Christi – Frugal Novice

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Easy Ways to Reduce Pollution Inside Your Vehicle

This sponsored post will help you keep your family healthier by giving you tips to reduce pollution inside your vehicle.

You always are aware of the pollution outside your vehicle, but what about once you are inside? Even though you are closed off from the air outside, it can be just as hazardous, especially if you are in slow traffic or bumper to bumper driving.

Of course the first tip would be to regularly change out any air filters your vehicle has. Keeping on top of their maintenance schedule helps to ensure less toxins inside your car. In addition to that, keeping your vehicle regularly maintained will reduce both the pollution it produces (helping others around you) and the pollution you are closely exposed to.

What about how you drive? Doing things like driving in the carpool lane can help, since less traffic is typically in that lane. Also if you are in less traffic areas or open areas, keeping the windows cracked can help with air circulation and can keep carbon dioxide from building up in your vehicle. If you are stopped at a light, roll the windows back up so that you won’t be stuck breathing in the exhaust from any vehicles in front of you. Also try to keep some distance from the car in front of you, at least enough so that if it stalls, you can easily turn around it.

Try restraining from using air fresheners or deodorizers in the vehicle, and definitely don’t smoke while inside the car. Also keeping your car clean will help dust particles from combining with any potential pollutants in the vehicle, which can eventually be breathed in by passengers.

Hopefully these tips will help keep your vehicle a safe breathable area. If you have difficulty changing out the air filters in particular, taking the car to the dealership will guarantee its replaced correctly. Places such as the Len Stoler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Baltimore MD offer services such as this, so you can get back on the road and breathing freely without worry!

How To: Change the Wiper Blades on Your Vehicle

This sponsored post will save you money by teaching you how to change your own wiper blades! 

One item on your vehicle that you don’t necessarily think about replacing on a regular basis, but perhaps should, is your wiper blades. What good is your vehicle in the rain, if you can’t see adequately through the windshield?

First, here are some signs that your wiper blades might need replacing. If you are using them and an audible sound is emitted each time they pass by. If you notice visible streaks when in use. If you see obvious cracks in the rubber material on inspection. Typically, every 6 months is a good practice for replacing the blades.

Be sure to check at the store that you are purchasing the correct size. You will need your vehicle’s make and model info to check the database on which blades to get. You don’t want to spend money on a set of blades and get to the vehicle only to find out they are either too long or too short, thereby forcing you to return again and potentially lose out on a set (if the store doesn’t accept a return).

So once you have a new set to install, its time to remove the old ones. Lift your blades off the windshield, making sure to pivot them correctly.

When you are about to remove the old ones, take care to note how they are attached to the metal arm. You will need to replicate the process once you have placed the new ones onto the arm.

Sometimes there is a locking tab underneath the wiper. Push the tab before removing the old blade, so that you don’t damage the arm. Typically then you can slide the old blade off.

Once the old blade is removed, repeat the steps used in reverse order. Once you have slid the new blade on, lock it in place and confirm its solidly attached. Be sure to gently place the wiper back down on the windshield, you don’t want to push the arm back down so that the blade slams against the windshield. Otherwise you could potentially damage the new blade and nullify replacing it, or even worse, damage the windshield!

If you notice any damage to your vehicle, be sure to drop by your local dealership to have a check on your ride. If you stop by a place like Reedman Toll in North Bethesda MD, they offer a FREE vehicle check and car wash with any oil change purchase!

Screen-Free Entertainment Ideas for Road Trips

This sponsored post has great ideas to keep your kids OFF their screens and involved with the family! 

You hear about it all the time as a parent – it’s crucial to cut down on screen time for kiddos. Of course, that can be easier said than done once you hit the road, especially on a long trip. I know I’ve said it myself – DVD players can be a lifesaver! When our family goes on road trips, though, I try to have options available to make sure my children aren’t constantly on devices. I thought I’d share some of the solutions we’ve found work well.

1) Activity binders. I like to make one for each of my children, and I personalize the content for their interests. I include blank sheets of printer paper, puzzles, coloring sheets, blank comic book pages, and more. My daughter loves stickers, so I also include a pouch that can hook onto the rings of the binder and fill it with stickers. These binders are a great way to keep loose paper from cluttering up the car, and they allow my kids to have different types of activities all in one place. No need for separate books that just fill up the car!

