November has slipped in under the radar for us. October was filled with projects and kids activities, a few weeks of travel, all topped off by a little Halloween fun with parties and trick or treating with friends. The last week has been crazy with enough activity to make my head spin. I had the opportunity to travel to Asheville, North Carolina last week for a public relations conference, and I’m still processing all the great information presented there. I came home to a sweet birthday celebration orchestrated by my Baby Girl, complete with decorations, a rainbow cake that “Special Agent Rainbow” decorated herself, hand-wrapped presents, and a pretty robust party plan. That celebration shifted right into Halloween class parties and a failed attempt to find a pumpkin to carve into jack-o-lantern guise. Trips around town to all the grocery stores yielded not a single pumpkin, so we had to satisfy ourselves with postponing that tradition until next year and promises for me to plan better! We visited with dear friends on Halloween night for party foods and trick-or-treating, and suddenly, we woke up to a new month! November, the month for “grateful praise,” has arrived, and I’m totally unprepared! So, today (a day late with my printable calendar), I’m reminding myself that gratitude doesn’t really require much preparation. Just a heart decision. And a commitment to looking at each moment in a new way.
On our schedule this November:
- A new branding and strategic planning campaign for one of my long-time clients
- Celebrating a trip to the district Reading Fair for Baby Girl
- Pulling together proposals for a few new clients
- Preparing to chaperone Travis’ trip to Auburn, Alabama with his robotics team
- A few new holiday products I have in the works (hint: pennants and the North Pole)
- Celebrating Elisha’s 11th birthday
- Our annual trip to Busy Bee for Thanksgiving week
- Christmas decorating weekend
- The anticipated arrival of Gabriella, our family elf
- Watching Travis march in the Christmas parade
It’s an exciting month. The cooler temperatures are finally here. There is anticipation in the air for what’s coming up. And, a little fear of the rush of those activities. November’s rich tapestry of celebrations and demands can be intimidating. With the turn of the calendar, I find myself ushering in a renewed desire to draw my blessings closer, to nurture only the thinking that pulls me forward, and to protect the most precious moments from distractions and urgencies that water down my attention. The challenge November is to live each hour by carving out my own priorities. And, as this month’s printable calendar reflects, to fill those hours with rightful and grateful praise. I invite you to download the calendar and enjoy. Happy November.
August is here, and it brings our last week of summer vacation. Next Monday, my little ones (who have grown considerably taller almost before my eyes these last few weeks) head into a new school year, and my routine shifts again. It’s hard not to focus on August as an ending… the end of our carefree days together. The end of summer. The end of unplanned trips and soaking up my loves. In fact, sometimes August is a really challenging month for me as I transition from noise and questions and activity and giggles in the house all day, to the quietness of alone time as my children are at school. After finally adjusting to grabbing time for work and creative projects in between the excitement of so much summer fun, I find that nothing zaps creativity and productivity quite like the deafening quiet of an empty house! Still, there is a kind of rest in the order of more scheduled days and the discipline of making new commitments. Last week, I came across a quote by the philosopher and theologian, Meister Eckhart, that really resonated with me… “And suddenly you know: it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
Trust the magic of beginnings.
I forget sometimes that the magic of new possibilities rests in any beginning. We only need to keep our eyes open to notice it. These last few weeks, we’ve been making decisions about what extra-curricular activities the children want to be involved in this year, and I’ve been narrowing down some new directions for my businesses and new product ideas. I feel the pull in a few key areas for our family, and I’m actually excited to see what God has in store for us as we begin to follow. I’m excited that we’re actually paring down a couple of our evening activities so that we can focus on building faithfulness and continue to strengthen home base. I’m praying that as we say goodbye to all that we love about summer, we will be keenly aware and open to the new things God is bringing our way in this new season and schedule. I’m praying that we will trust the magic to come, and be prepared to wonder at how things settle in just as they’re meant to.
I decided to paint a portion of the Eckhart quote as a cut-away part of this month’s printable calendar. I hope to create a larger piece with the full quote, so watch for that! Meanwhile, I hope you’ll grab this little piece of free art to mark your August days. May it remind you to trust the magic in each one. Enjoy!
July always starts with a bang as bunting and fireworks take center stage! This midway point of summer is a fitting time to celebrate the birth of freedom in America, plus take time to be thankful for the blessings afforded to us living in this great country. I’m trying to get back into the routine of creating more printable artwork to post here, and I decided to update one of my designs from last year for July. I hope you enjoy this way of marking the days! The calendar includes a little extra artwork at the bottom so when the month is gone, you can clip it off and send as a card or display on your desk. Happy July!
August is here, and I really can’t believe it. Every year at this time I wonder where the summer has gone, and today it really hit me… school starts this week! In our neck of the woods, classes begin on Thursday, and just like that, carefree days are behind us. We’ve had a wonderful summer together, traveling, exploring, playing and setting aside some intentional down time! I can’t help but be a little sad because I’ve really enjoyed the privilege of having my little ones at home with me for the last two months or so, but I’m also excited about new things in store. Two of my children are heading to new schools this year. We are trying a few new clubs and after school activities, and we have some new church plans and work endeavors to look forward to. Although it marks the end of summer, it seems August is bringing us new beginnings as well. This week, we’re gearing up, getting our spaces in order, organizing new supplies, and soaking up a few more unscheduled weekday hours. I hope you can relish the new beginnings this month may bring into your life as well!
This morning, I put together an August printable calendar with cut-away artwork I hope you can share when the month is over. You can download the art at the links below. Happy August!
