Planning for Summer Break with Kids

As I am writing this the kids are on their way home from a half day at school which means summer vacation has officially begun! Even though this won’t be posted for a few days I’m already feeling the pressure haha.

The summer last year was completely new for our family. Homeslice and Monster were no longer in daycare meaning that they were home all day, every day, all summer. My father and myself changed jobs so I was now working from home and he was doing a variety of handy work for local farms as well as working night shift on occasion.

I really thought that the summer was going to go smoothly, I really thought that I could take it a day at a time, I really thought it would be rainbows and butterflies. I was really wrong. The kids didn’t seem to know what to do with themselves without the set-in-stone schedule provided by their daycare. They were completed bored any time there was more than 10 minutes of down time. I hadn’t planned anything ahead of time and it left a lot of things being rushed and half-done on my end. I was completely stressed which was certainly more my fault than the kids fault but we all suffered because of the lack of planning.

I decided that this summer needed to be different. I decided that I needed to have a better system set in place so that I don’t go crazy…really so that we all don’t go crazy.

I started out by sitting down and coming up with the main things that each kid is interested in and the main things that they need to work on. Luckily for me, they all share basically the same interests and have the same areas that need a little extra work; just on various levels. All three of them are incredibly interested in hands-on activities so I have made sure to come up with a wide variety of activities that will be hands-on and educational.

The areas I have focused most on are their chore charts, education, and a simple plan of themed weeks.

Before I get into these areas I also wanted to share with you another thing that I’ve worked on. Our little’s really enjoy their cartoons (especially Homeslice..if the TV is on he’s glued to it) but sometimes they get Cartoon-Tunnel-Vision in the mornings and instead of finishing their morning chores they zoom out to the tv. So to combat this habit we created a simple list of screen time rules.

Camp Welgo Screen Time Rules

Before they can plop (quite literally) in front of the tv they must have finished each item on the list. I keep this posted on the fridge so all I have to say is “Did you do everything on your screen time rules list?” rather than running through a string of the same questions. This is also a great way to teach them responsibility while making our mornings go much, much smoother. I had this personalized to say Camp Welgo which wasn’t an additional cost. If you’d like to get one of these for your family it can be found here.

Chore Charts

So, for starters each child has their own chore chart with their own list of chores. However, in anticipation of the start of summer I made some changes to them allowing the kids to have a little more responsibility.
These are the chore charts that we use. I printed them and then put them in a simple picture frame from the dollar store. This allows the kids to use a dry-erase marker to mark off each chore as they do it and in this way I am able to set up a rewards system for them. They obtain a certain number of points each time a chore is completed, then at the end of the week I add up the points and they earn the rewards that coincide with the number of points earned.

I decided to get a little more creative with the chore chart/rewards system process for this summer. This is an example of the rewards I have come up with for this summer. There’s no guarantee that they will stick but I’m pretty proud haha

65-74 Points: Cartoons in the morning
75-79 Points: Prize out of the prize box
80-84 Points: Tablet or video games
85-90 Points: Pick an individual prize
91-95  Points: HOLY COW! Awesome job! You get a SURPRISE! If all 3 of you got this many points you can work together to pick out a GROUP PRIZE

So I’ll explain the theory behind my madness here, the kids love to watch tv and it’s often difficult to pull them away once they’ve started but they also really enjoy the morning cartoons (like Tom & Jerry) so if they do well on this area (which is pretty easy considering they can skim by on their chores and usually still earn these points) they can watch some cartoons in the morning but within a designated time frame.

The prize box is a little shoe box tote I purchased at the dollar tree. This contains a variety of items that the kids enjoy such as stickers, various crafts, silly putty, gum, and grab and go craft packets. Inside the same tote I have rewards tickets split into the “Individual Prize” group and the “Group Prize” group (how many times can I say group in one sentence?) that they can pick from when they earn those rewards.
The individual prizes include things such as one-on-one time with mom, stay up later one night, 1/2 hour of extra TV time..etc. and then the Group section has things like go mini golfing, go out for dinner, go to the movies, etc.

