Mid-Year New Years Resolutions Check-Up

Mid-Year New Years Resolutions Check-Up

6 months into 2016.  The time has been absolutely flying for me, especially now that we are into summer and have so many activities going on.  When I was looking at my plans for my posts this week, I couldn’t believe that it was already time to review my new years resolutions and evaluate my progress.

And I have to say that sharing my goals and progress with you every three months has been interesting.  Part of me really likes the accountability, but the other part of me feels like I’m letting you down when I don’t accomplish my goals or work on them like I know I should (even though they are all personal goals).

So without further adieu, here’s my progress:
Goal: Be more charitable
Progress: Being charitable is such a hard thing to measure, especially without sounding like I’m tooting my own horn.  However, I can say that there have been some wonderful opportunities to serve others and give of myself over the last few months that I am grateful for.  When I have an attitude of charity and a willingness to give of my time or talents, I feel better about life.
Room for Improvement: There is always room for improvement in this area.  I hope that I can work towards keeping other people’s needs in my mind and look for ways to serve them.

Goal: Exercise regularly
Progress: As mentioned in my last review, I started attending a weekly dance class last fall and have been going each week.  Recently the class ended and won’t resume until the fall.  I have felt very proud of myself for going, even on nights when I didn’t want to or had a million other things to do.  When I dance, I feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.
Room for Improvement: Since the class ended, I haven’t been attending any other fitness classes or established a routine for myself at home.  However, I’ve been out on walk with my kids, gone hiking, played in the yard, etc.  So I feel that while I could do more, I’m not doing too bad.

Challenge yourself, change yourself.

Goal: Spend more one-on-one time with each member of my family
Progress: My one-on-one time with my daughter has increased a little since she finished preschool, but my one-on-one time with my son has decreased a little because we used to do things together while big sister was at preschool.
Room for Improvement: This summer, I’m trying to plan activities better with my kids and husband so we can each have time together to build our relationships.

Goal: Keep up on my personal journal writing
Progress: Sadly, I don’t think I’ve made any progress on this since last time I wrote.  I was getting into a routine with my days and nights, but got a little thrown off and just haven’t picked it back up.
Room for Improvement: Lots of room to improve here!  I know I need to do this, but sometimes other things take over and this gets pushed to the back burner.  I know myself and if I can establish a routine and incorporate this, I will be better at it.

Goal: Tell family and friends that I love and appreciate them more often
Progress: I’ve been working on this one more.  Mostly it’s been by stopping and taking time to give my kids a hug and say “I love you” or “thank you for {fill in the blank}”.  I’ve noticed that my daughter absolutely flourishes under compliments and her overall behavior and attitude improves when she is receiving them regularly.
Room for Improvement: I think there is always room to grow in this area.  The key is just being aware of others and telling them how I feel in the moment.  Thinking a kind thought and saying it right away.

Goal: Choose happiness
Progress: With the coming of spring and summer, this has been easier for me.  I am not someone who does well with cloudy, rainy/snowy, cold weather.  I love the sunshine and warmth.  Even my husband says I’m a happier person in the warm months.  I’ve had some bad days of course, but I feel so much lighter when I have a positive, happy attitude about life, even when it’s not going exactly how I’d like.
Room for Improvement: Definitely.  On days when I’m feeling sad or frustrated, I seem to have a harder time shaking it off than I used to as a kid/teenager/young adult.  Sometimes I want to feel frustrated or mad, but all this does is make me impatient and unhappy.  I want to snap out of my funks easier and I know I can do it because I’ve done it before.

How are you doing on your goals?  Do you feel good about the progress you’ve made, no matter how small?  Have you made new goals partway through this year?  I’d love to hear about how you’re doing!

Summer Mantle Inspiration

Bright colors are my key to decorating for the summertime.

Summer is in full swing here in Utah, complete with 100+ degree days.  So. Hot.  My poor kids, who love being outside, come in by 10am with red cheeks and requests for popsicles to try and beat the heat.  Crazy stuff.

Since summer got here, we’ve been busy enjoying the nice weather and playing as much as possible.  As a result, my spring decorations never really got put away and my only summer decoration was the cute pallet art I made a couple months ago.

