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Andrew's Nautical Boy's Room- Reveal!

It's finished!

Well, it's not really finished. I doubt I'll ever truly stop tweaking any room in my house! But now,  Andrew's big boy room is complete, and I have checked off all my design goals for this space. Come check it out!
Cute, bright boy's room, nautical theme! #nautical #boys_room

Here's a blast from the past. I confessed my egregius Decor Deprivation Abuse of this room a few months ago, lol. There's a lot more before pics there too. This is how it looked before.
Cute, bright boy's room "after", nautical theme! #nautical #boys_room

That is including the navy rug I bought and fish mobile hanging by the window! I sized up this space and made a list of the design issues I wanted to tackle. Here's the list I made:

  • Curtains (bought $20 of fabric from Wal Mart)
  • Fish mobile (made, and regretted haha)
  • New crib sheets and crib skirt (bought new sheets, but Andrew outgrew his crib!)
  • Rug ($70 from
  • Paint the changing table or buy a new one (added some colorful fabric instead)
  • Fabric storage boxes
  • Treasure Chest toy box- got Grandpa on this one! :)
  • Art for over the dresser (thrifted and free oars)
  • Some kind of treatment for the closet doors, vinyl decals? (still working on this one)
  • Art over the crib (paper bunting)

Andrew's room is pretty small, just 10 x 10. That was a big design challenge. Trying to fit just the basics as far as furniture in here was tough! But I got it all in here, bed (well, sort of, keep reading), dresser, changing table, and toy chest, and that's it!
Cute, bright boy's room, nautical theme! #nautical #boys_room #life_preserver

The life preserver is a prop from Andrew's nautical first birthday last year. I painted it bright orange for a real pop in this space. The two oars on the wall were happy accidents. I found one for $3 at a thrift store, the other was free, from my parent's garage! :) The gray zig zag frame is a Nate Berkus find from Good Will. Score!
Cute, bright boy's room, nautical theme! #nautical #boys_room #life_preserver

Let's recall- not too much going on before:
Cute, bright boy's room, nautical theme!See the after pics  #nautical #boys_room #life_preserver

Nautical Boy's room reveal, tour #ocean #chevron

Here is the view of the closet from before, complete with blurry active toddler:
Nautical Boy's room reveal, tour #ocean #chevron

And now: 
Nautical Boy's room reveal, tour #ocean #chevron #fabric_box

I give this the most improved view award! :) I'd love to see bold stripes on the white closet doors. But since we're renting, I'm not sure it would be worth it to paint and then paint it back again in a short while... Maybe a vinyl treatment or easy to remove wall paper? The jury is still out!

Nautical boy's room tour! colorful fish cut out of scrapbook paper

Nautical boy's room tour! colorful fish cut out of scrapbook paper
Fish net also leftover from Andrew's party. For the fish I cut out a few different shapes from scrap book paper. Cheap and easy art!
Nautical boy's room tour! no-sew fabric storage bins

The changing table has gone through a thorough transformation. You can see how I spray painted over laminate, and how I made these no-sew fabric storage boxes for free!
Nautical boy's room tour! no-sew fabric storage bins

Window view before:
Nautical boy's room tour! toy storage solution #treasure_chest

Can you hear that picture shouting, "give me curtains already!"?

My paper fish mobile hangs in the center of the window. 
Nautical boy's room tour! paper fish mobile diy

Nautical boy's room tour! paper fish mobile diy

You can read more about how I don't recommend DIYing a mobile here. The curtains are discount material from Wal Mart. I sewed a hem on the bottom and a pocket on top for both panels in about 30 minutes. Lickety split curtains!
Nautical boy's room tour!

For a touch more nautical feel, I wrapped the finials in some rough rope and finished with hot glue.
make curtains fit a nautical theme with #hot_glue and #rope #finial

make curtains fit a nautical theme with #hot_glue and #rope #finial

Andrew's grandpa (my Dad :) made this beautiful treasure chest! My dad is an amazing wood worker. We will definitely "treasure" this chest forever. Thank you, Dad/Grandpa! :)
nautical treasure chest, toy storage solution

It's huge, and can fit just about every toy Andrew owns. Storage solution, check.
nautical treasure chest, toy storage solution

Grooves in the sides and front= no smashed fingers.

