Sunday, June 30, 2013

Somebody is Having a Birthday

No, it's not me..  I am at the age where I don't really get excited about birthdays anymore.  There is someone else who posts on this blog that is turning the big 1-2 this week.  Since her birthday is during the holiday week, we have scheduled her party for  a couple of weeks from now.   

So in the next few weeks we will be crafting and creating.  I have several new ideas that I am excited  about, that I hope to share here on the blog.  

We are having an Art themed party, so think lots of  COLOR

We have been saving a lot of inspiration on  my Art Party Pinterest Board and General Party Idea Board .    I really love Pinterest because where else can I find so many great ideas all in one place.  

I have lots to do on my to do list, so I better get started..  

Stay tuned.......  

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dare to Share #65

It's Friday night, and you know what that means!
It's time to Dare to Share..

We survived the garage sale.   I feel it was a success. We sold all of the bigger items in the sale, and a lot of small ones. The last day the weather worked against us. It was in the 90s! Way to hot to want to shop.  After the sale was over, I wrote a post with a lot more garage sale tips, and tips from several other bloggers.  You can see that post here.

On Wednesday I was part of the Sharing is Caring Summer Blog Hop. I joined in with several other bloggers to share a summer idea. With the 4th of July right around the corner, I made 4th of July pops.  What is great about these pops, is they are a great alternative to cake pops, when you want to save time. You can see more about the 4th of July Pops here.

On Thursday I shared how I made these easy fireworks crafts. I was originally going to put them in with my 4th of July Pops, but there wasn't enough room in the bucket.  After taking pictures indoors I found they also look really cute in my Patriotic Planter that I shared a couple of weeks ago. 

Update on my weight loss journey. This week I didn't really lose anything, but I didn't really gain anything either.  I know part of the reason why I did not lose anymore is I did not get the exercise I got last week.  We have company at our house, and it has been super hot and stormy all week keeping me indoors.  In the upcoming week I will have a lot going on again.  We are planning Kara's birthday party for two weeks from now, and the 4th of July is in a couple of days. Let's see what next week brings.  

Did you have a chance to see the Features of the Day this week?  If you haven't, here is a second chance. 

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins by I Got This Martha
Decorative Soap Sleeves by Make It Easy Crafts
The Best Taco Casserole by The Pin Junkie

Now it is time for this week's party. I don't have a lot of rules.  I don't require that you follow to link up, but I would sure love it if you did.  It was also be great if you could spread the word, so more people visit the party.  If you are chosen as the Dare to Share Feature of the Day, your post will be promoted on the blog,   Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and G+.

Now link up and HAVE FUN! 

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Friday, June 28, 2013

The Best Taco Casserole - Feature of the Day

We are having lots of company this summer.  Since there are extra mouths to feed, I have been looking for recipes that are good for a lot of people.  The Best Taco Casserole recipe by The Pin Junkie looks like a good one to try. It is a fast and easy recipe, so you would not have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. If you would like to see the full  recipe, stop by the Pin Junkie here.  Thank so much for linking this recipe on Dare to Share

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Join Nielsen Home Scan Consumer Panel

(This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy here.)

The Nielsen Home Scan Consumer Panel is now accepting new members. Earn valuable points, which are redeemable for electronics, household items, jewelry, toy, gift cards, and more. (No landline required with this homescan signup)

For the $500 card  

1. Sign up to become a NCP panel member.
2. Scan your household purchase information (with a handheld scanner they provide).  
3. Send the purchase information to NCP.

For every week of the month NCP receives your purchase information, you'll earn one entry in the monthly sweepstakes--where you can win a $500 American Express Rewards Card. That's up to FOUR entries every month! And, every month, 25 panel members win!

That's not all... Every quarter, an additional 40 panel members win a $500 American Express Rewards card--just by sending purchase information in every week of a month.

For the $20k:
1. Sign up to become a NCP panel member.
2.Scan your household purchase information (with a handheld scanner they provide). 
3.Send the purchase information to NCP.
For each week in a qualifying quarter NCP receives your purchase information, you'll earn one entry into the Grand Prix Sweepstakes--where you can win $20,000! Every quarter one lucky panel member wins!

