DIY

Cricut Gift Guide For The Crafty Mom

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Are you a crafty Mom or a crafty Mom wannabe? If you answered yes to either of these, this is the gift guide you want to forward to your spouse or partner or kids with all the best that Cricut has to offer for your crafting dreams.

And if you don’t want to wait for someone else to buy them for you, it’s the perfect time to buy them for yourself and put them to good use by making holiday gifts with that personal touch.

I’ve already completed a new holiday project this year to add to the ones I have done in the past but still have a couple items that I want to try before it’s too late.  There are also a few items on this list that I will be sure to ask Santa for myself.

For the crafty Mom’s out there, I am sure a lot of these items are already on your wish list but for those Mom’s that want to be crafty but not sure where to start this list has my top 10 items you’ll want and need to help get from wanna-be crafter to full fledged crafter in no time!

Spouses/partners/gift givers reading this…..here is all you need to buy to have a happy crafter in your life! I’ve split this into two different groups – Main gifts and stocking stuffers to make things a little easier.

MAIN GIFTS

These are the bigger ticket items but in my opinion, every crafters “must-haves”.

The Cricut Maker

cricut maker gift guide

If you read my most recent Cricut related post, you will know that I absolutely love this machine and no Cricut gift guide would be complete without including this machine.  It has so many ways that it can be used.  It can cut paper, leather, fabric, chipboard and so much more.  This machine is the starting point for all your crafting dreams.

EasyPress 2

easypress gift guide

If you’re planning to use your Cricut for any sort of iron-on crafts, the EasyPress 2 is the perfect add-on to your Cricut Maker.  Instead of using your iron, the EasyPress 2 takes the guess work out of ensuring your iron-on materials stay put.  With the online Heat Guide, you just need to choose your base material and your heat-transfer material and it provides you with the timing and the temperature for the perfect heat transfer.  The EasyPress 2 comes in 3 sizes (6×7, 9×9 and 12×10) as well as the latest product, the EasyPress Mini, so there is a perfect size for all your needs.

Cricut Access

Cricut access gift guide

Now that you have the Cricut Maker and the EasyPress 2 to start crafting, having Cricut Access will allow you to do so much more.  With this subscription package, you’ll get access to over 400 fonts, over 100,000 images plus discounts on your cricut.com purchases.  I’ve tried crafting with and without having Cricut Access and let me tell you, with Cricut Access you will feel like your crafting possibilities are endless.

 

BrightPad

If there is one thing on this gift guide that I am missing from my crafting arsenal, it’s this BrightPad.  Santa, if you’re reading this, I’ve been super good this year and would really like this.  The BrightPad is basically that, a pad that lights up to help you see the cutting lines so can weed your projects with ease.  It also is great for any tracing you would need to do.  As I am getting older, the fine lines and cuts are getting a bit harder to see, so having the BrightPad will make things so much easier.

 

STOCKING STUFFERS

This part of the gift guide are items that any crafter would love to have in their craft kits for whenever a project idea strikes.  For the wanna-be crafter, these are items that will help make things a little easier and let your creativity blossom.

Infusible Ink Markers

Earlier this year, Cricut introduce a new heat transfer type of product with Infusible Ink.  It is heat proof, flake proof and wash proof and with no seams or edges it’s completely smooth to the touch.  One of the neatest features/products of the Infusible Ink are these pens.  Using your regular copier paper, you can draw anything you like with these markers and using the EasyPress 2, you can heat transfer the image on to shirts, totes and even coasters.  I can’t wait to recruit the boy into using these to help make some personalized custom items for family member gifts.

 

EasyPress Mats

If you are going to invest in an EasyPress 2, you will also want to get yourself the corresponding EasyPress Mat.  This will protect your surfaces when using the EasyPress and helps  eliminate moisture and direct heat to your iron-on design.  If you’re like me and would rather use your crafting table than your ironing board for your heat transfer projects, this is definitely a must-have!

Machine Mats

Machine mats are one of the things in this gift guide that you can never have enough in your supplies.  These are what holds your cutting materials in place when you are using your Cricut Maker to cut.  They can get dirty and lose their grip if you’ve used them and can cause havoc in your projects if the material doesn’t stay put.  This particular set has three different strength of grips (Standard, Light and Strong) so that you always have the correct one on hand.

