The Braums Go Fall {And FREE Printable}

The pumpkins are here! The pumpkins are here!

Fall Printable

It’s Fall ya’ll and that means this mama is happy! I love it all… maybe even MORE than Christmas!! (gasp!!)

I’m so thankful that summer is over and I can get to more serious matters at hand:

  • Wearing over-sized sweaters
  • And more importantly, squeezing my daughter into overalls that are too tight around the middle and plopping her in hay (or a field, or dirt) for necessary photo documenting purposes

I stress again, pumpkin patch pictures are a must (MUST) in this household.  All future children of mine will have to suck it up and deal!

Because I’m feeling a little Fall crazy, I’ve jam-packed this post with the following:

  • My daughter in a pumpkin patch (reason enough to keep reading)
  • Fall decor from around our home
  • A link to an awesome warm vanilla cider adult beverage recipe (equally warming and delightful sans booze) (link at bottom of page)
    • DISCLAIMER: it IS a Martha Stewart recipe and I did NOT make it as fancy as she did.
  • A link to a cute “Ghosty” Halloween craft for you and the kiddos, made by my buds at Fox and Bear
  • And finally a  FREE PRINTABLE  for your quick Fall decorating needs because… why not!

I hope all of this gets you in a festive mood!


{I call this series of 3:  “Pumpkins: Evoking Joy and Happiness, but also Sorrow” }

Joy P Patch 2

Joy P Patch 3

Joy Patch 4

Love those overall rolls…

Joy P Patch 5

Joy P Patch 6

Work that beanie Little Miss!!

Joy P Patch 7

Joy P Patch 8

And a family pic for good measure…

Joy Fam P Patch

Mantels are probably my favorite things to decorate. To be honest, a lot of those objects (birdcage, candlestick, and vase) are up year round! Don’t feel like you have to take EVERYTHING off just to decorate for the seasons. Just take off a couple big items and replace them with the seasonal. Ex: taking off my white candle and replacing it with a pumpkin. ha!

Also, I had to include a pic of our awesome deer head in the background!

Fall Mantel

In an effort to keep costs down, I refashioned my daughter’s “1st Birthday Wreath” into one fitting for the season.  Sorry, no DIY… I just popped off the white flowers and added some orange and burlap…

Fall Wreath

CLICK HERE for the Warm Vanilla Cider recipe


CLICK HERE for your free Fall printable

Pumpkinful Print


Our Backyard: Before and After!


We did it! Our backyard is finally done! Well… almost.  Still have a few builds to finish and some planting around the house… but alas, it is not planting season and it’s too dang hot!…

ANYHOO! It has been a looong spring and summer for us…. I think it’s safe to say we worked our little “you know whats” off, trying to make our backyard a usable (and baby safe!) place!

It wasn’t easy, (understatement of the year!) requiring months of digging, hacking down spiky cactus, getting poked by cactus, more digging, shoveling out masses upon masses of gravel (and dirt), laying pavers, removing pavers, crying, tearing out dead grass, installing new grass, building furniture, freaking out, being sore, laughing from delirium, planting, decorating, all while taking care of a baby, and then finally……. HALLELUJAH PRAISE GOD ALMIGHTY… It. Was. Finished. And it was good.

After the craziness of Joy’s B-Day party, I was finally able to compile some before and after shots of our new and improved backyard!

Feel free to dry-heave at the before pics, and OOH and AAH at the afters…


We wanted a grass area for our little one to run around on, and a place for us to play Cornhole, the official game of the mid 20 year olds.

So we got to work.  Digging, scraping, yelling, blah blah until it was done! (again… massive understatement!)

No, my husband is not wearing socks…  We lived in dirt for months.


But it was worth it…





BY Potted Garden


In the area next to the grass, we decided on creating a big and cozy lounge area.

This required building a custom sectional to accommodate the amount of seating we wanted.  We used Ana White’s original blueprint and then modified for our needs.

And so began the build.  James and a couple good friends, worked tirelessly in our hot garage, surviving taunting from our neighbors who asked “are you building an ark in there?” har. har.


I love the X design on the back.  James did not “love” building them…


Once we got the couch into place, we painted and cushioned that behemoth!


