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Wedding Makeup Trends for 2018

Wedding Makeup Trends for 2018

While weddings are one of the happiest moment a couple can have together, they can also be extremely stressful, especially for the bride. As the bride, you want to look elegant and beautiful. To achieve that bridal look, you’ll have to keep up with the […]

Quiet Book Tutorial-Part 2

Quiet Book Tutorial-Part 2

Hopefully you’ve seen the first part of this tutorial and are already obsessively working on your own quiet book! If not, go check it out here.  There are some tips and suggestions you might want to read before getting started. As promised, here are instructions […]

Quiet Book Tutorial-Part 1

Quiet Book Tutorial-Part 1

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My cousin ,who is really more like a sister, recently had her first baby and she wanted someone to make a quiet book for him.  So, my 8-year-old daughter and I decided to take on the challenge.  After months of working on it little by little (because, let’s face it, that’s how projects go when you’re a mom), we finally finished it!  I’m so excited to share the tutorial with you and I hope it will inspire you to start your own.  But be forewarned:  it is ADDICTIVE and you won’t want to do anything else once you start.  If you’re like me, you might even lay awake at night planning new pages and losing precious sleep, but it will be worth it. I know some of you will want to make one similar to this, so I’m including instructions for each page I made, but if you have other ideas to try out, go for it!  Half the fun is in designing your own. There are no templates because I freehanded everything, but if I can do it, believe me, you can too.

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Here are some things to consider BEFORE you get started:

  • What age child will be using the book?  This will help you determine what activities (buttoning, lacing, zipping, snapping, moving things back and forth, matching, learning numbers, letters, etc.) will be age-appropriate.  Also, make sure not to include small parts that could pose a choking risk if the child is still very young.  This book will probably be ideal for a toddler who is between 2 and 3 (my almost-3-year-old has tested every page out and can do all the activities without help).
  • What size should the book be?  I cut my fabric pieces 9″x 9″ so the pages are slightly smaller than that once they’re sewn together, but you might want to make it smaller if it will mostly be used on the go or larger if you are planning to fit lots of things on each page (like the entire alphabet or a road for felt cars to drive on, for example).
  • How much time do you want to invest?  A quiet book can literally take months, or it can be a much shorter project if you don’t make it too detailed.  Either way, it can provide hours of fun for a child, so decide how much time you honestly want to spend on it and you’ll be more likely to finish.

Once you’ve thought about these things, it’s time to get started.

Step 1:  Plan your pages.  It’s really helpful to make a list of what pages you want to include and what activities you will put on each page.  I didn’t want to have to use interfacing to make the pages sturdier, so I made sure to end up with one felt background and one regular fabric background sewn together (see photo).

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This makes the pages sturdy enough without having to mess with an extra layer, but you have to plan a little to make it work.  Or you could make all your backgrounds felt to simplify things.

Step 2:  Gather your supplies.  Make a list of what supplies you need for each page.  Don’t forget things like thread, velcro, specific colors of felt, background fabrics, grommets, etc.  There were so many times I had to stop in the middle of something because I hadn’t thought it through enough to get everything I needed.  Don’t do this to yourself! *Felt is much easier to work with than most other fabrics because it doesn’t fray and you won’t have to stitch around the edges like you otherwise would, so plan to use lots of it if you want to save time.

Step 3:  Get to work!  Here are instructions for the first three pages in my book.  (The rest will follow soon!)

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For the Dress Me page you will need:

  • 2 9×9 background pages (felt or other fabric)
  • 4 1/2 x 3 in. piece of pillow fabric
  • 5×6 in. rectangle of blanket fabric
  • Contrasting brown felt for the dresser (2 shades)
  • Various felt colors for clothing
  • Felt for the boy, his hair, and his undies
  • Small amount of fiberfill for the pillow

Start by hemming one 6-inch edge of the blanket fabric.  Pin the other three edges under and onto your felt about one inch from the bottom of the felt and sew (leaving the top edge open for the boy to fit under).  Fold the pillow piece in half right sides together and sew around the edges, leaving a small space open.  Turn right side out, fill with fiberfill, and sew closed.  Sew the two short sides onto the felt background just above the blanket.  Cut out a dresser shape, drawers, and knobs.  Sew the pieces together and then stitch the sides and bottom to your other background page, leaving the top open.

