Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We're back!

We spent the past week at the coast--so nice to have time to spend as a family! We had good weather for a couple of days and then it was cold, rainy, and breezy for the rest of the time. Oh well, we still had fun!
We saw gorgeous sunsets from our balcony the first two nights--after that it was too cloudy.
One of my favorite pictures from our trip. My baby and his dada. Love them. Lots.
This was our first time being there (we've gone to the same place for the past five years!) for the town's Kite Festival. Gorgeous huge colorful kites!!
I took lots of pictures of my loves...but no pictures of me where taken until midway through the week when I requested some photographic evidence that I was on the vacation too!
So, here is my proof! Me with my babies on an indoor carousel...I'm going to be sad when my little boy doesn't need me to hold him on the horse (well, rabbit in this case!) any more.
Oh and we ate ice cream. And we had ice cream for lunch. Twice. Totally unheard of in our family but definitely something we'll be doing again. Breaking "the rules" is fun sometimes!
On one of our last days the weather cleared enough for us to go explore a new beach. Yes my children are wearing winter coats (and bare feet!) on the beach. It was COLD!
Those giant rocks in the previous picture are COVERED in big barnacles and oysters...and we found starfish too!
Sea anemones!
And of course we had to take the requisite towel picture. They love this, for some strange reason!
This picture is from our last evening. The rays of sun piercing the stormy clouds...well, it was just breathtaking. My picture does not do it justice. It was one of those God moments.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Easy Necklace Holder Tutorial

This is one of those projects I started months ago and last weekend I finally opted to take five minutes and finish it. I'm not sure why I procrastinated for so long! At any rate, this is an easy and inexpensive way to store and display your necklaces.
Prior to this, I was hanging my sturdier necklaces from some candleholders in the master bedroom. Functional but not exactly the look I'm going for in there!
I bought this picture frame (no glass in the frame windows) at JoAnn's for around $5 in their unfinished wood section. You can find the cuphooks and sawtooth picture hangers at a hardware store or at Target.
I used some craft paint from my stash and one of my children's paintbrushes and slapped some paint on the frame. My paintjob isn't perfect, but it looks fine. This step took me all of about five minutes standing at the kitchen counter.
After the paint was dry, I used the drill and made some small holes where I wanted my cuphooks to go. You could even tap in some small holes using a hammer and little nail. Then I screwed in my cuphooks.
Next you nail in your sawtooth picture hangers. Put two on the back--one at each of the top two corners...NOT just one in the middle...which I may or may not have done initially and which may or may not have caused the whole thing to tilt at a crazy angle when I may or may not have put my first necklace on the holder. You know, just in case you were thinking that might work...
Add in some pictures of your gorgeous little girl (or boy or husband or dog or whatever) and hang your holder on your wall and add your necklaces! Mine is on the wall in the master closet (thus the bad picture--no natural light in there!) and it makes me smile to see my beautiful little girl. I cannot believe how much she has changed over the years!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

...or as we say in our family, "Happy Mama Day!"
Five years ago my little girl gave me a beautiful lilac bush for Happy Mama Day--and this year, for the first time, it is blooming! I took this picture last week because I'm so happy to see it bloom for the first time! It brings back memories of my little girl toddling around the plant nursery in her little pink skirt with her little ponytails sprouting out of the top of her head. So sweet...I miss that age so much!
We had a very good Happy Mama Day. I slept in (well, sort of...my husband did wake me up four times with questions/problems...but that's about as good as it gets around here) and then we went to church. After church we went out for breakfast at a new restaurant in our little town. The weather was gorgeous and we were able to eat out on the deck and watch the sailboats.
My husband got the hints I dropped for him in March and gave me the Lisa Leonard family tree necklace for Happy Mama Day. Ohhhhh, it is gorgeous!! It came with a discount coupon for a future order...this time I'm not hinting--I want to see what he can come up with on his own.
After our brunch, we walked around our little town for a bit before stopping at the bakery and buying cookies for the children which we took to the waterfront to eat.
Yes indeed, it was a HAPPY Mama Day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Day Pocket Tag Tutorial

