Review & Giveaway: Chalkola Chalk Markers!

If your kids are anything like mine, quarantine2020 has been one long art project, punctuated by snack breaks.

The cool peeps over at Chalkola sent us a 40 pack of Chalk Markers and these are a game-changer!

The 40 pack is a mix of neon, classic, and metallic color.

Whether you’re a mom looking for holiday decorating with kids, a clean alternative to standard chalk or paint for the kids, a teacher on a quest for the most sought-after education classroom supplies, these markers are a must-have!

Not your average chalk markers! Unlike other chalk markers I’ve tried in the past, Chalkola offers high-quality water-based ink is washable and delivers smudge & dust free – saturated, clean, flowing fine lines that go on smooth and quick dry within minutes.

The best part- Chalkola Chalk markers are Kid safe and odor-free. The Xylene-free, dustless, nontoxic formula is both eco-friendly and safe for use at home, For Adults Coloring & Painting Canvas, Wedding parties, DIY crafts projects, in the classroom & kindergarten, and anywhere else that could use a vibrant touch.

Does all of that sound fun? Well, now it’s your turn to give these Chalkola Chalk Markers are try! I am giving away a 40 count box! Entering is easy- Leave a comment with your kid’s favorite color. I’ll select a winner on October 27th in the evening. The winner will be notified via email. Winner must reside in the US.

Fun, Inexpensive Halloween and Harvest Crafts from Dollar Tree!

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

Y’all know I love crafts and crafting and saving money. Dollar Tree has recently started carrying some really nice craft supplies, and they have really stepped up their Halloween craft game this year.

Here is a really cute DIY/Crafts made with Dollar Tree supplies: DIY Witch Hat Wreath

There are all sorts of craft supplies for Autumn, Halloween, and Thanksgiving available online or in-store. And if you aren’t feeling crafty, Dollar Tree has all sorts of fun, freaky, and spooky pre-made decor. I love the skeleton mermaids- We painted them and made them bikini tops from scrap mask fabric.
If you are looking replenish your craft supplies after the extended time at home (if you are like us, you did so many crafts, and so much art, we are out of so many supplies), Dollar Tree has you covered. Glue, paint, washi tape, scrapbooking paper, stickers, decals, Mod Podge, beads- You name it, Dollar Tree has it.

Their store brand, Crafters Square has a lot of great wooden craftables: birdhouses, cubes, trays, boxes. All waiting for your creative touch!

If you love to share your crafts or need inspiration, I recommend the Facebook Group: Dollar Tree Craftoholics. There are some extremely creative folks posting daily.

I’d love to see what kind of crafts you do too! Feel free to share a pic or drop a link in the comments!

How I’ve been keeping busy…

I’m busier now than I have been in ages! Most everyone has started distance learning, including our family.

Thankfully, Big Kids’ teacher is in communication and sent us an email with tons of great resources and links. I am trying to keep the kids entertained without relying on screens all day (even educational screen time). My kids are not motivated by worksheets either, so we need to do hands-on stuff.

Besides schoolwork, we’ve started our annual spring garden. Big Kid and I donned masks and hit up the local nursery. We picked out Catnip, Rosemary, Basil, and a hanging strawberry plant in addition to a few kinds of seeds. Our patio looks great, and the kids are outside daily tending to their plants and harvesting ripe strawberries. I kept the pots from last year’s garden.

The other night after the kids were settled, I decided to clean out the junk drawer (ok, 1 junk drawer, we have a couple), the utensil drawer, and the silverware drawer.

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I threw out old condiment packets, broken serving spoons, knives with broken/chipped handles, lids that had no corresponding cups, and I vacuumed out each drawer.

After I had completed that herculean feat, I dove headfirst (metaphorically) into the pantry.

I pulled everything out pantry and set it on the counter.

I checked all the expiration dates. Anything expired got the boot.

92843855_2893563990733604_4081992026843774976_o92828483_2893564054066931_3193846550136619008_oWhen all of this madness started a few weeks ago, I had gone to the store to do my weekly shop, and so many of the things that I’m used to buying were not available. I decided to purchase some alternate products from what we usually have in the house. Some were met with success, some were not so good- I’m looking at you Fideo Noodles.

As a result, I filled a reusable shopping bag with some food that did not cut the mustard. I took most of those items over to our local blessing box to help some of our neighbors in need. The rest I shared with some of the neighbors on our local free food group.

Our pantry is horribly laid out. It is very narrow and deep.  The dangerous part of our cupboard is you cannot reach all the way in the back without help. Last night I used a very long spatula to assist me. One of the things that I found was baby food. Little Bit is 4 1/2. I managed to clear out the pantry 100% and then refill it and move items around so it is easier to gain access

I get food in the mail or events from brands to cook with and post about on social media. Most of the time they give me a couple of each item, rarely they send cases. There were a lot of odds and ends of food from PR campaigns.

