Complete Your Beach Bag with Huggies Little Swimmers

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Huggies, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #HuggiesSwimmers  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

So it's officially summer! Time for swimming, the beach, sand, sun, and BBQ's with family and friends. As the kids in my family get older and more dependent on the school calendar, more and more of our get-togethers are occurring poolside in the summer months. This year has been no exception. That booty up there is my nephew Blake trying to keep up with his older sister and cousins. Only thing is, Blake isn't quite ready for potty training yet. So to keep him in with the "big kids" and assure grandpa doesn't have to, ahem, sanitize the pool (we've all been there), we head to Target and get Huggies Little Swimmers to keep around.
When my kids were little we went on a pool/beach vacation and I forgot the swim diapers. I was seriously stressing about it. No stores close by and I did not want to chance being the family that cleared the pool. Luckily, when we were checking in the girl behind the desk heard me stressing out and like magic, had packs of Little Swimmers behind the desk for hotel guests and their little ones. They got one glowing review from me when we got home. I realize they are diapers, but I felt like I hit the lottery. haha! The little things when you're a frazzled mom on vacation, ya know?!

Even soaking wet they don't swell up and explode little gel balls everywhere :) Ever wash a diaper on accident? I have. It's not fun.

So if you're headed to the pool or beach this summer, I have a coupon for you ($1.50 off!) and pack the Little Swimmers for the little bums in your family. Give yourself one less thing you have to worry about.


Baby Advice from the "Veteran" Mom

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of HUGGIES. All opinions are 100% mine.

My babies when they were babies.

I got married fairly young (25) and had my first kid pretty soon after that at 26.  Then BAM, 2 years later, the other kid.  We went from a carefree, young, late-dinner-having, lax-schedule, vacationing (oh the vacations!), sleeping-in couple, to a family of 4 in a period of 2 years. It was quick. And among my close circle of friends, I was the only one with kids. Fast forward 5ish years, that has changed. All of them either have kids now or are pregnant. You know that stage in your life where everyone you know is getting married? Yeah, I'm at the everyone I know is having babies stage. I'm now the one with the old kids... the veteran if you will. I'm going to share some recent pictures of a playdate to show you what I mean.

This is the beautiful Lexi. Her mama and I have been freinds since college.

And the always-on-the-move Joey. No way was he sitting still for a picture!

And the brand new Jackson... Joey's little brother. Their mama and I have been friends a bit longer.

I still remember the advice I got from EVERYONE about how my life was gonna change, what their babies did, and how I was never going to sleep again (that one is true). And I was annoyed then. But I get it now (live and learn, right?). It's difficult not to share your hard-earned wisdom with the preggers out there. It helps you remember your babies to talk to others about them. You earned these battle scars and it kind of seems like your duty to warn, er ... educate soon-to-be parents out there. So let me reminisce, will you? I've earned this baby advice... and I might miss my "babies" just a little.

  • Put the cabinet locks on. Just do it. I'm not talking about just under the sink where the deadly chemical stuff is, I talking every single cabinet they can possible reach. Lock. It. If not, you will be cleaning up every pot lid and tupperware container everyday (covered in crumbs and dog hair) for years.
  • Pack more diapers, wipes, and outfits than you think you will need. Never fails. The one time you don't pack the extra, extra pair of shorts, your kid will pee on, spill on, render useless what they are wearing. Take this from a mom who had to put peed-through shorts back on her kid at Disney World. Not pretty. The extra HUGGIES® Little Movers for active babies were a staple in my bag from then on.
  • Put them in the cute outfits when they are small just because. They grow out of them so fast and, let's face it, newborns don't go too many places. Just put the outfits on them at home and take some pictures. You'll be glad you did later.
  • Do what works for your family... even if it's weird. Our daughter tried to/did eat the dog food one too many times. Our solution? A Winnie the Pooh doll she was terrified of. I don't know what it was about poor Pooh, but she hated him. We sat him right up next to the dog bowls to "stand guard". Worked like a charm. :)
  • Save money on diapers and wipes! For example, HUGGIES® Triple Clean Wipes and HUGGIES® Snug & Dry Diapers as well as Bonus Pack Diapers are all available at Walmart. Shop at a place that takes coupons and has low prices anyway. Buy in bulk to save even more. I still store all of my kids' art supplies in my wipes containers.

So there's my two cents.  Most importantly, do what works for YOU and your baby, but know that the "veterans" out there offering advice are doing so because they've walked the walk.

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Easy Tank Top Dress

Earlier this week I made some 4th of July hair bows. While buying the clips for those I ran across a table of cheap tank tops and got the idea to do a matching tank top dress as well. This might be one of the easiest dresses ever to sew. If you're looking for a beginner project to wear, you're in the right place. I made this dress for my 5 year old (she wears a size 6), but it could easily be adapted for any size. I could see this being a great bummin' around beach dress for myself too. It's also a good upcycle project if you've got a shirt circa 2001 that's way too short now (you know you're still hanging on to a few... I am). Chop that sucker off and make an easy tank top dress!

