Sunday, September 29, 2019

Fall Front Porch Makeover

Thanks to my Instagram and Facebook followers, who helped decide this week's blog post, I was able to transform my front porch this past weekend! So now I'm here, ready to share everything I did, how much it cost, and how you can transform your own front porch for very little $$. I would like to call the after 'minimal', but let's be's because I didn't want to spend very much. I'll also be sharing links to other things I would like to add, and as always, those links may be affiliated. So without further ado-here is the before:

I am really bad about forgetting to take a before picture, so I had already put my first coat of paint on the front door before I remembered to take a picture. Here is a picture I took earlier of the front door, to refresh your memory on what the front door looked like. 

Unfortunately the outside of the house has been neglected over the last 7 years. While doing updates on the inside of the house, the outside had been put on the back burner. When we started doing the Dave Ramsey plan with our finances, I knew my normal house makeover budget needed to be small, and in a small area. I decided to redo the front porch and give my front door a fresh coat of paint. 

First, we gave the porch a good cleaning. I took off our window screens, which had holes and scratches. I decided that they needed to be trashed, as their purpose was to keep bugs out when I opened the windows, and the holes weren't allowing them to do their job! This made the windows much clearer and lots of natural light is pouring through our kitchen now! I also got Little Man busy with the broom, sweeping off the leaves and dirt off the front porch. 

I then took off everything that didn't belong on the front porch, like lawn chairs and broken planters. We need to have a big dumpster day, to take all the junk sitting on our carport. For now it will have to stay there! 

Next came the fun part! I used this paint to transform the front door. I didn't even use half of it and gave it two good coats! This color came out the perfect shade of red. Because I didn't paint the inside of the "X" it gave the door a more rustic feel. 

Now it was time to decorate! I bought a medium white pumpkin, with a set of 3 mini ones. Unfortunately, we had a stray dog that came into the yard and took the little ones off, so I don't have any to show for the next pictures. I bought a scarecrow and hay bale at Hobby Lobby for about $5 (for both), and with the pumpkins, that brings me to a grand total of $10 for the decorations. If you add the paint for the door ($14) plus the paint roller ($5?), and the wreath, this puts the whole project at less than $40! I will admit, that it's not a super big and overwhelming transformation, but I love the way it looks! I will be using the tips in my previous blog post to purchase some more things at the end of the fall season, for a substantial discount. 

My mom gave me this beautiful outdoor rug for my birthday! I am hoping to eventually buy this gingham rug to put underneath for more cohesive style (as long as it's still in style by the time I find a good deal on it! haha!)

Something I love about this rug is how it is season neutral. I love things that can stay out all year long!
 A little Colonel Reb to represent my husband's favorite team sits among the fall decor. And though football and fall go hand in hand, this little guy sits out all year long!

To the left of the door, there isn't much picture worthy yet, but the windows have been cleaned, and the porch has been swept. As always, tag me in your photo, whether on Instagram or Facebook, and when you makeover your own front porch for the fall! Below you'll find some things from Amazon I would like to add to my front porch in the future-perhaps even this coming year! 

I added this metal thankful sign from the Dollar Tree to my already DIYed wreath (instructions here)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fall Time Learning With Littles

*amazon links are affiliated. If you decide to make a qualifying purchase, I make a small commission.*

Here in the south, the temperatures are slowly starting to lower out of the 90s and hot muggy mornings are being replaced with cloudy cool ones. For me this is a time to head outside to do nature walks and come inside for hot apple cider and fall crafts! Over the last couple of years I've found some cute ones that are normally a part of a unit study we are doing. Below I'll share the craft, and the unit study that goes with it. These are great for ages 3-5 but can be adjusted for multiple age groups!

Salt Paint Pumpkins:
Click here to find all the unit studies I did for Pre-K. For two weeks in October, we learned about pumpkins. One of the activities was to make salt painted pumpkins. Simply make an outline with glue, add salt, and let your littles add wet watercolor paint to the shape. Kids love watching the color bleed into the outline. 

A more mess-free activity is to put orange finger-paint in a ziplock bag and have your little make letters, or fall time shapes with their fingers. This is great pre-writing practice, and won't make a big mess all over the table!

Little Blue Truck Unit Study:
This whole unit study was an amazing introduction to fall! Learning about color changing trees, muddy puddles, and being friendly are all things your little ones will learn in this unit study. Follow this link to learn more!

During this unit study, we did what is called ooblek-which is cornstarch and water. For muddy puddles we added cocoa and threw in some farm animals, a little people's blue truck, dump truck and lots of farm animals. Little Man acted out the story time and time again! There are so many fall time crafts and activities for the kids to do. Make sure you check the link to find more ideas!

