A Christmas Planner.

Christmas is right around the corner! I wanted to share how I keep track of everything during Christmas time. Purchases made for the kids, family, co-workers, bucket list, Elf on the Shelf planning, sending out Christmas cards, and more.

I created this Christmas planner going on three years in a row now! It helps me so much during the busy holiday season. I’m sure there are actual Christmas planners that you can buy that are a lot prettier, but this entire notebook costs me $1.00!!! That’s it! Here’s how I do it…

What you need:
– Composition notebook from the dollar store
– Christmas paper
– Tape/glue
– Stapler

All I do is buy a composition notebook from the dollar store, and that is all! Everything else I already have at home, and if you don’t have everything else at home you can most likely get at the dollar store as well, or somewhere fairly cheap. You could use any style notebook you’d like!

After you cut out your paper, and glue/tape it to your notebook, you’ll cut out small squares to use as the tabs. Again, you could use pre-made tabs or add stickers to the tabs, do whatever you’d like! I seriously just use whatever I have at home.

The tabs I make are labeled as the following:
– Bucket List
– Cards
– EOS (stands for Elf on Shelf, in case the kids see it)
– Menu
– The List
– To Do

For the tabs, I fold each red and green paper in half, and staple it to the notebook paper. I mean, can it get any easier? It’s not super fancy, it’s not the most glamourous, and it’s not the best quality, but it has worked for me.

Would you like to know what I put in each tab? Well, here you go!

BUCKET LIST – every year we come up with a list of things to do during the holidays, and I write all the ideas and things we might do. Or if I think of anything to add, I’ll write it down in this tab.

CARDS – for our Christmas cards, I write down each person we sent them to, and I’ll make a handwritten check box so I know that I sent one, and another handwritten check box if we receive one, etc. I also write down what company we used for the cards, so if I really liked the company one year, I’ll remember who we used. Because to be honest, I can never remember where I order the cards from each year!

EOS (Elf on the Shelf) – This year I added a tab for the elf on the shelf, ideas I come up with, or things to buy for whatever crazy thing the elf might do. I might sound crazy for keeping a tab on an elf, but I love all this stuff! My kids are only this young once, so I enjoy every second of this!

MENU – On Christmas Eve/Day morning, we always have a big breakfast with just us at home. Before all the craziness starts of going wherever, we like to make all the fixings for a good ‘ole fashion breakfast.

THE LIST – This tab is the most important of all! THE LIST is all the things purchased! Each person has their own page, and I write down what gift was bought, how much it cost, whether it was received, whether it was wrapped, and then a total dollar amount for each person. We really do try to spend the same amount on the kids, but with the different age gaps, it’s getting harder and harder each year. But this tab is what inspired this planner in the first place, the older I get, the harder it is to remember what I bought, if it was wrapped, etc.

TO DO – This tab is just a regular to do list for the holidays. It usually has random thoughts that I want to remember, or random things I need to do, etc. Super random, and not really specific.

Front and back of this year’s planner.

This is not the greatest photo since I took it late in the day, from a previous year, but I’ll put a large envelope in the front of the planner for any receipts I might keep. Returns are a big thing for Christmas presents some years!

Here are the previous planners, I started two years ago! I couldn’t find last years when I was making this year’s planner, but funny how I picked the same paper as the cover. I love it, and it helps me so much!

I love making the Christmas planner every year! They are just so easy to make, but so functional for the holiday season. It’s sort of like the start of the holidays for me since I make them early November. I need to start shopping now!

Outdoor Fall Activities.

My daughter has been off school the last two days, one for Halloween and the next day was for meeting her school’s walkathon goal! After the first day of being home, and watching Netflix almost all day, I had to come up with something to get her mind off of the tv.

I went to my favorite creative search engine Pinterest and found two fun and super easy fall activities that we could do outside. I searched for outdoor activities because it’s been so nice out the past two days and a change of scenery always does a body good.

