9/22/17

This ADORABLE DIY Fall Twinkling Wreath Is SO Easy The Kiddos Can Help








If you are looking for a fun fall weekend Holiday craft to make with the kiddos, look no further, this Twinkling, Fall Wreath looks so cool and so real. Inspired by a Craft Recipe Box from Febreze, that utilizes their Febreze Fall Scents. This Leaf wreath is so easy to make, the cat and kiddos can help! As you'll see below, my cat, Professor Dumbledore, helped me!





While fresh fall leaves sounded wonderful, I wanted something that would last, and more importantly, not dry and crumble on my doorstep! I also had the image of embellishments and twinkling lights for extra awesomeness.


I started by first straightening out the hanger, then making it into a circle.

HINT: When you get frustrated thinking there is NO WAY the hanger will become a circle, it will. 

Keep trying.

Professor, seeing the wire whip around and the garland laying at my feet, ran right over to play help.  In my house, if it's not a crazy-kid trying to lend a hand, it's a cat or dog.


Next, I pulled the garlands together and wove the hanger through them; adding leaves at an even spacing, while adjusting the pumpkins and acorns until I had the entire wreath wrapped around the wire.






I finished by closing the circle by winding the wire hanger closed, using ends that were originally wrapped around each other. I was beyond stoked with the finished product. So easy!  






TIP: Get lights with multiple light settings.










9/21/17

Getting Your Toddler To Sleep: A Few Things To Consider





"Enjoy your sleep while it lasts!" 

"Just wait until that baby comes out, you'll trade your soul for four solid hours of sleep."

If you've been pregnant or expecting, then those words have been said to you more times that you can count. Thanks to all the 'advice', you anticipate nights when you won’t get a wink of sleep. It comes with the territory of parenting… right?

Except, it's not easy. At all. No friggin' way could anyone prepare you for the zombie days and wide awake nights that follow childbirth... and beyond. Some of us know better than others how long, and exhausting months and years of days running on less than four hours of sleep can be.

As if that's not bad enough, there is the terror that your child becomes on crap sleep, too. Below are a few solid tips, tricks and things to consider to help both you and your child have a better night sleep

Why Your Toddler Needs Their Rest

It might seem as if your child can sleep for two hours and have enough energy to run you ramped all day, but the truth is, there is a downside to them not getting enough sleep at night. Children of preschool age should receive at least 11-14 hours of sleep each night. Here’s why:

  • Sleep promotes growth-A growth hormone is released during the night which helps your toddler to grow healthy and strong.
  • Sleep improves attention span Children who are sleep deprived are likely to be more impulsive and distracted than a child who gets at least 10 hours of sleep.
  • Sleep boosts learning There is believed to be a direct connection between sleep and learning. When asleep, the child’s brain is working, learning, and retaining information. Children who get a good night’s sleep are able to grasp concepts and retain information better than those who don’t.

Common Issues with Toddlers and Sleep and Solutions

No toddler is the same. One mother’s experience may be different than another. However, the key to ensuring that your toddler gets the required hours of sleep each night is to identify the problem. Here are some of the most common:

Improper Bedding – Just as you wouldn’t want to sleep on an old, hard, mattress, your toddler is not going to sleep comfortably through the night on a mattress that doesn’t provide enough comfort and support. Check your toddler’s mattress and determine whether you should invest in a new one. Service providers like Moonlight Slumber make it easy for parents to review and purchase baby mattresses online.

Poor Eating Schedule – Eating right before bed can lead to a lot of digestive issues for adults, so imagine what it can do to your toddler? If you find that your toddler is waking up frequently throughout the night with complaints of a tummy ache or gas, you may need to adjust their feeding schedule. Try feeding them a few hours before bed to give their food a chance to digest.

Too Many Distractions – Noises, siblings, pets, and other distractions can cause your toddler to fight sleep. When it’s time for them to go to bed, consider a winding down period where the household isn’t so active. Go into the bedroom, dim the lights, turn on some soft music and sort of get your toddler in the mood for bed.

Too Many Naps – Trust me when I tell you I know how much of a godsend a nap can be in the middle of the day. However, if you’re allowing your toddler to nap too long or too frequently during the day, chances are they’re going to have a hard time staying asleep through the night. As crazy as this might sound, encourage your toddler to stay active throughout the day for a better sleep at night.

