cabin fever? pep up your valentines....

i love the old fashioned conversation hearts on valentine's day! not much has changed about them since i received my first box back in mrs. squire's preschool class. there still is a little "to and from" area on the back, but i prefer to personalize these darling little boxes a bit more than a ball point pen can offer. this is such an inexpensive little project, and my five year old really had fun with it. we picked up several 4 packs of the candy boxes at hobby lobby, where the cashiers all know us by name. we picked up some thin red grosgrain ribbon, felt heart stickers and my fave vintage valentine scrapbook paper. i use it every year. i will cry if it ever gets discontinued.
we then printed out small pictures of lucy on cardstock, complete with a valentine's message (i printed mine on the photo, but it would be cute handwritten too). i cut these into tags a bit smaller than the candy boxes. lucy punched a hole in the top of each. we twisted chenille pipe cleaner at the top of each tag (i had a bunch of this in my craft cabinet - why do i love pipe cleaner so much??) we then cut the scrapbook paper into strips wide and long enough to cover the middle of each box. we wrapped them around each box, using tape to secure the paper. we slid the picture greeting tag underneath the scrapbook paper on the front of the box, with the pipe cleaner sticking out of the top.

lucy drew, colored and cut out hearts and pasted them on the back of each box.

we added a felt heart to the front, and tied a small piece of grosgrain ribbon around the middle. for a small amount of kiddos, i would hand-stamp their names on the front. for an entire classroom, however, i will leave them as is..... a little box of love for lucy's little friends!

a day in the life...

i've been meaning to do some "day in the life" photos for awhile now. i've always taken tons of photos, especially since my daughters came along - i mentioned in my bio piece that i literally wore out TWO point & shoots when lucy was a baby. however, i've never purposely taken photos over the course of an every-day day - a whole day of non-orchestrated candids.

my workshop's latest assignment is about using available light to create photos that don't require a lot of photoshop editing. soooo...these aren't sharpened for the web or anything. pretty much straight out of the camera. the black & whites are obviously converted, but otherwise untouched. none of these pictures are perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but i love them. my two home on a tuesday.

when i look back at some of the photos i edited when i was first learning to maneuver through photoshop, i totally cringe - they are so overly saturated, overly edited - way over the top. i remember reading the photography section of the pioneer woman's blog, in which she describes some of her early photos. she writes that she has a stack of pictures in which her children's eyes are so overly sharpened, they look like little "cyborgs". that cracked me up. now looking back, i have a photo card of a baby lucy that should have read, "take me to your leader" instead of "merry christmas". don't get me wrong - when i have a photoshoot for a client, i spend an ample amount of time in photoshop trying to produce the best possible image gallery. i just don't want the end result to look too....photoshopped....does that make sense?

anyway.....i will spare you from the entire day's worth of photos...but here's a bit of my assignment: a day in the life of lulu and roo....

lucy is always up with the sun. we aren't planning on venturing out, so i let her dress herself and do her own hair. faded jeans, size 3T bunny tee-shirt, fur lined jacket, major bed head. we play a quick game of monkeys on the bed waiting for sister to stir. lucy always wins.

guess who's awake? she likes to stand in her crib and be entertained for a bit before getting out. lucy karate kicks a stuffed animal around the room. ruthie laughs and mimics, "hi--yaaaaa!"

as i carry roo out of the nursery, she always deposits her pacifier into the pewter bowl on her bookshelf. i laugh every time. today i had to snap a picture. i have this fear of forgetting the little things.... it's going by way too fast.

ruthie shares each meal with annie. these two have a connection i can't explain. it's really cool.

it is a gorgeous morning, and the girls wanted to have a little top down fun. ruthie has a leopard fur jacket over her footie jams, and lucy has added a halloween clip to her bed head.

i love the way lucy gets a kick out of ruthie.

ever get that little whisper that says, "remember this....."? yep - heard it.

it's only 8:45...

back inside for a little accessorizing....

i know one of these days i'll turn around and realize my kitchen will be quiet. i won't hear leapfrog's screechy version of "she'll be comin' round the mountain" every 5 minutes. and that will be a very sad day.

aaaah........nap time for baby.

also known as science experiment time....(with a slight wardrobe change -- the addition of a very small knit hat...)

a glass jar, tap water, dirt and rocks...awesome.

transferring the project to a ziplock. countless paper towels sacrificed their lives for this experiment.

this is as close to homeschool science she's going to get...

wait - lucy? where's that glass jar?

trying to talk the robot into picking up the playroom. didn't work.
silly lulu...

love this kitchen window light.... yum.

she looks so grown up to me here. sigh.

guess who is up from nap, dressed and ready for a snack? she's doing the sign for "again", which in this case also means "gimmee something to eat!"...

and we'll end with this one - i'll call it mischief personified....

a valentine from baby....

this was such a fun little valentine project - a gift from lucy to her daddy. it cracks me up when i look at it, though. lucy had just turned one, and i had her in a diaper on some newspaper on the kitchen floor fingerpainting!  so far my second little imp, ruthie, has eaten a few markers, scribbled on the tile and wall with crayons and used an open stamp pad as a pretend cell phone. i will NOT be giving her free reign with the paint box any time soon.

anyway, this was easy & cheap and still looks cute on our playroom wall. i had found some old album frames gathering dust under the bed. i removed a willie nelson record cover from one of them and decided to put it to use again. (the square scrapbook frames now available at hobby lobby and michael's would work even better, however.)

i put lucy on some newspaper and gave her a paper plate filled with globs of primary, washable fingerpaint. by the time it was over, she had happily painted on several sheets of white fingerpaint paper (any paper would work), on her diaper, her hair, on the newspaper, on the tile and a little on the cabinets. i of course took about 325 photos.

i took a sheet of red & white gingham scrapbook paper and chose a colorful portion of one of lucy's paintings. i tore it to fit onto the scrapbook sheet without covering all of it, and pasted it on. i made a small print of one of the photos from the paint session, matted it, and pasted it to the scrapbook page. i added a couple little accessories i had in my scrapbook cabinet, then stamped some hearts and "daddy be mine" across the bottom. i used craft paint for the stamping instead of an ink pad, so the letters would adhere to the photo & shiny paper. i wrote the occasion and year along the side, and wrapped it up for valentine's day. i used another one of the frames for a father's day gift a few months later. i framed lucy's little hand print (pictured above), then added an overlay that said, "my finger may be small, but i can still wrap daddy's finger around it" (there are tons of choices at hobby lobby & michael's!) i decided to come up with something different for the next gifting occasion -there's only so much space on our playroom walls...

i cut the remaining paintings into smaller rectangles, used pinking shears to cut out more small pix of lucy, and created valentine's cards for friends and family. a few years later, they continue to adorn fridge fronts in texas and oklahoma. i love how the simplest of gifts can be everlasting symbols of love.