Star Wars Crafts for Kids

*articles may contain affiliate links*

Tomorrow is May the 4th, better known to most of us as Star Wars Day! If you’re looking for fun crafts to do with the kids (or let’s be honest, yourself after they’ve tired out), we’ve rounded up some awesome Star Wars crafts for kids that you’re going to want to get working on! Follow the tutorials in the links below, then come back and tell me what your favorite(s) were. Oh, and May the Fourth be with you!

star wars crafts

Star Wars Crafts for Kids

1. Lightsaber Christmas lights from Desert Chica
2. Darth Vader Craft from Kidz Activities
3. Yoda paper bag from The Joy of boys
4. R2D2 luminaries from Diy candy
5. Yoda puppet from Coffee cups and Crayons
6. Star Wars R2-D2 Craft for Kids from Mom Inspired Life
7. Paper Plate Darth Vader Puppet from The Chirping Moms
8. Light Saber Sensory Bottles: Star Wars Activity from Little Bins for Little Hands
9. Star Wars Craft: Chewbacca Puppet from JDaniel4’s Mom
10. Star Wars Lego Mosaic from Childhood 101
11. Princess Leia Bookmark from The Start Button
12. Star Wars Inspired Paper Plate BB8 Droid Robot from Fun Learning Life
13. Light Saber Pencils from Keeping it Simple Crafts
14. Star Wars Party: Jedi Training Badges from Daze and Knights
15. How to Make a Star Wars Inspired Light Saber from Pool Noodles from Disney Family
16. Star Wars Craft: R2D2 Pencil Holder from Crafts by Amanda
17. DIY Lightsaber that REALLY works from Lemon Lime Adventures
18. Easy DIY Star Wars Fleece Blankets from Mom Endeavors
19. DIY Star Wars Fabric Converse from Something Monumental
20. Star Wars Craft: Crayon Resist Death Star from Fun-A-Day
21. Star Wars Paper Lanterns from Adventure in a Box
22. No Sew: Star Wars Costumes from Sophie’s World
23. Star Wars Princess Leia Cupcakes from Paint Brushes and Popsicles
24. Chewbacca Paper Portrait from Geek Dad
25. Star Wars Count & Clip Cards from Raising Little Superheroes

star wars crafts for kids

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These crafts and activities would be great not just on May the 4th but for any Star Wars themed event. Tell me which of these Star Wars crafts for kids you liked best…or if you have your own ideas to share! Bonus points if you recognized I’d be super excited by the toilet paper roll ideas (if you’re new around here, I’ve been collecting toilet paper rolls for years with every intention to make some of these crafts).


Mother’s Day Virtual Tea Party with LLS

Today I’m sharing information about a way you can help make a difference through a Mother’s Day Virtual Tea Party with LLS (the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). My friend Nicole shared the details below with me, but doing good for those with cancer is near and dear to my heart. Many of you may not know this, but my cousin Tracy lost her battle with cancer in February. This year, my cup of tea will be in her memory.

Mother's Day Virtual Tea Party

Mother’s Day Virtual Tea Party

As springtime is approaching, so is Mother’s Day. Traditionally, mothers look forward to spending this day with their children. For those impacted by cancer, Mother’s Day takes on a very special meaning. It is a time to be thankful and share the day with family and loved ones. It is also a time to be hopeful that many more Mother’s Days will be spent together.

Moms like Helen Berry. Helen was diagnosed with Stage III Lymphoma in 2012 and was in the fight for her life when, on Christmas Day 2013, she got the devastating news that her daughter Sarah had leukemia. With a renewed fighting spirit, mom and daughter took on the challenge of beating cancer together. Today, they are both finished with treatments and Sarah is an average 10-year old in dance and gymnastics classes.

 

We’re asking for your help this Mother’s Day so we can continue to gives moms like Helen many more years to celebrate with her beautiful daughter. Mother’s Day Tea is an opportunity for you to invite your loved ones to take part in a “tea party.” We are asking friends to have “a cup of tea at the hour of three” on Mother’s Day to honor those with cancer.

Here is how you can become a Hostess of our Mother’s Day Tea Party? Being a hostess for Mother’s Day Tea is easy – it doesn’t require you to attend an event, or even leave the comfort of your couch!

  • Register at this link: http://events.lls.org/pages/wpa/MothersDayTea2017
  • Share your story about a mom who has made a difference in your life, or what Mother’s Day means to you now that you’re a mom yourself.
  • Invite and share with friends and family members who can make a donation to your Tea Party. Each person has the chance to contribute to help raise money for LLS.
  • On Mother’s Day, upload photos on your social media pages sharing your special tea parties with the hashtag #mothersdaytea2017

So easy, and such a wonderful moment spent with your friends and family all over the country, all while raising money!

