Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fortune Cookie Eraser Valentines with Free Printable

Erasers are the thing now. They come in every shape possible and if that's not enough, some fit together like puzzles, because kids don't have nearly enough toys to play with. Like most toys, I find them scattered all over the house and even though it's my first instinct to dislike them, I think they're adorable. Little ice cream cones, penguins, soccer balls, I could go on and on. My kids are crazy about them and I'm guessing yours are too! 

Enter Friendship Party season. I was hoping Vaughn was going to pick the cupcake and ice cream erasers to pass out to classmates, but she loved the fortune cookies from the get-go. I found them  at Target (they have a slit already cut into the back of them) but have seen them online also. It's also a fun alternative to a non-candy treat! What I did has been done before, but here's my spin.  
I made a quick printable with fortunes and printed them onto card stock. Click HERE to download. This is an important tip, because the slits in the erasers are a bit wide. In order for the fortune to stay tucked inside, the paper needs to be thicker. 
Cut along the lines and don't forget the signature!
Then you can play with them. Or not. (I couldn't help myself. The sun came out and the natural light was a nice reprieve from our gray winter days.)
Fold them down the middle and tuck inside the the slit.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Jewel of a Friend Valentine's: Free Printable!

I made these "Jewel of a Friend" valentine's for my daughter's classmates last year, but just now updated it with a printable to make Valentine's one step easier of you! The jewel eraser rings can still be found at Target or at Oriental Trader. 

All you need to do is print out the printable HERE onto the paper of your choice (I used colorful card stock), punch a hole, have your child write their name, and tie the eraser onto the card. Easy and a nice break from candy! (The original post from last year can be seen below.)
Valentine's Day. Wether you love it or loathe it, if you have kids, they are going to want to hand something out to their friends. Here is a quick little hand made card if buying a box of licensed character cards with tattoos isn't your thing. 

When coming up with ideas for Valentine's I always try to remember two things. One, your child has to like it and two, it will be thrown away so do not spend too much time on it. This was a cinch and I only spent a whopping $3. Here goes.

The inspiration for these were the giant jewel ring erasers that I found at Target. 24 of them came in the bag and they were $3. 

I could have done the next step in many different ways including just hand writing the saying onto paper but I decided to get a little fancier. I used PicMonkey to design the words and banner then uploaded it into Pages (or Word for PC users) to get the dashed line around it. Make sure to leave enough space for a signature and for a hole to be punched. I printed mine out on colored card stock that I already had on hand. 
After printing, I cut them out and rounded the corners with an edge clipper. 

From this point on my daughter took over. She signed her name and stuck on a few jewel stickers that we had from a leftover project. I used a hole punch to punch the hole and twine to attach the ring erasers. Super simple!

What about you? Are you a buyer or a maker when it comes to classroom Valentine's?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday 5: Celebrating Simplicity

5 simple happenings from the week worth celebrating.

Here's to Vaughn being reunited with her ladies after being away on vacation.
(She always needs alone time after being with people for too long.)

Here's to all the unmatched socks of the world.
(Not that I'm celebrating orphan socks or laundry, but this broke the record for "Most Single Socks from One Load" and I found it comical. Ugh! Kids!)

Here's to Influenster* providing after school snacks this week. 
(The kids love this with apples and it's been a fun treat for them! The Back to Nature graham sticks are good too!)

Here's to cute, cheap lamps that I found at a new-to-me discount store.
(Need I say more?)

Here's to Vaughn and her the cute way she tells us to stay out of her room.
(More polite than, "Stay OUT!")

What are you celebrating tonight?

*Product was given to me to test and review.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Us against the Mountains

Every year when planning family vacations Justin mentions skiing and every year he gets out voted for a warmer destination. Not this year though! He finally got his wish and it may just end up becoming a yearly vacation. 

Skiing, for me, is as much physical as it is mental. Maybe even more so. First day? No problem. I remembered the basic moves from skiing as a kid and I was the only one who didn't fall. Second day?   First half, no problem. Second half, I was DONE. I had my first, second, and third fall of the day and veered off course and ended up having to do a run of moguls to get down. I saw things differently from that point on and it took another whole day to get over the mental block I had created in my head. However, I do enjoy skiing and love the fact that it's something that families of all ages can do together.

I think trying new and challenging things together makes relationships grow. We cheered for each other, we helped each other up (physically and mentally!), and laughed at ourselves more times than we can count.

The kids loved skiing and it brought the best of their attitudes out. Vance, my shy and timid child, is a daredevil on the slopes and was always up for trying harder and difficult runs. Vaughn fell 30 times the first day and never once gave up. On the second day, something clicked and it was smooth sailing from there on out. I'm so proud of both of them!

