Rebecca is a mom to two young kiddos and, in her spare time (ha!), likes to pretend she’s a back-up dancer, craft cocktails and run long distances. A relatively recent SAHM, she blogs family-friendly activities, DIYs and celebration fun at Not-So-SAHM.
I love, love the relaxed nature of summer. Sure, we have some scheduled activities, but we also spend lots of time puttering about the house, splashing at the pool, and running free outdoors. Around this time of August however, that running free starts to feel like running wild. And we all start to crave a little organization. We’re not quite ready for school to start up again, but I am more than ready for the kids to start picking up their wet bathing suits off the floor and realizing that soon we’ll have a schedule again. And I was so happy to find The Land of Nod’s “Gobs of Jobs” to help my summer-loving kids make that transition!
We like to make everything a festive occasion in our home, so in addition to putting together this fabulous chore chart for the kids, we decided to add a little incentive by using Paper Source’s Dot’s Paper Chain Kit to spell out some rewards. The kids LOVED this craft (which is very easy for kids to put together and would be great decoration for any occasion. It also happens to totally color coordinate with the Nod chart). They had a great time dreaming up rewards for which they’re willing to work, and using some super cool puffy gelly roll pens to write out their wishes (another good way to ease them back to academia — they’re at quite different writing levels and neither one particularly likes to practice). We’re still negotiating how many stars are needed to earn everything, but so far they’ve identified a Monopoly game, Avengers LEGOs, each a new haircut, two dollars, a mani/pedi, and jewelry as their initial goals. Cami also initially wanted to include “friendship,” but we decided that was a freebie.
Once they’d identified goals, we worked together to pick out chores for a particular week. One of the things I love most about Nod’s “Gobs of Jobs” is that the chores range from simple and aspirational (Reach for the Stars!) to more advanced for older kids (Take out the Trash). My kids are in serious need of real chores, so that’s what we stuck to for the first week. Now I can’t say that they do everything every day, but the fact that the chart has worked to even get a few things done each day is awesome. Here’s to getting everyone in shape before school starts!
What are you doing to get ready for school? Tell us in the comments below! And, as a special offer to our readers, use the code NODDY for 10% off anything at The Land of Nod. (Offer ends August 24, 2015.)
Mermaids are a huge summer trend and make a great party theme. We’re obsessed with this Mermaid Party created by Natalie Thomas over at Nat’s Next Adventure. Natalie was throwing a Sprinkle (a baby shower for a woman who already has a child), but many of these ideas (like the paper dolls) would translate well for a kid’s birthday party, too!
On the inspiration behind the mermaid theme, Natalie says:
The party was for my dear friend Brooke, who is expecting her second child. I planned it with my two friends Amanda and Jessica, and it took place in the Hamptons, where the four of us are sharing a summer rental with our families.
Since she’s having a little lady and already has a boy, we wanted to go with something girly. After looking at Paper Source’s products, we chose a mermaid theme because of all the cute things we could use, as well as it being summer and our close proximity to the sea out here.
To set the stage, Natalie used a mix of products for layered effect that created an enchanting look. Using a paper table runner (you can also use wrapping paper) gives the party a more polished look. Natalie created a “custom” tissue paper garland by using the Colorful Tissue Garland as her base and adding in the gold tassels from the Black & Gold Garland. We love the way she used Paper Source products as a jumping off point, but continued to craft and ended up with a truly personal fête.
The cake was accented with Vintage Party Number Picks that held meaning for the couple (but could also be used for age in place of traditional candles). Behind the cake (and throughout the tablescape, Trend Party Fans added metallic pops of chic color).
Metallic Paper Fans were placed around the party and doubled as decor and cooling!
For the adults, popsicles were served in Prosecco atop a tray lined with Gold Foil Dots Wrapping Paper.
She also had the kids make their own mermaids. Using our Paper Doll Kit as the base, Natalie made her own mermaid tail template and pre-cut shapes out of the fine paper included in the kit for the kids to choose from.
