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Welcome to My Venture!

Although my approach may be a bit unconventional, it is my greatest desire for this online journal to be a unique place where we can share life lessons learned from the many wonderful people–past and present– who profoundly touch our lives!

I sincerely hope you will feel inclined to comment and pay tribute to these great mentors by sharing your thoughts with me and this community.  It’s my goal for all who visit here to benefit as we participate and read one another’s insights.

I’ve learned that everyone has something to teach and something to learn!

Creating Your Home Sweet Home! Baby Love Nursery Design!

Creating Your Home Sweet Home!  Baby Love Nursery Design!

As a Maternity/NICU nurse, I can vouch for the fact that there is nothing more wonderful than the birth of a sweet, new baby…and springtime seems to be an especially favorite time of year to have a precious, little one!  (I have a spring birthday and all my children were born during the first part of the year.)  Aside from the thrill of welcoming a new family member, parents love to prepare a special space for the baby as they anticipate their arrival.

Baby Love Nursery DesignLike any other room in your home, you want your baby’s nursery to be a unique extension of your family’s personality and style…while at the same time allowing for it to be a place where your baby can grow and develop his/her own special characteristics!

Things To Consider As You Design A Nursery!

My husband and I now have five grandchildren–three of them arriving just last year!  Not only has it been wonderful to welcome each of these adorable babies to our family, it’s also been fun to see the darling nurseries designed for each one!  Here are a few ideas I came across, as well as some my kids and their spouses shared with me for creating a special nursery that not only includes decorating ideas, but safety tips from pediatricians too.

Style That’s Safe!

While creating a safe and secure nursery for your baby should always be a top priority for expectant parents, it doesn’t need to take away from the of excitement of deciding paint colors, gathering fabric swatches, or other fun design elements you want to incorporate.  Here are a few of the top recommendations from the American Pediatric Association for you to consider as you decorate that special room for your little one!

  • Use minimal, lightweight artwork over your crib to prevent any future mishaps of it falling on your baby as they grow.  If you do decide to add framed pictures or other heavier design elements…..be sure and anchor them securely with earthquake-proof hooks and pull the crib away from the wall a little.

Scallop wall nursery design.

Baby Love Nursery Design!

My daughter, Malia, and her husband created this unique textured wall by installing individual cedar scallops that they sanded and painted and hung securely on the main wall of my granddaughter, Maylan’s nursery.  This design element added such a fun impact to the room and goes so perfectly with the vintage feel Malia wanted to create, that all she felt she needed above the crib was a simple, lightweight name banner with a few extra strands of lace.  

Stylish and safe nursery design.

Painted wall murals or designs, as well as vinyl decals would also be a good décor option for above a crib.  My youngest daughter put a beautiful macramé wall hanging above her little girl’s bed.

  • Obviously, buying a crib is always a big consideration when creating a baby’s nursery…getting a good night’s sleep is a common desire for any new parent to be-for their baby and for them!  When assembling a crib, take time to make sure each screw is tightened securely.  The slats on a crib should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart.  Also steer clear of any cutouts in the headboard where a baby might get stuck.  An adjustable mattress is a must too.  

Baby Love Nursery Design!

Another important safety factor to consider is to avoid any window treatments with fabric or cords that the baby can reach.  My son and daughter-in-law live in Germany while he serves as a dentist for the Army.  The darling nursery they’ve set up for their sweet little boy, Elliot, who they adopted last September, has a fun European vibe to it.  I love the fact that the windows there have retractable shutters built within the window itself!  Such a brilliant idea–and certainly child-proof!  (You can read more about their adoption journey here.) 

Baby Love Safe Nursery Design!

Any stuffed animals and blankets should also be kept to a minimum when putting your baby down to sleep.  If your thermostat is set at a comfortable temperature, the pajamas and swaddle blanket used to wrap your baby in, is warmth enough. (Eli is one lucky little boy!)

♥ Convenient Comfort!

