12 St. Patrick’s Day Recipes and Block Party

Welcome to this week's linky party! I've already started gathering ideas for a fun family meal on March 17 - and these St. Patrick's Day recipes are colorful, delicious and will cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and beverages!
12 Delicious St. Patrick's Day Recipes
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16 Projects to Brighten Your Day and Block Party

Looking for something to brighten up things up or add a little pick-me-up to your day? Well here are a bunch of fun ideas. Fabulous crafting tutorials and recipes to brighten your day

I'm growing tired of the cold Winter over here in Salt Lake so I picked some great projects to brighten life up a bit!

Rainbow Princess Dress | DIY Astronaut Boots | Dog Collar Slip Cover | Angry Birds Yard Game

Scrabble Coasters | Monster Quilt | Hard Lotion Bars | Five Rubber Ducky Games

Crochet Fox | Cinnamon Chip Biscotti | Summer Sausage Skewers | Bunt Pan Wreath

Rainbow Cauliflower Pizza

Raspberry Poke Cake | Hulk Cake Pops | Fabric Strip Rag QuiltRainbow Cauliflower Pizza

Rae Gun guest posting picture Marissa here from Rae Gun Ramblings. I hope your 2017 has been off to a great start. Here are a few of my favorite posts since last time I was host.

we love this and make it all the time so fast great for weeknight meals butter chicken indian curry recipe

This Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken Recipe is so good and easy we made it twice last week haha.

MUST Read books of 2016

Want to read more this year? See all the books I read and loved in 2016.

awesome lemony snicket necklace tutorials

The easiest way to bottle cap necklaces plus a bunch of awesome reading inspired quotes!

Now let’s see what YOU have been up to. Link up to the Block Party and be featured on all four blogs!

Bite Size Biggie | Rae Gun Ramblings | Keeping it Simple Crafts| Pieces By Polly

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Most Popular Sewing Tutorials and Easy Recipes

As each year comes to a close I love looking back to see what parenting tips, sewing tutorials and easy recipes resonated most over the last year.

These are tried and true the most popular and most pinned sewing tutorials, easy recipes and awesome mom hacks

Here are my top 10 recipes, crafts, book geek posts, and mom hacks that I shared in 2016. These were the posts that garnered the most visits and pins that I wrote in 2016.

This guacamole recipe is so good I've made it the last 3 weekends! Perfect party food or game day dip.

World's Best Guacamole Recipe I have actually been making this guacamole recipe for AGES. It's my friend Jana's fabulous recipe. It's full of freshness and delicious avocado flavor with one little trick that makes it really special!

Crazy huge collection of unique and original Harry Potter craft tutorials, recipes, book lists and more. So many magical projects.

50 Magical Harry Potter Projects I'm thrilled to see that this year's Happy Harry Potter series round up made the list. After all the annual series is my favorite two weeks of the whole blogging year since I convinces loads of friends to share tutorials, recipes, party ideas, book lists and any number of other awesome Harry Potter happiness. This year was filled with so many fantastic Harry Potter projects!

Just used this great sewing tutorial. Perfect for beginners or anyone wanting to sew reversible placemats FAST. Easy great home decor project. Will make more.

15 Minute Reversible Placements Tutorial This simple home decor tutorial is actually a project that my nieces (ages 7 and 8 at the time) did. It's THAT easy. I think the versitile-ness and speed of this project is really what made it a winner. That and the fact that it's totally functional, we use our placemats ALL THE TIME.

Such an interesting idea for bra fittings. Great for after breastfeeding and weight loss.

Secret Trick to Bra Shopping After Nursing (or really whenever) I am so happy I discovered this non-traditional bra shopping method. I really do love these bras and when you add in the complication of changing size after nursing and the crazy life of toddler-momhood I really don't plan on going back to traditional bra shopping ummm ever!

Yes! Why don't people tell you about this. Makes sewing so many things WAY easier. from Rae Gun Ramblings

Must Have Sewing Tool You Didn't Know You Needed I love this gadget so so much. I had no idea that this inexpensive sewing tool existed until just a few years ago. You'll see why I call it my magic wand. I seriously use it in almost all my sewing projects and it really makes for fast and easy work out of some of the most tedious and annoying sewing tasks!

These are spot on! Why didn't anyone tell me these things with my first baby? Helpful things to know as a first time mom (or dad).

10 More Things No One Tells First Time Moms and Dads My Tips that No One Tells First Time Moms post has been one of my most popular posts since I wrote it. I've been meaning to write a follow up for ages now and it seems like people like this one just as much. It's funny how there are these HUGE things people just forget to tell you when you head down the mommy (or daddy) road. No worries I wrote them down so I don't have to rely on my mom brain to remember ;)

I want to sew all of them. So many great sewing patterns for women. Great DIY fashion

Awesome Must Sew Patterns for Women I love a good sewing pattern and with m Sew Our Stash series it's fun to round up some great sources and inspiration. This post has 12  fabulous and flattering sewing patterns for women. I can't wait to finish making them all!

I do this all the time now. Easy way to make sizing flexible for growing kids, weight and weight fluctuating adults. I made some dresses before I was pregnant that I was able to wear through my pregnancy great idea for maternity sewing. Easy tutorial for inserting an elastic panel into any dress pattern.

