Saturday, December 26, 2009

Homemade Christmas

How quickly homemade Christmas becomes Target Christmas.  However, I would say that 50% of our gifts were handmade for the kids.  For adults 75% which isn't half bad (actually better than half... ha,ha.ha).  So here are some of our homemade goodies:

A handmade tutu for Phoebe

A set of muchtaches for our stockings

Phoebe's apron and chef's hat set (which she loved and immedietly put on and wore most of Christmas morning).

Elliot's apron and chef's hat set.

Phoebe's mobil dollhouse- bathroom (with potty) and bedroom.  The furniture is from Woodcraft (I think) and we'll definitely buy more- all wood, sturdy construction, no toxic paint, etc....

Dollhouse livingroom

Elliot's space station sleeping quarters.  There is also a command center, space ship design and repair shop, and alien holding cell.

The space ship repair shop complete with Amiguri crocheted rocket and spaceship.  The alien is in the detention center around the corner.  Jan loved making these!

Dollhouse living room- So modern!

The kids in their matching strawberry/kiwi pajama pants.

I also made Jan a CD holder for her car, my brother some market bags for him in Hungary, a set of aprons for my brother, and a laptop cover.  The stockings had some homemade chocolates and I attempted to make candied orange slices that were ok (not awesome). So all in all, I've been busy.  I did have to write a few IOUs but well, who hasn't?

I wish that I could say that the handmade items were their favorite but Elliot loved his legos (and I haven't figured out a way to make them in my kitchen.... yet (ha,ha).  Phoebe loved her Curious George stuffie from Uncle Jay.  However, we didn't go broke this Christmas and it was fun to produce our own unique gifts.  One of my favorite things was making Muddy Buddy with Elliot to give away and watching him write out the tags with people's names.  It was  big thing for him and I was SO, SO proud!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chef's Hats

Wish me luck as I try and make Chef's Hats for my kids from the pattern on the website above.   They are super cute and I hope my sewing skills hold out long enough.  My machine was NOT COOPERATING today because of course a friend was trying to use it to make her gifts.  I dissassembled my machine and took out HUGE AMOUNTS of lint from inside.  Then, to thank me the thing didn't want to work.  So, I'm going to try and make these hats tonight.  They look easy enough.... (famous last words)  Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Homemade Wraping Paper

This is a picture of our kitchen this morning after we made our wrapping paper for our presents that are being sent over to Hungary to my brother and his girlfriend.  Normally, I prefere plain newsprint but all we had were newspapers so we recycled them.  At first we used paint and stamps but pretty quickly we ended up using our hands to decorate our paper.  I added some glitter to the paint so it was sparkly.  With a nice ribbon and a paper ornament, our presents looked wonderful.  All the gifts are handmade as well (I can't tell because my brother might read this....)  Tomorrow it's back to my sewing machine to bang out a few more gifts before Christmas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snow Day?

Here in Concord we are all hoping for our first snow day of the year!  The weather conditions are right so we shall see.  (Snow starting in the early morning and all through the day with possible freezing rain.) A part of me would love a day off but another part of me knows that it will throw my classes off.  I know not to get my hopes up because good old Concord School District was one of 3 schools in the state to still be in session during last year's ice storm.  We rarely call out even when every school around us is out.  So, we'll just have to see if we get that 5 am phone call. Sigh....

Friday, December 4, 2009

SMS Giveaway & NaNoWriMo

If you want a bit of fun, you can go to the Sew Mama Sew Blog and enter to win all sorts of handmade giveaways.  It's fun to surf blogs and find out what people make by hand all over the world.  I have to admit that I was determined to see every blog and it's taken a little bit of my time. (By the way if anyone is trying to reach me because I won something fabulous, my email is under my profile!  Please let me win something fabulous!)

In other news, I have "finished" my NaNoWriMo novel at 50,102 words.  I actually am about half way through but am taking a little break before trying to finish it.  I had one of my high school students read it and she was actually EXCITED to read it!  She reacted in all the ways that I wanted her to.  So, now I am excited to try and finish it.  On the bright side, she is in my semester class so if I want a willing audience, I have to finish it by January.  We'll see....

