Grand Opening of the Valentines Gift Guide

Raising Dick and Jane is proud to announce the grand opening of our first annual Valentines Day Gift Guide!
We have been working closely with several amazing brands over the last few weeks to put this adorable collection together for you. Not only are we happy to aid you in your Valentines Day gift giving, but we are also offering several giveaways through out the next three weeks where you can win many of the gifts featured in the guide!

So please, without further ado. .click on the link below to visit our gift guide.

But wait! Before you go check out the gift guide we have our first giveaway ready for you to enter. Our first giveaway comes to you from Special Occasion Design. A company that specializes in creating custom event accessories to fit your desired theme.

As many of my readers already know, I love Valentines Day! After all, what is better than celebrating love? I also love to host parties and I know that the theme of the party is best conveyed using themed decorations. Below is a Valentines Day party that I designed with the help of Special Occasion Design and their cute handmade table runner.
 
 Thanks to Special Occasion Design, you too can host a Valentines Day celebration for your loved ones by winning the beautiful pink and white damask table runner shown above (which is also shown in the gift guide).
 
You can also learn how to make the rose pomander ball shown in our last DIY craft tutorial.
Lets get this party started! Enter to win using the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I did not recieve any compensation from Special Occasion Design. This company is however sponsoring this giveaway. All thoughts are my own.

Yes, I am THAT mom

I can remember several years ago, when my husband and I were newly married and had not yet had kids, we were enjoying a day shopping at our local mall together. A little boy (probably around age 2 or 3) was running around like a mad man while his parents shopped. My husband and I were browsing in the same area as this family when all of a sudden my husband dropped down in pain and yelled something (I don’t know what). My husband then looked over at me and said “That little boy just came over and kicked me!”. The parents of the little boy, realizing that there was a commotion and their son was no longer by them, sprang into action and started yelling at the little boy and at my husband. I was disgusted. How could these parents loose control over this little boy and how could they let him get out of their sights like that? My husband and I swore that day that we would never allow our kids to act that way in public. . OUR kids would know how to behave themselves. I thought to myself “How lazy could you be to let your kids act like that?”.
 
Now fast forward seven years. That mother that I swore I would never be, I am THAT mom. No, I would not let my kids run around and kick people, but I do understand how hard it is to keep control of them. Back then what I misunderstood for laziness may have been two worn down parents trying to spend a few minutes in real life. I laugh to myself when I think back to all the times I said “Oh my kids will just eat whatever I am eating, I refuse to be a short order cook!” or “I would never go out in public looking like that!”.  So to all of those parents that I judged before I understood, I’m sorry. And if you have not yet been blessed with children, be sympathetic. Its not that easy.
 
I am the kind of mom who:
 
  • Yells “Stop That”, “Don’t Touch That”, “Get out from behind those clothes” while shopping
  • Wears un matched socks
  • Stands over the kitchen sink when I eat
  • Hides candy and eats it when no one is looking so I don’t get caught
  • Smells questionable laundry to see if its clean
  • Has toys in my living room
  • Hides things in closets so my home appears clean
  • Forgets to shave her legs for months at a time
  • Tells my kids its bedtime at 7pm because I need a break
  • Runs panicking and screaming through the grocery store because I looked away from them for one second and they walked around the corner. <—scary!
  • Pretends to have to go to the bathroom just so I can sit down and have a minute of peace.
Being a parent is the most exhausting, demanding,under-appreciated, unpaid, and over all toughest job I have ever had. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t worth it. Being able to spend my days with my kids brings me joy and love. I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
 
This post was inspired by my new friend over at “Life without Pink“. She too has become THAT mom. Now its your turn to share, leave a comment telling us how have you become THAT mom.
Remember. . .
 
Nobody is perfect, but a good parent is one who at least tries.
<3 Dick and Jane

DIY Blogger Binder #TBCcrafters

If you are a serious blogger you can understand that hosting a successful blog is a job in itself.  It is much more than writing fun posts and sharing pictures of your family. Blogging takes commitment and organization. Luckily I have commitment, because organization is not my strong point. This year I have decided that I am going to try to get more organized in all aspects of my life, blogging included.
 

