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Keeping Your Head Above Water

It’s not easy keeping your head above water a lot of the time. It’s not easy sticking to budgets, cutting back and even trying to put away a few savings when you can. That’s why having a little money-saving tricks up your sleeve, a few little side hustles are always useful whether you’re a student, living the single life or have a family.

 

In this blog we take a look at some of the most popular ways to make a little cash online and whether you drive a truck across state or work as a lawyer, you’re going to appreciate these top tips.

 

Your Opinion Counts

If you’re looking to make a few bucks every day and gradually watch your account add up, there are literally hundreds of sites that are asking for your opinion and offer you surveys to take part in. It really is a simple as that. It does not pay well, a few dollars at most but it’s quick, easy and the more you do, the more your pile will grow.

 

Sites such as Valued Opinion and Survey Spotter are popular places to start, so if you’re saving for a little more spending money on holiday or have a credit card to pay off, then get signed up and start bringing in the dollars, a little bit at at a time.

 

Image from Pexels

 

Gambling

Of course, you must steer clear of these sites if you have a poor track record with gambling or find it hard to walk away. You must always only bet what you can afford to lose. On the other hand, bingo sites and the free sweepstakes website can be lots of fun and even bring you in a little win every now and again. In the long run this is not a sustainable way to make money and you should bear in mind the old mantra that the house always wins.

 

A flutter every now and again can be exciting and you never know you, you might even win!

 

Work

While many online sites do require some special skills you can ply your trade on freelancing sites such as Freelancer, People Per Hour or Upwork. If you are a qualified professional you’ll need to filter out an awful lot of lower-paid work but if you’re willing to work for a lower rate you’ll find clients fairly quickly and easily.

There are other sites too such as Copify where you’ll be paid for writing product descriptions, blogs and so on. Again the pay isn’t great but it does mean you can fit it in around your day job and the pot will add up.

It’s not easy keeping up in the modern world and the demands of life. It’s all too easy to find yourself loading up a credit card and sinking even further into debt. If you can find a little side hustle to keep your head above water, then it’s well worth investing your time in signing up.

 

This is a submitted post.

 

Cricut Summer Activity Boxes

Did you know that Cricut has two summer activity boxes of supplies available? There is so much fun in a box for your creative talent. Check them out. 

The following links are affiliates. Using them costs nothing and benefits this site a small amount.

Box #1 includes:

  • Patterned Iron-On Sampler, Charlotte
  • Premium Vinyl Permanent, White
  • Extra Fine Point Brights Set
  • Vinyl Sampler
  • Premium Vinyl Permanent, Coral
  • Vinyl Sampler, Metallic
  • Vinyl Transfer Tape

And it is sale prices at $29.99 $83.43 

Order Box #1 here: [Box #1]

 

Box #2 includes:

 

  • Holographic Vinyl Sampler, Miami
  • Holographic Vinyl Sampler, Horizon
  • Designer Fabric Sampler, High Adventure
  • Glitter Gel Basics Pen Set
  • Washable Fabric Pen, Blue
  • Everyday Iron-On, White

And it is sale prices at $29.99 $81.94 

Order Box #2 here: [Box #2]

 

Which bos will you choose and what will you make? I can't wait to see it!

 

Webber's Steak House in Daytona Florida

We really love finding mom and pop or dive type locations when traveling. You really don't experience a new location when eating and shopping at chain type places. One we found a few years back in Daytona was recommended in an online forum. They said it was the best place for steak. We are back in the area and had to eat there again. Webber's, not to be confused with a Weber Grill or their chain restaurants, this place is what I would call a dive with some of the best food around. There is nothing fancy about this place. It is dated and run down but all the locals eat here. The servers are some of the nicest people and have tons of information about the history of the restaurant and the area. 


view down the bar side of the restaurant


front of the menu


The salad bar isn't big or offer much of a variety but it is all very good tasting.

 


Prime rib dinner. All meals are served with a choice of two sides and garlic toast.

We never have room for dessert but they do offer two different kinds of pie.

