Hello friends! Just wanted to let you know that I will be enjoying a week away on a family vacation! While there I will not have internet access...what will I do??? I will be soaking up sun on the beach, eating dinners out, and spending quality time with the family...so I guess that isn't so bad!! I will be back in a week, so don't forget about me! Have fun reading past posts and adding some organization, decoration, flavor, and fun to your lives while I am away!!Pin It
I wanted to share an excellent DVD and resource that I think any family of young children should look into purchasing. It's a video called "Stranger Safety" and the creators are John Walsh (host of America's Most Wanted) and Julie Clark (creator of Baby Einstein). This is a video directed at children ages 5-8 but in my experience I recommend showing it to children even a little younger. It's something that all of us mommies try to ensure each and everyday...that our children are safe! This video combines fun and humor as it teaches a really excellent message and that is how to handle situations with strangers. It goes deeper than just "stranger danger" and teaches your children about strangers that are "don't knows" and "kinda knows" and identifying some "safe side adults" in your child's life. It might be the teacher in me, but I think kids need these labels and descriptions to help them understand safety and who to trust. Safe Side Super Chick is a fun character who helps children understand the importance of safety in their daily lives! This is a video I came to love as a teacher (thank you to my partner teacher Suzy) and now as a mommy I have ordered for use at home. Love it!! Check it out here and get your own copy!Pin It
So, an idea I have been thinking about a lot lately is how to create a "family mission statement" for my family. I talked to my husband the other day to get him to start thinking about this idea and I hope that over the next few weeks, we will be able to write our own. Why a family mission statement? Most organizations have one and with the importance and love I feel for my family...why shouldn't we have one too? Mission statements help all members involved to develop identity, set goals, find a purpose, look ahead to the future, and identify values and key principles for living! This is something I think every family needs to do too.
Where do you see your family in 10 years? How do you want to raise your kiddos? What do you want most of your time being spent doing? These are questions to think about and maybe spend an evening as a husband and wife team sitting down to talk about. To gather your thoughts and have some guidance during this process, check out this link for ideas as it is filled with wonderful questions and areas to ponder. After writing your family mission statement, I think it is a fantastic idea to display it somewhere in your home as a reminder of what you value and what you are striving to do daily! Please let me know if you have any creative ideas on how to develop a family mission statement, if you already have made one or if you have any helpful hints. I can't wait to get started on ours!Pin It
There's only one thing better than having a great photo taken and that's finding a fun way to display that gorgeous photo. This is a fun way to create a collage of frames and photos that are easy to change and rearrange! I love this idea and am trying to figure out where in our home I am going to create my own. This idea was given to me by my mom, which is where I get all of my passion and love for decorating and creating a cozy home!
First thing you need to do is find a large frame to fill up the space on your wall. You will be taking the glass and backing off and just nailing the frame to the wall. (If you have a handy husband, he can customize one for you with the exact size you need.) If not, just head over to a local craft store and buy the perfect frame! Now comes the fun part...filling the space with cute photos, frames, quotes, anything to personalize the space! Stick to only a few colors and styles to make it have some cohesiveness. And when you want to add new photos, you only need to change that one frame...not the whole display. Love it!!
I just had to share one of my adorable photos we had taken recently of my baby girl! This is why I need to add more photos to our home...just so stinkin' cute!!
I have charts, labels, and cute little displays all over our home. But I thought that today I would share a couple of newer ones I have just made. Because I am in the midst of potty training my little guy (first time going through this process) my first chart focuses on just that! I wanted a chart to help offer him encouragement and excitement but also a visual reminder of what we are doing. It's also great to be able to show Daddy when he gets home, how well we are doing! One sticker for pee-pee and two for poo-poo. Just print off another chart when the first one is full and glue it on top. (Email me if you want a copy of your own and I'll send it to you!) He loves keeping track of his progress and I love seeing what a big boy he is growing into!
Another little display I created last night was an art area to hang crafts, paintings, and coloring pages! I had a few bulletin boards here but didn't like that the thumb tacks could be reached so easily. That just seemed a bit too dangerous for a playroom. So, I decided to hang some ribbon and add a few clothespins. Now the worst that can happen is he clamps his little finger in a clothespin (which he shouldn't be playing with anyways)!! :)
My next project is to use the magnetic paint I bought at the hardware store as I paint and create a "My Best" Board to display all of the kiddos artwork and projects on. This will go in the hallway upstairs near their bedrooms. Now all I need is a chunk of kid-free time to do some painting and get creative! Hopefully I will be sharing those photos with you soon too! Have fun organizing some more areas of your home!
