Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Easy Holiday-Winter Wreath Made with Dollar Store Items



I picked up this red tinsel wreath (plus the other supplies) at Dollar Tree but I didn't think the wreath itself was big enough, so I also bought this much larger plastic snowflake and then pack of snowflake ornaments to layer them together and create a fun winter wreath. The ribbon was something I had leftover at home. For only $3, I think this turned out really cute and is really lightweight and can hang from a suction cup on my door.

I love to make wreaths, check out my other wreath ideas for various holidays and season and made from different materials:

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Package from Santa has Arrived! From the North Pole!


This PackagefromSanta.com package arrived today and my son was really surprised. He noticed right away it was from Santa, but before opening it he did take note that the postage on it said it came from the North Pole. I think that attention to detail really helps seal that this is truly from Santa. Earlier this week, we watched the video message from Santa that included an elf that kept falling asleep. My son made sure to look for that elf's name on the Christmas card from the elves (see above) and found it. That card from the elves also included a snowman ornament.

This is the premium package and they sure cover all the bases with this package. In the top picture you also see a nice "Nice List" certificate that has a sticker seal on it. He wanted to know if this means he is always on the Nice List and I was sure to point out that the certificate only said for the 2017 season. It also included a window cling that he was happy to put up.


Some other fun things in the package included a signed photo of Santa, a picture of baby Rudolph (which is adorable!) and a personalized letter. I was able to read through several letters and pick one to personalize. I picked out one I thought my son would relate to the most and then typed in the things to personalize it.

The inside of the box is a whole scene inside the North Pole residence. I can picture my son using this box with some of his lego guys, otherwise it is just a nice looking decorative box. It would have been nice to see a couple of elf plastic toy figures in there for them to play with in the box.

Also, included is a cute little Rudolph velvet bag that had a REALLY nice jingle bell in it (and a message from Rudolph) which is now hanging on my son's mini Christmas tree. Mrs. Claus sent a Sugar Cookie which actually looks better in person because the camera just don't pick up the fine iridescent sprinkles dusted over it. And to round out the treats for the child is also a candy cane from Santa and some of Santa's Hot Cocoa (a mix to make).

 One last thing in there is some reindeer food that is legit animal feed which my son is thinking of saving some of it to see if he can make the calves at grandpa's farm fly. Can you imagine?!?!?! Flying calves?!??!?! Ha! What an Imagination!


This last picture is of my son watching his video message from Santa that included 2 pictures of him (that I uploaded from different times of the year so he knew Santa was always watching!)

This PackagefromSanta.com package also includes a phone call from Santa, which I have not scheduled yet. I am waiting until a little later. This week has been A LOT of Santa, as Wednesday was St. Nicholas Day and Santa dropped off some treats and a FREE PERSONALIZED NICE LIST GUIDE! Yes, this printable is FREE TO EVERYONE. You even get to upload a picture on to it for the child. So, that is really neat!

Order this holiday must-have for your child at https://www.packagefromsanta.com and save 25% OFF your order when you use FAMP17 at checkout.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Homemade Christmas Gifts for Kids


Just wanted to give my readers some ideas of some homemade Christmas gifts that can be made for kids. I made these pajama pants for my daughter. Pajamas as always a good gift idea for any age, kids and adults. I also made her this Mermaid tail blanket, which she loves. I made it big enough for me to get in to so that it would grow with her and we weren't passing it on as she got taller.

Finally, I made these stuffed Stegosaurus dinosaur toy for both my son and a nephew. My son had helped me pick out fleece one day with the idea I might make him something with it in the future ad the green and black fleece is what he picked out and I thought it looked great for a dinosaur pattern. I drew out my own pattern and created this design.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Batman Cat Stuffie


This Batman Cat Stuffed Animal was a collaboration project between my son and myself. It was a present for one of his good friends that we made a couple years ago already . The stuffie was completely his idea and I took him to JoAnn fabrics to pick out the fabric he wanted and then he drew out the stuffed animals on a big sheet of tissue paper. I cut out the image and used it as my pattern to cut out the fabric pieces and sewed it together. He picked out the buttons and had to do the stuffing. I think it turned out quite cute.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Homemade Holidays


I wanted to share some pictures of some other things that we made this holiday season. In the top picture you can see some hand-painted plaster ornaments that our family made. We like to make new ornaments every year.