I knew this needed to be fixed ASAP so I pulled out some wood crafts I’d purchased about a month ago and worked on them in between play dates and hiking and naps and meals.  It’s amazing how long it takes to get things done when you have kids and a house to run!  BUT I got it done last week, the day before we were set to go out of town for our vacation with extended family.  I snapped some pictures and then rushed to pack myself and my kids to leave early the next morning.
As I mentioned in my post for spring/Easter mantle inspiration, I don’t actually have a mantle, just a credenza, that I decorate for each holiday/season.  But obviously this is just to show you what I’ve done and give you some ideas for your own mantle or table.  For your convenience, I’ve listed where I bought each item or the link to how I made it, below the pictures.

Bright colors are my key to decorating for the summertime.
White Fence  |  Hobby Lobby
Green Basket  |  Hobby Lobby
Pink Yarn Ball  |  Hobby Lobby
 Mini Orange Table  |  Hobby Lobby
Boy and Girl Swimming block and Hello Summer block  |  The Wood Connection

Bright colors are my key to decorating for the summertime.
Summer Mini Block Trio  |  The Wood Connection
Summer Block  |  The Wood Connection

Bright colors are my key to decorating for the summertime.
Yellow Flower Wreath  |  JoAnn’s
Burlap Table Runner  |  made by me (tutorial here)

Bright colors are my key to decorating for the summertime.
Lemon Wood Craft  |  The Wood Connection
Lemonade vinyl  |  Silhouette machine

Bright colors are my key to decorating for the summertime.
Summer Pallet Art  |  made by me (tutorial here)
Pink and Gold candle  |  Hobby Lobby
Orange Dreamsicle on Mini Post  |  The Wood Connection

And if you’re looking for more creative summer inspiration, I’m participating in a blog hop with some very talented ladies.  Click on the links below to go to their page and see some great ideas!

9 Creative Summer Ideas to get you excited for the summer!

9 Creative Summer Ideas
{from left to right, top to bottom}
Simple Summer Farmhouse Centerpiece  |  Making Joy and Pretty Things
Summer Matching Game – Free Printable  |  Wellies and Lemonade
Summer Mantle Inspiration  |  Sunshine and Munchkins
DIY Summer Wreath  |  Checking in with Chelsea
Farmhouse Style Summer Tablescape  |  Craftivity Designs
Summer Coffee Table Styling  |  Flourishing at Home
Front Porch Summer Decor  |  Restyle It Wright
Summer Tray Makeover  |  North Country Nest
Summer Entertaining Tablescape  |  W. Collective

This post may contain affiliate links.

Font Friday: Patriotic

Font Friday: Patriotic Fonts

Can you believe the month is almost over?!  I sure can’t.  Next month we’ll be celebrating the 4th of July, which is definitely one of my favorite holidays, both for what it celebrates and for the fun surrounding it.  Plus, because I live in Utah, I also get to celebrate Pioneer Day (our state’s founding celebration).  July is just one big month of fireworks, celebration and remembering those who have served, and are currently serving, our country.

This month, the fonts I’m sharing are fun and patriotic.  To download them, simply click on the name of the font.  If you need help downloading, you can go here for a step-by-step tutorial.

Font Friday: Patriotic Fonts

Old Glory  |  JD Stars
USA  |  The American
Stars & Stripes  |  Americana
Land of the Brave  |  Pentagon
Freedom  |  American Donuts
Fireworks  |  Kingthings Whizzbang
America  |  Banner Star
Flag and US Outline  |  US Flag
What are you going to use these fonts for?

My Week In Pictures

My Week In Pictures

Almost 2 weeks ago, I broke my phone.  I ordered a new one the same day it broke and was told it wouldn’t get to me for 10 days.  I was pleasantly surprised (read: ecstatic) when it showed up on my doorstep four days early!  If you’re anything like me, you use your phone to take pictures.  In fact, that is what uses up most of my phone’s storage space.  Ever since I got my first camera in junior high (yay for film!) I’ve been taking pictures of anything and everything.  When I can’t remember where we were or what we did on a holiday a previous year, I check my photo albums.

So maybe you can imagine how weird it was not to have my phone/camera within easy reach for a week.  My kids would do something funny or cute and I’d reach for my phone only to remember it wasn’t there.  While I’m sad I wasn’t able to capture some of those moments, it was also nice to just be in the moment with them.  Not having easy access to a camera was a good reminder for me to enjoy my kids and the little moments and not worry about capturing everything on camera.  The scrapbooking part of my brain disagrees. *wink*
However, since I got my phone back, I’ve been taking pictures again and thought it would be fun to share some of the random moments that go on my life.