Herb and Breaded Pork Chops

This minimal ingredient recipe is quick and easy but full of flavor. Your family will love it and you will love the ability to get dinner on the table in very little time and with very little effort. The secret is the spices already in the breading, which is actually stuffing.

Ingredients:

  • Boneless pork chops 
  • 1 egg
  • Herb flavored stuffing mix

Directions:


Use about 1/2 to 1 cup of Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing Mix (or another chosen brand)
into a blender and pulse blend until fine without lumps.
Place into a shallow bowl large enough to dunk a pork chop into.


Crack the egg into a different shallow bowl and whisk. 

Using one pork chop at a time, coat both sides with the egg and then into the stuffing.


Place the pork chops into a frying pan (or bake in the oven).

Cook until juices run clear.

Make Your Brownies Special


This post contains affiliate links and will help support this site.

Having a basic brownies mix can get a bit boring, you can make it special by adding to it. Just adding a few ingredients can really make a difference. I added chocolate and Cashew Softer Than Brittle. I was sent a few samples of Softer Than Brittle to try for this post. 

Softer than brittle packages

Softer Than Brittle is a unique, soft and flaky gourmet nut brittle hand-crafted from a 60-year-old family recipe. This “better-for-you-brittle” contains no preservatives, cholesterol, dairy, or hydrogenated oil and is even vegan.   Not only is Softer Than Brittle an incredibly delicious and flakey nut brittle, it also features a clean label with just 6 or 7 basic ingredients. It is available in 4 varieties: Peanut, Cashew, Pecan, and Almond.

You can read more about Softer Than Brittle at the Softer Than Brittle Website

brownie mix and softer than brittle

Ingredients:

  • brownie box mix (mine was from Aldi)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 package of Softer Than Brittle

Directions:

Follow the directions on your boxed mix. 

brownie mix
When mixing brownies, don't worry about the lumps, just thoroughly mix the ingredients.
 

brownie mix in pan
Brownie mix in pan.
 

brownie mix and chocolate chips
Add the chocolate chips to the top of the mix.
 

Softer than brittle package
This is what the Softer Than Brittle looks like.
For this recipe, I smashed the Softer Than Brittle in its bag before adding it to the brownies.
The sample size I used was 2 oz.
 

brownie mix with chocolate chips and softer than brittle
Add the Softer than Brittle to the top of the brownies.
 

baked brownies
My husband was helping by taking the brownies out of the oven, he had a little oops with the hot pad taking them out of the oven.
 

brownie finished
Finished and ready to eat - yeap, they were good!

Chicken and Cheesy Potatoes

hero image cheesy chicken and potatoes

I recently found a recipe online for Cheesy Bacon and Ranch Potatoes, a side dish. I thought, "why not add chicken and make it a total meal!" So I did and this is the results of my Chicken and Cheesy Potatoes which my family loved. I have a few picky eaters so I was overly excited when everyone liked it. Being cooked in a slow cooker made this meal extra easy, just add the ingredients and walk away until dinner time. The final image may look a bit bland but I can attest to the fact that it was full of flavor.

ingredients for cheesy chicken potatoes

Some links below may contain affiliate links

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs  potatoes peeled and chopped into quarters
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
  • 8 slices cooked bacon crumbled 
  • 2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing salad dressing mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 3-4 frozen chicken breasts
  • Spray cooking oil

Directions:

Spray the inside of your Slow Cooker with Cooking Oil.

peeling potatoes for cheesy chicken potatoes
Begin by washing and peeling the potatoes
place them in the bottom of the Slow Cooker.

This is one of my favorite kitchen tools, my KitchenIQ potato peeler with a knife.

uncooked ingredients for cheesy chicken potatoes
layer all the ingredients in the slow cooker
cook on high for 4 hours
or low for 6-8 hours

 

cooked cheesy chicken and potatoes
And it's finished
You can shred the chicken to make it easier to serve if you desire

Quick Ways To Pack a Lunch for a Picky Eaters

Picky eaters send mom's across the county into panic mode when school starts and they need to pack a lunch. Toddlers attending a mom's day out program for the first time also send mom's into worry mode. What can they feed themselves without help, what can I send and still look like I am trying to balance their lunch while trying to be a good mom?

