Mom to the rescue: School crafting made easy with Wescott

Disclosure: Occasionally, this writer receives items to facilitate a review. All opinions are her own.

It’s a phrase that moms dread. The project, the craft, the something elaborate is due tomorrow. Somehow, some reason or fabrication, the teacher assigns a project that needs crafting done in a day. No, I’m not talking about the 2 month project that your kid forgot (yes that happens too). But, those last minute projects are the ones that make moms scream. Having a basket of Wescott crafting supplies on hand is the mom salvation.

First, I am not a crafting person. I like lines, neatness, order, etc. I don’t spend time scrapbooking or searching pinterest for the perfect crafting idea. In my world, I’m about convenience. If I could buy the finished project, I probably would.

For me to have crafting supplies on hand means that the products must be easy to use, otherwise they wouldn’t be in my house. The handful of my Wescott crafting tools are exactly that, easy to use. Specifically, the glue guns.

Have you ever burned yourself on a glue gun? I have. I swore that I wouldn’t have another one in my house after the last burn incident, but now I’m sold on this thin glue gun. Previously, my biggest complain about glue guns was that too much glue came out. Big globs would be a hot mess, literally. With this glue gun I can control the smallest amounts of glue. It is simple and easy, especially for this non-crafting mom.

We used this glue gun on two last minute projects in our house. In the “due tomorrow” file, my son came home with great news. He was a finalist for homecoming prince. Great, but he needed to make a campaign poster for the morning. That’s right, after a long school day and a high school swim meet, we had to make a poster. Time to break out the glue gun, paper cutter and glitter. Luckily I had everything in the office.

With the Wescott paper cutter, I knew that we could ensure straight cuts for the whole project. But, the cutter doesn’t stop there. It has a scorer feature. This feature lets you mark an area with an indentation without actually cutting it. It is perfect to make straight lines for adding elements. For example, we used the score option to make sure that the letters and picture were lined up. The little, non-visible line provided the straight surface to line up the printing. Simple, easy and done.

While the Wescott paper cutter is works for cutting shapes too. We made all types of arrows, borders and designs. While rounded cuts aren’t the best, arrows and triangles are easy. Plus, this cutter is much faster and easier than regular scissors.

Of course, the glue guns made sure that everything stuck and nothing fell off. From the heavier photo to all the glittered letters, I had great confidence that the Prince would still be Prince, not Rin or ince.

But, posters aren’t the only use for these crafting projects. My other son had been working on an original book for his language arts class. What he neglected to tell me is that the book had to have a real cover. Extra points were given for a creative cover. Bring out the supplies.

Since his book was about the big five animals on safari, we wanted the book’s cover to look like animal skin. We took some grey felt and some fake fur to create the cover. The materials covered a sturdy folder. Plus, we even scored the felt to make it look older, like an elephants hide. The final product looked pretty good. Bonus, he got an A on the project.

These two simple examples show that anyone can craft when they have the right products. These Wescott products, like the paper cutter and glue guns can make anyone feel at home in the crafting world. I may not be Martha Stewart, but I won’t end up on the Pinterest fail channel.

 Disclosure: Occasionally, this writer receives items to facilitate a review. All opinions are her own.

9/11 Movie, adding perspective to our nation's tradegy



Life can change in a moment. The tragic events on 9/11 make that thought apparent. When people woke up that morning, no one knew that the would change in a single moment. Ever since that fateful morning, life as we know is hasn't been the same. While my children know non different, sometimes I wish for a simpler, less fearful time.

The 9/11 Movie tells the unlikely tale of a group of people stuck in a World Trade Center elevator. This unlikely group faced life's hardest moments together with complete strangers. They could have given up, succumb to the despair and let fate take over. Instead, these real people fought and found a way to never give up. Some people may not want to watch this movie because of the subject matter.

It can be upsetting to think about the day that the world changed. But, this story isn't about tragedy. It is about triumphant. People, even those people who would never interact with each expect for these circumstances, must work together. Commonality can be found in everyone is people look for it. Instead of only seeking the different, people need to look with a different perspective.

With Charlie Sheen as one of the main characters, viewers are challenged to think and see differently. Instead of the pre-conceived notion of him as a person, viewers see him as the character. A man who looks to help others and find a solution.

Again, the idea of perception is questioned. Sometimes, everyone needs to break down the barriers. After watching this movie, I hope that people learn to appreciate others. From looking past people to being closed minded, people's perceptions are keeping the world stagnant.

It is unfortunate that tragedy spurs people into action. Why can't people work together for the great good?

Take 90 minutes out of your busy life and watch the 9/11 Movie. This movie isn't about reliving a tragedy. Rather, the movie encourages everyone to inspire others to never give up, move forward, and never forget.

