Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crafty Chica Dia de Los Muertes Tote Bag Tutorial

Since I'm a blogger, I read a ton of blogs. One of the very first blogs I ever found that I truly loved was Diary of a Crafty Chica. I'd actually heard of the writer Kathy Murillo before just around the crafting world. Then I found her blog and realized she was amazingly talented and hilarious to boot. (She also has the cutest hubby and most gorgeous daughter ever!) Kathy is amazing, she writes a blog, she teaches how to create your own blogs, she designs crafts for Michael's, she writes books, and she even has a yearly crafts cruise. She has become both my crafting and blogging guru. So imagine my surprise when recently, Kathy chose ME to use one of her new Michael's craft products to write a tutorial and review for!

Kathy sent me some of her new flocked and embossed iron-on embellishments. As soon as I received it and saw that it was a Dia de los Muertes image, I knew what I wanted to make. I saw a tote bag somewhere on pinterest forever ago that was bright and colorful with a Dia de los Muertes picture in the center. It was something like $50 and I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. I'm so glad I didn't. So here's how I made my own Dia de Los Muertes (I just love saying that.) tote bag and you can too!

Step 1 - Gather supplies. For this project, you'll need either an old or a blank tote (available at Michael's and other crafts stores), fabric paint, masking tape, paintbrushes, and your embellishment. Adorable painting assistant optional.

I put the tape right on top of each other just to keep the lines
Step 2. Apply masking tape to make stripes. I was meticulous about this. I would put the tape down right after each other to ensure that it was always straight. See image to see what I mean.

Step 3. Paint with fabric paint. Most totes are sort of porous so they are going to absorb that paint right up. Make sure you have enough paint before you start. I just barely made it with enough of the yellow paint. Let the paint dry overnight.

Keep the fabric between as iron if you can. Be careful!

Step 4. Apply Crafty Chica embossed iron-on embellishment. The directions say to wash and dry your fabric first. Uhmm... I may have skipped that part. Moving on... I applied the iron-on plastic side up. Then I placed a small linen napkin on top and ironed away. I had a really hard time with the tiny little details not wanting to stick to the fabric (maybe because I didn't wash it first?) so I actually ironed directly on the plastic, applying a lot of pressure. Obviously, if you do this, be VERY VERY CAREFUL. PLASTIC MELTS. True story. Once the iron-on was stuck to the fabric and cool to the touch, I peeled away the plastic and voila.

Step 5. Add stars and other designs you wish to make. I thought mine looked a little lonely with just the stripes and the lady with her dog. (Did you see the dog in her hands? Adorable.) I added the stars with some bright orange fabric paint. I think a lovely turquoise would've been perfect too, but you gotta work with what you have.

Step 6 - Rock your awesome new tote!

What do you think? Does it need more stars? I thought that might be too much if I added more. Should I get some fabric pens and color in the lady? One of the other bloggers did that and it looks awesome, but I kind of like the black. Hmmm....

To do this and many other projects, check out the Crafty Chica supplies at your local Michael's. To see some other projects that bloggers have made with the new products, check out the Crafty Chica Pinterest Board. Pin It

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Things I Found on the Interwebs (13)

Crafts using Crafty Chica's New Line My project will be on Sunday's post!

Toddler School & Crafts
30 Awesome Apple Activities
Monster Books for Kids
Pirate Crafts for Little Ones
Autumn Leaf Crowns

A little girl adopted from China on her home country. So lucky that she has the best mom ever.
Momphemisms. Hilarious and true.

Recipes (Paleo-friendly, or could be with slight variations)
Sante Fe Turkey Burgers
Delicious Stuffed Peppers
Baked Chicken Legs

Brag Tags and Character Counts

Female Empowerment Anthems


There was no link on pinterest so if
this is yours please let me know so I can
give you credit. 

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Five Question Friday

Do you prefer to drive to your vacation spot or fly? 
Fly. I love planes. Though as I get older they are starting to make me a little nervous. Defying gravity and all. But I still like them, and most of the places I want to go are far away, so I'll fly.

If you could live any where in the world, where would you go and why?
Egypt. I know they are in a state of turmoil currently, but it is seriously the most amazing place I've ever been. I met nothing but the nicest people, saw absolutely awe-inspiring things, learned about their wonderful culture. It is honestly just amazing. I love it. One of my biggest fears is that I'll never go back. It would be the saddest thing.

Should grown women wear leggings?
Sure, if worn properly. I just got a pair from No-nonsense to review, and I'll admit, I'm a little confused as how to rock them, but I'm gonna figure it out.  If you could change your name to any other name, would you? And what would it be?Enrique Iglesias. I just think he has a cool name. But seriously, now that my name doesn't have Renee in it, I love it.

