spooky dinner. free printables. for you.

If you know me, you know I heart the holidays. Big or small. I like to think of it as a chance to make the kiddos smile and a way to make the days a little more interesting. Well, at least that’s what I tell myself.

Last year I posted a Spooky Dinner Menu. A little somethin’ that engrossed {get it!} the kiddies and made Halloween a bit more memorable. You can find our spooky dinner menu from last year here.


But for now, a chance to make your own spooky dinner a little cuter and whole lot easier. For you? Some {free} spooky dinner printables. Creepy and cute. I’m sold.

spooky banners with label

{you will need}
thick paper | cardstock
halloween menu template

mummy wrap

{your task}

 step 1. print the spooky menu item template. You can find it above or here.

 step 2. cut out the spooky menu items.

 step 3. fold cut banner around a skewer stick and tape the backside.

 step 4. That’s it. Easy, right?

spooky dinner

frightful bats

Maybe you want to add a new tradition to your Halloween? Want some free spooky menu banners? Now you have them and a chance to make your Halloween a little bit spookier. Boo.

try. enjoy. share.

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Want some more Halloween ideas?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{free} printable Halloween tags 

Treat Tags Button

{yum} double trouble cookies
Cookie Button


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diy french inspired clock. love at first sight.

I saw it. I loved it. I wanted one for my own house.

Tis’ true. While browsing Pinterest I stumbled on a clock that made my heart melt. If you follow along you may have seen it on my backyard inspiration board. If not, here is a sneak peek of the beauty.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.22.36 PM

Needless to say, I was smitten and wanted a version of my own for our own backyard. All it took was a little time, some sanding and tracing. Do you love it as much as I do?

clock with label

Admit it. Kind of amazing. I do catch myself gazing at it while we are lounging in the backyard. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

clock #4

Just a few simple materials will get the job done. And. prepare yourself. It looks like there are a million steps, but I was trying to be detailed enough for you to try it at home.

materials for clock

clock step 1

clock step 2

clock step  3

clock step 4
{print and cut stencils.}
Roman Numeral Stencil
French Wording Stencil

clock step 5

clock step 6

clock step 7

clock step 8

clock step 9

clock step 10

clock step 11

clock step 12

step 13

step 14


step 16


It has found a home under our covered porch where I get to admire it just about every day. To hang it? We added a few screws and wire to hang it for all to see. Maybe you, too, want to add one to your own home? Will yours be indoor or outdoor?

clock #1

clock #3

clock #2

And, before you even think it. No, it is not a functioning clock which drives my sister and husband absolutely crazy. I like to call it my {non-functioning} clock. But, my other half won out after constantly asking what time it was while we were outside and I have officially purchased clock parts to turn this beauty into a {functioning} clock. That post? Well, when I get a chance to install it. Who knows when that will be.

Take a lookey loo at where I linked up you might find some more inspiring ideas…i heart naptime and design, dining & diapers.

try. enjoy. share.

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festive fall plate and bowls. makes me smile.

For me, it’s the little things. Most times I plan these over the top events and then it never turns out quite as I imagined in my mind. I am reminded often by the Mr. that I just might need to lower my expectations. It’s the curse of the type-a, perfectionist part of me. Sadly, it takes up a big part.

Through this journey I have learned that it’s the little things. Those are the moments I remember most and hope my littles will remember too. The moments where you wish you took a picture to capture the memory, but know that any type of movement will disrupt the perfection of it. Those are my favorite.

This is a little moment. It is so silly. It is so not important. But, I love the smiles it brings to my babies. Those are the moments I want them to remember. The excitement of it all and the magic of being a kid.

What makes me smile {like every day}? Switching out our everyday plates and bowls for something that is a little more festive and unexpected.


Today I switched out the bowls and plates and secretly placed our Halloween inspired plates, bowls and glasses in the drawer. Mr. G came home to get a bowl for his snack, opened it and yelled, “YES! The Halloween bowls are here.” See what I mean? The little things. It makes my heart melt.

