Friday, June 24, 2011

Your Old T-Shirt's Worst Nightmare!!

This instant-gratification project was inspired by this No-Sew Summer Cardi/Wrap! (aren't you proud of me? I actually remembered to bookmark the link!) But if you know me, you'll know that I'm not going to go out to the store and buy the fabric when I can just recycle an old shirt from the Goodwill outlet!

Sadly, I was so excited to do this project that I have no before pictures. Just envision a blue long-sleeve v-neck t-shirt, then imagine me doing the following:

1. Lay it out flat on table, using sharp scissors cut off sleeves, including seam.

2. Line up side seams so that you find the exact middle of the front of the shirt (the point of the v-neck). Cut along fold.

3. Try it on, decide you like it better with no seams up at the top, then do a little more cutting to remove those and eliminate any corners.

4. Look at the sleeves and start cutting those into little loops, which you stretch and hang around your neck for a matching necklace.

5. Take a couple more loops and wrap 'em around your wrist just for kicks.

Voila! You have a cool rocker-chic outfit. Pair with a white t-shirt (don't let the white t-shirt watch the "operation" you just performed on its cousin- it might run away) and a pair of jeans and you've got a whole new look! Sweet!

Ahh, the joys of instant fashion gratification...

Linking up to:


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Schedules, Chore Charts, and Other Summertime Fun!

I'm not anal, I promise. Not a control freak, not born organized. And it is because I am none of those things that I need something like this:

It's our Summer Schedule!! Yay!! Here's the normal daily schedule and our Scripture of the Week (trying to get us to memorize 1 each week this summer):

I sat down with my kids and we made a list of all the things we needed/wanted to get done in a day, including chores, mealtimes, and daily activities. You can see we also have some quiet time and some one-on-one time with Mom as well (30 minutes for each older child while Little Boo is napping). This schedule is verrrrry flexible. Just a suggestion, really. I will be shocked if we get home before noon most days!! But it's a framework to work from so I don't have kids constantly saying, "What should we do noooow Mooooom???" (that's them whining)

We are already in the habit of sitting down together each morning for our morning devotional, so I've just expanded on that and now we'll have a morning meeting in which we'll go over the day's/week's activities, review Starlet's sight words to help her prepare for kindergarten, and work on our scripture memorization.

Here's the weekly schedule:

This way we can plan fun things for our week and I don't have them saying, "But you SAID we could go to the SCIENCE MUSEUM this week!!! Let's GOOO!!!" Now I can point to the weekly schedule and show them when we're going. I can also find out what kinds of things they want to do and put them on the schedule so I don't forget ("Building a robot out of boxes sounds like lots of fun! We don't have time today, but how does Friday sound?")

And then there's this (insert screeching violins here):

Yes, that is the Tross Family Summer Chore Chart!!! With leeeeetle tiny numbers:

Basically what I did is to make a chart that is me-proof. Let me explain. Every time I try to do some kind of a chore chart with my kids, they are totally into it and do great- it's ME who always screws it up!! So this is why I made this one this way:

1. It covers the ENTIRE summer- only 1 chart needed! That way, I won't forget to print them up week by week or month by month.

2. It has numbers for the dates (starts with the 23rd, which is tomorrow) so that I can't just forget about it for a few days and pretend like I didn't (yes, I do that).

3. Its squares are for coloring in, not for stickers. That way I can't run out of stickers and put the whole chore chart on hold until I remember to buy more.

4. It has a whole section for my chores too!! I need accountability also, and kids are really good at keeping parents accountable.

Here are the kids' chores, divided up by morning, afternoon, and evening:

It may seem like a lot, but some of them are kind of no-brainers. Like putting their shoes on. Kinda hard to leave the house without them, right? Where it says "dishes" it just means that they need to put their dishes in the sink.

I have chore time set apart on our daily schedule for all these to get done so we don't forget. We're also starting up with allowances again: each child will get $1.50/week for completing all of their chores. For any day that they miss 1 or more chores, they will lose $0.25.

You may be wondering what that last thing, "Blue??" means...

