I love thrift shopping! I love to find a bargain or something one of a kind and unique. I love paying low prices. It gives me more versatility and variety in my purchases. I'd like to consider myself somewhat of an expert on this topic, so I put together a list of tips to try as you thrift shop.
Over the weekend my sister-in-law threw a retirement party for my father-in-law. The venue was a small brewery. They have a party area upstairs and it seats around 30. It turned out so well. The party felt intimate but not overcrowded. There was just enough food without tons left over and desserts to spare. It was casual without any cheesey party games and grown up fun with beer tickets for everyone. The details stood out and added a personal touch. It seemed effortlessly put together but the truth is when planning a party of this size there are a few things to consider that you might not have thought of. Do you feel a list coming on? I do :)
While there were hundreds of blogs in the running, April Does That was one of 11 blogs nominated for “The Sunshine Blogger Award” by Travel Foodie Mom.
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring. Once nominated, the blogger is required to write a post in which they:
- Thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog.
- Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated them
- Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer.
- Notify your nominees and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.
Here are my answers toTravel Foodie Mom’s questions:
1. When did you start blogging?
I started blogging in January of this year!
2. How were you inspired to start a blog?
I have always loved to write and to do crafty things and I decided I wanted to share my passions on a larger scale. I believe anyone can be creative and I love to show people just how easy it can be.
3.What is the most valuable thing you have learned from blogging?
I have learned a lot about scheduling and self discipline!
4. What social media platforms can we find you on?
5. What do you do to unwind and relax?
I love quiet time and painting with acrylics. Florals are my favorite inspiration right now.
6. If you were to press play on your playlist, what song would come on?
Probably some Lindsey Sterling. I love lots of different music genres but Lindsey is my go to.
7. Where is your favorite travel location?
My all time favorite vacation was to Puerto Rico but we also visit Florida on a regular basis. Tropical is my preferred travel location.
8.What is your favorite food?
That's an easy one! Sushi! I love it and I could eat it every day.
9. What quote do you live by?
The golden rule. Treat others as you want to be treated. I try to be kind always.
10. If you only had 24 hours left to live, what would you do?
I would spend the day with my husband and babies and let the kids choose something very fun to do.
11. What is one interesting fact about you that most people may not know?
I took 8 semesters of Spanish in school. I loved it and was fluent at the time...now not so much :)
Now for my questions.
1.How long have you been blogging?
2. Who are your favorite bloggers we should check out?
3. Where can we find you on social media?
4. Why did you start blogging?
5. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
6. What was your favorite movie as a kid?
7.What makes your blog special?
8. What was your first job?
9. Share the post you are most proud of.
10.How long does it take you to do an average post?
11. What would you like to tell your readers?
Would you like to have a chance to be nominated? Leave a blog comment with your blog URL for consideration. The winners will be announced on Friday April 28, 2017. Stay Crafty!
Have you ever felt like you don't want to do ANYTHING? Like your bed is your BFF? You just want to lie in bed all day and...DO NOTHING. I call this the do-nothings and when I'm depressed I get it it bad. I hide in my room and well, do nothing. Simple tasks seem insurmountable. Doing a load of laundry seems like self imposed torture. Getting dressed and presentable seems impossibe. And making dinner? It ain't gonna happen!
But after going to therapy for my Post Partum Depression I learned some quick and easy tricks that can be just the ticket to get me out of a funk. Or at least help to accomplish something even if it's small. Because small things can feel really big when you're in the midst of the dark cloud of depression.
I'm sharing a few of the lessons I learned while in therapy because I think we all get the do nothings sometimes. And if you don't, then tell me your secret!
1. Make a list of the positives and negatives of a certain activity you're dreading. My example for this was waking up early. It's been a goal of mine for a long time, but man do I love to sleep. So I made the list! The positives far outweigh the negatives. Sometimes this is all the push you need to do something that you are dreading.
2. Make a list of pleasurable activities and plan one thing that brings you even a small measure of joy EVERY day. This might sound crazy because I'll be honest as a mom and a woman I find that I was rarely doing anything just to bring myself joy. That felt normal and maybe even expected but it doesn't have to be that way. I assure you it is not impossible to bring joy into every day of your life. Sometimes it just takes some forethought and planning. It can be something very small like painting your nails, going for a jog or indulging in a chocolate. Whatever works for you. Here's a look at my list.
