Monday, September 15, 2014

100 Days of Christmas - Day 13 - Give of your time & talents!

I am not sure why people have gotten away from this little tip. I personally love it when people give me their time and talents. For instance I spent the day with my Mom on Saturday. She used her talents to gift my children with sewing lessons. We will be taking sewing lessons online too because my Mom doesn't live close enough to give us consistent lessons but that is ok. Her teaching us our very first lesson was phenomenal though. I know it is a memory my children will always cherish. Not to mention I needed it to even feel comfortable starting! No joke, I had never even threaded a sewing machine. My Mom has sewed her entire life. She worked in a sewing factory when I was young. She worked long hours and my Dad was sick a lot and in and out of the hospital. So there was no time for her to teach me. So it is so special to me to know that my children share this memory with her. Here are a few pictures of our day. 

The girls taught her how to make ruffle scarfs while we waited on their fabric to wash & dry. I love that you can see the difference in my daughters personalities. One is calm and showing her how to do it and the other is excitedly talking to explain it. They compliment each other so well. 

Here she is using the book she learned with to explain to them all the different tools & terms.

Learning about a seam ripper and how to make patterns. 

Then she taught us about all the buttons on the machine, the foot paddle and back stitching and all the fun stuff!

Then they stuffed it! It was such a great day. If you would like to see the finished product you can go here

In case you are wondering, this is where we will be taking our online course:
Online Knitting Class

So now I know some of you are thinking I can't sew. That is ok! Maybe you can teach them to play the piano, cook, crochet, teach their kids an art lesson, and so on. The possibilities are limitless! I have come up with a pretty certificate you can use to give them at Christmas so that you don't fell empty handed. :) Just right-click and save the image. Please understand that it is not ok to save images off of bloggers pages unless given permission. That is copyright infringement. 

So what will you use yours for?? Who will you give the gift of your time & talents to? 

This post contains affiliate links. Should you decide to purchase anything through them I may be compensated. I appreciate your support. 
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Quotography Monday #8 Play!

I embrace this quote in my daily life. I try to find things that make me happy. I try to focus on the positive. I try to find ways to "play". I enjoy watching these 3 play together when I take them out. They run and chase each other and play fight. It is pure bliss and you can tell it. It always brightens my day to watch them play. They are each such blessings to our family! What brightens your day? 

Now on to the Quotography Monday. 

So what is Quotography??? It is very simple really. You just find a quote that you love and head out to photograph something that represents that quote to you. You can totally do it in reverse as well though! Just choose your favorite photo of the week and then find a quote that represents that photo. 

So now for the rules:

1. Would prefer it be of a photo that you took in that week. 

2. Comment on atleast 5 other entries, you will have 2 days to do this

3. Please link back by putting the button in your post

Quotography Monday


Saturday, September 13, 2014

100 Days of Christmas - Day 12 - Papparazzi!!!! $5.50 gifts!!!!

I love the pieces that I have from Paparazzi! I will probably get a few for my daughter's stockings. They are super affordable so they make the perfect gift for friends, neighbors and unexpected guests. You know those that you want to know that you are thinking of them but you just really can't afford to buy a larger gift. I have not had any of my pieces change colors or any of the things you would normally expect from costume jewelry. They are so much fun. I love to accessorize. It makes me feel like I am atleast taking a few minutes for myself. It really does make a difference in my day.

One thing that you really need to know about Papparazzi is that they do not carry a catalog or have a normal inventory. I am not even sure if they have websites. When you see a Papparazzi piece that you are in love with you really need to go ahead and get it. They do not know how many are in stock or if they will come back in stock. So be sure to follow Carla on Twitter & Instagram to see the latest styles. Also, be sure to join her facebook group so that you can see her current inventory at .

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for this beautiful piece either!

100 Days of Christmas - Day 11 - Make your own printable graphics and wall art!

My 11th wedding anniversary is coming up. I wanted to make something nice for my husband that wouldn't break the bank. Also, since we didn't do a lot last year for our 10th anniversary I really wanted it to represent us and our marriage. We didn't do much due to moving. We really wanted to go to Disney. It just wasn't in the budget after moving. So here is what I decided to do for my husband. 

I think it will be just gorgeous on a canvas and put on a wall in our den which is the first room you enter when you come into our home. What are all those words over the photo you ask? Well I am glad you asked! They are our wedding songs lyrics. You will never guess what our wedding song was! It definitely wasn't your typical wedding song. It was the "Whole New World" song from Aladdin. It describes how I feel about marriage so perfectly! I felt like I was entering a whole new world and growing up. I knew that we would go through things together that we had never been through and see things we had never seen. I knew it would be magical and life changing. I knew we would never turn back. I still feel this way today. Guess what? It is so easy to make these pieces of photo art! The actual designing process just costs you a little bit of town. 

You just use the free website . I have to admit that I normally do things like this in photoshop. That is a very complex program and costs a pretty penny. I had heard great things about Picmonkey but had never used it before making this. All I had to do was click design, Upload my photo, crop it, and then add the text. It took me maybe 20 minutes, probably less. This was the original photo. It was not one of our professional photo's. While I love the other people that were in our wedding there just wasn't enough of them to really focus on them and it took the focus off of us. So I cropped them out. 

