Happy MARCH! I can almost smell Spring…well, not really, but I CAN smell lavender….

Because I have this wonderful set of Essential Oils. I have used them just about every single day since I got them last month for many different things. I make my own cleaning products and use them as body products. They help with my headaches and calm me down when I am anxious. They’re soothing, relaxing, germ-fighting, natural goodness, and one lucky duck is going to win a set at the end of this month.
A facebook friend recommended adding a few drops to baking soda and using as carpet refresher. Not only does my house smell wonderful, but the vacuum does, too. And, wherever you leave the jar smells wonderful, too.
carpet fresh

I’m keeping this short, but sweet. This is the set that will be sent to a winner chosen at random. If you’re wondering, I use www.random.com to select a winner. PLEASE COMMENT RIGHT BELOW THIS POST for an entry. Use an email address you will check because, if you win, you only have 72 hours to reply with a shipping address. If I don’t hear from you, I will have to move on to the next winner, and we’ll both be sad. Winners limited to U.S. postal addresses only due to shipping restrictions. I am not affiliated with Eden’s Garden, their oils just make me HAPPY, so I’m sharing with you :) Good Luck!

EGoils

I will announce the winner at the end of this month here and on the Colors of Happy facebook page, which can be found here:
Be sure to check back here for the winner!!

Congratulations to Kara J., the winner of this month’s giveaway! Check back soon for March’s giveaway post.

Thank you all for your support!

Fast & Easy Backsplash!

Well, this wasn’t a favorite project in my house, but it will hold us over until I can figure out a more permanent glass tile look. To be honest, I just can’t decide what I really want, and the wall had some damage from some self-adhesive stainless tiles that just did not stay on the wall.
ss tiles

So, if you see those tiles, don’t be tempted by the idea of a quick fix. They won’t go straight on a painted, primed, or even sanded wall. Perhaps they’d stick to a rougher surface, like spackle, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a quick fix? Anyway, mine fell right off and took chunks of paint with it. So, now we have this totally free 4 hour backsplash to cover that mess. If you’ve read my About Me, you already know I mess things up often. The reason this was free is because I already had painter’s tape, joint compound,paints, and brushes/spackling knives, etc… If you don’t have those things, there will be a small investment. I like to use things I already have around the house, which is what sparked this idea in the first place. I did come up with the idea on my own, but then I googled it thinking surely someone else has had this idea before. I was right, and I did find a few tutorials. I want to show you all the other DIY ideas I found on YouTube, but they distracted me for about three hours. So, I’m sticking with this backsplash post. No distractions! Lol!

I used a box cutter and cut around a roll of painter’s tape, about 1/4″ from the edge all the way around. The uneven edges from the cut make the grout look more authentic, plus I couldn’t find the right size tape. After I made the tape cut and measured my space, I started taping the wall. I used the real bricks on my fireplace as a guide for size, then randomly placed the grout lines on each row. Each full faux brick is 7 1/2″ long and 3 1/2″ high.
I am a messy worker, which you will see in my photos. Here’s the process, step by step:

Step 1: Tape

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Step 2: Like icing a cake! I used joint compound:

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Step 3: At this point, I used a hair dryer to accelerate the drying process. I only wanted it slightly dry. I used a paver from my garden to stamp in some texture, then used my spackle knife to carve in more lines. You can get creative here. Do what you want to make it look like a brick! It helps to look at a real brick for inspiration.

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Step 4: Now, let the joint compound dry. Knock off any huge clumps with your spackle knife and lightly sand, if you wish. Then, pull the tape!

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Step 5: Paint with your base color. Keep in mind, this will be your grout color, too, unless you want to go back at the end and repaint your grout lines with another color. I am using a kit from a company call Brick Anew. I used this kit to fix my ugly fireplace bricks, and I had a lot leftover. Highly recommend this kit if you have an ugly fireplace!

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Step 6: Now just add your paint layers, colors of choice. Get creative. I brushed on my first coat, then used a sea sponge to apply the other colors and one glaze.

