Monday, February 11, 2013

My Favorite Mondays no. 2

It’s Monday! Now, that isn’t always a thing to celebrate but I think this week, we should be excited for Monday and the week ahead. It’s our week filled with love (only 3 more days until Valentine’s day!) and, also, it’s Random Act of Kindness week!

Here’s my five picks for ‘My Favorite Mondays’ – inspired by this special week.

Favorite Pin
Sometimes holidays have a way of sneaking up on you. Valentine’s Day is a bad one for this because, truthfully, I think we are still all recovering from December a bit. I absolutely adore this pin fromCrafted by Lindy because it is a thoughtful, easy way to give something different at valentines (AND a free printable never hurts!). What a perfect idea for a teacher, co-workers, or your day home/daycare provider.
Favorite Etsy findThis is, by far, my favorite Etsy find this week! Image 3D sells these uber cool view-master style custom reels and viewers. The awesomeness of this product does not require much explanation, however, I will say that if my Valentine were to get me one of these and fill it will our favorite photos, I would absolutely be swooning. The possibilities of cool things you can do with this are endless – picture this, use a reel and viewer as the greatest way ever to announce your pregnancy or engagement.

Favorite Charity
Last year I found out about a fabulous charity called CARE Canada (there is also a CARE USA) whose mandate is to empower women and girls, particularly those living in poverty. This worthy cause is one that every person should take notice of because, according to CARE, if a single woman rises from poverty, she typically takes 4 people along with her. Also important to note, as with any charity you choose to support, CARE Canada operates with an average 6% administrative cost and have all of their annual reports available on their website.
CARE is currently running a Walk in her Shoes fundraiser that I encourage you all to learn more about (here)!

Favorite App
Okay, when it comes to cool new apps, I’m usually pretty far behind on things and I’m guessing that most people already know about this one, but Songza is my favorite new app. It is a mind-blowingly awesome app where you can stream playlists onto your smart phone (or stream onto your computer). There are no audio ads, it’s free, and the play lists are killer – need some new workout tunes? Songza! Need some low-key background music at work? Songza! Need someone to suggest some new music? Songza!

Favorite Personal Update
OH, I am so excited for my upcoming trip to France. There are so many things that I want to see when I’m there I am finding it tough to pencil everything in (while trying not to pencil too much in)! The exciting new development for this trip is that we will now be spending 3 nights and 4 days in the south of France as well, and taking a trip to Monte Carlo too. Any tips for must-sees when I’m in Paris – send them my way!

Thanks for joining me this fine Monday and I hope your love-filled weekend is LOVE-ly!  Leave me a comment and share your favorite monday finds!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Santa Box

Without boring you, I will just say that I have not posted on my blog in the last few months due to some insanely busy times in my house.  I love being busy and keeping my days full but what I don't love is when I miss out on some of my favorite things because of the crazy day-timer!  When I say favorite things I mean, of course, reading, sewing, baking, and BLOGGING!

With Christmas around the corner, and my Pinterest addiction in full swing, I have been motivated to get into the spirit of the season.  I've been signing up for potlucks and secret Santa's, buying and hiding special gifts, and planning out my baking list for this year.

My eldest daughter is currently in pre-school and is big time into making crafts.  I had some free time this afternoon (what?!) and decided to spend some quality (holiday inspired) crafting time with her while the little one was sleeping. I have a big box of "kid-friendly" crafting supplies - not to be confused with my "mommy-spent-too-much-on-these-supplies-so-don't-touch-them supplies" - that I pulled out and we looking around the house for some motivation.
Before long, I had gathered an empty cereal box, a toilet paper roll, and brown paper bag.  We decided to go with the cereal box and worked out a Santa Clause idea.  I love what we came up with because it was so easy and was something a four year old could easily work on by herself.

The supplies we used were:

  1. An old cereal box;
  2. Construction paper;
  3. White glue & tape
  4. A pair of googly eyes (dollar store); and
  5. Some white puff balls (dollar store).

I had my daughter trace out the red paper and we covered the cereal box, using white glue.  We then traced out and glued on Santa's belt (using sparkly construction paper for the buckle). Next we put together Santa's face and curled up some white construction paper for his beard (we used tape to adhere this to his face because the white glue was not strong enough to hold it in place).  After this, we glued on his hat and the white puff balls along its edge.  To make his legs, we just folded up paper and taped it onto the bottom of the box. The shoes are black construction paper with a piece of the sparkly paper for little buckles (also adhered with tape).  Voila, a super simple and fun craft - my daughter was beaming with pride when we were done!  
If you have a bunch of empty boxes, you could also make other holiday inspired figures - a reindeer, an angle, or a gingerbread man are a few ideas!

