Thursday, December 3, 2009

Crafty Christmas Decor



Where did November go? If anyone's seen it, please let me know, I blinked and missed it! So, over at Blue Eyed Blessings, Heidi is doing the December craft challenge, and the theme is Christmas decor.



Since I missed November and I'm now trying to get everything ready for Christmas, I didn't have time to make anything new, but do have a number of older crafts to show you.
Gingerbread Boy Garland
This first one, I need to appologize for the quality of the picture, due to the lighting, I had some issues getting a good picture. It's a garland I made to hang on the wall.


To make it, I cut 6 Gingerbread boy shapes out of a brown paper bag, sewed 3 sets of two of them together with white thread and a little stuffing inside. Then, I used a black marker to draw on faces and buttons. Then, I took some brown paper twist (raffia would work too) and cut it into narrow strips. I tied the gingerbread boys on in the middle (I ran some thread through their backs) and added a bow at each end.




Nativity Scene

This next craft is a nativity scene. This particular one was made by my Mom, but I've made them too.



To make this, you need:

three small clay pots (one is a little smaller than the other two)
paint
scraps of fabric
yarn scraps
two large wooden balls (these particular ones have a flat side, which makes it easier to fasten to the pot but a regular one works if you're using hot glue)
one smaller wooden ball
glue (hot glue is easiest)
straw
a pipe cleaner

Paint the pots the colors you'd like them, paint the wooden balls a flesh color and then add a face (either with paint or markers). Glue the two big balls to the bottoms of the larger flower pots, add a little yarn for hair, and then the scraps of fabric for the head coverings (I think these were squares folded in half diagonally). Joseph's has a little scrap of yarn in a circle as the band to hold his head covering on. Mom glued the sides of the head covering to the pots to help them stay in place. Take the pipe cleaner and bend it for the shepard's hook and glue it to the side of the pot. Then, for Jesus, put some hay in the smaller pot, filling it to the top. Then, glue the little wooden bead to the hay. If you want, you can add a little circle of yarn or pipe cleaner for a halo.

Lighted Snowman Jar
This is a lighted jar that I made a few years ago.

For it, I used:
1 glass jar (quart size, I used an old mayo jar) white, black and orange paint ( I can't remember but I think I used paint that's designed to go on glass like Perm Enamel)
Two large black buttons
An old sock with a cuff
Small amt of thread
glue
a light bulb on a cord (like you would use for a Christmas village house) - I think I got mine at the dollar store or Walmart, with the holiday houses.

Paint the jar white and paint the nose and mouth of hte snow man. Glue the buttons on or eyes. Then, take the sock, cut off the end (you might need to experiment with this a bit, I think I used from the heel up) and use the thread to tie or sew it shut about 3 inches from where you cut. Then take scissors and cut the three inches into fringe. Put the light in the jar, leaving the cord hanging out and then put the sock "hat" over the openning of the jar. I had to use some tape initially to get the sock to stay on and the light to stay in, but now that it's been that way a few years it's not needed anymore.


Santa Candle Cup

This next one is an idea I saw somewhere on the internet a long time ago.


For it you need:

1 wooden candle cup
a red candle (this works best if the candle fits snugly in the cup)
paint
a cotton ball
glue

Paint a Santa face on the candle cup, the back is all white. unwind the cotton ball, trim it and glue around the top edge of the candle cup. Put the candle in. I wouldn't recommend actually burning the candle (especially mine since the candle doesn't fit tight, so it's prone to tipping over), but they're pretty cute to look at.

For more great craft ideas, go check out Heidi's site!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

WFMW - Cleaning coffee Stains




Over at We Are THAT Family, there's a themed Works for Me Wednesday this week. We're to share a cleaning tip. The one I'm going to share is one my mom taught me when I was really little (she gave me the task of going through all the mugs and cleaning the coffee and tea stains out of them, probably to keep me occupied), so I thought it was something that everyone knew. After looking around last week on the web, trying to figure out how to get the sour milk smell out of my daughter's lunch box thermos, I discovered that a lot of people were asking about getting the coffee stains out of their thermoses.



