Celebrating National Breakfast Week with Kellogg’s and Our Own Great Start

I woke up this morning and it ‘feels like’ 17 degrees outside. No, I’m not living in the Yukon territory, just making my home in the Midwest, like so many other people.

And like so many other people, I’ve grown almost as tired of the phrases ‘polar vortex’, ‘snowpocalypse’ and ‘snowmageddon’ as I have of experiencing the bitterness on my face, my fingers, my whole being.

I actually live somewhere the air hurts my face. Who does that? I suppose you, me and about half the country are doing it this Winter. Dragging the small people out of bed in the morning to face yet another day in the teens isn’t easy. (Let’s be honest, I would prefer to stay tucked in bed!)

Our mornings have been slow. They have been quiet. And yet, we have remained connected.

My small people talk to me in the kitchen. They share with me during breakfast. They chatter as they pour their own cereal – proud that they can be involved while I make school lunches. If it means we must get up a little earlier to have this time, I make it happen. I know how they are doing in school, which friends have the kindest hearts, what they want to be when they grow up (today) and most of all, what makes them happy.

Kelloggs National Breakfast Week

In honor of National Breakfast Week – something we are celebrating with our good friends at Kellogg’s, I wanted to share a few things about this time of the morning you may not know:

  • Research shows that sharing three or more family meals per week helps children have healthier eating habits. Cereal makes it easy to start the day together. (My note: it is also a super-easy, happy, evening snack and my small dude’s ‘go-to’ before he heads to bed)
  • A serving of Kellogg cereals and 1 cup of skim milk can provide protein and four nutrients most people don’t get enough of: fiber, calcium, Vitamin D and potassium.
  • Cereal makes financial sense. At about 50 cents a serving, a cereal and milk breakfast is delicious and nutritious way to help ensure a great start to the day

Kelloggs Natl Breakfast Week

I know I have talked about this before, but these moments with my small people remind me that I am lucky… I know not every family has the same opportunity to share breakfast like this. Nearly one in five children goes without breakfast every day. Statistically speaking, that would be six kids from each of my children’s school classes. Sometimes I think we need to apply the ‘numbers’ to us for them to sink in.

Imagine walking in to your child’s classroom in the morning – only to watch six sit alone at their desks, hungry, while the others ate. I’m proud that Kellogg’s has been working to combat this very thing with their #GreatStarts program. As I talked about during the Olympics, for every tweet, share or pin of an Olympian’s  or Paralympian’s #GreatStarts story, a meal will be donated to a child in need this school year- with the goal being 2 million. Where are we now? Almost 741- thousand.

Kelloggs #GreatStarts

Not quite half way. We can do more, right? It is easy, yes?

How does a #GreatStart ‘start’? With you and me. With these small people. With sharing breakfast and telling stories.

Watch a #GreatStarts Story.

Share a #GreatStarts Story (Paralympian Amy Purdy makes me cry every time).

Tweet. Pin. Share again (Charlie and Meryl!).

We can do it together.

To inspire you to help, the Team Kellogg’s Olympians created this video to inspire you to give kids a #GreatStart. It will take 60 seconds of your day to watch and another 20 seconds (MAYBE!) to share it. Will you?

How do you Share Breakfast with your family? Are the meals big? Small? Or doesn’t it matter because there is simply too much talking happening all at once?

Disclosure: I have a long standing relationship with Kellogg’s. This post is dedicated to National Breakfast Week and my hope is that it will inspire you to help offer a #GreatStart to a child in need. As always, all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

 

Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauce Review: Hawaiian Luau (+ Giveaway!)

I know I’m not alone in my wish for dinner time to be easier, to avoid the dreaded “Hey Mom, what’s for dinner” and more than any winter I can remember, to have something that is warm and comforting.

The boys in my family keep me running – both my husband and my seven and four year old sons. From the moment I’m up on the morning, through school, activities and definitely the meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enter Campbell’s and their newest Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker Sauce meals.

To make it possible for me to have the full experience (and make the best choice for my family) Campbell’s sent a full gift pack my way – complete with a variety of Crock-Pot® meals and a new crock pot (Spoiler! We’re giving the very same gift pack away below, so read on!)

Campbells Slow Cooker Sauces Easy Meals

Crock-Pot® meals are designed to be the saving grace for busy moms….making it possible to create a dinner for your entire family with only a 5 minute prep time. You simply put everything in the slow cooker, cover, cook, shred and that is it!

