Wednesday, March 26, 2014

From Pallet to Garden Box

This year we decided we need a garden.  Last year we did a few plants in pots and it didn't work out very well.  We didn't even get any veggies from them so it was a bust.

We wanted something that we can move next year if we need to, and something cheap!  I love recycling and reusing things.  We have had pallets in our back yard for months now that I have been wanting to break down, but it is has been a daunting task.  Until I read about an easy way to break them down.  I would have never thought of this and I can't remember where I saw the tip.  You use a saws all with a 9-12 inch blade and cut right through the nails.  This saved us probably 5 hours of work disassembling 3 pallets without destroying the wood.

The garden boxes were really easy to make and we built 3 with 3 pallets with some wood left over.  My husband used the support pieces (the thickest and sturdiest pieces) for the corners.  The sides were the wider pieces of wood.  We used the nail gun and attached the side pieces evenly to the corner pieces.  The corner pieces are longer to use for attaching chicken wire to keep the kids and the bunnies out.

After we used the nail gun to hold things in place we used a countersink drill bit (affiliate link below for your convenience) for the screws.  We used 2.5 inch screws and they were even with the wood (countersunk).

Z went around and nailed in any loose nails for us.  And the box was done!

We did not build a bottom because we are planning on tilling the dirt underneath if it ever gets warm enough.  The boxes measure about 3 feet by 3 feet and 8 inches deep.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Feel Like Such a Slacker!

Hi all, I feel like such a slacker.  I feel bad that my blog has been put on the back burner for the time being, but it's all for a good reason.  I promise!

If you have been reading for a little while you know that I am trying to find ways to work from home.  Lifebushido so far has been great and I am excited that I am through with new hire tasks and doing actual work!  I should be getting a paycheck for about 13 hours worth of work from the month of March, so that is a step in the right direction.  I started at a good time because I can build my knowledge and prove that I can do the work well and in a timely manner so that when I am available to do more hours, I will be able to get more tasks.

I am in my 3rd to last class and am going to be cramming to get them done without a break, so I will be graduating on June 30, 2014!  I am excited and apprehensive to be done with my Bachelor's degree.  I personally would love to be able to keep the kids out of daycare, at least until my oldest is in 1st grade and my youngest can attend preschool.  To do this, I need to find a way to make more money from home.

I have been selling items on Ebay and it comes in spurts, but in this past week I have made about $100 off of items that I have had sitting around the house collecting dust.  I am also planning a yard sale and going through items every day.

Needless to say, I have been busy and my brain has been fried from school, kids, and my new job :)

I am hoping to get back to normal starting in June, but until I am done with school my posts will continue to be sporadic.  Thanks for sticking with me!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Embark Preschool Programs

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of K12, the leader in online education for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Have you ever looked into preschool programs to prepare your kids for kindergarten?  I have and there are many different options, but EmbarK¹² Comprehensive and EmbarK¹² Online offer a great way to prepare your kids for kindergarten, and the program is good for kids up to 6 years old.  
EmbarK¹² Online is a program dedicated to online learning and includes more than 800 activities.  These activities are build to be  self-guided learning for kids ages 3-6.  There is narration, animation, video, music, and songs to learn through.  It is a password protected safe online environment.  All activities are age appropriate and fully interactive.  It includes 12 units of activities and each covers the core subjects and topics from around the world.  This program is only $59 for a 12-month subscription, but if you use promo code EmbarkSpecial, within 7 days, you can get it for 50% off at $29.50!  You can purchase this program at the following link EmbarK12 Online - Over 830 interactive activities to engage your preschooler.
EmbarK¹² Comprehensive includes 1200 online and hands-on activities to complete a fun-filled preschool curriculum.  Within this year enrollment, your child will learn core subjects including math, language arts, science, social studies, art, and music.  With the Comprehensive program you receive 1 year subscription, flash cards, a work book, online activity directory, and teaching instructions!  You can get this program for only $286/year for a 12-month subscription and all of the upgrade kits including hands-on manipulative.  You can purchase this program at the following link EmbarK12 Comprehensive- Online and hands-on preschool program for your early learner.
You can also watch this information video 
I am Going to put in my order today for the Online version, I think my 5 year old will love it, and you can't beat half off!
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

DIY Transformers T-Shirt

Z just turned 5 and after my botched attempt at an iron on transfer for his birthday shirt, I had to create a new shirt for his birthday party.

