my life homemade


Simple DIY Wizard Spell Book

Are you still waiting on your Hogwarts letter to arrive? No worries, you can still prepare by studying up on your wand moves and magic spells. You don't want to be left behind when classes begin in the fall. 

We celebrated my sons 9th birthday by transforming our home into the wizarding world last month. Each "student" was given a hand-made spell book to accompany their wands on their "trip" through the adventure. They are perfect to keep on hand or on the go or whenever you want a refresher. They were so simple to make and we hope you'll enjoy making them as much as I did. 

Make your own spell book

1. Each book was made with brown Faux Leather Paper cut to size and folded in half to create a cover.
2. Using Gold Metallic Vinyl and my Cricut Maker, I cut out the Hogwarts emblem.
3. I cut and wrapped a Brown Leather Wrap Cord around each book and secired with hot glue.
4. I purchased the spell book printable from Lush Party Stuff on ETSY and printed at a print shop.
5. Staple the spell book into the brown leather book cover.
6. Wrap with the attached leather cord.
7. Enjoy your new spell book

Affiliate links are included in this post, which means if you make a purchase using one of the links, I will earn a small commission, however it will not cost you one penny. But it does help to keep my blog running. Thank you!


Update your Fireplace Mantel and Space

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

Now that the crazy holidays are finally behind us and our schedules are getting back on track, it's time to get the house in a somewhat organized order. That means it's declutter time! But, not only declutter time, but time to purge out the old and bring in the new. It is a whole new year after all, so what better way then to start fresh. I love it when my home is free of clutter and I like to make sure my decor is simple. It makes it easy to clean especially when in a rush or have last minute visitors.

But, sometimes updating and keeping things organized can be difficult. With a few tips and tricks and style ideas to fit your budget, getting your home organized can be a piece of cake. I started with updating our fireplace area. It's the focal point of the living room and without some proper and imagintaive styling, it can be a mess. I knew this was where I needed to start. Plus, once I got my fireplace just the way I wanted, I used the new Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Fragrance Mist in the No.2 Bright™ scent to help make my home smell fresh and clean.

Ready to take your boring fireplace mantle and space up a notch? Look no further for a few awesome tips and tricks to get you started on your new year’s organization resolutions and goals.

Add a Basket and a Blanket Ladder:
It's still winter here in my hometown. It's actually the coldest month of the year here and I had no place to put the firewood for the fireplace. Because, sometimes it gets downright freezing out and I need to keep my family warm. But, even if I am not lighting a fire, I need a place to store the wood for easy access. I grabbed this round basket that held a ton of cut wood that fit perfectly in front of the fireplace.

Since it's still super cold, I need to have throw blankets at the ready. At all times. I like to be comfy and so does my family. But, I had nowhere to keep them except on the couch and then they always ended up on the floor. So, I added a blanket ladder and technically it's not a blanket ladder at all. It's a potholder I snatched from my parents house they were no longer using. I stained it and threw some blankets on it and the rest is history. I love what it adds to my space. It fills the space since I do not have any defined sides to my actual fireplace.

Add Vintage Books:

Grab some old vintage books or even some bookends. They don't even need to actually be vintage, just something that has that vintage look and feel. I went back and forth as to what to add to my mantle. I knew I wanted something simple and give some depth to the space. But, also I didn't want it to be something I had to change out often with the seasons. I had some old vintage children's book in my garage, back from the 1950's. I simply turned the binding toward the back and added some bookends and it added that something extra special to my mantle. Plus, I can leave it out all year long.

Add Simple Decor Pieces:
When you are styling your fireplace mantel, you want to keep it simple. It's already a focal piece on its own so all your needing to do is accent it. So, I framed the ends with a glass vase with stems on one end and tall candlesticks with candles on the other. I wanted to add a bit of dimension and color to the mantle so I added in a basket and a couple of signs. That's it. Nothing else. Remember less is more. You're trying to declutter and make things simple.