BY Before 1

And now… the AFTER!:

BY Sitting Area

I stumbled upon the barrel coffee table idea on pinterest, but their’s required getting glass custom cut for the barrels.  We were actually going to do that, until we random walking through the plumbing section at Home Depot and I found these: water heater drip pans.  They were cheaper, and safer than glass, and we found a size that fit perfectly in the barrels.  The lip of the pan sets inside the barrel lip.  Perfect!




OK! Off to the dining area! The cage was the only safe place for the child.  Poor kid.



Annnd the AFTER:  (The table is always set. Ha. Yah….)



Finally, we really really wanted to have a fire pit.  There was a kind of natural break in the backyard that we thought would work perfect.


Again, the cage for the wee one.




We built a simple cinder block fire pit. There are tons of fire pit DIYs online for you to find.  We are still working on the bench in the back.  We followed this DIY for the bench.

BY Fire Pit 2


All lit up for our warm, summer night hang outs.

BY Night Time


Now yes, we still have gravel.  Is it our first choice? No.  Are we making it work (like all the outdoor pics from Restoration Hardware)? Yes.  Hey, it helps me sleep at night…

We love our new backyard.  A prize well earned.  Nothing better than running around outside with little ones, or relaxing with my love in the warm summer breeze.

Joy’s Bright, Bright Sunshiny Birthday!

It was also a HOT, HOT sunshiny birthday! I guess that’s what happens when your child decides to make her arrival in the smack-dab middle of August in SoCal!

Because we have had a particularly hot summer out here, I decided to run with it and make the theme something bright and sunny!!

Enter sunflowers.  Too many to count. Everywhere.  Overboard?… ppssh no way!!

As stressful as it was, with months of planning in advance (meaning: buying all the summer things before the stores put out Fall/Christmas stuff!) , I had so much fun crafting and decorating for this special occasion!  (Also, royal blue makes my baby’s “baby blues” pop like crazy!)

There’s only one First birthday!  Right?!

I had a blast working on my photoshop skills and making the party invites.  I think they turned out pretty cute! (if we actually lived on Sunny Lane, in Brightville, that would have been very helpful for the theme! ha)



A wonderful, talented friend of mine made all the cupcakes for the party, topped with adorable candy sunflowers! (what else!)

The party favors were little sunflower growing kits!

Another amazing, crafty, talented lady friend made a ton of paper flowers and assembled our “flower fence” outside!


My mom sewed everything for Joy’s highchair.  The bib was just a last minute thing… She’s ridiculous.  I should really work on my sewing skills…


We had an empty shed on the side of our house that was of no use to us, so we decided to break it down.  While my husband was feverishly ripping it apart, being the craft hoarder I am, I told him I would still like to keep all the pieces (much to his dismay…)  We used the back piece of the shed as a photo backdrop and put out one of the doors by the front door as a welcome sign!  Endless possibilities! (Ya hear that honey? Endless!!)


This pic of our barrel coffee tables (and couch) are just a sneak peak of our awesome outdoor DIY projects to come! (Also our new backyard reveal!)


All in all, it was a crazy day.  But it was an awesome day with family and friends! But I’m also glad it’s over! Ha.  Love these two!  Now to start planning next year’s theme!


My dainty cake smasher.  Such a lady….


Moms and babies…


And for good measures, if you didn’t get enough blue and yellow, here’s a couple pics from Joy’s ONE photo  shoot!




For a little freebie, I made some corresponding printable  “thank you” notes if you are in a pinch to send someone a sweet note!!


Now, enjoy the rest of summer!

The Gravel House: Backyard Update

Ahh construction…. it’s really like digging a hole that doesn’t get any deeper.  The tasks are never ending…

I got it in my stubborn mommy mind that no matter what, we are having my daughter’s first birthday party at our house! I really didn’t want it at a park… in the hottest part of summer…

So began the backyard renovation.  All on our own.

This involved removing giant cactus and a million pounds of gravel!  That took a while….

We also laid pavers around our gravel patio and quickly realized it wasn’t going to work with our new outdoor furniture, so we ripped them all up.  Weekend wasted….

We are now in the process of laying down some sweet artificial grass! Haters gonna hate, but we don’t care… Enjoy your water bill!

