It’s Friday and another week has just raced by. We are down to just two weeks before the kids are out of school for the summer and I’m getting pretty excited for the change in routine. Being able to make it to the gym without having to wake up at 4:45AM to do so would be awesome.
It has become our tradition over the last few years that as summer approaches we sit down as a family and talk about what we are looking forward to and what we would like to make sure we do during the summer. It’s always a fun way to spend an evening and I’m often surprised by a few of the suggestions from the kids. Once we have a pretty good list compiled I sit down and type it all up, cutesy it up a little bit, then put it on display so we can cross things off when we do them and it’s there to refer to if we have a little down time we want to fill and are in need of ideas.
Included in our list this year:
-lots and lots of swimming
-hike Timpanogos (we almost made it to the top last year and are determined to go all the way this time around)
-swim goal (Kaitlyn – summer swim team)
-family 5K (We are signed up for the Great Inflatible Race at the end of this month!)
-Tyler wants the 4 wheeler fixed
-Collect Brag Tags – 100 of them! (This is through the Heber Valley Unplugged Program, which was initiated in a neighorboring county a few years ago. The kids have participated in it in previous years while we were here on vacation and it was a huge hit. More info available HERE.)
-sell house in North Carolina (fingers crossed! It is now officially on the market)
-make homemade ice cream
-rodeo/parade (4th of July)
-ride horses/trail ride
-BBW with friends
-Kaitlyn wants to babysit
-random hikes (to explore and to get in shape for the big one)
-clear out clutter/junk on farm
-kids learn to cook a few things (Kate realized I put this on one there twice. I guess I’m really sick of the daily “what’s for dinner?” grind. I’ve been too lazy to reprint the list lol)
-spend time at the lake
-try out a new restaurant
-playdates/time with friends
-set reading goals
-Pass of All Passes
So, what’s on your Summer Bucket List??
I love photos. Love, love, love photos. I’d love to be a great photographer – someday maybe. So periodically I like to participate in challenges or concepts that get me out taking photos or looking at things in a different way. This week I decided to join in on the Day in the Life photo/memory keeping project, which “officially” took place yesterday (but can be done at any time). Basically, the concept is to take a day and pay particular attention to documenting all the little things throughout the day – the normal and mundane that make up daily life.
I have taken photos for Day in the Life a few times before and have enjoyed the process – and caused my kids to continually ask “why are you taking a photo of THAT?!” 😉 So this time around I remembered to warn the kids and the husband the night before that I was doing a photo project all day and that please just humor me 😉 No complaining, no hiding from the camera, no photo bombing. If the camera comes out and they are doing something, just keep doing it unless I ask them to look at me and smile. And thank goodness – that little bit of prepping them worked wonders this time around.
So here we go – a glimpse into a day in my life right now.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Photos are taken with a combination of my phone and my “big camera.”
Photos taken: 52 on my phone, 193 with the camera. (wow, I hadn’t realized I took that many!) I shared a few of the photos on Instagram throughout the day.
4:45 AM Wake up (yes with the alarm clock – the only time I set the alarm is when I have to wake up this early to go to the gym)
5:00 AM Pick up my friend and head to the gym. Forgot to charge my phone the night before so no gym selfies. I know – disappointing, isn’t it? 😉
6:30 AM Admiring the sunrise on the way home from the gym.
I snuck outside (barefoot!) to grab a few photos before waking up Kaitlyn. Bambi obviously thought she was missing out on the fun.
6:40 AM Prepping kids’ lunchboxes while Kaitlyn grabbed breakfast
7:40 AM Tyler is always ready for school well ahead of time and gets to enjoy a little down time before getting on the bus.
10:00 AM Painting laundry drying racks
1:30 PM Home for lunch. My brother let the horses into the pasture behind the house and I was able to take a few photos of the mini-stampede. (that happens every day. Living back at home on the ranch can be pretty cool.)