What magazines to you have subscriptions to?

Uhmmm, all of them? It is seriously an addiction. I get Good Housekeeping, Parents, Better Homes and Gardens, and a couple others in the mail. I get Marie Claire,  Glamour, Parenting - the Early Years, Martha, and some others on my nook. I have had to clean out my hoard of magazines since we moved, it was taking over my house. Pin It Preschool & Kindergarten Curriculum

I am always looking for new ways to educate CJ. I am loving the website  It has entire years worth of lesson plans from preschool through kindergarten. CJ doesn't actually play on the computer, but I use the lesson plans to help figure out some of our activities for the day.

ABC Mouse offers a full online curriculum for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten in the subjects of reading, math, science, social studies, art, and music. Children can start anywhere and move through the curriculum at their own pace! ABC Mouse has won numerous awards, including the Parent's Choice, Teacher's Choice, and Mom's Choice GOLD awards! Get your first month FREE!

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

CandiCheeks Baby Socks Review & Giveaway

You know what my favorite part of a baby is? Toeses. I loves toeses. CJ has the cutest toeses. I may be biased but it is true. The best thing about a baby boy is that he gets to wear the cutest socks and shoes on his toeses. (Ok I promise I won't say toeses again.) Before CJ was born, I went into a baby consignment store and they had a giant box of socks. I asked the lady how much for each pair of socks and she said $5 for the box. It was awesome. Unfortunately, CJ quickly outgrew almost all of those socks.

So I get to go shopping for new socks. The best place I've found for the cutest socks is a company called CandiCheeks. CandiCheeks' socks come in different characters. Here are some of my favorite sets.

Sea Character Sock Bundle 4 pack

Outdoor Character Sock 4-pack

Creature Character 5 pack

Winter Character 5 pack
The packs range from $16.99 to $21.99 and single pairs are $4.99. There are adorable girl socks too, but since I don't have a girl yet, I only got boy socks. The socks range in size from from newborn all the way up to 4 years.

Here are CJ's favorites, the polar bear socks. He of course refused to let me take a picture of him actually wearing them. These socks are thick and stretchy, so perfect for growing baby feet. The colors are extremely vivid and bright. These have been worn as slippers so all day long all over the house, and they didn't rip or get faded on the bottoms like some socks do. They've been washed and the colors didn't run into the white part which can sometimes happen. These are very sturdy and well-made socks. More importantly, they are freaking adorable. Just look at CJ's toeses! (Uh oh. I sad toeses again.) I'll definitely be adding these to my Christmas gift list for everyone I know with babies. If you have a few babies in your family, you could buy a 5 pack and divide it into stockings. That'd be awesome and save you some money.

If you would like to win your choice of a cutesie pair of CandiCheeks socks, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Week in Pictures

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Christian Book Review - Proverbs Prayers

I've always loved bible studies. I love the act of sitting down each day to study one particular line or page from the bible. Since I was a teenager, I've grown away from doing that each day. I'm sure you know how it is, life just gets in the way, you find other things that you need to do. If studying the bible is important to you, you have to make it a priority. That is where this awesome book comes in.

Proverbs Prayers is a small, simple, but extremely powerful book. Each chapter has a selection from proverbs, followed by some of the author John Mason's thoughts. I found this to be a great way to start the day. The book is set up so that you read one page of proverbs a day, for 31 days. They say that it takes 31 days to develop a habit. Reading from the bible is a great habit to instill into yourself. Proverbs is a great place to start for many reasons. It is short and simple to read. The subjects have bearing on your daily life. You will find yourself thinking throughout the day about what you read. Something will happen and a line from proverbs will pop into your head. It is a great connection to make. Like the subtitle says, you will pray the wisdom of proverbs into your life every day.

Meet the author: John Mason is an author with over 1.2 million books in print, including An Enemy Called Average, You're Born an Original--Don't Die a Copy, and Let Go of Whatever Makes You Stop .

He is the found and president of Insight International, an organization dedicated to helping people reach their dreams and fulfill their destiny. John is in great demand as a speaker through the US and abroad. Learn more about John on his website:

To read more reviews and see the rest of the blog tour, go to Litfuse Group Publicity. Pin It

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Review

The first couple of times I made home-made baby wipes, by the time I got down to the end, gross mold had formed on the wipes. I couldn't wipe CJ's tush with that, now could I? I had no idea what to use that would be completely natural. Then I found this recipe for baby wipes, and it called for coconut oil. Apparently the mom who came up with that recipe felt that the coconut oil worked as an organic disinfectant. Interesting, now where the heck do I find coconut oil? As luck would have it, Tropical Traditions came calling looking for a review. Perfect timing I say.