Add a Throw Pillow:
Who doesn't love a great throw pillow? But, not just any throw pillow, you need a fun and interesting pillow. I was actually given this plaid puppy pillow as a gift and it is fabulous!!! I love it and could not be more perfect in the space. It fits like it was meant for my chair and is great for relaxing and enjoying a good book by the fire. It really adds that finishing touch you didn't know you needed.

Add the Perfect Scent:

Finally, now that you have re-vamped up your space and made it perfect!! Nothing enhances great decor and all that hard work more than a great scent to top off the room. To keep my home and my newly re-organized space smelling great, I rely on the No.2 Bright™ fragrance mist to help keep it smelling great!

I picked up both the No.2 Bright™ and No.1 Enraptured™ fragrance mist products at my local Walmart. The Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Fragrance Mists are infused with essential oils and masterfully crafted fragrances. I love the raspberry, pear, peach, and jasmine scents infused with sweet pea and rose of the No.2 Bright™ scent. It's the perfect scent for the inbetween season of winter and spring.

Now I know my home will look and smell great with the Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Fragrance Mist. So no matter what we have going on or who's coming over, my house will smell amazing!


5 Foolproof Strategies for Starting a New Fitness Routine


So, you’ve decided to make a change — and that change includes a new fitness plan. Maybe you’re incorporating tri-weekly outdoor runs into your routine, adding a strength training regimen at the gym, or trying out a new spin studio. Regardless of which workout you choose, one thing’s for sure: the hardest part about your new healthy habit is sticking to it.

It can be all too easy to hit the snooze button or come up with an excuse to ditch your workout, especially when you’re still in the process of getting used to a new routine. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can trick yourself into getting psyched about whatever physical activity you have planned.

Need a little help boosting your fitness motivation? These tried-and-true tactics should help you stay on track.

Ease into it
Attempting to go from zero to 60 in terms of your physical activity level is a recipe for failure — making an extreme change feels daunting, so you’re more likely to either skip the workout altogether or end up burned out too quickly. The fact is that something — however small — is always better than nothing when it comes to working out.
Increasing the distance of your run or the frequency of your weight lifting classes gradually every week, for example, won’t feel as overwhelming. When you’re setting fitness goals, be sure that they’re realistic, because if they’re not attainable, you won’t be able to identify progress as easily, and you may just give up.

Pencil it in
Does something always seem to come up that gets in the way of your workouts? Making them a priority is crucial, but can be difficult when you lead a busy life.

Treat your workouts like business meetings or doctor’s appointments. Physically writing (or typing) them into your calendar for each week makes it feel official, and that way, when someone asks you to do something when your sweat session is scheduled, you won’t be as tempted to bail.

Go shopping
There’s no doubt about it: Having stylish fitness apparel and a well-fitting sports bra can be a major motivator to work out. After all, if you’re psyched to don those colorful new kicks or patterned leggings, you’ll have an added incentive to get moving.

It’s also important to make sure that you buy the proper sports bra for the kind of physical activity you’re engaging in because you want to feel supported throughout your entire workout. For example, if you’re going on a long run, you’ll be glad to have a high impact sports bra for optimal bounce control, but if you’re hitting up a Pilates class, a medium-impact sports bra is perfect. Whichever style you choose, you definitely want to make sure you’ve done your research on sports bra sizing, since comfort is key to making your workouts enjoyable.

Commit in writing
When we make a commitment to watch our neighbor’s dog or lead a meeting at work, we feel a sense of obligation, so we don’t back out. When it comes to workouts, sometimes we don’t feel that same sense of accountability. Putting your commitment to work out in writing (and being super specific about it) can help change that.

The website StickK allows you to define your goal and sign a contract, which can do wonders for helping you to follow through on achieving it. You can set personalized parameters for your goal, track your progress through weekly reports, and even invite family and friends to monitor your hard work via email updates to cheer you on.

Make it convenient
Convenience is key when it comes to sticking to a workout plan. The easier it is for you to follow through, the fewer excuses you can come up with not to.

