DIY Bird Feeder: So easy, a Toddler can do it!

It’s that time of year again; time to break out the pumpkin spices and pie pans and decorate your porch with pumpkins. I love fall. I really do. If it was up to me, I would have only fall and summer as seasons. Along with fall, comes many fun crafts that you can do with your kids. My daughter is a couple of months away from turning 2 so I have to get creative when I think about what her skill level is right now. Today, we made some fun little bird feeders!

These are very simple to make and seriously only took us about 10 minutes (TOPS!) to complete. You will need:

  • bird seed (I chose the “wild bird food” since it would be outside and the off brand only cost $5 for a huge bag)
  • peanut butter
  • pine cones
  • yarn or twine

First thing you want to do is cut a length or your yarn or twine and attach it to the pine cone. I intertwined it and tied a knot using the middle of my twine and left the two ends open for when we hang it in a tree. Then spread peanut butter onto the pine cone.

pbpineconeAfter we were done and my daughter had difficulty spreading the peanut butter, my mother-in-law had a great idea: warm up the peanut butter and then have your child dip the cone into it! Or roll it in a pan! Genius! So that’s definitely on my “next time” list for this craft.

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Your next step is to cover the pine cone in bird seed. We started with my daughter holding the string and dipping it into the bowl, but she had more fun using the spoon. Whichever method you use, you want bird seed in all the nooks and crannies. And there you have it! Super easy, inexpensive, and fun, bird feeders! And they are so simple, even a toddler can do it! What is you/your child’s favorite fall craft? Tomorrow we are off to the apple orchard to pick some apples! Another amazing thing to do in the fall! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Dear parent of a diagnosed child

I have never walked in your shoes, and I hope I never will. My heart aches that you have to go through this right now! I have one, soon to be two children and there is no way for me to even imagine what you must deal with every day. The thoughts, the hopes, the disappointments, and the exhaustion must be overwhelming.

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When I was 8, my grandfather died of cancer. I had no idea what was going on though. He came to live with us; my mom took care or him. Life went on. That was my only exposure to the disease killing someone I loved. I was 8, now I’m 25 and my outlook on life has definitely changed.

Watching a child go through something difficult if painful even if you aren’t the parent. You must be so strong. You sacrifice more than the typical parent does; long hours at a bedside, frequent specialist visits, mountains of medical bills. What do I sacrifice? My last bite of cake, “my” time.

I admire you.

Thank you for keeping your chin up even when the whole sky is falling around you. Thank you for believing in your medical staff. Thank you for helping your child have hope even until the end. Thank you for supporting the search for a cure even after your little one’s chance is gone. I wish there were awards given out for bravery; awards that would recognize you.

There is nothing quite like the love a parent has for a child.
Thank you for keeping a smile on your face even when you want to crawl away and hide.

I salute you.

My Inner Girly-Girl Has Emerged

So, I’m not your typical “girly girl.” THAT would be my sisters. I like to shop, but not with my sisters because they are like shopaholic crazy girls. They always make sure their hair is in place, their nails look pretty, they have great accessories etc etc. Even though I am the only sister with a child, it has always been this way. I would paint my nails here and there but I hated nail polish because I would always mess it up the same day I did my nails and would get head aches from the smells. But then one day, I discovered an alternative and I haven’t looked back.

About a month ago, Erica (none other than the Erica who started this blog), told me about a business opportunity. She is always on the look out for ways I can make money at home to help supplement my husband’s paycheck (isn’t she the bestest friend ever?), and said that this was something that I might be interested in. She normally wouldn’t suggest companies like this, but she personally knew a few people who were doing really well. I said, “TELL ME MORE.” I got in touch with one of her friends and signed up a few days later, even before I tried out the product! What is the company? JAMBERRY!

Jamwontchip1If you haven’t heard of it before, let me give you the low down. Jamberry Nail Wraps are a new and innovative way to avoid nail polish drying time, chipping and pricey visits to the salon. They are a DIY DREAM. They come in over 300+ designs, last up to 2 weeks on fingernails, 6 weeks on toenails and WILL NOT CHIP. They are a vinyl adhesive wrap that is heat activated and pressure sealed to the nail. They will NOT damage your nail when removed properly and are so much fun! You can use them over acrylics or gels or even nail polish Jammom&me(some wraps have a clear background with a design), making them very versatile! Jamberry also has a Jamberry Junior line that has wraps for girls up to age 8 (Can I get an “Amen” from the mommas?). Pretty much the best idea since sliced bread. When I heard about them I was hooked immediately.  And they always have the buy 3, get 1 free sale going too!Jamb3g1blacks

