UGLee Ergonomic Pen Makes Learning to Write Fun! {Sponsored Post & Giveaway }

We are at the stage in my daughters development where we are working to fine tune her writing skills. She already knows her letters and how to write them, but writing them legible enough so mommy and others can read them has been a challenge. (She gets the messy handwriting gene from her dad) 🙂
 I was struggling to find a way to make practicing her letters fun and thanks to my blog a way fell right into my lap! 
I was recently asked to review an ergonomic pen that is made for people who suffer with arthritis, carpal tunnel or those who have trouble gripping a pen without pain.  I do not currently suffer from any of those issues so I wasn’t sure how much help I would find this pen.  When the pen arrived in the mail I decided to let my daughter play with it. To my surprise she loved it! At first she just sat and squished the rubbery wrap that is around the pen between her fingers, then she started to write with the pen and it actually helped! Then pen gave her a wider base to hold and the squishy part helped her hands from sliding down the pen while she wrote. I feel like I just stumbled upon a gold mine. 
When two year old Dick saw his big sister having fun with this squishy green pen, he wanted one too. Luckily I was shipped three pens. One for Jane, one for Dick and one for mom (I think the squishy pen is fun too). So I set him up with a piece of paper and let him start to “practice” his letters or whatever he wanted to draw. I showed him how to hold the pen properly and he did pretty good. The UGLee pen was much easier for his little hands to hold than a standard pen was. I am totally keeping this pen in my “back pocket” for learning time with the kids. I still cant believe what a pleasant surprise this pen was. 
Do you have little ones at home just learning to write? Were giving away a three pack of UGLee pens so you can try them out for yourself, because these are no ordinary pens! But you’ll have to promise to come back here and tell us what you thought about them if you win. 🙂 Yes, we are trying to bribe you to talk back to us. One way conversations are not very much fun. 
Entering to win is easy! Simply use the Rafflecopter form below, click enter, and your in! Extra entries are given to those who get social with us. So get social; its not work – its fun!
<3 Dick and Jane
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Three Tier Planter – Rummage Sale Finds

As promised, here is my first rummage sale re-do project of the summer. I have had this idea in my head for quite a while, but it took me a few sales to find just the right pieces. I have a table in my backyard that doesn’t have an umbrella, so the center has a big hole in it that I wanted to cover up. This seemed like the perfect idea and using garage sale finds it was super inexpensive to create. 
What I used I found from garage sales. 

– Two candle sticks – different heights. 
– Three old, rusty cake pans – different sizes 
I also bought: 

– Fill dirt
– Hens and Chicks
– Super Glue
This project is super easy. Once I collected up enough supplies to get started I simply glued all of the pieces together starting with the largest cake pan on the bottom. I worked my way up to the smallest cake pan on top, gluing the candle sticks in between.  I allowed the glue to dry for a few days before filling with dirt and plants. I chose to use hens and chicks in my planter because they don’t need much dirt space, they will spread, and they are very low growing so they wont overtake my planter. 
I just love bringing green to every aspect of my outdoor living area, not just on the ground. If you decide to make one of these for your own home, send me a link to a photo. I would love to see what my talented readers can do! Also, if you have a re-do project of your own, send me photos and info and you could be featured in our next article! We are looking for some really great ideas to share with our readers. 
Email your story and photos to If you have a bio and self portrait, send that too! We want to give credit where credit is due!
<3 Dick and Jane
Sharing With:
The Chicken Chick

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How to Rummage Sale Shop Like a Pro