This exercise is interesting because it gives you something to look forward to every day and surprisingly it can help you to get to know yourself better. I found that sometimes the things I thought I would enjoy weren't that great or things I thought would be just okay turned out to be right up my alley.
3. Make a schedule for every hour of your day. So not a regular calendar but and hour by hour break down of your day. (from the hour you get up to the hour you go to bed) Beside each activity record your anticipated feeling toward the activity or task. Go back and fill in the reality of how you felt. Did you really do what you had planned? If not what did you do instead? And don't forget how you really felt. To make this a little easier you can classify the topics into maintainence (things you must do) and pleasure (things your are excited to do) and next to it write a number from 1-5 how much of a pleasure or chore you are anticipating or was it really. Was it both?
These are just 3 of many ways to cope with symptoms of depression and I'll be totally honest with you, sometimes these just aren't enough to get me out of my funk or sometimes my do nothings are just too strong to even write a list. But if I can get myself to do these exercises, more times than not I feel so much better. Having a plan and something to look forward to really helps me. I hope that next time you are struggling with the do-nothings you can try some of these suggestions. Do you get the do nothings? What helps you to cope and overcome? Do you like my print outs? Well I have made them available to you for free! Just CLICK HERE enter your email and I'll send them right over to you! As always Stay Crafty!
Every year we have a garden and every year I learn a little bit more. The main thing I've learned is that it IS work and the harder you work, usually the better your result. Sometimes that's so true that you have fruits and veggies coming out your ears! Where do you get help with gardening? One of my main sources of information and help with my garden is my friend Cherrelle. She is simply amazing.
I'm surrounded by the most amazing women you guys! One of them is Lacey. She is inspiring and a beautiful human being inside and out. She is down to earth and a real friend. Her husband is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and they love their kids so sweetly. Lacey and her husband are foster parents and recently adopted 2 of their girls.
I encourage you to listen my podcast where I interview Lacey and ask the big questions you want to know about foster parenting. What are the challenges? What are the joys? What's it really like? Is it hard to let go? and more.
Now we're going to take a look at their adorable Gotcha Party. The theme of the party was a County Fair. It came together so well and the kids especially had a good time. First we'll take a look at the decor.
The tables were covered in gingham and topped with sunflowers and hydrangeas.
The kids had an extra fun time with the county fair 'booths' that were set up. Adopt a Pet
A Ball Pit and Face Painting
Fish for a Duck and punch for a prize and make a flower
A balloon animal maker and Bumper Cars
And check out this adorable food table with a 'Farmer's Market' of fruits and veggies.
And my very favorite a photo backdrop of quilts with a banner that says Forever Family.
I am so happy for Lacey and Dennis and we love their family. I'm glad their girls have found their forever home with such loving and kind parents. Their party was adorable and I'm glad to share it with you. I love themed parties. They are my favorite. Have you thrown a themed party? What was it? Where did you find your inspiration? Share your thoughts and as alwaysStay Crafty
This week's Fun with Friends was really a good time. I've always wanted to try one of those paint and sip places where you paint some relatively easy art and enjoy some wine with friends. But I checked out the prices and I thought to myself I could do that myself for the same price and have an entire party. So as a hostess I didn't really save any money but I threw an ENTIRE party for the price of about one admission to a standard paint and sip night. And we had snacks. For the truely thrifty set of friends each person could bring their own supplies and this party would be so cheap. So I'll do my best to describe my party to you so you can get the best value and most fun possible.
As seen on Nandyzsoulshine.com
After having my second child my weight went pretty much back to my 'normal.' But after struggling with Post Partum Depression I've put on some weight. Part of the "problem" I guess, is that I LOVE food and I've been trying to find any ol' way to increase my happiness. Well, food fits the bill. It's like an instant gratification, an instant reward, a high five from my stomach.
A lot of times when you hear about weight, it's about how to lose it. And do I want to lose the pounds I've accumulated? Sure! BUT I refuse to become obsessed. I realize that some of my habits have become unhealthy and I'm trying to choose better. But, in the mean time, this body is my home. It's the body that cares for my family. The body that nourished and birthed two babies. The body that I've come to love and respect.