This is our behavior chart! I am adopting the system they use in our schools here- each child starts the day on blue, and if they have behavior issues then they move to green, yellow, and so on (no idea how they figured out that color configuration, but whatever). Starlet will be starting kindergarten so I thought she could benefit from getting used to this system. Monkey already snaps to attention the second he hears "Color change!" so it's great for him as well. For ours I just colored on a piece of card stock and we have it attached to the fridge. Each child has their own magnet that they move if they need to.

If the child stays on blue, they get to color in a space on their chart for that day and get a small treat (like an M&M), and if not then they face consequences:

Green = No coloring in, no treat
Yellow = Lose 15 minutes TV time
Orange = Lose 30 minutes TV time
Red = NO TV and time-out in room

As an added incentive for staying on blue, after they have colored in 10 squares, they get to go to the treasure box which has coupons like these:

I am also planning on putting in a few dollar bills and maybe some special treats or small toys.

After the kids reach 25 days of blue then they get a special reward, like a trip to Sweet Frog, our favorite build-your-own-sundae frozen yogurt shop, or a dinner picnic in the living room & movie.

So, that's what we'll be doing this summer!

How about you? Chore Charts? Schedules? Come on, please tell me I'm not nuts...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Nature Photo Party

(click to enlarge)

I love photography, and every once in awhile I get a great shot that I love. I noticed there was a linky party going on at Tracy's Trinkets & Treasures, so I thought it would be a nice opportunity to share this photo I took when we went camping in May. :-) Head over there to link up and share your own favorite nature shots!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Spiritual Sundays: It's 5pm. Do You Know Where Your Purpose Is?

I was recently watching the sad ending of the Oprah Winfrey Show (oh, how I love her!) and on her final episode she shared many of the things she's learned on her journey so far. I'd heard most of it already from her "Master Class" show on OWN, but it was good to hear it again.

One of the things that she seemed to keep going back to is how important it is to listen to your inner voice and use that as your guide to your true purpose in life. For me, I call that voice the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit. He's my connection to my Heavenly Father, and he's my little inner thermometer that tells me if I'm getting warmer (closer to God) or colder (farther away). The more I listen and act on my impressions, the closer I get to God and His true purpose for me in my life.

I'm not sure if Oprah mentioned this or if it's just something that came to me as she was talking, but I realized that at every moment of every day I am either doing something that gets me closer to a better me or farther away. Like most people (I think!) I often find myself spending time doing things and then asking myself, "What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Should I be doing this? Should I be doing something else?" The constant struggle can be overwhelming and confusing.

However, I've found that if I just pause in whatever I'm doing and ask, "Is this where I'm supposed to be? Is this what I'm supposed to be doing? Is this bringing me closer to my purpose in life?" I begin to feel those subtle promptings from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, like if I'm lounging in front of the tv or surfing random websites on the net, the answer is, "This isn't helping anyone and it's not making you a better person. Time to refocus." Sometimes it's, "You can do this for a moment just to take a little break, but you know what you should really be doing." And the best feeling is when it's, "You're doing just fine. Right on track. Keep it up!"
Right now as I'm writing this I'm getting a combination of the second two. I know that sharing these thoughts and feelings through my writing is a big part of my life's purpose right now, but at the same time I know that my children are at a special time in their lives and any time I'm at the computer is time away from them. I know how much they cherish and enjoy my presence in their lives so I know I need to put them first.

The beauty of asking that simple question is that when you're not on track you can get back on track, and you don't feel like you're confused about the decision. And what I really love is that it's helped me to focus and be more present when I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. When I'm thumbing through a magazine and my kids are in the other room watching a movie, I can ask myself, "Is this bringing me closer to my purpose in life?" and it's pretty obvious that I need to put the magazine down and call my kids in to read stories with me on the couch. As I snuggle up to them and we read books, I will have complete peace and satisfaction in my heart that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be and doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing at that time.

Really, that's where the true joy in life lies. It's when you know for sure that you are exactly where you're supposed to be and doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing.

So I'll leave you with this simple challenge: this week, as you go about your daily life-cleaning, emptying the dishwasher, helping kids with homework, running errands- ask yourself, "Is this where I'm supposed to be? Is this what I'm supposed to be doing?" You'll know the answer. Trust me. You'll know.

To find out more about what I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please visit :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Dream House (no, seriously!)

