First Day of School: DIY School Year Journal and Picture Idea

We always take pictures of the kids on the first day of school. It’s now a tradition. It’s fun to look back on the yearly photos to see how much they’ve grown. Two years ago, we added the kids holding paper signs stating their grade to our photos. This year I thought it would be fun to create a sign that could also double as a school year journal.


I made a journal for each of my kids. They could write about their days during the school year in this special journal.


Although I designed and made the cover, the inside is for them to personalize. They could write, draw pictures and attach photos. It’s all about their memories and their year as a 2nd grader and 4th grader.

Here’s how I made my kids’ school year journal:

The material I used to make a School Year Book Journal are a journal, letter stickers, number template, scrapbook paper, cardstock paper, washi tape, scissors, ruler, Mod Podge and foam brush. All materials, except ruler and scissors, are from Michaels.


The book journal I decorated is actually a sketchbook.

I first cut white card stock paper to fit on the front of my book  cover.

I created a colorful border using washi tape. I used four different colors in a chevron pattern.


Next I used a number template I created to trace and cut from a fun scrapbook paper pattern.


I glued the number onto the cardstock.

I used black letter stickers to spell out Grade and placed below the number.


I attached the decorated cardstock to the front cover of the book using Mod Podge. I waited 20 minutes for it to dry.


I then applied a light coat of Mod Podge on top.

My kids are excited to start writing in their School Year Journals. I think using the journal as a prop for the First Day of School picture looks great.


Do you have any Back To School / First Day of School traditions? Do you take First Day of School pictures of your kids? Do they keep journals?

Find more back to school ideas in Michaels Back To School Lookbook.


  • Michaels offers a 15 percent discount for teachers every day. Talk to a store associate during your next trip to learn more.
  • If you need a large quantity of one back to school item but don’t see enough on the shelves,  Michaels offers a bulk ordering program. You can order as many supplies as you need and save up to 20 percent.
  • Michaels has an app. Download the Michaels app so you have the latest deals and coupons at your fingertips in case you need last minute school supplies.

See other similar projects:

This post is part of a First Day of School Blogger Challenge sponsored my Michaels. I was given a Michaels gift card to participate in this campaign. All project ideas and opinions are 100% my own.

(I’m linking up to Weekend Wrap Up Party.)

Gift Idea: Thanks for Being TEA-rrific – Free Printable

Do you have someone “tea-rrific” you want to thank? Here’s a fun and cute gift idea for a teacher, volunteer, friend or anyone special in your life. Last year, I received a similar thank you gift for being a parent volunteer in my kids’ classroom. I loved the gift so much I wanted to create my own printable tags to share with you.


All you have to do is print our “TEA-rrific” tags and attach it to a reusable cold cup or mug.

We have different versions of the printables – such as “Thanks for being a TEA-RRIFIC Teacher” as well as a general “You are TEA-RRIFIC” tag.


You can fill the inside of the cup with tea bags, ice tea mixes, candy and a gift card. What items would put in your gift cup?


You can use a Reusable Cold Tumbler, Reusable Double Wall Cold Cup or a Reusable To-Go Mug.


Download our “TEA-RRIFIC” printables. The links for the different options are listed below:

Have fun putting together and giving your gift with these “TEA-RRIFIC” printable tags.

See our other similar projects:

(I’m linking up to The Frugal Girls, Weekend Wrap Up Party and Sunday Showcase Party.)

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

DIY: Pencil Flowers – Cute Teacher Gift Idea

It’s almost the end of the school year. This means it’s time to think about teacher gifts. Today, I’m sharing our cute pencil flower arrangement – not to be confused with our Colored Pencil Vase.

These pencil flowers are pretty and practical.


I decided to create flowers with pencils the students could use in a classroom. If the teacher wants to use the pencils, she can just pull the flower tops off. Or she could keep the flowers on and leave as decoration. It’s that flexible.


Want to know how to make Pencil Flowers? Here’s our tutorial:

The materials I used to make Pencil Flowers are pencils, patterned scrapbook paper, card stock paper, flower punch, glue, ribbon, scissors and a hole punch.