Crib view before:
nautical boy's room reveal #ocean #diy

And now:
bright, nautical boy's room reveal #ocean #diy

New bedding: orange sheet for $20 from Amazon, chevron blanket for $14 from Ross, and custom made pillowcase from more of that lime green material I used on the fabric boxes.

nautical boy's room reveal #ocean #diy

nautical boy's room reveal #ocean #diy
One major and unplanned difference in here is the vanishing crib! A couple weeks ago I popped Andrew in his crib while I cleaned up in his room. In one swift move he threw his leg over the side and was out of there! I was 1.) shocked that he could get out already and 2.) relieved he did it while I was there watching, and didn't crack his head open falling to the ground!

So now we are in a "this is how to sleep in a bed" phase, where I regularly check on him at night to find half his torso on the bed, and half flopped on the floor. We're holding off getting him a toddler bed for a bit, hoping that he will get used to being on a mattress. I'm nervous to put him in something too high off the ground just yet :).

nautical boy's room reveal #ocean #diy

nautical boy's room reveal #ocean #diy

I needed a non heavy option to hang over Andrew's bed. My diy cardstock and twine bunting helps fill this big wall and add lots of color.
nautical boy's room reveal #ocean #diy

Andrew decorated the space behind the door. My very own mini designer is into Cookie Monster, Buzz, and Mickey :). We put his artwork up behind the door, and when I say night night and close the door around, he has something fun to look at as he drifts off to sleep.

That's the tour!

Thanks for joining me! I'll be back with more good stuff next week :)


If you'd like to see what Baby Andrew's nursery looked like, click on the image below!
Andrew's Gender Neutral Nursery tour

How I stopped DREADING to go Grocery Shopping!

how i stopped hating to grocery shop (and stopped making disgusting dinners) funny #coupon
Do you hate grocery shopping? Do words like stressful, annoying, rather put bamboo shoots up my fingernails come to mind?? me too. Or at least, that's what my grocery shopping used to be!

How Things Used to Be
When Jason and I got married almost 5 years ago, I started grocery shopping the way mom had done. You go, and you pick up the Regulars. What are the Regulars? Well, we had a pretty normal rotation of meals growing up, and my mom knew that she would use up a certain list of ingredients within a few weeks. Mom had this list entirely in her head, along with the list of Regulars.

So that's what I did! I went to the store and bought my version of the Regulars. But then I started getting into problems. What if I used up all my tomato sauce in one recipe, and then had none left for a different recipe later in the week? What if I had all the stuff needed to make meatloaf except for the main ingredient, the meat? lol. And the worst happened at the end of the grocery cycle.

I would be down to a pantry full of odd fellows. Breadcrumbs, peanut butter, olives... tell me how many recipes you can think of with that lovely trio! (unless of course you are thinking of the delicious Peanut butter Olive Bread crumb casserole!)

As my mentor Gordon would say,
how i stopped hating to grocery shop (and stopped making disgusting dinners) funny #coupon

Yeah, pretty much.

Something had to change. I wanted to get out of my repulsive recipe rotation rut and regroup, round up new recipes that required reasonable ingredients (a lot of r's just happened there). I needed to get reorganized. I needed to get my "s" together!

Last week I shared how I stopped dreading to cook dinner by making a simple meal plan each week. This is how I stopped dreading (and actually started enjoying, gasp!) grocery shopping, and turned the experience from stressful to easy!

Making Ze Plan
This is the easy part! Yesss. I peruse my recipes for 15 minutes each week and pick out the meals I want to make for the week. I've written a whole lot more about how I make that part easier!
how one blogger stopped hating to cook, funny :) #meal_plan

Once I know what I'll be cooking, I look at each recipe and write down all the ingredients they call for. This forms the backbone of my weekly shopping list. No more missing main ingredients! After that I add my version of the Regulars- milk, cereal, fruit, etc., tuff we normally eat for breakfasts, lunches, and side dishes.

You could also plan out your meals out 2 weeks at a time, or 2 days at a time. I've found for our family, if I try to buy produce or perishables too far in advance, they'll go bad by the time we get around to eating them.  Any shorter than a week, and I feel like I'm running to the store every couple days. Do what works for you!