  • As a designer, my daughter will tell you that a room’s design and décor shouldn’t collide with the normal ebb and flow of your everyday living!  That seems to be especially true for all the activity that takes place in a nursery!  

Babinski nursery rocking chair.

Nursery rocking chairs.

You’ll want a comfortable place to rock your baby or offer late-night feedings.  As you can see from my grandchildren’s nurseries, there is a wide variety of rockers available that will suit your décor style. 

(Eli’s sleek rocker is from Ikea, Malia ordered her’s from Babinski’s.)

Modular baby night light.

Modern nursery lights.

Overhead lighting on a dimmer or an extra source of ambient light to help keep the room soothing while you care for your baby during the night without fully jarring you both awake is a nursery plus too. 

(The modular Ikea lamp is similar to the one that Mandi put in her nursery and fits her fun, ecclectic modern design style.  The unique natural wood cylinder table light on Eli’s dresser/changing table is also from Ikea.) 

Nursery rugs 2

Having soft, durable floor coverings or rugs with lower fiber pile for easy cleaning is nice to have in a nursery since they will more than likely become a frequent play area for you and your little ones! 

(Rugs make a big design statement–I like the selection of rugs from USArugs.  I also love the Oh Joy brand from Target and Land of Nod for nursery decor! )  

 ♥ Trends and Treasures!

  • I remember trying to incorporate the latest trend styles into my nurseries when I had little babies, but I think the prettiest home design is most often created when you use a thoughtful mixture of both trendy décor items and timeless treasures that have a sentimental value–as well as special pieces that have been passed on to you from previous generations. 

Baby Love Nursery Design!

Hanging on the wall as you enter my granddaughter, Maylan’s cute nursery is a picture I had in my girl’s bedroom when they were little.  I had it reframed after my sweet grandmother gave it to me; looking at it always makes me feel like somehow she’s watching over us!

Vintage baby shoes.

These little vintage shoes on Maylan’s dresser were another special treasure passed on to Malia and add a unique touch to the room.

Baby Love Nursery Design!

 Sitting on top of Eli’s bookshelf is the sign his parent’s held for their adoption profile pictures–he’ll know that he joined their family in a very special way!  Nursery décor doesn’t get much better than that! 

My mom used to say that a child’s room should mostly reflect love– she often told me she was a better person for having children…..and grandchildren!!  I echo her sentiments!

Baby quote.

Our families truly do provide us with our greatest adventures in life!

What’s something you love to incorporate in nursery décor?

–Mary

Cinderella Days! Let’s Party!

Cinderella Days!  Let’s Party!

Cinderella Days! www.mytributejournal.comI don’t know of too many little girls who don’t love American Girl dolls.  My daughters loved them and now my granddaughters are enjoying playing with their life-like dolls; (the new 14 1/2 inch WellieWisher dolls are darling) along with the books, movies and varied accessories, they create the best make-believe fun!

On a recent trip our local William and Sonoma kitchen store, I found out that the American Girl franchise has expanded the enchantment of their product to include party planning and baking books for even more fun with the real little girls in our lives!  I gave my two older granddaughters the party planning book for Christmas accompanied with a note that said we’d plan a few parties for family and friends throughout the year!  For our first official Cinderella Days of 2017, we threw a party a few weeks ago to celebrate all the things we love about our family!!

American Gilr party book.

The American Girl Party Book is full of fun and easy ideas for little girls who want to help plan a special party for their family!

American Girl dolls. "Lets Party!"

Of course, Makena and Marli’s American Girl dolls were included in our first big party event!  (I ordered their cute, little aprons with matching ones for their dolls from the fun Etsy shop, Sweet Apronz N Cupcakes.)

A week before their party, the girls and I got together and planned what we wanted to do and made a list of the things we’d need to buy at the store.  The anticipation and preparation for the party was almost as much fun as the actual event!

Americn Girl "Let's Party!"

