Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Some Notes on Making Easter Art Camp Work(Able)

In addition to decorating easter eggs, our house, and doing egg hunts this year, we also did this fun thing called Easter Art Camp, which we finished up last week. Some people were asking me about it, so I thought I would type up a post about what we did and how it came about.

Basically it was an effort on my part to beat back my ever-pervasive fear of boredom and ennui with these kids underfoot. Every time my kids go on break, I worry that they will complain of being bored, and all of my depleted parenting resources will fall on permissive strategies and we will all end up sitting around watching TV.  {ugh} The weather has been great but you can only stare at flowers for so long. ;-)

So this break, similar to Fall Break {{which I wrote about in this post}} I armed myself with a plan. It is funny how some sort of marching orders or different things keep you hopeful when you're going through a rough patch. Last year it was something as small and simple as waiting for the crepe myrtle to bloom.  This year I think expecting a baby has gotten me through a lot. Having something to hope and wait for is resourceful. But for the kids, hearing "You'll have a baby brother soon" only goes so far. Not a strategy, really. Path of least resistance? ;-)

I broke it up by day and I did a *ton* of research and planning for it.

Unlike last year when I did a fun craft for each day, this time I did a craft and a little fun treat/snack.  They were not connected but they all had an "easter break" theme.  I will be completely honest in saying that none of these were completely original. *All* of the inspiration came from things I found and saved to a private folder on Pinterest. I changed some things around a bit at times but for the most part (**keep it real, always**) I was a totes copycat. :0) so sorry ;-)

Here are some notes on how to make it all happen:

1. Plan everything in detail.

I planned everything out in a day-by-day strategy. We did Friday-Monday. I had to get special supplies for each craft, so I went out on two differing occasions to buy the supplies. It took a lot of work up-front and I had to refer to my lists a million and twenty-two times in order to not forget something important/necessary/needed.
Cotton top cones*

2. Budget Accordingly.

This year the kids got *zero* toys in their Easter baskets. All of the money went toward these projects.  They got candy and one book in their baskets and they knew that was going to be it. ha ;-) I shopped at Dollar Tree and Walmart and kept everything simple.

3. Think with your kid-brain.

Kids LOVE treats. I remember growing up we always went to Bible School during the summers, and my favorite thing ever was snack time because we got fun things like pudding dirt cups and s'mores and rice krispies.  I personally want to gag on every peep that enters my mouth :-0 but these things are a HIT with the kiddos and that's an understatement. They will talk it up like there's no tomorrow.

4. *Be original

I found these cottontail cones on Pinterest from a Paula Deen recipe. The only thing I changed was that I added a brownie to the inside to "hold up" the cotton candy. And for our family we changed the name to cotton top cones :0) We then swirled them in lemon frosting and rolled the cones in sprinkles, then formed balls out of cotton candy and stuck it to the top.  I think the kids talked about these more than anything else all week, and bonus plus! They made them themselves. ;-)

5. Round out the sweetness with healthy meals and snacks.

Juuuuuust in case anyone is wondering if this was all the food or nourishment my kids had all week, I want to assure you that we also had plenty of healthy meals, snacks, and bedtime snacks throughout Easter weekend. It wasn't all treats and candy haha.  But celebrate we did and we had an absolute BLAST doing it.

to view all of things we did, see this

**Note: This post isn't image-heavy because I'm unfortunately working from a back-up Dell computer until we are able to fix or replace my macbook air. (CRYING emoji face here)**

One other thing you can try is a Staycation ... if your kids are on break or are suffering from a severe case of ennui and boredom.

