deck the halls on a budget! 

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this time of year. Even thought I don’t want to talk about it ’til after turkey day, I truly can’t wait to BREAK OUT all of my red and green. From the tree to the candles, I’ll show you OVER 10 ways to hack your Christmas decorating for easy, cheap festivity! Really, when you have flowers, mason jars, garland and ribbon–the possibilities are endless. (Until a kid comes along to destroy something-duh.)


Jazz up your flower vase or old wine jug this season. Let’s start with wrapping paper! I’m sure you have some leftover from last year (like me)–but if not, grab a roll that’ll match your other décor and some scissors. This year, I’m using old wine jugs I have to hold my centerpiece flowers. This is SO easy. I cut enough wrapping paper to wrap around the bottle and cover the label. I scalloped the edges and added one piece of tape (hidden) to secure it. 

Are you kidding me? So cute. Also–get your flowers at Trader Joe’s! I did 6 vases full of greenery and red/white flowers for only $18!
Do you have pretty pillows that are just NOT as festive as you’d like? PROBLEM SOLVED PEEPS. The trick is RIBBON! 
Hi, I’m precious, nice to meet you.

Tie a bow of holiday ribbon around your decorative pillow for a simple, easy way to kick it up for the holidays. Don’t worry, your kids will notice the bow and try chewing/ripping it off! (Sigh). GET YOUR RIBBON ON SALE! I grabbed all of my ribbon at Michael’s for 70% off a week ago!! Totally worth it to download the Michael’s and Joann app, because between their 50% off a regular item coupons, and weekly ads– you save a ton. So this way, when you buy a REDONCULOUS amount of red and green sparkly items you don’t get in trouble. Ha.

Easy and adorable. Plop a small decorative tree into a mason jar and top with a ribbon bow. Done! If you put them on a window sill, the natural light goes right through the glass jar, and at night move them over to a table or counter top!

Use what you already have to jazz up a window. Everyone has mason jars–right?? (And if you listened to me and downloaded the apps-you’ll have the trees and ribbon too, super cheap–off a coupon) My trees are a few years old, but I’ve seen them on their shelves this year again! You can do SO much with ribbon. Besides top off your wrapped boxes, of course. 

The mason jar strikes again! Use what you have, and add ribbon! We had mason jars and pillars-add a ribbon bow and a votive to instantly bring the look into the season! 

Check end of season sales. I bought this GORGEOUS velvet paisley holiday pillow last year at Homegoods marked from $39.99 to $18! I brought it out to add a pop of red to my living room this year. 

Use LED lights ONLY outside to save some dough on the good old DECEMBER electric bill. I bought these colored LED’s after Christmas last year and the white LED’s at Home Depot on Black Friday this year! Both were $15-18 a box and were purchased $2.50-5.88 a box. Thumbs upppppp. I’m not a huge colored light fan, but mixed with the white- I’m lovin’ it. See those pumpkins of the step? They’re getting spray painted white and turned into a snowman. Wait for it. 
$3 believe banner at target is adorable hanging right over where Santa shows up! Even the grinch has an extra 3 bucks. Cheaper to buy this one, than to make it! Right at the front of the store with the other $1, and $5 treasures. 

Sending Christmas Cards? GROUPON! We have done Staples these last 3 years. This year, we paid $24 for 75 cards! Huge savings, and they come out great. Loads of design choices, too. Outside the fact that the website was glitchy last night, we’ll be sending ours soon! 

Ollie’s silly festive shirt was $3 at old navy! They had loads of their holiday looking clothing on sale for 50% off. Penels shirt was $5!

Switch out the items on an accent wall. I threw some lights and ribbon on this artificial tree we’ve had, stuck it in a basket and it looks great plopped on my hope chest. Replaced a turkey picture, with a snowman picture, and added some berry twigs to my wreath. (Berry twigs were $0.59 at Michael’s, too!) Filled the basket with the kids Christmas books, and we’re good! 
Check TJ MAXX for matching sibling JAMMIES! Got these there for $7.99 and 9.99 regular price, and they are almost EXACTLY one of this years “Hanna” styles!
Make your antique crates shine this season!
No corner left behind. I needed something for this area of the dining room, so I added a string of lights to the inside of my vintage crates. Now they glow. Friggan cuteness. Simple and elegant! 

Take your own pictures of your kids for the Christmas card. They’ll come out perfect and everyone will be looking and smiling. 🙄

god bless you.
Drunk in love.

Have toddlers who are nosing around the gifts under the tree? Fake them! Put giftbags out with white tissue under the tree and put the real gifts for people in the back, so if they open one of the pretend gifts–or pull the tissue out, it’s no biggy! 

