Sprucing up my bedroom with a little bit of my mom

I had this ugly lamp in my bedroom, on my bedside table.  Given that the phone lives there, and a basket with my must-read books, and whatever assorted items kids bring in, I realized recently, the lamp has to go.  I wasn’t turning it on, I hated it, it was too big for the space, and…well, it was a free lamp that I hated.  I decided to let my guilt go, donate the lamp (another man’s trash, right?) and set out to find an adorable SMALL lamp I could use for middle of the night wakings, etc….or reading.  Whichever, or both.  Of course, I was supposed to be shopping for GE Lighting, so I went over to check out their new light bulbs











I went to Walmart last and actually found an adorable little lamp, but it was kind of…boring.  It needed something.  I decided to bring the lamp home and take a few days to think about what I’d do with it.

Over the weekend, my husband surprised me with a belated birthday gift.  The jewelry chest my mom had, for oh, forever?  (It’s at least 45 years old, she got it when she was stationed in Japan during her Air Force years) The chest that had a bottom drawer that didn’t close for as long as I could remember.  My dad gave this chest to me, right when mom died, and I still to this day haven’t been ready to go through the box.  But this weekend, when my husband took me to the basement to show me he’d fixed it, to surprise me, I was able to open a drawer or two.  I’m definitely still not ready to go through it all, but I did find, in the second drawer I opened, some costume jewelry that just seemed…well, made for my lamp.

So I took that jewelry out, shed some tears, hugged my husband, and said, “I need my glue gun.  Right now.”

Bewildered, he grabbed it for me (we store it up high) and shook his head as I ran up the stairs to assemble supplies.  Cute, boring lamp: Check.  Glue gun: check.  Costume jewelry: Check. Scissors: Check.

My mom’s old costume jewelry has made my mom’s lamp far more personal, less boring, and keeps her close for just a little bit longer.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes, the strange things in life happen just when you need them to?


In honor of my mom’s lifelong love of protecting our earth, I of course had to use a “green” lightbulb – which I found tons of at Walmart (and don’t be sad, you can see ALL of my shopping photos in my Google Plus album) and am trying to change all of our bulbs in the house to greener ones.

What do you think of my boring lamp now? I love it! I also like knowing the bulb I put in there will last several years, if not longer- so I paid a bit more up front, but will have less cost in replacements (don’t have to) and less harm to our earth. Win, win.

I could be saving $177.24 a year just by changing all of our bulbs in the house to energy efficient ones. What would your savings be? http://www.gelighting.com/na/home_lighting/products/pop_lighting_calc.htm

 I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and GE Lighting. #CBias #SocialFabric”


EASY Pennant Banner Craft & Tutorial !!

It seems like I see these adorable pennant banners everywhere I look lately. They can be made with crafting paper or fabric and are super easy to put together. There are so many uses for these banners: summer parties, birthday parties, photography, or simply used as a decoration in a child’s room.

easy pennant banner tutorial

I developed my own technique for making quick and easy banners using scrap pieces of fabric and very little sewing. Now I have the option of changing out my banners for the occassion! Supplies:

  • Scrap Fabric (I used 4 different fabrics, 1/4 yard of each)
  • 1 piece of cardboard
  • Heat N’ Bond Lite
  • 9 yards of cotton rope
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine and White Thread

1. Make a Template out of Cardboard

I simply drew a diamond

shape on a piece of cardboard by tracing 2 triangles back to back. My triangles measure 7 inches across and are 8 inches long. Once your shape is traced, just cut it out with sturdy scissors. 2. Cut Out Your Fabric and Heat N’ Bond

Use your template to cut out fabric. Each 1/4 yard of fabric will yield 2 cut outs. My banner has 7 pennants, so I cut out that many shapes from my template. Cut out the same number of pieces from your Heat N’ Bond using your template. 3. Adhere Heat N’ Bond To Your Fabric Pieces Simply use your iron to adhere the Heat N’ Bond to the BACK of your fabric pieces. Iron with the paper side up. 4. Start Assembling!


Line up your fabric pieces in the order you will place them on the rope. Take your center pennant and peel of the heat n’ bond paper. Place it on the ironing board, heat n’ bond side up. Place the center of your rope in the center of the fabric. Fold the fabric over (so you have made a triangle) and iron. Continue with all your pennants. 5. Finishing

To secure my pennants to the rope I sew a quick stitch across the top. I do this in one fell swoop, using my zipper foot, and cutting the thread after I have run through all the pennants. 6. Hang and Enjoy!!!!

What will you use your pennant banner for??????

