Category Archives: Crafts & DIY

4 Simple Ways To Preserve Christmas Memories

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Every year there seems to be a new ornament that is special come into our house.  The one pictured was to celebrate our engagement, though not every one is celebrating such milestones they are all so very special.  We have ornaments that simply have a story, like the one we bought because it reminded us of some family joke for that year or the one that is a representation of the year Monkey was on Swim Team.

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Little Notes

Regardless of the reason that an ornament is special, I want to know that in 60 years I can remember exactly why that one was chosen.  So, in order to remember that special story I have taken to writing each story down on a piece of paper and sticking it into the box.  Every year when I take the ornament out, I re-read the note and smile.  The greatest way I can think of to remember our blessings each year is by starting out reading each one on our little notes!  It also helps motivate me to take a break when it’s time to put them away again.  LOL

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Ornament Book

Another great way to remember these things is an ornamental book that you can write in.  I have one that I write about our Christmas in every year.  I write about funny moments or whatever memorable events happen each year.  I also write about special decorations that don’t necessarily stay in boxes, like the village that my Granny gave me or the bunny rabbit that was my Dad’s favorite toy when he was little.  I love these things so much and I hope that they one day become special to my kids also.  Having the little book helps with that!  Plus, it hangs on the tree so that we remember to not only write in it during the Holidays, but also can pick it off and re-live each story written inside!

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Pictures!

I am a picture fanatic, right now I have far more pictures on my computer, flash drives (yeah, plural, don’t judge!), and even on my husband’s media storage stuff to count!  Another great way to preserve memories is to get or make ornaments that display your family.  We have some store bought ornaments that hold our family pictures and we also have some that I’ve made to display other pictures.  Regardless of how you do it, you’ll cherish them as you take them out each year and remember that bad haircut, those lovely braces, or the year that you burned your eyebrows off over the grill!!  (Yep, that one was me!)

Sound Bites

With technology advancing year after year, sound bites are even on the table these days!  You can get record able ornaments to record your little one saying ‘Merry Christmas,’ singing their first Christmas carol, or even the joyful sound of your family’s laughter.    Just remember, no matter how ridiculous it seems at the moment you will treasure it for years to come!

Originally posted 2013-11-30 00:01:00.

Giblets Impossible: A Cloak & Dagger Mission

Giblets Impossible: A Cloak & Dagger Mission

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, not particularly stormy…but it was dark…minus the streetlights…and the cars…it was night. It was the type of night that screamed…turkey swap. The street was quiet and empty. The houses dark as everyone had retired to bed, comfortably ignorant of the intrigue and action that was set to take place.

The swap had been set in advance, the parties had agreed on the amounts. Two shady miscreants were set to meet and exchange their clandestine goods. One was comfortable in knowing that she would double her investment, the other willing to trade two for one to have a more convenient package.

One whistled the all clear, the other gave a nod to confirm. Large birds in hand, they walked as softly as possible across leaf covered yards, glancing ever so slightly in a constant motion until they met quickly in the street.

They walked away, both smiling at a deed well done. One grinned with the knowledge that she had proved false the old adage of “bigger is better”. The other chuckled to herself knowing that yes…”A bird in hand is worth two in the bush”.

-A special thank you to my fellow Secret Agent

 

Originally posted 2013-11-27 18:49:39.

Coming Home For Christmas

viewerI am just going to start this review by confessing: I am a Christmas junkie.  I love it, all of it, the Christmas specials, the feelings they bring, holiday gatherings, decorating, all of it!  The thought of having a perfect Christmas drives me all year long!  This year I have had the privilege of reviewing Christmas stuff- I’m in way up to  my ears with happiness over this one!!!

Now, on to my thoughts!  The movie has a great story!  Having seen probably a hundred Christmas movies, I can honestly say that I haven’t seen this story before!  I loved the story and the message behind it!  The set designers did a great job of making it a believable little town and homes!  The actors could use some work, but then perhaps the fact that they aren’t household names is what makes this special.  The film makes you feel good and even amidst mediocre acting you want to watch, to hear the story, to see it unfold.

