he’s nine… and that’s half way to 18!

Nine... That's Half Way To 18! | TheCelebrationShoppe.com

Hi friends. So my oldest turned nine this week. Nine years old. That’s not really that old is it?!

They still like us in public and still respect us when we talk to them. Life is good.

Then it hits you that nine is half way to 18… half way to him being legally an adult. If you’re like me that is unsettling. I mean, I was just teaching him to walk a few days ago.

This isn’t a big lecture to remind you to cherish every moment, just my realization. And I do have to admit that my heart hurts a little. And oh by the way, cherish every moment. {grin}

By the way, this picture was taken the morning he turned nine and was captured by my seven year old. I’m so very blessed to have two camera loving boys in my house. Even when I don’t expect it, they capture such moments.

Well, I best get back to crafting his birthday party. It’s only five days away! Tick! Tock! {wink}

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

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I’m going! Wanna come?

Photography Conference

Hey ladies! Okay, I’m giddy. I’m heading to this year’s I Heart Faces Photography Conference for Women! Woo Hoo!

It’s going to be amazing! It’s this October in Ohio. For those of you know me, you know I live in Ohio so I want to be the first to tell you that the change of seasons here is an amazing burst of color! It’s total eye candy for photographers.

And I’ve known Amy and Angie, the co-founders of I Heart Faces, for years. They are both amazing photography talents, but not only that, they’re smart business women. If you want to take your photography skills (I know I do!) or your photography business to the next level, join us!

As you can tell from this video, the conference is covering a multitude of topics. You’ll find amazing speakers and teachers, creative entrepreneur business sessions, hands-on camera lessons, photo editing, specialty workshops, a photo walk and oh yeah, a opening night party!

There is a ton more detail about this year’s conference on I Heart Faces including details about each workshop and the guided tour of Amish Country that is open to the public (those not attending the conference).

If you come, please find me. I’d love to meet you in person! And if you can’t come this year, make sure you stop over at the I Heart Faces website for regular photography tips and challenges. I swear I learn something new from there every single week.

And as always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate! 

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Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), connect with Kim on twitter, pinterest and on instagram. And don’t forget to shop the party store for birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies. Oh, and now you can follow the blog with Bloglovin too! Hope to see you around!

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dusk blue pantone kind of Monday

Dusk Blue Pantone

Dusk Blue is a Pantone color for Spring and not only did it inspire my Monday morning hue… it also inspired Vern Yip when he designed a limited edition Diet Pepsi can! Isn’t it darling with the peacock!

These are all the things that will keep me focused and on task this jam packed Monday ~

  • cotton… I must be comfy! (Dusk Blue Infinity Scarf from Liquid Squid and Woven Cotton Bracelets from TNTees)
  • reminders to stay focused and work hard (Motivational Print from EEartstudio)
  • my tunes (Geeks Designer Line (GDL) Slim Hard Case for Apple iPod Touch 5 – S13 Pantone Dusk Blue)
  • my friends, colleagues and readers, all available at my fingertips through social media! (Social Media Icons from Nudge Media Design, available for digital download)
  • and last… but never least… my Diet Pepsi! (giving me just that extra bit of charge in the afternoons when my focus starts to wane)

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate! Happy Monday everyone!

Diet Pepsi sponsored this post. But as those who stop in here often know, all opinions are my own. I would have it no other way!

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raise a reader + $50 LeapFrog giveaway!

Raising A Reader with LeapFrog

I’m a reader. I have boys. I want them to be readers… And we all know that boys are less likely to keep reading (when not forced) than girls. That is why I started from the moment they were born. Reading together every night for at least 20 minutes in our house is not only a family tradition/habit, but also a reward.

I actually hate to admit this… but I’m going to just so you can get a feel for how much my boys love to read. If they’re jumping on the bed… not brushing their teeth… giggling so much they can’t breath… I simply threaten “okay, no book tonight!” and they immediately and I do honestly mean immediately, straighten up. And I don’t have toddlers anymore {sad smile}, my oldest is eight! And he reads at a 6th grade level (AR 6.2). Yep. I’m a proud momma.

