organizing play spaces: 4 steps to awesome and tips every parent needs

organize playspaces 4 steps to awesome teachmama.com

Friends.

I’m  hoping that you’re still doing a rockstar job taking control your three things this month because, sweet mercy–you can manage to organize three things.

Whatever it is that has been bugging you, whatever it is that causes you the most stress or anxiety, start there.

That sock drawer? The coat closet? The laundry room? You can do it.

This is the year, friends. We’re taking control of our life and our time, and we are living focused.

Need the whole deal? Check out the get yourself organized post as a refresher.

organizing play spaces: 4 steps to awesome and tips every parent needs

I do understand that often it’s overwhelming if you choose something big to organize.  We often don’t know where to start or what to do after we get started. Or sometimes we just get sick of doing it in the middle and want to quit (I do, at least).

Lucky for us, I have recently joined forces with the amazing Rachel from Rachel and Company, and we have some really cool projects in the works.

For real.

Like cool ways to help you and your family get organized–and stay organized.

Like cool things just for your tween. Or just for your kids. Or just to help you organize some super-tricky parts of your life.

Can’t wait.

Until then, I have Rachel sharing some awesome tips for organizing play spaces over here for us today.

You’ll love her.

And you’ll totally love the Organizing Play Spaces Printable we’ve created.  (Scroll on down–you’ll find the link!)

Here’s the skinny. . .

Organizing Play Spaces–4 Steps to Awesome and Tips Every Parent Needs: 

Organizing Play Spaces, by Rachel Rosenthal

The holidays are over but are the new toys, games and books your kids got for the holidays taking over your home?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! They’re taking over my home too and I do this for a living.

Now that everyone is back in school and we’re all back in somewhat of a routine, it’s time to stop tripping over that new toy fire engine when you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. It’s also time to finally organize all this new stuff!

So, what to do?

To start, find a designated “play space” to keep everything organized, or as you know, the toys and games will take over your home.

organizing play spaces: 4 steps to awesome and tips every parent needsorganizing play spaces: 4 steps to awesome and tips every parent needs

Even if you don’t have an entire room to devote to “play”, creating a space in the corner of another room can really help contain the clutter in one area (or at least give you a starting point!).

Without a place to put something, we can’t expect our little ones–or even ourselves–to have an organized play space. And while as moms we are prone to taking on all the organizing ourselves, I am giving you permission to stop doing it all yourself.

Depending on the age of your children, I say, get them involved.

There are age-appropriate organizing tasks that your children can do, and now is the time to empower them to be involved in living an organized life.

Things might not be “perfect” or the way you want them, but that isn’t the point. We want to empower our children and ourselves in creating a space truly conducive to play.

organizing play spaces: 4 steps to awesome and tips every parent needs

organize play spaces teachmama.com 3

Below are some tips on organizing your play space that even your youngest kids can help with!

  • Put all small items like doll accessories, toy cars and even game pieces in labeled containers without a lid. This keeps similar items together and makes for easier play and clean up. Adding a label (a picture or words) helps little ones participate with the organizing.
  • Don’t try to organize your entire play space at once. Choose one category of items, like dress up clothes or board games and focus on just that before moving on. Our printable on organizing your kids can help. It lists out some of the top items that need to be organized in a play area and gives just a few easy steps for paring down what you have and getting an organizing system into place.
  • Have a “hide the clutter” basket. Keep a large empty basket or container in your play area. This can be used two ways. Just make sure that you set a time limit on how long items can stay in this basket. We recommend no more than one week.

1. A quick hide all:  if you need to get things off the floor in a flash (think unannounced guests).

2. An easy organizer:  Whether it’s you or your kids who are reorganizing the play area at the end of play time, fill the container with everything that is left out, then carry it with you to put the items away where they belong.

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Rachel Rosenthal of Rachel and Company is an organizing extraordinaire.  Rachel uses creativity, style and a little elbow grease to help families get their homes, schedules, routines and lives in order. As a professional organizer, Rachel empowers families of all ages and sizes to live more organized, productive lives and has helped over 900 clients since starting in 2008.

Rachel works nationally with clients, is based in Bethesda, MD with her 7-year-old identical twins, and she has been featured in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Washingtonian, The Washington Post, Parents, NBC4 and Fox5. Rachel can be reached through her website: www.rachel-company.com.rachel and company  rachel collage

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Thank you, Rachel!

I love Rachel’s idea of the open containers, especially for younger kids, and I love the idea of the ‘hide the clutter’ basket–with limitations and guidelines.

So smart.

So let’s get you organized, my friends.

 

Here’s a super-cute printable that Rachel and I collaborated on. I think  you’ll dig it.

Organize Play Spaces Printable: organize play spaces teachmama.com 3

If you choose to share or link to the printable (and we hope you do!), please link to this post rather than the document itself. Thank you!

 

 

So there you have it–a really quick way to organize your child’s play space, wherever that may be!

How do you stay organized? What do you use to organize play spaces? I’d love to hear it!

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#livefocused posts:

organize your family’s week: small step with big payoff

organize your family's week teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links

 

 

I’ve often talked about our house having a ‘command station’ or central hub, where you could find almost anything you need.

And though each family should have one, I’m sure that for each family it’s different.

organize your family's week teachmama.com

Ours command station is in our kitchen, and it always has been.

In our kitchen, near our phone, near our newly organized junk drawers, we have a tile that literally tells the story of our week.

It has been hugely helpful for us, and it’s something that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Organize Your Family’s Week–Small Step With Big Payoff:

So how do we make our week happy? Easy.

We share the love. We share the news. We share the schedule.

There’s no biggie calendar on the way with everything we need; we use google calendar for that.

Instead, we go weekly.organize your family's week: small step with big payoff

Here’s what helps me take our schedule day by day. . . the widget for my phone. . .

organize your family's week: small step with big payoff

. . . and this calendar widget shows our whole google calendar on one screen.

Monday through Sunday each and every week.

On an 8″ by 10″ ceramic tile–one kind of like this tile but bigger.

We use dry erase markers and a happy little photo stand.

organize your family's week:

organize your family's week:

Even when we were doing our kitchen renovation, we used the weekly tile. Just kind of in a different place.

What we do to make our week happy is we put it all out there. We lay out the week’s plan at the beginning of each week. That way, any time the kids want to see what’s going on, all they have to do is check out the tile. If they want to add something, they can.

The little letter on the righthand side of the tile? The letter of whomever’s day it is. No questions. No surprises.

