Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My top 11 favorite blogs of 2011

Here are my top 11 favorite blogs that never cease to disappoint when it comes to inspiring me! I'll add a picture from each so you can see why I love them so much!

No. 1 

Dear Lizzy is the first blog I ever started to follow. I started following her creative blog when I read about her in a Creating Keepsakes magazine. She was the scrapbooker of the year in 2008. Yes, I've been following her that long! I didn't actually sign up for her updates until earlier this year!

And here is why I like:

Here's a picture of her smash book. I started my own because of her. I actually had never even heard of "smash" before she mentioned it. I have now found smash books at Archiver's, but you can actually use any journal book. 

No. 2 

Eighteen25 blog is so much inspiration for me! It is put together by 3 very talented women, but they also have guest bloggers who give super great ideas!

Here is why I like:

Inspirational, right?  

No. 3 

Positively Splendid blog is full of great ideas and projects that seem to be possible for me to do, yet look more difficult than they are. 

Here is why I like:


No. 4 

The Crafting Chicks blog is also full of great ideas and projects! 

Here is why I like:

Check out these adorable doll beds!


No. 5 

Just a Girl blog has great ideas and the author is so much fun to read!! She shows off some cute  projects, but also throws in some info about organization.

Here is why I like (two pics for this one):

bench and desk

One of my favorite quotes from her blog and it goes with the picture following: "Ahhhhh the family wine cellar/medicine cabinet.  Don’t you store your stemware with your meds?  How weird of you."  I think I like this quote so much because I do store our meds in the same cabinet as our plates and bowls. However, it doesn't look this tidy, but because of her blog entry, I did straighten up my cabinets a bit! So, to JAG, thanks for the laughs, inspiration and glimpse at what organization can be!


No. 6 

One Charming Party blog has great ideas for, you guessed it, parties! LOVE their inspiring themes and ideas!

Here is why:


I don't know any child who doesn't love art! Both of my kids would love this kind of party! : )

No. 7 

Skip to My Lou blog has great ideas for teacher gifts, treats and other creative fun!

Here is why I like:

No. 8 

The Idea Room blog has so many inspirational ideas!

Here is why I like:

new years eve countdown bags 6wm

No. 9 

Maggie Holmes blog is a showcase for her photography as well as her scrapbooking skills Another blog that I found through Creating Keepsakes magazine!

Here is why I like:


No. 10 

a bit east blog has great ideas for simple and clean scrapbooking.

Here is why I like:


No. 11 

The Yellow Cape Cod blog has beautiful decorating ideas!

Here is why I like:

Well, there you have it! 11 of my most favorite blogs! Check them out, but don't forget about me. : )

Have a wonderfully fantastic 2012! 

Just had to share...

Although Christmas is over (not officially over here until January 1st when we take down the decorations), I'm still finding inspiration for it everywhere. I found this awesome idea that I wish I had found before the season started, but I will save it on one of my Pinterest boards for next year to remind me. In a house with two small book lovers, this will be perfect!! A tree made out of stacked hardback books!

 Christmas tree made from hardback books

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

I hope you all had a very wonderful Christmas! My daughter loves Lalaloopsy dolls. When we first starting seeing the commercials for them about a year ago, I was like, 'what's the big deal with these dolls?'. Well, that was before my SIL bought one for my daughter for her 5th birthday. Now I'm like, 'these dolls are soo adorable!' They each have their own personality and not to mention super cute colors and faces! They come in regular size, Lalaloopsy Littles (baby sisters to the regular size dolls) and mini ones.

Santa got her a few other things, but all she wanted were these dolls. Here they are hanging out with Papa when we went to visit them on Christmas day. The minis are in his shirt pockets and he's holding the Lalaloopsy Littles, which are also wearing new outfits Santa got for them.

Now with the joyous holiday behind us (we're still celebrating this week while school is out), it is on to planning for the new year! 

My theme for next year is "improve." I'm hoping to be better in every aspect of my life, mainly: being a mother, wife, creativity, health & fitness, and organization. 

Here's wishing you all the health and happiness I can send! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Teacher gifts - Room Mom Journal

I mentioned in an earlier post that I like to make clipboards for my kids' teachers. This year, my daughter has the same teacher my son had last year. That means, I can't really give her another clipboard, ya know? So, I came up with a calendar instead.

Here it is:

I bought a 12x12 scrapbook frame at Hobby Lobby. I also purchased the blank calendar page from there as well - it was located where all the other scrapbook cardstock is. I made it colorful with some fun paper I already had, then added dry erase markers; attaching with sticky velcro. The dry erase markers work great on glass and wipe off easily.

I hope she loves it!

Recycled Gingerbread Crayons

I usually like to come up with a special treat for kids to take home after a class party. This year, my kids helped me make these recycled gingerbread crayons. We peeled the paper off of a million many broken crayons that I have saved for years months. We broke the crayons into pieces as small as we could get them and filled the molds. Then placed in oven at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Nice and toasty:

Then, they look like this when you take them out. If you're using one of the silicone baking molds like I did, be sure to place it on a tray for stability when taking it out of the oven.

