Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Contrary to popular belief, I have NOT fallen off the planet.

Since I last blogged we have:

. . . created birthday invitations for our niece's 2nd birthday party . . . Dee created a three-tiered ladybug birthday cake & ladybug cupcakes for the 2nd birthday party . . . lost Dee's beloved grandmother, Sara Taylor on November 7. . .had a deer hit us and do significant damage to the Gatormobile in the wee hours of the morning on November 9 outside of Huntsville, AL (on our way to Nana's funeral) . . . planned and enjoyed our older daughter's wedding on November 22 . . . created wedding invitations for said daughter's wedding as well as one for a client . . . created and completed invitations for a January bridal shower . . . created, but not completed, wedding invitations for my Mom's wedding on January 30 . . . created, but not completed, baby shower invitations for a baby shower on January 31 . . . in the planning stages for a dear friend's daughter's October wedding invitations . . . made many Christmas gifts . . . finally decorated our house for Christmas on December 20 . . . celebrated Dee's dad's birthday on December 21 . . . planned and will be preparing a Christmas Eve dinner for approximately 12 people, a Christmas morning brunch for 8, and cooking for a Christmas evening potluck dinner and gift exchange for 17 people at my sister's home.

Oh, yeah . . . and all of the day-to-day stuff you have with a 5 year old at home. Can't forget the precious babies we care for five days a week -- who are not really babies anymore! Layla is 2 now, the twins turned 1 in October and Lexie is 9 mos. old. NEVER a dull moment at our house!!!

Whew! When I can catch my breath, I have many photos to post! But for now you'll just have to accept my best wishes for a safe and joyful Christmas and a very happy New Year!

~ Jennifer

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Will Never Forget . . . God Bless America

I know where I was on September 11, 2001. Do you remember where you were, what you were doing?

A phone call . . . go find a TV and turn it on . . . a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center! I got there just in time to see the second plane hit. I watched in horror as the buildings came crashing down. I was stunned when the announcer said that the Pentagon had been hit and then when another plane went down in Pennsylvania. What was happening to our world? What kind of people would do such a thing?

I think I watched the news reports 24 hours a day. I couldn't turn it off.

Eight years later, we are still sending our young men and women to die on foreign soil fighting the terrorism that shook the USA. Eight years later, I still cannot fathom the hatred that would send thousands of innocent people to their death. Eight years later, I am still proud to be an American.

Thank you. Thank you to the Moms and Dads of service men and women everywhere. Thank you to their spouses, children and loved ones. Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. But most of all, thank you to everyone who serves in our armed forces -- may God bless you and keep you from harm.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back-to-School Blues or Hoorays?

Our baby starts Kindergarten tomorrow. I'm torn . . . . my emotions keep running back and forth from tears to joy and back again.

There are tears because the "baby" chapter of our daughter's life is ending and joy because she is so ready to learn and start the "big girl" chapter of her life. And tomorrow morning, while her Mom is in tears, our daughter will be jumping with joy because the day she has been counting down to since the end of Pre-K is finally here.

We went Friday and met her new teacher and saw her classroom. Demi has been on the waiting list for "Project Friends" -- a multi-age classroom program -- and we didn't know that she was in the program until Friday morning! The basic idea of this program is that the children will have the same teacher and classroom for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. So the children that start Kindergarten together will be together in the same class for all three years. The advantages to this is that the older kids mentor the younger kids and the younger kids can work at their own speed instead of at the speed of the slowest learners in the class. Which is great for Demi -- we were very worried about her becoming bored and not being challenged. Another concern we had was consistency and transitions - both issues for her with her Sensory Processing Disorder. Her teacher is very sweet, sensitive to Demi's special needs and seems equally as excited for the new school year to begin.

Whether I'm ready or not, Demi is -- ready to learn, ready to explore, ready to make new friends, and ready to jump feet first into a wonderful new world called Elementary School!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


A very dear friend recently had a birthday . . . OK it was last month! Anyway . . . she loves coffee (she has Starbucks programmed into the autopilot on her car) and she loves cupcakes. She is also a "girly-girl" / Princess-type -- she's all about nails, hair, clothes and accessories (everything we are not)! After debating about her gift I decided to create a couple of hand painted t-shirts for her gift, along with a home-cooked meal and CUPCAKES!