 

Remember, they need nourishment. They need a balanced diet but it doesn't have to happen for every meal. Some kids balance themselves out over a week's time instead of a day or a meal.

 

Don't introduce new foods away from home. Send foods they are familiar with and like.

 

Things that are tried and true. Don't rely on a teacher to help open containers or packages. Teachers don't appreciate items that they need to help the child eat. Even in a small ratio classroom, having eight to ten children that you need to spoon feed and eat lunch yourself takes more time than is usually given for lunch.

 

If you are focusing on balancing the meal, do try to send a protein, a fruit, and a starch. Dessert isn't necessary and is often not given to children because not everyone has similar items. Bento boxes are a great option for packing a variety of items for lunch. Some teachers think the child needs to eat well before being given a dessert item so they may be sent home unopened. Your child might not even know it was packed for them if the teachers set lunch up for the children.

 

So what works for picky eaters? Most young children will not eat lunchmeat or sandwiches. You are lucky if you have a child that will eat a sandwich. Your task is much less challenging if you can make a sandwich. But, if you can't, try cereal bars, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, or cheese and crackers. Try sending chicken nuggets, a hot dog, or even bacon or breakfast sausage if your little one likes breakfast meats in place of a sandwich. Do you have a thermos? Send soup or macaroni and cheese for lunch. Consider switching meals around. Send breakfast to school as a lunch substitute and eat lunch and dinner at home. Examples would be cereal or a bagel.

 

Vegetables or fruits are easy finger foods. Young children usually have a few they will eat. Remember to cut them or peel them if needed. Send a small container with dip to make eating fun. Consider alternatives for fruits and vegetables if you have a really picky eater. Try fruit roll-ups or fruit snacks like dried fruit. Something like raisins might work. Other options would be nuts and seeds. You do have to watch allergies in the classroom setting but sunflower seeds or peanuts can provide nourishment and get your child through the afternoon until they can be home and have a snack.

 

Starches are easy but there are good and not so good choices here as well. Potato chips and the like often are filled with empty calories and grease. Pretzels and multigrain crackers are better choices. You know best what your child will eat in this category and often it is the first or only thing they will eat. Sometimes you have to send snack food just to make sure they get something to eat.

 

The point is to get them to eat. If it isn't a balanced meal or the best choice you'd like to make, it is nourishment. Getting something in their stomach so they can make it through the day is what you should focus on. You can continue to work on introducing new foods and providing a variety at home.

______________________________________________________________________________

 

With our busy lifestyles, schedules, and families, being able to do things quickly is important to many of us. 

That’s why several bloggers have come together to offer you projects you can accomplish quickly. Whether it’s preparing a meal, crafting, or cleaning, we want to offer you the ability to do more with the limited time you have! 

Click the links below to see how you can be speedy and productive, all at once!

 

 

Applesauce Pork Tenderloin

This post contains affiliate links

This Applesauce Pork Tenderloin is one of my favorite recipes. I've been making it for years. I adapted it from a Motts Applesauce Recipe I found in a cookbook about recipes found on the backs of packages and labels. I usually make it in my favorite Dansk pan, which I have had for years.

pork loin roast ingredients

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 t Mrs. Dash spice mix
  • 3/4 cup Cinnamon Apple Sauce
  • pork tenderloin

Directions:

Applesauce Pork Tenderloin is a very easy recipe to make, with great flavor. Easy enough for every night dinner, flavorful enough for a special occasion. And it has a very short prep time. As with many recipes, I tend not to measure so feel free to adjust the measurements to your own liking.

pork tenderloin topping
Mix together the applesauce, garlic powder, and spice mix. You can use any spice mix your palate likes.
 

pork tenderloin ready to cook
In a baking pan (my favorite is the Dansk which I have had for years) sprayed well with cooking spray, place the raw pork tenderloin and cover it with the applesauce mixture.