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Cut out the shape of a boy (I only made him one layer but I would strongly recommend cutting two layers and sewing them together before you make the rest of him so he will be sturdier.) Now cut out hair for the back and front of his head.  I did this by laying him over dark brown felt and cutting around his head, just slightly larger, and then cutting a front piece to fit over just his forehead.  Use the same technique for cutting out his underwear.  Now pin the hairpieces and the two underwear pieces on and sew with whatever color thread you want to use.  (I hand-stitched the hair and used my machine for the underwear.)  You can either take the easy route and draw on a face with a permanent marker, or you could stitch on his features.  As you can see, I went for the lazy way.  Finally, you can lay him on different colors of felt and cut out various types of clothing for him: PJs, sports jerseys, jeans and t-shirts, etc.

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Be as creative as you want!  I wanted to add a mirror above the dresser but couldn’t find anything that would work for that.  If you do it, post a picture so we can all admire your handiwork!

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For the Laundry Time page you will need:

  • 2 9×9 in. background pieces
  • Felt for the poles, washing machine, and clothes
  • Fabric (or felt) for the laundry basket
  • String or ribbon (approx 10 in.) and mini clothespins OR a strip of velcro about 8 in. long (go with the velcro option if this will be used by a very small child as the clothespins could pose a choking risk)

 

Cut out laundry poles about 5 1/2 in. tall and snip a tiny hole near the top of each one.  Sew them on at a slight angle, leaving the hole at the top.  Thread your string through each hole and pull until it hangs down slightly, then tie each side really well.  Hook on your clothespins.  (Alternatively, sew a strip of velcro (the sticky side) between the tops of the two poles and the felt clothing will stick without clothespins.)

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The grass on my page was added because I had to fix something on the page behind it after they were sewn together, but if you want to add some, I would suggest placing it closer to the bottom of the page.  Now, cut a 4×4 square of felt for the washer and fold in half to cut out a large circle from the middle.  Cut your vinyl to be a circle slightly larger than the hole in your square and then cut a coordinating color of felt to fit around the edges of your vinyl circle. (Confusing, I know.  See the photo below.)

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Now sew the felt circle onto the vinyl.  Sew the outer edges of the washing machine square onto the background and then sew the left side of the vinyl door onto the washer.  Add velcro to keep it closed.  Now cut out a laundry basket and hem the top edge.  Zig-zag stitch the sides and bottom of the basket so it sits on the washer.  Cut out some fun clothes and you’re done!

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For the Winter Wonderland page you will need:

  • 2 9×9 in. pieces of snowy-looking fabric
  • White felt or fleece for the snow and the snowman
  • Felt for the hat rack, hats, arms, nose, and sled
  • String or ribbon (I would suggest ribbon) approx. 10 inches
  • Snaps for the hats

Start by laying out the white fleece over the snowy background and cutting a blanket of snow for both pages (be sure to make one side slope for the sled to “slide” down).  Zig-zag stitch the top edge of each snowy piece onto the background.  The other sides will be sewn down when you attach all the pages later.  Cut out three circles for the snowman and zig-zag stitch them on one at a time, starting with the biggest and working your way up.  Remember to leave a seam allowance!

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Cut out and sew on arms, a nose, and eyes.  Cut out a felt hat rack about 7-8 inches tall and stitch on.  Sew the back half of a snap on the snowman’s head and also on each end of the hat rack.  Make various hats to fit on the snowman and add the front part of a snap to the back of each, first making sure the placement will work. (You don’t want the snowman’s eyes to be covered when he’s wearing any of his hats!)

