DIY No Sew Fleece Nap Mat Cover

Let me say this simply…the last couple days I have been struck with a case of “mommy meltdowns.” One minute I am fine and the next minute I look around at all the home projects piling up and I start to weep. Any other moms suffer from this?!? My car is a victim of post road trip nastiness. The garage/art studio has turned into a junk yard. Our landscaping is so overgrown it looks like a Bengal tiger should be pouncing out at any moment. The list goes on and on. My kids can help with some of the chores but honestly sometimes it just makes more work for me when they “help.” I keep reminding myself that school starts very VERY soon. Within the next couple of weeks all THREE of my kids will be going off to school. Yes, that is correct. I said all THREE kids. Whoop, whoop! I have graduated to a new stage of motherhood. Sawyer’s preschool is only for 10 hours a week, BUT that is 10 hours a week to check things off my to-do list…KID FREE.
I am channeling my focus on back-to-school prep and choosing to ignore my home “to-do” list until my new-found freedom arrives. So with that being said, I decided to make Sawyer a DIY no-sew nap mat cover for preschool this morning. This was a project that I could get done with the “help” of my kids…and let’s just say I had A LOT of help. We ventured out to JoAnns to pick out all of our supplies.  There was no shortage of no-sew fleece! The options were endless.  Sweet Sawyer was so excited with her choice of Frozen themed fleece.  Her joy made me smile.

Can you cut? Can you tie a knot? If so, you qualify to make a no-sew nap mat cover!

SUPPLIES:

-1 nap mat  (I bought mine at Target)

-1.5 yards (length) of no-sew fleece to be used for the front and back of the nap mat. (JoAnns had a great selection).

-1 yard (length)of no sew fleece to be used for the blanket.

-Scissors

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut the 1.5 yards of fleece into two equal sections.  Stack on top of one another.

2. Lay nap mat on top of the stacked fleece. Trim fleece so there is 4 to 5 inches of fleece bordering the mat.


3. Place nap mat in between to two layers of fleece. Cut 1″ fringe, 4 to 5 inches deep, all around the stacked fleece except for the top part. Cut corners out.


4. Tie the top piece of fringe and bottom piece of fringe together along the length of the sides and bottom.

*Ignore the top of my mat.  I didn’t trim it before I took the picture. However, this picture shows what the sides and bottom should look like once tied. I guess I am my own rule breaker.

5. At the top of the mat, cut the top piece of fleece straight across. Do NOT cut the bottom piece.


6. Tuck the bottom piece over the nap mat and under the top piece of fleece. This step is to make it easy to slid the mat out for when the cover needs to be washed.img_5106-3

 

7. Poke the fringe out of the side knots and tie to a piece of fringes.  Do this on both sides of the mat. The cover is finished!img_5107

8. Flip the nap mat over so the bottom piece of fleece is now on the top.

9. Lay the remaining 1 yard of fleece on top of the covered nap mat. Leave 4 to 5 inches of fleece hanging off on one side and the bottom. On the other side of the nap map, trim the remaining fleece so that 6-12 inches are left.

10. Cut 1″ fringe along the side and bottom 4 to 5 inches deep. Cut the corner out.  You only need to fringe the bottom part until you reach the end of the covered nap mat.  Once you reach that point, cut the fleece as if you are cutting out a corner. See picture.


11. Tie the “blanket” fleece fringe along the one side and bottom to the nap mat cover’s fringe to attach the blanket. See picture in step 4.

12. Covered nap mat COMPLETE. ✔️ Good job!

I think it’s safe to say that Sawyer LOVES her new nap mat.  Hopefully she will be a good napper at school.

As for now, my case of “mommy meltdowns” has subsided. My to-do list CAN wait until the kids are back to school. Until then, I will wear pretend blinders while in my post-roadtrip car, junk yard garage, or jungle-like front yard and hope that no tiger pounces at me.tiger-in-the-grass-jane-schnetlage

 

 

 

These Owl Rice Krispies Treats Are A Hoot!

