Gingerly Made

Monday, September 1, 2014

Stamped Canvas Shoes

Stamped Canvas Shoes

Happy Labor Day! I hope you are all enjoying a little time off of work and extra time with your families. If you're like me, holidays also mean some extra time to fit in a quick project or two. This stamped canvas shoe project took less than 15 minutes and turned out great! All you need are some plain canvas shoes, paint, and a pencil with new eraser.

I found these great canvas shoes at (you'll never guess).....

the grocery store. Yeah, you read that right. Why the grocery store had a display for shoes I'll never know but there they were. And they were marked down from $15 to $3.75. It was a no-brainer. There was practically no choice. The shoes HAD to be bought.

But I wanted to turn these Plain Jane grey shoes into something with a little more personality and a lot more fun. Besides, I've been itching to do a stamping project.

DIY Polka Dot Shoes

The big choice was what shape to stamp? I thought about doing triangles, but polka dots are just something I gravitate towards. Even before polka dots were cool, I loved them.

So I grabbed one of my kid's fat pencils, some white paint and started adding dots. I didn't measure, I just eye-balled it trying to keep my spacing even. And when it was all done, I just washed the still wet paint off their eraser and they never knew I used it.

Painting Shoes

The shoes are a little large for me. I wear a half size, so sometimes I end up with shoes a little too big if they don't sell a half size. I just stuff the toe with a little tissue paper and off I go.

I love these fun new shoes! The grey canvas let's me match these shoes easily with just about any casual outfit. They are comfy and look great with a pair of skinny jeans. I'm sure I'll be wearing these a lot this fall.

craft DIY paint shoes

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Real Life - Out with the Old and In with the New

Another month has come an gone - too fast! I can't believe tomorrow is September!! Well, this past month I celebrated a birthday, a wedding anniversary, we've started our new school year, and potty training our youngest. Phew!

I had a nice 32nd birthday dinner out with my family at a local restaraunt aptly named Lucky 32. So maybe this will be my "lucky" year. I don't really have much to say about my birthday. As I'm getting older (because I'm SOOO OLD), birthdays just aren't a big thing for me. I'm not down on birthdays; they just don't get me excited or sentimental. I am however, thankful for another year I've been blessed to experience life and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes in the year ahead.

Displaying IMG_20140805_173308190.jpg

Hubs and I also got to celebrate our 11th anniversary! Our anniversary actually comes a few days before my birthday, so if you do the math, we got married young. I was 20! I love that we got married young. We've done so much growing up and experiencing life together. We've traveled (some, not enough) together, got our first apartment and first house together. And we're still young and have so many plans for our future.

We didn't a big celebration because we're holding on to an idea that we want to do, but need to arrange a Saturday morning babysitter. Plus our anniversary was right after a very long week of VBS and we were exhausted. We did go out to eat and watch a movie without the kiddos thanks to a local drop in day care that we have had great experiences with. But, what we really want to do is go to a rock climbing place and just have fun together. If you can't tell, we're not a candle light dinner type of couple. We'd rather go do fun stuff and make new memories.

And now, we're back into the swing of school again. This has meant some new routines for us. Last year school was really relaxed and flexible, but this year we are going to have to get more serious. For one thing, our schedule is such that we need to have regular "school time" just to make sure we get it all done. We joined a co-op so Caitlin can make some friends her age and have some "fun" classes. Plus the girls are both in dance this year. So, with all that, we (I) need to have a set routine.

Speaking of dance... my baby is taking her first Pre-Dance class. Maybe I am getting old...birthdays, anniversaries, kids growing up! Anyway, Hayley is experiencing a little separation anxiety. Can you blame her with all this new-ness? It's tough on a girl. And it's tough on Mommy. I've never been one to leave my children kicking and screaming because she wants to stay with mommy. My heart just can't take it. But I'm having to stick to my guns and let her work it out.

On top of all that, Hubs and I have decided that IT. IS. TIME! Hayley has been very resistant to potty training. She doesn't want to stop what she is doing and go sit on the potty. When we have gotten her on the potty, she's gone a few times. It's just not something she wants to do. She is almost three and is more than capable of taking a time out for the potty. So.... this weekend is a long holiday weekend and we are working on potty training. It's having it's ups and downs. I'll tell you all about it in a post later on.

So, that's been our August. What have you been up to?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Show & Tell #91

Welcome back to Gingerly Made's Show & Tell party!

What a crazy week this has been! On top of the usual busyness that is life, our washing machine broke with the first load of laundry on washing day. So we've been over to my parents' house to do laundry and work on school work. And you can only imagine how well home school went and the grandparents' house. Repairs are going to be way too expensive, so we are going to be looking for a new one. Thank goodness for Labor Day sales.

Speaking of Labor Day, do you have any big plans? We're going to be working on a few home projects and dum, dum, dum, trying to do potty training in a weekend. Say a little prayer for us!

Ok, so for last week's party. We had some fantastic links. Unfortunately I can't feature them all, so I picked a few of my favorites.