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Cut out two identical pieces of red felt in the shape of a sled and stitch them together with two parallel lines down the middle with a small space in between.  Thread your ribbon (or string) into the space so it can move up and down and sew the ends of the ribbon to the edges of the page, going over them a few times to get a strong seam.

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And that’s it!

There are instructions for 4 more pages, plus a cover, coming soon.  I hope you’ll be inspired and get to work on your own quiet book!

 

 

 

 

Best Tips and Tricks to Put Your Baby Back to Sleep

Best Tips and Tricks to Put Your Baby Back to Sleep

As the time approaches for your baby to come into your life, your enthusiasm grows, but so do the worries and the questions. You ask yourself if you’ll be able to keep up with the new tasks, especially if it’s your firstborn. In fact – […]

Should You Buy Your Mattress Online?

Should You Buy Your Mattress Online?

Here’s a question you never thought you would ask yourself five years ago: Should I buy my mattress online? The answer would most probably have been no. But why? The answer is simple. You spend about one-third of your life in bed and what you […]

Why I Decided a Pet Was Worth the Trouble…Again

Why I Decided a Pet Was Worth the Trouble…Again

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MorrisKnowsBest #CollectiveBias

If you ask my son about his siblings, he’ll tell you he has two sisters and two brothers. The sisters are both regular human girls, but the “brothers” he’s referring to are our cats, Edmund and Phil. And the funny thing is he isn’t the only one who thinks of the cats as important members of the family. We all love these little guys more than I ever dreamed possible. I never knew I was a cat person until we rescued Edmund from a shelter two years ago.  He was a sweet, playful little kitten and we all loved him from day one.  He brought so much fun and joy into our household.  It left us wondering why we hadn’t adopted a pet years earlier.   But we were perfectly content with one pet and never even considered adopting another.  We had no idea that it wouldn’t be long before we took the plunge again.

One day, we were outside and a tiny gray tabby cat just wandered over to us looking completely adorable.  He was friendly and affectionate with beautiful green eyes and the softest fur ever.  The kids were all so excited and begged to keep him.  I was certain my husband wouldn’t want to mess with adopting another pet, so I dismissed the idea and started asking around the neighborhood to try to find his owner.  After all, we already had a cat.  What if they didn’t get along?  And adopting another pet means vet visits, added expenses, more responsibility…It just seemed like too much trouble.

No one claimed him, and he took up residence on our back porch and made himself right at home, while we were still trying to find him a home somewhere else.  Thinking he was a girl (we hadn’t bothered to check), my son named him Phyllis.  My kids would call him and he would jump right up on their laps and purr like crazy.  My youngest would pick him up and he would just stay on her lap looking absolutely content.  He never scratched or snapped at anyone.  He would playfully chase strings as long as someone wanted him to, keeping my kids entertained for a long time.  Everything about this cat was wonderful.  After several days of this, my husband and I both agreed that he would be worth whatever it took to make him ours.   And we’re so glad we did!  He loves everyone in the family and appreciates all the affection we can give.  We weren’t sure how Edmund would handle it, but after the first couple weeks, Phil (as he is now more appropriately called) and Ed became best buddies. They play together, eat together, and follow each other around.   Edmund actually seems happier now that he has Phil around.

But aside from the fact that they look very similar, they are as different as can be in every way.  And that’s one of the best things about Phil!  He’s not just another cat like the one we had, he’s a completely different cat with his own personality and habits.  Edmund prefers to relax in quiet places, while Phil loves to play with balls, string, or anything he can chase around.   Ed finds a hiding place when he’s had enough attention, and Phil never seems to get tired of being around people.   Having two cats that are so different is a tremendous blessing.  While one is sleeping next to my daughter as she reads, the other is playing with my super energetic son.  Phil’s playfulness is the perfect complement to Edmund’s seriousness.

Even their taste in food is different. That’s one reason 9Lives® wet and dry cat food varieties are just right for our cats. For wet food, Edmund prefers the Meaty Pate selections, with smooth ground meat, fish or poultry, while Phil devours the Hearty Cuts made of tender, meaty morsels with rich gravy, flakes of fish, and savory shreds.