Now I know you are saying to yourself, "Aha! A craft that Jennifer and Dee definitely did NOT use their handy-dandy Cricut to create!!" WRONG! I most definitely used the Cricut. A new t-shirt painting method has been running rampant on the ProvoCraft Cricut message boards -- freezer paper t-shirts.

The short version of how to make these shirts is:

  1. Go to the grocery, buy a roll of freezer paper.
  2. Cut said freezer paper to fit your Cricut cutting mat.
  3. Place freezer paper matte side down on your mat. (The shiny side really doesn't stick well, so if you're doing text you need to reverse it to have it cut properly.)
  4. Choose your design and cut it out.
  5. Iron the freezer paper, shiny-side down, onto your t-shirt.
  6. Iron a second solid piece of freezer paper to the inside of your shirt. (This keeps the paint from bleeding through to the back side of your shirt.)
  7. Paint design with fabric paints.
  8. LET IT DRY! (Don't be tempted to peel it up before it has completely dried. It peels up the edges of your design.)
  9. Carefully peel off the freezer paper from the inner and outer surfaces of the shirt.
  10. Viola! You have a work of art that looks like it was screen-printed!

The shirts created with this method honestly look like they were screen-printed. The only drawback that we have discovered thus far is this . . . they do not like the dryer. You must wash them inside out and hang them to dry or the painted image will begin to crack.

Check out the shirts I made our friend for her birthday. I'll post more later, as I have made our daughter several shirts -- I can't get her to take them off long enough for me to photograph them!

Cup: Joys of the Season; Cupcake: Doodlecharms; Text: George & Basic Shapes.

Text: George & Basic Shapes; Crown: Iron-on design purchased at JoAnn Fabrics.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just in case you were wondering . . .

where in the heck I've been lately! My time has been at a premium because of these beautiful little girls --

Our daughter, age 5 (who was registered for Kindergarten on Monday).

Morgan, 9 mos. old

Her twin sister, Jordan

Our niece Layla, 20 mos. old.

And her little sister, Lexie who is 4 mos. old.

I'm not babysitting the twins right now, but my gorgeous nieces arrive at our house every morning at 6:45 sharp and depart around 4:15 in the afternoon. And then Auntie Jen takes a well deserved nap after a much-needed frozen cocktail (I wish! LOL!). I have managed to squeeze out a few "freezer-paper" t-shirts over the last two months. I promise that I will try and get them photographed and up for your viewing pleasure in the very near future! Hope you are all having a wonderful summer. Only 27 days until school starts, but who's counting . . .

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Birthday Cards

Demi had another birthday party to attend for siblings in her Pre-K class recently. And since my time has been at such a premium lately I didn't make their gifts. (GASP!) I know, I know . . . I'm slacking. However, I did make their cards (am I forgiven?)!

I would love to claim that these are original ideas of mine, but they aren't. I scraplifted (or perhaps cardlifted is the appropriate term) these two cuties from the Circut messageboard some time ago. Unfortunately I didn't make note of the creator's names to give them credit where credit is due, sorry! I made several changes to each card based on the supplies I had on hand.

The first card is for a little boy -- hence the frog theme! I cut the scalloped circle and the balloons using the George & Basic Shapes cartridge and my Cricut. The frog and the text are computer generated. Several of the balloons are pop-dotted to give it some dimension and the balloon strings are attached to the balloon and then to the froggy's outstretched hands (I used white sewing thread). I also used pop-dots on the scalloped circle.

The next card is for a girl -- and she is a girly-girl! The scalloped background for the cupcake was cut using the George & Basic Shapes cartridge and the Cricut Design Studio. The cupcake is from the Doodlecharms cartridge. I used ribbon and adhesive backed rhinestones to give this card some dimension. Had to have some bling for this girly-girl! The text is computer generated.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ladybug Diaper Cake & Baby Shower Favors

My little sister, Elizabeth, recently helped host a baby shower for one of her co-workers. The baby's nursery is decorated with ladybugs -- so it was a natural pick for the shower theme. Little Sis called her Big Sis and said "HELP!" ("You know I'm not crafty . . ." is the start of many conversations between my sister and I -- and I am always willing to help her out!)