There are six flavors of Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauces.  The flavor I decided to prepare from the Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauce line was Hawaiian Luau.  Since these last few months have been so cold, this sauce really spoke to me. I would much rather be on a beach in Hawaii and if I could go there, even if only mentally, while I ate this, so be it.

Campbells Slow Cooker Sauces Easy Meals2

It was so easy to prepare – It only requires the sauce and pork.  My grocery store didn’t have the boneless pork shoulder roast that the recipe calls for, so instead I picked up boneless pork spare ribs. I added those to the crock pot and and then poured the Campbell’s® sauce packet over them.

Cover, set the timer for 8 hours on the low setting and head to work.  It was so simple. There was no need to add any extra seasonings, broth or water.   I came home to a sweet aroma filling my kitchen. I took the pork out of the Crock-Pot® and placed it in a bowl for shredding.  I have these amazing Pampered Chef® Salad Choppers that I use to shred and they make it so easy.

Once I was done shredding the pork, I returned it to the slow cooker so it could reabsorb some of the juices. I made long grain rice with cilantro and lime as a side, steamed some green beans and added our favorite King’s Hawaiian® original sweet rolls. Done.

Campbells Slow Cooker Sauces Easy Meal3

I really enjoyed the meal – I personally mixed the rice in with the shredded pork to marry the flavors together.  The pork had a nice, smoky flavor to it.  There are so many options to use the leftover meat but consider: quesadillas, sandwiches or tacos.  We ate the same meal for lunch the next day …  my husband loved it even more as leftovers.   Also, we took some of those King’s Hawaiian® sweet rolls, cut them in half and made mini pork sandwiches which were amazing.

The Simple Process: Hawaiian Luau

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 8 hours

Total Time 8 hours, 5 minutes

Yield 6 servings

Amazingly tender, flavorful Hawaiian pork made right in the slow cooker with just 2 ingredients and 5 min prep – it doesn’t get easier than that! Ingredients

  • 2-3 pound boneless chuck roast
  • 1 (13-ounce) package Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Hawaiian Luau Sauce

Instructions

  • Place boneless pork roast into a slow cooker. Add Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Hawaiian Luau Sauce. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 4-5 hours.
  • Remove boneless pork roast from the slow cooker and shred the beef before returning to the pot to absorb the juices. Cover and keep warm while you prepare your dinner table or additional sides.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.

Now it is your turn:

GIVEAWAY!

Campbell's Slow Cooker Sauces

We’re giving away a Gift Pack with a 6-QT Programmable Crock Pot® slow cooker PLUS SIX Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauce Packets (Tavern Style Pot Roast with Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic, Sweet Korean BBQ with Roasted Ginger and Sesame, Apple Bourbon BBQ with Bell Peppers and Brown Sugar, Hawaiian Luau with Pineapple, Mango and Bell Peppers, Mexican Red Chile Taco with Garlic and Sweet Peppers, and Moroccan Spiced Stew with Green Olives and Lemon). The Giveaway will run until 11:59pm on March 20th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!Simply tell us which meal you’d love to try first in the comments below. And then explore the other ways to enter.

Thank you for entering!

EXM Ally Stewart Bio

No purchase necessary to enter. ExtraordinaryMommy.com is not responsible for prizes that are shipped from outside vendors or sponsors. All entries will be pooled together and one (1) winner will be drawn. The winner will have two calendar days to reply via email. Unclaimed prizes will be placed for availability to newly chosen winners after that time. Giveaway is open to all U.S./Canadian residents only, must be at least 18 years old to enter. One entry per person, entries accepted through Thursday, March 20th, 2014 ending at exactly 11:59pm CST. 

Disclosure: Campbell’s provided both the Slow Cooker Sauces and the crock pot used in this post, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions shared are mine and mine alone.

The Best Kind of Announcement: We’ve Grown and It is Extraordinary

Shortly after we relaunched back in January, a moment that felt akin to giving birth to a business-baby ( I was proud, overwhelmed, losing sleep and staring at it constantly), I announced that we were ready to take a huge step: we were going to hire Contributing Writers.

If I’m honest, I was hoping, fingers and toes crossed, for 75-80 applications. What I received instead floored me – more than 480 amazing, extraordinary people shared their voices with me. I visited every single site. I read what everyone loved and shared and was beyond grateful for the gift that so many of you offered.

