Friday, December 14, 2012

Achieving Creative 'Christmas' Order

Achieving Creative 'Christmas' Order

Hi friends! I'm Susan over at {Achieving} Creative Order and Meredith has so kindly asked me to share a little something with you today!

And with the holidays fast approaching, I thought I'd share how I like to organize my Christmas wrapping gear. (And I say gear because there is a lot more than just wrapping paper when it comes to making our holiday packages fun and festive.:)

So here it is. I bought a large, clear under-bed storage box from Ikea (although you can find similar versions all over). I knew it would be perfect for those long roles of wrapping paper, along with my other goodies. 

Container Store actually has a kit that comes with these smaller boxes to divide the space. Although it was a little pricier than mine, 
it is super cool if I do say so myself. :)

In my storage box, along with my paper rolls, I also keep ribbon,

 gift boxes and bags, and tissue paper.
And although it isn't picture in there (gotta get me some more), I usually keep a roll or two of Scotch's Pop-Up Tape. Seriously makes wrapping so much easier.

I also keep my folder full of Christmas card supplies

(see my post about that here)

as well as a small box of little goodies I find at the end of season the year prior (when they are half off) for super easy gifts. 

**Note, the candy canes are not from last year. :) 
Just thought they'd be fun tied to packages. 

Last but not least is a gift wrap and mail checklist I found at: Organized Christmas.
I slipped it into a clear sheet protector and used packaging tape to tape it on the inside of my storage box for easy reference. That way I can tell super quick what I need to replenish before the wrapping frenzy begins.

On the other side, seeing that all of our family is out of town,  I slipped in an information sheet about the post office services and dates, etc. So that I'm on top of when to get things sent out.

So there you have it folks: 

All of my wrapping supplies in one central location. 
Here is why I like this particular method over others I have tried in the past:

  • The box is clear which makes it easy to see what is inside.
  • The size makes it easy to store--whether under a bed or stacked with my other holiday storage bins.
  • It is large enough to fit those long rolls of paper.
  • It is compact enough to move around to a table or wherever you like to wrap your gifts. 

Stop on over at my blog {Achieving} Creative Order to see what organizing/ diy home project we are tackling next. It's never a dull moment over here I promise.

You can also follow me on Facebook and Pinterest here. :)

100,000 i like book celebration

100,000 i like book celebration

We couldn't have done it without YOU! Join i like book in celebrating 100,000 book sales! The party begins NOW! 55 winners over the next 10 days. 1 winner today, 2 winners tomorrow, 3 winners next & so forth!

Rules: Once you have entered you are entered for each of the 10 days & do not NEED to enter again but you can have unlimited Bonus entries each day to better your chances of winning. LIKE & SHARE the daily celebration post for bonus entries. To enter today: LIKE the 100,000 celebration post

Each day there will be new ways to get bonus entries. Check in everyday through 12/24/12.

Need i like books for Christmas? Enjoy 40% of plus FREE Priority shipping through 12/17/12 *can only guarantee shipping in USA* with code:  SHIP40   i like books make the perfect teacher’s gift too!

Guaranteed winners:
When you send over 10 new Facebook fans you are an automatic guaranteed winner.  We will send you a prize from the i like book 'Like Your Life' collection.  New fans must mention LIKE the i like book page and mention your name in a post.

Are you a winner? Please email us at to claim your prize.

