Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Six Dollar Christmas Tree Decoration

Its almost Christmas! Wish you all a very merry Christmas.

I don't blog consistently but one thing I surely post about every year is the Christmas Tree. I love the holiday season. Its happiness and joy everywhere during this season. So I try to bring that mood into our house by putting up the decorations. Our decorations were minimal this year though. Lights outside, Wreath on the door, Tree and Stockings on the mantel.

As far as the tree decoration goes, I have collected many ornaments for past few years, some basic and some special to us. We put them all every year and add a couple more each year. Even though they look so beautiful on the tree, packing them after the season is a pain. I wanted to save us that pain this year (for a  reason) so looked at other low-cost-high-impact options for Christmas tree decoration.
Though my daughter put up some basic ornaments when we put the tree up few weeks ago, I left the remaining ones unpacked. Since we use an old artificial tree that doesn't look as full without lot of ornaments, I decided to go with Christmas mesh. I bought 2 rolls (one in red and one in Red & white) from Micheals. They were already 60% off so I got them for $6. Wrapped them around the tree and gathered at about a foot or 2 and bent a branch around it to tie. Alternative to tie a wire or pipe cleaners. I rearranged the ornaments to cover some of those ties. Added bows made of ribbons, some poinsettia ornaments we had and the tree looks full & beautiful. I had two tree skirts that matched my decor theme so I put them in layers underneath the tree.

Even though its nice to have the ornaments that have sentiment on the tree every year, a little variation also helps bring the same cheer. I wanted to share this for folks that are having a Christmas tree for the first time and want to decorate it without spending a whole lot of $$$.

Have a happy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kids Morning & Evening Routine - Free Printable

Christmas is in 2 days and I am posting about kids daily routine, and I didn't show pictures of our tree yet! Yeah I am waaaaay off blog world schedule, but that's our life now.

Anyway, since my kid is going to be 4 in few months, I have been trying to get her to do some things on her own. With us working full time, mornings are very busy around here, so to make them a little more comfortable I prepared a tiny list of her morning routine with pictures. Printed it and stuck it on the wall next to the hallway bath. It got her excited. She liked to finish each task and telling me that she is done. I realized checking off items from a list motivates humans of any size. So I created one for evenings. To be honest, the evenings didn't get as easy as the mornings, but it does help save some valuable time that used get lost somewhere in the middle of 'Bath time now come on... 7th time' & 'Dinner is ready, let's eat' & 'Finish your food fast, you have been sitting there for 40 minutes' and so on. We now have some quality time at the end of the day for some cuddling and rolling off the night slowly.

For families that have similar routines, I am providing our printables. Go ahead, print them and try it out. Even if you gain 10 minutes in a day, it is worth. Don't you agree?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kids Meal 9

School Lunch & Snack: Strawberries cut into flowers (technique here, 3rd flower from the video. I also cut them in hearts like this), Steamed Rice & lentil Cakes (Dhokla) cut into bunnies & flowers (Used cumin and mustard seed to decorate. Recipe here), Homemade Mango PannaCotta made with Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream, String Cheese, Boiled Egg (cut a heart on the white and used a piece of beetroot to color).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Kids Meal 8

School Lunch & Snack: Whole Wheat Tortilla/ Indian Chapathi & Chocolate-nut butter rollups (technique here, you can cut them into pinwheels. I make homemade Choc-nut butter with Almond butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar. This way I can control the sugar and eliminate unhealthy fats), Sliced apple, boiled egg, chick peas (didn't eat them), baby food pouch (these are sweet and tasty and mostly healthy. If your kid likes them, its better than a sugary treat)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Glow in the Dark gifts - Treat for Halloween

It's almost Halloween! I barely got the school gifts ready for Trick or Treat tomorrow.But I am really happy about how they turned out, and there is no candy involved.

Glow in the dark bracelets! They are everywhere, cheap, can be very useful for safety on Halloween night when the little ones are trick or treating on the streets AND its not candy. I hate the amount of candy kids get on this day and lets not even talk about those eyeballs and stuff. So this was a nice variation.

