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.