Having a Simple Holiday

I don’t know about all of you, but I am starting to get in the holiday spirit. With Thanksgiving so early this year it was throwing me off, but now I realize that means we have an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

My family is coming up to Seattle for Thanksgiving, which means we are headed to California for Christmas time. Having the extra week between the holidays will help us feel like we aren’t missing out on our favorite Christmas stuff in Seattle. Traveling over the holiday also requires me to be that much more organized for Christmas. So my theme for the holidays this year is “Simple and Lovely.”

To help with the organization part of the holiday I am participating in Amy Volk’s (who I met at Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago) “6 Weeks to a Simple Holiday.” This is week 1 so don’t worry, you aren’t behind if you want to participate too. I am hopeful that it will help me be even more organized and have less stress this holiday season.

Each year I like to create a craft or two for the holidays. Some years it is simple like paper snowflakes. Other years it is more work, like a hanging advent calendar. To keep with my Simple and Lovely theme I am going to create a holiday banner. It doesn’t take long to complete and has a great impact. Below are the instructions.

“Believe” Triangle Banner

Supplies – 12×12 scrapbook paper (the heavier the better) in various patterns, coordinating ribbon, glue, white paper, vellum or colored to print on, complementary colored paper, scissors and template

1. Print template and cut out along lines. There are three pages, a triangle designed for 8.5” x 14” paper, the letters and larger background oval

believe banner (1 of 8)

2. Trace triangles on scrapbook paper and cut out. I use an exacto knife and ruler to get a straight edge.

believe banner (2 of 8)

3. Fold over top 1” to form pocket for ribbon and trim extra paper on edges. If you have wider ribbon, make a bigger pocket.

believe banner (5 of 8)

4. Trace large oval on complementary color paper and cut out. You could punch this or use decorative scissors.

believe banner (3 of 8)

5. Glue letter oval to larger colored oval. If you are using vellum, be sure to use vellum glue.

believe banner (4 of 8)

6. Place ribbon on back of triangle and glue 1” of paper down over ribbon creating a pocket. Cut the ribbon to the desired length.

believe banner (6 of 8)

7. Attach letters to triangles.

believe banner (7 of 8)

8. Hang and enjoy.

believe banner (8 of 8)


Hope you are able to have a Simple and Lovely holiday season.


Linking up with

Mama’s Losin’ It

Jack’s New Digs

Jack’s room update project is finally complete. I should say that this was Jim’s project and I had very little to do with it, so good job Jim.

When Jack turned three he got his big boy room which was centered around a handmade Lightning McQueen bed. Jim made the bed and I painted the side. The room also featured a hand-painted Cars logo and character decals on his walls.

Now that he is almost seven it was time for an update and Jack decided he wanted a Transformers room. Originally the bed was going to be repainted to match Bumblebee, but Jim and Jack got together and decided that instead it would be cooler if they made a new Optimus Prime bed. At this point I said “I am out!” and let them work on it.



Jack is so happy with his room. He wants to show anyone who comes over it. Jim added a lot of creative touches too, like a real tire, a smoke stack made from ducting and some Autobot medallions. Jim vows that this is the last bed he is making. Does anyone want to take bets on that?

Baby Book Burden

One of my goals this year is to get lingering projects checked off my list. If you are like me, you probably have a growing list of family projects you would like to complete — family photo albums, video, kids’ projects — but for some reason (some good, some not so good) they don’t get finished. I am tired of having them on my list, so this is the year that I will resolve unfinished business.

The big one right now is Will’s baby book (I know he is two, but Jack’s didn’t get done until he was two as well.) Before Jack was born I decided that I was going to create a scrapbook baby book, instead of one where you just write the milestones down. I have made scrapbooks before about big trips I have taken, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. Little did I know — I am probably at least 50 hours in on Will’s and still not close to being done. While I know I will appreciate it once it is complete, right now I just want to finish it. Last night my Mother asked how it was going. My reply, “Slow.”

Originally I thought that I would complete the boys’ first year in a scrapbook baby book and then I would do family scrapbooks after that. No way man, I am done. I don’t know how one finds the time or money to be able to do all of one’s family albums this way. Several of the bus stop moms do and I applaud them, because the completed books are beautiful, but it is not for me. My plan is to complete Will’s book and then make photo books online with the rest of our family photos (the six years’ worth that I haven’t completed yet.)

