To my firstborn

To my firstborn,

Every day I walk by your baby picture and

I’m amazed at how much you have grown.

Today, you’re an official 6-year-old.

Time rushes by and before you get any older

please let me describe what I see in this moment.

You’re a magnificent little artist,

who uses her imagination beyond and then some.

You just started learning how to read and

you’re tapping out words left and right.

You’re also writing up a storm, asking us how

you spell this or that or once upon a time.

Your yuk yuk laugh is infectious and a lovely sound to hear.

You love to learn new songs and you sing them at full blast.

Your little sister can belt out “America the beautiful”

because you’re a wonderful big sister/teacher.

I will continue to watch you with amazement

because you are my world, my heart, my firstborn.

Angelica Mercado

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Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

My daughter celebrated her 6th birthday today.  She was very excited and the night before I decorated our living room with balloons and banners.

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This number 6 balloon is huge and I also had a big butterfly (just because).  I ordered the balloon banner when Olivia was about 3 years old so it is a good reusable banner.  I made two Super Mario Banners (theme) and came upon the stars at the dollar section at Target.  I just drew in the eyes with a sharpie marker.  I also put up three tissue paper pom-pom balls (again, just because).

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I ordered and gave my daughter this T-shirt from Old Navy so she could wear it to school and she loved it.  She jumped into my arms and gave me a big ol’ hug.  You’re welcome my darling.

At school my daughter handed out little treat bags filled with a small coloring page with the number 6, gummy snacks, a raisin box, pretzels, and mini marshmallows to her classmates and teacher.  She later informed me that she had a great day at school.  Always great to hear!

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While my daughter was at school, I was busy at home baking a cake for her and wrapping her gifts.  I purchased the Super Mario and friends figures at Amazon and I found this cute wrapping paper at the dollar section at Target.  The bows were made using this great bow tutorial http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-to-make-paper-bow.html by Jessica Jones.

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We had a wonderful dinner followed by singing Happy Birthday to Olivia and eating great cake.  She got to open her gifts, which included books, a great Spider-Man T-shirt, and LeapFrog headphones.  This little girl was beyond happy and I’m very happy to have given her a great day.

Happy 6th Birthday Olivia!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

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DIY PAPER BOWS

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.

I absolutely love making my own paper bows so when I came across this wonderful DIY tutorial at http://www.howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-to-make-paper-bow.html I knew that I would be sharing it with you immediately.  It’s that awesome for all you crafters out there.

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There’s a free PDF template at the link posted above.  I used several colorful cardstock papers to make my bows, but of course you can always use regular paper or simply print out the template on cardstock, because it’s sturdier, and trace onto any other paper like newspaper, magazine pages, scrapbook paper, etc.  The possibilities are endless and here’s a great idea for a one of a kind paper bow: print the template on regular paper, have your child design it (color it in), cut and put it together. They’ll be smiles all around!

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Paper cutting frenzy

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I decided to use brads at the center to hold my bows together.  Then I wrapped and glued the final piece.

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I literally squealed with delight.

This project and its end result made me really happy.

I love these bows and can’t wait to make more.  Many, many more!

THANKS to Jessica Jones at http://www.howaboutorange.blogspot.com/ for creating this template and offering it to everyone.  I’m a new fan and follower!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Celebration Recap

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.

My youngest daughter is officially three and we had a birthday week-end celebration with friends and family.  We broke things down by celebrating her actual birthday on Friday, just us in the house.  I wanted to make a small (I like the Jiffy cake mix), funfetti cake

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and it was the perfect time to try out these Bake-Even Cake Strips (Wilton) that I’ve seen online and found on sale at AC Moore craft store.

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I didn’t realize I went overboard on the sprinkles until…

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…the cake was done and I flipped it out of the baking pan.

As you can see the cake strip (around the pan) worked, but there were noticeable differences other than the cake dome that appears when you don’t use this strip.  The cake sticks to the side of the pan more and the bottom was moist when I took it out.  I like that it baked even, but I don’t know if I’m going to use the strip again.  We’ll see.

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I melted a little bit of the Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Chocolate frosting (15 seconds in the microwave) in a glass bowl and this made things easy to spread on the cake.  I really don’t like when the cake crumbs combine with the frosting.  I threw a little bit more of sprinkles, yes more, on the frosting and then…

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…the #3 candle.  My daughter loved her funfetti cake.

I chose the theme of the cartoon Bubble Guppies featured on Nickelodeon.  I decorated with free printables from nickjr.com and purchased a huge #3 balloon.  Balloons are always a huge hit.

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The banner, poster, and pin the tail game were cute, easy, and fun to put together.  Just go to nickjr.com and click on birthdays and you’ll see all of the themes and projects available for each.