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Now, clean up, and you’re all done! I’m going to look for a clear glaze to put on top to seal this, just to make it last longer. I will edit this post with the product name when I find it.

Ta-Da!

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If you have any questions, feel free to message me or post below. I’ll try my best to help!

You Can’t Buy Happiness, But I Think You Can Grow It! FEBRUARY GIVEAWAY!!

I had to take some time to think about what I could give away this month that would align with our new LESS SPENDING, MORE PAYING (debt) goals. Nothing really screamed frugal living or saving money. But then it dawned on me! Just about anyone can have a garden, even if it’s on an apartment balcony or in containers on your deck! Google container gardening or check on Pinterest for some really great ideas! You’d be surprised just how much food you can produce in tiny spaces. Vertical gardening is growing in popularity, also! Check it out! If you absolutely have no space to grow at your home, maybe you could ask a friend or family member to occupy a small space in their yard. Then, of course, SHARE the benefits and pay the with your produce!
So, here’s the first step in saving money this spring, summer, and fall. SEEDS!! I’m excited about this giveaway. Gardening is one of the few hobbies that brings me true joy! Please comment below for an entry. Open to US residents only (due to shipping costs and restrictions…sorry). You must comment here on this blogpost for your entry to count. The winner will be announced before the end of the month. I will contact you via the email you use on this blog, so be sure to use an address you check often! The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email notification with a shipping address. I will order directly from Amazon and have it shipped straight to the address you provide. Don’t forget to subscribe if you’d like updates on posts and to keep up with the latest GIVEAWAYS! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Here are my very own raised garden beds my husband built for me last year. I have a tiny suburban backyard, but these were perfect for our family of five. We had enough to eat, but not enough to preserve for the winter. I think I may add a few more containers on my deck this year. We did this project for under $200, and these beds were built in one afternoon!

The link to my beds on Pinterest:

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/111534528244191690/

And, here is the link to this month’s GIVEAWAY! http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Heirloom-Survival-Seed-Bank/dp/B00EDMKL0A/ref=sr_1_4?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1391807728&sr=1-4&keywords=non+gmo+seeds

seeds

GOOD LUCK, Everyone!

Feeling Frugal in February!

Day FIVE of our no spending challenge:
Face it, we are fine-tuned to WANT. I think some of us WANT so badly, acquiring certain items has become necessary for our mental well-being, drawing a VERY fine line between wants and needs. I may (or may not) fit in that category of people, because this NO SPENDING challenge is almost as bad as quitting smoking. And it’s day 5. And we’ve bought groceries (which was allotted into our necessary spending). Twice. Unfortunately, some new tolls kicked in, and my husband now has to PAY to drive to work and home each day. See, it’s nearly impossible to spend NOTHING in today’s fast-paced world. I’d love to be a part of the sustainable living community living on our own homestead one day and bartering for goods, but it is literally against the law for us to do that right now (military husband must go to work). So, we’ll dream for now and take baby steps.
The purpose of this post is to chronicle our voluntary efforts to live below our means, pay off debt ahead of schedule, and get out of this rut…this ADDICTION to spending money! Wow, in only FIVE days, I have uncovered this hidden shame! Here I was patting myself on the back: I quit smoking over 400 days ago, I very RARELY drink alcohol, I’ve cleaned up my eating habits, I exercise on a fairly regular basis….no vices left! Behold. I was lying to myself. And if you really think you’re not lying to yourself, I challenge you to ten days of no spending. If you can do it, and it’s NoBigDeal, congratulations! You’re way ahead of most of us. I, however, am behind the curve. I am having a hard time. I am uncomfortable. And I could not be MORE thankful that this is voluntary and not because my husband lost his job, had an accident, or some other dreadful situation. If that is you, I am so very sorry for you, and my heart genuinely goes out to you. I KNOW that is a very real part of today, February 2014. There are many people in this situation, and I assure you, we are only sympathizing with you through this challenge. The possibility of retirement number one is on the horizon. For those non-military folks, many military members retire at 20 years and go on to have a second career. We’re prepping….a little late, but better late than never. And it is only now that I realize how much we need this life lesson more than ever!
truthbertrandrussell

