How to Transform a Thrifty Find into an Art Caddy

This project was pretty simple, and I LOVE how it turned out. It is super easy for you to make~ It just took a while because of the various coats of paint. You can spread it over a couple of days, or you can make an afternoon/evening of it with a friend {Pictures below to show which option I chose!}.

 1) Clean your thrifty find! I used quite a few Lysol wipes and wiped down this {very dusty} piece until the Lysol wipes started coming out white instead of brown.

2) Sand it down. I did a very quick once-over with sandpaper to prep the piece for primer.

3) Paint with primer. You can do this quickly, but be sure it's a pretty even coat and cover things {like the house!} that you really don't want coming through your color.

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4) Let dry.

5) Paint a base coat. I did this pretty quickly, but evenly.

6) Let dry. {Drinking wine with your best friend is totally optional here!}

7) Check your project but most likely you will need a second coat to cover up any streaks or any of the white primer popping through.

Kelly spent a lot of time on these fabulous crayons!

Kelly spent a lot of time on these fabulous crayons!

8) Let dry.

9) You COULD stop here since your project is mostly finished, but the fun is just beginning~ onto the decorating! You can add stickers, paint designs, or do just about anything here. I asked my very talented friend to paint some custom crayons~ How AMAZING are these Creigh♥ations crayons?!

10) Let all additional paint and decorations dry.

11) Finish your project and protect the paint with a sealer/finisher.

We probably actually worked on this for a total of 2 hours {less if you don't want to paint custom crayons on the sides!}, but it took about 5 hours with all of the paint drying time. My little interns are so excited to use their new art caddy!

The finished product is a perfect place to store markers, scissors, and more!

The finished product is a perfect place to store markers, scissors, and more!

Looking for more craft ideas and want to hang out with other busy moms?! Head on over to the Creigh~ative Connection and join the discussion!

inspiremycreativitylinkparty

Ali  |  Home Crafts by Ali

Anna  |  Practical and Pretty

Candice  |  She's Crafty

Cathy  |  A Boy and His Mom

Christine  |  Swordfights & Starry Nights

Emy  |  Semigloss Design

Kim  |  Creigh-ations

Lauren  |  A Life of Love and Joy

Meg  |  The Kusi Life

Meredith  |  The Designer DIY

Missy  |  Gypsy Magpie

Sarah  |  Making Joy & Pretty Things

Shani  |  Sunshine & Munchkins

What Are You Grateful For? A Year of Gratitude

For many, grand thoughts of thankfulness and gestures of gratitude become present around the holidays… and why shouldn’t they? Families are gathered, friends are near, and the joyful spirit~ not to mention that glorious holiday music~ lends itself to feelings of gratefulness all around.

But life is fleeting. And holiday-induced gratitude is just a blip on our own personal timelines, serving as only one small opportunity to recognize all our blessings.

Gratitude Jars serve as a way for families, individuals, and friends to count their blessings and reflect on happy times throughout their lives. Full of positivity, these jars can serve multiple purposes for anyone wishing to document small moments that brought about a smile, a giggle, a milestone, or perhaps even a tear!

Ok, Kim, how do I get started?

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Gratitude Jars are easy to incorporate into your everyday life. Purchase a mason jar, or any type of container that suits your décor needs and style, a pad of small pieces of paper {post-its work in a pinch!}, and a pen. That’s it! Place your Gratitude Jar in a central location so that you’ll be sure to visit it often, as you’ll want to have easy access to document all your future favorite moments! Make it part of your morning or nighttime routine and watch your blessings overflow!

If you’re feeling extra creigh-ative, you can decorate your jar with paint, sparkles, glitter, stickers, etc. and add any personal touches you see fit. This can be a great kid-friendly activity and a meaningful way to introduce the Gratitude Jar and its purpose to your children. Not ready to craft? Check out a customizable and oh-so-cute Gratitude Jar for purchase here.

Who are Gratitude Jars for?