I’m also working my way through our closets to get rid of broken toys, clothing we’ve outgrown or don’t wear, or junk. I’ve come to realize that after all of this is over we’ll need to replace our towels (Our current set is from our wedding 12+ years ago), the kids need new sheets, and Big Kid is getting a new bed (which was in the works before Covid struck). And I’ll probably have enough clothing for a clothing swap- Both kids are mid-growth spurt.

It may seem like a lot of busywork, but we haven’t had a deep clean/in-depth declutter since we moved in- 5 years ago. I go through the kids toys several times a year, as well as their clothing and books. But, I’m bad about doing it with household goods and my personal items.

Today was more of a lazy day for us: We played some games, did some sight word writing, played Bingo, and made this stuff called Ooze Baff, which was 100% gross, do not recommend. If you want to try it, I bought it at Dollar Tree. For a Dollar.  In a little while, we’ll have bath time, and I’ll read to them. We may pull out the couch into a bed and all cuddle on the couch for a bit.

I would love to hear about how you and yours have been keeping busy! Leave me a comment!

DIY Cloth Masks- Links and Tips

There are a lot of patterns and videos floating around the internet for non-medical personnel to make their own masks to keep safe in public when we have to go out for necessities.

These masks don’t filter all dangerous pathogens, but they are a good way to remind ourselves not to touch our faces, and keep our germs to ourselves.

MyBluprint has patterns and info here. There are several options/patterns, including a pattern for those who cannot or do not sew. MyBluprint is also hooking us up and staving off boredom by extending their FREE online crafting classes until 4/16/2020.

92393442_10157973738991061_532184793442418688_nIt’s a great way to learn some new crafts, or just watch the videos and plan for later.

I’ve been making masks for family and friends who are essential employees, you can see some of the pics of me making silly faces and modeling a couple different ones here on Instagram. *Warning*- Quarantine hair in the pics.

I used the pattern from Kaiser Permanente, which you can see here. There is a printable pattern on page 11 of the PDF.

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This fabric came from Dollar Tree!

Here are a few helpful hints that I’ve discovered in making over 20 masks this week:

  • Make a few masks per person. They need to be washed after each wearing in hot water.
  • If you don’t have any fabric in your home, you can use cotton bandanas, old sheets or pillowcases. The fabric needs to be tightly woven like cotton pillowcase fabric. Avoid sheer and or gauzy fabric.
  • Elastic is very hard to find these days, so I used new elastic hair ties, like these in the kids masks (I made the ear loop masks for them). I got hair ties at Dollar Tree (some Dollar Tree locations have precut quilters cotton fabric too). The majority of the masks I made have ties and are for adults. We are keeping the kids out of public as much as possible.
  • If you want to make the masks a little more protective put a layer of shop towel or interfacing between the layers of mask. I couldn’t find either at the time, so I skipped this.

I’d love to see what your DIY masks look like! Leave a comment. If you need masks but don’t sew, there are a lot of local seamtresses and costumers that are out of work right now who are making masks to help pay their bills.

Craft More Happy Moments with Blueprint for FREE!!

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

Stuck at home with the kids? Starting to get a little goofy? We are all looking for a way to stay healthy and productive at home during this unprecedented time. Bluprint is here as your creativity-at-home resource, providing ways to nourish your creative hearts and minds, all at home, to sustain and connect during this uncertain time with a FREE Creativity Care Package designed to help families make the most of their time together.

Bluprint, an NBCUniversal online creative learning platform, provides ways for the entire family to nourish their creativity from home, offering rich learning experiences for all ages.

Join them to “Craft More Happy Moments” during our FREE unlimited access creativity event; March 26 at Noon EST – April 9. 

With Bluprint you can stream thousands of creative education classes from knitting, sewing, baking, drawing, family crafts and much more, taught by the world’s leading experts.  Bluprint is your one-stop destination for classes, patterns and project ideas for all skill levels.

During the 14 day event, Bluprint will provide free access to their full slate of content; including more than 1300 classes and series and hundreds of step by step project tutorials and patterns making this the perfect time to learn a new craft or hobby.

I’ve already signed us up! We are going to get crafting this weekend!

School’s Out… for 4-8 Weeks!

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For us, school has been canceled for the next two weeks, and then we are having our regularly scheduled 2-week spring break.

Big kids school sent home a big ol’ packet of worksheets (about 50 pages), which would be most of the work they would do in the classroom. Little kids preschool has been cancelled, so I did a quick google search for free preschool printables so she can do “homework” alongside Big Brother. But I’m not stressing too much about worksheets.