I used these adorable printable tags for this gift. After printing and cutting them by hand (35 of them! Seriously, I should have just bought a circle punch), I started assembling.

Here is what I used:

CardStock - Michaels
Glow in the Dark 12 pack bracelets - Michaels
2 different Washi tapes in black (dots & chevron) - Michaels
Free printable - LadybugTeacherFiles
clear tape to stick the tag to glow sticks

Be Safe & Have Fun Trick or Treating with your little ones. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kids Meal 7

School Lunch & Snack: Savory Pancake poppers (I make these with a batter made of indian lentils and rice and add in finely chopped veggies. Here is a sample recipe and the batter made for this could be used to make savory crepe, also known as Dosa. This or this pan should work for these), Pita Chips, Almond cookies and Rice Krispies cut in hear shape using cookie cutter, Pear slices.

Here is how I used to pack my child's lunch last year when she just started preschool. It was a reusable gift bag I found at Walmart.

She is older now so I pack a little extra lunch and more snacks. So this bag didn't work anymore. I switched to a lunch bag and a snack bag now and pack 2 thermos water bottles. I also include a milk box or juice in smaller thermos for lunch.

I will post pictures of her current lunch & snack bags soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Living Room

I have never posted pictures of our living room. It is the brightest room in our house with windows all around so it was very hard to take pictures. I tried my best with my minimal photographic skills and a basic DSLR.

I love this sofa and love seat. They are not too soft, not rock hard and the shape is lovely.

Those little pillows with flowers fabric were a quick diy to add some color and pattern.

This picture below gives you the view from Front door/ Foyer. The TV stand is out of scale for that huge room. It is from our apartment days. We didn't want to invest in a new one since we hardly use that TV and we like to have open space for the kid to run around. May be I should do something interesting on the wall to take the eye out of the miniature TV stand.

The oval shaped frame on that wall showcases a handmade doily by my husband's grandmother. She is not with us anymore but I am so glad my daughter could meet her.

 You might have seen my Arts of Hearts here. They are still hanging on this wall.

We use two leather storage ottomans as side tables. When we have young kids we could use as much concealed storage as possible, right?

This little triangle shaped table was from previous owner of this house. It fits perfectly in the little corner. It was Cherry colored wood, but we spray painted it black to match with rest of our furniture and I decorated it with a drawer knob from Anthropology. By the way, it is a fake drawer. Did you ever see such thing? First time for me!

That little orange chair was from The Container Store.

That rounds it up. It is not awesomely decorated room, but very open, airy and simple. Just the way we like it around here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kids Meal 6

School Lunch & Snack: Whole Wheat Bread and chocolate-nut butter rollups (technique here), Homemade Jello with Naked Juice & Gelatin, string cheese, cantaloupe, cheese cookies.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kids Meal 5

School Lunch & Snack: Steamed Rice Cakes (Idlis) in small and large sizes, Strawberries, chocolate cream cookies (Bourbon cookies, indian brand), sliced string cheese, cucumber (didn't eat these though)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Kids Meal 4

Breakfast: Frozen Whole Wheat waffles, Homemade Jello with Naked Fruit Juice & Gelatin, cut in tulip shape, honey for dipping, 5 oz reduced fat milk

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Baby Shower Gift Idea - Handmade Burp Cloths

My post on Pregnancy Journal has been a huge hit on my blog. Thanks to Jen @ Iheart organizing for her feature and all of you that liked it. As mentioned in that post, I also made some burp clothes for the baby shower gift.

I bought some colorful cotton fabric and a few yards of white flannel.

I washed and ironed all fabric, cut each cotton fabric to a rectangle, size approximately long enough to be a burp cloth. Cut the flannel to same size for backing each burp cloth, layered on colorful fabric with wrong side out, cut corners and sewed all around, leaving a 2 inch opening to turn the right side out. Once turned all the way out, I sewed around the edge, concealing the opening. You could do a couple of straight stitches in the middle so it stays flat when washed. I skipped it, since the patterns on the fabrics are so cute, I didn't want to mess with it.

