Teach Me Tuesday: Marble Tracing Bags

August 26, 2014 in contributor, educational, kid-friendly, Teach Me Tuesday, Uncategorized by MinefortheMaking

Welcome to Teach Me Tuesday! A (mostly) weekly series where we share all things kid-friendly that you can do with your kids or teach them how to do. It can be educational, artistic, scientific, hands-on…anything goes as long as it’s kid approved! Today our Kids’ Activity Contributor, Michelle, is back to share Marble Tracing Bags!

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Hi Mine for the Making friends! It is Michelle again from Delicate Construction and I have another fun kids activity! With back to school time coming, I wanted to share something that you could do with the little kids that is both fun and a great way to work on fine motor skills. My daughter Avery (age 4) had a blast with this and we did both letters and numbers but also had some fun with shapes as well. All you need are three things you may even have at the house, but if not, that you can grab at the dollar store and you are ready to go!

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This is a super simple and versatile activity that can help with introduction, practice and review of the shapes of different numbers, letters and symbols for young children. I grabbed my hair gel and marbles at the dollar store and I had a 2 1⁄2 gallon bag at home. Normally I make these in gallon bags, but all I ended up having on hand was the 2 1⁄2 gallon bags and you know what, I think this is a fun size too because it allows for more tracing in their multiple symbols or shapes or even larger or more detailed designs.

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I just opened up the bag, and since I had the large one, I added the whole bottle of gel. If you had one gallon bags you could use half the bottle and make two bags if you would like. At this point, I also added the food coloring or liquid watercolor, whatever you have on hand.

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After that I added the marbles, same as the gel, I put the whole bag in but if you had gallon bags, just split it in half. These were also the flat sided marbles, I have done it with round ones as well and both work great.

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Once you have everything in the bag, all you need to do is duct tape the top and you are ready to roll!

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The way it works is you write the letter, number or shape on a piece of paper and place it under the bag.

Then the children maneuver the marbles in the bag to trace the shape, number or letter.

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It not only helps with recognition, but it is also great for fine motor development as well when the little fingers are maneuvering the marbles around in the bag.

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That is all for today! I hope this is something to use and I can’t wait to see you when I am back again next month with a fun fall craft! 

 

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Mommy Tell All Monday: Making Time

August 25, 2014 in contributor, fitness, healthy, mom, Mommy Tell All Monday, motherhood by MinefortheMaking

Good morning and Happy Monday mommas! Sara, our Mom Fitness Contributor, is back this month to talk to us about a word that is sometimes my worst enemy… time. It can be difficult making time for fitness…especially as a busy mom.

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I’m pretty sure if you asked anyone what their biggest foe is when it comes to any fitness routine (or life routine for that matter) they would answer with one simple word: Time.

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Whether you’re a parent or not, time is a hot commodity.

If you’re lucky, you might be someone with too much time on your hands. If you’re like most people, you probably find yourself saying, ‘if only there were more hours in the day.’

Before I became a mom, I never really put much stock into the concept of time. The only things I really had to worry about were my job, my marriage, playing roller derby, and working out; some of which could be moved around to create any schedule I needed for that day. If I couldn’t workout before work, I went after school. If I had a meeting that was okay because I could just go to the gym later. If I had derby practice until nine at night, no biggie, I would simply go to bed later that night. If my husband and I wanted to go on an impromptu date night, we just went.

I didn’t have to worry about snack time, play time, nap time, bed time, meal time, cuddle time, and I didn’t have to worry about a small human being completely dependent on my time for survival.

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Before I became a mom, I used to listen to friends say that having children made it so hard to make it to the gym or do things that needed to be done. I would smile, listen politely, but internally I would be saying to myself that those were just excuses, if they wanted to they would. I know, harsh. Judge me all you want, but you have to admit you’ve probably said the same thing at one time or another in your life.

Then, I became a mom.

And I understood what my friends were talking about.

Not having enough time really was a genuine problem.

I didn’t notice it at first, the lack of time, because I was too busy enjoying being with my daughter, cuddling, napping, playing and learning to be a mom.

