Valentine Recap

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. It was a very festive time in our house. But in the midst of the busy schedule and endless to-do list we made time to appreciate the people in our lives that mean the most to us.

Here’s a look at 3 events that we participated in last week.

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1. Random Acts of Kindness Week Ornament Drop

At the elementary school my daughter attends they focused on doing acts of random kindness. This was promoted with spirit-dress week and the end-of-week project.

For this project the students created an ornament with a positive message to be delivered to someone of their choice. They were to take a picture with their ornament and let their teacher know who they chose and why that person was selected. My daughter’s teacher challenged the kids to choose someone they don’t know very well.

Instantly, our daughter thought of our next door neighbor. She’s a single, middle-aged woman who tends to keep to herself. Whenever we have the rare opportunity to see her we wave and smile. Aside from doing yard work or shoveling snow at the same time we haven’t had many opportunities to interact with her.

Following our daughter’s lead, our whole family went next door and delivered the ornament. The neighbor was so grateful and let our daughter know that it made her lonely Valentine’s Day so much better to receive that gift.

 

2. Classroom Party

Weeks ago my daughter and I scoured Pinterest for the perfect Valentine’s Day box. Then, using my Cricut and a few supplies from Michaels we put together a pretty cute unicorn-themed box. With her craft skills she used blank heart-shaped notecards, stamps, and stickers to create homemade valentines cards for every member of her class.

I had the opportunity to attend her class party on Friday afternoon. My job was to bring healthy snacks for the class. Oh Joy! helped me out with a blog post about a healthy snack craft. My daughter and I used Thursday night to prepare our cupid-stricken oranges. These were a big hit in the classroom.

 

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3. Speed Dating in the Library

This last event I can take absolutely no credit for having put together. The librarian at my school put lots of planning and energy into the idea, but I have to share because it was so awesome.

On Valentine’s Day my classes reserved the library to pick out new independent reading books. Instead of turning them loose to select books on their own our librarian organized a speed dating session. Students were exposed to an array of books and got to know the one’s that caught their eye.

After the process was done they were to check out the book that they connected with the most. Many of them also took pictures with their books in a photo-booth themed heart. I snagged some of my teacher friends to jump in with me for my photo.

I’d love to see some of your Valentine’s Day crafts and boxes. Comment a picture or description below.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Bullet Journal (February Updates)

I’ve been an official Bullet Journaler for two months now. In February, I took on the February Journal Challenge where I created a new page or idea each day based on a prompt. I also started some new pages and added to ones from last month. I have been really pleased with this new hobby. It’s been a nice way to use my creativity and it helps keep my life organized as well.

Here is a look at some of my newest editions to my Bullet Journal in February:

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Re Purposed Crib

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Convertible cribs are the best. You can’t beat three beds in one.

Sadly, our daughter is nearing the end of stage three with her crib now functioning as a toddler bed. Her legs are growing and she has less and less space each night to toss and turn. Our plan has been to re-do her bedroom this summer, but I’m not quite sure that she will make it that much longer.

Since the end of the bed is in sight I’ve been searching for ideas to re-purpose the pieces of the crib. I want to find a way to make a keepsake of her first bed which held her tiny body for the first four years of her life.

As I sifted through the wood we’ve already removed from the earlier phases of the crib I found a piece that I decided to take for myself. With a little white paint and a paint brush I was able to turn a crib panel into a decorative piece for my mantle.

I’ve seen some cool ideas online for re-purposing cribs. From shelves to tables there are all sorts of ways to continue using a crib once it has been outgrown.

This piece of furniture is so special to me. It’s a place I trusted to keep my firstborn safe. It was a spot I frequented in the night when the cries of my baby called for me. There are so many sentiments tied to this one piece that I can’t just kick it to the curb.

How have you re-purposed furniture in your house? Do you have experience with cribs?

Please share!

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The Ameri Brit Mom

One Month of Bullet Journaling

One month ago I purchased a Moleskine notebook and started my 2017 bullet journal.

A bullet journal is a place to plan and organize not only your schedule, but also all of the countless lists that accumulate in your mind. I wanted to be sure that my bullet journal would become a keepsake for the year of the many things I enjoy and the memories I wish to record.

