Barn and my sweet husband installed it!

It is so me and provides a lot of light in that room which was needed! The up lighting of the chandelier just wasn't bright enough especially when crafting or sewing at night on this table.

I'm happy with these changes and feel like my house really represents my style. But, I'm not done. I have two more paint projects, another kitchen cabinet upgrade and a major foyer project coming! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Abby's Kindergarten Luncheon

Hello! Long time no blog! I haven't had the time or desire to blog this summer, but have a couple of fun posts to share with you before summer wraps up. Later this week I'll share my 3 big home improvement projects, but today we are all about Abby's kindergarten luncheon. 

We invited 5 of Abby's friends that are all starting kinder next week over for lunch. She has known these kids most of her life from preschool and church. When they first arrived, I gave them all 2027 shirts representing the year they will all graduate and we went outside for pictures.

Back inside we sat down for lunch with only these six little ones in the formal dining room which had been decorated for the occasion. 

The dining room buffet table includes a chalkboard, apple and bell that I had on hand. I also bought a dozen globe stress balls on Zulily months ago and had the balloon topiary gifted as leftovers from a friends birthday party.

On the other side of the buffet were these adorable cookies from my friend Kelly who owns Cookies by Kelly. They were the perfect sweet touch after lunch! 

 The center of the table had lots of fun school supplies including my favorite globes from my office. I made the "ruler" runner on the table from a piece of white fabric my Mom hemmed and a black sharpie marker.

I decorated the windows with bunting from Modern June and a chalkboard bunting from the Target party section. 

Each place setting was decorated with a yellow crayon cup, a plain red paper plate with a felt stem and leaf hot glued on and the cutest napkins! I found these in the $1 spot last year and I just wrote each child's name on the napkin.

Inside the kitchen, I set up a simple lunch buffet and made it fun with another chalk board banner from Target. The little ham sandwiches were still in the oven when I snapped this picture. Along with those we served chips and dip, fruit salad, and had lunchables for the special kindergartners. I also had water, tea, lemonade, and a variety of juice boxes and old bottled sodas.

I served everything on my favorite stove top cover!

We had one little game planned for the kids. They went on an alphabet scavenger hunt. They had classic brown paper sacks where I had written the letters of the alphabet. They each started with a sack and then moved to the letter station.

At this station they dug through plastic magnets to find their letter and found the matching flashcard. Both were placed in their sack and it was taken to the toy station!

Here each kid dug in the bucket to find a toy that started with the letter sack they were holding. The kids had lots of fun looking for something with their letter and often worked together!

 After playing a little while longer, the kids left with these little packages of writing utensils and their own globe ball. I bought these notebooks on 90% off after school started last year! If you plan to throw a party like this next year, I recommend shopping in the next few weeks. Supplies go cheap fast!

These sweet six kids are some of my favorite little people in all the world and I'm so glad we could celebrate their upcoming big day together before we all go separate ways! As you can tell from their little signs, they have big futures ahead of them!


I found lots of ideas for this party on Pinterest. Check out my Back to School Party board here

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A New Season

I can't believe that I am writing this post... I think the season of running two blogs and trying to keep up with everything is coming to an end. I have loved blogging and I've loved following lots of blogs, but I just don't have time.

I don't get excited to blog anymore. It is becoming another task and frankly, I don't need another task. I don't want to blog when I should be working or doing laundry or spending time with Abby. Summer is coming and we have less school and more playdates. I also have more work, both professionally and as a volunteer.

I hope to blog every now and then- when I have a new recipe to share or a new craft that I'm proud of. But, I won't be blogging twice a week for sure. I will leave this blog live for archived projects and recipes. I always dig through the blog when meal planning myself!

If you want to stay in touch, you can find me on Instagram daily and on Pinterest often. You don't have to have an account, just click on the links and look around. I will keep posting lots of personal pictures on Instagram and sharing my daily #annaisgrateful. Of course, my Pinterest page will be full of recipes and crafts! Feel free to follow me if you are on those platforms.

Have a great day!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Toe-Tally Awesome Teacher Gift for under $15

I feel like preschool teachers get pretty excited about summer! It is the reward for a long hard school year, so I like to celebrate summer with Abby's teachers each year. Last year, I did pool bags filled with summer essentials (details here) and this year I decided to go with pedicures!

I bought everything at Wal-mart including the plastic Aladdin mason jars and the pedicure goodies below. I spend about $15 on each teacher!

I then stuffed the cup with cotton balls and the goodies. I found a handful of cotton balls on the bottom and then the pedicure pieces and then more cotton balls looked the best.

Finally I added a ribbon and a tag. If you had a bigger budget, a gift card for a pedicure would be a nice addition.

So excited to have teacher gifts done for the year! May goes by so fast and there is so much going on- it is nice to be ready!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

annaisgrateful- week seventeen

On Friday morning, I dropped Abby off for a few days with my Mom. I'm grateful for the opportunity to miss her every now and then. I had a lot going on and she had more fun with Nana!

I love my Pro Beach Wave Curler! It gives me messy wavy hair and takes only a few minutes. I wish I could do it everyday, but fear my hair would be unhealthy. So, I do it 2-3 times per week. It is fun to have and change things up. I am so grateful to a Mom who mentioned how much she loved it!

I spent part of Friday and Saturday at a ladies retreat amongst these giant trees. Susie Davis was our speaker and she talked about God leaving us love notes throughout life and we just have to look for them. She also said to get outside more and look for God there. Like these jumbled up trees, he can make something beautiful of our jumbled up lives.

Speaking of nature, I am grateful we didn't kill our flowers this winter.

I am planning a fun little party later this summer for Abby and a few friends and these balloon topiaries were handed down to me from another friend. I am grateful she thought to share them and I can save a little money!

Finally, this morning I picked up my favorite little side kick. Our life is pretty boring without her so I am very grateful she is in our family.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake

I made this last week for Good Friday brunch and it is delicious! The buttermilk gives it a true pound cake texture and all the toasted coconut inside and out make it a rich coconut flavor. It is a wonderful spring and summer cake to make and share!

Get the recipe from Little Bits of here

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

annaisgrateful- week sixteen

Easter Sunday was a wonderful service reminding us that Jesus did indeed rise and he now wears the crown of glory at the right hand of God. I am so grateful for His sacrifice and perfect love that He would die for me and my sins.

Good Friday was lots of fun as we hosted our annual egg hunt in the backyard. I am grateful for a little extra family time that morning before our 60 little friends arrived.

Saturday afternoon we had no plans and went to nearby Round Rock for snow cones. We have not been in at least a year. They were still yummy (and still messy)!

I tried this at Target while walking around and it is really good! It is a nice alternative to tea for me in the morning. It is a mix of water, sugar, orange juice and blood orange juice. Nothing fake in it- even the coloring comes from vegetables and natural spices. 

My child LOVES rolly pollies and we are grateful Spring is here and these little guys are back in our neighborhood.

Last Wednesday we registered Abby for kindergarten and on the same day had her end of year preschool assessment. She is great academically and still needs to mature a little socially. You know things like sharing, listening, doing what the teacher says when you don't want to. Real life stuff! I am grateful for a good report and her ability to learn. 

I love clean sheets! I once read that Oprah sleeps on clean sheets every every day. If I were super wealthy, I would totally have clean sheets that often. Last night I was grateful to get into bed with fresh clean sheets!

Have a grateful week!