Valentine’s Stationery

Make-your-own Valentine's craft activity: this is a great, open-ended activity for children. Just gather a bunch of craft supplies, leftover paper, etc. and get creative.

My daughter often leaves me notes at night wishing me a good night’s sleep, telling me what a great day she’s had or planting an idea in my mind for something we can do the following day. Sometimes she gets more inventive, like the time I opened my bathroom drawer to find a note that simply said “you are going to be pritty!” How awesome is that? Now I return the favor with lunchbox letters and bedside good morning notes.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it would be fun to have a stash of Valentine’s cards on hand for our daily love notes, so last weekend I set up a make-you-own-Valentine’s craft table.  (more…)

Digital Image to Printed Page: Custom Journals for Kids

My process for creating awesome and inexpensive custom travel journals for my children - so easy to create these on your phone.

Remember in the 80s when you made collages out of cut-up magazines, stickers and other print ephemera? Maybe you don’t. Anyway, these days collaging has gone digital, and my children love taking photos and layering on all sorts of drawings, stickers, text and other digital effects.

As soon as I saw how much my daughter loved taking pictures with her new phone, I introduced her to A Beautiful Mess, an app that let’s you add doodles, text, filters and other effects to photos. Soon after, she introduced me to Pic Collage. It’s been photo-editing bliss ever since.

With all of the images we captured at Disneyworld recently, I decided to up our game in the photo documentation area and create journals for Jason and Jenna using some of my photos along with some of the photos they ‘enhanced’ in their favorite apps. (more…)

Wish List: Desk Lighting

Desks have been quite a focus at our house lately: we recently added a desk to Jenna’s room, Jason’s desk received a Lego makeover and my desk, well, let’s just say that you can finally see it. Spending so much time at our desks has made me realize that we’re incredibly lacking in the lighting department, especially when it comes to my own workspace. Maybe one of these will make an appearance soon:

Desk Lamps: My Top Picks

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Weekend Snapshot

weekend snapshot

After weeks of gray skies, the sun finally made an appearance this weekend, and I spent much of my time soaking up evidence of the light with my camera. On a related note, I finally purchased a VSCO Film Pack, something I’ve wanted for quite awhile. The images in this weekend snapshot were all post-processed using VSCO Film 01, and I love the extra bit of drama it adds. (more…)

Mini Desk Makeover: Lego Style

A mini makeover of my son's desk including two super easy Lego DIY desk projects.

Recently both of my children have become focused on having desks in their rooms. I’d like to think it’s related to a desire to spend more time studying, but I know that’s not the case. Instead, I think they’ve taken an interest in defining their own space, and setting up desks for reading, drawing and placing their ‘stuff’ is just part of the process.

After the recent updates to Jenna’s room, I wanted to make some quick progress on Jason’s playroom (which we’ve already started calling his “office”). He already had a desk, but it was more of a surface for creating with Legos than it was a space for studying.

Over the weekend, I completely converted the space from Lego play table to Lego office space. And the best part: I did it using materials we already had on hand, without buying anything new. (more…)

Surprise, We’re Going to Disneyworld!

How to surprise your children with a trip to Disney: tips and a boarding pass template.

As I hinted in this post at the end of the year, we had a big surprise in the works for our children’s Christmas present. It was a crazy hard secret to keep over the 6+ months of planning. In the end, our pet fish nearly caused an unintended reveal on Christmas Eve. My daughter spotted my husband leaving the house to take the fish to a friend’s. I’m not sure how well his story about Jeremy wanting to “practice having a fish before buying one” covered our secret, but it was all he could think of at the moment. (more…)

Bedroom Update: A Chalkboard Wall

Creating a chalkboard accent wall in a girl's bedroom. Such a great design for someone who loves to draw.

Doodling is something both of my children do with regularity, but with Jenna, there is almost a constant flow of output from pencil to paper.  She has notebook upon notebook of drawings and writings, and I have piles and piles of paper featuring the same. While I love displaying and collecting her work, I’ve also been thinking about giving her a giant chalkboard to capture some of this exploratory art.