Learning

I want to be sure that I am encouraging the kids to broaden their minds and their abilities this summer and to be prepared when they go back to school. We will be doing the summer reading program at our local library and I will be working with them on various other subjects.
Homeslice and Monster’s teachers gave them some worksheets that they can work on throughout the upcoming summer months and I have my own curriculum with Murry. I also buy these books pertaining to their upcoming grade levels and work with them throughout the summer.
I also have saved a variety of worksheets and craft ideas on Pinterest that I can print whenever we’re ready to work on them.

This is an example of one of the worksheets the kids will be working on during the first week. One of the overall goals of this summer is to build each child’s confidence level and to help them be an encourager as well as a positive thinker.

All About Me Worksheet JPG

If you’d like to get this worksheet to do with your child you can find it here.

Schedule

I haven’t come up with a set-in-stone schedule for the kids because let’s face it- it just isn’t going to work out. Our family has so much going on on any given day or at any given time that a set schedule just doesn’t work for us. Because of this I have come up with a weekly theme schedule and then at the beginning of each week I’ll map out a more specific plan. This is what the themed schedule looks like:

Week 1: Welcome to Camp Welgo
Getting to know the Camp Welgo rules, guidelines, and themes. Learning about the new chores and rewards. Take a week “off”

Week 2: Kindness Week
Make kindness rocks, hide kindness rocks, do something kind for a stranger, write thank you notes for loved ones. The kids have a 3-Day camp this week too.

Week 3: Camping Week
Fire safety, learning to set up tents, lunches over the fire pit, DIY walking sticks, how to make a teepee/shelter, leaf/plant/poison identifications, nature hikes, camping out.

Week 4: Color Week
Make tie-dye t-shirts, playing tag with paint balloons, melted crayon art, paint balloon darts, face painting, sidewalk art with chalk, finger painting, DIY thank you cards for people the kids know.

Weeks 5/6: Handy/Science Week
Can robots, washer jewelry, homemade birdhouses, diy solar oven, ice cream in a bag, food coloring with flowers & veggies, regrow veggie experiment, hydroponic gardening, clay art, volcanoes, mento/soda experiment.

Week 7: Spy Week
Scavenger hunts, search and find clues, fingerprinting, mystery dinner, mystery movie night, seek and find

I have been saving a bunch of ideas on my Pinterest account so if you’d like to see some of the ideas that I have saved you can check out my board here.

**Disclaimer: this post may contain some affiliate links. The views expressed in this post are solely that of the author and not of anyone else.
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Hawk Olympics

As some of you are aware one of the members of our team/my older sister has Down syndrome. When Jessica was in school she attended our local Special Olympics and competed with/against other students with special needs within our own school district as well as the surrounding districts.

This event has always held a special place in not only Jessica’s heart but in our family’s. If there is a Special Olympics local to you, you really should make a point to attend. Even if it’s just for an hour. This event is so fun but also so humbling. There are children and young adults of all ages from different schools and districts competing in various events (such as track, softball throw, long jump, etc) for place ribbons. Even though these young people are competing they are incredibly supportive of one another. You will see students standing on the sidelines cheering on their peers and sometimes kids that they don’t even know. For me as a child I learned a lot by being on the bleachers and cheering my sister on. Watching these kids support each other taught me what being a good and supportive friend was and also taught me about kindness and humbleness.

I attended everyone of Jessica’s Special Olympics since I was very young all the way up to Jessica’s graduation. When Jessica graduated high school she was no longer able to attend the Special Olympics since it is designed for school age children. Numerous years have gone by that we have not been able to watch her participate; as the years have gone by for one reason or another there is no longer a local Special Olympics so our school district and some of the surrounding districts no longer are able to participate.

Within the last few years the Life Skills teacher at our local high school from the Special Olympics back with the “Hawk Olympics” (our mascot is a Hawk) which not only includes the children within the district who have special needs but also the children who are in learning support classes. This event is not just for our district though; she has taken is a step further and included other districts in the day. So essentially; it’s the Special Olympics by a different name.

My younger brother is in learning support classes so he is able to attend the Hawk Olympics as an athlete. This year was Hank’s second year attending and our second year cheering him and his peers on. As the Hawk Olympics approached this year Jessica expressed a desire to want to donate or do something for the students of our school district. We eventually landed on the idea of making the students water bottles. So Jessica and I sat down and worked on making a personalized water bottle for each Hawk student who would be attending. We are both so proud of how they turned out and so proud of our school’s students for all their hard work and team work that they displayed during the Hawk Olympics.

