Duck Tape Chain Necklace

 I went to SNAP last week, and wanted to have some fun jewelry to wear. When I saw that Duck Tape was going to be one of the sponsors, I knew I had to make some Duck Tape jewelry! That’s when I came up with making a Duck Tape Chain necklace. This is an easy project to do, but it does take some time. I worked on mine while watching West Wing reruns (LOVE that show!), and it took me about 2 hours to make it.

If you want to make your own, here is what you need:

Roll of Duck Tape (I used “Hot Rod”)
Sharp Scissors
Rubbing Alcohol
Paper Towels

I started by cutting Duck tape into strips between 3/4″ and 1″ wide.
Fold the strip up about 1/4″ so that the sticky sides are together. Fold up again and again until you have a long strip with all the sticky on the inside. Repeat until you have a LOT of these.

 If your scissors get sticky while cutting, wipe them down with rubbing alcohol on a paper towel. To keep your scissors from getting super sticky after each cut, try cutting the tape with the tape side UP instead of the tape side down. I found that this kept the tape from rubbing against the side of the blade as much.

Then it is time to make the links. Cut more strips of Duck Tape, this time cutting each strip into 3 or 4 smaller strips. put a small strip at the end of one of the folded pieces, wrap the piece around so that both ends stick, and then secure it by wrapping the small piece of Duck Tape around.

To join your links, create 2 links. Put them on a folded strip, and then turn the folded strip into a link using the same method. Adding links 2 at a time instead of 1 at a time will make building the necklace much faster!

Keep adding links to your chain until you’ve reached the desired length… or run out of Duck tape
 (whichever comes first)!

Get Kids Involved in Gardening with Tools from the Home Depot

  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.

Last weekend, my son and I spent some time in the yard. I remember gardening with my mom when I was a child. We had a big yard, and I would help dig holes, or rake. Often, my job was to bring water to my mom and aunt as they worked in the sun. My favorite part was watching the plants grow.

At four years old, Little Moore hasn’t really had the chance to see a plant grow. It was time to change that. Time to get him excited about gardening. I started by taking him on a shopping trip to The Home Depot to pick out some gardening tools. We picked out big gardening tools for me, small gardening tools for him, and gloves for both of us. The gardeningtool he was most excited about was the garden sprayer, which is no surprise to me.

Unfortunately for him, we didn’t get to use the garden sprayer until the end. We had to start by putting our gloves on…


Gloves are probably my favorite tools. They keep my hands protected from all the sharp and pricklies in the yard. I’m always sore after a day of pulling weeds… but if I do it with gloves on, then my legs and back may be aching, but my hands are fine.

While weeding, I pulled out the rake regularly. Because I’d had the sprinklers on for some time before the weeding began, the rake easily pulled out a large chunk of the weeds in the yard, leaving me with much less to pull by hand.

For weeding in the rocks, the action hoe was perfect. It really gets between and under the rocks to pull out the weeds without having to bed over and pull them individually.

Between pulling the weeds from the rocks and from the lawn area, we ended up with a lot of weeds. More than we could get in the garbage!

Weeding a yard is probably one of the most tedious tasks on the planet, but we managed to make it fun. While working on the yard, we found several ladybugs to keep us company. LM was thrilled to have one crawl on his hand.

We also took some breaks to make sure that the sprinklers were working. Getting to turn on and off the water, and getting to run though the sprinklers, is a fun treat and turns yardwork into play time.

Once the lawn area was weeded, we convinced my husband to run over the lawn with the lawn mower. I would have done this, except I have no idea the last time that mower was started, and was afraid of complications. I might have preferred running to The Home Depot and picking up a new lawnmower, but hubs got some new gas, started the mower just fine, and then mowed the yard which was less lawn and more weeds!

Once we finished up with the yard, adding more fertilizer and grass seed, we were ready to work on the planter bed. This was Little Moore’s favorite spot. He loved digging in the dirt with me to put in the potted tomatoes and bell peppers, and he REALLY loved digging holes to put in seeds.

Then came the best part… watering the plants…

 Later this week I’ll be sharing with you how the garden is growing… with a couple fun surprises!