From the company side of things, Jamberry is just as awesome! I have only been at it for a month and have already seen the amazing support from Home Office as well as the camaraderie among the consultants. Everyone super helpful and wants to help the newbies get going. The commission and bonus plan is also awesome! Much better than other direct sales companies I have looked into before, for sure! If you want to see where the company started and a little more about what goes on behind the scenes, definitely check out this video:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSquPXrb63g]

 

JammintgoldstripevintagechicduoThese are my current nails, mint green with gold stripe paired with vintage chic. I love it! Not too flashy but also very unique! Jamberry has only been around since 2010, and a direct sales company since 2012, so a lot of people still don’t know about the company so I get a lot of comments wherever I go!

Want to find some designs for yourself? Head over to www.rboyd.jamberrynails.net to browse the 300+ designs! But be warned, they can be addicting! Also, we are phasing out over half of our designs on August 31st to get ready for the new designs arriving Sept 1, so be sure to look at the GOING GOING GONE section too! One more thing before I go, I am hosting a GIVEAWAY! For each action you complete, you will get one entry into the drawing but if you place an order you will get 5 entries! On Sept 1st I will draw a winner who will receive a half sheet of nail wraps! Thanks for reading!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/055dacd91/

What’s your biggest pet peeve about your nails/getting them done etc? Too pricey at the salons? Polish too messy? Tell us in the comments below!

**Congrats to Amy Huffmaster for winning the half sheet of nail wraps!!! Thank you to everyone who participated!!! :)*** 

The Vegan Life: Is it really the life for me? *PLUS* a quick DIY!

So here we are on week 2 of living the life of a vegan. I have to say, it hasn’t been all that bad but it has made me think more about what I’m making for dinner. I rely so much on milk, some type of meat, cheese, or eggs that it really does throw a wrench in the works when you need to find something to eat. I shared quite a few meals last week and this week I only have two: Vegan Chili. 20140811_184933Yes, we ate other things but I didn’t remember to photograph them all haha. The chili really didn’t taste all that different from regular chili; we typically have beans in our chili so leaving the meat out didn’t change it up much. Something new about it was the Tofu Sour Cream though; didn’t exactly taste like regular sour cream but it filled the void by giving you a little creamy something to mix into your bowl.

The other meal I want to share is Vegan Subway sandwiches! Just choose any vegetables you want and load them onto a mini sub bun, then drizzle with some Subway copycat vinegar and oil.

Best Dupe for Subway Oil and Vinegar Recipe. INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup apple cider/red wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1/2 teaspoon basil 1/2 red pepper flakes 1/4 teaspoon dried onion flakes (rehydrated if using within 2 hours) 1/4 teaspoon parsley 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder DIRECTIONS: salt and pepper to taste, stir well or put in jar and shake. Refrigerate. Overnight is best, but 2 hrs. is still fantastic. It will go bad after a week or two.

Deeeeelicious!! If you want to just go the vegetarian route, throw some mayo and cheese on there! The possibilities are endless. And where is the recipe from? I really couldn’t tell you- I found it on pinterest but the recipe is just in the comments of a picture that doesn’t go anywhere 🙁 sad day huh?

My husband remains convinced that this is the lifestyle he wants from now on, well for week days that is, but I still struggle with giving up dairy. I confess, Ihaven’t been entirely vegan this week; I eat an occasional slice of cheese or something that has milk or egg baked into it. It’s hard not to feel guilty but then I remind myself: DAIRY IS NOT EVIL. Just because we have decided to avoid animal products, doesn’t mean they are bad for me. There are a lot of other things that I could name that I know I SHOULD feel guilty eating, or letting my daughter eat, but I don’t (enter any fast food-aka pink slime meat-, including fries etc etc etc…). Anyhow, for now- vegan/vegetarian is the life for us. I got a few books from the library that have great recipes, “The Everything Vegetarian Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Amy and Justin Snyder, as well as “Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook” by Del Sroufe. Seriously, if you are considering trying the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, check them out!

Okay, so enough with the food, I want to share with you a little project that has been in the back of my mind for a few weeks now but I finally acted on it last night 🙂 Check out this old, corkless bulletin board that was being discarded by my in-laws! 20140814_001422 I saw it and immediately wanted it for my sewing room. All I did really was find some coordinating fabrics and cut them to the approx size I needed. Then I straightened up the edges and ironed them under. I hotglued it all into place and then glued the rickrack over the seams!! And voila! 20140814_005111My new command center to help keep me sane! I have sections for both my businesses as well as a “Home” and “Gifts” section where I can put ideas for future/current projects. I also hot glued some binder clips (is that what they’re called?) to the frame so I can change out the sections in the future if I need to! What do you think? I’m in love…..

