Friday, December 15, 2017

Tiny Paper Houses

I know, I know. I totally fell off the world after Thanksgiving. It was a good thing, because I was busy with my business, but a sad thing, because there were so many good things I wanted to share with you.

I'm back today, because I've finally gotten a chance to sit at my computer and compose.

Today, I thought I'd feature an very talented and kind artist, Delphine Doreau. She creates darling little paper craft designs and gives them away for free on her website, Le Lapin dans la Lune!

For Christmas, I will print out several of her designs and assemble the little houses out of white cardstock. Then I set them on our dinning room table and let the children play with them. (As you can imagine, it's rare a house survives to the next year, but the children absolutely adore them.

This one is perhaps my favorite. It's the Joyeux Noel house in the back with a bunting. I was so excited, because this year she offered a blank house template for you to decorate on your own. My children absolutely loved decorating their houses.

They're right now behind me playing with their little village. haha!

If you're interested in browsing her site for your own printable village and ornaments, please visit here. You can also purchase a copy of her US released book, My Town. It is an entire book of her designs printed out on nice paper so you won't use up your printer in.


Well that's all from me. Aside from cool things happening, our family has been passing around a cold faster than a hot potato since Thanksgiving. I need to get to the store for more tissues, because we're down to one box. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Neil Gaiman's Cranberry Sauce

I love cranberries. There is something about those bright red berries, which makes me want to smile.

I've always been a canned cranberry sauce kinda person. I remember being so excited about the can-shaped cranberry jelly my mother would serve with our Thanksgiving meal.

Well, one day while poking about on Twitter, Neil Gaiman shared a recipe for Cranberry Sauce and I had to try it and thank goodness I did! It's one of the few dishes on Thanksgiving day, which my son will eat.

I'm going to translate his recipe into an easy way to read it, but you can always visit his blog, linked above.

Neil Gaiman's Cranberry Sauce

Please note, this is a 2-day recipe, so start early!

1 lb fresh cranberries
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 pinch of salt

1. Wash the cranberries, removing any soft ones.

2. Bring the water to a boil. Add the cranberries, sugar, and salt to the boiling water.

3. Boil for about 25 minutes, skimming off the pink froth, and stirring occasionally.

4. Keep boiling until the sauce becomes a thick jelly. When you drop a drip of sauce into a cup of cold water, it will hold it's shape when the sauce is done. 

5. Pour the jelly into a jelly mold, if you have one, or as Neil suggested a tupperware bowl. I used a small Pyrex bowl which I tempered with warm water first.

7. Let the steaming jelly cool on a counter until you can place it safely into the fridge.

8. The next day, fill a sink with hot water, hold the bottom of the jelly mold in the water for a few seconds, then turn it upside down onto a plate.

I hope you will try this recipe. It is really delicious, very easy and kind a fun.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Winter Sale!

I'm holding a winter sale at my company Moon's Creations. Right now you can save 10% on all purchases. No coupon code needed. Simply place an item in the cart and the discount is taken off.

Easy Peasey!

I'm sorry I sound like a big advertisement lately. I'm working on a couple of posts about the children and their activities. And I've also caught one heck of a cold, so I'm pretty spacey right now too.

I promise I won't turn into an all advertisement blog. Unless I find really cool deals I want to share.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Perfectly Posh (or really nice skincare!)

Last month I was invited to a Facebook based "party" about some line of skincare I'd never heard of, but my friend did invite me and I like face stuff, so why not, right?

It was also during a time I was seriously procrastinating with my business and so I found myself peaking into the party daily to see what was happening. (The party was 2 weeks long.) Each day the consultant introduced some of her products and mailed out free samples for everyone to try.

And so I did.

Now, I've been an exclusive Korean Skin Care Regime kinda gal since 2012, with an average of 8 steps. I loved my routine but suddenly this year, one of my products broke out my forehead and it would not go away. I'd stopped using products entirely trying to figure out what had gone wrong.

Well, trying the samples out immediately cleared up the rough forehead issues.

So, I accepted when the consultant asked if I'd host a party too. Because when something works for me, I'm going to shout it to the rafters.

My favorite item, is their Big Fat Yummy Hand Creme. It comes in a variety of fragrances and so I bought a few which sounded nice and found my favorite was their My Hands are Thai'd. To me, it smells like dried orange slices with a few soft spice notes.