If you want a more moist pork tenderloin and topping, cover with foil before baking.

pork tenderloin after cooking
After cooking at 325 degrees for 2 - 2.5 hours. 
It's OK if some of the applesauce mixture burns in the bottom of the pan.
 

pork tenderloin served
And ready to serve for dinner!

The applesauce makes the meat very tender and provides a somewhat sweet and spicy coating.

Cheese Burger Casserole Recipe

Cheese Burger Casserole

I am having one of those nights where I don't want to cook, it is hot outside, and I have a family to feed with picky eaters. It has been a long time since I made this Cheese Burger Casserole. My kids have never even tried it, that's how long it has been. When I was staring at what was available in my kitchen, I remembered this easy recipe and decided to try it. 

Ingredients:

1
lb ground beef 
1
large onion, chopped (1 cup) - I used powdered garlic
1
cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz) 
1
cup milk
2
eggs

Directions:

Cook and shred the ground beef and add in the onions or garlic. This could be even easier if you make it ahead of time and have batches frozen to use in recipes. 

cooked hamburger
Place the cooked beef into a casserole or pie pan.
I know this is a bit more than a pound of meat. (I don't measure.)

cover with cheese
Cover the meat with cheese. I used a Mexican mix. (you can use any kind, again, I don't measure)

bisquick mix
Mix the remaining ingredients together (eggs, milk, Bisquick)

before cooking
Pour the liquid mix over the meat and cheese.

Place it in a 400-degree oven to bake for 25 minutes.

finished casserole
Finished baked casserole.

serve
Cut and serve

The best thing about this recipe is that it is adaptable. You can add veggies. You can change the kind of cheese. You could change to meat to ground turkey. Try adding spices to your liking. How about different sauces on the side - ketchup, BBQ sauce... After making this, I thought hey, "I wonder how ground sausage and cornbread would work together!" So that might be something to try in the near future. Leftovers are easy to reheat or freeze.

 

Gluten-free version - replace the Bisquick with Gluten-free Bisquick

 

OREO Chocolate Free Candy Bar In-Store at Walmart Easter 2018

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OREOChocolate #CollectiveBias

Did you know that OREO has a special flavored candy bar made with crunchy bits of OREO + mint creme filling + rich Milka chocolate candy? YUM! These OREO Mint Chocolate Candy Bars have delicious bits of OREO Cookie mixed in smooth, mint flavored creme filling and are coated in European Milka chocolate candy. You will want to be sure to stop by Walmart and pick a few of these OREO Chocolate King Size Bars while they are on Rollback for only $1!

 

While you are in store at Walmart picking up your $1 Rollback OREO chocolate candy bars, be sure to look and see if your store has the demo going on for the 1 Million Sample giveaway. During Easter weekend* participating Walmart stores are giving away these bars while supplies last. *March 29 - April 1.

Check the demo locator below to see if your local Walmart is participating!

+Limited to one sample per customer.
++Limited supply available.
+++All times/events are subject to change.

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Playing with Fire

Earlier this week we went to see a screening of Playing with Fire. It was an enjoyable movie that had a few slow parts and many funny parts. I had never heard of a fire jumper and that is who the firefighters were. They jump into fire areas from a helicopter and save lives and fight fires. They save a family of children and that is when the chaos ensues. 

Synopsis
A crew of rugged firefighters meets their match when attempting to rescue three rambunctious kids. Starring John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, and John Leguizamo.

Ghost Bed - Luxury Sheets

You might think as a crafter it is strange for me to post about sheets. I have had sleep issues my entire life so sleep is very important to me. Like many people, the more sleep I get, the healthier I am. I learned early on from my mom that higher thread counts make for softer more comfortable sheets. The higher the thread count the higher the price too. I have always tried to buy sheets that were at least 400 thread count or higher. So when I was offered to review Ghost Bed Sheets and was told that they were a luxury line of bedding, I was all for it. Ghost Bed Sheets are a unique & luxurious blend of Supima Cotton and Tencel Fibers. I ordered the grey version in king size. 

