Friday, December 31, 2010

Paint Chip Heart for Valentine's Day

What do you do with your paint chips after you use them? I have been racking my brain trying to figure out a project to use them. As I took down my Rudolph art, I came up with this... a paint chip heart for Valentine's day!
Here's a closer shot, I just used a glue stick, started in the top corners and started layering. Then I cut out two small "xoxo"s from red vinyl and added them. Pretty cute for a free project!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Valentine's Headbands

I ran across this cute post over at Fabulous Fun Finds for a Valentine's headband. We had to run into Hobby Lobby today to pick up a few things for Emma's birthday party that I'm prepping for. Instead of going somewhere else to get regular head bands, we bought these ones there. The pink one was $0.75 cents and the cream one was $0.99. Don't ask me why the price is different, it was beyond me, and of course Cami had to pick the cream one! We got home and I got out my felt assortment, and we were going to follow the instructions from the blog, when I remembered I'd just bought a bag of felt heart stickers. For sake of ease, we switched gears and stacked two different size hearts, and then I used embroidery floss to make an x on them to hold them in place.

Cami cut a white heart smaller so that she could triple stack it. She wouldn't let me help her do it. ;)
They turned out pretty cute, and not bad for $1.75 and stickers I already had!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Free Print Projects

Yesterday I stumbled upon a couple of cute printables that I loved! Click here to download the Creativity printable page. After I clicked download, I was able to choose what size I wanted to print. I did the full size 8 x10 and framed it. I hung it up next to my craft table ,with ruffle ribbon I found at our new Hobby Lobby! (first one in CA!)

I also found this Welcome 2011 sign and printed it out as well. This one in a 5 x 7. Click here to download your own.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

FUN Christmas Game

Tonight we celebrated a mini-family Christmas because part of our family is going to Colorado this week. My sister in law recently learned a new game and said we HAD to play it. We wrapped two gifts, each one in about 5 layers of wrapping, and each layer wrapped with painters tape. You roll a dice- we picked the # 1 as the number we were rolling for. You stand around a table and pass the dice around. When you get the number, you hurry and put on a scarf, hat, goggles (or glasses) and snow gloves. You try to rip open the gift until the next person rolls that number and then they take your gear from you and try to open it. The person who finally opens it gets to keep it. It's HILARIOUS! Many times we didn't even get our gear on before the next person would roll a #1 and we had to give them our stuff.

Seriously, if you have a weak bladder, pee before playing this game! Have fun!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Elf gifts!

I came across this post that was included in a HowDoesShe article about things to use jars with. I loved the idea and thought I'd make them for "elf gifts". I've always heard and read of people leaving something on the doorstep, with a note saying, "you got elfed!" and running away.These are so easy to make too! The recipe is on the link above, as well as the printable tags.
They included the baking directions too, so all you need is to print out the sheet, cut them up and then use some double sided tape and ribbon to attach them to the jars.
I ran out of room in my jars for the pecans. I packed each ingredient down firmly, but I still had NO room for the nuts. Just an fyi, so you don't feel like you have to buy the nuts. They also make cute neighbor gifts. =)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chocolate Mint Cookies {WAY better than Girl Scouts!}

Growing up, my family would join with our "best friend family" and spend an entire day making cookies. One year, when they planned to start baking on a school day (they expected us to wait until after school to help! ha!) I stayed home sick from school. When my mom's friend arrived, she had- you guessed it- MY best friend with her who also stayed home sick that day! Imagine that, we didn't even plan it! I think it really must have given us a stomach ache to think of them baking without us! Our siblings had all gone to school, we were the only two who just couldn't fathom being at school. I have the fondest memories of five kids at our (or theirs, depending on the year) dining room table, rolling Russian Teacakes in powdered sugar, or putting sprinkles on sheets of Spritz cookies, or putting the chocolate disk and nut on top of the Santa's Thumbprint cookies when they came out of the oven. Anyway! Back to the matter at hand! One of the many cookies our families made every year were these! They blow the pants off of Girl Scout Thin Mints! Trust me!The most important thing in making these cookies are buying the right ingredients! This chocolate, Mercken's, will completely harden on it's own {no refrigerating required} , and it will look glossy and smooth. The other thing you will need is peppermint oil, NOT extract or flavoring. This is the way it's been done for all of my 28 years and I'm not gonna mess with a good thing! =) The only other ingredient you'll need is a box of Original Ritz crackers, again, no generics here. If you live in Visalia, you can find Mercken's at Sweets N Things or Pacific Treasures.Lay out rows of wax paper on your counter top. Use the double boiler method to melt your chocolate. I used 2 of the one pound bags in this bowl. If you don't know how to do a double boiler, you simply put about an inch or so of water in a pan and nestle in a heat safe bowl, and stir the chocolate while the water boils. Make sure the water isn't so high that it would actually touch the bowl.

