Category Archives: holidays

Junky 4th of July Wreath

I went dumpster diving and found treasure!

Let me clarify something though. Dumpsters in Ireland are called skips.

They range in size from 2.5 cubic yards to 35 cubic yards. You can also order a gigantic bag for your yard waste/other debris and that is called a baby skip. Aw, so cute!

Aren’t you glad for all the random information you learn on this blog?

Here’s what a skip looks like when it’s being hauled away on the lorry. This is not the one that held my treasure though. It held some old windows that were replaced in our house.


I walk by skips in front of houses and businesses all the time.

I ALWAYS stop and look in them.

Who doesn’t?!?!

I have often cursed our lack of a car when I’ve seen something neat and salvageable in these skips.

Well, my friends, my fortune changed when I ran across a skip full of junk outside our neighbor’s house one day.

One particular item caught my eye, but I walked passed it!

When I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about this junky object, so I nonchalantly walked back down the sidewalk, snatched the junky object out of the bin and fast-walked back to my house.

As my son would say, “nothing suspicious is going on here!”

This was my treasure.

Of all the things I could have taken out of that dumpster, I’m sure my neighbors didn’t expect me to take this thing.

I don’t exactly know its purpose.

I’m sure one of you smarty pants out there will tell me.

If its purpose was gross, I don’t want to know.

That would be my luck. Also, soap is my friend.

Anyway, I showed that picture to a friend and she asked me what I was going to do with this…thing.

Besides love it forever?

I’m not exactly sure what its long term purpose will be, but here’s how I’m using it today.


Ooh, la, la!

I dove into my country roots and made a junky 4th of July wreath!

The flowers are made with a lot of hot glue, buttons, felt and Handy Husband’s jeans.

Don’t worry, they weren’t his good jeans.


I had the bright idea to add an outline of the continental U.S. to the inside of my wreath.

Boy.

My bright ideas can be a pain in the behind.

Let’s just say this is an interpretive version of the map because it was harder than I anticipated to thread embroidery floss through the squares in the complicated shape of the U.S.

Sorry Great Lakes. And Louisiana. And…the rest of you.

I used white embroidery thread for the map because I thought it would be a good contrast with the rusted wire.

Unfortunately, I neglected to realize that all of my walls are white.

Therefore, the white thread blends in and virtually disappears with every possible background in my home except this one.

*insert forehead slap here*

If this project ends up finding a more permanent spot in my home, I’m going to have to add a different color thread to the map. And THAT will be fun. I’d probably also take off the flowers since they are great for 4th of July decorating, but my minimalistic self couldn’t handle them all year long.

What do you think of my ‘junky find’ turned 4th of July wreath?

For a project that used materials I already had on hand, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Plus, the 4th is one of my favorite American holidays.

More importantly, who wants to go dumpster diving with me? I promise it’s fun!


P.S. Here’s something else I picked up – not out of a dumpster, but off the side of the road and turned into art for my home.

Tourist Maps Make Great Wrapping Paper

Monday’s post was a little heavy, emotionally speaking, so let’s reel it back in, shall we? Besides, this blog, similar to the inner workings of my brain, thrives on randomness and abrupt topic changes. Keep up! Keep up! The whiplash is worth it.

How many of you have traveled someplace new and picked up a tourist map (or 3 because each of your kids needs their own map even if they ask you to hold it 7.3 seconds later, thank you very much)?

*raises hand*

Then how many of you have chucked that map(s) in the recycle bin or garbage when you were finished?

*raises hand*

If one of your tourist maps survives the trip in good shape, don’t throw it away!


You can reuse it as wrapping paper!

It’s fun. It’s unique. It’s economical.

It works for any gender or age.


And those map creases are an excellent cutting guide.

I did have to repair a slight tear in one of the creases with a bit of tape, but when I’m wrapping a Nerf gun for a 7-year-old, perfection is not at the top of my priority list.

Actually, perfection is rarely at the top of my priority list. Makes life so much easier!