My suggestion: Baking Soda!

Make a paste of baking soda and water and rub the coffee stains with it, they'll disappear almost immediately and then rinse. It works on mugs, sinks, coffee pots, etc. The nice thing is that baking soda is safe to ingest if you happen to not get it rinsed completely.



For more great cleaning tips, check out the WFMW post over at We Are THAT family!

Craft Challenge


Over at Blue Eyed Blessings, Heidi does a monthly craft challenge. This is my first entry in the challenge. Unfortunately, I was a little late reading her post about it, so I didn't have much time to do something.




door paintingThis first one is one I did yesterday. I took some of my washable paints, mixed them with a little dish soap and then painted on the sliding patio door. I don't remember where I saw it, but the soap is to make it easier to come off when we're done.


This one I did a few years ago, I took a regular clay flower pot and painted it with acrylic paints and then sealed it with a clear spray paint. I think I used a Sharpie for the face. I usually use it as a candy dish on my desk, this year I sat a yogurt cup in it and put cut flowers in it. I've done a pumpkin like this too, only I used the saucer that goes under the pot as the top of the pumpkin and I painted a jack-o-lantern face on it. I haven't gotten it out yet this year.

That's it for now! I'm hoping to do more crafts for Halloween, but haven't gotten to it yet. I'm also hoping to do more Monthly Craft Challenges when Heidi posts them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WFMW - Making closets easier for kids


Today for WFMW, I'm going to share a tip I've used with both of my kids. I've got two girls who love to wear dresses and like to pick out their own clothes (no, they don't always match, but I'm hoping that will come in time, I just don't feel it's worth the daily battle of trying to make them wear something that they don't want to).

The thing is, their dresses are in the closet and way above their head and out of reach so I ended up having to get them down for them. One day while I was at Kmart, I discovered the Closet Doubler. It hangs below the main rod, so the kids can reach it. Now I can put the girls really nice dresses (that I don't want them wearing to school) and out of season dresses on the top rod and leave the ones they can wear everyday on the bottom where they can reach them. As a bonus, they can also put them away on their own now too!

The Closet Doubler is working for us! For more tips, head over to We are THAT Family.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Give away

I've rediscovered my love of reading lately. Reading a couple books a week, ranging from Mysteries to Romances.

Over at Not Entirely British, they're giving away two books by Sherry Ann Miller. I've not read any of Miller's books, but this would be a great way to check out a new author!

Good Luck if you enter!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WFMW - Tomato Mozarella Salad



Today over at We Are that Family they're having another themed edition of Works for Me Wednesday. It's a summer recipe edition! I can't wait to see all the yummy recipes!

Mine's a quick one, but one that my whole family enjoys, even the kids (if you get them in the right mood!)

Tomato Mozarella Salad
(the amounts here aren't real important)
10 oz grape tomatoes
4 oz mozarella cheese in small cubes
1/8 cup Italian dressing
1 clove minced garlic (optional)

Cut the tomatoes in halves, combine with the cheese, garlic and dressing. This is better if it's refrigerated a little bit before serving, but I usually end up putting it right on the table.

I've also used string cheese cut up (which is often mozarella anyway).

For more great recipes head over to Works for Me Wednesday!

P.S. My post for WFMW wasn't in Mr Linky when I went back to look this weekend. I don't know if it was deleted or if it didn't work right since I did it from my phone, so check out my Laundry tips.

I'm still looking for 2 people to do my Craft it Forward.

Friday, June 19, 2009

WFMW - Laundry tips


Today for WFMW, I've got some laundry tips to share:



Lingerie bags - they're great for keeping little socks together. At some point in our various moves, we got away from using them. Now I've got a clothes basket full of socks in my room that are missing mates. Every so often, I go through them and mate them, So we really need to get back to using them for socks. But, the original reason I bought them was for my clothes that I didn't want to go through the dryer. I put my hand knits, bras, etc in them and told hubby that when he saw that bag it was stuff that didn't get put in the dryer. It made it much easier for both of us. I've seen different colored bags so you could use one for socks and one for the line dry clothes. Or you could tie a ribbon to one to tell them apart.

