Charming Personalized Cat Food Bowl

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine.

Yay for winter break! Those couple weeks are my favorite time of the year because, after our holiday celebrations, we have very little to do until mid-January. We spend lots of time cuddling on the couch, playing our new board games, working on DIY projects, and watching movies. Around here, everyone gets in on the fun- including our two fur babies, Peaches and Boomer, who plop down anywhere they feel like resting (whether that’s on our laps or on top of the game we are playing). They even like to hide under blankets like we all do when it’s chilly outside!

So cute, right? This is the look Boomer gives me when she wants attention. She’ll stare right at you until you say her name and then she happily climbs on top of you, rubbing into your hand to indicate she’d like to be petted. Peaches on the other hand makes it clear what he wants by rolling over onto his back and stretching so that his belly is right side up. He will wiggle himself around next to you until he gets the belly rubs he is looking for. I love cuddling with them and showing them love, just like I do my two little human babies (well, I guess my boys aren’t really babies anymore though…).

In between cat and child cuddling sessions I thought it would be fun to do some crafting and came up with the idea to add some sparkly personalization to Peaches’ and Boomer’s cat food bowl. I regularly do fun cat crafting projects and have made things like a ribbon wand for playtime and a no-sew cat bed to add some cushiony comfort to their cat tower. Though I can probably buy most of what I make, I enjoy these simple DIY projects. With all the crafting I have done in the past, I’ve never decorated their cat food bowls before so I thought it would be fun to do. I thought about sponge painting a white bowl and painting on their names, but my hand isn’t very steady so I decided to use letter charms instead, and I love how it turned out.

This charming (get it?) personalized cat bowl project was pretty easy. I started with a white bowl decorated with black cat silhouettes (though in hindsight I probably would have preferred a solid white colored bowl). I added some charms (that spelled out their names) onto a braided string and, in between the letters, I added little dangling crystals. Then I hung the string around the top of the bowl, tying it in the back. I love how it takes the bowl from plain to fancy.

My cats are just a little spoiled :)

One other way I like to treat them well is by filling their bowl with great cat food, like the fresh taste of Meow Mix® Original Choice Dry Cat Food. Meow Mix cat food has the perfect mix of real poultry and seafood flavors that cats love. And, with all the varieties of Meow Mix products, I know my cats won’t get bored!

We found our favorite Meow Mix varieties at our local Meijer and, from now through January 27, 2018, you can use this mPerks digital coupon to get 30% off any 2 Meow Mix products at Meijer. Whether you get their dry food, their treats (like the Meow Mix Brushing Bites Treats my cats enjoy), or their wet food, you’ll be the purrfect pet parent when you mix things up with Meow Mix from Meijer!

How do you like to show your cats love?

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DIY Football Rag Wreath

I love football season. Whether I’m sitting on the sidelines at my son’s game, cheering on my favorite teams as I watch them on tv or simply have a game on in the background while I work, there is something about football that makes me happy and brings back good memories. In August I get my football decorations out and they stay out until Thanksgiving. Last year I made a rag wreath and I realized that I never featured it here on the blog so I wanted to share it. I made a wreath like this with crepe paper around the holidays back in grade school (1991!) and my mom had kept it for years. Though the crepe paper was a cheap option at the time, it didn’t keep that well, so I figured that fabric was the better choice for this. This wreath can be made using your team colors or embellished with your child’s name and uniform number if you want to make it even fancier but I kept it simple with what I consider “football colors” -brown (the ball) and green (the grass)- along with a white and gold colored fabric to lighten it up, wooden football decorations and a football themed ribbon to hang it.

The wreath is simple to make. You’ll need about six yards of fabric in the colors of your choice, a wire wreath base, a football or team themed ribbon and some football shaped wooden pieces. You can find all of these items at your local craft store.

Cut the fabric into strips that are approximately six inches long and an inch or two wide. Then tie it on to the wire with a knot in the middle of the ribbon.

Continue tying the fabric pieces on the wire, alternating colors.

Once you’ve fully covered one wire you can go around two or three of the others until the wreath looks full.

The next step is to add any embellishments and add a ribbon at the top so you can hang the wreath.

Want more football party ideas? Check out some of my most popular football posts below!