I was carrying these presents through the mall on our way to a birthday party at a miniature golf place. I stopped to pick up a free sample of a sports drink the college kids were handing out. I meant to do a “grab a free bottle fly by” because we were on a timeline, but the kid stopped me and said, “is that map wrapping paper?”

I said “Well, it’s a map that I’m using as wrapping paper.”

“From a real place?” he replied.

“Nope! From a fake place!”

Kidding, I didn’t say that. I thought it, but my internal filter was working that day.

What I actually said was, “Yes, from our trip to Copenhagen.”

“WOW! That’s such a good idea!”

As a side note, I do love it when college kids think my ideas are great. It gives me that “I’ve still got it” feeling.

Then I talked to him for another 3 minutes about how expensive we found Denmark to be compared to Ireland while Handy Husband tapped his foot waited patiently for me to stop holding court with my adoring fans.


Not only is a tourist map a great item to reuse as wrapping paper, but it is also a conversation starter. These win-win ideas make me ridiculously happy!

And in this case, since I reused and thereby helped the planet, I think this was a win-win-win idea.

Thank Goodness for Easter Break

Hello, everyone!

I hope you had a lovely Easter.

Spring Break in the Republic of Ireland is actually called Easter Break and it takes place the week before and the week after Easter. In fact, today is a bank holiday, which means the adults get the day off too. Hurray!

We are more than ready for a break from our routine. Because there’s nothing like a break from your routine to make you appreciate your routine!

I’m taking the week off from blogging to spend the remainder of Easter Break doing family stuff. Adventures and, hopefully, an abundance of sunshine are in store for us!

As the sign on my local pharmacy door says, goodbye for now! I’ll be back next week and I hope you will too.

You can always follow me on Instagram to see where our adventures take us.

Until then, I hope you have the happiest of weeks.

10 Tips for Surviving a Parade With Kids

Let’s talk parades.

I LOVE parades, which just proves I’m a complicated individual. I don’t enjoy hanging out with large groups of people. I’m not very patient. And did I mention ALL. THE. PEOPLE?

Yet, I love parades!

It’s probably nostalgia knocking on my door. I remember going to a 4th of July parade as a little girl with my grandma and cousins. I remember exactly where we’d sit on a curb with a few trees doing a terrible job of shading us from the July sun. I remember cowgirl princesses on horses and beauty queens in convertibles doing that elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist wave as they slowly passed by. There were restored hot rod cars, old-fashioned firetrucks and best of all, square dancers do-si-do-ing down Main Street. Through the rosy lens of childhood, it was AMAZING.

When I had kids, I was ready to carry on those traditions. Relive it all through their bright little eyes.

But, man.

Childhood Me didn’t realize it’s a little more complicated than just showing up with a 3-year-old and a newborn and expecting everyone to have the most fun in the history of fun.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned in the last 10 years about surviving a parade with your kids and I daresay, even enjoying it! Surviving it is a good start, but parades are awesome! Let’s enjoy the experience too!

Tip #1: Lower Your Expectations

I realize the irony here. I encourage you to aim higher in the introduction and now I’m all “bring it back down, bring it back down.” Remember the complicated individual part?

What I really mean is don’t put so much pressure on you, the day or the event itself to bring about some sort of kumbaya family bonding moment. It’s a parade. And you’re going there with your real family, not those perfect kids from the Gap commercials.

With that in mind, do what you can to set yourselves up for success by planning ahead.

The rest? As much as it pains me to say, you can’t plan your way through everything. That’s why a good attitude can go a long way toward making the experience fun and memorable. So put on a smile in the event something zigs, when you expected it to zag. Remember, it’s just a parade.


Tip #2: Know Before You Go

Knowledge is your friend, folks.

Ask other people who have attended the parade in prior years for their advice for viewing, seating (do people bring chairs or is it standing only), how to get there, when will streets be shut down, where to park, etc. If you don’t know anyone who has attended the parade before, go online to find answers. Or you can be like me and call the local municipality that’s hosting the parade. It’s their job to answer your most burning questions and they love it when someone isn’t calling to complain. Truly.

