We Tried It

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    Can you smell the pumpkin spice in the air? I can! And I'm already seeing a plethora of really fun, fall-inspired crafts to try on Pinterest.

    One pin that seems to make the rounds every year is flower pots made using pumpkins. Typically I repin them but figure they're probably too time-intensive to try on my own.

    This year is different, though! I decided to give the pumpkin flower pots a try and make one using a real pumpkin and the other using a carvable craft pumpkin.

    I gathered my pumpkins, carving knife, a scooper, and a flower arrangement and got to work! I'll be honest, it really didn't take much time at all once I had my materials in place.

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    I'll admit it, I despise exercising. But I also hate the way my marshmallow-y thighs are cascading toward my ankles. So when I was offered the chance to check out the hybrid workout New York magazine named Manhattan's "best," I jumped at it.

    Okay, not literally. I had to save some strength for this uber-intense but super fun class that combines sensory and trampoline cardio with serious muscle sculpting.

    I was definitely a little fearful going in to Bari Studio, which just opened its fourth location in Summit, New Jersey. Since my main form of exercise is going up and down stairs doing, and then delivering, laundry, I wondered if I could I handle it. Would I collapse in sweaty heap? Fall off a mini trampoline? Should I have a team of paramedics on standby? 

    Here's the inside scoop on the exercise craze that's attracting everyone from busy moms to professional athletes and Navy Seals!

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    It's no surprise that kids love bubbles -- and kids love making arts and crafts. So why not make your own bubbles? Better yet, why not make your own incredibly GIANT bubbles? Nothing better than a DIY activity that keeps the kids happy, busy, and away from electronics!

    So, what are you waiting for?

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    My kids love art. I mean most kids love the opportunity to be creative, express their imagination, and make a mess. Which is why this recipe to make your own finger paint will not only be a fun activity to do with your kids, but it will also save you money.

    This finger paint recipe comes from the Home & Family Show, which airs weekdays at 10 a.m. on the Hallmark Channel.

    So, here's how it's done:

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    As summer winds to a close (remember: there are still 21 days AFTER Labor Day!!), we are all in a rush to get through our bucket lists. This summer, I had a variety of projects on my roster, including my easy summer recipes and beautifying my yard. They all got done. And how. But I knew there was one project I really wanted to do before the weather turns chilly and we all take ourselves indoors.

    That project? DIY Tin Can Lanterns.

    It's a project that has been making the rounds on Pinterest for good reason. They look so magical glowing in a walkway at night or hanging from trees. Like twinkling summer fairies, they're perfect for a barbecue or end of the summer farewell blast.

    For this craft, I gathered:

    Soup cans Markers Hammer Nails Candles (battery-powered for the kid-friendly version)

    After collecting my tools, I pulled my kids in to complete this craft with me.

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    As a general rule, I don't do eye shadow. The idea of spending 30 minutes every morning contouring my eyes a la the Kardashians sounds like overkill. Who has the time? I certainly don't.

    But then I heard Hollywood makeup artist Pati Dubroff mention how to create bigger eyes with a few simple makeup tricks, and I was hooked. Would I like my eyes to look bigger and brighter? You bet. Especially if it doesn't take me all morning.

    The Stir tapped Dubroff to get her tips on natural-looking, eye-enlarging makeup. Yes, you'll have to use more than one product. But this is a quick, four-step process that should take just a couple of minutes, once you get the hang of it. Here's your new fast, perfect eye makeup routine.

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    Looking for a beauty lift that will actually save you money? You may want to try this counter-intuitive trend: The conditioner-only wash, or "co-washing," as its fans call it. This means exactly what it sounds like, washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo.

    It's not as crazy as it sounds. Conditioner is made with oils. And we use oils all the time to clean: It's in soaps and cold cream, after all. You can cleanse your face with moisturizer and a cotton ball. Why not your hair, too? I decided to give it a try, and was I ever surprised ...

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    One of our favorite art activities is creating suncatchers to decorate our windows. If you don't have windows, this works just as well on a wall. Because the adhesive is already on the sticky contact paper, it makes for an easy mess-free way for even young toddlers to create. With summer nearing an end, we decided to make a "fall leaves" suncatcher to welcome the new season. 

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    I got my first gel manicure a couple summers ago. As someone whose manicures typically last about two days I was thrilled that the new treatment lasted a whole month. But when I showed my sister she said, "Lovely! Promise me you'll never do it again."

    Why? Because the downside of gel manicures is that removing the enamel is rough on your nails. Plus, the in-salon curing process exposes you to UV rays, which are a slight skin cancer risk. And finally, the manicures are pretty dang expensive.

    It was just a matter of time before smart beauty companies came up with the ultimate compromise: At-home gel manicures that don't require a special UV lamp. Here's how they work.

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    By now, you have to have been living under a rock not to know about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I mean, pssst! Everyone is doing it, from Martha Stewart and Kris Jenner to Jimmy Fallon and the folks at Good Morning America. Even Oprah and President Obama have been dared.

    You know how it works, right? A person or group is challenged to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads. They either accept -- or donate to the ALS Association, which raises money for Lou Gehrig's disease. If they take the plunge, they in turn challenge others ... and a viral sensation bigger than "Call Me Maybe" was born. But this one has a good cause attached: to raise awareness and money for a deadly, crippling illness with no known cure.

    Well, we here at CafeMom's The Stir were recently challenged by other bloggers at SheKnows. Sneaky! And we are NOT ones to take something like that sitting down. No, we're more likely to take it on a New York City sidewalk at rush hour instead.

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