When I first tried this hand creme, I was thinking "oh god! what is this fresh hell?" It felt so thick and gross, but within a minute it had fully absorbed and my hands looked great. I'm often troubled by my old lady hands, especially since I take photos of them when I photo my dolls.

I started using this once a day after a shower, but with the cold weather, I've added an application. It's crazy good. I even bought some for my mom for Christmas. (shh... don't tell.)

I also really liked their exfoliating wash A Whole Lava Love. It's minty and scrubs all the crude out. This is what kicked the nasty-forever-forehead-break-out. It made me feel so self-conscious, so I'm super grateful.

Anyway, I said I am hosting a party! Yay! If you're interested in any of the products, please use my link (I may get a prize!)

They are currently having a 10 days of sales promotion, where you can get different items for a discount or free gift, like today it's a body butter free gift with purchase, but as a savvy shopper-type, I think the best pricing will be Friday. I'll keep you posted if you'd like.

Or you can join the Facebook party here. (And if you join us late, you can still ask for free samples. While the company's products are really fantastic, they're aren't the best at refunds, so sample away!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Zazzle Sale!

I wanted to share the coupon code CLOTHINGSALE to save up to 40% on T-shirts, Leggings, and more from Zazzle!

Here are a few of my more favorite shirts we've recently added to the shop! Each of these shirts are customizable and available in a variety of shirt styles and colors!

It's Fun to Stay at the Y.M.C.A.

I've done it! I've join the YMCA and despite constantly getting the Village People song stuck in my head on a nearly everyday basis, I'm having a ball!

I've never been a big gym person and have been dragging my heels about joining, because of money and uncertainty and basic self-doubt. But I'm so glad I did it! I haven't been in shape since I injured my back in 2013 and I've had enough of it.

Our YMCA offers childcare for up to 2 hours a day, so I can leave Bear and Bun there without worrying about a babysitter. Every single person I've met there has been an absolute angel. There isn't the big competition or bluster you expect when you join a traditional gym.

It feels so crazy to put my health first for the very first time since I've become a mother.

Now unfortunately, I haven't received any noticeable benefit, as it's only been our first full week, except being exceptionally tired. haha! I'll keep everyone posted on how things continue.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Shark Flexi Journal

My friend Cara is working with Chronicle Books to make these hilarious Shark Journals. They are currently available for preorder on Amazon, and as I always say, I love Amazon's Pre-order Price Guarantee.*

The best part about pre-ordering this item now is it tells the publisher Cara's work is valuable, which can lead to more job offers. As a free lancer, jobs are tough enough to come by, so every little bit helps to support the artist!

*If you're not familiar, with Amazon's Pre-order Price Guarantee here's the low-down. If you order a pre-order item and the price decreases between your order time and the end of the day of the release date, you'll receive the lowest price. It's awesome because I don't have to watch for the lowest price.

I promise I have more posts to share with you about our Team and what we've been up to , but due to a bit of insomnia on my part, coupled with a new workout regime, I'm running on fumes. Thank you for being so wonderful!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Do you Swagbucks?
Alright, let me preface this post with yes, this is going to have an affiliate link, but please hear me out on this one.

When my husband found out he was going to lose his job this Spring, we agreed we needed to look into a way to make money so we could float if it took him longer to find a job. One of the places I turned to was Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a survey website, which rewards you with what they call Swagbucks (or SB) and you can redeem these for giftcards.

Not only do you gain SB for taking surveys, but you can also earn them when you purchase items online. This is where I really pick up the SBs because if I'm going to buy something online, I might as well make some money back too. You can earn back from retailers like: Amazon, Walmart, Old Navy, Ebay, and Target, just to name a few!

They've recently released a feature that allows you to print out coupons and when you use those at a store you get SB back! Awesome!

I can usually earn $25 Amazon giftcards each month by taking surveys! If you're interested in joining, follow this link. Sign up and give it a try.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A book too good not to share!

Yesterday, we went to the library for a cute trick or treat and parade event. During our walk through the library, I was picking up books that looked interesting. (I ended up with quite the armload!) I immediately grabbed this one because if the adorable and spazzy cover.

Super Happy Magic Forest by Matt Long, looked like a silly "look and find" sort of book, kinda like a Where's Waldo, but I was delighted to discover a real story, which was crazy cute! It is a story, which tells of 5 adorable adventurers as they try to save their home. It sounds kinda scary, right? But Matty Long manages to make it a fun and friendly adventure. He also throws in a few Lord of the Ring references for Moms and Dads to giggle over. It's a mix between a story book and a comic book in format.