Monday, October 15, 2012

RX Pets by Ali French

Rx Pets
 By Ali French
 of Paws & Read magazine
Dogs with the healing touch
Every year, Children’s Hospital Colorado has thousands of kids passing through its doors. For these brave children, the award-winning Prescription Pet Program (Rx Pets) brings love and comfort of the furry four-legged kind. These specially trained volunteer dogs of the Rx Pets have an incredible effect on their young friends. Sara Mark, a volunteer veterinarian who has served with the program for over 20 years, shared some heartwarming stories with Paws & Read.
A little girl who wasn’t able to walk amazed everyone by getting up and walking with 'her' therapy dog to the elevator—she was determined to accompany the dog so he could soothe other kids like her. A determined father pleaded for a therapy dog to comfort his son in a coma. The dog visited every day for six weeks. Initially the boy’s arm was put on the dog; after two weeks the little boy was reaching for the dog and after six weeks, defying all odds, the boy was trying to walk to the dog.
“These pets have an amazing, uplifting effect on the patients, parents, and staff,” states Darby Kelly, the Chapter President. “The dogs come in and the atmosphere immediately brightens! It’s an instant break from routine for everyone.”
The visits can last from a few minutes to up to an hour, depending on the child's response. Some patients want to play and pat the dogs and some just want to snuggle. A patient’s emotional needs can be draining on a dog, especially larger breeds. The dogs’ comfort must be considered, as it is vital that these special canines are not stressed or tired when interacting with patients.
The first beneficiary of compassion is oneself
A sense of calm filled the room as Maggie, a doe-eyed Golden Retriever, padded over to say 'hi' to the kids with her glossy coal nose. Maggie’s grown-up, Michelle, lights up as she explains what she enjoys most about working with Rx Pets, "The first beneficiary of compassion is always oneself. When compassion, or warm-heartedness, arises in us and our focus shifts away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door. It reduces fear, boosts confidence and brings us inner strength. By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection—a sense of purpose and meaning in life."
A skilled business
Every dog has his own business card, complete with photo and bio. The cards are given to the children they visit. "The kids just love to collect these,” Michelle laughs.
Maggie will soon be assisting the medical staff in the physical rehabilitation department. The physiotherapy dogs have a developed skill
set: to pick up an object and
 bring it to the patient, who will reach out and take it. In this instance, the dogs are part of the treatment plan.
These special pups are all committed to the cause of comforting and helping young patients to heal. The program takes dedicated dog owners away from their stresses for a while and reminds them of the selfless joy that an animal can bring, using their wonderful gifts for the benefit of others.

PAWS & READ is a popular magazine for pet lovers, sharing stories and information on pet nutrition and health, and shining a light on special animals and groups that help those in need. Already established in Denver, CO, Paws & Read is now going national and will be available on the NOOK by the end of October 2012. The printed version of Paws & Read will still be available bimonthly, for FREE in any King Soopers, local pet store, book store or coffee shop in the Denver south metro area.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Life Is A Vapor: How To Slow Down Time

Life Is A Vapor:
How To Slow Down Time

My friend posted about her daughter’s fifth birthday the other day and wrote this in her facebook status: “Time is a vapor, friends. Enjoy it. It's flying by”.  As I read her words, I listened to my almost three year old son chattering away with his big sister in full sentences and thought about how often these days he says, “I do myself, mommy!

Then, I saw my just-turned-four-years-old-going-on-fourteen daughter dancing through the living room singing to the beat of her own drum.  She is learning to write her ABC’s, knows how to pick out the perfect outfit for the day, and surprises me with how well she can carry on a conversation with me or my husband.  

And wasn’t it just yesterday that I first held them in my arms?

I call them my babies, but, really, they are far from the helpless newborn babes I cradled in my arms and rocked to sleep night after night.  As my facebook wall is flooded with back to school photos, I realize that this time next year we will be sending our oldest off to kindergarten...and before we know it her daddy will be walking her down the aisle into the arms of a man she will one day call husband.  

I find myself stumbling through another busy day when all I want to do is plead with time to slow down for just one moment more.  How do you slow down the vapor of time and take captive every single moment before it’s gone?  

We are each given a mission, a purpose, a calling in life.  Children are a gift and moms are called to love, cherish, nurture, and provide for these little ones while gently nudging them to spread their wings and one day soar on their own.  Embrace this calling, because it is beautiful and to be treasured.  

