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!

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! 

Ghostly Trees!

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Here, we added a cute little owl WHOOOOOOse eyes are glowing and ready for Halloween. Yup–you guessed it, $1.00–at Dollar Tree!

YES–Ball® makes limited edition purple mason jars and YES you can make adorablely cheap crafts with them!! Toddler friendly Halloween decorations that will keep you and the Kidd-o busy for an hour or two–coming your way! I made this one up, while I was unpacking my Halloween decor last week…annnnd I wanted to share it!!  These are “ghostly trees”.

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Ball® exclusive purple mason jars, floral wire, wire cutters (or strong kitchen scissors) bag of decorative rocks. (We had the black, but the clear stones would be best to show off the purple!) string or fishing line, twigs, lace tulle or cream gauzy/tulle fabric

If you haven’t noticed, I like Dollar Tree… So that’s where I grabbed the styrofoam, floral wire, wire cutters, rocks, and string. I bought the tulle rolls at Walmart for 2.97, and the Ball® mason jars can be purchased at http://www.freshpreservingstore.com! We mixed our trees up by using the Ball® Heritage Collection Pint and Quart sized jars.

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arrange your twigs and branches to look “tree-ish” and then you are ready to wrap the wire around their trunks. To make this craft adult friendly–you could spray paint the sticks silver for a more fancy look!

First off, head outside, let the kids play! While you’re out there, they will LOVE searching the yard for the perfect “creepy” sticks to create their ghost trees with…(and if they’re like my toddler–they’ll enjoy poking you with the sticks too!) Gather a good handful of sticks and branches that will make up the “tree” part of the craft! You’ll want them 12-18 inches long or so… and obviously you can cut them/snap them to be shorter.

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take a kitchen knife or scissors and just chop away at it until you can push it through the top of the mason jar.

Cut and shape a chunk of the green styrofoam to insert into the top of the mason jar and shove that sucker way down to the bottom. You could add a drop of hot glue to the inside base of the jar to stick it to, but you don’t have to!

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once you’ve positioned the branches to look like a tree, wrap the floral wire tightly around the base! (about 3-4 inches up from bottom)

Put the silver ring of the mason jar cover back on, leaving the disc off, so you can easily stick the tree into the styrofoam at the bottom of the jar. Again, you could add a blob of hot glue to the styrofoam so it sticks to the “tree” when you push it down–but you don’t have to!
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Add some tulle to the bottom of the jar surrounding the styrofoam so it doesn’t show through jar. If you gather the tulle and bunch it up around the styrofoam it’ll work best.
Add a few of the black rocks on top of the styrofoam around the “trunk” of your tree and it’ll add a little weight to your jar and keep the tree in place as well.
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NOW. Make your ghosts! As silly as it sounds, grab a few paper towels and cut them into small squares about 4×4 and crumple it up to be the ‘head’ of the ghost. Have cottonballs? Use one per head if you’d rather! Cut your roll of cream lace or tulle in about 8 inch long pieces (leaving the width as is), and place the crumbled paper towel in the center of the fabric. Fold the fabric over and gather it under the ghosts head. Tie in a simple bow with the string. Make the bow loops big enough so you can hang the ghosts on the tree once you’e made them all.

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Make anywhere between 5-8 depending on size of trees and preference. You can trim your ghosts to whatever size and shape you want! Hang those little cuties on the trees and there ya have it! a $4-$8 halloween craft! (depending on what you already have at home for supplies!)

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Want to make your jars glow? Add battery operated string lights to put inside the jars or LED tea lights to make your jars glow purple!

*These Heritage Collection Ball® Mason Jars were sent to me for free by Ball® Canning and all opinions are my own in any and all use of this product.