Disclosure: I received a screening link of this movie for review purposes. Opinions are my own.

Three Businesses That Work for Stay-at-Home Parents

If you stay at home to take care of your children, you may be frustrated by your lack of economic power. While parents and other caregivers are an absolute necessity for the health and happiness of your child, all too often they are not paid for their work. For parents who stay at home, it's nice to have a small home business to bring in extra income while you take care of your home and family. Here are a few business ideas that you can do at home without neglecting your little ones.

Graphic Design At Home
If you've studied graphic design in school or college, you're in luck. This skill is useful for many businesses, and you can often do the work from the comfort of your home. You can look for graphic design jobs online, or you can just reach out to your friends, family, and neighbors and advertise that you're accepting work. To help you get started, volunteer your graphic design services with a local nonprofit. This will help to get your name out there as well as help you to build your own graphic design portfolio.

Home Brewer
This is a fast-growing field, and mothers and fathers who are staying at home with their kids are quickly seeing the advantages of starting their own brewing operation. Start small and master your brewing techniques before you start to sell your product. In a few years, you'll be good enough to start your own microbrewing operation. Then, take it to the next level with a personal brand and your own bottling process. When you need a beer label maker, turn to a professional company like Bottle Labeler to make your product look truly professional. Then, work with your local bars and distributors to get your beverages to the market. You'll be proud of your beer and eager to share it with the world.

Child Care Provider
One of the easiest jobs for a stay-at-home parent is child care provider since they are already set up to do the work. Before you start looking for other kids to watch during the day, make sure you are certified in first aid and CPR. Be realistic about how much it will cost you to take another child into your home each day and adjust your fees accordingly. You'll make money and help another family.

Getting the Step-by-Step Details for Any Outdoor Remodel

Outdoor remodeling projects require a certain amount of talent and finesse that you may lack.  You might be quite skilled at handling indoor projects like painting or installing new light fixtures.  However, when it comes to improving the way the outside of your house looks and feels, you may lack the experience needed to get the job done safely.

When you want to take on a project like laying down a new sidewalk, building stairs for a deck, landscaping your yard, or other kinds of work, you need some guidance on how to complete the work from start to finish.  You can get the step-by-step details and hire the right contractor for it if necessary by using the online resources made available by the referral and vetting company.

Selecting the Project by Category

When you first visit the website, you will find that it categorizes the most popular types of remodeling projects that homeowners often undertake.  It lists indoor projects as well as those that take place outdoors. 

Using the categories, you can select the project in which you are most interested.  You can then click on its name and find a page that will go into more detail about how it is done and what kind of effort must go into its success.

If you have never before built a set of stairs, you may then realize that you need to hire someone to help or take over the job entirely.  The website makes it easy to vet local contractors and to accept bids that fall in line with your budget and calendar.

Vetting Contractors

You may not have time to call around to each local contractor to ask for a bid.  The entire bidding process requires you to give a host of details that you may or may not forget during a phone call.
Instead of calling local businesses, you can input those details on the website and then get a list of local contractors who are ready and able to get the work done.  You will know what ones are available right now or in the near future.  You also will know how much they charge by the day, hour, or project using the website to vet their bids.

Outdoor remodeling jobs can be cumbersome and difficult for novices.  You can get the work done without risking its success by vetting and hiring remodeling contractors on the website.

Second jobs, who's more likely to work extra hours

Work life balance is a tenuous subject. A day job can be stressful, overwhelming or even cumbersome. If that day job is so difficult, why are more women choosing to take on a side hustle to supplement their income?

According to a recent Career Builder survey, 35 percent of women have some type of side job. This supplemental income isn’t necessarily for women below the poverty line. Workers with salaries above the $75,000 annual income are just as likely to have an extra job as workers under $50,000 a year salary.

Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer at CareerBuilder, said “while we continue to be at what is considered full employment, the quality and pay of jobs isn't always what workers want, causing them to seek out new ways to supplement their full-time income.”

While this survey is quite interesting, the numbers don’t tackle the underlying question. Is the side job a monetary issue or a job quality issue?  Included in the survey results were some popular examples of common side jobs. These jobs included chef/baker, blogger and dog walker. Could the side job be more about a passion versus income?

Looking at some of the popular types of side jobs, these jobs tend to fall under a passion profession. For example, many people are outstanding cooks with amazing culinary talent. But, making a living as a professional chef is tremendously difficult. For every Food Network Star there is a struggling line cook who can barely afford her apartment. Still, she may want to share her culinary creations with others. A side gig catering for friends or baking birthday cakes could be a way to increase her income and engage her passion for cooking.