 

Essential Tool Set

Some of these items your crafter may already have but it is always good to have an extra on hand and this set also comes with the Scoring Stylus that is compatible with your Cricut Maker and perfect for many paper crafts.  I use all these tools with my projects and would be lost without them.

 

Sewing Kit

This is another item that Santa add to my list.  When I was working on my pillow case project recently, I could have used a few of these items.  And it’s also really good to have on hand for just everyday projects like repairing a hole in the boys clothes.  I can tell you that the Cricut Scissors are so nice and sharp and make cutting so much easier.  There is nothing worse than having dull scissors.

 

Everyday Iron-On™ Value Pack

If you’re like me, having lots of iron-on vinyl on hand is a must.  It’s great to have this ready for those last minute projects that come up.  I’ve had friends ask me to whip something up for them on a whim and having the vinyl ready to go has allowed me the opportunity to help them out.  There are different packs available, this one is just one that I know I would probably use the most.

So hopefully this guide gives you some ideas on what to buy for that crafty person in your life.  I know I would be a happy recipient of all of these items!

DIY

5 Things I Love About My Cricut Maker and DIY Pillow Covers

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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There is no denying that my crafting game totally changed when I got my Cricut Maker.  I took my crafts to a whole new level.

I could probably go on for days about how much I love my Cricut Maker, but I will narrow it down to my 5 top reasons.

Number One – Versatility

There are so many different ways you can use your Cricut Maker.  You’re not just limited to paper cut crafts, the Cricut Maker has the ability to cut a wide range of materials from paper, vinyl, leather, basswood, chipboard and even fabric.  It even has the ability to emboss and engrave with it’s latest tools.

Aside from making all kinds of printed t shirts for the boy, I’ve been able to use it make earrings, embossed bookmarks and now even pillow cases.  But I’ll get to that one in a moment.

Cricut Maker leather

 

Number Two – Easy to Use

The Cricut Maker is very easy to use.  With the help of Cricut Design Space, you can make all your crafts come to life.  There are so many tools within the program to help you create where ever your imagination takes you.  When I got my Cricut Maker, it came with the materials to make a couple of small crafts to get you familiar with the machine which definitely helped me get comfortable with the machine from the start.

And it has smart technology built in to help you ensure you using the correct cutting blade based on the material you are cutting.  This has saved me so many times.

Number Three –  Constantly Introducing New Tools

Cricut is always introducing new tools to use with your Cricut Maker.  Just recently they introduced several new tools to help me with some projects I had swirling around in my head. Now, not only can you cut but you can emboss and engrave items with these tools.

Number Four – Ability to use Cricut Access

If you don’t have Cricut Access to use with you Cricut Maker, you’re missing out on so many ideas and tools.   Having Cricut Access allows you to use all it’s available fonts and images and links to hundreds and hundreds of project ideas.  This has been great when I had an idea for a project and new my Cricut Maker had the ability to do it, I just wasn’t sure how to do it.  And with access to more than standard fonts and images, I can add so much more creativity to my projects.

Number Five – Ability to Cut Fabric

I left the best to last. One of my favorite things that the Cricut Maker can do is cut fabric.  I don’t know about you but I can not cut fabric with a pair of scissors without it looking completely butchered.  So having the ability to cut fabric on the Cricut Maker thrilled me.  I understand I am limited to the size of items that I can cut, but being able to cut smaller items with straight edges and perfect corners is definitely something that I will put to good use.  I couldn’t cut a square to save my life with a regular pair of scissors.

So with that being said, I put the fabric cutting ability of the Cricut Maker to good use by making slip covers for my couch pillows and thanks to it cutting the fabric strips for me, it was super easy and came together beautifully.

Cricut Maker Made Pillow Cases

 

Supplies needed:

  1. Cricut Maker
  2. Fabric Grip Mat
  3. Fabric  – I used Cricut Designer Fabric Sampler, High Adventure 2
  4. Pillows
  5. Sewing Machine

 

I’m sure a lot of people will look at this project and think they could easily pull it together without using any sort of machine to help them out.  But for me, using my Cricut Maker allowed me to ensure I was cutting straight and properly measured pieces each and every time.  Wanting to have the stripes all equal was vital for this project to turn out.

