Category Archives: DIY

Check Out My Kickstarter Page!

  

  
Hello followers! I created a Kickstarter page today and would like to share it with everyone in hopes of getting the word out there about my Children’s Book Series – “Growing Up Gracie.” The series will follow a little girl who goes through childhood along with your kiddies! Gracie will do all the things your child does and will go through life and learn new things! The first book in the series will be titled “Gracie and the Lost Christmas Gift.” 

The story will allow children and their parents to enjoy a Christmas tale where Gracie finds a lost gift in a large crowd and tries her very best to return it to its owner. Gracie will help children learn the importance of the Christmas holiday while showing how amazing it feels to lend a helping hand to those in need! 

As of today, my page will have 29 days left to accept donations. My goal is $5,000, any little bit will help considering how much it costs to get a book proofread, edited and created. 

If you cannot donate, please share with friends! Thank you in advance.

Link:

  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/603348349/growing-up-gracie/description

  

 

Budget Wedding Planning: DIY Ideas That Will Save You Money

If you’re in the middle of planning a wedding, you know for sure that they can be extremely expensive. Luckily, there are a ton of ways to save money! Most couples like to hire a wedding planner or various vendors to help them with the organizing. Instead of hiring a professional for every detail, why not do a few things on your own? This way you can put your own personal touch on things while keeping some money in your pocket.

wedding rings and money

If you’re not one to be too crafty, that’s okay! These great DIY wedding ideas are simple enough for the beginners out there, and who knows, maybe you will enjoy it and end up becoming a master at crafts! Take a look at these helpful suggestions to get you started:

Invitations and Save the Dates
A huge part of your planning process, and one of the first things you will be working on is your invitations and save the dates. This will be the way your friends and relatives will find out all about your big day. Invites can get pretty pricey so why not go with something more personal by creating your own? If you’re computer savvy or know someone who is, you can make them on a computer software program and add your own touch so they come out exactly how you’d like! As for the save the dates, they can be made the same way, complete with a nice photo of the bride and groom.

Centerpieces
With some time and a couple of flowers and other great centerpiece items, you can create a beautiful set up for the center of your tables. Whatever you have in mind, purchase the items at a local craft store and get started! Dollar stores carry different shaped vases and mason jars that can be used as the main part of the centerpiece. Then fill them up with some seasonal flower arrangements and water. Set the mood by surrounding the piece with candles to help give the table some soft lighting. If you aren’t interested in using flowers and candles, so many other centerpieces can be made up to your liking that will match your theme perfectly. So, whatever your theme is, think outside the box and design a centerpiece to flow nicely with the rest of your wedding decor.

Favors
Your guests will surely appreciate a favor that was put together with your blood, sweat and tears! It’s a personal way to say thank you to each of your wedding guests for joining in on your celebration. Make favors to go with your theme or purchase items such as personalized bottle openers, lighters, mints or candies and then wrap them in festive paper and ribbon to go with your wedding colors. This way, the item itself doesn’t have to represent your theme but the decorative paper or box still will!

While these ideas will take some time and effort to put together, they will also help not break the bank. Along with the suggestions, here’s a plus for the couples who have friends that specialize in a certain skill, such as hair and makeup, photography or DJing… ask them to give you a special rate and see if they will assist in helping you save some money. If you’re close enough friends, you could even ask them to give their services to you as your wedding gift!

Bridal Shower Gifts That the Couple Will Love

Bridal showers are a wonderful opportunity for the bride and groom to receive gifts that they not only want, but gifts that they need as well. Most couples that are about to tie the knot are also living together or planning on making the big move right before or after their wedding. This leaves a lot of great gift ideas in the air because they will need some essentials for their home.

file3741254233095

When choosing a gift for the couple, think about what hobbies they enjoy and what they like to do in their spare time. This can help you a lot when it comes to thinking of a great gift. If you’re still not sure, take a look at these helpful suggestions that they will surely appreciate!

Spa Weekend /Getaway
No matter what your friends are into, they will absolutely enjoy a spa weekend. Whether it’s right around the corner from home or a short road trip away, it will help them relax a bit before the big day! If a weekend getaway is too pricey, ask a couple other friends to help you split the cost. This may help your friends as well if they too are undecided on what to get the couple.

