Self-Watering Herb Planters Made From Upcycled Plastic Bottles

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #HonestSustainabiliTEA #RefreshinglyHonest #CollectiveBias

This past weekend it was gorgeous outside so I tried to soak up the warmth and sunshine as much as possible. While doing so, I thought about everything I wanted to do to prepare our outdoor area for the summer including hanging flowers on our front porch, getting a new seating area for our back porch and getting a cute welcome sign to put by the front door. One of the other things I really want is to have a garden. Growing up we always had a garden and I love the idea of tending to a garden and being able to make meals with something I’ve grown.

Unfortunately, since we live in a condo, we can’t plant things in our backyard so we have to go the route of container gardening. I decided that this year I was going to start my container garden with herbs and then maybe next year expand to other things like peppers, tomatoes and strawberries. I started with a few herbs and have plans to plant more before summer comes. Having considered a number of containers, I chose to start my herb garden with single serve drink bottles. These plastic bottles are small enough to sit on the counter ledge behind my kitchen sink and they are also easy enough to move outdoors if I want to bring them outside to get better sunlight.

The first thing I had to do was gather some empty plastic bottles. Let’s be honest- this is the easiest part, especially when all I have to do to get an empty bottle is enjoy a cold Honest® Tea on a warm day. While any plastic bottle would work for this herb garden, Honest® Tea is both delicious to drink and comes from a brand that cares about our Earth’s resources. I figured it just makes sense to use bottles from a company that promotes organic agriculture, fair trade, and landfill reduction among other things, when I’m doing an upcycled DIY project to celebrate Earth Day.

The other materials you need for these DIY self-watering herb planters are potting soil, seeds, scissors, string and water. One other thing you might want is something to label the containers so you know what herb is in each container. You can use a marker for this or make fancier labels if you prefer.

Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, take the label off of your empty bottle, rinse it out and let it dry. Then use your scissors to poke a hole between 2/3 of the way to halfway up the bottle depending on how deep you want your planter’s dirt top to be. Then cut around the bottle horizontally, from the hole, until the top comes apart from the bottom. You’ll also want to poke four holes, that are just large enough for your string to go through, in the plastic near the lid.

Once your bottle is cut, measure two pieces of string that are about the length of the bottle. You’ll then put each of the strings in one of the holes and out the other hole across from it.

The next step is to fill the bottom of the bottle with water and then place the top of the bottle upside down on top of the bottom piece. You’ll want the strings to be hanging and immersed in the water.

 Once you have the top set in place, fill halfway with soil, add in your seeds and then add another layer of soil. 

You’ll want to place your planter in a sunny spot and check the water level every few days. These self-watering planters are perfect for busy moms because you don’t have to remember to water them everyday which I love. You can even buy small herbs that have already started growing and transfer them into these self-watering planters if you don’t want to go through the hassle of planting seeds (which is what I did with a couple of my herbs to save time).

Want to make your own planters? Head to Kroger and grab some Honest® Tea bottles. I found a variety of flavors, including the NEW Unsweet Peach Ginger flavor, in the refrigerated drink cases. I really like this new flavor because, even though it’s unsweetened, the peach makes it just a tad sweet. Their tea is brewed with real tea leaves, has no added sugar, and is also organic and Fair Trade. Now through 4/22 you can even save .25 off 1 bottle at Kroger and Kroger division stores with this coupon. (Coupon can be used up to 5 times in one transaction.)

What herb will you plant in your self-watering bottle planter? Find more inspiration for upcycled crafts and tasty recipes here.

Spring Snack Container Made From Popsicle Sticks

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Easter is just around the corner and one of our favorite ways to get ready for any holiday is to make crafts and homemade decorations. I thought it would be fun to make carrot shaped snack containers. They are perfect for parties, family movie nights or any time really!

They are easy and fun to make with the kids. First, you’ll want to gather the materials needed:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Non-toxic orange paint w/ paintbrush OR orange marker
  • Green Easter grass
  • Piece of cardboard or heavy card stock
  • Non-toxic glue
  • Scissors
  • A snack to put in the container (like Goldfish crackers!)

Directions:

Cut a third of the popsicle sticks in half. (I broke them in half since I couldn’t find the adult scissors but that left sharp edges which you don’t want since kids will be holding this.)

Paint or color two of the long popsicle sticks and one of the half pieces orange and set aside to dry.

Glue 2 popsicle sticks on the cardboard in the shape of a “V” and put 1 half of a popsicle stick across the top to make it a triangle. Continue layering popsicle sticks by gluing them on top of each other until you have a deep enough container to hold your snacks. Glue the orange popsicle sticks on the top as your last layer. Then glue some of the Easter grass on the cardboard near the top of the triangle to make the carrot leaves.

Let the glue dry for a couple hours and then trim the excess cardboard from around the carrot shape.

Once the containers are ready, fill them with a snack. We chose to add our favorite snack, Goldfish crackers, to our carrot container.

Does your family make anything special for holidays or seasons? Get additional inspiration and ideas from Goldfish crackers on Pinterest!

DIY Decorative Jewelry Tray

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StreakFreeShine #CollectiveBias

Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons. From budding flowers to pretty lace dresses to sparkling pastel colored jewels, beauty is all around us. As the weather starts to warm up and the sun starts shining a bit more, I love being able to admire the new growth of flowers and watch the birds sitting outside my window.

That very first sunny spring day though, when I open up my curtains, I am reminded of the one chore that gets a little neglected during the colder months- cleaning my windows. It’s amazing how dirty they get over the few months we are stuck inside while the sky is gray and the trees are barren. I grab my Windex® Original Glass Cleaner from under my kitchen sink and, as soon as I spray it on my windows, I start to see the dirt fading away. A couple swipes of a paper towel later and my windows are shiny clean and I can see the beautiful spring day through them.

I also like to bring the beauty of spring indoors and I do that by decorating my home with seasonal decor and fresh flowers. To bring a touch of spring into my bedroom I made a decorative jewelry tray to hold some of my favorite pieces. It was easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of materials so I wanted to share the tutorial so you could make your own.

