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Wordless Wednesday - The One With Words


Now is the time of year when most bloggers are posting their last minute holiday ideas, the best of compilations, and tips for starting the new year off right. I, however, am not most bloggers. Instead of sharing all the cool stuff we've been up to, I've been enjoying it. It's nice.

Lest you think it's all bonbons and red wine, we're still toiling away at our homeschool studies, there were many days dedicated to ballet, and scouting is always on the schedule.

Then there is blog related business to attend to, namely a redesign of the site and the newsletter. It's long overdue and I'm excited to start rolling out fun new challenges and projects to keep both my family and yours engaged in creating.

So, for the next couple weeks, this little corner of the world will remain silent waiting for the new year to begin.

Until then, Happy Holidays!
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Five Gift Wrap Ideas In Less Than Five Minutes


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

Five Gift Wrap Ideas

It’s the night before Christmas and all through the house, you can hear Mom sneaking around trying to find a roll of tape! Sound familiar? Or maybe, the family is packed up and ready to head out to Grandma’s and there you are, frantically trying to use the last inch of tape to wrap three presents.

Scotch® Tape for the win!

This holiday season, save yourself the hassle. Right now, you can stock up early on Scotch® Gift Wrap Tape 3 Pack Caddies and save with a 50% bonus and Rollback. Our local Walmart had them conveniently located right next to the check-out stand! I went ahead and grabbed one, along with a Scotch® Magic™Tape 3 Pack Caddie, so that even if the kids run off with a roll I'll have plenty left in my gift wrapping supplies.

I also snagged a pair of Scotch™ Multi-Purpose Scissors 8" because they were at a great price and I'm pretty sure my husband took my last pair to his shop, otherwise know as where scissors go to die!

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Must Have Creative Toy of 2016: Build and Imagine StoryWalls


Big thanks to Build & Imagine for providing the product featured in this review. As always the opinions expressed are my own. 
2016's REAL Must Have Toy Build and Imagine StoryWall

Tomorrow, as we pack away the leftovers and cut ourselves one more slice of pie, many of us will turn our thoughts to the next big holiday on the calendar, Christmas.

I love the idea of shopping for Christmas throughout the year but then again, getting great Black Friday deals and heading to the stores where the holiday music is playing and everything is decorated gets me in the spirit! Plus, now is when you get to hear all about the must-have toys of the year, and I'm so happy to be able to share a little about one such toy with you today.

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Brighten Your Day With Bold Office Furniture


Adding Color In the Office

Months ago I convinced myself that I'd take part in one of those One Room Challenges and finally get my office/craft room in working order and looking snazzy. Um, it didn't happen. I mean, I have downsized my craft stash, and that's half the battle, right? I've also been adding bright painted furniture (Some, okay my husband, might go so far as to say obnoxiously bright) but it still felt, eh. Then I had the opportunity to join this month's Fab Furniture Flippin' Contest being sponsored by Velvet Finishes Paint and the theme this month, "Colour Your World."

 I received free product in exchange for this post. The views and opinions expressed are my own. 

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Holiday Entertaining Tips and Printable


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


Holiday Entertaining Tips


I love hosting holiday celebrations! Sure, it can be a bit of work, but it’s also fun to welcome guests into your home and enjoy time together. Today, I’m sharing a handful of tips that'll make everything run smoothly whether you have visitors over for a couple of hours or a couple of days.

Tips for Hosting House Guests

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Handmade Holidays: Rustic Ornaments


Handmade Holidays Blog Hop 2016

This marks my second year taking part in the Handmade Holidays Blog Hop! You'll be able to read more details about it, including all the other crafting inspirations, killer sponsors, and monster of a giveaway further into this post. Right now, I want to tell you about this year's project! 

I have a thing for personalizing when it comes to the holidays, last year I made personalized t-shirts, and this time around it's personalized rustic ornaments using Walnut Hollow's Basswood Country Rounds®. These wood slices add the perfect amount of warmth and charm. They'll look lovely on your tree and could also be used as gift tags. Here are the three steps to making them. 