They arrived in the box shown above and it was heavy! 

The sheets came with a thank you note and were packaged tastefully.

As mentioned above, I was already familiar with quality sheets but the first difference I noticed was the band on the fitted sheet. This is the GhostGrip, so your fitted sheet will stay on securely and never pop off! I have to admit this was the easiest fitted sheet I have ever put on a bed. I didn't have to wrestle with it at all.

The kind sized set comes with a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and four pillowcases. My husband and I each sleep with very different pillows. His is flat and practically non-existant, while I sleep with a plentiful MyPillow. So my pillow is fat and doesn't often fit into regular pillowcases. But I had no issues getting the Ghost Bed pillowcase to fit.

If interested the Ghost Bed company also offers an adjustable bed base. But my favorite things about Ghost Bed besides what I have already mentioned is that they come with a three-year warranty and free shipping (remember that box was heavy!).

Movo for Bloggers and Vloggers

I want to thank Movo for providing me this product in order to write an unbiased review.

I think this is a great all in one set up for a start-up vlogger/blogger. The price point isn't going to break your budget either. The clap is very strong and takes a bit of strength to get it opened. I like the different light settings. I use a larger iPhone and it worked without issue in the holder where other brands have worked but at the maximum opening. With the Movo, I could use it with a case on my iPhone where I have to take the case off on other technology to get it to work. The plug is USB so you will need an adapter if you want to plug directly into electricity while you can plug into a computer/laptop directly. 

The Movo VGC-3 + VXR10 bundle includes:

  • Adjustable Light Settings: eliminate harsh shadows and get evenly distributed lighting for your close-up makeup shots with the 3 color, 10 level adjustable selfie LED ring light.
  • Professional Audio: capture crisp, clear sound with the universally compatible Movo VXR10 shotgun microphone.
  • Universal Phone Clip: compatible with all iPhone and Android phones from 2.2 to 3.2 inches.
  • Flexible Arms: bend and twist arms to get the best angles for your video, light, and audio for any project - your newest vlogs, makeup tutorials, review videos and more.
  • 1-Year Warranty: we’ve got your back! Our products are designed to ease your technical woes, not add to them. Our friendly US-based support is here to help.

Movo is a global provider of the most innovative and industry disruptive audio and video equipment. For more information, visit: https://www.movophoto.com/.

Movo is also participating in Breast Cancer Awareness month throughout October. Twenty-five percent of proceeds from its Pink Limited Edition Movo VXR10 sales will be donated to the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. To purchase, please visit:https://www.movophoto.com/products/movo-vgc-3-selfie-ring-light-vlogging-kit

 

Maleficent - Mistress of Evil

We were invited to preview the movie Maleficent - Mistress of Evil. It was a very enjoyable evening at the theater. My teen daughters loved it. My husband thought it was OK, and I am somewhere between the two opinions. The negative - there were a few parts that seemed slow. I also would have enjoyed it more had I remembered the original movie better. The positive - the animation was magnificent! The woodland creatures were lovable. The prince was a strong role that doesn't always come through in Disney movies. 

While small children might be interested in seeing Maleficent - Mistress of Evil, there are some dark scenes. The green smoke might be scary. There are characters and fae that die. There is a battle scene. With all that said, the acting is strong, the scenery beautiful, and the storyline was cohesive. It really does present itself and plays out at a huge cinematic event. Disney fans will not be disappointed. 

See the original trailer:

Synopsis:

In Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to the 2014 global box office hit, Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies, and dark new forces at play. The years have been kind to Maleficent and Aurora. Their relationship, born of heartbreak, revenge and ultimately love, has flourished. Yet the hatred between man and the fairies still exists. Aurora’s impending marriage to Prince Phillip is cause for celebration in the kingdom of Ulstead and the neighboring Moors, as the wedding serves to unite the two worlds. When an unexpected encounter introduces a powerful new alliance, Maleficent and Aurora are pulled apart to opposing sides in a Great War, testing their loyalties and causing them to question whether they can truly be family. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Harris Dickinson, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, and Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, and is directed by Joachim Rønning.