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Quick and Easy Fireworks Craft

Can you believe next week is already the 4th of July?   I have a quick and easy craft that will be a great addition to your patriotic decor.   With just a few items you probably already have at home, you can make your own cardboard fireworks. 

The base of the fireworks are just regular old toilet paper tubes. Make sure you remove any remaining paper pieces  before painting.  I find Charmin usually has the cleanest tube.  While I like Cottonelle to use, a lot of times there is paper stuck to the roll. 

I painted each tube one color.  When making your own though, you can be creative, and paint the tube however you like.  I am thinking of trying a striped tube for my next round of fireworks.

I raided my scrapbooking stash, and found some gold letters.  I also added some flags and stars to my fireworks.   I know JoAnns  has 4th of July sticker books in their dollar section by the registers, if you don't already have stickers at home. 

I used a bamboo skewer to make the fuse.  I used scotch tape and secured it inside the tube. 

To make the cone top, I found something that was a few inches bigger than the end of the toilet paper tube.  I cut out the circle and then made a cut to the center.   The cut allows you to  form a cone. 

Once you have the cone to the size you want, secure it with a piece of tape. If you don't want the tape to be seen, secure it with glue or a scrapbooking adhesive.  I just made sure that the tape faced the back.  The hardest part of this craft was attaching the cone to the tube.  I used a bit of adhesive in the cone where it touched  the tube, and added a couple small pieces of tape on the outside of the tube to secure it in place. 

The rockets make a fun centerpiece when placed in a bucket of candy.  

I also thought they looked good in my Patriotic Planter.  I placed them in the planter after I took pictures of them in the candy.   It has been raining quite a bit around here lately, so I will have to wait until closer to the 4th to use them outside.  

I will be linking up my fireworks craft to this amazing linky parties here. Be sure to stop by and check them out.  

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Decorative Soap Sleeves - Feature of the Day

We are currently having guests, and will have some more coming in mid  July.  When I saw the decorative soap sleeves  by Crystal of  Make It Easy Crafts, I thought what great idea. With her  tutorial it is very easy to make customized soap sleeves for your guests, for a party, or just because.  She uses a common item to decorate the sleeve, but you will have to go to her blog here to see what it is.  Thank you so much for linking up to Dare to Share Crystal! 

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Put some "POP" in your 4th of July

Do you like the look of cake pops, but not the time it takes to make them?  Here are several types of pops that would be fast and fun to make for your 4th of July get together.   Kraft has Jumbo StarMallows in the stores right now that are only out for a limited time.  It is super easy put the three colors on a lollipop stick or skewer. Marshmallow lovers would eat them right up.   The USA pops are Oreos covered in red, white and blue candy melts.  I have been looking for the plain Oreo mold, but all I have been able to find are the ones with extra shapes.  It was not too difficult to dip these by hand, they are just not quite as smooth as an Oreo from the mold. 

These colorful pops are made from packaged Rice Krispie Treats dipped in candy melts. They are decorated with  Wilton Patriotic Stars and Sprinkles, and Sparkle Gel.  I used a thicker lollipop stick for these pops because they are a bit heavier than the other pops. 

A fun way to display the pops is to fill a container such as this Ikea  bucket with colored candy.  I found red hot tamales, and white chocolate gems on sale at Meijer.   The candy helps keep the pops in place, and after they are gone, guests can help themselves to the candy. 

The pops are all ready for the 4th! (Though I know they will disappear long before then) 

This post is part of the Sharing is Caring Summer Blog Hop hosted by"> Life With Lovebugs
,"> Powerful Mothering, and"> A Spectacled Owl!

All of the blogs listed below are sharing Summer themed posts as part of this event, so click on one or all of the links below to find some great recipes, tutorials, crafts and more!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins - Feature of the Day

I really love chocolate and zucchini, so when I saw Jeni from I Got This Martha posted a muffin recipe with both ingredients together, I had to check it out.  In her post, I found out we have something in common, problems with our thyroid.  Now that I know that her chocolate zucchini muffins are low in iodine, and delicious,  I want to try them even more.  To see her recipe, be sure to check out I Got This Martha, here.  Thank you so much for linking up to Dare to Share Jeni! 

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Home Depot Garden Club

If you have a Home Depot nearby, you might want to sign up to be a member of the Home Depot Garden Club.  You will be able see lots of project ideas, and receive Home Depot coupons and specials right in your inbox. It is free to join, so why not give it a try. 