It’s home improvement time, and The Home Depot has everything you need to #DigIn for Spring. No matter what projects you want to tackle, they have great values on all you need. They’re ready to help you with renovation ideas and expert advice, too.

Get over $300 in email exclusive savings each year, sneak peeks on new products, monthly lawn & garden ideas for your region and access to The Home Depot’s gardening experts. Click here to join the world’s largest garden community today! Or go to The Home Depot Garden Club to see some of the many benefits of membership.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.

    New Headshot Photo!

    While at SNAP, I had a new headshot photo taken! It seemed like a great idea… while I was dressed in something other than yoga pants, and had taken time to do my hair and put on a little makeup… plus with so many insanely talented bloggers around who could take a good photo.

    I was able to snag Kendra from My Insanity for 5 minutes before a meal. We took this photo in front of the show barn. It took about 5 tries to get me to smile BIG, but we captured a new photo that will soon be replacing my old photo on all my social media channels! YAY!

    I thought it was especially important because I had several bloggers tell me “You’re so much prettier in person than you are in your profile picture”. Which to me is an amazing compliment. It tells me that who I am in person is so much more than what I’m able to convey through words and photos. I was also told that I’m much more “irreverent” in person than I am online… which is probably true, and I will absolutely take as a compliment as well! HA!

    What do you think? Does this picture look a little more like me? If you’ve met me in person – does “irreverent” describe me?

    Brown Cow Cookie Recipe (and a taste test comparison!)

    This is a sponsored post.

    Do you ever go shopping for ingredients and wonder if there really is a difference between the brand name and store brand ingredients? Part of me thinks that the store brand sugar and brand name sugar are probably grown within a mile of each other, and processed at the same plant. But part of me thinks that the brand name must be better… surely I’m paying for more than a fancy logo and an ad campaign, right?

    That’s why I was super excited when I was contacted to be part of the Smart & Final taste testing project. I bought identical ingredients, and baked cookies with them. That’s right – I baked up two batches of my Brown Cow cookies. The boys in this house were very, very happy.

    I started by gathering my ingredients. On the brand name side, we have C&H Pure Cane Sugar, Challenge Butter, McCormick Vanilla, C&H Powdered Sugar, Gold Medal flower, Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, and Toll House chocolate chips. On the store-brand side we have the Smart and Final brand. I bought the same ingredients of First Street Products. Both butters are unsalted. The only notable difference is that the first street vanilla is 4oz, whereas the McCormick is 2oz.

    I wasn’t going to taste the individual ingredients, but I did taste the chocolate chips. Chocolate chips right out of the bag are one of my go-to treats. I usually have a giant bag of Toll House chips in the freezer, so that’s what I’m used to. I thought the First Street Chips had a slightly more earthy, raw-chocolate taste to them. My husband, however, thought they tasted identical.

    I then made the cookies (recipe at the bottom of the post). Two delicious batches. These cookies actually make pretty small batches, only about 30 cookies, so making two batches wasn’t an overload.

    You can see the cookies look a little different. The brand name on the left are a little lighter, and the First Street on the right had a different powdered sugar distribution pattern.

    After baking the cookies came the important part… the tasting. Hubs, Little Moore and I all tasted. Little Moore took the tasting very seriously.

    Little Moore liked the brand name best. He declared “those are the good ones”.
    It was a close call for me, but liked the brand name better as well. I thought they were slightly sweeter and softer. The First Street cookies did have a richer cocoa flavor, though.
    My husband liked the cookies made with First Street ingredients best. He said that it was the First Street cookies that tasted sweeter to him.

    But we all agreed that cookie tasting is something that we should do more often!

    If you want to make up some of these yummy Brown Cow Cookies yourself, here’s the recipe:

    BROWN COW COOKIES
    Recipe from Always Expect Moore
    1/4 c butter
    1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
    1 cup flour
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    powdered  sugar to coat cookies

    Do not preheat your oven. The dough will need to refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

    In a double boiler, or carefully in the microwave, melt together the butter and chocolate chips.
    In a mixer, vigorously mix together the melted mixture and the sugar until the mixture begins to cool.
    Add eggs and vanilla.
    Slowly incorporate flour, baking soda, and salt.
    Refrigerate dough for 3 hours or overnight.

