Simple DIY Bead Necklace Patriotic Wreath
Last year around Independence Day, I spotted some red, white and blue bead necklaces at my local Dollar Tree and was immediately inspired to create a new patriotic door decoration.  Each pack came with eight necklaces so I grabbed 4 packs of each color for my project.  I made a quick stop at Michaels to grab a foam wreath and some burlap ribbon and I was on my way.
This bead necklace patriotic wreath took under an hour to pull together and cost me less than $20.  It is a very simple looking wreath but it has a big impact from the street.  Originally, I had considered adding a second layer of beads to cover the wreath more fully.  But, I liked having the white pop through because it felt more rustic to me, for some reason.  I just love how this wreath turned out and it makes me so happy to see it on our door!  
Easy DIY Patriotic 4th of July Wreath

Foam wreath
Red bead necklaces
White bead necklaces
Blue bead necklaces
Hot glue
Hot glue gun
Large Burlap ribbon
I started by cutting the necklaces open with my scissors.  

Then, I placed a dollop of hot glue directly on the wreath.

I quickly placed the end of one of blue strands on the hot glue.

Then, I wrapped the necklace around the wreath, making sure I nestled each loop onto the glue as I went along.  I kept adding glue and wrapping necklaces until I had covered about 1/5th of the wreath in blue bead necklaces.

Then, I added in my red bead necklace, nesting the end into the hot glue.

Just like with the blue bead necklaces, I wrapped the red necklaces around the foam wreath, making sure that each loop was nestled in glue to secure.  Once I had about three inches of red, I added in the white bead necklaces using the same method.

I alternated adding roughly 3 inches of red and white bead necklaces until I had 13 stripes.  I didn’t worry too much about how much glue I used or how it looked because the glue would be in the back of the wreath.

Now, before you judge me for having fifteen stripes on my wreath, allow me to explain…  I wanted to be sure that thirteen stripes would be visible on the wreath, so I added a couple more stripes that would be covered with the burlap ribbon.  I decided it would be best to continue the pattern, rather than leave that part of the wreath empty, so that it would look cohesive if the burlap didn’t completely cover that section (which it didn’t).

I looped my burlap ribbon around the wreath, covering most of the two extra stripes, and made a big bow at the top.  And it’s done!   

A super simple, inexpensive and cute wreath perfect to celebrate patriotic holidays!


I love it!

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If You Give a Teacher a Student…  (Teacher Appreciation Gift)

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week and, as usual, I picked up gift cards for each of Lovebug and Littlebug’s teachers.  While I know that gift cards are the most practical gifts for teachers, I find them to be really impersonal.  So, I like to include something thoughtful (like
this, this or this) to convey how much we truly appreciate the fabulous teachers we have been blessed to have in our lives.

This year, I made cards based on the popular children’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff.  Have you read the book?  It is so clever and fun for kids of all ages!

Lovebug’s loves this book (check out some of Lovebug’s other favorite books here) so it was fitting to create a card based on the same concept.  After lots of thought and many iterations, I ended up with a heartfelt card that, I feel, reflects the role teachers play in their students lives.

I couldn’t be happier with how the cards turned out and our teachers loved them!!


Give a teacher a student 2

Here’s how I made them…

If you give a teacher a student poem (below)
Colorful card stock, cut to 5 1/2 x 8 and folded in half so the 5 1/2 sides meet
Glue stick


Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures as I went along. But, the process was pretty easy so I’m pretty sure an explanation will suffice.

I simply printed the poem on paper, setting the paper size 1/4 inch smaller than my card stock  on all sides.  I ended up spreading the poem over 2 pages, leaving room on the bottom of the second page for a hand written note.  I also created a simple cover for the card.

Then, I cut the paper and glued the poem onto the card stock.

We signed the cards with a little note, tucked the gift card inside and sealed the cards into our envelopes.  

Easy-peasy and super cute!

If You Give a Teacher a Student
Based on the book If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

If you give a teacher a student, they’re going to teach them things like math, science and grammar.
When they teach these subjects, the students will get smart and excited about learning.
When they get excited about learning, they will become curious about other subjects.
So, the teachers will indulge their curiosity through experiments and hands on learning.
As they teach their students, teachers will realize that they don’t just spend their day teaching, but they spend time coaching, loving and nurturing too.
So, they’ll probably give their students praise and positive reinforcement.
They’ll get carried away and they may even end up giving hugs and affection too!
When teachers are done, students will have a solid foundation of education to build upon.
Then, the students will apply their education in their careers. 
They might be successful engineers, doctors, lawyers, nurses or teachers.
And chances are, if the students are successful in the future,
They have a teacher, like you, to thank for it.

