DIY Snow Day Survival Kit

DIY Snow Day Survival Kit | thisgratefulmama.com

Somehow, Christmas has passed, and I haven’t given all our gifts yet. I’m not sure how it happened, but it did.

I love giving gifts and am usually done with cards and gifts long before Christmas arrives. And to this list-making, pre-planning girl…procrastination is rather uncomfortable.

I woke up this morning with the NEED to get things done. Time to kick procrastination to the curb.

Better late than never?

For a handful of friends, I’m putting together Snow Day Survival Kits with an assortment of goodies to keep them warm on a snowy day.

Good thing we FINALLY got measurable snow in MN this week.

Simple, warm and tasty.

Each DIY Snow Day Survival Kit includes:

  • Plastic storage container (Hello, dollar section of Target)
  • Hot Chocolate Mix (Packets of Starbucks Salted Caramel and Starbucks Peppermint hot chocolate and/or small tin of specialty hot chocolate)
  • Plain Marshmallows in cellophane bag
  • Peppermint Marshmallows in cellophane bag
  • Chocolate Covered Spoons (homemade using plastic spoons dipped in melted baking chocolate – dry on wax paper then wrap each chocolate end individually in plastic before packaging in cellophane bag)
  • Baking Mix (Brownie, Blondie or Cookie Mix)
  • Caramel Corn or Popcorn

The marshmallows and chocolate spoons were hand-packaged in cellophane bags. Labels were created using PicMonkey and attached with ribbon.

labels for snow day

What you include in a Snow Day Survival Kit may vary depending on the recipient. The kits we made went to families with small children. If you are looking for other ideas, there are plenty of ways to personalize this gift!

Ideas to Personalize a Snow Day Survival Kit:

 

Our family Christmas card and the note below were included in each gift.

Snow Day Survival Kit

These were fun and simple to put together and I think they turned out pretty cute.

DIY Snow Day Survival Kit | thisgratefulmama.com

Hopefully they bring some warmth and fun to our friends on the next snow day.

Merry Christmas!

DIY Snow Day Survival Kit | thisgratefulmama.com

 

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces Tutorial

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Over the past few months, I slowly bought supplies with coupons or when on sale to make photo pendants. It was something I really wanted to try but did not have a specific project in mind. I finally had all supplies just days before recent family birthday celebrations.

Perfect timing to make personalized gifts.

The process was easy and gave a stunning result – even for a beginner like me.

Last week I jumped the gun and showed the final result before this tutorial was ready. As promised, a detailed description of how the pendants were made is included below. Since then, I’ve been on a bit of a photo-pendant making binge, creating gifts to give for birthdays and holidays to come.

Ahem…some of you have one of these coming to you in the near future 🙂

Supplies

Steps

1. Select, edit and crop photo

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces Tutorial | thisgratefulmama.com

Photos were edited using PicMonkey. Photos were printed to size using Power Point – check out quick instructions here.

2. Cut photo to size

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces Tutorial | thisgratefulmama.com

If your photo is already sized correctly, just cut along the edges and slightly round the corners with an X-acto knife or scissors. If not, align the tile over the photo, trace around it and cut just inside the lines. Check your work and trim any overhanging edges before proceeding.

3. Apply photo to the glass tile

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Apply a pea sized bead of diamond glaze to the tile. Use either the tip of the diamond glaze bottle or a paint brush to spread glaze evenly across the tile, removing bubbles as much as possible. Align and press the photo onto the tile, face down. While not fully secure, adjust as needed. From the center, sweep your finger outwards to seal the edges and remove any remaining air bubbles. Allow to dry a minimum of 10 minutes or until the photo no longer seems wet

*Note: be sure to wait for the glaze to dry before proceeding or it produces a dark shadow that looks like a wet spot and remains even after drying

4. Seal the tile

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Apply a pea sized bead of diamond glaze on the back of the photo. Use a paint brush to evenly coat the back of the photo. Use the residual glaze on the brush to seal the edges. Allow to dry a minimum of 1 hour.

5. Affix baal to the tile

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.comDIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Apply super glue to the baal. Align over the top, center of the tile and press firmly into place. Obviously avoid contact of super glue with skin – we all know super glued fingers are no fun! Check alignment quickly and adjust if necessary. Allow to dry fully.

 6. String pendant with beads

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Once the pendants are dry, string with mixed glass beads of your choosing.