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon

In a few hours (3 to be exact), I'll be at the movies with 109 high school students watching NEW MOON.  Yes, I am excited!  And yes, I have a million little details running through my head: this kids still needs to give me money, that kid needs to give me their permission slip, where are we going to meet because it's raining, will we all fit on the bus?  However, I have faith that it will all work out and we'll have lots of fun.  I've told  a few that they need to be on "best behavior".... so we'll see.  I just hope that I can relax enough to enjoy the movie.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A great give-away. Check it out.

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year? 

We are forgoing Christmas gifts this year because of our tight budget (2 kids in full-time daycare...   need I say more) but if I was to dream big..... a photoshop class, a Yurdu to fool around on, time to craft/sew, and a Kindle for Jan
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received? 
The handmade baby blankets for the kids.  So beautiful!
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle? 

Quilts for the kids' beds. A twin sized seems MASSIVE!
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child? 

Someone at my dad's work gave him a used typewriter to give to me.  I remember that year I snuck in under the tree early and pecked away at the keys.  My friends and I wrote little newsletters on that typewriter for years.
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year? 

Legos and Tinkerbell 
6. What is your favorite holiday food? 

Lobster on Christmas Eve (which will be delayed this year because my parents are going to Hungary to visit my brother)
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays? 

EVERYTHING but what we bought this summer while we still had money.  It's in production currently and is TOP SECRET
8. What is your favorite holiday movie? 

It's a Wonderful Life (or ELF if I'm looking for a laugh)
9. Favorite holiday song? 

The whole Ella Fitzerald Christmas Album
10. Favorite holiday pastime?

Making my own Christmas gifts- the planning and the making

Click here to see an example.

Send us a link to your post via email with “Wish List Meme” in the subject line. You can even tag a few friends to participate in the meme. (Spread that holiday cheer!)

Thanks to all of our generous sponsors that helped make Mama’s Holiday Wishlist possible!

Sponsor List
Want to see those prizes in more detail? Click here.

The deadline to post and send us an email is Sunday, December 13th. We’ll annouce the winner on Monday, December 14th. Good luck!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Writing, writing, writing

This month seems to be a long list of things I should be doing while I'm writing.  So, I have 27,000 some odd words going with this novel.  It's been a manageable write so far.  I like the idea of a shape shifter as a metaphor for any teenage girl who isn't quite comfortable in her skin.  I just hit my first real pause where I'm not 100 percent sure where I want it to go next.  I may need to call in for help.  So, half way done- half way through the month.  YEA!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What one does when one is wasting time while writing a NaNO Novel...

Ok, so I have spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME on this computer this month.  It has become a fixture.  I THOUGHT that while doing my NaNoWriMo Novel that I would spend LESS time on Facebook and blogs.  However, what I find is that when I am thinking about an idea, I tend to surf the web.  So, yup.  I've been on this thing a ton.  Also, while Elliot had the flu, I wrote.  He watched kid's tv, I wrote.  He slept, I wrote.  So, on the upside is that I am up to 20,000 words on my quest for 50,000.  I am almost half way to my goal and I have yet to run out of ideas.  So, what I have realized about myself is that YA Fantasy may be my genre.  It's fun for me to write.  Hopefully it's also fun to read.  I'm not thinking about that part right now.... I'm just plugging in the words and scenes and going for it.  So, here's to 50,000 words before the end of the month!

Friday, November 6, 2009

When you have the flu...

When having the flu, it is good to have a kitty by your side.  It helps considerably with the recovery process of sitting on the couch and watching movie and taking middle of the day naps.  Bill Nye the Science Kitty (aka Baby Kitty) was an absolute love with Elliot, cuddling with him and watching over.  I felt like he knew Elliot was sick and needed him.  Elliot was red-faced with fever which just hurts a mother's heart.  I am calm in theory until well.... he is loopy with fever.  He seems to be recovering today so that's good.  I am hoping to return to school some time in the near future.  My students are going to wonder who I am with all these absences.  I hope no one else gets the flu.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Really good sewing/crafting blog

For anyone who is into sewing and/or crafting, this is the COOLEST website.  It has all these really simple projects for Christmas (and for anyone who makes things for Christmas, you know that you need to start thinking about it NOW or in August).  The blog is currently doing a month worth of craft ideas for Christmas.  The archives are pretty cool too.    I am getting a TON of ideas (that will wait until after November when the novel is written).