See that piece of paper that our Justice of the Peace is holding? That is our ceremony. I handwrote every bit of it to include our families, our different faiths, and our different ethnic backgrounds. It took the most time of anything that I planned for our wedding, which was planned in only 3 months! It was incredibly beautiful! I think I will make another photo with the whole ceremony on it. Perhaps a collage would be better for that. Then you can use York photo to print your gorgeous and sentimental creation for your loved one's gift! 

8X10 Custom Photo Canvas – Only $10 – Save $24.99!

You could also print it on normal photo paper and frame it. I just think that this is a fantastic price for a Canvas. This will be a treasured gift and one that will also be a family heirloom. You can even ask for photo's now and people won't be thinking Christmas. Just tell them that you are making a family scrapbook. ;) 

Not into sentimental type things or just truly can't get a photo? That is ok. You can still make a nice piece of wall art by taking nature photos or photos of some of the gift recipients favorite places. You don't have to be a pro. You can also just make Inspirational Quote wall art like this:

For this one I just went to design. Choose a background color and then a texture or overlay. I used the water overlay on purple. Then just choose your font and add the text. I made this one with my 9 year old in mind. Her favorite color is purple and she dreams of  being a fashion designer when she is older. However, now that it is finished I am thinking it would be great for my 10 year old as well. She wants to be a clown or at the very least in the entertaining business. I could also change the color and make if for my boys as well. 

You can also make collages on Picmonkey but I didn't make one. If I decide to go that route for our ceremony like I spoke of earlier I will come back and share it here. So for approximately $10 (unless you order a larger print) and less than 30 minutes time you have a great piece of wall art! 

So how will you use this new knowledge? (Or maybe not so new knowledge). :) 

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through them I may be compensated. I appreciate your support. :) 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

100 days of Christmas - Day 10 - Stretch that $$$$!

Because we have chosen a homeschooling lifestyle we live on one income. Living on one income with 4 kids and lots of furbabies has its challenges but also has many blessings. We have the blessing of time. However we have to be very frugal. I actually have come to love being frugal. I started being frugal because obviously I had to. Now I actually enjoy it! It has pushed me to look at things differently and to be more creative. So today I want to share with you just a few simple tips of how to stretch your budget. 

1. Start Early!!!! 
This is one of the biggest things that helps us. Guess what Christmas means? Okay, so I am not talking about baby Jesus here. That is the true meaning of Christmas. What I should say I suppose is what does Christmas mean for stores??? New inventory! Guess when that starts to happen? As the Halloween supplies start to come in! That is when the "season" starts for retail stores. So guess what they need to do? You may have guessed it but just in case you didn't, they have to clear out old inventory! So we start shopping just before Labor day for Christmas. We peruse clearance aisles like it is nobody's business! LOL! We have even bought things on the clearance aisle to later see it normal priced but with "Christmas packaging". I am ok without the Christmas packaging! How about you? Also, it is much easier to research the things that you want to purchase. This allows you to think about what your kids will play with long after Christmas. For us we like to buy things that are educational and serve more than one purpose. You don't feel rushed and therefore pressured to buy more and buy now because by the time Christmas gets here, you are prepared and calm and can enjoy Christmas activities that are really about the spirit of the season and not just shopping! You can spend $10 a week or $20 a week and it doesn't hurt quite so much.

2. Set a budget & save!
So while we do spend $10 to $20 here and there on great deals that we find throughout the year, we also have a budget for what we spend on each child for Christmas. It can be just $15- $20 a week that you set aside and that is ok. It adds up much quicker than you would imagine. We save a set amount each week specifically for Labor day sales, Black Friday sales, and so on. Yes, I am a "Crazy black Friday shopper". Although I am not really crazy. I will never fight anyone for anything and if I see a situation that I can see getting hostile I will not go anywhere near it. I will be posting about how to survive the craziness closer to Black Friday. I will tell you that many people have turned to online shopping for Black Friday. And don't forget to save some for Cyber Monday sales which are sometimes better than the in store sales. I only do the in store sales because it is a bonding experience for me and my Mom and one of the few things that we do completely and totally just the two of us. We have been doing it for many years now. So keep your eyes out for my how to survive Black Friday post closer to Thanksgiving.

3. Host parties!!!
Direct sales is amazing! They reward you for shopping with them. You can host a fun night with your friends and share some of your favorite products with them and earn stuff free!!!! This is another reason that I start thinking about Christmas early. It gives me time to host a few parties and earn a few things free and others half priced and so on. It is easier than ever to host a party now as most of us party consultants have embraced online parties! I personally love online parties. Also, when you shop with direct sales you are helping a family & your community.  To read a little more about how I feel about that click here. If you want to connect with some of the fantastic consultants I am featuring be sure to join the facebook group

4. DIY!
The simplest crafts can make fantastic gifts. I have a good many DIY ideas lined up to feature. Anything from food mixes to Christmas ornaments! They are going to be so much fun so don't miss it! I also love that this includes the kids and really helps them understand the true meaning of Christmas. Grandparents and other loved ones always seem to appreciate the extra effort it took to make a DIY craft. If you need some ideas  or just want to start a new hobby Craftsy is a great place to start! I am going to be using this for a Home Ec sewing class in our homeschool curriculum ! I am so excited!