My children are right now pretending to be part of the story and role-playing their own adventure. (Can their Mama hope to one day play role-playing games with her children? maybe?) So, yeah! This book has been immediately added to our Amazon wish list to add to our library.

While searching for the book online, I see Matty Long has created a second book! Super Slug of Doom: A Super Happy Magic Forest Story! Consider this one added to the wish list too!

Featured items: 

We use affiliate links. If you purchase from one of our links, we may make a few cents. Every little bit helps our family, so we appreciate it!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Save 60% at Michaels - Today Only!

Ok, I try not to do this too often, but guys! Here's another big deal at Michael's now! You can save 60% on any one regular priced item at Michael's Craft Store today only!! Make sure you use promo code: 60MAKE102817

Zazzle Sale!

Hey! If you've been looking to purchase one of our designs at our Zazzle shop, Dumbledean, now is the time! You can save up to 40% off on most items using Promo Code: ZGIFTSDEAL40
The sale is good through October 29th. I'm going to be purchasing a few shirts for myself!

Browse other gifts from Zazzle.,

Monday, October 16, 2017

Troll and the Oliver and Troll Cupcakes!

Last week, while browsing the stacks at our local library, I picked up this cute book by Adam Stower, Troll and the Oliver. It is a darling little story about a troll who is trying to catch (and eat!) the Oliver. I personally love how the author refers to Oliver as the Oliver, as though Troll thinks that's what he is rather than the little boy's name. Finally Oliver does end up getting a taste of Oliver, but to his disappointment, Olivers taste disgusting. Luckily, the two discover Trolls do like cake.

This book was an absolute delight and my children had me read it several times each day while it was in our possession.

As a bonus, this book includes a cupcake recipe to make your own troll cupcakes! Which, I can tell you my children were all about.

So we gathered up our materials and even found some cute cake decorating eyes. (Like these, Wilton Candy Eyeballs,0.88 Ounce,Count of 50) and got to work.

Now sadly, and I hope they fixed this in future printings, the cake recipe is incomplete. It is missing baking powder (or any rising agent) which would be needed to make a proper cake. But with a bit of google-foo, I found a small batch cupcake recipe online and things were back on track.

Here is my sample cupcake for the children. I made a simple buttercream recipe (from the storybook) and roughed it up with a fork to make fur. We used a candy corn assortment, Candy eyeballs, mini marshmallows, and these Twizzlers Twist Pullnpeel Fruit Punch Candy, 12 Oz Bag, (Pack of 2), Grape, Cherry, Orange Flavors, since I couldn't find regular red licorice strings.

The children were thrilled! They each got to decorate four cupcakes and even their papa got to join in with two of his. (I'd add a photo of their faces, but well, um. Ok my desk is behind them and it has lately become the family's dumping place since I've been busy with my store.)

Here is a shot of all their hard work! Hooray! Troll cupcakes for everyone and much tastier than nasty Olivers.

I use affiliate links in this post. If you purchase anything I will make a small commission.
Featured Items in this post include:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Clear your drain, the natural way

You never really think about things until they are broken.
That's definitely how I am.
Lately I've been suffering a slow drain. We have a septic system, so I can't really throw a bunch of death poisons down the drain without some major backlash in the backyard.

While researching what to do, I've discovered an awesomely inexpensive way to have clear drains.

Tada! What are these things you ask? Well they're drain snakes! (Technically called: Vastar 3 Pack 23.6 Inch Drain Snake Hair Drain Clog Remover Cleaning Tool) See those little thorns on the edges? They capture all the gross hair and gunk that gets stuck in the drain.

Ready to follow me with cleaning a bathtub drain? Here we go!

Step 1: Work your snake down the drain. You may have to wiggle jiggle it down. Then pull it out and try not to smack yourself with the gross when you pull it out. (Yeah, I totally did that the first time I tried it out and nearly gagged.)

Step 2: Pour regular table salt down the drain. I'm not sure if this is really helpful, but I've heard it helps to rough up anything in the pipe.

Step 3: Pour boiling water down the drain.

In my experience, your drain should be happy and draining properly. Hooray! No poisons! Just a little elbow grease.

