Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Boys

all images are from amazon.com
Stockings filled with little gifts and candy are one of my all time favorite Christmas traditions. There is just something special about a bunch of little gifts and favorite candies that have been hand picked and put in a stocking.

Stockings for girls would be fun, but I'm a boy mama. I put together a list of fun ideas for a little boy's stockings. My boys are 11 and 6 years old, and would both be excited to get any combination of these items.

I normally go pretty heavy on the candy, but that part is usually pretty easy to figure out. Today I am focusing on all the other stuff. I have posted links (NOT referral links or sponsored) to find these exact items on Amazon with prices for your convenience. Many of these items can be picked up for a lot less money. This is just to give you ideas.

I didn't include this in the round up, but another tip is to go to Harbor Freight if you have one that is local. They always have lots of fun little inexpensive tools and gadgets that would fill a stocking nicely.

1.Headlamp - $7.99
2.Lightning Cable - $9.99
3.DC Comics Logo Temporary Tattoos - $5.79
4.Small Nerf Gun - $7.99
5.Tooth Brush - various prices
6.Candy Cane filled with Candy - various prices
7.Crayola Colored Pencils - $5.90
8.Fun Socks - $13.99

What kind of items do you like to fill stockings with?

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Something to Celebrate!

This blog of mine hasn't gotten much attention from me lately. Life has been busy.

I have gone through phases of feeling like I could only blog when I had something "PIN-able" in my "niche" to I just miss blogging like I used to. I used to blog about anything and everything.

Most of the time I am working on some kind of project, but I don't always have the time to take really great pictures to share. I enjoy home decor, organization posts, and great recipes like everyone else, but that is not all that I am made of. I really miss the connections that used to come with blogging.

Today, I am getting back to blogging for me. I am going to start by sharing with you a person that I want to CELEBRATE!

Thirty-Seven years ago, today, a very special person was born. We'll call her, Bethany. I'm just kidding...her name really is Bethany.

THIRTY years ago, I was a shy, homeschooled second grader that didn't really have any friends. I remember sitting down with my mom one day to tell her that I really wanted a good friend. We talked, and then we prayed that God would send me a special friend that was just what I needed.

It didn't take long. I don't remember exactly how Bethany and I crossed paths other than we went to the same church. We were both seven years old and in the second grade. I don't remember the moment, the day, or the month that it happened. I just know that we clicked.

She was the loud to my quiet.
She was the outgoing to my shy.
She made everything fun.
She let me clean and organizer her room.
She was my very best friend forever.

I went on all of her family's summer vacations.
We told people we were sisters.

We had sleepovers as often as we could.
We even got to go to the same school for one whole semester.

We fought.
We said mean things to each other.
We took each other for granted.
We let boys get in the way.
We forgave each other.

We laughed. A lot.
We loved each other.

I don't have many childhood or teenage memories that she isn't a part of.

And then we grew up.

We got married.
Got jobs.
Had families.

We don't talk every week, but when we do talk, it is as if no time has passed. We can still talk for HOURS. We still send each other random texts about weird dreams or different things that make us think of one another.

I am so thankful that God sent Bethany to me as an answer to prayer.

Happy Birthday, Bethany!
Thank you for being you.

I'm still going to pretend that we aren't old enough to have known each other for thirty years.
I'm also going to pretend that I didn't have to add, subtract, and count the years about 5 times to make sure that we are 37. I lost track at 34 and now have to think about it really hard.

In the comments please tell me about your special friends. Do you have a friend that you have been friends with most of your life? How long have you been friends?

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How I Updated Our Living Room by Shopping Our Home and Spending Less than $50

First, I have to explain why the pillow in the cover photo is upside down and why I didn't change it. My son, Henry, is serious about directions. He can stand anywhere at any given time and tell you what direction he is facing. It bugs him that this compass pillow doesn't show the accurate direction when it is on a piece of furniture in our house. He goes behind me and flips the pillow to show the true direction. It is not correct in this picture, but it gets flipped so many times that I didn't even notice I placed it on the couch upside down until I had taken all of these pictures.