My Week In Pictures

Top row (left to right): 1) Spider in a kid sized magnifying container, 2) Trying out the new donut floaty, 3) My daughter taking a selfie of us
Middle row (left to right): 1) Clip on earrings and clip in hair, 2) Twinner hair, 3) Laughing at dinnertime
Bottom row (left to right): Lounging with my little buddy, 2) Sideways Spiderman hat, 3) Father’s Day (with my husband on the left and my dad on the right)
Happy Hump Day!  I hope you all have a fabulous rest of the week.

Summer 2016 Walmart Beauty Box Review

Summer 2016 Walmart Beauty Box Review--Is it worth $5?

*I am reviewing this box by choice and have not received it for free, nor have I received any other compensation from Walmart.  All opinions are my own.*

A year and a half ago, I got an email from Walmart about signing up for a quarterly/seasonal beauty box.  It boasted full size beauty products and lots of other great samples for free plus $5 shipping.  I was intrigued so I signed up with the knowledge that I could cancel the subscription at any time if I didn’t think the products I received were worth the $5.

Since then, I’ve received a new beauty box every three months filled with goodies.  Some boxes have been better than others, which I think is to be expected, but overall I’ve enjoyed getting them.  It’s been fun to get a little surprise in the mail and I can totally see the appeal of subscribing to other beauty boxes/monthly subscription boxes.

This last week, I got my most recent beauty box in the mail.  I’d received an email from Walmart letting me know that my card had been charged and my box was on its way with a tracking number.  When I got it, I took it into my bathroom to open it up and shut the door because my kids would have opened it up and pulled it out faster than a kid stealing candy. *wink*

Here’s what I got:

  • Goody SlideProof hair elastics (full size)
  • Lady Gaga Fame Black Fluid perfume (sample size)
  • Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs leg makeup (sample size)
  • Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair lotion (travel size)
  • Nivea In-Shower Cocoa Butter Body Lotion (single use) w/coupon
  • Simple Micellar Cleansing Water (single use)
  • Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Diamond Color & Radiance Shampoo and Conditioner (travel size)
  • Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant toothpaste (travel size) w/coupon
  • Incoco Coconut Nail Art (full size)
Summer 2016 Walmart Beauty Box Review--Is it worth $5?

My review:

  • Goody SlideProof hair elastics–I actually received these in a beauty box in the fall or winter of last year, but I really like them so I was happy to have more that I didn’t have to pay full price for in the store (retail is around $4).  They hold a ponytail in all day because of the little rubber grippers and I love them.
    • Would I recommend it: YES
  • Lady Gaga Fame Black Fluid perfume–I was a little skeptical about this perfume and sprayed a little bit of it on my wrist before jumping in the shower so I could wash it off in case I didn’t like it.  I was pleasantly surprised because it’s pretty subtle (unlike Lady Gaga herself) and the scent actually stayed on my wrist even after my shower.
    • Would I recommend it: YES
  • Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs leg makeup–Leg makeup??  I didn’t even know this was a thing.  I’ve heard of self tanner and tinted lotion but not leg makeup.  To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll be trying this out any time soon, especially since it’s summer time and I tan very easily.  So using a product to make my legs look darker isn’t really useful to me.  Maybe I’ll keep it and try it out in the winter when I don’t really need it and see how I like it then.
    • Would I recommend it: UNDECIDED
  • Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair lotion–In the summer, I wear flip flops or have bare feet all. the. time.  As a result, I get callouses and my heels sometimes crack.  I haven’t tried this lotion out yet, but I plan on using it on my feet, knees and elbows this summer since they get the most dry.  Vaseline is a pretty good brand when it comes to keeping in moisture, so I would expect it to work well.
    • Would I recommend it: UNDECIDED
  • Nivea In-Shower Cocoa Butter Body Lotion–I brought this into the shower with me to try out after I sprayed the Lady Gaga perfume on.  I’ve never tried an in-shower body lotion before so I wasn’t sure how I’d like it.  The instructions said to wash your body like normal, rub it onto wet skin, then rinse it off while still in the shower.  Because it was only a single use sample, there wasn’t much in the pouch.  I used it all up and barely had enough for my entire body.  I dried off and got out my regular lotion, but was surprised to find that I actually didn’t need it.  The in-shower body lotion had moisturized my skin just as well, if not better, than putting lotion on after getting out.  Not only that, but it kept my skin soft throughout the day.  Not bad, Nivea.
    • Would I recommend it: YES
  • Simple Micellar Cleansing Water–I have a few different face cleansers that I rotate through.  Most of them have little microbeads and/or an astringent and are either liquid or gel/cream.  Plus I also have a separate eye makeup remover.  I was curious to see how this cleansing water would work for me so I tried it out.  I squirted a little on a cotton square and started wiping my face.  The makeup came right off.  I used it on my entire face (except my eyes, even though you can use it on your eyes).  I liked that it felt like water, but I didn’t have to scrub to get the makeup off.
    • Would I recommend it: YES
  • Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Diamond Color & Radiance Shampoo and Conditioner–Honestly, I don’t know when I’ll get around to using these samples.  I usually just pack these away in a bin I have for sample/travel size shampoos/conditioners that I pull out and pack with me on vacations, camping trips or if we have company.
    • Would I recommend it: NO
  • Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant toothpaste–I’ve bought this brand of toothpaste before and haven’t been overly impressed.  It is usually too grainy or the flavor is a little off.  This will go in the same bin as the sample size shampoos/conditioners for use at a later date.
    • Would I recommend it: NO
  • Incoco Coconut Nail Art–I’m really excited to try this product out.  I was happy to see that it was full size.  Each strip is long enough that it’s possible to do all ten fingers and toes, even though there are only 12 strips total.  I’ve tried out other store-bought press on nail polish products before and they usually peel off after a couple of days.  If these stay on, I’ll be really impressed.
    • Would I recommend it: UNDECIDED (will update when I try it out)

