Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Favorite Christmas Movies!

Oh my goodness, I love Christmas!  And Matt (obviously - he IS a movie critic afterall) loves movies!  Combine both of those and it's a win-win!  I won't lie, it's not even Thanksgiving and I've got my schedule for ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas Movies ready... I've also got my  Hallmark movies ready to be DVR'ed.  I will admit, some of the Hallmark ones can be a little cheesy, but I love them anyway.  I've even got Cady hooked on watching them.  That being said, there are a few Christmas movies that we MUST SEE each season and this year is no different...  Only difference is I've made a list!  Cause everyone knows I love a good list.  This week I even went to Target and purchased a brand new spiral just for my list making purposes.  It's got flags and tags and dividers.  I've used color coded ink, highlighters and sharpies.  I love it, but I digress.  Back to the Christmas movies!

I've put our faves into three sections.  Mine, Matt's and Ours.


I'm a fan of the "Holiday Romantic Comedy" as you can see from Love Actually, The Holiday and The Family Stone.  I also like some of the family classics - Home Alone and Polar Express.  Each of these movies has moments that give me a lump in the throat and bring tears to my eyes.  And each of them has a happy special Christmas morning at the end - that's not a spoiler, if you didn't know that you've been under a rock!


I asked Matt why he likes these particular three and he said "Scrooge because it is a classic..Christmas Story because of the nostalgia of the era.. and Surviving Christmas for the dysfunction".

And then there were a few that were on both of our lists...


Elf has been a family favorite for years.  We have just about worn out our DVD.  We love to watch it and decorate the tree - it's a tradition.  Christmas with the Kranks is a relatively new movie on our favorites list.  It's funny and slapstick and you can't help but laugh at this poor family's silly mishaps!  Matt and I are not fans of A Christmas Vacation, but love this - they are similar in a way.  And of course, I can't wait to watch the classic Grinch Stole Christmas and Charlie Brown Christmas on TV each year.  Matt was born in the 60s and me in the 70s - and we both grew up watching these.  Gage and Cady are also fans and I hope Milo will be as well.  (I'm totally humming the Whoville Christmas song right now...)

So those are our favorites!  Don't you just love movie watching this time of year?  We have freezing weather and rain (perhaps sleet) in the forecast this weekend.  That means a fire will be built, hot chocolate will be made and Christmas movies will be watched.  Yessss!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mini "Eating Area" Makeover

Our growing family has prompted us to make quite a few changes around our home in the last few years.  We put french doors on what was once our formal dining room and made it into an office/guest room.  We HAD to have a guest room because when Gage went away to college, his room became Milo's nursery.  When Gage comes home he can't very well sleep in the crib with Milo or on the couch for weeks on end so a temporary guest room was in order.  That worked out well for a while...sorta.  The issue came when we moved our dining table and hutch into the breakfast area of our kitchen.

We had to put the hutch in front of one of the windows - there wasn't an open wall.  I wasn't crazy about this set-up because a) we lost a window and it's light and b) it was really crowded.  When all of us sat around the table it took some finagling, actually it was near impossible.  I finally decided a few weeks ago (especially with holiday family dinners planned...) to move the hutch out to the garage.  We'll be moving in the next year, so essentially we'll just store it out there.  Hopefully it will have a place in our next home.  I added our table leaf that had been in the attic and a bench to one side of the table so that we could seat at least 5 now.  I also decided to take down our thick dark curtains to allow more light in...  Unfortunately, when I took down the curtains it revealed our horrible mini-blinds.  All of the bottoms were missing slats and had rips from a dog that we had staying at our house at one time. They were also covered in a thick dust that no matter how much I scrubbed wouldn't come off.  I think when the kitchen walls were re-textured many years ago, the contractors just left the blinds up.  

As you can see, this is MUCH better.  Look at all that natural light and space around the table!  The old blinds went in the trash and the old curtains were replaced with neutral panels.  The eat-in area stayed this way for a few weeks and then two NEW things started to bother me.  1...I missed my dishes from the hutch.  They are my grandmothers wedding dishes and there was just something comforting about having them near the dining table.  2...While I loved all the light and open windows, there was no privacy!  Our laundry room is located just off the area and there are quite a few times in a week that I need to make a naked dash there to grab something I'm looking for to wear.  I'm sure the neighbors were unimpressed...

I searched online for cheap blinds or roman shades, but there wasn't really anything in our price range that worked.  Our big window is also not a standard size, so blinds would need to be custom ordered.  I know from blinds that we've ordered in the past that this isn't cheap. I also searched pinterest for an easy DIY shade of some sort but didn't really find anything I liked there either.  Queue my amazon search.  That's when I found these fabric temporary shades.  They were $8 a piece and could be cut down (with scissors or utility knife!) to fit our windows.  You can get them as low as $3 depending on the size you need.

The reviews were really good so I decided to give it a try.  So far, so good.  They were super easy to cut and then install.  I think it took less than 5 minutes.

The next thing I tackled was some sort of shelving so I could display a few things.  I knew it needed to be very non-invasive as space is precious in this area.  Initially I thought I'd get Matt to DIY me some skinny shelves.  You could totally buy a few 1x4s and then some "L" brackets and hang them on your own... Only thing was, he'd have to find time to build them... and he'd have to also build in some type of lip so that I could put plates on them if I wanted.  Then I'd need to prime and paint them and then he'd need to install them. The benefit to all that is we most likely could have done it for $20.  I decided to check amazon for grins and came across these.  I wanted them to be varying sizes and these would be perfect for plates because of the lip.  They also looked really nice and finished.  I'm amazon prime so shipping would be free and they'd get here in 2 days, so I went with it - it was worth the extra $15.  Matt installed them the day they came in and I think they turned out adorable!

And I know I'll be able to add little holiday touches here and there.

 The shelves take up zero room so we didn't lose any space.  The fabric blinds were inexpensive, easy to install and still let in all of our natural light.  Yay!  Problems solved. Best part of this mini-makeover is all the extra space we'll have around the table now - makes me ready for a turkey dinner!

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