Deployment Care Package Idea – Half-Way There

Half-Way There Deployment Care Package Celebrate the middle of a long deployment with a box full of items cut in half AlaynasCreations

We are approaching the final countdown on this military deployment – YAY YAY YAY – and having that husband of mine home again is on my mind a lot.  I can’t wait!

Now that we are approaching the end, I remember how much I looked forward to the mid-point of the deployment and how much fun it was to put together the care package with a Half-way There theme.

Everything was cut in half – and I mean EVERYTHING.

Half-Way There Deployment Care Package Making it half through any long separation especially a military deployment is cause for celebration  Decorating the inside of the box is a good way to set the mood

I decorated the box with two different patterned scrapbook papers, so even the box looked like it had been divided in half.
And again, I always include something in the very bottom of the box as an extra surprise – the funnier the better.

Half-Way There Deployment Care Package Fill a care package full of items cut in half  I even included half of a pair of shoes for  the midpoint of Deployment

The box was filled with anything I thought might lend itself to being cut in half – a package of pudding cups, a package of microwave-able mac n cheese, Pop Tarts, Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies, powdered drink mix, balloons, and a package of party confetti poppers.

The boxes were fairly easy to cut in half.  For any packaging that didn’t stand on it’s own or threatened to spill the contents once cut in half I simply covered the exposed end with packaging tape.

Splitting up the pair of running shoes my husband had requested and sending just a single shoe was my daughter’s idea. Haha!  Of course, we put together a second (workout themed) package with the other shoe and sent it the very next day.  We were a bit worried one of the packages would get lost but it went perfectly and the two boxes arrived back to back without any problems.

Deployment Care Package Ideas Any kind of food with writing is fun to use for care packages  I used this Snickers bar that reads impatient for a Half-way There Deployment Care Package

I love how some of the snack foods now have fun lettering on them.  I made sure to snap up this Snicker’s  candy bar that reads “Impatient” the minute I spotted it, then held on to it for a few weeks (some days that wasn’t easy!) knowing I would find the perfect package to send it in.

Half-Way There Deployment Care Package Idea All of my care packages include a little something from the kids

The kids always try to contribute a letter or drawing to each care package.  To stick with my theme, I cut my son’s drawing in half and did the same with the letters from myself and my daughter.  Then I cut an envelope in half, putting half of the letters and drawing in each side and hit one part of the envelope on the bottom of the package and placed the other part in the top of the package.

Half-Way There Deployment Care Package Celebrate the middle of a long deployment with a box full of items cut in half

I’m sure hitting the half-way point of the deployment was the high point of my husband’s week, but he did get a real kick out of the package too.

Half-way There Deployment Care Package Idea for the middle of military deployment or any other separation from your loved one

I was thinking if you currently didn’t have a husband on deployment (lucky you!) what else would be a fun theme for a half-way gift?  Any other long distance separation, of course – long distance relationship, missionary gift, college care package, countdown to a big milestone like marriage or graduation…

Any other ideas I’m missing?


I’m still adding a lot of my care package ideas to the blog – please feel free to explore.
Beat the Heat Summer Care Package
Favorite Things Care Package
First Care Package for Deployment
Deployment Survival Kit (for military spouses)

Or check out some of my other Gift Basket or Summer Fun ideas for the Kids and more:
Summer Themed Dinner Gift Baskets (in red, white and blue!)
Summer Bucket List
Cupcake Wars Birthday Party


5 Summer Themed Gift Basket Ideas for Under $25

5 Summer Themed Gift Basket Ideas for Under $25

Happy 4th of July!  It’s ok if I jump the gun a little bit right?  I’m pretty sure the festivities (4 nights of rodeo) start tomorrow night here anyway.

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays.  I love the enthusiasm for it here in my hometown.  The flags all over the place.  So many events to pick and choose however we want to celebrate.  And the red, white and blue – one of my favorite color combinations.  So, when it worked out that it’s my mom’s turn to host our Bunco group right after the 4th of July we were really excited to put together the prizes.  And what better for a 4th of July/summer theme than food-related gift baskets?!

