Friday, December 31, 2010

I thank the 5th graders

This year marks my third year of teaching. Crazy how time flies. I really enjoy my students and it is always interesting to see what they get me for Christmas. I always forget about the gifts until the week before Christmas, and then can't wait to see what I get.

This year they were SO kind to me. I got multiple (and generous) gift cards, TONS of candy, candles, lotion, a water bottle, a super soft blanket with matching socks and more. It is interesting to see how they react. Some students want me to open it right away and can barley contain their excitement, others could care less, throw in on my desk and head back to their seat, and some don't want me to open it until after they leave.

I really appreciate their thoughtfulness. This year I got more gifts than ever before which was really nice (don't get me wrong), but I wasn't looking forward to writing all those thank you cards. I'm not sure if 5th graders appreciate thank you cards like adults do because it's not uncommon to find a few on the floor crushed and bent when I'm cleaning up at the end of the day.

With a lot to write, I wanted it to be quick, cute, and cheap. I purchased two stamps on sale from Michael's for $5.40 and used ribbon, ink, and card stock I already had. This is how they came out.
I thought they turned out pretty nice. I made them on the smaller size so I wouldn't have to write a lot. A few sentences was enough for what I wanted to say.

And for all my teacher friends, I took a zoomed out picture of my table for you to enjoy. I've been doing lots and lots of grading.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spray paint makeover

I meant to share this before Christmas but I couldn't. Oh why you ask? Because I never finished the project until today. Oh well, I had the best intentions but the business of the season and perhaps some laziness got in the way. It probably didn't help that my first attempt ended in a disaster. Remember back in this post, when I explained how I encountered 2 DIY disasters. Well this was one of them and spray painting in high winds was not a good idea. Anyway, back to the current project at hand.

In early December when I was unloading our Christmas decorations from our storage bin, I cringed at the color of our nativity scene. I love displaying Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and crew but the mixed rainbow color was not ideal. I didn't want to buy a new nativity scene and for $2.40 I fixed the problem. JD couldn't stand the fact of spray painting baby Jesus but I convinced him the chemicals would not cause any harm.

Weeks ago I painted the first coat, and then for weeks it sat on the ground waiting to be finished. Today, no wind and a temperature of 43 degrees was perfect for applying the second coat.

I let it dry and now it is all shiny and white.

I had to laugh when I was comparing the before and after photos. Can you tell who is missing?

Somehow I lost the third wiseman. It must have been during the wind storm. He never made it inside. ha. Maybe he blew away.

Next year I will display my nativity scene with pride, but now it's time to go back in the box.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Goodies from the Douglas Kitchen

Now that Christmas is over, I can reveal the homemade gifts we gave this year. Once I stumbled on this post out in blogland, I couldn't wait to try both recipes. You can't go wrong with edible gifts right?

I made the butter first and it was delicious. I ended up making 2 batches. I found the little glass jars at Walmart and they were the perfect size. The post I already linked up in the first paragraph has the recipe and great step-by-step pictures, so check there if you want to make your own. I bought some twine, red fabric and made some tags to finish it off.
Once the butter was done, I moved onto the popcorn and again it was very good. We made a test batch a couple weeks ago to make sure we liked it and we did! I followed the same recipe on the link posted above so check there for the recipe and step-by-step process. The only thing I did different was add some melted chocolate. I melted it in the microwave and spooned it into a pastry bag, cut off the tip and squeezed it onto the popcorn. If you don't have pastry bags on hand, a zip-lock baggy will do the trick.Once it dried (about 10 minutes), I put it into clear bags and tied it up with a tag and some ribbon.

I put both treats into these cute bags I found 70% off at JoAnn's fabric, added some tissue paper and another tag and they were ready to go.We made a total of 7 bags. They were fun to make and great to taste. I'll be back with more Christmas details soon...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A look back at 2010

As another year comes to an end and I reflect on 2010, I realize how many blessings the Lord has given me. I put together a list of some of the best moments this year.

January 2010
Making my first two sock monkeys

The Snow Blizzard
My Surprise Birthday Trip to the National Harbor
Celebrating Dawn's Wedding

Little T turns one
Beach Vacation
Want to see our entire trip? Check our our beach video.
The 4th in DC

Spending Time with Friends
3 Weddings

A trip to Oklahoma to see my good friends and meet baby PattersonNovember

Wining an Eagles jersey
I wear this baby with pride. Did you see that game last Sunday?

It has been quite the year and I'm excited to see what 2011 brings.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas is in the air

It's almost Christmas!! I can't believe it's almost here because I feel like Thanksgiving was just yesterday?! I am happy to say all our shopping is done and all the presents are wrapped.

I'm feeling very Christmasy and here is why...

