Silhouette Cameo Inspired Halloween Costume Blog Hop

It's no secret that I love my Silhouette. I received my first craft machine for Christmas six years ago. It's seriously been a crafting game changer. I can't even begin to tell you how many projects I have made with it or how many things I have created. It doesn't take long to walk through my house and point out a handful of projects I've made with the machine.  Several years ago, I got to know Melissa, the brains behind the Silhouette School blog. If I run into a Silhouette problem or wonder how to do something, her blog is the first place I head to. So when Melissa asked if I would be willing to join in on a Silhouette inspired Halloween blog hop, I jumped at the chance. I'm joining a few other bloggers who love their Silhouette machines just as much as I do and we are sharing our Halloween costumes with you. 

I'm a true sorority girl. One of my favorite things to make with my Silhouette are custom t-shirts. Heat transfer vinyl is by far my favorite thing to cut with my machine. But by golly, if I can't remember nearly every single time if I need to mirror my project or which way the HTV goes down {shiny side up or down?}. I usually reference a blog post I wrote pretty much just for me since I forget 9 times out of 10. 

I don't think I will forget now that I have become the wicked witch of HTV!

silhouette cameo, HTV

3

DIY Poster Hanger

This week, I've been sharing with you some of the projects that I created for the bohemian room that I revealed. I completed the whole room on a budget {under $135!} using a mix of new items and items that I thrifted or made. Today, I'm going to show you how I made a large statement art piece on the wall for only $2! I've always loved the look of a vintage map hung using a poster hanger. I'm going to show you how you can make your own for a fraction of the price!

vintage map, school room map, wall art, balsa wood, tutorial

I already had the vintage map that I bought at a garage sale. I'm fairly certain I had it hung up with staples in a child's bedroom before, but I found it and then stumbled upon something at the hardware store while I was walking the aisles that inspired me to take this ratty map and make it into a statement piece in the room. Come see how I did it!

vintage map, school room map, wall art, balsa wood, tutorial, bohemian, tribal

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Geometric Bear String Art

Yesterday, I gave you a peek at the bohemian bedroom that I just finished. I wanted a space that my son could come home for break from college and feel welcome and at home in, but I also wanted a space that I loved too. I went with a bohemian theme and ran with the idea that the bohemian style is made up of a lot of texture and patterns, in particular geometric patterns. I created this bear string art canvas for around $2 and it's probably my favorite piece in the whole room. 

large wall art, bohemian style, tribal canvas, Baylor, DIY. embroidery

I'm excited to show you how I made it so that you can take the same idea and make something similar of your own.

large wall art, bohemian style, tribal canvas, Baylor, DIY. embroidery

1

Bohemian Bedroom on a Budget

We have been doing a little bit of a room switch around our house lately. My oldest son moved out of the house to attend college and my daughter made a switch into his much larger bedroom. {In case you missed it, you can see her complete silver and white glam bedroom transformation in this post.} In the midst of the move, we had bags full of clothes and treasures of my son's to donate and the things he really wanted to hang on to got moved down into his new room. It sat unfinished for weeks until I decided what I wanted to do with the room. My son would prefer decorating in flags and Americana. He requested the cheap tourist framed constitution that he picked up at a yard sale be hung on the wall. I decided that I get to over rule him since he's gone nine months out of the year. Since I walk past the room every day, I wanted something I would like to look at but that was still masculine enough that he felt like he still had ownership of the room when he came home even though we really know whose room it really is.

decorating, home, silhouette cameo

Like nearly all my DIY projects, the room make over was done on a budget using many items I already had in my home. The rest of the items I either made or found at Goodwill outlet or on clearance at Target. I did the total room redo for $135 and I'm going to show you how!

decorating, home, DIY, silhouette cameo

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Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta

Tracking Pixel
Pasta and chicken. Those two items are staples in our family's meal rotation. We are a busy family that doesn't have a lot of time to prepare fussy meals. I need something that's quick to make and it's a bonus if I am able to prepare the ingredients ahead of time. Chicken and pasta are two ingredients that I can do that with. I can prep this meal in the afternoon or the day before and it still tastes fresh when I reheat it in the skillet with the fresh sauce. It's one of the new comfort food dishes that our family is turning to {here's another}. I'm excited to be partnering with Foster Farms Simply Raised Chicken to share this recipe with you.