2:15 PM Walked the dog
3:00 PM Finally managed to shower and do my hair. Yup, this happens most days. I prefer to get up, get showered and get going with my day but so often lately I have to spend the morning sanding or painting or doing yard work or something.
8:00 PM Yoga before bedtime. We started this a few weeks ago because Kaitlyn kept complaining she was having a hard time sleeping. The yoga really does seem to help.
8:30 PM Family selfie before putting the kids to bed.
9:00 PM Finally time to relax with the husband. Friday Night Lights on Netflix.
10:00 PM Bedtime
Summer is coming FAST! I’m kind of excited about it actually. We have a lot of fun things planned and *bonus* we get a break from having to get up and out the door early every morning. What’s not to be excited about?
I’ve been on a roll this week – knocking things off the list, getting ahead of things when I get the chance. Not only did I get the teacher’s End of the School Year gifts put together, but I even got them posted on the blog the other day! As I was doing so, I occured to me that it wasn’t the first time I’d put together a gift like that for the teachers so I did a little back-tracking. Yup. This is my third year in a row using a similar idea for the teacher gifts – Summer Kit in a Cup. When you find a good thing it’s ok to just keep doing it, right? And there are oh-so-many ways to take a single idea and change it up.
This year’s Summer fun trinkets were contained in a double wall cup that I monogrammed. Inside you can find sunscreen, Chapstick with SPF, lemonade mixes, and Italian Ice freezer pops.
Last year I used really cute daiquiri glasses, filled them with goodies (drink mixes, sunscreen, chocolates, and freezer pops), and topped them with adorable little paper umbrellas and paper straws. (printable for the tags can be found here)
Double wall cups with flip-top lids filled with (betcha can’t guess what!) sunscreen, Chapstick with SPF and some After-Sun lotion. Tag printable were originally found here.
So I’m thinking next year I’m going to use some of those cute mason jar cups or maybe those cool glass milk jugs I saw at the craft store the other day…
Searching for other Teacher Appreciation or End of the School Year ideas? I have plenty! Like:
–Bucket of Summer Fun Teacher Gift and Last Day of School gift for the kids
–Super Powered Teacher Gift Basket
–More Teacher Appreciation Ideas
May is crazy isn’t it? There are so many things all jammed into one little month – testing and final projects, sports, field trips, recitals, graduations, weddings, parties, Mother’s Day. Plus my anniversary! It can be a little intense. I’ve been trying to grab some time to get ahead when I can find it and one of the things I really want to get a jump on is all the gifts for this month. I had the kids with me out shopping on Saturday and with Teacher Appreciation week about to start and teachers on the brain, we went ahead and picked up supplies for a simple gift for the last day of school for their teachers.
Teachers are a big part of our kids’ lives for an entire year and while I never have a lot of money to spend on them, I do like to give them a little parting gift. I figure teachers are looking forward to summer just as much as the rest of us are – maybe even more so! 😉 So we put together a little Summer Kit in a Cup, inspired by this tag
Wish I could give credit for the saying on the tag, but frankly I’ve seen it in quite a few different forms on Pinterest lately and I’m not sure which is the original. To whomever came up with it – great job! 😉
I wanted to dress the cup up a bit so I added a vinyl monogram.
Then we filled it with goodies related to summer
Inside the cup: lemonade drink mixes, sunscreen, Chapstick with SPF, and Italian Ices.
They are now ready and waiting for the last day of school. When the time comes, I just have to remember to send them! 😉
Mother’s Day is just a few days away! Hopefully we all have our gifts figured out, plans made for dinners and brunches, and cards all bought and signed (I don’t! Aaaaa!).
In the spirit of the day I thought I would go ahead and follow up on the SuperMom Gift box I put together a couple of weeks ago. I made the gift box for a friend that just found it she is pregnant, but it would work great for a last minute Mother’s Day gift as well. Or maybe a fun Halloween costume? So here we go – a quick tutorial for making the SuperMom logo shirt.
