DIY · Uncategorized

Making my own style with Cricut Explore Air

Graphic tees seem to be all the rage these days. I am always seeing these great t-shirts with cute logos and hashtags on them. Unfortunately a lot of them come from the US and shipping to Canada isn’t always an option. So how does a girl stay in style? Use her Cricut Explore Air, of course.

I decided for my latest Cricut project that I would up the style game for my son and myself and make us both graphic tees.  Cricut has their Iron On vinyl in a variety of colors including glitter so I was ready to go.  All I needed was a t-shirt for each of us and I was ready to start creating.

My son being the huge penguin lover that he is, I knew that we had to find him something with penguins on it for his shirt.  I found a cute little logo on Etsy and got that one for him.  Once I was able to upload it to Design Space, I was able to use the Set Canvas function to select a child size tshirt to ensure the size of the image would set properly on the t-shirt.  This is such a great feature so that you aren’t guessing and wasting supplies or time.

One I was ready to print, I made sure I selected to Mirror image my logo so that it would cut properly.

You need to cut your image with the shiny side down of the iron on vinyl or you will end up with the iron on material on the wrong side.

Once I had the image cut and weeded, I was able to place the image on to the t-shirt to place it properly before ironing it on.

I used my regular iron set on the highest (Cotten/Linen) setting and made sure to iron the shirt just prior to placing the logo so that it was warm.  Once I placed the logo in place, I used a tea towel over top to protect the plastic transfer paper.  I ensured to use a lot of pressure to make sure the iron on vinyl set properly into place.

After letting the transfer cool a bit, I removed the transfer paper and the shirt was ready to wear.  It looked great and my son loved it!

For myself, I just went into Design Space and found a font that I like and using a phrase that I liked, I printed up a t-shirt for myself using the same steps as I did for my son’s.

Both of shirts have now been washed (inside out) and the transfers still look as good as new.   So now keeping up with the graphic shirt style is easy for us.

There are so many great ideas on the Cricut website to use for inspiration, I can’t wait to figure out my next project.  Stay tuned.

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

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Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

It’s almost New Years Eve and it is time to say goodbye to 2016.  I can’t say it was the best year of my life and I can definitely say it wasn’t the worst year of my life. Sure it had it’s highs and it’s lows and there are memories that I will never forget, but it just wasn’t a standout year.  Although it was the year that I did start this crazy adventure called blogging, in all honesty, it was really just another year.

As I say goodbye to 2016, I am entering 2017 already with a bit of change.  My job has changed in that I am still in the same role per se, but I now have the opportunity to work from my home office full time.  Being able to commute the 3.5 seconds from my bedroom to my office is definitely going to have it’s perks and I somehow think that leggings are going to become a staple in my wardrobe.  I am anticipating all the good things that can come from this change.

In 2017, I will be turning……eeeeks 45.  Yes, no longer my early 40’s but at that peak and heading closer to 50.  My goal is to say goodbye to negativity, drama and not always feeling good in my own skin and saying hello to happiness and becoming the best version of myself.  I want to stop the bad eating habits and exercise consistently.  This summer I want to be able to wear a bikini and not care that I am not a size 2.

I was doing quite well with my Fitness Friday segments but as the holidays grew closer, I let them fall to the wayside and all my good habits that I was starting to enjoy went to the wayside as well.  As I sit here typing, everything feels tight and squishy and I don’t feel good about it at all.  Time to get back in the saddle and do what it good for me.  Sure, I know 95% of the population makes resolutions to lose weight but this year just feels different to me.  I want to do this, I need to do this.

I also need to focus on being better to myself.  Being a Mom, I way to often turn my focus to other things and put myself and the bottom of the priority list.  That doesn’t mean I am going to make it all about me but I am going to allow myself to do things for myself guilt free.  Even if it’s a few minutes in the evening to read a book or give myself a pedicure,  I am going to enjoy that time and not feel the least bit bad about it.

