Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Christmas shopping for 2012 is all done..WHAT?!?!?

Yes, it is true (its wrapped too!). "She's crazy or eccentric" you may say (true) but I also thoroughly enjoy the relaxing holiday season!

How it all started:
Several years back my sister told me she had all her shopping done in September. I totally thought she was crazy at the time. Flash forward a few years and I was pregnant with our first fall baby. I decided to try to get my shopping done early and had everything bought and wrapped before the baby came. I was amazed and shocked at how EASY and RELAXING Christmas was that year. After that Christmas I started shopping for the next year and got some SUPER, AWESOME, AMAZING deals from companies that had too much extra after the shoppers were all shopped out (which is practically every store.) I saved tons of money and it is actually way more fun having things bought and wrapped in advance because I honestly forget what I've bought (I do keep a running list written down somewhere...) and its soooo fun to see them opening something I had forgotten about!

When I shop early or right after Christmas I find I spend SO MUCH LESS and I get better, more thoughtful gifts (rather than impulse buys). I usually only go to the store like twice between Thanksgiving and Christmas for groceries. Can I tell you how wonderful it is to avoid rude and inconsiderate people during the holidays?!?!

This year we've decided to give each other and our kids only 3 presents for simplicity and because the  wise men brought Jesus 3 gifts. I read this on a friends private blog and I thought it was crazy at first but I remember back to each Christmas and although we have pretty frugal, simple Christmas mornings as it is, the kids are always overwhelmed! Why not spend less and enjoy more? This year we got gifts  that will encourage sibling and family play so we can spend the day relaxing and playing instead of unwrapping and wading through mounds of wrapping paper.

Here are some tips I shared in a previous blog post which you can see HERE

1. Make a list of EVERYONE you need to shop for (don't forget co-workers, neighbors, old friends, that random relative, etc.)
2. Set a budget of how much you're willing to spend.
3. Divide money between each person/family. You may have to do some adjusting for a while to get it right. We try to focus on one family or person each year to spoil and get them something extra nice. We've also learned that something simple is all that is needed for other people--they'd rather you not go into debt for some present they won't even like. They just want to know you remembered them.
4. Start to list ideas of gifts to give each person (this is the hardest part I think).
5. Now start shopping!
6. Keep a list of how you're doing.
7. Once all presents are purchased--wrap. I love doing this early because I always forget a bunch of what I get my family members and it makes Christmas morning even more fun!
8. Purchase extra non-personal gifts like nice boxes of chocolates or nuts or gift cards for the people you forget (the first few years you do this you'll forget someone!)

Tips about shopping:
Right after Christmas (when most people don't have any money) are the BEST deals. I can't emphasize this enough. If you budget and plan, you can find the money to shop at this time. EVERYTHING seems to be on sale at rock bottom prices somewhere. I think most things are even better than black friday prices. Shop online or in store. Ask store clerks where clearance sections are. You may be surprised you never saw them before. 
Other months that seem to have great deals are March (toys are cheaper a month before Easter and if you find coupons you can really score) and September (lots of items go on clearance as stores prepare their shelves for Christmas).
 Shop used. Depending on the person and what you'd like to get for them, sometimes you can find AMAZING things used (or even brand new) on places like craigslist, local thrift stores and Yard Sales.  My husband found me a Kitchenaid mixer used only 2-3 times for at least half the price. It is amazing.

So, I am ok with you thinking I'm crazy but I would love it if you tried some of these ideas so that you can have a more relaxed and wonderful holiday season to spend with your family! Try it and I think you'll like it!

Do you have any other tips or tricks to make the holidays stress-free?

Friday, June 29, 2012

6 Tips for Teaching & Learning Fun with Little Ones Guest Post by Lauren

Holy cow did I ever need this post by Lauren from Daisy Cottage Designs! My 4 year old hates structured learning. She LOVES to learn but only on her timetable. I got out of the swing of things while trying to sell our house (how on earth do you do craft projects and have 3-5 showings per week?) and being pregnant/having a baby. I'm going to be spending some serious time on her pinterest pages and preschool pages (links in the article below.) I love her photography style! She is seriously gifted! You should check out her etsy shop--she crochets too!!! (Did you know I'm addicted to anything crocheted?) Without further ado, meet Lauren:

For starters, let me introduce myself. I'm Lauren, the girl behind the Daisy Cottage Designs blog and shop. My wonderful husband is the youth/assistant pastor at our church in Central Florida and works hard to provide for us so that I can stay home with our two daughters, Riley (2 and some change) and Caroline (almost 4 months).
Before I had the kids, I was a third grade teacher and loved every minute. I enjoy staying at home with my little chickadees even more, but I definitely needed some way to work my passion for teaching into daily life with my girls. When Riley hit two years old, I decided to get serious about teaching my toddler. Riley and I embarked on our preschool adventure and we haven't turned back. Every week or two, we pick a new theme complete with a letter, shape, and Bible verse. We then spend time having age-appropriate discussions and doing fun activities that will help us learn as much as we can about the topic.
I occasionally have people ask me how we fit so much in or friends think I'm crazy for trying to do so much with a two year old. I know you haven't asked the question, but I'm going to share 6 tips that have helped us accomplish lots of learning and crafts over the past few months.
  1. Let the dream of a perfectly clean and orderly house fly out the window. If you're like me, you'd feel like a successful lady if your house were always clean and you wore a size 4. You might be a size 4, but you're definitely not going to have the perfect house if you're spending lots of time finding, preparing, and conducting fun activities for and with your little preschooler. The counter will get paint splatters on it (thank you, Lord, for washable paint). Clothes might get streaked with marker (invest in an adorable smock or apron). It's okay. Your children will remember the fun activities and things they've learned. Not the mess that may or may not be around them.
  2. Have high expectations. My grandfather said it best: Kids are smarter than people. Your two year old might not be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon when she grows up, but face it: it's pretty amazing what she's able to learn. Your child is probably capable of more than you think so be sure you take that into consideration when you're planning. This isn't to say that you can do activities geared for a 7 year old when your child is 18 months, but it does mean you should try to push them a little bit.
  3. Be willing to say no. This might sound like a weird tip, but it's important. Your three year old is just as opinionated as he is intelligent. If you're constantly listening to your child's every whim, you'll end up with blue trees, a very messy floor, and a huge headache. You have to set boundaries during your learning time.
  4. Take your toddler's interests into consideration. This may seem to go against the last tip, but I promise they go together. If your little scholar is into fish, read books and do crafts on ocean life. Sort sea creatures by color and learn about other animals in the ocean. Your goal is to get them to love learning and there's no better way to do this than to include activities that they're going to love.
  5. Repeat after me: Pinterest is your friend. While I do come up with a few activities on my own, most of them are found on Pinterest. I typically type our current theme followed by the words craft or activity into the search bar and find tons of ideas. I then pin them onto my preschool or craft boards for future reference.
  6. Document the process. Whether you decide to take on preschool as a daily activity or you just incorporate crafts here and there, be sure to snap some pictures. We have done far too many crafts to keep each and every one until Riley gets married (though there are some keepers for sure). Each week, we have a photo shoot to capture the crafts. I've found a great way to take some fun, candid shots is to have her show Daddy what we've been up to. I'm off to the side with my camera snapping away.
We have a great time doing our projects and I know you and your kiddos would enjoy them, too. I encourage you to start out doing a project one day a week. Talk about it, pick a letter to learn, and go from there. If you want to do more, go for it. If that's enough for you, that's okay, too. Just remember, whatever time you spend actively engaging your child and teaching her to learn will pay off down the road.
If you're interested in keeping up with our adventures, please see our Preschool at Home posts on our family's blog. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Prettiful Design's Happenings

Wow! The last week and a half have been crazy!  We left last Monday for a camping trip and I had 5,000 page views total (for the last 6 months or so).  When we came back early a day later :-(  I had 15,000 views. Today's Thursday a little over a week later and we're at over 168,000 views with 55 new followers!

With that said, I wanted to throw in a plug for my ads! The prices are really cheap still and exposure is really awesome for the price! Check out my advertising/sponsor page here

We've been featured on 5 different sites this week:

Check out this weeks New Products in my shop:
Citrus is a heavy textured set. What do you think of these new textures? Yeah or nay?


Beach Party

Detroit Lions
Have a happy Thursday!
~Dedra (yeah, yeah...making a signature is on my list.... :) )

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Contest Winners & New Contest!

Congrats to all of this weeks winners. Check out the new contest on the right.

