Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Break

In an effort to cut costs, the school district increased the kids' Thanksgiving Break from 2 1/2 days to 5 days this year. That meant we had a full week and two weekends to hang out, so we hit the road and drove to Pocatello, ID, to visit my in-laws. Oh yes. We know how to live it up! We left on Friday before Thanksgiving when the kids got out of school. We had nice dry roads on the way down, but the next day we woke up to this:
It was a winter wonderland and it snowed all day on Saturday. The kids spent a little time playing in it, but we weren't really prepared for so much snow and I didn't think to bring their snow pants, so they got really wet. And cold. Thankfully we did have gloves and hats.
As you can see, I was unwilling to leave the comfort of the house to get any real pictures of them in the snow. I'm not crazy after all. :O) 

There's only so much entertainment to be gleaned from a snowstorm when you have no snow pants, so we loaded everyone up and hit the local kid-haunt. I can't remember the name of the place, but it was similar to Wahooz in Boise. The kids played arcade games and miniature golf and then cashed in their tickets for a pile of junk that we got to haul home. Fun times. 

They did have fun though and it did get them and us out of the house for a few hours. All in all, I count it as a successful day. The next day was Sunday and the forecast was for more snow, but we had to get home so Mike could be to work on Monday. Here's how things looked on the way home.
Not great.  We white knuckled it home and arrived safely, but it took a little longer than normal. As I'm sure you can imagine.
We've had such a strange Fall this year. The weather got so cold so fast that the trees didn't drop their leaves. So the next day this is what our yard looked like. We still had a LOT of leaves to rake, IF they'd ever drop off the trees!!
I absolutely love this tree and the color it provides in the Fall. I was afraid some of the branches would break off from the weight of the snow and the leaves. I'm somewhat happy to report that at press time all of the leaves are finally off the tree and the city was nice enough to pick them up with the Christmas trees this year (since we completely missed the curbside leaf pick up this year). We weren't the only ones with New Year's leaf bags. We had 3 or 4 bags of leaves to put out this week but I think our neighbors had 8 or 10!  This wasn't the only excitement in the Slaughter House over Thanksgiving Break. I'll be back with more of the breath-taking play by play soon. Promise.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas Bulb Wreath

I'm pretty sure that all of these Christmas Idea posts would have been much more helpful to all of you before Christmas. You'll just have to bookmark them and pull them out in September! :O) I'm going to just go ahead and admit right here on the internet that I read WAY too many blogs. I think I like looking for inspiration more than I like using that inspiration to do fun things. Call me crazy. Anyway, I almost always use the inspiring blogs I read as a jumping off point for things I do. Call me lazy. So I when I say in every blog post that I found the idea on someone's blog, you can bet your bottom dollar it's true. And you can even know that even if I don't say that, I still probably found it on someone's blog. It's just the way it is. Well, I first saw this idea here. Then I saw it here. And they both saw it here. After a while, resistance was futile. So I started with these ornaments.
I got them at Target for $15 for all of them. They're plastic, which is nice, except I think the tops on the plastic ones break easier than the metal tops on the glass bulbs. I may have to try a wreath with glass bulbs and see if it's easier. Although the plastic tops are on pretty tight, I did follow the directions and put a dab of hot glue on each one, just to be sure. The issues I had weren't with the tops popping off the bulbs, it was more with the plastic tops breaking where the wire went through. It wasn't a huge deal. I'd just hot glue the bulbs back where I wanted them and they were fine. Anyway, here's the end result. 

I loved that some of the bulbs had glitter on them and some of the smaller ones had glitter dots and stripes on them. Doesn't it look cute on my craft room floor? Because I can't believe I didn't get one single picture of it up in my house! Ack! I'll have to take a picture next year since it's all packed away till next year. When I went back and looked at the inspiration wreaths again I love love love the ones with the muted tones and pink in them. I'll have to keep an eye out for some ornaments in those colors. It's hard to find something amazing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I did tie a big red bow on the top of mine and I just used the hanger hook to hang it from. DH put a nail in the top of the molding above the window in the kitchen and it hung nicely from the hanger hook. 

When I was in the process of finishing up my wreath, I had to take a break to work on this:
Isn't he adorable!?! As part of the curriculum in 3rd grade, the kids do a lesson on immigration. As part of that lesson, they have to research their heritage and make a clothespin figure to represent someone from their family. Then they give their little person a name and write a story about how they came to America. Mason decided to do his project on our American Indian heritage and so we worked on this little Indian man. I think he called him Straight Arrow or something equally adorable. I "helped" Mason make his clothes, headdress, bow and little quiver full of arrows. It was a fun project and Mason was so proud of how he turned out! 