The dishes may be piled high, the laundry may be cycling through the wash for the third time in a row, and five o’clock may roll around with absolutely no dinner plans already in place, but if your children are content in your love that is what matters.  

And, really, the dishes, laundry, and endless to do lists will be there tomorrow, but your children may not.  Time keeps moving forward and one day the little one tugging on your pants while you attempt to fold the same shirt for the tenth time this morning will be an adult.  The house will be quiet again, but you will miss the noise and chaos of a childhood gone by too soon.  

The sound of my son’s sweet little voice singing Jesus Loves Me drifts my way.  I’ve sung this song to him since birth and still I am amazed at how well he knows every single word so clearly.  I still picture him in my dreams as the son who arrived three weeks early with lungs that weren’t quite ready to breathe in this world.  And yet, there he is, singing loud and clear a song that melts my heart.  

In just one month, our littlest peanut is due to arrive.  Newborn onesies, sleepers, hats, booties, and swaddle blankets are gently washed and carefully folding waiting for his arrival.  I find myself reminiscing about how quickly my oldest two swept through the newborn stages right into childhood.

This time I want to slow down time more, to embrace each little moment, captured not just in photos and blog posts and facebook statuses, but in my memory of moments disconnected from technology where I am fully present in the here and now.  When his hunger cries force me to stop what I’m doing immediately, I will scoop him up with a smile and watch every smile and study every wrinkle and roll in his tiny little body.  

Because time really is a vapor and one year really does fly by.  So embrace it, enjoy it, cherish it, treasure it.  Babies really don’t keep, so rock that little one to sleep a little longer, laugh and sing along with just one more silly song, hug him a little tighter, hold her a little closer, and give every single moment all you’ve got.  



Stephanie blogs at Girl of Grace, a blog about family, marriage, motherhood, and grace.  To read more of her story and follow along as she continues learning to embrace her calling, check out her blog or join her facebook page.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The "Meat" of the Sandwich Generation

The “Meat” of the Sandwich Generation

It’s common that Baby Boomers are referred to as the Sandwich Generation ~ taking care of elderly parents and kids/grandkids at the same time.  You could say that it’s being the “meat” of the sandwich.

Those of us who have done it probably wouldn’t change a thing, especially if we’ve lost our parents.  I have.  Even though it was very rewarding, I’d have asked a thousand more questions.  Why did you live there?  Who was your best friend growing up?  Why do my kids act like that?  Did I act like?  Did you ever make the news?  What is something you don’t want to tell me that I should know?  You get the idea.

Since I didn’t get the chance or know what to ask, here are five questions every adult child should consider asking their aging parents, while they still have a chance.

Where in the world did you live?  Most of us don’t relate to our parents as being real people until we are older.  But our parents actually had a life and adventures before they had kids and after the kids left home.  After our parents are deceased, finding and getting information about that part of their life becomes very difficult.  And you will need to know about it.

What other names did you use?  I’m always surprised at how many kids didn’t know their mother was married before, sometimes more than once. Domestic partners, adoptions, absentee fathers, marriages, divorces, and other circumstances can make records difficult to get when they aren’t your own or you don’t know what to look for.  Find out where copies are.

Where might you have hidden papers or money?  Some parents don’t want to tell their kids this because of family dynamics.  In some cases that may be true.  However, if you have a good relationship, explain how important it is to know where bank accounts are, where jewelry is, if they bought a life insurance policy, where are important papers, and where they hide cash.  It takes much longer to search and rescue items than just rescue them.

Is there anyone you want me to contact after you’re gone?  My father had the opportunity to call people before he died “just to say goodbye.”  It was fun listening to him make these calls because there was no pretense about it. Only meaningful words were exchanged. If your parents don’t get this opportunity, it may be important to them that you do it.

