Friday, March 30, 2012

Simple Air Freshener

  It's Friday!!! Yeah!! I have another Fantastic Friday tip for you today.  At our house, we're trying to have less chemicals and stuff in our home so I've found a great homemade air freshener.  Super simple, easy, and works pretty well.  I found this idea here.

You all know how great baking soda is with removing odors from your fridge, well, this is the same concept.  Take a small, 1/2 pint or jelly jar or reuse some other jar, punch some holes in the lid (if reusing a canning lid I turned it over so it doesn't have my writing on it), and fill with some baking soda (around 1/4 - 1/2 cup.) and if you want, several drops of essential oils stirred in.  Put the lid on and use a hammer and nail to punch holes into the lid.  I tried to make a star on the first one, which didn't work that well, can you tell it's a star? :)  Since the second one already had the cute fruit lid, I just punched a circle of sorts. 

I have a bathroom in our bonus room that doesn't get used a whole lot but has the door shut most of the time - gets a little musty in there.  Also, my room is at the top of our stairs and all the odors seem to get pulled up the stairs and into my walk-in closet.  Since we put saloon doors on our closet it seems to trap the odors, go figure.  So I put one of these in both these areas and they are working very well.  If I walk into my closet and it's a little smellier, I just shake up the bottle a little which releases the essential oil smell, too, and soon it's smelling much fresher again.  Occasionally, I also sprinkle some of the baking soda right out of the jar onto the carpet in the closet, let it sit for a while and vacuum it up.  Instant carpet freshener, too.  Great simple little air freshener.  Try it!

This post was featured by:
Lovely Crafty Home  Confessions of a Stay At Home Mommy   


Thursday, March 29, 2012


A little bit of fun stuff today.  I'm playing a little catch up for the last month - can you believe it's the end of March already?! Seriously, where did this month go??

First of all, I want to send out a big thank you to Amanda from School House Scraps for giving me the Liebster award. 

Now, what is the Liebster Blog Award?
Liebster is German and means 'dearest' or 'beloved',
but it can also mean 'favorite'.

I also want to thank Cameron from Homemade for giving me The Versatile Blogger award.  It's always nice to be noticed and appreciated.
The Versatile Blogger Award is a great way to introduce different bloggers to each other and to promote quality blogs that awardees and their readers may not have discovered otherwise.
So thank you so much, both of you, I'm honored, really.
Then I got tagged, twice.  I guess that really makes me It. :)  Amy from One Artsy Mama and Kadie from Seven Alive both tagged me blogger style.  Since I've always loved these kind of little "get-to-know-you" quizzes I'm playing along.  However, since they both tagged me and you'll all probably be bored reading this anyway, I'm picking and choosing which 11 questions I want to answer.  Some of them are hard questions. lol
Here's how it works:
**You must post the rules {?!}
**Answer the 11 questions that the tagger posted for you & then create 11 questions to ask the people you’ve tagged
**Tag 11 people and link them in your post
**Let them know you have tagged them

1. If you could have coffee with any one person, living or not, who would it be?
Well, I don't drink coffee, but I'd love to have a Coke with either of my grandpa's.  They both died just before I was born and I'd love to be able to sit and chat with them.  My Grandpa C. worked for the Coke company for years, so it'd have to be a Coke.
This is my Grandpa and Grandma C.  Aren't they just so cute!

2. What is one quality you'd like to develop in yourself?
It would have to be patience.  I think that's why I was blessed with triplets, on top of the 3 kids we already had, because I really need to learn patience.  I'm working on it daily - some days they test it more than others. :)  Also the ability to NOT procrastinate, again a daily struggle.
My 6 plus my niece, Ashtyn.
3.What is the last book you read, or are currently reading?
I'm reading a diet book (Perfect 10 - very interesting, but I don't like these kind of books very much so it's slow going),  an organizing your kids book - can't even remember what it's called right now,  read Hunger Games last week for the second time before we went to the movie, reading the next two books this week because I forgot how good they were, and then reading Divergent by Veronica Roth (so good!) again before the next one in the series comes out in May.  That's why I added it to my "recommend" list on the right side of the page.