All of the little people were on display in the classroom for a week or two. Some of the stories were so touching. One little girl who was adopted from China made the most beautiful doll and her story made me cry. It was a great lesson for all of them to learn about where everyone came from. At the end of the week they wrap things up with an immigration simulation. They have to pretend they're on a boat in steerage and eat dry crackers as they sail to Ellis Island. At the end some of them are too "sick" with fake diseases to be admitted to the US. The teachers are careful to choose kids who won't be too upset by the disappointment, but it's a good lesson for all of the kids and they have a blast. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Planner

A while back I saw a project someone had done and I just couldn't stop thinking about it. I'm a bit of a planner/listmaker/organizer type and my mind was just spinning with all of the possibilities. So here's what I came up with.
I basically followed the instructions from the site where I got the idea. I used some old Basic Grey paper that I've been hoarding saving for something special. I really liked the bird on the front cover, but then it ended up getting covered up by the circles. I sponged all of the edges of the paper with Basic Black classic ink and I tied a black grosgrain ribbon around the spine. The inspiration site recommended tying the book shut to protect it from curious little eyes. I didn't want the tie to smash the labels on the edge, so I used threats instead.  
I basically told the kids that if they looked in my planner, Santa wouldn't come. That was enough to keep prying eyes away. :O) The tabs I used are Lists, Calendar, Cards, Menu, To Do, and Gifts. I had two extra tabs. I may end up using those for lists because my Lists section almost filled up this year. It's a sickness. The tabs are just scraps of the same patterned paper that I punched out with a 1 1/4" square punch and then folded in half. I stapled them onto 3 sheets of paper so they'd be less likely to tear and I left 10 pages between each tab.
I also put manilla envelopes inside the front and back covers for receipts and coupons. I didn't put the year on the front of mine. That way I can use it for several years. I'm not sure where I'm going to keep this, but I do know that I'll probably use it to jot down gift ideas all year long. It got a LOT of use in the past couple of months!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Busy as a Bee

Hopefully by now you all know that I'm pretty much a "hit and miss" blogger. I blog when I have time and when I don't, well, you all know how that goes. I do have to admit that every time I make something crafty or yummy I think to myself that I should put it on my blog. But then life gets in the way and it doesn't happen.

A while back my girlfriend, Gina, and I had coffee (which we don't do enough!) and she was giving me a hard time about not blogging. When I told her I just don't have time to sit and edit the pictures, she recommended batch processing. Well, today is the day I finally tried it, and let me tell you, I may be a more prolific blogger because of it! Woo Hoo! It rocked my world tonight! As a result, I'm going to post some of the crafty creations (and yummy ones too) that have kept me from blogging! I was SO busy before Christmas cranking out crafty goodness. Hopefully there's still someone out there who cares! I may even tell you every minute detail of our Disney World trip. Soon you'll all be sorry I discovered batch photo processing and "unfollow" my blog because I'm boring you with every detail of my life! HA! I'll try to restrain myself.

Anyhoo. I'm going to start with something I made in October. I started thinking about the holidays and my girlfriend, Carrie, made the cutest wreath with the Christmas paper from the Holiday mini. I can't remember the name and since it's all retired now I'm not even going to go look it up. I copied her wreath and then thought it was so cute I made one for my sister for her birthday! I think they're adorable, but I'll let you be the judge.
The first one is the one I made for me! I love the colors in that paper and the shiny glitter in some of the patterns. The wreath is made using the Candy Wrapper die. I made 17 (I think) candy wrappers in all of the different patterned papers and then I glued the flat edges together with my trusty glue gun. It was pretty sturdy, but just to make sure it didn't fall apart, I cut a circle out of the fiberboard the comes on the back of a package of DSP and glued it to the back. It's white, so it didn't show much. I added lots of fun embellishments including ribbons, buttons and brads and lots of the snowflakes from the long die in the Holiday mini. In the interest of my new "fast" blogger style, I'm not looking this stuff up. If you have a question you can email me. k? 
This is the wreath I made for my sister. She likes more vintagey (yes, I made that word up) things, so this paper was more her style and she loooved it. She had it on a darling little shelf in her apartment and it just looked so adorable! 

And now, just cause I can add so many more photos at the touch of a photoshop elements button, I share with you an exciting event in the lives of my kids.
In September, Idaho got it's first Apple store. Such a fun place. The only problem is, we took the kids the day after it opened and now they BEG us to go every week after church so they can play with all of the new toys! Egads! 


I'm pretty sure we could drop them off every morning and pick them up when the mall closes and they'd be in hog heaven. They LOVE the iPads. It's just a bigger version of the iPod touches they use all the time at home and they have so much fun on it. Jordan has mastered Angry Birds and the big boys have fun playing air hockey. Crazy times. The computer I used in high school required DOS programming. I'm just saying. Now if only Verizon and Apple would get with the program and offer a Verizon iPhone. Soon. Hopefully soon. 

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