And don't forget that Eastertide lasts for 50 days. It is definitely not too late to do some special crafts and snacks for Easter. :0)

Linking up with Tuesday Talk

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ten Years of Easter Memories

I know this is late, but... insert lame excuse here. I've been posting our Easter Memories every year now for ten years. I love seeing the kids grow and seeing the additions as we go thru the years! ;-)
Year One: Annapolis, MD
Molly was born in January so she was still a tiny 3 month old munchkin for her first Easter. I remember my Mom sending us this dress.
Year Two: Annapolis, MD
This was our cute apartment near the Naval Academy. Molly was 15 months and my parents came to visit! I don't know why but for some reason I didn't get a picture of her Easter dress that year (although I know we went to church on Easter Sunday) ;-).

Year Three: Annapolis, MD
I remember carefully cropping out her brown shoes because I didn't have time to buy white ones. Molly was 2! I loved that dress, though haha. 
Year Four: Annapolis, MD
Stephen's parents and his sister and her kids came to visit us for Easter. Molly was 3 and Frances (not pictured) was 6 months old. Stephen's Mom Sandy was helping the kids dye Easter eggs.

Year Five: Hyattsville, MD
Molly was 4 and Frances was 18 months. I remember going to the Dollar Store to buy those tiny Easter baskets!

Year Six: Tennessee
Our first year in our "new" house.... Madeleine's first Easter! She was about 11 months old.

Year Seven: Tennessee 
This is at our parish. Anders was about 8 months, Madeleine almost 2, Frances 3, Molly 6.

Year Eight: Tennessee
Anders 1, Madeleine 2, Frances 4, Molly 7

Year Nine: Tennessee
Molly 8, Frances 5, Madeleine 3, Anders 2, Annabel 9 months

Year Ten: Tennessee
ages: Molly 9, Frances 6, Madeleine 4, Anders 3, Annabel 1

I finally broke the fast of not blogging on Tuesday and if you missed my life update you can read it here: Life Lately: February and March

Linking up with Kelly for 7 (ish) quick takes ;-)  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Life Lately ~ February and March

Oh hey there! I'm back to blogging again...😊  

So hi! Even though it is not the end of the month I feel like I have to make the disclaimer outright that I'm not going to do a typical "What I'm Into" post for February and March, because I basically just didn't keep track for all of Lent.  I usually work on those posts all month long, and since I haven't even opened Blogger, due to a broken computer, I haven't written down what I've been into. This will instead be a recap of all things interesting around these parts.

 And I have to say: I'm not the sort of blogger who comes back to blogging only to admit that I didn't really miss it, and I'm hoping to post this Summer, but *crosses fingers*... we'll see. I'm actually the kind of person/gal who thinks about post ideas in her head all the time, really misses writing when I'm not doing it, and has future posts planned/ counts down the days until Lent is over and it is ok to hop into the blogger vortex again. My brain goes fuzzy and I can't articulate thoughts that well when I'm not writing. I'm not gonna lie ;-) I guess it's because writing is a passion of mine, up there with sewing, baking, and reading. ;-) And loving babies and SAHM-ing and cleaning the grout between my tiles.... ;-)

However, I'll nevertheless try to catch you up on our life lately.  😜 As some of you may know I considered not returning to blogging. But writing is a strong enough pull. And the community of bloggers I've found. I can honestly say I'm thankful for that and wouldn't trade it for anything. And.... by the way, if you are curious about what I've been reading or want to follow me on Goodreads, or just view my Reading Challenge for the year, you can see that here.

I can't say that our February was all that eventful, other than just living life and trying to make each day 'life to the fullest,' as best that we can.  I cooked a baby, which is something (I'm now 36 weeks... about a month away from my due date!!!).... and I did a lot of reading in my spare time, as well as watching The Great British Baking Show in between stopping to cook and bake delicious things. I made Les Religieux (nuns) out of pumpkin spice muffins with cream cheese frosting, and I think I may have redeemed myself in the kitchen for all eternity ;-)

