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Weekly Links

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Are Reusable Shopping Bags Really a Hazard to Your Health?

The One in Which We Admit Itโ€™s Possible to Be a Worse-r Mom

SNAP Cuts Hit Todayโ€”And Food Banks Can’t Make Up the Difference – There are a lot of families who will need food so please donate a few items to your local food bank or food pantry. No one should go hungry!

For the Love of Mac & Cheese

Top five regrets of the dying

10 Ways To Make Money As A Kid In The Fall

Love Your Life: Tangible rewards are good for everyone.

5 Cool Ideas for Halloween Candy

Free November Desktop Wallpaper 2013

Donโ€™t Boast When You Post (Choosing Humility Over Self-Promotion)

the happiest day of your life

How to Live on $1.50 a Day

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Pumpkin Painting Fun – DIY Halloween Project

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Kids love to paint and make things. Kids love fun crafts. This works well for me because I love creating things too! I watch kids from home and one day of the week I have my daughter (7) and another older kiddo (9) who can handle messy projects without making a HUGE mess. We wanted something that would last longer than a carved pumpkin, plus it’s hard for young kids to carve them into something that resembles their original idea. Instead, we decided to paint ours pumpkins!

 

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First of all, you will need pumpkins to paint and paint in fun colors. Don’t forget paint brushes and a bowl of water to rinse them in. Make sure to lay down lots of newspaper or sale sheets to protect your floor. And keep a couple towels or rags handy to wipe brushes, paint on hands or clean up spills. My daughter loves to paint as a hobby so we have LOTS of acrylic paint on hand at all times. I pick up paint at Hobby Lobby with their 40% off coupon and sometimes they have clearance paint for $1 and change.

 

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These metallic paints are Kid Made Modern Shimmer Shine Paints from Target. They give a nice metallic color, though a few had to be mixed with solid colors to make them really show up on the orange pumpkins. This set of 8 paints was $8.99 + tax at Target. I loved the price and the quality! The kids enjoyed using them as well.

 

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I had a few left over plastic container lids that were just sitting on my shelf so we used them for our paints. It worked out really well because the raised edge kept paint from spilling or dripping off. I used a piece of cardboard from recycling because I am less likely to spill paint. ๐Ÿ™‚ We used plastic bowls and cups with water in them to rinse our brushes. We keep a large set of brushes on hand as well for my little artist.

 

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We put down lots of sale sheets and even used an empty box to paint on. It was lots of messy fun! My daughter’s pumpkin is the top left, the other kiddo’s pumpkin is the top right, and mine is the bottom right. I loved seeing their creativity! They loved getting to paint, create their own unique pumpkin, and spend time together laughing and talking. It was a great way to bond with each other over something fun.

 

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These are our finished pumpkins! My daughter’s is on the left, mine is in the back middle and the other kiddo’s is on the right. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love how they turned out! The acrylic leaves the paint looking shiny and wet even when it dries. The kids were thrilled with their pumpkins and were excited to display them. I enjoyed the project too, and my pumpkin came out exactly how I wanted.

How does your family enjoy decorating pumpkins?

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Weekly Links

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Fall Guess Bags: Focus on Touch
Pumpkin Pie Play Dough
A Birthday “Block” Party part 1
Outdoor play idea and a new post-Halloween tradition: smashing pumpkins
make your own positivity jar
Playful Learning Activity Sets
Exploring the seeds of fall in preschool
How to Draw a Jack Oโ€™Lantern
Pirate Treasure Nature Scavenger Hunt
My Weather Station – Printable Weather Activity
Kid Friendly Meal Using Pumpkin 3-Ways

Crock Pot Caramel Dip

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DIY Mummy Jar Lights – Halloween Craft

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I saw a picture of this fun Halloween project on Facebook and decided to try it out. To start out you’ll need:

– Empty glass jars without lids (If you plan to use them later save the lids in a drawer)
– Rolled gauze (We used 1 roll for 2 jars. Walmart sells this pack of 5 for $5.77 with tax.)
– Electric tea lights ($1 for a pack of 2 at Dollar Tree)
– Googly eyes (You can find these at almost any store with craft/art supplies)
– Glue to put the eyes on (We used tacky glue because Elmers glue would not keep them on.)
– Scissors to cut the gauze into strips and small clear tape to tape on pieces of gauze

 

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First I cut off long strips of gauze from a roll. Then I cut the strips in half length wise. This gave then a more tattered look and gave us thinner pieces to work with. We used 1 roll of gauze for 2 big jars so plan accordingly. You could probably get 4 smaller glass jars with just one roll. I picked up rolled gauze in a 5 pack at Walmart for $5.77 with tax. The nice thing about having extra is that we can either make more jars, or save it for something else in the future.