These are last years bag, and lacking tissue because I just bought it last night!
If you have extra ornaments throw them into a few wide cylinder VaseS to add some color around the room! 
BALLS!

More hacks?! If you had your tree cut down this year, or ever tagged one-have them chop a little more off of the bottom when you pick it up and now you’ve got REAL material for homemade wreaths and garlands!  

Layer your tablecloths! Red under, lace over!

Christmas Cards by the dozens? Buy an old shutter at a yard sale or consignment shop and flip it upside down, hang it and stick all of your cards in the slits! (No picture yet because I’m still on the hunt for a shutter!) 

This mirror swag is brought to you buy 60% off garland at Jo-Ann’s AND 60% of Berry twigs! Instant elegance!

Use a festive coffee mug to hold your window plants!! Easy stuff guys! Let me know what ideas you like best! 🎄🎅🏼👍🏼

More flowers! TRADER JOE’s BABY!

Drinks y’all! 

Hey friends. Heading somewhere for Thanksgiving and were told to bring booze? Here are 3 easy recipes for impressing your friends/guests this holiday season!!  

“Tito’s apple cider” –named that one myself. 👏🏼 During the holidays in my family, we lean toward the wine and the Tito’s! Forget the food…I mean, really. If you haven’t tried it yet, grab a bottle for your next event. It’s handmade in the USA, and very smooth! 


Here’s where your ingredients come in. FILL a small mason jar to the top with ice. Pour Tito’s about a quarter of the way up the jar–STOP. I said stop… why are you still pouring? 😜 Next, add the honey crisp cider, {I also did that another quarter of the way up the glass.} Top with club soda, a dash of cinnamon, a few thinly sliced apples and a drizzle of caramel syrup–in that order–because WHY NOT?  Give it a swirl to blend the cinnamon and CHEERS! Want it a little more tart? Squeeze a wedge of lemon in there! Tastes like apple pie! You love me, I KNOW! 

the apple slice cracked. Rude!

Ready for ROUND 2?   Caramel Apple Sangria! 


What you need: LOOK UP.🤓(plus apple cider–not pictured)  Chop up all that gorgeous fruit and toss it into a large sangria pitcher/dispenser. (I’m making this Thursday and I’ll be using red and green apples, clementines for juice, and limes) Throw in about 6-8 cinnamon sticks. Add the liquor first. Don’t know why? Me either, but I like to! Triple sec goes on top of cinnamon sticks and fruit, about half the bottle. {375 ml bottle}. Next, about a third of the bottle of Kissed Caramel Vodka {SMIRNOFF-750 ml bottle}. Give it a swirl. Dump the entire bottle of Carlo Rossi Merlot in your dispenser {it’s a 4L jug so you better have a big dispenser!} top with half of a jug of apple cider, and a small bottle of seltzer or club soda. Squeeze the juice of 2 limes and 3-5 clementines in there too. Mix, smile, enjoy–and go eat pie. Serve over ice in a wine glass with a couple pieces of the fruit and an apple slice! 

3. White Cider Sangria! Same recipe as the red, but I would use a Pinot Grigio so it’s not too sweet–or Carlo Rossi Rhine if you’re making a ton for a crowd (like the recipe above).  If you prefer, you can eliminate the caramel vodka with the white sangria! 

4. Pumpkin Martinis! {ok, originally I said three recipes– but my mom is bringing over ingredients for pumpkin martinis to have with dessert this year!…I don’t even know her recipe so you’ll have to stay tuned for a picture and a review of it 😉! 

My friends…this thanksgiving make sure you drink responsibly. By that, I mean …I’ll be putting my kids to bed early so I don’t have to try and balance a martini glass while wiping a nose/butt.  #yup  

This is the Tito’s cider!
 

**all of these ideas and entries are my own, as well as their content and opinion.** 
you can steal my recipes though! Happy Thanksgiving! 🍷🦃

turkey is en route. 

Poor turkey! 🦃 He doesn’t know what’s comin’ to him. I have to say, THANKSGIVING is one of my all-time-fave holidays …simply because of the GRUB. No one cooks that dinner like my mama, no one. Ok–maybe your mama does too–but really, have you met my mama?  Seriously, my mouth is watering thinking of the homemade stuffing {I remember being pissed one year when there wasn’t an entire pan of it left over for me to keep!}–Never boxed, because the same rules apply to the stuffing, as to the tomatoe sauce in this family. If it’s coming out of a jar, or a box ready made–IT AIN’T HAPPENIN’ peeps! 

