Thursday, January 31, 2013

February Craft Goals

I've decided that at  the end of each month, I want to look back through the last 4 "Too Cute" posts and pick out the  things I feel that I can actually complete and post them here - at the end of the month I'll update my progress by linking back to the posts of the completed projects.

So these are the items I picked out:

I had good intentions to do this craft but when I priced a square canvas in the size I wanted plus the letters - well, I decided I didn't love it that much and did make this craft.

I want to make these to hang by our growth chart- they seem pretty easy and inexpensive.
 My St Patrick's Wreath fell apart last year so I think I'd like to just make this one and use it for any month I don't have one . . .or at least for March.
This was completed and I shared the post back in March :-) 
 This is more just something I want to read and implement as I feel fit.
I've read some of this and am still digesting it - the calendar shown is no longer available so I'm kinda waiting for a new version to come out to see if I can use this idea more. 
 I'd like to get that Vinyl saying printed to put on the fridge above where I hang the kids artwork.
This is ordered and up on my fridge - I get lots of comments on it :-) 
 I will not complete this idea this month but I want to start it - I want to add an alphabet to our classroom wall as we study our letters - I'd like to complete A, B, C, D, and E.  Then continue to do them as we study that letter.
Letters A-D are on the wall and E-G are spray painted waiting for their modge podge :-) 
 This one will depend on price - if those items are too munch money, I'll have to wait.
After reading the instructions and supplies on this one better I decided I didn't really want to make this!! So, cancel this idea :-) 
I'd like to attempt to make one of these for each of the boys "friends".  Then go from there.
My mom offered to make these but I just never got the pattern.  I'm thinking this one is not going to get done.
 Another simple project - just need to buy the pieces and let the boys play.
I nixed this one. I actually have an idea to do this OUTSIDE on our fence this summer. I'll save it for that instead.

 I NEED to do this under my sink - those tiles are so cheap - this shouldn't be hard.
I still NEED to do this - I just need to get to the home store and buy my tiles.  I promise to share as soon as I'm done!

Tool pouches - I'd like to get these made for the boys Easter Baskets.  I even have an old pair of jeans I saved "just in case" so I just need the ribbon.
Guess what I found at Target?? TOOL BELTS!  YES!  And they come with tools - I had planned to get them at Easter but they were sold out - I'll check the next time I'm there and pick them up :-) 

First up is to make my supply list and then to get to town to pick up anything I need.  Now, I know I will not necessarily get everything done in February.  But by putting these on this post, I can carry them over so I don't forget about them :-)

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Papa's Special Gift

Once again, now that Christmas is done and gone, I can post about the crafts that I made for special gifts. 

One day, while wasting time enjoying Pinterest, I came across this Post that was an awesome poem about walking with Grandma and I knew that I wanted to use it as Papa's special Christmas gift.

I like to walk with Papa . . .
He takes his time you see
His steps are little just like mine;
He stops and waits for me.

He lets me ask him questions
He lets me hold his hand.
He makes me feel 10 feet tall
And I think that he is grand.

He says there’s no one like me
And gold is what I’m worth.
When I get to walk with Papa
I’m the luckiest kid on earth
Adapted from a poem by: Patsy Gaut

Isn't that awesome? I thought about a lot of ways to display this and finally settled on a very simple idea using a frame with three 4x6 openings.  Check it out: 
Isn't that so cute?  I thought about doing hand prints, creating a shadow box, and doing footprints but in the end I love the photos.  The benefit to this is that the photos can be updated every year, if he so chooses or he can leave it just like this as a reminder of how the boys are now - when they love their Papa more than anyone.

This concept would make a great birthday or Father's Day gift too.  I think if your kids were up to it - having them walk across a paper the size of your frame with painted feet would be cute.  Then print the poem on vellum paper so you could see through it and adhere it on top before framing it.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Too Cute To Toot!

Lets start with this idea from jenni bowlin studio inspiration.  I love this ABC wall and would like to figure out where to put something like this in my house!
This DIY magazine holder is neat and also very classy looking.  I'm thinking that it would make my desk area look much neater. Check it all out over at This Old House.
J & A and Company 
shares a great post on how to "be there" as a mom.  I read through it quickly and it really has some smart points.  Now I want to re-read it and absorb what I read . . .. great ideas.
Check out these adorable stuffed animal sleeping bags from Hazelnut Girl.  My boys LOVE their stuffed animals so I know they would enjoy having a special place for them to sleep.
One last idea for this week and this one is from Paper Wings.
I'm always looking for a creative "wreath" idea for my door.  This one is fantastic . . ..and I want to make one!! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

January Preschool

We are getting back into the swing of things around here with preschool but we still had special "guests" two days so didn't get as much done as I had planned.

