Monday, January 30, 2017

How to take your Printables to the next level

Its no secret I LOVE printables!  I use them all over my house and especially love to switch them out for the holidays.  They are a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to switch up your decor.  I love adding them to cute frames or clipboards but today I'm going to show you an easy way to to turn them into a piece of art for your home.  Oh and the best thing is it can be temporary or permanent!

How cute are these!  
 You just need wood, stain or paint, your favorite printable, and a glue stick.

My printables were cut down to an  8"x10" and printed on cardstock.  I used a 12"x8"x1" board.  The Length doesn't matter (the 8").  The 12 inches wide is the important part oh and guess what they are not actually 12 inches!  Mine is about 11 1/4 inches.   I cut my boards every 9 inches so my final measurement is 11 1/4 x 9 inches.  This will give you about a 1/2 inch edge all around.
Next I stained the sides and around the edges.  I used Jacobean by minwax.  Its my favorite color.
Then I used a glue stick (just a regular glue stick) and stuck it on my board.  It will hold up well for quite a while.  I've had mine for several months and I'm just now reglueing some of the edges that came loose.  This is perfect for seasonal decor or if you don't want anything permanent.  You can also use a spray adhesive and it will be more permanent.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Snowy Pokey

We've been working on our S is for Snowman theme and will be finishing up and sharing in a few days.  I found this cute song in my file but the blog I found it on is gone.  I thought some of you might be interested in using this with your kids.  Its a favorite in our house.  For convenience I created a fun printable that you can use to remember the song.

Snowy Pokey (to the tune of: Hokey Pokey)
You put your right mitten in,
You take your right mitten out,
You put your right mitten in
and you shake it all about.
You do the Snowey pokey
and you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about.

Additional versus:
*left mitten
*your scarf
*your boots
*your hat
*your snowself

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How to display your favorite photos with an old window

(This post contains affiliate links.)

This has been on my to do list quite a while.  Well ever since I saw this post from Bless'er house and this episode of fixer upper.
Bless'er House
Fixer Upper
I just love the look.  Bless'er house offered these free printable on her blog and I love, love, love them.  
I started off with this black window.  Okay I have a confession this is not a real window but it probably is 20 years old and I love it.  Its been through multiple makeovers and this one is my favorite.

A little before and after.

So if you are lucky enough to have a real window you are good to go.  If not you can always use a picture frame or build a wood frame to do something similar.  You will not have the dividers but it will still be beautiful.  

I started by painting it all white.  I did two light coats to let some of the black show through.  To get this look you can paint or stain your board a dark color first then paint it white.

I used this string and just hot glued it to the back.  Make sure you pull it tight. Print out your pictures or printables (the ones I used are found at the end of this post)
I wanted something small and light to hang my pictures.  These were perfect and are stained in my favorite color.
 That's it.  You can add 2 strings in each space to use smaller pictures or if you are using a frame add as many as you want based on your picture size.  Here's a few more pictures.

Close up of the printables

Monday, January 23, 2017

Fun Pinktastic Story Time Activities with Pinkalicious

Here's another post from our old preschool blog. I actually forgot about this one and I'm excited to use this again!  We read the book Pinkalicious and made a cute craft and yummy treat to go a long with the book.  Look for some more story time activities coming soon!

We made some Pinkalicious cookies.  Also know in our house as Cake Mix Cookies.  Add some red food coloring to make them extra pink!!!

Cake mix cookies
1 box cake mix (we love the funfetti and the cherry chip)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 egg
Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

We also make pink cupcake collages. I gave them pink crayons,markers, pom poms, buttons, and valentines stickers. I drew a cupcake on pink construction paper and let them decorate it however they wanted. They had a lot of fun.

go to A Mommy's Adventure for more great book ideas.

Affiliate links below

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Kid's Craft: Love Wreath

Here's a project we made a few years ago.  It was on my preschool blog that I don't use any more and decided to move some of my favorite here so they are easier to find.  This is a favorite and plan to make a new one (with a few changes) this year.
Yesterday Aubrey made this cute wreath full of people she loves and love her. It was really simple and a fun project. The night before she told me several people she loved. I found pictures on our computer and copied them into a word document. I then used the shape option to make them into hearts and sized them to 2". I printed them on card stock and cut them out. I also cut the center of a paper plate out. Aubrey colored the plate (hard to see in the picture-she used yellow). I then gave her glue, her hearts, and buttons and let her put them where ever she wanted. Once it was dry I added a ribbon to hang.

This idea came from no time for flashcards

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Grow Your Own Crystals

My 3rd grader loves science projects.  She is starting a rocks and mineral unit at school this week so I knew this would be perfect.  This is a great boredom buster activity any time of the year.  Even better you only need 2 ingredients.

You need:
2 cups boiling water
6 tbs Borax (found in the laundry section)
pipe cleaner white works best
thread or string
pencil (or something similar)
Jar (heat resistant,wide mouth-we used a canning jar)

1. While water is boiling bend, twist, or cut pipe cleaner into desired shape.  (snowflake or bird nest work well)
2. Tie pipe cleaner to string.
3.  Pour boiling water into jar.
4. Pour Borax into jar and mix well.

5. Lower pipe cleaner into the water.  You do not want any sides or the bottom to touch the glass (make sure you have enough room at the top to remove safely)
6. Tie other end of the string so the pencil is sitting on top of the jar and pipe cleaner is at the level you want.

