Saturday, December 31, 2011

Shop Hop Saturday--New Year's Edition

Shop Hop Saturday with abitosunshineIt's that time of year to really re-think goals...at least for most of it is.
After pretty much concentrating on Christmas the past couple of weeks, I'm more than ready to get myself back in to some sort of a normal routine.

There are my goals---not all having to do with "business"
1.  Clean and re-organize my house--and keep it that way.  This means putting things back where they belong, getting rid of excess that just isn't needed, and more.

2.  Quit smoking---easier said than done, but something I really need to be able to accomplish.

3.  Make my goal of reaching a minimum made online of $600 per month--this total includes the value of items that I get free for review and such.

4.  To reach #3 I need to be active in squidoo each and every day.  I need to keep up with working on my crafts and sewing daily.  I need to learn about different affiliates and how those programs work.  It also means better ways of getting the word out about the things I am doing online.

5.  Learn to say no when asked to do things outside of the home.  When I say yes, and doing so takes me away from home for hours at a time, my whole day ends up feeling like a waste.  Of course there are exceptions but it's been crazy.  Take me here, take me there.....

6.  Each Sunday I am going to make a list of school assignments for Jasmine.  These will be expected to be done by the end of the week.  These will be things for her to do on her own, in her own time, but preferably the times when I can't be sitting one on one with her for schoolwork.

I'm sure there are more things that I can list that I'm not thinking about right now.  No, I'm not going to go over this list in my blog over and over.  I may occasionally talk about the goals in with my regular posting however.

So...let's see.  I finally made it back into my sewing room 2 days ago after almost 2 weeks of no sewing.  I still hope to make it in there tonight, at least for some ironing and cutting to get ready for sewing.

I did post one item in my etsy shop--another set of the billowing blues washcloths.

I want to tell you about the Sweetheart Celebration coming up.  Time is getting close on being able to get your spot for just $5!!!  Please click the button on the side for more information.  I need to get myself better prepared for it.

I will be taking part in DNBuster and Friends Valentines Giveaway her blog.  You may also click the button on the side to find out more information about that.

I have one current giveaway up for Natural House cleaners.  If you haven't already, please enter to win.

I made a new page here on my blog.  It's Hand Made in 2012 (linky).  If you post with instructions on hand made items (including food), or you have made an item that you gave as a gift, please post to the linky.  I want to see LOTS of link ups and lots of inspiration.  Posts can be old or new, and do not need to be blog posts.  They can be posts at hubpages, redgage, squidoo, gather, etc etc.  You can also list you etsy or other stores where you sell hand made items.

I still have book reviews to catch up on here on my blog....music reviews and giveaways to get done, and more.
But, I am going to quit rambling for this week and spend the evening with my hubby for new year's eve.


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Friday, December 30, 2011

TGIFF--What Can You Make With a $2 Sheet

Whew! I must apologize! I've had these things made for a month and I keep letting Friday slip by me without getting a Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday post in.

I wanted to share the things that I made with a $2 Dora sheet that I bought at a yard sale. It was a nice, like new, thicker sheet and I couldn't pass up buying it! My intention was to make just Dora fabric bags with it, but then I seen child's quilt.

This quilt was the first time I've ever tried hand quilting. I hand quilted around the pictures on the fabric as well as I hand sewed the edges as well. It took quite awhile to get it done.

Here is the finished quilt, with a matching pillow:


 Here is a close-up of some of the stitch work:
I also was able to make 2 fabric bags:
All leftover material I cut into strips.  These strips will be used in a bright colored toothbrush rug.  I have the strips ready to start on the rug, just not sure when I will get to that.  There was also a pillowcase with the sheet but I'm choosing to let the granddaughters share it on their pillows.

I also want to note---the pillow insert used for the Dora pillow was given to me by a lady at church.  My mom's friend gave me the quilted backing piece used on the quilt.  I did buy pink thread to sew with for $2.07 at Wal Mart.  I already had the pink cotton thread that I stitched with.  It was in with several used rolls my daughter had given me.
In total for less than $5, I was able to make these things.  I love it!!

I also want to note that the fabric bags, as well as the quilt were sold in my etsy store about as soon as I listed them.

I am working on squares for a quilt.  I do hope to have it completed by this time next Friday to post again!

Frugal Friday Link Up--5 Uses for Mayonnaise

It's Friday, and time to link up your frugal posts for the week. It's also almost the new year! Is one of your goals for the new year to live a more frugal life? To save more money? To get more organized?