Now just so you know, not everything we read is a great tale. Nope. I’ve read more science books (even parts of my old college Biology textbook to them… don’t get me started!) about creepy crawly slithery critters, space and electronics, African animals, weather, etc. than I care to name. But they loved it. And… I learned a thing or two right along with them. {grin}

Raise A Reader

My youngest has a particular fascination with dinosaurs, and he has since he was two. (Ever seen his 4th birthday Dinosaur Party? It was featured in Parents magazine!)

Raise A Reader

My point is, read what THEY like. It will keep them interested and eager. My oldest actually got grumpy with me recently when his little brother and I went to the library before we picked him up from school… he told me that just wasn’t fair! {grin}

At this point I feel I have to also tell you that both of my boys are big into sports too. They are energetic and social… and readers! They play baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, golf and they swim. Yes… I know… we’re honing it down to our favorite sports. I only allow one sport at a time, unless it’s summer, and that is becoming more difficult the older they get. {smirk}

LeapFrog Learning System

Okay, so if you didn’t start reading to your little people from day one. No worries and no shame. OR, if you did and your kiddos are doing great, but you’re looking for something interesting to keep them going (I’m always on the look out for something new to keep them engaged).

Either way, you really should look at the LeapFrog systems to help your children grow as readers. I’m a lover of the hardback book… my kids are growing up in the age of technology… LeapFrog offers a melding of the two complete with reading, spelling, games, science, and more. My son, as you can see, was mesmerized by the Leap and the Lost Dinosaur book and the games inside, especially the Dinosaur Jungle Survivor Game that comes complete with a set of dinosaur fact cards. By the way, did I mention he’s a dinosaur lover. I should have taken a picture of his playroom for you… we have every dinosaur toy sold. Literally.

Raise a Reader with LeapFrog

Did you know it’s Reading Month?! Hop… or leap… over to LeapFrog.com for more details about why reading to kids for at least 20 minutes a day is not only a good idea, but is literally linked to test scores (plus, it’s great snuggle time!). You can also get a $3 off LeapFrog coupon code!

LeapFrog would also love for you to take the LeapFrog Reading Month pledge! Leap over to their Facebook page and help them donate books to America’s schools!

Wanna win a LeapFrog Tag to help you get started?!  So simple! Just tell us about your reading habits in the comments!

Prize items include (depending on your child’s age): Tag Leap and the Lost Dinosaur, Tag Get Ready for Kindergarten, Tag Junior Toddler Milestones, Tag Junior Animals Around the World. Approximate value of prize pack items is $50.

We’re using Rafflecopter and you can login with either your e-mail account (which no one will gain access to for any other purpose than to alert you of your prize) or facebook. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy weekend everyone!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe. And don’t forget to shop our party store for birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies!

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective but content and opinions expressed here are my own. You guys know I would have it no other way! To take the LeapFrog Reading Month pledge, please visit their Facebook page. #LFReadingMonth #spon

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Oz The Great And Powerful

Wizard of Oz

When I was a kid there was no DVD (no VHS until I was about 9…) and there was no TIVO or record on demand. Needless to say, if you wanted to watch something (on the three channels that we got) you had better plant yourself in front of the television on time. The Wizard of Oz movie, the original from 1939, came on every year and every year I was ready. My mom would make brownies and we made a family night of it. Admittedly, the evil green Wicked Witch of the West creeped me out a bit, but still LOVED the movie.

So you can imagine that I’ve been giddy with anticipation with all the promos and sneak peeks at the new Oz The Great And Powerful movie. Even if the witch creeps me out again, I have to hand it to Disney, the graphics in the trailers are beyond reproach.

And as soon as I see it… which will hopefully be this weekend… I’ll share a mom’s review. I have a six and an eight year old, and I hope it’s okay for the little one. I really want to share it with them! That said, neither of my boys liked the recent Alice in Wonderland or Christmas Carol. I hate to admit it, because Disney is my absolute favorite (movies and destination), but they were both too “dark” for my kiddos’ taste.