Our March was a bit more crazy. We decided against the beach for Spring Break this year, and just like last year, we ventured to Birmingham during the girls' time off from school.  This time, however, Stephen and I split up, and I took just Molly and Frances to see the sites of Birmingham, stay in a hotel Embassy Suites (4 life!), swim in the indoor pool (unheated;-), and relaaaaaaax.... something I had fantasized about for weeks prior. No dishes, no diaper changes, no tantrums, no clingy or whiny screams from the 4 & under fan club (love my dearies, but...) And guess what? It lived up to the hype AND THEN SOME.  I felt so completely  at ease and relaxed and the feeling lasted well over a week after the trip. There was something so restorative about letting the exhaustion of pregnancy + hip huggers+ all of my daily responsibilities and chores just fade away. We had a BLAST. ;-)

We only stayed 3 days, but we were able to pack a lot into the trip. We did the Zoo, the McWane Science Center, and the Art Museum.

We went to parks and went out to eat and got ice-cream (sherbet for me).

We also had the chance to reestablish our connections and relive the traditions we had established from last years Spring Break. We swam in the pool and we ate at the exact same restaurants as last year. Except this time, we didn't have to stop for nap times in the middle of the day... or take turns watching kids at the hotel room. It was a relief, and like I said just so relaxing to hang out with just Molly and Frances and invest time in them.

Lent-y Things:

+Our hotel in B-ham was great, BUT the hot tub was broken and the pool was ridiculously cold. I usually always cheat a little and get in the hot tub while pregnant... the nervous pregnant woman/person I am not and never will be. ;-) I got used to the pool water and amidst much wincing was able to get some exercise.... but it just felt... Lent-y for lack of a better word.

+Like I said I really missed writing and not blogging was hard. (For me!)

+Ok, here's a good one: our not-so-fancy vacuum cleaner broke. Coincidentally that same week, Annabel somehow tinkered on my phone and ordered a $600 robotic vacuum cleaner. I thought it so strange and ironic that I started laughing... until we missed the Fed Ex guy who came to pick it up, and it ended up taking 2 weeks to return it and get the full refund.  With everything else going on + making sure we didn't break the bank, let's just say our house looked *interesting* for a little while. ;-)

+Frances' hair had finally gotten long and in true  Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day form, she got gum stuck in it and had to get it chopped off.

+Although during my last pregnancy I went to bed early and always slept really, really well, this pregnancy has been very different on that front. Normally I have trouble sleeping during the third trimester so that's normal. This time, however, I have had many, many nights where I just cannot fall asleep and then when I do I wake up three hours later... and can't get back to sleep. The entire next day I feel like I have the flu.... morning sickness symptoms, drowsiness, and just general wooziness. The only thing that seems to heal the ailing is a cinnamon roll from Panera and the hazelnut coffee with cream... I can't drink any other coffee, just in general. Sleep... something so basic but guys... so, so, so necessary.;-)

+Not blogging was difficult at first, but it did completely change my morning routine and I have to say, after a few weeks I didn't miss it in that sense at all. ;-)  All of the other things like worrying about stats and hits and *crapola*? I didn't miss that for ... a ... second! ;-) I tried to stay consistent in posting on Facebook, Twitter, and instagram, though and- AND! I have definitely seen some growth on those fronts, so I think the investment was definitely worth it. ;-)

To counterbalance what might sound like complaining, the weather has been fantastic. I love Spring and after a few really warm days in February, March was mild, cool, and we had some perfect 72 degree days, perfect for playing outside and lunch/dinners on the back porch.

Also, I know that God uses our suffering during Lent to refine us, weed out the yucky, and remind us of our need for him. Oh, also-- h.u.m.i.l.i.t.y.  And so for all of that am grateful to God and my Mother Mary for all of the moments of divine and maternal assistance that came and were really so-much-needed.
this was me at 35 weeks

Other than that, you can continue or start following me on instagram for all of the details and ins and outs of our life, specifically, catch up on all the time I wasn't blogging.  I'm @tacywb and... for all of you who don't follow me, I miss having you in that space! I've been dipping my toes into instagram stories and it has been so fun. I follow some really cool people on there and watching insta-stories is my youtube. :0)