Is there anything you want to do with me now?  The most important thing you have is time.  At the end of your parents’ life it’s rewarding to have great memories of time spent together. My father asked me to read him some of my favorite bible verses.  I read Hebrews 11.  It’s now an annual ritual on his birthday which is also his deceased day.  I look forward to it!

So, while you are busy chauffeuring kids to practice, making lunches, visiting your parents, spending time with your spouse, running errands, cleaning house, running a company, doing laundry, seeing friends, shopping, sleeping and eating, remember that even though you are the meat of the sandwich, you should always take time to leave the bread alone and keep the main thing the main thing.

Tisha M Diffie
Estate Closure Expert

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

18 Summers & Why I'm Making The Most Of It

18 Summers & Why I’m Making The Most Out Of It

Have you ever thought about it? 

That you might have just 18 summers with your kids? How does it make you feel?
I know for me, with our oldest nearly 8, I can't help but panic, *I might only have 10 left?*. Well, I'll be darned if I'm going to let them sneak by me. Oh no, I'm making the most of it - and not just summers, though that's what's on my mind currently as we're in it AND it's the time I get both of my kids home full time. So I've been working hard at using our time for making memories - lots and lots of memories.

Holding hands on the way to the fireworks.

Some of you may be wondering about the housework and how I keep it up: I don't. lol - okay, that's not entirely true. I am also trying my best to *earn our way* to the fun each day....I generally do the dishes in the morning and get the kitchen tidied up {minus the giant stack of papers I have yet to contend with}, and have the kids tidy the front room, and perhaps any other small messes that may be theirs. And I try to do something in the evening that helps keep up the house {ie laundry}, plus my husband is also a HUGE help {yay}.
One thing I am confident in is that my kids will never say *Well, we didn't do many fun things this summer, but I'm sure glad we kept the house clean*. So I say, let's HAVE FUN! {Besides, we can clean in the winter lol}
In our approximately 5 weeks of summer weather {of the only 8 we get} here are some of the things we are doing to make memories. In addition, of course, to SEVERAL beach days:
Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Playing with Puppies
Drinking Homemade Milkshakes
Making Rabbit Ears & A Fake Punching Fist
Making Muffins
Playing at the Park
You know what I love most about these experiences? They are mostly or completely FREE! Making memories doesn't have to be about spending money, but rather about being TOGETHER. Just spending time TOGETHER - no phones, no computers, tv, etc. Putting the cleaning off for even just a few minutes {It will still be there, I promise} and just being IN the moment.

If you are feeling at a loss of things to do, head on over to my blog where I've posted a list of free activities for kids to help make memories. Make this summer count, or better yet, find a way - however small - to make memories in EVERY DAY and build lasting relationships that ensure you have the full 18 summers, and more!

*Hailey is a guest blogger for Cute Like Me, where she writes about family life, traveling, reviews {and giveaways too}, cooking, and of course, making memories!*

Sunday, July 15, 2012

5 Tips to Taking GREAT Pictures of Your Kids!

5 Tips to Taking GREAT Pictures of Your Kids!

Parents today are buying increasingly expensive cameras and equipment to take pictures of their precious children. Kids grow so fast and the desire to capture every moment sometimes leads to frustration when the beloved subject just WILL NOT SIT STILL!

Here are five tips to turn photo shoots into FUN and your pictures into souvenirs you will cherish for years to come.

Kids Just Wanna Have FUN!

If you remember one tip, make it this one – the most important of all. To prove it, I tried an experiment. I put my children in a picturesque setting and asked them very sweetly to please sit still for Mommy and show me a big smile. The result? Expressions ranging from boredom (my son) to utter disdain (my daughter)!  

I then told them that we were going to play a game. They ran over to me and sat down, eager and attentive. I asked them, in an excited whisper, to lean forward and look into the round window (my camera lens) and see who was inside… This bought me enough time to snap some adorable shots of them, which I love. They were happy (apparently, they could see Daddy through the window!) and so was I. Success! 

