Great new tween girl show

Life was easier when my kids all liked watching the same TV show. Arthur on PBS was quite captivating to all three of them far longer than my older son {who is now 16} would probably like to admit.  We were a one TV family, and haven't had cable for decades {though we do have Netflix streaming now and absolutely love it!}.  You can check out this post on how we are able to survive life without cable.
My husband and I are quite strict about television viewing {garbage in, garbage out} and we do our best to monitor our children's TV watching.  Netflix streaming makes this really easy with custom profiles for each member of the family.  Plus, sometimes the kids watch a show that we hadn't discussed and Netflix does a great job of ratting them out with their recently watched episodes!
My tween daughter Isabella has recently stared venturing out of the public broadcast shows and has been looking for a series that will keep her interest.  There are lots of shows out there, but my husband and I like the ones that are clean and don't have story lines that deal with more mature content than we are ready for just yet!
Isabella recently discovered Mako Mermaids.  A second season of this Netflix original series was just released a few weeks ago.  Isabella has been watching episode after episode and the series has captivated her attention.  But don't take my word for it!  Let me take a second to introduce to you my daughter Isabella with her review.


Leather coat turned into a pillow for around $2

I love to upcycle.
It's actually one of the things I've been doing for the longest.
I think it's the ultimate recycling.

Crafting and DIY projects can end up breaking the bank and actually, sometimes making things yourself can actually cost you more than just buying the item at the store.  I love all things thrifty and I will rarely make something just for the sake of making it when I can buy it cheaper.

However, in the case of this leather pillow, I was able to whip it up for around $2.  You can't buy a decorative pillow for two bucks!


Confession time

Can I make a confession? 
I'm not very good at gardening but I really want to be.
I like plants and flowers but I can't seem to keep anything alive.
I killed cactus. 
And an aloe plant.  
I think that's some kind of special.
I blame it on lack of natural light in our house so I'm trying round two of houseplants.

Free bathroom printable

On Wednesday, I shared with you the little bathroom update that we did in the kids bathroom.  My husband helped me make floating shelves for the little niche above the toilet in the kids bathroom.
I picked up a few accessories at Marshall's and Home Goods and I made the little lather, rinse, repeat sign that is framed.

Floating shelves for the kids bathroom

Last month, I shared with you all how one of my goals was to start taking my pins off of Pinterest and making them a reality.  I started a blog series I am calling From Pin To Reality.


What not to buy at the Dollar Store

What Not to Buy at the Dollar Store

I live way too close to The Dollar Store
I end up spending a lot of time there
Which means I also tend to spend a lot of money there too.
I've bought a few things that have been worth a dollar.
And I've bought a few things that are totally not worth a dollar.

So stroll with me through the aisles and I will tell you all those things you should buy
and all those things you should avoid.

Tissue Paper-Buy it at the Dollar Store

It's so much cheaper at The Dollar Store and works great in those 
recycled gift bags we all have laying around.

Scotch Tape-Buy it at the Dollar Store

Is it just me or does your house go through tape like it's going out of style?

 Thumb Tacks-Buy it at the Dollar Store

You probably don't need these every day, but I did do a project recently and wish I knew they had them at The Dollar Store because I paid too much.

Furniture Polish and Window Cleaner: Buy it at the Dollar Tree

Both things I use often, both things worth picking up
Windex does not corner the market on window cleaner and Pledge doesn't either

Estracell sponges-DO NOT BUY IT at the Dollar Store

While they may look like the scotch brite sponges, they are not the same.
 Don't waste your money buy these instead.  You will be glad that you did!

Sun dishwashing liquid: DO NOT BUY IT at the Dollar Store

This stuff is so watered down that it's cheaper to buy the name brand
Dawn makes a far more superior product and you can use it for more than just dishes.

Stor-it sandwich bags: Buy it at the Dollar Store

We don't use a lot of these baggies (I use my reusable ones instead)
but when I do need them, they do the job


I'm pretty sure potted meat is never a good idea
also, any "meat" at The Dollar Store-gross!

Pretzels: Buy it at the Dollar Store

These are great for lunches and so much cheaper than at the grocery store

Kids Shampoo: Buy it a the Dollar Store

If you have kids that wash themselves you know how much shampoo you go through.

Shower Curtain: Buy it at the Dollar Store

Now I'm not saying you should use just this shower curtain in your bathroom,
but under your fancy shower curtain, this one for $1 is perfect. 

Washcloths and Towels: DO NOT BUY IT at the Dollar Store

So thin and so not worth it
These washcloths are about the same price and are far superior.

Extra Healing Lotion: DO NOT BUY IT at the Dollar Store

It may look like Vaseline's healing lotion, but it is not even close.
Find a sale and buy the real deal
This is my favorite hand lotion right now.

Bobby pins: DO NOT BUY IT at the Dollar Store

Honestly, didn't know anyone could screw up bobby pins
but they did.
Don't bother
These don't cost much more and work far better in my opinion.