Oh! I do want to say before I go, just to be really random and pull a fast one on you:  I (suddenly, without ever loving it before) heart country music (I know... unfriend me now), Neil Gaiman  (creepy) , writing posts in my head (adore), and (once again) Spring weather. I know enough to know after being back in the South, that I have reason to be slightly terrified of a scorching Summer, so I'm drinking in the Spring. ;-)

and with that... baby beck numero 6, see you in a month :-0 huh what?!  ;-)
Linking up with Tuesday Talk

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Poets and Poetry

Happy February! February is considered by many to be the month of love! And what better time than now to talk about poetry. Poetry has been a big part of my life. Nerds far and wide, unite! I have taken consolation in poetry over the years, and being an English major, I have had to read my fair share of poetry.  Although sometimes challenging, I love all things reading and writing poetry, and naturally, my favorites have risen to the top over time. ;-)

E.E. Cummings
(excerpt!  ;-)

in Just-
spring   when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

What is the value of poetry? I have a memory from when Molly was a toddler and I was pregnant with Frances. One Spring, an elderly lady - very distinguished (instant friends!)- came up beside me at the swings on the playground and started chatting. She asked me several questions about Molly and the baby-to-be as she pushed her grandchild on the swing...😉 Then, out of nowhere, she started quoting this poem:

"How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all-
Over the countryside.

Till I look down on the garden green
Down on the roof so brown-
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!"*

Wow- that was a special moment. It could have happened yesterday, because I remember it so well. Not only did she take me out of my own world, she stamped into my memory a moment I will never forget.  The transcendent spoke to me and stirred something in me- emotions, maybe?- that day.

Poetry is like that. It takes you out of this world. It sparks memories. The elements of poetry: rhythm, meter, rhyme, descriptive words, feeling, creativity, and even rare words occur again and again- which is is what unites all of poetry.  Good poetry leaves behind a moment in time that is never lost. Successful poets transcend our physical modernity, and in turn, their words open a trap door out of the sadness of mortality.  If you haven't found the treasures of poetry, I hope and pray you find it, or it finds you.
A lot of time I see a curriculum list and I think, "Where's the poetry?" Recently, Molly has been encouraged to submit poems to a journal. She came upon this opportunity through school.

Where to start, where to start?!
My favorite poets/poetry:

-Shakespeare's sonnets
-Dante's Inferno
-W.H. Auden
 "Underneath the Abject Willow"
-T.S. Eliot
 The Four Quartets

My favorite poem:

"Morning Song" from Senlin by Conrad Aiken

IT is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
When the light drips through the shutters like the dew,
I arise, I face the sunrise,
And do the things my fathers learned to do.
Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops         5
Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die,
And I myself on swiftly tilting planet
Stand before a glass and tie my tie.
Vine-leaves tap my window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,  10
The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.
It is morning. I stand by the mirror
And tie my tie once more.
While waves far off in a pale rose twilight  15
Crash on a white sand shore.
I stand by a mirror and comb my hair:
How small and white my face!—
The green earth tilts through a sphere of air
And bathes in a flame of space.  20
There are houses hanging above the stars
And stars hung under a sea...
And a sun far off in a shell of silence
Dapples my walls for me....
It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning  25
Should I not pause in the light to remember God?
Upright and firm I stand on a star unstable,
He is immense and lonely as a cloud.
I will dedicate this moment before my mirror
To him alone, for him I will comb my hair.  30
Accept these humble offerings, clouds of silence!
I will think of you as I descend the stair.
Vine-leaves tap my window,
The snail-track shines on the stones;
Dew-drops flash from the chinaberry tree  35
Repeating two clear tones.
It is morning, I awake from a bed of silence,
Shining I rise from the starless waters of sleep.
The walls are about me still as in the evening,
I am the same, and the same name still I keep.  40
The earth revolves with me, yet makes no motion,
The stars pale silently in a coral sky.
In a whistling void I stand before my mirror,
Unconcerned, and tie my tie.
There are horses neighing on far-off hills  45
Tossing their long white manes,
And mountains flash in the rose-white dusk,
Their shoulders black with rains....
It is morning, I stand by the mirror
And surprise my soul once more;  50
The blue air rushes above my ceiling,
There are suns beneath my floor....
...It is morning, Senlin says, I ascend from darkness
And depart on the winds of space for I know not where;
My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket,  55
And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair.
There are shadows across the windows, clouds in heaven,
And a god among the stars; and I will go
Thinking of him as I might think of daybreak
And humming a tune I know....  60
Vine-leaves tap at the window,
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three dear tones.
My favorite lines:

The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
Repeating three clear tones.

Why I love this poem:

You might notice right away the "swiftly tilting planet" line and you betcha Madeleine L'Engle fans will catch her reference to Aiken!   Also, in the Mass the bell is rung three times after the priest raises the host, to consecrate it.  This poem has always made me think of that moment in Church!  I love that this poem has more structure than much of the poetry that is the product of modernity and modern culture, and the repetition and references are oh so fine! I know you're not supposed to use textual criticism based on biographical facts, but Conrad Aiken had an incredibly hard childhood. He saw his Dad murder his Mom and then commit suicide. I'm sure was never the same again. He found consolation in poetry.

When I was in high school I had to memorize a few of Shakespeare's sonnets, so to this day they are among my most favorite. I performed as Ophelia in Hamlet and we studied A Midsummer Night's Dream in depth.  In high school we read and studied King Lear in depth, and I took a Shakespeare class in college for my English Lit degree.

And Dante... oh Dante, you are special.
Special, special
Notes, On why I love Dante so much:

Treasures... oh, the treasures. I had a crush on Dante Alighieri in college because of his good looks. Juuuuust joking. I had to read Dante for a class in college, and to this day I hold him in reverence and a higher esteem in my own mind than any other poet.  He deals with the state of the soul; he counts himself a great poet even in his own day. Once you get to reading it, there is so much to mine in each canto.  You could discuss it and analyze it for forever.;) It has been translated from the Italian numerous times-  quite well by Dorothy Sayers, Anthony Esolen, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and (my most favorite translation) Mark Musa. It's hard to bring the Italian into English well. It is hardest to make it understandable ! ;)

Here is a good quotation from my favorite translation of Dante, on the subject of vanity, no less (!!!) :

"If anyone should want to know my name,
I am called Leah. And I spend all my time
weaving garlands of flowers with my fair hands,

to please me when I stand before my mirror;
my sister Rachel sits all the day long
before her own and never moves away.

She loves to contemplate her lovely eyes;
I love to use my hands to adorn myself:
her joy is in reflection, mine is in act.

And now, before the splendor of the dawn
(more welcome by the homebound pilgrim now,
the closer he awakes to home each day.)

Night's shadow disappears on every side..."

Purgatory, canto XXVII, lines 100-112

Poetry also becomes extra special when you're able to share it with others- namely, your kids! This goes for any book... more wonderful when shared.  Make some tea in a big tea pot, fill the table with goodies (or just pop some popcorn) and start reading it aloud! Do you need some encouragement? There is a great (great!) podcast episode from the RAR podcast about poetry teas and you need to listen to it (right! now!) if you want to be inspired. #rarpodcast Also there is a poetry teatime website (um, awesome.... because, me=nerd).

We've also found that poetry is also more wonderful when tried!  If we listen to poetry or read it only, we're missing an important opportunity, and that would be the opportunity to write our own poetry. My kids love to take a song and make up new lyrics. You could even re-write nursery rhymes, borrowing the meter from these to make up a fun game. Lyric-writing is definitely a form of poetry. If you're missing that piece in your life, I would think writing poetry fills a huge hole in education!! #imho

Poets I have loved sharing with my kids: 

Emily Dickinson

Shel Silverstein

Lewis Carroll

Robert Louis Stevenson

*"The Swing" by Robert Louis Stevenson

What poets/poetry do you like or enjoy the most?
Linking up with Tuesday Talk and cross-posting at the ACWB

Friday, February 3, 2017

Molly's Birthday, Cats, and Liiiiiiife Lately~ 7QT

Well, I don't have anything inspiring to say to kick off this week's quick takes, so I'll just go for it...

