Take a Shortcut with Your Holiday Greeting Cards

Holiday Greeting CardsI’m a stationery designer. I make holiday greeting cards for other people. Most years I come up with something unique for my own greeting cards. And by “unique,” I mean that I use a clever design to avoid taking a family photo. Because: Ugh. Every year, though, my cards are left to the very last minute. Some years, I don’t even send them until after Christmas. And then there was last year: the holiday season got so crazy with performances and parties and markets that I  finally gave up on sending a card. I still have all the holiday stamps in my wallet from last year when I was delusional enough to think I could pull it off. In all my years of making cards, I’ve never considered having someone else do it for me. That’s just not the way my brain works. 

Simple Holiday Greeting CardsWhen my friends at Tiny Prints suggested that we team up for a holiday greeting card project, I honestly didn’t know what to say. I mean, I usually design my own cards. It felt weird to think about letting someone else do the work for me. But one morning as I started my holiday to-do list, I realized something important: just because I CAN do something myself doesn’t mean I HAVE to do it myself. I was so relieved to figure out that I don’t have to design my own holiday greeting cards. I know that sounds ridiculous. But my holiday greeting card becomes such a stressful thing every year. Especially since I always leave them until the very last minute.

Black and White Holiday Greeting CardsThanks to letting go and letting someone else design/print the cards for me, I got my holiday greeting cards finished before December even began! I also get to enjoy the work of another designer, which is such a luxury in my field. Plus, I love all the fun holiday products at Tiny Prints. (Remember this holiday party I threw with them a couple years ago? So much fun!) Now I get to focus on the rest of the holiday prep and spend the extra time enjoying the people I love most. THAT’s what a holiday should be!

Personalize your holiday greeting cardsI always try to include a little hand-written message with my cards, so it feels more personal. This simple insert card is just the ticket! It took me about 5 minutes to design and print these insert cards, which add a personal touch to our holiday cards. I printed our address on the envelope flap to save a bunch of time writing return addresses. I’ve always dreamed of sending holiday greeting cards with some extra-special lettering used for the addresses. And since I let someone else do the work of designing and printing the cards, I get to focus on the special details! The only question is why didn’t I do this years ago?!?

Customized Envelopes There are two morals to this story:
  1. Just because you CAN do something for yourself, doesn’t mean you HAVE to.
  2. If you have a shortcut available, TAKE IT! 

Seriously, busy parents should be able to enjoy the holiday season, too. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in trying to create the magic that I forget to enjoy it myself. So if you have a great bakery nearby, go out and buy those cookies. You’ll keep the kitchen clean, and still have a beautiful, yummy treat to share with friends. If you can find a pre-designed holiday greeting card, use it! If the department store is offering free gift wrapping, go for it! A big thanks to Tiny Prints for helping me realize I don’t have to do everything myself.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Teacher Gifts

Teacher Gifts I always leave teacher gifts to the last minute. But this year I’m sharing my top picks for easy teacher gifts with my friends at the Land of Nod. You can read all about it here. So guess who’s done with her teacher gifts early this year? This girl! Hip, Hip, Hooray! 

Printable tags for Teacher GiftsFor this post, I actually did some scientific research on what teachers actually like to receive for gifts. And by “scientific,” I mean I texted a handful of teacher friends to learn inside scoop on the best teacher gifts ever. 

Simple ideas for teacher giftsI was surprised when the results of my field study came back with a resounding answer. Teachers want practical gifts. I always knew teachers were awesome because they put up with our kids each and every day. But the fact that they like the same type of gifts I do makes my job that much easier! 

free printable tags for teacher giftsPractical Teacher Gifts are BEST!

My adorable sister-in-law is a 7th grade science teacher. First of all, let’s just give her a big standing ovation for that. But she gave me such a great tip for teacher gifts. She said that she loves cute, fun things she wouldn’t normally buy for herself. She suggested personalized note cards, stamps, stickers, fancy pens, etc. that come in handy for grading papers or writing notes to students and parents. I love this! Speaking of stamps, I found this awesome Facebook Like stamp (pictured below) online. You can get one here. But I think it would be an especially great gift for Middle and High School teachers.

teacher giftsOne of these darling teachers told me that teachers get so many soaps, lotions, treats and candies during the holidays. While they really love these things, they can really only use so many. My daughter’s  super cute first grade teacher mentioned that gift cards (even as small as $5) are really appreciated, as well as anything that can be used in the classroom. New books for the classroom library are always welcome; and the holidays hit about halfway through the year. So dry-erase markers, treasure box prizes and hand sanitizer are running low at this point in the year. 

Holiday Gift Guide: TeachersPrintable Gift Tags

Now that we know what types of items make great teacher gifts, let’s talk about presentation. This is the best part! I’ve created a set of cheerful Printable Teacher Gift Tags for you. Just download, print and cut. Then attach them to the gift(s) of your choice and you’re all set! 

Teacher GiftsGive a single item; or make a cute grouping of several items with the corresponding tags attached. Above, I’ve got a cute mint green tape dispenser, some assorted clips and a new set of grading pens. They look adorable together; and they’re USEFUL! You can’t go wrong here!

In addition to using these tags for teacher gifts, I think most of them could be used for co-workers, too! Have a great day!

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Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? I can’t. I’m still mentally in October, and November is halfway over! I’m sharing my Thanksgiving Kids’ Table Printables on Fox 13’s The Place this afternoon, so tune in at 1pm for more of my awkward on-camera antics. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to round up a bunch of my favorite Thanksgiving activities for kids here. These are all great activities to do leading up to Thanksgiving, or use as pre-dinner distractions for the hangriest little guests at your table this year.