  • Tank Top - or any shirt really that has some stretch to it
  • About 1/2 Yard of Fabric for a girl's dress - this will vary depending on the size booty you're trying to cover
  • About 1 1/2 Yards of Ribbon - on the thicker side to make a nice waist band
  • Double Fold Bias Tape
  • Sewing machine, pins, thread, scissors, measuring tape
You should wash and dry your fabric and shirt before starting. This will prevent uneven shrinking and wrinkling later.

Step 1
Chop off your tank top.
I put the shirt on my kid and measured down from the neck where I wanted the skirt part of the dress to start. It was 5". Then I added 1" for seam allowance. Is that a huge seem allowance? Why yes it is... don't judge. So I did my chopping at 6" down from the neck.

Step 2
Measure and cut the skirt fabric.
Now measure from where you just determined the skirt would start (my spot was 5" down from the neck) to where you want the skirt to end. I went just past her knee and came up with 18". I then added an inch for seam allowance and cut at 19". Since I started with a square yard of fabric, I did not cut down the width at all.  I just left it 1 yard wide (it's folded in quarters here to make it easier to cut).

Here's the little drawing I did to help me remember my numbers.  After I sketched the dress the kid came in and added the body parts and "princess" hair. I'll pause while you admire the splendor. You can see my actual measurements on the dress and then the measurements plus seam allowance over to the right. I also measured her waist too, 21". We'll need that in a bit.

Step 3
Sew your skirt into a tube.
Take your rectangle, fold it in half matching up the raw edges, and sew up the side. I did this using french seams. That's when your raw edges are completely hidden and finished on the inside as well as the outside. Here's how.

First sew your seam with wrong sides of the fabric together. This is the opposite of how you would normally do it. Sew very close to the edge with a tiny seam allowance.

When that's done, flip your fabric inside out so now the right sides are facing each other (like normal) and sew your seam again. This time with a slightly larger seem allowance.

And ta da! Your raw edges are now tucked into a neat and tidy pocket on the inside of your skirt. No fraying, no strings.

Step 4
Sew your tank top to your skirt.
Make the skirt inside out. Make the tank top right side out. Shove the tank top inside the skirt so the right sides of the tank top are touching the right sides of the skirt. Line up the raw edges of the tank and skirt. Also make sure the back of the tank top lines up with the seem you just made on the skirt. That's the back :)

Pin the front, back, and both sides. The skirt will bunch in between the pins since it's wider than the tank top. That's okay.

Start sewing at the back pin. Stretch the tank top to match up with the width of the skirt while you sew. Sew from one pin to the next pin, pulling each section flat as you go.

The blue thread is what we just sewed. After that I zig zagged that seem too (the white) to keep it from fraying too badly. Notice my giant seem allowance :)

This is what you should have now.

Step 5
Add the ribbon.
My ribbon is about 2" wide and 55" long. I just put the ribbon up to my kid and determined what length would go around her waist and make a nice bow in the back.  Then I hemmed the ends by folding over twice and sewing. Like this...

Then find the center of the ribbon and pin it to the center of your dress, covering the seem between the skirt and top. Now remember when I measured my kid's waist earlier (21")? This is when that comes into play.

Half of that waist measurement is 10 1/2"... this is the width you want the front of the dress to be. So, gather your dress in from the sides and pin the ribbon to each side seam of the tank top making the total distance between your side pins 10 1/2" (or half of your waist measurement). Make sure the ribbon is flat and not bunched up. This is what is going to make the font of your dress look neat and clean.

Now just sew a rectangle around your ribbon. I start on the side, go up the side seem, across the front, back down the other side seem, and across the front again. Just try to keep the wrinkles in the dress evenly spaced under the ribbon. You could add more pins if you want before sewing to help with that.

Step 6
Add bias tape.
Last step! I finished the hem of the dress with double fold bias tape. I think it's faster than hemming and requires no ironing :) I started at the back seem and finished by folding the edge of the bias tape under and letting it overlap where I started a little.

You're done! Put that sucker on. I don't know what took me so long to make this dress. I've had that polkadot fabric for probably 2 years now. I love it! What other occasions could you make this dress for?  Let me know. I see some tailgating maybe?? :)
No more pictures mom! I'm going to look for fish!


Easy 4th of July Hair Bows with Mod Podge Mod Melts

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Plaid Crafts and The Blueprint Social. All of my opinions are 100% mine.
Are you ready for the 4th of July fireworks to begin? We are! Mostly because this is the first year we won't have a child who is terrified of them. :) We've tested it... Disney is close... fireworks nightly. Just a few months ago we managed to get through them with no tears. And since we won't be the family huddled in the car this year while all the other kids run wild with sparklers, I decided to get my patriotic craft on. After all, I might actually get some non-crying cute pictures this time. Here's a quick tutorial on how to make easy 4th of July hair bows embellished with new Mod Melts by the makers of Mod Podge.

