Isn’t Spring fantastic? With all the snow melting, the grass starting to get green, flowers popping up, birds singing, and a new baby calf added to the herd every few days…
Well, it’s hard not to feel a little happy boost that Spring has officially begun, isn’t it?
Sure, there is mud to deal with. I made the husband bring home a few bags of mulch last week and we spread them in the rain because I couldn’t stand to clean up mud every time the dog went outside. (I was really wishing my Spot Bot hadn’t died and I had a new Shop Amazon – Presenting the Bissell Symphony) And my body is definitely not swimming suit ready. But, that is vastly outweighed by the overwhelming urge to spend as much time as possible outside enjoying the weather.
Last weekend, my daughter suggested we roll out the fire pit and roast hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner. That’s one of our favorite things to do as a family during warmer weather. The kids happily rode their bikes and played wall ball with each other while the husband and I enjoyed sitting by the fire for a couple of hours.
As I sat there staring into the fire, I couldn’t help thinking how glad I was that Kaitlyn has suggested something so simple yet thoroughly enjoyable. Then I started thinking about all of the many other small things in life we had celebrated the past week or so. (It had been kind of a crazy one actually)
Making it through my daughter’s back to back swim meet and band concert. Celebrated that one by letting her pick out ice cream on the way home. My little guy’s final Utah Citizenship performance (part of months of work and many projects and tests for them) celebrated again by letting him pick out ice cream on the way home. That one happened to fall on the same day we went before the county for approvals on our building lot (got it! Just a few more hoops to jump through before it’s official). In among there, I hosted our monthly Bunco group and that always feels like a party.
And you know what? Life is so much more enjoyable when you take a minute to appreciate the small things when they happen. Everything seems better when you purposely give yourself and your loved ones small things to look forward to. When once in a while we make the everyday special.
-a warm sunny day
-school or sporting event (ice cream!)
-one of those random “National ____ Day” Find a long list of holidays by date HERE. (I can’t believe I didn’t do anything for pie/pi day last! It falls on March 14. 3/14 – get it?)
-accomplishments – a promotion, finishing a big project, the baby took her first step, the 4th grader memorized his multiplication tables
-because it’s been a while since you had a dinner party or lunch out
-because the kids have other plans and you and the husband have some free time to spend together
-because it’s the weekend
-because it’s Monday
-because we’re all tired and need to relax and indulge
-the first ____ of the year (snowstorm, flower, hot dog/marshmallow roast)
-because it’s Girl Scout Cookie season
-minor holidays (St Pat’s, April Fool’s, Labor Day, etc.)
-change of seasons
-local events (strawberry picking season, hot air balloon festival, etc)
-because you missed someone’s birthday/anniversary
-the divorce is final
-your favorite author just released a new book
-that movie you’ve been dying to see finally hits the theaters
-get outside (walk, hike, ride bikes, roast marshmallows, fly kites, blow bubbles, fire up the grill Shop Amazon – Grilling and Outdoor Cooking Products)
-take a picture
-go out to eat
-try a new restaurant
-wash the car (what? Are you telling me having a nice shiny car after months of snow and salt-covered roads doesn’t count as a celebration?! Have you SEEN the line at the car wash at the first sunny day in a while?)
-plant flowers (Shop Amazon – Gardening Products)
-rent a movie (or find one on Amazon Prime Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial or Netflix)
-cook something seasonal or extra-yummy
-document it – journal it, scrapbook it, post it on Instagram
-surprise someone (treat, card, gift)
-invite people over
-family game night
-food, food, and more food (funny how so many things revolve around food, isn’t it?)
Well that’s my list. I hope to keep adding to it, so please feel free to share your own Life’s Little Celebrations, and how you recognize the small moments.
Give yourself something to look forward to.
*May contain affliliate links for your convenience.*
Linking to: Made By You Monday,
How do you like your eggs? I prefer mine covered in glitter or stuffed with chocolate 😉
The kids, well, they love their eggs filled with all kinds of fun.
I now have 13 years of Easter Egg fun under my belt so I figured it was about time to put together a giant list of non-candy Easter egg filler ideas. (Trust me – we stuff plenty with candy, but it’s nice to have some variety, right?)