    When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 300 degrees and grease your cookie sheet.
    Roll the dough into 1″ balls, and coat with powdered sugar. Place at least 3″ apart on a cookie sheet (these cookies spread out a LOT)
    Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies begin to set.
    Allow to cool slightly, and remove to a cookie rack to cool further.

    I like to serve my brown cow cookies with a glass of cold milk.

    I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Smart & Final #cbias #SocialFabric

    This week was brought to you by: Moments

    In the past 7 days I have packed in the excitement, stress, passion, and energy that I normally am able to eek out of a full 30 days. It has been a big week. Filled with so many moments.

    On Sunday, I shared 3 fun baby shower games that were played at my sister-in-law’s baby shower the previous day. I wasn’t able to go to the shower, so I sent up these baby shower games, along with a baby shower wreath for the party.

    I needed to get some serious yard work done… so I made a plan for what we needed, and then took a trip to the Home Depot with Little Moore. There is some fun video of LM that you’ll want to check out!

    On Wednesday, I hosted a fun party at my house for some of my local blog friends to come over and talk about diapers. You’ll be hearing more about that soon… but you may have already seen pictures of the party on Instagram.

    After the party wrapped, I loaded up the car, and headed on the nearly 6-hour drive to Salt Lake City to pick up Carissa from Creative Green Living from the airport, and then drove to SNAP Conference, where I am now.  It has been an amazing few days. I presented to a packed room of bloggers on how to use Google+, and there were more glitches and issues in getting that presentation to happen than I can share in this post… but I’d like to thank my years in Toastmasters, and the sense of humor that I inherited from my parents for getting me through that presentation in style. I think the audience even learned a little!

    Leaving my boys for so many days hasn’t been easy, and I’m glad I had the Crystal Pendant Necklace I shared earlier this week along. It has been nice to have a little bit of “home” here with me.

    I was also able to accomplish one of my goals this week… I launched a fun new site dedicated to obscure holidays… so if you want to find a fun way to celebrate Jellybean day or Penguin day… check out Obscure Holiday Crafts for some inspiration!

    There is always more going on around here, and I promise I’ll share more details about my week soon! In the meantime, if you’re on Instagram, you should check out the fun Google Eye Contest I have going on, and if you’re on Pinterest, you should check out the Paid to Pin contest.

    One more thing before I head back to the party… last night I was walking back from the last event of the evening, and I saw this… I just had to stop and take a picture…

    There was a couple dancing under the lights of the gazebo. Holding each other, and swaying to music that only they could hear.

    It reminded me that though weeks seem to fly by … they are made up of individual moments. I’m trying to immerse myself in each experience and each moment as fully as I can.

    Shopping for new Tools at the Home Depot

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.

    We have a joke in our house that although most of the tools in our house belong to my husband, I’m the one who uses them the most. He gets tools for birthdays and Christmas, and then I get to play with them. It works out great for me!

    But sometimes he doesn’t have the tool that I need in his well-gifted arsenal. That is the case with gardening. Not being a big gardener, most of the garden tools are those that I have collected.

    To get started on whipping our garden into shape, I headed to the Home Depot for some new tools with my son. You can watch a video on how we did… and see my 4-year-old be highly amused as he sticks his tongue out!


    I have to tell you a story about the car cart…
    When we arrived at The Home Depot, my son immediately asked for a Car Cart. He LOVES the car carts. We didn’t see any in the parking lot, so headed inside. At the door, an employee asked us if we needed help finding anything. My son told him we were looking for a car cart, and the employee (I think his name was Joe) immediately joined our search, and hopped on the radio to ask others for help. I was so impressed. But I was about to be blown away…
    Joe told us that all the carts were in use. If one became available, he would snag it for us, and track us down. I thanked him, grabbed a regular cart, and we did our shopping.
    About 20 minutes later, Joe found us. And he brought a car cart. My son was so excited. And I was so impressed. I want to stress here that these employees did not know that I was a blogger on a mission to do a series of posts sponsored by the Home Depot. They had no “special” reason to go out of their way for me… except they clearly cared that much. To the team at Home Depot #3324 – you blew me away. And that is NOT an easy thing to do!