I want to talk about what we are thankful for! I’ll try to NOT be such an @$$ and be serious–just for a bit, to talk about this holiday. There aren’t gifts. Just people who come over with wine and side dishes/desserts which are like gifts to me! We never pass up wine over here in this house. I came up with a few “apple cider” inspired cocktails that will surely be a hit this Thanksgiving. {…and I digress, recipes on the next post!}

crowd pleaser.
 I feel like people don’t give Thanksgiving the recognition it deserves! (Dont get me wrong, I love when the décor goes on sale early at homegoods, but I feel bad Thanksgiving is shoved to the side. ) To each his own, as they say–but this mama is NOT putting a thing of red or green up until Black Friday! I host Thanksgiving and want that orange/brown/gold/gourd “look” going until the turkey is over. 
GATHER banner $3 at Targé… how perfect is the chair and pillow with it, too?
I feel SO thankful for many things this year. The obvious reasons like my kids, husband, family, friends, good health, good food, and wine–BUT also for our home! We were lucky enough to purchase a home that’s been in our family {my dad’s side} for something like 80-ish years?! Maybe more! To keep the home that my cousins and I grew up coming to for EASTER egg hunts, Christmas Eve nights, and our first “swim” experiences just means so much. I could never imagine NOT being able to visit here again or had it been sold to a stranger, just completely lose touch with it. Even cooler, I was cleaning out a kitchen cupboard the other day and found 2 gorgeous turkey platters for next week, just in time to host! My “great aunt” lived here with her brother and mom–she was really my dad’s cousin but as Italians do, we called her “auntie” because she was much older than our cousins and it stuck! I’m lucky and thankful to be able to enjoy these “little things” this holiday. She’ll be watching from above, I’m sure! She enjoyed entertaining on Christmas Eve and Easter, too– and left behind her recipe book, so I’ll have to do some of those traditions justice this year! 
one’s Italian, one’s English- both are delicious!
Turkey! Wait, imagine if you were a vegetarian on Thanksgiving? I bet there are a few in this world. 😉 Carb city awates you! I must confess, the turkey is my least favorite of all the delicious choices that day. Unless you’re talking like 11 pm when we make a thanksgiving sandwich! The homemade stuffing has to be my all time favorite, followed by mama’s green bean casserole and sweet potatoes. Literally you could mix every option in a bowl and I’d slurp it up no problem. What’s your favorite dish that day? The flavors, the butter, the smell, the heat from my oven that I savor since my hubby isn’t allowing “heat” just yet. 😂 
As seen here.

My kids are so fortunate to be able to grow up with this huge backyard and now, a pool! The running-jumping-playing opportunities are endless for them, their cousins, and friends! So so thankful for that. There’s so much LIFE in this house now, my aunt would be thrilled. 
not our back yard! A gorgeous PIECE of the grounds at the YMCA.

…On the next post I’ll share 3 apple inspired holiday drinks, my favorite wines with turkey dinner, and more! What are you thankful for this year? And don’t say BOOZE–that’s the easy answer! 

Table décor from Target! 50% off decorative wooden leaves in rose and yellow gold! $1.50

we picked a winner! 

Can you believe we’ve never tagged our own tree? Sure, living in the sticks of Tiverton we had gone and had them cut down in past years–but never tagged! This year, WE DID IT. My hubby googled and yelped {like he loves doing} and found Henry’s Tree Farm. HUGE SELECTION. Great for kids. Truthfully, I didn’t want to start humming jingle bells or EVEN THINK about the jolly holiday until we ate our turkey, but you can’t help it at Henry’s. It’s very cute. First, you stop in to the little “store” area and chit chat with the gentleman about how it all works. There’s free cider, Christmas music playing, and tons of ornaments and gifts for the kids to touch when they aren’t supposed to. We actually forgot our ribbon, but they sell tagging decorative ribbon for $0.89 a yard–so we grabbed three yards inside the shop before we checked out Santa’s sleigh that’s parked outside!They give out mini candy canes for the kids, which Penelope spotted IMMEDIATELY upon entering the gift store, and asked the guy for 5 of them. 

I really wished I had thought this out and had them wear their Christmas jammies for “cuter” pictures–or atleast outfits that matched! I guess that’s what the Christmas card photo session is for, right?! Hey–we were rushing this morning {obviously} –and we came right from dance class. Munchkin crumbs, and mismatched clothes…could’ve been worse, I guess. Like the photo below. Now that’s “worse”.You would think a free candy cane could turn a frown upside down. Never assume, my friends…never assume. 

who cares about tree tagging when you have a huge rock to climb.
have at it!
strict instructions!
We chose the early pickup for the tree- which is Thanksgiving weekend. We figure Daddy’s a Christmas freak so for his birthday weekend, we’ll do all things Christmas. We called him Clark Griswold the whole “tree farm” visit… well, atleast mommy called him that. Penel just said “who’s CLOCK?”

