Archive for the ‘My Work’ Category

You CAN DIY!

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

You CAN DIY!

When I look back on my life, I can honestly tell you that never in a million years would I believe that I would be sharing tutorials on craft or DIY. I always had crafty ambitions, but seemed to lack that creative gene and talent to take my projects to the next level. My skill set was minimal, but the desire was  always there. When we had to be serious about penny pinching, after the loss of my husband’s job, that is when I knew that I needed to be serious about making the most of our home and to get serious about DIY-ing in our life.

There is nothing like a lack of money that can force you into getting creative.

You CAN DIY!

Each day I am a little prouder of the the things that we have crafted for our home. The comments that I get make me feel so good about the space we have created. My favorite thing people say is, “This house is just so YOU.” Making a house with lots of personality and individuality has always been a big goal of mine and it has been created with an awful lot of crafting over these years. Our house really is just *us* and it was achieved with hot glue, a lot of yarn, plenty of paint, and a strong desire for a house with individuality.

No sewing skills required!

Which is why I am so thrilled to share that I am selling my first eBook called, Easy DIY Crafts for Every Season, in The Ultimate DIY Bundle to help inspire you – from crafting for your home, to creating the perfect hostess gift, to celebrating all of life’s holidays. As someone as un-crafty as I was, this feels like a really big milestone paved with a lot of awful burn marks from poor hot glue planning. :)

Ultimate DIY Bundle

Ultimate DIY Bundle

The resources in this bundle are just the kind of resources that I wished I would have had at my fingertips when I was learning to decorate and craft for my home. It is the kind of resource that would have helped me achieve all that I really wanted to do on my small budget.

Ultimate DIY Bundle

For me, the photography books included really make this bundle special and worth the investment. Kristen Duke is one of my favorite photographers and I have been dying to learn from her. How awesome that Say NO to Auto is included in this bundle so that I can start taking better pictures of my crafts…and my kids?!  There is also Birthday Party Printables from Amy Locurto, The Ultimate Tassel Guide by Myquillyn Smith (aka, The Nester), Thrifty Decor Chick’s DIY Handbook by Sarah Saucedo, A Summer of Stories by Tsh Oxenreider, Easy Mod Podge Decor for Your Home by Amy Anderson, Infarrantly Creative Printable Collection by Beckie Farrant and SO much more!

You’ll gain access to a library full of 75+ eBooks and eCourses (like Photography 101 from the guys at Shoot, Fly, Shoot), PLUS free bonuses which include a Craftsy class worth up to $60! So, DIY + Freebies? You can see why I’d be excited to share this with you all, right?

*Sorry, this sale has ended!*

 

The Ultimate DIY Bundle, is a collection of carefully curated DIY eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading authors and bloggers in the industry! For just $34.95 you’ll get access to over 75 eBooks and eCourses – and let me reassure you that this really is great value: the Ultimate Bundles team (who produced the resource) has spent MONTHS seeking out the most respected experts in the industry and asking them to contribute their premium-quality eBooks and eCourses. These really are the best of the best when it comes to DIY and crafting advice and information on topics like:

  • Home decor
  • Furniture painting
  • Photography
  • Chalk pastels
  • Handmade gifts
  • Homemade skincare products
  • Cake decorating
  • Photography and photo-editing
  • Paint colors and interior design

There’s no need to worry about information overload though: The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with a complete guide to getting started, so that you can know exactly which resource to use for your specific crafting or DIY project and jump straight into it with confidence!

 

The First Aid Essentials Every Mom Needs (Free Printables) & a $100 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

How to Stock a First Aid Kit

This post is sponsored on behalf of BHG at Walmart.

A fresh new year is a great time to  not only declutter our homes of unnecessary items, but it is also a great time to stock up on life’s daily essentials. Emergency preparation has been something that has been on my mind these days and with the focus of our site being on health/wellness for the m challenge, I thought this would be a great time to address my poorly stocked First Aid Kit, a unique way to package it for the home, and I would love to give you the chance to win a gift card of $100 to create one yourself out of products from BHG at Walmart.  What do I know about First Aid essentials and preparedness. It turns out, not much.