Lulu loved them just as much and it entertained her for a whole 20 minutes. That is money well spent.

halloween plates1

Yes, it’s an investment, but I figure I only have to buy once, or at least until they are well used. But, the truth is I found this cute collection at my neighborhood grocery store. Seriously. They are the best at bringing in decor for the seasons and these melamine plates and bowls were calling out my name. I bought a few at a time and then waited until they were trying to clearance them out at the end of the month.

halloween plates

Maybe you want to add a new little tradition to your home? Switch out the plates and add a little extra festive decor to your meals. My kids love it and yours just might too.

Want some more Halloween ideas?
Take a lookey loo at the {
free} printable Halloween tags you may have missed before.

Treat Tags Button

try. enjoy. share.

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chalkboard wall. october. what to do.

It’s October. Yikes. And, I haven’t even put out ANY fall decorations. Life has been a little crazier than usual and I am trying to be “ok” with it. Keyword here, “ok”. The one thing I did accomplish? An October chalkboard wall, so that is at least a starting point.

Our OCTOBER chalkboard wall. A place where we wrote down a few things to check off our October {to do} list. I like to think of it as a way to stay focused and organized. Our list will be the perfect way to fill those “what should we do?” days.

The theme for this month? Things to do as a family.


{a list.}
16 things that we are determined to get done before November arrives.
I am determined to get everything on this list done before November arrives. It is the perfect way to kick off fall and keep those little monsters happy and busy. 


{a tip or two.}
You really can make it easy on yourself.
A few tricks I have up my sleeve that help that perfectionist side of me. Sigh.

october chalkboard

october chalkboard-001

 {a look.}
Just because it’s cute. A few more pictures of this month’s chalkboard wall.
Not so spooky, but a perfect way to bring a little more fall to our house.
Maybe you notice some stripes? My newest addition and pictures coming soon, well once I finish touching up.


I hope your October is filled with many adventures and a chance to create memories of your own. A chance to get carried away with the fall season and cozy up for some snuggle time.

try. enjoy. share.

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{If you missed it, learn how you can make your own {DIY Chalkboard and Magnetic Wall}. Take a quick peek {here} to find out just how easy it is to transform an empty space into something that will make you smile.}

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printable kids thank you cards. say thanks after a birthday.

Birthdays. So much fun. Way too many goodies. Time for thank you cards.

For me, birthdays are the perfect time for my kids to practice the art of saying thanks. Oh, how I wish they wanted to do this on their own, but the reality is that I am a mean mommy and force them to write individual thank you cards. Call me old fashioned, but I think somewhere along the way we’ve lost the art of a good ole’ card in the mail. Good for me. Bad for my kids.

Sadly, my kids are not at an age where they can write multiple sentences on their own or complete this task without some serious whining. So, I have had to transform our thank you cards into something that is ‘manageable’ for everyone involved. I use the term ‘manageable’ loosely. This task seriously took my five year old birthday boy four days to finish. It involved lots of  deep breaths, but we got through it.

For you, a two {free} printable thank you birthday cards that you can use with your own little cuties.
Pretty cute, if I say so myself.



{you will need}
scissors or paper cutter
thick paper
pen or pencil
birthday thank you card template of your choice

{your task}

 step 1. print the birthday thank you card template by by clicking below. Which one will you choose? Boy or girl version?
{note: you will want to print double sided. you can use that feature on your printer or print once and then flip over and place in printer to print the backside}

kids thx cards1-001

kids thx cards1-002

step 2. cut the cards out using the front image to guide you.

 step 3. have your kiddos fill out their card.

 step 4. seal, stamp and mail.

boys thx card front

Give some thanks to all who helped your kiddo celebrate their big day. A little something in the mail to brighten their day AND practice the art of saying thanks.

try. enjoy. share.

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hands free mama. it’s hard. but, good.

Have you ever tried be a {hands free} mama? It’s hard. Do you even know what I am talking about? It’s my new mantra and I am hoping you will come along on the journey. I can’t promise it will be easy. But, I think it might be life changing. Are you in?