Overall, I can’t turn down any holiday movie, good or bad.  This one has a great story, an actual unique one which is a rarity.  While this probably won’t be your new holiday favorite, it is one you will feel good watching.  Personally, I enjoyed it.  I am a sucker for a good Holiday story!

About The Movie

After their parents separate, two estranged sisters who haven’t been on speaking terms reunite in hopes that having a family Christmas all together for the first time in years will bring their Mom and Dad close again. They plan to do this in their old family home… the only problem is someone else lives there now.

The DVD includes a limited edition Norman Rockwell print!

Who is Norman Rockwell?  Rockwell was famous for his famous American culture illustrations and artwork. He was born in the late 1800’s and died in the mid 1900’s.

Director: Vanessa Parise
Cast: George Canyon (Christmas Miracle, Dawn Rider, Man of Steel), Aaron Pritchett, Britt McKillip (Dead Like Me), Carly McKillip (Hot Rod)
$14.99
Available at Walmart
Soundtrack also available featuring holiday songs performed by George Canyon
disclosure

Originally posted 2013-11-22 00:01:07.

15 Ways To Help Heal a Sore Throat

SoreAs I lay in bed sleeping peacefully, something inside of me must of thought I didn’t have enough crap to deal with.  In dreamless slumber, my body devised a plan to put more on my schedule, help add a little stress before Thanksgiving, where who knows how many people will be visiting.  So, as I woke up, it began it’s plan. My body jumped into action, as it is good at conniving evil plans, the left side of my throat began to swell as I swallowed and my left nostril, not to be outdid, filled itself with mucus so that only half of my nose could be deemed useful.  Aaah, teamwork.  An essential function of any successful team.  And here I was worried that I might actually get my house ready, grocery shopping done and the laundry caught up a few days in advance.  What a fool I must be!  So, in my brilliance I am launching a defense.  At terrible risk of an uprising, of getting caught and having it turned against me in an attempt to sabotage my healing attempt, but I shall stand brave.  It has been 17 minutes since I began writing this and the medicine has started clearing up one nostril, though the other has begun it’s betrayal.  My throat is still killing me on one side and my head has begun to pound.  Oh, how I love the flu.  Such fun this is!

Remedies

Gargle with one of the following:

*Cayenne Pepper: Mix 1/8th of a tsp of cayenne pepper with 1/2 cup warm water.

*Salt: Add 1 tsp of table salt to a cupful of warm water.

*Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix 2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar with a cup of warm water.

*Ginger: Make a strong brew with freshly grated ginger (about 3 tsp per cup of boiling water), steep for about 5 minutes then stir in a spoonful of honey and sip.

*Thyme: Brew 1 tablespoon dried thyme in 1 cup boiling water. Strain before using.

*Hydrogen Peroxide: Gargle 3% hydrogen peroxide to fight the infection. If the taste is too much for you, dilute with some water first (about 50/50).

*Raspberry leaf tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons dried leaves. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Allow to cool. If you also have a fever, the gargle can be used as a fever-reducing drink, too. Do not drink any liquid you have used as a gargle.

*Sage: Mix 1 teaspoon in 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Add 1 teaspoon each cider vinegar and honey, then gargle four times a day.

*Turmeric: Mix together 1 cup hot water, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gargle with the mixture twice a day. If you’re not good with the gargle, mix 1/2 teaspoon turmeric in 1 cup hot milk and drink. Turmeric stains clothing, so be careful when mixing and gargling.

*Homemade Tea: Mix 8 oz water, 1 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp cider vinegar.  Heat and drink while warm.  (Not good for the little ones!)

*Lemon Juice: Mix 1 tablespoon each of honey and lemon juice in 1 cup warm water and sip away.

*Lime Juice: Combine 1 spoonful with a spoonful of honey and take as often as needed for a sore throat.

*Steam Tent — sitting with your face over a bowl of steaming hot water and your head covered with a towel to keep the steam in. Adding 1 to 2 drops eucalyptus oil can be a soothing addition.