How to Stock a First Aid Kit: ER Doctor Jamie Shoemaker

I am not an expert on emergencies and emergency situations, but lucky for me, I actually happen to know an ER doctor in town who has seen his fair share of emergencies at his hospital. Dr. Jamie Shoemaker is an ER Doctor for Elkhart General Hospital and GRACIOUSLY offered his expert opinion on what every mom should have in her First Aid Kit to be prepared for emergency situations.

It should come as no surprise that I barely had the bandages and cream category covered.

Ahem.

On his list of First Aid essentials, he suggested different size bandages, Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, Hydrocortisone creme, Triple antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, nasal bulbsuction, syringes for oral med admin, tweezers, tape, gauze of varying sizes, Ace wraps, aloe, nail clippers, antiseptic wipes, instant cold compresses, scissors, pairs of non latex gloves, thermometer, splint, safety pins, calamine lotion, flashlight, blanket, tooth preservation
kit, contact lenses saline and case and a first aid manual.

Don’t worry- we have a printable for all of this for you to take when you head to the store.

He also noted that aspirin should be avoided in children due to Reye’s syndrome so he did not include it on this list for moms.

Thank you, Dr. Shoemaker, for helping us get prepared for emergencies in this new year.

How to Stock a First Aid Kit

How to Stock a First Aid Kit

How to Stock a First Aid Kit

How to Stock a First Aid Kit

I headed to Walmart with his list and wanted to stock up on every item, but also knew that I had to find a pretty way to package it. Thankfully, the BHG product line at Walmart offer a variety of cute totes, baskets, and other organizer essentials. Since I have nowhere to tuck my First Aid kit, it will rest on top of our little bathroom storage unit, on display for our guests. I wanted something attractive for storage so I settled on this handy Better Homes & Gardens Chesapeake Magazine Basket for under $13 that housed all of these fabulous First Aid essentials with ease and kept them tucked away without anyone knowing what is in there. How perfect is that?

Emergency preparedness is such an essential part of running a household and I know that this is something I should work on in our home. Whether it is being prepared with a bandage and some cream for the neverending injuries in our home or making sure our home is stocked with candles and flashlights for our neverending power outages or even more seriously, the need for disaster preparedness with canned foods and water…

Let’s face it, this stuff tends to fall on the shoulders of many mothers.

I know it falls on mine.

I can admit that I have done a pretty lousy job at stuff like that, but this year I want to do better and I want to encourage you to do better too. This month, the m challenge isn’t just about focusing on our own needs, but also on the needs of those we love. I hope this little push can help you this year to address key needs in your own household.

How to Stock a First Aid Kit

(just a screenshot- click below for the printable please!)

I have prepared for you a FREE printable list of First Aid Essentials that you can take to the store of all the recommendations Dr. Shoemaker offers for us.  There is no need to stress about being prepared this year- we have you covered!

Enter below to win one $100 Walmart Gift Card from BHG at Walmart to stock your First Aid Kit for the new year. One lucky winner will receive this gift card to stock up on all the essentials. This giveaway ends on January 21st! Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Live-Better-Network-Badge

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from BHG at Walmart for my time and participation in the BHG Live Better Network. Although we have material connection to BHG, any publicly stated opinions of BHG and their products remain my own.

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Slow Cooker Creamy Coconut Oatmeal

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

slow-cooker-creamy-coconut-oatmeal-5

It’s become an embarrassing pattern of mine to make a resolution every year to be better about eating breakfast. Each time, I start on the path towards healthy eating. However, as life becomes fuller and mornings more hectic, I find that eating a good breakfast often gets pushed to the side.