The prizes are supposed to range in cost from about $12 to $24 so all five of these gift basket ideas are under $25.  As a fun twist we not only stuck to a summer food/dinner theme but tried to incorporate as much of the red, white and blue patriotic theme as we could find.  With the 24th of July Pioneer Days celebration here in Utah, we keep the red, white and blue out the entire month of July 😉

Picnic Themed Summer Gift Basket Patriotic Red White and Blue for 4th of July

My favorite basket would have to be our picnic themed one.  We found this adorable insulated picnic basket to use as the base for the gift (from TJ Maxx).  I love that it’s red, white and blue colors but flower-patterned instead of stars and stripes so you can use it any time of year.  We filled the basket with  patriotic themed picnic supplies – paper plates, napkins, those adorable red mason jar drinking cups with straws, a vinyl tablecloth, and red, white and blue tortilla chips to finish it off.

Fourth of July Patriotic Themed Gift Basket Idea Summer Picnic Gift Basket Idea for Bunco Wedding or other events

Ice Cream Themed Summer Gift Basket Idea Patriotic Red White and Blue for 4th of July

What’s summer without ice cream, right?  We just had to do an ice cream themed basket but the kind of base to use for the theme was a bit of a sticking point.  In the end we went with a basket of sand toys – ice cream and the beach works great, right?  The little sand strainer was the perfect thing to lift the items up so you can seem them above the top of the basket.  The basket is filled with an ice cream scoop, ice cream cones and waffle bowls, and a selection of toppings like chocolate and caramel syrup, marshmallow cream, and of course, some red white and blue sprinkles.

Popcorn Themed Summer Gift Basket Idea

With all of the free concerts in the park, drive-ins, or those fun DIY back yard movie theaters that summer has to offer, we went with a popcorn theme for our third basket.  This one was also a good fit for our least expensive gift basket since it doesn’t take a lot to make this one cute.  We grabbed a blue popcorn bowl for the base and smaller individuals bowls in red, then added some microwave popcorn and a selection of popcorn seasonings.

Hot Dog Roast Themed Summer Gift Basket Idea

Our local grocery store always has these great hot dog roasting sticks in stock and we knew we wanted to use these for one of the gifts (I have a set and we use them ALL the time).  The tricky part was figuring out how to package up something so long and skinny.  In the end we went a similar route as the ice cream but instead of sand toys we tied everything to a children’s bat and ball set  (baseball and hotdogs – totally works).  We also added a set of hot dog baskets (red, white, and blue!) like you would get at the drive-in, condiment squirt bottles and a container of potato chips.

BBQ Themed Summer Gift Basket Patriotic for 4th of July

For our final gift basket we went with a back yard grilling/BBQ theme.  The container is a plastic water pitcher to which we added some grilling tools, kebab baskets, corn on the cob holders, a grill brush with some barbeque sauce and a marinade, and a lighter.

BBQ Themed Summer Gift Basket Idea

I can’t decide which one I would like to win – can you? 😉  I can’t wait for our Bunco party, but first I’m going to enjoy the fireworks this weekend.

Five Summer Themed Gift Basket Ideas for Bunco Wedding gift or other special occasion


Beat the Heat – Deployment Care Package

Beat the Heat Care Package Ideas for decorating and items to put in a care package to your loved one to help them stay cool this summer Military Deployment or Gift basket

Summer, summer, summertime!  Sometimes it’s a bit less enjoyable than others – especially when it’s hot.  We hit 90 degrees here this week but the husband has been telling me that is their nightly low for the past few weeks over there on deployment.  Ick.  He has been complaining about the high temps since April and there’s not much we can do about it – except send a care package 😉  A Beat the Heat/Stay Cool care package, of course.

