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DIY & Crafts

  • DIY Personalized Teething Pacifier Clips

    My one year old is going through an extreme teething phase right now and I’m willing to try about anything to soothe him and the fuss. As I was searching for teething toys, I came across these super cute DIY personalized teething pacifier clips and I decided to give it a whirl. The final product was so cute, I simply had to share.

    These easy to make clips are the perfect gift or quick craft for the mama looking for a teething solution. Below I’ve included the supplies needed and step by step directions for creating these super simple and sweet DIY personalized teething pacifier clips!

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

    You will need:

    Directions

    1. Cut a 25″ piece of white polyester cord.
    2. One at a time, place silicone teething beads on the cord. You may need to use the bobby pin to push the cord through the bead or tape to control a frayed cord.
    3. Find the center of the entire piece of cord and tie a knot to create a 2.5″ loop. Slide the beads down to the knot. Then thread the needle back through the beads.
    4. When you get to the end, loop the cord around the base of a pacifier clip. Hold it taught, and wrap the end of the cord tightly around the base of the clip and knot. Thread the end of the cord back through a few beads (to hide the excess) and trim the end.

    And there it is! A pacifier clip that doubles as a teething toy. Be sure that the beads are secure on the cord and that the knots are tied tight. These beads are perfect for teething but post a choking threat if detached.

    Sweet teether!

    Enjoying the DIY posts? Check out these awesome Kid Friendly Bath Bombs with a Hidden Surprise!

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  • How to Create Your Own Cake Smash Photo-Shoot at Home

    How is it that the second child’s first year flies by even faster than the first? I’m over here scratching my head trying to figure out where the time went. It feels as though we were just in the hospital introducing him to big brother and yet here we are, only a few weeks away from his first birthday. (Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here in my feelings)

    With time having left us little to work with, I decided to set up an in-home cake smash photoshoot for his first birthday so I could have the photos in time for his party. I feared that most professional photographers would be be booked by this point and I wanted to flex some creative muscles as photography is definitely a hobby of mine.

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

    I can only describe the in-home cake smash as a huge success! The photos are priceless. The experience was incredibly fun and it became a family ordeal, as big brother helped draw big smiles (as only a big brother can) and Dad assisted with props.

    The birthday boy normally doesn’t stop moving and can be difficult to capture. However, the cake kept him anchored in place long enough to snap some great photos. Once all was said and done, we had a few bites of what was left of the decimated treat.

    I want to empower other moms to have some fun with their own cake smash photo-shoots because it truly is so easy! Save time and money and capture some memories without having to leave the house. Flex full control over the shots you want to frame and print at your leisure without acquiring extra cost.

    Here is a step-by-step guide explaining how to create your own cake smash photo-shoot at home!

    Step 1.) Find a Location

    The lighting and background of your photo-shoot will play a huge role in the quality of your photos. Select a spot in your home with plenty of natural light. Use the space in front of a big window or sliding glass door. Turn off any overhead lights to prevent orange and brackish coloring in the photos.

    If there isn’t an ideal location inside, outside will work too. Be sure to choose a time of day where the shadows won’t be overpowering your subject.

    The background should be plain and simple. Use a white wall or purchase a backdrop on amazon that can be hung or used as a faux white wood floor. These elements ensure that baby will be the central focus of each capture. I’ve linked one below. A white sheet will work just as well!

    Step 2.) Cake, Props & Clothing

    The cake, props and clothing you choose will help develop the theme of the shoot. For example: because the theme of my son’s first birthday is barnyard animal, I used a simple cake on a rustic wood platter with a few sunflowers, and added suspenders to his shorts for a farm feel. I also used a sign for the pre-cake photos simply to indicate the occasion.

    Tip: Balloons are a cheap and easy prop. Scatter them around and snap photos of baby chasing after them.

    To continue to keep costs low, find a toy or piece of decor around the house to boost the theme of the photos. Bake a cake or grab a cheap one from the supermarket. I purchased the cake featured in my son’s photos at Target for $10. The “One” prop used in the photos below I picked up from a craft store for $5.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Step 3.) Camera

    For this step, the good old iPhone (especially in portrait mode) will do just fine. But for full disclosure purposes, I wanted to note that when capturing these photos I used my Nikon DSLR D3400, linked below.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking: we were supposed to be saving money here and that camera sets me back almost $400. Hear me out: since purchasing that camera when my first child was born, I’ve used it on many occasions that I probably would’ve paid a photographer to capture. Birthdays, holidays, vacations, and everyday moments in between, the Nikon has taken some incredible photos and in the long run has definitely saved us money.

    This my advice: Hire the professional for monumental family moments when mama, you need to be in there too. Invest in the camera for the smaller occasions. Or, if you’re totally cool with the iPhone quality then use the iPhone. I’ve snapped some awesome photos with my iPhone camera as well.

    Step 4.) Take as Many Photos as Possible

    When the shoot is all set up, the props are handy, and baby is happy and ready, start snapping and DON’T STOP! Snag as many shots from as many different angles as possible.

