Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tell All Tuesdays: Update


I took last week off.  We all boarded a plane and crossed the country from Indiana to California.  We were able to spend some wonderful time with family and friends.  There were ups, there were downs, but mostly there were a lot of ups!

And at the last moment of packing I had a big, internal debate about bringing my laptop with me.  I knew my time and internet access would be limited at best, but, I felt naked without it!!  Seriously.

I decided since I would feel naked without it, I clearly needed a break.  A forced, week-long break.  So I didn't bring my laptop.  I crossed the country armed only with my husband, two wonderful children, a stroller (which got "lost" momentarily by the airline half way home) and my iPhone.

I chose to use my iPhone sparingly...and the lack of cell signal helped force the restriction on me.  I checked email only a discard junk email on occasion.

But it gave me some time, some free time, away from electronics to ponder.  And I spent a lot of time pondering my blog.  I love my blog, but I have been feeling overwhelmed and constantly behind.  So I decided I needed a schedule so I never had to stress about what to post, I knew what I would be posting about ahead of time so life would be a little less chaotic.

So I decided that Tuesdays will be my Tell All Tuesday's day.  This is a day where I will be more open with  my readers, let you into my crazy life a bit and hopefully connect with you better because you will get to see the girl behind the curtain and realize that I am a normal person too.


We will see how it goes.  I have a hard time opening up to people, especially the whole wide world via the internet...so...it will not always be easy for me, but I think it will be a good challenge for me.

The particular topics will range I imagine, but I am excited to let you into my life a little more.

For now, all I want to share is a quick update!!
Google+

FINALLY...I am on Google+!!  I have no clue what I am doing and welcome any tips, help or advice that you have!  Come follow me (or add me to a circle!?) and drop me a line here.

Secondly, I had a few photos taken a while ago and it inspired me to update me look a bit.  If you follow me on Google+, Facebook, Twitter or Pintrest, (hint hint!) you might have noticed that I changed my profile photo to this:


What do you think?  Kinda fun, right?

Eventually I want to tweak my blog a bit to reflect the change as well!

Let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover in my Tell All Tuesdays!  I'd be happy to accommodate!

I hope you are having a wonderful week!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Simply Link Party



Thanks for stopping by for this week's edition of my Simply Link Party!

I can't wait to see all you've created!


Please link up your latest creations.

  • You can link up pretty much anything as long as you "created" it (Food, craft, home decor item, a beautiful garden, a photograph, etc.  I am really flexible!)  
  • Please keep it family friendly.  
  • Please no links to shops or giveaways.  
  • I reserve the right to delete any links that aren't appropriate. 
  • By linking up you are giving me permission to feature or show off your project (I will link back to you of course.)
  • Also, I would love it if you linked back to my site and mentioned on your blog, facebook or twitter about my link party!  Help me spread the word please!
And please visit 2-3 other links and leave them a nice, meaningful comment!  Thanks! 





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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DIY Craft Stick Puzzles {Boredom Buster}


Today I wanted to share another really simple but really fun kid craft!  It is a craft that really involves the kids throughout the entire process, and then when you are done creating it, you have a puzzle for your kids to play with!  Today I want to show you how to make DIY Craft Stick Puzzles!


You will need: 

  • craft sticks
  • coloring page
  • crayons, colored pencils or markers
  • mod podge
  • foam brush
  • exacto knife
First you will find a coloring page and let your children have fun coloring their page!  Just be sure your image is not too wide, it will need to fit on the width of a craft stick.  

I found our really fun coloring pages here, here and here.  

Second, trim the colored page as needed so that the width will fit the width of a craft stick.

Next, lay as many craft sticks out, beside each other, to fit the length of your colored paper.

Third, use mod podge to adhere the coloring page to the craft sticks.  Let dry.


Fourth, add a top coat of mod podge to the puzzle.  Let dry.

Fifth, turn the craft sticks over and, if you want, name and number the craft sticks (just in case you make multiple puzzles and they get mixed up, this way you will know which stick belongs to which puzzle).


Sixth, use an exacto knife and carefully cut in between the craft sticks.

Voila!  Your very own, Craft Stick Puzzle!


My kids had a lot of fun making these and then have spent hours playing with them to put the puzzles together!  Definitely a hit in our house!


Have you made a puzzle before with your kids?


