Monday, December 15, 2014
I am probably one of the few people who enjoys making New Year's resolutions. I love writing down how I want to become better and change, and ways I want to work on my hobbies and talents. It's also fun to go back at the end of the year and see how you did!
Last year, I was pretty successful with my resolutions, and I think it's because I wrote down specific things I was going to do. Instead of "work out more," I wrote "run once a week." Instead of 'be a better wife" I wrote "be the first to apologize." One key about resolutions is that you need to write down specific, measurable things so you know how to do evaluate yourself to see if you are being successful!
This year, instead of just writing my resolutions on a piece of notebook paper (like most years) I thought I would make a cute printable! I figured if I was writing my resolutions somewhere pretty that I would want to display, it would be easier to follow them. Plus, for those who forget their resolutions (on purpose or by accident), now you have a cute way to display them in a place you can look at daily (like by your bed)!
I also wanted to do different categories for my resolutions to make it easier. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, so by having categories, it gives you something to go on! I did health (for things like exercise or diet), work (for goals at work or your blog), spirit, marriage, parenting, talent, friends, attribute, and then there are two blank boxes for whatever you want to add. And you don't have to fill them all out, but at least it is a good start!
The file is on Google Drive, and you can download it for free here: CLICK ME!
Also, this file is for personal use only. Please do not print it for anything other than your own use. Thanks!
Now you have no excuse not to get those resolutions done! Good luck in 2015!
What are some of your resolutions for new year?
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Back in May, I changed my blog's name from Crafty Chelsea to Life With My Littles. I decided I was going to change the way I organized and kept track of all of my blog things. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a blog planner that included everything I wanted. So I decided I would just make my own! And after six months of using it and changing a few little details to make it more user-friendly, I decided to share it with you guys!
Now I know there are a lot of printable blog planners out there, so what makes this one any different? Well, it has everything you could possibly want from a blog planner.
A 2015 Year at a Glance page
Pages to list post ideas by topic
Four pages for notes
Three pages to keep track of sponsored posts
One page to keep track of giveaways
One page to keep track of guest posts
One page to keep track of featured posts
One page to keep track of your sign-ins for different websites
A daily to-do list
A pre-publish checklist
A page to record goals for the year
Then I also included different pages for each month to keep track of things. I have:
A monthly stats page for social media followers and pageviews
A monthly stats page for total pageviews and most popular posts
A page for tracking income and expenses
A page to track data if you have an Etsy store
A page to track scheduling pins on Pinterest
A page to schedule posts
A page to record daily pageviews and earnings
I LOVE my blog planner. I printed it at my dad's office and then got it bound with covers at Office Max. It helps me stay on track, stay organized, and keep a good schedule for posting and everything else related to my blog.
I also made my own dividers with this tutorial that from Filing My Life. You could easily just buy some dividers, though.
To make it easy for printing, I have all of the pages you need to print once in one file, and all of the pages that you will want to print for each month (aka 12 copies each) in another file.
The files are on Google Drive, and you can download them for free here:
This should go without saying, but these files are for personal use only. Please don't try and sell them to other people or reproduce them for anything other than your own personal use. Thanks!
If there is anything you want different, send me a message on Etsy and I can see what I can do for you! It will cost $3 per page for changes, but if you want something different I would love to help!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy your new blog planner as much as I love mine! I can't wait to fill it with goodies in 2015!!
What is your "must-have" page in your planner that helps you stay on track?
Monday, December 8, 2014
When I was younger, my family would bake and deliver homemade cookies to friends and neighbors for Christmas gifts. It was a fun way to spend time with my family, and it taught me that gifts don't always have to cost a lot of money. Now that my son is a toddler and understands a lot of what we are doing, I decided to teach him about gift-giving and being extra kind during the holidays. I thought it would be fun to make some "snowman buttons" together and let Little J give them to his friends. They are super simple and by creating a homemade gift, we saved money! And who doesn't want to receive chocolate-covered, caramel-dipped, mini marshmallows!?
We picked up our ingredients on our weekly Walmart shopping trip. And even though it doesn't look like it, I promise Little J was excited about what we were getting. We grabbed some semi-sweet Baker's chocolate, Jet-Puffed Mini Marshmallows, and Kraft Caramels.
When we got home, I grabbed the rest of what we needed and got to work.
First, spear your marshmallows with toothpicks. Don't poke all the way through! You just want them deep enough that they won't fall off when you are dipping. Little J even helped me with a few of these, so it's a good step to let your littles help with!