Next is some blocks that say Merry Xmas on one side and then on the other side say Happy fall. I had never gotten around to sharing that craft project I will probably share it another time later on.

And there is some glycerin soaps that my daughter made to give as gifts that have different plants and essential oils in them.

 These are a couple of the yummy treats that we made early on. Sugar cookie cutouts and Rolo Bites.


I asked the kids what treats they for sure wanted me to make this year and my daughter said homemade peanut brittle (I had bought some from a store and she said it wasn't as good as mine.) And my son said peanut butter blossoms. The only time I make gingerbread men is the holidays and after my son brought home the book from school ( then looked on our shelves to find our copy of The Gingerbread Girl), I knew I needed to make some.




Friday, December 1, 2017

Winter Fitness: Cross Country Skiing


Ok, so this picture is about a year old and I never got around to sharing it until now. Well, I was ready to share it earlier but who wants to look at pictures of Cross Country Skiing in the summer.

I just want to encourage everyone to think about trying it out. It is a great cardiovascular workout that is low impact on your joints. My daughter was so excited to go with me. I own my own skiis, boots and poles but we do have a place near us that they can be rented. However, I kept my eyes open and found a pair of boots and skiis at a thrift store that ended up costing me half of what a rental price. Score! The poles are a pair of hiking poles we own that have attachments to convert them to use in snow. She has already grown out of them, but my son can still use them and I will keep my eyes open to pick up another set for her so we can go again, but if I don't find any then we will just rent some.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

LETTER, PACKAGE, CALL & VIDEO from Santa!!! PackagefromSanta.com



Start a new and memorable tradition this Christmas with PackageFromSanta.com, the ONLY Santa memory service that does it ALL! Personalized LETTERS, PACKAGES, CALLS and VIDEOS from SANTA!


Do you want to see your children's face light up in amazement when they get a personalized letter from Santa Claus? Of course you do! This not just a letter from Santa. It's an amazing experience - it's joy, memories, wonder and happiness in a box! You can choose a specific letter theme and then customize it yourself to include details that only Santa would know!


Every package also comes with a FREE personalized CALL and VIDEO FROM SANTA that can be scheduled any time. This techy part of the PackageFromSanta.com was unreal! So surprisingly well done and high-end and my kids LOVED it!


It's such a joy to see my children continue to BELIEVE and PackageFromSanta.com really helped make the magic happen in my household this year! So grateful!


PFS has an A+ Rating with the BBB due to their unmatched high-touch customer service so you can be confident that you are making a wise purchase. They have real people on the phone ready to help answer questions. That's unheard of these days! Such a nice touch.


Click here to see a video to learn more about this very special Santa memory service that will be a part of my family for years to come!


The Platinum Package ($69.95) comes in a red box includes:


Personalized Letter from Santa

BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)

BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)

Personalized Nice List Certificate

Autographed Santa Claus Photo

Autographed Rudolph Photo

Genuine North Pole Stamp

...and so much more!




It also comes with a 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee. Wow! They are THAT confident your child will LOVE it!


There are 3 different packages offered, so you can choose a price point that works with your budget. I will be reviewing the top of the line Platinum package ($69.95).


Order this holiday must-have for your child at https://www.packagefromsanta.com and save 25% OFF your order when you use FAMP17 at checkout.




Pottery Butter Dish


It has been quite a month of sharing all kinds of past pottery projects I created. It sure has inspired me to want to get back to it and get my studio created. Maybe that will be a future post where I should you my pottery studio.

