A Budget Friendly Fall Decoration

If you’ve read any of my other posts you’ve probably gathered I am a HUGE fan of Fall. It is, without a doubt, my favorite season. I’m not sure if it’s because as a child I loved school and back to school and fall go together like Peanut Butter & Jelly.  Or maybe because I went to Notre Dame where football is life and football starts in the fall. It could be because I LOVE fall clothes and fall scents and fall food – okay, it’s probably all of these things!

That said, I can’t wait to start decorating my house for fall every year – and come Labor Day my house it “Fall-a-fied” which often seems strange since I’m now in the South and it’s still almost 80 degrees here on October 2nd!

I could easily spend hundreds of dollars on fall decor each year but that just doesn’t work for our family – okay, it doesn’t work for my husband and my boys kinda like having food on the table, so I guess that means it doesn’t work for our family. But I still want to add new decorations each year and I want them to be classy and pretty not cheaply made and blah!

Since I love a good Mommy Arts and Crafts project, this seemed like a perfect way to add some fall to our front porch and not break the bank!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 of those pumpkin buckets you can get for $1 at Walmart
  • Spray paint of your choice – I used a Rose Gold color that I grabbed for less than $5
  • Some sort of floral arrangement – you could make your own but I grabbed this one at Walmart for under $6.  I ended up grabbing a few of the flower picks and adding them after the fact. Also, you may need something for it to sit on to be the right height.
  • Rocks or something to weigh it down (especially if your’e keeping it outside)
  • Hot glue gun (if you want it permanently stacked together)
  • Permanent adhesive stickers with whatever you’d like on your pumpkins – you could easily skip this step!

Remove the handles from the pumpkins – I had to get our a pair of scissors because those straps are tough y’all!

Get to spray painting! I did several light coats of the spray paint on my pumpkins.  Follow the instructions on your can – mine said to wait a minute between each coat and to wait 24 hours for it to be fully dried!

Originally I filled the pumpkins with some of those landscape brick pieces we have a huge pile of on the side of our house.  Side note: NEVER use those to landscape – they are a pain in the behind to get rid of when you’re sick of them! Even glued together the pumpkin was blowing over so easily.  After MUCH trail and error the bottom pumpkin has a small can of paint in it, the next has a TON of those brick pieces, the third has three tubs of plumber’s putty and the top one has more of the brick pieces.  That seems to have worked best for us but it also means I’m not gluing it together.  That hasn’t been a problem so far!

I made sure to line the faces up and turn them toward the back – they are less noticeable when they are painted but they are still there!

I thought about leaving it plain because it did look nice that way.

But, after much debate, I went with our last name for the top pumpkin and “Happy Fall Y’all” on the remaining three! I used a navy vinyl for everything but our last name – which I just used white.

I LOVE the way this looks (well except for the fact that a round pumpkin makes it hard to apply the vinyl straight when you’re rushing and “fall” is a little off – but from the road it looks okay.)!  It looks like it cost WAY more than the $18 I spent on it.  It was easy enough for me to do during two naps times as well!

I haven’t finished our porch yet – I need to get some fun pumpkins & gourds & maybe flowers to add to the bale of hay!

If you’re looking for something to add a little touch of classy fall to your front porch and not break the bank grab these supplies and spend a little bit of time making this fun pumpkin decor!

Advertisements

A Fall Activity: Painting with Corn

Happy Fall Y’all!

Have you tried the new Maple Pecan Latte?! It’s amazing – and the first thing I knocked off my Fall Bucket List!

Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite season.  Although now that I live in the South, fall doesn’t feel much different than summer until we hit at least mid-October.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m not fully embracing this new season with pumpkins and leaves and scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove!

It also means that I’m starting to do more fall activities with the boys, especially Lucas! I feel like I spent a crazy amount of time last year looking at fall activities for toddlers and preschools but never did them.  Now I have this mish-mash of ideas in my head and have decided to just roll with them!  I also like have “non-traditional” learning activities planned for Andrew’s nap time since Lucas isn’t as into letters and math and writing in the afternoon as he is in the morning.

This one was a totally winner!  And super easy to set up. Both boys love to eat corn on the cob so I thought we’d do something fun with ears of corn!  Plus the texture of the kernels makes really cool patterns.

You’ll need a few ears of corn (with the husk on preferably), paper plates, fall colored washable paint and a roll of paper – all of which we had on hand except for the corn!

Anyway, first we husked the corn and Lucas thought that part was super neat – maybe that means I’ll have a helper in the kitchen next time we have corn on the cob for dinner.  Next I let him roll the cobs in paint I had put on paper plates and then we just rolled and rolled and stamped and stamped with different colors.  We talked about how it felt “bumpy” when we rolled the corn and what pattern they created.

Then I just kind of let him have free reign to do whatever he wanted.  He ended up using the husks like a paint brush and then added the silk to make it even more brush like – watching him roll the silk in the husk was super cool!  I love seeing him create and solve problems on his own.