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If you’re interested in learning more about the Special Olympics you can check out their website here.

**Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored nor is it affiliated with the Special Olympics organization or the Hawk Olympics. The views expressed in this post are the views of the author.

Jessica’s Kindness Rocks

Hello and welcome to Jessica’s Kindness Rocks page!

My assumption is that you have either come here due to social media, because you follow us, OR because you were lucky enough to find one of Jessica’s rocks!

First off, I would like to explain what these are and the story behind them: The Kindness Rocks project was created to bring communities together by spreading kindness through these rocks which are painted with encouraging messages, quotes, jokes; something to make the finder smile.

A few of Jessica’s rocks!

Jessica is one of the sweetest and kindest people you’ll ever meet and as the Kindness Rocks project has spread throughout our very own community her interest in it has grown.

Jessica has not personally found a Kindness Rock but her younger brother and sister and her dad all have; she’s seen the excitement and joy they’ve had when finding one and it has inspired her to make some of her own! Over time she has put a lot of thought into what she’d like her rocks to say and look like as well as where she’d like to hide them.

So, if you have come here because you found one of Jessica’s Kindness Rocks here’s what you can do:

  1. You can take a photo of the rock or where you found the rock and use the hashtag #JKR so that Jessica can see your story/rock! She would love to know where you found it!
  2. You can tag our Instagram in your post!
  3. If you’d like to keep the rock you can. Or you can rehide the rock for someone else to find!
  4. You can also comment on this post telling us where you found your rock so others can see the journey it has been on!

You can also post your rock on the Berks County Rocks Facebook page!

Easter Basket Stuffer Ideas

I don’t know about you but I sometimes really struggle with just the right things to put in someone’s basket or even things that will fit! I’ve been scouring Etsy looking for various ideas that will fit into a basket and that the recipient will love! All of these beautiful items are handmade with love and care. Check them out below!

Better Pic

Edible Easter Placecards (Cookie Placecards)

Shop Name: SugarBerrySweets
Price: $20.00+
How adorable are these!? When I first saw them, I didn’t realize that they were cookies! They are so beautifully made; I mean look at that gorgeous attention to detail! Your guests would absolutely love these! You can order them in quantities of 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36. You can also choose between standard sugar cookies or chocolate. They are 4×4 inches in size. The seller also graciously offers ingredients and allergy information in her listing.
**Note: be sure to write the names that you would like on your cookies in the “message to seller” box before you place your order.

Soups

Easter Egg Soaps

Shop Name: BathGearNMore
Price: $3.99+
When I was younger my parents got me an Easter egg that was made from sugar and detailed almost exactly like these. I was so enamored with the beauty of my egg I never ate it. I kept it in the packaging and still set it out as a decoration nearly 20 years later. As soon as I saw these gorgeous eggs I fell right back in love. The amazing detail and beautiful colors has me so drawn in! These would be an amazing gift for anyone of any age; they are not just beautiful looking they are beautifully made! They are made with a glycerin soap base and are absolutely detergent, sulfate, and paraben free. They are also animal cruelty free. You can choose between beige, blue, green, orange, yellow, pink, and purple. There is also a large quantity of scents available which they have listed in the item’s description.

Cross Bracelet

Gold Cross Bracelet

Shop Name: Divinegiftsbyheather
Price: $12.99
I love how beautiful and simple this is! This would be a perfect basket stuffer for a teen or young adult. It’s gorgeous! The cords are a faux suede (perfect for your vegan friends/family members!) and you can choose from a variety of colors that are listed in the bracelet’s description. The cross is a gold colored acrylic. I need to mention again how beautiful I think this is! It ships from the UK so be sure to order early to allow shipping time.

Tic tac toe gam

Personalized Easter Tic Tac Toe Game

Shop Name: CynthiasGiftBoutique
Price: $6.95+
These are adorable and a perfect basket stuffer for the families that travel for Easter! They are easy to pick up and take with you; the tic tac toe board is even on the back of the bag! You have a nice selection of colors to choose from: light blue, yellow, orange, and aqua. You also can choose what design you want Peeps, Easter Bunny, of the Chick. There are also options for whether or not you want your design to also feature the person’s name on the bag. The playing pieces are 6 white glass gems and 6 multi colored wood Easter bunny pieces.

