How To Make a Halloween Card with PicMonkey

Today I'd like to share with you a fun way to take any photo and vamp it into a creepy Happy Halloween card.

If you haven't heard of it already, you really should check out PicMonkey. It is a free photo editing website similar to everybody's old favorite, Picnik. During October, PicMonkey has added Halloween edits. 

When you go to PicMonkey's website, it looks like this. They are featuring some of their Halloween edits on their homepage. Aren't they creepy?

Here's where you get started making your card.
Click on the button that says, "Edit a photo". You will then be able to upload whatever photo you would like to use. I happen to have this photo from last Halloween. This old house was near where we used to live before we moved. Creepy enough as it is don't you think? 

Here is the screen you will see after your photo has uploaded. The tool bar is located on the left side of the screen. The "undo" and "redo" arrow buttons are at the top,  as well as the "save" button.

Under the "Effects" tab on the left you can choose several different ways to change the overall look of your photo. I am a fan of the Cross Process effect. 

First, I added Cross Process with a tint of green as you can see in the tool bar on the left side of the screen. By clicking "Apply" you can add the effect you like. 

I then added Cross Process with a tint of red on top of that. Getting creepier and creepier...

At the very bottom of the tool bar, you see a jack-o-lantern that says, "NEW". This is where all of the Halloween photo edits are stored. I chose to use the Vampire collection, but all of the others offer great effects, textures, and texts. There is also really great kid friendly theme that isn't shown in this screen shot called Trick or Treat. 

Under the Vampire theme, there textures unique to the theme. I chose to overlay two textures. Here is the first one. 

 And the second.You can see where I chose these textures in the toolbar on the left. Remember to click "Apply" to add every layer. 

What haunted house is complete without bats? Bats of all shapes and sizes are found under the Overlays section. I chose to add a few flapping in the sky. You can re-size, flip, or rotate the bats the same way that you would clip art in Microsoft Word. 

Now to add the text. Still under the Vampire collection, under the Text section there are some "Sinister Scrawls" to choose from. I chose the "Jellyka Delicious Cake" text and clicked the "Add Text" button. This opened a blank text box in the middle of my photo. The box says "Type your text here". All you have to do is click in the box and start typing. You can also change the color of the text you add. I played around with lime green and neon purple, but decided a golden orange color looked best with the color of the house. 

Obviously I didn't want it to say "Happy Halloween" right smack dab in the middle of my photo, so I simply was able to click and drag the text to the bottom left corner. Much better placement. 

When I was happy with all of the haunting edits I had made, I clicked the "Save" button at the top. 

There you have it! A hauntingly spooktacular Halloween card. 

Now, there are several more perfectly ghoulish Halloween edits available on PicMonkey. Play around with your own photo until you come up with something that is equally as frightening as this greeting! 

Happy Halloween!   


Simple Fall Decorating

Today has been a crazy day, but I was determined to do a little bit of decorating for fall. 

In our new apartment I don't have as much space to spread out my holiday wares. I have secretly already panicked a little bit about where all of my usual Christmas decorations are going to be hung. Somehow I am unsure that 3 totes worth of decorations, plus a Christmas tree is all going to fit in here. Going from a 1,200 square foot house to a 900 square foot apartment isn't that big of a downgrade in space is it? (I keep telling myself that, hoping that my brain will let it stick.)

Anyway, the best spot for me to spread out all of my fall decorations is here. 

This is an area that is part of our small dining space. This buffet table doubles as our entry table as well, so you will have to over look the basket on the left that holds our keys and other odds and ends from Kyle's pockets. Hey, just trying to keep it real here! You might remember some of the things you see in this photo from the fall decorating I did last year.

Speaking of last fall, here are some of my decorating posts from 2011 that you might enjoy reading.

I made the garland you see hanging on the shelf. You can find a tutorial on how to make your own here:

That's all for today! 
Thanks for reading. 

P.S. The lighting in this apartment can be challenging. We have windows on only one side; the other we share with our neighbors. Sigh. Please excuse the shadowy pictures until I am able to figure out all of the cool settings on my camera to fix this problem. Thanks! 


Haunted Halloween Wreath

October, November, and December are my favorite months of the year. 
There are so many crafty things to do during these holiday months. 

One of the crafty things that I love to make are wreaths

I especially love wreaths that are easy to make and are inexpensive. With a new baby and a small tiny budget, both of these things are a must. 

This wreath took me about 15 minutes to make, and costed me around $9 to put together! 

Let me share with you how to make this Haunted Halloween Wreath!

- 1 straw wreath form (Hobby Lobby, about $4)
- 3 black garlands with purple ghosts (Dollar Tree, $3)
- 1 black felt haunted house (Dollar Tree, $1)
- 1 black and silver spider (Dollar Tree, $1)
- hot glue gun

This wreath is so easy, you can't mess it up! 

