March 2015Occasionally Crafty: March 2015

Tuesday, March 31

Introducing: Mom Confessions

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhenImHungry #CollectiveBias

I want to introduce a new segment on the blog.  Once in a month, I'll be hosting "Mom Confessions". I have no problems admitting I'm not a perfect mom.  I hope this is a place where you can share your less-than-shining moments without judgement!

To introduce the series, I'm talking about what makes me a mean mom.

Dear Kids of Mine,

   You know I've never professed to be the perfect mom.  I don't keep a perfect house. I lose my patience.  A lot.  I don't always make the best parenting choices- like that time I let little D swing from the really high rope swing he swore he could handle, then he let go, crashed to the ground, and tore open his lip.

Yes, moments like that don't shine me in the best light.  But though I might tend towards being a strict mom, I'm not usually a mean mom.

The other day, I have to admit it-- I was mean.  

I may or may not have told someone to shut up.

I may or may not have said "What's the matter with you?"

I may or may not have grabbed all the toys left on the floor after the boys "cleaned" their room and thrown them in the garbage.

When you told me "You've been mean all day!", I realized I wasn't acting like myself.  Something was making me angrier than normal, and after going through a mental checklist, I realized I was hungry.

When my days are busy, I often subsist on leftover crackers from D's lunch and a spoonful of peanut butter.  Those are the days my temper flares easily
So kids, I'm sorry what I did and said when I was hangry- you know, hungry + angry?  
Next time I'll make sure to grab a SNICKERS® bar at Walgreens, so I don't take my hunger out on you.

Apparently, I turn into a mean mom when I'm hungry.  

Love, your Mom

Parents:  If you are prone to anger, don't forget to make a note of your triggers so you can avoid them. I've learned to recognize that some of my triggers are these:

Running Late- I tend to get really upset if we're having trouble getting out the door.

Hunger- as mentioned above!

Fatigue- when I'm tired, I definitely am more prone to anger.  It's important to be well-rested 
when possible.

This quote has helped me a lot, and I hope it can help someone else too.

What turns you into a "mean mom"?  What are some of your triggers?
Join the discussion in the comments below.

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Sunday, March 29

Craft A-Z Month GIVEAWAY!

Hey everyone!  I don't usually post on Sundays, but I wanted you to be the first to get in on this awesome giveaway!

In case you forgot, March is National Craft Month!  I posted a craft for the letter "E" as part of Crafting in the Rain's Craft Month A-Z.  See all the crafts here.

To celebrate our love of making things, we are giving away TWO awesome prizes!

1.  Prize #1:  DecoArt Metallic Paint Set, FloraCraft goodie bag, Duck Tape, Starbucks gift card

2.  Prize #2:  $50 Royal Design Studios gift card, American Crafts goodie bag, Duck Tape, Starbucks gift card

Simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!  

Giveaway runs 3/28/15 - midnight 4/4/2015. Open to US residents 18 and older. Giveaway not affiliated with Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, March 27

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Raise your hand if you love coffee cake!
Raise your other hand if you love cake batter!
This delicious recipe is a happy marriage between the two, plus a healthy dose of delicious caramel apple pie filling.  

The best part- it's quick and easy to make- perfect for those lazy weekend mornings when you want to make something special for your family.  This would also be perfect for a potluck or to serve at a brunch or shower.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake
adapted from Taste of Home
Click here for a printable recipe

1 package (18 1/4 oz) yellow cake mix, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water (120-130 degrees)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (21 oz) caramel apple pie filling
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1-2 tablespoons water
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups dry cake mix, flour, yeast, and water until smooth.  Batter will be slightly sticky.  Stir in eggs until blended.  Transfer to a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish.  Carefully spoon pie filling over the top of the batter.
Place remaining cake mix in a bowl; cut in butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle topping over filling.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.
Combine glaze ingredients;drizzle over coffee cake.
Makes 12-16 servings


Check out the other delicious breakfast recipes from my bloggy friends as part of Create.Craft.Love.'s "Teach Me to Cook" series.