 

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This is what our jar looked like during the wrapping process. You want to get all the glass wrapped without covering it too thickly. If it’s too thick, the light won’t shine through as well. You also want it to look a little uneven like creepy mummy bandages.

 

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When you are done wrapping your jar you’ll want to add eyes. Googly eyes work well and give it a cute and spooky look. We tried using regular kids glue first but the eyes just fell off. I keep tacky glue on hand for many projects so we used that instead. After putting glue on the eyes, I pressed them down onto the gauze for 30 seconds. I wanted to make sure our eyes didn’t fall off. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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These are my two completed mummy jars. I chose the big googly eyes because I liked the way they looked. They were pretty quick for me to make and I enjoyed the process.

 

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My daughter did 2 of the jars as well so this project is definitely kid approved! She enjoyed wrapping her jars and only needed a little help with a few pieces. Any time we can do a project together is great because we love to create together and we love the quality time together.

 

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My daughter chose smaller eyes for her 2 jars. These are her finished jars, ready for lights. It took her a little bit longer to complete but it wasn’t ever too hard or too frustrating for her. She really had fun with it.

 

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Here is a our finished mummies with their lights inside! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think they turned out great! We set them in the window but only turn the little lights on at night when they can really be seen. Our electric tea lights were in a 2 pack for $1 at Dollar Tree and they say they last 120 hours. You can use regular tea light candles but please only have an adult actually light them and keep them away from anything flammable. You’ll need a long lighter that can reach the candle in the bottom of the jar.

Once the season is over, we will take off the gauze and the jars will go back to being used to store stuff. For this reason I didn’t glue the gauze on to the jars. The gauze stayed on just fine without the glue. We used clear tape to hold down a couple pieces when we first starting wrapping the jar,ย  but they ended up covered in gauze so you couldn’t see them.

If you give this project a try I’d love to see your results!

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Weekly Links

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5 tips for a happier homeschool
10 Sane Steps for When He Makes You Crazy
Introverts in the Church
Make a savory galette for simple fall entertaining
Capturing your kids: white balance
When Your Husband Struggles with Depression
What To Feed Kids With Asthma: An Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan for Kids
A New Way to Teach Math in Homeschool: The Weekly Mentor
Falling for Fun: Mini Apple Pies in Jelly Jars
When Victimhood Gets a Spotlight
A New Season of Parenting: What Remains, What is Gone
Just Try to Push Me Away

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Storage Container Litter Box for Cats

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We now have two cats. We’ve had our 2 1/2 year old since she was about 8 months old, and we adopted a kitten in August. I have this great little nook in our bathroom where I could put their litter boxes. The problem is that their two separate boxes didn’t seem to be roomy enough, and they were using each others boxes so we didn’t need both anymore. While thinking over what to do, I got the great idea of creating a littler box from a plastic storage container. After a little researching online, I discovered a few others had the same idea. It seems super roomy, very cheap, and seemed easy to make.

First things first, I went to Walmart and got a container on sale for $4. Most litter boxes cost more than that! If you don’t have a box cutter at home, you will need one. I think they are around $4 at Walmart as well. I don’t know if you can do it with scissors, but I didn’t want to try. Using the box cutter was quick and simple.

 

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When we got home I took my daughter’s ruler and marked the spaces I wanted to cut open for a door. As you can see, I had originally made it a bit smaller but my daughter told me I should make it wider for them. It was easy to enlarge. I added an inch extra on each side. The important thing is to not put your opening too close to the bottom! If you do, they will easily kick litter out of it or even possibly pee out of it. I made my opening 5 inches from the bottom. It is low enough for the kitten to get in, but high enough to keep litter and fluids inside it.