Thanksgiving Activites for Kids

There are so many great Thanksgiving activities out there on the web, I thought it would be fun to share a bunch of my favorites here. You can always grab my Thanksgiving printables or ideas here, or head to some of these links for even more fun for your Thanksgiving celebration! 

Printable Thanksgiving Activities:
  • Thanksgiving Printables for Kids, from Natural Beach Living: This is a great assortment of coloring pages and worksheet/activities for all ages.
  • Thanksgiving I SPY game, from Live, Laugh, Rowe: My preschooler would especially love this. It’s perfect for younger dinner guests!
  • Gratitude Cootie Catcher, from Bren Did: Everyone loves a cootie catcher, and this one’s got a great Thanksgiving theme. 

Thanksgiving Activities - Kids Table

I found so many great Thanksgiving activities for the whole family as I perused Pinterest the other day. These games would be great for the whole family to play as you’re waiting for dinner, or after dinner while you’re waiting for the big game to come on. 

Thanksgiving Games:
  • Thanksgiving Charades, from I Can Teach My Child: This is a great game for the entire family to play. I love playing games that don’t have complicated rules. 
  • Turkey Hunt, from Happy Home Fairy: Genius! This is a great way to get the kids (even the big ones!) outdoors for a little fresh air before or after dinner. 
  • Stuff the Turkey, from Kid Friendly Things to Do: Of course the kids will love this game, but we have a couple uncles in our family that I can see getting pretty competitive with this game. Step aside, kids. This Thanksgiving activity is for the big guys! 
  • Thanksgiving Bingo, from Making Friends: This bingo printable comes with a bunch of different bingo cards, so there’s enough variety for the whole family to play. Bonus points for using candy corn as the bingo markers! 
  • Roll a Turkey, from Inspiration Made Simple: Sneak a little learning into your Thanksgiving day with this fun Thanksgiving activity for younger grades + preschoolers. 

Thanksgiving Activities - Kids Table

Crafts are also a great pre- or post- Thanksgiving activity. Keep those little hands busy with a fun project or two while the grownups are trying to nap or watch football. 

Thanksgiving Crafts: 
  • Paper Bag Turkeys, from Crafty Morning: You probably don’t even need to buy anything for this Thanksgiving activity. Just grab a couple lunch bags from the pantry and some colorful feathers or papers and you’re good to go! 
  • Play Dough Turkeys, from Mama, Papa, Bubba: Play Doh is always a hit, and these turkeys are super cute! 
  • Construction Paper Turkey, from Twitchettes: My daughter and I made these the other day. They were super easy and so cute when we were finished! 
  • Elbow Macaroni Turkey craft, from I Heart Crafty Things: So cute! This one might take a little preparation ahead of time, but the result is well worth it. 
  • Apple Turkey Craft, from I Heart Crafty Things: What’s better than a craft? A craft project you can eat, of course! These adorable apple turkeys would be a welcome addition to any kids’ table at my house. 

 

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Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

Here’s my final installation in my series of Easy DIY Halloween Costumes. I shared these costumes today on Fox 13’s The Place. You can see the segment here. In the meantime, here’s a little extra info about how we made these costumes.

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

DIY Operation Game Costume
  • Time: 30 min.
  • Total Cost: $10

I love using sweats for Halloween costumes (obviously). But you can easily throw some warm layers under the sweats and let the kiddos still show off their costume even on the chilliest of Halloween nights. My preschooler wants to be a clown for his “official” Halloween costume, so we all ready had the nose for this one. We grabbed some inexpensive sweats, two sheets of red felt and one large white craft foam sheet. I sketched out the shapes on the white foam, cut them out and then layed them out on the clothing to make sure they’d fit. After I was happy with the layout, I hot-glued them to red felt and cut around them, leaving a margin of red around the outside. Next, simply hot-glue the shapes to the sweats and write in the names with a black sharpie. 

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

Little Red Riding Hood
  • Total Time: 5 minutes (or less!)
  • Cost: $5

This is the ultimate last-minute Halloween costume. And it’s a really minimal DIY, so even if you hate crafting you can totally pull this off. Grab a dress and some boots, a large piece of red fabric and a picnic basket and you’re on your way! I scored this red felt square at the craft store for about $3.50 with a coupon. But you could also use a red tablecloth or any other red fabric you have handy. Simply safety pin it around the neck and tie a ribbon to the safety pin. My daughter didn’t love it with the hood up, so she wore it cape-style and it works great. The picnic basket also doubles as a trick-or-treat basket so you can stay in character all night! 

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

Birthday Gift Costume:
  • Total Cost: $8
  • Time: 10 minutes

As I dashed through Target the other day in search of a last-minute birthday gift, I noticed how big some of the gift bags are. They’re human-size! And a human-sized gift bag equals one of the easiest DIY Halloween costumes ever! All you need to do for this costume is cut off the bottom of the bag, punch some extra holes and make “straps” out of ribbon. Then hot-glue some tissue paper tufts to the inside of the bag. Bonus points for wearing a party hat or a gift bow on your head! 

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

I originally made the birthday gift costume as a grownup costume; but my daughter quickly adopted it. Her birthday is actually on Halloween, so it’s a great way to celebrate her special day with a birthday-themed costume! Plus, you can see from these photos how this costume works for both kids and adults. 

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

Artist Costume: 
  • Total Cost: $8
  • Time: 10 min + drying time

This is a costume and a kid-friendly craft project in one! Just get one of those cheap disposable paint palettes from the craft store and a kid-sized apron and then turn your kid loose on making this costume! No need to clean up the palette when you’re done…just use it as a costume accessory. You can also re-use this after Halloween as an actual art smock for projects around the house. 

I hope you enjoyed this series of Easy DIY Halloween costumes as much as we did! Catch my other Halloween costume posts here, here and here. Hope you all have the happiest of  Halloweens! 

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