August 30, 2012

Personalized Custom Keepsake Wedding Photo Guest Books

I have been busy making personalized custom wedding guest books, available in my Ivy Lane Designs Etsy shop.  These are super keepsakes for the bride and groom (or bride and bride, or groom and groom).  

Personalized 5" x 7" blank books are also perfect for memorializing:

• Special Birthdays
• Birth of a Baby
• Baby Adoptions
• Bar/Bat Mitzvahs
• Graduations
• Retirements
• Anniversaries
• Family Reunions

Get your personalized keepsake books HERE.  


August 27, 2012

Meatless Monday: Back-to-School Healthy Kids' Lunch

A peanut butter and banana sandwich.  So simple, yet so delicious! 

Toast the bread (I recommend Rudi's for the gluten-free crowd - like my son - or Ezekiel), spread with all natural peanut butter (ingredients should say PEANUTS and that's all) and top with sliced banana.  You can top yours with another piece of toast smeared with PB.  I eat mine open-faced and find it's super filling and healthy!

This sandwich travels well for school or work lunches.  Just pop in a plastic container free from toxic chemicals and go!  Check the bottom of your container and be sure it's not stamped with #3 or #7.  Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are bad for you.  Products labeled 1, 2, 4 and 5 are much safer.  Run along and check your containers - and enjoy your PB & B sandwich!



August 26, 2012

Celebrating Women's Equality Day

I created this nifty Smart Women VOTE jot-and-go journal (from recycled materials - natch!) in celebration of Women's Equality Day, a day that commemorates the granting of the right to vote to women throughout the United States on an equal basis with men. 

Women in the United States were granted the right to vote on August 26, 1920 when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified.  The Amendment was signed in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall (where we visited ... see blog post HERE), the same place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed.

The right for women to vote was first proposed in 1848, but did not become law until 1920, 72 years later.  

Celebrate the power of a woman's vote.  Vote!  Not registered?  No problem.  Register by mail by downloading the form found HERE and following the instructions for your specific state.

Get your own Smart Women VOTE journal HERE and on November 6, 2012 VOTE!


August 20, 2012

Recycled Letter Crayon Party Favors

Kids L-O-V-E letter crayons!  Since I have had so many special requests lately, I decided to make my recycled letter crayon party favors available to everyone at my Ivy Lane Designs Etsy shop HERE.  

Letter crayons come in gender neutral colors, although requests for specific colors are welcome.

They're chunky and fit nicely in children's hands.

See all of the recycled crayons available in my Ivy Lane Designs Etsy shop HERE.


August 13, 2012

Our First Trip to Shake Shack in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

You know how you hear about a restaurant and can't wait to try it?  I first heard about Shake Shack on the Food Network as a "don't miss" eatery in New York City.  I had planned to give it a try during my next visit to the Big Apple, but Shake Shack saved me a trip by opening their doors in Philadelphia in early June.

We decided to visit in the late afternoon, between lunch and dinner, to avoid the lines that reportedly wrap around the block.  There was no line when we arrived and we quickly scored an outside table. 

Justin, who has autism, studied the online menu before leaving home.  

Justin and Lauren had ShackBurgers and fries (we brought a gluten-free bun from home for Justin).
Bob and I enjoyed 'Shroom Burgers.

From Shake Shack we headed east to visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

The Liberty Bell is a "very significant symbol for the entire democratic world." ~Nelson Mandela, July 4, 1993.

Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are such powerful symbols of individual freedom.  

Lauren shows George some love.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed in the Assembly Room located in Independence Hall.  

The First Amendment:  A wonderful parting reminder.


August 11, 2012

Creativity: Recycled Paint Sample Notebooks

Painting my daughter's bedroom was truly a labor of love.  Lauren and I debated color choices long and hard.  In the end, we chose hot pink and lime green ... two walls of each ... all color washed.  After completing her cheery watermelon room I whipped up nifty recycled notebooks (available in my Ivy Lane Designs Etsy shop HERE) using the leftover paint samples (aka chips and swatches). 

I dig ombré in a big way.  Read about it HERE.  And, check out all of the super duper cool recycled goodies in my Etsy shop HERE.


August 8, 2012

Happy National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day

Happy National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!  According to The Farmer's Almanac, Pennsylvanian Tom Roy started the holiday, which is celebrated on August 8.  Our neighbor Kim is in for a surprise when she returns home from work tonight. 

Here are a few delicious ways we've prepared fresh-from-the-garden zucchini this summer.  Click the links for recipes.


August 6, 2012

Meatless Monday: Everyday Quinoa Salad

I could eat quinoa salad every single day, it is THAT good!  It is one of my favorite lunches.

Quinoa is not a whole grain but a seed from South America.  It can be prepared like a whole grain, such as rice, and cooks in only 15 minutes.  It is gluten-free, cholesterol-free and has more protein than whole grains.  I buy the big bag at Costco, natch.


2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
Pinch of salt
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (or any ripe tomatoes, chopped)
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup feta cheese (this is optional – omit for vegan recipe)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano


1. Place quinoa is fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water.  In a medium pot, bring quinoa, water and salt to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature (if you can wait that long).

2. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa with remaining ingredients up to dressing. 

3. For the dressing, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano in a small bowl and pour over the salad.  Toss.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Enjoy!

These are tomatoes from our garden that I used in my quinoa salad.  Garden fresh vegetables are the best!

 Click HERE to check out all of my yummy Meatless Monday recipes. 


August 4, 2012

Creativity: Envelope Doodles 2

There is more than one way to send flowers.  A card housed in an envelope covered with brightly colored blossoms is the sure thing to cheer Justin's music therapist whose mom passed away.  If you're thinking about trying your hand at envelope doodles, I recommend starting with flowers.  Grab your Sharpies and draw a circle for the center.  Add petals, swirls, dots and leaves.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Here's a snapshot of Justin "Rachmaninoff" and Sue.  To learn a little something about autism and music therapy, click HERE.

Visit my Ivy Lane Designs Etsy shop for tons of nifty gifties made from recyclables.


August 2, 2012

Dogs: Recycled Crayons

Creating cool stuff from recyclables makes my heart sing!  At the end of each school year, I contact local elementary schools and travel around picking up their broken crayon bits and pieces (while singing the wrong words to songs on the radio).  Eco-conscious teachers rock! 

Today I recycled my stash to make super duper chunky dog crayons, available in my Etsy shop HERE.  I love that they stand up.  

I thought about making little capes so they would be super hero dog crayons.  You'll have to use your imagination.

It was a nice day today so I sat outside and doodled a bit.  I drew a house for my dog crayon.  He (boy dog ... he told me) seemed very happy with his new home and asked that next time I consider drawing some food in his bowl.  Roger that.