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! =)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Felt Match Game

Today I stumbled on a great blog, Honeybear Lane! I saw this post on a shape match game. I was able to make one with fabric and felt I already had! I wish that I would've had primary colors, but it'll do. I made it for a 1st birthday gift, it will be a fun way to learn shapes. I sewed up a cute drawstring bag to hold the game pieces.
A close up of a couple of the pieces. I used flannel for the back side of them, then white felt topped with the colored shapes.

DIY Turkey Coloring Books

A couple of weeks ago I saw a post on Martha Stewart for turkey coloring books. I am very lucky to NOT be hosting Thanksgiving this year! As much as I love to host holidays, it sure takes a lot of prep work (and housecleaning!). I thought I would make these little turkey coloring books and bring crayons for the kids that will be there. I could have cut them on my cricut, but I used construction paper and cut them with the Accucut machine at the Visalia Learning Center. The front and back covers are made out of brown construction paper.

The middle pages are white and I tied them toether through the eye hole with jute.

I think they turned out pretty cute, and {bonus} they were FREE! I already had all of the materials! These will be a cute way to occupy a few kiddos on Thanksgiving!

Baker's Clay

Today has been one of those days where the perks of homeschooling show! Cami recently began the unit on Physical Science. Today's lesson was on clay and in my teacher's manual there was a recipe for baker's clay and the instructions on how to bake it. I didn't take any pictures when we formed them, before we baked them. I did however get pictures of painting!
They made "pinch pots" and then were able to make shapes with cookie cutters with the extra clay. We used a straw to poke a hole in them before baking so that we could tie a ribbon through to make an ornament.
I'm pretty sure you don't get to make Darth Vader and Yoda out of clay in regular science class. ;)
Baker's Clay
1 cup salt
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cup water
mix together and knead until clay forms
bake at 350 for 1 hour and paint when cooled

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fire & Police Station Tours

This morning our school went on a field trip to tour fire and police stations. First, our group went to the fire station. My friend's husband (their kids also belong to the same school) is a fireman, and he did our tour!
Here he is, showing the kids all of the protective gear that they wear.

He put on all of his gear so that the kids would know not to be afraid of a fireman if they were ever in a fire.

A engine got called out while we were there.

Even I learned a lot today! I never knew that THIS is a fire TRUCK, and the other one is a fire ENGINE. The trucks don't carry water, and have the ladder on top and their focus is on search and rescue. The engines carry water.

He showed us a lot of their equipment. He said that this fire truck costs a million dollars!

The jaws of life.

Here he is showing us how the fireman's schedule works and the maps of the city that are all over the station so that they always know where they are going.

He showed us his "bedroom", or dorm, where they sleep.

This is the kitchen area, and the kids asked the men a couple of questions. Leave it to my daughter to announce, "it smells like coffee in here!" haha. Yes, she knows that smell well! =)

Smoke detectors!
Emma was SO excited to try on the gear!

Sitting in the engine.
Next, we headed next door to the police station.

She pointed out that the Visalia badge has Mickey Mouse on it! I never noticed that before!

The big round white thing is what they detonate bombs in.

Swat and CSI vehicles...

I felt bad for the tour guide in the briefing room, the little kids were less than enthused and most of them laid their heads down on the table! I guess this just wasn't as interesting as the fire station to them!

They took us in small groups into dispatch and we had to be totally silent.
We had a great morning, but by far our favorite tour was the fire station!