Father’s Day Gift Ideas

We’ve gathered a few fun Father’s Day Gift ideas for you.

It will be here before you know it, (June 17th) so these ideas should help!

Father's Day Gift Ideas


I’ve always loved these ‘All About’ pages. The Crafting Chicks created one for both Dad and Grandpa!



Below are some prints from our Etsy shop.

Send us your favorite photo and we will upload it into the print and personalize it for you. 

An 8×10 is only $15 and a 5×7 is only $10.

Father's Day Prints2


Make It and Love It made these cute ties with fabric, but they could easily be made with paper as well. You could fill them with candy, stuff for the grill or maybe a gift card in the midst of his favorite things.



I love this basket full of goodies from Delightful Order. She also has free printables to go along with it.

Father's Day Basket


You have probably seen this done already, but it’s a fun idea for dad or grandpa. This was one of our Father’s Day gifts to my husband last year. Purchase wood letters from the craft store, spray paint them any color you’d like and take pictures of your cute kids holding the letters!



I found this beautiful picture from Art and Design studio on Etsy. They also have other pictures that you can personalize.

baseball Etsy


This would make a fun gift that you could have the kids help you do. Creative Maven (via Tip Junkie) gives you instructions on how to make rubs for the grill. She also has free printables to attach to the containers.



If you have never created anything over at Paper Coterie you must check out their cute stuff! I love their Coilbound Collection. I’m thinking about getting the ‘All About My Dad’ book for my kids to make for my husband. And right now if you use the code DADSDAY you can get 60% off your  order! Sweet!



Of course if my husband had it his way he would be opening up a card with one of these in it. Sorry hon, as much as I’d love to be able to do that for you, it’s just not gonna happen. ;)



Ten teacher gift Ideas

10 teacher gift ideas

There are a lot of lucky children on the East Coast that have already started their summer vacation, but for those of us that live in the Northwest, we will be in school until almost the end of June! So, while a lot of you have given your teacher gifts already, this post is for those of us that are just now thinking about the end of the school year.

This cute ‘Thanks A Latte’ card from eighteen25 is perfect for the coffee loving teachers.

thanks a latte


I love this grill gift idea from Mom On Time Out. The men would love this one…and probably some women too!

grill gift


Our teacher tree printable would make a great add on to any gift. You can print it for free here or personalize it by purchasing it here.

Teacher Appreciaion Gift Framed


I actually made similar bags last year like these ones below. They were a hit with the teachers. Check out The 36th Avenue to see how to make them.

36th Teacher7

If you are crafty, this would make a fun addition to any teacher’s desk. How Does She gives you step by step instructions on how easy it is to make.

paper and pen holder

This bag makes me smile. Of course it’s from Martha Stewart, so that’s ‘It’s a good thing’!

red teacher bag

How about some cash for that favorite teacher of yours? The Crafting Chicks say this was a huge hit with the teachers!


Tatertots & Jello created this cute printable tag. I love the wording on these tags!


What teacher wouldn’t love this tote full of beach stuff? Skip To My Lou has some great ideas to fill a bag like the one below.

teacher appreciation beach bag

Or make it a bit more simple and just wrap up a new beach towel and a magazine. Go to The Rachel Berry Blog to see how she made these cute gifts.

towel teacher

I’m adding one more (which makes it 11 gifts) but I thought I would remind you of the tiered platter I posted last week. I think it would make a great gift as well. Fill it with some goodies and it would be even better! Click here to see how to make it.

DIY Tiered Platters 

I hope this list helps to give you some ideas. We should all be thanking our teachers for everything they do for our children! Thank you Mrs. C & Mrs. V! 


10 teacher gift ideas

Cowboy Caviar- RECIPE FAVORITE!!!


Good Morning Friends!! Before I share with you one of my FAVORITE Summertime BBQ Recipes, I want to deliver a special message to my friend and blogging partner in crime, to the FABULOUS and AMAZING, CRAFTY and CLEVER, FUN and BEAUTIFUL, SILLY and SWEET, LOVING and STRONG……


Hope you have a GREAT BIRTHDAY!!!