Over the holiday break, I decided to tackle this idea and combine it with a mini-update to her room since she has also been asking for her own desk. And instead of a “giant chalkboard,” I went all in: a chalkboard wall. (more…)

Guest Post: Open Shelving Display

Open kitchen shelving with a DIY project for labelled jars.

We’ve just returned from a week-long vacation to Florida, and while the rest of the world is defining big aspirations for the year ahead, I’m setting a goal to crawl out from under a massive pile of laundry before returning to work on Monday.

For those of you ready to tackle bigger home organization goals, here’s a post I shared earlier this week on Modern Parents, Messy Kids about my recent updates to my open kitchen shelving, including a tutorial on labelled glass jars. Definitely a great project for anyone in need of more pantry storage.

Handmade Gift: Etched Glass

Create a simple, elegant gift with this glass etching tutorial. I'm going to etch glass jars and fill with cookies for our neighbors.

I was working on my next post for Modern Parents, Messy Kids this weekend, and I decided to do a test run of glass etching before tackling the project for the post. I had the impression that creating an etched glass effect would be difficult, but it turned out to be incredibly easy.

If you need any last-minute gift ideas, or if you are delivering cookies to anyone this week and want to personalize the container, I highly recommend this etched glass project. (more…)

Holiday Home 2014

We're going minimal in a major way with our holiday decor this year. And our reason? It's a secret!

Remember last year when we participated in our town’s holiday home tour? (if not, see here, here and here). Well, this year’s Christmas decor is decidedly minimal in comparison. We have our reasons, but they’re a secret, at least to our children. So when I found out that my son asked my husband last night “when are we going to decorate for Christmas,” I felt a little guilty.

We can’t tell him why, but I’m willing to bet, on Christmas Day, he won’t mind a few less wreaths on the walls and significantly less glitter on the floors. (more…)

Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Tomodachi Life


Nintendo DS3 Animal Crossing New Leaf and Tomodachi Life reviewed by a six-year-old.

My children’s school recently introduced a program into their curriculum that teaches the basics of programming in a fun, video-game-like manner. While the coding curriculum hasn’t reached Jason or Jenna’s classroom yet, I’m super excited for when it does. Like most kids their age, my children LOVE video games, especially with our recent purchase of the Nintendo 2DS. But they also talk at times of becoming game designers. I secretly love this idea, probably because I’m biased toward technology (a field in which my husband and I are both employed).

So when I was invited by Clever Girls Collective to review two new Nintendo games with my daughter, I jumped at the chance. It was the perfect opportunity to talk to her about game design – what makes a game fun, what makes her continue to play, how would she design it to make it even better?

We received two Nintendo 3DS games: Animal Crossing™: New Leaf and Tomodachi Life. Both can be played on the 2DS as well. (more…)

Weekend Snapshot

weekend-gingerbread1

Decorating gingerbread houses is an annual holiday tradition in our family. This year’s two-house event was definitely scaled down compared to last year’s village creation, but we still had a messy fun time and Jason’s house definitely achieved a new record of colorfulness. Before we began, I separated all of the green, red and white Jelly Bellies from the rainbow of colors … to maintain a common palette, of course. Somewhere along the way, however,  Jason discovered the banned colors and covered his roof in them. And I have to admit, his house is my favorite one yet. (more…)

My Fave Photo Calendars for 2015

 

So many calendars, so little time. Love these 2015 custom photo calendar designs - especially the wooden clipboard one.Every year around this time, I print a photo calendar for the upcoming year, using pictures from the previous year. I usually choose a standard monthly wall calendar, but this time, the design options seem to have exploded. Another great feature this time around:  mobile apps that let you create a calendar directly from your phone. So many great calendar designs, so little time left to choose.

Above are a few of my favorite calendars for 2015, below are the calendar sources:

01 Artifact Uprising / 02 Pinhole Press / 03 Minted / 04 Printic / 05 Printstagram / 06 Pinhole Press