Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Target Beauty Box (Who Knew?)

Recently, I was visiting a friend of ours and sitting at her kitchen counter I saw a fancy looking black box with a Target label on it.  I had to open it! There it was, a box filled with all sorts of fun beauty products in both sample and full sized packaging. I asked her what the heck this cool thing was and she told me about Target Beauty Box.

So here's how it works. Target puts out a Beauty Box each month and it's just $10 and free shipping, available online only.  Pictured above is the September box (photo is from the Target website), and the first one I had the excitement of getting. I was really happy to see it included sample and full sized items and from what I've tried so far, the products have been great. My favorite so far (I haven't tried them all yet) is the Biore face wash. My pores are very happy.

Something I really liked about this beauty box in comparison to others that are available out there is you don't need to subscribe to anything.  Each month they will email you letting you know the new box is available and you can see what's in it and decide if you want to order or not. 

So to sum up, here's my experience:

The cons: it isn't available all month (this September one is unavailable now).  Jump on it if you want it when it comes out! Also, the lipstick was way too dark for me, but that's more personal preference so I only count this as a partial con.

The pros: A fun way to try new products at a great price, and no pressure to buy it every month because it isn't a subscription.

All the details on this month's box and where find them is here.  I will definitely be ordering again next month.

**this post is not at all sponsored by Target and all opinions are my own based on my experience**

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Free Coloring Pages

My daughter is a Daniel Tiger fanatic.  She recently got into coloring and asked for a "Tigey coloring" so I looked around and couldn't find any.  I eventually saw some on Amazon but they were expensive so I decided printable would be just the thing we needed.

If you head on over to PBS Kids you'll find a bunch of fun coloring pages that you can print for free.  Best part is you don't have to download anything, you just print right from the page.


While you're on PBS, be sure to check all the other cool things they offer.  My son enjoys the games they have, there's loads of coloring pages, videos, and a place with information for the parents, too. The PBS Parents Page is really helpful, filled with meal ideas, milestone information, birthday ideas and so much more. 

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Our Road Trip Essentials

Lately it seems we have been in the car every single weekend and our calendar doesn't seem to be slowing down.  Our families are both four hours away in opposite directions, so we travel a lot to visit friends and family.

The past few weekends we have gone away on weekend trips, one to Maine and one to Boston have learned from past mistakes and successes that we need a plan and a checklist when traveling.  Here are some of our essentials when hitting the road.

 (York, ME)

1. Snacks-do not leave the house without snacks, even if you're traveling alone.  Being gluten-free, this is especially important. Some of my go-to travel snacks include:

-cheese & gf crackers
-veggies like carrots, cucumbers and celery
-apples and peanut butter 
-cheese sticks
-rice cakes
-grapes & other fruits

2. Water-pack a bunch of water.  We use Nalgene bottles and I pack one for each of us. This saves so much money and prevents a million stops when people get thirsty.

(Freshly out of a 3 1/2 hour car ride to Boston)

3. Music-I don't know about you, but music is a must for me.  We do audio books sometimes too, but I like music and I like variety. As you can see by my Spotify Playlist, I enjoy variety maybe a little too much, but songs that are throwbacks for you, good sing alongs, or just that song that you hear and think, "wow! I'm so happy this song came on!" are songs you should add to your list. 

My playlist is a collection of some of my old faves and nostalgic songs, mixed in with a few newer ones that I've been enjoying. Yes, you'll find Underoath and also Justin Bieber and some Hanson. Bayside makes an appearance twice because they are my favorite. In any event, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Aubree, if you're reading this, Mariah was for you.  Alyce and Bec, I don't have to tell you what ones were for you.  It's a long list but I know I'm forgetting some, so I'll likely be adding to it as I think of them!

4. Cash-don't forget to grab cash before you leave so you can avoid the ATM fees and having to stop for some if you encounter a toll you forgot about or just in general needed some cash on hand.  We've made this mistake before and it gets expensive.

5. A reliable car-this sounds like a no-brainer, right? But believe me, we've packed up the car and headed out on an adventure and had the "oh crap" moments of cars breaking down.  Our transmission went once. It was the worst.

If you're taking your own car, do the run down of tires, oil check, gas check, wiper fluid, all of it.  You'll be happy you did. And if you are a AAA customer, be sure to grab your card!

If you're renting, be sure to check out the CD player too, especially if using a rental company like Turo.  You might just find a surprise playlist!  Turo is a really neat car rental option where you rent from a person, rather than a company, essentially the Airbnb of cars. It's a great option too if you want to make a little money off you're car too and they have ways to save when parking at airports as well.  To find out more about Turo, you can go here.

