Friday, August 30, 2013

Woolzies Dryer Balls

If you know me, you know I have a crunchy side.  What you may not know is that I have rather sensitive skin.  I have to be really careful about what I use when I wash and dry my clothes.  I don't mind, but I am PRETTY sure my husband is sick of me making him scratch my back.

I started using wool dryer balls a few years ago and even made some.  The thing is, they take a lot of time to make them.  Time is most definitely what I do not have right now with three kiddos and craft season about to kick into full swing.

Enter....

 Woolzies Dryer Balls are 100% Handmade Wool Dryer balls that are to be used in place of dryer sheets and fabric softeners!  Dryer sheets are full of nasty chemicals that reduce the absorbancy of towels, destroy the flame retardant qualities of pajamas, and they are just all around toxic to the environment.


 Each box of Woolzies come with 6 balls inside.  As you can see, the balls are a bit wonky shaped.  Proof of handmade! 

Another cool thing is that this box is GUARANTEED to last 1,000 loads!  Now...being in a house with 5 people I do about a load a day....or I should.  That means...365 loads of laundry a year. (Without counting sheets and towels)  So this box SHOULD last me almost 3 years.  Currently they retail for $34.95 per box of six and shipping is free to anywhere in the US (including Alaska and Hawaii)  Elsewhere in the world shipping is $6.95.


Have a wool allergy?  Don't worry! According to their handy dandy info sheet that comes in the box it says that since the wool is not directly touching your skin and and to that the fact that wool doesn't shed, you should be fine.  If you are too freaked out about it, use something to pick them up to throw them into the dryer.  Wool, when wet and agitated, actually felts, so if anything...the balls will get tighter.

The balls actually bounce around while in your dryer and help to "fluff up" the clothing.  This creates more airspace and can help your clothing to dry 25%-30% faster!

They do come unscented, but tell you on the info sheet that you can add some essential oils to the dryer balls and they will add scent to your clothing.   I know I don't mind my clothing not smelling "springtime fresh" since I know chemicals create that scent, but if you NEED a scent you can make your clothing smell exactly what you would like it to!

Want some more info or find out where to get some?  Follow these links:


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, August 26, 2013

50s Costumes shopping! Never too soon to get ready for Halloween

I am in LOVE with Halloween.  It has to be my favorite holiday.  I LOVE dressing up, but having three kids and finding the time to get a costume for myself always seems to be an issue.  I have gone the route of just a mask, but this year I wanted something different and more fun.

I ran across a company called Costume Discounters and they gave me the opportunity to review an item for them!  I wanted to go with something that fit my style and I went with a '50's style costume.
I decided to go with the 1950's Poodle Skirt Set Costume as well as the poodle scarf.  I LOVE the scarf.  

The costume set came with a shirt, skirt, and jacket in one complete kit.   The costume is 100% polyester, so it is warm and if you have dogs, keep them away from the skirt!  It feels like felt and will pick up dog hair.

I think the outfit was a fantastic deal for the amount it cost.  The complete kit is $38.99, but right now on sale for $31.19 if you use their coupon on the site.

The ONLY thing that weirds me out a bit it the length of the skirt.  I normally wear skirts at hip level.  If I do that, it is at my ankles and I am about 5'9".  I had to pull it WAY up to my waist for it to be a decent level on me.  So if you are a shorty, watch out!

I REALLY love the poodle detail on the skirt.  Super cute and well detailed.  Sparkly is always the way to go.

So here is a picture of the outfit on, minus the jacket.  I am trying to figure out how I want to wear it.  Not sure if I want to tuck in the shirt or leave it over like this.  I will probably tuck it in since the skirt is up so high, there is lots of extra poofage at my waist.  

Taking pictures of yourself during naptime is tricky!
 So there you have it. If you would like a cute,inexpensive yet NOT cheap looking costume head over to Costume Discounters!  Click 50's Costumes to get to their complete listing of 50's style outfits.  They have enough items to dress up the entire family complete with shoes, glasses, and wigs! 

I received this outfit and scarf to review free of charge from Costume Discounters, but was under no obligation to write a positive review.  The impressions are all my own.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My kids were here

I saw a blog post recently that I found amazing and knew I wanted to start doing it as well.

It was called My kids were here or something along those lines.  I meant to save the post so I could give credit, but, well, my kids were there and overheated my laptop and crashed it before I got a chance.  Hopefully I can find the post again.