It's Monday and time to share some ideas and tips with each other. So, I am going to post a question...give my thoughts and then open it up to you! Go to the comments section and add your ideas. The more for us to read, the better!
What is one of the best "mommy tricks" you use with your kiddos?
I try to make everyday things fun! We play a game of "red light/green light" to learn to stop near a street. We sing a song of "If You're Happy and You Know It" to keep our hands away from a dirty diaper change. Daily chores can be done together...they might take longer but it's so much fun for them to be a part of watering the flowers, folding the laundry, or scrubbing a table. Last of all, I have a little backpack filled with markers, paper, crayons and playdough that we call our "restaurant backpack." It stays in the car and is ready and waiting for anytime we go out to eat. This makes sitting at a table and waiting for the food to arrive so much easier!!Pin It
We have a family vacation coming up which brings lots of excitement...but a little bit of anxiousness too because it means I have to pack. Packing was never such a big deal before we had children but now it just isn't fun anymore!! There is so much to think about, to do, to wash, to buy, and to organize! One thing that makes me feel a tad better is that I know whatever we forget...we can buy when we get there!
Whether you are taking a roadtrip or flying on an airplane...it's always a good idea to have some fun things prepared for your little ones to keep them busy and entertained. So, let me share a few suggestions for what to pack as you travel! Right now school supplies are in the stores and incredibly cheap. So, stock up on some of these items and create a travel bag for your kiddos. Find a bag laying in a closet or buy one of those cute backpacks on wheels (they get excited and can actually help carry their own luggage with these) and start filling it up. I just got back from Walmart where I found gluesticks, markers, crayons, and colored pencils for less than a dollar! I threw a calculator in there also...because what child doesn't like pushing buttons and we can work on our numbers at the same time!
Some other ideas to fill the travel bag with are: stickers, coloring books, a notepad, some DVDs to play on the laptop and of course snacks! Some fun food may keep them busy the entire time! Here are a few more creative ideas to pack in the bag: pipe cleaners (let them use those imaginations), sheets of foil (mold it into animals or crazy shapes), whiteboards and wipe-off markers, flashcards, and more! Make sure nothing you bring is too noisy or too messy. This will just add stress to your trip! I love the Crayola website for easy and fun crafts and coloring pages.
Laurie shares a wonderful idea for how to make a song box for car trips. Inevitably, you will be singing on a roadtrip...so why not turn it into a game. Use an old wipes container, add a bit of decoration...and you have at least an hour of fun! Look at 24/7 Moms, for some more creative travel ideas. If you're feeling really crafty, you can make your own homemade travel board filled with many goodies to keep the kiddos busy! Hope this helps with some of your travel plans this summer!
It's time for another yummy and easy dinner idea for you and your family. My recipe for today was a favorite for me growing up! It's my dad's recipe and he knows what he's doing when it comes to the kitchen! In fact, when parents come for a visit...it's still a personal request and makes me smile. The great thing about this one is that the leftovers might be even better than the first time eating it! So, try this one out with the kiddos and I'm sure they will gobble it up. (Just make sure you don't add too much chili powder if your children don't like spicy food.) Add a salad and a cold glass of milk and dinner is ready!
1 ¼ to 1 ½ lbs Ground Beef
1 – 14 oz can Diced Tomatoes
I - 14 oz can of Dark Red Kidney Beans
1 ½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
3 TBS Chili Powder
1 large Onion Chopped
1 Clove of Garlic Crushed
1 - 7 or 8 oz package of Elbow Macaroni
Saute ground beef, chopped onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink. Drain the fat. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, kidney beans (don’t drain), and diced tomatoes (don’t drain). Simmer for 1 hour.
Near the end of the 1 hour, cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions.
Serve the Chili Mac over the cooked macaroni. You can sprinkle additional chili powder over the top depending on how spicy you want it. (serves 4)
For leftovers: Mix together any remaining elbows and Chili Mac and refrigerate. Reheat later in microwave for great quick lunches or dinner the next day or so. You can easily double the recipe for a crowd or a party!
