Thursday, January 31, 2013

Creating Logo Buttons!

Do you see those awesome pink logo buttons on the right?  Those were a bitch! I have noticed the circle icons on several of the blogs that I follow....and I wanted them!  I sat down this morning, with the intention on doing a lot of laundry today...we have a busy weekend afterall.  I ended up spending the entire day cleaning out my computer, searching blog posts on these bad boys and eventually getting them up and running on my blog!  To say I feel accomplished would be a terrible understatement!!
If you are a blogger, here are links to sites that break this whole process down for the Blogger Blog-ers of the world!  These writers are a God-send and I don't think these buttons would be a reality without them!  True Story!!

This blog is just on the Twitter Button.  It is the simplest code of all of the codes for these buttons!  It is quite crazy but at the same time makes sense as to why it was the LAST code to get figured out!
This blog covers ALL of the logos! The twitter code on this blog I could not get to work, thus the reason I shared twitter only post.  This is completely awesome!

I also found a site that has several logo packs, here is a link to the pack I used to get my pink logos.  They are completely free and they blog owners have several other options!!  They are in a WinZip be sure you have an active software download for that...otherwise you will not be able to open it!

Happy hunting my Blogger friends!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Princess Party!

Planning and putting on my only daughter's first party with friends was exciting, exhausting .... and totally worth it!  We had a mini lunch complete with mini sandwiches, applies, carrots, celery, and deviled eggs.  I made the majority of the decor and the gift bags we used to pass out our party favors.  We danced and sang, played a game, colored and broke open a pinata!  We ended the party with cupcakes topped with my homemade toppers and watched the princess open her presents!

Here is my Princess!!

Here is the list of links to the projects we did for this party!

I also did another Numbered can be seen in the last picture behind the cupcakes :))


Monday, January 28, 2013

Balloon Weight/Centerpiece!

I hate buying those cheap looking balloon weights so I tend to get creative with tying down my birthday balloons.  I found this cute idea to make a centerpiece with pipe I took the inspiration and made a little set up to hold down our Princess balloon at the Princess Party we had over the weekend.  

Step 1:  Take a pipecleaner and wrap it around a pencil or other simular item.
Step 2: Gently pull the ends of each of the pipe cleaners to stretch them out (be careful not to pull them out too far).
Step 3: Get an empty vase, fill the bottom with streamer paper or basket paper.  

Step 4: Gently place the pipecleaners one by one until the vase is full

Step 5: (for a balloon weight) Tie the ribbon around the vase and tape the strings to the bottom

It was fun and super cute on the table.  The package of pipe cleaners cost me 87 cents, the vase I already had, the same for the streamer paper I put in it....The balloon was roughly $3.00.  Overall, this fun eye candy piece cost me less than $5!


Homemade Pinata!

Pinata prices are over-rated....$20 to have your kid and his or her friends break it!  It's crazy!  Why not rip up a hundred dollar bill and throw candy at the kids??  Or, make your own with stuff you have around the house?  That seems like much more fun to me!  We concocted a method that did not include a messy three day paper mache mess....cardboard boxes!!  My daughter had her heart set on a Cinderella Castle Pinata that we just couldn't bring ourselves to purchase!  So, the fiance and I drew up some plans and dug through some empty boxes we had laying around the house.  He cut the boxes to size and I printed out a party hat cutout that served as the cone shaped roof of the towers we were making.

Once all the pieces were glued together, we covered it in a coat of white paint to cover up all the writing on the boxes.

Once it was covered, I pulled out my supply of streamer (I over buy every birthday!) and I got to designing the pinata castle of my daughter's dreams!  I had planned to print off a picture of the Disney Princesses to put on the castle....but I ran out of color ink and so I broke out some stickers I had laying around the house.  Here is the finished product!

The girls loved the way it looked but it only took two hits before the bottom fell out.  Note to self....better enforce the bottom!

Some potential items you can use to make your: cereal boxes, cracker boxes, boxes from toys, packing boxes and any other cardboard box you can find.


Pin the Princess on the Castle!

