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Minimalist Parenting Downloadable Ebook Giveaway!

Minimalist Parenting Co-Authors Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest

Happy Wednesday! I know I promised a free printable for today (which I promise to have tomorrow!), but we ended up going to a last minute birthday dinner for a family friend and I didn’t have time to pull it all together properly. You understand, right? I love writing for this blog, but sometimes life throws some surprises to which I just have to say yes. 🙂

However, I have some wonderful news to share! I got an email yesterday from the lovely Mrs. Asha Dornfest. She is providing one lucky Paperseed reader with a free downloadable e-copy of her brand new book Minimalist Parenting! If you read what I wrote here, or read her blog Parent Hacks, then you know that I am a big fan and that this book is filled with quality information and tactics on modern parenting without all the fuss and bother (well, at least ways to minimize the fuss and bother!). I am really enjoying my copy and I know that you would, too!

Just leave a comment here on this post before Friday at 5pm PST. The lucky winner will be chosen using random.org and notified via email (so be sure to provide one). Since the prize is digital, this giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. Best of luck!

Update: Charlotte is the Minimalist Parenting Ebook giveaway winner! I will be emailing you shortly with the code. Congratulations!!!

 


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Free Printable Gift Tags for Boys

Good Morning Friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Is it Tuesday already? I’ve been a little slow getting back into the swing of things due to a little back-end blog trouble, but I think it might be fixed. Hooray!!

Today I wanted to share with you some printable gift tags I made this weekend. Chloe had a birthday party to attend on Saturday for a male classmate. After finding a gift bag from our party box, I remembered (again!) that all of our gift tags are girly and feminine – no boy themed ones at all. In the past I’ve resorted to using a sticky note, but this time I created some “boy” appropriate tags instead.

Could you use some boy themed gift tags too? We are happy to share! Just download the pdf at the bottom of this post.

Free Printable Gift Tags for Boys

Free Printable Gift Tags for Boys

Free Printable Gift Tags for Boys

What do you think? Will they come in handy? They aren’t strictly boy, as you can see. The colored bunting flags and the ombre-style “Happy Birthday” text versions could just as easily be used for both genders. And some girls like trucks and dinosaurs and circus tents, too, right?

Click here to download the Gift Tags for Boys PDF or click on the image below. For best printed results use your printer dialogue box to choose the “high quality” setting. On the colorful ones I used my old Crop-A-Dile to add some silver grommets as a finishing touch, but realized a hole punch alone looks just as good. Enjoy!

Free printable happy birthday party gift tags for boys download pdf

P.S. The icons are from the free font LoKinderDingsBum. They have some super cute dingbats. You can find it here.


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Flashlight Valentine Card: Making it your own

I’ve gotten several lovely comments on the Flashlight Valentine Card printable, including one from Melissa. She wrote:

These are so cute! I was sitting here trying to design my own cards for flashlights. Nothing was working so off to Google I went for new ideas and bam I found your post. Thanks for the download. You saved my afternoon.

Isn’t that so nice? So then, on a whim, I replied with my thanks and mentioned how I’d love to see her end result, if she felt like sharing. To my delight, she followed up soon after with these two photos and a reply:

Hi Emily.  Attached is a couple pictures of what we did.  I had found the flashlights in town.  Loved how cute your finger ones were.  The kids were so excited to give them to their friends – I have 3.  I had been struggling all week trying to find just the right font.  So I was very excited to find your printable.  I didn’t have white card stock since I had planned on printing the ones I created on a kraft colored paper.  The colors would have been more vibrant had I used white card stock.  But I still like how they turned out. Thanks again for sharing your work.

Well, those words made my day! And also, I found it very interesting to see how Melissa chose to use a hole punch and secure her mini-flashlights with curling ribbon. I think they turned out great! Neat!

Thanks again, Melissa, for taking the time to share your project and for allowing me to share it too! 🙂

 

 


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Light Up Valentines + Free Printable PDF

Chloe worked on her Valentine cards right after breakfast this morning. I had designed these cards a few weeks back, knowing I had a stash of tiny finger flashlights for her to give away. These super bright LED Finger Flashlights are about 20¢ each when you buy a set on Amazon. Keeping their size in mind, I made a similar-sized flashlight with a heart and then included the phrase “You Light Up My Life Valentine.” Interestingly, this is the first time I felt like typefaces failed me. None of them looked quite right, so I ended up handwriting it and then scanning it in. Much better!