Maddie Moes made this adorable headband for her even more adorable little girl

 photo Maddieheadband_zpsd46ed9bd.jpg

So appropriate for back-to-school, 3 Boys and A Dog made a fantastic list of encouraging early literacy with no to low pressure.

early literacy thumb How To: Five Ways to Encourage Early Literacy

The rustic pizza crust from Lou Lou Girls looks ah-mazing. I bet it tastes good too!

rustic homemade pizza

And, just in case you've missed some of this week's post (and there were a LOT this week), here's what I've been working on.

Morning & Evening Routine Chart {Free Printable}

Free Data for Life with the AXS Trio

Creamy Pesto Ranch Dipping Sauce

Team Inspired Candy Mints

Easy Peasy, Inexpensive, & Clever Halloween Costumes

Ok, Let's see what YOU have been doing this week.

T-Mobile Free Data with AXS Trio

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Most of us moms try to limit our kid's screen time. But there are times when a little technology goes a long way in helping both you and them get through busy times on the go. I recently got the opportunity to try out the T-Mobile free 200mb data plan on the AXS Trio Tablet. We've been so busy lately with the start of school and extra-curricular activities. Having a data plan while we're on the road or in-between appointments has really helped us get more done with our time.

For us, the biggest time suck when we are away from home happens on Tuesdays. Both my girls are in dance class now. Hayley is just in pre-dance and Caitlin is taking ballet & tap. The girls' classes aren't at the same time, they are back to back. That means we are at the dance studio for an hour and a half each week. And each girl spends part of that time in the lobby just hanging out.

For Caitlin who is now doing school work, her 30 minutes of wait time can be used working on class work. We use a couple of online programs to supplement her curriculum and now that we have this tablet we can connect to those sites. Our dance studio however does NOT have wifi. But that's ok! The T-Mobile #TabletTrio AXS comes with free 200mb of data that renews each month. While that's not enough to watch movies, it's more than plenty for browsing the net, checking email, and working on school work.

My youngest, Hayley, has the longest wait at dance because her sister is in an hour long class. She's only 2 (almost 3) so she isn't ready for any online activity. She uses a few apps for coloring and matching games. It's great! She won't be on it for the full hour, but it helps to detour boredom and with boredom trouble-making. My girls are both very active and need a lot of mental stimulation as well as physical. This at least helps with the mental stimulation part.

I had mostly planned on dance class being their tablet time, but I found another time when I am going to let them use it; grocery shopping. We've been having some major grocery shopping battles lately. Not only are they trying to get out of the cart, grabbing at food, you know the normal grocery store issues, but they just don't get along in the grocery store. I don't know what it is, but I've had to deal with more sister fights at the grocery store than anywhere else lately. Maybe it's the close proximity?

Anyway, last week, in a moment of desperation, I took the Trio AXS and another gaming device with me to the grocery store. I handed one to each kid and IT WORKED! They were both occupied with their games and only toward the end of my shopping trip did my youngest start to get restless and want out of the cart. It was a brilliant moment in this mom's life. I even snapped a shot with my phone.

We got the tablet at Walmart. It was pretty easy to find in the Computers and Accessories aisle thanks to the bright pink display. 

Ok, so I mentioned before that 200mb is great for browsing the web, checking email, reading your favorite blogs, etc, but not so much for watching movies and things that use heavier amounts of data. So what to do if you want to do those things or if you go over your usage? No worries. T-Mobile will send you a notification if you run out of data and give you the option to purchase more. You can also get a pre-paid card.

For $35, you can score unlimited data for a full week (1GB up to 4G speeds) with no contract. I'm hanging on to mine for a road trip when the kiddos will want to watch movies and play games and do it all. Now to plan that vacation/road trip.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Morning & Evening Routine Chart {Free Printable}

Yesterday was the first day of school for our public school kids here in NC. Can I just say that as a home-school mom, I am so grateful NOT to have the morning rush that others have. HOWEVER, if we are going to get our school, chores, and extra curricular activities done each day, we have to get started at a regular time and have a schedule. So, I have created a little morning and evening routine chart for my 5 year old to follow and help her have some personal responsibility for her day.

Whether you're schooled outside the home or in it, I think most families can relate to the morning struggle. The mornings are busy enough without me, Mom, having to do EVERYTHING for my kids. It would be nice if I had time to brush my own teeth and hair. Caitlin is old enough to handle small things like getting dressed, brushing her teeth and hair, and even making her own bed with little to no help.

I made this little chart using PicMonkey and clipart from various free clip art sites to remind her what she needs to do each day. The one image of the shirt still has a watermark on it, but that's ok with me, it was free to use. You can download your own copy, but it is only for personal use. That was the deal with the free clip art - no selling it!

Morning & Evening Routine Chart

I do still have to help her finish her hair by putting it in a pony tail or braid and I'll help her if she's having trouble with her bed, but mostly she can do these things herself. She doesn't always like to do them herself, but if she can get in the habit now, well... it'll be one less battle for later.

At bedtime, we're also working on a routine to prepare us for the following day; tidy room, take bath, put on pajamas, brush teeth, lay out clothes for the next day. Again, all of these tasks are to help Caitlin learn a little responsibility for herself and to help control the chaos of mornings.