For me, I've always tried to live a frugal life, both out of necessity as well as it's a lifestyle that I enjoy. I've been thinking about it more and more lately as there are some goals that I have for things I would like to buy. My goal shopping list includes laptops for both my daughter and myself, cubby organizers for my craft room, a van, and a camper. The last 2 will really require saving money in other places to be able to afford them.

Being online is wonderful. There are so many freebies out there to help with the money saving venture. Then there are the products that I get to review as a blogger. Items we can use, as well as items I can use as gifts. I'm set on laundry detergent for quite awhile, thanks to getting in laundry detergent from both Purex and Tide for review.

I hope the tips I share throughout the year from the 99 Cent Solutions book help in our efforts to save money and e more frugal. It's amazing what every day products that we usually already have in our house can do. Using this everyday stuff instead of going out and buying specific products is a real money saver.

Today I am sharing 5 ways to use mayonnaise:

1. Take crayon off of polished wood. If the children got a little crayon crazy on your varnished maple table, just rub on a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise with a paper towel and let it sit. Rub again and wa lah! the markes are gone.

2. Take the sap off our your auto paint. Sap is usually very hard to get off of your car with just soap and water, and you don't want to use anything abrasive and mess up the paint job. Rub a generous amount of mayonnaise directly on the sap deposits and let it sit for 10 minutes. Use a soft, absorbent rag to remove both the mayonnaise and the sap, then wash the car as usual. The same treatment will remove road tar that accumulates on the fenders.

3. Photo worthy houseplants. Dip a paper towel in mayonnaise and rub each leaf. Polish it off with another paper towel and the leaves will have a gleaming, deep-green shine for months.

4. Soften ragged cuticles. If your nails looks rough and ragged, don't soak them in dish detergent, instead put them in a dish of mayo for 5 minutes and then wipe them with a paper towel. Trim your nails while they are a bit softer from the soak, and use an orange stick to push back the raggedy cuticles. Wash your hands with warm water, put on some lotion, and your hands will look like you just had a fancy manicure.

5. Two-for-one hair and skin treatment. Condition both your hair and smooth your face at the same time with a mayonnaise treatment. Massage the mayo into your dry hair and scalp, then wrap it in a towel or put on a shower cap. While your hair rests in it's treatment, spread a thin layer of mayo over your freshly washed face. Avoid the eye area when doing this. Lie down with a couple of damp tea bags or cucumber slices over your eyes for 15 minutes and then step right into the shower to wash it all off. You will feel like you just came back from the salon. (in my experience, it takes several washings to remove the greasy effect of the mayonnaise)(when I worked for the Headstart program and we had the headlice outbreak, it was suggested to parents to put mayo in the child's hair and put on a shower cap overnight to suffocate the lice. It seemed to really work and a lot less expensive than the over the counter lice treatments, not to mention much safer for the child)

Until next week, I want to wish you all a:

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Squidoo Hopping--Copyright Question

Good Thursday morning.
Let's start with my question.

While looking through some old papers I found one of the old postcards I had bought while visiting Graceland. I intended to scan it and put the picture in my Elvis lens. My husband is telling me that since the postcard is copyrighted that I can't put it in my lens. He says I need to contact Graceland and get permission.
Well, since that whole copyright thing is pretty much above my head---can I, or can't I scan it and put the picture of it on my lens? Thanks. (So many of the pictures I put in with my lenses I get from the internet, mostly from wikipedia---I don't even have a clue if this is ok, but if I don't get photos from the internet just where am I to get them to go along with my lenses??)

Now, I have been working to update lenses. Some of them I opened to see about the donations module (which last I checked is still MIA)
Here is the list of lenses that I updated:
Legos
Grandma's Christmas Wishlist
Crash! Book Review
WWJD for Kidz
Kansas Our First Lapbook
Elvis Presley

I am stopping here this week. I hope several will have input on my copyright question, as well as link up below (remember I am now allowing you to link directly to one or two of your lenses if you don't blog about squidoo.)








Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Black History Month is Coming in February

I'm always on the look out for fun ways to get history in to our homeschool day. We all learn better when it's fun and interesting. This graphic is full of great information and learning. My daughter and I enjoyed looking at it and reading it over together.

Just click to open it in a new window, then click in that window to make the graphic larger as well.
We will re-visit this again in February when it is Black History month!


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WIP Wednesday---Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Good Wednesday to all.  I barely know it's Wednesday, still coming down from the holiday rush.  Not to mention that hubby is usually off on Wednesday, but not this week because of the holiday schedule.