I was wandering around the craft store the other day and spotted this sun-activated dye that looked like fun. They had these small packages and they seemed like the perfect size for experimenting. And as it turned out, it wasn’t too hard to work with.
The dye is sun activated – whatever the sun hits takes on the color of the dye. Any parts that are covered up are washed out and remain the original color of the fabric. So the first thing I needed was a template. I used Superman logo clipart, added the “mom” in the center, then cut it all out of vinyl. It would work just as well to use cardstock or paper or something. The instructions said you can use just about anything to create the image, but if I can use my trusty vinyl I usually choose that option 😉
Figuring the stability wouldn’t hurt and not wanting the chance of the dye leaking through to the back, I stretched the shirt over a piece of cardboard and taped it down on the back. Then I used packing tape to make a rectangle to contain the dye, added the decal and spread the ink over everything. The fabric still streched and moved a bit as I applied the dye. Next time I would probably stretch the fabric even more before applying the dye. And I forgot to “blot” it after spreading the dye. The instructions said you would get more even coverage if you blotted it.
That’s was the hard part. The shirt spent 15 minutes in the sun and you cold see the color of the ink deepen as time went on. Once it was finished I peeled off the tape and the decal and tossed it in the washing machine. Easy as that!
I can see a lot of possibilites using this method. It was easy and didn’t take a lot of time, and unlike iron-ons, the dye simply changes the color of the fabric and the shirt stays as flexible and comfortable to wear as when you first bought it. (It’s not just my kids that complain of “scratchy” iron-ons or appliques on their Tshirts and sweatshirts, is it?) I don’t make many personalized shirts, but I would probably consider doing this again.
Do you have a favorite method for personalizing clothing?
*Nope, this is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to share my little experiment.
Time for another blast from the past! According to the stats on my old blog, my most popular post of all time is the Dump Truck Construction Party I did for my son’s 2nd birthday. That was over 6 years ago and it’s still ranking top 5 in hits every week. Crazy. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted that, though I do have a “thing” for parties. And Tyler’s Dump Truck Party was certainly a fun one. And easy. And inexpensive. That’s got to be the key requirements for a busy mom with young children – lots of wow factor for very little investment. And if those aren’t the reasons for the post’s popularity, maybe it’s those adorable chubby cheeks of his!
From December 2008:
My little guy turned 2 years old yesterday (!) and for his little party with his neighborhood friends I whipped up a fun, very EASY dump truck party. If I had to list Tyler’s favorite things, a dump truck would top the list. In fact, it was one of the first words he learned to say. I think he’s drawn to them because his grandpa has one, and he is a BIG fan of grandpa! 🙂 So anyway – I picked dump trucks as the theme for Tyler’s birthday party.
The whole things is paper pieced (yep I did the pattern myself!) and the back “dumps” to reveal the party info below it The wheels are on Pop Dots for a bit of added dimension. The front reads: “Tyler is 2! Dump everything and truck on over for a party!” And along with the party info inside I made sure to say it was being held “at the Caldwell Construction site.”
Decorations: I chose yellow as my primary color, with black and red accents.
I placed some construction “candles” (borrowed from my Dad) along the driveway and used a few balloons and streamers to make it feel festive.
The table was covered with a black plastic tablecloth, with pieces of masking tape running down the center to make it look like a road. The centerpiece was a few of Ty’s toys and a grouping of helium balloons. I also pinned up some streamers and balloons around the room.
The kids started off “painting” sugar cookies. I made a “palette” using a paper plate and piped little circles of frosting and let them dry overnight. Then I put a bit of “paint” (corn syrup with food coloring) in each little circle, placed a cookie (shaped like a fire truck because I couldn’t find any dump trucks) on the plate and let them have at it. This is a perfect activity for the little ones and the older kids too. And when done this way there is very little mess involved.
