DIY Candy Advent Calendar

Wanna know what kids love?


Wanna know how to be super popular with the kids?

Give them candy.

What do you have a TON of right now (because we just had a holiday that includes bats, skeletons, and pumpkins)?


Seriously.  The secret to life just might be chocolate covered nougat.

This cute gal on Instagram gave me a great idea on how to use up all that extra Halloween candy without sending my kids into an immediate sugar coma (Anyone else still hiding plastic pumpkins of sweets in their pantry?  Closet?  Glove box?).  Plus, it's a super awesome tradition (Hello! A piece of candy every day leading up to yet another day when you get more sweets and presents! Heck yes!).


What you need:

1. Plastic wrap
2. Small candies (I'm looking at you, Halloween.)
3. Curling or narrow craft ribbon
4. Scissors

Step 1: Gather the supplies (i.e. candy hoard) and call for your kids to stop watching their tablets and come help create this fun holiday treat (notice my eight year old's completely enthralled state of being after being told to stop playing on her iPad - don't worry, she cheered right up after realizing she was about to create a 24-day candy coma party)!

Step 2: Decide how many days you'd like to countdown and select enough candies for each day.

We created two "24 days till Christmas" garlands because my two oldest kids would be participating and I thought it would be fun if they could both participate each day.

Step 3: Roll out a long sheet of plastic wrap (do not tear off roll) on a table or floor and start adding candies.  Line them up near the long edge of the plastic wrap and allow about 5 inches of wrap per candy.  You want to have room to tie off in between the candies with ribbon.

We assembled our 24 days countdown garland on a table by making two four foot garlands and tying them together.  You could also make a long garland by stretching a longer sheet of plastic wrap on the floor.

Step 4: With all candies placed on plastic wrap, carefully tear off the sheet.  It may be easiest to use scissors so as not to disturb your beautifully lined up treats.

Step 5: Systematically eat all the candies.

Just kidding.  Don't eat the candy yet!

Step 6: Fold the long edge of the plastic wrap over the row of candies.  Then carefully roll the line of treats up lengthwise until they are fully wrapped in the plastic.  You have created a long candy garland!

Remember to let the kids help with this part too!  We spaced ourselves along the candy line up and all rolled at the same time.  Much easier than trying to roll that whole thing by myself, and my three year old  was especially enthusiastic about rolling it all up!

Step 7: Use small pieces of curling ribbon or craft ribbon (we used about 6 inch strands) to tie in between each candy on the roll.

Step 8: Display your Christmas advent calendar!  We decided to tie a longer piece of ribbon to one end of the garland to hang on the wall.

Now as you count down using your DIY advent calendar, simply use scissors to cut off a piece of candy each day.  The ribbons you tied between each candy will hold the next day's treat until you're ready to cut off another piece.  Just remember to cut below the ribbon of tomorrow's candy so it stays in tact!

Now you have a truly sweet way to count down the days until Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!


Thanksgiving is such a special time to me.

I'm reminded of the family gathering we'd have every November as a kid, everyone together at my grandparent's house near the mountains, my grandma and me tracing over maple leaves with crayons and white paper, the smell of baked beans and rolls in the oven, everyone crammed next to one another at the heavy wooden dining table, going back for seconds...and then thirds...

Thanksgiving is a holiday during my very favorite time of year.  Autumn has come, and though the warm sunlight and bright colors are slowly waning, the leaves are still blustering through the trees and over sidewalks, fireplaces are starting to light and give warmth, and the excitement over the Christmas season has begun!

To all my family, and friends (dear Readers, you are my friends, too!), you bring me joy, laughter, and a grateful heart!  I am continually thankful for your support and love!  I hope this season brings you every happiness and comfort you deserve!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Quick Tip Tuesday: Keeping a Clean Bathroom with Kids

Kids make messes; big, BIG messes!

Honestly, I can't quite seem to keep up with all of the toys, trash, and tangles!  Parenthood, I've found, should be approached with a sense of humor, a spoon full of sugar, and getting ahead whenever you can!


Use bath time to clean up!