Football Party with Baked Potato Bar

“Concession Stand” Themed Football Party

Easy ways to update your bathroom for football season parties

DIY Glow In The Dark Pumpkins {And How I’m Learning To Embrace The Messes}

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

As a mom of two boys I’ve accepted that my life is full of messes. From muddy cleats to painted masterpieces to milk dribbles down their chins, it’s just became a part of my life. (I often joke that my kids, especially Lucas, can make a mess out of anything.)

If you are a regular reader here you probably already know that I have a type-a personality so it should come as no surprise that messes drive me crazy. With that said, I’ve really been working to accept that messes come with being a mom and allow my boys to make more messes (which is so much easier for me to do now that they can help clean them up lol). I’ll be honest though, it took a long time for me to embrace the messes. I didn’t just birth kids and immediately appreciate the messes they brought with.

As much as I typically have avoided messes though, for some reason, when it comes to kid activities I typically tend to pick the messiest crafts and activities I can. (It’s probably due to all the years I spent as a preschool teacher!) There’s something about messy play that gets kids excited and I just love seeing their faces light up when they realize that the adult in their life is not only going to allow them to make a mess but they are encouraging them to do so. This weekend’s activity? Making glow in the dark pumpkins! I had been wanting to do this with my boys since I painted a pretty galaxy pumpkin last fall. While I designed a neat polka dotted pumpkin, my boys couldn’t resist squeezing as much paint as possible on to their pumpkins in an effort to make “slime” pumpkins.

It was hard to resist showing them how to gently squeeze the paint tube in order to make a Pinterest perfect pumpkin but I took a deep breath and I let them decorate the pumpkins their way. And they used a LOT of paint. A lot. I’m pretty sure they are going to take days to dry but they had fun creating something with their mom so that is all that matters. Every year, when we pull out these pumpkins in the fall, they will remember that time their mom spent with them and I will remember their giggles as the almost empty paint tube made sounds when they squeezed it. This is what is important. If I had been worried about the mess the whole time I would have completely missed these moments of joy.

Of course I still went into the activity prepared and was ready for the mess since I know my boys. We had bought a large box of Huggies® One and Done® Wipes from Sam’s Club and kept them nearby during the whole activity. I like these wipes because they come in smaller soft packs with an  EZ Pull® Dispenser that makes getting wipes out of the package easy, even when I’m trying to do so one handed. The wipes themselves are thick, have a pleasant scent and feature Huggies’ Triple Clean Layers that clean up messes without a lot of scrubbing.

(Hover over the photo above to click through to Samsclub.com where you can buy these wipes to make sure you are prepared for your next messy activity!)

My boys may be 8 and 9 years old but I still find many uses for wipes and always have packs around my home and in my car. Sure enough, they came in handy for this messy activity. From wiping off “mistakes” on my pumpkin to wiping drips off the ground to cleaning messy hands (and legs and wherever else the paint ended up), I was happy we had them (and so was Lucas as you can see below lol).

Anyways, enough talk about the messes…let’s get to the fun I promised :) This DIY is so easy and really doesn’t require much. You’ll need glow in the dark paints (I used fabric paints) and a pumpkin to paint. I chose ceramic pumpkins but you can use fake foam pumpkins or even real pumpkins for this activity.

In addition, you can use paintbrushes to nicely spread the paint on but I discovered my kids just preferred to glob it on the pumpkins. (Slime is the big thing nowadays isn’t it?)

How you paint the pumpkin will depend on your design.

Lucas created chunks of colors on his pumpkin while Jacob was (I think) trying to create rings of color around his.

For my polka dot pumpkin, I made dots in one section at a time, making a few dots in one color before switching to another color to make three more dots, and so on before I moved to the next section.

I was going to leave the stem unpainted but decided to paint stripes on it. I just started at the base of the stem and painted around the stem with one color and then added more colors above that, making a rainbow like design.

Once you are happy with your design let it dry and then expose it to sunlight for a few hours so that it will glow! Just a note- if it doesn’t glow very brightly it just needs more sunlight. Expose it to direct sunlight for a few more hours.

The boys and I had so much fun painting our pumpkins (and even more fun seeing them glow in a dark room)!

Want to recreate these? Don’t forget to head to your local Sam’s Club to buy the giant box of Huggies One & Done wipes for the messes that are guaranteed to happen when you combine kids and paint :) (Also, FYI- get $8 off the purchase of any 2 Huggies products, valid 8/23 – 9/17 or while supplies last, at Sam’s Club.)