Materials needed:

  • Round tray
  • Glass or mirror a little smaller than your tray
  • Glue or adhesive
  • Beaded necklaces made for craft projects

 Directions:

Put glue/adhesive in the middle of the tray, spreading it out the width of your mirror.

Place the glass or mirror piece in the middle of the tray and gently press it down to adhere it to the tray.

To see how long your string of beads will need to be you can put it along the bottom edge of your tray. You’ll want it long enough to go all around the bottom of your tray but not overlap. I had to tie two beaded necklaces together and then take some beads off the one end because, as you can see in the picture, it was too long.

Use your adhesive/glue to glue your beads onto the tray along the inner bottom edge of the tray. If you still have space between your beads and your mirror/glass, you can glue on a second string of beads.

This tray will get a lot of fingerprint smudges on it but it’s easy to clean with Windex® Original Glass Cleaner.

Windex® Original Glass Cleaner is my favorite product to use on glass because I know that it will always leave my glass surfaces with a streak-free shine. Thanks to its formulation with Ammonia-D®, it starts working on fingerprints, dirt, and other messes even before you wipe. Whether you need to clean the smudges on your bathroom mirror, your windows, or the glass of your jewelry tray, you can trust America’s #1 glass cleaner to get the job done!

I found Windex® Original Glass Cleaner and Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner in the cleaning aisle of my local Food4Less store.

Now you can see the beauty of spring outside (thanks to your clean windows) and inside, sitting on your jewelry tray.

What is your favorite thing about the spring season? Get more spring cleaning ideas here.

Jar Of Wisdom And Love For A Graduate

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Graduation season is just around the corner which means that many are busy planning parties to celebrate their graduate. There are a number of things to think about, from the food you’ll serve to the decor you’ll have to the gift you’ll give. Today I wanted to share an idea I had that is perfect for graduation parties but also doubles as a gift for your graduate.

I created a Graduation Jar of Wisdom & Love. This jar can be set out on a table at the party for guests to leave words of wisdom and love for the graduate. It’s simple to make, too! Just get a large jar and decorate it with ribbon or scrapbook stickers. Leave pieces of card stock, washi tape and a pen on the table with a sign asking your guests to leave their words of wisdom and love. When they are done writing their note on the card they can roll it up and wrap tape around it.

Once the party is over you can put the lid on the jar and present it to your graduate. You could also roll up dollar bills and add them to the jar before you give it to the graduate (if you were planning on giving them money anyways). Your child will love all the advice and kind words from their friends and family members and will appreciate this gift for years to come!

What words of wisdom would you give someone graduating junior high, high school or college?

 

DIY Colorful Heart Shaped Crayons

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With a long weekend coming up for many, I wanted to share a fun family activity that you can do with your children over the next few days to make the most of the time you have together. What’s great about this craft is that it uses up all those little crayon pieces that you have leftover to form new, fun crayons. After you are done making the crayons you can color pictures and draw with the colorful crayons.

These DIY crayons are easy to make and can be formed into many different shapes. Other than the crayons and your oven, you’ll need a silicone baking mold in the shapes that you want. I bought one with half a dozen hearts for less than $5 at a craft store. You could even use a plain old metal cupcake pan if you prefer to make round disc crayons.

Directions:

(Please note: All tasks relating to the oven/melted crayons are meant for adults to do. Kids can help peel wrappers and break the crayons into pieces and they’ll also really enjoy the end result and coloring with their new crayons!)

  • Heat oven to 200 degrees
  • Peel crayon wrappers off crayons
  • Break crayons into 4-5 pieces each
  • Put crayon pieces in silicone baking molds, filling the molds about halfway. You can mix the colors up for “rainbow” crayons or choose to put shades of like colors together
  • Put the silicone baking mold in the oven for 15-20 minutes, checking every minute or so after the 15 minute mark. My crayons cooked for 19 minutes.
  • Carefully remove your baking mold from the oven, being careful not to spill the melted crayons
  • Let the mold sit on the counter for about 30 minutes or until the melted crayons have somewhat hardened, then put it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so to complete the process
  • Pop the new crayons out from the silicone molds carefully

Once the crayons are ready it’s time for the best part- coloring together! We like to enjoy a snack like Goldfish crackers while we color. The boys like to draw their favorite characters while mommy (who is very Type-A) prefers coloring in the lines of a coloring book.

Looking for another fun activity to do? How about making a stop-motion video? Create your video and enter it in the Goldfish Tales Animation Xperience and you could win $5,000!

What fun activities will your family be doing this weekend?

DIY Favorite Memory Ornaments

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

One of my favorite things about the holidays is decorating our home for Christmas. Out of all the decorations that I own, none are more cherished than my personalized ornaments. Most of my personalized family ornaments are “dough” ornaments that I have gotten over the years, from my childhood and through my parenting journey. They all have our names and the year we received them. This year I wanted to try my hand at creating our own personalized ornaments but wanted to add some memories to the ornaments so every year when we pulled them out we would think about fun times we’d had over the years.

I’m loving rustic Christmas decor lately so I thought it would be fun to use round wood pieces to make some favorite memory ornaments for 2016. Originally I was going to get round wood pieces and drill a hole into them to make them into ornaments but I found pre-made wooden ornament packs in the woodworking section of my local craft store which made this DIY craft even easier. If you have a live tree you may even want to cut pieces off the bottom of your Christmas tree trunk (after the holidays) to make this craft. That would really make these ornaments special and personalized!

So other than your wooden circle pieces that have drilled holes towards the top you are going to need pretty ribbon and Sharpie markers. I chose to use the new Sharpie Extreme Permanent Markers because they are fade-resistant. There would be nothing more devastating than creating these special ornaments only to take them out of the decorations box years later to find the ink had faded and you couldn’t read the special memory that you’d written down! These new markers are also specially formulated for wood (along with plastic and glass) so I knew they’d be best for this project.

The first thing I had to do was switch out the twine for some festive ribbon. I got double sided ribbon that was polka dot on one side and striped on the other. I recommend using thin ribbon but if you have thicker ribbon, like I did, you can just roll it to get it through the hole in your wood. One it’s through, tie a knot in the ribbon so that you’ll be able to hang it on your Christmas tree. You’ll want to create one ornament for each person in your immediate family.