 

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Next, cut out your door. This box had a neat little swooped down part in the plastic so I didn’t mark off the top of the door, I just cut under the swoop. Make your door big enough for your cats but not too big so litter can easily fly out. I am repeating this info because litter all over the floor is not fun. Use the box cutter to cut out the door. Please do not cut off your fingers or any other part of your body in this process! Only adults should be using the box cutter.

 

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Voila you have an opening! And if you are like me, you have two cats who are annoyingly trying to get inside your container the entire process. You can use your box cutter to smooth our any areas or even up any areas. I recommend kicking the cats out before you do that so you don’t cut them either.

 

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Just add your litter of choice and you are done! We chose a corncob cat litter to avoid the mess of clay and for the clumping action. The last little we used was pine pellet litter that expanded when it got wet to absorb more. The problem was that it did not clump at all. I had to empty out each smaller box every few days and do a major cleaning when using the pine pellet litter. It got to be frustrating to do and it would stink because I couldn’t get the urine spots out with a scoop. When you have a huge litter box like this, you don’t want to have to dump it all out and scrub it all down every few days because of non-clumping yuckies.

The corncob litter is great for clumping! I put fresh litter in the container right after I finished the opening, and my 2 year old cat got in to use it before I could even move it to the bathroom. I was able to quickly remove the the spot where she went to the bathroom with the scoop. If your cat has an upset stomach or there is a spot that sticks to the actual box, move all the clean litter to one side, then scrub the stuck on spot separately to avoid having to dump the whole box. This saves you money because you aren’t wasting massive amounts of litter.

I am not noticing much trace of corncob litter on my floors or anywhere else. With the pine pellets, it got stuff everywhere! I had to scrub my bath mat just to get stuck on moist pine pellets off. I’m enjoying this litter a lot and the cats have both had no hesitation using it.ย  I added the two cat mats that were in front of their boxes just in case they needed to wipe off any litter. If you try this, let me know how it turns out for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Weekly Links

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A Hammer in My Hands

Organizing Tips

An Unlikely Defender of Trafficked Women

Apprenticeship In Your Home School

The Real Housewives of Duck Dynasty

Kids and Chores Can Mix

Minimalist Skincare: Busted Myths and What Really Goes On Behind the Scenes

It Matters Who Your Friends Are

Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word

How to Get a Band-aid (or Other Sticker) Out of the Carpet

Savoring September โ€“ Week Two!

Quality Time is Found in Unexpected Moments

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Free and Cheap Kindle Books Facebook Page

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If you are anything like me, you enjoy free and cheap things. I love saving money and knowing I am getting a killer deal. I own a Kindle Keyboard e-reader that I love – you can see it in the picture above. It holds 3,500 books which I think is fabulous. I have almost 400 right now and almost all of them were free! I enjoy this version of the Kindle because the screen looks like a book. It doesn’t have any glare like a tablet and it isn’t as bad on the eyes. It looks just like a page in a book. I like that. I don’t want to lose the book feel when I read. It’s lightweight, I can take it anywhere easily, the battery lasts a long time, and I can even add some games to it.

If I owned every book I want in print I would have to live in HUGE home filled only with books. I really like books. More and more I am interested in books, while less and less I am interested in TV and movies. I find myself not even wanting to turn on the TV even when I know a show I enjoy is on. Unless it’s PBS and the program is something interesting, educational and exciting – I leave the TV off. I’m even skipping on the detective shows I’ve enjoyed so much. There is only one show I am watching weekly right now. When the fall seasons start up we’ll see if I even watch any.

Because I am reading so much, and my 7 year old is reading so much, I’m always on the lookout for free Kindle books. There used to be a great Facebook page that listed 20 or more free books a day, but they stopped posting. I only have one website left that actually shares free Kindle books, but it’s around 10 a day or less, and it’s not even every day. I started looking for free books and found hundreds of them! I posted some on the local deal group page I’m on and the local homeschool group page I run, but it got to be too many books to post there. I didn’t want to fill the feed with just free Kindle books.

