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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Introducing Dr. Cocoa

I've always felt that the hardest thing about being a mother is getting sick. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a full time working mother, being a mother is a 24-7 job. And usually, when you're sick, your kids are sick too. So when other people can just call out sick from work and spend the day resting in bed, mothers not only don't get to "call out" but they also then have to struggle through one of the most difficult days on the job.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty rough around our house. I'm convinced there were two separate colds that traveled from person to person. The kids weren't quite as sick as I was. In fact, Benjamin only missed one day of Kindergarten.

Fortunately, a box of Dr. Cocoa arrived at our house to try out in the midst of these colds. It had been a huge struggle getting the kids to take cold medicine. Especially when they would wake up coughing in the middle of the night, they seemed to be especially stubborn and picky. Now I'm not a huge fan of bribing your kids to do things, but when it's 4 am and they are sick, you feel like you'd do anything to get them to take their medicine. This includes promises of special treats or activities the next day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Tips for Growing Long and Healthy Hair

We've all been there. Maybe you compulsively cut your hair short only to discover you hate the way it looks and feels. Maybe you had to trim a lot of hair because it was damaged from sun, chlorine, and bleach. Maybe you saw someone with gorgeous long hair or a cute hairstyle in a magazine and you want a fairy godmother to magically make your hair long right then and there. Whatever your reason for wanting longer hair, everyone has the same problem: there is no fairy godmother, and growing out your hair takes a lot of time. However, there are a lot of things you can do to help your hair grow faster and stay healthier. Here are 10 tips and tricks for growing out long and healthy hair.

1. Protect your hair! Especially when you're trying to grow your hair out longer, avoid all sorts of things that can damage your hair. Some of the worst culprits are the sun, chlorine, and bleach. Wear a hat or a light scarf over your hair if you plan on spending a lot of time in the sun. Consider skipping the highlights for a while if you're trying to grow your hair out long.

2. Don't wash it every day. Not everyone can get away with this, but the process of washing and drying your hair can cause dryness and breaks. It's better for your hair to only wash it every other day.

3. Avoid using a drier and straightener. Any kind of heat on your hair causes damage. Sometimes you're going to need to blow dry your hair, or straighten it, or use a curling iron to create a cute look. However, all of these things damage your hair, so avoid them whenever possible. When you have time, air dry your hair. When you're using a flat iron, try to only go over the same piece of hair one time. Also use some sort of heat protecting spray or product on your hair before you dry or straighten. Especially when you're trying to grow your hair out longer, it's important to minimize things that will damage your hair.

4. Eat healthy foods. This one is sort of obvious, but easy to forget. Since your hair is a part of your body, if you are eating healthy foods and taking good care of yourself, this will show in your hair as well. Hair healthy foods include: salmon, walnuts, oysters, sweet potatoes, eggs, spinach, lentils, Greek yogurt, blueberries, and poultry. (Source)

5. Take hair healthy vitamins like Hairfinity. Hairfinity is a nutritional supplement formulated with essential nutrients for healthy hair. This hair specific formula contains Vitamins A, C, and D, a B-Vitamin Complex, Biotin, MSM, and more. Hairfinity is clinically proven to increase the hair growth rate by 155% while decreasing shedding. Two capsules are taken per day, and each bottle contains a one-month supply. Check out their website for more info and great testimonials (like these two below. Chelsea saw results after just 2 weeks, and KP documented her hair growth over a year.)

6. Pamper your hair and scalp. Deep condition your hair once ever couple of weeks. Try out some hair masks. Massage essential oils or coconut oil into your scalp.

7. Avoid breakage. Your hair is the most vulnerable when it's wet. Try combing through your hair in the shower after you've applied conditioner, and then lightly drying with a towel. Then try not to brush or even play with your hair as much as possible until it has dried.

8. Stimulate your scalp. This will help keep your scalp healthy and your hair growing properly. When you're washing your hair, spend a few minutes massaging your scalp. Hairfinity also has vitamins like Vitamin B3, Vitamin B Complex, and Vitamin A that all help keep your scalp healthy. Brushing your dry hair gently and regularly is another great way to keep your scalp healthy and promote hair growth. Use a great brush with natural bristles and make sure that you're brushing your scalp and not just the ends of your hair.

