No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

It’s October which means it’s pumpkin time! I love taking my kids to the pumpkin patch and we always come home with a pumpkin for each kid. When they were younger we used to carve pumpkins but they weren’t huge fans of the texture and mess. Nowadays we don’t really have the time, nor the interest, to spend a whole afternoon carving pumpkins anyways so we stick to no-carve decorating options. I wanted to share some of my favorite ideas in case you are looking for pumpkin decorating options that don’t include ooey-gooey pumpkin guts. You can also use faux pumpkins instead of real ones if you want to make some pumpkins that you can use to decorate year after year.

Glow-in-the-Dark Pumpkins

***

Melted Crayon Pumpkin from Mom Spark 

***

Galaxy Pumpkin


***

Felt Pumpkin from See Vanessa Craft

***

Pokemon Pumpkins from Happiness is Homemade

***

Disney Princess Pumpkins from As The Bunny Hops

***

Emoji Pumpkins from Cutefetti

***

Creepy Crawly Spider Pumpkin from The Kim Six Fix

***

Monogram Glitter Pumpkin from Third Stop On The Right

***

Pumpkin Mummies from That’s What Che Said

***

Washi Tape Pumpkin From Made With Happy

What ideas do you have to decorate pumpkins without carving them? Let me know by chatting with me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

*PIN THIS POST*

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?

PIN THIS POST:

Awesome Monthly Craft Subscription Box For Adults

Thanks to Adults & Crafts for sponsoring this post and inspiring me to get crafty!

Raise your hand if you have ever pinned crafts and DIY projects on Pinterest that you hope to do *someday* ✋ Guilty! I love crafting and projects but I tend to pin way more than I’ll ever be able to make. Sometimes it’s because I don’t think I have the time to craft or I don’t have the materials needed, but other times it’s because the projects I want to create seem way too advanced for a beginning crafter like myself.

Crafting, though I enjoy it, can be intimidating and that’s why I am so excited to have discovered the Adults & Crafts Crate and I’m sharing it with you all because it’s amazing. Having this crate delivered right to your home every month eliminates the tedious prepping – like picking a project, figuring out how to make it, gathering all the materials, and finding the right tools- and lets you skip straight to the fun part! Each kit features a different craft technique with a trendy project to make and is curated with the exact materials and tools you need to create the project, along with step-by-step instructions to help you do so.

I received November’s Adults & Crafts Crate which was the Homemade Embossing Card Making Kit. I’ve never done embossing before! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a very adventureous crafter and in the past I probably would have never tried making my own homemade cards like this, no matter how many DIY tutorials about it I’d pinned. That’s why I love this kit! It makes it easy to try a new craft technique and I love that it includes instructions to help even a newbie like me feel confident enough to try my hand at embossing. The box included everything I’d need to complete the project, including a heat tool. I was impressed by the quality of the materials provided and am excited to have my very first crafting tool. It makes me feel like a real crafter!

This Adults & Crafts Crate would make a great gift for a friend, give you a reason to make time for yourself, or be the perfect activity for a date night in! It’s up to you but, whatever you choose, I know this is going to make you as excited to craft as it made me because it makes everything so easy! I’ll be sharing my project on Instagram after I make it over Christmas break but I wanted to make sure that I shared about this as soon as possible because the Christmas shipping deadline is quickly approaching. You can order a subscription to the Adults & Crafts Crate here and use code MAKINGTIME to get FREE shipping on your first box!

What craft would you love to try if you had a kit that provided all the materials and instructions? I’d love to try woodburning! How cute is this little cutting board that was made with a previous month’s Adults & Crafts Crate?

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 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.

A Cute Way To Declutter Your Kitchen Counters

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

We are still in spring cleaning mode here so I’ve been organizing and cleaning everything. My focus this past weekend was on our kitchen. Since it’s the most used room in our home it’s the hardest to keep clean. Every time I think all the dishes are done I discover another one in the sink!

While spending all that time in my kitchen I dreamed of one day being able to update it. I’d change up the color palette to reflect my style, update the appliances and add more counter and cabinet space. I’ve been entering contests (like this Scotch-Brite™ Scrubstakes one where someone will win a $20,000 kitchen makeover for sharing if they are team sponge or team dish cloth-I’m team sponge btw!), in hopes that I can update my kitchen sooner rather than later. There are so many things I’d want to change but in the meantime I have to make do with the kitchen space I have.