What vegan recipes have you tried and been pleasantly surprised by? Any quick organizing projects you have tried lately? Please share below!! As always- thanks for reading 🙂

A Peek into the Life of Vegans

I am always trying to find a new recipe that not only tastes great but is also super healthy for my family. I look for recipes that contain little to no processed ingredients and lots of veggies. Recently, my husband came home from work talking about how he had a salad for lunch and how he even made it “vegan”. In response, I was a little confused as I didn’t realize we were TRYING  to go vegan; sure we try to not eat a ton of meat but attempting to cut out all animal products had never come up in our house. Well, as of this past Saturday, we decided try it out. For those of you who don’t know, according to vegan.org

 “a vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.”

Along with the health benefits, veganism also has to do with animal rights; vegans are against animal cruelty and so they do not want to consume anything that might have harmed an animal in the process. Am I for animal cruelty? No, however I have no problem eating a hamburger or a slice of cheese. Our main goal here is health. We had been trying to make it to the gym frequently but were finding it difficult due to the usual business of life, hence the oh-so-original idea of “if you can’t work it off, don’t put it in” idea was formed. Yes, we will try and continue to be active (we have an almost two-year-old who definitely helps with that HA!), but if we eat better, then our bodies will function better and do what they are supposed to do.

So, I have been scouring the internet and my recipe books to find either vegan recipes or regular recipes that I can leave out the animal products to make it vegan. Can I just say that this is extrememly hard for me because I LOVE cheese….and I LOVE to bake and you use a lot of animal products in baking. Sigh…the things I do for love. While we are only on day three, both my husband and I have been relatively satisfied with the meals I have prepared. 20140803_135839[1]On Sunday we had lentil wraps from The Garden Grazer (The picture of the filling). My hubby- who comes from a picky eating background – actually thought they were alright. They are a hearty wrap full of wonderful goodness…definitely try them out.

Sunday dinner was a black bean/corn taco salad bowl. I just made this recipe up as I went: threw in black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chopped green peppers, just a tad of diced onions. I then sauteed it all for a few minutes along with a pinch of homemade taco seasoning. To serve, I made a bed of chopped lettuce (you could really use any mix of greens here: lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.) then scooped on the black bean mixture. 20140803_191455[1]Topped it all off with some diced fresh tomatoes, salsa, and some chopped hot peppers (for the hubby). Used corn tortilla chips to scoop the mixture or crushed them and ate it all like a typical taco salad. We were very happy with the results.

On Monday I served up a favorite but with white beans subbed for chicken: One Pot Pasta!

20140804_184231[1]You can find this recipe on multiple sites but the specific one I used was from Apron Strings. I steamed up some green beans and made some Honeyed Carrots (this is not the exact recipe I used since I sauteed them on the stove, didn’t use butter, and seasoned with dried thyme, but it’s close enough. I can’t even remember where I got my recipe from- its been too long!) to go along with the pasta. I had some left over Overnight Bread that I  made a few days ago that went well too. Altogether a great vegan meal.

Tuesday was a great day; started off with berry oatmeal! 20140805_094418[1]I made the oatmeal on the stove with half almond milk and half water for the liquids. During the last minute of cook time, I added blueberries and chopped strawberries.  For some sweetener, I stirred in some “brown sugar” sauce (put approx 1 cup brown sugar in pot and add water until sugar is covered. Boil for about 5 minutes, let sit for a minute). I also sprinkled some shredded coconut on top. My young daughter and I loved it! Lunch was leftovers with some sauteed mushrooms atop my pasta. And dinner consisted of a huge salad – with more homemade bread (best wheat bread recipe I have ever made) from Pennies & Pancakes.

So far, we have enjoyed our food and not really missed our usual diet. I have to say though, it is hard to pass up the cheese or yogurt that is still in our fridge – I LOVE yogurt and granola! And I’m not interested in finding vegan substitutes (I mean, WHAT is in them if it’s not dairy etc? I don’t think I want to know). I will post an update next week with any more cool recipes we try so definitely check back next week! Will we continue this long term? My husband is committed but I’m more of the vegetarian mindset, or even Nutritarian Lifestyle suggested by Dr. Fuhrman so who even knows.