This year, I discovered how invaluable my slow cooker was in creating a beautiful, hot breakfast for my entire family that I could serve in the morning and enjoy for mornings to come. I could also serve it as a midday pick-me-up or as a healthy late- night snack. The discovery might seem a bit old-fashioned, but a batch of oatmeal is a great way to start the day. This isn’t just any old oatmeal though—this oatmeal is made from delicious steel cut oats.

Today I am sharing a trick to get the creamiest oats ever that will transform your mornings and your life. Did I mention that you don’t even have to clean the slow cooker after you make them? YOU MUST READ THIS!

Join me over on the Kenmore Blog as I share my tips & tricks for a delicious gluten-free and dairy-free slow cooker creamy coconut oatmeal bowl for your busy week!

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How to Make a Breakfast Bar

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

We have come to the age of slumber parties and epic sleepovers in our home. If you were anything like me when I was a child, you just couldn’t wait to wake up and find out what would be for breakfast.  Making a breakfast bar can be a fun way to serve a large group whether it is your child’s birthday or simply an easy way to entertain guests for the morning. I am partnering with Walmart today to show off a cute display for creating a breakfast bar in your home.

My favorite sleepover when I was a kid involved a huge display of toppings for our waffles and pancakes. I remember as a child delighting in all of the options and I still have that delight even as an adult.  Now as mom, I love creating a self-service bar of choices for our meals where everyone can customize their own meals to their own tastes.

Breakfast, in particular, as a buffet is a great idea so that guests can sleep in and then come and create their breakfast whenever they are ready, eliminating the need for you to all be around the table at the same exact time.

Even on busy school mornings, I find that this option would work beautifully since we all arrive at the table at different times. By prepping the toppings ahead, you can save time in the morning and really enjoy that cup of coffee.

Here are some of my suggestions for creating a beautiful and easy breakfast bar spread!

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Make Serving Easy With Scoops & Trifle Bowls

Ditch the cereal boxes for an elegant display utilizing clear glass trifle bowls and an inexpensive all-purpose scoop. Give your guests choices by providing more than one selection of cereal.

 

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Create a Simple Toppings Bar

I love to provide a variety of toppings so everyone can make their bowl their own. Fresh strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries can be a wonderful fresh topper. Dried fruits, slivered almonds, or crunchy walnuts can also add variety to your toppings bar. Make an easy batch of granola (I love this vanilla-scented granola or this easy honey nut granola) and add this to the mix for another crunchy layer. Remember to take advantage of what fruits are in-season to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Add a Gluten-Free Option

As someone who is gluten-free, I love when there are options for me. Yogurt can be a delicious option and give your guests a chance to also create their own bowl utilizing the delicious toppings you have provided for your breakfast buffet. I like to keep small bowls handy to pour the yogurt out into and giving me room to really layer on the fruit, nut, and granola toppings, just as I would do with cereal. Make sure that you are using gluten-free oats if making your own granola or purchase gluten-free prepared granola if purchasing them.

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Make a Pretty Display

If there is one investment that I am glad I have made over the years, it has been in classic white dishes. Display your toppings in pretty bowls and add an inexpensive bouquet of flowers to the center of your breakfast bar. Even if the ingredients are not all homemade, you can still make things feel pretty and upscale with a few inexpensive additions and beautiful plating.

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

I hope these ideas inspired you for your breakfast. Whether it is a weekday rush or a leisurely morning with out-of-town guests, the breakfast bar can be an easy way to serve a meal!

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Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

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Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Crazy 8.

Each holiday I get my kids new outfits to parade around to our annual family functions.  With an extended family of our size and two sides living in one town, you better believe there is a lot of parading for us.  Since they happen to wear uniforms at their school, it is a royal treat to wear something other than a uniform and especially sweet if it is something new.  Today I am partnering with Crazy 8 to share about their affordable holiday line of clothing that they are offering this holiday season.

We have been longtime lovers and supporters of Crazy 8 because the clothing line fits nicely in our family budget, yet doesn’t skip on style or quality. It was not a stretch at all to partner together since we have been such big fans over the years. There is always a good deal to be had and a coupon code to snag.

