Container Store Must Haves

must haves

In the spirit of Casey being featured in The Container Store blog (take a look!!), I decided to write a post on some of my favorite Container Store products. How I narrowed it down to just 10, you ask?? I don’t know. Everything is my favorite in this store. When Casey got a job at The Container Store, my inner neat freak self was ecstatic. I grew up loving  The Container Store and now I had a discount! It’s awesome. Anyways, here’s my top 10 favorite products from The Container Store:

  1. In the spirit of Christmas, I’ll start with this ornament storage box. We had these as a family growing up and the thing I love most about them is that the actual storage part in the inside is cardboard. So your ornaments aren’t limited to one size. If you have some that are particularly large, you can fold the outside cardboard to fit that ornament. Genius.
  2. When I was picking out baskets for the playroom, I wanted something that was durable but soft and something would stand on it’s own. I knew Joel would be pulling them off the shelves and probably roughing them around a bit, so I didn’t want anything that was too stiff or breakable like plastic. I chose these cute charcoal striped baskets and I love them! Joel really is rough with the baskets (ie putting all his weight on them or getting inside them entirely) and they have held up great.
  3. Ok really anything Elfa is my favorite. Growing up, we had Elfa closets because my parents are believers too and we swear by them. They are completely customizable and move as your family grows or changes. I remember Catherine’s closet (my younger sister) was customized to her youth sized clothes, so when she got older her clothes didn’t fit in the space anymore. All we did was move around a few shelves and voila! Done. It was the perfect space all over again.
  4. I love love love love their wrapping paper. It’s so much thicker and more durable than the cheap wrapping paper we’ve gotten at the grocery store. Not to mention, their patterns are adorable.
  5. Their acrylic modular make up storage is awesome! You can customize it by adding to it: so as your wrinkles grow, so do your creams, so does your make up storage. Mine is all organized by face creams, hand creams, etc.
  6. But Rebecca, how do you organize tupperware in the kitchen?? Those are the worst!! Well do I have a solution for you! (what?? are you not asking yourself that question??) These Elfa (again, the best) Mesh Gliding Drawers are so great for organizing tupperware containers and lids, under the sink cleaning supplies, or bathroom necessities.
  7. Again with the Elfa…this door rack is a must. We have this behind the pantry door for all those miscellaneous spices or food items. We also had them in our closets growing up. I’ve seen them used in a guest closet for wrapping paper storage, or in a kid’s closet for shoes and other things. Super diverse and awesome.
  8. When we went to Italy on our honeymoon, we used these awesome packing cubes and packing folders to organize our stuff. We were meeting the Pope and had to bring Casey’s suit, a white dress, and my veil (all without getting it wrinkled). And note to mention all the nice clothes for masses and visiting churches. This is how we did that! Those packing folders kept everything from getting wrinkled without taking up a ton of space in your suitcase.
  9. This is super random and super small, but these cable clips are life. We attached these behind our nightstands and they hold my phone charger, my apple watch charger, and the baby monitor charger all in place (all these cords went into ONE of these cable clips).
  10. Last, but certainly not least, any of their plastic storage tubs are true winners. They don’t crack or break like the flimsy, cheap Walmart ones. They have some for every space in your home. Some waterproof, some tiny, some huge (in fact, I think we just got one to hold a tailgate tent….like not a small one. One of those huge, industrial, metal poles tailgate tent). So anyways, I can’t link all their storage tubs, but they have one for EVERYTHING.

Like I said, I really don’t know how I chose just 10 and maybe I should’ve organized it by room, but I really had a hard time narrowing it down. The Container Store is awesome and has organization for everything in your life. If you want to see more pictures on how we use their products in our home, go follow @organizedhubby on instagram! That’s Casey’s instagram account for work stuff and how we stay organized in the Rehling casa.

Christmas Hallmark Movie Rankings and Reviews

hallmark movie ratings

It should be said that these rankings and reviews are on a scale of “this is just the worst thing ever” to “wow, that was surprisingly not bad for a Hallmark movie”. So just keep that in mind when I tell you what I think of these Christmas Hallmark movies. The acting is subpar. The graphics are ok. I don’t expect much while watching these and neither should you, but they are totally my guilty pleasure. Here we go!