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Monday, July 23, 2012

Monogram Etched Glass Dish


It's no secret that I love vinyl!  And today I am showing you how to use vinyl as a stencil to make an Etched Glass Dish (so no one can swipe your casserole dish at the next pot-luck!)

Go to Expressions Vinyl Blog here and check out my post!


If you need to purchase vinyl, check out Expressions Vinyl for the best price around!  They also have a killer deal on the Sillhouette Cameo too!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Simply Link Party


So sorry this is up so late!  We lost power last night for several hours.  No lights and no internet.  Tragic, I know.  And when it finally came back on, I completely spaced the fact that I needed to get this link party up.

The good news though is that we got some desperately needed rain!

Anyway, here goes...Thanks for stopping by for this week's edition of my Simply Link Party!

I can't wait to see all you've created!


Please link up your latest creations.

  • You can link up pretty much anything as long as you "created" it (Food, craft, home decor item, a beautiful garden, a photograph, etc.  I am really flexible!)  
  • Please keep it family friendly.  
  • Please no links to shops or giveaways.  
  • I reserve the right to delete any links that aren't appropriate. 
  • By linking up you are giving me permission to feature or show off your project (I will link back to you of course.)
  • Also, I would love it if you linked back to my site and mentioned on your blog, facebook or twitter about my link party!  Help me spread the word please!
And please visit 2-3 other links and leave them a nice, meaningful comment!  Thanks! 






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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Homemade Butter using a Jar {Boredom Buster}


As part of my week-ish long adventure to bring my kids into my crafting, and to prevent Summer Boredom, I knew I wanted to involve food in our crafty adventures.  We LOVE crafting with food or creating yummy treats at our house but I decided to actually break out of our normal sweet food and go for something a little more savory.  We decided to make our own Homemade Butter.


When I heard of making your own butter, all I could picture was a large old fashions wooden churn...and I was just mystified.  I had soooo many questions rushing through my head including why would I want to do that, where would I get a churn, do I have to buy one or can I rent one, and oh man my husband is not going to be happy about having to store a churn.  My husband is very very sweet and supportive of my crafting and design craziness, but a churn would take it to a whole new level!

Thankfully, I found a great blog post from Plucky Momo on making your own butter with a jar.  Oh.  I have one of those!!

You Will Need:

  • heavy cream (as much as you want, the more cream, the more butter you will make!)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • marble
  • jar or other tight sealing container 


So following the instructions on her blog post I took my heavy cream and poured it into my jar with a pinch of salt.  (For some reason a glass jar worried me a bit so I used a freezer jam jar).  Added my marble.


And we shook.


And we shook.


And after about 15 minutes of shaking...my jar started to look like this.


And after another 5 minutes of shaking or so...I had BUTTER!  Well, sort of...



I looked inside and part of it definitely had gotten thicker, and there was a separate liquid and solid part, but it didn't quite look like butter.  

So I squeezed it together using a spoon to try to get the butter to stick together.


It worked, but not quite well enough.  So I used my (clean) hands and squeezed it together over a sink so that the excess liquid would come out and the butter would meld together.

And then it looked like butter!


If you put it in the fridge for a bit, it will harden up just a bit more and will be the texture, consistency and taste of butter!  YUMMY!


Who knew making butter was so easy?!  And I got a bicep workout in the process :)

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Building with Marshmallows and Toothpicks {Boredom Buster}


This is by no means a new ideas, but it is still well-loved among my children!

It is inexpensive, builds fine-motor skills, lets the creative juices flow and is yummy!

So grab a bag of mini-marshmallows ($1) and a box of toothpicks ($1), and let your kids go to town building, creating and snacking!


Remember to join in the fun and build something too!  Your kids will love the interaction and you might find an inner architect is hiding somewhere in there :)


If you like this idea, please Pin It:  

What activities are you doing with your kids to help bust the mid-summer boredom?

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

DIY Duct Tape Race Tracks {Boredom Buster}


One of my favorite things about having a son is seeing how different he is, inherently different, from my daughter.  And because of their differences, they have both learned to enjoy doing many wonderful things that they otherwise might not have.

One of my children's latest obsessions is cars: Hot Wheels Cars to be exact.  My son can't get enough of them...he never leaves the house without one or two clutched in his cute little hands.  And my daughter is devastated that she doesn't have as many Hot Wheels as my son does...Hot Wheels are a hot commodity in our home right now!  (excuse the pun)

So the other day we had a little fun creating our own, DIY Race Car Tracks all over our house.