Friday, October 6, 2017

We're learning

Last week I took the children for a drive along the Blue Ridge Trail. It was fun, but we were woefully unprepared. This time I had plans! We packed a picnic lunch and less science materials. We also made a point of stopping at the visitor center to pick up free publications, which will help in our future adventures.

It feels like there is so much pressure to make everything EDUCATIONAL, but I'm slowly beginning to learn my children seem to learn more when I let go and let them find their interests. That doesn't mean to say they don't learn their letters and math, but when it comes to science and social studies, letting them go on their own is best. 

Bear found this awesome caterpillar! We gathered a few nuts, which had fallen from a tree at the visitor center and brought them home to figure out what tree they are from. The children climbed all over rocks. Both fell down. They didn't break. When other tourists would say hello, they politely replied. When I asked they draw one thing from today's trip in their journal. They happily did it.

Who's children are these? haha! I really needed this day and if the weather proves good next week, we're headed back up the mountain. I'm beginning to also see the value of field trips and I'm thinking more are definitely in order.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Product Review: Asking for Trouble

I've been a fan of Asking for Trouble for a while now. The designs aesthetic sings to my soul. Simple and cute.  So when Marceline announced she was offering 10 year anniversary blind boxes, I couldn't say no.

I'd been dragging my feet about spending money and missed out on her super cute Fuji-san enamel pins, so I couldn't pass this chance up. (Argh! Hopefully she will remake them.) But I was so happy when I got my box. Look at this cuteness! She drew a unique character on each box making the  number 10. Inside was a Fried Egg enamel pin, a Little Ghost fabric patch, a Planet paper cut, a Bunny & Panda craft paper, 2 Happy Stars, a Happy Cloud badge, an Asking for Trouble pencil, two 10 year anniversary stickers, a 10 year anniversary postcard, and a mini zine.

What a box! So much great stuff and as a mega-woah bonus! I won a golden ticket! Which means I got to pick a free mug from the Marceline Smith Redbubble shop! Of course I had to go with Fuji-san! Here he is brewing up some tea while I get the children's lesson plans in order.

I feel so lucky and yeah, I'm going to be buying more things from Asking for Trouble in the future. 

What's even more lovely is Marceline is a huge supporter of all things cute and has runs her own blog about all things cute, Super Cute Kawaii. You should definitely be following all of her blogs. So much cute!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What do you do?

Ok, so  today I fell into a tricky trap and I don't know what you other mama's do in this situation.

We had to go to the Walmart and while waiting in the check out line, Bun saw a tiny Elsa doll. It was cute and reasonably priced. It would be perfect for a Christmas stocking stuffer.

Except I was caught putting it on the conveyor belt. Then Bear saw his sister was getting something and he wanted something too.

Well fair, is fair, right. So I bought him something too. And then I felt I couldn't not give them their toys right away, since they'd caught me.

Augh! Even though I had no plans to get them more toys and now I'm beating myself up for spoiling them and wasting money I should be saving.

The guilt.

Seriously, what do you do in this situation. Should I have left Elsa and come back to the dreaded Walmart later on the rare chance I will be without children? Should I have lied and said the doll was for someone else? What would you do?

Help? I'm a terrible mother.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tips When Visiting an Apple Orchard

Did I say I love Autumn, because I do!!!

This Sunday, our family made a drive over the mountain to a local apple orchard. Having observed others and experience from my last trip, I thought I'd write up a quick tip list for when you visit an apple orchard.

Tip 1: Dress for a farm.
I know you want to look your best and maybe take that autumn family photo in the orchard, but you're on a working farm. You will likely have a long walk. There is dirt. There are bees. Please don't wear heels and a short dress.

Tip 2: Bring reusable shopping bags.
The orchard will often give you something to put your fruit in, but I find those reusable shopping bags, which are handed out for free at supermarkets, are perfect for picking apples. They are strong and best of all you can put them over your shoulder to easily carry your produce back to the weighing station. They also hardly weigh a thing, so you're paying for more apples and less bag.

Tip 3: Know your purpose.
Why are you picking apples? Is it the experience? Are you making pies? If you know what you're planning to do with your apples, you will be sure not to over pick. (This is the hardest for me, because I always want to pick all the fruit. It's so fun, but then I always end up with a huge bill in the end.)