For the Home
Home items are always needed, and we sometimes don’t realize what we need until we go to get it and it isn’t there! It’s always a great idea to stock up on things as well, this way when you run out, it’s already there ready to be used! Put together a basket filled with all the essentials that new homebuyers will need. Great items to purchase are pots and pans, utensils, spatulas, hand towels, soaps, wine glasses, glassware and a nice set of dishes. Even if the couple has a home already, they will still appreciate having all these necessities on hand that they didn’t have to buy!

Something Personalized
What better way to add your own touch on things than to personalize it? Nowadays you can pretty much personalize anything, so think of something your friends would enjoy and put your own personal stamp on it. You can engrave a sweet friend quote or a loving gift with the bride and groom’s name on it. They will keep the gift for years to come and will always be reminded of a wonderful part of their lives! Some examples of great personalized gifts include: ornaments for their first Christmas together, wine glasses for when they’ve had a long day, an apron for the chef, or a beautiful sign that they can hang up as decor!

Homemade Goods
If you’re the crafty type who likes to make things on your own, put together a basket of homemade goods that will really have your personal touch on them! If you’re into baking, throw in some delicious cookies and treats for the couple to enjoy while they open all their gifts.

Date Night Kit
Couples sometimes have too much going on to remember to make plans for a fun date night. Help them out a bit by putting together a date night kit that they can run to when the night is just starting but they’re unsure what to do. The kit can have ideas inside such as a movie night, dinner out on the town or a simple night in by the fire. Complete the kit with goodies so if the couple decides to stay in, they won’t have to leave the house for snacks!

Hopefully these ideas can help with the perfect bridal shower gift for your friends. Remember, most couples sign up for a registry as well, check theirs out if you’re really stuck and can’t think of anything to get. This way you’re purchasing something you know they want!

View this article on LongIsland.com 

Make a Lasting Impression on your Wedding Day with these Creative Touches

There are so many themes and fun ideas for weddings nowadays that allow you to throw a unique celebration that stands out from the rest. If you want your wedding to be extra exclusive, think outside the box while planning and try to steer away from the generic ideas.
wedding bouquets
If you need some aid in getting started, take a look at these simple yet statement-making suggestions to help make your wedding day as memorable as possible!

Source: geeksugar.com
                 Source: geeksugar.com

Hire a Painter
A lot of couples hire caricaturists for their big day, but why not have a professional painter instead? Speak with the painter ahead of time and let them know exactly what moments you would like to have live on forever through a painting. It could be when the couple is first announced while walking into the party for the first time, when the cake is being cut or just a random moment from the evening of the bride and groom dancing and loving one another! The paintings will truly make for a wonderful keepsake of a romantic evening and you can later on hang it up in your home as decoration!

Source: http://global.theknot.com/
       Source: http://global.theknot.com/

Plan a Surprise
Entertainment is key at a wedding party so be sure to keep your guests satisfied by planning fun things throughout the evening. Hire a magician to come out and wow your family and friends with cool tricks. This is a distinctive idea for a wedding and it will most definitely be spoken about for years after the celebration! Another cool idea is to surprise everyone with a dance act! You and your wedding party can put on a show or you can hire dancers to entertain while your guests are sitting down and eating. Rather than just listening to some music while indulging, they will feel like they’re at a live dinner show!

Source: projectwedding.com
          Source: projectwedding.com

Play Games
Why not play some games at your celebration? Involve your guests by having the DJ announce some fun games such as musical chairs, limbo and maybe even a conga line! These games are a great idea for the children at the event and for your friends and family members who don’t like to get up and dance too much. This will show that you put thought into the evening and planned for each and every person to have a good time, no matter what they enjoyed doing! You can also plan for some games that can be played at the tables too, such as Bingo or a Bride and Groom Word Search.

Source: ruffledblog.com
   Source: ruffledblog.com

Involve your Furry Friends
Our pets are part of our families, so why not involve them in the wedding party?! Have a section just for your pets so they can share your special day with you. Set up a spot near the bride and groom so you can keep an eye on them while you’re enjoying the evening. Make it even more fun by having them participate in photos, too! This concept may not be for everyone, but it sure will help in the process of making your event one of a kind.