The last step is to write on the ornament. Using my green Sharpie Extreme Permanent Marker, I wrote everyone’s name and the year on one side of the ornament. I then asked my family members what their favorite memory from 2016 was and wrote that memory down on the opposite side. If you have younger children you might want to talk about some of the things you did throughout the year so you don’t end up with their favorite memory being what you did the day before because that’s all they can remember doing.

With this year being our first Disney trip I wasn’t surprised that both Jacob and Sinisa listed Disney as their favorite memory. Lucas thought back to one of our summer day trips at a local theme park and decided his favorite memory was when he rode roller coasters there. I had a lot of great memories this year but chose our Mackinac Island vacation, where I showed my family the place I’d loved visiting as a child, as my top memory.

I was so excited to put these ornaments on the tree and know that they are going to bring back wonderful memories every holiday season. I will be making these ornaments every year as our new family tradition.

What memories would you put on your ornaments?

 

Speedy Fun On The Go

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RaceDayRelief #CollectiveBias

Calling all racing fans! Start your engines because I have a fun activity to keep your kids busy this season. Your little ones will love racing cars on their own race track while you watch the race on tv. This DIY travel case and race track for toy cars is also perfect for on the go play! It’s great for the plane, Grandma’s house, or wherever you may find yourself over the next few months!

Don’t forget to pack the Advil®, too, because it’ll come in handy for headaches and any other aches and pains that come your way, whether it’s tension headaches from all the race day excitement, muscle aches from bringing all of those heavy Christmas boxes down from the attic or the headaches that come from dealing with the in-laws ;) I keep a bottle of Advil® Film-Coated tablets in my purse so I’m never without it!

Materials needed:

  • Empty Wipes Case
  • Black Paper Plates
  • Scissors
  • Glue/Glue Stick
  • Construction Paper
  • Toy Cars
  • Road Signs (Optional)
  • Cutout Letters (Optional)

Directions to make the track:

  • Cut a paper plate in half
  • Cut around the plate, taking off the raised rim
  • Cut a small half circle shape out of the plate to make a wide upside down “u” shape
  • Repeat the previous steps to make multiple pieces of track

You can use construction paper to cover up the images on the baby wipe container and even add letters if you’d like to. I chose to add the word “cars” to the top of the case.

Fill the box with cars, track pieces and road signs. If you have some race flags that would be a fun addition, too!

So now that you have something to keep the kids busy have you thought about what will keep you going on race day and beyond? For aches and pains you’ll want to have Advil® Film-Coated tablets. The Rapid Release Formula goes to work in minutes on tough pain* like headaches, muscle aches, toothaches, menstrual cramps, back pain, and aches and pains associated with the common cold. You’ll want this fast acting medicine so you don’t have to miss out on all the race day fun, like racing cars on the homemade race track with your kids. Don’t miss these precious moments because you are in pain!

You can find Advil® Film-Coated tablets, along with everything you need to make your race track, at your local Walmart. Before you shop make sure to grab this coupon for $3 off!

Race fans will also want to make sure to watch Ty Dillon in car #95 at the race in Miami on November 20th. It’s going to be a great race!

Do your little ones love racing cars? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@aliciamarie112). I’d love to hear about your family’s race day fun!

*Among OTC pain relievers.

Turn A K-Cup® Pod Into A Flower Pot

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This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. This post was sponsored by Starbucks as part of an Influencer Activation. I received compensation and complimentary products to facilitate my review. #StarbucksCaffeLatte #MyStarbucksatHome #CollectiveBias

Everyone who knows me knows that Starbucks® coffee is one of my favorite things. I’d probably list it right under my family, my friends and days spent at the beach. I drink a cup of this heavenly concoction daily and it just puts me in a better mood.

I was really excited to find out that I can now make delicious Starbucks® latte drinks in my own home with their new line of Starbucks® Caffè Latte K-Cup® pods that are available in my local grocery store. These new K-Cup® pods are made from milk, with no artificial flavors, and they come in 3 great Starbucks® signature flavors (Caramel, Mocha, and Vanilla) and 2 Starbucks® seasonal flavors (Pumpkin Spice and Peppermint Mocha, available for a limited time).

It’s easy to do, too! Just pour the flavor packet into your mug and place it on the drip tray of your Keurig brewer. Using the 8-oz. setting, brew the K-Cup® pod into the mug and stir. It’s a delicious treat on a cold day!

When you are done brewing and enjoying your coffee don’t throw out that K-Cup® pod! You can reuse it! There are dozens of ideas online but I want to share one you may not have seen before! I made a mini flower pot from the K-Cup® so I could bring some outdoor beauty into my home. It’s perfect for a table setting at a party or just sitting on your nightstand as you enjoy a morning coffee. Plus, it uses the coffee grounds so you can savor that coffee scent for a bit longer.

Materials needed:

  • Used K-Cup®
  • Burlap
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Flowers (I used some mums from a potted plant)

Directions: Take the foil cover off of the K-Cup®.

Cut a piece of burlap to cover the white part of the K-Cup® and wrap the piece of fabric around the K-Cup®. Use glue to secure the burlap. Then use a piece of burlap string to tie around it to secure the burlap even more.

Once the flower “pot” is made, it’s time to put the flowers in. You can use soil instead of the coffee grounds and plant seeds but I chose to reuse the coffee grounds and use fresh flowers. I cut them from a potted plant of mums I had and pushed them into the K-Cup®, one at a time.

This was such an easy DIY craft and a really affordable way to add some color to my house.

Once you have your coffee in hand what do you enjoy doing? Maybe you like to craft? Or do you have a book you’ve been wanting to read? I encourage you to take time out of your day and do something for yourself. If you are not sure what to do with this magical “me” time, here’s a list of 50 “me time” ideas for moms to get you started :)

Which flavor of Starbucks® Caffè Latte K-Cup® pods will you try first?

2016 Starbucks® Corporation. All rights reserved. Keurig, Keurig HOT, K-Cup and the K logo are trademarks of Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., used with permission.

