Make Dishwasher Safe Glitter Mugs

Perfect for the holidays or gift giving!

Christmas Bird House

Make candy inspired bird houses for your holiday mantel.

DIY Pretend Doctor Kit

Make a functional pretend doctor kit for your favorite little ones.

Farm Girl Apron Tutorial

Turn old jeans into a cute gardening apron with this tutorial.

Glittered Bulb Ornaments

Sparkle with easy but impressive bulb ornaments!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

15 Easy Christmas Ornaments to Make with Kids



Crafting with kids is a special thing. You want to share your love of craft. They like making things. How do you combine these two without wanting to pull out your hair? The secret is to pick crafts that are easy enough for kids that they can do most of the driving and you can just relax and watch.

Here are 15 great Christmas ornaments that are perfect to make with kids due to ease and the short amount of time required to make them. All of these ornaments come with tutorials - so don't just look at the inspiration picture. Be sure to click the link or the photo to see the full list of supplies and instructions for each one. Now go out there and have fun!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dollar Store Snow Ball Christmas Ornament



I love making Christmas Ornaments. So much that sometimes I worry that one year I'm going to run out of room on my tree to hang them up! This ornament was super easy to make and used materials from the dollar store so it's super affordable, too!


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

DIY Low Calorie Blended Coffee Recipe

This post is brought to you by Silk.

Everyone loves to get fancy coffee drinks at their favorite coffee shops but the price and calories can add up fast! Using the new Cashewmilk beverage from Silk, you can blend up your own Starbucks Inspired blended coffee - with entirely organic and Non-GMO ingredients and for only half the calories!

Cashewmilk is the latest offering from Silk and comes alongside some of my other favorite dairy alternative products such as their almond milk and holiday nog. While I usually prefer the sweetened, vanilla flavor of most alternative milks (like almond milk), for Silk's Cashewmilk, I preferred the unsweetened version both for things like poured over cold cereal and in blended recipes like this blended coffee drink!



Ingredients


Nutrition information is approximate and may vary based on the freshness and brand of your ingredients as well as measuring accuracy. Nutrition information calculated at: Calorie Count. Compare this recipe's ingredients to a Grande (16 ounce) Starbucks Frappuccino® which contains 240 calories,  3g of fat and 50g carbohydrates (source)

Directions

  1. Add the ice, coffee, pudding mix and Cashewmilk to a blender jar.
  2. Blend using the smoothie program OR pulse the blender to crush the ice and then blend on high until well combined.
  3. Serve in a tall glass with a paper straw. Top with whipped cream if desired.
As you can see the process is super easy and only takes a few minutes. I often have a hot cup of coffee in the morning and then use the cooled leftovers to make one of these in the afternoon.

You can also make difference versions of this recipe by trying the chocolate pudding mix instead of the vanilla one. Another favorite swap I make is Silk's Holiday Nog in place of the Cashewmilk for a festive treat reminiscent of an iced egg nog latte.



Whether you are a new or old fan of Silk products, sign up for their e-newsletter today to get an instant coupon as well as be entered in monthly giveaways. You can sign up here.

Have you tried the new Cashewmilk yet? If so, pop over and share your thoughts on Silk's Facebook fan page.

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This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How to Make Recycled Christmas Wreath Ornaments and $50 Dollar Tree Gift Card GIVEAWAY

This post is brought to you by Dollar Tree.


I showed you yesterday how I redid my combo guest and kid bathroom. One of the things we did was took down the shower curtain bar and replaced it with sliding glass shower doors. That left me with a pile of shower curtain rings and no shower curtain to hang. I saved them because I was sure I could do something with them - and then when I saw this project from Dollar Tree's Value Seekers Club I was so glad I had!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Green Kids & Guest Bathroom Makeover

This post is brought to you by Delta.

We moved into our house almost 6 years ago and the bathroom at the top of the stairs has been neglected for just as long. Of course I had big plans when we first moved in but it just never happened. Finally, this year when I found out my sister was coming to visit for Thanksgiving, I got motivated to finally do something. I started with a neutral base and added bright colors and I love how it turned out - fun for the kids but still nice enough for guests.

Now, I could just show you the before and after picks and let you ooh and ahh with me. I would love to do that. I'm committed to discussing my experiences honestly, though, so the truth is that this was a bit of an adventure and I'm going to tell you all about it. Just want to see the pretty pictures? Scroll to the bottom.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Four Reasons Why Husbands Want Doulas - Even If They Don't Know It Yet!



