Hello, September 2014 | a free desktop calendar download

Celebrate September with this free desktop and phone wallpaper! #desktopwallpaper #desktopdownload #september #calendar #desktop

We love helping you creatively celebrate each season, so we’re kicking off our Desktop Beautification Project!

At the beginning of each month, starting today, we’ll share a new, free desktop wallpaper for you to download. We’ve got a calendar version for your desktop, and a non-calendar version for your phone.

This first one was created by Mike’s super-talented wife and artist, Melanie (who will be creating the next few months’ worth, too).

Enjoy!

Celebrate September with this free desktop and phone wallpaper! #desktopwallpaper #desktopdownload #september #calendar #desktop

September 2014 Calendar

2560 x 1440 // 1680 x 1050// 1440 x 900 // 1280 x 800 // phone

For help on how to install, click here.

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Share the love – how to turn your vacation pictures into a sendable keepsake

Earlier this summer, we took a trip to the Outer Banks for our first family vacation since before Carter was born—and, as anyone who has ever taken a 12-hour road trip with a 2-year-old knows, this is a serious feat of endurance for which they really should give out awards :)

In classic Jessica-style, the week included a lot of picture-taking… followed up by a lot of doing nada with my photos when we returned.

…until last week, when I came across an article that inspired me to do something with them! Jessica Shyba, who you may know from her adorable #theoandbeau pictures on Instagram, recently went on a babymoon with her husband, and she wrote about making a card using her vacation pictures.

Share the love - how to turn your vacation pictures into a sendable keepsake

Jessica and her husband used their card to say ‘miss you’ to their 3 kids who stayed home while they were away; but since our vacation was with our extended family, I wanted to use our card to look back on the trip and let them know we’re thinking of them.

I chose my favorite photo collage card, dropped in a bunch of snapshots from the trip, and wrote a little message:

Share the love - how to turn your vacation pictures into a sendable keepsake

Originally, I just wanted to make this card as a way to do something creative with all my vacation photos. But after I sent it, I got a couple phone calls from my family saying how much it brightened their day—and that  ended up being my favorite part.

Share the love - how to turn your vacation pictures into a sendable keepsake

I sent a version of this card back to myself, and I’m planning to frame it and set it out in our house, so we can enjoy these photos on a daily basis!

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5 customizable party craft ideas for kids, perfect for their next birthday!

When I was a kid, I liked playing games at birthday parties, but I always thought it was way more special when I got to make a craft that I could bring home with me. To help spread some of that birthday party magic, I’ve put together some of my favorite craft ideas for kids. They’re easy, kid-friendly, and only require a little help from adults—perfect for birthday parties, and kids of all ages!

On top of that, they can all be customized to your party’s theme—so, whether you’re diving under the sea with an underwater themed party, or soaring above the clouds with a super hero theme, you’re sure to find something that works!

1. Tote Bag Crafts

First up on my list (and my absolute favorite)—tote bags that kids can decorate and continue to use even after they’re home!

Kids can add anything from hand prints to drawings of their favorite things, and if they’re old enough to use them, you could even put out stencils that match your theme. (This DIY is specific to Mother’s Day, but you could customize it to any party.) Read More »

Friday Finds: Labor Day Recipes

Labor Day is almost here, and whatever your plan is for celebrating the holiday, I bet it involves some delicious end-of-summer food!

If so, we have something in common :) My husband and I are having a small get-together at our house next weekend, so I’m in recipe-gathering mode today. I’ve found a lot of great Labor Day recipes, as well as a few that were created for 4th of July and Memorial Day, but are perfect for a Labor Day party.

Here are some of the dishes we’re most excited about making (and eating!) next weekend:

Delicious Labor Day recipes to mark the end of summer! #laborday #recipes     Delicious Labor Day recipes to mark the end of summer! #laborday #recipes

Delicious Labor Day recipes to mark the end of summer! #laborday #recipes     Delicious Labor Day recipes to mark the end of summer! #laborday #recipes

Delicious Labor Day recipes to mark the end of summer! #laborday #recipes     Delicious Labor Day recipes to mark the end of summer! #laborday #recipes

From top left:

Happy Labor Day!

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You can’t mail a hug—but you CAN mail a homemade card from your iPad!

It seems like every week, someone around here is bringing in an adorable card that one of their even more adorable kids made on the Creatacard app. Since our team actually designs the card templates, it’s so much fun for us to see which ones they choose—not to mention how much we love to see all the creative artwork that comes out of these little artists!