It’s that time of year again when I get to make one of my most popular desserts – Rice Krispies Owl Treats – for Larson’s upcoming elementary school fundraiser, Hoot, Scoot & Boogie. Oak View Elementary School’s mascot is an owl so people absolutely love these tasty, creative treats. The best part about them is that they’re super easy to make, so I thought I’d post a how-to so you can make them. Be sure to check out the short video at the bottom that shows the behind-the-scenes on how these were really made.img_8446

Step 1: Buy individually wrapped Rice Krispies Treats (or make a pan of your own and cut them into rectangles). I bought the big box of 54 bars from Costco.

Step 2: Mold into an owl shape by pressing in the sides to form the head and pressing down on the top to make the ears.

Step 3: Melt your favorite chocolate chips in a saucepan on the stove. Spread onto the surface of the owls. Another option to simplify this step even further is to spread store bought icing on the owl.  I have used white frosting before and it looks great!

Step 4: The is the fun part – DECORATE WITH CANDY!IMG_8445

Eyes: I use Gummy Lifesavers and then purchased “Candy Eyes Treat Toppers” from Hobby Lobby. Be sure to print out or pull up their 40% discount coupon on your phone before going into the store. When I went my phone could not access the coupon inside the store. I don’t know if they have a block on it or something. I was able to pull it up from the parking lot, though.

Wings: Place one Candy Corn on each side below the eyes.

Nose & Feet: Simply place Reese’s Pieces or m&ms standing up vertically where the nose and feet would be. 

Voila! Now serve and enjoy!


3 Simple Fitness Tips to Improve the Look of Your Mirror

So you want to bring your Sexy Back this summer so you can Rock Your Body? Unlike Justin Timberlake, who will always appear dapper, the window for John and me to bring our sexy back is closing. Our Mirrors don’t lie. But it’s Not A Bad Thing to make a valiant attempt to reinvent ourselves to the days of old prior to having kids. Here are 3 simple fitness tips that have kept us from Crying A River that you can use to fit into your old Suit & Tie.

   

1. Take Back the Night

Anyone with kids understands how hard it is to work out consistently, especially when they’re home on summer break from school. As much as I don’t like putting off my workout until late in the day, I find it necessary some days to stay consistent with my daily PiYo workout videos. So, instead of just folding the dreaded never-ending pile of laundry or sitting and watching The Bachelorette, I combine the two activities. I reward myself by getting to watch my favorite shows, while folding laundry, after getting my workout in once the kids are in bed.

2. Replacing One Meal a Day With a Shake Is Not A Bad Thing

John and I have seen great gains in our weight loss by replacing one meal a day with a hearty, healthy shake. My favorite is Shakeology’s Chocolate Vegan shake mixed with ice, coconut milk and/or water and a frozen banana. I get it from my Beach Body Coach, Rainer Lowman. John’s favorite protein shake powder is vegan vanilla from About Time.

3. What Goes Around, Goes Around, Goes Around, Comes Back Around

Consistency is key! In my opinion, it almost doesn’t matter what workouts you do or what dietary changes you make. What matters is that you find something you can sustain over a long enough period of time to achieve the results you’re looking for. Most people seek out immediate results because we have been conditioned to expect instant gratification. But let’s be honest, the most effective way to bring your Sexy Back is to set realistic goals and implement nutrition and exercise regimens that you can be consistent with given all your other responsibilities at work and at home. Maybe that means your won’t lose 10lbs in two weeks. Maybe that means you lose 10lbs in 3 months. If that makes more sense for you, then go into it with a realistic approach. As long as you don’t quit and don’t give up the results will come back around.

      

So get out there and deliver a TKO to your diet and workouts! You could even simply dance to some JT music!

Bye Bye Bye,

Sarah

Mom and dad compete in homemade American Ninja Warrior course

Today, for the first time ever, I am pulling all the skeletons out of the closet and disclosing the greatest secret ever told about the Mabry family.  It’s a secret John and I have guarded so closely that our three kids don’t even know about it. Our kids are actually the ones that inspired us to create our undercover activity.  Before I reveal the shocking details that you don’t want to miss, let me give you a little background explaining how it all came to be.IMG_3376

