Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Saving your beach treasures

The countdown is on, 1 week remaining of summer break for my kiddos. Before summer is over I wanted to get our beach finds nicely displayed in our home as a reminder of our wonderful Gulf Shores vacation.


If you follow on Instagram you saw my oldest daughter and I combing the beach one morning, early by her tween standards. 

We found a lot of pretty shells just outside our condo far up from where the waters edge was. I think the rain rinsed these off for us to find because we had walked past here several times but never saw them. 
To save all of our finds I used a glass jar at found at Hobby Lobby (half off), and vinyl from my craft stash and my Cricut. 
Cut out "Gulf Shores 2014" using the Cricut and apply to the cleaned glass jar. 
Then add your shells.
 
Easy but I like that I have something to set on a shelf and decorate with that has meaning and memories connected to it.
 
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!!!
-Tracy

Friday, July 18, 2014

Jazz up a gift bag!!!

Here's a fun way to jazz up a gift bag and make your gift extra special.
Supplies:
Gift bag with a shiny/slick finish (not paper)
pocket removed from pants
Glue gun


This is super easy!!! I have been working on a denim project FOREVER!!! So, coming to the blog in about 10 years will be a great denim project, but for now here's a great way to use the pocket of outgrown pants or in our case pants with a hole in them. They seriously don't make them like the used to, my husband's goes through way too many pairs of jeans and they aren't they aren't that old. :(  I'm using the rest of the jeans on that other too time consuming project. I just took my fabric scissors and cut around the pocket, you want to have a pocket so cut the back with it.

Before applying the glue lay the pocket on the bag with the extra gift in the pocket to make sure you place the pocket in the right spot so the extra gift can be seen but also so it's not in the way of the handle. Then just apply glue around the edge of the backside of the pocket and some in the middle then place it in place on the bag. Allow time to dry then package your gift.



This jazzed up gift was for my daughter's bestie. I was thinking this would work for a boy as well. Wouldn't a pack of Big League Chew look good in the pocket for the baseball fan? The pocket doesn't have to be denim, I could see putting an accessory in the pocket to go with a top for a friend. Lots of possibilities!!!

I know this project is fun and cheery but I have a personal note I just wanted to add and it explains why there's been a gap in posts. This is so hard....
Our precious puppy past away earlier this week. We only had her for 2 weeks, 1 of which she was in the animal hospital. She was so sweet and affectionate that we are taking it pretty hard. She had Parvo, we thought we were doing the right thing in buying her but it turns out the person that sold her to us lied and she wasn't vacinnated at all and had already been exposed to the disease before we brought her home.  I'm am so upset that the poor little girl didn't have much of a chance. I know that she knows how much she was loved by us. Luckily she came home briefly and we were able to try to nurse her back to health, my husband was even feeding her with a syringe. I won't go into details but her last night it seemed as she was getting some energy and still trying to fight but then when we woke up she was all but gone. After we found her and while we were waiting for someone to be at the vet office I held her close to my heart and just loved her. Oh, it's just so sad!!!   Now not only are we puppy-less and heartbroken we have a nasty diesea in our home and no clear way to clean it out. So we can't have any friends or family with dogs over, and I just don't know when I will feel safe about bringing another dog into our family while we live here, I can't go through this mess again.
Here's a photo of her and my kiddos before she got sick.

 
Now tell me she wasn't part of our family and loved. :(
 
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!!!
-Tracy

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I made a bracelet from WHAT?!?!





I have a confession to make... I HATE to throw things away. Not garbage of course but things that break or things that are outgrown, outworn, unused, or unwanted items. So basically what I'm saying is I'm a hoarder, kinda sorta. I am really proud that our family can fill our recycle trash can by the time it is collected every other week. The things that can't be recycled I hang on to if I have any thoughts of reusing or repurposing.
For instance:
 
These pajama pants have been mine long enough for the elastic waistband to stop being stretchy. I still wore them for a few months anyway, picture me with my t-shirt tucked in just to hold them up, yeah I was a sexy mama. Everytime I tossed them into the laundry I'd think about getting rid of them but hated being wasteful, I mean they were still somewhat wearable. HA!  Then one day as I was cleaning out the garage I came across an empty tape roll!!! As I walked the cardboard tube to the recycle bin I decided it needed to be a bracelet instead so into my hoard/save pile it went. Then the idea hit me to use the fabric from the pajama pants to create a bracelet!
 