Image result for turo

6. Entertainment for the Kids-We don't do movies in the car, but we try to bring supplies to keep the kiddies entertained.  Generally speaking, they are fantastic in the car, but our two year old gets a little bored sometimes. We pack books, coloring supplies, all their favorite stuffed animals and let them choose four things each to take with them in their own backpacks.  They love to pack their bags, and the rule is, if it fits it can come. If it doesn't, it stays home.

7. Your Knitting!-If you're a yarner like me, do not forgot your projects!  I usually bring my current one and a spare just in case we get stuck in traffic or something and I get some extra time on my hands.  

Do you have any Road Trip Essentials?  Please share them! 

And if you want to see more of our adventures, follow on Instagram @KnaptimeKnitter.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tips on Starting a Household Clutter Purge

I have been on a serious house purge these past couple months. So far, I have donated NINE enormous black grocery bags filled with random things from the house.  I've sent out THREE bags to ThredUP in the past two months. Dropped things at consignment shops, given things away, and eBay'd some items.

This is all part of my master plan to declutter our lives, and bring in some extra cash. It all started when I had a meltdown recently after stepping on things that I swore I had just put away (ahem, Legos).  I was sick of spending my day picking up clutter and trying to find homes for things I really didn't care about.  I knew something had to be done, and I stopped thinking about and just started doing.  Opperation Declutter and organize was in full effect.

When picking up an item to contemplate getting rid of, ask yourself the following:

-does this make me happy?
-am I keeping this only because I bought it and I'll feel bad for just getting rid of it?
-will I even notice this is gone?

The first is easy. No joy, you don't keep. The second is a toughie and I've been there. But at the end of the day, don't keep something just because you bought it. It made sense at the time, and oh well, you've change your mind. You're forgiven. We've all done it. We learned our lesson. Get rid of it. 
And last, the answer probably is: you won't miss it.  Ask yourself: why am I keeping this?  The answer should tell you whether or not you should be. 

Here's a few things I did to get started, and I tell you, it's so much easier to purge your house of clutter once you donate those first few bags.

1. Get a garbage bag or a box and put it in a location where everyone in the house sees it.  For us, this is by our front door.  I wanted this donation bag to be in the way so everyone remembered it was there.  This served as a reminder that clutter is in the way, and also to encourage everyone to donate things as they saw them.

2. Start in one area of your house.  I started upstairs in my son's room.  Go through EVERYTHING. If you don't have time for a deep clean/purge, no worries! Only look on surfaces.  If it's toys cluttering up your life, pick some to donate, sell, or put in storage to rotate later.  If you pick it up, or your child does, and no one has a positive from it, it goes! Broken or missing pieces? Goodbye!  One trick for doing this with kids is to go in like a ninja when they aren't looking. I emptied an entire toy box of my son's stuff and put it in the basement.  I thought he would notice. He didn't.  He never asked for anything specific in there and when I showed him his new, decluttered room, he actually said, "wow! Look at all my toys!" It was like Christmas when he saw all the toys he had forgotten about because they were buried under clutter. 

3. Decide whether to donate, give away, sell or keep. If you want to donate, throw it in the donate bag!  Keep your friends in mind when you find something to get rid of. I found a pack of diapers we didn't need and gave them to a friend along with a few other baby items I thought they might want. Have a cute shirt your friend would look great it, that you don't wear anymore? Give it to them!

If you have something of value, consider selling it. This takes a little more time but is worth it.  I sell clothing on eBay all the time. If it's clothing, check around for consignment shops too, and make an appointment to drop things off to sell.  EBay of course is a great place to sell anything, Facebook swap groups is awesome for kids/baby items.  Kidizen is an awesome app for selling kids and baby clothes.  There are so many options and you can make a little cash doing it.  My breakdown for the last month alone was:

$25 from ThredUP
$37 from the adult consignment shop
$25 from eBay
$10 from Kidizen

I promise you, once you sell even one item and realize there is cash in your clutter, it will motivate you even more.

4. Get the donation bags out of your house! I bring them a few at a time to the donation bin and it always feels amazing.  I usually just toss them in the bin, but you can also donate to local churches, Goodwill, thrift stores.

5. Keep up on this! I found that once I started, it was easier to get rid of things.  And I'm not saying get rid of everything you own. Not at all.  But I am saying, if it doesn't make you happy or have a home, you don't need it.  The less you have to pick up, the more time you have for other things.  We are still in the beginning stages of this.  The garage needs a purge, as does the basement.  But it's ok to start slowly!  Even getting rid of one item is a start. 