Next, unwrap and heat your caramels and 2 Tbsp. water in a small pan on medium-low heat until completely melted. You will want to stir them a lot to help them melt and not burn.
Dip your marshmallows in the caramel up the toothpick and set on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to dry. MAKE SURE YOU SPRAY THE WAX PAPER WITH COOKING SPRAY!! This is very important! Then pop the caramels in the freezer to harden. You want them hard enough that you can easily round off the bottoms of the caramels when you pull them off.
When the caramel is set, break up chocolate and melt in a small bowl or mug. Microwave chocolate on high for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave again for 30 seconds and stir again. Continue heating and stirring in 10-second increments until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
Dip your caramel-covered marshmallows in the chocolate and set them on a new sheet of wax paper to dry. Again, if you want, you can let them harden faster in the fridge.
When your buttons are dry, pull out the toothpicks and put the marshmallows into 8 oz. mason jars and screw on the lid.
Print out your snowman buttons printable and tie it onto the mason jar with ribbon.
Ta-dah! You are now done!
After we made our snowman buttons, I had Little J deliver them to his friends.
Little J liked giving them to his friends, but he did not want to cooperate for pictures!!
At least his friends liked them!
I don't think you are ever too young to give gifts, and the holidays are a great time to teach young children about sharing and being kind to others. This was such a simple and fun way to get my son involved in gift giving, and it was fun for me to see him giving a treat to his friends. And it was awesome that I was able to make the gift myself and not spend a lot of money! Instead of going out and buying toys or other things, we made a homemade gift to save money!
AKA Chocolate-Covered, Caramel-Dipped, Mini Marshmallows
Note: This recipe uses 1/2 bag of marshmallows, and will fill 6 8 oz. jars
1 bag Jet-Puffed Miniature Marshmallows
1 bag Kraft Caramels
2 4 oz. boxes semi-sweet Baker's Chocolate
You will also need:
2 Tbsp. water
8 oz. mason jars
Snowman printable (download here)
1. Spear your marshmallows with toothpicks. Don't poke all the way through! You just want them deep enough that they won't fall off when you are dipping.
2. Unwrap and heat your caramels and 2 Tbsp. water in a small pan on medium-low heat until completely melted. You will want to stir them a lot to help them melt and not burn.
3. Dip your marshmallows in the caramel up the toothpick and set on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to dry. MAKE SURE YOU SPRAY THE WAX PAPER WITH COOKING SPRAY!! This is very important! Then pop the caramels in the freeer to harden.
4. When the caramel is set, break up chocolate and melt in a small bowl or mug. Microwave chocolate on high for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave again for 30 seconds and stir again. Continue heating and stirring in 10-second increments until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
5. Dip your caramel-covered marshmallows in the chocolate and set them on a new sheet of wax paper to dry. Again, if you want, you can let them harden faster in the fridge.
6. When your buttons are dry, pull out the toothpicks and put the marshmallows into 8 oz. mason jars and screw on the lid.
7. Print out your snowman buttons printable and tie it onto the mason jar with ribbon. All done!
I love that we saved money by making such a fun, homemade gift for Little J's friends. And we had fun eating a few of the leftovers, too!
For more fun money-saving, homemade gift ideas, check out the Cooking Up Good website. There are recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! Plus, if you are looking for a new dinner recipe or a chance to win some awesome prizes, it's the spot to find them!
What other fun homemade gift ideas have you made to help save money?
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Seraphine. I received free product in exchange for this post, however all opinions are true and 100% my own!
When Little J was born, I had no idea what to expect with breastfeeding. I had heard stories about people who had horrible bleeding nipples, people whose babies would never latch, and people who had to give up breastfeeding because of their babies' digestive issues. Needless to say, I was a bit worried. But I got lucky and Little J was able to nurse without any problems until he was 8-months-old. The only thing I had a problem with was that some shirts weren't very nursing friendly, and in the winter, it was hard to nurse him with all the layers I needed to keep warm. I never heard about nursing tops, so I just toughened up and dealt with it. But when he was done nursing, I was a little grateful that I could wear what I wanted again. Now that Little A is here and nursing well, I am dealing with the same things.
Two months ago, I was contacted by the UK-based Seraphine. I talked about them in my post about the best places to shop for maternity clothes in store and online. Celebrities and royalty (Kate Middleton, anyone?) have worn their cute clothes, so I was thrilled that they wanted me to try out a nursing top! I didn't have any nursing tops when I was feeding Little J, and while I dealt with it, there were definitely times when I really wished I had one. After getting to try out the Green Glitter Long Sleeve Nursing Top, I have come up with a list of reasons why you should definitely invest in a nursing top (or several!). Note: all the shirts pictured can be found on Seraphine's website.
