The past few months have been a little hectic for our family. My daughter, the oldest child, was married in September. She had a wonderful backyard wedding with about 250 people! Yes, 250! This was really only possible because it was in the backyard but it was well worth it. So basically over the next few months I will be posting about how we planned this tremendous party. In fact, I have already posted some information about her shower and making two different dream catchers(see them below) that were used as part of the ceremony and as decorations for the party. Today, however, is about using mugs instead of plastic cups.
I know, plastic is so much easier. You just use it and throw it away. But seriously, with 250 people, how many would we need to buy? I couldn't imaging the nightmare that this would create with garbage after the party. And after all, all the plates, silverware, etc. were going to be recyclable bamboo! So why would we ruin the environmental theme by using plastic cups? We wouldn't. And in fact, we used mugs for the bridal shower as well!
A lot of people questioned the cost. Believe it or not, in my opinion (and my daughters as well), the cost was worth it for several reasons. First, we weren't using plastic which we all know is not good for the environment because it literally never decomposes. Second, we allowed guests to bring them home as a souvenir. This was especially good for couples because they would have two to bring home and use. This was also good for use because we wouldn't be left with hundreds of left over mugs! However, any left over mugs could still be used for future parties, for gifts, or many other ways! And what made these extra cool is that regular mason jar lids screw right on to them so they could even be used for storage! Anyway, back to the cost. We did end up buying a few cases from Amazon and they were definitely more expensive.
For the bridal shower we purchased the Libby Drinking Jar With Handle (Amazon affiliate link). A case cost 28.95 so we paid approximately $2.41 per mug. We had to do this because we needed them fast. Since there would only be about 40 or so people at the shower I simply tied a paper tag around each mug and let everyone write their own names on it for the party (note the mug filled with markers). The mugs are also filled with tickets for the 'Chinese' auction game! Directions were provided on the welcome sign shown below.
Items purchased for the bridal shower mug display (affiliate links):
For the wedding we had a lot more time to wait for delivery so we actually ordered about 12 cases of mugs from Dollar Tree. At dollar tree they were $1 per mug plus tax. Much more cost effective! But again, you need to have a lot of patience and time for delivery because I think they literally came from China. You also need to be prepared to go and pick them up at your local Dollar Tree Store. The unfortunate part of this was the fact that every mug came with a sticker on the bottom that took my husband and I three nights to peel off of the mugs in all twelve cases. Oh, and guess what! They were literally identical to the mugs we got from Amazon! Just no Libby name on the box! The Libby mugs didn't even have the name brand on the mugs either so they were really, truly, the same.
Items purchased for the wedding mug display (some are affiliate links):
Heres How They Were Done:
We have no regrets about using the mason jar mugs instead of plastic! One comment we recieved from guests at the shower was that it was a little difficult for them to drink from the mug being that it had the funny edge to screw on lids.
Because of that comment we provided optional drinking straws at the wedding. Some people chose to use them, and some didn't.
I know, you think maybe it defeated the purpose because they too are plastic, however, the amount of plastic used by 100 or so straws was nothing compared to how many cups we would have gone through!
We would love to hear from you so please share your thoughts and experiences with us!
This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.
Having an RV (recreational vehicle) is awesome! It gives us the freedom to be able to travel and always have a comfortable place to sleep with no worries. It is also super convenient to just pull onto the side of the road if you have to go to the bathroom! No more painful waits for the next rest area or searching for a gas station with a working bathroom. Maybe that's just me. Either way having an RV with all the comforts of home and stocked with just about everything you need for traveling makes traveling simply delightful!
However, our RV, being inexpensive and small, did not come with most of the comforts we wanted nor did it have a lot of space for all of the above, so here is what we did to make it like home for us.
1. The Bed
We chose an RV that had a bed that never needed to be 'broken down.' In other words, in many smaller RV's the bed is also the kitchen table and benches. We made sure this was not the case for us so even though our RV is small (18') it has a permanent bed. The bed also had to be a decent size. Our RV is a queen size bed and this was very important to us.
