Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix in a Jar

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

DIY Vanilla Chai Tea Mix from MomAdvice.com

 

Are you as ready for fall as I am? As soon as the weather starts turning, I start thinking of all the things that I love about autumn. The crisp leaves, the cool air, my cozy slippers, flannel sheets, and warm drinks. In fact, sipping warm drinks with a good book is one of my all-time favorite fall activities.

My favorite warm drink is chai and I look forward to making this each and every year for our family. Is it your favorite too? I love to have homemade chai tea mix in a jar on hand for sipping or for sharing with a good friend.

I am sure you have seen that the drink mixes can be quite expensive, but mixing up a batch of this DIY Vanilla Chai mix for yourself can help to keep your pockets nice and warm with a little extra money. Most of the spices, dry creamer, and dry milk are already stocked in my pantry or can be found easily on the baking shelves at our local grocery store. The only additions I usually have to run out and get is the instant tea and powdered vanilla creamer. When I see a sale on these ingredients, I stock up so I don’t run out in the colder months. We tend to go through this mix rather quickly because it is such a hit over here.

To make the batch more smooth, instead of gritty, I process everything through my blender. I first mix all of the white ingredients in my blender (milk, sugar, creamer, vanilla creamer). I dump those in a plastic container and then I mix up all the brown ingredients (tea and spices). I pour this on top in the plastic container, seal the lid and give it a good shaking to incorporate or mix it up with a spoon. If you have a large food processor, you may be able to process it all together, but if you have a blender it is best to do this in divided batches.

DIY Vanilla Chai Mix in a Jar from MomAdvice.com

Not only is this drink mix wonderful for yourself, but mixing up a batch of this and tucking some of it in a mug would be a wonderful gift to give to someone special in your life. I often rely on this easy mix in a jar for a teacher or bus driver gift because it is always a hit. Who wouldn’t want a jar of that in their pantry?

If you are sharing this one with your kids, be sure to look for a mix like this.

You’ll have to trust me on that one since I have made that mistake a few times (*ahem*)

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do- please let me know what you think!

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Mix up this easy recipe for Vanilla Chai to keep in your pantry to enjoy throughout the cooler months. This is also a great gift mix to share with family and friends.
Ingredients
  • Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix
  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 2 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder. Add two-three tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk.


Love this mix? Check out my hot cocoa mix with an ingredient that just might surprise you! You might also love this link to some of my favorite copycat DIY Starbucks Drinks or this great roundup of fall drinks- yum! What is your favorite autumn/winter drink? Do you have any recipes to share for your favorite drink mixes?

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial for Fall

Monday, August 21st, 2017

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

This blog was sponsored by Westcott. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

I’m back to crafting today (all the jazz hands!) and I’m SO excited to share a fun apple wreath tutorial to freshen up your front door for fall, but I’m even more excited to share with you a secret that I’ve been keeping for the past couple of months.

Westcott, our sponsor today, has launched a new Mini Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue Pen.

A  hot glue pen, you say?

Yes!

Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen

Let’s talk about the Mini Hot Glue Guns first. The Mini Hot Glue Gun comes in two versions, high temp (this baby reached up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and low temp (that can reach up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit).  What makes these a little different are the smart features that I’ve always wished my glue gun had and I know you will appreciate too.

This has a non-stick tip (!!!) and the nozzle changes color from blue to red so you know when it is ready to use. No guessing and burning yourself checking it anymore! It also has been ergonomically designed to help your hands stay comfortable for all your crafting time.

Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen

Since I have so much joint pain, I haven’t been crafting as much as I used to. This new Hot Glue Pen though is incredible and helps with your precision and accuracy when you are doing detailed projects. This one also turns colors to indicate when it is ready and it offers a finger trigger right on top to help you dispense glue in a more controlled way.

I have joked that our entire house is held together with a glue gun so I was MORE THAN HAPPY to spread the good news about these new products! You can read more over here and also check out their new site for Westcott Creativators.

How about we take these for a test drive and craft up a beautiful diy apple wreath for your home, to share with a teacher, or a fun wreath to hang to celebrate back to school?

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

14″ styrofoam wreath form (or your own preferred size)

60-80 mini foam apples (I used 80 on mine to make it full)

24-30 feet of Mesh Burlap

Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen or Mini Hot Glue Gun (low temp is great for gluing together plastic and styrofoam)

Hot glue sticks

1-2 Pins to secure on the back

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

 Directions to Make an Apple Wreath

1. Begin by wrapping burlap around the styrofoam wreath form. Once the entire wreath is wrapped in burlap, secure with a couple of pins to keep the burlap tight.

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

2. Heat up your Westcott Hot Glue Gun Pen and wait for the tip to turn red, to indicate that it is hot and ready. Begin securing these foam apples all around your burlap wreath, taking your time holding each of these to the burlap until they are secure. Be sure to tilt them in different directions, covering the entire top of the wreath. You can then leave the wreath as is or you can add another layer on top in between the first layer apples. I loved the dimension of two levels on this wreath so I added an extra round of apples to finish my wreath.