12 Dates of Christmas: I’ll kick it off with a semi good one! This girl gets spritzed in the face with perfume by a lady in the mall (WHO AIMS FOR THE FACE????) and passes out. When she wakes up she’s reliving the same day (Christmas Eve) over and over again. The whole plot is about her trying to get her ex-boyfriend back and completely dismissing a new guy she’s never met. Classic. The acting: actually not that bad…because Zach from Save by the Bell is in it, so nostalgia. 5/5 stars.

Naughty & Nice: The lesser Duff sister is a radio DJ and a classic bad boy DJ (aren’t they all just bad boys) comes to town because he needs to fix his reputation?? I don’t remember…I didn’t watch this one very well. Anyways, they fall in love because Hallmark and then there is an issue and then they resolve it. Again…I didn’t watch this one that closely. 2/5 stars…would’ve 3/5 if it was Hilary and not Haylie Duff.

Merry Kissmas: Nice girl is engaged to a jerk of a choreographer. Then she’s running away from a persistent old lady and goes into an elevator where she says, “HELP ME!” to a guy in the elevator which immediately means “KISS ME!” and they start kissing which confuses the lady and she leaves? If you’re confused, you’re not alone. What kind of plot line is that? Anyways, it revolves around mistletoe in the elevator. You know what they say….what goes on in the elevator, stays in the elevator??? Does anyone say that? 3/5 stars because it took the girl entirely too long to break it off with her fiancé and she was emotionally cheating on him with elevator guy. Not cool.

Merry Kissmas 2 (alternate title: A Christmas Kiss II): I know, there’s a second one. Again revolving around kissing in the elevator. Assistant girl kisses some stranger in an elevator because what’s more romantic than that. Then finds out he’s like a resident bad boy brother to her boss..where her boss cares about her assistant more than her bad boy brother. Anyways…there was no plot line except that everyone thinks he’s a bad boy and he turns out to not be all that bad. 3/5 stars.

A Nanny for Christmas: Rich family gets a nanny except the girl interviewing thought she was interviewing for a marketing position….sike! Turns out she’s a nanny, and not a very disciplined one because she’s never nannied before. Then she falls in love and lies to him about said nanny job. That’s it. 2/5 because the kids get a puppy for Christmas at the end. Yes, I just ruined the movie for you.

A Cinderella Christmas: Wow if the acting in this movie wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen. Basically the story of Cinderella but at Christmastime. 1/5 stars because the main girl’s voice annoyed me so much.

The Spirit of Christmas: Ok. For a Hallmark Christmas movie, this actually wasn’t terrible. The plot line strayed from the usual Hallmark plot lines and I kinda liked it? He’s a ghost but comes back to his house for Christmas every year and this girl is trying to help him move to the beyond, but instead they fall in love. I’m gonna admit, I was rooting for them the entire time. 5/5 stars.

My Santa: Santa’s son needs to find a wife by Christmas otherwise……..I don’t know? Was there a consequence? I don’t remember. Anyway, single mom hates Christmas because it brings back bad memories. Well, Santa’s son (also known as Shawn Hunter’s brother from Boy Meets World) does all this magic throughout the movie and then she believes again and they fall in love. 2/5 stars because single mom’s son’s acting was atrocious. And that’s putting it nicely.

Christmas Belle: Girl named Isabella, but Belle for short, likes books. Sound familiar?? Goes to a house to catalog his library and falls in love with the library and the owner is super grumpy. And she can’t go to the rose atrium because that’s his special place. And the dog is named Beast. Anyone with me on this? Casey actually heard me laugh out loud on how bad lesser Duff’s acting was in this one. 1/5 stars.

