Monday, December 31, 2012

Ringing in the New Year! 2013

We have decided to celebrate the coming of a new year with our kids (in the years past, we have gone out with friends and grown family members and left the kids with a babysitter).  I am very excited about this because I have spent ZERO dollars on this at home party with them.  Mainly because we are too broke for me to even get them a bottle of sparkling grape juice (which I doubt they would like anyway).  Today we are making party hats, 2013 glasses, digging through left over 4th of july stuff for noise makers, and decking the house out!  I am also going to have them all write a New Year's's never too early to start a new tradition (this holiday season has been full of them!).

Here are the projects and links to things we are doing today :))

Party Hat

The party hat was the easiest thing to get put together.  A simple pattern and black print allows you to print this on any paper and decorate any way you like.  Here is what my kiddos came up with :))


2013 Glasses

These glasses are super fun and solve the problem our household had last year.  My sons were very upset about NOT having glasses to wear like the people on TV.  This printable is very cute and easily customize with desired paper and decor options.

Here's what my kiddos put together :))

Cupcake Flags

These were just too cute not to use!  I had already made these cupcakes with supplies I had in the cabinet....don't mind the fall sprinkles!


The link above will lead you to a great deal of ideas....all of my project originated from this blog!  Highly impressive and there is just enough time this evening to throw some cute things together for the kids!  There are wine bottle covers, cupcakes sleeves and many many more!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cake Pop Machine

I got a cake pop machine for Christmas.  There are several brands out there these I am not sure if the one I have is the original or copy cat brand.  Regardless, here is a photo of the machine.  I have several boxes of cake mix in my cabinet....cake mixes I had every intention on using within a short time of purchasing the boxes :))  I love to bake...but I find it really, really hard to find the time to do it in the manner that I dream of doing it! 

The Cake Pop machine has the potential to make baking more fun, faster, and easier than baking and cooling a cake or cupcakes.  Last night, I got it out and the fiance and I commenced to give it a try.  I pulled a box of cake mix out of the cabinet, prepared it as directed and poured the batter into the machine.

I was NOT impressed by the least in color, they were two sided (see below) and the top half didn't rise all the way up even though I filled the bottom half to the brim.  The fiance did try them (icing free) and claimed they tasted really today I am going to attempt to decorate the ones he didn't eat!  If you have any easy ideas....I would love to hear them!  I am really not sure how this is going to work out!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Birthday Freebies! (For Kids and Adults)

I will be updating this as I find the way awesome ones!  Eventually you will see this as a tab at the top of the page :))

Kmart Birthday Club
~$5 Coupon
~Fun Pack

Denny's Breakfast
~Free Grand Slam on the day of Bday

Red Robin Royalty
~Free Burger on Your Birthday

Jason's Deli Email List
~$5 Gift Card on Your Birthday

IHop Email List
~Free Meal on Birthday
(Can add up to 5 addtl family members; including Children)

Sephora Beauty Insider
~Free Beauty Treat on your Birthday

Baskin-Robbins Club
~Free Scoop of Ice Cream on Birthday
(Includes entire Family) 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Homemade "Jammer Sticks"

I have seen countless recipes pinned on Pinterest about these pizza rolls of sorts.  The basic idea is the wrap cheese and pizza meat into a crescent roll, bake them, and dip them in pizza sauce.  After a crazy fun holiday and day of sick kids....I need a filling, good, easy and fast dinner idea tonight.  I turned to the items in my kitchen and realized I had all the basic ingredients to pull off such a meal!  As I placed my sons' plates in front of them, they swiftly inspected this new meal that sat before them.  My 8-year old exclaims..."These are just like the Jammer Sticks we have at school!"  Awesome!  Now, my new dinner has a name :))

Here is the basic recipe and instructions (as well as pictures!)  These were such a hit and they filled up my boys (including Daddy) without having to break the bank!!

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Open a can of crescent rolls (name brand or makes no difference.  We had a can of each and there was no distinctive taste difference.)  Place 3-4 pepperonis on the long end of each rolled out roll.  Cut a mozzarella cheese stick in half (we are probably going to cut this half again long way because the cheese wasn't quite as melty as we desired) and place on top of the pepperoni.  Roll the crescent roll as normal.  Place rolls on baking sheet and bake for recommended time listed on the tube of the rolls.

Once cooked, serve with side of pizza sauce for dipping and ENJOY!  Three of these bad boys filled me up!  Daddy could barely eat five!  (He is a very big eater so this says a LOT!)

We have to use these meal several times a month (to replace some of our regular frozen pizza nights).  I am so glad I put this together and I hope you all enjoy them as much as my family did!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Salt Dough Ornaments

Every year the kids and I have made a round of ornaments for our tree.  This year we decided to use salt dough since it had been a while.  The last time we did them, the boys were little enough that paint scared we used magic markers to decorate them.  It worked out great for them and the mess was very minimal.  Now that they are older and slightly less messy...we decided to use acrylic paint to decorate the ornaments we made.  I think they turned out great and everyone was pretty excited when I pulled out my brush I use for print writing :)).  Everyone has an ornament with their name on it!  To ensure that they ornaments last a while longer than they the last batch we did (I think we have about 4 of the 20 we made a few years back) I covered the ornaments in Modge Podge after the paint dried.  It also gave the ornaments a feel of being store bought....which the boys are really in love with!

Salt Dough Reciepe
2 Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Salt
1 Cup of Water

Mix Together, add food color if desired, shape, Bake at 220 degrees for 2 hours.

I intend on doing something with this project for other sure to check back as the next holiday approaches to see what I do with it :))


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow Day on Party Day!!!

We have a snow today...the day our winter parties at school were scheduled for!!!  The kids will not be able to do their gift exchanges...our district does not have school scheduled for tomorrow so we can make it up...and I have three AMAZING teacher gifts that they won't get until after the holidays!  All is good tho....I have a plan to have these parties (or at least the gift exchange) when we come back after the first of the year...I don't want to see parents' hard earned, well spent money go to waste!  In the meantime, I learned last minute that my oldest son's two best friends have purchased him a, at some point in the very near future, I have to put together a "cool" inexpensive gift for them and then met up with their parents! 

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lumps of coal!

In the search for Gluten Free and Peanut Free snack for my oldest son's class winter party...I discovered that Pebbles line of cereal is GF!! So I have made lumps of coal with their chocolate flavor!! I'm hoping that the kids love them.....they were extremely messy to make!!!


3 Tablespoons of Butter
4 Cups of Mini Marshmellows
6 Cups of Pebbles (or Rice Krispies)

Melt Butter over low heat on the stove, when melted; add marshmellows.  Stir until marshmellows are completely melted.  Remove from heat and add Pebbles.  Stir until completely covered.  Spoon out portions in cupcake paper (or you can smooth it out into a cake pan and cut after they are set).  EAT!!

Getting Prepared!

The big day is fast approaching...6 days to be exact!  Our budget ended up being tighter than previous thought and the items that we wanted to get the kids had to be cut down.  Thankfully, my kids did not ask for anything that cost over $ providing them with numerous gifts was pretty easy this year.  Last year, the boys each got a Nintendo 3DS and several games for it.  They go through phases where they play with it day in and day, we bought them a few more games...on sale at Toys R Us and were able to obtain half of the cost back in gift it was like getting half of the games for free once we were done getting everything we wanted.  The kids will each have 7 items to open...the most expensive only costing $35 (a gift for my daughter).  Two of the gifts we got the boys came from the Dollar General....not because we couldn't afford another option but because that is exactly what they wanted.  I spent less that $15 a kid and was able to get two gifts each on that!  That, my friends, is pretty exciting...because I can't wait to see their faces when they open them!

New Traditions!!!
Last year was our first Christmas with my fiance.  We introduced him to the way we do things and spent quite a bit of time telling the kids stories of how Christmas was when he was growing up.  Since we got engaged last May, J and I decided to start doing things that were not done with our past lives....something that defines this new life with the kids.  We have added two new traditions!  I am stoked about them both!  

Before I met J, I would get the kids a new set of PJs and they would open them first and run upstairs to change before opening the remainder of their gifts....this year, we are doing something a little different!  Of course, I found the idea in a pin on Pinterest :))  We bought the PJs, but this year we also bought each kiddo their own coffee mug (meant for hot coca), we bought a holiday themed board game and a copy of "The Night Before Christmas."  It is all wrapped in one big box and the kids will be able to open the box on Christmas Eve.  I am pretty stoked about it....and I look forward to this being something they look forward to!

The second new tradition is a "secret Santa" gift giving idea between the kids.  The boys' school does a Holiday Shop and its existence brought light to this new tradition.  Last year, we gave the kids $5 each and they ended up spreading that money over each of their siblings and J and I.  It was super sweet!  This year, we decided to allow to spend more on a gift but that would require we gave them more money...which we do not we brain stormed!  We got their opinions so that this idea was also theirs.  After a vote, we decided that each kid would buy for one sibling and then make Mom and Dad gifts (since those mean more to us).  We chose who was buying for who in secret so that no one knows who the other is giving to.  They get the entire $5 budget to spend on that person.  They also have a choice to shop at the Holiday Shop at school or to take their money to the local Dollar General to shop for their sibling.  Since my daughter does not go to school, she will do her shopping at the Dollar General.  I am excited to see how this goes....mainly because the boys have already said that they will probably just save their money and spend it at Dollar General.  This means that J and I will be going in shifts with each child to go shopping!!

UPDATE:  The cat's out of the bag on who is buying for who...the gifts are all wrapped and we decided to put them under the tree.  Thinking they will be allowed to open them on Christmas Eve right before they open their big box :))

Upcoming Blog Topics:

Teacher Gifts
Classroom Gifts/Activities
New Year's and All It's Glory!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sending Cards to CT

the Facebook Page for Marines of Helmand & Al anbar posted the address of the CT elementary school where the shootings happened.  For anyone that wants to send cards to the school, families of the fallen, families of the survivors, staff or survivors of fallen staff.  Here is the address.  It is a public address, it can be found on Google, but I wanted to give credit to the people who I saw post it first for sending cards.  My sons and I are making some tomorrow to send over is the least we can do!

Sandy Hook Elementary
12 Dickenson Dr.
Sandy Hook, CT 06482

Comment below and let me know if you are sending some :))

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Shootings in Conn.

I cried....a lot.  My face is swollen, the thoughts that have run through my head are countless.  I was forced into telling my children what happened today (despite my desire to even bring this their attention).  One of our teachers said before they left school "if your parents tell you about what happened today somewhere else in the country, please know that I will always protect you."  He tells me this in front of his brothers and asked me what she was talking about.  I appreciate her allowing me (and the rest of her parents) to choose exactly how the story comes across to them.  We had a scare happen almost a year ago that directly affected our school and my children's trust of the school and I was not allowed the same respect.  So, I decided to be real with my kids.  They are ages 7-10 (my 3 year old daughter was not included and wouldn't even know what to do with this information). I gave them the important adult son of a teacher came into a building that housed K-4th grade students, he shot the principal and nurse, his mother and 20 students...most of whom were in her class.  I told them about the few accounts from surviving children that had surfaced and I told them where it in the country it took place.

I started my speech with questions about what they are suppose to do at school if a "bad guy" were to enter their building and attempt to hurt them or the fellow classmates.  All three of them had the proper response.  I don't know if I was glad or sad that my children and their school have regular lock down drills...because my children know exactly what they should do.  The one thing I didn't like about their responses was that they have been told that if they are in the bathroom or some other part of the building, they are to run to the office.  My issue with that is that the office is at the front of the building...and the closest to the entrance...and in the Conn. school where several adults were killed.  I have no desire for my children to run directly the first place gun shots will be placed.  They asked good questions, "like, are our doors bullet proof?" and "what if they get through the door?"

I explained to my kids who the shooter was, his relation to a teacher and who he shot.  They of course asked me why, and I told them I did not have that answer.  I explained to them that is not something that will happen every day and it not something to expect at their school.  I did remind them that scary things CAN happen to us, at our school, at our church, and at our home.  They related the possibility of this happening at their school to the likelihood of what happened to their Uncle's friend happening to him; which I found to be awesome.  I feel like they understand that they are safe.  I asked them if they trusted their teachers to keep them safe if something like this was to happen at their school and they replied with a quick and loud "yes". 

One of my boys said, "if the teachers had a gun, they could of shot the bad guy right away and no kids would have died." I gotta say, this statement tells me that I have been doing my job right!  I then asked them if they would be scared to be at school if their teachers or their principal or even if their janitor were to carry a gun where it could be seen.  All of them in unison said, "no." I asked them why and they replied that they would know that the teachers and other staff members that might have a gun on them would have it to keep them safe and they know these adults would never use them unless they felt the children were in danger of being killed.  This tells me that my education for them about guns thus far in their lives has been on the right path.  My kids judge the intention of the gun holder, not the gun.  My boys look forward to the day they get to learn how to shoot a gun.  They look forward to hunting and at times talk of joining the military or police forces.  They want to learn to protect what is theirs, protect people they do not know, protect innocent people and otherwise contribute to this world in a massive way.

My children did cry...I believe they cried for the children that had died today, probably the principal that died as well.  My children hold their principal close their hearts, he a resource of love, care, and protection that they take very seriously.  I know my oldest son is thinking about the families of deceased children, he is thinking about the siblings, the parents, the friends, and everyone who might have known the children.  Not quite two months we lost a very dear friend of ours.  He was 19 years old, almost 20 and was someone my children knew growing up.  He is the best friend of my youngest brother who is barely 20 himself.  My kids attending his funeral, witnessed the sadness of his sisters and mother, the sadness that sweep our town as we laid this beloved boy to rest.  To me, he was still a kid....he was someone's child...and my children felt it, they were so sad about realizing they would never see this boy alive again.  He would never be with their uncle again, never come to another birthday party or game.  I know my oldest son was thinking about all those people that hurt when a child dies...regardless of their age.  But to hear that 20 children their ages had been killed by an's a lot to take in and there is a lot to consider and think about.

There have been so many sad things happen makes it hard to keep your children oblivious to the real world.  When these sad things start to happen in places that are similar to where they spend almost half their makes it EVEN HARDER!  There is no right way to handle this topic with your children...but there are sure fire ways to handle it wrong.  It is not a conversation you ever expect to have with your seven, eight, or ten year old.  You can only pray that they never have to deal with it in their lives.  I also pray, that if God decides they need to, that my children can stand up to the test and walk away alive.

I can not image the thoughts and feelings of the parents, surviving students, staff that witnessed and could do nothing to prevent these deaths, and the police/fire/emt's that had to respond to the prayers will be with each and every single person who must deal with this tonight...oh my goodness....the families that must prepare to bury their lost children and deal with the reality of what comes in 11 short days...the unwrapped gifts that will never be opened...the looks of delight of Santa's loot that will never be seen...and the future that is now gone!  I do not know personally what it is like to bury a child of my own....but lately I have watched too many mothers close to me do it....and there is nothing easy, okay, or forgiving about it!

I sign off with a broken heart tonight.....a cuddle night is ahead of me as my children, fiance and I bake cookies and watch some Christmas movies....a luxury that has been robbed from too many parents tonight...I do it tonight in honor of do what they can not and appreciate my luck that I live here....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

School Party Planning

I have volunteered to help with class parties since my oldest son started Kindergarten in 2007.  This year was no different....well, I volunteered to be head room mom...that's different!  My kids have been to three of four elementary schools in the same district because I have moved twice.  This is our second full school year at this school.  Last year, I didn't get to actually go to the parties because I was working....and that meant that when I signed up as head room mom for THREE classrooms....I had no idea they were all AT THE SAME TIME!  The other two schools the kids went had their parties spread out throughout the day so that parents of more than one child had the opportunity to attend all of them.  I learned this three weeks before the fall party that took place on Halloween day this past October.  I am thankful for the amazing room parents that covered my tail in the two classrooms I was not able to be in.  Because my oldest is a 5th grader...and this is his last year to have parties...I decided that I would attend all of his parties and made the promise to the other two boys that they would get the same treatment (now, let's hope that if I am working those years...I have a great boss and can make that promise true!).

Now that the winter party is fast approaching and I have been finalizing the plans for the parties.  I have run into a power problem with my 3rd grade classroom and have been left with no other choice to cut ties and simply send in my fair share and step in during snack time to say hello to my boy.  My 2nd and 5th grade classes however, are coming along nicely.  My 2nd graders are easy to please and the mommies are more than eager to bring in stuff and provide supplies, it's fantastic!  We all did agree to come with out of the box games for them and at the end of the blog you can see what games and activities we decided to have for them.

My 5th grade class is rather challenging.  We have two gluten allergies, one severe peanut allergy, 19 boys and 26 kids total!!  17 of the boys are athletes and VERY rowdy!  The gluten allergies make it impossible to do sweets such as cupcakes and sugar cookies.  I am a "what we do for one, we do for all" so I have a real problem with forcing the kids who can't eat cupcakes have to watch their classmates eat them while they have a different snack.  I think it sets the wrong tone and attitude towards the things that make us different.  So, with that in mind, I decided that all the kids will eat whatever will be safe for everyone.  My other room parents have been very accepting of this challenge and we have come up with a very creative and fun snack for them.

Here is a break down of what we have decided to do with our kiddos and why!  Now, mind you...I have nothing for my middle son...because frankly we have been taken over by dictator who is not letting anyone else participate and is causing major problems for my other moms (trust me, I will have a handle on it for Valentine's Day!)

2nd Grade:  Musical Chairs with Christmas Music (we expect to take up about half of our one hour block) Gift Exchange (we have asked each student to bring in a single gift costing no more than $10.  All of the boys gifts will be put into a pile and all of the girl gifts will be put into a pile.  The kids will get to pick a gift that is not the one they brought in.  We expect this to take up about 10 minutes).  Ornament Craft (this is probably the one thing that is "traditional" of school winter parties...but I am sucker for these things and so are my helpers! This will probably take 15-20 of my moms is scouting supply costs to determine what project would be best for these guys!  I will of course post pics of what she decides on!).  We will also have an activity book for them to do at their desk while they eat their snacks.  We have no allergies in this room and we will have cupcakes (decorated by a SAH that has more time than I do), fruit kabobs and hot coca! 

5th Grade:  SnowBall Fight!!  We discussed the right activity for these kids over the course of a couple of weeks.  One of my parents was my youngest son's teacher last year and her 5th grader plays sports with mine.  She pulled from her experience as a teacher and the many games that have crossed her classroom and remembered this one.  The kids are split into two teams, are allowed to build a "base" and are handed bags of cotton balls.  The cotton balls are in fact the snowballs and the idea is to get more balls in the "base" of the other team then they get in yours.  We are pretty stoked to see how this goes because at our Fall party, candy corn toss and tic tac toe just didn't cut it for their level of energy!
Igloo Building Race!  This is similar to that cup stacking thing that was a big deal about 10 years ago.  I have done this at all age levels in parties past and it has always been a big hit.  They get one minute to build a pyramid of Styrofoam cups as tall as they can without it falling over. Kid with the tallest tower, wins.
Jingle Bell Door Hanger.  My son is completely over the ornament craft, so I decided to go with something that was quick, easy but fun for mom and dad at home.  We are taking pipe cleans, making a circle hook and attaching bells to dangling pipe cleaner pieces.  I will, of course, post pics of these when they are done.
Snacks!!!  Here is where the creativity gets really awesome!  We are doing a nacho bar!  All the fixings are going to be available and on of my GF moms is going to find us GF chips for our GF kids.  We are also making them Fruity Pepple treats (Fruity Pebbles are GF!!!!).  This will be their sweet snack and I am very excited about it!  They are just like rice crispie treats...only with Pebbles instead!

My Advice
When planning a class party, my first suggestion is to allow all the helper parents to get their ideas out before you even come close to making decisions concerning the party.  It means a lot to those moms to have their ideas taken seriously and even used.  I can attest to this with my current 3rd grade class.  The mom who offered to help me out because I have three classrooms went to the point for the winter party that she sent out an email to everyone telling them what we were doing.  Before I had a chance to fix it, our teacher (who was clueless to the problem) sent it out to my parents.  Not wanting the un-involved parents to know there was a problem....I have chosen to leave it alone for this round.  About 75% of the activities and snack ideas belong to one of my helpers...after all, that is what they are there for.  Head Room Mom is in charge in rounding up the supplies, making sure everyone that wants to help out is helping out, and ensuring that everything goes as planned inside the classroom.  It's a management position at is core and need to be treated as such.  No one person can do it all....even if they want to.  The helper parents didn't sign up for your job for several reasons and sometimes it is because you signed up you must keep that in mind as you approach your parents.  Mass emails are the easiest way to chat with everyone at once...if everyone remembers to click "Reply All" and they actually check their email!  I have one mom who needs me to text her when emails are being sent back and forth, another part of the job.  Don't take the job too seriously that give yourself mini heart attacks in the planning process.  Less is always more!  I see so many moms who are over the top, rearranging classrooms and decorating and all that mess....but what the kids remember most...what they got to do, what they got to eat, and what they get to keep!  Focus on being creative, do something that have never done, or haven't done in a couple years...make treat bags (like birthday party) or do a gift exchange.  Get the kids out of their desk, play with them.....that's what important!

Watch for picture updates on the crafts and the results on how these activities turn out in the end!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Household Notebook/Agenda

As the end of the year approaches, I have been met with a scheduling dilemma.  My agenda book ends on Dec. 31st (probably the end of that week) and I have appointments and plans that need to noted for Jan.  I went to the store to look at the new ones, I wanted one identical to the one I have used this whole last year.  It worked for me.  I was stunned at the cost of a replacement book.  I know I didn't pay more than $10 for the one I have been using (it doesn't sound like a lot....but when you budget like I's a make or break cost of a monthly budget).  The new ones (exactly the same thing, mind you) are running almost $20 each!  There is no way I am going to spend that kind of money on something I will throw away!

So I decided to make my own and started doing research on how to find the best templates and print outs.  I started on Pinterest, where all my ideas are born.  I ended up finding an amazing website with TONS of great printables to do an entire household much more than just an agenda!  The website, Organized Home has ton of planning printables including calenders, to-do lists, birthday planners, shopping lists, emergency contact sheets, and the list goes on!!

I already had an idle 3-ring binder to use, so I am going to give it a job!  I haven't finished my book yet, but I wanted to share this information as soon as I could!  Here is a  photo of what I have gotten done so far!  I will update on how it's usefulness is treating me as the year progresses!

To start making one of your own, check out the site I am really is an organizers dream land! Organized Home

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Do It Yourself Gifts!

With the tight budget this year....I have decided to make Christmas gifts this year.  My focus is going to be the folks that have extended their love and are gifting to my children!  I have finally caught up with the washer necklace rage and really want to make these for several family members and friends!  However, I am having a really hard time coming up with something for the males in the family!!  I need your help!  Comment below and let me know what you are doing or have done in the past in regards to DIY gifts for both genders....I need some serious inspiration!

~ Brandie

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

String of Ornaments my quest to dress up my mantle this year....I found a string of ornaments craft on Pinterest (where else...I know!).  I thought to myself "oh this would be neat to have hanging from the mantle behind the stockings" and so I set off to gather supplies for it.  I bought three tubes of 24 count ornaments, two of which were smaller than the other.  As I began to string them onto ribbon, I quickly realized that this was NOT going to be enough for the look I wanted.  I returned to Pottery Barn, where I bought one of the tubes and found absolutely NOTHING left!  That place has been completely picked clean!  I returned home, broken hearted and a little uneasy about my mis-fortune concerning the craft.  I expressed my distress with my fiance and his brilliant ass came up with an idea to take the ornaments I had and do with them what I want.  Instead of hanging them from the mantle itself, he suggested we hang it from the ceiling....BRILLIANT! Here are photos of the process and the finished product!


"The Stockings Were Hung" Sign

Last year, my mantle decor was included my stocking holders, three cute trees I found at Pottery Barn and a canister of red sparkle balls I found at Hobby Lobby.  This year, despite my stretched budget.....I wanted something much more lively and festive!  I re-used the stocking holders and red garlen from last my glitter trees, got a smaller vase for my red balls, added a tiny "regular" Christmas tree.  We decided to use our outdoor lights around the perimeter of our living those dangle down above the mantle...but it still left this large white open space that needed some life.

I was chatting with my crafty friend Kait and she suggested doing a "stockings were hung" sign.  We both have seen such things with hooks on them and those are very ideal for someone who doesn't have a fireplace/mantle....but that doesn't mean I can't use the idea to suit my area!  I took a frame that I had already bought, it is a 11x14 with an 8x10 mat in it.  I pulled out the Cricut and cut the letters out to spell "The stockings were hung" on a piece of scrapbook paper that has music notes all over it.  I used a different size letter for each word.  I turned those letters into stickers with my ever-loved sticker maker and stuck them on a piece of dark red paper (the same paper I made my red bags on my advent calender!).  I put the sign into the frame and hung in that white space above my mantle!

Below is a picture of the frame before I hung's hard to see when it is hung in a photo because all you can see if the scene that reflects on the's an issue I will address for next year!

Here is a photo up on the wall!

Want to know about that situation hanging in the middle???  See my next post on it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Countdown Calender

Growing up, my parents always had a countdown calender.  It would vary year to year, but the ending result was that we knew how many days until Christmas....and we got a piece of chocolate each night before bed!  I have done the same for my children, but leading up to this year, I always bought one at the Dollar General and saved myself a lot trouble!  This year, however, I wanted to do something much cooler and much more...homemade!  I decided to make my own!!!  I searched my beloved Pinterest for inspiration and hatched an idea that I think managed to complete our Christmas decor....and I only need one...instead of FOUR!

First thing was first, I had to dust of the Cricut Machine.  I have not used that since Valentine's day and it literally had a layer of dust on it!!  I decided to make bags for the countdown, this way I could place enough candy for each child in each day of the countdown.  Luckily, I have "Once Upon A Princess" that has three bag cutouts to choose from.  I made them just big enough to fit four pieces of candy.  I then cut out numbers to correspond with the days left until Christmas from my "Pooh Font Set" and turned them into stickers.  Assembling 24 tiny bags was quite the timely task....taking me a whoopin' 3 hours to complete!!  I used tacky glue to keep the bags held together.  I tried a glue stick, but she wasn't stickin'!   While the glue was drying on the bags, I had to come up with a way to hang or display the bags of candy!  I have several spools of ribbon (it's becoming a bit of an obsession!) so I found one that was very neutral and decided to hang the bags from it.  My initial thought was to use the holes cut into each side of the bag and string them up....but those holes are very tiny!  I ran up to the Dollar General and bought some plain clothes pins (50 for $1).  At first I was going to use them as is....but since my tree is decorated in green, red and gold.....and I made the bags in red and only seemed appropriate to make a mess and apply gold glitter to each and every clothes pin I planned on using!  I of course, used Modge Podge to keep the glitter in place.

Once everything was dry, I filled the bags with the candy, nailed the ribbon to the walls and hung the bags with their clothes pins.  I think it turned out great! I can't wait to get it started this evening!!

Let me know what you think of my finished product!  And don't forget to pin the things you love on Pinterest!!!