Check out DollarGeneral.com to find coupons and save on 9Lives® wet and dry cat food for your own feline family members! You’ll find great savings through 5/31/18, and there are so many varieties your cats won’t be able to resist. They also offer specially formulated dry food to meet the nutritional needs of cats in every stage of life. Plus Care helps support digestive health and a strong immune system for older cats like Edmund, while Daily Essentials provides nutrition to support heart health, vision, strong muscles, and healthy skin and coat for cats of all ages.

We love to support companies that give back in some way, and the 9lives spokescat Morris has visited countless schools to promote kindness to animals.  He also launched an initiative to save animals in need of homes.  Check out his Facebook page here.  These are causes our family can feel good about supporting every time we purchase 9lives products.  Our local Dollar General Store carries a great variety of 9Lives cat food, so I can always find all the wet and dry food types that both of our cats love.

We’ve only had Phil for a few months, but it’s hard to imagine life without him.  He’s not just another cat to us, he’s really become a treasured member of the family.  Now the reasons we had for not wanting to take on another pet seem trivial as we watch how much our kids love Phil and how much joy he adds to all our lives.  Just look how adorable he is!

If you’re considering adopting a pet (or like us, another pet) I can tell you it’s worth the trouble.  The little bit of extra work and cost it takes to have him is nothing compared to the joy, excitement, affection, and comfort that this little guy brings to our family.  Plus my son is pretty happy to have as many “brothers” as sisters now 🙂

Have you recently adopted a kitty of your own?  Tell us about it, or share a photo of your sweet new family member.  And don’t forget to go to DollarGeneral.com to find great savings on the 9lives wet and dry food your cat will love.

The Shadow Magic Series Review From a Tween

The Shadow Magic Series Review From a Tween

Our family has a deep and abiding love of all things Fantasy. My kids, especially, caught the bug. My one true genre love has always been Historical Fiction. Amber, however, somehow inherited her aunt’s passion for all-things-fantasy. As a result, I have been scrambling to […]

How To Give Yourself a Makeover This Spring for $50

How To Give Yourself a Makeover This Spring for $50

This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf. #FashionColorExpert #sponsored *Dramatic Announcers Voice* It’s time to play everyone’s favorite game….Guess What Color Nicole’s Hair is Now!!! A few years ago when hubby was still in school, one of his favorite professors was switching to a new […]

Tricks For Training Your New Puppy

Tricks For Training Your New Puppy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NutrishRealMeatTreats #NutrishPets #CollectiveBias

The title of this blog post should be “That One Time We Went To Rent a Movie….and Ended Up with a Puppy”

 

A few weekends ago Hubby and I participated in our 2nd color run 5k, it was so much fun! My sweet mom-in-love stole the kids Friday night and told us to come back Sunday morning to get them.

Thanks to this, after the race we still had the rest of the day to enjoy. We decided to go pick up the newest comic book hero movie at one of the local kiosks. As we pulled in to the parking lot, however, a bunch of puppies and a sign showing an adoption event caught our eye. We went over to look “just for fun” and……

About 30 minutes later we headed home with this precious bundle who we named Athena (Addy for short).

I melted into a puddle when I saw her. It wasn’t me only, though! Bob was the one who asked if we could get her. He’s actually wanted a “big dog” puppy for himself ever since we adopted Thomas last summer. When he picked up this little girl she snuggled into his arms, gave the most contented sigh, and fell right back to sleep. The lady there said, “Oh you HAVE to take her now, she loves you!!”

We surprised the kids when we went down to get them on Sunday. I walked in holding the puppy. Their reactions were priceless. Tyler started yelling and Amber was so happy/excited/surprised she started crying. So sweet!

Thomas wasn’t sure of what to think of this new little friend. But she didn’t give him much of an option. By the second day, they became best friends forever. I melted again when I looked over from our BBQ to see this!