Oooo. . Can you tell I’m excited? I just cannot turn down a good rummage sale. There is something about searching for buried treasure among peoples junk that gets me going. Its so much fun to find unwanted items that I can take and re-purpose into something new. So every weekend through out the summer I hit the streets in search of things old, rusty, broken and vintage. Rummage shopping is not for everyone, but if you like to think outside the box and want to have some fun creating new things from the old than I suggest giving it a try! 
Where to Shop: 
There are so many ways to find items to be re purposed. Sometimes you can even get great items for free! Here is a list of ways to find items that you can create with!
– Look in your local newspaper each week for a list of yard sale addresses for the upcoming weekend. Great things to look for are barn sales, subdivision sales (saves on gas) and estate sales. 
– Go on craigslist. This is a free way to advertise a yard sale any many people will opt for this way over paying to advertise in the paper. You may find a larger list of sales here. 
– Watch for signs. Many times subdivisions will hold sales where groups of houses all hold their sales on the same day. These streets normally set out signs a few weeks in advance to let those driving by and those living on the street know when the set up shop. 
– Shop swap meets. Ok, you are going to have to wade through tons of car parts, but there are also some great vintage buys at swap meets. These are normally held in conjunction with car shows, so its kinda a two for one fun day!
– Shop the goodwill. Yes, you can find great items that can be re-purposed at the Goodwill. I just go straight back to the housewares section and skip the clothes. At the Goodwill I’m looking for old plates, pans, dishes. . stuff like that. 
– Drive around on trash day. I know. . this one takes guts, but a friend of mine does this every week and comes home with awesome finds (that were free!).  Just last week she picked up a set of perfectly good pots and some chairs that just needed a little tlc. I’m telling you, people throw out the best stuff!
– Sign up for your cities local FreeCycle website. People will list items they want to get rid of for free and other members can bid with points to claim the items. You can gain points by getting rid of items you no longer want to other members. Its fun. 
What to look for: 
Ok, so you found some sales and your ready to go shopping. Now, what do you look for? Thinking outside the standard use of an item can sometimes be difficult, even for me. I have learned that its better to go with a friend who shares your passion and can help you brainstorm on an item while out shopping. Don’t be afraid to pick the item up, turn it upside down and sideways and see what vision pops into your head. Its also great to do some pre-planning. When I have time during the week, I sometimes sit down and scroll through pinterest. When I find something that I could re create I pin it to my “garage sale finds” board. Then before I go out shopping I take a look at the pins to see what items I want to keep an eye out for. This helps me get my brain into creating mode instead of “this is just an old broken lamp” mode. 
Now what?
Well, that part is up to you! Don’t be afraid to get out a hammer and glue and take things apart. The coolest things are made when they don’t resemble the original item at all. Here are a few photos of some items that my friend Sara and I have bought and re purposed into new items to help get your creative juices flowing. I must disclose that my friend Sara is WAY better at this than me, but I am learning! So, some of these photos are of things she made. 
I cant wait to see what you come up with! Be sure to check back with us through out the summer to see what we make too!
<3 Dick and Jane

I Know Why Your Kids Are Rude

I read a post from a friend of mine on Facebook today that went something like this:

 Worst part about being a teacher: having to call a parent and explain to them why their child earned an F on their essay, and having the parent respond angrily in defense of their child while saying, “I don’t know how long you’ve been teaching, BUT…” while insulting me.

This statement makes me sad. Truly sad. I can now understand why some kids these days have no respect for people in authority; its because they have bad role models at home. Hopefully this is not the case but lets suppose this student overheard his parents speaking rudely to his teacher over the phone. His parents obviously didn’t respect his teacher and have shown to the child that its ok to personally attack someone when having a dispute. This child now assumes this is appropriate behavior because, hey, his parents don’t like his teacher and think she’s inadequate and now so does he. Nothing his teacher tries to teach him from now on is going to sink in. He has lost all respect for his teacher and its all because the parents did not show respect in the situation.

This lesson is good in many forms. All too many times we as parents forget to use the manners we were taught growing up and our kids are catching on. If we don’t use manners and teach our children to use manners, who will? No one.

 I remember when I was growing up my mother drilled into my head to say “Thank You”, “Please”, “Yes Mam/No Mam”, to give my seat to the elderly and to always respect those in authority of me. She also taught me to stand up for myself, but in a respectful way. I learned from her that it was good to speak up for what I thought was right but also to sometimes bite my tongue. Where have these common courtesies gone? I see too many kids who’s parents are teaching them to be tough and not take any crap from the world, to take what’s theirs no matter who it hurts and for all other lack of words, just be plain obnoxious. The worst part is that many parents are praising this negative behavior by laughing and thinking its “cute” or by ignoring their behavior all together. Yes, ignoring a wrong behavior does give the impression to your child that the behavior is accepted.

Parents, your kids see and hear everything you do. Be the role model your kids need. Show them how you want them to act. Also, don’t always make everything right for them. So maybe your kid really didn’t deserve an F, but that was the grade he was given. Instead of insulting the teacher and putting the blame on her for the failing grade, rise to the occasion and together with your child and his teacher try to figure out what he could do to get a better grade next time. Trust me, when your kid is in college you cant call his professor and yell at him for the grade your child was given. Your child needs to learn how to adjust to the teachers preference for his assignments. This is also true in the workforce; you have to do the work to your employers standards not your own. Throughout your child’s entire life they are going to have to adapt, so why would you want to teach them not to?

