Friday, May 24, 2013

Cricut Step-by-Step to Cutting a Individual Digital Download with Team Spirit Eagle!

I love my Eagles!  My little brother played for them and now my three sons do!  I can't explain the excitement level when I found a Cricut cut of an Eagle Head that is almost identical to our mascot head!

Here is my first project with my first individual Craftroom purchase (not as easy as it looks).

Most of this post is going to talk about how to separate the layers of an individual cut purchase.

Step One:  Change the Machine on the Left Hand Corner of the CraftRoom Workplace.  This can be done clicking on the Green Tab that says Machine.  You want to change it to Imagine.  This is because it will change the layers to color and you will be able to see the layers and which cuts will be made together.

Step Two:  Find the little Green "Button" at the bottom of the image that says "Edit Group" and click it.  In the top right hand corner of the work place you will see two Brown and White buttons that say "Separate" and "Combine."  Click "Separate."

Step Three:  Move all layers that you do not wish to cut at this time to the right hand side off of the cutting board. Place the layer you do want to cut in the proper place on the cutting board.

Step Four:  Change the Machine on the left hand side back to the machine you will be using to cut the image.

Step Five: Cut as normal.  You will be prompted that you have cuts not on placed properly on the board and that they will be skipped.  Click ok, this is referring to the cuts you moved off the board!

Repeat Steps Three through Five until all of your layers have been cut!

Here is how I assembled my Team Spirit-Eagle!!  Did I mention that I love the Eagles?

After my cuts were all made, I ran them through the sticker maker.  I find using the sticker back much easier to apply layers to each other than glue.  I can be more accurate and the mess is highly reduced!

Then I put them, this guy looks awesome!!!

Next I cut a piece of scrapbook paper that is covered in footballs.  I cut it to fit in an 8x10 Frame.  I put Mr. Eagle in the center....and then I frame him :)

~Happy Crafting!

Brandie (GO EAGLES!!)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ending the Elementary Years~Round One...I mean, Kid One!

So, my oldest son finished his elementary years today.  It was emotional to the say the least.  I was already having an emotional day, remembering my life 10 years ago as I graduated high school myself and said goodbye to my father as he passed on to the next world.

My oldest boy as come a long way in six years.  He started Kindergarten with a broken arm and football season he couldn't play.  He was dealing with a fresh move from Lebanon, Mo to three hours north so we could live in the same town as my parents.

His circle of friends has changed throughout the years as he has gone to three elementary schools within the same district.  Three years at one, not quite a full year at another and two point two five at the final school.

He has blossomed into one heck of a kid, he's a great big brother.  He gives his siblings an even dose of a loving and caring brother as well as a tormentor and pain.  He is protective over them, a great teacher, and an excellent example.  He has been known to wow other parents with his manners and mild tempered attitude.  He is funny (no really....this kid is hilarious!), he looks like his moma, and doesn't for one second let anything stop him from attaining his goals.

He played a baseball game tonight where two of teammates shared his 5th grade teacher.  Every hit, every out and every awesome play they dedicated to her hard work and love for them during their final year.  After the game my boy got teary eyed as the realization that "childhood" is over and "pre-teen" life is upon him.  He wants to stay in 5th grade (forever he says) so that he can keep this past year of good memories alive!

I love this boy!!

Here are a few pictures of my "not-so baby anymore" boy!

First Year of Teeball (2007)

Current Year (12U 2013)
First Year of Football (1st Grade 2008)

5th Grade Tackle Football (2012)

It's so hard to believe how fast he has grown!  I love him and I am so thankful God chose me to be his mother!  It's a privilege I hold very dear to my heart!
(Easter 2009)
Last Day with his Teacher!

A Ten Year Anniversary Times 2...and a MAJOR Milestone!

On May 23rd, 2003 my life changed forever!  I was 18, had a 13 month old son (Jayson), and was completely unprepared for the events that took place between May 22nd and 4:40 am May 23rd.  At exactly 4:40 am, my father slipped from this world to the next while I lay asleep curled up at his ICU bedside.  He was 47 years, a young man as I look back on his life.  A man gone before his years should have ended.....and completely at his own hands.  My father didn't commit suicide in the traditional sense, but he knew that this behavior was slowly killing him and he still couldn't stop.