Rustic charm never goes out of style and it's especially lovely in these personalized wood slice ornaments!

This post has been sponsored by Walnut Hollow®. All opinions expressed are my own. 

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Wine Cork Birdhouse Ornaments



Wine Cork Birdhouse Ornaments Use wine corks to make these cute little birdhouse ornaments. They're easy enough to make with kids or when you have a spare 15 minutes!

It's hard enough to find time to craft, now more than ever, our schedules are filled to the rim. Thankfully, it took me less than 15 minutes to make not one but all four of these ornaments.

Way back, starting in 2011 to be exact I'd dedicate the month of November to sharing ornament tutorials it what we affectionately dubbed the No Ugly Ornaments Challenge. I've gotten away from it in recent years but thanks to the Craft Lightning Series there is an excuse to get back in an ornament kind of mind! 

Here's how we created these 15 minute Wine Cork Birdhouse Ornaments!

Easy Birdhouse Ornaments
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Art Project: Fall Mosaics


Colorful Fall Art Project

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the struggle I've been having in finding time to work on even the simplest of art projects with the kids. Hopefully, this is a good sign, we've finished another.

The trees have barely changed color around here, but the leaves have started piling up, so I thought it fitting to make a mosaic with colorful fall leaves...still on the tree.

Paper Scrap Projects

We began by cutting up lots and lots of scrapbook paper in a variety of shapes and sizes. We did stick to a few color palettes, though. Browns for the trunk, green for the grass, shades of red for the leaves, and later we added blues for the sky.

Autumn Art Projects

As is the fashion in our house, my daughter was all about getting to business drawing a rough sketch to fill in with the paper pieces.

When you do start filling in your drawings be sure to point out that a mosaic will have small spaces between the papers because you are recreated what would have been made with tile and grout. Collage on the other hand, would have overlapping pieces. This is what Es ended up creating - but, that's ok too!

Colorful Fall Mosaic Trees

My son, on the other hand, took his sweet time.

Do you have a child who could build Lego creations for hours but when you ask them to work on a simple art project they have a fit, rush through it, and then try to turn in sloppy, haphazard work? That's my Vin. It's a constant struggle to get him to put as much effort into school work as he does projects closer to his heart. This time I told him I was considering it an Art project meaning, he would get a grade on it.

Glueing Paper Mosaic

We left our work on the table and went back and forth to it throughout the day.

Paper Mosaic Art Project

Our finished projects are below! I think they turned out lovely.

Paper Mosaic Trees

Fall Mosaics

Kids Art Project Mosaics

What kind of projects have you been working on?


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29 Creative Apple Recipes


29 Must Try Apple Recipes
The leaves in our yard are starting to pile up, the weather is cooler, and our calendar is filling up with holiday events; there's no denying that autumn is here! One of my favorite fall activities is a good old baking marathon. Nothing beats a house warmed by the scent of fresh apple pies, am I right?

*The Grove Collaborative Offer originally shared within this post has ended. If you are still interested in joining, follow this link and receive a free Mrs. Meyer's hand soap and $10 credit. * This is an affiliate link. When you follow it and make a purchase, I receive an incentive at no extra cost to you.
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Monster Medusa Halloween Popcorn Box


Medusa Popcorn Box Party 2016

It's my second year taking part in the Popcorn Box Party hosted by Laura of Laura Kelly Designs. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post to get entered to win a World Market gift card and see more Popcorn Box designs. 

Last year I played it safe with a cute little candy corn inspired owl, this year I decided to get a little spookier. Halloween is all about monsters, and one of the most frightening monsters I know is Medusa! With a couple of dollar store toys, paint, and glue, we created this amazingly creepy popcorn box!

Monster Popcorn Box Craft


Using the techniques below you can add a Medusa to your popcorn box or candy bowl this Halloween!

