Oh Thankful Tree!

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Let me start by expressing just how fun this project was to create!!  It encompasses all of the points that make a DIY – a DIY.  Glue, paint, imagination,  patience,  problem solving… and it was meaningful.  It really was the epitome of an amazing project!  

It started out as a humble tabletop creation for my girls.   I simply wanted to have something they could see daily.  Something that made them more aware of what it is they’re thankful for, and I wanted them to be reminded each day that they have beautiful blessings in their lives.  Ta-da! This little ode to a tree was created.

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Ok but back to this beauty! 

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A very special,  amazing person whom I love dearly,  saw my post and asked me to create one on a bigger scale.  As a teacher, she wanted to use this for her classroom,  and have the children make the leaves from their little handprints.  How perfect is that??  No way I could turn down this challenge.

Because the branches are so tall and pliable,  I wanted to add stability and a sense of “real-ness” as one tree trunk.  This is where string really came in handy!  I simply tied the branches together in several places. Then I sprayed the “tree ” white.   The gold they originally came as was beautiful too… but very shiny!

For its base I used a terra cotta pot,  painted it with chalk paint, and filled it with florist foam.  I stuck the trunk of the tree as far down into the foam as I could.  It still needed stability though – think of planting tall flowers here.  So rocks were added around the base to weigh down the foam amd hold it into place. 

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I found white rocks and threw them around the florist foam. (faux grass would look very cute too!!)  And just for visual appeal, I added some faux mini leaves and glued them to a few of the rocks.

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As a final part of painting,  I always try to seal my projects.   For this, I used a clear finishing spray and lightly sprayed all over.

To add a little touch of pizzazz,  I added lighting to the tree as well.  I found wire led lighting and wrapped it around the branches.  Lighting makes everything better, right?!! 

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And we couldn’t go without adding a little sign, just to let everyone know this trees’ purpose. 

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Now, it was ready for the kids and their handprints.   =)

I imagine it was a great time in that classroom…  what a fun, thoughtful, and sincere project to complete with the kiddos!  (Reason #382, 976, 284 that I adore this teacher!!)  The perfect way to remind ourselves to consider all of the amazing things we have in our lives on a daily basis, instead of a couple times throughout the year.

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And in this crazy world, I couldn’t imagine a better project.

Forever Thankful,
Krystal

My DIY Dilema

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Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a hopelessly addicted DIY-er.  I’ve got it BAD!  My husband is always questioning what I’m doing now, because I’m always doing something!  I just cannot leave things alone.  It’s a curse.

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Recently I’ve been debating though,  about possibly selling my DIY projects through farmers markets,  and opening an Etsy shop,  to make a lil something on the side and to give me a very valid excuse as to why the dishes still aren’t done. (Sorry honey!)

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To sell or not to sell?  THAT is the question.   Well there are several pros and cons to this that I must consider.
Pros:
I can do what I love ALL the time!!
No boss!! (Double bonus there)
Make a little cash for my hard work
Create beautiful one-of-a-kind things
Meet new people

Cons:
Late nights doing these projects  probably.  ( I have young children and I may as well be brushing my teeth with Oreo’s when they’re around. )
My items may not sell.  (Ouch!   But it’s a reality I have to recognize )
Even MORE time spent at craft stores which my husband claims I’m banned from. 
Lots of trips to the UPS store. (It’s 20min away, yuck)

Hmm… well that’s a decent amount to consider.  As someone who is always tweaking the decor, always trying to create something new from store bought cache, the thought of other people seeing my projects and considering buying them is somewhat scary.   Kinda like a new kid in school.   I want to sell my things and do well.  But what if nobody likes my things?  What if everyone makes fun of my things?  What if no one sits beside me at lunch???  Ok that went off a bit into left field.  Bringing it back now!!!  YES it’s a scary thing to dedicate your time, patience,  effort, mental skill, and sometimes your skin to the glue gun (it gets pretty ugly some days!)… and then no one likes your brand new shiny things.  Sigh….

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But you know.. I’m a tough cookie.  Whether I succeed at this, or epically fail,  I’m having a blast!!   Why wouldn’t I want to take the next step and open that Etsy shop??  It’s all about doing what you love, and having fun doing it, right??

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Yep, I’m going to step outside of my comfort box, and so should you.   Life is just too short to sit on the bench. 