The more I read, the more people I wanted to add to the site, but it would be impossible to for to hire as many as I loved.

Please know how much this process has meant to me and how much I hope to work with so many more of you in the future.

And, please let me share with you the truly extraordinary women I am PROUD to have contributing here on ExtraordinaryMommy.

EXMContributors2

I could go on and on and on about the amazing they are bringing with them – their expertise in the categories of style, food, travel, family and home…..not to mention how I love their hearts and their writing gifts, but I will instead leave you to explore their sites and visit them here as they sparkle. You will begin to see their writing this month, March.

Alexis Croft

Alexis Croft – Joyful Momma’s Kitchen

Lauren Dix

Lauren Dix – Fizz and Frosting

Jessica.McFadden

Jessica McFadden – A Parent in America

KaseySchwartz

Kasey Schwartz – All Things Mamma

NataliaSimmons

Natalia Simmons – Ma Nouvelle Mode

KelliStuart

Kelli Stuart – Kelli Stuart

Join me, will you, in welcoming them to the site? And watch for the amazing they will be creating. I’m so very excited they are here.

Opting for Lighter Fare: Eating Out at Houlihan’s Restaurant (+ $50 Giveaway)

Update – Giveaway closed: WINNER ANNOUNCED: ANN FANTOM – CONGRATULATIONS, ANN!

Thank you to Houlihan’s Restaurant for sponsoring today’s post.

Yes. January rolled around and I was one of the many who added ‘make healthier food choices’ to the top of my must-do list for 2014. This wasn’t the first time I’d made such a commitment to myself, but this time I was feeling a touch more invested.

You see, my Winter clothes from last year didn’t fit. Not ‘a little too snug’. Not, ‘well, I’d like to undo the top button’.

But, quite simply: Did. Not. Fit.

And that is a terrible feeling. Your closest is suddenly the last place you want to be, meal time and hunger feel like the enemy and those two pairs of black leggings you own? Well, they become your uniform.

I’ve never been a horrible eater. I knew I wasn’t incredibly overweight, but I did know I snacked too often and I was prone to over-indulging when I ate out. I was never one to even take a side glance at the ‘lighter-fare’ options.

But that has since changed. Since January, I’ve opted for a mainly Paleo diet – forgoing dairy, wheat and sugar.

I know my limitations, so have allowed myself some flexibility (yes, I do ‘cheat’ on occasion), but was astonished by a few things:

How good I felt physically, and within a week
How little I craved the *missing* foods (with the exception of brie – I could eat that every day)
How quickly I lost weight and how flat my stomach feels

Now, of course, I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist or a dietician, but I know how I feel. And I know I’m encouraged to continue making healthy choices. So, when I was invited to visit Houliahan’s Restaurant to sample their new ‘Lighter Fare’ menu I was excited. In the past, my eyes (and ordering) would have aimed for the heaviest fare – the filet mignon or fried shrimp and the like, but now, I find myself giddy at the thought of trying something both healthy and flavorful.

And my family, while often eating a modified version of my the new meals at home, is also opting for healthier fare when we are out.

We began with a Spinach and Artichoke Dip. (Not on the ‘Lighter Fare Menu’, but enjoyed by all)

Houlihans Spinach Artichoke Dip

My small girl was quick to ask for Mac and Cheese (a standard favorite), but with a side of mandarin oranges.

Houlihans Kids Mac and Cheese

It was So Cal Fish Tacos for my husband…. with a combination of chipotle mayo, tilapia, cabbage and a honey cumin dressing. There wasn’t a crumb left on his plate when he was done.

Houlihans So Cal Fish Tacos

Before I made my choice, I looked at both the traditional menu and the lighter fare. The salmon on both caught my attention, but I wanted an ‘expert’ opinion before definitely placing my order. The Grilled Atlantic Salmon is from the traditional menu and the Miso Grilled Salmon is the ‘lighter fare’.

Grilled Atlantic Salmon Houlihan's Traditional Menu

Miso Grilled Salmon Houlihan's Lighter Fare

My server didn’t hesitate in suggesting the Miso. I couldn’t have been happier.

Houlihans Lighter Fare Miso Salmon

It wasn’t just that I adore edamame. Or that I knew I had made a choice that would leave my body feeling happy later. The salmon was perfectly cooked, the Miso sauce the ideal compliment and the quinoa and vegetables were fresh and delightful. I couldn’t even finish the whole thing.