When I told my husband I wanted a doula for the birth of our second child, Joe was more than a little hesitant. Even after he met my doula, Marta, he still wasn't sold. Not because he didn't like Marta - but because he still wasn't sure why I felt like a needed a doula if he was going to be present at the birth. 

After our baby was here, though (read my birth story here), things changed significantly and Joe has become the biggest advocate for doulas that I know. Each time we find out a pair of our friends is expecting, he immediately turns to the husband and says "You need to make sure you hire a doula for your wife - trust me."

Since Joe has become such a huge advocate of doulas, I asked him to write his thoughts down for me so he could share a husband or birth partner's perspective about why doulas were so beneficial to the birth process. If you are a husband or birth partner, I hope you find this to be beneficial. Please feel free to ask Joe questions in the comments as well!
-Carissa
~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  

Watching my wife endure pain is stressful for me. It's stressful for any guy. Especially when I can't fix it, don't know what's normal, don't know what's a problem, and don't know when to intervene and rescue. No matter how many birth videos, or birth books I may read, it all tends to go out the window when the person who is my emotional support system is screaming.

That is why every guy will thank themselves for getting a doula to help them through the birth process. A doula is a coach. A doula equals both convenience and peace of mind.

Here are my top four reasons why you, the husband, need to hire a doula.

1) Nurses and doctors will continually come and go, but a doula will stick around. Doctors operate on their own schedule but a doula is there for you through the whole process.

2) I can't rightly ask a doctor to help me and hand me a wet cloth to brush my wife's forehead, but I can ask the doula to help me. This is huge since many pain management techniques impair mobility of one or both partners.

3) When I feel like everything is chaos, the doula can say, "this is normal,” or  “try this." As the birthing expert, my wife will believe her before she believes me. This really helps both soon-to-be parents to let go of their worry and relax, which in turn helps labor progress.

4) With a doula present I felt at liberty to leave the room for a breather without feeling guilty. It might be to get a soda, use the bathroom, or just decompress with a brief lap around the ward. The point is my wife is not abandoned with no one to help her.


The saying goes that the first time the wife hires the doula, but the second time the husband does. Don't let the price tag make you blind to the help you both need. Many doulas will work out payment arrangements with you to help fit the cost more easily into your budget.

If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area, I highly recommend our doula, Marta of Dragonfly Doula. Do yourself a favor and get in touch with her or a doula in your part of the country today. You'll both be glad you did.


About the Author: 
Joe describes himself as a skeptical researcher and a hesitant convert to an eco-friendly lifestyle. While many of the healthy choices his family makes were initially driven by his wife, Joe has come to embrace several greener lifestyle changes after seeing the financial and health benefits firsthand.


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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How to Make a Framed Children's Art Wall



I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for my dining room makeover! One thing I've been dying to do for months now is create a place where I can display my favorite child art that isn't the fridge. I love how it turned out! Let me tell you how I did it.


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Downton Abbey Fever! (and Black Friday Specials)

This post is brought to you by Cost Plus World Market

I'm not a huge TV watcher but the one show I absolutely must watch each week is Downton Abbey. Last season, my best friend and I had a tea party every week to watch the latest episode together - and we absolutely plan to do the same when new episodes start airing in the US in January.

I know I'm not the only one head over heels for Downton, so I wanted to share some really awesome promotions that Cost Plus World Market is running in regard to Downton Abbey.

Black Friday

If there were ever a store I would want to be first in line for on Black Friday, it's World Market. At each store, the first 100 people in line on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will get an exclusive Downton Abbey cup. There is a new design each day, so go all three days for the set!

If you make a $20 purchase on any of those three days, you'll also get a free Downton Abbey tote bag (while supplies last). Again, there is a new design each day so don't feel shy about coming back the next day! Get more details here.


Sweepstakes

Whether of not you shop on Black Friday, you'll want to be sure to enter the amazing sweepstakes. There are SO MANY amazing prizes being given away like a trip to London to visit the set of Downton Abbey and sweet World Market gift cards. Click here to enter.


World Market Downton Shop

Last year, World Market had a few Downton Abbey items and they were a runaway hit! This year, the Downton shop is back with a beautiful tea set, snacks, teas, kitchen items and more. I hit up my downtown Portland store yesterday and bought everything I need to host the best Downton Abbey tea party ever. See all of the great Downton Abbey items online here and be sure to join me online for a virtual Downton Abbey tea party on Sunday, December 7th. Post a photo of yourself having tea with the #DoTheDownton hashtag to win prizes! Get more info and RSVP here.