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

3. Finish by hanging your wreath on a door. I looped a little twine on the back through the holes in the burlap to finish this wreath!

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

DIY Apple Wreath Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

I hope you have fun making a wreath of your own, for yourself or for your favorite teacher! This is such an easy craft to make and can be enjoyed throughout the fall season. Thank you to Westcott for all the hot glue gun fun! I’m so excited to work on future projects with this smartly designed craft tool!

 

This blog was sponsored by Westcott. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

DIY Easter Egg Tree

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Can you believe that Easter is just around the corner? Today I wanted to show you a fun centerpiece for your table that I created with a few acrylic paints and a fun item I found in the candy aisle! I’m showing you how to make this adorable DIY Easter Egg Tree that could be a fun craft to make for your home or a great alternative to egg dying if you have older kiddos!

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

9″ styrofoam cone

1 package Whoppers Robin Eggs

Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Paints in Lagoon, Coral, & Sunshine (or whatever colors match your home interior)

Waverly Inspirations 4-piece wide brush set

1 package sheet moss

1 1/2 Waverly Ribbon

Hot Glue Gun

Hot Glue Sticks

Scissors

Cup with water, paper towels, and something to cover the surface while painting and prepping moss (I used a large trash bag)

How to Make a DIY Easter Egg Tree

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

1. Begin by covering your styrofoam cone with your sheet moss and CAREFULLY securing it with hot glue.

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

Keep in mind, these fibers do separate so you want to be careful where you put your fingers. Overlapping slightly, keep adding pieces of moss to the cone until you get to the top. I folded a small piece over to cover the tip of the cone and then worked my moss around it, much like I did with the scrappy fabric trees I made for the holidays.

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

2. Give your candy eggs a good coat of paint. I selected paint colors that matched our home in coral, blue, and a sunshine yellow. Don’t worry if you don’t get every spot on the eggs painted because you can paint them once they are more secure. Give these about fifteen minutes to dry and then attach them with hot glue to your tree, carefully spacing the colors out as best as you can. I ended up painting 12 of each color to cover my mossy tree.

3. Once you have attached the eggs securely, now you can touch-up the paint to make sure they are covered fully.

4. Finish with a little ribbon and glue your bow to the top of your tree.

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

The moss does have a tendency to shed so put a plate underneath to catch the debris and put this beauty on your dining table, an end table, or on your mantle. Isn’t that too cute?

I hope you have as much fun making this craft as we did! It’s been a true pleasure working with Waverly Inspirations this year and sharing the journey with you!

How about more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

15-Minute Scrappy Fabric Trees

Kid Craft: Easy Technique for Painting Gift Wrap

DIY Phone Charging Station

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

 

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DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft

Monday, March 27th, 2017

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Mirum Shopper. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Today I’m partnering up with Dannon® Danimals® Smoothies and creating the cutest craft to celebrate spring! We are making diy pom pom bunnies from a few common items you have in your craft supplies and recycling those drink containers from our Danimals® Smoothies.

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

Dannon® Danimals® Smoothies are conveniently snack-sized, sealed and ready to drink, so I love to keep these on hand especially on busy days where we are running from school straight to activities. It’s also good to know that these fun drinks do not contain high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors or flavorings, and are a good source of Calcium and Vitamin D.

This seems to be a busy season of the school year for us as we close in on the end of the school year. It isn’t uncommon to be running from one thing to the next so I try to keep items like these on hand for days when a healthy snack is required between activities and pair it with a handful of almonds or baby carrots for an easy snack to enjoy on-the-go.

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

danimals-smoothies-2

You can find these over in the dairy cooler at Walmart and right now their 12-pack is under $5!  To save even more, take advantage of this Ibotta offer for an additional dollar off. This coupon can be used on either the 12-pack or you can really stock up for your family and snag an 18-pack for these upcoming busy days.

You can try all the fun flavors from Rockin’ Raspberry® to Strawberry Explosion® to Wild Watermelon®!

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

These containers also happen to be the perfect size for upcyclying into fun crafts so today I wanted to use these containers to make adorable Pom Pom Bunnies for Spring! This would be so fun for a classroom for a quick snack and craft time to celebrate the Easter season.

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1 Dannon® Danimals® Smoothies Container (make sure to rinse this out well)

White or Gray Cotton Yarn and a scrap of contrasting color for the bow tie

Wiggly eyes

Pink colored pom

1.5″ foam ball (over by the floral supplies)

Straight Pins

Glue

1 piece of white felt

Medium Pom-Pom Maker (or you can make a pom-pom with a few items around your house)

Scissors

How to Make a DIY Pom-Pom Bunny

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

1. Remove the packaging from your Dannon® Danimals® Smoothies Container carefully with scissors.

2. Place the styrofoam ball on top and push in to secure. Please note, if you don’t want the styrofoam to show, you can wrap the ball in yarn first and then place on top. Also  if you want it to stay in place you can add a little hot glue around this to make sure it is completely secure.

3. If you have never used a pom-pom maker before, you can see my pom-pom tutorial for full instructions. Using a straight pin, pin the pom-pom to the front of the styrofoam ball to make the bunny’s face.

