Christmas decorations around our home

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share some of the Christmas decorations we’ve put up around our home. If you’re anything like me, you love taking a peek at all the festive decorations around your neighborhood and in blogland. It always puts me in the holiday mood.

This year, I kept things pretty simple. In other words, I didn’t fret over every small detail, mostly because I’m so busy with the flip house. And I let the kids help – a lot! I have to admit, it felt pretty good to let myself off the hook and not try to get everything perfect. I should let myself off the hook more often. 😉


In the living room, we switched to an artificial tree with flocking.


Are you a faux-tree or real-tree family? We’ve tried both. I left it up to my husband this year, and he said to go ahead and put up the fake tree. Less mess, I guess. 😉


I like to go with more of a natural, woodland feel in the living room. I fell in love with these faux-fur stockings last year and snatched them up at Target.


I fill my little woodland reindeer with white Poinsettias every year. The only challenge is remembering to water them. 😉


This tiny nativity set is my most favorite decoration of all. I picked it up while on a mission trip to Guatemala. It is one of the few material objects in my home that I feel truly sentimental about. It is a constant reminder of the true reason for the season.


We usually set up our Christmas village on the TV stand. It is so hard for our little guy to keep his hands off this. 🙂 This year, our daughter set it up. Didn’t she do a great job?


I’m really enjoying this coffee table Christmas book, “Christmas at America’s Landmark Houses.” I got a complimentary copy to review. I would absolutely LOVE to get the chance to visit many of these homes in person at Christmastime. They are absolutely stunning! Also, check out the cute wool throw blanket I picked up at the thrift store the other day. Score!

The dining room is where I go full-on red and green.


I think the holidays are a great time to bring out sentimental family pieces, don’t you?


Our dining room table features china and glasses handed down from Matt’s Grandma Delger.


I like to keep my dining room decorations very traditional. I even like to add whole nuts, which seem to be a hit with guests. I displayed them in a basket we got from Matt’s Aunt Cherie, who passed away earlier this year.

I’m also looking for a very special place to display a doilie from Matt’s Grandma Penning, who went to be with the Lord recently. It’s been a rough year for our family. These very special ladies knew the Lord, so we know we’ll be reunited again one day.


The space above my kitchen cabinets is a great place to display Christmas decorations.


And I always like to put a few Christmas touches in our downstairs bathroom, for guests to enjoy.

Have you finished decorating for the holidays yet? What is your favorite sentimental decoration?

Living room makeover with light and color

Getting enough light into the main floor of our home has always been a problem. We live in the woods and our downstairs windows are shadowed by porches on three sides. Also, I’m not sure why, but the contractor who built our home never installed any ceiling lights in the living room. Floor and table lamps provide our only source of light at night. My husband has even complained that the lack of light may be giving him headaches. (Or could it be two cranky kids whining for snacks before dinner? Hmmm.) 😉
Our plans are to someday add recessed lights in the living room ceiling. But since we have a two-story home, that project will likely be complicated. In the meantime, I discovered a quick, easy and inexpensive way to add more light in the space without tearing holes in the ceiling or calling an electrician.
GE-Reveal-halogen-bulb-packagesI recently picked up enough GE reveal® halogen bulbs to replace all the light bulbs in our living room lamps. These bulbs are designed to filter the dull, yellow rays of traditional soft white bulbs and illuminate your home with clean, beautiful light. GE reveal® bulbs claim to make colors and patterns pop, enhance the look of wood grains, and make whites appear whiter.
So I switched out all the light bulbs in our dark, dingy living room with GE reveal® bulbs and I was pleasantly surprised at the results. Check out the comparison photos I took below. The light bulb on the left was a CFL that was in our lamp before. The one on the right is the GE reveal® halogen bulb I replaced it with. (No photo enhancements were done to either picture.)
GE-Reveal-transformationI replaced a total of five bulbs in our living room. My husband commented when he got home from work that it seemed brighter in there and that the lighting looked more natural, and less “yellow-ish.” I especially love how these bulbs light up the special reading nook in the living room, where I get to snuggle our toddler every day. 