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! And if you see the movie, don’t tell me what happens! Since this is the prequel to the original story, I’m anticipating the story line… and maybe a few fun birthday party ideas. {wink}

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my happy new year photo card

Hey everyone! I’ve more than enjoyed a bit of downtime with the family over the past few days. It has been amazing. And yes, as you can tell from my holiday card this year, I’m one of those people that is sending out New Years holiday cards instead of Christmas cards.

The primary reason for me was that I really wanted to use my Confetti Happy New Years photo card… and I didn’t have a great picture to use. I mean, you know me, I have tons of pics of my boys (I make you guys look at them all the time!), but no recent ones with snow. And I really wanted snow.

You ask why you can’t see snow in this picture… well. That is because the beautiful little boy on the bottom just had to wear that stocking cap and it’s a yucky shade of green. Oh well… he was warm and there is always the black and white version. {grin}

This is what it looked like in color. I was proud that I captured their eyes… but that hat… wow! I blame his dad. I can promise you that I didn’t buy it.

And as you can see from these pictures from my Instagram feed (join me @thecelebrationshoppe), we finally got snow. And lots of it. (This second pic was taken at a friends out in the country. Beautiful isn’t it!) Yep, I went sledding. Let me tell you, that hill isn’t small. I wish I had video of it for you. I admit. The first time down I screamed like I was on a roller coaster… one without any seat belts. {wink}

Over the past few days I also made a few New Year’s resolutions. Mostly pertaining to The Celebration Shoppe, but a few personal ones too. AND I’m going to a little New Year’s Eve shindig tonight. All in all… a great end to a fabulous year.

I pray you’re all having a wonderful holiday season and that you’re ready to kick off 2013 with health, happiness, a bit of baking, a party or two and maybe a little crafting on the side!

Missed you all and I’ll be back with some fun new ideas on Wednesday!

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stripes + kid room makeover

This collage of images taken with my iPhone and edited in Camera+, PicFix and PicFrame

We’ve been busy this summer with tons of projects around the house: gutting our guest bath downstairs, purging closets, my studio and our basement (I have way too many props for work and baby toys that sadly I’ll never see used again), organizing my craft room… and oh yeah… creating a new “big boy” room for the boys before school starts back up. It’s been a lot of work, but I love an organized house.

And for the bedroom, I have to say, I have an opinionated crew. I know… shocker! {grin} 

Challenge #1 – We talked about themes (whether or not to have one) for months before we got started. The boys just couldn’t agree. We have four bedrooms so they can each have their own, but the boys want to stay in the same one for a few more years — their choice, not mine — but I do have to admit that I love it because you can hear them whispering secrets and reading books to each other. I’m very blessed with two little boys who are also best friends.

So after much debate we decided no theme, just bold color, allowing them to change art and pillows, etc., as their interests change.

Challenge #2 - Color! My oldest loves green and my youngest loves blue. And not those light hues that can easily work together… we’re talking hunter green and aqua blue… you see the problem.

After another month I was able to talk them into blue walls, with a two-tone blue stripe accent wall. But you wonder how did I appease the green lover. Well… the outlets, inset of the window and art will be lime green. I know what you’re thinking. It’s the same thing my husband thought when I asked him to paint it… {snicker}

Challenge #3 – We’ve never painted stripes on the walls before. My hubby is a great painter, carpenter, and all around just clever when it comes to home projects. Whoa girls! He’s taken! {smile}

But even he was a bit nervous about painting stripes. We picked up a few rolls of Scotch Blue and he went to work measuring. That was honestly the toughest part, trying to determine how wide to make the stripes so that there was an even number… oh… and there was the window to consider.

In the end my smart guy figured it out and cut a board to help position a straight line all the way down the wall with the tape and another board the exact length of each stripe so there would be no measuring mishap halfway through the process.  

Surprisingly to him, but not to me of course {so sure of myself… not!}, it’s coming together and looks really great! The Scotch Blue tape pulled away easily and the lines are so clean. One or two small touch ups in the corner, because of imperfections in the wall, and it was done! I think I’ll try my hand at some art prints using it!

I’ll share more as we go and until then, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake… PAINT… and create!

Oh, and if you’re wondering why the first pic says “Day 37,” thats because I’m photojournaling our summer and this was taken on Day 37. (You can follow our adventures on Instagram at TheCelebrationShoppe.)

