Filling a Hole

This is day four of a two day project as quoted by my husband. He is awesome like that ;) He has been filling the hole above the fireplace.  You know those ridiculous media niches that became obsolete once flatscreen tvs were all the rage.  Yet, they continued to install these media niches in homes.  I know.  We have one.  In our house built in 2006.  My hubbie has been wanting to mount our tv over our fireplace for over a year.  Since the day we looked at this house :)   Here is a picture of our niche as of Saturday morning...

Isn't it beautiful? Notice how it is taller than it is wide.  So modern electronics- namely, a widescreen TV will not fit.  We had it rigged so the TV would sit up there on the mantel but you could see this gaping hole around it.  Plus, there is something wrong with the phrase "had it rigged" when applied to something that you need to give up your firstborn to purchase.... And all our components were in the niche behind the TV and it was so difficult to reach under and behind the TV to put on a DVD or turn on the Wii.  And because like I said before it is like a man fantasy... I'm sure your husbands would agree with mine.  I have to admit I envy some of your beautiful mantlescapes with gorgeous mirrors and shutters and the like.  Or heaven help me a family portrait!  But Ryan has very few decorating must haves so I feel like I have to oblige. :)  Plus, love seeing him working hard on the house!

Yes, I totally told him to pose this way :)
Now, once we decided to close this baby up it was as simple as one-


Ok, just kidding there were a whole bunch of other steps that I was vaguely aware of {I was baking cookies.} Once this was complete, Ryan caulked the seams inside the mini-niche and primed the whole thing.  Ooh-ra Babe!

Next up on our list-

*Re-paint the whole wall
*Hang the mount
*Hang the TV
*Install as shelf in our mini-niche
*Install crown molding {that looks wrong.  it should be moulding}
     *BTW, this is to cover the wires for our new surround system that Ryan purchased on
       Black Friday.

I will keep you posted on our progress.  Fingers crossed this is all done before Christmas Eve.  Tell me... do you have any last minute projects before the holidays?

I'm linking up to Carrie's Amaze Me Mondays. 


A Surprise

This morning I woke up so tired from last night.  We have to wake up so early because Nolan gets on the bus a little after 7 am.  It is brutal sometimes.  Especially when Ryan is gone {he's out to sea right not}, I find it hard to fall asleep.  I got the boys set up with breakfast and my cell phone rings.  Who is calling me at this hour?!?!  I recognize the number- it's a ship number.  Ryan is calling me from out at sea.  I pick up and he wishes me a Happy Anniversary!  It was the best present I could ask for with him away.  To hear his voice first thing in the mrorning just chased all my grumpiness away.  He directed me to a hidden spot in our bedroom to a card he had left for me. I teared up.  That is my hubbie's romance. Knowing he had thought of all this before he left got to me.  I'm a complete sap. I know. :)

Today, we have been married for eight years!! I couldn't dream for a better husband, father, or friend. Here we are eight years ago...

And here we are now...

We have been through so much together and it has only made us stronger and helped our love grow. 

Happy Anniversary Babe.  I love you!

**Photo taken by Michelle Kirnan Photography**


Holiday Cards

Before I sat down to write this post I scored myself a glass of milk and a handful of yummy oreos... YUM.  Then I looked out the window and it was SNOWING.  Those big, fat flakes that don't stick but just look amazing :) That puts me right in the mood to share on of my favorite holiday traditions... sending out Christmas cards.  I love sending them out.  I love getting them in the mail.  I display them in our home all season long- they make me so warm and fuzzy. When Hubbie and I were first married I sent out regular old cards but we started sending out photo cards the year Nolan was born.  And every year I have drooled over the cards at Shutterfly. Their cards are beautiful, affordable and they have a time saving option to enter your recipients' addressses online and they will send them all out for you.  Shutterfly you are speaking my language!!

Here are some of my favorite photo card designs-

Aren't they beautiful?  I have these four plus another one or two all made in my folder on their site and I am having trouble deciding which I want to use this year.  It is so hard to pick just one!!

Shutterfly also makes Thank Yous.  They have photo cards like this...

