'Motherhood is a choice you make every day; to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ...
though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Mother's Day.. it comes around regularly, each year. (Hey, am I the only one who struggles to remember whether it's the first or second Sunday, each May?) But, we still confront the same question: 'What can I give Mum that I know she'll appreciate, something that will truly express how much she means to us?'
And sure, slippers or a fragrant, organic soap are wonderful options. But, if you're like me, you want something that will touch her heart. And, well... we're talking about 'mothers' here.. so surely, that means 'family'. So, I'm planning to give my Mum a gift of family.
Here's my idea.. and it's easy!
I'm creating a family collage, a picture of our family that will serve as a daily reminder of our love and a wonderful memory. And then, I'm going to add our family collage to one of the special photo projects available online.
Yes, a printed mug is a great idea. Every time your mother makes herself a cup of coffee, she'll think of you and your family. But that's not your only option.
Simple ways to present a family collage
Online photo project designs like EzPrints, TinyPrints, orMixBooks provide plenty of gift ideas for something truly memorable. Just upload your photo collage, choose how you want it presented, order it and sit back and await delivery.
If your mothers lives farther afield, you can even organise delivery to wherever she lives... easy!
So many choices
Personalised notepads & journals, wall art framed or printed on metal or canvas, wall tapestries, calendars, keepsake boxes, floor mats, clocks, towels, pillows and even blankets - just some of the gifts that can be printed with your family collage
How can you do it?
Using Canva, an online design program, I was able to quickly and easily create a family collage. I've included instructions below but honestly, it's very straight forward. Check out the three beautiful layout designs above I made as my family collage, each created in just minutes.
If you're creating this gift yourself, it means you can include a sweet picture of each member of your family in this special gift.
And once you've designed your collage you can use it in so many ways.
Here's how to create your family collage, ready to use for your special Mother's Day gift.
Watch this simple slideshow below to see how simple it is to create your own collage.
The wonderful thing about Canva, is that you can create something beautiful without having any real design skills of your own. Anyone can do it!
And it's FREE.
I think, once you start using it, you'll find yourself creating even more wonderful photo designs for you and your friends and family- thank you cards or invitations, newsletters, resumes, Facebook posts presentations and more.
I hope you'll enjoy this simple online design tool.. and I hope your mother enjoys your wonderful family gift. ?
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Plus, when you order though my links, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff.
Thank you, in advance, for your support.
'Presentation is Everything.'
Do you have family visiting for Easter? Whether you're planning your Easter celebrations for just your own immediate family or an extended gathering of friends and family, a beautiful table arrangement really sets the scene for a perfect Easter celebration.
Now, this can be daunting consideration. But, don't feel you need to spend hours preparing a lovely display. I've found a collection of ideas, from a simple minimal approach to an amazing table overflowing with delight.
You may have decided to go with a separate table for the kids. That's fine. I've got that covered, too. So, just click through the images and find the table creation that appeals to you and your needs. There is a link on each image to the original and the instructions.
And remember, you can add to or simplify the original concept or substitute items where necessary.
Just as an example, this Easter arrangement took minutes to prepare.
STEP 1. Buy an Easter wreath. Yes, you can make your own but I didn't have time and you can find them everywhere.
STEP 2. Place the wreath in the centre of the table.
STEP 3. Add a floral arrangement to the centre of the wreath, or an apothecary jar filled with eggs. (You can buy a floral arrangement or make your own.)
And that's it! Done. Simple.
Check out the other beautiful and creative ideas below.
There are many other ideas from truly creative people, and I gathered some to show you, that will inspire you and provide some simple, yet beautiful solutions. From fun-filled kids' table arrangements to elegant designs to outdoor dining ideas, you'll find something in the following collection that, I'm sure, will help you create your own Easter table arrangement.
And... as an added bonus, why not plan to include Easter themed table serviettes.
You'll find links to the instruction below.
If you're looking for other Easter ideas and inspiration, the check out my Easter Pinterest board. Are you planning an Easter Egg Hunt? Here are some tips. And if you'd like an Easter that allowed you time to focus on what really matters, download my free book below, Stress-Free Easter.
When you welcome a newborn into the family, the first few weeks can fly be in a blur. When you’re sleep deprived, and you’re getting used to the miracle that is your new addition, it can be hard to find time to take stock of what’s happened, and how your life is about to change forever.
You never hear a new mom or grandma remarking how slowly time is passing. Time flies when you’ve got a tiny person around, so it’s important to try and remember as much of the early days as possible.