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

My daughter has a big personality and her clothes and style match it perfectly. She started ballet this year and playing a pink electric guitar. She’s really amazing.  If I had to describe her in one word it would be, observant.  She has this big personality, yet she takes it all in and never misses a thing. She has an incredible memory and gift for her attention to detail. She’s so incredibly smart.

Her personality happens to be as big as her infectious grin.  Her favorite things are sparkles, tulle, and soft faux furs.  She might just have a little bit of her mother’s style in her.  We happened to find all three of these qualities in the Crazy 8 holiday line. This holiday season they have their usual New Arrivals, but they have also added Party Picks, Rule the Rink, Gear Up for Getaways, and Shine On that you can access on the left-hand side of the Crazy 8 website. This holiday season, Crazy 8 designers were inspired by traveling, ice skating, holiday decorating and snow days.  If you follow the blog, you know all about our holiday decorating and our famous hot cocoa mix we love to indulge in.

The nice thing is that all of these lines also work together for a great mix and match to create your own outfits that fit your child’s personality. This outfit consists of a couple of Party Picks, a Gear Up for Getaways, & Shine On…all mixed together to create the perfect Emily combo.

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

My son, on the other hand, has a more understated style with a heavy reliance upon comfort and classics.  He is pretty tall, five feet already, and I am thankful that Crazy 8 sizing runs all the way up to size 14.  He’s a skinny kid and we love the adjustable tabs on the pants and the slimmer cut pant offerings that they offer for him.

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

His favorite item from the Party Picks line is this Herringbone Cap (priced at a mere $12.88). I haven’t seen him take it off since he got it. This look may have been inspired by his Uncle John who rocks a cap just like this and happens to be an artist (the very field he might like to pursue). At moments I have caught a peek at him out of the corner of my eye and have had to do a double-take because he looks just like my baby brother. Perhaps, that is why I love it so much too.

To describe him in a single word, the first thing that I think of is that he is compassionate. He always asks me how my day is and wants to know how he can help me. This kid still apologizes for making me get up early to help him catch the bus and will do just about anything for his sister. He is an awesome young man.

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Shine On During the Holidays With Crazy 8

Shine On, Crazy 8’s current holiday initiative, celebrates the unique individualities and personalities that make every kid special which this mom absolutely loves.  As you can see, my kids have totally different styles and personalities, but we were able to find a look for each of them.

In honor of this, Crazy 8 has launched a month-long #ShineOnCrazy8 photo contest. To participate you can share photos of your kids, describing their personality in one word and tag the photo #ShineOnCrazy8 on Instagram, Twitter, or you can directly upload it right to the Crazy 8 Facebook fan page tab. Crazy 8 will be awarding $88 gift cards to a winner each week during the month of December.  How fun is that?

I hope you can take a moment to enter the contest and also to browse the new Crazy 8 holiday lines for your own family holiday parade that fits their personality perfectly.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Crazy 8.

 

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The MomAdvice Top Ten of 2014 (Some Behind-the-Scenes Hilarity Too)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Amy Allen Clark

Friends, I just want to say a quick thank you for another year of great fun. Next month I celebrate my 11th year in this business and it is still incredible to me that a job I made up (I mean, I really did!) had such staying power. Did I ever think I would still be doing this? No way! Am I thankful every day? Absolutely! I can’t imagine living our life in any other way now.

Thank you for your visits, comments, and support over the years- I am so thankful for each of you!  Each day that I get to be creative and share it with you is a precious gift.

Let’s take a look at what your favorite posts were this year and let me spill the beans on a little behind-the-scenes stuff on these that I usually reserve just for my girlfriends. I love to end the year on a light note so I hope you will appreciate the true stories behind some of these crazy projects.

