{My Memories Digital Scrapbooking: A Giveaway!}

(and $20 value coupon code for Mama Pea Pod readers! Enter STMMMS98286 at checkout.)

Do you scrap?

I'm a wannabe scrapbooker. I have all the stuff. Hundreds (thousands?) of beautiful papers, brads, stickers, ribbons, frames, cutting mat, hole punches, paper punches, etc. etc. etc. Have I ever actually completed a single scrapbook page? Nope! I've done a couple of shadowboxes, but not one finished page in an actual scrapbook!

As with everything I have a perfection issue. I'm afraid to ever complete anything in any sort of permanent form because it's never quite 100% perfect. Neurotic? Definitely!

But I recently was contacted by My Memories Suite, an award winning digital scrapbook software company. My Memories Suite is rated #1 by Amazon and TopTen Reviews. With their software, you can create digital scrapbooks, photobooks, cards, calendars, and gifts.

Digital scrapbooking? Hmmmm....that sounds like my kind of scrapping! I can play around, save, delete, alter, whatever I want, indefinitely! Oh yeah, and if I ever actually decide on finalising anything, I can even print it or order prints, too :-p  It'll be perfect for our family calendar.

So, I downloaded the software, which comes with templates you can use or allows you to create your own pages from scratch. It also came with a $10 coupon to use in their online store, so I went back to the website where there were oodles and oodles of choices for beautiful kits of 'papers' and embellishments you can purchase. There are quite a few free page template kits to download too.

I'm not really a techy person, but there is a detailed user guide to help you. Once I figured out how to do it, I made these two little practice pages to start. It really was fun to use! The one above was made with a freebie 'quick page' template called Time to Play, where all you have to do is plug in the pictures. Can't really get much simpler than that. And I love the cute playground theme! (There's also a whole Time to Play kit available to purchase, too.)

And this one I created myself from scratch. I think this makes a great way to record and share your family's memories - like these lovely pictures my friend Maribeth took for us last spring :-)

Now I just have to decide between getting the Pea in the Pod kit next or the Backyard Play Day kit next. (Suggestions welcome!)

And guess what? My Memories Suite is offering a special discount for all Mama Pea Pod readers! If you use the special promotion code below, you will receive a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - that's a $20 value! Just copy and paste this code at the checkout when ordering the software for download from the My Memories Suite online store: STMMMS98286

And there's more: They have also offered to give away a free copy of their software (a $40 value) to one lucky Mama Pea Pod follower!

Here's how to enter to win:

1. MANDATORY: If you're not already, please first become a follower of Mama Pea Pod. (You can follow me on Google Friend Connect over on the sidebar there, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.) Then go to My Memories.com and check out their digital paper pack kits, and come back and leave a comment here telling me which one is your favourite. That's it!

2. OPTIONAL: For extra entries, become a follower of My Memories on their blogFacebook page, or Twitter. You MUST come back here and leave a SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry for it to be counted in the draw.

This contest is open internationally (yay!). The winner will be drawn on October 15th, 2011, so get your entries in!

Good luck and happy scrappin'!


PS - Yup, you guessed right, this is a sponsored post, though all text and opinions are my own. In exchange for writing a product review, My Memories Suite has given me a free copy of their software to try out and is giving another free copy to our lucky winner, plus the discount code for any and all of you that care to use it. You're welcome! :-)

{Fall Handprint Wreaths}

Last week we made Autumn wreaths in my class. They were so simple, yet effective, that I'm having my own girls make one together at home now, too. It's easy enough for them to do at ages 4 and 1.5, and it will look so sweet on our front door!

I've seen similar ones all over the internet lately, and I can't remember where I saw this one - I think it was a teacher website of some kind? (If you see it or know, please let me know so I can link back!)

You can use whatever materials you like to make the leaves. We used coloured construction paper in fall colours since we had it on hand in the classroom, but for the one we're making at home we're using varied scrapbook papers in fall colours. I can't wait to see how all the patterns and textures look together when it's finished!

The kids just traced their hands onto the papers and cut them out. Then they glued them overlapping in a circle. I gave them cardboard templates in the shapes of oak leaves and acorns that they could also trace and cut out if they wanted to add them.

I had also prepared a few apple shapes using the die-cutter at school and some students chose to add those as decoration.

And finally, some used a thin-tip marker to draw lines and dots on the acorns and oak leaves to give them more depth.

They look pretty great, huh? I posted a picture of our own home one made from fall-coloured scrapbook papers on the Mama Pea Pod facebook page here!