2) Family games. Our kids love to play I Spy – just make sure they choose items in the car instead of things outside that you’ll be driving past! They also like to play Would You Rather? which is a really fun game for the whole family to play along with. Another game our family plays a lot is “My father owns a grocery store.” One person begins, saying, “My father owns a grocery store. In his store, he sells something that starts with the letter A.” The others then try to guess the item. The person with the winning guess then gets to think of an item for the letter B. It’s easy and a fun way to pass time!

3) Read books aloud. This past fall our family read the book Wonder together. My husband and I would take turns reading chapters, and it was a lot of fun reading all together. Find a book that fits the age ranges of your kiddos, and if your children are old enough to want to read aloud let them take turns too. Wonder is a great book to start with!

4) Play Trivial Pursuit… kind of! Pick a version of the game your family would love (we have the Harry Potter version, for instance) and bring it with you. Set a timer and see how many questions your family can answer within a certain time frame. This lets you all work together, and even the driver can get involved! You can set a goal and have a prize if your family achieves it (like going through a drive-thru for ice cream, for instance).

5) Get artistic. I always bring paper, colored pencils and washable markers on road trip (pro tip – don’t bring crayons during hot weather trips, or you’ll risk a big mess with melted wax!). Assign your kids drawing challenges, like: draw an item for every letter of the alphabet; draw what you’re most looking forward to on the trip (or your favorite activity you did, if you’re on your way home). You could also add in extra challenges like drawing with their opposite hand or drawing with their eyes closed. If you’re going to visit family, have your kids draw art to give the family you’re visiting!

Make sure you’re all set for your family’s next road trip with the perfect vehicle – check out Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Baltimore‘s site for more!

Newbie’s Guide to Changing a Tire

Never changed a tire? Don’t worry – this sponsored post will talk you through the process step-by-step! 

We’ve all been there before…driving along without a care in the world, and pop! All of a sudden the vehicle is leaning to the side with an awful grinding noise – that can’t be good. So you pull your car over on the shoulder or in a parking lot and find out the worst, a flat tire.

What do you do?! There are a few options available, such as calling a tow truck or roadside assistance, but what if you would rather save a few bucks and get yourself back on the road quickly?

Here is a list of steps that will help get you back to driving easily and save a few dollars while you are at it…not to mention giving yourself a boost of self confidence from accomplishing it on your own.

Step 1:

Find a location that is safe for both you and your vehicle while you work. If you can easily turn into a parking lot and off the road, go for it. A shoulder is satisfactory but can be risky if the road is busy. Also make sure your spot is level, you don’t want to risk a rollover or unstable footing for the jack.

Step 2:

Turn on the hazard lights for your vehicle. You want to make sure other drivers know you are having issues with your vehicle and not driving normally, so that others can give you adequate space while you work.

Step 3:

Apply the parking brake. This helps ensure the vehicle stability and holds the wheels firm while you work.

Step 4:

Retrieve your tools from the vehicle. You should have a jack and wrench with you at all times.

Step 5:

Remove the hubcap from your flat (if you have one). Then loosen the lug nuts from the wheel while its still on the ground. You might have to exert some force to do so, using your weight as leverage.

Step 6:

Take the jack and place it under the vehicle in a specified space. Typically the jack has instructions for a designated space near each tire specified by the manufacturer, be sure to find the space. You don’t want to miscalculate and have the jack slip, or damage the vehicle further.

Step 7:

Raise the vehicle enough that the tire will be clear from the road completely. You will also need enough space so that the spare tire will freely be placed on your vehicle. Typically 6 inches is more than enough to clear.

Step 8:

Now that the tire is suspended, unscrew the lug nuts completely and remove the flat tire. Lay it down on its side, flat, so that it won’t roll away.

Step 9:

Remove the spare tire from its storage space in the vehicle and carefully roll it over to the space needed. Lift it onto the hub, making sure the lug bolts are lining up through the rim.

Step 10:

One at a time, put the lug nuts back on the bolts. Work in a star pattern, rather than just clockwise, to help easily tighten them. After tightening by hand, use the wrench to ensure they are secure to the vehicle.