He is Risen

He Is Risen Women’s T Shirt

Shop Name: JulietRoseBoutique
Price: $21.99+
Oh my word I just LOVE this. First of all, it looks incredibly comfortable and second of all the saying just makes me so happy! The design itself is a dye sublimation design which means that it is permanent and will not rub, fade, or peel. You can choose whether you want Peachy Pink, Stone Gray, or White for the shirt color and she offers a large variety of sizes from extra small up to 2XL.

Bunny Fishing

Easter Bunny Fishing Game

Shop Name: FreebirdStLouis
Price: $10.00
This is absolutely perfect and adorable for children! They can play again and again and it’s another easy pack-up and go game if you’re traveling for Easter! In your order you get 8 felt bunnies and a fishing pole that has a magnetic carrot on the end to catch the bunnies! So fun!

Untitled design

He is Risen Mug

Shop Name: Cherished Cottage
Price: $15.00
Details: This ceramic 16 ounce mug is made with a vinyl design and sealed in to protect it. Handwash only. This would be a perfect Easter gift for the coffee or tea lover!

Peep Earrings

Bunny Peeps Stud Earrings

Shop Name: PitterPatterPolymer
Price: $9.95
So I’m a tough one when it comes to anything marshmallow…I will basically only eat them burned over a campfire haha. BUT I love peeps and I think they are so cute; especially the bunnies! These are just so adorable! You have six colors to pick from: pink, yellow, blue, orange, green, and purple. They are sculpted from clay and feature nylon posts and backings.

Crayon Roll

Bunny Crayon Roll

Shop Name: GrowingGreenMinds
Price: $5.99+
I’ve started to hear a lot about crayon rolls and this is probably my favorite one I’ve seen! This is another great gift for the family who travels for Easter. These will fit in any bag and are easy for small hands to carry. This beautiful embroidered bunny is made from felt and holds 6 crayons. You can choose whether you want it to come with crayons or not.

Coloring Stuffies

Easter Coloring Stuffies

Shop Name: subtlesimplicity
Price: $9.00
How cute and soft! These are made from 100% cotton, the back of these has a colorful Easter patterned fabric. These are great gifts for the creative child in your life. When colored with washable markers they can be washed and recolored for endless artistic fun! Easter orders must be placed by March 21st to ensure your item will arrive by Easter.

Cake Balls

Easter Egg Carton Cake Balls

Shop Name: TheChocolateWorkshop
Price: $18.00
How cute are these! These are so colorful and who doesn’t love cake pops!?! These are just like cake pops but without the stick. They are packaged in cartons of 6 or 12. 6 are $18.00 and 12 are $36.00. You can also get your cake balls customized upon request.

chocolate bunny earrings

Chocolate Bunny Earrings

Shop Name: BrockusCreations
Price: $5.00+
These are so perfect! They look JUST like chocolate bunnies! The bunnies are made from plastic and there are a variety of metal options to choose from. The bunnies measure 1 inch in size before the hook is added. The metals are all hypoallergenic and nickel free. This shop is offering a special right now that if you buy 5 pairs of earrings in a single purchase you get another pair free!

peter rabbit bow tie

Boy’s Peter Rabbit Bow Tie

Shop Name: Maybedaisyuk
Price: $10.85+
My mother’s love for Beatrix Potter has been passed on to me, which means her love for Peter Rabbit has also been passed on to me. This is just SO adorable! This would be awesome for any little boy for his Easter outfit!! These are made from a soft polyester 100% cotton fabric and has a blue lining. No need to worry about tying this on your little gentleman because it is velcro fastening. It also comes in two sizing options: 12 months to 3 years and 4 years to 6 years. This ships from the UK.

Easter Earrings

Easter Dangle Earrings

Shop Name: Cherished Cottage
Price: $20.00
Details: These hypoallergenic earrings are made with gold, pastel pink, and white beads featuring a turquoise flat stone bead at the end.

**Disclaimer: I obtained permission from all Etsy shops to share their main product image, link, and some info given in their listing.

St. Patrick’s Day Finds

Hey everyone! I wanted to share with you some things I recently found on Etsy while searching out St. Patrick’s day ideas. Keep in mind that all of these items are handmade and are sold through Etsy.

