Simple Sewing Project- Pillow Cases!

I love making Pillow Cases- They are quick, simple projects that you can make for a very small amount of money, and they really can tie together a room.

I tend to buy plain colored sheets for the kid’s beds. Then I make pillow cases with colors or characters they like. In the past I’ve made Batman pillow cases and Thomas the Tank Engine pillow cases for Henry, and floral print and eyelet lace trim for Margaret. Most of our blankets are either down comforters in plain colored duvets or handmade quits.

I found a bunch of 1 yard pieces of fabric this morning, so I decided that today for art for 100 days of art, I was going to make a pillow case or two. I’m doing 100 days of art and chronicling it on Instagram. I’ve done some pretty cool projects so far!

You only need a yard of 45 inch wide 100% cotton fabric, matching thread and about a half hour of time. Oh, and a sewing machine. If you are looking for a good, basic sewing machine, I like this one-  It’s similar to the one I use.

Pre-wash your fabric in hot water and dry on high. This gets all the sizing out of the fabric. There will be no further shrinkage.

IMG_8710Lay fabric out, right side facing up.

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Fold fabric in half so selvedges (the finished edges)are together.

IMG_8711.jpgUsing a straight stitch on your sewing machine and a 5/8 inch seam allowance around one skinny end, turn the corner and sew up the side with the selvedge. IMG_8713

My sewing machine has measured out and notated hash marks on the throat plate (that’s the silver part in this photo).

I use a 5/8 inch seam allowance. It’s what most commercial patterns use as well.

 

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Trim off any stray strings. Set your machine to zigzag stitch, and stitch over the free edge of the fabric. I recommend using matching thread, I used a contrasting thread, so you could see my stitches.

 

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Fold the open edge over twice, pin or press down. Stitch down the folded edge. Take care to open the pillow case and slip the arm (the part of the machine with the bobbin in it) into the pillow case so you don’t end up sewing your pillow case together.

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Clip off any stray threads, and turn the pillow case right side out. Pop your pillow inside the case and you are all set!

This is a great 1st sewing project for kids and adults. You can make your pillowcase a little fancy by adding lace or ribbon around the hem of the open side.

I’d love to see what kind of pillow cases you make!

Trade-in Your Old iPhone and Earn Cash with Gazelle!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Have an old iPhone that you’re no longer using or that you want to upgrade? Trade it in for cash at Gazelle! I’ve done it now three times and it’s a super simple process!

Gazelle makes it so easy to trade-in used iPhones and other smart devices for cash. In fact, it can be done in three easy steps.

• Step 1: Select your iPhone from a list of options on Gazelle’s “Trade-In” page. Simply answer a few questions and Gazelle will provide you with an offer for your device.

• Step 2: For items worth $1 or more, it’s free to ship your device to Gazelle. Once your trade-in is received, the device is inspected to make sure its condition matches your evaluation.

• Payment: If the device matches your description, Gazelle will pay you in the form of a check, an Amazon.com gift card, or via PayPal. Payment takes about a week once Gazelle receives your device.

No other company does as much to help consumers sell their used iPhones or purchase high-quality, gently-used devices as Gazelle. Trade your old iPhone in for cash today!

2/26/18 Meal Plan Monday

dsc07997The batteries in my mouse died this morning, and we spent the day running errands, and of course.. I forgot the batteries. So, on the way home from group ABA therapy (which was at Chuck E. Cheese today- Woo hoo!), we finally got batteries!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos lately have been having protein pancakes (I like Kodiak Cakes mix- it’s yummy and very versatile) with butter and Peanut butter. Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes. We mix it up, and have different flavors and mix in all kinds of stuff into our shakes, so as not to get bored. Here area few of our favorite recipes.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D: Leftover Pizza From Chuck E. Cheese, Applesauce, and carrot sticks.

Tuesday:

  • D: roasted chicken and veggies- I’ve got tons of marinated chicken in the freezer. I’m trying new combinations of veggies and chicken roasted in the oven.

Weds:

  • D: Turkey Meatloaf and mashed cauliflower with cheese and caramelized onions.

Thursday:

  • D: Cheese toast and soup.