And at the end of the week, we wipe it away and start fresh.

During the summer, we don’t go week by week; rather, we go day by day.

 

organize your family's week:

Our days together are longer in the summer, so there’s a lot more that happens in those hours between wake-up and bedtime.  On summer mornings, the very first thing I do is write down the daily schedule so that there are few surprises.

And from breakfast to dive to swim to lunch and afternoon pool time, it’s all covered.

It’s not perfect, by any means.

But it helps.

And for kids who oftentimes thrive on routine, it’s helpful for them to know that our schedule is always here.

 

So there you have it–a really quick way to organize your family’s week in super-small steps with big payoffs.

How do you stay organized? What do you use to keep your family organized each week? I’d love to hear it!

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#livefocused posts:

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

 

 

get your life organized: the plan sheet is quick, simple, and NOT going to freak you out

get your life organized: the plan sheet is quick, simple, and NOT going to freak you out

Here we go, friends.

We’re ready to rock and roll and live focused in 2015.

January is going to begin with some serious organization because we can’t really focus on other important parts of our life if we’re muddled down by stressful, messy, chaos.

As a little bit o’ love for you, I’ve created a January || Organization Plan Sheet that is quick, simple, and not going to freak you out.

 

get organized the plan sheet  teachmama.com

I am all about writing down goals and intentions, but I am often overwhelmed by blank pages and millions and millions of questions.

I want simple. I want quick. I want concise.

So here’s the skinny. . .

Get Your Life Organized — The Plan Sheet is Quick, Simple, and NOT Going to Freak You Out:

I actually created the plan sheet last week, and I’ve already started on it.

Believe me, I’m not trying to be braggy–I was desperate.

Our house was basically insanity after we got back from celebrating Christmas in Pennsylvania, so I went (gulp) a bit nuts.  

I mean it. There were things everywhere.

Owen couldn’t put his clothes away because he had 6 Ts still hanging around. (He’s now wearing size 8.).

Laundry baskets full of clean clothes were being mistaken for dirty clothes, so we were double washing. (Unbelievable.).

I was unable to open drawers in the kitchen because there were too many papers and old receipts. (Frustrating.)

The laundry room, which is right off of our garage, had become a graveyard for shoes, coats, and books, and the tipping point was when I found an old piece of Halloween candy shoved in a shoe that no one would claim. (Right? Gross.)

I was overwhelmed at how much needed to be done.

get organized the plan sheet  teachmama.com

I didn’t know where to start.

All I wanted was my mom to come over and help me.  She’s so good at organizing, so patient and awesome, and there were times when the kids were young that I would have lost my mind had she not sat with me and helped me to turn the kids’ drawers.

Figuring out what to do with the clothes that didn’t fit–or kind of fit–and where to put them and how to find the unlabeled bins of Maddy’s 4T clothes which I’d just thrown in in a hurry so that Cora had something to wear was very hard for me. It still is.  But I’m getting better.

Often, when I’m overwhelmed, I just don’t do anything.

I freeze.

So the mess sits and sits. And the chaos builds. And I start to freak out inside. And then I freak out on the outside. And then the whole house freaks out because I freaked out. And then everyone and everything’s all messed up.

This month, however, I’m taking back control.

I created the January || Organization Plan Sheet, and it really, truly helped me figure out where to begin.

Here it is: live focused printable jan teachmama.com

get organized the plan sheet | teachmama.com

 live focused printable jan teachmama.com

Download. Save it. Print it. Use it. 

(If you do share it, though–which I hope you do!, please share this post instead of the attachment page!)

It consists of five steps:

  1. step back and look around
  2. write it down
  3. pick three
  4. make a plan
  5. be happy

My favorite? Be happy. Because I’m encouraging some sort of reward–something that is healthy and happy and perfect for you.  For me, it was giving myself time to read. Something I really, truly love to do but rarely allow during the day. I always read before bed, when I’m super tired. Too tired to really enjoy the book.

I wanted to keep it all manageable, so there are only three things you really need to organize. 

Three things. You can totally do that.

get organized the plan sheet  teachmama.com

get organized the plan sheet  teachmama.com

get organized the plan sheet  teachmama.com

I chose:

  • Owen’s drawers because he had been asking for help for weeks, and I’d been too busy;
  • our laundry room because, well, it was just gross;
  • and our kitchen drawers because I literally open it five times each day, and every single time, I got more angry and more cranky;
  • I also added a fourth–my work finances–because I’ve tried for years now to find a system that works, and nothing really seems to do it for me.

I filled out my little sheet, and I got started.

I was ready–determined–to do this, so the physical organizing happened quickly for me, and it was also done over holiday break when my husband was home from work most days.

The finance piece? I’m giving myself all month to figure it out.

And when you’re finished with it, feel proud.

Take a photo. Share it on our facebook page or instagram, and tag it #livefocused.

That way, we’ll all see that we’re in this together and though it may be my laundry room or kitchen drawers that need organizing, it may be your pots and pans or your pantry.

 

 

heaven help me #organizing #books #newyear #startingfresh

A photo posted by amy mascott (@teachmama1) on

 

 

 

I am thrilled to really embrace 2015. Watch out world, crazy things can happen when a bunch of smart women (and men!) are a little more focused!

Here. We. GO!

Are you in? Let me know, friends. I need to know I’m not walking alone on this journey!

  • share any of the photos here on your facebook page
  • share any of the photos here on your twitter or instagram page
  • share any of the photos here on your google + page or blog!

Tweet this:

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live focused in 2015: give yourself a fresh start and live with intention

live focused in 2015: give yourself a fresh start and live with intention

 

 

live focused in 2015 teachmama.com

Happy New Year, friends.

As we move into the new year, I want you to know that I am so very thankful for each one of you.

Really.

I thank you for reading. I thank you for subscribing. I thank you for hanging in with me through the years.

I love writing, I love creating, and I love sharing, so I’m a million times grateful that this–blogging–has become my job.

And the most important thing here is that it wouldn’t be a job if it weren’t for you.

So hugely, from the bottom of my heart, gracias.

But what I’ve noticed in the past year is that this space is changing, I am changing, and we are changing.

And so we are going to make some serious changes over here.

Changes that I think will be really, truly beneficial to us all.

I hope that you’ll join us for this ride.  We’ll all benefit–I promise.

Your kids. Your spouse. Your friends. Your neighbors. Your family.

You. And me.

It’s about living with focus in 2015. Living intentionally.

