Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Ways to Celebrate The Graduate

Over the last decade, high school graduation rates have climbed into the high 80s and low 90 percent across the country. It’s a sign our education system is headed in the right direction. About 38% of our U.S. population aged 25 or higher has graduated college or another higher education institution, which is a sharp contrast to 1960 when it was just nearly 8% of the population! 


There are many barriers to education (the expense being one of them!) and to earn your high school diploma or your college degree, one must work really hard.  There are no short cuts. There is no easy button.  For these reasons, we think all graduates should be celebrated in a big way.  Note though, that a “big way” doesn’t mean expensive gifts. Here are thoughtful ways to show your graduate that they are celebrated. 


1.     Host a graduation party.  The party can be as simple as a dinner party with family and a few friends.  Cook the graduate’s favorite meal, bake their favorite dessert, and celebrate your graduate. What about putting together a slide show of photos to share with the group or pulling first day of every school year photos and organizing on a poster? If you are interested in hosting something larger and want some extra flair, consider personalized frosted cups for graduation and personalized graduation napkins to add special touches to your party. A party is a great way to show the graduate that you are proud.   


Class Of Graduation Personalized 3-Ply Napkins by Embossed Graphics

2.     Send graduation announcements.  Graduates will feel honored and special when you formally announce how proud you are of their accomplishments! Sending announcements to family and friends is a great way to get the word out and inform loved ones about next steps, too. We have a huge selection of announcements for graduation. See many options here


Lauren Chow Graduation Digital Photo Announcements - Bold (Grad Sale 2022)

3.     Get them ready for the next step. Did your graduate finish high school and are they headed off to college in the fall?  Start getting them ready for the next step early.  One of our favorite inexpensive graduation gifts are these buckets. You can fill with candy, gift cards to restaurants, books, collegiate apparel, and more. https://www.morethanpaper.com/EJ-LittleBin-UniversityBold.htm


Little Bin-University Bold

4. Write them a thoughtful note.  We aren’t talking about a last-minute card with your name signed on this one. Really take the time to tell your graduate how proud you are of him and how much you recognize her hard work.  Pull out your finest everyday stationery (if you don’t have, you know where you can find some!) and start writing. We always suggest using specific examples rather than broad statements.  “Chemistry and biology were tough subjects, but you showed determination and worked hard to achieve the grades you needed in those two classes. Remember that night you pulled an all-nighter?” This is an example of being specific. It’s more personal than a blanket statement like, “You worked hard. Good job.”  This tends to resonate more with people and make them feel special. 

 Stationery/Thank You Notes by Rytex - Hand Bordered Cards (Navy)

Graduation is certainly an accomplishment to be celebrated and we have plenty of ways to honor the graduate here at More Than Paper. What are your favorite ways to celebrate graduates? What about for students that aren’t your own children?  Are there gifts and ways that you honor others? We’d love to hear from you!  Leave us a comment or write to us on our Instagram @morethanpaperusa or Facebook @morethanpaper
 
 

 

 

 

Monday, April 18, 2022

End of Year Teacher Celebrations

While popular opinion is that 2020 and 2021 felt incredibly long, it seems that by contrast, 2022 is absolutely flying by. Hard to believe that we will wrap up another school year soon and kids will be off to camp and enjoying summer. Before we close the books on the school year, let’s take a moment to honor our teachers.  Here are some ways that you can celebrate them this season! 
 
1.     Organize a luncheon.   Sign Up Genius makes it easy to plan a luncheon with dozens of volunteers. Create a free account at SignUpGenius.com. Choose from hundreds of design templates or upload your own images or even your school logo.  You’ll want to create several “slots” for which people can sign up.   For a luncheon, we suggest creating slots for sandwiches, fruit salad, pasta salad, side dish, green salad, and dessert.  If you are serving a lot of teachers, add multiple slots for each category.  Get creative and choose a theme like Mexican, where you suggest that all the volunteers bring Mexican dishes! 
 
2.     Get their favorites!   There are some great resources for creative ways to ask teacher their “favorites.” We found this great Q & A where our teacher had to answer everything from her favorite scent to her favorite restaurant.  Organize a collection with the other families to donate cash and have one (or two) people shop for her favorites.  By knowing her favorite scent, you can choose an appropriate candle.  By knowing her favorite restaurant, you can score a gift card to that restaurant.  Build a basket of her “favorites” and she’ll feel so honored.  What’s better than getting things that you actually want? 
 