Before you know it, that beautiful bundle you hold in your arms for hours on end is desperately trying to wriggle away and play. If you’re a new parent or grandparent, here are some wonderful ways to commemorate those special first few weeks.
A baby book
A baby book is a fantastic way of charting your baby’s growth and development and celebrating mini milestones. There are usually pages you can fill in with information about what your baby looks like, how much they weigh and what they like to do, as well as space for photographs and messages from visitors.
You can keep a baby book, and when you’ve got inquisitive, energetic toddlers running around, have a browse and wonder where on earth the time went.
A photo shoot
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having a newborn at home. Suddenly, there’s a beautiful baby around, and you can’t stop staring at them and watching their expressions and movements. Even when you haven’t slept for days, there’s something magical about holding your baby in your arms and sharing those unique moments together.
Babies change every day when they’re tiny, and they grow and develop so fast. One way of commemorating their first few days is organizing a shoot with a photographer. Natural, understated shots are a beautiful way of celebrating your new arrival, and you can frame the images to hang on the walls and order prints to give out to friends and family.
If you do want to arrange a shoot, search for a photographer with expertise in family portraits and child photography, and have a look through online portfolios.
Image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/baby/
A video diary
Every mom says the first couple of weeks fly by in an instant. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, which will take you from the heights of ecstasy to feeling like you can’t plod on a moment more without closing your eyes and catching some Zs.
When your child is older, you may well forget those days, and a video diary is a great way of ensuring those memories last. You don’t set up CCTV or film all day.
But a 5-minute snippet each day will capture moments that you’ll cherish forever.
There’s no experience in the world that you can compare to becoming a parent for the first time and bringing your baby home. When you’re adjusting to life with a new baby, time seems to fly by and the days run into each other. It can be hard to remember what life was like back then when your baby has grown up. If you have a newborn, these ideas will hopefully help you to celebrate and commemorate those special times.
When you look back on your childhood, your birthdays are sure to be some of your fondest memories. As a kid, there’s nothing better than your own special day: presents, friends, games and plenty of sweet treats! When you become a parent or grandparent, you get to enjoy the magic of birthdays all over again with the little ones in your life, and naturally, you’ll want to make these days as special as possible for them. So if you’re looking to throw an incredible birthday party, here are some ideas to consider!
Invite Their Friends
Having lots of friends to play with and enjoy the day with them will make the day extra memorable. As well as the children in your family, you could send invites to the children in their class at school or preschool. If it’s the first birthday party you’ve thrown, you might want to consider limiting the number of children to make it a little less stressful. So this is something to work out in the planning stages.
Set a Theme
Themed parties are so much fun. It could be based on the child’s favourite book, superhero, tv show or something else. From there your little guests have the option of dressing up, and you can match the decor and even the food to the theme! There are lots of ideas online for different themes if you’re stuck for ideas, or you could have a chat with the child ahead of time and discuss the things they’re currently loving.
Hire Some Inflatables
There are few things that are more fun to a child than giant inflatables! There are companies online that make hiring a jumping castle easy, you can also get interactive inflatable games, slides and inflatable carnival games! It’s certainly a way to make the party memorable- there will be no hint of boredom with something like this to occupy them.
Hire an Entertainer
Depending on the age of the child it could be a character meet (perfect for tying in with the theme of the party!) a magician, balloon modeling or just someone offering face painting throughout the day. Have a think about what the children would most enjoy based on their age and interests.
Play Party Games
Pass the parcel, musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey are all favourites we remember from our own childhood. You could dedicate an hour of the party to fun party games, where exciting prizes can be won.
Think About Food
It’s no secret that kids are fussy eaters, so catering for a child’s birthday party can be stressful. Buffet style lunches are an easy option, as you can put out lots of different things and they can choose what they want. Go with firm favourites- sandwiches, chips, sausage rolls, mini pizzas and cupcakes. You could even consider hiring an ice cream machine or a chocolate fountain! You may also want to consider some healthier options too, pots of hummus with cut up veggies and fruit skewers work well. Pinterest has tons of great ideas on how you can display different food items so you can make the buffet table look really impressive.
One of the most fun things to do with children during school holidays is a picnic.
If the weather is good, not only can you put together a basket with the perfect fluffy blanket, but you can get the kids involved in all the preparations. This will then elevate your standard picnic to a Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and that is simple fun that gets everyone together.
You don’t have to lay on a whole party, though, even though the Teddy Bears’ picnic is a popular birthday party theme. Inviting a few neighbourhood friends or school friends over the holidays can be so much fun!