New this year, we’re partnering with LulaRoe, which is donating fabulous prizes for all hostesses who raise $250 or more!

Each person who raises:

  • $250 by May 14th, 2017 – will receive a pair of leggings in their size
  • $350 by May 14th, 2017 – will receive a pair of leggings and $25 Gift Card to LuLaRoe Nicole Saville
  • $500 by May 14th 2017- will receive a pair of leggings and a $50 Gift Card to LuLaRoe Nicole Saville

So- the more you raise- the more you get!

LuLaRoe Nicole Saville will be hosting an Online Pop Up to support our fundraising efforts this year! LuLaRoe will match our proceeds that are raised that day to go towards our Mother’s Day Tea.  To find out more, how to donate, and where to shop, please go to the event page on Facebook.

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Thanks for all the details, Nicole! Hopefully you will all join me in the Mother’s Day Virtual Tea Party on May 14. Let’s help beat cancer!

 


Financial Fitness

This post, Financial Fitness, contains sponsored and affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Why Worry About Financial Fitness?

If you’ve been following along, the past few months around here have been sort of hectic when it comes to our finances. We’ve been working on our financial fitness and would like to share a ‘lil bit of our story with you so you can either cheer us on or learn from our mistakes and steps to get out.

(If you’re in debt – don’t feel alone. I’ve heard 80% of Americans are in debt.)

A few years back, I was ecstatic when we cleaned up debt from my single days (leaving a mortgage, car payment, and my student loans). On the work front, things were going good and I even recently started a new one that allowed Greg to go back to being a stay-at-home dad full-time.

Having things go wrong with our boiler, water heater and both cars wasn’t the problem. The problem was that we started living outside our means – splurging for things we shouldn’t have and not saving. We kept increasing our outgoing budget when our incoming pay increased. And when I put things on credit while I was off work longer than expected after having the twins, I didn’t stop. It was mostly groceries and gas, but I’d occasionally find a reason to treat myself, on future money that wasn’t guaranteed.

So What Did We Do?

Most of us have done this, but have you done it to the point that you feel like your financial fitness is days away from flat-lining? That’s how I felt going into 2017, and between praying about it and talking to some others who have been in our shoes, we decided to start living “The Dave Way”, following the Dave Ramsey plan.

First, we started with a budget. Eek. It’s as simple as you have x income and y responsibilities. I freaked out…we were almost $1000 over budget (something we used to make up driving Uber and with my Thirty-One Business – both of which have slowed while we work on getting financially fit – perhaps more on that another day). Scary, right?

We realized we have to do something to get right, which is why the Dave Way is working for us. Instead of buying whatever groceries and gas we want, we’re using an envelope system to budget our groceries and then rolling the extras into the next month (in theory – we just started this part this month).

Not sure how to work with the envelope system? Get your one shipped right to your house – but promise you won’t charge it! There are plenty of ways to earn Amazon codes! 

The second big change for us was putting money away to be prepared for an emergency. Dave calls this Baby Step 1. We sold things, found money in the couch, and cashed in some money from cashback apps. Within a week, we put away money for emergency – and only true emergencies will pull from this fund.

Not sure where you can make this $1000? Think of EVERYTHING. I’ve seen toilet paper rolls, totaled cars, dog walking, plasma donations and more be used to help make this step a reality. 

And we are currently in Baby Step 2, a step dedicated to paying off the debt. We started with the smallest debts and put extra money to them. (Previously, I was putting whatever I felt was “a good round number” to the other debts, usually enough to keep cards from being at limits. This isn’t good practice!) As each debt gets paid off, we’ll roll the payments from those smaller debts into the next debt.

Our tax return helped put us in a financially secure spot for the next few months plus paid off NINE small-ish debts. Now it’s time to cut away at those bigger debts, living weird and like no one else. It feels scary and freeing at the same time.

Over the next few months to years, I’ll be sharing how things are going as we get financially fit. It’s going to be a long, slow process, but quite worth it. I’ll share our strategies and ways we’re bringing cash back into our pockets.

Pro Tip: If you are interested in learning more about what Dave Ramsey recommends, pick up a copy of Total Money Makeover and get all the details.

Spaceship Earth

When the kids found out I would be at Disney without them, Evan had two requests. Get a picture with Mickey and ride Spaceship Earth. 

So far, I’ve accomplished both. Today I am grateful for the memory of spending time with him and Arianna riding this one over and over and over. 

And I’ll be leaving tomorrow with a goal…sell enough Thirty-one in the next twelve months to keep my commitment to our budget and buy us tickets for five days here in 2018. I got this, right?