breakfast collage
Caramel Apple Coffee Cake from Occasionally Crafty
Easy Breakfast Sandwich from Organized Island
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Tuesday, March 24

DIY Wall Banner

Do you ever buy something even when you know you could actually make it yourself? 
DIY Colorful Wall Banner Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for crafting but I want something now?
Sometimes I'm just feeling lazy :)
Sometimes I just can't quite put the idea together in my mind, but someone else already did!
This project is kind of in the middle.  I bought some things to help me put it together, but then I actually had to put it together.
Just call it lazy crafting.  Or semi-homemade.  
DIY Colorful Wall Banner
I wanted a wall banner to hang in my newly painted bathroom.  But I didn't want to use paper because I knew the moisture would make it curl.  And I really just did not want to break out the saw and make my husband cut some shapes for me make my own.
So I headed to Hobby Lobby and bought these heavy chipboard banner shapes.  I went for the two pointed kind.
Then, amazingly, I found paper that perfectly matched the colors of my bathroom!
All I had to do was trace the banner shapes onto the paper, cut the paper to fit, then glue the paper to the banner.  I finished with a coat of Mod Podge to "seal" it against the bathroom moisture.
Finally, I hung it with some gray yarn to match the tiny bit of gray in the room.
DIY Colorful Wall Banner
I'm in love with it!  Hanging a banner on the wall instead of fancy art makes it feel more whimsical- perfect for a kids' bathroom.
What is your favorite craft shortcut?  Tell me your lazy stories so I don't feel alone ;)
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Friday, March 20

10 Tips for a Worry-free Easter Dinner

This post is sponsored by HoneyBaked Ham.  I was given free product and compensated to write this post.  But remember, I only review products and companies I LOVE or think you will too!

I like having people come over to my house.
It gives me a reason to clean!
I tend to get pretty stressed out for holidays when family or friends come to visit.  I want the house to look nice, the decor to be decked out, the food to taste delicious, and the children to be well-behaved.
Maybe I should just pick two of the above.
If you're anything like me and holidays like Easter stress you out, you might benefit from these 10 tips to make your Easter Dinner worry free.
1.  Budget Your Time Wisely
Have a plan of attack so you can be ready to greet your guests when the arrive, not be scrambling around the kitchen throwing things together.  Know what time you plan to eat, how long each item will take to cook, and keep a "schedule" so you know when to put various things in the oven.  If there are items you can make ahead, make them ahead!  You'll be so much more relaxed.
2.  Know your Guests!
Don't be caught off guard with food allergies, sensitivities or diets.  Ask ahead if there is anything you need to be aware of so you can be prepared.
3.  Keep some snacks out to munch on
If your guests will be arriving some time before dinner will be served, set out some simple snacks or appetizers.  I set out a fruit, veggie, and cheese/cracker tray to keep my kids from whining about how hungry they are!  Keep it simple- people just want to munch, not ooh and aah over perfectly baked mini tarts.  (Unless you're into that sort of thing!)

4.  Use paper plates and table linens
Nowadays there are so many cute options for paper plates, table runners, and even placemats.  There is no reason to spend a ton of money on something you'll only drag out 2-3 times a year for company.  And you don't have to worry about stains on your beautiful linens.  Save time and money!  I chose to use my real plates, but we are forgoing placemats and using a paper table runner.
5.  Decorate with what you have!
There's no need to buy a fancy centerpiece.  I used some wrapping paper for a table runner, then took some of my "cute" Easter decorations from around the house and made them into a fun centerpiece.  Don't forget to print out last year's Easter printable for a more Christ-centered celebration.
6.  Serve dinner Buffet-style!
Set up a cute buffet table and let the guests serve themselves!  Set up your food in your nice serving dishes here, then get out of the way, sit down, and enjoy your dinner too!
7.  Go semi-homemade for the actual dinner.
Choose one or two things that are important for you to make yourself for the meal.  My family loves my homemade rolls, so I always serve those.  I also usually make my own dessert, although this year we're eating these delicious cheesecake slices from HoneyBaked Ham!  The Triple Chocolate is to die for!