Yesterday one of the things I worked on was cleaning and organizing my countertops. A lot of things tend to get left on the counters, from cups to mail to items bought at the store that never found their way in to the pantry. Since we have such a small home, our counters get crowded very quickly. To declutter the sink area and make it look nicer I used a metal cake stand to hold things that needed to stay out. Now, instead of things just sitting on the counter, they had a home and were part of the decor.

The first things I did was put dish soap in a pretty container instead of setting it out in the bottle it came in. I used a mason jar with a pump on the top and added some decorative ribbon to it.

Along with the dish soap I put out some sponges in a sponge holder that would keep them upright and allow them to dry. Sponges have always been my kitchen cleaning tool of choice. I used them as a child when I did my chores and I still prefer them now as an adult because they make cleaning up messes so much easier. I really love the ones that have scrubbing sides so that I don’t need to use as much effort to wash the dishes or scrub the stove top.

Since we go through a lot of sponges I like to buy the multi-packs so we don’t run out. We bought our Scotch-Brite sponges at Food 4 Less in the cleaning aisle. Make sure to grab the coupon below from coupons.com before you head to the store! You can save $1 on any two packs.

There are a variety of sponges and I recently learned that each has different uses and is designed for specific surfaces. I used to use the same sponge for everything not realizing that I was ruining my non-stick pans and porcelain sink with materials that weren’t meant for those surfaces.

Now we mainly use two different types of sponges- Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges and Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges.

Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges (the green ones) are great for the kitchen, garage and outdoors. They can be used on pots, pans, oven racks, grill racks, tools, tires and sinks. They also clean tough, baked-on messes 50% faster than other competitive sponges.


Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges (the blue ones) can be used on Non-Stick cookware, counter tops, cook tops, tubs, shower tile, windows, and dishes. They can safely clean non-stick cookware without scratching surfaces.

I’d love to hear how you keep your kitchen clean and organized. Share your tips in the comments below.

Find more kitchen tips and inspiration here.

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.

DIY Colorful Heart Shaped Crayons

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

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.

 

PURRfect Cat Food Storage And Feeding Schedule

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!

 

Easy DIY Teacher’s Gifts

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.

 

Cute As A Button DIY Valentines

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/

DIY Terrarium Project

I’m so excited to share this guest post with you all! This kid-friendly garden craft is from master horticulturist and author, Katie Elzer Peters. Her new book, Miniature Gardensis a complete guide to miniature gardens with a hefty dose of good gardening practices. Her mission: to bring basics of gardening back to the trend by building mini gardens that mix creativity with longevity. A DIY Terrarium project is featured below and you can enter to win a copy of her book at the end of this post!

A terrarium filled with tropical plants is the perfect jungle setting in which to keep a dinosaur or two. While you can’t time travel back to the age of the dinosaurs, you can bring a little bit of the Jurassic era to your desk or dining room table. Moisture-loving houseplants grow best in this fully enclosed terrarium.

What you need:

  • Preserved reindeer moss
  • Polished stones
  • Ceramic animal figurines
  • Handmade ceramic sculptures
  • Plastic or resin mushrooms
  • Plastic decorative swirl picks
  • A container that looks large when not filled with plants and soil suddenly has little room for accessories when planted. Look for accessories, including animal figurines that are less than 2 inches long for larger terrariums and ½ to 1 inch long for smaller terrariums. This container is a clear candy jar from the craft store. It is 8 inches tall and 7 inches in diameter.
  • Ideal terrarium plants like high humidity and low light. Table ferns, polka dot plants, Selaginella, Croton, Alternanthera, and Ficus plants all fare well in terrariums. Because terrariums are so small, look for plants in 1-inch pots or plants in larger pots that can be split into smaller pieces.
  • Use a sterilized seedling mix or potting soil in a terrarium to prevent fungal problems. A small bag from the houseplant section of the garden center is enough for this project. It uses a few cups of soil, at most.

Where the dinosaurs Roam Terrarium Step by Step Directions

1. Fill the bottom of the container with ½ to 1 inch of rocks.

2. Pour activated charcoal on top of the rocks until the rocks are barely covered by the charcoal.

3. Add the potting mix on top of the charcoal. Start with 1 inch of potting mix. This doesn’t seem like much, but it is easier to start with a little, than it is to add more potting mix and dig holes.

4. Place the plants. If you’re using accessories, such as the dinosaur, you can set them in among the plants to gauge the effect see if you want to move the plants around prior to planting.

5. Remove plants from pots and plant them. The bottom of the plant rootballs can be touching the rocks. Use a spoon to fill in with soil around the plants.

