A List Maker's Life: November 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

School Birthday "Treat" Ideas

Our kids really look forward to celebrating birthdays at school. It is important for them to pick just the right thing to pass out to the friends in their classrooms. The two oldest begin searching Pinterest months in advance to plan what they will share.  

Last June Gavin wanted s'mores for his treat and wasn't sure how to manage the fire for the marshmallows since of course a bonfire isn't allowed at school.  He was pretty pleased when we came up with an alternative that tasted just as yummy. S'more Trail Mix made with Golden Grahams, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips. His birthday was the last week of school so we packaged the mix with "All Things Summer" subway art-ish tags. I would have expected a classroom full of 4th graders to munch these in fist fulls, but many of them dug through their bags to build 1 mini s'more at a time.

Both "little" boys celebrated birthdays already this fall.  In their new schools they are asked to bring non-food party pass outs. On a hunt for inexpensive trinkets to give Gabe's class we came across a 90% off summer clearance aisle. These little octopuses are intended to be pool diving toys. Gabe and I had recently enjoyed reading Octopus' Garden together and he thought these guys looked like fun additions to his animal collection. We bought enough for his whole class and made birthday tags to attach for delivery day.  

"I am glad to be swimming in the same school as you."

Since starting Kindergarten Gibson has been obsessed with writing numbers, reading numbers, adding numbers, and occasionally thrilling an audience with the multiplication facts he has memorized. We came across a package of 30 new tangram puzzles in a thrift shop and had to grab them for his classmates even though I was not quite sure at the time how we would work them into a birthday theme. It didn't take long to come up with a tag idea making this gift fun for his classmates and appropriate for celebrating a 6th birthday.

Anne Hope is already brainstorming non-food ideas for her February celebration, but first we need to come up with "22 Things" for the kids' classroom Christmas stockings!  

Suggestions anyone?

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Designing Christmas Photo Cards: Pear Tree Greetings

Disclosure: Pear Tree Greetings offered A List Maker's Life gift credit to try their holiday greeting card design and printing.  The following account of my experience with their service is based upon this gift.  Any opinions included here are my own.

When it comes to holidays I am a "one at a time, please" kind of gal.  Thanksgiving deserves its full attention before all of the Christmas decorations and shopping begin.  Based on the displays in every store we visited during today's errands, I may be one of the only people still holding out, with one little exception...

As soon as our fall family pictures are taken I can NOT wait to design and order holiday photo cards.

For the first purchase of Christmas, 
my true love ordered me 
photo cards from Pear Tree Greetings

Pear Tree offers a fantastic selection of including religions Christmas, vintage holiday, and modern holiday designs.  In addition, there are New Year's designs for those who prefer to send greetings after the Christmas mail rush. Many cards include real foil accents to give traditional designs and bold fonts extra shimmer! If you intentional shop for something unique the banner greetings may be of interest.  Those who enjoy writing holiday letters will appreciate being able to incorporate extended text in several Pear Tree designs. 

 In the past I have used my own photo editing program to design a card, saved the image, and dropped it into a blank template provided by the printer.  With Pear Tree there were so many options to love I chose to use their design program exclusively.  It may have taken me a bit longer as I arranged and re-arranged different pictures into multiple layouts.  So much fun! I typically prefer simple designs with only one large photo, yet as you will see Pear Tree offers unique options for incorporating many pictures in one card.

This design process also offered options for font, message, artwork, and color within a pre-designed layout.  I loved the freedom to chose a design knowing any text could be edited and rearranged.  This isn't always the case with online printing services.  Even the color of the text could easily be adjusted. My Saved Projects page filled quickly.  Narrowing down my selection was the most difficult part of the ordering process.  However, Pear Tree offers orders as small as 20 cards per design making it possible to order 3 different projects within our budget.  As a side note, the price per card does go down with larger batch orders.

Our lovely cards are printed, shipped, and hanging out in their box.  I peek in on occasion to admire the print quality, fun colors, and sweet smiles. My next mission will be assigning which designs will be headed to which mailboxes.  Followed by addressing.  Lots of addressing.

First, we are going to enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving!

Do you mail photo Christmas cards?  Have you placed your 2014 order yet?
I want to hear about it!

Is your Christmas tree already up?
 Lets not talk about it!

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