In 1988, he was diagnosis with Pancreatitus, a disease of the pancreas that is brought on my excessive alcohol consumption and stress.  The only cure, to quit drinking and reduce the stress in one's life.  My father did neither.  As I grew up and watched my father grow sick, I knew his death was just a matter of time and I prayed that he would live long enough to watch his grandchildren grow.

On May 8th, 2003 he was admitted to the hospital for what seemed like a routine draining.  By May 21st, he was scheduled to be released just in time to attend my high school graduation at 6 p.m. on May 23rd.  Over night between the 21st and the 22nd, my father did two amazing things; he asked for "the tube" something he had refused in the past claiming he didn't want to be kept alive the same way his father was (who was brain dead for 15 days before all the siblings finally signed the paperwork to turn it off) and he survived 16 small heart attacks.  His body was shutting down.....and he knew it.  Over the next 24 hours, his five children came and said goodbye.   The two of us that were of age, signed the proper paperwork to turn off his oxygen machine when his heart stopped, just as he wished.  That still marks my life as the hardest decision I have ever made.

At 4:40 am, the day of my high school graduation, my father died.   There is only one death that I believe would ever be worse then this....and that is the death of a child, my child.  God willing, I will never be asked to survive that.

10 years have passed since that strange and heart-breaking day.  I still remember the warmth of my friend's hand as we walked side by side to our seats at graduation.  I still remember what he said to me before we parted to take our seats.  I remember the words of my father's friend, my high school principal, as he announced a moment of silence to my classmates and informed them of my loss just 14 hours before.  I remember the surprised stares I got from the girls sitting around me and the smell of my father's favorite shirt under my graduation gown.  I remember that feeling of pride, knowing my father was watching despite his transition earlier that day.

In the 10 years that have gone by, I have done amazing things.  I have lived through terrifying events.  I have given birth to three more children and I have found my daddy's little girl over and over again.  I am not where I thought I would be 10 years ago.  I know back then, it felt like forever!  It's today :)  I love where I am, I love that I still have goals and mile markers to reach.

I find it enlightening that my oldest son has one of his biggest milestones on this 10 year anniversary.  He is currently attending his last day of elementary school!  There is a very emotional "March to Middle School" coming in about an hour and half.  My son and his classmates will walk the halls of elementary school for the last time at about 10:40 this morning!  I love that little boy!  He kept me grounded 10 years ago.  If it weren't for him, I would have taken a much darker path after my father died.  I owe my life to him!

Here is my baby on his first day of Kindergarten!

I will post later today a little story about my soon-to-be 6th grader! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Magnetic Board!

One of the first projects I found on Pinterest was a magnetic make-up board!  I have finally got one of my own!  It was no cheap project {I had big dreams!}!  However, I do want to share it with you!

Here is a break down of the supplies you will need to make this yourself:

Open Photo Frame {I got mine at HL; 31.99 with a 40% off coupon}
Magnetic material {I bought a huge sheet at Home Depot....about $8}
Caulking {Found this in my garage}
Hanging Hooks/Loops {Had these in my tool bag}
5 Minute Apoxy {Walmart about $5}

I let the other half do a lot....okay all....of the metal cutting.  After cutting myself stringing baseballs...I wasn't taking any chances!  He measured the inside of the frame and cut the metal material to size.  I used the caulking to seal the metal material to the back side of the frame {see below}.

Once that was dry, I measured out where I wanted my hooks.  I marked them off and used the 5 minute apoxy to affix them to the frame.  I put a dab where I wanted the hook, placed the hook down on top of it.  Once that was almost dry, I put a layer of apoxy on top of the hook so ensure a strong hold {see below}.

Since I am using this for my make-up, I also got some crafting magnets and glued them to the back of the make-up pieces.

I can't tell you how excited about this thing I am!!

~Happy Organizing!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Moma's Pasta Salad!

I have always loved pasta salad...especially with a good BBQ meal.  My children, however, have never liked it!  After a series of BBQ's with friends last summer, I finally found a pasta salad combo that my kids love....and ask for seconds!

Here the ingredients I use:
a box of tri-color noodles
a bottle (regular size) of HyVee Light Italian Dressing
A small can of black olives
a bag of Chunk Cheese
two handfuls of Hormel Mini Pepporonis

I boil the noodles as directed and drain them.  Once drained, I put them in a plastic bowl that has a lid.  I then add the handfuls of pepperoni and the can of black olives.  I mix this up pretty well.  Then I add the bottle of Italian Dressing and mix again.  Once that is all mixed well, I put the bowl in the freezer to cool it.  The idea is to get the temperature down enough that that the heat will not melt the cheese chunks.