In addition to my quick and easy lighting makeover, I decided to add pops of blue in the living room to balance and “cool” the yellow and brown tones of our wood flooring and living room walls. I typically like to keep my furniture, walls and flooring neutral and then add color through the decorations. This allows me to completely change the look of a room without a lot of hassle and without spending a lot of money. For example, I incorporated blue into the living room through my rug, pillows, artwork and throw blanket.


Can you spy my Pottery Barn knockoff DIY birch candles on the mantel? Find out how to make your own here.

Living-room-blue-decorations Living-room-decorations-fireplace-2014

I can’t believe how much difference changing out my light bulbs and incorporating an accent color make in this room.


I added my DIY driftwood candleholder to our side table. This is one of my all-time-favorite thrifty projects. Check out how to make your own here.

Driftwood-candleholder-and-lamp Picture-display-in-living-room

Now let’s take a stroll down memory lane and see what my living room looked like before the light and color makeover.


And, just for fun, here are some photos of the way before, back a couple of years ago.

BEFORE living-room-spring BEFORE Fall-mantel-environmental BEFORE new lights and blues Neutral-living-room

What a difference a few, small changes can make in a room! In the comments below, tell me what you want to reveal in your home with GE reveal® lighting for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card to complete your own #100reveal.

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion using #100reveal; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion using #100reveal, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. 

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/19/2015 – 3/1/2015.

Be sure to visit the GE reveal® Lighting brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


Special thanks to GE reveal® and BlogHer for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions – and sweat equity – are 100 percent mine. 

Holiday home tour

Today I thought I’d share some of the Christmas decorations we’ve got going on around here. Believe it or not, this is the first year we’ve added a live tree to the decor, which makes a total of three trees in our house right now. Whew! However, one is in our daughter’s bedroom and that space is not fit for pictures, so you won’t see it featured in this holiday home tour. 😉

I’ll start with our dining room. I decided to go with primarily red, green and gold accents.


I really wanted to incorporate some plaid napkins this year. I got the ones you see in the pictures online from World Market (with a 10 percent off coupon). Plaid seems to be having a moment right now.


I went with a traditional look in the dining room, which means I also tried to incorporate some traditional treats for dinner guests, including this bowl of mixed nuts.


Every year, I have a vision of what I want the main rooms in our house to look like for the holidays, based on inspiration I see in magazines and online. Of course, the vision in my head is often not how things turn out. But at least the basic idea is achieved, hopefully. I’m calling this year’s dining room “Chevy Chase Traditional” because it reminds me of decorations you might see in his home in that movie. Would you agree?

Moving on to our living room, I went for more of a natural, rustic look.


This is the room with the live tree. Gosh, a real tree is a lot of work!


The mantel includes my DIY wooden tag ornaments as well as my Pottery Barn knockoff DIY birch candles and eBay snowshoes.

Flocked-mini-Christmas-tree Birch-candles-on-mantel Snowshoes-on-mantel Wooden-reindeer Santa-and-sign

If you’re interested in where I got any of the other mantel decorations, I have a detailed post here.

We displayed our Christmas village on the TV stand in the living room.


My favorite decoration by far is the tiny nativity set I got while on a mission trip to Guatemala.


In the kitchen, I try to keep the counters pretty clear so there’s plenty of room for holiday baking. 🙂 I focus mainly on decorating the area above the cabinets.




I try to dress the staircase because it’s the first thing people see when they walk into our home. I’m still in awe of what a difference my poor-man’s wainscoting makes in our entryway.


Speaking of thrifty transformations, it still makes me smile every time I look at our front door. It is amazing what some paint and hardware can do!


For details and jaw-dropping before and after photos of our front door redo, click here.

Before I go, I want to remind you that Duluth Trading Co. is giving away $200 worth of gift cards on the blog right now! To get your paws on one of them, hurry over and enter to win here.

Happy holiday decorating!