15 Beachside Novels That Are Worth Reading

I’m a big advocate of reading inspirational and educational books, but sometimes you just need to read a good story! There’s nothing like getting lost in an entertaining novel while sitting beachside on a summer day. Because I don’t read many novels, I usually find myself wandering around the library pointlessly while searching for a good book. Here are a few suggestions I’ve received recently of novels that are worth reading.  This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support! Firefly Lane | Kristin Hannah A Man Called Ove | Fredrik Backman Where the Heart Is | Billie Letts I Capture the Castle | Dodie Smith The Interestings | Meg Wolitzer Be Frank With Me | Julia Claiborne Johnson All The Light We Cannot See | Anthony Doerr Redeeming Love | Francine Rivers Firefly Summer | Maeve Binchy Party Girl (The Girl’s Series) | Rachel Hollis Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants | Ann Brashares Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand | Helen Simonson The Blue Castle | L.M. Montgomery The Little Paris Bookshop | Nina George When Life Gives You Lululemons | Lauren Weisberger   After reading through the summaries of these amazing novels, I’m ready for a trip to the beach! Do you have any favorite beachside novels that you read year after year? I’d love to add them to my list!  More Inspiration Looking for more summertime inspiration? Check out these other ideas!  8 Great Cricut Projects for Summer 12 Simple (Yet Tasty)…
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Handmade Butterfly T-shirt Project

Handmade t-shirts are a great project to keep the kids busy during summer break. Here’s how to make this cool butterfly t-shirt with Heat Transfer Vinyl.     I have been making t-shirts like crazy over here. So many shirts, so little time! Recently I spotted this aqua tank on clearance at Walmart for $5.00. I’ve been putting things together for our vacation, and it’s time to make something special for me to wear! This Art Nouveau style butterfly graphic is available on the Cricut website, free with standard access membership. To make the shirt, the design has been enlarged, simplified and recolored. Here’s what to do: Supplies Needed (affiliate links have been included for your convenience): Aqua t-shirt or tank top Heat transfer vinyl in black, light pink (variegated), teal, and aqua (with aqua pattern) Heat press or iron Cricut Ironing pad or ironing board Silicone mat (keeps the warm vinyl from sticking to the iron) Cricut Maker or other Cricut machine Standard grip cutting mat Weeding tool Scissors Directions: Download the free design from my file here: https://design.cricut.com/#/design/99788949 Cut all vinyl according to Cricut directions, placing shiny side of the HTV DOWN on the sticky mat. Weed out the design of each color vinyl before assembling. Trim away excess plastic as you work. Beginning with the variegated pink vinyl butterfly, use the heat press to iron the vinyl on the t-shirt. Place the center of the shirt on the Cricut heat mat. Center the design so it’s about 2″ up from the underarm seam of the top. (I…
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10 Ways to Travel on a Budget

Travel season is here! We are planning a couple of vacations this summer. Here’s how we spend less than the average traveler every time we take a trip! Budget Travel I have always loved traveling. My earliest visions for this blog always included travel posts. When I started blogging 9 years ago, we were a homeschool family of 6 with a very limited income for travel. Now that our youngest son has graduated and will be leaving home soon for college, we are entering a new season of life. One that I hope will include travels to foreign and exotic destinations. Our recent trip to Colorado has opened my eyes to some new ways of travel that we hadn’t considered before. We usually travel off season, camp or stay in the cheapest of accommodations. As much as I love camping, my husband does not. He prefers more comfortable accommodations. Here are the things we have learned about comfortable travel that doesn’t break the bank. Affiliate links have been added to this page for your connivence.  By making a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. For a complete list of disclosure rules, see the disclosure page.   10 “Cheap” Travel Tips Traveling off season can save you a bundle. We find hotel and resorts discount their rates as much as 70% during the off season. Simply Google your destination for ideas of the peak travel times, then turn back the calendar. For example, we love visiting Florida. We have found that the best time…
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Inspirational Books for Summer Reading

