Kids’ Popsicle Stick Crafts

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We've moved!

We’ve moved!

We’ve been pretty busy over in this house with summer camp, doctor appointments, book releases, crafting, cooking, baby showers, and WORK! Here is a little weekend craft time I did with the kids. It started off as just the Diva (she is 4 going on 14) and me, but then the boys sensed the use of markers and insisted on creating with us. Who am I to stop their creativity?! I know I usually try to share tutorial style crafts, but this stuff was made up on the fly so there really aren’t many directions…but there are pictures!

It took me 3 tries to spell "Popsicle" correctly

It took me 3 tries to spell “Popsicle” correctly :-/

So we were trying to come up with something for my dad’s birthday as a present from the kids. While the kids are still little we try to do homemade gifts or pictures (Note to self: Get copies of spring pictures for the family).

My kids love to color, so we went with that (also, I will do anything to avoid paint while the little man is awake).

So I hot glued some sticks into a “square.” Sure, we talked about shapes and made this a little educational. I try. Really. But this barely looks like a square. Its all Wibbly-Wobbly (anyone…).

Then I glued some construction paper to the back of it and trimmed the excess. Not rocket science. At this point I had to start moving a little quicker…Liza was getting antsy to decorate.

Look how she is staring at the markers. You can almost sense her thinking “Mom, stop taking pictures and let me color!”

So her name is Eliza-Beth. We have called her Liza from day 1. Daycare calls her Eliza. She has now requested we call her Eliza. Per my father “She’ll always be Liza to me” and this present was for him so “L” was glued on. I have NO CLUE how you would do this with a curvy letter like Q. I am open to suggestions!

Finally I let her free to color! A large bag of crayons lives on our dining room table so that the kids can color whenever, but markers only get pulled out with supervision so they get excited. Of course by the time she started to decorate (and I thought I was going to clean up) the boys came in like a tornado. So I super quickly whipped up 2 more Initial decorations. Thankfully all 3 kids can have L’s (Liam, Liza, and London – 2/3 are nicknames) so I didn’t have to think too hard.

When they were all done I glued some ribbon to the back upper corners so that they could be hung up…when I eventually put them in a FedEx envelope and ship them to my dad. I am HORRIBLE about putting things in the mail!

The final masterpieces!! Notice “Eliza” on the top of her picture…

Well by the time they were done with these they were in full on crafting mode so Mommy had to think quick. So I just started gluing together popsicle sticks and ended up with little houses that stood on their own. Don’t ask me how I did it. There were 3 kids chomping at the bit so there are no step by step pictures, but I got a couple of them coloring them. I’m actually pretty proud that they stood on their own.

We, of course, needed refreshments by this point. Juice and cheapo fruit snacks anyone?

So there are my simple popsicle stick crafts to do with the kids this summer. Tomorrow we are making cupcakes for Father’s Day. I will try to get some pictures of my kids fighting over who gets to dump the flour in and who gets to stir…and something spilling somewhere. What projects are you doing with the kids on break?

Try these –  Bat Hair Bow or Coconut Oil Chocolates.
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A Simple Teacher Appreciation Gift

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Who has the money to get huge extravagant gifts for their kids’ teachers? Not me! Since I have 3 munchkins with 8 teacher total! (2 in day care with 2 teachers each and 1 in Kindergarden with a main teacher, parapro teacher, long term sub because the main teacher’s husband just had surgery, AND a student teacher that my kid had a crush on) there was no way I could even get them all gift cards or candles this year. So, the Sunday before teacher appreciation day (when I got the reminder email from my son’s school) I searched Pintrest and my house for ideas. Here’s what I came up with:

Pencils, Candies, and Confetti!

Pencils, Candies, and Confetti!

So I searched through my arts and crafts bins and bags…basically half of my bedroom and came up with some colorful pencils, a bags of Smarties, and some clear treat bags. JACKPOT!

So I started by chopping the bags in half so that the 2 pencils would poke out the top when they were closed. Then I added 2-3 things of Smarties, a handful of confetti, and tied them together with the ties that came with the bags (the ones that look like bread bag ties). I considered leaving them that way for simplicities sake, but then I had to go and push myself. Silly girl!

Without the bow...totally acceptable.

Without the bow…totally acceptable.