Basically I've done nothing towards crafts!  Not really true.  I worked on the My Little Pony until almost the end of Dec. 23, to get it finished and wrapped for the 24th.   It's no longer a work in progress but wanted to show it off.  It didn't turn out half bad.  I even have a picture of Brandon showing it off. (We did use the flat iron and straighten the yarn hair before wrapping)

Right now I'm pretty much just reeling---trying to figure out how to get back to some sort of a regular routine.  This is always so hard for me.
I've not been in my craft room except to put materials away from all over the house----I still have the same projects sitting in there: 2 fabric bags to finish, 2 simple table runners to put together, the flower quilt I am working on, 2 more sets of folded hot pads to complete, an idea for my next quilt rolling around in my head---I did work some on washcloths the last couple of days and will continue that today.  I am working on using up the yarn on this cone.  After that, my living room projects will be the double thick crocheted hot pads and matching coasters.

NEW!  I have vowed that next Christmas is going to be majority handmade, either by me, or bought homemade from someone.  I have a new page here on my blog for you to link up handmade posts.  Please check out the page and add links.  I'm hoping to see literally a thousand or more links before the end of the year.  I have linked up several of my own and others have linked in.  Check those out while you are on the page as well.  Link ups do not need to be blog posts for this one!!  Thanks!

I'm going to close this for now.  These are the blogs that I  link up to each week---they may or may not have linky's this week due to the holidays though.
  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Natural House Cleaning Products Review and Giveaway!


Natural House cleaning products are a true cleaning revolution!

Why is it a "revolution?"  Because Natural House probiotic cleaning products brings you a revolutionary, new method of cleaning the most dirty areas of your home. Utilizing non-toxic, probiotic cleaning agents, Natural House products are strong enough for commercial clean-up, yet safe and gentle for all of the members of your Natural House.

Here's a little more info about why our all-natural cleaning products are superior to those currently on the market!

  • Our products use an eco-friendly cleaning method of probiotics that create a beneficial, odor eating ecosystem to naturally drive out and digest odors at their source.
  • Natural House's plant-based ingredients are eco-friendly, non-toxic and biodegradable to naturally fight the toughest problems you face in your house.
  • Our products, Sinky and Flushy even break down and digest fats, oil, grease, and solid waste to ensure your disposal, pipes, drain lines or septic tank run smoothly.
  • Our cleaners contain good probiotics which continue to scour, clean, consume odors, grime, grease, and germs, and they continue to do so until your next weekly treatment!
  • We earned the coveted Retailers’ Choice Award” at the 2011 National Hardware Show!
So how exactly does probiotic household cleaners work?
  • The surfaces in your house are like a garden. If you don’t seed with good plants, weeds will grow. You have the same choice with your household surfaces: sanitize for a moment with harsh chemicals leaving your surface open to recontamination or seed with probiotics to continuously weed out the bad micro-organisms.
  • Traditional cleaners “clean” a surface for a moment in time; the second the rag is finished wiping the surface, that surface is almost instantly polluted once again with ambient dust, dirt, and micro-organisms.
  • Natural House probiotics creates mini-ecosystem on a microbial level that produces enzymes which break down odors, dirt, fats, oil, grease, food scraps, waste and toilet paper products on a continuous basis between applications. This creates a natural, clean, balanced environment that is safe for even the most sensitive members of your natural house.
  • The action is in the foam!  When using your Natural House products be sure and let it foam first to release the cleaning agents before going to the next step on the package directions.
The short and skinny of it is this... our natural probiotic cleaners keep on cleaning long after you've stopped! 

Please watch this 2 minute video to learn more about how our probiotic cleaners work.


(My review)  See the photos below that go along with my review of each product.
Trashy--Simply spray into your trash can (or diaper pail).  Let it air dry, or wipe dry before placing a new bag in.  The first time I used this my trash can was pretty dirty inside so I did have to wipe it dry.  It has a very pleasant odor to the spray.  It's a minty scent to me.
 Flushy--Just drop the packet into the bowl.  As you see if my photo, it immediately starts to bubble up for the cleaning action.  


Sinky--Drop the packet in to the drain, run hot water for 10-15 seconds.  You can see in my photo the foaming action.  If you have a garbage disposal, which we do, just run it for 1-3 seconds.  This also has a pleasant odor.  It's on the lemony side to me.


Of the 3 products, the sinky is my favorite.  Sometimes that disposal gets stinky and I didn't like that at all.  Since starting to use the Sinky product I have not noticed a smell at all.
I also like the Trashy product for keeping the trashcan smell to a bay as well.




You may purchase the Natural House cleaning products directly from their website, or purchase them on amazon: 


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Homeschool Journal--Christmas Rush Week

Whew! The Christmas rush week is over and it's time to slow down and get back on track.