Elastic Back Panel Tutorial I have been doing this little elastic back panel trick to my dresses (and the dresses I make for the nieces) for years. It makes even garments made from woven (non-stretchy) fabric have some wiggle room plus it gives an extra level of comfort while allowing the same tailored fit. It's so easy I'm sure you'll love using this little trick instead of zippers and buttons.

So many great shirts for Harry Potter fans. Adult and baby shirts great for gifts.

11 Must Have Harry Potter Shirts I love a good geeky shirt and even more so if it's a geeky Harry Potter shirt. Here are some of my favorite Harry Potter tops for every member of the family. These are perfect for just your normal geeky fun or wearing to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

This is a keeper. Made it tonight and it's SO good. One pot zucchini noodle (zoodle) creamy pesto shrimp recipe. Fast so it's perfect for healthy light weekday dinners and tastes great.

20 Minute Creamy Shrimp and Pesto Zoodles And last but not least let's not forget to eat our veggies! My go to zoodle (zucchini noodles) recipe is a combo of crazy fast and easy and delicious. The creamy flavor is comfort food in a healthy package. I am NOT a health food eater so if I say it's tasty it is. If you haven't tried zoodles yet you should and this is a super yummy way to have them! What to See the Most Popular Posts from Past Years?

Top Gifts for Sewing Enthusiasts from Scissors to Cricut

sponsored-affiliate-disclosure Do you know someone loves to sew? I know sometimes when you don't share someone's hobby you don't know what exactly to get them as a gift. No worries, this sewing girl is happy help you pick the BEST gifts for Sewing Enthusiasts.

So many great gifts that sewing people will love. Great crafty gift guide.

The best part is that if our recipient already has some of these items they will welcome duplicates. As for the big ticket items, it's really easy for you to know if they already have one or not. I know sometimes that can be tricky when you want to surprise someone.

Awesome things to buy for sewing fans like this serger and more.

Embroidery Scissors I LOVE embroidery scissors I think they are so useful and they come in loads of different styles and designs. I'm a firm believer that a seamstress can never have too many embroidery scissors. These darling bunny scissors are my favorite for cute factor, I love these gold bird ones because they work so darn well and they just look fancy, and although they aren't technically embroidery scissors I have a warm place in my heart for nippers (they do the same job). These range in prices but they can be as inexpensive as just a few bucks so they make a fabulous stocking stuffer or gift for someone who just needs a little something (or maybe to add in with a gift card or bigger gift).

Cute easy girlfriend gift idea. Mason Jar pin cushion. Tutorial at Rae Gun Ramblings

Mason Jar Pin Cushion If you're feeling creative I have a tutorial for these cute Mason Jar Pin Cushions that my friends love. I actually got my first as a gift from a friend she gave it to me filled with all kinds of cute buttons! You can gift it empty or throw in a few tidbits and treats. All you need is a mason jar, fabric scrap, and some craft glue it's really a very simple project that will be very appreciated by your sewing friend.

Lots of unexpected gifts for sewing enthusiast like this Cricut Explore Air

Cricut Explore People don't normally think of Cricut cutting machines as sewing tools but I use my Cricut Explore Air 2 all the time in my sewing projects. Most people don't realize that you can actually cut fabric (in addition to paper, vinyl, leather and all kinds of other stuff) on the Cricut. It's great for making appliques and adding other embellishments to handmade items. I love that I can design my own images and upload them for free and then cut them out to put on my sewing projects. I can't even count the number of fun Geeky clothing I've made that I wouldn't have been able to find in stores. In addition to actually cutting fabric you can cut iron-on vinyl which is my favvvvvvvoooorite for sprucing up sewing projects. See below for more details on that. I feel like a Cricut is something that may not even be on the radar for many sewing girls so it would be a really fun surprise but make sure to send them my way and show them all my Cricut related sewing project so they don't thing you just got them a 'scrapbooking' tool. While it may open up tons of other crafting doors for them too (I don't really do paper crafting but I use mine for all kinds of stuff) you want them to know it's perfect for supplementing the hobby they already love!

How to make custom vinyl iron-ons - Rae Gun Ramblings #cricut #craft #diy

Iron-On Vinyl So like I said above, Iron-on vinyl (also called heat transfer vinyl) is seriously my favorite craft supply ever. You uses it with a cutting machine like the Cricut explore although I guess you technically can cut it out with an exacto knife and a really steady hand but that would be kind of labor intensive and frustrating (not to mention hand cramp inducing). You can see some of my favorite projects above where I've used Iron-On vinyl. What makes it great for a sew-er is that it basically gives you the ability to easily and quickly make your own fabric. You can use pre-made designs or even cut your own designs or text and place it anywhere on your fabric or sewing project to customize it to make the perfect fabric. If they already use iron-on vinyl a lot you might consider buying a heat press. I love mine, it's an investment but I use mine multiple times a week and it makes my projects go much faster and last longer. Want to learn more about this stuff you can learn how to use iron-on vinyl here.