Which how cute are they? Or if you want to skip the photo thank yous they have text only...

I personally like the photo thanks yous better- you know, in case you missed the boat on the photo holiday card you could make up for it with a photo thank you but I think the text only designs are beautiful.

If you have never used their site before, Shutterfly has other products to see like... calendars! 

My sister-in-law makes these as Christmas Bingo gifts and everyone always fights over them.  You can personalize them with pictures, birthdays, anniversaries or whatever floats your boat. I love them because they are fun to look at AND it's super easy to remember Ryan's grandmother's birthday :)

Also, Shutterfly has Photo Books. I personally have never ordered one but my mom has and I think the quality is nice.  I am using the family photos we just had done to make one for Ryan for his deployment.  He is not a huge sap like me but I think he might like to look at it once in a while and cry because he misses me so.  Haha... I can dream right?  Maybe this is the type of gift I give to him for me ;) He already told me he wants tool storage for the garage. Pssht.  What does he know?  Photo book it is :)

And finally, just in case you didn't know Shutterfly is running a blogger promotion where you may be eligible to receive 50 free holiday cards!  WOW!  Totally generous, right? Here's the link if you are interested. I think you have until December 15th so there's still time.

So what about all of you?  Do you send out cards every year? A family letter?


Family Photos

I am so thrilled.  I finally got my hands on the disc that has our family prints on it!!  We had our pictures taken the beginning of November at a local park.  The last time we had a picture taken of our family was over three years ago!!  Poor Bubby.  Our last family photo he was just a star in the sky :)  (That's where I tell the boys they were before they were born.)

We had a fantastic photographer that is just beginning  to build her professional photography portfolio.  She is such a sweetheart, so patient and her prices are FABULOUS! I am kind of sing song-ing that word for you there- in case you didn't notice :)

Here are some of my favorites :)

Nolan wanted me to hold that leaf :)

My Beautiful Buttonnose

Sweet Bubby

 ~ Brotherly Love ~

So what do you think?  I am so thrilled that we have so many pictures to choose from.  I cannot wait to start printing them and displaying them :)  I also plan to give the grandparents framed pictures of the boys. And can now plan our Christmas cards. We do them every year and this year we can have something more than me shoving the two boys in front of the tree... hehe ;)

Also...shhh! don't tell Ryan but I am going to make him a photo book from me and the boys to give to him before he deploys in January.  I think it will be so nice... :)

Have any of you had family photos taken?  Where do you go to have them done?

All photos were taken by Michelle Kirnan Photography.


One of those moments

My hubbie is home from a three week underway and I am thankful to have our family all together again.  This weekend has been one of those where you can just appreciate the little moments.  We had family pictures done yesterday and I hope I can share some of them soon.

I am so thankful for my beautiful family and the time we are able to spend together.

How are you enjoying your family moments?


EEK! Halloween Art

Hi everyone!  Hope you all had a fantastic Monday :)

I want to share a quick project I made this afternoon.  It was so quick I worked on it while making dinner for the kiddos.

First I took a picture frame that I got at a yard sale a few weeks ago for 75 cents.

I spray painted it black and then inserted a piece of scrapbook paper I had on hand for another project.

I then hand drew the word "EEK!" and cut it out of black cardstock I also had on hand.  Look out cricut users ... haha :)

Then I glued them to the paper. 

I had a fuzzy spider that I picked up at the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago and I hot glued that on.


I think it turned out pretty cute :)

 And here it is all next to my little ghoulie.  I got that ghost a few years ago at Wal-Mart I think.  It has a battery in it to make it glow. 

What do you think?

Linking up to Stephanie Lynn & Kristin


Just one of those days...

Today was just one of those days. ..

It is days like today that I really question my sanity.  Boys acting fresh. Dog acting crazy.  Driving ME crazy!!

They ONLY look sweet and innocent ;)


My Weekend..

How was everyone's weekend?  Mine was amazing :)

We went to the Naval Air Show on Saturday with friends and it was spectacular.  All of my boys had so much fun watching the planes do dives, loops and corkscrews.  The jets were so loud I could FEEL the noise.  You know what I mean?