You all know what happened next though…. That feeling of a lack of time crept up on me and whacked me over the head.

For me, it made its appearance in the form of overwhelming anxiety.

I found myself as a stay-at-home-mom who couldn’t find the time during the day to do simple tasks like unload the dishwasher (I quickly became an expert at dish Jenga), do laundry (I just pretend like I never left a load of laundry in the washer for two days), vacuum the dog fur sweater my floors started wearing, and, oh yeah, working out or spending any amount of time on myself.

At first, my husband and I tried our best at ‘winging’ it. Our gym doesn’t offer childcare so while I would go workout he would watch her and then we would switch. Sounds like an awesome plan, right? It was, for a while, until just getting our workout in took up four hours of the morning and we found ourselves not even being ready to tackle the day’s errands/chores until noon or one o’clock. If you’re good at ‘I have a kid math’, this left only about five-ish hours until we had to be home for dinner, bath, and bedtime. Oh, and don’t forget, we needed to fit nap time within those five hours.

We got pretty good at the down-n-dirty grocery shopping trips, escapes to lunch, and other errand running. But, we knew it couldn’t last forever because we were would be exhausted and in bed as soon as the baby went to sleep. There were nights were going to bed when the sun was still up.

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My husband is a fireman which means he doesn’t work the typical work-day/work-week. Any workouts, chores, or fun things I needed or wanted to get done became dependent on his schedule. As a new mom, just getting ready in the morning with an infant felt like an Olympic sport; laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, forget about it. My daughter also flat-out refused taking a bottle which made dropping her off at a babysitters for anything longer than two and a half hours impossible.

Everything revolved around time.

How long could I be gone? How long would this take? How long before she needs a nap? How long would she actually nap? How long will it take me to work out? How long…. The list goes on and on.

Can you sense my anxiety while you read this?!

It was nuts. I knew I had to fix it.

I narrowed it down to the two things that caused me the most anxiety: household chores and fitness.

First, I had figure out how to overcome a house that refused to clean itself. I knew I would feel less overwhelmed (and guilty) if I could solve this problem. (We all know the days of just taking a few hours once a week to clean the house uninterrupted were long gone.) Thanks to Pinterest, I found a great daily cleaning schedule that helped split up the household chores into daily one hour chunks. I know, I know, I give you full permission to laugh at me here for actually needing, searching for, and using a cleaning schedule. I used to pin nifty cleaning schedules and think, ‘who actually needs one of these’. You know who needed one, ME! You know what else, it worked and to this day I find myself still following the same cleaning plan. Even if I miss a few days (or weeks) and my floors go back to their fur-sweater wearing days, I simply look at the plan, do those chores for the day, and move on. No more guilt. No more anxiety.

Second, I had to tackle the whole working out fiasco. Fitness is extremely important to me. I wanted my body back (and to feel less wimpy, remember). Plus, working it gave me an outlet for stress which makes for a happier mom and wife. Not working out wasn’t an option. With my husband’s schedule and the lack of gym childcare, I knew I had to workout when he was home or I had to be home before he needed to leave for work. With the baby’s non-use of bottles, I knew I had to be fast and no diddle-dallying was allowed. My solution: go to the gym directly after my daughters 3:30 am feeding. Yup, you read that correctly. I drug myself to the gym and started working out by 4:30 am, five to six times a week. I also planned and wrote every single workout to be done and have me home by the latest at 6:15 am. As hard as it was to wake up that early and have the energy to lift heavy objects, it was a plan that worked.

I quickly found myself being a morning person and I looked forward to getting in an amazing workout while most of the world slept.

Third, I had to solve the problem of ‘what if I can’t make it to the gym because _____’. My solution: at-home workouts. C’mon, I know all of you have some sort of at-home fitness DVD system that could work if you are in a pinch. (I still have my Billy Bank’s boot camp DVD’s if you find yourself lacking from a random infomercial purchase.) I’m pretty sure my Insanity and P90X DVD’s have gotten more use since before I had a baby. Plus, having your baby laughing at you while you attempt to keep up with Shaun T doesn’t suck.