Have you ever tried drastically changing your diet? How did it go? Did you stick with it? We would love to hear about your experiences!

Disclaimer: I am in no way discounting animals or those who fight to protect them, I am merely stating my opinion that I think it’s ok to use animal products. I don’t believe in animal cruelty and would love to see changes in the world regarding how animals are treated in the consumption industry. 

For the Love of Cake

60 years is a long time, isn’t it? I mean, seriously, that’s a long long time. I’m not even halfway there! Well, my husband’s grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary earlier this month and we had a big party to celebrate! All the family from out of town came to visit and we made table decorations and put together a little video of us all saying how much they inspire us with their commitment. It was a great weekend of celebration! One of my jobs was making the cake. I am not typically called upon for this duty as my sister-in-law actually went to culinary school and makes awesome cakes for family events, but she wasn’t arriving until the night before the party so I got the job. Of course, I didn’t mind as I’ve always dreamed of making it onto Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss or Cupcake Wars and being a super awesome cake decorator. Anyway, my job was to try and replicate the couple’s original wedding cake. 122 (16)This was the picture I was to make my designs from; awesome picture but when you have a white cake in front of a white dress in a black and white photo, it makes things a little difficult. I was told that it was a simple white cake with magnolia leaves around it, and that was about it. So my decorating doors were wide open it seemed. We borrowed some cake pans and decorating books from a lady at church and I got to practicing. Continue reading “For the Love of Cake”

Dear Diagnosed

To the diagnosed person,

I know that I am probably writing to the majority of the U.S.A., but I felt that this letter needed to be written just to you. Yes, you there; you with the recent diagnosis. What did the doctor say? Cancer? ADHD? AIDS? Depression? Diabetes? I know I could go on, but I would get writers cramp if I tried to name all the possible diagnoses in the world. Every day there are so many who receive diagnoses, and while many are mere viruses, many are fatal diagnoses. “You have six months to live,” or, “you will need to take this medication for the rest of your life.” Maybe, “your results came back and we are concerned.” Whatever the doctor had to say, here is what I have to say to you:

This diagnosis doesn’t define you.

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Continue reading “Dear Diagnosed”

Pallet Herb Garden Tutorial


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It’s planting time! I cannot tell you how excited I am for planting and spring and NO MORE SNOW! We live in Michigan and definitely had our fair share of snow this year. I think we even set a new record too! I have to say that I don’t think I have ever experienced cold days in April and May until this year. Cool days, yes, but not cold. But that is behind us, now on to summer!

La dee, dee da, doobie do be do ba…….

I got a little carried away there with thoughts of summer, Olaf, Elsa, and all their friends.  Anyway, back to my topic: planting. Continue reading “Pallet Herb Garden Tutorial”

It Was Time

I finally did it. I took the initiative and got it done. I put aside all other things and made it happen. What is “it?”

A new pincushion.  I know, I’m weird. Here is my poor old one:

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Such a sad sight isn’t it? I had finally had enough of trying not to let the stuffing spill out everywhere as I worked. So I did a little search on my favorite little site that rhymes with “interest,” and voila, I found the perfect replacement. The tutorial was great so I am not going to rewrite it all here; head over to Sew Mama Sew and check out the free tutorial! But, before you head on over, here are the pictures of my finished pincushion.

ImageNot only is it a pincushion, complete with a flannel strip in the middle for needles so you don’t lose them, but it has a “snipped threads” detachable fabric bag and a pocket for scissors and seam rippers etc. It is also weighted so that you can set it on the side of a table (or arm of a chair) and it won’t fall off – such a genius idea!

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I love how bright and cheery it is!Image

While I was at it, I decided to make one for a friend who needed some cheering up:ImageWhile I liked the original tutorial, I did make a few changes. First off, I used sand for the weight instead of rice as I wanted the option of sticking the whole thing in the washer if needed. I also made some slight changes in the size since I was using scraps from my stash. Otherwise, the tutorial was great and very easy to follow. Make sure and post pics below if you try your hand at it!

Family Ties

com·mu·nal

adjective kə-ˈmyü-nəl, ˈkäm-yə-nəl
: shared or used by members of a group or community
: relating to or involving members of a commune (sense 1)
: relating to a situation in which you are doing something with other people

As of now, my husband, toddler, and I have been living upstairs at my in-laws home for almost two months. Despite popular belief, it’s actually working out quite well. My little family lives upstairs where we have our rooms, a bathroom and a little living area. It’s cozy and we are trying to make it our own for the time we are there, but it is also just what we need for the moment.

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