Next, we took our cute cream & red ribbon and unleashed the kids into the wilderness of Henry’s Tree Farm, where a nice young kid was helping us figure out the tagging process. He had a ten foot pole to give us a rough idea of how big of a tree we were picking and told us to come find him once we picked, photographed {obviously}, pulled a few needles off, had a FEW tantrums, and were ready to tag.  

tried hugging this one and realized the PAIN it caused 😂
 People must come to tag these things in the summer, because every time we went up to a “perfect tree” it was tagged already. We searched and searched and daddy had his heart set on something “chubby, but tall” —I laid off the jokes, as best I could…but c’mon. 
everyone started to melt about 20 minutes into it.
how about one of these? “NO DADDY–DIS ONE!”
🌲

Penelope lost interest after the 2-foot tall tree she wanted was declined, and legit POUTED and whined for the remainder of the tagging session. Such a female. We told her Santa was watching and that Daddy was going to call him and tell him about her naughty attitude, and that only brought on the tears. HAPPY TAGGING! Daddy hung onto cranky P, and I looked after the wanderer. 

ollie loved running around the farm and mommy and daddy enjoyed chasing after him. YA. NO.
Here she is in all her glory. I tagged it all by myself since Ollie ran away and Penelope said she wanted to “GO HOME NOW”. Joyful, joyful–we are joyful. 🙄 

The forced smile said it all. “Deck the halls with cranky toddlers, fa-la-la-la-laaaaa-get-me-vodkaaaaa. 🎄 It was the best out of 5 pictures that daddy took, and I was laughing because Ollie had just taken a huge poop, and she was SO DONE with this place. We sent them back to their happy place. THE ROCK! Thanks Henry’s! At least mommy and daddy appreciated you. The grumpiness didn’t phase daddy and I much. Yearly tradition in the works. Let’s see how long the tree lasts once we have it set up in the house! 😉

Halloween Recap.

So far today, I’ve eaten 2 “fun size” milky ways and a Halloween cupcake. #winning. I see why they call them fun size– you can shove the whole thing in your mouth in one shot, and continue to do so every time you pass the bowl. My kids got so much candy, it’s crazy. I wanted to re-cap Halloween for everyone, because we had a blast. It was Ollie’s first attempt at trick-or-treating and he learned the words “tan-choo” {thank you} just in time to receive free candy…and act grateful of course! 

We dressed the little goon up as a celtics player {although he’s wearing Rondo’s jersey, he’s more of a Larry Bird} because he’s obsessed with basketballs. “Backetbaw” as he says. We figured it’d be a perfect costume for the sports fan–and WARM for his little bod. He loved strolling around the neighborhood in the wagon, with his POP!


You can just hear the ‘jingle’ with this one coming at ya! After talking her out of being the JOKER for Halloween, she chose the WWOW. Wicked Witch of the West. Next best thing, I’m guessing?! Nothing “princess” for this peach. She actually saw a 50-something year old guy dressed as the joker while trick-or-treating and went right up to him, saying “did you know DAT I was GUNNA be duh JOKA raw Halloween n’ my mom said no!” {we were shocked that she, A. Wasn’t afraid of this man, and B. Still not over the fact that we didn’t want her being a serial killer for Halloween.  She stayed in character all night as the witch though, with her tricycle–and evil brows of course, and she really enjoyed herself. The legs got tired after pedaling to 4 houses so she ditched the wheels for daddy’s hand about 20 minutes into trick or treating, and returned the tricycle to the truck. My sister/brother in law have the best trick-or-treat neighborhood for the little ones, and decorated their house and yard for all of the trick-or-treaters they’d be getting.  Lights, creepy sounds, a video projector showing ghosts dancing, skeletons, and fog–totally into it–and festive. 


I was asked to bring my guacamole to my sister in laws for our trick or treat night, so OF COURSE I had to give it a face. My aunt taught me a little trick about adding some crumbled feta into my guacamole and I must confess, I do it every time now! Yum. It’s the perfect amount of that salty goodness to the dip. 

Want to make it? Simple and DELISH!  2 large ripe Florida avocados chopped into small squares {they’re about double the size of hass avocados and are also a little cheaper these days}, one small red onion chopped small, about ten-fifteen cherry tomatoes –chopped, 3/4 cup or so of crumbled feta, juice of one lime, salt/pepper/garlic powder/parsley to taste. I save the pit to stick in the center of my dip to keep the guac green.  Mix it all up and use multigrain scoops to “dunk”. YUM. 

I asked Penelope what she thought I was being for halloween with my face paint on– and she said “a cow and a bee togetha ” so there ya have it. MOOOO-BZZZZ
happy witch, happy life.
queen Bee is sad.

