Monday, December 5, 2011

I've been avoiding Christmas

Hey everyone!  I'm sorry that I haven't posted in so long, things got busy with work, and then the Christmas season started and I just couldn't do it.  You see Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday!  I dream in snow flakes and Christmas trees.  But things are a little different this year, and I was bummed about not being able to do Christmas my way, until I realized that this blog will be how I celebrate this year.  I will just celebrate the season with all of you!

So Merry Christmas to all of you!

To make these lovely trees, all you need are styrofoam cones, yarn, buttons, and pearl pins.  I happen to have the cones left over from a craft I was going to do in October, but never got around to.  They have a couple of sizes at WalMart for a good price, but if you want bigger cones then you will have to go to a craft store.

Simply tie in a knot in the end of the yarn, and pin it to the top of the cone and then just start wrapping.  The top is the hardest part.

When you finish it should look like this:

Then just add the buttons by pinning them onto the tree.

Sorry for the bad photo, sometimes I can't get the camera to focus no matter what I do.  I really love the way they turned out, and I can't wait to put them out to help put me in the holiday mood!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Easy Turkey Craft

Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  What are you doing to celebrate?  This year I am going to two Thanksgivings.  I will start the day with my side of the family, at my grandmother's house, and end the day with my husband's family.  How will I eat two Thanksgiving dinners you ask?  Well, it's all about strategy!  I have favorite things at both places, so I take small samples of everything, but indulge in my favorite items.  Plus, there is nothing like your own family's food, and I am going to them first.

While I am busy obsessing over my Thanksgiving eating strategies, here is a craft to get you in the mood for the big day.  All you need are leaves, glue, brown paper or a brown paper bag, and white paper.

Step 1: Dry out and press your leaves by placing them in a book between wax paper for 36 hours.  This step is totally not necessary, but it makes them a little easier to glue.  It also makes them a lot less pliable.

Step 2:  Cut out your turkey body and place it on your white paper.

Step 3: Arrange your leaves around the turkey and glue them down.  Don't forget to add a face!

I love how it showcases the amazing colors of Fall that I am obsessed with!  I actually missed the turn to my grandma's house the other day because I was too busy staring at foliage.  Isn't it amazing how bright the colors are after pressing also?  I love it!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall Tree Craft

Hey everyone!  Can you even believe that Thanksgiving is this week?  I can't!   Well, this craft will help you enjoy the last few bits of Fall that we have left, before we dive head first into winter and the holiday season.

All you need for this craft is paper, water colors, coffee filters, and crayons.

First step:  Trace your child's hand and forearm on the white piece of paper.

Don't mind my terribly chipped nails!

Step 2: Color the hand, which will serve as our tree trunk, however your little heart desires.

You could also use paint for this, or even paint your child's hand.

Step 3:  Lay out at least 3 coffee filters.  I used a torn up paper bag to paint on, just don't use newspaper because the ink will run onto your project and make it look dingy.

Step 4: Paint the coffee filters with water colors, only using the colors of Fall.  If you do not have water colors you could color them with marker and then give them a quick dip in some water to make the colors run together.
Yes, it's true, I used a bit of green.  As I mentioned before, our leaves don't really change in So Cal.  I had to include it!  After they are painted you must wait for them to dry.  It shouldn't take very long.

Step 5:  Fold the coffee filter into eights and cut out a leaf shape.

Step 6: Arrange and glue your leaves around your trunk.  Don't forget to make one falling!

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Getting over good, bad and got

I HATE when I'm reading a paper and the same words appear over and over!  "It was really good.  I think the book was good.  I think the character made a good decision."  This is a great way to help kids get over using the same words!

Create a tombstone for the most used words in the class, putting them to rest forever.  But be sure that you include the "survived by" part so that they have ideas of what else to use.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall in Southern California

I'm a HUGE fan of the Fall!  I love the crisp, cool weather, the fires we can light at night, and most of all I love the changing trees.  Unfortunately, we don't get a lot of that around Southern California.  In order to do this project I actually had to go on a leaf hunt.  It's true, you can call me "The Leaf Thief" because I had to go and take leaves off of trees so that they were a beautiful Fall color, and not the gross brown that was littering the ground.  Luckily, I have amazing neighbors who really didn't care to lose a couple of leaves for the good of crafting.  If you also have a leaf deficiency then I might suggest going to the park, or as a last result, going to the craft store and buying the fake ones.