Even better: Now it is your turn to head to Houlihan’s to sample the very same new menu (and more). Enter to win a $50 Houlihan’s gift card. Comment below with the menu item you think you’d love to try…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for entering. Good luck!

No purchase necessary to enter. ExtraordinaryMommy.com is not responsible for prizes that are shipped from outside vendors or sponsors. All entries will be pooled together and one (1) winner will be drawn. The winner will have two calendar days to reply via email. Unclaimed prizes will be placed for availability to newly chosen winners after that time. Giveaway is open to all U.S. residents only, must be at least 18 years old to enter and ideally live near a Houlihan’s location. One entry per person, entries accepted through Thursday, March 6th , 2014 ending at exactly 11:59 CDT.

Disclosure:  Compensation was provided by Houlihan’s via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Houlihan’s or Momtrends. As is always the case, all opinions I share are mine and mine alone.

 

5 Lessons My Kids Learned From Athletes at the Winter Olympic Games

5 Lessons Learned From Winter Olympic AthletesIt is before 6am and I’m nudged awake, “Mommy, can we turn the Olympics on?”. Hockey’s Team Canada is playing for the gold and the small dude doesn’t want to miss a second. His head lays in my lap as the Canadians go up, first one goal, then two and then THREE!

Watching Team Canada Hockey

When it hasn’t been the hockey, it’s been the Alpine skiing. (nice work Ted Ligety!)

When it hasn’t been the Alpine skiing, it has been the ice dancing (we saw you Meryl and Charlie!)

When it hasn’t been the ice dancing, it has been many versions of snowboarding.

When it hasn’t been snowboarding, it has been the skeleton. (Noelle? You made us cry!)

I think you know we’ve had a special affinity for many of the Kellogg’s athletes through my relationship with the brand and because I had the amazing opportunity to meet many of them in New York at the 100 Days out to Sochi Celebration. Admittedly, the small people and I feel we have come to know them through their #GreatStart stories. Delaney will only refer to Noelle Pikus-Pace as ‘the fastest mom on ice’ and Coop calls Torin Yater-Wallce ‘the kid who did whatever he wants’ - both hat-tips to their #GreatStart videos, and a testament to how their stories resonate.

It is safe to say the Winter Olympic Games have been on in our house around the clock. We have been awake early and up late. We have yelled and screamed. We have cheered and gasped. We have cried  - tears of joy and solidarity.

And we have learned. Through the past two weeks, the small people and I have talked about the wins and losses, the falls and missteps, the moments that could-have-been and ways that character is shaped. These athletes weren’t chosen to be on a cereal box for their athletic ability alone, but instead for their character and the lessons they teach to those of us sitting at home pumping our fists at their victories and holding our breaths as they miss out by one-hundredths of a second.

TedLigetyKelloggsCereal

Now that the small people are at an age where we can actually talk about this, I’ve asked, and as a family, we’ve discussed the lessons my children have learned from the athletes over the course of 24-7 Olympic binging over the course of the past two weeks.

Never forget who helped to get you here: As we watched Noelle Pikus Pace secure her spot on the podium, she did something unusual: she literally jumped in to the stands, moving as fast as she could to reach her family…. her husband and her children. The chorus of ‘we did it’, ‘we did it’ was the echo you heard over and over again from her lips. Though Noelle had won the Silver medal, she clearly considered this a team effort and wasn’t for a second going to allow the spotlight to sit anywhere but on the shoulders of the team of people who had supported her.

There is honor in breaking barriersSarah Hendrickson was the very first female ski jumper in Olympic history. She didn’t win gold. She didn’t place and while that may be disappointing, her sport wasn’t even an Olympic one even 4 short years ago. And the fact that she drew the card, making her the first of the Olympians to jump at all secures her an even more amazing slot in the history books.  And, I bet she’ll be back again.

Try and try again - Alpine skier, Ted Ligety was incredibly disappointed after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver when he failed to medal, but he came back this year and more than made up for it becoming the first U.S. man to win gold in giant slalom and the first alpine skier to win two gold medals in his career. Trying again? So worth it.