~1~ Molly's Birthday

Molly turned 9 this month. Which is just so hard to believe. :-0

We celebrated by eating at Shogun restaurant. She had never been, and she was so impressed to see them "cook in front of you."

Molly is such a gift.
I know Stephen and everyone who knows her agrees... she is funny, smart, creative, a social bug, and artistic. ;-) She loves her friends, playing with her siblings (and being an awesome big sister), riding her bike, and reading.  I love how birthdays give us a chance to highlight the ways our kids are special and unique, and I love how the extra attention and love can really bring them out and make them shine.

We hosted a successful birthday party and made my (not) famous strawberry compote cupcakes.

She got this book as well.

~2~ Cats

In other completely unrelated news, to keep Annabel distracted when she was teething recently, I made a folder on my desktop of pictures from when our cats were kittens. She is completely mesmerized by these, so my trick is working.

Do these not make you so happy? lol
Kittens turning into cats= turn a bad day around for any toddler ;-)

~3~ Valentine's Day

I'm really excited about Valentine's Day this year... I posted about it on Tuesday, so go check out my post... Getting Ready for Valentine's Day I have written several cray cray posts this month so if you're in the mood for something more heartwarming, check it.

Oh and that reminds me that there is a fun instagram challenge going on for February hosted by Our Pretty Little Girls author Beth, and Wife Mommy Me author Stephanie-- Check out all the details here. Or just check out the hashtag, #14daysoflovephoto2017

~4~ Lent Coming

In light of the fact that I am now writing about our cats and posting photos of them, I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging this Spring. #😂 I feel like I may need a Lenten break from blogging. I'm feeling it is time. It is not because I can't make time to scramble together a few thoughts here and there in the little snatches of time I can find. It's simply because of what blogging (and the whole social media game) does to my soul. Break=needed, please and thank you.

I hope you all have a restful and fruitful Lent. I'm sure you'll be fine... as long as you don't give up great TV, disney movies, blueberries, popularity, or cupcakes. ;-)


Speaking of blogging, that sort of leads me to something else I have been thinking about recently, which is... my writing journey.  I was talking to a friend recently about the idea of her starting a blog. Sounds easy, no? When I started, I had a tiny, tiny readership. I kept with it because I had friends and family that I knew were reading. How did I know? If I occasionally put out a little call for comments, I would get confirmation that people were there, and people were reading. It was fun in those days, even though I was reaching only a few.  To people still trying to grow (which I am!), I encourage you to try just a handful of things:

- submit articles far and wide
- find an editor
- find tech-savvy friends
- know thyself

I have submitted articles to many places.... and guess what?! Many of those places rejected my pieces. A few accepted them. One source asked me to submit.  To call yourself a writer, you should do this and also take classes on writing, if you can. 😉  Christina Katz is fun to work with and I know she will be pleased to help you.

You don't want to go backwards by starting out in a sea of confusion, trying to get help only from blogging advice Pins on Pinterest . You've got to get tangible support from people who really do have the credentials they say that they do! Ask someone who is one step ahead of you to mentor you! Find someone to help with all of the pieces to the puzzle that you struggle with- it will be worth it!

There are no hard and fast rules (none, really!) but the thing I can almost 80% guarantee is that persistence pays off, but you need to know your audience, and who might identify with you the most. This means saying yes to some and no to others (in reach and follow). If you are nowhere near where you want to be in terms of reach, blog design, or achievements (and I'm not "there" yet by any means, either), just keep going. Over time- sometimes long, sometimes short- you will see growth, you will see improvement, and you will see achievement. Just don't give up!


