Spring Craft Organizing Made Easy

Because of Florida's climate, there just ain't no such thing as Spring.  We go from HOT to ehh, it's kind of cool, to HOT and friends let me tell you, it's already summer here.  It's a great excuse to forego Spring cleaning.  This year, however, I was asked to participate in Spring Cleaning Made Easy with QVC and I always appreciate a little kick in the rear to get myself going, so I accepted the offer. 

QVC had many offerings of spring cleaning and organization products, but the spinning cosmetic organizer intrigued me the most... only, I have like, no cosmetics.  I have two lipsticks (one of which was a gift---maybe sending a hint my way?), one mascara, and three vials of BareMinerals at any given time.  That's literally all I have in terms of cosmetics... but craft supplies?  Yep.  That's where I have a bountiful collection.  I immediately saw the potential for the spinning cosmetic organizer to be a great asset to my Project Life stash.
Project Life is a pocket-based memory keeping system and it is how I document my family's stories and memories.  Almost two years ago, my sister-in-law at age 35 was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  I haven't mentioned it before here, but it was a real shock to our family, as you can imagine.  She's been through so many things--surgeries, rough treatments, and everything in between and will continue to do so.  There's nothing that puts your own mortality before you like finding out a loved one has such an illness.  It was at the point that Angie was diagnosed with brain cancer that I determined to be a memory keeper for my family. I realized that life is fragile, and I really felt the need to get my photos off the computer and into something tangible for the sake of my daughters.  A photo album seemed like not quite enough, but true scrapbooking was too daunting a task--and that's when I found Project Life.  The happiest of happy mediums.

Here are some examples of my Project Life pages--can you see how the journaling is integrated right along with the photos?   I really love it.
Regrettably, I do not have a dedicated craft space.  I know, first world problems, right?  My supplies are locked away in various closets and small spaces, so when I get in the mood to craft, gathering my supplies becomes quite the production, and don't even get me started on having to put it all away after I'm finished.  Not my favorite, for sure.  The spinning organizer houses all of my Project Life stash from my Studio Calico kits. (Studio Calico offers awesome monthly subscription packages for supplies--it has proven to be a fun way to build up my Project Life stash.)

 In order to customize my spinning organizer to accommodate my supplies, I simply added a large rubber band that runs the circumference of the lower portion--it prevents my cards and supplies from shifting and falling out.  Simple adaptation, right?  The slotted portions that are meant to hold small eye shadow compacts are great for housing stamps and washi tape.

The top tray is removable in case you want to grab just your tall items like markers, pens and brushes.  The spinning cosmetic organizer is a great fit for the typical 3x4", 4x4" and 4x6" sized cards for Project Life.

So yes, this is a cosmetic organizer and I can tell it'd be great for cosmetics if that's your thing--but for a crafter, an organizer like this is very useful and practical.  I'm smitten, honestly.  All of my supplies are within arms reach and they're all housed in one place, rather than being in separate boxes and places.  When I'm in the mood to work on my Project Life album, it's as simple as pulling out this one organizer instead of multiple boxes.

Thanks, to Jill for inviting me to get a bit of Spring organizing done--it wouldn't have happened without your prompting!  And on that note, we have company this weekend and it's about time to get off the computer and into cleaning mode.  See?  All I need is a kick in the pants and I'll eventually get things done. ; )

Jill Bauer, QVC’s Home-Savvy Hostess, hosts the network’s popular show, “You’re Home with Jill®” and provides fans with simple solutions for their busy lives through innovative products, a library of stress-free DIY projects, and crowd-pleasing recipes. Fans can connect with Jill on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram @jillbauerqvc.

Disclaimer: I received the Spinning Cosmetic Organizer at no cost; Tristin & Company has no relationship with QVC that could materially affect the weight consumers place on my review.  And yep, there are affiliate links in this post.  

This week in Bento.