Here’s what the cards look like freshly printed:

This is what the packages of finger flashlights look like:

If you decide to add a finger light onto a card, use an x-acto knife to cut a small tab near the middle of the printed flashlight, like shown. Then slide the elastic loop onto the tab. Like this:

Continue Reading →


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Two New Years Resolutions

I was thinking about New Years Resolutions last night. When January first initially rolled around, I kinda thought maybe I would just forget about resolutions this year. I always write the same things and only have so-so luck with actually accomplishing any of it. Sad, I know. But I read a few blogs, got inspired, and then started thinking about it again. That is the thing I really like about blogs I read – they’re so inspirational. I miss getting to read them as often as I used to.

For example, one of the first things that I’d love to “fix” is our office. It is a freakin’ mess. Like a bomb blew up in there. It doesn’t even look like it belongs to the rest of our house. When people come over, we make sure to shut the door immediately. I wish it wasn’t like that. There was a time when it was a calm space, fairly neat and organized. A place where David and I spent the majority of our time together (this was pre-kids). Now it is a dumping ground for odds and ends, papers that need filing, coupons that get lost, and every other thing that has no home. It’s also where both our computers are, which is probably why I am never on mine any more. I can hardly see it through the clutter (and David has the luxury of using his work laptop in other portions of the house).

I’d love to say “My new years resolution is to organize the office.” But, I won’t. Because I’m not sure I will. I’ll think about it, though, and usually tidy it up a bit, especially if I know my mother-in-law is coming for a visit. The truth is, I don’t really care about the office. It won’t ever be kid friendly, due to all the electronics and cords, David’s fly-tying supplies, and heavy things on our expedit bookshelf. David doesn’t even want the office anymore. He’d rather tear it out and make it back into the garage (which I still can’t imagine). So, you see, if I said it would be a resolution, I would be setting myself up for failure.

Not this year.

Instead, last night laying in bed at 9pm, I came up with two simple, solid resolutions (with possibly a third to come).

1. Pare down.
2. Appreciate.

We have a lot of stuff. I love stuff! I love giving stuff and finding stuff and getting stuff (have I mentioned I got some of the most wonderful Christmas gifts ever this year?). Now it is time to get rid of stuff – the broken stuff, the no longer useful stuff, the stuff that just needs to go. Most importantly, both David and I need to follow through by taking it out of the house, and not just leaving piles hidden in closets labeled “Goodwill.”

“Appreciate” is mostly directed toward my family, especially my husband. He is so wonderful, and does so much for our family. He’s an occasional handyman, cook, mechanic, dishwasher, house cleaner, builder, entertainer and more all in one. Sometimes I forget how amazing he is (lack of sleep makes me forgetful – if I wrote “get more sleep” it would also set up for failure, since my sleep is now dictated by the night wakings of our toddler). I want to be appreciative of so much more as well – my friends, our health, our home. I am one of the luckiest people in the world, and I want to remember that.

So there it is. Two perfectly doable resolutions that I actually want to accomplish. No dreading tasks or procrastination. These are ongoing goals that can be done anytime, in big ways and small ways, that will always make a difference.

Here’s to a blessed New Year for all of us!

P.S. You can download printable 4×6″ pdfs files just by clicking the images above. I plan to hang them inside my closet as a reminder. 🙂

 

 

 


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Food Storage Organization + Free Kitchen Label Printable

Somedays I’ll imagine what it might be like years from now, when the baby and preschooler cease to create havoc and destruction wherever they go. I imagine actually being able to “style” the rooms, instead of keeping all surfaces kid-friendly (or kid-cluttered). For now, I get my kicks occasionally sneaking peaks at I heart organizing (I did this with our DVDs right away!) and Centsational Girl. They’re great for inspiration and little boosts of motivation.

A while ago I noticed how ridiculous the base corner unit in our kitchen was getting. Its an Ikea Rationell lazy susan that holds mostly canned and some bulk dry goods, plus odds and ends like coffee and reusable containers. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I cleaned it out. There was spilled salt (did we really need the 10lb Costco bag?) crusting in leaked cooking oil, and speaking of oil – every single bottle down there was expired. Hmm. Guess it was time for a cleaning!

I was surprised how quick it went. Like any good anti-clutter/cleaning project I pulled everything out and wiped everything down. I sealed up the salt, tossed all the oil and expired items, then divided items by category. I found 10 main categories – Veggies, Fruits, Beans, Tomatoes (diced, paste, etc.), Soups, Meats, Sauces, Condiments, Dry Goods and Plasticware. Everything was placed back on the racks in its designated spot. To make future sorting even easier, I spent some of the kids’ naptime making kitchen labels. What is it about a label that makes everything seem so neat and official?