So there you have it – a giant list of non-candy Easter Egg filler ideas. If you think of any I missed please feel free to share!
*Post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.
Hello Spring! Well, close enough, right? I told myself to wait until the end of February before I could think about Spring but now that it’s March… 😉
We may not see flowers popping up anytime soon (at least not here in Northern Utah) but all of the Spring holidays are certainly on their way. I often like to get the ideas flowing by looking at some of my past holiday ideas for Spring. And since I have yet to share the Spring Care Package I put together for my husband while he was deployed last year, let’s start there, shall we?
Getting the timing right for sending care packages can be a tricky thing, especially if they are being sent overseas. I found that I had to think ahead at least 3 weeks when sending packages for the last deployment.
After a look at the calendar last year, I decided to hit all three of the big Spring holidays in one box. Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and April Fool’s Day all got their own mini care package.
My favorite are the Regional Rate A b0xes (the catch with those is that you have to order them in sets of 10 online – but they’re free!) whose rates are based on how far away the box is being sent but still not tied to a specific weight. The Regional Rate A boxes are only slightly smaller than Medium Flat Rate boxes, but can save up to half the cost of the Medium Flat Rate shipping costs. The added bonus of the Flat Rate boxes of any kind is that they ship quickly, only 2-3 days in transit if shipping within the USA.
First step for putting together a care package is decorating the box. I always try to use patterned scrapbook paper from my stash on the flaps and something fun/funny for the bottom of the box. In this case I had my daughter draw a picture for St Patrick’s Day with the stipulation that part of it should look like a pot of gold. Then we added chocolate gold coins (glue dots work great for keeping them in place), placing some beneath a slit in the paper along the upper edge of the “pot” so it looked like the coins were being held inside it.
Isn’t she cute?
Another integral part of the care package is the card. In this case I wanted to create a unique card for St Patrick’s Day. I took a photo of our dog for the front of the card and added the quote “I wanted to give you a big kiss for St Patrick’s Day…”
and the inside reads “but I don’t have a LICKER license.”
Items for the St. Patrick’s Day portion of the care package included beer-flavored Jelly Bellys, a couple of pin on buttons (in case the husband needed a touch of green), Lucky Charms cereal (printable tag found HERE), and a few more chocolate gold coins (of course!).
I wanted the Easter portion of the care package to have it’s own container so I cut down one of the Flat Rate boxes. Some more patterned scrapbook paper, some Easter basket “grass,” and the quote “Some Bunny Loves You” completed the decorations for the box.
Inside: Easter candy! Some stuffed in plastic eggs, some left in it’s own packaging. His favorites include Robin’s Eggs, Reece’s Eggs, and Peeps. My husband also loves chocolate-covered gummies so I was happy to run across the bunnies at World Market. (Which is also where I got the Jelly Bellys). And of course, the kids and I each wrote a note inside some Easter themed cards I had in my stash.
April Fool’s deserves a nod, doesn’t it? I decided to keep it simple and just put together a small “open when” envelope. A fun meme and a box of Bean Boozled jelly beans are just the right size for the envelope. The jelly beans are the kind where you have to guess if you’re eating a good flavor or something crazy like ear wax.
And there you have it all together in the box – a fun Spring Care Package for all the holidays. As you can see, I added a few other things either as requests from the husband (the poster tack for hanging photos on his wall) or something I thought he could use (the coffee mug and a dish wand and soap so he could wash the mug himself as needed). Round it out with letters from the kids and myself and the package was ready to go.
I hope this gave you a few new ideas for sending a little something to your loved one. We all deserve a little happy mail…or a gift basket? Something to think about… 😉
Searching for more Care Package/Gift Basket Ideas? I’m developing quite the collection. Like the Beat the Heat Care Package, Half-Way There Care Package, or Deployment Survival Kit (for the spouse at home).
*This post may contain affiliate links.
With just over a week until Valentine’s Day, if you don’t have your Valentine’s Care Package in the mail you’d better copy this idea, quick! 😉 (And in case you didn’t know, Flat Rate boxes only take a couple of days to reach their destination.)
Naw, you’re probably all on top of things like that already, right? Goodness knows I was last year. At the time, my husband had just left on a six month deployment and one of the things that made all of us feel better was putting together care packages.