In my frugal state of mind, with two birthdays within a month of Christmas....I decided to make my own game for my daughter's party...instead of buying a cheap, but pricey game at the local Party City.  I definitely bit off more than I could chew with this took A LOT of time!  The game mirrors the classic "Pin the Tail on The Donkey" but with a Princess became "Pin the Princess on the Castle."  

I drew the castle by hand, and then painted it it myself.  Once it was dry, I sealed it with Modge Podge so that the tape I intended to use on it didn't mess up the paint.

I then used my Cricut once more and made 8 little princesses (cut at 5.5 inches with "Princess Dress 1").  The girls thought it was really fun and giggled their hearts out at the places their princesses ended up!

It took me about 5 hours to complete the castle and about 4 hours to complete the princess dolls.  I only recommend the project for someone with a lot of down time.  It was fun to make, regardless and now that the party is over....the castle is going to be framed and hung as decor in my daughter's bedroom!


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Cupcake Toppers!

I found several ways to use my Cricut and Princess Cartridge for my daughter's birthday party yesterday!  One of my favorite projects was the cupcake toppers I made.  I made 24 cuts of the "Crown" cut (with the Layers and Shadow) and turned the top half into stickers.  I then sticker-ed the top half onto the Shadow base with a tooth pick between them.

I did these at 1.5 inches and substituted the middle "jewel" cut for a rhinestone sticker I had several of.

They were a huge hit!  In fact....I had ZERO left over (I have just under a dozen left of my football cupcakes and almost twice the number of people!)


Friday, January 25, 2013

Homemade Treat Bags!

Have I told you lately how much I LOVE my cricut machine??  Well, I it that is!  It saves me a TON of money over the course of a year!  And here is an example of such:  Gift Bags for a Birthday Party!  My daughter picked out the paper colors and the decals we made for the sides. 

I used the "Once Upon A Princess" cartridge for all of these cuts.  I started by choosing one of the three bag cuts available and set the machine to 5.5 inches.  I used a 12x12 paper so that I could get two bags on each page.  Putting these bags together can be tedious but the work that goes into them is worth the savings.  Once the bags were built, my daughter and I went through the book and picked the "Celebrate" phrase and "Crown" cuts to turn into stickers.  (Oh yea....I have a sticker maker that I love just as much as my Cricut machine...a beautiful investment and amazing use of those Hobby Lobby and Micheal's coupons!)  

We made 6 sets of everything.  The phrase "Celebrate" was cut at 2.5 inches and the shape "Crown" was cut at 1.5 inches.  Before we attached the stickers to the bags, I wanted to add a little ribbon to the bag.  I hotglued a sheer ribbon along the bottom of the bags.

Here is the finished project!  All of the little trinket items my daughter picked out fit perfectly in the bags!  I do need to add some string for handles to the bags....but I have to make a trip to the craft store (apparently, I am out!).  There will be pictures of the bags at the party to follow on Monday!


Breakfast Jammer Sticks!

I found a breakfast version of my Jammer Sticks and tried them out on my family tonight!  They were huge hit! (No Big Surprise there!)

Here's how to put them together!

Cook breakfast sausage and scrambled eggs like you would for a regular breakfast meal.  Cut the sausage link in half and place it on an un-rolled crescent roll.  Then, spoon about a tablespoon of scrambled eggs on top or beside the halved sausage link.

Roll up the crescent roll and bake as directed on the crescent roll container.  We served ours with a side of bacon and hash browns and dipped the jammer sticks in salsa!  The kids loved them and the meal was super filling!  This was our dinner tonight but you can of course eat for breakfast!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

3-D Disney Princess Table Decor!

I have decided to post the projects for my daughter's birthday as I get them finished (instead of waiting until the end like I did for my son's a few weeks ago.)  My daughter turns 4....that's right 4! on Sunday!  We are having a princess themed party with 5 of her closest friends and frankly....I am very stoked about this party!

The first project that I have tackled and finished in preparation for the party this Sunday is the table top decor pieces.  I found these FREE 3-D paper crafts on Disney's website that are much more affordable than buying something in the store.  I didn't do them all...because frankly, these took FOREVER to do.  I cut each piece with an exacto knife and then glued them all together.  It took about 45 minutes to complete each princess/character.  So, if this is something you want to do....choose carefully, enlist help, and create a good sized time frame to get them'll need breaks!