3.     Find a small gift!  A traditional way to honor teachers is a small gift.  We love these “Best Teacher Ever” trinket trays where he can stash paper clips, erasers, gum, candy, earrings or just about anything.  With a bold font and colorful options, this tray looks great on any desk.   

Best Teacher Ever Glass Tray by Evy Jacob
 
Here are 3 other favorite teacher gifts we love:  
 
-       From the Classroom of Personalized Stamp: This personalized stamp is great for teachers to stamp books that belong to them or for notes home to parents.  Customize it to make it for your teacher! 
Mason Row - Rectangle Self-Inking Stamp (Clearly)


-       A personalized notepad is a little luxury that your teacher will likely never buy for themselves, but you can score them one that can be used all year-round for notes home to parents/students or quick notes as reminders at their desk.  

Prints Charming Notepads - Blue Monogrammed Apple

-       These “Live, Love, Learn” notepads are priced right and make a good gift to give to a lot of teachers.  If your child is older and has several teachers, consider stocking up on these. Tie with a ribbon and a handwritten note and you have a simple gift that everyone will appreciate. 

Dittie Notepads by Donovan Designs (Live Love Learn)
 
4.     Write a heartfelt note!  Don’t underestimate the power of a thoughtful, handwritten note to your child’s teacher.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big impact and show your appreciation. Take out your trusty stationery and start writing. If you are the kind of person that tends to need multiple drafts, you may want to first write your letter out on a piece of scrap paper or even type it.  When the message is perfected, transfer it to your family stationery or personal stationery. The best kinds of notes are ones that are specific.  Instead of blanket sentiments like, “you’re a great teacher”, choose specific instances where the teacher was great.  For example, “Annie really showed improvement this year in her reading. Thank you for taking the time to work with her during novel study. She loved how you read Indian in the Cupboard out loud and had them read it at home. What a great book and way to reinforce their reading comprehension!” 
 
Here are some ideas for stationery for you or for your family on which to write this beautiful note. 
 
-       For personalized stationery, check out our selection of Crane stationery (currently on sale).  We love the simplicity and timeless quality of these designs. 

Crane & Co. - Perfectly Personalized Flat Cards (Beach Glass Card)

-       For stationery for your family, we love these simple options by Rytex.  You’ll want a basic stationery with your family’s last name (e.g. The Smith Family) for any occasion. From sympathy notes to a note to your neighbor, a good basic is essential. This is certainly fitting for a nice note to thank your teacher! 

Stationery/Thank You Notes by Rytex - Hand Bordered Cards (Navy)
 
You know the mad dash at the end of the year?  The one where you are packing up for camp, trying to remember to thank coaches and teachers, running around to end of year parties, and generally just spread thin?  Avoid that this year and get ahead.  Order your teacher gifts or plan your teacher appreciation now. You’ll be glad you did!  
 
Have tips and tricks on how to honor your teacher to share with us? Share them here or on our blog page. We would love to hear from you! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

St. Patty's Day Corned Beef & Cabbage

Whether you are attending a vibrant parade in your hometown or you are having a quiet dinner party at home, St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that everyone can celebrate – regardless of your Irish heritage (or lack thereof!)
 
While St. Patrick’s day origins are in Christianity and about St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, emigrants from the US in particular were the ones who transformed St. Patrick’s day into a primarily secular holiday. Today we see the holiday has gained a lot of popularity.  For example, Home Goods is stocked with throw pillows, signage, and decorations like never before. Last year, we saw an elementary school assign “homework” to make a leprechaun trap! Pinterest has accelerated the concept of being “pinched” and viola, this holiday is now a full-blown THING.  If you want to jump on this bandwagon, we have a few tips for celebrating this lucky holiday!
 
Set your table 
We love any good excuse to host a dinner party with fine china. Why not break out the good stuff for this holiday?  Invite a few couples over.  If you have children, set up two tables – one for the adults and one for the kids!  There are plenty of paper product options available at your local craft store that are festive for the kiddos. Snag some festive flowers at the grocery store. Gaining popularity – the carnation.  Once thought of as outcast in the flower world, the carnation is gaining popularity in large scale arrangements.  Being relatively inexpensive, you can make a big statement with a LOT of carnations on the table. Let’s just not make them so popular that they increase in price! 


Photograph via Southern Living & Hector Manuel Sanchez

Serve Up Traditional Faire
Go outside your comfort zone and make traditional Irish food for this holiday. It’s easier than you think.  Corned beef and cabbage are always a staple for us.  Follow this recipe below for both! 
 
CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE RECIPE
Ingredients: Pre-Packaged Corned Beef Brisket and spices (contained inside); green cabbage ; salt ; butter 
 
1.     Place your corned beef in a large crockpot and fill with water until your corned beef is fully submerged
2.     Sprinkle the spice package on top
3.     Cover and cook on “low” for 5-7 hours. Beef should be falling apart when you insert a fork
4.     For the cabbage, cut in long strips and boil until tender and the cabbage turns translucent
5.     Sprinkle in butter and salt to taste; approximately 1 tsp. of butter should do the trick
 
Pro Tip:  Never try to cook corned beef quickly. If you don’t have a crockpot, you can simmer on the stove at very low heat for 6-8 hours.  The prep is fast, but the cooking must be slow! 
 
Serve It Up in Style
Indulge in a personalized St. Patrick’s Day themed platter to serve up your corned beef & cabbage to your guests. That extra special touch feels festive and fun. And why not?? 


We love this one from Kelly Hughes Designs. 
 
How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

All About Bags

If you are anything like us, you find a lot of satisfaction in being organized.  Having a dedicated spot for everything, especially when you are on-the-go, makes you feel in control and on top of your game. It doesn’t hurt to be organized AND stylish, too!  With these cute bags and totes, it’s never been easier, more affordable, or more stylish to be organized.  Here’s a roundup of our favorite bags at More Than Paper, plus our organizing tips and tricks! 

 

Makeup Storage 


Cosmetic Bags by Quilted Koala (Create-Your-Own Solid)

We can’t get enough of these makeup bags by Quilted Koala. Choose from over 50 available icons and phrases, select the location and finish of your sentiment (including foils and glitters) and make it YOURS.  They are water resistant and have zipper closures, so they are functional to organize your makeup. 

 

Organizational Tip:  How many eye liners do you really need? At least every six months, make sure to carefully comb through your makeup and ditch anything that is expired. Moreover, if you haven’t used it in a few months, you can probably toss it, too.  Less is more and it will make it easier to find the things that you do use. 

 

Weekender Bag 

Weekender Tote Bag by CB Station


This affordable and roomy weekender bag is perfect for a business trip or an adventure with family and friends. With a top zip closure, inside zip pocket, and two standard size wallet pockets, organizing your weekend wardrobe is easy because there is a spot for everything.  Personalize the trim color and your monogram, initials, or name. 

 

Organizational Tip: Before you put anything in your weekender bag, lay everything out on your couch, bed, dining room table, etc. Start with what your plans are the first night, what you’ll need for the next day, and visualize each outfit that you will need for each occasion.  We tend to underestimate the need for comfy clothes and basics like T-shirts, so don’t forget those things! 

 

Boat Tote 

Large Boat Totes by CB Station

Whether you are going to the beach or on the boat, this large tote bag has a large capacity so you can fit towels, sunscreen, snacks, drinks & more wherever you go.  It’s sturdy canvas material holds up to being on the go often. The bag has a zip closure, so things aren’t falling out and an easy access front pocket, too! At $29.99 each, this bag is also extremely well priced compared to other boat totes!

 

Organizational Tip: Planning makes a perfect day on the boat or on the beach.  We like making a checklist.  Do you have the kids’ life jackets? Towels? Snacks? Drinks? Sunscreen? Bug spray? Toys? A bag to hold wet items? A checklist will come in handy. Also, try packing your boat tote the night before to save time and stress in the morning. 

Tennis Tote Bag

Tennis Tote Bags by CB Station


Tennis, anyone?  This tennis tote bag holds a racquet in the front zippered pocket and has plenty of room inside for water, a snack, sunscreen, sweat bands, and anything else you may need on the court. Choose your own embroidery color and between black or hot pink (navy will be restocked soon!) 

 

Organizational Tip: Zip lock bags are your friend! Inside your tennis tote, fill a zip lock bag with essentials like first aid, band aids, lip balm & personal items.  Fill another zip lock bag with snacks like Cliff Bars or nuts.  Storing like things in smaller bags inside your bigger bag can really help you in a pinch, especially when you are on the court and need it quick on a changeover! 

 

Garment Bags


Striped Garment Bags by CB Station

Protect your dress or suit with these personalized canvas garment bags. You never knew you needed one of these until you actually needed one. Whether you are getting on the plane to go to a wedding or an unexpected business trip, you will need a way to keep your duds fresh, clean & unwrinkled. This one holds up to 2 garments and has zippered pocket compartments.