When you start this process, it is overwhelming.  That's why I suggest starting in one place and diving in.  But you can also do it by item as you find them.  Say you are in the living room, and you see a pillow that always finds it way to the floor. You pick it up, curse that damn pillow and put it back on the couch.  Five minutes later, there it is again on it's migration path to the floor.  This time when you pick it up, ask yourself: does this pillow bring me joy? Why am I keeping it around? Does this serve a purpose other than to irritate me?

Much like our cluttered houses, this post has a lot of information coming at you, and if you read it all, you really mean business and you're ready to go!  So get your garbage bags, and get ready to purge.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

DIY Coffee Face Scrub & Mask

I recently tried a sample of a coffee scrub at LUSH and I loved everything about it, except the price tag.  It worked so well, and I was wanting to do another, but didn't budget for it this month, so I took to Pinterest to see how I could make one myself.

The easiest one I found involved just two ingredients and I happened to have them on hand so I gave it a try.  Coffee grounds and coconut oil.  That's all you need!

I'm not sure if I should call this a scrub or a mask so we're going to call it a scrub/mask, since really it is both.  So head to your kitchen and grab what you need!

-1 tbsp coconut oil
-1 tbsp coffee grinds (you can use either leftover grinds from your morning coffee, or dry. I used a little of both).

Mix them together in a bowl to form a paste.  Note: if you leave this out too long, it does liquefy a little (I made this mistake) so I suggest using it right away.

Before the scrub is my bare face, post workout (I'm like, so glamorous).  Apply the mask all over your face.  Be careful of your eyes. You want to get a little under your eyes because the caffeine from the coffee with wake up your face a little, but it will hurt really really bad if you get it in there!

I left mine on for about 15 minutes.  Because this is such a simple mask/scrub, it does get a little melty, so watch out for dripping.  You could add clay to it, for a sturdier mask, but I didn't have any on hand.

Next, get a warm washcloth and wipe off the mask.  If you have sensitive skin like me, I'd do this gently because you're exfoliating and it go too rough, you're going to get very red and it may actually hurt a bit!  So gently wipe it all off and check out your gorgeous, glowing skin!

When I wiped it off, my skin immediately felt softer, and more hydrated.  You can also use this on your body to exfoliate.  I've read that it works especially well on the belly (for all you mamas out there like me who want to tighten that post babies skin at the belly) because it exfoliates the skin and helps to tighten. I have no clue if that is actually true, but it doesn't hurt to try. 

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

EBates (sign up right now!)

Over the holidays I kept seeing that very annoying commercial about shopping online and getting cash back for shopping you were already doing and blah blah blah commercial stuff.  But then it stuck in my head that since Amazon and I are in a very committed relationship and I am already shopping...maybe I should check out this EBates deal.

So, I did. I signed up and it really is awesome!  And it's easy, you don't do much different than shop the way you're already shopping.  And I've been waiting to do this post until I actually received money back and guess what? I did!

Here's the deets and what to do (right now, so you don't miss out on the chance to get some money back!).

1. Go to EBates and sign up.

2. Next time you want to shop online, go to the EBates site, log in so you are on your dashboard, and search for the store you're shopping.  So if you're needing something on Amazon (aren't we always?), search Amazon.  They don't always have offers going with every store, but I found so far Amazon is usually on there.  Click the website you're shopping from EBates and it will direct you to your site.

3. Shop as you normally would! EBates will direct you the site you're shopping and let you know how much cash back has been activated.  That's all you do.  You click the website from EBates and shop as normal, and you get money back for doing it. 

4. Every few months you'll get the money pack via PayPal or check.  I did PayPal because its faster.  And I can say, and no, this is not sponsored at all, I did get a payment!  It went right into my PayPal.

5. Tell all your friends! Once you sign up, if you tell your friends and they sign up, you get bonus cash back.  I strongly suggest you do this!  Who doesn't want extra cash back? I know I do. 

You can also get a sign up bonus of $10 (I got this one!).  Sign up and once you spend $25 or more (doesn't have to be in the same transaction, I learned), you get that bonus. 

So far I shopped from Amazon, Mighty Leaf Tea and ThredUp.  ThredUp was like an extra special one to find on there because I love ThredUP so much and it makes it an even better deal to shop there!

Not familiar with ThredUP? Do yourself a favor and check it out, with $10 to spend for FREE! Go go go! (but sign into EBates first so you get the cash back, if they're still offering it).

