Little Mermaid Party

Oh goodness, it has been awhile! I’m so happy to rejoin the world with this amazing post which details my two lovely daughters and their so-much-fun-I-couldn’t-help-it Little Mermaid party! Since my girls were born two years and 4 days apart they have the exciting privilege of sharing their birthday’s! I really try to make it completely special for both of them so I hope they agree with that as they get older!!

Little Mermaid Party

I wanted to create a themed party but not over the top with details. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who notices those little things and alas it’s a kid’s party! So I cut myself some slack, decided to have fun and not fuss over the little things (even the Little Mermaid things!)
IMG_2299 IMG_2300 IMG_2303 IMG_2305 IMG_2309 IMG_2311 IMG_2312 IMG_2313 IMG_2315 IMG_2316 IMG_2317 IMG_2323 IMG_2324 IMG_2325 IMG_2326 IMG_2335 IMG_2338 IMG_2342 IMG_2345 IMG_2347 IMG_2350 IMG_2354 IMG_2357 IMG_2360 IMG_2368 IMG_2370 IMG_2372 IMG_2379The giant Little Mermaid poster we bought on Amazon was really worth it and tied everything together! I had the wonderful cake made at our local bakery here in Milan and it was perfect! Of course I had to do the Little Mermaid tattoos (which doubled as take home gifts for the guests) and I bought little foam crowns for the birthday girls and added an Ariel sticker to the top! I bought chocolate gold coins from Amazon as treasure and displayed it in an old cool wooden box my father-in-law gave us. Then to make the food festive I broke out about 2 bags of brown sugar to make sand castles and lay my crazy crab snacks! They were gummy orange slices with toothpicks! The favorite of the party were my clam cookies! I bought Pepperidge Farm lemon cookies and Pink Lemonade frosting then added a pearl sixlets (which I found at Wal-Mart). They were the hit of the party!

The girls enjoyed tons of fun with the bean bag toss and taking pictures with Ariel! I have to say we had a blast and I know the girls will be talking about this one for a long time!

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Decor

Valentine's Day DecorValentine's Day Decor 7Valentine's Day Decor 1Valentine's Day Decor 6 Valentine's day decor 5Valentine's Day Decor 3 Valentine's Day Decor 2Valentine's Day Decor 8I adore Valentine’s Day. For obvious reasons, but my most favorite reason is all the pink! Pink candies, pink roses, pink hearts. It’s heaven. And you have to know by now that I love pink! I kept my decor simple this year by using a lot of my lovely Silhouette Cameo’s designs to give my decor a little paper punch! First with the framed “Adored” phrase and with the cursive “love” phrases as well. I can’t tell you enough about how much I love my Silhouette. I didn’t want my decor to be overly pink or red. I wanted it to blend naturally and effortlessly.  I used scrap fabric to wrap my heart wreath that I picked up at a rummage sale. Then I pinned some paper flowers to it with the love phrase. Overall it’s a simple touch of Valentine’s Day Decor that I can live with.

This Valentine’s Day we are writing love notes to each other & hand delivering them to our very own personal mailboxes. Love is such an essential part of our family life that it’s nice to have a special day dedicated purely to love. I think it’s in little actions too, not just words. Don’t get me wrong…I love notes and poems, they are essential. But I’m learning through my beautiful marriage and parenthood that love is a verb. I have to do something. I have to act in love, with love and for love.

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NASB

What special way are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year??

 

 

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Getting Organized for Today

Now that I’m officially a proud stay at home mom I am in need of a system. I need organization not just for my home but for my schedule (and sanity). I found these adorable mini-planners at Target and fell in love. I had been keeping everything on my Google Calendar but I like pretty things. And a girl can’t walk by this planner in the isle and pass it up. So one of my goals this month is to get my schedule laid out. The vacation is over. It’s time for serious time management! This will help me face each day with a goal in mind. That way I won’t feel like at the end of the day I’m asking myself “what did I accomplish?”

Getting Organized // Inspired By GivingThomas Edison wrote “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” I want to set up a game plan for the girls and for myself so that my days are navigated better. The purpose is to keep ourselves in motion. I want to include lessons each week that revolve around a theme like Virtues and Kindergarden prep. This will also give me some room to work in my office. If I dedicate time to the girls, I can schedule a set time for “Mommy to work.” I think they will understand instead of me trying to work here and there for 15 minutes at a time. I used my trusty label maker to add my phrase for the year on the inside of my planner so I can be reminded that grace not perfection is my goal. I used standard tabs but added a last one called “Grace”. Here is where I will write down those grace filled moments. The one’s where God covers my failure with His awesome, abundant & merciful love. I have to go back there and remind myself everyday of His grace. IMG_2206Getting Organized // Inspired By GivingOf course I have to include my favorite pencils from Amanda Catherine Designs. Check out her shop here. What are your organizational goals for this year?