Here is the link for the main page of princess paper crafts.  These are the "3-D" crafts.  I did Rapunzel, Cinderella, Belle, Aurora, Snow White, Fairy Godmother, Ariel (as a mermaid), Gus the mouse, and Jacque the mouse.  I have the print outs to Flounder and the little green guy from Tangled...but these two are not have to do the coloring I have not yet decided if I am going to dedicate any more time to this....I have a lot to do!   I will update this post with a picture of the pieces at the party so that you can see my vision once it comes to light! 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tax Time!!

With the IRS putting off the first day in which you can file, there is a lot to consider as your personal tax time comes closer and closer!  The IRS has stated that they will open e-file to the public on Jan. 31st and that date is almost here!  If you don't already do your taxes....using a FREE program is the best way to save several hundreds of dollars!  I use a because it free for EVERYONE!  (Places like TurboTax and HR Block Online charge you if you require a Schedule C and other such forms)  I used to go to my local tax office, have them do my taxes for me and get charged up to $800 a year!  That's insane!  If you have a bank account and you are getting a return....the wait time is about 10 days on average!  You can wait 10 days to have all of your money instead of paying someone for a rapid return....right?  

Doing your own taxes is so much easier these days and websites like TaxAct make it that much easier.  All you have to do is answer their questions, input your information and click "Next"!  If you only have W-2's it is a breeze and for you small business will simply need your end of year reports.  They will double check all your potential deductions and that is a super bonus for me!

To file your federal return, it is completely FREE!  Who doesn't like Free?  They will also file your state for you....but that does cost money, no matter where you go.  When it comes to your state return...I suggest doing your own paper file.  You can take the information right off of your federal return (that you will print when the online service is done filling in the blanks for you!).

Tax time shouldn't be complicated or stressful!  It is the final thing to closing out the year before....and for all my frugal gals out it for FREE!  I highly recommend TaxAct....I have used them for years but, shop around, read up on the the other companies offering the service and check out the IRS's website.  TaxAct also has a free Ap that allows you to track your return as it gets approved by the IRS and has links to check on your return status!

If you have any tax related questions, feel free to ask me.....I have been doing taxes for a long enough time...if I don't know the answer to your question...I know where to look for it!

~Happy Filing!

UpCycled Paint Pad!

My daughter LOVES to paint.  Ever since we took the kids to Bass Pro two years ago to paint bird houses, my daughter is constantly asking for new material to paint!  Today she is helping me paint the #4 that will appear at her party this weekend (Yep...I am planning ANOTHER birthday already!).  I thought I would share with you all what she is painting on!  A few years back, we had a HUGE table that sat 8 people.  I wanted this table so bad because we have 6 and where were our guests to eat if they were to be over...however, I swiftly learned that our tiny home did not go with this oversized table and we sold it opting for a 6 seat table and some coach sitting when there are guest over.  When I owned the table I had placemats (the thing was NOT cheap so I did whatever I could to protect it).  After the table left, I still had to the place mats.  I do not use them on the current table because I have fallen out of love with their design.  

One day, I had decided to throw them out...but as I walked to the dumpster....I had a better idea!  These mats are now our paint pads!  They get used ALL the time!  From a service to safely paint on, to a board to put under paper when using sharpie markers, these mats have gone far beyond their $2 cost!  

 Here is a list of things that we use these old place mats for! (now, to ensure the point is clear....these mats are made of a flexible but thick plastic...they are floppy and pretty durable.)

~Sharpie Designs
~Straight Edge Cutting
~Playdoh Play
~Building Blocks (on the carpet)

I originally bought these at Walmart in the Kitchen Department for $2 a piece....and I am every so glad that I did!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

FREE ebook~Book One of a series!

Here is yet another ebook that I got for FREE and it's still available for FREE!  The only is book one of a series (like The Widow) and the remaining three books are not's a great read....lessons in Faith in God!

Land of My Heart (Heirs of Montana Book #1) 


Re-Stick a Cricut Mat!