So for the last few weeks, I have been putting about a tablespoon of coconut oil into CJ's homemade baby wipes. It works like a charm. I keep the wipes in an old Teddy peanut butter container. (It's not weird, it has been cleaned and disinfected.) When the jar of Tropical Traditions coconut oil arrived, it was in liquid form because it was left out in the sun. In the house, it has stayed a solid. The melting point of coconut oil is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so in some households it may stay a liquid. To melt it so I can put it in my wipes, I just take a big spoonful, put it in a glass bowl and microwave it for a few seconds. It doesn't take long.

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.I've found that not only does the coconut oil keep my wipes from getting moldy, it also makes them smell really good. When you are working with something that wipes up poop, a nice scent always helps.

Since I got the coconut oil, I've found a million other uses for it. Now that we are on the Paleo diet, I've found that coconut oil is used in a lot of recipes. All of the baked goods I have found that are Paleo-safe call for coconut oil. I've heard that a lot of people use it as a moisturizer, because it cleans your skin natural while also providing moisture. You can use it as a conditioner for dry hair, use it on chapped skin and lips, I've even heard that it is good for rashes. Makes sense since CJ hasn't gotten any redness on his bum since I started using it in his wipes.

You can find the coconut oil on the Tropical Traditions website. They are always having an awesome sale going on. Also, one jar will last you forever, so it is well worth the price. They have a ton of other coconut oil based products as well.

From their website: Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Things I Found on the Interwebs (12)

Meet my son, Happy Feet.

So hubby and I have decided to start the whole food/paleo diet. I don't think it should be called a diet, because like Sara says, we aren't starving ourselves. We are eating tons of food, it is just all healthy food. I'm telling you without Sara's blog, I would have no idea what to feed CJ. If it is simple enough to please Mark, it'll please CJ. (FYI, Sara's hubby Mark is one of my best friend's from college if you are trying to figure out that relationship.) So if you have any tips on following this diet and feeding a toddler, let me know. Here is what I have planned for the week. I've found that with paleo, I need to plan out every single meal - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If I don't know what we are making, I will end up grabbing something quick and easy which might not be the healthiest. I've got a new Paleo board on pinterest if you are interested in checking it out.

S - Fruit salad, Avocado egg salad on lettuce, Morrocon burgers with sweet potato fries.
S - Bacon & eggs, Ham/turkey on cucumber slices with fruit, Pesto roasted chicken.
M - 2 ingredient pancakes with honey, tuna salad on lettuce with fruit, spaghetti squash.
T - Smoothie, avocado cucumber tomato & turkey, taco salad with guacemole & salsa on lettuce
W - spinach, tomato, bacon omelet, carrots, cucumbers, & broccoli in hummus, something with broccoli bites for dinner.


5 tips for eating clean.

School for Toddlers
C is for Cupcake
A bajillion Fall Activities
Momma's Closet Great tips on developing and shopping for your own style.
Flat Iron Curls Sara was supposed to teach me this but Paper Mama taught me first. :)

How to Escape from Zip-Ties Essential info.

As usual, you can find other awesome stuff I find during the week on pinterest.

I want to do science with them.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Kranich's Jewelry Review

Are you a jewelry person? I love jewelry, the way it shines and sparkles, and adds that little extra something something. Unfortunately, I don't wear much other than my wedding band. Earrings make my ears itch, bracelets get in my way, and rings turn my skin colors. I'm a mess I know. 
Then the lovely people over at Kranich's Jewelry contacted me to see if I wanted to test out a piece of jewelry. I hemmed and hawed because I was a little worried. I didn't want to order something and then have to hate it and give it a terrible review. But I also thought all over their jewelry was gorgeous! First world problems. In the end, I decided to give it a go. Here is my review of Kranich's Jewelry. 

First off, it was so hard to decide what to test out! It was a cross between the blue topaz and diamond bracelet or the diamond infinity ring. I decided that since I knew bracelets would drive me insane I would choose the ring.

I am so glad that I chose the ring!! Since I got it, the only time I've taken it off is when I shower. I am wearing it right now as I type. It is one of my favorite things I've ever gotten to review. Ok let me finish gushing and give you the details.