Basically the idea behind this post, and the many more I want to make in the future, was just photographing a moment in time that says "Yeah.  My kids were here."  My kids are growing in leaps and bounds.  I just want to freeze time for a bit and remember all the little things.  The little things that I want to remember.  Things that I can look at and think "they were just my little kids".  My house won't be littered with McDonalds toys forever...I hope.

So here goes nothing.  I would love for you to follow along with me.  Please link up with me down below for your own "My kids were here" post.  Let's make this a weekly thing!  This link-up will close next week and a new one will go up then!

Birthday Cake decorating

My minions love their minions
 

Reading Eggs

As a blogger, signing up with US Family Guide has been awesome.  I have been receiving some amazing opportunities that I probably wouldn't have had without them.

The newest opportunity I received is through Reading Eggs.  
When Aidan was in, I think 1st grade, his school used Reading Eggs in his classroom and he LOVED it.  

Reading eggs is a program developed in conjunction with a team of teachers and educational writers.  They know what is needed in the classroom.  This program really helps children learn to read on their own through the use of phonics.  I mean, what kid WON'T be excited about having screen time?  The program is geared for kids age 3-12.  This is a PERFECT age range for my family!  All the kiddos can use it!
 

Since it launched in 2011 in the US & Canada, they have signed OVER 500,000 subscribers!  Through these people they have taught over 15 MILLION lessons in the US alone.

Here is the even cooler part.  You, my lovely blog readers, get a FREE two week FIVE WEEK trial with NO CREDIT CARD REQUIRED.  Score right?  Just click this link right here:

This offer is good ONLY until 9/30/2013.  So sign up today!!
 So go sign up, like me, and let's teach our kids to read together online through phonics!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Magic of the Moment- Hugo the Happy Starfish (ebook review)

V is 2 1/2 and is in LOVE with my phone.  I try not to have her play games that are pointless most of the time.  I have a Kindle and the cool thing about that is I also now have a Kindle app on my phone.  So not only does she get to play games, but we can also read book!  She is a wizard at swiping.

I recently had the opportunity to check out a new eBook called "The Magic of the Moment-Hugo the Happy Starfish"


The book, "The Magic of the Moment" is about Hugo, a starfish of course.  His friend, Deena the Dolphin gave him a gift.  He took it and put it aside.  When he went back he was gone.  This kept happening.  He got mad.  Then his friend Magic Manta came by and told him it was a magical gift and that it only lasts a short time.

From that point on Hugo opens the gifts as soon as he gets them.  Some make him happy, some sad, he cries, BUT he learns that it is only a moment in time.

 I think this is an excellent story for  a child to hear.  Everything in the world isn't always puppies and rainbows.  You have to have the good with the bad.

This book is written by Suzy Lieberman and the stories were developed in conjunction with the her teaching experience at an International Baccalaureate® School.  This book is available in six different languages:  English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Portugues.   Once you purchase it for your Kindle, you can pull it up wherever you have the Kindle app!  On your home computer, phone, or actual Kindle.

You can get your own copy here and discover Hugo for yourself!

yesterday is history - tomorrow is a mystery - today is a gift, that is why it is called the present

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Scrap Busting Pin Cushion Tutorial!!!

With my business, BumbleFly~N~ButterBees, I go through a lot of different fabrics and have a TON of scrap.  Every time I throw something away, it kind of breaks my heart a bit.  So now...I have a bin full of scraps and no ideas as to what to do with them.  

You know another thing I have a lot of?  Straight pins.

So...the obvious thing to make was a pin cushion.  I am trying to redo my craft room and with doing so, I need storage solutions.  V likes to steal everything I own basically and her favorite thing lately is my buttons.  OR as she likes to think of them, tiny mini Frisbees.

When I thought about how to combine the two, I came up with this:
 Now.  I am not going to lie.  Pinterest did play a part in my thought process.  You know what I didn't like on theirs?  The type of glue they used.  Hot glue is fine and dandy, I even use some on this, but at the same time...hot glue can peel off.  So if I was going to go to all the trouble of making this...I wanted it to stay together.