My pillows were 20 inches x 20 inches.  I wanted to use 5 different strips of fabric so I created a rectangular pattern piece in Design Space that was 5 inches by 21 inches.  The end result would be 4 inch stripes having a 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side.

I used the Cricut Maker to cut out 2 stripes of each colour for each of the pillows.  I sewed the stripes together to make each side of the pillow.

One tip:  The Cricut EasyPress Mini came in very handy to iron all the seams down to that everything laid flat when working with all the pieces.

After both sides were complete I put them together with the completed sides together and sewed around 3 sides to make a pocket to pull the pillow into.

 

After the pocket has been sewn, turn it inside out so that the seams are all inside and insert the pillow filling.

Once the pillow filling has been put inside, I used the Cricut EasyPress Mini again to fold the seams on the open side inwards so that they would be easier to work with.  After, with the seams inward, I sewed up the final edge to complete the pillows.

Again, it was a super easy project but it really makes a huge difference in my living room.

Parenting/Life

Relaxation and Focus with Simply Earth

A few months back I received a subscription box from Simply Earth filled with all kinds of essential oil goodies.  At the time I really didn’t know anything about essential oils and was interested in learning more.

Simply Earth is a subscription box service that arrives each month with a different theme or focus, and recipes that have you create diffuser blends, rollers for your daily use and other oil infused items.  This month, I received another box from Simply Earth and they did not disappoint.

Simply Earth November box

The theme of the November box focuses on self care and comes with Lime, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus and Tranquilty blend essentials oils as powdered milk and lavender buds.   These were the base for creating this month’s recipes:

  1. 1.  Tranquilty and Lime Diffuser Blend – helps you to find peace in your day and center yourself during those crazy, hectic times.  I’ve been diffusing this before bead and it’s made an improvement on my sleep quality.
  2.  2. Lavender Buds and Tranquility Bath – another one to help you to relax and help with your sleep.
  3.  3. Oatmeal Milk Bath – helps rejuvenate and made my skin feel super soft
  4.  4. Chai Tea Bath Salts – perfect after a long, crazy day to relax you.
  5.  5. Eucalyptus Shower Steamers – this one is perfect if you’re feeling the start of a cold or allergies to help open up your sinuses.
  6.  6. Lime and Ecucalyptus RollOn – I’ve been using this to help perk me up and help with focus during those busy work days.
  7. Simply Earth roll on

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays ahead of us, I am taking as much time for self care as I can so I don’t end up getting sick and having the holidays ruined.  This box from Simply Earth will definitely help me along with that.

Simply Earth difuse

There is still time for you to get your own November box and pamper yourself with all kinds of self care.  Or it you’re looking for a gift for that someone special on your holiday gift lift, a subscription is a gift that they will enjoy all year long.  Right now if you subscribe and use the code ABOYANDHISMOMFREE, you will receive a Big Bonus Box, an Essential Oil Recipe box, and a $40 egift card towards future purchases.

Disclosure:  Although items were provided to us by Simply Earth, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine. This post contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
DIY

Create Small Crafts with Big Impact with Cricut EasyPress Mini

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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When I first got my Cricut EasyPress 2, there were so many things that I was excited to use it for.   But as I was coming up with ideas, I felt like the size of EasyPress that I currently had might have a few limitations when it came to smaller more details projects.  Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way as Cricut has added the Cricut EasyPress Mini to the Cricut EasyPress line.

Cricut EasyPress Mini

The  Cricut EasyPress Mini allows you to iron on materials to almost all your small or unique shapes projects like hats, shoes, pockets and even stuffed animals.  It has all the same technology and benefits of the Cricut EasyPress 2 (even heat plate and easy to use heat settings) for effortless heat transfers.

I know that we’re still a ways off (or least I am) from doing decorating for the holidays.  But this year, I decided to get a head start on an new banner for mantle and the Cricut Easy Press Mini was the perfect tool to help me accomplish this.

