Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feels like summer...

These things made it feel like summer today:
--Wore flip flops today (my favorite!)
--Kids came in from recess with sweaty foreheads and wind-blown hair
--Wore shorts and a tank top to go for a walk this afternoon -- bare, white arms and legs seeing sunlight for the first time in months!
--All of the windows and doors in the house wide open, letting in some much needed fresh, warm air
--My honey grilled a YUMMY dinner...see below!

Bacon-wrapped, cream-cheese stuffed jalepeno peppers......mmmmmm.

Baked potato, salad with lots of fresh veggies, and grilled salmon. Is your mouth watering yet?

Even though I had all of these reminders of long summer days and no worries -- I was quickly yanked back into the real world with stress about parent/teacher conferences and my Action Research class. As much as I love my job, and working on my Masters, they both tend to interfere with my hopes for leisurely evenings and good nights of sleep! Oh well, the next few weeks will fly by...and then it really will be summer!
Got good news today at school -- the head of the district curriculum department asked me to be the 2nd grade district curriculum coach next year! I was very excited and honored -- I will partner up with one other teacher in the district to train and mentor any teachers who are new to teaching 2nd grade. I think it will be fun! And, although I keep telling myself not to put any more things on my already overflowing plate, I will be finished with my masters program by next year and will be able to devote more time to this new position.
Hope you all had lovely, summer-like days today. Bring on the sunshine, flip flops, warm breezes, and cold drinks. Summer's comin'!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

All Work and Some Play

What a busy, busy weekend! Lots of work, but of course a little time to play too.

Today we painted all day at Mark's grandma's. She needed the trim on the house repainted, as it was flaking off and faded. All the grandkids were supposed to show up at help...but alas, Mark and I were left to tackle it solo. At least it was a nice day! We were comfortable working in sweatshirts all day (much preferred to being sweaty and hot!) and got almost all of the painting done. Mark will go back tomorrow to finish. Didn't have my camera to do a before and after shot, but it does look really nice with fresh white paint on the trim. White paint can do wonders, can't it??

Last night we had dinner with my Sissy, Todd, and the kids. It is always a whirlwind when we arrive: the kids running around, competing a little for attention from Aunt Jenny and Uncle Mark...saying things like "Will you watch my gymnastics routine?" (Grace) and "You play monster trucks with me?" (Nick). Silly faces, shouting, giggling, and a tantrum here and there always makes me feel a little worn out, but also so happy. Of course, every time I am there, if it is anywhere close to bedtime Grace and Nick will run up the stairs to get ready for bed saying "I want AUNT JENNY to put me to bed!" So we did baths, jammies, snuggles, etc. As I was telling Gracie goodnight, she wrapped her arms around my neck, kissed me hard, and said "You are the best aunt, I love you." Melt. Leave it to a seven-year-old to make you feel complete.

It wouldn't be a weekend without a little crafting... I made some spring cards, with the inspiration coming from the cute polka-dot ribbon I found at JoAnn's on clearance.

These pictures are much better...I made sure to bring my cards up from the basement and photograph them in the kitchen where there is lots of natural light that comes in through the back door. Makes a big difference in the quality of my pictures. Plus, makes these springy cards seem even more bright and cheery!
Hope you all had a nice weekend, with time for work and play! :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

One more thing...

I just came across this on Kerry's Paper Crafts

OMG, these are so cute. I have to try these -- SOON! Would make the cutest gifts!

Are teachers the only ones who are obsessed with post-it notes??

Paper Bag Wreath

I have finally completed my spring wreath using brown paper lunch sacks! I got the idea from this website, which I highly recommend. It has quick and inexpensive ideas for creating crafts using things you can get from the dollar store. How smart is that? My husband likes it too, because my crafting habit tends to get a little pricey. :)

I started with a foam wreath form, then used my scalloped circle punch (below) to punch out a bunch of circles from the brown paper lunch sacks. I actually left them folded up as I punched, because it did more at a time. I think overall I used about 10 paper bags. Here's the punch I used:

After punching out all my scalloped circles, I got to work gluing them onto the styrofoam wreath. This was probably the most time consuming, and took me about 1 1/2 hours to complete all the gluing. It looked like this when I finished:

Next I got out my beloved Cricut (the best thing on earth!). The website recommended butterfly shapes, but I didn't have that on any of my cartridges, so I decided to go with flowers. I cut various sizes from light pink and cream paper, and also some from the pages of an old book -- I love how that looks! Added some green leaves, and a ribbon at the top...and the finished product looks like this:

I wish I were better at taking pictures, because I don't think this gives the full effect...but you get the idea. I love how it turned out! I immediately brought it upstairs and hung it on the front door. It will look cute there through the spring and even summer, too.

Friday night crafting -- the best way to end a long week. :)

Now that it is beginning to feel more like spring (finally!) I am starting to really look forward to summer! Only 85 days until we will be on the beach, looking at this:

We are going to Destin, Florida this summer for a week with another couple who are very good friends of ours. This is the view from the balcony of the condo where we will be staying...doesn't it look heavenly?
Here was the most beautiful part of my day:
A dear friend of mine lost her mother this week. Today I attended the funeral, and it was a beautiful service. As my friend got up to speak of her mom, she talked of the unconditional love that she remembers between her mother and father. It quickly brought tears to my eyes and I found myself crying, even though I had only met the woman once. I couldn't help but think of my own relationship with my sweet, incredible husband and wonder if some day our children will remember our marriage with the same affection and gratitude. Then I was thankful that we are still at the beginning of our lives together - and that I'm still full of hope for the legacy that our life and love together will leave. Slightly corny?? Yes. But still, all in all, beautiful to me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great things about today:

1. My second graders at school are being so sweet and cooperative this week! Such a welcome change. Before Spring Break, I had to have way too many of those what were you thinking? conversations with some antsy children who had been hit with Spring Fever. However, they all seem to be happy to be back to school after spring break. Many of them brought me shells, rocks, postcards, etc. from their vacation spots. :)
2. While walking into the house tonight, I noticed that there were little green things popping up in the garden in the front yard! Last year, my honey and I did lots of (expensive) landscaping and I was a bit worried that none of it would come back. Here's a before and after from last year's big yard overhaul.

Before: drab, dull, zero personality, complete with bare spots in the lawn....ugh.


Mark built this beautiful porch and we did lots of landscaping, touched up paint, and added shutters, potted plants, etc. Much better! I hope it still looks good this summer. I'm anxious to get my hands in the dirt later this spring and nurse everything back to its former glory.

3. Watching The Blind Side (love that movie!) and treating myself to peanut M&Ms...why do they seem to taste better when they are pastel easter colors??

4. Seing commercials for the return of GLEE! My most favorite show! Can't wait to tune in on April 13th!

On the craft front.... I'm working on a CUTE and CHEAP spring wreath using (of all things) paper lunch sacks! Stay will not believe how adorable it is.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ta-Da! (Kind of....)

Okay, so after my last post I was determined to make those darn cute little birdie napkin rings. So, I got some felt, black beads, and dug out some ribbon and got busy...

First, I made a template using just a scrap of poster board.

Then, I traced it on some felt. I cut out two pieces, one for the front and one for the back. **NOTE! Trace and cut carefully so that they match up well when layered on top of each other! I had to do a little trimming later...

After cutting out the pieces, if you are going to stitch on the eye (like I did) so this step now. Otherwise you could attach it later with a little hot glue.

Next, I used my same poster board template and traced it on some double-sided fusible webbing. I cut inside the lines so that it was slightly smaller than my felt pieces.

Sandwich the fusing between the two piece of felt and iron with LOW heat!

I hot-glued on a little beak and a little ribbon and flower around the neck. Here's the final result:
The original is on the right...mine is on the left. I think it turned out cute, and only took about 15 minutes total time! However, next time I do it, I will invest in some good quality wool felt -- not the cheap stuff that costs 25 cents off the shelf at the craft store. That will result in a more finished look I think. Also, if you want to do the stitching around the edges, that will make it look more polished as well.
Don't you think this is a cute idea? It could totally be used to make lots of different kinds of napkin rings using wool felt. You could personalize some for family members with monograms or initials...or make different shapes for different holidays. Cute, cheap, and easy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In an effort to minimize the piles of SNOW outside on this March 21st, I decided to haul out the Spring and Easter decorations to brighten up the house. Spring IS coming, right??
I found these adorable napkin rings at Marshall's Home Goods (aka: heaven on earth) and am inspired to try to recreate them.

As soon as this snow melts, I'll be off to the craft store to buy some felt and get busy! I figured I would just trace them to make a pattern, and use some fusible webbing to make it a no-sew quickie project.

Here is my Saturday night creation....snowed in = night alone in the craft room! YAY!

Cute paper "EASTER" banner made using scrapbook paper, ribbon, and my Cricut of course. Cute, huh?
Meanwhile, tomorrow is back to the real world...Spring Break is over, and I'm sure after a week of staying up late, sleeping in, and 7 days of time spent with my hubby -- it's going to be a rough transition back to school. However, I will be glad to see all my little second graders and hear how they spent their break!