Chillin' wiht my Peeps

FREE file to make a super cute spring shirt

Mini Photo Frame Banner

A cute and simple way to display mini pictures - come find out how to make one for yourself!

Pony Bead Lizards

Learn step-by-step how to make pony bead lizards

Glitter Felt Hairbows

Add a little sparkle to any little girls wardrobe with these DIY hairbows!

Perfect Crisp Lines

Find out the trick to getting perfectly crisp lines on name signs

June 30, 2012

Photo Glimpse - wedding festivities

remember, each week I try to show some pictures from the non-crafty side of life...

I've known my friend Brianne since we attended lamaze class in utero together - so we go way back.  She got married this past weekend - - it was perfectly done.

Waiting to be announced as Mr. and Mrs....

Kate enjoying her "mixed drink" - Shirley Temple - aka, sprite with cherry:

 Photo bomb (you know, bombing into the back of a photo) from Studio 103 - - why is it I look normal when everyone else looks crazy??  it's a re-occuring photo theme in my life.... then when I go for a crazy look, everyone else looks normal....

Since kids weren't invited to the wedding, the wedding party reserved a whole section at a local baseball game the next day for all the families to come and have a fun time.  Brianne and her Mr. threw out the first pitch to the game.

There were fun vendors set up - this is the table from the Zoo, passing around an ostrich egg to feel:

And this one spun the wheel to win a ball (some of the other kids just won a pencil) - so excited!!
 Our whole little gang, waiting for the game to start (can you tell we were really early?!?)

And the happy couple at the game, complete with photo bomb from A Piece of Kate's.

Hope your weekend is a great one!!

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Traveling With Kids - my tips!

I've had some requests to post about my tips for traveling with kids - huh?!? I'm no expert!!  Then people point out that we've driven from KC to Florida, and KC to the top of Idaho more than once - both those trips are about 22 hours of driving time.  But guess how I handle it - - drive at night when the kids are sleeping so I don't have to deal with them :)

So that's my number one tip - - best way to travel with kids - do it while they're sleeping :)  Also know as - - best way to deal with kids while traveling - don't deal with them :)

UPDATE: - - I thought this list was pretty accurate, but Trevor thought it was sugar-coated - - here's his version: Traveling with Kids - unedited!

I guess I can dig up some other tips....

  • Take a fun picture of the kids loaded up in the car.  For some reason I guess I haven't - these couple were all I could dig up, and the kids are really young in them.....

  • Seating is KEY!!  Make sure you give it some thought.  If you have a baby/toddler, you probably want them near the front so you can reach them.  Kids that can buckle themselves can be in the back. Consider sitting an older child next to a younger one, so if the younger one drops snacks or drinks or toys, the older one can pick it up, etc.  Consider personalities - - right now we always sit our 2 girls in the back together - they get along so great.  When my older two (9 year old boy and 7 year old girl) are back there together they annoy each other and cause lots of contention.  So the girls are the perfect combo for a happier ride.
  • Books on CD - - we don't do a lot of "screen time", so books on CD is a great option.  For our kids (ages 9, 7, 5, 3) I would suggest Magic Treehouse and 39 Clues - books I don't mind listening to.  They can all get the gist of what's going on, except for the 3 year old who just zones it out.  We hit pause occasionally to review what's going on for the younger ones.  Last year we got all the books to The City Of Ember series and they loved those - and so did I!!
  • Grab Box - - have a box of new-to-them toys (dollar store, garage sales, etc) and let them pick out of the box every hour or so.  Ours is an old Lego container and I blogged about it HERE.
  • Electronics - - they have their place - tablet, DS, DVD player - - whatever you want to bust out and rotate around the kids.  
  • Snacks! -- we don't buy a lot of snacks - until it's vacation, then the amount of junky food I buy is unreal.  Kate saw my load once and was in awe.  I buy lots of candy, fruit snacks, etc - whatever the kids will get excited about.  And then use that as treats for good behavior.  I don't do a whole lot of drinks because I don't want to make a whole lot of bathroom stops....
So, how we normally execute our trips:
--head out around 4pm - - drive about an hour, which is like normal - it's not a long time and shouldn't require any extra car help than running errands for an hour.
--drive thru for dinner around 5pm and eat in the car - - eating in the car means that the kids are occupied (eating) but we are still traveling, so win win (except for the stinky messy car - it's on the losing end)
--put on a movie around 5:30 or 6 on the van's DVD player - it pulls down from the ceiling so everyone can watch - so pick a movie everyone can agree on (lately we're loving Matilda - - also, we often grab a Redbox when we stop for dinner - I jump out of the car, Trevor drives through the drive-thru, then I meet him on the other side of the building with the redbox - that way it's a new movie for everyone)
--the movie should finish up around 7:30 - - bathroom and gas break if we haven't had one yet.  That way they'll hunker down for bed.  
--read books, work on coloring books, etc - quiet activities til 8 or 9 - whenever they should be falling asleep.  Claim it's quiet time and everyone has to have lights off (if you were letting them use flashlights)
--they'll fall asleep and you'll still be trucking!!  keep it up - you're doing great!!  I'll list some tips for YOU on driving through the night, below
--they'll wake up earlier than normal cause of the light - maybe 6ish - - have them read books again, etc
--stop for breakfast around 8am - get out of the car, etc
--if you have any fun games, etc, now's the time for that.  Maybe a round of electronics swapping.  You just need to kill some time from 9-11ish
--around 11 we start another movie.  So it's only the 2nd movie of the trip - not bad!  watch it all the way through
--after the movie, drive thru for lunch, eat it while driving - you're getting closer!!
--You'll get there in the early afternoon - you made it - wahoo!!  That wasn't that bad!!