 Now 2 things are getting use from my DO NOT THROW AWAY pile. I just tore the pj pants into strips and wrapped around the cardboard tube. There really wasn't a need to even use glue. As I added strips I just overlapped the end of the last strip in the inside. The last strip is tucked into the wrapped parts on the inside. Gray is my favorite color so I think I will get a lot of use out of it.
 
 
Not bad for trash huh? Ok, please tell me I am not the only one who saves things or hates to throw things away. I have way too many people in my life that don't even recycle {gasp}!!!
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T
-Tracy
Linking up here:
Craft-o-maniac

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bread Tin

Hi all!!! I'm back again with another Blue Ocean Breeze project from the kitchen.  This color is really working with the kitchen and I'm loving it. Hopefully I'll still love it when Summer is over. This project is doing what I love best, upcycling/repurposing!!!
I took this popcorn tin (after we devored the yummy flavored popcorn of course)
 
And as you probably guessed already gave it a light sanding and then spray painted it my new favorite color.
 
 
Then with my trusty Cricut, cut vinyl letter's to spell "Bread" with the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge.
Ta da! Easy! It adds color and helps keep my counter tops from being so cluttered. And now it's obvious where the bread goes should anyone help put groceries away or clean up the kitchen. 
Do you have a bread box? a bread drawer? Where do you store your bread?
 
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!
-Tracy



Linking up here: The Dedicated House
My Repurposed Life
Craft-o-maniac

 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July Fireworks Snack Mix



Just in time for your Holiday weekend I have a 4th of July Fireworks Snack Mix. I'm taking it to a family get together on the 4th and if there's any left after that we'll be snacking on it all weekend. I'm calling it a fireworks mix because the way I made it to kinda look like fireworks, just go with me on this.
Ok, before I list out the ingredients did any of you find a patriotic M & M's mix out there? I looked a few places and couldn't believe when I couldn't find it because it seems like every holiday they have a special mix out there. So, I had to eat all the yellow, orange, green, and brown ones, I mean I sorted the blue and red ones out to use in the mix. Aaanndd, did you know Dora the Explorer cereal was star shaped? What a perfect thing to throw in this patriotic snack mix. Ok here's what I used
Ingredients:
1 cup Cheerios
3 cups pretzel sticks (divided)
3 cups Chex cereal
1 cup Dora the Explorer star shaped cereal
red and blue M & M's
1 cup peanuts
White chocolate or Almond Bark
Blue and Red Candy Melts
To make:
1. In a small bowl melt 1/2 cup of blue candy melts, dip or how ever you want to do it but coat about 1 cup of pretzels and separate the pretzels onto wax paper to dry. Repeat this for red candy melts.
2. Combine all but 1 to 1/2 cup of M &M's in a large bowl. Melt almond bark, pour over ingredients while slowing stirring. Once coated, scoop by spoonful onto wax paper to set.
3. In large bowl combine the almond bark coated mix, the remaining M &M's, and your red and blue pretzels.
Enjoy!!! Because of the Almond bark and candy melts I don't advise taking this treat to an outside in the full sun event. Luckily it's going to be a beautiful day here!!!
Happy 4th of July all!
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!!!
-Tracy

Friday, June 27, 2014

Family Vacation to Gulf Shores Alabama

We had a wonderful family vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama a few weeks ago. Oh, how I miss the beach!!! Even the kids say they want to go back! I wanted to share our trip with you and highly recommend the area for your next family vacation. If you follow on Instagram you saw me post daily how awesome it was.
Pre-planning was stressful for me but here are some tips to cut down on the stress:
1. Order the guide for the area. It's full of ads basically for all the rental agencies, local attractions, restaurants and such.
2. Make a list of your needs and wants. Beach front, beach view, lagoon? Condo or house? Pool on site? Kitchen? Washer and Dryer? Location to area attractions? Things like that. I decided we needed a beach front condo with a full kitchen and washer and dryer, a pool or kiddie pool would be nice. I found all of that!!!
3. Frequent all of the rental sites and get familiar with all of the amenities each complex offers. I was able to narrow it down to a few complexes that would affordably meet our needs. I suggest using each website search tool with your travel dates. That gave me a great idea on price ranges.
4. Once you've narrowed down what units are available and will accommodate your family- CALL!!! I was able to save a few hundred dollars by calling to book because I asked what units were available at the best rates.

We loved our little home away from home. We rented through Gulf Blue Vacations, they are on site in the complex which made check in and out very convenient.