 

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Begin Again: 2014

St.Teresa of AvilaGet the free printable here.

As I begin to clear my mind and heart for the New Year I’ve decided to commit to a personal phrase this year. One that will remind me that yes, sometimes defeat will come. But in spite of that I can start over. Each day is the chance for a fresh start. Each day is a mini-New Years. I love the story of Saint Teresa of Avila and her using this phrase to encourage fellow sisters in her convent after their confession. She would wait for them each individually and as they approached she would touch their shoulders and look into their eyes and say “Begin again! Begin again!”.

The Catholic faith teaches us that we are constantly converting to Jesus. Let our hearts experience many conversions back to Our Lord this year. Let us be reminded that with Him we can begin again.

What is your 2014 phrase? 

 

 

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Self-Donative Discipline

Happy New Year! I hope this Christmas and New Year have been as blessed for you as they have been for me! I’m posting today on a great newfound hobby of mine: discipline! Now that my lifetime prayer has been answered that I get to stay home with my two daughter’s I’ve quickly learned that I needed to take the reins on their discipline….and fast! I’ve been reading an amazing book called “Parenting with Grace.” It is incredible. I cannot tell you what a mind opening concept this approach to discipline has been for not just me but my husband as well.

Some of the key concepts really center around a Catholic parenting style called “Self-donative discipline”. The idea is that as Catholic’s we are called to serve our families like it’s our ministry field. Just as Christ served us we are called to serve our families with joy and humility even when we don’t feel like it. God gave us hands and feet and we are called to use our bodies to glorify Him. When I get up off the couch to grab my husband a glass of water or run upstairs to get my daughter’s blankie I’m serving them but the key is for my heart to be joyful about those acts of service not inconvenienced or annoyed. This is no easy task, but the self donative discipline say’s that by serving each other in love and modeling this type of behavior to our children we will model the behavior we expect of them in return. There are many incredible techniques and tips that this book offers and I encourage you to look more into Dr.Greg Popcak’s book to find out more.

I’ve also come up with a behavior chart and reward system that I can use on a daily basis with the girl’s and so far it’s really helped in  significant ways. Now in no way am I saying I’m an expert in this! Far from it. But I’m a learning mother who’s so in love with my children and husband so much that I want the very best environment for them. Constant growth in this area for me as a parent is crucial. Behavior Chart01

First I searched Pinterest for some quick ideas and came across many great ideas. But I needed something that I knew my girl’s would buy into. The Behavior Chart below was a perfect solution. Each morning both girl’s start out on the Excellent category. If a serious bad behavior happens I simply walk to the chart and move the child’s name to the next lowest category. I’m simply giving a warning that if we continue down this road the privilege will be lost. Enter the privilege tickets! I’ve heard of people rewarding with toys or candy (I believe I heard myself doing this) but I felt like that was a cheap reward. I wanted to girl’s to learn that a true reward is time with family not a sticker or chocolate. So on my ticket’s I hand wrote family activities like “Tickle time with daddy” or “read a book with just mommy” to create an opportunity for the girl’s to have one on one time with us but also look forward to being with us at the end of the day. Each day they get to pick one ticket from the jar and that is their privilege. (Just a side note: A trip to Chuck E. Cheese and an Ice cream ticket does exist in the jar as well!)

So far my oldest has really taken to the concept. My almost 2 year old still doesn’t completely  understand but that’s okay. She’s watching everything big sister does and that is a huge opportunity in in of itself. So like I said, I’m no expert but with prayer, humility, some tears and many victories I’m learning how to grow these beauties into loving, self-donative Christ followers who will model their faith as they grow.

No small task ;).Behavior Chart1Behavior Chart2What discipline techniques are working for you? Share below in the comments!

 

 

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Advent Calendar

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I decided to make my own Advent Calendar this year. I used a couple of great shapes from the Silhouette Online Store to create a cute and original calendar that would be fun for our family to use this Christmas and for many more to come! At the end of the post I’ve linked all the shapes I’ve used if you’d like to purchase them yourself.

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First I started with my tree shape and then cut out some small envelopes to act as the “doors” for the numbers for the month.

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Then I used the above Merry Christmas saying to put somewhere near the tree for extra cuteness! I really want my daughters to partake in the reading of scriptures for each day this Advent season. I want to create tradition’s for them that they will remember forever.

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After that I cut out the numbers for each of the days of the month and hot glued them inside the doors. IMG_1899IMG_1895

I rumaged thru my sticker pile and found some Christmasy stickers like the small font sayings and the red stars to keep the doors shut for each day.

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It helped to have additional Christmas tree shapes cut out for my little elves to decorate while I worked on my tree ;)

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I then hand wrote the scripture verses for each day so that we can open them up and read them as a family.

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Then I put every thing together in this shadowbox I had as a wedding gift from long ago. IT worked out great! IMG_1911 IMG_1910

What sort of Advent and Christmas traditions are you starting this year??

