Saturday, December 31, 2011

Target Christmas Clearance 70% off & Toy Clearance Info

The holiday items went 70% off today at Target! I love a good clearance run. My store in central California was just as stocked with 70% off items as it was at half off so I'm glad I held out. These clearance sales are perfect for getting every day items for very cheap (hand soap, kleenex, tape, etc) and for little gifts/stocking stuffers for next year. 
I squealed when I spotted the Night Before Christmas book!

Here's a break down of what I purchased:
For next year
(2) LED net lights $5.99 each 
JOY door mat $3.89
Scotch hand tap $.60

 Gifts for next year
Santa Hand Towels $2.09
Lady Antebellum Christmas CD $2.09
The Night Before Christmas book $5.68 (reg. $18.95)
(2) Disney Princess 2-pack gloves $1.49 each
Star Wars lego $1.19
Cars 2 $1.49

For the home:
Kleenex $ .89
(2) Hand soup $.89 each
Scotch tape 3pack $.60
White ribbon $1.80
(2) bath sponges $.59 each (these are nicer than my $5 loofahs)

In the dollar section:
(4) notepads $.30 each
Cinderella bow $.30

Total spent $40.04
Saved $93.77

Here's a few pictures of what my store had this morning. There were also a ton of cards, plates, napkins, 7ft trees, stockings, and hand towels. Hopefully you can find some good deals at your Target.

The wrapping paper - I'm holding off for 90% off!
Ribbons, bows and gift bags
 Clothes, lights, misc.

The big 75% off Toy Clearance is coming in January. You can read what I picked up at 75% off in January 2011 here and what I got in July 2011 here
I'm only looking to get a few lego sets and the Little People Nativity Set for this coming clearance event. There are many lego sets at 30% off right now so I'm pretty confident that several will stick around and go half off and possibly 75% off. 

There are 3 aisles of clearance toys and about 8 end caps.

May 2012 bring many blessing to you and your family. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Camera Lens "Elmo"

Now that Noelle is a super cool three and a half year old, she only wants to take pictures when she's in the mood for it. I saw a project with a great way to get kids to look at the camera floating around on Pinterest and I knew it would be an easy craft to do in a few minutes with supplies I already had on hand - besides the scrunchie.

Red Scrunchie
Hot glue gun
2 Black buttons
Stiffened felt sheets - one each of orange and white
Cut out an oval from the orange felt and two circles from the white felt. First hot glue the white circles to the scrunchie, then the orange nose in the center. Next, hot glue the buttons in the center of the eyes.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 11 posts from 2011

I had a great time looking back at my posts from 2011. My personal favorites are Noah's birth story and Noelle's 3rd birthday. This blog really is just a way for me to record memories and I'm so glad that I decided to start it in 2010. The following are the posts with the most views this year in no particular order.

DIY Wine Cork Letter
Hundreds of visitors from Pinterest stop by every week to read about this easy project.

DIY Olive Garden Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
This soup is seriously so good. It also brings many "pinners" to Growing up Gardner.

Noah's Nautical Nursery
My favorite room in the house. I had a blast creating this space for my little guy.

DIY Driftwood Shelf
This DIY shelf was super simple and it cost nothing to make! It's the perfect piece in our beach cottage style Master bedroom.

My nephew, Evan's, Dr. Seuss Birthday Party
This post gets a bunch of visitors from google images every day with good reason. My sister did an amazing job putting this party together.

Diaper Wreath Tutorial
The perfect baby shower gift!

DIY Ruffle Lamp Shade
From our Master Bedroom re-do. A few yards of ruffle and a glue gun gives a boring lamp a fun makeover.

Target 75% off Toy Clearance (July 2011)
I bought $380 worth of toys for 94 bucks! This Christmas  went very smoothly because of my clearance haul. All I had to do was reach into my gift closet and start wrapping.
FYI - the next 75% off toy clearance is coming in January!

Gallery Wall
Another post from our Master Bedroom re-do. I love how the gallery wall turned out.

No Sew Pumpkin Tutu Tutorial
In this post I share how to make a tulle tutu without a sewing machine. You won't believe how easy it is to make one of these skirts!

Teacher Appreciation Week
I made these little gifts for Mr. G's co-workers during Teacher Appreciation Week. They were a big hit.

There you have it! The top 11 posts from 2011! I'm excited about what 2012 will bring. So far I have several DIY projects lined up and Noelle just started a new homeschool curriculum that I'm thrilled to share with you.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

a whole lot of Christmas-ness

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.

We've been up to a lot of Christmas-ness lately. Doing things that make me so happy I could burst. You know the happy - when you can't fight back tears because you know that at that moment you are making memories that will last a lifetime.

It started at the beginning of the month when Miss Noelle rode in her first parade. Her ballet class, Tiny Toes, had a little float in our local Christmas parade. FYI - "float" means a trailer hooked to the back of a pickup truck decorated with a single strand of lights and some tinsel. 

I was so proud of my little girl for actually going along with the whole thing. Crowds of people and moving objects aren't her thing and I seriously thought she wouldn't have anything to do with riding on the float when we arrived. But she sat patiently (for 45 minutes) until it was their turn to drive down main street and wave at the entire town. I walked behind the float with several other adoring parents and watched my brave girl grow up just a little more.

She amazes me.