4.  What is your favorite book?
I love to read, so I had to answer both these questions.  My favorite book would have to be These is My Words by Nancy Turner.  I really like historical fiction (as well as YA fiction), and I have a thing for pioneers, Little House on the Prairie, that time period. 

4.  If time, money, and kids were not a factor and you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Anywhere - traveling would be nice. lol  Bill is not much of a traveler.  I'm really kicking myself that I didn't visit my parents while they were in St. Petersburg, Russia.  So I'd like to go there, but I'd also really like to go to Australia someday.
5.   If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Brownies!  Love 'em!  For a little variety, I'd add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some carmel drizzled on top.

6.  You are on a beautiful beach, warm sun and sand. Are you most likely to build a sand castle, or swim in the ocean?
I'm building sandcastles, the ocean scares me. lol  Okay, I've only been to the ocean twice, and I can't even remember the first time, but the pull of the tide was scary.  I'm not a good swimmer at all.  However, back in the day, I could build an awesome town of rivers and lakes in the sandbox.
7.  How much time do you spend on the computer a day?
Umm, too much, don't tell Bill!  Some days are better than others, though, and I am doing a lot better at prioritizing and getting my things done and getting off the computer.

8.   If you could relive one moment or day in your life, what would it be and why?
My wedding day, there are so many things I'd do different and would enjoy more and the day went WAY, too fast.
9.  What is your favorite season and why?
I love Fall, when we have a good fall, the colors are fabulous, the temperatures are cooling off, gardening is done, the excitement of a new year of school is there, fun things to do, and I can start making my favorite comfort foods again, things like meatloaf and baked potatoes, and chili.
However, I love Winter, too.  I love the landscape covered in a blanket of white.  Love a good blizzard (not if I'm out in it though), the possibility and crossing fingers hoping for a snow day, the dread of hearing the snowplow go by at 6 a.m. knowing we aren't getting out of school.  The hush that a new snow leaves over everything, it really is quieter.  Playing in the snow, sledding behind my dad's pickup - when I was little and now, showing my kids how to do it and watching my kids have a blast!  
The view out my back door.
10. Which sense would be the hardest for you to lose: sight, hearing, taste, or smell? Why? 
Sight - I would miss seeing my children grow up, the joy on their faces at new things, the excitement on their faces, seeing the looks that only I know what they mean, just seeing how much they will grow and change in the coming years.
They've already grown so fast in these past 7 years, I can't imagine the next 7.
11.  Which superpower would you choose: the ability to fly, the ability to read minds, or x-ray vision, and why?
This would be a double-edged sword, but I would choose the ability to read minds.  I would FINALLY be able to figure Bill out. :)  I'd also love to know what people are really thinking about me or the situation, but there in lies the bad part, too. 

And now I'm tagging (and I call no tag-backs!) . . .
Brianna at Babblings and More actually all 4 of you can do it if you want. :)
Kendra at Key Lime Digital
Korrie at Red Hen Home
Christina at The Tattered Tag
Christine at The DIY Dreamer
Becky at Clean Mama

Here are my 11 questions:
1. If you could go back in time, when would you go back to, or what time period would you visit?
2. What position are you in your family growing up and do feel you have the characteristics of that position (oldest, youngest, middle child, only child, etc.)?
3. What is your best feature and why do you like it?
4. You rub a lamp and find a genie. What are your three wishes? (and no wishing for more wishes!)
5. What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
6. What music are you listening to right now on your computer, ipod, in the car, where ever?
7. What talent do you wish you had?
8. Share a nickname you had/have and how you got it.
9. If given the chance, would you go back in time and go through high school again? Why or why not? Apparently time travel is on my mind today. lol
10. What's your idea of a perfect vacation - money's no object.
11. Name one thing you'd do or have in your dream home.