Laundry markers - I hate pairing socks. Not so much the colored ones, but the white ones that all look the same. I use to put a little colored thread on the toe, a different color for each pair. But then hubby came up with the idea of numbering them with a laundry marker (Sharpie makes a good one). He numberd them on the bottom for a while, but has switched to doing it on the inside of the cuff where it's less likely to wear off. They're so much easier to pair now!

Odo Ban - I've got a bed wetter and her sheets always smelled until I started putting odo ban in the wash too.

Shout - This is my all time favorite stain remover. It rarely let's me down. The few times it has are either with permanent marker or something that missed getting treated the first wash. I keep a bottle in each bedroom and one in the laundry room. I buy it by the gallon at Sam's club.

I hope some of these tips help. For more tips check out WFMW by clicking the banner above.

Check out my craft it forward post. I'm still looking for a few people.

Going Dot.COM



I'm a little behind in my blog reading. But Tip Junkie is one of my favorites. She's been doing this for 2 years now and has moved to a .com address. To celebrate, she's having a party, go check it out!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WFMW - Weekend Breakfasts during the Work Week



It's Wednesday once again and over at We are THAT Family, you'll find Works for me Wednesday.

Around our house, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, if for no other reason than the kids eat it consistantly (every day, and all of it). But I don't like to buy a lot of the sugar loaded cereals AND I work full time, so mornings are a little hectic around our house. I do buy cereal, but I try to stick to ones that are lower in sugar (Cheerios, Rice Crispies, Chex, etc), occasionally I'll buy something a little more exciting like Cinnamon Toast crunch, but it almost always goes stale before the box is finished (which doesn't bother the kids, but it tells me that they don't like the sugar coated cereals much either). So, they get tired of the same old cereals and like something different. Here are a few things I offer them:

Muffins - These can be baked on the weekend and either kept in the freezer or in the refrigerator so they can have one during the week without the hassle of baking.

Oatmeal - I've stopped buying the "Instant" Oatmeal packets. We were only getting the regular flavor anyway (they didn't like the flavored ones). And they were often eating more than one pack a morning anyway. So I've been buying a big container of Quick Oats and just making them the same way I did the "Instant" ones. I like a little more flavor to mine, so I often add something to it (chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, raisins, etc).

Waffles - When I make a batch of waffles, usually there's way more than we can eat in one morning. So, I use whatever recipe I want to use (or a mix) and then make them all. The ones we don't eat, I lay flat in a Ziploc bag with wax paper between layers and pop in the freezer . As long as they're flat, they can then be put in the toaster to heat up. (This is a lot cheaper than Eggos and you can control what goes into them if you make them from scratch!)

Pancakes - Same as for waffles, except I usually make them a little on the small side and microwave them instead of toasting them.

Eggs - I take two eggs, scramble them (sometimes with a little milk or water), microwave them in a bowl for 30 seconds, stir then put them in for another 30 seconds. You can add cheese too for the last 30 seconds.

Hopefully you'll get some ideas from this. Next I want to try to find an alternative to frozen "French Toast Sticks" which really aren't much like french toast, but my kids love them. I want to try to find a way to make them myself.

For more ideas and tips head over to We Are that Family (click the image above).
If you like to do crafts, check out my Craft it Forward, there are still a few spots available.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

More summer activities

I found the list of summer activities that I'd saved over at an unpink life. There are a lot of great ideas there!

Today's the last day of school around here. Since I work full time the girls are in day care and I don't get the "I'm bored" nearly as often. But I kept this list on my phone so I've got it handy when I do get it. Part of me wishes that I did get the question more often, because that would likely indicate that the girls were spending more time at home.

Just a reminder, there are still opennings for my Craft it Forward.