How to Teach Your Child to Tie

1. A New Way to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes

I feel a little guilty that our #1 post is actually not even really my idea or video. Come on, did you really think I was that smart? A huge thank you to my amazing friend, Nancy Lary, for sharing her amazing shoe tying technique. As soon as she showed me how to work on this with my kids, I knew that it would be an instant hit on the blog. I was right. Everyone is always looking for a new shoelace tying technique and this post being ##1 just proves it.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans

2. How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans

A couple of years ago, I was working on a project for my job with Goodwill and thought it might be fun to purchase some thrift store jeans and restore the color. After I did it and it really worked, I was like…”Nah. I think I will keep it for my own blog.” I told my husband that it was going to be a huge hit and he was like, “Sure,” but shaking his head no at the same time. I’m like, IN YOUR FACE.  This project has been our most pinned project and, thanks to being picked up on some Reddit male fashion board, it is still going strong and holding steady in our #2 most visited spot.

Fashionable men, you can totally dye your jeans. Keep coming here for the scoop!

Easy Sushi Sandwich

3. Easy Lunchbox Solutions

This was one of the craziest and coolest things that happened this year. Walmart hired me to showcase a quick sandwich that moms could do for the back-to-school season. I decided to create a little sushi roll out of a cheese stick, turkey, and rolled out bread.

Fast forward to a month later and our site is getting a weird traffic spike from sites like People.com, TMZ, Perez Hilton, and a bunch of other sites. I brought it up with my husband and he thought it was some type of spam thing. As I sat at the bus stop with my son in the car, I was scrolling through Perez Hilton to catch up on an awards show that I missed on television and see my image there.

At first, I thought it was some weird targeted ad (you know, those strange ones on Facebook that just know you were browsing the Anthropologie site when you have no money at all).

Nope, it was my image EVERYWHERE showing moms how to make this simple little sandwich. Between that and the pin from Walmart, this quick lunch idea sits in our #3 spot.

As an aside, holy relief that I am on Perez for a sandwich and not anything else. Can I get an amen?

How to Make Glow In the Dark JELL-O

 

4. How to Make Glow in the Dark JELL-O

I have had many a dream where I am featured in an amazing food magazine like Bon Appetit. Did I believe it would ever be for a science experiment we did with our kids for Glow in the Dark JELL-O? Um. No. Of course, that is what happened.  This idea didn’t even come to me, but came from my real-life friend Ashley who spied the project in her daughter’s American Girl Doll Magazine. She sent it to me and said, “Hey, I think this would be a good one for your blog.” Boy, was it!  It’s always a hit at Halloween times.

If you read our lengthy review, you know it doesn’t taste awesome at all.

People don’t care.

They love stuff that glows.

Truth be told, half the time this is pinned as a glow in the dark shot.

Hey… I wonder if that tastes better? Watch for that tutorial next year and I will be sure to test the shots for you! I do it for the people.

How to (or how NOT to) Spray Paint Furniture

5. How to Spray Paint Furniture

This table is almost fifteen years old so I knew that if my idea for spray painting this didn’t work, it would be okay. It ended up being one of my favorite pieces I have ever made over in our house and is one of our most searched for projects on the site.  Sadly with the addition of our new fireplace, we donated her this week because of the new spacing of our layout. I hope she gets lots of love in someone else’s home though because she was certainly a favorite of mine.

I continue to embrace spray paint projects almost weekly and I am pretty sure that our bus driver thinks I am huffing because I am covered in spray paint at least two days a week getting my daughter off the bus. You can hang my mom of the year plaque inside my newly spray painted frame.

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

6. DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

Not only did I earn cool mom points for making a Minecraft costume with my son last year, but it also is one of our top ten projects on the site.

My son is still into Minecraft.

I still don’t get it.

6-Stitch Ruffled Scarf Tutorial

 

7.  Knitted Ruffled Scarf with Sashay Yarn

I find it intriguing that this is our top post in the knitting category, but I also found this yarn intriguing too when I worked with it. It makes a beautiful ruffle with just six stitches and people are always trying to figure out how to use it when they buy it at the store.

I ended up giving this scarf to my mom for her birthday. What’s the saying the cobbler’s children have no shoes? Yeah, it’s a lot like that.