I was inspired when I saw this really cool car track tape here, but thought it was a bit pricey.  So for literally pennies, we created our own DIY Duct Tape Race Tracks.


All you need is some open space (on a non-damageable surface*), duct tape**, and a sharpie permanent marker.


Create a track in the configuration of your choosing.  I folded the first edge over to make removal easier.


Use your sharpie to create your track lines.


And hopefully you will have a few cute kiddos willing to take their Hot Wheels for a test drive!

This literally kept my kids engaged and happy for a good portion of a day!  It was fun, new and allowed for invention from my kids!  They even got creative and added their own obstacle courses to the track!

If you are worried about duct tape damaging your floors*, or if you need a more portable option, consider putting the duct tape on card stock paper instead for Portable Duct Tape Race Tracks!

So much fun!

We left our duct tape on our linoleum floor for about 24 hours.  It did not damage our floor or leave a sticky residue, however, please do this at your own risk*.

My kiddos LOVED it and are begging to do it again!

I love how inexpensive this activity was and the joy it brought my kids was immeasurable!  They loved it, I had fun playing with it too and I especially loved watching my kids enjoy their time playing with it, and working together to make it even more fun!

Please stop by tomorrow when I will be continuing my Summer Boredom Buster series with another great activity for kids that will keep them engaged, active and (hopefully) prevent summer boredom!

*Note:  Duct tape can leave sticky residues, damage or even ruin some surfaces.  Please use caution and common sense when using duct tape in your home.  If you have any concerns about using duct tape on home surfaces, I suggest trying this on paper, or outside on a sidewalk or driveway instead.  Or consider using Masking Tape instead.

**PS - Wondering if it "Duck Tape" or "Duct Tape"?  I was curious too and felt the need to research it!  Check out this link here to see that both "duck" and "duct" are often used interchangeably and both are considered acceptable.  But technically, "Duck Tape" is a brand name and "duct tape" is a tape that has certain specifications.

As a note: I did use Duck Brand Duck Tape...but either works :)

(disclaimer: the links on this page are affiliate links)

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Simply Link Party



Thanks for stopping by for this week's edition of my Simply Link Party!


I can't wait to see all you've created!


Please link up your latest creations.

  • You can link up pretty much anything as long as you "created" it (Food, craft, home decor item, a beautiful garden, a photograph, etc.  I am really flexible!)  
  • Please keep it family friendly.  
  • Please no links to shops or giveaways.  
  • I reserve the right to delete any links that aren't appropriate. 
  • By linking up you are giving me permission to feature or show off your project (I will link back to you of course.)
  • Also, I would love it if you linked back to my site and mentioned on your blog, facebook or twitter about my link party!  Help me spread the word please!
And please visit 2-3 other links and leave them a nice, meaningful comment!  Thanks! 






I participate in the link parties found here.
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spelling Word Flowers (free printable) {Boredom Buster}



I am not going to lie...this summer is kind of kicking my butt!  I love spending the extra time with my kiddos and the relaxed schedule...but for some reason I am having a hard time balancing everything right now: time and quality activities with my kids, family time, play dates, cleaning, laundry, cooking, crafting, working on my home and blogging.  It is a lot to balance but my family always comes first.

However, my kids are also having a tough time adjusting to summer too I think. The first month was great, we all loved the more flexible schedule.  But now, in all honesty, I think my daughter is just bored.  I can plan play dates, invite friends over, play outside, go the library and pool all week long, but she is definitely lacking the extra element of "school" in her daily routine.

Am I the only one experiencing this?!

So I am working on finding a balance in my life and in my children's lives and so decided to devote the next few days to BOREDOM BUSTER ideas.

These will be simple but fabulous ideas and activities you can do with the kids.  Ideas that will keep their minds going and their interest peaked but don't take a lot of prep work on your end.  The perfect summer craft.

So join me today and next week as I share a few fun and fabulous ideas that are kid tested (by my kids) and mother approved (by me :)  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

First up, is Spelling Word Flowers.  This is fun and seriously simple!

I am even giving you my flower page as a FREE PRINTABLE!



All you need to do it print off my free flower page, use a 2" circle punch to punch out 52 circles out of paper.  Then write the alphabet letters on the circles, twice. (I did one set of uppercase and one set of lowercase letters.)