Do you have a Rationell unit or need some handy labels? Feel free to download this pdf. The first page is pre-labeled and the second page is blank so you can personalize as you need. Enjoy!

Kitchen Label Download (53kb)

 

 


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Halloween Activity Printables

We are preparing for a big trip next week. To help pass the time for Chloe, I’ve been printing some worksheets and activities. Education.com has lots of Halloween-themed printables (and other seasonal activities) that can be filtered by holiday and grade level. Here are a few samples:


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Free Halloween Wall Art Printables

Its October! Only 31 days until Halloween! My girl has been asking about it for months. She loves dress up and, of course, there is nothing like trick-or-treating. We’ve picked up a few things from the dollar store to decorate with, but here are three fun signs you can download and print right from your computer: Eat, Drink and Be Scary, I Love Halloween, and Trick or Treat.


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*Happy Birthday Bingo Game* – Free Party Printable

Oh! I just realized I’ve never shared the printable birthday party bingo game that I made for Chloe’s 3rd “Rubber Duck” birthday party! The bingo game was a hit, especially because it was easy to do with a big group and even the parents could participate. We used Chloe’s set of washable Dots and Dashes Paint, but I’ve seen real “Bingo” markers at the dollar store, too.

*** Click here to download Happy Birthday Bingo PDF 779 kB ***

To play, cut out the squares on pages 1 and 2 (shown above). These are the call out cards. The caller piles the cards face-down and calls out one image at a time, allowing enough time for all players to check and see if they have a match. If they do, they mark that image on their bingo card. Once a player has found all 9 images and calls out “Bingo!,” that player wins! There are 12 unique bingo cards in all.

This is fun to play as a family, too. Just cut off the portion that says “Happy Birthday Bingo” and you’re good to go. 🙂

Enjoy!

For more of our party details see Rubber Duck Party part 1 or part 2 or the flickr set.


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DIY Baby Mustache Pacifier + Printable Template PDF

Doesn’t it seem like the majority of the really cute “make for baby” projects are geared toward girls? I was reviewing the baby craft tutorial list and saw only a few for little boys. That got me thinking. What would be a fun and easy project to make for the baby?

How about mustache pacifiers!

These are hilarious. I’ve included the above printable pdf to download with several different styles. Handlebar mustache, anyone? Or perhaps a curling fu manchu? There are both Soothies and Avent pacifiers in our house, so that is what I used for sizing. You can cut the shapes straight from the printed sheet or use the template to cut the mustaches out of felt, as I did. Double stick tape worked well, although, if your child is older, you may want to do a better job of securing it, perhaps with hot glue or super glue.

Score one more for the boys club!

Common sense precaution: These are just a novelty. You probably shouldn’t leave your child unattended while using a mustache pacifier.

Copyright Note: Downloads are for personal, non-commercial use only. In addition, please do not redistribute or modify any of the templates. If you’d like to link to the pdf, please link to this post directly. Thanks!


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Updated Tutorial & Printables List

I updated my Downloads + Tutorials page (see link under the header bar) with all the project tutorials and printable pdfs I’ve included on this blog. Hopefully they’ll be easier to find and use all in one place. Here are some:

1. DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea_2b.jpg, 2. Paper-Wrapped Jewelry Organizer, 3. bird magnets1.jpg, 4. Free Printable Valentine Flower card, 5. Chocolate Gift Jar Oreos.jpg, 6. Baby bib, 7. Halloween “Cauldron Bubbles” Treat, 8. IMG_7332.JPG, 9. “Dad” Father’s Day Card, 10. Cute Baby Hair Clips, 11. Holiday Gift tags, 12. Printable Holiday Gift Wrap, 13. Printable Holiday Cheer game board, 14. Felt photo album cover, 15. Vinyl Record Bowl, 16. Modern Happy Holidays Card


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DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea + Template

I finally joined the ranks of the many iPhone carrying mamas this week. After constantly reaching for my husband’s iPhone, “borrowing” it during travels, and having him phone me while I’m out to tell me I received a work email that needs attention, I figured it was high time I got my own. Call me a brainwashed consumer, fine, but ask me what the weather is going to be, directions to the nearest coffee shop, or which apps are best for entertaining toddlers, and I’ll be able to show you with the touch of a button.