Checking the Chart

Tidying her room each night helps to keep the mess from exploding. The first night it took us 15 minutes to clean up her room; now it takes maybe 5.

I won't say that the chart makes everything perfect and smooth, we've had our moments and there are still some things that Caitlin wants us to do for her - like brush her teeth. Of all the things, why brushing her teeth is so hard, I don't know. It baffles me.

Brushing Teeth at Bed Time

But overall, this little paper that I hung up under Caitlin's light switch has been helping. It gives her something to look at and follow. It means that I can say, "What next on your chart?" instead of having to remind her over and over again. I don't have to be the nag. I can just have her reference her chart.

Do you have any morning or evening routines for your kids? What helps you make your mornings easier?

Linking up to these link parties.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Get Rid of Tailgaiting Food Breath with Team Mints

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Let's be honest. Game day food leaves your breath less than fresh. Wings, pizza, chips, nachos with all sorts of various toppings are so good and munch-able during the game, but makes your breath stink. Thanks to #CollectiveBias and #TeamJellO, I found out about Jell-O's new and AWESOME team Jell-O Jigglers University molds. I grabbed a box and came up with a fun solution to all that funk - chocolate mints with tons of team spirit.

My husband's favorite team is the Oregon Ducks. It's really a surprise since he was born and raised there. Unfortunately for him, he went to college here on the east coast, met me (his wife) and had to relocate. I've think I can officially say I've turned him into a southern boy since I've gotten him eating good ol' collards and fried okra. Now to only get him to draaawl out his vow-wles. But that's besides the point.

The point is, we don't have a lot of Ducks gear on this side of the country. We're all UNC, & NC State, & Duke (shhh). We had UNC Jell-o molds in store, but to get our Ducks kit I had to go to Wal-mart online to order our Jell-O molds. It was so worth it. I'm going to be making all sorts of O-shaped goodies now. Of course we made some Jell-O too!

Making the mints was SO easy. All you need are some candy melts, and the special candy flavorings that are usually somewhere in the same aisle as the candy melts. You want to make sure to get those candy flavorings because regular peppermint extract will cause your chocolate to seize up and ruin the whole thing.

Melt your chocolate according to the package directions. I used about 1/2 a cup for one tray. Add 15 drops of flavoring and mix.

Spray your tray with some sort of vegetable oil spray.

Then to make sure I used an even amount in each tray, I used a cake decorating tool to pump the melted mint into the tray. A sandwich bag with the tip cut off one side would be equally effective.

Put them in the fridge to harden for about 5 - 10 minutes. Once the chocolate has firmed up again, turn the tray over to dump the mints out of the mold. You may have to use the end of a spoon or fork to tap the mint free.

Not only are these mints great little breath fresheners for after tailgating, but they can also make a fun personalized gift. Package them in a tin with a bit of tissue paper. I made the label on PicMonkey, printed it out, and glued it on the tin.

So what are you going to make with your Jello-O Jigglers team molds? Stop by to get your SAVE 75¢ on ONE (1) JELL-O University Mold Kit coupon.

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Pesto Ranch Dipping Sauce

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

I'm sure you know by now, I am crazy over pesto. It's my most favorite thing that comes from my garden and I put it in and on everything. Well, I've done it again and I'm going to be a #GameTimeHero for this super simple football season recipe for creamy pesto ranch dipping sauce. It's has been husband tested and approved!

First, you need some amazing hot wings for dipping. You could make your own OR... head to the Walmart Deli for some hot, ready, and really good Tyson chicken wings. (Insider Tip: They aren't labeled as Tyson, but they are.) The Walmart Deli provides Tyson wings in Bone-in Hot Wings and Boneless General Tso's flavors. They can be purchased in a Pick 3 Bucket, a plated meal, or wings by the pound.

Picking these up are a great way for me to save a little time and effort and still have some good food. It doesn't matter if you're going tailgating or to an in-house party. Just whip up some of the Pesto Ranch dipping sauce, bring it with you, and grab the wings on the go.

Bring a platter to put the wings and dipping sauce on and you'll be the hit of the party.

If you want to try the wings out before using them for a party, Walmart is hosting some in-store demos August 29 - 31. See if they have one near you.

So for the sauce: You'll never believe how simple it is. Equal parts pesto and Kraft Buttermilk Ranch Dressing mixed together. That's it!

You can pick up pesto at the grocery store usually near the pasta sauces. Or you can make your own.

2 cups washed & dried basil leaves
1/2 - 1 cup olive oil
5-6 cloves garlic
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts (substitute walnuts or pecans for a change in flavor, but I really like the pine nuts)
salt & pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. This recipe will make a LOT of pesto, so I freeze mine in ice cube trays with cling wrap over the top to preserve the pretty green color. Then I pop out a few cubes of pesto as I need them. Let it thaw, or microwave for a few seconds and then mix it up with your ranch dressing. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! PERFECT for this lady who wants awesome party prep and has minimal time.

What are your favorite go-to game time recipes?

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