View on: LongIsland.com

Happy Halloween! [Last Minute DIY Halloween Costumes]

Source: howtonestforless.com
                      Source: howtonestforless.com

If you’re still searching for the perfect costume, here are some easy, fun, DIY ideas to help you save some money! Many people think they need a store-bought costume to look good, not realizing they can get creative with household items that way they’re not breaking the bank. We’re not talking about the overrated sheet with two holes cut in it either!

baby in costume

For the Ladies: Easily Become a Flight Attendant
Turn yourself into a flight attendant with a pencil skirt, a button down blouse, high heels and a scarf! Add a small, empty bag of luggage to carry with you to complete the look. The luggage bag can serve a nifty dual-purpose, too! You can utilize it when trick-or-treating with the children, placing the candy right inside of it! Wear your hair in a nicely placed bun on top of your head or blow it out to make it look a bit fancier. If you have all these items at home, this costume will cost you zero dollars!

Turn Your Little Girl Into an Audrey Hepburn Look Alike!
To get Audrey’s classy look, it is actually quite simple. You may have to purchase a few of the items, but the rest you’re likely to have right at home! For her top, use a plain black shirt or a black onesie and add a string of pretty pearls to really dress it up (fake are fine!). Give her a baby tiara and a black tutu with some tights so she stays warm. To complete the Audrey look, throw on some large sunglasses and black Mary Jane shoes.

Your Little Cowboy
Create a cowboy costume for the little man of the family by using a long-sleeve flannel shirt, some blue jeans, boots (cowboy or any other will be sufficient) and of course a cowboy hat! Add a festive fall color bandana around his neck and a cute vest. Have him carry around a small water gun and either draw on a mustache or purchase a fake one at a costume store to make him feel like a real cowboy for the day!

Charlie Brown As a Baby
Here is a super cute idea that consists of clothing that you’re likely to already have at home! Get the look of a baby Charlie Brown by using a yellow shirt with some black pants and if you want to go all out, grab a Snoopy stuffed animal! You can utilize black felt and double sided tape to make the zig zag on Charlie’s shirt. Then use some eyeliner to create the little curly hair on Charlie’s head. Throw on some yellow socks to match the shirt perfectly! Another great costume idea that will not cost a whole lot if you have the necessary supplies!

For the Men: A Scarecrow to Frighten or Amuse
Have dad walk around looking like a scarecrow with these items: a flannel shirt, jeans, a straw hat and some fun face makeup. Use leaves (real or fake work fine) and some straw to stick out of his clothing to create a realistic scarecrow look. The face makeup can be used to create a creepy scarecrow or a happy, friendly one!

We didn’t forget about the other member of your families…your beloved pets!
Turn your pet into a master chef with a fitting white jacket that you can cut holes into for their legs to fit inside of. Use a red or blue checkered scarf to place around their neck, you can also sew it to the jacket so it stays put throughout the day. Purchase a mini chef’s hat if you don’t already own one and use Velcro strips to keep it in place on top of their head. The last item to perfect the chef look is a wooden spoon that you can attach to the jacket if your pet isn’t likely to chew on it! If you know your pet won’t be patient with the costume for long, dress them up with a festive bandana or collar instead! These can be found at local pet stores and are available at a pretty low cost.

With these easy, DIY costume ideas, your family is sure to have the best costumes on the whole block! What makes these costumes even better is that you won’t have to spend a small fortune this Halloween. The majority of these items are quite cheap or free if you already have them!

One for the Bookworms: Planning a Literary Wedding on a Budget

This wonderful wedding theme is perfect for all you book lovers out there! If reading is one of your passions, why not incorporate it into your special day? Symbolize your love of reading by using books as decor at your wedding.

Source: weddingpartyapp.com
Source: weddingpartyapp.com

The great thing about putting books to use is that you can purchase your own for a very cheap price. This will help tremendously while organizing everything and will give more spending room for other details. Take a look at these recommendations put together to make planning less stressful!

