Wee Wander Blog Tour: Mini Messanger Bag Pattern

Today's free pattern for the Wee Wander Collection comes from Toni at Make it Perfect. She's in Australia, and has the most gorgeous blog and sewing patterns that she sells. 


This Messenger Bag Pattern is so great!! Perfect for play and for school. I need to make one myself....my kids are always toting things around.


Thanks so much Toni for the pattern! I hope you have fun with it! Wee Wander has been so fun to see popping up in all your projects. Hope you love this pattern as much as I do!




PDF Olympic Valentines

It's that time of year, where I get to figure out what I'm going to design for my kids for valentines. And this year, with THREE kids who have parties...and multiple parties....I'm keeping it simple but still super special.

Valentines Day is during the Winter Olympics...not something that has ever happened since my kids have had a school valentines party....and it will be the only one in their elementary school career! So, I decided to create something just for the occasion.

A super easy project....4 cards per print out, a chocolate gold coin that you can tape onto the back of the flat card, or attach to some ribbon for a fashionable goal medal!

A sure WIN this year. Feel free to download, and share the olympic love!

Happy Valentines Day!

xoxoxoxo (extra hugs and kisses:) Sarah

GIVEAWAY: Smart Creative Style course!

What would you give to work with a team of creative minds to help you find your own personal creative style? So many of us have a creative vision, but do you feel your branding and style is strong and uniquely yours? Today I'm offering a scholarship to a fantastic course called SMART CREATIVE STYLE aimed at helping creatives find their creative voice.

Many of you know Monica Lee, of Smart Creative Women. If you don't, you'll love her after visiting her site where she interviews creative women who have SO much to offer. She's got an entire archive of people in textile, paper, fashion and home design that she interviews and gets right to the bottom of what they do, and how they do it. Pretty brilliant if you ask me. And the site offers tips and advice from some pretty amazing artists and designers.

I've known Monica for 2 years, and she continues to impress. She's a wealth of knowledge,and she's an amazing coach!

I'm giving away ONE SCHOLARSHIP to this 6 week program (worth $440!!)

Here's what it's all about(from the site):

Your “creative style” is who you are visually and aesthetically. It also in your products and messaging. There is no doubt that we are in a world that is becoming more and more visual, and it’s more important than ever to have  your style nailed down. You don’t want to look like anyone else and why should you?

Trust me, it is all too easy to get caught up in the visual clutter and to lose your way, falling out of sync with who you truly are. We veer off course. This is your time to define or redefine your style, business and branding.

The world is dying for you to be authentic. But up until now, no one is encouraging you to take the time and figure out HOW to tap into your authenticity or your creative style. They just say you NEED it but don’t offer the HOW.


Smart Creative Style is a

6 week e-course

where you will you nail your look, your branding and your messaging down. Each week offers visual and sensory exercises because as a creative person, you LEARN and DISCOVER differently.


To win this scholarship, here's what you need to do: 

1) Leave a comment below telling Monica why you need this course


2) Share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and/or Pinterest and mention any links below (one for each entry)

3) Come back Friday morning, Feb. 7th to see the lucky winner!

Thanks Monica for this great offer. I can't wait to find out who will get this free ticket!

COMMENTS CLOSED: Winner: #50 Tori

Be sure to check out the course....so worth it! xo

Chapter Books for the Younger Kids

A couple years back, I created a list of chapter books that were suitable for very small children to have read to them. We are big readers in our house!  If you were to come over right now, you'd see bookshelves everywhere. And we could use more....there are books on the couch, the coffee table, the kids' beds, and even on the kitchen counter.

My husband started reading chapter books to the kids when they were as young as age 3. But we found it difficult to find advanced books that were suitable for children who weren't even in kindergarten yet!

So, we visited with our librarian, asked other parents, and put together a list.

And it was so helpful for so many! We had over 110 comments of other parents pitching in their ideas. It's been a long while, but we thought we'd put that list in a single printable PDF  for you to bring with you to the library:

It's a 5 page document full of awesome titles. It's been so helpful to have on hand!

Or, you can just view the list below! 


A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Necklace of Raindrops by Joan Aiken

A Secret Zoo

Adventures of a South Pole Pig

Alice in wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 Animal Stories by Thornton Burgess

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

Because of Wynn Dixie by Kate diCamillo

Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Captain Underpants Series by Dav Pilkey

Castle in the Attic

Catwings books by Ursula K. LeGuin

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Dear Hound by Jill Murphy

Ella Enchanted Gail Carson Levine

Elves and Fairies Annie R. Rentoul and Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Emily’s Runaway Imagination Beverly Cleary

Enid Blyton Goodnight Stories

Famous Five by Enid Blyton

Far Flung Adventures series

Freddy Anniversary Collection by Walter Brooks

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Geronimo Stilton

Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson

Grayson by Lynne Cox

Half Magic by Edward Eager
Indian in the Cupboard series by Lynn Reid Banks

Halibut Jackson by David Lucas

Hank the Cowdog series

Henry Huggins books by Beverly Cleary

Horrible Harry series

How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Humphrey the Hamster series

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

James Herriot Treasury for Children

Junie B Jones Series by Barbara Park

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Little Women Louisa May Alcott

Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards

Matilda Roald Dahl

Mercy Watson series by Kate diCamillo

Milly-Molly-Mandy Joyce Lankester Brisley

Mr. Poppers Penguins

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet

Nancy Drew mysteries

No Flying in the House by Betty Brock

Paddington Bear by Michael Bond

Peter Pan J.M. Barrie

Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lindgren

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Princess in Black

Ralph S. Mouse books by Beverly Cleary

Ramona books by Beverly Cleary

Secret Seven by Enid Blyton

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black

Swiss Family Robinson Johann D. Wyss

Tale of Despereaux by Kate diCamillo

The Adventures of Olga da Polga By Michael Bond

The Alfie Books by Shirley Hughes

The Bears of Blue River by Charles Major

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Boxcar Children Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling

The Cricket in Times Square George Seldon

The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) by Avi

The Fairy Rebel

The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Happy Hollisters

The Henry books by DB Johnson

The Light Princess, The George MacDonald Treasury

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Littles by John Peterson

The Lost Prince by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate diCamillo

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

The Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren

The Ordinary Princess

The Ordinary Princess By M.M. Kaye

The Penderwicks

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett       

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong

The Worst Witch series

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain 

Trixie Belden mysteries

Winnie the Pooh A.A. Milne

Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum


Thanks for all your input, and happy reading!!


I've been thinking about what my Word of the Year will be. It's taken me a while, because last year was a challenging one for me, and I've felt such a fresh start to this one, and there are so many thing I'm wrapping my head around.

Life with 4 (very intensely alive and soulful) children and all that brings, striving to build my little business and see it bless my family more as well as more of the world, keeping creatively sharp and passionate despite the fullness of life, staying a good friend and staying aware of and serving the people around me, and learning to over come personal challenges all with the beauty of no sleep.

My husband found some old home videos on Christmas, and one night we pulled out the tape (yes a tape) of me and Kenneth backpacking through Europe in 2004. We'd been infertile for 3 years, and I was at my end of all the emotions that go along with that. I was tired and scared of turning into a worrisome twenty-something. I had stopped really "living."

We had saved money for an infertility surgery that we weren't sure if insurance would cover. And we wouldn't find out until after the surgery. That took all my faith. And that's another story. But in the end, insurance paid for it!

So, what did we do? Did we put it in savings? Did we put it aside?


We grabbed plane tickets and back packed through Europe for 5 weeks. We had a plan, but we left so much to chance. We had to release and relive, and that's just what we did.

We stayed with an old Italian man we met at the train station on the Italian Coast who couldn't speak english, but had a great view; We wandered through the sheep filled countryside in Wales and got lost until we found a bed and breakfast we could afford.  We landed in a small town outside of Venice at midnight in the rain, and knocked on doors until we found an open room (that one was a little scary). We took a 3 hour train that we didn't have tickets for (we got on the wrong train) and played cards in the dining car to avoid the ticket master (thanks Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby for that one).

All in all, I was fearless. I'd been so beaten down and disheartened from not being able to get pregnant, and I felt like I could handle anything.

Then the kids came. And we were witnessing miracles.

But something happened to my mother-heart.

I loved so much, that I started to worry just as much. I started watching every step. I would put on the alerts that only a mother can have. I would sleep with one eye and one ear open. I was always on the watch it seemed. And slowly, but surely, I've become just that. I've forgotten how to let go, and be BRAVE.

I'm not talking about the kind of BRAVE that you put on to mother children. That's the BRAVEST of all the BRAVES!

I'm talking about the kind of BRAVE that it takes to break free from habits, try new ways, leave your comfort zone, and trust.

The kind BRAVE that makes you fearless. Willing to let go and soar.

I've grown up since those careless summer days in France, but I've also forgotten how to let go.

And that's hard to do when you are responsible for little people.

But it's my new goal. It's my new road.

Sara Bareilles' song BRAVE has been on repeat, and I've been pumped up ready for this new year. 2014 is my year. I feel it.


You are welcome to download this and use it for your personal use. It's my motto this year.




Giveaway #2: ATLY creative classes

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I'm so excited to introduce atly to you.

atly is a brand new (launched this summer!) online creative class platform and is a fantastic place to spend a lot of time...learning, creating, making and engaging.

Their message: LEARN | IMPROVE | INSPIRE

I have been so attracted to their message, their clean, easy to navigate site and  their emphasis on forever learning for all ages. I love that you don't have to subscribe, but rather have the choice to take classes as you see fit. I love that they take a portion of their profits and donate to the Women's and Children's Education Fund. I also love that it's also set up in a way so that if you wanted to teach classes, you could earn a very good side income by sharing your gifts with others.

I asked them to share a little about their business so you can get to know them a little bit more:

Tell us why you started your shop:

atly was conceived because of a belief that we are never too old or too smart to learn.  We believe that life is best when we are learning from one another.

What sets your company and makes your work special?

We love being in a position to influence without borders, without restraint.  We hope to inspire and educate people across the globe.  We are believers in making education fun and accessible for everyone.  We are going to great lengths to enhance the learning process for our students.

Anything special for the holidays?

We'd love to spread the word. - Like Santa, we're giving away free stuff. We hope people will take advantage of our free classes.

 * * * * * *

What are you giving away?

atly is offering 1 free class of the winner's choice, with the upgrade. Some classes come with an upgrade option that includes instructor feedback.

Are you including a discount for our readers? 

We're going the extra mile here--readers have access to two free classes that are currently posted on our site. The

Buttercream Basics class

is free, and the

Crockpot Freezer Meals class

is free for the first 2,000 registrants.

* * * * * *


1) Leave a comment below and tell us what class you'd love to take!


2) Follow atly on Instagram and leave a comment here letting us know

3) PIN an image from the atly BLOG or WEBSITE and share the pinterest address of your board or pin here in the comments below

4) Follow atly on FACEBOOK and leave a comment below letting us know

5) Giveaway ends Sunday Night December 15th 10 pm EST