    Focus in on the details of the cake, the messy hands and the cake covered faces. The more photos you have the more likely you are to be happy with the outcome. It’ll also be easier to select the best photos for editing!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We even let big brother get in on the action!

    The Aftermath…

    Step 5.) Culling and Editing

    Now that you have an amazing crop of photos, it’s time to decide which ones to edit. Pick your favorites and make sure there is a solid variety with good resolution and quality lighting. Those will withstand the editing process the best.

    For editing I use the Lightroom app on my phone. It’s free and will provide the best quality photos without having to pay for an expensive editing program.

    Feel free to edit the photos to your liking OR you can do what I do, and use a Lightroom mobile preset to enhance your photos. Below you can see the before preset and after preset photos.

     

    I’ve linked my favorite lightroom presets here but you can always browse Pinterest or Etsy for presets that provide the desired feel. Some are free and others may charge a small fee.

     

     

    LET THERE BE CAKE (smash photo-shoots!) We hope you enjoyed our step-by-step guide on how to create your own cake smash photo-shoot at home and feel inspired to get creative! Please share photos of your DIY shoots!

    Craving more DIY treats? Check out our Homemade Air Fryer Poptarts!

     

     

     

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  • DIY Scrabble Tile Christmas Tree Ornament

    I’m going to explain the inspiration for the DIY Scrabble Tile Ornament in the hopes that if you’ve found yourself in a similar predicament I can solve it for you. While browsing the personalized “named”ornaments in the Target Christmas section I couldn’t find any for my sons Finley and Pace. Although I love that their names are unique (for now) it does make finding personalized products more difficult.

    Thats when I turned to Pinterest and found a similar craft, but decided to put my own spin on it. I’m thrilled with how cute they turned out for how easy they were to create. Cute, spirited and perfect for anyone in your life with a special name (like a term of endearment for Grandma, etc) the DIY Scrabble Tile Ornament is a simple craft that you can keep for yourself or gift to someone else. Also, I love that it pays homage to a timeless game that I grew up playing!

    You will need:

    • Glue Gun
    • Scrabble Tiles
    • 1 in. Ribbon
    • Bows with twist tie
    • Small Bells

    Directions:

    Place the tiles for the name you’ve chosen on the ribbon so you will know how long you need to cut it. I left about 3 inches from the first letter to the top of the ribbon to have plenty of room for the bow. I gave about 2 inches at the bottom to provide space for the bell. Use the glue gun to adhere the tiles to the ribbon. Space them as desired. No need to steal scrabble tiles from the game. You can purchase them here.

    For the bow, I purchased a swath of ones similar to this that I found at Michael’s. I would imagine you could get them from any craft store, just be sure they have the twist tie because that is the piece that will be used to hang it on the tree. Once the glue has dried for the tiles, glue the bow to the top of the ribbon and the bell at the bottom. Make sure the twist tie is at the top so it can be used as the hanger.

    Viola! The DIY Scrabble Tile Ornament. An excellent small gift for a friend or coworker and great as a quick stocking stuffer.

    If you found this article helpful, check out our 50 Favorite Christmas Gifts Under $10!

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  • Weekly Menu Board – An Easy DIY Project

    Since the school year began, our family has put some extensive structure into our days – something we never had to do before. And to make sure our new routine runs smoothly during the week, I have been working on ways to organize our time and schedule accordingly. One of the newest projects I have implemented is this weekly menu board, which I am sharing below.

    It has only been a few weeks since using this and it has been really helpful. We’ve saved a fair amount of money by planning our dinners in advance and we are never asking ourselves, “What should we have for dinner?” when 5 o’clock rolls around. As a result, creating our grocery list each week has been a breeze.

    I modeled my weekly menu board from this project by The Thinking Closet, but with significant changes. It was super easy to make and one that I am excited to use each week. I hope you enjoy this project and see if it helps you!

    As a result, creating our grocery list has been a breeze and we are never asking ourselves, “What should we have for dinner?”

    Here is what you will need:

    Step 1.

    Gather your supplies.

    Step 2.

    Create a list of all your favorite family meals using this template. I made sure to include “take out”, “leftovers” and “eating out” as options for the times we aren’t cooking at home.

    If you happened to look at the weekly menu board that I referenced, they actually color coordinated the meals by category ( i.e. chicken, seafood, beef, vegetarian, etc). I didn’t feel this was necessary, but it’s a great idea if you want to get more detailed.

    Print this list on regular 8.5 x 11 card stock and cut into strips.

    Step 3.

    Self-laminate the meal strips, cut and punch holes in the top left-hand corner. When finished, hang on binder rings for later.

    Use this template to create bigger meal cut outs and you can print the recipes on the back!

    Step 4.

    Create a file in Silhouette or Cricut with the weekdays, “recipes/meals”, “The ___ Family Menu” and anything else you want to add. From here you will just create, cut, transfer and place on the chalkboard where you see fit (here is a helpful tutorial), but if you are just using a chalk paint pen – this is the step you would write these on the board.