Fun for Families:

Download the PDF family fun package. It includes a door hanger, bookmark, find the difference images, a puzzle, and coloring sheets. 

[Maleficent Fun Pack]

 

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” opens in U.S. theaters on October 18, 2019.

Disney.com/Maleficent

Like us on Facebook:  Facebook.com/Maleficent

Follow us on Twitter:  @Maleficent

Instagram:  @DisneyMaleficent

 

Christmas Crochet Books from Leisure Arts

Thread Christmas Ornaments - 14 Easy Mini Decorations

I don't remember learning how to crochet but I know I have been crocheting since I was a young girl. I am left-handed so I had to teach myself different stitches. I requested the Thread Christmas Ornaments book from Leisure Arts because I love Santa Claus and I was drawn to those little rolly polly Santas on the left image. 

Upon receiving the book, I thumbed through to view all the different patterns. I haven't started on the Santa yet because I didn't have the correct thread handy but there was a pattern for a stocking that I followed. I used a different hook and different yarn from what the pattern indicated and turned out well. The pattern was very easy to follow along and in no time I had a little stocking made. 

Look how cute this little stocking is, it would make a great ornament or wrap for a small gift.

I don't know about you, but I tend to crochet more in the fall and winter months. If you plan on giving any handmade items as gifts this holiday season, it is time to start planning and making. These great books from Leisure Arts can help you with your holiday gift-giving and decorating. 

The following are affiliate links and help in a small way to support this site. Thank you for considering to use them.

Retro Christmas Ornaments - 15 Beautiful Thread Angels and Many More
 
Fair Isle Mittens - Beautiful Designs Including Super Comfy Linings
 

Thread Christmas Ornaments


 

How to Remove Stickers from Wood Furniture

This post contains affiliate links.

Do you have furniture with stickers stuck on it? I do and I didn't know how to get them off without a lot of effort. What made it worse was that they were stuck on wood and they were stubborn stickers. Sadly, they had been there for a few years (can you believe it?). Either I am the best Mom ever for letting my kids do that, or I wasn't paying attention when it happened. Between you and me, it was the latter - don't tell.

I recently received a bottle of the new and better formula of the Best Cleaner Ever. I am a part of the ScraPerfect design team. I figured it couldn't hurt to try, the cabinet was already damaged. I put the cleaner to work on my TV cabinet to remove the stickers.
 
My kids went a little crazy a few years back with stickers from the Skylanders Game and decided to "decorate" the TV cabinet. We have lived with them for a few years because I didn't know what to do with them. If they were on glass, I could easily use a razor blade. But these were on the painted wood frame. The stickers were paper backed and plastic coated. I peeled off what I could to try and expose some of the paper backings to get the Best Cleaner Ever to soak in.
 
Here you can see I have peeled what I could and gave them a spray of one pump for each sticker. I let it soak in and then used a plastic scraper to work at the stickers. 
 
I used a Pampered Chef plastic scraper to work at the stickers after I applied the Best Cleaner Ever. Thankfully you can now order them from Amazon. (I love Amazon!) 
 
Guess what? It worked! I still have a lot more to clean off but at least now I know how to do it thanks to the Best Cleaner Ever our TV cabinet will be saved.
 
 
Don't forget to visit my YouTube channel for craft tutorials.
 
If you would like to see more crafts using ScraPerfect products, make sure to take a moment and follow the ScraPerfect Blog. I post a variety of projects there twice a month along with a number of other lovely design team members.
 
 

 

Prison Fellowship: The Restoration Series

This is a sponsored post.

This series is amazingly honest and eye-opening to those of us who have never dealt with the prison system. Watching the previews make me feel empty and sad, mostly for the children. However, I did feel promise and hope in that a relationship with God was shown. The work Prison Fellowship is doing within our prison system is so important. You can see for yourself by signing up to view the five-part series. 

 

About the series:

For years, Jonathan has been in prison. As a result, he has missed milestone moments with his family. He wasn’t there for his daughter’s first day of school or a thousand little experiences with his wife and as a father, he is devastated to be separated from those he loves most.

