26 Random Acts Of Kindness in honor of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary

Hey there!  Long time no see...I've taken a little break from the world of blogging and even from crafting for a bit.  You know those times in life when "life" just keeps you busy?!?  I'm in a long stretch of "life" right now!  ;)
But I have been feeling compelled to post since the tragedy in Newtown, CT on December 14th.  I have small children and perhaps that is the reason for my inability to "get over it", but I am still affected daily by this.  I still cry, I still think about the beautiful faces in the photos I see everywhere, and I still wish there was something I could do to make a difference.
It's the desire to make a difference, and perhaps in my little way to honor those lives lost, that I have started my own 26 Random Acts Of Kindness in honor of the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary.  I saw the idea on a Facebook page and knew I had to participate.
 I made up twenty-six tags to hand out or attach to the "acts" for the recipients.  If you would like the document for yourself, in order to make your own tags, you can get the file HERE.  Just print, cut out and attach or give away when you complete a RAOK!
The photo is of the first tag I gave away, in honor Charlotte Bacon, with an Outback Steakhouse giftcard...placed it on the windshield of a car at the grocery store.  :)

I just finished RAOK #11 this morning and it's honestly given me a sense of "healing"...and it brings a smile to my face and the faces of those that are the recipients of the "acts".  If you are struggling to cope with the tragedy like I am, I would encourage you to give this a try. 

Here are some ideas that I have done and am planning to do:

1.  Pay for the person behind you in line at Starbucks/drive-thru
2.  Place $5-10 giftcards in random places where someone will find them (shopping cart, windshield, etc)
3.  Leave coins at a soda machine for the next person to come along needing a drink
4.  Leaving a gift for someone on their windshield
5.  Giving flowers to someone
6.  Giving candy or homemade treats to neighbors
7.  Leaving cookies for the postman or delivery person
8.  Leaving tokens at the merry-go-round for the next kid
9.  Leaving diapers/wipes at a public changing station for the next mom
10. Leaving surprises or coins scattered around a playground with a basket for someone to collect them
11.  Plugging a gumball machine with quarters for the next person that comes along
12.  Leaving coins at a parking meter for the next car
13.  Hide dollar bills in the toy section of the Dollar Store
14.  Purchase a pack of stamps at leave at the postage machine at the post office for the next person
15.  Leave $10 at the gas pump or car wash for the next person
16.  Choose a random name out of the phonebook and send that person a small gift

If you have additional suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
I'd also like to share a wonderful tribute page to the Sandy Hook Elementary victims, which I am following on Facebook.  I am in no way affiliated with the page, but I wanted to share it so you can see the wonderful tributes going on around the U.S. and the rest of the world for the lives lost December 14.

Finally, I'd also like to share with you an idea for a tribute ornament...I made one to hang on the Christmas tree shorty lafter the tragedy.  It will be placed on the tree every year from now on to remember those sweet children and remind me to hold sacred the time I have with my own children.  It's a clear glass ornament with the name, age and photo of each victim of Sandy Hook rolled up and placed inside.  Outside I've added tulle, feathers for wings and a halo made of beads, making it angel.  Simple to make and a great way to remember to thank God for what I have.
My continued thoughts and prayers are with the families of the vicitms of this horrible tragedy and I pray that we never know anything else like this in our lifetime...R.I.P. sweet angels!


Race Car Birthday Party!

It's been WAAAAAAY to long since my last post...especially since my last "crafty" post.  Trying to do better!  Life seems to have gotten super-busy lately and I feel like I haven't been able to spend nearly the time creating fun things that I used to.  (sigh)

But a birthday party is a good (necessary) excuse to get my craft on!  The Noise Maker, who lately has truly earned that name, just turned three years old.  Can't believe baby is getting so big!  He LOVES cars.  And when I say "love", I mean it's the only thing that holds his interest for more than about 5 minutes.  The kid might end up being a mechanic he loves them so much.  Anywho...