What I wasn’t great at during deployment – blogging regularly. Most of the care package ideas never made it onto the blog and we all get to have some fun revisiting them this year.
The husband left on deployment two days before his birthday in January. This may have been the very first care package the kids and I put together last year. Getting input from the kiddos and having them shop for things to go in the box – fun, fun!
I have to admit, I purposely kicked up my Care Package Game with this last deployment. Sure, I’ve sent care packages before, but this time around I was determined the husband would get at least a couple of envious glances from the other guys when he opened them. I wanted that wow factor as soon as the box was opened, so I made sure to decorate the inside of each box.
According to Pinterest one of the easiest ways to decorate the box is using wrapping paper. (And yes, I have an entire board devoted to Care Packages if you want more ideas.) I used THIS tutorial for that, which basically instructs you to diassemble the box, glue the wrapping paper on to the flattened box, trim the paper, and reassemble. It worked pretty well (don’t judge that one crazy edge on the bottom) though my personal preference for the *easiest* way to decorate the inside of the box is to use patterned scrapbook paper and double stick tape.
As soon as the husband reached his destination he was requesting flavorings for water. Those were a constant for every care package. For everything else, I went for sentimental or fun.
One of the big trends in care packages for deployment or other long distance relationships seems to be Open When envelopes. I thought these were a great idea, especially since it would help spread out the fun of the care package a while past the initial opening of the box. (More details on those in another post soon!)
Did you notice the envelope marked Date Night? My goal was to send a care package every couple of weeks. I also wanted to send a specific Date Night envelope at least once a month. Inside each one was a different idea for a faux long distance date night – movies, a TV show we followed together, hiking. (I’ll give this one its own post as well. Check back soon!)
No Valentine’s Care Package is complete without something sweet so we included a few treats.
These oversized Kisses became a constant in each care package as well. I thought it would be a nice touch to have something the husband knew he could look forward to in every box. Plus, well they’re kisses. Read into that any way you like 😉
One of the Open When Envelopes was, of course, dedicated to Valentine’s Day. The kids each made their Dad a card and I found funny printable cards and sent a few of those. (Sorry, I’ll include the link for the printable when I find it. It was a year ago, after all.) Plus, a box of chocolates tiny enough to fit in the envelope.
The kids also helped me write messages on balloons. We blew them up, wrote on them, and deflated them for easy shipping. That way, the husband got his own little DIY balloon bouquet.
I love those Sharpie Fine Point pens, don’t you? I used them for everything lately. (You can purchase some HERE).
Anyway, back to the package.
Every deployment needs at least one stuffed animal, right? (preferably covered in perfume. Trust me on this one.)
Kaitlyn picked this cute little guy out and wrote the tag. I’m sure her dad loved it, and everything else in his Valentine’s Care Package.
As much fun as it was to put together this Valentine’s Care Package, I’m much happier to have him home with us this year. For those of you celebrating Valentine’s Day apart from your loved one, I wish you a good one.
In search of more Care Package Ideas? I have more great themes like Beat the Heat and Half-Way There care packages. (I still got compliments on that last one at the squadron Christmas party!) Or for that spouse that is holding down the fort at home during deployment, a Deployment Survival Kit care package.
Linking to: Home Matters Party, BFF Open House, Pretty Pintastic Party, Pin Me Party, What to Do Weekends, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make, Saturday Sharefest, Creativity Unleashed,
That’s right – it’s time to start thinking about Valentines for classmates and teachers. At least, it is if the stores have anything to say about it. I even spotted some bikinis for sale the other day (said as I look out at the new 6″ of snow we got this week, on top of what was already there. Eesh). Sometimes it feels like retailers are rushing us a bit, though I’m all for staying ahead of the curve.
Keeping that in mind, why don’t we take a look at the Valentines my kids gave to their classmates and teachers last year? (One of the few posts that didn’t transfer from the old domain so now is a great time to repost, don’cha think?)
With the kids bringing home dozens of small gifts from classmates every year, my goal is always to do something a bit unique. I also try to keep it easy and inexpensive because dozens of gifts can add up fast! So, I was happy to run across these cute printable tags on Pinterest.