Source: weddingplans.livejournal.com
Source: weddingplans.livejournal.com

Save the Dates & Invitations
Give your guests a hint by sending out bookmark save the dates to represent your theme! These are an item you can easily create on your own to help save some money or you can have them specially made the way you desire. As for the invitations, send them out in an envelope that is made to look like a page from a book. All over it will be words and sentences, perfect for your literary theme! If you choose to use these types of envelopes, be sure to use sticker labels for the addresses so it is easily visible from the words on the envelope.

Source: etsy.com
                         Source: etsy.com

Guest Book
Set up a table near the entrance of the party so your guests can write down their best wishes as soon as they arrive. Instead of having the conventional guest book for them to sign, create a book full of library cards! Set up a stack of blank “library cards” with a book next to it, each page complete with slots for the cards to go. Once each guest is finished writing their wishes, they can simply place it into the slot. This is not only an original idea but will make for a great keepsake of a memorable evening!

Source: bridalguide.com
Source: bridalguide.com

Table Numbers
There are a bunch of different ways to present your table numbers, get creative and use old picture frames or purchase a bunch from a local dollar store and use them to place a page from an old book inside! Write or print the table number onto the book page and place it on the table near the centerpiece. This idea is great to do on your own and is another area where you can save some money! If you don’t have any old books that you don’t mind ripping pages from, ask some friends to help out or head to a garage sale and purchase a cheap one!

Source: bridesmagazine.co.uk
Source: bridesmagazine.co.uk

Centerpieces
Utilize some old books for your centerpieces by stacking a couple of them on top of one another and placing a mason jar filled with flowers on top. Use a ribbon that matches your theme colors and tie the books together so they don’t fall over throughout the evening. Another great centerpiece suggestion is an open book, with a mason jar in the middle, complete with a candle to illuminate the words on the pages. Be sure to place a candle in some type of jar, so it doesn’t become a fire hazard being so close to the book pages.
Favors
Thank your guests for sharing your special day with you by handing out favors that they can read! Send your friends and family home with a book that you think they would enjoy. You can purchase a bunch of the same book or give out specific ones to all your guests. Create a personal touch to the favors by writing a message on the inside book cover to each person!

Source: intimateweddings.com
Source: intimateweddings.com

End the Summer Right with a Barn Styled Wedding!

What’s a better way to end the summer than to marry your partner at a beautiful barn styled wedding? The weather is just right and holding a celebration outdoors is a great idea for friends and family to enjoy the last warm days of summer.

Source: http://rusticweddingchic.com/
Source: http://rusticweddingchic.com/

Some couples may think the barn style is not for them, but read these great suggestions and you will soon think differently! It’s a casual feel and allows everyone to kick back and let their hair down. So check out these ideas on how to plan the perfect barn themed wedding:

Source: http://rusticweddingchic.com/
Source: http://rusticweddingchic.com/

Venue
A barn themed wedding needs one very important thing, a barn! If you live somewhere close to open land with lots of barns then you shouldn’t have a problem finding a great venue. Some may have to travel a bit to find their perfect location but once your wedding is over you will know that it was well worth the travel time to have exactly what you wanted! During your planning, you will have to decide if you want to have the ceremony in the barn or just the celebration, or both! Once you know this, you are ready to start planning the finer details of the evening.

Source: http://rusticweddingchic.com/
Source: http://rusticweddingchic.com/

Lighting
One of the great things about getting married in a barn is that the ceilings are so high, which leaves you with a large amount of room for decorating it the way you desire. Couples might walk into a barn and wonder how they’re going to light the entire place. It’s simple! Hang some loose drapery from the ceiling of the barn and string rope lighting inside of it to create a soft, romantic mood. You can even hang lots of rope lighting without any drapery, which would look amazing as well! Make the event a bit more elegant by adding a couple of chandeliers from the beams. (Be sure they are secured properly!) Lighting can even be added to each of the tables if you’d like, by including it as part of your centerpieces for an extra hint of light for your guests.

Source: www.etsy.com
   Source: http://www.etsy.com

Centerpieces
The first thing to decide when it comes to your centerpieces is whether you would like a floral arrangement, something a bit more unique, or a mix of both! At the center of each table, place a log container filled with beautiful flowers that match your wedding colors. You can even write the table numbers on them and surround it with some candles. Another centerpiece suggestion is mason jars! You can never go wrong by using mason jars, you can decorate them however you desire and can put any items you’d like inside. Wrap some lace around the jars and fill with flowers, or place a small candle inside so it lights up the lace beautifully. Get a bit more rustic by using a burlap runner on each table, complete with a tin bucket and blooming flowers coming out of it.