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

More Garage Sale Tips

I survived this year's garage sale.  I feel it was a success. I would have liked to have made a little bit more than I did, we did very well  for not having any high value items.   The most expensive items in this sale were $10. While it was a bit sad seeing the kids toys being hauled away, it warmed my heart to see them going  home with little kids who will enjoy them once again. 

We were definitely glad to have this tent for shade, especially on the last day of the sale.  It was sunny all three days, but the temps went up by several  degrees each day. Thursday was the busiest day by far.  It also had the best temperatures in the mid 70s.  On Friday, the crowds were a bit smaller,  and the weather a bit warmer in the 80s.  Saturday morning was super slow, but traffic picked up in the afternoon. It was also when the weather was sweltering at 92 degrees. Whew, we were feeling the heat on that day.

If you have a lot of small plastic toys like we do, here is a fun idea to try at your sale.  Place them in a basket and sit it in a location where kids can easily look through them. The toys will keep the kids busy, so parents can look around, and there is a good chance that they will be allowed to bring one home.  

Our best customer was a little girl who was about 7 years old. She was so excited when she saw all of Kara's toys. She had so many items that her mom had her put some of them back, because she wanted way more than she had money to spend. She ended up with a Barbie lap top, a crown,  a Selena Gomez photo album, a bunny water bottle, an Etch a Sketch, and a starfish. (I gave her a bit of a price break for buying so much!)  She had to use one of chairs to hold of her finds while she  was busy shopping. 

I was so happy to sell this toy.  I even apologized to the mom when her son picked it out because it never stops talking. It is a matchbox track that  says.. "who dares to wake the mummy" over and over again. It has a sensor, so it was easy to accidentally set it off.  She was about to become a 3rd time mom, so she knew what she was getting into, and told me she would make him keep it in his room. 

Having a lot of garage sales, you get to know the types of shoppers that you will see during the day.   When grown men basically jump out of their cars and run as fast as they can to the sale, you know they are looking for tools or parts. It is actually kind of funny to see their reaction when they see all the toys and the fact we have no tools to sell.   Another type of shopper we have seen (also usually men) are people looking for deals that they can buy dirt cheap, and resell on Ebay for a profit. They usually show up first thing in the morning.  I had an experience with one of these shoppers before at a previous sale.  I had a large plastic container filled with about 50 children's videos. They were marked $1 a piece which was actually quite reasonable. On the very first day of the sale, just as we were opening, he asked if he could take the entire container of videos off my hands for $5. Um, NO! The container itself was worth $15. He didn't even have kids with him, so I knew he was looking to resell them.  I went on to sell many of those videos for $1 each, and still have my container.  My favorite type of customer is the young family with kids who are looking to save some money by buying used items, or grandmas looking to by things for their grandchildren. They usually can find something they want to buy. 

Last week when I was preparing for our sale, I asked some of my blogging friends for their favorite tips.  Some of them consider themselves garage sale veterans, and had some great ideas and posts to share.   If you are looking to have a sale, or go to a sale, these tips are for you. 

Merissa from Little House Living, has several garage sale articles that are quite helpful. 

Rebecca from Franticmommy also has some good garage sale articles to share.  

Monika from Life with Lovebugs sells muffins from the Costco bakery to her shoppers and sells out every time.  This is a great way to keep the customers happy and make a little bit more money. 

Laura from Now Things are Cookin' says to be prepared to bargain.  She is the type of seller who wants to get things out of her house. When you find a sale with a motivated seller, you find some really great deals.  

You can read even more of my favorite tips here, and here.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Dare to Share #64

We have made it to the end of the week, so you know what that means... It is time to Dare to Share.

As you all know I have been very busy preparing, and having a garage sale this week.  We have an annual sub sale, which is a great time to have a sale  because it brings lots of traffic, and the  advertising is taken care of by the HOA.  I shared some of my favorite tips in this post here.   I also  asked a few of my bloggy friends for some of their  favorite tips too, which I will be sharing in the next few days. 