Not only do I enjoy writing for my blog, but I also enjoy reading other writers blogs. I recently came across a blog that talked about creating a binder to help keep your blogging information organized. It was like a light bulb came on. Seriously, why didn’t I think of that? Until now I have been relying on my brain to keep it all straight. You know how that goes. So I took her advice and put together what I thought I would need to be successful. Today I am going to share with you the awesome advice that I found so you too can work towards a more successful blog.
Blogger Binder
You will need:
Binder
Card stock Paper
Business Card Pages
Binder Envelope Page
Tab Dividers
FREE Printable Pages from Infarrantly Creative
 
I added my calendar printout from Infarrantly Creative to start the book.  When I open my binder I wanted to see a rundown of what I have going on for the entire month. This way, I know if I need to gather supplies for the following week or if I need to confirm details with some of my vendors. This also helps me see what days I have open so I can find a post to fill it.
 
Next, I added a divider and then my weekly schedule pages. These pages are great for jotting down ideas for individual posts during that week. There are also spots to list your “to do’s” and ideas. The part of this page that I like the best (and I would have never thought of hadn’t it been for Infarrantly Creative) is the weekly stats section. This is a great reference if a company asks for this information or just to visualize your own growth. There is also a section called “blogger to encourage”. This is a sweet idea and can help to create beneficial relationships with other writers.

After another tab I added a business card holder section. This year I am hoping to attend my first blog conference. This type of event is a great place to network with companies and other bloggers. The last thing I want to do is loose these contacts once I get them.
 
Finally I added a large envelope to hold bits of information like contracts, gift cards, ect. This would also be a great place to store receipts and things needed for year end taxes.
 
Hopefully this information will help you as much as it has me. It feels GREAT to be organized and I can focus on what I really enjoy doing. . being creative. Also a big thank you to Infarrantly Creative for offering her print outs for free. Please stop by her page and leave her a note of gratitude.
 
<3 Dick and Jane
 
Do you have a Thrilling Thursday craft to add? Add a link to your blog post in the linky below after you’ve left a comment on this post and add this button to your blog post!

What do you Crave? #CraveBowl

One of the wonderful things about blogging is that I am introduced to new companies and products on a daily basis. Some of them are wonderful. . and some are not. However today I was introduced to a company called CraveBox. The idea of the company confused me a bit to begin with, but once I read more about it I started to understand. Cravebox is sort of like a lottery game, but you don’t have to pay for your ticket until you win. Here’s how it works:
  1. Sign up for an account with CraveBox
  2. Watch for an email announcing the next CraveBox drawing.
  3. If you like the CraveBox description, enter to win it.
  4. If your name is drawn to win, your credit card is charged and your shipment is sent.
CraveBoxes range in price from $10-$15 per box, not a bad price. However, I believe that the fun is in the game. . the luck of the draw. Not only do you get to WIN, but you also get the surprise of opening up a prize package and trying new items. <–Ill take that over bills in the mail any day!
So if your even a little bit curious about CraveBox you can sign up for their emails here and see what boxes are coming up next.
And if your a totally adventurous spirit and want to give CraveBox a try now, its a good time to do so! This months CraveBox is all about the big game day and Zatarain’s! Plus, this box is allowing you to double your box to a party size for the same low price of only $15! Wow!
I too will be trying CraveBox out for the first time this month. I hope to win and good luck to you too!
We’re ready for game day!
<3 Dick and Jane

Disclosure: CraveBox is giving me a free box to try this service and tell you if I like it. All of my opinions are my own. 

Wordless Wednesday Linky ~ Balloons to Heaven

This Wednesday I am still wordless from what happened last Friday. I have decided to share a photo of a product that I bought this week to help donate to the SHES fund for the families of those lost at Shady Hook Elementary School.  I have also included a link to the product if you too would like to purchase this download and help support the cause. I have framed my print and am giving it as a gift to my daughter kindergarten teacher.
 
