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!

Personal Care in the Time of Covid-19

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

If you’ve seen some of my Instagram posts lately you may have noticed my greys. Yeah. I’m sporting almost 2 inches of roots/re-growth, and I’m feeling kinda shabby.

Now that most of us are settling down in our weird “New Norm” and are getting settled into a new (and weird) routine we are starting to notice that our regular personal care rituals have fallen to the wayside. It’s healthy to do self-care in whatever form you prefer: Hair color, painting your nails, doing a cleanse. Whatever you need to do to help yourself feel better in this strange new time.

Madison Reed has come to my rescue! I’ve used their service off and on for the past 5 years, usually when I couldn’t get to Sally Beauty to pick up my favorite Ion hair color. I ordered my kit on last Friday, it should be arriving this week.

Besides selling hair color kits, Madison Reed’s website has some of the best articles and tips on their blog.

deadlynightshadeIf you are a little more in the know or want more of a DIY experience, man Sally Beauty locations are offering curbside pick up.  You can order hair color, developer, shampoo, conditioner, spa stuff, nail stuff, even waxing stuff if you are feeling up to it online, and then pick it up at your local Sally Beauty location. Pretty sweet, right?

I was at the drugstore yesterday (getting our rX refills), and I happened down the hair color aisle and it looked picked over. Lots of blues and greens available, but nothing in tamer colors.

The CEO of Walmart has commented that we are Hair Color phase of panic buying (source), and I 100% agree. Cruising the HBA (Health and Beauty Aids) aisles of CVS, it’s pretty barren. Most of the nicer/pricier brands of shampoo and conditioner are sold out, there isn’t much in the way of DIY facial supplies (Secret Tip: Dollar Tree sells name brand skincare masks. I’ve seen the same masks at Walmart for over $3 each).

Remember:

  • Wash your hands
  • Cover Your face
  • Flatten The Curve
  • Take Care of Yourself

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.

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”!

 

Getting Crafty with Dollar Tree!

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Now through 4/4/2020, Dollar Tree is hosting a Best DIY Spring Wreath Photo Contest! You could win a $100 Dollar Tree Gift Card. To enter or learn more, click here.

I’m going to check out the Dollar Tree next door and see what I can make!

Did you know that you can order from Dollar Tree Online and have it shipped for just $4.95 (*Restrictions apply. See website for details.)? Perfect for planning Easter events!

pick.pngI just discovered that if you don’t need an entire case of 1 item, Dollar Tree has “Pick and Pack” service. This would be great for restocking up craft supplies, household goods, or picking up seasonal or holiday goods!

 

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

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.

Easy Home Maintenance: Cleaning Your Box Fans!

Screen Shot 2019-09-15 at 7.35.48 PM.pngRecently, we noticed that our box fans weren’t providing much cool air. Before dropping over $150 to replace them all, I decided to see if cleaning them would improve their airflow capabilities. After all, they were still functioning mechanically, they weren’t putting out the air flow they used to.

With temperatures in excess of 80 degrees almost all year round here, box fans are a needed appliance in our home. We can’t go without them, as running the AC is cost-prohibitive.

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Oh dear.

These fans are all about a year old, and while I have vacuumed the front and back of them previously (I do it once a week), they had never been taken apart and cleaned.

Gather all the tools needed before you start. For this job you will need:

  • A sheet to cover your work area.
  • A screwdriver (our fans all have Philips head screws)
  • A dish to hold the screws while the fan is disassembled
  • All-purpose cleaner. I used Comet Lilac Bliss- it’s what we had in the house, and it worked really well.
  • A stiff-bristled brush. I used the brush I use to scrub the soap scum/hard water deposits out of the bathtubs (like this)
  • Rags or really scratchy paper towels. You need something that will trap the dirt.
  • Vacuum Cleaner with a brush attachment.
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Before: This stuff was tough to scrub off!
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Once again, my Dyson Vacuum saves the day!
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After: So fresh and so clean!

Here are my tips for deep cleaning your fans-

    1. UNPLUG THEM! It seems like a no-brainer, but I’m going to remind you to not clean appliances that are still plugged in.
    2. Remove the front and back plastic pieces of the fan. Ours were held together with 6 screws.
    3. To remove the dirt/fuzz/cat/hair/whatever grossness that was on the fan front and back, I placed them in the bathtub and sprayed them down with all-purpose cleaner. I allowed them to sit for about 20 minutes while I cleaned the fan blade and fan case.
    4. Using all-purpose cleaner and a rag, carefully spray and wipe the fan blades, both front and back sides.
    5. Using the vacuum hand tool with the brush attachment, clean the interior of the fan case, as well as the backside of the fan motor. I was amazed at the amount of fuzz, dirt, and hair was around the intakes for the fans.
    6. Once the fan blades and fan case are clean, return to the bathroom and scrub the fan front and back. Rinse and dry completely.
    7. Reattach the front and back to the fan case, plug in and test out. All 6 fans worked 100% better after being cleaned. This is now a chore that has been added to the end of season home cleaning list.
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Re-assembled and working like new!