It's true!  The rumors on Pinterest are true!  And it is super easy!!  There is one product you need to make it all bring the sticky back to your mat...over and over!  I searched and Cricut forum after forum....and there were several products mentioned...many swear by them.  I chose one....the one I found the be the most used....and I gave it try.  The product? ZIG Memory System 2-Way Glue.  One of the post I saw about this product claimed I would already have it on hand....but in reality....I had never heard about before.  I still consider myself a newbie to this scrapbooking/Cricut/paper craft, yeah, I had to go shopping! 

 I found this amazing product at Hobby Lobby...list price $6.99...coupled with a weekly 40% off coupon...I paid less than $5 for this bottle.  I had a long struggle on where to find it!  My first thought was to go the glue section of the store....I was mistaken...I even considered that Hobby Lobby may not have it!  Thankfully, I was not shopping alone and my fiance thought to see if there was a glue section in the scrapbooking section of the store!  Sometimes having a man around....can really pay off (just told him I said that!).  In the scrapbooking department is where I found this little bottle of miracle sticky-ness!

So, here are the step-by-step rules to bringing your cricut mat back to life!

1.  CLEAN  your mat!  Some folks (maybe even you) have the tool kit...I do not...I haven't discovered a need to spend the $20....but I am coming close to it!  I used a paint scrapper to get all the tiny pieces of paper and animal hair that had been stuck to the mat.  I think wiped it down with a wet paper towel.  I have seen people go all out with a sink of soap and water or take a butt wipe to it.  What strikes your fancy....just clean that bad boy up!

2. Let it dry!  You are going to want a dry surface to mess with, so after you are done cleaning sure it's dry before you go applying new glue to it.

3. Get to work!  You will need to press down on the tip of the zig (against paper...not with your fingers) until the white tip is covered in blue....the blue stuff is the glue!  Once your glue is a-flowing...cover the entire grid of your mat with it!  It only needs one layer of the stuff but make sure you don't miss any spots.  The first few strips won't be even so you will have to glance over the area and be sure the whole thing is wet.

4. Air drying the glue.  What makes this stuff work is letting it air dry.  It is a 2-way glue.  If you place the glue down and put something on top of will stay there!  If you let the glue air will become a re-positional stick....which is essentially what was on your mat originally.  You will know that the glue is dry when all the blue hue is gone...this took about 15 minutes for me but I have read that it can take up to 20.

5. You are ready to rock and roll!  This stick is better than the original stick and now the only reason you will have to buy another mat is if/when you cut on it so much it is useless.  I have 6...that's right...6 mats!  Because, frankly, I was clueless to the ability to re-sticky my mat...I didn't even know it was an option!  Know that I do....the money I am going to save this year is going to be massive!

Owning and using a Cricut is expensive business...the cartridges are not cheap....which is why my list of "I wants" is much larger than my list of "I haves" and anything that makes being a cricut owner cheaper....I am down for!  There will be sales on Cricut brand products soon....there always is this time of year...I will keep you all updated on those...because having a Cricut is like owning a's the best thing to have in your home!!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Switching from Comcast to ATT U-Verse!

Today is a big day in this house!  We have been hostage Comcast customers forever! (well...ever since we moved to the area with no other choice).  We have had outrageous billing months and some months that were more than okay in price....however, we have NEVER, EVER had the low bill we are suppose to have before OnDemand movies were considered.....we have looked into satellite companies....but I certainly wasn't going to deal with not have my AMC...The Walking Dead show is a part of this family, I will not do without it!  A little over a year ago...we looked into ATT U-verse...but the deposit they wanted for our lack of amazing credit was insulting to say the least!  In our current fight with Comcast...we had been looking for a way out....we've charged for services that are suppose to be included and over charged for a movie we ordered....I even had a rep (the guy who set us up) threaten to have my service messed with if I did not refrain from doing something he didn't want me to do (we know the guy personally....unfortunately).  Comcast offered no remedy and basically called me an idiot!  UGH!  I hate bad customer service!!!! 

