lbrennan

Lana Brennan is originally from the Bronx, NY, then moved as a child to FL, came back to finish college in NYC and now lives in New Jersey. Her creative flair developed from a young age. Professionally and personally, Lana has worked on a variety of craft and culinary adventures; with her own family and in leadership roles with MOMS Clubs, Girl Scouts, and her local PTA. She looks forward to sharing her talent with you, our valued followers. Lana currently resides with her husband and three daughters, who are her current inspirations for all things crafty in her life.

Too Much

too-much

Too Much

Today a friend posted an inspirational picture, it said “You will be too much for some people. Those aren’t your people”.

I saw it, read it, smiled because I understood that feeling all too well, hit like, and then kept scrolling. As usual just a thought to myself of a feeling I’ve felt quite often. Then my day progressed.

The usual routine of dealing with my kids, trying to get stuff done, and you know life in general. I go through my day being pretty confident in myself. Yet, there are days (this being one of them) that I get told I’m too much.

How many times have you been told you are being too loud?

Not talking about when you are at the movie theater or somewhere like that. But in everyday life? I’ve probably heard that several hundred times. I’m not sure the people who’ve said it to me realize how much they hurt me, or that because of their comments I’ve gone days without talking very much because they’ve made me so self-conscious.

I’m relatively young so it’s taken me a while to become comfortable with myself and who I am. Part of that reason is people who feel the need to tell me I’m too much. Too loud. Too much energy. Too much to handle. I’d love to say these were all random people who didn’t know me well, but the truth is these were friends. Friends who I really thought we were more than that. (And I’m all about being honest, but this is a bit different than that shirt doesn’t match those pants.)

Part of my issue is I wouldn’t say anything because I am not good with conflict. When you keep hearing something about yourself in a negative tone it starts to be hard not to believe it. Being hit at something that is such a part of who you are isn’t always easy to understand. I promise I have some thick skin, but when people feel the need to say it over and over, you need to learn to move away.

Learning to move away from people is hard

I’m a very loyal person, but in the end making yourself happy is way more important than making them happy. It takes a lot for me to tell myself that it’s ok to move away from people who might think you are too much, because maybe, just maybe they aren’t enough for you. It has taken me so long to realize it’s ok to be me-big mouth and all. That by allowing others to make me feel this way was giving them some power over me they didn’t deserve.

So while it may have just been a passing quote on my Facebook feed, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who feels like they are too much, and it pushes me to find  “my people” where laughing loudly is seen as a good thing rather than being told I’m being too loud.

Signature-Lana

Lana BrennanToo Much
read more

Shopkins Cheeky Chocolate Valentine Mailbox

 

Shopkins Mailbox

 

I have to say, I really should have planned my little two’s birthday a little further away from Valentines Day. Since their birthday is a few days away and we have a long weekend right after I usually have their party the weekend before(more on that later). However that means I am making 3 different Valentines and boxes, I really wanted to get ahead of it all between birthday party, Valentines, and box I knew if I didn’t start early I’d never get it all done in time. Thankfully this year the two littles made them in school-just another reason why I LOVE their teacher. Well of course I couldn’t get off that easily with the big one so we set off to make hers.

Now Seven knows how to search Pinterest. I’ve logged her in under my account and she just searches for all sorts of things. So I set her off to Pinterest to find something she liked. She didn’t really find anything she loved. Then we found someone had made a popcorn Shopkin (if you don’t know what these are be thankful!). We talked about it and she decided she wanted to make a large lipstick one, whose name escapes me. At that point I decided that was out of her realm of possibility. She then thought of the Shopkins she liked and she thought of the Cheeky Chocolate. However, of course that little someone needed to put her own spin on it. She decided to change the color of the wrapper.
I like to let her lead, as it’s her project. I told her I would let her use my silhouette
(cutting machine) to make the chocolate squares. I made a quick design to help make it look 3D and she really liked it!
Of course with our 5 we get all our cereals in family size boxes. That plus a little bit of cardstock and we were set.

Items Needed

  • Cereal box
  • 3 Sheets 12×12 brown paper- 2 for box 1 for hearts(White if you want white chocolate)
  • 2 Sheets “wrapper” 12×12 color
  • little bit of scrap as inside the wrapper
  • tape-used both double sided and regular
  • scissors
  • knife