Because we get one life.

So let’s do it up.  Woot.

Here’s the skinny. . .

 

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Live Focused in 2015–Give Yourself a Fresh Start and Live with Intention

My friends.

I promise I’m not going all sappy nutty on you. I’m really not.

I’m actually already half nutty from this parenting gig, so that’s nothing new.

And I’ve always been emotional and sappy.

But what I will promise is that this year is going to be a year of change.

And I’d love for you to come along with me for the ride.

I’m not promising perfect because perfect’s impossible.

I’m not guaranteeing greatness because greatness is fleeting.

I’m not encouraging immediate awesome because, well, everything worthwhile seems to take some time.

live focused in 2015 | teachmama.com

 

What I am suggesting is that together we do what we can to live with more intention, more focus, in 2015.

I started this blog way back in 2008 to encourage parents everywhere to do what they can to sneak in some learning into their kids’ every day. And for a long time, that worked.

We had little ones at home, for hours and hours and hours, and I knew that there were fun, cool things that parents could to do help build a foundation for learning, all with minimal effort and huge returns.

And together we got our kids off to the wilds of Kindergarten, then year by year, one by one, into elementary school.

But now? Things are different.

live focused in 2015 | teachmama.com

 

Though our kids are in school for most of the day, we’re still so busy.  We’re working, we’re scheduling, we’re volunteering.  We’re grocery shopping, coupon-clipping, and bill paying. We’re turning in permission slips, cutting our box tops, collecting donations, and packing lunches.

We’re crock-potting, speed cleaning, and skimming.

We’re running ourselves ragged schlepping kids to and from sports and activities, orthodontist appointments, and ‘hangouts’ (because goodness knows they’re too old for ‘playdates’).

We’re dashing. Dancing. Moving. Skating. Jogging. Swimming. Through. Life. 

And we’re not really thinking.  We’re just doing. Moving.

And friends, before we know it, it’ll all be a blur.

And we’ll be standing in the driveway staring at a packed Suburban, filled with luggage and linens and books and baskets, getting ready to send our baby off to college and wondering where the heck all the time went.

Sob. I can’t even.

So this year, I’m trying to take it back.

 

live focused in 2015 | teachmama.com

I’m going to take back the reigns of my life, and try–try as best as I can–to live more intentionally, to live focused in 2015. 

I’m doing this because I really need it. Believe me.

And I’d love for you to join me.

So I’m getting refocused in this here bloggy blog. I’m going to focus on the same goal I set forth back in 2008:

to share the tools and resources parents need to be the best teachers they can be for their children.

I’m still going to focus on learning in the every day.

And I’m going to focus on family, literacy, and what we can do to support our digital kids.

live focused in 2015  teachmama.com focus

But I’m going to post a bit less frequently and instead focus on quality over quantity.

Less really is more sometimes.

Because the content here is free for you, I’m going to still have to do some sponsored posts, but my focus is to create longterm partnerships with brands that really matter. With brands that really rock.

And I’m going to really, truly focus on you–my subscribers

So we’re going to rock it out with a bunch of subscriber-only giveaways.  That means nothing if you already subscribe except that you’re awesome and starting now you should read to the very end of the post (or at least scroll all the way down and check the box after the post for a whole lot of happy).

But it also means that if you don’t already subscribe, then you’ll definitely want to:

  • subscribe either to our rockstar emails and get 2-3 posts each week the day after they’re published, or
  • subscribe to our newsy-newsletter and get one email each Tuesday with all of the posts from the week. Either works.

teachmama subscriber screener

As far as the whole focused in 2015 is concerned, I’ve come to some conclusions:

1.  As our children get older, we’ve got to show them that we, as parents, are doing the best we can to live this life to its fullest.

We’ve got to show them that we are doing our best to live focused and intentionally.

We’ve got to show them that we are trying to be organized.

We’re nurturing relationships.

We’re taking care of ourselves.

We’re listening and loving and moving through life with a plan.

We do this so that our kids do the same.

live focused in 2015 teachmama.com

2. This is the year I’ll also be focusing on what we are doing to live intentionally, to live focused in 2015.

I’ll still share the cool stuff I usually do, but each month, I’ll also include a focus.

January- organization: in routine, in schedule, in home

It’s time to get on it. Get your house in order and create routine that works for your family. Life is too short to let it pass you by, and it’s time to climb out from under the mess and live intentionally. But in order to live intentionally, you’ve got to get organized.

February-friendship: with spouse, colleagues, siblings, parents, kids, girlfriends

What do you do to nurture your friendships? How much time do you actually put into keeping up with your oldest pals? Do you ever organize a girls’ night out? A date night? How well do you really know your kids?

March-clarity: of thought, words, action

Sometimes we need a re-start in the way we’re thinking, speaking, and interacting with others.  Let’s make sure our in-house behavior systems, rules, and guidelines are established and clear.  Let’s get refocused in the way we speak to our kids, spouse, and friends. Let’s try to align our thoughts and actions.

April-growth: emotional, mental, physical

Face it. we all need to grow in some way, shape, or form. Learning never needs to cease. Have you really worked your brain lately? What do you need to do to stay up to date with work or well-being? April is a month to learn how to better care for ourselves, kids, family.

May-self: you, you, you

Check yourself before you wreck yourself. When was the last time you took time out for you? What do you really, truly love to do? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. If you know and haven’t done it for a while, now’s the time to get rolling with it.

live focused in 2015 months  teachmama.com

 

June-family: make family time count

School’s out. Time to really unplug and spend time with your kids now that they’re out of school. Our tabletop surprises will keep you constantly filled with ideas for creative, innovative ways to spend time with your kids.

July-breath: because breathing really helps

Sure, it’s summer. And a whole lot happens in summer that makes us forget about our New Year intentions and focus. But let’s check in on January organization. Do you need a restart? How are things going with friends, growth, or your self-care?  Before we freak out, we’re going to make breathing a focus this month as we slowly get back on track.

August-time: take control

How are you using your time? Life is moving quickly.  Are you making sure you’re living each day to the fullest? Parenting is hard—there’s no doubt about that. And juggling a spouse, work, and a household makes it even more difficult.  But even if we spend a few minutes each week giving our days some focus, we’re taking control. We’re still in charge.

September-learning: back to school means everyone learns

Back to school means we’re all learning a whole new routine and system.  How are we, as parents, best interacting with our kids, their teachers, and schools? Are we supporting them the best we are able? What do we need to learn in order to do so? New strategies? New concepts?