Beat the Heat Care Package decorating the inside of the box

I’ve developed my own little system for decorating the inside of the boxes.  I usually use a Medium Flat Rate box (though I think this one may have been a Regional Rate A which saves a bit on postage), which is easily covered by 5 sheets of patterned paper (works out great for using up my giant stash of scrapbook paper).  I usually print the letting for the theme of the box directly onto the papers before attaching them to the interior of the box then finish it off with a couple of funny memes and don’t forget to add something extra to the bottom of the box.  A little humor goes a long way.

Beat the heat Care Package funny meme for decorating the box for summer stay cool gift box

Next step – add items that fit the theme (but won’t melt!).

I’m still surprised at how easy it is to fill these boxes if you just keep your eyes open when you’re out and about.  Snow cone flavored gum?!  Icee flavored candy?!  Yes!  And those cooling towels are great.  My husband has been using them in various versions when outside working in the heat for years now but left all of his home because they were too brightly colored.  I did my best to find an understanded looking one.  They really should make them in camo print, doncha’ think?  Maybe I should suggest that… 😉

The complete list of items I included in the box:
-cooling towel
-freezer pops (he has a mini-fridge in his room so I know they can freeze these once they arrive)
-Icee slushies (note that any time I put things that are more liquid in the package I make sure to put them in zip-top bags just in case)
-Icee squeeze candy
-snow cone flavored gum
-“ice” breath drops
-drink mixes to add to water bottles (one of the biggest requested items since they can only drink bottled water and drink it by the gallon every day)
Other ideas might include sunscreen, chap stick (with SPF), exercise-type water bottles, etc.

Beat the Heat Summer Care Package with lots of great ideas to fill the box to help your loved one stay cool Military deployment gift box

Final step:  box it up and send it on its way!

Beat the Heat Care Package Ideas for decorating and items to put in a care package to your loved one to help them stay cool this summer Military Deployment or Gift basket
Interested in seeing other care package (or gift basket) ideas?  Stay tuned – I will be trying to catch up on posting photos of the packages I have sent over the past few months.  And don’t forget to check out my ideas for my First Deployment Care PackageFavorite Things Care Package, or May the 4th/Star Wars Mini Care Package.

I am down to needing only a couple more care package ideas before this deployment ends – woohoo!  Do you have any favorite ideas you would like to share?!


Linking to:  Pretty Pintastic Party, Home Matters Party,

Bucket Full of Summer Fun

Thanks for helping me have a great year Last Day of School Thank You Gift for Teacher AlaynasCreations

Hello Wednesday!  Has anyone checked their calendars lately?  And did you do a double-take (as I did) when you realized just how quickly the last day of school is approaching?!?  T-minus 15 (school) days and counting, according to my little guy on Monday, which translates to just over two weeks until school is out for the summer.  That’s a bit late for our typical school year and I know a lot of schools are finishing up even sooner than that.  So in the interest of being on the ball, ahead of the game, and all of those other clichés that help keep me from feeling stressed, I wanted to put together a fun little end of the year gift for the teachers – and do it now rather than later.

Bucket List Last Day of School Teacher Thank You Gift Idea AlaynasCreations

The first place I always turn for inspiration is my Pinterest Boards and it wasn’t long before I ran across this great printable Bucket List tag.  So cute – and half the work is already done for me!  So I printed it out and took a quick trip to the dollar store.

Last Day of School Bucket List Teacher Gift Idea AlaynasCreaions

Don’t you just love the dollar store?  I never leave there with just the items on my list, but I sure do have fun while I wander – and my kids or husband usually get some fun treat out of the deal.  For this project I simply let myself wander, repeating the thoughts “summer…bucket list…summer” as the kids and I wandered through the store.  In the end my collection included a fun pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, Sunny-D (catching the theme here, aren’t we?), a bag of gummy bears (Tyler’s pick for his teacher when I told him we needed a treat to add to the bucket), and some small buckets.
*the dollar store is my absolute favorite place to find inexpensive containers for gift baskets.


Bucket List Last Day of School Teacher Thank You Gift AlaynasCreations.jpg

It looks pretty good all put together doesn’t it?  Hopefully the teachers will like it and if not, they’ll still appreciate the sentiment.