Anyways, this was a butter dish I made for my mom. It was way harder than I figured it would be because the clay shrinks and I wasn't getting the top to fit in nicely to the curves of the base of the butter dish. It took me 3 tries to finally get one that worked. Good thing I started making it really early and had time to make so many dishes. LOL!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

DIY Concert Shirts


I am so excited! We are seeing Katy Perry on Friday night. I haven't made my shirt yet, but I made matching shirts and jackets for my daughter and her friend (we gave her friend them for her birthday when her mom was surprising her with the tickets for her birthday).

This summer we went to see Shawn Mendes (made the girls the matching blue shirts) and Charlie Puth (made us moms the matching ATTENT!ON shirts) using my Silhouette machine. I think it is fun to have our own concert t-shirts that I can make in advance and we can wear there. Concert t-shirts are really expensive once you get there and it's not in my budget to pay that much for a shirt (I think the cheapest ones at Shawn Mendes were $35) as well as pay for the tickets AND parking AND concessions.



By now, you gave seen that I enjoying using the Heat Transfer vinyl and have made several items:

  • Teacher T-Shirts
  • Girls Beach Weekend Tanks
  • Road Trip Shirts
  • SWIM pants
  • Name Headbands
  • Llama-Corn Pillowcases
  • Pun Kitchen Towels (spoiler alert!)
And then there is the regular vinyl I have used in the Silhouette Machine:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rolo Bites



I have shared how to make these before, but why not do it again. They are easy and a crows favorite and take minimal ingredients and minimal time.

Rolo Bites
1 Bag of each: Pretzels, Holiday M&Ms and Rolos (unwrapped)


Directions: A bag of Rolos has about 4 dozen Rolos in in, so you will not need a whole bag of pretzels or M&Ms, unless of course you want to buy more bags of Rolos.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Assemble noses with Rolo inside a circle preztel. Bake for 3 minutes to slightly melt them.

Press an M&M in the top of melted Rolo. Allow to cool. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2 Pottery Pieces: Wind Chime and Tea Holder


These were both gifts. The wind chime I had made for my mom (& one for myself as well) and the tea holder I made for a friend. I had previously blogged about how I made the Pottery Leaf Tea Cozy 2 years ago (yes, that is how long ago I made these pieces, I told you it has been a while!).

Friday, November 17, 2017

Avoseedo - Grow Your Own Avocado Tree 20% OFF!


Did you know there are a lot of things in your kitchen that you can grow or root?
An avocado is one of those things. We try to grow an avocado seed once before but we didn't have a fun little Gadget like this. I had a friend who had grown one without a gadget like this but she said it wasn't easy to do and not all of them were successful so I am really hoping that this little Avoseedo floating boat that the avocado seed rest in well help us start growing our own avocado tree.

A couple of things that I have noted on the packaging is that it says it will take 1 to 4 months for the avocado pit to germinate and start growing. It says this is dependent on the breed of the avocado and the temperature. And I have to make sure to change the water every 2 to 3 weeks.

If you want to give this type of project a shot with your kids you can buy one of these at Avoseedo.com and use code sp22 get 20% off.

Right now all of their bestsellers including the single Avoseedo and the Avoseedo 3 pack are discounted as well. These items are also available on Amazon.

Check back with me in March to see how this is going. I live in MN, so my growing temperature during the winter is only room temperature and we have less sunlight this time of the year, so it may take a while.

Fun and Creative Gift Idea! Colortime Crafts and 15% OFF

This is a coloring project that my son did for Halloween that came from Colortime Crafts. The project came with this canvas trick or treat bag and the markers to use and directions on how to use them. You want to make sure you have a piece of cardboard between the canvas layers so that the fabric marker doesn't seep through.