The Sunday before Halloween we went to the walk-about in Bristol where the kids trick or treated at all the local shops! Couldn’t make it to Bristol and not stop into Auntie Andi’s salon, where Penel ‘took one for the team’ and helped pass the candy out! 
Auntie Andi was in full spirit with her “teddy bear” gear and Ashley was a lion! very cute. Penelope was the hired help, clearly!
It was a huge hit and there were TONS of kids. A lot of parents dressed up too. I’m thinking it’ll be a tradition for us! We also did the East Greenwich costume parade and all of their Halloween festivities Saturday. Penelope was the wicked witch, Ollie was Cookie Monster, and I was hungry and thirsty, per usual. 
thanks for the shoes, Dorothy!
green face FOREVERRRRR.
this was their get-up for the East Greenwich downtown trick-or-treat event!
Even though it was a crazy busy weekend, we really enjoyed it! Saturday-East Greenwich Halloween day, Sunday–Bristol walkabout and Monday–HALLOWEEN night! Lots of fun for the kiddies and great time spent with friends and cousins! Penelope really enjoyed Halloween this year, and Ollie got shoved in a wagon with a tootsie pop to keep him still. HA! Fun times. Just realized I recapped that BACKWARDS for you. Figure that one out! See ya soon🎃


GUESS WHAT SONG WE SANG WHEN SHE FELL ASLEEP?!? 😂


Just a bee staring across the water. Loved this shot. Couldn’t resist it, although a little nervous with her laying so close to the edge–the sunset, combined with her position of the legs, was perfect. Bristol Bay. So pretty! 

BCCS

Okay, so I may have jumped the gun on my last post considering my birthday isn’t until March! Ill take the earplugs and wine for Christmas, though.

Let’s talk game food. BCCS. Balsamic Chicken Caprese Salad. If balsamic chicken had a kid with a caprese salad, this would be their kid. It’s easy, healthy and fun finger food for football Sundays. 

What you’ll need is easy! {2-4 cooked chicken breast-depending on the crowd, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, balsamic glaze (trader joes $2.99!), fresh basil, 4-6 medium sized tomatoes, log of fresh mozz, salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, and a pretty display dish!} 

We first seasoned the chicken breasts (or tenders if you’d rather)  on each side with sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and garlic powder and cooked them on 350 for about 13-14 minutes each side.  Chop up or pull the chicken into a “chicken salad” consistency and set aside in a bowl to cool (fridge or counter is fine!)  While the chicken is cooling off, I sliced the tomatoes about 1/3 of an inch thick and placed them on my plate. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Next you want to separate the basil leaves from their stems, leaving them whole, and then slice the mozzarella. Feeling lazy? They sell the logs pre-sliced sometimes! You want to cut those slightly thinner than your tomatoes. Place a slice of cheese and a basil leaf “cup side up” on every tomato. I set aside about 6 basil leaves to chop up and sprinkle over the top of the plate once ready to serve. 

Lastly, in a bowl– add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little dried parsley TO TASTE, and toss like a chicken salad. Again, this Italian never measures unless baking, so just eyeball it and make sure your “chicken salad” is nice and moist. Gently spoon the chicken salad inside each basil leaf, and drizzle balsamic glaze right over the top! Chop up those extra basil leaves and sprinkle over the entire plate!  It’s finger food your friends will love. Great game food and tasty, too. 

We used 4 chicken breasts and it got us 16-18 stacks. Can’t remember!

It’ll get messy so a fork is helpful. Enjoy. GO PATS! 

Want want want. 

It’s funny how “wants” and “needs” change from your early KIDLESS twenties, to your last year in them when you’re married with two toddlers. I can remember wanting/”NEEDING” Coach bags, phone covers, high heels, etc. for my birthdays as a teenager and an early twenty something, and to go to fun bars in Providence with our friends and family to celebrate {while of course wearing all GREEN, since I’m a St. Pattys day baby}. After two kids, and a marriage of almost 4 years, my list is totally different, and so are my “wants”. I mean now, as a Mom, I just NEED to drink coffee AND wine daily to be kind to the other humans living in my home, and I WANT to have good-listening-little-soldier-robot-children who clean up after themselves, cook me dinner, and get along. 

always have, always will.

Above is a sign from our good friends wedding. It perfectly describes the things I’ve always done on my birthday–at least from ages 2-29. That.. I hope, will never change! Let me rewind a second. I used to shake my Bon-Bon to JA RULE and Puff Daddy & the family {whoever they are} and now I’m just boppin’ around to the theme song for Peppa Pig! #bringbackthegangstaRAP 

Seriously though, I’ll be hittin’ the BIG 3-0 in March, and I have to say-I’m excited. I’m not one of those people who’s feeling “old”like folks say happens when you hit 30–unless it rains, then my back and knees ache, and I put on an extra layer. Not feeling tired at all lately–unless you count 5/7 days where I could 100% sleep from 7P-10A if “they” let me. Definitely NOT a grumpy person either–legit act like I’m PMS’ing every other day. –AND, I’m tttooootttttaaalllyyy calm now. “WHERE THE F%@$ ARE MY KEYS, WE’RE LATE!!!” Sigh, still young. Thank god. Don’t know what these people are talking about when they refer to this “old” Bologna.