1. We baked some Christmas cookies and the sweet aroma filled our little condo with joy.

2. The presents are all wrapped, and I love to watch people's reaction when they open my gifts.
3. Christmas youtube videos keep popping up in my inbox. Like this one below. I love that they use the song Amazing Grace; not your typical Christmas song but perfect for this.

4. We went into DC last night and saw the city all decked out for Christmas. We had dinner with two good friends and went to the wizards/heat game. We saw LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. LeBron is arrogant, but I must admit very entertaining to watch.
5. Most importantly we rocked out at the Frontline Christmas service tonight. It was nice to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of our Savior. Words can't express how blessed I feel to know Christ and to understand the importance of his birth, death, and the gift of salvation he offers. We also enjoyed the hot cocoa in the lobby afterwards.

On another note, I have been busying DIYing some Christmas gifts. I have some great ideas and pictures to share. Unfortunately, I won't be able to share them until after after Christmas because I don't want to spoil anything for those family members who read the blog. :)

What have you been doing to soak in the joy of Christmas? Any fun festivities? Family traditions?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Craft

I love a good craft and this one won't disappoint. It was simple, quick (1 hour-ish), and festive. Apparently using book pages for decor/crafts is the in thing. After seeing book page designs, blog after blog and store after store, I just had to jump on the band wagon.

I came up with this sign idea and battled for about 2 minutes with myself over what saying I wanted to display. In the end, I settled with a simple Merry Christmas. Keep in mind this can be altered to whatever saying you wish to display.

This craft was created on a school night, so I did not have the time or patience to capture each step of the process with pictures. So I'll do my best to explain in words.

What you need:
  • An old book or a new one from the dollar store like I used
  • Black marker, pen, scissors
  • Ribbon
  • A circular object (any will do, I used a roll of painters tape)
  • Glitter
  • Letters to trace or letter stamps and an ink pad
  • Elmer's glue
  • Hole puncher
  • Tape
Step 1
Tear out some pages from the book and trace the circular object onto the pages. I used about 3 pages and folded them in half and got 6 circles in one sh-bang.
Tip: I like to complete all of one step before moving onto the next, it keeps this moving and is more organized.

Step 2
Trace, ink, or write one letter of your saying on each circle. I knew my hand writing would not be neat enough, so I traced some foam letters and colored them in with black marker. Choose whatever method you want.

Step 3
Time for the messy part. Place a small rim of Elmer's glue on the outside of the circle and cover with glitter. This step can be a bit tedious but worth it for that extra bit of sparkle.

Let dry. A good hour or two would be best. I only waited about 45 minutes while we watched Glee Christmas and was back at it. They were not completely dry but I wanted to finish and it was almost bed time.

Step 4
Punch a small hole above the letter and string the ribbon through. Once I had all the letters where I wanted them, I placed a small piece of tape on the back holding the ribbon and letter in place. I tired it without the tape but the letters would not lay flat.

Step 5
Hang it up. I just used clear masking tape to hang it up. It could also me tied up. It could be placed anywhere. We did not have many options so I decided to place it on a 2 foot wall in the kitchen/living room area. It is at the end of a long hallway so whenever I wake up or come back from the bathroom, I smile at my new Christmas display.
I cut out a few additional stars from the book pages and placed them randomly on the wall.

Did I mention this only cost me $1.00 to make?! All I had to buy was the book because I had everything else. But even you do have to buy a few extra things, it will still be SUPER inexpensive.

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Window Display 2010

Hey Gang. I was going to wait until all my projects were done to share my Christmas goodies but that may be a while, and I am excited to share my window display all dressed up for Christmas. I was going for a neutral, rustic theme with some shimmery/sparkly/gold-ish/metallic accents.

If you remember from my fall window display, we don't have a lot of room to decorate or a lot of furniture to place decorations on, so I like the window sill to be the main attraction.I wrapped a few empty boxes in some paper I already had and tied everything together with some gold ribbon. I needed something on top and a bow wasn't cuttin' it. When I saw this little gold reindeer, I knew it would be the perfect topper to my present tower. My mom bought me those shimmery stars on clearance last year.
I picked up this wooden candle holder from an antique shop while out shopping with Katie. It originally had to rustic, metal stars on the front, but JD thought it looked too beachy and I could see his point. So I replaced the stars with this "D" ornament from Pottery Bran. The $2.00 price tag convinced me to buy it.
I placed some glittered covered ornament balls and a string of lights in the vase and topped it off with some "wild hair" in JD's terminology. They are shimmery, silver flower-like things.

The candles and lights really reflect the glittery objects. It is really pretty at night but also very hard to photograph. You'll just have to take my word that is looks nice. These photos were taken around 4:00pm just before it got too dark.

So that's how my window sill looks for Christmas. I wanted to keep it simple, cohesive, and neutral.

Stayed tuned for a Christmas craft that is super easy to make for less than $5.00. Hint: I got my inspiration from that "D" ornament above.