I had previously shared the coupon code with you to get 15% off and that code is still good through the end of the year. Click On the Link Below for the Latest Online Special offers and promo codes to Colortime Crafts and Markers http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=10978&dealid=3413 .@usfg OR go to Colortime.com  and use Code: FGH15

This would be an awesome holiday present 4 any kid. Or would make a cute party favor and activity at a birthday party.

They sell all of their items without the fabric markers so you can reuse the ones that you have had before. Most of the coloring items are under $5 and include t-shirts, pillow cases, backpacks, totes, bandanas and more.


Save 60% off Premium Gallery Wrap Canvases, Coloring Canvases, & More



Canvas On Demand has awesome gifts for everyone on your list! Based in Raleigh, NC. @canvasondemand has everything you need to get your shopping done early.



They offer more than just canvas prints. From incredible photo-to-canvas art for parents, Coloring Canvas for kids, and customizable photo gifts, including ornaments and more, Canvas On Demand can help with your holiday haul.


For a limited time, they're offering my readers a whopping 60% off your entire order at Canvas On Demand with code USFAM. Select from canvas prints and more! Valid until 12/12/17. #mycanvasondemand https://www.canvasondemand.com/?coupon=usfam


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pottery Baptism Gift



I made this cross for my godson Lincoln as a baptismal gift. I made the 2 pieces separately and used crazy glue to put them together. To write his name on it I had first tried a Gold Sharpie, but that wouldn't really work over the glaze, so I ended up using gold acrylic paint to paint on his name.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pottery Soap Dishes


In continuing to share with you past pottery projects, these are a couple of pottery soap dishes that I made for my kids' teachers for Christmas gift and then my kids made homemade glycerin soap to put in them.

For some other pottery soap dishes and soap ideas, check out these:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Pottery Cow Platter


I thought since I shared one of the old pottery pieces I created a while back, I might as share some of the rest of them this month. So, don't expect instructions other than I made them with slab rolling. I made this for my dad (who is a farmer) for a Christmas present and had made mini cheesecakes that I have him to put on his platter.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Frank Woodfill Wildlife Preserve


This was my son's idea to bike over to this wildlife preserve and do a Nature Scavenger Hunt. His scavenger hunt basically consisted of him trying to find things that he found interesting. It is a nice little place to explore and has some short trails as well. There is supposed to be a geocache here, but we didn't find it. Not sure a wooded area is best for a micro cache, too hard to find.

We have actually gone here to hike around and explore and do a nature scavenger hunt another time and you can see all those pictures on this Wordless Wednesday Frank Woodfill Wildlife Refuge post.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

FREE Admission to National Parks for Veteran's Weekend (Nov 11-12)

Black Bay in the fall

In honor of Veteran's Weekend, there is FREE VEHICLE ADMISSION at all National Parks. YOu have 2 days to get out and enjoy the nature in these places for FREE!

Front cover of a newspaper featuring a houseboat with a campfire burning

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pottery Plant Tray



I made this pottery plant try via slab rolling to act as a base for these three potted aloe vera plants. I actually rooted these three baby aloe vera plants from my mother plant before potting them up for this gift that I gave to a friend for her birthday (which happens to be today).

Be sure to check back on other Tuesday and Thursdays this month as I am going to be sharing a variety of past pottery projects including soap dishes, cow platter, butter dish, baptismal gift, wind chime, and tea holder.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Halloween Ice - Fast and Easy



If you are like me, you are happy to do holiday decorating if it is fast and easy but still has a big impact. Well, Halloween Ice does just that and you could throw it in an ice bucket or in a punch bowl and it will instantly up the creepy factor to it. Just make sure you make these a day in advance.

Nothing special, just water in ice cube trays with plastic spiders and bugs in them (pick them up at Dollar Tree) and gloves filled with ice to make a floating hand in your punch bowl.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Easy Halloween Manicure

This will probably be the easiest Halloween manicure you will find on the internet. All you need is black fingernail polish some googly eyes and some quick dry glue.