Tip 4: Only pick what you want.
Look at the fruit carefully before picking it. Sometimes a bug will have nibbled an apple, so be sure to turn it and look it over before you remove it from the tree. It's never nice to throw bad fruit on the ground. It attracts bees and that can be a dangerous combo for the wrong person.

Tip 5: Show up early.
Maybe this is just for me, but I like to get their early and beat the crowd. We went in the afternoon once and were swarmed with elementary school students. 

Tip 6: Check in.
Make sure you ask where to pick before you head out to the orchard. Not all fruit is ripe at the same time. You can even call ahead to ask what fruit is available so you can be sure to get the fruit you want. I'm a sucker for Fuji apples. I've never had a bad one.

I hope this comes in handy for your own apple picking adventures. Really if you aren't sure, check it out and find those local pick your own farms. It's fun! It's a memory! Enjoy those fleeting days, even if you're tired and flailing with the housework.

Friday, September 29, 2017

What is Balance?

For me, October is my busiest month.  I try to find balance between work and my children and I'll admit I fail sometimes.

This month, I'm working on two huge undertakings for my business and in the end it will pay off, but I will be stressed and up against deadlines and here are my sweet children who just want my attention.

Today, to make up for being so busy and stressed, I took my children for a drive along Skyline Drive on the Blue Ridge Mountains.

While we were behind schedule, without lunch, and my son scared the crap out of me more than once by climbing rocks like a mountain goat, we had fun! I promised them I'd take them again if next Friday was a good weather day.

Leaving was sad, but sweetened by some amazing King's Popcorn. It's an amazing little food truck just off the Afton Mountain exit on Rte 64 and they are totally worth it. I made sure I took a photo of their menu so I could order a meal from them next time, because there were a few people eating and it smelled so good.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Intelligent Girls... like hayrides

This Saturday, a local nursery was holding a custom appreciation day, so off we went to check it out. Bear was so excited because they had a free-use bounce house. To this day, I've never been inside a bounce house. They make my claustrophobia act up, but my son LOVES them. He probably bounced around for a good 10 to 15 minutes before we could convince him to take a break.

After that, we decided to take advantage of their free hayrides. Both children were excited, until the time to get in wagon. Bear jumped right in with his Papa, but Bun stopped. She said she didn't want to get in, so we quickly stepped aside to let other riders on. I told her we could wait while Bear and Papa rode. Then she looked at me and said, "Intelligent girls like hayrides." When I asked if that meant she wanted to ride after all, she nodded.

I'm not sure where this "Intelligent girls" phrasing came from, but she uses it often. Apparently, intelligent girls like to be helpful, coloring, singing, and I'm sure many other things, which currently escape me.

The hayride was quite nice and we got to see a lot of the valley. No actual pictures, since I was holding Bun on my lap. She didn't like sitting on the straw. While riding I realized it was the very first time my children have had a hayride.

So, I'd say my weekend was a win.

(Although I really wish I'd gone to a big Harry Potter event in Staunton, Virginia this weekend. However there were a lot of people there and satellite parking and my children don't know anything about Harry Potter yet. So maybe next year...)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cat Crafts

All links are affilaate links. I may make a small amount of money if you click any links or make a purchase. 

Ok, so the other day, I fell down an Amazon hole. It's sort of like falling down a Wikipedia hole, except you're following suggested products based on items you're currently looking at.

It all started with this book Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat. I'd seen this book in passing via my older sister and was just curious about the book. Well, let me tell you once I got to this book, my cat book journey had begun.

I noticed this book by Gemma Gorrell, Doodling for Cat People: 50 inspiring doodle prompts and creative exercises for cat lovers. I've been a fan of her pug art so I had to check out this cute doodle book. Now is it just me or are doodle books new? I've never seen these before 2017. Perhaps I'm behind the curve. But I'm totally for them, because so cute

Well, after that, I saw the cover of this cute coloring book, A Million Cats: Fabulous Felines to Color. I mean look at those chubby cat faces!

Finally I ended up here Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself, and really let's just admire the brilliance of this book. Who has a cat that hates boxes and this book is all about making fancy boxes, because I think all cat owners have gotten to the point they wonder about the tiny cardboard shanty town they've slowly accumulated because the cat loves them.

Now, this is the last on, because I thought I was done, but when I went over to Amazon to get the links, I saw this Pusheen Coloring Book too! Who doesn't love Pusheen?