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

4. Glue your pink nose and eyes to the front of your pom-pom.

5. Cut out your felt ears, pinch these at the bottom, and then use the pins again to pin these ears to the top of the head.

6. Finish with a bow tie around the neck.

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice.com

How cute is that? This would be such a fun preschool craft for Spring! I hope this tutorial inspires you to snag some Danimals® Smoothies from your local Walmart to keep on hand for these busy days with our kids and don’t forget to print that coupon for some additional savings!

This post was created in partnership with Mirum Shopper. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Tracking Pixel Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Gluten-free baking has always been very intimidating to me and I did my best for a long time to avoid it all costs. Unfortunately, with three people in our house advised to eating gluten-free, I was pushed into the gluten-free baking trenches for our family. I’m not ambitious enough to spend time mixing up my own mixes and that is why I’m excited to share with you about Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-1 Baking Flour.  Today I’m sharing this easy recipe for a Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake with all the flavor minus the gluten.

Did I mention no tricky mixing of flours or trying to perfect recipes that are already in your recipe box? Yup, Bob’s Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour is perfectly formulated for baked goods with terrific taste and texture with no additional modifications on your part.

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

In our family, it is a tradition to make the birthday boy or girl a homemade cake to celebrate their day. My husband’s birthday was the perfect excuse to mix up a yummy cake with Bob’s Gluten-Free Flour. This rich batter is filled not only with a healthy dose of cocoa powder, but it gets a double chocolate whammy from the crushed gluten-free cookies and cream cookies that are folded right into it.

My secret weapon in any chocolate dessert is a little bit of coffee to enhance those rich chocolate flavors. I had my daughter taste the batter before the addition of coffee and after and we both agreed that it makes a really big difference in the smoothness of the flavor.

I know I don’t have to tell busy moms this, but coffee is certainly magic.

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

I’ve played around with a lot of gluten-free flour mixes in our kitchen, since our family’s diagnosis, and I can confidently say that this is the first blend that I’ve tried that I can taste no difference between the all-purpose flour and this gluten-free mix. There is no mealy texture or that sense that something is just off about the mix. The cake baked up as light and puffy as any cake prepared with all-purpose flour would.

For someone who lacks gluten-free baking confidence, this blend has given me the urge to bake again and I’m already dreaming of how else I can put this blend to work for our special treats. Have no doubts that you will see many of them on the site in the upcoming months!

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

Can we talk about the frosting for just one minute? MORE cookies are folded into this whipped cream cheese frosting and adds the jazz hands to this chocolate cake. Ths homemade frosting elevates and lightens the cake with it’s tangy flavor. Also, because there are not enough cookies in this, I added more cookies on top for decorating so you can have a snack in between bites.

We toted this cake to the restaurant to celebrate my husband’s birthday this year, in all her shining glory.

As we sat there eating, he leaned into me to say, “I keep thinking people are looking at me because it’s my birthday. I just realized that they are looking at your cake.”

Yup, it’s a showstopper.

A rousing song of happy birthday and slices shared with all at our table (and a few not at our table because CAKE), and we still had half a cake left once it had all been distributed. We offered the other half to the kitchen staff and it made me so happy to see it being sliced and enjoyed by everyone.

For several years, I worked as a waitress and I remember those long days worked for tips. It’s why we always try to go the extra mile when we dine out and this was just one more way we could show our appreciation for those who care for us.

Homemade cakes really do bring people together and I couldn’t stop the goofy grin on my face from seeing everyone enjoy this sweet treat, as I carried my empty cake stand home. My husband also left with the same grin, after a great meal shared with family and our new friends. He really felt celebrated this year.

Please add this cake and Bob’s Gluten Free 1-1 Baking Flour to your menu planner and grocery list. I promise, you won’t ever miss the gluten in this rich and delicious cookies and cream cake. This is a cake that’s meant to be shared so find a way to make that happen too. I bet you’ll gain a few new friends in the process!

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A gluten-free cookies and cream cake perfect for celebrating all of life's occasions!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
  • 1½ cups finely crumbled gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3¾ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1½ cups finely crumbled gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two (9-inch) cake pans with cooking spray and dust with gluten-free flour.
  2. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs and egg yolk, 1 at a time, and beat until well mixed, then add in the melted butter. Mix well to combine. Next, add the buttermilk and coffee and beat until smooth. Fold in the crumbled cookies with a wooden spoon.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, approximately 30-33 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool, on a rack, in the pans for 5 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a rack and let cool completely.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla. Add in the confectioners' sugar, ½ cup at a time, until smooth. Beat in the crumbled cookies.
  5. Once the cake has fully cooled, add a layer of frosting on the top of one cake layer and then stack the second one on top. Finish with more frosting on top. This recipe yields enough to also frost the sides of the cake, if you desire. Finish with more cookies (whole or crushed) to add decoration to the top of your cake.

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and today I wanted to share with you a sweet little treat idea that is no-bake, made in just five minutes, and can be customized to your child’s own dietary needs.

Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Every year on March 17, the Irish and those of us that are Irish-at-heart across the world observe this day together, but many don’t know the origin of the holiday. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a lot of green food.

Each year I try to come up with a sweet treat for my kids to celebrate the holiday. We have celebrated with homemade Shamrock Shakes and ate a delicious Rainbow Cake in a Jar complete with Cloud Frosting.

As my kids get older, we seem to get busier so I wanted to share a treat that any busy mom could prepare or that your older children could prepare with a little supervision from you. The best part about these is that this is a treat that you can create for your gluten-free child by utilizing you favorite gluten-free mini pretzel. Rolos and plain M&M’s are also gluten-free treats, but always make sure that you check the back of the bag since seasonal candies can affect the factory line and introduce allergens that are not typically present.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Shamrock Pretzel Pops

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1 bag of plain M&M’s (have your child help you sort all the green ones out for this treat)

1 bag of mini pretzels (regular or gluten-free)

1 bag of Rolos

Wilton Lollipop Sticks

Parchment Paper

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

Directions

1. Preheat your oven for 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and assemble your pretzels into a clover shape as shown above.

2. Add a Rolo in the center of each of your clovers. Gently take your cookie sheet over to your oven and slide your cookie sheet into the oven. Bake for 3 minutes, or until the Rolo has just begun to melt.

3. Pull out the cookie sheet and carefully insert a lollipop stick in through the Rolo while carefully placing an M&M in the center. Repeat until finished. It’s important to do this step while they are still warm, as these harden quickly once they cool.

4. Allow them to cool fully before removing from the cookie sheet and carefully peel them off of the parchment paper. Ta-da! Treats for everyone!

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

 

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com

I just love the simplicity and festivity of this adorable treat. My kids loved it too and it was a fun way for this Irish-at-heart family to celebrate this fun holiday!

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Fabric Flower Wreath for Spring

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Fabric Flower Wreath for Spring from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

You will rarely come to my house and not find a wreath on the door, but I must admit that my DIY wreaths (after MANY years of use) are looking a little shabby. Working with Waverly Inspirations was just the push I needed this month to spruce up my front door. This fabric flower wreath tutorial is just what you need to get your door ready for spring. If you haven’t made fabric flowers before, I’ve got you covered with a step-by-step picture tutorial.

I am a big fan of recycling and reusing my craft materials so I cut all of the materials off this DIY yarn wreath and reinvented it into a spring wreath. Six years ago I purchased that straw wreath for $4 and it is STILL going strong.

Pretty amazing!

Also, if you have ever priced out purchasing a wreath, you know how much you are saving by making your own for your front door.

Today I wanted to put some of their fresh spring fabric to work to wrap and decorate our wreath. Although I will be doing these fabric flowers with a needle and thread, they can also just as easily be pulled together with a little hot glue. The best part? This is a craft you can do while getting in a good Netflix binge.

This craft was cranked out with a little American Crime Story. PS- LOVING it.

Fabric Flower Wreath for Spring from MomAdvice.com

 

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

1/2 yard of two (or more!) Waverly Inspirations Fabric in coordinating patterns

Straw Wreath (whichever size fits your door the best!)- leaving the plastic intact on the wreath to cut down on the mess.

Needle and strong thread

1 piece of cardstock and a circular object (I used an oatmeal canister) to create your flower template

Straight Pins

Fabric Rotary Cutter (or you can use scissors)

Rotary Mat

Pinking Shears

How to Make a Spring Fabric Flower Wreath

Fabric Flower Wreath for Spring from MomAdvice.com

1. Begin by cutting fabric into 1 1/2″ strips with scissors or a rotary cutter. Wrap the fabric around the wreath, securing with straight pins. Once you come to the end of a strip, simply overlap with the next strip to try to camouflage those pins. Repeat this until the entire wreath is covered and set this aside.

How to Make Fabric Flowers from MomAdvice.com

2. Using a round object in your home for a template, trace a circle on cardstock to create your template for your fabric. The larger the diameter of the item, the larger your flower so size it according to your wreath or how dramatic you want to go!

3. With pinking shears, cut 9 fabric circles for each fabric flower you will be making. I made five of these flowers (that means 45 cut circles) for my wreath. In floral design, it is always advised to go with an odd number to create a good design for your project so I stuck to the odd number of 5.

4. With one fabric circle as a base, begin creating the petals for your flower by folding a circle in half and then in half again (it will look like a little triangle)  and aligning it to the fabric circle. Using your needle and thread (or a glue gun) secure this in place with a stitch. Repeat all the way around the flower for the base of these petals.

How to Make Fabric Flowers from MomAdvice.com

5. Layer another layer of petals on top and finish with the last one being in the center and swirled, as it would in a rose. Tie off and cut the end of your thread to finish these. Using a straight pin, pin your flower into place and then repeat with the rest of the flowers.

Fabric Flower Wreath for Spring from MomAdvice.com

Fabric Flower Wreath for Spring from MomAdvice.com

Fabric Flower Wreath for Spring from MomAdvice.com

You guys! I’m in LOVE! This is such a fun pop of color on my door, cost practically nothing, and I can switch out materials with the seasons if I get bored. I hope you love it as much as I do and feel inspired to make a wreath of your own.

