Organize 2014: Tips for Using a Paper Planner

Tips for Using a Paper Planner

This is the last day of this week’s cleaning and organizing series that Angie from The Country Chic Cottage, Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage, and I put together. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! In case you missed any of the posts, I shared my New Year’s Resolution Printable, Thoughtful Kit, Simple Expense Sheet, and Christmas Card Book.

As a blogger, I spend a lot of my time online. Either on the computer or on my phone, I have a lot of screen time in the average day. So you might think that I use a digital calendar as well. But I don’t. I’m a big fan of my paper planner for staying organized. A paper planner will never run out of batteries, you don’t have to wait for it to load, I can check it even when my phone has no signal, and can be customized however I like. Based on years of paper planner use, here are my tips… feel free to add your own in the comments!

1. Put it all in one place
The kids’ school schedules, your work schedule, hubby’s work hours, sports, clubs, appointments, guests, holidays – keep it all in one place. You want to know at a glance what is going on, and where.

2. Use a pencil
I always have a mechanical pencil tucked into the spiral spine of my paper planner, and another in my purse as back-up. Plans change, things come up, and using a pencil helps my planner to stay as flexible as I am.

3. Use the monthly view for events
Most paper planners have a 2-page spread that shows a whole month. I use this to write in events. This includes everything listed in #1.

4. Use the weekly view for tasks, lists, and notes
Most paper planners also have a 2-page spread that shows each week. If you’re very busy or are juggling multiple schedules, you might use these pages for more detailed planning. When I have a busy day or week, I will plan it out on these pages. However, most of the time they’re great for other uses. I jot down grocery lists, errands that need to be run, to-do lists, and notes from phone calls or brainstorming sessions. This keeps all my lists handy and archived for later reference.

5. Mark your page
Nothing is more frustrating than having to flip through the calendar to find the right page. Use a big binder clip or large rubber band to secure all the pages on the left. This makes it easy to flip to the current month’s calendar view, but still keeps past months handy for reference.

6. Tuck in important pages
Coupons or newsletters from your favorite stores, your envelope for this month’s receipts, and other important papers can be tucked into the secured left side of your planner. That way you always have your JoAnns or Michaels coupon handy if you make an impromptu stop at the craft store.

7. Use the back pages for future planning
When dates come up that are further in the future than your planner goes, use the pages in the back to start a list of these dates – weddings, parties, school holidays and other events can be listed on a single page. When you buy your planner for the next year, you’ll already have a list of the important dates that need to be transferred over.

8. Keep a master calendar
I carry my planner with me, but I’m not the only one in my family who needs to know what is going on. Each month, I copy my planner onto a large dry-erase board in our kitchen. This is a great reminder for me, letting me know what we have planned for the month, and is a great at-a-glance reference for my husband and kids.

These are my tricks for keeping my calendar organized… keeping me from missing appointments, double-booking or over-scheduling my life. If you have tricks that work for you, please add them in the comments!

I buy a spiral-bound paper planner from the store each year, but there are lots of great printable calendars available online that you can print out and pop into a 3-ring binder if that works better for you. Check out these great printable planners:

Monthly and Weekly 2014 Planner Pages from The Handmade Home

Monthly Calendar Pages from I Heart Naptime (she also has matching Family Planner pages)

Monthly Calendar Pages from TomKat Studio (these are B&W so no need for colored ink!)

Monthly Calendar Pages from Oh So Lovely (5 different color/pattern options to choose from)

What’s in Season Monthly Calendar Pages (also shows you the fruits and veggies that are in season each month)

Monthly Pages from Kate & Trudy (also available: Daily, weekly, and Monthly for a fee)

2014 Monthly Calendar Pages from Elli

Monthly Calendar Pages from The Shabby Creek Cottage

Editable Monthly Pages from A Typical English Home (you can type in your birthdays/holidays before printing)

Monthly Calendar Pages from 30 Handmade Days (she also has a family planner and kid accountability binders)

Monthly Calendar with Family Events Printable Labels

Perpetual Monthly Calendar from SITS Girls

Monthly Perpetual Calendar from Nina’s Design Studio

Monthly Calendar pages from Landeelu (designed to not use a ton of ink)

 

Other planners you might like:

Printable Blog Planner from My Joy Filled Life (costs $4.99)

Life Planning Binder from DIY Home Sweet Home (just about any page you’d ever want)

Monthly Blog Planner from Infarrantly Creative (she also has a lesson planner and stay-at-home mom planner)

Cute To-Do List from Idlized

Organizing Holiday Cards: Christmas Card Book

Holiday Card Storage Book

Every year as I take down my holiday decorations, I take down the display of Christmas Cards, put them in a pile, and want to DO something with them. I love getting Christmas Cards each year (and I love sending them out, too), but after the season is over, I have no way to store them… until now! Several years ago I saw a similar idea to bind Christmas Cards into a book that can be enjoyed for years… and thanks to the inspiration brought on by this week of cleaning and organizing that I’m hosting with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage and Gina from the Shabby Creek Cottage, I have my First Annual* Christmas Card Book!

Holiday Cards

chipboard book coversTo make your own Christmas Card Book you need:
Chipboard Covers (with rings)
Mod Podge Hard Coat
Washi Tape (optional)
Scissors
Paintbrush
Hole Punch
Pen or Pencil
Ribbons (optional)
All your Holiday cards from this year
The Card you sent out this year
Your holiday letter (optional) shrunk down to size

I started by Mod Podging my card to the front cover. It was a little bigger than the cover size I chose. I could always go with a bigger cover, but I liked this size. After Mod Podging the card on, I just trimmed off the excess.

Mod Podge onto Chipboard

I had some of the chipboard showing over on the side where the holes were. I could have just left that part plain, but it felt… well… too plain. So I covered it up with some Washi Tape. Then I put Mod Podge over the washi tape to really secure it – Washi Tape has a habit of becoming un-stuck over time, and I want this book to really last.

Washi Tape and Mod Podge

I used the back cover as a template to mark where the holes needed to go on the cards.

Use cover as template

Then punched holes in the cards. I had fun with this part. I knew some of the cards were going to stick out – so I embraced it. I let cards stick out on the top, bottom, and right. Not all the cards are perfectly centered. I think it adds to the fun.

punch holes in card

I always think it is a shame that I don’t store a copy of our holiday letter somewhere. Sure, I could look it up on the computer, but what fun is that? I shrunk down our holiday letter to 60% so that it would fit on the back cover, then Mod Podged it in place. I used Mod Podge Hard Coat because I find it dries less tacky, and that will keep it from sticking to the cards as it goes into storage for the next 11 months or so.

Christmas Letter shrunk down

Once my covers were dry, I put it all together. For a little extra flair, I tied ribbons to the rings.

Store and Organize Christmas Cards in a cute book

I’m looking forward to keeping up this tradition each year, creating volumes of Christmas Cards from all of our family and friends that we can look back at.

 

*Yes, I know “First Annual” isn’t an actual “thing”. But I’m ok with that.

Most Popular Projects of 2013

Top Posts for 2013 on Always Expect Moore

I had a lot of fun blogging this year! I blogged here, over at 30 Minute Crafts, CraftSnark, CraftyHangouts, Answers.com and contributed at Craft Test Dummies. So… lots of fun posts, projects, and roundups this year. I thought I’d share with you the most popular projects here at Always Expect Moore this year. Here goes…

10. Whimsical Holiday Entertaining Recipes
One of two sponsored posts to make this year’s top 10 list… this post was so fun to create! I hung out with my husband to come up with some delicious adult beverages, and whipped up some other fun treats as well. Perfect for holiday entertaining… or just entertaining yourself!
Holiday Entertaining with Smart & Final

9. How to Make a Wizard Costume
I love that so many of the top posts were favorites of mine as well! This tutorial on making a Wizard Costume was so much fun to make, and I’m glad so many of you enjoyed it too.
Wizard Costume

8. Fabric Fest Quilts
Teaching at Fabric Fest was one of the high points of 2013, and I loved sharing all my different fast quilts with you… if you’re one that enjoyed this post stay tuned… I have more fun fast quilting to share in 2014!
three jelly roll race quilts

7. Winnie the Pooh Baby Shower
A shower I put together for my Sister in Law last year, this was a fun project. I enjoyed sharing how the theme came together, and the little (and big) ways I incorporated Pooh into this simple shower.
Winnie the Pooh Shower Invitation