How to Make a Care Package for the Homeless

8 How to Make a Homeless Care Package

Seeing this is still in our top ten posts makes me so very happy and is proof that I have such awesome readers. I did so much research on making the perfect bag and pricing out items so that we could serve as many people as possible with these bags and my husband spent so much time creating great resources and a checklist to make it easy for people to replicate this project for others.

I still get feedback from people that they are using it for their Girl Scout troops and even heard from one non-profit that used it as a template for serving people in their community. I’m so happy that this post made a difference and is impacting people in other regions.

There is nothing funny about this post- it’s just awesome.

DIY Knitted Boot Cuffs

9. Quick & Easy Knitted Boot Cuffs

It’s funny how a quick project like this can become so unexplainably popular. I try to submit my craft projects over to Craftgawker (you can view what has made the cut here) and this was one that I had submitted ages ago. People must be on the hunt for these because suddenly it shot to first place in our referral traffic these past couple of months. I headed over to see the views on it and it has already been viewed by 12,300 people (and counting!).

Guess how many pairs of these cuffs I have?

None.

My best friend got them for Christmas and I hear they are keeping her very cozy.

Now what was that saying again…?

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

10. How to Make a Blanket Scarf

Since I made this project just a couple of weeks ago, you can imagine how viral this has gone if it is already in our top ten posts of the year. I originally was going to execute this project for a client, but then I had the same thought as I did with those jeans, “Maybe I should keep the best stuff for me.” I am so glad I did and I have no doubt that this will be in our top ten even next year.

Why?

Who the hay wants to pay $60 for a blanket scarf?

Nobody.

I did find this image pinned in someone’s Mary Kate & Ashley pin board though and I was the only one who wasn’t Mary Kate or Ashley.

#longlostsister

Well, that was fun! What has been your favorite project on MomAdvice? I would love to hear if you have tried anything from the site for your family!

 

DIY Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas

Monday, December 8th, 2014

DIY Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas

 

I can’t believe that the holidays are upon us and, if you are anything like me, the house is just begging you to decorate it for the season. I love beautiful holiday decorations, but I prefer simplicity, affordability, and smart investments that can be used over and over again. In our house, for example, we are decking it out with my favorite burlap wreath and my handmade yarn trees and we are even buying our first REAL Christmas tree this year (which I am awfully excited about).

I love to make handmade items that we can pull out from year to year so that is why I am excited to showcase some DIY Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas from some of my favorite DIY bloggers.

Check out these amazing DIY Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas on the Goodwill Tips blog today!

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How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship

Monday, December 1st, 2014

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

*This post is sponsored by Walmart

I have had my calendar booked forever for Peter Pan Live! ever since I heard it was the next live theater production to hit television. Did you hear that it is coming to NBC on Thursday, December 4 at 8/7c? The cast includes several of my favorites like Allison Williams, Christopher Walken, Christian Borle and Minnie Driver. In honor of the film, I have crafted up a watermelon boat that you can share with your kids for your family night together. This fun food craft can be created together, adding your own personal pirate touches, or you can create it to surprise the kids for your family night.

Not many people know this, but I did theatre for many years and my favorite type of shows to do were musicals. My love for this started in high school and I took a year off in between high school and college to do more shows. In fact, I even did a show when I was pregnant with my son.  Thankfully, it was of an era with empire waists and flowing Victorian clothing. I miss it a lot and that is, perhaps, why I appreciate the opportunity to catch any production that I can. I also appreciate any opportunity I can get to expose my children to the arts and it is why I put a big significance on this in our home. Not everyone can afford a ticket to see a show and I love that this is an affordable way to enjoy the arts as a family.

Without further adieu, let’s create a fun pirate ship for your family night!

Supplies Needed

1 watermelon

1 pint blueberries

1 pint strawberries

1 pound grapes

1 sharp knife

cutting board

1 piece of cardstock

5 paper straws (I found these in the party supplies aisle)

1 hole punch

1 pair of scissors

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

 

Directions for Watermelon Pirate Ship

1. To help your boat sit upright, slice very thinly the end off of the bottom of the watermelon, making sure not to puncture your watermelon so it can act as a boat for your fruit.