Preparing For Sleepovers With A DIY Personalized Pillowcase

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RestEasySolutions #CollectiveBias 

Read on to learn why we love GoodNites products and how they will help my bed wetter feel confident enough to go to sleepovers this school year! (If only his mom was as ready as he is….)

The school year brings more time with friends and with that comes invitations to birthday parties and requests for play dates and sleepovers. My kids haven’t had sleepovers with their friends yet but I know that is coming soon now that they are in 2nd and 3rd grade. Lucas would be so excited to go to a friend’s house for a sleepover but a few questions arise when thinking about this typical childhood “rite of passage”.

First of all, he’s my baby and he’s never slept over anywhere since he was a toddler so that would be hard for me. My main concern though is mostly related to his Autism and how the parents would handle that. I think I’d have to know them very well and them know him extremely well and us both know that they’d be able (and willing!) to handle his meltdowns. He’s high functioning, so many times he is just like any other 2nd grader, but sometimes he gets overwhelmed. Taking care of a child on the Autism Spectrum is a lot to ask of someone!

Another issue of concern is that he still wets the bed at night sometimes. Though 1 in 6 kids age 4-12 wet the bed once or more per week after potty training ends, I know that he is embarrassed by it. Being seven and not wanting anyone to think he’s a “baby”, I know he’d be devastated if he had a nighttime accident while at a friend’s house and woke up in wet pajamas.

While I can’t overcome the fear of the unknown “what if’s” that accompany raising a child with special needs, I figured out a solution to the whole bed wetting issue! No, I didn’t magically stop him from wetting the bed, but I did come up with a way of hiding it if he does have an accident at night while he’s at a sleepover.

We bought him more GoodNites TruFit Underwear. They look and feel like real underwear but they hold absorbent, disposable inserts that provide outstanding nighttime protection that keep sheets and pajamas dry all night long. (We’ve used these before when we go on vacation and sleep in hotel beds and we love them!)

In addition, we personalized a pillowcase he could carry to sleepovers and inside the pillowcase we created a space for him to hide his GoodNites TruFit Underwear and inserts. It was easy to do by using a zippered protective sleeve inside the pillowcase. When it’s time for bed he can just unzip the pillow protector, pull them out and put them on under his pajamas. He then is ready for bed and can go to sleep confident that he won’t wake up in wet pajamas!

Personalizing the pillowcase was easy and a fun craft for him to do with mommy!

Here is what you need:

  • Fabric markers
  • Stencils
  • White pillowcase
  • Zippered pillow protector
  • Pillow
  • Piece of cardboard (optional but recommended)

Directions to make a personalized pillowcase:

1) Decide what stencils you want to use and where you want them on the pillowcase. Lucas chose to do the letters of his name and some favorite animals.

2) Put the piece of cardboard inside the pillowcase so that the marker does not bleed through to the other side of the pillowcase

3) Set your stencil where you want it and color inside of the stencil. Repeat for as many stencils as you have.

4) Put the zippered pillow protector on your pillow and then put the decorated pillowcase over that one

Once that is done, put your GoodNites TruFit Underwear and an insert in the zippered pillow protector, zip it up and your child is ready to go to their friend’s house or Grandma’s!

There are a couple other products in the GoodNites line that are great for children who wet their bed. GoodNites Bedtime Pants are more absorbent vs the leading training pant and have 25% stretchier sides to fit and move more like underwear. GoodNites Bed Mats are also available. These disposable mats that have a waterproof backing and can be placed directly on the bed to help cut down on sheet changes. They are designed with micro-pocket technology to lock in odor.

GoodNites are the #1 night time protection brand and all of their products can be found at Walmart. While supplies last, you can save $2 on them! The coupon will be live during certain periods so keep checking back for more chances to get the coupon.

How do you prepare for sleepovers? I’d love to hear some of your tips since this is a new chapter in my parenting journey!

‘I Need Vitamin Sea’ Printable

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CentrumFunFlavors #CollectiveBias

Life is typically very busy but I find that things can get really chaotic during the spring and summer seasons when I’m traveling a few times a month. This past month was no exception- I traveled to Missouri, Kentucky and Iowa with only one day in between the first two trips and a few days in between the last two. I love traveling but it really messes with my schedule and routine. I’m very Type A so this is hard for me. One routine that I struggle with is taking my vitamins every day.

I thought of a few ways to help me remember to take my multi-vitamin on a regular basis. The first was to go to Walmart to buy new Centrum Vitamints* that I can take on the go, without any water.

I bought two flavors- Cool Mint and Raspberry. I put my mints in a vitamin case which takes up minimum room in my purse or suitcase and ensures that I always have my vitamins with me. These vitamins freshen my breath like a breath mint so every time I reach for gum or a mint I’ll see my vitamin container and take one of the Vitamints instead.

I also realized that I need a reminder at home to help me remember to take my vitamins on a daily basis. Since I love to travel I chose to create a fun print that I can add to my travel display. Those who visit me will think my “I need vitamin sea” print is just a quote about my love of being by the water but to me it will have a double meaning. My travel display is in a spot that I pass by numerous times a day and can see from both my kitchen and my television room so it will also serve as a reminder to take my vitamins. Pretty clever, huh?

Want to get the print for yourself? Download the image here and then print it out. You can stick it on your bulletin board, refrigerator or frame it and display it.

Want to use an image that reminds you of your own travels? Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own:

1) Go to picmonkey.com

2) Go to “edit photo” and upload your photo. I chose one that had a lot of water since I just wanted the text on water (check out how clear that water is in the Bahamas!)

3) Crop the image

4) Resize your image so that it is the size you want (Here is a link to photo dimensions that I found helpful)

5) Use the text option to insert the words “I need vitamin sea” to your image and then pick the font, color and size you want the text to be

6) Once you are satisfied with your print, save the image in picmonkey. (I chose to then upload it to Google Drive so I could resave it as a PDF)

7) Print, frame and display!

