12 Creative Uses for Pinterest

Pinterest offers imaginative and colorful daily inspiration (or pinspiration) to moms, but there's more to do on the photo-sharing site than just pinning favorite snack and craft ideas. We found 12 moms, active pinners and bloggers, with ingenious ideas to help you organize finances, plan vacations, and more.

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Stage Your Family Pictures

Find clever ways to snap your annual family picture, plus ideas for Baby's first photo shoot. If you want to keep photos private, use the secret board feature to gather pics that only family and friends can see. Follow the lead of Lynn Svenson's pin, which shows how you can turn your kids' sweet portraits into priceless gifts. "Photos are very important to us -- my husband's a photographer -- so we often try to incorporate photos into gifts and events," Svenson says. "Since my son was too young to make anything for his grandparents last Grandparents Day, we used a photo instead. We love that he looks like he's shouting it, too!"

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Keep Track of Vacation Planning

Pin getaway spots, hotels, deals, packing lists, and more to make planning a family vacation the smoothest it's ever been. Tips and tricks like Tiffany Dahle's Disney vacation pin is a stress-reducing lifesaver. "I wanted to create a destination for the best Disney tips in one spot to inspire moms with all kinds of ways to add some magic to their vacation dreaming, whether the trip is planned for now or someday. Few vacations are as full of pressure as a Disney [trip] is, but I hope other moms will discover it doesn't need to be that way," Dahle says. Find the complete Disney guide on her blog.

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Start a Bucket List

Don't let opportunities to experience the world with your kids pass you by; create a Pinterest board to collect all the fun places and activities your family wants to see and do. Be inspired by Lindsay of the blog That's So Cuegly; her pin shows a terrific list of kid-approved activities. "My kids remember the one-on-one time we share," she says. "There's no need to spend tons of money to do so, just 10 to 20 minutes of your day. After taking the time to learn a little about outer space, we're now planning on watching the annual Perseid meteor shower that appears every August. They've never even seen a shooting star, so it's going to be a monumental moment that they'll never forget, and something that is free and light on my wallet." To keep your board from going idle, set a goal to have each family member pick out two or three items from the bucket list each month to accomplish together.

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Be Motivated by Parenting Quotes

Inspiring quotes and amazing images of parenting can renew your spirit and make you want to run and hug your child, even if you're having one of those days. The quotable pins that Karen To creates will breathe life into any mom or dad's virtual board. "Parenthood is not a one-size-fits-all experience, [and] it's certainly the most important thing we'll ever go through. I believe it's so important to empower all parents through their individual journeys, and that's why I love sharing inspirational quotes: to remind parents that what they're doing is extremely meaningful and wonderful," To reveals. Her goal is to help parents be the best they can be.

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Save Money on Groceries

Get money-saving tips from other frugal moms, and take advantage of printable coupons posted on deal boards. Even better, share the wealth: Create an online coupon-sharing club, where you and your thrifty friends can pin deals and coupons on the same board. Parents.com blogger and expert couponer Lydia Beiler shares her best budget-friendly ideas for grocery shopping in a viral pin related to her post, 4 Things I Do to Keep Our Grocery Budget at $200 a Month. "When I began using coupons I started to realize that I could save a lot if I chose to be open-minded about trying brands that I didn't typically use," Beiler says. "I'll be honest -- there are still a couple of products that I am a brand snob about, but overall I purchase whatever I can get for the least amount of money."

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Create Gift Guides

Stockpile pins on a gift ideas board to avoid the last-minute scramble for birthday and holiday presents. Older kids can create their own wish board and drop not-so-subtle hints by pinning toys and gadgets they want. Pinners like Mari Richards offer a smart gift guide resource to showcase the latest must-haves for children. "With my background as a toy designer, I love sharing some of my favorite toys and latest finds with everyone," she says. "You can see all of my gift guides for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids and gifts under $25 on my blog."

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Stockpile Books and Movies

Store all your ideas for kids' books (or classic family-friendly movies) on Pinterest for a perfect night in. Allison McDonald's pin Picture Books That Rhyme makes it easy to look for funky and funny books to borrow or buy. "Parents are busy and are told they need to do a million things to [be] a good parent," McDonald says. "If I can help make it easier for parents to read to their kids, then I am all for it. Making book lists that parents can take to the library or bookstore helps them save time on days when browsing is not an option." So hit the public library together to choose and borrow a few books (or movies) every week or month.

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Share Homeschool Activities

Whether you're new to homeschooling or an 18-year veteran with advice to give, turn to Pinterest for lesson plans, printable worksheets, activities, experiments, art projects, and more. If you're unsure how to begin, find tips and encouragement from other homeschooling parents, like Dana of the blog Dana's Pink Ribbon, who shares activity ideas for young children. "I wrote a series of posts on my blog about some of my son's favorite Montessori-inspired activities, based on the concepts of creating a sense of order, fine motor development, pre-literacy, math, the senses, and practical life activities," she says.

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Find Science Fair Projects

Forget the cliched baking soda volcano. Find unusual science fair ideas from other families, or find fun facts to use as a starting point for your child's own project. Tricia Hodges and her kids brainstorm ideas from their own front yard; check out her 10 Science Fair Projects pin for some scientific inspiration. "Homeschooling five children from preschool to high school has given us plenty of science fair project opportunities on a wide range of topics," Hodges says. "We especially enjoy doing a science fair project that complements or completes our studies. This project was [one] we completed with [the study pack] Our Universe [from] Answers in Genesis. We had learned about the sun, the moon and its phases, asteroids, meteors, the space program, astronauts, and more. We had even stood outside in the driveway and watched the International Space Station fly over!"

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Keep Up With Kids' Clothing Trends

Surprise your kids with your knowledge of the latest trends in children's gear, and find the best deals on back-to-school clothing. Danielle Wilson goes one step further by creating original kids' fashions for her kids. She keeps up with styles (which change nearly as fast as her kids grow!) and showcases creations on her blog. "Pinterest helps me plan and organize looks, keep notes about garments I want to buy from different retailers, or it inspires design elements and fabrics I want to incorporate into garments I'm designing and sewing," Wilson says.

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Discover Halloween Costumes

Be "pinspired" by DIY Halloween costume ideas to create a cool outfit using items that are already in your child's closet. "Making your own costumes means you don't have to limit your imagination to the costume selection at the store. My children love that they can dress up as whatever their little hearts want to be, and I'll do my best to create something memorable!" says Ashley Johnston, whose pin shows an adorable DIY Little Red Riding Hood costume that's right out of a fairy tale. "Pinterest is a huge form of inspiration. I could be on there looking at jewelry, and will end up with an idea for a Wonder Woman costume. You never know when inspiration is going to strike!"

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Collect Organization Tips

Peruse Pinterest on ways to organize every shared space in your home, whether it's the bathroom, mudroom, or the kids' homework area. Tricia Ostheim has the answers to making the most of cramped quarters, and her pin shows a new-and-improved laundry room as a shining example. "When organizing a small space, try storing all the little things in labeled bins and baskets that go all the way to the ceiling," Ostheim says. "Bulkier items can be hidden on shelves behind a homemade curtain on a tension rod. Just by doing these two things, we more than doubled the storage space in our 10' X 3' laundry room."

Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.

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