Jonathan has been looking forward to his release from prison for over a decade. So many life events have been missed and he is now ready to be with his wife and kids again. Of course, this transition isn't going to be easy. The odds are against him: with over half of prisoners returning to prison within two years, Jonathan is aware of the challenge set before him.

Still, he is determined to take the skills he has learned into the world outside of incarceration and stay there, helping build the community that he is part of for years to come.
 

Prison Fellowship presents The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk, a 5-part documentary film series following one man as he re-enters his community after 15 years in prison. It demonstrates in imagery, powerful storytelling and social interaction what it means to be human and the shared need of all people to see communities restored.
 

 Though America is home to only 4% of the world's population, we house more than 20% of its prisoners. Recidivism–the tendency of a criminal to reoffend—is out of control. The Restoration Series tells the story of men and women who have experienced The Academy, a revolutionary in-prison program that is combatting incarceration and recidivism head on.

 

You can sign up to watch the series at the following link. [Prison Fellowship]

Social Media Links for Prison Fellowship

 

My Experience as a First Timer at Creativation

If you remember reading I was heading out to Creativation, here is my wrap up from my first visit. I don't think it will be my last. Creativation is a trade show for the American Federation of Craft Industry. I met with a number of designers at a few evening gatherings. They are very supportive of the industry and each other. I attended a few sessions where I learned about the industry, the trade show its self, and a bit about Instagram.  I spent two and a half days walking the trade show floor, visiting booths, videotaping demonstrations, making make and takes to sample the products, and collecting contact information. And I walked A LOT! Looking back my time spent seems a bit sporadic, somewhat productive, and overall inspiring.

My first night I attended a dinner for designers at Mi Amigos. It was hosted by Carolina Moore and Angie Holden. They had reserved space for us to gather, eat, and craft with fun items donated by Plaid. I painted this cute flower pot, I think I need to add a succulent!

Other evening events I attended were Meet Me at the Show, and AFCI Networking Event. Both events were well attended and lots of swag were given. Somehow I was remiss in taking photos of the events. I guess I was a bit overwhelmed. 

Friday I was feeling under the weather and missed out on a few great sessions and another evening gathering. Thankfully, my hotel room was really nice and I was able to spend the day resting. 


My hotel room tour.

This display was one from We R Memory Keepers. I need to research it a bit more but you can create these neon looking signs as well as using other wire with their Happy Jig.

On the first day of the trade show floor, it was recommended to me to walk the entire floor first before stopping at booths. I started around the perimeter and made it a good way around to gain the feel for the event. My first stop was at the PMA Industries Inc. booth where I had seen an ad for their die cuts for jewelry making. They had a make and take, and I made these earrings. 

After visiting and chatting with PMA, I learned they were located in Arizona and were the manufacturers of most of the die cuts from several brands. They offered manufacturing of dies, stamps, and punched metals (as seen on the earrings). They were starting their own brand, hence the earrings. 

This was a fun booth with a painting make and take from Debbie Moore. She had a tea party set up with drinks and cakes along with the make and take. 

The following are videos I made while at the event. I felt at the time like I was constantly busy and documenting, but now that I am home, I feel like I missed so much. Seeing other's videos and photographs, there were some great things I missed altogether!


There were displays and awards for a group of new products presented at the show.


Tour the Gina K booth.


Tour of the very popular Lawn Fawn booth.


A very cool product from Bubbalux - I was impressed.


Some new tools from Fiskars.


I was really impressed with the Scan n Cut demonstration.


The award-winning Foil Quill from We R Memory Keepers.


Another demonstration I wanted to see, Gemini Foil Press.


Simon Says Stamp! swag.


A ton of make and takes from the first day on the trade show floor.

My first impression was that the show wasn't that crowded, but it made for easy navigating. Some booths that were popular were crowded and hard to visit. Those typically had big names doing demonstrations. I avoided those gatherings to be able to see and do a bit more. Besides, we can see them on TV and YouTube often.