I kept the design on the tags just as in the printable and added the “love Tyler” to the bottom (he would do anything to keep from having to write his name 30 times!) then printed them on cardstock. It was a simple matter to cut a couple of slits in the tag to slide the straw through. A quick staple attached individual Koolaid packets to the tag.
Bonus! Non-candy Valentines make us happy!
Now the teacher gift is where I truly out-did myself. 😉 Knowing I was going with the “cool” idea for the classmate Valentines I kept my eyes open for something that fit that theme. So, when I ran across these great containers when I was grabbing a few more lunchbox containers for the kids I was soooo excited. (What?! You don’t get excited in the container section of TJ Maxx?!) The containers have mini ice packs in the lids – perfect!
The containers came in a set of four, so I had enough for both kids’ teachers with just one set of containers. Change the “kool” to “cool” on the tag (that font is called Jokerman) and we were all set.
I’ve already started working on ideas for this year’s Valentines for my son’s classmates and teacher. Stay tuned!
Want more teacher gift ideas? Check out my Teacher gifts in a Cup
Or. While we are on the subject of lunchbox containers, check out some of my Lunchbox tips and tricks (for picky eaters).
Until next time. What should we create next?
Ah Christmas. We’ve made it!
Cards are sent, gifts are wrapped and waiting under the tree, the weather is attempting to give us a white Christmas, and everyone is home for the holidays (except for my parents who just left to get that “one last gift”). Time to relax and enjoy it.
From my family to yours – wishing you love, joy and adventure the whole year round. Merry Christmas!
Today we are hitting the tail end of what has been one of the most eventful weeks I have had in a very long time. I’m not sure why things didn’t end up more spread out this month but events seemed to happen back to back to back this week. We had birthday parties and band concerts and shopping to do and gifts to wrap and elves to supervise (tons of elf on the shelf inspiration here and here if you need it!) and I joined in on a couple of things I don’t normally do for the holidays. Plus add in keeping up on the routine things like running kids to the orthodontist, checking homework, cleaning the house, volunteering in Tyler’s classroom, paying bills, running errands, and getting the husband to cook dinner as often as possible…
Among all of this I keep seeing mentions of simplifying the holidays on social media and it has me wondering – do I really want to simplify my holidays this year? Did I somehow take on too much or do it wrong this time around?
I hate feeling like I’m rushed or stressed and typically I’m pretty good at saying “no” to things that will bring too much of that into my life. I almost always plan ahead and try to get the prep work done for big projects, parties, etc. days or weeks before they need to be done because I dislike doing anything last-minute. My goal for Christmas is to have the majority of my gift shopping done by December 1st and here it is the 11th and I’m still missing things and in some cases I don’t even had decent gift ideas figured out.
When I pulled out my calendar Thanksgiving weekend and realized that we had committed to sooooooo many things that fell this second week of December I had a moment of panic wondering how we were going to handle it all. I’ve been hoping daily that I won’t get sick because things would come to screeching halt if I did. I have had to keep pretty close track of my time and priorities since then. And there has been more than one night when my elf alarm (yes I set a nightly alarm on my phone for 30 minutes past bedtime to help me remember those elves) went off and I found myself wishing Tyler was ready to move on to being Santa’s helper along with his big sister (not that I ever want to wish my kids older or more experienced and jaded than they are – they grow up WAY too fast already).
I haven’t regretted a single event or plan we made this week. Not one.
My son had an awesome amazing birthday and a crazy chaotic joyful birthday party (birthday on Monday, party Friday night. blog post to be determined!).
My daughter shone in her band concert, more poised and confidant each time one of these comes around.
Our Bunco Christmas party was a pajama-clad, gift-stealing, fun tradition.
I got to know a lot of great people in the neighborhood and renew acquaintances with other fantastic people I haven’t seen in a long time while I spent hours helping decorating for the church party (a church I don’t actually attend). It turned out beautifully and there is satisfaction in that along with the pleasure of watching the party itself happen. I was busy most of the party as well, playing Santa’s helper and the interactions between Santa and the kids, teens, and even the adults were so fun to watch. (Santa was really on his game yesterday – it was awesome). PS – I’ll blog about the party details soon!
And for the first time since high school (I think we hit the 20 year reunion this year!) I took the opportunity to sing with a big choir at the community Christmas concert last night (a much bigger event than I knew it would be when I signed up).