I want to mention, you don't get huge percentages back. You might ask yourself, if it's only 2% or 3%, is it worth it to start from the EBates dashboard?  My answer: yes, absolutely yes! Even if you only make $3 back in one of the payments, that's a free coffee!  You really don't have to do much extra, besides starting in EBates and if you typically shop from your phone, they have an app too.  Through shopping items I was already ordering, and the sign on bonus, I already made $16 and I have another $22 pending cash out from referrals. 

Here's some that are offering cash back right now (as of 2/18/16):

The Honest Co.-2.5% cash back. If you get a monthly bundle, this is a great place to get cash back.

Amazon-up to 7% cash back right now.

ThredUp-offering 40% off coupon when you sign up, $10 off your first order and also 2.5% cash back. (If you're new to ThredUP, sign up, get your coupon code, and then go to EBates to activate the cash back.)

Whatever you're shopping for, always check EBates for cash back offers first. Groupon is having a $15 bonus cash back offer right now for new customers, and there's just so many opportunities to save a couple bucks.  For me, this is a no brainer. 

Once you sign up, I would love to hear how much you save! Give a shout and tell us about your experience.

*this post is my opinion, and not sponsored.

Monday, February 8, 2016

All Hoods on Sale at Crooked By Design!

Hooded cowls are a huge seller in the shop, and because they are somewhat labor intensive, they don't go on sale often. If you've had your eye on one, now is the time to get it, because they're all on sale!

Now through Friday, February 12, use code FIVEOFFHOOD to get $5 off any hood in the shop!

Each hood is handmade by me in a soft wool blend yarn.  All materials are machine washable, but with all handmade items, I suggest you hand wash, re-shape and dry flat. 

For the knit version (pictured in black), with or without ears, check out this one! And for the child and baby sizes, go here.

For the crochet hood, check out this one!  And for this hood in sizes todder-child, you can find them here.

If you're a yarn-er, and interested in making one yourself, definitely check out The Velvet Acorn on Etsy! Her patterns are amazing and easy to follow.

To see more knit and crocheted items, and hang with us some more, follow @KnaptimeKnitter on Instagram!  And never miss a Chronicles of a Knaptime Knitter post but subscribing today!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Easy (and cheap) Orange All-Purpose Cleaner

Recently I over-bought oranges because they were a great price, and a bunch were leftover and needed to be used up asap before they became a waste.  The first thing I thought to make was orange all purpose cleaner.  This is so easy and works really well!

The first thing to do is peel those oranges.  Or, if you're someone who eats a lot of citrus, save those peels! Take the peels and put them in a jar. 

To use up some more, I put orange slices in the fridge to toss in my daily smoothie, and also down the garbage disposal to clean in there. 

Next, I added plain old white vinegar to the jar of peels, stuck it on the windowsill and let it soak for two weeks.  I know this seems like a long wait time, but the longer they go, the more oils go into the vinegar and the better it is going to work.

Once the vinegar solution is ready, grab an empty spray bottle and a funnel and fill the bottle about half way. Then fill the rest with water.  If you have leftover vinegar in the orange jar, stick it back on the windowsill until you're ready to make more!

Ok, so maybe you're wondering if it actually works.  I let my counters get good and dirty and used only this spray on it.  It works so well!  If there's a stuck on stain, let it soak for a minute or two and then wipe it off.

I showed a friend of mine who is a major germ-a-phobe (Holly, I'm talking to you!) this solution and her first question was, "but does it disinfect?"  Good question!

I've been using vinegar to clean my house for sometime now, and that orange works as a great degreaser, but it also does have germ fighting ninjas too, according to Greenopedia.com:

White vinegar is a highly effective alternative that kills nearly all household germs, bacteria, mold, and mildew without the harmful fumes or residue of chlorine bleach. Vinegar is just as economical and it is completely safe to use around children and pets.
Vinegar is also biodegradable, so you can wash your sinks, drain and toilets without worrying about chemicals being flushed into your local water system.
If you prefer premixed cleaning solutions to vinegar, look for natural alternatives that use hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil or thyme oil to effectively disinfect your home.

I should specify that I am not a vinegar or germ expert, so if you're skeptical, do a little research (I simply Google'd it) on vinegar and citric acid and you be the judge.  I'm willing to bet bleach and other chemical cleaners are more effective at killing a bigger variety of germs, but for my house with a child, toddler and dogs, I prefer things that are food grade and non toxic so this is what works for our family.
If you're a budgeter, you'll enjoy how inexpensive this is to make.  If you want to get fancy, add some essential oils to it, or some other citrus peels.  

For the bottle, I'm using one I've had kicking around from a spray I ran out of but you can also get prettier ones too.  Amazon has these lovely ones that I have on my wish-list for a future purchase. With all the money you save making your own cleaner, you can totally justify buying the pretty bottles!