On the novel front, I have a character and 6627 words.  I am on target right now which is FABULOUS!  I think the character's name is Adalaide and is a shape-shifter but does not know she's a shape-shifter..... yet. I am really excited to be breaking into writing science fiction/fantasy.  I've been reading it almost exclusively for the last year but have never actually written it.  So, here it goes!

Monday, November 2, 2009


What isn't there to love about Halloween?  Free candy!  Costumes!  Being outside in the dark!  Ok, I'm not crazy about the darker aspects of the holiday but I love the whole dressing up and fun part of it.  AND it gets even better when you can experience it again with your children.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow


Ok, for those of you who do not know what NaNoWriMo is .... it is National Novel Writing Month and me and a bunch of other slightly insane people from Concord High School embark on a journey or let's call it a writing marathon for the month of November (as if teaching high school is not stressful enough).  So, this group of people  write like banshees (do banshees write?) for the month of November and try to bang out a 50,000 word novel in a month.  I would say that this is a totally loopy thing to do but I've actually done it.  I did it last year.  I have a 50,000 word novel (I think it is actually a little over the mark) printed out and placed carefully in a notebook (it's also on a memory stick).  I haven't actually looked back at it but let's not tarnish the idea at this point.  So, I begin novel #2 tomorrow.  To be honest, it scares the HECK out of me.  However, what I know about NaNoWriMo is that you begin with a word, then build to a sentence, then a paragraph, then a story, and suddenly you have 50,000 words.  So, I'll keep posting here and facebook to tell you where I am.  If I am feeling REALLY COCKY, I'll even post an excerpt.  We'll see... right  now, not feeling ever-so confident.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Getting Ready for Halloween

Here are pictures of our Halloween weekend.  They are not in order because I can't seem to get these pictures to go where I want them to.  Anyway, we picked pumpkins, carved them, decorated for Halloween (and go no schoolwork or correcting of very important papers done).  We can't wait to go trick-or-treating next weekend with our alligator and pirate.  Pictures will follow!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homemade Halloween Treat Bags

Here are the results of the first craft night in three weeks.  (I was so sick that I didn't even want to craft.... now that's sick.)  Ok, I probably could have made my own design for Halloween bags but I found these Debi Mumm panels at Joann's and well... they were so darn cute.  I added handmade "flowers" made out of the cutest sparkly bat fabric and big old glittery black buttons.  They came together in about an hour and are SO CUTE!

What I realized about myself is that I am slightly insane without a little arts and crafts in my life.  It is truly my stress relief.  I like having a project going to distract me from myself, my life.  I had SO MUCH FUN tonight doing these.  They were easy and done in record time.  I hope the kids like them when they see them tomorrow!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Phoebe and Elliot getting along

Apparently, Phoebe and Elliot (under the right conditions) CAN get along.  These are pictures of the kids on the Woodside playground on the double seater bikes they have.  They are in "matching" winter coats because Phoebe is wearing Elliot's old one and I am hoping that even though Elliot's skinny wrists are poking out of his jacket, we can milk the 4T coat for another year.  We'll see.  
Anyway, these guys have been arguing like CRAZY lately over all sorts of little things; books, legos, the kitty, and territory.  Watching them enjoy something together was the bright part of my day. Woodside has this cute bike with a "seat" in the back so the teachers let Elliot drive his sister around.  Phoebe was just beaming and laughing hysterically as they rounded corners and traveled around the whole playground.  I loved it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Learning to Crochet

I am one of those knitters who can sorta knit but when I make a mistake, I'm lost.  I have to have Jan sitting right next to me to show me each step along the way.  I think I'm not a better knitter because Jan is such a great one.  I depend on her to fix my mistakes.  (By the way, Phoebe's amazingly beautiful stocking that Jan is making Phoebe might actually be done this year!)

So, I decided that I am branching out and learning to crochet.  It's suppose to be easier than knitting, and faster.  I really was interested in Granny Squares but after Jan's hands went a mile a minute, I think I am going to start with a small little simple dolly blanket for Phoebe's new dolly that she is getting for Christmas.  Then, I'll advance to Granny Squares.  I'll post pictures as I actually complete something.

