December 21, 2011

Jingles (aka Elf on a Shelf)

In case you haven't heard about this yet . . . . the Elf on a Shelf is a little elf that visits us at the beginning of December.  He comes with a story book that explains all about him.  My kids talk to hm, tell him how their day was and, ask him questions, and give him messages to give to Santa.  Every evening he flies back to the north pole to report to Santa and then turns up in a different spot the next morning.  My kids have a ball looking for him.  Sometimes he plays pranks, sometime he brings a treat, sometime he just shows up in a funny place.  I know these ideas are all over pinterest but in case you missed them I thought I'd share ours.

Our elf arrived on Dec 1 and brought his book and some kisses from the North Pole.  They were basically hershey kisses that had clip art pictures taped to the bottom.   Then I spray painted the jar lid silver and added a tag.
 He also had his magic key (along with a poem) that explained how he got in the house.  You can see the details here.
He turned our milk red and green . . . .

He got into their favorite candy . . . .
He roasted marshmallows with some friends . . . . 

He was caught hanging out in my daughters toy hammock enjoying a cookie and milk that he put in her toy dishes . . . .
He dug out all their christmas books to read . . . .
He drew mustaches and beards on our family portrait . . . .
He was also found in our pantry drinking our pancake syrup.  My son wasn't happy with this one and took is straw away as he was afraid we wouldn't have any left for our pancakes (one of his favorite meals).
 He was found hanging out on our ceiling fan . . . .
 He found a not so comfortable seat in the prickly trees that decorate our dining room table.  He actually brought them a treat this day but I didn't get a picture before my kids grabbed them.  He brought my daughter a new pink and black lacy skirt and pink sweater and my son some new Christmas dishes.
 We caught him hanging out with Raggedy Ann . . . .
  . . . .and going for a ride on my wool lambs. . . .
Jingles even brought me a surprise.  I got a gift card to one of my favorite stores!!  My daughter was not happy with this one.  She said he was only supposed to bring prizes for kids . . . .
I'm saving my favorite for Christmas Eve Eve . . . . 
I'm borrowing the idea from here.  She has TONS of cute ideas!
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(¸.·´   Denise

Teacher Gifts

Whew . . . . Got these made just in time.  I seem to be playing catch up this month.  My kids needed 5 teacher gifts (3 teachers and 2 bus drivers - my daughter has awesome drivers this year!!)  In order not to spend a fortune (and because I enjoy it) I made some of the gifts.

My mom had purchased these gloves with little snowmen sewn on.  I used them to make my own pattern and sewed a pair for each person.  (One bus driver is a man so the gloves will be for his wife.  She actually monogrammed my daughters name on a book bag so I thought it would be nice to include something for her.)

I noticed after I had them all wrapped up that I forgot the eyes so I opened them back up and drew on two eyes with a sharpie (two small dots)

I also made more of the snowman wrapped Hershey bars.  You can see the full tutorial here. I just used some leftover fleece that I got from freecycle. I borrowed the idea for the bag topper for the gloves from here.
I put all this in a snowflake pail I got from Target along with a Target gift card.  I know everyone usually gets Starbucks or Bread Company gift cards but I'm sure there are people, myself included, who don't frequent those places but I figure everyone can find something at Target. 

And what Christmas gift is complete without some homemade cookies. My daughter helped make these and I had the tray leftover from previous years.
Other than the time it took to make and put everything together this was a very inexpensive gift.  It was around $12 for each person (not bad considering the Target gift card was $10).

This post was featured on A Delightful Order's Top Ten.

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(¸.·´   Denise

From Santa Tags

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.  I hope you have all been as productive as I have...HAHA funny!  I still feel like I have a million things to do even though I have been done with Xmas shopping since Black Friday...yes, I'm one of "those people"!  Anyways, I know Denise did a personalized From Santa printable last year, so I thought I'd go ahead and add another one that I did since it was already done.

This one is a PDF that you write your child's name in.  If you would prefer an actual type version, just comment below and I will send you one.

Click on the PDF link or the picture below. 

Happy Holidays Every!

December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

As if I don't have enough to do this month my daughter decided she wanted to make her daddy something for his birthday on Sunday.  He's a big Mizzou fan and last Christmas she helped me sew him a fleece Mizzou scarf (she actually sat on my lap and helped hold the fabric as I sewed).  For his birthday we settled on a tied fleece blanket.  I thought this was something he would use and something that she would actually be able to help make (she's only 5 1/2). 

We started with 2 yards of black fleece and 2 yards of Mizzou fleece.  

After we had them lined up and all sides square, we cut slits about every inch or so.  I really just eyeballed them.  I also made them the length of my scissor blades so that I wouldn't have to measure.  They ended up being about 4 inches long.  I also cut a 4"x4" square off each corner.  As I was cutting my daughter started tying.  We managed to get around all 4 sides in about an hour.

I'm so happy that we actually finished a project from beginning to end - ahead of schedule.  
My son who is only three wasn't able to help making the blanket but he has a plan.  When we were talking about my husband's birthday the other day he thought about it for a while and decided that since his daddy likes to play balloons with him he would buy him a balloon.  He picked out a Spiderman Punch balloon.  He is so excited to give it to him.