Looking for more great ideas for Home and School


{Interview at Kitchen Counter Chronicles}

Wow! I've been interviewed! Jen over at Kitchen Counter Chronicles requested to interview me for her Kitchen Counter Confidential feature that she hosts every Friday. Head on over to read the interview if you like (not that I'm really so interesting!).

Thanks, Jen! I feel so important! ;-p


{Window Crayons ♥}

A while back I bought some window crayons from the toy store. I put them away 'for a rainy day' and forgot about them.

Last weekend we had a 'balcony art day'. We took our art supplies out onto the balcony and spent the whole afternoon out there getting creative. One of the things we did was finally try out our window crayons.

And they were amazing! We all absolutely ♥ them!

What vibrant colours!

And they make such lovely, smooth strokes! As Princess Pea said, "I love to do this because it makes my hand feel good!" I have to admit, I felt the same way about them myself!

And yes, they really do wash off with just a wet paper towel :-) Unlike the regular crayons that Sweet Pea tried out the next day on the living room wall :-(

*Join our Outdoor Play Party on Fridays - full of ideas for getting your kids outdoors to play!


PS - I loved these crayons so much that I've decided to get another pack for school and use them to create a window word wall.

UPDATE: LOVING my new window word wall at school! The kids are super excited about it too and are throwing out requests for more words to add. It also allows me to sketch a quick picture to define the word, which is perfect for my EAL students!

Linked to: ABC & 123, Sunday Showcase, I Can Teach My Child, Sun Scholars, It's Playtime

{Ketchup Fingerpainting}

Though I'd love to say that I came up with this creative baby/toddler 'painting activity' on my own, I can't take any of the credit for this marvelously messy sensory play idea - it was all Sweet Pea's own doing! She managed to get hold of the ketchup when I was busy in the kitchen. By the time I turned around and saw what she was up to, she was up to her elbows (literally) in ketchup!

Since there was really no point in putting a stop to it by that point, I just let her go for it - and that's exactly what she did!

She loved smushing and squelching the ketchup between her fingers and smearing it all over the smooth surface of the table! Scraping her fingernails through it, wiping it with her fingertips, and painting her arms with it. As time went by, it got slightly stickier and less slippery, changing the texture and the sensory experience.

And of course, when she saw that I'd noticed, she had to start hamming it up by putting her face right in it, too!

I must admit, I had never thought of letting her fingerpaint with ketchup, but it was so fun and such a wonderful, slippery, slimy, sensory experience for her, that I would definitely recommend it! (Though a bib might be called for next time - thank goodness she had a red t-shirt on that day!)

PreK + K Sharing

{Golf Ball Painting}

Painting with balls is nothing new in the blogosphere and we did this activity back in December of 2009, but I just remembered how much we loved this activity and wanted to share it. We used golf balls instead of the usual marbles (thanks to my friend Paul who inspired us and lent us the supplies!), which made lovely, spotty prints as they rolled around. We gave them as Christmas gifts that year to all the grandparents.

We used the lid of a copy paper box and laid paper in the bottom. We squirted a bit of paint on the paper, and put in 3 golf balls. Princess Pea was just 2 1/2 at the time, so it was quite challenging for her to tip the box around without dropping the paint-covered balls on the floor. She was very careful and serious about it!

We did some with white paper and coloured paint, and some with black paper and sparkly silver paint, which made an interesting snail-trail effect (I think glitter glue could work well, too).

They looked so great that we now have them framed in our front hallway!

(Sorry the pictures are terrible, I took them on my phone at night!)

{Last Day of Summer Holidays}

Slide Train

After the spending the summer apart, these 5 friends were so happy to finally be hanging out together again on the last day of summer holidays!

Yep, that's right - my 17-month-old reads The New Yorker! ;-p

*Join our Outdoor Play Party on Fridays - full of ideas for getting your kids outdoors to play!


{Back 2 School Craft in a Minute: Pencil Pot}

As I was getting my classroom set up a couple of weeks ago I put together this pencil pot in, literally, a minute. I had a plain cardboard pencil pot (though you could just as easily use a can of some kind from the recycling box), and wrapped a couple of scrap ends of bulletin board borders around it. One around the top, another around the bottom, and taped them in place. Ta-dah! Done. Cute, no? I just love it! Think I'll have to make several more.


Linking to: It's Playtime, I Can Teach My Child, Back to School Traditions, Sunday Showcase, Sun Scholars