Sisters with Flair

Friday, December 16, 2011

Decorating for the holidays

I am drooling over all the beautiful Christmas decorating ideas. I think I have more envy this year because I'm not willing to do much in my own home with a three year old who's sole daily goal is to break something. My favorite nativities are tucked nicely away in their boxes, maybe they can come out next year. Cross fingers that this is just a short phase! (as I type this I just hear glass & metal collide....nice) Anyhoo, here are some lovely ideas i've been collecting on pinterest and maybe one Christmas my home will be perfectly lovely like these photos....

What to do with Christmas cards? Here's some fabulousness:

photo tree image found here

Or, what do you do with old Christmas cards? Some are just too pretty to throw away. So don't! That's what apothecary jars are for! Ooooh, gonna have to find me apothecary jars now. (note to self: make sure to buy back-ups since I have a boy)

(jar idea image found here)

( staircase garland idea from

Do you get the impression that I love sentimental decor? Well, here's some more! How fabulous & cheap & awesome is this idea for your tree or kid's tree? Square photos! I love the idea of seeing past Christmas photos and remembering how quickly they grow up. And maybe this breaking everything stage is cute and not sad & annoying. Typing outloud, sorry peeps.....

image from my favorite site found here

What was once tacky is now fabulous! What was missing, you ask? It wasn't a collection! One tree just looks cheap and boring. Add about 20 in various tacky colors and you can now have yourself a merry little mantle!

tree mantel image found here

This print below combines everything I love in a simple & beautiful way. Quotes, beautiful cursive & black & white. Its simplicity is stunning and I must have! I would love this all year round! O Holy Night print found here

There you have it people. My dreams of a beautiful home for Christmas. I'm content this year just to window shop other homes. And set aside for my "one day" dreams. Right now I have to enjoy my 3 little kids who won't stop growing & go clean up whatever was "accidently" broken while I wrote this post....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Kindness

As I pulled out the Christmas decorations this year, I came across one of my favorite ornaments. It's a red leather book, that my sister gave me, that hangs on the tree . Every year we write the Christmas fun we had that year. The parties we threw, the parties we attended. Our favorite gifts we received, the gifts we gave. The Christmas Eve activities and the New Years fun. It's all in that book and it makes me laugh when I read about the live mouse that someone gave as a white elephant gift. I almost forgot about it! Great memories all recorded in this cute little book that hangs on the tree.

That book gave me an idea.....I decided to make another book ornament this year. I'm calling it the Christmas Kindness ornament. Instead of writing the fun we had, it will be 25 (or more) random acts of kindness we did for others. It will keep us mindful of serving others for the next 25 days. I'm excited to think of the possibilites. The rush we get from making someone's day brighter. The lessons it will teach my children and most important, the gratitude we will feel in seeing how blessed we are as a family. I can't wait to start our list and keep our minds open to helping those in need this year. I look forward to the future where I can see our list of Christmas kindness and the opportunities we had to serve one another and that we were able to fill this month with service. It will help remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. I'd love to hear of any meaningful Christmas traditions you have! Let us know! I'm off to make my ornament book.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My advent calendar ideas

I seriously can not figure out what's wrong with me, I'm just not really in the mood to decorate for Christmas this year. Crazy, right?! I usually love decorating, but with a 1 and 3 year old running around the house, the thought of putting out my treasured nativities and a tree full of breakable ornaments seems like a recipe for disaster. So, I'll probably put it off a bit. BUT, one of my favorite parts of Christmas is our advent calendar of activities. LOVE it. You can find my original advent calendar post here. Can't wait to get started with the fun! So I thought I'd share with you my tentative plan for our advent activities this year. Here it is (in no particular order):

Read "The Elf on a Shelf"

Make a paper Christmas countdown chain

Watch Christmas Vacation

Get hot chocolate and see the lights

Get and decorate the Christmas tree

Decorate a gingerbread house

Take treats to our neighbors

Watch Elf

Go to the ward Christmas party

Go sledding

Sing Christmas carols

Christmas book night

Do some secret service

Build a snowman

Go to Arthur Christmas

Make and decorate sugar cookies

Go shopping for brother gifts

Read Snowmen at Christmas

Watch the Santa Clause

Watch The Christmas Story

Read Luke 2 and watch the Nativity movie

Read and watch the Polar Express

Go shopping for stocking stuffers

I guess we'll be busy watching all our Christmas movies. And I'll have to watch the 90's version of Miracle on 34th Street because that's Andrea and my favorite but no one else wants to watch it here:( Womp, womp.

Anyway, hope this gives you a few ideas of things to add to your holiday list! Any other suggestions for fun family activities??