One seemingly mundane day, I sat on our green micro suede couch with one of our three-legged dogs hovering over my shoulder.  I was busy getting caught up on the most current events on my Facebook news feed (a.k.a. my social world in this stage of life). I glanced up from my phone with that glazed-over zombie stare to the realization that a bomb had gone off in my house and I had no recollection of how and when it happened.  As my mind started to refocus on the real world from the Facebook fog and Instagram illusions, I noticed my boys busily playing next to me.  They were flailing around and giggling with that most innocent of child laughter.  Baby Sawyer was on the ground playing with a drawer full of toys while making her all too frequent high-pitched squeaky whine, similar to a teapot squealing when the water hits the boiling point.  The boys repeatedly asked if they could use my phone to serve as a stop watch to time themselves on the ninja obstacle course they had been building while I was lost in online land.  Didn’t they understand that my phone was my escape from reality?  Did they really think I was going to give it up so that I could actually be present with them in my own home?  After so much nagging, I gave in as they confiscated my phone.

Without my phone, I was forced to actually look at my sons (and daughter) and observe what they were doing.  What I saw was pure, FREE, child-inspired creativity and joy.  Not the kind of excitement that comes from getting a new LIKE on a post or a re-pin on Pinterest, but unadulterated innocence.  What I originally perceived as a bomb going off in my house was actually an elaborate American Ninja Warrior obstacle course using couch cushions and other props that circulated through the whole house.  I sat back on the one cushion left on the couch and watched as the boys’ deliciously sticky fingers smeared dried syrup all over my walls and furniture as they conquered their DIY spider wall obstacle.

My siblings: Mark, Katie & Melissa

My siblings: Mark, Katie & Melissa

I can remember how fun it was to let my imagination take me places out of my reality with my siblings.  Now, as I sat on my couch moping about not being able to stare at my phone and at how the kids had destroyed my house, it occurred to me that it is happening…I was becoming one of those people…I think they are called grown ups!  “Oh, no!” I thought.  I’ve lost my imagination and joy.  I’ve somehow turned into a grown up!”

This scary observation really made me think!  Do I really want to miss out on the fun going on all around me as I sit behind my iPhone worrying about what my home looks like and what everyone thinks of me?  The answer is a resounding NO!

That’s when it occurred to me that sometimes kids are my role models.  Kids are pure hearted people who have not been effected by the negativity of the world.  Kids accept who God created them to be and are not worried what others may think of them.  Adults should look up to children and allow their inner child to come out more often!  I decided that day that I was going to make it a goal to break down walls I had built around my inner child.  It’s been awhile since my own childhood and I was a little rusty on knowing where to begin.  I decided the easiest way to start would be to copy what my children modeled for me.

So without further ado, here’s our dirty little secret…

John and I are actually ninjas!

John Sarah Mabry Bio

Here’s how it usually all goes down in our house…

As soon as the boys are off at school and Sawyer is down for her nap, John and I take our skeletons, I mean ninja clothes, out of the closet and throw our grown-up mindset out the window.  We quickly change into our gear, get stretched out, and pump ourselves up for a fierce battle of speed, endurance, and mental focus.  Before challenging each other in a timed race through the finish line of our very own obstacle course, we pump up the jam of Ninja tunes.  Making a drum roll sound with our tongues, we proceed to introduce one another as though we were contestants on the popular show, America Ninja Warriors: Mom & Dad Edition.  Our inner child behaviors are in full force and not to be reckoned with during this time.

The anticipation skyrockets as I approach the starting point.  I take a few minutes to center myself before I begin the overwhelmingly difficult course.  It’s supposedly the hardest course in Ninja history, you know.  Ready…set…go!

The first stage started with the dreaded Quintuple Pillow Poppers, where we had to leap from pillow to pillow over the couch, followed by the Jumping Sticky Syrup Spider Wall.  The syrup on the wall is, of course, from our kids eating pancakes with their hands in the living room.  Next our agility and grace was tested as we had to contort our bodies to make it around the Teetering Log Towers.

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The second stage of the course consisted of the Mighty Mt. Midoriyama Unstable Balance Bridge of couch cushions and the Rapid Descent Somersault over the caked-with-gooey-globs-of-grossness coffee table.

IMG_3392IMG_3400

The third and final stage was the most grueling stage of all.  We had to dig down deep to crawl under the Highchair of Hell, swing through the Kitchen Counter Cliff Hanger, and finish by shimmying up the second and final Spider Climb before breaking through to the finish line.

