It’s finally that time of year!

This is the beginning of my favorite time of year!  Thanksgiving needs it’s well deserved time in the spot lot, but as soon as it’s over…bring on the Christmas Cheer!  This year we finally got around to getting and putting up our tree.

We don’t own a tree skirt, but after getting the tree in the stand it was pretty obvious that we needed one…

So I hit the store, and picked up a cheap $6 fleece blanket.  Spread it out on the floor…

Folded it into quarters…

Cut an arch, which created a big oval shape…

Then I cut a slit so that it would fit around the tree.

 Then I put it under the tree, covering up the tree stand, and was quite pleased with the end result!

Here’s to $6 and 5 minutes of my time!

Brian and I had a great weekend together decorating and seeing lots of fun Christmas lights!

 After a fantastic weekend, it was back to work today.  Getting home at 7, it was grocery shopping time, ugh.  Getting home after 8, with no dinner made, and the pledge to stay healthy and under my calorie goal, I was just not feeling it.  But I’m pretty happy with what I came up with!

Easy, healthy, low calorie chicken salad!  I picked up a small rotisserie chicken while at the grocery store.  Shredded it up, added one cup of plain greek yogurt (much healthier and better than mayo!), 1 cup of red grapes cut in half, 1/2 cup of green onions, and 1 avocado chopped.

I stirred it all up, taste tested it, and was thrilled that it wasn’t missing anything flavor wise!

I added it to a tortilla (much lower calories than 2 slices of bread) and a glass of V-8 splash.  Overall my dinner came in around 346 calories (BAM!).  It was delicious, healthy, filling, and only took a couple minutes to whip up.  Best part is that I now have lunch for tomorrow, plus I will probably skip the tortilla which puts it at only 146 calories…love it!

I would say that throughout this whole healthy kick, my greatest achievement has been cutting out my daily cup of coffee, and my nightly glass(es) of wine.  I’m down to about 2 cups of coffee weekly, and only an occasional glass of wine.  I’m definitely feeling good!

Happy Monday to you all!

Simply Living

Snowed In

ok ok ok ok ok.  I know that Christmas is long gone, I get it really.  And on that note I promise that today will be the LAST Christmas related post until next season.  But that still leaves today…so prepare yourself!

My snow day was pretty productive.  Neither of these projects are new, I’ve showcased them on here before, but I was just happy to finish up and be done with the holiday season crafts.  First up, I finished off another set of holiday coasters.  I’m loving not wasting the wrapping paper I had left over from gifts, and I think they came out looking pretty festive!

Father Christmas!

I also added a square of felt onto the back, to avoid scratching table tops or whatever other surface the coaster might be on.  I simply attached with my best friend, the glue gun.

Small square of felt gets glued to the back

Pretty little stack of coasters ready to go

I tied ’em up, and chose a thinner ribbon this time, to avoid covering the entire Santa face.  And now I just need to store them away for next year.  Only…346 days until Christmas next year!

The other day my mom popped into our neighborhood Walgreens and what do you know?  All holiday items majorly on sale!  You betcha.  Being the recipient of one of my ornament wreaths last year, she’s a big fan.  So she stocked up on a cart full of ornaments and came home bearing gifts.  Today I finally had the time to sit down and tackle gluing all the tops on to prep the ornaments for wreath making.  I really wasn’t kidding when I said the glue gun was my best friend…

174 ornaments later…and I was good to go.  Now don’t be fooled by the picture above, the majority are red, but there were some pops of color in there as well!

Blue, green, gold, and silver bulbs are hiding!

Some of these bulbs are glass, but I would highly recommend sticking to plastic or shatter proof ornaments.  Inevitably you will end up dropping one and breaking it, which is always a disappointment.  I only broke one, but still…go the plastic route!

One of the advantages to finally tackling this project helped with my New Years Resolution…less clutter!  This got 7, count them baby, 7(!) boxes of ornaments up and off of my floor!  Now that’s impressive.  Some of the glass ornaments had these dividers in the container:

I decided to save them because while a typical paint palette isn’t incredibly expensive, you can’t beat free!  For the next project I work on that needs a palette for dividing paint colors, I know just where to go looking!

Anyways, here’s a peak at the finished product!

All it’s lacking is a nice ribbon bow at the top…one day.