6. Hexagon Fabric Bracelet
I remember the night that I was inspired to create the first of these Hexagon Bracelets. I stayed up most of the night stitching them together, I was so excited by this idea!
Hexagon Fabric Bracelet Tutorial

5. Monsters University Juice Box Printables
The second sponsored post to make this list, these juice box printables were so fun to create. I especially loved this project because it was a chance to get my boys involved in crafting.
Monsters University Juice Setup

4. Dr. Seuss “Oh The Places You’ll Go” Wallhanging
This might be my favorite project of the year. I loved everything about it, and will have a hard time coming up with an encore in 2014.
Dr Seuss Oh The Places You'll Go Quilt Wallhanging

3. How to Write a Thank You Note
This post became very popular on Pinterest… which makes me so happy! I’m glad that the world wants to know how to write a good Thank You note. It is such a simple but vitally important thing to know… and I’m glad I could share this tidbit with y’all.
How to Write a Thank You Note

2. Three Printable Boy Baby Shower Games
All three of my SILs had babies in the last 14 months, these printables were created for a shower I was unable to attend, but wanted to help out with. Since they were so much fun, I shared them online.
three printble boy baby shower games - just print, grab pens, and you're all set!

1. Fast and Easy Baby Shower Games
With the popularity of Baby Shower posts, I’m guessing lots of babies were born in 2013! These were three easy to whip together games for a last-minute shower.
Super Easy Baby Shower Games

So there you have it! The top posts for 2013… I can’t wait to start 2014… I have so many fun and exciting projects and posts in store for you!

 

Holiday Home Tour

Well hello there! I thought I’d take you on a little tour of the front room, decked out for the holidays. Not the entire house… because you don’t want to see my disaster of a wrapping station, or the front room that’s looking particularly lived-in after the entire family has come down with the flu (it was a rough weekend). But I’ll give you a little peek into the mostly-un-photoshopped parts of the house that have been decorated for the holidays.

If you want to see some other bloggers’ Holiday spaces, check out this post over at Denise Designed for details on the holiday home tour.

First, our front door. I made the Ornament Bricks this year. The wreath I made years and years ago – just a simple store-bought garland wreath that I wrapped with a string of bells. I love that it jingles whenever we open the door!

The Santa mat was a gift… I love that it adds a little extra holiday ho-ho-ho!

Holiday Doorway

view of the front room

Inside the door is our Christmas tree. We move around the couches at Christmastime to fit the tree. The two rockers belong to my kiddos – they were first birthday gifts from my in-laws. My MIL also made the Santa that stands to the right of the tree. Behind Santa is an Advent Calendar that I stitched up from a fabric panel years ago – but we’ve never actually used it to count down the days to Christmas! On the back of the door is the wreath I made this year.

tree and ornaments

At the top of the tree is a simple star (my 5-year old was super excited to put the star on top of the tree this year), and just below the star are my two turtle doves. I love my doves, I’ve had them as part of my holiday decor for years.

two turtle doves

You can also see the ornaments that hang from the valences. I have ornaments from all the downstairs valences. A simple way to add decor throughout the house.

holiday decor

Hanging from the mirror is the elongated wreath I made last year, and next to it a fun sign…

small table runner

On the coffee table between the tree and the sofa is a table runner that I made back in 2010. It is a simple quilt-as-you-go runner made with strips of holiday fabric. On the runner are my Santa Candlesticks.

dancing snowglobes

Also on the coffee table are my little dancing Hallmark snowless snowglobes. I’m not sure what these are called, but Hallmark sold them years ago, with a new one coming out every week or so. I wasn’t dedicated enough to get the whole collection, but someday need to go on Ebay to get more of the set. I love these guys, and so do my kids.