A few months ago I did a 2 Bills 2 Blow post, and shared that if I had $200 to just spend in our living room, I would spend it on a new living room rug.

I didn't have an extra $200 to spend on that right now, but I realized that I had the exact same rug I wanted for the living room in our master bedroom.

I decided that I would switch the rugs and give myself a budget of $50 to make some changes to our living room.

This happens to be the best shot I got to show the rug. Blogger Fail! I am so out of practice when it comes to taking pictures. I need to work on this. The good news is that you can get the full room tour on video HERE on my YouTube Channel.

Getting rid of the brown rug really lightened up the room. It also gave me the freedom to add a nice dose of black and white. I decided to go with several new pillow covers for the pillows that I already had.

I purchased all of the pillow covers on Amazon. (these are NOT affiliate links)
Black and White Stripe - I paid $5.30 for the pair.
Black and White Geometric Covers  - I paid $6.99 for the pair.
Compass Linen Pillow Cover - I paid $2.97 for one cover.

The next thing was to change the accent chair. I originally had a leather chair here, but have been wanting to move it upstairs to my husbands office. I painted a rattan chair that was in my husband's office and recovered the cushion with a painters drop cloth. I have 2 of these chairs, so they both got painted, recovered, and new pillow covers. I only included that cost of the one chair in this room since the other one will live in my bedroom.

Drop Cloth - $11
2 cans of black semi gloss spray paint - $8

The space above this love seat has been blank for months. I thought that I really wanted a large clock here. Clearly I didn't have enough for that in my $50 budget, so I had to get creative. I grabbed a cast off shelf from the corner of a closet and painted the shelf brackets. I painted over a canvas that I already had and then added accessories that weren't really being used elsewhere. The 4 is printed on a piece of printer paper from my printer. I just put it in a frame that I already had.

Black Satin Spray Paint - $4

The top of the piano has been decorated many different ways, but it was feeling very off to me. I was going through some old pictures and came across a picture from my Mother's living room from many years back. I knew right away that I missed seeing the picture of my great grandmother's farm over the piano like my mom always had it. I added a few light accessories to make it more my style, but I think it is just right now. I owe a big thank you to my sister for letting me have this picture back.

Piano Decor - already had

The last thing I did was to change my gallery wall. I liked it before, but wanted a change. I took the peacock picture from the before picture and turned it into a chalkboard using paint that I had on hand. The cow is a small painting that I did on a canvas I already had many months ago. I created the Let's Stay Home print for a frame that I already had. The duck picture is a photo that I took a few years ago. I also painted the large cotton canvas. I used a canvas I already had and painted over it.

photo prints from the drugstore - $4

When I started thinking about making changes to this room, I really wanted to add a little bit of nod to farmhouse decor. My home is way too colorful to be considered "farmhouse", but I still like some things that lean that direction. I like metal, wood, black and white, and most importantly.....farm animals. My last name is also Cotton...that is about as farmhouse as you can get. I just like it all mixed with bold color and shiny things.

I am sharing the "Let's stay Home" print as a free printable. Just right click the image and save it to your compute. You can then upload it wherever you get prints made and have it printed.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Shared Boys' Room Tour

I shared a peek at my boys' room EIGHT months ago on my YouTube channel. I had big plans to finally start getting some things on their walls.

I had a few things in mind, but for whatever reason I drug my feet on this one. I couldn't seem to commit to anything.

The first thing I purchased were two of the large galvanized letters from Hobby Lobby. I got one to go above each bed. And then I was stuck again for a few months.

One day I was in Hobby Lobby and noticed a metal shelf in the shape of the United States. It was 80% off. I purchased it with the intention of using it in my boys' playroom to display Lego creations.