I used the poem in a card, but it would be adorable tucked in a frame as well.   Plus, you can edit the poem to personalize it even more, if you like.  The possibilities are endless!
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10 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
This post contains affiliate links.  But, all opinions are 100% mine.
Happy Earth Day, everyone!  Isn’t EARTH the greatest?  No seriously, it provides us with food, water and oxygen so we can sustain life.  Without it, we would literally cease to exist and I think that we all take that for granted sometimes.  
So, in honor of Earth Day, I thought I’d share with you some of the things our family is already doing as well as some new ideas we are implementing to reduce our carbon footprint.  All of these things are easy to do and most of them cost little to nothing to implement!  So, they are little effort with huge impact!  Hooray for a healthy planet!

1.  Use Reusable Grocery Tote Bags

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Do you have a mountain of plastic grocery bags in your home?  I hate to admit it, but we do.  We own reusable grocery tote bags, but unfortunately, aren’t always in the habit of bringing them to the store.  So, I’ve started leaving the reusable bags in our cars so we always have them on hand.  No more excuses for using the plastic grocery store bags!  

2.  Use reusable produce bags

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There are a couple ways of doing this.  You could invest in these reusable bags (above) so you avoid the plastic produce bags at the store or you could simply reuse the plastic ones the store provides by washing them out and using them again.  This is something new we are implementing in our home.  Eventually, I’d like to invest in the mesh bags above, but for now, we will reuse the plastic produce bags that we already have in our house from previous shopping trips. 

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3.  Wash and reuse Ziploc freezer bags
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Growing up, my mom used to wash and reuse Ziploc Freezer bags and I never gave it much thought until recently.  It occurred to me a couple months ago that she is a genius for doing this because (1) it reduces waste and (2) it saves money!  This is another new thing we are doing in our house.  
4.  Compost
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We have been composting for a couple years now and couldn’t be happier.  We started with a single barrel compost tumbler, but learned the hard way that a Dual Compost Tumbler is much more effective.  The dual system allows you to have one side that you are actively composting while the other side has useable compost.  What do you do with compost?  Well, we mix ours into the soil for our garden.  It’s full of nutrients and is absolutely lovely!  

This is one of the most expensive suggestions on my list, but in my opinion, it’s worth it.  So, if you can afford it and are interested, take the plunge!  I was a little intimidated by composting at first, but it is so easy to do with these bins!   Our local Costco brought in a dual compost tumbler for a pretty reasonable price so we scooped one up to replace our old one.  But, we ended up keeping it so we have three bins to work with.  🙂   You could also compost without a bin (free, except for some tools).  Here’s a great tutorial for composting without a bin.  
5.  Grow an herb and/or vegetable garden
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My Love and I didn’t start out with the greenest thumbs, but we quickly learned a lot about planting and maintaining a garden.  We started with some herb boxes in our apartment but put in a Square Foot Garden when we bought our house so we could maximize the herbs and vegetables in our garden.  The book is fantastic with lots of information about when to plant different things, how much sunlight and water plants need, etc.  

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There are tons of benefits to growing your own herbs, vegetables and fruits…  (1) You know what you’re eating because you are controlling what goes on and in your garden, (2)  you are saving money because produce can be pricey where seeds and plants have much higher return on investment (3)  you can harvest what you need and not end up wasting anything and (4)  you aren’t purchasing items that are packaged in plastic!  


6.  Recycle

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This one is pretty obvious.  Most, if not all, cities offer a recycling service.  For some, you have to sort the items, but we’re spoiled where we live and can just dump it all in one bin.   

7.  Print on both sides 

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This is a super quick and easy way to reduce paper waste.  Just change your printer settings to have your printer print on both sides.  If you don’t have a printer with dual side print capabilities, you could just feed the paper back through to print on the back.  It might take a little more effort, but hey, you’ll be saving trees!
8.  Unplug electronics when not in use
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Did you know that some electronics continue to use electricity even when they are turned off and/or are not on the charger?  It’s true!  TV’s, cell phones, phone and computer chargers, etc. all continue to siphon power even when the electronic is turned off!  By simply unplugging devices that aren’t in use, you can save electricity, which not only saves the planet but also saves you money!!  For larger electronics, like TV’s and gaming units, you can plug them all into a power strip that you can power off when not in use.  For chargers, just unplug them when they aren’t charging devices.  Not only does this suggestion not cost you anything, it saves you money!!  
9.  Use CFL‘s
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CFL bulbs use up to 75% less energy and last longer than traditional batteries, which means less waste!  So, next time you buy light bulbs, consider switching to CFL’s if you don’t use them already.  

