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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to make an Easter Wreath for under $10

Good morning y'all!  Are you seeing signs of Spring outside yet?  Here in Georgia, it's cold and windy again with rain coming back tomorrow, then 70 degree temps this weekend!! Crazy weather this year, but time marches on, so I'm decorating for Spring & Easter!

A few weeks ago, I was at Michaels and saw the most darling wreath.  It was covered in yellow feathers then dotted with Easter eggs and really, really cute.   The frugal decorator in me knew I could make it for less than the $30 price tag Michaels I went on a scavenger hunt.  It took two trips to do it cheaply!
I bought 3 Craft Boas (they are next to the costume boas, wrapped on cards and cost $1.99 each), 3 picks of small glitter Easter eggs (99 cents each).  I went twice so I could use 2 of the 40% off coupons on 2 of the boas.

At home I found a wreath form (styrofoam) I bought at Dollar Tree a while back, and I cut a length of sheer pink ribbon.  I wrapped the boas (2 hot pink, 1 light pink) around and around the wreath.  I glued the ends down.  Then I cut the eggs so that each had about 1 1/2" of pick left to stick in the wreath.  Once it was done, I tied the ribbon around the top of the wreath and hung it on my wreath hanger.  Voila!!! Instant Easter decor and it's all the things I love about Easter decorating: bright, glittery and FUN!  Even better, it was very inexpensive - even with tax, I believe it was about $9 for everything! I absolutely love it.  I think it looks adorable with my teal front door!

What's hanging on your door this Spring?  Share a link ~ I want to see!!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Purex Complete Crystal Softener Review & GIVEAWAY!!!

Time for another giveaway!!  As a Purex Insider,  I was given the opportunity to sample one of their new products. So for the last two weeks I've been trying out their Purex Complete Crystal Softeners.  Have you seen these crystals in the laundry section of your store?  They are pretty as can be, these tiny crystals that you add to your wash for a freshness that really lasts!!

During this process, I learned a lot about traditional liquid fabric softeners, and how they differ from Purex Complete Crystals.

Did you know that traditional liquid fabric softeners are:
  • most are oil-based? That means they work by coating your clothes in oil!
  • This oily residue builds up over time, and actually allows dirt to stick to your clothes, decreasing the lifespan and leading to discoloration...
  • The oily residue can interfere with the absorbency of towels and other fabrics...
  • That children's pajamas can become LESS safe if treated with traditional liquid fabric softeners.  The fibers of those items are treated to meet flame-retardant standards, and the oily residue from traditional fabric softeners can impair the effectiveness of the flame-retardant treatment!! Who knew?!  I was honestly shocked by this, since I did use a traditional liquid softener with all of my laundry, including my kids' pj's! 
  • If you wear sportswear that wicks moisture/perspiration away from your body during exercise or recreation, the oily residue from traditional fabric softeners can reduce the effectiveness of the fabric's moisture wicking!
Purex Complete Crystals, on the other hand:

  • are 92% natural, and not oil-based.
  • Towels stay fresh and absorbant with Purex Complete Crystals.
  • is the first major fabric softener that is completely safe to use on children's sleeping garments and will not impair the flame retardant qualities.
  • does not inhibit wicking fabrics so they are safe to use on your active/athletic wear.
  • Safe for all of your laundry, will not cause discoloration to your clothing
  • Add directly to your laundry.  You don't have to add during the rinse cycle, or put them into a compartment.  Just sprinkle onto the laundry and start the cycle!
  • Safe for HE, top loader, and side loader machines!

Purex Complete Crystals are available in three lovely scents: Fresh Spring Waters, Lavender Blossoms, and Tropical Splash.  I received a sample-sized bottle of the Fresh Spring Waters scent and I used a free coupon to try the Lavender Blossoms scent.  Both are fresh and invigorating, but my favorite is the Lavender Blossoms.  Yum! Since you add the crystals directly to your laundry, they go through the entire cycle with your clothes, so the fragrance is infused throughout the load.  And the scent really lasts in your freshly-washed clothes, sheets and towels. I've been using the crystals long enough to be able to confirm that!

