DIY Disney Countdown Calendar

#Disney themed Countdown Calendar: countdown from ten days to one |

When something super exciting is coming up, like a trip to Disney World, Christmas morning or the anticipation of a new sibling, little kids have a hard time grasping the concept of time and waiting. With a sister who’s about to pop with kid number three and a brother-in-law/sister-in-law who are Disney members who travel to Disney destinations often, I thought it was fitting to help their little ones learn the concept of time with a countdown calendar.

#Disney themed Countdown Calendar: 10 days to Disney pages |

My good friend Liz helped me out by die cutting a few Mickey shapes for use on my flip cards. I was making two of these calendars so two sets of cards “one” through “ten” were needed.

#Disney themed Countdown Calendar: countdown from ten days to one |

After punching holes at the top and stringing them onto these Ikea frames (Yes, I had more of them even after using 12 for Brielle’s birthday party) I felt like they still needed something. So I turned to my trusty crafting assistant:

#Disney themed Countdown Calendar: ribbon helping ribbon selection |

The girl was right. It needed some ribbons. Into the ribbon jars we went searching for some red, white, yellow or black ribbon scraps.

#Disney themed Countdown Calendars|

We found the perfect amount to add a little texture to the top of the book rings. These two countdown calendars were complete! (and yes I know their last names rhyme!)

Brielle peeking over the craft table helping

But wait! My crafting assistant asked “but mommy, how will they know what to do with it?” to which I replied “good point, Brielle. We need a poem explanation!” FUN FACT: One of my favorite items of my childhood was my rhyming dictionary that I used often to write little poems usually in the ABCB rhyme scheme. I’ve carried this love into my adulthood, as you’ve seen my poem skills put to use several times on this blog including Allie’s Year of Date Nights gift, Vanessa’s Wine Gift and the Mommy’s Time Out Gift.

#Disney themed Countdown Calendar: Poem explains gift |

I wrote out this little diddy and hung it on a black gift bag. (YES the ones left over from our wedding hotel bags. I might as well have named this project my ultimate Use Your Stash Challenge!)

#Disney themed Countdown Calendars |

Voila! I now had two fun DIY projects to gift to our families over the holiday! I hope they get good use out of them to countdown ten fun days to their next adventures!

In fact, I know my niece Brinley will be using hers come April since they invited us to join them down in Disney! It will be Brielle’s first time on a plane, in a hotel, at Disney and all the other first that come along with that fun!

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Craft Dictator, Just A Girl And A Blog, Thirty Handmade Days, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Your Home Based Mom, Flamingo Toes, Second Chance to Dream, Sew Can Do, The Girl Creative, Pink When,


15 Funny Parenting Facts

15 funny "facts" about #parenting from a first time mom |

I hope to give you a little chuckle or have you nod along with these “facts” you will find true once you have your own little bundle of joy. See all my other monthly parenting topics here.

first time mom funnies |

FACT: When baby is sleeping, you will make new choices on what you eat. Yep, sleeping babies = quiet foods. If you want some chips from a crinkly bag, you better open them in the basement! Want your food heated up in the microwave? You better open that puppy up before it counts down to zero and beeps!

FACT: When baby is sleeping, Your phone/computer/camera/glass of water/remote/notebook will be RIGHT out of your reach. This is of course true for babies sleeping soundly on you, especially during those early newborn weeks.

FACT: When baby is sleeping, you will find every squeaky floorboard in the house. That or you will do a creepy dance down the hallway hitting all the non squeaky spots along the way. It will be quite a dance to watch dad do!

FACT: When baby is sleeping, you will inevitably forget to turn your phone volume down, drop anything you carry and set off every motion sensor toy in the room.  Seriously, you’re never as loud as when you’re trying to be quiet. It’s science.

FACT: When baby is sleeping, dad will sleep soundly even when baby wakes up. Upon giving birth moms gain the ability to wake up upon hearing a baby stir but for some reason dads to not generally gain this super power. It’s annoying but actually pretty impressive too.

