Tips for Starting a Scrapbook | Cute Beltz

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Scrapbooking is a fun way to combine photos and memories into a family keepsake!  The idea of starting and maintaining a scrapbook can seem tedious, but once you get going, it’s easy to create something your family will cherish.

So, what do you need to get started? You’ll need basic supplies like an album, archival paper, photo corners, a glue stick, scissors, a paper trimmer, photos, and mementos.

The most common album sizes are 12×12-inches, 8.5×11-inches, and 6×6-inches. Some people go for larger size albums, as it gives more space on each scrapbook page. Smaller ones are perfect for event-specific scrapbooks.

Choose colorful paper to make a lively background for photos and other tidbits. Try to choose paper that complements, rather than distracts from, your photos. Pictures and memorabilia should be the focus of the page.

Bring your photos out of hiding.  When photos are just sitting around, they don’t tell a story. Imagine finding a long-lost family picture. What would you want to know about the people in the picture? Keep these thoughts in mind as you start scrapbooking.

Use embellishments like stickers, yarn, buttons, glitter, safety pins, and pretty much whatever sticks. They enhance your pages, and add an extra-personal touch. Some love glitter and totally bling out their pages. Other people are into tags. Don’t hold back!

Using glue will help your photos stick around for years to come, so you want to be sure to use an acid-free kind (acid can speed up the deterioration of photos). Some of the most popular adhesives are photo squares, removable glue dots, and craft glue.

For layout inspiration, check out books, magazines, and websites. Craft stores often have sample layouts displayed. Websites with loads of inspiration include Creating Keepsakes, Scrapbook.com, and Two Peas In A Bucket.

To begin your layout for a page, choose four to eight photos that tell a story. Pick a few colors from the pictures and choose coordinating paper and embellishments. Lay your photos out on the paper to see how they best fit before you do any gluing. If corners and edges are securely stuck to the paper, the pictures will stay put. Start with less adhesive than you think you need.

Journaling is a key step in telling your story. Include the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, and “why”, along with how the people in the pictures felt. Have others weigh in for a different perspective. Make sure whatever pens and markers you use are acid-free. Adding a title will give your audience a quick idea of what the story. Make a mistake? No worries! It makes it even more real. There you go, you scrapbooking pro, you. Have fun!

Check out some of these scrapbooks for inspiration!

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Must-Have Apps for Busy Moms | Cute Beltz

Whether you’re a working mom, or a stay-at-home mom, there’s no doubt that you’re up to your eyeballs in errands and chores. Moms are some of the busiest people in the world and keeping up with the daily to-do’s, special school projects and doctor’s appointments can become overwhelming in no time flat.  From grocery lists to travel assistance to health-related apps, we’ve pulled together a collection of our favorite phone applications that can help busy moms in their day to day routine.

Cozi

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Cozi.com allows you to organize your family calendar, make shopping lists, manage to-do lists, leave reminders to yourself and jot in your family journal — all in one place. With their free Cozi iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps, you can access and manage your Cozi account on-the-go.

BrainPop

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My daughters are big fans of BrainPop for its interesting fun facts and “movie of the day” feature. I’m a big fan of BrainPop for the educational benefit it provides. With a variety of topics — including social studies, art, science, and more — kids can continue learning after school has ended.

Karoo

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Do you feel like your baby’s life is already flying by? Do you have trouble keeping friends and family in the loop on all your child’s latest achievements? Karoo, the first mobile app from Care.com, helps parents, caregivers and relatives stay connected and share all the moments of childhood as they happen. You can create a private network of people you want to share information, pictures and milestones with. It’s also great for working parents, as your nanny or sitter can send you updates on naps, pictures of your child’s latest craft project and videos of play time at the park.

iCookbook

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With over 2,000 recipes, this app makes meal prep simple. No more worrying about finding healthy dinnertime options to serve your kids. You can browse recipes, personalize them (great for families with picky eaters!), create shopping lists and share ideas with friends. There is also a great hands-free voice option, so you don’t have to actually touch your tablet with flour-covered hands.

Mint.com

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Organizing a family’s budget and back accounts is hard work. Those math and economics classes you took in school seem like a very long time ago and maybe you need a little help remembering how to best manage your money. Once you set up an account, this personal finance app automatically stays on top of your transactions, categorizes them into helpful groups so you know what you’re spending money on and shows you how your monthly budget is doing.

Grocery iQ

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One of the best free apps for busy moms, Grocery iQ saves money and time when grocery shopping. Their barcode scanning feature makes creating lists easy. You can sort by category, aisle and more. This app is also integrated with coupons, so you can find easily find savings on the items on your list before leaving home. Grocery iQ is free for iPhone, iPad and Android users.

Kids Meal Deals

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To get all the latest “Kids Eat Free” and other family-focused restaurant specials in your area, this app is a must-have. Kids Meal Deals is updated regularly to keep all the dining promotions as current as possible. Available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android, this app will use your location (or you can enter another one) to find all the best dining deals for kids nearby.

Fandango Movies — Times & Tickets

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Every mom and dad deserves an occasional date night. If a movie is in your future, don’t make a move without this free app. Fandango’s “My Movies” list lets you keep track of what you want to see and alerts you when they hit a theater nearby. You can even pick and reserve your seating directly from the app. Fan and critic reviews, as well as movie trailers, are included. So hire a babysitter and treat yourself to a grownups-only night!

Do you have a favorite phone application that you can’t live without?  Share it with us!