October-honesty: with ourselves and others

Halloween means that our kids are on a quest to find disguises, but let’s be honest this month with ourselves before the holiday season begins. Let’s be honest about how we think and feel, and let’s do what we can to make sure we’re sharing are true and awesome selves with the world.

November-giving: set an example of gratitude

We all have so much for which we should be thankful, so let’s give what we can to those who need it. Setting an example of giving and gratitude for our children is super-important from the start, especially during their formative elementary years. No better time than now to give to the world the best we have.

December-peace: finding beauty in the basics

It’s so very difficult not to get caught up in the holiday whirlwind, trying to create a perfectly pinteresting holiday for our family. But we don’t need to go crazy. We really don’t. Let’s focus on the important things and strive for more peace in our 2015 holiday seasons.

 

live focused in 2015  teachmama.com share

Never fear, friends.

I’m not going to leave you high and dry here. We’re doing this together. Baby steps.

Each month I plan to:

  • share printables which will help us get focused and live intentionally;
  • do some fun giveaways, freebies, and contests for subscribers only–that means you!;
  • invite experts in to share their ideas and suggestions;
  • create videos with tricks, tools, and ideas for our topics;
  • share the normal, awesome content you have come to expect, with the #livefocused added in as a bonus (yay!);
  • use our Facebook page as a place to support each other, chat, and share high-fives (like a freebie, fab support group);
  • share photos from my journey on Instagram and Twitter using #livefocused;
  • do round-ups of your photos, ideas, and experiences across platforms;
  • quite honestly, learn as I go–from you and from others!;
  • offer follow-ups and extensions that may help you in this adventure.

live focused in 2015: give yourself a fresh start and live with intention

I’m excited. I’ve got so much planned, and it’s only the first Monday of the month.

I cannot wait to really embrace 2015. Watch out world, crazy things can happen when a bunch of smart women (and men!) are a little more focused!

Here. We. GO!

Check it all out video-style:

 And? If you don’t already subscribe to teachmama.com’s YouTube channel, you totally want to!

Are you in? Let me know, friends. I need to know I’m not walking alone on this journey!

  • share any of the photos here on your facebook page
  • share any of the photos here on your twitter or instagram page
  • share any of the photos here on your google + page or blog!

Tweet this:

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new year’s family plan: 100 good deeds

new year's family plan: 100 good deeds teachmama.com

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new year's family plan: 100 good deeds teachmama.com

I’ve long stopped creating New Year’s Resolutions because, well, they always seem to be broken.

Instead, we, as a family, try to make some positive changes at the beginning of each year.

We use the time to get refocused.

We use the time to check in with each other.

We use the time to start some healthier routines.

Not always easy–this I know.

This year, we’re all starting the 100 Good Deeds plan.

As a family.

And it’s a pretty cool way of kicking off the New Year.

Join us.

Here’s the skinny. . .

We’re not alone in our 100 Good Deeds Plan; in fact, we’re part of a huger than huge campaign geared toward making some positive change.

The premise is that the wearer of the bracelet does good deeds–just put more good into the world.

The Rules of the Game? 

A ‘good deed’ means you’ve gone out of our way to help someone, and it only counts if the deed remains anonymous.

Each time you do a good deed, you move the rubber ring one bead closer toward the 1GD button.

new year's family plan: 100 good deeds

The 100 Good Deeds Bracelet was created by Mary Fisher – artist, author, advocate – who spent a decade partnering with at-risk women in Africa and around the world, designing jewelry made by the women to earn a dignified livelihood.

Fisher, a leader in global social change, launched The 100 Good Deeds Bracelet, a handcrafted collection that symbolizes a commitment to perform good deeds and bring about positive change in the world.

aFrF-s8D2yuz1pZrvHBma1iSk1fqQKmAL_Y30i9ZzBIFisher says,“The motivation behind The 100 Good Deeds Bracelet collection is to inspire simple acts of kindness around the world.

Each bracelet is a reminder to spread positive change through action and fulfill our mission to Do Good, One Deed, One Bead, One Act of Kindness at a Time.

I LOVE this.

Don’t you?new year's family resolution 100 good deeds  teachmama.com blank

 

Want to grab your own 100 Good Deeds bracelet? Yes you do.

Check it out: 100 Good Deeds site

And please remember, to join the #DeedADay movement, share one of these images on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest using hashtag #DeedADay and tagging the 100 Good Deeds Bracelet. That’s it.

NA-DOK-4pvLfsUP692gjF76l-fcqsmMdwCTywPAQ3HI

These Bracelets are made by vulnerable women who’ve been trained for this work in Uganda, India, Indonesia, Zambia, South Africa, Rwanda, IniInand Haiti. This project gives a women a way to support their families through earnings, while empowering them to also contribute to good deeds around the world.

Join me.

Actually, have your whole family join us–and together, we’ll make some serious change.

Join the movement. Buy your bracelet. Make #DeedADay your plan for the year.

Imagine the example we’ll be setting for our kids!

 

fyi: I was gifted this 100 Good Deeds bracelet to review and share with my readers. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator. 

26 cool, new family traditions to start in the new year

26 fun family traditions to start this year teachmama.com

26 fun family traditions to start this year  teachmama.com

I’m all about family traditions.

Not only does it make your life as a parent easier, but having traditions gives your kids something to hold on to.

Traditions give kids the feeling of security.

Traditions give kids the feeling of safety and comfort.

Traditions give kids the feeling of strength of family.

And yes, often there are years that traditions also teach kids about flexibility.

Especially when for whatever reason you can’t make the Flag Cake or you can’t organize a St. Patty’s Day Scavenger Hunt.

I’ve gathered 26 cool, fun, new family traditions to start in the new year.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • 26 Cool, New Family Traditions to Start in the New Year:

 Here they are.

1. Complete the New Year’s Interview.  One of our all-time faves.

2. Volunteer on MLK, Jr. Day.  Spend the day doing something that counts.

3.  Make Surprise Notes for your neighbors.  It doesn’t matter when; it doesn’t matter which ones. Just do it.

4. Host a January Favorite Junk Food Party.  Everyone brings one thing: his or her favorite snacky junk food.

5. Make crafts for Meals on WheelsSimple crafts, pretty notes just to brighten someone’s day.

26 cool traditions for family - teachmama.com

6. Participate in a fundraising walk. For whatever cause speaks to your heart. We’ve got some starting points on our blog 4 cause post.