I know, I know...life gets so busy with work, meetings, sports, and the list goes on. But I am a big believer in making it a point to plan family dinners where you all sit down at the table and eat together. This is how I grew up and it is how I plan to raise my kiddos. If that seems like a lofty goal for you and your family...then I suggest a once a week family dinner night. Or maybe dessert! Choose one night of the week to be the night that you all are home and eat together. It can be the same night every week (or switch it up) like "Pizza Friday Nights." I love to do homemade pizza for the family because it's an easy one for the kiddos to help out with. Spooning on the sauce, or sprinkling on the cheese is right up their alley! If the kiddos are little, have fun being at home and relaxing together. Grill out in the backyard, enjoy dinner, and spend time running around outside or jumping in the baby pool! If your children are older, include some board games or a fun, family movie after dinner. It doesn't matter how you spend the time but everyone will love being together.
If there is still too much going on with different schedules and places to go...plan a family dessert night once a week. Have fun trying out some new and sweet recipes and end the night by indulging in a yummy dessert. You can recap the day, share some stories, and just have fun laughing. One blog I love to visit for delicous recipes that even the kiddos will enjoy is Picky Palate. Take a look at these "Hot Little Chocolate Chip Cookie Pies." I'm running to the store to buy ingredients for these tonight. Yummy! And I am sure my little guy will love helping me bake them also. That's half the fun of family night!
If you want to make family dinners or desserts more than just a time to eat...turn it into a whole night of fun! You can go play a game of miniature golf, bowl a few frames, do a service project, enjoy an evening walk, try a bike ride, go out for frozen yogurt, and the list goes on. For more ideas, follow this link for some more family night ideas. The purpose of family dinners, family desserts, or family nights is to find some real time to be together as a family enjoying one another. So, grab the calendar and make sure to schedule in some family fun!
Sometimes I feel like no matter how much I do with all of the photos I take, there is still something else I think of that I need or want to spend time doing. I change photos in my frames around the house every season to add a certain bit of personality and specialness to the home! I use my digital frame as a reminder of how quickly time flies by...and I love to see all of those amazing memories as the photos flip by! I also make two scrapbooks for each of my kiddos with photos from their first year and second year of life. After that, photos get put into little photo albums by month and then into a photo storage box for convenience. You can buy those mini albums for about a dollar and put a label on them like "July 2009" and fill it with all sorts of family photos. Then you know when it happened and you don't have to keep doing separate albums for each of your children. Otherwise, they will have like 18 photo albums to take with them to college...and who has room for that!? :) Ah, but there is still so much more to do with photos!!
I love to make photo books through places like Kodak or Shutterfly (or calendars for all of the grandparents at Christmas). One of my favorite books was the one I made for my hubby for his first Father's Day. Super cute and thoughtful...if I do say so myself! A friend, Stacey, loves to use "My Publisher" through Costco for her photo books and believes they have the best quality when it comes to the actual photo print. Thanks for the tip Stacey!
There are also projects to make for your family or to decorate your home. I love to make books with photos for my little guy. I think they love to see themselves in photos and pictures of their friends. These are memories they can hold onto and a way to personalize their reading time. (Must be the teacher in me!) Three of my buddy's favorite books I made all with photos of him are "Sullivan's Book of Friends," "Dear God" and "Sully's Book of Things that Go!" Each page has a photo of him with a friend, or at church, or holding a fire engine. Whatever the theme of the book was. All you need is some cardstock, cute paper, metal rings, a hole puncher, and some glue. Then have fun on the computer creating a cute cover and pages for the photos.
I just found some wonderful ideas on Katherine Marie's photo site. She has found some great ideas for bringing photos into things you use all of the time around your house. How about making your daughter's hair bow container cute with a picture of her wearing one of the cute bows! Or maybe you have a basket that needs to be "cutesied" up a bit. I love ribbon and clothespins...add photos into the mix, and it couldn't be any cuter! So, have fun and get creative with all of the photos you have stored on your computer. People need to see those photos and it can be so much fun to make some thoughtful books, gifts, or goodies to decorate your home!Pin It
It's Wednesday and time for a decorating tip for your home! I love to decorate with flowerpots in the summer. You can use terra cotta pots for that rich, warm color or buy cute decorated flower pots to go with your decorating colors and theme. Adding a ribbon or rafia around the pot might be all the decoration you need! Flowerpots are fantastic as centerpieces or at each person's place setting. It just makes you think "summer!"
