Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pre-Wrapped Presents

While Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year, the hustle and bustle can get overwhelming when you have a big family.  I enjoy spreading the beauty of the holiday onto my gifts, baking and decor.  One area I have found to save big time and money is in prewrapped present boxes.  I stumbled upon those nice thick gift boxes at Big Lots and Tuesday Morning one year after Christmas and purchased them for pennies on the dollar. They come in every size and shape imaginable and are pretty much indestructible.  I found some beautiful heavy foiled/flocked gift wrap and bought picks and ribbon cheap @ Michael's and Garden Ridge when they mark it 75% off.

Once you've gathered the basics, simply spread out the paper and get busy. Wrap the bottom and tops separately.  I use repositionable scrapbook adhesive to get started in case I'm off center a little and once everything is positioned correctly I follow with hot glue to smooth down the seams.  Make sure the paper is pulled tight before making your folds and adhering for a nice finished look. Once the box and lid are covered, adhere your ribbon to the inside of the lid, bringing it around to the outside to tie a bow (this is where the wired ribbon comes in handy).  Make sure you adhere the ribbon and crease it to fit the inside of the lid exactly.  Adhere a separate piece of ribbon to the outside of the bottom that will line up with the piece you tied to the lid. bring the ends over the sides and secure to the inside of the bottom and stuff with tissue paper to hide paper and ribbon edges.  Place the lid onto the bottom and tuck a pick, gift tag and any other fancy thing underneath the bow. 

I like to go back and secure everything with hot glue just for added wear and tear.  You will be amazed at how beautiful they come out.  Don't get overwhelmed with trying to wrap them all at one sitting.  I wrap one or two a month.  The good news, once you wrap them you can reuse them each year AND no picking up gift wrapping off the floor!  I've also found already made boxes at Costco that even have the ribbon attached so just throw it in the box with some tissue, close the magnetic lid and tie in a bow.  You can't get easier~

Don't stress if you find you have a gift that doesn't fit.  Simply wrap it the old fashioned way, stick a bow on it and make a note to look for that size next year, or better bag it!

                                                 Here's to a Happy and Stress Free Holiday!!  
                                                             Merry Christmas to all~

A Special Shade of Pink

As a Palliative Care nurse, I know all too well the role cancer plays in the lives of so many.  The day my mother announced she had breast cancer was very surreal to my family, as with all oncology patients.  Although I had many wonderful collegues, friends and family to support us, we still fit into Kubbler-Ross' stages of grief perfectly.  I am happy to say that my mother survived but not without physical and emotional scars that EVERY person with cancer has.  I wanted a way to honor her journey with all it's ups and downs and capture the true essence of what it means to be a


To say you are a survivor means more than just "made it through".  It encompasses every emotion, tear, sigh of relief, pain and victory.  Sometimes looking back and reflecting is as much a part of healing process as anything. 

Scrapbooking really is a way to speak without words and to give someone a voice who may not know quite how to articulate the full extent of emotion that won the battle. To show someone, "Look at what you went through" can be a very difficult thing but it can also be the healing you both need.  Creating a survivor scrapbook for my mother has not been easy and is not yet complete.  I am sure when it is, and we add that final "Walk For A Cure" picture of all of us, it will be a tear well shed.

You are a HERO Mom!

get great ideas by visiting 
and searching "breast cancer"
You can view product lines available under the Superstore tab
or visit your local crafting stores~

Thanks for spending time with me today and remember to

Graduation Scrapbooks

A walk down memory lane ~  
Perhaps no other time in our life defines us more than our teenage years in senior high school. We go to our first prom, get our driver's license and class rings, fall in love and graduate.  It's a right of passage that tends to collect with it all sorts of memorabilia.  Most of us have it contained to a box somewhere in a closet to be found by our children or grandchildren one day.  Why not get them into an album where we can reminisce from time to time.  Baskets beside furniture can often house a few albums and spark many conversations with family members on holiday's and with house guests.

Beautifu l~ and only two elements!

It may even fall into the hands of your teenagers.  Pictures speak volumes....{yes, we were your age once!}and perhaps can prompt those crucial conversations you've been meaning to have.  It's easier than you think, really! Nothing fancy, a plain 12 X 12 album in your school colors and attach your tassel and/or varsity letter to the front and spine to embellish.  Use 12 X 12 card stock in your school colors for the background and decorate.