Cleaning all of the fans took about 2 hours, and that included time to make snacks for two very starving kids, let the cat in and out a few times and help with math homework. Without distractions, I could have gotten done in about an hour.

In the future, I may invest in some of these Box Fan Filters, which until today I had no idea existed.

Taking care of appliances, like these box fans is just another way that we are able to extend the useful life of often-used items in our homes, and that saves us money in the long run.

Talk Back: What types of small things do you do to extend the life of your small appliances?

5 DIY Spa Treatments for Your Hair

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.

I love DIY beauty treatments. Most spa-grade products start with natural ingredients or extracts of natural ingredients. Why not skip the pricy treatments and mix up some fun hair treatments in your kitchen!

Sneaking in a spa getaway before the holidays is easier than you think. Madison Reed wants you to know about these 5 swanky spa treatments for your hair. The best part? These deliciously healthy hair solutions can be found in your own kitchen!

DIY Spa Image

1. Beer is the Silver Bullet for Fine, Limp Hair

Believe it or not, beer is full of protein, which enhances shine, strength, and moisture.

HOW: Just open up a can or bottle and let it sit open for a couple hours to release the carbonation. After you shampoo, gently massage the beer into your hair, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse. You can also put the beer in a spray bottle and spritz onto dry hair. The protein residue from the brew will help strengthen your hair.

2. Honey is The Bee’s Knees for Split Ends

Don’t worry, we’re not leading you into a sticky situation, you can safely put honey on your hair! In fact, it can be a miracle worker for damaged hair. Honey is antibacterial, contains vitamins and minerals, and is a humectant, which means that it attracts moisture to improve dry hair.

HOW: Using half a cup of honey, saturate your hair. Put on a shower cap to capture natural heat and put your feet up for half an hour (you deserve it). Rinse out the honey to reveal glowing soft, silky hair. This treatment will help reduce split ends and fly aways.

3. Baking Soda Gets a Rise Out of Your Hair

Time to apply our science class know-how to hair care! Baking soda is an alkaline base (the other end of the spectrum from acids). This is important for hair because excess oils and styling products get trapped in the cuticle of your hair, making it feel greasy and flat. Use baking soda to lift out those unwanted oils and product build up.

HOW: Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with small amounts of water until it forms a thick paste. Work this paste into your hair and let it sit for ten minutes before rinsing. Your hair will gain volume and feel bouncy and clean!

4. Avocado to Bring Down the Frizz

The oils in avocados are very similar to the natural oils in our skin. Combined with its proteins and nutrients, this is one hair-enriching fruit! Use as a smoothing balm to tame frizz and fly aways. In winter months, it can also reduce that annoying seasonal static.

HOW: Mash half an avocado until smooth. Massage into damp hair and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing. Your hair will be deeply conditioned. Bonus: if you have curls, this treatment will make them soft and defined.

5. Let the Light in with Yogurt

Yogurt does wonders for dull, lifeless hair. It contains lactic acid, which gently cleans off the environmental film that can build up on our hair, and milk fat, which adds incredible shine.

HOW: Massage a half cup of plain yogurt into damp hair. Put on a shower cap to capture natural heat. After 20 minutes, rinse your hair. Your hair will look like it’s glowing!

Treat yourself to one of these kitchen spa treatments once a week on rotation to relax and get healthy, gorgeous hair. Follow up with Madison Reed Radiant Color Kit that is healthier for your hair for a full beauty routine that leaves you feeling great, inside and out!

Free Credit Score and Monitoring with Credit Sesame!

Just like your home, your finances need to be cleaned up regularly. If you haven’t taken a look at your credit report lately,  it’s time to give your finances a fresh look and get your credit in tip-top shape.

Did you know that the recent FTC study found that over 20% of Americans or 40 Million credit reports have reporting errors that are costing consumers money in credit card interest rates and loans?

Start by making sure that your credit report does not contain erroneous information that could be impacting your credit score. Keep tabs on your credit report activities and your score by signing up for free credit monitoring and score services like Credit Sesame, so that you can easily protect your financial good standing.

* Receive daily credit monitoring alerts
* Get your FREE Credit Score Monthly
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What are you waiting for? Click here to register for free in under 2 minutes. You’ll get your free credit score and a complete view of your credit and loans. Plus, when you turn on the Credit Monitoring feature, you’ll be notified of changes to your credit profile, along with $50K identity theft insurance and live agents to help you restore your identity in case of theft. All for free. All in one place.