Now I can start on my Christmas projects. . . . 
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(¸.·´   Denise

December 7, 2011

Memory Cards

Have your kids ever said or did something so cute or funny (or inappropriate) that you just want to remember it?  If you're like me you have a hard time writing them all down.  I used to have a small spiral  photo album that I recorded things in each month . . . . weight, length, new skills learned, etc.  That was great for the first year or two since they're changing so much every day.  However, now that they're older and I don't record as much I find myself not recording anything.  I needed a system that was easier to use.  I finally found some free time the other day and sat down and created these "memory cards".  There are a few styles so far and hopefully, I'll add more in the future.  Right now I have . . . .  
Today I did something . . . .
Today I said something . . . . 
Memory Cards (Sooo Big - to record height, weight, etc.  First Day of School, End of School Year Memory, My Favorite Things)

I just printed them on cardstock and cut them apart.

When I was cleaning out my basement I found this 3x5 index card file box.
Of course, I wasn't happy with the grey color so I sprayed it with a primer for metal
Then sprayed it white.
Then I added a quote about memories in red
Right now I just have the cards separated with post it flags but I'm planning to make printable, tabbed dividers.  

I've already filled out a couple of cards for each kid.  It's so much easier.  I just leave it on the desk in my kitchen with extra blank cards.  Even their dad and grandmas and grandpas can get in on the action and fill out a card.  It will be a nice keepsake to have all these memories written in their loved ones handwriting.

The cards are for sale in my Etsy shop.  You only purchase them once and then you can print them over and over again.  I can also change the red to a different color and the hearts to a different symbol.

Let me know if you have a specific request for a card you'd like me to create.

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(¸.·´   Denise

December 6, 2011

Where in the World . . . . ?

I'm horrible at geography . . . . I mean really, really bad.  I used to cringe when I got a state in Pictionary because I don't even know where all 50 are located on a map.  My subject is math. I teach it, I tutor it, I LOVE it!

I'm hoping my kids are better at geography than me so I'm starting to review it with them early.

I saw this idea here and thought it could have so many uses.  We can flag where we've traveled, learn state names and locations, work on capitals, etc.

I've had this bulletin board that I got from freecycle laying around forever.  We used it at my daughter's princess party to play "pin the kiss on the frog").  
I googled "map of the US" and decided this one would work best for me.

I traced it onto a piece of glass to use on my overhead projector (another freecycle score that I used to paint the monkeys on my sons room. You can see that tutorial here and here with one more update coming soon of the finished project).  Then I traced it onto the bulletin board, outlined it heavy in black and used an exacto knife to cut it out (I also outlined the states).  It was actually easier than I thought it would be.
 A little ribbon and it's ready to hang.
To mark our vacations (or states or capitals someday) I created these flags.
Right now I've just pinned the vacations we've taken as a family since we had kids.  Looks like we need to venture out west  :)
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(¸.·´   Denise

December 5, 2011

Every Child is an Artist!

And mine are no exception.  The make so many pictures I don't know what to do with them all.  About a year ago I was in Chicago at IKEA and picked up this clever cable system.  It attaches to the wall on both ends and then has clips that hold the art work.  It has taken me a long time to decide where to hang it up.  I was tired of seeing it lay on my desk . . . . and tired of all the artwork piling up . . . .  so I finally chose a place to hang it.  I settled on some blank wall space between my kid's bedroom doors.  The cable actually worked out better than I expected since I needed it to stretch around a couple corners.  I has turned out to be a great location.  There is plenty of space for their artwork, it's not cluttering up a main traffic area, and it's on the wall outside my craft room where I have an artwork area set up for them.  We also  hung it low enough so that they can clip up their own artwork as they create it.

They've been working on creating "masterpieces" ever since we hung it up!!
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(¸.·´   Denise

December 4, 2011

Organizing the Christmas Holiday!!

I'm usually fairly organized but things seem to get away from me at Christmas time.  I end up losing track of what presents I buy and how much I spend or I have to run out at the last minute to get an ingredient I forgot.  To keep that from happening again this year I created a Christmas Planner.

I created it to be small enough to fit in the pocket of my Erin Condren Planner so I made the pages approx 5x8.  It has 10 pages.  The first two are the cover page and a gift log.

 The next two pages are more gift logs.  I'm planning to use one for each kid and then the third one for everyone else.  

Pages 5 and 6 are to record Christmas Cards sent and received:
Page 7 is a log to record Thank You cards sent and received and page 8 is a log to record gifts to make.
 The last two pages are a menu planner and a to do list.  The menu planner includes sections for each dish, ingredients needed, where the recipe is located and a grocery list.
This is available in my Etsy shop for $4

**This has been edited and has an additional 2 pages.  I've added a log to record stocking stuffers.  There are two pages similar to the logs to record gifts purchased (only the title is different and reads "stocking suffers log")
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(¸.·´   Denise