Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Teacher Christmas Presents

Confession time... when I was a teacher, though I adored all the homemade cookie mixes and candles I received at Christmas, or the nothing that some families gave because they obviously knew I made too much money already :), I did have a tiny thought in the back of my mind that if my 28 students each just pitched in a couple bucks I'd have a nice sized gift card to get myself a new sweater to wear in my always freezing classroom, or a new pair of shoes because my toes were going to peek out of the front of mine from always kneeling by desks, or maybe just a nice dinner out while on vacation. So now that I am a second year school mom, I'm trying to spread the love and organize the teacher presents for my daughters teachers. 

Last year I learned a very important lesson: START EARLY! Parents forget things... a lot. I know from experience. We can barely get out the door with our kids, lunchboxes, and mittens, let alone cash for 'that one kid's mom who's organizing the presents.' This year I started in October, gathered interest and was given the green light over email by every parent but one (?) and collected money by Thanksgiving break. I just finished making the teachers presents this morning. I am super, super excited that they will be done and ready to go during the busy week of our Christmas program and holiday parties. 

See how cute the  teacher presents are in all their DIY glory:

Keep Calm and Teach On Teacher Presents
I used Avery iron on transfers ($8.88 from Walmart) to DIY the KEEP CALM and TEACH ON canvas bags.
Avery Stretchable Fabric Transfers 3302 Packaging Image
I used the website to create the image to print and iron on the white canvas bags (found in the craft section of Walmart or any craft store.) 

KEEP CALM and TEACH ON DIY canvas bag teacher present

I used a cute little clothespin to attach my DIY target gift card holder. It says, 'Thanks for Keeping us on TARGET!!' Cuteness. 

DIY Target Gift Card- puntastic!

I'm not able to fill the little pouch with the gift card yet because one mom wasn't able to get me the money before Thanksgiving break. But out of 17, only one said no and one hasn't paid, so I have great hope that we'll have a nice $100 Target Gift Card sitting in that little pocket. I thought if we each pitched in $6/teacher we'd have a cool $100. I didn't think anyone would say no. Now I'm left with a weird $94 each, as long as I can get that last moms money, and taking into account that one mom only gave $10, not sure why, and that one said no. So if lasty comes through I'll pitch in extra and we'll have a cool $100, or if not I guess it'll be $90. Which brings me to lesson #2 I've learned, just ask for $10. Then you'll always have an even number :) Either way, I hope the teachers appreciate it as much as I appreciate them. They are an amazing blessing to our family, and most importantly to my daughter.

Moonlight and Mason Jars Link Party Button  The Shabby Nest

Sunday, November 24, 2013

James 1:19

I wish I could remember this Bible verse...

so I made this scripture wallpaper for my iPhone to remind to shut my mouth :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Advent by Candlelight

Last night, on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, the Women of Mary ministry at my church hosted Advent by Candlelight. 

Advent by Candlelight Table Decor
The tables are so beautiful, next year I will take a picture of the most fabulous ones! But here's our little table in the back- and thank goodness for that, too, since two 3 month olds sat with us, we had some nursing going on, some giggling, and one of us had to leave right in the middle of the speaker to relieve her babysitter. We are definitely the 'young moms' club at our church! 

Advent by Candlelight Christmas centerpiece
The Advent by Candlelight night at church is an amazing evening where we are preparing ourselves spiritually for the busy and emotionally taxing season to come. We read four scripture verses, each with it's own meditation and song. Then had a wonderfully funny, yet moving, speaker. We also had desserts, wine, coffee, and amazing fellowship with church members and friends.

Advent by Candlelight Table Setting

Our table was a joint effort, and thank heavens Ave Maria doesn't put pretty much any rules on what we can and can't do. Some tables did paper, some did fancy china, we met them somewhere in between and had nice Christmas plates. I used my mismatched goodwill christmas plates and bowls to hold our desserts and nuts. I took the lantern off my wall and filled it with evergreens I cut from the bushes in our cul-de-sac's island (ssshhh!) and grabbed the white candleholders off my night tables. So we didn't have to spend any money, we all pitched in a bit, and it was relaxing for everyone, even the table hosts! 

Advent by Candlelight favor
I quickly put together these favors for each plate with a candy cane Christmas poem. 

Our second year was smashing success! I not only got to spend the evening surrounded by candles and Christmas lights, hearing beautiful music and listening to wonderful speakers and scripture, but I was surrounded by my best friends and reminded of what is truly important in life. 

I hope you are as blessed to have a night like this at your church!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Turtle Party at the Park

My Abber Gabbers turned 3! I can't believe my little baby is 3. 

We had unbelievable fall weather (so far) this year in Colorado so I threw a quickly put together party at the park one Saturday afternoon. (I literally texted a few good friends and family on Friday afternoon!) Thank the good Lord for my blessings, almost everyone was able to adjust their weekend and come enjoy the sunshine next to the lake with us to celebrate our baby turning 3!! It not only warmed my heart that people came with such short notice, but then seeing our children playing and hugging and laughing. There were cousins and friends already so close they are like family! It filled all our hearts with love and happiness!