Today, to celebrate the beautiful colors of Fall, and the coming together of families for the holidays, we are making Leaf People.  I was inspired by a Martha Stewart post where she made animals for each letter of the alphabet out of leaves. (You can check it out by clicking here)  That seemed way too complicated for me, so Jake (my youngest brother) and I made Leaf People of ourselves.  He even made them hold hands!  I knew he loved me!  It's hard to tell when they are twelve and full of eye rolling and face making.

To start, I gathered A BUNCH of leaves from the neighborhood.

Then we laid out our people.  Make sure they have heads, bodies, legs and arms.  I included feet for mine, and Jake included (giant) hands for his.  Work with what you have, anything goes!

He is so going to hate me for posting a picture of him, but he's just so cute!  Once the leaves are all laid out and you are happy with your person, glue them down.

If you can find your googly eyes, I couldn't, then go ahead and add them in!  It would really add a lot to this easy project.  If your child is doing this alone, have them do your family in leaves, or even a self portrait.  For the younger kids, they probably won't look much like people, but who cares!  As long as they are having fun, and enjoying an easy and pretty much free craft, then I am thrilled!

Here is how our little guys turned out:

Did I mention how much I love that they are holding hands?

I really hope you try this out, there is really no excuse not too, well unless you live in the Arctic and nothing grows.  That would be a good excuse!

Happy Monday!  And thanks for sticking around even though I was sick last week!  It's the curse of being a teacher.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I am such a nice sub!

Apparently, I'm too nice of a sub. I really need to work on my Viola Swamp skills! Actually, none of that is true. I am a very strict sub, that's the only way to survive, but I'm also nice and fair. Apparently I'm also pretty an have green eyes (my eyes are blue), because I got these two pictures and notes yesterday. This is also the first time I'm posting from my phone, I hope it works!

I feel pretty special!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Too Much Candy

This is about the time that parents start to realize just how much candy there is in the house, and that it's not going away unless they eat all of it, or throw it all away.  Well, there is a solution!  And it doesn't involve telling your kids that you ate all of their candy (Thanks Jimmy Kimmel! If you haven't seen those videos yet, you need to look them up on You Tube.  Hilarious!  I'll tack one onto the end of this, be sure to watch it).

Allow me to introduce you the concept of the Switch Witch.  The Switch Witch comes about a week or so after Halloween.  The kids leave out all of their candy and the during the night, she comes and switches out their candy for something better like a movie or books.  It is a super fun and easy way to get kids to let go of their candy without causing a huge crying fit.  I really hope that some of you try it!  If you do, I would love to know what your Switch Witch leaves!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm famous!

Ok, I'm not really famous, but I certainly feel like it today!  After my husband proposed, I instantly became obsessed with wedding magazines and wedding blogs.  I devoured them, and probably spent hundreds of dollars on magazines, because they are just so beautiful.  But the one place I found the most inspiration and jaw dropping photos was Style Me Pretty.

I would spend hours, pouring over photos, and tagging ideas for later (where was Pinterest then?), just soaking up the beautiful images and secretly hoping that someday my wedding would be great enough to be featured.  Well guess what?!?!  It was!!!!

I spent a year crafting, and pulling things together, cutting out pictures, and it all came together on that day.  I had an amazing coordinator, Salynn from Events with Kick, that saw exactly what I wanted, and took all of my bits and pieces and put them together into something truly amazing.

I also had an absolutely amazing photographer, named Melissa Munding, and it was her skill that made it all look pretty for me to remember forever.  Be sure to check it out!  I'm ridiculously excited!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Everybody needs a play dough recipe!

If you have kids, if you work with kids, if someday you think might want kids, if you are a kid at heart, then you really should have a play dough recipe on hand because it is such a great thing to play with.  There are HUNDREDS of recipes, and I have tried several of them.  I once made a salt dough for my Kinders that completely reeked a couple days later!  Yikes!  But this one, smells delicious, and should last for at least a week in the fridge, possibly longer if you add Alum.  And the best part?  You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry!