By the time my daughter was five months old, I was in my mom groove. It felt great to finally feel like I had my stuff together. The anxiety was better, not gone, but much better. I finally got to the point where the schedule didn’t have to be so ridged, things could slide by, and I wouldn’t break down into a puddle of stressed-out mommy tears. (Tears only happen occasionally now.)

As I continue on this journey of motherhood, I realize that schedules and fitting it all in will always be an ever-changing challenge. I’ve also realized that you have to prioritize your time as a mom. Not every spare moment you have has to be dedicated to the baby or cleaning or whatever else seems to be taking center stage.

You have to make yourself a priority as well. If you want to go workout, make time for it. If you want to go enjoy a coffee or an unaccompanied shopping trip to Target, make time for it. If you want to just lay on the couch and catch up on trashy TV or Netflix, make time for it.

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Being a ‘fit’ mom isn’t just about being physically fit, it’s about being mentally fit as well.

24 hours.

1,400 minutes.

86, 400 seconds.

We all have the same amount of time in a day.

No matter what we do, the time will pass anyways.

Waste it wisely.

Light and Love,

Sara

All of the lovely photography in this post was done by the talented Bailey Carlin (Sara’s cousin). You can find her on Instagram and Pinterest

 

 

 

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Pinterest Feature Friday

August 22, 2014 in pinterest, Pinterest Feature Friday, Pinterest Master List, Uncategorized by MinefortheMaking

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Hello friends and welcome to Pinterest Feature Friday! Every week my 3 friends, Michele, Bev, Malia, and myself pour over our party and check out your Pinterest boards. Then, we have the privilege of featuring one of YOU! If you are as obsessed with Pinterest as we are, then you will love this weekly series. You will find a ton of fun things to pin and fun pinners to follow. 

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Like this girl right here…

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My friend Allison of A Glimpse Inside! Allison has 85 boards and 9,397 pins! That’s what I’m talking about!

Let’s take a look at some of her awesome boards!

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I love fresh flowers and Allison’s Flowers board has 121 pins of beautifulness.

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I’ve been working hard on my craft room the past couple of weeks, so I am loving all of the 124 pins of inspiration Allison’s Craft Rooms board.

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I’m always looking for fun, new hairstyles to try out on myself or my daughter. Allison’s Hairstyles board has 109 cute hairstyle pins!

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Fall is just around the corner (YAY!), so I am loving Allison’s Halloween and Thanksgiving Ideas board with 181 pins.

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I love me a good party and Allison’s Party Ideas boards had 528 great party ideas!

So many awesome boards!! Let’s take a closer look at some of Allison’s fun pins…

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Allison pinned this Dress Up Headquarters on her Kids board and I LOVE it!

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This glamper that Allison pinned on her Outdoor Spaces board is dreamy…

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Okay…how cute is this Toothless the Dragon Hooded Towel? Allison has this pinned to her Sewing Ideas & Tips board.

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My daughter would absolutely LOVE this 3 Sided TeePee that Allison pinned ot her DIY Ideas board! Swoon-worthy.

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I *need* to make this DIY Floral Letter for my daughter’s room ASAP! Find it pinned to Allison’s Crafts board.

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And because I love Halloween and pumpkins, here’s a bit of lovely fall inspiration pinned to Allison’s Halloween and Thanksgiving Ideas board. 

Thanks for linking up to our Pinterest Party, Allison! I’m already an avid Pinterest follower of yours, so I’ll be seeing you around ;) Feel free to grab a featured button!

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Thanks for joining us today! I hope you are all “pinspired” now. Head on over and link up your Pinterest boards! Never know…you just might be the next PFF! 

Happy Friday, friends!

 

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My Craft Room Reveal

August 22, 2014 in craft room, DIY, painting, reveal, room makeover, sponsors by MinefortheMaking

Annie Sloan Unfolded provided me with materials for a furniture makeover, but all opinions and ideas are 100% my own.

Oh friends…it’s been a long time coming. I’ve needed to clean, reorganize, repaint, redecorate my work space for quite a while now. And today, I am so excited to finally share My Craft Room Reveal with you!