This printable is inspired by the recent events in CT. The balloons represent each sweet person that was lost. There is a faint hand reaching from the clouds grabbing the balloon.
100% of the proceeds will be donated to the SHES Support Fund by the United Way.
– Laynie and Belle
 
 
Join the Linky party! First add your page to the linky and leave a comment. You can also add the link directly to your page using the code below:


<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” media=”all” href=”http://www.blenza.com/linkies/styles/default.css” /><script src=”http://www.blenza.com/linkies/loc_en.js”></script><script src=”http://www.blenza.com/linkies/opt_defaults.js”></script><script src=”http://www.blenza.com/linkies/misterlinky.js”></script><script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://www.blenza.com/linkies/autolink.php?mode=standard&owner=raisingdickjane&postid=19Dec2012″></script>

DIY No Sew Ruffled Tree Skirt

In case you missed my announcement on facebook. This week I was honored by being asked to write a craft tutorial for The Blogger Connection blog. The topic I wrote about popped into my head as I was browsing the holiday decorations with Dick at Target.  I came across a few tree skirts that were not exactly my taste and outrageously priced. So as you will see, I came up with a way to make my own which involves no sewing. This way, all of my readers can enjoy today’s fun craft.

Please enjoy my craft tutorial below, but also please hop on over to the Blogger Connection blog and leave a comment letting them know that you enjoyed having me as a guest blogger.

Thanks a bunch and enjoy!

This Christmas will mark my eighth holiday in my own home as a wife and mother.  I would say that I am mainly responsible for decorating the inside of the house, while my husband takes care of the outside. So why. . . why have I never owned nor used a tree skirt. . in eight years? I don’t really know why.  It probably has something to do with the price of them.  I would consider myself a frugal person.  Not a tightwad, but frugal.  If I really want something than I will buy it, BUT if I can make it then of course I am going to save the money. So this year as we set up our Christmas tree I decided that it was indeed time for me to get working on a tree skirt for our tree. 

My daughter thought that our tree wearing a skirt was the funniest thing she had ever heard and could not imagine what this would look like. “Will the skirt cover up the ornaments that I made” she worryingly asked me.
I headed off to my craft room and pulled out a few fabrics that matched my living room decor.  I am obsessed with fabric and sewing, so I just happened to have all the supplies on hand.

Supplies (Amazon #affiliate links)
Premier Prints Ozborne Twill Girly Blue Fabric (54″ x 54″)
3 Inches Wide Burlap fabric craft Ribbon on Spool – 10 yards
Glue Gun
hot glue sticks
scissors

  1. Begin by folding your main fabric into quarters, then again into a triangle.
  2. Find the corner that has no open corners and cut the corner off about 1″ inward.
  3. Now cut from your top triangle point curved downward to create a megaphone shaped fabric (see illustrations)
  4. Open your folded fabric up half way and cut down one side crease to create an opening to place your skirt around your tree.
  5. Open the skirt the rest of the way. It should resemble a tree skirt already.
  6. Now we will begin adding the ruffles to your tree skirt. Begin by cutting your ruffle fabric into 2″ wide strips.  The length does not matter, but the longer the better.
  7. Use your glue gun and place a bead of glue about 1.5″ from the edge of your skirt.
  8. Start gluing ruffle fabric to the skirt, pinching the fabric along the way to create a ruffle.
  9. Continue all the way around.
  10. Repeat to create two rows, or more if you’d like.

That’s it! I dressed our tree in its new skirt as Jane remarked how lovely it was and she would now like a matching skirt too please.  So back to the craft room I go. . .
Merry Christmas!
<3 Dick and Jane

School Bullying – Teach your kids to make a positive difference

This year Jane started going to school. Something which she has been excited to do for a long time. We expected her to excel and make tons of new friends, we never expected what really happened.

We were only two weeks into school and one day, when picking Jane up from school, she asked me if I could teach her to snap her fingers.  I agreed and showed her how, not giving any more thought to her question.  Throughout the rest of the day I noticed her continually trying to perfect this new skill.  She was being very hard on herself for not being able to make a loud enough snap sound.  After observing her distress and seeing her self worth dimish, I sat her down to find out what was going on. Why was she being so hard on herself for such a silly thing?

