Friday, July 1, 2016

Patriotic Printables for the 4th of July

4th of July Banner from thelovelyapple on Etsy, from
4th of July Banner from Thelovelyapple on Etsy
I've become enamored with printable greeting cards from Etsy. I love these, especially when I need a card at the last minute (I tend to procrastinate). Well, there's more than just greeting cards available to help when a holiday or special occasion sneaks up on you. For instance, check out these patriotic printables and cute decor, instant downloads, perfect DIY for the 4th of July!

If you're in need of party decor, consider this gorgeous red, white, and blue printable banner, pictured above. It's easy to print, cut, and display using card stock (pick up a pack at Walmart) and twine or ribbon. What drew me to this banner were the stripes, plaids, and dots that make up the designs for each letter and the stars that go in between the words. This will go together quickly and make a beautiful way to greet your guests no matter where you hang it.

4th of July Photo Booth Props Printable by TheQuirkyQuail on Etsy, from
4th of July Photo Booth Props Printable
 by TheQuirkyQuail on Etsy
Having a photo booth at your party? Everyone loves photo booths, especially when the host provides fun props. Take a look at these 4th of July Photo Booth Props, printables designed by TheQuirkyQuail on Etsy. With this very inexpensive set of printable files, a few sheets of card stock, a pair of scissors, tape, and straws or skewers, you'll have the perfect activity for your Independence Day party guests. So, who wants to be Uncle Sam? How about the Statue of Liberty (my personal favorite)? These red, white, and blue designs are fabulous!

4th of July Cupcake Toppers by PaperPlaceRD on Etsy |
4th of July Cupcake Toppers
by PaperPlaceRD on Etsy
Cupcakes, anyone? Turn a simple white on white cupcake into a special occasion dessert with these cute, printable, patriotic cupcake toppers. Last minute? No problem! Print out this set of six different designs as many times as you need to, cut out each topper, tape or hot glue them to sucker sticks, and let everyone choose their favorite designer cupcake for dessert. (I like the gold cupcake liners used in this picture; remember to pick those up, too, when you buy your cake mix.)

"I'm on a budget. How much do these printable files cost?"

Another thing I like is that the downloadable, printable files that I've shown you here won't break your holiday party budget. They range in price from about $3 to less than $7 so they're very affordable. What you actually buy on Etsy is the downloadable file (usually PDF or JPG) which you can re-use (for personal use only) as often as you like. Save them on your computer to use again next year or whenever the next patriotic occasion sneaks up on you!

"I love these patriotic printables! Give me more!"

Happy to oblige! There are hundreds more patriotic printables to choose for your party or special holiday event, including party invitations for those of you who are organized enough to plan ahead, (I hope you don't procrastinate like I do.) Use this link to browse, and have fun!  

P.S. Like what you've learned? Please pin it! 

Patriotic Printables for the 4th of July from

Thursday, January 28, 2016

It's National Kazoo Day

Today, January 28, 2016, is National Kazoo Day.

Proof that there's a holiday for every occasion. Or an occasion for every holiday.

Seems to me that the world would be a much happier place if each of us was issued our very own kazoo, and taught how to use it.

I mean really, how can you not smile (okay, sometimes cringe-smile) when you hear a song played on a kazoo?

So, without any further kazoo ado, watch, listen to, and enjoy the following video. Then grab yourself a new kazoo, or a whole package of them, enough for your closest friends and every member of your family, hum along, and spread some love and good cheer!

You're smiling now, aren't you. Aren't you? 

Read more about National Kazoo Day here, laugh a little, hum a lot, and have fun!

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Reason for the Season: Do You Believe?

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19
"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19

However you celebrate Christmas, and even if you don't celebrate, I pray that you believe in your heart that the Reason for the season was born, died, and rose again to save each of us from our sins. Wishing you joy and peace today and throughout the coming year.

~ Susan

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I Got A Hippopotamus for Christmas!

If you read this recent post, you'll know that one of my favorite family stories is about the year, a very long time ago when I was just a toddler, that I didn't get a hippopotamus for Christmas. Eventually, years later when I was all grown up, my mom did buy me a hippopotamus, a ceramic mama hippo with a baby on its back (the picture is in that other post). It took a lot of years, but I finally had my precious hippopotamus. The story is still a special one between Mom and me.

This year, now that my mom is in her 80s, I decided it was high time to return the favor. So this year I got her a hippopotamus for Christmas.

Crocheted Hippopotamus for Mom for Christmas 2015 -
Mom's Hippopotamus for Christmas 2015

TOP SECRET: Important! If you know my mom, please don't tell her about this! It's top secret until Christmas day! 

Back to the story.