There have been a lot of schedules and ideas posted on social media.

I changed up one of the super colorful schedules going around, included stuff that we like to do, and more relevant activities, and posted it here on my google pages. You can copy it and change it as needed for you.  And I made it black and white to save your printer some ink.

There are tons of free educational activities online for kids to do. Here is a Google Doc with tons of links that has been making the rounds.

Scholastic set up a ‘Learn From Home’ website with four categories: PreK and Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6+. Each section is already equipped with one week of content for students with 15 additional days on the way.

I’m not too worried about keeping the kids busy. Big dude brought home his school iPad and has access to his math and reading stuff, plus we have craft supplies and toys to play with.

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Photo by John Cahil Rom on Pexels.com

And failing all that- Frozen 2 is on Disney+, and we’ve got Minecraft. If you don’t have Disney+, you can score Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN for a pretty low monthly price.

And sooo many bubbles. I’m not sure why, but kids love bubbles.

Don’t forget that March is National Craft Month! There are kinds of freebies and deals here.

Talk Back- What are you doing to keep yourself and your family from going stir crazy?

Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Stay Indoors Easier

file9831347376219.jpgA lot of people are posting about stocking up on essentials, or ways to make your own hand sanitizer in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

I don’t want to freak out or spread any misinformation, so instead, I’m going to focus on how you can get your home ready in case you have to quarantine, either because of illness/exposure or because of a government mandate.

What can you do to prepare your home?

Make sure that you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet. I don’t mean a years supply, maybe just enough to get you through an illness (like you would buy if someone in your home came down with a cold or cough), or in the case of #4, enough menstruation supplies for 1 period (most of us with periods have that in our homes anyway).

  1. Enough of your daily prescription meds for 14+ days.
  2. Pain relievers- Tylenol, Motrin, Advil.
  3. Cold /cough remedies- Sudafed, Mucinex, cough syrup. Don’t forget to have kid versions too!
  4. Menstruation supplies- Pads, Tampons, Cups, period panties.
  5. Any other OTC meds that you and your family use regularly.

Food– This is a tough one because each family is different. I recommend doing a pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory and make notes on what you have. I’d pick up a few extra things that are “must-haves” in your home. For us, that’s bagels and cream cheese. Bread products can be frozen, so I tossed a few extras in the freezer, as well a few extra quarts of milk.

I also picked up some of the shelf-stable milk quarts, like these. They are great for camping, as they don’t have to be refrigerated until after they are opened. They are also great for cooking.  I have also picked up some pantry staples so that we can have homemade baked goods (it gives us an activity and food!).

If you are worried about not having enough food because your budget doesn’t allow for an extra stock-up trip to the grocery store, there are food resources to help you. Check out this page for San Diego County food resources. If you are in Northern SD County, there is a list here. If you live outside San Diego County, but within the US, call 211 for assistance.

Cleaning Supplies-I cleaned out under our kitchen sink and organized all of the cleaning supplies- and I also have been cleaning the house. It was originally because we were hosting a birthday party, but, now it will be nice to have a clean house in case we are stuck inside.

A few of the cleaning supplies that are good to have on hand include:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia (but never mix it with bleach or any other cleaning chemical)
  • Pine-Sol or Fabuloso
  • Spray bottles for bleach/water mixtures, Ammonia/water mixtures
  • sponges
  • Magic Erasers
  • Paper towels
  • baking soda or Comet/Ajax (to scrub sinks/toilets/bathtubs)
  • White vinegar
  • Oxi-Clean
  • Laundry Soap
  • Laundry stain pre-treater

These are what we keep on hand all the time. I am pretty old school. I use ammonia as a degreaser to clean the stovetop, range hood, and mop the kitchen floor.

Something to do- I think this is something that most of us are forgetting about. Without school, work, the gym, clubs, or other outside activities, Netflix is going to get really boring really fast.

I did a craft supply reorganization yesterday and pulled together stuff for a bunch of different crafts the kids can do. If you have crafty kids, but not a lot of craft supplies, a quick trip to Dollar Tree with $20 can hook you up with a decent selection of supplies. If you don’t have a chance to go, Dollar Tree has “Pick and Pack” service. They have some craft supplies that would be great- canvases, construction paper, glue sticks, etc.

I will be finishing up the basket of UFO (Unfinished Outlying Projects) sewing, and probably start on a few new things that I’ve been planning (like curtains). I’ve got plenty of fabric and thread. No trip to the store will be needed.

We’ll be hitting up the library today or tomorrow for some books for the kids. But we’ve also got Epic on the iPads, and well as some other educational apps (I’ll be posting a list of free apps later today).

I went through all of our games and pulled out some newer ones that the kids haven’t played, or haven’t played in a while. I foresee lots of family game time.