7. Make Valentines for classmates and friends.  We think that homemade is best. They don’t have to be fancy.

8. Do an Earth Day park clean-up. It can be as simple or as involved as you like, with one person or ten.

9. Use the Special Plate to celebrated good days.  The Special Plate makes every one of us smile. It’s a good day when you get to use the Special Plate.

10. Have ice-cream for dinner on the last day of school. Because why not? It’s SUMMER!

11.  Allow everyone to choose his or her birthday dinner. If the birthday boy (or girl) has a party, it’s a dinner in, and Mom and Dad cook a meal of choice. If there’s no party, it’s a dinner out.

12. Celebrate Golden Birthdays, when your age matches the date.  Maddy and Owen both celebrated their Golden Birthday on their 9th year; Cora will celebrate hers when she’s 23, but we’ll most likely celebrate a Half-Golden Birthday when she’s 11 1/2 years old.

13. Eat fondue on New Year’s Day.  Do it up. Cheese, bouillon, and chocolate with fancy glasses and sparkling cider.

14. Make a July 4th Flag Cake.  Strawberries, blueberries, whipped icing, and yum.

 

26 cool, new family traditions to start in the new year

15. Have a St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt.  Quick and easy, around the house.  At the end? A little pot o’ gold, of course. Or at least a fun little goodie bag.

16.  Make an Easter Bunny Cake. Round cakes, licorice, and jelly beans make this a special Easter treat.

17.  Organize a neighborhood Egg Hunt.  The eggs don’t have to be filled with jewels–kids love to find anything in their eggs–wrapped candy, pennies, you name it!

18. Have a 1st Day of Summer Cook-Out. Back yard, with hotdogs, chips, and watermelon.  Neighbors and friends. Make it a potluck so it’s easy on you.

19. Make Mom breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. Awwwwhhh, one of my favorite things ever is when the kids make me breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. Who cares if the coffee’s cold and toast is burnt? Not I!

20. Go on a family hike for Father’s Day. Let Dad pick the hike, or kids can surprise him. Pack a lunch, drinks, and a blanket. Enjoy!

21. Make Candy Wreaths for your schools.  Because who doesn’t love candy? And really, every single school staff member will love you for it.

26 fun family traditions to start this year  teachmama.com

26 fun family traditions teachmama.com WHITE

 

22. Open new pajamas on Christmas Eve.  One gift before the big day, and it’s always pj’s. Fresh, cozy, new jammies for the big night. And everyone will have matching pjs on for Christmas morning photos.

23. Have the kids make dinner for parents on their anniversary. We haven’t done this yet, but man. I really want to.

24. Schedule a surprise no-school, Cookie-Baking Day in December. Hands down, it’s our absolute favorite day of the holiday season. Well, almost.

25. Boo! your friends in October. Even more fun if you gather a group of pals to do the ‘boo-ing’ with!

26. Make shoebox gifts for the needy at holiday time.  We do this every year, and every year it gets more fun for the kids and more meaningful.  Our church is a drop-off point, but many local newspapers also advertise places that they take these important boxes.

And that’s it!

I’d love to hear what traditions you celebrate and honor each year–there’s always room for more!

Want to download the fancy-schmancy 26 cool, new family traditions poster: 26 fun family traditions teachmama.com BKGD

26 cool, new family traditions to start in the new year | teachmama.com

26 fun family traditions teachmama.com BKGD

All I ask is that if you choose to share this post, please link to this post and not the attachment page–thank you!

 

Check out a few other posts that may help you develop strong and healthy habits for your family:

 

holiday traditions that make our family rock: what matters most

holiday traditions that make our family rock cover teachmama.com

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holiday traditions that make our family rock  teachmama.com

 

One of my favorite parts of being a parent is establishing and celebrating traditions as a family.

And it’s funny because some things that we never really even intended to become traditions have become just that–expected, every year events that my kids eagerly anticipate.

Though I’ve written about them here and there over the years, this year I’m dragging them all out.

Each and every one of our holiday traditions.

All of the holiday traditions that make our family rock.

Or at least we think so.

These are traditions that make our family the unique and awesome and completely imperfect group that we are.

Because when it comes down to it, it’s all about what matters most, right?

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Holiday Traditions that Make Our Family Rock–What Matters Most:

For us, it’s family time.

holiday traditions that make our family rock  teachmama.com 4

Time spent together, doing things that often don’t cost much money at all.

Our holiday traditions are pretty awesome:

  • Breakfast with Santa: At our church each season, we have a chance to throw back some seriously awesome pancakes and sausage, chat with friends, and support our parish.
  • Find the pickle ornament: The ole pickle hides in our tree every year, and the first kid who finds it gets a ‘special’ gift.
  • Kissing reindeer hunt: Part of our Advent Activity Calendar, the kissing reindeer hunt is always a fave of my kids.
  • Cookie-baking day: Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I take a break from life and spend the entire day–start to finish–baking, baking, and baking!
  • Make candy wreaths for schools: Our school and my husband’s school always loves this gift that we try to deliver early in the month so that there’s time to eat it! Though by the end, everyone’s fingers are way tired of tying, it’s always a really fun family project.

holiday traditions that make our family rock  teachmama.com 4

 

  • Give shoebox gifts to less fortunate: Our local homeless shelter and church manage this event, which involves us filling shoeboxes with items for those less fortunate. We have organized events with our pals to make preparing, filling, and wrapping these boxes more fun and meaningful.
  • Empty Give Jars for needy:  Though we’re admittedly not as great with our Spend, Save, and Give Jars as I’d like, the kids do tend to keep a small amount in their Give Jar. We empty the contents in December and give it to a Salvation Army Collection point, near a local grocery store.
  • Homemade ornaments for family: We not only love unwrapping our homemade ornies each year, but we also really love giving our homemade ornies to friends and family.
  • Family photo album:  The kids know that each year they’ll find one fun photo album under the tree. It’s my personal deadline, and I’ve really brought it down to a science, the whole creating of the family photo books. It’s a lot easier than you think to make these, and the payoff? Huge.
  • Look at holiday lights: Usually when the kids least expect it, we’ll have them throw on their shoes (maybe even over pjs!), jump in the car, and take a gander around our ‘hood, in search of the most beautiful holiday light display.
  • Holiday cards on kitchen door: We send a ton of holiday cards, and we are truly grateful to receive a ton of holiday cards. As we receive the cards, we tape them to the kitchen door. We all love it–as the season progresses, our door becomes filled with our friends’ and family members’ smiling faces.