9. Remember it's okay to go a long time without getting a trim. If you don't have split ends, and you're taking good care of your hair, skipping the trim is the fastest way to keep your hair growing longer. When you do get your hair cut, make sure that your hair dresser really understands that you are trying to grow your hair out and to cut as little as possible.

10. Be wary of hair ties and tight ponytails. Make sure that you are using good hair ties that don't pinch or pull your hair. Avoid hairstyles where your hair is pulled really tight, because this can often cause your hair to break and tear. Also don't sleep in a ponytail. This will just cause your hair to knot and tear.

Friday, November 14, 2014

DIY Emoji Christmas Ornaments

So lately I've been a little obsessed with emoji. I think that they are hilarious and silly, and sometimes one little emoji can express so much more than a whole sentence. (P.S. Thanks for your feedback on Instagram!). I actually have a few emoji crafts planned over the next few weeks, so check back to see what else I have in store.

What you need:
1. Printable emoji (set of 9)
2. 2.5-Inch Circle Paper Punch or just scissors
3. 2.75 inch wooden circles (found at Michael's for about 25 cents each)
4. Mod Podge
5. Yarn
6. Hot glue gun
7. White printer paper

What you do:

1. Paint your wooden circles white. Make sure you paint the edges. You also need to paint one side.

2. Print out the emoji. You can easily punch out around each emoji with a 2.5 inch round paper punch. You could also just cut around with scissors. I left a little bit of white showing through. A couple of the unusually shaped emoji (like the angel or the blowing a kiss face) don't fit well inside the circle punch, and I would recommend cutting them out with scissors.

3. Brush a light coat of Mod Podge across the wooden circle and attach your paper emoji. Press down lightly across the ornament to prevent bubbles. Do this a couple of times as it dries. Do not put Mod Podge on top of the paper.

4. I wanted to make ornaments with the same emoji on both sides, so I made 2 wooden circles for each emoji. Cut a piece of yarn (or ribbon, twine, etc...) and flip over one of the circles. lightly mark the center top of the ornament and lay out your yarn so that it makes a loop at the very top.

5. Now apply hot glue along the center where the yarn is and create a circle around the ornament. Don't get too close to the edges though. Then very quickly press the two wooden circles together and tightly squeeze.

And you're done! These emoji ornaments are a fun and quick Christmas craft. We haven't put our Christmas tree up yet this year, but these cute little guys will be the first things on it.

What is your favorite emoji?

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Thankful Banner - Teaching Toddlers Thankfulness

Whenever November rolls around, there is a lot of talk about Thankfulness. Sincere gratitude is so important. It helps counter act the sense of entitlement that we can all tend to have, and leads to more contentment and happiness in our lives. Plus, when you express thankfulness to others, it brightens their days as well. Teaching Toddlers Thankfulness is especially important and challenging. #SimplyHealthy #CollectiveBias

However, if you have a toddler, you might have noticed that thankfulness is not always something that comes naturally or easily to them. It can be frustrating to see how naturally your three year old can ask for more and more and more and how unnatural it seems sometimes to get them to express true gratitude. Recently I read this wonderful article about Teaching Thankfulness to Toddlers in the digital Healthy Living Made Simple App on my phone by Tovah Klein, author, mother, and psychologist. Dr. Klein describes how thankfulness is not something that is natural or even easy to understand for 2 and 3 year olds. She encourages parents to be patient and not to worry when you're child's first reaction to a gift is to look for another one instead of to say thank you. One of the best ways to teach thankfulness to your toddler, she says, is to lead by example and to talk about what it means to be thankful with your toddler.

I wanted to spend time talking with my sweet 3 year old daughter, Lyla, about being thankful. And of course when it comes to Lyla the best way to get her attention is to get crafty and to bring out the glitter. We talked a lot about how many wonderful things and people she has in her life, and about all of the things she has to be thankful for. Since it's fall, we decided to make a glittery leaf banner that lists lots of things Lyla is thankful for.

Monday, October 27, 2014

DIY Thread Wrapped Ombre Bracelet

Today I'm sharing a fun and simple ombre DIY bracelet that can be made completely with scraps and fabric Mod Podge. I have a special love for shades of blue, and I really love how the blue ombre bracelet turned out. However, it would also be fun to create more of a color-blocked look with bright colors, or even stripes of just two colors. (P.S. Here is a tutorial for the braided suede bracelet in the picture.)