There’s just so many ideas bouncing around my skull and i’m just praying it all gets done in time…. One month and counting….


Until then, enjoy my daughter “helping”…



My Mom is not a Survivor

Today is a very special day for my family…

We are celebrating the TEN YEAR anniversary of my mother being breast cancer FREE!! So, to commemorate the occasion and because I love my mom, I thought I’d share a little bit of her story and how it affected me then and now.


I want to preface by saying that my mom does not live in the past.  This is in no way a rehash of how difficult life was back then.  It is a reflection of a time in our lives when God received glory through her cancer experience.  In a convo I had with my mom this morning, she described today as her “Thanksgiving Day”.  Alright, here we go…

It’s amazing to me what the brain chooses to remember, and what it chooses to let go.  I don’t remember everything.  The “day in and day out” of this time in our lives has left me.  BUT I do remember specific moments and vivid pictures that will always stay with me.  With my mom’s blessing, I’d like to share those memories with you.

  • I remember how I found out.  I came home from school, to an empty house and listened to the answering machine.  A family member, who had heard the news before me, had left a tearful message for my mom.  I, in no way, have ever (even back then) held this against them, but it was a less than ideal way to hear the news.  I remember dropping on the kitchen floor, sobbing and crying out to God the question so many of us ask, “why?”
  • I remember my mom getting sick of losing chunks of hair and made the decision to shave her head.  I remember the hair dresser coming over to the house and shaving it in my mom’s bathroom.
  • I remember going to the wig shop and looking at wigs.
  • I remember painting my mom’s head like an easter egg.  We were on our way to a family function (Easter) and my mom wanted to reveal her new “do” to the family in a fun and lighthearted way.  I remember my aunts’ tearful laughs.  I remember my mom taking a picture with my bald uncle.
  • I also remember painting her head like a cracked egg, with me and my sister wearing bald caps, also looking like cracked eggs.  All for a cancer walk with church friends.
  • I remember walking into the den and seeing my parents cuddling on the couch.  I remember this because my parents were never huge on PDA, so I knew it was a moment my mom was having a hard time.
  • I remember the room where my mom received chemo.  I didn’t go with her as much as I should have (she would disapprove of me saying that! Ha)  I remember she had to painfully receive chemo through the veins in her wrists, due to other complications.
  • I remember her talking to other patients about Jesus.  It wasn’t “the Komen efforts” that would save them eventually… It was Jesus, who already did.  She wore a crown on her last day of chemo, and then passed it off to another patient.
  • I remember her making the decision to remove one of her breasts.  They attempted reconstructive surgery but her body rejected it.  I remember that being a struggle.  I know it still is.
  • Lastly, I remember her telling me about her intimate conversation with God, telling Him she wasn’t ready, that she wasn’t done raising her girls.  God told her we would be ok. That we knew Him, and He gave her peace.

Cracked Eggs

“It wasn’t ‘the Komen efforts’ that would save them eventually… It was Jesus, who already did.”

That’s what I recall ten years ago today.  Beauty and pain, uncertainty and peace, all mixed together.  What a time.  I’m so thankful for a God who is the SAME through all those different seasons…  Praise God.

BUT, her journey doesn’t really end there…

You see, although the cancer may be gone, the rest of your life is spent on various medications, routine doctor visits, dealing with difficult scars or body changes.  It doesn’t really just go away.  Because of that, even ten years later, I’m still watching and learning from my mom.  I have recently added a couple NEW memories that I will remember forever.  Here they are….

  • I remember watching my mom hold my daughter, her grand daughter, for the first time in the hospital.  I know that God answered one of her prayers that day.
  • I remember (and I haven’t even told my mom this)  going clothes shopping with her and my sister.  In particular, I was looking for post-baby bras.  Although I adored breastfeeding, after I was done, I was left with next to nothing.  Because of this, no bras fit me in the women’s department, so we jokingly (but not really) went into the pre-teen area so I could try bras on there.  We were all kind of giggling about how silly it was, and the unfortunate fact that I really only filled out training bras now.  My sister went around the corner, and I just looked at my mom and said how embarrassed I was and how nothing makes you feel more like a woman than wearing a bra made for 11 years olds.  She replied “Believe me, I know”.   Four little words that hit me like a ton of bricks.  As I mentioned above, after removing her breast, these days finding shirts that fit properly and don’t show her scars are hard to find, and I know at times it frustrates her.  Being aware of that, what she said in that moment centered me.  It reminded me what aspects of womanhood really matter.


