Last Minute Father’s Day Gift

Easy Last Minute Father's Day Gift

Easy Last Minute Father’s Day Gift

 

This Sunday, those of us in the U.S. celebrate our dads. Are you ready? Or have you been so busy keeping your kids occupied or running them to and from camp that now you have to look for a last minute Father’s Day gift?

Fear not, I’ve got a super simple craft that you can do even if you aren’t crafty. If you can trace, cut and glue, you’ve got this! And like the other Father’s Day craft I posted on this blog, it’s a fabulous, personalized, custom piece that won’t cost a fortune.

My friend, Michelle, made one of these, and I love it so much that I “borrowed” the idea for Father’s day a few years ago. I made two of these for the grandfathers, and they love them. Two complete projects took a little bit of shopping time and about 45 minutes of actual assembly time. If you only make one, it will go even faster.

Since it was for the grandpas, I included my hand and my husband’s hand, because we’re they’re kids, too. Michelle’s represents her whole family, so she included her and her husband’s hands. But do what works for you. You can certainly just include your kids, or gather your siblings if you’re making it for your dad.

 

Gather Your Supplies

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A frame with an 8×10 opening. I recommend getting one with a mat included, so your frame will likely be 11×14 like this one here (affiliate link). (Bonus: if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’ll get free one-day shipping to get it here before Father’s Day!)

  • Several coordinating sheets of colored paper (I used scrapbook paper) – one for each person + one for the background. Check these out (affiliate link), and again, Amazon Prime!

  • Scissors, glue & a permanent marker.

 

Last minute Father's Day supplies

Just a few simple steps, and you’ve got a fantastic last minute Father’s Day gift

 

Here’s How You Do It

  • Pick a hand, and trace each person’s on a different color sheet of paper.
  • Cut out each hand.
  • Lay them out, stacked largest to smallest, on your background sheet using the mat as a guide.
  • Once you like it, glue everything down.
  • Hand letter whatever message you like at the top. You could say “Happy Father’s Day,” “The {Your Last Name} Family,” or whatever you like. I always add the date, too, so you can see how much the kids grow over the years. If you’re worried about hand lettering, you can make your message look professional using your printer, a pencil, and a simple transfer technique. Here’s how you do it (excuse the little bird chirping in the background; he wanted to be in the video!):

IMG_3018

  • Once you’re done, erase any stray pencil marks and place your project in the frame, wrap it up and wait for the smiles. They’re going to love it!

For very little time and money, you can make this simple project that looks as polished and professional as the most expensive custom keepsakes.

What do you think? Is this something you would make for your family? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments!

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Nursing Cover for Breastfeeding: Flexible & Fabulous

Nursing cover - old style

Type of nursing cover I used. Not the most stylish, but it was all I had! (Photo credit: Kristen Valenti on Flickr)

(This post contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to click the link and purchase an item, I will receive a commission on your purchase. The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and are not influenced by my affiliate status.)

 

Breastfeeding Moms Need Better Covers

 

My breastfeeding days are over, but if I was still in that stage, I would love this fabulous nursing cover. I remember the awkward cover I had, the kind with a strap you put around your neck and slipped through a buckle ring. It kind of looked like a giant-sized bib or apron. Not the most stylish thing I’ve ever worn.

I always found myself struggling with it. Swinging it around to get it in the right position while juggling my squirming baby. Then it would slip or slide, get pushed aside by my kid (who did NOT like to be under anything), or otherwise fail to provide the right kind of discreet cover. It was hot, and it just never worked for me, so I ended up figuring out how to use my hoodie sweatshirt to serve as a makeshift nursing cover. Or, ~ gasp ~ I would simply go UNcovered because I just couldn’t bring myself to wrestle with the “slip ‘n slide,” and I was beyond caring.

 

A Nursing Cover You’ll Love

 

Enter the multi-use nursing cover! My niece’s friend introduced her to these fabulous and versatile beauties when she came to visit her with a new baby. She sent me the link, I looked and was immediately in envy. I wish I had one of these when I was breastfeeding. If I had, I would probably still be using it today, given its versatility as a nursing cover AND a stylish fashion accessory.