2. The Entertainment Center
OK, I know it is not camping if you have an entertainment center, but really. It's not exactly camping to stay in a nice trailer with the comforts of home anyway! At our age, we just don't care. We want to travel all around the country and at the end of the day we like to relax and watch some TV. Even if it is just a DVD, we don't care. It is relaxing. So Since our RV didn't come with an entertainment center we had to make our own!
3. The Bathroom
I don't know about you, but this room is pretty important to me! In a small trailer you get a small bathroom. In our case it is really, really small. In fact, it only came with a tiny shower, a toilet, and a mirror on the wall! Nothing else but a door!
4. The Kitchen
Of course this is really part of the bedroom, the living room, and the dining room! Ha Ha. But who cares? It's still my kitchen and I knew I could improve upon it!
5. Key Holder
Now our trailer is always organized, ready, and feels like home no matter where we go!
I already posted the Poliwrath Costume DIY, so now here's the Butterfree Costume DIY I said was coming soon!
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Every year at work we have a departmental costume contest. This means we have to have a theme that is better than all the other department themes and that we all have to participate. Our department happens to have over 30 people so it is often hard to come up with really good ideas. A few years ago our theme was superhero's (Which of course there are plenty of!) so I made myself the mother from the Incredibles - Check out DIY Incredibles Costume here!
That was my favorite costume to date, especially because I always make an accompanying costume for my husband for any parties we go to.
The Poliwrath costume that this post is about would be another favorite but I didn't wear it, it was actually the costume I made for my husband. I made myself a Butterfree costume and that post will be coming soon (see below).
As much as I like the Butterfree costume, I kind of wish I had made myself into Poliwhirl (the happy version of Poliwrath) because it would have been so much easier! You will see what I mean when you read the DIY Butterfree Pokemon Costume coming soon!
Poliwrath Costume Instructions:
Heres what to do:
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Have a safe and happy Halloween!
My daughter is getting married and we are so excited to welcome her fiancé into our family. They have plans to get married down by the beach and hopefully the weather will be beautiful that day because my daughters father-in-law to be is making a birch arbor for them to be married under with this giant wedding dream catcher hanging at the back of it behind them. This is why the dream catcher had to be big. Really big. When all was said and done this beauty measured in at 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall! Wow!
But of course none of that mattered to me as long as my little girl is happy. I made another simpler, and smaller, model that uses feathers to be hung behind their seats at the reception. Read more about DIY Giant Dreamcatcher with Feathers!
Hoop Crochet Center Directions:
I really don't have directions per-say, I can just give you an idea of what I did. A couple of pointers ahead of time:
- All stitches are into spaces, not into other stitches. This is important for spacing later on.
- When you are finishing up your final loops to connect, make sure you have an even number. It helps to have an even number so you can connect the loops equally around the hoop later on.
- For this reason, every row must be crocheted separately from every other row. You cannot do this pattern in the round.
- To get to the center of each loop to start the next round I would slip stitch up the side of the first hoop in the level. When all is said and done you can't even see these extra stitches. The directions for this are in row 6 below.
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The only, and I mean only, tomato I grow is the cherry tomato. To be more specific, I only grow heirloom sweet 100's. They are the only kind of tomato I actually like, and to be more direct, I really only like them fresh direct from the vine when they are super red, and super sweet! However, the vines produce so many that I simply cannot eat them all fresh!
These sweet 100 cherry tomatoes are called indeterminate tomatoes. This means they take a little longer to start providing the fruit, but once they do, well, they simply don't stop! In fact, I had heard of so many people complaining that they just don't know what to do with all of them that I wrote a post called "Save All Those Cherry Tomatoes" for a list of ways to make sure that no surplus goes to waste. Even my over ripe cherry tomatoes that have split are a delicious treat for my hens!