Other games that work well for gleeful pictures include “Simon says”, “what noise does a sheep (or other animal) make” and then make the wrong noise yourself, or anything that will make your child roar with laughter. With older kids, ask THEM to tell YOU a joke - they seem to laugh the loudest at their own jokes… With siblings, tickling is particularly effective!  

Focus on the Eyes

The first parts of a face we look at and the first things we look for in a picture are the eyes. Get close up to your little beauty and focus on those big blues! 

Capture Them in Their Own World

  How many times do you find yourself standing still and watching your kids playing or absorbed in a task? Those moments make my heart swell and a feeling of joy well up inside me. Keep your camera in an easy-to-reach place in the house, so you can grab it and catch a candid shot of a slice of your child’s personality.

You don’t need an expensive DSLR to capture these precious moments – an iPhone works just as well!  (Yes, I promise the picture below was taken using my iPhone. Not even the most recent version!)

iPhone-tastic, with a little Instagram magic! You don't need professional equipment to capture pictures you love of your kids. Just get to know your camera and learn how to make the most of it.

Not Just a Pretty Face

To record a complete picture of your growing child, don’t limit yourself to taking pictures of only their beautiful face. If your baby’s little pink toes make you want to grab them and have a playful nibble, take a picture! If you love how your teenager paints her fingernails so creatively, snap a photo! I thought my kiddos looked adorable the other day, when Spring finally arrived, the skirts and shorts came out and the winter pants were thrown to the back of the closet!

Get Creative

What was it Picasso said? “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Find your inner artist! Consider different ways to capture your child – shoot from different angles, from varying distances, with interesting backdrops and different types of light. Try your hand at the software that came with your camera, to turn a picture with harsh contrasts into black and white.

I hope these simple tips help create a fabulous, fun and varied collection of happy memories for you and your kids! Don't forget to get some pictures of yourself in there with your little darlings - they'll appreciate it when they grow up. And if you'd like some professional pictures to put up on your walls, I know someone who can help with that... Give me a call! 

Rebecca Berra
Rebecca Berra Photography
All rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The i like......Breastfeeding

The i like…Breastfeeding
By Jacky Souders

Every so often, it seems breastfeeding becomes “public enemy number 1.” What with all the Time Magazine “Are you Mom enough” cover, moms being kicked out of a public place for breastfeeding a hungry baby, and lets not forget all the Facebook vs breastfeeding mothers epic battles.
I am a breastfeeding “Mummie” (or as I like to say “a Mummie who makes Nummies!”) My oldest daughter (now 4 years old) was breastfed for 11 months and my youngest daughter is currently nursing at 31+ months old. (“Currently” nursing...... not the nails on a chalkboard “STILL” word..... *EWWWWW! Talk about wiggle shakes!*) Now granted my youngest only nurses once a day and she is a toddler who is breastfed.... imagine that! ......but I digress.