    IMG_3402   IMG_3404

IMG_3405   IMG_3407

And the champion is…..Me, Sarah!  I finished the course in a record time of 58 seconds.  Wow!  Doing this was so freeing by allowing my unguarded inner child to come out and play.  Some might think this activity,and my other blogs and videos, are extremely immature.  However, I have to disagree and here’s why.

Just two short days ago I was in tears over the fact that I didn’t know if what I’m trying to do here at MabryLiving.com – putting my true self out there in an effort to inspire and entertain others through my unorthodox approach to life – is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.  I was seriously struggling with the fact that putting silly stuff like this goes against everything the world demands of us grown ups.  It isn’t normal.  It isn’t what someone in the 30’s with a college degree should be doing with their time, right?  Well, I finally came to terms with this simple fact…I can’t care if you think I’m immature or wasting my time.  I’m following my heart right now.  It’s the greatest gift I can myself and I’m learning it from my kids.

Look, I know from personal experience that life can be really rough and it can be easy to plow through it being overly cautious and too uptight.  I understand that there are seasons where we all have to be, and should be, grown ups and tackle events with the utmost seriousness and respect they deserve.  Yet, there are also a lot of times where it is okay to let your guard down and see how magical life truly is when viewed with a child-like perspective.  The way I see it is that I have one earthly life to live, so I plan on living it to the fullest, allowing myself to feel my true, unguarded feelings without reservations as to what other people think or say about me.

I’d like to leave you with one final thought…go, right now, and pull that stick out of your bottom and do something to release your inner child, even if it’s just for a minute.  Sing a U2 song completely out of tune at the top of your lungs, dance a gig like a leprechaun who just found a pot of gold, or go ahead and take my idea and build a ninja obstacle course.  Your inner child needs to come out and will thank you for it.

Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said it perfectly,

“People do not cease to play because they grow old: They grow old because they cease to play.” 

Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on my upcoming quirky St. Patrick’s Day post.

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When life ices you in, make extreme snow cones!

Winter Storm OctaviaWinter Storm Octavia swept over Nashville early last week with deadly results.  Close to 30 deaths from the storm have been reported.  Octavia’s extreme icy cold conditions kept us frozen inside our house for SEVEN straight days together.  Some residents of the Nashville suburbs were able to get out sooner, but not the Mabry’s.  Most families would want to kill each other after coming down with such long bout of Arendelle fever.  But like many seemingly negative situations, we chose to have a different, positive outlook on the situation.  So what do the Mabry’s do when life hands us this much ice?  We chip our way out by hand and make extreme snow cones for the whole neighborhood.

Our house is inconveniently perched on top of a steep neighborhood street, in addition to an inclined driveway that is shaded a majority of the day so the thick sheets of ice kept us on winter lock down for waaaayyy too long.  We felt like we were living in Arendelle from the movie Frozen.  If you haven’t seen my blog where I dressed up like Elsa and walked around the mall with my son dressed up like Superman, you should check it out.

Around day six, John was determined to chip our way to freedom so we could at least run to the store.  Since we are not used to getting this much ice we didn’t have the proper tools so we improvised.  We put our heads together and came up with the most random utensils we could think of to see if John could make it happen.  We tried an ice pick, prosthetic leg, beater, plunger and plastic hammer from the kids game Don’t Break the Ice.

John Mabry Ice    John Mabry plunger

After just a few hours John had not only cleared our driveway, but the entire neighborhood using the plastic hammer, ice pick and plunger.  Who would have thought it would have been so easy!

John Mabry homeJohn Mabry driveway

All of John’s hard work produced over 4 tons of finely chipped ice, the kind that is perfect for snow cones.  So we had an extreme snow cone party in the middle of winter.  I mean, why wouldn’t you?  Here’s Austin loading his third snow cone of the day with his favorite flavors.  He also did a little snow graffiti in the yard.

Snow Graffiti

We hope this gives you some good ideas of how dig your way out of trouble next time you’re iced in your home.  Next time it happens we’re making  extreme iced tea.  Be on the lookout for more Mabry inspired home improvement tips in future posts as part of our Home Improvement series.  You’re welcome, world!

More of a visual learner?  Here’s our professional produced how-to video.  My favorite part is when I slip and fall while trying to film John.

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