While my Gratitude Jar serves as a collection of memories for my family to look back on, these jars can be for anyone; plus, they make great gifts! Check out some of our favorite uses below!

Families

Did Sarah score her first soccer goal on April 10, 2017? Did you take the team out for ice-cream afterwards? Sure, you took some photos on your phone, but how are you going to remember that Sarah’s tooth fell out on the soccer field and both teams spent 30 minutes trying to find it? Exactly. Write it down and put it in the jar!

Teachers

Gratitude Jars are a great way to build a classroom community. A great gift to give and get at the beginning of the year, teachers and students can add to the jar as often as they wish and reflect on happy moments throughout each quarter! {Bonus: As kids add to the jar, they’ll be working on their handwriting and Language Arts skills like recalling, retelling, and summarizing!}. These also make great end-of-the-year presents for teachers~ have your child write the notes and give all of these precious memories to their teacher!

Partners/Newlyweds

Think back to all those special dates and events you shared with your significant other. You might have pictures, but what did that goofy waiter say to you on your honeymoon and what did Uncle Ronnie (everybody has an Uncle Ronnie, right?!) do on the dance floor at your wedding? Write it down, pop it in the jar, and you’ll remember forever (or at least for a little bit longer)!

New Parents

Kind of a like a freeform baby book, parents (through a sleep-deprived haze) can document the memories surrounding baby’s first milestones; first smile (who was it at?), first tooth (let’s talk about teething!), first steps (where were they?), and more!

Grab some Thankful tags here!

Want your very own "I am thankful for..." tags to use in your very own Gratitude Jar? Simply click the image above to download yours!

When do we empty the jar?

This is completely up to you! Whether you’re interested in looking at your memories each month, a few times a year, or just once a year, you can decide when you’re ready to peek and relive all your memories! Dedicate a time with those you love to open the jar and read each memory together. We’re pretty sure you’ll laugh, smile, and maybe even cry your way through the jar! Ahhhh, memories.

There’s no better time to get started on a Gratitude Jar. Build it into your daily routine and enjoy looking back and counting your blessings each and every day. Share in the comments what you're thankful for today!

Join my FREE Facebook group, the Creigh~ative Connection, a place for busy moms to connect + support each other. Each Thursday, we share what we are grateful for on #thankfulThursday!

 

 

How to Save Money on Summer Camps

This week's guest post is written by Jen Spatz-Martin at Kid Up and Go. She has lots of great tips on how to save money this year when booking those summer camps!

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Having three kids means that I'm always looking for ways to save especially when it comes to summertime! Camps in the DC area cost an average of $350 per week and it doesn't include the cost of transportation (if you need it) or the lunches/snacks.  So one week of camp can cost my family $1100/wk and that is with the average price. If you have one or two kids this may not be a big deal since you may be paying that for childcare and the camps usually have a variety of activities, but anything over that can break the bank!

How do I get creative and save money?

  1. Book early~ There are a bunch of camps that offer early bird pricing if you lock-in by a certain date so make sure to stay on top of that.

  2. Member vs. Non-member rates~ Look at the cost difference between those rates and what the minimum membership costs. You'd be surprised how much it can save you plus members may have early access. The Audubon Naturalist Society and museum camps are structured like this.

  3. Check out deal websites~ Camps will work with deal websites to help fill openings that they have and the rates are usually pretty good. In the past, I've seen summer camp options available on Certifikid, Groupon and Living Social. The down side to the deals is that they may be for only select weeks or age groups that don't apply to your child.

  4. Consider half day camps~ If you're a stay-at-home-parent or have flexible working hours in the summer consider booking these for your child. Some camps have morning (9am-12pm) and/or afternoon (1-4pm) options available.

  5. Check out local preschools~ Our preschool has a camp that is great for the younger ages plus is really budget friendly. The downside is that they are only 3 or 4 days a week, only run through July and from 9am-1pm. It's also not widely advertised like the larger camps so you may have to call or see if anything is posted on their site.