One last thing:  On the Purex Insider boards someone mentioned that she had placed these crystals in bowls to use as a decorative air freshener around the house!  Once you smell them, you will understand why!
Purex Complete Crystals can be found at many stores nationwide. Personally, I've seen that Walmart has them for under $4, and Walgreens sells them for under $5.  

I have three coupons to give away to my readers, each for a FREE bottle of Purex Complete Crystal Softener.  There are several ways to enter, but you must leave a separate comment including your email address for each entry!   Contest will end on Sunday night, April 3 at 11:59 pm EST.  Winners will announced Monday, April 4 and you will have 48 hours to contact me, or alternate winner will be drawn. I'll mail the coupons by the end of that week.  (Once coupons are delivered to USPS for delivery to winners, I am not be responsible for lost or undelivered mail). 

Mandatory Entry: 

Like Purex on Facebook, and leave me a comment with your facebook id, so I can verify if you are one of the winners!  While you are there you can get a $1 off coupon for the Crystals, as well!

Additional Entries: (don't forget to leave a comment, including your email address, for each one)

Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect (if you already do, leave a comment saying so)  (counts for 2 entries, leave 2 comments)

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Facebook

Subscribe to my Feed ( above right in sidebar under Subscribe heading), then confirm the email you receive.

Tweet about this giveaway, leave a comment with the link to your tweet. (2 entries, leave 2 comments)

Post about this giveaway, leave a comment with link to your blog post.  (4 entries, leave 4 comments)

Vote for my blog on The Picket Fence by clicking the button below.  (Can do this once daily, and leave a comment each time you vote!)

Thanks for entering, and good luck!!

As a Purex Insider, Purex provided me with samples of the Crystals to try as well as product information. I received no other compensation.  My opinions are just that - my own. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fantastic Fernbank's NEW Naturequest exhibit for kids!!

Last Sunday morning my family woke up extra early and piled into the van for a trip to Atlanta.  We were so excited to be attending a preview of the brand new permanent children's exhibit at Fernbank Museum of Natural History called NatureQuest!

I've taken Katie to Fernbank numerous times throughout her childhood.  She visited at least once or twice a year for most of her elementary school years!  Once David was born, we visited a couple times when he was younger, but then we stopped going - money was tighter and we didn't have a membership.   Last year, Half Off Depot offered a 1/2 price family membership that was about the cost of a dinner out, and we jumped on it!  We've been able to visit every exhibit over the last year, as well as several IMAX movies.  It's been a wonderful investment for our family!  And I love sharing Fernbank's latest exhibits with y'all! : )

As members, we got an invitation to RSVP for the preview of NatureQuest, and I chose a Sunday morning time slot, thinking that would be less crowded than a Saturday morning or afternoon.  We arrived a little early, and were thrilled to be able to take in the Mythical Creatures exhibit before the preview started.  Mythical Creatures was fabulous - it had mermaids, a kraken, a unicorn and many other mysterious and beautiful creatures!  After we walked through, we headed upstairs to the third floor to check out NatureQuest.  By this time, David was practically bouncing off the walls - he couldn't wait to check it out!

As soon as you enter the exhibit space, you notice how huge it is!! Almost 7000 sf of kid-friendly FUN!
I wish I had taken notes, but I was too busy chasing kids with my camera, so check out the pictures and I'll try to share what is going on in each!

David checks out all kinds of interactive stations as soon as he enters the room!  This is a kid in perpetual motion!

Climb up the nets inside this tree and you'll be able to cross a swinging bridge and onto a multi-level clubhouse chock full of engaging activies for kids of all ages!

This treehouse offers activities guaranteed to bring out the the budding scientist in your family!!

Step through this misty waterfall to explore a cave full of fossils, geodes, crystals and more!

David LOVED the fossils in this wall!! So much to explore...

Explore stalactites with your flashlight, then check out the interactive stations clustered nearby

Inside the clubhouse there are tons of stations like this, with items to explore!

Faux beaver dam - look at all the items used in building one!! Very educational - how many kids will see a real beaver dam up close like this?