My door is awfully happy this month!

Fun Wreath Ideas from MomAdvice.com

Want to try some other DIY wreaths? Check out these tutorials for decking your door!

diy peep wreath

easy burlap wreath tutorial

how to make a yarn pom pom wreath 

handmade autumn burlap wreath

fabric wreath with matching garland

yarn wreath for all seasons (fun felt flower tutorial on that one!)

How about more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

15-Minute Scrappy Fabric Trees

Kid Craft: Easy Technique for Painting Gift Wrap

DIY Phone Charging Station

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

Fabric Flower Wreath for Spring from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!)

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

This post was sponsored by MARS, Inc and American Greetings. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to show someone how much you love them. Often my default for Valentine’s giving is for my family, but this holiday I’m challenging you to think outside of the box and consider someone else special in your life.

How about a little love, for example, for one of your incredible teachers?

I can’t imagine how challenging their job is to come and be the encourager, discipliner, educator, and hero to our children. Day in and day out, they are a positive force in helping our kids succeed and I am so grateful for the molding and shaping they do. What a gift that they share their time and talent each and every day.

I wanted to create a fun DIY Teacher Survival Kit filled with fun supplies with things that would be useful throughout their day, as well as some fun treats to indulge in for a much deserved break. I am sure it goes without saying, but our teachers often use their own funds to keep their classrooms stocked so I love to periodically send along little gifts. This teacher survival kit is not only meant to offer a small indulgence for their hard work, but it also provides little things like note pads, antibacterial wipes, bandages, and other useful items that they might need at their desk.

How to Make a DIY Teacher Survival Kit

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all found at Walmart- check here to find your closest store!)

1 clear plastic container with lid (the dimensions on my container are 15″L x 11 1/2″W x 3 1/4″ H)

Dove® Milk Chocolate Heart Tin

Antibacterial Wipes Drink Mixes (lemonade, coffee, cocoa, etc..)

Small First-Aid Kit

Lip Balms

Small Candle Mouthwash

Lint Roller

Stain Stick or Pen

Pain Reliever

Immunity Boosters

Notepads and Sticky Notes

Check out the American Greetings Valentines Day card selection at your local Walmart, to find Valentine’s Days cards for anyone and everyone special in your life!

(scroll down for your FREE printable label!)

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

 

 

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

Directions for DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift

1. Go to your local Walmart and visit the storage container section of the store first to select a container for your project. Having this first will help guide you as you make your selections to fit in your kit. Fill the container as you go with all of your purchases to make this Valentine’s gift special for your favorite teacher with the supplies list I have provided.

2. Assemble your container with your purchases, placing the Dove® Milk Chocolate Heart Tin in first to build your supplies around it.

3. Print our Teacher Supplies Kit label out for the top (link below). You will need to do just a tiny bit of trimming around it to trim off a little of the negative space on this one. Remove the sticker from the backing and secure it to your container.

4. Finish this project with a heartfelt message for your teacher to let them know how special they are.

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

DIY Teacher Survival Kit Gift (FREE Printable!) from MomAdvice.com

I can’t think of a teacher that wouldn’t appreciate a gift like this. I am thankful every single day for the teachers that are shaping my kid’s minds. As I see them blossom into such kind and thoughtful people, I know I can attribute it to their excellent influence.

Consider this Valentine’s Day the perfect opportunity to thank a teacher in your life!

Download Your Teacher Survival Kit Label (click the link below!)

Free Teacher Survival Kit Label

This post was created in partnership with MARS, Inc and American Greetings. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

 

 

 

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Our Hamilton Chicago Family Review and Experience

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Our Hamilton Chicago Family Review and Experience

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I just can’t sleep. I can admit that I am still riding on quite the high after returning last night from a, TRULY, unforgettable weekend with my family. For those of you that follow me on the interwebz, you already know why it was so exciting, but if you are just catching up, I wanted to share with you the surprise getaway I pulled off to see Hamilton in Chicago with my kids. So many people have been messaging me and asking us questions about our experience that I thought I would share it with you so that others could replicate all the fun that we had!

How We Caught the Hamilton Bug

We caught the Hamilton bug a little later than most of my friends, but when we caught it,  we we fell fast and hard for Hamilton. During a marathon on a puzzle, over our Fall break, we started listening to the soundtrack with our kids. As soon as it finished, they begged to listen to it all over again…and again…and again. It happened to be around the time of the PBS documentary, so we curled up on a couch with them and watched that too. As we drove home from our holiday (blasting Hamilton at full volume), we asked the kids IF (and this was a big IF) we could get tickets to Hamilton, would they be interested in doing this for Christmas. Our family is BIG on experiences and not big on crap in our house so this was, of course, a welcome and familiar idea for our kids.  In fact, we have done a couple of our very own Choose Your Own Adventure Christmas gifts that have been an incredible way to give the gift of experience to our children.