10.  Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper

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Most wrapping paper is not recyclable and ends up in land fills.  So, instead of purchasing wrapping paper, consider switching to gift bags.  They accomplish the same result and they can be used over and over and over again.  Which means – no waste!
There are so many ways to reduce your carbon footprint and be more green, it can be overwhelming.  But, you don’t have to completely change your lifestyle and/or go to extremes.  Every little bit counts, so implement the changes that work for you and your family and that you can maintain long term.  That is what we did and once we form new habits, we research and incorporate new ways to reduce our impact on the world.
Happy Earth Day!!
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Earlier this year, I made a simple burlap wreath to use as a backdrop for seasonal decorations in my home.  Each month, I am changing the embellishments on the burlap wreath to create entirely new wreaths to celebrate holidays, seasons, etc.  
Here is how I embellished my burlap wreath so far:

July is all about Independence Day so it’s fitting that my July wreath would celebrate the 4th of July.

I found a fun decorative blue star at Michaels recently and decided to use it as the centerpiece for my wreath. When, I say centerpiece, that is exactly what I had in mind, a center piece.  Initially, I had the star hanging in the center of the wreath.  I had it there for several days and I just wasn’t loving it.  The wreath needed something more, but what?

After a couple days of staring at the star sitting in the center of my burlap wreath, it hit me that I could use the blue star as a nod to the stars in the American flag.  I moved the star to the top left corner of my wreath and added some red ribbons and suddenly I had the perfect American Flag Burlap Wreath to celebrate Independence Day.

It’s not what I initially had in mind, but I love how it turned out.  Inexpensive, fun and festive!

Have a safe and fun 4th of July!!

Independence Day American Flag Burlap Wreath

Burlap wreath
Decorative blue star – $4 at Michaels
Fishing wire
Wired Red Ribbon – on clearance for $1 at Michaels

How I did it:
I started by attaching the decorative star to the top left corner of my wreath using fishing wire. Then, I arranged my red ribbon between layers of the burlap to create the 7 red stripes in the American Flag.  Since the ribbon was wired I crumpled it a bit and left the right side (when looking at it) unfinished so it looked similar to a flag blowing in the wind.  That’s it! 

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Lovebug wears uniforms to school in the standard red, navy and white combination.  Since American tradition is to pinch anyone who is not wearing green on St. Patrick’s day, I wanted to make sure Lovebug had something green to wear.  I was going to grab her a pair of socks and then realized that would be pointless because the child rarely puts socks on.  She does, however, love to wear headbands and we have tons of them.  I also happened to have green felt on hand so I decided to pull together a fun and easy shamrock headband for Lovebug to wear on St. Patrick’s Day.
The beauty of this project is that it took less than 10 minutes to make, I happened to have all the materials that cost less than $3 and it turned out absolutely adorable!  Quick, cute, cheap and functional?  Love, love, love, love!!
DIY St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Headband


Light and Dark Green Felt 
Green Thread
Hot Glue
I started by drawing three heart shapes onto my felt with a marker, leaving the bottom quarter of the heart off.  I also drew a small rectangle that will be the stem. If you wanted to make a four leaf clover you could just make four hearts.
Then I cut the hearts and stem out.
Next, I wove a threaded needle through the bottom of the heart shape pulling the thread through until there was about 2-3 inches of thread not pulled through.  

I continued by threading the needle and thread through the two other heart shapes.   Then, with the needle still attached, I carefully tied the two loose end of thread into a knot.   

I pulled the knot tight so that I no longer saw the thread in the felt and so the felt dimpled creating the clovers.

Then, I turned the clover over so the backside was up and attached the stem by feeding the needle through one skinny end and securing it.  

I tied several knots and trimmed the thread.  One clover was done!  I repeated the same thing with the dark felt, only this time I made the heart shapes and stem smaller.  

Then, I decided where I wanted to attach the clovers onto the headband by playing around with the arrangement until I liked it.  I applied a dot of hot glue, carefully placed the clover on and pressed to secure.

 Then, repeated with another dot of hot glue to attach the smaller clover and I was done!

I added my cute Shamrock headband to the Pot of Gold that the Leprechaun left Lovebug for St. Patricks Day.  How thoughtful and festive of him to provide her something green to wear!  🙂 

Lovebug was so excited to get another pot of gold from the Leprechaun and was thrilled about her new headband!  I consider this project a success!!
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