After I wrote about the no-hippo Christmas a couple of weeks ago, I decided that I'd look online to see if I could find the same little ceramic "Mom and Me" hippo, one I could get for Mom for this Christmas. I didn't have any luck finding the same thing, but I found a lot of other cute hippos including the one you see in the picture above. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would make a perfect gift.

The new hippo is purple and yellow and has a headband with a flower and a full skirt. It's actually made (crocheted in cotton yarn) to be a lovey or security blanket for a child. While this would look adorable in a child's room, I think it's going to look great on Mom's bed, her coffee table, or wherever she decides to display it.

I think she's going to love it. And now we'll each have our own hippopotamus.

If you don't get a hippopotamus for Christmas this year, Kelly at CrochetedOwl on Etsy should be able to fix you up with a lovey blanket hippo like Mom's.

If you'd rather have another type of hippopotamus for Christmas, or for any other day of the year, then check here to see what else is available on Etsy. There are tons of them, any of which could play a role in your next family story.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

You're Only As Old As You Feel

Learn How to Think (and Feel) Young Again!

What does a striped Supergirl hoodie have to do with thinking young?  Read on to find out.
What does a striped Supergirl hoodie have to do with thinking young? 
Find out below.

The saying goes this way: "You're only as old as you feel." I like it better this way: "You're only as young as you feel" or, better yet, "You're only as old as you think." Let's talk about ideas to help you think - and feel - young again.

Do you feel old? Perhaps you should try thinking young! Have you forgotten how to think young? Engage your sense of humor and read on. Help is on the way!

The Lady In Pink Is Younger Than You Think

The Lady In Pink Is Younger Than You Think -
Photo is aptly titled "Wisdom"
When I see other old people acting young, it makes me feel young, too.

While I was at the grocery store one day, I saw a white-haired woman doing her shopping. She was obviously a senior citizen, dressed in pink from head to toe, carrying a large, pink-sequined purse. I wanted so much to take her picture. She was genuinely pretty in pink, but what struck me about her was that she must feel a whole lot younger on the inside than she looked to be on the outside. She was dressed like a teenager and probably felt like one, too, even though she appeared to be older than my mother.

Not very many years ago I would have chuckled at this little old lady, thinking that she should act, and dress, her age. Now that I'm older, I finally "get it" about the young-on-the-inside-despite-the-aging-body feeling that it turns out many, perhaps most, baby boomers and senior citizens feel. I would have dismissed her as being slightly eccentric, refusing to grow up. Little would I have known that someday soon, that would be me.

Now, my own body is noticeably aging, my hair graying, skin sagging, joints aching, but my mind doesn't feel any older than it used to. Now, I understand. I'm not senile, not eccentric (well, maybe just a little) and I will continue to wear my college girl hoodies and my colorful Crocs with polka-dot socks just because I like them. I expect that as time goes by some younger people will judge me, but I won't hold that against them. Someday they'll be where I am now, and they'll understand, too.

I wish I would have had time to strike up a conversation with that lady this morning but, as usual, I was in a hurry. I really wanted to get a closer look at her groovy pink shoes.

Photo: "Wisdom" by Deepak Bhatia on Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

"I am not young enough to know everything."
— Oscar Wilde

Keep Your Brain Young: Read a Book!

Younger Next Year Book for Women - You're Only As Old As You Feel from
Seriously, it's important to exercise your brain and you don't have to be over 50, or even 40, to start.

Reading anything is good exercise for your brain. I chose this bestseller, Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You're 80 and Beyond, because of the subject matter (aging without fear or anxiety) and the book's great reviews.

There's a whole series of Younger Next Year books by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry S. Lodge, with the original book designed for men. Inside you'll find inspirational information to help you look and feel younger and actually live longer. If you need help with exercise as you age, try the Younger Next Year Exercise Program.

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
— Albert Einstein

I Heard It My Way

"S" stands for Super Senior!

When our college student son saw me wearing my new black-and-white striped hoodie with the pink Supergirl insignia on the front, he told me I looked like a 19-year-old college girl. He assured me that he likes 19-year-old college girls, so that was a good thing. This middle-aged mom hadn't heard a comment like that in a while so I sucked in my tummy a little bit more, smiled, and enjoyed it!

Later, when I bragged about the remark to my husband, our son said, "Wait a minute. I said that looks like something a 19-year-old college girl would wear. I didn't say that you look like a 19-year-old college girl." I told him I heard what I heard and liked it much better my way. That's my version of the story and I'm sticking with it!

Sometimes, seeing ourselves as we think others see us can be a good thing. As long as there's not a mirror nearby.

"Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty .. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out."
— Phyllis Diller

Now it's your turn. Tell me, how old are you feeling these days? How do you stay young? I'd love to read your comments, frustrations, or anti-aging tips!

