Tag Archives: meaningful gifts

8 Beginner Genealogy Tips

3 Sep

Ever wanted to do some genealogy detective work, but didn’t know where to start? If you’re like me, you’ve probably toyed with the idea of doing some family tree research … that is, until you ended up on Ancestry.com and saw the subscription fee.

But then this amazing book came into my life (left) and ignited the bug all over again.

Ryan’s Aunts Kay and Genese researched it, wrote it, scrapbooked it, laminated it, and gave copies to all the families at our recent three-generation reunion. Pretty incredible, right?

Would you believe these two amateur family historians traced Ryan’s father’s side back to … 70 A.D.!? No joke. Ryan’s 49th Great Grandfather was the King of Sweden. But let’s dispense with the formalities, shall we? Your Highness is so stuffy. Please continue to call me Angela.

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Wall Art

25 Jul

Want a conversation starter for some yawn of a wall in your house? Try this easy wall art idea.

An inspiring home begets inspiration, so first, pick a theme that inspires you.

For instance, when we remodeled our bathroom, we found a newspaper from 1930 layered among the floor boards, which gave me an idea …

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Birthday Wishes for My Daughter

2 Jul

My birthday is the day before Christmas, and my daughter’s is the day before the 4th of July. I mention it because holiday birthdays can make you a little birthday crazy. (Just ask my husband.)

To me, birthday’s are a BIG DEAL. Because they have to be. Because you need to wave your arms a lot to get noticed amid the tinsel and fireworks.

July 3 Holiday Baby

Newborn in arms, I watched the July 4th fireworks from my hospital window. 

But after running around like Martha Stewart on steroids yesterday, trying to make Szaba’s birthday perfect, I realized something.

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Cookie Decorating

26 Jun

Somewhat by accident, I recently re-discovered the pleasures of cookie decorating.

Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

I was going to visit my sister and her family and came up with the idea for a host gift. (Yes, I still do those. Here are some ideas.)

I thought this would be something my 7-year-old niece would enjoy, but I was surprised when even my husband and brother-in-law were right in the mix, hogging the colored icing.

The dads kicked the creativity up a notch. And the competition of said creativity.

Cookie decorating is cheap, fun, easy, and something everyone can enjoy together. Not much else meet all that criteria. (Sledding? Play dough? Squirt gun fights?) Plus, you’re left with yummy pieces of art when you’re done.

My niece makes a delicious SpongeBob.

Still not convinced? File these ideas away. You’ll thank me one day.

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Word Art

1 May

Last month I offer several fun ideas for Poetry Month. But words can be much more than a carefully crafted phrase, poem, script, or story. They can be visual art as well.

Here are 3 easy “Word Art” projects for execs, parents, bloggers, teachers, kids, crafters, photographers, and anyone else I’m forgetting.

1. The “Wordle”

I discovered www.Wordle.net the other day and quickly became addicted.

  • Bloggers: Simply paste a link to your site, and Wordle.net will create a Wordle for you, sizing words according to frequency. Quite enlightening.
  • Business Types: You might be creating a lot more message “static” than you think. Plug in your text and see what you get. It could help you pair down that site or presentation to what you really want to say.
  • Scrapbookers: Type in words or phrases that remind you of the person or place you’re featuring. I had fun creating this Wordle from words my daughter was saying at the 20-month mark.

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6 Apr

Whether you realize it or not, poetry is an everyday part of your life: the lyrics of a song, the prose in a childen’s story, the cadence of the evening news, and even the order and choice of the words you say are all types of poetry.

“And why should I care?” you might ask. Well, it depends on you and what you could get out of it. That’s how poetry works: creatively, individually, unexpectedly. Why not try it for a month and see for yourself?

Here are some easy ideas, courtesy of the folks at Poets.org. For the full list, created in honor of Poetry Month, click here.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to write one. Unless you want to. In which case, go for it!

The Daily Poem
Just sign up, and Poets.org will send a daily poem to your inbox for the month.

The Unexpected Poem
Put a love poem in the mirror for your honey in the morning. Drop one in a lunch box. Write a special poem to your child in the cover of his or her favorite book. Need poem ideas? Here’s a wonderful list to get you started.

The Pavement Poem
I’m not sure why I love this idea so much, but I do. Write a fun poem in chalk on your sidewalk. Might I suggest something from Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein?

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28 Mar

Now that I have a toddler, the word “share” seems to leave my lips about 20 times a day.

I’m not sure the kiddo gets it yet, but my subconscious certainly seems to be listening.

Obviously, the ways we share as parents are varied and many:

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28 Feb

Floor village
Fairies in a jar
Letter scavenger hunt
Keepsake blocks
Grocery book

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Card Making

14 Feb

Yesterday a friend posted a story about a older gentleman diligently searching for the perfect Valentine for his wife in the greeting cards aisle. Sadly, the card he picked was too expensive at check out, and he left empty handed.

I was so moved by this story that it inspired me to share this idea I tried with my toddler this year. It’s not a particularly unique idea, I’ll admit, but who knows? Maybe it could help that next someone walking away from a thoughtful intention.

Whether you’re low on funds; looking for a last-minute idea (that’s still meaningful); or simply searching for something fun, cheap, and easy idea to occupy your toddler, this is for you.

We made our cards for Valentine’s Day (for ourselves, grandparents, and the babysitter), but you could make them for anything really: just because, the holidays, birthday cards, thank you’s, etc.

I had my toddler do the paint “print” for the background. Then I cut her painted paper into the shapes I wanted, printed some digital pictures on my little home office printer, and paste them on. Nothing fancy. I had some extra card stock on hand to use as a border, but you wouldn’t need that. They were plenty pretty without.

And that was it. Simple, beautiful, meaningful, and they’ll never let you down at the cash register.

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The Gift of Experience

25 Nov

My eyes were not closed to what an amazing gift this was. Coincidentally, we were married in that building behind us five years earlier.

It’s Black Friday, and I’m making my list and checking it twice. What I’m checking for is experiential gift ideas.

Basically, the idea is: think beyond the physical items you’ll wrap and put under the tree. (Let’s face it. Sadly, the majority of those items are just going to end up gathering dust or in a landfill somewhere anyway.)

Instead, think about what experience you want to give the person through your gift. Think about how they’ll use it and enjoy it.

Think about the mental snapshot they’ll have afterward, reminding them of a certain time, person, place, knowledge, or emotion. After all, isn’t that the essence of a life? A collection of mental snapshots filed away in our heart, reminding us of the things and people that matter to us most?

Sue was the queen of experiential gift giving, but frankly, she did so on a scale that isn’t financially feasible for most of us.

Included below are a few of the ideas Sue gave to us. If you’re low on cash (as many of us are these days), you can still use the kernel of the idea and adjust it to fit your wallet.

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