Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's time to pack the beach bag...

Yay!  I am super excited for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.  We are blessed to live less than a mile from the beach and we LIVE for the summer and beach time.  While the kids are still in school, our family considers Memorial Day weekend the official start to summer!

So...with that being said, we pulled out all of our summer gear this past weekend and cleaned it up for move in day at the beach club.   I have washed all of the towels, hosed down the beach toys and chairs and started mentally planning some fun appetizers and drinks to bring down with us to celebrate the weekend.

Now on to the beach bag.  This is my essential item for the summer.  I stop carrying much of a purse this time of year because we spend so much time at the beach.  I instead carry a small wallet/clutch type bag and just throw it in the beach bag when we're headed to the beach and use it solely on a rainy day when we're not going to the beach.

Over the past few years I have struggled to find the perfect beach bag.  I've gone through many a beach bag with still no PERFECT fit...for me that is.  I have found bags that are functional, but I either thought they were ugly or they looked like every other bag on the beach.  I have found bags that are fun and easy to spot at a crowded pool or direct my child to find, but they were not set up to my liking.

So this year I decided to create my own bag.  And, I created a few extra so maybe you can finally have that perfect bag too.  :)
This bag needed to fit many needs.  It needed to be:

Big enough to hold many things, but not too big that I couldn't carry it on my shoulder

It needed to carry many things, but not be too heavy when it's full

It needed to have pockets...lots of pockets that were deep enough to keep things in them, but not too deep that I couldn't find anything

It needed to be OPEN on top so I could quickly grab something and go.  I always thought I'd like a zip top bag, but either it was too full to zip or a pain to open when it was already on my shoulder and I needed something

It needed to include a hook for my wristlet to attach to and my car keys

It needed to sit flat on the sand and not tip over...key feature for me

And needed to be fun, bright and unique
So, here's what I came up.  This is my beauty.  I adore it and it's masculine enough that my husband won't complain if I make him carry it!

I have a few essentials that I always keep in the beach bag that I've learned over the years are key.   Here's a peek at what I carry.  I carry 2 separate bags in my bigger beach bag.  One is waterproof inside and carries the items that could leak or are slimy.  Including:

Sunblock and lots of it.  I love Neutrogena baby for my allergy boy and the new Wet Kids for my daughter who is in and out of the pool all day.  I personally use Neutrogena too.  It's a little pricier than some of the other brands, but it isn't greasy and I love that about it.

Chapstick....did you know your lips can burn?  And it hurts.

Scalp shield.  To protect your scalp from sunburn without the greasy look of spraying sunblock in your hair. Thanks Sue for introducing me to this!

First aid gel.  Someone always gets hurt, either my own or someone else's child.

In my other bag I carry the things I always seem to need or lend out including:

A comb...pool and windblown hair is the worst.

Band-Aids...again, someone always need one.  I carry waterproof ones too.

Eye drops.  These are great to flush out sunblock if it creeps into your eyes or to help with the chlorine in your child's eyes.

Tampons..enough said.


Nail file


Hair ties and clips

I actually decided to start introducing zipped pouches after realizing this year I didn't have one that I liked.  This is the first that I'm personally testing out before formally adding them to the shop.  What do you think?

Neither of these 2 little bags are full nor do I intend for them to become full.  My children always give me tons of rocks, shells and other beach items to add to our bag so I need to leave    Here is what my bag looks like with both bags and only 2 towels so far.

To this I'll add:

Tons of snacks that don't need the cooler

A book or my Nook (not that it will ever get read, but it makes me feel better to dream about reading on the beach)

My wallet

My keys

My cellphone

What am I forgetting?    I know it seems like a lot for a day at the beach goal when we go is to sit down in my chair and have all of everyone's basic needs covered so that I'm not stressed about anything.

Now if you like the look and functionality of my beach bag, I'm happy to say that I made a few others to share with the world.  Here's what they look like.  They all have the same exact features...2 inside pockets (1 large and 1 double) and a hook.  They are all also big enough to fit up to 4 large beach towels and the large inside pockets can fit an iPad or Nook.

And the two newest additions which I'm really struggling with listing because I like them both so much.

My fav....I love orange and blue.

What do you think?   If you are interested in any of them or you want to customize your own, I'd love to help.  You can see them all by clicking HERE and visiting my shop!   I am thankful to have had many sell to date and a few customers have bought more than one!!    The small zippered pouches will be appearing in the shop very soon!

And for 3 days only (Saturday, 5/26 - Monday, 5/28) ALL beach bags are 10% off.

Thank you as always for everyone's support of my would not exist without you.

Enjoy this upcoming holiday weekend!   Have a sunny day!

Poshed Up

Monday, May 21, 2012

You've Got A Friend In Me....

Every year it seems that my children make a new friend throughout the school year.  Regardless of whether or not they have some familiar faces from a previous year in their class, they inevitably find someone new who becomes an important part of their school year.  I just love that.  I love that they want to meet new people, that they share special moments at school with new people and that others are interested in becoming their friends too!