Keep Calm and Sew On Necklace

Sewing Necklace Maybe you don't even want to try and guess what they have in their crazy sewing room or maybe they sew professionally so they can write all their sewing related purchases off and you don't want to buy them "work stuff". But what about a fun sewing necklace. Did you even know such a thing existed? They do and the can be such a sweet gift that makes your sewing pal know that you really thought about the gift. I absolutely adore the ones from Charmed Collections like the Keep Calm and Sew On Necklace pictured above but you can find all kinds of fun ones on Etsy too! And if they aren't much into jewelry there is such a thing as a sewing shirt too which can be lots of fun :)

Awesome things to buy for sewing fans like this serger and more.

Serger For those who are sewing clothing a serger is a great addition to their sewing room. I LOVE my Juki MO644D I've actually personally purchased or helped purchase close to 10 of this model because I use them for work or friends want a machine themselves. I've never had problems with them and they sew like a dream. Be careful about getting the very low end ones or buying used from an individual. A serger that doesn't work right can be a nightmare. If you find a used one with a warranty like from a quilt shop I think you're safe but otherwise go with something that's more middle range. Again I can't recommend the Juki serger enough but I have friend that love their Babylock sergers too!

How to alter kids clothing. Easy tutorial for shortening and hemming sleeves for a professional finished look - Rae Gun Ramblings

Ginghers If you live with a seamstress than you probably know how protective we are about our scissors. Great sewing scissors are important. If your sew-er doesn't know the joys of cutting fabric with a good pair of Ginghers than this is the gift they need. They can be kind of pricey so make sure to plan ahead and hit up Joann with a coupon (they usually have one in their app if you don't get their mailer) or when they are on sale. And if they have a pair any ways they will be thrilled to have a back up. I have two of the dressmaker sizes and I've been considering getting a third. They really are wonderful scissors.
Sewing Box The Sewing Box by the Original Scrap Box is definitely a big ticket item BUT if your sewing loved one has all his or her stuff stashed on the kitchen table this might be for her. I LOVE my sewing box. It's this cabinet that closes up but you can store your machines in it and it opens up with lots of functional table space so that you can have a full sewing station tucked behind a few cupboard doors. I'm telling you it's AHmazing. I have a full craft room but it is right next to where my baby sleeps so I can't sew there at night. I have my sewing box in a different room on a different floor and I've actually started to prefer sewing at it even when I'm not trying to be quite. The thing is crazy cool!

10 Minute Gift Card Holder Tutorial-005s

Gift Cards I know people think gift cards are impersonal but when you love a hobby having "free" money to spend can be super fun. And as much as I love Joann and Hobby Lobby they always have coupons so if it were me I'd suggest giving a gift card to a smaller independent fabric store or quilt shop that carries designer fabrics. I know I personally love drooling over the material at those places but the higher price point has be buying very sparingly. If you're in Utah some of my favorites include The Cotton Shop (multiple locations), Quilts Etc. (in Sandy), and Harmony (in Provo). And if you're interested here's a super fast and easy gift card holder tutorial. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

DIY Christmas Ornaments and Block Party

DIY Christmas Ornaments are one of my all time favorite things. I love inspecting a tree and seeing a variety of treasures that tell the story and history of a family. Great list of Christmas ornament tutorials. Tons of DIY christmas ornaments that would be great for kid activities too. Mini Collage Upcycled Lid Ornament | Popsicle Stick Ornament | Metal Marker Gift Tags (would be fun to hang these as ornaments) | Harry Potter Potions Ornament Bottle Brush Jar Ornaments | Beach Themed Ornament | Scroll Saw Ornament | Toddler Ornament Gemstone Ornament | Pearler Bead Ornaments | Christmas Star Ornament | Reindeer Ornament snowman ornament | Hole Punch Ornament | Wood Glitter Ornament | mason jar lid ornament  Rustic Wood Ornament | Scented Clay Ornament | Snow Globe Ornament | Glass Glitter Ornament Chalkboard Ornament | Foam Ornaments | Wine Cork Reindeer Ornament | Wine Cork Reindeer Ornament | Money Ornament One of my favorite parts about handmade Christmas ornaments is that everyone in the family can join in on the fun. Here are a collection of over 20 awesome DIY Christmas Ornament tutorials perfect for the whole family. Rae Gun guest posting picture Marissa from Rae Gun Ramblings here today as this week’s host. Here are a few of my favorite projects since I hosted last time! Great tutorials and sewing projects

Lots of Gilmore Girls inspired Recipes and Crafts | Lots of Gilmore Girls inspired Recipes and Crafts | Lots of Gilmore Girls inspired Recipes and Crafts

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Secret Trick to Bra Shopping After Nursing

jockey-disclosure Among all the other things people forget to tell you when you have a baby is that buying bras gets even more tricky than it was. But today I'm going to share the best trick to bra shopping after nursing and I've got a special deal to share too! Such a great time saving idea for post nursing bra shopping since your size changes so often.

First let me say, that I've been settling with a poorly fitting bra for much of this last year. When I stopped nursing I was so excited to finally be back in a real bra. I got a few that fit great but even though I had waited for my boobs to adjust post nursing they changed again and let's face it bra shopping on your own (let alone with a toddler) is so not fun so it hasn't happened.