The following day was Saturday and we invited friends and family with kids to join us at an indoor playground/arcade (funtopiausa.com).  We paid for the kids admission, tokens for them to play the arcade games, and food (pizza, popcorn, and drinks).  We stayed for about two hours and when it was time to go I gave each invited guest a goody box filled with candy, toys and stickers.

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My aunt had given me these boxes about a year ago and I was so happy to finally have a reason to use them.  I glued the images of the Bubble Guppies, which I printed out at nickjr.com, and made the middle image with my daughter’s name.  I then took the glitter glue in blue and green and made swirl lines like waves on the boxes.  I then filled the boxes with candy (skittles, smarties, Tootsie rolls, lollipop, rose ring pop, candy bracelet, and sixlets) from orientaltrading.com along with little toys like a mushroom spinning top (not shown) and Easter Pop-Ups, which are a lot of fun for children and adults.

We ended the day with my husband’s homemade piñata, which he made with a balloon, scraps of paper, and modge podge.

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My husband had fun making this and the kids had a lot more fun whacking the heck out of it.

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On our last day of celebration (Sunday), my family came over and we sang happy birthday once again with another cake (Oreo No Bake Dessert), chocolate lollipops (vanilla, dark mint, & peanut butter), and great, homemade food.  Thanks Mom and my aunt Aida!

I was pretty happy with this plan of action for celebrating my daughter’s birthday.  Many people get really stressed out planning birthdays and end up spending a lot of money.  I didn’t want the headaches or the empty wallet.  No offense to anyone who goes big, because of course, if I had space and extra money, I would be singing a different tune, but at this moment minimal is the way to go.  So one birthday down, one more to go.

Take good care all and thanks for visiting.

Until next time…

DIY Easter Decorations

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  I love making my own decorations for the holidays, especially when there’s a ton of ideas online.  I’m currently decorating for Easter and found a great banner idea as well as adorable DIY paper carrots.  I combined those ideas and included some plastic eggs and created this banner for the hallway outside my door.

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You can see the instructions and printable template for the easter egg banner here http://www.creationsbykara.com/2012/03/easter-craft-easy-easter-egg-banner.html and pictures of the paper carrots here http://www2.fiskars.com/Crafting/Projects/Holiday/Easter/Easter-Egg-Hunt#.UUiNKlqMHUM

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I used card stock to print out the template for the easter egg banner.  I then used several decorative papers for the banner and used construction paper for the carrots.  To hang these up I used pink and white baker’s twine.

At nickjr.com, there’s a whole bunch of crafting projects and I made the peter rabbit holiday garland (http://www.nickjr.com/printables/peter-rabbit-holiday-garlands.jhtml) because my youngest likes Peter Rabbit.  I also printed out egg holders (http://www.nickjr.com/printables/peter-rabbit-easter-eggs.jhtml) and an egg basket (http://www.nickjr.com/crafts/peter-rabbit-egg-basket.jhtml) for when we start dyeing our easter eggs at home.  Since my daughter dyed her first eggs at school, she’s super excited to do it again.

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When I picked her up from school yesterday I brought her a basket so she could carry home her masterpiece dyed eggs.  She’s in love with them and wants to keep them forever.  🙂

There’s definitely more egg stories to come.  I’m also planning my youngest daughter’s birthday at a snail’s pace.  So far, I only have a theme, Nickelodeon’s Bubble Guppies, and I’m planning on using the free printables on nickjr.com to decorate.  Again, I’m leaving everything for the last minute, but isn’t that how it’s really done?

Take good care all.

Until next time…

DIY Felt Gift Bow

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  I love wrapping gifts with unique wrapping paper that I either make myself, if the gift is small enough, or find at stores.  Recently, I wrapped up this gift for my god-daughter’s birthday.

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I found this polka dot wrapping paper in the dollar section at Target in Harrisburg, PA awhile back.  My god-daughter loves Minnie Mouse so I found this clip art and glued it on top and then I found a Disney inspired font and printed out her name on an address label for her card.

She’s going to love it!

I also love gift bows and after finding that DIY magazine gift bow pin on Pinterest and attempting it with great results, I thought, “Let’s try using something else to make a bow.”  HELLO FELT!  

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I’m definitely not a pro at sewing, but I do my best.  I love the final result of this bow and I used a long piece of thread so I could attach all the felt pieces together without having to cut and start again.  I only cut the thread for the last piece of felt, in which I sewed it separately and then tried to sew it on top of the bow without showing too much thread.  I wasn’t that successful, but that was my first attempt and I’m definitely making more of these bows so hopefully practice makes perfect.  I’m going to add a little bit of glue so it’ll stay on the gift, but hopefully still come off intact.  The gift above is my husband’s Valentine’s Day gift 🙂 wrapped up in another gorgeous print found at Target’s dollar section.  I can’t wait to show you what I got him.  It’s too freaking cute!  I also can’t wait to do more of these gift bows in different felt colors and designs.  Happy gift wrapping and bow making!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

DIY VALENTINE DECORATIONS

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  I love decorating for Valentine’s Day especially for my girls.  They love seeing all the hearts and pastel colors sprucing up our home.