To those I've tagged, if you don't feel like participating, no big deal.  It's all fun!  If anyone reading wants to play along, you can leave the answers in the comments or if you blog, answer these questions on your blog and leave a link in the comments.  Thanks Amy and Kadie, this was fun! 

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Easter Egg Bouquet

Well, Spring has officially sprung!  The weather has been beautiful here this week, my kids were even begging to turn on the sprinklers yesterday (okay, it wasn't really THAT warm.)  Easter is only a couple weeks away now and I thought I'd share with you this really cute idea for an Easter bouquet.  My friend, Mary Jo, found this fun idea on Pinterest (I'm sorry, I don't know who to give original credit to), and we made them along with another friend,  a couple weeks ago.

This is a very easy project and very inexpensive, too.  I'm pretty sure you could find everything at the Dollar Store.

Eggs - number depends on the size of the container.  Here I used 3 pkgs. (36 total) of the big eggs (from Walmart) and 2 of the little eggs (from the dollar store.)
Container - mine was a blue plastic Easter bucket
Foam - a foam block trimmed a little for height, and then sliced off the corners so it would fit in the bucket
Bamboo Skewers
Easter grass or moss or whatever you like to cover up the foam
Paint - silver spray paint & black craft paint

I started with my bucket.  I bought silver spray paint, hoping to get a look as shiny-like as the eggs themselves.  The lid on the can was that kind of silver, but it didn't come out as a mirror finish.  It looked like this:

Nice, but not the look I wanted, so I decided to try some black paint on it to see if it would bring out some of the details and make it look sort of zinc-ish.  Sorry for the lack of pictures here, but it was a fast process and I couldn't paint and take pictures at the same time.  I was also talking to my sister on the phone and was supposed to be at my friend's house in a few minutes.  :)  Nothing like waiting until the last minute.  Anyway . . . I dipped my dry paint brush in a little black paint and just dabbed, brushed, pounced over a little area.  Then quickly grabbed a paper towel and wiped as much as I could off and smeared it around some more.  That's the whole technique, paint and rub, paying particular attention to the knobs and details I wanted highlighted.  Here's how it turned out:

If I would have thought about it, I would have cut off the little knob that held the handle on, but oh well, it's not that noticeable now.

Next, start sticking the skewers into the eggs.  All my big eggs already had holes in them, and the little ones were styrofoam.  Put the foam into your container and start sticking in the eggs.  I'm no flower arranger, so this was a little stressful for me.  My basic idea was taller in the middle, then get smaller toward the edge, also watching not to put the same colors next to each other.  When I was done, I filled in holes with the little eggs.  I did break some of the skewers to vary the height also.  Finally, tie a cute bow - I'm also terrible at bow tying, so Mary Jo tied mine and glue it onto the container.  I also wrapped the ribbon around the whole bucket.  Then fill with grass.  It was a fun, pretty quick little project. 

It's really so much more fun to craft with friends.  Thanks Mary Jo and Karie!

This post was featured by:
oopsey daisy feature {Junk in their Trunk} Photobucket 

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Perfect Lighting for Every Room

Hello! I'm Jessica, a writer for Arcadian Lighting, a wonderful online resource for affordable light fixtures. Every day I get to search for beautiful interior design inspirations and then share them on lovely blogs, like BK Tribe. Thank you for letting me stop by, Kimberly! Today I'm going to share some ideas for choosing the perfect lighting for every room in your home. I hope you enjoy!

