Christmas Cards online Make your own!


Merriest Little Snow

from: Tiny Prints, Inc.

Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase through a link on this page,
I may earn a commission, and I am very grateful for your support of this page. Thank you!

Last year, we ordered our Christmas cards online for the first time. After doing a search for “Christmas cards online make your own,” I landed on a website that offered plenty of great card designs with many options to customize it. Not only did I create one of a kind Christmas card with a photo of my family, but I also was happy to send out a card our family and friends wanted to keep beyond the Holiday season. In fact, a few of my friends and relatives still display the card on their refrigerators and my mother-in-law even framed it!

I really like how easy it is to make a personalized greeting card. If you already have a good photo you would like to use, it really only is a matter of a few minutes, once you choose your design. Last year I was running behind with my Christmas cards, so I chose the option of having the cards delivered directly to the recipients. But if you like to sign all your cards by hand and address your own envelopes, you can always have them delivered to your home.

The other day I got an Email from Tiny Prints with special offers for this week.  Today’s deal is “50% Off All Trim Options” – a great option to make your Christmas photo cards unique. Please note that you don’t get 50% off the cards, just a lower cost of the Add-on options. I also like that if you are not quite ready to place your Holiday card order, you can get 3 free stationary samples with code: 3FREESAMPLES. There’s also a limited time offer – Free Shipping on all orders with code: FS13. If you would like to learn about future offers from Tiny Prints, please bookmark this page, and I will try to update it as the new offers come in. Have fun making your own Christmas cards!

Tiny Prints Deal of the Day

Halloween toilet paper roll crafts for kids

Halloween toilet paper craftsPaper roll crafts are very popular these days, and there are a few reasons for it: they are easy to make, most of the materials needed for paper roll craft projects are readily available at home, and you get to re-purpose items that would otherwise be discarded. Since it is almost September and some of us are already starting to prepare and decorate for Halloween, I figured that now would be a good time to post about Halloween toilet paper roll crafts for kids.

toilet paper roll crafts kids

For this project, you will need toilet paper rolls, construction or craft paper, glue, scissors, and paint. Markers or oil pastels for decoration are optional. Get all the supplies ready, fold the tops of toilet paper rolls as shown in the photo collage below, and have kids paint all paper rolls different colors (Crayola washable kids paint is perfect for the project). Let the paper rolls dry, then let kids decorate the paper rolls in any way they like: a witch, a bat, a spider, an owl, a vampire, a monster, a pumpkin – just a few Halloween characters them may want to make. Craft paper can be used for wings, vampire cap, or facial features. Create a Halloween display out of your child’s paper roll crafts – great way to add free/ inexpensive holiday decor to your home, and kids will be so proud to show off their creations to friends and family :)

Halloween Toilet paper crafts for kids

You may also like these creative ways to re-purpose paper rolls:

Fun Halloween characters made out of toilet paper rolls

Recycled pillow box favors for a Halloween party

Hanging bats out of paper rolls - cool Halloween decoration for your home, with very little help from adults

Pumpkin garland – fun project for a family craft night

Paper Roll painting – easy DIY picture frame

Where I party: Get Crafty Fridays

Window Drawing

Do you have a set of Crayola Crystal Effects window drawing for kidsWindow markers yet? If your children enjoy arts and crafts, window drawing will be a big hit. Not sure why the manufacturer recommends these markers for children ages 8 and up, as they are washable and nontoxic, and preschoolers enjoy these markers just as much as the big kids do. Drawing on a window (or any other glass surface) is only part of the fun. What kids enjoy the most is watching the colors crystallize like ice. The crystallizing effect is similar to window frosting in action.

We noticed that the markers work best when it’s warm or hot outside and the glass surface is slightly warm. On a cooler day or when the air is humid, it may take a while for the colors to crystallize – as long as a few hours.

These markers are very affordable. A set of these will cost you between $3.50 and $5 at Target, Wal-Mart, or on Amazon. They are very eco-friendly as they were manufactured using a renewable energy source – solar energy. Crayola Solar Farm provides enough energy to produce 1 billion Crayola crayons and 500 million markers a year. To learn more about Crayola Solar farm, visit Green Initiatives page on Crayola website and watch an educational video made for kids.

