Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fort Kit {Day 6}

In searching for low-cost ideas for boys birthday gifts, I found an idea on Pinterest for a fort kit.  I looked at lots of different pins and gave this one my own flavor based on what I had on hand.  I've made two of these and they've varied a bit, but this is the one I have photos of, so here we go. 

Start with some sort of container (bucket, cloth bag, pillowcase, clear plastic zipper bag, sturdy tote, etc.).  Add some things that would make a fun fort.

Some ideas of what to include:
- bucket - can be inverted to be used as a step to reach a higher spot
- sheet - the bigger the better
- rope
- flashlight or headlamp
- clamps
- bungee cords
- clothespins
I find the sheets at Salvation Army for about a buck and sew a loop of nylon webbing to each corner to make it easier and sturdier to fasten.
 Add a tag explaining it a bit.
 Wrap it up! Or not. I just added some tissue and ribbon and called it good enough.
I think this is a gift that could be a lot of fun for kids and could totally be tailored to the recipient, too.  This is an easy gift to give for under $10.

What are your "go to" birthday gifts for boys?

Wrapping Paper Teacher Gift {Day 5}

It's that time of year when the gift list gets really long as we seek to show appreciation for many who invest in our lives, not the least of which are the teachers who take care to help our children grow.  But because the list gets so long, I'm always on the look-out for nice but inexpensive ideas for teacher gifts.  I came across this idea early in the year and was glad I had stocked up on nice wrapping paper in January for 50 cents a roll. 

I quickly made a tag and formatted the text in the shape of a tree and printed 2 per 8.5x11" sheet of cardstock.  I cut slits in the tag so the roll could fit through and it was done.  Because I wanted to give these before Thanksgiving so the teachers would have them to wrap Christmas gifts, I wanted the wording to indicate our thankfulness for all the work they do.  I also wanted to include tape with the paper, but I did this at the last minute (no surprise!) and didn't have the time or energy that day to take little ones to the store to get it. 

Cost: $.50 + 1/2 sheet of cardstock/gift

School teacher gifts are done for this Christmas.  I still need to find gifts for all the Sunday school teachers and nursery workers.  Any ideas?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Days to be Celebrated Bookmark {Day 4}

We are so blessed to be part of a large family so I thought it would be fun and helpful to make some bookmarks for each of the ladies listing all the birthdays and anniversaries in our family.  My sister did the work of confirming all the dates and making the list via e-mail.  Years were included so we'll know when someone is approaching a milestone birthday or anniversary.  I printed the list on cardstock I already had and added coordinating scrapbook paper for a couple different looks, then laminated them and put some ribbon at the top. To keep the ribbon from fraying I melted the ends over a flame. 

Cost: $.54 for laminating 6 bookmarks  (If have access to a Mardel, they have the most economical do-it-yourself laminating around.)

Super simple!  I'm glad to have one now hanging by our calendar for easy reference.

Crib Rag Quilt & Pillow {Days 2 & 3}

In November I wanted to challenge myself to get some projects done and use some supplies I already had on hand.  I saw the idea for a rag quilt made of strips on Pinterest and knew I'd love to make this for our littlest one.  We had plenty of receiving blankets on hand that were still in good shape, but since we're past that stage I took a handful of them and cut them into strips and used a couple layers for each section and used about half a twin sheet (from Salvation Army) for the back side.  I still had fabric left so she's getting a matching pillow, too.

She'll be getting these Christmas, though we'll put them away for awhile for safety reasons.

Cost:  around $3.50 (for the sheet used for the back + blanket binding purchased for 50% off at Hobby Lobby)

Now if I can just pull off handmade gifts for our four other kids in the next 20 days. I'm still holding out hope they'll all get finished in time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Decmeber Menu

It'll be a busy month with Christmas so my goal is to get a big shopping trip in this weekend and try to avoid crowded stores as much as possible throughout the rest of the month.  I'll be making a big list and checking it twice. 

1. Chicken noodle soup, bread, Cuties (dinner sweetly brought by friends)
2. Creamy chicken squash noodle bake
3. Pizza - We got a good carryout deal.  No one has much energy or good health for cooking here.
4. Spaghetti & meat sauce, rolls w/garlic butter
5. Pork roast, roasted potatoes, green beans
6. Egg casserole, scones, fruit
7. Pork chops, quinoa,
8. Beef fajitas, Spanish rice
9. Roast beef, mashed potatoes & gravy, vegetable
10. Creamy chicken & wild rice casserole, brown sugar glazed carrots
11. Beef pot pie
12. Pinto beans & rice w/ toppings
13. Homemade pizza, veggie tray
14. pineapple chicken, rice, vegetable
15. Baked ziti, garlic parmesan breadsticks, salad
16. Hamburger soup, cheddar biscuit bites
17. Barbacoa burritos w/black beans, sour cream, cheese, cilantro lime rice, salsa, guacamole, tortilla chips
18. Chicken pot pie, fruit salad
19. slow cooker garlic brown sugar chicken, rice, broccoli
20. Turkey soup (freezer) w/homemade noodles, rolls, fruit platter
21. Quinoa, steamed veggies & a bit of meat
22. Chili, cornbread
23. Taco salad
24. Chicken alfredo, fetticine, ceasar salad, sourdough bread
25. Vegetable beef soup, bread
26. Gourmet mac & cheese w/ham, green salad
27. Cobb salad
28. Hamburgers, fries, fruit salad
29. Meatballs, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetable
30. Leftover buffet - or maybe Chick-Fil-A with several coupons
31. New Year's Eve!  Cheese fondue w/bread, meatballs, veggies, tortilla chips - Chocolate fondue w/rice krispie bites, fruit, desserts & gingerale

lasagna soup
quesadillas w/beans
chicken salad sandwiches
pasta salad w/veggies, cheese & meat
snack lunch - meat, cheese, fruit, crackers, veggies
Christmas - spiral ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, green bean casserole, w.w. rolls,apple crisp & ice cream, gingerale & cranberry juice

Breakfast  - with yogurt and/or fruit
cold cereal
soaked oats w/berries
apple oatmeal
scrambled eggs
w.w. bread w/jam
w.w. pancakes
Christmas - cinnamon rolls, mandarins, sausage egg casserole

Baking, Sweets & Treats
ginger loaf
sugar cookies
oat fudge bars
chocolate dipped pretzel rods
cranberry bliss bars
french toast casserole, fruit & iced Good Earth tea (for our S.S. class on 12/9)
tortilla chips & creamy jalepeno artichoke dip (for a Christmas party)
cinnamon white chocolate popcorn?
caramel apple cider

What are you favorite Christmas meals and foods?  Around here, ginger ale and mandarin oranges are must-haves. 

children cooking this meal

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Season Interrupted

Well, that idea of doing a craft project each day for the month of November did not really materialize. I probably did somewhere between 10 and 15 projects, but just never posted about them.  I cooked and did laundry and homeschooled and we went away for 4 days.  In the meantime, our kitchen was a mess with lots of sewing stuff out.  I finally needed to just clear the island and put it all away for some peace (even if lots of island clutter is just shoved in a laundry basket for the time being).  And we've needed some island space for this.
taking care of the Great Flu of 2012

 One confirmed case of Influenza A + a few others with symptoms = Tamiflu for 6.   I don't think we'll be getting out this week, though I doubt that means I'll be up for lots of Christmas projects and decorating any further.  I have lots of thoughts swirling around in my head right now but most of them boil down to the need to clarify my primary priorities and let the extra stuff go. 

Here's to enjoying the season for what it is instead of being distracted by some picture-perfect (unrealistic) idea of what it should be.