We did not talk about it again with them and pretended like this would never happen in a million years. In fact, they did not know until the morning we left where we were even headed, not only because we wanted to surprise them, but because it didn’t even feel real to us.

hamilton

How Did We Get Tickets!?!

We are known for being frugal so thinking about buying tickets when balcony seats are going for $600 (or more!) seemed way out of our comfort zone for pricing. This month was a crazy month for us though on the site thanks to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday content I had written. We doubled our ad revenue this past month, thanks to that burst in traffic, and we had more sales than we have ever had through the site, sometimes in just a single day!  Each time you make a purchase, we make a small commision off your purchases.  This passive revenue is nothing I ever bank on, it is always just a really happy surprise.

Basically, THANK YOU!

Just in case, I glossed over the whole the site did great stuff, this was the most work I have ever put into it this season. I actually went four days without sleep or a shower, we ate cereal for a week so I could hang out online tracking stuff, and I was pretty awful to everyone around me.

I like to live in a truthful place.

In the end, we pretended like that extra money did not exist and set that amount aside to give our family an experience of a lifetime. It was money that we did not bank upon so it made that a wee bit easier to spend.

 

Privatebank Theater Seating

Just because you have the money though doesn’t make it easier to spend especially if you are unfamiliar with a theater or its seating. PrivateBank Theater  (formerly Bank of America Theatre- VERY CONFUSING!) has some really good seats and some REALLY terrible seats.  My worst fear is to spend a ridiculous amount of money only to find that we can’t see a thing when we got there.

I spent a month scoping out tickets, but also asked for advice from a friend who frequently buys concert tickets and is just a guru in general on ticket buying. His advice was to wait until the last possible minute to insure the best deal on the tickets.

We are a two hour drive away from Chicago so we knew we could do that.

 

vivd-seats-2

After searching on a million sites, we ended up going with VividSeats for two reasons. The first reason was that they actually had the lowest priced tickets after hunting all of the other usual suspect sites. The second was that they offered a 100% buyer guarantee on those seats and it felt less risky than doing something like buying them on eBay.

I used the site,  A View From My Seat to help us figure out if our seats would be good or not. This is a great tool for ANY event you are going to and can help determine if your tickets are a good value or not. Basically, people take a quick phone shot from their seat and tell you whether it is a good one or not. This was the shot that I found from the tickets we were looking at which said, “Limited View.” Because the view was limited, it lowered the value on the tickets and gave us seats in Orchestra Row F for $300 each which ended up being less than the nosebleed seats. Spoiler alert:  the seats were fantastic and better than we could hope for! More on that later…

hamilton-day

Was the process smooth? No, thanks to the seller we bought them from. Waiting until last minute yielded great prices and a panic attack until they arrived. I logged in to check that the tickets had been sent out and Wednesday evening they still had not been sent out for us to leave on Saturday morning. I called VividSeats where I talked to a real-life person who put me on hold, called the seller on another line, and discovered he had not sent them out like he was supposed to. We made alternate back-up arrangements to have them shipped directly to our hotel and she assured me that I would be getting my tickets as soon as possible.

The tickets were overnighted and arrived on my doorstep at 4:30 PM the night before we left. I was so thankful to have them in my hands and practically kissed the delivery man who looked bewildered at the unshowered woman in her pajamas having a near meltdown at the front door. I really appreciated that VividSeats was quick to action and that they made sure that they honored their buyer guarantee to have them to us before our event.

We woke them in the morning and I think they were just stunned. I had packed their bags for them and we were a little disappointed they weren’t losing it about all of this. It wasn’t until we pulled up to the hotel that they were BESIDE THEMSELVES. Much like us, seeing is believing!
thewit chicago

thewit chicago

Where Did We Stay for Hamilton Chicago?

This was our first overnight with our kids in Chicago, but not my own first overnight there. When I did a girl’s trip, one of the gals arranged our stay at theWit. We got the room for a steal and had a really enjoyable stay so it seemed like a great place to try again. The best part is that it was within walking distance of everything so after I booked our tickets, I booked a stay again at theWit. Definitely check for deals through sites like Booking.com, Hotels.com, or TripAdvisor for scoring a really good rate.

Staying for a girl’s trip is a lot different than staying somewhere with your kids though. I was shocked when the concierge emailed me and said that he saw were coming with our children and wanted to be available to me to answer any questions. We knew our kids would love getting Chicago pizza so I emailed a request for a nearby option for gluten-free pizza. They emailed their pick (it was PERFECTION!) and a menu so we could look it over before we came.

The night before arriving the concierge called again to make sure we had everything in place. He explained the valet parking option ($65 overnight and they park it for you!), went over what time we would be arriving so our room would be ready, and assured us they were available moving forward for anything and gave me his number to call if anything came up.

Um, awesome!

We ended up getting there an hour earlier than we said and the staff was apologetic that the room was just being inspected and not ready. After we threw our diva fit about it being unacceptable (JUST KIDDING!)  they got us water and snacks and a few short minutes later, we had keys and headed up to our beautiful room. After breakfast, we came back to a gorgeous complimentary fruit platter welcoming us which was, seriously, the nicest thing ever.