The first activity we did was an outdoor scavenger hunt. I literally printed off the first easy one I found, and that is it! The outdoor scavenger hunt we used was from the Science Kiddo.

The only one we didn’t check off was a pinecone, we don’t have any pinecones anymore in our yard since we chopped down the pine trees! We used a clipboard, loaded Huxley in the stroller, and walked around our own yard.

The second one we did was an outdoor adventure hunt, I printed off the list and had Hadley tape the list on a brown paper bag. When she found each item, we would toss it in the bag, and cross off the list. It doesn’t really matter, since we aren’t turning this in anywhere, just doing it for our own fun. Huxley loved being in the stroller without his car seat, and watching his big sister find all the items. Hadley was soo into this, she’s just like her mom and loves to cross off a list!

The last one we did was a leaf hair craft. We printed off this blank head, went outside and gathered some random leaves, came inside and glued the leaves on the head. It was fun to do with her, and she loved it!

We used a regular glue stick, which worked out great!

The leaf hair craft was fun and so easy to do. We used scissors to cut off the stems of the leaves, so they didn’t break the leaves, and just a glue stick. So, all you really need are those two items! The leaf hair craft is from Glued To My Crafts.

We had so much fun doing these super simple fall outdoor activities. All it takes is a little searching, printing off some paper, and just your individual time for your kiddo. It doesn’t take much to entertain kids, it’s all about the process and how engaged you are with them. Hadley will remember today, and what we did outside much more than watching Netflix inside on the couch!

End of season softball goodie bags.

The softball season has come to an end, and we like to give all the girls a little something as a thank you for a great season. Each bag has small goodies inside, and a tag made in photoshop.

Inside each goodie bag is big league chew, goldfish, ring pop, and a pop-it bracelet. Super simple ideas, just something small that I know kids will enjoy.

This year, the coaches that helped Kevin out were amazing. There were a few games where Kevin messed up his umpire games, and these guys had to fill in for him. They were a huge help. And, with having Huxley at the games I can’t exactly help get the girls in order when it was their turn to bat, or help them with their helmets, so I give lots of props to the guys. They stepped up and were so great, Kevin appreciated it! So, to say thanks, we got each of the coaches a 12-pack of beer. I figured they’d enjoy beer more than big league chew!

When all the bags are ready to go, we like to deliver them to each of the girls’ homes. Hadley likes to make a map, and we’ll drive around and deliver them all. It takes about an hour or so, depending on where the girls live. Not too bad for 7 or 8 stops! Hadley loves doing it, and she remembers we did the same thing last year.

Last year’s bags were a little more involved, as I had a bit more time on my hands without a baby in the house. If you are interested in seeing last year’s goodie bags, click here.

I hope all the girls enjoyed their goodie bags from Coach Kevin and I, we had fun this season!

DIY Painted Fireplace.

I’ve always loved whitewashed brick! So much we whitewashed our fireplace!

We knew we wanted to paint our fireplace when we moved in, just took three years to do it! I’m not a huge fan of the red brick which is what most traditional fireplaces are nowadays. We headed to Home Depot and bought some brick paint and went to town.

Before we moved in, this is what the fireplace looked like. Look at little Hadley on the side, she was four years old here. This was a day when we were looking at the house, thinking about buying it, and all of the items seen here are from the previous owners.

Here is another view of the fireplace, after we put a few of our own things on it. As you can see, there is no TV or much at all in this room as we were literally moving in.

Here is my husband starting to paint the fireplace. All we did was tape up the mantle, the fireplace opening, and the sides along the wall paint. I can’t find the exact paint, but a very similar one is called Behr White Flat Masonry Stucco and Brick Paint. Kevin started painting, and I went behind him and filled in the grout parts. You can make it look super white, or very faint so you can still see some of the brick come through. We liked the look of still seeing the brick through the paint.

Here is the finished product! We are so in love with how the white looks, versus the old red brick. I’ve had so many people ask if we are going to paint the trim and mantle white also. My answer is always no, I love how it looks with the trim showing the wood.