Though I dry some, eat some fresh, and save a few to add to my favorite Cucumber Salad Recipe, I actually choose freeze the majority of them! Why? Well, to make my favorite Super Simple Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce with (you can watch a video of how it's made if you check out that link)! And boy is it simple :-)
How I Freeze Cherry Tomatoes:
I simply continue to add cherry tomatoes to the same bag as they ripen and until the bag full. I write the date on the bag when it is filled and then I move it from the kitchen freezer to the basement freezer. This just assures that I use them in date order during the winter. Simple!
Here's my super simple recipe:
NOTE: I use my frozen cherry tomatoes during the winter instead of the fresh. When blending the frozen tomatoes I simply and add some water so they blend better (Yes, I blend them frozen. No need to defrost so no planning is necessary!). This just means that the sauce has to be cooked a little longer, but believe me, it is just as delicious and it allows us to enjoy my fresh cooked cherry tomato sauce all winter long! YUM!
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I believe in using natural ingredients in my daily life and that is why I strive to use essential oils whenever possible. However, I don't have a lot of different kinds of oils (Of course this is because I like to keep things as simple as possible!). So I have a basic go-to assortment of what I call my Five 'Must-Have' Essential Oils because they cover just about everything I need to use them for on a daily basis. So whether you use essential oils already, are new to them, or if you're considering getting started, then these are the five oils I personally recommend you have!
Feel free to download and print this FREE instruction card about the Five "Must-Have" Essential Oils and their uses!
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This post is dedicated to two special people: my daughter since I am making it for her wedding day and my friend Patty who recently said "I want to make one for my kids room." I will be posting another giant dreamcatcher soon, however the difference is that the center is crocheted a little different and there are no feathers so the bottom part is much simpler to make!
Make the hoop and wrap it with yarn.
Crochet the center:
HINT: always do an even number of loops.
Add the fringe and feathers:
Supplies (some are affiliate links):
P.S. Sorry if some of the pictures are a little blurry - it is kinda hard to be working and snapping pictures at the same time!
I made a second dream catcher for my daughter as well - that post will be coming soon!
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My daughter did not want to spend any of her time opening presents during her recent bridal shower. Instead she wanted all gifts to be unwrapped so they could be set up on tables and viewed by everyone. This created a slight problem because bridal shower games were basically created so that guests are not too bored during the "present opening." I loved the idea of my daughter not opening the presents because I personally find that part of showers excruciating, but I still wanted there to be some fun games to play. Actually I needed guests to play some games because I intended to do a small auction during the party (I got that brilliant and fun idea from my sisters recent bridal shower and I loved it!).
The auction I made had about 20 gifts to give away so we gave everyone about 20 tickets as soon as they arrived. We did this simply by putting the 20 tickets in the mason jar mugs everyone would get to drink from but you could easily just hand them out which is what they did at my sisters shower. This was not enough tickets though and that is why games were necessary! Winners could earn more tickets! More tickets = more chances to win a prize gift.
NOTE: nobody would go home empty handed even if they did not win one of the auction prizes because guests could keep their mason jar mug and they also received a mini dream catcher favor - See how the mini dream catcher favors are made here!)
Affiliate Links through Amazon.com:
So basically since we needed to give out more tickets I came up with these two simple fun games (Thank you to Pinterest for the general ideas!).
The first game is a matching game of famous 'love quotes' from movies. There is a free MS Word document download below. We had a mix of ages at my daughters shower so the movies I used spread over a long period of time. Feel free to change them as you see fit and enjoy!
The second game is a multiple choice 'test' about the bride and grooms lives. again, there isI have a free download for you below (MS Word document) where you can cut and paste in your own questions and answers. Don't forget to put the brides name and the date of the shower at the top too!
Both games were given out during lunch time for the guests to collaboratively work on. Toward the end of the lunch I gave out the answers and guests graded their own answers. They were rewarded an extra ticket for every correct answer! It's all in fun so nobody checked for honesty or not, because well, who really cares?
During desert the bride pulled a ticket for each prize gift and they were distributed to the winners to take home! So simple!