He specifically requested a "race car" party...not "Cars" (the movie) which would have been MUCH easier to produce given the amount of commercialized party goods out there!  So, I decided to go with his favorite colors (orange and green) and searched the web for ideas.  NOTHING.  No one else's kids like orange and green I guess.  So, I started from scratch.

One idea I did find online was the "street" table runner (above)...thanks Pinterest!  I cut a black plastic tablecloth into thirds lengthwise (to use for three tables).  Then I added pieces of white duct tape for lines down the middle.  Instant race track!  The party store had some inexpensive toy cars that I placed on the "road" for entertainment at cupcake time.
Laid over a bright green tablecloth, the race track really popped.  I used black "charger" paper plates and topped them with black and white checkered flag plates.  Orange napkins tied with checkered ribbon held the utensils.
We had the party at a park, where the kids could play on the plaground equipment, in the splash pad (it's already splash pad weather here in South Texas!), or run around in the grassy fields.  We had several other activities for them to participate in as well...

My favorite were the race car stampers that the kids could run over the giant ink pads and print tracks onto paper with:
I got them from Orietal Trading.  The wheels remove for easy cleaning and the kids seemed to really like them!
We also had a race car Bean Bag Toss game, which I got on clearance at Oriental Trading:
We also had race car sticker pages and race car tattoos for the kids.  For food, I made green and orange cupcakes with checkered flag toppers (Oriental Trading), race car shaped pretzels (Wal-Mart) and apple and grape cars (idea found on Pinterest)...
The Noise Maker had a slight "accident" with his cupcake...he tipped the plate it was on and it actually fell onto his forehead where he got a tiny little burn. of the year, here.
I also wanted to share the super-cute car shirt my friend Shera (aka Sew Sweet Princess) made for stinkin' cute is this?  Thanks, Shera!!!
Despite the candle incident, he had a blast and I think his friends did, too.  I forgot to take a pic of the party favors, but they were little baggies with a HotWheels car, mini play-doh, race car tattoo and candy.

Happy Birthday to my Little Man...I love you, buddy!  :)


Meet Lucy, the Goldendoodle

I'm a Golden Girl...I love Golden Retrievers!  I've had them since I can remember, as a child starting with Lady Daffodil (Daffy), then Daisy, then Lilly, and then when I got married I got Duke (aka co-chairman of smelliness).  Since losing Duke and Sammy (Pekingese), it's just been too quiet around here.  At first I was excited that I didn't have hairballs around every corner.  But a clean house is a boring house, right?!?!  And that longing for a furry friend started tugging at my heart strings...

I did a little research and discovered a "breed" of dog called a Goldendoodle...part Golden Retriever and part Poodle.  Honestly, I've never been a huge fan of poodles.  But then again, I've never really known one either.  :)  We found a wonderful breeder and picked her brain about them.  After speaking with her and seeing the adorable images around the web, I was hooked!

Goldendoodles are basically wavy Golden Retrievers that don't shed.  YIPPEEEEEE!  The coat depends a lot on the breed of the mother.  I learned that breeding female Golden Retrievers to male Poodles will give the soft, wavy coat as opposed to a kinky curly coat.  And the size depends on the size of the parents, namely the Poodle.

We couldn't be more excited to be adding a new member to our family...of the furry type that is!  Lucy Rose is about 5 weeks old and will be ready to come home in a few short weeks.  Since birth, we have received weekly updates and photos of our little cutie...can't wait to actually meet her n person!

Litter of Goldendoodle puppies, with mom Dolly...16 in all!
Christmas Photo: 
2 weeks: 
3 weeks:
4 weeks:
5 weeks:
Cute, right?!  :)


Thirty Days of Thankfulness Tree

A bunch of my friends are doing the "Thirty Days of Thankfulness" challenge, and I wanted to participate, too!  This little project lets my whole family take part and my hope is that it will really help us concentrate on being thankful this month.