This looks so interesting. At home bra fitting system (would be great post breastfeeding or weight loss)

So when I discovered the RealFit® bra by Jockey, I was intrigued. It’s an at home bra fitting system, plus a great time-saving idea for post nursing bra shopping since your size changes so often (would be great post breastfeeding or weight loss). Last week I tried this at home- the Jockey RealFit® Kit and I'm hooked. The sizing fit kit includes a bunch of cups and a special measuring tape.The cups are way more varied than traditional bra sizes because one size definitely doesn't fit all! To find your perfect fit, you just lean over into the cups and stand up and see which cup fits you best. For me, one cup was clearly the correct one. See below for an exclusive code for $10 off for my readers!

Easy two step program for self fitting bras at home. I've got to try this.

Then you wrap the measuring tape around where your bra band is and wherever the color block overlaps that is your band size. I was kind of in the middle of the 34 when I measured so I ordered both the 34 and 36 since they do free returns and exchanges (even if you have worn or washed the bra).

Tips on finding the perfect bra size at home.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the 4/36 bras fit me. I got two different styles with their patented comfort wire but they do have wire-free styles for those who prefer that. The RealFit® Kit costs $19.95 but then you get a $20 discount when you order a bra so it's pretty much free since you wouldn't really just get the fitting kit you know. Plus they are offering my readers $10 off the RealFit® Kit with the code RAEGUN10* so it's an even better deal. It feels silly to be as excited as I am about new bras but having ones that finally fit and not having to try on bras with an impatient 2 year-old in tow is kinda magical. Mom magical but still ;)

Real FIt Bras and fitting kit by Jockey review. This sounds so much better than traditional bra shopping

I really like the RealFit® bras by Jockey but what I'm really excited about is that now that I have the kit I can reuse it because after whining to my mom friends about my post-nursing bra situation they said their sizes changed a lot the first couple years after nursing. Fun right? Well I guess I don't have to feel like I can't lose weight having to deal with  an annoying bra fitting experience...because you know that's really what was the biggest thing stopping me from shedding those pounds ;)

Such an interesting idea for bra fittings. Great for after breastfeeding and weight loss.

Even though your size might change and time to go shopping is nonexistent after nursing, there's no need to settle for ill-fitting bras any longer. Find Your Perfect Size. Use promo code  RAEGUN10 to get $10* off the RealFit® Kit  on Jockey.com. (offer expires 11/30).

*Offer expires 11/30/16 at 11:59 p.m. PST. $10 off only on RealFit® Kit on Jockey.com with coupon code RAEGUN10. Coupon code single use only. Discount applied at checkout before tax and shipping. Not valid on RealFit bra by Jockey style nos. 6701-6703, 6705, 6707, sale items, previous purchases, Jockey Being Family® items or in-store. Selection varies; available on in-stock items only while supplies last. Cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or promotions. No rain checks/cash redemption. Void where prohibited.

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Ten MORE Things No One Tells First Time Moms and Dads

owlet-disclosure

My very most popular post is my list of Tips and Tricks People Forget to Tell New Moms. So I'm super excited to bring you even more things I've learned the hard way that people should tell first time moms and dads!

These are spot on! Why didn't anyone tell me these things with my first baby? Helpful things to know as a first time mom (or dad).

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you were able to read Sydney's article yesterday on making baby's bed safe for sleep. I'm teaming up with Owlet to share some safety (and otherwise helpful) tips for first time parents as well as a huge giveaway (scroll down for details). #ad #spon After that first post of things no one tells new moms I had lots of readers share the other things they wish someone had told them and  in my own daily life I kept finding myself thinking I should have put this on the list. So in no particular order here are More helpful tidbits I wish someone had told me as a new mom.

1. EVERYTHING is a Phase

I didn't get this when I wrote my first list. I was so stressed about sleep. I wasn't getting any of it and once we figured out night time sleep I was stressed that Teddy wasn't napping on his own. But since then I've realized that IT IS ALL A PHASE. Like really. They grow up so fast and the things we're tempted to agonize about will be over before long. Why was I so concerned about holding my baby for nap? My days of holding a baby (or kid now) who will let me hold him are numbered. When they are babies and toddlers things change so fast. You can stress about figuring stuff out and get things down but soon after you do, things will be completely different so honestly try not to stress that much.

Great list of helpful and strange things no one thinks to tell new moms and dads.

(not a sticker but this was about the age when I tried the "sticker fun")

2. Babies Eat Stickers

Did you know this? Umm yeah because they do. When Teddy was smaller I thought he'd have fun with stickers so I stuck a few on him only to find him trying to shove them into his mouth. I relayed this experience to my girlfriends thinking it was so silly and they said "oh yeah they do that". What!? That's like a thing? It would have been nice for someone to warn me. I was totally paying attention so Teddy wasn't in any real danger since I snatched them away before he got them in his mouth. But still that is kind of dangerous. I wish someone had mentioned it to me before.

3. Balloons are Really Dangerous for Babies

Speaking of trying to eat things. Let's talk about balloons. For the record I knew this one but I've been shocked at the number of people I've met who don't know that balloons are very dangerous to babies and toddlers or who tried to give my baby a balloon but not watch him with it or were about to let him try and chew on one. Not counting food, balloons are the most common cause of choking death in babies. The flimsy latex contours to the airway and blocks it off. Don't let babies have balloon unless you can give them 100% of your attention. And by all means do not let them put balloons (inflated or deflated whether waiting to be blown up or popped) in their mouths. Since most babies put everything in their mouths I vote to keep them completely away from their faces and in your own hands just to be on the safe side.