I busted out a pile of scrapbook paper, fun scissors, teacher stickers and ribbon and went to town.

First, I used the fun scissors on 2 sides of the paper and came up with an ADORABLE saying for the tags. Than, I added a couple of teacher stickers on the back to make them “educational.” Last, I tied them up with some hot pink ribbon!

Thanks for making me SHARP & SMART!

Thanks for making me SHARP & SMART!

So easy!

So easy!

My kids LOVED giving these to their teachers and I loved that they were basically FREE since I already had everything.

These would be awesome birthday party favors too…but I don’t know if you would make too many friends if you give out confetti!

Do you participate in Teachers’ Appreciation Day/Week? Do you just wait for the last few days of school? Are you a teacher and you HATE this kind of stuff? Let me know!!

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Meet Queen Elsa – Atlanta

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If your kids are ANYTHING like mine they would give their right leg (and maybe the left) to get to meet Queen Elsa from Frozen. Well if you live in the Greater Atlanta area I have some inside information where you can meet her on May 10th!

Queen Elsa

This year Queen Elsa is donating her time to the Susan G Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure! On May 10th she will be appearing at Lenox Square taking pictures and signing autographs while helping to raise money to fight breast cancer. She will be hanging out in the KPMG Kids Korral where there will also be games, prizes, crafts, and face painting!

This year the Greater Atlanta Race for the Cure has taken on the “Do You Tutu?” campaign…I wonder if I can get Elsa to wear a pink tutu??

tutu

So be sure to register for this AMAZING event and come help us kick cancer’s booty…and get a picture with ELSA!

nat. spon

 

 

Full Disclosure: I am the Co-Chair for the KPMG Kids Korral and I REALLY want to see you all on May 10! Also, Elsa is from Dream Friends Entertainment and is donating her time. We are THRILLED to have her with us!

 

Take Care of YOU!

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Work.

Husband.

Kids.

House.

Commute.

Volunteer work.

Kid’s School Stuff.

Blog.

Friends.

Podcast.

I have a few things going on and sometimes it all makes me want to pull my hair out! BUT there is one thing that I am starting to put at the top of the list…ME! I’ve never been good at putting myself ahead of anything, but I am working on that.

There are many different ways that I am putting myself first and trying to take care of ME!

1) Actually take my lunch break. – Now mind you I am usually blogging (ahem) but I am not focusing on work WORK and I am getting better about checking my work email while on lunch. (Full disclosure: I have taken no less than 3 calls in the 20 minutes I have been writing this! FAIL!)

2) Eat healthy. – Being back on Paleo (mostly) has made me feel so much better! I know that it doesn’t always show (sorry for the meltdown this week, honey!) but I feel healthier. I am really proud of myself for NOT eating some of the breakfast pastries that were sitting in the kitchen this morning when I forgot my breakfast! 🙂 BONUS: I am down 8lbs in less than 3 weeks since fully committing to being back on Paleo!

Cauliflower and Bacon...need I say more?

Cauliflower and Bacon…need I say more?

3) Go to bed at an acceptable hour. – This one is hard because here is my day. My alarm goes off at 5am M-F so that I can get up, showered, and dressed before getting the kids up at 6 and out the door by 6:30. I then sit in traffic until between 7:30-8am where I work until 4pm and sit in traffic for another hour before picking the kiddos up from 2 different locations (ASP and day care). We finally walk in the door around by 5:30-6:00pm where we scrounge up some dinner. I REALLY try to get something in the crock pot a few times a week, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen…or we really need to go grocery shopping and my 2 yo eats Funyuns, applesauce, and grits for dinner! The kids finally get into bed by 8pm so in order to get a good night’s sleep I need to be in bed no later than 10, which doesn’t leave much time for fun things like crafting and watching tv!

I have to wrangle my blanket from her some days

I have to wrangle my blanket from her some days

4) Schedule friend time/exercise. – I recently started scheduling time with my best friend every week were we take her precious Great Pyrenees for a walk at the park for an hour. This is one of my favorite times of the week because I get fresh air, exercise, and some girl time! Also, I get puppy snuggles!! This week we even snuck into the dog park for a few minutes to let him run and there were these 2 ADORABLE bulldogs!! I wanted to snatch them up!