XOXO,
Krystal

How To Easily Identify Your Kids When You’re In A Crowd

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With summer and fall comes outdoor activities, especially during evening hours, when it gets THAT much more difficult to keep a close eye on your kiddos.  Plenty of festivals,  BBQ’s, a trip to the outdoor mall after dinner,  an outdoor movie perhaps.  And with all of those fun activities of course, comes the crowds. 

When you have one child, it’s hard enough to keep an eye on him or her in a crowded place.  Add in a few more little people that share your name, and it just became a real world game of hide and seek.  NOT a game any parent wants to play!

A parents goal is to keep their children safe.  To keep them entertained while keeping them safe is quite a bonus! 

Saftey and visibility go hand in hand.  It’s hard to protect them if you can’t see them.  Enter the simple glow stick.

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What better way can keep your kids clearly visible,  even at a distance?   And these days, they have SO many different kinds, you can seriously layer them up!  The kids love them because they’re fun, and parents love them because they’re cheap and literally a highlighter for your kids!

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So stock up!!  And go have that family night out!!

XOXO,
Krystal

Why Did The Mom Cross The Road?

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Because she had free time!   

Yep, That’s definitely a joke right? At what point do moms actually get free time? It’s one of those rare necessities that far too often pass us by. 

With school around the corner,  I simply wanted to take a minute to offer encouragement,  and remind the moms out there, that soon our school age children will be out of the house!!   And I too, will be celebrating!  

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What is it about summer that has us longing for fall?  Maybe it’s because at some point our children end up at each others throats all day?  Maybe it’s due to the kids needing to be entertained every second of the hour?  Maybe it’s because if you’re a mom of small children you get pieces of a meal instead of an actual meal?
At least while school is in session we get some kinda break.  Only temporarily though until they come barrelling through the door at 3:30…  but any break is a good break! 

While I love my children like a mama bear loves her cubs, and I want them to succeed in their academics and surpass all expectations set… I will also be breathing a sigh of relief when that school bell rings and they’re in their seat,  and I’m sure you’re pretty excited too.  

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So raise your glass with me!  Here’s to actually eating a meal during the day, perhaps having the bathroom to ourselves for a minute,  and maybe, just maybe, having longer than 5 seconds of quiet.     Let the count down begin!

XOXO,
Krystal

Can You Reason With A 4yr Old?

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Well that’s a good question.   Does the moon ever turn green??   Ha!  
Quite honestly,  NO.   No one can reason with MY 4 yr old at least.  She does what she wants, so getting her to behave and act appropriately takes more than me asking… it takes strategy!

Being a mom of 3 now, I’m even more insistent that my children behave.   I need to be able to take them ALL out to the grocery store, or to run errands, and have them by my side and not causing a scene.   However,  it’s much easier said than done.  For some reason my children are so stubborn and independent! (NO idea where they get that from.   Ahem..)

So I decided to try a system that makes her more aware of her actions.  A tracking of her behavior and a reward for doing what she’s expected to do.  It goes like this-

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I have these cards on the fridge,  and at HER eye level, so that she can move her magnet according to her behavior. 

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Basically she starts out on a good note.  If I have to tell her to watch it, or give her a warning,  then she must move her letter to the ‘warning ‘ card.   To be moved back to the Good card, she must DO something helpful for mommy… a chore, cleaning,  helping her sister…  anything nice and helpful.

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IF after that warning she doesn’t improve…  OR she improved but was misbehaving again …  she moves her magnet to the time out card. 

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There are 3 levels on this card…
Time out +
Something is taken away +
Early bedtime
If you notice in this picture,  there’s also a green card with the rules written out so she knows what we expect of her.

If I have to put her in time out, there is NO reward.  
IF she is put in time out a 2nd time,  then she also gets something taken away (which could be her favorite toy or the reward from the previous day, etc). 
And IF she is put in time out a 3rd time, then she has something else taken away AND early bedtime. 

Luckily she’s only had early bedtime once, and she hated it so much she does what she can to avoid it.  :mrgreen:

The Rewards Bag has a bunch of different rewards…   she can pick the movie for movie night,  pick her favorite candy at the store, get a date day with mommy or daddy, pick the night time story book before bed, trip to the park, and extra outside time, to name a few. 