Recently, Foster Farms commissioned a National survey to find out what people are looking for in their new comfort food dishes. Our family is part of the 80% of Americans that are turning to chicken as a staple for their comfort food meals and are prioritizing chicken raised with no antibiotics, hormones or steroids. It's important to me to put the best foods that will provide the best fuel for my active growing children, while still providing the comforts of a home cooked meal.  Comfort food to me is a home cooked meal shared with the people that I love using local, fresh ingredients, like tomatoes from my garden and Foster Farms Simply Raised chicken from the West Coast, that are easy to prepare and easy to enjoy!


home cooked, comfort food, foster farms, local, fresh, whole food,

I'm excited to share with you how you can make this sun-dried tomato chicken pasta with a few different variations and ideas for your family. It's sure to become a favorite!

home cooked, comfort food, foster farms, local, fresh, whole food,



4

How to Apply to College and Stay Organized Too!

Last year, at about this time, we were awaiting the final results for the ACT that my oldest son had just taken. We spent his junior year of high school researching schools and going to college fairs. Once the test results were in, my son could start applying for college. His options were wide open and while he didn't have a laser focus on any one school, he did have it narrowed down to 11 different universities that he wanted to submit a college application to. Most counselors recommend applying to 5-8 different universities. Without really knowing how much financial aid or scholarships he would qualify for, we had not only safety schools {those he knew he had a fairly good chance of getting into} for academics, we also had financial safety schools {those we knew we could afford even if he didn't get any scholarships}.  He also had a few reach schools {those that would be challenging to get into, but were realistic enough that he should apply based on his grades and test scores}. Keeping all of the applications straight was getting to be overwhelming. So, like a true engineer, my husband created a spreadsheet to keep all of the details straight. We have been asked for this spreadsheet a few times from friends, and thought that it may just be helpful to pull it together and offer it up to all of you.
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5 Games Our Family Loves

We love spending time as a family, but the older the kids get, sometimes the harder it is to entice them to hang out with us. We usually suggest playing a game with them. Especially if we want to get the kids off of a screen and doing something with their brains. Usually, they start playing a game and hardly realize that the game they are playing is actually educational! I've put together a list of 5 of our favorite family games. These games are ones that we can play over and over again and not get bored with. They are also great games to play for all ages. The fun spans from 8-80 years old! Maybe one of your family favorites is on the list. Or, maybe you will find a new family favorite. Who knows!

game night, board game, card game, family time, educational
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22+ Last Minute Halloween Costumes

I work really well at the last minute. I rarely think ahead and I am usually of the mindset to use what you have rather than buy new. Halloween is just around the corner and maybe your kids have told you what they want to be and you have been sewing and crafting your little heart out to create it. Or maybe you are like me and you assume that they will figure something out. I'm hoping I released you of a little parenting guilt when I wrote 5 things you DON'T have to do this fall.  Regardless, Halloween is creeping up on us and your kids are needing something to dress up in so they can to door to door to collect free candy that you can sneak after they are in bed. I've got a collection of last minute Halloween costumes you can throw together. Heck, it may just make you look like you planned ahead when you really didn't. I promise I won't tell!

diy, handmade, dress up


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Pumpkin Spice Milkshake Recipe

It's officially pumpkin spice everything season! I've got the perfect recipe for all of you that can't seem to get enough pumpkin spice. It's perfect for me because I want to hold on to summer for as long as I can so this is the best blend of summer and fall in one delicious cup. You could make a few substitutions and create a lighter version by using non-fat milk and light ice cream, or you could totally indulge and enjoy all of the flavors coming together to create this amazingly decedent pumpkin spice milkshake you can enjoy all year long!

