I don’t know if you’re feeling it but these last days of the school year feel a bit like having your head stuck in the washer on the spin cycle. It seems as if every teacher is trying to fit their last big project in. After school, you’ve got the end of the year concerts, graduation parties, recitals…. on top of the regular sports practices and kids activities. So much fun but all kind of heaped together! I try to just embrace the chaos and savor all the special milestones and moments we’re celebrating with the kids but it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. From talking with other moms, I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.
So this is why I’ve decided to put my etsy shop on vacation hold for a month. I absolutely love working on my shop but I also know this:
If you’re interested in something from my shop, the last day to order is Sunday June 10th. If you’d like to be notified when my shop is open again, please join Simple Joys Club. You’ll receive a complimentary Simple Joys Bucket List printable to joyfully start off your summer as well! Wahoo!
I’d love to hear about YOUR summer plans!
How are you planning to get the most out of this summer?
Do you have any fun trips planned?
Places you’ve wanted to explore?
Hikes you have wanted to go on?
Projects you have wanted to tackle?
Books you have been longing to read?
Be sure to include these items on your Simple Joys Bucket List! Also, I love hearing from you so please leave me a comment to share. Thanks so much for your support of my art!
If you’re looking for teacher gifts to thank them and celebrate the end of the school year, you may like some of these items in my shop:
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You will receive a cute, complimentary Simple Joys Bucket List printable with pretty floral illustration, just for joining the club!
Well, not THAT type of family planning but the type where you excitedly think of the possibilities of a brand new year! Last year, I created a free worksheet printable to help guide you and your family through the process of daydreaming, writing down your goals and making them concrete with pen and paper. Setting goals is such an important skill to continue to develop for all of us, regardless of our age
This year, I have updated my “family goals” printable for 2018 and I’m even publishing it a week earlier than last year! Hopefully, this means you can use these quiet days leading up to the New Year for reflecting and setting positive goals for yourself, along with your kids! I'm still offering it for free too! Just click on the image and download. If you don't want to miss out on these fun, free gifts, please be sure to hop on my email list.
Thank you for all your support this past year! As my best nine from instagram show, 2017 was a year of reconnecting and appreciating the beauty of nature. I also added nature inspired, handmade gifts to my etsy shop which is an area I would like to put even more focus on for 2018. My illustrations were shipped all over the world, from Australia to France to the UK, through my zazzle shop. So very thankful for each and every one of you who have supported and encouraged my art!
I’m still going through my own reflecting and goal setting for the New Year but I’m hopeful and excited about what 2018 will bring! Happy New Year to all of you!
You don't want to miss out on all the exciting things happening with presentsoflove! Join my email club for a splurge of positivity and celebration of the simple joys!
... you can make a difference for a sweet 7 year old girl in my family. You see, just a few months ago, Maddison’s days were filled with gymnastics, attending 2nd grade and playing with her sister and dogs. Then, on November 18th, Maddison was diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme Cancer. Glioblastoma is a very rare and difficult to treat cancer. While battling cancer is so extremely challenging already, the family has had to battle with the health insurance company to get coverage for the chemotherapy drugs Maddison’s oncologist has recommended.
Hearing her story really touched my heart. I wanted to help but live too far away to help in a direct way. Because I express my feelings through art, I created a drawing inspired by Maddison and her love for animals and the zoo.
I’m offering this drawing to you as a free printable that you can use as a coloring page for your kids or a decorative print to hang on the wall of your child’s bedroom or baby’s nursery. You can download the pdf file simply by clicking on the image below and print from your home computer or at local print shop.
However, if you choose to download the printable, I ask that you please consider making a donation to Maddison’s gofundme campaign. Maddison is so strong and brave but she could really use a miracle right now. The gofundme campaign will help pay for the overwhelming medical expenses. Any donation will be appreciated! Your donation will bring hope and make a difference.
Thank you so much!
Any new beginning, but especially a new year, can feel so refreshing and energizing. To me, it feels like a blank canvas with lots of opportunity for continued learning, growing, exploring and experiencing. I also seem to get an extra energy boost for decluttering and organizing after the busy month of December. It would be great if that feeling lasted awhile because our home can certainly use that…
I do love to spend time reflecting on the year past and what goals I have for the next year. This year, I determined that goal setting is an important skill for the kids to learn as well so I created a worksheet to put down our family goals. I wanted to share it with you as a free printable and hope you will enjoy using it with your family in your new year’s goal setting. This printable will help you to write down your reflections and goals in concrete terms or serve as a tool for discussion. The printable is a concise one pager but it would also be helpful to discuss with the kids how they plan on achieving their goals.
To download the free printable, please click on the image below. You will be able to print this family goal setting worksheet as a pdf file.
Good luck on your new year’s goal setting! I would love to hear about your experiences and feedback in the comments. If you like this printable, please share it with your friends or via the social media icons! Thank you so much for your continued support!
I opened an etsy shop!! It only has one product in it so far but hey, it's a start, right? I have been thinking about this project for a long time and have been working on it tiny little baby step by little baby step at a time. And now the shop is open and it has one product in it!
What is the product? It is a bilingual memory matching game in Spanish and English designed with my cute illustrations and delivered as an instant download printable. My vision is to create more printables that will help make learning fun for kids and help fellow moms and dads (as well as teachers, homeschooling families and grandparents) expose their kids to a second language. Playing games is an excellent way to connect with a child too!
I came up with the concept for this game as my children have been attending Spanish immersion school and it is difficult to find fun, engaging games to build their vocabulary and practice their Spanish language skills. I have played this game with my very own kids so I know it’s a winner!
Born and raised in Holland, I learned the importance of studying foreign languages because few people outside of my birth country speak Dutch! In high school, I studied 6 different languages and in the process learned that language is an important bridge between groups of people.
Language is an important bridge between groups of people."
I have been living in the United States for a long time now. Here, I see a desire among many parents that their child learns a second language but honestly, it is a lot more difficult when everyone around you speaks English and depending on where in the States you live, you can travel for days in a car without hearing another language. Picture books and bilingual educational games are wonderful resources to introduce a foreign language to your child.
I'm a big believer that learning should be fun so I illustrated the English and Spanish words with cute, whimsical illustrations that celebrate the simple joys in life. All illustrations were first hand drawn and then digitally uploaded by me. Creating this memory matching game has been a labor of love and I hope that shines through!
You can check out my new etsy shop here:
What is your greatest challenge in teaching your child a foreign language? Which language would you like your child to learn?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
P.S. I recently designed gift tags that you can use to add a cute little something to presents for your friends, family and kids. They feature my new daisy flower and popular smiling snowman illustrations so they are perfect all year around - for both gifts in the summer as well as winter. I strive to help you find meaningful gifts for your loved ones so I hope you like this gift tag printable!
Sign up for my email newsletter below and you will receive them as a FREE printable. No more boring gifts!
What’s going on this week? Well, a whole lot of learning. Our son left for a week long overnight field trip last Sunday. He just started attending a new school and even though he has been making friends, he has only known them for a few weeks. This is the longest he has been away from home and I miss him!
I’m sure he is having a wonderful time and I’m thankful for my friends who reassured me that their kids who already had the opportunity to go on this trip, had a great time and came back with lots of fun stories. So, while he is learning about nature and science and being away from home making new friends, I’m learning to trust that he will be just fine and learning to let go.
This morning, I volunteered with our daughter’s classroom. Every month, their class gets to visit an elderly home to read to the residents who receive care for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The kids walk from school to the care home with books tucked under their arms. While the kids bring joyful energy and the excitement of having a visitor to these residents, the kids learn so much more than just reading skills.
They learn how to be respectful to others, about the challenges of having a disease like Alzheimer’s and that they can provide joy just by showing up and reading. They also learn that even though a resident may fall asleep during the middle of their story or act like they don’t care about being read to, it doesn’t have anything to do with how well they read their story or the level of their reading skills. They still have a gift to give and can share it by reading.
This morning, one of the residents had fallen asleep while a boy was reading to her. He didn’t get deterred by this at all and just continued reading his book. I walked over and told him that his reading must have relaxed her so much that it helped her to fall asleep. He gave me the biggest smile and continued on. A gift to her and a gift to him.
Watching these kids connect with the elderly at this care home, reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Mother Teresa: “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” Life can be such a struggle but sometimes the smallest acts of kindness and love can make the biggest difference.
P.S. In the spirit of giving, I recently designed gift tags that you can use to add a cute little something to presents for your friends, family and kids. They feature my new daisy flower and popular smiling snowman illustrations so they are perfect all year around - for both gifts in the summer as well as winter. I strive to help you find or make meaningful gifts for your loved ones so I hope you like this gift tag printable!
Sign up for my email newsletter below and you will receive them as a free printable. No more boring gifts!
Just a quick post from me tonight as life has been super busy during these last few days of the school year. Are you feeling it too? Yes, it’s true.... While I was chaperoning an all day field trip today, our kids will be on summer break starting Friday of next week! How did the school year go by so very fast?!
As you prepare for lots of family fun this summer, I just wanted to remind you I have a free printable The Anti-Boredom Kids Calendar to help you out on those days that the kiddos need a bit of inspiration on fun and creative activities to play.
Also, here are a few fun items to bring on your summer camping trips. From water bottles to playing cards and cool t-shirts to personalized string backpacks with your child's name, these camping themed items make great end of the school year gifts!
Our kids love the local library’s summer reading program. This tote bag is perfect for hauling books to and from the library and the stickers are great summer reading prizes if your child is keeping a reading log this summer. Smart feature: You can even fold up the tote bag with a snap closure when you are not using it. So handy!
Do you have any fun plans for the summer? I would love to hear about your family adventures in the comments below. Have a great summer!
Thank you for the positive feedback to my last blog post: 40 Ways to Feel like a Princess Every Day which I wrote for our daughters and other special girls in our lives. After receiving your positive feedback, I decided us grown up girls and moms needed a fun free printable as well! So I wrote “50 Ways to feel like a Queen Every Day.” You can download the pdf and print a copy of this free printable from your home printer by clicking on the image below. I hope you hang it on your fridge, post it as office or cubicle art at work or give a copy to a friend! We can all use a little inspiration to enjoy the simple joys in life! If you like this free printable, please share it by clicking the social media buttons. Also, I always appreciate you letting me know via the comments if you liked this blog post and free printable. Thank you for your support!
I have always been fascinated by the concept of “princess” across different cultures. As some of you know, I was born and raised in the Netherlands, a country with a "real deal" royal family. I grew up celebrating Queen’s Day and watching the royal family on TV during important national events. Fast forward a few decades, I’m now a mom, raising kids on the other side of the world.
When our daughter was little, I was struck by how popular the princess themed toys are in the United States. While I have always loved our kids playing pretend games (with or without dress up), I'm not comfortable with the stereotypes that sometimes come along with the concept of “princess.” Specifically, I don’t like the helpless princess that waits until a prince comes along to rescue her from a bad situation….. This just doesn’t match my concept of “princess” and doesn’t do anything for any of our daughters as we try to raise them to be strong, capable and responsible women.
Reflecting (and yes, possibly overthinking all of this), I started pondering what the positive character traits of a princess are, or even better…. could be. What if our daughter could be a “princess," what type of person could she strive to be? I wouldn’t want her to be concerned about physical appearance. Or the brand name of her clothing. Or caving in to peer pressure just to fit in. However, these are exactly the pressures our society and media puts on our girls: to be perfect, to be sexy, to follow trends...
I decided to write down 40 ways ANY girl could feel like a princess every day. You will find that these ways don’t cost money and have a lot more to do with positive character and being a fun loving kid. I have made my “40 Ways to Feel like a Princess Every Day” a free printable (you can click on the image below to download the pdf and print). I hope you will share it with your daughter and other special girls in your life wherever they live around the world. Because it is important that they know they are special and beautiful just the way they are.
Alright, moms! Summer break is upon us… or inching closer by the minute for some of us. While we all look forward to having some fun in the sun with our kids, there just may be that time over summer break when the kids will hang all over the couch loudly complaining they’re bored.
Well, you will be well prepared with the free printable I’m offering you today! It will chase away any “Moooooom, I don’t know what to do! I’m soooooo bored” moments. You’ll whip out this anti-boredom calendar and they will instantly have 35 activities to choose from! 35! Voila!
They can follow the calendar in any order they’d like, going by the days of the week or randomly, coloring the squares of the activities they have completed.
You will find that you don’t need to buy fancy stuff for these activities. The kids can mostly use stuff you already have laying around the house.
These activities were created with kids in elementary school or older in mind, but you can adapt these fun ideas for younger kids in almost all cases. For example, instead of perfecting a cartwheel, try perfecting a somersault instead.
If you click on the image below, you can download an easy pdf file that you can print at home in pretty color or just simple black and white. While I would love it if you sign up in the side bar to join my email list or like my page on Facebook, this is not required to receive this free printable gift. Just my gift to you!
I am curious if you found this free printable helpful. Did the kids find it fun? Please let me know by leaving me a quick comment. Thank you so much and have a great summer!
Illustrations and nature inspired, handmade art that celebrates simple joys.