Before we get into the list I just want to share that these are not listed in any specific order; there are a variety of items ranging from drinkware, home decor, clothing, snacks, and jewelry so be sure to check it all out! I have a direct link to each item listing below the photo of the item- that if you’d like to purchase it or see what other awesome items these shops have you

can!

Let’s get started!!

 

 

 

Tuxedo Shirt

  • Men’s Irish Green Tuxedo T-Shirt

    • Shop Name: UnTeeFeated
    • Price: $10 (varies by size)
    • These shirts are made from 100% pre-shrunk cotton. They come in a large variety of color options if you don’t want the green. There is also a large variety of sizing options: small up to 5xl.

 

 

Green Beanie

  • Green St. Patrick’s Day Beanie

    • Shop Name: StepbystepUA
    • Price: $28.50
    • This beautiful and super comfy looking beanie is crocheted from 100% cotton. If you aren’t interested in green they offer a variety of other colors as well! Ships from Ukraine.
    • Ready to ship

      Leprechaun Cookies

  • Leprechaun Chocolate Covered Oreos

    • Shop Name: DrizzledDippedDunked
    • Price: $9.95+ (varies by quantity ordered as well as how you would like them packaged (individually or in groups)
    • Oh my word these look AMAZING. If you have never had chocolate dipped oreos you need to try them- they are the best! In a order of a dozen cookies you get 4 of each decoration listed (so that would be 4 leprechauns, 4 orange and green plaid,  and 4 nonpareil sprinkled cookies) if you can also choose to order all leprechaun cookies.

      Shamrock Nail Decals

  • Shamrock Nail Decals

    • Shop Name: ElainesCrafts
    • Price: $3.95+ (varies by quantity; you can order in sets of 10 or 20)
    • How cute are these?! If you’re a lover of nail art these are perfect for you (I also need to point out how great these would make as a gift!)  They are made from strong vinyl and can by applied onto any nail polish and then covered with a top coat!

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  • Shamrock Bunny

    • Shop Name: Cherished Cottage
    • Price: $30.00
    • Details: 10 inches by 8 inches in size this bunny sits on his own and is made entirely from wood and painted free hand.

St Patricks Day Bingo

  • St. Patrick’s Party Bingo Game

    • Shop Name: BuyMeSomeHappiness
    • Price: $3.49
    • These are awesome ideas! I LOVE bingo (seriously, I have been known to join my grandmother and her friends at local bingo events…no shame) and if you haven’t played you’re missing out haha. These are so adorable and look like so much fun! In your order you get :2 PDF digital downloads which include 30 bingo cards. You also get instructions, a words listing, and a diagram for suggested bingo patterns.

Shamrock Leggings

  • Woman’s Shamrock Leggings

    • Shop Name: NawlinsLadyNOLA
    • Price: $18
    • So I get that LuLaRoe is all the rage right now but seriously, these are adorable, affordable, and look so comfy! You can’t go wrong! They are made from a soft polyester and spandex blend and have a yoga-type waistband. They come in two sizes: One Size Fits All which is for woman in the sizes 2-12 range and the Curvy Size which is for women in the 12-20 size range.

Blarney Stone Cookie

  • Blarney Stone Cookie

    • Shop Name: NoveltyBakeryArt
    • Price: $24
    • These cookies sound amazing *drool*. You get 6 cookies with your order and they are walnut and whiskey cookies with an irish cream glaze. AMAZING. They are 4″ by 5.5″ in size.

Shamrock Earrings

  • Shamrock Stud Earrings

    • Shop Name: AWildViolet
    • Price: $10
    • I am in love with these. How cute are they!? These are 5mm in size and feature silver butterfly closures with .925 sterling silver posts. I am so excited about how cute these look! They are just absolutely adorable!

Irish Coffee Mug

  • Good Morning Irish Coffee Mug

    • Shop Name: WinterinOlympus
    • Price: 13.50
    • Okay…every single time I look at this I smile. It’s just so cute and it makes me so happy! I personally feel that my coffee and coffee cups needs to make me happy because that’s the very first thing I do in the morning haha (I go straight to the coffee machine). This mug is an 11oz ceramic mug; it’s made to order. And…according to the listing it is the only one left so hurry hurry!