Room Temperature – The temperature in a room can make all the difference in your toddler’s ability to get and stay asleep. When a room is too hot or too cold, they become uncomfortable and wake up frequently. Try to make sure your toddler’s room is at a comfortable temperature and also that you dress them in something comfortable to prevent discomfort.
Ultimately, getting your toddler on a consistent, age-appropriate sleep schedule is the key to getting them to sleep through the night. Routine helps your toddler to adapt and makes bedtime a lot easier to deal with. Creating a safe and comfortable environment for your toddler to sleep in and remaining consistent with sleep times and routines will eventually break the cycle and help them sleep peacefully through the night.  


9/19/17

Read This Before You Spend A Dime Online Holiday Shopping







1. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE AMAZON PRIME FREE 30-DAY TRIAL! If you don't have Amazon Prime, get it! New members can take advantage of a 30-Day FREE trial. Yes, you do have to give your credit card number, but once you sign up, "cancel" the Prime Membership and the clock will still run for 30 days. So no worries about remembering to cancel. 

Here is a screen shot of me canceling my 30-day free trial early, but still have the benefits through the full 30 days. 

                                               

TIP: Haven't used Amazon in a long time or not even sure what email you used? Your account may be eligible for a new free trial! Or, just start over. Sign up with a new email address, take advantage of the free 30-day prime membership and shop away in your PJs!  You also get all thePrime Extras like Free TV, Movies, Books, Music. Click the banner below to sign up now.

                                                   


2. Coupon like a crazy person.  Coupons are everywhere these days, don't buy without them, in-store and Online.  I needed a big ticket item from a big box hardware store. I went to their website, found what I wanted, then searched for a coupon code. I was able to save 20% at checkout with a coupon code I found. What made the deal even sweeter was that I opted for an in-store pickup, and by the time I got to the store, it was waiting for pick-uo. This saved me time and money. DO THIS!!!


3. GET CASH BACK ON EVERY PURCHASE! Did you know, you should be getting cash back for every online purchase you make? And I'm not talking about 1% of your purchase. Try up to 25% off your purchase! Seriously. No. Shit.

Last year, I reviewed a website that offered cash back. It worked. I REALLY got a check for the purchases I made when I shopped through the website. The problem was remembering to use the website before shopping.

Which is why EBATES has taken the online shopping world by storm with its browser button feature. Ebates created a button that installs on your web browser to easily find coupons offered on every site you shop at. INSTANTLY! The second the webpage opens, Ebates notifies you of the cashback percentage, then at checkout scans a bunch of coupon codes until the biggest savings is found and auto-enters the code.

If you learn anything from me shopping this holiday season, it to sign up for Ebates!  When the check arrives, you will thank me!




To check out or Sign up for Ebates, click Here.


Have an awesome way to save, please enter it in the comments below!  

9/15/17

15 Fall + Halloween Crafts For Families




Thanks to brisk and rainy fall weather, cabin fever can set in pretty quickly. Below are 15 super cute, Fall crafts for kids to keep the stuck-inside-boredom at bay!



I love this Q-tip Fall Tree Craft.



This Autumn Handprint Tree is cute, too. Maybe combine the two and use the hand as the trunk, and q-tips for leaves!





I'm making these, Autumn Leaf Mason Jar Candle Holders my weekend project! These will be so pretty on my porch at night.






How CUTE IS THIS???  Totally making this Pumpkin Handprint Keepsake.



This Craft Stick Spiderweb craft is super cute, and I bet if you switched the spider for something Christmasy, it would double as a tree ornament too!


Halloween Tin Can Ghost, Cute and easy!





What a great idea! Glow-in-the-dark Pumpkin Craft.









Speaking of Sun Catchers, Don't have bubble wrap, try this Fall Leaf Sun Catcher Craft 



These Salt Dough Leaf Impressions are such a great idea. Definitely doing it on a rainy day.




These Halloween Glitter Slime Monsters are a Halloween party fav!




This preserved leaf mobile is adorable.





This Fall Leaf Painting is a great fall craft for the little ones. Use double sided tape and let him go to town!




This leaf people craft is a great idea for a family park activity!




Speaking of nature, what Fall Craft List would be complete without a DIY pine cone bird feeder?