You can see on the couch is a Christmas Quilt, this one made by my husband’s Auntie. She’s an avid quilter, and made this flannel quilt for us years ago. I love snuggling under it during the holidays.

end table

Between the sofas is a little endtable. I have a beaded mat, some holiday coasters, my Mason Jar with Light-up tree, and this year’s photo of the kiddos with Santa. I’m loving Viv from the V Spot’s holiday tradition of framed holiday photos that come out every year, and want to start that tradition with my boys. Although I doubt I’ll be re-painting the frames each year.

living room

Next is the china hutch. We don’t have a fireplace, so the china hutch is where we hang our stockings. Before we had the hutch, we hung our stockings from the banister.

stockings on the china hutch

I hung my simple silver ball garland between the stockings.

stockings hanging

I made the stockings 4 years ago. The names are cross-stitched by hand. The snowman image and the cross-stiched name are machine appliqued onto the stocking, which has a furry cuff.

mom and dad stocking

Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie have stockings that match ours, because they joined us for Christmas that year. The baby’s stocking was made last year to match. The fabric is a white-on-white print that doesn’t show up in the photos, but gives some subtle contrast on the fabric.

banister

Past the dining room is the banister and a snowflake hanging from the stairs that holds Christmas cards. I have decor up in the rest of the house, but I’ll save that for another day… or maybe another year.

Most of the decor in the house is up-high, or very kid friendly. With two little guys, I want them to feel like they can touch, play with, and be part of the holiday decorations. Christmas is for the kids, after all, and they shouldn’t be afraid of interacting with it… right?

Make sure you check out Denise Designed for the list of home tours, and you can also check out the Everything Christmas Pinterest Board for more inspiration!

Christmas Home Tour 2013

Wordless Wednesday – a visit to Santa

Christmas 2013 Photo

Engaged over the Holidays


When Clever Girls and Shane Co. asked me a post about getting engaged over the holidays, I knew exactly the story I wanted to share. My own engagement story.  I’ve never told it here, but I promise it is worth settling in for.

After we got engaged, J and I shopped for wedding bands at Shane Co. We had a great experience ring shopping together – picking bands to celebrate our commitment to each other. I still remember walking between the showroom cases trying to figure out what we wanted, and trying on rings to determine what fit “us”… and while we were at it checking out all the other great sparkles… but I’m getting ahead of myself…

J and I met in college. After 5 years of dating, I was ready. I was 25 years old. We both had solid careers, we knew what we wanted out of life, it was time to make a decision.

ShaneCo Successful woman

This isn’t me. But it could have been. Just swap out the phone with one about an inch thick (hey – it was 2005).

For Christmas, we were going to Alabama to visit J’s aunt and uncle. It was a full house – aunts, uncles, cousins. The five of us “kids” slept on air mattresses in the living room. I was sure that this was going to be IT. I was getting a diamond for Christmas. I was so certain of it that before flying to Alabama I gave myself an ultimatum. If I wasn’t engaged when I left Alabama, I was finding my own apartment, and moving out.

Christmas morning came. We all sat around the tree to open gifts. There was no ring.

That night I silently cried myself to sleep. J and his family were staying in Alabama for two more days. I was flying home in the morning. That would give me enough time to be moved out by the time he got home.

The next morning I lay on my air mattress. Getting up meant facing the day – and all the days to come. I wasn’t ready.

As I lay there I heard J speaking with his grandmother in the kitchen. I eavesdropped as he told her that he was planning to propose on my birthday less than two months away.

My heart leapt, soared, and did every other cliche dance that a girl’s heart does when she realizes that fairy tales can come true. He did love me.

About a month later, J asked me about my diamond preference.

Engagement rings that ‘Wow’. Shane Co. offers designer looks not sold anywhere else with a lifetime guarantee that cannot be beat!

This was it. For real this time.

Two days before my birthday I came home to see J on the computer, playing video games. On the bed was a teddy bear with a small, wrapped box. Without pausing his game, J told me that I could unwrap the gift. I did.

Pendant from ShaneCo

A warning to any men reading this: giving your girlfriend a necklace when she expects a ring will result in tears. But she’ll still treasure the necklace forever.

Mumbling thanks, I went upstairs to the guest room. Curled up in the furthest corner of the closet, I called my friend. Through my sobs I told her, “He (sob) gave (sob, sob) me the (sob, sniffle) diamond (sob sob sob).”

“Why aren’t you happy?”

(sob, sob) It was (sob, sob, sob) in a (gasp, sob) necklace.”

He didn’t really love me. I needed to find an apartment. For the next week I was completely depressed. I needed to figure out how to tell him.

I couldn’t. I loved him.