FACT: When baby is sleeping, you will hear the volume of the world around you in a whole new light. Why are those loud speakers in stores SOOOO loud? And don’t even get me started on the squeaky wheels on the carts at Home Depot.

baby name garland |

FACT: You will find yourself putting your finger under their nose to check their breathing at least once. Or twice. Or 100s of times. Especially when you’re in the hospital right after they’re born. They sleep so peacefully still!

FACT: You will drive differently (hopefully) after baby. My husband said driving home with our new daughter from the hospital was one of the scariest drives of his life. It was only a 15 minute drive but I’m sure you’d believe me if I told you it took up over 35. Slow and steady, within reason, my friends.

diy monthly onesie with iron on letters |

FACT: Only you as the parent understands how many weeks convert to how old a baby is in months. And even that isn’t always true! Instead of saying “38 weeks” just tell people the closest month her age is, even going as far as 1/2 months if you need to be so particular.

FACT: You will become one of those people who sniffs their child’s butt or even peeks in the diaper. It’s gross but it will happen. Hopefully you don’t do it in a place of eating (ahem – shout out to a certain someone I know)!

FACT: Never in your life will you talk about poop as much as you do with a newborn. Color, frequency, texture, timing. With your partner, mother, friend, doctor. Poop is no longer on the off topic list.

FACT: Baby farts are funny. They just are. No matter where they happen or when. They still make me giggle. (PS did I just write “baby farts” on my blog?)

FACT: Everyday life will turn into a Broadway play, cooking show or your very own self hosted talk show. I just find I’m always talking out loud teaching her everything from how to scrunch my hair in the shower in case she also has wavy hair or how I make baked pork chops for dinner. When she was younger, I’d sing anything, just for the sake of a melody that would help me sway in a rhythm to get her to sleep.

Brielle tummy time 10 weeks |

FACT: Every milestone is amazing, but mostly only to you and your baby’s daddy. Yes grandmas and grandpas or even aunts and uncles can be just as excited when your little one smiles, walks or talks. But don’t be surprised if your friends or family aren’t as excited for those mini milestones, like reaching for toys, passing things from one hand to another or touching their toes. Hopefully they’ll at least fake their excitement for you!

FACT: You will call your significant other mommy or daddy even when baby isn’t around. It will just slip out. Daddy can you grab me a soda? Mommy can you pass me the remote?  It’s your new identity anyway so might as well use it at home!


Use Your Stash Challenge: Sunflower Stickers

#Gift Idea: Handmade Greeting Cards. See one coordinated set feauring sunflower stickers |

You may remember that every Christmas I gift my mom a set of handmade cards. I think (hope?) that she uses them all throughout the year to send to family and friends. You may also remember that I craft these babies up early – like August early.

#Gift Idea: Handmade Greeting Cards. See one coordinated set feauring sunflower stickers |

Like last year when I made the polka themed cards with the stamped sayings, I decided to choose a color palette, sticker (sunflowers) and make a coordinating set that was easy to whip together. After a little bit of time and brown fingers (from all the ink edges I did), she now had a set of 12 greeting cards for different occasions.

#Gift Idea: Handmade Greeting Cards. See one coordinated set feauring sunflower stickers |

The cost? $0 because I used all items I already had in my stash, including the cardstock I used to make the card bases! Luckily I had an overstock of envelopes left over from our wedding and a stash of sunflower stickers that needed to be put to good use.

Use paper scraps to create handmade cards |

In typical fashion, after I created the cards, I made sure to get one last use out of the scraps and put together this quick punch gallery style card using the bits and pieces left over. Scraps from my scraps!

A quick and easy DIY gift idea you can do in little time and little $ but make a big impact!