 

Organizational Tip: When not in use, this doesn’t have to go unused! Store your Sunday best or formal wear attire in this to keep it protected, all year long. 

 

 

Wherever you go, we know you will go there in style and well organized! 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Planning Your Valentine's Day Party

Valentine’s Day Parties Made Easy
Love is in the air! Pink and red hearts fill the halls, cupids float to the ceilings, and the smell of chocolate candy can’t be missed. It’s officially the sweetest time of the year: Valentine’s Day. With all the love that accompanies this holiday season, plan a Valentine's Day party but keep the stress at bay. More Than Paper has put together a list of tips to help make sure this Valentine’s Day is easy. 
 
Tips for a Stress-Free Valentine’s Day:

1. Forget about expensive Valentine’s Day d├ęcor – There are plenty of DIY options or hit up the Dollar Store. One easy DIY option that we love is to cut red and pink hearts out of construction paper and then string them together with red/ white twine vertically. Create a dangling garland that makes a statement. 

2. Send a cute invite!  Make sure to send your invitations at least two weeks in advance and request that your guests RSVP.  You will want to know how many kids need valentines and the number of valentines each guest should bring to exchange. We love these invitations by Boatman Geller, they’re perfect for a Valentine’s Day party. 

Boatman Geller - Heart Cupcakes Valentine's Day Invitations  
3. Get valentines!  Do you want your child’s Valentine’s Day cards to look out of this world? With  Blast Off Valentine's Day Exchange Cards, they definitely will. Personalize these cards for your child by adding their name to the front of them. Another adorable valentine option is the Peace and Love Valentine’s Day Exchange Cards. These cards are beyond trendy and sure to make an impression this Valentine's Day!

Stacy Claire Boyd - Children's Petite Valentine's Day Cards (Out Of This World)

Little Lamb - Valentine's Day Exchange Cards (Peace and Love)

Keep it simple! What about a pizza, heart-shaped cookies, a fruit platter in the shape of a heart, and sandwiches cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutter? Easy peasy! Step up the way you serve with one of our serving dishes. We love this Valentine’s Day-themed platter by Kelly Hughes Designs. Made of Thermosaf® resin, they are shatterproof, microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and oven safe for warming up to 300°

Platters by Kelly Hughes Designs (Hearts)

Have a Valentine Bag decorating table for a creative activity for your guests – Carry all of those precious valentines with you as you head out the door with a DIY bag.  At the party, lay out crayons, markers, or colored pencils to give your guests a chance to personalize their valentine's bags before they go. Another great addition you can offer your guests for their valentines bags is personalized treat bags and bag toppers! One of our favorites is the Monster Valentine’s Day Treat Bag and Topper from Little Lamb Design. 

Little Lamb - Valentine's Day Treat Bag and Topper (Monster)

With these tips, you’re sure to throw the best Valentine's Day party! What are your favorite ideas? Share them with us on our Facebook page or at the comments section below. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Reflect before 2022

As the end of the year approaches, you may be suffering from the holiday season burnout.  The season can be incredibly fun but notoriously stressful at the same time. Let’s remind ourselves to take time to relax and to reflect as we enter the new year. You might be thinking, “What does this mean?” or “How can I take time to relax after months of constant stimulation?” The answer is simple: gratitude.  If we approach the new year with gratitude for all the accomplishments, hardships, and memories that we have made in 2021, we can pave the way for 2022. 

One of the best ways to reflect and practice gratitude is to write in a journal. We’ve compiled a list of journal prompts if this is new to you. 
 
Gratitude and Reflection Journal Prompts:
1.     List ten things you are grateful for going into 2022.
2.     What is something that you are proud of?
3.     Think about a time of hardship this past year. How did you handle it? Did you handle it well? How can you improve?
4.     What is something that brings you comfort in times of struggle?
5.     Describe what you are looking forward to in 2022.
6.     What are your strengths and how do you use them to better your life?
7.     Who is someone you are thankful for and what would you want to tell them?
8.     Overall, how would you rate your 2021 on a scale of 1 to 10? Explain.
9.     If you could change anything about the past year, what would it be?
10.   Describe your favorite memory of 2021.
 
Of course, you’ll need a special place to write. Though any old piece of paper will do the trick, we have a few favorites to share. Stay grateful and self-aware through journaling with the Engraved Peacock Feather Non-Personalized Notebook from Crane.  

