Sunday, May 31, 2009

Input Needed: Gifts for Teens

I am getting ready to get prizes for our teen summer reading program. I have $100 for our "grand prize". In the past, we have given iPod shuffles for the big prizes, but I don't know if they are still "in" enough to be a good teen prize. So, I would love your suggestions for cool things teens would like as prizes in the $50 to $100 range. Thanks so much! Looking forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Giveaway Ends Tomorrow!

Just a reminder - my giveaway ends tomorrow at 12:00 pm. Get your comments in for your chance to win! I have so enjoyed "meeting" all of you through your comments and am looking forward to checking out all of the craft blogs and sites you mentioned! I will announce the winner of this giveaway on Monday morning and get your package out next week! Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Frugal Friday: Make Fitted Cloth Diapers

I know, I know, you're probably thinking "yeah, right!". That's what I always thought about making my own cloth diapers. Recently, after a month or two on cloth diaper "hiatus", we decided to start using them again, only to find that our daughter had grown out of most of her diapers.

While perusing the forums on Diaper Pin looking for sales on cloth diapers, I came across a post with this tutorial for making your own fitted cloth diapers. I was shocked that the directions actually made sense to me! (I really only have basic sewing skills, honest.) I got some flannel from my mom's fabric stash, bought some elastic and velcro, made my own pattern from a diaper we had, and started sewing.

I am now working on finishing diaper #3. I'm learning a lot as I go, and the diapers are by no means perfect. The first one didn't fit great, so I used one of Mama Bird's patterns found here. The inside layers of the diapers are made of flannel on 2 of them and the latest one has layers of one of my husband's old T-shirts in it.

My total cost for 3 diapers so far is about $10. You do need to use a cover with this kind of diaper, but Gerber or Dappi pants are inexpensive and will work fine. I already have the pieces cut to make diaper #4!

For more frugal tips, check out Frugal Friday at Life as Mom!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Giveaway Day!

Well, today is Giveaway Day at Sew, Mama, Sew! If you haven't checked out this site, visit them for lots of great projects, fabric, and more!

I am participating with my first giveaway! Three exciting items are included in the prize if you are the lucky winner: 1. The book Better Homes and Gardens Crafting With 4 Supplies 2. A fabric panel to make a Merry Christmas Songbook children's cloth book and 3. A sweet strawberry bag holder to hang in your kitchen to hold plastic grocery bags for reuse or recycling.


To be entered to win, just leave me a comment on this post with your favorite craft web site or blog. (Please, no international addresses) Comments will close to new entries on May 31 at 12:00 p.m. EST. One winner will be chosen randomly from all comments and announced on June 1. (Make sure I have a way of contacting you if you win!)

Also, please take some time to visit my mom's Etsy shop, CJ's Craft Corner. We will be stocking her shop with some new items in the next few weeks - kids' aprons, tea wallets, cloth books, and more!

I have been busy lately and not blogging so much, but I did make these cute dish towel toddler bibs using the directions at Nap Time Journal. Also, I made my first two fitted diapers! I am hoping to post some pictures and the pattern and directions I used. I had so much fun making them!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit Sew, Mama, Sew for more chances to win!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Items at CJ's Craft Corner and a Giveaway


First, I want to highlight some new items recently listed at my mom's Etsy shop, CJ's Craft Corner. We have a couple of new tea wallets and a new soft cloth book. We hope to be adding more items in the next couple of weeks, so check us out!

Second, we are hoping to participate in Giveaway Day on May 27th, hosted by Sew, Mama, Sew! We plan to give away some sewing supplies, so look for it next week!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Favorite Garage Sale Finds: Pedipeds

We went to a baby and kids garage sale this weekend and were excited to find a couple of great buys!

These shoes are "Grace" Pedipeds. They were barely used and my daughter's size. Retail? $32.00! They were $3 at the sale!

We also got this sweet armchair for our daughter for $20. She already likes it a lot and we think it's pretty cute, too!

