Today’s link round-up is all about Christmas crafts and foods. There are paper stockings, a pillow, wreaths, and more.
Craftsaholics Anonymous taught us how to sew pom-pom pillows.
Martha Stewart showed us how to make paper stockings.
View Along the Way showed us how to make some super-easy DIY wreaths.
Fleece Fun taught us how to make easy pumpkin cheesecake.
Over the Big Moon shared several stocking stuffer ideas for kids.
The Ribbon Retreat shared a ribbon jewelry DIY that might work as a gift idea.
The Happy Housie taught us how to make easy feather ornaments.
Photo credit: Craftaholics Anonymous and Amazon
The weather has definitely gotten cooler. Winter is almost here. Christmas lights are popping up and days are getting shorter and shorter. Between the cold weather and the dark mornings, it’s almost impossible to get my girls out of bed these days. One trick that helps is putting an alarm clock that plays music in their room.
Not sure what it is about a 6 and 8-year-old being able to wake up on their own volition but it seems to be a lot easier than me trying to pry them out of bed. Another thing that helps coax cold, sleepyheads out of bed is the smell of something warm and delicious coming from the kitchen.
My girls love oatmeal and I love making them something healthy that I know will stick with them until lunchtime. Packets of oatmeal are convenient but what if you could make something even more delicious for your children with as much convenience as instant? Wouldn’t you make it?
Here is a recipe for easy crockpot oatmeal.
Lightly spray the inside wall of a slow cooker with PAM to prevent sticking. Combine all ingredients together in a slow cooker along with 1 cup of water. Stir until well mixed.
Cover and cook low 6 to 8 hours overnight. The edges should turn crisp but not burn.
When you wake up in the morning, top with walnuts and fresh fruit. Scoop into 4 bowls and serve. Enjoy knowing you sent your little ones off to school with a delicious, hot meal.
What’s your favorite weekday breakfast?
Photo Source: Emma Discovery
Today’s link round-up has DIY Christmas decorations, ways to reduce stress, Disney Frozen crafts, and more.
Oh So Pretty made some gold leaf sunglasses and showed us how to do it, too.
DIY Network showed us how to make a cottage style yarn ball wreath.
Studio DIY made honeycomb ornament chandeliers for the holidays.
Lia Griffith shared some woodland Christmas gift tag labels.
Spoonful has a collection of Disney Frozen crafts to try.
Mind Body Green has a recipe for energizing morning oatmeal you won’t want to miss. It’s such a better option than regular cereal on cold mornings.
Photo credit: Oh So Pretty and paul bica
I grew up eating a brown-bag lunch. Mom included a sandwich, 4 small homemade cookies and a piece of fruit. In first through third grade, Mom would write an invisible secret message on my banana’s skin. It gradually turned brown and by the time I opened my lunch bag, I’d see her short sweet message.
I didn’t always love my sandwich. I admit that there were times I didn’t even eat it. In fact, I had to trick the lunch monitor who came around to make sure you ate every bit. I’d drink my milk, stuff the sandwich in the empty carton, and then crush it enough to make it look like an empty, discarded milk carton.
I’d toss it in the bag along with the empty wrappings and banana peel, and it passed inspection. No one ever knew. Not even my mother, until now.
Mom Fined for Packing “Unbalanced” Lunch
I bring this up because I read about a Canadian mom who was fined $10.00 for packing unbalanced lunches for her kids. Can you imagine getting a note from the school that says your child’s lunch was unbalanced because it didn’t include…wait for it…Ritz Crackers!
The mother of three had packed what she thought to be a nutritional lunch consisting of leftover roast beef, potatoes, carrots, an orange and milk. When her five-year-old son, Logan, and his three-year-old sister, Natalie, came home, their mom found a note from the daycare staff saying she had failed to pack grains in her children’s lunch. The staff gave the children Ritz crackers as a supplement at a cost of $5.00 per child.
The day care pointed to the Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care lunch guidelines to validate the fine. These guidelines stipulate that students must have one milk, one meat, one grain, and two fruits or vegetables in their meals.
This is another crazy example of people following the letter of the law (guidelines) instead of the intent of the law. Anyone with common sense would have looked at the lunches she packed and could have seen they are balanced, but because the potato is not a grain it could not be accepted.
Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a fictional world.
Photo credits: Julian Lee
So what would you think if you opened a beautifully wrapped gift box and inside you saw beautiful lollipops? What if those lollipops were flavors like Sriracha Bacon, Wasabi Ginger, and Bourbon?
Lolliphile has the coolest lollipops ever, I swear. Looking through their website is an adventure. I just kept shaking my head and saying, ‘Whaaaa?”
So, as you probably guessed this website has lollipops of all kinds. We aren’t talking about cherry or lime flavors either. They have crazy flavors that make you look twice and wonder if you would ever be gutsy enough to actually eat them.
I am talking about things like:
This is a Texas based company. Being from the Lone Star state myself helps me understand how they have enough moxy to come up with some of these strange flavors. We’re all crazy here. There’s no question.