Natalie says, “The paper doll kit is so sweet. My daughter loves playing with it and dressing her “girls”- the options are endless and the paper selection is of great quality. I’m absolutely framing a few. ”
The final touch was spray painting the Craft Letters with gold and using them as a party backdrop. If you aren’t going with a DIY Photo Booth, this is another quick way to make a picture-perfect background (people will always know where the picture was taken).
Natalie also used the Mermaid Art Print and plans to print the name and birthdate of the baby on it once she arrives to gift the parents as nursery decor (and a sweet reminder of this memorable sprinkle).
Natalie says, “We love the way it turned out! There were so many fun things to do with the theme, the color palette was pretty and we all had such a good time.”
What do you think? Does this mermaid shower inspire you? Don’t forget to submit your party or craft pictures to email@example.com when you use Paper Source products, and we might feature you on the blog!
Natalie Thomas is the Founder and Creative Director of Nat’s Next Adventure, an obsessive party planner and mom to Lilly.
We all remember impatiently waiting for the news that we didn’t have to go to school because there was a snow day. It meant a day of relaxation and fun including playing inside drinking hot cocoa to making snowmen in the fresh fallen snow.
Now if you have children of your own you know it may not be so easy to keep them entertained while you carry on with your day to day business. (Moms never seem to get snow days.) So, we compiled some fun indoor games and crafts to keep them happy and you happy. You may even want to join them!
Lights. Camera. Action. Give your little one the chance to produce and direct their very own movie at home. The Clay Animation Movie Kit allows your child to morph his or her own characters out of clay and let a story unfold against a choice of backdrops.
Now these characters need voices of course! Your kid can use the World’s Smallest Voice Changer to change his or her voice into four distinct voices. That way each character will truly come to life.
Lastly, you have to film your motion picture! Use any smartphone to film the movie and then watch it on this Smart Phone Projector. Its just like an old-fashioned projector and it only uses cardboard and a glass lens, which makes it incredibly easy to set up. Grab some popcorn and watch your child’s film come to life. Bravo!
Paper party. Watch your child create cute and creative paper dogs from this Doggy Kit. Make one that looks like your hound at home or even make a garland to hang across the wall. All you need is the kit, scissors ,glue stick, pencil, and a black pen.
Another source of fun can be found with the Photo Props Kit. You and your kids can make up to 22 props that will lead to hours of creativity and crafts. Once you are done you can stage a photo shoot to show off all of your new creations!
Mmm… donuts. As your children wrap up their day of delightful fun, give them a warm hot cocoa in a deliciously cute donut mug. One of our favorite winter treats is Smores Hot Chocolate found at minimalistbaker.com.
There’s nothing like the excitement of a Class Valentine’s Day Party in grade school… remember the thrill of going through your big box of cards and hoping for a special valentine from your crush?
Make this Valentine’s Day extra-special by making homemade cards and crafts with your little one. Here are some fun and adorable ideas that you can make together to carry on the tradition!
Get creative and giggle with these Mustache Valentine Cards. There are endless possibilities from pirates, to top hats, to magicians, oh my! Also choose from many other kits that were designed by us for you.
You’re sharp! Add a gift that the students can use long after the holiday is over. Valentine Pencil Arrows Kit gives you and your little one a chance to decorate these pencils and all you’ll need is scissors, glue and some imagination!
Tie it together. Now that you have helped create dozens of fun and original Valentine’s cards, send them away in these Heart Cellophane Bags. Add some candy for a sugary surprise.
Love Monster. Don’t forget about a sweet gift for your youngster. Watch them wind up this Candy Dispenser and you’ll enjoy laughs as the toy drops candies. Add it to a gift basket or as an after school surprise!
It’s almost Halloween and we’re ready to party! Throw your little ghouls and goblins a Monster Mash Bash with these easy tricks and treats.
Your little monsters will howl for these adorable door designs. Just paste black paper circles to the back of paper plates to create eyes for your monster. Streamers and cut paper make great hair for your monster and our pre-cut spiders add an easy, creepy touch to any door.
Greet your guests a scary start by playing a Halloween soundtrack or sound machine.