$10 Gift Code:
Kelly M.

Pick any Paper Packs:
Kristen E.
Leslie M.

Independence Day Banner
Wendy S.
Chelsy D.
Tamara H.

Medium Ad
Anne S.

Small Ad
Jenny S.

Winners: emails will be sent to you by the end of the day. If you don't get your email, please let me know! :)

Christmas In July

My Christmas products have been some of my best sellers so to get a jump start this year I'm designing in JULY! I would love your input as to which color schemes and products I should focus on.  I can almost smell a sweet sale on Christmas items coming too.

Please tell me your favorite color schemes (from last year or the new proposed colors) and let me know what you think I should design for this year's paper packs and clip art.

***And just a side note I name my color schemes with the first thing that pops into my head. :)

Last Years Colors:

Christmas Morning
Christmas Presents
Funky Christmas
Traditional Christmas
Tis The Season
Hot Christmas
Holiday Cheer
Holly Jolly
Vintage Christmas
Deck The Halls

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our 2 1/2 year story

Some of the things I might write about may be confusing if I don't tell you the following story. Our life the last 2 1/2 years has been pretty interesting.

It all started when my husbands work started paying us only half pay checks--which was enough to cover only the mortgage, health insurance, student loans and tithing. There was nothing left for food, gas, clothes, diapers (we had 2 little ones at the time), etc. All we had was what was in our savings and our very ample food storage (I'm a food hoarder thank goodness!).

About 6 months into this loveliness I had the feeling it was time to move. We started looking and fell in love with a town about 20 minutes farther from my hubby's work--a place we NEVER imagined we would live. We are usually quick about decisions but we believe in inspiration and have done things according to what we've felt we should. So a few months later we put our home up for sale.

We ended up getting pregnant a few months into showing the house. I'm about as stubborn as they come and I wanted to sell the house myself--For Sale By Owner. So almost 1 year later and 2 weeks till the due date the house sold to an investor who has allowed us to rent the house. 2 1/2 years from the start we are still getting half paychecks (my husband is brilliant and has gotten many other job offers but again we believe in that whole inspiration thing) and we are still living in our house their house and we now have 3 kids in one bedroom. We actually have an offer in on a home in that city we want. We saw it over a year ago. Because it is a short sale and the price is amazing it would actually be a lot cheaper if we bought that house than staying here!

How are we getting by? Its been a miracle to say the least. Nothing seems or feels like it is working out but we've made it 2 1/2 years when we figured we could only make it 6. Yes, we believe that God is a God of miracles.

So there you have our story. Hopefully someday we'll get all our backpay and get regular paychecks again, get out of boxes (half the house has been packed for longer than I dare admit) and get to buy that house (which is fairly new but really trashed so that will be another huge adventure!).

My family and I are really grateful for the people who have supported us--namely Emily of who has been such an inspiration and all of my customers! My sales are what is keeping food on the table so we thank you!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Utah County Summer Fun Activities

I was asked to compile a list of family fun activities to present to the ladies at my church. While the list is specific to Utah County, the supplemental information is applicable to anyone! :) Click the picture above and it will take you to my shop where you can download your free Fun Activities Calendar!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

EASY Tip to Improve Relationships With Your Kid(s) TODAY!

Don't you wish you had a hug like that right now?
I wish I remembered to do this easy tip every day. Maybe it wouldn't be as special if it were a habit. I'm not sure BUT I do know that this tip in practice has immediate, awesome effects. Are you READY for my super top secret tip???

***Hug your kid(s) as often as possible today.***Grab them when they walk by, stalk them from behind, cuddle up on the couch while you watch his/her favorite show--make it excessive. If you have teenagers excessive may be one side hug with loads of protestations, but chances are they will secretly love your increased attention!

You may want to add a little note every week or so to your calendar to remember to do this on a regular basis. I hope to hear lots of success stories!

Kidless? Use this on your spouse--I dare you!
Look at this sweet Daddy hug.

Now go and get your hug on! :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Independence Day Banner

Enter to win at the right or click on picture below to purchase
 Super Easy to make banner. Directions: Print, cut out, punch holes, and thread ribbon. I laminated mine because I ran out of cardstock. :) Finished product is 76" wide (without slack) by 7 1/2" tall.
Comes as a pdf file and prints out on 8 pages.