If you are looking for more Christmas crafts, check out a post I put up last year for cinnamon scented ornaments!  They make your house smell A-Mazing when you are making them!

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Favorite Mondays no. 1

I've noticed that many of the blogs I subscribe to, do a "my favorites" list once a week.  I love to share and highlight anything I've got going on or think is awesome, so, of course, I decided to jump on this bandwagon.  I wanted to do it on Friday...but, I ran out of time and therefore am doing it today.  SO, my favorites list will be on Mondays now - thus, the title, "My Favorite Mondays"!

My Favorite Pin

Without a doubt, this pin that originates back to, is my favorite pin of the week (maybe ever)!  Good lord, click on the link and you will be in awe of all the amazing images...simply stunning.  I am a calligraphy junkie and this quotation is beyond lovely.  This is a perfect pin!

My Favorite Etsy Find

I'm so excited to bring this Etsy shop to your attention.  I just happened to come across it on the main page this weekend in that scrolling area where they show newly listed items.  Ohhh Lulu is stunning.  I love pretty much everything she has listed in her shop and I am now creeping on her twitter and FB, excitedly waiting for anything she posts!

My Favorite Blog Update

As you've probably noticed, my blog has had a rehaul and I am now supporting an awesome new look.  I am so thrilled with the outcome and want to give a huge thanks to Hannah from Sweet Mod Designs a big thank you for her hardwork (look for a posting on her in the near future!)

My Favorite Personal Update

I am pretty much beyond excited for next April when I, so luckily, will be going on my dream vacation to Paris!  This isn't new news but, I'm so happy because I am starting some refresher French language classes this week!!
Je suis trés excité!!

My Favorite New App

I know I am so behind in this but, I FINALLY joined twitter!  I downloaded the app on my phone and have been addicted to it since.  My friend was constantly trying to get me to join and now, looking back, why did I resist?  I am @mycraftyblog so look me up (or simply click on the twitter button under the "About" section on my blog)! :)

My first favorites on My Favorite Mondays are pretty good, right?!  I look forward to the week ahead and finding some new gems to share with you next Monday!!
Be sure to leave a comment with your favorite news for the upcoming week! :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Frugal Father's Day

I am so excited. In two and a half months I am going on a trip of a lifetime. I am so lucky to be saying that I will be partaking on an adventure to, what I consider to be the mother country, Ireland! I am also going to spend five days in London as well. I am even luckier because I will get to share this experience with my loving parents, sister, and husband. I am beyond excited! Now, with my departure date looming closer and closer, my purse strings appear to be getting tighter and tighter. I just know that when I’m doing my thing (aka shopping!) in the UK, I’ll totally regret it if I don’t save up enough money to really go for the gusto…I mean, come on, it’s Europe! Did I mention that I’m excited?!?
So, my husband and I have come up with a pact, cutting out a bit of the unnecessaries where we can. One place we decided to skim on this year was gift-giving to each other. He is already famous for saying, “I don’t need any gifts” (don’t you just hate that?) so I told him that, this year, I would carbon copy my mother’s day to his father’s day. I had an awesome mother’s day, of course, and even though it was gift-free I got plenty of the real gifts that matter in life – little kisses, big hugs, works of art from my three year old and a lazy day with my favorite people in the whole entire world.
Now, with Father’s Day coming up, it’s up to me to be creative – without spending much/anything. Haha…jokes on him, I have Pinterest! I’m totally going to rock it.
In our family it’s funny because Mother’s Day usually centers on breakfast and Father’s Day centers around supper…and the BBQ. So my plans for a Frugal Father’s Day are going to break down to this:
1. Awesome supper with plenty of hearty man-food.
2. Adorable handmade crafts from the kids and
3. A spin on an old classic, as a gift from yours truly.
Let’s just say that I’m doing a carbon copy of mother’s day but I’m putting some glitter and awesome dust on it too.
This should be a fairly easy thing to come up with. What are his favorites? For my husband, he has a major sweet tooth for Reece peanut butter cups so I’m pretty sure that this Reece’s Cheesecake Brownies would be a huge hit.
Check out can pretty much find a cake, cupcake, bar, or cookie inspired by any and every chocolate bar known to man kind! I think a few of these would go over quite nicely as well (click on the picture to be taken to the recipe):
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Beer-battered Pickles

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins
I LOVE this tie themed banner and flag set, available for free download at Amanda’s Parties to Go! It doesn’t take much to sneak downstairs after everyone’s gone to bed (or before they wake up) and put up a little pizzazz to wow them in the morning!

