Christmas Card Books

So, I’m curious…what do you do with all of the Christmas cards you receive every year, once the holidays are over? In the past, I’ve tried to come up with ideas of storing, organizing or possibly displaying the cards, after all, most of them are so pretty, I can never seem to just toss them. Of course I don’t keep the ones from the orthodontist or the insurance agent, but I have a hard time discarding the beautiful photo cards that we receive from our family and friends. I love to see how all of my friends’ kids are growing each year, especially since many live far away and I don’t get to see them as often as I would like.  Well in my search for ideas, as I was “Pinteresting” one day, I came across a very cute and simple craft to solve this problem…the annual Christmas Card book. And I do mean simple, anyone can make this, regardless of how crafty you may or may not be.

Once the books are done, you can either store them or display them on your coffee table every Christmas and browse through them.  There are many different versions out there, you can truly make them as fancy or simple as you prefer. So here are my favorites…just click on the links in the photos for the simple instructions on how to assemble your Christmas Card Book:

Christmas Card Books, click here.

Christmas Card Books, click here.

Another version of the Christmas Card Book, click here.

Another version of the Christmas Card Book, click here.

Another interesting version, click here.

Another interesting version, click here.

And of course if you don’t have time to or like to craft, this book is about as simple as it gets… just put all the cards through a 1-inch ring binder, tie some cute ribbons on the ring, and it’s done!

86fae94e34fe2fd02bb6fc1f1fa6f517 (1)

Simple book…

This one is more of a Christmas Art Journal, but you can include your Christmas cards in it as well.  And again, you may embellish it as much or as little as you like.

Christmas Art Joural, click here.

Christmas Art Journal, click here.

What will you do with your holiday cards this year?  Do you have a special spot or way you display them, I’d love to hear!

Mason Jar Gifts for the Holidays

Mason jars are all the rage these days. From home decor to wedding centerpieces to light fixtures to stationery to housewares, mason jars make the perfect gift.  Every year I find myself searching for new and original Secret Santa gifts for friends and my daughter’s classmates.  This year I decided to make some gifts, using mason jars.  You can fit almost anything into a mason jar, tie it up with some ribbon, add a cute tag, and voila!  Here are some of my favorite mason jar gift ideas for the holidays:

M&M Poem Jar, click here.

I actually made this same exact one last year for a Secret Santa gift for my daughter’s school.  It came out so cute!  M&M Christmas Poem Jar, click here.

Hot Chocolate in a Jar, click here.

Hot Cocoa Mason Jars, click here.

For the golfer, click here.

Mason Jar for the Golfer, click here.

Chocolate Kisses Mason Jar, click here.

Chocolate Kisses Mason Jar, click here.

Peppermint Pampering Mason Jar, click here.

Peppermint Pampering Mason Jar, click here.

The Mason Jar Cookie Company, click here.

The Mason Jar Cookie Company, click here.

Spa in a Jar, click here.

Spa in a Jar, click here.

Santa Twizzlers Mason Jar, click here.

Santa Twizzlers Mason Jar, click here.

For the Baker, click here.

Mas Jar for the Baker, click here.

Nutcraker topped Popcorn & Peppermint Mason Jars, click here.

Nutcracker topped Popcorn & Peppermint Mason Jars, click here.

Crafts in s Jar, click here.

Mason Jar for the Craft Lover, click here.

Do you like mason jars?  If so, what do you use them for?



Fall Decorating

It’s that time of year when you drive around your neighborhood and many homes are beautifully (and sometimes very creatively) decorated for Fall or Halloween.  I’ve always loved decorating during this time of the year, as it eases everyone into the holiday mood. During our years living in Raleigh, when or daughter was much younger, I used to really spruce up our porch and decorate inside as well.

My front porch in my old home...

My front porch in my old home…(with my genie in the background!)

I must admit though, ever since we’ve been back in Miami, it’s always so hot and muggy, I really have been a bit lazy about decorating, aside from the wreath on the door.  I decided to get inspired again this year and turned to Pinterest for some new ideas. Here are some really different Fall and/or Halloween crafts and decorations  I’d like to share with you (I also love to stop by places like Pier 1 and Michael’s for inspiration):

The cutest minion pumpkin at my daughter's orthodontist offce.

The cutest minion pumpkin at the orthodontist’s office.



Pretty mums on the front porch, source unknown, found on Pinterest.


Very cute idea for baby's frist Halloween.  Photo courtesy of

Very cute idea for baby’s frist Halloween. Photo courtesy of



Beautiful fall wreath with burlap dressing, click here.



Pumpkin candy holders, very creative, click here.


A beautiful mantel, click here.

A beautiful mantel, click here.



Pumpkins made out of mason jar lids, click here.


finished halloween porch 001-1

Whimsical porch decor, click here.



Pumpkin tree, click here.



Southern monogrammed pumpkins, click here.


Photo Courtesy of Pottery Barn (few years back).

Photo Courtesy of Pottery Barn Catalog.

Do you like to decorate for Fall?  How does your family get ready for the season?  I’d love to hear your ideas!