What have been your favorite garage sale/thrift store finds?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Recipe: Coca-Cola Cake

Several years ago, I remember eating some delicious Coca-Cola cake at Cracker Barrel. Since we have some cans of Coke in the house right now (purchased with ECB last week at CVS), I decided to try and find a recipe for this cake.

I found two general recipes. The Coca-Cola cake found here and at several other sites uses mini-marshmallows. Since I didn't have marshmallows in the house, I decided to try this recipe for Cracker Barrel Double Fudge Coca-Cola Cake. I have to say, it is a very good recipe. Instead of using a sheet cake pan, I used a 9X13 pan and the cake required an additional 10 minutes (or so) to bake.

This got me thinking about other "copycat" restaurant recipes. What are some of your favorite "copycat" recipes? Do you use certain web sites to find them? Leave me a comment so I can check out your favorites!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Storytime Fun: Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Today was another interesting day where I got to meet and hear another fabulous author speak! Laura Vaccaro Seeger is the author and illustrator of several award-winning children's picture books including:
  • The Hidden Alphabet
  • Lemons Are Not Red (I purchased a copy of this one today for my daughter and got it autographed!!!)
  • One Boy
  • Walter Was Worried
  • Black? White! Day? Night!
  • First the Egg (Caldecott Honor Book)
  • Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories
  • Dog and Bear: Two's Company
The first books on the list are concept books for younger readers and focus on letters, colors, opposites, transitions, etc. The illustrations in the books are amazing and very unique. They show different perspectives on objects and really get the reader to think about what is seen. Children and adults alike can spend a great deal of time looking at the illustrations in these books and observing the different components.

The Dog and Bear books are charming, funny children's picture books that tell more of a traditional story. These books explore friendship and other themes and resonate with children because they can relate to Dog and Bear's dialogue and the events in the stories.

Laura's web site is a great one to check out as well. Here are a few of the fun activities available to accompany the books.

Learn to Draw Bear (From Dog and Bear)
Reader's Theater Script for Dog and Bear: Two's Company "Ice Cream" (Word Document)

We also used some of the ideas behind the concept books to create our own mini die-cut books. Kids would love to try this activity, so check out some of Laura's books today!

I am hoping to write one more post in the next few days telling a little bit about Judy Nichols' presentation today. She focused in storytimes for toddlers and storytelling for a K-4 audience. She had some amazing ideas that I am looking forward to sharing and implementing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Storytime Fun: Alyssa Satin Capucilli

I absolutely adore children's literature and am passionate about literacy. My work at the library allows me to read and use many different children's books and occasionally I get to hear children's authors speak. Today I had the pleasure of listening to Alyssa Satin Capucilli, author of the famous Biscuit and Katy Duck books (among others!).

I very much enjoyed her presentation and highly recommend her books. In addition, I want to share with you her website, including some of the materials you can use as you read these books at home with your children.

Literary Fun - This section contains printable coloring sheets, a matching activity, and a connect the dots relating to Biscuit or Katy Duck. There are also printable bookmarks and online word searches.

Reader's Theater - This section has a printable reader's theater script and letters that can be used with the book Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats. We heard this story today and participated in a simple alphabet activity with the story. It is a darling story and would be great for working on various letter exercises.

Katy Duck Classroom Activity Kit (PDF) - This printable resource includes ideas to use with the Katy Duck books as well as printable sequencing cards, choreography cards, and a letter writing activity. This would easily work as a literature unit plan for homeschooling parents of younger children.

Finally, Alyssa talked about her new blog, which she hopes will be a place for librarians, parents, and educators to discuss ideas about how to use a variety of books and activities to instill a love of reading in children.