Gift Options from the kids
I love this Father’s Day survey from The Creative Homemaker! My three year old comes up with the most hilarious stuff so I would love to sit down with her one night and fill this out. Plus there’s lots of white space for her to “decorate” it afterwards. It’s a nice idea to do one of these every year and then bind them together in a scrapbook!
Here’s another idea from Kinderpendent that you could do with your little one…create a quotation book to chronicle all those adorable things your kids say. You can dress it up with a bit of cardstock, ribbon, etc. This would definitely be a book to cherish for years to come – just make sure you leave some blank space for those gems that are yet to come!
I have been seeing these bookmarks a lot lately on Pinterest and have been waiting for a chance to make one. How cute are they and think of all the fun you’ll have making them with your kids (check out this link for more info)!
Gift from Wifey
So, when we agreed to not buy any gifts for each other this year I knew that I was still going to make him something. When I thought about it, I came up with something that would be perfect. A coupon book. Yes, just like we use to make when we were little BUT this time, it’s going to be filled with some very important coupons (in a parent’s world anyways!). Example, what does my husband really hate doing? Hmmm…how about: get out of one poopy diaper, one foot rub while we watch the sports channel, one sleep in until the time of your choosing, and so on and so forth (if you’re really brave you could include a “blank cheque” one too!). What is really important to him…or what are one of those annoying daily life tasks that he can get out of. Yes, it’s more elbow grease from you but, personally, I’ll be happy when I’m trying on a pair of new shoes at Harrods in London that I couponed my way out of this one! Check out Martha for an awesome Father’s Day coupon book template.
With a little creativity and a lot of heart you can make a wonderful Father’s Day. It really is the thought that counts and I think that putting in the effort is worth so much more than anything you could buy in the store!
Here’s a little poem that I want to include in my hubby’s card – he always makes me cry with those cheesy box store cards…let’s see how he holds up to this, handwritten by my daughter!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weight Loss...finally!

Since last September I have been on a weight loss journey.  I had a sweet baby girl in April of 2011 and, after taking the summer off, I decided in the fall that it was time to get up and get moving again.  If I wasn't careful, I was worried that I would never lose that dreaded baby weight.  PLUS, to top things off, I was still carrying around some twenty pounds of extra weight from my first pregnancy!
As you may know I am also a type one diabetic.  So, losing weight for me has always been a struggle because, along with normal food cravings and stresses that go with trying to drop a few pounds, I also have to deal with high and low blood glucose levels.  In the past I had just ignored my problems, with the hopes that they would magically go away.  Guess how that turned out!?
By chance one day I was having a coffee date with my girlfriend Amy.  We got on the topic of weight loss and she told me about this app that she had started using a few days prior.  Well, I didn't know it at the time but this conversation was going to change my life, literally!  The app was called My Fitness Pal and it can be used on pretty much any phone (or they also have a website).  The idea behind my fitness pal is very simple, and I believe it's this simplicity that has made it so easy for me to stick with it.  You input all your information - including your weight loss goals (do you want to lose one pound a week, half a pound, etc.) - and you are given a calorie allowance for the day.  If you work out and burn up extra calories you can eat more.  One of My Fitness Pal's best features is that, when using the app on your phone, you can scan the barcodes of the foods you are eating and the nutritional information pops up in the food logging area, it's that easy!  If you are eating let's say an apple, there is a food search option for items that do not have a barcode.
I can tell you this now, but, when I first started with My Fitness Pal, my BMI was just inside the obese category (!!!!! WTF!) and, now, I am so happy to report I am in the healthy category!  I've added a button to my blog that shows how far I've come, to date, I'm down 34 pounds!
Another aspect of My Fitness Pal that has made it a lot easier to stick to is it's social media design.  You can friend people and cheer each other on.  Personally, I've connected with tons of other diabetics (who also use an insulin pump) where, in my real life, I only know one other person who actually wears one.  Finding people who are in a similar situation to yourself can really help with the encouragement factor.
So, if you are a user of My Fitness Pal or decide that you want to go join up today, make sure you look me up!  Let's cheer each other on! :)
Here's some other resources to help you with your own weight loss journey!