 

Diamond Glaze and Super Glue come in large quantities so there will be plenty of leftovers for future projects – I’m looking forward to experimenting with different shapes and sizes of glass tiles.

I’d love to see if you make your own pendants or necklaces. Please share in the comments if you do!

 

This post was shared on the {Wow me} Wednesday at Gingersnap Crafts link party

Wow Me Wednesday at Gingersnap Crafts

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces

DIY Glass Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

You guys…

I’ve been working on a tutorial, but it isn’t done, and I just couldn’t wait any longer to share a photo of one of these necklaces!

Consider this a sneak peek because I just can’t help myself.

In July, our family celebrated the birthdays of my mom and my husband’s grandma. This year we found ourselves at a bit of a loss of what to give. Neither of them really need anything, nor do they really desire more ‘stuff’.

While they appreciate ALL gifts, personal gifts (especially those involving grandchildren or great-grandchildren) often elicit the most joyful response. You know, the face-lights-up-with-delight kind of response.

Over the past few months, I’ve been slowly collecting supplies to make photo pendant necklaces. I wasn’t sure when I’d make them or who to give them to, but it was something I really wanted to try. Taking my time to buy supplies, I was able to buy everything on sale or with a coupon. As it turned out, I finally had all the supplies in hand, just days before our birthday celebrations.

Perfect timing to make some personalized gifts.

The process was easy and gave a stunning result – even for a beginner like me.

However, I was disappointed to see that when I strung two or three pendants on once chain, they overlapped. It looked good, but it was not what I had in mind.

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Digging through supplies for a solution, I was delighted to find a forgotten bag of mixed glass beads from my last trip to Art Scraps Reuse Store (St. Paul, MN). After some searching, I found this ball chain necklace at Hobby Lobby (50% off on sale for just $1 – can’t beat that). It was just thin enough to string a few mis-matched beads between the pendants.

DIY Photo Pendant Beaded Necklaces | www.thisgratefulmama.com

I love how the beads give enough space for the pendants to lay flat. And, because my beads are all different, they make each necklace unique…but you’ll have to read the tutorial later this week to see the rest of them :).

The first two gifts turned out so well, I made another for myself and have been on a bit of a photo pendant gift-making binge…it is going to be so fun to give them away!

Happy Monday everyone!

 

This post was shared on The Shabby Nest Frugal Friday link party.

frugal friday

A Couples Wedding Shower

A Couples Wedding Shower | www.thisgratefulmama.com

It was our pleasure to host a couples wedding shower in honor of our nephew Brandon and his bride-to-be, Lauren.

Our nephew grew up and graduated high school in MN but has since moved out-of-state. Lauren had never come to MN with Brandon to see where he spent his childhood, nor had she met some of his family and friends who live here. They were able to fit in just one short visit before the wedding – it was the perfect, and only chance to throw a wedding shower.

Since the couple came in late Friday and left on Sunday, Saturday was the only day available to throw a shower. We chose brunch so they could make the most of their only full day in town. Having the shower in the morning left the rest of the day open for the couple to explore his old stomping grounds.

This post includes the special touches to ‘shower’ the couple. I’ll follow-up in another post with the food we served for brunch.

For more shower ideas, check out another couples wedding shower we threw last year- A Laid-back Open House Couples Shower.

Invitations

DIY Network Shower Invitation Template | www.thisgratefulmama.com

The shower invitation was modified from this free invitation template from the DIY network. All text can be modified so it could easily be used for any type of event! Who would have expected to find free invitation templates on the DIY Network site? There are a few other options available – in fact, I almost picked this free Nautical template instead.

Date Night Idea Card

Date Night Idea Card | www.thisgratefulmama.com

A stamped note card was included in each invitation for guests to write date night ideas for the bride and groom. Guests came up with all kinds of creative ideas.

His & Hers – 10 Favorite Moments Together

His and Her Favorite 10 Moments

Before Brandon and Lauren arrived, we asked each of them to email 10 of their favorite moments together. Originally, I planned to display two short lists using a chalkboard or poster. BUT, they sent beautifully written paragraphs that told their story with genuine affection and honesty. Condensing their moments into a short list would have taken away the emotion and love their words conveyed. Instead of changing them, each paragraph was printed and posted on the wall for guests to read as they mingled.

