How to Treasure Your Memories

 

Memories…. there was a time when I thought I would NEVER forget special moments –  the little ones like funny faces, hanging out, shopping, cheering competitions, field hockey games with Belinda, and the list goes on. Then MS entered my life.  In the beginning, I thought the loss of some memories were just the result of my past drug use, so I wrote it off.  I knew the BIG moments/ memories would always be there.  SMACK!  Here I am almost 5 years later and there are so many memories which are gone – the big ones and the little ones.  I look at pictures and some jog my memory while others are a just pictures.  Yup, I squirreled! LOL

Here is a great way to hold onto those special moments – the ones you want to last forever –  the birth of a baby, graduations, weddings, anniversaries and holidays.  How many of you have captured those moments in pictures and now they are tucked away in albums or maybe a few of them are in frames?

I always envy those who artistically share their photos, and especially those who change up their pictures as the years go by….  I love the fact Thirty-One has opened up a new world of possibilities for you (and me) to share our favorite moments with Photo by Thirty-One.

You can place your favorite photos on an array of products from home décor to jewelry to commemorate a special moment, tell a story or create a personalized gift.  It’s lets you decorate your home with comforting images and keep memories alive for everyone in your family. Anyone invited into your home will instantly see the strong bonds you share with your family and how much they mean to you. And for you, it’s a constant reminder of the good times you’ve shared together.

Life is a journey. As your story continues to change and grow year after year, you want to keep up. The Close To Home Table Gallery and Photo Inserts are perfect for tracking the lives of our kids or grandkids or fur-babies from babyhood through school years and beyond: a marriage, an annual family vacation, successive birthdays or anything you want to commemorate.

The Table Gallery holds up to three square Photo Inserts you can customize with your favorite photos. The natural wood base can be personalized with a name, short phrase or other saying (up to 16 characters) in the design of your choice from our Simply Etched personalization options.

You can either buy another Table Gallery to add to your story or opt to switch out inserts to keep your story current. It’s totally up to you, but whatever you decide, you’ll find easy step-by-step instructions for submitting photos below.

Tip:  Start a family tradition by designing a custom photo gift, then gifting new Photo Inserts for each holiday or celebration!

I remember one of my Grandmother’s favorite pieces of jewelry was a necklace with a picture of her and Belinda.  She wore it every day and when Alzheimer’s took most of her memories, she still held on to it.  Her “little princess” was always close to her heart.  You can do the same with a Just Write Large Circle Charm. This is customizable photo charm which makes a great gift for a daughter, granddaughter, sister or friend! You can express your special mother-daughter bond, sisterly love or best friends forever status, the Just Write Large Circle Charm is a gift with endless sentimental value. You can add more jewelry charms to trace your history through the years together and keep your story going.

Tip: No kids? No problem! Snap a shot of your adorable pet to keep close to your heart on a gold-tone or silver-tone Charm Catcher Necklace.

Home is where the heart is, but it’s also true of memories. We hold fond memories close to our hearts, so what better place to display those happy times than in the place we spend most of our time? With our Statement Canvas Wall Art and Statement Canvas Pillow custom home décor, you can cozy up with your loved ones in your family room surrounded by the lasting memories you created together. Add text to any throw pillow or custom wall art piece to further commemorate the special occasion depicted in your family photo.

Need a great gift idea for a wedding, birthday or graduation? Any of these products are a thoughtful choice. Photo by Thirty-One instantly turns an ordinary gift into something special and unique – one that’s attached to treasured memories.

Tip: For a fun display or great kid, grandparent or teacher gift, scan in some of your child’s artwork. Place it on our Statement Canvas Wall Art or Statement Canvas Pillow for a budding artist’s gallery!

Ready to start your photo journey? Just choose your product and design, upload your photo, adjust it to your liking and add a meaningful message.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tips for a Successful Sports Season

Back to School means back to sports for many of parents.  The two often go hand-in-hand, and many times, the sports season begins even before the school year does! While the coach usually provides a list of necessary gear, like helmets, rackets, cleats, etc., they don’t always mention the other important items you’ll want to have on hand for a successful season.  I actually looked forward to the fall – the start of Belinda’s sports seasons (gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheerleading).  It was a crazy busy time but so much fun.

Here are a few products you and your sports star will be glad you have:

Water bottles. Being hydrated isn’t something moms just nag about. Kids who play sports expend tons of energy. Each drop of sweat is fluid lost from their body. It’s important they have a good water bottle to help keep them cool in warmer weather. Even in the coldest winter months they’re still running and sweating and need to keep the fluids coming.

Healthy snacks.  Whether or not they play sports, it’s important for growing bodies to receive proper nutrition. Sports kids need even more to fuel their bodies. Some easy snacks are things like fruits, veggies, and protein-packed yogurt and cheese. To keep the snacks fresh, use Thirty One’s Around-The-Clock Thermal.  When practices and games fall within meal times, this thermal will allow you to pack enough to keep everyone fueled up. It holds up to 15 lbs. and is generously sized to fit water bottles, sandwiches, and snacks.Back-to-Sports Gear: Tips for a Successful Season

Quality backpacks are also an important thing for sports kids to have. I love the Sling Back Pack. If you’ve got a kid who flings their bag of gear over their shoulder, a sling back pack is a good solution. It’s easy to carry, stylish, and holds everything they need. It’s the perfect pack for in school use, sports games, and for weekend trips as well.