Brand spankin’ new out of the box, the new iPhone 4 is a pretty sight – shiny, hefty and fingerprint-free. But that doesn’t last – at least for me. Not only is the iPhone shared by my toddler, but just three days after I got it, I forgot and left it on my lap after a phone call in the car. When I got out of the car, it dropped off my lap and onto the pavement, chipping tragically in 3 places. Very sad indeed.

So, I got to thinking – how can I make an inexpensive, temporary bumper to protect my new investment while waiting the 4-6 weeks for the free case from Apple to arrive in the mail? A quick search pulled up this idea, but I don’t own one of those rubber “Live Strong” bracelets. Next I tried modifying this free template from case-mate, originally designed for the iPhone 3Gs. It didn’t fit. Then, I remembered a sheet of adhesive craft foam I picked up at the craft store (was it Michaels?) for about $1. Perfect!

How to make your own iPhone 4 bumper:

1. Cut a strip of adhesive or “sticky back” craft foam 12mm wide (.47 inch) using a ruler and an X-Acto knife. Although the iPhone 4 is only 9.3mm (0.37 inch) thick, this gives about a 1mm (0.04 inch) overhang on both the face and the back of the iPhone to act as a buffer during impact.

Ideally, you’d be able to cut just one strip about 345mm (13.58 inches) long to wrap completely around the perimeter, but since my foam sheet was letter-sized, I had to do it in two pieces.

2. Cut out holes within your strip: approx. 47mm x 5 mm (1.85″ x 0.196″) for the speakers and dock connector, 30mm x 5mm (1.18″ x 0.196″) for the volume and ring/vibrate controls, and 7mm x 5mm (0.275″ x 0.196″) for the headphone jack (7mm x 5mm). I left the on/off switch covered, which doesn’t affect it’s usage.

3. Carefully remove the backing and apply it to the sides of the iPhone, keeping about a 1mm overhang on each edge (centering the foam on the steel antenna band as neatly as possible) . If you need to, join two separate pieces to completely cover the perimeter, slightly pulling on the foam to stretch it only if you need to bridge the gap where the pieces join.

And there you have it, a cheap and easy DIY alternative to the more expensive bumpers for sale. Even better, craft foam sheets come in a rainbow of colors (I just happened to only have black and white on hand). While possibly not ideal, it is working great so far (with no dropped calls).

Not sure where to cut out all the appropriate holes? Try this free bumper template.


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Free Holiday Gift Tags – Updated Colors

I was hoping to make a brand new set of gift tags to give away this year, but time just seems to be slipping away! Instead, please enjoy this updated color set, or feel free to download the original color set. Why buy tags when you can download and print them for free?!

Also, the following downloads are still available from previous years:

……

Holiday Gift Checklist 2007 / Happy Holidays Card / Printable Snowflake Giftwrap

…

Holiday Gift Tags / Holiday Cheer Board Game / From Me to You for the Holidays

…

Little Bird Notecard Set / Snowflake Placecards


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Make Your Own Last-Minute Father's Day Card

As usual, I put off making David a Father’s Day card until the very last minute. Being his very first Father’s Day as a father, I didn’t want to just let it go, either, so I whipped up this card with a few minutes to spare. As you can probably see from the photo, I took a blank card and cut the word “Dad” out with an exacto knife. Then I glued some colored paper behind it to make it pop. Normally, pink wouldn’t have been my first choice, but being a last minute project didn’t make for many options. I figured David was man enough to handle it anyhow. Want to make your own? You can download and print this pdf template (originally sized for a 5×7 card).


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Free gift to you (or someone else!)

Download and print these free notecards! (see below)

Okay, I know this post was supposed to fall on Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day will have to do. I’m working on a borrowed laptop (thank you, Andrew), because the operating system and software on our old laptop was more versions back than we thought. Oops.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all of you out there in blog land. It is snowing here in Colorado where I am visiting with my husband’s family for the holidays. My first white Christmas in a long time. It is warm and cozy in the house though, with a fire going in the wood stove. We went to Christmas mass this morning and sang many traditional songs, which was fun. Now we’re waiting for David’s brother Eric, and his wife, Liza, and son, Paolo, to arrive. Their United flight was cancelled because the crew “just didn’t show up.” Can you believe that? Luckily United placed them on a similar flight through Continental, even though they had to layover. What’s worse, when they arrived at the airport they found that their bag with all the Christmas gifts had gotten lost. Sad. But the important thing is that they arrived safetly and are on their way.