DIY “We Do” Wedding Shower Photo Banner

DIY WE DO Wedding Shower Photo Banner

Every bride-and-groom-to-be needs a banner in their honor – that is just the way it is! We asked the couple to send us some of their favorite photos. Text and photos were printed on cardstock in black and white. The text flags were cut and lined with patterned tape. The same tape was used to decorate clothes pins. It was quick and easy – just peel and stick! I actually used the other side of the patterned paper decorated clothes pins used to hang the You Are My Sunshine photo banner. The flags and photos were strung using twine across our kitchen.

Coffee Station Photo Banner

Coffee Station Photo Banner | www.thisgratefulmama.com

I found this free printable about love and coffee (I lightened the exposure so it could be printed without draining our ink cartridges) to hang by the coffee station. Like the “We Do” banner, it was strung with twine alongside two more black and white photos using clothes pins.

Gift Table

Wedding Shower Cards Garland and Gift Table

Two banners were made for gifts – one hung on the gift table, and one hung above it for cards. Guests used a clothes pins to clip their cards to the twine and left their gifts and date night cards on the table.

I Have Found The One…Sign

I Have Found The One Whom My Soul Loves | www.thisgratefulmama.com

I love this verse from Song of Solomon, especially for a wedding shower. This photo (changed to black and white using Pic Monkey) was printed on cardstock and applied to an 8×10 canvas using Modge Podge. The sign was placed on the gift table in the entryway for the shower and will be hung in our bedroom.

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day)

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

Can you believe that Father’s Day is already just over one week away? Father’s day is one of my favorites to prepare for – it’s a dedicated day to show my husband how much I appreciate him, and a day to help our children express how grateful they are for their daddy.

I often struggle with how to best express this intense appreciation and gratitude. We just want it to be a special day honoring the one who is so special to us.

Last year, we gave my husband a photo desk calendar, celebrated with a family meal, and our 3-year-old son gave a framed set of interview questions and answers. This year we want to shake it up a bit. Here’s a few ideas we’ve used in the past or are considering for this and future years.

(Now…if you are my husband reading this….this might be a good place to stop or you may feel rather unsurprised this year)

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day)

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

1.Photo Calendar – Many photo services offer a calendar in both full size and desk varieties (I prefer Shutterfly calendars – 50% off thru June 16! Order for all the dads in your life and get free shipping with orders over $39)

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

2. My Daddy Is – Ask your child questions and prepare to be amazed by their answers. We made our own but one of these free printables will work nicely: My Dad’s Superpowers, Father’s Day Printable Book, Father’s Day Interview Poster.

 

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

3. Coupons – They may be generic, but coupons are a worthy gift if your children (or you) actually plan to fulfill the promises on them. If you give a coupon book, encourage your husband to use them! Make your own, or use these free printables – Father’s Day Coupon Card.

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

4. My Daddy and Me Book – We made a board book filled with activities our son loves to do with his daddy using the printer, full sheet labels and a plain book.  Not into struggling with full-page labels? Make one online.11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

5. Father’s Day Photo or Collage – Use signs and the camera to express your feelings in a card – or even better, frame it and wrap it as a gift. We have used this for birthdays and many holidays. Check out other online examples: Father’s Day Photo, Scrabble photo, We love you daddy feet, Father’s day photo collage, D-A-D framed photos.

 

 

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

6. Kids Art Work – Let children paint on canvas like our son did for Mother’s day. Or, try one of these other dad-crafts: Following in Dad’s shoes, Daddy art, Daddy mug (make your own with an industrial sharpie)

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

7. A special touch – Regardless of your gift plan, small touches can make any day special. My husband bought me a growler of cold press coffee before Mother’s day. It might not seem like much, but he knows me well and it was a small gesture that went a long way. What does your husband like?

 

 

 

 

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

8. A child-daddy date – think of an activity your child can do with daddy, perhaps something they’ve never done before. What do your children like to do with their dad?

  • Baseball: snag tickets to a minor or major league baseball game
  • Golf: send them to hit a bucket of balls at the driving range or  them to play putt-putt
  • Art: send them to a painting class or to the children’s theater
  • Cook: father-child cooking class
  • Camping: rent a campsite or for the less-adventurous (or young ones), set up a backyard camping experience, marshmallows and all
  • Music: tickets to a children’s concert or pack them a picnic and send them to an outdoor free concert
  • Fishing: prep the fishing gear and send them to fish on a dock or rent a boat and pack the car with gear and life jackets
  • Family fun: do the dirty business of filling all the water balloons and have a family game of balloon toss (or just have a water balloon fight), family picnic in the park,  camping trip, hiking

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

9. Help the kids cook a meal – help your children pick and prepare a meal or special dessert for daddy. Try to let them do as much as possible!