I wrote a post last spring about Carter’s experience making his grandma a Mother’s Day card, and I’ve found that each time we make a new card together, I get a ton of insight about what makes the best cards.

Since the app is still new, we’re still learning what works and what doesn’t—but we’re especially excited about the new Grandparents Day cards that just launched! Here are a few of my favorites:

Cute Grandparents Day cards from kids - made from the iPad! #creatacard #grandparentsday #cards

And if your kiddos want to get even more creative, they can skip the card templates altogether and create their own card from scratch in the “make a card” section of the app.

I LOVE the adorable card Jessica Shyba’s kids made for their Grandpa’s birthday in the “make a card” section!

Jessica Shyba's kids (#theoandbeau) making their Grandpa a customized card using the Creatacard app! #creatacard #theoandbeau #cards

Photos by Jessica Shyba

If you want to get in on the card-making fun, you can download the Creatacard app for free in the iTunes App Store. (And, don’t forget that Grandparents Day is September 7!)

For more inspiration, check out all our Grandparents Day posts!

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Friday Finds | Grandparents Day crafts

Grandparents Day is coming up on September 7, and I’ve been on the lookout for a fun and meaningful craft to do with Carter. Last year, we came up with this watercolor art craft, which we framed and gave to Grammy & Pops along with a personalized Grandparents Day card.

I’m looking for something equally creative this year, and luckily there’s no shortage of awesome, personalized DIY crafts out there! Here are a few of my favorites :)

Cute & fun Grandparents Day crafts for kids! #grandparentsday #crafts     Cute & fun Grandparents Day crafts for kids! #grandparentsday #crafts

Cute & fun Grandparents Day crafts for kids! #grandparentsday #crafts     Cute & fun Grandparents Day crafts for kids! #grandparentsday #crafts

From top left:

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Fiesta brights party | celebrating summer and 30 years

Celebrating summer and 30 years with a bright and colorful party! #summer #party #30years #birthday #fiesta

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday, and I’ve talked a couple times about the planning (in this backyard party series and this giant display numbers DIY), and now, I’m excited to finally share photos of how it all came together! Read More »

Color Mixer | fiesta brights

A few weeks ago, I talked about how a theme (even if it’s just a color one) can help with planning a party. Having just finished planning one myself, I can definitely reiterate that it’s so very true.

I’ve been busy this summer preparing for my 30th birthday party, and my ‘fiesta brights’ color palette helped me make a lot of decisions.

A bright and fun color palette to inspire your next project or party! #color #palette #party #bright #fun

Photo courtesy of Helen Dealtry

I can’t wait to share the photos with you later this week!

Stay tuned to see how I used these colors (with accents of gold!) and my other outdoor party tips to glam up my backyard.

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Friday finds | back to school

Whether you’re still preparing to send your kids back to school, or they’ve already returned to the classroom, we love these simple ideas to make them feel extra-loved while at school :)

If you missed our other back to school features this week, check out our free printable lunchbox notes and this cute back to school DIY tote bag!

Back to school ideas to make your kids feel extra loved! #backtoschool      Back to school ideas to make your kids feel extra loved! #backtoschool #pencil #giftbox

Back to school ideas to make your kids feel extra loved! #backtoschool #pencilcase #DIY #craft      Back to school ideas to make your kids feel extra loved! #backtoschool #cards

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Must-try DIY | a back to school library tote

Looking for a creative back to school craft? Check out this library tote from And We Play #diy #tote #bag #backtoschool #craft

Every so often, we get to feature a guest blogger from a blog that we absolutely love, and today is one of those days!

We’re delighted to welcome Kersey from the blog And We Play, who’s here to share a great back to school DIY project with you. We met Kersey at a blog conference last month, and we’ve been eager to feature one of her fun projects ever since.

So, as you prepare to send your own kiddos back to school, check out this handy—not to mention, easyDIY library tote!

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We love books around here. A lot.

Our visits to the library usually result in stacks of books that we end up struggling to carry.

Enter the book tote!

Elliott loved using his own book tote at the library. And I loved that I wasn’t lugging around a ton of books for him. He was in charge of the books, so if it got to be too heavy for him to carry, he had to put enough books back so he could carry it on his own. I don’t know if that’s a mom win or a mom fail, but it worked for me!

Looking for a creative back to school craft? Check out this library tote from And We Play #diy #tote #bag #backtoschool #craft Read More »