This project is super-simple and SUPER-cheap!  I found a vase in my cabinet and filled with little pumpkin vase filler (Target $1 spot).  I collected dead branches from the back yard and put them in the vase.  And the rest was done with my Cricut and about 12 pieces of carstock!  The banner was cut from the Wild Card cartridge at 15".  I ran it through my printer to get the text and then inked the edges.  The leaves were all cut from the Doodlecharms cartridge at 3 1/2' and 4".  Each family member has a different color, and one leaf for each day of the month.  I punched holes in the stems and used twine to make loops to hang them.

The tree is a little bare right now (we'll do day 3's leaves tonight at dinner), but just wait until the end of the month!  I'll post a follow-up pic to show how beautiful our Fall Thankful Tree will be!

I'm thinking you could adapt this to work with different seasons or holidays activity...
1. Fall tree with colored leaves for Thanksgiving
2. Christmas tree with ornaments at Christmas
3. Eggs on tree for Easter
4.  Hearts on tree for Valentines
5. Flowers on tree for Spring
Might have to get crackin' on the Christmas one!!!

Thanks for looking and have a creative day!


Pampered Chef "Apron" Invitation

My sweet friend, Colby, is having a Pampered Chef party later this month and asked if I would make her some "cooking" themed invitations to send out.  Um, YEAH!  She originally asked for a chef's hat, but I only had one image in all of my cartridges and it wouldn't have worked well. Soooooo, plan B was apron!

This apron is from the Country Life cartridge (LOVE!!!)...I cut the shadow at 5" in red cardstock.  I cut the normal image at 5" in patterned paper and also in cream carstock (to mat on the reverse side with party details...not shown).  To give the invites some dimension, I added plaid ribbon to the top of the apron and attached it with brads.  I also added a paper flower and button, along with pockets that I hand drew stitching on to give them detail. To finish, I printed "You're Invited" onto cream cardstock, trimmed, and matted with blue cardstock, attaching it beneath the flower embellishment.  These fit perfectly in a standard thank you-sized ennvelope.

Hope you like them, and thanks for looking!  Have a creative day!!!  :)


In Loving Memory...Round Two

Wow, what a difficult six months this has been for my fur babies.  We lost Duke, our Golden Retriever, 6 months ago to lymphoma.  And this past Monday, we lost Sammy, our Pekingese, too.

Sammy was blind, possibly hard of hearing and his teeth were in bad shape, to the point that they were causing him pain and would need to be pulled.  AND, he bit a very good friend that came over to visit.  He wasn't always agressive, but given his health, we assume he was becoming increasingly confused and/or scared.  On recommendation by our vet, and after much soul searching, we decided it was in the best interest of The Mess Maker and The Noise Maker, as well as the children and adults that come over to our home, to put Sammy down.
Sammy's been around about as long as The Household CFO has been...he became a part of our family just one month after getting married and was my original "baby".  We're missing you, buddy.  I hope you're playing, eating LOTS of dog treats and loving on Duke right now!
In loving memory of our second furry friend...
November 8, 2001 - September 19, 2011


Bird-Themed Luncheon Table

I'M BACK!!!!!!!
Wow, it's been a while since I posted, and I do apologize for the long hiatus...moving to a new home took over my life for a bit, but things seem to be settling down (finally!) and I'm back in the crafting mode!  :)

