Friday, May 22, 2015

Super Easy Teacher Gift

If you are crawling toward the end-of-school finish line like me, chances are you can barely muster the energy to feed and clothe yourself, much less come up with and put together a cute gift for your kids to take to their teachers on the last day of school.

Pinterest feeds our guilt with adorable class yearbooks, baked goods, totes filled with summer rejuvenation activities for the teacher—all so cute and great ideas, but seriously?!  Who has the time/strength/mental energy/cash flow for that?!

Not me.

A few days ago, I wandered the aisles at Wal-Mart.  My plan was to put together an apple-themed gift basket for each of my three children’s teachers in appreciation for the awesome year that we have had.  Apple chocolates, apple flavored beverages, actual apples, mini apple pies….you get the idea.  I wandered approximately 10 minutes before I lost all enthusiasm.  I had this conversation with myself:

“Apples? Do they really like apples?”

“I bet they get a ton of apple stuff.  They are probably so sick of apple stuff.”

“This is going to cost me a fortune”

“But they are worth it!  They are great teachers!”

“When am I going to actually have time to put these together?”

So in the end, we went with gift cards.  Some may say that is the lazy route, but me?  I love a good gift card.  Especially to somewhere fun that I normally wouldn’t go unless I had a gift card.

20150522_073346[1]Packaging these are easy.  Just print my {admittedly cheesy} tag, trim it, and stick the gift card to it.  One of my kids wanted the gift card stuck to the front.  Either way works just fine.  Stick it in a bag if you want.  Or not.  Extra points if there is ribbon involved in the final product.

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Or you could just do this.20150522_075951[1]After a summer of recuperation and lots of shaved ice, I will be ready to endow my kids’ new teachers with the love that they deserve.

And I will.

Because by the end of next year, we will be lucky to scrape together whatever we can.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Visiting Teaching-May 2015 {Conference Preserves}

The conference preserves took a little bit longer to put up this time, so thanks for your patience with me.  There were some wonderful talks during April General Conference and so for visiting teaching this month, I thought I would bottle some up to share with my sisters.

20150519_082919[1]If you would like to make some to share, the links for the quotes are here, here and here, and the link for the label is here.20150519_083021[1]Happy Visiting Teaching!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

March Visiting Teaching Message-The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Long-Suffering and Patient

I realize that there are exactly 5 days left in March, and that most of you have already visited your sisters this month, but in case you are still looking for something special to take to your sisters, here’s a fun idea.

20150326_145550[1]This month’s message is is on learning to be patient.  President Uchtdorf said “Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears.  Patience means active waiting and enduring.  It means staying with something….even when the desires of our hearts are delayed.  Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!”

I’m a flower market kind of girl.  I love purchasing flowers and arranging beautiful bouquets.  I also love seeing flowers blooming in my garden, but can wholly attribute them to my husband and his green thumbs.

I have a hard time waiting for the weeks and sometimes months that it takes to plant, fertilize, water and nurture a seed till it blooms.  I want it now.

Life is like this in so many ways.

It’s so hard to wait for big events in our lives, or the things that we want, or answers to our prayers.  That is why we need to cultivate patience.  We need to realize that the Lord is aware of our needs and wants, and that He knows what is best for us.

The best things in life will come to us as we actively wait and endure—not just endure, but endure well.

20150326_145610[1]For my sisters this month, I purchased a garden cultivator and some seeds from the Dollar Store.  I printed the message and wrapped it around the box of seeds.  I tied some twine around the box and the cultivator and printed the words “cultivate faith” on a garden marker.

Happy Visiting Teaching!

Monday, February 23, 2015

mmmonday! {French Toast with Easy Butter Syrup}

Guys.  If you are looking for a quick and easy, yet kind of fancy and super delicious breakfast, you have got to try this.

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Make French Toast.  This is the recipe that I use, but any will do.

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Make the syrup.  This syrup is seriously so easy and it’s delicious.

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Top with fresh fruit and a bit of cream and you have got an amazing and pretty meal!

Have a fabulous Monday!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

So. Many. Blank. Walls!

One thing about this house that we loved when we first saw it was the open space and natural light.  I still love those things, but didn’t realize that what comes with that awesomeness is LOTS of blank wall space.

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20150129_082219[1]So I’ve started to try to fill it a little.

Last fall, I played with paint and stripes.

A few weekends back, we tackled another wall.  This time with some ledge shelves.

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The shelves came as a bonus when my husband and I purchased a bed frame off of a local online yard sale site.  The bed frame had been in a shed for a couple of years and came complete with dust and spider webs…and two extra boards that the seller’s son thought were part of it.  He didn’t want them even if they weren’t part of the bed, so we took them just in case.  Turns out, they were not part of the bed frame, but they were kind of cool looking, so I talked my husband into keeping them and more recently, hanging them for me as picture shelves.