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meaningful Gifts

You know I'm obsessed with finding the perfect gift, right? You know the kind that brings tears to the receiver's eyes when they open it? Yeah, that's what I want every gift I give to be like. No pressure right? The problem is, when you find that perfect gift and it's everything you hoped it would be, everything after that is just a let down. It's hard to just give a gift card after that! Oh the things I stress myself out with :)

So a few years ago I wondered "If I died, would my family know how much they meant to me? Would my brothers, that I don't talk to enough, know how much I adored them, and how much fun I had growing up with them?" So I began one Christmas to sit down and write letters to each of them. I thought it would be hard, since I have 6 siblings and it's tricky to stay close now that we're all grown up and living so far away. But as I wrote, the memories of shopping cart races, dolly bomb fights & glow in the dark tag easily came. And after I had written 6 letters to my brothers and sisters, I had a pretty good history of our childhood. I thought my parents would enjoy them as well and so I wrote them letters as well. Then, I compiled the letters and published the book for my parents to keep. Since I live far away, I don't have a picture of that book. But I did a similar one for my own children and hubby last year, if you remember. From my favorite book publishing site- It looked like this:

Each child and hubby have a two page layout with a letter from me.

I typed up my hopes and dreams for each of them and of course I had to include my favorite photos of them. Photo's are my favorite gift of all time. They evoke so many emotions when I see they're chubby baby faces or remember how much they loved that particular necklace or always had to have they're hair a certain way.

Here is another way to show how much you care for someone:

The original idea was found here and I just love thinking of how fun it would be to open each letter and relive each memory. On someone's birthday, however old they're turning, you turn over a pen & paper to that many people. For instance, your dad is turning 60, you find 60 friends, grand kids, and family to write a memory of him. Compile them in a book like I did, or stack them in envelopes and tie them up pretty. The idea is simple, but so meaningful! It's the perfect time to start this, since so many families will be gathered together for Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days- Photo organizing

31 days!! Can you believe we organized and blogged for that many days? I gotta admit, I didn't think we'd make it!
So the last thing on our agenda is photo and video organizing. I'm really good at taking 400 photos a month (wish I was exaggerating) but what do you do with them after you take them? I wish I could say that I have up to date scrapbooks for each child and additional copies for them to take when they grow up, but you've seen my closets and pantry by now, you know that's not like me. What I can tell you is I have a great desire to document my children's lives and prove I was a fun mom even though they'll deny it through their teens. So in my opinion, it doesn't matter how many photos you take, what's the point if you don't do anything with them? I used to spend an hour per scrapbook layout which included only about 3-4 photos of the same event. But that only lasted for the first child. It's pretty overwhelming to do that for multiple children. So now I use I should probably work for them or at least buy stock in this company because I love them! I scanned in my baby photos along with my siblings and some of my ancestor photos and then uploaded them to Now, if something should happen to my oroginal photos such as fire or water damage I have them backed up. Shutterfly also promises to never delete my photos or projects and doesn't require a minimum purchase to keep my account open, unlike other companies. There is so much peace knowing that my family photos will always be safe and I can reprint any of my previous photo books if I ever need them. (I promise they're not paying me for this blog post- I just seriously love their quality and they're easy to use!)

Here's a great idea for the non-scrapbook people. Document what your child is into on each birthday. Here is a sample of mandy and my 3 year old boys:

So what do you do with your videos? Now that our phones, camera's and iPads all have video recording , I have plenty of videos but have to watch them on my phone to view them. I've just started playing around with iMovie app for the iPad or iPhone. My 9 year old opened the program and made a video with photos set to music without a single tutorial. I needed a little more help but am starting to get the hang of it. Clipping videos and setting them to music is a little trickier but so much more fun to watch than 20 min of a baby sleeping. In this fast paced world we need more exciting home movies and iMovie is the perfect solution. (Again, not getting paid for my opinion) I'm loving it and the kids feel like movie stars when I show them the finished projects. Here is a quick sample of what I mean. I uploaded to but you can use Youtube & even Facebook. I still have to figure out the whole music copy rights so I had to go with some cheesy music, but you'll get the idea....

So in the long run, the most important thing you do with your photos is to DO SOMETHING with them. Print your favorite photos AND frame them. Turn your home movies into fast paced movies or in the very least, burn them to CDs to enjoy. Create digital photo books or paper scrapbooks. Whatever you decide, the best thing you can do is enjoy the photos and videos that you take of your loved ones. And then after that, use to back up your computer nightly. It's only $50 a year and cheaper than an external hard drive. Trust me, this back up has worked many times for us!