Well there you have it!  I hope my little review was helpful to you.  If you want to find out more about the Walmart Beauty box, go HERE.  You can sign up and check out the FAQ.  Since the Summer Beauty Box has already shipped out, you would receive the Fall Beauty Box next if you choose to sign up.

Have you signed up for other beauty boxes?  What is your favorite/least favorite?

Kid Science: Elephant Toothpaste

Elephant Toothpaste

As much as I love the summertime and the sunshine and letting my kids play outside, there comes a point every day where it’s just too hot and we have to come inside and cool off.  I made a commitment to myself that I would try to have a balance between structured time and unstructured time this summer, but I haven’t been doing as well on the structured time with my kids as I would like.  So at the beginning of the week, I decided to do a little experiment that I’ve had on my mind for the last little while, but hadn’t gotten around to: elephant toothpaste.

This post contains affiliate link which means if you click on it and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!
Elephant Toothpaste

Like many kids, mine love anything that bubbles and foams.  We’ve done glow in the dark bath paint, bubble snakes and color explosions and they have all been winners.  This experiment only required me to buy one thing I didn’t already have on hand (hydrogen peroxide), and now I have it so we can do this another day too.

Elephant Toothpaste

My kids totally oooh’d and aaah’d over this activity and it kept them entertained even after the initial experiment was over.  We did it a couple of times–once with my daughter while my son was napping and then again when he woke up.

Elephant Toothpaste
This post contains affiliate links.

To make your own elephant toothpaste, you will need the following:

First, measure 2 Tbsp. very warm water into a small bowl.  Add 1 tsp. active dry yeast (1/2 packet) and stir around.  Make sure your water isn’t too hot or you’ll kill the yeast.  You can have your child help with this part.

Elephant Toothpaste

Set your water bottle in the middle of a 9×13 pan.  Using the funnel, pour 1/2 c. hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.  Add 4-5 drops of food coloring and a couple squirts of dish soap.  Swirl it together gently.  I wouldn’t recommend having your child do this part unless you feel confident they won’t spill or lick their fingers if they get stuff on them.

Pour the yeast into the bottle through the funnel.  (Again, something your child could do.)  Remove it quickly as the reaction will start right away and enjoy the crazy foam!

Elephant Toothpaste

Elephant Toothpaste

A few things:

  • The foam is totally safe to touch!  The peroxide gets broken down in the reaction, only leaving water and oxygen behind.
  • The reaction is exothermic, which means it gives off heat.  You can have your child touch the bottle and they will feel the warmth.  Pretty cool!
  • 6% (20 volume) hydrogen peroxide is a bit of a specialty item, which you can buy at any beauty supply store (or order it online on Amazon by clicking the link).  The kind you buy at the store is only 3% and it will still produce a reaction, but it won’t be nearly as impressive.