Jessica and Thumper

Jessica and Thumper

Jessica, Thumper and Me on our weekly walk!

Jessica, Thumper and Me on our weekly walk!

 

5) Say NO! – When I start to feel overwhelmed I just start saying no to things! Unfortunately it is starting to be the laundry that I am saying no to and that just leads to stinky socks for everyone. I am going to work on this.

So that is what I am working on to take care of myself. If I do not take time for ME then I will be useless to everyone in my work life and my personal life. I will try to update in a few weeks on how this is working out for me 🙂

I love my family!! Pardon the old picture...we need to get someone to take new ones for us.

I love my family!! Pardon the old picture…we need to get someone to take new ones for us.

The Mom Conference – It’s free. It’s online.

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I am so excited for the upcoming Mom Conference (April 7-14). It is going to be great to have such quick access to so many different MOM resources. The schedule for presentations can be found HERE. I think one of the best things about this schedule is that it is set up so that there are a variety of topics each day. So basically if you are only interested in healthy eating and meal planning presentations they will not all be on one day.

Please feel free to comment with any questions that you might have about this awesome FREE conference. I mean who doesn’t love FREE?!?!

– Anne Marie

http://conferenceformoms.com/forminator/php/affiliate-redirect.php?r=http://conferenceformoms.com/affiliate

The Mom Conference is going to be more fun than grocery shopping without kids, and more educational than having brunch with Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and Dr. Spock! And, better yet, it’s ONLINE and FREE from April 7-14, 2014!

 

Desi Ward, host of The Mom Conference and creator of The Unconventional Kitchen, created this educational and entertaining event because no mom is perfect, we all need to learn from each other. That’s why we MUST share our strengths! You know the whole idea: “I’ll do your laundry if you do my dishes?” At The Mom Conference we’ll gather together to learn from each other because we’re our greatest resource!

 

Register for FREE now at the following link:

https://tt145.infusionsoft.com/go/momreg/amdesimone/

 

WHY ATTEND?

Being a mom can be overwhelming at times, right?! The Mom Conference contains 30+ online classes to make motherhood more enjoyable. 30 rock star bloggers (mostly moms) will be teaching classes on topics incredibly important, like:

 

– Cooking a month’s worth of dinners in ONLY a couple hours!

– Getting kids to listen without yelling, nagging or reminding!

– Making sure there’s not just heat in the kitchen, but how to put the sparks in your marriage, too!

 

Sounds amazing, right?

 

Here are a few of the incredible presenters:

 

Get Kids to Cooperate Without Yelling or Nagging

with AMY McCREADY from positiveparentingsolutions.com

 

Knock Out a Month’s Worth of Dinners in One Day

with TRICIA CALLAHAN from onceamonthmeals.com

 

Feel Connected in a Disconnected World

with HANNAH BRENCHER from moreloveletters.com

 

I Lost 60 Pounds & Kept it Off: YOU Can Too!

with JEN GROTHE from jen-fit.com

 

Get & Stay Organized: A Fail-proof System

with JENNY LAYTON from thehappygal.com

 

Healthy Marriage: Top 3 Successful Marriage Tips

with DINO & SHANNON WATT from bizofmarriage.com/

 

… along with 20+ additional presenters sharing their wealth of knowledge. This invaluable (and FREE) resource is intended for moms everywhere!

 

Better yet, if you register today, you’ll have access to the following FREE GIFTS as soon as you register!

 

– FREE Video 1: Creative Ways to Get Kids to Love Fruits & Veggies

– FREE Video 2: Tips & Tricks for Awesome Hair

– FREE Video 3: Make Foaming Hand Soap in One Minute

– FREE Video 4: Find Jeans That Flatter Your Body Type

– FREE Video 5: The Best Tasting Green Smoothie

 

Come listen ONLINE and be inspired from April 7-14, 2014!

 

Register for FREE at the following link today:

https://tt145.infusionsoft.com/go/momreg/amdesimone/

 

See you at The Mom Conference from April 7-14!

My New Job and My Attempt at a Work/Life Balance

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As I have mentioned, the main reason that this poor blog has been a bit (or completely) neglected is because I got a new job. I am now working as a Staff Associate for the Kellen Company. We offer management support for professional and non-profit associations. This is basically my dream job! For the past through years I have really been drawn to wanting to work with groups like this and even almost went back to school for a Masters in Non Profit Management. This is not completely off of the table, but I need to get all 3 of these kids in school first!