February 20th, J came home from work, and suggested we grab a bite. In need of a giant margarita, I took a quick shower and got dressed.

Two margaritas (for me) and some fantastic enchiladas later, we were back in the car, on our way home. I needed to tell him. As I was trying to find the words, he missed our exit. We weren’t going home.

J drove on and parked on a shady street. He told me that I was his best friend. That he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Would I marry him?

Six months and six days after telling him yes, I became Mrs. Moore as I told him “I do.”

It was a perfect day. I wore my mother’s pearls, and the veil from her wedding. My dad walked me down the aisle, and our parents sat in the front row as we promised to love and to cherish, ’til death do us part.

ShaneCo Pearls

On my wedding day, my something borrowed was my mother’s pearls.

Eternal and timeless, pearls never go out of style! Shane Co. cultured pearls are matched by hand for exceptional luster.

We have been married for over 7 years, and I’m still not sure how I feel about him torturing me… though I did get an extra diamond out of the deal.

But I do have eerie confirmation that we really are meant to be together. That confirmation came on February 25th – just 5 days after our engagement. We were having a celebratory drink with friends as I told them how close I was to moving out, but overheard the conversation he had with his grandmother.

He interrupted to say that he didn’t tell her his plans. He hadn’t told anyone. I heard a conversation that never happened.

… and it gives me goosebumps every time I think of it.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

… and that’s how Christmas gets DONE.

I am one of the funny members of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This post has been compensated as part of a series of #motherfunny posts for Collective Bias and Nick Mom.

101 Things to do before Christmas #motherfunny #cbias #shop

When it comes to marriage there are a lot of compromises. On both sides. We compromise and accept the household to-do list… and our husbands compromise by letting us.

Then Christmas comes along, and that to-do list multiplies. Even more so at our house, because of the massive number of December birthdays in my husband’s family. An aunt on each side, a cousin, a close family friend who might as well be a relation, and both his mother and sister. My MIL and SIL have birthdays the week of Christmas – and my Mother in Law was born on Christmas Eve Day. Add to this my husband’s work schedule. He works in retail management, so his regular 50-hour workweek easily becomes 60 hours a week starting 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, and going right up to Christmas day.

This time of year, our division of labor looks something like this:

Pre-Thanksgiving Christmas schedule:
1. Decide what to give nieces/nephews on my side. Purchase, make, wrap, and give before mid-November.
2. Ask husband to write up his Holiday wish list.
3. Write my holiday wish list and wishlists for the kiddos
4. Try on old bridesmaid dress for pre-holiday family birthday party with “red carpet” theme. Decide it will look great if I lose 10 lbs.

Christmas to-do #5 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
5. Resolve to lose 10 lbs before the party.
6. Remind husband to write his wish list.
7. Start purchasing stocking stuffers.
8. Find place to hide stocking stuffers from nosy Kindergartener.
9. Remember it is almost Elf on the Shelf time. Check to make sure Elf is in off-season hiding spot.
10. Get e-mail from in-laws reminding me wishlists are due.
11. Pull up last year’s wish list, copy and paste husband’s portion. Delete anything he was given last year.
e-mail list to in-laws in the nick of time.
12. Decide hiding place for stocking stuffers will be discovered. Re-hide stocking stuffers.
13. Get new wish list from husband. Let in-laws know that previous list has been revised.
14. Ask husband to remind me to get the Elf up.
15. Ask husband what he wants to do about Christmas cards.