I just scored a great deal on some Goodbyn Small Meal boxes and I've really enjoyed packing these bentos this week.  The boxes look small and to compensate, I've filled these small meal boxes to the gill.  They hold quite a bit of food--definitely enough quantity and plenty of variety, too.  Overall, I'm pretty stoked about these boxes. 
For some reason, Elliott has been uncharacteristically enthusiastic about her lunches this week.  While I'd like to take credit for the success, it's probably just the new boxes that have caused the spike in enthusiasm.  But a girl can dream, right?

1. Clementine, honeydew, fried rice, hard-boiled bunny egg, muenster slices.
2. Carrots and honey-mustard, grapes, cocoa almonds, Applegate Farms ham, crackers, cheese wedge.
3. Grapes, chia pudding, ham and cream cheese pinwheels, olives, carrots.
4. Ham, crackers, apple/craisin/sunflower seed/yogurt/cinnamon salad.

What lunches are your kids loving lately?

Yep, there are affiliate links in this post.


Using Dinner Leftovers in Bentos

Nerd alert: I still love packing school lunches.  By no means are my bentos the cutest, definitely not anything too noteworthy, but I seriously love packing these lunch boxes.  

One thing I've noticed is that I don't really "shop" for school lunch items.  The food I buy is basically all for the purpose of feeding the family--none is ever specifically purchased for the sake of school lunches.  Since I never have a plan when it comes to packing Elliott's lunches, she often ends up with dinner leftovers and odds and ends in her lunch.  As far as I know, she enjoys it--you know, the box comes home mostly empty, so I'm calling it a success.  Here are a few of the lunches she's had lately that have contained leftovers.

1.  Leftover grilled teriyaki chicken and pineapple, meunster/olives/goldfish, strawberries.
3. Leftover BBQ pork, cole slaw, Triscuits and nectarines, honeydew
4. Leftover copycat Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets and honey mustard, cole slaw, veggies and ranch, grapes

One concern is always food safety--I covered that in this post.  We're also still loving the thermos for sending leftovers in the lunch bag.  I hate food waste and utilizing leftovers in the lunch box is proving to be a time and money saver.  Yay!


The unexpected milestones.

I've been reflecting a lot on the milestones of my children that I hadn't anticipated.  In a few short months, Elliott will turn 6 and Bennett will turn 3.  I've been hit with the realization that though I still feel like such a novice, I don't even have babies anymore!  It's both exhilarating and terrifying--moving into this new territory.

Along the way, there were certain milestones I looked forward to--like weaning, the completion of  potty-training, and sleeping through the night.  Honestly, we're still working on the whole sleeping through the night thing with Bennett, a milestone I'd assumed would happen a few months into her life, but (oops!) I was wrong.  Luckily, the other milestones have come pretty easily.

But then there are the unexpected milestones--the ones I never really thought about--the ones that once they actually happen, you realize how awesome they are.  Some are significant, others are not, but they're milestones nonetheless.

Buckling their own car seat. Who knew such a small and mundane task, when completed by my child, was cause for celebration?  Since my kids are on the small (err, like seriously small for their ages) side, I know that we are going to have a longtime love affair with carseats.  Not having to buckle both of those 5 point harnesses every time we load up?  Priceless.

Sitting on a park bench.  (Me, not the kids.)  At almost three, Bennett is now venturing away from me on the playground.  My friend Tabby and I often take our gals to the park and marvel at the fact that we now occasionally get to sit back and chat, guilt-free, while the kids occupy themselves.  It's a far cry from that chaos that park trips consisted of a few years ago, right Tabby?

Skipping a nap without major repercussions. I'm not going to say that I a fan of skipping naps--they're still a high priority on my daily list.  However, there's so much freedom in knowing that if we happen to have to shift or skip naptime, it won't be World War III.

