Tuesday, December 20, 2016

preschool gift idea

I'm just stopping in real quick to share an idea that my boys and I put together. It's just a small gift for all my oldest son's preschool classmates. We put it together for less than 30 cents a bag thanks to my frugal shopping habits.

The baggies were made up of one hot cocoa packet, one winter pencil, and 4 small stickers. We also put a little note to let them know who it was from. The bags and pencils I bought last year after Christmas and got them on clearance. They were each less than a $1 for a pack of 36 pencils and 20 bags. Here is a good deal on plain bags that you could use year round. 

Here are the hot cocoa packets we included. They came from Aldi and were either $1.20 or $1.30 for a box of 10, which is a better deal than the ones you can get at the dollar store for a box of 6. The stickers did come from the dollar store and were left over from another gift bag I made for our Sunday School class which is smaller so I was more generous. 

I will have to stock back up on those little goodies for next year for my younger son's preschool class. I hope the kids like them. I know my oldest son liked helping me put them together which I am so pleased about. I want them to understand that giving is good. Christmas isn't all about getting as many toys as you possibly can. 

I also think these would make great teacher gifts by adding in a gift card to Target. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

quick book recommendations

I am just stopping in to write some quick reviews of two books we absolutely love in my house. You can click the picture to buy the book.

The first is a bedtime book called Bedtime for Batman. My 3 yr old and 5 yr old both love this book. It's about a little boy getting ready for bed and how Batman gets ready for his night too. We love how the end of the book has a checklist so you can make sure you did everything you needed to.

The second book is a Christmas story called Jesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree. In this book a little girl goes through the decorations on the tree and how they tell the story of Jesus. It's such a great tool to help bring some of the meaning back into Christmas, especially when these little kids are bombarded with Santa Claus legends all day long.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas tree 2016

This is my favorite time of the year! So here's our Christmas tree so far. As always, these photos are straight out of the camera, my little Canon Powershot. I am saving up for one like this.

Our house is so small so the tree is squeezed in between the front door and the table at my end of the couch. We've put about a third maybe of our ornaments on and that's really enough.

My oldest son wanted me to take a picture of our tiny batman ornament. That is one that we got last year after the holiday.
My knit snowball ornament. I think I made that in 2011.

This is an ornament I made from a dead nightlight bulb. I covered it in tissue paper and glitter. #thrifty

Reindeer ornament that sadly lost an eyeball between preschool and home. This is my oldest son's first preschool made ornament.

I filled this ornament with Easter grass and the wrote my husband's initial in glue and coated that in colored sand. I did this our first Christmas as a married couple, 2010.

These diamonds are not only one of my favorite sets of ornaments but both my boys love them too. They are plastic, they sparkle. I have them in the red seen here and a bronze color. Here is a clear set. I've also seen them in pink and other colors as well. They've been rearranged on our tree so many times already and our tree has only been up for one day.

Here are some more ornaments that I absolutely love!

Use the arrow button to see them all (there's a lot!).

Thanks for checking it out! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bulletin / Book display

Since my bulletin board displays are the most popular posts on here I thought I'd share this one from my student teaching days. it's my first ever bulletin board!
The words were printed on regular copy paper, cut and laminated. Hence the shiny reflections. But this was done so they could be reused year after year.
Here is the finished project. It was a great idea, I wasn't 100% happy with the finished product. There's a lot of fantasy fiction among the titles listed. And the whole thing is just really busy, but I really like the idea.

Here is a display I did for a FACS (family and consumer sciences) teacher. Check out my extremely clever title: Cooking by the Books!

Friday, October 7, 2016


Our family collection of Lego and MegaBlok. Some of these are more than 20 years old. 

I was a little bit worried that they wouldn't all work together. Because when I was kid the different brands didn't mix. But these will work together! At least for the most part, for example, that ninja turtle is from MegaBlok and it won't fit through the Lego doorways, but my son doesn't care about that at all. As a girl, I would build doll houses with my brother's Lego and it would have bothered me a lot, but as an adult, it's the kind of thing that I can ignore. I don't get to build dollhouses anymore anyway. Now I have to build batcaves and villain lairs. 


I mentioned before that I've been making recycled paper since late elementary school. I went through a phase where I would lay the wet paper on my towel and then take it to the ironing board and iron it so that it would dry faster. I was too impatient to see how it would turn out once dry. 

After looking at this latest batch of blue paper I'm wondering if I should go back to that because all the wrinkles. But on the other hand I am saving energy by not heating up that iron. Nevermind the fact that I can get other stuff done because I'm not actively doing the drying work. I have just been laying my towels out and letting the sun do what it does best. Although of course I won't be able to take advantage of that for long. Winter is coming. 

The next set of papers are from a long time ago, at least six years. Is that long? My husband and I like to joke that it feels like a long time! He recently horrified someone by telling her that we are going to be celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary, but it feels like it's been a lot longer than that. HA!

I feel like this batch of paper must be one that I ironed. They definitely don't have the wrinkles like the other ones. The wrinkles haven't bothered me until I really started looking at some of my previous batches of paper. Now they really annoy me. What do you think? 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Minty Fresh

my favorite color in really cute items for your home!

Friday, September 16, 2016

dream living room

If I had the time, money, and space, this is what my living room would look like!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 12, 2016

party paper

wrapping paper recycled

Birthday cakes

Last weekend we celebrated the birthdays of my two boys. They turn 3 and 5 this month.

We did a turtle cake and a spidercake. These cakes are not pinterest-worthy, but guess what! The boys don't care! They were thrilled and that is the most important thing.

I don't know where my cake decorating stuff is exactly, in a box in a basement somewhere. So I just used a ziplock bag with one corner snipped off to draw these lines. I did the turtle cake first and was not happy with how skinny the lines were so the next cake I snipped off a larger piece of the corner. 