Here's to learning a new craft!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Out Sick

I'm sick... and not one of those cute colds where you wrap yourself up in a blanket and watch reruns of your favorite TV shows.  This in one of those knock you flat on your back, your head is aching, sore throat, I have a fever kind of sicknesses.  I NEVER, and I mean NEVER, go to the doctor and I may call today.  Thing thing has gone through the English department at CHS along with my English 11 class.  I suppose that it was only a matter of time until I got it.  Sigh.... I'm going back to bed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Elliot's first people picture

Elliot brought this home from school.  This is the FIRST picture where we could recognize people. He literally went from scribbles to people.  This may not seem amazing to you, but to me it's pure delight!  Elliot just did not want to hold a pencil.  On Monday this week, he wrote WORDS, REAL WORDS.  He wrote LEAF.  Ok, he's five and it's not like rocket science or anything but as a teacher, I was starting to get nervous.  I mean a kid's got to write at some point, right?  When motivated, he can do all sorts of fine motor things (legos, unwrapping hershey's kisses, mazes) but he had NO (none, nada) motivation until this pre-K year at Woodside.  Can I just say, we are loving Woodside; it's making my Mommy heart proud!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm feeling like this frog

I feel like this frog statue that I saw on Wednesday when I joined the Tide Pride group on a field trip to Boston.  I feel a little achey and a little droopy.  About half my students have come down with flu and are hanging on by their fingernails.  I don't know if I am really sick, or just sympathetic sick.  I'm going to hope that a good night's sleep solves my problems.  The power of positive thinking!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

20 things about me 20 things about me

1. One thing I'd grab if my house were on fire : after my kids and kitties, my scrapbooks
2. One thing I wish I could throw away : cheap plastic toys
3. One thing I'll never ever throw away : (almost) anything handmade
4. Something I lost and still miss : that earing I bought in Mexico in high school (and my keys that hopefully are being returned to me)
5. Something I've kept since childhood : the quilt my grandmother made and my other grandmother's paper dolls
6. A food item I never run out of : peanut butter
7. A household brand I'm very loyal to : Good Earth Lavender & Mint Dish Soap (right now anyway)
8. Something I sleep with every night : my children (hopefully they'll outgrow this soon)
9. One thing that's on my wishlist : tickets to see New Moon Nov. 20
10. Something I take with me wherever I go : my wallet
11. Something that makes me smile when I see it : my kids being goofy and trying on different costumes
12. Something my children fight over : TOYS, the kitty, attention from the moms
13. Something I hate to clean : the kitty litter box
14. Something I show off when people visit : my mini-albums
15. Something I hide when people visit : our ability to be horribly messy (I don't think we hide it very well)
16. Something I collect : red, orange hand-blown glass
17. Something I avoid at all costs : conflict, violence, anger
18. Something that reminds me of my mother : the pottery bowls, cups, containers, tea set that she made from her own hands

19. Something that reminds me of my father:  Cary Grant- always a gentleman  & the way Elliot folds his legs (his legs in general) and a million other ways Elliot acts like Grampie
20. The best gift I've ever received : 10 meals put in my freezer from my scrapbooking group after my daughter was born 5 weeks early

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My mother never let me wear white LO

I created this layout from my class Scrapbooking with Fabric where a lesson focused on painting fabric.  The layout was completely white focused on the beach.  I found this picture of Elliot playing in the mud-puddles in our yard and it just all came together.  Because I love color so much (it's quite obvious, right) it was a challenge to only use one color.  Instead of color, this exercise made me focus on texture- felt, fabric, buttons, shine.  It was a nice reminder that I use more than one sense when I am scrapbooking.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Summer Pops Layout

This layout is WAY MORE LUSCIOUS in person- it kinda faded under the lights tonight.  I only ate 2 popsicles during the making of this page.  I'm plugging away at my on-line class trying to keep up and actually FINISH this one (rather than dropping off at the end).  It's been a super great class (Scrapboking with Fabric) and I've learned so many things!  I would recommend it if you are looking to try out using fabric in scrapbooking- the marrying of two beautiful hobbies.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Phoebe Layout

Another Friday night scrapbooking.  This time only Bill Nye the Science Kitty is keeping me company and he is currently sitting on my fabric that I am trying to cut.  Naughty kitty.  Can I put him in time out?  The fabric flower I learned how to do in my Scrapbooking with Fabric class which I am just loving!  It's a really great class.