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The biggest part of this project was the makeover on my craft desk that my husband built me. It needed lots of love after I pretty much trashed it. Here’s the before picture of my area. Did I mention I haven’t worked at that desk in over 2 years? Yeah. Wasted space. 

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It’s a bit embarrassing. But the after is so good, that I just have to show you the before. Here it is all cleaned out and ready to be painted. 

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And here is my pretty desk after I painted it. Isn’t it beautiful?! I am so in love. I used Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan in the color Provence in addition to the Clear Soft Wax.

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This is by far my favorite paint to use on furniture (although it can be used on many more surfaces). It’s so super easy to use and goes on like creamy butter. 

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I painted 2 coats of Provence on my desk and cubbies, allowing dry time in between, roughed it up with some sand paper, and then finished it off with the Clear Soft Wax. Isn’t the color gorgeous?? I’m obsessed with it. #paintallthethingsprovence!  

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Usually when I use wax on furniture, I use a rag to apply it. This time I used an Annie Sloan Wax Brush and it was AWESOME! I love this brush, and I am pretty picky about paint brushes. This brush made it so easy to get into all the little nooks and crannies. 

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My favorite part about this Chalk Paint® is that you don’t have a whole lot of prep work to do prior to painting. Annie Sloan makes it so easy for us DIYers… she’s the bomb diggity in my book. 

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And look how much it brightened my space! I need a happy place to work, and now my craft room is just that…happy. I added lots of special pieces to this space to make it a joyful place… including lots of goodies and items from my creative friends. They inspire me, encourage me, and love me. Even miles away through a computer screen. 

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We got a few organizational pieces of furniture to help clear up the floor space in the room. My daughter helped us put everything together and she also helped me clean up and organize the room. She provided plenty of compliments along the way, letting me know that she approved of the space too. ;) My helpful 6 year old. 

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I love using mason jars, baskets, boxes, and small buckets to store things in. I was also sure to label things so I would have an easier time finding things and putting them away. 

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I’m also diffusing Annie Sloan Provence Fragrance in my craft room…and it smells so clean in here! I love it. I think it’s so fun that the fragrance I chose ‘matches’ the Chalk Paint® color I used!

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So what do you think? Big improvement, right? I still have a bit to do in this room. But for the most part, it’s finished and I couldn’t be happier with it. 

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My next project will be painting my brown chair… I haven’t decided how yet. I’m thinking of using Annie Sloan’s Old White Chalk Paint® on it… stay tuned for that project. 

Just for fun, let’s see the Before and After comparison one more time…

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If you are considering painting furniture, I highly recommend Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan. This is a great product for beginning painters and the pro painter. The prep time is reduced to merely wiping down your piece of furniture. And once you apply and buff the soft wax, the surface of your furniture is just that…soft! 

You can connect with Annie Sloan Unfolded here…

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Thanks for stopping by to check out My Craft Room Reveal! Let me know what you think and be sure to pin your favorite parts! 

 

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DIY Outlet Covers

August 20, 2014 in contributor, decor, DIY, Mod Podge, tutorial by MinefortheMaking

Hello friends and Happy Hump Day! Our Home Decor Contributor, Siri, is back again with another great decor trick! Check out her tutorial for these pretty DIY Outlet Covers! 
 
 
Hi again Everyone!
Siri from Of Pumpkin Thieves and Buffalo Wings here,

And I’m back again to share another DIY home decor trick! One thing that I’ve learned about home decor for sure, is that the little touches can make all the difference.

When we moved into our house, all of the walls were painted an ugly off-white color and the light switches and outlets looked like this.

I didn’t really think there was anything I could do at first, besides trying to scrubs the gross stains off with paper towels. Nothing worked.

Then I noticed stores selling fancier outlets covers with designs on them. I’m not talking your typical metal or plastic, but lovely colored patterns. Wouldn’t that be perfect, I thought, if I could choose a specific design that matched a room I was decorating?

So after some creative juices, this is what my hubby and I came up with!
(Yes he is insanely good at creating things too!)