Source: http://weddingreceptionlucius.blogspot.com/
Source: http://weddingreceptionlucius.blogspot.com/

Decor
As your family and friends enter, set up classy drapes at the door of the barn that they can walk through. This gives off a more elegant touch to a casual kind of evening. For your ceremony, set up wooden benches with a floral arrangement placed perfectly at the end of each. You can match these with your centerpieces if you’d like so everything comes together nicely. The wooden benches are a perfect addition to a barn wedding, creating a rustic feel before the party even starts! Use wine barrels to create a stand for your tables, rather than just using regular folding tables. On the tables, place burlap runners to really perfect the look!

Source: http://weddinggawker.com/
Source: http://weddinggawker.com/

Favors
Say “thank you” to your guests for attending your big day by sending them home with a little something! Personalize a jar of honey with your wedding date and last name. These honey jars can be decorated in rustic wrapping, such as a small lace and burlap bag with your personalized ribbon attached. If you’d like to give out something a bit more useful, purchase some wooden coasters! Send each guest home with a couple of coasters bundled nicely into a burlap bag or a small mason jar. Personalize the coasters with your names and wedding date so your guests will always remember your fun evening!

Source: www.etsy.com
                  Source: http://www.etsy.com
Source: www.etsy.com
                  Source: http://www.etsy.com

Fun Recipes for Taco Tuesday!

Taco Tuesday has arrived and it is something you’ll look forward to all day! Bored of the traditional taco recipes? Check out these tasty ideas to help spice up this week’s Taco Tuesday!

mango chicken tacos

  • MANGO CHICKEN TACOS:
    Ingredients:
      2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
        1 1/2 c. mango salsa, plus extra for serving
        dollop of sour cream
        medium flour tortillas
        Mexican blend or colby jack cheese, shredded
        chopped lettuce

Instructions: Place the chicken in the crock pot. Pour 1 1/2 c. mango salsa over the chicken. Cook on low for 4 1/2 hours, shred the chicken inside the crock pot, then add a dollop of sour cream. Allow the chicken to sit for about 15 minutes more before serving. Mix together and serve in the flour tortillas with additional toppings. I like to add a little more mango salsa on top of the lettuce for a little extra flavor!

Source: http://www.julieseatsandtreats.com
Source: http://www.julieseatsandtreats.com
  • TEXAS TACOS:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium sweet pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/3 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 (8.8 oz) ready to serve brown rice
20 taco shells

Optional toppings:
Tomatoes
Shredded Lettuce
Sour Cream

Instructions: In a large skillet cook ground beef, red peppers, and onion over medium heat until beef is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain grease. Mix in tomatoes, corn, tomato sauce, chili powder and salt. Bring to a boil and then add rice. Heat mixture through. Serve in taco shells and top as desired.

Source: http://www.aroundmyfamilytable.com
Source: http://www.aroundmyfamilytable.com
  • STREET TACOS:
    Ingredients:
    2 lbs flank steaks or 2 lbs skirt steaks, trimmed of excess fat
    8 (taco sized) uncooked flour tortillas, cooked according to package
    crumbled queso fresco (or shredded monterey jack cheese)
    2 limes, cut into wedges
    pico de gallo Marinade:
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    2 jalapenos, minced
    1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    1 tsp kosher salt
    fresh ground black pepper
    3 small limes, juice of
    3 oranges, juice of
    2 tbls white vinegar
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Instructions:
    Combine marinade in a large ziptop baggie (note: if you have a good blender or food processor feel free to use it to combine ingredients instead of chopping). Add steak to baggie and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but no more than 8 hours.

    Prepare grill with a medium-high heat. Remove steak from marinade and season both sides with a little additional salt and pepper. Grill over direct heat for 10-15 minutes for a medium consistency. Remove from heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

    Cut against the grain in to strips or into bite sized pieces. Serve as tacos, burritos, or fajitas with queso fresco, limes, refried beans and pico de gallo.