Glad Black Bag Craft Blog Tour: turn trash to TREASURE!

The Glad Art Auction lasts from April 16th through April 26th, and there are some truly amazing works of art on there. I’m in love with the Chimpanzee art, perhaps inspired by my newfound love of chimpanzees!?  Be sure to check it out.  There are just a few days left.  Turning trash to treasure can be fun- and beautiful, in more ways than one!

Have you seen Glad’s latest campaign – The Wild Life?  So cool and so much fun!  Be sure to visit Facebook.com/Glad and watch as real life becomes the wild life with a unique family of six wildlife–each of whom inspired the Glad Black Bag art auction’s unique art.
You can create your own sharable trailers for a chance to win $25,000 and other prizes and coupons!

I love that Glad is focusing on turning trash to treasure- and in such a fun, positive way!We decided to do some recycled crafts of our own- although I remembered AFTER the recycling was picked up last weekend so we didn’t have as much material to go by as we might otherwise have, but the kids had a blast and they are always happy to use materials – any materials- that they are allowed to cut, glue or color.

Any blogger will have packing materials around- the shredded orange paper?  Straight from a box that arrived that morning!! (The extras went to preschool with my son today.  Shredded paper is all the rage in preK.)

Got some fabric scraps, bits of yarn, felt, almost-empty tubes of glitter glue? No problem! Cover the table with Glad bags and newspaper (easy clean up, although I totally forgot to grab a shot of the table with the Glad bags on it) and let the kids go to town. When tubes of glitter glue are too far down to squeeze out, I cut the ends off and the kids use paintbrushes to apply.  It’s a different way to experience the same medium, no waste, and a new way to use the same old stuff.

We do a lot of reduce, reuse, recycle in our home…it’s something we feel is very important and have worked hard to instill that importance in the kids.  We use plastic bottles to make bird feeders- and I found a really neat idea on pinterest we’re going to do in the gardens- making drip irrigation systems using plastic soda bottles.  My husband built each of the kids a small raised bed in the garden this year, and we’re working on the square foot gardening concept in those.  Each of their beds has 9 squares, so they’ll be learning a lot about watering, weeding, etc.  They helped build the boxes, which we used excess lumber from other projects on- more recycling.

What do YOU do with materials you don’t have use for anymore?  Do you donate them?  Throw them out?  Freecycle them?  Repurpose them?  This is something I want to do over the summer!

Adorable, fun, and another great way to keep trash OUT of our landfills!  Can’t you just see a whole tire “worm” for kids to climb on?

Now, in cleaning all of the craft project mess up, and also an unfortunate incident I had over the weekend….Glad Black Bags have come to my rescue.  These are my favorite trash bags!!    So strong, so flexible- and trust me- they don’t rip.  I tried.  Well, I can’t say I tried- but oh goodness me.  I better just tell you the whole story.

See, my van is perpetually dirty.  3 kids, crumbs, dirt…you know.  A mom van.  So I was cleaning it out on Saturday, but our shopvac cord didnt’ reach to the van.  So Mr. Bargains helpfully used his handy retractable extension cord to get me some power.  Being awesome like I am, I was putting things away after finishing the big clean, and…well, while retracting the cord, it kind of whacked my elbow- surprising me, and I let go.  The housing for the cord is mounted about 8 inches below a large flourescent light.

Retractable extension cords should not be mounted anywhere near lights.  Particularly when you are married to someone clumsy like me.

Glad Black Bags came to the rescue in my 3 hour cleanup that commenced immediately after this photo was taken.

I was really nervous about the cleanup- which of course, the light shattered EVERYWHERE, and since my husband’s been doing some projects, there were things out all over the place…which means glass was in eleventy million places. Glass tends to poke through bags and stuff, making the risk of cuts and glass slivers worse and worse…I did double bag the glass mess, just in case,


As you can see, Glad bags are excellent to contain any trash, any time- no matter what the materials or how much. I love them, and I’m sold.  Now if they’d only come in pink….





“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Glad Black Bag and received a Glad Black Bag product, a craft kit and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Kids Frugal Fun: Scrabble Crafts

MomonDealz brings us a post each week that is fun, educational, and frugal. April 13th is National Scrabble Day which is a fun game that can be used to enhance your child’s vocabulary. When I googled Scrabble crafts I was amazed how how popular the ones below were-I had never seen them! If you’ve missed any previous crafts, check out Momondealz’s Kids Frugal Fun page.