In the past I’ve used pretty planners, but after months of pinning bullet journal pages online I decided to go for it in the new year. I have an obsession with pretty stationary and organization so the concept of bujo (short for bullet journal) was appealing to me. Armed with a blank notebook for the year was intimidating at first so I started with outlining big moments in 2016.

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After my 2016 review, I created my future log for all planning. I included calendars for every month in 2017 and places to jot down events in advance on that calendar. For each week within the month I have a calendar that is for daily tasks and appointments to be tracked.

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Some of my favorite collections so far are:

  • To-Read List
  • “Oh the Places We’ll Go”- a list of travel destinations this year
  • “Take Me to the Movies”- a list of movies we saw in the cinema this year
  • 30 Day Spending Freeze
  • Game Night Stats- a running tally of the games and winners from our weekly game nights at home. (This was part of my new year’s resolutions and it’s been so much fun!)
  • Blog Stats Tracker

 

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One month in and I am already noticing an increase in my productivity. I spend a few minutes every morning planning the day and few minutes before bed reflecting on the day that has just passed. I am really enjoying this practice. It has been healthy for both my mind and my creative soul.

I’m planning to share some of my progress in bullet journaling throughout the year. Which page or collection is your favorite so far?

The Ameri Brit Mom

Seasonal Blocks

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I don’t get in crafty moods often, but when I do you better watch out. This weekend I decided to finish a DIY project I started over a year ago. This is something I saw at a craft show last Christmas and decided I would try to make for myself. It’s fairly simple and requires little time, money, and skill. And because I love to decorate for the seasons I decided to go with a seasonal theme. Here is a look at my finished seasonal blocks:

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What you need to make these seasonal blocks:

-six wooden blocks of varying sizes

-white paint (or a paint color of your choice)

-4 seasonal pages of scrapbook or patterned paper

-1 black Sharpie (or letter stamps if you prefer not to free hand the lettering)

-Mod Podge

-paintbrushes

How to make these blocks: (Warning: It make take more than one day to complete this craft due to the amount of time it takes for the paint to dry. I started out just doing each season as it approached and over the course of the year finished it. However, it can also take just two days to knock out the whole thing.)

  1. Start by painting the surface  of each of the wooden blocks. I chose to paint my blocks white to match the woodwork in my living room, but you may choose to stain or paint your blocks in other colors to match your decor. I’ve seen this done with black blocks before and I think it looks really crisp and nice as well.
  2. As the paint is drying, begin to cut out six rectangles from each of your patterned papers.
  3. Once the rectangles are cut you can go ahead and write out or stamp the letters on to each piece of paper.
  4. Once the paint has dried evaluate whether the blocks require multiple coats. Mine did. And so I really only got through the painting process in the first day of crafting.
  5. After the paint is dry, you can begin with your first side of mod podge. Before you begin with the sticking you want to arrange your rectangles in an appealing way. If they are different sizes you will want to play around with how to organize them.
  6. When you have organized the order of the blocks, you can begin with the mod podge. I always add a dab of mod podge to the block first to adhere the paper like glue. Then, once the paper is stuck onto the block go over the edges and the entire paper with the mod podge. At first it will look very gluey, but mod podge will dry clear. You want to make sure you have enough mod podge that the paper is secure, but not too much that the paper bubbles.
  7. Repeat the mod podge process for the entire name of the season.
  8. Then, before moving on to the next face or season make sure the entire mod podged face is dry.
  9. Important: When adding each new season be sure to keep the letters in the order you originally arranged!

This was a fun little project. I plan to make some more in the future because it was so simple and I like the look of it. I know people who use a similar method to create Christmas calendar blocks counting down the 25 days of Christmas. I’ve also seen this as a popular gift for new parents who use blocks to either countdown to the arrival of their bundle of joy or to announce the time since their child was born in monthly photographs. I’m looking for some new ideas so if you have any other ways that simple blocks and mod podge could be used please share!