One of my favorite tricks is to use flowerpots for summer berries. After a trip to the local farmer's market, you need to wash all of those berries, and let them dry. No one wants water dripping all over the counter or taking up space in the sink. So, buy a few flowerpots for your fresh berries and put them around the house. I might have a flowerpot of strawberries on the counter to munch on. And in the family room, put a flowerpot of grapes for everyone to grab! So cute and it encourages everyone to eat more fruit during the day.
Flowerpots are also great for taking care of clutter. Like I said, add some ribbon or polka dots with paint...and it can fit into any room. Use those flowerpots to collect pens and pencils by the phone. Or maybe you need a spot for remote controls on the table by the sofa...use a flowerpot! Have fun this summer decorating with flowerpots and don't forget that flowers look cute in them too!
I love to organize! Nothing feels better to me than conquering a crazy clutter area in the house. After organizing a cabinet or closet or shelf...I find myself sneaking over for another look and letting out that big sigh of accomplishment and relief. I think when things become more organized in our home, we feel happier, more relaxed and are able to feel better about our day! So, where do you start? What needs to be done? I think the first thing to do is take inventory of your own home and figure out what area of the house is really bugging you. Is it the garage? The toy area? The pantry? Make a trip to the store and buy a few cartloads of bins and containers and you're ready to undertake anything. Clear everything out and begin putting in piles. These piles will eventually go into containers and the containers will go back into a nice and newly organized cabinet or closet!
Something fun to create for all of us mommies is a "Family Management" area of the home. Find a place that you can hang schedules, invitations, calendars, appointment postcards, reminders, permission slips, and all of that other paper clutter! My favorite spot is inside the pantry. It's a place you go in and out of all the time and there is a door to close when you don't want to see it all! In my pantry, I went out and bought a huge bulletin board and thumb tacks. Love it! Everything is easy to see, change, replace, and organize. Next to the bulletin board is a three compartment basket for mail (top is bills, middle is my stuff, and bottom is my husbands). This helps so much with mail sorting! And of course the calendar is hung in here also. I plan to add to this family organizing area when the kiddos get older. I will have clipboards for each child where I can organize their permission slips, homework pages, chores list, and more.
I want to share some fabulous ideas with you that other great mommies have created also. Bonnie shares her home management area, also located in the pantry. And she has developed some excellent charts to help her stay on top of cleaning. This is a fantastic idea!
This is my dream family organizational system from Katherine. I am now on the hunt for a huge white board or chalk board to hang in my garage and organize everything. This works well especially with a family of children who are school age. Life just gets busier and this helps everyone know where to put information and where to find it! Looking at this system just makes me smile! And adding children's artwork makes it so much cuter and more special!
How inspiring it has been to see what other mommies are doing and continue to do...to organize their families, homes, and lives! Because I have been so inspired, I got my kiddos up after their afternoon nap and said we are going out to do a bit of shopping! I picked up about a dozen more bins, a small white board, some gift bags to hang (for odds and ends), cup hooks, and a couple clipboards. Then I got busy on the computer creating some helpful but cute labels for everything! (My favorite fonts and cliparts to use are from DJ Inkers. I use it for everything at home and school!) I also created a weekly and monthly to-do list that I made a bunch of copies of for the clipboards.
I finished putting together my "family central" area at around 11:30 that same evening and felt so good. The next morning I could not wait to open that pantry door and feel so accomplished and pleased with myself! I love my lists, my labels, and my organized life!
I want to start something fun for all of us mommies on Mondays. I would love to do a little "Mommy Talk" time where I ask some of you wonderful moms out there to answer some questions about being a mommy! The questions will range from favorites to fears to fun! To start us off, I will share my answers and hopefully offer some ideas and tips for you. And in the coming weeks I hope to spotlight some of you...let me know if you're willing to share, or I might be chasing you down soon, whether you volunteer or not!! Here goes...
1. What store can you be seen shopping at quite frequently?
Definitely Target. I could probably give store tours. So, if you ever can't find anything...call me and I'll tell you the aisle it's located in!! :) 2. What tip or gift would you give a new mommy?
