Friday, September 19, 2014

Inspirational Quotes and Sayings

Just over a year ago, we went through a big change here in The O'Regan household. I was inspired by a few quotes about pursuing your dreams and going for it that really motivated me.

I refuse to be anything but successful.

Two of the quotes that became the backbone of my thinking hang at my desk. I look at them everyday.

There are some days I say, "Wow, I've accomplished a lot." Other days, I look and think I have such a long way to go.  I found this one and thought it should also probably sit on my desk, too... 

I have started to see my limitations and more recently thought to myself -- maybe just because I can, doesn't mean I should. So as I got sucked into Pinterest last night pinning a variety of inspirational quotes (hence this post....), I found this one and felt compelled to share.  This is SO true, isn't it? 

Focusing on what's important is really the key -- this is a good one! 

This is a good reminder for any busy mom. So many of my friends focus on their kids, career, their husbands, and leave little time for themselves. And those that do make the time to go to the gym or get a babysitter to watch their kids so they can go out with friends, end up feeling guilty about it. Sigh. 

This one also was pin-worthy to me. I love being with positive, smart, successful people who inspire me. I am lucky to have a lot of them in my life. 

Found this good one too.... you never know what people are "fighting." 

Thanks Pinterest, for sucking me in once again. Find more inspirational quotes and sayings on my Pinterest board here. Or hop on over to see all of my Pinterest boards here. (I was pinning Halloween like crazy yesterday, too! So many ideas for this Halloween using my PSA Essentials stamps coming soon!) 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

After School Activity Jar

I am actually a firm believer in not always "entertaining" your kids.  My kids specifically need to learn that I can't always be crafting with them, sitting on the floor playing, and constantly in their faces.  No structured play date, no structured activity, and time with the TV off  is SO good for children. It's in that "boring" time that kids find a way to occupy themselves -- invent games, explore toys, play imaginatively.   That all being said, I like the idea of having an hour of time devoted to the kids after school where we can do something together that's fun and exciting. 

On days that Molly doesn't have scheduled activities like ballet or tennis, I am always searching for that thing to do with them. I thought it would be fun to create an "after school activity jar" filled with fun ideas.  So last week, we made our jar!  Every morning before we head off to school, we pick our after school activity. It's made those non-activity days (for ballet and tennis) SO MUCH FUN.  

Here we are making our jar. I used an old vase, cardstock, pink paint, and of course, my PSA Essentials "Activity" stamp from Mom's Calendar Peel & Stick stamps. 

I had the kids involved in making the actual jar, cutting the paper and painting it. Then we had fun coming up with activities to do.   Molly and I brainstormed together! 

Later on when the jar was dry, I stamped "activity" onto the jar. It's totally fine and expected that they didn't come out perfectly on the jar. I used the Peel & Stick stamp on an ink pad (if I could find my acrylic blocks that would help....) 

So what have we done?  Would you believe that Molly drew "Lovin' Spoons" -- a trip to the yogurt shop on the first day? 

We also got "Make Fall Decorations" -- more to come on that later! That was a fun one. 

We pulled "gardening" last week which turned out to be my favorite of all. We went shopping for seeds and plants and planted. Connor had the most fun watering....

And on Friday, we drew "Island Playground." Time of the kids lives! 

Molly and Connor are really becoming friends. They play together at the playground even when other kids their own age are there. They talk to each other. They look out for each other. I can honestly say seeing their friendship emerge has been the most rewarding part of having two children. 

They're growing up so fast, life seems to be wizzing by, I am working really hard and I am pretty tired. Spending some QT with them, even if it's a bit scheduled is so special! Hope you get some family or friend time, too.  Thanks for reading! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School Organization

With a strange orientation schedule two weeks ago, then a week off, The O'Regan family is welcoming tomorrow with open arms.  We are ready for school (and a regular work schedule!) We spent the Labor Day Weekend in Disney World but came home Sunday afternoon with school prep and organization on the brain.  Well, I did at least. Grocery shopping, check! Laundry done, check!  Closet organization, check! Lunches packed, check! Violin contract signed, check... It's all done!

Every year I struggle to pack the right lunches and I am a list maker, so today's post is all about getting organized for back to school with a grocery list template and lunch box ideas. No stamping today! I know all the mom readers will appreciate these tools and ideas.  The first is a great meal planner and shopping list. I love how this has your menu planner and list all in one.

My daughter, Molly, is enrolled in after-school yoga, violin, ballet and tennis.  It's hard to keep it all straight and what she needs to bring when and where.  I printed this out, marked it up and taped it to my cabinet. At least until I get the routine down! This comes to us from Activity Village.  Download it by clicking below.