Also, for the love of your sanity, know the parade route. It will, most likely, be published online. This is good for a variety of reasons such as helping you decide where to watch the parade. It also helps you understand road closures that will impede your commute to and from the event. Traffic is probably going to be messed up, so take a deep breath, allow extra time and just go with the flow detour.

At the recent St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin we understood the road closures, but we were not fully aware of the public transportation closures. Not all of the train stations were open on parade day, so we had to walk a bit further to catch a train home…in the rain. Lesson learned.

The last thing to know before you go? Ask yourself if you and your kids can handle it? Really handle it.

I’ve often dragged my kids somewhere and then been upset because they had a meltdown halfway through. Of course we weren’t having fun then. Neither was I. Their behavior was less about them and more about me putting them in a situation they weren’t ready to handle. If you have really little kids that will miss a nap or won’t stay in a stroller or cannot handle waiting, then by all means, wait another year. This is about making good memories, not about souring them (and yourself) on the experience.


Tip #3: Come Prepared

You need to channel your inner Boy Scout for this one. Be prepared. You could be waiting a good long while for the parade to start. Plus, the parade itself could last over an hour. Food, water and something for the kids to do while you wait will be lifesavers.

At the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, I knew we’d have to stake out our spot if we wanted to keep it. I also knew the parade started at lunch time and the restaurants would be extra busy. That was a hassle I didn’t want to deal with, so I packed a lunch.

As far as pre-parade entertainment, we arrived at 10 a.m. for a 12 p.m. parade. It was closer to 12:30 by the time the parade reached our spot. That’s a lot of waiting no matter if you are 5 or 50. We brought books and tablets to keep the kids busy. Kids might be able to jump on a trampoline for 2 hours straight, but to ask them to stand perfectly still behind a parade barricade for 2 hours is pretty much Mission Impossible. My kids sat on the ground and read their books, played their games, ate their lunch and then popped up every now and then to see what was happening around us. They were entertained and I wasn’t stressed about them getting lost in a crowd of strangers.

How we’ve chosen to handle the parade wait has been different for every single parade we’ve attended. Figure out what works for you given the parade circumstances and the ages of your children.


Tip #4: Bring Reinforcements

Especially if you have younger kids, it’s always good when the adult to child ratio is in your favor. Grandparents are lifesavers when it comes to this!

In terms of keeping kids entertained before the parade starts, there is nothing better than having friends along. Yes, thankfully, friends beat out books and technology in our house. Human interaction for the win!

If you can plan to watch the parade with someone else, it will add to the experience (aka the fun) for all.


Tip #5: Know the Weather

This comes back to being prepared, but you have to know what the weather might do during the parade. For those summer parades, do you have sunscreen, a hat, water, a fan, etc? For the parades where the weather might not be so nice, do you have rain gear and warm clothes?

For the Dublin parade I packed small blankets and even garbage bags. Garbage bags can be versatile if you need to make a dry place to sit, a bag to hold parade loot, or to fashion a makeshift poncho.

In case you are wondering, yes, I sometimes feel like a sherpa hauling all of this stuff around in my backpack. But the one time I don’t is the one time I need it.

The guys in the below photo? Let’s just say I hope their arm paint was waterproof because it started raining halfway through the parade. Major bummer, but the show must go on!


Tip #6: Decide in Advance Where You Want to View the Parade

I know plenty of people who never wait for a parade to start. They will always show up 30 minutes late and somehow find a place to stand to view the festivities. It helps that they are tall.

I prefer to view the parade from the start of the route. Especially when you are attending the event with children, it’s just less waiting time. If the parade starts at noon and it starts on time, it still will take several minutes for the parade to travel even a few blocks.

Plus, the performers in the parade are still giving it 110% at the start of the parade. By the end of the parade…they might be a little less enthusiastic. Or they’ve run out of candy to throw. Or they are drenched and their poor fingers are too cold to play the tuba like they usually do.

I don’t even want to know what happens to the poor lady walking on stilts…


Tip #7: Slightly Dehydrate

I’m not telling you to dehydrate yourself or your kids. That would be bad and I’m not qualified to give you medical advice. Not qualified.