“I know that God answered one of her prayers that day.”

The next few sentences are really the point of this post:

My mom doesn’t like being associated with the “pink ribbon”.  I’m not trying to say that all that stuff doesn’t matter, because it does… A LOT, but to her, what defines her is not Diana: Breast Cancer Survivor

It’s Diana: Child of God, believer in the resurrection of Jesus, wife and mother of 2, grandmother of 1, follower of Christ through ALL things in life, in times of abundance and in need.

That’s MY mom.

She said this to me this morning, “If this was God’s chosen path for me, for the sole purpose of being bolder and sharing Him with strangers, then bring it on.”

To God be the Glory.

Master Bedroom Makeover!


The “Gravel House” is becoming a home! Buying a house and having a baby 2 weeks later kinda puts a damper on nesting, but slowly but surely it’s gettin’ done!

To be honest, the master bedroom was the last room we decorated.  For a long time, we were sleeping on a mattress on the floor, with extra furniture stuffed against the walls.  We had bigger issues to tend to (like repainting  a million kitchen cabinets! oh!… and having a newborn), so we made due for a time.

After a while though, with a house filling up with more and more baby things, we were in need of a retreat.  The rest of the house (as you will see in posts to come) is pretty neutral.  A lot of grays, greens, and tans.  So my hubs decided that we should go bold, something new for us and different from the rest of the house, so it felt like a nice little getaway from house and baby life. So here ya go!…



Boom.  I don’t think you can get higher contrast than purple and yellow!  We decided to go more “dusty purple’ on the walls, to make it a little more adult-like.  Also made sure to ground it all with a neutral palette, because these colors can get out of hand real quick!  I think we did a pretty good job… A little bold, eclectic, mod, vintage….


It was also important to us to create a different “zone” in the room… make it feel bigger, more hotel-like.  So we found a sweet cushy loveseat to go under our window, and added a side table for wine glasses and whatnot (this is a MOMMY and DADDY retreat room, people!) It’s amazing how MORE furniture can actually make a room feel larger than it is…

I also really enjoyed mixing tons of patterns and textures.  The key is to not repeat the same kinda of pattern.  Our duvet is bold and large, so the loveseat is small, and more geometric.  This also contrasts with the light and flowier  pattern on the curtains.  The art is really soft looking, and we added a lot of copper accents for some metallic  and shine.  Furry rug and blanket, etc… you get the idea…  I’d definitely say that we rock the eclectic vibe pretty hard in the entire house.



What do you think?! Please disregard the naked pillows on the bed, I’m in search for the perfect dusty purple shams!  It all turned out slightly more feminine than I originally planned, but we love it! This decor was definitely out of the box for us, but being able to create different vibes in one house is what makes decorating fun!!

Money Dress

A while ago (like over a year) I started a Pinterest board of just little crafty things I’ve made over the years. It was mainly just a board for me.  Well a couple of them have actually been making the rounds online, and a few people have asked for the website or instructions.  I had neither of these because I just made it…. BUT in an effort to help ( I know how mad I get when I find cute things without a link) I have tried my best to come up some instructables for my “Money Dress”.

This was actually my mom’s idea for my sister’s friend who was graduating high school and going to fashion school…

Money Dress


1. Small Dress Form that you can stick pins in (I think we found it at Hobby Lobby or HomeGoods…. probably in the jewelry or girls room section).  If you can’t find them in any stores, I’m sure you can purchase online!! Yay technology!

2. Small push pins

3. As many dolla’ bills as you are willing to spend

4. Optional Ribbon


Unfortunately I have no progress pics but I will explain as best I can…

For the skirt portion of dress: fold a single dollar bill into a point at one end, however big or small you want.  With the excess part of the bill (the part that’s not pointed) fold it down once, so it isn’t as long.

