Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Teacher Gifts

Being the holiday season, it seems there is no end to the "required" (or expected) gifts to give. With 3 kids, teachers are pretty much a permanent fixture on my Christmas list. This year's offering is an apple.

You like my apple? Red ramekin, red cellophane, red candy, and a green chenille stem (pipe cleaner).

From a roll of cellophane, I cut 15" squares (cause it was 30" wide) and I cut the pipe cleaner in half. Each one has 1 cup of candy - you could use red jelly beans, red gummy bears, these have boston baked beans. Now, gather it up, "tie" it off with the pipe cleaner, and trim the extra cellophane.

We can't decide which looks better. Do you prefer the cellophane inside the cup (taped it to the bottom so it stays) or around the outside of the cup?

Do you have other fun teacher (or other) gift ideas?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Animated Beauty

A friend shared this video. Hope you'll take time to watch it, as it's hauntingly beautiful. It's animated by a guy at BYU.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving and Life Rushes On

Clearance tablecloths, napkins, glitter pumpkins (from Halloween), 3 bags of candy, and 14 place settings with the Harvest Blessing Mix treat bags and turkey napkin holders, and we've got our Thanksgiving table. My girls helped me put together the turkey napkin holders.

I think the tables turned out looking pretty good. Thanks J and K for helping. Too bad I forgot to take pictures during dinner, when there were actually people in those chairs.

Thanksgiving was a week ago, and I live for Christmas, so I'm always anxious to start the Christmas music, get out the tree and decorations, and make lots of crafts and gifts. But since going back to school, I feel almost Scrooge-y. I think it's because I don't have the time to do what I usually do during the holidays. This year, I haven't completed gift shopping and making, I'm not completely on top of Christmas decorations, and we haven't got the tree out, yet. But I did manage to pull out the red tablecloth (while putting away the orange from Thanksgiving) and change the contents of my vases. So I have one Christmas decoration out. At least I can say I've started.

Now, ribbon bow around the vase bottoms or not? I can't decide what would look best. That, and I don't actually have any appropriate red or green ribbon on hand. Does they need a ribbon?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Silhouette Giveaway

If you've ever heard of Silhouette, get on over to Grosgrain (blog) for a chance to win one. Oh, I want. It's a die cut machine I've been drooling over ever since I heard about it 6 months ago. Isn't it purrdy?
Click for more information or to enter: Silhouette Machine Giveaway

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harvest Blessing Mix

A friend of mine shared this with me, and I thought it would be a perfect favor for Thanksgiving this year (which, although I'm not hosting, I am planning). With one batch, I made 4 big bags (to share with some ladies I visit in the neighborhood) and 21 small bags (for Thanksgiving dinner guests). It really does make a lot. Now, there's no recipe, cause you just add as much of each thing as you'd like. We wanted it colorful, but not too much candy, so we started with pretzel.

(Sorry about the quality of the pictures. My camera will not take good colored pictures in my house at night. The color of my walls reflects on everything. But ignoring the color, you can see what it looks like.)

As you can see, the mix is very versatile. You could change candy corn to popcorn, or goldfish to swedish fish. You can choose whichever dried fruit and nut or seed you'd like (or add several, like I did here), and add as much of each item as you think looks good (or will taste good). You do have to use the twisted pretzels (to represent prayer) and I can't think of any substitution for bugels, but they're easy to find. I just love that it's fast and easy.

You can make your own card to tie on, or print the one pictured:

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I totally and completely fail. I was in charge of a Fall Festival church function. The tables got decorated with all my pumpkins (and candy corn), there was plenty of good food, most people dressed up, and we had a blast. But, I loaned out my camera for the night and didn't get any pictures of my own family. Jessica was good enough to catch these first 2: of Colton, and me and Katie. Sorry, they're so dark. Then when heading out to trick-or-treat, my camera was dead, so no more Halloween pictures. Later, at Grandma's, I did get one of the girls with their cousin, but that was it. Luckily, someone at the church got a picture of the old man (Rob came up with his own costume, and shaved part of his head for it).

