Tag Archives: Project Life

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

 

A few months ago I started noticing a new phenomenon happening quite regularly among my little flock. Little envelopes stuffed with doodles and dotted with stickers began accumulating on my countertops. At first the letters were encased in makeshift envelopes constructed out of folded-up pieces of paper held together by a mix of scotch tape and mini staples. Then, without much thought as to the potential repercussions, I bought my brood a few notecard sets. And this right here turned out to be the precise moment when the amount of correspondence peppering my household surfaces increased exponentially.

It appeared that my littles had taken a liking to, ahem, “writing.”

 

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Now, let me just state for the record here that I loved this newfound passion and wellspring of initiative and creativity, but I simply couldn’t overlook the fact that the current state of their resources fell just short of truly allowing them to accomplish what they were striving for. Unable to see the task through from start to finish entirely on their own, this letter writing kick began to take on a distinctive mommy-and-me bent.

At coincidentally the most inopportune of times, my involvement was apparently absolutely critical. Elbow deep in a sink full of dishes I’d be asked how to spell a flurry of friends’ names; behind a wall of scalding steam, straining a pot of boiling pasta a little voice behind me would ask if we had anymore envelopes; on all fours vacuuming under the sofa two little bare feet would appear next to me shouting/inquiring about a classmate’s address…and how to spell it.

 

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You see my point here, yes?

However thoughtful and ambitious my pickles were attempting to be, their tools were simply not up to speed. So I decided to take this as an opportunity to finally put together an idea that had been on the back burner for way too long, something that would address the two main obstacles they were facing- easy-to-use address labels for their intended targets and a place to keep all of their writing paraphernalia corralled.

A children’s letters kit neatly contained within a 6×8 album and utilizing elements from my Project Life efforts would address the latter. And as for the former? We partnered with design marketplace, Minted, whose treasure trove of new beautiful and exceptional quality children’s labels designed by a community of independent artists was just what we were looking for. These labels would make addressing their envelopes quick and easy for our minis.

 

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThisThe Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

 

Two kits came out of this venture, as my sister and I realized that cousins figured prominently on our kiddos’ lists of recipients. We chose 6×8 inch albums by Becky Higgins and Simple Stories and used page protectors in a variety of formats by Simple Stories to contain our various contents. The size we chose is perfect, it’s large enough to hold everything you need but not in any way unwieldy for little hands to use.

Our next step was placing our order on Minted, a task that proved harder than it seemed due to the fact that there are so many whimsical options to choose from! We were able to customize each label on quite a few fronts, choosing our own font style, size, and often even the background color as well. We ordered return address labels for each kid as well as address labels for each of their most frequently targeted loved ones.

 

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThisThe Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThisThe Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

 

When the labels arrived, it was time to put the kit together. We started with an opening page that makes it clear from the start that this album is meant to be shared with their sibling! On the backside of this page is where they will have stored their respective return address labels, for ease of use.

Following this we placed a spread of four different blank notecard sets for them to choose from. We included only about three to four of each design with its corresponding envelope in each sleeve. The cards are a good variety they can draw from depending on their mood, the recipient, and occasion. All, however, are whimsical representations of their enormous personalities!

 

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThisThe Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThisThe Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

 

Onto embellishments and writing! Using two different page protector formats, we put together a few stickers- their decor of choice when it comes to letter writing. A paper envelope also in this section stores a few of their hand drawings and doodles that are never in short supply. They’re readily available here to be easily tucked into cards as hand-drawn gifts (especially for those abuelos!). We also wrote out a few frequently used terms in English and in Spanish on pieces of foam paper and attached them to a page divider so that the kiddos would have easy access to the basics of what they’re trying to say.

While working, we found that some of the bulkier items such as the cards and some of the stickers (especially the 3-dimensional sort) caused the sleeves of the protectors to bulge, so we easily remedied this by using a tiny strip of washi tape or mini paper clips to keep everything enclosed.

 

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThisThe Mama Bears ChildrenPinThisThe Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

 

The next step for our little writers at this point would naturally be labeling their envelopes for their final destination. We made this process easy by including photographs of each loved one they might potentially want to write to and tucking their respective mailing labels into the sleeve right next to it. To print out all of the photographs we used I used my Epson PictureMate Show Photo Printer. I love the speed, quality, and the ability to get a preview of my image before printing to double-check cropping. It is my official go-to, gone are the days of mail-order photos for me! Again, I used paper clips at the top of the sleeves to ensure that the labels stay put!