I am going to step off my soap box now, but just remember. . . say Please and Thank You and always treat others with respect. Your kids are watching.

<3 Dick and Jane

Hanging Herb Garden #TBCcrafters

If you cant tell by all my posts on Facebook and Instagram the last couple of days I am super excited about the warm weather that we FINALLY have here in Michigan. Today we actually hit 83 degrees!! A little crazy since just last week it was snowing (and I’ve heard we may get more snow in the next week). However, I am happy to have the sun if even for a few days. 
Over the last few days I have taken every opportunity to be outside in the sun. Unfortunately, I also burnt my back and arms to a crisp which I am now paying the price for. My poor winter skin wasn’t ready for what I put it through yesterday and it is now almost purple and feeling like pins and needles. Ouch! I usually only do that once each year, then I remember to put my sunscreen on diligently from then on. Silly me. 
This week while the sun was shining and I was basking in it I also got a few garden projects done. One of my favorites was a re purpose project using a shutter that we removed from our house last year during a remodeling project. Of course I didn’t throw it out and the shutter has been sitting in my garage ever since. So I gave it a fresh coat of paint, screwed it up to my house and added a few hanging tubs filled with mint, cilantro and dill. I love it! What a great way to add more garden space without loosing more of my lawn. Oh, and if your wondering where I got the galvanized tubs, they came from Pick Your Plum (one of my favorite deal sites). 
In the celebration of spring finally arriving I also wanted to show you how my seed sprouts are doing. Do you remember how I started seeds during the winter using re purposed milk jugs? Well, they have all sprouted and are hardy little plants! I have already transplanted some of the cooler weather plants into my garden and they are growing like nuts. If you didn’t see my winter sowing post, check it out here
I am patiently waiting for my sunburn to cool so I can get back out in the sun (with sunscreen on) and get some more garden work done, but while I am waiting I am having fun checking out all these other DIY projects. Check them all out and tell me what your favorite is! 
<3 Dick and Jane

Also Sharing With:
A Crafty Soiree

Be Uncommon This Mothers Day {Giveaway}

This post and giveaway are made possible by and Mom Bloggers Club. Thank you for your sponsorship!
Mothers Day is only two weeks away. Are you prepared? I’m not. Every year I stress out about getting the perfect present for my mom and trying to plan the perfect day for her. Things don’t always work out as planned. There is so much pressure in the media to buy “the right thing” and to make sure what your doing is good enough for the woman who gave her all to raise you. All that pressure adds stress to a meaningful day and makes everything fall apart. Why do we do that?
Now that I am a mom I can understand that it isn’t about “Mothers Day” as a significant day and getting paid back by your kids for years of work, its about just feeling appreciated.  When you become a mom your perception changes from “me” to “them”. Everything you do now revolves around how your actions will affect your baby. Being a mother is a completely selfless job that involves no paycheck, sick days, vacations or even breaks. However, most of us volunteered for the position. I do love that there is a day to show appreciation to our moms for all the time they spent taking care of us but the focus of the day should not be around gifts. I know this is going to sound really corny, but kids are the greatest gift you can be given. Being a mom is a gift! So go ahead and show your appreciation to mom for being the great mom that she is, but don’t stress out about it. I know that if my kids gave me a hug and a kiss for mothers day I would be thrilled. Do you remember the quote “Its the thought that counts”? Well speaking as a mother, its totally true. This mothers day just let your mom know you are thinking about her and I know she will be thrilled. However if you still want to get her a gift, give her something from your heart. A handmade gift is always nice and what about a handmade gift that is professionally made? Check this out!

My kids love to draw and color photos for me almost every day. So I did this; just like the video. I took one of their pieces of artwork that they both contributed to and sent it in to be recreated into a phone case. Here is the photo my kids drew for me. Aww, isn’t it sweet?
Below is what I received in the mail a few days later! Agghh!! Isn’t it adorable? Now I can carry my kids artwork around with me and show it off to everyone I meet. Yes, that is what moms do. “Didn’t you know my kid was the next Picasso? Here, take a look at what he/she made. Isn’t he/she talented?” Yep, we all do it. Its part of the job description.
 Grab your crayons, draw up a beautiful piece of artwork and get ready because you could be sending your mom a custom phone case of her own for mothers day! One lucky reader will win their very own phone case, ready to be customized from Enter to win below!
Looking for more great gifts for mom? Check out our Mothers Day gift guide to find out what I picked out as my favorite products to give and get this year. 
<3 Dick and Jane