Making MORE Memories!

I am firm believer that children, and people in general, remember what you DO much more than what you give.  Because of this philosophy, I receive many requests to create gift baskets filled with items that help us make memories with family and/or friends.  If you would also like to make one of these, here’s how I build one:

I use my book (Creative Family Traditions and Ideas) as the foundation for each basket because it has ideas useful in many different types of  relationships, including simple friendships.  Next, I search out other manufacturers who also sell products encouraging us to focus on the “M” word…. MEMORIES…  not money and include those, thereby supporting my book as well as the products of other deserving companies.  Finally, rather than place the items in a typical basket, I search for “useful” containers.  Before you know it, I have a gift filled with fun and useful items for creating memories or at the very least – items that make life easier for the recipient.

On an even HAPPIER note ~ When I wrote my book, I discovered that raising 4 children on an extremely tight budget provided me with a true “gift”.  Necessity being the mother of invention, my circumstances helped me become creative – teaching me how to spend “time” (on my children).  I developed clever traditions, ideas and problem solvers as well as ways to reinvent new uses for everyday items.  All of my efforts made them feel loved and special.  And now that they are amazing & creative adults themselves, I realize that they benefited tremendously from my situation!  Coming to that conclusion makes me even happier because I realize that today’s tough economic hardships may actually have a silver lining… it gives me hope for the future adults of today’s struggling parents.  I applaud the parents who roll with the punches and dig deep to find their own FREE creativity to “spend” on their children.  I wish I could give every one of them a HUGE HUG and tell them to hang in there.  I want them to know that the end result can be positive and wonderful!

[check out BABY’S 1st GIFT post as well as the 2 baskets (below) that I created for a fund-raiser, this week]



Early CHRISTMAS Project

As you’ve seen in my book CREATIVE FAMILY TRADITIONS AND IDEAS, I am a HUGE fan and proponent of making memories, especially if you can make family members feel “special” in the process.   And since there are only 4 months (from today) until Christmas, here’s an idea (I came up with) that brings my philosophy to life.  I thought sharing it with you now would give you plenty of time to gather the photos, you will need, to display.

In late October, when Christmas decorations begin to appear in the discount (mart) stores, keep an eye out for “frame” style ornaments or gift tags (like the ones in the photo on right).   Typically, they only cost around $1.00 each.  If you can’t find any, purchase simple silver frames (always in stock at the Dollar Tree).    Whichever you choose, purchase enough (of the frames or frame-ornaments) to display a photo of each of your children (even the 4-legged ones… LOL) and maybe yourself and your significant other.  Then, add them to a wreath or a Christmas tree to personalize your holiday decor.  Below are 2 example wreaths that I made… one in a snowy theme and one that’s a very whimsical theme (I donated this wreath, so there are no photos in the frames).  Click on the photos for a closer look.  You can also use this idea on a garland, as I did in my book, mixing them in with some other very special commemorative family ornaments to create the same look I did.

My favorite time I used this idea, however, was to make some members of my extended family (the adult nieces and nephews), as well as my own adult children, feel special.  I chose to use silver frames and hung them on a 4-foot, flat-backed, wall tree.  With the help of my siblings (their parents), I gathered photos, of each of my nieces and nephews as well as my children, taken when they were very young, at Christmastime.  I placed one photo inside each of the frames and hung them on the tree, using pieces of red, satin ribbon, tied into a bow after slipping it underneath the frame stand to create a pretty ornament hanger.  That Christmas, I was the family hostess and didn’t say a word to any of my children, nieces or nephews about the “special” memory tree I had created.  It was so sweet when the first one of them realized their photo was on the tree.  Immediately, there was a rush to the tree, with everyone looking for their framed photo memory.  They LOVED my tribute to them and I sent each of the frames home with, their respective owner (as a holiday party favor), from me to them.  The memory of their excitement gives me warm fuzzies every time I think about it.  That is exactly why making memories will always be the most important thing I do in my life.  I’ve shared more of these type of ideas in my book.  Please check it out for yourself or when you need a special & original gift.

CLICK on PHOTO for a closer view of my wreath's details

CLICK on PHOTO for a closer view of my wreath's details

If you are enjoying my blog and creative ideas, please check out my brand new, Christmas Decorating DVD, available 11/15. Check out the right-hand column of this blog for details and thank you, in advance, for your support! :- )

Back to School

As summer draws to an end, and you begin to think about the children returning to school, it’s important to reflect on how many “summer” memories we made.  I’m not referring to over-the-top vacations, but more importantly, time spent together.  Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, auntie or uncle, we have such a short window in which to create some fun with the children in our lives… I hope you were successful in that accomplishment.

Of course, summer isn’t over yet.  So, if you find that you’re short on ideas, feel free to check out my book.  It has some great ideas for summer AND back-to-school!   Plus, it’s VERY reasonably priced and full of AWESOME, year-round, original ideas – making it a GREAT GIFT for any parent – so pass the word around, if you don’t mind. 🙂

Year-round, idea-filled CHAPTERS in my book, available at

Also, please keep it in mind for your own year-round and holiday gift needs (like teachers, baby showers, new baby, friend or relative birthday).   If you’ve enjoyed my ideas on this blog, you’ll LOVE my book.  And of course, your support is much appreciated… THANK YOU!

A "SAMPLE" page from the SUMMERTIME Section of my book