Post-Thanksgiving Christmas schedule:
16. Go through in-laws Christmas lists with husband. Find that two people did not send their lists.
17. Have husband text family for missing lists.
18. Select Christmas gift for MIL with husband.
19. Select Christmas gift for FIL. Discover that there is no remastered edition of the original Star Trek on Blu-ray.
20. Postpone selecting a Christmas gift for FIL.
21. Check out online toy lists with Hubs to select gifts for kiddos. Santa is generous this year.
22. Consider taking holiday photos.
23. Send e-mail to hub’s family re: missing lists.
Christmas to do #24 copy #motherfunny #shop #cbias
24. Remember that Elf is supposed to be up, but is not. Concoct plan to get kids out of the room to put up elf as if she was always there.
25. Decide we are not taking holiday photos this year.
26. Look for Christmas cards that have not been sent for two years.
27. Discover Christmas cards. All envelopes are addressed and stamped. With Forever Stamps. Winning.
28. Start writing Christmas letter for Christmas cards in perfectly rhymed couplets.
29. Move front room furniture to make room for tree.
30. Discover floor in front room is disgusting. Mop/Vacuum.
31. Toddler comes to help. Finds an M&M under couch. Eats it.
32. Wonder about the dangers of eating a 6-month-old M&M.
33. Keep an eye on toddler for strange symptoms.
34. Floor is clean – now couches are noticeably covered in cat hair. Vacuum.
35. Decide that rhyming takes too long, start Christmas Letter over in standard letter format.
36. Get tree up. Only two ornaments broken. Instagram.
37. Move piles of papers from front room tables. Decorate tables.
38. Get holiday wish lists from remaining two family members.
39. Remember that hub’s family friend makes fun of me for writing Christmas letter in third person.
40. Revise Christmas letter to be in the first person. Read through twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
41. Send out invitations for Gingerbread house decorating party.
42. Present Christmas letter to husband for review. Get high praise in the form of “it’s fine.”
43. Sit down with husband to pick gifts for remaining family.
44. Remember we need to purchase Birthday gifts for MIL and SIL. Sit down with husband, go through lists again. Select gifts.
45. Go online to purchase selected gifts that can be purchased online.
46. Give up Sunday to brave the malls and stores to purchase gifts not available online. Instagram photos of long lines to commiserate with others.
Christmas to-do #47 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
47.  Try to distract kids when boxes of items ordered online appear at the door. Curse retailers who leave CozyCoupe in original box and just slap on a label.
48. Decorate Banister. Instagram.
49. Search for the “perfect gift” to give hubby.
50. Make 28 gingerbread houses out of graham crackers for Kindergarten class to decorate.
51. Make 28 bags of icing for Kindergarten class. Run out of powdered sugar. Head to the store.
52. Curse my big mouth for volunteering to do gingerbread houses with Kindergarten class.
53. Decorate front-room windows with kids. Take appropriately candid-looking photos, and Instagram.
54. Trip over now-empty holiday decor boxes. Pile up semi-neatly. Ask husband to put away.
55. Shop for holiday clothes for kids and husband to wear to pre-holiday family birthday party with “red carpet” theme.
56. Bring graham cracker houses to school for decorating. Break 2. Hope two kids are sick today.
57. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
58. Prepare to print Holiday letter on cute Candy Cane/Christmas Tree/Gingerbread house stationary. Discover letter is too long. Adjust font, font size, margins… edit the letter for length.
59. Print Holiday letter.
60. Read through holiday letter as they are printing. Discover typo. Stop printing, throw away all printed copies. Fix typo and start over.
61. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
62. Sit down with kids to make holiday artwork for grandparents. Instagram.
63. Search online for hubby’s “perfect gift” find something that will do. Order it.

Christmas to-do #64 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
64. Bake a dozen+ sugar cookie houses from scratch. Put together in preparation for holiday party. Instagram.
65. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
66. Clean downstairs in preparation for holiday gingerbread-house decorating party. Decide to close baby gate and ban people from the upstairs so that they won’t see the mess.
67. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
68. Shove holiday boxes in the garage and out of the way.
69. Have Gingerbread decorating party. Take photos and Instagram. Blog about it.
70. Pour through blogs to decide on appropriate pot-luck dish for work Christmas Party.
71. Fold holiday letter and shove into envelopes with cards from 2 years ago. Resolve to get to the post office.
72. Bring Christmas cards to post office. Do a dance to celebrate first cards out in three years! Instagram. (the post office, not the dance).
73. Sit down with kiddos to make holiday ornaments. Instagram.
74. Clean up mess from holiday party while snacking on leftover candy. Remember resolution to lose 10 lbs. Put candy away.
75. Make dish for work Christmas Party Potluck. Fail. Throw in garbage.
76. Buy cookies at grocery store on way to work Christmas Party. Take out of packaging and put on Christmas plate while in car on the way.
77. Hem boys’ pants for pre-holiday birthday party. Instagram.
78. Remember we didn’t get gifts for aunts being honored at pre-holiday birthday party. Scramble to figure out, purchase, and wrap gifts.
79. Wrap gifts from online and shopping trips.
80. Remember that MIL and SIL birthday gifts are not allowed to be in Christmas paper. Search for Birthday Wrapping paper.
81. Find wedding and baby shower wrapping paper. At least it is not Christmas. Wrap gifts.
82. Put gifts in car to give to family at party to save on shipping costs.