I don't want my kids to look at people and judge them by appearance or pounds. I want them to get to know the contents of their character. But how can I expet that from them if they hear me saying unkind things about my body? I'm banning the word 'fat' from my home. It's not a useful word.
I never want my kids to feel like their weight determines their worth. Because, IT DOESN'T! I'm still just as valuable now as I was when I was first married and 120 pounds. And I think the healthy wasy to lose weight is to love yourself and do it for your health.
I've grown to love myself and I've never been happier (or heavier) than I am right now. It's a learning process trying to find balance. I'm happy for those people that have positive body image AND work out 7 days a week. They should be proud of their hard work. But that doesn't minimize anything about my life or yours. I think we can be happy for each other and support each other through thick and thin. (literally) We need to stop comparing ourselves with others.
I don't "need" to lose weight to feel better about myself. That part of my life is behind me. I need to love myself and make healthy choices, so this body that has given me so much can continue to give. And I need to model positive body image to my children because the world is not always so kind.
Are you struggling with negative thoughts about your body? Think about these suggestions:
- My body does not define who I am.
- My body does not define what I am.
- My body deserves my respect.
- My body is my home.
- My body is wonderfully made.
- My body is my own.
- I want my body to be healthy not just a certain size.
You guys, let's be kind to ourselves! Let's pursue healthiness and happiness. Let's empower and encourage ourselves and our friends. Let's spread love. Lets love our bodies even if we want to change them. And as always Stay Crafty!
Have you ever experienced a life changing event? Something so profound you will never be the same? I have and it has effected so many aspects of my life. To tell you about it though, I need to give you some background. When I was pregnant with my first child my sister-in-law told me 'Once you give birth you will feel like you can do anything.' But as it turned out I struggled with preeclampsia through the second half of my pregnancy and ended up having an emergency induction 4 weeks early. I didn't feel empowered. My nurse was terrible and told me to 'lay back and let her do her job.' My awesome Obstetrician was on holiday and my on call doctor was rushing through my delivery to attend another. I won't go into the graphic details but my body was not treated with respect. Even with my doula present, the staff treated me disrespectfully and even chastised me for passing out during my epidural. I felt totally out of control of my body. I felt violated and traumatized. I totally understood why some women prefer midwives and home births. Needless to say that experience did nothing to inspire that 'I can do anything' spirit in me. I secretly wondered what was wrong with me.
Fast forward to my second pregnancy. Although not complication free, my second was much easier. I wasn't as sick. I was able to enjoy my pregnancy a bit more even though I was dreading delivery. After my last experience I was frightened of those who were tasked with helping to deliver and of the epidural that I would surely want. I again had a doula and this time made through all of my child birth classes. A few days before my due date my doula texted to me she'd be unavailable today because another client was in labor. She gave me the number of a back up doula to call just in case. OH NO! I thought. What IF! Well what if happened. I was feeling hyper and restless and then I noticed decreased movement in my normally very active belly. I informed my husband that I was going to the hospital just in case (like I had several times before) and that he should just get some sleep this time and stay with our son because I was confident it was nothing. I picked up my mama and headed over. After a couple hours the on call doctor came in and said my Obstetrician was off duty! and she wanted to INDUCE. I looked at her and said NO! Then after some negotiation we decided to try a few other options. But, when I was checked it just so happened that I was already in labor. So I called my husband and my back up doula and told them to GET HERE NOW. Well after the drama of my last labor I was terrified of the epidural and decided to let the doula coach me through my labor as long as I could stand it. I went from a 4 to a 7 in an hour and delivered in the hour after that. Let me tell you drug free labor is NO JOKE! I begged for the epidural. I yelled. I moaned. I said I CAN'T DO THIS! But my doula and my family and supportive staff helped me through it. Well none of that sounds that positive does it? But, that experience helped me regain my confidence. In my body. In my strength. In my ability to overcome. I started to think If I can do that I can do ANYTHING. My sister-in-law was right. A positive birth where my body and thoughts were respected helped me see what I am capable of. I felt like wonder woman. That beautiful life that came into the world I helped to achieve that!
Here are some things I learned from my experience.
- I am so much stronger than I thought.
- Having the right support team makes all the difference in difficult times.
