Whose Idea

The larger our playgroup grows, the more challenging to manage to get us all together. Last summer on one such lucky day, we dared to attempt a photo of all 8 kids. I had to use one of the "Sarcastically Said" banners to title this because it's so true. The entire thing cracks me up now as I think back to how challenging it was to get them all on the couch together. We had several cameras going. Moms making funny faces & noises. Didn't matter. We had kids looking in every direction, serious faces, crying faces, confused faces, and 1 almost smile. The result - one of those perfectly, imperfect shots and an amusing memory. :) Now, wonder if we can manage a get together and try this again now that our group is up to 10 kids ....

Supplies: Sand Lover template by Jen Flaherty; Rocketman kit by Deena Rutter; Hop papers by Sara Schmutz; Cool Britannia elements by Angie Hinksman; Sarcastically Said elements by Gennifer Bursett; DHD's Spring Menagerie papers; Baby Dino solids by Tiffany Tillman; Genuinely You elements by Karen Funk; Digi Essentials by Karla Dudley; Enjoy the Little Things by Sweet Shoppe Designs; Just the Way You Are font.


Wanna play a game?

Several times a day now, we hear "wanna play a game?" I first picked up a couple classic kids board games (Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders - albeit the last one is the Toy Story version) in the spring at a thrift store and consignment sale respectively and the interest in games began. Not that Dylan always wanted to play by the rules. ;)

For his birthday, he received 3 new games - UNO Moo!, Busytown Eye Found It!, and Chuggington Let's Ride the Rails. He is officially game obsessed now and we're loving it. Something new to do inside on hot days that doesn't involve the TV. He's getting the hang of the rules (although watch him on UNO Moo! - he'll try to sneak a skunk in there on you!) and knows how to set up all of them.

What's your favorite game to play?


Friday Freebie: Aquarium template

I have a 2-page 12x12 digital scrabpooking template to share this month! It's based off the Aquarium page I created last fall and contains 11 layers. It's free for personal use only.

Click here to download the Aquarium template


Have you missed one of my previous digital freebies? Click HERE to find them. And, don't forget to subscribe to my feeds so you won't miss future freebies!


36 Hours

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Last week while in Virginia visiting family, Trent & I took off on our own for a little adventure leaving Dylan with his grandparents and uncle. I took quite a few photos with both my iPhone and DSLR. In the past week, I've uploaded them and created this 5x7 photo book on Shutterfly. This is the fastest I've ever created a photo book and only 2nd time I've done so using Shutterfly's components exclusively (usually I upload full pages I've created in Photoshop). I started with one of the template books (Pictogram) and used a mixture of idea pages as well as created a few of my own. Click on any photo image to enlarge.


[almost] Wordless Wednesday: Red Peppers

Grown by Dylan! He's so proud of his red pepper plant and was giddy yesterday morning when we cut off the first two. :)

Linking up to Wordless Wednesday: July 25 and Sarah Halstead's Boys & Dirt {WW #50}


Geoffery's Birthday Club

I signed Dylan up for the Toys R Us Geoffery's Birthday Club when he was an infant. Each year it has resulted in a birthday card from Geoffery that includes a coupon/gift card for a small amount. This year the card had a coupon for $3 off a $3 or more purchase and a second coupon for a free Chuggington wooden train car. We visited the Cary location on Saturday to pick out his train car.

As we were checking out, I commented to the cashier about how it was a nice surprise from Toys R Us to receive it for free for his birthday. What I didn't realize is that they do a little in-store fun too. She immediately went to the customer service desk, broadcast his birthday to the entire store and brought back a crown and balloon for him. He also got a coloring sheet she had at the register. It was a fun, simple surprise that had my little guy a bit stunned but also very excited. He's still enjoying that balloon and, of course, his new Hodge train car. Thanks, Toys R Us!


Blast Off Birthday Party

This year, we had a space themed party to celebrate Dylan's 3rd birthday. The idea originated from a printables set I won from Deena Rutter last fall. I used invites from the set, but changed the text portion:

Not trusting that the weather would be as cooperative as last year, we decided to book his party at a local indoor playspot - PlayNation. The kids had a great time burning energy indoors on the swing sets, in the bounce house and playhouses, and climbing up the inflatable slide. A few of the adults joined in the fun too!

Afterwards we gathered together to celebrate in one of the party rooms. I kept the decor simple and to a minimum. The food table was topped with a black plastic table cloth and scattered with glow in the dark stars & planets. On the front hung the birthday banner I made last year.

At one end we had a "planet" created from a paper lantern with a cardboard/foil ring, a space themed mailbox and subway art. The subway art was reused from last year. I updated the colors & age number and inserted it into a thrift store frame I spray painted blue to match the decor. Sticking out of the mailbox was a photo of Dylan mounted on foam board with the comment "You helped make my birthday celebration at "blast"! Thanks! Please take a favor home to enjoy."

Each of the snacks was labeled using placecards in the printables set. I added the names before printing. We had Fruit Rockets (fruit kabobs with strawberries, blueberries & grapes); Space Mix: Asteroids, Moon Rocks & Saturn's Rings (cheese puffs, Cheerios & Cookie Crisps cereal); and Rocket Fuel (juice boxes and water).