*Stay Hydrated: It is recommended that you drink 10 8 oz glasses of water per day.  Drink as much as you can!  You’ll need hydration to fight bacteria!

*Garlic: Peel a fresh clove, slice it in half, and place 1 piece in each cheek. Suck on the garlic like a cough drop. Occasionally, crush your teeth against the garlic, not to bite it in half, but to release its allicin, a chemical that can kill the bacteria that causes strep.

 

 

 

 

Originally posted 2013-11-20 03:45:12.

7 Tips To Make Thanksgiving Easier

  1. thanksDo everything you can in advance!
  2. Many recipes can be made ahead and frozen (like cheeseballs, cookies, cakes)
  3. Slice and chop vegetables you’ll need for recipes up to 3 days before you need them, just seal them in an air tight container
  4. Pies can be prepared ahead of time then frozen until a couple of days before you want to bake them.
  5. Use your crockpot!  Find a side dish that can be cooked in your crockpot and you’ll have one less thing taking up your oven and stove.  Plus, most crockpot recipes can be prepared the night before then you just have to start it when you are ready!
  6. If something messes up, don’t worry!  It’s not that big of a deal, it won’t be remembered, and that one thing isn’t the reason you are celebrating anyway!  Take a deep breathe and remember that!
  7. Remind yourself that your guests didn’t come because your house was somehow rumored to be perfect, they came because they love you!  So if you forgot to deep clean something, or clean it at all, don’t feel bad or even apologize for missing it!  They don’t care, and that’s one other thing no one will remember!

 Do you have any tips or shortcuts?

We’re all ears!

 

 

Originally posted 2013-11-18 00:35:37.

Help ME!!! Crafty Crafty Crafter’s Block

HELP!!!
I’ve got a serious case of crafter’s block and would love your help!!!

Crafter’s block.  I’ve got it.  I’m certain!  I use to be so incredibly crafty.  I have lots of scrapbooks, homemade decorations, made gifts every single year that I can remember that people actually loved!  (Or they are really good actors)  I have even gotten tears of joy on more than one occasion!

In the past, I’d decide I wanted to make something involving some random thing, like when I wanted to use old blue jeans and came up with these coasters and placemats for my Mom.  Looks very country, but that is exactly what my Momma loves: country.  😀  If you checked out the link, I hope you like them, btw.  I do homemade Christmas stuff, one year I even sent out homemade invitations for our Thanksgiving.  Very well received if I do say so myself.  We had over 30 people that year!  Though I don’t contribute it to my invitations, that’s very much not the point.

The point is, now I have nothing.  Today I pulled out every one of my Cricut cartridges and couldn’t think of anything I wanted to make.  I have been browsing Pinterest and following my amazing craft blogs to no avail.  I keep getting the same ideas: ditto, squat, nada and any other word you can think of that means ‘ya got nothing!’

I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the result of my lack of focus in that area.  The Crafty Zoo has become the review and giveaway zoo, which is fun and I love, but somehow the site changing changed me too.  I guess that just goes to show how much of an extension of myself this site really is.

The plan, aside from whining, is to get my head back straight!  I’m going to keep doing reviews and giveaways, because I love doing them, but I’m also going to get my projects back.  I have decided that I’m going to start a project next week.  NO idea what it will be, doesn’t matter really, but it WILL be something.  Also, I have decided if I have to post about half done projects and project failures, I’ll do it.  As long as I get my crafters block to turn into something crafty!

Have you ever dealt with this?  Any craft ideas???  I’m open and in desperate need of your help!

Originally posted 2013-09-21 18:40:52.

Empowered A Learning Journey with @LysaTerKeurst

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A little back story, my life has taken a detour that I’m not happy with.  I’m not even sure what the detour is or what caused it, all I know is I’m off track.  So, I have been throwing myself at the mercy of God.  And just in case I forget to toss myself his way, I’ve joined two Bible study groups (one focusing on exploring in depth the book of Mark, the other going through a Christian based learning objective about cravings).  This post is about the second.

