DIY Advent Calendar Made Easy

Each year I buy an advent calendar for my son to count down to Santa’s arrival.  However, the one problem is that when he spends a few days at his Dad’s, he comes home and has multiple windows to open and it seems to make the whole concept of it less meaningful.  That is why I came up with the super easy DIY advent calendar so that I only had to include the days that my son is with me.

Because each day is an individual little package, you can make as many or as few to fit your personal need.  Most of the items you need to complete this project are probably things you already have in your crafting supplies.  All you need to do is start collecting empty toilet paper rolls in advance to ensure you have enough.

Supplies that you will need:

  1. Toilet paper rolls – 1 for each day
  2. Paint – whatever color goes with your holiday decor
  3. Ornament hooks
  4. Festive Stickers
  5. Clear tape
  6. Treats for inside each tube – I chose chocolates, festive erasers and boxes of Tic Tacs.

To start, take your toilet paper rolls and flatten them lengthwise.

DIY Advent Calendar tubes

Be sure to poke a small hole in the side of each of the tubes.  This is when the hook will eventually go.

DIY Advent Calendar hole

I find flattening them first makes it easier to paint them.  I paint one side first, continue on to the next one and then when they are all dry, flip them over and paint the other side.

DIY Advent Calendar painted

Once the tubes are dry, at one end fold in the sides of the tube to close off the end and secure with clear tape.  Add in whatever little treats you want and tape up the other end.  You then just need to add the hook into the small whole on the side and decorate with stickers, glitter or however you wish.

DIY Advent Calendar add wire

You could add the numbers for each day if you like too.  Because I am only having them for the days my son is with me, I didn’t add the numbers as it wouldn’t be sequential.

I then attached each of the little packets to the garland/lights on my mantle, distributing them evenly.

DIY Advent Calendar on mantle

This is such a super easy and inexpensive advent calendar and can so easily be customized based on your personal preferences.  It probably took me only about half an hour to make the whole thing.  The hardest part was remembering to not throw out the toilet paper rolls leading up to doing this craft.

My son hasn’t seen it yet and I can’t wait to see his reaction.

Getting Fit

My 30 Day Challenge for a Happy Stomach

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

I was doing some updates on my blog recently and I realized it has been quite a while since I posted anything in my Getting Fit section. Then I took a step on the scale and realized that not only was I neglecting that section of the blog, I was also neglecting myself.

No wonder I had been feeling so sluggish and just generally low lately. And my stomach, l can’t even begin to say how much my stomach had been bothering me lately. I have always had stomach issues (IBS) but recently things had been getting much worse.  And let’s be honest, when your stomach is off, everything seems to be off.

I know from the past that when I am neglecting my diet and not exercising my stomach issues flare up and it reminds me to get back on track. This time with the gluttony of the holiday season upon us, I knew I needed to really focus on getting my stomach back on track, so I could actually enjoy the holidays.   Most people wait until the New Year to start fitness and eating right again, but I knew that I needed to start now.  There was no need to wait.

I decided to start a 30 day challenge to get back to a happy stomach by incorporating Renew Life Flora Ultimate Critical Care 50 Billion daily probiotic into my daily routine.   I’ve always heard about how probiotics are a beneficial bacteria in your stomach and aid in a healthy digestive system but truth be told, I had never really tried it.  Having IBS, I know that I should have really been focusing more on aiding my stomach, but up until now I just focused more on avoiding trigger foods and trying (and not very well) about staying active., as that seemed to keep things at bay.

Stomach probiotic

Skeptical at first, I didn’t expect to see much improvement but after a week, I was already noticing some subtle changes above and beyond those I see when I am eating better and exercising more.  I felt less bloated, was more regular (sorry for TMI) and the achy feeling I often get in my stomach wasn’t appearing as often.  I have been taking the probiotic daily, trying my best (and it’s been hard) to eat better, and trying to be active each day.  Using an activity tracker is key with me, as it keeps me accountable.

Stomach needs

Now that I almost completed the full 30 days, I have a much happier stomach and it has given me that boost to keep going to improve my eating and exercising habits.  And with the holiday season in full swing, I feel like I will be able to enjoy the festivities and not be gaining even more weight thru the season.  I will be happy just to stay the same and once the New Year hits, I will focus more on the weight loss side of things.

Of course taking a Renew Life probiotic is extremely helpful for stomach health but I also need to ensure I am drinking lots of water and trying to cut down on my caffiene (aka copious amounts of coffee) intake and reducing the sugar in my diet as all of these can contribute to an unhappy stomach.  Priobiotics are the beneficial bacteria in your stomach and aid in digestion but has also been linked to our immune systems.  If you are taking antibiotics, for example, they can deplete the “good” bacteria, so taking a probiotic can help get things back on track.