There are several darling party invitation ideas included in the book, but one of the things I loved the most about our party was the cute, handmade invitations that Makena made–complete with scented stickers!  I mean seriously…how adorable is this!!!

Cinderella Days! Let's Party!

I’ve always been a firm believer that if you want your children to take a personal interest in a special project–get them involved!  These cute girls were a whirlwind of activity and culinary creativity as they helped make every detail of this special party come to life!

Makena and Marli had little menus, seated their “guests” with great decorum and served the food like well-trained maître d’s!  Their enthusiastic role-playing was simply too cute for words!

American Girl Party book food.

Food served in miniature size is always a hit at any party!  The menu included mini sloppy joes, ham rollups, veggies and chips…

Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes

…and mini no-bake raspberry cheesecakes–which were admittedly the most favorite entrée to make and eat!

Here’s the adapted version we made of the Mini No-Bake Cheesecake recipe that was in the American Girl Party book.

No-Bake Cheesecake recipe

Single mini no-bake cheesecake

My granddaughters loved garnishing the tops of the cheesecakes!  You could change out the jam and fruit for what you love best.

It tickled me so much to see how this activity sparked the spirit of camaraderie, organization and unabashed creativity with these two cute granddaughters…mostly it was just so much fun!  We’re all looking forward to planning our next party!

American Girl Party book!

“You rarely succeed in life unless you have some fun along the way!”  Vikas Runwal

This cute party book gave a lot of darling suggestions for fabulous party planning, but left plenty of room for children’s imaginations to run wild!

Any fun parties you’ve planned or attended lately?  We are always looking for more fun ideas!

–Mary

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

Although I’m a firm believer that we should give gifts of love all year long to keep our relationships strong…Valentine’s Day definitely offers the perfect opportunity to find great gifts from the heart for those we love!

Valentine Gifts From the Heart!

My mom always gave such fun, clever gifts; she often told me that when you thought about the stage of life the person was in, as well as a few things they loved, then combined it with a little personal flair–gift giving was easy!  My husband and I have found that we love to give gifts where we get to share experiences and adventures with those we love.  With these things in mind…here’s a few gift ideas from the heart that you could adapt for the Valentines in your life!

Gifts Of Time For Those Deep In The Trenches Of Parenthood!

I remember when I was a busy, young mom with one child or another pulling on my leg or screaming at the top of their lungs for attention, one of the best gifts my husband could give me when he got home from work was a grocery sack containing one of my favorite magazines, accompanied with a few special treats…the best part was that he’d take the kids outside to play for awhile or take them to get a fun treat of their own while I enjoyed an hour or so of uninterrupted time to myself!

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

If there are any young mothers in your life–pick-up a fun magazine or two at the drug store, (in this digital age, it’s probably rare that they get any of these) take her kids for an hour or so and let her enjoy some much needed time alone!

Valentine's Day coupon.

On a weekend, you could arrange to tend the kids so that both parents could go to lunch–your treat!  Time together as a couple is always a welcome gift for busy, young parents.

(Click here for some other fun ways to get your cupid on as a couple!)

Curly Girl card.

Once in awhile you could even arrange for the husbands to watch the kids so the two of you can go out together! 

Gifts Of Togetherness For Our Children And Grandkids! ♥ 

Valentine’s Day certainly doesn’t need to be an extension of Christmas for our children and grandchildren, but it can be just as special when we consider each child and their unique personalities.  Much like their adult counterparts, I think kids just love spending time together doing fun activities!  My husband and I love sharing experiences with our kids and their families.

Bountiful Bowling! www.mytributejournal.com

A Valentine’s Day bowling date complete with fun prizes or monetary gifts for the most strikes, the lowest score, the best form…etc. always proves to be a good time!  Hamburgers, French fries and root beer floats are also a good addition to this celebration! 

I have a friend at work who does a progressive dinner with her kids the weekend before Valentine’s Day, each sharing their culinary talents on the part of dinner they’ve been assigned.  How fun does this sound!  I can’t wait to do this when my children all live close by–I can just imagine the great conversations and laughter we’ll enjoy!