    We spent quite a bit of time selecting our gardening tools. We needed a rake so that we can return the rake currently in our garage to our neighbor (note to self: still need to bring rake to the neighbor), and some tools to make weeding easier, like the hoe and of course gloves.

    I also made sure to get some small, lightweight tools for my son. He loves digging in the dirt, and I want to encourage him to get used to using “real” tools. We found a set of small plastic hand tools, that were lightweight and inexpensive. They are real tools – not kiddie plastic tools – and will last us for years. And I love that, being plastic, he won’t do as much damage if he bangs them against my bricks, sidewalk, fence posts… and whatever strikes the fancy of a 4-year-old boy.

    We purchased some weed killer (this weed killer is a combination of weed killer and pest control: score!), for the side yard. I spent the better part of the day fixing up the side yard, I want to keep it weed-free.

    Our last watering nozzle for our hose has gone “mysteriously” missing, so I had to buy a new one. You can see the two I purchased in this picture. One is a combo water+feed nozzle. It feeds the plants while watering them, which is great. My son loves to do this part. I knew he would. Which is why I bought the second nozzle. Although the MiracleGro Nozzle has an option to use it without the plant food portion, my son would play with it as if it was his own personal toy. Switching the feeding nozzle out for a standard nozzle when we are not feeding the plants means that he can still play with the different sprayer settings, without me worrying that he is “feeding” our sidewalk.

    … stay tuned to see us in action as we #DigIn to get this yard whipped into shape!


    It’s home improvement time, and The Home Depot has everything you need to #DigIn for Spring. No matter what projects you want to tackle, they have great values on all you need. They’re ready to help you with renovation ideas and expert advice, too.

    Get over $300 in email exclusive savings each year, sneak peeks on new products, monthly lawn & garden ideas for your region and access to The Home Depot’s gardening experts. Click here to join the world’s largest garden community today! Or go to http://gardenclub.homedepot.com/ to see some of the many benefits of membership.

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.

    Crystal Pendant Necklace

    Several years ago, my oldest son picked some simple flowers from our backyard, and presented them to me. It was so sweet that I pressed them and kept them in a frame. The frame has been tucked away in a corner of my craft room… and I wanted to use these flowers for something a that would get a little more exposure. I thought I’d put a dried flower on the back of a crystal and use it as a pendant necklace. And I’m wild about how this turned out!

    Supplies:
    Large Crystal (I used the clear 2.5″ rectangle from We Got Crystal)
    Mod Podge
    Paintbrush
    Pressed and Dried Flower
    Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
    Jump Ring
    Necklace

    I started by using the Mod Podge to set the dried flower to the back of the crystal. I put down a thin layer of Mod Podge, and pressed down the flower.

    I then added a layer of Mod Podge on top. I let this dry overnight.

    The next day I added the jump ring to the top of the crystal, and then put on a layer of Dimensional Magic. Dimensional Magic is self-leveling. Meaning that it needs to be on a flat surface. The back of the crystal is flat, but the front is faceted. To keep the crystal flat, I folded up a towel underneath the crystal.

    I let the Dimensional Magic dry overnight. Then added another layer, and let it dry again. Then added a third layer. I wanted to really build up the back to protect the flower. Between each layer, I removed any excess Dimensional Magic that seeped through the holes in the crystal to the front. This was easy to do with a sharp knife, it came right off!

    The flower was purple, but after the first coat of Dimensional Magic it went brown. At first I was shocked by the color change, but now I love it. It gives it a very vintage look!

    … and now I can enjoy this sweet sentiment from my son all the time!

    Pinning means winning!

    could you get paid to pin 

    Are you addicted to Pinterest? I love pinning the fun projects that I find online…and checking out other pins there. Though I pin for fun, I actually know some people who get paid to pin! I got together with my friends, and we want to reward one of our readers with this great giveaway! One lucky winner is going to get $100 Visa gift card just for pinning some awesome pins! We’ve made it super easy, just follow these steps:

     1. Check out this Pinterest board, and repin as many of these pins as you would like (or just repin them all!)
     2. Once you’re done pinning, Click on your image in the top right hand corner of Pinterest, and then copy the URL at the top (this is your Pinterest Profile URL).
     3. Come back to this page and use the rafflecopter widget below to share which of the pins you re-pinned. You just click on the pins you chose, paste your Pinterest Profile URL, and submit the entry (this is so we can verify your entry if you win). If you’re a visual learner, we made this handy video to show you how it is done! Click here to watch the video. a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Heading to the Home Depot for some new tools…

     This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.