    BONUS: Use this template to create bigger meal cut outs and you can print the recipes on the back! I regret not doing this myself and have since contemplated remaking my cards.

    Step 5.

    Hot glue gun the clothespins to below the days of the week and tape the command hooks to the right, as shown in picture.

    Step 6.

    Now, just put your meals for the week under the weekday and the rest will hang on the binder rings!

    And there it is! Altogether, the project took me about 30 minutes. I hung the weekly menu board on an empty wall in the kitchen that I plan to turn into a command center when all is said and done.

    Each Sunday, we look through our favorite meals from the board, decide what we want throughout the week and write out our grocery list. It makes our lives so much easier!

    Do you create a weekly meal plan? How do you like to keep it organized?

    Cheers mama,

    PS. If you are interested in more home organizational projects, be sure to visit here!

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  • Teaching Gratitude Through a Grateful Tree

    On long, exhausting, frustrating days with my boys (lets be honest we all have them) there is one thing I lean on to pull me through: Gratitude.

    I started practicing intentional gratitude after my first was born in an attempt to ease anxiety. I learned quickly that when I regularly took time to give thanks and share a sense of abundance around me, I attracted a goodness that elevated my mood and carried me through the day. What better time to emphasize gratitude than the month of November, when Thanksgiving is at the forefront of our of planning. I came across the idea for a Grateful Tree while in the seasonal section of Target (where else) and I must say, it will now be a staple of our holiday celebration. The Grateful Tree is a fun and interactive way to engage your kids while instilling the value of gratitude.

    There are many ways to create your own Grateful Tree, but here I’ll give you the tools to build a tree like the one we have on display in our home. You will need:

    • A Glass Cylinder
    • Pine Cones
    • A stick (ideally with numerous branches)
    • Construction Paper (Red, Orange and Yellow)
    • Hole Punch
    • Yarn
    • Permanent Marker

    Fill the cylinder with pine cones. This will hold the stick in place and keep it straight so you can hang your leaves. Position the stick up right so that the leaves will dangle colorfully from each branch. Use the construction paper for the leaf cutouts. You can also purchase them here. Punch a hole in each cutout, and carefully weave the yarn through the hole to create the hanger.

    Practicing gratitude may reduce aggression and alleviate negative emotions such as envy and resentment

    For every night in November we’ve added a leaf to our Grateful Tree. It has become the pre-bedtime ritual. I ask my oldest son to tell me one thing in his life that he is grateful for, and we use the permanent marker to write it down on one of the leaves and hang it on a branch. Just a tip: defining grateful to an almost-three-year-old proved to be tricky. I explained to him that the things in life for which we show gratitude make us happy. Basically he gives me items throughout his day that brought him joy, which, to me is close enough! We can expand on that down the road.

    There are many benefits to exercising gratitude, and introducing this practice early on in a child’s life may increase mental strength, boost empathy and augment overall well-being.

    Studies show that gratitude may also reduce aggression and alleviate negative emotions such as envy and resentment. And seriously, the Grateful Tree is a super cute piece of decor to add to your Thanksgiving collection. I think it will be fun to look back on our grateful leaves next year, and see how he grows in his understanding. Hope you find this project to be as beneficial as we have. Enjoy your Grateful Tree!

    PS. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our post on our Table Talk Thanksgiving Conversation Game(hint: it includes a  free printable)!

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  • Free Customizable Thanksgiving Printables – Utensil Holder, Place Card and Food Tent Cards

    Happy November everyone! We are officially gearing up for the next fall holiday and, piggybacking off of last weeks post, I have some more FREE Thanksgiving printables to share with you!

    Free Thanksgiving Printables - Utensil Holder, Place Card and Food Tent Cards | Rock It Mama | Download your fee Thanksgiving hosting decoration

    One of my favorite things about the holidays when hosting is decorating and I truly believe every last detail counts. That is why I created these customizable Thanksgiving printables for the dinner table and I’m happy to share them with you today. The PDFs available contain witty utensil holders, place cards and food tent cards and are a fun extension to add to your Thanksgiving decor.

    Free Thanksgiving Printables - Utensil Holder, Place Card and Food Tent Cards | Rock It Mama | Download your fee Thanksgiving hosting decoration

    Simply enter your information below and the download link for the free Thanksgiving printables will pop up!

    I printed the PDFs on 65lb white cardstock, used my scoring tool to create the folds for the cards and was good to go! Also – be sure to download the following font so you can customize your food tent cards and place cards:

    Thisay font by 7NTypes.otf

    If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our post on our Table Talk Thanksgiving Conversation Game (hint: it includes another free printable)!

    PPS. Also check out our Pinterest page, full of more Thanksgiving ideas we are smitten with.

    Free Thanksgiving Printables - Utensil Holder, Place Card and Food Tent Cards | Rock It Mama | Download your fee Thanksgiving hosting decoration

    Picture to download your printables



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