Here’s the truth? I have caught myself checking my email a million times a day or double checking my text messages, instead of being present with my kids. Over the past few months, I have noticed a chance in me as a mommy. I have spent more time with my phone or my computer than I should. I know it. I am sure my kids know it. And, it has been in the back of my brain for months now.

Did you notice? I took a break from blog posts. I tried to step away from the things that were distracting me, but it still didn’t feel quite right. On my nightstand was a constant reminder that I needed to refocus. It has been sitting there since last May. A book. A book that kept staring at me.  A book that my MOPS group handed out to every mama as a goodbye gift. Yep, it sat there all summer collecting dust and staring at me.

Last week I couldn’t handle it looking at me any more. I picked it up. I started reading it. And I was hooked. I love it. I am trying to take baby steps, but have quickly realized the power of the words in that book.

  Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 1.08.31 PM

The author, Rachel Macy Stafford, is so honest and truthful in her search for balance, something I, too, struggle with on a daily basis. By the second page of Chapter 1 she reminded me of my purpose and aspirations for my own kids. I have only just started, but I am already committed to being a {hands free} mama. Scratch that. I am going to work on being a {hands free} mama/wife/friend/daughter.

I don’t want to be that mom who forgets to cherish the moments that are in front of me. I want to look back and know that I have made the most of every moment.

As I started on my new journey last week I decided to start a journal. It’s not cute. I quickly grabbed it out of the kids’ art drawer {it pains me that it is not cute. sad, but true}, but my first page is what reminded me of why this is so important.

My middle baby woke up early before school and snuggled in bed with me while I was reading. He asked if he could write in the journal too. As he was so engrossed in his part of the journal entry I was overcome with just how important this is for me. Just look. His picture reminded me of the mama I strive to be.


Maybe you are past the mama stage in life, but I am thinking this might also be an avenue for strengthening a marriage. I know I am using it as a tool to make my marriage as strong as it can be. Perhaps it will do the same for your marriage. Won’t you come along on the journey too? I sure hope so. We can share notes. Are you in?

Want to learn more?  Visit the Hands Free Mama site and learn more about how life changing it can be. Though I am only a few chapters in, I imagine it will be a great way to ‘free’ myself and be the best mama I can be.

love. enjoy. share.

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who knew? four clubs that make life oh so easy.

It is not news to me when I find out I am not in the loop about something totally awesome. It actually happens quite often. Why? Well, probably because I don’t Facebook {did you just die? I might be the only human in the world!} and I find myself living in a bubble at times.

Case in point… my sis-in-law {thx, m!} let me in on this little secret that is traveling around the fashion world. Have you heard? It is called Stitch Fix. Thank goodness she told me so that I could share with everyone I knew. She keeps me in the “know” and makes me sound uber cool around my friends.  Too bad I hadn’t read my Better Homes & Garden September issue that had been collecting dust. If I had, I would have had a little insight into her new find!

Thanks to my sis-in-law  and Better Homes & Garden I am sharing with you four new phenomenons {why didn’t I come up with them?} that just might make your life easier and your daily mailbox run a little more exciting.

  Clubs from BHG Your own personal styling service?
stitch fix |

Trendy new nailpolish colors? 
 square hue |

Seasonal shoe stylist?
shoe mint |

Monthly jewelry and bling?
| mynt box |

 Maybe one of these new online “clubs” and personal stylist services will strike your fancy too. Don’t shoot the messenger if you get totally hooked.

try. enjoy. share.

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chalkboard wall. september. be awesome.

Goodbye summer, hello fall. My opinion? Too quick. I love summer. But, I must admit that there is something extra special about the start of school. Almost magical. Do you feel that way too?

Our SEPTEMBER chalkboard wall. A place where our kiddos are reminded to be awesome, make someone else’s day and start the year off right.  And, one of our household favorites… Oh, snap.

The theme for this month? School is starting. What type of year will we make it?

september 2014 wall

oh, snap. it’s september and time to get serious again.
Three things to keep in mind.