8 Takeaways from Top Women in Grocery’s Leadership Development Program

Less than 48 hours after hearing our country had not elected our first female POTUS, I had the honor of attending an event with my former colleague, friend, and cousin that celebrated women leaders. We were encouraged to keep our heads up and that the battle didn’t end with the election results. Even though I’m no longer in the grocery industry, I’m still a female leader. I’m on a cloud of happiness from the event and would like to share 8 quick takeaways from Top Women in Grocery’s Leadership Development Program to inspire others like I was.

8 Takeaways from Top Women in Grocery’s Leadership Development Program

  1. Author of “Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way”, Robin Gerber spoke to us about how the results of the election aligned with thought that “our [women] leadership is not yet recognized as fully and importantly as it needs to be”. This was clearly evidenced when Gerber started to write her book as she could only find one other book about female leadership – and it was on Elizabeth I.
  2. According to Gerber, leaders need to communicate. This is what Eleanor did, and she did three important things with her communication:
    1. She communicated in a new way (and held the first ever First Lady press conference, three days before her husband’s first press conference as President).
    2. She communicated to the American people that she was listening (by asking them to write to her).
    3. She communicated with presence (and didn’t lead from her office/home).
  3. When we have a purpose and fight for it, we need to be ready to deal with criticism. Roosevelt had numerous quotes on this, including “get skin as thick as a rhinoceros hide”.rooseveltteabag
  4. Leaders empower others to lead (fearlessly). This was key throughout stories that Gerber told of Roosevelt’s life but also in listening to the executive panel tell their stories of leadership. We cannot stop the fight because someone makes us afraid.
  5. Recognize your leadership potential. I was reading “How: Why We Do Anything Means Everything” by Dov Seidman last month and he notes that leadership isn’t something that can be learned in the same way other skills can. You need to find opportunities to let your skills grow, things like leadership seminars, books, and strong mentors help a lot. In turn, support others who want to lead. “It’s up to us to be great leaders,” Gerber said.
  6. The panel talked about mistakes in their lives that turned into blessings in disguise. Judith Spires (CEO of Kings Food Markets) paraphrased a favorite saying that my leader has said, too: if you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t moving forward. Mistakes are okay, they’re how we learn and grow!
  7. For women who feel stuck in the pipeline, the panel offered some suggestions to clear that impasse:
    1. “You may not always be ready to take the next step. Do it anyway.” (Susan Morris, Albertsons)
    2. “Make your annual appraisal an opportunity for yourself.” (Judith Spires, Kings Food Markets)
  8. Finally, the most impactful takeaway for me was that we need to network. Let me rephrase that. We need support, and we need to seek common people (an affinity) to help us move forward. Together, we can do great things.

I am grateful for the support of my company, allowing me to take a day and grow myself, to allow me to bring back my learnings to my peers. I am grateful for my cousin who won this award and invited me to join her on this day of learning and celebration. I am grateful for a husband who I am not lucky to have, but a husband who embraces the true unity of marriage and teamwork, stepping up to take care of the kids and house while I am off blossoming. Now off to take these leadership development program gems and apply them!

twig

Memory Moments

​It’s day 3 of 30 days of thankful. As I sat with Greg last night (watching game 7 of the World Series), I scrolled mindlessly through my Facebook feed and phone photos. I had a few “memory moments” as I did, and for these today I am thankful. 
Greg and I met 9 years ago yesterday, at (a failed attempt at) a bonfire with Diet Coke and Mentos rockets. Back then, Nurin had long hair and I drove a convertible.

I ran into Canadian guys in an elevator in NOLA last year. They knew George. It was a good reminder of his impact and legacy. Reading it made me miss our First Mate.

Speaking of missing people, I was doing good at Apple Butter this year until Uncle Dave brought the silver out of the kettle. That’s when I could feel Grandma there with us and tears hit my eyes.
apple butter coins
Some big, some small, but all impactful and things I am thankful for today. These memory moments.

Filter Easy (Home Tip!)

*articles may contain affiliate links* This post is brought to us today by Filter Easy.

When it comes to home maintenance, I’ll admit – I’m pretty slack. Things just take a back burner to living life, you know? Things like replacing the solo cup that holds the toilet lever just right on flushing simply don’t stand a chance against extra snuggle time with a sleepy baby. We use lists and calendars, but things don’t always go as planned.

That’s why I was excited to hear about Filter Easy – a service that delivers air filters to your home. We suffer from some pretty rough allergies from dust, mold, and pet dander. Add that to six humans living in an older home and you get a good dust layer on your air filters which then just defeats the purpose. Add that combo to the slack home maintenance list and you get more sneezes and coughs than necessary.

filter easy

With Filter Easy, we don’t even have to think about the state of our home’s air filters. After placing our first online order, they knew the exact size(s) and amount of filters we needed (yet another tedious task – constantly trying to remember our exact air filter size). Then three months later, right when it’s time to replace again, your next set just comes to your doorstep.