Versatile nursing cover

Fabulous Nursing Cover by Covered Goods (Photo credit: Covered Goods, used with permission)

 

I’m all for buying items that can be used in multiple ways. I mean, don’t we all love a good value? This baby is the Swiss Army Knife of nursing covers. Obviously, you can use it to cover up your little one while they happily latch on to eat. But you can also wear it as a scarf, use it as a car seat cover, line your shopping cart with it to protect your baby from germs and cold metal & plastic. I probably would have also used it as a light blanket for the baby in the car or stroller. Really, the possibilities are endless.

The light, stretchy material also allows you to peek if you need to check on things while breastfeeding. Or, if your baby is a squirmer like mine was, for the baby to peek and check on mom! But with all the peeking, you won’t find yourself giving anyone a peep show since this cover goes all the way around. No flashing your neighbor the next time you’re nursing!

I really think this is one of the coolest nursing covers I’ve ever seen, and one that is truly functional, attractive and useful. If you’re a breastfeeding mom, I highly recommend that you check these out. You can find them online at Covered Goods. If you’re not a breastfeeding mom, but you have friends or family members who are or might be, these would make fantastic, affordable gifts! Show up to your next baby shower with one of these, and you’re guaranteed to be the hit of the party. Based on everything I’ve seen, these nursing covers are definitely going on my list of “must haves” for all the breastfeeding moms I know.

What do you think of these?  Were you (or are you) a breastfeeding mom? If so, how did you stay discreet?

 

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The Best Teacher Appreciation Gift Ever

Teacher appreciation note

A Simple Thank You for Teacher Appreciation (photo by Elena Roussakis on Flickr)

 

Showing a teacher appreciation is such a simple thing to do. Yet we often take for granted these champions of our children. This week, in chatting with different friends at different times, I’ve been astounded that so many have been experiencing challenging issues at their schools. With both teacher and parent perspectives represented, I can honestly say how fortunate I feel to NOT be smack in the middle of what they’re respectively going through.

Not to say that I don’t want to hear their struggles. They’re my friends and I’m here for them. I’m here to listen and support and empathize and provide feedback when and where that’s appropriate. But it’s made me think.

 

Teacher Appreciation Any Time, All the Time

 

Teachers need to know we appreciate them. They spend their days caring for our children, nurturing their imaginations, challenging their minds. They teach them numbers and letters and how to put them together into words and sentences and stories and equations. They help our kids learn to share and cooperate and solve problems together.

They spend nine months helping our kids gain the skills and knowledge they need to continue growing, to move on to the next grade, to effectively master what they need to know at this stage in their lives. I don’t know how they do it and I know I’m not alone.

We give them teacher appreciation gifts at the end of the year to say thank you. A gift card from the class or a new coffee mug or some plaque with an apple on it. But do we really say thank you? If you have a teacher, or teachers, in your life who have made a difference to you and/or your kids, I think any time is the time to tell them. Let’s start now.

 

Here’s What I Propose

 

Get out some paper or get on your computer – wait, you’re already here! – and write a thank you note to a teacher. Bonus points if you write to more than one. Tell them what  you appreciate about them. Tell them about the difference they have made in your life. Even if it’s just to pinpoint one time you noticed an extra kindness or that single moment when your kid finally “got it.” Trust me, they don’t hear this often enough.

You don’t have to get fancy; a simple email or Facebook message will do the trick. Or pop a hand-written note in the mail. If you don’t know where to find them or you’re unsure about contacting them directly, try sending a note to your school principal or parent-teacher group to let them know about a special teacher in their midst. Oftentimes, principals only hear the negative, when people are complaining. Give them a chance to see the positive and remember that teaching and being a part of the education system has rewards, too. Who doesn’t love unsolicited praise?

Give the good ones a reason to want to come back year after year and make a difference for the next group of kids. Give your principal a nice note to tuck into a teacher’s file for the next time they get discouraged. Be part of your parent-teacher group’s efforts to support great teachers. And show your kids how important it is to say thank you. I know you’re busy, but in then end, everyone will benefit from you taking a few minutes to write a note.