Step 11:

Lower your vehicle using the jack, and remove it from under the vehicle. Once its back solid on the ground, use your weight to tighten the nuts again with the wrench.

Step 12:

Replace your hubcap (if you have one), and place all the tools used back in their designated spaces inside your vehicle. Also store the flat tire in the trunk, making sure to be careful not to injure yourself if the tire has exposed metal etc. Also check the pressure on the spare you just installed if you have a tire gauge.

Step 13:

Drive immediately to your mechanic or service technician. Hopefully the flat can be repaired, but driving on a spare is not a permanent solution. What happens if you end up with another flat and already are using the spare?

One option is driving it straight to your dealership, such as the Waldorf Dodge Ram dealership in Waldorf MD. They will gladly help inspect your tire and get you back on the road driving again.

Genius Hacks for Your Summer Family Road Trip

You’ll love the tips in this sponsored post, and will wonder why you haven’t been using them all along!

It’s mid-June, which means school is out for most kids, and road trips are in full swing. I personally love road trips, but I know they can be a headache for some people. We’ve got three kids, so I totally understand that there are challenges to being in the car for long periods of time… but that’s why I’m happy to share this post with some of my favorite hacks for making road trips as smooth as possible.

1) You know how kids get tired of playing with the same toys over and over again? You can have the same problem with movies. DVD players make entertaining kids a lot easier (I do like to remind my children that when I was a kid I didn’t have any electronics at all on trips), but if you’ve got a selection of, let’s say, 5 movies, your kids might get restless (not to mention – how many times can you listen to Minions before you start reciting it in your sleep?). We discovered the best solution to this ever.

Redbox.

Y’all. This is seriously a game changer. You don’t have to pack a zillion DVDs… in fact, you don’t have to pack a single one. Stop by your local Redbox on the way out of town and pick up a movie. Once you’re done with it, simply find the next Redbox location on your route and return it. We let the kids take turns picking a Redbox movie so everyone gets to watch something they like. Since we rarely make it to the movie theater, it’s a great way for the kids to catch up on all the movies they’ve missed, too.

2) I’m a big fan of behavior charts at home – chore charts, reward charts, etc. – and I’ve discovered a way to take that on the road. I bring three different-colored binder clips with me (you need one per child) and I clip them to my visor. As long as the kids are behaving, their clip stays up on the visor. If they’re whining, arguing, etc., their binder clip gets removed. I tell the kids that I might not even point it out to them that their clip has been taken down – it’s their responsibility to pay attention. If their clip is up on my visor when we stop at the next gas station they’re allowed to pick a small treat. When my kids were younger I would go to the dollar store before trips and buy prizes, then wrap them so the kids could earn “presents” to open, but now I love the gas station treat prize because it helps me minimize what I pack for our trip.

3) When you’re on a long road trip with your family, you inevitably start to accumulate dirty laundry. The hotel laundry bags are tiny, and when you’re a family of 4 or 5, they won’t last long. We’ve started packing a trash bag in our suitcase and using that to keep all the dirty laundry together in the back of our minivan. Then when we get home it’s all in one place and easy to get it all washed!

4) On road trips in the past I would use bags to organize snacks, activities, and toys in our vehicle. While I still use bags for some things, I’ve recently discovered how absolutely amazing plastic tubs are. I love them for use at home, so I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about using them on the road before. You can find small shoebox-sized tubs at the dollar store, and they’re an easy way to store items under seats. The lids keep things from spilling out into the car, and the structure of the tubs helps keep things from getting crushed.

Now that you’ve got tips for your trip, do you have the right vehicle for the road? Visit Thompson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of Harford County for all your vehicle needs.

Get Summer Camp-Ready with Mabel’s Labels

Note: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Mabel’s Labels. I received a voucher to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

MabelsLabelsLogo

Summer’s so close we can taste it – just a few days left this week and the kids are free, ready for a summer of fun. Our two boys will be attending a day camp where they’ll get to do themed activities and go on a field trip each and every week.

With all the different activities the boys will be doing, we’ll need to send various items with them – sunscreen, different shoes to change into, a swimsuit, a beach towel, and more. The point is, of course, that there are all sorts of small-ish items they’ll be taking with them that could easily be lost.