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She picks her reward after she has brushed her teeth and is ready for bed.

So far the system has improved her behavior– thank the stars!!!!!    She really wants the rewards,  but she really wants the attention more…  so getting to SEE  her progress on the fridge, and knowing that everyone else sees it too, makes her want to behave even more. 

How do you get your little ones to behave?? I’d love to hear tips!!

XOXO,
Krystal

7 Ways To Be Sneaky! (From a Sneaky Mom)

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Picky eaters at home?   Story of this mamas life!!  Why is it SO difficult to make kids eat normal healthy foods??  It just drives me nuts!!  As a mom I’ve spent countless meals trying to make my kids eat the healthy foods they need.  And I know you have to!   The struggle for mamas is REAL, and it’s exhausting!!   So I’ve put together a list of foods that go well together — aka, healthy foods that go undetected in kiddo preferred meals.  (Shhhh!!)

Ready to be sneaky?? 😉

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Zucchini, Squash, or Carrots,  hide perfectly in spaghetti sauce!    Just steam the veggies of choice,  puree in blender or food processor,  and pour in when kids (or husband’s ) are not around!! 

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Broccoli or Peas turn mac n cheese green!  Puree a little bit of steamed broccoli or peas,  and mix like a sauce into the mac n cheese!  Top with some shredded cheese and done!  Kids LOVE green foods that aren’t supposed to be green!

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Got a kid that doesn’t like meat?  I know that feeling.  =\     So how do you sneak meat into your childs food?   For me personally, I found a flavored rice my kids LOVE..  Broccoli and Cheddar flavored rice.  It literally just tastes like a creamy, cheesy dish to them.   So we grill chicken (or use rotisserie ), and I chop some up super small,  and then smear it into a paste- like consistency as best I can,  on the cutting board.  It goes totally undetected in that flavored rice!!!  So while my picky eater thinks shes in 7th heaven getting to JUST eat a bowl of her favorite rice dish, she’s actually getting a protein filled complete meal!  Ha!  

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Breakfast treat!!  Zucchini, grated or pureed, goes amazingly well in apple cinnamon muffins!

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Pizza fiend’s??   Pureed Carrot hides like Waldo in pizza sauce for a homemade pizza!! 

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Of course there’s also plenty of sneaky foods already made and ready to help with our mom agendas too!  Protein and vegetable filled pasta noodles are a great addition to a Spaghetti dinner!  

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Greek yogurt adds protein too with less sugar than regular yogurt-  perfect in smoothies or frozen yogurt treats!

The key here, as with anything,  is moderation.   Start out by adding small amounts first.   Otherwise you’ll risk having mac n cheese that only tastes like peas…and nobody wants that! 

How do you get your kids to eat healthy foods?  

Happy Sneaking!!
XOXO,
Krystal

Soup-tons! (Croutons for Soup!) And Why Your Mouth Needs These!!

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Is it too early to start talking about comfort food?  Nah!  These crusty, crunchy, buttery cubes of flavor are my absolute necessity for my favorite comfort food–  homemade soup!

Some how I’m able to contain myself and not devour these on a daily basis.  I LOVE these!   

Super easy!  Super fast!  Super delicious!   Anyone else hungry?

I originally made these to accompany an equally amazing soup that my very talented mother in law made for us.   Since then, I cannot have THAT soup without THESE soup-tons!  It’s like they were just made for each other?….   aww! =)

All you need is a loaf of french bread, olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder,  parsley, or cilantro depending on your soup. ( Oh and amazing soup!)

Cut your French loaf into large squares. (Ciabatta bread would work great too!)

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Drizzle with olive oil, and lightly dust the garlic powder. (Unless you enjoy garlic, in which case, pour on!)  Sprinkle that tasty sea salt and toss!

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Bake at 400 for 5-7 min depending on how your oven cooks.

Remove and sprinkle with chopped parsley (or cilantro).  Mix together!

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Toss ’em in!!

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Ooohhhh…  Mmmmm…Aaahhh…
They just soak in ALL that soupy goodness!   ALL that flavor!  And then you eat it…. and its crunchy, but soft…full of flavor…  oh my….  well… you’ll just need to see for yourself. 

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Oh SO good!  So, SO good!  I dare you not to add these to every single soup you eat from now on!

XOXO,
Krystal