I first cut flowers using a flower punch. I made 6 pink flowers and 6 purple flowers. Each flower has a solid color for the back and a pretty floral pattern in front. The flowers are similar to ones I made for a banner.

In total, I punched 24 flowers. 12 solid colors (6 pink, 6 purple) and 12 floral patterns (6 pink, 6 purple).


I glued each patterned flower on top of a solid colored flower.


I made a hole in middle of each flower using a hole punch.


Please Note: One punch from the hole punch I used was not big enough to fit through a pencil eraser. I had to do two holes close to each other. This made a slightly bigger hole. You may be able to see the difference in the picture below.


I then carefully inserted the flower through the pencil eraser.


Optional: I also tied a small green ribbon around each pencil. This is the “leaves” of the flower pencil stem.

I placed the Pencil Flowers in a glass jar. It’s a glass jar I repurposed. All I did was wrap a piece of burlap around the jar. I used Mod Podge to adhere the burlap to the jar.

We also plan to give a gift card with these Pencil Flowers.

You don’t have to do exactly what I did to make these pencil flowers. You can simply cut out flowers instead of using a flower punch. You can use one paper flower instead of layering two together. Our pencil flowers are just an example of what you can do, a guide…inspiration. Feel free to make it your own. We’re all creative in our own way.

Have you made any Teacher’s Gifts recently?

Happy Crafting!

See our other similar projects:

(I’m linking up to I’m Lovin’ It, Weekend Wrap Up Party and The Frugal Girls.)

Back to School Ideas: First Day Signs and Lunch Box Notes

It’s that time of the year – my kiddos go back to school soon. For some kids, school has already started. It’s hard to believe summer is almost over.

ColoredPencilVaseTheFinale(Colored Pencil Vase)

Here are a few ideas for your first day of school pictures as well as some lunch box note ideas.

First Day of School Pictures

I love taking pictures of my three kids on their first day of school. You get to see how much they have grown from year to year. Last year, I used “Back to School” signs from I Heart Naptime. The signs added some fun to our photos. I’ll be printing a new set this year and they’ll look like this.

You could also make your own signs. Another cute idea is to use a chalkboard sign such as the tutorial found on Make and Takes. (Side Note: It’s what inspired my Mickey Mouse Chalkboard.)

Lunch Box Notes

Do you like to leave a note in your child’s lunch box. I started leaving lunch box notes for my kiddos when they were in preschool. My lunch box notes are usually cute drawings with a “Love, Mom” in the corner. I like to call them Lunch Box Napkin Notes because they’re actually on napkins and not paper.


And because I like to be different, last year I created Wood Chalkboard Clips. I draw and write something on it and then clip it to a baggie. The best part is I can erase it and create a new message. I have fun with it by theming it based on the time of the year – for example, pumpkins for fall/Halloween, snowman for winter, and hearts on Valentine’s Day.


If you like the traditional paper notes, then here are a few lunch box notes to print:

Do you plan to take first day of school pictures? Do you leave a note in your child’s lunch box?

(I’m linking up to I’m Lovin’ It and The Frugal Girls.)

Teacher Gift: You’re My M&M Poem & Jar Plus Other Ideas

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This year my kids and I came up with a Teacher gift idea that’s both sweet and simple – a M&M Teacher Poem attached to a jar filled with M&M’s. I orginally saw this great idea on Domestically Speaking.

All you have to do is get a jar and fill it with M&M’s. Next, write/type out the M&M Teacher Poem and attach it to your jar. You could also place a gift card in the jar with the M&M’s.


I created a printable for the M&M Teacher Poem for you to use. See the end of this post for the link or click on image below.

Here’s the sweet poem:

Last year, my daughter and I made an easy-to-make and beatiful gift for her teacher. Maybe you’ve seen it here already – it was a Colored Pencil Vase. You can also find more teacher gift ideas at end of that post HERE).


Also, if you plan to give a gift card to your child’s teacher, then read about our Creative Wrapping Ideas for Gift Cards post HERE.

Here are a few other awesome Teacher gift ideas I found. Check them out:

Download the M&M Teacher Poem HERE.