Duffle bags. Our Thirty-One All-Packed duffle bag holds everything from tablets to laptops to knee pads, football helmets and snacks. One of my favorite features of this bag is the separate compartment for shoes, so the rest of the gear doesn’t get dirty. The bag also does double duty if we travel, holding enough clothes for a few days away from home. This is an especially attractive and versatile bag that will really work for anyone.

Thirty-One also offers personalization options, allowing you to customize items with your name, your team’s name, etc. I can’t even begin to tell you how helpful it is to have your child’s name on their bag when there are 30 of them laying on the ground after a game! You can also personalize using icons like soccer balls and cheerleading megaphones. Sports mom lesson #1: Label everything!

Another thing I’ve learned over the years is wipes are necessary long after the child is out of diapers. Whether they’re 5 or 15, they still spill things and/or get them on their clothes. And your car’s seats too! Wipes make short work of little messes. Sports gear gets a little messier, as you can imagine, and for that we use antibacterial wipes. Cleaning the equipment after use helps keep kids healthy. Wiping things down immediately also makes for easier deep cleaning later. Mud comes off a football helmet with less effort before it gets dried on!

How about keeping a plastic bag or laundry bag inside the kids’ bags. It makes it much easier to collect dirty uniforms after events. Most kids can’t seem to find the laundry basket if their life depends on it, so by providing the laundry bag inside their bags, You have a much better chance of washing those socks before they can stand on their own. Grab the bag and throw the stuff in the wash.

It should also be said sports gear isn’t something you should skimp on when it comes to quality. If you purchase a lower quality item at your local discount store, you’ll likely end up doing that two or three times throughout the year. Usually this happens at 9pm when your child says something like “Hey mom, I forgot to tell you there’s a big hole in this thing needed for 6am practice tomorrow.” It just makes more sense financially and from a convenience standpoint to buy the higher quality items the first time.

Sports seasons can get crazy, but it is likely the most fun that you’ll have while your kids are in school. There’s nothing quite as exciting as sitting on the sidelines cheering them on as they play hard and work as a team toward a goal. Being a sports mom is one of the most rewarding experiences ever, and with a little pre-planning and the right gear, you’re in for an awesome season.

Are you a sports mom? Do you have tips to share?

Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

No Cost Travel Fun

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If you are a NJ parent, your kids are probably off from school for Teacher’s Convention, right? For some, you are headed out on a mini vacation before the holiday season while others are struggling to keep boredom at a minimum.

I remember the days of being a single mom and feeing like there was just enough money to pay the bills so I can’t possibly think about traveling ANYWHERE, right? I always wanted “to do” things with my daughter besides those cheer travel trips BUT (I know I hate the word, too) everything seemed to cost money which I didn’t have.

Then I took some cues from a very wise friend who taught me so much.  She and her kids were always doing something.  We often tagged along.  The BONUS was some girl time for me and our kids got to enjoy some fun.

First, you must realize you already live in abundance.  Have you ever thought about the blessings you do have.  Healthy kids.  A job to pay the bills. Now think about the beauty of the sun rises every morning and the birds singing.  We have roads to walk on, parks to spend time in and people around us to have interesting conversations with.  Stop focusing on what you don’t have and focus on what you do have.Next, get creative.  Start looking outside the box for alternative solutions.  When was the last time you packed a snack and headed to the park with the kids.  Live close to the beach, how about a walk on the beach to collect seashells or look for sea glass.  There are ways to make even routine trips fun without spending money.  How about a ride with no destination?  Maybe you know but the kids don’t – pack a lunch and head to a new spot with a park or no cost activities.

If you were new to the neighborhood, where would you go to explore?  The library? The park? A craft show? A flea market? Check your local paper for activities.  The Fall is full of outdoor happenings – how about stopping by a local football game to cheer on the Pop Warner kids.  How many people (other than parents) attend those games?  Make it an adventure – tailgate.  Dress in the local team’s colors, bring some food & drinks and have some fun.

Pack a lunch and head to the park – embrace the child in you while you have fun with the kids.

No kids around?  How about window shopping?  Remember when you were younger and had no money.  Stop in your favorite store and try on some clothes you always wanted but would never buy.  Have fun.  Call a girlfriend and go for a walk.

Keep Looking on the Bright Side.  Let’s be honest. Staying upbeat when you have little money isn’t easy.  Seeing the bright side is a choice you make and a skill you can develop. You deserve to feel good no matter what the status of your bank account is. You deserve to have fun.  You deserve to go places without spending money.

So, where will you head this weekend?  Share with us your best NO COST travel tip.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How It All Began – The Bullying Story

On March 29th, 2013 I started my blog journey.  It was a challenge by Vanessa Coppes as a way to grow my business.  I didn’t get it.  How could blogging grow my business?  But I was up for a challenge.  Here is my first blog, one that touched the heart of many of my readers.

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I just wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means that you may have taught your child the coping skills they need deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

I was a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things that I had when I was growing up and more for my daughter, Belinda.  Isn’t that every parent’s wish – to give their child more?  I moved to a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area that had a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and it was affordable.  My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to be changed to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and her friends went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken that she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

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Here is when the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker that loves working with troubled kids. As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park that as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure that her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talks about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports.  Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came.  Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives that people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t do any of that. 

Many believe that if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community.  She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all that I have both professionally and personally. 

I wanted to share this to let people know that bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I that “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure that Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent & confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Since signing up to be a part of the Family Wellness & Beauty Day (event is over) for Kickin’ It Kids AntiBullying, God has pressed on my heart to share this story. This is an amazing cause and I truly believe that children who are visibly and “in’visibly” bullied can benefit from this type of program.

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Have a ThirtyOne-derful day1