Have other ideas for banners I should make? Let me know.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sponsor Lovin

Check out some Friday sponsor love:

Just Felt Supplies
Griseth is the mother of 3 boys! She sells fold over elastic and felt cutouts! I'm so excited to try out her products! 

Peek-A-Boo Car Seat Canopies
Paulette is a Wife and also a Mother to 5 Beautiful Children.She sells custom car seat canopies with some 
sweet options such as pockets for Diapers & Wipes, Binky holder and Nursing Strap. Monograming and 
Custom covers are also available.

Want to be a sponsor too? Go check out my advertising options at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another giveaway has begun!

Check out the new giveaway to the right! Sorry I've been absent! We attempted  a camping trip...I'm still trying to get over my disappointment at how it turned out. :( If we had gone a month ago it probably would have been fine but the baby just got two teeth and became ridiculously clingy to only me. If I moved more than a foot away she screamed--like a banshee. It was too hot and despite every effort imaginable the mosquitoes were out in full force. Our middle child has about 15 huge welts on her face--and I can't tell you how well we prepared for those darn mosquitoes. I can't imagine how much worse they would have been had we not taken any measures.
I did get a chance to cook a few things that turned out A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! I'll blog about these maybe once I get through the mound of smoky laundry. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

7 Ways in 7 Days to Knock the Socks Off Your Spouse

I met my husband at the beginning of my sophomore year of college at Brigham Young University. We married right before finals at the end of the year—I was only 19! So young! :) My freshman year I always made fun of the girls in the MFHD program (Marriage, Family, Human Development) because I thought all they wanted to do was get married--and that didn't equate to my accounting/business oriented mind. Boy
was I shocked with myself when after we were married I decided to switch to the MFHD program! Fast forward several years and we were finally able to have children after a lot of heartache. Hopefully we're not done but I'm so grateful for the kids we have.

Going from years by ourselves and then throwing kids into the mix has been an interesting experience. I think that no matter what the situation, it can be hard to maintain a positive and thriving marriage. If you're not currently married, just tuck this article away--hopefully for future use! :)

From my schooling and experience I've learned that to keep marriage going strong sometimes you have to shake things up. Below is an idea to do just that.

The Weekly Marriage Shake Up
(To thoroughly knock the socks off your spouse!)

Sweet Treat Sunday
Massage Monday
Touch Tuesday
Woo Him/Her Wednesday
Thank Him/Her Thursday
Fun Activity Friday
Sweet Nothings Saturday

Sweet Treat Sunday
On Sunday, make or get a treat your spouse really likes. If he/she is on a diet, be mindful of this and find a way to make him/her something special. If he/she asks why just say you love him/her. Keep your list a secret! :)

Massage Monday
You can go about this a few ways. You can tell your spouse you're giving him/her a massage and ask where he/she would like to be massaged. You can  tell him/her a list of areas you're willing to massage (for those of you with stinky feet aversions :) ) or you can just do it. Be considerate of your spouses feelings and preferences--you want this to be a wonderful experience!

Touch Tuesday
If you're not in the habit of this, your spouse may ask you what the heck you're doing but whenever you talk to your spouse or walk by your spouse or sit next to your spouse, make sure part of you is intentionally touching him/her. Do this ALL Day. Don't be surprised if your spouse reciprocates.

Woo Him/Her Wednesday
Do whatever is romantic to your spouse. If you don't know--ask him/her!

Thank Him/Her Thursday
Pay attention to everything your spouse does today and thank him/her for everything--just be sincere. Some examples that I would use:
"Thank you for going to work today."
"Thank you for taking care of your dirty clothes this morning."
"Thank you for changing that diaper."
"Thank you for emptying the garbage."
"Thank you for being such a good dad to our girls."

Fun Activity Friday
Plan something for the 2 of you. You don't have to leave your house or you can. You don't have to get a babysitter. If you can get a babysitter--DO! If not, stay in and play a card game or go play a game of catch outside. Make a cake together (don't forget to "accidentally" smear some frosting on your spouse's face). Do something out of the ordinary. It could take 5 minutes or 3 hours. Just make a plan and do it.

Sweet Nothings Saturday
Tell your spouse "sweet nothings" all day. You can whisper them, text or email them, write them on pieces of paper and leave them around the house. Tell your spouse all the things you love about him/her--his/her personality, actions, looks, quality, etc.