If you would like to see Window Drawing in action, be sure to watch the video below. In the beginning of the video, you can barely see the colors, but the crystallizing effect really starts showing up about half way through the video. Also note how easy it is to wipe off the drawing with a paper towel:

Gymboree Sale Event

Peach Visor Tipped Bow Ruffle Peach Top
Seersucker Short Bow Espadrille Shoe
Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very thankful for your support of this page. Thank you! The Fine Print

Just in case you like Gymboree as much as I do, be sure to check out Gymboree Sale Event – take an additional 25% off already reduced items. Get this complete look for your little girl for just under $40 – peach visor – $4.12, peach top – $11.62, shorts – $9.74, and Espadrille shoes for only $13.87 (the prices include the 25% discount – Gymboree offers an additional 25% off markdowns!) This outfit is perfect for summer vacation or the first day of school and would make a cute gift for girls ages 4 and up.

If you are a savvy shopper, you already know that you can save quite a bit by buying kids clothing a year ahead. Retailers are getting ready to change over to Fall Collection, so summer styles have been significantly marked down. You can get Gymboree tank tops for as low as $3.74 – that’s over 70% off regular prices. I have a friend who is the biggest fan of Gymboree. Her little girl has the coolest collection of outfits – she is always very color coordinated and has fun accessories to match the colors on her outfit. You would think that my friend spends a fortune to dress her little one, but she is a very savvy shopper and often buys Gymboree clothing and accessories at a good discount.

Don’t miss the opportunity to save on Gymboree clothing for kids – get an early start on back to school shopping or buy for the next year. Popular items are going fast!

Why are blueberries so expensive?

why are blueberries so expensiveI absolutely love blueberries, don’t you? But I rarely buy them in stores because they are so pricey. And indeed, why are blueberries so expensive?

My mother-in-law owns a small ranch. She keeps chickens, geese, horse, and sheep. She also grows vegetables and some berries, including blueberries. A couple weeks ago, I got the phone call we have been waiting for – blueberries are in, come pick your own. My mother-in-law doesn’t exactly live around the corner, it’s more like a 2 hour trip one way, but it is so worth it! Not only do we visit with family, but we also get to feed and interact with farm animals, including lambs and horses.  And we usually leave with a big bag full of fresh farm eggs, vegetables, and berries – all organic!

When we got to the farm last Sunday, we went straight to the blueberry bushes. The three bushes are about 5 years old, but they have grown huge and have been producing large harvests of berries for a couple years. This year we have had a lot of rain, and, even though it’s only the beginning of the blueberry season, the berries are already large, sweet, and very juicy.

organic blueberries

Now let me share my theory behind why blueberries are so expensive. My mother-in-law says that growing blueberries does not require much effort on her part. She lets the rain water the bushes, she doesn’t use pesticides, and the only fertilizer she applies is hardwood ashes - she spreads a small amount of ashes around the bushes in the fall. However, it does take a lot of time to pick the blueberries. It took me over an hour to pick a gallon bucket full of berries in 100 degree heat. I pick blueberries a few times a year, so I am not very skilled at blueberry-picking. I am sure there are ways to increase your blueberry picking speed, but from what I am getting out of the video below, some of the commercially grown blueberries are also picked by hand, not machines.

Since blueberries have a very short shelf life (about two weeks), there are probably some additional costs associated with quick delivery system from farms to stores and a certain percentage of waste that has to be configured into the price. If you consider the cost of growing, picking and packaging blueberries, then add in the transportation costs, and the store mark-up (often 100% of the cost), $4-$5 a pint blueberries may sound like a bargain. In order to bypass all the additional costs, find a Pick Your Own blueberry farm near you and pick your own berries for as low as $1.50 a pint (be sure to check out the Pick Your Own website – it has a very extensive list of farms by State and County).

In the past, blueberries were on the dirty dozen list (produce with highest pesticide residue). This year, they are no longer on the list, but it still may be a good idea to buy blueberries organic, if you can afford it. If you see DiMeo name on the blueberry packages, buy with confidence – they don’t use pesticides or chemicals on their berries. To keep their production costs down, DiMeo uses blueberry picking machines towards the end of the season, when only few new berries are coming in. That way the cost of picking 12 pints of blueberries goes down to $0.26 vs $4 for hand-picked blueberries. Here’s the picking machine in action.