Managing sickness. Without going into details, kids are gross.  Elliott, at almost 6, can handle the majority of her bodily functions on her own, and this includes maintaining good aim when sick (which thankfully is RARE).  Not having to change clothing and sheets when a bug hits is a bonus for everyone.  I can't yet say the same for little sis, so for now, Stanley Steemer and I are pretty tight and I know easier days are in store.

No diaper bag. No diapers, no diaper bag.  Niiiiiiicee.

Drinking from a straw. I think my girls each picked up the skill of drinking through a straw around the age of one.  This was a game-changer for me because it meant that I no longer had to be in constant possession of a sippy cup.  Don't even get me started on how much I hate the phrase "sippy cup", and even worse than that was washing the things and all those teeny holes and plastic valves.  I'm grateful that we're in the regular ol' cup stage around the house, but I do remember when the babes learning to drink from a straw was a game-changer.

A few of these milestones recently joined up to equal our family's first camping trip.  Like, a for real sleeping-in-the-tent-all-night-long camping trip.  And shocker--it was SO enjoyable!

I've been told that other unanticipated milestones are coming.  A very wise and seasoned Mom recently told me a neat milestone to look forward to is when the kids can bathe themselves.  I hadn't even considered this rite of passage, and I realize I'm still years away, but man oh man, the ability to say "go take a shower" without having to be involved?  That's going to be a good day.

I'd love to know some of your favorite unexpected milestones.

Bentos and some Thermos Love

In the midst of my many long and unintended blogging breaks, a lot of life happens--and often this life is still documented with the intent of posting, but obviously you can see how far those intentions take me.  The ideas for content are endless, the inspiration is infinite, but the actual doing?  Well, you know how that goes.  

Every weekday I pack a bento.  Sometimes I even remember to take a photo.  Here's some evidence:
1. Chia Pudding, strawberries, Triscuits, Pastrami and Meunster pinwheels
2. Grapes, cottage cheese, Triscuits, apples
3. Pastrami, candied pecans, apples, Wheat Thins and cream cheese
4. Grapefruit, cottage cheese, 5-grain chips, pastrami & meunster pinwheels
5. Triscuits, apple/raisin/yogurt/honey salad, pastrami, strawberries
6. Strawberries, salted cucumber slices, leftover taco.

Throughout our short cold spells, Elliott really enjoyed taking a thermos of warm food for lunch. To prep the Thermos, I pour in boiling water and screw on the cap and leave it for 5-10 minutes, usually during that time, I heat whatever food I plan on adding to the Thermos.  Elliott has reported that her food is still warm enough to require blowing on when she eats it.  The crazy lady within me wants to take my laser thermometer to her school and check the food temperature at lunchtime--but I can assure you, I've resisted the urge.

So far.      ; )
1. Leftover lasagna (cut into bite-sized pieces), cucumbers, apple
2. Leftover pot roast over rice, grapes, strawberries
3. Leftover chili, crackers, strawberry yogurt, strawberries.
4. Fried rice, apple.


QVC Christmas Wreath Challenge

Merry Christmas!   I hope you have been enjoying the season.  I know I've been pretty quiet on the blog front, but that's only because life behind the scenes has been moving at the speed of light, and when it's not, I seize those opportunities to slooow down and savor the moment.  I hope that in the midst of the busy holiday season, you're able to do the same.

QVC's You're Home With Jill provided an awesome 24" pre-lit wreath for me to try out and decorate and it was pretty exciting.  At this point in the game, we're a pretty established family and have reached just about max capacity in terms of Christmas decor.  In other words, I have three bins of Christmas decor and I keep myself limited to these bins, so there's not a whole lot of new holiday decor going on at my house.  But when someone asks, would you like a pre-lit wreath to decorate, it's pretty hard to say no.

Here's what I came up with.  I love love love Nutcrackers.  This doesn't mean I have some grand collection--I only have two--but I just love them.  Being that this nutcracker fit so perfectly into the center of the wreath, I kinda feel like it was meant to be. 