My son is getting older by the second and soon hanging with Mom isn’t going to be so cool anymore.  I want to make this next period of our lives really count.  I want to enjoy our time together making memories, doing things.  Things that we both will look back on and be glad we did them, together.  What does that exactly mean?  I am not sure but we will sure have fun trying.

I am going re-evaluate what’s important and focus on those things.   So as the clock ticks closer and closer to the close of 2016, I say goodbye to what was and hello to what is to come.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – How Exercise Helps My Mood

new-fitness-friday-logo

Yesterday I woke up pissed off.  And as the day progressed my mood worsened.  Blame it on the insensitivity of people in this world, blame it on my lack of sleep, blame it on the fact the holidays sometimes get me down, blame it on the fact I haven’t been getting to exercise as much as I have wanted to lately.  Regardless, the tone of my day was set as soon as I woke up.

I felt like no matter what the day brought me, nothing was going to make my mood any better.  Sadly, on days like this, I often wish my day away so that I can wake up hopefully in a better mood the next day.  Life is too damn short to be wishing it away.  I need to do something about it but being stuck at the office all day, I knew there wasn’t much I could really do to improve my situation while there.

not-in-a-good-mood

My son was going to be with me that evening and the last thing I wanted to do was subject him to my grumpiness.  I needed to come up with a solution before I got home.  I had to look at some of the reasons I was initially blaming for this bad mood.  I can’t really change the fact that I have had to deal with insensitive people in this world.  Although, I could just choose to ignore them.  I can’t take a nap at work, so sleep would have to fix itself that night.  The holidays aren’t going anywhere fast, so again, just ignore that as much as I can.  So the only fix that seemed to be viable was the exercise.

After a few minutes of pondering, I knew that if I really put my mind into it, I could fit in some time to exercise that evening while my son was playing a game on his tablet.  I could throw in an exercise dvd that I had and sweat away the grump.  I know in the past, exercise has always lifted my spirits when down in the dumps, so I knew it would probably help in this case.   Even just planning the exercise time made me feel slightly better.

Being overly tired when I got home, I was almost happy to wallow in my grumpiness instead of working out but that wasn’t the example I wanted to set for my son.  So I got him set up to play and I got the dvd player going.  My mood started to lift almost instantly.  That, and the fact my son was laughing at me made me laugh too.

By the end I was in a completely different frame of mind for the rest of our evening together.  I need to remind myself that as much as some days I really hate the thought of working out, I need it.  My body needs it and my mental health needs it.  When something as simple as a short workout can greatly improve my mood, there is no need to go thru life grumpy.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Explore the world with Little Passports

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions and comments are strictly mine. This post contains affiliate links.

 

I don’t know about the rest of the parents out there, but I am really tired the constantly being asked by my son “Can I play on my tablet?”.  Just this past weekend, I told him that I sick and tired of talking to the top of his head, as it’s all I see of him when he’s playing on it.  If he is going to be using his tablet, I would much rather he be using it to explore and learn about new people, places or things, rather than aimlessly collecting jewels or points in a game.

That is why I really enjoy the Little Passports program.   It’s get the kids away from the tablet games and gets them learning about the amazing world we live in.   Little Passports is a monthly subscription with different programs for children starting as young as age 3.

We received the World Edition for 6-10 year olds and my son is loving it.  And what kid doesn’t love getting things in the mail for themselves?  In our first delivery, we received the starter kit that contains the signature blue suitcase, their very own passport, Wall-sized world map, a welcome letter, stickers and other activities plus access to online games in the Boarding Zone.

sticker-on-suitcase

In each subsequent month, we received a package highlighting a different country around the world with activities, fun souvenirs and information about that country. You get a sticker for your suitcase, one for your passport and then a “pin” sticker to locate that country on your world map and a fact sheet about that country.  Geography is not my strong suit, so I am learning just as much as my son.

sticker-in-passport

sticker-on-map

Each time, there are also fun activities included for your child to enjoy.  This past month we got to explore Japan.  My son loved learning about origami.  There were instructions and origami paper included so he could make some pieces of his own.

origami

My son enjoyed using his tablet to explore the games in the Boarding Zone but he also wanted to lean more about the countries.  I would help him find the information and increased his knowledge about these areas of the world quite a bit.  Exactly how I want him to use his tablet.