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Kids Craft: Paper Plate Art Spirals


Quick Kids Craft Art Spirals

I spend more time than most crafting and yet when it comes to crafting with the kids the list of to-do projects is always much longer than that of those we have accomplished. If I'm going to be completely honest, I added a historical Art project to our History agenda this year. Take a guess at how many we've done. ZERO!

I think a Family Art Challenge, here on the blog, might be in order because...accountability. Most days I feel like this blog is a letter to my children or a glorified crafting diary! I'm always surprised at how many of you guys are reading; it can be very humbling. It also makes it harder for me to back down on something I say I'm going to do.

Would you be interested in taking part in a crafty challenge?
Let me know in the comments. 

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How To Make a BOO Kit In a Book



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



How to Make a BOO Kit In a Book


Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, and now that I’m a parent the excitement of the season has magnified. I get a kick out of helping the kids create costumes, decorate the house, tell scary stories, and make memories. One new tradition we’re starting this year is making a BOO Kit in a Book for our local librarians. The first step in this adventure is heading to the BOO It Forward page on Walmart.com for all our BOO’ing needs!



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Pumpkin Spice Lattes You Can Make At Home


DIY Pumpkin Spice Drink Recipes


This past weekend it happened. I'm not sure how I went this long without it, but I had. Yes, I finally tried a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Meh.

It tasted powdery and underwhelming. Especially underwhelming when I consider the five plus dollars I laid down for it.

Don't get me wrong I love pumpkin spice as much as the next person, but there's gotta be a better way. I refuse to believe I have to accept this less than stellar mass produced concoction as my only option.

Thanks to my fellow bloggers there are other choices. I've gathered four recipes for lattes, coffees, and creamers that are budget friendly and look delicious to boot!
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Seven Busy Bags to Make in an Afternoon Using Craft Sticks


This shop has been compensated by CollectiveBias, Inc. on behalf of its advertiser, Similac. #NutritionintheMix #Collectivebias #Walmart

Back to School season is always an exciting time, even for us homeschoolers. Everyone's ready to dig into the new year including the baby who turned into a toddler over the summer. But when we’re busy with the older kids’ lessons it's easy for the younger ones to feel shuffled aside. That’s why it's important to have activities, like Busy Bags, on hand that helps them participate in the learning atmosphere.

7 Busy Bags you can make in one afternoon using craft sticks!

Busy bags are great for building a toddler’s problem-solving skills and give Moms the minute or two they need to explain Algebra to an older student. But as any caregiver knows, a toddler’s tastes can change from one minute to the next. While it’s easy to offer options when it comes to play, it’s not so when it comes to eating. It can be a real challenge keeping up with a fickle palette, which is why I have a secret weapon, Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™. And right now you can earn $3.00 with the purchase of any size of Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™ through Ibotta!
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Spice Up Dinner and Make Mealtime Interesting


Disclosure: I received a complimentary box for review purposes. All opinions are my own, and no compensation was received.  This post includes affiliate links.

I love subscription boxes because they introduce me to products I’d otherwise not know about OR be too afraid to buy without trying. They do have a drawback, and that’s the cost. Some of them can be a real investment, but there is one that costs a mere $8 a month, and the entire family gets to enjoy it. Any guesses? 

Spice Up Dinner

If you said RawSpiceBar.com, you’d be correct. Have you heard of them yet? They are, hands down, the easiest way to turn up the volume on your mealtime flavor! 

As you may have guessed from the name, they are a monthly subscription service specializing in spices. Their kits contain three freshly made spice blends created with ingredients characteristic of a new part of the world. 
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Broccoli Bacon Ranch Salad



Super Side Dish Broccoli Bacon Ranch Salad

It's time for another Ultimate Recipe Challenge (URC) and this time the spotlight is on Broccoli. I love broccoli, always have always will. You can imagine my surprise when I read disparaging comments in the URC group about this delectable vegetable. Apparently, some of you out there aren't fans? I mean, I get it. It can leave you a little gassy, but so can many foods I have no intention of taking off my food list. 

So, to answer the critics and try to win over the cynics I'm smothering it in comfort foods to create a fresh side salad even the skeptics are sure to love. 