 

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5 Creative Ways to Repurpose a Crib | Cute Beltz

You’re ready to retire your crib for good, but what to do with that once-so-important piece of furniture? Don’t just put stash it in the basement — repurpose it! Yes, you’ll have to be a bit crafty to pull these awesome ideas off, but the result is totally worth it. Not only can you feel great about a new, totally customized piece of furniture, you can also pat yourself on the back for being eco-friendly!

Create an Arts and Crafts Station

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These adorable art tables, chalk boards, and white boards made from outdated cribs are as cute as they are convenient. Use the space to keep your child’s craft supplies organized and as a great spot for them to sit and create. Use Chalk Paint on any surface you’d like, or opt for IdeaPaint’s award-winning dry erase whiteboard paint to transform any smooth surface into an erasable canvas. (Below from left to right: Crib desk http://alittlelearningfortwo.blogspot.com/2011/08/repurposed-cot.html  and Crib to Easel and white board paint (http://www.the-red-kitchen.com/2010/02/crib-to-easel.html).

Build a Cozy Daybed or Loveseat

Similar to the benches above, a comfy daybed or loveseat can be created by simply removing one side of the crib, adding steel corner braces to secure the remaining three sides, paint if desired, and make an easy mattress cover. Accessorize with numerous pillows of different sizes in coordinating colors and fabrics and you’ve got a cozy new loveseat. See how to repurpose your crib to make a cozy daybed: (http://www.2littlehooligans.com/2011/10/21/baby-crib-turned-front-porch-daybed/).

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In the Laundry Room

Old bassinets and Moses baskets are great for sorting and storing laundry. Or, build a drying rack, as pictured here, for your non-dryer items and delicates. A crib side rail could also be hung from the ceiling using a chain at each corner to create a suspended drying rack for clothes on hangers or just added clothes storage space. See how to make a drying rack from your old crib: http://cottagelife.com/64108/diy/projects/creative-ways-to-use-an-old-crib

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Organize your Pantry or Kitchen

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If you don’t have a scrap book or wrapping room, consider mounting the side rail in your pantry or your kitchen. By attaching some simple containers, you can open up an enormous amount of storage space for your spices, mixes and other foods and things that are touch to organize in the kitchen as it is. If you have an empty wall, you have an opportunity to install this cute idea in your home.

Create a Neat Magazine Rack from that Recycled Crib

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Here is an idea to hang your magazines or books on in a fun and creative way so you can see what magazines you have rather than stacking them in a corner. It not only serves a purpose, it could even be an art piece in your home.

What are some ways you repurpose an old crib?

 

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Fun Sensory Bag Ideas | Cute Beltz

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Sensory Bags are a great way for kids to expand their sense of touch, creativity, and adventure.  Giving your child the chance to play with different types of textures and objects helps them to build new ways of talking about the world. Suddenly the tree is more than a tree, it’s a sapling with smooth bark or it’s a pine tree with rough bark and a sharp-pine scent. Water isn’t just wet, it can be rough (waves) or slippery with bubbles or cold and translucent when frozen or clear and still.  Squishy bags allow small children to experience the fun of “squishing” gel in their hands as well as exploring small objects and other items with their sense of touch.

Supplies

  • Bottle of clear hair gel
  • food coloring
  • Ziploc bag (quart size freezer bag works well)
  • beads
  • buttons
  • sequins

(You can easily switch up the trinkets that you put in the bag to keep sensory play interesting.)

Directions

1. Put all the hair gel into the bag.

2. Add one or two drops of food coloring.

3. Next, add the beads, sequins, buttons and other objects. Close the top of the Ziploc bag and make sure there is no air in the bag.

4. Finally, seal with a strip of duct tape across the top to prevent leaks and make it more secure for little fingers.

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How do you get your kids involved in sensory play?  – Cute Beltz

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5 Healthy Snacks For Kids | Cute Beltz

Serving healthy snacks to our kids is important not only for growth and development but also to support and encourage lifelong healthy eating habits.  Get your kids on board with healthy eating through these creative healthy snack choices your kids will love!

Peanut Butter

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This versatile childhood favorite has plenty of protein and fiber. For a change, try making silly PB&J sandwiches with toasted mini waffles or rice cakes instead of bread, or try it with yogurt and raspberries in a yummy frozen treat that’s super fun to eat.

Whole Grain Cereal

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With vitamins, calcium, and fiber, a bowl of enriched whole grain cereal with milk and fruit is a power-packed snack or healthy start to the day. For a fun and flavorful twist, try our cute clusters with yogurt-covered cereal and dried strawberries

Mini Waffle Cones

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Toast a frozen whole grain waffle and fill the waffle cone with cut-up fruit and top with low-fat vanilla yogurt.

Cheese and Fruit Kabobs

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Put cubes of low-fat cheese and grapes on pretzel sticks.  To add more variety add melon balls, berries, pineapple chunks, and cubed peaches for different creation every time.

Hummus

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Made from pureed chickpeas, hummus is an excellent dip for kids. It has an appealing nutty flavor, is thick enough not to be messy, and contains folate, vitamin B6, and iron. Serve hummus with cut-up vegetables or salt-free crackers for dipping, or use it to make a pita bread sandwich.

Smoothies

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Kids go crazy over these delicious sippable treats, and they’re packed with nutrients. Use nonfat vanilla yogurt, 100 percent orange juice, and a banana as the smoothie’s base, then experiment with a combination of cut-up fresh or frozen fruit. It’s a great way to sneak two or three servings of fruit and fiber into your child’s diet.

 What healthy snacks do you like serving your kids?   –Cute Beltz

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