We did finally get pumpkins carved for the week, and the kids did theirs all by themselves - the painted ones and the carved ones. Katie wanted hers to be a cat, and Jess's was usually sporting a clown wig.

Popping Pumpkins

What's the best way to dispose of wilting Jack-o-Lanterns? Take 'em up in the hills and shoot 'em. Apparently, we weren't the first ones with this idea, cause the smashed up one in the middle was there before we set ours up.

Jess loves to go shooting, Colton's becoming more secure, and Katie can barely hold the gun up. Each pumpkin got a few hits, and we left them there for the next target seekers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Plenty of Pumpkins?

I have a church activity coming up in which I have to decorate 20+ tables. I had a dozen fall floral arrangements already, so I only
needed to make centerpieces for ~10 tables. So, I've been making pumpkins.

3 tables of glitter pumpkins:
3 tables of paper strip pumpkins:
and 7 tables of vent pumpkins:

And I do have one other pumpkin style, but they cannot be made ahead of time. Take an orange balloon, put a handful of rice or beans inside. Blow up, tie, and tie a curly green ribbon on. Draw a jack-o-lantern face on the balloon. These kind-of remind e of a bobo doll. Wobbly bobo balloon pumpkins. Hehehe.

Now, party goers will also be bringing their own decorated pumpkins to be judged, so there will be many more pumpkins.

Do you think I have enough?

Now off to carve pumpkins with the kids. Do you roast your seeds? How do you like them? Salted? Plain? Seasoned?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Make-it Monday: Gumball machine candy jar

*Disclaimer: Please forgive the horrible picture quality. I really do have a decent camera, but the colors in my house are awful for pictures. And, I took this picture so late last night - it was late, bad lighting, unsteady camera hand . . . - and well, this is the best I could get.

*Disclaimer #2: I know it's not Monday, but I was ready to post yesterday- school work just got in the way.

I saw this darling candy jar on another blog (forgive me whoever you are, I can't remember) and just HAD to try it.

$1 terra cotta pot
$1 terra cotta drip tray
$1 round glass jar
a 1 1/2 inch wooden knob
some black acrylic paint (this is a metallic paint, very cool, nice and shiny, but requires 2 or more coats where the original covers completely with just one coat) and foam paint brush
Gorrilla brand super glue
ribbon to match the current holiday/season

Just paint the pot (don't have to paint the inside), the lid (paint both top and bottom), and the wooden knob. Dry completely, then glue the glass jar to the upside down pot and the knob to the upside down drip tray. Fill with candy, tie a festive ribbon, and there you have your gumball machine.

Isn't it cute? I'm going to switch the ribbon every holiday and season, and keep it filled with colorful candy. We had candy corn for Halloween, I've switched to fall colored M&Ms (cause the kids ate all the candy corn), and then there will be plenty of red and green candies for Christmas. But can you imagine gummy hearts for Halloween, chocolate coins for St. Patrick's Day, red and blue jelly beans for the 4th of July . . . ooh, I just get carried away.

I need to find where to get cheap gumballs. They'd look so fun for summer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Candy Vase

I've seen a few really cute Halloween crafts in the blog-o-shpere lately. This vase-turned-candy dish caught eye, so I threw a few together. They'll serve any holiday with a simple change of ribbon and candy.
They were so quick and easy, I made three!
The best part, each candy vase only cost $2. (Dollar store vases and candlestick holders) Add a little super glue, ribbon if you want, and your choice of filler (candy or decoration). I threatened the kids to not touch the candy until three days before Halloween (so it stays looking cute all month). We'll see how long that lasts.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Apple Pudding

I have the BEST apple dessert recipe for you. Unfortunately, I have no pictures. I made it for a church ladies function, and there was none made it back safely for pictures. But trust me on this, you need to try it.