Two days later, I found a similar metal ampersand shelf for 80% off. Two metal shelves meant that each boy could have one of their own for their personal items. I finally had the inspiration I needed.

I didn't want a strong theme in their room, but instead decided to stick to classic timeless things. Stripes, metal, baseball, cars...you get the idea. The ampersand was perfect paired between two metal car signs. It really filled the wall up nicely.

They both have matching striped bedding that was purchased from Target, but they opted to add their own favorite elements with a quilt and different pillow cases. I didn't think I would like it, but I really do.

My favorite thing that changed in the room is the coffee table. My husband built this table for the boys several years ago when they outgrew having a train table. We originally stained the table, but I was ready to paint it. I chose the paint color by shopping my stash in the garage. I have no idea what color this is. It is leftover paint from a client project. I sanded the edges and roughed it up a good bit. I know it will take a beating.

I am so happy to have this room done! The only thing I have left to do is find something for Cade to hang over his nightstand for all of his swimming medals and ribbons. I just haven't found the right thing yet.

Tucker hung out in here with me the whole time I was taking pictures. I guess it is his room, too.

Be sure to check out the video tour to see more of the room.


Source List: None of these are affiliate/referral links
Striped Comforters - Target
Plaid Quilt - The Company Store - several years ago
Metal Shelves - Hobby Lobby
Car Signs - Hobby Lobby
Baseball Picture - custom made by a family friend (almost 20 years ago)
Galvanized Letters - Hobby Lobby
Lamps - Target Clearance
Bunk Beds - Amazon
Green Rug - Lowes - several years ago

This is not a sponsored post.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

The Weekly Report - July 18, 2016

This week's Meal Plan:
(I shop on Friday, so I plan from Friday - Thursday)

Friday - BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Mac and Cheese
Saturday - Chicken Tenders and French Fries
Sunday Lunch - Eggs and Cream of Wheat
Sunday Dinner - Steak and Broccoli Fried Rice
Monday -Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad, Garlic Bread
Tuesday - Roasted Chicken Legs, Rice, Baked Beans, Peas
 Wednesday - Meatball Subs, Chips, and Fruit
Thursday - Leftovers

This week's life updates:
- Cade had a great District Swim Meet.
- I worked on several projects, nothing is done and ready to share, but getting there.
- I did zero homeschool planning, but I will get to it this week.
- Still just trying to enjoy the summer.

Project updates:
- I started a few new projects, but nothing to share just yet.
- The best place to catch a sneak peek or two is on Instagram.

Catch the video on YouTube.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2 Bills 2 Blow - Living Room

Let's say you have $200 to blow in one room in your house. How would you spend the money?

Two hundred dollars is not a lot of money when it comes to redoing and entire room, but if you spend it wisely, you can make a difference in the feel of the entire room.

Today, I am going to talk about my living room.

This is what my living room currently looks like. It has taken several years for me to get it where it is today, but there are still a few things I would like to do.

1. I would like to repaint the room. Probably gray.
2. I would like to hang a large mirror over the love seat. I really like this one. (not an affiliate link)
3. I want to completely redo the gallery wall over the couch.

All of these would be nice changes for the room, but I think that the best way to spend $200 in this room would be to get a new rug.

I like this rug, but I really would like to get a solid cream rug. This room does not get a lot of natural light until really late in the afternoon. A lighter rug would really make the room feel brighter and bigger. It would also make it so that I can actually see things that are on the floor. We won't talk about how many times I have stepped on a Lego.

Rug Picture Source - Amazon
 This rug is what I have in mind. I have one very similar in our master bedroom. It feels great underfoot and is currently well under $200 on amazon. (not an affiliate link)

I have asked a few of my YouTube buddies to play along. You can check out my video on YouTube to get the full tour of my living room and then head to their channels to see how they would spend $200 in their living room.

If these are new channels to you, please go ahead and subscribe so that you don't miss their videos when they post new ones.