I love the rustic look of a burlap banner so I decided it would be the perfect material to start with for my project.

Materials needed for this project:

  1. *  Cricut EasyPress Mini
  2. * 1/2 metre of burlap fabric
  3. * Cricut Patterned Iron-On (I used Sampler – Stripe, Sampler – Winter, Sampler – Nordic Christmas)
  4. * Twine
  5. * Mini Clothespins
  6. * Cricut Access

To create the base of the banner, I used design space and searched for a shape of bunting that I wanted for my project.  I went with a classic shape and cut enough pieces out to hold all the letters.  In order to determine the size of each piece, I decided how long I wanted the end product to be, and divided it by the number of letters and spaces. That gave me a baseline as to the width of each piece.

Using the font – Follies (available with Cricut Access), I spelled out the phrase “Happy Holidays”.  I then chose 4 different iron-on materials and assigned it to alternating letters.  Once I had decided on the font I wanted to use, I adjusted the size so that it fit inside each piece of the banner properly.  Always test each letter, as depending on the font, the width of the letters can vary dramatically.

After all the letters and bunting pieces were cut out, I arranged everything in order to ensure the colors flowed evenly.

Using the Cricut EasyPress Mini, I applied the iron-on to the burlap.

EasyPress Mini application

After each letter was applied and the plastic protective later was removed I threaded the twine through the precut holes.

Cricut EasyPress mini letters

Once I had everything evenly spaced, I used the mini clothespins to secure each panel in place and to give a little extra flair to the piece.

Cricut EasyPress mini clothespins

Although I won’t actually be decorating for the holidays for another month or so, I know that I have this great banner ready to go when the time comes thanks to my Cricut EasyPress Mini.

Cricut EasyPress Mini Banner

 

Uncategorized

Triple Oreo Cheesecakes – A Perfect Dessert

There are 2 things that the boy loves….Oreos and cheesecake.  So why not put the both together in these Triple Oreo Cheesecakes for one decadent dessert?

Why “triple” Oreo?  This recipe contains regular Oreos, Oreo crumbs and mini Oreos.  Can you ever have too many Oreos? Or too much cheesecake?  And hence, too much of Oreo cheesecakes? Of course not!

With the holidays just around the corner, these would make the perfect potluck dessert.

I’ve seen so many different Oreo flavors in stores these days, I am sure you could use any one of them in this recipe to add a little extra flavor to them.  My next round, I am going to try the mint Oreos and maybe add a 1/4 tsp of mint flavoring to the batter for some Triple Mint Oreo Cheesecakes.

Just a few tips here for this recipe:

  • * Make sure you don’t over cook the filling.
  • * Use full fat cream cheese.  The “lite” cream cheese gives it a weird consistency.
  • * I can’t imagine them lasting this long without being eaten, but can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week.
  • * If you have the silicone cupcake liners, use those.  I find the paper ones stick too much to the Oreo cheesecakes.
  • * I haven’t tried making this as a single cheesecake instead of the individual ones, so I am not sure how the filling would set.
  • * Oreos are school safe, so the kids could bring these in their snacks to school.

 

Tripe Oreo Mini Cheesecakes

If you love Oreos, imagine tripe the Oreos in this cheesecake recipe!

  • 1 brick plain cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 each eggs (separated)
  • 1/4 cup Oreo cookie crumbs
  • 2 bags snack size mini Oreos
  • 12 each Oreos (whole)
  • 5 each Oreos (broken into pieces)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Place 1 whole Oreo in a liner in a cupcake pan

  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with a mixer until no more lumps. Add in the sugar and the vanilla and continue beating until mixed. Add in the eggs, one at a time and continue beating.

  4. Add the Oreo crumbs and broken pieces to mixture and combine with a spoon or spatula.

  5. Add approx 2 tbsp of batter to each cupcake cup.

  6. Top each mini cheesecake with 1 mini Oreo.

  7. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until firm. Do not overcook.

  8. Cool to room temp and then cool in refrigerator for a minimum 2 hours before enjoying!

Parenting/Life

Dear Current Self

Dear Current Self,

You’ve often seen people writing to their past selves and letters to their future self but I think you need this letter right now.