Last Day of School Bucket of Fun for Summer gift idea for the kids AlaynasCreations

I had purchased the buckets in a set of three so I had one leftover after putting together the two teacher gifts.  I decided it would be great to use for a little Bucket of Fun for my kids on the last day of school.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted in the bucket so I took a look at what I’ve done over the past few years (I wrote a blog post about some of our traditions last year.  You can find it HERE)…then decided that wasn’t really helpful since my kids already had those items. 😛  So plan B was to just let things jump out at me and it worked great.  One day at the grocery store I ran across those Milk Magic flavoring straws – Cotton Candy flavored!  That’s something I knew my kids would love to try, so I picked them up.  Another day Tyler was with me at the store and spotted the Slushies on the shelf.  I told him we didn’t need them that day, then when he turned around I snuck them into the cart under the vegetables.  And this past Sunday the bubble wands caught my daughter’s eye while we were looking for a birthday gift for a girl in Tyler’s class.  12 years old and she still thinks bubble wands are fun – great!  So I let her grab the 5 pack, gave two to the kids to use that afternoon, put one in the birthday gift, and kept the other 2 for the bucket.  Perfect.

Last Day of School Summer Bucket Quick and inexpensive gift basket idea for the kids or teachers at the end of the school year AlaynasCreations

Bring on the last day of school because we are now ready for it!  Are you??  Maybe not, but just think of all those days we might be able to sleep in a bit instead of rushing out the door to school, and no homework and… 😉

For more Last Day of School (or teacher appreciation) gift ideas or End of School traditions with the kiddos feel free to check out:
End of the Year Teacher Gifts in a Cup (my most Pinned blog post on Pinterest for the past month!)
Super Powered Teacher Gift
Crazy Cool Teacher Gift (this one was for Valentine’s Day but I think a “stay cool” spin on this idea would be awesome)
-my Last Day of School Traditions over the past few years


Linking to:  R&R Wednesdays, Home Matters Linky Party,

Favorite Things – Deployment Care Package #2

Military Cart Package Idea Brown Paper Packages Tied up with String Filled with a Few of Your Favorite Things AlaynasCreations

One of my goals for this month:  finish posting photos of all the deployment care packages I have sent out to this point.  We are more than three months into this deployment and I have sent out a care package approximately every two weeks, yet I have only posted about one?!  Unheard of for a blogger 😉  So I’ll keep this short and simple in the interest of actually getting it done instead of putting off a post for yet another day.

I decided the theme for my second care package would be “Favorite Things.”  I’ve always be attracted to the favorite things collections for gifts and even put together a Favorite Things party with friends just for fun (years ago).  And what an easy idea this one was – it came together in no time and the only effort required to make it look all cute was wrapping each gift in brown paper, tieing each with string, and adding the saying “Brown paper packages tied up with strings, filled with a few of your favorite things” (just in case he needed a little help figuring out the theme of the care package).  No extra decorations needed – yay!

Care Package Idea a Collection of Favorite Things AlaynasCreations

Inside the box was a collection of his favorite candies and snacks along with a few things to keep him busy as we know that a lot of deployments are spent just marking time, especially on their days “off” when the only things available to do for entertainment are laundry and working out.  My husband isn’t a big reader, but I’ve found that he will enjoy books that are based on things he likes to watch and Longmire is one of his current favorite TV series, so I got him a book with that theme.  I also included a set of stationary, figuring it was something he should have near the beginning of the deployment in order to send plenty of letters home, and it fit with the theme in the sense that everyone’s favorite thing when away from home is receiving letters from loved ones.  And did you spot the cheese slicer in the photo?  The husband commented on that one in particular as being such a great idea for me to think to include along with the self-stable cheese.  You never know what they do/don’t have access to at any given time.
The list of contents in the box include:  stationary set, book to read, small book of Sudoku puzzles, drink mixes for flavoring bottled water (I’m told that Orange Cream flavored Mio is a really good one), tiny bottles of Tabasco, cheese and crackers (and the cheese slicer!), Whoppers and Milky Way candy bars (some of his standbys along with a couple of unique flavor twists for variety), chewing gum, jerky, and a bar of gourmet chocolate with bacon (what guy doesn’t love bacon?!).
Other items you may want to include would be movies, card games, a Spotify playlist preloaded with favorite songs.  This last one was something my daughter was on board with but somehow we never found the time to pull it off but I’m keeping it in mind for some future care package.