I had a hard time getting in the groove on this one -- the creative juices just weren't flowing. I hate it when that happens. Fortunately for me (and my little sis), Dee provided the creativity for these two projects! Viola . . . a diaper cake is born. And the favors turned out just too stinkin' cute!

Our handy dandy Cricut was called into action once again -- the ladybugs and leaves are from the Doodlecharms cartridge and the letters and flowers are from the George & Basic Shapes cartridge. The letters were shadow-cut and then glittered with a super-fine holographic glitter.
The ladybug on the favor was rubber stamped and embossed by Dee and then I hit it with a red Tombow marker. The text on the favor's flower center (front and back) was computer generated.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Name Frames for Little Princesses!

So sorry for the long delay in posting! May was a really busy month -- coordinated a wedding, lots of end-of-the-school year activities and numerous other projects.

Below are pictures of name frames I made for twins in Demi's pre-school class -- their 5th birthday was in April and they LOVE princesses. Instead of making Disney princesses this time I decided to make them the princesses! The girls loved their personalized name frames -- right down to their favorite colors and preference for horses and unicorns!

I used my Cricut (of course!) and cut the princesses and accessories with the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge and the letters were cut with the George & Basic Shapes cartridge. Just a note about "Paper Doll Dress Up" - I use this cartridge so much! There are so many "extras" on this cartridge besides paper dolls. And if anyone from Provo Craft is reading this . . . PLEASE create a Paper Doll Dress Up II!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Another Easter Cutie . . .

I finally got around to photographing the little Easter "baskets" I made for each person that came to Easter dinner. I "borrowed" the idea from Jen Wuthrich, a contributor on the Bitten by the Bug site; and made a few modifications of my own. I think they turned out really cute and everyone loved their bunny treat at dinner!

The Criciut cartridges used for this project are: Tags, Bags, Boxes & More (the popcorn box); Doodlecharms (the bunny); and George & Basic Shapes (the scalloped circle). I used ribbon for the handle and attached it with small pastel brads. The bunny's eyes are mini-pastel brands. Ink and chalk were used to give the bunny it's details and finishing touches. The tail is a small pom-pom and is attached with a glue dot. The circle inside the scallop was done in Microsoft Publisher with WordArt and clipart. A little bit of Easter grass and a bag of jelly beans completed the boxes.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

Check out these cuties that Dee made today! I stumbled across a blog called "Bakerella" not too long ago and showed Dee some of the things she has made. Bakerella has some of the cutest edible art you've ever seen!

Basically they are chocolate covered cake. You make a boxed cake mix (Dee used white cake) and crumble it up. Mix in a can of cream cheese frosting and then form it into balls. Refrigerate for a little while and then dip it into melted chocolate and decorate. Really sweet -- NOT for those with sugar/glucose issues!

Check out Dee's take on Bakerella's Easter treats . . .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

And Now We Are 5 . . .

That's right, she's 5! Or as Demi stated, "Momma, I'm a whole hand now!"

We had a wonderful birthday party on Saturday at a local park with children from her Pre-K class, their parents and siblings, family and friends. The theme was "Under the Sea" which is code for "Little Mermaid" -- "Momma, we can't call it a Little Mermaid Party if boys are coming!" Dee and I made the invitations using the Cricut and the Disney Dreams Come True Cartridge. Thirty-two invitations later we were finally done . . . Whew! A lot of work, but they turned out so cute!

I made a birthday banner using the Design Studio pennant I created with the George and Basic Shapes cartridge. The letters are also from George and the Little Mermaid characters are from the Disney Dreams Come True cartridge.

The kids had a blast playing at the park, playing the silly games we came up with (Fishing with Flounder, Sebastian's Shell Hunt, and Scuttle's Sandbag Toss), eating cake, and demolishing the pinata. And the adults enjoyed visiting with one another and watching the kiddos play.