{one.} Don’t forget to be AWESOME.
Kind of important, don’t you think? I am crossing my fingers that this daily reminder will help our little boysies remember just how awesome they are. Inspired by one of my besties who proudly displays this at the bottom of her stairs for her boys to look at each morning they come down. Brilliant.


{two.} Give HIGH FIVES and smile.
Kind of important. A kind, smiling kid will make a lot more friends when the school year starts. Well, that and the fact that I just think being nice is a good idea. A perfect way to showcase Mr. G’s adorable little hand and his handwriting {smile}. So cute. High five to you, Mr. G.


{three.} It’s a new year. Enjoy it, cuties.
What? Two of my babies are leaving me for school? So sad. My big guy is off to 1st grade and my lil’ ball of energy starts TK {transitional kindergarten}. I’m hoping they eat up every minute and second of the fun that is to come. Obviously not quite finished yet, but once we have their first day pictures they will fill the wall for all to see. 


For our first day pictures we have started a little tradition with some adorable {poster packs} from the Caravan Shoppe. You can see my original post from last September here.  Eventually, we will have the latest and greatest 2014 shots, but here is a sneak peek at what last years 1st day background looked like.

grayson goofy

On another note, I found a little treasure while browsing the aisles at JoAnn’s. In love. In heaven. I just had to test it out on our September wall. Let me introduce you to Washable Liquid Chalk. Some kind of amazing.


 I tried it out on some stencils that I had lying around my craft room. It was ridiculously easy and simple. I chose to go over the liquid chalk to make it look more authentic, but it definitely made the job easier. Want it? Find the Martha Stewart Liquid Chalk here.


I hope your September is magical and you remember to be AWESOME. Enjoy the beginning of the school year and all the growing up that will come.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

{If you missed it, learn how you can make your own {DIY Chalkboard and Magnetic Wall}. Take a quick peek {here} to find out just how easy it is to transform an empty space into something that will make you smile.}

Want some other great ideas? I linked up at I Heart Naptime. Take a lookey loo..

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peach and blackberry grilled pizza. stop it. so good.

No. I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Yes. I am still here. I promise. It’s crazy. This little thing called {summer} hit and I realized that sitting in front of my computer was the last thing I wanted to do.

I am one of those who can’t get enough of summer with my babies. I think it is because there are no routines or schedules or places we HAVE to be. Needless to say, I wanted to spend the last few weeks soaking up the little moments with my little monsters before they headed off to school. I admit it. I am sad. With each year that passes I realize how quickly time is passing. Oh boo.

I am back. Well, for now. And, I just have to share our new favorite kitchen treasure. I owe it all to one of my besties who inspired the evening after we spent a weekend at their house. It all started with pizza on the grill {yumm-y!} and a pizza stone. Let me introduce you to our new weekend staple, Emilie Henry Grilling Stone.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 8.40.48 PM

Seriously. I can’t even tell you how amazing this thing is. I spent a little time in Sur La Table and got this recommended to me over other pizza stones because it is durable {10 year warranty, yo.} and is easy to clean. Oh, and did I mention that you can also cook these tasty treats on it? For the record, no I did not cook all these fabulous things in the last week. You can ooh and awe to Sur La Table for those pictures.

Recently Updated1

No. I am not kidding. Look at everything you can make with it, albeit on the grill. That is my type of cooking. Do I think you should put one on your Christmas list? Heck ya. It is that good. Both me and my other half couldn’t stop raving about it all weekend. Sur La Table, we thank you.

Now, here is the good stuff. We tried out a few different pizzas on our new BBQ stone and found one that was a total winner. {translation:  both me and the mr. were drooling} It looks like you slaved over it, but it couldn’t be easier.

If you follow me on instragram I apologize for the repeat, but I figure the recipe will make up for the duplicate picture.