After the reaction slowed down, I brought out some little cars and plastic animal (one was an elephant of course) and let them play in the foam.  I had to take it away before they were actually done playing in it because their hands were starting to turn colors. 😉

Elephant Toothpaste

Elephant Toothpaste

This was such a fun activity!  My kids loved it and I loved watching them love it.

I hope you have as much fun as we did!

How To Host a Successful Yard Sale

How To Host A Successful Yard Sale--10 tips for organizing, advertising and running a money-making yard sale

Each summer, my mom would hand us boxes or bags and tell us to go through our room and get rid of the things we no longer liked or used.  She also had us help with going through other rooms in the house.  Then we’d price the items we wanted to sell so we could put them in our yard sale.  We had to get up early on the day of the yard sale and help set up, try and sell things to our friends and then take it all down and give away anything that didn’t sell.  For as long as I can remember, we did this every single summer.  Even after I moved away to college, I could count on my mom holding a yard sale.  I learned how to let go of unwanted/unused items, how to price to sell, how to count change and many other skills.

So when my in-laws decided they wanted to sell the home they’d been in for 26 years and needed help getting rid of stuff, I volunteered to help sell it.  I had sold plenty of my own items using Facebook yard sale groups (a post I will do soon!) and knew I could help make them some money as they purged.  As their unwanted items continued to accumulate, I knew I was going to need to do a yard sale.  The thought kind of excited me because I love the challenge of selling things to others (although I am definitely not a sales person and could never be one).

For the last two weeks, I’ve had two words on my mind: yard sale.   Eat, sleep, breath, yard sale.  Eat, sleep, breathe, yard sale.  Slowly our garage filled up with all the things they wanted to get rid of.  Finally, this last weekend, I held a yard sale at my house and made over $1100.  How?  Let me tell you.

Advertise Like Crazy  If you’re going to spend the time that it takes to sort through your stuff, price it and set it all up in your yard, you better make sure that as many people know about your yard sale as possible.  I am part of 15+ Facebook yard sale groups and two neighborhood Facebook groups.  In addition, my city allows you to submit your yard sale information and they will post it in their yard sale listings for free.  So when it came time to let people know about the yard sale, I posted in every single yard sale group I belong to, the two neighborhood groups, the city listings and my personal Facebook page.  That is over 20 listings that expose 1000s of people to the date, time and location of my yard sale.  The day before the sale, I posted in each of the groups I just listed and also included pictures of some of the best items I was going to have for sale.  Items such as furniture, tools, baby clothes and home decor are great because people are always looks for good deals on those things.

*Extra Tip: Clean the items you’re selling to make them look as nice as possible, both before taking pictures and during the yard sale.  People will pay more for something if it looks clean.  Even if what you have is nice, if it is dusty or has cobwebs on it from being in storage, people won’t look as closely at it.  If they do look close, they might not want to pay as much as it’s worth because it’s dirty.

How To Host A Successful Yard Sale--10 tips for organizing, advertising and running a money-making yard sale

3 B’s: Big Signs, Big Words and Balloons
Part of advertising for a yard sale is making it as easy as possible for people to get to you.  This year, I bought two pieces of white poster board and three yard sale signs with a place to write my address on them from the dollar store, as well as balloons (all the same color).  During the summer, there are a lot of people who do yard sales.  If you want people to come to yours, you have to do two things: 1) get their attention and 2) tell them where to go.  When making a yard sale sign, I only include the following: the words YARD SALE (or MULTI-FAMILY YARD SALE or MOVING SALE), the date, the time and the address, and usually in that order.  Use black sharpie and make your words big and bold.  I generally write in all caps.  Don’t get fancy.  The mistake a lot of people make is trying to fit too much in a small area and then you can’t read anything because you don’t know what to focus on.  Give people the basic information they need to know and they will come.  Another way to get a person’s attention is balloons.  How often do you see balloons attached to a sign and wonder what it’s for so you look when you pass by?  Other people do the same thing.  Be consistent so people can follow your signs.  (This is why I use all the same color poster board, markers and balloons on each sign.)  Place your signs at crossroads (like a four way stop) and at the entrance(s) to your neighborhood.  Include arrows on your signs so they know which direction to go.