Your current self is struggling with a lot of things that you need to escape from.  And in the future, you need to come back to this letter and read it over and over again when the world seems to be closing in on you.

Things you need to know about your current self:

  1. * No matter how much they try to break you, no matter how much they put you down, don’t believe a single thing they say about you.  You are better than that.
  2. * On those days that you feel like you’ve failed the boy, look at the little post it note on your computer that he wrote to you.  Remember those times he’s told you, you are the best Mom ever.  It may not always feel like that, but those are his unprompted, from the heart, words.
  3. Current Self You Never Fail Me
  4.  * It’s okay to have bad days.  It’s okay to cry and feel vulnerable.  Admitting this isn’t failure, it’s being human.
  5.  * When you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, remind yourself that you’re a work in progress and you’re doing things to make it better.  It may be small, very small steps but you’re moving forward.
  6.  * You’ve gone through things that would have broken others, but you’ve done it all with grace and the strength people admire you for.
  7. * Being single isn’t always a bad thing.  Sure you have your lonely days, but you are living your life on your terms and not settling for someone that doesn’t deserve you.  Remind yourself that the grass isn’t always greener.
  8. * Advocating for yourself is never a bad thing.  People are ready and willing to help you, you just need to ask.
  9. * It’s okay too, to just shut yourself off from the world for a day.  Turn off your phone, stay away from social media and just do something your current self will love you for.  In the end, it will make you a better person.
  10. * Never apologize to anyone for who you are and what you believe in.
  11. * Remind your current self that there are people out there that want you to fail.  Don’t give them the satisfaction.  There may be bumps in the road but never give up.

And in the end, just remind yourself of the great words of Stuart Smalley “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me!”

DIY

Bookmarks and Putting the New Circut Maker Tools to Work

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Kids are back to school and back to reading assignments.  To make reading more fun for the boy, I decided to make some bookmarks for him and his friends to use.  And of course, I brought out my Cricut Maker to help me out.

With Cricut keeping their promise to come out with more tools and materials for the Cricut Maker, I am finding there are so many different options for every craft that I do.  These tools are specially designed with an Adaptive Tool System that can only be used the the Maker and incorporate 3 major technologies:

  1. Delivers 10 times (4 kg) or more cutting force than the Explorer Line
  2. Uses a sophisticated steering system to actively control the direction of the blade at all times.
  3. Tests to be sure you are using the correct blade before it starts cutting and tells you to change it, if not.  (My favorite feature!)

+Bookmarks detecting tool

I suppose I could have just cut out a rectangle by hand for my son’s bookmarks, but I wanted to make something a little more fun.  And now that Cricut has 4 new tools as part of their Adaptive Tool system, I wanted to give some of them a try.

Bookmarks new tools

The new tools are: (description provided directly from Cricut to ensure accuracy)

Basic Perforation Blade – Create finely perforated lines for any design:

Get the perfect tear quickly and effortlessly with precise perforation cuts for a wide variety of projects. To create uniform, finely perforated lines for any design, just snap this tip onto the QuickSwap Housing and tell your Cricut Maker to “Go!” Evenly spaced perforation lines allow for clean, well-spaced tearing without the need to fold beforehand – especially great for shapes with curves. Perfect for tear-out booklet pages, raffle tickets, homemade journals, or for any project that demands a neat tear.

Wavy Blade – Go crazy with Wavy Blade:

Get a decorative edge in half the time than a drag blade with a gentle wave cut for a wide variety of projects. To add a whimsical wavy edge to any design, this specially sculpted stainless steel blade is great for original vinyl decals, iron-on designs, envelopes, cards, gift tags, collage projects, or any time you need fabulously finished edges and stylish design accents. Perfect for iron-on, vinyl, paper, cardstock, fabric, and more.

Fine Debossing Tip – Add elegance with pro-level debossing:

Add professional polish and elevated elegance to paper crafts by creating crisp, detailed debossed designs. Unlike folders, which lock you into a specific design, this rolling debossing ball, with a wider range of motion, gives you free reign to customize, personalize, and design with incredible intricacy. Make a dimensional wedding card, thank you card with your monogram, or add flourish to gift boxes, tags, and more. Creates a stunning effect on foil cardstock, coated paper, shimmer and glitter paper, basswood, and much more.

