Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Decor in an Apartment!

It's the Holiday Season!! I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but it seems like everyone is getting a head start on the Holidays this year. Decorating your home for the Holidays is one of the most nostalgic and heart warming activities, but it can be difficult for those living in a small apartment to get the same back home feel. It's hard to decorate an apartment in general just because of all of the rules you may have to abide by, such as not drilling holes in the wall to hang things, or painting the walls. In our case our apartment was already painted when we moved in...honestly I would rather have all the walls white, but that was not my choice. So I'm stuck with a medium warm toned tan color..yuck. So decorating can be difficult, but luckily I found the perfect Holiday decor to match our wall color and our personal style! All at a decent cost! In this post I'm going to be listing all the items we bought, and (estimating if I don't remember) how much each item costs! Hopefully this gives you some inspiration and an idea of how much money you may have to spend! Keep in mind this was our FIRST Christmas/Holiday Season we had to decorate our own apartment, so we were starting from scratch! 

Starting off, here is a little bit of an overview of what most of our Holiday Decor looks like! I'll be going through each item! 
Artificial 7' Tree - Target $53
We desperately wanted a real tree for our first Christmas but in an apartment an artificial tree is much more practical, and you can have it displayed for SO MUCH LONGER than a real one! And keep it forever! Woohoo!
String Lights(300) - Walmart $7
This was the PERFECT amount of lights for this tree. We barley had enough which was great because then we didn't have to figure out what to do with the extra!  
Ornaments(50) - Walmart $16.98
I originally bought 2 of these but ended up returning one because I only needed 50.
Star Tree Topper - Walmart $8
We really loved this topper because we thought it really pulled everything together.
Individual Personal Ornaments(4) - Walmart $1.97 each

Mantle Decor!
 Garland - Target $10
This garland ended up being SOO long when we took it out of the package, but it ended up being perfect! We folded it 3 times then laid it across the mantle, cutting the loops in the end making 3 separate strands.  
Burlap - Walmart $7
We ended up cutting this burlap piece in half long ways so we had 2 skinny pieces, then wrapped it around the garland!
String Lights(50) - Walmart $4
This was the PERFECT amount of lights. We ended up just laying the lights on top of the garland instead of wrapping it.  
Stockings - Walmart $8 each
 We couldn't find decently priced stockings we both really loved so we decided to stick with something that would match the colors of our decor the best out of the ones we did find!
Stocking Holders - Target $8
We picked up the Brass colored stocking holders to blend in with the garland and burlap. They work great so far! We will see how they hold up once the stockings are full with treats!
White Lantern - Target $12
I knew from the start that I wanted to get a lantern. I absolutely love this lantern and I will probably leave it up most of the year! It is battery operated and the candle inside flickers!
Chalk Board - Walmart $7
From the beginning I also knew I wanted to get a chalk board. I think they are so versatile and can be used all year round! Definitely an essential to Christmas photos also! 
Light-up JOY - Target $20
I was so over JOYED ;) when I saw this. I knew I had to have it, and I know I will be using it for years. It is battery operated.
Black Pedestal Candles - Target $10 
I previously owned these and have had them on my mantle for about a year. I absolutely love them and love the little accent it gives!
Gold Kerr Stacking Jars - Previously owned
I love reusing old jars for decor. I had these jars and painted them gold a few months ago, and I discovered they were the perfect finishing touch to my mantle decor!

Wrapping Paper!
Don't spend all your money on wrapping paper, go to the Dollar Store! I found this paper along with another that corresponds with it at the Dollar Store! So cute, festive, and classic!

So our grand total for our Holiday Decor was around $190! 

Hope you enjoyed today's post!
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ultimate Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

So, I've made this quite a few times, and I have discovered the Ultimate Recipe. As I've made this recipe I've tweaked things little by little to make the end result the best! Of course you can just add all the ingredients into the crockpot at the same time, "set it and forget it" but if you're looking to make the best soup possible this is the recipe for you!! It does take a little more effort than the original recipe but its so worth it!!This is such an easy way to make your home smell like you've been slaving away in the kitchen all day working on this classic meal, even though it only took you about 20 minutes of being in the kitchen. Chicken & Dumplings is the ideal comfort food, perfect for the changing weather.

What you need:
  • 3-5 Thawed Chicken Breasts (can also use tenders, just use more)
  • 2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 Can Chicken Broth
  • 1 Bag of frozen veggies of your choice (or fresh veggies if you prefer)
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • 1 Canned Flaky Biscuits


1. Add thawed chicken, pepper, garlic salt into the bottom of your Crockpot.

2. On top add Chicken Broth & Cream of Chicken, Stir 

3. Cook on High for 2 hours or until Chicken is almost completely cooked.

4. After the first 2-3 hours, add in frozen veggies.

5. Continue cooking for 3 more hours. (if leaving it all day you can add everything all at once)

6. When chicken is completely cooked, shred with fork and knife.

7. Cut 3-4 biscuits into very small pieces and stir into soup.

8. Continue cooking for 1-2 hours

Serve and Enjoy! 


Don't add salt!! Between the Garlic salt, and the broth there is MORE than enough salt. If you are worried about sodium, you can use no sodium added broth/cream of chicken.

I add my frozen vegetables later on in the cooking process, just because I don't want them to turn to mush, but if you are cooking your soup on Low or if you are not around to add them in later, adding it all in at the same time is perfectly fine.

Stir if you can! I know some people like crockpot meals because you don't have to stir or check on it, but I personally like to stir the soup every once in a while. Other wise you get a brown crust around the edges, which turns burnt. Stirring also helps everything cook more evenly. 

Cut your Biscuits SMALL! As they cook they expand, so keep that in mind when cutting them! A lot of these recipes I've seen say to just cut them in quarters and that is WAY WAY TOO BIG!