Let cool for about an hour or longer. Than, I had the kids use glue dots to glue them onto little sheets of paper next to a poem that I made up. I printed 6 per page and then cut out:

We placed them in baggies with a candy cane. 

Run, run as fast you can 
to your new home 
little gingerbread man!

Classroom Christmas/Winter Parties - Room Mom Journal

Well, the excitement for me is over. The classroom Christmas parties have come to an end. I must say that I feel both parties I planned were a success. I really didn't have to plan much for my son's 1st grade -- just coordinate, and it turned out really nice. Another volunteer brought in holiday bingo for their activity and the kids enjoyed that. I did actually make cutouts to take in (I got a lot of ideas off of Pinterest for these) so I did feel I contributed something.

But I did have to plan all five of the stations for my daughter's Kindergarten class (and I loved every minute of it). I ran my ornament idea by another room parent, but ended up having to get creative with my idea since I couldn't find enough items I needed for it.

I planned to do this (the wreath) but add a photo to the center of it. The only problem for me was finding enough green pompoms at a reasonable price.
Pinned Image

So, while I was looking around for the pompoms I spotted these little grapevine wreaths and bows. They were at Hobby Lobby for 50% off making them only 30 cents each! I thought I can do that, buy a few pompoms for embellishments, and still add a photo. I bought enough wreaths for the boys and the bows for the girls. The bows would later become angels. Clever, eh? Well, I thought so for me anyway.

Here was the plan: go to school the day before the party and take pictures of the students. Check.
Print out pics, circle punch, put in baggies and take to school. Not check. Well, the picture part went off without a hitch. The kids were so quick and all smiled for me. I took them home and made them all the same size (1.5" circles in Indesign and then punched with the my circle punch. The plan started going south when I realized I needed a back to the wreaths (sorry no pictures of those) and to the angels for their dresses. I needed a back for the wreaths to put the photo on. No big deal, right? Well, the grapevine isn't so easy to glue things onto exactly. I managed to glue the wreaths to green construction paper and placed a heavy book on them overnight, but the glue wasn't going to work for the pompoms. The angel dresses, I attached with glue strips.

Here were the pieces for the angels -- since all grapevines are not created equal, I had to trace and cut out cardstock to fit in each one.

I soon realized glue dots were my only hope at keeping the photos attached to the grapevine. 

Then, pompoms could be glued to the cardstock.

The thing about this project was once we got to school, I hadn't informed the other volunteers what the plan was. I put all the pieces into sandwich baggies for each child. A lot of the children wanted to glue the pompoms to the grapevine, which was great, but the glue didn't keep them on. We tried to have them dry overnight, but I'm not really sure they stayed on. I think even without the pompoms, the pictures looked adorable and I really really REALLY hope the parents will treasure this little ornament for years to come because that was the main reason for doing them. 

The other stations included making snowflakes out of pipecleaners, a snack station, a reading station and my favorite: "If I were an Elf, my house would look like this..." station. Here's the sheet I designed. My husband helped run this station. : ) Please feel free to use this if you'd like. The kids had fun using their imaginations!

I wish the ornament station would have gone a little smoother, but overall, I think the kids really had a good time. I love it that all the volunteers are so helpful and made the party a success!!

First Christmas/winter party as a room mom complete? Check!

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Days of Christmas books

Well, I did it! I love when I see a cute idea and say I'm going to do it...and then I actually do it!! Remember the 12 days of Christmas idea I told you about where one of my favorite bloggers said she wraps books and has her children open one each day. Well, I did that. And it was fun. But it didn't last 12 days. insert LOL here!

My kids couldn't wait to open just one each day, so it lasted about 4 days. Which is actually a little longer than I thought. Even though it didn't last the entire 12 days, they still had a lot of fun doing it and that was the whole point for me. Note to self, next year, don't put them under the tree; just bring one out each day to make the fun last longer.

Ok, I shared the idea picture with you, now here's mine. I told you it wouldn't be as cute, but it was still a lot of fun!

If you have any other traditions like this, please let me know. I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Great 12 days of Christmas idea!

We have certain books we read all year long and then there are books we read only during certain seasons. For example, during fall, we read Halloween books and after Halloween, I put them away until the next year. We do the same for Christmas books as well. When we get them out, they really do feel like they're brand new again.

I found this idea on a major favorite blog I love to read One Charming Party. The idea is to wrap new and old books for the 12 days of Christmas (really as many days as you'd like) and have your child(ren) open one each day. I'm going to get our collection and start wrapping. I always have a lot of extra wrapping paper anyway and this takes care of that as well! I think my kids will really enjoy this!!

Great picture, isn't it? Maybe I'll take a picture of mine when I'm finished. It won't look this cute, but I can always try!

Pinned Image

Yummy recipes - White Chocolate and Peppermint Covered Popcorn

Just found this on Pinterest and it's also from Skip to My Lou, a favorite blog of mine that I just mentioned in my previous post! It was meant to be!