Scrabble Crafts:

#1. Scrabble Coasters

Scrabble Letters
Cork Board
Mod Podge

1. Decide how many scrabble pieces wide you would like your coasters. I chose 5.

2. Lay the pieces out on the cork board and trace them to ensure the correct measurements.
3. Cut the cork board and cover it in Mod Podge.
4. Lay the Scrabble letters in the order you’d like.

5. Cover with Mod Podge and allow to dry.

6. To further protect the bottom of the coasters, we covered that in Mod Podge as well.

#2 Scrabble Photo Frame

Photo Frame
Scrabble Letters
Picture (s) of Your Choice

1. Arrange desired picture(s) in the frame.
2. Decide on phrase or phrases.
3. Glue letters on the glass of the frame.

Educational Activities:

  • Language Arts: 1. I chose to make the coasters using letters of family member names and sight words. This way Will can recognize his most important words. 2. Have your child create other words using the left over letters. If they are not able to do words, just review letter sounds using the game pieces. Scrabble is obviously a wonderful language arts game.
  • Math: Add the “score” of your coasters and frames by having your child add the numbers together of your created words. If they are more advanced, have them multiply the numbers. If they are younger, simply have them ID the numbers on the tiles.

Fun and Frugal Party Ideas – Reusable Snack Bags

What is your stance on party favor bags? As a general rule, I am against them. I like to send my party guests home with something memorable and useful. For my 3 year olds Busytown themed party I sewed up some reusable snack bags that turned out so cute! The kids loved taking home their bags, and parents were happy to take their little ones home with a useful gift. I am not a talented seamstress, but I was able to whip up these bags easily. Each one took about 15 minutes from start to finish. Supplies for 9 snack bags: Fabric – Cotton – 1 yard Design for front of bag – 1 yard Design for back of bag – 1 yard Coordinating design for lining of bag -Thread Sew On Velcro (8 inches per bag) Embellishments I found this great tutorial for Reusable Snack bags here at Prudent Baby. Please refer to this blog for detailed instructions. For my Busytown party, I was inspired by the new Busytown prints available at Fabric.com. In fact, I totally lucked out with the Busytown Book Panel, which is a yard of fabric with 12 images printed on it (intended to be sewn as a soft book). It turns out that each square is approximately 8 inches: just the perfect size for our snack bags. No measuring was needed. I just cut out the panels, then cut out one square of the same size from my fabric for the back and 2 for the lining. This left me with 4, 8 inch fabric square per snack bag. Sew embellishements on front and back of bag as desired (I used ric rac), set aside Sew the front of bag and lining fabric together, right sides facing: Repeat with the back panel and lining. You will now have 2 pieces. Turn the pieces so that wrong sides are facing. Press seam flat. Sew on Velcro to the lining side, at the top of the bag. Do this for both pieces. Take both of your pieces, with velcro sewn on, place them together so the lining with velcro is facing outwards (your bag will be inside out) Sew around the edges and bottom to make a bag. Turn right side out and sew another seam around the edges

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and bottom to finish. Done! These little bags would be great for any kid’s party. You can find fabric of almost any theme at fabric.com.

Kids Frugal Fun: How to make an Easter Basket

Every week MomonDealz brings us a kids craft that is fun, educational, and frugal. Easter is quickly approaching so the next couple of weeks will be Easter Crafts. If you’ve missed any previous crafts, check out Momondealz’s Kids Frugal Fun page.

Homemade Easter Basket

Cardboard box
Construction paper
Decor of your choice (depends on theme of your basket)
Glue or Mod Podge
Googly eyes

1. Cut the lid of your box off.

2. Paint the box in the color you desire. You can also cover it in construction paper if you don’t have paint (this would work better at covering any letters on the box).

3. Next we added the red lines of Thomas because I knew the face would be pasted over them.

4. Create the “face” of your Easter basket. My son chose Thomas so I cut and drew it, and he was able to color it and add the googly eyes.

5. Add the remaining features or characteristics of your character. We made wheels and the number 1 for Thomas and added those.

6. Create a handle. I originally had Will paint the lid of the box but the color red was off so we decided to just fold a piece of cardstock several times and this made it pretty stable. I suggest using cardboard for best results, we just ruined ours by painting it the wrong red.
7. Fill with grass and eggs or gifts/candy.

Some ideas to fill the basket:

Educational Activities:

  • Math: Discuss the shapes used in this craft (rectangle box, circle wheels and face, etc. You can put math shapes inside of plastic Easter eggs and have your child open them and identify the shapes found.
  • Language Arts: Create your Easter Basket based on your child’s favorite book character. Talk about how the character is described in the book to help bring him or her to life for your child.
  • Science: Grow your own Easter grass by getting some grass seed and putting it in a recycled yogurt or butter container. Discuss with your child the needs of the grass (sun, water) and how all plants need these things to survive.