It is not my own idea. Sewing is not my skill, so I followed tutorials available on the blogland, like this and this.

One big tip I learned from a seamstress is, while turning the fabric inside out, you can get perfect sharp corners by using a needle or safety pin to pull the corners out. Be gentle though or you pull the fabric threads out. Ignore my nails screaming NEED-A-MANICURE!

Look at these beauties. My absolute favorite is the top one, so colorful and pretty.

I tried to sew a band to bundle them up, didn't come out very good, but it served the purpose. I stamped 'handmade just for you' on it, but again, didn't come out as nice as I would have liked, but served the purpose.

The gift was given, loved by the then-mom-to-be, baby is born, probably used and disposed these already and close to celebrating his first birthday. But everytime I see these pictures, I get all giddy that I could sew something that looked so pretty. Truth is, its the fabric that's pretty, not my sewing. Oh, well.

Seriously, if you own a sewing machine, consider this for a baby shower gift. It will be an easy & pretty gift as well as something they can use daily for quite some time.

There is another version of burp cloths with cloth diapers that I want to give a try next time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

High/Low wall art

I had been planning to update our family room wall art. I had this DIY painting that I did for about 4 years. 

I am bored of it. 

Since this was a long wall, I needed something long. I debated on having a gallery wall, but I thought that will be too many photo frames it the room plus I already have a couple of galleries going in the house. So I looked for some paintings online. 

I loved Kristy Gammill's paintings, but let alone the originals, even the prints were out of my reach. 

But browsing those, I realized I liked to have an abstract art in this space, in the greens and blues. So I searched some more and landed on these.

Exactly what I had in mind, but not the price. I respect the work that has been put into these paintings, but I can't spend that much on a painting that I may change in few years. I can't have a room looking the same for long time. So I attempted to DIY again. I bought few acrylic paints from Michaels and with my little paint brushes and on hand 18X36 canvas, here is what I created.

Definitely not comparable to the inspirations, but close enough to what I wanted.

Total cost was less than $6 as I had the paint brushes and canvas on hand. Even if I had to buy them, with coupons at Micheals/ JoAnn it won't be more than $30.

If I can add a stained wood frame to it I am thinking it will look great. I also have something in mind that will make it look even better. Lets see how long this stays like this before I do those. I am guessing pretty long!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone. Hope everybody is enjoying the brunches and egg hunts. We are going to celebrate at a friend's house this year so I will leave you with a table setting I did last year, which I never got to share.

Hope you have a wonderful Easter with your loved ones!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bar Cart as Bed side table

Our bed has been without a night stand/ side table for ..... as long as we had it. Yeah, we bought our current Bed, mattress and the dresser a little over 3 years ago, but I didn't go with the night stands that matched the bed set, thinking I don't want all matchy matchy in the room. Plus all that wood can make the room see even smaller, I thought. So ever since I have been looking for the perfect mismatch for my bed. I wanted mirrored round tables but wasn't practical with a toddler in the house. I then looked for metal ones, but none clicked, until this came by, at Target, on clearance from $129.99 down to $90.98.

Yup, I am a sucker for clearance and when the item is this beautiful and versatile, I had to buy it. So I rolled it to checkout without a second thought. After some wrapping paper lining, it sits beautiful next to our bed.

I put a basket in the bottom shelf with some books for the kid's night time reading. Yes, we still co-sleep.

I plan on using it for its original intended purpose (a Bar Cart that is) when we host parties, but for the rest of the time it can serve the alternate duty of being our night stand.

In case anyone is wondering, 

Curtain behind the cart  -  from Ikea
Blue vase  -  from Ikea
Wrapping paper  -  from Home Goods
Basket holding books  -  from Target (quite sometime back, may be Nate Berkus collection)

Now the search continues for something on the other side of the bed. 

Linking at 
Savvy Southern Style's Wow us Wednesdays#165
Ginger Snap Crafts' {wow me} wednesday #150