Prayers were answered yesterday when to our luck and ATT door to door salesman came a-knocking!  I can explain how excited I am to say that this woman was our saving grace in our TV and internet problems.  Not only did she get us set-up with ATT U-Verse with NO deposit or up front cost....she has us getting switched over TODAY!!!!  Our regular bill will be a tad more than Comcast...but we have never paid that low of a bill anyway!  And....we are getting WAY more channels and movie options!  My internet will be fast and the kids will actually have a phone to use for calling!  To say I am the understatement of the year!!

I have some things I am working on for this afternoon!  I have made some progress with my home notebook and will be posting that for you are...AND I learned how to re-sticky my cricut mat...which is amazing and I will be sharing that as well this afternoon!

Blog at ya later!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another FREE eBook!

Widow of Larkspur Inn, The (The Gresham Chronicles Book #1)

I was so completely stuck on this book the entire time I was reading it!  I will be getting the next three books in the series!  This is a strong Christian book about a woman who finds out her husband was less than honest with his money.  After his death this single mother finds herself in a strength seeking journey to raise her three kids properly and with the right morals to avoid their father's demise.  Set in England just after the American Civil War, there are many lessons to be learned....for the characters AND the reader!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

FREE ebook~One I loved!

 The Inconvenient Duchess

 I found this FREE ebook a while's still listed as FREE!!  If you like old school settings (like before electricity old school)...this was a great read for fact...I finished it a couple days ago...and I am still thinking about it!  Kinda hoping to find a sequel!  Go quick and check it out!  Before the price jumps back up!

Every couple of days I get on and search for free books...I have found some pretty good ones!   I plan on sharing them...comment below if you want to see more!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Cricut Cuts-All Sports!

My cricut is one of my favorite pieces to mom life!  I can do so many amazing things with it....(although there are many many carts that I still need!)  For those of you with one...or are thinking about getting is four cuts I used for my most recent birthday party! 

They are all from the Cartridge named "All Sports" and it was a recent Christmas Gift...basically because my mother loves me!  There is another sports one..."Sports Mania" that I will be getting soon and you will see many cuts from it as well!

My son had a football party (he's a new Redskins fan and since we don't live in Washington State..I had to order some supplies...).  I bought colored papered to match the Redskins colors and went to work!

There are five football players on this cartridge (one of which is female)....I used three of them!

There is also a TON of football themed cuts...I did a couple...but messed all but one of them when I was putting them together...since I waited until the last minute to do these...I didn't have time to re-do them...anyway, here is the one I did do!
I love doing these and will using my Princess cuts in two weeks for my daughter's birthday party!


The 9 year old's Birthday Party!!!!

This year, my 9 year old has his smallest turn out in guest....but I believe the most fun since he was 5.  It was his first home party since he started school and had guests outside of family...and I must say, it was quite successful!!  My middle son has the largest circle of friends out of all my kids and the age range is pretty large (he shares friends with his older and younger brother).  He is active, dangerous and funny...and very likeable.  He also has a big heart...which has put in a couple of situations where his "friends" take advantage of him.  As we sat down to make his invite list...I assumed that we would be inviting his class (because we do every year and then invite a handful of kids he plays sports with that are not in class or in his school).  This year....he informed me that the friends in class have been judging him because we don't live in their nice neighborhood and ask him all the time why he doesn't have the expensive shoes and clothes that they have....basically making him feel inferior.  He knows that they don't know any better....but it still frustrates him to have remind them that you don't have to have $120 pair of shoes to have comfortable or name brand shoes...he wears the same brands as they do...but we don't buy hottest shoe...we wait until the prices drop. the most recent of time frames...they were giving him a hard time about having an "at-home" party.  This was a choice that he made and had NOTHING to do with money. He got a lot of cool things for Christmas last month....and he wanted to play with his friends for his birthday.

After this emotional conversation.....I asked him which kids he thought would not care where his birthday party was at...and which kids he missed hanging out with the most....the list we came up with was a good size....but much much shorter than years past.  Planning for this birthday party gave us an opportunity to have that conversation about what truly makes a good friend and what we do to keep them around!  The friends that he chose just happen to be the children of parents who I am friends it was super great to see some them (some of them we only see a few months out of the year because they go to different schools in our district and we only play one sport with them).