Christmas to-do #83 #motherfunny #cbias#shop
83. Go to post office to send any remaining gifts. Bring jelly beans to entertain the kids. Curse long lines and insane postal prices. Instagram.
84. Go to pre-holiday birthday party. Drink, Eat, be merry.
85. Shop for holiday meals: Christmas Eve Dinner: Mexican. Christmas Breakfast: MonkeyBread. Christmas Dinner: All the fixin’s.
86. Find room in fridge for all the groceries.

Christmas to-do #86 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
87. Display Christmas cards as they come in. Ooh and Aah over cute family photos. Regret earlier decision not to take family Christmas photos.
88. Decide to use hand-wash-only wedding china for Christmas meals.
89. Make Christmas Eve dinner
90. Curse hand-wash-only wedding china. Wonder what would happen if they went in the dishwasher. Decide not to risk it. Hand wash dishes.
91. Find room in fridge for Christmas Eve dinner leftovers.
92. Wrangle kids through Christmas Eve Bath.

Christmas to do #93 #motherfunny #cbias #shop
93. Bribe kids with multiple stories to get them to bed.
94. Drink a well-deserved glass of wine.

Christmas to-do #94 #cbias #shop #motherfunny
95. Put kids who snuck out of bed back into bed.
96. Wrap gifts for boys and husband.
97. Stuff stockings, put presents under the tree. Instagram.
98. Put Elf on Shelf back in off-season hiding spot.
99. Think of all the things that didn’t happen this year. Resolve to do better next year.
100. As the sun is coming up, fall asleep exhausted. Wake up moments later to shouts of excited children.
101. Update Facebook status: “Worth it.”

Hubby’s list:
1. Write Christmas Wish List.
2. Ask wife if she remembered to get the elf up.
3. Read Christmas card letter. Tell wife it looks fine.
4. Move holiday boxes conveniently stacked in the garage onto garage shelves.
5. Shop for new suit for pre-holiday birthday party with “red carpet” theme.
6. Eat leftover gingerbread house pieces and candy. Be thankful for amazing metabolism.
7. Purchase gift for wife. Wrap. Put under tree.

If you need a little more holiday humor, check out Nick Jr. after the kids go to bed. Nick Jr. becomes Nick Mom at 10pm, and they have some great stand-up comedy from real moms who have lists (and lives) just like ours. You can also commiserate with Nick Mom on Facebook, and Nick Mom on Twitter.

Sunshine Quilt

This post has been about a month in the making… and really the story isn’t finished yet, but I don’t want to wait any longer to share it. I got to check something major off my bucket list in October. Quilters, prepare to be jealous…

I had a quilt hang at market.

Diamonds Quilt at Marketpicture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Yup. No joke. I made that quilt hanging right there.

For anyone who has “get a quilt at Market” on their bucket list, I can tell you that for me the process was a little bit of luck and whole lot of work… with a dash of insanity thrown in.

After making the Roots and Wings Quilt, I had a bit of a “lull” in my schedule. And by “lull” I mean no major trips out of town or massive projects due. Just my steady stream of crafting and watching the kids with Halloween costumes and Christmas projects needing to get done. So I asked the folks at Art Gallery Fabrics if they needed anything done for market. They needed a quilt and a pillow, and we were off and running.

I’m not going to say that there was a major snafu with the postal service that delayed the fabric getting to me for over a week, or that I had to take a trip out of town for about 24 hours right smack dab in the middle of making the quilt. But I will say that getting to work on a project like this is better than getting a full night’s sleep. Well, I’m pretty sure. I haven’t actually gotten a full night’s sleep since 2007, and I really don’t remember it being that special.

Anyway, I got her finished, and I love her. Here is the front.

AGF Quilt Front

I cut, placed, and pieced each diamond. There are all kinds of crazy bias edges in this quilt. I had learned about glue basting the week before starting it, and that is probably what kept me sane… and made my points line up. Oh – and I quilted and hand-bound it as well.