Christmas in the Smokies: Girl is trying to salvage her parent’s farm in the Smoky Mountains because it’s going bankrupt. Her famous country singer ex-boyfriend comes back to town and she’s all upset with him because one time in high school he promised her he’d be home for Christmas and he never came. So she’s angry about that and gives him a hard time…even though she’s like in her 30s but #neverforget. He ends up helping her save the farm. 3/5 ONLY because they didn’t end up engaged or even dating in the end and I respect that. They just were friends again at the end.

A Christmas Prince: Girl reporter goes undercover as a tutor trying to get the scoop on a prince that has a bad rep. The prince’s sister (who she’s tutoring) finds out about her being a reporter and says it’s ok as long as she write the truth about her brother. Reporter girl falls in love with the prince….because he’s actually nice. And then it just goes from there. This one had me on the edge of my seat. So bad. But so good. 5/5 stars. There’s like a whole Buzzfeed article on why we love/hate this movie.

Christmas Kiss: Now this one does not occur in the elevator……wait yes, it does…….and I’m just now realizing that A Christmas Kiss II was the sequel to this one….not Merry Kissmas. Whatever. Same plot line. Girl kisses guy in the elevator in a mask because why not. She soon finds out it’s her awful boss’ boyfriend but he doesn’t know it was her that he kissed (because she was wearing a mask that only cover 1/10 of her face). Anyways, they fall in love but the boss is just the worst! 3/5 stars because it took him too long to break up with the boss. Ugh. She really was the worst.

A Holiday Engagement: This girl hires a guy to act as her boyfriend while she visits her family for the holidays because her boyfriend breaks up with her and she doesn’t want all the questions? Lol. Just tell your family. Anyways, they fall in love because duh. That’s it. 1/5 stars.

Holiday Breakup: Watched the first 5 minutes and couldn’t get through it. That’s how bad it was. -5/5 stars.

Okay, I’m not going to lie…I didn’t realize how many of these I had watched until right this moment and I’m a little bit ashamed of it, but not enough to not post this on the blog. So whatever. I watch them when I work out, whatever works, am I right???

Joel’s Birth Story (part 2)

Hello to all of the wonderful, loyal followers of The Rehling Unit! In celebration of Joely Joel’s first year of life, we’re sharing his birth story in full detail with you all as little detail as possible! However, since Rebecca was on some serious drugs she asked me to fill in the gaps.
Image result for i want the drugs baby mama gifAlright, here we go…

 

If you’re just joining us, you should go read Rebecca’s previous post about the beginning of our hospital trip but to catch you up…Reb had made up her mind that she was NOT going back to work the next week and was determined that she would get Joel out. We spent that Saturday doing (*almost*) everything possible thing to induce labor. Reb went to bed that night disappointed, but I went to bed on alert. Sure enough, we woke up not even 30 minutes after falling asleep because Reb’s water partially broke. We didn’t know that was a thing but apparently it is (on a completely unrelated note, if you’re expecting, go save your doctor’s on call number in your phone right now). We had the most anticlimactic ride to the hospital ever. I didn’t get that high octane drive that you see in the movies…maybe next time. Anyway, the nurses checked Rebecca out and talked to the doctor and they decided to admit her to induce labor. And that’s where we left off!

I don’t think either of us fully believed that this was about to happen when the nurse left the room. We both kind of were letting it sink in and I remember Rebecca genuinely asking me “so this is happening, right?” The nurse came back pretty soon to get Reb started on Pitocin to start the contractions/labor. It was about three in the morning, and they gave Rebecca some pain meds (not the epidural yet) to ease the pain from the contractions so she could get some rest. Now, I on the other hand, was completely wired. I had originally asked my buddy Erik to help keep everyone updated so I didn’t have to worry about communicating to everyone at once, but now I had all of this time on my hands…so I started letting family and friends know what’s up.

If you know Reb at all or have seen our house (if you haven’t, click here!), then you know that she LOVES Christmas. So to help Rebecca take her mind off of the contractions, we listened to Christmas music the entire time she was in labor (over 15 hours straight). Well here I am, sitting in a chair next to her bed, listening to music, firing off texts, watching some Netflix when the adrenaline is starting to wear off. When all of a sudden, something magical started to happen. Rebecca started into a drug induced sleep talk marathon! So I resisted the urge to fall asleep because I wanted to take in this moment and write down all of the crazy things she said, so I could be able to tell anyone and everyone that would listen- including one day, the internet. This is the moment that I have been waiting for. I give you, the Top 8 Things Rebecca Said While High on Pain Killers:

  1. *sneaky tone* “We can’t take the shopping carts with us, okay… But ask and see if we can.”