Not intentional, but we did no text book work last week at all. We got in our devotions, both at home, and from a book I carry in my tote while we were on the run.
There was of course the Christmas program on the 18th. Jasmine had a reading to do. Below is a photo of her reading during the program. The afternoon of the 18th was 3 hours of Christmas caroling to the shut-in members.


Bible study was held this last week. This week we are taking the week off and it's strange to be sitting at home right now instead of at church for study.
She attended her youth group meeting at the Grace church. Also for that youth group she helped serve a soup supper during the annual Luminary up north of town. The soup supper was a fundraiser towards their trip to England in March.

She did help me some with the Christmas baking. There was also the Christmas Eve service at church as well.
Christmas eve was a full day...first to my brother's house for my family...then to hubby's sister's house for his family...and then to church. Below is a photo of Jasmine at hubby's sisters house waiting to open gifts.



Oh yes, I mustn't forget to share this photo of Jasmine and Santa together too LOL This was after church on the 18th.

One of my gifts to Jasmine I bought through brainemporium.com. It's Visual Brainstorms The Smart Thinking Game. Although she made a wise crack when opening it telling every one "of course mom gets me something education", she got the cards out right away. It's 100 of the world's best brainteaser questions, guaranteed to challenge, entertain, puzzle and amuse you. Ages 10 to adult, multiple players. Everyone got in on trying to solve.

I better move along and take advantage of the extra time at home this morning. I am linking up with:

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Monday, December 26, 2011

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Frugal Friday Link Up--3 Uses for Marshmallows

First of all, let me apologize for not getting this posted first thing this morning! Christmas time is crazy time with final preparations. I kept 4 grandkids overnight last night. This morning I had the good idea to get out the craft supplies and let them sit at the kitchen table and create. What we created was a mess, but they had a good time. We aren't done yet though as now I got out the construction paper, glue, glitter, markers, etc so they can make Christmas cards for others. Good thing my kitchen was already a mess LOL

I have completed my baking. I didn't do near what I usually do. I made everyone (30 people) individual banana breads and then did pretzels dipped in white almond bark. All I have left to do is get what food I can ready today for tomorrows dinners. I hope hubby remembers to bring home dinner rolls! Better give him a call.

Now, this week out of the 99 Cent Solutions book are 3 uses for marshmallows. A bit of history in the book tells me that marshmallows used to be used to soothe sore throats. The replacement of the root juice with gelatin put a stop to this.

1. Top a cupcake. Anyone can make frosting, but be the coolest mom is school by bringing cupcakes topped with melted marshmallows. Once the cupcakes are done in the oven, just pop a marshmallow on top of each one and leave them in the oven just 1 minute longer. Cool completely. As an added feature, melt 1 cups of chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 minute on high. Use a fork to drip strips all over the surface of the marshmallow.

2. Drip proof sugar cone. Wa la! Drop a mini marshmallow followed by a large marshmallow into the bottom of pointed sugar cone and this will cause a barrier that drips can't get out of.

3. Preserve brown sugar. Put 2 or 3 large fresh marshmallows in your bag of brown sugar before sealing the bag. This will stop your brown sugar from being a piece of brown granite next time you are ready to bake. As as added measure, also seal the bag inside a plastic container.

Any other ideas for marshmallows? Just leave me a comment! (I am having a world of a time typing marshmallows instead of marshamellows LOL My name is Marsha and my nickname is Mellow!)

Before adding the linky, I do want to wish each and every one of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!




Thursday, December 22, 2011

Squidoo Hopping--Today a Module Question

I want to start off this post with a module question.  I asked in one of the facebook groups last night.
Is there a limit of only so many of one module within a lens?   I was trying to update my Charity Donations lens again to add 10 more charities, but the donations module was no where in sight!   If there is a limit then I will have to do these in parts, but I'm pretty sure there isn't a limit.

I didn't get a new lens built this week.  You know the saying about the best of intentions.  It's just so busy right now with Christmas!

I did update my Trunk or Treat lens ---which should have been updated right after Halloween, actually should have come home Halloween night and put the photos in!  I only chose 10 of all the ones we took to add.
I added 2 more books to the Learning About Greece lens.  It will be awhile before I add more.  We have 2 books left to read that we had picked out, but we returned them to the library until after the holidays.  I like Ruth's suggestion of making the What We Have Learned into a link list as well.  That could be an update until we get back to reading...we will see.
I also updated my Blankets for Christmas lens.  Next up will be Crafts as Gifts that I had hoped to get to this week.  I'm really going to need to open up a new Crafts as Gifts, because that one is getting too full, plus I've made a vow to make all gifts homemade next year.