psl, milkshake, fall, starbucks, pumpkin pie, holiday

psl, milkshake, fall, starbucks, pumpkin pie, holiday

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Tips For New School Year Complaints


parenting, motherhood

School is back in session and probably has been for weeks now. The kids are slowly getting into a routine but sometimes when the school year starts parents and students may realize that the new year isn't running quite as smoothly as they would like. Your kids may come home telling you that they don't like school or that they don't want to go back. You are trusting your children into the hands of someone else for the bulk of the day and you want them to have a positive experience.  I have put together a list of tips for those new school year complaints and some ideas to help if your son or daughter happens to be making them.

kids, elementary school, parenting, motherhood

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My 100% Honest Stitch Fix Review

I have been well aware of Stitch Fix for a lot of years, but I have never tried it. In fact, I may be the last blogger out there to give it a shot. I am not one to hop on the "everyone is doing it" bandwagon, so while I knew about Stitch Fix, and was intrigued by the idea of it, I just hadn't tried it yet. There are a few reasons for that. The biggest one is that I am a budget shopper. I get more joy out of finding a great deal on the sale rack or at a thrift store than I do buying something for full price.  It's a weird goal of mine to pull together an outfit for less money than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Surprisingly, I succeed in that quite often and most people wouldn't know that the majority of my clothes are used. Keep that little bit of information in mind while reading this review. If you have no idea what a Stitch Fix is, let me fill you in. 

Stitch Fix is an on-line clothing and accessory company that uses your style profile to create the perfect 5 piece Fix for you. You pay a $20 styling fee, and the stylist helps to pull items he or she thinks you would like and would fit you best based on the style profile that you have created.  The $20 styling fee can be used as a credit towards anything you keep in your shipment. Keep all five items in your Fix and you get a 25% discount on your whole Fix. You have three days to decide what you like, and what you don't like simply gets returned in the prepaid postage bag.  I really didn't think I had a lot to lose other than my $20 styling fee so I gave it a shot. This is not a sponsored post. I got nothing for free, I just know there are a few of my readers who know about Stitch Fix and are sitting on the fence trying to decide if it's right for you. So here you go, my 100% honest Stitch Fix review, with the help of a Stitch Fix fanatic who gave me her 5 tried and true tips on getting the perfect Stitch Fix from your stylist every time.


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Love Pokemon Go? Try Geocaching!

This summer, I introduced my 11 year old son to Pokemon Go. I had heard about it on the internet from friends whose kids were obsessed and I thought it might be fun to download it and give it a try. We went on a handful of hunts for Pokemon but the app was difficult to use, it kept stalling and we had to keep restarting it and to be quite honest, it felt a little dumb to just be standing there on your phone swiping as things came in front of you. Don't get me wrong, I love that this app got kids outside. People started exploring areas they didn't know existed. Our local park that was sporadically visited suddenly started becoming full of Pokemon hunters consistently. But, long before Pokemon Go, there was Geocaching. Our family started Geocaching in 2004 but took a little break {OK a long break} when the busyness of raising three small children took over our life.  

gps, family activities, free family fun, geocache, pokemon go

I happened to be out with the kids in a local park recently and we were aimlessly wandering around the woods when the kids and I started to talk about Geocaching. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to download the app onto my smartphone as I stood underneath the tall trees and we went on the hunt for our first cache. The kids were hooked after finding three caches in the area we were in and I was impressed at how much easier it was to Geocache now in the age with smart phones {previously, we used a handheld GPS device and used the internet to search for coordinates-it took a lot of research just to get started}.  Our family was hooked again, and we started Geocaching as a family in our free time. 

Without fail, after nearly every Geocache find, my 11 year old son always makes a comment that Geocaching is WAY better than Pokemon Go, which leads me to why I am writing this. The Pokemon Go craze will come and go. The excitement for it will die down and since the goal is to "collect them all" once they are all collected, then what? Well, let me introduce you to Geocaching. A fun little outdoor scavenger hunt that's been around since 2000 and isn't going anywhere.