I love shopping at my local club because I can buy in bulk which means less trips to the store. They also have club pickup which means you can shop online and everything is ready for pickup when you arrive. This is an awesome service for busy moms who don’t want to wander the aisles with kids in tow.

If you make this Halloween craft I’d love to see your glow in the dark pumpkins so please tag me on Twitter (@aliciamarie112) or share with me on Facebook! Remember- have fun and embrace the mess!

DIY Cat Wand Toy

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

It’s hard to believe that our fur babies, Peaches and Boomer, have been in our lives for two years this month. When we got them they were playful little ones who had been abandoned in a park by their owner. Though they’ve gotten older, they are still just as playful as the day they came home (though now they actually sleep at night instead of chasing each other around!)

To keep them active I feed them quality cat food like Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Recipe. Nutrish Indoor Complete contains a real superfood blend to meet the complete needs of indoor cats, addressing concerns such as weight, digestion and immunity. I like knowing that this cat food contains real U.S. farm-raised chicken as the #1 ingredient, plus real salmon, without any ground corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meal, artificial preservatives, or artificial flavors.

(Click the image below to save $2 on Nutrish Indoor Complete!)

Another way that I keep my cats active is by playing with them. They have a number of toys they like to play with, from balls to catnip filled faux mice. We had a fun wand toy that they loved as well but the handle broke so I thought I’d make a new one myself. I wanted to share this fun DIY with you all so you could see how easy it was to make one!

Materials needed:

  • Dowel (with a cap on the end)
  • Washi tape
  • Ribbon
  • Cardboard pieces
  • Felt
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Bells
  • Hole punch (or crafting knife)

Directions:

Stack ribbons on top of each other and place the top of the dowel in the middle of the ribbons. Take all the ribbons at once and tie a knot right under the dowel cap.

String a few bells on to the ribbons and push all the way to the top so that the wand will make noise when shaken but the cats won’t play with them.

Cut a few felt shapes out of cardboard and felt, making sure that they are the same size.  (I chose to make flower shapes but fish shapes would be cute, too!) Then glue felt to cardboard shapes. Make a hole a few inches from one of the edges using your hole punch or crafting knife so that a piece of ribbon can go through. Then stick one ribbon through each and tie a knot in the back.

To finish you can use your washi tape to decorate the wand. I added a little green at the bottom. I love how colorful this cat wand is!

You can find Nutrish Indoor Complete, for adult cats 1 year or older, at retailers both in stores and online. I bought mine at my local Walmart. Make sure to use the coupon I shared above to save $2 on Nutrish Indoor Complete (you can print it two times). The coupon is good through the end of 2017 and you have 30 days from the time you print it to redeem it.

How do you keep your cats playful and active?

DIY Decorative Mirror And Clear Skin Dreams

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

This July, I will be turning 34. Now that I’m well into my 30s and have bought a home, have two kids and drive a minivan, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m fully grown. Can someone please inform my skin that I’m an adult? I don’t think it got the memo! Those dreaded teenage years are behind me (long behind me….) and yet I still find myself looking in the mirror at a face full of acne.

To be honest though, I don’t remember having a lot of breakouts in junior high or high school. I had some annoying pimples but nothing out of the ordinary during that hormonal time when acne tends to be at its worst. I feel like my skin played a trick on me and, as soon as I became an adult, decided to go haywire. I don’t know if it’s the stress of “adulting” or what, but my skin has never been this bad. I feel like I’m always dealing with breakouts and as soon as some start to fade, new ones appear.

My acne keeps me from enjoying life to its fullest because I am so self-conscious about how my skin looks. In college I was the Student Council Social Chair of my class and so outgoing that I would pull people walking by me into conversations (even if I didn’t know them!) Nowadays, I avoid conversations with people mainly because I feel like people are staring at the breakouts on my face.

I also find myself avoiding cameras and video for the same reason. As a blogger, I’d love to start a video series. I used to be on the speech team and have no problem performing in front of crowds, but I hate how I look so much that the thought of doing so now gives me anxiety – not because I have to talk in front of people, but because I don’t want people to see me.

And mirrors? I avoid them because they show every imperfection. I’d rather not look at myself that much because I don’t want to see how bad my breakouts are.

I’ve decided that it’s time to change my mindset about my skin and not let it hold me back from being the best version of myself. I need to be able to look in the mirror and love the face I see looking back at me. It’s going to be a process but I’m ready.