8.  Let HoneyBaked Ham handle the rest
You're going to buy a ham anyway, since serving ham for Easter is a special tradition. Serve the best tasting, quality ham your family will enjoy – HoneyBaked Ham.  There's a great coupon out for you right now to get $5 off any purchase of $50 or more.  Plus, they have delicious sides and desserts if you so choose.
I bought a small quarter ham, a small turkey breast, and two sides for my dinner.  My kids love the creamy Macaroni and Cheese, and almost everyone loves the Sweet Potato Souffle!

Find a location near you.
P.S.- When you put them in our own dishes, no one will ever know you didn't slave over these dishes yourself!  
9.  Get the kids involved
My kids love to help out.  So why not put them to work?  Have them lay out the tableware.  Invite them to help you bake.  Teach them how to cook a favorite dish.  Assign them cleaning-up chores!  And don't forget a little treat for being such a great helper!
10.  Enjoy yourself- and don't forget to take (or have someone take) some pictures!
Life is about creating memories and enjoying the special people in your life.  Don't let Easter pass you by while you hang out in the kitchen, sweating and worrying.  With these tips, you should have plenty of time to sit and enjoy your loved ones and your delicious Easter dinner!
Are you entertaining for Easter or headed somewhere else?  What would you add to this list?

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Thursday, March 19

Recycled Earplug Case: Tooth Fairy Tooth Keeper

It's time for another round of Craft Lightning!  Today I'm here to show you how to turn an old earplug case into a cute little tooth keeper to keep those teeth safe for the Tooth Fairy!
Here's a secret I'll share with you.  I snore.  Yep- me.  The wife.  I snore.  My husband wears earplugs so we can sleep in the same room, bless his heart.  So we have lots of these old earplug cases.  Here's how to make one cute:
Remove any labels (mine peeled right off but use a little heat if necessary).

Mod Podge scrap paper that is cut to fit your case.
Add cute tooth clip art.  I just print and cut mine but you could get fancy if you want!
Now their teeth won't get lost under the pillow!  Even if you have a special pillow, those teeth can get lost!  I've even had one fall out of the tooth pocket in her special pillow.  This way you the tooth fairy can just grab the canister and leave the money behind!
Be sure to click on the button below to see what my other blogger friends have come up with this month!  Thanks for joining me for Craft Lightning!

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Wednesday, March 18

Dress Up The Sink: Bathroom Makeover Reveal

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FoamSensations #CollectiveBias

When my kids were younger, my husband and I decorated their bathroom in a gender neutral jungle theme.  It was perfect for two boys and a girl, and for a bathroom that they share with any guests we might have visiting.

Now my kids are older, and all of us are ready for something a little more grown-up.
Here's a before picture (or really an in-the-middle picture since I forgot to take a REAL before shot!):

And here is how it looks today!

Sure, there are a few more finishing touches I need to add.  I'm looking for the perfect wall art to hang, and I'd like to get a shelf to hang over the toilet, but this is basically our new and improved bathroom!
I will have a more in-depth tutorial for this next week, but the first thing I did was stain our golden oak cabinets using Java Gel Stain from General Finishes.

Since I now have gorgeous cabinets, I wanted to dress up the sink and countertop.  

I purchased the silver hardware for my cabinets from Walmart, and while I was there I picked up a few other things.
I found these gorgeous Foaming Hand Wash soaps from Softsoap in a special display at the end of the soap isle.  They come in three varieties, though one is specifically for kitchen use (which I'll talk about in a minute).  I chose to display the Whipped Cocoa Butter one in my bathroom because it matches my new color scheme.

I'm already a Softsoap user anyway, but these foaming soaps are really a premium quality for a great price!  
Don't you love the orange and aqua together?  I've long been a fan of these colors!

I took those colors from the shower curtain I purchased.  I painted the top part of the walls a light aqua shade, and then my husband and I installed faux board-and-batten using MDF planks.  I love how it looks!

I bought towels to match the stripes in the shower curtain as well.  Our bathroom now is just bright and vibrant where before it was much darker and even a little dull.