Christmas Tree shape (similar)

Envelope

Merry Christmas Saying

Numbers ( I used “Bebas” font)

Star Shape

 

 

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Goodnight Sweetheart: Big Girl Bed Party

It’s official! My first baby is in her own big girl bed now! I think this transition was more of a big deal for me than it was for her. She’s like “Mom, I got this!” If you read this post, you’ll know that I read that having a small party to celebrate the transition from crib to bed might make the process easier. Well, I’m here to say that it worked! Talking to my little one about the party day and that she would be sleeping like a big girl in her bed really helped. I didn’t go crazy buying party decor or getting cupcakes made from my FAVORITE bakery. Instead I used supplies I already had on hand and created memories by letting her make the cupcakes with me. I also tried to make the memory special for her. In the past in my party planning I’ve felt stressed and rushed and worried and that made the party more about me than it did the person I was throwing it for. This time I tried to focus more on the memory than the intricate details of the party. And the outcome was great! Scroll on for more pictures from the party!

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 We ended the night with family story time in her room. The girls loved it and Lauren slept in her big girl bed perfectly fine. As I went to bed that night I prayed for Jesus to help me not worry about her, and for me to handle the fact that she’s getting older each day….one more step in Mommyhood!

How did you handle the crib to bed transition? Share in comments below.

 

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Nature Inspired Decor

IMG_1742As Autumn approaches I always feel the need to decorate the house completely. It’s kind of like a second Spring. A new chance to start fresh. But this time I wanted to do something different and keep the colors more nuetral as opposed to your typical red and brown scheme.  I’m not an outdoorsy gal at all! But I really love looking at the outside from within my temperature controlled house! So I decided to bring a small branch inside to hang card stock paper leaves from. I think it turned out very cute! I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut the leaves, but you can use a template like this one from Martha Stewart. Then after I cut my leaf shapes, I ran them thru my sewing machine to add strings. Instead of cutting the string off short, I pulled it so it gave me some ability to hang them on the branches. Nature Inspired Decor // Inspired By Giving Inspired By Giving Inspired By GivingInspired By GivingInspired By GivingWhat Autumn decor are you putting in your house this year? 

Linking here: By Stephanie Lynn

 

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DIY Keepsake Boxes

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a keepsake box for the girls for a long time and I finally got around to putting something together. It was such a  simple and fun process. I can’t wait for the girls to get into the boxes every once in awhile! I figured I store them in my bookshelf in my studio so they can come in a look at them anytime they want. A keepsake box is the perfect place to store memento’s like cards or special artwork. Keep scrolling for the tutorial on how to make these fun and simple keepsake boxes!Keepsake Boxes1  Inspired By GivingIMG_1735I bought these two kraft boxes at JoAnn Fabric’s for about  bucks each with coupons.
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Then I broke out my trusty Martha Stewart paint roller and paper plate. I’ve had this “Warm White” craft paint forever for use on my Custom Nursery Art Canvases.IMG_1729

Then I used my Silhouette Cameo to create my stencils. I just added their names and then played with the fonts (see next picture).IMG_1726IMG_1727

Then my silhouette Cameo went to cutting…IMG_1728

After it finished cutting, I taped the names where I wanted them on the boxes. I figured I’d stack these boxes so I didn’t put the names in the exact same spot on each box.IMG_1730Then I began painting over top of the stencils. I added the small “triangle” piece that goes with the “A’s” and “R’s” to give it a finished look. I secured them temporarily with sticky glue.IMG_1731

I added a Dear Lizzy heart stencil on the tops of the boxes for extra cuteness!IMG_1734IMG_1732

Inside these boxes I’ve kept birthday cards, hospital hats and wrist bands, as well as special notes I’ve written for the girls.IMG_1736

And that’s it! Very simple and fun project that can be accomplished in about 20 minutes! IMG_1735Want to see more of my DIY Tutorials? Click here.

Wouldn’t this be a great gift for a new mommy?? Feel free to leave your lovely comments below…

Linking here: Bystephanielynn.com

 

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Autumn Porch

Autumn Porch  Inspired By Giving

Won’t your pull up with a soft blanket and a warm cup of Apple Cider on my front porch so we can chat?? This Fall has sort of slowly approached us. Easing into September from a cool and beautiful Summer. I’m ready. I’m all about this season with it’s crisp winds, crackling leaves, warm sweater’s, and pumpkin everything! So I thought I’d add a touch of warmth to our porch using my DIY Zipper Free Pillow Cases and my cute Monogram Embroidery Hoop. Be sure to check out those tutorials!Autumn Porch  Inspired By GivingAutumn Porch2  Inspired By Giving

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We’ve already been to the Apple Orchard this past weekend and had a great time eating warm pumpkin and apple donuts!

What are your favorite Fall activities? Any fun ideas for Toddlers? Please share your comments below!

 

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