After making a gift for my daughter's kindergarten teacher, I realized I wanted to make a little something for the auxiliary teachers at her school for teacher appreciation week. These water bottle pocket tags are all over the internet--I have no idea who was "the first" on this one! At any rate, these work well for a multitude of occasions and were easy to adapt to fit teacher appreciation week.
First I marked and cut my cardstock (use cardstock, not construction paper, because you need the stiffness) for the overall size I needed for the unfolded tag. This took a bit of trial and error, but ultimately I made them 8 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches.
Next I marked my folds and folded the tag. The top part (where you see the circle) will be the top of the tag that goes over the bottle top. The other folded part will become the pocket of the tag. My original plan was to adhere the blue circles (made from cardstock) and then use a different decorative hole punch to punch through the circle...but my second punch couldn't be centered properly. So for a couple of bottles I used a blade and hand-cut a hole through the circle...then I realized I could abandon the blue circle and just use a scallopy punch and it would look even better!

At any rate, I modified my folds based on whether or not I used the blue circle. For the ones without the circle, both folds were at the two inch mark--these are my favorite tags. Remember, you're folding one end down and one end up. It will look like a zig-zag.
Here you can see my hand-cut hole for the bottle lid...I don't recommend this approach! The light blue rectangle is 3 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches and is the background for the drink mix that I put in the pocket of the tag.
This tag has just a scallop punch for the bottle top to go through--much better looking than my hand-cut circles! I used the pokey tool to poke holes for the star shape brads. It is one of my favorite scrapbooking tools! Usually I use brads as decoration, but these are holding the pocket together. Here you can also see the note I added to the front of the tag. I printed the note onto cardstock so that the paper would match the rest of the tag.
I took the original labels off the bottles, added my tag and some Crystal Light, and that was it! I made these during my son's naptime. We gave them out on Monday and they were a hit!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week is this week! We have been so busy at our house and my brain is on overload--so I turned to the internet for teacher appreciation ideas and was not disappointed! Here are pictures of my version of an idea I found on eighteen25. I love this idea and it was fun to make! She has step by step instructions on her blog.

The box is a $5 embroidery floss divided plastic box I bought at JoAnn's--the black ribbon came from there too. The paper on the lid is from my stash, as are the black rub-on letters. I put my Cricut to use again (!!) to cut the flower for the lid. I did ink the edges of the paper on the lid--I thought it gave the paper a nice finished edge.
Inside the lid I did something a bit different than the original and had my kindergarten daughter write a note to her teacher. She did such a good job!
The box contains goodies for her desk--almost everything is from Staples. The mini hand-sanitizer is from my (rather large!) stash of sanitizer and the Hershey's nuggets are from Target. The rest is from Staples--mostly from their little "bulk" section.

I think our kindergarten teacher will like this and find it a nice change from coffee mugs and other typical teacher appreciation stuff...at least I hope she will!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vintage Mason Jars

I've been collecting vintage mason jars for awhile now and first posted about them in July of 2008. Although I've been collecting them, I haven't actually figured out anything to do with them, so they've just been sitting in a cupboard. My interest in them was rekindled when I found a REALLY big one (without a lid...boo!) at Value Village for $5.99. So a few weeks ago when I was putting away my Easter decorations, I decided to put out some of my pretty jars as a centerpiece on my table.
The light streams through this window and shines right on my jars--so pretty! My little boy (don't you love his fishy face? that's what he does when he's concentrating hard!) told me that he likes them too.
I put two more jars and a vintage glass insulator, also in the pretty aqua color) on my black dresser behind the family room couch. Sad to say, I have still more jars tucked away in the cupboard. It is nice to see at least a few of them out on display though.
Speaking of the black dresser, I also put out the bucket of paper daffodils that the children and I made last spring. I still love this craft project just as much as the day we made it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Cleaning and Selling!