I read that the traditional scrapbook industry has been declining since 2006 as the digital scrapbook market is growing. There is still $1.6 billion dollars spent annually on traditional scrapbook supplies (and I have significantly contributed to that) so many people are still doing them and doubt they will go away completely. But for me, the time has come to embrace the digital age when it comes to creating a visual chronicle of our family memories. And I am just fine with that.

What type of baby book or family photo albums do you prefer? Is it a hobby or an obligation?

Badges of Fun

backyard-badgeI recently was introduced to Family Fun magazine by a friend and neighbor. She always has great ideas for the kids, so I thought I would give it a try.

In the June/July issue they launched Badges of Fun to celebrate their 20th birthday. During each month for the next year families can earn badges by participating in themed activities. Once the month’s activity is complete you are able to post photos on their website and be eligible for some prizes. You can also print out the badges you have completed and display them on the poster.

For June/July the badge is called backyard fun. Some of their suggestions were to camp in your backyard (hmm my bed is too comfortable to do that and the kids are too little to do it on their own), play twilight games (would love to, but it doesn’t get dark until 10 p.m. right now) and make garden art (ding, ding, we have a winner.)

badges of fun (1 of 5)
badges of fun (2 of 5)  badges of fun (3 of 5)

One Friday night we made painted rocks for the flower beds. I found some outdoor paint in a few colors, had a handful of paint brushes and our yard has plenty of rocks. We all sat down on the garage floor and went to work. Will ended up with more paint on his clothes and hands than on the rocks (thank goodness I changed his clothes.)

We only had about six colors, so soon enough we started mixing colors to make new ones. It was a good lesson for Jack about what colors mix to make other ones; impromptu science lesson, who know that would happen.

badges of fun (4 of 5) badges of fun (5 of 5)

Once the rocks were dry (a few hours later) and it had stopped raining (a few days later) we placed them out in our flowerbeds. Both boys thought it was fun to put them in groups near some of the flowers. It was a great project, the perfect balance of something Will could do and still challenging for Jack. We have our first badge complete and we  checked something off our Summer Fun List.

A Mod Podge Valentine

boysAbout ten days I got an email from Jack’s teacher asking for help with the class Valentine’s Day party, because she was going to out of town at a funeral. Of course I would do the party. After an early morning meeting to get some ideas from her we were on our own. One of the other moms was helping as much as she could, but she had her older son’s party too.

A couple trips to Michael’s and some bus stop conversations later I had a plan. We were going to have 5 stations for activities/crafts and a game or reading station. Lots of cutting, gluing and copying later samples were made and the supplies were ready for 22 Kindergartners.

Our homework project was to make Jack’s Valentine box. I sent Jim and Jack to Michaels (we should really buy stock in the store) for supplies. They came home with a cardboard box, tissue paper, mod podge and stickers. If you haven’t used mod podge for a craft project you really should, it is basically making paper-mache. We used it to decorate the box with the tissue paper. Jack was funny when we were working. He hates to get his hands dirty, so he kept picking it off his fingers.

IMG_2191  hearts

Of course I decided that getting all the stuff ready for the party and making Jack’s Valentine box wasn’t enough, I needed to add another craft to our plate. We decorated wooden hearts with red, magenta and pink tissue paper using mod podge for the grandparents and aunts and uncles. Jack’s favorite was painting the mod podge on the hearts, because he didn’t have to get his hands dirty. Will wanted to get in on the act, but there was no way I was going to take that on, so he sat in his high chair with books. I had rediscovered my love of mod podge, just wait for more mod podge projects in the future. (How many times can I say mod podge in one paragraph or post.)

Fast forward to today. The room is all set-up for the projects, cookie decorating, card making, heart lions, valentine fuzzies, paper woven hearts. The kids had fun and made it through all the projects well. I think the favorite projects were the cookies and the valentine fuzzies. The fuzzies are pom poms glued to a heart for feet with eyes and antennae. The heart lions are made of different sized hearts and googly eyes. For the paper woven hearts, the kids cut out the pattern in two different colors and wove them into a basket weave pattern. It was rewarding to see them all happily completing their projects.

woven heart  jack lion 

fuzzies  lion

Will didn’t miss out on all the Valentine’s Day fun. At Kindermusik today he got a heart stamp on his hand. I decided that it would be fun to treat the boys to the heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s for dinner, since anytime Will hears the oven timer he comes running in saying pizza.

will hand

Hope you all had a Happy Valentine’s Day and all my packages arrived on time. I know Auntie Jean got hers. (Thanks for the call.) I got to spend mine with my 3 Valentine’s.

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