Whatever you decide one of the most important things to consider is finding a camp that your child will really enjoy so that you're not wasting money on it or having a daily battle getting out the door to go to it.  Want an easy resource to search for camps? Check out www.KidUpandGo.com


Jen Spatz-Martin is a mom of three and the founder of Kid Up and Go. Kid Up and Go, is a DC metro area resource website that has kid/family-friendly things to do for ages newborn through 18, pediatric medical professionals, community resources (including birthday planning) and a blog component covering parenting tips and products to make parenting a breeze.  

Kid Up and Go is sponsoring our Mother's Day Out event. If you are in the Northern Virginia area, click here to register! You will craft with your kids, then let them enjoy supervised play while YOU get pampered for the afternoon. Read more about it here.

10 Eggs-ellent Easter Basket Fillers {that aren't candy!}

While it's tempting to fill an Easter basket with junk & candy, why not get everyone something they can use?! These are some favorites of my little interns and suggestions from other busy moms who hang out in Creigh~ative Connection. If you're looking for a fun Facebook group to get craft ideas + just general mom support, click to join us! {Please note some of the links below are affiliate links, which means it is the same cost to you but if you purchase through these links I will receive a small commission}.

 

1. Tegu Blocks~ These magnetic wooden blocks are AMAZING. My little interns love to combine their sets and build larger towers or big animals. The case is perfect to throw in your purse and bring to a restaurant or just to have for those meltdown moments!

 

2. Any Little Figurines~ Whether your child is into Little People, Paw Patrol, princesses, there is some type of little figurine {or vehicle, like Matchbox cars} that you can put in an Easter basket!

3. Juggle Bubbles~ My little interns are obsessed with bubbles, so they are going to have their little minds blown when they open these "magic bubbles!" 

4. Window Clings~ Check the Target dollar bin for Easter and Spring themed window clings. It still amazes me how much time they can spend playing with these!

5. Beach Toys~ One Creigh~ative mom is putting together a beach-themed Easter basket, complete with a bunny shaped towel {like they make on a cruise!}. A super cute and very practical gift!

 

6. Books~ I will always say books are the best gifts, and they are fun to look back on! My little interns love to read the little notes to them in the front of the books from each different holiday {note to self: come up with another inscription besides "Love you to the moon and back!}. These Water Works books are also huge hits in our house. These are great for the car since there's no mess!

7. Play Doh or clay~ Obviously, Play Doh is a huge hit for kids! You can make an entire Play Doh themed basket if you wanted to get one some of those little tools and alphabet shapes to cut out and play with. The modeling clay is a little harder to manipulate, but still great to strengthen those hands and fingers, and allows for more detail. We make faces out of the clay and stick them right into the Play Doh {it comes apart easily, trust me, I don't like mixing Play Doh colors either!}.

8. Playsilks~ Another Creigh~ative mom in Creigh~ative Connection introduced me to these amazing playsilks! Perfect for imaginative play~ these silks can be used as scarves, belts, capes, and so much more!

One of the flower pots made from a Creigh~ative Kid Kit subscriber! Get all of your supplies for 3 crafty projects delivered straight to your door.

One of the flower pots made from a Creigh~ative Kid Kit subscriber! Get all of your supplies for 3 crafty projects delivered straight to your door.

 

 

 

9. Art Supplies~ coloring books, crayons, stickers, markers, any type of consumable art supply that's great for independent work. Not crafty? Pick up a Creigh~ative Kid Kit to put in the basket~ everything you need for 3 crafts, 2 songs, and 1 activity based around a Spring theme

 

 

 

 

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10. EOS Lip Balm Cards~ From bunny butts to Easter eggs to cool chicks, I've got you covered with a cute card + practical EOS lip balm gift! 

 

To join the conversations + get some crafty tips, come join my free Facebook group, Creigh~ative Connection! Click to join + leave a comment on what's going in your Easter baskets!