The next morning sister really impressed me when she and her class performed for Santa and a large group of people at the annual "Breakfast with Santa." Noelle's ballet teacher told her to stand on a taped X on the ground and Noelle made sure after every eight count that she was in the middle of the X. It was the cutest thing.

About an hour away from our house is a street called Christmas Tree Lane. Every year the entire street puts up an extraordinary amount of lights. Each house has a different theme, some modest, some extravagant. Noelle and Noah sat in my lap and we cruised down the street at 2 mph sipping hot chocolate and singing carols. 

After the 40 minute light show we asked Noelle what her favorite part was. Her answer? Not the singing elfs or even the Little Mermaid themed house. Her favorite was a single pink light on a strand of white lights. Gotta love that.

Christmas parties are always fun. Our church held a Christmas party for the children's ministry volunteers. My mom and dad were also there (here with my mom). 

Noelle's play group met up at art class where they decorated Christmas tree ornaments and cards to give to mommy and daddy as gifts. Ya'll know how much I love home-made ornaments. Other moms are always impressed with Noelle's obsessively neat craftiness. I wonder where she gets it :)

Santa even came to visit at art class! Noah gave Santa the side eye at first but found interest in his beard and decided Santa was an okay guy. Noelle made sure Santa knew she wanted a pink Princess bike for Christmas and she gave him the card she made - you know, the one for mommy and daddy.

Sunday night was the annual Candlelight service at our church. Amazing as always. Noelle sat with my dad through the worship until it was time to light the candles and sing Silent Night.

Mr. G and I hosted a Christmas party for our small group. We enjoyed a taco bar and then sat, very seriously, and created graham cracker houses. We have an incredible group - people who make our lives richer in many ways. 

The finished products:

And the unanimous winner:

I decided to make a nativity instead of a house. I didn't have much time since Noah was crawling around looking for something to get his hands on

These are a few of my favorite things:
My daily trip to the mailbox in December is one of the sweetest parts of the day. I love getting Christmas cards from family and friends, old and new. I especially love getting notes from friends who have moved away but remain close in our hearts. 

Baby's First Christmas outfits

Afternoon fog. The only "white" Christmas we get.

And moments like this.

And this.

Enjoy your families and have a safe and joyous Christmas! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Noah - 10 months!

It honestly feels like I wrote this post (Noah's birth story) just a few weeks ago. It's unbelievable that I'm already planning his 1st Birthday Party. Unbelievable. But what a fun 10 months it has been.

I say it every month - Noah is a great baby. A seriously cool little dude that melts my heart and makes me laugh at the same time. 

At the beginning of his 9th month, Noah said his first word....UP! For a couple of weeks he would throw his hands in the air and bounce when I came around. "Up?" I'd ask. After a few days of this Mr. G and I were in the living room and I heard Noah blabbing something but I wasn't really listening. Mr. G, however, was staring at him in disbelief. I looked over and Noah had his hands in the air and was saying "Up. Up. Up. Up." 

Now when he wakes up he stands in his crib and repeats "up" until I go in to get him. Mr. G and I are guilty of watching him in the video monitor saying "up" over and over. It's just so darn adorable. 

He loves being tickled and being chased - or with daddy's help, being the chaser. The "monster" as his big sissy calls him. And he drums on everything that will allow his little hands to make noise. Over-turned buckets, boxes, tables, you name it.

Noah also started dancing (bouncing up and down) to music. He'll stop whatever he's doing when he hears a tune and starts to dance. Brother has some sweet moves.

Interestingly during his 9th month Noah started feeding himself with only his left hand - which makes Mr. G go all "Hallelujah, praise Jesus!" Apparently lefty's are water polo gold and daddy can't wait to get that boy in the pool.

When Noah started pulling himself up on furniture when he was 8 months old I was scared that he might be a 9 month old walker. I wasn't ready to chase after a walker just yet. Luckily it didn't happen last month but he is walking using his push car. He strolls around the house pushing that sucker.

Here's a little clip of him walking. It's not his best effort because the cousins and sister were distracting him, but I wanted to share it because he also hears music on TV (Charlie Brown Christmas) and starts to dance a little.
he grabs onto the reindeer for the first time)

He still nurses 5-6 times a day and eats 3 meals and 2 snacks. He hasn't refused anything that I've given him to eat but he enjoys feeding himself.

And sleeping is getting so much better. I was just about to lose my mind waking up and feeding him in the middle of the night. Last month he started sleeping until about 5am but he is currently battling his 3rd ear infection and 1st major cold and is absolutely miserable. His temperature has been over 100.0 for 3 days straight and because he can't breathe through his nose he only sleeps in 15 minute spurts every now and then. Last night Mr. G and I played the "your turn to drive him around the block" game. No fun. I hate when my babies are sick.
He (normally) still naps 2-3 times a day. He needs three but doesn't always get that last one because we are busy in the evenings with small group, water polo games, ballet, etc.

Oh yes, and he puts everything he gets his hands on in his mouth. Noelle never combed the carpet for small objects to swallow (although there was the barrett incident). If Noah can potentially choke on it, he'll stuff it in his mouth. So I vacuum every day before nap time and constantly sweep his mouth if he looks like he's trying to chew on something.

You're such a little love. I truly adore everything about you. I can't wait to see what new things you learn this month. I'm thrilled beyond words that you are my son.
I love you,