 We worked on some basic things from 1+1+1=1 with the letter "B".  We are working on number recognition for numbers 1-13.  Both boys knows 1-10 without a problem but 11, 12, and 13 are all new.  Plus we have sight words - "Away" and "They". 
Our afternoon fun was lots of Legos and lots of building!!

The boys each received a little laptop for Christmas and Josh has finally figured out how to play the games on his.  He really enjoys it and, his favorite game is a game with a clock.  He know will look at a clock and tell me what "time" it is - he says two times like, "It is 1 o'clock and 3 o'clock mom".  When it is really 3:05 (where are the hands pointing at that time .. . to the three and the one on the clock!)  I love that he is making that connection even though it isn't 100% right yet.

 The boys have really started to love our play dough.  They played with it for hours on two different days.  I also got out the cookie cutters to use after they made a letter "B" :-)

 We also practiced shape recognition - the boys did these pretty quickly which was a nice thing.  At least they know their shapes :-)
 We started school one morning with lots of puzzles.  We then went on a color hunt and did some counting practice.  All using toys they had out and were playing with in order to transition more easily into our table work.
 Josh really worked hard on this day - first looking for the letter "B" in a story and then practicing writing "B" - he traced everyone of them perfectly. 

FINALLY, the boys got to play in the snow.  It was bitter cold at the beginning of the week so they couldn't go out but on Thursday, even though it was only 15 degrees, the sun was shining and there was no wind so I bundled them up and sent them outside.  They played for over an hour before coming in with ice cold cheeks (but the rest of their little selves were nice and warm thanks to Nana picking out fantastic winter stuff!!)

We really did have a great week and I'm looking forward to an even better week next week. We have "guests" just on Monday then it is back to normal.  I have turned Friday into my planning day and we don't really do any lessons.  If I don't prep everything for the week before (cut everything out, prep art projects etc) then those items end up not getting done.  If we have time (and I have the ambition) then I figure we can play a game or do something else fun.  I think the boys also like to just play on Fridays without having to stop to do class.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Last Christmas Party

Yesterday, we celebrated Christmas with my husband's family.  Originally, everyone was set to gather back on a Saturday in December at the Nursing Home where Darryl's grandma lives, as we do every year.  Well, as you may recall, I was extremely ill which meant we had to cancel. (Taking sickness to a nursing home is not such a great idea!).  On Saturday everyone gathered at my Mother-in-laws house for a great dinner and gifts for the boys. 

 My Mother-in-law and her husband live on a lake - this is the view out their living room "wall of windows".  I just love it. 
 Charlie (aka Grandpa) does a lot of amazing things with wood carving and wood burning.  The boys were all working on a puzzle that he had made.
 Nate was really into working on it - this was the second time putting the puzzle together with Grandpa.
 Josh asked me to take his photo - love that smile!!
 This photo is so much fun!  Notice Tommy the cat on the couch?  We cat sit him a few times a year and love him!! The binoculars are from the toy bin (since only one side works) and Josh loved them.  We showed him how to look through them the wrong way because they he could actually see things.
 Then it was time for gifts.  Nate wouldn't open any gift until we took his photo.  It made me laugh because at our previous Christmas "days", Josh was the one that would make Nate wait until he took his picture.  I guess now, Nate expects it every time.
 I guess this one should have been posted above :-) 

 Josh waiting for his picture to be taken before opening his gift.  It was kinda funny because the first time he did this, he smiled for me, then my MIL said, "This way Josh" and took his photo.  Then Darryl and Charlie each said "look this way" and he did but they just said hello.  The next time, first he looked at me and smiled, then one at time he looked at my MIL, Darryl and Charlie and each time said, "Now you and you and you" hahahaha. 

My MIL made a fantastic meal with Chicken (raised by my sister-in-law), mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and stuffing plus more :-) 

It was such a fun, relaxing day with the family. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekly Menu - The One with the Superbowl

Last week, I totally messed up my menu.  I don't know what I did but when I finally printed my hard copy, I had the same meal written down THREE times.  I know I didn't write that here but that printed copy is what I made my grocery list from- isn't that crazy?  I told my husband I need to get back into a regular shopping routine again - I've been going on different days due to our schedule and it is just messed up.