The first day of the trade show floor being open I just wandered around and stopped as I desired, the second day I went with a list of booths to visit. This made for a more difficult day trying to navigate and locate booths. Once found, they were often busy or not exactly what I expected. 

While I didn't get any photos or video of the Velcro booth, I had a really nice conversation with their sales rep and learned that Velcro was developed from experience with burrs. That makes total sense. First used in the space industry, it has now become a general household name similar to Kleenex. A relatively new product, created in the 60s, definitely during my lifetime. While Velcro had been at Creativation in past years while the show was under a different name, they were welcomed back as first timers this year. 

The trade show is first and foremost an event for buyers, being a designer takes a back seat to conversations and connections. This is why my favorite events of the visit were the evening designer gatherings because of the ability to make connections with companies directly as well as the swag which feeds my website with materials to demonstrate and use. At the show I was happy to make connections with brands that I have worked with in the past like Style Tech Craft (really nice people) and Glue Dots

Having been my first time at Creativation I didn't know what to expect. With this in mind, I am happy with all that I accomplished. I now have a better understanding of the entire event which I feel will feed into attending again next year. I am hopeful over the next few months to make connections with brands I desire to work with. I need to sit down and prioritize my plans and make a ranked list of companies and products, and then get busy! 

 

Disney Releases for 2019

I have to say we are more of a Disney family than not. I don't think we are fanatics but we do love many things Disney. We try to visit a park once a year. We do try to see as many Disney movies as possible. Thanks to my in-laws' love of Disney, my daughters have been raised on Disney. I was excited to see the 2019 movie line up. There are some I am looking forward too and others I hope the sequel is as good as the first. Which ones are you looking forward to seeing?

March 9, 2019 – CAPTAIN MARVEL (Marvel Studios)   #CaptainMarvel
http://www.wdsmediafile.com/marvel-studios/CaptainMarvel/

March 29, 2019 – DUMBO (Walt Disney Studios)   #Dumbo
http://www.wdsmediafile.com/walt-disney-studios/Dumbo/

April 17, 2019 – PENGUINS (Disneynature)   #DisneynaturePenguins
http://www.wdsmediafile.com/walt-disney-studios/Penguins/

April 26, 2019 – AVENGERS: ENDGAME (Marvel Studios)   #AvengersEndgame
http://www.wdsmediafile.com/marvel-studios/AvengersEndgame/

May 24, 2019 – ALADDIN (Walt Disney Studios)   #Aladdin
http://www.wdsmediafile.com/walt-disney-studios/Aladdin/

June 21, 2019 – TOY STORY 4 (Disney·Pixar)   #ToyStory4
http://www.wdsmediafile.com/walt-disney-studios/ToyStory4/

July 19, 2019 – THE LION KING (Walt Disney Studios)   #TheLionKing
http://www.wdsmediafile.com/walt-disney-studios/TheLionKing/

August 9, 2019 – ARTEMIS FOWL (Walt Disney Studios)   #ArtemisFowl
http://www.wdsmediafile.com/walt-disney-studios/ArtemisFowl/

November 22, 2019 – FROZEN 2 (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

 

December 20, 2019 – STAR WARS: EPISODE IX (Lucasfilm)

 

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Review

Tonight my daughters and I went to see a screening of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. We were really excited to see this film from seeing the trailers. The costumes were beautiful. The actors were well chosen for their roles and did a great job. I believe it will be a good movie for families with young children to see over the holiday season. There are a few parts that might be rather scary for very young children. With that said, we were a bit disappointed in the overall storyline. The movie just wasn't as sensational as we were expecting from a Disney film. The film felt slow in parts and left out details in others. Given that we left feeling not totally satisfied, I am wondering how others will view the film and if we are totally off base.

SYNOPSIS

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

Opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 2, 2018.

Directors:  Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston

Producers:  Mark Gordon, Larry Franco

Executive producers:  Sara Smith, Lindy Goldstein

SOCIAL LINKS:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DisneysNutcracker

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/disneystudios

Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/disneysnutcracker

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