First, secure the end of one of the garlands to the straw wreath form with hot glue. 

Wrap the garland around the wreath form just like you would if you were making a yarn wrapped wreath

When you come to the end of the garland, secure it to the wreath with hot glue. Then start the next garland the same way. Make sure that you are spacing out the garland enough that it will cover the whole wreath. It only took 3 garlands for me to cover this wreath, but I was pretty liberal with my spacing. 

When I got finished wrapping my wreath, I had a small gap. I decided that this would be the place I would glue the spider, so I added some black ribbon there to cover the straw that you could see. 

Next, I laid the haunted house on top of the wreath and adjusted it until I liked its position. I wanted the spider to be down low on the wreath, so I kept that in mind knowing that the spider was going to be where the black ribbon was. Using hot glue, I secured the haunted house. 

I kind of like it just without the spider, but since I already had him... 

I hot glued him on! 

Quick. Easy. Simple. 
Just what a crafty new mommy needs a project to be!

Quick tip: The straw wreath form from Hobby Lobby comes covered in plastic wrap. DO NOT take the plastic wrap off if you would not like straw all over the place. Just a heads-up. Not like I would know from experience or anything. :)

Thanks for reading.

I'm linking up!



15 Must Have Baby Things (Plus One)

This is the only way our baby girl will sleep for any extended period of time! 
What makes it a must: 
Plugs in to the wall outlet, so less batteries are used. 
Multiple song options.
Swings two directions with a swivel base.
Base detaches to be used as a sleeper seat.

Bouncing on this yoga ball helps babies drift off to sleep. When rocking doesn't work, bouncing always does the trick. 
What makes it a must:
It's always good to have a Plan B. 

White noise mimics the sound that your baby hears while in the womb. 
What makes it a must: 
A great way to help sooth a crying baby.
Keeps your baby sleeping soundly, longer.

These are so cute and comfy! 
What makes it a must:
Affordable. Carter's is a brand that is carried by Wal-Mart.
Zipper access when changing diapers in the middle of the night reduces screaming at the changing table. 

A tried and true brand, recommended by experienced mothers.
What makes it a must:
Much better than the "butt paste" brand.
Every baby gets diaper rash at some point. Period. 

Such a great alternative for parents who what to cloth diaper without the mess.
What makes it a must:
Two words: 
Flushable Inserts.

Most babies are comforted by being swaddled because it mimics the way they felt in the womb.
What makes it a must:
Velcro makes it quick and easy. 
No wrapping around, and around, and around. 

In case you have a summer baby, these are much more light weight than the Velcro kind.
What makes it a must: 
Light, airy, great all around blanket option. 

Every baby gets gas, especially those who have allergies, or just straight up colic.
What makes it a must:
You gotta try something! These drops have saved us many nights of restless sleep.

These pacifiers are the only kind that our little one will take. 
What makes it a must:
Low profile for little noses. 
The nipple mimics the real deal. 

I don't know if I could nurse without one of these. 
What makes it a must:
During marathon feedings, your arms get tired of holding up even the smallest of babies. 
If you accidentally fall asleep while nursing in the middle of the night, you have a little bit of piece of mind. (Trust me. This really happens.)

Sore Nipples. Enough said.
What makes it a must:
Do you think sore nipples sounds like fun?

The sweet lactation consultant at the hospital gave me these for when I started the marathon feeding. I'm not making "marathon feeding" up. They call it that for a reason. Maybe it's because babies want to nurse about EVERY HOUR at some point around day 3 or 4 after they are born. Sounds like a marathon to me.
What makes it a must:
Do I need to repeat the word MARATHON? 
I would have died with out a few sets of these. 

This carrier is great for mommies who what to do some baby wearing while their little ones are still newborns.
What makes it a must:
You can do anything while wearing your baby in a Moby Wrap. 
High needs babies, otherwise known as the "snugglers", love these things.

Most comfortable nursing braon the face of the Earth.
What makes it a must:
Easy on sore nipples. 
Comfortable to sleep in. 
Substantial enough to wear out of the house.

Plus One More...

A little on the expensive side, but well worth your money.
What makes it a must:
Easy in and out car seat with base that stays installed in your car.
Car seat sits in the stroller while they are little so you can still do some easy shopping, even with a newborn. 
The stroller is amazing complete with two cup holders and a place for your sunglasses and phone. 
You can literally fold the stroller out, or fold it to put it away, with ONE HAND!

Mommies out there, what would you add to the list? 


6 Tips for New Mommies

Being a new mommy is wonderful. 

Most of the time. 

Sometimes being a new mommy is down right exhausting. 
Sometimes you feel like you are going crazy. 