His birthday party was Transformers themed so I figured I could just make him a simple t-shirt with an outlined Transformer emblem.

I found one online and printed it out to use as a guide.  I started with the basic outline with a black fabric puff paint.  When that dried, I just couldn't stop so I added the black shading.

When that dried, I still couldn't stop so I added some fabric glitter paint to accent it.

I loved it so much that I did his name above the emblem and on the back I did a large 5 for his age.  It was a big hit with him and he wears it all the time!

I should've just made my own from the start instead of trying to take the iron on easy way out :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

All About the Steps

Have you ever woken up and thought "What have I gotten myself into?",  "Why did I take on another thing?", "How did we get so many bills?", "When did I get unhealthy?"

Yeah, me too.

Well today I started out having a rough day.  Everything just kind of snowballed me out of the blue.  I started listing the multiple responsibilities I have right now, the lack of funds, the constant stress of everything not getting done.  I just needed something to relieve it, something to clear my brain.  So instead of doing something from the pile of things that needed done, I worked out.

I don't work out.  I try to add exercise into my life, but I don't work out.

So I did everything I could think of and I did jumping jacks, I did a step work out on a small step I have in my living room, I jogged in place, and I did arm weights until I felt better. After this there was a little clarity.

You know what I realized?

I realized that I just need a plan.  I need to do 'steps' to get to where I want to be.  I can make lists and plan and try to cram as much into a day as possible, but I won't get where I need to be without a lot of stress.  So I decided to think about my biggest stressors and write 'steps' to get to my end goal.  So here it is:

Problem 1:  Overwhelmed with demands from school:
I am due to graduate in July.  I normally take a week long break between my classes, but my schedule requires a 2 week break between my last class and the previous one.
Step: By working harder for my last 3 classes and eliminating those breaks I can finish 3 weeks sooner.
Result: Bachelor's degree completed, no more homework.

Problem 2:  Get Healthy:
I have weighed more than I should for a long time.  I have been in denial because I have been steadily at the same higher weight for years.  At least since I got pregnant with my first son.  My plan?
Steps: Eat healthier, force myself to work out, use essential oils instead of medicines, and focus on teaching my kids to be healthy.
Result:  Lose weight, feel better, set a good example for the kids, live longer.

Problem 3:  Finances:
Paying bills is stressful.  It is something I dread every week.  It isn't that we are necessarily broke, but I suck at budgeting and we tend to spend more than we need to.  Going on the way we are seems to be like treading thick water.  When I was at the library the other day I walked down only one isle of normal books (not kid books) before the kids started trying to pull all the books off of the shelf.  I took only one step down the isle.  I had no idea what the isle's subject was.  I looked to the right and the first book I saw was Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover.  Hmmmm.  I checked it out.  I couldn't pass it up.  After I worked out, I read the intro, then the first chapter, and I am already 1/4 way through the book.
Steps: Reading and following Dave Ramsey's steps.  Changing our financial state will be hard and I have to get my husband on board, but the end result can be huge and super beneficial.
Result: Financial freedom and no debt or stress.

Problem 4:  Working from home:
This rolls into the finances, but working from home is a huge stressor for me.  I want to be able to be home to take my kids to school, pick them up, not have to put them in daycare.  I want to always be here for them.  That is one of the most important things to me.  The thought of not being there when they get home or if they need me hurts my heart and makes my stomach flip.  They are my boys and I need to be there for myself and for them.  My plan?
Steps: I started working for Lifebushido and am very excited about it. It won't make me rich, but it will definitely supplement my husband's salary.  I am planning on using the money that I have made from my new job to purchase the start-up pack from Young Living essential oils.  I am so excited about incorporating oils into my daily life that I think I can excel at it.  Even if I just make enough to pay for my oils I would be happy!
Result: Be home for my kids and be able to help with bills.

So I am on my journey, do you have a journey you want to be on?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My New Favorite App!

I have always wanted to meditate but never know what to do or where to start. My sister told me about this app called HeadSpace. So I checked it out.  This is their website

This is not a sponsored post, just writing about it because it's fantastic!

I LOVE it!  It only takes 10 minutes each time you do it. There are instructions at first so if you are like me you can still do it.

The first week is instructional meditation and he walks you through the steps, process, and lets you know how you should be doing it. It also helps that he has an awesome accent and relaxing voice!