All together now “AWWWWWWW”

While new puppies are AMAZING they’re, well, babies. And during the first few days, you get that reminder really fast. When we adopted Thomas I was purposefully looking for a rescue doggy that was older and already trained. It really did make life so much easier, and he’s still the best dog ever!

There’s just something about getting a little puppy, though! So this time we accepted the adorableness with the full knowledge that lots of work was coming our way!

Having a new puppy means training and lots of it! Since this wasn’t our first time, we knew just what we needed to make training a success! Mainly:

#1 Treats, Treats, and More Treats

Treats are the absolute key to making training easier on everyone! Our timing was perfect because I found out that Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® just came out with new treats! Every dog is unique and they all deserve a real meat treat!

 

You can buy these several different places — Go Here To See! I decided to take the easy option and order mine online. I love online shopping, it makes life so much easier! If you’re shopping in-store be sure to grab a coupon here!

I picked up Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Hickory Smoked Turkey Bacon Treats and Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Beef, Chicken & Bacon Meatball Morsels. They’re both made with real U.S. farm-raised beef/turkey as the #1 ingredient and are inspired by Rachael’s kitchen. In addition to having all the good stuff in them, they also don’t have bad stuff. They contain no grains, artificial flavors, meat by-products, and never any ingredients from China. Dogs everywhere crave the meaty deliciousness in these Nutrish treats. These real-meat treats look and taste just like the real thing!

It’s important to note that they are meant to be treats, not your dog’s main food source. Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Treats are intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only. Please watch your dog to ensure Nutrish treats are thoroughly chewed before swallowing. Break into small pieces for smaller dogs and puppies!

Since our kitty and both dogs are rescues, I love it when I can buy brands that support amazing causes. A portion of proceeds from each sale of Nutrish is donated to The Rachael Ray Foundation™, which helps animals in need. Through December 2017, more than $23.5 million dollars have been donated to animal charities and other organizations that do good for animals. The funds are used for food, medical supplies, treatments, and more. Many more animals around the country need help, and through The Rachael Ray Foundation, together we can make a real difference in the lives of many four-legged friends!

Once you have your treats it’s time to start training! Since our dogs are inside pets, my first focus was potty training. This included  Athena being happy to go outside when I told her to. The next training would be the famous “sit” command.

#2 Consistency & Creativity

If you have a room like a kitchen or a mud room next to your back door that’s enclosed, use it! Buy a baby gate and training pads, and establish a routine. We have an open layout home, and I love it! There’s just one problem. There is no room that has a hard floor that I can keep the dogs confined in for training. This meant I have to be creative! If you’re like me, here’s some tricks.

Buy training pads and put them in strategic areas around the rooms. Remove any rugs from the room. I found for both my mom-in-love and me that when you are teaching your puppy to do its business on the grass, the last thing you want inside is access to a soft place that they can easily mistake!

Now it’s time to work on getting the puppy excited to go *outside* when you say it’s time to! Practice saying “Outside!” Then walking outside together, and giving the puppy a treat. Do this a few times a day, until when you say “Outside” both dogs immediately race to the door!

#3 Pace According to *Your* Puppy

Puppies are like babies. Some adapt and learn quickly and easily. Others take a longer amount of time. Start slowly with your puppy and gradually add things in. If they seem to be catching on quickly, feel free to train for different areas simultaneously. With Athena, I’ve been working on going outside, potty training, and “sitting” to receive her treat afterward.

#4 Patience, patience, patience

No matter how smart your puppy is, they are just a puppy. There will be accidents and mishaps and rebellious “teenage stage” puppy days. Just chalk it up as part of the experience. Also, it would probably be a good idea to stock up on cleaning supplies as well as treats.

In the end, it is all absolutely worth it. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a home filled with loving, beautiful animals!

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Do you have a sweet puppy that you love or are you in the market for a new little one? Leave me a comment and let me know! And don’t forget to stock up on Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Treats!

 

Easy Crustless Quiche

Easy Crustless Quiche

  You know that game where people ask questions like, “If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?” “What one book would you take with you to a desert island?” “If you had to live on one food for the rest […]