Mabel’s Labels provides the perfect must-have summer camp accessory by way of its limited-edition camp label pack, filled with all the labels you’ll need to keep your kids’ items clearly marked – and totally up your chances of getting things back at the end of the day or week.

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DIY Summer Reading Program with Free Printable

When I was a child I participated in my library’s summer reading program. I read 100 books one summer, earning a trophy (which I still have today – see below) and a $50 savings account at the local bank. I remember loving that particular summer, going to the library as often as possible and reading as late as my parents would let me each night.

My "100 Books" trophy from my childhood can be seen in the white shelf over on the left of this photo.

My “100 Books” trophy from my childhood can be seen in the white shelf in this photo.

Because of my fond memories – and our desire to continually instill a love of reading in our kids – we decided to go to our local library and check out their summer reading program. They have a lot of activities kids can participate in at various branches around town, and each week children can come in to pick up a reading prize. I really appreciate how great our libraries are, but the program wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Kids receive prizes just for coming in each week. So you don’t misunderstand – I think it’s great to have incentive to go to the library on a weekly basis, and our kids love going in and seeing what prize they’ll get that week. I wanted a program for the kids that was more similar to mine, where there are prizes & privileges available based upon how much they’re reading.

I considered several factors when setting up our program. Our boys are 7 & nearly 9, and are reading at different levels. J, our oldest, reads very quickly – but he also reads thicker books. C is reading thinner books that inherently take less time than those J reads.

To keep things fair, I decided to create a system in which 20 minutes of reading earns 1 book buck. The book bucks are a currency the kids can spend on the prizes Brian and I have chosen for them to pick from.

I made book bucks to print out, and labeled a baggie for each of my kids to keep their “money” in. Click here – or on the image below – to download a free PDF for printing your own book bucks!

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Young Living Essential Oil GIVEAWAY Plus a Great Rebate!

We received samples of Young Living products to facilitate our posts. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks and I thought it’d be a great time to update you on my Young Living oils that Tiffany sent my way in the Premium Starter Kit I wrote about last time. And be sure and scroll to the bottom to find out about the amazing rebate Tiffany’s offering – PLUS a giveaway!!

I’ve really liked having the starter kit as my introduction to essential oils because it provided me with a variety of oils to try out. If you go and look at Tiffany’s site it’s amazing the sheer number of oils there are available. And if you’re new to the whole scene, it can seem a little confusing. What should you start with? That’s how I felt, anyway! The kit, though, made it easy. And along with Tiffany’s helpful emails with tips on how to use each oil, I felt like I really had a grasp on how to get started in the world of essential oils.

One thing I had no clue I’d love so much? The diffuser. I’ve always heard people talk about them but was never too sure if I’d really want one. The answer is yes. If you’re not sure if you want one – yes, you do. It’s SO nice to have a completely natural scent wafting through the air & I love that there aren’t other added chemicals you might get with burning candles.

The kids love it too. J begs for me to diffuse peppermint because it says it makes it seem “Christmassy” in the house – and as I’m dealing with a cold I’ve noticed that peppermint is really great for that, too. At night I have really liked diffusing lavender – it’s so soothing and relaxing. And this dew drop diffuser emits a soft blue glow, too, so it serves as a great night light.

They even make adorable diffusers for kiddos with different themes like dolphins or horses. I could totally see getting one for each of the kids to help them drift off to sleep more easily at night.

If you’re like me and wanting to try out oils – but aren’t sure about which ones you’d like – the Premium Starter Kit is the perfect way to get introduced. Or if you’re looking for a unique and really special gift for someone, the kit would be something a whole family could benefit from.

Tiffany is amazing and is offering a huge rebate on the Premium Starter Kits. If you join with a Premium Starter Kit (and this does not mean you’re signing up to sell, just that you’re able to purchase the Young Living products) TODAY you get a $25 rebate – and if you join by 12/31 you can still get a $20 rebate. And either way she’ll also throw in some really helpful educational materials!

Since it is getting awfully close to Christmas and it’s the time to give, we also have a great giveaway for you, too. Tiffany graciously provided a bottle of lemon oil – it’s perfect to diffuse or you can even add it to your water or tea! There’s not much more refreshing than the scent of lemon! And because I really have been so impressed with Young Living products I’m adding to the giveaway – a $20 credit to spend with Tiffany however you like (you could even combine it with her rebate and get $40-$45 off the Premium Starter Kit)!

