Monday, May 31, 2010

St. Petersburg, Fla

The Don Cesar

Well I am back from my wonderful vacation to St. Petersburg, Fla. It was so nice and peaceful to just sit around reading a book while laying out by the beach. The boys had a treat too, they got to spend the week with my parents. That took away some of the guilt of leaving them behind. My husband and I stayed at the Don Cesar. It is such a beautiful hotel and full of a wonderful history as well.  Anyhow I just wanted to share a couple of pics of the beautiful surroundings we were fortunate enough to enjoy. These are strictly for your viewing pleasure and I can not be held liable if they give you an immediate yearning for the beach. *LOL*!!!

The morning view

The water is the most beautiful shade of blue.

The view at sunset.

Well it is now time to step back into reality. I have so many projects to finish up and gifts to make so I am back for a time.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cookie monsters

That is exactly what we are at this house. We LOVE cookies. Obviously my attraction to cookies have led to numerous attempts at cookie recipes. I like to think of myself as a decent baker now due to all of those attempts to quench our desire for COOKIES. It is not unusual for us to bake cookies at our house on the average of 3 times a week. Most people love cookies so I tend to give them out as gifts quite often too. This has led to the quest for the best packaging system for them. I have done cookie boxes, cookie tins and treat bags. None seem to do it for me. Cookie boxes and tins keep them safe but I like for my cookies to be seen. I think this is important anytime you give food items. Well okay, maybe not but I know it just makes my mouth water when I see a beautiful cookie! Treat bags are cute but usually your cookies will get banged up and possibly crumble during tranportation. Just this past year I have started packing my cookies in cups or glasses. It is awesome. I love the fact they are protected, seen and packaged oh so cute! It is also very economical. I have used clear solo cups for kids, actual glasses and plastic cups. All of them work great for round cookies. Shaped cookies, well for obvious reasons does not work as well. LOL!  I usually put some tissue paper or paper grass at the bottom.  Then I just stack them up, slip the cup into a clear treat bag and tie it up.   EASY !                                     

Lemon crinkles ready to go in a flash......

  The cups are awesome for christmas cookie exchanges too! I packaged these in hard plastic cups bought at the dollar store (4 in a pk). I slipped them into a xmas cello bag, attached the recipe, a large jingle bell and some christmas curling ribbon tied it all together.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Teacher Appreciation kept me busy!!!

I have been super busy with teacher appreciation gifts last week. These are just a few things we managed to put together for the boys teachers. I try to do something for every teacher including their resource(art, library, computer, music and PE) so that means between 3 boys we have 27 gifts to give out. In addition to the personal gifts we give out, I also did a great deal of work with the PTA to make sure we had a little gift in every teachers box on a daily basis of the week , a breakfast and a luncheon.
These are some glasses that I picked up at the Dollar Tree, added their initials in vinyl lettering that I cut with the Cricut. The boys filled them with pencils. The teachers were happy with these since they just sent out  a request for more pencils. Supplies tend to get so low in the springtime.
These are my favorite but I tend to be a sucker for flowers anyhow. I arranged the flowers in the purses for a unique gift. I have been doing this for years now and it is always the one that receives lots of compliments. This also makes a lovely arrangement to take to someone in the hospital. It is really like receiving two gifts, one for now and one for later!

These are little note pads and hi-liters we bagged up for all of the teachers. I tied them up with binder clips that I had enhanced to help the teachers with their papers.

All of the teachers thought these were just the greatest little things to organize everything on their desk. Very simply done with mod podge.

We also managed to send out some cookie cups and candy grams. They work hard and do so much for my children. I just wish I could do more to show them. The boys and I have now started on their end of the year gifts. As soon as I can I will show you what we are putting together for them.

I am linking up to all of these creative parties. Please check them out. They are loaded with lots of wonderful ideas for you to use.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Activity Boxes to the Rescue

The other day I read a post by one of my dear friends who has 3 children. She was so stressed from spending the afternoon in the examination room waiting for the Dr. with her little ones. Oh the memories came flooding back of the hospital and doctor visits we have had over the years that were so excruciating because of the ordeal of trying to keep three boys quiet while we waited so patiently. I immediately thought of the activity boxes we have used to entertain the boys during car trips, dr. visits and other boring scenarios for a child. They are awesome due to the fact they are made out of cereal boxes (recycle, reuse and reduce) and can be tailored to what your child is interested in. The twins immediately agreed that we needed a new one. First we grabbed an empty cereal box and marked the spot we felt the handles should go. You may need to adjust this to your childs hands.

After we cut the handles out, the box looks like this.

Next I creased the boxes on the sides so they are easier to tote for a child.

We decided to cover this box with old road maps but we have used old gift wrap, comics and scrapbook paper before. It is best to wrap the box like you would a present with the folds on the side. To minimize the bulkiness, you will need to cut the overlapping down to a tight fit. Elmers spray adhesive is wonderful to secure the paper in place for a nice wrap.

We like to use Mod Podge to seal the paper on the box with two coats. Now we wrap the edges with colored duct tape (LOVE this stuff, so many colors, so many possibilities). I find this adds more stability and a polished appearance to the tote. 

Oo0ops! Forgot to tell you to cut a section out to fold down before you Mod Podge. We are going to use this panel to make a road for some cars. Ok time to get back on track...... I found a big colorful button to sew on the box with some bright red ribbon I had in the craft closet. I have used velcro before. It works ok but you will need to secure it well or it will easily rip off over a period of time. I have found the button to be a better choice.
You will need to tie some ribbon to the section that folds down. Leave enough of the ribbon to wrap around the button to close the panel. Almost done, I promise but we need to embellish a bit!
I really lucked out and found a thin magnetic sign at The Dollar Tree. It was so thin that I was able to cut it with my paper trimmer to the size I needed for the tote. We sprayed it with some Chalkboard paint we had bought at Lowes (we keep it on hand all the time now).  I used the hole puncher to add holes to all four corners of the chalkboard. Fortunately I had some primary colored brads to secure the chalkboard to the tote on the opposite side.
We painted a road on the panel that folds down.

Well, it is done! Look at how much fun your kiddo can have with this!
They can use the chalkboard as a magnet play center or to write on, drive cars on the road,  and you can pack all kinds of cool things in the tote. Just grab it and go or store it in your car to have on hand for all those times you need to keep your child busy so you keep your cool.

The boys usually keep cars in a gift card box that I repurposed, the chalk is stored in an empty mini M&M container, colored pencils and notepad are handy for drawing. This is just one of many designs we have made over the years. I wonder what can you come up with for your child?

I am linking up with these great parties, please go check them out for
MORE great ideas from some very creative ladies!

Transformation Thursday
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