I need to pack Molly AND Connor's lunch at May River Montessori, and they've thrown a monkey wrench into my packing this year (no peanuts!).  I've rounded up healthy lunch ideas from Pinterest that are packaged so cute -- how could my kids not eat them?  Be sure to click on the image for the original source (and thanks to all original sources, credited below.) 

From Smashed Peas & Carrots (who did a PSA Review years ago!) 

From Mom Endeavors -- won't this be cute for Halloween? 

What are your favorite back to school resources, templates and planning ideas? We would love to hear from you! Share ideas here on our blog or on Facebook! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY Children's Book Bin

In June, The American Academy of Pediatrics released an article about reading to your children in infancy. Until recently, the Reach Out and Read program was focused on early literacy and school readiness, preparing school-age children to read.  While that remains important, the focus now is on helping parents nurture reading skills at home starting in infancy.  Right as they are born! This not only encourages a love of reading and incorporates reading into their daily routine, but also strengthen emotional relationships -- a lesser thought of advantage when it comes to reading to your children.  Of course, reading to your children also strengthens brain development, language skills, and cognitive development. So no matter which way you slice it, reading is good. Start early and read often.

Krissy at B-Inspired Mama used our PSA Essentials stamps in a fun project for her children's rooms to encourage reading. She got a magazine rack at Michael's, painted it the color she wanted, and then stamped "READ" using PSA Essentials Vanilla Peel & Stick stamps.  You can customize this project any way you choose. Have your children decorate the book bin, use markers, use paint, use stickers. Stamp their name on the bin!

What are your favorite children's books?  Here are our current favorites in The O'Regan household. 
  • Emily's Balloon.  If your children love balloons, this one is for you! 
  • The Girl and The Bicycle.  Though we aren't usually fans of all pictures (and no words), this one is by far the best picture book out there. 
  • Library Lion -- perhaps the best book ever written for children. I am just going to through that out there. 
  • The Day The Crayons Quit.  Since I am obsessed with the uber talented, Oliver Jeffers (I love all of his books and illustrations!) and this one is incredibly clever, be sure to check out The Day The Crayons Quit.  There's a reason it's #1 on the Times best seller list! 

If you have a moment, hop on over to another blog that I write for The Storybook Shoppe in Bluffton, South Carolina.  I provide weekly recommendations to our readers. You can even shop the titles right there online and have them shipped to your door! Happy reading and crafting. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mermaid Birthday Party

This weekend we celebrated my daughter, Molly's, 5th birthday party! It was a beautiful day on Hilton Head Island, perfect for our mermaid pool party theme at my parents beach house. (Who I cannot thank enough for allowing 16 kids and 20+ adults to enjoy!)  They are beyond generous to host a party, my Mom especially who thinks about all the food and logistics, while I get to enjoy focusing on all the pretty party details!

There are plenty of fun party details to share.  Of course, I had a PSA Essentials stamp made to match the theme of the party.  Lesley (one of our talented graphic designers) created an adorable mermaid that turned out great as a stamp. (We do custom artwork! Just ask our customer service team or your local retailer.)  I made party hats, cupcake toppers, a DIY photo booth, juice bottle labels & CD party favors with my stamp.  I also scored a cute invitation from Swanky Press and lots of decor from Shop Sweet Lulu.

Swanky Press allows you to customize your invitation.  I saw two that I like so I asked to make a hybrid of these both. I used my Wallace personalized address stamp to stamp the return address on all the invites.

mermaid party invitation in aqua with pink accent
Under the sea birthday party invitation

Here's a look at all the fun details and adorable kid photos!

Using banner paper found at Michael's, I created a "photo booth backdrop" using my PSA Essentials stamps and some paint.  I found these really cute DIY photo props from Paper Source. Shop these photo booth prop kits (how cute is that Christmas one?) 

I made CD's with our favorite kids music and also some adult classics.  The sticker "Thank you for coming to Molly's Birthday Party" is from Swanky Press and coordinated with the invitation. The cupcake stamps are from PSA Whimsy Cake Peel & Stick pack. 

I always make canvases with a collection of my favorite photos from the year for my kids. This one turned out more like an "S" than a "5" but I am over it... still fun!

(Connor is still working on his photo smile.....HA!) Cupcakes came from Ronnie's Bakery, Cakes by Lou -- as always! 

Found these flamingo straws at Oriental Trading Company! They seemed perfect for my DIY juice bottles (from Shop Sweet Lulu.) 

A trip to the beach was just what all the kiddos needed! They ran! 

Little fish in the pool!

Happy Birthday to my (almost) 5 year old daughter! Her actual birthday is the 30th and we will be in at "the happiest place on Earth" for a family vacation.  One lucky kid wouldn't you say?