Is Your Closet Ready for Spring? 5 Tips to Love the Way You Look

These 5 Tips to Love the Way you Look are brought to you by Jennifer Mary, owner and flatterista at Apple and Pear Wardrobe Design. If you are hanging out in Creigh~ative Connection, a place where busy moms connect + find balance through creativity, she was the guest expert and answered your wardrobe and styling questions! The following tips are Jennifer's experiences and in her words.

1. Upgrade Your Undergarments

I want to share a true story with you. Yesterday, I held a private shopping event at Loft for members of my group and their guests. Three women came up to me during the course of the event and said they were really unhappy with their bodies. They felt like they used to have smaller waists, and their mid-sections weren't so lumpy. I took them back to the fitting rooms and hiked up their bra straps to show them where their girls SHOULD be sitting. All three women were shocked by how much smaller their waists were, and how much better their clothes looked. I made them all promise to go get a proper bra fitting before they left the mall, and this morning I got an email that said "Thanks to you and the girl at Nordstrom, I look like I lost 15 pounds".

I'm not going to tell you the secret to looking your best is losing weight, because that's pure BS, but getting rid of the frumpy, lumpy, dumpy look the wrong bra gives you IS one of the easiest ways to look more put together. The right bra makes you look taller, younger, and thinner, and makes the clothes you already own look better.

2. Only Buy Things You LOVE

 I want to share with the easiest way to create a style that makes you feel fabulous.

Here it is...only buy things you truly love. It's that simple. Don't settle for "well, it's fine" or "eh, good enough". That's the junk that's cluttering up your closet, hiding the gems you have in there, and keeping you from having a unique style.

You might be thinking that you're "just" a jeans and t-shirt mom, so what does it matter? Well, first I think liking the way you look actually makes you a better mom...so there's that. I'm also willing to bet that even if you live in jeans and tees, you have jeans and tees you love, and wear more often. Why aren't ALL the pieces in your closet like that? If you're hanging on to "just fine" because of some post-apocalyptic wardrobe emergency that will require you to have a lifetime supply of "good enough" clothes, you can stop now. It isn't going to happen. Let go of those things and focus on buying and having fewer things that make you smile when you get dressed each morning.

3. One of the best ways to love the way you look is to get properly dressed before you leave the house every day. Listen, I KNOW how easy it is to do the preschool run in your sweats, thinking you'll get dressed later when it "matters". More often than not though, life happens, and we end up in our "just for now" clothes all day. This is why you have a closet full of cute clothes that don't get worn! When you take the time to get properly dressed each morning, you wear the clothes you love, and you feel good about how you look. 

I'm not saying you need to be in a dress and heels though--one of my big messages is that dressing well doesn't have to mean dressing up. With the rise of athlesiure and stores like Athleta and Lucy, its easier than ever to look pulled together for the life you actually live. I put clients in comfortable clothes all the time--but they're cute and polished looking, and make my women feel great about themselves. 

90% of life is lived in the everyday moments, so why not love the way you look everyday? 

4. Get Rid of What's Not Working

Lots of my clients hang on to clothes that aren't working for them because it gives them a sense of security...like they'll have something to wear "just in case". Nothing could be farther from the truth. Closets full of the wrong stuff overwhelm us, and keep us from appreciating the great things we have, and seeing what we truly need.

Earlier this week I talked about only putting IN to your closet things you love, but it's also important to take OUT anything you don't love/wear anymore.

I had a client a couple of weeks ago who told me she had way too many pants, and didn't need to buy any more (or really shop at all). The first part was true--she probably had 40 pairs of dress pants, but in reality she only had 4-5 that fit and flattered, and were right for the season. When we looked at which ones went with shoes she owned, she was down to 2 or 3. Her look was never coming together, and she couldn't figure out why. The problem? She actually NEEDED pants. You'd never have known it by looking in her closet.

