my kids

where did the summer go? {simple back-to-school teacher gift}

My three oldest girls started back to school last week (yes, August 14, crazy, right? No year-round school, either, just the wacky local schedule.), and all three seemed to have a great day. The night before, I was a ball of nerves as I lay in bed trying to sleep.

back to school at impressions by jani

Would they have good teachers? Would they reconnect with old friends? Make new ones? Would I be able to handle sending my third daughter off to kindergarten? Would we get everything done in the morning and be able to take pictures and get to school early enough to find a parking spot and not have to park three blocks away? (And considering that we live just over three blocks away, if not, what’s the point???) Would their teachers like them? Why didn’t I put in a little effort and do a teacher gift this year?

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

See, I’m kinda hit and miss on the whole teacher-gift thing. One year I went all out and made elaborate “back to school teacher survival kit” things complete with cute school supplies and chocolate. One year I sent a bottle of sanitizer for the classroom with a cutesy note about being willing to lend a hand. When my oldest started kindergarten, I wasn’t clued in enough to know about teacher gifts but I did thoughtfully send my five year old into a classroom full of other amped-up five year olds with two boxes of store-bought cupcakes. It was her birthday, after all, but I’m not sure her teacher really appreciated that “gift.” A few years I sent nothing, so what would be the big deal if I sent nothing again this year??? At this point I’m really hoping the teachers at their school don’t compare notes, cuz I can’t go back and do retroactive teacher gifts.

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

But as I tossed and turned and tossed some more (and silently wished yet again that I could fall asleep as easily as my husband, who is snoozing within seconds of his head hitting the pillow), I decided that at least I could do something about the teacher gift.

back to school at impressions by jani

Three jars of jam I purchased from a friend, a little washi tape, some patterned paper scraps, and a pack of pre-made tags from the dollar bin at Tar-jay later, and I have literally the easiest teacher gift ever. And ok, yes, it is a cheesy, way-too-cutesy little note I wrote to go with them, but it (hopefully) gets my point across to my girls’ teachers that I’m willing and ready to help out wherever I can. Bailey, as a fifth grader with her firstĀ male teacher, insisted that we should have gotten him a baseball or something instead, but he seemed appreciative of the homemade jam (even if I didn’t make it, ha!).

back to school at impressions by janiDo you do teacher gifts on the first day of school? What are teachers really wanting these days, anyway???


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Where did the week go?

Goodness, it’s Friday again! I had plans to get a whole bunch of posts prepped and ready over last weekend to publish this week while we were away enjoying our spring break, but with games and church and dyeing Easter eggs and packing, it all came to nothing. And next week we have family coming into town, so we shall see if I can get the projects posted I’ve been working on lately.


Baby girls has been crawling and getting into everything lately…I had to laugh this morning when she somehow got herself stuck on the corner of the coffee table! I shared it on Instagram (I’m janimouse over there if you want to follow along!) with the #meanmom then got caught up scrolling through all the other mean mom pics. Some are pretty hilarious if you need a laugh!

Enjoy your Easter weekend! We have an egg hunt with cousins tomorrow then church to celebrate our Savior’s resurrection. This is my favorite season.

it’s Friday!


How’s your week been? We’ve had our ups and downs, with a few sick days thrown in, but it’s the last school day before spring break and we.can’t.wait! We have some fun family things planned for next week that we are all looking forward to.

Our sick days gave us a little time off from our crazy five-days-a-week softball schedule we’re currently in, so we’ve had a bit more time at home enjoying the beautiful springtime, like the blackberry bush that is a riot if blossoms in the photo above. It’s completely taken over one of our raised beds in the garden, but the blackberry jam and pies I’m dreaming of will make up for that lost garden space. We’re really more of a fruit than vegetable family anyway.

I’m off to do a little last minute Easter shopping while the kids are at school and I can keep some secrets, then I’m looking forward to helping out with the second grade class Easter egg hunt! With a nursing baby at home this year, I haven’t been able to be in my girls’ classrooms like I would want to, and I’ve missed it. So this will be the perfect way to ease into our break.

I’ll be back next week with a few quick and easy projects, plus it seems I’m sewing new pillows for virtually every space in the house. Have a great weekend!

glam it up! {customizing a free printable}

If you’re visiting from Make It and Love It, welcome! I’d love if you wanted to poke around at some of my most-clicked posts: updating oak cabinets, an easy desk chair makeover, fairy house decor, a coffee table trunk, and soda crate shelves. You can see the entire nursery reveal that goes with the blanket ladder tutorial here. Thanks for stopping by!!!

One of the easiest parts of baby Ellie’s nursery was the gallery wall.

impressions by jani nursery gallery wallI used all frames I had on hand, purchased the “You Are My Sunshine” canvas from TJ Maxx, and received a few prints (Love is Spoken Here and Baby Elephant) as gifts. I made the blessing gown hanger from a small wooden plaque and a knob left over from my desk makeover a few years back. The hanger the dress is on actually has a crocheted cover that my grandma made and I love.

IMG_7029That’s me in that cute little rainbow frame! My parents found the rainbow when they were helping clean out my grandma’s home after she passed away, and handed it down to me. Since rainbows are our own family symbol for our sweet Patrick, it was perfect to add to baby E’s nursery.

I also framed a scrap of the ikat fabric I used to make the nursery pouf, added a few free printables (E hot air balloon & You Will Do Great Things), and painted the LOVE sign with some of my favorite rub n buff.

For one of the printables, the feather, I decided to add a little extra bling to customize it just a for my space. It’s so simple to do, this could be done with literally any printable out there.

Start with your printed printable (say that ten times fast!), quick drying tacky glue (I love Aileen’s!), and glitter of your choice (I used a super fine gold from my stash).

customize a free printable with glitter at impressions by janiTrim it to size to fit your frame (mine is 3.5×10) and then simply trace the portion you want to glitter with the quick-dry glue. Don’t be too much of a perfectionist here–the glue is not super fine-tipped so it’s hard to be totally precise. But I think that adds to the finished result. Once you’re done with tracing the glue, liberally sprinkle glitter and let it sit to dry. (Don’t rush the last step! I’ve discovered if I lift a project to shake off the excess glitter too soon, the glue will run and ruin the result.)

update a printable with glitter at impressions by janiOnce your glue is completely dry, shake off the excess glitter, then pop your customized printable in a frame and you’re good to go!

customized printable at impressions by janicustomizing a printable with glitter at impressions by janiThe possibilities with this kind of project are limitless! You could glitter up the flowers of any of these 24 free March printables. My oldest daughter would love this butterfly printable with a few glittered butterflies. How pretty would this deer silhouette be with either the deer or the space around it all glammed up? I’m trying to decide which of these printables to use in my master bedroom–they’d all be gorgeous with a touch of glitter. And my fairies printable would be perfect with a touch of pixie dust added!

I’m sure there’s a room in your house that could use a touch of glitter–if you try this out, I’d love to see a link to your result!



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