So...what you need, minus the E-6000 and spray paint because like always I forgot to put everything in the picture:
 Supplies:
  • Mason Jars-jar and lid and ring.  All three parts.
  • Scissors
  • E-6000
  • Felt
  • Spray Paint
  • Hot glue gun with hot glue
  • a bit of polyfil (about a handful)
  • fabric of your choice
  • parchment paper
 First things first.  You want to head outside with your ring for the top of the jar, the parchment paper, and your spray paint.  I used my Valspar Paint and Primer that I used on V's fan makeover.  The cool thing about using the parchment paper is that the paint will not seep through AND the ring won't stick to it. 
 I spray painted the lid with two light coats just to get a good coverage on it.  Try NOT to get the paint on the inside, because it will make twisting the top on later a bit tricky.  It won't be IMPOSSIBLE, but you will have to twist it on and off a few times to get the paint off.  (Happened to me.)


Once it was semi-dry I did quickly move it to a clean sheet of paper to fully dry.  While it wasn't sticking, I didn't want to take any chances.


While the ring is drying you need to cut your fabric.  I forgot to take a picture of this step.  So...imagination is required.

Take your piece of fabric and lay it right side down and then place the lid on top centering it over where you would want the center of your print.  Now...take a marker and put little dots all around the lid-about an inch off of it.  Make sense?  

You want lid edge-inch of material-dot.  Keep doing this around the entire lid and connect the dots.  When the dots are connected you should have a circle that is larger than your lid by an inch on all sides.   Cut it out. (and not like Uncle Joey on Full House.)

Go ahead and start heating up your hot glue gun at this point.

For this next step, I used another jar ring of the same size as the one I spray painted.  I am not very patient and wanted to keep working.

Put the jar ring face down on a table.  Then place your fabric circle centered over the ring.  On top of this, place the polyfil.


 Now.  You need to press the fabric and polyfil THROUGH the opening in the ring.


 Once it is through, take your lid and place it inside OVER the polyfil.  You want to make sure ALL the polyfil is under the lid.  Scissors come in handy in the step.  If it is sticking out GENTLY push the polyfil in with the scissor tips.


 Turn it over and now it should look like this.


Inspect it for weird lumps.  If it has any, just tug the material on the underside a bit to get it smoothed out.

Once you are satisfied with how it looks, get your hot glue gun and lay a small line of glue right around the edge.  Press the material down onto it.  Hot glue dries FAST that is why I did it in small sections.  Be careful.  Hot glue is hot.  Don't get too much or it can squish out when you are pressing and you can burn yourself.


Once it is all glued down it is time for the E-600.   I actually went back through with my hotglue gun and glued down those folds of material.  You want it as smooth as you can get it before this next step.



Take the poof out of the ring.  If you have it in the ring you intend to keep it in, you can leave it in there.  E-6000 is VERY strong.  You don't want to accidently glue it into the wrong ring.

Grab your felt and cut out a circle that is close to the size of the base of the poof.

Squirt some E-6000 over the material and place the felt on top.  It WILL take a while to dry.  This glue dries pretty slowly, so you will want to go back every now and then and make sure the felt is pressed down nicely onto the fabric.


Once you are sure the felt it dry, take your dry ring and place a thin line of glue around the inside of the ring.  Carefully take the poof and slide it into the ring.  Press the two together.  This is another place that other bloggers have used hot glue.  You COULD but as I said, hot glue isn't NEARLY as strong of a bond and it dries fast.  With the E-6000 you don't have to worry about how slowly you slide the poof into the ring.  You have time.

Again.  Let it dry for a while.  Routinely go over and press them together.

Once dry, screw the lid on the jar and there you go!  You have storage, a pin cushion, and you just used up some of those pesky scraps!

I love my sushi print material.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Groove Kid Nation "Rhythm Bears" (Children's Music CD)

Let's face it.  A LOT of the radio out there really isn't too good for young kiddos to listen to.  I am not just talking the music.  I know a LOT of radio shows, which I LOVE, don't always have the best "topics" for kiddos to hear on the way to school.  I try not to have my kids live a fully "sheltered" life, but at the same time I don't need the oldest going to school and talking about the conversation he heard about mistresses on the radio.

I try to find music for my kiddos that they will like and that won't drive me insane.  

I ran across this CD and knew I wanted to get it.

Groove Kid Nation "Rhythm Bears" is a very upbeat fun CD that teaches kids about, you guessed it, rhythm.