Demi had so much fun and declared from her car seat on the way home, "This was the best day of my whole life!" Quite a compliment from the new five-year-old!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Listening & Doing

Have you ever noticed that the busier you are the less likely your child (or children) is to listen and do what you ask of them?

Have you ever noticed that the louder your voice gets the more that child tunes you out?

Have you ever had a child take total and complete advantage of the fact that you are on the telephone and therefore cannot see them or stop them from sneaking into the kitchen cabinet for the cookies you told them 5 minutes ago they couldn't have?

It has been a very frustrating two weeks at our house with the resident 4-almost-5 year-old! Dee and I are coordinating/directing a wedding this weekend and all of the last minute details, emergencies, melt-downs, etc. have been taking our full attention.

Demi has decided that the only way to get attention is to misbehave -- 'cause when she does that, she has our full attention! For example, emptying all of the soft soap refill into the bathroom sink, toilet and your sippy cup has a tendency to draw adult attention. Driving your older sister nuts, hiding under her bed, pinching her and pulling her hair also gets you lots of attention. Cranking the volume up on the TV to the highest possible level draws some attention. So does picking up the phone extension and chattering to whomever Mommy is talking to at that particular time (our clients just love that, I'm sure!).

Lest you think that we are the only ones feeling the brunt of Demi's misbehavior let me fill you in on what is happening at school! Her teachers have been in and out of the classroom in meetings over the last week or so. And our brilliant 4-almost-5 year-old has seized every opportunity to wreck havoc there too. She actually got sent to see the pre-school "principal" one day this week! ARGH!

Hopefully next week will see a return to normalcy for all of us. The wedding will be over and the next one we're coordinating isn't until the second weekend in May. Oh, wait . . . her birthday is next week!

Forget normalcy -- I wouldn't know what that was if it walked up to me, introduced itself and whacked me over the head with a baseball bat! I've heard that it's wonderful, if overrated . . . normalcy, that is -- not the whack with the bat.

-- Jen

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Top O' the Mornin' to ya!

Thought I'd share a little Leprechaun that I made for a bulletin board in Demi's Pre-K classroom. This wee little man is just too cute!

There are two small bulletin boards as you enter the classroom suite for the Pre-K. Both were in desperate need of some TLC. So, I asked permission to decorate them for spring and St. Patrick's Day and permission was granted.

The spring bulletin board has a March theme -- you know . . . "in like a lion, out like a lamb." The lion and lamb were created using the Animal Kingdom cartridge, the text is from ZooBalloo and the picket fence is from Paper Doll Dress Up.

The St. Patty's Day board is all from Paper Doll Dress Up except the text, it is from George and Basic Shapes -- it's hard to see in the picture, but along the top of the bulletin board it says "Happy St. Patrick's Day!" A little bit of chalk, my favorite black and white pens, and some glitter and glitter glue finish them off perfectly!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We have a new addition to the family!

She's really cute. She's 5 years old. Weighs about 14 lbs. and she's furry! Her name is Gracie and she is a white and tan Shih Tzu.

Since Demi's 3rd birthday (almost 2 years ago now) she has been bugging us for a dog. We live in a rental with no fenced in yard and didn't really want to go the puppy route. Carpet + puppy = lots of carpet cleaning! My Mom is constantly sending me e-mails about critters that need good homes. And I am forever calling my Mom and asking her if she's trying to break my heart or what -- because I'd take them all if I could afford to feed them!

Lately Demi's pitch for a dog has gone into overdrive for some reason. A typical conversation in the car going to or coming home from pre-school goes like this...

Demi: "Momma, can I have a dog?"

Me: "No, Demi. No dog right now."

Demi: "Momma, can I have a kitten?"

Me: "No, Demi. We have a cat."

Demi: Momma, can I have a baby brother or sister?"

Me: "NO, Demi!" (While I'm thinking, not only NO, but HELL NO!)

Last Friday Mom forwarded me yet another e-mail from one of her co-workers who had a dog that needed a good home. I didn't open it until Saturday afternoon and immediately fell in love with this cute little pooch. Dee heard me commenting on how cute this dog was and came over to see. She asked me what the deal was with this dog and I let her read the e-mail. Then she turns to me and says, "What do you think? She could be Demi's birthday present." Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather!