A Few of Your Favorite Things Care Package Idea

With Father’s Day coming up, even if your guy isn’t off on deployment or living long distance, wouldn’t this make a fun Father’s Day gift basket idea?
What are some of your favorite things?  Any ideas you would add to the list?
As always, if you are looking for more care package ideas I’m constantly adding my favorites to my Care Package Pinterest Board or check out some of my other blog posts:
Deployment Survival Kit (Care Package #1)

Sharing with:  R&R Wednesdays, Home Matters Linky Party,

May the 4th – Mini Care Package

May the 4th!  Happy Star Wars Day! 😉

I just realized what day it was when the husband sent me a text saying he likes the “4th notes” I sent in his last care package.  Bonus points to me for thinking ahead, but do I lose points if I forget about it in real life? (ha!)  This week has so many things packed into it, I guess this one didn’t officially make it onto my calendar.  Not a big deal either way, but my husband has started to turn the kids into Star Wars fans and I’m sure they would have loved a little something special too.  At the very least I could have save the rest of the Star Wars Fruit Snacks instead of letting the little guy tear into them right away.  Or I could pull together something before they get home from school today if I really felt like it, but currently I am in my paint clothes with a bathroom vanity half-way repainted.  So maybe next year.

But before I forget again, here’s a peak at what I included in the Star Wars Mini Care Package I sent to the husband.

May the 4th Mini Care Package Idea Star Wars Themed small care package idea May the Force Be With You AlaynasCreations

Included in the package:  Star Wars Themed Fruit Snacks, a tiny tin container filled with Q-tips (they were at the Dollar Tree for anyone that wants to grab one before they’re gone), and these adorable Star Wars note cards (intended for Project Life-type scrapbooking, I’m sure.  Printable found HERE) on which the kids and I each wrote a quick note.

There you have it – easy peasy and a great way to let the Star Wars fan in my life know I was thinking about him.  Now back to my regularly scheduled paint session.  *sigh*
And May the Force Be With You Today 😉
*Want more care package ideas?  Check out my first care package idea for this deployment, take a peek at my Care Package Pinterest Board, or check back in soon as I will be posting many more ideas as soon as I get the chance!

Super Powered Teacher – Teacher Appreciation Gift Basket

Teacher Appreciation Gift Basket Super Teacher Super Powered Teacher End of the School Year Gift

You know what next week is, right?  Teacher appreciation.  And Mother’s Day and my daughter has a band concert and our own personal Paint Night that weekend (three sessions of which I somehow ended up being in charge of setting up and playing hostess for – more on that later if I don’t take another unplanned two month blog break).  Busy week, and that means it’s time to look ahead and do as much prep work as I can now.

Super Teacher Teacher Appreciation Gift Tag AlaynasCreations

Luckily, I got all enthused about the idea I found for Teacher Appreciation gifts this year and I already have them put together and they are all set to deliver.  I’ve run across the saying “I teach, what’s your Super Power?” a few times in the last couple of years and recently it just clicked.  Then I ran across THIS adorable printable tag (while browsing my existing Pinterest Board haha) and that clinched it.  A quick brainstorming session and a spin through the grocery store and I had everything I needed for a cute gift basket.

Super Powered Teacher Teacher Appreciation Gift Basket Teacher End of School Year Gift

Inside the basket:  Powerade, Super Hero themed microwave popcorn, Super Hero themed travel tissues, and a pack of teacher reward stickers with plenty of “super” stickers.  You could use anything that had the word Super, Power, or anything Super Hero themed (and with all the new movie releases for Avengers, Batman/Superman and so on there are a lot of options out there).
*Quick tip:  check your local dollar store for cute and affordable baskets and containers.