The first thing I’m doing is trying a new acne product that I hope will clear up my skin. I have tried a number of products and none of them have worked but I’m excited to try this new Differin® Gel because I have heard good things about it. It’s the first and only prescription strength retinoid that’s now available over the counter for clearing and preventing acne. It actually clears breakouts where they start (deep in the pores), prevents breakouts before they begin, and as a result, restores skin’s texture and tone.

The second thing I did for myself was make myself a decorative mirror to look into every day. I do not want to avoid mirrors anymore. This was such an easy craft that I wanted to share the DIY tutorial so you could make one for yourself. It will look so pretty hanging over your table with some fresh flowers next to it!

Materials needed:

  • Mirror
  • Mosaic tiles (colors of your choice)
  • Adhesive created for mosaic tiles

Instructions:

Decide on how you want to arrange your mosaic tiles. Lay them out on your mirror so you can see how they fit. Depending on the size of your mirror and the size of your tiles, you may discover you need to cut some of the tiles or have some hang off the edge of the mirror a bit.

Use the adhesive to stick the tiles to the mirror. The adhesive dries quickly, so only do a small portion at a time. You can put glue on the mirror or on the back of the tiles. (I started putting it on the mirror but halfway through switched to putting the adhesive glue on the back of the tiles. Both methods worked, but putting it on the back of the tiles seemed to be less messier.)

Continue adding the tiles all the way around the mirror, straightening the pieces as you go so that the tiles dry in a straight line and aren’t crooked. Once the tiles are glued on, you will want to let the mirror sit overnight to dry before using it.

So now I have a new product I am confident will clear my skin and a beautifully decorated mirror to look into. I will be sharing my journey, along with a skin update, here on the blog in a couple months.

You can find Differin® Gel, along with Differin® Balancing Cleanser and Differin® Balancing Moisturizer, in the complexion care aisle at Walmart. Differin® Gel contains the dermatologist recommended retinoid, Adapalene. It’s the newest advancement and ingredient in the OTC acne category in over 30 years so if you feel like nothing has worked yet you should try this! Make sure that when you use it, you apply a thin layer all over your face once daily. Please use caution when using Differin® Gel with more than one acne treatment or glycolic acid product because this could lead to irritation.

If you are in a similar situation with the way you feel about your skin, I’d love to hear from you and perhaps even go on this journey {virtually} together! You deserve clear skin and to feel beautiful!

This product is dermatologist developed and tested. Please call 1-866-735-4137 for any questions you may have concerning the product. However, should you experience any problems while using the product, please discontinue use and consult your healthcare provider.

How Busy Families Can Make Dinner Time Count

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

One of my favorite traditions from my childhood was sitting down to a family dinner every evening. We’d talk about our day as we ate a meal together. This was always a tradition that I knew I wanted to continue when I grew up but I’ve discovered as a parent that it’s a hard tradition to keep. Between sports, school commitments, work schedules and everything else, finding the time to make dinner and sit down as a family every evening is tough!

The best way I’ve discovered to make this tradition happen for our busy family is to stick to simple meals. With easy meals I spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my kids. My favorite meals are ones that I can just heat up and that’s why I love Kidfresh frozen meals for the boys. They are so convenient and perfect for our busy evenings because they are ready in just minutes! It’s a relief to know that I can still provide my family with quality meals, even when I’m short on time.

Not only are they quick to make, but they are meals that I feel good about giving my boys because they are from a credible brand I trust. Created with the help of a top chef and a pediatric nutritionist, Kidfresh meals are consistent with USDA dietary guidelines for all children and they offer the best in kids nutrition. Kidfresh meals contain no artificial flavors or ingredients and are full of nutrients that growing kids need. They also are full of veggies. Each Kidfresh meal is made with up to ½ cup of hidden vegetables so even the pickiest of kids (like my youngest!) will eat their veggies.

Kidfresh at Kroger

We found our Kidfresh meals and sides at Kroger in the freezer cases near the other single serve dinners. For a limited time at Kroger and Kroger family of stores you can save at least 15% off the everyday retail price at Kroger!

There were a variety of Kidfresh choices available including: Wagon Wheels Mac + Cheese, Spaghetti Loops + Meat Sauce, Muy Cheesy Quesadillas, Super Duper Chicken Nuggets, Mighty Meaty Chicken Meatballs, Fun-Tastic Fish Sticks, Totally Rockin’ Tots and SuperBlastin’ Bites. My boys love all of the Kidfresh meals they’ve tasted so far, especially the Wagon Wheels Mac + Cheese and Mighty Meaty Chicken Meatballs.