Your kids can color the flower page if they like or just begin putting together words!

This is a great way to get your kids brains going.  My daughter is about to enter kindergarten so I only drew three flowers so she could work on three letter words.  But you can spell larger words if your kids are spelling longer words.

I am so impressed with what my daughter knew, and what she tried to spell!  And I loved spending the time with her while actively engaging her mind.

Her first word was fox.  Then she got box, sox and then on to yes and on...  She had a blast trying to sound out words to spell!  She played with this for almost an hour!  And I sat with her for the hour and watched, enjoyed and helped her when she asked for the help.

It gave my daughter a chance to get her mind going and it gave me a chance to just sit with her, enjoy her company and be completely impressed by what she was able to figure out on her own!!

It was truly fun for both of us!  


I'm giving my spelling flower printable away for FREE, just in case you want it.  :)

But, you could also draw ice cream cones, hot air balloons, anything really!  Get as creative with it as you want!


And let your kids get creative too!

Have a happy summer!


My printables are for personal use only.  
Please feel free to use as gifts or for personal use.  
If you would like to share my printable, please link directly to this blog post to share.
Any other form of distribution is prohibited.    
Any commercial use or use for monetary gain is strictly prohibited unless prior written permission is gained from blog owner.  


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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Did You Know: Lemon and Limes


I love tart and tangy lemons and limes!  I love making Key Lime Pie and I love making Lemonade.

The other day while making lemonade I realized that I had a few lemon and lime tips that I should pass on to you guys.


These are kind of life-changing tips in my opinion. :)

Did you Know:

  • You can freeze lemons and limes for later use.  Yup.  You really can!  No more wasted lemons and limes.
  • Lemon and lime juice and zest can be used interchangeably for most recipes.
  • To get the most juice out of your lemons and limes, place one in the microwave for 30 seconds, then cut in half and juice!


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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Simply Link Party



Thanks for stopping by for this week's edition of my Simply Link Party!

I can't wait to see all you've created!
Please link up your latest creations.

  • You can link up pretty much anything as long as you "created" it (Food, craft, home decor item, a beautiful garden, a photograph, etc.  I am really flexible!)  
  • Please keep it family friendly.  
  • Please no links to shops or giveaways.  
  • I reserve the right to delete any links that aren't appropriate. 
  • By linking up you are giving me permission to feature or show off your project (I will link back to you of course.)
  • Also, I would love it if you linked back to my site and mentioned on your blog, facebook or twitter about my link party!  Help me spread the word please!
And please visit 2-3 other links and leave them a nice, meaningful comment!  Thanks! 




I participate in the link parties found here.
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Star & Chevron Stripe Patriotic Sign {4th of July decor}


So after spending all afternoon creating and photographing a 4th of July project that I had really been hoping to get done this year, my memory stick crashed.  Neither my camera or my computer could read the files.  I had to reformat my disk, thus losing all of my files.

But I knew they could still be recovered...if I could find the right program...

3 hours later...I finally recovered my files.  They are a mess but I found them!  Hurray!  So my 4th of July post that I have been planning for close to a month...is going to be posted only a few hours away from the 4th of July.  Kind of lame huh?

Anyway, I was inspired by this post at Craftaholics Anonymous, but knew I wanted to make it all my own!

So I designed and created a Star & Chevron Stripe patriotic sign for my home!


I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out a chevron design.  I used some vinyl I had laying around that I didn't think I would need anytime soon (sorry to sacrifice you neon yellow), weeded it and put it on my already painted white board using transfer tape (if you are looking to purchase a Silhouette or any vinyl supplies, check out Expressions Vinyl here).


Then I painted it with some navy blue craft paint.  I just did a light coat of paint as I wanted a distressed vintage look so I did a really light coat.



Then I took off the vinyl and I had my blue and white chevron striped board.


I distressed it using my sander, added a coat of stain mixed with a clear glaze and rubbed it in until I had achieved the look I wanted!

Then I used wood glue and attached a cute distressed star I bought at Hobby Lobby intended for this project.



 Oh I just fell in love with this star!  Already double layered, already distressed and ready to go!


Isn't it just perfect for any Patriotic Holiday?

If you like it, would you mind Pinning it for me?

Have a Happy 4th of July!

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