My son started a new preschool this past year so everyone was new for him and I am so proud of him for jumping in without hesitation and becoming friends with both the boys and the girls in his little class.   He has made some great little buddies this past year and I'm so hoping to keep in touch with these new friends of his even though we won't all be together for Kindergarten next year.

Every year we like to do something small for our friends from our class.   The idea is to just make it special and not break the bank.  I was in search of a new idea this year and found some fun ideas on Pinterest.

While I think this idea is super cute, I'm not a huge Kool-Aid fan.   In my former life I worked in advertising and had Kool-Aid as one of my clients so I know too much I think.  Plus, any food or beverage that can also dye my Easter eggs is not going into my   This is still a cute idea and especially with the homemade packets, but maybe something else on the inside.

Flavor Ice reminds me of my youth and warm summer days at my grandparent's house.   This is a cute idea, but instead of an entire bag maybe just a few for each child.   I know these are no more nutritious than Kool-Aid, but since I don't know as much it seems a little better.

I love the idea of sidewalk chalk.  I don't know if I'd go so far as to make my own, but a box of sidewalk chalk and the cute note would be fun!

This is one of my favorite ideas.  SO simple and cute!

Another fun and useful summer item that would make a great classmate gift...bubbles.  

Or how about a beach ball?

Or a kite?

Or maybe Dollar Store binoculars?  
What I love about all of the "toy" end of year gifts is that it's something useful that any child would find fun!

And there's always food or candy items...

This is a fun take on an idea I shared for Valentine's day cards.  Click HERE if you want to see the original ideas.

Or this super creative idea...

Regardless of what you give, make it something that your children will be happy to give and make it special not expensive!

Poshed Up

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More end of year gift ideas...

I shared a few ideas with you yesterday for end of the year gifts for your childrens' teachers and I have SO many more!   You can view yesterday's ideas by clicking HERE.

When I think of the end of the school year all I think about is summer.   The beach, the sand, the sun, lazy days....maybe it's because we live less than a mile from the beach. I think no matter where you live, end of school conjures up images of the sun and maybe a pool.

So...why not reward your teachers with some fun pool/beach items?
How about one of these fun ideas??

Sunblock, a beach towel and a magazine...simple and so cute.

Or this one...super cute one!

And this one went all out.   A little pricey if you're gifting multiple teachers, but fun just the same!


Another thing many think of when they think of summertime is gardening.  Myself, no.  I despise gardening and am very bad at it.  I wish I enjoyed it more.  But, regardless of my own feelings, I think these gifts are great for any teacher.

Or maybe just some flowers that can be transplanted to his/her own garden.

If you click on the link below this beautiful picture, you can get the free printable tag.

And this is so fun!  The little "Thank You" on top is a Target gift card!  

A few years back we made our Kindergarten teacher an end of the year survival kit to help her survive the last few days of the year.  (And, I actually took a picture!!  Not a great picture, but a picture just the same!)

Inside the mugs were all of the "survival" items needed and this poem.

Teacher Stress Survival Kit

As another year end draws near, I wanted to take the time to thank you for all you have done to brighten my daughter’s days, comfort her fears, and expand her mind.   I know the days can be tough at times and hopefully this little kit will help you survive the remaining days!

MAGIC WAND – To help you with all of the magic you perform each day.
LIFESAVER – To remind you that you are a lifesaver to your class every day.
PAPERCLIP– To help you keep everything together when they start to fall apart.
SNICKERS – For when things get a little nutty and you need a good “snicker”.
CRAYONS – To color each day bright and cheerful.
MARBLES – To replace the ones you’ve lost this year (I’ve enclosed extra in case you need them).
EXTRA GUM – To thank you for always going the “extra” mile.
RUBBER BAND – To help you to remain flexible when things don’t go as planned.
SMARTIES – For all the knowledge you have given the class.
100 GRAND BAR – To represent what I think you’re worth to your students.
TISSUES – For all of the tears you have dried.
BATH SALTS – To provide you with some much needed relaxation.
PUZZLE PIECE – Without you, the class wouldn’t be complete.
CANDLE – To remind you that you continuously brighten my child’s day.
SEEDS – To represent the knowledge you have planted in my child’s mind.
TEA BAG AND MUGS – To remind you of how “TEA-rrific” you truly are.

Thank you!

You can click HERE to get a copy of this poem as well as the one on the gift tag.

Over the years of gifting for Christmas, Teacher Appreciation and the end of the school year we have given many bookmarks.  My children love to customize them with scrapbook paper and stickers and then we laminate them, add a pretty ribbon and a gift card to the bookstore.  Such a easy and sweet gift that your children can help with. (of course I have no pictures because I was terrible in the past about capturing these things).

Here are a few cute ones I found that I loved...

These are so simple, but I just love something about them.

The last idea and one that any teacher would love is a gift card.  Why not present them with a gift card in something pretty?  This idea is so creative.  I definitely want to try something similar next Christmas.

I love this one too.  I'm semi partial to this because I made a few bags in the fun cherry blossom print too.