Fall Foil Painting

So...I can't tell you exactly where I got this idea from. It may have been from Pinterest, or from The Peaceful Preschool. For this activity, you need washable paints, and a wadded up piece of foil. I made a tree outline, and my son took the foil and dipped it in red, orange and yellow paint to make a fall tree. It was simple, low maintenance art that I love! My son is a perfectionist, who gets frustrated when art projects don't look like the picture. This was an activity that was basically a no fail art piece. Win/win for mommy and preschooler!

Extra Fall Unit Study
I wanted to add this unit study for more fall time learning. This is another literature study from Simply Learning, and it is all about Bear Says Thanks. It's a great study for before fall time. We did leaf place-mats and collages, plus learned all about being thankful. Check out this link for more!

Have a favorite fall time craft? Let me know in the comments!
Also, I am joining Timberdoodle's fall time blog hop! Click on a blog post below to find more fall inspiration!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Fall Cleaning: Link to Cleaning Printable + Fall Crockpot Recipe!

*links are affiliated. I get a small compensation with any purchase that you make."

With this title, I had all sorts of plans. I wanted to show you before and afters, to show you pictures of my son getting involved (especially since a lot of my blog is about my children and their education), pictures of my delicious Crock-pot recipe spooned out artistically on one of my pretty glass dishes. Instead I am going to share with you 'real life', because almost none of that happened.

It started out well...I had this spring cleaning printable from Clutterbug that I put in a clear sheet and marked out everything that I had recently done or didn't apply to my space.

I liked the idea of cleaning from top to bottom, and one of my main goals was to get all the ceiling fans cleaned.  I then dressed for the occasion, workout leggings and an oversized T. I lit a candle in the Kitchen and began to confront the first step-the kitchen. I liked that she starts with dishes, as it is my least favorite thing to do, and once it's done, I feel like I can do anything! Unfortunately that is also where things started to derail.  

I do want to share my recent cleaning routine, as it's been a game changer with how I keep up my house, but since I was out of my normal schedule I started to get distracted. Dirty kitchen towels reminded me of laundry, laundry reminded me of needing to change my sheets (dishes were done by this point, and turning the mattress was on the list), Baby Girl got fussy and wanted a nap, but I decided to clean the fans before that happened. I got that done and cleaned the windows while she napped. I almost finished, before I realized that I needed to get my crock-pot meal started. 

I had this picture taken, ready to couple it with the end result. However, my husband disliked it so much that he wound up going to Sonic to get something to eat. Oops. Instead I'll give you a link to one of our favorite Crock-pot meals, that's easy to put together, and you can add broccoli or your favorite veggie to complete the meal. This one is tried and true, as opposed to what we actually had for dinner. 

The rest of the day seemed to be a series of distractions, where I managed to get *most* fans cleaned, and *most* windows washed, but everything seemed to only be half done. Anyone have a day like that? I am still thankful the things that got done, did get done. The rest of my fall cleaning might have to be finished another day. 

Before I finish, I do want to talk about some of my favorite cleaners from Grove. Using this link you can get free products with your first time purchase. I also get $10 off my next order, so win/win! 
Grove has introduced their new fall scented Mrs. Meyers products. I have the Spiced Pumpkin scent, which I didn't know if I liked at first, but it seems to have grown on me. I have heard amazing things about the Acorn Scent though. 

My favorite products, though, are almost anything Method- the bathroom spray, and the degreaser . Also, my Grove brand window cleaner made cleaning the windows a breeze and I love cleaning my floors with their floor spray. A miss for me was the tile and tub cleaner. I much prefer the Method bathroom spray which really is an all-in-one spray. This makes my minimalist wannabe self very happy! 

Here is the link to where you can look for yourself. If it is your first time to purchase, you get a free 5 piece set! The amazing scents and lit candle did get me into the cleaning mood, no matter how half done all that cleaning was!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Decorating for Fall + Easy DIY Fall Wreath on a Budget!

**Amazon links are Affiliated**

I recently posted about how I am simplifying my heart and home for fall. I thought I would show you around my house and take you on a tour of how this works 'in real life'. I am also adding tips I use to decorate simply and on a budget. 

It all starts with lugging the two boxes of fall decor out of the closet, where I excitedly examine all of the things, nearly forgotten, or old time favorites. Hues of burnt orange, reds, and yellows fly out of the box, as I try to keep up with my 5 year old (who is nearly as excited as momma!)

This year, I tried to be more intentional with what I got out, and where I put it. I am also trying to see how much I 'love' where something is. If it doesn't bring me 'joy' I plan to donate it when the season is over. (Note: This is just stuff...It brings me no joy like things that really matter. However, I do want pieces that I really love to look at, and help me enjoy my home.)