After your chocolate is totally smooth and melted, remove from the heat, but keep over the pan of steam. Add about 6 small drops of peppermint oil to this amount of chocolate and stir. You are ready to dip! Drop four Ritz, face down in the chocolate. Don't use broken crackers, you want your chocolate smooth, not full of crumbs. Using two forks, you will use your right hand to flip it once, and the fork in the left hand you will gently press the tines into the top of the cracker so that you can shake off any excess chocolate.

I didn't have an extra set of hands in the house to take a picture of me doing that step, since I need both hands to do it.

Drop on your wax paper and allow to completely dry. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homemade Potpourri

Want the simplest way to make your house smell great and festive? It couldn't be easier! My sister in law taught me this trick years ago. I added the cheesecloth pouch because a few years ago I got tired of trying to fish out the small pieces, without dumping liquid into the trash.Cut a square of cheesecloth.
Add cinnamon sticks (these are cheapest in bulk at Winco), whole cloves, and whole allspice (which I was out of, so it's not in the picture)

Bundle it up and tie it with twine.

Slice up oranges, lemons, and/or apples. It's a good way to use fruit that has gotten too ugly to eat. If your kids like their apples peeled, you could throw in the peels. I was out of lemons, but it also smells great with apples and oranges. Just add about 4 cups of water to the pan and simmer.

You can add more water and re-boil for about 2-3 days. After that it gets gross and you'll need to start over fresh. It is a lot easier to throw away the bundle of spices, than have them floating all over the pan!

Gingerbread houses

Last week was gingerbread house decorating at Charter Home School Academy. My hubby was hoping to come with us, but got sent out of town to work that morning. The girls and I headed down to the school with our gingerbread kit. I had put together the house the day before so that it would be solid enough to decorate.
While these kits are very helpful, they just don't cut it for me. Growing up my mom made her own gingerbread and cut her own pattern. I still have the fondest memories of our annual trip to Mr. Bulky, a bulk candy store, and getting to plan our candy decorations.
One year, I HAVE to do it myself, but it was not this year. Maybe I'm waiting for them to be a little bit older so that they would be more help, and maybe appreciate it more. I have special place in my heart for my pastel necco wafer roof that I made as a child.

When they were done the girls got to decorate a cookie and eat it. I'm happy to report the gingerbread house made it home in one piece! Amazingly!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Cookie Kit

Check out this super cute Christmas Cookie Kit that I got today from my supercalicraftilicious friend Sheri! Is it not the cutest thing ever?! It comes with star and tree cookies, a can of frosting, and two types of sprinkles.
Check out the cute wooden basket packaging! Thanks Sheri! I had to share it with everyone!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh happy day! A complaint-free writing day!

After lunch today, we trudged back into the schoolroom. It was quite obvious that I was more enthused than the girls. Our morning was spent in Language Arts, Math and extra reading. I was planning on finishing up with their Science lesson for the day and putting them down for a nap. I remembered that 1.) I needed Emma to do writing for the day (and she filled up her journal and is waiting on a new one from school, so she's been writing on just regular paper and she doesn't write nearly as much as she can/should on that paper) AND 2.) I've been trying to get Cami to write more sentences at once (she thinks she should just have to write one sentence like she did in the beginning of kindergarten) and it has been an uphill battle of wills! For some reason, I thought about doing one giant brainstorm together on the board and having them do a writing project together. Usually they do writing on their own because Emma is obviously expected to do more since she is older. I put away the writing paper and cut up some printer paper. After about 10 minutes of doing a writing web together on things they like to do at Christmas, they were ready to make a book! I am AMAZED that Cami didn't complain when I asked her to fix her mistakes and reminder her about spacing. I literally dread when it's time to do journaling with Cami. I told them to write one sentence on each page and when they were all done, they could illustrate them to match the print. Emma wrote twelve pages and Cami wrote SIX! This might not seem like a huge accomplishment to you, but when you have a kindergartner who loathes writing more than one sentence at a time, it's HUGE! I feel on top of the writing world, with just a simple, happy project! They were actually singing while they were coloring, instead of fighting with each other! =)Emma showing off a few pages.

Cami showing off her cover.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mantleless Stockings...