 

holiday traditions that make our family rock  teachmama.com 4

 

  • Ugly Breakfast on Christmas morning: Ugly Breakfast is called so because the kids think it’s ugly. And it is. But it tastes oh. So. Delicious. More like a French Toast bake, it may be ugly, but man, it’s sinful.
  • Holiday card family assembly line: We do all of our holiday cards–well over 100–in one night. We have the family assembly line down to a science. One person adds address labels, another person stuffs envelopes. Another person adds stamps, another person adds the return address stamp, and the final person seals the envelope. Bam. There’s no actual handwriting. Don’t judge.
  • Holiday movies and hot cocoa: Our favorite way to spend an evening in December: Elf, Home Alone, or another holiday favorite and mugs of hot cocoa. Okay, or ice cream. Anything will do as long as it’s sweet.
  • Santa cookie tray and plate: Before the kid go up to bed, they put cookies on our Santa plate and Santa tray for the jolly ole guy. The we go grab our book.
  • Read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve: We have several versions of this book, as well as a reading of it from my parents. We read through them all, savoring each and every word. We listen to my crazy fun parents read their version, and then it’s off to bed!
  • Wrap gifts and watch Love Actually with my sweetheart: One–or two–or three nights before Christmas, my husband and I turn on one of our favorite holiday films and wrap gifts until we can no longer stand to keep our eyes open or see another piece of tape and curling ribbon. Yes, there are a boatload of holiday movies, but this is our absolute fave.
  • Have kids participate in the Gospel Drama for our church: We’ve gone from the sheep in the wandering flock to angels to shepherds to Angel Gabriel over the years, and each year is better than the next.

holiday traditions that make our family rock | what matters most teachmama.com

New Year’s traditions I’ve talked about before:

  • Bingo bonanza: Bingo every New Year’s Eve, and it must involve tons of tiny, inexpensive wrapped gifts for winners. Start saving scraps of wrapping paper because it’s great to use for Bingo Bonanza gifts!
  • New Year’s Day fondue: A favorite of ours, we do fondue for New Year’s Day, and it gets easier and easier each year.

Want to download our happy little holiday traditions printable? You most certainly may: holiday traditions that rock teachmama.com poster

The coolest part of these traditions is that they’ve been taken from here, there, and everywhere. Some are ours–all ours. And others have come from my parents or my husband’s parents or from friends.

But together, they make our little, crazy family totally rock.

I’m biased, I know, but whatever.

holiday traditions | #forwhatmattersmost

This holiday, our friends at TYLENOL® are celebrating everything that makes families rock–everything. And they’re not talking about the picture-perfect family because we all know there’s no such thing. In fact, they’ve even taken a familiar, picture-perfect holiday painting, Freedom From Want, and they’re adapting it for today.

It’s pretty cool.

Take a look:

Seriously.

That’s Norman Rockwell’s granddaughter.  We’re huge Norman Rockwell fans over here.

And we’re huge fans of celebrating the every family, too.

The whole #ForWhatMattersMost campaign is one totally worth checking out.  I love the slider they created that literally morphs Freedom From Want into a more modern family. Very cool.

Go see for yourself, friends, and tell me:

What do you think? Yes, cool campaign, or not for you?

 

 

 

fyi: This is a sponsored post. As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent and by my three sweet littles. I have received information about the TYLENOL® For What Matters Most™ campaign from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®.  

 

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create a bedtime routine that works

create a bedtime routine that works teachmama.com

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create a bedtime routine that works For a long, long time I’ve talked about the importance of rest in our kids’ lives, and along with that goes routine.

We all need rest, and we all thrive on routine.

Especially our little guys.

So it’s super important that from the start we create a bedtime routine that really, truly works for our kids. 

What I’m finding is even now that my kids are older, they still need. The. Routine.

When my friends from Scholastic asked me to help create a printable for parents all about the bedtime routine, inspired by the talented Caroline Jayne Church, you bet I was game.

I was happy to do so. It’s a great reminder for the parents with bigger guys, and some of the resources I have here are super for parents of littler guys.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Create A Bedtime Routine That Works:  

1. Give your kids a gentle reminder that bedtime is around the corner. Have a little, low-sugar snack if dinner was early.

create a bedtime routine that works  teachmama.com

2. Bathtime, shower, clean those bodies.  Really. We’ve got to get our kids into the habit of staying clean, and for us that really means having a nail brush (because man their nails get dirty–especially in the summertime!), and having washcloths close by all the time.  If kids don’t need a full-fledged shower or bath, then they definitely should still clean face, hands, and feet!

3. Brush teeth. Our big guys still need help with this, especially if they’re rocking some metal in their mouths. Flossing, brushing adequately, and making sure teeth are brushed in the morning and evening is so important!

create a bedtime routine that works   read teachmama.com

4. Pajamas on!  Dirty clothes away, wet towels hung up to dry.

5. Night time clean-up. Once pj’s are on, we also stress that kid have to do a quick pick-up of their rooms. No one wants to wake up to a total mess in the morning!

6. Books, books, books!  I still think it’s super-important to read with your kids before bed, no matter how old they are. It doesn’t matter what kind of reading it is–magazine, children’s book, graphic novel, or chapter book–we just want them reading!

create a bedtime routine that works   read teachmama.com

7.  Quiet conversation and love. Whether it’s prayers or a quick What was the best part of your day? or What are you most looking forward to tomorrow? Closing down the day this way is a great way to wrap up the day and prepare for tomorrow.

 

Check out the entire Scholastic Parents’ Caroline Jayne Church resource page, including the Bedtime ‘Cheat’ Sheet: 7 Simple Steps to a Sweet and Cuddly Bedtime Routine.

All of Caroline Jayne Church’s books are the perfect addition to bedtime routines and are totally worth checking out!

create a bedtime routine that works | teachmama.com

 

And that’s it. That’s the routine for us. I’d love to hear the routine for you!

Or check out a few other posts that may help you develop strong and healthy habits for your family:

 

fyi: This post was written as a partnership with Scholastic. As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent and by my three little loves. 

special holiday deals for teachmama.com readers

special holiday deals for teachmama.com readers

holiday deals for teachmama.com subscribers

 

Thank you so much for subscribing to teachmama.com!

As a thank you for being a loyal (or new!) email subscriber, here are a few goodies for you that I will update several times each week as promotions come and go.