9/13/17

10 Ways Save Big Money And Your Sanity This Holiday Season




Before I get started, I need you to repeat your new Holiday Shopping Mantra after me...

I WILL NOT PAY FULL PRICE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

The following tips will help you stick to that mantra.

1. Make A List.  Probably the biggest holiday shopping mistake a person can make is going shopping without a solid plan. Going to the shops with a 'loose list' of people to shop for and only a vague idea of what you want to buy is dangerous on so many levels. From over buying to completely forgetting Aunt Thelma... Everyone's been naughty, just make the damn list already!

TIP: Make a list of anyone and everyone you may want/need to buy gifts for, then add your vague gift ideas. Maybe even go so far as to just come out and ask them what they want. Then use this as your master list. Stick to it, and when that person has been taken care of, write down what you got them, and cross them off the list. Organization is key.

2. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU! I am so bad about shopping for myself during the holidays. So bad. As much I'm a huge fan of retail therapy, there are two major flaws with this:

1. My holiday shopping time and budget are limited.
2. The post-holiday clearance sales in January are WAY BETTER.

It's best to leave yourself out of the equation until after the holidays.

3. Leave the distractions at home.  When possible, avoid taking your child(ren) with you.  Even if this means trading all of your lunch breaks until January.  Brown bag it and shop in peace. Kids only complicate the mission with their begging, meltdowns and diaper blowouts.

4. Price shop from home.  There are way too many apps and websites available today to not to compare prices both online and in stores. Take Your Master List and price shop online before you step foot in an actual store. Write down where the best deal is, then check your list once finished for stores or websites that overlap. This can save you a bundle on shipping and time. Between the coupon apps and the compare-and-save apps, there is no reason to pay full price anymore in store or online.

Example:  I needed a big ticket item from a big box hardware store. I went to their website, found what I wanted, then searched for a coupon code.  I was able to save 20% at checkout with a coupon code I found on Ebates.  What made the deal even sweeter was that I opted for an in-store pickup.  This saved me time and money. DO THIS!!!

5. Regift it! Before you do any of the things on this list, grab a box and walk around your house filling it with crap you don't want anymore. Remember, your crap is another person's treasure. Somehow. Once you have filled the box, sit down and decide which friend/family member or what holiday party's Secret Santa you can pawn your crap gift the goods to.

6. Coupon like a crazy person.  Coupons are everywhere these days, don't buy without them! Don't just rely on coupon specific websites and apps, check the website for the store you are heading to.  So many stores will scan the coupons off your phone. If you shop at Target and don't use the Cartwheel app... bad, bad, bad.

7. Don't discount the discount sites. Websites like Amazon, Groupon, Zulily, Overstock, Wayfarer...  all will be fighting for attention this season, so capitalize on it!  Most are even offering free shipping on the smallest orders. I have each bookmarked this time of year to check quickly for steals on things on my list.

TIP: GiftCardGranny is a totally legit site to get gift cards at super discounted prices. So before you buy a gift card in a store, check Gift Card Granny first.

8.  Shop Secondhand. What does every parent have in common at 2 am on Christmas Eve/Hanukkah? They're putting together toys. So, if you are going to give your child a fully assembled toy anyway, why not just buy it secondhand, shine it up and slap a bow on it? Second-hand children's stores and higher end consignment shops have incredible deals on gently used items... so worth checking out!

9. Hit up Pinterest and get crafty. Make something for the person that has everything.  Every year I knit hats and scarves for family and friends. They all look forward to them now; some even put in orders for specific colors.

10Never Shop Online unless you get cash back! I'm OBSESSED with Ebates. The site not only gives you cash back on purchases, it enters the best coupon code for you. No shit. If you've never checked out eBates, YOU'RE MISSING OUT!!!   I have made over $110 in cash back shopping. Some of the money has already been directly deposited in my PayPal account. Seriously, if you shop online, I cannot recommend enough signing up for Ebates. (Tip: download the browser buttons and all cash back offers and coupons are automatically offered when you start shopping on a website.)




How do you save big during the holidays? If you have any tips or tricks, please please please share them!!!!

9/11/17

Buy This For The Person That Already Has Everything


It's time to kick off the, First Time Mom and Dad 2017 Holiday Gift Guide! To get this party started, I'm partnering with the Canvas Factory, for the second year in a row, the quality is incredible, the price is right, and it's such a cool personalized gift.