Friday:

  • D: Date Night

Saturday:

  • D: Family night in- Not sure, but we sometimes have breakfast for dinner (pancakes and eggs)

Sunday:

  • D: Chef Salad/leftover buffet. I love chef salad because you can just put whatever you’ve got in the fridge in the salad.

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

10 Practical Self-Care Tips

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There are tons of articles about Self-Care on Pinterest and mommy blogs. Having read a bunch of them, I’m lead to believe that all of these people have kids that go to bed on time, never wake up for water, cry out in the night, or may possibly be robots.  Why? Because facials, manicures, pedicures, private yoga sessions, and taking a long quiet bath are usually recommended. I can seldom do any of these after my kids are in bed.

Remember, self-care is more than slapping on a mud masque and shotgunning wine from a can (yes, it exists) on Sunday night while you hide in the bathroom and pray the kids stay in bed. My top ten list is stuff that is practical that will help “refill your cup”- and not with wine from a can.

  1. Go to bed early. Like 9:30pm instead of 11:30pm. It’s all about baby steps.
  2. Drink a glass of water in the morning. Yeah, you are supposed to drink 7 more after that, but, you’ve got at least 10 more waking hours to get that accomplished.
  3. Take your vitamins. They are doing no good in your medicine cabinet. To remind yourself, get an “old person pill case“. My husband and I each have one, and so does Henry. I refill them on Saturday night. I’m such the party animal.
  4. When you are alone in the car each day, do some deep breathing.  I like the Alternate Nostril Breathing (I learned it in yoga- pre-kids). It’s easy to do and just two minutes of it can really help you relax. Bonus: It’s free.
  5. Indulge in a guilty pleasure. Take 30 minutes and do something that you wouldn’t Facebook about- Take a couple Buzzfeed Quizzes, Watch Dr. Pimplepopper videos on YouTube, watch the Kardashians on Hulu. Just disconnect and do something mindless.
  6. Color! I have a bunch of coloring books for adults, but I also like to print off coloring pages too. I have some pinned on my 100 Days of Art Pinterest Board.  Color with what you’ve got on-hand. Crayons, markers, colored pencils. Heck, it’s ok to steal your kids coloring books.
  7. Do a Social Media Purge. I did this at the beginning of January. I unfollowed/unfriended anyone that caused me stress, pain, anxiety, or jealousy. You don’t need to be surrounded with Keeping Up with the Joneses all the time. Your time and family are great the way they are.  Removing these emotions from your daily life will give you relief. It’s liberating.
  8. Enjoy something to eat or drink that brings you joy or is nostalgic. Bonus if it’s something that your kids don’t like/won’t eat. Then there will be no sharing.
  9. Go for a ten minute walk. Outside is best, but a few laps around your office building is ok too. If you are home, grab the kids, the dog, and go outside. Investigate your neighborhood. It doesn’t have to be an Instagram-worthy sunset walk, just get out and stretch your legs!
  10. Power Down- Put down your phone, tablet, turn off the computer for an hour and take a break/nap/shower/bath.

Most of these things can be done with little to no cost. Anyone can do them. How do you make sure that you get enough self-care?

Why I Love… Denny’s

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I’m serious. Stop laughing! I love Denny’s. Here is why: When you have a kid on the spectrum, a lot of stuff is about textures, sounds… the “feels”, if you will. And almost every Denny’s looks the same. The menu is the same, the food tastes the same.  So, no matter where we go, he can have something to eat he likes in a place that is familiar.

And honestly, as far as diner food goes, it’s pretty good. They have heathy choices, they have junk food, and I can get a plate of scrambled eggs and chocolate shake at 2am if I need it.

Other reasons that Denny’s is the bee’s knees:

  • They have coupons. Sign up for their rewards club here, and they’ll email you coupons frequently. They also publish coupons in the Sunday paper, and sometimes in the junk mail too- just keep your eyes peeled.
  • When you are a rewards member, you’ll get a free build your own Grand Slam on your Birthday. SWEEET! That is Henry’s favorite birthday freebie- He knows that I’ll share it with him.
  • They participate in Dosh. We get 5% back when we eat there, can I can combine that with the coupons mentioned above.
  • The four of us can have a meal there for less than $25.00 (before coupon and Dosh cash back). Frequently there are leftovers too. Can’t beat that.
  • The do have Kid’s Eat Free twice a week, but my kiddos are pretty big eaters, and I find it easier (and cheaper) to order them something from the “grown up menu”. Right now, they are obsessed with sharing the Everyday Value Slam. Henry eats the pancakes (with butter), and Bitty eats the eggs and sausage. breakfast for 2 kids for just $4…. uh, ok. And I don’t have to wash the dishes!
  • We frequent the same 3 or 4 locations and the waitresses know the kids. They are always so sweet.