Happy Halloween Peeps! I hope you enjoyed organizing with us. Since we're no pro's at this I think it's safe to say, we learned alot this month! For instance, I learned that we have a whole lotta clutter and chocolate makes cleaning easier. My next 31 days will probably consist of a diet. Boo.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 30- Finishing those pesky projects

In my quest for organization I have come across many an unfinished project. Frames with nothing in them, fabric waiting to be curtains, wood to fix our fence, a canvas for a pinterest project, a wreath waiting to be made. You get the idea..... I'm a craft hoarder. Good intentions with about 75% of them completely finished. I dream of crafts all night and get about half way through with them and then get bored. That's when my parents come in handy. They come into town full of energy and completely excited to take on my projects. They're my biggest fans! (and my cheapest labor- just have to pay them in chocolate & jokes:)) This time my mom tackled the drapes. My dad and husband worked on fixing our fence and then they hung some curtain rods and some art. I worked on unwrapping the chocolates to hand feed them. With their hands being tied up in fabric & power tools, it's the least I can do. Quite literally, The. Least. I. Can. Do!

Ok- let's have a moment of silence for this not so dearly departed wall paper.....

Ugly eh? But not anymore!!!!

This office has been my "unfinished project nemesis". I just need to figure out the deer head collage wall and it will be complete. But it's almost there and OH! how this room makes me happy!

Do you see that? A clean counter top? You have no idea how miraculous this is! It's just screaming for a project to be made on it! Magnet board was a project my husband and I did earlier. The light fixture is from Ikea.
These are the curtains my mom completed. The fabric is from It cost under $50 to make both panels!
Doesn't this faux deer head make you happy? I've been dreaming of it for the 8 months and finally took a trip down to Z Gallery. I know what you're thinking, "it's missing something". I think so too, so my next project is to make it a yellow bow tie! The frame I got from Ikea about a year ago and spray painted it white. When I cleaned out my closets I found the frame. YAY for organizing!!! Isn't it the perfect size?!

So go finish some of those pesky projects you have junking up your closets. They probably won't take long and you'll be so HAPPY you did! And if you can trick your family into working for chocolate you'll get it done in No time!

I've linked this up to these fabulous sites!

The DIY Show Off



TDC Before and After

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 29: Craft Room

Ah, the craft room. I am lucky enough to have a craft room, but the downside is that it's also my guest room, so things are a little tight fitting my long desk and a queen sized bed in a pretty small room. My room is no beauty to look at and I've taken over the closet as my craft storage. No pictures since it wasn't exactly picture-worthy. I have a bunch of different clear containers that hold my various supplies and I decided to go through everything and purge. I cannot believe how many odds and ends of projects I was holding on to! I've made a "to make" pile and hope to go through that before I start anything else (yeah right) and got rid of so many little pieces of bias tape that are too small to do anything, too small scraps of fabric, and finally found all my bobbins! I always make a huge mess when I'm crafting and so when it's time to clean up, I just quickly shove everything away. Time to change that:) On the bright side I was able to make some alphabet bean bags with all the random scraps I found!
Here are some awesome craft organizing ideas... look at that closet!

LOVE the baskets!
Oh my gosh, don't you just want to lock yourself in this room for an afternoon?!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 28 Wrapping Paper

WOW! It has been a week since I blogged. A whole week! It's been nice to take a little break, especially when that break entails 5 days at the Happiest Place on Earth without your children! That's right, I went to Disney Land. WITHOUT KIDS. My husband and I felt a little guilty- but every time we saw a 2 year old having a melt down, which was often, we smiled. Because that would've been us! (And was us, just 9 months ago!) So thanks Mandy for organizing for an entire week without me, especially since I roped you into this whole 31 days of it!

So onto organizing: Have you ever gone through your wrapping paper supplies and cleaned them out? Sadly, in 15 years I have not. I just keep adding to the supplies, but I never purge any of them! So it's safe to say that they may have needed a bit of an update. My wrapping supplies are tucked away in one of my master bedroom closets and the whole thing is not pretty to look at! With 3 (including my sista!) fall birthdays, an anniversary and Christmas just around the corner, it was time to think presentation. Birthday present presentation. This is not one of my talents. But I can dream of Martha-like wrapped presents under the tree right?

Do you keep and re-use gift bags? I keep them and never quite get around to re-using them. Then, they just start looking raggedy. I had wrapping paper that was too thin and would tear and I'd be frustrated using it. I had mounds of ribbon from gifts I'd been given, boxes that were torn and tissue paper that was just too pretty to throw out. Seriously, why do I feel the need to save tissue paper from gifts?

So, I'm pretty happy that I can now close the lids on these boxes. Something I'm not quite sure I've ever been able to do before! In my dream world my after pictures would look more like this below and not 3 rubbermaids.....