“mommy, they’re in the door”

My husband asked me a few weeks ago if I would rather have a party for my thirtieth  birthday or go away somewhere. After some thought, I had a few questions. Because I am who I am, I said–“well, who’s coming with us on vacation?! We will bore each other after a few days.” He smiled, annnnd told me I was rude. Next, I wanted to know where we were going… because I’ll either need new bikinis OR thick socks for the Swiss alps. Lastly, darling dearest… HOW LONG WE TALKIN’? Cause I run this ship–and need to get babysitters booked.  Long story short –my chances of Hawaii alone don’t look too good after my sarcastic remarks. Shucks. 
love ya!

What do women want when they turn thirty? Material things, of course! You know, like earplugs, wine, and sneakers! Maybe I’m kidding about the earplugs–the kids would find me no matter what requests I ignore. HOWEVER, I’ve come to love sneakers, considering chasing a child in heels ain’t happenin’ these days, and I’ve become a gym rat, too. Besides, with so many cute styles of sneakers and booties to chose from, who needs heels? AND Kim Crawford…who doesn’t love that broad? She’s a little more expensive than her friend Oyster Bay–but she’s a sure fire hit on the weekends. Much like myself. 
these are the NEEDS.
I also want an apron. Is that goofy? I love to cook, so I told him I wanted a new knife set and a apron for my birthday. Never in all my 29 years did I think I’d want either of those items as a gift. My parents brought a knife set over the other day, so I’m all set there.  I want wine and snacks, too. Like, honey–dump me off at trader joe’s fabulous CHEESE area, and let me HAVE AT IT. No limits. Let me pick out 8 different kinds, and don’t ask for some when we get home. ‘Cause it’s my birthday. For my thirstieththat was an honest to goodness typo BUT I’m leaving it–birthday you can stick me in the NEWLY CLEANED garage with a bottle of Kim Crawford and a pile of cheese, in my new apron…with the earplugs in. Done. 

ill show you how to make these for the next football game! {balsamic chicken caprese salad}

Hang on. Not done. Next, I’ll take a target credit card with no limit, endless chachskies from homegoods, and a jar of pickled eggs. Raise your hand if you love pickled eggs! –just my family? Ok, nevermind. Honestly–hold off on the eggs. I can make them myself. My entire kitchen will smell like one big fart, everyone will blame me, and I’ll bring those into the garage, too. 


Side note: I ran to TJ Maxx this morning with Ollie after dropping Penelope off at school, and snooped around for some early christmas shopping. FRIENDS– it’s really worth it to check Homegoods for brands like Melissa & Doug,  Play-Doh, Disney, Marvel, etc., because you can save! Ollie and I didn’t do too much damage, but I did score some matching jammies super cheap for the kids Christmas card this year. Add jammies to my list. Onesie pajamas. No shame here! All about fleece/one-piece items. Sweaters. I’ll take a few oversized droopy ones that I can bury myself in with leggings and scarves. ALL WINTER. 

can’t give too much away here!
Let me sum that all up for you! 

Final list: Wine, cheese, sneakers, ear-plugs, a one way ticket to Hawaii, pickled eggs, big sweaters, onesie pajamas, a credit card, a robot vacuum (just for under Ollie’s high chair at each meal), military style children, an apron, and big boobs.

 Happy Monday, y’all! 

$2 statement! 

So, I love Halloween. I own about 4 boxes of décor-each year adding a few items, and was thinking how I don’t have anything festive for my porch. Digging through the bins I spotted two orange pumpkin plastic trick-or-treat buckets  and an idea popped into the ‘ole noggin. My porch pendant lights could be GLOWING PUMPKINS! …and so cheap! Check it out- easiest DIY session I’ve had in a while!🎃

we figured we would leave our REAL cobwebs up above the door for the “holiday season”

Want to make a $2 statement on your house for Halloween? Here’s how. 

turn this baby around and you’re ready to start.