Organize Items Into Categories
This tip might sound like a no brainer, but if you’ve ever been to a yard sale where anything and everything is just thrown haphazardly onto tables or blankets, you know this is important.  Whenever I do my yard sales, I always put similar items together: home decor, tools, craft supplies, games/toys, holiday/seasonal, jewelry, kitchen, etc.  As I’m sorting and pricing, I try to keep the same things together in bins or boxes.  Then, a day or two before the sale, I set up tables in my garage and start sorting the bins/boxes into tables so I know exactly how much I have in each category.  This year, I had a ton of home decor stuff so I found that I needed two tables to display it.  Kitchen items also needed two tables.  Yard and tools needed one.  And so on.  Doing this makes set up go a whole lot smoother the morning of the sale.

How To Host A Successful Yard Sale--10 tips for organizing, advertising and running a money-making yard sale

Up Off the Ground
One of the best tips I can give for hosting your own yard sale is to borrow as many tables as you can.  I borrowed at least 12 from family and friends (in addition to the two I already had) and I still didn’t have as many as I would have liked.  The reason having tables is important is because stuff sells better when it’s on a table as opposed to the ground.  It displays better and it looks nicer.  When you couple this with organizing items into categories, you will have more people buying things because it’s easier to browse through and it’s more visible.  They don’t have to stoop down to sort through what you have.  Get your stuff off the ground.

Make Signs
Another nice touch is to make signs for each of the tables indicating what is on them.  Some people come to yard sales with specific categories they are looking to browse through.  If you make it easy for them to find what they are looking for, they may be more willing to buy what they find.  I’ve had plenty of customers come up and tell me they liked how organized everything was.  People will notice if you take the time to add little touches like signs for your tables.

Label Everything
This is definitely my least favorite part of prepping for a yard sale.  It takes a long time to label everything.  But if you decide not to label your items, you’ll be frustrated during the sale when you have people constantly coming up to you asking what the price is for this or that.  The only things I don’t label are clothes.  Instead I put the price on a sign: $1 for long-sleeve shirt, $.50 for pants, etc.  If you make signs for a group of items, be sure to have a list of the prices with you at checkout.

*Extra Tip: If you are hosting a group yard sale, I would suggest color coding or marking each label with the seller’s initials.  Section off a few pages in a notebook for each family/person participating in the yard sale.  Have the notebook with you at checkout.  Take off the price stickers as you total their purchase.  Then put each sticker in the notebook on the corresponding page.

Greet People When You See Them
If you’ve ever worked in retail, one of the most important things they teach you is to try and greet every person who walks in the doors.  The same goes for yard sales.  When you see someone come up, try and catch their eye and say ‘hi’ or ‘good morning/afternoon’.  It lets people know that you saw them come up and they will feel good they were recognized.

Make Friendly Conversation
I always make an effort to talk to the person who is checking out.  I will comment on the items they bought or compliment them on their shirt or purse or ask them what they plan to do with the item they purchased.  It (generally) puts people at ease and it passes the time while you are totaling up what they bought.  Smiling and being friendly will go a long way and people will feel good about their experience.

How To Host A Successful Yard Sale--10 tips for organizing, advertising and running a money-making yard sale

Sell Baked Goods and Drinks
If you have kids, and even if you don’t, selling baked goods and drinks at a little homemade stand just makes people feel more comfortable.  We had a lemonade and cookie stand at our most recent yard sale with a cooler full of soda pop and bottled water.  Last year, I had muffins and banana bread next to me at checkout and I had a lot of early morning shoppers buy some for their breakfast.  It’s an easy and inexpensive way to provide something that people want or need, especially on a hot day.  Plus, if you have cute kids manning the stand, you might get the neighborhood kids coming too!

Be Willing To Negotiate
It might be tempting to want to sell your things for exactly the price you marked them at, but when it comes down to it, you need to be willing to negotiate.  You have to get into the mindset that you put these things out in your yard to sell and if you want to get rid of them, you might have to take a little less than you’d like.  If it’s a decision between a few dollars and selling the item(s), just sell it for less.  For example, I had a family purchase a ton of stuff, mostly small items, but it was about $85.  This was a great deal for what they were getting.  They asked if they could get a discount for buying so much stuff.  I offered to knock off $5 and make it $80.  And then, rather than asking, “Is that ok?”, I said, “Does that seem fair to you?”  By forming the question this way, they had to think about what they were getting in proportion to what I was offering to do for them by lowering the price on already low priced items.  There are always exceptions of course.  We had a handful of things that I wasn’t willing to negotiate on.  One was a Christmas tree from Costco that my in-laws had bought for $350 and used it one year.  I had it marked at $75, which was a fantastic deal.  There were a few people who offered $40 or $50 but I turned it down because I knew the tree was worth more and I knew that if I didn’t sell it at the yard sale, I could sell it online through a Facebook yard sale group.