Lazy summer days full of sunshine and dandelion clocks are the perfect time to have your first Teddy Bears’ picnic, and here’s how you can make the most of it.
Finding things to do over the school breaks can be easy if you are inventive about it. Children love to be outdoors in the sunshine, having a picnic is a pure novelty so incorporating both things together make for an exciting and happy afternoon all round. Be excited about the upcoming school summer break and everyone else will be, too!
I watched him saunter down the street. He jumped a puddle, kicked at a stone, and swatted at what seemed to be a bumblebee before balancing and walking tight-rope-style along the length of the fallen tree trunk. Then he leaped for the flat sandstone paver and the front gate, swinging the gate open with his impetus. (Mmmm.... I really need to fix that gate latch.)
He landed successfully and then paused for a moment before kneeling to remove the lunchbox from his backpack.
I sighed, and watched him race to the woodpile and shove the contents of his lunchbox deep within the pile.
"You're home, Ben!" I called. "How was your day?"
"Yep.. okay," he replied.
"Did you eat your lunch?"
Immediately, the lunchbox came out again, opened for inspection. I sighed again, thinking of the time I'd spent planning and preparing a tasty lunchbox for my kids, Ben included.
Like so many mothers, I struggled with preparing interesting, healthy and varied lunches that my kids would actually consume. And, as a teacher I know that, given the chance, kids will compare lunches, trade the contents, pass them over to someone else or just toss the contents in the rubbish bin. Aghh!!
Not only is that frustrating, it's a real struggle to find the time to plan and prepare these meals for growing bodies in the first place.
There is nothing worse than running late in the morning and then desperately trying to figure out something you can put in your children’s lunch boxes. If you find yourself flustered, or end up buying school lunch because packing it seems like too much of a hassle, take a look at the tips below.
They will help you get organized so fixing lunches becomes quick and easy.
And... there's a helpful bonus included.
1. Start With A List And Go Shopping
Start by sitting down with your kids and come up with a list of lunches they like. This could include sandwiches and wraps, or even homemade pizza slices or pockets, but it doesn’t have to stop there. If you add a thermos to the mix, you can suddenly pack reheated leftovers, homemade soup and the likes. The key is to find lunch foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack.
Make sure you have appropriate containers, and then head to the grocery store to pick up everything you need for the week. Don’t forget about snacks and drinks as needed. The list should make this much easier.
Once you have several different lunch ideas your kids like and will actually eat, you can simply rotate through them and make the ingredients part of your weekly shopping trips.
2. Prep What You Can As Soon As You Get Home
When you get home from the store, keep lunch foods out and see what you can do to prep things ahead of time. Instead of putting that bag of grapes away, go ahead and wash and store them in little bags you can grab and toss in the lunch box. The same goes for things like carrots and even salads. Slice cheese as needed and just thing about what you can prep as soon as you get home.
3. Pack Lunches The Night Before
Mornings are busy and not always the perfect time to have to worry about packing lunches. Try making them the night before. Try packing them after dinner at night. Get the kids involved and have them help with lunch prep and clean-up after. You can store cold items in the fridge and have everything else sitting in the lunch box ready to go.
It won’t take you long to get into a rhythm of preparing lunches while you’re cleaning up after dinner. You’ll appreciate this new habit in the mornings when all you need to do is grab a couple of things from the fridge and toss them in the lunch boxes.
4. Get In The Habit Of Cleaning Lunch Boxes As Soon As The Kids Get Home
To make lunch prep even easier, get the kids into the habit of cleaning out their lunch box as soon as they get back from school. Even the youngest can help with this.
Have them toss any uneaten food and bring the containers to the sink to be washed.
Older children can easily clean their own containers, while you’ll probably have to do the washing for your youngest.
Having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches later on in the day.
Stick to these tips and it won’t take you long to get into an efficient lunch packing routine that will make it a snap.
5. Involve the kids
Don’t forget to get the kids involved and put them in charge of much of the preparations. Not only will this make your live easier in the long run, it will give them a sense of ownership over their lunch.... and they'll be more likely to eat their lunch.
Having said that, don't forget to include the occasional surprise for them. It could be as simple as a little note or encouragement card. It could be something special like a container of cherries or home grown mulberries. It could be a really special lunch creation like these inspirational ideas. Or, it could be a voucher to the local Bounce trampoline centre after school.
Hopefully, your kids will grow to enjoy their lunches and look forward to opening their lunchboxes.
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Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.