T-shirt to Hobo Bag




I got several t-shirts from work that I do not want to wear (I don't like what they say on them). But, there's too much fabric in them go unused. So I took one and part of another following the instructions here, I made a hobo bag to carry stuff to and from work in.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Craft it Forward

Over at Caldwell Cuties, Kim did a craft it forward and I'm a lucky recipient!

Check out these cute notecards and notebook she sent me:





And she made me a little purse to keep them in!


I'm envious of people who can create cards like these! I can knit, I can crochet, sew, etc and given a design/layout, I can copy that, but I cannot come up with ideas like this on my own! (Hence why my blog is so plain!). I just don't have the "eye" for it. Kim also sent me some dark chocolate Peanut M&Ms. They're gone, so I can't take a picture, but trust me, they were YUMMY!

Thanks Kim for the great package! And as promised, I'm crafting it forward!


Here are the rules:
1) Be one of the first THREE bloggers to comment on this post.
2) You then agree to share your snail mail address with ME (leave me your e-mail in the comment and I'll contact you) so I can send you a small gift handmade by ME!
3) When you receive your gift, you then blog about this game & link back to my blog in that post. (dont' do it before!)
4) And most importantly, you ALSO AGREE to "craft it forward" (or just pay it forward if you'd rather) and send a small gift to the 3 people who comment on your blog post...

Remember do not post about this until you receive something from me in the mail.

Summer Bordom Busters

Over at We Are that Family, they're having another themed edition of Works for Me Wednesday. This time they're looking for answers to "Mom, I'm Bored". I've come up with a list of 10 (you could do one every week day for two weeks and then repeat!) but, I know in my files I've got a list of other ones somewhere. Check back later in the week, hopefully I'll get it posted.


1) Visit the library - Our library has a summer reading program where the kids (and adults too!) can win prizes. They also have story time where the kids hear stories, sing songs and do a craft. There are multiple libraries in our area too, so we could hit more than one if we wanted to.

2) Go to the Zoo - We've got a zoo pass, it's paid for itself in two trips to the zoo. The nice thing is, I don't feel bad, if we only go for an hour, or if we go and it suddenly starts to pour. Most of the passes offer reciprocation at other zoos too, so we can get into other zoos in the country for half price or free (which makes vacations cheaper!) There are children's museums and aquariums with passes too.

3) Movies - A lot of Movie theaters have a discount kids day (sometimes with special movies) during the week. Check the theaters in your area.

4) Go Bowling! - Check out if your kids can bowl free in your area!

5) Do a craft - My kids have art boxes with all kinds of different supplies in it that they can use pretty much whenever they want. This morning, my daughter made a book bag out of paper, while she was waiting for everyone else to get ready. Crafts don't need to be structured, just give them the supplies and see what they come up with!

6) Make Playdough - Here's my favorite recipe.

7) Make a snack - My kids love helping in the kitchen. Last night, my picky eater ate an entire enchilada because she helped make it. Even if it's not time for a snack, maybe they can do something to help prepare for dinner: make bread, make jello, snap green beans, etc.

8) Make crayons - Take old, broken crayons and give them new life by taking the wrappers off and melting them in a muffin pan (in the oven, or try it outside!).

9) Plant a garden - I'm giving a small section of my flower bed to my daughter to plant in. She's already got some daisies that we're going to transplant to there and a few other seeds. I was hoping to give her some tomato plants too, but I don't think I'll have extras now.

10) Play with water - When my youngest was one, she had a blast when I gave her a bowl of water and an old yogurt cup to play with outside on the patio. Older kids can play does it sink or float with various objects. They can also learn about volume by guessing which containers hold more water. You could always try making paper boats too!

For more Summer activities check out Works for Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family.

(For the record, I know I misspelled boredom in the title, but if I change it now, it'll break the Mr Linky, and I HATE broken links)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

WFMW - Getting more use out of kids clothes


I think I've said it before, but kids grow fast! That means lots of clothes, so any way that I can come up with to get more use out of them, I use.