For this play dough recipe you will need:

1 cup flour, plus a bit more for kneading later
2 TB salt
2 TB Cream of Tarter
2 TB Cooking oil
1 cup warm water
1 3oz package of Jell-o, any flavor

Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl.

Then mix it all up until it is smooth, I used a whisk to make sure to get all of the bumps out.  If you have kids, this is all stuff they can do, so please include them!  When it is mixed it should look like this:

Then pour it into a pot and cook on low heat.  Don't stop stirring until it forms a ball in the pan, because Jell-o will burn pretty easily if you let it sit.  This part takes a while, about 15 to 20 minutes of stirring.

Once it is thick, place the dough on a piece of wax paper to cool.

After the dough cools, you will need to knead some flour into the dough because it is super sticky.  Start by sprinkling the top with flour and then mushing all the dough together.  Keep adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  Then place it in a sealed container, and keep it in the fridge.  It will only keep for about a week, but it smells delicious and is completely safe!  But the best part is that the kids will have a great time making it, and you will be the super hero for knowing how!  Have fun!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everybody!  I cannot believe that October is over tonight, where did the month go?  I still have a couple of Halloween crafts to share and I'm debating whether or not I should just save them for next year.  I guess you will find out this week, if they pop up or not.

Did any one guess what I was going to be for Halloween?

Why Ms.Frizzle of course! And my amazing husband was the Magic School Bus!  I wish you could tell from this picture just how curly my hair was, it was almost clown like when I first took it out of the foam curlers.

I missed not teaching today, I just love all of the Halloween costumes.  The Kindergartners are usually my favorite, just because they are so little, but hopefully I will get to see some of them trick-or-treating tonight.  But don't worry, I did see lot's of great costumes this year!  I helped my cousin throw a truly amazing Halloween party on Friday.  Mind you, it was an adult party, but some of the details are just too good not to share.  So here is some Halloween eye candy for you to eat up on this night of sweets and tricks.

The treats table

These babies took my amazing cousin almost 4 hours!  But they are so cool!

There was also great food, creatively displayed of course!  I forgot to take pictures of all of the food, I was probably too busy eating it, but here is some of what we served our guests, including the libations.

I can't take any credit for how amazing it all turned out!  My cousin is the creative genius behind it all, and her very talented and creative friend made all of the labels.  It was spectacular and we had a really great time!

No matter what your Halloween tradition is, just remember to be safe!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Krispies

When I was growing up, my mom would make my uncles Rice Krispie Treats every year for Christmas, because they loved them so much.  When my uncles got older and got married, she gave their wives the ingredients for their favorite dessert, saying it was their turn to make then now.  So, you can see that it has always been a tradition to make these tasty treats.

This year, instead of making the traditional treats, my niece and I set out to make a pumpkin version.  We made the treats exactly like the box said, though Breleigh was much more interested in eating the ingredients than helping.  When the treats were still in the pan I added some orange food coloring.  I actually went out and bought the Wilton food coloring because I wanted especially orange pumpkins and I didn't think I would be able to accomplish that with the liquid drops.  When everything was bright orange, Breleigh and I molded them into little balls, and stuck tootsie roll stems in the top of them.

Then I wrapped them up in glassine bags and tied green raffia on the top to represent the vine.  They were pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.  But nothing was quite as cute as Maddon enjoying them.

At the end he got a piece stuck to the end of his nose that looked like a giant orange booger.  We could not stop laughing.

Warning:  The kid who helps you cook will inevitably go into a sugar coma and start taking pictures like this:

But it is totally worth the sugar highs and lows to be able to gift your friends these cute sugary beauties!  I hope you try them out!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Can you Guess?

Today was a great day!  Third graders are quite the comedians, even though they don't realize it.   One of them said to me, "You know what's kind of crazy?  People have red hair!  I mean, like, they have orange hair!!!"  Being a red head myself, I made my best shocked face and said "Oh my gosh! Seriously!?!?  That is crazy!  I never noticed that before, except maybe every time I look in the mirror."  They thought that was funny

I also went shopping today for the last few pieces of my costume.  I bought small foam curlers and outer space fabric.

Can you guess what I am going to be for Halloween???

What are you dressing up as?