 

  1. “Are we the only two people in the room? Because I feel like there’s a TON of people here”

 

  1. “Are you jumping up and down? Why are you jumping up and down?

 

  1. *breathes loudly* “Why am I making such a loud noise?” *breathes louder*

 

  1. *The First Noel starts playing* “This song is like Joel’s name…” *Reb proceeds to sing* “Jo-ellll Jo-elllllll”

 

  1. Reb: *starts violently smacking her arm against the bedrail*

Me: “You okay babe?”

Reb: “My arm is asleep…..”

 

  1. Reb: “Why are you wearing a doo-rag?”

Me: “I’m not, Babe…”

Reb: “Well it is NOT cute…”

 

  1. My personal favorite High-Reb quote:

*in regards to the pain med* “This s— WORKS!”

 

Now eventually the drugs started to wear off and Reb started to wake up and the pain was getting worse. Reb’s request to help her get through the contractions was for me to watch the monitor and let her know when she was almost done with that contraction. She could hold on as long as she knew when it was about to end. Sounds reasonable, right? The only problem was: I had no idea what I was looking at on the screen. Not sure if it was sleep deprivation, but I could not figure it out… Reb would keep (kindly) screaming at me to let her know how much longer each contraction was. This could only go well for me… Once I realized how the machine worked, I realized that it was NOT in my best interest to explain to Reb in the moment that the graph doesn’t tell you how much longer is left, it simply tells you how strong each contraction was… So, what did I do? I rolled with it, and just kept saying “Oh yeah, this one’s almost over, almost over, you’re so close” and then when the contraction would break I would say “good job.” That lasted for hours. There were some massive contractions where I told her that she was “almost there” about 10 times…. Oops… Sorry Reb…

The nurse said we could go ahead and get the epidural since Reb was in a lot of discomfort but had a long way to go. The anesthesiologist (FYI- I just spelled that right on the first try, no spell check, no big deal) came in to give Reb the epidural. He sat Rebecca up on the side of the bed, asked her to stay still and directed me to sit right in front of her for her to focus on. As he made conversation, I caught a glimpse of that massive, friggin’ needle and pretty sure I whispered, “Holy crap” (except I didn’t say crap) under my breath. Reb took it like a champ; I was amazed.

That’s when the doctor said, “Dad this is a great time for you to go get some food, and get some rest.” My buddy Davis had told me to let him know if I needed some food so I hit him up and without hesitation he said he was on his way. I told him I would meet him in the lobby so I got out of the room and went for a walk. Obviously, I beat Davis to the lobby so I thought to myself “Oh, I’ll just wait here on this couch here for Davis…” And naturally, since I hadn’t slept in about 36 hours, I did not last long….

I woke up in a panic. I had no clue where I was, but I did have a bag of Whataburger sitting next to me. I was so scared that I had slept for hours and missed everything. Reb was going to kill me. I thought “well Casey, it was a good run.” Turns out it had only been like 30 minutes. Anyway, thanks again for the tacos, Davis. You’re a gentleman and a scholar. And sorry that you got shooed away by the grandparents when you tried to visit Reb.

