Advent Calendar Ideas–Countdown “Coupons”



It is a whopping 10 degrees here in Colorado….a good time to stay in and put up holiday decor….

This smiley Santa has been in my family for years…I grew up with it.   My mom crafted him from simple felt and sewed mini pockets on his body to represent the days of Advent….or the twenty-four days until Christmas.

Traditionally, Advent Calendars entice the children to “open something”(usually candy) each day on the countdown to Christmas.  This calendar growing up and with my own children has not been much different, but I decided to do something a bit different this year.

For each day, I made a “coupon”….child specific and involving an act of service from Mom or Dad.  We all know how materialistic this time of year can become, so I decided a good way to prepare our families’  heart for the season is to show examples of true giving.

So, when it is their day (each pocket has a tag with their name on it inside) one of my kiddos opens their coupon.  When I told them this is what I was doing….you could hear grumbling and groaning about not getting candy.

However, when the first few coupons were for “an early dismissal from school for no reason”  or ” a day off from piano practice” or a “trip with Dad (alone) to get an Icee”….their tune changed to that of sweet, caroling angels.

Other coupons include:

Extra media time

Day off from chores

Starbucks with Mom

A week of Mom tidying their room (that was a big one)

An hour basketball game with Dad

Lunch out on a school day


The point is to be child specific and thoughtful and of course…..SIMPLE.  The example of true giving hopefully will rub off on the children….

Or…perhaps while giving of yourself to your children, your own heart will be full of cheer and the Joy that comes with the true meaning of the season.

Stay warm.  dub



Turkey Clothespin Placecard

Here is a nifty DIY for Thanksgiving that is super kid friendly.

All you need is a clothespin, scrapbooking paper, Modge podge or other decoupage and some crayons!

1.  Print out your favorite turkey image from the computer or have kids draw their own.  I found this one at  Have kids cut out the image.

2.  On another piece of sturdy or scrapbooking paper, trace a piece around the face of the clothespin.  Cut out.  Modge Podge paper directly on to clothespin.

3.  Wrap some crayons in twine ribbon and set next to place card.   This is so that all family and friends can decorate their own Turkey between Thanksgiving courses!!   You can also write what you are thankful for on the turkey with the crayons as well.

I have linked this to Linky Tools.   So many other kid friendly crafts are listed here!   Click here to add yours!

The Friday How-2 Post-Halloween: King Kong meets a can of Izze


As the kids nurture their sugar hangovers….I am sure you miss Halloween already and can’t wait for next October.  Well you are in luck….here is a bit of homemade and how-2 for next year…make sure to bookmark!

These costumes were a big hit for my kiddos and guess what?!  They were EASY!



As an homage to you New Yorkers (whom we are praying for daily) here is a piece of the Big Apple I brought to our Rocky Mountain State.

You acquire three boxes of varying size,  cut the flaps off leaving about 2″ for taping.   Cut a hole big enough for your kiddo’s head on top of  the largest box.  Cut a hole for your kiddo’s face on the front of the medium box.  Using silver duct tape, secure all the boxes together.  Spray with gray primer spray paint and finish with metallic spray paint (if desired).  King Kong is hot glued to a paper towel roll that is also duct taped to the top of the smallest box.  Use thin wire to affix the airplane to the paper towel roll.   Cut out 2″ x 4″ pieces of black construction paper for the windows and print the words “Empire State ”  in the font of your choice off your computer ( I used “Futurex”).



Super simple…..purchase a medium sized collapsible LAWN AND LEAF bin from your local hardware store!!  Spray paint orange, cut holes for arms and head.  Copy and paste the Izze logo and print out on a regular size sheet of paper.  We used colored hairspray for her hair and she wore orange pants and shirt.   Viola!   A great costume for you last minute moms!

These are the pictures and events that make motherhood a privilege  for me.   It is all too apparent to me that the swiftness of time will turn these photos in to a distant memory all too soon.  I savored every minute!  I hope you did as well.

Have a good first November weekend!   dcb


Ding! I’ts time to turn the page….

You may not have realized it, but there was no Friday how-2 last week….

I was instead, consumed with moving my dear parents from their home of 50 years to a smaller house nearer to me and our family.

If you have ever done this task, then you know how bitter sweet it can be.  This was the house I grew up in and for better or for worse, I have a truck load the size of a moving van full of memories from that place….

I found a box.   A box full of my old records.   Not vintage sheet music….but definitely vintage music to say the least.  A treasure of unusable possessions.  I am sure that I will find some use for them, but for now, they serve as pleasant reminders of all the high notes of being a kiddo….

If you are a forty-something like me, then you will remember the days of 45 records and the record players that came with the cute dolls that played (although not well) the glam pink and purple plastic cuties that I would listen to for hours on end.

My first LP?  Saturday Night Fever.  A soundtrack that goes to a movie that I can honestly say I have never seen.  It was rated R and I was 8.