And now back to business!

This is one of my favorite additions to bring to ANY BBQ! I love chips and dip but am NOT a hug salsa fan (I know, I know, so WEIRD) mainly because I am not a huge tomato fan. But this dip has a lot of healthy ingredients, great flavor and only a small amount of tomatoes! 

Here is a list of your ingredients:

1 can black eye peas (drained)

1 can shoe peg corn (drained)

2 avocados chopped

1 tomato chopped

2/3 C chopped onion


Garlic Salt (to taste)


1 tsp. cumin

1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar

1/4 C Olive Oil 

Simply mix your veggies, mix your dressing and combine!!! YUMMY!!!


*I substituted the shoe peg corn for whole kernel corn in this photo because my grocery store was out and I was in a rush, but honestly I could tell I a difference, the shoe peg just holds up better. BUT if you have never had the shoe peg,  you won’t know the difference and can TOTALLY just use whole kernel corn!



SERIOUSLY! You gotta try this one! I am usually TOLD that is what I will be bringing to summertime bbq’s!

Don’t forget to wish Jenny a Happy Birthday!!!


Let’s all take a moment at 3pm today

Memorial Day is a day to remember and give thanks to our soldiers who have laid down their lives to defend our country.

We’d like to extend our thanks for all who have served, with a special remembrance to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting our country.

Carson Navy Suit (5 of 9)

In December 2000, a law was passed requiring all Americans to have a National Moment of Remembrance. It asks, at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, for all Americans to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and Respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.

Let’s take a moment at 3pm today to remember the soldiers that have laid their lives down for us. But, more importantly, let’s take a moment to PRAY for all of our soldiers and loved ones that are still fighting for our freedom today!

Carson Navy Suit (1 of 9)

~Jenny & Jess

I recently took the pictures above of my son. My grandfather was in the Navy and this was a uniform that both my uncle and my dad wore around the same age as my son above. My dad was cleaning out some boxes and found this uniform. It just happened to be perfect timing as it fit my son perfectly. We surprised my dad with a collage of pictures wearing his uniform. Needless to say, he loved them and they will be forever cherished. ~Jenny

Carson Navy Suit (3 of 9)

diy tiered Platter–Makes a great Gift too!

Click Here To See The Winner Of The Mom Connection Book

I know, I know there are a lot of these DIY tiered platters out in blogland, but I really like mine, so I wanted to share.

In fact, I actually made the one below for teacher appreciation week. The teachers got to put tickets into baskets for different items that were being raffled off. My friend happened to be running the raffle and she said this platter was a big hit with the teachers! Hmmm…possible teacher gift? You could make some cookies with your kids and wrap them up cute to put on the platter!

DIY Tiered Platters

I’ve made a couple of different platters and I’ve definitely found my favorite stand to use in between the plates. The platter above has a small and a medium sized glass candle holder. I found them at Walmart for around $2 to $3. It is definitely the sturdiest one that I have used and is now my favorite. The plates were from Target and also between $2 to $3, which means this platter will cost you only about $10 to $15 to make yourself.

What you will need:

- 2 plates and a bowl (or 3 plates). I am always looking at the clearanced melamine plates at Target. Always cute.

- candle sticks (either wood like the ones below or my favorite, sturdy glass ones from Walmart.)

- E-6000 glue

- paint (optional for wood candle sticks)

PlumAdorable.com  (4 of 11)


I think the rest is pretty self-explanatory. If you have the wood candlesticks, you could paint them to match your plates. Then simply take your candle sticks and center them in the middle of the plates and glue them on. Once you have it all glued together I suggest you put a can of food on top to weight it down. Let it sit over night so that it dries really good.

DIY Tiered Platters2


The last one I made with the glass candle sticks I put rocks inside of it. It’s hard to see in the other finished platter pictures, but it’s cute!

DIY Tiered Platters (1 of 1) (2)

I put the bigger candle stick on the bottom and the smaller one on the top.