No, I haven't disappeared--I've been busy cleaning STUFF out of my house! I've been selling things on craigslist, the local children's consignment store, and on eBay. Compiling items, listing items, and meeting people pass off items has been keeping me busy!

My children are really looking forward to summer swim lessons--which will cost me $200 a month--so my goal is to make enough money to cover the cost of their lessons. (My secret goal is to make enough extra that I can buy two barstools for my kitchen counter...but I'm keeping that goal to myself!)

I shared the "paying for swim lessons" goal with my children and they've been cheering me on and they're thrilled I'm already over halfway toward that goal. It has been a wonderful lesson for them in saving and working toward a financial goal. They don't receive allowances, so this is a bit of a new experience for them--especially in this age of debit cards and ATM machines.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tulip Fields

My little girl is on Easter vacation this week, so I've been busy having fun with my children. I'm sad that the week already is more than half over! Last Saturday we went on our annual excursion to the tulip fields. Princess wore her tulip sunglasses and tulip sweater and was so excited to see the beautiful flowers.
The fields were GORGEOUS!
The weather has been very chilly here though and it really doesn't feel like spring.
We did manage to dodge all the rain though--it was just windy and chilly for our visit.
My little guy wanted to walk between the rows of tulips, but that isn't allowed.
Despite the cold, Princess took her winter coat off for a few pictures so we could see her tulip sweater. We've been visiting the tulip fields every year since she was four months old and every year she's worn tulip clothing for the visit.
There also are beautiful display gardens run by one of the tulip bulb companies.
My sweet boy.
The display gardens have the bulbs tightly planted and the colors are gorgeous!
We'll be back next year!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

Happy Easter!
We had a wonderful Easter celebration as a family of four. On Saturday evening the children readied the baskets for the Easter Bunny. We reuse the same wicker baskets and the same green paper Easter grass every year and fluffing up the grass so that it is "just right" has become a tradition for my little girl.
After the baskets were ready, the children put them on the table in readiness for the Easter Bunny.
Easter morning started with an egg hunt in the family room. Despite the children trying to look in all the nooks and crannies, they managed to miss two eggs that weren't found until Monday afternoon! The eggs had pocket change or a couple of jelly beans in them.
Finally it was basket time! (The Easter Bunny did parent baskets too, but those weren't very exciting!) My six year old's basket included a box set of Tinkerbell books, a Junie B Jones book (the last one I'll ever buy--thank goodness these now are too easy for my little girl because I am not a Junie B fan!!), bubbles, a drawing toy, a set of American Girl ballet clothes for her doll, a Leapster cartridge, some lollipops, a little chocolate bunny, and a handful of jellybeans. A miniature American Girl Molly doll and hardback book set was under her basket. My four year old had a stomp rocket under his basket. In his basket were two books, a Leapster cartridge, Cars pencils, a drawing toy, a Leapster cartridge, bubbles, a Cars vehicle, some lollipops, a little chocolate bunny, and a handful of jellybeans.
We finished all that by about 7:15am. My children are early risers! We went to Mass and enjoyed a wonderful service. Doing the Resurrection Rolls last week really helped my little boy understand the Easter story and made it easier for him to pay attention during Mass.
After Mass we went out to brunch and then out for a drive in the countryside before stopping for our traditional Easter ice cream!
We arrived home and had some time to play with our little boy's new stomp rocket before dinner. It is a big hit and even intrigued some of our neighbors. I love that it doesn't require batteries! Even my four year old was able to make it go HIGH into the air!
After a simple dinner, we enjoyed bunny cake for dessert! We had a wonderful and calm Easter. It was such a pleasure to celebrate with our family of four and not feel as though we needed to rush any part of our day so that we could travel to meet up with our extended family. We love our extended family, however it is so nice to have a relaxing holiday with "just us."
Happy Easter from our family to yours!