So my take-away from this week?
Sometimes putting in the extra effort is totally worth it.
No matter what you are doing or what you may need to be doing in an hour, be fully in the moment and enjoy that one thing on its own.
Don’t be afraid to say yes.
Do I recommend filling every week to the brim? Nope. Do I want to take on every single thing someone asks me to do? Nuh-uh. Do I intend to take one day next week and spend it on the couch binge watching a show, drinking hot chocolate and forgetting everything else for an afternoon? Absolutely.
Life isn’t about doing only the minimum or cutting out some of the hoopla simply because it’s what other people are doing. I think we need to give ourselves things to look forward to.
You can’t do everything but you can do anything you choose.
So choose wisely but don’t be afraid to push yourself a bit. I don’t think you’ll regret it either.
We are now off to the big gingerbread house decorating party with the husband’s family…
It’s that time of year again! Halloween is over, Thanksgiving plans are well under way and all of the stores are decked out for the holidays…bring on the Christmas prep! For me that means lists – gift lists, shopping lists, projects lists, Christmas card lists, and lists of ideas for our Christmas elves.
Our elves always show up on the first of December and spend the month with us keeping an eye on the kiddos for Santa, as well as having a little fun themselves (sometimes too much fun!). The kids look forward to the visit from the elves and it adds a little daily fun and magic to the season for all of us.
Our elves have been making their appearance for almost 10 years now (yes, I looked it up 😉 I started this tradition in 2007), well before the Elf on the Shelf concept took on the recognition and popularity it has today. So our elves don’t look like all of the other elves and they don’t have quite the same rules as the official Elf on the Shelf. In fact, our elves love to get hugs from the kids and to play with them during the day.
To keep things fresh and fun year after year I do have to put in some planning time (thank goodness for Pinterest, right? I have tons of ideas on my Holiday Elf on the Shelf board) so I’ve been pulling together ideas and reviewing photos of our Elf Antics from years past and I thought I would share a sample year with you.
This is what our elves were up to every day in December a couple of years ago. (My kids were ages 11 and 8 at the time)
Day 2: found them in the storage room where they had pulled out most of Grandma’s games and toys. Photo is courtesy of Kaitlyn, who was quick to inform me when I got back from the gym that morning and found the kids playing Jenga that she knew I liked to take photos before we moved the Elves and had made sure to do so. (Isn’t she the greatest?!)
Day 3: in the bathroom, where Twinkle was tangled in Kaitlyn’s headbands and Tinsel had drawn a Rudolph head on the mirror.
Day 4: the elves had put up a “tent” using one of the pool towels so they could hide while they created Top Secret missions for the kids.
Wonder what’s in the envelope…. (printable found here. Awesome idea)
Day 5: was Tyler’s birthday so the elves had made an attempt to decorate with crepe paper but got distracted playing with the party games.
Day 6: the elves we cozily reading a book together in the rocking chair
Day 7: had decorated the photo wall in the office using dry erase markers
Day 8: Perler bead creations
Day 9: they got into all of the treats left over from the birthday party
Day 10: must have been taking inspiration from my (body builder) brother. Looks like Tinsel might benefit from a few personal trainer sessions.
Day 11: found the sled on top of the entertainment center in the living room. I’m told Twinkle almost met with a horrible accident when she toppled off and my brother’s pit bull picked her up. Luckily, the husband saw it and pried her out of his mouth before any damage was done.
Day 12: packed the kids’ lunchboxes
Day 13: changed out the light bulb in the hallway for a pretty stained-glass one. Tyler said it looked like they were having a dance party.
Day 14: climbing the Christmas tree. I’m afraid it looks like Tinsel must have taken a tumble or two.
Day 15: hot chocolate! They found a special Cookies and Cream version from Stephen’s – MMMMMM
Day 16: crepe paper Christmas tree
Day 17: time for a Nerf dart war
Day 18: the elves found the tablet and had used it to take photos of themselves (by the Christmas tree, posing by the dog, random selfies, etc) then used them as the desktop background photos on the tablet.