DIY Tiered Platters (1 of 1)-2

Here is one I made with a solid plate on the bottom.

DIY Tiered Platters (1 of 2)

I can’t wait to see what the next set of melamine plates will be at Target. I already know who will be getting the next platter!

DIY Tiered Platters


More Pallet Sign ideas

I wanted to share a couple more pallet signs I’ve created.

Click here to see how easy it is to make these cute signs. 

I created these first two for Mother’s Day.

Palette Signs Grandparents (2 of 3)

Palette Signs Grandparents (1 of 3)

I made the sign below for my daughter’s school. This year their librarian started a garden that will help provide fresh food for those in need. The whole school will eventually be a part of taking care of this garden.

I think it turned out cute! It’s a bit bigger than the signs I’ve made in the past (24×18 inches) but I really like it with the points on it to give it a ‘fence’ look. This would be simple to make following these same instructions, just don’t cut off the tips!

Palette Signs Grandparents (3 of 3)

Jess and I have been busy this month!

But, as always we have lots of things to share, so stayed tuned!


Summer Inspiration


This past week here in Western Washington has been GORGEOUS! And I don’t just mean a “nice” few days, we are talking birds singing, sun shining, gentle breeze a blowing, topping out at 80, crisp clear perfectly blue skies, snow-capped mountains in the background, BEAUTIFUL kind of days!! These are the days that I live for here!! These are the days that all Washingtonians live for, the reason we endure 300 days of rain for ( I MIGHT be exaggerating on that a teeny tiny bit!).

Now that we are getting  closer to summer break, my kids are already starting to make some plans for their school-less days!! My daughter is super excited for an Auntie Sissy date! I promised her that we would get together, just she and I, with my younger sister for a girl’s date day and she has not stopped asking me when we are going to do that! My son is super excited for days at the lake or beach, and Martial Arts Summer Camp. They are both excited to hit the Oregon coast for our annual family vacation and of course for Family Camping trips (they are DEFINITELY more excited for this than me).

One of the blogs that I really enjoy reading, Sunny Side Up, has a great summer tradition that they do each year. They make out a list at the beginning of each summer of all the things they hope to accomplish and as they do them, they check them off! I am seriously thinking of doing this with our family, I think it will be a lot of fun!! Here is a sample of Erin’s Summer Schedule from Sunny Side Up’s blog from last year.


Some of the things are super simple and others are more challenging – like I would struggle with making sock puppets and putting on a puppet show!  But I know we will be going to the library tons, doing tons of play dates, park dates, and eating LOTS of popsicles! I LOVE the simplicity behind it too, nothing too fancy – just good ol summer fun!!!

I did want to share one idea with you all that our church does each summer, we call it Life in the Park and we pick a day each week (this summer we are doing Wednesdays) and then we pick a local (within a 30 mile radius or so) park and meet up there each week! SO each Wednesday during the summer at 11 am we are meeting at a different park in the area for at least a couple of hours. We pack lunches and us mommies (sometimes dads, grandmas, whoever) spread out all our blankets and spend a few hours each week talking and hanging out while the kids are running around having a blast. We try to mix up the parks too so that we have water areas to play at, hiking areas if you want to hike and just good ole’ fashion playground equipment. It is one of my favorite things about summer! You can totally do this too with your church group, your MOPS group, your preschool group, your neighborhood friends – whatever! Go for it!

Summer doesn’t officially kick off for us here until almost the end of June, school is out June 21st, so still a month to go…but the weather today definitely has me getting me excited!!

This is the view from my front yard – looking up from the grass into the tree in my yard. Such a gorgeous day!! See what I mean- makes the rainy days totally worth it!!!!



Another favorite summer activity for my kiddos are dinner picnics at the park! And I love it too because I make it as easy on myself as possible! There is an AWESOME park near us that has a couple different playgrounds, hiking, fishing pond, ball fields, (there used to be a petting zoo), a huge flower garden you can tour, just a beautiful place to go (and it is totally FREE), and VERY close by that park is a Little Caesars! SO we swing in and get a hot and ready pizza for $5.99, I bring some apples or grapes or whatever fruit is handy and some water bottles and we have a very cheap, very easy, very FUN dinner picnic at the park! I keep a large blanket in the back of my car just for the purpose of picnics or whatever other emergency might crop up and I don’t even bother with paper plates (this is SO NOT LIKE ME- OCD, TYPE A personality momma! and I think that is one reason why my kids love it so much!).