This week I'm trying to use as much food as we have HERE.  Trying to keep the grocery bill as small as possible! Plus I need to use some things up that have been hanging around for awhile.  Here's the plan for the next week

 Tuesday - Scallop Potatoes with Ham, and Green Beans.  I served a ham a week ago and froze the left over to use very several meals this week. 

Wednesday - The hubs has practice so the boys and I will have mac and cheese - I like to add some Hamto mine - it tastes to good!

Thursday - Ham and Potato Soup with homemade bread

Friday - Chicken and Dumplings with some salad.  I had this planned a few weeks ago but never ended up making it - sounds yummy to me!

Saturday - Chicken Noodle Soup - I know we will have left over Chicken and Dumplings since I'm cooking a whole chicken to make it.  The dumplings don't keep well so I skim those off before putting it in the fridge; then when I reheat it, I had noodles and it is so good!

Sunday - SUPERBOWL!  We are huge football fans in this house.  So, we will have the classic Roast, carrots and potatoes right after church (I know - that is not Superbowl food BUT it is easy and ready as soon as we walk in the door!!). Then later in the day we'll enjoy snacks as follows:
1) Shrimp Cocktail
2) Bacon Pinwheels
3) Fruit and Dip (I serve this alot because Josh loves fruit!)
4) Warm Bean Dip with chips - this is something new.  I have a cold bean dip that we like but the melted cheese sold me on trying this one.
5) Feta Dip and Bread - it looks so good and I've been wanting to try it.
6) Popcorn - my kids love popcorn so I figured I pop up a big bowl of it and let them snack.
7) Donuts using the donut maker for something fun :-)
I know it sounds like alot but I tend to cut recipes in half when I do stuff like this if at all possible. 

Monday  - Ham - just sliced ham (from those left overs), Crash potatoes and Sauteed Cabbage w/ rolls.

How's that?  Other than the super bowl stuff, most of the items I already have in the house so hopefully, the grocery bill will be nice and small!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Food Friday - Snickers Cake

Snickers Cake
adapted from Plain Chicken

This was a wonderful, gooey, rich cake that met every sweet tooth craving we had.  My husband said it was fantastic and I would agree - it also got better the longer it sat because the caramel just soaked into the cake more and more.  One thing I would do different next - I would not mix up my own whipped cream - I would cheat and buy cool whip :-)  

1 box devils food cake mix, plus ingredients to make the cake
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar Smucker's hot caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 snickers candy bars, chopped
1/3 cup peanuts, chopped
caramel sauce
chocolate sauce

Bake cake in a 9x13-inch pan according to direction on the package.

While cake is baking, mix condensed milk and hot caramel topping until well blended. When the cake is done and while it's still hot, poke holes in it with a fork or straw. Pour milk mixture over the cake. Allow cake to cool completely. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cake.

In a chilled bowl, whip together heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip on high speed of an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chopped snickers. Spread over cake. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over cake. Drizzle caramel and chocolate sauce on top. Chill.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What I'm Reading

I had a post planned for today but if you DON'T do the thing for that post, it is hard to write it :-)  I'll share that next week.

Instead I thought I would just mention a couple of series that I finished reading recently on my Kindle.
Chop, Chop (Chop, Chop Series - Book 1)

The first one is a series called "Chop Chop"  
I read all 7 books that are out in this series in a matter of a week and the first book, shown above, is currenlty free.  The other books are all $2.99 so it makes it very affordable.  The books are told from the view point of one of the characters and they are very well written and have a great message also.  Book 8 is supposed to be out already but it isn't, much to my disappointment.  The funny thing is when I went to the authors website, it seemed to indicate that these were great reads for teens.  Where I could see it for the first book, the rest of the books hit some deep topics (that are handled well) and I think are more geared for adults.

The other series is called Weddings by Bella 
Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, Book 1)
This series was a very  lighthearted fun read and I really enjoyed all three books.  As I was reading I felt part of the big Italian family and was always cheering for the characters.  Again, book one in this series is currenlty free so it is a great way to see if you actually like the series :-)

Those two series have kept me busy reading for awhile.  Right now I'm reading a stand alone book which seems to be ok so far and then I actually found a Karen Kingsbury book that was free, which surprised me. I haven't read anything by her in quite awhile so I hope it is good (after reading so many of her books in a row, I found them very predictable.)

