Wednesday, October 1, 2014

DIY Pumpkin Door Hanger

Hello and Happy October!

My younger kids get so excited when October rolls around because they love helping with Halloween decorations. It's just a fun time of the year for them, and for me, it means an end to the heat is finally in sight. The mornings are even a bit chilly -- woot! Anyway, we try to make as many of our own decorations as we can, and my little guy helped make this wooden pumpkin door hanger for our front door.

wood pumpkin door hanger with jack o lantern face

My husband cut out an oval shape from some wood we had and sanded it down for me. Since this was going outside, I wanted the paint to be heavy, so I used two coats of orange latex paint. My little guy helped with that part, and then he designed and helped make the face. 

I love having the kids involved in projects, and he did a pretty good job. At first, he didn't want a nose on the pumpkin, but then he didn't like how it looked. So, I outlined the nose with a Sharpie, and he filled it in with paint. We also had to round out the eyes a little bit so that they would be even. But mostly, it's all his work!

painting face on wood pumpkin

He was also clear about not wanting it to look old, so I had strict orders not to distress it at all. My kids definitely do not share my love for vintage decor -- maybe someday, but not now. Oh well, I think this is a cute, happy pumpkin, don't you?

wood pumpkin door hanger painted orange with twine bow

I painted the stem and then added a twine bow, just for a little something extra. My little boss was also clear about no ribbons or bows! I used two screws in the back of the pumpkin to attach some picture wire, and then we hung it on the door.

wooden orange jack o lantern pumpkin hanging on door

The kids have been asking to put up more outside decorations, but I usually hold off until a little later. We did put out the inside Halloween decor, and I can't wait to show you how they look!

Have you started on your Halloween decorating yet, or do you wait until later in the month? I haven't bought any candy yet -- way too tempting for me, and I always have to sample some!

Thanks for stopping by!

Dee :)

Five Ways to Save Money on Holiday Shopping

Hi Friends!

This post is part of a brand campaing sponsored by Sverve. However, all opinions are entirely my own. #chosenbykids

Fall has just begun, and we're just starting to see some cooler weather around here, but it's not too early to start thinking about holiday shopping. I can sense some of you cringing at the thought, but if you have kids and want to stick to a budget, planning ahead can help you stay on track and save money. You may have already seen commercials for the year's hottest toys, and if your kids are like mine, they may even be talking about their lists.

I have a large family, so I definitely have to limit the toy purchases, but I also don't want to be known as Momma Scrooge. So, I've come up with a few ways to save money on holiday shopping, and I thought I would pass them on to you.

  • Create a Holiday Budget and Include the Kids
I know how tempting it is to be overly generous during the holiday season, but creating a budget helps you avoid the urge to go overboard. We also talk to the kids about what's realistic as far as presents go, and the older ones like being involved in the planning process. 

  • Start Planning Early
I like to scout out the stores early, so I know what to expect and how much things cost. This way, I can look for sales and deals, and this really helps me stay within my budget. I do plan on visiting the Holiday Toyland Event at Walmart to check out the year's hottest toys. To get a jump on your holiday shopping, you can check for the participating store near you!
  • Shop Early and Often
Way back in the pre-kid era, I used to put off shopping until after Thanksgiving, but there's no way I can do that now. The kids' tastes don't drastically change in a month or two, so starting in early fall, I try to pick up a few things each week that I know they'll like.

  • Consider Layaway
Using a credit card to pay for presents sound awesome, until you get the bill! But if you can take advantage of layaway, you can have those presents paid for when they're opened. And, you won't have to dread opening the mail in January! 

  • Try Handmade Gifts
In our family, we like give a combination of handmade and store-bought gifts. The kids really enjoy making presents for each other, and I think it fosters their creativity. This also teaches the kids to put some thought into the gifts they make. 

What about you? Do you have any holiday budgeting tips to share? I'm always looking for new ways to save money, and I would love to hear your ideas! 

And, if you have any questions about the event, just let me know! I'll be reviewing some of the new toys at a later date.

Thanks so much for your visit. Happy Shopping!

Dee :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Retro Re-Pin Party

Hello Everyone!

Welcome back to another fun Retro Re-Pin Party. We had the most amazing turnout last week, and we broke a record with the number of links! My amazing co-hosts and I were all doing the happy dance. You all seriously rock, and I want to thank you all so very much for supporting our little party. So, I'm guessing that you all approve of the changes?

For those of you that missed last week, we now welcome both old and new pins. As long as they are family friendly, feel free to link up your favorites and pin away! But, remember to link up your pins and not your blog posts. We have a lot of pins to repin, and it really slows us down when we have to go locate the pin. We have a great explanation of how to do this in our new rules section, but 
if you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to ask!

           Meet Your Retro Re-Pin Hosting Team!