Enjoy staying healthy with simple solutions like Centrum Gummies and Vitamints. You can find coupons here. What methods do you use to remember to take your vitamin every day? I would love to hear your tips!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

PURRfect Cat Food Storage And Feeding Schedule

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NutrishCatCrafts #CollectiveBias

Last Summer I unexpectedly became a fur mommy when we adopted two kittens. I had been wanting to get a cat for a while but hadn’t had the chance to find one so when a friend posted on Facebook about two kittens looking for a home I jumped at the opportunity to help. I hadn’t ever thought of getting more than one feline friend but I couldn’t split them up so we took both in. We named one Peaches and one Boomer and they are quite the little characters.

I remember the day we were going to get them I headed to the store and bought hundreds of dollars worth of items. We got a cat tree, food, litter, and two of many other things I viewed as necessities. Since we needed so much at once we stayed on the cheaper end of everything and that included cat food.

I didn’t realize until recently just how different cat foods were, or the benefit of some over the others. I just assumed it was all the same and bought whatever was on sale. When I heard about the new line of cat food by Rachael Ray I was intrigued and wanted to try it for my cats. The Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® cat food line is dedicated to “Real Recipes. Real Ingredients. Real Good,” which means whole ingredients you can see for a taste your cat will love. I decided to gradually introduce the food by incorporating it into their current food over the course of 7-10 days and slowly replaced their current food with Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® cat food until it was completely switched over.

I picked some of the cat food up while I was shopping for food at my local grocery store, Jewel-Osco. Though Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® cat food is sold at a variety of retailers and online at Amazon.com, I like being able to just pick it up when I’m getting my weekly groceries.

There were a number of choices of dry food so I got the Zero Grain Food for Cats (Dry) Chicken & Potato Recipe. U.S farm-raised chicken is the #1 ingredient in it and it has zero grains, gluten, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors or flavors or meat-by-product in it. This high-quality protein provides essential nutrients to help support healthy organs & lean muscle mass which I thought was especially perfect for Peaches who has gotten a little chunky.

I usually just purchase dry food but noticed the wet cat food on the shelf as well and decided to buy some to give to Peaches and Boomer as an occasional treat. Like the dry cat food, the Grain Free Wet Food for Cats has no grains, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives, meat by-products, or fillers. They come in fun flavors like Chicken & Shrimp Pawttenesca™, Chicken & Salmon Catterole™, Chicken Purrcata®, Paw Lickin’ Chicken & Liver, Tuna Purrfection™, Ocean Fish-a-licious®, Lip Smackin’ Sardine ‘N Mackerel, Ocean Fish & Chicken Catch-iatore, Chicken Lovers Variety Pack and Ocean Lovers Variety Pack.

 I liked that I could see real ingredients, like the chunks of meat, through the clear bottomed containers. I chose four different flavors that all sounded like they would be delicious for my fur babies.

One other thing I love is that Rachael’s personal proceeds go to Rachael’s Rescue, which was created to help shelter pets in need. To date, she has donated over $14 million. This money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for these unfortunate animals. It makes me feel good that my purchase helps such a great cause.

I have tried a few different ways of storing my cat food but found the best way was putting it in a large, rolling plastic container that I could keep in my kitchen. This makes feeding the cats very convenient because the food is right nearby and the container it’s in keeps it fresh since I heard cat food can go stale just like our food can if it’s left open.

I grew tired of the plain plastic container so I decided to decorate it a bit. I bought some washi tape that went with my kitchen decor colors and used it to add a little fun to my container. I also decided to make a feeding chart to go on the container since my kids do great with their chore chart and this would be easy to incorporate with that. With Jacob, my oldest, waking up before everyone else he normally feeds the cats but sometimes he forgets and has to be reminded. This chart helps keep track of if and when the cats were fed and who is supposed to feed them each day so I never have to wonder if they were already given their food and fresh water or if one of the kids needs a reminder to do so.

To create a special food container for your cats you will need the following:

  • Large container on wheels (additionally you can also get a smaller container as well to hold wet food, treats and other cat necessities)
  • Small dry erase board (find one that comes with sticky adhesive and magnets)
  • Washi tape
  • Cardboard cutout letters
  • Dry erase marker
  • Double sided tape
You can decorate the outside of the container however you’d like. I chose to keep it simple with a handful of strips of the washi tape. To make the feeding chart that goes on the outside of the container do the following:
  • Choose what you want your feeding chart to say and then cover the cardboard letters with washi tape
  • Use the double sided tape to stick your letters down at the top of the dry erase board
  • Use your dry erase marker to write the days of the week, add boxes for AM and PM feeding, and who is feeding the cats each day
  • If you’d like you can put washi tape along the outside of the board, like I’ve done, to decorate the board even more
  • Once the board is ready attach the magnets on the back using the sticky adhesive
  • Put the second half of the magnets on the container to match up with the magnets on the back of the board
Now you have a rolling food center for your cats and an easy way to keep track of their feedings! You can find Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® cat food at your local retailer or on Amazon.com.
Want more fun tutorials and cat related content? Check out the Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Pinterest page!

 

Two Gift Ideas For Creative Kids

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

With the holidays here my mind has been on Christmas shopping. Each of my kids has a list of things that they hope to get. From video games to building sets to puzzles, everything they see in the commercials seems to end up on their lists. Most of their wish lists are similar but Lucas has a lot more variety on his. Lucas loves everything from cars to dolls and I love this about him because he is his own person and likes what he likes, no matter what other kids might say.

Some of his favorite activities are arts and crafts which he developed a love for at summer camp. He loves colors and has a keen spirit for all things creative and playful. In order to make Lucas happy and encourage his artful side I introduced some new crafty kits to him this week. The two kits are TEXT COOL Bracelet Studio and the The KNIT’S COOL Knitting Studio.

Lucas loves to dress himself in unique outfits and now he can send the ultimate fashion statement message with a bracelet. He loves being in control and designing his own things and this kit makes it as easy as 1-2-3 to create. Just turn, reveal, and press! He can even make message bracelets to share with his friends by using TEXT COOL. Text Cool includes an easy to use Bracelet Studio, featuring over 60 letters and emoticons and 35 bracelets to wear and share. Text Cool lets Luke get his creative messages on his wrists for the world to see! He is overjoyed to create and show his creativity with Text Cool.