Vintage St Pattys Truck

  • St. Patricks Day Vintage Truck Shelf Sitting Sign

    • Shop Name: Cabin20Creations
    • Price: $25
    • I love vintage trucks..I’m so glad that they have been becoming more and more popular because that means I can find more cute things like this! This sign is 5.35 inches tall and 7mm wide. You can also have 4 color options for the truck! You can get it in navy, green, red, and white!

Shamrock Bracelet

  • St. Patrick’s Wish Bracelet

    • Shop Name: KidsAtHeartBeadShop
    • Price: $4.33
    • These are adorable and make perfect gifts. The bracelet comes on a card with the poem on it; it is also wrapped nicely in cellophane. The bracelet is on a cotton string that is 12+ inches in length so that you can tie the bracelet on.

Shamrock Wreath

  • St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Wreath

    • Shop Name: ElizabethandCoWreath
    • Price: $68
    • So, I don’t know about you guys but I love the look of a boxwood wreath, especially above our fireplace. Usually after Christmas our wreath rotation is between two different boxwoods until the fall. HOWEVER, this would be the PERFECT boxwood wreath for March! It is made on a grapevine wreath and is accented with artificial boxwood, baby eucalyptus, and a shamrock bow.

Vintage St Patrick's Day Banner

  • St. Patrick’s Day Vintage Garland

    • Shop Name: KimberlyKayDecor
    • Price: $17.99
    • This is so unique and so adorable! I love it! It’s made to order and is made from Victorian greeting cards that are on soft teal and green backgrounds and feature Celtic scroll work. The garland measures 6 feet in length so that you can spread out the flags however close or far apart you’d like.

Green Earrings1

  • Green Earrings

    • Shop Name: Cherished Cottage
    • Price: $15.00
    • Details: These are lightweight and bright! They are a gorgeous green and look awesome with any outfit, especially to your St. Patrick’s Day Party! They are made with hypoallergenic material and have a rubber pushback closure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

** Disclaimer: each shop owner gave me permission to use a photo of their item, some details from their description, and a link to their shop listing.

** These items are NOT guaranteed to ship by St. Patrick’s Day

Room and Linen Sprays are Here!

I am SO excited to be able to finally share this with you guys!

 

We have been diligently working on all sorts of new and exciting ideas for Cherished Cottage. We’ve listened to our customers and friends and taken everything in to learn what you guys want and what you like. We have added a lot of new home decor and jewelry ideas to the shop but I wanted to share with you our newest additions to the store!

I want to first start off by telling you guys that this process has been a relatively long one. We did a lot of research and there was a lot of trial and error. We wanted to make sure that we were sharing something really great with you guys; if we wouldn’t be comfortable having the scent or ingredient combination in our own home it won’t end up in our store.

To start we’ve created 4 special scents and are working on creating more to come.

We want to offer our faithful viewers and followers an exclusive coupon code as a celebration! (: This coupon code applies to our entire shop, not just these items.

At checkout use the code CHERISHEDBLOG for free shipping on your entire order!

room spray, linen spray, sweet dreams spray, bed spray, lavender bed spray, sleep aid, sweet dreams, relaxing bed spray
Sweet Dreams

Our Sweet Dreams scent features a combination of scents designed to help you relax and sleep better. The scents include: lavender, citrus, cedarwood, and ylang ylang.

lemon mint spray, lemon mint air freshener, lemony mint spray, minty lemon spray, minty lemon linen spray
Lemon Mint

Our lemon mint scent features a combination of lemon and peppermint. What’s great out this is lemon and mint scents are shown to help provide energy and focus! Also, this is a really great scent if you have seasonal affective disorder.

lavender room spray, lavender linen spray, lemon lavender spray, lavender lemon spray, lavender bed spray, lemon bed spray
Lavender Lemon

Our Lavender Lemon spray is a great blend to help with relaxation!

Pure Air Linen Spray, Cleansing Spray, Clean air spray
Pure Air

A great spray to make the room/linens smell fresh and clean!

We are also very willing to create a custom scent; you just have to send us a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP and begin creating your personalized room scent.

**Disclaimer**

Room and linen sprays should never be sprayed directly onto wood or glass surfaces as they can leave a mark or streaks.

Room and linen sprays should also not be sprayed around food, pets, pet food, or drinks.

These are not to be used on the skin as a perfume nor on pets as a deodorizer.