Simple stuff, here guys. Grab 2-$1 pumpkin trick-or-treat buckets from target/wal-mart/rite-aid/ANYWHERE, a pair of tough kitchen scissors, and get to work! {I got lucky and saved two from last year} Cut the entire back out of the bucket–including half of the bottom circle base.
It doesn’t have to look pretty when you cut it, just has to be able to cover your outdoor pendant light and stay on! Go outside and pop it right onto your outdoor light! {we use LED bulbs so they don’t get warm} You may have to keep cutting bit by bit and “custom” fitting it until it’s snug over your lights. Our porch is covered and protected from New England weather, but if yours isn’t then grab either floral wire or fishing line to secure them around the light. 

remeber those $1 mums i scored from Lowe’s? THEY’RE BLOOMING!

In the daytime, it’s still cute! At night, it’s AWESOME! 

Too bad we live on a main road with no trick or treaters–guess we’ll just be stopping traffic instead, sigh. 

{TECHNICALLY we have two entrances to our house from the front so I’ll need to grab 2 more pumpkin buckets for the other door, making my investment $4! …if I didn’t save those two buckets from last year–so really TWO BUCKS!  Whoopie.} 

This trick could totally work in your bathroom over pendant lighting, on a lamp post outside, garage ligthing against the house–you name it! 

🎃GET CREATIVE! 🎃


make stew, not war. 

The mornings are chilly and the nights are getting cold, this means several things. ONE, the toilet seat is freezing when you wake up to pee, TWO–I’m STILL not switching to hot coffee, and THREE, It’s SOOOO annoying to change a poop diaper on a kid dressed in multiple layers. HA! OKAY, four. It’s time for “fall” food! For football Sunday, we decided to make a ground turkey vegetable stew. By “we” I mean ME. My hubby had the idea. As long as I played my part, as the ‘complaining chef’. Long story short, It was delish and could’ve fed an army! Want to know how I made it? GOOD! Here ya go. 

fall flowers, fall soup …almost fall on the floor when you burn your entire mouth trying to be the first one to TRY it.

Go to the store and buy alllllll of this…


2 white or yellow onions, LOAD of garlic, portobello mushrooms, 2 small zucchini, bag of large carrots, 2 cartons of chicken/vegetable stock (whichever), bag of kale (use as much or as little as you’d like), 6-8 green onions, 5-7 celery stalks, 3 large cans of petite diced tomatoes, 1 small can of tomatoe paste, 3lbs of ground turkey, salt, pepper, fresh parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil. a spoon. A bowl. Yes. Buy all of that. Brown rice or quinoa too, if you want that for a little carb in your soup! {we did!} 

IT’S EASY, guys– just takes lots of chopping. {before you start cooking your meat, chop EVERYTHING up so you can just DUMP it into the pot as you go}…I didn’t do that, which was annoying–so you should!  Just “guess-stimate” amounts of veggies. Or if it’s easier, use entire bags of what you bought! 

you make me emotional, but i still love you.

We used a Dutch oven for the stew, then switched to a HUGE sauce pan since we overloaded the Dutch oven. Start with olive oil in your pan (if I had to measure–which I never, ever do–unless baking…I would say 4 teaspoons of olive oil.) and get it hot, your burner should be low-low medium and toss in the finely sliced or chopped garlic and 1 diced white onion.  {you’re doing this so you can flavor and cook your ground turkey first} Save the other onion to add into the pot with the rest of the veggies. give those onions and garlic a few minutes and then PLOP in all 3 lbs of ground turkey. From the second you drop the meat into the pan, DO.NOT.STOP.CHOPPING/BREAKING UP.THE.MEAT. There’s really nothing more lovely than seeing those little “wormy” meat strings in the soup. Nope, nada, negative. Yuck. I used a metal spatula and just chopped away and kept that meat moving until just about fully done. (meat goes from a pink color to a gray and firms up) You’ll have crumbles, not blobs. PLEASE. I then seasoned the meat with sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a few dashes of worcestshire …like 4 or 5. 

must keep chopping, must keep chopping, chopping chopping. gobble.

Looks pretty right? YOURS BETTER BE! 😜 NEXT: Take the entire can of tomatoe paste and incorporate {oooh fancy!} it into the meat and garlic/onion mixture. Add those three large cans of petite diced tomatoes, juice and all, and stir. Next take every single veggie you have so beautifully chopped beforehand–and add them all in!  Lastly, add two cartons of whichever broth you chose and give it a good stir. Cover that baby and LET IT GO. Set your burner to low. You want a “SIMMA”. We let ours simmer happily for 3 hours and ate it after the game. If you’re a smart cook, you’ll have it perfectly timed for half-time. I’m not a smart cook. 

ready! {this is a picture of the leftovers as you can see we ate about 2.5 inches of it} 😜