In addition to my stomach feeling much happier these days, I am noticing my overall self just feeling better.  As I mentioned, starting in the New Year, my fitness will be a major focus for me and will be posting about my progress if you wish to follow along.  If you want to join me and stay accountable to each other, please drop me a line.


Easy Crockpot/Slow Cooker Recipes

With the cold weather upon us, there is nothing better than to have something warm to fill up your belly.  It’s this time of year that I have my crockpot going all the time.  There are so many great and easy recipes out there to help you warm up and feel full.  And the recipes aren’t just for the typical stew that you automatically think about.  There are recipes for pastas, soups, meat dishes and even desserts. Here is a round up of a few of my favorites recipes to add to your collection.

Crockpot LasagnaSlow Cooker Lasagna by Living Sweet Moments


Crockpot Mac and CheeseCrockpot Mac and Cheese by Sunshine and Hurricanes 


CrockPot Bacon ChowderHearty Bacon and Corn Chowder Soup by Honey& Lime


Crockpot VerdeSlow Cooker Creamy Verde Chicken Chili by This Mama Cooks!


Crockpot TurkeyHomemade Turkey Sweet Potato Green Bean Soup by Bunny’s Warm Oven


Crockpot StewHearty Harvest Stew by A Boy and His Mom


Crockpot AprcotSlow Cooker Apricot Chicken by Dinner at the Zoo


Crockpot Salsa ChickenCreamy Salsa Chicken by Joy Filled Eats


Crockpot beef Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli by Savory Tooth


Crockpot CherryCrockpot Cherry Pudding Cake by Bunny’s Warm Oven


Crockpot breadCrockpot Panettone Bread


Inspire My Creativity – DIY Gifts – Sugar Lip Scrub

It’s time again for our Inspire My Creativity blog hop.  If you haven’t visited us before, you can check our link up from last month with all of our great crafts using Embroidery Hoops.  Each 2nd Wednesday of the month, we post our latest and greatest creations.  Each month has a predetermined theme and this month’s theme is “DIY Gifts”. With the holidays just around corner, this is the perfect blog hop to pull together some easy, cost effective gifts for all of those on your list.  My DIY gift is a super easy sugar lip scrub.

If you live anywhere that has a cold, harsh winter, you know how chapped your lips can get.  Using a sugar lip scrub can help scrub away those chapped lips and leave them smooth and kissable.  The sugar lip scrub is so super easy that you can make it in no time but include it in a cute little container and add a ribbon or stickers and you have a perfect little gift to give this holiday season.

All you need for this sugar lip scrub are a few ingredients:

  1.  White sugar
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Vanilla extract or any essential oil of your choice
  4. Container with a tightly fitting lid

sugar lip scrub

All you need to do is mix equal amounts of sugar and coconut oil in a bowl and add a few drops of oil in and mix well.

sugar lip scrub mix

Once the scrub is mixed well, spoon it into the container of your choice, it is seriously as easy as that.

sugar lip scrub into container

You can make as little or as much as you want based on how many containers and their size.  You could make enough for everyone on your list.  They make great stocking stuffers too.  Who doesn’t love gifts that make your lips feel super soft?

sugar lip scrub done

Are you looking for some other DIY gift ideas for this holiday season?  Check out the other hostesses for our link party and see what great ideas they came up with.

Missy  |  Gypsy Magpie
Kim  |  Creigh-ations
Candice  |  She’s Crafty
Do you have some great DIY gift ideas that you want to share?  Join our link party below.

Parenting/Life · Recipes

HelloFresh Meal Delivery Saves the Day

Disclosure:  Although items in this post have been provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

If you are like me, you are totally back into the swing of the school year and with after school activities, homework and social events with the upcoming holiday season, having a dinner ready quickly and easily is an absolute must.  That is why I am loving HelloFresh meal delivery service.  We have tried HelloFresh in the past and loved it.  And again this time we were not disappointed with our meal delivery.

With most meals taking under 30 minutes to prepare, I can get dinner on the table and on to our busy lives without having to feel like I am always in a rush.  And with different recipes every week, you never have to worry about the hum drum of eating the same meals over and over again.

meal delivery

My son can be a picky eater so I am always hesitant to go out and buy a bunch of ingredients that we will never use again to try our new recipes.  Having the all the ingredients delivered to our doorstep makes it super easy to try new things without a lot of waste.  And truth be told, we haven’t had a meal yet that my son hasn’t liked.

meal delivery

HelloFresh meal delivery even has options for vegetarians and smaller families like my own which makes it a great choice for almost every busy family out there.  They have every meal packaged individually so there is no mistake what ingredients for each recipe and the meat comes on ice so that you aren’t worried about any sort of spoilage.

meal delivery

As your nights get busier this holiday season, adding a meal delivery from HelloFresh can definitely alleviate the stress of dinner time for you and your family.  And as an added bonus, use the code:  ABOYANDHISMOM40 and you will receive 40% off your first meal delivery.