This week, I am professing my love for Denny’s. What do you love this week?

2/20/18 Meal Plan… Tuesday?

dsc07997The past two days have been CRAZY. Yesterday was a holiday, so.. no school or therapy. In the morning we hosting a rock painting and hiding event. The kids painted, played and had a great time.  Then in the afternoon, we went to an afternoon playdate at KidVentures sponsored by NFAR. Afterwards, we were hungry and pooped out from a very busy day of play, so we stopped at Denny’s!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos lately have been having protein pancakes (I like Kodiak Cakes mix- it’s yummy and very versatile) with butter and Peanut butter. Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes. We mix it up, and have different flavors and mix in all kinds of stuff into our shakes, so as not to get bored. Here area few of our favorite recipes.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D: Denny’s!

Tuesday:

  • D: Southwestern Chicken Stew

Weds:

  • D: Roasted chicken and veggies- I found some cool recipes in the most recent EatingWell Magazine, and this is one. 

Thursday:

  • D: Grilled cheese and soup ( I really want to make soup from scratch- It’s been super cold here lately). Maybe Colonial Chowder, I’ll post the recipe, whatever I choose. 

Friday:

  • D: Date Night- Probably Himalayan food, since we’ve both been craving it.

Saturday:

  • D:The kids and Daddy are having pizza, I’m going to an influencer event where there will be tasty noms.

Sunday:

  • D: Chef Salad/leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

Legoland Ticket Deals!

unnamed.jpgI just discovered this deal this morning, and I had to share! Ya’ll know we love going to Legoland, and with the new Ninjago 4-D Experience that just opened last month, there is even more to see and enjoy.

Groupon has ticket deals for Legoland California. 50% Off Legoland Florida & California Tickets for either 2 or 4 2 day park hopper tickets. But, the deal gets even sweeter (you know it would, right?), you can save 25% Off Groupon with New Coupon Code NOW25. Oh, and you can use the coupon code 3 times per account!

unnamed (1).jpgThe new Legoland Castle Hotel is opening on April 27, 2018! I can’t wait to check it out once it’s completed! I love that Legoland hotels are just more than a place to crash at the end of your Legoland day. The Royal Courtyard outside is designed to immerse children in a fairy tale of their own creation with a DUPLO play area for the younger kids, larger play structures for the older kids, giant movie screen for nighttime movies, a stage for live plays and shows, a gradual incline pool and hot tub. The pool bar and grill will offer smoothies, sandwiches and salads prepared fresh to order. And, for our family, we love that breakfast will be included with each guest’s stay and includes made-to-order items along with a buffet (our kids love breakfast!).

With so much to see and do at Legoland, this Groupon deal is the perfect excuse to plan a trip over Spring Break!

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Henry’s latest Lego Creation

Make Money while Blogging

file0001174273310.jpgI get asked a lot how do you make money blogging. I was talking to a couple influencers at Influential Summit last weekend, and I decided that it was time to sit down and make a list to share.

There are several ways that it can be done. Here are just a few ways that I make money blogging.

I don’t make a ton of money blogging, but it’s enough to pay for any promotions or contests I run, buy crafts supplies for the Craft Mondays I host, and occasionally a trip to Starbucks for coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I don’t blog to make tons of money, I blog to share my journey through parenthood and my frugal skills with others. That being said, it is nice to make a little extra money sometimes.

Most of these links are referral links, so I will either receive a bounty/commission if you sign up through my links.

Affiliate Networks:

Escalate Network– My least favorite affiliate network, they have campaigns (usually pay per click/sign up) that change frequently and printable coupons. Minimum pay out $25.

ShopHer– Formerly MySavings. They have campaigns (pay per click, sign up) that change frequently, in addition to printable coupons and free sample offers.  Sometimes they have sponsored posts available too. Minimum pay out $50.