2nd note, forget that it's called a pudding. (Think bread pudding ?) Naw, forget the name. It's a cake, about the same texture as a carrot cake. Now, go make it. Here's the recipe:
(and, as with most recipes, you could use butter or margarine, but butter is better)

Best Ever Apple Pudding
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, soft
1 egg
2 large apples, shredded
1 cup flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped, optional

Gradually add sugar to butter. Cream well. Add egg, beat hard. Shred apples, add at once. (You don't have to peel the apples, just core them.) Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Add nuts (optional). Bake in 8" pan @ 350° for 45 minutes. Cool slightly, but best served warm.

Butter sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canned milk (evaporated)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
dash of nutmeg

Stir butter, sugar, and milk in saucepan until blended and slightly thickened. DO NOT BOIL. Add vanilla and nutmeg. Serve warm cake with warm sauce and whipped cream.

Last notes: I like it cold, too, but it's better if you at least heat up the sauce. And, for my tastes, whipped cream is too rich on this cake. I prefer cool whip. And for events (which are a good excuse for a rich dessert) I double it and bake in a 9x13 pan. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Pork Burritos

Mmmmmm. Isn't this making you hungry? Of course, my presentation could be better. But we were hungry, and the kids weren't going to wait for me to make it pretty. (Besides, it was already almost 8:00 at night, which is really late for dinner for kids.)
Start by preparing your pork. Combine 1 cup of brown sugar with 1 cup of salsa (any kind) in your crockpot. We even mixed the last of a bottle with the last of some homemade. You probably want to use whatever kind you like best.

Add your pork. I was told to use a pork roast, but I like using these thick cut boneless chops because they cook faster and shred better. Whatever cut of meat you have is fine.

Cook until the meat shreds. These chops only took 2 hours.
Then prepare a spanish or mexican rice, any type, any brand or homemade. I use whatever brand is on sale, and prepare 2 packages for my family. Add black beans, canned or homecooked (we use 2 cans), mozzarella cheese, green enchilada sauce and flour tortillas. Have tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa, etc to serve with.

Assemble burritos with meat, cheese, beans, and rice on a tortilla. Drizzle a little enchilada sauce and roll up.

Now, if I wanted it all pretty, I'd make a bunch, lay them in the pan, top with more enchilada sauce and cheese, and throw it in the oven for a few minutes to heat and melt the cheese. But, we didn't take time for that, so the burritos got rolled right on the plate. My kids don't like the enchilada sauce, so theirs looked a little plain. But I threw mine in the microwave (to melt the cheese) right after this:
Top with your favorite garnishes: chopped tomatoes, fresh salsa, sour cream, etc. and Enjoy!

Make-It Monday: Dress to Skirt Re-make

I know it's been a while. I've been sick, had papers due, then midterms . . . Well, needless to say, I haven't had time to post lately. So I wanted to share this darling skirt I made from a dress.

(*Sorry about the direction of some of the pictures. I forgot to turn them, but my computer is being retarded and won't read my camera card, so I'm not taking the obscene amount of time it would take to go back and fix them.)

The fabric was just perfect for my middle child. And her birthday was coming up. But the dress was not up to our modest standards, and besides, it was way too big. But I saw potential in the fabric.

I wanted to keep the darling trim and bow, so I planned to cut it off above that. I started by cutting out the boning.

Then I removed the zipper. I did another dress to skirt where I left the zipper in and just cut it down, but I decided to try this one without it completely.

Then I measured 3 or 3 1/2 inches (don't remember which) above the seam, and cut it off. Measure every few inches all the way around and mark, then cut connecting the dots. Then I serged around the raw edge to finish it and hold the lining and fabric together.

Then I folded it down inside, and stitched "in the ditch" to hide the seam. I didn't want to sew over the cute piping and have it show.

I didn't know how big I needed it to be, and thought I might need to put the zipper back in so she could get it on and off, but I might need to add elastic in the waist to keep it on her. So for now, I just finished it off by sewing the back seam where the zipper was closed (sorry no pic).