This holiday season give the gift of adventure.  It’s a gift that will last the entire year and get them learning about the world we live in.  Also, it might just tear them away from those tablets or at least use them a little differently.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Staying cozy this winter with Briers Blankets

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

briers blanket

This past weekend, the furnace came on, the winter coats, hats and mitts came out.  Summer is definitely over and winter is starting to rear it’s ugly head here.  The cotton sheets were replaced with flannels and the warm, cozy blankets came out of the linen closet.   The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cold, miserable winter this year and I want to be ready for it.

Even at 8 years old, my son tends to be a bit of Linus.  He always has a bunch of blankets cuddled up with him on the couch when he’s watching a movie or in bed with him at night.    He has this one polar fleece, knotted blanket that he’s had since he was just over a year old that we love but it is getting too small to actually cover him properly.  I knew I wanted something similar so I start looking for someone local that could possibly provide one for me.  That is when I happened upon Briers Blankets.

warm-blanket

Although Briers Blankets has only been selling online since April 2016, these blankets started being made back 10 years prior as gifts for her own children followed by nieces and nephews.   Ten years later, they still use their blankets and after encouragement from her sister, Briers Blankets was born.

The blankets are double layer polar fleece, knotted around the edges.  Each one, crafted with love, can be custom created.  The largest (approx 50″ x 70″) can even accommodate an adult. (I know, I use ours when my son isn’t home) and are so amazingly soft and cozy.  Almost makes me enjoy the cold weather upon us.  There is also a smaller version (approx 36″ x 50″) which is great for younger children.  And most recently she has introduced toy blankets that are perfect for dolls, stuffies or as a lovey at sleep time.  They would even work in a cat carrier.

big-blanket

With the holidays soon upon us, these would make a great gift for the children on your list or even the sports parents.  These would be great to keep warm and cozy in a cold arena or late season outdoor sport.  Briers Blankets currently have some blankets available in stock and ready to ship but if you are looking for a custom made blanket for arrival prior to the holidays, orders must be received no later than November 13th to ensure they are ready and shipped in time.   Working with Briers blankets was so easy and they are incredibly sweet and lovely.  It’s small businesses such as this that are always such a pleasure to support.

cozy-blanket

To learn more about Briers blankets or to place your order, check out their Etsy page, FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

The Clouds are Crying, Mommy.

clouds are sad

I was not planning to write a post today but then on the way to dropping my son off to school today, he said something that broke my heart.  It’s a typical rainy and windy fall day here today.  As we were getting in the car, he said “When it rains, it means the clouds are crying Mommy! Why are the clouds so sad?”

In retrospect, we’ve had a lot of death and sickness in our circle of family and friends lately.  We’ve had family members, family of friends, and even pets pass in the past few weeks.  It is also the anniversary of several friends family passing around this time of year.   By this time in my life, I had already been subjected to the death of my twin sister, more than any 8 year old should have to bear so I try to keep the subject of death as far removed from my son as possible.

I tried to explain that sometimes things happen that make the clouds sad.  Crying can help them deal with their emotions.  I tried to use examples of times he was sad and cried to make him understand. And then he said it “Mommy, why are so many sad things happening lately?”  My heart broke into a million pieces.  Keeping my composure was tough.  How was I supposed to respond to this?  I simply asked him what he meant.  As he started listing off a few things, I knew he wasn’t just a baby anymore that I could just pass things over.  He is a boy now and sadly able to comprehend the world around him.