Time To Craft

I opened the cereal from the bottom of the box so that the top would be sealed to cut the opening for the valentines. Since we hadn’t started the cereal I just put it to the side for them to eat later.
Lightly tape up the bottom, max 3 pieces of tape. Next cut a relatively large rectangle in the top. I used the knife to get it started and cleaned it up with the scissors.
Then cover the top of the box with your two sheets of brown and cut an x in the rectangle opening going from corner to corner. It will make it easier to fold the paper in and have a finished edge. tape those inside box. Use regular tape to adhere the paper where it will be covered. Just like wrapping a present. Use the double sided tape on edge that will be seen.
The wrapper is going at a slight angle so one you cover the area where the chocolate paper ends you can make a crease at the bottom of the page and then cut off the excess on each side. Attach same as the chocolate sheets. I left most of the bottom uncovered so that she could get to her Valentines relatively easy after they drop them off.
Seven then ripped 2-two inch wide strips of paper. We folded in half and then stuck over the wrapper paper and put a little piece of tape in the back to hold it.
Next came the eyes. I googled some Shopkin eyes and printed and cut out the mouth, eyes, and heart over the left eye. To attach you can just use tape but Seven is slightly obsessed with my Xyron “sticker” machine. She wants to use it any time she can.
shopkins studio file
Lastly, you can use the studio file or pdf to cut out the chocolate pieces and attach. Folded it so it was 3d then taped evenly across the top and 2nd row.
We decided to not do the arms or feet because it does have to travel via backpack and also we only happened to have only 2 sheets of the wrapper and no way was I going to the store to try and match the shade. The curse of a crafter. Yes I had the scrapbook card stock on hand, but can never remember where I got it and how to get more. HA!
Here she is modeling her Valentine box as I forgot to get pictures while we were making it (OOPS!!)

You can download the shopkin elements to make your own!

PDF of the chocolate pieces, eyes, & mouth
STUDIO of the chocolate pieces, eyes, & mouth
Lana BrennanShopkins Cheeky Chocolate Valentine Mailbox
read more

A Great Summer Brain Game

Friendspired was provided with LaserMaze to conduct this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are our own. 

I hate buying gifts, there I said it. Well not totally, but with ALL the birthday parties (see what happens with 3 kids!) we get invited to so many. For me getting a gift for someone is something special. I don’t like getting gift cards, or anything that puts in little to no thought.

My children do not share (or are unable to tell me) this thought process. When I do have to get gifts for kids I don’t really know what they are into, I don’t like to be the one who gets them the millionth Barbie, or Beanie Boo. Plus, I’d rather give something that can grow with them.

unnamed

 

Enter, Laser Maze Jr by Thinkfun! This is a great summer brain game! I usually have Seven test out gifts before I will put it on my list. I tend to like to give games that are a little different. One we just checked out has definitely passed the gift giving test. Seven, really all the girls, had a great time playing with it. It was nice to have a game they could play alone, or together.

The Laser Maze Jr not only got them to try to think outside the box, it also got them thinking about how light moves. Having two parents who have worked in lighting, it’s pretty awesome to see your kid understanding and having fun with bending light.

lasermaze-friendspired

With the kiddos in the midst of their summer break we can’t forget that they still need to exercise their brains not just their bodies!! In this game there are about 40 different challenges to try to get the beam of light to the tower to light it up. Each challenge tells you exactly how many mirrors you are allowed to use.

There are also rocks they use to block the path. The girls decided to make it a competition taking turns to see who could figure out each challenge first. Even now, when they grab a game it’s one of the first ones they reach for.


The great part is that this game is easy to find. I’ve spotted it at Target. For me that’s one of the best parts is being able to get the game quickly. Sometimes the more unique games have to be ordered or I have to go to a specialty store, but being able to run to a regular store is nice when I forget to grab a gift for a party coming up.

Lana BrennanA Great Summer Brain Game
read more

NYC Dreaming

NYC Dreaming

 

With a little under 18 days until the summer blog conferences start.  We cannot wait to attend Getting Gorgeous, Blogger Bash (as a VIP baby) and KidzVuz that we are NYC Dreaming!  I thought I’d share some of my favorite things in the city.

Having lived in the city when I was going to college and briefly after when I was working I have a few spots I try to hit when I’m in town.
When I’m there and need a quick lunch, or any reason really,  I try to find my closest PAX Wholesome Foods. Personally I’m a big fan of the make your own salad. I lived about a block or two away from them, and they delivered or I’d grab them on the way home, so a little bit of love for them. I know Jenn is a huge fan as well, she was very excited when she attended SoFabUOTR last weekend and they had breakfast from PAX.
FAO Swartz – We may stop here on Wednesday beforeGetting Gorgeous or Blogger Bash begins to say bye to the 5th Avenue location before it closes that day,  July 15th. It’s the only location I’ve ever known that iconic store to exist, that I wouldn’t mind going in one last time. Hard to believe after 30 years it won’t be there, thankfully it’s just going to relocate.
Disney Store
The Disney Store!  If you know us at all, you know that Jenn and I will most definitely make a stop there. As self proclaimed Disney Freaks we enjoy going together to these stores and checking out all the cute Disney stuff. Also since I don’t have a local one, I always like to check it out from some good deals. After all it’s like paying homage to what brought us together (we met while planning our own Disney Weddings)
american girl place nyc
American Girl Place – Since Seven will be joining us Saturday for the KidzVuz Bash, I made a reservation for lunch at the cafe. Seven’s birthday is in early July so as a little treat (in addition to all the fun of Saturday and getting to spend the day in the city with just me and Aunt Jenn, which truly is a special treat in it’s own right). We will have lunch and also let her doll get treated at the beauty salon, which she saw on our 1st visit last month and has not been able to stop talking about it. She just got her 1st doll last christmas from Santa. We made it to 7.5 before getting into this so I guess I should be happy about that. But know this would not be the in the plan if she wasn’t with us.
mister softee
Two words, Mister Softee. I LOVE their shakes and constantly try to bribe my husband to bring me home one when he drives home from work. I have yet to get him to agree (or have it make it all the way home) so I always look for the truck when I’m in town. On our last trip we didn’t see any, I was so sad and just got a shake from another ice cream truck. My sister then sent a picture of her with one after I left. I think they are mostly on the midtown west side, so I will make sure to hit them one day (or all of them) while I’m there. Just a great way to top off any summer day, even though Jenn doesn’t get my obsession. (but then again, she’s not a soft serve fan, so I don’t know why we are friends)
Last but certainly not least is Buttercup Bakeshop. My college dorm is right around the corner. Located on 2nd Ave between 51st and 52nd ave on the west side of the street, my favorite bakery can be found. My personal favorite is the Red Velvet, however, just about anything they sell is YUM. Since we won’t be on the east side very much this trip I’m thinking about getting them delivered (I KNOW RIGHT?) so that we can enjoy them without making the trek all the way over there. They deliver to all of Manhattan for a flat rate of 12.50. I know it seems like a lot, but the time and energy or cab ride needed to get there, the 12.50 is sooooooo worth it when we will be busy with Blogger Bash. Jenn disagrees and is just begging me to get them delivered. Again, not sure how Jenn and I are friends, she’s not the biggest fans of Buttercup Bakeshop.  She’s more a Baked by Melissa mini cupcake fan.
Since most of our time will be spent at Blogger Bash, we won’t have much time for museum visits, or anything else. That is a whole other post because with NYC being one of the biggest travel destinations the possibilities are endless! So many great adventures to have.
Jenn and I keep saying one day we will go and actually do some of those things, but we have yet to do so. However, ask her about the time she got to be Katniss Everdeen on a wild adventure in Queens! (Let’s just say I’m the queen of 30th birthday scavenger hunts)
30th bday
The best part of the trip will be getting to spend some kid free time with my best friend. As much as I love my kids, I really need some adult time-while it doesn’t have to be in NYC it sure doesn’t hurt! Jenn and I keep saying that we cannot believe that we will be with each other for more than 24 hours without children.  We cannot wait!  Oh now to get prepared for Blogger Bash! Is it too early to start packing?

Signature-Lana

Lana BrennanNYC Dreaming
read more

Friendspired’s Feelings on Inside Out

We absolutely LOVED Inside Out. Now that that’s out of the way…Pixar has really outdone themselves. All 3 of my girls really enjoyed the story and how it was put across to them on their level. I loved that it had such great underlying messages and was something that as the kids grow can get different messages out of it.
InsideOut54f771108303d
 insider access inside out

To start with our Insider Access experience, we got a tour of Pixar Animation Studios. Can I just say I really really really would like to work there. If only I could draw more than a stick figure. Seven was interested in this part because she wants to write a movie and this showed her all the different components she wasn’t totally aware of. Though I will say the office space did give her a bit of unrealistic expectations. They teased The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, and Toy Story 4.

The short before the movie was titled Lava. It was an adorable story about a volcano wishing for another volcano. Though I have to say there was a point where I was really sad for the volcano. It definitely was a sweet short and the music was beautiful.
InsideOut52057aa1e492f
The we got to see the movie – EEEEKKK – as seen from the previews, the movie mostly focuses on the 5 emotions in 11 year old Riley’s head. Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust all play their part in dealing with the day to day life. What really starts the movie going is that Riley’s family is moving from Minnesota to San Francisco.
InsideOut5488b2dee5743
There was a lot of laughter through out the movie. Lots of great jokes and scenes that were well thought out. I will admit it, I did cry a little(My sadness had to let a few out). Overall I give Inside Out an A++. Between the voice talents, and the storyline-I feel like this is a movie I can put on over and over and the kids won’t tire of it-and neither will I, an important thing in my book too.
I don’t know if I just loved this movie because it was great, or if it just came at a really good time. We’ve been talking a lot lately about feelings and how to explain them with Seven(who will be 8 in a few weeks). I think she related with not quite know how to express herself and what the feelings inside her are saying.
If you don’t believe me, here’s what the girls had to say.
SPOILER *********YOU ARE WARNED!!!
Part of the reason I really liked it, was the ending was not as predictable as most kids movies are. I liked that Sadness played a part, even though Joy didn’t understand. Also I really liked-and Seven even mentioned something after the movie- that at the end there were memories with two colors and how, while yes there are memories that have one feeling, there are many times that there are multiple feelings happening. I think with movies like this they are showing kids it’s ok to have feelings like sadness, and to talk about them, rather than bottle it up.
I know it has opened up some conversations in our house, at both the 8 & 4 year old levels. While the younger 2 didn’t get all of it, they are loving pretending to be the different characters.
We give it 8 enthusiastic thumbs up and you should run, not walk to see it.
Signature-Lana
Lana BrennanFriendspired’s Feelings on Inside Out
read more