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After several more hours of contractions, and lying to Reb about knowing exactly how much longer each contraction was going to last, the contractions were getting stronger and Reb still had time to go but she was at least moving along. Again, I realized that I needed some food because it was well past lunch and all I had was half a breakfast taquito. My worst nightmare was passing out in the delivery room because I hadn’t eaten anything. They gave Reb a pretty good dose so I figured it was a good time for me to sneak away. So, I texted both of our parents saying, “Hey could someone come sit in the room for a quick minute so I can grab a bite in the café?” BIG MISTAKE. At that point, ALL of the grandparents obviously came up to see their baby girl even if she was passed out. Well with my luck, the very second the door started to open, Rebecca started to wake up. The grandparents all poked their heads in together and Reb immediately goes “WHAT ARE YALL DOING HERE??” To which I said “This was a mistake. Someone just bring me food please. Thanks. Bye. Leave. Now.” Reb’s wonderful mother, on the other hand, known as Tita, says “No, my baby wants me here, I’ll stay.” So she strolled to the side of the bed, leaned over, and said “It’s okay baby, I’m here…” Reb opened her eyes, and again asked “What are you doing here??” Then Tita gently and lovingly laid her hand on Reb’s shoulder and Reb said “Stop, that hurts, and stop breathing on my face!” Let’s just say I felt honored that I was the only one that Reb wanted there.

Side note, all of our parents were so incredibly patient and supportive that day, and every day since. We are so fortunate to have them in our lives. We love you Grandma, Poppy, Papi (yes, we have a “White Poppy” and a “Latin Papi”) and Tita!

After all of those shenanigans, it was time to try pushing. Again, it was very anticlimactic (at that point) because I was expecting they would be wheeling a screaming Rebecca out through the hall to the delivery room. Nope- that was the delivery room. The doctor and nurse were still just wearing normal scrubs and were so calm. The doctor and nurse explained to me my job…which apparently is more than just holding her hand and encouraging her?? I had to hold her leg back and bend it into whatever position they needed, etc. I had no problem helping but I remember thinking “Uhhhh is this worked into the bill?” But seriously, side note, the doctor and nurse were PHENOMENAL. We sincerely hope that everyone loves their doctor and nurse as much as we did.

Rebecca went through two 30-45 minute pushing sessions with a nap in between each. At the end of the second session, Rebecca was still really feeling her contractions even through the epidural, and she still needed to dilate more. They basically nuked her with another epidural, and knocked her out so she could sleep, and then put a peanut shaped exercise ball between her legs to help move her along. And turns out, that seriously worked. Rebecca woke up and felt…to put it delicately…Nature’s Calling…so, she told the nurse that she needed to go, and then the nurse literally says “Alright, THIS IS IT.

That’s when the doctor and nurse came in and they were on a freaking mission. They moved swiftly and efficiently. The doctor got her mask and glasses on. She would be pulling on her gloves while simultaneously letting the nurse help her put booties on. I was seriously amazed. Now this is what I was expecting. That part was totally like the movies.

After a still pretty long session of pushing, Reb was making lots of progress. And let’s just say we could begin to see all the things. And I’ll tell all of the men right now, it’s not gross. There is so much going on and you will have so many thoughts and emotions swirling around that being grossed out is not even an option. It’s truly beautiful, exhilarating, and incredible.

Joel had been in delivery for so long (he had a serious cone head) that his heartrate did start to drop just a tiny bit. The doctor seemed calm about it but to be safe they brought a NICU nurse down just in case. Obviously, I started to freak out a little bit, but it turned out to not be a big deal and his heart rate came back up as he got further along. They even told the nurse she could leave.

All of a sudden, I could tell that this ish was actually happening. Reb kept yelling at our doctor to just pull him out, but I guess it doesn’t work that way… Suddenly, his entire head came out and then one minute later, one shoulder emerged. Then the doctor pulled off one of the most skillful and athletic moves I had ever seen. In one smooth motion she grabbed Joel, pulled him out, and immediately flung Joel (in the most professional and safe way possible) onto Rebecca’s chest where the nurses immediately snapped into action cleaning him, checking vitals, clearing his lungs, etc. I can still hear Rebecca’s cries of joy. All she could say was “Come here, Baby Boy!” over and over. I could not stop hugging and kissing my new family, and could not stop telling Reb how proud I was of her.

At this point they began taking his measurements while I triple-counted his fingers and toes and tried to tell what color his eyes were (per Reb’s numerous demands requests). We both took turns holding our sweet little chicken nugget, and we ordered some dinner so we could eat by ourselves before going to see family (thanks again for being so patient). The food was actually pretty good but neither of us wanted to eat, let’s be honest. So, we took turns holding Joel while making the other eat.