I can’t believe July is already here! It seems like the summer is speeding by, but we are putting a lot of energy into enjoying every day! I hope you’re marking your summer days with a wonderful mix of laziness and fun activities. My babies are returning from camp today, and we’re heading into a long 4th of July weekend. This month for us will include science camp, a trip to the beach, and probably a little preparation for the start of school in early August – but we don’t want to think about that right now. Today, let’s just enjoy the carefree days of summer for another month!
I’ve put together a July printable calendar that includes some cut-away artwork celebrating the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” You can download the art at the links below. Enjoy your July!
Today is our first official day of summer vacation at home in Starkville! We left town the day school let out to spend the week at the farm to celebration the break, and now, we are back home settling into the more relaxed summer routine. I’ve been looking forward to summer vacation for a couple of months, and it feels like I’ve been in a constant state of saying, “we can do that over the summer!” Each year, though, I find myself stunned at just how short the summer is.
In one of my more “mommy’s weird” moments last week, I decided to count how many actual days we have for summer vacation. It’s 71. Seventy-one! Today, that number is 64. They’re already moving fast. As a child, I remember summer being kind of an endless lazy haze. As a parent, I find myself begging time to slow down. I felt like I overcommitted the children last year to camps and activities — all wonderful opportunities, just not the opportunity to be unscheduled. As I began planning for this summer, I determined that we would devote the time this year to togetherness, to captured moments, and to more unscheduled wandering. At the farm last week, I started writing notes in my journal about all the simple, but wonderful fun things we did each day. It was nothing fancy, just things like playing charades, having a picnic, watching our own Scooby Doo marathon, walking to various parts of the pasture, throwing rocks in creeks, and more. I decided I would try to continue writing the memories for each of those 71 summer days.
In that spirit, I put together a little printable calendar for June called “What I Did This June.” Instead of the traditional calendar layout, it has a place to write at least one memorable or ordinary thing for each day. I hope you enjoy the chance to capture your moments!
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Happy June, friends! We had some very nice down time at the farm last week to begin our summer vacation. Now, I think I’m probably more excited than the kids are that we have a break from school. It gives me the chance to spend more time with my sweet ones, and I’m looking forward to a little bit more of a relaxed work schedule. I’m hoping we can do a little exploring this summer, which I’ll share more about later. I’m also pretty sure, we’ll have our share of lazy, hazy days!
To celebrate the start of summer vacation, I’ve put together a June printable calendar and desktop wallpaper using some watercolor doodles. The printable includes some cut-away artwork to encourage more summer laziness after the month is over. Enjoy!
As promised yesterday, this morning I’m sharing a printable download for Easter finger puppets to go with our mini banners — the acting company in our “Hop Along” Theater! This made for a fun Sunday afternoon with Baby Girl coloring and making the puppets. When we finished, I was told, “I have some good ideas,” for the photos, so today’s post is very sweetly styled by Maggie! I think she did a wonderful job setting a spring scene, and it’s clear she already has that “creative director” tendency. What a joy to see her little ideas blossom! We’re having a pretty fun Easter season blogging together 🙂
These are pretty easy to make! Just cut along the yellow lines for the base and cut around the figures at whatever level of detail you like. Once they are colored, you can wrap around a test finger and tape — Presto, theater company!
Baby Girl and I have been working on a few crafty projects for Easter, and today I’m sharing a printable for a cute little mini banner we made. It’s actually part one of an idea I had as I was thinking through spring post ideas. I’ve always loved making things with paper, especially things to play with! The children love to make little paper cut-out puppets using popsicle sticks to create dramas for their puppet shows. So, my thought was to create a little “Hop Along” theater marquee to use along with some Easter-themed finger puppets. I’ll share the finger puppets tomorrow as a printable too, but for now, I’ve included some photos and tips to make the banner below. It can really be hung in any way, but I used some pencils to make our “theater” columns. In the printable download (shown below), I’ve included banner flags for “Hop Along” as well as “He Is Risen,” which would make a neat reminder of the reason for our Easter celebrations on your tabletop of mantle. Enjoy! And stay tuned tomorrow for photos and download for the finger puppets — styling by the one and only, Baby Girl!
Tips for making the mini banner:
- We printed ours on card stock weight paper so it has a little weight and doesn’t wrinkle when glued.
- You can hold a metal ruler or straight edge in place in the white gap at the middle of each diamond, and fold against it to crease the row of flags evenly.
- Fold each row first, and then cut out each flag. That way, you don’t have to worry about matching up the angles — and the flags don’t have to be exact. [This also gives you kind of a neat diamond harlequin stencil — bonus!]
- Keep your glue away from the crease in each diamond when you’re adding them to the string. That way, you’ll be able to slide the flags along the string when you’re finished to adjust the spacing of the words. You may want to go ahead and slide the flags a minute or so after you glue to be sure no glue dries on the string.
- We used short sequin pins with balls to top our banner pencil “poles”. They stick securely into the eraser, but leave enough space to wrap your strings to hold up the banner. They’re also kind of festive!
- We put our pencil poles in tiny clay pots with straw to scotch, but small potted plants would be cute or even cupcakes for a party table!
I’ve been getting into cute bunny mode this week since the kids helped me get down the box of our Easter decorations this weekend. I decided to use a couple of the bunnies from this year’s Easter gift tags (plus a few new watercolor illustrations) to create these printable egg holders. Baby Girl and I had a fun time making the samples! Just click the image below to download the printable. Print the designs onto cardstock, and cut along the dotted lines and around the illustrations. Then, cut the slits shown and thread together to create rings. These would probably be cute napkin rings for a little tea party as well! Enjoy!