The whitewash makes the room so much brighter! The red brick made the room look so dark! Such a small project can have huge effects on a room. Go paint that wall or change up whatever in your home. Small changes can make a difference!

Thanksgiving Invites.

We are hosting Thanksgiving next week for the second time! My husband and I alternate each year with our families, this year is my side of the family, and next year is his. We have alternated holidays for probably ten years now! It’s what works for us and we love it.

Thanksgiving with my side of the family is pretty standard as far as food goes. We provide the main dishes, most importantly Tom the turkey. We’ll have two turkeys, and Hadley has named them Tom and Pam this year! My aunts, uncles, and cousins bring most of the same sides each time, it’s been the same for forever it feels like.

When it came time to spreading the word on what everyone was bringing, I started making the invitations. Trust me, there was no need for invitations, mainly because everyone brings the same thing each time, but it’s just what I do. What’s the fun of throwing a party without a real invite? I love anything and everything paper!

In addition to the invites, I made these little menu cards for each family member. I made these the same way as the invites, except smaller and omitted the address info, etc.

The envelopes are plain white, with washi tape on the back and a Thanksgiving stamp. I use washi tape on almost every single piece of mail I send out. Even boring bills, why not make sending out old school bills in the mail prettier?!?!

I created the invites in Photoshop, and printed them on kraft paper. Love how they turned out! Simple invites + envelopes. I have a ridiculous amount of envelopes that need to be put to good use. Plus, we’ve already got the majority of our shopping list done, the extra tables and chairs all set up, and Tom and Pam defrosting in the fridge!

Vacation ticket.

In two weeks, we are going on vacation to the beach! I always like to think of fun ways to do things around here, so I came up with a quick scavenger hunt. Hadley just loves them, they are so easy and you can make them super short too.

First clue: Girl, does Mom and Dad have a surprise for you! Where you get wet in the house is the first clue!

Second clue: Great job! World class swimmer! Ride the waves to where you eat dinner. (Clue was in the shower door).

Third clue: Grab your goggles and dive deep. Find the next clue where you sleep. (Clue was on a kitchen table chair).

Fourth clue: Let’s build sandcastles and play in the sand! Look for the next clue where you wash your hands! (Clue was on her pillow in her bed).

Fifth clue: No resting yet, you’re almost done. A surprise is waiting where there’s movie fun. (Clue was in the bathroom).

Last clue was the ticket to the beach! I made this in Photoshop, and cut it out by hand. (Last clue was in the TV stand / movies). Hadley is super excited! She’s been to the beach when she was around two years old or so, but obviously doesn’t remember at that age. So this will be her first real trip to the beach! We can’t wait to see her have fun on the beach, build sandcastles, swim in the ocean, and to just see this vacation through her little blue eyes! And of course, to just chill, relax, and breath in that ocean air!

DIY softball treat bags.

Hadley’s softball season ended last week, and I made these easy and fun treat bags for all the girls on the team. These would be great for an end of season gift or team mom gift for softball girls. Since my husband was the coach, I wanted to do a little something for their first softball season!

All of the supplies and items were all purchased at the Dollar Store. Yellow paper bags, bag of mini suckers, temporary tattoos, fun pens, and rainbow nail polish.

For each bag, I used a half circle stencil I cut out from a plain piece of paper, traced it onto each bag with a red sharpie and then drew lines down each side. And then wrote each of the girls’ names with a black sharpie in the middle and that’s it!

Also made a small gift for the assistant coaches that helped out. Sunflower seeds, a slim jim, and a mini bottle of fireball. I used the same yellow paper bags as the girls, and created a little tag in Photoshop.

I tied them all together with a red/white piece of twine before placing them in the yellow paper bags.

Something super simple, but also meaningful to let them know we appreciated their help this season!