The wreath itself is pretty plain, but boasts a really cool lighting system and endless possibilities for personalization.  The power comes from 3 D batteries and there are 6 light settings.  The lights can glow white, multi-color, or transition between both.  Each of the settings has the option to use a timer also--6 hours on, 18 hours off.  I LOVE the timer feature.  The only issue is that battery pack is visible--so the wreath must be decorated to conceal it.  Below, I'll share what I did, but for those of you who are uncrafty or feel crunched for time, a simple large bow (usually only a dollar or so at the Dollar Tree) would totally do the trick in hiding the unsightly but necessary electronic component.  

I chose to keep my decorations removable so I can try out a different configuration next year.  To spruce up this wreath (get the pun?) I simply added a nutcracker that I already had and some awesome chartreuse poinsettias.  And I totally realize that chartreuse poinsettias aren't for everyone, but I can assure you, they're TOTALLY for me.

 I used some pipe cleaners left over from crafting with Elliott to affix the nutcracker to the wreath.  Then I just poked the poinsettias into the wreath, letting the faux pine grab on and keep the poinsettias in place. So far, it's done the trick!

Red poinsettias tend to look a bit more washed out than these vibrant green ones do.  I really liked seeing the similarity in color between my wreath and the beloved succulents in my landscaping.  It all works well, and folks, Christmas is Florida never looks traditional anyhow.

Merry Christmas--from my family to yours!

Jill Bauer, QVC’s Home-Savvy Hostess, hosts the network’s popular show, “You’re Home with Jill®” and provides fans with simple solutions for their busy lives through innovative products, a library of stress-free DIY projects, and crowd-pleasing recipes. Fans can connect with Jill on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram @jillbauerqvc.

Disclaimer: I received these products at no cost; Tristin & Company has no relationship with QVC that could materially affect the weight consumers place on my review. 

QVC DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece Challenge

Is anyone else getting a bit antsy for Thanksgiving?  Personally, I find the years where Thanksgiving falls toward the end of the month to be pure torture.  I feel like it's Thanksgiving and then BAM! --it's December.  So, without wishing Thanksgiving away, I have to admit that I'm so so ready for Christmas.

When the folks from QVC asked if I'd be interested in a DIY centerpiece challenge, I naturally accepted.  They provided an awesome votive holder with some flameless candles.  I have to admit, I've never used a flameless candle but I may be hooked.   The candles that come with the Candle Impressions Fillable Glass Log have a built-in timer, so they come on for 5 hours at 24 hour intervals.  In other words, I set my candles at 5pm when I received them, and now, every night they magically come on every evening, from 5 pm to 10pm.  

I'm always paranoid that I'll leave real candles lit and leave the house (and this has TOTALLY happened before) so I'm pretty much sold on this whole flameless candle thing.  I'm not sure why I hadn't tried them sooner.

In terms of decorating the clear glass log as a centerpiece, I went with hydrangeas.  Hydrangeas have become my flower of choice--regardless of season.  They're readily available and priced well at my grocery store, they last a long time and they look fabulous in my vase of choice--which is a Mason jar.  All I did to create a simple Thanksgiving centerpiece is shove some hydrangea pieces into the clear glass tube.  Voila--instant class!  I'm not hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but if I was, there'd be mason jars of white hydrangeas, a kraft paper table runner, and plain white candles set about in a rustic fashion.  This centerpiece would be perfect.

The cool thing is that the glass log is customizable for any holiday or and style.  I personally like it plain, but I played around with a few other options, too.

QVC’s Jill Bauer hosts the network’s popular show, You’re Home with Jill® and provides fans with simple solutions for their busy lives through innovative products, a library of stress-free DIY projects, and crowd-pleasing recipes. Fans can connect with Jill on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram @jillbauerqvc.

Disclaimer: I received these products at no cost; Tristin & Company has no relationship with QVC that could materially affect the weight consumers place on my review. 

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