What I am saying is it might be hard to find a bathroom at a parade. So if you know you are going to be standing outside for 2 hours before a parade starts, you might not want to give the kids that extra juice box right before you leave the house. Some parades set up extra toilets to handle the demand…some don’t. Or they don’t have near enough toilets.

Better yet, pick a strategic parade viewing spot close to a bathroom. It’s not the worst idea ever. Perhaps that’s what this guy was looking for…


Tip #8: Get in the Spirit

Part of the fun of attending a parade is getting yourself in the spirit. This might mean wearing green to a St. Patrick’s Day parade, wearing a Santa Hat to a Christmas parade, etc.

It also means cheering and clapping when the parade floats go by. I’ve been to parades where the attendees burst out into song and it pretty much made my year!


Tip #9: Be Respectful and Aware

Cultural Respect:
Pay attention to any cultural or patriotic customs that are observed during a parade and be respectful. For instance, in the United States it is customary to stand when the American Flag passes by at the start of the parade.

Other countries may have their own customs. Be culturally aware of what’s happening around you to prevent a faux pas.

Personal Space? Forget About it! So, Be Aware:
Especially if you are going to a standing room only parade, be prepared to have your personal sense of space violated. There will be crowding. Lots of crowding.

If someone is too invasive, then just politely remind them that, for instance, your child’s head is not a tripod base for their cell phone camera. Most people like that will just move on after you’ve gently reminded them to be considerate.

Make sure any valuables are safely tucked away or protected if you know people are going to be bumping up against you. Don’t leave money, keys or phones in your back pockets and be careful about jacket pockets. Just be cautious and aware.


Tip #10: Put Away The Camera

Take a few photos to remember the parade, but after that, put away the camera.

Seriously, put it away.

Be present in the moment.

Watch your children’s reactions to the outrageously amazing floats that go by. Take time to notice all the details that you don’t when you’re viewing life through your phone screen.

The best memories of all won’t be the ones you capture on your screen. They will be the ones you capture with your heart.

Trust me. You won’t regret it.


I do love a parade. I don’t care if they are cheesey. It is incredibly heartwarming to see hundreds or even thousands of people with different backgrounds and viewpoints come together for one moment in time.

And for that one moment, they are all in agreement over the simple premise that parades rock! They enthusiastically cheer on the kids in the marching band, the horses, the pooper scooper guy, the grand marshall in the convertible, the firefighters, the local carpet cleaner’s mascot. It’s a big community love fest and it reminds you of the good in humanity.

If you are thinking about attending a parade with children, I hope one or more of these tips help make your experience happy and memorable.

 

 

 

Irish Flag Centerpiece

Our celebration of St. Patrick’s Day would not be complete without showcasing the Irish flag on our dining room table!

Isn’t this festive?

My flag holders are milk bottles filled with green mung beans, white basmati rice and orange split lentils.

My son and I poured the dry ingredients in the milk bottles in color order as it relates to the stripes on the Irish flag.

The simple design of the Irish flag was very helpful in this regard.


The Irish flag, also known as the Irish tricolour, has been in existence since 1848.

However, it didn’t become Ireland’s national flag until the rebels hoisted it over Dublin’s General Post Office during the Easter Rising of 1916. It later became the flag representing the Irish Republic during the country’s war for independence beginning in 1919.

In 1937, the flag was finally given constitutional status as the official flag of the Republic of Ireland.

The green and orange colors in the flag represent the different groups and traditions that clashed over the years. The white in the flag is a symbol of the truce forged between these groups. (Learn more here.)

And you thought you were just going to look at pretty pictures today!


This centerpiece is a riff on a flag centerpiece I did pre-blogging for the 4th of July in the USA. That time, I dyed rice red and blue to complete the red, white and blue theme for the American flag. The layers of colored rice looked really cool in my milk bottles.

Since I did not want to waste rice – even colorfully dyed rice – I started using it in meals after the holiday. It turns out rice dyed red and blue makes purple rice when cooked! You just can’t get around those rules of color blending.

We ate very colorful stir fry for MONTHS.

This time, I think we’ll be eating a lot of soup.