Then I got the idea to create Free and Cheap Kindle Books, which is a page just for posting free and cheap Kindle books. This way I have one place to post them that is focused ONLY on that. If the feed is full of free books – great! That’s how it should be. I posted around 50 books alone tonight and I had tons more that I will put up tomorrow. It’s been great to share all these free books with folks who are interested! The best part about finding great deals is sharing them with others.

I’m always finding great free books in lots of different genres. I’m hoping to post a variety each day or every other day. I am a busy woman after, and I do have a lot in my schedule. Surprisingly it’s actually a good way for me to unwind. After my long day came to an end I started searching for free books and created the group. I got to do some research, share my great finds, and find a solution as to where to list them all. I’m feeling pretty productive! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you enjoy free and cheap Kindle books, definitely check it out! I’m trying to keep all the books under $5.00 but so far most that I’m posting are free or under $1. The Kindle App is free to download to your smartphone, tablet or computer so you can read Kindle books even if you don’t have a Kindle. So download it today and start adding your free Kindle books!

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Free Kindle eBooks!

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Lately I have been super busy and my free time has been spent catching up on sleep, running errands and doing some reading. For this reason I haven’t been posting as often. I’m hoping I can grab some time to post more frequently soon! In the mean time here is a post with a bunch of free Kindle eBooks. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can download the Kindle app to your phone or tablet as well as on your computer in case you don’t have a Kindle eReader. It is a free download. I haven’t read or previewed most of these books so I do not know the content other than what is posted on the description.

KINDLE PRICES CHANGE DAILY SO MAKE SURE TO GET THESE RIGHT AWAY BEFORE THE PRICES GO UP!

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Healthy Meals Do Not Have to Be Fancy, Nor Do Your Dishes

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One of the major complaints when it comes to feeding a family healthy food is that it’s too expensive and too complicated. If you create a menu plan and stick with it, looking for sales and buying in bulk when needed, you can cut the costs dramatically. I can feed a family of 2 on $50 or less a week and that’s mostly organic food. Create a menu plan, shop sales, price shop at the local stores, farmers markets and bulk stores, and keep foods simple.

We like rice as a base for a lot of meals. I know the paleo folks don’t think we should eat any grains, but for our family I disagree. Healthy grains are a good way to help keep food costs down and to keep meals filling. Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, cous cous, and so many others are examples of healthy grains. When you shop for them, compare prices between the packaged variety and the bulk variety. Sometimes ones is much cheaper than the other. We like to stock up on organic oats when they are on sale because I can use them in so many things.

In the meal above, which was made for lunch today, I simply cooked one cup of organic brown rice for the main part of our meal. I added some grass fed organic butter to it, not a lot but enough to add some flavor and the goodness of grass fed butter, and a little bit of Bolivian Rose salt. I am trying out new varieties of natural salt, not the iodized and processed stuff you see in most stores. Look for sea salt – it is a lot better for you and contains so many wonderful minerals. On top of the rice are cooked squash, corn and peas, all of which are organic. I added a little bit more salt on top of them and the meal was done. Simple, delicious and filling!

On the same level, your dishes do not need to be super expensive or fancy either. I believe in paying more when it comes to quality – if needed. I am not going to pay $100 for a set of dishes. They get eaten off of, chipped and broken. I do not see that as a good use of that much money. I look for nice dishes that are durable and low cost. The awesome bowls I got in the picture were only $1 each! I love them because they are wide and the sides are lower, so they hold more food and it’s easier to stir food in them.

In the past I purchased pretty drinking glasses that were clear with gold around the rim – very fancy looking! However, the glass was super thin and almost all of them broke. With the set we have now I looked for drinking glasses with thicker glass but that still looked nice. When shopping for dishes those are the kind of things to look for and consider. The important thing is to find good quality that looks nice without going broke over it. Thrift stores, discount stores and dollar stores are good places to look for dishes that will save your wallet.

Good company, presentation and the heart put into the meal are the things that truly matter. Good food will be good in any dish. My bowls are not fancy by any means but I adore them! I love how little they cost and how great they work for our meals. They are a great solution that I will be happy with for a long time. Make sure when you purchase dishes that you will be happy with the purchase in the future and that you won’t end up regretting what you spent.

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