Engraving Tip – Turn any project into a keepsake:

Make a lasting impression with Cricut Engraving Tip. To get professional-looking results, just snap this tip onto the QuickSwap Housing and tell your Cricut Maker to “Go!” Watch with awe as you write personalized text or create monograms, draw decorative flourishes and embellishments, or inscribe your favorite quotes on a keepsake. For an eye-catching effect, engrave Cricut Metal Sheets or anodized aluminum to reveal the silver beneath.

 

Because I wanted to try out as many of the tools as I could, I made multiple versions of the bookmark using different materials and different tools.

The basic template I made in Design Space and then changed it based on the different versions.

Bookmarks template

Depending on which tool you would like to use, you just select the area you wish to use it on and select the appropriate item in the drop down.

Bookmarks cuts

The best part is you can use multiple tools within one project to really step up your crafting game.

Bookmarks cut

And one of the best features included gives you a list of compatible materials to complete your project.  For example, when I wanted to use the Engraving tool for the wording of the bookmarks, it gave me different list of materials to use compared to when I wanted to use the Fine Debossing tip.  It’s important to pay attention to this.  I tried to use a material that wasn’t listed and needless to say, it didn’t workout so well.

Bookmaks materials

So in the end, I made 3 different versions of the same bookmarks.

The first using silver metallic poster board, the Engraving tool and the Wavy tool.

The second using genuine leather, everyday vinyl and the wavy tool.

The third using blue metallic poster board, the Embossing tool and the wavy tool.

The boy was really impressed with the end results and can’t wait to share the bookmarks with his friends.

Time to start thinking about crafting for the holiday season and using all the new Cricut tools available.

 

Getting Fit

I Did a Juice Cleanse – And It Wasn’t That Bad

Disclosure:  Although the juicer I used for my juice cleanse was provided to my by Hurom, all comments, opinions are strictly mine.

In the past, when I heard the words “juice cleanse”, admittedly I did not think kindly about it.  I imagined gagging down gross juices and pretty much being miserable the entire time.

Recently, after having a conversation with a friend about him adopting the habit of drinking celery juice and actually seeing results from it, I thought I would check it out.  I remember at the beginning of the year celery juice was all everyone seemed to be talking about.  I didn’t hop of the bandwagon at the time as again, I imagined it tasting awful.  I was completely skeptical about the whole thing but my friend, who’s opinion I trust, made me give things a second chance.  I figured if I was able to conquer the celery juice, I could take it a step further and do a juice cleanse.

The juicer that I have been using is the Hurom HP Slow Juicer.  And it has been perfect for my needs.  It’s compact, so it doesn’t take up a ton of space on my counter.  It uses a patented Slow Squeeze technology which basically mimics the motions of being squeezed.  This method ensures the juice stays fresh and in it’s most natural state.  The auger squeezes out every drop of juice resulting in bone dry pulp.  This was something that I was actually impressed to see.  I was worried that it would be noisy but it is surprisingly quiet and the best part it is it super easy to clean.  I knew that if it was something that took forever to clean afterwards I wouldn’t end up using it.  I have been using it daily since I got it.

Hurom juicer juice cleanse

So the first thing I tried with the juicer, was the celery juice.  The friend who started me down this path, said that he used an entire bunch of celery each day for his juice.  That seemed pretty overwhelming to me, so I started with half.  I was surprised how much juice only half made and glad I started small.  The juicer kept it’s promise in delivering a pure tasting result.  I can’t describe what I was expecting celery juice to taste like but it really tasted like a liquid version of super fresh celery.  It was actually really good.  Of course there are conflicting theories on the benefits of celery juice, but I can say I have started trying to incorporate it into my daily morning routine and it seems to be making a difference to me.

 

Celery juice juice cleanse

With that being said, after about a week or so, I thought maybe the next step would be to try a juice cleanse.  I’ve really been struggling with my weight and as much as I have been trying to work at it, I found I would be on track for a day or two and then one bad choice and I would revert to my old bad habits.  Restricted style “diets” have never worked for me, I like to be able to make choices for my meals, so I wasn’t sure how well a juice cleanse would work for me.