I wish someone had told me how much work being a new mommy would be. I know. I know. I should have known better.

For example, today I haven't showered. Last night, I slept in our little girl's room because she refused to go back to sleep after her midnight feeding. I just finished eating a snack with one hand. Right now, I'm wearing my pajamas from last night, my hair is piled on the top of my head in a messy bun, and I've got my sweet love snuggled up in her Moby wrap.

Some days this is my life.

Luckily, I have some pretty great friends who aren't afraid of using Facebook messenger at all hours of the night and early morning. 

They. Have. Been. My. Saving. Grace. 

I have learned some things during this first month and a half of mommy-hood that I feel a need, an obligation rather, to share with you future mommies out there. If you are reading this and you are a new mommy yourself, I am sure that you can relate.

6 Tips for New Mommies

1. Realize that you cannot do it all. There are some days that I wake up with a to-do list that takes more minutes to read than there is in the day. Before baby, I might could have gotten at least half of it done. After baby, I'm doing good to complete one or two things. At first this was really hard for me, especially recovering from a c-section, being so limited on what I could do at home as it was. I quickly learned to ask for my husband's help. Get as much help as you can. Ask family and friends to cook, clean, do your laundry, and run errands for you. As a new mommy you will already be exhausted just from taking care of your baby. Anything else that you accomplish will seem like you have just climbed Mt. Everest. 

2. Don't keep track of day and night. Rocking your sweet baby in the middle of the night might sound lovely, but wait until you are sleep deprived and you look at the clock and it reads 3:45 am. I quickly learned that in order to keep my sanity, I had to start thinking about things in terms of commitments. For example, I am committed to eating dinner with my husband at 7:00 tonight, or I have to be at the doctor's office at 1:30. The day seems much more easy going this way, and I feel much less sleep deprived. 

3. Take advantage of all opportunities to take a nap. Currently, I think of my sleeping habits in terms of naps. Today I napped from 2:55 in the morning until 5:55. I napped again from 7:45 until 9:57. Yes. Every minute counts. When my mom and dad are here, I nap. When my husband is home, I nap. You get the idea. 

4. Track your little one's feeding, sleeping, and diaper changes. Start looking for patterns. Over the course of about 2 weeks you will most likely start noticing that you are logging approximately the same times every day. With my little one, not every day is the same, but I have learned that I can count on getting a nap in between the hours of 2:00 am and 5:00 am every morning. I also know that she is going to wake up between 12:30 am and 1:30 am every morning. Figuring these things out has helped me start building a routine, which bring us to the fifth tip. 

5. Build a routine. Now, at a very young age time dictated routines are no good. New babies can't handle them, and you will go crazy trying to get them on a schedule. I'm not talking about a schedule though. I'm just talking about a routine way of doing things. Every time our little one wakes up from a nap, the first thing I do is nurse. Then I burp her and change her diaper. If it's night time, I rock or bounce on a yoga ball with her pacifier in her mouth until she falls asleep. Then we put her in her swing. If it is day-time, we play first and then follow the last steps. After many nights of a fussy baby during diaper changes, we finally found a routine that she responds to. When it stops working, we will try something else.

This last one is going to seem kind of silly.

6. Keep up your personal hygiene and heath. Learn what works best for you to make sure that you get a shower worked into every day and plenty of water and good food in your tummy. Right now, what works for me is to shower at night, go to bed with my hair wet, and rock a pony tail the next day. I make my breakfast at night and store it in a plastic container in the fridge. Whenever baby girl wakes up for her early morning feeding I eat my breakfast. I try to drink a glass of water every time she eats. Keeping healthy snacks around also helps, but I am guilty of grabbing an Oreo or two!

Being a new mommy can be a hard job, but it's the best job in the world.

New mommies out there, what tips would you add to the list?



On Thursday, August 16, at 9:37 in the morning, this sweet love was born. 

Her birthday story is a little complicated. I plan on writing the whole thing out with details soon. When that day comes, I will add it to the blog so those of you who want to can read it. I have a feeling it will be nothing short of a novel because...

I was in labor for 32 hours. 

32 long hours before I met my baby girl.

I usually get blank stares from other women when I tell them that. Their jaw usually hits the floor.
Apparently 32 hours is a really long time when you are talking about things like road trips, plane rides.... 
oh, and BEING IN LABOR. 

After a very long and difficult labor, an (almost) emergency c-section, 4 nights & 5 days in the hospital, we brought this miracle home.

I still can't believe she's OURS some days.

Being a new mommy definitely has a learning curve all of its own. 

More diapers.
Marathon feeding. 
Constant white noise. 

And that's just learning how to take care of a newborn baby!
You also have to learn how to manage some time (even if it's just a few minutes) for yourself!

But isn't she sweet.

Thanks for letting me brag on her a bit.