pinch me

I made two of these frog-like coin/candy holders.
My boys thought they were fantastic and had fun putting a few quarters inside.
Here's where I got the idea
Cut 3- 10holes X 10holes
Hold the tail along the backside as you stitch diagonally.

Run 3 whip stitches through each corner square
You need 2 squares that have 2 edges finished and
one square with all 4 edges unfinished.

Line up and whip stitch two unfinished edges together.
Look at photo above to figure out which squares to use.
These two unfinished edges just need to get stitched together
and you're done.
Hot glue google eyes and pinch cheeks to reveal a hidden treasure inside!


december 1

Let the countdown to Christmas begin! The kids are tucked in bed asleep and now is the time to get a few things out for the beginning of our Advent celebration. Here is a list of the activities that show up behind our Advent doors each morning. http://www.scribd.com/doc/23411321

I'm trying for consistency with many special things we do for the holidays. I want my boys to grow up with traditions, excitement & anticipation. Christmas is packed with things we'll repeat each year. Here's a new tradition we're starting with "Elf on our Shelf". I've seen this idea on numerous blogs but was originally inspired while reading http://rootsandwingsco.blogspot.com/2009/11/elf-on-shelf.html.
I didn't buy the story book this year
but did find this little Japanese cutie on EBay.
He'll show up tomorrow morning on a shelf in our house, will watch over the boys for 24 days and report back to Santa Christmas Eve night. Moving around the house when no one is looking will help him keep a keen eye on who's been naughty or nice.

Another tradition we're beginning is that I'll be wrapping 24 Christmas themed books (off our bookshelf) tonight and placing them under the tree for tomorrow. I read about this idea on http://theidearoom.blogspot.com/2009/11/christmas-books.html and fell in love with it!
Each evening before bed the boys will take turns opening that night's book and will enjoy a beloved Christmas tale.
The same 24 books will be wrapped and opened each year. I think this will be a great way to make our Christmas books special and memorable.
We will also be making a paper chain tomorrow with 24 links. Each morning the boys will rip off a link and have a visual to the remaining days until Christmas.

{I'm feeling quite prepared this year}

All Christmas gifts bought (Check!)
Outdoor Lights Hung (Check!)
Christmas decorations inside setup (Check!)
Christmas Tree up (Check!)
Christmas Cards bought and ready to be sent (Check!)
Preschool Parties @ school planned (Check!)
December Birthday boy's party planned and prepped (Check!)

What's gotten into me?
I'm the queen of procrastination!


50 free 4x8 photo cards

It's the real deal. I just ordered 50 free 5x7 photo cards.
{including shipping}


My subtotal came to $40.50 and when I entered this coupon code


my total came to $0.00

Here's an idea for those that already ordered Christmas cards and don't need 50 photo cards... Just insert a photo into a blank photo card and get 50 5X7 prints for free! That's what I did! The site ran very slow during the day but was a breeze later in the evening.

Hurry...Offer valid until Nov. 30Th.



I'm making 25 silly bats for the boys' halloween parties
look like fun? here's how:

for a great tutorial and pattern to print

to purchase the "sweet treat cups".

cut a pattern

trace & cut on black card stock

add google eyes & use a white opaque marker to add details
fill the "sweet treat cups" with 5 candy corns & apply to bat's belly

fold wings in


spaghetti dogs

Isn't this the weirdest thing?
It took me a few minutes of staring to figure out
how the flexible spaghetti got into the firm hotdog
before reading these steps. It's like lunch and crafting rolled into one!

Lunch was LOVED today.
We used nitrate-free hot dogs and thin spaghetti.
Next time I'd use thicker-whole grain spaghetti for a healthier lunch.

Step 1: cut hot dogs into 1" pieces & break spaghetti in 1/2.

Step 2: Carefully thread the spaghetti into and through the hot dog.

Step 3: place in a pot of boiling water and cook according to your specific pasta cook time.


cutest little plate

My boys are having so much fun creating silly faces with their peas and potatoes! Vegetables taste so much better when they can be played with! I served my little one's birthday breakfast on his new plate and they had a lot of laughs!


my favorite craigslist finds

I love finding deals on Craigslist!
Here are a few fantastic things I've found...

Retails for $180.00 and I paid $75.00!

Retails for $70.00 and I paid $5.00!!!

Retails for $500.00 and I paid $125.00!

Furnished-German Playhouse retails for 200.00+ I paid $25.00!!!

Anyone else have a great find from Craigslist?


homemade laundry soap

I've been wanting to do this for a while and have been recently inspired by someone on FB that mentioned she makes her own laundry soap. Making it is actually very easy! With a few products you can make your own soap batch after batch. Tide is so expensive and this method will save you a bundle! I've done 3 loads so far and everything looks clean!

1/2 C. Borax
1/2 C. Super Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)
1/3 Bar Fels Naptha Soap (Grated)

Heat 6 cups of water in large sauce pan.
Grate Fels Naptha soap.
Add to the hot water. Stir until dissolved.
Add Borax and Washing Soda.
Stir until dissolved.

Add 4 cups of cold water to a large bucket. Stir in soap mix, add another gallon of water plus 6 more cups of water. Let sit for 24 hours then stir again. It will look a little like egg drop soup. Gelatinous and watery. Use 1/2 C. for each load. (1 C. for large loads) The soap does not create suds but I've read that's okay. They say suds don't clean, the ingredients you use are the cleaning agent.


fun summer giveaway

Where have I been???
I'm not quite sure, but this giveaway gave me inspirations to start blogging again.

Check out Catching Fireflies summer giveaway. Wouldn't you {LOVE} to win all of these goodies? I've been eyeing the gurgle-fish pitcher for months now! If you don't live in Michigan you can even shop Catching Fireflies online!!! Best gift shop ever.


colored {chinese tea eggs}

Step 1: Pour a tad bit of salt into each of 12 or so cups.

Step 2: add a smear of Wilton- Food Color Gel into each cup. Fill with boiling water.
Step 3: Gently 'roll to crack' 12 hard-boiled eggs. Leave shells attached to egg.
Step 4: Drop one egg into each of the 12 colors. Make sure the hot water covers the egg completely. (Tip: I placed all my cups into a deep baking pan lined with paper towel. The paper towel helped catch splatters and spills, and the baking dish kept it all contained). Leave in colored water for 5-7 hours. I checked one after a few hours, and the color was not bright enough.
Step 5: Gently peel back the shells and enjoy the unique designs. The inside of the shells are just as beautiful as the eggs!
Step 6: Okay so we had 12 peeled- hard boiled eggs stinking up our refrigerator overnight, so it was time to make deviled eggs!

Pretty and delicious. Happy Easter!