- Just because something is difficult or painful doesn't mean it can't teach a lesson or be of value
- Great things come from hard work!
- Women are amazing!
I try to remember what I am capable of any time I have doubts. Any time I think I CAN'T DO THIS! Any time I start to feel depressed I remember that I am strong. I am confident and one bad experience doesn't negate that. So be strong peeps. Be confident. You are amazing and don't let a bad day or a bad experience tell you otherwise. Surround yourself with people who love you, encourage you and help you through the tough times. Obviously, you don't have to give birth to feel empowered or like the rockstar you are! There are so many ways to feel good about yourself.
Have you had an experience that helped you realize what a rockstar you are? How do you stay positive in the face of adversity? What helps you maintain your confidence? Share your thoughts. And as always Stay Crafty!
Minimalism is all rainbows and sunshine on the internet right now. It's all over pinterest 'how to become a minimalist' 'why minimalism will improve your life' etc. I have to admit I was totally all over the posts. I really feel like less is more when it comes to many aspects of life. I've read so many posts on becoming a minimalist, only keeping what brings you joy, having a capsule waredrobe and embracing a very simple lifestyle. So I do really like some of the ideas behind these concepts.
I like to be conscious of my spending. I like to try and have a clutter free home and I'd love to have a ROCKSTAR wardrobe that had only things I love in it. But, here's where they lose me. I don't have the urge to get rid of my stuff that I love, the stuff I feel nostalgic about or the stuff I'll use someday just because minimalism said so. I'm sort of a messy person. Most creatives are. So I feel like a giant cirlce trying to fit in a tiny little box. (picture Baymax shoving himself through that window)
Don't get me wrong I don't hoard stuff. (well maybe a little) I love to make stuff: crafts, crochet projects, paint, sew.. the list goes on. So all of those activities entail STUFF. Basically I'm trying to have closet devoted to my various crafts. (and failing I might add) I go through my stuff, especially my clothes regularly and purge what I no longer find useful, but a 10 piece wardrobe? It just isn't for me! Maybe I don't have that clear of an idea what my style is or maybe I just really like my clothes. I don't keep stuff I don't wear so I don't really see the issue with a full closet. I mean what else am I going to put in there anyway?
I want my house to be comfortable and homey. I want to snuggle up with ALL my throw pillows and have a throw blanket for EVERYBODY that comes over. I want black shoes and leopard print. Blue jeans AND purple jeans. More than 3 shirts and I want my kids to keep the toys they get from family! I DON'T want things to be the focus of our lives but I also don't want to ask minimalism's permission to buy a 'new' shirt from the thrift store. I don't want to count my clothes or my anything else. Basically I just want to live my comfortable life right here in the middle of minimal and messy. My stuff doesn't define me. I am greatful for what I have. So maybe I'm a little messy but my house is a comfy lived in home. Instead of minimalism, I'm going to focus on limiting my clutter and finding a place for the things I have. I'm going to clean out my garage and have a garage sale and organize that bad boy. And I'm going to work on not accumulating things that have no meaning or useful place in my life.
Here are some ideas that I am going to try:
- Go through my clothes and donate what I don't love once a month.
- Go through my kid's toys and donate what they don't play with 4 times a year. This is also a teachable moment.
- Have a garage sale once a year.
- Host a clothing swap with friends once a year.
- Go through craft supplies once a year and gift what I really will not use.
- Go through books once a year and donate some.
That's just a few ideas I'm going to try to declutter my life in an easier way. Do you have any suggestions for me to help declutter? Where do you stand on minimalism? Are you all in? Are you organized and carefree? Or are you like me and look at those amazing people in awe and laugh to yourself at the thought of your house going minimal? Share your thoughts and as always Stay Crafty!
I thought this week's prompt of cats would be fun and easy. Well true to form, these kittys were difficult. The face shape of cats is a particular challenge for me. Challenge = not my favorite. :) Well here's my three kitty cats.
A cat sketch page. All in pencil. This one was my favorite. It was fun capturing the different movements of the cat and it reminded me why they are so fascinating.
Another cat sketch in pencil. This one was challenging as you can tell by all the eraser marks.