All we needed were our old outlet covers, scissors, scrapbook paper of choice (a few cents at Michaels or Joann’s), and Mod Podge (you can buy a container for a few bucks that will last you forever or you can also make it yourself with kitchen ingredients which is pretty easy too).

First you cut out the shape of your specific outlet in the scrapbook paper, and allow for curving on the edges of the outlet.

Then wash the outlet cover, and dry it.

Paint the blank side of the scrapbook paper smoothly and thoroughly and then carefully apply it to the outlet cover,
pressing down so there are no air bubbles.

Finally paint another coat of Mod Podge over the top of all of the paper and around the edge so it adheres securely.

Let it dry completely before picking it up or trying to put it back.

 
Once it’s dry, you can screw it back over the outlet. I carefully washed the light switch with a barely damp Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. 
 
Mine was for my daughter’s nursery transformation and it was such a small detail  that I now realize makes a world of difference to me!
 
 
My hubby made these ones for the electrical socket too! 
 

 “Love You” Nightlight by Housey Home

Thanks for reading and good luck with this fun DIY outlet cover project!

To see more of our renovations and decor, check out my post about my daughter’s Nursery Reveal!

 

 

 

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Teach Me Tuesday: 25 of the Coolest Popsicle Stick Crafts

August 19, 2014 in crafts, kid-friendly, round up, Teach Me Tuesday by MinefortheMaking

Hello there friends and welcome to Teach Me Tuesday… our *almost* weekly kid-centered post. I aim to make Teach Me Tuesdays a place where you can find teachable moments to share with your children. 

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One of my favorite craft items when I was younger was popsicle sticks, also known as craft sticks. I could spend hours making things with glue and popsicle sticks. So today I rounded up 25 of the Coolest Popsicle Stick Crafts to share with you and your kiddos. Just click on the links below to head to the original tutorials. 

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Who wants to get their hands on some popsicle sticks now?? So much fun! Not only did I use popsicle sticks a ton as a kid for crafting, but I used them a ton as a teacher! Puppets, reading sticks for tracking, bookmarks, place holders on our classroom library shelves… they are super handy! 

Thanks for stopping by today friends! Feel free to PIN this post for later. 

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Food-a-licious Friday: California Roll Bites

August 15, 2014 in contributor, Food-a-licious Friday, recipe by MinefortheMaking

Happy Friday, friends! If you know me, you know that my favorite date night is one that involves sushi. It’s a shared love my husband and I have…and we take it quite seriously. I’m so excited for the recipe that Erin of Crafty Auntie is sharing today… California Roll Bites! Can we say YUM?!

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Many years ago when I was eating low-carb, I created a California Roll Salad because I could not stop craving actual California Rolls. The recipe has evolved a lot over time and my husband came up with the idea to make them individual servings. These are a great appetizer that doesn’t involve turning on the oven.

California Roll Bites  (Makes about 24)

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Ingredients:

16 oz. package of flake style imitation crab

1 large cucumber

1 large Haas avocado

6 Tablespoons of dressing (recipe below)

{Dressing}

½ cup Thousand Island dressing

½ T red wine vinegar

1 tsp chili garlic sauce, or more for an extra kick

½ T soy sauce

½ T lemon juice

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 Directions:

1. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and chill at least one hour. Overnight is best to enhance the flavor.

2. Finely chop the imitation crab by hand or in a food processor. I used the Manual Food Processor from The Pampered Chef.

3.Mix dressing into crab. I suggest starting with 6 tablespoons and then add more if necessary. Set aside.

4. Slice cucumber into ¼ inch pieces.  

5. Mash avocado. Spread avocado generously on cucumber slice.

6. Top the avocado with the crab mix. (I used a small ice cream scoop.)

7. Place on a platter or cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

*If you would like to kick up the spice, add wasabi powder or paste to the avocado.

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Don’t you want to eat them right now? I know I do!

Have a great weekend! Be sure to pin this recipe for later. 

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Pinterest Feature Friday

August 15, 2014 in pinterest, Pinterest Feature Friday, Pinterest Master List by MinefortheMaking

Pinterest Party: One Krieger Chick

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Yay, it’s time to start the party… The Pinterest Feature Friday that is! Thanks for joining me (Malia), The Scrap Shoppe, Flamingo Toes and Mine for the Making as we feature a AMAZING pinner each week.