We just had our first dinner picnic at the park last weekend and it was PERFECT!!

So what are some of your summer traditions? What are you most looking forward to? Other than sleeping in? And no homework? And the sun?


Potluck Main Dish Lifesaver


So I don’t know if any of you have come across this scenario or not, but this seems to be what always happens to us at church/school/neighborhood/MOPS picnic/wherever potlucks – our last name begins with P, so somehow we are 99% of the time asked to bring a main dish (You know when ever the potluck is one that is broken down alphabetically by last name as to what you are supposed to bring).  And I ALWAYS struggle to  come up with something to bring  because I don’t want to cook for 100 people and EVERYONE is already bringing chili or lasagna or enchiladas!

And we have to throw into the mix here that my  kids are pretty picky too! So they of course WILL NOT be eating any of the other main dishes that consist of Chili, lasagna or enchiladas. And somehow there always also seems to be about 50 different salads to choose from (and my kids won’t touch those either!). So now they are stuck eating chips, a few carrots I was able to sneak onto their plates, and  hopefully someone brought some fruit too! 

About a year ago, one of the lovely ladies from our church clued me into the BEST potluck idea EVER!

And here are the reasons why it is now my favorite Main Dish Potluck Item!

1. I don’t have to actually COOK it! (just heat it up!)

2. My kids will FOR SURE eat it (and so will about 98% of ALL the other kids! Don’t even bother to ask where I am coming up with these statistics, totally making this up as I go!)

3. There are NEVER leftovers that I am forced to eat (I really don’t care much for left overs, ESPECIALLY if they sat out half the day at a potluck and WHO KNOWS who touched it, sneezed on it, coughed on it – clearly you get the picture, and CLEARLY, I have issues!)

4.  Did I mention how little PREP WORK (AKA COOKING) there is for this? NOT MUCH!!!


So my SECRET Potluck Main dish Lifesaver is…….





Yep! Hot DOGS! In the crock pot! Easiest thing EVER!!!!

My 5 quart crock pot will fit 60 hot dogs standing on their ends. Just put them on low for 4 hours or high for 2, add a bit of water (although I have been told you can do it without the water too!), put a lid on it and you are good to go! Don’t forget the buns and Ketchup!!! 

And no, I never mentioned healthy in my list of reasons why I love bringing them. And to be honest, my hubby and I are NOT hot dog fans so we don’t buy them for our house so my kids think they are kind of a treat to get.

  1. Ooh, Another hint is to grab some of the chili that another main dish-er made and you’ve got your self a chili dog at the potluck!



Book Review and a Giveaway

 The winner of the Mom Connection Book is…Angela! We will notify you via email.

If you have read our blog for any length of time now, you know that Jenny and I are both big readers and that we both have  a love for MOPS- Mothers of Preschoolers. Jenny and I have both served in leadership roles in our local Mops groups over the years and have been HUGELY blessed by the program. I honestly don’t know what I would have done with myself and my two little babies when I first moved here had it not been for Mops.

When I first found Mops, I literally knew one person in my town and I had a one year old and a one week old! And I had NO idea what I was doing with those precious babies!! And I honestly thought that Mops was for women when your kids STARTED preschool! But no, it is an awesome program from your first pregnancy to when your youngest enters 1st grade. If you want more info, or to find a Mops program in your area, check out www.Mops.org.

I am rambling on and on about Mops because that is where our book comes from. Mops International put out a post on their Facebook page looking for blogging moms to read and review the next Mops theme book, Mom Connection by Tracey Bianchi. I quickly signed up! Because not only do I get to read and review the book but they sent me a copy to give away to you guys too!!! They are pretty cool like that!

