Tag Archives: Gifts

Wedding Survival Kit

Crap happens, even on your wedding day. It feels like sometimes crap happens because it is your wedding day. You work for months to plan every detail, but inevitably something will happen. So, I love the idea of giving the beautiful bride a WEDDING SURVIVAL KIT! Put it all in a cute bag or container and you’ve got a great gift! It contains a few essentials that will come in handy in the brides get-ready room or just to keep nearby at the reception. 

Wedding Survival Kit

I included:

  • sewing Kit 
  • lip gloss
  • scented lotion
  • clorox Pen
  • pocket size tissues
  • bobby pins
  • hairspray
  • bandaids
  • disposable toothbrushes
  • lint roller
  • deoderant
  • energy bars (what bride actually gets a meal on their wedding day?)
  • tylenol
  • safety pins
  • gum
  • double sided tape (keep those girls in place please!)
  • breath mints
  • diet coke


Reusable Birthday Board


My sister is mighty crafty! She made this adorable birthday board for her children and I want to share it with you because it is a brilliant idea. She has had it for a few years (thus, the signs of a little wear), and that is one thing I love – it is reusable!!

For the base, she took a 2’x3′ foam board and covered it with scrapbooking paper and then added a layer of modge podge to help it have a bit of durability.


Count Down Tags: With numbers 1-7 on square coasters you can count down to the big day. The “Days Until” portion stays there and you just switch out the numbers (they have Velcro on the back).

Name Tag: A laminated name tag is made for each child and can be switched out because each one has Velcro on the back. The “‘s Birthday” stays there at all times so it is glued down.


Next, there are six laminated tags that are held by cute handmade buttons that can be placed in whatever order will be best for your family schedule. They give something special to do the six days leading up to the birthday:

Tag 1 says: Make a “We love you because…” sign. USe butcher paper and hang it on the birthday persons wall or bedroom door.

Tag 2 says: Have a special night of fun: games, movies, baking cookies. Do whatever the birthday person wants to do as a family.

Tag 3 says: Decorate the birthday persons dining room chair, and set out the birthday table cloth. Let family sign it and write a message.

So, a little explanation about tag 3 – she made a chair cover out of felt that has a big “Happy Birthday” and candles sticking out the top. Each child also has a table cloth that is only brought out at birthdays that the family writes messages on in fabric marker each year.

Tag 4 says: Sleep on the birthday pillowcase. Go through old toys and clothes. Have the birthday person pick a few things to get rid of to make room for new ones.

A little more explaining. She made a special Happy Birthday pillowcase using fabric markers.

Tag 5 says: Have a special birthday date with mom and dad. Take the birthday person out shopping, to a movie, donuts, ice cream, etc. Have some one-on-one time (or bring the family) for a special night out.

Tag 6 says: Watch the movie of when the birthday person was a newborn and/or look at their baby pictures. Set them out for the rest of the week.


At the bottom are six laminated ovals that you can use to write (with an erasable marker) the dinners the birthday person would like for the week leading up to their birthday. Lastly, in the corner is a cute piece of birthday cake that has been laminated where you can write the birthday persons choice for a birthday dessert.


While it may take a little bit of work initially, it can be used for YEARS! The ideas are simple to include in your week, make the birthday person feel extra special and don’t cost much, if anything at all to do! I think this would be such a great project to do with a group of friends (or at a Super Saturday craft day) and while you are making one for yourself make one for a family member or friend!

Birthday Gifts: To open or not to open during the party

There is quite a debate on parenting discussion boards that I’ve read about whether or not to have presents opened during a birthday party. It seems to boil down to three different scenarios for handling gifts. Here are the pros and cons that I can see in each of them:

Birthday gifts

#1 – Opening Gifts During the Party:

Pros: It is a lot of fun for the guests to help select a gift for their friend. Many times they will even wrap the gift and make a card to go along with it so there is a lot of personal investment. There is a lot of excitement watching your friend open the gift and this gives them the opportunity to offer instant appreciation, which is really satisfying! This helps both children learn about giving and receiving gifts. And, you can’t deny the excitement this holds for the birthday child, it may be the element of their big day they look forward to the most!

Cons: I speak from experience when I side with those who complain that it is boring to watch a child open gift after gift. In many cases it puts the child in a greedy light when they sit on their chair and shout “next!” in a demanding tone two seconds after they have torn through a gift and barely glanced at it as they toss it onto a growing pile. You can teach your child about proper gift recieving etiquette, but sometimes when you are in the moment, anything goes! Many parents worry about jealousy among young guests and that takes away from the fun atmosphere you work so hard to create. Another fear is that the birthday child will not show appropriate appreciation for each gift since it is natural for them to be excited about some gifts more than others.