Making Ze Trip
If you have a monthly food budget like I do, you know where we shop has a lot to do with how much we spend. Some people like to buy certain things at certain stores to try to get the best price, which is great! Warehouse stores like Costco are also great ways to buy in bulk and save. With just 2.5 mouths to feed, our family's still too small to make a warehouse store worth it quite yet, but I know someday soon it will.

Me, I'm a one stop shop kind of girl. With an active (and loud!) almost 2 year old, this mama has just enough mental strength for one grocery store per week.
extreme couponing, 100 bottles of mustard for 8 cents? awesome. That should only take you roughly 56 years to consume. #clever_nest

I shop at Stater Bros', a low priced So Cal chain, and Sprouts for specialty items Stater's doesn't carry.  I try not to get tempted into just grabbing "a few things" at places like Target or popping into Albertson's just up the street, 'cause I know I'll end up paying more for the same item. It's better if I'm prepared and get what I need at the best price!

Making Ze Money Stretch 
(without ending up with a closet full of mustard)
You've probably seen Extreme Couponing. If not, it's basically women running around stores, going on shopping sprees where they walk out with shopping carts full of stuff for pennies.
Extreme Couponing: buying $100 worth of mustard for 8 cents. Awesome. That should only take you 56 years to consume. #clever_nest #grocery_shopping_tips #funny

I'm no extreme couponer, actually I'm what you could call an extremely casual couponer. If a good one walks across my path, great, I'll take it! But on the whole, I'm not sold (eh eh, nice one Alyssa!) on the intense use of grocery shopping coupons for several reasons. Here's my beef-

  • A name brand item bought with a coupon may still end up costing more than a generic brand item, or bulk packaged item using no coupon.
  • The grocery store you use the coupon at greatly influences the end savings. A speciality store will have much higher prices for say milk, than a budget grocery store, or warehouse store like Costco.
  • Coupon foods can be pretty unhealthy. Mainly prepackaged or processed foods, and almost never fresh produce, fresh meats, and staples like rice and beans. If you want to buy more healthy foods, you are usually out of luck coupon wise. (I'd be happy to be proven wrong on this. If you've found out different, please leave me a comment! :)
how one blogger stopped hating to grocery shop! funny, good tips #coupon #clever_nest
Anybody see anything that grew on a tree?
Another great way to save is to plan your meals based on current sales and seasonal items at your grocery store. I once accidentally paid $14 for grapes, because I didn't realize they weren't in season! I definitely want to get better planning around sales! For now I look for deals on the shelf and that stray coupon that comes my way.

One Sweet Thing
I do. I treat myself! :) I realize this could turn into a really bad habit of feeling like I deserve a food treat whenever I go to the grocery store. But the way I see it I'm limiting myself to one non list, non needed, likely non healthy item so that I don't go crazy piling on the junk! I make myself stick to my list as much as I can, and if I see something that is my craving of the hour I'll tell myself, "ok, Alyssa that's your one thing" and I may have to put back the box of Oreos, or Twinkies, or Pickled Okra (I realize they may look like slugs, but they taste delicious!) that was already in my cart.
how one blogger stopped hating to grocery shop! funny, good tips #coupon #clever_nest
I'll probably use this for when Andrew is bigger and asks me to buy him treats.

Reusable Bags, Not just Saving the Planet Anymore
I discovered this trick while attempting to like, help out the environment, or whatever. But, turns out there's an even better reason for using them than saving the environment, they are time savers!!
how one blogger stopped hating to grocery shop! funny, good tips #coupon #clever_nest

I bought these XL plastic totes from Albertson's a few months ago. They are 16" long by 14" high, much bigger and sturdier than other reusable mesh bags I've bought. I was in for a pleasant shock when I used these for a grocery trip, and all my food fit into these 3 bags!! Instead of making 4-5 trips back and forth from the car using the traditional plastic grocery bags, I can usually make it in 1!
how one blogger stopped hating to grocery shop! funny, good tips #coupon #clever_nest

That's how I roll, from start to finish. It's definitely a work in progress, but it's working way better than my old ways.  What about you, how do you go about it? Same, different? Let's keep the conversation going, I'd love to get your tips in a comment!

Thanks for reading :) and have a great week!


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How one blogger stopped hating cooking, funny! #meal_plan #clever_nest

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