And, best of all, Alien Cupcakes!

They ended up looking a bit like a mix of Toy Story aliens and Mike Wazowski. :)  [Huge shout out to my friend, Lauren, for all of her help with tips & loaning me extra cake baking accessories.] For Dylan's we added a single, neon green candle at the forehead like an antenna.

As the party ended, each child picked up a goody bag with his/her name on it. I used paper sandwich bags as I did last year, folded over the top and sealed with a staple and name label (favor tags from printables kit edited).

The older kids received bags with Astronaut Ice Cream, a glow in the dark bracelet and homemade "moon dough". To make the dough, we used the recipe I shared here, added lots of blue food coloring and some blue glitter. I packed small balls of the dough into plastic containers purchased at the Dollar Tree and topped them with labels I created in Photoshop using Deena Rutter's Rocketman digital scrapbooking kit.

The two littlest boys in the group (both under 1), received a Viking Toys chubby helicopter toy.

As we headed home after the party, I asked Dylan if he enjoyed it and immediately got an excited, "oh yeah!" in return. That right there made my day. :)



My happy, energetic, sweet little boy is three today! Last week we visited a greenway near our house for a little photo shoot in the rocket t-shirt I made for his party (details on that soon!).

This one was all him - where & how to pose. The best smile too. :)

Third Birthday Photo Shoot

Holding up 3 fingers can be tricky:

Third Birthday Photo Shoot

Benches are fun for swinging your feet on while posing for mama:

Third Birthday Photo Shoot

And simply taking a stroll (admittedly, he was walking away and I only got him to turn & come back to me at the promise of frozen yogurt afterward!):

Third Birthday Photo Shoot

My world changed in the most amazing way on this day in 2009. Dylan, it's a joy to be your mama and watch you grow & change from day to day. Just don't grow up too fast - I'm still enjoying my "little" boy and all the adventures that go along with it! :)


Nightstand Revamp

I inherited a few pieces of furniture from my maternal grandmother. Growing up, I had the full bedroom set in my room. Today, only the dresser, mirror and nightstand. I love these pieces. They are sentimental and well made, solid wood. Both pluses. The only dislike - the cream/gold finish and how aged they have become. For quite a while I've debated painting them but something else was always taking priority. Now that we're staging our home for sale, I decided to bite the bullet and attempt the nightstand. Better to test on the smaller piece and have a little experience (plus a sure fire plan) before playing with the dresser and mirror.

A partial "before" photo of the nightstand and corner of the room:

I searched online for ideas and tips about spray painting it. I came across this detailed post on the Tip Junkie and referenced it throughout.

I used Valspar primer & paint (color: Indigo Streamer). Then sealed it with Minwax Polycrylic spray. The nightstand had a gritty feel to it after it had dried. On a whim, I took an old washcloth and gently buffed it in a circular motion. It smoothed it out nicely.

I originally planned to replace the hardware, but not finding any I liked and wanting to save money, I followed a suggestion from Scrap Me Baby blog and simply spray painted the existing handles. I used a silver, hammered finish spray paint by Rustoleum that we already owned.

The end result ...

I am thrilled with the way it turned out. Like a brand new piece. My only regret is not doing this sooner! I will be refinishing the dresser & mirror to match but, for now, am waiting until we move. I have a lot of packing still to do and that needs to take priority!


Packing & Staging

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you already know that there's been a lot of this ...

a little of this ...

And a whole lot of this ...

Labels source: The Nest Effect
going on. After 9 years, we're getting ready to put our house on the market which means clearing out, packing up and staging. This is our first home which means our first time selling. Got any tips?


Cars Party layout

Hard to believe a year has past since we had our Cars party for Dylan's 2nd birthday:

What a fun day celebrating with his playgroup! This past Saturday we hosted a space themed party for this 3rd birthday. I'll share pictures of that fun soon! It was a "blast" to say the least. (oh, terrible pun! LOL)

Supplies: Recollect kit by Sara Schmutz; Toolbox - Mist v1 and Favorite Things 2 papers by Gennifer Bursett; Scalloped paper by 2paws Designs; Digi Essentials by Karla Dudley; I Love Boys by Robyn Meierotto; Magneto and Come Unto Me fonts. Scraplift of "Game Face" layout by Shannon Zickel shared here at Scrapbooksetc.com.


Blast Off Party prep

Where does the time go? Tomorrow we're having a party to celebrate Dylan's upcoming 3rd birthday! Here's a little peek at the preparation going on ...

Favor label credits: Deena Rutter Designs


backyard pool fun

One of my photos from Shoot & Edit last year was this one of Dylan playing in our backyard. He had the best time dumping water on himself using that dump truck!

It was a perfect fit with pieces from this week's 4 Play challenge at DHD.

Supplies: Linen Line #3 papers by Agnes Biro; County Fair Part 1 by Sara Schmutz; Secretary Stamps & Brush set by Shannon Hegarty; She Is elements by Audrey Neal.


Wordless Wednesday: American Tobacco


Lucky Strike Tower



Wordless Wednesday