I knew I wanted just something that would give me the kickstart that I needed to continue down the road to making healthier choices.  My thought was if I saw some results from the cleanse and it made me feel even remotely better I would continue to make better choices.

Not knowing where to start, I decided to look on Pinterest to see what I could find.  With 3, 5, 7 and 14+ day cleanses there were a lot of options.  I knew that a 3 day cleanse would be my best option and perhaps less chance of quitting partway through.  I stumbled across a three day cleanse that looked fairly easy to follow, was easy to make and wasn’t going to cost me a fortune in supplies.

The basic premise was you made a different juice each day for 3 days.  You drink a cup of the juice once an hour for 8 hours, with water in between and then a dinner of lean protein and greens for dinner.  The first day was a green juice, day 2 a colon cleanser, and day 3 a liver and kidney flush.  I had trouble finding the original owner of this cleanse so I have no science behind it to see if the claims are true as to their combination and resulting areas of cleansing.  All I know is it looked like it was chalked full of healthy items combined in a juice and that was something my body needed.

So I wrangled up my friend April to do this along with me to do the cleanse.  And here is what I found.

PROS

  1. 1.  It was easy to make.  Having a good juicer and April to help me with preparation definitely made a huge difference.  Making the daily batches for the both of us took about 1/2 an hour.
  2. 2.  It contained items that were easy to find and all things that I liked.
  3. 3.  The juices were tolerable.  Out of the 3 juices, day 2 was my least favorite.  I think the apple juice in the other 2 made a huge difference.
  4. 4.  I didn’t feel too hungry and having an actual meal at the end of the day really helped.
  5. 5.  The constant inflow of nutrients each hour helped me avoid that 2pm slump I always seemed to get.
  6. 6.  It appeared to clear the brain fog.

juice cleanse juice

CONS

  1. 1.  Having to drink every hour was a bit cumbersome if you planned to go anywhere.  Either you were out for less than an hour, or you took it with you.
  2. 2.  Drink the juice + water meant you spent a lot of time going the the bathroom.
  3. 3.  It got kind of boring drinking the same drink all day.  I think I would have rather changed it up throughout the day.
  4. 4.  If you don’t like a particular day’s drink, it became a very long day.
  5. 5.  If says to avoid caffeine.  If you have a caffeine addiction, you will probably get a wicked headache.

CONCLUSION/RESULTS

I was able to follow through and complete the cleanse as the directions stated with one small change.  I had a coffee each morning. I know my limits and knew that by end of day one, I’d have a raging migraine so I avoided the inevitable.

At the end of the cleanse, I was down 6 lbs.  I am sure a lot of that was water weight but it was definitely the kick start that I needed and I haven’t gained the weight back.  So far so good.

It was actually much easier to follow than I had anticipated.  On day 2 of the cleanse, I had made plans to have dinner out with a friend.  Finding lean protein and greens was easy to find on the menu and was able to stay on track.

Since the cleanse, I have started each day with either a celery juice or a carrot/apple juice combo and I plan to continue doing so.  It seems to be helping with energy levels and the brain fog.

Is this something I will do again? Yes.

Did I learn a lot about my current eating habits?  Yes.

Will this experience help me make changes to my diet? Absolutely!!

juice cleanse carrot juice

 

For Kids

Putting some Zing into our Summer Fun

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to us by Zing, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

A while back, I went to a local event and got the opportunity to try out axe throwing from a company in the area.  It was so much fun and have been dying to get back.  And of course, when I told the boy about it, he wanted to get in on the action as well.  When I told him he had to wait until he was 14, let’s just say he was less than impressed.

Truth be told, the thought of him wielding an axe is a  bit frightening.

So when Zing asked if he would like to give their kid-friendly alternative, Zax a try, I didn’t even need to ask the boy.  I knew it would be perfect for him.