A quick note from the kiddos completed the basket.

I am a teacher What is your Super Power Tag AlaynasCreations

Teacher Appreciation Gift Basket Super Power Teacher

The teachers will love it, right?  Or at least they’ll appreciate the effort 😉

For more Teacher Appreciation or End of the School Year gift ideas check out some of my past ideas:
Teacher Gifts In a Cup
End of the Year Countdown Blocks
More Teacher Appreciation Ideas
Bucket of Summer Fun Gift Idea for last day of school for teachers and children

Or check out my Back To School Pinterest Board where I am constantly adding any fun ideas I run across.

Deployment Care Package #1


I won’t say that deployment is enjoyable – in fact, you all know it is far from that.  However, in my typical optimistic get-it-done fashion (when I’m not feeling sick or tired, that is) I choose to make the best of the situation and for me that usually means creating something.  So bring on the care packages.  Sending my husband a box of goodies not only makes me feel like I’m “doing something” but helps give my energies and focus a creative outlet, while at the same time being one of the few ways in which I can send a little fun and joy to the husband overseas.

As with all my endeavors, I started out by looking for a few ideas on Pinterest to get me started (see my Care Package Pinterest Board HERE) and quickly had more than enough ideas to get me through the next few months and well beyond.  I realized I could quickly spin out of control (and spend a lot of money) if I didn’t develope a bit of a system so I am reining myself in and only sending one Flat Rate package every two weeks.  I knew I wanted to specifically include a few things like some Open When Envelopes and a Long Distance Date Night idea at least once a month (more on both of those soon) along with treats and snacks, that I wanted to make it upbeat and comical as much as possible, and that I wanted to include some involvement from the kids every time.  And as an unique signature, I am including a couple oversized Kisses in each package.  (I’m not sure if he’s noticed – he hasn’t commented on them so far)

Giant Hershey's Kiss for Care Package Deployment gift ideas AlaynasCreations

The first care package I put together was a bit random.  I had considered doing some sort of Deployment Survival Kit, but in the end we went with kind of an eclectic selection of items for the first box.  My husband’s first request was for drink mixes as they almost exclusively only have access to bottled water so I made sure to include a selection of those (and will continue to add a few to every package from here on out) as well as a couple of fun treats.

Deployment Care Package Ideas First Care Package with Open When Envelopes treats and Date Night ideas AlaynasCreations

Open When Envelopes for Deployment Care Packages and Long Distance Relationships AlaynasCreations

If you have spent even a little time online looking at care package ideas, I’m sure you’ve run across the concept of the “open when” envelopes.  I think this is a great idea and knew I wanted to include a small set of these in the first care package we sent off.  Half a dozen envelopes seemed like a good goal so I picked my top six favorite themes for the envelopes (I will post detail photos of what I put in each one soon!).
My topics included:
Open when – you’re missing me, you’re missing the kids, you’re feeling stressed, you’re feeling sick, you’re having a good day, and when you need to laugh.

Open When Envelopes for Deployment Care Package Ideas AlaynasCreations

Next up was an Open When envelope for Valentines Day, since we sent out this package around the end of January.
Open When It's Valentine's Day Open When Envelopes for Care Package Long distance Valentines gift idea AlaynasCreations
We included hand-made Valentines from the kids, a couple of printable funny Valentines cards from me, a small box of chocolates (a must for V-day), a cute little stuffed animal and a DIY Balloon Bouquet.

Care Package Idea send him or her a cuddly stuffed animal that has been spritzed with perfume or cologne for your loved one to cuddle when they miss you

Kaitlyn made the cute little tag and I made sure he was drenched in perfume 😉

Care Package Idea Balloon Bouquet for Valentines or Birthday or other special occasion Blow up balloons and write message on them then uninflate and send in envelope

For the balloon bouquet, we inflated each balloon and wrote a note or something fun on each one then let the air out so we could ship them without taking up much room.  The husband can then inflate them to read the messages.