Here and there, where applicable, I will use affiliate links.

SPECIAL CURRENT DEALS: 

  • fashionABLE, 15% off the entire order this week, with code BEMERRY [until 12/19/14]
  • fashionABLE, FREE SHIPPING on domestic orders over $20 this week, too, with guaranteed delivery if ordered by noon on Thursday 12/18

  • fashionABLE, (Wednesday, 12/17 ONLY) we’re offering 30% off popular Meselu scarf in the beautiful charcoal + teal color

Tiny Prints Cyber Monday
Doodle Crate >>

Online Knitting Class
Online Sewing Class

 

  • Kidorable, Free Umbrella with $20.00 purchase. Use Code:UMBFR  [Need over $20 without umbrella cost. Coupon code cannot be combined with any other promotion. until 12/31/14]

giftwrap  teachmama.com

subscriber thank you long newsletter | teachmama.com

giftwrap teachmama.com

 

must have gifts for kids and family sq

 

giftwrap teachmama.com

 

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out:

must have gifts for kids and families | teachmama.com

gifts for sunday school teachers or CCD teachers | teachmama.com

 

kids and family gift guide from teachmama.com

 

teachmama gift guide 2012

 

 

holiday gift guide | teachmama.com

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

gifts that give back: ideas for kids and family

gifts that give back: ideas for kids and family | teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

Did you celebrate Giving Tuesday?gifts that give back  teachmama.com

It’s a really simple concept: give.

Any way you are able, to anyone. Give.

The concept of giving is especially important at this time of the year, and lucky for us, many organizations have made it super easy–and so meaningful!–to give at holiday time.

Looking at my kids’ bedrooms and our playroom, I see we need very little.

So I’m encouraging all of our family members to do something this year that packs a bit more of a punch: buying gifts that give a little more than the norm.

Though there are thousands of ways to do it–something for every family.

These are the organizations that we will be supporting this year.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Gifts That Give Back–Ideas for Kids and Family:

Though I’m sharing this during holiday time, these gifts can obviously be given at any time of the year, for any occasion.

I encourage you to bookmark this, save it, whatever, and pull it out again for birthdays or other special occasions.

Seriously. Give something life-changing to a family in need. A goat. Some chicks. Some seeds. An education. Clean water.

gifts that give back: ideas for kids and family

And give it in the name of one of your kids: Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. 

The Heifer International Gift Catalog online is super easy to understand and navigate.

You can purchase a share or whole animal for a family: goat, heifer, water buffalo, honeybees.

Giving an animal is like giving someone a small business, providing wool, milk, eggs and more. Animal donations can provide families a hand up, increasing access to medicine, school, food and a sustainable livelihood.

gifts that give back: ideas for kids and family Or you can support women’s empowerment:

If women farmers had access to the same resources as men, more than 150 million additional people would have enough food to eat. We aim to make that a reality. Your gift will provide support for women’s groups, training in gender equality and the means to send girls to school. Help empower women around the world to reach their full potential.

heifer international

Talk to your kids about the fact that so many of these people lack clean water. Can you imagine? Clean water.

And explain how clean water could totally, completely change their lives:

Millions of people around the world still lack access to clean drinking water. In the impoverished communities where Heifer is working, many of the homes lack running water, and some families do not even have a well nearby. Instead, they must spend each day fetching water. This is often a chore left to the children — especially girls — leaving no time for school.

 

gifts that give back | teachmama.com

 

Each gift you choose comes with a little card that you can give to the recipient, an Honor Card.  But more than the card is the impact of the gift on the recipient family.

These gifts are literally changing lives–turning life completely around for people. Equipping them with the tools they need to thrive.

Incredible.

 

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gifts that give back | teachmama.com

 

I met the creator of To the Market, Jane Mosbacher Morris, at the AYA Summit this year. She’s awesome.

The premise of To The Market is to combine the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations, in the belief that resilience is more powerful than suffering.  How can you not love it?

You can shop in a number of different ways: by goods, by country, by cause, or by local partners. So you can literally find something for everyone, something that really meets your needs.

gifts that give back TTM ideas for kids and family

I love the Eva Necklace, the Sabrina Sparkle Earrings, and the Bernadette Earrings, both from the Starfish Project.

The Starfish Project is a fair trade jewelry company that cares for and employs exploited women in Asia. Each woman that enters into Starfish has a story of abuse and pain. At Starfish they are employed in legitimate, meaningful work where they start to reclaim the truth that they are capable; through counseling, shelter, education and health care they know they are safe; and through the Starfish community they know they are loved.

I also love the Punjammies–all of them. These are ‘lounge pants’ which I honestly think you could wear for any occasion because they are that beautiful.

PUNJAMMIES™ mission is to create pathways to freedom for women escaping the ravages of sex slavery to achieve lives of hope and dignity; each woman learns a trade (sewing) and practices refining her craftsmanship by producing quality sleep & loungewear called PUNJAMMIES™. The finished product is then exported to the US and sold online to countries all over the world with proceeds coming back to benefit each of the sewing centers.

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Almost all of my scarves are from fashionABLEfashionABLE‘s mission is:

to create sustainable business for Africans so they aren’t dependent upon charity, but instead earn the dignity of a job. We offer opportunity to everyone, with a primary focus on empowering women. When we invest in a woman, statistics demonstrate that she will have a life-changing impact on her family and community… and herself.

 I love it.

gifts that give back ideas  fashionABLE
Some products I really love?

  • the Mamuye Tote because it is the perfect size for my laptop and the leather is simply beautiful
  • the Tizita Bracelet which is so affordable and cool–a set of three bracelets (two pewter and one antique gold) crafted from beads repurposed from bullet casings and scrap metal found by farmers in the Entoto mountains.  The Entoto community is a place of healing for those affected by HIV/AIDS, treating them with dignity + respect, and providing a fair opportunity to support their families. Under $30.
  • the Selam Scarf and the Gebeyew Scarf both which I have and both which I have gifted to friends and family numerous times.

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is driven by the mission to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

gifts that give back  st jude

Everyone is welcome. Everyone. My heart.

Every purchase made from the St. Jude Gift Shop helps St. Jude because 100% of proceeds after all related expenses benefit St. Jude.

They’ve got a ton of celebrity gifts that younger kids especially would love, from their Celebrity Friend Collection: ornaments, jewelry, iPhone cases.

gifts that give back | experience gifts st. jude

You can donate event-based gifts for patients like ‘no mo chemo parties’, holiday parties, and more.