I think they’ll make great stocking stuffers for the adults on my list. Quite honestly, I can think of a couple of people that I am pretty sure deserve to find breast milk lollies in their stocking Christmas morning. In fact, I am looking ahead to Valentine’s Day, too. Sriracha? White Russian? Merlot?
Oh heck yeah.
The pops aren’t cheap. Just four of them will set you back ten bucks. Still, if you are looking for something unique then I am pretty sure you can’t do better than Absinthe… unless you go for Breastmilk.
Today’s link round-up has delicious recipes, DIY gift and decoration ideas, and more.
A Delightful Home shared 10 easy body care products you can make at home. They may be the perfect Christmas gifts.
Lia Griffith showed us how to make paper poinsettias out of cocktail napkins.
Spoonful has a holiday craft the whole family can enjoy making.
Oh So Pretty shared a recipe that features spinach, chicken, and rice.
DIY Network shared a list of their 18 most popular DIY gifts from Pinterest.
Mind Body Green gave us a 3-bean salad recipe that’s got tons of protein and fiber.
Choosing Raw gave us a healthy recipe for the holidays—sweet potato and tempeh hash with kale.
Photo credit: lovelihood and Oh So Pretty
It is really easy to get caught up in the shopping frenzy that happens during the holiday season. You head for the mall, grab things that seem to be things your family will like, and run up credit cards that will keep you in Xanax once January rolls around.
You know it’s true.
This year I want to make a point of buying locally when possible, and at least buying from a cottage industry when I can’t buy local. I know that I won’t be able to completely do it, but my goal is at least 50 percent or more of my gifts be from home businesses, artisan crafters, and cottage industries.
I fell in love with the phone cases at On Your Case Store on Etsy. One in particular that caught my eye was the pay phone iphone case. Yep, it looks just like the pay phone that was at the skating rink that I used to hang out at when I was in Junior High. It even has the coin slots in it!
It’s an ultra slim case that is made of hard plastic with a black, glossy finish. It will fit iPhone 4, 4S, 5, and 5S models. Just like most other cases it just snaps over your phone. There are openings for the buttons and camera lens so you won’t miss getting any of those great Christmas shots. There’s also a pink pay phone case that is just as cute.
This one sells for $13.99 and is sure to be a hit with someone on your list.
image via: On Your Case Store
When I saw this article in MSN Money, I stopped immediately to read it.
It spoke to me.
I only thought money was difficult in my first marriage. In a lot of ways, it is much harder to figure out the rules and the boundaries now. Some of that is from trust issues that are leftover from the first time and I have those written on my get the heck over it list. I am working through them.
They are things like worrying that there will be enough money for groceries, worrying that the electric bill will be paid, worrying that I might lose the house to foreclosure, and all of the insecurities that have built up over 30 years of being married to someone who was irresponsible with money. I have to constantly remind myself that things have changed, permanently and I will never have to live like that again.
Other issues aren’t things I can put in the get the heck over it file. These are real issues that are difficult to talk about and almost impossible to come to agreements on. For example, my ex-husband doesn’t often pay child support. For a long time, my income was enough to cover the deficit, but lately being a freelance writer isn’t as financially rewarding as it has been in the past.
I am in what is called in technical terms, a slump. That means that his income has to cover his normal expenses as well as a chunk of my normal expenses. My husband is wonderful about it — I am the problem because I hate taking his money (see above paragraph). In other families that kind of situation can cause real resentment when a man who is paying child support has to also take up the slack for his wife’s slacker-dad ex-husband.
How one parent spends money on their kids can cause financial arguments with the step-parent. It can be like racing an elephant across thin ice to come to some agreement there without hurt feelings.
Reading the article helped me to see that I wasn’t alone in my blended finance frustrations. Do you have blended family money problems?
I grew up with a dad who was into finance and economics. Not only was it something he did for a living, he enjoyed it as a hobby and he taught me a lot while I was growing up.
He and my mom bought their first house in 1950, a small lake cabin without insulation, electricity, or plumbing on the shores of Lake Nepessing, Michigan. Dad worked on it with hand tools every weekend. Obviously, they got it for a song but when they sold it two years later it was modernized, warm, and gorgeous. They made enough to buy a nicer house and repeat the process. This process was repeated until Dad retired.
Houses have pretty much always been a good investment until the last few years. Housing values all over the country ballooned a few years ago — right before the economy went totally bust and those values sunk like a lead pipe tied to a big rock. It left many homeowners with a reverse mortgage, a situation in which they owed much more on their home than it was worth.
Well, good news. Things are looking up. Homes are rising in value and in some areas they are rising very quickly. My home has increased so much that it is actually worth much more than it was in 2004 which was previously the highest value. I am hoping to finish up some of the restoration work and sell for a tidy profit… just like my dad.
It isn’t just my area. Homes all over the country are inching their way up the value scale and all of the forecasts for the next year or so are good. It’s a good time to reassess your home, figure out what needs to be freshened up, and consider making that move in six months or so.
Do you keep track of what the real estate market looks like around your home? A great tool, and the one I use the most (besides keeping an eye on the real estate section of the newspaper) is Zillow.