Chocolate Trifle Dessert www.mytributejournal.com

Whether you do a progressive dinner or simply plan on a romantic dinner for two, serving this Chocolate Trifle will give you your Valentine’s Day chocolate fix.  (Find the recipe here.)

Heart art puppets! www.mytributejournal.com

In the past, I have put on “heart art” puppet shows with my grandchildren.  So much fun!  (You can get the details here.)

A Valentine Tea Party! www.mytributejournal.com

Hosting a fun Valentine’s tea party is also a fun way to give from your heart to those you love.  (Check out the fun here.) 

Gifts Of Loving Care For Grandparents And The Elderly! ♥  

Time flies when you’re having fun…and in a blink of an eye it seems the demands of young children, job workloads, and other time crunches no longer occupy your days as they once did.  I believe the benefits of being committed to our families and other responsibilities during the earlier stages of our lives is that the rewards come back ten fold as we get older.  One thing I used to love to do for my parents, especially when they couldn’t drive long distances to come visit us, was to take the holiday fun to them!

XOXO Plates for blog entry

A fun meal served in their home on festive dinnerware accompanied with some lively conversation, always proves to be such a great gift for those loved ones that will always hold a special place in our hearts!   (These unique XOXO plates are from Pier 1 Imports.)

Gifts From The Heart!

Another neat gift idea from the heart for grandparents or an elderly neighbor would be to get your kids involved and prepare a fun Valentine’s countdown where you include homemade cards, recent photos together, and maybe a hardware gift card for grandpa and a special shopping date with grandma.  I think they’d love some coupons for helping them with a few jobs around their house and yard that they could redeem as needed throughout the year. 

Valentine's Words of Wisdom book.

A unique gift from the heart would be to make a collection of the wise advice your parents have given you over the years and jot them down in a special “Valentine’s Word of Wisdom” booklet.  How surprised will your parents be to find out that you not only listened to them…you actually learned a thing or two as well!  (I found this cute heart notebook in the Etsy store FavouriteNotebook.) 

A favorite piece of advice my father once told me was…“Remember, romance doesn’t start in the bedroom!”  Wise man that dad of mine!

Valentine Gifts Just For Fun!

Valentine’s Day also seems like the perfect time to put a little creative spin on our gift giving–letting those we care about know that although day to day life requires us to be responsible adults most of the time…we can always enjoy a little frivolous fun sometimes too!

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

♥ One of my very most favorite Valentine gifts ever, was when my cute hubby bought us aprons and a night cooking class at a local kitchen store.  Seriously, so much fun!  (It was fun to stock up on a few new, much needed kitchen accessories after the cooking class too.)

♥ “642 Things About You” (That I Love) is a fun, quirky love journal for you and your loved one to fill out together or individually as the mood hits…it’s full of random questions (precisely 642) that will have you laughing…and reflecting on why you love that person so much.  (Here’s a couple of sample questions: “What you said that made me laugh when I first took you home to meet my parents.” / “If our relationship had a mascot, what would it be?”)  So many fun ideas–if for no other reason than to have a good laugh together–this is a great Valentine gift from the heart!  

 ♥  I learned from my sweet mom that no gift is ever complete if it isn’t accompanied by a heartfelt note–long after the gift is forgotten, the thoughtful expressions of love in a note live on in our hearts! 

♥  We’re all trying to stick to our New Year’s diets, (well, sort of) but any gift that includes miniature Valentine candies is a fun gift to receive, especially when it’s given with a cute heart tray or container!    

Whatever you do for those you love for Valentine’s Day, it will be perfect as long as you include lots of…..

Valentine's Day Gifts from the Heart!

I wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope it’s filled with some of the people and things you love the most!

 I would love it if you’d share a fun personalized gift from the heart that you’ve given to your special loved ones.

–Mary