1. A lot of nursing tops are a bit baggy, so you can easily hide your post baby belly. I love my top because it is form-fitting in all the right places, and that doesn't include my tummy! I was able to put it on a few weeks after Little A was born and feel confident in it that nobody would be looking at my post-baby bulge!
2. They make it much easier to nurse in public. You can't always plan your schedule around breastfeeding, and sometimes, you have to nurse while you are on the go. Whether you wear a nursing cover or not, a nursing top that just pulls down makes it a lot easier to nurse when you are in public. You don't have to worry about your stomach being flashed when your baby moves around, and you don't have to feel like you have so many layers when you are wearing a nursing cover. It is definitely a lot more comfortable to wear a nursing top when you have to nurse in public.
3. They keep your stomach warm. Winter is fast approaching here in Iowa, and I am not looking forward to the bone-chilling cold that comes with the humidity. But with a nursing top, you don't have to pull up your shirt, so your stomach stays nice and warm!
4. You don't have to pull up your shirt. This sort of goes with the one above, but it's nice to just be able to pop, zip, or pull down one side of your shirt. I especially hate having to always get readjusted and tuck things in after pulling up my shirt. Much easier to be able to just pull down a little spot and nurse.
5. There aren't a bunch of layers falling on baby. This probably isn't a big issue in the summer when you don't wear a lot of bulky layers, but as it gets colder and I start wearing sweaters and more layers, it gets harder to keep Little A's face uncovered. It's nice to just be able to pull your shirt down and not have to hold up all those layers the whole time you are feeding your baby!
6. It's easier to see your baby. I like to be able to see my baby when I am feeding her (part of why I am not a fan of nursing in public), and when you wear a nursing top that zips, pops, or buttons down, you can see your baby a lot easier. This may just be a preference I have, but it is definitely a reason I like to wear a nursing top as opposed to a regular shirt.
7. There are several different types of nursing tops so you can find what works for you. On the Seraphine website, there are tops with zippers, with buttons, with double-layers (wraps, panels, and flutter tops), drapes, and shawls. So you will definitely be able to find your own style. And the tops don't look like they are nursing tops, which is my favorite part. The zippers, buttons, double-layers, and drapes just look like features on the shirt!
8. Some tops allow for discreet nursing. Similar to number two, but some tops make it so you don't even have to wear a nursing cover. Flutter tops are great because you don't necessarily have to wear a cover. Which, as a mom who has to tote around things for a baby and a toddler, it's nice to be able to leave a nursing cover at home!
9. A lot of them double as maternity tops, too! A lot of nursing tops are made with stretchy material like stretch jersey, linen blended viscose, or bamboo knit, so you can wear them over your baby bump and then continue wearing them after your baby is born. This is really handy for people who don't want to buy maternity clothes and nursing clothes on top of their normal wardrobe. It's nice to have a dual-purpose shirt!
So, have I convinced you yet? Seriously though, I highly recommend investing in at least one nursing top, because once you try it, you are going to want more! And Seraphine is the perfect place to look for one, because they have so many cute styles and options for nursing tops (as I'm sure you have seen from the pictures!). So go check them out, because if you are nursing, you definitely need to invest in a nursing top!
Monday, December 1, 2014
Anyone who has ever had kids knows that keeping your house clean with a toddler on the loose is tough. If you aren't constantly picking up toys, you are constantly cleaning up crumbs or wiping sticky fingers. Every day is a battle to prevent an epic mess from taking over your home! Lucky for me, I have a Eureka SuctionSeal 2.0 vacuum! It is packed with amazing features that help me stay on top of toddler messes. Today, I want to share some tips to help you keep your home clean, even with a rowdy toddler!
Last week I picked up a Eureka SuctionSeal 2.0 vacuum on my weekly Walmart trip. It's currently on Rollback for $129 instead of $148.88! What a deal! Little J was pretty much thrilled that we were surrounded by vacuums. He, for some reason, loves vacuums.
After we set up our new vacuum, I put it to the test. Little J is always spilling bowls of snacks, and a lot of it ends up under our couch. I saw some cereal that I couldn't reach, so I used the hose and the extension wand and it worked like a charm! No more crumbs, cereal, or goldfish hiding under there!