Turns out, she can pull it on, but it's not too loose. So, for now, she can wear it as is. And in a year or so, if we need, I'll cut the zipper off shorter (I kept it for this reason) and put it back in. I love how it turned out! And it took less than an hour from start to finish.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Family Friday: Perfection

I was trying to decide what to post today, since I've had time, but nothing was striking my fancy. I don't have an event to share, I will be featuring a birthday child next week (after I get pictures of her in her new skirt), and I don't have any projects ready to share. But then, I came across this post about PERFECTION. It brought me to tears. This needs to be shared. Go see what this blogger has to say about the disease of perfection.

I suffer from Perfection. Do you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Welcome the Fall Giveaway

Fall is my favorite season, and Violet, over at the Eager Readers is having a Welcome Fall giveaway. Go enter to win one of several fabulous books!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Halloween Bark

The PTA was holding a bake sale at our annual carnival. I had all the ingredients for this chocolate bark, so that was my contribution. It's a fun treat that the kids can help me with, and the candy on top can be changed to reflect the holiday in question. We've done red, white, and blue for patriotic, red and green for Christmas, now fall colors for Halloween.

Step 1: Assemble ingredients.
White chocolate (or any chocolate)

Step 2: Break pretzels into large pieces
Spread them out on a lined baking sheet

Step 3: Melt chocolate (30 seconds at a time
on half power in the microwave)

Step 4: When chocolate is melted smooth,
spread over pretzels

Step 5: Sprinkle with candy

Step 6: Refrigerate until cooled

Step 7: Break into bite sized pieces

Monday, September 20, 2010

Make-It Monday: Mummy treat box

I (somewhat begrudgingly, but mostly, guiltily) volunteered to be a room mom this year. So, I've been keeping my eyes open for good holiday party ideas. My soon-to-be sis-in-law made some darling little (well, big) treat boxes. You can see her mummy and frankenstein here. Well, I thought a smaller version would be perfect for a class activity. So, scaling back, I present, Mr. Mummy.

Isn't he cute? Now, to get a few treats and toys to fill him up, and I'm set for the Halloween party craft.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

SPEAKing out

Earlier this year, I took a class about Media and the Family. One section was about books. Of course, the topic of banning books came up. I wrote something about this then, but it bears repeating. As I understand it, this week is banned books week. I don't know if this is to promote banned books or draw attention to books that shouldn't be banned. Right now, I don't have the time to investigate. But I've already heard both sides of the argument. I know my position, and why. Now, I know this is a sensitive subject, but we can all respect each other even if we don't agree.

Personally, I believe NO book should ever be banned. If you think a book isn't worth reading, you don't have to read it. If you don't want your kids to read a book, then you have the right to keep it away from them. But no one has a right to tell another person what to believe. That is the heart of the banned books controversy. I think there is a lot of stuff out there that isn't worth reading. I think some of it is wrong and bad. I will teach my children to choose good books, read with them so they learn to appreciate good books, and teach them why not to read the crap. But I don't have the right to impose the same on others, especially other children. That is their parents' job.

There is one particular book that is getting some attention right now. A professor in Missouri wants it banned from high schools. Not only do I think he's wrong, but I think banning this book could do more harm than good.

SPEAK is a book about rape, about survival, about being a victim. It contains a sensitive subject. But it is only sensitive because society doesn't want to talk about it. Rape is a problem in society that won't go away by sticking our heads in the sand. Ignorance is not bliss, ignorance is an invitation for evil play unawares. We need to be willing to talk about it so more victims will feel safe coming forward. We need to talk about it so abusers get the message that what they are doing is wrong. Talking about rape doesn't condone it. Quite the opposite, if society will talk more openly about rape and other forms of abuse, we will have more to fight the problem with.

Laurie Halse Anderson, the author, has spoken up about the issue of her book being banned. I strongly suggest you read her post about it here. SPEAK has encouraged more people to speak up about their abuse, to speak out against abuse.

You can help. Read what other bloggers have said about abuse. Listen to victims speak about their abuse. Spread the word that banning books is wrong, and banning SPEAK is harmful. Here's a few places to start:

SPEAK when you can, but always be willing to LISTEN.