The songs had V clapping along in the backseat and YELLING at Nate for not clapping his hands.  They really engage the kids and make the learning fun.  I even found myself wanting to clap along.  Even the "too cool for everything" Aidan was enjoying it.  Don't tell him I saw it though.  ;)

The CD comes with a 10 page illustrated booklet that shows the 10 rhythm bears.
 Super cute images.  V liked to look through it and see all the different bears.  Since the CD booklet has the different instruments in it, it also gives you a chance to discuss the differences in instruments and have a visual reference for them to see!
 Kalimba?  I never heard of that before.  See....even adults can learn something!
Overall this CD is one that I don't mind listening to in my car.  It would be awesome for playdates as some back ground music, listening to in the car, or just some music to sing and dance to in your house!

If you want to get your own copy of the CD (Which is priced very reasonably at $10.99), you can do so here:  Groove Kid Nation     They have three different CD's available for purchase.  "The Wheels on the Bus" is for ages 1 and up.  "Music in Motion" is for ages 2 and up.  "Rhythm Bears" is ages 3 and up. I think I need to be adding to my collection!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Make a Plate kit


I’ve just been given the opportunity to review the Make A Plate Art Project and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. If you want to follow along, my readers save 30% on their Prepaid Art Plate Kit (that’s a savings of over $5!


USE PROMO CODE: USFAMILY at http://www.makit.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductCode=K1100PP

Makit has been in business for over 40 years. Make A Plate kits allow children to let their creativity soar in crafting a lasting gift for Mom, Dad, Grandparent or teacher. All Make A Plates are nontoxic, BPA-Free, dishwasher safe and proudly made in the USA.

I am super excited about doing this with the kids.  It looks pretty easy!  You get a kit.  It comes complete with special paper and washable markers.  Draw your images.  Mail it to them and they send you back a finished break resistant melamine plate with the drawing on it!  AWESOME!  I can't wait to see what my kiddos come up with!  

I was given a Make a Plate kit in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ceiling Fan Makeover!

I have so many rooms I am redoing in my house right now, it is rather humorous.  V will be three in December and I REALLY want to get her big girl room done.  She is still in her crib and her room is TINY.  Because of that, my living room is turned into a play room.  99% of her toys are in it.  I am sick of clutter, and so is the hubby.

So slowly but surely I am getting her future room turned into a big kid room.  The first thing I did was transform her ceiling fan from this:


Into this:

Adorable, right?  

Fist thing I had to do was take down the old blades.  It was going awesome.  I got 10 screws out, then I noticed one screw was positioned too far in the back to get the blades out.  We had to take the light fixture part off and unscrew the blades from the actual housing.  

Electrical work involved...I call the hubby upstairs.  Also, I kind of hate ladders, so I was glad to get off of of it.

Since he installed the fan, it was a pretty easy thing for him to do. Just a few screws and out it came!

I took the fan blades out back and put them each on a can .  No one will see the top of the blades, so I wasn't worried about the tops getting painted.  Cans are a great way to get your project up off the ground so you get get all the sides painted quickly and easily.


The spray paint I chose for this was Valspar Paint and Primer in one.  The cool thing about this spray paint is that you can spray AT ANY ANGLE!  Need to spray sideways...sure.  Upside down...ok!  AH-Mazing.  I got it at Lowes Hardware for about $4.

  
I did a couple quick coats of the blue and let it dry.
 V was VERY determined that I take her picture.  She thought that this was the most awesome thing ever. She was walking around saying "My fan!  My fan!  My room!"

After they were dry I moved them to the picnic table (still on the cans) and grabbed some paint from the garage.  I had some leftover white semi gloss paint from our entertainment center and used that to brush on a few clouds.  I thought it added some charm.   The cool thing about clouds is THEY AREN'T PERFECT.  No one can say "Hey!  That cloud looks wrong."  So I just had fun twirling some on.


 Once dry, I put them back up, Eric fought with the housing and got MOST of the screws in (don't worry, the blades are VERY well secured), and that was a day!  

When the fan is turned on, you kind of get a white and blue swirl.  Eric said afterwards that I should have painted the clouds in the same location so it would have a striped effect when on.  I told him that clouds AREN'T in lines, Silly.  

Nate wants a cool fan now as well.  So maybe stripes for the boys room?

There you have it!  A super cute EASY makeover for a whopping $4. 