We went with the intentions of spending all day everyday at the pool or the beach. For the most part we did exactly that but we did venture out and had fun without overspending. Here are our recommended must sees:
#1 Alligator Alley 
This place was just plain awesome. It wasn't too far of a drive from the beach. They have alligators of all ages and sizes. You can pay a little extra for a cup of food to feed the alligators, which I recommend for the kiddos. I tried to share a variety of photos from our visit that would show how nice this place is. Be sure to check either online or call to find out when feeding time is, you have to see these big monsters crawl out of the water and watch the crazy guy throw food in a gators mouth from very close distance. It's CRAZY!!! The best part to me was all of those monster gators were rescued from neighborhoods or places they were causing a problems for people. I think they are living the good life there at Alligator Alley.
2. The Hangout


The Hangout is a great place to, well, hangout. We stopped here a few times, but never ate a meal here together. Our first stop there was to just check it out and of course take pics and post on IG. They have bands playing almost every night, the night we planned to check it out a storm rolled in. Bummer! The sign out front says they have a dog show every day, so we decided to check that out on Wednesday, well Wednesday is zoo day at The Hangout so we got to see a few animals from the local zoo. We never made it back to the dog show but would have liked to. The Hangout also had a breakfast event for kiddos, er I mean for your pirates and princesses. Go hungry!!! It's all you can eat breakfast foods with lots of action while you eat and a treasure hunt with goodies around the property.
3. The Gulf Shores State Park Pier
 
I don't advise walking to the pier!!! At least not from where were staying, pushing a stroller and walking with a 3 year old. Never again!!! I believe admission just to walk out on the pier was $2 per person, a small fee for all there was to see and do. My husband and oldest son spent a few hours at the pier one evening fishing. They had to buy fishing licenses and rent poles and purchase bait. They caught a few cat fish like fish called "Hard heads." They both enjoyed it. When we all went to the pier just for sight seeing we took our time walking to the end watching all the fishermen and checking out their catches. We saw a few guys spend 20 minutes or more reeling in some pretty large fish.
 
This restaurant just happened to be next to our condo complex so we dined there twice. It is great for families with smaller kids and pickey eaters. The menu has everything from grilled cheese to seafood.
 
5. Lulu's
We dined at Lulu's for our one big meal out. The place was fun and had plenty to do while you waited for your table. It's a great location to check out some boats, we even saw a barge go by.
 
Here are a few more tips that made our vacation perfect:
1. Take the beach bypass!!! There are signs, just take it. Or stay in bumper to bumper traffic for another hour or more knowing the beach is just a few miles away but you can't get there for all the other cars.
2. Pack flashlights, nets or sand shovels and buckets. Every evening the beach was full of families out catching crabs. It is lots of fun!!!
3. We saved money by taking advantage of the kitchen in our unit and cooked most meals there. I pre-planned meals and finished up my shopping list on the drive. We brought along the crock-pot so I wasn't in the kitchen cooking and cleaning the whole week. I mean it was my vacation too.
4. Zip top baggies were a must. We each had our phone in a bag so sand and water wouldn't be a problem. You don't get great photos through the bag so take it out, snap the pic and put it back. We used the baggies for shell storage as well.
5. If you have room for sand and water toys I suggest taking them. I found them much cheaper at home. I even found boogie boards at Michael's for $5 each, way better that $10+ at the beach stores.
 
We like going to different places when we vacation so this was a first for all of us to visit Gulf Shores. We all said we would go back!!!
 
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T
-Tracy

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Turn a metal planter into a kitchen caddy

Hey all! I have a little project to share today that brought some color to our kitchen and is functional.
I had been looking for something for awhile to help keep the area around the kitchen sink a bit tidier.  I considered baskets or bowls then came across this metal planter that was the perfect size.


I found it at Goodwill for $2. We actually used it just as I bought it for few months. After phase 1 of our kitchen update was done I decided it was time to pick some accent colors to use. I can't decide what to call this color but Krylon calls it Blue Ocean Breeze and I love it!!!
Our cabinets are now white and the floor is gray. Phase 2 should be new counter tops, backsplash and sink. We are leaning towards black countertops. I think this Blue Ocean Breeze will pop even more after that step.

So what's in my kitchen caddy? Dish soap, drain stoppers, Magic Eraser, scrubber, a Pampered Chef scraper, and dish towel. I found the dish towel at the Dollar Tree!!! The caddy has also been the home of hand soap too. Before I had a caddy for all of this, these items were tossed in the cabinet below the sink or behind the faucet. Now its all nice and tidy.
Blue Ocean Breeze found it's way onto the lid for a pickle jar that is the new home of our dishwasher tabs. Now that I have decided on some colors I am finding lots of things to add to our kitchen.
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!
-Tracy

Linking up at these awesome parties:
Craft-o-maniac
The Dedicated House