One Krieger Chick

This week’s Featured Pinner is Ariean from One Krieger Chick!

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Yay Ariean!

Ariean’s Pinterest Account has 113 Boards and 8427 Pins.

Holiday Summer

There’s still plenty o’summer left… so you should check out Ariean’s Holiday: Summer Board!

Home-Cleaning

I am always on the hunt for good housekeeping tips, that’s why I’m all over her Home: Cleaning Board!

Home: Word Art & Printables

And Ariean has gathered some great printables on her Home: Art & Printables Board.

Let’s get up close and person with some of this Krieger chick’s pins!

Beach Ball Sugar Cookies

Love these Beach Ball Sugar Cookies pinned to Ariean’s Food: Cookies & Bars Board from This Silly Girl’s Life.

Craft Room

Check out this Monogrammed Pegboard pinned to her Home: Craft Room Board from Organizing Made Fun.

DIY State Pillow

I am so into state crafts right now, that why this adorable DIY State Pillow caught my eye! It’s on Ariean’s Let’s Get Crafty Board and it’s from Michelle Lea Designs.

Lace Chair

And here’s another incredible project: Doily Design Chair by Roadkill Rescue also pinned to her Let’s Get Crafty Board.

Key Lime Pie Dip

Oh boy– this Key Lime Pie Dip looks dee-lish! It’s pinned to her Food: Appetizers & Dips Board from Life With The Crust Cut Off.

Striped Nautical Stool

I am in a nesting state of mind and this adorable stool would be so fun to make: Striped Nautical Stool Revamp by Lolly Jane pinned to Ariean’s Home: Interior Ideas Board.

Thanks for having such awesome boards Ariean! I hope you’ll grab a featured button.

Pinterest Feature

Have you joined the Pinterest Master List… ’cause you should! YOU just may be our next feature.

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Cloth Napkins 3 Ways

August 15, 2014 in contributor, kid-friendly, sewing, tutorial by MinefortheMaking

Our fabulous Sewing Contributor, Shannon, is back to share Cloth Napkins 3 Ways! There’s even a no-sew version! 
 
Hi guys! It’s Shannon here from HustleMama Handmade. I’m in the full swing of back to school business with snack and sandwich bags. I often get requests for cloth napkins for lunch boxes too! I’m sharing a few easy ways you can make them, so you can whip some up yourself! Pair with some homemade muffins, and they make a great housewarming or hostess gift, too! 
 
 
I like to use the super cute printed flannel you can find at the fabric store. Flannel is a great choice because it is super aborbant, comes in great prints, and is really affordable! When Joann’s had their flannel on sale for $2.77/yard, I bought several yards of these cute prints! You can get a dozen napkins out of one yard of fabric! 
 
 
Decide how big you want your napkins/unpaper towels to be. Mine are 10″x10″. I use my rotary cutter but if you don’t have one, a regular ruler and scissors would work just fine! 
 
 
Cute pieces to desired size.
 
 
Now these are already cute, but we need to finish the edge of the fabric so they don’t fray. There are several ways to do this – including a no-sew method! On these grey chevron ones, I used my serger to do a narrow hem along the edge. This is a great project for getting to know your serger! 
 
 
Another little known way of finishing fabric that emulates the narrow rolled edge of a serger is zigzag stitching the edge with your regular machine. It effectively binds off the raw edge. 
 
 
And if you don’t have access to a sewing machine (or just don’t want to drag it out!) you can just use pinking shears. These cut the edge of the fabric in a zigzag, leaving only diagonal (or bias cuts) so the fabric won’t fray. 
 
 
You can see all of the different methods here. 
 
 
Don’t they look cute? Now go pack a lunch box, or make a set for your neighbor, or teacher, or friend! 
 