I think growing your own blueberries would be a fun project to get your kiddos involved in. They can help you with research and planting, and then, of course, with blueberry picking, once the bushes start producing. Even the pickiest eaters are likely to try garden produce if you involve them in gardening.

As for me, I am very inspired to start growing blueberry bushes. It seems to be so worth it!  I found some good tips on growing great blueberries. Since soil PH levels are so important, I will start preparing the soil in the near future and will then test it for PH levels ( I found a soil tester on Amazon for around $6). I would like to get two-three heirloom bushes in the fall. Let me know if you have any suggestions on where I can get them.

 

Save Big at Bath & Body Works

Bath & Body Works Semiannual saleI shop at Bath & Body works only a few times a year. I love Bath & Body products, but, when they are not on sale, they are a little out of my price range. Well, now and through July 7th, 2013 (or when supplies run out), you can Save Big at Bath & Body Works – up to 75%, plus you can save an additional $10 off already reduced prices when you add at least $30 worth of products to your cart and use code EXTRA10.

I just got an Email from Bath & Body Works, and wanted to share the awesome deal: here is the link to their Semiannual Sale  and you can either use the EXTRA10 coupon code online or  use this printable coupon for in-store purchases. Please note that I am not affiliated with Bath & Body works – just passing on the offer they shared with everyone on their mailing list.

I just placed an order with them, and, for $35 and some change, I was able to order 4 full sized shower gels, 2 full sized body lotions, 3 foaming soaps, and 2 Wallflower fragrance bulbs – all including $6.99 shipping and $2.23 sales tax – that’s 11 items @ around $3.18 per item (including shipping and tax!).  I love B&BW foaming soap – it smells great and lasts a while. Wallflowers are also a big hit at our house, and, for $3 a piece, they are an awesome deal! I also like to keep Lotion and Shower gel sets on hand as small gifts for friends, family, or teacher gifts.

If you like Bath & Body Works as much as I do, don’t miss the opportunity to Save Big at Bath & Body Works – I am sure that the most popular items are going fast!

Parenting quote by Franklin P. Jones

parenting quote

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.”

                                                                                                                                        – Franklin P. Jones

This funny parenting quote is so very true, don’t you think? Funny, but true. Kids will test your patience at just about every opportunity they get. Picky eaters will spend hours at the dinner table, refusing to eat the veggies on their plates. Siblings will find a reason to argue, simply because, for them, arguing is fun. Toddlers will choose to skip their mid-day naps to drive you crazy later in the day. I think so many parents could relate to this! You can be the most patient person in the world, but you will still have a hard time keeping your cool when children find the right buttons to push.

This parenting quote is different from other quotes I shared on this site. It doesn’t really give you advice on how to raise children and be a good parent. Nevertheless, I think the quote is worth sharing. First of all, it will put a smile on your face. And second, it will remind you that it’s very human to loose your patience with children every once in a while, and, by no means, that makes you a bad parent.

But, humor aside, parents do learn a lot from children. Forgiveness, love, appreciation for simple wonders of the world, better understanding of ourselves and our parents – these are only a few of the things that children can teach us or help rediscover. Parents are teachers, and, as strange as it may sound, kids are teachers too :)

Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend, enjoy the beautiful weather, and keep learning with your kids.

Easy breakfast recipe for kids

Easy breakfast recipe for kids

Today, I am sharing an easy breakfast recipe for kids. This breakfast sandwich will take only a few minutes to make and will provide plenty of protein for kids growing bodies and tons of energy to take on the day.

All of the ingredients I used for the easy breakfast recipe for kids come from “Trader Joe’s.”  I am probably one of the most loyal customers of  the grocery chain as I drive 2+ hours to stock up on food for 2-3 weeks. In our area, we have a very limited selection of organics, and grocery prices are through the roof  (our grocery store prices are at least double of what “Trader Joe’s” charges for comparable items), so the drive is really worth it, especially if you are trying to go organic on a budget.

Ingredients list: cooking spray, sourdough bread (or whole grain bread, English muffin, bagel, or croissant), Canadian bacon, organic eggs or healthy eggs from farms that follow responsible farming methods, organic cheese or cheese made from milk from cows not treated with artificial hormones.

