Sunday, December 20, 2015

Easy Reindeer Food + A Free Printable!

One of my favorite traditions carried out by my family is how, every Christmas Eve night, we sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn so that Santa's reindeer can see our house from the sky. It's a great way to get into the Christmas fun without a ton of money or mess.

To Make:

- 1 Cup of Oatmeal
- Glitter ( I use green and red)
- Sandwich Size Ziplock Bag
- My Printable


Instructions:


  1. Scoop 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal into the sandwich bag. 
  2. Add as much glitter as you desire to the oatmeal in the bag.
  3. Stir it around with your finger, a spoon, or by shaking the bag (closed, of course!)
  4. Print out the sheet, cut out the poem, and stick it in the bag. 
  5. To be opened Christmas Eve night! 

You can print this out and put it in the reindeer food bag, or make your own using one of the many examples online!


Enjoy this recipe and this fun new tradition! 

-Sophia 

Beautiful Pictures of Autumn Leaves

Here are some pictures I took just the other day of a tree in our front yard. I took most of them with a shutter speed of 100 or 60, with an aperture of 5.0 or 5.6 and an ISO of 100. I also had the flash on.





And, of course, my personal favorite... 


Check back in later today for a tutorial for wrapping oddly shaped presents, a Winter Break Family Bucket List, and a recipe  for reindeer food! 

Did you like these pictures? Let me know your favorite in the comments! 



-Sophia

Blurred Pictures Made Easy- Simple Tips For A Non-Professsional

Everyone wants those awesomely artistic blurred pictures that are super Tumblr, right? Well, so did I, but I was really confused about how to get a picture out of focus entirely. That is, until I remembered that I could switch the lens to manual focus on my DSLR.

So I tried that and guess what? It works! Simply slide the bar from AF to MF on your lens and you can leave the picture out of focus! Simple, yet very effective!



Look out later today or tomorrow for more posts about photography, and a tutorial about wrapping oddly shaped presents! Plus, a list of family resolutions for the holiday break, all on Cupcakes and Kayaks!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Christmas List 2015

Every Year around this time, kids put together their ultimate wish list of everything they want for Christmas. Those lists can include everything from a time machine to a hairbrush, but one thing is always the same: kids implore Santa to bring them the toys of their dreams on Christmas Eve.

Today, I'm sharing with you my Christmas list and my sister's Christmas wish list, in case you need some ideas.

My Sister's:

To Santa from Lena

this christmas I want the
American girl doll Grace with 2
Accessories. A paint set.
Stuffed animal. Animal headphones. 

P.S. with the American girl doll 
accessories I want the slow cooker
and a pair of boots and a sweater for her and glasses.

And I want one of those gymnastics
wedge things 

So there's the list of what Lena is asking Santa for this Christmas. Now for my list:


  • Gift cards: Target, Hobby Lobby, iTunes, Starbucks, Amazon, Simon Mall, etc.
  • Inside Out DVD
  • “The Goldbergs” or “The Middle” or “Black-ish” DVD set. For the Goldbergs, season 1 or 2, for the Middle, further back is best. They have the sets at a discount on Amazon right now
  • “The Martian” Movie Poster. They have them also on Amazon. I would like the one that says “Bring Him Home” and underneath “Matt Damon; The Martian.”
  • Money
  • A Canon zoom lens. The EF-S 55-250mm seems like a good choice to me, but anything that has a range close to that and is inexpensive would be awesome. I have a 18-55mm right now
  • A “Turn Board” which is probably also on Amazon
  • Clothes
  • Adidas “High Rise Full Tight” they're in the women's section and I would probably need a size XS
  • Cool T Shirts
  • “Pink” Jacket
  • Cool Crew Socks

So there you have it. And as for my brothers, the ten year old twins, they will probably send off their list the day before Christmas Eve, hoping Santa gets it in time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Sophia

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Mousetrap Car Failure

video
Watch my video to find out what happened!

How I Learned to Use A Planner

For years, I was opposed to using a planner. My thoughts were, "I have a brain, that's where I can keep all my assignments."

But the problem with that was that I would forget things. So for my 8th grade year, I decided I would use a planner.

I bought a small planner at Target for under 5 dollars. I found some cute smiley face binder clips and some Paper Mate pens for 2 dollars and set out to be organized.

I decided to color code my planner based upon the type of thing I was writing.

I wrote homework in orange, due dates in purple, dance in green, and tests in blue. 

Every day I have been writing in my planner, using my pens, and i have to say that, while the system isn't foolproof, it has definitely helped me with my organizational skills, especially at a time when we are having some much more homework and assignments!

I also have begun using a different one-inch binder for each of my four core classes, and this little step has helped me tremendously. I am so pleased that I have really become a more organized, dependable person this 2015-2016 year.