 I love how colorful and fun it looks!  Unfortunately I still have tons of ornaments left…looks like sometime in the near future I’ll have to make at least one more wreath, but we’ll see!  I know you all must think I’m crazy for still making holiday related projects when January is half over…but now is the time to do it!  Get all the materials after the holidays while they are ridiculously on sale, and then you will be super prepared for next year!  At least that’s what I tell myself…

I promise my next post will be something totally unrelated to Christmas.  I swear my ideas branch out a lot farther…

Off for another riveting, I’m sure, episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  And then…my 1 day work week!  How shall I ever survive?

I’m dreaming of a white…Wednesday

Holy snow batman!  This is what I saw when I woke up this morning:

There’s a house in there…somewhere.  Photo courtesy of my Dad

I was giddy as a little school girl, because school cancellations and snow days are WAY more fun as a teacher than they ever were as a student.  I’m sure I’ll feel differently about that once I’m a parent, but for now, I’ll take it!  The snow day came at the perfect time.  As you can tell from my lack of posting the last few days, I was literally, and figuratively, knocked on my ASS with the flu.  I’m talking Sunday night to Wednesday morning I didn’t go anywhere other than from my bed, to the couch, and back.  Non stop fever, cold chills followed by hot sweats, constant full body aches, no appetite, headache up the wazoo, you name it.  Blegh.  I’m so glad the worst is over.  I still have a lingering sore throat, but feel 1,000 times better than I did.

I did end up having to take Monday and Tuesday as sick days, and then was lucky enough to get today off as a snow day, and whats that…oh the phone ringing?  Tomorrow is a snow day too?  You don’t say?!?  Well hallelujah!  I’ll be good to go by Friday, I think I can manage a 1 day work week.  And then its off to the Big Apple with Sister’s 1 and 2 for Wicked on Broadway!  Merry Christmas to us, thanks Mom!

Considering I’ve been on the couch or in my bed for the last 3 days, I haven’t gotten much done.  But I was visiting my friends over at eighteen25, and perusing through some of their older posts and came across this adorable To Do List with a free print out.  Umm hello, it doesn’t get easier than that.  So I printed it off, and stuck it in an old 8×10 Ikea frame I had lying around (free, I guess it does get even easier!).  And I love what I’ve come up with!  Thanks ladies!

Not only is this practical and cute, but it totally fits in with my New Years Resolution to stay organized.  I’ve even filled it with things to do…and checked off a few!  Productivity at its best.  I may end up painting the frame, or adding some kind of color to make it pop, but for now I’m pretty happy.  If you want to see their take, and find the free print off, click here.

I also finished off some of the coasters I made the other day.  Added felt to the bottom, and wrapped ’em up with a ribbon and now they’re ready to be a hostess gift or something next year.  Let’s just hope by next year I remember where they are!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Wednesday, and aren’t quite as snowed in, or flu like as I was!

All that glitters…is not gold!

Giant Christmas ornaments do too!

Today B and I were able to enjoy a super lazy Sunday, the most fantastic way to end our Christmas vacation.  One last day of sleeping in, followed by watching the Patriots kick some major Dolphin booty (38-7!), and then it was home to get my craft on.  It’s the small things that make life worth living!

100+ ornaments, piles of glitter, and more hot glue gun sticks than I can count later…and we have the birthday present sister #1 requested finished and ready!

I started with this:

That’s right…100 Christmas Tree ornaments that I scored on sale at CVS for only $4.99, horray for after Christmas sales!  Each ornament needed to have the top popped off and put back on with my trusty little hot glue gun.  Here I am hard at work!

2 episodes of the Real Housewives, several blisters, and (thankfully!) zero burns later…

Only slightly crazy after hours of hot gluing…

That’s a lot of ornaments!

After reattaching all the tops, and letting them dry, I grabbed a wire hanger I had lying around the house.  I formed the hanger into a rough circle shape and then untwisted the top.  One by one I started putting bulbs onto the hanger.  Once it was full I retwisted together the top, glued the blue smaller bulbs and a couple other fillers in place and tada!  And now for the final reveal!

Came out looking a little more patriotic than I had hoped for, but hopefully sister #1 will like it.  I made a couple of these last year, and she has been asking for one for her apartment even since then.  Too bad her birthday falls just outside of the holiday season…at least she will have decorations for next year!  Now to find the motivation to finish just one more wreath and get it to B’s mom before it’s too late…maybe I’ll save that one for next year.  But now is the time to get the supplies!  After holiday sales are the best time for shopping.

Hope everyone enjoyed their Sunday, back to the daily grind tomorrow.  Ho hum.