Non-Personalized Notepads by Crane (Engraved Peacock Feather Gold Foil Edge)

Another way that you can show gratitude entering the upcoming year is by thanking the ones you love. Of course, there is no better way to thank your friends and family for all they have done this holiday season than by writing them a thank you note. One of our favorite styles of thank you notes is Crane’s Round Corner Thank You Card Stationery/Thank You Notes! These thank you cards are the perfect mix of elegance and class with their cream color and gold details. 

Crane Boxed Stationery Sets - Round Corner Thank You Card

Another one of our favorite thank you notes is the Engraved Hydrangea Boxed Thank You Notes by Crane. These thank you cards depict a beautiful hydrangea and come complete with matching envelopes! For more boxed set thank you note options, visit this selection here.  And of course we offer a huge array of personalized notes which can be used for an type of correspondence as well.

Boxed Thank You Notes by Crane (Engraved Hydrangea)
Wishing you a Happy New Year from everyone at More Than Paper! May it be filled with love and gratitude. 
 

Monday, December 27, 2021

New Years Eve Recipe Tradition

Wondering what you should serve to your guests at this year’s New Year’s soiree? We have you covered! Treat your guests to some sweet and savory Turkey and Apricot Cocktail Meatballs and watch them fall absolutely in love! This is a recipe that we have been making for years. The best part is this delectable appetizer is quick and easy to make, so you can get on with your festivities faster than you planned! This dish takes around 30 minutes of active time and altogether around 60 minutes to complete.  (These are great for making ahead of time and freezing for later use!)


Turkey and Apricot Cocktail Meatballs:




Ingredients:

Before you begin cooking up your decadent Turkey and Apricot Cocktail Meatballs, you have to prepare your ingredients. Below is a concise list of all the fixins you’ll need to make this delicious appetizer. You can use a food processor to help you grate and finely chop the various ingredients!


·       1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs – white sandwich bread is preferred

·       1/3 cup water

·       A medium carrot – make sure it’s grated!

·       A medium onion – chop it finely

·       2T  Avocado or extra virgin olive oil 

·       2 lb of ground dark meat turkey 

·       1/2  cup of dried California apricots – make sure they are finely chopped!

·       1/2  cup of chopped, flat-leaf parsley 

·       3 tablespoons of apricot preserves – these preserves should be divided

·       1 ½ tablespoon of soy sauce – this should also be divided

·       1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce 

·       2 large eggs – lightly beaten

·       1  1/4  teaspoon of salt

·       2 more teaspoons of water 

 

How to Make Turkey and Apricot Cocktail Meatballs:

After gathering all of your ingredients, make sure to follow these quick and easy steps to finish making your Turkey and Apricot Cocktail Meatballs! 

1.      Preheat the oven to 350° – make sure the rack is in the middle!

2.     Soak the breadcrumbs in water in a large bowl

3.     Cook the carrot and onion – 

a.     Cook them in oil in a large, heavy skillet on medium heat

b.     Stir ingredients occasionally until they are softened

c.     This step should take about 10 minutes overall

4.     Squeeze out any excess water from the bread and crumble 

5.     In a large bowl – 

a.    Add breadcrumbs, turkey, dried apricots, parsley, 1 tablespoon apricot preserves, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, and ¼ teaspoon salt

b.    Mix ingredients with your hands until just combined

c.    Form mixture into small meatballs and pop them on a baking dish (a glass dish actually   works best here despite our photos)!





6.   Stir together water, remaining 2 tablespoons preserves, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce and brush over surface of meatballs.

a.    Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, around 30-35 minutes.

7.     Let those puppies stand for 10 minutes before serving to your hungry guests!






 

Pro Tips:

1.     Use a food processor to help with your finely chopped ingredients.

2.     Make extra sauce for later – There’s a chance you might want these as leftovers. If that’s the case, freeze them and make sure to brush the remaining sauce over the treats before reheating! 

 

 

After making your Turkey and Apricot Cocktail Meatballs, you’ll need a classy and functional way to present your masterpiece! What better way to share your delicious appetizers with your guests than on one of Boatman Geller’s Ardon Charcoal Personalized Melamine Platters

Boatman Geller - Personalized Melamine Platters (Arden Charcoal)

These adorable platters are customizable -- from all of the accent colors to the font.  
 
Another great accessory to include at your New Year’s Eve party this year are personalized cocktail napkins! We recommend a napkin that is just as classy as it is festive.  Try the Wreath Letterpress Napkins by Chatsworth!

Holiday Letterpress Napkins by Chatsworth (Wreath)