However, I did have to build a mousetrap car recently that made me want to scream. But yeah... organization. More on the car later.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Secrets of Kid-hood

I love to read adult self-help books that don't apply to me in any way. So recently I read Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" and I was interested by her list of "Secrets of Adulthood" (I would definitely recommend this book, by the way).  The list can be found in her book. It contains things from the down-to-earth basics to happiness-inducing habits.

I decided that I could come up with a list of my Secrets of Kid-Hood, mimicking Rubin's technique. Here it is folks, the Secrets of Kid-Hood!!!


  • It's ok to say no
  • Pack your backpack the night before
  • Do what you want, not what your friends want
  • Before buying clothes, think about whether you'd actually wear it, not whether you could wear it or might wear it
  • Find a hobby
  • Get used to school, because it's not going anywhere
  • Don't forget to be a kid
  • Before you do something questionable ask yourself, "Would I be OK with my priest/rabbi/teacher/grandmother seeing me do this?"
  • If you don't want to go somewhere but you know you really should, suck it up and go anyways because it might be fun. Or it won't. But at least you'll know.
  • Use a planner
  • Don't fake being sick, instead, ask if you can leave school a bit early or not come back after an appointment. Your parents will appreciate your honesty. 
  • Go with the flow
  • Don't get too caught up in things being "perfect"
  • Have fun with your "cool" friends, but don't blow off your other friends
  • You only live once, so enjoy it and don't be stupid
  • Do well in school, and if you can't do that then do okay. And if you can't do that then study
  • Focus on the now
  • Be nice to your siblings
  • If you have to doze off, daydream during language arts, not math
  • It's okay to ask questions
  • It's not the end of the world if you do bad on a test
  • Take risks, but don't be stupid
  • You are amazing
  • How you look doesn't define you
  • Middle school is awkward, it can only go up from here
  • Be assertive. If you want something from your parents (or anyone), ask! 
  • Tell people how you feel
  • You'll never know if you don't try
  • You're only a kid once, don't waste your opportunity
  • You are You
Here is a picture of the list. To print it out, download it and print!



  
Let me know in the comments what your own secrets to kid-hood are! 

- Sophia


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Do Kids Have Too Much Homework?

If you ask me, yes, yes, yes. Speaking as a middle school student, I say yes. I know it's easy to say no. There are a bajillion reasons that you can make to say why homework is good. It teaches time management, It's what "school" is meant to be, it has benefits for later in life... The list goes on and on.

But I think there's an even bigger list of reasons why homework should be reduced (although these may be wrong, this is what I think).


  1. When you do work in class, you can ask the teacher your questions as they come up. Because if I have to wait until the next day, I forget and I mean I really forget. 
  2. Young kids especially learn much more from being outside, with their friends, or engaging in creative activities than by doing work in class. 
  3. School gets out so late anyways (my school ends at 4:05) and kids have so many subjects that homework is often a source of stress instead of an opportunity to learn. 
  4. Back to the stress topic, I know kids that stay up until midnight nearly every night trying to keep up with their work, which causes you to focus less in school the next day, because you get less sleep than you need. 
  5. When kids get a bad night's sleep, they have problems focusing on tests, which defeats the purpose of homework. Isn't homework to prepare you for tests? If you ask me, losing sleep over your homework diminishes your ability to concentrate on tests. 
  6. Not to mention that carrying backpacks loaded with binders and notebooks can have an effect on your posture and overall health. 
So, is it clear that homework is bad? No. But I think that homework in more moderation would definitely benefit today's youth. It would give us more time to engage in creative passions, develop friendships, and other positive things. Now bye... gotta do my homework!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

An Adorable Gumball Machine: My Halloween Costume 2015

I've always been a fan of making my own costume- last year I was an owl (I cut and sewed hundreds of felt feathers onto a big t-shirt). Halloween is also a very fun holiday for me- I love to dress up.

So in the middle of September, I was looking online for Halloween costume inspiration. I knew I wanted to make my costume- and not be a witch, my costume for three years prior- but I didn't know what, exactly, I wanted to be.

I was in the car driving to a restaurant, when I found the costume I wanted. A gumball machine. I saved the image, and about a month later, I turned up at Hobby Lobby with a mission. Here is how to make a Gumball Machine costume of your own- plus tricks I wish I'd known before I started.



Supplies:


  • Hot glue gun
  • Pom-Poms (I would say, if you're my size or larger, 2 bags of every color you plan to use, plus one mixed bag for accent colors)
  • Tank top (get one size larger than the size you actually wear. More on that below)
  • Red fabric or red skirt
  • Grey felt square
  • Knee-High socks (optional)
  • Headband (optional)
The first thing I did was pick a plain white tank top from my closet. As mentioned above, I wouldn't recommend this. When I glued the pom-poms on my tank top, all of its stretch was lost, and I literally could not get it over my head. I had to cut the back and sew elastic back there, so yeah, trust me on this one- get a size, or even two, bigger.