Charlie and Meryl Sochi 2014

Be a good sport – Admittedly, when I first met with Charlie and Meryl, I was surprised that they shared the same coach as Canadian rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, but not only did they assure me that their coach was fair, had both teams’ best interests at heart, but their goal wasn’t to beat Tessa and Scott, but to compete against THEIR personal best scores (and yes, win gold). Keep in mind, Charlie and Meryl took silver to Tessa and Scott’s gold in Vancouver and were incredibly gracious at the time. Though the tables were turned this time, with Charlie and Meryl achieving their goal and taking gold – the lesson in sportsmanship for my children was clear…. trying your best is very important, but being gracious when your don’t achieve the pinnacle is just as crucial.

Be adaptable – This lesson felt loud and clear throughout the Sochi Games. From the moment the Pre-Game festivities began, there was talk of lack of preparation on the part of the host country, but from everything we saw from our perch on our couch, the athletes kept their heads down and competed. They put their hearts in to their individual sports – on the ice, in the snow, on the pipe, on the slope and they tried. And they medaled. And if they didn’t, they are coming back in 2018 in PyeongChang.

In so many ways, I’m going to miss being awakened before the sun rises to watch the Games with my small people. There is so much joy, so much heart and clearly so many life lessons to be learned.

What moments did you share with your family? Do tell.

Disclosure: I am proud to have a long term relationship with Kellogg’s. As always, all thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and mine alone.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick’s Day Crafts You Can Do With Your Kids

10 Super Easy Last Minute St Patricks Day Crafts To Do With KidsWe all have our strengths and weaknesses, right? I consider myself to be a pretty good, in-the-moment, involved mom. But, my D-I-Y abilities are a little bit suspect. I’ve never been the craftiest mom on the block and yet I love to celebrate each and every holiday (no matter how big or small) with my small people. The good news is – my kids DO have a high tolerance for my lack-of-crafty and truly just enjoy the attention and the time we spend together. Fortunately, there are some AMAZING, talented people out there who DO know how to create and craft and each one of the 10 Super Easy, Last Minute, St. Patrick’s Day Crafts you see below was created by one of those women – each of whom was generous enough to allow me to share their gifts with you.

I have been culling some favorite crafts on my St. Patrick’s Day Pinterest Board but wanted to highlight some I definitely think you need to see.

Enjoy! (and be sure to tell me which one you think you will try first!)

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Amanda’s Cookin clearly had me in mind when she created these edible Play-doh cookies. They are easy to make, small people can be involved from beginning to end (my favorite way to cook with my little ones – theirs too!) and they are perfect for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday – rainbows, shamrocks and gold coins. I’m. In. Love.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts1

I so love the idea of getting the small people involved – and this is one they can definitely do! This Paper Four Leaf Clover is one they can really tackle on their own if you can offer some basic direction. A big thanks to Meaningful Mama on this one.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

I know you think these Lucky Four-Leaf Clover Shirts are going to be hard to do…. but NO! The lovely Tonya of TonyaStaab and Multiples and More makes it easy for us. So sweet. So perfectly St. Patrick’s Day.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

I was trying to come up just how many ways I love this St. Patrick’s Day craft for PreSchoolers from Thrifty and Chic Mom…. the counting, the colors, the sweet treat! It is simply too cute (and so easy). My small people do already know their colors, and they know how to count, but are ALWAYS up for this kind of goodness. 10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

If there is one thing I DO wish I had more of – it would be keepsakes that included tiny fingers and toes. My small people feel as though they are growing so fast, yet I never want to forget the moments when they were this little-bitty. So I adore this collection of Pre-School St. Patrick’s Day crafts from Fun-A-Day.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

I LOVED this DIY Rainbow Rice idea for (let me count the ways!) a small St. Patrick’s Day play group, a snow day, sensory play or well, ANY OLD DAY. In fact, I’m not sure I don’t want a bucket of it in my office. Huge thanks to Mamas Little Muse for sharing with us.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Ally over at No Time for Flash Cards is one of my favorite people on the planet – and not only because she helps moms and dads like you and me to be the hero with sweet and simple crafts like this Marshmallow Rainbow, but because she is truly good people.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Few things frighten me more than, ‘please prepare a holiday treat/treasure/gift for your child’s class’ and yet Nadia and With Glittering Eyes calmed my panic with this adorable St. Patrick’s Day Lollipop Flower Garden. Simple. Cute. And something the kids will love. Success.