Balloon Bouquet for Care Package is a great idea for Valentines Birthday or other special occasion

As I mentioned, it is also my intention to include some sort of “date night” once a month.  I went with an easy one for this first box – watching one of our latest TV obsessions.  We recently discovered the Arrow series on Netflix and it has been our custom to put the kids to bed, grab a treat we don’t want to share with the kids, and watch something on TV we wouldn’t necessarily want the kids to watch with us.  So I figured why not recreate that in a care package friendly form?  I know my husband has access to Netflix and Hulu, so it was a simple matter to find a few funny Arrow memes and put them in an envelope with a snack bag of popcorn and some hot chocolate mix (mint flavored since the packaging is green).

Date Night Envelope Watch the Arrow together long distance date in a box logo

In previous deployments I don’t remember spending much time on decorating the box, but it seems to be the trend right now to add some decorations to the inside of the box – and I’m always up for adding a little more cute-ness and fun, right?  So decorate the inside we did.  I used THIS TUTORIAL for attaching gift wrap to the inside of the box – which is pretty much just taking apart the box and adhering the wrapping paper, then putting the box back together.  Easy.
Care Package Ideas How to Decorate the inside of the box AlaynasCreations

Obviously my wrapping skills need a tiny bit more practice, but I thought message in the bottom of the box is a nice touch, don’t you?

Care Package Idea for Deployment or Long Distance Relationship Get the kids involved AlaynasCreations

And there is the final product.  It felt a bit like playing Tetris but I was able to fit everything inside the box, perfectly.  Not bad for a first attempt.  I’m sure there will many more to come in the next few months.  Any guesses on what my next theme will be?

Gender Reveal Pennant Banner

Pennant Banner for New Baby Pregnancy Gender Reveal a fun and simple way to announce your pregnancy or the arrival of your brand new little one

Nope, I’m not pregnant!  Thought I’d get that out of the way right off the bat since that is my little guy modeling the banner 😉
However, the pregnancy epidemic continues all around me and in the last couple of weeks even more friends and acquaintences have announced pregnancies.  I’m always very excited for them (and secretly glad it’s not me.  I really truly love my kids at their slightly older, more independant ages right now) and if I know them well enough I immediately start thinking of something fun to send them.

Pregnancy Countdown Blocks are a great gift for expecting parents that help make the countdown to the new baby's arrival fun and are also a great photo prop

My go-to gift for pregnant friends and family is usually a set of Pregnancy Countdown Blocks, either by themselves or in a gift basket (like this Pregnancy Survival Kit or this SuperMom themed gift basket), however, when I heard the good news a week or so ago from a very close friend I decided to change it up a bit.  That very afternoon I was rooting around in some of the boxes we are storing in the workshop and ran across a stack of beadboard triangles left over from my banner-making phase (love them!  I have beadboard pennant banners that I use every year for the kids’ birthdays like Rainbow Dance party, the Horse slumber party, or Cupcake Wars party as well as some for holidays) and inspiration struck.

It wasn’t long before I had whipped up an It’s a Girl!/It’s a Boy! double-sided beadboard pennant banner and sent it to the Mommy-To-Be.

It's a boy It's a girl photo prop for gender reveal or new baby announcement makes a great baby shower gift

It's a girl It's a boy double sided pennant banner for gender announcment photo prop

Not only is the banner a fun gift, but I figured it would be a great photo prop for a maternity gender reveal photo shoot, for a simple pregnancy announcement, for photos with the new baby, or even front porch decorations when the baby is born.  Oh – and wouldn’t it be a great addition to my Newborn Photo Prop gift basket?!…

A few details if you want to make your own:
I used scrap bead board, cut into triangles approximately 7″ high.  I drilled holes in two of the corners (a time-saving trick for this is stacking them all together and clamping them in place.  Then you can drill through all 5 at once) then sanded the edges and painted them white on both sides.
The lettering was done with vinyl using my handy dandy Silhouette machine and it was a simple matter to tie them together with some thin jute rope.  For a touch of color, I added pink and blue ribbons to the ends.  These could easily be changed out or added to when my friend finds out if she is having a boy or a girl.