Now really, the only thing making these "4th of July" is the colors I chose, so you could easily make them Christmas bows or Halloween bows or I-just-like-pink bows by switching up the ribbon and paint.

  • Mod Melts mold
  • Mod Melts sticks (I used "sea glass" finish)
  • High temp mini glue gun
  • Hot glue
  • Various ribbon
  • Craft paint
  • Hair clips (a pack of 6 is around $2)
Step 1
Make your Mod Melts.
These are so easy and quick to make... and a little addicting. Use the sticks in your high temp glue gun to fill the mold, wait about 3 minutes, and pop them out.
Once you've got a pile of 'em, you can paint, glitter, or leave them plain. I did some painting before constructing the bows so they would have time to dry.

Step 2
Cut your ribbon. 
To make this particular bow (I'm going to show you how to make one... I got in a groove and made three) you need 5 pieces of ribbon. 3 at about 12" long, and 2 smaller ones at about 10" long.

Step 3
Make loops.
Take each ribbon and glue the ends together to make a circle. Then smoosh your circle down in half and put a dot of glue in the center so it forms a bow shape.

Step 4

Stack your loops.
I began with my single thickest ribbon. Put a dot of glue in the center and stack your loops on top. Glue between each one.

Step 5
Here's the fun part. Play around with your Mod Melts to give your new accessories some detail and personality. Just from the one mold I used, there were so many choices. I experimented with different paints too. 

Step 6
Add your clip.
To add the clip, I cut a small piece of matching ribbon, cover one side in a good amount of hot glue, and sandwich the bottom side of the clip between the bow and the glue-covered ribbon. (best chance of burnt fingers on this step... not gonna lie)

And there you have it. By embellishing the Mod Melts yourself, there are so many unique possibilities. I was lucky to get my hands on one mold for this post, but all the Mod Melts and Molds will be available at Michaels Craft Stores by the end of this month. There so many more options than I've shown here... dangerous, I know. :)

You can find even more ideas and inspiration from Plaid Crafts, the makers of Mod Melts via FacebookTwitter,  Pinterest, or their blog. Happy crafting!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Plaid Crafts and The Blueprint Social. All of my opinions are 100% mine.


How to Make Chalk Paint

Chalk paint. Have you heard about it? Annie Sloan is famous for it and it's been all over blog land. In fact, Annie Sloan's variety has been called "the best paint in the world". Okay, I got that from their site so it might be a little bias, but I've never heard a bad thing about the stuff... except the price. It's steep. And they may be justified in that price, but me being a DIYer and refusing to pay retail for almost everything (I have a problem, we are all aware), I gave that price a big fat "Pshaaaa" and decided to figure out how to make chalk paint myself.

Before we get into that, you might be wondering what is chalk paint and why would anyone want to use it instead of regular paint? Well, in my own non-scientific-I-only-know-this-because-I've-used-it observations, chalk paint is regular paint mixed with a little plaster and water. When you paint a few coats of it and sand between them, the finish gets very soft and smooth and "chalk" like. It also dries very matte and can be waxed to add a slight sheen and protect whatever it is you've painted.

I've also noticed that I have no brush marks with chalk paint and the furniture pieces I have painted and waxed have absolutely no chips. (That said, they are not in a super high-traffic area) The surface looks very professional. I have heard that you don't need to prep or sand whatever it is you are painting first with chalk paint, but that just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. The pieces I've painted got a quick sanding first and a wipe down with a damp towel. It might be true, but I didn't go that route. Call me chicken, it's cool.

Katie from Sew Woodsy was actually the first person/blogger I knew that used chalk paint that she made herself. Katie and her husband Jon painted Craig's List dressers and since I might know Katie in real life :)... I got to see them in person. I couldn't get over the finish. So smooth! They had me convinced and I got the recipe. Without further rambling...

  • 2 Cups Paint (I wouldn't use anything glossier than an eggshell finish)
  • 1/3 Cup Plaster of Paris - About $7 for a giant carton
  • 2 Tbsp Water

That's it! Mix that shize together in an old Tupperware and you're set. Now, me being me and not really measuring anything, I'll admit I probably eyeballed some a lot of that. No problems! 

Check it out. I chalk painted my Goodwill End Tables.

And my fancy shmancy sewing desk is also chalk painted.

And, my DIY Map Table.  I'm starting to think I might have a thing for white furniture. Note to self: no more white.

After you do about 3 coats, sanding and wiping the dust off between each one, you'll want to wax. I use Minwax Paste Finishing Wax. You can buy it by the stains at Home Depot or Lowes. Just like waxing a car. I rubbed it on with an old cloth diaper, waited about 5 minutes, and buffed. Slight arm work out in the process but no one wants "bingo arms", amiright? ; )

That's it. How to make chalk paint ala Sarah. Hope it was helpful! If you get motivated enough to try it... email me your garage sale/thrift store/Craig's List transformations. I love seeing them and showing you off!