We put the cookies aside and had lunch and cake. Opened presents. Then I let them have free time with a couple play zones I had set up – one with blocks for building and the other with a road rug and toy cars. It was a small party with well-behaved kids (and all the mothers there to help out) so we opened up the toys he had been given and added them into the mix.
Favors: I decorated some plain white lunch bags with the child’s name and some dump truck clipart. I had found some really tiny sets of crayons on an after Halloween sale so I used the same clipart to cover up the spiderwebs on the boxes. I also included some dump truck fuit snacks and a toy truck.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… !!
Ok, not sure where I was going with that 😉 Actually, I’ve got pregnancy on the brain. No, no, I’m NOT pregnant. But it sure does seem like I am hearing about more than the usual number of friends and acquaintances announcing they are expecting or showing up with new babies. It feels like it goes in cycles – have you noticed that? Most of the time it’s not on your radar (unless you yourself are pregnant then baby and pregnancy cues are EVERYWHERE) then all of a sudden it feels like everyone is pregnant all at once? I call it Baby Season and it is in full strength lately.
The most recent announcement unexpectedly came from one of my good friends in North Carolina. It was also her birthday last week so I figured I would go a little bigger than the Starbucks gift card I had already picked up and put together a fun pregnancy gift box. I really wanted it to be unique and I was stumped. I think I covered every aisle at Michael’s at least three times trying to come up with something fun and creative, thinking the entire time about what (in my opinion) is uniquely her. And finally – light bulb! See, she has two small boys who are really into Power Rangers and super heroes, and when her husband was deployed last year the tagline on all of her photos was “daddy went away to be a superhero.” Why not go with a SuperMom theme?!
SuperMom double wall drink cup with token “keep calm” saying – check!
I did a quick search for clipart for the crown then used my handy-dandy Silhouette machine to cut out the vinyl. Simple as that. I always use “outdoor” vinyl on projects like these and as long as you wash the cups on the top rack of the dishwasher ONLY, it holds up pretty well.
Funny SuperMom Wall Decor – check!
Quick mini-tutorial for you on this one. Unfinished scrolly wood plaque from Michael’s. (love those things!) Paint it. Superman logo and lettering in vinyl, courtesy of my Silhouette machine, of course. Put it all together and ta-da! Under $5 and probably less than 10 minutes.
It wouldn’t be complete without one of my signature Pregnancy Countdown Blocks, right? (I have decided to retire these in the Etsy shop. If you want one you better order it quick before I run out of stock!)
So there you have it – a Super-fun gift for the SuperMom in your life! I’m thinking this would make a great Mother’s Day gift, don’t you think? (which, by the way, is only a week and a half away – eek!)
According to my calculations, we have only one more week until Teacher Appreciation Day/Week. You know those hard-working teachers need a boost, especially at this point in the school year (anyone starting to get as excited for Summer as I am?!), and it’s kind of fun to put together a little something for the kids to take to school. I made Countdown to Summer blocks for my children’s teachers this year, which is one of my favorite ideas. For those of you that may want something a little more simple/easier to put together (the blocks aren’t hard, but they do take a bit of time and prep) I thought I’d do a quick round-up and recap of the teacher appreciation ideas I have used in the past few years.
In 2011 I put together a little kit of office supplies and candy for the teacher. The PTO at the school had a standard gift idea list – one day was a card, one day candy, and one day was a flower. I went along with those too, but wanted to add a more personal gift as well.Original inspiration (and instructions) for the project found here. I chose a smaller size bead organizer from Walmart and grabbed a few coordinating office supplies, which I divided between the two kits (one for the teacher, one for the assistant), and of course added a little sugar to finish it off. I was shopping with both kids for the candy and couldn’t concentrate, or I would have made sure the wrappers were blue or green to go with my color scheme too. 😉
2012 followed much the same format from the school – cards on one day, chocolate on another, flowers on a third, then I did a little something on my own that wasn’t part of the suggested list.