Everyone had great things to say about the games and the way the shower was run. The bride to be had quality time to be with all the guests during the shower and I have had many people share with me how wonderful and relaxed everything was. In my eyes that spells S.U.C.C.E.S.S.!! But most importantly, my daughter was truly happy and enjoyed herself immensely. What more could a mother ask for?
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Just the other night someone asked me if I was planning to stay up and watch the solar eclipse that's going to occur on August 21, 2017. I didn't even have an answer. I just stared at them with open eyes and mouth....thinking.....stay up???? The science teacher in me nearly had a heart attack. Clearly this person had no idea what a solar eclipse is. If they did they would have realized that the Sun has to be in the sky so that the moon can move in front of it. This can only happen during the day. So unless they think I sleep all day, there's no reason for anyone to 'stay up' and watch it. In fact, it's going to be almost impossible NOT to watch it! And that brings me to safety.
The eclipse is going to occur on August 21, 2017, during the day, across the USA.
The Sun rises in the Western US first so this is where the first eclipse will be able to be viewed. The first total eclipse will be viewed in Oregon at 10:15 AM PST (Pacific standard time). Here in New York we should begin to see the partial at about 1:23 PM EST, and it will continue until 4:00 PM - that is 2 hours and 37 minutes smack in the middle of the day my friends. Pretty hard to miss. And pretty tempting not to look at!
Check the times for any city here: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/
And yes, a total eclipse can be viewed without protection. BUT THE PARTIAL CAN NOT. I mean, you can choose to, but that would be like committing vision suicide. Stupid choice. The partial leading up to the total, and the partial that will be viewed by the millions upon millions of people that are not in the path of total eclipse MUST be viewed safely.
Now considering that it is pretty much in the middle of a regular work day (Monday), and considering it is the summer, this means that most people, including children, will be out and about. Knowing it is human nature to be curious (especially children) it is extra important to be prepared. Whether you will be picking the kids up from camp, hanging out at the beach, or simply barbecuing dinner in the backyard YOU KNOW HOW TEMPTING IT WILL BE TO LOOK UP. So please, look up safely!
Here's why you need to look safely:
Remember looking at the Sun and then seeing black spots? Or how about temporary blindness when some idiot flashes his brights in your eyes at night? Why do welders need to wear special eye protection? Basically, the rods and cones in your eyes get over excited from bright lights and it takes a few seconds to minutes (longer, maybe never, if you looked at arc welding light) for your eyes to adjust back to normal. Watch this educational video for more detail:
So what does that have to do with an eclipse? Well, you are still looking at the Sun, and probably more often for a longer period of time in order to watch the eclipse. NASA's website states: "The solar radiation that reaches the surface of Earth ranges from ultraviolet (UV) radiation at wavelengths longer than 290 nm to radio waves in the meter range. The tissues in the eye transmit a substantial part of the radiation between 380 and 1400 nm to the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. While environmental exposure to UV radiation is known to contribute to the accelerated aging of the outer layers of the eye and the development of cataracts, the concern over improper viewing of the Sun during an eclipse is for the development of "eclipse blindness" or retinal burns."
Bottom line: view the partial eclipse safely. Check out NASA's page about when and why.
Oh, and using a filter for your eyes and then looking through a camera, telescope, or binoculars that doesn't have its own filter is a huge NO NO. Your eyes will not be protected enough. The device must have it's own special, approved, filter because of the magnification. So be smart and do your research!
Here's a few ways to view the eclipse safely with your eyes:
NOTE: even with these precautions do not stare constantly at the eclipse. Look, then look away. You need to continuously give your eyes a break.
A Few things NOT to do:
Enjoy the solar eclipse safely. It will be worth it!
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Welcome! I'm Kathie, an educated, happily married mother and step-mother to four adult children. I wholeheartedly believe in creating and living a simpler, happier, and healthier life in this stressful and modern world! I work at creating a simpler life in ways that are as economically wise and environmentally conscious as possible. Please join me on my journey:-)