The same can be said for the other examples of blogger or dog walker. Some people have a special way with animals, but veterinary school may not have been possible. Or maybe, a wife wants a dog but her husband doesn’t. A side job as a dog walker works for her. The same can applied to blogging for the struggling writer. Maybe that blogging job won’t pay the rent but it could keep you in Starbucks for the month.

Very few people are fortunate enough to have a well-paying job that is also their passion. Compromise in some job aspect is highly likely. From work/life balance to feeling undervalued, these thoughts creep into everyone’s daily lives.

While some people may point to this study as a reflection of workers being underpaid, I believe that simple answer isn’t the complete story. Of course, many people would love extra income for many reasons. From monthly bills to saving for a special event, extra income can be extremely beneficial. But, the type of side jobs seems to reflect more than just a monetary reason.

Women may be more likely to have a side hustle, but it may not be for the reasons you think. Even if I win the lottery this weekend, I will continue writing for publications because writing is enjoyable for me, regardless any money. 

How to Express Love with the Gifts You Give

Finding the perfect gift for your loved ones is less about the money you spend and more about knowing what they will love. You can show someone you love them by simple gestures. And, when you do gift them with something you bought, aim for practical AND sentimental instead of something they simply look at. Read on for tips on how you can express your love for someone with the gifts you give.

Know Their Passions, Hobbies, and Interests
When you love someone, regardless of what kind of love it is, you should know that person’s passions, hobbies, and interests. Do they love to make arts and crafts? Are they always in the kitchen cooking up something awesome? Or, do they simply love watching a good movie and lounging in a big, comfy chair after work? Or, better yet, are they the game king of backyard barbecues and <a cornhole boards? Whatever the case is, strive to get to know someone before you decide to buy them something.

Be Sweet, Sentimental, and Authentic
When you give someone a gift, it matters most when your feelings are in it. You should be sweet, sentimental, and authentic. How so? By giving them something that makes an impact and lets them know how you feel. For instance, if your loved one is an artist, a framed canvas of something you painted, or paid to have painted, is genuine, super-sweet, and memorable.

Include a Sweet Message or Kind Words
Love comes from actions more than words. But it takes courage to put your feelings to paper. When you give someone a present, include a sweet message, preferably handwritten in your own kind words. Express yourself in something short and simple, or compose a loving essay—your choice. But be genuine in whatever you say. If need be, look to a Thesaurus for words that mean more than the ones in your vocabulary, but make sure it all comes directly from you.

Make Your Gifts Memorable and Uplifting
The best gifts to loved ones are memorable, uplifting, and positive. They are trinkets with sentimental value, or practical gifts that allow your loved ones to practice their hobbies. They are gifts that show that you listen, pay attention, and know someone on an in-depth level. People need to feel that connection. And, in the case of gift-giving, you are showing your friendship, relationship, or love with personal presents from the heart.

When you give a loved one a gift, it’s important to remember the aforementioned tips. You never know how much a gift might mean to someone. You could make your loved one’s whole day with the perfect, well-thought out presents.

A Gift That’s More Than Just a Gift

It’s not unusual to feel stressed when you realize you need to find a gift for someone’s birthday, plan a party or decorate your home for a holiday and your schedule is too packed to allow for leisurely shopping, planning and decorating time. Just imagine how wonderful it would be to have a special go-to idea or plan that eliminates that stress. Fortunately, there are some tips to follow that will give you an enthusiastic, rather than stressed, approach toward special occasions and holidays.

Shopping Made Easy

One of the best ways to save time and give exceptionally thoughtful gifts is to find a gift source that offers gifts for all occasions. Jim Shore figurines is an ideal example of a source you can depend on to find gifts for kids, teenagers, adults friends and family. Disney theme collectibles can delight a child and revive happy memories for teens and adults. Giving a young child a collectible can be a teaching opportunity. They can learn that some gifts are meant to be played with while others are to be appreciated for their artistic beauty. You can start a trend by giving friends and family collectibles for special occasions. You won’t have to wonder what to give them and they will eagerly anticipate the next item to add to their collection.

Holiday Decorating

If you acquire a collection of holiday-themed figurines, you can quickly decorate your home for all special occasions. Figurines don’t require much storage space. You can rotate the figurines as the seasons change or as specific holidays roll around. You can choose a central location in your home as a display space or incorporate the figurines in various decorative ways throughout you home. Your family and friends will be impressed with your style and creativity and you’ll be pleased with how quickly it all came together.

You can choose party themes that coincide with the collectible gift you plan to give someone on their special day. Regularly exploring collectible gifts may inspire you to give someone a surprise gift when there’s no special occasion. Gifts to encourage and comfort someone often become treasures that they can see, touch and be reminded of how much you care. Always remember, it’s okay to buy a gift for yourself simply because it makes you smile.