I love adding some personality to my backs, and a variation on a stacked-coin back is my favorite way to go. I mixed it up a little this time by using the selvedges. This took a little planning – I actually cut all the selvedges from the fabric before cutting the diamonds, and set them aside to use in the backing.

AGF Quilt Back

After finishing the quilt, I still had a little steam, and a little time, to make the pouf pillow. Here it is unstuffed.

AGF Pouf

The circles are all done with reverse-applique and I inserted a big zipper around the bottom to make it easy to fill. Zippers and I usually get along, but after gettting that zipper into a curved seam… zippers and I weren’t on speaking terms for a little while.

And although you can’t see my pouf in this post (she is there though, just hiding!), here is a photo of the whole booth…

Art Gallery Fabrics Booth

picture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Why isn’t this story finished? Well… I have the blocks of a second quilt, using the scraps from this quilt, up on my design wall right now. I just need to find some hours to spend sewing, and then maybe I can show you another golden beauty…

 

ps… if you want to see more of the great Art Gallery Fabrics booth, you can read about it in their Market Wrap-Up Post.

Halloween Wrap-Up

I thought I’d give y’all a little Halloween wrap-up. Especially since I didn’t give away anything about the kiddos’ Halloween costumes ahead of time…

Little Moore wanted to be Lego Batman. Mostly because when we were at my Aunt’s house, he tried on one of the cousin’s old costumes, and his little Lego-loving heart went pit-a-pat.

lego batman costume

I asked my aunt if she could ship me the costume, or at least the head and the hands, to ave me some of the work. She did… but the head got a little crushed in shipping.

crushed Lego head

So, I took off the posterboard that held the styrofoam top and bottom of the head together, attached a new piece, and re-spray painted the head. I created the body and then made a catastrophic error.

I asked my son if he was sure he wanted to be Lego Batman. Since I had to re-do the face and body anyway… he could be any Lego guy he wanted.

lego guy

Oops. But there was no going back.

It took me over 4 hours to paint the body. Mostly because I needed nearly 4 coats of paint to get the paint to look smooth and even. But… I finished. And it looks pretty darn close to the original.

lego guy costume

The baby, now 18 months, didn’t really have a preference. I took down the hem of his big brother’s 1-year Halloween costume, and he was a dinosaur for Halloween. I snapped a pic of him enjoying a chat with one of our neighbor’s doggies.

hello halloween doggie

We had a fun time trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.

trick or treat

Then L’s feet got tired, so we went home and passed out candy until the trick-or-treaters thinned out… and then it was time for bed.

lego guy trick or treat

Now we just have to find a place to store the costume…

Too Much Candy? Call the Great Pumpkin!

If you have kids and have never heard of the great pumpkin, then you’re in for a real treat. And not the sugary chocolate-covered kind. The Great Pumpkin is like the Tooth Fairy of Halloween. In fact, I have it on good authority that he is a third cousin (twice removed) of the Tooth Fairy. He picks up candy to keep kids from getting a stomach ache, ruining their appetite, and all the other bad things copious amounts of candy are known for.

How the Great Pumpkin saves kids and parents from too much candy

Here is how the Great Pumpkin works at our house:

My kids get to Trick or Treat as usual.

When they get home, they get to pick THREE pieces of candy that they can eat right then. If they’re smart, they’ll pick the full-sized candy bars… but it is up to them.

The rest of their candy goes back into their trick-or-treat bag, which is left by the back door.

While they are sleeping, the great pumpkin will collect their candy, and trade it in for a toy! (I have it on good authority that the great pumpkin will be trading in their candy for Lego this year).

When they wake up, they can come downstairs to see what the Great Pumpkin left for them!

The candy mysteriously makes its way into our pantry… but the kids are still to young to notice this coincidence.

This set-up is actually a fun twist on the way my mom traded us for our Halloween candy when I was a kid. We’d get a toy in exchange for the bulk of our Halloween treats. The benefit of getting the Great Pumpkin involved is that the kids need to go to bed in order for the Great Pumpkin to come! And anything to help over-tired and sugar-infused kids get bathed and in bed is a bonus!

Hope you have a happy (and safe!) Halloween!