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Fall-o-ween Silhouette Crafting with Vinyl and Paper

Halloween is just sneaking right up on us isn't it? I sort of drag my feet when it comes to decorating for fall because I love summer so much I never want it to end. Which is why it sort of surprised me when I pulled out my fall decorations and found that I had three big boxes in my garage. I guess I love decorating for fall-o-ween more than I thought I did! I also love picking up new supplies to craft with. This year, I went for a mostly black and white Halloween theme and used my Silhouette cameo to craft some fun new decor for my home.  I love that I can take plain items like this jar and the cauldron, add a little vinyl and create something one of a kind. 

witches cauldron, dollar tree eyes, DIY

I also made a new Halloween wreath with bats and ghosts that cost me under $5 to make! Come check out my full fall-o-ween projects and then hop on over to some other bloggers who are crafting and creating for fall with their Silhouette machines too.
Silhouette cameo, fall, vinyl


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Carrot Cake Muffins With Cream Cheese Glaze

healthy treat, mini muffins, kids lunch box items, healthy snack

My mom told me that on my first birthday she made a carrot cake for me.  I wrinkled my nose a little because cake isn't a cake if it includes vegetables in it!  I am a major chocolate lover now and if I had a choice, I wouldn't reach for the carrot cake flavored anything first BUT, these muffins with cream cheese glaze are verging on dang on healthy and they aren't even pretending to be a cake, so why not give them a try? These carrot cake muffins with cream cheese glaze are the perfect treat for an afternoon snack. They not only help you curb that sweet tooth, they also have real vegetables inside! Plus they look beautiful and take under an hour to make from start to finish. 

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5 Things You Don't Have to Do! Release the Parenting Guilt

We've all seen them. Bucket lists. Bullet points and lists of items we have to do before the end of the season or else our children's childhoods will be ruined. OK, maybe not that intense, but these lists can put a little pressure on us as a parent's don't you think? I must say, I'm glad my children were a little bit older when Pinterest came to be. I didn't have to worry about cutting the cheese into little jack-o-lantern heads for pre-school snack or pulling together a themed birthday party with a whole matching vignette of things kids just don't generally care about or whipping up a handmade costume for Halloween that will be hidden under their coat because it's 20 degrees out.  Nope. You don't have to do any of those things to create lasting childhood memories. In fact, I'm giving you a little pass. Instead of telling you 5 things you MUST DO this fall, I'm giving you 5 things you don't have to do, just in case you needed to let go of that mom guilt just a bit.

source
family time, fall festival, halloween, parenting, apple picking, pumpkin patch, mom guilt

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Why you Should Vote Even if you Don't Want To


voting, america, american flag, right, president, freedom

I know I'm not the only one that feels like they would like to be more informed about the election and voting while still stepping back from the drama of politics. For years, it's seemed like you couldn't do both. I never felt like I could make an educated decision based on the information the media was presenting to me and the length of time I was willing to put forth enough cares. However, I fully realize, especially as a woman, that there are people who have fought hard so that I have the right to vote. I also know that there are individuals in countries that would love to have the freedom to vote that I have and I don't want to take that freedom for granted. Which is why, I am presenting a kind of voting guide for dummies. 

Anytime I have looked for information on voting, I get bogged down with information I quite honestly don't care about. Electoral college, popular vote, and presidential polls are terms I should have a good grasp on from government classes in high school, but I don't and really, knowing about these things doesn't change the underlying message that we, as American citizens, should exercise our right to vote. It's an opportunity that we should not take for granted.

While this is a presidential election year and we are hearing a lot about that in the media, there are other important issues and individuals you will have the opportunity to vote for. I'm not taking any political stances, however, this train wreck of a presidential election has me thinking that I can't be alone in my theory that voting for president this year would just be trying to make a decision on the lesser of two evils. I haven't decided yet, but I really am thinking that I am OK with giving myself a pass on voting for president this year. I just don't want to. Make yourself right with Jesus on this one but don't, I repeat, don't skip out on voting just because you don't want to pick a presidential candidate. 
I recently saw this shared on my Facebook page and it's certainly an interesting thought.
I'm sharing with you today why you should vote and how you can become informed enough to feel confident in casting your ballot for the right candidate and issue.
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The Decorating Secret You Might Not Know-How to Layer Rugs to Warm Up a Space