Katie in the virtual stream - SO cool, if you stepped "in" it, ripples would form, and if you splashed a hand or foot across the "water", fish would scatter - amazing! One of my favorite places in the exhibit!
The ocean exhibit was GORGEOUS! Loved the mobiles, and you can control how fast they spin! : )

More items to explore in the clubouse...

Peeking into the ocean area from the clubhouse

My little explorer inside the clubhouse
Looking for ocean creatures to pop up in these windows while he steers through the deep blue sea...

Loved this magnetic scene ~ another interactive fun spot for kiddos!

This puzzle (built into the side of one of the posts of the dock) was so much fun - all sorts of shells, sea creatures, barnacles and more to pop in and out of their place in the puzzle!

Yet another interactive station that caught my boy's eye!
Doesn't this place look like a blast for kiddos of any age to explore? (Even parents will have fun here!)
We could have stayed all day, but it was the last preview day and it got crowded FAST!  I hope we get to go again before our membership expires at the end of April.  (I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that Half Off Depot will do another special so we can sign up for another year!!)

If you are in Atlanta, (or nearby!) this is a must-see exhibit for kids of all ages!!  Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road NE  Atlanta, GA 30307  and their phone number is
404.929.6300.  Check out their fabulous website at

If you have been, I'd love to hear what you thought about the new NatureQuest exhibit & the Museum!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mid-week Blog Hop time!

Been a long, dreary and rainy day in Atlanta, so I'm looking forward to a sunny, warmer Wednesday! And I'm linking up with a few blog hops to meet some new friends!! If you are a new follower, I'd love for you to follow me on Twitter & FB as well as via Google Friend Connect! Links to all are in the sidebar on the right.  And if you have a minute, please vote for me on Picket Fence, too! I promise to follow back, and vote for you as well! Just leave me a comment so I know where to follow you back!

Wandering Wednesday blog hop


Life with the Dietrichs

Monday, March 14, 2011

How we can help the people of Japan

I'm a member of a great group on Facebook called The Positive World - they are all about being positive and making a difference in the world. (Check them out and like them if you are so inclined, tell them Aimee sent you!)  Today they shared a link from Mashable with several ways to help the people of Japan now, with your cell phone or computer.  Check out the link, and do what you can.  The images on the television are horrific and unimaginable.  And if you can't donate any money, pray!! It's free and it works! : )

(and if you don't mind, please follow my blog via GFC, and check out some of my past posts - I've got recipes, crafts, coupon deals and much more!! If you have a minute, I'd really appreciate if you'd click on the picket fence button and vote for my blog, too!  Thanks for stopping by!!)

Linking up with these blog hops today:



Sweeping Me's Monday Madness Blog Hop

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Online Sale at Ballard Designs through March 20th

I *drool* over the Ballard Designs catalog and website.  Their gorgeous home furnishings are out of my price range for now, but they do serve as inspiration for things around the home! 

I just received an email about their weekly sale and it looks like anything that hangs on your wall is 20% off this week!

Take this burlap message board:
Even with the 20% off it is still $39.  I'm thinking this would cost under $5 to make ~ looks like those upholstry nails around the edge, and I've heard you can buy the board at home depot for uber-cheap.  Just cover with burlap, add the nails and voila!

Or this ~ the Madison corkboard:

Gorgeous, no?  But the price (before sale) ranges from $299 to $99.  People, check the picture section of your Goodwill or Thrift store! I see beautiful frames with ugly pictures all the time! Spend $10 for the frame, take out the glass, cover the picture with cork (buy cork at the craft store in rolls), and use a little paint, stain and sandpaper to distress the frame.  You'll have a Ballard-inspired corkboard for a fraction of the cost! No one has to know how cheap it was to make unless you want them to!

I tried to find a coupon code for Ballard Designs to share with you, just in case you wanted to spend the money on some of their beautiful home furnishings, but they have requested that the legit coupon code sites block user submissions of coupon none are out there. 

Have you ever made a Ballard-inspired item for your home? If so, I'd love to see it! Leave me a link to check it out!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Don't forget to Spring Forward for Daylight Savings Time tonight!!

Wanted to remind everyone to set your clocks forward an hour tonight before bedtime. Yes, it is that time of year again ~ Spring Forward for Daylight Savings! 