Image found here

Using the backs of closet doors in my opinion, is brilliant. Almost as clever as the person who invented nutella.... And since I'm being practical, and not dreaming of an actual room that would be used just for wrapping and gifts (oh but I dream of that!) here is another brilliant idea. Use a hutch or cabinet for wrapping. I have one that would work nicely for that, but would take some massive organizing to get into this shape!

Image found here:

And after I get my beautiful wrapping stations I'm pretty sure all my presents will look like these:

image found here:

Image found here:

Cupcake liner flowers and tissue flowers? Who comes up with this stuff? BRILLIANT! (that's my favorite word, by the way, especially when you say it with an evil accent)

And only 3 more days of our organizing challenge!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 27: Totally something about organizing

First of all, I wanted to give a little shout out to Andrea's little boy, who is turning 3 years old today! Happy Birthday K! And Andrea, there's no need to read the blog today, you go enjoy yourself and I'll take care of the organizing around here.

Ok, is she gone? Good, because I'm getting a little burned out on all the organizing bliss. I still have a couple more projects, but HELLO! Halloween is almost here people, and I've been sewing up a storm! I won't show you our costumes until after Halloween, but I made some trick or treat bags for the boys today that I'm sure they'll love for years to come! I love appliqued names on anything, but especially on bags, and I'm so happy with the way these turned out! You should have seen me sewing like a mad women while the kids napped. It was insane, but I got them done. I was sewing so crazy, I even broke 3 needles. THREE. And I can't even remember the last time I broke a needle. Aren't they cute?
Ok, so nobody tell Andrea, at least I blogged, right?!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 26: 72 hour kits

You never know when an emergency might come up and you'll need a 72 hour kit: flood, earthquake, hurricane, friekishly crazy snowstorm (most likely to happen here in Idaho). And for some reason I have these visions of me acting like a psycho person trying to pack an entire house of contents into 2 school-sized backpacks. Top ramen packets flying, water jugs busting open, me barking out orders; it's quite the scene I've envisioned in my head. Lately I've been seeing some awesome 72 hour kit ideas via Pinterest and I've been excited to put ours together. I've decided to just pick up items little by little, so I don't have a finished product to show you all, but I read this great article from HowDoesShe?
A couple weeks ago I gathered my whole little family together and forced everyone to throw water bottles, top ramen, tuna fish, and some hard candy into a large backpack that we decided Daddy will have to carry when we need to evacuate (those water bottles can get heavy!). Now everyone go and get your 72 hour kits all together and we can all feel a little more prepared for the unexpected.:)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 25: Junk Drawer

When we first got married, I bought this bread box at Target because I saw in a magazine how they drilled holes in the back and charged cell phones and ipods in there. Hmmm. Let's be honest. I never did that. This bread box has always ended up as the place where we hurry and throw all the junk before company comes. So this is the before.
Mostly it's just a bunch of stuff that should be put in it's right spot. What I really need it for is for all the little office supplies that I want up in the kitchen. So I cleaned it out and put back just what I needed.
Here's my after. Scissors, tape, stapler, pencils, pens, post its and a notepad. Let's just hope it stays this way!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 24: My Favorite Things

I always love seeing people's favorite things on blogs, so I thought I'd show you all a few of mine. First up, my beloved steamer. I absolutely love this thing. A year and a half ago we put laminate flooring in our kitchen, dining and living rooms. You know. The three rooms we're in ALL the time! For the first year I did the spray and wipe thing, but I didn't really feel confident that my floors were clean. My steamer just uses plain water and it has a pad on the bottom that you just wash when you're done. I feel confident that the hot steam is really sanitizing my floors and my little guys can crawl all over and I don't really worry about. If you know me at all you know I'm a bit of a germaphobe, but I really am a lot better now that I have 2 kids. (My mom is totally rolling her eyes right now)

I don't know what my issue was with keeping everything that people gave us for wedding gifts. I was looking at our rag situation the other day and it was pathetic. All the rags were mismatched and really raggy-looking. So guess what I actually did? I threw out a bunch of my rags and bought a big pack of white terry cloth ones at Sams Club. It was 60 rags for 24 bucks. And since they're white I can just bleach them clean. Looking in my rag drawer now makes me so happy. It reminds me of the organization class Andrea and I took this summer and she really emphasized "getting rid of the uglies" and my rags were really "uglies."
And my final favorite thing for you today, my triple-divider laundry hamper. I got one of these when we first got married almost 7 years ago and I finally had to say goodbye when my three year old decided to jump inside and hide. One of the plastic connectors broke and so I replaced the entire thing. This new one has actual screws, so I think it will survive in this house of boys. I have it in my laundry room right underneath my laundry shoot and it really helps me stay on top of my laundry. I totally recommend it!
Ok, so that's it for today. Hope you guys are hanging in there and organizing along with us! Tomorrow I'm tackling my "junk drawer." Dun, dun, dun....