Another post I shared that I am very excited about is the Six Flags IgNight Grand Finale I have been asked to visit Six Flags, and blog about my experience.  We are very excited to go, as we have not been to Six Flags before.  IgNight is their night time spectacular that runs nightly through most of the summer. We really hope we will have the chance to see it, because it looks like a really cool show. 
Going non stop for a week,  also really helps with the weight loss.. As many of you know I am on a weight loss journey. We are at the month mark on Sunday. Last Friday I weighed 142.8 on my home scale.  When I stepped on the scale this morning (in clothes), I weight 140.5. I even saw the 139 flash for a second.  It is exciting to see the 130s just around the corner. To date, I have lost approximately 12 lbs. I am almost halfway to my goal of 30 pounds.  I didn't get a picture today, but I hope to soon.  

I just realized that all of my fabulous Features of the Day were food.  I must have been feeling a bit hungry this week.  If you missed them the first time, here is another chance. 

Healthy Snacks by Fluster Buster
California Avocado Cake by The Cafe' Sucre' Farine
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes by Something Sweet

Now it is time for this week's party.  I don't have a lot of rules, you can pretty much link up anything that you would like to share. I don't require that you become a follower, but I would sure love it if you did. If you are chosen as a Dare to Share Feature of the Day your post will be shared on the blog, Facebook,  Twitter,  Pinterest,  and G+

Now link up and HAVE FUN! 

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Snickerdoodle Cupcakes - Feature of the Day

As I am sitting here at the garage sale by myself, I am starting to get hungry.   Being hungry, and looking at recipes online is not always a good thing to do when you are watching your weight.   One bonus of recipes being on Dare to Share though, means I can share them with you.  I could really go for a cupcake right now, and these Snickerdoodle Cupcakes made by Winnie from Something Sweet  look delicious.    I bet we would sell at lot of those at our garage sale.  You can see Winnie's recipe for her Snickerdoodle Cupcakes on her blog here.  Thanks for much for linking up on Dare to Share Winnie! 

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Garage Sale Tips, Part 2

In case you missed my tips from the other day, you can see part one  here.

My feathery friends came to my garage sale again this year. I still remember the time a few years ago when a man sitting in his car waiting for his wife said, " Umm, the lawn ornaments are moving!"  Last year they stood in my front yard for a time, and greeted delighted  customers when they parked their cars.  

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

One of my favorite places to go to get garage sale supplies is the Dollar Tree.  I stock up on price stickers, plastic tablecloths, tape, and wipes.  This year I also picked up some neon cut outs that were the perfect size to for signs that could be placed on  many items.  

Another thing that I like to do every year is to use my small three drawer rolling cart to keep everything I need in one place.       

In the top drawer are supplies we might need like extra price stickers, pens, batteries and a calculator.  In that black box is a set of mini screwdrivers that I got at the Dollar Tree .  I try to check items that need batteries to make sure they work.  It only costs a few cents per battery since they also carry those at Dollar Tree.  

In the middle drawer I keep extra paper towels and wipes. Even though you can not see them, I also have a couple of plastic tablecloths in case I need those too.   We keep the cash box in the bottom drawer.  This works great for a couple of reasons. It keeps the money out of sight, and it makes it much more difficult for someone to grab the cash box and run.  Not that, that has happened to us, but it's better  to be safe than sorry.  

This year we sectioned the garage into color zones so there was some organization to where the items were located.  The girl items were in the purple zone. 

Boy items were in the red zone.  Household items  and neutral toys were in the white zone.  

We put bigger items in the driveway, so cars driving by could see them. We sold both the beauty salon and kitchen today.  

This isn't the best picture, because I forgot to take it until  the last minute. To make the day more comfortable for us,  we sat under our pop up tent that I bought last year to use at parties.  It kept us out of the hot sun, and the red awning attracted more attention to our house.  

Sometimes it is hard to say good by to our favorite items, so when it is time to go, I take a picture.  My daughter LOVED her beauty salon when she was younger. I need to find the picture of her when she first got it. She was so tiny, that she was several inches shorter than the mirror.  Now she towers over it by a few feet.   A man from a mowing crew at my neighbor's house saw it when he was mowing the lawn. When he was done, he came over and told me he wanted to buy it for his daughter who just turned three. He knew she would be so surprised when he brought it home from work.  My daughter and I were both happy that there will be another little girl who would love to play beauty salon as much as she did.  

One day of the sale down, two more to go!  

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