Kristina and Millie @ 2 Crochet Hooks: Blog/Pinterest
Dee @ Meatloaf and Melodrama: Blog/Pinterest
Stephanie @ Sustaining the Powers: Blog/Pinterest
Becka @ Probably Crafting: Blog/Pinterest
Felicia @ Nifty Thrifty Family: Blog/Pinterest
Leslie @ Crafty Side of Sarcasm: Blog/Pinterest
Julie V. @ Somebody's Dinner: Blog/Pinterest
Robin @ Redo It Yourself Inspirations: Blog/Pinterest

We would love it if you would follow us on Pinterest!

That's all there is to it! So, all you all ready to party? Let's get started!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Easy Chicken and Rice Bake

Hi Friends!

We eat chicken very frequently in our home, and I always cook enough so that we have leftovers. I love working with leftovers because weeknights are busy around here, and I don't always have a lot of time to cook. But, this way, I not tempted to order takeout! I do have to get creative the second time around so that my family doesn't revolt. It was warm last week, so we had cooked chicken over salad one night, but it cooled down enough for us to enjoy this easy chicken and rice bake a few nights later.

chicken and rice casserole with peppers and cheese on a plate

This is so easy to make, and it definitely doesn't take much time at all to put together. It's kind of a lighter version of a chicken and rice casserole.


  • 4 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 6 cups cooked rice (I use Minute Rice)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • Salt, pepper and seasoning mix, to taste (I use McCormick's Grill Mates)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
chicken, celery and peppers in casserole dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, bell pepper, celery and spices and cook in the microwave until heated through and the peppers and celery are soft.
Add a little bit of olive oil to the bottom of a 13 X 9 baking dish and begin layering the chicken mixture, butter, rice and cheddar cheese.
Add the chicken broth.
Top with the panko bread crumbs and dot some additional butter on top.
You can add a bit more cheese to the top layer if you like.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until heated through and the bread crumbs are golden.

chicken and rice casserole topped with bread crumbs and cheese

This easy chicken and rice bake is definitely a comfort dish, but it's not heavy at all. There's no cream soup in this recipe, but the flavor comes from the chicken broth, butter and cheese. Also,  the celery and peppers give it just the right amount of added crunch.  So, you can enjoy this without any guilt!

healthy chicken and rice casserole with peppers, celery and cheese

My family loved this dinner, so it's a winner in my book, and we'll be having this again and again! We have cheese lovers and cheese haters in our family, and this has just the right amount of cheese to satisfy both camps. You can always add more cheese -- It just depends on how gooey you like your casseroles.

Thanks so much for visiting. Have an awesome day!

Dee :)

Sharing At:
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Snickerdoodle Sunday

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to our wonderful Snickerdoodle Sunday link party. It's the first weekend of fall, and I hope you are all enjoying it! It's finally cooling off a bit around here, and I'm so happy because I really need to get some more fall projects done. 

I've just love seeing the fall crafts and food that you've been sharing, and of course, I love seeing what all of you have been up to each week. Oh, there are still a few more days to enter our Blogiversary Giveaway,  so don't miss out! OK, now it's time to highlight some favorites from last week. Remember to check out the other hosts' blogs to see if you were featured there!

I can't wait to try these scrumptious looking chocolate buttermilk cookies from Yesterfood. Her recipes are amazing, and I can't wait to try these!


I just love a good DIY project, and this stain painted accent table from Redo It Yourself Inspirations is awesome. It's amazing what you can transform with paint and stain!

You have to see these cute fall pillows from My Pinterventures! She made these from Dollar Tree items, and there's even a no-sew version, which I'm definitely planning to try.


Thanks so much for sharing your creativity with us, ladies. Please take a cookie!

Meatloaf and Melodrama

Let's get this party started! 

Meet Your Snickerdoodle Sunday Hosting Team!

Kristina & Millie @ 2CrochetHooks, Dee @ Meatloaf and Melodrama,
snickerdoodle hostessesFelicia @ Nifty Thrifty Family, Sarah @ Sadie Seasongoods

Just a few Simple Rules

**We know you're all busy, but please try to visit, comment or pin on a few of the blogs that are sharing here today. This is a great way to get people to visit you and meet other bloggers.**
  • Remember to Follow Your hostesses- 2 Crochet HooksNifty Thrifty FamilyMeatloaf and Melodrama, and Sadie Seasongoods
  • Link to your post and not to your blog home page
  • Link back on your post ( optional, but always appreciated)
  • Family Friendly posts only– old or new
  • Please, no more than 3 links to your blog
  • No links directly to your shops or websites selling things/services please! Reviews w/affiliate links are ok!
  • Yes, you can link giveaways & link parties (add them to our Party page!)
Adding your link to this blog hop gives the hostesses permission to share your posts and pictures via social media and as features on Snickerdoodle Sunday. All features will be pinned to our Pinterest boards and will be linked back to the original source.