The other kit Lucas liked is KNIT’S COOL. The Knit’s Cool Knitting Studio is an amazing new tool that makes learning to knit super easy. With the Knit’s CoolStudio, any kid can easily design their favorite fashions – like scarves, headbands, bags and more. The knitting studio kit has everything you need to start knitting right away, including fashion yarn, patterns and accessories to make three complete Knit’s Cool™ projects. Lucas is excited to see his Auntie over the weekend and make a phone case with her. Anyone can learn to craft fun and fashionable accessories with Knit’s Cool by watching the easy How-To videos online!

Do you have a child who loves art and crafts? These would make a great gift for the holidays!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

My New Menu Board

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Whenever I walk into Target I am drawn to the dollar spot. There are always cute things for the kids (and for me too). This week when I went to Target I discovered they had a number of Spring items out along with some things for the home. I found a cute chalkboard for $3 and immediately knew that it would be perfect for displaying the weekly menu in our kitchen.

Once I got home I went through my craft shelves to find some cut out letters so that I could create the word ‘menu’ at the top. I used glue dots to secure the letters on the board. I then “prepared” the chalkboard by rolling the side of chalk all around it and then wiping it off. This gave the chalkboard the look I wanted. Once I was done I wrote my weekly menu and displayed it in my kitchen.

It took less than 10 minutes and cost less than $4. Easy peasy! What DIY {or even semi-DIY!} projects have you worked on this week?

Easy DIY Teacher’s Gifts

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Looking for a creative gift for your child’s teacher? Today I wanted to share a couple easy DIY gifts I made for the kids to give. Not only are they easy, but they are quick and inexpensive, too! Thanks to QVC for sponsoring today’s crafts!

Lately I have been kind of obsessed with Washi tape. If you don’t know what that is, it’s like colorful masking tape. You can buy it at any craft store and even in the aisles of your favorite big box store. Some have stripes or designs and some are solid color. I had a really cute polka dot printed one that I wanted to use so I decorated a mason jar cup and a supply box with them.

“I’m BURSTing with excitement that you are my teacher” Mug

Materials:

  • Cup or mug of some kind (I used an Insulated Mason Jar Tumbler from QVC)
  • Washi tape
  • Starburst Candy
  • Small piece of paper
  • Sharpie

To make, wrap the mugs handle with washi tape and anywhere else you want to decorate it. I decided to do a line of washi along the bottom but do what looks best on your cup or mug. Fill with Starburst candy (but not too tightly because you’ll need to fit the straw in between the candies). Once the cup is filled and the lid is on it’s time to make a little card. I chose to wrap a small piece of paper in washi tape so the little card matched but you can do whatever kind of card you’d like. Since the cup is filled with Starburst candy I wrote a note saying, “I’m BURSTing with excitement that you are my teacher”.

Extra Supplies Box

Materials:

  • School supply box
  • Washi tape
  • School supplies to put in the box

This was a last minute idea. I had all the supplies on hand since Luke’s teacher told me the day before school that he didn’t need any school supplies. I figured I’d put the supplies to good use by giving them to Jake’s teacher as extras because I know kids always run out mid year. This way the teacher would get extra supplies for the classroom and have a cute decorated box to keep their desk organized.

To make it I just wrapped washi tape around the bottom of the box, one row at a time. I tried to match up the dots on each line so it would blend together better. I then put a row around the top and wrote “extra supplies”. (After we took pictures I decided I didn’t like how my writing looked on it so I took that top piece off so the bottom was the only thing wrapped.) Once it was done I filled the box with supplies including sharpened pencils, small scissors, dry erase markers, crayons, and highlighters.

Looking for more DIY ideas? Tune in to You’re Home with Jill® on QVC every Wednesday at 7pm (ET), through October. Jill Bauer’s popular show, You’re Home with Jill®provides fans with simple solutions for their busy lives through innovative products, a library of stress-free DIY projects, and crowd-pleasing recipes. Fans can connect with Jill on Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram @jillbauerqvc.

 

Freeze Pop Sabers {Easy Summer Craft}

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I love the summer and all it brings: playing outside, swimming, sunshine and warm weather. Sometimes all I want is something cold to cool me off and freeze pops are a fun and colorful way to do so. Family Fun Magazine sent me this adorable craft to share with you all and it is perfect for serving freeze pops. They are super easy and I could see my boys using their freeze pops as light sabers and recreating that famous movie :)

Feel the force of ice-cold refreshment—and keep hands unfrozen—with these felt cozies. For each, cut a 3- by 4-inch rectangle from gray felt. Fold it over a freeze pop and use fabric glue to seal the side and bottom edges. Clamp the fabric closed with binder clips or clothespins, if needed. Slip the felt off the pop. Glue on stripes and dots of black and colored felt. When your pop is frozen and the glue is dry, you’re ready to battle the heat!

Cute As A Button DIY Valentines

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Looking for a cute idea for Valentine’s Day cards? Country Woman magazine shared these adorable ones with me. They are easy to make and I think they are a charming way to let a friend or family member know how much you care.

Simply print and cut out a design of your choice and glue it to a larger square cut from colored card stock. Using a needle and thread stitch a few pretty buttons on to the valentine.

For a full list of instructions and materials, please visit: http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/cute-as-a-button-valentines-card/

Very Berry Christmas Tree DIY Centerpiece

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This Very Berry Christmas Tree craft would make the perfect centerpiece at your holiday table!

Items needed:

  • one floral foam or green Styrofoam cone measuring 4-5 inches in diameter at the base and 12 inches high
  • one box of toothpicks
  • Four 1-kb containers of fresh Driscoll strawberries
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 slice from a carambola fruit (also known as star fruit) OR slice of melon cut w/ start cookie cutter

Directions:

  • Wash the strawberries and blot them dry with paper towels. Pull off the green stem from each strawberry. Reserve a perfect strawberry for the top of the ‘tree’.
  • Push a toothpick halfway into the side of the cone, about 1/2 inch from the bottom edge. Secure a strawberry to the toothpick, piercing it through the stem end. Secure another strawberry right next to the first one. Continue securing strawberries to the cone in circular rows up to its top, covering the cone completely. Secure the reserved strawberry to the top of the tree.
  • Remove some mint leaves from the bunch of mint and tuck them between the berries, placing them at about 3-inch intervals.
  • Secure the star-shaped carambola or mango slice to the top of the cone using a toothpick.