These little monsters are too cute to be scary. They’re simple to make. Just fluff our pre-made tissue pom poms, cut some black and white circles for eyes, and glue together for fun and frightful monsters. Hang from the ceiling or use as table decorations.
Your guests will gobble up these bright and silly monster cookies.
Wrap coffee cans with fun Halloween paper tape, add some monster eyes and stack for a fun ball-toss carnival game. You could also fill balloons with a small treat, add silly faces and let your little ones pick a balloon to pop.
Your guests will love getting crafty with these fun creatures. Build your own creepy paper monsters using this fun kit then use your dolls to put on a puppet show!
When your Monster Mash is done, send your guests home with these spirited treat bags.
Decorate colorful paper bags with a silly and simple paper face. Our paper punches make cutting perfect circles a snap. Flag-shaped or triangle punches make great teeth for your little ghouls. When you’re done, fill with little zany treats like the ones below to thrill your visitors.
With long school days coming up (or for some of you, already starting!), kids need a good lunch to get them through the day. But between rushed mornings, picky eaters and repetitive food options, packing a lunch can be a hassle! We have a few tips and some products to help get you through a lunchtime rut.
Theses stainless steel containers are an earth-friendly way to pack a lunch. Having multiple sets and washing them right when the kids come home from school will help you to avoid going through dozens of plastic bags each week!
The Sweat Free Ice Pack has a recycled pouch- making it earth friendly while also keeping moisture off of food!
This insulated jar stays cool to the touch even with hot food inside. And if you want to make sure your food stays extra hot, here’s a tip: boil water, pour it into the thermos and let it sit before draining it and putting in your food. The hot water heats it up, so it’ll stay warm for longer (think of it like serving hot food on a warm plate!).
The collapsible lunch box is another great earth-friendly option for lunch. No plastic bags or silverware required. Have a picky eater who can’t stand when their foods are touching? If the two dividers aren’t enough, use cupcake papers for small snacks and veggies instead of plastic!
Let your child express their style with a fun lunch box!
The Packit Lunch Bag is freezable. Pop it in the freezer overnight and it’ll stay cold as ice for 10 hours- no ice pack required!
What kid wouldn’t be excited for their lunch with this super cute hedgehog lunch box!
Stick this dry erase board in the most convenient spot in your kitchen and create a lunch chart. Create four columns; one each for protein, grain, fruit/veggie, and a fun snack. Pick from the columns randomly on days that you’re stumped to make packing go a little quicker! When you start getting tired of the options, simply erase and come up with something new!
Anther helpful hint to make lunch packing a breeze is to set up a lunch packing station! Have a cabinet or drawer with only lunch foods. Sort snacks into bins and keep them at kid level so the little ones can help put together lunches themselves! Do the same in the fridge- have a section for just lunch items. When everything is in one place it’s easy to just grab and go!
Another idea? Freeze sandwiches and smoothies at the beginning of the week- they double as ice packs and will thaw by lunch! (But when you freeze a sandwich make sure condiments go in between the meat and cheese (not on the bread) to avoid a soggy mess!)
What are some of your lunchtime shortcuts? Tell us in the comments!
As you gear up for the school year, one great way to cheer up your little student is to give them the greatest looking locker around. From wallpapers to magnets, to mini chandeliers, there are endless ways to deck out a school locker!
Paper Source has decorations ready made for a locker. The locker rug fits standard locker sizes, and is sure to give your student a home away from home while at school. The hanging chandelier is a perfect touch of glamour for a dingy locker. It’s magnetic for easy installation, and even has a motion sensor. The chandelier is battery operated- so there’s no power needed! The aqua locker wallpaper (also available in black) instantly dresses up any locker wall- and won’t damage its surfaces. The wall paper is easy to cut- so it fits any space, and comes with 20 magnets. With just a few items your locker diva is ready for the new year!
Paper Source has an endless supply of wrapping paper, and there’s one out there to fit your kid’s individual style. Use some painter’s tape or glue dots to safely adhere wrapping paper to locker walls. These are our picks for a boy’s locker!
These papers are perfect for your super girly-girl who needs a little pink in her life!
Have a kid who can’t get enough sweets and snacks? Satisfy their cravings with a delectable foodie locker wrap!