I tried to explain to him that there was no explanation for it.  I tried to explain my superstition of things happening in 3’s.  I tried to explain that there will be times in our life with dark clouds and rain but we have to look for the sun shining behind those clouds.  I am not a overly religious person, but I try to believe that above those dark clouds are our angels up in heaven.  I tried to explain that sometimes our Angels up in Heaven get sad too and this is the result of that.

My explanation seemed to give him some comfort and give him an answer he could understand.  Crying is life helping us deal with our emotions, crying isn’t a bad thing.   So during those dark and gloomy days,  try to look on the other side of the darkness into the brightness ahead.   And when it seems like a multitude of bad things are happening, there will be an end and things will get better.  I want him not to dwell on the bad things life hands us but look for the good instead.

Tonight I will hug him a little tighter and try to focus on good things we have in our life and try to remove those rain clouds from his mind.

Uncategorized · What I'm Wearing

Enjoying the sun with Real Shades

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

peekaboo

Sure summer is over, but that doesn’t mean that sun isn’t still going to shine and our eyes are going to need protection.  In fact, I sometime find that I need my sunglasses more into the fall and winter more than I do in the summer.   You only get one set of eyes, so you need to make sure that you protect them.  And if you can do it with a bit of style and flare, even better.

my-glasses-and-pack

Real Shades (previously known as Real Kids Shades) has been providing a line of affordable, quality sunglasses that provide 100% UVA/UVB protection for  children since 2002 and have recently expanded their line to include teenagers and adults.  They work with Prevent Blindness America to stress the importance of keeping our children’s eyes protected.

Even though our optometrist has told my son that wearing sunglasses to protect his eyes is as important as wearing sunscreen to protect his skin, getting him to wear a pair has always been a struggle.  When we received our sunglasses from Real Shades, my son couldn’t wait to try them on.  And ever since, he actually asks to wear them.  It’s a sigh of relief that he is now keeping his previous eyes protected.

side-view

The one thing I really liked about Real Shades is they recognize that one size sunglasses do not fit all.  Normally, I can only find kids sizes that fit kids my sons age or full adult size.  For me personally, I often find that full adult sizes don’t fit me properly and I my eyes are not getting protected properly.  I was able to try a pair of the Young Adult size sunglasses and they fit me perfectly and they look super stylish and not like I am wearing kids glasses.

me-with-sunglasses

Real Shades has a wide range of different style, colors and sizes to fit and please everyone and their affordable price makes protecting your eyes easy on your wallet.  You can learn more about Real Shades on their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page.

both-pairs

 

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

My apology to all the single Moms that came before me.

my-apology

I am a single Mom, and I have been for 8 years now.  It probably took me longer than it should have, but I need to apologize to all the single Moms that have come before me.

Growing up and to this day, I always had my parents together.  My circle of friends did not fit into that statistic of “50% of all marriages end in divorce”.   Single Moms were somewhat of a foreign concept to me until I become one myself.  And truth be told, what I did know or perceived to know about them was not in a kind light.

And when I became I single parent myself, I struggled and still do sometimes struggle with the stigma that is attached to single Moms.  But I have learned so much these past years about what it really takes to be a single Mom and I am in awe of the other Moms out there.  I only have 1 little one to look after and I am astounded sometimes how some Moms manage with 2 or 3 or more.

We don’t let our kids run around with dirty face and clothes, all kids do.  It’s the nature of their beast.  And those kids having complete meltdown in the middle of the grocery store…..they belong to ANY Mom.  Your marital status has NOTHING to do with it.  We love our kids just as much as any other mother and would do anything to protect them.

And truth be told, some of the single Moms that I know are the most organized, hardworking women…..and pardon my language but these ladies have their shit together.

So I need to profusely apologize to all those times I made the assumptions, I agreed with all those stereotypes and down and outright judged you.  Being a single Mom doesn’t make you any less worthy than those Moms that have the house with the white picket fence life.