Summer was made for reading. The days are long and the opportunities are abundant! There are not many things more relaxing than sitting next to the pool or enjoying a night outdoors with a good book. If you’re looking for an inspirational book to read this summer, I’ve got you covered! These are a few of my favorites that I keep going back to, and also a few that are on my reading list for the next few months.  This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support! The 10X Rule has been recommended to me by so many entrepreneurs that I would be doing myself a disservice to not read it! Grant Cardone recommends concrete steps on how to take action and achieve your dreams.  Read more here! In this book, Rachel Hollis shares her tips on how to stop believing the lies that are keeping your from living a joy-filled life. She guarantees that you will laugh, cry, and learn as you take this journey with her.  Read more here! The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is considered one of the most inspiring books ever written. It has proven valuable to people in all walks of life and is definitely a must read!  Read more here! We have all struggled with feelings of loneliness. If you’re in that season right now, this book is for you! (And even if you’re not, I guarantee you will still gain so much from this one.) Read…
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Congrats to the Graduate T-Shirt Craft

Graduations are coming up quick! Here’s a fun t-shirt you can make as a gift for your graduate!   Crafting a T-Shirt I recently started using a Cricut Maker for a few projects on my sewing blog. Now I have become seriously addicted to making things with the Cricut! This easy project has a bit of snarky humor in it. Our youngest son is graduating this year and we love to make grammar jokes at our house. It’s a nerdy homeschool thing that we do. Who knew grammar was so fun? Haha! For this project, I am partnering with a group of talented crafty bloggers to bring you all kinds of end of the school year crafts you can make with a Cricut machine. Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of this post to be inspired! Supplies Needed: A black t-shirt White Iron on Heat Transfer Vinyl or HTV as it’s called A Cricut Machine Standard 12′ x 12″ Cricut Green Cutting Matt Iron and Ironing Board Weeding Tools (for removing the vinyl you don’t use) Directions: Download this FREE file from my profile in Design Space.   Place the vinyl shiny side down on the cutting matt. Smooth out with a roller or press firmly to remove wrinkles and bubbles. Load the matt into the Cricut machine, press the cut button. Remove the matt after it’s finished cutting the words to be placed on the shirt. Remove the unnecessary vinyl with the weeding tool, pull it off gently from the matt side of the vinyl, leaving the words…
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Inspirational Books to Read in 2018

I am always looking for good things to read. This list is short but these books have been the cornerstone of my faith and purpose this year. I hope you will  be inspired try a couple of them! This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from your purchase at no additional charge to you. The book that has had the biggest impact on me this year is Called to Create. Jordan Raynor shows you how your faith in God can be a huge part of your businesses success. I devoured this book in just a few days, it’s a must read for anyone that runs a Christian business. Buy through my Affiliate Link here.   This book makes you want to take the world by storm. Highly regarded author uses the visual image of the lion to make you inspired to want more! Buy through my affiliate link here.   Daily devotions are so important for keeping my thoughts on the right track. This book is perfect for short devotions that require you to be still. For some of us, that is the biggest challenge we face every day. Buy through my affiliate link here.   Our church recently did a study on this book. The focus on living is not on perfection or business, but enjoying life as it is one breath at a time. No more worries to work faster, push harder and produce more. This year more than ever I have felt overwhelmed and exhausted trying to work to produce all the time. Rest,…
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Sew Fabulous Mens Holiday Pajamas

Some families have a tradition of wearing matching pajamas for Christmas Eve. This pattern is great for making easy memorable pajamas!  Men’s Hoodie Pattern I loved this pattern the moment I saw it. Our adult children are way past the age of wearing matching pajamas, but this pattern seemed like it would work for all of them. It’s technically not for pajamas, but the casual style and trendy hoodie is something that they all love. The pattern calls for knit and woven fabric which is rather unusual. The front of the shirt, the placket, pockets and front pieces are all woven material. The sleeves, back and hood are a cotton knit. Soft woven cottons and jersey knits make great sleeping attire and I love them together in this pajama set. I haven’t made the pants yet, more on that soon! Hoffman Holiday Fabric Collection This Near and Deer holiday fabric collection from Hoffman Fabrics is perfect for guys. It’s not too cutesy, or outrageously colored. It even has manly deer and stripes. Our son was thrilled with my fabric choices for this project. You can’t go wrong with classic black and white! Sewing Pattern Adjustments The cotton fabric is 44″ wide, but since the only woven pieces are in the front cutting the narrow width wasn’t hard. I added 2″ to the length at the waist for this McCalls M747 pattern. My system is to cut the pattern apart and measure the gap for the amount needed. The pattern seemed to fit well overall and was very straight forward to sew…
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How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown

Make a Fleece Lounging Gown to slip into after a long day at work or relax after a hectic day with the family. This gown is a great project for beginner seamstresses!  This fleece fabric caught my eye at the fabric store recently. Loved the soft color pallet!   Fleece Lounging is King Making anything with fleece is always a good idea. Fleece is inexpensive, easy to sew and comes in tons of great patterns and colors. Fleece is also stretchy and very forgiving for new sewers who aren’t exactly sure of them selves. This project is easy to whip up in a single afternoon without a lot of fuss. It’s been a while since I have sewn much for myself. However, I have stocked up on fabric and patterns for a major sewing project in the future! More to come on that soon! This pattern is Mc Calls 7061.(affiliate link) I am sure I will be making several more of these lounging gowns, perhaps even a couple of them for holiday gifts. Speaking of gifts, check out my pattern shop for more handmade gift ideas here. The robe features a hood and a “kangaroo” style pocket which I love for keeping my cell phone close by. You could also make some booties or leggings to keep your feet and legs warm (they are included in this pattern). The modesty of this piece was one of the things that attracted me to it. Love the coverage in this garment! It feels cozy enough that I could run to the grocery store…
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How I Failed To Decorate our Dining Room

No one likes to say that they have failed. Today I give you permission to completely FAIL in your home decor. I completely failed in this renovation project, but all is not lost! The One Room Challenge Dining Room Update This week is the final reveal for the One Room Challenge. I have been avoiding writing this post, because it’s hard for me to admit that I have failed this challenge. I haven’t finished our dining room. I was really excited in the beginning, the painting was easy. It took me an entire weekend to paint the built-in dining hutch. The white is so much lighter, I really do like it. I am glad I took the plunge to paint all that dark woodwork. The next project  was the ceiling. This painted ceiling medallion gives the room something special. Our kitty loves to stare at the ceiling, she must find it interesting. I bought some great fabric at a fabulous price and whipped up a pair of curtains. I was on a roll! And that’s where the story ends. Actually, it came to a grinding halt. The END of the Dining Room ORC Story The table improvements are holding me back. I need to paint the table, but I don’t have the vision right now as to which colors to use. White, black? Grey, Chocolate? Can’t decide. Am having second thoughts about the curtains that  I made. I never have second thoughts. NEVER. Usually, I am an all in kind of girl. But, something in this room just doesn’t feel right. Our…
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Balloon Rally

I have been taking it easy lately. It feels good to spend time out doors, and catch up on things behind the scenes. My son and I took a side trip to see the Balloon Rally going on in the Monroe, WI. It’s a lovely small town in the southern part of our state. We ate hamburgers and ice cream from the food vendors, and listened to live jazz and blues music while we watched the balloons. A perfect summer’s evening in my book. I have always wanted to see the Balloon Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had no idea such a thing existed here in Wisconsin. I happened to see an ad for this event that they haven’t had in almost 5 years. What are the odds? We arrived at the fair grounds just in time to see the balloons filling up and taking off into the horizon. They are of course absolutely huge!  So graceful and beautiful! We were fortunate enough to be right below the flight path…. You would be surprised how loud they are as they release the hot air into the balloon. It seemed like we were so close we could have touched the basket! Have you ever read Around the World in 80 Days? Seeing the balloons makes me want to read it again, such a great book! As the balloons disappeared behind us, we would turn around and there would be another one up in the air ready to take off. There were 6-8 balloons total. They all took off at…
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