Zing zax

The “axe” is 12 inches tall and made of soft foam so it’s not at all heavy and if the kids give it a throw in the house, it’s not going to break anything.  With suction cups on the end, it sticks to most flat surfaces like walls and windows.  Because it is so light, you don’t have to throw it too hard so even younger ones can enjoy it.  The boy has asked me to make him a bulls-eye so that we can challenge each other.

zing zax axe

Another item the boy has been enjoying is the Zing Hyperstrike bow and arrow set.

Zing HyperStrike

Again, the arrows are made with a soft foam, so it’s not going to hurt anyone.  And man, can they fly – up to 250 ft.  And when they are released, they make a whistling noise that makes them sound like they zooming through the air.  I even enjoyed giving it a try.  The boy went to camp a few weeks back and got to try out archery, so when he came back, he didn’t want to the put the set down.  Again, I was asked to put together some sort  bulls-eye for him.  I guess I best get on that.

Zing toys

So after I get that bulls-eye made, I’m going to sit on my newly made over patio and enjoy the rest of this summer like weather and watch the boy doing the same trying to hit that red center.

Available at Target in the US and ToysRUs, Mastermind and Indigo in Canada, these are some great toys to get the kids outside and having fun.

DIY

Making the Most of the Summer with a Patio Makeover

Disclosure:  Although items for this patio makeover were provided by Home Depot Canada, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

I don’t know about you, but summer is already passing by way to quickly. I told myself after what seemed like a never ending winter this past year, that I would spend as much time as I could outside this summer.  Working a 9-5 job kind of throws a wrench into plans like that for most people, however, being fortunate enough to work from home, I knew I could do a little summer enjoyment/work multitasking with a simple patio makeover. Luckily my WIFI reaches the patio area so I wanted to be able to bring my laptop outside with me and work and enjoy.

Because I live in a rental, I don’t want to spend money on something that I can’t take with me if I ever move.  And I also don’t have a lot of storage for outdoor items in the winter so I need to really think and plan when I want to do any sort of updates.  I didn’t want to do too much to the space but believe me, it needed some work.

BEFORE:

Patio Makeover before

Yes, the before was pretty abysmal with weeds growing everywhere and a complete eyesore.  So first things first, of course I chose the hottest day of the summer to pull weeds and get rid the growth in the cracks.  But there was no way I would enjoy the space, no matter what I put in it, if it was covered in weeds.

I looked on the Home Depot Canada website for some inspiration for the space and it gave me a lot of ideas.  I wanted a space that I could use to work outside so I would need a table and chairs and definitely an umbrella to shade me from the afternoon sun.  The chairs would have to comfortable enough for me to sit for an extended period of time.  I also wanted to use the space for the boy and I to eat meals outside once in a while so I needed the table big enough to allow that.

Again, due to limited storage space, I wanted items that I would be able to fold up when the dreaded winter arrives so that I would be able to store them quickly and easily.  I didn’t feel like it was a huge wish list for my patio makeover but I knew I would need to make sure all the pieces worked together to get the end effect that I was looking for.

After getting some ideas from the website, I headed to my local store and literally stumbled across the perfect table and chair set as soon as I walked in the door.  Not only were the chairs comfortable, they are able to fold up to easy storage.  There were lots of options to choose from on display at the store but as soon as I saw this one, I knew it was perfect.

Patio Makeover Chair

And the table was big enough to accommodate a meal, but not too large that it would overtake my small patio space.

Patio Makeover Table

I was also able to find an umbrella that again folded up for storage come winter but also was easy enough to put up and down when I wanted to use it so I didn’t have to worry about it being damaged or blowing away when a summer storm blew in.

As I was getting ready to check out I saw this cute pineapple shapes LED light that I thought would be perfect on my table to light up the area if we wanted to sit outside into the evening.  And who doesn’t love anything pineapple?

Patio Makeover night

It seems like it’s just a simple few pieces but it really made my sad patio area into something I enjoyed using almost on daily basis.

AFTER:

Patio Makeover After

And one last piece that I wasn’t originally in my “must haves” for this patio makeover, was a cute straw mat for my doorstep.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect representation of the boy and I and the perfect way to greet guests upon their arrival.

Patio Makeover door mat

So if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go enjoy my patio and soak up as much of this summer as I can.