I loved making this one. I sketched him out first in pencil and painted him in acrylic. Acrylic is one of my favorite mediums so I enjoyed it very much. Well that's it for this week. What did you think of my kitty cats? Did you join me for this challenge? Next week look for my weekly sketches on Instagram and Facebook and as always Stay Crafty!
Whew! Did that title get your attention? Well, I'm not an internet troll or one of those people that approaches nursing mothers just to say 'eww gross.' I even sympathize with that lady whose kid climbed in the monkey exhibit, like don't get me started.
There's been a lot of talk lately about mom shaming. Innocent phrases like 'Breast is Best' have become stigmatized by trolls who make it their life's duty to shame moms who choose formula. And I mean guys that's one of many examples. This article is not for those meanies who make it their goal in life to hate on other moms.
I have nothing left in me but respect and love for other mamas. I love you guys. You're strong. You're beautiful. You're amazing. But let's get real for a second. I know I personally have gotten caught up feeling angry with those random mean girls on the internet or in person. But, what's the point in wasting energy on that negativity? And If I'm completely honest with myself inside I'm not always kind. I have even judged other moms decisions with my friends. WOW that feels icky to admit. But it's the truth.
The thing is we all have our opinions on parenting our kids. We ALL have them! But if you're like me, half of the time I feel like I'm drowning, like I'm failing, like Why did I think I could mother other human beings? So why would I feel like I could judge other moms going through the same joyful struggle as me? The truth is I want to turn the judgement off! I want those automatic..."oh boy he's a brat" or "Oh no she didn't" to stop.
I'll be the first to tell you, I'm by no means perfect but I encourage you to seek this goal with me! Let's encourage, seek to understand, build up, empower and LOVE other mothers. This motherhood thing is HARD (they don't call it the hood for nothin) So, let's help each other out. Let's not waste our time with the mean girls. Lets walk away from the drama and choose to look for the good in others.
Unless a child is endangered, how does it really matter what I think of someone else's choices? I'm going to make an effort to build up my own family and do my best to teach my kids not to be mean to others for being different. I'm not going to shame the moms or the mom shamers because I'll be too busy spreading positivity.
Here are some things I am trying to think about when I disagree with a parenting style or think a kid is out of control.
- Is my way the only right way?
- Have I ever done something similar?
- Who made me the judge?
- Can I choose empathy?
- Can I offer an encouraging word?
- Can I offer practical help? (not a lecture)
- Does this actually effect my life?
- But did they die though? (lol, is this child in any danger?)
- Is it possible that this child has an invisible disability? My child does. And let me tell you it really effects what we can expect from him. I don't feel obligated to tell every person that looks at me sideways.
- My personal favorite: MIND YO BUSINESS
Let's be nice to each other! Embrace our differences where we can and IGNORE what we cannot. Offer a helping hand to a tired mama or a word of kind encouragement. You're beautiful! You're kind! You're a great mom! So spread the love and as always Stay Crafty!
This week's challenge was still life. I absolutely loved it. I stuck with pencil because I was enjoying it so very much. I think we may revisit this one again with paint! I also enjoyed the beautiful unseasonably warm temperatures that lent themselves to outdoor sketching. I drew some decorative corn cobs leftover from my fall decor, two outdoor pots and a pinecone and lastly my current bouquet of flowers dawning my table (jazzed up a bit) It's been a long time since I did a still life and I think it may be my jam! That's what I love about the weekly art challenge! It's a chance to try out new mediums and new art forms and rediscover old favorites. Here's my week. Let's see yours!
What do you think? Did you take the still life challenge? Was it a challenge or a joy like it was for me? Next week's challenge is Cats! No really! Come on and have some fun with me. Share your pages with me and most of all Stay Crafty!
This week's artbook topic was skies. I enjoyed this week. I got to look at lots of beautiful photography and I realized that the best inspiration was already inside me. That's the kind of art I truly enjoy. My favorite of the three I'm sharing was just that. It was from a memory. Which one is your favorite?
You can see a tiny bit of the beach at the very bottom of the page. This is watercolor which seems to be my current favorite medium.
A closeup of clouds and rays of sunlight. Water color and acrylic.
A night sky through the trees. Water color pencils, water color paint and acrylic. Did you join me this week? Share your art with me, Or join me next week. Next week's topic is Still Life. See you Friday for a Fast and Easy Recipe. Stay Crafty!