Pinned Image'

I think this would make a great gift for a teacher, principal, bus driver, etc. I was thinking about making some, putting in a tin and attaching the recipe. Or, I might even just provide all the ingredients in a tin (either bagged popcorn or microwave popcorn in case they don't have a popcorn popper) along with the white chocolate bark, crushed candy canes and attach the recipe. I'll show a picture if I do decide to make this a gift!

It's class party time again!! - Room Mom Journal

It's time (well, it's been time) to start planning our Christmas/Holiday party for my daughter's and son's classes. I'm really just a chairperson for my son's class, so the only planning is making sure people sign up for different things and not duplicate anything. I'm planning the teacher gifts for both classes so that's a lot of fun so far. My daughter's class party is almost entirely up to me! Yikes! It's a lot of pressure, but it's pressure I enjoy!

Her teacher suggested we divide the party into 5 stations. I'm up for that. I definitely know I want one of the stations to be an ornament-making one. I found this idea the other day from one of my favorite blogs - Skip to my Lou:

Pinned Image


What I plan to do is have the kids make the wreath. It's actually made using cut-out shapes from cereal boxes, so it incorporates recycling as well -- can't go wrong with that. We'll do it pretty much like it is done here, but I'm going to also take a picture of each child, take home, size the pics into 2-inch circles and punch out with my 2" circle punch. I'll have the children hang their picture from the middle of the wreath. I'm thinking of having them attach it with a pipe cleaner through hole punch in top of the picture and the wreath. I'm going to try one of my own to make sure it will work. I'll be sure to share it with you when it's done.

One station down, four to go!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All decorated for Christmas!

There's just something so warm and cozy about Christmas lights and being surrounded by items that have been in storage for almost a year! lol! It really is so much fun to drag out all the decorations that we put away last year and almost forgot all about until a few days ago!

I can't believe Christmas is only 2 weeks away! Where did the time go? I want the anticipation to last much longer than that!  My children are at the best ages! I want to extend the Christmas spirit as long as possible and savor all these special moments of family plans and togetherness as long as I can.

Something that I think will help me savor or at least remember is Ali Edwards' December Daily. I'm going to try so hard to do this. Making my list of things to include and taking the pictures is easy for me -- I just need to follow through with printing pictures and putting it all together. For story ideas and inspiration check this out Ali Edwards December Daily 2011. I get so inspired seeing people who really have their acts together. I spend so much of my free time acquiring inspiration that I'm so overwhelmed with the thought of picking just one thing to do and actually do it. BUT, I must do this. These special times are just too precious!

Picture from

I'll leave you with a picture of one of our favorite ornaments. By the way, dolly has a couple "boo boos" that my daughter just had to take care of (notice the Scooby-doo bandages). I have the Rudolph characters hanging on a tree in the kids play/studyroom. It's a very skinny, happy tree!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shoe organizer or a hat and glove organizer?

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time keeping track of hats and gloves. I try to keep them in a basket on a shelf in our hallway closet, but it gets full and the gloves are no longer pairs and the hats are no longer with their sets.

So after seeing this idea somewhere (sorry, I can't remember where at the moment), I decided to try it out and man, does it work!!!

I thought I'd share the idea with you as well just in case you're in the same boat I was. I purchased this shoe organizer at Walmart for like $5!! Just hang on the inside of the closet door and instant organization! I love it!

I'm also using the same idea to organize my daughter's Beanie Babies in her room. One idea but many uses!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gift for Art Teacher - Room Mom Journal

My children are lucky to have an art teacher. I know a few schools around us do not have that luxury. I think art is so important for many reasons - self expression, creative thinking and I could go on, but I'm just posting today to show you a gift I made last year for our art teacher.

My son had been learning about Piet Mondrian in art. I had made a clipboard for his Kindergarten teacher and she really seemed to love it! She had other teachers asking her where she got it. So, this gave me the idea to make one for my son's art teacher as well, but I wanted it to have a design related to art.

So here's my clipboard with a Piet Mondrian-inspired design.

If you like this idea, you could, of course, use any artist as inspiration. I happened to use one they were learning at that moment.

Hope you like it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shadow box memories

Just wanted to add a quick post about a project I just completed. I saved a few favorite clothing items that my children wore when they were babies. They're just sitting in a tote in our basement with a sign on them "baby clothes." My hope is that when my children are grown, they will be able to see a few of my favorite items that they used to wear. But it occurred to me that I'd like to see some of those items more frequently to reflect on my children's small size when I can't believe how quickly time flies and realize they won't be little forever. It's a bittersweet feeling; mainly because I'm so blessed they are growing like they should but also because once in a while it would be comforting to flip a switch and be able to hold them when they were tiny again.

Since it's not possible to flip a switch and make them babies whenever I'd like (is that weird to say?), I decided to frame a few of their baby items so I can have them closer to me as well as add a little texture to our photo wall.

So for you mommies out there: don't throw away those first pair of jeans! They'll look great in a shadow box! Hopefully you'll get a picture of them wearing them as well.

First jeans

First pair of shoes