And I will be totally honest (since this is just between you and I right?!) I really really really LOVE to read, EXCEPT for when I HAVE to! Then I struggle…I can read fiction until the cows come home! (What does that expression EVEN mean, I don’t have cows!) but when it comes to growth books, books that will actually teach me something, well…like I said I struggle.

BUT I totally  loved this one! And I am not JUST saying that. I would have no problem telling you if I didn’t. Tracey Bianchi does a wonderful job including humor and honesty, enough to make me laugh out loud (and get weird looks from the rest of the family) and then nod my head in total agreement because I TOTALLY struggle with THAT too! But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you what the book is about…

“Parenting young children is an all-consuming task that can make you feel disconnected and, honestly, a bit fragmented. But having kids shouldn’t mean you rarely get to complete a conversation with a friend!  In this witty, encouraging book, Tracey Bianchi shows us how to cultivate deeper friendships that challenge us to grow, create healthy, life- giving rhythms for our families and connect and give back to wider world beyond our doors.”

So I totally LOVED the intro to this book because I connected to it on SO many levels… Here are a couple of my favorite quotes just from page 1~!

“I totally text people while playing hide and seek with my kids. That, or try to sneak a two-minute nap. Lying in the bathtub I hear echoes and shrieks rising through the floor. They are still downstairs. I close my eyes and try to breathe deep while plastic bath toys poke my lower back.”

Bianchi goes on to explain that one of the greatest complaints of our generation is how stressed and busy we are and how we put a lot of that stress on our selves. We are the ones who control the rhythm of our families and as moms we are at the forefront of those controls most of the time. She brings up a lot of good points- how do we want our families and friends to remember us? What legacy are we leaving behind for our kids? She talks about the people we encounter, the relationships we build and how we can “gracefully engage” those around us instead of treating them like items on a checklist. Taking the time to invest in our community, build and foster healthy marriages, and vibrant friendships rather than trudging through motherhood feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Each chapter ends with Five Mom Tested Tips (practical idea, a prayer, an idea to journal about) and then you are presented with 2 questions to reflect on (loved this part too!) and then she lists at least 5 great reference points for you about the info in the previous chapter.  I really appreciated the “extras”, it helped to engage in the book and reflect on key areas.

Here are a few of my other favorites quotes too!

  • “Motherhood, rather than calming our fears, launches us into an entirely new arena of competition. One of the mentor moms at my MOPS group (in her 50’s) once said to me, “I feel sorry for you girls these days-not only do you have all the old baggage of keeping up that we once did,  you have to still look hot too!”
  • “Back to the graceful, natural mothers….no amount of balance, wisdom, or insight can shape a perfect mother. Everyone struggles. We should find this tremendously freeing because it helps to know we don’t struggle alone.
  • “I want to be the mom who drenches her children with time rather than hurry.This is how I want my whole family to be known- a people of rest and grace.”



(Click on the photo to go right to Amazon to order your copy!)

To enter to win your copy of Mom Connection, just comment here below and we will select a winner Friday morning. I am not going to make you like anything on Facebook this time since we have quite a few readers who miss out on our giveaways since they don’t Facebook (I know, I know, it’s hard to believe but there are people out there who DO NOT Facebook- just ask my hubby- he is one of them!)

Hope you are all having a blessed week! And that all you moms had a fantastic Mother’s Day! ( I got showered with some beautiful handmade cards, handmade jewelry and a hanging flower basket and I’ll tell you all about my EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT later!!!!!!!!!!!!) (I’m not excited about it or anything!!!!)




I have seen this video floating around Facebook for a couple of days but hadn’t had the chance to watch it until just now! And then I saw it on my friend Karla’s Blog, and I love what she had to say, “Need a reminder that your day is not so bad? And need to be amazed by the strength of people? Grab a Kleenex and get an incredible new perspective.”

I love what Seattle Children’s Hospital has done with this video!! It is about HOPE, COURAGE, and LOVE for LIFE!! I love seeing these kid’s faces, smiling and FIGHTING!!!


Stronger Seattle Children’s Hospital