Don’t Forget Dad

So Father’s Day is rapidly approaching us (in 6 days to be exact). Poor Dad sometimes get the shaft with the school made gifts, since school is usually finished by the time Father’s Day rolls around. Most teachers will prepare something with the kids beforehand, but in case your child’s teacher ran out of time this year, I’ve compiled a short list of cool gifts to purchase, as well as some creative gifts that your kiddos can work on this week and surprise Dad with on Sunday. Homemade gifts are always the most appreciated ones. You don’t have to be particularly crafty either, all you may need is a few supplies, which many of us usually have lying around, and you would be amazed at what you can create!

Gift my daughter prepared at school in 2nd grade for my husband.

Dad’s Day gift my daughter prepared at school in 2nd grade for my husband. Jar full of peanuts with a personalized label, and an attached Father’s Day Poem.

For the Dad that loves candy

Candy Basket with a special message Photo Courtesy of

Candy Basket with free printables
Photo courtesy of

For ice-cream loving dads (who doesn’t love ice cream?) try eCreamery’s Father’s Day Gift Packs. They offer flavors like World’s Coolest Dad and Dad’s Tub o’ Love and you can get packs of sorbet or gelato as well.

Father's Day Ice Cream Collection Gift Packs Photo Courtesy of

Father’s Day Ice Cream Collection Gift Packs
Photo courtesy of

Manly Gift Crates – I love the idea behind From the video-gaming dad, to the hunting dad, to the athletic dad, Man Crates has your manly-man covered. These gift bundles are like Christmas-in-a-box delivered to their door!

Legends of Baseball Crate Photo courtesy of

Daddy Days Father Son Activity Jar Photo courtesy of

Daddy Days Father Son Activity Jar Photo courtesy of

Mason jar filled with gummies! Photo courtesy of

Mason jar filled with gummies! Photo courtesy of

Father's Day Coupons Photo courtesy of

Father’s Day Coupons Photo courtesy of

Cupcakes for the griller Photo courtesy of

Cupcakes for dads that love to grill Photo courtesy of

Hanging mug necktie cookies Photo courtesy of

Hanging mug necktie cookies Photo courtesy of

Necktie Key Ring Photo courtesy of

Father's Day Treat & Beverage Labels Photo courtesy of

Father’s Day Treat & Beverage Labels Photo courtesy of

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads!

Thanks a “Bundt”ch…

Another school year comes to an end.  It seems like yesterday that my Caro was starting 7th grade, buying the new backpack, uniforms, all the excitement as to what the new year would bring, and all of the new memories to be made.  But, now she’s ready for summer and very much looking forward to the break.  For me, it’s always a time to look back and appreciate my daughter’s teachers, and what she has learned from them. While there’s always that one that was a bit difficult, (and makes us wonder why they chose to teach) overall, we have been fortunate, and my daughter had a great year, with some fantastic teachers that she really enjoyed and learned a lot from.

As I’ve mentioned, we are a crafty family, and we love to come up with cute, original teacher gifts, instead of the usual mug or pencil cup. In the past we’ve created scrapbooks, summer beach baskets full of goodies, etc.  We typically contribute to the end of year collection, but in addition, she likes to give each teacher something extra, just to show her appreciation. However, I thought this would be the year that we would not look for individual gifts, as she no longer has one teacher, but nine!  Boy, was I wrong. She tells me at the last-minute that we haven’t bought the teacher gifts yet and that we have to hurry up. What???  So we started brainstorming and browsing Pinterest, where I get a lot of my crafty ideas from. But most of the items seemed to be for teachers of younger grades, and we were running short on time.  So I decided to change it up this year, and perhaps get cupcakes or brownies, something that would be enjoyed, rather than just put away in a drawer.

Bundlet tower gifts

Bundlet tower gifts

That’s when I remembered a new place in town called Nothing Bundt Cakes (they sell nationwide). They make the most incredible, moist bundt cakes, in various flavors, such as Cinnamon Swirl, White White Chocolate, Red Velvet, and my favorite new flavor Strawberries & Cream, all topped with their signature cream cheese frosting. They come in several sizes, and in single servings, perfect for a quick gift or a party favor. Crisis averted.  I sent her to school this morning with all of the mini bundt cakes, wrapped up in cellophane bags, ribbons and cute tags, and she was thrilled! You don’t always have to spend a lot of money. You can have your child make something, especially the younger kids.  I think many people tend to forget how much our teachers influence our children, but I have a few close friends that are teachers. I know how hard they work and how much it means to them. Please make sure you thank your child’s teachers this year, a warm felt thank you can go a long way!