What I had to do to the back of my shirt to get it to fit!!!!

Then, I bought pom-poms at Hobby Lobby (of course, they are also sold at pretty much every craft store) and began to glue them on.

These are the colors I bought: red, orange, yellow, light green, blue, and pink. I also bought a mixed bag. The pom-poms are a little less than an inch in diameter. 


I started gluing on the pom-poms with my hot glue gun like so. 
After I was completely done with the top, I made a simple red skirt. You could, of course, also buy a red skirt, I just couldn't find one in my size at the store. 




I used my grey felt and drew with Sharpie the picture above. You could also use fabric marker or make the whole thing out of paper, but I used grey felt and sewed three sides on my skirt. 

One mistake I did make with the skirt, though, is that the felt was too high up to see, so I would recommend putting it lower than I did, or making the top shorter (or both). 


The completed gumball top and my socks. 



Finally, I bought some grey knee-high socks at Hobby Lobby to represent the pole of the machine (and to keep me warmer), and made a gumball headband. 

That is me by the way. Also, I think you'll recognize the yarn "S" in the background, which I made in an earlier post (it can be found here.)

I just glued pom-poms on a thin headband and wore it around my head. It really added a great extra touch but only took a few extra minutes to make.

The completed top. 

I hope everyone had a very happy Halloween, and enjoyed this tutorial. Let me know what you think of it in the comments. 

Love, Sophia, resident gumball machine



Monday, October 5, 2015

Inspiration Monday: An Adorable 50th Wedding Anniversary Party

My grandparents (Nano and Bump) recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary (and the crowd goes crazy)! Anyways, for today's Inspiration Monday I wanted to share some pictures from the party. A hundred and thirty people came to celebrate at the very same dance hall where they met 50 years ago! 

The lovely cake. 

The big five-oh!

Mmmm!


Centerpiece. 


Established 1923!

A trail mix bar!!!


The band. Who knows, they may have been playing the night they met!

Me and my sister dancing... I'm the older one...


My sister and her friend. 

I'm the one on the right. 
So, it was a great night! Hope this post helped!!!! 
Have a great week! 

- Sophia (a.k.a the one on the right)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Our Halloween Decor Ensemble: Check It Out

These days, people want easy. At least, I know we do. Today, we put out our Halloween decorations: the same ones we've been using since forever ago. I thought I'd share the pics of what I did just to show that it can be easy to do decorations (and it can still look good). And for you overachiever types, check out what's coming soon at the bottom of the page.

Don't you just love this sign (and sorry 'bout the low-quality pic). I do! I change it from "IN" to "OUT" whenever we leave, although I'm the only one in the family who keeps up with that!

Oh, I love this guy! He's my fave! Plus, it's great for scaring innocent passersby.

We've had these pumpkin lights for so long, they're like part of the family. 

Oh, no! A witch crash-landed in our yard!!!

This spiderweb took literally 20 minutes to untangle, but you can't argue with the results! 



It's a tarantula! Hide!!!!

This little guy. But he's heavy!

BOO! This is the table at the very front of our house. 




So, as you can definitely see, cute doesn't have to be synonymous with "hard" or "time consuming."

 Coming Soon: 
 If you're in the Halloween mood, here's what's coming up!


  • My Neighbor's Halloween Decorations: Super Cool
  • Trash Bag Ghosts Tutorial
  • Our Family's Costumes
  • Pumpkin Bread (mmmm!)
So, check it out! Thanks!

Love, Sophia

Yarn Wrapped Letters

I know pretty much everyone has seen that tutorial to make yarn wrapped letters, huh?

Yeah. Well, I wanted to try something like that, but make it easy. So instead of a wooden letter, craft glue, and three different types of yarn, I turned to something simple: cardboard, a hot glue gun, and yarn.

Here's the tutorial.


Supplies:

  • Cardboard
  • Sharpie
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Yarn
  • Any Extra Embellishments you'd like to add
First, draw your letter or shape on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. 

 

Then, get your yarn and glue ready. Apply a layer of glue to the top of the letter and attach the yarn, then start wrapping the yarn around the letter, stopping every couple of rounds to add a line of glue and glue a piece of yarn down. This is to keep it secure.



When you're ready to change colors, cut the yarn and glue the end on the back of the letter. Then get your new yarn and glue it to the back, and start wrapping like before.


I kept alternating colors until I reach the end. Then, I attached the end of the yarn to the letter like I did to start the wrapping process. If you crafty people out there find a better way to start and end the wrapping please let me know (bold, italics, underlined? you know i'm serious!). (-:

Attach any embellishments. I added the same flower I used on my cowbell (see tutorials under the Drill Team Life! tab).

Well, here's how mine turned out:



Here is is on my wall!!!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Please comment what you thought below. Thanks for checking in!

- Sophia