One of my favorite gifts to give a new mommy is the DVD called "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and it shares the 5 S's (swaddling, shooshing, sucking, side jiggling, and swinging). So helpful and made the newborn stage so much easier! 3. What's your bedtime routine like for the kiddos?
My baby girl (6 months old) goes to sleep around 6:30 and she's what I call a "plop and go" baby. I change her and then plop her in her crib and go! She will babble and fall asleep soon after! My little guy (2 years old) has more of a routine. We do jammies and bedtime books while his nighttime CD plays. Then I pray for him and he prays and we snuggle for a minute. After a kiss and hug...he's off to dreamland! And by 8:00 it's my time! Woo hoo! 4. What is a hope or dream you have for your children?
I hope that my children grow up with big loving hearts. I want them to love Jesus and love people, and to show that love to the world around them! 5. What is something you strive to do each day?
Practically, I try to do a load of laundry everyday! On a deeper note, I try to be full of joy and patience and show my kiddos that daily. 6. What do you love most about mommyhood?
I love how much love fills my day! I love the hugs, kisses, cuddles, snuggles, and smiles. I love spending special moments together like reading books, making art projects, and going on evening walks. And I love having the house filled with the noise of happy kiddos! 7. What is most difficult about mommyhood?
Never being able to sleep in...even on weekends! 8. What time does your day start and end?
My day starts between 6:00 and 6:30, when the sun wakes up...so do my children! And my mommy duties end around 8:00. Then it's time to relax... or fold laundry! 9. What is something you feel like you never have enough time to do?
I never have enough time to do meal planning. I would love to start my week by going through the ads for what is on sale, then plan my meals accordingly, and then do the grocery shopping and be ready for the whole week. This hardly ever happens! 10. What is a good mommy trick you have?
I love to use games to help teach children how to behave or what to do. So we might play "red light, green light" to learn how to stop and be safe, especially outside by streets. Or we can do the "Magic Number Clean Up" game where I say a number and they have to put away that many toys. Right now that number is very small because my toddler can't count too high! Pin It
I love to entertain and have friends over for a party or celebration. Sometimes my most favorite evenings are the ones that are more casual and relaxed. But I still like to add something a little special to the table and spice things up! When we entertain, most of the time my amazing husband (and chef) takes care of the main course and I get to focus on the little decorating details and dessert. We make a good team that way! So, this is an idea for a place setting that would work great with an outdoor barbecue event. Use flowerpots and some summer flowers to brighten the table and if you like, the guests can take them home to plant in their backyard! Flowerpots are always cheap and a package of flowers (come in sixes) can sometimes be under two dollars. So, make a little flowerpot arrangement for each person and place it on top of a colorful napkin. And you're done! Your friends will feel the love as you put in that little extra touch to the evening!Pin It
It's Saturday and time for a delicious recipe that doesn't take forever in the kitchen but tastes wonderful when sitting down with the family! The first time we had this dish was after the birth of our little baby girl and some good friends brought dinner to us. It was so helpful to not have to worry about cooking and so delicious to eat. (Thanks Kari for passing on the recipe.) It's called Anniversary Chicken and for more delicious recipes, follow the link. Here's how to make it yourself...
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup teriyaki basting sauce
1/2 cup Ranch-style salad dressing
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 (3 ounce) can bacon bits
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned. Place browned chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Brush with teriyaki sauce, then spoon on salad dressing. Sprinkle with cheese, green onions and bacon bits. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Garnish with parsley and serve.
I know I already posted a whole list of "50 Ideas for Some Summer Fun" a while ago...but I can't help revisiting this topic with a few more wonderful ideas for summer! All kiddos love a countdown. Whether it is an advent calendar around Christmas time or just marking a calendar until their birthday, children love to visually see the days go by. In my first grade classroom we do a countdown throughout the month of May until the last day of school. Each day there is a fun activity planned. Then I came across this amazing idea from another mommy and I knew I needed to create my own. So, this is my next project! Take a look at this too-cute summer activity calendar that kiddos can have fun with this summer.
Each icecream cone has a number that corresponds to each date during the month. The cones are pockets where you can place a piece of paper with a fun activity written on it. Come up with the fun activities as a family or use the list I created in my "50 Ideas for Some Summer Fun." If you are into sewing, follow the instructions on how to create your own summer activity calendar or if you are like me...you might just need to use some fabric glue and cute fabrics! However you decide to make your own, everyday your child will look forward to a cool activity and keep from getting bored this summer vacation!