Shareasale– They partner with hundreds (maybe thousands) of companies and brands. Search for a company, apply, and once approved, start posting their deals and you’ll earn a percentage of what you sell.  I post deals from Mabel’s Labels, Craftsy, and Cents of Style. Minimum pay out $50.

Massive Sway- A completely different type of network. Massive Sway works with brands and PR companies to bring you campaigns to share on your blog and across social media platforms. Each campaign has it’s own set of posting rules and pay out amount. You apply for campaigns that interest you. I am unsure of any minimum payout.

Many companies have their own Affiliate or Tell-a-Friend Programs. If there is a website that you want to recommend, check out their site and see if there is a “Refer a Friend” page. Schoola has one that I like. When friends click on my link and sign up, they get a free $10 to spend, and once they place an order, I get $5 or $10 to spend too. It’s a win-win deal! All kinds of website have referral pages. I love that Zaycon Fresh (a company that sells farm fresh meat in bulk) offers $5 for new referrals and you earn $1 every time your friend orders!!)

There are tons of Affiliate programs and Refer-aFriend programs. Just check your favorite websites and shopping portals.

Other:

Amazon– When you are writing about products that you use or like, you can link to the items on Amazon and when people click the link and buy the item, you receive a commission. Sometimes there are also bonus programs where you will receive a flat “bounty” (aka commission) if someone signs up for Prime- It’s usually $5.00

Social Platforms- If you area blogger or influencer, make sure that your social media platform profiles reflect that. Here is a screenshot of my Instagram Profile:

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Remember that these social media platforms are a representation of who you are, so if you’ve embarrassing or unflattering photos, you might want to hide them! Brands will research you.

If you aren’t a blogger or influencer, there are still ways to make a little extra money. I wrote about my side hustles here and here.

 

2/16/18 Freebie Friday!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Friday Means FREEBIES! There are all kinds of goodies this week!

 

Playing and Learning with Safari LTD.

2B6678AB-B924-49B9-81D9-A9E4F2510AAE.jpgEver since Henry was itty bitty, one of his favorite kinds of toys were what he calls “Mean Animals”, you know those plastic animals that you can buy everywhere? Some of them are realistic, and some not so much.

We have a pretty hefty collection/menagerie of mean animals, but we are always open to increasing our herd. Last week we received a package from Safari LTD that contained our three newest friends: Frogfish, Hermit Crab, and Sea Turtle. As you can see from the picture above, Margaret has taken a shine to Sea Turtle.

IMG_8450.jpgThese new friends are not the usual tiny animals that come in a plastic bag or tube, these guys are BIG! I mean, look how big the Sea Turtle is in Margaret’s hands! And they look realistic too! That’s what I love about the toys from Safari LTD. Regardless of the size, all of their toys look real. No purple rhinos or bright green whales. Everything looks like it could come from a nature magazine. In fact the hermit crab scared the cat!

Safari LTD. has a great selection on Amazon, but you’ve probably seen their “Toobs” at Michael’s and some of the Good Luck Minis and Fun Packs at museums and aquariums. You can also buy them on the Safari LTD. Website too. Henry loves animals. Some of our favorite family animal based shows include: Wild Kratts, Octonauts, Blue Planet, Dinosaur Train, Zoboomafoo, and Coyote Peterson on Youtube (it is one of the few things I am ok with the kids watching on YouTube), so I was stoked to discover the SafariPedia on the Safari LTD. website. The SafariPedia has a full, amazing wiki with tons of information about all of the animals and creatures of the toys they make.

IMG_8457.jpgWe play really rough with out toys, and our ocean gang has held up to some pretty rough play. They are no worse for the wear.

I asked Henry if he would recommend the Safari LTD. toys to his friends, and he said, “Yeah, these guys are awesome. They are cool and look real. I think we should buy some Mean Animals for (insert the name of two of his friends) for their birthdays!” So there you have it- Mom and kiddo approved!

Thanks to Safari LTD. and Mommy Con for the three new animals. All opinions are my own, and I received no financial compensation for this post. Some of the links posted may be affiliate links that may generate a commission or revenue. Please refer to my disclosure policy.