Day 19: Playing with Tyler’s Minecraft toys and even found a Santa Minecraft head for Steve. (The cardstock “Steve” is a printable I used for Tyler’s Minecraft Party. The Santa head is a printable found here that I just enlarged a bit before printing. It wasn’t quite big enough for one of our elves to wear, but it worked fine for Steve)
Day 20: The kids forgot to open their Advent treat box before bed so the Elves did it for them. Lucky for the kids, the elves didn’t get as far as opening any of the chocolate!
Day 21: found the elves fast asleep under the Christmas tree, using the kids’ stockings as sleeping bags.
Day 22: the elves were having fun with the camera last night and took all kinds of photos. (Printable photo props found here)
Day 23: this morning they attempted to hitch a ride to school in the kids’ backpacks. I think we are all excited for the last half-day of school before Christmas break!
Day 24: elf zip line! And of course they also wrote up a farewell letter since Santa will be picking them up tonight.
And that, my friends, is an entire month of Elf on the Shelf ideas for you. They’re my favorite kind too – quick and easy. Easy enough to implement at 3AM when you suddenly wake up with that feeling that you forgot to do something… 😉
What have your elves been up to? Any great ideas you would like to share? I would love to add a few to my list for this year!
Linking to: Wow Me Wednesday,
Hello Wednesday! Has anyone checked their calendars lately? And did you do a double-take (as I did) when you realized just how quickly the last day of school is approaching?!? T-minus 15 (school) days and counting, according to my little guy on Monday, which translates to just over two weeks until school is out for the summer. That’s a bit late for our typical school year and I know a lot of schools are finishing up even sooner than that. So in the interest of being on the ball, ahead of the game, and all of those other clichés that help keep me from feeling stressed, I wanted to put together a fun little end of the year gift for the teachers – and do it now rather than later.
The first place I always turn for inspiration is my Pinterest Boards and it wasn’t long before I ran across this great printable Bucket List tag. So cute – and half the work is already done for me! So I printed it out and took a quick trip to the dollar store.
Don’t you just love the dollar store? I never leave there with just the items on my list, but I sure do have fun while I wander – and my kids or husband usually get some fun treat out of the deal. For this project I simply let myself wander, repeating the thoughts “summer…bucket list…summer” as the kids and I wandered through the store. In the end my collection included a fun pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, Sunny-D (catching the theme here, aren’t we?), a bag of gummy bears (Tyler’s pick for his teacher when I told him we needed a treat to add to the bucket), and some small buckets.
*the dollar store is my absolute favorite place to find inexpensive containers for gift baskets.
It looks pretty good all put together doesn’t it? Hopefully the teachers will like it and if not, they’ll still appreciate the sentiment.
I had purchased the buckets in a set of three so I had one leftover after putting together the two teacher gifts. I decided it would be great to use for a little Bucket of Fun for my kids on the last day of school. I wasn’t sure what I wanted in the bucket so I took a look at what I’ve done over the past few years (I wrote a blog post about some of our traditions last year. You can find it HERE)…then decided that wasn’t really helpful since my kids already had those items. 😛 So plan B was to just let things jump out at me and it worked great. One day at the grocery store I ran across those Milk Magic flavoring straws – Cotton Candy flavored! That’s something I knew my kids would love to try, so I picked them up. Another day Tyler was with me at the store and spotted the Slushies on the shelf. I told him we didn’t need them that day, then when he turned around I snuck them into the cart under the vegetables. And this past Sunday the bubble wands caught my daughter’s eye while we were looking for a birthday gift for a girl in Tyler’s class. 12 years old and she still thinks bubble wands are fun – great! So I let her grab the 5 pack, gave two to the kids to use that afternoon, put one in the birthday gift, and kept the other 2 for the bucket. Perfect.
Bring on the last day of school because we are now ready for it! Are you?? Maybe not, but just think of all those days we might be able to sleep in a bit instead of rushing out the door to school, and no homework and… 😉
For more Last Day of School (or teacher appreciation) gift ideas or End of School traditions with the kiddos feel free to check out:
–End of the Year Teacher Gifts in a Cup (my most Pinned blog post on Pinterest for the past month!)
–Super Powered Teacher Gift
–Crazy Cool Teacher Gift (this one was for Valentine’s Day but I think a “stay cool” spin on this idea would be awesome)
-my Last Day of School Traditions over the past few years