Image and directions for this craft courtesy of Driscoll’s.

 

4 Halloween DIY Craft Projects

no sew masks

Trick-or-treat! Time to paint pumpkins, decorate with spooky spiders and skeletons, and whip up some cute, clever costumes—Halloween is almost here! Below are 4 easy DIY craft projects you can do.

No-Sew Critter Costume for Kids: Is making a Halloween costume for your child always a problem because you’re not a sewing expert? No worries—this year your child will look festive and creative and you won’t even have to pick up a needle! All you’ll need is felt, a glue gun, and ribbons for your child to be the cutest fox, deer or skunk anyone has seen! This quick and easy craft is the perfect costume for this Halloween. For a full list of instructions and materials, please visit: http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/woodland-masks-no-sew-craft/

 

Glitter Pumpkins:  Painting pumpkins with funny faces may be fun, but making a pumpkin glitzy and glamorous is even better! Put the pizazz in your pumpkins with a dusting of fine glitter. On a mantel or your autumn-themed table, these pumpkins will sparkle in sunlight and glisten in candlelight. For a list of materials, visit: http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/glitter-pumpkins/

 

Candy Corn Goodie Bags: For a Halloween party, a Thanksgiving favor or even “just because it’s fall,” these candy corn goodie bags will delight everyone with their familiar shape and colors. Stuff with wrapped candies and hand out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, or give them out to guests at a Halloween-themed dinner party! For step-by-step instructions, see: http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/candy-corn-goodie-bags/

Halloween Birdhouse Crafts: Forget cheery robins and bluebirds—these vibrant birdhouses invoke instead Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller “The Birds” and Edgar Allan Poe’s timeless poem, “The Raven.” This DIY Halloween craft project takes these boring birdhouses from garden-cute to Halloween ready! For a full how-to, check out: http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/birdhouse-halloween-crafts/

 

For additional creepy crafts, spectacularly spooky décor and clever costumes, visit Country Woman Magazine.

(All ideas and images are courtesy of Country Woman Magazine.)

Justice League Super S’mores {DIY Recipe}

super hero smores

If you have a Justice League fan in your house you MUST make these super cute s’mores. A big thanks to Target for sharing with me :)

Ingredients:

And the final product:

Want to learn how to make them and see the other designs? Head on over to Target’s blog!

(Disclosure: This post is not sponsored but this information was shared with me and I was asked to share if I wanted. How could I resist the cuteness!?)

Autism Awareness Wreaths

ribbon wreath

How cute is this wreath from A Modern Day Fairy Tale? I will be searching for old puzzles at garage sales this Spring so that I can make one for our door. View her post here

This cute ribbon shaped wreath can be found on Etsy in the Charlee Rose Designs shop. You can purchase it here.

This wreath was uploaded to Pinterest by the person who made it. She also has photos of two other ones that she made. See her Pinterest board here.

10 Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas

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This week starts my least favorite Christmas “to do”…wrapping gifts. It’s just so time consuming since I have to make sure they look perfect and while I’m doing so I’m thinking of how they are just going to get torn open. I do some gift bags but I think unwrapping gifts is so fun for the boys so I want to give them gifts they can unwrap.

I searched online and found 10 creative gift wrapping ideas. Now if only I had the time to make my gifts look this beautiful… {Click on the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from.}

Gifts with flowers on them

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Doilies as wrapping decor

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Confetti Dipped Gifts

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Lightbulb Bow

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Wrapping with cloth

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Newspaper wrapping with big bow

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DIY Wine Wraps

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Wrapping with ribbon

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Stamped Gifts

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Button decorated wrapping paper

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Speaking of gift wrapping…who wouldn’t LOVE to have this room in their home?

Practical Magic traditional home office
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{Linked up at OhAmanda}

Ornament Tutorial {Frugal Gift Idea} #GlueNGlitter #ElmersHoliday

I found a fun ornament idea through Pinterest and wanted to recreate it. There were so many steps to it and I wanted to make it easier so that even people who weren’t crafty could make something pretty and so that it took less time to make. Here is my super easy, super frugal, and super cute ornament tutorial:

Gather your supplies:

-Clear plastic ornaments that open

-Scrapbook papers (No designs)

-Scrapbook letters

-Scissors (I used X-ACTO Precision Scissors)

-Glue pen (I used CraftBond Dual-Tip Flexible Pen)

-Optional: Double Sided Tape (I used CraftBond Double-Sided Tape)

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Trace the plastic ornament onto your scrapbook paper and cut out the circle.

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Add your scrapbook letters to the paper. You can do initials, words, whatever you'd like just leave space around the edges.

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Use the glue pen to put glue around the edges of the ornament.

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Match the edges of the ornament with the edges of the circle and press down. Hold down for a minute or so to secure. Wipe around outside edges to get extra glue off. It's ok if there is glue inside. It dries clear :)

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Put a ribbon through the hole and glue one side to the other.

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You can also make a bow and attach it with double sided tape if you want a bow instead of a ribbon to hang it.

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They make great gifts, additions to packages, or you can just use them to make your tree look pretty!

You can see more pictures here in my Google+ story.

(Disclosure: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #ElmersHoliday #gluenglitter #collectivebias #CBias. All opinions are my own.)

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12 Days Of Christmas Giveaway Galore (MyMemories Giveaway)

It’s time for the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Galore hosted by To Sew With Love. Just like all the other giveaway hops I’m participating in you can find a link list at the bottom of this post so you can hop around to all the other great giveaways.