Some things you may think to include:

  • graduation tickets/announcements 
  • dates and places                 
  • love letters
  • prom pictures                                    
  • favorite hangout spots              
  • newspaper clippings
  • diploma                                              
  • top songs/bands/news              
  • team sports pictures
  • senior portrait                                    
  • report cards                            
  • awards
  • class ring ceremony program              
  • college applications                  
  • journaling

                    Remember, it doesn't have to look professional!  The true gift is in remembering!
If you have older children, start one for them.  Many local scrapbook stores sell paper and accessories designed for your child's individual school.  These make GREAT grad gifts too~

Friday, November 4, 2011

Treasured Memories

I want to do more than just raise my children.  I want to instill in them a true sense of belonging, feeling appreciated  and understanding thier heritage.  I guess that's why I love scrapbooking and photography as much as I do.  I want to remember, and I want them to remember. 

This particular project started after my daughter's First Communion when I had her dress cleaned and asked for it to be boxed.  Apparently, the only boxes were for wedding dresses and too big for her little Size 6 dress and gloves.  I kept an eye out & found these beautiful boxes at Marshall's. 

I've since seen them at a few other stores like Home Goods and Tuesday Morning. They came in sizes which made me think of the other items I'd been saving. {baptismal outfits, precious silver gifts, baby book and hand/footprint set}  All of those things she will cherish as an adult and share with  her own children.  On a separate trip I found the coordinating journal.  I began with a note to her and have continued to journal weekly about all my special memories of her.. holding her as a newborn and the way she sucked her two middle fingers instead of her thumb.  As I remember things I sit down and document {in my own handwriting, which I think is meaningful}.  This way, she can not only have the items but the memories to go with them and to share.  I was fortunate enough that both of my grandmothers' and my great-grandmother journaled and I that I have had the chance to sit & read about thier childhood and what thier parents were like. 
What a gift!


I am currently on the search for boxes for the boys.
Wish Me Luck-

Have a wonderful day!

What's for Supper?

Anyone else hear this phrase in thier sleep?  Problem...planning a meal, buying the ingredients, start cooking and oops.....someone ate the last of one of the ingredients.  We tried over time different ways to "let me know when something ran out" but we're talking about teenage boys here.   That's when I happened to stumble upon a magazine with the best idea ever....pantry baskets.  They used them for baking goods, which I did also...and lunch snacks...and bags of chips and......then the light bulb went off.   Meal planning!!!  I picked these up at my favorite Tuesday Morning (We are not short of them in Richmond, so only finding two at each store just meant a few stops but I really liked the open front on these and the handles on top keep them from coming off the shelf and at $5.99 a great deal.  Each pantry will differ though so find the one's that best suits yours.  Attach days of the week~ I used cardstock and clips but you can get creative.

The key is to decide what to make before your trip to the store.  If you use Epicurious for recipies, the have an easy print off shopping list which helps decide what you have and what you need.   I stack dry ingredients and throw the recipe card right in to the basket.  GOLDEN RULE...anything in the baskets is off limits.  Of course perishables will still need to be stocked and checked.  Meats are kept frozen, so not an issue and I've never known a teenager to take the last carrot or head of lettuce.  

I've even thrown in foil for the grill or aluminum pans for casseroles if I know it's going to be a crazy night and clean-up needs to be quick.  It's not fool proof but it sure has helped keep me from making too many trips to the grocery store.   You can always trade nights too if you have a craving on a certain day, just move the basket and switch the tags. 

So, What's for supper Mom?

To Be Sorted

There should be limits to the amount of mail delivered to any one mailbox in a week.  Sometimes it's hard to tell what's junk and important and I've found myself hording mail around the house in an attempts to not repeat throwing an escrow check away...oops~  My husband "the minimalist" cannot stand stacks of paper and for me...out of sight sometimes means out of mind.  Working it into the decor was tough but this beautiful wicker tote sitting next to my favorite chair lets me reach down in the evening and grab a few things to sort while hanging out watching television.  I feel productive, the mail gets sorted easily and the kids and hubby have my presence. 

That works for all of us~ Thanks for stopping by!

Put a Lid on It!

Agree to disagree~ that's what happened when "MY" way of storing plastics {assembled and stacked according to size} did not play well in the sandbox with "HIS" way of storing plastics {total randomness}

....UNTIL.  "HE" had a great idea.  One must give credit where credit is due. It went something like this ~ 

"You know all that basket stuff you got going on around here?

..why don't you put the containers in one, and the tops in the other?" 

 Since my mother always reminds me to be thankful for having a husband that actually helps cook, clean and take care of the kids,  I had to say although not "MY" way, it certainly was a good way.  It was also much less labor intensive when putting them away.  Open the doors, throw them in the baskets and close.  Take it a step further and buy the sets where all the lids match all the containers. Agree to agree.
 Kudos to all you great husbands out there!