Mandi- Sweetly Home
Janine - A Young Mum (coming soon)
Whitney - Come Home for Comfort
Meaghan - Organized Little Lady

2 Bills 2 Blow - Living Room Playlist

Now it's your turn! If you had $200 to blow in your living room, how would you spend it? There are 3 ways to let me know.

1. Leave a comment below or on my YouTube channel.
2. Post a picture on my Facebook page and tell me what you would do.
3. Upload a picture to your IG account and use the hashtag #CG2BILLS2BLOW so that I can find    it.

*This is not a sponsored post.

 I'm linking this post to :Meet Up Monday - Waiting on Wednesdays - Creative Ways - The DIY Collective - Link Party Palooza - The Creative Corner

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Monday, July 11, 2016

The Weekly Report - July 11, 2016

Happy Monday!

This week's Meal Plan:
(I shop on Friday, so I plan from Friday - Thursday)

Friday - Date Night
Saturday - Dinner at at Friend's House
Sunday Lunch - Chinese Noodle Bowls, Egg Rolls
Sunday Dinner - Leftovers
Monday -Cube Steak, Roasted Veggies, Fired Okra
Tuesday - Easy Beef Enchiladas, Cilantro Lime Rice, Chips and Salsa
Wednesday - Wings, Mac n Cheese
Thursday - Leftovers

This week's life updates:
- Cade is home from summer camp. Yay! We really missed him last week. I now have lots of laundry to catch up on and we will be getting ready for another swim meet this weekend.
- We had a great weekend - date night, family birthday party, watched UFC 200 with friends, and caught a few naps.

Project updates:
-Wednesday there will be new collaboration series here. Be sure you come back. It's going to be good.
- I finished a few painting projects this week. I am getting closer to being able to share the boy's room with you.
- My style is very eclectic. I have made the decision to start adding some Farmhouse Style to the mix. I'm getting excited about some new home projects.

Catch the video on YouTube.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

ABFOL - Home Organization Challenge - Finally Complete

I decided to take on the A Bowl Full of Lemons - Home Organization Challenge at the beginning of this year. (You can see all of the details here.)

I started out nice and strong the first several weeks of the challenge, but it got harder to keep up the pace as the challenge went on. I had some rooms that I couldn't do in just one week and decided to keep working, but at my own pace.

I did a terrible job documenting all of the progress with pictures here on the blog, but I did keep up with videos.

This challenge was good for our home. We have new systems in place that are working well, and our home has been easier to maintain overall.

I created a list of all of the before and afters so that you can pick and choose which ones you would like to see.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Mid-Year 2016 - Planner Picks UPDATE

At the very beginning of this year I shared the planners that I would be using for 2016. Half of the year has come and gone and things have changed quite a bit.

I am going to share a few peeks with you here, but I share ALL of the details in a video on my YouTube Channel. (Please Subscribe so that you don't miss any videos.)

Personal Filofax Malden
I am using the personal size Filofax Malden as my on the go planner.

- I have a monthly spread so that I can make appointments or check schedules while I am out.
- I keep my meal plan and grocery lists so that I have them when I head to the grocery store.
- I also have sections for notes, info, lists, and contacts. Anything that I might need to reference on the go.

Erin Condren Horizontal
I am using the Erin Condren Horizontal as my main planner. 

- appointments, birthdays, schedules
-  blog/youtube editorial calendar, stats, and some notes
- daily to-dos
- all cleaning/household lists

Erin Condren Teacher Planner
I am using the Erin Condren Teacher planner for homeschooling.

- all lessons plans
- grades, schedules, book lists, everything

You can check out my setup HERE.
A Peek at the New Erin Condren Teacher Planner 2016-2017

Happy Planner Pad
Not pictured or talked about in video. I totally forgot about it because I am not currently using it during the summer months.

- Only used when we have a very busy week with a lot of extra activities.