P.S. Speaking of pink (and we were), I love this shirt!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Found it! The Best Tablet for Reading

They've finally done it. Amazon has combined the best features of the Kindle reader with a Fire tablet to create their new Reader's Edition tablet.
Combine the reading features of a Kindle
with the awesome Fire HD 8 tablet to create the
ultimate reading experience ever on a tablet.
Well, they've gone and done it. Amazon has combined the best features of the Kindle reader with an 8-inch Fire tablet to create their all-new Fire HD 8 Reader's Edition tablet.

If you've ever tried to read in bed at night on your Fire tablet, you know that there's just a bit of glariness that makes reading less than perfectly comfortable. It's the blue light that the tablets produce, light that actually can suppress the production of melatonin in your body and disturb your sleep. This new tablet has what Amazon calls Blue Shade, filters that suppress the blue light. Turn the Blue Shade feature on and off at will and fine tune the brightness to suit yourself - and your eyes.

In addition to the much-improved lighting for night reading, the new Reader's Edition tablet comes with a full year's subscription to Kindle Unlimited. That service makes over a million book titles available to be read for free as long as the subscription is in effect. Most of us now pay $9.99 a month for Unlimited reading. That means this is a $120 value, included with the purchase of this new Fire tablet for an amazing price of just $249.99. A seriously good deal!

You'll also get the wonderful reading features of the other Kindle readers such as the new Bookerly font (introduced earlier this year on the latest Paperwhite), adjustable fonts, Word Runner (a different way to read which may help you read much faster), Book Wizard, and more features too numerous to mention here. (They're all explained on the product page.)

Let's not forget the case. Amazon has designed a beautiful, rustic-looking, book-like brown leather case for this new tablet. It's a Limited Edition cover that also includes the features that Kindle and Fire owners have come to love about Amazon's own device covers.

While reading on a tablet is now something to seriously consider, remember that this is a tablet. That means you'll also get the beautiful color display that Amazon always provides in their Fire tablets, so you can read colorful magazines, play games, watch movies, and take pictures with the front and the rear-facing cameras. Expand the 8GB of storage with a microSD card, too, if you need the extra space (up to 128 GB).

Those who know me know that I'm kinda Kindle crazy and right now my heart is beating just a bit a whole lot faster than usual. This is going to be an awesome product, I can tell. So if you've put off choosing a Kindle, or choosing between a Kindle reader and a Fire tablet, your problem now has been solved.

Order your Fire HD8 Reader's Edition tablet now at this link. Shipping starts on December 9th. Hooray! You can have yours by Christmas!

Easy to Make Chain Crochet Scarf

When my children were young, I used to craft or do needlework all the time. In fact, I barely remember when I didn't know how to crochet. The hook's been on the shelf for a long time, though, until recently. Necessity and frugality plus inspiration from other people's crochet projects finally has me back on the crochet bandwagon. The result? This pretty new chain crochet scarf that I made last night.

Easy to Make Chain Crochet Scarf from Life from the Inside Out

Like it? I do.

I'm not usually much of a scarf person, but I needed something to keep my neck warm during the cold weather we've been having lately. That was the necessity. Frugality? It's a very inexpensive project and I'm all for saving money.

This scarf was made with just a chain stitch (you don't really need a pattern) and some beautiful fringed yarn that I picked up yesterday at Walmart. The color is called Misty, a perfect name for the primarily gray variegated combination. It's soft, fluffy, and lightweight, with just enough yarn in the skein for a chain that, when finished and tied off into a circle, makes three or four loops over the head and around the neck. In the picture, it's looped four times so it's overall short and works perfectly to warm up that bare area of my neck that the wind seems to find so easily on a breezy day like today.

I wore it to church this morning with a lightweight cowl neck sweater (as shown in the picture) then put it back on with a more casual knitted sweater this afternoon and my neck has been warm and comfortable all day long.

In case you don't know how to crochet, I've included a very nicely-done video tutorial below that demonstrates how to crochet a chain or rope scarf. The gal in the video uses three contrasting strands of typical yarn which is a great way to get the feel of making the chain. Practice with just one strand if you're a true beginner. Once you're feeling more confident, try some fancier yarn like the Sashay Fringe yarn from Red Heart that I used. Nice thing is that the fluffiness of the yarn hides any little imperfections or mistakes you might make.

Another plus of a scarf like this one? It's a great gift idea and you can whip up several of them in an evening. I'm sure it took me less than 15 minutes to make the chain. Total cost? Around four dollars. (I did mention that frugality was a motivating factor.)

If you need a gift for a female friend or family member or if you want a fluffy neck warmer for yourself, pick up a ball of yarn next time you're out shopping and give it a try. You'll need a crochet hook, too; I used a size H hook that I had on hand and it worked very well.

If you make a chain crochet scarf (or neck warmer) for yourself or for a gift, do let me know. I'd love to hear all about it. Have fun and stay warm!