I'm going to close for this week by wishing you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Couponing: The Extreme Video Course!

Whether you are thinking you should start using coupons, just beginning to use coupons, or a seasoned veteran like myself, I highly recommend Couponing: The Extreme Video Course by Rayven Perkins.

I've been couponing (and refunding) since 1982.  I married young.  My mom had used coupons as far back as I could remember.  One of her wedding gifts to me was a coupon box that she put together for me, with categories and filled with coupons.  That's all it took for me to be hooked.   Times have really changed over the years, especially with the internet.   It can be overwhelming to say the least.

The grocery coupon online classes in this course include 14 videos, a 35 page pdf workbook that follows the videos, as well as a members only resource webpage with additional links that go along with each video.

 Each video is very well put together, easy to understand, and I didn't see or hear anything to be missing in instructions.  Once you own the course you are free to watch the videos as many times as you need to.  Plus you have the workbook to refer to as well as the videos.  I love the resource page that is for members only!  It's worth it's weight in gold for sure.

The videos start with the basics and end with your stockpile.  In between you find ways to organize your coupons, the rules of couponing, how to shop at different stores such as Target and Walgreens (and several others), and more!   And.....two bonus videos will be available December 31.  Click on over to receive an instant $10 off until December 28. 

I'm a stay at home mom, and I want to stay a stay at home mom!

Enjoy the following video!



I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.



Join in the DnBuster and Pals Valentine's Day Giveaway!

I am taking part in the Valentine's Day giveaway that DnBuster is hosting on her blog.  There are still some open slots if you are interested in joining in.  These are a great way to get followers to your own blog.  The prizes are generous in this one too!

Please click below to find out full details:

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WIP Wednesday 12/21/11--Project Line Up

Good Wednesday morning to all.
This feels like it's been such a strange week as far as my crafts.  You probably know how that is.  I had so many plans on what I wanted to get done, and the majority of it did not get done.
My main plans were to line up my projects in a row, getting materials ready for all of them.

Well......I have one more box to set up for starting on toothbrush rugs, but below is 3 of my boxes.  I have one to start in flannels, one with brighter colors of cotton and one with more neutral colors in cotton.  I still have to get my box ready for one with t-shirts.
I finished up a set of the hot pads and I have 2 or 3 more sets that I have materials cut for.   I still have the 2 simple table runners to get made.....the flowery quilt to finish the squares on......I have a plan for a string quilt if I have enough of a material that I need......I have fabric bags ready for sewing.    I had made myself a plan...I was going to start using up my yarn stash making double thick crocheted hotpads with matching plastic canvas coasters.   I got started on a yellow set.

I have a request by a nephew for a crocheted My Little Pony.  My daughter found me instructions and she bought the yarn with her Hobby lobby card.  Below is a picture of my progress so far.  I hope it comes out alright....I'm thinking the hair is going to be even harder than the pattern has been.   Wish me good on getting it finished as well please, just a few days left to complete it.

Let me close today by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Homeschool Journal--Christmas is Upon Us

I'm sure most of you are like me---good intentions for book work this past week, but it just didn't happen.  We only ended up with 2 good days of book work.  We have so many activities going on aside from the normal activities.
Time to relax about it and go with the flow.

One day last week we spent 5 hours at our church for a funeral.  A beloved church member passed away.  She was 88 years old and led a full faithful life.  The service was extra long as many people had wonderful things to say about knowing her.  We have been helping with funeral dinners for a few years now (Jasmine and myself), and this one was no different.  Serving over 100 people (family), was a lot of food, a lot of prep, and a lot of clean up.  It's all worth it to know you are providing a service to the family.  Plus, you hear even more stories of their life during the mealtime.

Thursday evening was spent at church.  It was the usual monthly grill fundraising night so we went to eat as usual.  They have added back in family fun night to be from 7-9 after grill.  This last week some of us spent the 2 hours decorating the church upstairs.  When we were done with that we packed up goody bags.  We Christmas carol to the shut-ins and they each get a goody bag.  Then, Santa was there after church to let children sit on his lap and get a goody bag too.  That was assembly line fun to put the bags together.  They played the movie Prancer for the younger ones to watch while we worked, and plenty of snacks and drinks were available for all.
Here's Jasmine untangling garland and lights to decorate the choir area.


In her youth group on Wednesday evening they went Christmas caroling at Wesley Towers.

Here is wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!!


 
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