Inserts Mentioned in Video
Monthly Calendar - Sew Much Crafting on Etsy
Meal Plan/Grocery List - Plans of the Heart on Etsy

* This is not a sponsored post. I purchased all items myself or with referral credits that I have earned.
* If you are a NEW Erin Condren customer, you can sign up with my referral link and received $10 off of your first order. I will also receive a credit to use toward my next purchase.


I'm linking this post to :Meet Up Monday - Waiting on Wednesdays - Creative Ways - The DIY Collective - Link Party Palooza - The Creative Corner

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Favorites - 2016

Products Mentioned
Coffee Mug - TJMAXX
Essie Nail Polish - Bikini So Teeny
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel
Tarte Bronzer - Park Avenue Princess
Ink Joy Gel Pen
Sharpie Pen
MAMBI planner stickers - Hobby Lobby (could not find on-line)
*Erin Condren (referral link) Customized Stickers

 - All items were purchased with my own money or through referral credits that I have earned. All opinions are my own. I only share items that I really enjoy and using.

 * Referral Link - if you are a NEW customer you can sign up through my referral link. You will received $10 off of your first order and I will receive a credit to use on my next purchase.


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Monday, June 27, 2016

The Weekly Report - June 27, 2016

Happy Monday!

This week's Meal Plan:
(I shop on Friday, so I plan from Friday - Thursday)

Friday - Seafood Quesadillas, Chips and Salsa
Saturday -Oven Baked Chili Dogs (with homemade hotdog chili) and Tater Tots
Sunday Lunch - Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Chips and Dip, Fruit
Sunday Dinner - Leftovers
Monday - Pork Fried Rice and Egg Rolls (we like our Chinese food in this house)
Tuesday - Chicken Bundles, Roasted Veggies
Wednesday - BBQ Pork Chops, Corn on the Cob, Baked Potatoes
Thursday - Leftovers

This week's life updates:
- We made the decision to cut back on swim practice for the summer. It has made our weeks way more relaxed.
- We are still enjoying our pool days and summer in general.
- I'm still not ready to think about getting ready for the next homeschool year.

Project updates:

- I did not get the painting project done...I kinda skipped it and re-styled our built ins instead.
- We organized the boy's Legos. I can't wait to show you!
- I've spend some time updating my blog and youtube design a little bit. I'm not quite done, but so far I am enjoying the fresher look. I need a hint of color.

Catch the video on YouTube.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Built Ins Re-Styled - Summer 2016

I'm excited to share my re-styled built ins with you today. As you can see, they have been through MANY transformations over the years.
This is not the most recent setup, but it was the closet one I could find. This was clearly not a planned project or I would have taken before pictures. I really just decided to do this on a whim mid-morning earlier this week.


I had a few goals in mind.
- I wanted them to feel less stuffy.
- I wanted the items to reflect our lives better and not just be a bunch of random pretty items.
- I wanted to bring our books down stairs so that they would be more accessible.
- I wanted to like the way it looked on film since it is sometimes the backdrop in my YouTube videos.


I took everything off so that I could start fresh. I added the silhouettes of my boys for a fun pop of color and then started filling in with books. Next came the baskets and a few accessories. It was a little bit of trial and error, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

All of our hard bound books are one shelf arranged by height.

I arranged all of our paperback books alphabetically by author so that we could find them easily.

This is my favorite vignette. I made sure that it was on the shelf that shows up the most in my videos. If you like the little succulent you can see how I made it HERE.

This is by far my favorite setup. I'm really happy with how it turned out. 

 Ok, now for the really fun part! I'm going to share all of the before pictures that I could find. Some are really pretty and some are really horrible.

Let me go ahead and apologize now for the not so wonderful picture quality on some of these.

What a walk down memory lane that was.
Do you have a favorite?

YouTube Video

I'm linking this post to :Meet Up Monday - Waiting on Wednesdays - Creative Ways - The DIY Collective - Link Party Palooza - The Creative Corner 

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