Supplies: Patterned paper: K&Company | Stickers: Martha Stewart Crafts, Jolee’s Boutique | Stamps: Kelly Purkey, Inkadinkado, Hero Arts

Shutterfly 50 Free Prints 300x250


Construction Truck Themed Growth Chart with Deco Art

DISCLOSURE: I am part of the DecoArt Blogger Program and was provided product samples. I only promote and share products I personally use and recommend! To learn more, please review my disclosure policy here.

Construction Truck Themed Growth Chart using @DecoArt_Inc Paints |

Brielle has been growing like a weed and I can tell you this since we track her growth on the hot air balloon growth chart hung in her nursery. I can now say the same about my nephews since I gifted them a DIY Portable Growth Chart of their very own this Christmas! I offered to paint them a design of their choice if my brother-in-law would prep the board. He painted the board a green base (from something they already had in the home) and my oldest nephew, Blake, chose “Construction Trucks.”

Americana Acrylic Paints from @Decoart_Inc used on a construction themed growth chart |

I was lucky enough to partner with Deco Art on this project to use my favorite Americana acrylic paints. I just love how well they cover and how fast they dry. I did have to paint a second coat with some of the colors, but I really think this was due to the glossy base coat my brother-in-law applied and not a fault of the Americana paint. I know this from my past experience with this paint when doing Allie’s Alphabet Blocks!

Construction Truck Themed Growth Chart using @DecoArt_Inc Paints |

After a few nights where I’d find 30 minutes here or there, the growth chart was complete! The best part was gifting it at Christmas. My sister, who was 7 months pregnant with her third, had not yet revealed the baby name to family or friends. She told me the name so that I could paint it on the chart and she could open it at Christmas.

Construction Truck Themed Growth Chart as Name Reveal |

If you remember, my family is now a fan of gender reveals after her Balloons in a Box reveal and our Fortune Cookie Gender Reveal.

Construction Truck Themed Growth Chart using @DecoArt_Inc Paints |

I can’t wait to see it hung up! And to meet little Jared in March!

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Toddler’s First Trail Mix with Happy Family Brands

DISCLOSURE: I was provided product samples by Happy Family brands for this post and giveaway, but this really is something Brielle enjoys at home regularly! I only promote and share products I personally use and recommend! To learn more, please review my disclosure policy here.

Toddler's First Trail Mix featuring @HappyFamily - mix and match textures sizes and shapes during snacktime |

There are LOTS of things I hope Brielle learns from me, but my picky eating habit is not one of them! The truth is that she actually makes me eat better as she watches everything that goes in my mouth and wants to share.  So yes, mommy now chooses yogurt, string cheese or a fruit instead of that bowl of M&Ms that sits in our living room. (ok so I sneak some M&Ms occasionally)

Toddler's First Trail Mix featuring @HappyFamily - mix and match textures sizes and shapes during snacktime |

When it comes time for a snack between meals I’m always looking for a healthier option for her and luckily Happy Family Brands helps provide that! You’ve already seen how we love their pouches from her first attempts at solids and how she and her cousins enjoyed some toddler cookies as a special fall snack. But check out this assortment of other snacks to enjoy!

Toddler's First Trail Mix featuring @HappyFamily - mix and match textures sizes and shapes during snacktime |

Brielle has already shown her love of Happy Puffs and I tweeted how she asked for “more” Happy Yogis when she sees the bag. But this time around she got to try Happy CreamiesHappy Munchies, including their crisps (which Brielle calls “crackers”) and these ones shown above which look like cheese puffs (only healthy!)

Toddler's First Trail Mix featuring @HappyFamily - mix and match textures sizes and shapes during snacktime |

To make the sampling process more fun for her, I like to mix and match some of the flavors, colors and shapes together and create her first Toddler Trail Mix!

Toddler's First Trail Mix featuring @HappyFamily - mix and match textures sizes and shapes during snacktime |

She’ll sit there and sift through her mix picking out the things she likes first and then hunting around for more before trying out a different flavor/texture/shape.

Toddler's First Trail Mix featuring @HappyFamily - mix and match textures sizes and shapes during snacktime | spotofteadesigns.comIt was very apparent during this photo shoot that the crisps or “crackers” as she calls them are a hit!