Patterns are everywhere! From the digital and print sources to nature. Anything can become a pattern. What a broad topic!
I tried several patterns and media types. I won't even include how many I made. This was harder than I imagined. I ended up prefering markers and geometic shapes. I can't decide which one is my favorite. What do you think?
I was going for an aztec feel with this one. I really like triangles. Can you tell?
I'm not in love with the way you can see all of the marker lines, but I do enjoy the colors and shapes of this one. It's like a honeycomb.
We were provided with a free appetizer at Dublin’s Pass in return for this blog feature. I do not accept compensation in return for a positive review. All opinions in reviews are my own.
As a mom of two I really relish my nights out with the girls. Awhile ago I went to a certain restaurant ( not Dublin's). I had planned a pretty big event and it was completely ruined by the poor management and wait staff. They double booked our party and one of my friends ended up leaving before her food even came. It was a total bummer especially when you only get out every once in awhile!
I decided from that experience to try and let people know what restaurants are totally awesome or totally not. Because our time is valuable my friends and we shouldn't have to waste our hard earned cash on a terrible night out.
My latest lady's night took place at the downtown location of Dublin's Pass. They serve Irish Pub fare and they've done a pretty remarkable job with transforming the building. It really is nice inside. There are distressed columns and arches. The building is filled with the smell of guiness cheese and upbeat pub music greets you at the door. In the evenings there is live music and of course center stage of the restaurant is the large squared bar. It is the perfect environment for some fun!
My group was seated in a semi private room . Our youthful waitress was dressed in tall green socks and short shorts. And just about everyone ordered at least one green drink.
I took note of what everyone ordered and sampled most of it. I won't bore you with a lot of details about what we ordered but I will fill you in on a few of our favorites.
The favorie drink was the Gaelic Giant. It is big. It is green. It is good. I also enjoyed the Irish dream. It was a creamy good time.
Scottish eggs! Hard boiled eggs covered in sausage and deep fried then sliced in half. They are served with spicy mustard. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of these. They were delicious. Everyone loved them. These were the best of the appetizers we tried by far! I know they sound weird but they are worth it!
Sweet Chili Wings. They were nice and crunchy on the outside and moist in the center with a sweet spice to them.
Cottage Pie- This was described to me as a more delicious version of shepard's pie. My friend, Leann, said out 5 stars she gives it 10 :)
Bread Pudding was a table favorite for dessert. Although we do recommend adding ice cream on top.
But with all of the positives I do have some negatives to report. A friend ordered a chicken sandwich and thankfully she cut into it before biting it because it was raw in the middle. It had to be remade. Granted, mistakes happen but she didn't receive any amount off of the sandwich. Another friend ordered the Guiness Cheese Soup and was very disappointed to find it more like dipping cheese than soup. She did not eat her dinner and the waitress never noticed. The service was slow and the waitress was pretty unknowledgable. Although, to her credit she was very sweet. One pretty big inconvenience is that the bathroom is located outside of the building shared with the theater next door. When the theater let out there were long lines. But a plus was the lighting was pretty good for a selfie. ( we all know Springfield cares about that!)
Overall, we had a great time at Dublin's. If you're looking for a noisey good time with live music, great drinks and pretty good food this is the spot for you. If you are concerned about speed and attentive wait staff maybe try it another time.
My grade for : Downtown Dublin's Pass(out of 5 stars)
Atmosphere : 5 stars
Staff Knowledge: 3 stars
Attentiveness: 2 stars
Speed of Service: 3 stars
Taste of Food: 4 stars
Overall: 3 1/2 stars
What'd you think of my first review? Would you like to see more? What places do you love in Springfield that I should try? See you next week. Stay Crafty!
Top view of a Cactus. A mixed media piece with watercolor and acrylic. I had a hard time with this one looking more like a flower or as my husband observed some kind of sea life. But it is what it is
A Collection of Cacti. Mixed media in watercolor and acrylic. In true mom style a baby has ripped this page from my art book and it is hastily put back in
This one was more fun for me. Just some doodles in pencil. Overall, I don't think Cacti are my cup of art tea. How did your cacti art go? I'm looking forward to next week. Join me and capture some patterns in your art! Until then Stay Crafty!