So to make a long story a little shorter, I called and we went and met Gracie. Gracie is a very calm and laid back little dog. Just as sweet as she can be -- is housebroken, well-trained and formerly belonged to an older couple who just couldn't take care of her anymore. Gracie came home with us and has settled in quite well. And to say that Demi is thrilled is an understatement! As a matter fact, we're all thrilled -- except the cat . . . O'Malley is NOT thrilled, but adjusting!

Yesterday Dee picked Demi up from school. Demi said, "Nana, can I have a dog?" Dee said, "Demi you have a dog!" Oh, yeah! Thank you for my dog, Nana. I love her so much!"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Baby Shower Stuff

My sister-in-law, Brooke and my baby brother, Andy, are expecting their second child any day now. Another precious little girl! Brooke's baby shower was a couple of weeks ago and Dee and I made several things for the shower and to give them as gifts.

Brooke selected several "cowgirl" themed items on her baby registry at Target and thus a diaper cake was born! Using the handy-dandy Cricut machine and the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge we cut out a cowgirl, a couple of horseshoes, a stick horse, cowgirl hat, cow and horse. We also cut out a baby bottle using the Doodlecharms cartridge. With a little chalk and my favorite markers they turned out so cute!

Here's a close-up of the die cuts.

Dee and I also created the baby shower favors using our Cricut machine. We used the baby bib cut file from Okieladybug's blog (Thanks, Okie!) and cut it in white, then cut out the inner section from some Anna Griffen scrapbook paper in our paper stash. The baby head is from the Doodlecharms cartridge. Chalk and ink "stitching" completed the bib. I typed a little "thank you" and Dee punched them out, matted them and then we attached them to the back of the bib. We then filled a small, clear treat bag with pink and white M & M candies, stapled the bag closed and attached it to the bib. They were a hit!

The diaper cake was part of our gift as well as a couple of "store-bought" outfits. Another part of our gift was "Little Sister" and "Big Sister" shirts for the girls. Brooke had seen some cute t-shirts at a local baby boutique and really wanted them for her girls, but at $30 a pop they stayed at the store. I knew that you could cut fabric with the Cricut machine and had unsuccessfully tried it once before. Undaunted, I scoured the Cricut message board and learned some tricks to make this time work. Heat 'n Bond is the key -- that and a new cutting blade. The baby head is from the Doodlecharms cartridge, the little girl is from the Paper Doll Dress Up cartridge and the lettering is from the George & Basic Shapes cartridge. Brooke loved them!

OK . . . the last thing we made was a "big sister" card for a gift we purchased for Layla. Layla is 16 months old and is not taking too kindly to sharing her Momma with anyone. So we know that a new baby is really going to put her sharing skills to the test. To help ease her into the whole baby idea we bought her a baby doll stroller and a baby doll that came with a blanket and "snugli"-like carrier. Demi loved picking this gift out for her favorite little cousin.

Dee had seen a "big sister" card similar to this online and wanted to re-create it for Layla. We created the baby using the Paper Doll Dress-Up, the baby's curl, hair bow and the baby bottle are from Doodlecharms, the heart is from George & Basic Shapes, and the duckie is from the Animal Kingdom cartridge (I cut the diaper by hand!).

Whew! A lot of work, but a lot of fun! And, yes, we spoil our nieces (and our nephews, too)!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Paper Dolls & Banners

Demi's teacher asked the class (parents) to bring in items to help decorate for Valentine's Day. I received a new Cricut cartridge for Christmas called Paper Doll Dress Up (Thanks, Mom!) and had been looking for a good excuse to use it (like I really need an excuse!).

I decided to create a paper doll that looked like each child in the class and the two teachers. It was sooooooooooo much fun!! I used lots of scraps from my scrap folders and a piece of foam core board Dee picked up on sale at our neighborhood JoAnn's. I cut, Dee glued everybody together, and then I embellished them with pens and chalk. They turned out so cute! The teachers and parents loved it and the kids have had a good time picking themselves out.

I also made a "Happy Valentine's Day" banner -- again using my handy-dandy Cricut. Connected it with gold brads and added ribbon hangers.