Anywho! Within the company I divide my time over two very different clients, the Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals and the Research Chef’s Association. I am a part of the certification team with SMRP, as well as tending to the day to day operations of the chapters and SIGs and managing sponsorships for our annual conference this October in Orlando! For the Research Chef’s Association I also work on the certification team, but have also taken on some additional duties within the Education Committee and Foundation. I actually just got back from their annual conference in Portland, Oregon about a week ago. It was a lot of hard work, but so much fun! I really need to go back.

The view from the rooftop bar at Departure Restaurant and Lounge

The view from the rooftop bar at Departure Restaurant and Lounge

PortlandI had been looking for a full time position for about 3 years when I stumbled across the posting for this position. I was flabbergasted when I got a request for a phone interview…and even more so when I found out that they wanted to bring me in for a face to face interview. Once they offered me the position I was all in, and quickly moved to panic mode. We needed day care STAT! We only have one not awesome car and this was a solid hour-ish commute each way. The dress code is Corporate Casual and I certainly haven’t dressed corporate in ages…I even had to Google what Corporate Casual meant! It is basically a step down from having to wear a suit every day, but I have learned that there is a lot of freedom with that.

Well as expected everything fell into place. I found a day care to get us started. I tested different leaving times to avoid traffic and even worked it out that I could come in and leave early. I also picked up a few odds and ends with my Christmas money to help get me by in the clothing department.

Now that I have been with Kellen for 3 months I feel like I am starting to hit a good daily routine. Everyone (even the little kids) know their role in the morning and afternoon. We have only had to miss a few extra activities with my oldest’s school, but we have been able to hit some great ones. I still feel like I am struggling to get my personal extra items (friend time, blogging, crafting, etc) but I am slowly coming around.

That is one reason I have made revamping my blog a priority. Also, since taking this job I have started to become highly interested in professional fashion, and fashion in general. I spend way too much of my time Pinning pretty outfits (you can find them HERE). I am way into polka dots and flowing skirts right now. I enjoy figuring out what I am going to wear each day and trying to make myself look nice even if it is just jeans and a simple top with a scarf. And some days are a struggle, like this past Friday. I felt like my shirt looked nice at home, but when I got to work it was strangling me and short. I threw on the fleece I keep in my cube and called it a day! You can’t always sweat the small stuff.

I still worry that my kids aren’t getting enough of my attention. I struggle when I see things that I 100% would have done for/with them when I was a SAHM (swim team, summer reading class, play dates with friends!). In the end I do know that this is best, because I was NOT happy as a SAHM. I needed to be able to do more with my day than watch PBS, make peanut butter and jelly rollups, and make it through Target without spending $100! I wan’t happy. Now I feel very fulfilled in being able to do it all. Well maybe not everything. My house is still a disaster and my youngest is not taking well to potty training this weekend! Cest La Vie!

Well that’s enough for now! Time to grab a fresh cup o’ coffee, fold the 4+ loads of laundry that are waiting for me, and to figure out what to make for dinner…maybe I should even scrub a bathroom or two. NAH! 😉

A Crafty, Rainy Day

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So we woke up this morning with big plans of going to Six Flags Over Georgia’s Fright Fest, but it was raining 😦

We calmed down our very disappointed little people with promises of going next week and hitting up the local pop up Halloween store today to finally get costumes.

This is also going to leave me with some time this afternoon to explore my new creative obsession…painting! I am going to try and make some complementary trees to go with the one I made at a paint and sip this week. Sadly, my new tree didn’t come out as nice as my original tree. It is still cute 🙂 I am hoping to do another one within the next week just to strengthen my skillz. Yes, skillz with a z.

(While I have been typing this my oldest has been using bananas as hats and telephones. He has also been drawing Pokemon maps…are Pokemon still a thing? 5year olds are weird, but creative!)

 

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Made at Picasso’s Corner in Woodstock GA

My attempt on my own without the guidance of a college art rad

My attempt on my own without the guidance of a college art grad

 

The OG with the rainy afternoon painting

The OG with the rainy afternoon painting