The Ameri Brit Mom

A Family Art Date

It’s so easy to get into ruts. Every area of our lives is susceptible to the mundane. We can become so stuck on foods, routines, and shops that we begin to lose the excitement we once held for those things. In Ohio, the winter time can become a season of over-repeated family date nights. There are only so many things you can do in the great indoors with a toddler. When all else fails my husband and I resort to traveling to a mall so that we can walk, talk, and enjoy time together with the promise of a play area trip if our daughter is on her best behavior.

As much fun as a trip to one of the area’s malls can be this past weekend we felt the need to branch out and try something new. The temperatures were cooler and the prospect of flurries lingered in the forecast. It was a weekend for indoor activities, but we were so over the idea of spending another Friday night window shopping and supervising our daughter in a sea of rambunctious children.

After a quick Google search I found an Art and Clay Cafe in a neighboring town. Our daughter is absolutely in love with arts and crafts so it seemed like a trip that would be right up her alley. Indeed, the new adventure was well worth it.

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The first thing we did once we entered the eccentric cafe was browse their shelves of ceramics. My daughter chose a bird ornament and a balloon-shaped dog. I wanted to create a decorative piece for the house so I chose a plate. My husband wanted to try his hand at painting intricate details so he selected to paint a ceramic wizard. This also makes more sense if you know my husband and his extreme addiction to Harry Potter. (He did grow up in England in the 1990’s so you can’t really blame him. That was Potter country back then.)

With our ceramic selections made we made our way to the paint table. Each of us filled a plate of vibrant colors and then took a seat where the baristas served us coffee and juice while we worked.

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I’ve forgotten how therapeutic painting can be. It’s been years since I just sat down and painted. All three of us were in such a zone as we focused on the projects at hand. I had completely forgotten about the nerve-wrecking Active Shooter Training that had happened in my school that afternoon. Our daughter had watched a program the week prior about mixing colors to make others so she really enjoyed experimenting with her colors. Somehow in the process of mixing multiple colors she manufactured the most beautiful shade of purple. She used this color to coat her dog and used so many other colors on the bird piece she worked on.

For nearly three hours our entire family worked on our individual projects while talking, laughing, and sipping on cafe drinks. Several people stopped by our table to compliment our daughter on her use of the paintbrush and her impeccable behavior. Art really is one of her gifts. As parents we have tried to embrace this talent. (I admit sometimes we embrace this interest with a little of selfishness. Arts and crafts are really the only thing she will sit down to do. If we want peace and quiet we give her paper and markers and she is occupied for a good bit of time.)

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When we finished with our projects we turned them in to the front desk. The pieces were queued for the kiln. The Art and Clay Cafe take all pieces and place a finishing gloss on them before heating them up in the kiln. Upon check out we received a ticket and a pick-up date. Next Saturday our beautiful creations will be done and ready to be brought home. I look forward to picking up our masterpieces.

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It was a unique Friday night. A family date for the books. We really liked the Art and Clay Cafe.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Coffee Filter Butterflies

Summer has begun and the search for toddler-friendly activities is in full bloom. Over the past couple of weeks my daughter has shown an expressed interest in art. She loves to sit and draw and her artwork is really beginning to resemble the objects she is intending to replicate. For example, earlier this week she drew this rain cloud for her dad. She explained that the dot in the middle of the cloud is all the rain getting ready to make us all wet.

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She also has been drawing caterpillars galore. This is her favorite thing to draw and she is getting really good at it.

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My daughter is only two and a half, but she is extremely interested in arts and crafts. For me I am a little challenged by this talent. I appreciate good art, but cannot create my own. Obviously, my daughter has inherited her abilities from my husband’s side of the family. Now that I am on summer vacation I’ve planned out several ways to cater to my daughter’s artistic needs to help her expand her skills and learn some fun art forms. I went a little pin-crazy on Pinterest earlier this week and pinned a ridiculous amount of toddler friendly crafts. You can check out my board here.

For our first craft I chose something that seemed easy enough for me to not mess up. We made coffee filter butterflies. I already had all of the materials necessary for creating these colorful works of art. We had a great time painting the filters and watching them dry. Once dry we gathered the filter in the middle and wrapped a pipe cleaner around it to form the body of the butterfly. I was very pleased with the way these turned out. Below is a list of the materials needed for this project:

-coffee filters

-water color paints

-paint brush

-pipe cleaners

-cup of water

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