Driving through the night info - - 
-when we first traveled to Idaho with young kids, we planned on getting a hotel in Denver - the halfway point.  It had been a rough trip, trying to entertain kids for 10 hours - and when we finally hit Denver, they had fallen asleep!  We realized that THIS was the way to travel, when they were sleeping, so we kept right on going with out stopping and reached IDAHO the following morning.  Ever since then, we've deliberately planned to drive through the night.

  • enjoy it!!  I have Trevor trapped in a car with me, with no kids awake to distract him - it's fun!  we get hours and hours to talk - sometimes it's hard to find time in day-to-day life to just talk.  We talk about life goals and money and raising the kids, etc.
  • take turns!  I'll admit I couldn't do it - but Trevor takes the bulk.  He drives most of the trip anyways.  At night he'll drive and I'll be awake til about midnight.  Then I'll sleep til about 3am til he gets super tired.  Then since I rested, I'll drive my turn - which is pathetic - maybe a couple of hours.  By then the sun is started to come up, so Trevor's back awake and ready to go.  When we get to our destination we can sometimes sneak in a nap to catch up on the sleeping.
  • while driving myself at night, I constantly eat to be alert - I love Pringles and pretzels because they're salty and Spree and Sweetarts for sweets.  By the end my tongue is raw.  Also Dr. Pepper is a trip must.  We highly recommend listening to podcasts (our favorite - Dave Ramsey) - something about listening to talk radio and thinking about the topic makes you stay away and alert versus listening to music.
  • admit defeat - - if you're getting tired, wake the other person up.  No reason to push it.  If you're both tired, pull over and sleep at a rest stop for a couple hours.  No problem to take a break.

Any other great advice you have??

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June 29, 2012

Scrap Paper Map {we were here}

I have been wanting to make a map out of scrapbook paper forever (like months) to show where we've been and when I got a box of Plaid Mod Podge goodies, it was just the kick I needed to get it done... and I'm here to give you a quick tutorial on how I did it....

I have a Silhouette Cameo and you can buy shapes in their store for $1 - they have a US Map shape and you can "ungroup" it so it's all the states free floating.  I used that to cut all the states out of scrapbook paper.  I wish I would have actually planned the color layout instead of doing it randomly, but oh well.  

After you have all your states cut, prep a piece of wood or foam board or whatever you want to use.  I Mod Podged on brown craft paper (you can buy it near shipping supplies) - I tore the paper, mod podged it down, then mod podged over the whole thing.  This is a great project for kids - you can't mess up Plaid Mod Podge!!

Alright, let that dry.  Mine was left over night.  Next up, stick the states on the same way.  And then another coat over the top, just like before:

Now, let's make the place markers that say "We Were Here" - - we are using our map to track all the places our family has been.  

See these awesome shapes - podgables!  They're made for creating fun things with Mod Podge!

I just printed on a piece of colored paper the words I wanted "we were here" then used the podgables to trace out a shape:

Then you use mod podge to attach the paper to the acrylic circle - - easy - the kids did it!
And they look like this:

I used these nifty little foam sticker circle things to give my markers dimension:
You can kind of see here how it stands off of the paper a bit:

And now our map hangs (in a very poor-lit area - so bad pictures!) ready to be enjoyed and added to - - we love it!!