Then, starting at the bottom of the form, take the bill and pin it to the form.  Then you basically keep creating points and pinning them around the form, working your way up in a shingle pattern. (Since you layers will basically lay on top of each other, it will cover the pins and imperfections)

Here’s a close up pic.  Hope is makes sense.  It’s really an opportunity to be creative and fold however you want.  The point is to make layers so it looks like a cute cocktail dress



For the bodice:

I wrapped and pinned a couple bills around the waist of the form, so it looked more like a corset.  I then crinkled folded a bill or two to create the top portions.  Pinning and hiding things as I went.  Like I said, be creative.  I just moved and pinned things wherever I saw fit.


Once you’re done pinning, feel free to add ribbon or embellishments.  Hide what you don’t like.  Your grad will just be so happy to get money!!! Ha!

This is more creative then just giving cash in an envelope!

Clothespin Wreath for $10!

I am a crafty lady.  It keeps me sane.  With a teething baby, a girl’s gotta do something to keep her mind right, amen?

There was a plain wall in our laundry area that needed some love.  With indoor and outdoor renovations in our near future, I needed something cheap (but also cute, duh!)

I’ve seen the idea of a clothespin wreath all over Pinterest, particularly the ones with the old school clothespins.  But I didn’t really like any of the DIYs, so I decided to just roll with my own version…



What I didn’t like about the DIYs I’ve seen, is that the pins were always facing the side that showed just the wood (“Like a drumstick” as my husband put) with a cardboard ring reinforcement.  I prefer being able to see the slits, makes it seem more “pin like” and also adds a bit of visual contrast.  I also didn’t really see the need for a cardboard ring…


Ok. Here’s this list of what’s needed:


1. Vintage Style Clothespins (You can find these at your local craft store or online) (I used roughly 50)

2. Embroidery Hoop (the INNER ring) Whatever size you want

3. Your favorite ribbon

4. A handy dandy hot glue gun



1. DRY FIT your pins around your hoop!! I did this and found that if I glued each pin touching each other, I would have been short about 10 pins… So I spaced them about a quarter inch apart and ended up with extra… This step could save you a trip back to the store!

2. Lay your hoop on a flat surface

3. Take a pin and put a bead of hot glue on each side, and glue it to the hoop, keeping the pin as straight as possible.

4. Continue around the rest of the hoop. Easy peasy..


5. Add your favorite ribbon to hang! ( Or don’t for a more modern look)





Now for me, the wreath cost $10… you can splurge or cut back, depending on what supplies you already own.

What I love most is that it’s neutral and the ribbon can be switched out with the season!

New Series: The Gravel House

We bought our first house back in August.  It’s the perfect little starter home.  Quirky, made in the early 50’s, “move in” ready, but weird enough that we would want to do some renovating.  Just the kind of vibe we like!

The house’s nickname is The Gravel House.  It unfortunately was not named by us, but rather by everyone in our neighborhood…  It’s probably pretty easy to figure out the origins of it’s name, but I’ll just tell you anyway… it’s covered in gravel.  No grass, no flowers, just rocks.  Big ones, small ones, (“some as big as your head”… anyone?) with a sprinkling of giant, menacing cactus.  Perfect playground for a kid, right??!! Lord help us…. it’s plain awful… The only way Joy can safely sit outside is in her Pac N Play, i.e. her jail cell.

This new little series of posts will chronicle the updates and renovations of our home.  Watch out for our first post: Master Bedroom Makeover! Until then, say sayonara to this rocky curb appeal….( ok fine, there’s a couple hedges here and there intermixed with the cactus… but still… pick a plant theme people!)



Catching Up….

Classic Alyssa…. starting something with total enthusiasm and then totally forgetting about it….

SO…. Here’s my “catch up” post:

A LOT of growing has been happening in the Braum household.  Spiritually, mentally, and physically.  Maybe a break from the blog-o-sphere was a good thing. Re-centering is always healthy.  God has been working on my heart, as well as my husband’s, teaching us new things, opening new doors, closing old ones… and all the while our little Miss has been growing like weed! She’s almost 8 months now… Sprouting teeth like nobody’s business, crawling is right around the bend, and babbling like a crazy person all the time! As crazed as my life feels now, I have a feeling I haven’t even scratched the surface…

Here’s some updated pics of the wee one… months 4-7



What a freakin’ cutie… I love that we made her!