Ultimate Recipes Challenge Broccoli from KimSixFix
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Taking Care of Your Thrift Store Finds


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

Taking Care of Your Thrift Store Finds

I am a thrifter, a DIY junkie, an antique aficionado, and I am proud to admit my home is a direct reflection of that. We’ve got a crazy mix of textures and surfaces that manage to come together in an eclectic look that’s all our own. Many of the items that make our home unique are old items we’ve found and reinvigorated with a good cleaning.


Over the years, I’ve been asked how I manage to find such awesome pieces, and the answer is easy. First, instead of looking at an item as dirty and discarded, I think of it as well loved and passed along. Second, having a brigade of go-to cleaning products you can trust to care for your treasures as much as you do is a must. For me, Pledge® is the brand I’ve grown to depend on to help me clean up my thrift store finds, as well as condition and protect them for years to come.

Pledge Products help take care of thrift store finds. #sponsored
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Kids Craft - Day of The Dead Wind Socks


Day of the Dead wind socks are a great craft to make with kids this Halloween.

Is it Halloween prep time already? I swear this summer was a blur, and August, a mad dash to finish planning out our school and scouting year. Thankfully, we managed to squeeze in a couple fun trips but not nearly enough which makes me anxious to get busy with our holiday crafting.

This time of year is made for making, especially with kids. There are so many festivities! Halloween is a favorite crafting opportunity around our house and the inspiration behind these Day of the Dead wind socks!


Have a spooky good time creating these Day of the Dead wind socks with the kids!

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Gotta Craft Them All - Pokemon Kids Craft


Share in the Pokemon craze by creating these colorful character rocks.


Pokemon hit the world during the 90's when I was fully engrossed in my young adult angst. To this day, I don't really understand how it works. However, the characters are fun and I think the resurgence of interest with the launch of Pokemon Go! is awesome. So awesome I partnered with a couple other bloggers to create a few Pokemon inspired crafts to share with you!


Make your own DIY Pokemon Rocks! Kids Craft and Activity

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Strawberry and Kiwi Frozen Pops or How I Learned I'm Allergic to Kiwi


Lately we've had rainy days but when the heat was unbearable the kids and I had fun coming up with different frozen treats. We all love kiwis but I'd never mixed them into a smoothie or even pureed them, so we were excited to see how they'd taste. Who knew both my daughter and I would have an allergic reaction!

Strawberry and Kiwi Frozen Pops  OR How I Learned I'm allergic to kiwi

 A couple months ago we shared about our Fresh Fruit Smoothie Pops, and the kids loved them so much we decided to try a new recipe, these Strawberry Kiwi Pops. 

It started out pretty normal we pureed about 2 cups of kiwis with a couple tablespoons of sugar and put them in the bottle of our paper cups. 

Strawberries, yogurt, kiwis and an allergic reaction

From there we added a couple spoonfuls of vanilla Greek yogurt as our second layer, and a batch of pureed strawberries with a couple tablespoons of sugar for the third.We also used the same food picks (bigger toothpicks) as we did with the smoothie pops and froze them overnight. 

Strawberry and Kiwi go great together, except when you have an allergic reaction

The next afternoon we took our pops outside for snack time and within minutes my tongue started to tingle. I thought, "Kiwis have seeds, they're rough, surely that's all it is." Then my daughter started complain that her mouth was burning and my lips started to feel like they were turning into giant blisters. 

Obviously, we stopped eating them and I instantly looked it up. Turns out having an allergic reaction to kiwis isn't that uncommon. Who knew? According to the boys, the pops were good but now that I know about kiwi allergies,I'm afraid to make them again.

Strawberry & Kiwi Pops or How I Learned I'm Allergic to Kiwi fruit

This experience has definitely opened my eyes to how crazy unpredictable allergies can be. 

Have you ever had an allergic reaction to a food you've eaten all the time? 


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Kids Craft: Paper Plate Flamingos


For about four weeks now we've been admiring our lovely flock of flamingos and yes, I'm just NOW getting around to sharing how we made them. 