Go out and make yourself a family map today - - get the kids involved - it's all the more fun!!

 I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.

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June 28, 2012

Kiwi Crate - Pirate Style!!

Ever heard of Kiwi Crate?? It's SUPER fun!!  Basically a fun craft kit is delivered to your door each month (free shipping) with all the supplies included to make something great.  We got a Pirate Kit with the things to make a hat, eyepatch, map, and treasure box.  The kids LOVED it!!
I have 4 kiddos ranging in age from 3-9 - - I know the kits top out around 7 years old, but my 9 year old still enjoyed it, especially the map making part.  It's interesting the different aspect each child pulls out - - my 3 year old loved the creating and coloring and my 7 year old loved the fun facts that were included.
I can't tell you how much I love having everything included - I didn't have to hunt for scissors or markers or anything - it was all right there.  And the kids felt super special that it was provided just for them.

 It helps spark their imagination - - after creating everything, my 3 year old made himself a boat and loaded in his map and treasure and had his older brother push him around....
 The map from my 7 year old of her room (do you spot the Giant Picture from HERE on her map below?) - she hid her treasure and had the neighbor girl use the map to find it.

We were so glad to get a chance to try out Kiwi Crate!!  So fun!!

Kiwi Crate would like to offer you readers 25% off your first Kiwi Crate (a $19.95 value), for a limited time only.Use the code CLEVER25. 

This post is sponsored by Kiwi Crate. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. 

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Growth Charts

Guess what I whipped up - - so cute - - Growth Charts!!
My brother and sister-in-law are having a baby (wahoo!! their first - we are so excited) and I thought a growth chart would be a perfect gift for them.  PLUS I really wanted one for us - so I made one for our house.  PLUS Trevor had some leftover wood (hence why one is wide) from when he made my craft desk (which is still a room in disaster mode - I will show it to you - hopefully soon!!)

Anyways, I'm not going to do a tutorial, because there are PLENTY out there - - and it's pretty self-explanatory.  I loosely used the tutorial over at 517 Creations, so head over there for that.

If you'd rather buy a growth chart - there are lots of you who are craft observers rather than craft doers - I have a friend who owns a company that sells them HERE.

So anyways, no tutorial, but I have a few tips...

I used spraypaint stain on the light board - so easy!!  I didn't have it in dark, so I wiped on stain for it, but it took longer was was messier - the spray was awesome.

This triangle thing has a lip on it, so it hooked to the edge of the board and made a straight line every time - perfect - my board was already marked at each spot that needed a line.

 I used these number stencils and then filled them in so they didn't look like a stencil - seemed easier than trying to get the exact font, etc:

My new favorite place to dry things - the road!  Plenty of sun!  Doesn't kill the grass under it....

Now, to get a permanent marker and start marking heights....

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June 27, 2012

Showing Off - Reader Feature

remember, each week one of you gets a chance to pick favorites from the link party - want a turn? just email me...
Another chance to share my favorites from Mandy's Take-A-Look Tuesday link party?  For sure!  I'm the gal behind the Backless Shirt blog...Backless Shirt is a bit of sewing, a bit of creating, a bit of life. Stop over to check out a few of these tutorials:

Here are six links that caught my eye from today's Take-A-Look Tuesday link party...

 Jaimee at Craft, Interrupted shares her tutorial for these personalized DIY mason jar cups.  Wish my kids were still little enough to appreciate these!

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy shows how to make your own awesome leather clutch.  How pretty!

Painted Shoe refashion at My Life on the Divide.  Go see Kasey's 'inspiration' can barely tell the difference!  Way to add fun to those plain-jane mary janes!  

Perfect for the July holiday parties right around the corner.  I always wondered how this was done.  Sugar Bean Bakers makes easy work of it. 

A Girl In Paradise (Ann) rearranged a traditional Lemoyne Star and came up with this eye-catching Star Crossed Lovers Block.  Love. 

Hysterical and adorable at the same time!  The Mandatory Mooch made a Fruit Bassinet for her sister's baby shower.  

Whew!  Mandy has such a great party each week - so much inspiration and creativity!  Thanks for letting me share my favorites!  

Don't forget to stop by and see me at Backless Shirt!

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