By participating in this link party, you will be sent a weekly reminder e-mail when the link party goes live. Your e-mail will not to added to any other lists or used in any other way.

    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    Fun Chalkboard Projects for Fall

    Hi Everyone!

    If you haven't noticed this before, I absolutely love creating things with chalkboard paint! It's so easy to work with, and I always have a lot of fun with it. It's also an easy way to make over plain objects and customize your home. And, the chalkboard surface makes it really easy to change your creations with each season.

    So, I thought I would do a quick roundup of some of my favorite chalkboard projects.

    collage of chalkboard paint projects

    Since it's football season, I turned a plain, wooden frame into this mini chalkboard. I took out the cardboard insert and painted it with chalkboard paint. Then, I painted the frame and the wood letters, using ASU's, my favorite team's, colors. Finally, I attached a little bow at the top.

    It's perfect for tailgating parties or decorating your home, office or dorm. And if you want, you can also use it as a picture frame. This was originally part of a contributor post I did at PinkWhen, and you'll find the complete instructions there. 

    maroon and gold asu mini chalkboard picture frame

    This sunflower chalkboard plate started out as bright metallic charger that I found on clearance bin. After a few coats of spray paint and chalkboard paint, the cheap charger became a pretty decorative plate. I just recently added the burlap bow to jazz it up for fall. I'm not the best bow maker on the planet, but it works for me!

    yellow and black chalkboard plate with burlap bow

    This chalkboard menu tray is probably one of my favorite projects. When I found it at a thrift store, it was a stainless steel serving tray. I used spray paint, chalkboard paint and rhinestones to transform it into a menu tray for the dining room. As you can see, we didn't cook that day! 

    thrift store tray with chalkboard paint spray paint and pumpkins

    And finally, I painted the raised panel on my pantry door with chalkboard paint and turned it into a family message center. I normally write the kids' schedules on it during the week, but last fall, we had fun with Halloween chalkboard art. We also decorate it for parties, birthdays and holidays.

    OK, this is not a great picture! This is from one of my earliest posts, and wow, what a difference a year makes! Anyway, the chalkboard art is cute.

    pantry door with chalkboard paint and chalkboard halloween sign

    Have you ever used chalkboard paint? Do you love it as much as I do? Oh, and don't get me started on chalkboard labels -- pure cuteness!

    Thanks so much for visiting. Have a wonderful day!

    Dee :)

    Sharing At:
    Inspiration MondayMonday FundayMetamorphosis MondayThe ScoopInspire Me TuesdayTweak It TuesdayTreasure Box TuesdayTwirl and Take a BowWow Us WednesdayWhimsy WednesdayWow Me WednesdayThursday Favorite Things

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    DIY Wood Harvest Sign

    Hi Everyone!

    It's officially fall, and of course, our weather has decided to turn warm again -- sigh. Anyway, it will eventually turn cooler, and in the meantime, I've been trying to get into the fall spirit by working on some fall decorating projects. You all know how much I love rustic wood anything, so I decided to make a hand painted wood harvest sign for the dining area.

    hand painted wood block harvest sign

    The sign started out as a piece of scrap wood left over from another project. It's actually made from seven wood boards that were glued together and then trimmed. This is how it looked before I painted it, and it really reminded me of wood blocks. If you look where the arrow is pointing, you can see the line between the boards. 

    scrap wood blocks glued together

    I wanted something bright for this project, so I chose some colors that reminded me of the changing fall leaves. First, I painted each block. Then, I took some burnt umber craft paint, watered it down and gave the entire board a dark wash. This toned the colors down a little bit and gave the board an aged appearance.

    wood blocks painted maroon, green and gold

    For the letters, I decided to use a stencil as a guide and outline each letter in pencil. I had to make the letters slightly larger so that they fit the blocks better. Then, I filled in the letters with a mix of tan and gold paint. I thought the tan was too plain by itself, and the gold just added some extra shine.

    hand painting letters on sign

    To give the letters some extra definition, I outlined them with a black Sharpie. Then, I sanded down the entire sign for a rustic, aged look. This also helped to smooth out the lines from the Sharpie and give the letters a softer appearance.

    Then, I added a simple twine bow in the middle of the sign, and it was done!

    hand painted wood harvest sign with hand lettering in bright fall colors

    It stands on its own, so I have it on my china hutch right now. The kids asked why I'm decorating for fall when it's still so hot, and I'm hoping this might bring some cool weather vibes to our neck of the woods! When you live in a warmer climate, you gotta do what you gotta do!

    Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Have an awesome day!

    Dee :) 

    Sharing At:
    Feathered Nest FridayDIY Sunday ShowcaseInspiration MondayMonday FundayMetamorphosis MondayInspire Me TuesdayThe ScoopTweak It TuesdayTreasure Box TuesdayTwirl and Take a BowWow Us WednesdaysWhimsy Wednesday