Thank you again to Happy Family Brands for supplying these yummy toddler trail mix pieces! To learn more, visit their website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | Instagram


Handmade with Love XIX: 2014 Christmas Creations

If As a crafter, I know how long it takes to make some handmade gifts. Items I receive need more than the few minutes of love I can give it, so I’m happy to post these Handmade with Love posts that showcase great handmade cards or gifts I have received.

I know Christmas is over but I always want to make sure to give special attention to the handmade Christmas cards received each year! This year’s collection were sent by Handmade With Love veterans!

Christmas Card 2014: handmade by Catherine Scanlon as featured on

Catherine Scanlon, of Art from the Heart.

Christmas Card 2014: handmade by Holly Craft as featured on

Holly Craft, from Today’s Creations

Christmas Card 2014: handmade by Pat M as featured on

And Pat, a long time family friend who’s stamping and embossing techniques are always welcomed on my Christmas card wreath!

If you’re aching for more, go back and check out the 2011 Christmas Creations, 2012, or  2013 here!


DIY Gift: Wood Photo Transfer Gift with Deco Art

DISCLOSURE: I am part of the DecoArt Blogger Program and was provided product samples. I only promote and share products I personally use and recommend! To learn more, please review my disclosure policy here.

DIY Gift: Photo Transfer on Wood Tutorial with @DecoArt |

Ever go through Pinterest and continually have the same looks catch your eye? Transferring photos onto wood is that technique for me! I finally got the chance to try this technique out for a Christmas present for my mom. While the finished piece does look good, make sure you read all the way through to learn from my mistakes and how I created the final version you see above.

Wood Photo Transfer Gift using @DecoArt DecouPage |


To create this technique you need a photo copied image. Not a laser printed one from your home computer, but a photo copy from an office supply store or a helpful hubby at work. Tip: If you have any text on your image or want to remain true to the original orientation, make sure you flip it horizontally before printing.

Wood Photo Transfer Gift using @DecoArt DecouPage |

Sand (if needed because I did) and paint your wood plaque to prep it for application. I chose Deco Art Snow Titanium White as a base color. I LOVE how WHITE it was!

Wood Photo Transfer Gift using @DecoArt DecouPage |

They say to cut your photo copied image to the size of your surface but my image was too small. Instead I made sure it had the same size margin all the way around.

Wood Photo Transfer Gift using @DecoArt DecouPage |

Apply a GENEROUS layer of Decoupage Photo Transfer medium on both the wood surface and the front of the photo copy image. Lay the image face down on the wood plaque, pressing out all the air bubbles and allow to sit overnight.

Now I need to #KeepItReal here and show you my first attempt where I put WAAAAYYY too light of a layer on and this was the result when I started to do the removal process:

Wood Photo Transfer Gift using @DecoArt DecouPage. Attempt one. Read my post to learn from my mistakes and how it worked great on attempt two! |

Learn from my mistake and put on a generous layer! (To fix this, hubby just sanded the design off and I repainted and reapplied a GENEROUS layer of the medium on and we were back on track!)

DIY Wood Photo Transfer Tutorial |

Ok back to the tutorial! Once thoroughly dried, lay the plaque on a towel, dip a rag in some water and let it sit on the plaque for a minute or two. Use the rag to start rubbing away the photo paper. You’ll see it start to roll up and leave the image on the wood. Don’t be afraid to put a little force in there!

DIY Gift: Photo Transfer on Wood Tutorial with @DecoArt |

Allow it to dry a bit, review and repeat. I did this a few times to make sure I got all the white photo copy paper off and didn’t leave a cloudy look over the image. Once complete I painted the edge black, added another layer of the medium on top to seal the whole thing and lined the outside with baker’s twine (left over from our wedding invitations).

DIY Gift: Photo Transfer on Wood Tutorial with @DecoArt |

I added a little clip on the back so she has the option to hang it or just sit it on a mantle and display it!