Yes, home maintenance to-do-list items can really be checked off that simply! Take a look at what happens when they aren’t:

dusty air filter

Nope, that filter was not that brownish color when it was installed. And goodness knows when we last put them in. (“Pro” tip, write the filter dates on the cardboard part of the filter on installation so that if you don’t go with a service like Filter Easy for your air filters you still know when the last time they were changed was.)

Then when the new filters arrive on your doorstep…

filter easy delivery

You simply unbox and install then wait 90 days with clean air before the next subscription arrives! Check out the (nasty!) difference:

clean air filter

Filter Easy makes it so easy to manage your home’s air filters. Their products are made in the USA and help save 5-10% on your energy bills. There are three different grades of filters offered (LiteAllergen, MicroAllergen, and SuperAllergen – which we tried). The price points on all three are comparable to big box and hardware stores but they take out the time to shop and remember to add them to your list. Win-win!

Tell me – what’s your nagging item on your home maintenance list?

Back to School 2016

No idea how this happened, but the Bigs have made it through eight days of school already. Before things become like Ari’s last day of first grade, we present the official back to school 2016 photos!

back to school 2016

Okay, who stole our babies and told them it was okay to grow up and into a Kindergartner and Second Grader? I mean seriously. Thank goodness they think this is funny.

Arianna will be taking on the last grade that I taught this year. Let that one sink in. She is in the grade that I was teaching when she was born.

second grade

And in ten years, back to school will be her senior year and this shirt will fit her. Sigh.

river hawks

And then there is Evan. He was so excited for full day Kindergarten + free breakfast and lunch this year (what a great score for our district!). Although he was nervous that his bff from Pre-K Counts wouldn’t be in his class (he’s not), he was still ready to give it a try.

BackToSchoolEvan

And the Armstrong River Hawks Class of 2029 is sure blessed to have him as part of their own, aren’t they?

Riverhawks2016E

We are so proud of you, Bigs!

BackToSchoolSigns

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And an even bigger shout out to Greg who took this task on all by himself. I was away for work and got to join in via Skype, but he took care of all the details and photos. Thank you for making their days so special! xoxo

Five Friday Faves: Volume 1 Edition 2

Who has spent this evening questioning (or maybe thankful?) where the time went this week? Me! That leads me right into this edition of Five Friday Faves!

One: The Rio Summer Olympics! Need I day more?

Two: Smart Tribes.My work team read and discussed this book. It is a great professional and personal read about getting in your Smart State. 

Three: Acoustic music. It has been so hot, we needed a few chill moments. I plugged in my headphones and chilled to some peaceful tunes. 

Four: Family time. We got to see my parents and brother plus several cousins and aunts and uncles this week. Always good. 

Five: Tomatoes. We really have no choice. 

What were your fave things this week?

3 Tricks to Change the Way You Groupon

*articles may contain affiliate links* This post about Groupon is one such post.

Have you ever wasted money? It feels awful, doesn’t it? As a family of six, we’re always looking for ways to save money, and Groupon is one of those ways. Problem is, we all too often forget to check them as a site for savings, so I’m going to share with you three tricks to change the way you Groupon and keep money in your pocket.

groupon

3 Tricks to Change the Way You Groupon

Trick One: Sign up for their subscription(s), and opt into ones that are meaningful to you.

I like to follow the Pittsburgh listings and then add locations I’m traveling to (opting out when we’re home). You can choose how little or how much you want to get, but I find these emails are at the least a reminder (daily or weekly) to go out and review what they are offering. Since Groupon is always changing their deals, you are more likely to see those one-off specials if they are straight to your inbox.

Bonus tip – If you have a spending issue (like me, which is why I’m trying SO HARD not to spend in August), set up an email rule to put them in a folder and then a calendar reminder to check out the deals once a week.

Trick Two: Use it to buy products or book getaways.

Groupon Goods is a service that deeply discounts thousands of fun items (think birthday gifts or treats for yourself as a reward for saving money). As you can see above, I found a bunch of things that caught my eye today – but if I don’t act fast, they’ll be gone.

Use Groupon Getaways to find a vacation on the cheap at quality locations. Plug in your destination and find hotels, experiences, and even air travel packages. With thousands of options, you just might find your next dream trip!

Trick Three: To get the most value, don’t forget to redeem your Groupon.

While many Groupons will hold the original value you paid, you don’t want your Groupons to go unused. Get the full advantage and spend them when you buy them. I’m preaching to the choir here – I have one for ice cream that I let go past the redeem by date, so now it’s just like a gift card in the value I paid. Had I redeemed in the redemption period, it would have meant two trips for ice cream, not just one!

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Now that I’ve shared my tips and tricks, follow Groupon on Twitter or visit them on Facebook. Before you go…tell me…how do YOU Groupon?