5. Shop online
Believe it or not a good many times you can find that item you are in love with online cheaper. We are huge fans of Amazon. There are also online stores that will give you $ back just for using them. I will be listing a few of my favorites very soon!

6. Buy Less!
That's right. Buy less. Sounds simple, right? Well I have to admit it my be harder than it sounds for some. Hi, My name is April and I am a toy addict! LOL! A lot of families are going to the motto of.
Something they can wear
Something they can read
Something they want
& Something they need
There is a part of me that wishes we had started out this way. We have been doing Christmas the way we do for quite a while now and it would just be hard to change. Each of our kids gets a present from all 3 of their siblings as well as one from Mom & Dad. I go all out for Santa. I do try to keep it within reason but I figure they are only little once. We have taught them gratitude and to appreciate what they have. I will post more on that later as well. 

7. Shop thrift stores!
I can't tell you the amount of times I have a gem at these stores! I have found items brand new in the box and clothes with tags still on them for 75% off of what a retail store would be. I love thrift shopping. I love finding old gems there that still look nice as well. Things that you can't find in stores today. I feel like they add a little character to my home. 

8. Barter!!
Do you know a great crafter? Maybe you are a photographer or gardener and not great at crafts. Don't be afraid to offer to trade services! I personally wish the world had more bartering in it and less $$$. :) It would make our community ties so much stronger I think. This is a fantastic and fun way to stretch your budget. 

So these are just a few of my tips. What are your best tips to stretch your Christmas budget?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

100 days of Christmas - Day 9 - Thirty-one anyone???

So I assume most people have heard of Thirty-One before. If not, oh my, prepare yourself! This is one of my most favorite companies. I had so much to say that it would have taken quite a while to type and I didn't think photo's would do these amazing bags justice so you get a nice looooong video. Sorry it is so long. I tried to talk fast but when you are passionate about something know. :) Enjoy! 

Can you believe I didn't even show you ALL my Thirty-One stuff! LOL! I just highlighted the things I use the most and think you would find very useful! This company really is one that I use every day and it makes my life so much easier! As long as the video is there were a few things I forgot to say. #1 My analogy about the $5 bag??? Yeah, it didn't exactly come out right. What I really meant to say was "When was the last time that you went to shop at a big retail store and they offered you $100 or $200 in free product just for shopping with them and sharing it with your friends"?
#2 The Organizing Utility tote is now available with a zip top which I love! It gives you some privacy and you don't have to worry about anything falling out. 
#3 Every time that anyone purchase the URU pattern (the one on my beauty bag) Thirty-One donates money to an amazing charity! 

There are so many other things that I could say about this company. Can you tell that I love it? The best part is that ofcourse my consultant Kim is offering a small round caddy carry all to one lucky reader!  You will be allowed to choose the pattern you like. You can choose one at her website: . 

Also every person who orders will be entered into a drawing for all of the hostess rewards! Be sure to go to . Then go to my scheduled parties. Choose the Mystery hostess party. You have to purchase under this party for your order to count. :) How exciting is that? I sure wish I could win it! Specially since I already have another order to put in! LOL!
If you have any questions about anything or need tips on organizing also email her at Be sure to like her facebook page for even more great things! 

So which pattern/color would you choose?

Wordless Wednesday - #7 - Backyard Beauty

The rules are pretty simple.
1. It must be a photo that you took sometime within the week, no description or words needed
2. Comment on atleast 5 participants around you
3. Link back here by including the button below

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 8, 2014

100 days of Christmas - day 8 - Surprises in the mail

Recently my oldest received a letter in the mail from her great Grandmother for her birthday. I thought it was absolute genius! I know we all have loved ones who do not live as close as we would like. Many of them probably also have kids. Shipping gifts far away can get expensive. My kids loved what their great Grandmother did. I think any kid would enjoy some mail like this!!! To make things even better it was super affordable!!!

You would be amazed at how excited my kids got over this!

The girls immediately went to blowing up balloons!

This was really an all day event and I loved every second of it! So the first activity was ofcourse the obvious one! LOL! Balloon toss & you know they can't touch the floor Lava! 

Then they moved on to Balloon faces!

Zane is always thinking outside the box! Jett didn't quite get the concept but he gave it his best try for sure. 

I sure do love those kids. So this super affordable idea will provide a full day worth of smiles and happiness. I am now in love with this idea and I will be looking for other mail ideas to share with you! 

What is the most interesting thing you have ever sent or received in the mail?

Quotography Monday #7 - Meant to be

Now on to the Quotography Monday. 

So what is Quotography??? It is very simple really. You just find a quote that you love and head out to photograph something that represents that quote to you. You can totally do it in reverse as well though! Just choose your favorite photo of the week and then find a quote that represents that photo. 

So now for the rules:

1. Would prefer it be of a photo that you took in that week. 

2. Comment on atleast 5 other entries, you will have 2 days to do this

3. Please link back by putting the button in your post

Quotography Monday