See our other similar projects:

(I’m linking up to I’m Lovin’ It, Weekend Wrap Up Party, Sunday Showcase Party and The Frugal Girls.)

Creative Lunch Box Notes – On Napkins and Paper (Plus Free Printables)


I started leaving lunch box notes for my kiddos when they were in preschool. My lunch box notes are usually cute drawings with a “Love, Mom” in the corner. These notes aren’t on paper but on a napkin. When I first started doing this, my drawings were simple like a soccer ball, flowers and rainbows. I also got into holiday theme drawings. But then my ambitious artistic side took over and I started drawing animated characters. I think it’s fun to color and draw with crayons as an adult. Anyone else feel this way?…or maybe it’s just me. 😉


My kids love these “Made by Mom” napkins. They even saved many of them (as seen in the pictures above). I will admit during last year’s school year (2010/11) I didn’t do this enough. Instead, I placed party themed napkins into their lunch boxes. I’m talking about the napkins you’d buy for birthday parties with characters like Hello Kitty, Transformers and Disney Princesses. If they went on sale, then I’d buy it. My kiddos also love getting these kind of napkins. But I want to get back to more personal notes this school year.

Here are some other fun lunch box notes to brighten your child’s day. I know I’m going to try a few of them.


The back to school apples from One Charming Party are adorable. I especially love the Apple Jacks as the worm.

I LOVE the lunch box note tags for fruit over at alphamom.

If your kids are Disney fans, then these printable Disney lunch box notes are for you.

The lunch box note/jokes from All for the Boys will make your kids smile.

Do you leave a note in your child’s lunch box?

Free First Day of School Signs (for Picture Taking)

Use these cute Back-to-School – First Day Printables from I Heart Nap Time to take first day of school pictures.

Below is what I’m going to need for my kiddos. I can’t believe I’ll have two in Kindergarten and one in 2nd Grade.

Go HERE to print these First Day of School Signs available in Preschool to 12th Grade.


DIY Colored Pencil Vase (Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas)


Teacher Appreciation Week starts this Monday. (May 2–6, 2011) So, my oldest daughter and I decided to make something fun for her teacher. We made a Colored Pencil Vase. It’s so cheery and colorful. I especially love the simplicity of it.

All you need is a container such as a can, colored pencils, a rubber band, a ribbon, a ruler and a black marker or sharpie. And don’t forget the water and flowers.


Here’s my Colored Pencil Vase Tutorial:

I first wrapped a few colored pencils around a (soup) can and secured with a rubber band. I then continued to insert more pencils all around the can. Note: You could probably use any container (such as a glass jar)  that can hold flowers as long as you can easily wrap a rubber band and pencils around it.


I then cut some ribbon. I wanted it to look like a ruler or measuring tape. So, I marked it with lines (using a ruler as a guide) and my daughter wrote the numbers on it. Doesn’t it look cool? I love how the measuring tape isn’t perfect…it looks homemade. Plus, my daughter loved helping out with it.


I wrapped the ribbon and tied over the rubber band. Lastly, I put water and flowers in the can. That’s it!

My daughter’s teacher can enjoy the flowers and then later can use the colored pencils.


Here are a few other fun teacher gift ideas:


Teacher Appreciation Notepad over at How Does She. Make your own notepad and have your kids personalize with their own drawings on the sides.

You Were ‘Mint’ To Teach!
on  A Place Called Joy. Wrap up a container of Altoids Mints with a note stating “You Were “Mint” to Teach.

Printable Thanks “a latte: Gift Card Holder over at Skip to My Lou. If you know me, then you know why this gift idea got my attention! I love coffee! I could use a Vanilla Latte right now. Hot or iced…it doesn’t matter. Anyways, a teacher who loves coffee might appreciate a gift card attached to this cute printable.

Do you have any Teacher Gift ideas?! Please share in the comments.

See our other similar projects:

(I’m linking up to I’m Lovin’ It, Weekend Wrap Up Party, Sunday Showcase Party, Made By You Monday, Tip Me Tuesday, Get Your Craft OnTutorials & Tips Tuesdays, Works for Me Wednesdayand The Frugal Girls!)

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)