4. Try and Read All the Books While You're Pregnant

This relates to #1. Everything is a phase and it moves so fast. You go from one thing to another and you'd think you'd have time to research your parenting options and decide how you feel about different things but you guys it all happens so fast and if you're like most people you won't be getting much sleep so your brain isn't going to be working. I WISH that I had read a few parenting books on the big topics like sleep, and eating, and maybe a catch all first two years what to expect type of book while I was pregnant. Not that I think you can totally plan but I would have liked to know a few of the different approaches to the whole sleep thing and ideas to try BEFORE I was in the throws of extreme sleep deprivation. You think you'll have time since you'll be feeding them a lot but if you're like me you'll wish you had checked out some books sooner. I'd recommend taking a peek at things you think might come up through the first 2 years.

Owlet baby monitor and other tips and tricks people don't tell new moms

(photo courtesy of See Kate Sew)

5. You Don't Have to Be Paranoid of Sleep

I've already mentioned (and if you've been around here from a while you KNOW) we got terrible sleep while Teddy was a baby. Like until he was around 2. I'm a natural worrier and let me tell you nothing makes you worry more than the possibility that your baby is not safe. There are so many sad stories about babies dying in their sleep. Every year 3,500 babies while they are asleep, that's more than 10 times those that die in car accidents. I think almost all moms remember that first time their baby slept through the night mostly because we weren't asleep ourselves. We were all stressed that something might be wrong but not sure if we should check on the baby and risk waking him or her. I wish wish wish that I had an Owlet Baby Monitor when Teddy was an infant. I have a number of friends that have used it lately and I've been totally jealous. If you're not familiar with the device it is the only baby monitor that uses hospital technology—pulse oximetry—designed to alert you if your baby stops breathing. All that amazing technology is placed into a tiny, snuggly baby sock that the little one wears to bed. It's totally wireless and connects via bluetooth to a base station and Wi-Fi to any smartphone so you can view live vitals. I did not have many opportunities to sleep since my baby was a "bad sleeper". But even when he did actually sleep I was filled with anxiety that something would happen which made falling asleep (for the short periods that he was down) really hard. I think I would have slept so much better and easier if I had one of these to ease my worries!

6. Swim Diapers Don't Hold Pee

Is your mind blown because mine was! I must have just been lucky because I put Teddy in swim diapers on the way to the pool MANY times. But it wasn't until he totally soaked his outfit at the children's museum, when he was almost 2, that I realized that swim diapers don't hold in liquid. That is how they keep from getting heavy in the water. They are just meant to keep poop out of the pool. I guess it makes sense in retrospect but really why didn't someone tell me this!!!? So there I told you.

Random but helpful info about diapers people forget to tell new moms

(pool time with the cousins, he was SO small)

7. It's Easy to Mix Up Swim Diapers and Pull Ups

So this is a sillier one but really, why do swim diapers and pull ups have to look SO similar? Color and all. Let me tell you how you can tell the difference when you're in the water: the diaper will swell to about 10 times the size of normal, get heavy, and the absorbent beads can burst out of the diaper. I've been guilty of the mix up and been around to witness more than one other mom who managed to mix up the two diapers. If you pay attention when getting ready to swim you'll be fine but it's so easy just to go fast and mix them up.

8. You Might Want to Hold Off On Some Gifts

Especially if you receive a lot of newborn sized clothing you will probably be tempted to wash those puppies up and get them all cozy in a drawer but some babies are born too big for new born sizes. Maybe wash a few and wait to see just in case you want to return some of the itty bitty clothes. The same goes for toys and other gear. You might think you want it before baby is here but once you try it out it might not be your thing. Keep the packaging and gift receipts just in case.

I totally agree these are really helpful for new parents but for some reason no one things to tell first time moms and dads. Great list.

9. The One Month Mark Is Hard

Maybe it's not exactly one month for everyone but there will be a time near the beginning where you think oh my gosh we've had this baby for a while now and it's still SO HARD what is going on. It makes those very first newborn days seem like cake because in comparison they were. You'll have less help, if you had visitors or people coming in, or if you or your partner partner that had baby leave and have to start working again. You'll just feel like you ought to be able to "do more" or that things should be easier but they aren't yet. But you know what you're probably all sleep deprived and it's had all that time to compound. But I promise it will get better. I just want to warn you that there is this point for most of us where it feels like it should have gotten better by now and it hasn't. Don't be discouraged that is totally normal and it's still coming it WILL get better.