If you simply can’t make the time to write a letter, send them the link to this story from Scary Mommy. It’s beautifully written and sends a sincere message. But make it from you. Tell them it reminds you of them.

 

Just Do It

 

For many of us, I realize the school year has already come to an end. But, really, is there ever a bad time to say thank you? It’s so easy to think of teacher appreciation as the group gift that you hope someone else will coordinate, the token, and sometimes impersonal, note signed by 30 families. I’m sure the teachers appreciate these gestures because acknowledgement in any form always feels good. But think of how much better it would be to get a message of appreciation, out of the blue, when you’re not expecting it. I think it would make their day.

I’m off to write some thank you notes to some awesome teachers. I hope you’ll do the same!

 

 

 

 

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A Father’s Day Gift He’ll Love (You Will, too!)

Father's Day tree

 

Father’s Day is June 19 (I looked it up!)

June has arrived, which means Father’s Day is just around the corner. If your guy is anything like my husband, he’s got pretty much everything he needs, so what can you give him that he’ll love and won’t break the bank? This fabulous family tree!

 

Father’s Day DIY Made Easy

Sometimes making a gift can feel like a daunting task, but with a little bit of planning and some help from the kids, you can create a personalized keepsake that any dad will love. Actually, I love this one so much that I would have made it for myself if it hadn’t been Father’s Day!

I can’t remember where I saw this idea first (it was before I really got familiar with Pinterest), but I loved the idea so I got to work making it happen.

First, I gathered some supplies:

  • White poster board, 11 x 17 (I bought a big one and cut it to size)
  • A simple frame to fit
  • Ink pads in various colors (I bought a set and have used them for multiple other crafts since then. If you have some already, just use these!)
  • Pencil, a good eraser and a brown permanent marker (all things I had on hand)

Next, I sketched out the tree in pencil on the poster board.

This took a while because I was being picky about how the branches looked, but you can make it however you like. I just saw a simple version of this on Naptime Decorator, and it looks super cute and easier than the one I drew.

Once I had the sketch the way I liked it, I colored it in with a brown permanent marker. I love the way the marker made the branches and tree trunk look like real wood. I chose to leave a little space in the trunk to add a “carving” like carving our message in a real tree, but you could certainly make it a solid trunk.

I also hand-lettered Happy Father’s Day at the bottom, but you could leave that off or include a different message or put a cool saying on your finished product. I love the saying Liz at Naptime Decorator (see above link) used! My hand lettering was super simple, but if you want to make it look more “designed,” take a look at this hand lettering tutorial from Morgan Manages Mommyhood. It’s a great primer on how to create great-looking text!

 

Personal and Meaningful Father’s Day

Once I had my part done, I grabbed the kids and had them do their part. I used the stamp pads to put color on their hands – make sure there’s plenty of color on them – then placed their handprints on the tree. Our oldest got the lowest branches, then I worked up to our little one at the top. They were 10, 7 and 2 at the time, so their hands fit perfectly on this size tree. If you have fewer/more kids or they’re bigger or smaller, just use your judgment on how you want it to look. For an only child, you could include your handprints, or use their hands and intersperse the design with little fingerprint leaves.

Father's Day DIY supplies

Ink Pads for your Father’s Day Masterpiece

 

The great part is that the stamp pads dry really quickly, so you can even do this at the last minute. Once it’s dry, just pop it in the frame and wrap it up! My husband was so pleased when he opened it and realized what it was, and he hung it up right away.

This is one of my favorite DIY gifts I’ve ever made. Even though it cost less than $10 to make, it holds a special place in all of our hearts that no expensive, store bought gift could match. The kids like to hold their hands up to it to see how much they’ve grown over the years, and it serves as a happy memory of when they were little.

Father's Day Wall Art

The finished product

 

Stay tuned for another fabulous and easy Father’s Day project coming soon! In the meantime, what do you think of this family tree? Will you make one? Let me know if you have any questions!

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