To keep the conversation going while the boys are enjoying their Kidfresh meals, and to avoid the typical answers of “fine” and “okay” when asked about their day, I created a conversation starters bucket to keep on the kitchen table. I wrote down about 50 questions on craft sticks that would require more than a “yes” or “no” answer and would hopefully start a conversation.

The questions ranged from silly (“if you could stay up all night, what would you do?) to personal (“what is something you like about yourself?”) and from simple (“what is your favorite book?”) to complicated (“describe your dream home”). The best part is that, as the boys get older, the questions can be changed and new questions can be added so they remain relevant to our family.

I then put them all in a small bucket that I decorated with washi tape and letter stickers that spelled out “family”.

I love how it turned out and am excited to use it for years to come.

How do you make your family dinners count?

Self-Watering Herb Planters Made From Upcycled Plastic Bottles

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

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

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

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 Favorite Memory Ornaments

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?

 

Turn A K-Cup® Pod Into A Flower Pot

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.

No Sew DIY Bag Made From A Tank Top

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and alli® weight loss aid. All opinions are mine alone. #alliInMyLife #After #CollectiveBias

A couple months ago I started on a journey of improving my health. I shared in my previous post about the “aha” moment that I had when I looked at pictures from the past years and realized I was only in a handful of them. I had been letting my weight dictate my life and keep me from the things I wanted to do and it was time for a change.

I wanted to share some things that I am trying that are helping me get healthier like exercising more, eating better and taking alli® weight loss aid. The main thing I’m doing though, is giving myself permission to make myself a priority. As a mom, I always put my children first and often times forget about my needs, and I’m really trying to change that. I started attending a bi-weekly group for moms and am spending more time doing things that I enjoy, along with taking care of my physical health.

I am working on making exercise a part of my daily routine. Since I work online and am sitting a large portion of the day, I’ve been adding in more activity by getting up for five to ten minutes every hour of my work day to walk around. I am also trying to add in more exercise by doing fun things like playing active games with my kids and taking walks while the weather is still nice. I’m adding the gym to my weekly schedule, too.

I’m also making healthier choices for meals and snacks. I’ve stocked my fridge with fresh fruit and vegetables and am giving myself more time to make meals at home instead of taking the easy way out and grabbing something on the go. I realized that there are plenty of easy meals to make that don’t take much time out of my day but are healthy. My favorite lately has been making chicken in the slow cooker and then sauteing squash and zucchini for a side dish.

Along with making better food choices, I’m using alli® weight loss aid to help with my weight loss. alli® weight loss aid is the only FDA approved over-the-counter weight loss aid on the market. It works by blocking 25% of the fat you eat from being absorbed by your body. Taken along with a healthy, reduced-calorie and low fat diet and paired with an exercise routine it is a great way for overweight adults (who aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding) to safely lose weight. For every 5lbs – 10lbs you lose through diet and exercise, alli® weight loss aid can help you lose 2-3 more. (In studies, most people lost 5-10 pounds over a 6 month period.)

alli® weight loss aid can be added into your daily routine by taking one capsule per meal that includes no more that 15 grams of fat per meal approximately 3 times a day. (Be sure to use with a well-balanced, reduced calorie, low fat diet and activity program.) You’ll want to take a multivitamin at bedtime and also drink plenty of water throughout the day. alli® weight loss aid has a great startup guide with more information and tips to help you succeed in losing weight. You can find a coupon here to purchase alli® weight loss aid at your favorite retailer (I found mine at Walmart).

I’ve noticed that my clothes fit looser than they did at the beginning of summer. In fact, I have one pair of jean shorts that fit snug before but now I can take them off without even unbuttoning them! Overall though, I just feel better about myself which is a huge win.

Now that the kids are back in school how are you making yourself a priority? If you want to start making it to the gym (make sure to get your doctor’s okay first!) you’ll want to make yourself this simple bag to keep all your essentials in. The best part is that you only need two things- a tank top and a pair of scissors. Told you it was easy! :)

1) Find a tank top with an encouraging quote on it (I chose one that said “Give up on giving up”)

2) Turn the tank top inside out and smooth it out so the back and front are laying flat on each other

3) Cut 2 inch slits along the bottom, spaced about 1 inch apart. You will be cutting both the front and the back of the shirt so the pieces match up

4) Once you have slits along the bottom you are going to take the top piece and the bottom piece and tie them in a tight double knot.