10. Decide What You Want Your Hospital Visits to Look Like

Things happen fast (even if they happen really slowly) and you are so tired after giving birth and the hormones and emotions are raging. I really regret not telling (or having my husband tell) people to get out of the room. I had been up ALL NIGHT birthing a child with a super long pushing periodd and people were around and I could not rest. I just wanted piece and to be able to try to sleep. But I felt rude and selfish not to mention totally awkward getting up in my open flap gown all bloody and groggy crossing the room in front of people to go to the bathroom. But you know what everyone else could see the baby later. They could peek in for a quick hello but they did not need to be there in those first hours. I wish I had thought through that stuff before I was there and set some ground rules. In addition to the sleep I needed time to try and figure out nursing WITHOUT AN AUDIENCE. Related to the hospital visitors I really regret not taking my photographer friend up on her offer to come do some birth photos. She didn't push because you know I had just given birth but I wish that I had decided before I went in that that was just one of the things we were going to do because in the moment I felt disgusting, exhausted, and the idea of being photographed sounded horrible but now I feel like I really missed out.

funny unsolicited advice meme for moms and 10 things people forget to tell first time moms

11. You Get to Determine the Type of Parent You Want to Be

If you're not already getting bombarded with unsolicited advice from family, friends, acquaintances, and random strangers be prepared. For some reason a pregnant woman or really anyone with an infant is like a magnet for the "experts" to "share" their "advice". Some might actually be helpful, some might be well meaning, but others will be rude, obnoxious, and flat out wrong. Just remember you are the one who gets to decide how you want to parent. Even if it's not the same way all your friends and family have chosen it doesn't matter. Go the way your gut and your own research leads. You can even question the doctors and honestly I encourage you to do that if anything feels wrong check things out do research and ask them to explain their reasoning. There are SO many ways to parent that helps you keep your children safe and grow into awesome adults don't feel bullied into one way from other people. And remember you can change your mind and try different things out as you learn and experience more. See what works for you, your family, and this particular baby. Even within the same family different things might work for different kids. And above all make sure you let yourself enjoy your little ones. Now how about an awesome giveaway!

owlet-giveaway

We will have 4 winners total with about $850 for the prizes! So there more chances to win. Enter with the rafflecopter widget below.
  • (1) Owlet Baby Monitor ($249.99)
  • (1) Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer ($49.99)
  • (1) Evenflo SensorSafe Car seat ($149.00)
  • (1) Burley Solstice Jogger  ($399.99)
a Rafflecopter giveaway Be sure to stop by Alyssa's tomorrow for tips for keeping baby safe outdoors! And if you have any other tips for first time moms please share in the comments.

50+ MORE Magical Harry Potter Projects

Wow guys just wow. I'm totally blown away by the over 50 more magical Harry Potter projects that were shared as a part of my Happy Harry Potter series this year!

Crazy huge collection of unique and original Harry Potter craft tutorials, recipes, book lists and more. So many magical projects.

The past two weeks have been an insane about of fun. And I know there were A LOT of posts so just in case you missed anything here's everything that everyone shared in one easy to pursue spot.

Harry Potter back to school style. Printables, craft tutorials, and more

As the Summer winds down little witch and wizards are finding themselves needing to pack for Hogwarts. Here are some fabulous Back to School Harry Potter projects to make sure your favorite kid is totally prepared!

So many awesome Harry Potter food ideas. These recipes would be great for Harry Potter parties. So many fun Butterbeer ideas.

We cannot celebrate all things Harry Potter without some tasty treats. We have Butterbeer flavored EVERYTHING like really everything and it's awesome but some other Fantastic Harry Potter Food Recipes!

Love it. A bunch of craft tutorials based on Harry Potter quotes. Booknerd love!

J.K Rowling taught us that words truly are magical. What better way to celebrate these stories that impacted so many of us than with Harry Potter Quote Inspired Projects?

I want to make all of these kid crafts and crafts for kids. Fabulous Harry Potter tutorials and activities.

And even though adults adore these books they are first and foremost amazing kid stories. So here are a bunch of Great Harry Potter Kids Crafts that the whole family can enjoy.

Love them all. Great Harry Potter fashion ideas. ANd tons of DIY tutorials and sewing patterns.

For those of you like me who can't help but wear your love for all things Harry Potter on your sleeve, literally, here are some awesome Harry Potter Inspired Fashion ideas.

Can't wait for Fantastic Beasts and Wear to Find them. THese Harry Potter creature inspired tutorials are perfect

How can we forget all the magical creatures that we fell in love with in these stories. Each of these next projects Celebrates Harry Potter Creatures!

Love these character specific DIY craft tutorials, book lists and more based on different Harry Potter characters (Snape, hermione, Luna, and more)

Last but certainly not least from all the Harry Potter craziness we got some amazing friends, and role models, and enemies. These last bunch of projects are dedicated to our Favorite Harry Potter Characters! Okay and there are just a few days left to enter the Giveaways so do it now!

Harry Potter everything. Great book nerd gifts and book swag.

See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you're there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping. Prize Pack #1 a Rafflecopter giveaway So many awesome Harry Potter gift ideas. Great for readers Prize Pack #2 See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you're there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping. a Rafflecopter giveaway

18 Must Have Harry Potter Gifts

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It is here! The time we look forward to all year long, Happy Harry Potter time! That's right it's time for my annual Harry Potter series where over 50 awesome bloggers join me in bring the best Harry Potter crafts, tutorials, recipes, book lists, giveaways and more.

Great list of UNIQUE Harry Potter gifts. So many bookish things perfect for any reader.