Simply paint your nails in the black polish and allow them to dry completely. You may need to paint two or three coats to get a solid black depending upon the brand of nail polish you use. Once the Polish is completely dry put on a drop of quick dry glue and press on some googly eyes. This will take a minute to completely dry and then you can go about your day showing off your creepy googly eye fingers.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Easy Halloween Cupcakes


I bought this as a kit from Aldi's, but as you can see they would be pretty easy to recreate without the kit. You just need some food coloring, print off some clipart and instead of "bones" sprinkles you could use crushed oreos around the clip art limbs sticking out to make it look like the had just freshly emerged from the ground.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Halloween Milk Jug Lights



This is a quick and easy way to decorate your lawn or porch or just outside your door. Grab an empty milk jug and using a permanent marker draw a Halloween design or scary face, tuck in some Micro Starry Lights (like these lights on Amazon) and you have a quick lighted Halloween display that you can have inside or outside.

Here are some other ideas to use those LED lights for:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Grand Canyon


The Grand Canyon is a place I have wanted to go visit and see for a long time. I am sure it is One place that is on many people's travel bucket list. Even though I have captured these awesome images on my camera and some on video as well it is hard to really grasp the hand massiveness of the Grand Canyon. Once you are there you are overwhelmed with how expansive it is. We had only done the southern rim and went to the stops on the southern rim. Someday we may get there and tour the northern rim and do some hiking in the canyon. When we were there in June it was quite hot and even though we had our hydration packs doing a lot of hiking was not on our agenda.




We took full advantage of The Trolley system that they have that runs through this National Park. I was very impressed with all of the signage and busing that were in place at this National Park. They were very sure to make sure that people were aware where the trolley stops were, bathrooms that were available, and water Outlets. It seemed there was enough places to fill up water as needed along the Route. Again we wore our hydration packs and throughout the strip we learned that my daughter drinks a lot of water and had to continually refill her hydration pack or she would drink out of hours because she consumed so much water. 

We arrived early enough that it didn't take too long to get into The National Park and find parking. I had read the tips about getting on the bus transfer outside of the park and we had attempted to do that but didn't make it quite in time and didn't want to wait for the next one to show up so we took our chances had to getting there and finding parking for ourselves. By 10 a.m. there We're many buses of tour groups that had been showing up. We had gotten there before them so we didn't have to wait as long and places because we started on our trolley stops before they got there.

We didn't just do the trolley stops we did do some hiking in between a few of the stops because we wanted to be able to see some of it from the trail perspective rather than just from the stops.

Getting in was really quick and easy because we had our national parks pass. We bought one when we went to Death Valley National Park. After our Fall Road Trip to the Badlands National Park we will probably be breaking even on the cost of the national parks pass. We were also able to use our national parks pass when we were touring the different rock formations in Sedona, as they accept that pass for payment.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl Created Gifts for Tweens


This is another fun use of my Silhouette machine to make some birthday party favors and and birthday gifts for my tween daughter.

She had a "Spa" birthday party and so I did Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl on headbands to give as one of the party favors at the birthday party. They were an awesome addition to have as they needed to pull their hair off their face when they had the clay masks on. I also made my niece one that she will be opening up as a birthday gift in another week.

I also put Swim down the side of a pair of pants I bought for her, so she can wear it with her growing collection of swim championship t-shirts I buy for her when she attends these earned meets with swim team.

And finally, I also made her some Lllama-Corn pillow cases. I knew she would think these were fun and quirky and would  love them.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Last Minute Halloween Food Ideas



Just a couple ideas if you are trying to round out your Halloween party menu. You don't have to always make it look like something, but instead rename it or play off the name.

Tombstone Pizza  - use the name brand and insert some Halloween toothpicks
Maggots & Cheese - you guessed it, it's Mac&Cheese
Severed Fingers - Just hot dogs with some cuts and slices in them and some ketchup (blood)

Some other Halloween found ideas include:


Next week, I will share some easy Halloween Cupcake ideas with you too.