Kids Frugal Fun: Nature Art

Every week MomonDealz brings us a kid-friendly craft that is fun, educational, and frugal. The first day of Spring was 3/20 so I thought it was a perfect excuse to go on a nature walk with my son. While walking we searched for “treasures” that we could use to create pictures. If you’ve missed any previous crafts, check out Momondealz’s Kids Frugal Fun page. If you enjoy my crafts, please be sure to share them on Pinterest!

Nature Art

Mod Podge
Sticks, Rocks, Flowers, Grass, other Nature Items

1. Take a walk with your child and look for items in nature that could be used to create art. Help your child identify certain things and which are appropriate to take as a “treasure”.

2. Cover a sheet of cardstock with Mod Podge (or glue).

3. Allow your child to create words or pictures by laying the “treasures” on the glue. Be sure to have your child ID characteristics of the items while you work (color, shape, size, texture).

Educational Actitivies:

  • Language Arts-1. Have your child spell words or names with the nature items. 2. Create a nature book with your child. Put one item on each sheet of paper and label the item and have your child write the name of each item.
  • Science-This craft lends itself to just about every single Standard of Learning there is for Kindergarten students. 1. Have your child describe items both verbally and pictorally by telling you about them and then drawing pictures in a journal when you get back home. Be sure to have them ID colors, shapes, and sizes of the items. 2. ID the changes in the enviroment that are happening due to the season change. 3. Play around with larger items by creating shadows with them.
  • Math-When you get home you can have your child measure each object or line all the objects up and measure the complete line. You can group objects by size and count how many are in each size group.

Kids Frugal Fun: Saint Patrick’s Day Learning Wheel

Every week, MomonDealz brings us a  kids craft that is fun, educational, and frugal. Since St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend I used pictures with this holiday’s symbols; however, this craft can easily be altered to be for any holiday (check out the educational activities at the bottom for ideas)! If you’ve missed any previous crafts, check out Momondealz’s Kids Frugal Fun page.

St. Patrick’s Day Learning Wheel

Cardboard Box
Construction Paper
Clip Art Pictures or Crayons/Markers [click to continue…]

Kids Frugal Fun Dr. Seuss Activities

Every week Sharon from MomonDealz brings us a  kids craft that is fun, educational, and frugal. Dr. Seuss’s birthday is March 2nd and my son really loves these popular books. I always had a great time incorporating this day in my classroom and am really excited to now get to do Seuss themed crafts with my children. For the picture frame above, I simply took pictures of the boys reading and then added a Dr. Seuss quote at the top and the word “READ” at the bottom.

One Fish, Two Fish Hand Print Fish

Construction paper


1. Paint your child’s hand and have them put their prints all over the paper. We did a red fish and blue fish in reference to the book and my 3 year old also insisted on a yellow fish!

2. Add eyes and a mouth to your fish. Then add anything else your child would like. Will wanted our fish to have bubbles but you could add stars or hats to the fish to coincide with the book.

Educational Activites: Instead of giving you different ideas for school subjects, I thought it would be more fun to give you different crafts for Dr. Seuss books.

  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Divide a piece of paper into 8 squares and put random numbers in each square. Give your child goldfish and have them put the correct number of fish in each square.
  • Green Eggs and Ham-Create crafts from egg cartons like this Egg Carton Game or simply enjoy a lunch or dinner of green eggs and ham!
  • The Foot Book -Trace your child’s foot onto paper and cut it out. Use to “measure” things around the house. This is a great way to teach nonstandard measurement.
  • Dr. Seuss’s ABC-Make an ABC book with your child. Have your child illustrate things around the house that start with each letter or they can cut pictures out of magazines for each letter.
  • The Lorax -Discuss with your child the ways to protect the Earth including recycling and reusing materials. Complete a craft using materials around the home such as this Paper Towel Plane!

I originally saw the fish handprint craft here.

FREE Kids’ Workshops the 1st Saturday of each month

Do you know that Home Depot has a FREE hands-on workshops designed for children ages 5 – 12 offered the 1st Saturday of every month at all The Home Depot stores between 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 pm?  I do know, and have known, although we haven’t actually gotten there yet.  I have heard it is tons of fun for kids and a great way for them to learn new skills!

    Workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills, tool safety and instill a sense of pride and accomplishment.
    All kids get to keep their craft and receive a FREE Kids Workshop Apron, commemorative pin and certificate of achievement. [click to continue…]