You may remember last year's post about The Canvas Factory. I was super skeptical about how a photo would transfer to canvas. I was also skeptical because the prices for the products were so low! I chose the photo The hubs created for me for my birthday the year before. It's a family favorite.




 Below is a photo of the canvas on my wall, and a close up of the print to show the color and quality. 




Needless to say, WOW! I was amazed by how well the photo transferred to the canvas. 

The quality is so nice, no frame needed! The canvas is stretched around the wood frame, secured with nails and staples, then covered with soft felt-like tape to give the back a smooth finish. 





This year, I decided to make a collage of our first home in, Tanjil Bren, Australia. One of the hardest things about being married to someone who is literally from the other side of the world is no matter where we are, one of us is far from home. I wanted to make a collage of our first home in Australia in Tanjil Bren. It's such a special place. 

I picked out a few of my favorite photos for the collage then used the Canvas Factory's free online photo editing software to guide me through the process. It took about ten minutes total to upload, organize and order my collage. The Canvas print took about five days to arrive. 


Oh, how I love my Australian home in Tanjil Bren. It's not easy living in the 'bush', but it's so beautiful and peaceful, it's worth sharing a yard with deadly spiders, snakes and lizards. 

Both the hubs and I were over the moon with how the turned out! In fact, I love it so much, I'm going to fill the stairwell leading to the second floor with multiple collages created using favorite photos from my wedding, pregnancy and child birth,  Oliver's first year through fifth and keep building on it. I'm also giving my mom a collage of her five grandsons. Yes, five boys. No girls between my two siblings and I.

Here's a close up of the quality and clarity of the photo transfer.





The prices are fantastic, too! Canvas prints start at $11 and  if you sign up for their mail list $10 off your first order. If printing on canvas is not your thing, Canvas factory offers printing on acrylic glass or metal. 




I, one-hundred percent, wholeheartedly recommend the Canvas Factory's products. This gift idea is definitely a winner and a holiday pleaser.

To check out the many printing options offered at the Canvas Factory, click here.
SaveSave

9/10/17

These 12 Easy Home Weatherproofing Tips Will Save You A Bundle


Between the drafty doors and windows and old pipes in my 100-year-old home, it's essential I  winter-weatherproof before the first arctic blast. Here are twelve easy, tried, tested and totally worth it tips to weatherproof your home and save big bucks on your bills this winter.

9/7/17

These GameDay Meatballs Are Sweeping The Nation #GameDay



The all-American meatball is no longer being dredged in barbeque jelly sauce. Oh. No. Times are changin' folks. Get ready to have your idea of the meatball forever changed.





First, the bacon cheeseburger meatball is an exquisite display of bite size magic. 


 



This cheesy bacon wrapped jalapeno meatballs are another example of what magic can be made if you skip the barbeque sauce and grapey jelly goo.




Ever wished you could just make cheese appear?

Well.

Cheese stuffed meatballs.

**Drops Mic**





Ok, I'll slow it back down with a super easy option. Cheeseburger meatballs with pickles. Even the kids can help make these.






Cheeseburger Meatball on a french fry? YES, PLEASE!!!!



Missing mams meatballs?  Make Italian Meatball bites!


















Or, PUT THE CHEESE INSIDE! Magic. Friggin' magic. 




Want to add a little more to your meatball? Try wrapping it in dough or potatoes and baking it. The options are endless...



If you can dream it, you can smash it into a muffin tin and make your own magic!






Speaking of making your own magic. Why stop at beef balls? Make Buffalo Chicken meatballs.




Or Vegetarian Meatballs!




I promise it's not hard to make any of these. Make your meatball mix, then use a small measuring cup or spoon to form and tightly pack the meatball. 


SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

9/6/17

Low-Fat Hacks For Your Favorite Game Day Snacks

In an effort to not completely sabotage my diet on gamedays, I created a Pinterest board packed with guilt-free Game Day Snack goodness. Every single recipe is a twist on classic Game Day favorite with half the fat and loads of flavor. Below are 10 of my go-to game day favorites. These hacks will leave you satisfied, and most of all, not feeling like you knocked over an all you can eat buffet.



Without further ado, 10 Low-Fat Hacks For Your Favorite Game Day Snacks:

Blog Archive