If you haven't tried it yet it is definitely worth it, it's free too!  I am completely addicted. I do it twice a day, once during the kids nap times and at bedtime. I have a clearer mind for the afternoon and sleep great!  Hope you like it as much as I do.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Optimus Prime Transformer Cake

My 5 year old loves the Transformers.  He has all of the Rescue Bots, but Optimus Prime is his favorite.  I mean his absolute favorite!  He pretends he is Optimus pretty much all day, and K is Bumblebee (and happy to fill that role!).

So for his 5th Birthday party, we did a Transformers theme.  His invitations, decorations, plates, his shirt, and his cake were all revolved around the Transformers.

Daddy is a Chef and has some experience decorating cakes so this was definitely a job for him.  We decided making an Optimum Prime cake shaped like a truck instead of a robot would be the easiest.   I don't know all of the ins and outs of his cake making process, but I know it took forever and he used fondant and regular cream cheese icing that he made.  And the trick to making the colors really pop is using a gel food coloring.

So here are the pictures of this awesome cake!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

5th Birthday Activities

At the beginning of February my little baby turned into a 5 year old.  Time definitely flies.  We try to make every birthday special.  So we started his day out with our birthday tradition of dumping balloons into his bed.  He always loves this and has fun with the balloons for days or weeks after!

Next it was breakfast time which I had prepared the night before.  His favorite is pancakes and sausage so I made them heart shaped for his special day.  I made him a Paw Patrol t-shirt to wear on his birthday and I had ordered an iron-on.  I didn't read the instructions right and put it on a dark shirt rather than a white shirt, so it didn't show up well.  He loved it so that is all that matters.

We decided to try something new and went to the Air & Space Center, and it was a great decision!  When we got there I informed the lady at the front that it was his birthday.  She was currently waiting for an elementary school group and took time to take us to a special room and show him how to push a stick through a balloon without popping it.  This employee made our day, she was great.  I emailed them later that day to tell them how great she was.

Z got to fly an airplane, stand under a helicopter, see a moon rock (can you see he is thrilled about that one!), see a rocket launch, find out how much he weighs on other planets, and stand under huge planets.

He also got to pretend he was an astronaut!  We all had so much fun that we will definitely be going again.  

After quiet time him and daddy went to Toys R Us to use a gift card and the rest of his birthday money.  He decided that he wanted to buy a $60 Optimus Prime Beast Hunter!  It is a good thing he used his money because I definitely would not have spent $60 on a toy!

For dinner we went with my sister and niece and he got to have a huge brownie sunday and got a balloon signed by the waitstaff.

All in all I think he had a fantastic birthday, and that was before he even had his birthday party the next weekend!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Helpful Mantras

I have never used a mantra before.  I actually felt kinda silly saying something out loud or even to myself.  I have been having problems juggling all of the multiple things I try to tackle at a time so I decided to give it a try so I wrote up some mantras to give it a try.  And guess what?!  It really helps!  Hopefully one of them will help you too.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Just Breathe!

I am finally able to take a breath and get my head above water.  I have been swamped with one thing after another since Thanksgiving.  I am only taking a short breath before I am sure that I will swamped again soon, but I wanted to post a few updates.

I have been hired with Lifebushido and finally finished my new hire tasks at the end of February.  So far it seems like a great opportunity for somebody who is determined and reliable.  The company is comprised of virtual assistants for real estate agents.  It is an involved and unique process and I am hoping it is well worth it.  I just received my first paycheck today for my new hire tasks and I am extremely excited!

I have also been learning about essential oils and their benefits.  I am excited to enter into this world and plan to explore more options and share what I learn.

I have signed the toddlers up for library class and am enrolling them in a little kicker class.  My 5 year old just started soccer and loves it so far and got 2 goals at his first game.

I just finished my class and I have 3 classes left until I graduate with my Bachelor's degree.  I have a week until I start my next class and am hoping to get some much needed catching up done!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Easy Indoor Beach Day!

We have been stuck inside for almost a week because of sickness and weather. The kids have taken it upon themselves to make adventures!

Today they decided a beach day was in order. They set up tan and brown blankets for the sand on top of bean bag chairs for the dunes. They set out a blue  blanket for the water and they said there had to be grass so they used a green blanket.

They played for about an hour on their beach (and wouldn't stop squirming). They put different animals where they would go if they were real and would go "swimming" and then roll around in the "sand". They had a great time.

Sometimes just letting them figure out what to do is the best way to occupy their time!