We tried to play flag football outside but that only last 20 minutes!  So we broke out the games we made last year....then turned my house into a war zone with the array of military guns my boys own (toy guns of course) and booted up the Xbox upstairs!  I made a ton of sandwiches, pizza rolls, mozzarella sticks, deviled eggs, chips and salsa, veggies and dip...and of course soda and cupcakes!  None of the kids were ready to go home...and that's when you know these were the right kids for my son to have over!  Several of his friends had already bought tickets to a dirt bike show that was on the same for the record...we don't like the people who run that!   Two of his closest friends already had tickets before they got the invite to the party!

We had so much fun! Below are links to the things and projects we had leading up to this party!

Numbered Centerpiece
Field Goal Cupcakes
Homemade Penalty Flags
Birthday Banner
Table Top Goal Post
Cricut Cuts



Numbered Centerpieces!

A little over year ago...when I was planning my last birthday for kiddo number 2...I stole (with permission) an idea from a friend of mine.  She took a paper mache number she bought at Hobby Lobby and painted it to match the decor of her son's birthday.  It is a brilliant idea and I have used them with every birthday since!  It makes a great centerpiece!  Because my middle son has chosen the same theme two years in a row....I had two painting ideas and now have them both!  The number 9 was this year's number (ugh)....

I painted it to look like a football field

Here are the numbers I did for the boys last daughter has a "3" but could not find hers...go figure!

The "8" is from the football birthday last year...for the same kid...the "7" is from my youngest son's angry birds themed birthday last June and the "10" is from my oldest son's Hunger Games birthday last April.

I have seriously thought about getting these on Etsy...but I am not sure how that would go....I have a slight problem with putting myself out there in that aspect.

Regardless...I use acrylic paint that I stock up on at Micheal's (typically on their 3/$1.00 sale a few times a year).  The numbers run about $2.50 at Hobby Lobby....I always use a 40% off coupon when I get these.


Field Goal Cupcakes!

I searched to the ends of the internet (mainly pinterest) for the perfect idea for the cupcakes I was going to make.  Up until this birthday party....I have ALWAYS had a store bought cake!!!  Always!  I usually spend a pretty penny on them fact, the football birthday party we had last year had a two tier cake that looked like a football stadium and cost me just short of $50!!  It was super awesome...worth every penny...but I wanted to start having a bigger hand in my kids' special here is what I came up with!  At the end of the post, I will post a link to the blogger who I grabbed the idea from...I did change up a few I am sharing my own pics!  This whole thing was super easy and you don't need a lick of creativity to pull this one off!

First off, we bought box cake son really enjoyed picking out his cake....this made it so much more personal for him.  He chose funfetti white cake...and we dyed it green!

After they cooled....we made green icing...white "can" frosting dyed green with food coloring just like the cakes...we put a good coating on top of each cupcake...
Then....and this is where it gets fun!!!  We dumped a bottle of green sugar sprinkles into a small bowl...and dipped the iced cupcake in the sprinkles....this gave a fun "grass" effect without me spending tons of time with a tip!

Before I iced and sprinkled the cupcakes...while the cupcakes were cooling...I made edible goal posts!  This idea in its entirety came from the blog with this cupcake idea!  All the credit goes to whoever gave her the idea!  I used melt-able candy (which is really colored white chocolate.)

I put the candies in the one icing sleeve I have and used the tip that would give me the straightest line.  The idea is to put the candies in the bag you are going to use...microwave as directed until the candy is melted...remove from the then squeeze the candy out in the shape desired...onto parchment paper (this is a very important part!).  When the candy is can removed from the paper.  (They also make molds to make candied suckers!)

Now, when the cupcakes were sprinkled...I took the cleaned out icing bag and drew two white lines down each make yardage markers...once done with that...I put a goal post on each cupcake!

The kids loved them!!!  And so did the parents!  Every raved about the goal posts being edible....and it's always great to realize your ideas were great ones!

Here is a link to original... Miss Make  her pictures are much better than mine....some day soon...I will have a better camera and will be taking much better pictures!!!!  Promise!