Perfect Lighting
If you happen to work from home or enjoy making crafts, it's important to have great task lighting. A few pendant lights hung just over your work table will make it even easier.
Perfect Lighting
This casual living room illustrates a variety of wonderful lighting options. Recessed lights, wall sconces and table lamps are sure to fill the room with perfect light, no matter what the occasion.
Perfect Lighting
Not only does this bathroom have a beautiful quality of natural light, but elegant modern wall sconces on either side of the mirrors give off a lovely, warm light just right for brushing teeth or applying make up.
Perfect Lighting
Faux candle chandeliers and wall sconces always add an air of glamor and sophistication to a room. Glittering silver and crystal accents throughout the room help reflect the light beautifully.
Perfect Lighting
Recessed lights and a pair of petite wall sconces illuminate this reading nook. Silver wallpaper with a honeycomb pattern adds a cool, modern dimension to the space.
Perfect Lighting
For a more magical effect, a Moravian star pendant light provides a lovely ambient lighting. The charming design and choice of colors make this star pendant a brilliant eye-catcher.
Perfect Lighting
These chic industrial pendants give off a welcoming quality of light that's perfect for the dinner table. The golden brass shades provide a warm, inviting glow.
Perfect Lighting
These bulbous clear pendant lights are a great choice for lighting any living spaces. The clear glass shade ensures a brilliant quality of light, and the design is sure to add a modern touch to any room. Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 Which of these lights is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to stop by Arcadian Lighting to find the perfect light fixture for any room in your home!


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Monday, March 19, 2012

Hot Pads and Lots of Fat Quarter Ideas

In early February, I signed up for a fun fabric swap that Amanda at Ninth Street Notions put together.  We were instructed to pick out 5 fat-quarters of material and send them to our partner.  Then  make something out of the fabric you were sent.  Sounds fun, huh!

My first task, go shopping - I can do that.  I found some really, really cute, super fun material to send to my partner.  I wish I had taken a picture or paid attention to the name or something, but it was really bright turquoise and red, polka dots and flowers of different sizes.  (I think I'm going to have to go get me some to make some more of these projects I found.)

Then I waited to see what material I'd be working with.  In the meantime, I started looking for uses of fat-quarters and pinned a bunch of ideas (I'll share in a minute.)  Finally my material came and this is what I got to work with:

The funny thing is, I have a table runner half finished with very similar material/colors.  So then I had to narrow down my project list.  A table runner was out, like I said, I have a similar one.  I didn't really need another bag, my sister has made me a bunch of them.  Oh, and I'm not a really great seamstress -  wait, I'm not even good enough to be called a seamstress, let's just go with sewer - so I didn't want to tackle anything too tricky yet.  Finally my inspiration came as my husband burned his hand, again, while taking something out of the oven and started cussing and grumbling about how we need some good hotpads.  That's it!

So I bought some Insul-Bright batting - it's batting with a metallic/mylar stitched into one side, making it heat or cold reflective.  Like this:

Then I found this super easy tutorial here.  This was so simple, and she did such a good job of it, I didn't redo the tutorial.  I'll just share what I learned.  I tore the strips the length of the fat-quarter, giving me enough length for two strips.  Same with the backing piece, so after I finished the first one I had another one all ready to go - matching set. :) Also, after looking a little closer at the hot pad Bill burned his hand on and seeing it did use the Insul-Bright, too, I used two layers of the batting, making sure that the metallic side (which reflects the heat) was facing out.   It was really quite fun and rewarding to have something I made myself to be so useful. lol  I gave them a good test and am happy to report no burnt hands.

As I said, I found a lot of fat-quarter ideas, some simpler than others, so at $1-2/fat-quarter you can try out many of these fun things:
50 Scrap & Remnant Ideas
Sprocket Pillows - this is really cute!
Cloth Napkins
Ipod/Camera Case - if you noticed, I didn't use the gray/orange print from up above. This is what I'll be making with that material, a case for my new video camera I got for my birthday.
Handbag - really want to get more of the turquoise/red material and make this
Tiered Ruffled Skirt - my girls might be getting some of these soon. :)
Poochie Bags - the name makes me laugh, but they're cute.