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Sponsored post disclosure: I was compensated by Cost Plus World Market for telling you about these promotions. Love of Downton Abbey and enthusiasm for tea parties is entirely my own. I only share information about events and products I truly enjoy and think my readers will, too. See my full sponsored post policy for more information.

Friday, November 21, 2014

10 Easy Tips to Increase Energy Efficiency and Save Money on Your Heating Bill at the Same Time!

This post is brought to you by PG&E.

As we're getting ready to head into winter, things are getting mighty chilly across the country! You will definitely want to start thinking about changes you can make to help keep your family warm without costing you a fortune. While installing energy efficient appliances can help - big ticket items aren't in every family's budget. These 10 tips fit every budget and will help you keep your house warm while you save money! Not only that, but it helps you save natural resources so that they continue to be available for generations to come.




1) Get baking
Using your oven will help warm your house more than stovetop or microwave cooking. Whip up an easy casserole or bake bread to go with dinner. When you’re done, leave your oven door cracked to release all the extra heat back into your house - just be sure to barricade the area to keep children and dogs away.

2) Shut the front door!
While I’m sure none of you have actually left your door open, if your doors aren’t sealed well, warm air can sneak out and cold air can get in through the cracks around your door. Use weather stripping to give them a better seal. (tip source: Jennifer from Always in Wonder)

3) Warm your walls
If you have a cold wall or cold spots on a larger wall, it may mean that your wall doesn’t have insulation (or not enough insulation). Fixing the problem can be costly or time consuming (or impossible if you’re a renter). For a quick fix, hang a rug or a quilt on your wall as decorative art instead. (tip source: Anna of Green Talk)

4) Cuddle up
Keep lots of blankets and throws available in your living spaces for you and you family to snuggle under. This lets you keep the thermostat a couple degrees lower but every still feels toasty warm.  (tip source: Jennifer from Always in Wonder)

5) It’s a snake!
Whip up an easy-to-make draft snake in about five minutes using this tutorial from Tiffany at Nature Moms Blog (no sewing required!). Place it on drafty window joins to help prevent temperature leaks. (Tutorial: How to Make a No-Sew Draft Snake)

6) It’s electric.
Even on insulated walls, electric outlets and lightswitches can be a weak point in your wall’s protective power against the cold. Last winter, I installed these Outlet Sealers & Switch Plate Sealers to help minimize leakage.



7) Let the Sunshine In

If you live where the sun shines during the winter (read: not Oregon!), open your curtains in the morning to let the sun warm up your house. Close them again when the sun moves to help hold the heat in. (tip from Amanda of Crafts by Amanda)

8) Keep it in the closet
The cold, that is. Keeping closet doors shut will keep you from spending money to hear unoccupied areas of your home. Your clothes won’t mind if it’s colder in your closet than in the rest of the house. This same tip applies for infrequently used rooms like your guest room. (tip source: Jessica of Mad in Crafts)

9) Pre-heat Your Bed
If you’ve been keeping doors of less-used rooms closed during the day, good for you! At night time, though, you can solve the problem of a chilly bed by preheating it - instead of turning up the thermostat to blast the furnace. Turn on an electric blanket as you’re starting to get ready for bed. By the time you climb in, it will be toasty warm and ready for you. Don’t forget to turn off the electric blanket before you go to sleep!

10) Stay Cozy
During the winter, change your bedding to flannel sheets and add an additional blanket to beds to keep you warmer at night without needing the thermostat to be as high.   (tip source: Jennifer from Always in Wonder)

Get more energy saving tips from PG&E here: Money and Energy Saving Tips


Got a great tip of your own? Let me know in the comments!

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Our blog newsletter offers the convenience of email delivery but only goes out every 10-14 days.

Sponsored post disclosure: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Make a Mason Jar Soap Pump


As I'm wrapping up my dining room makeover, I've recently started on my upstairs bathroom - because there's no time to start a new project like right before your current one is done! This project couldn't be easier and took maybe 5 minutes from start to finish.


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

UV Light Systems for Water Purification

This post brought to you by Pelican Water.


Has anything ever happened to the water in your area that caused your utility district to post a boil water notice? Or maybe you have well water and you're not sure of its purity? Installing a UV light system to purify your water and eliminate harmful bacteria might be the right choice for your family. Here is some more information about how it works:


For more information, visit Pelican Water Systems.

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