Once the pasta is cooled and the cheese is added, the pasta salad is ready to eat.

Here is a list of ingredients you can add if you can get your kiddos to eat it:

Chopped celery
sliced carrots
Green olives
Diced Cucumbers

~Happy Summer Cookin'

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Guest Post: 5 Family Travel Tips

Midwest Moma has it's first Guest Post!  Kendra Thornton is a mom of 3 who has spent time working for Orbitz as a director of communications.  She has been to 28 countries, 6 continents, and has been quoted in the news about seasonal travel trends all over the US.  She wanted to share some easy to follow, trip saving tips with all of you!

Memorial Day is around the corner and if anyone is traveling....a little "expert" advice never hurts!  Here is what Kendra suggest to do when traveling with little ones to make the entire experience more enjoyable for the whole family!

Enjoy! and Happy Vaca-ing!


Summer Vacation: 5 Family Travel Tips

Taking a summer vacation with your family can be one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life or it could be a nightmare. If you don't take the time to plan out a few things in advance, it will probably swing more to the nightmare end of the spectrum. I know from experience. I've taken family trips with a little bit of planning and created wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. I've also tried to wing it and ended up wanting to leave the kids with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom. Here are a few summer vacation family travel tips that you might want to take to heart.

1. Don't Skip Breakfast

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to taking a family vacation is skipping breakfast. They are in such a hurry to get out of the hotel room and get to a theme park that they just skip breakfast altogether. While this is understandable, you are going to regret it later on.

By about 9:30 the kids will be asking for a snack or lunch. They'll also be cranky and won't have the energy that they need to get through the park. Take the time to eat a nutritious breakfast even if it means waking up a little early.

2. Pack Your Kids Favorite Snacks

During your trip, it's always a good thing to have your kid's favorite snack to hand to them. Otherwise, they're going to ask for every single food item that they see along the way. Restaurant billboards will start to become a curse as they want to stop at every one. Have some pudding or a cookie on hand to give them when they get hungry on the way. If you have to spot at a fast food or theme park for a treat, focus on making healthy eating decisions regardless!

3. Recreate the Sleeping Environment

When you're traveling with little ones, getting them to fall asleep can be a major challenge. Even if they are worn out from a day at the parks, they will still want to stay up and play. I always try to recreate their normal sleeping environment as closely as possible. You can do this by bringing their favorite blanket, their pillows, or stuffed animals along. If you have a baby, you could cover up their playpen or crib with a blanket to make it dark while they sleep. A tip to keep in mind is that there are many Orlando hotels in Walt Disney World that ensure quiet hour policies at night so their visitors get a solids nights rest!

4. Allow Plenty of Time

When you take a family vacation, it's easy to cram as much as possible into your trip. You don't want to miss out on any amazing opportunities with your kids. However, try to schedule in some relaxation or "easy days" on your trip. Also try to allow a recuperation day when you get back home instead of putting them right in school.

5. Let the Kids Bring Some Stuff

I always try to let the kids bring a small bag of whatever they want to take. Whether that's a few toys, stuffed animals, activity books, or whatever, I let them choose. This can reduce the number of tantrums that they tend to experience while traveling.

If you'll keep these tips in mind, your family vacation should be a lot more enjoyable for you and the kids. Just try to take it easy and remember that this has the potential to be one of your greatest memories as a family.

~ Kendra


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reaching out to Etsy!

Two weeks ago, I opened up an Etsy shop!  My first (and currently only) item listed is the Baseball Wreath I posted about not too long ago.  So far I have sold two (both still need to be made) and I have learned that I seriously under sold myself!!  Balls are a lot more expensive that I thought they were and used balls are tons harder to come by than I anticipated!!

I am trying to figure out how much more I should charge for the wreaths to keep the price fair but the profits worth the time and effort.  I found some other Etsy shops that sell very similar items and charge tons more than I do.  I think that I am going to get these two out, take down the add, change a few things and repost for slightly more money.

Turning my passions into a paycheck has been one the harder things I have done to date.  I just need to find something else (rather, several else's) to get on the shop!

To find the Etsy shop, go HERE!

~Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How to Remove Grass and Mud Stains from Baseball Pants!