I don't enjoy this Spring Forward weekend ~ the time change means I have to get up even earlier from here on out! And of course this would be the weekend we have reservations to go to Fernbank Museum downtown to preview their new kids exhibit at 9:30 am tomorrow! That means we'll be up by 7 to leave by 8:15....ugh! My one day to sleep in - not gonna happen this week! On the bright side, we'll be enjoying the longer days, at least!!  Y'all enjoy your Sunday!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prayers for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami....

Such awful news to wake up to this morning.  The news clips of the tsunami hitting Japan are horrifying.
Such devastation.  Unimaginable.

I have a sweet friend in Hawaii (we were friends first in high school, a long time ago!) and she and her family are evacuating to higher ground as I type this. I can't imagine the terror of being awakened by sirens announcing a tsunami warning, can you? And having to pack your family in your car and leave, not knowing when you will come home, or if there will be a home to come back to?

The tsunami should hit their island in the next hour.  Please pray for all of those affected by these natural disasters....God Bless them, and keep people in the line of the tsunamis safe.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to prank your family for April Fool's Day!

While I'm not a fan of pranking people on April Fools Day, there is one tradition I LOVE to continue with my kiddos.  It's the freaky/crazy/surprising food choices of the day! For the last several years I have fooled them with all kinds of freaky foods!

I wish I had pics from all of our fun April 1st meals, but I don't. : ( Here are a couple of years worth:


Gross-out meal:

Dog food Dip with crackers served in a new dog food bowl from the dollar store.
inspiration from this recipe:  (I added a can of Chunky Sirloin Burger soup instead of the peppers)

Kitty Litter Cake -  served in a casserole dish lined with a slow cooker liner.  I couldn't bring myself to buy a kitty litter scoop to serve the cake with...ewww!
Here's the recipe.

Let's just say that my kids were NOT happy with me last year.  They were completely grossed out! Luckily, my husband liked the dip and the cake!!  I think the kids ate pb & j after they left the table in disgust. Bad mommy!

2009 April Fools Dinner:
Tricked Ya!!

Strawberry Cream Pie aka Meatloaf in pie crust frosted with tinted potatoes
(no recipe - just made a pie crust, filled it with my regular meatloaf, cooked, then topped with mashed potatoes I tinted with a little red food coloring!)

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (more like pimento cheese sandwiches!) aka pound cake slices filled with tinted frosting  (I know - they look awful, but at least they tasted good!!)

Fruit Punch aka Chilled Jello in glasses with straw

Both kids were mad that they couldn't drink their frosty drinks, and they were NOT happy about the meatloaf.  David refused to eat at all, but Katie tried it all and liked it all!

I've also done meatloaf cupcakes with the potatoes as frosting when Katie was small, and served peas and carrots candy (by Jelly Belly) or the fake rock candy that really looks like rocks! I've served a peach half over a spooful of vanilla yogurt for breakfast - looks like a fried egg, kind of!  And of course the jello in the glass gets kids every time! : )

For this April Fools, I've got a few good recipes up my sleeve.  I can't share yet, since Katie does sometimes read my blog - wouldn't want her to have a heads up! lol  I'll take lots of pics and share them with you after the first though!  There are lots of great ideas on the internet - just google April Fools Day food or menu and you'll get a bunch of suggestions!

What are your April Fools Day traditions?

Easy Gift Wrap!

Today was my sister's birthday.  A BIG one!  I bought her a birthday cake scented candle, but when I went to wrap it up this morning, I realized I was out of gift bags! We were meeting for breakfast, and it was raining, so no time to go up by the Mall or to Walmart for a gift bag. : (

Looking around the craft room, I saw several yards of various colored tulle, so I grabbed the pink tulle, plus some black curly ribbon and got to work.  I cut a square of tulle that was big enough to double up and gather around my jar candle.  Then I cut about 8 lengths of ribbon, tied each around the top & curled them.  I think it looks adorable!! I always have tulle on hand - blue, pink, white and sometimes other colors;  now I'm going to start using it with curly ribbon for a different take on gift wrap!  What do you think?

I'm linking up with lots of blog hops this week, including Fridays Unfolded at

Stuff and Nonsense