My kids love their pretty new bathroom, and they love using the Foaming Hand Wash to wash their hands.  Something about foam makes it so much more fun!  (And for grownups, it's so smooth and luxurious! I'm sure my guests will love it too!)

I am keeping a bottle of the Kitchen Citrus Bliss Hand Soap in the kitchen, as it's specially formulated to kill germs (and with all the cooking and crafting going on out there, we really need that!)

And, the Jasmine and White Cotton matches our gray and blue master bath perfectly!

How do you dress up your sink?  Which scent are you dying to try first?
I'll see you back here tomorrow with a special Craft Lightning post: Recycled Crafts!

P.S.  I will be linking up to some of these parties. Come party with me!
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Friday, March 13

How I lost 10 lbs in 8 weeks- the Right Way! 60 Day BMS Challenge

Losing weight is hard.
Losing weight when you've had three kids and are super busy with work, family, and church is harder
Losing weight when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis and take medicine that makes you retain weight is ridiculously hard.
I could go on.  We all have our reasons that make it hard for us to lose weight.
After the holidays, the scale had really inched up to a point I said I'd never hit again.  I knew it was time to do something to turn things back around.  
My bloggy friend Abbey from The Cards We Drew posted in a Facebook group that a new challenge over at April Kennedy's 60-Day Body, Mind, Soul Challenge page was about to begin, and would anyone be interested in teaming up for the challenge?
I read over the challenge details and was excited.  This wasn't a "diet", it was more of a "healthy living" plan.  I felt like it was totally do-able for someone like me who really doesn't like a lot of "healthy food".  So I jumped in and the challenge began.
I'm 5'4" and I started my challenge at almost 146 lbs. Here's my "Before" pics: 
After 8 weeks of healthy eating and daily exercise, I ended the challenge at 135 lbs, and I lost a combined 15 1/2 inches, dropping a dress size.  Here's my "After" pics:
In addition, I feel great, have more energy, and my disease activity has been the lowest it's been in awhile!
I don't know how obvious the change is since 10 pounds isn't a huge amount of weight.  But, my legs and arms are more trim, my belly is flatter, and I have had comments that my face is a bit slimmer. 
 My clothes fit so much better, and I'll have to buy new shorts for summer since none of mine fit from last year!
I can't give you all the details, since we pay April for her hard work when we register for the program, but maybe I can give you enough to see if it's something you want to do for yourself.
Food:  The requirements are adaptable for any diet- regular eaters like me, gluten-free, paleo, vegan, etc.  You eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy.  Whatever combination of foods you eat is really up to you and your needs.  There is no quantity limit on this plan- you never go hungry.  I could always find something to eat even when eating out.
**You are going to cut out a lot of carbs, most sugars, and unhealthy things like fast food, soda, bakery items, etc.
Exercise:  30 minutes a day, 6 days a week.  If this sounds crazy hard, know that you can adapt this to your own physical needs.  As I mentioned, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I have damage to my wrists and hips.  My doctor insisted I only work out 3 days a week- the other days I had to do very light exercise like marching in place or sidesteps down the hall.  I felt stupid doing them, but I did those light exercises for 30 minutes and it counted.  And I still lost weight :)
That takes care of the B for Body, but we were also challenged to improve our Minds and Souls.  There was a daily prayer/meditation/scripture study portion (again, adaptable for your own beliefs), and each week we had bonus activities and acts of kindness to perform that would earn us points.
I loved working as a team.  It kept me accountable when I knew I had to report my points each week.  I knew others were counting on me to do my part.  We even had our own FB group to encourage and help each other along the way!
Our team came in 4th place for overall percentage of weight loss- and I personally came in 4th for total inches lost!  We didn't win any prizes, but I'm proud of us!
Now I'm in maintenance mode.  I've let myself eat some naughty foods this week, but overall I'm going to try to keep up the healthy habits I've developed and stay at this weight (or even drop a few more) for summer.
A new challenge begins on April 11th- so head over and register next week if you want to be a part of it!  And if you have any questions, I can try to answer them- leave a note in the comments or shoot me an email.
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