Joel Francis Rehling came into the word at 5:40 in the evening on December 11, 2016. About an hour later, it was time to move to the recovery room. We gathered out stuff, opened the door and stepped out to show our new little family to our parents, our brothers, our sisters, our grandparents, and so many loved ones.

And one year later, we could not be more thankful for all that this past year has taught us. Our purpose, and our vocations have never been clearer. Joel has taught us to Be Brave, to enjoy the sweeter things in life, that laughter is contagious, and not to let a little bit of crap kill your vibe. We can’t believe that Joel is already one. We look back on this past year thankful to God for the blessing that this year has been, grateful for all of you walking along side us and supporting us, and eager to see what the next years hold.

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Dilly dilly!

Joel’s Birth Story (part 1)

 

Because this cutie is one year old today, I decided to write out his birth story. I have mixed feelings between feeling so sad that this year has gone by so quickly, feeling relieved that we made it through 1 whole year, and feeling excited for the years to come. I may or may not have cried multiple times leading up to his first birthday. I just can’t believe it went by this quickly. Anyways, here we go!

I had just hit 38 weeks pregnant and on Friday, December 9th, 2016, I decided I really didn’t want to go back to work on Monday and deal with 20 second graders that were so excited/crazy for Christmas break. I had been having contractions in the middle of lessons and teaching from the fetal position (half joking, half completely serious) the week before and I made up my mind that I wanted to go into labor that weekend. Partly because of work, partly because my doctor was on-call that weekend and I definitely wanted her to be the one to deliver Joel, and partly because I didn’t want Joel’s birthday to be so close to Christmas.

So on Saturday, I set out on my mission to go into labor. Casey and I went to Grapevine Mills Mall and walked around the entire mall (which is a mile)…and doesn’t seem like long, but when you’re super pregnant, it feels like an eternity. I saw a bunch of super pregnant women and I like to secretly think they were trying to do the same thing and we were all in this together. I went home and played Just Dance for an hour, jumping around and dancing. Then that night I watched Brian Reagan stand up comedy, which had me belly laughing and still no such luck. I didn’t even have one tiny contraction that whole day. I was so bummed out and then thought that Joel will just come in his own timing.

Before going to bed, I googled: will you wake up if your water breaks while you’re asleep? Because I was genuinely curious…and I guess hopeful that it would happen? I fell asleep and not even 30 minutes later (like 11pm), I had a dream I was peeing and I woke up and had actually “peed” a little bit. This is probably TMI, but I don’t even care because it’s part of the story. It should also be known that it’s completely common for women to pee themselves while pregnant because a tiny human is using your bladder like a trampoline, but I hadn’t the entire pregnancy…so this was very uncommon for me. I woke Casey up and we didn’t even know the number for my doctor? Like…shouldn’t we have figured that out before hitting the 3rd trimester? Oops. So we finally figured it out and called my doctor after calling quite a few people and she said to go ahead and go to the hospital because it sounded like my water was leaking.

The ride to the hospital was the calmest ride ever. It was around midnight and no one was on the road. I think Casey and I were both kind of freaking out and trying to remain calm. We got to the Emergency side of the hospital and told them my water was leaking, they brought a wheelchair around to which I said “I mean…I can walk, do I have to??” The nurse said it was regulation, but I felt so dumb being perfectly fine and being wheeled around a hospital. She took us to the maternity ward where the nurse asked us a billion questions and in fact told me that my water was leaking and I didn’t just pee myself. Because it wasn’t completely broken, they wanted to monitor us for a little bit, so Casey and I took a walk around the hospital to try and get it to break. It was eerily quiet and dark and empty. After awhile, the nurse checked again and it looked like my amniotic sac had sealed itself back up…they called my doctor (who knew how badly I wanted to go into labor that weekend) and she said to go ahead and induce me. I was induced at 3AM.

At this point I was completely out of it and semi-blacked out (not true). So Casey is going to take it over from here.

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After they told us they were going to admit us and induce me. Last family picture of 2.

Christmas House Tour

The Rehling Unit Christmas house tour

I’m passionate about a lot of things and home decor is one of them. Just kidding, I just want my house to be pretty. So I thought I would take you on a quick Christmas tour of the house…and eventually I’ll do an actual tour of each room…..eventually….I don’t know when….so don’t hold your breath.

It’s no secret that I love Christmastime. My spirit animal is a reindeer. So when I decorate for Christmas I like to go all out, but also all cheap because I don’t want to break the bank…and because Casey puts a limit on my credit card usage for the months of November and December. Just kidding, he doesn’t…but maybe should. I usually keep the Christmas decorations to the main parts of the house so that we can all enjoy them, but eventually I’d like to get to this point:

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Compromise is key in marriage.

So here’s a quick tour of our house during Christmas!
Living Room:
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Our Christmas tree is a neutral color and then I usually wrap presents in golds, tans, and reds. I got the little truck under the tree at Home Goods and kind of love it. The wreaths on the windows are flocked and they were $10 each from Walmart. Score! They are surprisingly full and fluffy, which I love. The presents under the tree have no food in them because we have learned our lesson with wrapping food beforehand and having a dog with impeccable smell.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

That lantern is around the house all year long, but I dress it up with holly at Christmas and viola! I bought a pack of holly at Target last year for $6 and basically just went crazy with it. Oops. Processed with VSCO with c1 presetOur mantle doesn’t change much. I just add garland (from Home Goods), our stockings, and switch out the wreath on the window for skis that I bought in the Target dollar spot (last year, I think?). Also, went crazy with the holly again.
Playroom and Hallway:
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This truck is in Joel’s playroom all year long, but I put a Christmasy napkin underneath it and a Target dollar spot Christmas tree in it’s trunk and called it a day. In fact, I think the tree still has the price tag on it because I was too lazy to take it off. #reallife

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Again the wreath is up all year, but I stuck some holly in there to make it a Christmas wreath and added the skis (bought at Marshalls this year) so it looks like I’m really good at ice skating and there you go!

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This tiny Christmas tree was in my classroom last year and it’s now holding all my childhood and Joel’s babyhood ornaments. We want to get him an ornament every year that describes him/his year…so this year we got him that puppy ornament for obvious reasons. The Willow Tree nativity is the focal point of this area and is from my wonderful aunt. She gave me a piece of the nativity every year until it was complete. I love it…and her. Shoutout to Tato.
Outside:Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

Ignore the whiskey barrel stain on the concrete and focus on the pretty poinsettias. Sidenote: if anyone knows how often you’re supposed to water poinsettias, hit me up, because I was supposed to google that and keep forgetting.

That’s basically it. I have other small decorations here and there (including the kitchen), but it didn’t seem significant enough to document. Best advice: just buy yourself a package of holly and throw that crap everywhere. Just kidding. Kind of.

Merry Christmas, friends! 

easy christmas diy

christmas decor diy

I promised easy diy projects because no one has time for complicated ones, so here it is! And again, in true beginner blogger fashion, I have no progress pictures. Maybe one of these days I’ll get the hang of it.

All you need is:
-butcher paper
-sharpies (preferably thick sharpies)
-twine
-command hook
-paper clips or tape
-christmas greenery/ribbon (if you want)
-good handwriting?

So all I did was cut off some butcher paper and made sure I would have enough for the top and bottom to fold up like a scroll. I taped it to the table (you’ll want a flat surface) and wrote the script in pencil and went over it in sharpie. I learned how to do calligraphy from this book. You should think about adding it to your Christmas wishlist if you’ve wanted to learn but didn’t know how! I love the way it explains it and I used tracing paper so I can use the book over and over again instead of writing in the actual book.