That's just a few that I pinned, there are TONS of ideas/tutorials out there for fat-quarters.  So grab a few quarters and have some fun sewing!

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Giveaway at One Artsy Mama

Hey everybody, top o' the mornin' to ya!  Hope you're all having a fun St. Patty's day.  I celebrated my Irish heritage by donning my green today and eating Lucky Charms for breakfast.  Oh and after my son's last basketball game today, we stopped at Burger King on the way home and I tried the green ketchup they handed out with my fries.  Several hours later, and I still have a green tongue. :)

Anyway, I just wanted to let you in on some fun going on at One Artsy Mama this week.  Amy has been celebrating her 1 yr. blogiversary with a ton (seriously 21 different items!) of giveaways this past week.  I joined in too, and I'm giving away this beaded watch.

If you want it, go here to enter.

If you don't want to take your chances, remember I posted a couple weeks ago on making a Safety Pin Beaded Watch for yourself. :)

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cupcake Hints & Tips

 Last week we were in charge of bringing treats to Billy's basketball game.  I also needed a treat for the kids after dinner on Sunday, because there wouldn't be enough of the Rainbow Spring Dessert and most of them wouldn't appreciate the goodness of it.  So I made two batches of cupcakes, perfect solution for the game and dessert on Sunday.  Since I've pinned many a great tip and tricks for cupcake making, I decided to test a few of them out.  Some were great, others not so much, so here's my thumb up or thumb down rating for some of the best cupcake tips on Pinterest.

First up - This tip for making bigger higher cupcakes by filling the cups a little fuller and cooking at a lower temperature.  Sadly, it didn't make any difference for me.  I filled the cups 3/4 of the way full, preheated the oven to 350 and then I turned on the convection which lowers the heat to 325.  Still the same flatter cupcakes.  I don't know if the convection made any difference, I wouldn't think so, so maybe it was just the recipe she used that made them dome up like that. 
So for this tip - THUMBS DOWN

Next - This tip (or several others) for using canning rings to hold your cupcake liners so you can bake more at a time.  I was really excited for this one since I was making two batches and didn't want to be in the kitchen all afternoon.  I lined my rings out on my pan, set the liners in, and when I started filling, the liners all sank down into the ring.   I don't know if I did this wrong, I don't know how I could do it any different, but I had a big mess as most of the cupcakes overflowed the liners and cooked onto the pan.   I should have taken a picture.  I measured (eyeballed) and the rings are a little bit smaller than a muffin tin cup, so it made the liners sit up straighter, thus giving a little less room for batter.  They were a little skiwampus where the overflowed, or small little things, all edible still, but not very pretty.
So for this tip - THUMBS DOWN

I was pretty discouraged and a little leery of trying anything else, but I persevered all in the name of science. lol

3rd Tip - Back to the same site as the first tip, I decided to try this, her recipe for Nanny Burke's Buttercream Frosting.   Winner, winner, chicken dinner!  I'm not usually a fan of buttercream because it's just too sugary tasting, but this wasn't, it was buttery flavored and pretty good.  I did add the shortening with it for firmness like she mentions.  Now I wasn't piping it on to my finger to eat it liked she did, but it was good.
So for this tip - THUMBS UP

4th Tip - This genius little video for mess free filling/using your pastry bags.  It's so simple and worked really well.  However, it didn't work very well for using two different colors at the same time, but I think I might have filled the one too full.
So for this tip - THUMBS UP

Finally the last tip - This trick from Our Best Bites (those girls are amazing!) for making multiple color swirled frosting.  I didn't have any disposable decorating bags, so I just used ziploc sandwich bags and cut the corners off.  I filled them like they said, not too full, flattened them down a little, stacked them together and slid them in my decorating bag.  It worked perfectly!  This was fun, I've got to try it again.
So for this tip - THUMBS UP

Overall, a good little experiment.  I crossed 5 things off my Pinterest "to do" list and we got to eat the yummy results. :)

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