At some point in time (I think it was WAY before the age of modern consumerism), we have developed a desire to gather and collect things. Could this be innate? Is it based on all our positive experiences? We get things, we feel good. But we don’t really feel good because of that one thing. If we did, we wouldn’t want to get more things. We’d be happy with that thing, right? We enjoy that feeling, not the thing. I’m sure this has all been analyzed by professional brain scientists many times over, so I’ll leave it to the smart people. I do want to focus on the feeling that feeds our desire for gaining new material possessions. I want to replace that feeling with the feeling of accomplishment…..when we FINALLY pay off this horrible, awful, no good, daily compound interest something or other windows loan we impulsively agreed to without reading the fine print. Yes, we were suckers. The slimy, greedy, pulled-one-over on us salesman took our money so he could buy more things. Well, good for you, mister. But we learned a very valuable lesson, so I think we win. I have all this regret, frustration, and a little bit of anger I’m holding onto because of that one fateful day we agreed to that loan. I know when this loan is gone, I can let it go and feel better! For now, that monthly payment is a constant reminder of our na├»ve, spur of the moment actions. I want to let it go…. and we are SO, SO, SO close! We’re over three years ahead on payments. TMI for a blog, but I NEED that loan gone….LOL! And THAT feeling is THE feeling that will replace all those little happy moments I feel when I buy something I only think I need. That one big moment of relief. I’m feeling a little choked up just thinking about it. It has nothing to do with the amount of money because we can afford the monthly payment, or the thing we purchased (windows..big deal). So, if you’re up for a challenge, and you have a ‘windows loan’, too….you know that just means any bill, person you own money, or monkey on your back…..give this a shot! I dare you to compare the feeling of awesome accomplishment with the feeling of buying a new outfit. Anybody can buy an outfit, or a tv, or a new kitchen gadget. We have stores on every corner! That is NOT an accomplishment, so let’s stop thinking that way. If you do not have any bills or financial obligations, CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU!!! Please stay that way. You don’t want to be on this side of debt. So, maybe you can take the money you’d be spending on buying ‘things’ and do something else with it. Save it, donate it to a great cause, help someone with it. I encourage everyone to stop saving for ‘things’ unless you really need them. Our 2014 goal is to skip gift giving at Christmas this year and spend our savings on a vacation our children will remember for years to come. I’m giving memories this year instead of clothes, toys, and material gifts. Don’t forget to get your little people (children) involved! Let’s pass this down to the next generation and get rid of this consumerism/debt mentality that is plaguing America! Let’s teach them to be HAPPY!

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Letting go of a grudge….you have enough to hold

I hate confrontation. I avoid it like the plague. Why? Because, in my mind, it never evokes a positive response. Negative response usually equals STRESS, which causes harm to your body. Some people will never see your point of view. Not only is that maddening, it feels like a waste of breath. Life lesson # 5,082, I’ve recently discovered the PURPOSE of confrontation is not solely to resolve an issue or disagreement. Some issues will never be resolved, and that is a-ok! Sometimes, the act of confronting someone in a kind, rational manner does result in unexpected compromise. Other times, it may just help you exercise your own self-control and release your own anger and frustration concerning the matter. Afterall, you DID try to address it, there is nothing more you can do. If the issue is not resolved, just release it at this point. Do not let it burden your spirit and drag you down. Anger stems from unmet expectations. Are we sometimes to blame for a failure to communicate our expectations? Work WITH people to solve problems, if possible, not against them. And if you are dealing with an impossible person, keep it short and sweet. Do not over invest emotionally. Do not develop expectations. Keep it Happy, for your body, mind, and spirit. Do not hurt YOU by holding unrealistic expectations of others. Happy 2014!

Popcorn!