View the Garden from All Sides

Even in such a small terrarium, you can make separate little scenes. Ideally, you’ll use accessories to make the terrarium interesting and inviting from all sides.

6. Add decorative mulches such as preserved reindeer moss or tumbled stones.

7. Position the accessories.

8. Water the terrarium. This is the trickiest step. It’s easy to overwater and then difficult to get the terrarium to dry out. Start by watering so that the top inch of soil (which might, in this case, be all of the soil) is about as damp as a wrung-out sponge. You can always add water.

9. Place the cover on the terrarium, set it in bright indirect light, and enjoy.

Care and Maintenance Enclosed terrariums have to get some light so that the plants can photosynthesize, grow, and keep the water cycle going. Otherwise the plants will rot. You’ll know if the terrarium is getting enough light when you can see some water droplets (condensation) on the inside of the glass. If the plants start to rot or become mushy, the terrarium is too wet. Open the cover and let it dry out for a week or so. It could take a while to find the right balance of water for the system to reach equilibrium. I have one terrarium that I haven’t watered for two years. It can be done.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win Katie’s book, Miniature Gardens

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me what kind of terrarium you’d make

FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY:

Share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends February 10, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: This is not a compensated post.)

Very Berry Christmas Tree DIY Centerpiece

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.

 

Seasonal DIY Facial Masks

Pumpkin Facial Mask

This recipe is full of exfoliating enzymes that will brighten your skin, giving you a healthy, refreshed glow. Pumpkin is also rich in vitamin A, which can help heal skin and repair damaged tissue. The antioxidant properties of the vitamin A will also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • 2 tsp canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp heavy
  • whipping cream

To Make: Mix all ingredients together and apply to face. Leave on for 10 minutes then rinse thoroughly. You’ll love the results!

Cranberry Mask

Cranberry juice helps detoxify the skin and is particularly useful for those who are acne-prone or suffer from psoriasis or have oily skin. In addition cranberries help reduce skin inflammation, redness, and itchy, irritated skin.

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 2 teaspoons grapefruit juice
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin

To Make: Mix ingredients until it becomes a paste. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes to let the mixture thicken. Remove from the fridge and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Recipes and images courtesy of Erika Katz, beauty expert and author of Bonding over Beauty.

DIY Pet Rock With Mustache

Isn’t this a cute pet rock?! Lucas made it at Awana. Here are the directions to make one.

Materials Needed:

  • Rock
  • 1 Feather boa (in a hair color)
  • 1 Pipe cleaner (in a hair color)
  • 2 Wiggly eyes
  • 1 Small craft pom pom
  • Hot glue gun or another quality glue to glue items on securely

Directions:

  • Cut a portion of boa and glue to top of rock for hair
  • Glue 2 wiggly eyes on to the rock for eyes
  • Glue small craft pom pom for a nose
  • Cut a small portion of pipe cleaner for moustache (this one was twisted into an 8 shape but feel free to design your own!)

DIY: Chocolate Flavored Lip Balm

You know what’s better than soft lips? Soft, chocolate flavored lips :) Enjoy this DIY recipe provided by beauty expert and author of Bonding Over Beauty, Erika Katz. This lip balm contains shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil, which are all excellent natural emollients. You can get creative and add other flavors like peppermint oil, tangerine oil, or raspberry oil.

Ingredients:

·         1 tablespoon shea butter

·         1 tablespoon coconut oil

·         2 teaspoons grated beeswax

·         1 tablespoon vitamin E oil

·         15 chocolate chips

·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1) Put all the ingredients into a double boiler on the stove or in a microwavable container.

2) Warm the mixture until it melts. Stir until smooth.

3) Pour the mixture into a lip gloss container and refrigerate until it hardens.

The lip balm Lasts up to 3 months at room temperature. Find other great recipes for DIY spa treatments on the Bonding Over Beauty site here.

(Disclosure: The above recipe was provided to me for use on my blog. I was not compensated for posting it.)

DIY Valentines {10 Ideas}

Want to make Valentines this year instead of buying them? Check out these ideas found around the web!

{Click on pictures for directions}

Crayon Valentines

***

Pirate Valentines

***

Fishy Valentines

***

Lollipop Valentines

***

“I Dig You” Valentines

***

Rockin’ Valentines

***

Magnifying Glass Valentines

***

Mustaches!

***

“Make Your Own Paper” Valentines

***

Glow Stick Valentines