There is a negative view (in the general public) when it comes to breastfeeding. Now, the reason for this is subjective.... I have heard many reasons why people “don’t want to see THAT.” The reasons range from “Ewwwwww.....that’s gross”, “that should be done in private”, “you can’t whip your b@@bs out like that!”, “If I can’t pee in public...... you shouldn’t feed in public.” (The last one I have ACTUALLY heard! Luckily it was not directed toward me.... but REALLY?! I mean REALLY??) Now with all of those “reasons” there is not one that is legit. A breastfeeding mother is not breastfeeding for anyone else, other than her child. Humans were meant to eat and breastmilk was meant for human babies/children to eat. People eat outside ALL the time.... breastfeeding really is no different.
But what do you do when you are faced with a “Negative Nelly” who feels that they just HAVE to speak their opinion or decides to have a staring contest with you.. Well there are a few tips to help you can handle this.
1.        Squish them with kindness! Smile a Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat smile, drop your head in a coy tilt, bring your shoulders forward and wave. (This works like a charm on the staring contest crowd. They will get the hint that “they have been spotted” and their little “game” is not welcome.)
2.        Take your pointer finger and your thumb, line them up with “Negitive Nelly’s” head and pinch.... over and over and over again. Then say loud enough for them to hear, “Oh darn! My pinching super powers are not working! Where have you hidden my Kryptonite?!!!!!!”
3.        Share the knowledge. Some people make comments simply out of ignorance. They may not have been around breastfeeding so therefore are not educated in what breastmilk actually is. You could tell them that “It is optimal for both babies and mothers.  For babies it can protect against infections, SIDS and reduce the rates of later health problems including diabetes, obesity, and asthma. For mothers breastfeeding helps the uterus to contract and bleeding to cease more quickly after delivery.  Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and also provides a great way for mothers to bond with their babies. The World Health Organization and The American Academy of Family Physicians recommend breastfeeding a child to two years or more. As the nutritional benefits of breastmilk continue to grow as the child grows.”
4.        Look the person in their eyes, smile sweetly and say "Would you like some? She won't be much longer, then you can have your turn." As you watch them retreat, look down at your Nummie Lover (Child) and say "Guess they didn't want to wait their turn" and shrug.
5.        You could also sick your 6 foot 7 inch, 300 pound of solid muscle, your worst nightmare of a bodyguard (named Mouse) on this person. (I know.... who has Mouse on hand....but come on.... that would be AWESOME! ADMIT IT!)
6.        Or you could do what I always did.... ignore them and turn all your attention onto your child that is nursing. Talk to them in sweet tones, sing them a song, kiss their little fingers....then afterward tell your husband/partner/friend and come up with “Oh I will so do that next time!” ideas. (I have come up with so many “next time” ideas and have never used them. But it is fun thinking up new ones!)
In all seriousness, the best thing you can do is follow your heart and your gut. Do what you feel is best for your family and what you are comfortable with. Try not to let the “Negative Nelly’s” ruin your day or your breastfeeding journey.

And when all else tip number 2! Pinchy Pinchy!!!!

Jacky Souders is a 30 year old, stay at home Mummie to two sweet/crazy/beautiful girls (Hi Pooker and Kit Kat!) and three angel babies, wife to an amazing and supportive husband (Hi Hubby!), and is the creator of Mummie's Nummies, a breastfeeding support blog. Jacky dreamed to create a place where breastfeeding "Mummies" can go to for support, have a place to turn to WITHOUT judgment and share their stories with others. To create a place where NO "MUMMIE" FEELS ALONE. That is when she created Mummie's Nummies!
She believes support is the main key to a successful breastfeeding journey. Jacky is not a certified Lactation Consultant or doctor. She is a normal breastfeeding "Mummie" with a passion for breastfeeding.
She would love to say she owns a house, with her husband, in Bartow County Georgia...... but who is she kidding? Her daughters ALLOW her and her husband to live in their home with them!

Monday, January 16, 2012

SWEETIE pookie BABE sparkie LOVE ~ 6 links to keep you connected

SWEETIE  pookie  BABE  sparkie  LOVE
6 links to keep you connected

We all have ’terms of endearment’ for our significant other.  Valentine's Day is right around the corner.  Have you begun to make plans yet? What will you be buying for your 'pookie' this year? Here you will find 6 websites that I personally subscribe to that have been great resources of information, inspiration and ideas in my own relationship not just for Valentine's Day but ALL year long. I know you will enjoy them too.
All Pro Dad - Yes, I realize this one is for Dads but it's a great way to get some insight into what he's thinking & feeling - GREAT website!

Another way to strengthen, mend, build, or begin your relationship is with the i like book for couples. Check it out and enjoy 35% off your purchase with code:  heart35 
Promotion expires: Feb 15, 2012 and is not valid with other promotions. Plus spend $50 and get free shipping (no code necessary). 
Written by:   Meredith Looney 

"To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world" ~ author unknown