#2 – Opening gifts as the children arrive:

Pros: The giver gets the satisfaction of seeing their gift opened and the instant appreciation. If you are hosting your party at a venue where you have limited time this allows the gifts to be opened and appreciated without taking away from the time you have activities planned for. Opening them as your guests arrive also gets rid of a little bit of the chaos that often ensues during the all-at-once gift opening.

Cons: It may be difficult to keep track of things if you are busy preparing things for the party, especially if several children arrive at the same time. This can be awkward for a guest who hasn’t brought a gift if they arrive and the birthday child is already opening gifts and expecting one as each person arrives.

#3 – Opening gifts after the party as a family:

Pros: The child is able to take their time reading the cards and opening the gifts. They can write thank you cards or make phone calls to express their appreciation for the guests attending the party and for the gift. This extends the fun of the birthday for the child even after the guests have gone home. Parents recognize the financial burden it can place on families (if you have 4 kids and they all go to 5 parties a year that is 20 gifts!) and they don’t want guests to feel like they have to bring a gift in order to come, or that they have to bring a gift that meets a certain standard. This also frees up time to do what you invited everyone over to do – have a party!

Cons: Some children (and parents) consider it rude when you don’t open their gift right away. They want the feedback and satisfaction that comes from seeing your gift received and appreciated. I can’t help but feel that there would be at least a little bit of disappointment from the birthday child at not getting to open them at the party.

I may only have one daughter, who has only had one birthday, but I have 50 nieces and nephews (I’m not exaggerating)  and have attended my share of birthday parties over the last 25 years. Because of experiences I’ve had, I specifically requested that gifts not be brought to my daughters birthday party and informed guests on the invitation, that gift opening would not be included in the festivities. I wanted the time we spent together to be about celebrating and the fun activities we had planned, not about who bought her what. However, there were a few gifts brought (by her grandparents) and we opened them as the guests arrived, which I felt fine about (because how do you say no to the grandma?). Because it is traditional, if you choose not to open gifts at the party I feel it is crucial to note that on the invitation to help the child and their parents know what to expect. I also feel really strongly that gifts from parents shouldn’t be opened during the gifts from friends if you do choose to open gifts during the party. But, those are just my opinions (I’ve got lots of them). 🙂

Weigh in – I’d love to hear what you have found to work best for your family!

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Teachers and Friends

I still remember coming home one Valentine’s Day afternoon when I was a freshman in high school to find a flower on my dresser with a note, scribbled on a 3 x 5 card in my Dad’s signature felt tip pen and barely legible hand writing, “I love you”.  There was one there for two of my sisters as well, which meant that the bouquet on the kitchen table for my mom only had 9 stems instead of 12. I’m sure she didn’t mind. It made me feel so special, especially because it meant that my father, who is blind, had taken a bus to the store to purchase the flowers and had to ask for help in selecting the flowers and finding the right money to pay with. My parents still pass out valentines to the grandchildren, a small treat with a store bought card expressing their love. It is simple, but means so much to me. I want to carry on this tradition and so even though my daughter is only 1 1/2 we wanted to make a few valentines for her to give away to those she loves.

I got the idea for these from the Silhouette blog. My sweetheart bought me a new Silhouette for Christmas this year and I LOVE it! It was a little bit of an investment, but I am having so much fun with it! If you don’t have an electronic cutting machine (come borrow mine) you could also put treats in little plastic cups and they would be just as cute! I saw valentines themed cups at Maceys grocery store 2 for $1 – or you could even use red Solo cups.

I cut out the french fry boxes from patterned scrapbook paper. IMG_8941

Then I took a page from my sisters decorating book (see Monday’s post) and added some newspaper pinwheels. I finished them off with a heart cut from cardstock. IMG_8942

I slid some tissue paper in them and filled them with sweet treats like ju-ju hearts, cinnamon lips, salt water taffy and sour balls and put them in a cellophane bag tied with a ribbon. I can’t wait to take her around to deliver these to her grandparents and her little friends. IMG_8947

I also wanted to make some treat baskets to take to some of the women in my neighborhood (wink, wink, nudge, nudge – visiting teaching) so I made a stop at my dollar store to pick up some supplies. I found these cute baskets there in the garbage can section and they were the perfect size and shape! Then I bought lots of fun goodies to fill them with like: popcorn, cream soda, a candle, suckers, candy jewelry, Little Debbie snacks (I miss Hostess so much!) and conversation hearts. IMG_8925

I added some tissue paper and wrapped them in cellophane (all found at the dollar store) and I think they turned out really cute! These would be great to give school teachers or your significant other! Each basket only cost $5 for everything!


If you haven’t purchased the valentines your kids are going to distribute in school, don’t spend any money – here are links to 5 really cute FREE valentine printables that you can print right at home!

Free Printable Valentine - ARMY - events to CELEBRATE!


Army Valentine Printable

Colorful and fun valentine

Colorful and fun printable

Valentine kisses

Kisses bag topper printable

Treats for the Sweet valentine

Treats for the Sweet printable

You Rock valentine

You Rock! printable

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