 
How adorable are those cloth napkins! They would go so great with her fabric Snack and Sandwich Reusable Bags too! I really love anything eco-friendly…especially if it involves pretty fabrics ;) Be sure to visit Shannon’s SHOP and receive 10% off your order. Find the code HERE. She also showing off her hustle on Instagram and Facebook
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Mommy Tell All Monday: Let Them Play

August 11, 2014 in contributor, mom, Mommy Tell All Monday, motherhood by MinefortheMaking

It’s Monday, mommies! Grab a cup of tea, latte, diet coke, diffused water… and have a seat. Sara of Simply Sara is back for Mommy Tell All Monday and she talking about some messy business today. I love her advice… three simple words: Let Them Play.

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Towards the end of the summer I often find myself running out of ideas for ways that my kids can play inside. The spring and fall months are always nice because you can split the day up with outside and indoor play, but in the summer Arizona is just too HOT. We don’t have a pool (with four young kids I’m super thankful for that), but I personally have friends with pools who don’t go out too often either due to the brutal heat.

Eventually my kids start to go insane a little cooped up inside. My almost two year old walks up to the back door and just points and shouts “outside,” over and over like “seriously mom, did you forget that this door opens?” Every now and then I open the door early in the morning or in the evening for them to play and guess what happens . . . the babies walk straight to the hose and turn it on. They use the hose to clean their toys, fill up buckets, spray faces, over-water my garden, and basically flood our backyard. Not a lot of water ends up in our plastic play pool, but its drenching them and has made various mud pits around my yard and patio.

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You would think that I am thankful they can go outside and not mind the heat too much, giving them another environment to play in. But its hard for me to enjoy, and to be honest it often gives me anxiety. I have a hard time sending them out back because I hate that instead of playing on the play set or riding bikes they simply turn the hose on. And I hate when the hose gets turned on because the entire time it’s spraying my back yard I’m thinking of the clean up. I literally start to feel anxious over the extra work that it causes me.

In the 30-45 minutes that they trash my back yard with the hose, I spend the same amount of time cleaning it up afterwards. Grabbing the soaked diapers and clothes that ended up coming off because everyone just gets naked. Sweeping and trying to spray the mud off of the now very brown patio. Picking out the indoor toys that somehow ended up in the play pool. Dumping out every car that has water filled up in its “engine”. Taking a towel to my tile after everyone dragged the dirt and mud through the house. Mom ends up cleaning more, yet again.

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One time this summer I actually took a kitchen towel and wrapped it around my hose, then I covered it in duct tape so that my Baby D could not turn the water on while the kids went outside. I’m a little crazy, but it worked. Then just a few days ago we were having a very long day in the house so I sucked up my feelings over the flood, turned on the hose and sent the small beasts children out. While they were outside playing, instead of focusing on their mess something else caught my attention . . . the smiles. Oh the smiles. Then came the screams, not the mad or attacking screams but the joyful ones. The noises that make your heart burst as a mom.

I sat in my kitchen feeding the baby (in the air conditioning, don’t judge me) while I watched my littles have a blast in the backyard. Even in the nasty heat they were happily role playing with water, making “food”, cleaning “house”, using their imagination and being creative. It was beyond sweet and for most of the summer I had kept them from playing that way. I had restricted their play based on the cleaning up I had to do afterwards. Way to go mom.

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So for the rest of the summer I’ve decided to let my little ones play. To let them act their ages and be kids. To allow them to make a choice about an activity they want to do in my house or back yard, and not think about the clean up afterwards. Even better, I chose to close my blinds that open up to the backyard so that I don’t have to look at the mess and can just clean it up at a time when I have the energy. Because its just going to get messy again, I’m not having an outdoor party in the heat and I don’t need to impress anyone with a picked up backyard.

Is there an activity that your kids love to do that gives you an extra clean up? I know some people that won’t even mention playdoh in their house. I challenge you to loosen up a little, Momma. Maybe let your kids do that activity once this week, don’t be anxious about the mess but focus on their smiles and joy. Let that be your guidance when choosing activities. Let them be kids. We only have a few years to enjoy these moments before the cellphones, movies, homework and friends take up their attention. I know that one day my house will be clean, and I’m pretty sure I’ll miss the mess.

Sara (Simply Sara)

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