Today marks the final day of my free weekly holiday posts. Thanks to everyone who left nice comments. I am so glad to hear that each pdf was so well received. As a final gift, today’s free download-and-print pdf is for a set of 3 Little Bird Notecards. One each of “Thank You,” “Happy Birthday,” and “Hello.” These are notecards that can be used throughout the year, not just during the holidays. Also, for those of you who are scrambling to come up with a last minute stocking stuffer, these could be great! Just print out a couple sets on cardstock, trim and wrap with ribbon and you are all set!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!


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Free Holiday Cheer Board Game

Holiday Cheer Game

Holiday Cheer Board Game – download free pdf here

A couple of weeks ago while I was shopping at Michael’s I made several spur of the moment holiday purchases, including 2 foamy-style rubber-stamp blocks and 3 packages of epoxy stickers. I have no idea what made me pick these items up because I don’t stamp, or use stickers (much). There was just something pretty and tactile about them that made reach out and place them on the check stand. (Actually, I was just going to buy one stamp, but it didn’t have a sku tag, so the checkout girl asked if I could grab another. Then I heard myself saying “I’ll just take that one, too”). Thank goodness they didn’t cost much!

So I’ve had these foamy stamp blocks on my desk for a while now. David asked me why I bought them and I guiltily mumbled something about probably returning them, or using them for… something. Later, I found myself tossing one around and noticing how it bounced merrily before settling. Then I thought Eureka! I could design a holiday game for my nephew with it! (Okay, so I didn’t say Eureka!, but that word perfectly described how I felt. As in: Whew! If I can make something useful/fun, then I can be excused for making an impulse buy. After all, it must have been fate at work that day, right?).

This picture is misleading. These are the two stamps I bought, but only one is used for the game.

How to Play: Here was my thought process. The foamy stamp block would work like a die that you roll (there is a snowman side, a snowflake side, a kid’s face, the words “Let it Snow,” and two blank sides). Whatever lands face up is the icon that you’d move your game piece forward to on the board. Sounds pretty easy right? The only kicker is that when you roll a blank side you lose that turn and don’t get to move forward. I designed the whole game board with this idea in mind.

I should mention here that I don’t know anything about three and a half year old boys, or any kids at all for that matter (although two of my good friends are now expecting!). Paolo, our nephew, lives in Austin and we rarely see him. I could be totally wrong about skills at that age or his interest in something like this. However, the other night when I explained this game to Marcy, she said it sounded like Candyland, which I looked up and is rated for ages 3+, which is perfect.

To make a long story short, you can download my Holiday Cheer Game here. It’s pretty large, with a full size of 17 x 22″ so it has to be printed out (or tiled) in four sections if you’re printing it out on regular letter-sized paper, like I did. Then I pasted the sheets to a larger piece of thin cardstock for durability/foldability.

Playing Cards: Unless you happen to find the same stamp block at Michael’s, the best way to play is to print out a second set of pages and cut out the squares from the game board to use as cards. Instead of rolling a die, you would set the stack of “cards” face down and each player would draw a card and then move his or her game piece forward to the nearest icon indicated. You would also have to cut out some “blank” cards to use as “lose a turn.”

Holiday Cheer Game

These are the simple plastic playing pieces I made . I would have preferred something more 3D, but they seem to work okay.

Game Pieces: I made game pieces out of Shrinky Dinks plastic (I am having such fun with that stuff!), but any small objects will do. Playing pieces from another game, a set of erasers, coins, bottle caps or anything that will fit on the squares should work.

Advanced Play: Depending on the level of the players, you can make the game harder by adding additional rules. For example, instead of two players sharing a square, maybe the original player gets kicked off his space and moved backward to the nearest same icon. Or maybe he moves all the way back to start! It’s up to you.

Have fun!


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Free Holiday Gift Tags

Free Holiday Gift Tags

What happened to this past week? I could swear I blinked and suddenly it’s Monday. I’m happy to report that the working from home business has picked up quite a bit in the last few weeks (thus hardly any real posts from me). However, I was able to whip up a page of free holiday gift tags to share with everyone tonight. I printed the set shown above on plain white cardstock from our laser printer and I have to admit they turned out pretty damn good for such a short turnaround. Hope you guys enjoy them too!

Download the above pdf with outlines or this pdf for a version with cropmarks.

Be sure to check out the other free downloads listed at the top right sidebar if you haven’t already!

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