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Using my heart puncher, I like taping hearts in various places like my china cabinet, the TV unit, the door, etc.  My daughters always seem to find all the little decorations I put up.  It’s like a game for them and I love seeing their smiles when they discover hearts here and there.

I love decorating with banners and I made these two last year using felt and my heart puncher.

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I purchased purple, hot pink, light, pink, and glitter red felt in order to do my banners.

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I cut out the triangles (freehand) and then sewed them together right at the corner.  For the heart banner, the glitter red felt was a bit thicker and I was able to punch out hearts and string them together.

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I put the pennant banner outside my doorway with this cute little guy declaring his love for you!

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I decorated my picture shelf in my living room with the heart banner.  I want to make a couple more and overlap them, but I ran out of the glitter red felt so it’s off to the craft store.  Yippee!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Winnie the Pooh Quotes

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  Every time I come across a Winnie the Pooh quote I simply fall in love with it.  They’re simple words that can emit so much emotion.  Here are three quotes that I absolutely want to display in my house soon.

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The third one is my favorite.  Whenever I read it, it makes me want to cry at first because it’s so heartbreaking, but then it makes me smile because it’s so sentimental.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Birthdays and balloons

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  Yesterday was “putting-all-the-Christmas-decorations-away” day!  It made me kinda sad, but they’re be back soon enough!  🙂  Now it’s time to focus on the new year and prepare for all the birthdays that are coming.  I like celebrating birthdays.  When I’m not able to see the person, I love sending birthday cards and gifts in the mail because it makes people HAPPY!  One should feel appreciated and remembered, especially on their special day.

My youngest, Sophia, turns 3 in April and I’m already planning it (I tend to leave things for the last minute and then go completely crazy), but I’m going to keep things very simple (don’t laugh, it can happen).  I haven’t decided on a theme yet, but I know I want to decorate with balloons and I’ve seen a couple of ideas on Pinterest that I want to try.  They also have a couple of games with balloons that would be fun:

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Thread a needle and sew balloons in a row!

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Decorate balloons with paper and glitter!  So much fun!

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Balloon Ping Pong: Sophia loves playing with balloons so this game would be a lot of fun for her.

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Balloon Catch!

All pins courtesy of Pinterest.com.

Take good care all and HAPPY BIRTHDAY if it’s your birthday today!

Until next time…

Christmas Tree

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well and getting ready for the Christmas countdown.  It has begun and yesterday we put up and decorated our little (four-foot tall) faux tree.  I’m not a big fan of cutting down real trees.  No offense to anyone.  I grew up with reusable ones.  I prefer not to hurt our environment and I like to save some money wherever I can so after I got married I went and bought my very own tree and it’s been serving us well for eleven years.  I might get a bigger one in the future, but for now this tree is perfect because I’m able to situate it high up where my darling two-year old, who loves to touch and doesn’t like to use her listening ears, can’t take any of the ornaments off.  My sweet cousin, Janice, started a tradition a long time ago of sending me an ornament each year so my tree is decorated with those cherished embellishments.  Some are handmade by her using pictures, while others were purchased signifying special moments in my life for example when we were expecting and our children’s birth facts.  I do have a love/hate relationship with decorating the tree.  I love displaying it, but kinda of hate the time it takes to decorate it, even if it’s four-foot tall,  because I can be a little stubborn with where the ornaments have to be specifically placed.  I did give in a lot this year because I didn’t put up all of my ornaments.  I just wanted to finish, fast!  And we did.  So the tree is up, now it’s time to wait for Santa to bring the presents and place them under the Christmas tree, which I take down the night before and place the presents around so my kids think that Santa came to our house.  This year my daughter became aware of placing cookies for Santa so she wants to do that for him.  🙂  It’s cute.  I love it and I hope you guys have fun decorating for the holidays.

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Mercado Christmas Tree 2012

Stay alert, stay alive.

Until next time…

DIY Thanksgiving banner

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  Here’s a DIY Thanksgiving banner that I came up with.

I used Microsoft Word, a leaf template, cardstock, a wide Thanksgiving print ribbon, and paper clips to make my banner.

A simple, but meaningful banner.

I affixed the leaves onto the ribbon using the paper clips and the ribbon is held by blue painter’s tape, which I love to use because it holds things up and doesn’t damage surfaces.  I hope you like this idea.

Stay alert, stay alive.

Until next time…