Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pen Pals

Today I'd like to share a project that I'm thankful I've taken the time to make a reality. 

Have you ever heard of a Mom & Me journal?  It's a secret diary between you and your daughter (or son).  I don't remember where I first heard of it, to be honest; but, you can find simple composition notebooks decorated by numerous moms on Pinterest.  This is a post I referred to myself, and here is another for those who want instructions to make a prettier version.

I decided to make one for Shimmer and I on one of my favorite paper and stationery websites, minted, after receiving a promo code email.  They have so many beautiful designs.  I was looking for something simple, that could be personalized with the captions I had in mind to focus our purpose. 

The notebook I settled on was from their wedding line, but I thought the simple hand-drawn heart and doodling accents were perfect for a 10 year old girl.

I received the journal a few weeks ago, but it's taken me some time to figure out how I wanted to start it.  Being a recovering perfectionist, I wanted to come up with something that was worthy of the first page and at the same time explain to Shimmer my hopes for the journal.  I want my daughter to know that she can ask me anything, share her hopes and fears, joys and sorrows with me and, of course, her Heavenly Father.  As she approaches her teens, I thought this would be a great way to open the door for her to ask or tell me things on paper that she might be too embarrassed to talk about face to face.  I love that it will encourage her to express herself better as a writer.  But most of all, these letters back and forth will help me as a mother to know what is going on in her pretty little head, strengthen our bond and become a keepsake just between us.

In the hopes of encouraging other moms to write back and forth with your children, I have Shimmer's permission to share my opening letter for those of you who might have trouble starting without some help: 

Dear "Shimmer",
  Now you are TEN!  I’m not sure how that is possible.  It seems like yesterday your Daddy and I just brought you home from the hospital, or sent you off to kindergarten when you were five.  Now, another five years has gone by, and you are a growing into the best daughter we could ever have prayed for.
  There are so many things mommy would like to teach you, and so many things you will have to learn for yourself.  I want you to know that I am trying my best.  I know without God’s help I will never be good enough or the mother you deserve.  I am impatient, I raise my voice, and I like things just so.  I am sorry.  I love you and your brother more than you will ever know and I will always wish that I could do better for you.  I’ll admit I don’t always love your behavior, and I’m quick to tell you that.  It is my responsibility though to be your mother and not just a friend.  That will come later, if you remember that no matter what tomorrow brings, I love you EVERY single day.
  There are so many things that I want you to know, and in this journal I hope we can share some of those.  I will write to you and sometimes it may be long like this, and other times maybe I will just share one of my favorite thoughts with you, or ask you a question.  I hope you will write back and do the same.  This will be our secret journal to each other.  You can ask or tell me anything.  I won’t show it to Daddy or "Shine".  You don’t always have to answer right away.  Sometimes you might want to think about what I ask for a few days to remember or decide what you want to write.  There is no hurry.  You can just leave the journal under my pillow when you have written to me.  I will write back within a few days, or when I come up with something else I want to share, and leave it under yours.
  I’m excited to see what our journal ends up holding and I hope you are, too!

And, our first journaling prompt: 
What is your best memory with mommy?  It can be from as far back as you can remember or maybe it happened just this year. 

I left the notebook on Shimmer's pillow and couldn't wait for her to find it after school. 

She loves it and feels so special to be my "pen-pal".  Truth be told, I'm the lucky one to have her as mine...

Monday, February 11, 2013


Do you remember warm fuzzies??? Those cute little pompom creatures with sticky feet and googly eyes... they were big when I was in junior high. I came across some cute valentine-colored warm fuzzies last year and couldn't resist bringing them home! Here's a peek at what we ended up doing with them.

If you're obsessed with cupcake papers like I am, and want a tutorial for these cute flowers, we used the one found on Skip to my Lou, HERE. Shimmer chose THESE free printable valentines, she personalized for each of her friends, and we added the warm fuzzies on top!

Shine has a lot of girls in his class so we did the same tootsie pop flowers for them; but, he liked THESE printable valentines better, and we found something different for he and the other couple boys in his class. We saw THESE "wheelie" cute valentines on a blog called thirtyhandmadedays (she's the creative source we're using for Shimmer's valentines this year, too).

I was so excited about the adorable vintage plastic blue cars I found at a local dollar store. They were perfect!!!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes. My heart repeats it over and over when I have the chance to make a day more special for Shimmer and Shine and their friends... "do small things with great LOVE". Whatever you come up with will be wonderful if you wrap it in love!

Valentine Treats

I'm a little behind in posting all the details from Shimmer's birthday party, but I thought I would start off your week with some Valentine's Day inspiration. If you're like me, you may still be deciding on what to do for classroom valentines and treats. There are so many ideas, making the choice is sometimes harder than making the actual valentines... well, we can hope anyway!

We have a free day after school tomorrow, so I am gathering the materials today for us to get our craft on. I'm still debating what to send in for a classroom snack though. The last two years, I've been the cookie baker and decorater for at least one of their classes.

If your name is next to cookies this year, I hope these give you some decorating inspiration :)

I did something a little healthier for Shine's class last year and made little mini banana bread muffins (just used a pretty valentine liner to celebrate the occasion) and was also asked to help with drinks. Since Shimmer's class got the pretty sugar cookies, I wanted to make sure I did something extra-cute for Shine and his class, too. I had plenty of craft supplies leftover from Shimmer's Love Potion #9 birthday party the month before, and came up with these cute wraps for the Fruitables juice boxes we sent in.

All you need is some pretty scrapbook paper, paper doilies, baker's twine and some double-sided tape. The adorable straw flags were a printable from one of my favorite blogs, Jones Design Company. She offers free printables every once in awhile; but, also has a monthly club you can subscribe to (for a really small fee) with the greatest organizational lists, art prints, cute crafty things like the straw flags; plus, a cool tutorial every month. Love her!!!

Anyway, the juiceboxes were a huge hit and I hope it inspires you to make the treat you send in a little cuter. Making these memories for my kids and their classmates is one of the joys of my life, having fond ones of my own, from classroom parties when I was in elementary school and we had "grade mothers".