I love giving gifts. It is one of my favorite ways to show family and friends that I care about them or I am thinking about them. So, on Thurdays I would love to highlight some fun gift ideas for people you love. One of the most fun ways to give a gift is to create a themed basket. Start by thinking about the person you want to give a gift to, then think about what they love and the occasion, and finally let yourself have fun and be creative. Here are a few themed gift ideas for you to use... Who doesn't love iceream? So, why not give an icecream gift basket to show someone you are thinking about them. Find a cute bowl, add an icecream scooper, throw in a jar of fudge, and then have fun with toppings. Don't forget that ribbon, fabric, and cute paper can make any gift feel customized and that person will feel so special! Here is a great link to Nichole's sundae gift basket and all of her other amazing ideas.
Movie night baskets are also so much fun. Who doesn't like to curl up for an evening of popcorn, candy, cuddling, and no kiddos to interrupt? So, if you're looking for a fun gift idea to give to someone, create them a movie basket with all that good stuff. They will put it to good use I am sure! Take a peek at this idea from Amanda and Katie on their wonderful movie gift basket. Just darling! There are so many other themed gift basket ideas out there...I've done a spaghetti dinner basket, a spa day basket, and even a "cozy read by the fire" basket for friends. Leave a comment on other themed gift baskets you've done and have fun gift giving!
On Wednesdays I hope to share a little decorating idea for your home. Some of these ideas will be simple, some more elaborate...but all of them will be fun to read about! Let's start today with a very easy idea that can really add a cozy feel to your home. Decorate with candles! I absolutely love candles and sometimes get teased by friends and family that I always have a candle burning in our house. Well it's true. I love the different smells, depending on the season.
Apple pie scents for the fall, fresh baked cookies scent for winter, floral scents for the sprintime, and my new favorite is peach-melon for the summer! Candles can be a great accessory to a table or add some light to a dark corner in the evening. Whatever the reason...candles are so much fun to decorate with. So, go do some candle shopping and pick up a few that smell good and make you smile. Enjoy!
In our house, whenever you add chocolate chips to anything...it just tastes better! This is a wonderful and easy recipe for chocolate chip banana bread (thanks again Pam). So, when you are looking at those bananas that have become a bit to ripe to eat anymore, turn them into banana bread. I love to make two loaves and freeze one for guests for a breakfast treat! Here's the recipe... 1/2 cup butter 1 cup sugar 2 beaten eggs 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed 2 cups sifted flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 cup chocolate chips
*Cream the butter and sugar together. Add beaten eggs and blend well. Add mashed bananas. Sift flour and baking soda, then add to the mixture and stir. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Delicious!Pin It
Summer is here! We love the sunshine, being outside, seeing friends...but sometimes we need some new and fresh ideas for how to have fun. Here is a list of some things to do with the kiddos or entire family to keep you entertained this summer. Try an idea every day or two! Some are free, some are easy...but all of them are fun!