  • pizza dough
    {i use the trader joe’s dough and break in half}
  • olive oil
  • goat cheese crumbles
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • basil
  • peach
  • blackberries

{grill it up.}

  • Following stone directions, heat grill to 500° with stone on BBQ
  • Grill peaches until browned on both sides
  • Shape dough into a round circle
  • Spread 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over dough
  • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over base
  • Layer with blackberries, grilled peaches, goat cheese crumbles
  • Place on grill {follow stone directions} until fully cooked
  • Remove from grill and add basil
  • Voila!


Trust me. Too die for. Easy to make and easy on the eyes. What could be better? Doesn’t it make you drool just looking at it? You have my word, it will be a crowd pleaser. Give it a try. You just might fall in love too.

eat. enjoy. share.

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Want some other great ideas? I linked up at I Heart Naptime. Take a lookey loo..

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my six fave kid apps. yours too?

I know. What? Favorite apps? Well, let’s be clear here. I am not one to turn down something that makes life oh, so easy. Our iPad has some serious screen time regulations, but I will be the first to admit that it is my secret weapon when:

1. We want to eat in peace at a restaurant. No lie. Total silence and complete concentration. Who can say no to that?

2. The mama needs to shop. Three kids in a double BOB stroller, an iPad and some snacks {aka the perfect recipe for a two hour shopping trip}. I know, it is so horrible, but when I dangle that amazing techy device in front of them I can get in at least two hours of uninterrupted shopping.

3. My poor little guy has to wait in line to pick up his big bro in line for school. I tried having him read books, but I caved in watching him so restless. iPad to the rescue, yet again.

4. Pure bribery. Sure you can play… once you clean your room, pick up the playroom and give mommy a back scratch. Come on. Please tell me I’m not the only one who uses it to get some serious picking up done. I know you do, too.

Needless to say, I have learned that the iPad is my friend. I was once completely opposed to such a thing, but now realize the power of such a silly, rectangular little device.

Though changed, I am a bit crazy when it comes to the games on it. In my dear husbands words, “Does everything have to be a learning opportunity?” Silly boy. Yes. Yes, it does. Poor kids. Do you see what they have to put up with? I keep telling myself they {or their future teachers} will appreciate it some day.

With that said, my six fave iPad apps.

fave app collage

Why are they my top zix? Well, here it is in a nutshell.


{Endless Alphabet}
The characters are so adorable and they speak the letter sounds as you drag individual letters to spell words, Not to mention, they work on vocabulary and show animated clips that explain each word. We get lots of giggles out of this one.


Truth be told, this is addicting for all of us. We have a bit of family competition while waiting for food our tablet to be ready. The object is to collect as many dots in the same color or squares for bonus points. It works primarily on strategy and pattern finding. Be warned. A bit addicting, but a whole lot of fun.

monkey math

{Monkey Math}
A cute little monkey helps reinforce math skills while vacationing on the beach. You build math number sentences, pop similar sets of bubbles and even get to create your own aquarium as you master math concepts. My boys would play forever, if I’d let them. A fun way to practice math skills, number recognition and patterning.


{Endless Numbers}
Clearly this brilliant group of people are onto something. A new addition to their alphabet game, this cute app helps kids with all things numbers. The best part? It speaks the number out loud as you drag it and prepares early learners with sound recognition. A fair as a backdrop provides lots of entertainment as kids learn all about numbers. Stop it. Too adorable.


{Marble Drop}
Object? Drop marbles to complete puzzles. A little addicting and a bit of a challenge. Here, you use traps to meet your goal and successfully manage to get your marble through the level. A great way to work on cause and effect, strategy, and solving a problem.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 4.08.46 PM

{Toca Band}
The honest truth is that this doesn’t work on any type of counting, sequencing or writing, but it is just too darn cute. With this app you get to create your own band and make up music beats. Sometimes our little mixer will drum up some sick beats and the rest of us will dance along and add some of our words. What’s to learn? Well, I tell myself that the kids are technically working on patterning with sounds and music components. If anything, it is just plain fun.


Are these some of your favorite kid-friendly apps to? Any to add to the list. Who would have thought that there would come a day when I would get sucked in to the world of iPad apps. Kinda’ have to admit that they are pretty awesome, at times.

try. enjoy. share.


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