This location was about a 10-15 minute walk to theater and on the way we could see all the beautiful holiday displays in the windows!
Hamilton Chicago Family Review

Hamilton Chicago Family Review

Hamilton Chicago Family Review

What Did We Think of Hamilton Chicago?

As we headed into the theater, an older couple asked if my husband and I were aware of the content in Hamilton since we came with our kids. He grinned and said that they had heard the soundtrack many a time and that we were very aware of what we were taking them to.

There are a couple of f-bombs in the show and there is a sexy number, when Hamilton is involved in a torrid affair,  that is pretty sultry. There are also a few sexual innuendos and such that I doubt went completely over their heads.

Here is what I will say about this. I’m a Christian and we have kept our kids very sheltered from a lot in life. At the same time, there are a few things that have recently happened that gave us confidence that our children had the maturity to see this show.

The first is that they are both in middle school now.

Do you remember middle school?

Hard knock life, yo!

They are already hearing this stuff from their peers and what they saw on stage, I doubt, is any worse than they get to experience on a bus ride.

I’m just having a little flashback to a good Christian girl getting down to Humpty Dance repeatedly at dances reminds me that I’m not too worried about seeing a musical with my kids- hahaha!

The second thing is that this political season has been a doozy and they have been exposed to a lot of garbage thanks to that. Many things happened that I wished I could have sheltered them from, but they still heard all that stuff from their peers, on their news at school in the mornings, and what they have heard on NPR.  This election season, as awful as it was, has created a really honest dialogue with our children about politics and our beliefs. Hamilton is about politics and it is also about a revolution.

You know, our kids are living through a revolution right now and we wanted them to see what happens when people become a part of that narrative for change.

We want to raise kids that are part of the change, part of the good, part of the narrative.

The only worry we had about the Pence drama, by the way, was that it would raise the price of our tickets.

If you thought that might be a worry for us, I encourage you to get to know our family better!

Namaste.

Hamilton Chicago Cast

source: chicago sun times

Being familiar with the original cast doesn’t insure anything though, does it? I have gone to many shows where the current cast was a world away from the original cast. Here is what I want to say, this cast is as incredible as the original cast and does not AT ALL feel like a second-rate show. Being as close to the stage as we were, certainly gave us a very personal perspective of the acting to really witness every nuance and every facial expression. I can’t begin to tell you how moving and how incredibly well done this production is.

Lin-Manuel handpicked their next lead for Hamilton and this is the first leading role for Miguel. You would have never known he hadn’t been the lead in everything he has done and Miguel adds his own flavor to Hamilton, never feeling like a Lin-Manuel knockoff ever at any point in this show.

Every single actor is incredible so it feels unkind to single any out, but I have to do it.

Joshua Henry is one of the most incredible talents I have ever seen on the stage. He played Burr in such a controlled way and the emotions he displayed had me absolutely weeping through much of the show. His voice was unreal good and a perfect rendering needed for Burr.

Ari Afasar’s performance as Eliza was the one that I was most worried about. Phillipa Soo’s voice doesn’t seem like a voice that can be replicated, but Ari’s performance was astounding and perfectly pitched too. It was so much better than I could have ever expected.

Karen Olivo made from an incredible Angelica. There is this point in the show, after her toast to the bride and groom, where the emotion is rawly displayed on her face at this union between her sister & Hamilton. For me, it was one of the moments that made the whole show. In fact, I could burst into tears again thinking about it. That one moment, for me, really showed off what caliber of actress she was.

Hamilton Chicago Cast

source: chicago times

Chris De’Sean Lee plays both Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson and adds humor and heart to this performance. He soars in, “What’d I Miss?” and had my kids belly-laughing through his portions in the show.

Alex Gemignani as King George could not have been more pitch perfect. There is so much about his part that you don’t get to hear on the soundtrack and he adds so much hilarity to an often serious show. In fact, King George ended up being both kid’s favorite in the show.

Even the stage was so cleverly constructed and set designer, David  Korins, shared that they even tried 33 different colors of brick before they found the one that matched the costumes best. Not a detail was spared on this project and it shows.

At the angle we were seated, we could look into the wing of the theater as the actors exited and entered on stage. I have done so many shows during my own time of theater so I was curiously watching them while trying to take in the show. They never once broke character, not once. Each face you would gaze upon was completely in that moment on stage and never strayed. I think that also says a lot!

Generously, after our performance, Alex shared that they were raising money to assist those with HIV. Several members of their cast stood with buckets to take our donations and it was incredibly moving as a fan to get to say, “YOU WERE AMAZING,” in a really intense stalker kind of way to them.

I hope we didn’t scare them.

As soon as we left, my wish was to do it all over again. The show felt like minutes for me, my son, and my husband. My daughter, however, was satisfied with the first act and it took a forty dollar soda to get her back in her seat for the second act.

She loved it, it was just a long day of travel and excitement for her!

At ten and fourteen, I do believe they loved and appreciated this experience. It’s like Disney…you want them to be old enough to appreciate it so you feel like you made a good investment. We really felt like this was a great age for that.