 

 

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

10. Plan a no-kids date – just from you. Because you appreciate all he does and you love spending time with him.

 

 

 

11 Ways For Mamas & Kids To Express Gratitude On Father’s Day (And Every Day) | thisgratefulmama.com

11. The Father’s day week – Ambitious, I know. Why a full week? Because dads are dads EVERY DAY. One day just isn’t enough. So why not make it seven? We should express gratitude every day. Start a week before and end on Father’s Day, or start on Father’s day and go for seven more. Flood them with love and gratitude for a 7 full days – handwritten notes, artwork from the kids, maybe a coffee growler, special meals and extra hugs. Make this year’s Father’s Day week one to remember!

P.S. To my husband…if you’ve read this far…don’t be expecting every single thing listed here 🙂 Love you.

My Heart May Burst

My heart is so full, it just might burst!

As I shared on Friday, I entered Mother’s Day weekend with low expectations. I just wanted a regular day with our family, even if it meant tears, diapers and interruptions.

I did get a weekend with my husband and kids. It was lovely. And real.

There were certainly some less-than-desirable interruptions – including a 2-year-old who pooped in the tub (while both kids and all their toys were in it and daddy was outside mowing the lawn. Oh, how I love bleach!), a bloody nose to rival all others, a few time outs and a whole lot of tears and boogers.

But, there were also amazing moments I would never trade, even for a spa day – rolling down a grassy hill with the kids, (yes, it made me dizzy but made them crack up so was worth it), giggles and joy at the Children’s Museum, fun playing a new game together, and silly kids playing dress up. We also enjoyed sweet gatherings with my mom and my husband’s mom.

My thoughtful husband and children topped-off the growler of iced coffee they left me on Friday with a gift card to a favorite shop and Monopoly Jr for our family to play together (We all know the brains behind that gift…Thank you, Seth).

I was already feeling very, very loved. 

In addition, our son made a few gifts for me. His sweet smile as he proudly told me what he made and how he made them is enough to make my heart puff up.

The hand-made gifts started with a cute picture made at preschool of a butterfly made from his hands. So sweet.

butterfly

The picture came attached to an interview of the preschool kids about their mamas. Below are our son’s answers but all of the kids answers were hysterical.

  • What does your mother do? “She cleans the floor, vacuums and does laundry and helps me clean my room” – PS my house is not that clean…
  • What is your favorite food she cooks for you? “Oatmeal” – yep. Every day.
  • What does your mom look like? ” She has long legs, long hair and not very long arms” – hehe…can you picture it?

Then he made a cup of paper flowers at Sunday School and presented them to me. This all seems like a showering of love, right? My heart was already plenty full. 

Then Sunday afternoon we went to my mom’s to celebrate Mother’s Day and I was surprised by yet another gift from our son. Intrigued, I opened it.

Priceless treasures.

He painted two pictures on canvas when he was at my mom’s house and kept it a secret for several weeks! Impressive for a 4 1/2 year old. Not only did he keep the secret, look at these…they are amazing!

The first he called “Volcano with flowers” – pronounced by him as “o-cano with flowers”.

You won’t believe how he did this! He mixed all the paint colors together and used a paint brush to make the volcano. Then, he stamped the flowers using the bottom of a plastic cup. He used a large Q-tip to make the center spots. He used a knife to draw the stems and leaves with green paint. Check it out:

Volcano and Flowers

Speechless.

His second painting is Birch Trees. He made the tree outlines using masking tape. My mom said she helped him tear the small pieces for the branches but he stuck everything on himself. He used a paper towel dipped in paint to make the grass and sky background. When dry, they removed the tape and used a large Q-tip to add the brown to the trees and a knife dipped in black paint to finish it off.

Birch Trees

My mom has assured me that she gave him instructions but he painted these himself. I think we can all agree she is an amazing teacher (and grandma). Thank you Aiden and Grandma Pam.

Not only did I have a great Mother’s Day, but a whole weekend. Topped off by hand-made and thoughtful gifts I will treasure always.

Thank you all.  My heart is as full as it can be. One more smile. One more kiss…it just might make it burst.

There’s only one way I can think of to end this…”Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

What I Really Want For Mother’s Day – A Life Interrupted

This morning, like every morning, I came downstairs, with two frantic-for-breakfast kids in my wake. The view upon opening the fridge stopped me in my tracks.