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

One of my very favorite things about St. Patrick’s Day is wearing all-things-green (naturally to avoid being pinched! – you teach your children this too, yes?) This D-I-Y printable Leprechaun Hat from Andrea at Lil Kid Things makes the ‘green’ a snap. Plus? Leprechaun for the day = awesome!

10 Super Easy Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Now think: Party Time! I so love the idea of decorating with these Swinging Shamrocks. This could make your house feel more festive OR if you are the room mom? Bring the kids in on the decorating fun. Big thanks to Simply Real Moms for sharing this with us.

Do tell….which is your favorite?

For more St. Patrick’s Day fun follow my Pinterest Board!

Follow Danielle Smith ExtraordinaryMommy.com’s board St. Patrick’s Day on Pinterest.

 

It’s Not Quite ‘Curtains’ for your Curtains: 5 Ways to Upcycle Old Curtains

A treasured guest post from ExtraordinaryMommy.com friend, Kristin Hackler.

5 Raggedy Rose Craft Ideas from Old Country Curtains

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle

During a recent trip to the thrift store, I came across a thick bundle of country curtains that the store was practically giving away. They were your typical dusty rose/large flower print/curlicue fabrics that one would usually associate with wooden roosters and hand-painted signs with quaint kitchen colloquialisms. And before I knew it, I had purchased the whole lot.

I didn’t know what I was going to do with them at first. The pile sat there on the kitchen table, tired, ruffled and sun spotted, the patterns playing havoc with my kitchen’s otherwise traditional décor. But as I lifted each piece and examined them, I could see how the colors could work beautifully if they were twisted, blended and subtly hidden by turning them into a whole bunch of raggedy roses.

Raggedy Rose How-To

I first learned how to make raggedy roses from my mom, though she taught me how to make them using palm fronds instead of fabric. The idea is pretty much the same, however, and they’re incredibly easy to make once you get the hang of it.

What you’ll need:

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun

Step 1: Cut your fabric

I started out cutting my fabric in two-to-three inch wide strips the length of the curtain — about 60 inches — and then cutting those lengths in half. After making a fair number of small roses from the 30-inch pieces, I switched over to making roses from the full 60-inch strip.

Step 2: Tie and twist

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle6

To start your rose, tie a knot in one end of the fabric strip. Then wrap your fabric strip around once, using the glue gun to secure the first wrap in place against the knot. To keep the colors bright and to avoid too many raggedy ends, I folded the fabric strip in half first, colorful side up, and made sure the fold was facing up while I was wrapping.

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle8

On the next go-round, twist the fabric once a full 360 degrees, continue to wrap, and then twist again, securing the fabric in place with glue every few twists. I put in a twist every inch or so, closer together at first and then wider as the rose got bigger. This twisting is what gives the rose its petal-ed appearance and gives it a tighter, cleaner look when done.

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle7

Step 3: Secure the end

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle5

Once you’ve reached the last couple inches of fabric, fold the end at about 90 degrees and glue the last bit of fabric to the bottom of the rose. And that’s it! One rose done and ready for crafting.

Raggedy Rose Craft Ideas

1: Raggedy-chic Hairclip

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle2

I love showy hairclips and these roses make excellent ones. To turn your rose into a hairclip, cut a small piece of felt that can easily hide under your rose and cut two slits in it, top and bottom. Then run a plain, flat hairclip through the felt, going in the top slit and coming out the bottom. Glue the back of the felt and clip to the rose.

2: Rose Brooch

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle

How do you keep light spring scarves from fluttering away? With a cute brooch, of course! Follow the same method as the hairclip process above, but feel free to embellish first by adding more roses and gluing them together, using the fabric as the base. And instead of using a hairclip, try a safety pin instead.

3: Shoe Roses

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle9

Old pairs of flats or heels can be given a whole new look with just a touch of decoration. These roses were added to the toes of a pair of heels that I loved, but were damaged in a bleach accident. The rose covered up the unsightly spots beautifully and all they needed was a spot of glue to hold them in place.

NOTE: If you’re going to be wearing your rose shoes out a lot, I recommend using a super-strong glue, especially one that can get wet and is washable. For my roses, I used E6000 craft glue.

4: Raggedy Rose Picture Frame

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle3

Ugly old picture frames can become great baby shower gifts or everyday décor with a couple roses and some leftover fabric strips. To make this picture frame, all I did was wrap an old wooden frame with some of the unfolded rose fabric, securing it in place with strong glue. Then I attached three roses to one of the edges using the hot glue gun.