Did you know that if you go to Amazon, you can search "Christian Fiction" and a long list of books will come up.  I then change the search relevance (on the right hand side) to "average customer review" (or something to that effect) so I can find books with the highest review rating.  Then I just start looking for free or almost free books :-) 

Have you read anything really good lately?  Even in "paper" - I can always find it for my Kindle! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Creating Personalized Block Ornaments

Yes, I know Christmas is done and gone but I couldn't share any of my gifts that I created until after they had all been given.  I used this idea found at Craft Goodies.

All you need is:
Wooden blocks - either cut yourself or pre-bought from a craft store.  I used blocks that were 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches (approx).
Photos cut to fit the blocks
Modge Podge

 First of all, if needed cut your wood into blocks.  Then drill a hole all the way through the center of each block.  The hole needs to be just large enough to push the ribbon through for hanging.  Sand and Paint the blocks - I chose to use black to keep them clean but you could use any color you wanted.  Once dry, use modge podge to attach your photos - you will need 4 for each block.  I used three photos and then the forth side as a square with the boys thumbprint, name and year on it.  Allow it dry. 
Once dry, thread your ribbon through, knotting it at the top and bottom of each block and create a hanging loops with the leftover ribbon.  (I used two ribbons, 24 inches each).  I also used some glitter glue on the edges of a couple of the photos to add some "bling". 

Don't you just love these?  I do!  I created them for the grandma's, and I made one for myself too!  I plan to make one each year - what a great marker of how the boys grow :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Too Cute Not to Toot

Welcome back!

This first idea might be cheating but I like it so I'm going to share it.  It is actually from Not on the high and is actually something that is for sale. It isn't very often that I see something and think "I can make that" but this is one I feel like I can.  It's just a canvas and wooden letters which is then painted.  I have a wall that is considered the only "hallway" in our house that is seriously lacking and I love the simplicity of this idea. 
 canvas + wood letters, then paint the whole thing.

The next idea  is a great gift idea from All Red Design and is a super cute idea.  As a former teacher, this would make a great teacher gift especially if you threw in a gift card for pizza or even to the real movies :-) 

We are waiting for snow around here - enough snow to build snowmen so when I saw this cute idea over at Sometimes Creative for a snowman kit.  I don't know if I will get this made this year but it is on my project list so I can get it made before next winter - a couple of sets would be good! 
When I saw this idea over at Little Green Fingers for a sunken trampoline, I had to share. I would love to put this in the yard but I think I need a bigger yard :-(  I would go out and jump on it if it was sunken in the ground!
One last idea, and yes it is another outdoor idea but this one, I WANT and I think I can do!  It comes from Better Homes and Garden and is an outdoor matchbox race track.  My kids love to take their cars outside in the summer (much to my husbands dismay!) so this would be perfect. 
Happy Crafty :-)


Monday, January 21, 2013

January Preschool

Our week was again, a little discombobulated due to having extra kids here but we still managed to get a few things done.

 We finished up learning about the Letter "A" by making our letter craft thanks to Totally Tots
Josh took a real interest in a computer game that I actually picked up over a year ago for him.  It's a Charlie Church Mouse (aka as Chuck-E-Cheese according to my kids).  Josh managed to figure out every single game and yes, he played for about 3-4 hours.  (don't judge).  I have installed the game on our old computer so he doesn't have to play on mine anymore and we have a timer set up - 20 minutes is what we are working on for now.  Enough time to play a few games but not enough to get brain fried!

 Window crayons made a reappearance at our house this week.  Any window that the boys could reach were covered .. as was their hair, clothes, hands (their fingernails - nasty!).  THEN they had fun cleaning the big slider - for real. 
Some of our lessons this week are what I would call "real life" lessons.  On Tuesday, the boys got to help Papa fix some lights in our house.  On Thursday, the boys got to help Darryl fix the Dishwasher.  They are such good helpers.  They also went to get haircuts - we taught them that it is important to look good for the ladies.  HA.

On Friday, we did not have extra kids so we actually did a full lesson and started Letter "B".  At the end of our lesson, they got to open a box that Nana had sent them in the mail.  It was cute because I showed them the box and told them that Papa and Nana sent it . . Nate said, "But where is Papa, why is he hiding?"   Isn't that cute? I explained that they mailed it because they missed them.  They enjoyed their treats :-)

I had hoped to get through a little more than I did this week but that is one of the joys of homeschooling - we are able to go with the flow!  Next week we are planning to get through the entire lesson on Letter B and do some fun winter related things as well since winter is actually here!