This spring, as I was organizing my kids clothes into boxes, I found some jeans that were hardly worn, mostly because the waist was too big for my kids when they were that size. They were size 18 months. My 6 year old is small for her age (she wears about a 3T in pants for height, but her waist is small). She tried on the jeans and they fit perfectly around the waist but were a good 6 inches too short. She says "I could wear them as capris!" (little did she know that was exactly what I'd been thinking!). So, I added a little lace around the hem of the legs (to make them look more like Capris than pants that are too short) and now she's able to wear them yet again (the first time we had to have a safty pin in the waist because they were too big). There was another pair of jeans that was similar, those I added little bows to the outside edge of them to jazz them up and to make it look more like Capris. We could also cut them off, but I always have trouble getting hemmed denium to look like the original hem, since it's never faded the same.

Since my oldest daughter is tall for her weight, we really have problems finding clothes that fit. She loves dresses, fortunately, so she usually wears them or skirts, but she usually outgrows them height wise first. So, on some, I add a ruffle. One one that had some embroidery around the bottom, I cut the bottom 4 inches or so off, added some coordinating fabric to the bottom of the dress and then sewed the piece with the embroidery to the new fabric, so there was a stripe in there.

So those are two things that work for us to get more life out of kids clothes. Check out more great tips on the Works for Me Wednesday post at We Are That Family.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WFMW - Teaching Toddlers letter recognition


One of these days, I'll get it together enough to schedule the WFMW posts. But, I'm still getting up to speed on this whole blogging thing.

Anyway, I've got two little girls, and it's really hard not to compare milestones between the two, one walked at 14 months, the other before she was one, and so forth. Now that they're older, I see that the younger one isn't learning the same things at their day care that the older one learned at her age. Things like name recognition, pencil skills, etc. Mostly due to a difference in day cares. One of the things that I noticed was lagging was letter recognition. Our older daughter did this activity when she was 3 at day care, they cut out the letters from paper (the teacher did that part) and then they glued things to it that started with that letter (yarn on Y, etc). So, I've started to do the same thing with my younger daughter. I print out the letters from Word, cut them out and then she puts stickers on it of things that start with that letter. She views this as her "homework" and does it while her sister does her homework.




Then, I hang the letters up on the wall in her room and when we're getting dressed or ready for bed, I ask things like "Which letter is Abby on?" "Which letter is Cinderella on?" and so forth. We're up to F so far and she's doing really well with remembering what we've done. So, it definitely seems to be working for us.

For more great ideas head over to We Are THAT Family.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WFMW - Storing old clothes



This is my first WFMW post, and I struggled with what to write, but wanted to give back to all those who shared the great tips I've been reading. Then, I started to move Winter clothes into boxes and get out the summer clothes. Kids outgrow clothes quickly. Since I've got a younger brother trying to start a family, I've been saving all my kids' clothes so I can hopefully pass them along to him and his wife someday. When my oldest was born, I stored everything in diaper boxes, because they were handy. But there were problems with storing them in diaper boxes:

  • They're all different sizes and shapes, which makes stacking them neatly hard.

  • They're very "busy" on the outside making them difficult to label

  • I usually did NOT buy boxes of diapers at Sams club because they were cheaper if I used a coupon at Walmart or Kmart and I often had a coupon.

  • Storing clothes in the coordinating size diaper box was not feasible for my kids. They were out of diapers at age 2 and diaper size 4. So using the boxes at Sams that would give me three box sizes (they have 1-2 as the same size, or at least they did) and a LOT more clothes sizes in there (0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months, etc).
So, I switched, when my second daughter was going through the clothes, to using copy paper boxes. I work full time and at the time I was working at an office that went through a lot of copy paper. There was always a stack of boxes waiting to be recycled. Here are some of the benefits:



  • They're usually close enough to the same size that the lids are interchangable even between brands.

  • They stack easily and neatly

  • They're sturdy

  • Since the lids are interchangable, label the lid with the size, then you can empty one box with the new bigger clothes, put the small clothes in that box and just put the right lid on the box.

  • They're often designed for storage so they usually have a spot to list what's in them.
So, if you know someone who works in a big office, ask them if they're willing to save the boxes for you. They work nice when you're moving too, again because they stack easily.