Cotton Swabs: DO NOT BUY IT at the Dollar Store

These guys bend before you even stick 'em in your ear.
It's like they are scared or something.

Pregnancy Test: Buy it at the Dollar Store

Who knew?
Seriously, the best $1 deal in the store
Compare them with other brands here
**updated**see this follow up post Should you Buy a Dollar Store Pregnancy Test
After years of buying pregnancy tests at the dollar store, WalMart has come up with a pregnancy test of their own and it's less than a buck!

Glue Pens-Buy it at the Dollar Store

I always peruse the craft aisle you never know what you will find
I know I've bought these at Michael's before for WAY more!

Colored Pencils: DO NOT BUY IT at the Dollar Store

These are awful! They won't sharpen and they get dull in a nanosecond
My daughter loves the Crayola twistables instead.

Crayons: DO NOT BUY IT at the Dollar Store

There is something to be said for Crayola.  They have crayons figured out.
These are just waxy and yuck.
Crayola crayons are cheaper than the 8 or 10 in this pack and are far better!

Dough Pate: DO NOT BUY IT at the Dollar Store

It's called Pate...seriously...skip it.
It's not play doh
and yes, I do know that Pate is a French word for paste or dough.
It's still not the same

Bubbles: Buy it at the Dollar Store

I buy these by the armful during the summer
Cheap, big and full of fun

So what dollar store items did I miss?
Good or bad I want to know!

This Dollar Store post has by far been one of my most popular posts.
I did a few follow up posts based on department.
You can find them here

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

this post contains affiliate links. if you purchase those items, i may be compensated.

Support local

I'm a big fan of buying local and supporting local artists and crafters.  Over a year ago, my oldest son started telling me about a local company {causal industrees} that he was loving and we started supporting this company by buying some pretty rad locally made shirts.

I was just folding laundry and three of the four t-shirts I folded that were Aidan's were all Casual Industrees tee's.  I have a few personal favorites.

Making Labels using Your Silhouette Machine and Vinyl

How to Make Labels with Your Silhouette Machine

Want to know which is better, the Cricut or the Silhouette cutting machine? I've got my unbiased opinion here. 

I've really enjoyed getting to play with my new Silhouette machine. I am tempted to put vinyl on just about everything so I have to reign myself in. I did make some labels for some of the bulk items that I have in my kitchen.

I used both the positive and negative images from the cutout for the lid and the front of the jar. Waste not, right?

Did you know you can write with chalk on vinyl? Now you do! For whatever reason, this one didn't cut the letters out for the label and instead of throwing it away, I used it anyway and just wrote my own label.

I also made a few labels for things in my pantry.

Something about a label makes me feel so organized!

Want to see other projects you can make with your Silhouette? There is a drop-down menu under real projects at the top of this website where you can see all the Cricut and Silhouette projects I've made.

These are some of my favorite projects:

western backdrop scene

Canvas Cactus Tote Bag

Faux enamel mug

fathers day, gifts for guys, beer mount

Drink Local Beer Opener

Restoration Hardware Knock off


Letter Writing Tips for Writing to your Sponsored Child

world vision child sponsorship, compassion international

One of the best parts of child sponsorship is the ability to have communication with your sponsored child.  I had the opportunity to meet one of our sponsored children this past summer in Uganda and seeing him in his mud hut holding onto a stack of letters that our family has written him over the years was heartwarming.  This family lives in a very small space and only has room for the most basic items.  To see that they had made room for the stack of letters that were written to them by a family they didn't even know, made me realize how much they do cherish that communication.

Child sponsorship is near and dear to my heart. To find a child to sponsor or learn more about child sponsorship, visit here.


This is not where I belong

The older I get, the more I realize how dependent my mood is on the weather.
I realized pretty early on living in the Seattle area that I needed to get a break during the dark dreary months and find some sun.

I spent nearly a week in Cancun, Mexico last week soaking up sun and enjoying rare one on one time with my husband and loving every minute of it.

One of our favorite things to do to start the day is to get out and run. I don't necessarily love the running part, but being outside, being active and exploring the area is a great way to start the day.

One of the songs that came on on my iPod as I was running was Building 429 "Where I Belong"
If you haven't heard it, or just love the song and want to hear it again, here it is.  It's a great one.


White Chocolate Popcorn Snack Mix

One of our family's favorite things to do during our long wet winter is to cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie together.  It's the only time the kids are able to eat in the living room and they take full advantage of it!
Pick up your favorite DVD at your local store and make a movie night for your family. 

popcorn with chocolate

5 things to stop wasting your money on right now

5 things to stop wasting your money on right now

It's easy to get into spending habits and not even think that what you are doing is a waste of money. The new year is a great time to reexamine your spending habits and start making easy changes. I have five things that you can stop wasting money on and start putting some more cash back into your wallet.

money saving tips

February free printable memory verse

As a mom teaching kids to do chores, this verse resonates with me quite often! It's also a great reminder for us as we prepare to serve.  Volunteering and serving is so very important to me and our family, and this is a great verse to remember while in the trenches.
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