We drew pumpkins and rocket ship and dogs and spookies.

Then he decided he wanted to use his hands and feet!  It gave us another chance to talk about texture and how wet and squishy the paint feels on his hands and toes! Oh and to make a mess – a HUGE, SUPER FUN MESS!

Needless to say he was COVERED in paint by the time we were finished – thank goodness that paint is washable.  And that we were outside because he got a major squirt down with the hose.

While we watched his creation dry (and I cleaned up) he enjoyed a banana popsicle – because even though we’re doing fall activities it’s still 90 degrees here!

Have you started doing fall activities with your toddlers and preschoolers?!  Do you have a favorite?  I’d love to know what you’re doing with your kiddos this season to share links, Pinterest boards, or just let me know in the comments!

I Have Scary Internet Friends And I Can’t Imagine Life Without Them!

Several years ago I read a post about “Scary Internet Friends” – you know the ones you made online and may have never met in person.  It’s been so long I can’t find that original post but something about it still resonates with me.

Maybe that’s because I have my very own set of Scary Internet Friends – although I like to call them Unicorns Who Have Allowed Me To Survive Motherhood Friends! One group in particular is pretty darn special to me.  You see, a little over five years ago I was pregnant with Lucas and, thanks to low progesterone, had a tough first trimester. I spent hours unable to sleep at night browsing pregnancy forums and groups.  One day I was scrolling The Bump (yes, that crazy board!) and there was a post from “Christa” saying she had created a Facebook group for Mommas due in March of 2013.  I requested an invite and in a matter of weeks had this awesome group of 300 women there to support me, encourage me and even call me on my BS.

There is something pretty bonding about experiencing a pregnancy with someone – even if it’s only online. Now I know you must be thinking “300 women all in one place and all with crazy pregnancy hormones is a recipe for disaster!” And yes, you’re kind of right.  We certainly had our moments.  Friendships formed “off line” or in more private groups and chats. We had a LOT of differing options and let me tell you a FFFC (Flame Free Friday Confession for those of you not into social media/forums) post can sometimes be far from flame-free.  Then there was the great “JBB incident of 2013” where our group was kinda, sorta, maybe totally got “catfished” by someone. **Although I do want to say that I don’t think the intent of that woman was malicious and was more about issues she was battling, it certainly opened up my eyes to the reality of online friendships.**  We even had a major split after our kiddos were born, although I, thankfully, remain online friends with most of our original group and love seeing their kiddos grow.  There has been drama – lots of it.  But you know what, there has also been support, and love and friendship.  More of those three things than I can even measure.

It’s been over five years.  That original group is close to half the size it was at one point.  As a group we have been through the loss of a child and pregnancies, divorces, mental health emergencies, new babies, new marriages, cross country moves, major health issues (ours, our children and our loved ones), deaths of family members and so much more. We’ve watched our kiddos grow from days old to amazing almost 5 year olds.  We’ve suffered through endless temper tantrums and behavioral issues together and we’ve celebrated major milestones.  We’ve even helped pick out home decor or dresses for a special night out.

And I know you may be thinking it’s nuts.  I mean, how can you bond with someone you’ve never met.  I think part of it is we did have the security of sitting behind a computer.  We could be ourselves and not worry as much about rejection (some will say the opposite is true – that we became who we wanted to people others to see – but we’ve been together so long at this point I just don’t think that’s possible).  We formed real friendships in those moments. This group has made me look at parenting in ways I sometimes wasn’t comfortable with, but needed to.  They have, for sure, called me out when I was being unreasonable and stood by me, unconditionally, when I wasn’t.

Mommin’ is tough – seriously, most days there are challenging moments. And some days, there are ONLY challenging moments.  It’s easy to feel isolated and alone, even with friends living right next door.  This group has lessened that for me, times a million!  Don’t get me wrong, I have an amazing village of women who are local to me as well that I also couldn’t do this motherhood thing without.  The friends who have a house you escape to when you just need a break.  Who seem to have an endless supply of chocolate, cake, or wine. I wouldn’t trade those friends for anything. But I’ll never give up my mommy groups either (I have another, smaller, group of women all due the same month I was with Andrew that I love as well).

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it – It really does take a village to raise children.  Sometimes that village just happens to be a virtual one.

And to my March and January Moms: I love you all.  Thank you for your support and love.  Your advice and your compassion.  Your reality checks and your sideline cheering. Here’s to more years and milestones and memories together!  XOXO!

**And one more side note.  In that photo above, I’m actually logging into my March group to BEG someone to help me figure out why my normally sweet and adorable 20 month old has turned into such a difficult child.  I had intended to stage a super cute photo but after a 20 minute lunch battle full of throwing food, hitting, kicking, screaming and crying I was a sweaty and upset mess and just decided to go with it while I turned to my friends for support!