Learn more about Deco Art via their website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Youtube.



How To Be More Efficient With Your Time

How to be more efficient with your time |

Hello 2015!

I’m not saying I’m perfectly organized. I’m no Martha Stewart. I have crumbs on my counters, toys all over my living room and a pile of magazines from the past six months that I haven’t read. For the sake of the whole New Year Resolutions thing, I’m sharing a few ways to be more efficient with your time to kick off 2015 with a more organized life!

Use simple tools:

  • Write to do lists. Having goals written out helps you focus on what needs to get done. Crossing things off your list is also such a visual pat on the back to keep you motivated for future tasks!
  • Use a digital calendar. Sign up for a Google calendar and share it with your partner or family members. This allows you to see who’s doing what and when. My husband and I use ours ALL THE TIME as it’s displayed right on the homepage of both our smartphones but also connects to our emails. It’s accessible at work, at home, or when we’re out making appointments.

Think ahead:

  • Start the morning by setting up or completing a self-sufficient chore.  By this I mean setting up the washing machine, dishwasher or some other task that can be completed while other things are happening. If you don’t want to have machines running while you’re not home, at least put the items in and add the detergents so it’s all ready to be turned on when you return home.
  • Meal plan. Sit down and read through the grocery ad with two papers nearby:  one for the grocery list and one for the menu for the week. Display your menu someplace where other family members can see so they can help you remember if something needs to be defrosted for that night or can help you prepare when it’s time to get cooking! Bonus: meal planning helps you save money as it will allow you to use ingredients made for multiple days of the week. Our favorite thing to do it grill chicken one day and use it for wraps, fajitas or quesadillas during the week.
  • Set up payments of your bills. Most credit cards, insurance plan and utilities can be paid through online banking these days so use these opportunities to your benefit. For items that are a set payment date and amount every X month(s), like car insurance or a mortgage payment, set this up as an auto payment.  For other bills that are different each month, set up the payment THE DAY YOU GET THE BILL. I’m not saying you have to PAY it that day but sit down and set up the payment to happen the day the bill is opened. This way you won’t forget, missing a payment and receive a late charge.
  • Get creative on where you find time. When working on Brielle’s Halloween costume, I packed myself a bag with all the cut pieces, thread, needle, and travel scissors. When I was a passenger on a long car ride, I pulled out my sewing kit and got to work putting a few pieces together. If you’re not prone to sea sickness, don’t let that passenger time go to waste!

Evaluate your email inbox:

  • Use folders in your email. Anyone who has ever worked with me knows that I love my digital folders and my spreadsheets! These two digital tools can help create an organized digital space so I can have a quick and efficient experience online.  Take the time to turn that messy inbox into a beautiful archive of your written correspondence. Create folders about topics (example: bills, online orders) or separate them by events (example: wedding planning, baby showers).  If you feel the need to keep EVERY email from a specific person or email newsletter, create a folder for it and it get it out of your immediate inbox.
  • If you’re a blog reader, unsubscribe from email newsletters and use Bloglovin! Bloglovin allows you to read all the blogs you love in one place. Once you create an account, you add all the blogs you love to your account and read through them in a news feed format.  There’s no social media marketing posts to sift through or millions of emails in your account. You can download and read the posts through an app on your smart phone, read it right on the website or get one daily digest email sent to your account to read.  Sign up to follow me on Bloglovin here!
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters you never read. Sure you ordered that special gift from that one online retailer three years ago and you’ve been stuck on their mailing list ever since. You NEVER read their emails but just casually click “delete” when it comes in. Why? UNSUBSCRIBE! Seriously take the time to sit down and evaluate the time spent in your inbox and whether the content you’re receiving is really something you want to continue to get. You can always sign up again if you feel you’re missing out.

How to Organize Your Digital Photos Tutorial |

If you like the content of this post, you may also want to check out my “How to organize your digital photos” post for additional digital organization guidance!

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