Jane began to tell me how a little girl in her class had started a “club” and only those who were talented enough to snap their fingers could join.  She wanted so badly to be accepted by these other kids and felt that she wasnt good enough because she couldnt make a loud snap with her fingers like they could.  My heart broke. . how can these other kids be so mean and leave my baby out of their group for something that she cant do? 

As the school days continued I noticed a change in Jane. She was no longer excited to go to school, instead she whined about feeling sick and not wanting to go. When she arrived home from school, she was a different kid. The bullying that she was recieving at school was being mirrored onto her little brother Dick at home. It was like a cycle had been formed and it needed to be broken.

I was never bullied as a kid and I guess I just didnt think it would happen to Jane either, especially not in kindergarten! Like many other parents, I didnt know what to do.  My first instinct was to march into her school and tell those kids to be nice, but I realized that I cant do that (unless I want to be banned from the school premises forever). I decided that I would use this opporunity to teach my kids how to treat others and how to be a friend to those who are feeling left out since she now knows how bad it feels.

To get a better understanding of this issue and learn how to help Jane I turned to Matt Langdon from the Hero Construction Company. His company offers kids, parents and teachers the tools needed to build heros against bullying in all of us.  Here is what Matt has to say about the problem.

Any time a parent hears their kid is being bullied, they want to know what they can do. It makes perfect sense. There is a common assumption that kids that are being bullied need to be toughened up or taught how to resist bullying. That’s misguided at best. The other common reaction is to storm into school and deal with the bullies or the school staff. As Mary notes, that’s also not a great idea once logic creeps into the thought process.
Bullying is a problem found in a community, not in an individual. Bullying can only happen when a community allows it. In this case, we’re talking about a school. Now, many will be nodding their head, thinking about how the teachers and principals aren’t doing enough to stamp out this behavior. Unfortunately, these easy scapegoats are not the problem. The group enabling these behaviors are the students themselves. When bullying happens at school, dozens of observers simply do nothing. It’s easy to do nothing. In fact, it’s the easiest option. Simply put, if the students that see bullying did something to stop it, bullying would disappear from the school. No need to assume the principal owns a magic wand.
For Mary or any other parent of a bullied child, this is not immediately helpful. And that’s frustrating. The brutal truth is that there is no quick fix here. Teaching Jane to snap her fingers loudly may get her into the finger-snapping club today, but the underlying problem of exclusion remains. What happens when the whistling club starts next month?
The challenge is to change the school culture. That can start with your child. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Now, that’s a heavy load for your kindergartener, so you might need to help. Maybe you could get some parents together to share the idea with their children. A group of five or six kids can quickly change the classroom. The change you’re after in this case is to get students to do something when they see something wrong. That could be telling the bully that what they’re doing is wrong. If that’s too scary (and fair enough) it could be to ask the child being bullied to join them in a game or conversation. Or it could be to tell a teacher. Remember, the easiest thing for your child to do is nothing. You need to explain to them why they should take a slightly more difficult option.
You could, of course, get a program like mine into the school. An outside voice can help be the kick start a school needs. Many programs are focused on targeting bullies and victims, doing nothing to solve the underlying problem, so be careful when looking for one. Ultimately the only way to solve this problem is to get the students at the school to take action. How you do that is up to you and the school.
I’d like to finish with two important notes.

Firstly, every time you use the word “bully” to describe a person, you are creating a negative label. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by doing this and plenty to lose. Be careful how you talk to your kids about this topic. For much more on the problems with using the word “bully”, please watch this TEDx talk I did last year: https://vimeo.com/49278023.
Second – I hope you can see that bullying is not limited to school or childhood. The same strategy works in adulthood and the workplace.

Thank you Matt for sharing with us! I hope that I can teach my kids to be the good in the world and allow others to be uplifted by my actions and never hurt. Very insightful thoughts today 😉

Believe there is Good in the world, Be the Good!

Thank you for joining us!  <3 Dick and Jane