It’s SO easy to enter, too –  here’s how!

  1. Visit Tiffany’s Young Living site and then comment on THIS blog post telling me which oil you’re most excited to try (or if you’re not an EO newbie, which oil is already your favorite).
  2. Tweet the message below out, and then comment on THIS blog post with a link to your tweet. You can do this every day for multiple entries to win!
    Text for Tweeting: Enter to #win a free lemon essential oil AND $20 to spend at Young Living from @FrugalNovice! #essentialoils #oily #giveaway

Good luck, everyone! I’ll choose a winner December 14 and announce it on the blog!

Terms & Conditions for Giveaway: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
Unless stated otherwise, contests are open to US residents age 18 and older.
The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Following the end of a giveaway, winners have 48 hours after I have posted and emailed to claim their prize before another winner is selected. By entering this giveaway, you are giving me the right to obtain your name, as well as the right to publicize your name and likeness. You’re also giving me the right to collect your mailing information to coordinate delivery of your prize.
If potential Grand Prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in my sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. By entering this giveaway, you agree to hold me harmless in the event that the prize or sweepstakes in some way negatively impacts the winner, or if the company supplying the giveaway prize does not deliver said prize.
This giveaway is being held in the state of Texas. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

Tell Your Own Enchanting Stories with Enchantimals™

We received Enchantimals™ to facilitate this post. Sponsored post by Mirum. All opinions are my own.

My daughter is five years old, which means we’re full-on into the world of dolls. After having two boys first – which means lots of trucks and dinosaurs – it’s been pretty fun diving into the world of girls’ toys!

We’ve spent a lot of time perusing the toy aisles lately (our kids love to look for items to add to their Christmas wish lists)  and we recently discovered a new line of toys from Mattel called Enchantimals™ available at Walmart.

These combine three things my daughter loves – dolls, fashion, and animals – and the five we got were an immediate hit. She decided each girl was the “mommy” of her animal and started making up all sorts of scenarios for them.

Her favorite is Karina Koala™ – she thinks her dress & flower in her hair is beautiful – but her very favorite part is her pink hair!

In fact, she loved the pink so much she had to put on her pink dress to “match” Karina Koala™!

Be sure and check out the Enchantimals YouTube channel for all sorts of fun videos – and in the meantime, here’s a little more about some of the characters to choose from:

  • Bree Bunny™ and her bunny animal friend, Twist™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. Fun touches highlight her bouncy, creative personality, like bunnies wrapping around her ankles on her pink shoes and ears poking from her pink hair. The whiskers on her face and furry touch of hair match Twist and make them the perfect pair.
  • Felicity Fox™ and her fox animal friend, Flick™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals, a fantastical place nestled in nature. They’re so cute with their matching furry tails and flowers in their hair! Felicity Fox™ wears a colorful floral printed outfit with fox ears poking from her rooted brown hair and her facial features are animal-inspired.
  • Karina Koala™ and her koala animal friend, Dab™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. They’re always together, and they look alike, too – with a furry patch of hair and yellow flowers decorating their heads. Karina Koala™ wears a colorful floral printed outfit, has a koala nose and rooted pink hair.
  • Patter Peacock™ and her peacock animal friend, Flap™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. She wears a colorful floral and peacock feather print outfit that matches her chatty, fashionable personality. Her and Flap have matching feather wings and a purple up-do – Patter Peacock™ even has a golden tiara. Kids will love recreating the wonder of nature with these two.
  • Lorna Lamb™ and her sheep animal friend, Flag™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. They share a special bond and match with a “woolly” patch of white hair and flowers decorating their heads! Lorna Lamb™ wears a colorful outfit that matches her sporty personality with wool detailing on her tan boots, pink sheet ears, and her big rooted white hair is so whimsical.
  • Sage Skunk™ and her skunk animal friend, Caper™, are inspired by the world of Enchantimals™, a fantastical place nestled in nature. The funny Sage Skunk™ doll wears a colorful outfit, while her black shoes have a thick white strip to match her furry friend. Skunk ears poke from her rooted black and white hair and her facial features are animal-inspired — she even has a black and white furry tail!