Lastly, a neat little paper bag at the end of their letters kit houses the stamps they need in order to send their lovingly prepared letters out into the world!

 

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The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis

The Mama Bears ChildrenPinThis
Our kiddos were ecstatic when they received their children’s letters kits! A quick walk-through together explained everything they needed to know. The quality of the mailing labels made itself apparent right away! While easy to peel they are difficult to tear and hold up well to vigorous handling by eager little fingers. Of course, I know questions will always naturally abound here and there, but for the most part, they will be able to do this on their own, giving them the confidence and real sense of independence we could see they were after in the first place.

 

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  • Love this! Great ideas for the future! Everything looks like it turned out great and your kids look like they really enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing all the pictures!ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      Thanks Hollie! Yes, they were super excited when we gave it to them and they’re still really enjoying it now! How old are your littles? Sounds like you’ve got time to start putting your own little letters album and pictures together! 🙂 We can’t wait to see your finished product! Do share when it’s done!ReplyCancel

  • Oh my gosh, this is such a great idea! My 6 and 4 year old are totally obsessed with “writing letters” right now and this would be so much fun for them! You did such a gorgeous job putting your own kits together. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      Thanks Justine!! This is such a cute age right now, isn’t it? Are your cuties enclosing little trinkets and “gifts” in their envelopes too?? I had to keep intercepting these letters and pulling out rings and other valuables- I felt like a prison guard going through their mail. Haha this is definitely so much better! Give it a whirl and I would love to see it if you do! 🙂ReplyCancel

The Mama Bears One Little Word 2016PinThis

 

For 2016 I’ve decided to jump on a certain bandwagon I’ve been eyeing for years. Known as “one little word,” it’s a tradition begun by Ali Edwards that involves focusing on a term that resonates with you for the duration of the year. The word you choose and why is entirely up to you. It may be that it motivates you, humbles you, or even just grounds you. Personally though, I’d like to think of it as more of a homing beacon, one that will remind me to come back to center and keep focused on my goal.

For me, that word and that goal is happiness.

To be completely honest, I didn’t so much choose this word as I have singled it out from among the same few that have been whirring around in my mind of late. To me, it is the most important one. I want it to serve as my daily reminder, a gentle intimation that absolutely everything in life is relative, that every scenario does not, in fact, come with a predetermined emotional reaction, and that you can always- always- just choose happiness.

I know that this endeavor isn’t always going to be easy. I fully expect that some days a few belly laughs, Downton Abbey marathons, and walks outside will do the trick, while other times a little more elbow grease will be required. I may have to actively seek it out, dig for it, or plant its seed, but happiness will always be available. Even on the days when I will need to drag it out kicking and screaming and force it to share- I will know that it is there. When singled out and focused on in this way, it is easy to see how one little word can have the potential to change your perspective, move you in a new direction, bring you clarity, or even peace.

As for my goal, the reason I am choosing to focus on happiness this year has more to do with teaching than with being deliriously happy my every waking moment. To put it plainly, I’m keenly aware that I’ve got little eyes watching me at every turn- taking in more and more of what they see with those peepers. What I want those little eyes to glean from all that industrious scrutiny is that a positive perspective can have so many more beneficial outcomes than a negative one can. I want them to see that solutions can be more easily recognized, inroads more easily made, and goals more easily attained when you choose to let go of the weight of negative emotions and learn to make happiness possible in any scenario.

One little word is an exercise I am looking forward to experiencing and sharing as the year goes on. Maybe you’ve likewise got a word in mind yourself? A sentiment you’d like to keep in the forefront of your thoughts? Go for it! How you choose to reflect on it and the degree to which you incorporate it into your life is completely up to you. As for my own goal, I intend to go about mining happiness by fretting over a lot less spills and breaks, spending more and more time outdoors, and seeking out the simple, quiet moments that go unnoticed. The best part, however, is that happiness has always been a dish best enjoyed in the company of others- there is always plenty to go around.