1. Check out the summer reading programs at the local library.
2. See a free children's movie and beat the heat! (Regal Cinemas)
3. Blow bubbles.
4. Make popsicles together and enjoy the treat after dinner.
5. Plant some seeds or start a garden.
6. Enjoy a free evening concert in your community.
7. Decorate a t-shirt with tie-dye or puffy paints.
8. Slip-n-slide...need I say more?
9. Make your own icecream.
10. Have a picnic at the park.
11. Paint on the driveway with ice!
12. Make a fruit salad and enjoy.
13. Play with the hose.
14. Make s'mores.
15. Feed the ducks at the pond.
16. Have a tea party and invite some buddies!
17. Make home-made playdough.
18. Visit a farmer's market.
19. Do a camp-out in the backyard with tents.
20. Have a water balloon fight!
21. Go to the zoo.
22. Run through the sprinklers.
23. See a minor league baseball game.
24. Go berry picking.
25. Visit a water park.
26. See a movie at a drive-in.
27. Play tag!
28. Have root beer floats for dessert.
29. Take swimming lessons.
30. Buy icecream from the icecream truck.
31. Go on an evening walk in the neighborhood.
32. Paint a rock or two!
33. Wash your favorite bike.
34. Have a pillow fight.
35. Enjoy breakfast at a local bakery and enjoy the morning!
36. Bring a garbage bag to the park and clean up.
37. Play dress up.
38. Get out the blow-up pool and play!
39. Read books outside under a tree.
40. Paint toenails together.
41. Make some cards for a senior center and drop them off.
42. Enjoy storytime at the local library.
43. Use sidewalk chalk.
44. Make homemade pizzas for dinner and eat on the patio.
45. Catch some bugs...butterflies, ladybugs, and ants!
46. Organize a block party.
47. Plan an arts and crafts day with "junk" around the house.
48. Have a family bike ride.
49. Create a treasure hunt.
50. Cook dinner on the grill and enjoy some easy clean-up!!Pin It
Need a perfect dessert for a summer evening? I have a recipe for a yummy key lime pie for you! It's super easy and so delicious! Thank you Pam for this one! Here it is and I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!! 1 graham cracker pie crust 3 egg yolks 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk 1/2 cup key lime juice or lime juice 1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar *Bake the pie crust at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Cool slightly and then fill with the key lime pie filling. *Key lime filling: mix ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour filling into crust and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before refrigerating. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Just before serving, top with whipped cream and a lime slice & raspberry!Pin It
Oh, how I love to host a party! I look for any excuse to have friends over...barbecues, birthdays, and baby showers! If you're looking for a cute idea for a girl baby shower...try red, white and pink. It's always fun to choose a theme and then see what creative ideas hit you! When you do a "color" theme, it can influence the decorations, food, and party favors. For this shower, we had fresh flowers in red, white, and pink, as well as bunches of balloons in the same colors.
For food, it's fun to incorporate these colors in as well through things like watermelon and yummy strawberries or raspberries. I love a party that makes its way out to the backyard. Add some festive and colorful paper lanterns and some flowers and you're set!
Don't forget cute party favors for the guests. For this shower, I made flowerpots with red, white and pink flowers and a cute label on a popsicle stick that said "A baby is blooming!" The kiddos at this family shower received a packet of seeds to plant when they got home also.
I love the guest of honor to take home some sort of keepsake item. One idea is a frame with a large matting. Put the baby's name (if known) or a cute baby nickname (like Sweet Pea) in the opening. Let everyone write a message to the baby or mommy around the matting. They'll be able to hang the frame up and read the sweet messages someday with their little one.
Babies are all around me! And I love planning showers for baby boys and girls. If you need ideas or you already have a theme and need help with the details, please email me. I will do whatever I can to help out!
This is a great recipe for moms who run out of time to make a big dinner. This one is done in the crock pot, so it can be good for a hot summer day when you don't want to heat up the whole kitchen. And you can prepare it in the morning, and go about your day while the meal cooks! Hope you like it!! (Thank you to my friend Kim for passing this recipe on to me.)
6-8 chicken breasts (frozen or thawed) 1 can of cream of chicken soup (10 oz.) milk (fill soup can half way) 1 pkg. of Italian salad dressing mix 1 pkg. of cream cheese (8 oz.)
*Put the ingredients (except cream cheese) into a crock pot and let it cook all day on low! Maybe an hour to two before serving, add the cream cheese. When ready to eat, shred the chicken with two forks, put it all back in crockpot and stir together, and finally pour it over rice! Add a salad and you have a meal!!Pin It
On Fridays, I would like to do something fun by sharing a "Friday Favorite." It might be a favorite item, favorite idea, or even a favorite person! This Friday, I wanted to share the Special Day Plate which can be found at http://www.redplatestore.com/index.aspx
I love this special red plate and had one growing up that my mom used! Such wonderful memories! Whenever something happens in your family that you want to celebrate, bring out the special day plate. When I was little, I also got to choose a favorite meal to eat off of the special plate. I still remember coming into the kitchen and seeing the red plate at my seat. I knew it was a special occasion or my parents were proud of me! The neat thing is that it comes with a permanent marker to write on the back the celebration and date. This is one that will be fun for years to come! Get your own Special Day Plate and use it for birthdays, anniversaries, first goal at a soccer game, learning to ride a two wheeler, losing the first tooth, or a big day!Pin It
Summer means picnics in our family! I love being able to do a playdate, visit a park, and have lunch all in the same outing! It is fun, relaxing, and easy clean-up. But I searched and searched for the perfect picnic blanket to buy this summer. I wanted one that we wouldn't get wet on, if the grass was damp. I also needed it to be machine washable and easy to carry! I found one that I love and here is the link for it: http://www.amazon.com/Tuffo-Water-Resistant-Outdoor-Blanket-Carrying/dp/B0009A6KQ4 It's called the Tuffo Water Resistant Outdoor Blanket and it is wonderful. If you are looking for the perfect addition to your summer picnicing, order this cute one!Pin It
This is a fun and affordable twist to buying wooden letters for your child's bedroom or nursery. Choose a variety of cute papers from the local craft store (all in the same color family) and a spool of ribbon to go along with the papers.
