Love Yourself

Sometimes people stumble.

We may even fall.

But how we get back up,

Is what matters most of all.

Some people want to go big.

Others prefer to stay small.

You can’t reach your potential

With your back against the wall.

The world will try to change you,

But always be yourself.

It’s time to take your dreams

Back off that dusty shelf.

Always let the sun shine

Right through all the dark clouds.

Don’t let anyone take your voice.

Stand tall and stay proud.

Proud to be yourself,

Unique because your you.

If you never try

You’ll never know what you can do.

If you happen to stumble and fall

Or make some dumb mistake,

Pick yourself up and keep on trying,

To reach your dreams that’s all it takes.

It doesn’t matter who you are

Or what you want to do.

Make sure you love yourself

And always be true to YOU!!!

By: Sarah Colorado.

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Why Celebrate Cinco De Mayo?

On May 5th 1862, the heavily armed French army of 8,000 were defeated by the poorly equipped Mexican army of only 4,000. The Mexican army had gone nearly bankrupt after the Mexican-American War, fought for Texas in 1846-48, and the Reform War, a civil war fought between Liberals and Conservatives in 1858-61. Mexican president Benito Juarez suspended all foreign debt payments for two years due to the near bankruptcy. In response, Britain, Spain, and France sent forces to Veracruz to demand payment. Spain and Britain came to a negotiation, but the French decided to stay and establish an empire in Mexico that would favor French interests.

The French attacked Veracruz in late 1861 and marched toward Mexico City. They encountered heavy resistance from Mexico near Guadalupe, where they were defeated the army half their size. A year later the French attacked again with nearly 30,000 troops, defeated the Mexican army, and captured Mexico City. French Emporer Maximillian I ruled Mexico for three years.

The American Civil War was coming to an end so the U.S. began to aid Mexico with political and military assistance to expel the French. The French retreated in 1866. Since then, no country in the Americas has been invaded by any European force.

Why do Americans celebrate Cinco De Mayo? Had Mexico been defeated, the French would have aided the Confederate states during the end of the Civil War and changed the destiny of the United States. Who knows where we would be today, had we not aided Mexico.

A lot of people in America celebrate Cinco De Mayo as a celebration of Mexican-American culture. They don’t know the true meaning of why this holiday exists. If this is you, don’t worry, you are not alone. The majority of people do not know why either. Dont let that stop you from enjoying a good party (drinking responsibly of course), catching a parade, or enjoying a good festive plate at your local Mexican restaurant.

Are there any Cinco De Mayo festivities in your area? How do you celebrate Cinco De Mayo? Please share with us in the comments below.

Hooray For National Teacher’s Day

According to the National Center for Education, most teachers are required to work 37-40 hours each week. The average teacher actually works around 52 hours each week after all the homework is graded, the lesson plans are put together, and the sports teams are coached and games have been played. Many of those hours are unpaid.

Our children are our future so a good education is important. Teachers do their best at encouraging our young minds to excel and do their best. Imagine you are in a classroom with 15-30 students and all eyes are on you because it’s your job to guide them. It’s your job to catch their attention and teach them skills they will need to shape the future of our country.

The best teachers pay attention to the needs of each individual. They are flexible and don’t focus on the material being studied and pushing ahead, but focuses on how well the information is being absorbed. They are funny, outgoing, and capture the student’s attention, making learning fun and interesting.

National Teacher’s Day is May 7th (National Teacher’s Week). This is the time to take a minute and thank our teachers for their dedication to encouraging and shaping young minds. You can buy a gift, buy or make a card, or just write a thank you letter. School supplies are a great way to say thank you and are always needed in the classroom.

Please comment below and share your ideas or a story you have with a special teacher.

Let’s Get Crafty, Outside

Spring is the perfect time to gather nature’s bounty and start crafting. It’s a wonderful time to be outside, enjoying the sunshine and the warming weather. The bees and butterflies are out to pollinate our plants and the trees have dropped last years seeds, twigs and sticks, and old leaves, all things we can use for outdoor/indoor crafts. Use the clutter and trash you already have around your home such as old chairs, a worn out or broken ladder, or even dresser drawers to make enchanting outdoor decor or create a beautiful and welcoming gathering place for family and friends. I have put together some of my favorite ideas for some inspiration. Take bits and pieces of each one or choose only one project and make your own personalized, unique outdoor space.