There, on the middle shelf was a beautiful sight – a growler of dark roasted coffee, cold pressed for 24 hours. A full jug of coffee goodness. Even better, on it, a handwritten note from my husband proclaiming, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’.

grolwer

Yes, my friends, this man is a keeper.

Today, as you know as you read this, is Friday. It is not Mother’s Day.

Delighted and excited to try some, I first did what mothers do – I made the kids breakfast and made sure they had water and anything they might need from me before trying to pour myself a cup.

This coffee is every bit as wonderful as you might think it is. Dark. Strong. And, unlike my normal morning coffee with the kids, I don’t have to worry about it getting cold.

It is intentionally, delightfully cold. Delicious.

That man is my hero.

Last night, before bed, I read a ScaryMommy blog post, titled “What Moms REALLY Mean When They Say “I Don’t Want Anything for Mother’s Day” that made me crack up.

Out loud.

By myself.

Yes, I do that a lot since I am a heavy mom-blog consumer and some of you are incredible blogging comedians.

This morning, watching our kids and drinking fantastic coffee, I was struck by what I really want for Mother’s Day and how appropriate it is to wake up to a Mother’s Day gift during a standard week day.

What I really want is not what I originally thought. Last night, I agreed with ScaryMommy and thought I wanted an uninterrupted day.

But I don’t. I think if I have an uninterrupted Mother’s Day, I will miss what makes me love being a mom. Mother’s Day isn’t about being served, thanked, showered with gifts, or praised. Mother’s Day is about being a mom, and being a mom means a life of interruption, both good and bad.

Although I sometimes complain about the lack of sleep, cranky or tired kids, or how I want to go to the bathroom in peace, even those moments bring a fullness and joy to life I can’t do without. You see, un-interrupted sleep means missing a chance to snuggle and comfort a child who is too busy to snuggle during the day. An extra long shower means I might miss something they may never do again.

It is true that being a mom means I don’t have as much time for myself as I used to, but who needs all that self-reflection and pampering anyway? What I did before kids was waste a lot of time and hot water.

I may have quick showers, less sleep and have to answer the question ‘why?’ in one morning more than any person should in a lifetime, but I also have priceless, funny, sweet, and sometimes messy (or stressful) moments with two incredible little people.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to stay home with our kids. They change me for the better, every single day, whether I like it or not.

Truly, Mother’s Day is better spent on a day like today, without a big family gathering or special meal. I don’t really like to be the center of attention anyway – it makes me feel awkward and weird. On the actual day, I am often distracted by events and our kids are usually off playing with cousins so I don’t see much of them until they are over-tired, crying and ready for bed.

I remember last year sarcastically thinking “happy mother’s day to me” as they screamed their way through bedtime baths, books and prayers – who could blame them? We had so much fun celebrating and playing, they were just plumb worn out!

Don’t get me wrong, the celebrations of moms are wonderful and important. All mothers, and those who love our children but may not be biological mothers are worth honoring. Absolutely spend time pampering the moms in your life this Mother’s Day.

But today, a regular Friday, is what being a mom is all about. Sure, we have bruises, time-outs, messes, and tears, but we also have life lessons learned, sweet sibling snuggles, playtime, curiosity, and all-out-hysterical-belly laughing.

What I really want for Mother’s Day, is a regular day with our kids – a day that wouldn’t be complete without interruption, grass stains, time-outs and dirty diapers (OK, I admit I could do without the diapers). While uninterrupted moments might be nice, I love them so much, I don’t want to spend the day with only the perfectly behaved portion of their day – I want all of it. Messy or not.

At a minimum, I thought this known sleep worshipper would at least want to sleep in. But really, I won’t. I will hear the rabble-rousing downstairs and know that I was missing moments with my family. I want to be there when my husband and kids are wrestling and they are giggling and tackling each other. I don’t want to miss it. Instead, I’ll use the day to reflect and be grateful for all parts of being a mom.

I will not trade it for even one day.

Today, a coffee growler made me feel loved, celebrated, grateful and well-caffeinated – a perfect combination on a not-so-perfect day.  The fact that it was given on a day that isn’t Mother’s Day makes it twice as appropriate and special. Thank you, Seth (and kids) – you know me so well.

Remember, it doesn’t take much to make a mom’s day special. Let the moms spend the day with the sweet kids who make them moms in the first place. The kids are the best gift a mom ever asked for anyway.

Even if they come with interruption and boogers.

Happy Mother’s Day!