Another option for a locker interior is a chalkboard wallie. They are available in pink and black. It’s removable and won’t damage the inside of a locker. Great for doodles or jotting down homework assignments! Chalk is in included, but when you run out try some dustless chalk- it’ll keep school supplies clean!
With wrapped locker walls, your student can go crazy with fun accessories and knick-knacks. These sticky notes are pennant shaped, so you can write a fun message and display it in a banner! A perfectly playful touch for the top of a locker!
Washi Tapes are another great way to add some personality and style to a locker interior. Just have your student pick their favorite and the decorating possibilities are endless. Use them as a border around the locker or around a magnetic mirror. Or use them to tape up and frame pictures!
These talk bubble white board magnets are a fun addition to any space. Students can leave them outside of their locker for friends to stop by and write a friendly note! Don’t forget vibrant dry erase markers!
With a fun locker set up, stopping for next period’s textbooks doesn’t have to be such a drag. Check out our Pinterest for more locker style inspiration and organization tips. Happy back to school season!
A-B-C, 1-2-3, G-O-L-D! It’s already time to start preparing for back to school shopping! Everyone loves new clothes but don’t forget about accessories and backpack must-haves. This year, we are raving about gold. We just can’t get enough!
Whether your student wants something classic or prefers something a little more retro, we’ve got it all. With something like this Elegant Notes Journal or this Gold Foil Triangles Pink Spiral Notebook, you’ll never forget to take notes again! (Doodling is also acceptable.)
If you’re going to take notes then you’ll need something to write with. Whether you’re confident with a pen or prefer the less permanent pencil, you’ll find the perfect writing utensil for your new notebook(s). Kate Spade makes some adorable pencils and bright erasers; or try this six color pen!
Losing something as bright and fun as these pens and pencils is never a good thing, so keep everything in one place with a pouch! Use it for your pens and pencils, or for lunch money!
October means one thing here at Paper Source— Countdown to Halloween! This haunting holiday presents great crafting opportunities that are scary, spooky and kooky… which is the perfect recipe for fun in our book! Here are a few of our favorite Halloween ideas to get you ready to celebrate the tricks and treats of the season.
Get Your Stoop Spooktacular: Ways to Prep for Trick or Treaters
Whether or not you have kids in your home, trick or treating can seem daunting. If you’re planning a night out with your kids or prepping your home for visitors at your doorstep, here’s how to make October 31st a fun and easy event!
Before your trick or treaters arrive, make sure your door is prepped and ready for the little guests. Adding pumpkins to a stoop is sure to make your house more inviting. Here’s a fun alternative to carving (that takes less skill and time!): Sticky Pumpkin Face Kit.
Either on a natural pumpkin, or fun painted ones.
Not feeling like you want to dress up? Don a mask from our Halloween Masks Kit for an easy way to entertain the kids. You can switch them out through the night to keep things interesting.
Time to give out treats! We love the idea of using treat bags (pictured below) to hold fun-sized candy bars or an assortment of goodies. Not only is this packaging festive, but it gives kids an extra little surprise when they open them at home. BONUS: You’ll curb the urge kids have to sift through your basket to find the best stuff!
Try our bags with stamps, stickers, or washi tape (or your own combination of the three).
Ready to throw a Halloween hangout? Here are some ideas to get your space looking ready to fright and delight.
Set the tone with garlands, which can be placed across a mantle or on a wall. These adornments are sure to spook-up your space.
If you need more decorations, try these Sticky Bats, which are re-positionable and come in a ‘colony’ (pack of 16).
Need to serve up some drinks? We’re drinking up this creepy Kool-Aid. Ad when you’re serving it up, instead of plain Solo cups, try using Chalk stickers so guests can get creative and doodle or write their character name for the night.
And finally, you might need some tasty treats to send guests home with (or serve up right at the party). How yummy do these popcorn balls look? Dress them up with your favorite Halloween-colored toppings.
Serve them up with style in these homemade Take Out Boxes (step by step instructions can be found in the link!)—stamp and decorate as you wish.
A great way to create and celebrate!