Friday, December 16, 2011

And last but not least...

...the beloved teacher. This being the last day before the Christmas vacation, Pickles didn't want to show up empty handed. She still didn't have a gift for Ms. S,  her wonderful teacher this morning! Being the only non-teacher in a family full of teachers, I once got solid advice from my sister with regards to gifts. "please, don't give me a teacher-themed gift!!"  Duly noted. So now we try to make personalized gifts that do not have to do with teaching...

Well, a quick rummage through the craft supply boxes rendered the ingredients for a sweet, quickie ornament.

- decorative craft paper (This teacher gives a lot of story writing assignments and Pickles LOVES writing. Her choice was a print that looks like a hand written letter)
- small embroidery hoop
- a letter sticker
- ribbon

Using pinking shears, she cut a circle just a bit bigger than the embroidery hoop. Then she wrote a personal message on the back of the paper.

She placed the sticker on the paper, put the paper in the hoop and added the ribbon.

Ta-Da! Here's Pickles modeling her handmade ornament.

And here's Chief McD photo-bombing her with his best Jimmy Durante impersonation.
Merry Christmas Ms. S!!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Color me Christmas

One of the best things about Christmas is doing fun projects with my kids. We usually wind up making something for a class party and that's alright by me. This year, Pickles McD decided on a fun and super easy party favor/gift for her classmates; a swirly, multi-color, Christmas shaped crayon is what each boy and girl will get!

The project is so simple, when you see it, you WILL want to try it out! You'll need:
-a BUNCH of crayons (We broke out our HUGE coffee tub full of leftovers from boxes and boxes of crayons, from school year after school year, OY!)
-a silicone muffin/cookie molder
-knife (for grown-ups to use)
That's it. Let's get started.

Peel and chop up your crayons. Pickles McD did the peeling while Chief McD and I did the chopping.

When all the crayons are chopped up, fill up the silicone muffin molder with crayon bits. Bake for 15 minutes at 230 dgrees. When they are done, let them cool all the way before popping them out of the mold.

 What you get is a fun swirly crayon with all the colors you threw into the mold.

Wrap them in tissue, stick them on a present or give 'em as party favors! Pickles put each crayon in a cellophane treat bag.

She decorated some cards with  her 'handmade by' stamp on one side and Christmas stamp on the other.

She was super happy with her project and went to school excited to give them out today at the party.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

What does 'joy' mean to you? At Christmas time you see that word eveywhere; cards, banners, sweaters, etc. Different things bring joy to different people. In our house, 'joy' is a simple rule for the best way to live life. It's a way to put things in perspective. It is:
Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last
These letters hang on the wall in our living room to remind us of this philosophy. They're not Christmas-y because they're in our regular living room colors. So, I wanted to dress 'em up a little for a sparkly piece over the mantel. I used our letters (JOY), a corkboard, gold wrapping paper, tinsel and bows.

I cut a piece of paper bigger than the board and for some reason I really wanted the edges to be crinkly so I crinkled 'em.

I stapled tinsle all around the edge.

To attach my letters, I used tacky-tack. Y'know, the yellow stretchy stuff that feels like old gum. It's supposed to be the subject of the pic below on the left but the ding-dang camera kept focusing on the background!!  I also used straight pins for a little more support. No matter that the pins stuck out a bit as they won't be seen from a distance.

Then I embellished with bows I bought at the dollar store.

I hung it over the mantel and it looks great!

JOY; if you practice it, you'll have it!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Kick-off

After spending a few days with family for Thanksgiving, Pickles and I couldn't wait to get home to decorate and craft our little hearts out. We all took a loooong nap when we got home but got down to business in the evening. Then set up the tree and started trimming it.
We love best when our favorite, most sentimental ornaments come out. For me those are two items from when our family was formed.

One is a 'save the date' card from when Daddy McD and I were engaged. All I did was punch holes in the corners of the card, took nylon thread and strung some pretty beads on it. Then I tied the thread through the holes I punched. Lovely and simple.

My other favorite ornaments are actually decorations from our wedding. Our table centerpieces were branches decorated with tags made from pictures of our two families doing things together. There were trips to the park, playing at Daddy's apartment, swimming, vacationing etc. We wanted to share with our guests that we were already a family in our hearts!

Sadly, like memories themselves, some of these tags have begun to blur. Maybe it's the quality of the paper, maybe the conditions in the attic. Either way, I love seeing how little the kids were and how many things we did together.

While all this decorating was going on, we made sure to put on a pot of wassail. We LOVE wassail at our  house and there is a pot brewing the whole season long. I use a very basic recipe that makes a tasty pot of the stuff, if you ask me. Here's the recipe:

- 1 gallon of apple juice
- 6 oz of frozen orange juice concentrate
- 2-3 sticks of cinnamon
- 1 Tbs of mulling spices (bought them at Walmart)
- pinch or two of nutmeg
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar (this is optional)
Let boil for just a bit and then let it simmer a long while. Serve it hot and enjoy!!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grateful Grateful Grateful

A very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!! To Mother Darling visiting my gramps in Mexico, Sister Christian having fun in Paris and Baby Sis back home in Texas. We are celebrating by spending time in Florida with the wonderful McD's.

I have SO MUCH to be thankful for! First and foremost, I'm thankful for the grace of God and the saving blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. He has given me the power to endure and to continue to grow. I'm grateful for my love, my friend, my hubby, Daddy McD. He's the nicest person I know. For me he is the embodiment of 1Corinthians13:4-8. I'm thankful for my kids. Being a mom has been the single most eye-opening, maturing experience in my life. I'm thankful for my family, my mom and sisters and for coming into a family that I really love, the McD's. I have wonderful friends that love me, who I could and HAVE count on when in a bind.

I'm healthy! I'm happy! I have a good home! I have a good job! I have a bad dog! There's food in my pantry, a warm bed in my home, my children are happy and good. I am a rich, rich woman! I haven't done anything to deserve the life I have, I just enjoy it knowing that compared to many poor souls, I am TRULY BLESSED.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Outlook

...out my window, y'all!! I'm love, love, loving my new window valances!!

I made them this weekend fairly easy and quickly. Shame I waited sooooo loooong to do it! But it looks fab,  don'tcha think? They give the living room a whole new look!  Check out the process at Practically Fabulous!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

I fall to pieces...

...or Tale of a Short-lived Delight.

Imagine exactly that: my delight when I found this adorable pair of vintage ashtrays (paired together for no apparent reason) for only $1.50. One, a gold leaf with 24k gold glazed on it. The other, a perfectly sweet and frou-frou light blue, mid century ashtray with gold paint brushed all over it. I drove home with them thinking of all the trinkets I as going to fill them with at my vanity!

Now imagine my dismay when I walked though the door, went to set my purse down and let go, instead, of the bag with the ashtrays in it. I knew instantly that they were broken. WAH!!!

Well I got out the glue and tried to put it all together...and I almost did it. But when I got down to two pieces to join...they just didn't. So now instead of a dreamy, beautiful, vintage piece in my bedroom colors...I have something that looks like a second grade Father's Day project.

The good news is the smaller one, the gold leaf, made it through with just a little nick and was fixed easy it's not a total loss.

Note to self: Ceramics break. Easily. Pay attention.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Four, Score!!

On November 10, 2007, Daddy McD made me the happiest, luckiest girl alive. I'm so thankful to be blessed with a hubby that's as wonderful as him. He's the nicest, most thoughtful, hardworking man I know. And, praise God, he thinks thinks I'm the cat's pajamas. How? I don't know...maybe he's into crazy ladies.

As a gift for our fourth anniversary, Daddy McD treated me to a weekend road trip in New Mexico!! We flew to Amarillo where we rented a car and drove off into the sunset (for the weekend). Being the salvage-and-anything-else-that's-junque philes that we are, our first stop was an adorable ghost town named Cuervo (this was of course, after grabbing a burger in Tucumcari where we'd stay that night).

Cuervo doesn't look like it was a boom-town or anything, but it does have several buildings right on the highway. We passed it up last time we came through so Daddy McD (ever so thoughful) brought me back to take a look. I really couldn't tell you what it is about these old abandoned towns, but they're just begging to be explored and remembered.

Life once abounded here. People once filled these buildings, walked about, made their daily lives, and now these building sit here with time creeping up all over them. It's bittersweet, really.

My lovin' man looks good sportin that hat, doesn't he? He's standing in front of what was a store. The thing about Cuervo, and it's weird, really, is that on the other side of the highway, there are a a couple of buildings(very few) that are occupied. The other thing is that for the low, low price of only $440,000 this little gem could be yours! There's a sign pointing folks to where those interested can enquire.

As I mentioned before, we headed to Tucumcari where we would spend the night. Little did we know that we would come upon it during a very special occasion. The state of New Mexico is currently celebrating it's 100th year of statehood and celebrations will continue into 2012.

We happened upon the Fired Up festival, official opening of the newly renovated train depot and the official kick-off of Union Pacific's historic steam engine's trip across the state. There were vendors selling their wares, there were also exhibits of craftsmen that worked with fire such as a glass blower and a blacksmith.

This dear lady was my dance partner! When I saw her hubby of 50 years refusing to giver her a whirl, I knew what I had to do; I grabbed her hand and we did our own fancy footwork! After all, Daddy McD is not a dancer either, so I knew if I wanted to dance that day, this was my one option...well, I could dance by myself but that just looks spastic, doesn't it?

We stayed at the adorable Safari Motel. It was a really charming room and I couldn't get over the decor and the oh so comfy bed! If you're a route 66-er, you'll know that some motels, while popular or newer, don't really have great rooms. This one was really nice!
Feeling refreshed, we headed out the next morning to check out some more points of us.

We visited Fort Sumner, home of the real final resting place of one William H. Bonney otherwise known as Billy the Kid. Apparently the headstone of Billy the Kid is a hot comodity as it had been stolen before. Grave site keepers finally had to go so far as to put a cage around the grave and shackle down the headstone!

We drove to Roswell which we readily admit we grossly underestimated. Judging by its depiction in pop culture, I expected to find a dusty little town with roadside curios like two-headed snakes in a jar and "real alien artifacts" for sale. Surprise! It's a busy, lively, modern city. Naturally, we visited the UFO Museum and Research Center which was very interesting. Naturally many businesses go along withthe UFO theme/reputation of Rosweel which makes for fun facades!

Later we drove to Lincoln, another Billy the Kid haunt and center of famous land wars in New Mexico. I love towns that share the stories of their history with visitors. This tiny town was the spot where Billy the Kid was once jailed. He escaped, killing the judge that would see him executed!

Leaving Lincoln we decied to call it a day and head back to Amarillo for our flight home the next day. We were escorted out of the state by a beautiful twilight sky of sapphire and gilded golden clouds. Isn't that beautiful?!

I'm so grateful to have a hubby that I share interests with and whose company I love so. It makes a road trip that much more special! And that's what life is anyway, a journey. Thank you, Daddy McD, for making my trip through life so special, happy and beautiful!!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Attack of the Little Green-Eyed Monster

Not the Halloween kind. The kind that pops up when you're reading other beautiful blogs and see all the fun projects, meals and crafts they do and you check out their profiles and you see that one after the other, they're all Stay-at-Home (work-at-home) moms. Notice I did mention Work-at-Home moms...those moms who work for a blogging.....from home. So, am I envious of the mini pies on a stick? or the home decorations for every. single. holiday? or the hand-sewn birthday party gift tags? No. What I covet most of these bloggers is TIME. Time to be home for my family. Time to clean out the cabinet full of stray food tubs and lids. Time to finish or even start projects I have waiting on a list. Time to have a spotlessly clean house. Time for cooking, homework, excercise, cleaning and time with kids. Add to that school programs, Auxiliary meetings,  kids' sports. I know, they do all those things too....but do they do it in the 3.5 hours left in the day after slaving away for someone else?

Now, my first instinct is to pout and feel sorry for myself and cry into a box of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. Oh Debbie, you know just how to cheer me up:
BUT that would just send me into a downward spiral of devil's food and self loathing which, if you think about it, IS the devil's food. (hmmm a good subject for a bible study. But I digress.) So I'm realizing that I may in fact be an Erma in a sea of Marthas. That's not so it? I choose instead to take the advice of my #1 fan and my #1 hero, Daddy McD. His plan for time managment is simple and ageless; Baby steps. Make a list. Schedule the time. It sounds good on paper, doesn't it? But when you're a flighty, late-blooming, procrastinating, full-time working stiff like me, it's like climbing a mountain. A mountain of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls.

Baby Step: mentally catergorize things to accomplish
Make a list: things to get done daily

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Monday, September 19, 2011

If buttons grew on trees...

I've been dreaming of a scene with buttons. A scene where the sun is buttons and the clouds are buttons and the trees are buttons and the grass is buttons and...well you get it. It would be a little diorama maybe, because I like finding things to do and make with my buttons! So I decided to start with a tree. A simple, pretty little button tree.

The materials are basic.  (Of course) Buttons, a twig from outside, a styrofoam ball -and a half, green paint, hot glue, yarn, and a jar lid   Just trust. The first thing I did was paint the ball  green like so....

While that dried, I did the fun stuff; going through the buttons to pick out great green ones!

Then the gluing began. I left a space to stick the twig later. It's looking good already isn't it? So, I glue and glue til the ball is covered in fun green buttons.

So once it's covered, it's time to set it up on a base. No sense in having a layin' down tree, huh? Now comes the half styro ball, and the jar lid.
The tree will stand in the styro half and the stryo half will be weighted down by the jar lid. Otherwise, my little button tree will be top heay and topple over...repeatedly. When the tree was nestled into it's little spot, I got my green fuzzy-wuzzy green yarn that I bought without knowing when I'd ever use it.

I can't remember if I started at the bottom or at the top  but I wrapped the yarn all around the stryo and the jar lid. It was a bit tricky because as you can see it has those long, fine hairs, oy! But it was worth it! Look at that cute little button tree; it's so....button-y!! I will now give it a happy little home with my other fun stuff until I make it's companions for a button scene.

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