So there you have it!  My recipe for success!  While I can’t guarantee you’ll make $1000 at your next yard sale, I can tell you that if you follow these tips, you’ll have a much better chance of getting there.

**Also, if selling items online is your preference, or you just don’t have the space or enough items to host a sale, you can check out these great posts about how to sell your stuff online.  It’s a four part series which goes over the following:

Good luck! 

American Fork Canyon: Granite Flats Campground

American Fork Canyon: Granite Flats Campground--a review of this beautiful campground in American Fork Canyon, UT.

When I imagine going up the canyon, I think of narrow, winding roads with thick trees and brush all around. I think of cozy little picnic spots nestled in the trees and a river or stream flowing nearby. This is probably due to the fact that I grew up living within a short driving distance of American Fork Canyon in Utah.

Last summer, my little family and I went up American Fork Canyon to spend the evening with my brother-in-law, his wife and two kids, as well as other extended family. They were spending the night at the Granite Flats Campground, just a mile up the road from Tibble Fork Reservoir. We had been invited to come up in the evening and cook tin foil dinners and roast marshmallows.

American Fork Canyon: Granite Flats Campground--a review of this beautiful campground in American Fork Canyon, UT.

Even though I have been to Tibble Fork many times, my family didn’t do a lot of camping growing up so I wasn’t familiar with the campground they were at, but as we drove to their reserved spot, I felt like it was exactly as a good campground should be. The individual campsites were separated from each other by trees and bushes, so you didn’t feel like you were camping on top of someone else. It gave a nice sense of privacy and made you feel like you were really camping outdoors. There was a set of bathrooms for every four or five campsites, easily within walking distance, which is great if you have kids (and even if you don’t).

Since getting married a little over 8 years ago, my husband and I have gone up a lot of different canyons with friends and cooked tin foil dinners. It is one of my favorite camping foods and so easy to prep and transport. Tip: We always cook our tougher veggies, like carrots and potatoes, halfway before putting them with the meat (usually chicken or ground beef/turkey), since the meat always cooks faster than the rest.

American Fork Canyon: Granite Flats Campground--a review of this beautiful campground in American Fork Canyon, UT.

While waiting for dinner to cook, I took the kids exploring on the various paths around the campsite. There were a lot of little trails but most of them just wound back to our campsite or the others nearby. My kids loved looking at the flowers, ants and squirrels that were everywhere. After dinner, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. Then we were homeward bound since we didn’t want to get caught behind the campground gate when it closed for the night. On the way down, I took a couple pictures of Tibble Fork and was reminded of how beautiful the area is and how lucky I am to live so close by.

American Fork Canyon: Granite Flats Campground--a review of this beautiful campground in American Fork Canyon, UT.

Some things you’ll want to keep in mind if you decide to go up American Fork Canyon:

  • There may or may not be a fee to get up the canyon, depending on your destination. Since my brother-in-law had paid for a campsite, there was no fee for us to drive up there. If you are going up to a picnic spot or to hike, there will likely be a fee. The fee starts at $6 for 1-3 days and goes up to about $45 for an annual pass. Every once in a while you get lucky and the fee station is closed. 
  • When the sun goes down, it gets chilly because of all the trees and the higher elevation. When I left just before 9pm, the temperature was about 60 degrees. When I got out of the canyon, it was 80 degrees. So make sure to dress accordingly and bring a sweatshirt and pants if you tend to get cold (like me!) 
  • The roads are narrow and wind around quite a bit so if you or your kids tend to get motion sickness, make sure to take some Dramamine or something to distract while driving up. It’s definitely worth the drive, though! 

Directions:From I-15, you take the Highland/Alpine exit. Go east on Highway 92 for 8 miles to mouth of American Fork Canyon. Go 5 miles up the canyon to the fork. Take a left to the North Fork/Forest Road 85 to Tibble Fork Reservoir. Stay on paved road as it turns left past the parking lot. Go about 1 mile to Granite Flats campground.

If you are interested in getting more information on the different activities and recreation, you can visit this website.

If you are interested in reserving a campsite, you can go here.

Do you have a favorite canyon or camping spot near where you live?  I’d love to hear about it!