You can donate a things the patients would love, like red wagon (because that’s how little ones move through the hospital–no wheelchairs!), or you can donate art supplies or video games.  Toys, books, or meals for families.

You can donate treatments for the patients. You know they need them. This will help.

It’s an incredible organization, and it’s a great way to give back.

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It’s a lot, I know.

But hey–it’s a great place to start.

My suggestion? Either make a decision yourself over here, or bring the kids over, look at the options with you, and let them decide.

I’m betting they’d love to say, Grandma! We bought some kids a goat in your and Grandpa’s name this year!!

How will you give? What will your family choose this year? 

Let me know! I love more ideas!

gifts that give back teachmama.com

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out: 

 

fyi: The fashionABLE links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This small percentage of money helps offset the costs of hosting this blog, which helps me keep this content free for you. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

support small business saturday: teachmama faves

small business saturday | teachmama.com

I have always been a huge fan of small businesses, supporting them whenever I possibly can.small business saturday | teachmama.com

It’s a person’s dream. It’s a risk. It’s hard. And often, these smaller businesses are hidden gems.

Really.

Friends, if you are able, it’s so worth heading into your neighborhood Mom & Pop shop to support them during this time of the year.

There’s nothing like walking into a store with your kids and talking to them about all that goes into opening your own toy store or jewelry store or yarn shop or pet store–how rewarding and challenging it can be.

As parents, we have to show our kids that anything is within their reach.

And sure, we all want rockstar deals, but deals are seriously everywhere–even in small businesses.

And sure, we are crazy busy and sometimes it’s easier to order online from the comfort of our homes

So do it.

There are tons of small online business, so this Saturday check ’em out give em a chance.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Support Small Business Saturday– For Your Kids:

Over the years, Etsy has been one of my go-to’s for finding sweet and meaningful gifts, and I’ve come across a bunch of small businesses that I definitely want to share.

Etsy is a super place to start when you have a talent or totally rock a craft; we want our kids to know that if they have talents, they can follow them and even make money from them.

Start with Etsy.

support small business saturday--for your kids

Love To Create Stamps

I am a huge fan of the self-inking return address stamp.

I grabbed the return address label stamp that I use all of the time, modeled after the one below, from Todd of Love To Create Stamps.

small business saturday | teachmama.com

The cool thing? He’s giving teachmama.com readers a 15% discount to his shop. Use LOVETOSAVE .

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support small business saturday | teachmama faves

Studio Jewel, by The Bead Girl

Years and years ago I met Lisa at a blog conference, and immediately I fell for her simple, cool designs.

She worked with me to create my favorite initial necklace for my kids. I still wear it often and always I get complements on it when I do.

Check out her stacking mothers bangle bracelets. Love, love, love them.

support small business saturday--start here

Lisa is offering a 20% discount to teachmama.com readers with the code: TEACHMAMA20

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small business saturday | teachmama.com

Little Lady Bug Press | Christy Allison design

I have dreamed of having a holiday return address stamp for years, and this year? Well I treated myself to one like the one above. I literally danced around the kitchen when it arrived last week, in a sweet little burlap drawstring bag and looking exactly how I wanted it to. Woot!

Cannot wait to get those cards started this year!

small business saturday | teachmama.com

 

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small business saturday | teachmama.com

Cookin Cute:

I love Liz’s designs. I worked with cookincute to design the most beautiful apron for Maddy ever. I absolutely love it.

I knew what I wanted but didn’t see it in her shop.

So via email, we found a great pattern, the perfect color, and Maddy reaches for this apron any time she’s baking or cooking in the kitchen.  She also threw in a matching apron for her American Girl doll! Super fun.

 

small business saturday | teachmama

 

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small business saturday | teachmama.com

Uniquely Ordinary 

Last year, when Cora was on a ‘personalization’ kick, I ordered a bunch from this store.

Cindi created fabulous plastic straw cup with ‘Cora’ on it from this shop, and she loves it.   All I explained was, ‘I have a 5 yo girl who loves all girly things: hearts, stars, jewels, flowers.  If you could do it in pinks and maybe some black and white to up the cool factor, that’d be awesome. And the 16 oz tumbler we received was perfecto!

small business saturday | teachmama.com

 

 

small business saturday | teachmama.com

 

I also ordered a super cute personalized cake carrier for Maddy from this shop, and every time we use it, Maddy smiles.  This isn’t the one; we ordered a standard, rectangular cake saver that we love.

The cool thing? Cindi’s giving teachmama.com readers a 10% discount to her shop through the end of January. Use the code: blogger. Woot!

 

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small business saturday | teachmama.com

saffron and saege

Loraleigh creates the most fun pieces of jewelry—necklaces with anything you want, including sweet starfish, initials, animals, and more.

I ordered a gold hashtag necklace for myself this summer. I love it so much that I ordered one for my sister, who helps me so much with work. For anyone—blogger, virtual assistant, or hashtag maven, these are perfect and fun.

I love, love the prices here and variety–I think they’re great for just about anyone but know that Maddy and Cora would love anything from this shop!

small business saturday | teachmama.com

 

 

small business saturday | teachmama.com

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small business saturday | teachmama.com

Home of Gem

I love this shop’s simplicity and beauty–and I love the fact that Gem brings ‘old junk back to life’.  Every piece has a story, which is so awesome and fun.

All of the items here are completely unique, which I think always make super gifts and conversation pieces. Great gifts for weddings, anniversaries, and holidays. Birthdays and any day. Indoors and outdoors.

small business saturday | teachmama.com

small business saturday | teachmama.com

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small business saturday | teachmama.com

 

Baby Elephant

Need an adorable knit hat for your tiny ones? My sister turned me on to this shop which is run by one of my high school friends.

Colleen is one of the coolest gals I know. You will die for any of the things in her shop. The neat thing is that I vividly remember her mom knitting when we were young.  Love it.

small business saturday | teachmama.com

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small business saturday | teachmama.com

 

My sister is in love with Greyson + Cole for baby moccasins:

I want to eat my niece Ruby’s little legs. Especially with these teeny shoes.

small business saturday | greyson and cole small business saturday | teachmama.com

 

 

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And she also loves Sweet Lucy Jack for baby moccasins and headbands and cute hats:

 

small business saturday | teachmama.com

 

sweet lucy  teachmama.com

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What is your favorite small business? I’d love to hear it!

Many thanks for supporting these great businesses!

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out: 

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy