Tips for Decorating on a Budget

Tips for Decorating on a Budget

It’s no secret that I love to decorate my home. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a passion for making spaces beautiful and cozy. Decorating allows me to use my creativity on something I really enjoy and it just makes me happy.

Another thing I love and am passionate about is saving money.  I have learned through the years that you don’t always have to spend a lot of money to make something look good. In fact, if you’re smart about it, you don’t ever have to spend a lot. Today I want to share a few of my tips for decorating on a budget. I have decorated our entire home using these tips and have done so without spending a fortune. Hopefully these tips will prove to be just as helpful for you!

Tip #1: Shop Your Home and Use What You Have

Many times in decorating I have found that what I need is often right under my nose. If I get scrappy and look in other rooms or closets, I can usually find pieces that help complete a look I’m trying to achieve. Whether its a blanket from my bedroom draped over a chair in the living room or a basket from my closet to hold extra pillows in the guest room, I can often pull off a completed look without ever spending a dime.

Tip #2: Buy Used or Second-Hand

This is one of my best tips for saving money! I cannot tell you how much money I have saved by buying used pieces of furniture and decor. Hit up local thrift shops, craigslist, Facebook marketplace, or even online trading groups to search for pieces you need. You may be surprised at the deals you can find. My best advice is to keep a running wish list on your phone so when you are at a thrift shop or searching online, you can quickly look at your list and know what you need. Also, be flexible. You may find something with good bones that just needs a little TLC. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and make it what you want.

Tip#3: Sell Unwanted Items and Save for Items You Really Want

This tip is huge! That piece you’ve really been wanting may not be so far out of your reach if you get smart and sell some things you don’t really need or want.

Tip #4: Invest More in Bigger Pieces and Less on Smaller Decor Items

Don’t spend a lot on little things. Save your dollars for the things that matter. Invest more in a cozy sofa or chair rather than in smaller pieces of decor you will likely replace in a year or so anyways. It’s better to spend money on things you really love than spend money on things you like right now but will grow tired of looking at.

Tip #5: Bring the Outdoors In 

Not only is it free, but a beautiful vase of hydrangeas or roses from your garden can make all the difference. You can also use pine cones, moss, sticks or leaves in your decor. Get creative or search Pinterest for inspiration.

Tip #6: Embrace A Less is More Mentality

Rather than having your home so full of decor, try to do less. A room with minimal decor can still be very beautiful. Alternately, a room with too much decor is often unattractive. Try to focus on a filling a room with things you love rather than simply filling a room.

Tip #7: Don’t pay for What You Can Make Yourself 

A hammer, some nails, and a trip to the Home Depot may be all you need to create what you want for your home. Pinterest can come in super handy here. You may find a way to make a similar coffee table to the one you’ve been wanting for just a fraction of the price.

Tip #8: A Good Coat of Paint Can Cover a Multitude of Wrongs

This needs little explanation. Paint your walls, paint your furniture, paint all the things. It can truly change the entire look of a room or a piece.

Tip #9: Repurpose and Reuse 

This tip goes with the previous one. Don’t be scared to paint something or repurpose it. I once repurposed an old wicker hamper to house our unsightly trash can and some old shutters as decor pieces to frame our TV.  These are just a few examples of things you can do if you get creative.

Tip #10: Shop for Free On The Curb 

My husband often jokes that I have a knack for making something out of nothing. I am not afraid to hunt for what I want, even if it means driving down our street on trash day to see if the neighbors left anything good out by the curb. You would be surprised at what people throw away!

These are all my tips for now, but I have one final piece of advice for you. If all you can afford to decorate is one room at a time, then focus on the room you want to decorate most and save to do the others at a later time. There is no rule that says every room in your home has to be perfectly decorated. Just do what you can rather than overspending. You will be much happier in the long run.

 

 

 

Simple Organization – Medicine Cabinet

Simple Organization – Medicine Cabinet

Today I’m sharing my messy medicine cabinet and how I organized it for only $6. As you can tell from the pictures below, this is one place in our home that is often very disorganized and cluttered because we have a developed a bad habit of not always returning the medications we use to the same place we found them. As a result, things are hard to find and it’s pain every time we need something. So, I decided something needed to change and came up with a simple plan to get this cabinet in order. Hopefully this simple organization project will inspire you too and you’ll be ready to tackle your own medicine cabinet. Also, if you are following along with Emily Ley’s Simplicity challenge, then you’ll be right on track for tomorrow’s task.

Here is the before of my cabinet….

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To start this organization project, the first thing I did was remove all items from my medicine cabinet.  Then, I began the process of sorting the medications by category.  I came up with 6 categories for my medications, but you may need more or less depending on what you have.

Next, I checked for any empty bottles and was sure to look at the expiration date on every medication to ensure nothing was expired. I then made a list of any medications that needed to be replaced.

Once my medications were sorted into categories, I ran over to my local dollar store and purchased six plastic shoe boxes with lids to house all my medications. If you are doing this project as well, you may also want to purchase some labels and replace any medication that is expired or empty while you are out. Since I own a Silhouette machine, I decided to save some money and make my own labels for this project with some vinyl that I already had. If you don’t have a cutting machine, chalk labels, sticker labels or even a sharpie will work just fine. However you choose to do it, just be sure to label your boxes by categories that make finding medications super easy. For example, Children’s medication, Cold & Flu, Pain Relief, etc. The goal is not necessarily about how it looks, but that every medication has a home and is easy to locate when you need it.

Finally, be sure the cabinet you are using to house all your medications cannot be easily accessed by children. If it is, consider moving it to another location or simply adding a child child-proof lock. I know this seems obvious, but I definitely think it’s good to be reminded of this.

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Well, that’s it. This simple organization project turned out to be short and sweet, but it certainly makes all the difference. I hope this helps you out some or at least gives you  inspiration to tackle a little project that can make your life easier.

Breakfast Quiche Recipe

Breakfast Quiche Recipe

Today I want to share one of my absolute favorite breakfast recipes with you.  It is so good that it has quickly become a common dish for special occasions within our family. The best part is that it doesn’t have to be just for breakfast. I’ve made it for Mother’s day, our daughter’s baby dedication, and for various birthdays. My husband and I even decided this past Christmas that we would begin the tradition of having this on Christmas morning each year. It is a delicious and flavor packed breakfast quiche.

I joke that this recipe was born out of sheer luck as I was trying to decide what to make one day when we were having company over and all I could I find in my refrigerator were the ingredients listed below. I decided to take a chance and thankfully it turned out well. I’ve tried a lot of different types of quiche over the years and I can attest to the fact that not all of them taste so great, but this one is my personal favorite and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

Here’s what you will need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Pie Crust-Unbaked (I use pillsbury, but feel free to make your own if you have the time)
  • 2 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 lb. of Hot Sausage
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Orange Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper

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First, you will need to brown the sausage, drain the grease, and set it aside to cool. While your sausage is cooling, dice up all the bell peppers and onions, and place them in the same skillet you browned your sausage in.

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Allow the peppers and onions to cook until they are soft and golden colored, then turn off heat and allow them to cool. Remember, you don’t want to mix any hot ingredients with the eggs for risk of them cooking to quickly.

 

In a separate bowl, crack your eggs and whisk in heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Add the sausage, peppers, and onions when they are all cooled to room temperature. Finally, add the cheese and stir until all ingredients are well blended.

Once your quiche mixture is ready, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and begin to prep your crust. While homemade crust is delicious and can be used here, I have found a store bought crust to work just as well with this recipe. Plus, it’s easier and gives me time to steal a few more snuggles with my sweet baby girl. You can use a pie pan if you want, but I have found a quiche pan with removable bottom to work best. I’ll be sure to link the one I have below. Carefully press the crust into the grooves of the quiche pan. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so spend as much or as little time on this as you want to.

Now that your crust is ready, place the quiche pan onto a rimmed cookie sheet (to catch any excess) and pour in egg mixture. Cover the quiche loosely with a pie of aluminum foil to prevent the quiche from browning too quickly and place on the center rack of the oven to cook for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and allow quiche to cook for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

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ENJOY!!

Quiche Pan:Williams-Sonoma Quiche Pan

Kitchen Declutter and Organization

Kitchen Declutter and Organization

If you are anything like me, then having a clean and organized kitchen can make you feel like you have your life together. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than opening your cabinets or pantry and seeing everything in its proper place. What’s more, is not having to check the expiration date for fear that your favorite snack may have been hiding in there a little too long. Admittedly, my kitchen is not as organized as I would like for it to be but I’m working hard to cultivate habits that help me stay on top of it. Here’s 3 simple habits that are helping me so much.

Habit 1: Clean and Purge Regularly

While my kitchen stays fairly clean most of the time, I don’t purge nearly as often as I ought to. One simple thing I am trying to be better at though is making sure I use what I have before I purchase more of something. Having five half-used bottles of ketchup in the fridge is not only infuriating, but it’s also a waste of space and money. The same is also true with kitchen tools. No one needs 4 fruit and vegetable peelers or 7 spatulas. Unless you own a home-based catering company and actually use a lot of kitchen tools on a regular basis, one or two of each will generally suffice.

To start the process of cleaning and purging, I always begin with the fridge. In my case, that’s usually the place where most expired or unnecessary food items tend to dwell. I first remove any and all items that are out of date and make a list of anything I need to re-stock. Then, while I’m in there, go ahead and wipe down the shelves with a good anti-bacterial spray. Isn’t it unreal how disgusting a refrigerator can get?! I’m always baffled by it!!!

Next, once my fridge is clean, I start to place items back in so that everything is easy to see and in a location with similar items (ex. condiments grouped together). If you joining me on this and really want to send your fridge over the top, you can also purchase clear plastic or acrylic containers to store items like eggs, soda, snack food, etc. I found a few things at the dollar store that have really helped and definitely did not break the bank.

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Once I’ve finished with the fridge, I move on to the pantry. I’ve always found that the best way to organize a pantry is to remove everything, vacuum out all the crumbs, wipe down all surfaces and then sort through what I need and what I don’t. I’ve also found that storing foods like baking items, pasta, or cereal in clear containers is especially helpful. Not only does it look nice, but it also helps me know when I’m running low on certain foods so I can re-stock. If you want, you can even purchase plastic bins, lazy susans or can food organizers to make everything easy to access and help you stay organized. Obviously not everyone will organize a pantry in the same way and that is absolutely okay. Perfection is not the goal. Organization and ease is!

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Last but not least, I tackle all the kitchen drawers and cabinets. I start with the ones we use most frequently as they are the most likely to be in disarray. For me, that means the silverware drawer and the cabinets that house my everyday dishes and cups. I am ruthless when it comes to decluttering my cabinets and drawers. If it isn’t used regularly, it’s gone. I just don’t have the space for extra items. Plus,  I cook a lot so I really have a good handle on what I really need in my kitchen.

As for organization, one trick I have learned is that you can use inexpensive plastic bins to store items that don’t match (or are just plain ugly) so they are still easily accessible, but hidden from view when you open your cabinet doors. You can see below how I used these bins I found on clearance at Target to help conceal some of the more unsightly things in my cabinet. Another tip is to be sure the items you use on a regular basis are on the bottom shelves and easiest to access. This seems obvious, but I think it’s still worth mentioning.

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Habit 2: Keep a Running Grocery List and Re-Stock Regularly

This seems so simple, but so many people don’t do it. I can’t imagine shopping without a list. It’s literally a life-saver for me! What I do to make this easy is keep a magnetic notepad on the side of my fridge of items I need to replace on my next grocery list. I’ve made it a habit of writing down the items I use them up so there is no guess work about what I have and what I don’t. I also have a small list of items that I purchase almost every week, without fail. Coffee, Milk, Bread, and Eggs are all on that list of weekly purchases. Your items may be different from mine, but I’m sure you have things you go through on a weekly basis, so be sure to replenish those each week.

Another tip I have is to stock up on items I use on a regular basis that have a longer shelf life. I do this with can food so I almost never wind up running out of things I need. As a general rule of thumb, I buy one for now and two for later. I also make it a habit of always having an extra jar peanut butter, bottle of salad dressing, olive oil, and any condiments we use regularly in addition to a few other staples. Having this extra stock makes me feel prepared if I need something at the last minute.

Habit 3: Do a Weekly Sweep of Your Kitchen

This has been a game changer. Each week, I take about 15 minutes each week to go through my cabinets, fridge, and pantry and remove anything that is empty, old, or doesn’t belong. While I’m at it, I take a couple minutes to tidy up too.  Then, I quickly make a list of anything that needs to be re-stocked and put it on your grocery list. Finally, I take a damp rag and wipe down all surfaces in my kitchen from the cabinet doors to the counter tops. This way everything is clean and organized.

That’s all the tips I have for today. I hope these 3 simple habits help you as much as they have helped me.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Baby Girl’s Nursery

Our Baby Girl’s Nursery

Upon finding out I was expecting our first child, excitement began to build as I imagined what life with our little one would be like. I was so excited for all of the experiences. Like all newly expectant mamas, I began thinking of baby names, imagining what our child would look like, and making plans for how I would decorate our nursery. As someone who loves to decorate, I found this to be so exciting! While I didn’t have any specific plans in mind just yet, I knew I wanted to create a space that was functional, cozy, and flowed with the rest of our home. What I envisioned was a light, neutral space that was kid-friendly, but didn’t scream “baby.” I also knew that we wanted to have another child within a few years, so I tried to think ahead of items I may need to reuse so I could be sure they were gender neutral.

When we found out our sweet baby was a girl, I was elated! That secret Pinterest board that was filled with soft, feminine nursery inspiration was finally going to come in handy…but, like any good wife, I wanted to clear my plans with my husband before I set to work on this space. Thankfully, I married a man who not only supports and encourages my creativity in decorating, but also shares my love for neutral, cozy decor so he quickly gave me a thumbs up on all my plans.

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The first thing I did before I began the process of decorating was to make a list of all the things we needed to purchase and all the things we needed to do. Once the list was made, then I made a plan of how we would go about accomplishing it all. First, we needed to empty the room and paint.  My husband was kind enough to tackle this job on his own, since I was about 6 months pregnant at the time. Next, we needed to purchase a rug and a couple pieces of furniture for the room. Since we had a small budget for this decorating project, I got really thrifty and creative with the items I chose. The biggest purchases we made were the rug and glider, but both are neutral colors and could definitely be used with our next child or really in any room of our home. We also were also very fortunate to have a friend who passed along the crib when her child no longer needed it. The dresser/changing table was a also gift, which was a huge blessing.

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After the room was painted and furniture was taken care of, I could then focus my attention on decorating the room. My favorite part!  I had been saving up hobby lobby gift cards for a while and was so excited to finally put them to good use. I purchased almost all of the wall decor for the room from Hobby Lobby, with the exception of the mirror over the changing table. We also did a few DIY projects, which turned out great and saved us a lot of money.

Overall, I’m so pleased with the way it turned out. I think everything came together beautifully and feels so cozy. I also hope it’s a space my daughter will love when she is old enough to enjoy it.

~Kayla

Just in case you are interested in where I purchased all the items for the nursery, I’ve provided links below.

Lamp: Gray Floor Lamp

Glider: French Gray Glider

Ottoman: French Gray Ottoman

Side Table: White Round Side Table

Curtains: White Panel Linen Curtains

Rug: Rugs USA -Keno Shag Rug

Wall Decor: Hobby Lobby

Bookshelves: White Floating Bookshelves

Book Basket: Rope Basket

Elephant Toy Basket: Purchased from Ross, but painted it to match

Elephant Rocker: Pottery Barn Kids Elephant Rocker

Hamper: I think it’s from target. We already owned it, but painted it and made a new liner for it.

Crib: Passed on to us from a friend

Dresser: Purchased as a gift from a local furniture store

Ladder Rack: DIY -my dad made it

Pumpkin Butter Recipe + Gift Idea

Pumpkin Butter Recipe + Gift Idea

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Pumpkin Butter is one of my favorite things to enjoy during fall of the year. Not only is it the perfect way to garnish practically any baked good, but it also makes a great gift for family or friends. It is easy to make, cooks perfectly in a slow cooker, and your home will smell amazing while it’s cooking. If this sounds appetizing to you, then pull out your slow cooker, some canning jars, and a few simple ingredients to make this delicious recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Slow Cooker
  • Glass Canning Jars
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider (no sugar added)
  • 2 tsps. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsps. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ yard decorative fabric to add a little flair to canning jars
  • Scissors (to cut the fabric)

Place all ingredients, except lemon juice in slow cooker, stir well, and cook for about 6 hours. Stir mixture occasionally (about every hour or two) to prevent scorching, sticking, or burning. After six hours, remove pumpkin butter from slow cooker, add lemon juice and allow time for it to cool. When it is cooled, place pumpkin butter in glass jars and store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Makes Approximately 3 cups

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To add a little extra flair to your jars, cut fabric into circles a little larger than canning lid and place on top of metal lid before you place ring onto the canning jar. This will dress up your pumpkin butter and make it a perfect gift.

**Please note that home canning is not recommended for pumpkin**

Check here for details: National Center for Home Food Preservation

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite fall recipes. I love to make this pumpkin bread as a gift for friends, a yummy breakfast treat, or simply just because. You can also substitute the pumpkin for bananas or apples, or even add some chocolate chips to make it a little extra special.  However you choose to make it, this simple bread recipe is sure to be one of your favorites.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups Self-Rising Flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

15 oz. Pumpkin Puree

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup chopped pecans or 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Note: For banana bread, substitute 1 1/2  cups bananas for pumpkin. For apple bread, substitute 2 cups grated, cored apples and 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, & 1/4 tsp. cloves

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350

Step 2: Beat 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla in mixer until well blended

Step 3: Mix in pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice

Step 4: Add Flour and mix until all ingredients are well blended

Step 5: Pour mixture into greased bread pan and place in oven to bake for 35-40 minutes

ENJOY!!!