 

Major Black Friday Deal on Hoover Rogue!

We received a Hoover Rogue to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

love to scour the ads before Thanksgiving to see what Black Friday deals will be available each year. Even though we look online ahead of time, my husband and I still always buy the Thanksgiving Day newspaper so we can look through the ads there, too, and plan out what bargains we want to buy.

This year Hoover is offering a $200 DISCOUNT on their smart vacuum, the Hoover Rogue. This great deal is available now through Black Friday at Target, Amazon, Best Buy & Hoover.com (Hoover’s deal will go live Black Friday). As a family of five with three pets (one of whom sheds enough fur to make a new dog each month) we feel like we are constantly needing to vacuum. We’ve loved the idea of a robot vacuum for a long time – and now that we’ve tried the Rogue I can tell you they are totally a lifesaver.

The Rogue’s a little different than some other robot vacuums out there. It travels around the house and memorizes your floor plan, creating a map for itself. We watched on the Hoover iPhone app as it worked (and you’ll notice at the top of the screen shot we named our Rogue Wall-E!) For our first run we just had it do the main living areas and not any of the bedrooms or bathrooms and it was cool watching the app to see as the floor plan developed on screen.

Many other robot vacuums have a bump-and-go technology. This means the unit navigates by changing direction as it bumps into obstacles. With the Hoover Rogue’s Robart™ Memory Navigation Technology it allows it to actually follow a path and get a really comprehensive cleaning done.  And with the app we can watch the progress to see as it cleans each area of our house.

  

The Rogue has a dock and it will take itself back to its home base whenever it needs to charge or is finished vacuuming. We put ours in the living room for now but may move it elsewhere – you could use any location that is out of the way, has access to an outlet, and works well for your day-to-day life.

Another thing I love about the Rogue is the SmartWall™ technology. This means we can go in to the app and block certain areas (maybe we don’t want the master bedroom vacuumed this time, or you don’t want it to go around your dog’s water dish, for instance). And if you use Amazon Alexa or Google Home you can actually give vocal commands!

The Rogue is Wi-Fi connected so you can be out at lunch and start it up via the iPhone app – and as I mentioned above, you can check progress to see when it’s done, meaning you can time your errands to get back to nice clean floors!

And don’t forget – like I mentioned above, the Rogue smart robot vacuum is $499 normally… but is available now through Black Friday at Target, Amazon, Best Buy & Hoover.com (Hoover’s deal will go live Black Friday)!

Crazy 8 Lets You Shine Your Way for the Holidays!

This is a compensated post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

I love shopping for my kids’ clothes, but the majority of the time I’m buying casual clothes for school and playing. When the holidays roll around it’s always fun finding some special clothes for them to wear to church and other holiday events.

Crazy 8 makes it really easy to find fun, cool looks for all three of the kids. And this time around I decided to take advantage of layering to add even more versatility to the outfits I purchased.

For E, I know she loves anything that shimmers and sparkles, so I got her this sparkle star tee and paired it with a gold metallic skirt. I finished the outfit off with gold sparkle tights and black ankle boots.

So cute, right?

If E wants to be a little warmer and add some black to tie in to her boots, she can layer in a fuzzy sparkle cardigan. I love that all of these pieces are separates – it makes for easy mixing and matching!

My boys are 20 months apart, but at the moment they wear the same size clothes – this means their outfits go the extra mile because I can mix pieces between the two of them. I kept this in mind when I chose their clothes, and all the items work great together for even more versatility.

I know J likes to be comfortable even when he’s dressed up, so I kept that in mind when picking his outfit. I got him a flannel buffalo plaid/gingham shirt and grey Rocker jeans with these dressed-up looking herringbone sneakers (I got a pair for C, too – they’re perfect for both of them!).

To change up J’s look a little I also got the Tie Sweater – it’s a fun way to make his outfit a little dressier looking without making him actually wear a tie.

C is art-minded and a little more adventurous in what he’ll wear (he’s worn ties – by choice – to school on several occasions!) so I picked for him a polka dot shirt (which would also look awesome with the tie sweater pictured above), Rocker cords, and those herringbone sneakers I mentioned earlier.