2.  Slice the top half of your watermelon off. Set aside.

3. Using a melon baller, remove the meat of your watermelon. If you do not have a melon baller, you can score the watermelon into chunks and glide your knife all around watermelon to help create the shape of your chunks. Use a spoon to then scoop out the squares of melon. Ideally though, a melon baller makes quick work for your fruit salad.

4. Once the melon is completely hollowed out, slice your fruit and place it inside of your bowl, weaving in your watermelon, to create your fruit salad.

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

5. Now we can make our sails for our ship. Cut out five squares from a single piece of cardstock, any size you wish. I just cut out one square and used it as a template to create the rest of my sails. These do not have to be perfect, in fact, if they are imperfect they look like they are waving a bit in the breeze.

6. Using a hole punch, punch out a punch near the top of the square and then near the bottom to create a place for our straws to slide through. I stacked them all together and then punched them all at once so they would look more uniform.

7.  You will then need to cut your straws are varying sizes. I did one long straw, two medium, and then two short.  Slide the straw through making sure that the straw is peeking out of the back and not the front of that pretty white sail.

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

We hope you love this craft we created in honor of  Peter Pan Live! and we hope you can catch the show with us!  You can learn more about this amazing production here! We can’t wait and hope this idea inspires you for your family night together!

xo

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Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

If there is one thing this girl loves it is a good yarn pom-pom project. I have created everything from pom-pom Christmas trees to bouquets of flowers for gift-giving. Today I’m partnering with Walmart to show you a fun winter craft you (or your little ones) can create for the holidays to decorate a window, mantel, or pretty up a ledge in your home. The best part is that it doesn’t cost a lot to create and can be used year after year!

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1 skein (or possibly two depending on your ledge size) Hometown USA Super Bulky Yarn in Los Angeles Tan ($2.97)

Package of 20 Mini Shatterproof Ornaments (in seasonal decor with the mini artificial trees) ($3.48)

Large Clover Pom-Pom Maker (use the blue one) ($6.61)

Scissors

Embroidery Needle

Scissors

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com how-to-use-a-pom-pom-maker-4 Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Yarn Pom Pom & Mini-Ornament Garland Directions

1. Prepare yarn pom-poms as I have shown you in the step-by-step photo tutorial or follow directions on packaging to create your pom poms. Keep making pom-poms making sure to leave enough yarn to string your pom-pom garland.

2. Once all of your pom poms are made, thread them with the embroidery needle onto your yarn. Take the embroidery needle off (the needle head is too large to feed through the mini-ornaments) and then alternate it with a mini-ornament. Keep doing this until you have filled the entire garland leaving a little on each end to hang down. I ended mine with an ornament since it ends the garland securely without knotting.

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

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Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com
Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com
Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com
Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Did you see that I got my first little fireplace? I decided to decorate it with this adorable garland. To tie it all together, I filled glass bowls ($1.97 each) with a package of mini ornaments ($3.48 each) and then stacked them on my little fake logs that I had bought for my fall decorating from the craft store. I found these adorable owls  for $4.98 in the seasonal decor and I love that I can leave these out even when it isn’t Christmas. This mini lighted tree was $9.98 and I finished her with a little pom-pom topper too. Since we took our painting down to decorate, I used the nails I had for hanging another shorter garland above the top to add a little interest to the wall.

This project took me about one hour and I look forward to enjoying it all Winter long and in the years to come.

I hope this frugal idea inspires you in your holiday decorating! Happy Holidays!

xo

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How to Paint a Laminate Fireplace

Friday, November 28th, 2014

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

It has been a dream of mine to have a fireplace in our home.  It started with a faux mantel obsession and endless nights on Craigslist. Then every home improvement show we watched had beautiful restored mantels that made me pine more for a cozy place in our home to sit. When we rented a lake cottage last winter, we all took turns sitting by it in the evenings to warm up. I just can’t seem to get over it.