There are spots for all the hose attachments on the vacuum, so I didn't have to grab any extra pieces. And the hose easily lifts off the vacuum without having to unravel the cord or press any buttons. Cleaning made simple! And fun, for Little J! Again, he loves vacuums.
Next I decided to test it out on top of our sofa. Little J likes to dump his snacks on our couch, too, and it can get pretty gross between the cushions since they aren't removable. Our last vacuum did not do a good job getting the crumbs, so there were plenty of crumbs to clean. I used the crevice tool and the SuctionSeal easily sucked up all those disgusting crumbs he left behind. Our couch was all fresh and clean once again!
After cleaning up our sofa, I conquered the floor. Some of Little J's favorite snacks are very crunchy and leave lots of crumbs when he bites into them. We have a dark rug in our living room so pretty much everything he eats shows up on it. The Eureka SuctionSeal 2.0 was able to vacuum the edge of the rug and the carpet at the same time! And I only had to go over things once, because the vacuum has plates that raise and lower against the surface so it maintains suction and seal without scattering debris (hence the name). It was nice only having to go over things once because it made clean-up a lot easier and faster, which is important when you are a busy mom!
One of my favorite things about the vacuum is the cord. Unlike most vacuums that store the cord wrapped around the back, the SuctionSeal has a special self-winding cord! You just pull out how much you need, and then when you are done, there is a cord rewind button you press that sucks it right back up! I love this feature because it helps make spot cleaning fast and easy.
I have to vacuum at least once a day with the epic messes Little J creates, so it is important to me that my vacuum is light and easy to use. We also have carpet, laminate, and rugs in our home, so having a vacuum that sucks up crumbs on any surface is really helpful. Little J makes messes everywhere, so having a vacuum that can easily switch between hard floor and carpet is a must.
I love my Eureka SuctionSeal 2.0. It really helps me stay on top of the epic messes my toddler creates!
Here are some other tips to help prevent epic toddler messes around your home:
1. Don't put off cleaning messes. Clean up right after a mess is made. Otherwise things will keep getting messier and messier and it will be harder to motivate yourself to clean (not to mention it will take longer)!
2. Clean up after every meal. I wipe down Little J's high chair after every meal. He is learning how to use utensils, so things get pretty messy. It takes a few seconds and saves me time cleaning later.
3. Clean up several times a day. I don't mean clean your whole home, but spot clean and pick up toys. We clean up before nap time, before the Mister gets home, and before bed. That way, the mess never gets too big.
4. Don't let your toddler get every toy out at once. Little J has several different big toys that make big messes. I only let him have one of them out at a time. This makes clean-up easier, and helps him stay focused on what he is doing!
5. Contain your toddler. Keep doors shut. If you are in one room, play in that one room. Don't let your toddler go into every room making a mess everywhere. This will save you time and sanity, and ensure that your entire house doesn't get thrown into chaos!
6. Keep your vacuum somewhere where it is easily accessible. Our laundry room is in the middle of our home, so no matter where the epic mess is, I can easily get the vacuum there quickly before Little J spreads it all over.
With my Eureka SuctionSeal 2.0 vacuum, getting a clean house is easy. I don't have to worry about epic messes from my toddler taking over my home, because I have an easy way to conquer them!
How do you stay on top of your toddler's messes? Share your tips below!
Friday, November 28, 2014
A few weeks ago our wonderful friends Bill and Morgan came up to visit us for Little A's baby blessing. Bill is one of the Mister's best friends from home, and Morgan is now one of mine! Morgan brought her a baby gift, some headbands from her new Etsy store, Mogo Loco!
Aren't they adorable? I love the headbands Morgan made, and I was thrilled to find out that she sells headbands for babies, toddlers, youth, and adults! Any headband style can be ordered in combination with any fabric (with the exception of the nautical knot, which is only sold in the solid black, mustard, baby pink, and purple).
The bow styles are the retro bow, nautical knot, retro knot, turban, oversized bow, and twisted turban. I can't even pick my favorite because I love them all so much!
And Little A looks so cute in them! I am so excited that I got some of these for her because they are so sweet and precious on her. And I definitely think I need one myself! I have my eye on the "Penelope Rose" Retro Bow and the" Trendy Triangles" Retro Knot!
Please, please, PLEASE stop by her shop, her Facebook page, and her Instagram page. I absolutely love her stuff and I want to share it with everyone!
GO CHECK HER OUT! And leave a comment telling me which headband is your favorite!