The ring is called the “Sterling Silver Everlon Diamond Knot Ring”. It is in the shape of the infinity symbol, which I love. In the loop is a .04 carat diamond. That sounds small, but it is so sparkly! Right outside the ring is slightly beveled which makes it have the perfect amount of sparkle. I am happy to report that my finger has definitely not turn green. The ring retails for $109 which I think is a great price! There is also a matching bracelet, necklace, and earrings! You can have a whole matching set.  I promise you will not be disappointed in Kranich's Jewelry. The staff that I dealt with were extremely nice, the ring arrived very fast, and it was just a wonderful experience. Check out their gorgeous engagement rings and watches, among other types of jewelry. You can find them at, on facebook, and on twitter
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Introducing Once a Week Chic

Once A Week Chic: Shop this week's look nowYou may not know this, but I love fashion. I get all the magazines and have an awesome pinterest board full of amazing outfits that I would love to wear. You know what I wear everyday? Pajamas. And when I do get dressed, it is almost always Jeans and t-shirt. It's just what I do. I would love to wear cute outfits, but I am the WORST at putting together a cute outfit. Luckily, there is an awesome new website that can help people like me.

Once a Week Chic is an amazing concept. Every week they will feature one absolutely amazing outfit. You can buy the entire outfit, clothes and accessories, for $149. These outfits aren't chinzy either. These are high-end items. I am so excited. To join, just got to their website They are just getting started, so join before all your friends do. That way you can be like please, I already have that outfit. Or just join and don't tell your friends that way you have better clothes than them. Sara-Marie, I'm looking at you.
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(Somewhat) Wordless Wednesday - Left VS Right Brain

One of the classes I am taking this semester is called Theories of Thinking and Learning. We are currently learning about left vs right brain. The left side is the logical side while the right is the creative side. We had to do a project where we presented our name, using both our left and right side. These pictures are just what I came up with.



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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

10 Best Potty-Training Books for Boys

We are at the very very VERY early stages of potty training over here. I will call this the subtle subliminal messaging phase. For now we are just talking about the potty and about someday not having a diaper. Part of my ok, not so subtle, plan is to read CJ books that are all about going potty. Sometimes I'll get him naked before his tubby, sit him on the toilet, and let him read his potty books. So, here are the best ones I've found so far.

My Big Boy Potty - This is a straightforward, this is what we are doing and why we are doing it type of book, but written in a way little ones can understand. Also comes in a Big Girl edition. 

A Potty for Me!: A Lift-the-Flap Instruction Manual - Karen Katz is one of CJ and I's favorites! He loves her lift the flaps and the colorful pictures. This is a good book for showing that going on the big boy potty doesn't have to disrupt your day, you go potty, eat, play, sing, dance, go potty, eat, play, sing, etc. This one isn't specific to boys.

Pirate Potty - You all know we love pirates in our house, so this was a requirement. This one teaches the captain (your kiddo) what it is to sit upon the captain's chair, and learn to be a big boy pirate. They also have a Princess Potty for girls.

It's Potty Time-Boys - This one is CJ's favorite because on the front there is a little button. Every time he pushes the button it makes a flushing noise. Obviously this is hilarious for a little boy. It is a very sturdy board book. We keep it right next to the potty for him to read when he's waiting for pee to come.

Caillou: Potty Time - Ugh, Caillou. Thank God you can't hear him whining while reading this book. It is actually a really cute book, and is especially helpful if your child loves Caillou. Caillou gets a surprise from his mom, his very own potty. He makes some mistakes, but eventually learns what it means to use the potty.

Even Firefighters Go to the Potty: A Potty Training Lift-the-Flap Story - This is another great lift the flap book. It shows how everyone goes potty, even big strong manly firefighters. I love the illustrations of this one. The cover shows a little boy with his legs crossed and another squatting down, all trying to hold it in.

Elmo's Potty Book - If your child loves Elmo as much as CJ does, this book will be perfect. It is a look and find book, so on each page your child must look and find something. It is perfect for sitting them on the potty and letting them read. They'll be so focused on reading the book, they won't even notice when they start to tinkle in the potty.

Once Upon a Potty -- Boy - This book is a potty-training classic. Since it is kind of old-fashioned, the little boy actually pees in a pot. Hopefully your child won't actually think it is ok to go pee in a pot. Cj hasn't been confused by it so far, but we also don't have a lot of pots sitting around. This one uses silly word like pee-pee, poo-poo, and wee-wee. So if that isn't your preference, you might not want this book. It also comes in a Girl version.

The Potty Book: For Boys - This was the first one I got for CJ. The little boy Henry doesn't like that he has to wait to get his diaper changed before he does anything. Then one day he gets a special package in the mail - a potty! Henry then learns what it means to go on the potty and that he won't have to feel yucky in diapers anymore.

Potty - This one is so simply illustrated and just plain adorable. It explains how sometimes potty training can be boring, you just sit on the toilet and wait and wait and wait and wait. A really cute one for both boys and girls.

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