Recently, I volunteered to host a table at our annual mom's group luncheon.  Each "hostess" plans a theme for her table and decorates with whatever she wants.  I chose "birds" because I have a slight obsession with them!  Here's another pic:
The "tree" in the middle looks a little lopsided in the picture for some reason, but didn't look that way in person!?!?  Why am I posting this on my crafty blog?  Because I used my BFF Cricut to make a lot of the little embellishments on the table of course!
These little favor bags are just tulle bags from Hobby Lobby, filled with birdseed and tied.  I used my Storybook Cartridge "D (+shift+shadow)" for the bird base and "D (+shift)" for the top layer of the bird.  I ran the birds through my printer after cutting them to print "Thank You" on them.  You can see my tutorial on how to do this HERE.  Then I just hot glued them to the little bag!
I also used the bird cut from the Storybook Cartridge for the tree centerpiece, adding about 8 birdies to the branches.  To add a little more detail to the tree, I also cut about 35 flowers from the Florals Embellished Cartridge "Flower7 (+shift+Layer1)".  I cut a slit in each one to the center, overlapped the cut edges and glued, making them 3D.  Then I glued a pearl in the center of each and attached to the branches.
For napkin decorations (instead of napking rings), I folded the napkins using a "bird nest napkin folding" tutorial I found HERE.  I placed a twig in the center of each, and then a small grapevine birds nest complete with a little birdie (supplies from Hobby Lobby).  Isn't he cute?!?!
And here is the table all set up!  I used a bird embellished planter to hold the tree centerpiece, wooden birdhouses, framed bird prints, wicker decorative balls, bird embellished tea light holders and other bird decor from around my house.  To finish the table off, and add a little "treat" for those sitting at my table, I made birdnest cookies!
I must say that I do NOT like coconut, but I made these and tried them and they were actually really tasty!  You can find the recipe HERE.  The "eggs" are Jordan Almonds I found at Wal-Mart.  I put each cookie in a bad and tied with raffia.

The last crafty thing I did was to make prayer verse cards.  I printed three prayer verses onto cardstock, trimmed them into rectangles, inked the edges and stamped a bird image on the center.  These were displayed in a trio of birdhouse place card holders from Willow House (pg. 29 of current catalog). 
So that's it!  Here are some of the other FAB tables my girlies decorated...

Mari & Lindsay: Pink, Black & White
Leslie: Picnic
Nicole: Black, White & Lemons
Charity: Back To School
*I didn't get a photo of Gretchen's table because these were taken before hers was set-up.  :(  It was a great luncheon (with yummy food!) and we had 13 new moms attend!  SUCCESS!!!

Thanks for looking!


A Dora Cake...

Going through some old photos, I found this...

Never posted the good ol' Dora cake I made for the Mess Maker's 4th (family) birthday party.  This was HARD!  She wanted a "Princess" Dora cake, not just a Dora cake.  The only Princess Dora they make is the one with the yellow dress...  "But mama, I want a pink dress!"

I think I made it work, but this took some real effort I tell ya!  Fondant flowers, colored, cut and embellished by yours truly...over the entire dress.
Thought when I finished that it was perfect...until I noticed a slight "lean"...and then a bigger lean...and then the whole thing looked like it was going to be one massive landslide.
Oh well, lesson learned...


Family Summertime Bucket List

One of my new FAVORITE crafty blogs is "Tatertots & Jello"...Jen has the most amazing ideas and inspiration, and she features awesome ideas from many other sources as well.  I just love visiting over there!

I found this project the other day, highlighted on Positively Splendid, but developed by Jen at T&J...a Family Summertime Bucket List.  Pure genius...

It's basically a bucket (or other container...mine is an old Similac formula can I've had taking up room in my craft closet for over a year now!) that has cards with fun activities listed on them...whenever the kids are bored, have them draw out a card and complete the stated activity...everything from planting flowers and having a picnic, to going to the zoo and having a Bar-B-Q.  Fun, right?

Jen has done all the work for us and has provided her pre-printed activity cards (along with some blank ones to add your own activities) and a label for your "bucket"...just visit Positively Splendid's feature of Jen's Bucket List project and download the cards for yourself!  I printed mine out today and got to work, creating an entire summer's worth of fun for my kids in no time at all, thanks to Jen's pre-printed activity cards!!!  My container isn't very "pretty" as I am EXTREMELY challenged when it comes to Modge Podge...but it works for a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, right???  ;)

Can't wait to get started...thanks Jen!!!