My first 45?  Le Freak or “Freak Out” by Chic.  And yes, I had a satin jacket.   And yes, I did a dance to this song in my school’s talent show…..

Who didn’t?!

And who can forget that sound of the bell….instructing us young readers to turn the page as we read along to our favorite books on record….so many of our generation now have a Pavlovian like response to that ding….but instead of salivating, we instinctively have the urge to cuddle with a olive green corduroy pillow and read a Disney story….

Ah…the Little Red Hen….who knew what a precursor to motherhood that one was going to be……?

So, it is time to turn the page…..

Here’s to my house on corner and to all of our childhood homes..may the high notes of those times provoke a good thought or two for you today and in the days to come.

The Friday How-to: Music Wrapped Initial

It is a cold and snowy Friday here in Colorado…..

Get out your modge podge…..time for another decoupage project….!


Wood or chip board initial.  You can make yourself or conveniently buy at your local craft shop.

Old/unusable sheet music, book page, dictionary page or page from a children’s book.

Decoupage glue

scissors/pencil for tracing

embellishments of choice


First:  Trace letter on to paper sheet.  Use two sheets as you will be cutting to cover both sides of letter.


Cut out your image (remember to cut two).  Make sure you are relatively exact on this part….


Apply a thin layer of decoupage to your letter first and then a coat to the back side of your cut image.  Place paper on letter and match up all sides.  If you happen to be a bit off, you can add paper and/or trim later.  Lastly, add a thin coat of decoupage to the entire top of letter.  You will do this to both sides.

Let letter dry completely and I promise any “bumps”  with your paper will go away.

Embellish or leave plain and there you go….

These are awesome for a wedding gift as you can embellish the date of their wedding right on to the letter.  Also great for a baby gift with their date of birth.  For a Christmas mantle….just embellish with a Christmas theme.  The possibilities are endless!

Have a wonderful weekend….no matter what your weather might be!  dcb

Craft Camp

or “CC” for short.  a kid’s diy dream….a mother’s diy night terror bigger dream.  an idea my two daughter’s thought up in the spring because dear mother is so “crafty” . 

so beginning on sunday and going for two nights and three days….four girls…hot summer and hot glue…we will do craft camp.

of course i have to blog it….you may one day find yourself in the throws of one such “camp” yourself. 

oh and btw….i refused to don the bandana and whistle….in case you were wondering.

design by daughters ellie and cecilia (10 & 8)

the friday how-to–a mother’s day card giveaway

horray! it is almost mother’s day!! if you read wednesday’s note you will already know the theme of these cute and very easy mother’s day cards.

but wait! there’s more!

i have a giveaway today!

stay tuned to the bottom of this post…..

how-to: Mother’s Day card

first: get your supplies

*a blank card for decorating

*your fave piece of vintage music (or other really cool paper)
*A quote about Motherhood from your computer, a fave image about Mothers, a photo….you choose!

*some embellishments—flowers, ribbon, found objects–be sentimentally creative!

*runners tape or other paper adhesive

second: Cut your music to fit your card

third:  adhere music to card

using a tape runner  (recommended) or glue place the music on your card. You may wish to leave a bit of a border around your vintage piece. I chose this piece of music that was a bit frayed and had blue type ink—fabulous!

fourth: Print out your quote/image

check out my blog roll for the link to the daily drop cap. this genius has designed several capital letters for blogging, crafting and the like. that is where i got my “M”. i just copied and pasted to a word document and then added my own words. i also chose to print out on paper i tore out from an old journal. you can use regular paper, cardstock, or get fancy with vellum!

fifth: cut and place your print out on your card and embellish!

place your print out using your tape runner or glue anywhere you wish on your card. i used some cute little flowers, but just about anything special to tack on there will do!

Ok…so here is the fun part!
i am giving away a set of four of these cuties!! “but, it’s too close to mother’s day,” you say? “I will never get them in time,” you claim!
not to worry! i will still give you four cards, but the winner gets to choose the theme! (thank you, hello, birthday, fathers day etc.).

to win:
-like this blog
-leave a comment here

for extra giveaway entries you can:
-like on facebook or tweet about it
-reblog on your blog

the more ways you enter the better your chances to win! 

have a great weekend and for you moms….a very blessed mother’s day.


today’s note–the song of motherhood

today’s quick note—a precursor if you will, to mother’s day…. that day when we will devote all of our thoughts and praises to our moms.

and rightly so.  our mothers do so much for us and will continue their unceasing duties of love, (from earth or above) in years to come.

perhaps it all goes a bit deeper than the sugary sweet sentiments we will give to our beloved madres on Sunday.

our mothers represent memories…precious, dear, forlorn and often bittersweet memories of our childhood.  and nothing evokes those memories than the sound…the music of our mother’s voice.

it has been said, and i believe this to be true, that we can identify our mother’s voice even among the sound of a  hundred other maternal voices presented to us at the same time.

it is the song of motherhood.


thank your mom for her song….for better or worse…it is one only the two of you know how to sing.