Update! We got our tree tonight and and I got a bunch of clippings to make a wreath, and also this topper to bring life to my white window! I like it much better now!__________________________________________________________________
My house does not have a fireplace, therefore, no mantel from which to hang stockings. Every year I am wishing I had a cuter way to hang them, but end up using our old $1 store ceramic Santas with the hook bases on a window ledge in the living room. It is less than appealing, and everyday when I open the blinds I brace myself for one to fall. I have been sifting through Christmas decor all morning-most of which I'm opting to keep in the storage box this year and see what I can create. I have this old window, and it has spent years being everything from a hat rack, scarf rack, to a ribbon rack. Today I thought I might be able to use it as a stocking hanger. I took down our huge mirror that is usually here, and hung up the window. Unfortunately I have a blister because I liked the paint better on the backside so I had to unscrew the hooks and re-screw them onto this side. Then I cut Merry Christmas out of vinyl with my cricut and put in on one of the glass panes. I know that I want to add something green on or around this...although I haven't decided what yet. With white stockings and a white window, I think it needs more color. But I like it so far! =)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

Today is Thanksgiving Eve! I LOVE this day each year, when I know the next morning will be spent watching the parade, with all of the wonderful smells of wafting out from the oven. Thankfully our family uses a deep pit to cook our turkey. Which means, all I have to do it prep it! If you are unfamiliar with a deep pit (which I was before I moved to California over 10 years ago), it is a deep hole in the ground, lined with bricks on all sides. My husband, his dad, and their friends who decide to deep pit their turkey that year burn wood in the pit starting around dinner time. It isn't ready to put the turkeys in until almost midnight, with enough coals to cook all of the turkeys. The turkey are wrapped twice in turkey bags, then wrapped in two layers of foil, then wrapped in a burlap sack, then wrapped with wire, which acts as the "handle" to get the turkey in and out of the pit. When they drop them in, they also put cactus leaves in the pit before covering them up, for the moisture. The result is, the next day you pull out your turkey and you had better put the bag in a BIG dish because there is SO much juice and the meat literally falls off the bone. Anyway, back to MY part of this traditional night...Years ago, before we were married, I used to freeze my buns off outside with them, burning wood by the fire, with Brandon's old German Shepherd, Coyote, by our side. Once we had kids, obviously there was no way we were going to have our babies freezing outside, so I have had to stay inside with them. In the years since, I have started my own, "perfectly lonely" tradition. I watch It's a Wonderful Life all by myself. Each year I try to get the kids to watch it with me but they get bored, so I put them to bed and watch it myself. I remember my mom watching this movie all through my childhood, and if she hadn't, I probably never would have seen it. When I moved away, I bought my own, and accidentally bought it in "technicolor"....yuck! I returned it and bought it in the original black and white. To me, it just wasn't the same to watch it in color. I LOVE this movie, and I even love that I watch it one to complain about it being long or boring, because they don't have the same appreciation for it as I do. If you haven't seen it, I recommend watching it before Christmas this year, in black and white if you can! =) Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Birthday Countdown Blocks!

If you've read my blog over the past month, you know that I've made a Christmas countdown and a Countdown to turkey. I decided that it would be cute to make a birthday countdown for kiddos! I'm covering up the name because this is a little girl's Christmas present and I don't want her mommy to see. =)I think it turned out really cute! I'm going to make a set for my girls and give them to them at Christmas. My only rule is going to be that they can't have it out all year! =)

Friday, November 19, 2010


So it is really irritating that I can't move my signature to the bottom of the post, because I am not using a picture on this post. You'll just have to ignore it. =)

This morning I was able to run errands kid-less thanks to Friday morning electives at our Charter School! I can't believe how much faster I can do things without dragging along two kids! Anyway, I have been browsing blogs looking for VERY inexpensive homemade gift ideas. This morning I went to get some of the materials and also browse a few other things. As I was headed back to the school to pick up the kids, I started thinking about how my spending habits have changed. The older I get, the more I realize I can do without and prefer to have not spent the money. I've been thinking a lot lately about how hard my husband works. He installs air conditioners and heaters and works with sheet metal. He crawls in attics, under houses, and climbs roofs all day long. I am excited to think before making a purchase "will I be honoring my husband's hard labor if I buy this?" and really re-thinking the value of money and material things. I have always LOVED to give, and I still do. It is really great to come to the realization that with advance planning I can still give great gifts, and honor the work of my husband's hands at the same time! Oddly enough, RIGHT after I had these thoughts, the Family Life program came on the radio and the topic was money in marriage. One thing that was said that stuck with me so much that I wrote it down was a Dave Ramsey quote: "If you're willing to live now like no one else, you can live later like no one else."

I WISH I could show you the gifts I'm making because they are SO cute, but my friends read my blog, so I can't. Feel free to email me if you are looking to make really inexpensive, but really CUTE girlfriend gifts this Christmas and I will send a picture. =) Here's to a wise Christmas that doesn't lead to buyers remorse!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Math Fact Family Flash Cards

Yesterday our teacher told us about fact family flash cards! They are so cool, and I have never heard of them. I think it will help Emma understand the concept quickly.I made them today and laminated them.
The whole number goes at the top of the triangle. The parts go in the bottom corners. Then you can cover up different parts of the card to see the related facts. 7-6

Same card: 7-1

Same card:6+1

Shown here is the entire set of 7 cards. A very clear way to learn fact families! =)