The 95% and 5% rule...

When listening to the "Sounds of the Trail" podcast recently, one of the guests interviewed was asked, "How do you cope with all of the difficulties of the trail- cold weather, being wet, blisters or sore feet, sore muscles, hard climbs?"  And his answer was flawless, "The good of being out here is 95% of my experience. The views, the beauty, being out in nature, becoming one with the earth, the people, the community.... and the bad is 5% of the experience."

I would compare motherhood and having kids/ staying home to this analogy. If I could just erase the witching hour, changing diapers in the car on cold days, and illness, etc. my life would seriously be blissful. So much of it is pure bliss and so much fun for me. Mothering, homemaking, crafting, reading to my kids, cooking, baking, enjoying our family time and togetherness, even cleaning sometimes. It isn't just that I'm focusing on the good (although that's a huge piece to the puzzle), but it really is good most of the time.


I made this Slow Cooker Cauliflower Cheese soup this week, and it was so hearty and delicious.  Highly recommend.

I had never cooked with leeks before but seriously.... why didn't anyone tell me leeks are beautiful?!

Speaking of leeks, a couple of nights ago on my walk, I was about a block away from home and took a picture of a tree, because it looked like leeks. (yes I did).  So then right after I took it, I looked closer and our cat was sitting in the very tree I had just photographed. I didn't notice him until *after* I took the picture.  

What can I say? Our cat likes the smell of leeks. Or something.

aaaaaaand that's all she wrote. 😕😉
Linking up with Kelly

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Getting Ready for Valentine's Day~ Crafts, Snacks, and Drinks

I could spend hours reading, but unfortunately crafting has taken a backseat recently. I look at women whose hands are occupied by crocheting blankets and knitting hats and I think "How I wish I had that skill or had time for that!" That being said, I have a special place in my heart (so punny) for Valentine's Day and it lights the creative bug for me each year (that may be a mixed metaphor, but I'm not sure what I was trying to say...). My Mom always helped us celebrate in a frugal, do--it-yourself style. I've tried to embody that in our own home. It seems like lately, however we have celebrate Valentine's Day or other holidays in our home by purchasing decorations, eating candy, and buying Valentines (or other supplies) from the store.

I have been searching for ways to celebrate Valentine's Day in a more DIY way. I'm trying to save money, make a big production of it- without stressing out, or losing my head- or wallet.

I have been searching for ideas, and here is what I've come up with. I can honestly say I am more excited about celebrating Valentine's Day this year with my kids, because I'm planning to have fun with it, eat less candy, and not stress out.


~1~ Valentine's Day themed donuts (I would be picking these up-ha)

~2~ Make your own S'mores Valentine trail mix via

~3~ Make your own DIY fabric Valentines via

~4~ Make your own Valentine pillows (If you are a crocheter, which I'm not!;) via

~5~ Make Valentine's Day Punch via

~6~ Make Pink Applesauce and Pink Bubbles via

~7~ Make Construction Paper Crafts and Valentines via

~Bonus~ Play Musical Hearts via

For all of these fun Valentine activities, here's what you will need:

-donuts, skewers, paper
-ingredients for trail mix
-red and valentine-themed fabric
-needle and thread
-yarn, crochet hook
-ingredients for punch
-construction paper, glue, & scissors
-pink dye

I don't see "beaucoups of money on Valentine decorations" or "mountains of candy" on that list- mostly it is just stuff you have around or will get at the grocery store anyway! :0) yeah-ya.

My past frugal DIY Valentine's Day crafts/activities: (These are the DIY projects I have accomplished in the past)

~Red heart sachets with peppermint oil

~Red hot cookies
~Valentine's Day sign

~Homemade construction paper Valentines filled with cotton balls and stapled shut

~ Valentine's Day Box

~Felt Valentines

Happy planning, and Happy Valentine's Day!
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