Most people imagine their dream house to be a mansion- huge foyer, sparkling chef's kitchen, jacuzzi tub in the spacious master bathroom, and so on. I, however, came across this video about a family that lives in this 320-square-foot home and I fell in love with the idea!

Here is why I loved it:

- You can cut the square footage and use the money you saved to get an awesome piece of property- think waterfront, trees, grass, etc.
- Spend your budget on outdoor space- big deck for entertaining, gazebo or pavilion even, zip line, playground, etc.
- Make the interior gorgeous and feel spacious with high ceilings and skylights
- Put in the best finishes and appliances (little ones, of course)
- Eat on fine china every day (no dishwasher anyway, might as well!)
- Have super high quality linens
- The house would stay clean because it would only take maybe an hour to clean it from top to bottom (and let's face it, it would be virtually unlivable if it wasn't clean!)
- Save money on energy bills
- With no mortgage, super-low energy bills, and tons of extra time you can quit your boring job and start your own business doing what you really love (I do like the idea of a great little crafting studio next door!!)
- Family togetherness would be automatic (ha ha!)

The only snafu would be food storage- but maybe you could just give the house a
decently-sized basement for storage? Hmm...

This is reeeeallly starting to look attractive to me. Probably not 320-square-feet attractive (after all, I do have 3 children), but maybe 750-1000? I'm already drawing up the plans...

In the meantime, my goal this summer is to pretend that I'm moving into my very own tiny dream house and do some serious de-junking around this joint. That way I'll be ready. Ha.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Twilight Twist on the Magazine Paper Bracelet

Okay, all you Twi-hards out there. This one's for you (us)! I decided it might be fun to take a little twist on my magazine paper bracelet and use pages from a cheap-o paperback copy of Twilight ($0.25 at the Goodwill Outlet) to make this cool cuff bracelet:

I thought it needed a little something, so I added the flower on there also. I sprayed all the "beads" with a clear coating to harden them and make them more durable and water-resistant. Then I strung the whole thing together using some clear jewelry thread.

Excuse the photo quality- I had to take these using my husband's iPad b/c my camera batteries died.

Anyway, I'm considering making and selling these in my Etsy shop. They're pretty time-consuming, so I'd need to charge enough to make them worth it...So, if you're a Twilight fan, tell me: If you saw something like this on Etsy would you be interested? If so, how much might you want to spend? Leave a comment and let me know!!

Linking to...

Transformation Thursday

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Arrivals!

Okay guys, promise not every post will be about the new etsy shop, but I'm just so darn excited. Here's a peek at what I worked on today. All- except one- are available in my shop!

Me modeling one of my favorites from today!

Getting moody and romantic with a dark plum and rhinestone combo...

Sweet lavender daisy!

And...(drumroll please) first sale! This lovely chocolate brown fleur will be shipped off to its new home tomorrow! :-)

I realized today that I can really get creative with these flowers. At first I assumed I'd just pop the flower off the stem and stick it to a hair clip, but the flowers are actually made with multiple layers of petals, and if you mix and match different petals you can create some pretty cool new flowers! Check out my shop for some examples.

I have another exciting project that I'm working on for the shop and I'll give you a hint: it's not a flower hair clip! It is special and unique and time-consuming, though, so I'll post about it later this week.

Have a beautiful and creative week, everyone!

Linking up to...
Keeping It Simple

Friday, June 3, 2011

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!! Grand Opening of Kasey's Beautiful Life ETSY SHOP!!!!

It's been a dream for awhile, but this weekend it's becoming a REALITY!! I am announcing the grand opening of my etsy shop, "Kasey's Beautiful Life"! I decided that the desire to create was giving me something of a surplus and hey, why not make my crafting addiction pay off and spread a little beauty around the world while I'm at it?

Here are a few of the items you'll see appearing in my shop over the next few days...

White Lotus Flower Hair Clip

Dusty Rose Flower Hair Clip

Chocolate Brown Flower Hair Clip

Pink/White Wildflower Flower Hair Clip

Sorry, this one's not for sale. But the flower on top of her head is. I did say I was trying to spread some beauty around the world, didn't I? ;-)

So if you have a chance this weekend, please stop by and look around! I'm super excited!!! (in case you couldn't tell!!)

Linking up to...

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