For his added element I knew right away what I wanted to get – this diamond pattern vest. It adds something a little funky to the outfit – and C loves vests. The vest would also look great with the red shirt from J’s outfit, don’t you think?

Check out all the awesome styles at Crazy 8 (they even have great outfit suggestions that will get you started if you have a hard time figuring out what works well together). What’s your favorite Crazy 8 look?

Quarto Crafting Kits – Unique Holiday Gift Idea

We received two crafting kits to facilitate this post. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own. 

Learning a new craft is great fun, but finding a place to start can be overwhelming – which designs to begin with and where to get all those supplies? Luckily, Quarto has the answer with their batch of all-in-one crafting kits. Whether you’re interested in macramé, felting, cross-stitch, or embroidery, these kits have everything you need to get started, including the supplies for two projects. These boxes are the perfect way to learn something new, or to give to loved ones who are interested in needlework but unsure where to start.

Here are the various kits available:

Modern Macramé by Justine Vasquez
10 Simple Projects to Enhance Your Home
Macramé is making a big comeback, and this kit provides exciting and attractive projects inspired by classic favorites, like an owl hanging, and a market shoulder bag. This is macramé for a new generation, though, and includes modern twists like coasters and a customizable hanging shelf. Includes 10 elegant designs, step-by-step instructions, an introduction on knot tying techniques, and all the supplies needed to create a mini plant hanger and a mini wall hanging.

Cross Stitch Creations: Star Wars by John Lohman and Rhys Turton
12 Out-of-This-World Patterns
Now Star Wars fans can show their love of a galaxy far, far away with 12 fabulous cross-stich projects. With patterns featuring the likes of R2-D2, BB-8, stormtroopers, and Darth Vader as well as logos of the Empire, the Rebellion and Star Wars franchise, this comprehensive kit will delight fans of every ability. An easy-to-follow, fully illustrated instruction booklet includes a range of projects, from novice to expert. The kit comes with a needle, embroidery floss, a hoop, and cloth to complete two projects.

Felt Friends: Woodland Critters by Aimee Ray
Create 20 Cute Forest Friends
This unique kit includes a fully-illustrated book of 20 cuddly, felted, animals and plants, plus all the tools and supplies needed to create ten sweet woodland creatures. Each project includes step-by-step instructions along with a photo of the finished product and how to customize each critter. Includes an embroidery needle, a fabric pen, die-cut templates, felt embroidery floss, and stuffing; everything you need to get started.

Embroidery Designs: Boho-Chic by Kelly Fletcher
Everything You Need to Stitch 12 Nature-Inspired Patterns
This beginner-friendly embroidery kit contains twelve boho-chic patterns for stitching trendy flair onto clothes and decor. In addition to 12 iron-on transfer patterns, this kit includes needles, an embroidery hoop, white fabric, and ten skeins of colorful floss. Craft and DIY enthusiasts can mix and match designs like feathers and folk birds to stylishly embellish everything from clothes and throw pillows to wall hangings and totes.

Embroidery Designs: Classic Creations by Kelly Fletcher
Everything You Need to Stitch 12 Decorative Patterns
Blending classic style, undeniable cuteness, and an elegant, modern sensibility, Embroidery Designs: Classic Creations comes with everything crafters need to get stitching. Featuring twelve patterns, two needles, three iron-on transfer sheets, two pieces of white fabric, ten skeins of colorful embroidery thread, and a six-inch embroidery hoop, this fully stocked kit has it all. With this kit to guide them stitchers will delight in adding sweetness and personality to everything from tea towels and tote bags to onesies, napkins, and pillowcases.

Embroidery Designs: Modern Monogram by Kelly Fletcher
Everything You Need to Stitch 12 Elegant Lettering Patterns
Simple, elegant monograms never go out of fashion. Blending classic designs with a chic, modern sensibility, the twelve appealing patterns here can be customized by crafters to easily add monograms and initials to everyday items and handmade gifts. This comprehensive kit makes it possible for stitchers of every level to get started right away. Along with twelve patterns and a selection of lettering styles (primary and secondary), the kit also includes two needles, three iron-on transfer sheets, two pieces of fabric, ten skeins of embroidery floss, and a six-inch bamboo embroidery hoop.