We can’t let the kids have ALL the fun, so here’s something fun for you.
A whirly-pop popcorn popper along with three bags of Amish Country popcorn kernels. Comment below to be entered to win. U.S. only.
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Lemons and Elves

Seems as though life has been awfully busy handing out lemons lately. I’m not sure what is going on. Is there a lesson? A sign? What are we all missing? Why are things always such a struggle?
I don’t have any answers, just more questions. I have a hard time when I don’t know how to fix things or figure out solutions. I’m awfully tired. Tired of being a responsible adult who always tries to do the right thing. Most people don’t expect a reward for that. We just want comfort and security and peace of mind. If you’re holding a basket full of lemons right now, I’m praying for you. I’m asking that your troubles fade this holiday season, so you can enjoy and appreciate every moment with your loved ones. I wish you health and happiness and every opportunity to appreciate the little things that make this time of year so magical. We can often experience true joy in the eyes of a child. My youngest adores this crazy little elf, and we would love to share that joy. If you already have your own crazy elf, feel free to pay it forward and share with another little boy or girl. Comment below for a chance to win an Elf on the Shelf. Open to U.S. only.

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Well, Goodness, If I’m going to have a blog, I need to remember the password!

Thankfully, my husband has a little extra storage in his memory bank, and I depend on that to get me through life sometimes! Let me explain. I thought I just took a little break from taking college courses after my last go-round. Turns out it had been FOUR years! I don’t even know how that happened, but my admissions counselor said it’s time to get back in the saddle. He didn’t even really give me time to think about what I was getting myself into, and here I am half way through my first term. It’s going well, as far as my grades are concerned, but the home life is suffering just a tad. I just need to get back into the swing of time management, and all will be well again. We still have a few million other things on our “to do” list. We’ll get there someday.

In the meantime, all this rushing around with appointments and activities is depleting my energy levels. It doesn’t matter if parents do not schedule a single thing, having three involved children will fill up a schedule FAST! I am declaring a mini getaway weekend soon because we all need a break from the madness. Two parents in college, one parent active duty military, plus three kids in one or more of the following: Theatre, stage crew, visual and performing arts academy, model rocket club, taekwondo, student council, fundraisers, workshops, volunteer events, art shows, online classes with mandatory monthly meetings, weekend 10k races….okay, we’re just going to stop there. We’re busy. Crazy busy. Crazy AND busy. And I AM TIRED. Naturally, that means I’m downing boatloads of coffee. I can smell it when I exercise. I think sometimes I brew coffee out of my pores, so it’s a good thing I enjoy the aroma…lol! I’m sure that didn’t get anyone in the mood for coffee. Sorry.

I’ve had the pleasure of tasting coffee from a French Press a few times. It’s lovely. Every coffee lover needs one of these. You’ll wonder how you even survived without one!

Comment on this post for an automatic entry. US only (due to shipping restrictions). Winner will be picked at random from the comments here and on Colors of Happy’s Facebook page. You can find the post here:

Good Luck! Winner will be announced October 27, 2013!

FLASH GIVEAWAY!! Veggie GEFU Spirelli Spiral Cutter (Make Noodles From Veggies!)

So, yesterday I posted a Flash Giveaway on the Facebook page for this blog, but I SHOULD have posted it here, too. We already have a winner of the cookbook from yesterday. Looks like it’s your lucky day because this is a learning experience for me. I need to give away something else so I can see if this will generate traffic to my blog…just being honest:)

Who cares about all that stuff anyway, this is your chance to win a pretty neat little gadget that will help you prepare healthier meals at home. This item is pretty popular on Amazon. I don’t even have one yet, so if you win, let us know how you like it! Basically, you just chop your vegetable of choice to fit in one end and twist! The product claims to create endless julienne strips, which can substitute for noodles in your favorite pasta dish, or you can just prepare them and eat them any way you like. Have fun with this!

Vegetable Spiral Noodle Cutter

Vegetable Spiral Noodle Cutter

If you have not already subscribed, please enter an email address so we can keep you up to date with future posts and GIVEAWAYS (box to the right)! Comment below to let me know you’re subscribed. If you’ve already signed up, please still leave a comment below so I can include you in the drawing to win this prize! Thanks!

I will announce the winner at 10 a.m. Eastern Time on 10/1/2013. This contest is only valid in the U.S. You MUST provide a valid U.S. shipping address to claim your prize. Please respond to prize notification within 72 hours.

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