After I finished and was happy with the result, I paper clipped the top and bottom scroll on each side so it would stay…then I strung twine through the top scroll and tied a knot. I put a command hook on my wall because I don’t want to put a hole in a space that usually doesn’t have anything, so I had to figure out a way to cover the command hook. I had some leftover greenery from a wreath I was making so I tore off the limbs and attached them back to back with flower wire (what’s the technical term for that, Mel?…..it’s green and it’s wirey? I’m going to call it flower wire. It’s this. Floral wire…I was close). Then I tied a bow in big, wired Christmas ribbon and messed with it until I thought it covered the command hook as best as it could.

Sidenote: if a teacher was grading this like a “how-to” paper, I’d probably get a F. Wow.

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I hope that was helpful! I think that’s the best it’s gonna get without progress pictures…one of these days, when I’m a seasoned blogger, I’ll remember to take pics. Also, don’t ask him how I’m going to store this after Christmas. I haven’t figured that out yet.

Joel’s Birthday/Christmas Wishlist

I know what you’re thinking: Wow, did Joel really put this list of items together? And the truth is….yes. Yes he did.

No. He didn’t. Obviously. I mean, the kid’s smart, but he’s not that smart. These are just a few things that we put together for his birthday/Christmas this year that we thought he would be able to enjoy all the way through his next birthday/Christmas (since they’re so close together). Some of the items he won’t be able to use right away, but he’ll definitely use before he’s 2! So if you need ideas on what toys are good for a 1-2 year old, look no further!

Joel's Christmas Wishlist

  1. Ok so I’ve seen this kitchenette from IKEA all over Pinterest and I thought, hey that’s cute but we won’t have the room for it. And then we turned our front room into his playroom and have the perfect sized corner for this cute kitchen. I think he’ll get some good use out of it throughout the year and who knows, maybe he’ll grow up to be like his dad and be a really good cook so his wife doesn’t have to! Plus, it’s currently $70 (down from $100) with an IKEA Family membership (which is FREE).
  2. And since we’re on the IKEA kick, you can’t really beat 2 chairs and a table for $25. Both the kitchenette and table and chairs, we’re planning on painting. There’s IKEA hacks for these two items all over Pinterest…and they look fairly easy. I thought about a more durable table and chairs, but honestly, he’ll be coloring at it, eating on it, etc. so it’s going to get messed up, and I rather it be a cheap one than an expensive one!
  3. If your kid is like ours, he can’t get enough of the outside. In our backyard we have a perfect little area for a playhouse. The previous owners kind of carved out an area in the grass for it and put gravel and had one there…but anyways, Joel LOVES being outside. So I thought a playhouse would be perfect for him. I found this one online for a decent price. I definitely like the wooden playhouses over the plastic ones, just for a durability sake and the way it looks.
  4. This past summer we went to the Dallas Zoo twice thanks to our friend, Katie, who worked there in the summer and got us in for free! Joel wasn’t super aware of the animals unless they were directly in front of him…but I have a feeling he’d definitely notice them now and would love to see them again. So a zoo membership is a cool way of giving something without it being a toy!
  5. Joel really hasn’t gotten the hang of puzzles yet, but as a teacher at heart, I love using puzzles to play. So I put puzzles and the puzzle wire rack on his wishlist.
  6. This comes to no surprise if you know Joel. Apparently he has decided he wants to be a drummer because he drums his hands on EVERYTHING….the couch, the pew in church, the bathtub…you name it. So I put a tiny drum on his wishlist.
  7. Ok, his favorite things right now is water. Put him in a bathtub and he will splash and splash until you take him out. It’s actually hilarious. So I thought a water table would also be a fun addition to his outside area. It’s a fun way to play with water without getting completely wet in the pool.
  8. Lastly, I’m a sucker for baby shoes…and it actually might kill me that his shoes are going to need more stability when he starts walking than the cute little baby shoes do….and that he’ll start walking soon. I can’t. Anyways, I put these converse on his wishlist because they’re cute and they velcro…that’s it.

    Alright, I hope that was helpful if you’re looking for a gift for a 1-2 year old! I know before I became a mom, I had no idea what to get kids on their birthdays so I always defaulted to clothes because I love shopping for clothes…which I still do sometimes…but hopefully this at least gives you some ideas to help your Christmas shopping for a toddler (*cries inside*).