7. Leave in water over night or about 24 hours.
8.  Pull out of the water and you should have some beautiful crystals.  cut the string close and enjoy.

Note: If you want to used a different color of pipe cleaner like we did with the red, add some food coloring while you are mixing the water and borax.  It kind of worked but still turned out pretty.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Small home business Tax Help That Will Save You Money

Hey guys I'm here to talk to you about something that maybe you haven't thought about too much...YET!  Tax time.  
Our family refers to January through April 15 as "busy season." My husband is a CPA and he actually helped me a little with this post.

So this is for those that have a small home based business such as an  Etsy shop, photography business, cake decorating business, direct sales such as Mary Kay, LuLaRoe, Pamper Chef, or anything that seems to fit in this category.

If this is your first year filing taxes or your first year of business you might be a little overwhelmed knowing what you need to report on your taxes. If you've been at it a few years you may find something useful.  When I opened my Etsy shop 6 years ago taxes never crossed my mind but luckily I had a husband telling me what to keep track of.  So this is what I'm going to share with you today...What you need to keep track of for taxes.  Having this organized will save you time and money on your return.

I have an envelope for my receipts and staple them by month.  I also use a simple excel spreadsheet to keep track of my info.  You can also hand write it in a notebook if that is easier for you OR I have included some free printables for you to use.

*One more thing you can certainly do your own taxes but a CPA is not a bad idea.  It does cost money but they can also save you money.  They know the right questions to ask and will often have advice to keep your taxes down and give you peace of mind knowing you have everything in order.  Also every business is different and some have different requirements they will know what these requirements are.  This is just general information so please research and make sure you are not missing any forms.   

What should you keep track of:
1. all of your profit:  (this is the obvious one).  You make a sale write it down.  If you earn money from an affiliate program write it down.  This is any way you make money for this business.  Keep your invoices for your records.  These can be hard copy or electronic. Just know where they are so you can access them if you ever need them.  *Note: I liked to include everything they paid me in this category including shipping. I deduct the shipping later in my expenses. This is optional but I found it easier to keep track this way.

2. Expenses/Deductions:
First I think the most important thing is to keep your receipts! Also this is just a general list and will vary based on your business.  I sold mostly crocheted items so that kind of where my list comes from but it should give you a good idea of what you can use.
business cards
paid ads (think Facebook blogs, newspapers, etc)
referral thank you gifts & incentives

Office/business expenses (behind the scenes/what you need to run your business)
any software you purchase or subscriptions
 Etsy bills,
website fees
I include my picmonkey subscription,
craft fair/expo fees
larger items such as computer, printer, vinyl cutter, sewing machine, etc.
Education (webinars, books, eBooks, etc. seminars)

Product/supplies for product (this is where it gets more business specific)
*include the cost to have it shipped to you as well!*
Here are a few ideas but hopefully will get you thinking about your own business

 Etsy/craft based business 
whatever you use to make your product!
for my Etsy shop I include: yarn, buttons, hooks, scissors, patterns

photography business
printing fees
camera and equipment
photo props

direct sales
product ordered
giveaway items 

 Shipping costs:  
envelopes/packaging products
actual cost to ship items 
postal scale
website fees

Don't forget these items!!!
*Home office-based on square footage.  If you have an office or even a closet that is used only for business you can count it.  It is $5 per square foot (up to 300 sq. feet). Don't forget to add items you need to furnish/organize this space under expenses.
*Business lunch
*cell phone and internet bill-you can take a percentage based on how often you use it for business
*Miles (more info & separate printable below)

3. Mileage:
This will help save you money on your tax return.  
How it works: Every time you drive somewhere related to your business keep track of the miles!  It is suppose to be written down and recorded as you go.  Sometime I miss a few and refer to my receipts to see the places and number of times I traveled.  I use google maps to get the miles-its pretty easy.
Now what miles can you use? 
Here are some examples (in most cases these are round trip-so don't forget to double it)
every time you go to the store for supplies
post office
a clients home
Hand deliver products
photography locations
craft fairs
Download Mileage Tracker here

Mile IQ App is something I've never tried but in researching it seems to have pretty great reviews.  Its for Apple and Google phone users and it’s free! 

I hope this helps get you started.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trash to Treasure Chalkboard

I've been wanting a big chalkboard for a long time and I finally made one from something a little unexpected.

Before and after.

Not bad for a free chalkboard right?!?  The wood and frame were made using my kids old easel and I already had paint and stain.
 I was ready to toss this.  I bought it at a yard sale years ago and its seen better days. It was covered in marker and crayon and we got a new one for Christmas.  I realized the chalkboard was not too bad so I was in the middle of taking it apart when I realized with a little work the wood around it could be changed to the farmhouse look I wanted.  Much easier then building my own frame.
 I was able to detach the front (chalkboard side) from the back with a little bit of work.  Then I headed out side and cut the legs and top little pieces off using my miter saw.  I cut as close to the edge as  could.  Next I sanded the wood just enough to get the crayon and marker off.  
Next I taped off my chalkboard and painted the entire frame white.  
 Then I applied stain on top of the paint.  I did one side at a time and wiped it off immediately.  I did this step twice to get a darker color.  I used ebony stain.  

 Here's how it looks with the paint and stain.  Its a pretty grayish color.

 Now I just need to work on my handwriting skills but I love it.