 The mountains are beautiful and we were thankful to have great weather for the entire week. Glad we remembered sunscreen!

Lindsey Vaughn?
Cheers, to a great family vacation and looking forward to many more!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Friday 5: Vacation Edition!

6 simple happenings from the week worth celebrating.

Here's to nice people. Everywhere you go. 
We've had a ton of questions ranging from gear, to getting places, to which runs to take and everyone is always eager to help, which makes you feel a little less of a doofus. 

Here's to selfies at 11,400 feet. 
What else is there to do during a 6 minute lift?

Here's to heated pools and pavement and crazy kids that still think it's warm enough to swim when it's 19 degrees outside.

Here's to cookies that are served at the bottom of the mountain everyday at 3:15.
This is just one of the reasons that Beaver Creek's motto is, "Not exactly roughing it", which I hugely appreciate. 

Here's to mountaintop restaurants that not only have beautiful views, but the best tortilla soup I've ever had. ( I WILL figure the recipe out!)

Here's to fearless kids that propel themselves straight down mountains only to ask, "Can we do it again?!" when we reach the bottom. I, on the other hand, do not share their sense of enthusiasm. 
It's been a great week! Lots to celebrate! What are you raising a glass to? Cheers!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Friday 5: Celebrating Simplicity

5 simple happenings from the week worth celebrating.

Here's to Justin for hanging the crown in the dining room. 
We weren't sure how to handle it with the reclaimed wood, but are happy with the direction we chose. Still can't stick a fork in the dining room yet, but we're close. 
*Update: I've received emails about the wood wall - here's more about the process: Phase 1 and Phase 2

Here's to Mother Nature for trying to get on our good side before she brought in bitter cold temps and gray skies. 

 Here's to finding the magic degree in which Vance won't fight wearing shorts and a coat. Apparently it's 10 degrees and -11 degrees with wind chill factored in.

Here's to the shoe fairy hooking me up. (His name is Kevin and he hails from Nordstrom.) 
The boots I wanted have been unavailable for over a month now and I can't wait on backorder lists any longer. I stumbled into the shoe department and asked Kevin to bring me any winter boots they had in a 7.5, knowing I was going to have to settle on something I might not love. He brought me these, they fit, and they were on sale! Bippidy, boppidy, boo! 

Here's to Vaughn, simply because she's a walking rainbow and I can't get enough of her. 

What are you toasting to tonight?

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Do Your Chores: Free Printable

*Business first! I will be deleting the old Madtown Macs feed burner soon, so if you receive posts by email through Madtown Macs, please update your subscription with the buttons on the right to keep getting Charisa Darling feed. Thanks!

Vance: Mom, I cleaned your bathroom mirror!
Me: (leery) What...did you clean it with?
Vance: My shirt!
Me: Your shirt?
Vance: Well, I used my bare hand too.
Me: ...blank stare, mouth agape...
Vance: What!? Would you rather have a dirty mirror?

Vance is not normally this helpful but as of three days ago, he's all about the Benjamin's, baby. He wants to treat Justin on an all expense paid trip to Denver to see the Bronco's play and needs some serious funds, especially since he wants to stay at the Four Seasons. Unfortunately, he shares my taste of the finer things in life. Fortunately, he inherited Justin's good sense and has a cheaper Plan B and C just in case he doesn't earn enough dough.

This is what has prompted Vance and Vaughn's voluntary cleaning and odd-job doing around the house. (Vaughn is not part of this boys trip, but if Vance is doing something, she wants in pronto.) (See last post.) They are nickel and diming me to death doing chores that I end up partially re-doing (I can't handle streaky mirrors) and I need to harness their energy with a chore list stat.

I've never made a real chore chart and was unsure on where to start. An internet search quickly helped me decide that a day of the week style chart doesn't work our busy schedule. Breaking tasks into "Daily" and "Weekly" categories seemed to be a better alternative. And then I threw a "Practice" category in there for good measure.

As for the money portion, I don't know where I stand with allowances. Without diving too deep, I know it can help kids understand money, but I think there are some chores kids should do without expecting to get paid. I'll figure that out later, but for now I'm focusing on the fact that they are asking to do more than what's expected of them. I'm not sure of the going rate but paying them what their age is seems like a good place to start.

The hard part will be for me to remember to get cash to pay them since I never have any on me. Hmm...I wonder if they'll accept Visa? IOU's? In all honesty, knowing my kids, they get hot on an idea and then loose interest. Let's see how long they keep this up. Any bets?

Here's a printable version for you in case your kids are feeling helpful too. (I left the file open so that it can be edited if you have a supporting program. If not, just hand write chores in.)


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