Would you believe I actually used to work as a cake decorator!? HA! I don't know why I didn't ever take a camera in when I knew I would be doing a wedding or birthday cake. So my piece of advice for today: If you do anything creative at all at your job, if you are allowed to, take a picture of it! Of course I don't know if some employers would frown on that? Would they? But a picture is worth 1000 words and I wish I had some photos now. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

birthday wishlist

This post is kinda like birthday wish list for me. It's going to be totally random.

I've been reading a lot of this blog lately. I love the colors and her photos. It's a lot of fun. But anyway, she has a print for sale of a gumball machine. So that reminded me of the one I had in junior high. I wonder what happened to it? My parents are cleaning out their house and to my knowledge they haven't come across it yet. Maybe I already got rid of it, but now I feel like I need one. So there is this beauty on Amazon.

My lifestyle is not very fancy (#understatement). I never host large gatherings of people. I've hosted 16-17 for Easter and birthdays, but that's it. So my lifestyle definitely doesn't qualify me for needing demitasse spoons or iced tea spoons, but that doesn't mean I can't want them, right?

This spice rack is such a good deal when you consider that you get 5 years worth of free spice refills. I have one, but I'm soon getting another. My grandmother had this style spice rack in her kitchen. The kitchen at my grandparents' house was/is one of my favorite places on Earth, that and screened porch connected to it.

I got a Keurig. I went with the K15 in jade color. so pretty. So now I need some of these to go with it. A sample pack like this might be a good place for me to start.

I bought myself wooden train track pieces for my birthday. Here are some more pieces that I can't wait to add to my collection. one two three four I started off our wooden train collection by getting the tracks from Ikea. I thought it was the most affordable. I didn't know there were other options out there like this one that's only $28. I especially like the short curved pieces. I still have to find some of those for my collection. Here's another set that's only $28 and it comes with 59 pieces. Setting up the train tracks are one of my favorite playtime activities with my boys. I like how it encourages problem solving patience and IMAGINATION.

I love this fabric from ikea. It's bees! I'd use it for pillows or tote bags. Here's another cute fabric. I think I would use it for a baby quilt backing or pillows. And wouldn't this fabric be cute if you had kids color it and then sew it up into aprons.

Friday, August 19, 2016

bedtime books

As a former librarian and current stay-at-home mom, I read a lot of children's books. I thought it would be really fun and hopefully helpful to create a list of bedtime books that my young boys and I enjoy reading. These books are in no particular order.

The first is Day is Done written by Peter Yarrow and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.


The text is nice and soothing and it has sweet illustrations. My copy came with a cd of four songs by Peter Yarrow, but we haven't actually listened to it yet. The book version has been good enough for us so far. I really like this text because it is written to a son, so it's just perfect to read to my two sons.

The next book I want to talk about is Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker with illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld.

We first started getting this book from the library. We would keep it for three weeks and return it. Then on our next trip to the library we'd see it there on top of the shelf so we'd check it out again. We bought it to give as a birthday gift for a little friend. But we'd still just keep checking it out from the library for ourselves.  So finally this year we actually bought it for ourselves when Amazon had it an unbelievable discount for their Prime Day. Both our boys love this book. It has got the perfect lulling, calming bedtime rhythm, but it also has really cute pictures and it's about trucks! Like a lot of little boys, our youngest son is obsessed with cars and trucks.

Another good bedtime book is How to Make a Night by Linda Ashman and Tricia Tusa as illustrator.

Sadly this book seems to be out of print, but maybe you can find a copy at your local library. If you do come across a copy I highly recommend it. I thought it was such a different take on getting ready for bed. It talks about taking the sky down and dipping it in dye so that it is black at night time. I also really loved the illustrations on this one. It is partly illustrated, part collage. It might be tough to see in this small image, but the girl's skirt is fabric while the rest is drawn/painted. I love that!

It's Time to Sleep, My Love by Nancy Tillman and Eric Metaxas.

I might have this one memorized. Sweet, soothing rhymes. More collage style art. This one was a favorite of mine when I had my first little baby. I have sweet memories of reading this while rocking him gently. Our copy is all taped up because we've read it so many times when little hands were helping turn pages.

The Cat at Night by Dahlov Ipcar.

This book was originally published in 1969. And in the best way possible it looks like it. It's got a very vintage feel to the illustrations which I absolutely love. It's not exactly a bedtime book as far as being a very lulling rhyming story about soothing someone to sleep, but as the title says it's about what a car does at night. I like that it is so interactive for children. You are shown a page where you see the silhouettes of certain things and the children have to guess what they are. Then the next page shows the exact same outlines but filled in with fun colors that the cat supposedly sees. It's fun and I highly recommend it. I will be looking to check out more by this author.

Sleep Like a Tiger is written by Mary Logue with pictures by Pamela Zagarenski

This is a Caldecott Honor book. It's about a young girl who doesn't want to go to sleep. Her parents are able to gently convince her to get in bed. It is just such a sweet story about curling up in bed and falling asleep. The illustrations are astounding. It's the kind of book I could stare at the pictures for minutes myself. Lots of cute details to check out such as the book the little girl is holding before she gets in bed. It's The Little Prince (one of my favorite books of all time!).

The Margaret Wise Brown & Clement Hurd classic Goodnight Moon is last on my list.

We are on our third copy of this book. I think sometimes people forget about the classics and just get whatever is new. I just think anyone who has a baby should have this book. There's a reason they make it into puzzles and put the designs on fabric. Just look at this cute stuffed bunny you can get now too. It is the perfect last book to read before giving goodnight kisses.

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