My pack of 10 Irish flags came from my local euro store.

There are euro stores in Ireland and the U.K. These are a lot like dollar stores in the U.S. with the same type of merchandise. Except products usually range in price from €1 to €5.

My pack of 10 flags was €1.50. Since the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro is almost equal right now, you can equate this price to $1.50.

Well now. I’m feeling quite happy with how we’ve started this Monday on an over-achieving note. We’ve discussed decorating, history, science, culture and economics. That’s pretty good considering some of you haven’t even had coffee yet!

There’s really only one thing left to do on this Monday. Research recipes that include mung beans, rice and lentils.

I guess I’ll be finding out what mung beans taste like.


P.S. My milk bottles are super old from Pier 1, but here are some similar milk bottles on Amazon.

P.P.S. The how-to on the felt shamrock flag can be found here.

P. to the S. to the P. If you’d like read about my adventures in refinishing my dining room table, click here. I’m happy to report, the finish is still holding strong. PHEW!

Recipes (Mainly) From Ireland

I’ve done some “research” and came up with a sampling of Irish recipes I’d like you all to try in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. If I tried them all in the next week, I’m sure my body would protest in one way or another. So let’s spread the love around!

While I tried to skew this list in favor of authentic Irish recipes, I did make a couple of exceptions in the interest of culinary expressionism. In other words, I lead with my stomach.


Irish Cream

The Irish do love their whiskey and Irish Cream is typically made with Irish whiskey. This recipe from Good Housekeeping is not from Ireland, but it looks delicious. There’s a non-alcoholic version as well…which is probably why the recipe is not from Ireland.


Irish Brown Bread

Brown bread is served with almost every meal in Ireland. I exaggerate, but not by much. If you are ordering soup or salad in a restaurant, it will be served with brown bread.

Brown bread is a baking soda-based bread instead of a yeast bread. I’m not completely sold on the brown bread concept, but that’s mainly because I find the results completely inconsistent from restaurant to restaurant and bakery to bakery. When it’s good, it’s quite enjoyable.

I have not tried to make Irish Brown Bread myself, but that’s mainly because I’m still infatuated with my Dave’s Killer Bread knock off recipe and I can buy brown bread in any grocery store or bakery here in Ireland.

Here’s a brown bread recipe from an Irish site.

(image)


Irish Stew

What I liked about the recipe for Irish Stew on We Love Donegal was the author explained the history of Irish Stew and why it was made the way it was made. Modern day versions that include alcohol cannot claim to be traditional Irish Stew because peasants in the early days prior to 1759 would not have had Guinness. 1759 is when Arthur Guinness started brewing beer.

Even if you don’t plan on making this stew, learning about its origins is interesting. Really.

(image)


Boxty (Irish Potato Pancakes)

Another food that’s not hard to find at a restaurant in Ireland are potato pancakes. Locals will probably refer to them as Boxty.

The recipe is easy to make, but this one requires using raw potatoes and leftover mashed potatoes. Having leftover mashed potatoes on hand would require some planning for this household.

Get the recipe at Irish Central

(image via)


Irish Barmbrack

Barmbrack is a sort of fruitcake-like bread that is really popular in Ireland around Halloween. However, you can buy it in Irish grocery stores year-round. I saw it this week!

When the recipe refers to a “fruit mix,” it’s largely talking about raisins and sultanas. To me, raisins and sultanas are all dried grapes. Technically speaking, raisins are dried white grapes. Sultanas are dried white seedless grapes from Turkey. Huge difference, huh? Here’s where I learned so much about dried grapes. I am committed to the cause of sharing the smallest details with you. You’re welcome.

Get the recipe at Donal Skehan.

(image)


Guinness Brownies

I have to include a recipe with Guinness, don’t I? Guinness is based in Dublin, if you weren’t aware. We (along with the kids) have toured the Guinness Storehouse and we all enjoyed it. Even us non-beer drinkers in the family. And no, we weren’t the only ones who brought kids on a tour of a brewery.