I was very happy with how these treat bags turned out! You can always use any colored paper bag for your team color, etc. I hope you loved these treat bags, and would love to know what other softball / baseball ideas you have too! Feel free to comment below to share your idea.

End of year teacher gift.

End of the school year teacher gift idea I found on Skip to my Lou, and thought it was the cutest and easiest idea for Hadley’s teachers! Some of my friends say they only give the teachers things on teacher appreciation week, or end of the school year but not both. I just had to do something little for the end of the year too, I can’t help myself. Teachers do so much for these kiddos, and I just feel in my heart that they all deserve a little something to show my appreciation for them. I did do something a little bigger for teacher appreciation week, you can read about that here.

Isn’t this printable ice cream cone idea just adorable? All I did was go to the website, Skip to my Lou (linked above), and printed with white card stock.

Used scotch tape to tape the gift card to the pink square. The ice cream cone just folded in half, and I taped it together on the sides. Made sure the gift card fit into the paper cone okay.

After cutting out the ice cream topper, I used more tape to put the pink card on the back of the topper. Just to make sure it fits into the cone, so when the teacher opens it up, they’ll see the gift card when they slide the top of the cone off.

Here’s what the final product looked like!

I hand wrote each of the teachers names on each cone, and had Hadley write her name on the bottom. She loved these and was so excited to give it to her teachers. I always explain to her why we are giving people gifts, I want her to learn that you can give to others and not always get something in return.

So much love and appreciation to all the teachers this year, it was a first for us being in Kindergarten, and a first going through it during a pandemic. Everyone made it through just fine!

End of school countdown.

A week from today is Hadley’s last day of Kindergarten! We made a little countdown chain until summer starts. Summer technically doesn’t officially start until June, but in my mind summer starts when the kids are done with school. As a kid, that’s how I remember it!

The sun was made in Photoshop, and cut out by hand. And then for each of the chains, all I did was cut out strips of colored cardstock paper and wrote the number of days left.

We hung the countdown on the wall in the kitchen with some scotch tape, so we see it everyday!

School’s almost out! Yay!

Tooth Fairy sign.

Our daughter Hadley lost her first tooth yesterday! On Valentines Day! She was so excited. Her tooth has been wiggly for awhile now, and yesterday when she woke up it was practically hanging on by the roots! Sure enough, it came out mid-morning! So while she took one of her amazing naps, I scrounged around the house and came up with a quick idea on something to make for the toothfairy.

Supplies used:

Random chalkboard sign already had at the house (rarely use)

White paint / paint brush

Painters tape

Glitter

Taped the chalkboard with painters tape. I cannot tape without the tape, I always think I can and then bam it gets all over the part I didn’t want it to! So I always take the few minutes it takes to use painters tape every time.

The back side of the chalkboard sign. It’s meant more to stand up on tables, etc. But when your kid loses her first tooth on a Sunday when not much is open, you improvise.

After I painted the entire sign white, I sprinkled silver glitter stars all over to give it a little more pizazz. As glitter tends to always do, it got everywhere but thank goodness for the drop cloth I put down first.

It’s hard to see with this iPhone photo, but we glued a little clothespin at the bottom of the sign to hold the “tooth”. The clothespin is from her godmother / Aunt Amy which goes perfectly with this little project!

Look at that missing tooth! I still can’t believe I have a kid old enough to loose teeth now! Life just goes so fast, so I’m enjoying every little moment. Hadley is very timid to new things. She was a little scared about the tooth fairy coming into her room while she was sleeping, so we came up with this idea on having a sign hanging outside of her bedroom in the hallway.

This morning the tooth fairy left her a dollar! We decided for the first tooth, a dollar would be good and then each tooth after will be a quarter. Maybe? I don’t know! I feel like a quarter is totally jipping her. We’ll figure it out for the next tooth I guess, but she was a super happy camper this morning!

Happy Presidents Day! We were off school and work, it was a good chill day. The kind where you just stay inside because of all the snow that is already here, and all the snow that is coming still. Stay safe and warm out there!