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Perfection in a day.

Have you ever had the perfect day?  The kind of day where you cry from the perfectness of it?  Yesterday was that day for me.

I guess it wasn't a picture perfect day.  The girl was insane for a while.  I have to drive two hours to make it happen, but in my world it was perfect.

A few years ago I started playing around online in mom groups, if you are a reader you have heard me chatting about them before.  Yesterday I got to meet one more of these lovely ladies.  It was AWESOME.

V and I drove a couple of hours and met up with her, her hubby, and their adorable son.  From the second I "met" her at the restaurant, it was like we knew each other.  No weirdness at all, at least for me.  I guess that is the bonus from starting a relationship with a friend online.  Once you meet them in person, it is easy.  Nothing better than eating lunch with "new" old friends.

After lunch, which was way to short, mom and I went to take V to Disney Pirates and Princesses.  This is where the tears erupted.  At one point V was SO happy she turned to us with a HUUUUGE smile and squealed.  When Captain Hook came out she SCREAMED CAPTAIN HOOK!!!  The lady in front of us was cracking up from V the entire time.  

I swear, V was born with springs in the bottom of her feet.  She was bouncing the entire time.  Imagine a jumping bean...that was her.



 BEST.DAY.EVER.

I really liked the show.  Jake and the Neverland Pirates stole the show.  I was expecting the people to be in costumes, like Sesame Street was.  For this show the characters just had prosthetics or fake hair and fancy costumes.  It made the characters seem more "real".

After the show it was to dinner and then checking out my friends new house.  V passed out in the car on the way home.  All in all a WONDERFUL day with my V.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The ScrapMaBob Review...or the greatest thing to happen to my sewing table review.

If you have been reading here for a while you know I am all about sewing and crafting.  If you know me personally, you know I don't have the greatest organizational skills.  My dining room has been craft central for three years and that isn't working.  It gets VERY annoying having to move everything out of there for birthday parties.  That is where the  present opening happens.

So slowly but surely I have been transitioning my orange room downstairs aka the study aka Grandmas's room, into my craft sewing room.  I got a new table for my sewing machine and then I came across this awesome item:

 See that thing hanging off the table?  It is probably the most ingenious thing. 
 The ScrapMaBob hooks to any table with a lip and hold a drink up to 32 ounces.
One incredibly cool thing about this is it has a slit cut out for a coffee cup handle.  I didn't notice that part on their website!!  

Why do you need this, you may ask?  Let me tell you.

First.  This keeps materials AWAY from drinks.  I know with V running around she likes to spill my drinks.  She doesn't mean to, but it happens.  With the drink being in here so can't easily get the drink out, so she can't spill it.  Also, when the sewing machine is in use, it vibrates.  The vibration could cause a drink to spill on a table, or if you have a cold drink with ice...you get condensation on the table.  Resulting in wet fabric.  Not fun.

Second.  See that bag hanging down?  It is a scrap bag.  You can throw your trash in there!  How handy is that?!?!  It also folds up a bit so it isn't as bulky as it looks.  I have yet to use the scrap bag for scraps.  V believes it is either a holder of her stuffed dog OR a home for her princesses.  I tried to put something in there and she yelled at me.  You know what else it could be used for...SNACKS.  You could put a bag of snacks in the black bag.  Crumb free work area!!!

The frame attaches to a table with the maximum width of 3.25"  My table is the perfect width, but the underside bar running across was a bit too fat, so I improvised.  Instead of hooking totally flush with the table, it sits off it JUST a bit.  I have put numerous drinks in it and pushed down on it.  It feels rather sturdy.  I was comfortable enough to put a big cup of hot coffee in there!
Now I know what you are thinking.  "Man Sarah.  That is pretty cool.  I wish I had a ScrapMaBob."  Guess what, you can! ScrapBox has graciously allowed me to give away one ScrapMaBob to one lucky reader in the US!  Here's how:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and a word to the wise.  I DO check entries.  Please don't like and then immediately unlike just to get entries.   Those entries won't be counted. 

Good luck!! 

This giveaway is sponsored by The Original ScrapBox.  I was given a ScrapMaBob to review, but was under no obligation to write a positive review.  The impressions are all my own. The Original ScrapBox will be responsible for mailing the ScrapMaBob to the winner.  This contest is only open to residents of the USA.