Different options for bundt cake gifts Photo Courtesy of Nothing Bundt Cakes

 Nothing Bundt Cakes
Pinecrest Location
9487 South Dixie Highway
MiamiFL 33156

Kendall Location
12030 S.W. 88th Street
MiamiFL 33186

Duct Tape Crafts for Summertime

My daughter discovered duct tape in the 4th grade. Her classmates introduced her to these wonderfully, colored tapes, which at first, she wasn’t too sure what to do with.  She came home from school one day and declared that we had to go to Michael’s or Target to get these colorful tapes to “make things out of”.  Now, let me start by saying that we are a pretty crafty family, and I love to frequent Michael’s and JoAnn’s for all of my scrapbooking needs.  However, I had not yet heard of these tapes, (aside from the usual black duct tape) and had no idea what she was talking about, so I put the request on the back burner.  After all, there was always a new fad in town…Webkinz, Littlest Pets, Silly Bandz, Perler beads, etc…

DuctTape3A few weeks later, while shopping at Target, she sees the tapes.  Back then, they were only available in solid bright colors like hot pink, aqua blue, lime green and so forth.  Of course, she wanted all of them, but at $5.99 a pop, I decided to only go with one and see how long the fad would last.  She started experimenting with the tape by making small, simple things like bookmarks, until she realized the girls  in her school were learning how to make some pretty elaborate wallets (and of course, in multiple colors).  I waited a bit to see how intense this new fad would become before I decided to purchase a few more colors.  Pretty soon my daughter was teaching herself how to make wallets, phone cases, pencil pouches, hair bows, bracelets, well, just about anything she could teach herself from internet tutorials!  And of course, she started customizing the items as well.  As with all fads, duct tape started coming out with all sorts of patterns, even holiday ones.

DuctTape1Fast forward a few years, and my daughter started selling her items at the school craft sale (all proceeds went to charity), where she was getting requests on a daily basis!  Needless to say, the fascination has died down a bit, as now she’s in 7th grade.  However, every once in a while, when she’s in her crafting mood, she will take out her tapes and think of new ways to craft with them.  Last year, she covered her school laptop bag with the tapes, and she still finds ways of decorating with them.  Well, at least I’m glad this fad lasted more than a few months…

Some of my daughter's creations!

Some of my daughter’s creations!

You can find many duct tape ideas on the internet and on the duct tape brand website. Here are some additional links to some other fun duct tape crafts your kids might enjoy…

Christmas Decorations Photo Courtesy of Joann Fabrics

Christmas Decorations
Photo Courtesy of Joann Fabrics

Flower Pens Photo Courtesy of Seven Sisters

Luggage Tags Photo Courtesy of Qreative Quail

Waterproof Beach Bag Photo Courtesy of

Waterproof Beach Bag
Photo Courtesy of

Mama & Me Journal

A few months ago, while browsing through Pinterest, I came across a very interesting item…the Mama & Me Journal.  This is basically a composition style notebook that you can create for your child and yourself, to write back and forth to each other, as if you were pen pals.  Sometimes, your child might feel embarrassed or even afraid to talk about some very important topics with you.  That’s why this notebook is perfect; as it allows them the freedom to ask questions or discuss concerns they may be having, (especially during the tough tween/teen years), without having an uncomfortable conversation with you. It’s important for your child to know that this is a private journal that only the two of you will be reading.

Even though my daughter is very open with me and we have some very honest talks, because I’m crafty, I really liked the idea and decided to try it out.  I found a cool pink and black composition notebook at Target, (you can use any type notebook or journal) and then downloaded the label from the original website. I then wrote my first entry, explaining how the journal works, and also as a dedication page.

Luckily, I discovered this project a few weeks before her 13th birthday, so I wrapped it up as one of her presents. She loved it and told me it was her favorite gift of all, and that it meant a lot to her.

For the past few months, we’ve exchanged journal entries. I also sometimes include insightful, interesting articles for girls her age, and I print them out and glue them inside the journal.  So far it’s going really well.  I know that she is enjoying it and I hope that she will look back in the years to come, and remember the things we discussed while she was growing up. Maybe one day she will create a journal for her and her daughter…

Keep Calm…

Once I decided on a name for my blog, my daughter thought it would be a cute idea to create a poster on the ever so popular Keep Calm and Carry On website.  This website is very entertaining and basically allows you to create your own Keep Calm poster.  With their Keep Calm Creator, you can play around with background colors, text colors, fonts and logos. Once you’ve created your poster, you can purchase items such as, mouse pads, key chains and iPhone cases with the poster image on them.

So, where did this “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster come from?  Many don’t know the history behind it, but the slogan was created for the third in a series of WWII posters drawn up by the UK Ministry of Information in order to boost the morale of the British people by passing on a message from King George VI. The original posters were the popular ones we’ve seen everywhere…white text on red background with the image being the royal crown of George VI. The reason that it’s become so popular is because the now famous poster was rediscovered in a box of old books bought at auction in one of the largest and most popular secondhand bookshops in Britain, Barter Books.  The owners hung it up in their shop, and soon after customers were asking if they could buy it, so the shop owners started selling fax copies of the poster.

Photo Courtesy of Barter Books

Photo Courtesy of Barter Books

My daughter has a lot of fun with this website, as there are many combinations you can make of this poster, even using your own colorful background.  You can also scroll through their gallery of posters that others have created, and edit them to your liking.  After playing around with it for a while, she created this poster for me in honor of my blog. Isn’t it cute?

The poster my daughter created.

The poster my daughter created.

What do you keep calm about?