So if you’re a morning workout person, be sure to set your fitness apparel out the night before, including your sneakers, or if you’re planning to hit the gym after work, pack a bag that you can bring to the office (along with a healthy, energy-boosting snack, of course). If you know it’s going to be tough for you to get to group classes in a particular month, rent or buy some workout DVDs to try at home, so you aren’t tempted to give up on physical activity entirely.
Use the buddy system — or find your squad
Working out with a friend or even a group of like-minded strangers not only makes working out a little more fun, but it can also help to hold you accountable for sticking to your fitness plan. You’re far less likely to bail if you have someone counting on you, so try scheduling weekly workouts with a pal who has a similar schedule as you.

If you don’t have a friend who can commit to workouts at the same time, joining a group activity, whether it’s yoga, a Zumba class or a running group, can have the same effect. Not only will you likely feel more supported, but there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition — in fact, it’s a highly effective motivator. Even knowing you have a supportive friend, family member or significant other can be helpful, so be sure to keep them in the loop about your goals so they’re able to encourage you and hold you accountable.

Reward yourself
Surely, having a treat to look forward may inspire you to lace up those sneakers and hit the gym. These rewards can vary greatly, from small ones for short-term goals to larger ones for long-term goals.

For example, you might buy yourself a healthy smoothie from your favorite spot at the end of your Friday workouts, or you might treat yourself to a massage for every 16 workouts you complete. You might even opt for a ritual to look forward to during certain workouts — like listening to your favorite podcast or watching your favorite TV show when you’re on the treadmill.

Affiliate links are included in this post, which means if you make a purchase using one of the links, I will earn a small commission, however it will not cost you one penny. But it does help to keep my blog running. Thank you!


The Local Dish Around the Country

Are you looking for a fabulous place to eat but not sure where to go? Looking for a great new family restaurant but afraid to load the kids up or maybe you're headed out on a road trip or vacation and want great places to dine out? These great local restaurants have been hand picked by fellow bloggers from across the coutnry and have been tried and tested and made the cut as the best local favorites.

North, South, East, or West, there is something for everyone. So grab the family and head out for some great dishes, big and small, with great choices for everyone will love. 


Eastern US

Asheville, North Carolina - A Thousand Country Roads

Baltimore, Maryland - Theresa’s Reviews

Boston, Massachusetts -  Bianca Blogs

Charleston, West Virginia - Honey and Pine

Fairfax, Virginia - Cook With 5 Kids

Lanham, Maryland - Jenny Day by Day

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania - Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Miami, Florida - Sabrina’s Sea of Colors

New York City, New York - Smiling Notes

North Jersey, New Jersey - Crayons and Cravings

Western Finger Lakes, New York - Home in the Finger Lakes

Western US

Austin, Texas - Kitchen Concoctions

Austin, Texas - My Big Fat Happy Life

Austin, Texas - Hi Lovely

Forney, Texas - My Life Homemade

Houston, Texas - Pop Shop America

Houston, Texas - It’s Pam Del

Los Angeles, California - Moore or Less Cooking

Palm Desert, California - Tabler Party of Two

San Antonio, Texas - Sincerely Onyi

Seattle, Washington - Revel and Glitter

Seattle, Washington - Satsuma Designs

Skagit County, Washington - Long Wait for Isabella

Northern US

Bloomington-Normal, Illinois - Become A Coupon Queen

Canton, Ohio - Hall of Fame Moms

Carmel, Indiana - Home Maid Simple

Cleveland, Ohio - Greatest Escapist

Fort Wayne, Indiana - Kiddies Corner Deals

Grand Rapids, Michigan - The Epicurean Traveler

South Suburbs, Chicago - Home Everyday

St. Louis, Missouri - And Hattie Makes Three

Southern US

Atlanta, Georgia - Sunshine and Holly

Charleston, South Carolina - My Borrowed Heaven

Greenville, South Carolina - Joann’s Food Bites
Macon, Georgia - Intelligent Domestications

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee - Creative Southern Home
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