This year's series will run until August 1st and every day from now until them we'll have a bunch of bloggers sharing awesome Harry Potter inspired creations. Every afternoon starting tomorrow I will do a round up of the posts from the day before. And every day you'll have more chances to enter the fabulous giveaways! Scroll all the way down to enter the giveaways.

The ultimate list of Harry Potter gifts. Perfect for any book lover.

Every year I round up a collection of fabulous Harry Potter goodies that I would love myself and that would make the best gifts for any Potterhead and I throw them into a giveaway. This year I'm doing TWO prize packs. And if you follow me on Instagram you might find that I might actual do more than two, wink wink. But let's kick off the series by showing the fun Potter finds that I have for you this year!

1. Magic Wand Holsters and Wands

How awesome, magic wand holsters. Perfect for Harry Potter lovers. This would be great to take to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Every Potter fan should have his or her very own wand and what better way to carry it around than with a wand holster. These holsters from Rae Gun Shop are light weight and have a zipper compartment perfect for toting around a few cards, some chap stick and even a couple galleons. Choose from toddler, child, and teen/adult sizes. Each prize pack contains one wand holster and wand set! One in classic black and the other in Gryffindor colors. I wish I had one of these when I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year!

2. Hogwarts House Scarf

Love these fabulous fleece Harry Potter inspired Hogwarts House scarves

Once you have your wand you'll be needing that iconic Hogwarts House Scarf. Pick from Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, or Hufflepuff colors with an awesome (and might I add cozy, I have my own) scarf from Pieces by Polly. And if you are into American Girl Dolls (or other 18 inch dolls) you should totally check out the matching scarf set and full Hogwarts robes for your doll!

3. The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter

Darling book full of Harry Potter crafts. This would make a great gift and tons of fun kid activities for the Summer or Winter break.

We don't want to be the only ones crafting. You should totally join in on the fun and this awesome book,The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter by Jamie Harrington has 30 simple and easy crafts that you can do with the kiddos to join in on wizarding fun! The book is so cute and I love that most of the projects are really quick and easy and perfect for school age children to do or even younger kids with some help. Learn more about Jamie on Instagram and Snapchat: @alsoknownasmom .

4. Hogwarts Graduation Year Shirt

DIY Ikat knit skirt and Harry Potter shirt

Whether you've got a little wizard or witch at home with eyes set on attending Hogwarts like mom and dad or you just want to celebrate your alma mater, these Hogwarts Graduation year shirts are the best. They come in ones for the babies or tees for the kids (pictured in the giveaway photos) and adults and you get to request your year. I have some some darling birth announcements done with the baby onesies but I honestly wear my own a few times a month!

5. Owl Crate Bookish Box

Owl Crate young adult literature bookish subscription box this sounds awesome and like a great gift idea.

I love my subscription to Owl Crate. If you're not familiar it's a bookish subscription box. Every month a box arrives on your door step filled with a new release novel and a bunch of related bookish goodies. If you look at the pictures where you see the Owl Crate box all the stuff under and on it came in my "steampunk" box a couple months ago. It's SO much fun in fact it's so much fun my sister and I (we both subscribe) have taken to live unboxing our Owl Crates together. See us unboxing our "Royal" Boxes from last month and you'll be able to see what kind of goodies they send! If you're looking for a fabulous gift for a young adult book lover a Subscription to Owl Crate would be a total hit!. Follow Owl Crate on Instagram.

6. Personalized Hogwarts Acceptance Letter

How fun get a personalized Hogwarts acceptance letter. Great gift idea.

Know what else you Potterheads need? A personalized Hogwarts Acceptance Letter. Oh yes they do exist! I have one for Teddy and it's so awesome and sweet and fantastically geeky. This is such a fun gift idea but also a really sweet memento or photo prop. We used Teddy's in his Teddy Potter pictures from a few years ago. So fun right?

7. Book Nerd Pillows

Awesome book nerd pillows. Love the J.K. Rowling quote! Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic

Let's be honest what a book lover really wants is time to read and short of baby sitting (although that would be a great gift idea) a cozy reading spot might just make things happen. How fun are these awesome book nerd pillows? Nothing says bliss like curling up with a great book and a fun pillow. Each prize pack contains one awesome pillow. One lucky person will get the fun Librarian Glasses Pillow and the other winner will receive the Words are Magic J.K. Rowing Quote Pillow! I made the pillowcases and the awesome folk at Fairfield World provided the pillow forms!

8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Illustrated Edition

Love the illustrated edition of the Harry Potter books!

Have you seen the gorgeous illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books? Oh man I love them I can't wait for all of the books to come out. They are so nice and big and they have the ribbon bookmark thing and they just feel special. Your HP fan will for sure want this fun edition of the books!

9. Lit Joy Crate Book Box

Fun reader gift. Lit Joy Crate bookish box. Monthly subscription box

Next on the list is the Lit Joy Crate bookish box. This is another monthly subscription box and so far I have LOVEDDDDD everything I've received in my boxes from them. They have 3 fun options one is a new release YA book box, a picture book box, and a board book box. I've been able to check out several of their YA book boxes (see me unbox the May box here) as well as the board book box. Let me just say I love these girls' tastes. They pick fabulous books and the swag included is just my style. Each prize pack contains a box one winner will get the May box pictured above and one will get the June box (you can see that in prize pack #2 collage) Learn more about their different options and follow them on Instagram.