Trace the letters of the name you wish to spell on the alternating papers. Punch two holes in the top of each letter and string the ribbon through, in and out. If the paper you buy is too flimsy, attach a second set of cardstock papers behind it with glue. Now hang the name banner and enjoy the compliments from friends!Pin It
Bulletin boards are a great way to organize your life! They can be a great place to post invitations, schedules, calendars, photos, menus, and more! I have a large one in our pantry that seems to be our "schedule central" area. I love that I can quickly glance at this board to find doctor appointment information, library storytimes, and when the next birthday party is.
I like to use bulletin boards to organize fun for the kiddos also. I have three square stick-on cork boards (bought in a package of 4 from Michaels for very cheap) that I use for children's art work. It's easy to change as often as you like.
I also have a large bulletin board in my son's room to put up photos of his buddies. He loves to look at these pictures and chat about friends.
A bulletin board might be just the answer for organizing some of your paper clutter!Pin It
I love to decorate with photos around the house. I think pictures add a personal touch and I love to remember how our family is growing and changing each year. I try to change my photos out seasonally. So in the winter, I have lots of Christmas and cold weather photos up in frames on the walls. In the spring, I love photos with blooming flowers. In the summer, it's fun to have pictures involving water, beaches, or vacations. And in the fall, I fill the house with pumpkin patch photos! One of my new favorite finds is my digital frame...given to me for Mother's Day!
I love it and put it up for everyone to see right away. It's so easy to use and cute on my end table. I highly recommend the Kodak Easyshare P720. I love how it has a red matting you can use to decorate as well!
I don't keep things in the same spot very long while decorating in my home. I love to move furniture, change the location of decorating items, and freshen things up! My little guy must notice me doing this, because now he is starting to move his little chairs and tables to different locations in the house! One of my favorite things to change often in my home is my "Dress Me Up Plate" from Southern Living (also can be found on ebay).
I love to add different colors and styles of ribbon around the edge, depending on what I am celebrating. And the best part is that you can write on it with a wipe-off marker. I love to write a favorite quote, Bible verse, or message to someone on my plate. I use it for every party we host, every guest that visits, and just for fun with our family. It is a must have for every mommy!Pin It
This is something fun I learned from a friend and I believe it's true. Fresh flowers in your home will make you happy! Every week I try to buy a new bouquet of flowers and they really do make me smile.
I love them as a centerpiece...I love their smell...and I love using different vases! So, a challenge I have for you is to give this a try. Each week, splurge a bit and buy yourself some flowers. Don't wait for your hubby to give them to you. Pamper yourself and smell the roses!Pin It
When we bought our house, we didn't envision any of the rooms as a playroom necessarily. But then our kiddos came along and our plans changed a bit! We looked at our "formal" living room and realized that we just aren't very "formal" people and the room wasn't being used enough. So, we decided to turn this room into a playroom. I love having it on the first floor because children love to be near you and I love to be able to hear them! It didn't take much to transform this room. It started as a chocolate brown color and I just added some polka dot stencils of a variety of colors (matching the new rug I purchased) for a whimsical and playful look.
With some bright curtains, fresh paint, a cool rug, and some organizing pieces...the playroom was created.
This room has many baskets, lots of labels, and little zones for playtime. I have a reading area, video area, toy area, train area, and art area.
The best part is that this room now fits our lifestyle and needs and it's filled with laughter each day!
Find something this week to paint! Maybe it's a piece of furniture that needs some refreshing or a wall that needs to "pop" a bit more. Remember that paint is cheap and easy...and it can transform a room! Drag something outside and get busy with a can of spray paint. You'll be amazed at how easy it is!
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." Vivian Greene