If you have wall-to-wall carpet in most areas of your house like I do, you may have never thought about adding an area rug. I can't begin to tell you what a difference adding a rug does to make a quick and easy change in a room. Not only does a rug warm up your room, it gives you that added layer of texture you never knew that you needed. It's almost like the decorating secret you didn't know about!

wayfair, rug, area rug, home decor, golden retriever

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DIY Cactus Pumpkins

fall, halloween, handmade, succulent, cacti, modern

I'm loving the succulent trend right now and can't seem to get enough. I just so happened to be at my favorite outdoor farmer's market and I found some pumpkins and gourds that to me looked like they were just dying to be something else. They no longer looked like gourds in a bin, they looked like a cactus you would see in the desert. And so, my DIY cactus pumpkin vision was born. This is a fun twist on the traditional Halloween or fall decor and it's so very easy to make. Let me show you how!

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7 Day Rapid Wrinkle Repair Challenge

Tracking Pixel
I just turned 38 a few weeks ago. Through the years I haven't been very kind to my skin. I am fortunate that I haven't had any major skin issues through the years. In high school, I never had a face full of zits. Oily skin has never been an issue and dry skin hasn't plagued me. I have been faithfully using a moisturizer that contains SPF since I was in my teens but I must confess, I am not the best with reapplying sunscreen when I have sun exposure throughout the day. I rarely if ever wash off my make-up before I go to bed. Year after year I promise I'm going to start taking care of my skin and every year I sort of forget. Which is why I was so excited when Neutrogena wanted to partner with me to take a 7 day Rapid Wrinkle Repair challenge.  I needed to hit a restart on my skin care routine.

At night I would use the Rapid Wrinkle Repair line after washing my face, during the day, I would use the Ultra Sheer collection. I planned on documenting my results every night over the course of a week to see if taking care of my face and using retinol based products with a broad-spectrum sunscreen would help improve my skin's visible signs of aging, and then I was going to share with you the results.

blogger, home and family

So lets start with what those visible signs are. I've got wrinkles. Not many. I'm not that old! But I do have some fine lines forming around my eyes, around my mouth and on my forehead. I have uneven skin tone because I have been naughty with my sunscreen usage. Like I mentioned, I use a moisturizer that has sunscreen in it, but often times I don't think to reapply. If it's hot out, I sweat and I notice in those places where I am sweating {my forehead and my upper lip} that damage is worse.

Here I am, day one ready to expose myself all for the art of science to let you decide for yourself {they do say the proof is in the pudding} if you can see a difference in my skin from the love I gave it in only one weeks time. 


18

5 Ways to Save Money on Pumpkins

frugal living, budget, dave ramsey
Nothing says fall like pumpkins and pumpkin patches. I know my kids love to frequent a few of our local farms. They always have some of the best activities for those crisp fall days. Who doesn't love to get lost in a corn maze or take a hay ride through the fields, but when it comes time to leave, do you pick up a wheel barrow and wander through the mushy fields to pick overpriced pumpkins from the farm? We don't! Today, I'm giving you a pass and sharing with you how you can save money on pumpkins for the whole family {even you mom, so you can decorate the mantel and the front porch!} but still enjoy family time at the local pumpkin patch and farms.
pumpkin patch, money saving, frugal living, family fun,
2

Easy Caprese Appetizer Dip Recipe

Not one to be a quitter, I'm not quite ready to quit summer just yet, but I'm not one to let fall sneak up on me, which is why this warm cheesy caprese appetizer dip is the perfect transition food into the next season. I still have a few tomatoes hanging on and the basil is still growing, so a few of these ingredients are fresh from my garden, however, if you don't have any lingering still, these ingredients are pretty inexpensive at your local market. 

cast iron skillet, homemade, fresh, tomatoes, basil, cheese, tailgating

This dip is the perfect appetizer to bring along to your next tailgate or if you don't want to share, snuggle up with it on a crisp fall day and binge on Netflix! I'm not one to judge. It's pretty easy to make and is sure to be a new crowd favorite.

cast iron skillet, homemade, fresh, tomatoes, basil, cheese, tailgating


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