Some government officials and municipalities are telling people to keep a 6-foot distance from others and no handshakes/hugs. That’s is great to control the spread of illness, but I can’t keep my kids inside all the time. Which is why we’ll be playing in our outdoor space/patio, and the green area outside our home, while carefully avoiding others. I may also take them hiking- many of the trails that we frequent are not heavily used. It is rare that we see other people. The fresh air will do them good. If you have a yard, send your kids outside to play or read outside. We want to avoid others to contain the spread of disease.

file801244167702.jpgAnd my final bit of advice: WASH YOUR HANDS FOR AT LEAST 20 SECONDS OF SCRUBBING. Use soap. Dry your hands with a paper towel. Use hand sanitizer as needed, but it is not a substitute for handwashing. Try not to touch your face (This is super hard, I know). 

Please be safe!

 

 

March is National Craft Month! Free Crafts & Crafting Deals!

MyBluprint.comI learned today that March is Craft Month, which is awesome because I am always down for a good craft!

If you are looking for craft supplies on a budget, here are my top five tips:

  1. Thrift Stores are a great place to start scouring for craft supplies. Frequently thrift stores bundle up craft supplies.
  2. Sign up for rewards programs at your local craft stores and/or download their apps. Both Michaels and Joann Fabric & Crafts have apps with coupons to save you more!
  3. Dollar Tree has great craft supplies. Our favorites are their wooden boxes, craft kits, pom-poms, chenille stems, and hot glue sticks!
  4. Craft supply swaps are a great way to trade supplies. I host once a year or so, right before school lets out. Everyone brings their excess/unwanted craft supplies and it’s a free for all swap. Leftovers are donated to a local school or scout troop.
  5. If you have liquid/wet supplies (like ink pads, glue, paint, etc), make sure to check them before plotting out a project. Nothing is worse than sitting down to do a project to discover that your glue/paint/whatever is all dried out. BUMMER!

If you’ve got kiddos, check out the free week of crafts at Michaels, starting today.

AllFreeKidsCrafts Spring Crafts eBook is now available for download here. I found 3 new crafts for the kids to do today- they are going stir crazy because it’s raining here.

I know some of my readers love their wine, and if you are one of them, FaveCrafts has something just for you! Their latest free eBook, 25 Cool Things to Do with Old Wine Bottles is available here.

If you are looking for something different, perhaps learning a new skill or skills, check out Blueprint!

Blueprint has all kinds of online classes, videos, and articles that you can access with an unlimited membership, or you can take a singular class online. They also have a great selection of free articles and patterns here. Whether you want to learn about sewing, cooking, quilting, embroidery, art- Blueprint has classes for everyone!

In celebration of National Craft Month! Get ANY Blueprint class for just $10 with coupon code “CREATE10”!

 

6 Days of Free Crafts at Michael’s 3/8-3/13/2020!

Michael’s is hosting 6 days of Free Kids Crafts 3/8/2020-3/13/2020!

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  • Sunday 3/8/2020: Craft Stick Bee 2-4pm
  • Monday 3/9/2020: Pom Pom Caterpillar 4-6pm
  • Tuesday 3/10/2020: Stained Glass Kite 4-6pm
  • Wednesday 3/11/2020: Beaded Butterfly 4-6pm
  • Thursday 3/12/2020: Friendship Bracelets 4-6pm
  • Friday 3/13/2020: Clothespin Birds 4-6pm

Parents/guardians must remain on-site. Each craft is free, including supplies!

Kids Club! Saturday 10am - noon

If this doesn’t work for your schedule, check out Kids Club! Each Saturday 10am-noon, your kiddos (ages 3+) can choose from 2 30-minute projects. Most projects are free or have a low cost.

Michael’s: Valentine’s Day Makers Fest (2/8/2020)

IRC23123_VMF_AdultTShirtLooking for something fun to do this coming weekend? Check out your local Michaels Craft Store!

  • Date: Saturday, February 8, 2020
  • Time: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Come make a Lots Of Love Vinyl Decal Shirt: Come punch designs out of vinyl to create a Valentine’s Day T-shirt. Buy the shirt, and the supplies to decorate it will be provided!

Other crafts going on include on 2/8/2020:

  • Valentine’s Day Cards: Create cute “love bug” or pretty watercolor cards to give loved ones! FREE, all supplies included.
  • Sweetheart Cookies: Learn easy ways to decorate Valentine’s Day Treats. FREE, all supplies included.
  • Fabulous Friendship Bracelets: Make these beaded bracelets to give to your BFF for Valentine’s Day! FREE, all supplies included.

Michael’s has all sorts of fun free and low-cost classes coming up for kids and adults. Find out about classes near you here.