Don't fill your closet with "good enough" and don't leave "just in case" in there--both strategies are holding you back from loving the way you look, and from getting dressed easily. If you're looking for charities to donate your clothes that aren't working, Jen supports Free the Girls, LAWS, Western Fairfax Christian Missions, and Women Giving Back.

5. Know What Suits You

This tip is something I've learned in my years of dressing thousands of women. Most clients I work with have plenty of things that look great on them, but they don't know WHY...so when they go shopping, they've got to start the hunt for the proverbial needle in a haystack all over again. You take armloads of stuff into the fitting room, to find one or two that look good. When you know what works for you, you can spot pieces that will work from a mile a way

A few of the things every woman should know:

  • Her best colors (chances are it's not black!)
  • Her best neckline
  • The right length for her tops
  • The best cut for dresses/skirts
  • The best pant shape

Now, once you have your "best for you's" figured out, it doesn't mean you never try anything outside of those pieces again (otherwise, you're headed for a major style rut), but you WILL build a basic wardrobe of items that look great, and make you feel confident.

If you're looking to build a basic wardrobe for the spring, then you need Jen's Spring Capsule Wardrobe Guide! This ebook shows you 35 must-have pieces to create over 100 stylish, casual outfits. I've personally purchased this guide, and it's extremely helpful. Jen even includes a shopping checklist so you can check off what you already have in your closet and what you need to purchase. Along with her tips, this guide has truly helped me love the way I look!

If you are a busy mom and want more helpful tips on time management, meal planning, crafting, + more, you should join us over in the Facebook group, Creigh~ative Connection. Click to join and connect with other moms who are finding balance through creativity!

Easy + Fun St. Patrick's Day Activities for Kids

Green shirts, St. Patrick's Day parades, leprechaun "bait" and "traps," rainbow crafts. With all of the options to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, it can get overwhelming as parents. Here are some fun + easy St. Patrick's Day activities for your kids.

EasyandfunStPatricksDayActivitiesforKids

1. Themed Breakfast.

  • Green pancakes
  • Green eggs + ham
  • Lucky Charms with green milk

There are so many options for green food!


2. Leprechauns. These little green men can wreak havoc on their favorite day of the year!

  • You could easily throw together some leprechaun "bait". There are lots of different options for this, and here's an easy recipe: Lucky Charms, marshmallows, green mint M&Ms, pretzel sticks, and Chex cereal. 
  • Leprechaun footprints~ use your fist and your fingers to make little green "footprints" everywhere {I used to do this in my classroom which was a little easier to clean. This may be a good outside activity if you're lucky to have a warm St. Patrick's Day this year!}.
  • Build a leprechaun trap. Moms that hang out over in Creigh~ative Connection {are you in our Facebook group yet?! Come join us!} reported lots of different options for traps. Lucky Charms, shiny coins, little footprints... some brave moms include glitter and a big mess! One leprechaun leaves chocolate coins in exchange for the shiny coins the kids leave out! Have FUN with this {and if you're worried about the mess, bring it outside!}.

3.  Craft! {You had to know this one was coming!}

You can read more about how to make this project over at Plaid.

You can read more about how to make this project over at Plaid.

  • Save your little one's handprints with this adorable rainbow craft. You can do this on a canvas or a piece of cardstock and frame it. 
  • Make some rainbows! Use Fruit Loops, dot markers, paint, crayons, markers, glitter {gasp!}, whatever you and your kids feel like using to make a special rainbow.

However you celebrate St. Patrick's Day with your kids, enjoy! Wear a green scarf, {make sure your kids are in green so they aren't "pinched" at school!}, eat some Lucky Charms, and tell us about your leprechaun adventures in the comments!

If you'd like to get crafts delivered straight to your door this spring, sign up for a 3 month subscription of the Creigh~ative Kid Kits. You'll receive all of the materials for 3 crafts and some helpful tips for your kids! Read more here.