Since your meat is basically cooked when you add in those veggies, the stew will be ready to eat once all of your veggies are cooked, too. Season with more salt and pepper as you go!  once everything was in the pot, I added onion powder, garlic powder, fresh parsley (15 leaves-ish?!) you don’t have to use fresh if you don’t want to!  I made a super quick bag of Trader Joe’s organic instant brown rice for those of us who wanted to add some to the bowls! 
we totally made mozzarella/provolone grilled cheese sandwiches in the cast iron, today–and used them as DUNKAROOS!
You can feed ATLEAST 10 friends on a Sunday with this. Or a Wednesday. Even a Tuesday–your friends will WANT to eat at your house. 6 of us ate it twice each and there’s still more left. You could totally freeze this too, in a freezer bag and thaw that sucker out for a few weeks down the road from now!  It’s so friggan good the next day with a cast iron grilled cheese to dunk in it! Mmmmmhmmmm. We went there. BUT– it’s equally as yummy with or without the rice, too! 

kids love these things. SO do Moms. I ate atleast 8. OINK.
my $3 lipstick matches my $3 trader joes flowers. HOW APPROPRIATE.

hoarding! it’s my thing. 

Why have one pair of so-and-so’s when you can have 7?! I’m thinking this has been my motto since I could speak. I have WAY TOO MUCH SH*T. Combined–after being together for almost ten years, and living in three places –you tend to ACCUMULATE. Good lord, did we ever. I’m going to expose it all in a second when I show you the HORRORS of cleaning out my garage. I mean, I found old bras in the same bin as holiday platters and craft stuff. Like–WHAT? Not only confused, but I was pissed ’cause my boobs shrunk post-Ollie, and there’s no way these things would fit now! I think when we sold the Tiverton house we literally threw all our garrrrbagé into any container we had, and brought it along to Warwick. WHY?! Ugh. No one knows (knew). I have to say, in just a short while, I feel like we ‘made a dent’.

if you want to vomit while looking at this photo, its okay. THERE ARE PLENTY OF BUCKETS from home depot lying around, so just aim into one of them.
you could literally lose a kid in here… hmmmm….
the only item i really cared about here was the box of skyy vodka. after realizing it was filled with old drink glasses, and not delicious mommy juice– i cared no longer!

Scared? I would be! Still am, as a matter of fact. Can’t believe I just showed everyone this collection of hidden gems. Legit, hidden. Nothing is labeled and you don’t know ‘where to begin’ when trying to locate, let’s say–a frying pan. I told my husband, if it’s been in here for almost 9 months, then we probably don’t need it right? PAH. My problem is, I forgot about that special pier 1 platter, or box of decorations that we stuck in there and now I want to bust it out again! I must admit, we took two trips to savers today and it felt great. Like, so good. I also threw out 4 contractor bags full of junk/garbage/broken “stuff”.  It helps tremendously that our neighbors are allowing us to use their dumpster! 

you can see the floor! {tears of joy} insane progress was made in 2 hours of working on this beast.
he was so excited about finding a bike helmet, and. is. that. a. butter. knife. to. the. left. of. him? {i caaaaan’t}

when you have all of your STUFF and you purchase a family home as an estate sale, you tend to end up with DOUBLE the stuff. OH YEAH, our house in Tiverton sold in 17 days, so there was very little room (no pun intended) to de-clutter before leaving that house, and dumping all of our goodies here. We figured if we took what we needed out of the garage as we went along, little by little we’d get it all situated. Coming up on 9 months, here we are–in all our hoarding glory! Once we relocate the BIG ITEMS like the tractor and then sell the couches we don’t need for the new house–maybe some day an actual vehicle can fit in here.  (gasp!) 

and this is why i have to keep this item.

Good news for hoarders: this house has loads of storage. Bad news for hoarders: this house has loads of storage.  
Disclaimer: the garage is the worst of it all! Next comes the basement, which is the catch-all for everything that shouldn’t be stored in a garage. I figured as long as no one opens a closet door, we are good–and they aren’t injured by a “God knows what” falling and hitting them on the head. Honestly- you try cleaning and de-cluttering with a 1 1/2 and a 3 1/2 year old up your butt! However, I must say…now that little Miss P is in pre-school, I can do one area at a time while Ollie takes his 2-3 hour nap! My goal is to have made drastic changes over the next few weeks! Somethings gotta give with all this “STUFF”. It’s me. I get it. I “gotta give” it. away.

of course I scored these for free while leaving Savers, from a gentleman unloading a “junk removal” trailor. THESE AREN’T JUNK!

I’m glad I was able to give away a lot of our baby items that Ollie has grown out of. It’s nice to be able to hand things off to friends and cousins who are having little ones!
current thought on cleaning the rest of the house tonight.
PS–the hubby brought Penelope to Toys “R” Us tonight and came home with like 5 new toys. My life is ending. #surroundedbySTUFF