Beside the airplanes they also had a grounded Fed Ex plane you could walk on and military boats, etc. Of course Nolan LOVED the guns.  Seriously...

There was also a Jeep Exploration Area where you could test drive new Jeeps, climb a rock wall and the kids could test drive Jeep Power Wheels. So cool..

Nolan trying to "parallel park"... his words not mine ;)
Here are some photos of the planes...

Sneak Attack

Mission Accomplished!

This is SO cool!  Thumbs up!

Go NAVY! (haha... shameless I know)
And here we all are after a looong day...


Fall Wreath a la Wally World

Good Morning All!!  Hope you are having a great Wednesday.

I took the summer wreath down off of my front door last week and every day since then I have longed for a beautiful fall wreath to replace it.  It did not help matters that my neighbors two doors down had a nice, full wreath hanging on their front door.  It taunted me as I drove by...  "Don't you wish you had a pretty wreath on your ugly, plain, old door?Well you CAN'T!" {sticks tongue out at me}. {Does anyone else ever feel like that?}

I had looked in Dollar Tree for some foliage but really didn't see anything I liked.

And then I went to Wal-mart.

They had the Better Homes and Garden Brand grapevine wreaths for $3.50!! I thought that was a great deal and I snagged one of those.

Then I looked at the faux flowers.  The selection was definitely not as big as Michael's but the prices were great.  I got two bunches of Better Homes and Garden flowers for $5.00 each.  I was sooo excited.

One Bunch of Flowers

I did not take pictures of my process but basically just stuck things where I thought they looked good.  I used a little bit of floral wire (which I already had on hand) but mostly just hooked the stems through the wreath.  I like doing it this way because I can change anything I want down the road easily. Here she is in all her glory...

I added the wooden Welcome sign after I hung it on the hanger.  It is not attached.

A close up of some of the flowers.

And one more for good measure :)
So what do you think? I think it looks pretty good from the street and I am happy with it so it is all good.  Plus for $13.50 you cannot beat that.  Really, I only used one bunch of flowers because I prefer leaving some of the grapevine wreath exposed so truly this wreath only cost $8.50.  I used the other bunch in that pitcher in my dining room.  I love all the warm fall colors it brings to the space.

And because he has FINALLY started smiling (sort of) at the camera here is my Bubby...
Bubby loves him some Thomas!!
So what about you?  Do you have wreaths on your front door?  Any other fall decor out yet? Do you stalk your neighbors' front doors?

Linking up to Stephanie Lynn @ Under the Table and Dreaming,
                    Melissa @ 320 Sycamore and
                    Allison @ House of Hepworths


Never Forget!

Hi All,

Just wanted to let you know that Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick has a wonderful picture post on The Ground Zero Museum in New York City.  Her pictures definitely made me cry. I wanted to share the link so you could go check it out. 

My Signature

I mentioned a few days ago how simple it was to recreate my own header by using Beth's Scrapblog Tutorial.  Well I also updated my signature.  I have never been a huge fan of what I had before- the tag with the butterfly.  It always looked off to me.  I like what I have now much better. I feel like it ties into my header. Once again I used Scrapblog to help me create it.

After I made my signature, I saved it in the program and published it.  Then exported the image and saved it my computer. {Tell me is that totally confusing?} Clarification HERE. I just found a video tutorial on Beth's site on how to use Scrapblog.  It is about halfway down the post.

Once it was on my computer I uploaded the image onto Photobucket. I sized my signature to 125x125. Then I turned to Kevin & Amanda to help me out. They explain how to add your already created signature to your blog. They make updating your blog so easy. 

Step by step.


Big red circles and large arrows detailing how to get er done.

Trust me I so need all of the above.  Here you can find how to add a signature to every post on your blog.

If you look around they also have free fonts and other cool tutorials on how you can bling up your blog.  Looking around you can see I have NOT taken advantage of that.  Haha :)  Perhaps one day?

Good Luck!


New Header

Well, people the day has come.

I recreated my header.  Since I have now made my blog public and have SIX followers {You ladies ROCK!!}  (and yes I am totally congratulating myself right now)...I'll pause for you to finish rolling your eyes....