We have just an amazing life; we just do it a little differently.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Keeping the family clean with Dial

Kids are back to school and that means dirty children from playing at recess, crafts in art class and germs being shared.  That’s why it is important to make sure everyone is washing up, keeping clean and preventing sickness from spreading throughout the school.

You can find a full range of products from Dial that can help keep you and your family squeaky clean.  I make sure I have a bottle of hand soap available by every sink in my home so there is no excuse not to have clean hands and to keep germs at bay.

dial-products

The last thing I want is to spend the fall/winter months sick so I remind my son how important it is to keep his hands clean especially after he has been playing with friends or at a public place.  It really helps that the hand soaps have such nice yet not overpowering scents, you actually want to use them.  Our current favorite is the Coconut Water and Mango.

coconut-water

And with winter around the corner and having dry skin, I don’t want to use anything that will dry my skin out any more.  I really like the Coconut Oil infused body wash.  I come out of the shower feeling moisturized but not that greasy oily feeling.  I always use a moisturizer when I get out of the shower and after using this body wash, I didn’t feel quite the need.

oil-soap

So bring on the dirt and the grime and the germs that back to school and winter has to throw at us, with Dial soaps we can easily combat them.

Disclosure:  These products were provided to me to review, but all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

DIY · Uncategorized · What I'm Wearing

Back to school in groovy tie-dye style

A few weeks back, we were doing a little shopping and I asked my son if he wanted to pick out a new shirt for back to school.  He looked at me and gave me a huge sigh. For the life of me I didn’t I couldn’t understand his frustration until he said “Mommy, do I HAVE to buy a new shirt for back to school?  Can’t I got back to school as plain old me?” My heart melted.  If he doesn’t want to fuss and muss with back to school wear, so be it.

About a week later, we were discussing crafts and things we wanted to do and he talked about making a tie-dye shirt.  He had made one at camp earlier in the summer but the shirt was already a bit small on him.  (We’ve had a 1 1/2 inch growth spurt since July.)  It sounded like a fun idea and so I headed off to our local Michael’s to pick up supplies.  Luckily for me, the day I went, the shirts were on sale and there were 2 coupons available for me to use on my purchase.  My purchase ended up costing me less than half the regular retail price.

The goods

My son was thrilled when he came home and saw our impending craft.  He immediately decided this was going to be the shirt he wore to back to school.  There were kits with 5 and 10 different colors but I settled for one with 3 for our first attempt.   Next time, I would love to try more colors.

I made sure we wore old clothes that would be okay if they got stained and made sure the floor was well covered with plastic to ensure the mess factor was kept to a minimum.  The instructions were really easy to follow and before you knew it, our shirts were dyed.  They recommend letting the colors cure for 6-8 hours.  We ended up leaving ours overnight.  Mr. Impatient, however, couldn’t wait to see the end product.

Partway thru my shirt

Partway thru his shirt

I swear we were only up for 10 minutes the next morning, when my son asked if we could see our shirts.  I had to rinse the excess color from them and then put them thru the wash but at least we got a sneak peak before I had to throw them in the dryer.  They turned out amazing!!  Definitely not one of my epic Pinterest fails that I have endured before.

Done

We each made one for ourselves and then we used the excess magenta dye and the extra shirt to make a shirt for my son to wear when they have Pink Shirt Day for anti-bullying later on this school year.  I ended up wearing mine that day to a friends bbq and got a ton of compliments.  And of course my son, wore his to back to school.  He LOVED it.

me all done

back to school

It was definitely a fun, inexpensive and easy craft to do with my son.  I am pretty sure we will be adding more of these to our wardrobes.

My son and I love to do all kinds of crafts however, after a few Pinterest fails, I became a little disenchanted.  With winter approaching, I was thinking I would need to start finding some new craft ideas when going outside wasn’t a great option.  I was kind of dreading it to be honest.  This has given me new motivation to find some new fun crafts.