Friday, October 13, 2017

FREE Home Depot Kids Workshop on 11/4/17 : Military Appreciation Humvee



Register now to help the child in your life build a Military Appreciation Humvee!!

The store may be set to one local to me, so you may need to search for one nearest you. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Road Trip T-Shirts


We are off on another road trip soon and will probably take along these shirts I made for our summer road trip through CA, NV & AZ on our fall road trip through MN, SD, and WY.

These were the shirts I made for our family by importing images and text that I learned working with text in an image can be very tiresome and difficult. The complexity of some of the images was difficult to format and edit, and after lots of putzing around I learned that it is worth it to spend $3 to buy some new font so you get the look you want and not have to spend hours editting the font.

You don't always have to buy images and fonts though, below is information my mom emailed me about free images and fonts to use with your Silhouette machine. I thought I would share the info so my readers can see it, and I can easily look it up when I need to and not have to search through old emails.



These both have preview boxes, so if you are looking for a particular look for a word, you can type that into the preview box and all the fonts will show what your message looks like. Be sure to do a search for the theme of your project.I have used these among others: http://www.fontspace.com/donna-j-morse/dj-kitchen, http://www.fontspace.com/nymphont/nymphette These are just your basic letters, unless you buy a commercial font. 

The following font place has a free font every week and it includes a "Premium Font License", so you get ( PUA Encoded meaning that it is fully accessible to everyone and all glyphs are available in Character Map on Windows and Fontbook on Mac.). These are swashes and flourishes you may want to add to some letters. 
If you have the current version of Silhouette software, Designer Edition, like I have, you can do this right in the program. This gives you the rundown on the new features. http://www.silhouetteschoolblog.com/2017/08/silhouette-studio-v41-released-update.html

This has a free design several times a week. I usually check it every day, and download the ones I think I will use at some point.

This used to be a free one every day, but went to a freebie of the week.

This one has a lot of free files and you can do a search to see if there is something that works for your project.

Don't forget the Silhouette store. They have a freebie every week and it goes directly into your Silhouette program. If you computer crashes, you are able to get back all of the files from the Silhouette store, usually automatically.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Where Did We Go Wednesday? Dinosaurs at SMM


Looking for a different slant on a spooky activity to do for the month of October and Halloween, then go check out all the bones of the dinosaurs at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Nothing says Halloween like skulls and bones.

Two days before school started the kids that I decided to go check out the Science Museum and get some learning started early. I know I have shared images of the Science Museum of Minnesota before but it always serves as a nice reminder of this valuable resource we have in our state. My son loves the dinosaurs. And this was his choice of where he wanted to go for sure when we visited this last time.

While we were there we watched an Omni Theater presentation of Journey to the South Pacific but it is leaving there soon and a new movie is coming.

The Pixar exhibit has just left and a new exhibit is coming as well. You can see from the picture I took both the movie and the new exhibit are coming October 13th.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Easy to Root Spider Plants


How about a Spider Plant for Halloween!

Want an easy to grow plant that gives you baby plants that can easily root and grow more.....then you definitely need to check out growing spider plants. They are great for helping cleanse the air in your home and are very tolerant of many growing conditions, as long you give them some sunlight and remember to water them at least occasionally.

This is a container filled with about 6 babies. I put them in water (about 1/4 way up the plants) and set it in the window and after 2 weeks you see they have rooted and are ready to be transplanted in to their own pots.




Monday, October 9, 2017

Fall and Christmas Reversible Blocks



A friend and I had a crafting afternoon and each made our own set of these reversible blocks. We wanted to be able to see the grain so we watered down some acrylic paint and basically made a stain.

We did this to each side in the colors we wanted for each block. When it was dry we used the vinyl letters and images I had created using the silhouette machine. My job was the make the vinyl pieces and she cut out the blacks from leftover 2x4 pieces.

I then covered the edges with duct tape while she chose to sand them down smooth and paint them.