I am looking forward to sharing these books and ideas with my daughter and my storytime kiddos. I hope you enjoy them as well!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kraft Coupons

It's a great day for coupons! First, make sure to register at the Kraft Foods Community to print up to $50 in Kraft coupons. Then, if you'd like to print more, click on the coupons.com widget in my left sidebar to print extras. I am already hearing about being able to get free Kraft BBQ sauce using one of these coupons and I'm sure many other great deals will be possible. Enjoy!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Frugal Friday: Home Decor

Here are a couple of inexpensive items I've put together recently to brighten up our home!

I was feeling sad a couple of weeks ago when my tulips were at their peak - I knew they wouldn't last too much longer! I decided to take a few pictures to put in this collage frame we already had. It was about $1 to get the 9 pictures printed.

I like to make new pillows for our living room every 6 months to a year. I got this fabric for about $2 a yard (2 1/2 yards) and used the pillow forms from our existing pillows. Total cost: about $5 (plus time).

What are you making to decorate your home? For more frugal ideas, visit Frugal Friday at Life as Mom!

For more frugal decorating tips, visit The Shabby Nest's Frugal Friday Linky Party!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day Craft


We decided to have our little one help with this craft from Dresses and Messes (via Make and Takes). The potholders are little gifts for our daughter's grandmothers. She only had the attention span to do one at a time (she is almost 18 months), but I thought they turned out pretty cute! They were also simple and quick!

What are you giving mom for Mother's Day?

May Craft Challenge: Ribbon

craft challenge

I have really been enjoying reading Blue Eyed Blessings. There are so many fun, creative ideas there! I read about May's Craft Challenge involving ribbon, and I have been looking forward to participating!

I posted about these baby food jar pincushions a little while ago, but these use a small piece of ribbon glued around the lid.

I also made 3 of these ribbon headbands using a tutorial here from Chocolate on My Cranium. These are so simple and turn out really well. I wore one yesterday right after I made them. (That's why only 2 are in the picture!)

Our Wal-Mart (unfortunately) is getting rid of their fabric and craft department, so yesterday, my mom and I explored their remaining craft clearance. I got all of these spools of ribbon for $0.25 each!! More ribbon crafts are definitely on the horizon.

Visit Blue Eyed Blessings for more crafts using ribbon and add your ideas, too!



Visit I Am Blissfully Domestic for great ideas for your home and family!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Restoring Order

This week for the Restoring Order challenge, I am hoping to tackle:
  • my pile of mending (Lots of hemming and buttons!)
  • reorganizing my shoes (I've been having trouble finding my spring/summer shoes and sandals!)
I think that's all for this week! What will you be working on organizing this week?

Coupon Clutch Tutorial

Recently, I have discovered One Pretty Thing, a site that highlights a variety of crafts, activities, and ideas from different blogs. I have seen many craft ideas to try. This weekend they featured a tutorial to make a coupon clutch at the object project. I loved the idea (being a
frugal coupon shopper and all) and had to give it a try.

The project was very simple and I was able to complete it in less than an hour. As a beginning sewer, it felt good to follow simple directions and successfully complete a project! This will be part of my mom's Mother's Day present and now I want to make one for myself also!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Frugal Friday: Garage Sale Find


A couple of weeks ago, I made a list of outdoor toys that I thought my daughter would enjoy this summer. I also made a list of the retail costs for each item (playhouse, sand table, swingset, etc.). I couldn't believe the total! I knew that I would be visiting some garage sales to try and find some of these items.

Last week, we ended up at a sale sponsored by a Christian preschool in the area. On the way in, we saw a Little Tikes swing/slide, but figured it was sold. We went in, browsed around, picked up a few toys, and paid for our purchases.

On the way out, we saw the playset again. This time I noticed it had a price of $40 marked on it. My mom went back in to ask if it was sold...and it wasn't! The seller was willing to take $30 for it, and it was sold!

My sweet dad was with us and had to take the whole thing apart to fit in our car, but we took it home, cleaned it off, and put it back together. My little one really loves it!

What are some of your recent garage sale finds?

For more Frugal Friday, visit Life as Mom!
 

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