5) Repeat step 4 all along the bottom until you’ve tied every piece together

6) Turn the tank top right side out so all the fringe is on the inside

Wasn’t that easy?! Now you have a cute bag you can take to the gym or the grocery store!

I’d love to hear about your healthy journey and any great tips you have for getting more exercise in with your busy schedule!

Disclaimer: alli® (orlistat 60 mg capsules) is for weight loss in overweight adults, 18 years and older, when used along with a reduced-calorie and low-fat diet. Follow label directions. In studies, most people lost 5-10 pounds over 6 months. Please consult a doctor before use.

 

DIY Decorative Scissor Holder For Your Homework Station

I just went out and bought all of my boy’s school supplies and the aisles were packed with other moms doing the same. Since back-to-school season is upon us I wanted to share a fun craft that you can do with your kids. Thanks to Fiskars for sponsoring this post and our crafting time.

Along with buying school supplies we have been getting our homework station organized and stocked for the school year. The boys and I made a scissor holder for their homework station. Even though we have a bunch of scissors around the house, there never seems to be any on their homework table when we need them. Does anyone else have this problem?

To solve the issue, I’ve designated two scissors “homework station” scissors, and they are not allowed to leave the table. I found a cute wooden cup holder, and the boys and I cut washi tape with our favorite Fiskars Kids Scissors to decorate it. You could even upcycle a cylinder shaped container to make this.

Now we have a cute holder for our homework table and a place where we can always find scissors when we need them.

We also decorated some school supplies. We chose to decorate some composition notebooks and pencils along with the cup holder. There is no right or wrong way to do this craft, so just let your kid’s imagination dictate how they decorate their school supplies. 

We love using Fiskars Kids Scissors for all our crafting and homework needs because they feature an innovative safety-edge blade for high-quality cutting. Their non-stick coating makes it easy to cut cleanly through materials with sticky adhesives, which is great for all of the times they cut through sticky globs of glue or the adhesive on pieces of tape. It’s no wonder Fiskars is the #1 teacher recommended brand in scissors!

Fiskars Kids Scissors are available in classic colors and new MVP handles for the 2016 back-to- school season.

How are you preparing for back-to- school? Visit Fiskars.com, or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #FiskarsBTS. You can also check out their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more ideas and inspiration.

Two Gift Ideas For Creative Kids

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.

4 Halloween DIY Craft Projects

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.)

4 Back To School Crafts

To get children excited about returning to the land of ABCs and 123s, Country Woman—the #1 Country Lifestyle Magazine for women who live in or long for the country—has rounded up their best DIY, kid-friendly craft ideas for the start of the school year to share with Making Time For Mommy readers. Many of the materials you’ll need are likely already laying around the house and Country Woman provides step-by-step directions for each so you can create these crafts with ease.

Here are some of Country Woman’s homemade back-to-school crafts for making the transition back to the classroom a bit more fun:

Recycled Soda Bottle Apples: This adorable apple craft will have the teacher falling head-over-heels for your little one! Two empty plastic bottles transform into an enchanted apple that can store school supplies, snacks and more. Teachers and children alike will be delighted with the whimsy of this fantastical fruit. For a full list of materials and instructions, please visit here.

 

Chalkboard Play Mat: Ideal for keeping young ones occupied, this play mat craft idea—made with chalk fabric—rolls up and ties shut for easy transport. Make this fun-on-the-run idea even better by stitching a pocket or two on the back to tuck an eraser and chalk in. Kids will be entertained for hours with the ability to make endless works of art! For more details, please visit here.

Shrink Art Craft Ideas: Turn your children’s drawings into wearable pieces of art! Let the kids go to town on shrinkable plastic, then bake and watch their masterpieces shrink in size. The miniature versions of their works of art can be used for key chains, jewelry, greeting cards and more! A fun project for every age and level of artist. For more details and crafting options, please visit here.

T-Shirt Pillows: Have a bigger kid headed off to college? Give them something to remember you by! Recycle old or outgrown T-shirts from sports teams, fun runs, clubs or music camps, by turning them into throw pillows. Bring a touch of home to dorm room decor! They won’t be embarrassed to display these relics of good times with mom and dad. For a full list of materials and instructions here.

What are your favorite back to school crafts?

(Disclosure: Text and images provided by Country Woman magazine.)