Guinness often finds its way into our house, so this recipe is on my to-bake list. I think Handy Husband would be okay with sacrificing 3/4 cup of Guinness for some delicious tasting treats.

Get the recipe at Life, Love and Sugar.
(image)


If this list seems a bit overwhelming to you, might I suggest it would be easier, albeit more expensive, to travel to Ireland and experience this country’s cuisine firsthand. You’ll be so happy you did!

Quick and Simple St. Patricks Day Wreath

My kids are counting down the days until they get the day off from school to celebrate Ireland’s biggest holiday – St. Patrick’s Day.

Waiting is oh, so hard!


Until then, they did help me make a super simple felt wreath to decorate one corner of our home.

We traced shamrocks onto green felt, then cut them out and hot glued them on a wreath form.

Super simple and not overly obnoxious! Those are my two main criteria when it comes to holiday crafting.

I used a wire wreath form like this one so I could easily remove the felt shamrocks if I want to reuse the wreath form in the future. You can also buy flat craft rings on Amazon. If you don’t have a wreath form, a cardboard box or cereal box cut into a ring shape would work too.


While I opted for the minimalist approach, there are endless ways to trick this wreath out.

You could add a Happy St. Patrick’s Day sign from the dollar store, rainbow ribbon, a leprechaun hat, etc.


I’ll end with a quote that is appropriate for this craft. I don’t know if it is truly Irish or who to attribute the saying to, but It sounds good.

“For each petal on the shamrock, this brings a wish your way: good health, good luck and happiness for today and every day.”

Nice, right?

It sure beats the other anonymous quote I found: “God created liquor to keep the Irish from conquering the world.” Although there may be some truth to that…

St Patrick’s Day Craft: Burlap Pot of Gold

Happy first day of March! Who’s excited?

March is a big month on the little island I currently call home. Ireland. I don’t say that every time to rub it in. I only mention it, again, on the off chance someone is joining the blog today for the first time. It could happen!

Anyway, there’s this little holiday on the 17th with leprechauns and drinking. Lots of drinking. You might have heard of it.

Well, have you heard of island time? Ireland operates on its own sort of island time. I just started to see advertisements go up for St. Patrick’s Day events. The local newspaper is still asking for entries for their small town parade. No one gets too worked up about these things.

Except me! Because we need to plan, people!


My kids are SUPER excited to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year. Mainly because they get the day off from school and daddy gets the day off from work. But also because we’re going to try and experience as much as we can on that day that’s kid-friendly.

I wouldn’t normally decorate or do crafts for this holiday, but because we get to experience St. Patrick’s Day with actual Irish people in Ireland, I’m getting in the spirit of things.

That’s why I did a little crafting this weekend.

I don’t know what the best name is for this creation, so I consulted my creative team (me, myself and a cup of joe) and we decided ‘burlap pot of gold’ sounded catchy.


The burlap bag is one I’ve been reusing for a couple of years. A scrap of burlap would work terrific for this project as well.

I used a needle and thread to thread together the pom-poms and then tied them to a piece of twine.

I used the twine to cinch the sack around the vase of flowers.

Aren’t they happy looking?


Then the I cut a shamrock out of green felt.

I opted for a normal shamrock instead of a 4-leaf clover.

Personal preference. No other reason.

The shamrock is tacked onto the burlap with a little bit of thread. I don’t intend for this to be a permanent project, so I didn’t have a need to secure the felt in a never-coming-off sort of way.


When that was all done, I just slipped the bag around a vase of yellow tulips.

One woman’s pot of gold is another woman’s bouquet of yellow tulips!


With the exception of the tulips, this craft utilized materials I already had on hand. Plus, it was quick and easy.

I think this would be a fun way to package up a bouquet of flowers or a potted plant for a friend.

If you’d like a little behind-the-scenes chuckle, here’s a story for you. When I was taking these photos, I had an extra vase of flowers on hand. In a really dumb move, I set the extra vase on the floor while I moved flowers from one vase to the other. I was in a hurry because the weather changes minute-by-minute here and I was so happy to have a short window of decent lighting. In my haste, I forgot about the vase on the floor…until I backed into it while taking a photo. As I made a mad dash to the kitchen for a towel to sop up the mess, I stepped on a Lego.  The teeny, tiniest, sharpest Lego. Luck of the Irish was not on my side right in that moment.