I don't love posting people pics on my blog, especially of other peoples children, and rarely do of my own, so there won't be pics of the party. Just imagine gorgeous sunshine and laughter :) We picked up 4 pizzas, grabbed some veggie juice boxes and soda, and I made turtle cupcakes. (Since Abby wanted a turtle party.) I got green star balloons from the dollar store for favors, and bought each child a turtle sun catcher for a craft and favor. 

Ok, I'll be honest. two kids painted cats. There may have only been 4 turtles at the store. That's what happens when you shop the night before the party :)

I thoroughly enjoyed the process, and plan on a laidback affair at the park every year. I hope this global warming continues! :) We used the park pavilion and also threw in a couple little tikes picnic tables for the kids. Note to self: put paper down next year when painting suncatchers! It's not washable.

Would you like to see the piece de resistance? My semi-homemade sea turtle cupcakes:  

I followed THIS recipe to make plain vanilla cupcakes, then bought this: 
<strong>Funfetti®</strong> Aqua Blue Vanilla Frosting

and used a tub of fruit slices to make sea turtle cupcake toppers. 

Zachary: Artificial Orange Flavored...
they were like these only all different colors. I sliced one in half lengthwise and then widthwise and those four pieces became the legs. (I made the front legs longer.) I trimmed a bit off the bottom of the green 'shell.' Then I cut one exactly in half and it became the head. When I started running out of green ones I actually took the bit I trimmed off of the bottom of the shell and rolled it into a ball. It really is quite easy when you get a knife and start playing! 

Our turtle party was such fun I hope to copy it next year! Wonder what the theme will be? She's such a joyful funny girl. Her 2nd year old bday party she wanted Shrek, she was dead set on it. This year turtles, I just think she is the cutest! :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Quick and Easy Bathroom ReDo

So one day I was having company and started to clean the bathroom at naptime. I pulled out the  bleach bottle and rag, walked in there, and realized I just didn't want to clean that trim one more time!!! We painted the bathroom a lovely shade of blue when we moved in, and it was definitely nicer than what was there, but definitely didn't look like the Martha Stewart magazine I copied. I think I am done with color in general in my house :) I'm diggin the white on white look so popular, for the sole reason that it's so much harder to go wrong. We painted our kitchen a nice pale yellow, which is cute, then tried to do green in our living room and my husband said it felt like he was living in an Easter egg. I guess I agree. So now I am painting every room in our house cozy cottage white, or some shade of brown. Yay for neutrals!

Back to the trim problem... it was painted when we moved in, which feels like yesterday, but I realized that afternoon that it has been 7 years!!! Wow. Time flies when you're having babies. Babies that make everything dirty I might add. Which brings me back to the trim again. I couldn't clean it again, it needed to be painted. I went to the garage and pulled out my trim paint. When I brought it in and stared at those blue walls I suddenly remembered I had picked up a random shade of brown in the oops section for $7 a few weeks ago... hmmmm... could I get it done in one naptime? That was the question.

It took me one naptime, plus two Octonauts later and my bathroom was painted! It looks so much better, but the best part is it looks so much cleaner! Then inspiration struck and I ended up chalkpainting the ugly oak vanity, adding some (spray painted) hardware, replacing the builder grade mirror, and even spray painting the ugly toilet paper holder a day or two later.

Total Cost:
$7 for estate sale mirror that I used leftover paint and stain to distress.
$7 Oops paint for the walls
$30 dollars for trim primer and paint
$5 for Goodwill antique style bird prints with frames and mats!
$0 for homemade chalkpaint using supplies in the garage
$0 for spraypaint to update hardware (leftover from dresser redo) and toilet paper holder
= $49!
Sorry I don't have a before pic. Imagine a pale oak builder grade vanity with no hardware, blue walls, and one of those mirrors that have no border. very classic suburban cookie cutter 1990s home.

It's not really a blog worthy bathroom, but I like it and it's ours, and most importantly it's clean :)

A close up of the chalkpainted vanity. I used the toothpaste trick to put the knobs on, (put toothpaste on the back of the knobs and stick them where you want them, then drill the hole where the toothpaste is.)

I found this mirror for $7 at an estate sale and used dark Poly stain, some gray blue paint, and a hammer to make some marks.

I fell in love with these bird frames I found at Goodwill!

And though we haven't retiled, and we will one day, I attempted to cover the floor with a cute rug. 

The other half of our bathroom is the laundry room. On the wall facing the washer and dryer I hung up my DIY pallet backpack holder. I blogged about it here. I originally made it to hold towels in my girls bathroom but then it turned out too big, so I decided to hang it in our soon to be 'command station' for school, as next year I will have TWO KIDS IN SCHOOL!!! crazyness. 

So that is one project keeping my busy the last month... Other things that I've been up to were Halloween (got a bit crazy!), buying a new secretary desk on Craigslist (pics to come soon!), my sister having a baby, (amazing little blessing), hosting donuts at church, a 3 year old bday at the park, and continuing to retile our master bathroom. We almost decided to put caution tape across the door and call in a professional, but we took some time off and recharged, used many days of babysitting by the grandparents, and laid our last tile yesterday. Hooray! Of course pics of that to come soon as well!