Head over to We are that Family for more Works for Me Wednesday posts.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Only Hearts Girls

Have you heard of the Only Hearts Girls? They're dolls that are proportioned and dressed more like a regular girl than Barbie (who actually IMHO isn't a girl, but a woman).

Over at The New Frugal Mom, they're having a contest to give one away.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New contest over at Simply Sweet Home

There's a new contest going on over at Simply Sweet Home. They're giving away some great silver earrings from Lavender Cottage. Go over and check it out. And don't forget to check out the other great jewelry at Lavender Cottage too!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Milkshake anyone?

No, sorry, I don't mean the kind you drink. I'm talking about the kids' band. Kid's music has come a long way over the years. Our XM radio is almost always tuned to XM Kids (now Kids Place Live) and very few of the songs grate on my nerves like Raffi and some of the older Kids music does. I actually like the music and I don't need to worry as much about the lyrics like I do with music for other ages (other than the occasional use of the word "butt"). One of the groups you'll hear there is a group called Milkshake. Check out their site, there are some sample mp3s.

One of my favorites is Superhero. XM Kids did a remix of it when they were touring the various Childrens' Hospitals around the country. In that version there's a girl talking about all the beads she's gotten for getting various treatments at the hospital. It's very well done.

Anyway, as you can probably guess, since I rarely have any posts that aren't about giveaways, there's a giveaway going on over at Peanut Butter and Pickle Reviews for a Milkshake CD. Go enter (but not too many times please, because I REALLY want this CD!)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Giveaways

There are a few great giveaways going on right now. Frugal Mom of 2 girls is giving away Piggy Paints. I really want to get some Piggy Paints for my daughter who sucks her thumb.

Over at Tip Junkie they're giving away a Zoom alblum.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Captive Illusions is doing it again!

Wow, the folks over at Captive Illusions is having yet another great giveaway. They've got some really cute Easter fabrics on their webistes. I really like the Pooh one!

Hmm what would I do if I won? Maybe I'd make a Bible cover? or a twirly skirt for the girls? They saw one at the store that they liked but it was a little on the pricey side...

Check out hte giveaway and good luck if you enter!

Thanks Captive Illusions!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A different giveaway

This giveway is a little different than the ones that I've mentioned before. It's for fabric! I know, hubby's probably sitting over there wondering what I'm going to do with even more fabric! But I just made this Fat Quarter Purse the other day! If I win this contest at Captive Illusions, I can make one for St Patrick's day!

They're also having a contest for Valentine's Day fabric too! Then, I can make some new pillows for the living room! or Maybe actually a quilt?

Captive Illusions has a nice Ebay Store, full of great crafting items ranging from fabric and patterns to decals. Check it out.

Another Great Giveaway

Over at MomDot, they're having another great giveaway this month for Perl Girl Tags jewelry for $500! I love jewelry like this, unfortunately, I don't have any! If you enter, good luck!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Great Giveaways at Peanut butter and Pickle reviews!

There are some great giveaways going on over at Peanut Butter and Pickle Reviews.

Honest Kids Drink Pouches
My kids don't drink much juice, since studies have shown that most juices are pretty much empty calories. But, I do think that juice boxes are nice once in a while and soon I'll need to be packing lunches too. So, I think anything that has fewer calories and less sugar is a good thing.

Retote by TerraCycle
I don't know about you, but I get overrun by plastic bags. We re-use them for garbage, we send them to day care for them to re-use. We try to take our own bags, but still end up getting overrun with the plastic bags. TerraCycle recycles bags into stronger bags.

Piggy Paint Nail Polish
I think this is so cool, a natural, non-toxic nail polish for kids. Heck, I love the color variety. And as a bonus, it's made in the USA, something that's hard to find in nail polish these days. As the mother of someone who sucks her thumb, I'm excited about this and thinking of ordering even if I don't win!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another great giveaway from MomDot!

They're having another Party over at MomDot, a different contest every day. check it out!
MomDot

 
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