Regardless of how fancy the gift, it's always the thought that counts. 

I have some fun ideas for classmate gifts to share tomorrow!

Poshed Up

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The end is near....

Summer is so close I can feel it.   I know around some parts of the country children are getting out in a matter of days.  Here in our part of the country, we go to school well into June which kind of stinks, but we don't go back until after Labor Day so I guess it all equals out.    My little guy is "graduating" from his final year of preschool in 2 weeks.  While I am thrilled to have him home, I am so sad that my time as a preschool mama will be officially ending forever!

I have so many fun ideas to share for summertime, but I wanted to start with a few ideas for end of school year gifts. While we just celebrated Teacher Appreciation last week, there are never enough reasons to spoil teachers (or at least as far as I'm concerned....and to note, I was never a teacher!)  Here is what we ended up giving our teachers this year for Teacher Appreciation Week.

We re-used the homemade "vase" idea for my son's preschool teachers and they were more than surprised.  They didn't even know it was Teacher Appreciation Week so they were thrilled with our surprise gifts.

Please pay no attention to the mess in the background.  I had so many crafts going on at one time :)

And these were soooo simple to make.  Here's all it takes...

The supplies were a can (ours was a large tomato can), a few packs of Dollar Store pencils and a hot glue gun.   The quantity of pencils will depend on the size of your can.  Simple so far.

 Then you just start joke, that simple.   You can either put the erasers at the top or bottom.  Totally your call.  I made mine stick out below the can because the can had a little bit of a lip to it.

And here is what it looked like when totally full.
I added a ribbon and done..that simple and so cute, right?

For my daughter's teachers I wanted to do a little more.  First of all, they are 4th grade teachers so the pencil vase is probably not as "cool" for them and secondly, she spends a great deal more time at school than my son's 2 1/2 hours a day.  We decided on clipboards.  I am so happy with the way they turned out, but they were a lot of work.  Don't get me wrong, I would do them again and hope it gets easier, but it was our first time so it was a trial and a few errors.  Here is the finished product for 3 separate teachers.

She said they were a big hit and one of the teachers was very animated in her reaction.  She also asked that we don't do any gifts next year for middle school....I think she's a little embarrassed giving them now.  At least I have another one starting to school  :)

While they took a lot of work, they were inexpensive and so fun to create.  The supplies included:  clipboards, scrapbook paper, Dollar Store flowers, Mod Podge, paint and ribbon.  
Here's how we did it.

We started by painting the entire clipboard...even the handle part.  I happen to have tons of acrylic paint on hand from other crafting projects, but you can buy these inexpensively at any craft store.

Next we measured our scrapbook paper and cut out for the clip part.  Some clipboards allow for the clip to be unscrewed and removed, but our did not so we worked around it.  We left a little board showing at the bottom too.  Your call on that.

I know it probably would have helped to have pictures of one clipboard continously throughout the steps, but I'm not that together yet.  At least I remember pictures this time.

Once measured, we used our Mod Podge to attach the paper to the board and then completely covered the paper and board with a coat as well.  You want to put on several coats, but...make sure it's TOTALLY dry before starting the 2nd coat.

Love this stuff.

Once it dried, we "fancied" them up with the teacher's names and Mod Podge'd those and we added ribbon.  We made sure to add ribbon under the clip part too so that the Mod Podge wouldn't stick if the board was in a hot room.

Lastly, we hot glued flowers and ibbon to the back to cover up the ugly clip.

Our finished product again all wrapped up!  I thought these would be fun for a girls' birthday too.  What little girl wouldn't love a clipboard for crafting our writing?  
Maybe next year???

Another idea that was a huge hit and was great to gift from an entire class was this "bouquet" of flowers filled with gift cards.   My pictures are terrible, but hopefully you get the idea.

Believe it or not, this was quite simple.  You'll need:  small terracotta pot, paint, card stock in various colors, glue, plant stakes (the small green kind), ribbon and any other decorations you might want.

With the money collected from each family, we were able to buy a gift card from each child in the class. This would be cute with a picture of each child as the center of the flower too....thinking that may be my son's class gift this year!

Here is where I got the original idea...and if you click on the link below the photo, you can get the template for the flower envelopes.

This is super cute too...

The last homemade gift idea that I've personally made that I wanted to share was bags for each teacher.  What teacher doesn't carry stuff home, or her lunch or other things throughout the day?   I figured a fun bag would be a personal gift.

After making these last year, I decided that I enjoyed sewing enough to start my own "Poshed Up" business and have since expanded to many other bags and such.   Check it out...HERE!  If you enjoy sewing, there are tons of free templates out there to get you started on a simple bag or such.  Or, if you like mine, you can custom order for your child's teacher with this but more mature (these were all children's bags).  Just a thought!


I have found so many other fun, inexpensive and easy teacher and classmate end of year gifts that I'll be sharing over the next few days so I don't overwhelm.  Enjoy!

As always, I'd love to hear about and see your unique gift ideas!

Poshed Up