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And by the way, this is not a sponsored post. I was just impressed with Scotch Blue and wanted to share!

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patriotic party finds

I’ve been shopping around for goodies for my little guys upcoming birthday and ran into World Market late last week (photos taken with my iPhone) to see if they had any rustic items I could use for his camp party snack table.

I found some things for his party and these lovely patriotic items perfect for my 4th of July picnic:

  • The soda crates sold me! I love the vintage look to display old fashion creamsicle drinks and Coke bottles.
  • The stripe drink dispenser will be great for sweet tea… remember… I am a southern transplant to Ohio.  
  • The metal picnic basket might double as a chip bag caddy.
  • The American flag throw pillows will go perfectly on the swing.
  • The popcorn bowls will grace our blankets while we watch fireworks.

And when I hop over to World Market to link to their homepage, lookie what I saw! A picture of my favorite finds on the homepage. Lovely when styled isn’t it?! Can’t wait for my picnic!

Oh how I love summer! As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake and create. And maybe shop a little! {smile}

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how to photojournal your summer

My time with my boys is so very precious and they’re always doing funny things or wonderful things that I wish I could remember forever. I do journal (the traditional way) about them. Mostly the highlights of big days, funny little things they say and those {gasp} “they’re growing up too fast” moments. But I also want to grab and save those crazy smiles too.

So this summer I’m photojournaling our entire summer break. But instead of lugging my DSLR around and spending hours in Photoshop, I’m using my iPhone and some really fun and easy apps.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my DSLR. I use it all the time when there are planned outings or when I really want to get those close-up shots, but it’s not always with me and let’s face it, it’s a bit bulky… not to mention they know when mom is taking pictures when I have it with me. With my iPhone I can be sneaky {giggle} and capture them when they’re not expecting it.

I started this project because of my L-O-V-E for Instagram (you can find me at @thecelebrationshoppe). I’m constantly sharing what we’re up to or peeks at my latest craft projects. And by following and reading others I’ve found these fun frame and text overlay apps.

But you don’t have to be on Instragram. You can just create the collages and save them to your phone or e-mail them to yourself. (TIP: If you e-mail the image/collage to yourself from the  picframe app, it will be a higher resolution than if you save it to your phone and then e-mail it to yourself. Some of mine are as large as 4MB).

So here are the apps that I use and why:

  • Camera + – I never take pictures with my regular camera phone anymore. With Camera + I can take pics and edit or delete them before saving to my phone.
  • Picfx – this app is full of textures. So once I’ve done my basic editing in Camera +, sometimes I go to Picfx to add textures. Light is my favorite texture, but there are over 50 to choose from.
  • PicFrame – I have a few frame apps, some with and without text overlay, but this one is my favorite and the one I used to do all of the collages in this post.  

A few tips to creating great collages AND memories:

  • capture multiple angles,
  • get close up,
  • gain perspective (shoot high and shoot low), and
  • photograph parts of the story (e.g., water balloons) individually. Alone it might not make much sense, but in a collage they make a real impact.

And if you do start a little project like this of your own AND you’re on Instagram, please follow me at @thecelebrationshoppe and comment so I can find you. You can also tag your post with #photojournaling because I’ll be checking. {grin}

As always, I hope you’re inspired!  And I hope you’re enjoying your summer!

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photo a day on Instagram

So are you on Instagram yet? Are you participating in a photo a day hashtag? Well I’ve been watching others for a few months and have decided to give it a whirl. It’s going to be fun!

I’ve chosen to go with Fat Mum Slim this month. This list is the challenges for each day. Simply take a picture with this in mind, share it on Instagram (which allows you to also share quickly on Twitter, Facebook and other apps) and use the #photoadayJune hashtag so others can find you. And if you’re not sure what to take a picture of, Fat Mum Slim gives a few points of inspiration in her June post.

If you’re not on Instagram, go to your app store (now also available for android users!) and get it. You’ll love it!

You can find me at @thecelebrationshoppe on Instagram. If you follow me, comment on a post and say hi!

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake and create! Happy Monday!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (a box in the right-side navigation bar), follow us on twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe

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