I picked up a bunch of yummy smelling hand sanitizer (in pocket sizes) and holders at one of Bath and Body Works big sales knowing it would come in handy for something like this. The tag says “you are scent-sational.” The printables for this one and the chocolate came from the Eighteen25 blog and can be found here.
2013 was once again cards, chocolate, flowers and I added in a set of countdown to summer blocks in fun black, white, and red patterns.
I added the option to count down to the beginning of next school year – just for the fun of it. These were an absolute hit with the teachers and I have repeated the idea again this year – see earlier post).
Last year (2014) – chocolate, cards, flowers (tiny pots with seeds this time) and the personal gift was altered clipboards.
I found the owl printable card first (Printable found here) and decided to go with that as the theme.
I modified the printable water bottle labels found here and used that for the tags on the rest of the items. The tag on the flowers reads “Thanks for helping me grow. Love, ___ ”
The chocolate: The tag reads “you deserve chocolate! Love, ___”
And finally, a more personal gift from the kids. I like to get a little creative with these, not only to give the teachers a little variety but hopefully they also get the message that we participate in Teacher Appreciation week not just because we are asked to, but because we really do appreciate their contribution as teachers to the lives of our children.
I took Plain Jane clipboards
and turned them into something fun, pretty, and personal.
The tag reads “You’re just write, teacher. Love, ____”
It’s pretty much just plastic tablecloths and some masking tape – isn’t that cool?! I found the original idea on pinterest (link here) then made it my own to go with our rainbow theme. It’s a fairly easy concept actually.
I also had a strip about 24″ high that I used as the base for the tablecloth. Once I had all the pieces cut I grabbed the roll of tape (1 1/2″ painters masking tape, since I had a ton of that left over from our pantry project) and got to work on the ruffles. The ruffles are pretty easy – just scrunch the top of the fabric, taping it down as you go along.
I started with the bottom ruffle, then repeated the technique with each color, working my way up to the top and being sure to overlap the one underneath by a couple of inches so the tape didn’t show.
And covering up any of the uglies with another tablecloth. In this case I used a white cloth tablecloth folded in half, but you could use another plastic one if you wanted to.
As my 5 year old likes to say – Easy Peasy! And such a great statement piece for the buffet table at the party!
I’ve been working on quite a few smaller projects lately. Since most of my creative time is spent working on orders for the Etsy shop and most of my project time is spent dealing with giant organizing/spring tasks, it’s been nice to work on something new. I have a whole list of things I want to share with you and with Teacher Apprecition Week/Day fast approaching (It’s the week of May 4-8th this year. I looked it up!), I figured that would be a good place to start.
My children and I have been very lucky to have a lot of great teachers so far, and this year I am particulary happy with my children’s teachers and how helpful they have been with the kids’ transition to the new schools. I know teacher appreciation gifts aren’t a requirement, but I’m always happy to have an excuse brighten someone’s day, especially ones that go out of their way for my children. This year I decided to go with my signature countdown blocks to use as Teacher Appreciation gifts. I do these blocks for all sorts of occasions (pregnancy, holiday, vacation, etc). I have given them as teacher gifts in the past and they are always well received – everyone loves a good countdown. The blocks have numbers on all the sides and you just rotate them from side to side to show the correct number of days left as you count down.
The base block is double-sided for even more countdown fun. In May, the teachers can use the blocks to count down until the end of the school year. And in the fall the base block can be flipped to the other side, which reads “days ’til school” and they can countdown to the beginning of the next school year. (I’m tricky like that – always trying to find another way to get a little more use out of my crafts)
I’m still working on a cute saying to put on the tag or card. Maybe something like ‘I can always count on you teacher!” ?? (If you have a better pun, please share!)
Now I can happily pat myself on the back for being ahead of the game and not rushing to find a last minute teacher appreciation idea. If only I knew what to do about Mother’s day…
I’m curious though – what’s your favorite teacher appreciation gift idea? And also, do you do teacher appreciation gifts for just the teachers of the younger children or do you carry it on once they get to high school?