5: Rose Pillow Re-Do

Its Not Curtains for Your Curtains - 5 DIY Ways to Upcycle4

While I loved the color of this old throw pillow, the fabric had seen better days and was starting to wear thin in several places. So I took several raggedy roses and attached them with fabric glue. It took about 24 hours to dry and the end result adds a touch of stylish country chic to any chair.

There are a ton of crafts you can do with raggedy roses. From wreathes to rugs to ribboned curtain accents to lampshade decorations and even belt accents, all you need is some fun fabric, a little bit of time and an abundance of creativity!

Kristin Hackler is a mother, children’s book author, and writer for eBay, where you can purchase vintage fabric (lots of it!) for your next DIY project.

Makeup Tutorial: The Three Eyebrow Mistakes You’re (Probably) Making and Why They Matter

About a month ago, I was visiting my parents and doing a makeup tutorial with my mom. Did you know the facial feature that we neglect most often isn’t our eyes, or our lips (you can hardly miss those) but rather our eyebrows? It seems that this feature is just too easy to skip, ignore or mismanage all-together.

But they matter.

Makeup Tutorial - Eyebrow Mistakes You Need to Fix

[Read more...]

#ThisIsGood A Collection of Good From Around the Internet

Let’s be honest, I could fill this post with the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. I’ve loved the stories that have been flying across the ocean….from how the journalists and others have handled the pure lack of accommodations and preparation with (mainly) humor to the international reactions to the Opening Ceremony and Russia’s stance on homosexuality.

But now that the Games are truly underway, I’ve LOVED the athlete’s stories…. the United State’s first Gold Medal going to Sage Kotsenburg for snowboard slopestyle, snowboarder Jamie Anderson snagging not one BUT TWO gold medals and Charlie White and Meryl Davis taking the figure skating team to the podium for a bronze (a jump from 7th place!).

And there is still so much more to come.

Not to worry, though…. there are so may other moments, posts and pure goodness that I wanted to share from around the Internet this past week – here is a collection of my favorites.

Dig a little deeper with my good friend Brian Gardner (and the man who gets credit for designing this WordPress theme and many others): The Danger of Having Role Models.

The Danger of Having Role Models By Brian GardnerI think you know I love public speaking, so this Inc. piece by Jeff Haden is a wonderful reminder: 10 Phrases Great Speakers Never Say

This post by Dan Pearce alternately broke my heart and filled me with hope: there are parents who need a push in the right direction when it comes to remembering to keep their children’s spirit safe, but also? There are so many extraordinary parents – both moms and dads: You Just Broke Your Child. Congratulations.

I love, love, love this DIY, Organizer Makeover by GirlInTheGarage. It is lovely AND something I could actually do. Bonus.

And finally. Valentine’s Day, friends. Soon. Also, dessert? Chocolate Valentine Surprise Loaf Cake. I mean….REALLY? This is from Lori Lange at Recipe Girl, but my good friend Rachel at A Southern Fairytale gets credit for passing this bit of goodness my way.

That’s all I have for now, friends.

#ThisIsGood. SO GOOD. What do you have to share? Link it, post it, tweet it – you know I want to know :)

I Love To Watch You Play – The Six Words Your Child Needs To Hear

I was never going to be a ‘soccer mom’. (or a softball mom, or a baseball mom, or a basketball mom, or a football mom)

Cooper Soccer

I was never going to spend more time attending youth athletic events than I did doing everything else in my life.

I was never going to run from the softball field to the soccer field to the volleyball court.

Delaney Volleyball

I was never, ever, ever going to get up at 5:30 am on a Sunday to be at a 7am indoor soccer game.

I was never going to yell and cheer and jump up and down in the stands of a 2nd grade soccer match as though I was at the World Cup (because that is undignified).

I was never going to plan my Summer vacations around baseball and softball games and tournaments, or sit in the stands from 10am to 6pm.

I love To Watch You Play

But I have. And I do.

Because above all else, I love to watch them play. 

Anyone who knows me in any capacity is fully aware of my utter lack of athletic prowess. Both my seven and nine year old small people could take me in a race. (I’m not proud of this, but it is a fact.) I am, at 41, still afraid of the ball – any ball. I never learned to throw a softball, I broke my knee playing soccer, sprained my wrist trying out for volleyball and knocked out a tooth and broke fingers when gymnastics was ‘my sport’. Now swimming? That I can do – but naturally, it is the one thing my children don’t do competitively.