But it was all worth it because I’m loving this cheerful craft!

Sending Love Your Way

Have you ever noticed Valentine’s Day is quite polarizing? Depending on life situations, people either love the holiday or want to kick it to the curb.

Since the 14th century Valentine’s Day has been associated with romantic love and romantic love is fabulous. Handy Husband and I celebrated 18 years of marriage a few days ago, so I have a deep appreciation for all things romance.

I also have an even deeper appreciation for all things beginning and ending with “Honey, I’ll do the dishes.”


But let’s not talk about me.

What I want to say on this Valentine’s Day Eve in the mushiest way I know how is THANK YOU.

Thank you to each and every one of you who reads the drivel that I write on this blog. Thank you for showing up, for liking things, for commenting, for sharing, for just being fabulously you.

Whether or not our paths ever cross, we’re all on this human journey together.

Thank you for filling up my bucket with encouragement time after time.

I hope I can return the favor someday.


As you go about your day, I encourage you to step back and view your outlook on those around you, those on social media, those in your community, those you have never even met through the lens of love.

The world could certainly use more love today. Don’t you think?

Happy Valentine’s Day.


P.S. If you want to download the “all you need is love” 5×7 print, click here. If you want to download the “what the world needs now” 5×7 print, click here.

P.P.S. If you aren’t familiar with the “fill your bucket” reference, read this children’s book.

P.P.S.S. This version of What the World Needs Now sung by Sara Bareilles is beautiful.

 

 

6 Valentine Card Ideas For Girls or Boys

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Ready, set, panic! No, no. Don’t do that! Here are some fun DIY Valentine’s Day cards that I think both boys and girls would like.

My kids would be content picking out themed Valentine’s Day cards from the store, but they also like to sit down and craft with mom, so I’ll take that time with them as long as it lasts.


Balloon Card

It doesn’t get easier than this idea for a balloon card! This idea is via A Pretty Cool Life, which is a pretty cool name for a blog.

There is not a balloon in this world that my kids have met and not loved.

This balloon idea would be fun for lower elementary/primary school-aged children. The balloon doesn’t even need to be heart shaped, although I realize it fits the theme of Valentine’s Day quite nicely.


Cereal Valentine

I’m not usually into candy Valentine’s when it comes to classroom parties, but I like the idea of a cereal Valentine. If I’m going to give my kids sugar, let it be fortified with vitamins! Ha!

I do think this would be a low effort, high impact DIY Valentine. At least, my kiddos would LOVE to get a mini box of cereal. Unless it was Corn Flakes. No offense to Corn Flakes.

More information about this idea at Giggles Galore.



Bee Valentine

I like the idea of a lip balm Valentine. Admittedly, my daughter would like this more if it was a lip balm in a fun shape or flavor.


Both of my kids go through erasers like crazy and I do like the ones that attach to the end of a pencil so that we’re not always losing erasers. Or “rubbers” as they call them in Ireland.

Idea and free printable via Polka Dot Chair.


Star Wars Mints

Star Wars is still so hot right now. Even my daughter, who doesn’t care too much about Star Wars, likes Princess Leia.

You could couple these sayings with any Star Wars trinket or sticker to make the idea your own.

Idea via The Idea Room


GumBall Machine

This idea is stinking cute.

I’m not sure if it crosses over into “mommy went crazy on pinterest and the kids don’t really care how much effort went into it” territory or not. It probably does.

I think the same idea could be accomplished without making the gumball “machine” by using a clear plastic baggie and a red label.

But dang it! I do love a good creative idea.

Idea via Sprinkles of Fun.


Writing Valentine

This idea was created by yours truly last year.

I may bring it back again since we have leftover pens.

Free printable here.


I really need to find out if my children’s new school allows the kids to exchange Valentine’s Day cards. Time is ticking! My kids will be so happy if they do…I will be panicking because I’m way behind on these things.