Studying birds or colors? Here's a great kid's crafting activity Paper Plate Flamingos!

Flamingos are semi-kinda-sort-of-ish trending this summer and quite frankly, my daughter has always had a thing for them. In case you're wondering, yes, it does have to due with their lovely pink hues but it's more about what makes them pink than the shade itself. There is no other creature who so visibly reminds us that we are what we eat than the flamingo.

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3 Essential Considerations to Help Decide if Homeschooling is Right For You


This past month I’ve been thinking a lot about homeschooling. I’ve questioned if we’re still making the right decision, reassessed curriculum choices, researched new subjects, and ordered new homeschool books. It’s an exciting time that reignites my love for learning, making it the best time to share my experiences and advice to those considering homeschooling. 


This is the deal! This is the real stuff you need to be thinking about if you are considering homeschooling! No water-downed or sugar coated info!


Whatever Your Reason to Homeschool


There are so many reasons you might be thinking about homeschooling. For our family it was a choice we made after many unsuccessful attempts to deal with bullying, and if I’m going to be honest it was something I’d wanted to do since my oldest was in kindergarten. During the five years we’ve been homeschooling we’ve met families who homeschool for religious reasons, behavior problems, for consistency (military families), or simply because they were homeschooled and it’s what they know and want for their kids. 

Whatever your reasons - there are still factors you need to take into consideration before you make this decision and they fall into three main categories: Energy - Time - Money. 
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Harry Potter Craft: Paper Owl Letter Carriers


Just a quick message to remind you to be sure to get entered in the giveaway at the end of this post and follow the links to a treasure trove of creative Potter crafting Ideas. 

These super easy Harry Potter Owl Letter Holders make a great afternoon kids crafts.

Is your family Harry Potter fans? We are, and while we anxiously await the release of the next movie we're trying our hand at incorporating a little bit of the Wizarding World into our crafting!

Last year I had the pleasure of taking part in The Happy Harry Potter Party hosted by RaeGun Ramblings, were I shared my first Harry Potter craft Butter Bear Cork Necklaces. This year I decided to go with a more kid-friendly craft, Paper Owls Letter Carriers. 

Gather supplies and spend the afternoon making one of these super fun Harry Potter Owl Letter Holders!

Supplies

  • Paper (both patterened and colored)
  • Googly eyes
  • felt 
  • mini clothespins
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • 2in scalloped paper punch (optional)

If you're going to making this project with younger kids I recommend cutting and gathering all the parts ahead of time. That means cutting out circles (I used a salad plate as a guide), triangle felt beaks, and feathers. For the feathers I used a 2 in. scalloped paper punch on a variety of patterned scrap paper. 

How to make a paper owl in four easy steps! Harry Potter Owl Letter Carriers

Step 1: Cut your paper into circles. If you'd like you could use paper plates and paint them for an extra bit of fun.

Step 2: Fold two sides of your paper circle down and then fold over the two closer corners you've created. Um, I'm sorry, that doesn't make sense, but if you look at the pictures you'll see what I mean. 

How to make a paper owl in four easy steps!

Step 3: Glue your felt triangle down so that it peeks out from your fold, and then glue the fold down.

Step 4: Add your eye tufts, googly eyes, feathers, and clothspin claws.

Having a Harry Potter Party? Here's a great idea for invitations!

That's all it takes to create your owl carrier. With a quick search you can find printable Hogwarts acceptance letters to send to your little witches and wizards. Plus, if you're hosting a Potter themed party this is a great way to deliver your invitations.

So easy to make and a fun way of delivering mail. Harry Potter Craft for Kids - Paper Owl Letter Carriers!

Harry Potter Craft for Kids - Paper Owl Letter Carriers! So easy to make and a fun way of delivering mail.

GIVEAWAY 

It's not a party without gifts! Here's one of the prize packs and all the amazing goodies in it! 
Be sure to get entered!


So many awesome Harry Potter gift ideas. Great for readers

Prize Pack #2 See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you're there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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