20150201_105802[1]I think they are awesome, and they help me feel like I am making some progress towards filling some of my empty walls.

The best part?  I can easily swap out the photos and knick knacks when I want.

I welcome any and all ideas on what else to do with my blank walls.  What would you do?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February Visiting Teaching—The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Without Sin

The Visiting Teaching Message from the Ensign this month reminds us that the Savior is the only person who will ever live on the earth without sinning.  Although each of us make mistakes and stumble, because He Atoned for our sins, we can be clean again and have our sins washed away if we repent.

20150205_145331[1]20150205_150507[1]For my sisters this month, I bought some dish soap at the dollar store and a dish washing brush from IKEA. 

20150205_084611[1] I printed the message on double-sided cardstock {there are 2 per page} and the tags {there are 8 per page} on coordinating paper.

I trimmed the tags to fit on the front of my dish soap, and then washi-taped them on.

20150205_150856[1]20150205_145342[1]Next, I used a ribbon to secure the brush to the soap, and then slid the folded message into the ribbon on the back. {If you do it in that order it works best, because then it makes everything tight and the brush doesn’t wiggle around}.

20150205_150958[1]I’m so thankful for the Atonement and for the hope that it gives me.  I know that the Savior lives, and that He loves each of us more than we know.  I know that there will come a day that I will see Him again someday, and I hope that I can try my hardest to do what is right, and to repent each day so that I can be clean when I do.

Have a great month! 

Happy Visiting Teaching!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Flowers, a Man Named Vicente, and a REALLY Hot Oven

Almost two years ago, my awesome, thoughtful husband gave me a Christmas gift.  It was a gift certificate to make some glass flowers at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah .  Honestly, I was a little skeptical.  I love making things with my hands as much as the next girl, but it was something new, and I’m not really a tchotchke kind of girl.  So I put off going to do it for a few weeks, and then I ended up with a job that has taken most of my extra time and energy ever since.

I felt guilty about not using the certificate, and had almost forgotten about it completely, when I found it a few days ago.  The certificate had long-since expired, but I called Thanksgiving Point anyway and they agreed that I could still come in and use it.  So I made an appointment.

I arrived and they assigned Vicente to teach me what to do.  He was super patient with me as I explained to him that I was a blogger, and this was really cool, and I would be taking lots of pictures.  He was actually a little excited by this news and he offered to take my picture during the process. 

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Vicente explained that I should stand behind the line and watch the process first.  So I watched as he took a long metal rod and stuck it into a burning hot furnace of molten glass.  He told me that they kept the furnace at 2100 degrees, to make the glass workable.

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Vicente then brought the super hot glass ball on the end of the metal rod over to the workbench near me and showed me what to do to shape the glass and then used a giant pair of tweezers to pull the edges of the glass until it formed a glass flower.

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After the demonstration, I chose the colors I wanted my glass flowers to be, and put on my gloves.  The trick to keeping the really hot liquid glass on the rod was to keep it spinning, which was harder than it sounds because it’s super hot where you are standing.

After getting the right size of glass ball,  you take it and roll it into the color pieces on a metal table, and then heat it up again so that it melts, and then roll it again on a clean metal surface.

Then it’s time to shape it into a flower.  Using the large tweezer tool, I pulled little petals as Vicente turned the rod.  (Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures of this—and it was the coolest part!  You turn the ball, pulling on it till it is shaped like a plate, and then turn and pull with the giant tweezers over and over again.)  The glass got harder and harder to pull as he turned and by the third round, I had to use two hands to pull the glass. 

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IMG_1806I chose to make flowers that stand up, so that I could place them on a table.  To finish, Vicente and his other helper formed the stem of the flower and cut the glass.  They welded then end to round it off, and then placed it in a large cooling box for about 24 hours.

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I ended up making two flowers and love how they turned out.  I hadn’t really thought about what colors I wanted to use before going in, so I ended up going with different shades of blue, based on some rooms that I am decorating right now.

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IMG_1894After I got home, I second-guessed myself because, really, blue flowers?  When I picked them up a few days later, I was happy with how they looked, but it wasn’t until I got home and was showing them to my kids that I realized that they look like water. 

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Apparently, this landlocked girl needs to go to the beach, because my flowers look like waves.

P.S.  For those of you in the area, I noticed that there is a Groupon right now for Glass Flowers at Thanksgiving Point, so if you would like to try this, now’s your chance!

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