  • Create a unique fairy garden

This is my favorite idea because I absolutely love fairy gardens. I love everything to do with fairies. You can use any materials on hand and most of the stuff you need can be found in your own yard, in the park, or even on a nature trail. The possibilities for building your fairy garden are endless and they can be made out of almost anything from a bird bath or wheelbarrow to using up pieces of broken pots to make a more natural and rustic look. If you wish, you can even leave it on the ground for an even more natural look.

You can add to it over time, making it a never ending project, so there’s no need for hurrying to get it done. You can even get the kids involved with this one and feed their imagination with the endless possibilities.

Herbs make great plants to add to your fairy garden to keep them handy when needed, along with succulents. Mossy plants such as Irish Moss and small bushy plants like Coleus are also great to use as foliage and bushes along with smaller vining varieties.

You don’t have to use the fairy theme. I personally love fairies but you can incorporate anything you like. Make it a frog theme and add a small lake easily with a bowl of water buried to the rim. Make a super hero garden with the boys or a ballerina garden for the girls. Use your imagination and personalize it to your liking. Collect some stones or pebbles, (painted like fish tank rocks or natural right off the ground) some fallen twigs or sticks, maybe some vines, unless you plan to use string, and a pinecone or two and show your neighbors who has the best decor in the neighborhood.

  • Unique flower pots

Today, people are growing plants in everything from old shoes to handbags. Use the things you have around the house and declutter a little while your at it. Use old drawers to plant your favorite flowers to brighten up your porch or wherever you enjoy sitting. These can be put literally anywhere and are great for small spaces.

Use an old broken ladder as a trellis or sit your pots on the steps to show off a bright display. Plant flowers in your old boots and shoes and hang them to create a unique vertical garden. These can be hanged anywhere you can fit them and can easily brighten up your outdoor space. They also make good table pieces, so no need to hang them.

Old chairs can make a cool addition to your decor as well. Cut out the seat, paint it if needed, and slide a planter right in to use it as a stand or just plant right on them to create a unique looking flower haven.

Many people even plant in their old handbags or tote bags, which can be hung or sat anywhere. Hang them on the fence to give the neighbors a colorful view, line your pathways with them hanging them from trellises, or place them on the steps for a lovely view. You can also hang them on the porch railings.

  • Movie Time

Create a unique experience for your yard’s main feature. Invite the in- laws, friends, family, and neighbors to enjoy an outdoor movie, complete with popcorn and drinks. Hang a white sheet anywhere or use the side of your house or garage for a screen and grab the projector. Everyone will love coming to your house for movie night. Show off your creative side and personalize your own outdoor movie viewing area. It can be simple, with just a few blankets or cushions to creating your own outdoor movie theatre.

  • DIY Log Train

Almost all of our furniture is made of wood. Let’s cut out the middle man (stores) for this one and cut right into the log. Who doesn’t love logs, right? They are free and can be found almost anywhere there are trees. They can be made into so many different things. Place some around your campfire for natural seating. They give an area a nice, natural, rustic look when made into furniture. You can even paint some thin pieces to make a nice, colorful pathway.

One of my favorite projects I have come across is the log flower train. You can use big logs or small logs and make it as long as you wish. It can be a simple train or you can go all out and make tracks for it and a small train village to match it. That really does sound awesome and I know some boys who would love to see it.

The train itself is pretty simple with the hardest part being hallowing out the center holes for planting. Cut a hole in the side of each log. You can use anything round for the wheels, just make sure they are sturdy and won’t collapse. The best choice, in my opinion, is a smaller log cut into thin pieces. Make sure to drill drain holes in all the logs used for planting. Fill the logs with potting soil and plant your seeds. The train can be put together by nailing a small piece of wood between each log car and attaching it to the next one. If you wish, hot glue and other materials will most likely connect the pieces together, but I think wood looks the best. Personalize your train. Make it yours. Add some paint, maybe some small lights, and a few details to make it really stand out.