See – easy enough anyone can do it!  And if you do make one, feel free to share!  I love to read comments and see photos of my ideas being put to use.  (doesn’t everyone?!)

Happy Wednesday and Happy Crafting!


Linking to:  Lou Lou Girls, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House,

Crazy Cool Valentine

Crazy Kool Valentines  Cool gift ideas for classmates and teachers

Don’t you just love it when you get inspired and then things fall together quickly, easily, and well ahead of schedule?!  After more than a month of scrambling to stay on top of things or just going with the flow and “playing” practically non-stop I have to admit that a part of me has been very happy to settle into our more regular routine this week and even better, I’ve found myself with some time to not only catch up but get ahead of a lot of things.  In the past few days I have worked on a lot of gifts, which I can’t share here (yet) but I can show off the Valentines I put together for the kids’ teachers and classmates.  A whole month before they are needed – that’s like a blogger timeline, which I am almost never ahead of the curve enough to follow 😉

With my oldest is in middle school, I only needed one set of classroom Valentines which is great because my son has a rather large class of 27 this year and that felt like plenty.  For classmate gifts, I often try to do something a little unique and with the added bonus of using something lower in sugar if possible (not that I’m one of those moms – and no offense if you are.  I just have a lot of other priorities and worrying if my kids get a little too much sugar now and then isn’t one of them).  So I was doing my usual pre-hoilday browsing through my Pinterest boards and ran across this great printable (found here) and knew that was what I wanted to do this year.  I’m all for quick and easy projects, and if someone has done the adorable prep work ahead of time, I’m all for it.

I think you're crazy kool Valentine Great non-sugar Valentines gift idea for classmates with silly straw and individual packets of Kool-Aid

It was a pretty simple matter to add the “love, Tyler” sentiment (in Paint) and print the tags out, 9 to a page. I cut a couple of slits in the tag to slide the straw through and stapled the Kool-aid packets to the back of the tag.  The whole process took under 30 minutes, most of which was done while watching Arrow with the husband (our new Go To show when we have the chance to watch TV together.  Gotta love Netflix).

Great non candy Valentine idea for classmates A silly straw and Kool-aid I think you're crazy kool Valentine

With the classmate Valentines complete, I figured I would eventually run across a great idea for the teachers – and I did!  I was in TJ Maxx the other day checking out the kitchen section since my daughter has requested some divided containers for her lunchbox.  In the past I have put together quite a few great teacher gifts using cups, mugs, or water bottles (see those fun ideas here and here and here), but having just done something like that for the current set of teachers for Christmas (see this idea) I hit the container aisle before the glass/bottle aisle and discovered these fantastic lunchbox containers with the ice packs in their lids.  And it hit me – these are quite literally “cool” and fit in perfectly with the theme I already had going on with the classmate Valentines – how perfect is that?!  Not only could I use the same tags, but I felt like the lunchbox containers were something the teachers would actually have a use for and not something they would typically be given as a gift.  So I grabbed a set and split it in half for the two teachers.

Lunchbox containers with ice pack in the lid are a great gift idea for teachers I think you're crazy cool Valentine

Again, a quick change to the tags I already had – changing the “kool” to “cool”  (the font is called Jokerman, in case you are wondering) and tied them together with ribbon.  Easy peasy!  And totally adorable, right?

Lunchbox containers with ice pack in the lid are a great gift idea for teachers I think you're crazy cool Valentine

I can now sit back and wait for Valentine’s Day without worrying about scrambling for an idea at the last minute – and you can too!  I’d love to hear about it (and see photos!) if you use this idea, or if you have a great idea I can use for next year 😉

Next up on the list of things to plan and create – my very first care package for this deployment.  Oh boy…
Linking to: Tip Me Tuesday, Made By You Monday, Lou Lou Girls, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House,