Have you made your own sprays? Please share your tips for making them even better!

Want to see more of our DIY projects? Follow @KnaptimeKnitter on Instagram!

Friday, January 29, 2016

DIY Peanut Butter

Recently, I was on Pinterest (as I usually am) and came across some homemade peanut butter recipes. For some reason, it had never occurred to me making it wouldn't be that hard.  I don't know why I thought I would need a ton of ingredients and special machinery.  Because guess what?  It takes very little to make this, and it comes out so delicious!

You can alter yours to your liking, but here we like mostly smooth with a bit of honey.  Here's what I did to achieve that:

I used Planter's peanuts that I found at BJ's on sale.  I have also done this with dry roasted and honey roasted and its come out yummy each time.  How smooth it comes out really depends on you. I add a tbsp of oil to mine for extra creaminess. 

Step 1: Add 1 1/2 cups of peanuts to your food processor, and drizzle the oil over it.  You can skip the oil if you want it crunchier.

Step 2: For my processor that only had two settings, I alternated between them for blending.  First, grind for a couple minutes.  Then chop for a couple minutes.  You'll see it start to do melt down into the peanut butter and it's actually pretty neat to watch.

Step 3: Once it's roughly chopped, add a tbsp of honey. I used a raw local honey because we prefer the taste and texture.  Again, if you don't want a honey kind, just omit this step.  Continue alternating between blending and chopping and it will continue to "butter" the peanuts.

*omitting the honey and oil may mean you have to blend it a little longer.

If you can believe it, that's all there is to it!  To fill this wide mouth mason jar, I did these steps twice.  So one round of the 1 1/2 cups of peanuts, put that aside, and do it again with another 1 1/2 cups. Then take the two batches and blend them together.

If you have a larger or more heavy duty food processor, you could likely just do it all at once, but I found my poor machine was getting a little overworked.  It was getting a bit hot headed, so out of fear of overloading it, I did it in two batches.

I have found this keeps best in the fridge.  My kids have been eating this like crazy.  On sandwiches, with apples as a yummy snack, on it's own by the spoonfull.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!  If you find it isn't getting as smooth as you want (this happened my first batch), keep going with the chopping and grinding.  I thought it had the best consistency when the bit of oil was added.

Have fun, and please let me know if you find any yummy additions to include!


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Monday, January 25, 2016

Introducing: The Hat of the Week at Crooked By Design!

This week's Hat of the Week are the bestseller Minion Inspired hats.  Aren't these so fun? I have handmade and sold over 100 of these to date and they're on sale until Friday January 29, 2016 so head on over to the shop and check them out!

These hats are made to order in sizes newborn to adult.  The tails make them great for tying on and provide a little extra warmth that way.

Made from 100% acrylic yarn, each one is made just for you!  The blue can be susbstitued for any color you'd like.

Now what are you waiting for? The sale ends Friday!
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

One Week of Toddler Approved Lunch Ideas

Toddlers can be tricky when it comes time to feeding time. If you're reading this, you already know that.  My daughter is almost two and very independent.  She will only accept food if she is feeding it to herself.  I set out to provide her with seven different lunches last week and she loved them all!  My goal was easy, healthy, inexpensive and things she could feed herself. 

Day 1:
All natural turkey breast from the deli (we love Hannaford's selection), strawberries and cucumbers.

Day 2:
White beans (drained), peaches, crackers and cheese dip.

Day 3:
Cheese and crackers (since they were a hit the day before), and banana.

Day 4:
Homemade apple sauce,  Goldfish and Annie's Mac n' Cheese.

Day 5:
Peanut butter sandwich, cherry tomatoes and cheddar cheese.

Day 6:
Deli chicken and cheese, blueberries and Cheerio's.

Day 7:
American cheese, blueberries, rice and diced avocado. 

Some more quick and easy food ideas for toddlers:
-hard boiled eggs
-diced fruit
-sliced peppers
-pita bread and hummus
-sliced and peeled apples
-shredded cheese
-dry cereal
-grilled cheese sandwiches (cut into four squares and save half for another meal)
-plain pasta
-scrambled eggs

Portions of course depend on your child, but she devoured almost every bite of each of these. The blueberries and any type of cheese were favorites of hers.

I've noticed, with my daughter at least, presentation counts when she's eating lunch. She particularly likes the compartments these plates provide.  I found them at Wal-Mart and they are made from recycled material, and very budget friendly.  They can also be found on Amazon here.

(*not sponsored in any way, we just really enjoy these plates*)
Want to keep up with other fun things we're up to? Follow @KnaptimeKnitter on Instagram!

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