 Instructions: Ask kids to get all the ingredients ready for you. Even the simple steps make them feel important and involved in meal preparation. Turn stove burner to medium heat (I start with setting 5, and then turn it down to 4). Crack an egg in a bowl, beat the egg,  and add salt and pepper to taste (kids can help with beating the egg or adding spices). Fry the egg on both sides, then add a slice of cheese on top of the egg and let it cook for a minute or so. Then add 2-3 slices of Canadian bacon and turn the egg+cheese+Canadian bacon over and let it fry for another minute, then remove it from the pan. Now fry bread for 30-45 seconds on each side. Make a sandwich and serve warm.

easy breakfast recipe for kids

According to the labels of ingredients I used to make the sandwich, an egg contains 7 grams of protein, a slice of cheese – another 7 grams of protein, and a slice of Canadian bacon – around 3.33 grams of protein. That’s at least 20 grams of protein per sandwich!

And, just in case you are looking for breakfast ideas for Father’s Day, this is the perfect easy breakfast recipe for kids to help you make – Dad-tested and approved :)

You can also make this sandwich on a grill, check out this recipe: Camping Food Breakfast sandwich.

This guest post was written by Eva B, Mom of an 8 year old girl.

Ocean Play Dough Collage

ocean play dough collageI tend to favorite open-ended projects.  They are very beneficial to children because they allow kids to use imagination and express creativity and THEIR view of the world without any limitations of step-by-step instructions. The ocean play dough collage featured here is a vivid example of an open-ended project that started with a sheet of construction paper, play dough in four different colors, and a few sea shells. There were no instructions to follow – just craft supplies and a theme. We simply added one object at a time to create the ocean play dough collage, and it turned out beautiful. We started out with a mermaid and a castle, then added some sand and sea weed. We wanted to put sea shells to good use, so we used them to decorate the castle, and then added a creature to the cone-shaped shell and connected two sea shells with play dough to display a precious pearl.

As the brainstorming session for this open-ended project continued, sea turtles, fish, a sea horse, starfish, and a jellyfish also joined our Ocean Life Aquarium. Play dough is the perfect art medium that can be used to create multi-dimensional projects. I also love the fact that you can use play dough as clay or clue to hold different objects in place – kids can incorporate a variety of objects like sticks, stones, sea shells and cardboard into their artwork. Here’s an example of how we used play dough to build a fairy house out of natural materials.

An ocean play dough collage is easy enough to be completed by a preschooler. Although it may be a good idea for an adult and a child to work on the project as a team – collaboration can produce some outstanding results :) If you do decide to try out the ocean-themed project, please do shoot us an Email at info@parenting-today.com. We would love to feature your child’s artwork on our website.

And here’s a bigger image of the collage for you to get a better look:

ocean play dough collage

Father’s Day gift ideas from kids

Father's Day gift ideas from kids

Have you already started thinking about Father’s Day gift ideas from kids? In the US, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June, and in 2013, the third Sunday in June falls on June 16th.

Father’s Day is a very important holiday for children  to show their love and appreciation for a very special person – Dad. And the best gift a child can give Dad is a handmade gift from the heart. By creating a handmade gift, children not only get an opportunity to express their creativity but they also get to experience the joy of gift giving that comes from making a loved one happy. Raising a child who gives with joy is fundamental to raising a child who cares.

Parents have a great appreciation for handmade gifts made by children. They proudly display them at home and at work and hold on to them for many years. Some even start keepsake boxes to keep all the handmade gifts they received throughout the years.

Today I am sharing this photo tutorial for turning cardboard box into canvas for kids art. Once canvas are ready, kids can decorate it with glitter glue, paint, or construction paper and write “I love Dad” or “Happy Father’s Day” on it. The artwork can be given as a gift for Father’s Day and then displayed on Dad’s desk or a wall (to hang, simply make a small hole on the back side of the canvas).

Father's Day gift ideas from kids

“I love Dad” picture on cardboard canvas – Father’s day gift from kids

The photo tutorial should be easy to follow, but if you need further explanation, please comment on the post, and I will do my best to explain how to put the canvas together.

Please also check out these great Father’s Day gift ideas from kids on the web:

Photo book filled with pictures and Q&As about Dad - you can order a softcover photo book for only $3 

Scratch off Father’s Day card 

Tackle box for Dad – box filled with sweet treats

Dad Rocks paperweight

Football pen holder

Candy bar letter for Dad - what an awesome idea!

My Pinterest board: Father’s Day gift ideas from kids