We are going through the book Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  You can check out her site if you want, she has a 21 day devotional there that you may enjoy.  It’s not a dieting thing, or a ‘lifestyle change’, but rather an exploration of a base set of feelings and helping us to overcome our own demons.  For me, that would be food and cigarettes.  I was supposed to have quit, but frequently I find myself having ‘just one’.  Prayers welcome and I’m still working on it!

Anyway, we had our first group meeting (though I don’t think you have to have a group to do the study).  It was pretty enlightening.  She brought up some great points that have began to change my perspective.  This weeks word is Empowerment.  I can’t quite recall exactly why it is Empowerment, but I think it had something to do with knowledge being the first step to empowerment, and empowerment being the key to overcoming.

If you’d like to go through this book with us, I’d love to go back and forth with you.  I just started today, but I will happily go back and go over any of it again if you join in later.  If nothing else, check out the devotional.  I’m doing the 60 day devotional and day 1 was quick and simple yet very thought provoking.

Yes, today, I am feeling empowered.

My God bless you and keep you.

Originally posted 2013-09-09 09:31:28.

DIY Rainbow Treats

Not only are rainbows beautiful, they were sent as a promise from God.  These quick and simple little treats are perfect for Easter, March, or even Rainbow themed parties!

DIY Rainbow Treats: Quick & Simple

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13

On a recent trip to Sam’s Club, a demonstrator was making these adorable treats and they were so perfect, they had to be shared!  The entire month of March we see rainbows with a pot of gold at the end.  During Springtime, they are prevalent throughout Easter and frequently seen across the clouds in the sky.

Continue reading DIY Rainbow Treats

Big Brother/Big Sister Kits

Big Brother/Sister Kit
New babies are an amazing blessing!  Everyone oohing and aahing over the beautiful new baby!  Sometimes though, big brother or big sister can feel a little left out.  New babies come with all kinds of new presents, big brother or sister need something new too!
This is perfect to help a new big brother or sister feel special.  Everyone wants to see the new baby, but this will get the big sibling some extra special feelings!
The kit is an inexpensive and highly personalized way to do just that!

Kit Contents:

A Custom Tee & Bag
Big Sibling Certificate
Crayons
Coloring Book
Stickers
Printables (pictured and/or linked below)
Spill Proof Bubbles
Juice & Healthy Snacks
Light up bouncy ball
The tee is just a plain white tee shirt with an iron on that says ‘Big Brother’ from Hobby Lobby.  The bag (also from Hobby Lobby) just has Big Brother written with fabric paint.  You could do something different, maybe put their name on it.  Don’t worry if you aren’t very good at it, the reason there are dots on mine is because I messed up with the paint, but  no one knows that but you.  😉
I got this ribbon image from the Homeade Gift Guru
The traceable one can be found at Twisty Noodle, they also have one without the words.
Of course, if you’d like there are also big sister printables equivalent to these on each of the sites.
Altogether, the kit cost less than $20 and was totally worth it!  It was loved by the big brother and greatly appreciated by the parents too!  It was nice hearing about how one particular Big Brother put his shirt on then went to show it off to the nurses!  😀

Originally posted 2013-08-29 08:00:00.

Are You Exposing Your Children to Predators?

Protecting Your Privacy

The gist of the video is this: if you aren’t careful ANYONE can find you via the geo tagging that is automatically done on the majority of phones!  That means your kid could be found, wherever they are from a snap of a pic!  I love social media, but people being able to hunt down my kids and loved ones is not okay!  There are any number of predators within miles of pretty much any location, not to mention everywhere we go.  This little piece of knowledge could be enough to keep a predator from getting to your child, or to someone else’s.

There are few things that we can do to keep our children safe, this is one of those things.  In an ideal world, no child would ever be in danger and predators would cease to exist.  Unfortunately, that’s not the reality.  Take a few moments and do this small thing to help keep the biggest, most priceless pieces of your life a little bit safer.  If you want and can’t find a how to on stopping your phone from geo-tagging, let me know and I will help ya look.  😀  In general, check the settings in the camera app first.  😀  Hopefully the ones below will help you!

Samsung SIII

Apple, Android, Blackberry

Originally posted 2013-08-13 08:05:09.