I figured I needed to remove my last name from the header.  I know y'all probably don't even notice but I though it just wasn't appropriate anymore.  Hubbie's job can be affected by home life, and with two small boys, I just want to be responsible.  I basically kept it the same just removed the last name and added when we were "established" as a family.

In a previous post I had detailed- and to be clear by detailed I mean linked to another blog- how I created my own header.  If you are interested you can look HERE.  Or you could just skip that and go right to the source The Stories of A 2 Z.  If you haven't been by her blog yet you really should check her out. Honestly, Beth is such an inspiration to me :)

So all in all nothing crazy. BTW, let me just say that the six of you really make me smile.  Just seeing that ridiculous number six is such an accomplishment.  Did any of you feel that way?  How did you react when your list of followers began to grow?


Make Your Own Taco...

Tonight I made tacos for me and the boys.  I think it is a cheap, easy and super yummy dinner so I try to make these once a month.  I used to buy those little packets with the spices all ready to mix into your meat.  Then my mom passed on this simple recipe to replace the packet.  Not only is it better for you... no disgusting preservatives, etc. but it tastes even better.  I promise :)

Here are my ingredients:

Mix all the ingredients into a bowl...

And add to your cooked meat along with 2/3 cup of water. Let this mixture simmer over low heat until all the juices are sucked up...cooked off... whatever :) I prefer to use ground chicken but it tastes just as yummy on ground beef.

Here it is all done...

And here are all the fixins' this girl needs with her tacos...

Side Note-
Just want to give a shout out to my girl Cholula... best freakin hot sauce around...try her out. :)

My plan was to take a beauty shot of my taco so you could see how delish it all looked but I encountered two problems... Numero uno- I actually crumble my hard shell and put all the fixins on as a taco salad.  Numero dos?  I shoved it into my face so fast I actually forgot... oops :)

Ok, here is the recipe:
Taco Seasoning

1 Tbl Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper

I am all out of dried oregano so I substituted italian seasoning. Also, the cumin gives this a little more zip than my two year old can handle, so I reduce the amount from one and a half teaspoons to half a teaspoon.

Please let me know if you try this recipe how you like it. Enjoy :)

Linking up to Weekend Bloggy Reading over at Serenity Now and Feature Yourself Friday at Fingerprints on the Fridge. Go check them out!!

Also, linking to Under the Table and Dreaming.

Linking to Fingerprints on the Fridge

Hurricane Earl

Yup, here I am talking about the weather :)

We made it through Hurricane Earl unscathed... yippee! 

Honestly, the worst part of Earl was the anticipation and the ruckus it caused. People stocking up on water, canned good, batteries and gas.  It took me thirty minutes to get to the pump at BJs.  Which was totally worth it because I only paid $2.36/gallon!!!  I don't know if anyone else out there has gas for cheaper but here that is great.

In other great news... hubbie comes home in one week!!!  YAY!  We then have him to ourselves (except workdays) for two and a half weeks :)

Because I don't have much else to say I thought I would leave you with one of the most beautiful places I have been...

Have a great weekend!!


Nolan's First Day

This past week Nolan had his first day of kindergarten!!! I have a five year old... WHAT?!?  Haha... that's how I felt anyway... Here he is all shiny and new ready for his first day...

And another...

Making a goofy face....

Waiting for the bus...

Finally!! On the bus...

He was so excited to ride the bus.  He kept asking all morning long when the bus would come.  As soon as he was dressed he put on his backpack and held onto his lunch box.  My sweet boy...

Has anyone else had a child that started school?  Did you cry on their first day? I held back my tears for Nolan's sake... but I cried at preschool so I guess I was able to handle it better this time around.

Having Nolan in school for full days for the first time was bittersweet.  Obviously I am excited for this new adventure for him.  It's nice to have time alone with just Kyler.  I was able to have that one on one time with Nolan for three years and now it is Kyler's turn.  A bonus is Kyler still naps so I have free time ;) Oh Yeah!!

The question I ask myself-  did I use those first five years wisely?  Was I the best momma I could be?

I hope so :)