What you need:
  • Embroidery thread (I used 7 different shades of blue)
  • Rope (I used some very soft white "rope" in the trim section of the craft store)
  • Fabric Mod Podge
  • Scissors

What you do:
1. Tie a knot at the end of your rope. The kind of trim I was using frayed very easily. Then measure how long you want your bracelet to be (leaving extra room for the loop at the other end) and cut.

2. Add some fabric Mod Podge to the end you just cut to keep it from fraying. Also trim the end of your knot and cover it with Mod Podge as well.

3. Loop the second end around and use fabric Mod Podge to create a loop. Make sure that the loop is slightly bigger than your knot, but not too much bigger. Start wrapping some white embroidery thread around the base of the loop for support. Cover the thread with fabric Mod Podge.

4. Decide what colors you want to use and lightly sketch on the bracelet where you want each new section to stop and start. Now dab some fabric Mod Podge across the top of the bracelet where you are wrapping. You want to make sure all of your thread is secure, but if you use too much Mod Podge, it will show up slightly on darker colors. There is no need to tie knots or anything, just make sure that both ends of each section of embroidery thread are secure with Mod Podge.

5. Cut the thread when you are ready to start a new color, and start wrapping the new color right where you left off. You might need to add a tiny dap of Mod Podge to make sure the ends don't stick out.

6. Continue with each color, and then wrap the bracelet around something round (I used the Mod Podge bottle) so that it dries in the right shape. These bracelets are fun to make, and the colorful possibilities are endless. The best part is that you could make it entirely from fabric and thread scraps that you've saved from other projects.

Stop by and check out some of my other DIY jewelry tutorials and follow along with me on FacebookPinterestGoogle +, and Instagram.

This post was originally posted on Mod Podge Rocks.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Monday Funday

Last week I announced that I was leaving Monday Funday. However, I don't think most people read the little intros at the beginnings of link parties, so I wanted to make sure you all knew that the party was still going on. In fact, there are three new faces at the party, and you will still see me around each week linking up my posts and projects and checking out the features.

I was a part of Monday Funday for 90 awesome weeks - how crazy is that? And before that, I hosted another link party for 65 weeks called The Cure for the Common Monday. So basically, every Sunday night for over three years, I've been posting a crafty link party.

The biggest reason that I decided to step away is that I just launched a new site called Let's Wrap Stuff that is dedicated to all things gift wrap related. I would love for you to stop by the new site and leave a comment, or follow along on Facebook and Twitter. I'd also love to feature some of your creative gift wrap ideas. You can SUBMIT here.

And of course, be sure to stop by one of the 8 blogs now hosting Monday Funday and link up!

Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY Leather and Bronze Bracelet

Today I'm sharing how to make this fun knotted leather and bronze leafy bracelet. The colors and the leaves and acorn make this DIY bracelet perfect for all, but you could easily make it work year round. It's a pretty simple bracelet to make, but if you want to create the loop clasp you will need just a couple simple jewelry making tools and findings.

What you need:
1. Bronze leaf beads (mine were from Joann's)
2. Thin leather cord (test the cord to make sure it fits through your beads)
3. Large Crimp Tubes
4. A large round bead like this bronze acorn (also from Joann's)
5. Flat nosed pliers

Step 1: Start with your leather cord and a handful of leafy beads. Because you're going to be tying knots, you will need a lot more cord than you would expect.

Step 2: Leave a couple inches of room at the end, and then start by tying a knot and adding a bead. Keep alternating between knots and beads.

Step 3: If your beads have lines, make sure they all face in the same direction. Also be sure to leave a little space between the knots so that the beads can slightly move back and forth. If the knots are too close together, the bracelet will start to take a weird shape and it won't curve properly.

Step 4: When you are ready to add the clasp, start by putting your crimp tube on the end of the cord, followed by the acorn. You could also use a similar round bead.

Step 5: Now wrap the end of the leather cord back through the crimp tube and pull it tightly until the acorn is pretty close to the last knot.

Step 6: Use your jewelry pliers to squish the crimp tube around both leather cords. This should be a very secure hold, but I also like to add a tiny dab of super glue right next to the crimp tube for a little extra security. Trim the extra leather cord.

Step 7: To make the loop on the other end, add your crimp tube, then loop the cord back into the tube again. Before you squish it, use the acorn to test how large the loop should be. A bigger loop will be easier to put on and take off, but a tighter loop will be more secure. Add a dab of super glue, trim the extra cord, and enjoy!

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