You dont' need fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership to get moving!  Take this 'Fitness at Home' challenge, posted on Pinterest by Laura Merrik, and you'll see results guaranteed!

If you're like me you will have your i-pod BLARING music to keep you motivated...check out the Top 100 workout songs from the 1990's!
photo source:

Eat healthy snacks...I love to make apple chips!  There are a few reasons they are awesome - first so easy to make.  Also, very yummy!  AND..they make your house smell DEVINE when they're baking!  Here's how you can make some:
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees
2. Slice your apples (I like to go very thin because that makes them crunchier when they're baked) - Cut them evenly for a consistent crunch!
3. Sprinkle them with cinnamon
4. Bake them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 2 hours (turn them over after an hour)
Do this!
I sincerely do wish you the best in your own weight related efforts and encourage you to check out My Fitness Pal...I honestly don't know where I would be without all the support I draw from it! :)

Also - one last quick tip: start a healthy living pin board on pinterest!! You can draw SO MUCH inspiration there too!  Here's a link to my pin board for just such a thing:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday - Pattern Perfection

It’s that time again – wishlist Wednesday!! When I was thinking about one of the things that would be fairly high up on my wishlist, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to showcase.
I love to sew, I love cute, I love Etsy. So, naturally, I love Dolls and Daydreams. Oiy, where to start? Well, with one look at this jaw-droppingly cute Etsy shop you will be in heaven (if you like sewing, anything adorable, or if you like to collect stuffies).

I think there are so many reasons to love this shop. First, the selection. Oh Lord. From ballerinas to superheroes to bunny rabbits and lions. You can get a Marie Antoinette pattern or a snuggly lamb. Really, whatever you’re looking for, it’s offered here. Also – I love that you can change up your fabric choices (seeing that many of the stuffies are wearing clothes) and it really changes the look of what you’re making! The PDF pattern (that goes straight to your inbox – no waiting!) makes your sewing project a breeze – the shop owner provides tips along with the sewing instructions for your convenience. Also, I love how the finished projects boast both cotton fabrics and felt (I heart felt big time!) and that it is appropriate for children under three.
Another great selling feature you receive when purchasing a pattern through Dolls and Daydreams is that you are given the okay to sell your finished creations…a luxury not permitted by all patterns sold on Etsy.

Currently there are over 50 listings for these great patterns and each one averages a price of approximately $10USD (did I mention you also get a materials list included with the pattern?).

Yes, I am in love big time with all of the items listed in this awesome shop and I can’t wait to get my hands on a pattern and start sewing!! Be assured that when I do buy a pattern and sew it up I will be posting some pictures here!! :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Love

Happy Mother's Day to all you hard working Mama's out there!! 
It's so funny because on my first few Mother's Days I expected so much.  Yes, I thought, I shall be pampered and waiting on for these 24 hours and none of my regular mother-like duties shall apply.  Well, I was usually disappointed to find that it really was like most Sundays - but I did get to sleep in! LOL...these days I'm happy to enjoy my special day - still wiping bums and cleaning up messes - but I've since discovered the real importance of today.  I love my girls with all my heart and seeing them bring me their homemade pictures and their proud face hand me some flowers,well,  it melts my heart.  I'm also so thankful to spend part of this day honouring my own mother and mother-in-law.  Wow, do they ever do a lot to help me and my family out, to support us in every way they can, and they are always there cheering us on.  I love you guys!
Here's how my day broke down in a nutshell (I hope you enjoyed your day as well!)...
sunny morning enjoying the outside world

Me and Little Miss S
"mom - I found this for you!"

I love these cards, decorated with scribbles and pictures from the girls...I always cry from the cheesy saying inside! :)

Beautiful flowers from my husband and girls

We served an AWESOME punch - all it takes is a can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate and 4 cups of white cranberry juice and then refridgerate for an hour.  Before serving add in some club soda and fresh mint and voila - sparkling pink punch!

The ladies and I (minus Kate who was napping)