While your kiddos are taking a bath, grab a sponge or wash cloth and wipe down your counters, sink, faucet, and cabinet doors (if your kids are anything like mine, toothpaste ends up in...interesting...places).

I use paper towels to clean the windows (less streak, though my grandma swore by newspapers - probably the funnies section - ha!).

If you're really ambitious (or your kids think they're Nemo, Ariel, or a submarine) you can get your kids out of the tub without a mat or towel on the floor, and use their puddles to do a quick mop up!  

Or, you could only put down "cleaning towels" (the old ones designated for spills and messy jobs - not your fluffy white bath sheets from Macy's.  Please don't.) for your kiddos to stand on and then use the inevitable splash water and damp towel to do a quick mop up.  It's not super get-in-all-the-corners-and-around-the-toilet-with-disinfectant clean, but it keeps things manageable in between the deep cleans.


Q: What are your hot tips for bathroom cleaning?  What do you like to do while the kids are splish-spashing?  I typically place cucumbers on my eyelids and listen to soothing wind instruments while getting a foot massage.

And by that I mean I'm cleaning cucumbers off my face cause my baby goobered me after dinner, listening to my kids blow bubbles and spit in the tub, while having a "feet party" where I sit on the edge of the tub and dangle my feet and legs in the water while the kids swim under them, over and over again.

Very relaxing.

P.S. When asked, my daughter also stated that she likes to pretend she's a "water cat" when playing in the tub.  In fact, it was her first response.  Had to throw that in there, 'cause there's plenty of other parents who can relate to their kids pretending they're "water cats".

Just me?

Weird...  ;)

Oxford Park: Quick Mudroom Update

Sometimes it's the smallest detail that can really pull a room together.  Plus, I love pretty boxes to store all our junk important things. ;)

We are lucky to have a little mudroom between the garage and kitchen.  It's not large by any means, but it's the perfect spot for backpacks, swim gear, snow gear, puppy leashes and toys, and a pretty pillow or two!  We have a vintage style house phone (the kids get a kick out of using "real" phone), a DIY chalkboard calendar from an old blog project, and a few decor items like our Target rug and Home Goods canvas art.

The most useful spot in our little mudroom is the three cubbies we have set up for the kids.  Three kiddos, three cubbies.  Perfect!

However, what I didn't love was the actual containers we were using.  The old boxes were lightweight beige fabric by Mainstays (Walmart brand).  And while they've worked fine, I was looking for something a little more sturdy, a little larger, and a bit more stylish (apologies to all you beige-lovers out there)!


Ohhh, ahhh.

Better Homes and Gardens bins via Walmart to the rescue!

I purchased the BHG Turquoise Vertical Trellis fabric storage bins from their store (they finally got them in stock!), but they're also available on their website.

These bins seriously make my aqua and quatrefoil loving heart go pitter patter!  I am also happy to report that they are very sturdy and are quite large - perfect for Ikea Kallax cabinets, BHG cabinets, and our mudroom cubbies!  Like, perfect.  If you want to be able to put your hand in the cubby to drop something inside a bin, then go for something like the Walmart Mainstays bins (Target makes a similar product).  But if you want the cubby and container to fit exactly without gaps, then these BHG bins are awesome (there's an inch or two of room above our bins because our built in cubbies are slightly taller than the standard cubby bookcase storage units)!

Plus, for under $6 each, it's a great deal!



So much more cheerful, right?  I could stare at those bins all day...

The teal chenille pillow comes in a two pack from Walmart, and the sea coral pillow comes in a four pack of different designs via Amazon.  Both sets are under $15!  The rug was from Target last year.

Boxwood pom poms are from Hobby Lobby, Travel canvas is from Home Goods, calendar was from Target last year.

Thanks for taking a look!  I know it's not a drastic change, but I really believe that it's the little things that add up to make a space feel good, look good, and make you smile when you walk by!


Q:  Have you purchased anything from the Better Homes and Gardens line at Walmart?  Have you noticed that Wally World has upped their home decor game lately?  Do you miss putting coins into a payphone to get a ride home from the mall?  Finding returned change in the coin dispenser as you walk that was a good day!