Walmart wanted to partner with me on a fun winter project and I just knew it was time to pull the trigger.  You know, let the obsessing begin again. This time, I decided to explore the electric fireplace option for our home due to its affordability and ease it would be to add it to a room in our home.

I haven’t seen an electric fireplace in action in many years, but I can honestly say that they have come a long way. The flames are much more realistic than they used to be and you can select if you just want to sit by your little faux fire or if you want actual warmth which warms a room as a space heater would.  It’s definitely not the real deal, but a beautiful substitute especially for small spaces that need a little cozying.

Electric Fireplaces Ideas Under $200

Pictured Above: 1. Electric Fireplace with a 44″ mantel ($199)/ 2. Wall Mounted Fireplace ($124.95)/ 3. Electric Fireplace with 26″ Mantel ($129.99) 4. Electric Fireplace With 38″ Mantel (159.97)/ 5. 26″ Polyfiber Electric Fireplace ($199)

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

This back corner in my craft room/office was intended to be a place to unwind. Unfortunately, unwinding seemed impossible when facing my desk and the corner ended up being a pretty space that was rarely used. I decided that wall would be the perfect spot for our little fireplace and settled upon this Electric Fireplace with a 44″ mantel ($199) for the space. I paid the $5 for swift shipping and the item came overnight- I am not kidding.

This is a build-it-yourself piece of furniture that took a couple of hours to put together. I must admit, my husband was not on board at this point with my decision to bring this into our space, but I knew it could anchor this corner better and would be a lovely treat in the winter.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

That same evening (a late night Instagram capture), I rearranged the furniture and the kids raided their library books and spent the evening cozy by it.

I loved the cozy space, but felt that the fireplace could look a little better with a little paint and creating a brighter focal point. I decided that I would paint it white to brighten it up and also to camouflage that this is a laminate wood piece. Have you ever painted laminate wood before?  It really couldn’t be easier with these three simple ingredients.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Laminate Furniture in 3 Easy Steps

1. Paint on a Coat of Zinsser Primer- I became a fan of Zinsser Primer when I painted our kitchen table (she still looks great!) and could not seem to remove the layers of poly that had been applied to the table. In the same way, Zinsser makes a laminate surface accept your paint. If you don’t use this as a sealant before painting, it is likely that your project will begin to bubble and it will not accept the application of paint. Zinsser dries very quickly and is easy to apply to the surface. Once it is dry (usually within an hour or two), you can begin painting your furniture

2. Next, you can apply your paint. I have been painting like crazy over here and so I had a gallon of paint on hand that I could dig into for this project. Since the laminate wood was so dark, I used my Benjamin Moore Paint (the paint color is White Dove) that included a primer already in it.  With the addition of that, plus the Zinsser, I only needed one coat and a little more for touching up.

3. Finish with two coats of Polycrylic in a Clear Satin. I have a very sad, sad tale to share soon about two pieces of furniture that were ruined by an oil-based poly. In fact, they yellowed within a single week. Please if you do one thing, take my advice and use Polycrylic to finish your project. It is clear, it doesn’t smell as awful as the oil-based, and this product WON’T YELLOW YOUR FURNITURE.  Allow each coat of poly to dry for two hours before reapplying. Allow the piece to dry overnight.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Laminate Furniture from MomAdvice.com

The white paint definitely makes this fireplace the focal point of the room. I have already decorated her for the holidays and will be sharing my mantel decorating ideas on the blog next week that I created in less than an hour. This space is truly the happiest corner in our home and has been a wonderful place to unwind in the evening hours or for a break in the office during the day. I can’t believe how affordable this solution was and I love that I added my own touches to it to truly make it mine.

As you can see it, it is a hit with the whole family even our cat loves it and cozies up with us here. I highly recommend a little Bing on the record player to really bring this corner to life!

Happy holidays, friends!

xo

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