Dear Parents, It’s Not Our Fault!

My kids tell me all the time when I embarrass them. I’ve got news for them – while I love them with everything I’ve got, they’ve also found ways to embarrass me, too!With reflection, it’s not my fault, and I don’t blame my kids either. The times we live in now are much different than when the parents of today were kids themselves. Digital technology has taken over nearly every facet of our lives, for us and our kids. Lost in the shuffle is the development of social skills and manners. Yet, these capabilities are still just as important as ever (ask any college recruiter, employer or someone new to your neighborhood)!Maybe that’s what drove me to write The SMART Playbook. It took years of researching and drafting, but I did it. I’m not an expert, I’m just a Mom – that is a Mom with … [Read more...]

How Artwork Changed My Room from Drab to Fab!

There’s an old saying, “The dress maketh the man.” Well, in this case, the artwork maketh (or should I say minted) the room!A few months ago, I began the process of looking at my family room to try to figure out how to give it an update and a fresh modern feel. Everything in this room was dated and the colors were just very bland – browns and beige! I wanted to add color, brighten the room and end up with a modern transitional feel. A designer pointed me to one of my favorite sites – minted.com for inspiration. Surely there would be something to inspire the new look of my family room.The minted.com site is fabulous. They have anything and everything to get you excited about colors and looks. The art is sourced from a global marketplace of independent artists. These artists submit … [Read more...]

4th of July Tissue Paper Craft for Kids

When I think of Summer, I think of all things red, white, and blue. With the 4th of July coming up I thought it would be great to make some decorations for the house that are perfect for the patriotic Summer holiday! Today, I bring you a fun and easy craft that can keep kids of all ages entertained for quite some time. Surprisingly, it held the attention of my 5 and 7 year old kids, as well as my 12 year old son. With only a few supplies you will have a piece of art that can hang anywhere in your home that needs a touch of patriotism.First, gather your supplies. You'll need:white school glue red, white, and blue tissue paper {cut in to 3x3 inch squares} scissors white cardboard a ruler a pencilNext, make your template. You could eyeball it as you go along, but since … [Read more...]

Easy Fourth of July Crafts for the Entire Family

In most areas around the country school is out for summer. For me, when school is out I need lots of activities to keep the idle hands of my little ones busy. What better way to do that than to decorate your home with red, white and blue!? After all, the Fourth of July is right around the corner!Today you'll find a craft for all ages. And ALL in preparation for our nation's Independence Day!/1/ Pop Rocks Marshmallow Pops - Pop Rocks were such a fun candy when I was a kid! Who am I kidding? I still love them! Combining Pop Rocks and marshmallows just seems genius. See for yourself!/2/ Hidden Flag Cake - Don't be intimidated by it's complicated appearance. This Flag Cake is really simple. What's more? Ice this cake with plain white icing, light some sparklers on top {like … [Read more...]

5 Reasons to Color and Create with Your Kids!

Ah, the power of the great box of crayons and the ordinary act of coloring! Is there anything better than watching your children doodle and create. Coloring is not just a way to occupy the kiddos but also a great way to teach valuable lessons and so much more. Here’s what I have come up with as my top benefits to coloring:Unleash CreativityWhether it is a blank piece of paper or a coloring page, it’s a chance to get the creative juices flowing! An opportunity to see what you can make with your kids or to challenge them to create on their own. There're no rules. No limits. Only a piece of paper as a starting point and then you choose your direction. Your kids will eventually even learn that they can map out a plan as they decide colors and the order.Teach Valuable … [Read more...]

How To Take Your Own Family Portraits

Ever go to one of those big box stores to get "professional" photos done for Christmas? And, after waiting for what seems like an eternity with your squirmy toddler and grouchy grandpa, everything seems to go downhill from there?Mom blinked. Junior won't smile. And, if you have a family member like my daughter, there are howls of, "Oww! My eyes! The light is too bright!" You're lucky if you leave there with a Christmas card-worthy shot but think, "Oh well. It'll do. It was cheap."So what are your options? Professional photographers get great shots but sometimes cost is a factor. So why not try it yourself at home?I know a lot of people who like the idea of trying for professional photos in their own homes but don't try it because they don't have the professional gear, like … [Read more...]