  • Vertical Gardens

Herbs and other plants are easy to grow and nice to have on hand to flavor your dishes. Grow different arrays of flowers vertically as well to give any space a flash of color. Whether you are brightening up your space or growing edibles, vertical gardens come in handy, especially when space is limited. Who said you couldn’t plant a garden on your apartment balcony? Save your 2 liter bottles because you can upcycle them into this easy to make, green living vertical garden. Cut the ends off the bottles. Put drain holes (large enough for water to drain) in all the caps. Stack each bottle on top of the other and use a marker draw an opening large enough for the plants to grow through. Cut out the opening in each bottle without cutting the inner bottle. Put holes in the sides of each bottle where they meet so you can string them together. You can use twine, yarn, or whatever you have on hand but make sure the string goes through both bottles. Fill each bottle with soil as you string them together to make that part easier.You can hang these practically anywhere but preferably in a sunny place, depending on what you plant. Plant your seeds in each bottle and label them if you wish. Make sure to put the tallest plants on the bottom and the smallest on the top. This ensures equal sun and moisture for all plants. Have fun with this, but I don’t recommend painting the bottles. The clear plastic creates a kind of greenhouse effect that keeps your plants protected, warm, and moisturized.

  • DIY BackyardFire Pit

The days of hot dogs on sticks and roasting marshmallows to melt the delicious milk chocolate onto grandcrackers to make heavenly tasting s’mores, are here. Grab your shovel because an enjoyable fire pit can be as simple as digging a shallow hole and throwing in some gravel.

The gravel will hold heat and allow your fire to stay hot and continue burning. A lot of people aren’t happy with the simple hole-in-the-ground fire pit. If this is you, don’t worry. You can spend less than a day building your own to fit your needs. A lot of different types of stone or clay bricks will work to hold heat as long as they are completely dry. Do not use wet stone because the moisture in them can heat up causing them to break, leaving holes in your fire pit for heat to escape and possibly spreading your fire further than you wished it to go.

Burning barrels make good fire pits as well. Cut them in half and bury the bottom part halfway or to the rim, depending on your preference. They are all ready to burn. I find the more you burn these, they tend to get holes and fall apart, so be cautious when using this method. No matter what statement you are trying to make with your BBQ pit, there is a way to create it in your own backyard. Don’t forget to enjoy it and to burn responsibly.

The possibilities are unlimited when it comes to personalizing your outdoor space, whether it’s big or small. Take many ideas and put them together or take one and make a day of it, mixing with the decor you currently have. Whatever you like to create, let’s go outside and get crafty. I would love to hear your ideas and things you have created. Please feel free to share them in the comments below.

A Poem for Spring

Through the gate, and into the woods,

I found myself where the deer once stood.

He ran so fast, as my feet pattered slow,

Through the noisy bramble and left over snow.

I glanced around and as far as my eyes could see,

Tiny new leaf buds, as green as could be.

Springtime is here, my favorite time of year,

When the weather’s not so cold and the trees aren’t so clear.

The purple colored petals and the deer were a hint,

Of the season to come and the Great Mother’s intent.

The insects are starting to flutter about.

The river is starting to fill with spring trout.

This is the time to share new beginnings with friends.

This is the season I wish had no end.

By Sarah Colorado

My Favorite Budget Painting Supplies

Even though I am a beginner, I love to paint. Being broke a lot, buying the things I need is hard. If you are anything like me, buying a lot of craft supplies can be costly and not in your budget. We should still be able to enjoy painting, even if we can’t buy an easel, a bunch of canvases, expensive paints and brushes, or a studio. We shouldn’t let that discourage us from trying. Who knows whether all of that is in your future, but for now I have a list of things I personally use to make painting cheap and fun.