The Art Institute of Chicago

What Else Did We Do After Hamilton Chicago?

The kids were pretty wiped after the show and we were really glad we picked the 2PM one and not the evening performance because of that. We packed a collection of our favorite Christmas movies (these two for them and this one for us!) and scored a DVD player through the guest services at our hotel. We ordered our yummy pizza, got in our pajamas, and had a Christmas movie marathon.

After a lazy morning, we headed over to The Art Institute of Chicago for the day and got to see some REALLY incredible art (it was also within walking distance of our hotel!)If you haven’t been, it’s an incredible museum filled with more art than you can ever imagine. They also have a beautiful cafe to sip some warm drinks in between.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack

We finished our trip with our first visit to a Shake Shack (which was right across the street from the museum!)  and I really hope it isn’t our last. HOLY YUM!! You can get their patties wrapped in lettuce if you are gluten-free. The shakes are divine and a midday glass of wine hit the spot too for this tired mama!

Unfortunately, the weather took an awful turn and my poor husband had to get us back in the middle of a whiteout and slick roads. We were all so thankful to be home after seeing so many people in accidents. Had the weather not done that, the entire weekend would have been absolutely perfect.

The Hamilton Mixtape

We managed to make it through that awful weather thanks, in part,  to The Hamilton Mixtape that came out giving us a chance to hear songs from the show in an entirely different way. If you haven’t heard it yet, you are in for a real treat. Artists like Sia, Nas, Alicia Keys, Andra Day, Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and so many other incredible talents put their own personal spin on songs from the musical. You also get to hear the original demos as well as some original music that was created and mixed just for this project. You must, must, must listen to it!

hamilton-chicago-family-review

This Christmas will definitely go down in our memory books as one of the best we have ever had. Thank you to the incredible cast of Hamilton Chicago for making it an experience we shall never forget and making an incredible family memory that I hope will last a lifetime!

Thanks so much for letting us share about our experience with you!

Have questions? Ask me!

This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

 

Free Printable Advent Calendar

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Free Printable Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

From our graphic designer, MJ at pars caeli

Advent calendars are just the cutest, right? That is–until you have to fill/create/arrange them! This year we’re going simple with our countdown to Christmas, and we want to make it easier for you, too, with a printable calendar. It’s an Advent Calendar needs just to be cut, folded, and glued. Fist bump. You can even have the kids create it.

The days leading up to Christmas are both magical and hectic! We have Christmas performances and charitable shopping, Santa’s gifting and work parties galore. I didn’t want our Advent countdown to be another process on the list so we put together something light and fun.

Free Printable Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

 

How about Christmas trivia?! We watch Jeopardy around our house (with three kids, twelve and under), and a countdown with trivia seemed like a natural way to learn more and to laugh together as we get nearer to the 25th.

We put together twenty-five trivial (some are pretty ridiculous) questions about Christmas traditions, songs, and movies for the whole family. In fact, this calendar would be great to put next to the coffee pot at work or as a runner across the dinner table. My kids have been talking about these questions more than I imagined (“what’s your favorite Christmas song?” and “remember that time we saw…”). Our holiday experiences can be easy entryways to new conversations and insights.

To create your calendar, you need:

Paper (we chose craft paper for the outside, but you can do all white, too)

Scissors

Tape

Glue stick

A straight edge or ruler

Our printable calendar

Free Printable Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

STEP ONE: Print out the numbers and trivia questions. Set the trivia questions aside for now. To cut your numbers, slice the page first vertically and then horizontally, creating four pieces. You’ll then cut those four piece vertically, to make equal-sized pieces of paper.

STEP TWO: Each number paper has light gray dotted lines to show where they should be folded. With a ruler or straight edge, fold crisply along that line as indicated in two places. Once you’ve made the folds, ben them the opposite direction to create a folded piece with the number on the front and a flap on the top.

STEP THREE: Take the trivia questions back out. Cut those along the dotted edges. Glue the questions into the inside of the numbered papers. These are not numbered so they can go in any day. We put ours in randomly.There’s a question for every day from December 1 through the 25.

Free Printable Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

STEP FOUR: Refold the bottom and then the top flap of the numbered rectangle over top of the trivia question (we don’t want anyone peeking until the right day!). You’ll want to seal the flap shut. You can do this with glue or tape. We opted to cut up some adhesive labels into tiny strips so that we could peel back the flaps without destroying the overall calendar.

Free Printable Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

That’s it! Attach the questions to a ribbon and hang on the side of your fridge. Or tape them to a pantry door in the shape of a tree! Or (super simple) keep calendar days in a bowl on your dinner table, and pull one out every day. You might find yourselves amazed by how many presents you’d get if you received all of them from the 12 Days of Christmas or laughing about what the word mistletoe really means!! (Oh, I’ve said too much. You have to wait to open that day!)

Happy Christmas countdown from our family to yours!! Wishing you a simply joyful holiday.

Xoxo,

MJ

Free Printable Advent Calendar from MomAdvice.com

Grab Your Free Advent Calendar Printables!

Click Here for Advent Numbers Printable

Click Here for Trivia Sheet Printable