Put these ideas into action for a week and not only will you feel more love for your spouse but he/she should definitely feel more loved and hopefully at some point will reciprocate.

I'd love to hear your results! 

(C) Copyright 2012 Dedra Tregaskis. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The "I Love My Spouse" Project

I've had a difficult time trying to pinpoint the focus of this blog probably because I'm scatterbrained and interested in too many things. It hit me today while I was taking a bath at 7:00 in the morning (a time normally reserved only for sleeping in our household!) that I really need to focus this blog on marriage and family relationships. Some of you know I have a degree in that area of study. I'm not an expert. I don't have the perfect marriage, nor am I the best mother but things in our home are pretty good. We love each other and we stick it out through thick and thin, which we seem to have had a lot of "thin" lately.
A blog post for another day is the story of what has happened to us over the last few years. Right now we're in limbo waiting to move, which could be in 3 weeks or 2 years. For some reason I was thinking the other day what I would say in church to introduce our family (when you move into a new "ward" in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you usually get called to speak to the congregation and you are supposed to introduce your family.) I thought about what I could say about my husband.My list of positive attributes kept growing and growing over a few days as I noticed more and more how he shows me love.

Here are a few things from my list:

  • He's brilliant and is constantly making me computer programs to make my life easier
  • He's an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Father
  • He does the dishes for me every night, even though it is his least favorite chore
  • He gets up with the kids in the middle of the night so I can sleep
  • He never complains when I go shopping and buy something for myself
  • He lets me get out of the house when I need to
  • He's HOT!
  • If I tell him something bothers me, he immediately tries to change
  • He is a great unbiased listener and he sides with me when I need him to but is man enough to tell me the things I don't always want to hear
  • He believes in me!
So at 7 a.m. this morning I'm relaxing in the bath while he's watching all the kids. I had a rough, painful night and we both had an early start to the day. I told him I'd be out as quick as I can and he says with a genuine and sweet smile, "Why? Take your time."
After the kids are up and we're deciding how to spend our Saturday he asks what I'd really like to do. I say,  "I'd honestly love to just sleep, but we need to go do...." blah blah blah. He says, "Why not rest. You sleep and I'll play with the kids." He played hide and seek with them downstairs (I could hear when he counted) and I slept. It was wonderful. 
How could today played out if I wasn't noticing and paying attention to his sweetness and his love for me? Would I have been cross with him or would I have been indifferent or would I have looked up just now when he entered the room and winked at him? Who knows but I know overall that when I am praising him and I think about his positive qualities and I acknowledge when he is trying to show me love that I don't notice his faults. Yes, he does have some. What he excels at your partner may lack but remeber--vice versa. My sharing the list of his qualities above is not intended to make you look at your spouse and think, "My spouse doesn't do that!" It is just to help you think of what your spouse DOES do for you! There are some things I wish my husband would do for me that he doesn't and some things he does do that I wish he wouldn't but I just realize that if he did those things he would be completely perfect and what fun is that!?!? :) 

So, if you're coming to my blog to read this post you know something about the project I am proposing. I propose that you leave a comment to this post and tell us about the amazing qualities of your spouse. This will do several AMAZING things! 1. You will be thinking positively about your spouse which will lead you to better interactions with your spouse. 2. Your spouse will probably notice, maybe not immediately but if you spend more time thinking about how wonderful they are and treat them accordingly they are bound at some point to reciprocate. 3. Others will be inspired by you, which will have ripple effects for countless others. 

Here are some ideas of what you can post:
  • Some qualities you love about your spouse
  • Something nice your spouse did for you today
  • Something nice you plan on doing for your spouse today
Please feel free to come back and share often--if you do, please tell us you are a returning commenter. Inappropriate comments will be deleted. I hope sharing has a wonderful effect on you and your spouse! Please share this project with others and help many others have similarly wonderful experiences too!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Sorry I've been like non-existant! Been working on matching patriotic dresses for the girlets, buying and wrapping birthday and Christmas presents (I know everyone thinks I'm insane), and planning a family trip! I'll be back to designing soon.... :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Super Amazing Giveaway

Check out the contest at the right. I'm giving away an Ad and a $10 gift code to my shop AND a $20 gift code! Good Luck!!!