For any mom whose child plays baseball and softball, white pants can be the scariest thing in the world!  I have three boys and it seems that at least two of them end up in white pants every season!  This year...ALL of them are in white!

After six seasons of this game....I have a system to keep my white pants looking as white as can be....WITHOUT using bleach!  I hate bleach, the smell of it, what it does to the cloths I don't want bleach on, and frankly....I don't have time for that ;)

I have experimented with several stain removers and laundry detergents and finally found a duo that does the trick, every time, always!

I pre-treat my pants with Shout! stain remover and let it set for about 10 minutes, I then spray it again right before I drop it into the wash.  I use Tide detergent to wash.  I have used the entire line, and any of them will work.  Currently I am in love with the Pods!  I love the fact that I can keep count of how many loads of detergent I have left before having to buy more! Ha!

Here is a pair of pants fresh home from a game...Gross, I know!

Here is what they look like after I treated and washed them!

Pretty cool huh?!

I hope you can put my little trick to use with your ball players....every little bit of awesome advice helps!

Happy Cleaning!

Monday, May 13, 2013

How to Transfer Vinyl WITHOUT Transfer Paper!

It's time to get ready for summer....and vinyl is the newest "in" thing!  I craft on a budget...and vinyl transfer paper is expensive!  I knew there had to be an alternative to using it...and there is!  Painter's Tape is the answer!  I have that stuff all over my house between my own projects and the other half's.

Here is my "Drink Tub" and a step-by-step Tutorial on how to use it :)

Step 1:  Cut Your Vinyl

Step 2:  Cover the vinyl with the painter's tape (be sure to leave a small area outside of the tape, this makes it easier to get the tape off)

Step 3: Peel the backing off of the vinyl so that it looks like the photo below.

Step 4:  Place the vinyl where and on what you like.  I am labeling my drink tub for summer BBQ's.

Step 5:  Carefully peel the tape off of the vinyl.  I started with an area of tape that was not attached to the actual vinyl.  Be careful to encourage the vinyl to stay while the tape comes off.  If you move too fast or are not careful, the vinyl will not stay.

Step 6:  Awe in the wonder if your great craftiness!!

Don't forget to have fun!!


Friday, May 10, 2013

The Final Day of Teacher Appreciation!

I have always had a special place in my heart for my children's teachers.  If not for them, my child would be lost...hell, I'd be lost without them!

On the final day of Teacher Appreciation Week, I had the kids pick out a cup for their teacher.  We then filled it with little goodies to get their summer off to a fun a start!  We got bubbles, sunscreen, hair ties, foot lotion and soak (for sandal feet), and gift card to Sonic (to fill their cup up).

I also attached a heart felt note telling each teacher why I appreciated them and thanked them for making teaching their life.  This is the least I could do and no cute Pinterest inspired project or decor piece will ever express how much these women (and men on occasion) mean to me!

Here are some photos of the cups and the content!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day Three Teacher Appreciation Week: Keep Calm and Teach On!

This is probably my favorite teacher gift to date!  So much so that I have been considering making more for the teachers I have worked with in the past with my kiddos!  (But sshh, don't tell them!)

I saw post after post of the "Keep Calm and Teach On" printables all over Pinterest.  I however, have this tick that makes want to do my own my I put my own twist on the ever popular saying string!

I broke out my Cricut Machine and used the basic font provided for free with the Cricut Craftroom software and cut out the letters I needed to make the sign.

"Keep Calm" and "Teach On" were cut at the 1.75 inch default height and the "and" was cut at the 1.25 inch default.  I found the cutest teacher themed scrap book paper to back these phrases and did a different one for each of my teachers!

I really hope they love them as much as I do!

~Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Day One of Teacher Appreciation Week: Candy Jars!

I have put together a week's worth of awesome little tokens of my appreciation for the teachers in my life.  Day one is a jar filled with their favorite candy!

I bought three mason jars, one for each of my teachers.  I found a cute printed paper and cut circles that would fit into the mason jar lid.

Then I filled each jar with my teacher's favorite candy.  I found some cute little sayings on the internet to correspond with each candy type and I hand wrote it on tags I bought from Pick Your Plum (Love that site!).

I personalized each jar with a monogram sticker for each teacher!

I hope that they enjoy them....the next four days are filled with more fun stuff!  Once they are delivered, I will post them (don't want to give away any surprises!)

~Happy Teacher Appreciation week!