    We’re having the baby’s birthday party in less than 2 weeks, and it is time to get the yard in shape. If you’ve been following along, you know that I worked really hard on the side yard, but still have the yard of shame.

    My first step is to get some new gardening tools. We do have some good garden tools… a shovel, a wheelbarrow, a lawn mower, pruning shears… and a rake that is currently on loan from the neighbor. All the tools are stowed away neatly in our garage…

    My husband is so optimistic about not needing to mow the lawn that he has tucked it away behind everything else in the garage. We haven’t been camping in over 7 years (I’m sad that it has been that long), but it is easier to reach the camping equipment than the lawnmower. We have a string trimmer back there somewhere, too… we may need to replace it, or at least get new string.

    In addition to a new rake, I’ll be checking out The Home Depot for some gardening gloves. I love getting my hands dirty, but chipped nails do not look good in DIY tutorials, and I’m not a fan of blisters. I’ll also want to find some kid-sized tools. I want gardening time to also be bonding time that I can spend with my preschooler. He’s growing up so fast, and learning so much… I want him to do some of that growing and learning by my side with our hands covered in dirt. Gloved or ungloved.

    We’ll want to grab a weed killer of some sort for the side yard. Though I put down a fresh layer of weed block fabric, I don’t trust the weeds not to come back again. We might look into an electric pressure washer to clean off the patio and really scrub the stucco walls. My mom has one that she can bring over, so it may be a tool that we just loan from her.

    And as long as we are at the Home Depot Garden Center picking up tools, we’ll grab some seeds and potted plants as well. I mentioned before that according to the zone that I live in, I need to get my tomato plants in the ground by the end of April. And I want my kiddo to be able to plant some seeds and watch the plants grow.


    What’s on your shopping list this spring? If you need help – you can always ask a Home Depot Expert!

    It’s home improvement time, and The Home Depot has everything you need to #DigIn for Spring. No matter what projects you want to tackle, they have great values on all you need. They’re ready to help you with renovation ideas and expert advice, too.

    Get over $300 in email exclusive savings each year, sneak peeks on new products, monthly lawn & garden ideas for your region and access to The Home Depot’s gardening experts. Click here to join the world’s largest garden community today! Or go to http://gardenclub.homedepot.com/  homedepot.com/gardenclub to see some of the many benefits of membership.

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.

    Three Printable Boy Baby Shower Games

    Want some quick and easy games for an upcoming baby shower? Here are three quick and easy games for you to print out. Printable games are great for showers at restaurants where you may not have a lot of room to move around, or for a shower at someone’s home if you’re unsure of the layout. They are also great if you have a big age range in the attendees, because printable games tend to level the playing field.

    I put together this combination of games for my sister in law’s baby shower. She’s having a boy! I was unable to go to the shower, but still wanted to help out. I was able to put these together, print them out, and mail them off so that I could still be there in spirit. All that her sister, the hostess, had to do was provide pens and prizes! Super simple, right?

    Here are PDF files of each of the games – none are personalized in any way, so you can just print and go! I printed mine on different colored paper for fun… but white would be fine. Each sheet has 2 copies per page, saving on paper. Just cut down the middle.

    Boy, oh boy! – come up with as many words as you can that use the word “boy.”

    How Handsome! – Does mama-to-be want the baby to have her eyes, or daddy’s? Guess which family tree she favors!

    Finish the Nursery Rhyme – A baby shower classic… how well do you know your Mother Goose?

    Click on the links above, and print out the shower games!

    I sent a shower package with these games, a welcome baby pennant wreath, and of course my baby shower gift! I’d made some 30 minute baby bibs out of some of my favorite boy fabrics!

    Here are some more of my Baby Shower ideas… yes, I’ve run quite a few of these!!
    Winnie The Pooh Baby Shower
    More Baby Shower Games (with Baby Shower Bingo Printable)
    Orange and Monster Truck Baby Shower
    Duck Themed Baby Shower
    Ideas for a baby “sprinkle”