 A great favorite for decorating during the fall and Christmas seasons, is my stove. The brick and black stove act as a beautiful contrast to rich tones. As you see, just a few items make the area scream fall!

My tip for buying more expensive pieces, is to wait until December to buy for the following year. Don't go crazy though! It's easy to buy because it's simply on sale. Buy things that really compliment your space, and you love.
This pumpkin centerpiece I bought at a little shop in Waco, is gorgeous in person. It needs a bigger candle in the middle, but I haven't bought one for it yet. My tip for centerpieces is having a base that is interchangeable for the seasons. This wood base holds decor for the table, all year long! 

 Another favorite place, is this chalkboard shelf. It's the perfect place to display seasonal items, and easy to change out sayings from season to season.

Chalkboard tip: When using chalk markers, they can be tricky to get off, once they've been on there a while. Use a magic eraser, and it comes right off!
I think one of my favorite things about the fall/Thanksgiving season, is the emphasis on gratitude. It's easy to get caught up in the 'wishing' for the things we see in magazines or social media. This season reminds us to pause and give thanks for the things we have. There's nothing wrong with freshening up a space, or buying something new, but it should never be done out of envy or wanting to be like everyone else.

Easy DIY Wreath for Under $10!

Technically I spent $3 on this, as I used the wreath form from the summer. I hot glued the pieces on, so it will now be my fall wreath, and I won't be able to change it out from season to season. However, the wreath form itself, only cost around $5 from Michael's.  

 I picked up 2 garlands from the Dollar tree, one with a mini pumpkin, and one with an acorn. I also picked up a sprig of these burnt orange burlap flowers. I took everything off the stems, and hot glued them in place. I experimented with different arrangements before I came up with the layout I liked. I hot glued each piece in place, and it took less than 30 minutes to finish! The finished result is perfect for the front door, and fit our budget well.

What is your favorite thing to set out during the fall season? Pumpkins, Flowers, Candles? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Simplifying Your Heart and Home for Fall

As the leaves begin to change colors and the air begins to get crisp and cool (for us in the south it means we are finally out of daily heat advisories!) our lives can also get very busy. From football games, to dance lessons, 4-H classes or Co-ops life can feel like we are constantly running from one thing to another. After we come home, we see it cluttered and dirty and after a full day, it can be hard to want to clean it! Reflecting on the busyness of my all time favorite season caused me to stop and make for myself goals for the fall that I want to share with you, today.

Saying 'No' 

Just like a cluttered home can cause anxiety and stress, so can a cluttered week. All of the extra curricular things can be fun, but it can also cause stress on not just you, but the children you are doing the activities for. Late dinners, late nights, lack of sleep, and if you are a homeschool mom, another symptom can be less being done with school. 
Decide for yourself how much you actually want to do, and how often you think is okay for you to be doing activities. For me, I am trying to schedule only 1-2 things per week, and as early in the day as possible (I know for non-homeschool moms that's a bit impossible). This way, I'm simply not as tired at the end of the day, and it allows more time for school, outdoors, and family time (and maybe a few things on that fall bucket list I pinned on Pinterest!).


My simplified approach to a fall home

I've discovered that while I love the ideas of a minimalistic home, I also love the cozy feel of home decorations. I love color as well as neutral tones, so instead of sticking to the idea of a minimalist home having to be all white with bare shelves and surfaces, I chose things that I enjoy seeing, and perhaps have dual purpose. 

To keep my fall decor simple this year, I only have 2 normal sized boxes (not large totes-I think I could still have room in a large tote for things-perhaps I'll get a tote this year) of fall decor. Last year I discovered some of my decor got ruined, and I decided not to replace it and work with what I had, until I saw a sale, or saw something that really brought joy or helped my space in my house. 

My goals this year were instead of filling the shelf with fall decor, adding a couple of things to each space and letting the one or two items speak for themselves. I found that my home looks cozy and fall like enough, without the over abundance of what I normally would do. Also- less dusting! It's one of the things I will be talking about this month. The biggest reason for simplifying my home, really, is to cut back on the amount of time it takes to clean my home. With two little ones, piano lessons that occur at my home daily, and homeschooling, it is nice  for it to only take a few minutes for each room  to be tidied. 

If you are wondering what this looks like in a practical sense, follow me on Instagram. All this next week I'll be simplifying places in my home as I get ready for the fall season, and in my next post I'll be posting my fall decor and an inexpensive DIY fall wreath idea! Stay tuned! I'll be labeling these posts 'fall 2019' so you can make sure you don't miss a post!

How I Created my own Nature Study Curriculum for Free!

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