My giveaway for this hop is MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking Software (valued at $40). I used it for the first time today and really liked it. I found it easy to use and there were a lot of designs to choose from and options to customize it. Here is a page I made in less than 10 minutes:

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win MyMemories Digital Scrapbook Software (ARV $40)

MANDATORY ENTRY:

Take a look around the site and then tell me what you would use this software for

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

(Do any or all of the following for extra entries)

1) Share this giveaway on a social network

2) Subscribe to this blog via RSS or email (look in the upper right corner to do so)

3) Follow me on Twitter

4) Follow MyMemories on Twitter

5) Write a blog post about this giveaway and include a link to this post

6) Enter another one of my giveaways (find them here)

7) Tweet “Enter to win digital scrapbook software from @aliciamarie112 at www.makingtimeformommy.com

BUY IT:

Click the banner below to get $10 off your purchase!

Giveaway ends December 16, 2011 at 11:59pm Central time.

(Disclosure: Read instructions carefully because rules vary from giveaway to giveaway. Kindly provide a valid and correct email address so we can contact you if you win. You have 48 hours to respond once you are contacted. If the prize is unclaimed after 48 hours, we will draw a new winner. To Sew With Love, 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway or the 12 days of Christmas Giveaway bloggers participants are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prizes. I was given a copy of the software to review but all opinions are my own.

FIND MORE GIVEAWAYS HERE


Creating An Art Keepsake

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Though my children are only toddlers I already feel like I’m being buried under tons of art collages, finger paintings, and other artwork. I know as they get older it’s just going to get worse so I decided to create a “brag book” of Jacob’s artwork from his toddler years. I went to The UPS Store with pictures of his artwork on a flash drive and they bound it into a book for me. To see how this was done you can view my whrrl story:

Once I brought my book home it was pretty plain so I wanted to decorate it. I gathered all of my supplies and got to work.

I wanted to first make a new cover for the brag book. I chose a piece of card stock and a couple pictures. I looked through my scrap-booking cabinet and found some fun polka dot frames for the pictures.

I used my X-ACTO knife to cut the pictures down to the size of the frames.

I used my Elmer’s dot runner around the edge of the frame and used it to attach the frame to the picture.

I then used adhesive squares to stick the framed picture to my cardstock.

Once the pictures were on I added a title to my book. I could have been done here but I wanted to add a little more. I chose to add some squiggles with paper and some art-themed stickers.

I attached my cardstock sheet to the old cover page with the Elmer’s craft bond adhesive squares and liked that I had the clear plastic cover over  it to keep the photos safe.

Along with adding a cover I also wanted to label the artwork so I would know when Jacob created each piece. I cut squares out of cardstock and used the adhesive squares to stick one on to the back of each artwork print.

I then wrote a date on each one. Here’s the label for the picture of the hearts Jacob painted on Valentine’s Day:

Here are some before and after pictures:

 

Artwork prints waiting to be bound

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Artwork bound at The UPS Store

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The finished product

I’m #LovinLogistics and #GlueNGlitter :)

(Disclosure: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias. All thoughts are my own.)

Top Ten Tuesday- Elmer’s Trip

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My trip to Florida a couple weeks ago with Collective Bias and Elmer’s has been one of my favorite opportunities I’ve had in my blogging career to date. I wanted to share my favorite things about this trip in Top Ten Tuesday fashion.

1. WARM WEATHER! Currently here in Chicago we are bracing for a blizzard so I’m really missing that t-shirt weather and sun in Florida!

Photo taken by: Monica Johnson

2. MEETING OTHER BLOGGERS. I loved meeting Keonte’ from Mommy 2K, Kim from Crafty Mama of 4, Naomi from Superdumb Supervillain, and Mel from Mama Bzz. It was also great to see Tonya from Create-Celebrate-Explore again (we met at BlogHer this past summer). I was honored that I got to join this group of wonderful, crafty women on this trip!

3. MEETING REPRESENTATIVES OF ELMER’S (including the CEO!). Not only meeting them but talking with them. I found the people from Elmer’s really cared about us as people. They started our two day conversation by asking “why do you do what you do?”. Most companies start the conversation out with “learn about our company and our products” so it meant a lot to me that Elmer’s wanted to know about me.

4. MEETING PEOPLE FROM COLLECTIVE BIAS. Have you heard of Collective Bias? It is the most awesome community that I have been privileged to be a part of as a blogger (and now I’m on the advisory committee *yay!*). The people I had the chance to meet including John, Monica, and Courtney were wonderful. It was great to put people to the little avatars I see online.

5. SHARING ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA. Most people in my life don’t *get* Social Media (other than Facebook of course) so it was fantastic to be with others who don’t look at me funny when I call someone a “friend” who I have never had the chance to meet in real life. I also loved talking to people from Elmer’s about Twitter and Whrrl , why I loved using those sites, and the benefit to companies and me as a blogger that each platform offers.

6. CRAFTING. We had an “iron chef” type crafting contest. It was fun seeing what each team could make using a common household item… a toilet scrubber!

7. BEAUTIFUL HOTEL. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six. Beautiful hotel. Here’s the view from my window:

8. TALKING ABOUT ELMER’S PRODUCTS. I loved learning about the assortment of products that Elmer’s has. I enjoyed trying out a not-yet released product and giving my input on it. I also loved spending time brainstorming about products we’d like to see created (who knows… one day our ideas may be on the shelves of your local Walmart, Target, or Michaels!)

9. DELICIOUS FOOD. We went to some wonderful restaurants at night time.  One night we even took a water taxi to the restaurant. My favorite meal of all was the Lobster Pie at Mango’s. I don’t cook but one day I’m going to figure out how to recreate that because I have dreams about that dinner!

10. IT WAS FREE! I don’t know how I managed to end up traveling to Florida on an all expenses paid trip but I am so thankful I was invited on this trip by Elmer’s and Collective Bias! (That was my disclosure!)

I had a wonderful trip and look forward to seeing everyone from Collective Bias and Elmer’s again!

Elmer’s Craft Calendar

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Elmer’s has created a wonderful calendar for 2011 with a year’s worth of craft ideas.

Visit the Elmer’s website to download this FREE calendar!

(Disclosure: I recently spent a few days with the Elmer’s team but I was not asked to post this. I just love these ideas and wanted to share them with my readers.)