For my husband and children – their athleticism, their teams – it is their bond.

For us? It is my active participation as a fan.

It is, that I love to watch them play.

Delaney Softball Swing

I love that they love to play. I love them excited and red-faced, sweaty and energized with a win, tired and frustrated by a loss, the ‘I-could-have-done-better’ or ‘we were out-played’ etched across their small features.

I don’t push them to play. I ask them if they want to – each and every time. Are we the family that you might hold up as the example of ‘over-scheduled’?  Yes.  And I’m ok with that. Why? Because amidst the teams, they read, they find time to play with their friends, they study hard and have wonderful grades, they get enough sleep, they eat well and above all, they are happy.

I know this.

Because I love to watch them play. At everything in life.

We have a family rule: After each game – no critiques of their performance, no thoughts on how the team played or what anyone could have done better.

Just this: I love to watch you play.

I’ve seen too many kids crumble, frustrated by the game, by everything, only to be taken down by the people who are supposed to be dedicated to lifting them up. Don’t get me wrong, my job is to guide them – to help them through the good and the bad and work with them when they need to improve, but not when the moment is fresh.

Last night we watched together, as we always do, as the Olympic Games kicked off. It may sound silly, but every two years I look forward to this ‘family time’. The opportunity for the kids to see the heart-stopping, jaw-dropping Olympic Games’ moments that these athletes have been training for all their lives. They are skilled. They are gifted. They are magnificent to watch. And we love to watch them play.

Olympic Games Watching Sochi 2014

But it all started somewhere. With a love of a sport. With a love of a game. With training and practice and effort and sacrifice.

And someone who loved to watch them play.

As someone who has been lucky enough to meet a few of this year’s competing Winter Games Athletes through my (and their) relationship with Kellogg’s (and therefore feels a true attachment to them and their stories): Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Noelle Pikus-Pace, Sarah Hendrickson and Torin Yater-Wallace, I know that there was a #GreatStarts moment that pushed them forward…something that helped to tip them in to the athletes they are today – was it practice? The support of family? The perfect teammate? An uncontainable zest for their sport? I have read their tips on how we can bring #GreatStarts in to our worlds, with our families, and I want to share a few #GreatStarts tips of my own.

From this non-athletic mother, from this mother who fully embraces that children can be and sometimes are over-scheduled, begin by recognizing that whatever you decide to do with your child should be individual to them and not necessarily a universal, family rule. One child may be able to handle three activities while the other needs to focus on only one and school.

And though my team days were restricted to high-school swimming, I am re-learning, through the eyes of a parent, the many life lessons to be gleaned from playing a sport.

Be part of something greater than yourself – Learn to play for and with a team or on behalf of your school. Understand what it means to represent something bigger than you, to have other people trust you, rely on you.

Don’t quit - you may decide this sport, this team, this game isn’t for you, but part of life is learning to see a committment through. You can’t walk away the moment you are frustrated or not seeing the results you want.

Losing is part of life – as hard as it is to learn, not everyone gets a trophy – not in sports and not in life. And that is ok. Learn to be proud of how hard you worked, of the effort you made, of the team you love.

Grace in success is divine – humility, the ability to be humble in the face of extraordinary success is a gift and it doesn’t come without having been both on the winning and losing team. Experience and embrace both emotions, remember what it feels like as you grow both in to your sport and in to the person you will become.

And finally, your small people need desperately the gift of your wisdom – they will need lifting when they don’t make the team, they will need to work through defeat and learn to keep their chins up, proud of their hard work, they will need your push when you can see past their heartache to their true love of the game, they will need your willingness to support them  - getting them to practices and games, matches and events, but above all, they will need to know that you love to watch them play.

Do your children participate in sports? If not what do you LOVE to watch them do? Play an instrument? Excel on stage? Tackle a science competition? Tell them TODAY that you love to watch them…..

Disclosure: I have a long standing relationship with Kellogg’s. As a part of that, I am thrilled to be supporting, not only the Kellogg’s Team USA Athletes, but the #GreatStarts message. As always, all thoughts and opinions shared here are my own. 
 
P.S. For a DYNAMITE conversation on kids and over-scheduling, take a look at the show I do with the fabulous Meagan Francis every Wednesday at 12pm CST, The New Having It All Show. This past week, we talked about this very topic.