For The Next 10 Days…

Friends, let me be honest.  Today has been rough.  Actually this whole week has been a little challenging.  And for the first time since starting this blog, I didn’t have a post up and ready for you this morning.  (For those of you who have been following me for a while, you might have noticed that I post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week.  And if you didn’t notice, well, now you know.)

Back to today.  This week in my little city of Springville, UT, we are celebrating our city’s founding with a week long of activities, events, movies under the stars, the carnival and so on.  We’ve been here for five years and we always make a point to go enjoy it together as a family.  But I’ve been really busy this week trying to prep for a yard sale I’m doing to help out my in-laws which has left me little time to enjoy the festivities.  So yesterday I decided that I was going to go to at least one event during this week: the hot air balloon festival.  And it just so happens that it starts at 6am.  I asked my daughter (age 4.5) if she wanted to go and she was really excited regardless of the early wake up time.  I thought it would be a good opportunity for some mother-daughter bonding time.

“6 o’clock already, I was just in the middle of a dream…”
And then I dragged my tired butt out of bed, pulled on some clothes and gently woke up my daughter.  “Hey, sis, it’s time to get up to go see the hot air balloons.”  As soon as this registered, she popped out of bed and whispered, “Thank you mommy for waking me up to see the balloons!”  If only I could have that kind of energy when I woke up.  We hopped in the car, drove to the local grocery store, picked up some donuts and juice and headed over to the elementary school where the event was being held.  Luckily, we found some friends we didn’t know were going to be there and sat next to them.

It was fun to do something, just me and her, and not have to worry about my son running away or trying to eat someone else’s food.  The balloons were big and colorful and my daughter loved it.  “Look, mom, that balloon is bigger than our house!”  Sadly, we had to go back home before any of them took off so my husband could go to work and I could resume mom-of-two duties.

During breakfast, I was putting a little photo collage together of the morning, when something happened and I dropped my phone on the floor, maybe two feet from the ground.  I didn’t think anything of it as it happened because, seriously, who hasn’t done this or had their kids do it a million times.  But when I looked at the screen, half of it was black.  My stomach dropped and I turned the screen on and off a couple of times to be sure of what I was seeing.  The screen was definitely not responsive in the black area.  I shut it down and restarted.  If anything, it actually made the screen look worse.

I let my husband know and he started into problem solving mode. He found a deal on the same phone but the current model through the dealer, which was about 1/2 the price of going through our carrier.  The only problem: it’s not going to be here for 10 days.  I placed the order.

I’m a little embarrassed to say it, but I cried.  My kids were concerned and asking what’s wrong and how lame does it sound to say that I was crying because my phone was broken and I was going to be without one for a week and a half?   I also cried because I have been hoping to upgrade my computer to one that’s a little nicer and faster, but now that’s going to be put on hold since the money is going to a replacement handheld computer.  Again, how lame must that sound to a child?  And how confusing.  We try to teach them that STUFF doesn’t matter.  That PEOPLE matter.  That the TIME we spend with others making MEMORIES is what’s important.  And I’m over here crying about my phone.

I’ve been thinking all day: what am I supposed to learn from this?  How can I turn this into a positive thing instead of being ticked off that I’m essentially back to the 90’s when all we had was a home phone?  (And actually this kind of feels worse because I don’t even have a home phone…)  What in the world am I supposed to learn?  It’s been six hours since it happened and I still haven’t figured it out.

So here’s to trying to figure out life’s lessons.  To putting into practice what I preach.  And to figuring out how to make the best of a really frustrating situation.  Wish me luck my friends.  For the next 10 days, I’m going to need it.

My Little Sunshines 2 Year Blogiversary Giveaway

My friend, Britt Hanson, who blogs over at My Little Sunshines is celebrating her 2 year blogiversary!  Britt and I actually met about five or six years ago through my younger sister.  We were at my sister’s apartment for her birthday party and she and I were the only married ladies there so we immediately bonded.  Since then, we’ve mostly kept in touch through social media, watching each others pregnancies and kids growing up and life in general.

Britt is teaming up with me and two other awesome bloggers in celebrating her 2 year blogiversary by giving away some of her favorite things! 

You can check out more about the giveaway HERE on her blog and to find out more about the rules for entering the giveaway.  You can also enter below.  The giveaway will run for 1 week from today and the winner will be announced next Wednesday, June 15.  Good luck and I hope you win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway