Tag Archive: NaBloPoMo

Snowman Gift bags

With Christmas and a baby due at the same time, I’m trying to be as pre-prepared as possible.  I’ve purchased all my gifts, and wrapped about half of them.  I’m a big fan of the gift bag.  I like to wrap, but if I can put something in a bag with some tissue…why not?  But when I went to the store, I had a specific snowman gift bag in my mind(to match the little teacher gifts I’d already bought).  Oh, I could find a plethora of snowman gift bags…but nothing was just right.  Too big, too little, too lime green, too this, too that…and pink and blue for Christmas?  I guess they were maybe reaching out to those who celebrate a non-Santa-and-reindeer-yet-still-nothing-to-do-with-Jesus holiday, or (more likely) people who are just more stylish than myself.  (Oh…and what’s the deal with penguins?  When did they come onto the Christmas scene? But I digress…)

So I decided that it’d be fun to let the kids make gift bags for their teachers(and once I saw how cute and easy it was, we made a whole pack of 10!)  This is what the finished project looks like:


If you’d like to make some, here are the directions. 

Step One 
For starters you’ll need to gather your supplies:


-White gift bags(can be purchased in packs of 10 in most craft stores) 
-Some type of black fabric for the hat, 1 per bag(I had plain cotton fabric in my “scraps” box, but you could easily use felt)
-Black circles for the eyes, 2 per bag(I used “Foamies“, since my kids love them and they already have a sticky back, but you could also use felt or just paper)
-Orange “Foamies” paper(or regular paper or felt) cut into the shape of carrot noses, 1 per bag
-Buttons, 2 per bag(I used actual red buttons for most of them, but Em wanted some pink ones so we cut those out of “Foamies” paper, too)
-Strips of fleece in three different lengths, 1 of each length per bag
-Black paint or black pen
-Glue (and/or “glue dots” for putting on the buttons, if you’d prefer)

Step Two 
Cut out the hat shapes from black felt or fabric.  The size will depend on the size of your bag, so that part is up to you!


Step Three
Cut out the strips of fleece.  The shortest will need to be the same width as the small part of the hat.  The longest strips will need to be about 10-12 inches long.  The medium strips can be made by cutting the long strips in half(5-6 inches long).


Step Four 
Let the gluing begin! Glue on the hat.  Glue on the smallest felt/fleece strip.  Add eyes and a nose.


Step Five 
Mark the bag with little lines(one on each side, as seen below in the yellow circles), and cut the bag on those lines.


Step Six
Thread the longest piece of fleece through the holes in the bag, and then tie the medium piece on to the longest piece to make a cute knot in the scarf.


Step Seven
Add the buttons(with glue or craft dots if you’re using real buttons, or with foamie paper made to look like buttons).  Draw in the smile.  I used black puff paint dots to make it “pop” a little, but you could easily use a sharpie.


Add a little tissue paper, fluff it up, and you’ve got something you(and your kids) can enjoy and share with others!

Bronx Mowgli, Pilot Inspektor, Apple and Serif Grayson

What do all of these names have in common?  They are all names we will not be using for #3A.

Bronx Mowgli is the new name for Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz‘ bundle of joy.  Seriously…let’s name him after a burrow and a boy-wolf.  There’s no way he won’t be a manly man.

As much as I love Jason Lee and “My Name Is Earl”, what were he and his baby-mama thinking when they named that poor kid Pilot Inspektor??

And Apple…really?  do I need to even go there?  I think Gwyneth Paltrow is a good actress, beautiful, and somewhat smart-ish.  But naming your kid after your favorite fruit? 

And then there’s the last one on my list.  Celebrities have an excuse(I guess) for coming up with crazy-ass, not-normal-or-realistic names.  They, afterall, don’t live in the real world.  These kiddos will only be going to school with kids named Pax, Harlow, Moxie Crimefighter, Tu Morrow and Jermajesty.  Apple doesn’t seem so bad up against Jermajesty.  But Serif Grayson??  It’s not perfect, but it’s by far not nearly as bad as some of these.  And it’s the name that Tucker is wanting to call the new baby.  He’s not even 4!!  How can a three year old pick a better name than so-called adults.

Anyway…point being.  #3A may be called #3A for longer than we’d like.  We’re completely blanking on a name.  There are ideas, but no agreements.  Anyway I’ve gotten kind of fond of “3A”…

Can someone please explain this to me??

Ok…I still haven’t gotten the wire I need to download the stuff from my video camera to the PC, so you still don’t get that promised video.  But…I need you all to explain something to me.  My search for said “firewire” began online.  I saw that at Wal-mart it was only $7.98!  Woo-hoo!  I thought it was going to be expensive.  What I failed to notice was that although it is offered online, it is not offered in stores.  So I went to the store to get one…and couldn’t find it.  So I went to Office Max.  They had it(same brand, same item), but it was for $29.99!  So I thought I’d try Radio Shack.  They had the same wire, just a different brand and it was $36 and change.

So, I am now back online checking to see if I maybe made a mistake on the Wal-mart price.  Nope. $7.98.

Now on to Office Max’s website. $29.99 in the store, $29.99 online. Whatever…at least they are consistant.

Then RadioShack.com. Remember they had a different brand in store for $36.something. Online they have the Belkin(like the others) for $19.89.

So what I want to know is A) why it’s cheaper to buy it online than in the store(even after you add shipping for Radio Shack), and B) why Wal-mart has the SAME ITEM for almost 75% cheaper.  I know that some of my friends think that Walmart is the worst thing to ever happen to our economy, local businesses, and so-forth…but come on: 75% less.  Am I missing something here?

**Update: I did order it from Wal-mart, but I’m still baffled at why there’s such a price difference…**

Wordless Wednesday



Learning with crayons…

Every now and then I’ll get all the broken crayon pieces, put them in those mini muffin tins, and melt them down to “new” circle crayons.  Sometimes, if I’m feeling like super-mom, we’ll melt the pieces down and pour them into cookie cutters so that we have “shape crayons”.  (Let me be honest…I did that once.  I probably won’t ever do it again!)

But I did find something that I thought would be fun to try…alphabet and number baking trays.  I figured it couldn’t be much harder than using a muffin tin(most letters weren’t), and it would be fun to spell things out with crayons.  You can also use them(obviously) for baking or for making ice. 

So if you want to try to make crayon letters too, here’s the low-down on how I did it.  Like I said it was pretty easy except for the letters “E” and “M” (which is kind of unfortunate because EMMiE has more than its fair share of “E”s and “M”s!).  I did learn, however, that by making them thicker(using more crayon pieces), it ultimately made it easier to pop them out with out breaking them.  I’m also thinking that the thicker crayons are going to withstand more use than the thinner ones…

So…what you’ll need is crayon bits and pieces, the alphabet baking trays, an oven and a freezer.

Start by preheating your oven to about 300 degrees. 
If you want to expedite the cooling process once the crayons come out of the oven, you’ll need to clear out some room in the freezer.

 When I was looking at these online, I wasn’t sure of the actual size. 
Here’s a quarter for comparison.


Once you have all your crayon pieces broken up, you’ll simply use them to fill in the letters, as seen here.  (You’ll notice that since I was spelling certain names, I only needed certain letters.  You could easily do the whole alphabet.)


I found it easiest to place all three trays on one big baking sheet.  That way you won’t have to keep it quite so steady when you move it out of the oven.  It’ll be pretty sloshy by then, and the potential for mess-making is definately there!  (Um, yeah…I dropped a red one all over the bottom of my freezer.  It took FOREVER to clean it all out…learn from my mistakes, folks!)


Then comes the hardest part to me…waiting.  Once you take them out of the oven, put them into the freezer to harden them up some.  Then take them out and let them finish cooling/hardening at room temperature.  If you try to pop them out fresh from the freezer they will be too brittle and they will break

It may take a little time and patience, but see how fun these look in the end????



Prayer for the day

I was raised in the Baptist church.  During college I went to the Baptist Student Union(BSU, now called BCM).  When we first got married we attended at Baptist church.  But some things changed and we started looking around for a different church.  We visted several Baptist churches, and decided that none of the local Baptist churches really “fit”, so we ended up going to a Presbyterian church which we loved.  Now that we’ve moved back to my hometown we’re back to attending my home church, which is Baptist.

All that being said…I love my home church.  I love the people.  I love the pastor.  I love that it’s “home”.  But one thing that I do miss is the “liturgy” I became so accustomed to at the Presbyterian church.  I liked reciting the Lord’s Prayer every week.  I liked having old and new testament scripture readings.  I like saying, “Thanks be to God” after scripture reading.  And I like reciting prayers as a congregation.  I’m not sure who wrote the prayers that we prayed aloud at our old church-if they got them from a book or if staff members wrote them.  But they were pertinant, not overly wordy, and very meaningful.  I’ve been trying to find a book or publication with similar prayers(but not the common book of prayer), but I haven’t been able to find exactly what I’ve been looking for.  So…if any of you know where I might find it, please let me know.

Last year for Christmas, a good friend of mine gave me a prayer journal.  She filled the first few pages with prayers that she learned while volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity, which is well-known because it was begun by Mother Teresa.  The remaining pages were left blank so that I could add prayers that I found, and to write my own.  Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to share some of my own prayers with you…but most of them are pretty personal, so we’ll have to see.  Until then, I’ll share with you my favorite one that Lili wrote down for me.  It is said to be one of the prayers that Mother Teresa said each morning.

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go.  Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love.  Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine.  Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul.  Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus.  Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.  Amen.

I'm in love…

For the family lunch we had today, I was in charge of desserts.  I made a chocolate truffle pie for all the chocolate lovers, but I wanted something else quick and easy to take as well.  I like chocolate just fine, but I’d much rather have a warm, creamy bite of something fruity.

I’ve made many a cobbler on my own.  Most of them(minus the one in college that I left in the oven for 2 days!  The oven was off, thank goodness!) have turned out beautifully, and tasted pretty darn good, too.  But…with all the activities of the weekend, I was looking for something fast(read: frozen). 

In walks Mrs. Smith’s Blackberry Cobbler


All you do is pop it in the oven, and 50 minutes later you have nothing but flaky-crusted-fruity goodness!  This is as close to homemade you will ever find in a box.  Run out, cook it up, claim it as your own if you want…but don’t forget to save some for me!

I'm very annoyed.

9:40pm:  For the past hour and a half I’ve been working on getting a video off of my camera and onto the computer.  I have succeeded in getting video, but not audio.  The audio is what I really want you all to hear.  But I’m tired.  If this last thing doesn’t work, then sorry…I’m going to bed.

10:20pm: I couldn’t get the audio.  Grrrr…  But I think I have figured out what I may need to buy in order to get this sucker to work.  So hopefully tomorrow, you’ll get to see the promised video.

A happy, busy weekend.

Wow…I feel like our world has just been spinning this weekend.  For starters we went to the Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center for our church choir retreat. Although it’s a “wildlife center”, they also offer 28 hotel-style rooms, a banquet hall, and conference center.  The facilities are nice and very clean(I’m a germ-freak when it comes to hotel-type places).  The food was delicious!  And the surroundings couldn’t be beat.  Eventhough we arrived in a stinkin’ monsoon, we were able to enjoy the beautiful views on Saturday morning.  Just brisk enough to be chilly but not cold; leaves at that perfect state of “fallness”…It was beautiful!  My only complaint was that the bed was supa-hard.  I know some people like that, but I like to kind of sink into a bed.  The fluffier, the better in my opinion!

We arrived Friday night, ate and had a rehearsal. Then we played my favorite game ever: What Were You Thinking? Unfortunately for you…the game is out of print.  You’ll have to check eBay to see if someone is silly enough to get rid of their game!

On Saturday morning they served an oh-so-yummy breakfast, we rehearsed some more, and ate yet another delightful meal.  We had a lot of fun, covered a lot of ground on Christmas music, and ate A LOT of food!  🙂

My brother was awesome enough to keep the kids for us while we were gone(Thanks, RAM!).  When we left them on Friday, they’d had late naps…so I kind of set him up for disaster.  Not on purpose…but none-the-less, he put them to bed around 10.  They were sharing a bed, which almost always leads to a lack of sleep anyway because they feed off of one another, and laugh and giggle(and bicker and whine) like 3rd grade girls at a sleepover.  Anyway…Richard’s a night-owl anyway, so he just let them go.  They stayed in the bed, but they didn’t go to sleep until ONE AM!  Wow!  I didn’t mind however, because it allowed me to take a fabulous nap with them in the afternoon AND get them in the bed early on Saturday night.  AWESOME! 

Today was a very family-centric day.  This morning we all went to my Papa’s church(he’s the pastor, and my brother helps him out) for an “Old-fashioned Pickin’ and Singin'”  If you’re from the south, you’ve probably heard of them.  If not…all it means is that we got together and sang.  We sang not only hymns, but some songs my brother wrote(one of which I was going to show you on video) and a song my Papa wrote.  It was very different from our usual Sunday church routine, but it was fun! 

After church we had yet another great meal, this time with my grandparents.  After filling our tummies, we came home to nap.  When we all got up, Marshall’s parents were here for a quick visit.  It’s the first time they’ve been to the new house, so the kids had fun showing them around. 

Like I said…it was chaotic and crazy, but it was fun.  And now I’m exhausted, and going to bed.

Soooooo tired.

We went to a choral retreat this weekend with our church choir.  It was a lot of fun, and we got through a lot of music.  AND we got to play GAMES!  I LOVE to play games!!   Anyway, now I’m exhausted to the point of not even being able to type well(I think I’m hitting backspace more than anything).

So…if I can get my video camera to work tomorrow, I hope I’ll have a super awesome video for you all tomorrow.  Check back tomorrow night!