10. Hogwarts House Neck Tie Necklace

Subtle and cute Hogwarts house neck tie necklaces

I have a weakness for bookish jewelry and my Gryffindor Tie Necklace is one of my all time favorites. It's so easy to wear and it's subtle but still totally geeky that any fellow Harry Potter fans will recognize it a mile away. And if you're not one of the brave the Hogwarts House neck tie necklace comes in Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff colors as well!

11. Harry Potter Cookies

Sweet Jenny Belle's Harry Potter Cookies

One very necessary component of a good reading time is a great treat and what better that these darling Harry Potter cookies from Sweet Jenny Belle Bakery. You might recognize her amazing work from Instagram! But yeah they are real and I just think they would be such a fun gift for your favorite Potterhead I mean look at them ahhhh have you seen anything cuter? Check out her whole shop!

12. World of Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit

trivial-pursuit-hp

Prove you are the king or queen of all things Harry Potter with this fun compact World of Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit game. This would be a blast to play during a Harry Potter themed party or as they are called in our house Thursdays. But really how fun is this. I bought two one for the giveaway and one for me because I just couldn't resist. Who wants to come over and play?

13. Favorite Harry Potter Character Shirt

Snape is my homeboy and Hermione Library and Luna shirts. Great Harry Potter tees for the whole family

Be not so subtle with your love for Luna or whichever of J.K. Rowling's wizards and witches is your favorite. Wear your love for Hermione's bookishness across your chest or bond with other Snape supporters by donning your little one in a Severus onesie. Something for everyone with these fun Harry Potter character Shirt!

14. Hedwig Owl Post Necklace

Love this Harry Potter Hedwig Owl Post necklace

We can't forget Hedwig now can we? Honor our feathered friend with this delicate Hedwig Owl Post Necklace. I've had one for years and I love it. It's so easy to wear and the silver goes with pretty much anything. If you're looking for a little trinket for your favorite book nerd this necklace would be perfect.

15. Harry Potter Swimsuit

I know I know you were like "WHERE'S THE HARRY POTTER SWIM SUIT EVERYONE NEEDS A HARRY POTTER SWIM SUIT" and of course you are right and hold your horses because I was getting to it! Make yourself an awesome Harry Potter swimsuit with the Classic Maillot Swimsuit SEWING PATTERN

16. Harry Potter Funkos

So cute love these little Harry Potter character toys. They have TONS of characters.

I can't get enough of all the freakishly cute big head Harry Potter Funko Pop figures. I NEED them all. Like really need them. They are all so cute and they have tons of the side charactes and they keep on adding more. I want Neville so so so bad. I want all of them really. Oh I already said that but really this is such a fun and easy gift idea and every time your little Potter loving pal looks at her funkos she's smile. I know I do!

17. Harry Potter Art Print

Awesome Harry Potter art print book list

Every Harry Potter fan deserves an awesome Harry Potter Art Print. I love this one from Have A Laugh. But there are other great ones too. Grab an inexpensive frame and pop the print in and you've got a super thoughtful and unique present.

18. Harry Potter Book Bag

make love not horcruxes book bag great harry potter gift

Because I know you need something to carry your library haul home in the last item on my Harry Potter must haves list is a Harry Potter Book Bag. My personal favorite is this sassy Make Love Not Horcruxes Book Bag but you might also love this Accio Books bag!

Okay now go enter the giveaways!!!

PRIZE PACK #1

Harry Potter everything. Great book nerd gifts and book swag.

Prize Pack #1 See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you're there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping. a Rafflecopter giveaway

PRIZE PACK #2

So many awesome Harry Potter gift ideas. Great for readers Prize Pack #2 See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you're there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping. a Rafflecopter giveaway  

10 Minute Pillowcase Tutorial with Video

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Throw pillows are one of the easiest ways to update the look of a room and they couldn't be easier to make. Today I'm sharing a 10 minute pillowcase tutorial.

Just made a bunch of these. Great video tutorial for fast pillowcases. Perfect for DIY home decor. Also how to figure out how much fabric you need for throw pillow covers.

I made the ones photographed here in about 10 minutes total. Yup that's for ALL of them. These darling pillowcases are that fast and that easy to make. All that is required is a few straight lines of sewing so this is a really great project for beginners.
See the full direction on this video tutorial (click here if it doesn't load above)! If you're more of a written direction type of person you can see them all here.

Desert Bloom fabric projects including easy DIY pillowcases

For these pillowcases I used a bunch of the fabrics from the awesome Desert Bloom fabric line by Amanda Herring for Riley Blake Designs. I fell in love with the Desert Medallion print so I used that in gray and white. I'm such a sucker for text fabrics I needed one in the Dessert Text in gray and I actually have been using it in my "library" and it goes perfectly with my other bookish pillowcases that I made! I also made myself a Sorbetto top out of the Desert Medallion Red with the Dessert Blue Hexies for the binding because you know matching your throw pillows is totally what cool people do ;) You also might like:

The secret to hemming knits. It's the type of thread you use! Rae Gun Ramblings

hands down the best trick for gathering fabric on the sewing machine - Rae Gun Ramblings

great top patterns to sew for women
Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.
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