  • Cardboard box

I cut it down to the size I need for my painting, instead of using an easel, and attach paper or canvas to it. I lay it on the table and can turn it any direction I need which helps me paint. It’s not stationary either so I can put it in my lap and paint on the couch if I wanted to.

  • Masking Tape

This isn’t exactly necessary, but it does help secure your piece while working on it. It also removes easier than other kinds of tape, possibly saving your piece.

  • Foam Plates

I buy these at the Dollar Tree for $1. They make an awesome disposable pallet for painting. Make sure not to get paper plates as they start to soak up your paint and you will find bits of paper in your paint.

  • Mixed Media Paper

I like this paper for many reasons, mostly because it is a multi project paper. I can use any kind of paint I want and it comes in different sizes. I got a medium size book with 60 pages for less than $8. The pages are thick and last year I even made Christmas cards with it. Canvas boards are good to but more expensive.

  • Acyrlic or Watercolor Paint

You can use any paint you want. I have used a few different types of paint and my favorite is acyrlic. It is managable and easily layered. Keep in mind, the cheaper the paint, the more thin it will be and won’t layer as well. You can also this acyrlic paint with a little water to make it more like watercolor paint. I got most of my paints at Walmart for $1 each or less.

  • Daler & Rowney Paint

I did buy a small set of 12 paints that came with a pad of acyrlic painting paper. I found it at Walmart hanging in the craft aisle for less than seven dollars. The paint is thick and easily managable in your painting. It also thins out well. This is my favorite paint at a good price.

  • Paint Brushes

Most of my paint brushes are from Daler & Rowney. I think they have good art supplies for a good price and most can be found at Walmart. My brushes were given to me. I haven’t actually bought a set yet because I am happy with the ones I have. You can buy a good set from Walmart for $2-$5.

There are many reasons to love painting without completely breaking your budget. I like finding good deals and I would love to hear your ideas of cheap hacks for painting. Please share in the comments. I chose Walmart because, well, who doesn’t go to Walmart (or a similar store) at some point?

Procrastinate or Create?

Hello and thank you for joining me again. I know we all have ideas and visions of things we would like to accomplish, whether it is to paint, write, sing, or even photography. How do you go about achieving your goals? I will admit to being the biggest procrastinator. I was afraid I wouldn’t be any good, so I didn’t start. Then I realized that my ideas weren’t going to create themselves. I just did it, alone in my house with no disturbances or judging eyes in case it didn’t go well. It was after age 30 that I really decided to try and paint. I am on a budget, as a lot of us are. I went to Walmart and got some cheap acyrlic paints for around $1 each. Some were cheaper.

I also bought a book of mixed media paper for about $7. The brushes I had were given to me.

I kind of suck at drawing anything but buildings, so what was I going to paint? YouTube helped me out a lot. There are so many tutorials on there for anything you need to know. I call it my go to – how to. I figured the best way for me to learn was to follow what other people had done, because when I tried to paint my first picture, it looked like this…

It was supposed to be a beach scene. I had pictured ocean waves under a beautiful sky. Could you have guessed? I haven’t shared this with many people and you can guess why. It’s not very good. I was pretty discouraged after this first painting and almost stopped. I didn’t want to make things that looked like that. That’s why I love YouTube. The tutorials have taught me how to use the many different brushes I have and different painting techniques and styles. Also, after looking through the YouTube tutorials, most of them looked really hard. I started procrastinating again. It took me a minute to try again, but I did. I am so glad I did. I have some finished pieces that I love.

I was not worried about not being able to buy the exact same supplies they were using or the same colors. It is what makes my paintings mine and different from the ones they did. I used whatever colors I had that came close enough. The same with the brushes. I had no idea how much paint brushes could cost before. They can get expensive and I have a cheap set from Walmart. I have done some good work with my cheap set of brushes though. I am happy with the outcome. I even got some canvas boards from Walmart and repainted a few of my favorites.

I am still learning not to procrastinate and also still learning to paint. I dont call myself an artist, I just really like to create things I can be proud of. I find that I really like a lot of the things I was afraid to try before. I challenge you to try something you have been afraid to fail at. You never know what the outcome will be if you just keep trying.