Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week, Day 3

It is now Day 3 of Teacher Appreciation Week, and my kids have another DIY gift to give to their teachers.  This time it is a small jar (4 oz) of caramel cream cheese apple dip with Heath bar bits and a green apple.  This project is very simple.  Below are the materials needed and directions to follow. 

Here is the final product:

Apples and dip wrapped in a cellophane bag and tied with ribbon and raffia.
And......I got to make labels again!

Label for the bag.

Recipe for Caramel Cream Cheese Dip:
(Makes 4 jars that are 4 oz each)
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (15 oz) tub of caramel apple dip
1 bag of Heath bar bits (I found this in the baking aisle)

In a small mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and 4 spoonfuls of caramel.  Use a hand mixer to blend well, until creamy.

Materials Needed:
  1. Cream Cheese dip (recipe above)
  2. Caramel apple dip
  3. Heath bar bits
  4. Green apple
  5. 4 oz Mason jar
  6. Medium-sized cellophane bag
  7. Ribbon
  8. Raffia
  9. White card stock to print out labels
  10. Printer
Final product of the Caramel Cream Cheese Apple Dip with Heath Bar bits.

  1. Make the caramel cream cheese apple dip using recipe above.  Spoon mixture into 4 oz Mason jar until the jar is about 3/4 full. 
  2. Carefully wipe any dip off of the jar that spilled.
  3. On top of the cream cheese and caramel mixture, drop a healthy spoonful of caramel.
  4. Top caramel with Heath bar bits (see picture below).Place lid on top of jar and close tight
  5. Make labels on white card stock for the top of the jar by using Microsoft Word.  Draw a circle and type in a text box inside the circle: "Caramel Cream Cheese Apple Dip with Heath Bar bits." Print.  Cut out circle and, using double stick tape, place on top of the jar lid.
  6. Make rectangle labels on white card stock by using Microsoft Word.  Draw a rectangle and type in a text box inside the circle: "A good teacher deserves and apple.  You deserve the whole tree!"  I used an apple clip art to add to the label.  Last, type your "to" and "from" information.  Print.  Cut out labels and punch a hole with a hole puncher in the top left corner so that you will be able to run the ribbon through it.
  7. Place jar in the cellophane bag and top with green apple.
  8. Using the ribbon and raffia, tie the bag shut (be sure to attach the label with the hole to the ribbon before tying in a bow.
  9. Give to teacher.
One last picture....

Apple Teacher's Gift

If you like what you see, please share or like or pin my post.  Thanks!

Click here to see Teacher Appreciation Week, Day 1
Click here to see Teacher Appreciation Week, Day 2

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week, Day 2

For the second day of Teacher Appreciation Week, my children are taking cookie jars to their teachers.  This is a post with two projects in one because for one of my daughter's class, she took a cookie jar full of cookies to her two teachers (Project #1).  However, for the other daughter it was a class gift for which I supplied the cookie jars for the two teachers, and all of the students brought a cookie for each teacher to fill her cookie jar (Project #2).

Here is Project #1:

Project #1

The lids have labels too:

Label for top of cookie jar

Another picture just because I can:

Project #1 Materials:
  1. Clear glass or plastic jar with lid.
  2. Ribbon
  3. Paper for labels
  4. Printer to print labels
  5. Double stick tape
  6. Cookies
Project #1 Directions:
  1. Print the labels.  To make these, I simply went to Microsoft Word, drew a rectangle, and typed the label: I am one SMART COOKIE because you are my teacher! Thanks!
  2. Print the "to" and "from" tags.  To do these, I again used Microsoft Word, drew a square, and typed the "To" and From" information.
  3. Cut out all labels.
  4. Using double stick tape, attach the labels to the cookie jar.
  5. Fill the jar with cookies.
  6. Tie a bow around the top.
  7. Give to teacher.

Now for Project #2: the class cookie jar gift.  To do this, one parent needs to supply the cookie jar(s) as shown here:

Project #2
This project also has labels on the top of the jar:

Labels for top of cookie jars

When you tie the ribbon at the top of the jars, make sure the jars can still open easily since students will be bringing cookies to put in the jars.

Make sure the lid can still be opened after the ribbon is tied.

Now, because the students are to bring a cookie to the teacher to fill their cookie jar, everyone's cookie needs to be wrapped individually in a clear cellophane bag (as shown below) or a clear zip-top bag.

Cookie inside of a cellophane bag

Because I seem to be label happy, I made a label for the cookie in the cellophane bag as well (directions are below).

Label to seal the cellophane bag

Project #2 Materials:
  1. Clear glass or plastic jar (large because it will be filled up by the entire class).
  2. Paper
  3. Printer
  4. Ribbon
  5. Double stick tape
  6. Cookie
Project #2 Directions:
  1. Print the labels. To make these, I simply went to Microsoft Word, drew a rectangle, and typed the label: We are SMART COOKIES because you are our teacher! Thanks!
  2. Print the "to" and "from" tags. To do these I again used Microsoft Word, drew a square, and typed the "To" and From".
  3. Cut out all labels.
  4. Using double stick tape, attach the labels to the cookie jar.
  5. Tie a bow around the top.
Project #2 Extra Information: Make sure the parents of the students in the class know to bring a cookie and which day to bring it to school.  Also, have them wrap their cookie in a clear cellophane bag or zip top bag.  I used a medium sized cellophane bag, cut the length of the bag to better fit the cookie, then closed it with a special label with double stick tape (see picture above).

Please share or "pin" this project if you like it, thanks!

Click here to see Teacher Appreciation Week, Day 1 Project.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week, Day 1

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at my daughter's schools.  The first gift that my children are giving their teachers is a jar of M&Ms:

Looks like a rainbow, right?  There is even a poem for the label:

And a great label idea for the top of the jar:

Now you want to make it, right?  Don't worry, it's easy!  I have found this project in several different places, but here is my version.  Below are the materials you need and the steps to complete the project.

Materials (for one gift):
  1. Clear plastic or glass container (mine is a glass container from Michael's) with a lid.
  2. 1 bag (14 oz) of M&Ms
  3. Ribbon to tie around the top of the jar.
  4. Double stick tape
  5. Paper
  6. Printer
  1. Separate the blue, green, yellow, orange, and red M&Ms into separate bowls (discard or hide in your closet and eat the brown M&Ms....I recommend hiding and eating them).
  2. Layer the M&Ms in the container.  Order (from bottom up): red, orange, yellow, green, blue.
  3. Make the label for the poem.  I went to Microsoft Word, found a rainbow border, typed the poem, and printed the label.
  4. Cut the label out to fit on your container.  Use double stick tape to attach it to your jar.
  5. Make the round label for the top of the container.  Again, I used Microsoft Word and found a round border, typed the "To" and "From" information, and printed the label.
  6. Cut out the round label and use double stick tape to attach it to the top of your jar.
  7. Tie a ribbon (hopefully you can find a rainbow ribbon, but if not use another color that is in the jar (red, orange, yellow, green, or blue).
  8. Give to the teacher!
Please share or "pin" this project if you like it!  Thanks!
Here are more pictures of the project (the bright colors were so photogenic that I could not help myself!):

Please share:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Communication Etiquette: Top 5 Rules You Should Teach Your Children

I grew up in a time when there was only a land line phone for each house, no cell phone.  A time where you were lucky if you had a long enough phone cord so that you could move from one place to another in your room. A time that did not have call waiting or caller id.  We actually had to answer the phone when it rang instead of looking at caller id and deciding not to answer because we weren't in the mood to talk to that person right then.  If it was a salesman, you had to talk to them.  If it was a friend that you were mad at, you had to answer the phone because what if it had been someone else and you had missed that phone call?  We did not have an answering machine for years, so I would have never known who was calling if I didn't pick up the phone.  There was no call waiting, so phones were often busy.  But, as always, the world keeps evolving and things change.

Our children are growing up in a world of instant satisfaction.  A world full of cellphones, computers, iPads, e-readers, etc.  If you can't reach someone on their home phone, you can call their cellphone, text them, email them, chat with them on the Internet, etc, etc, etc.  However, is all of this instant satisfaction of reaching someone driving you crazy when it comes to your kids and their communication with their friends?  Is it time to put some restrictions or rules or something on them?  Should I place some old-school crackdown on how they are to communicate with each other?  I have talked to some of my other mom friends, and they seem to be facing the same issues of what we need to teach our kids.  So, here is my top 5 list of what we should teach our kids about "Communication Etiquette."

  1. Call once and be done.  If my child calls one of her friends, be it on her land line or (gulp, because my kids don't have one) cellphone, she should only call once.  If her friend (or parent) does not answer, calling repeatedly until someone does can be somewhat, well, irritating as all get out.  Teach your child that there may be a reason that they are not answering, maybe they aren't there, or maybe they looked at caller id and know that they can't talk while doing homework.  Maybe the friend that they are calling for isn't there and the parents are trying to put a younger sibling down for a nap and the incessant calling is disrupting their already fried patience.  Or, like I said, maybe they aren't home.  Leave a message and they will call back.
  2. Continuous texting with no response is not allowed.  If your child sends a text message to one of their friends and the friend does not respond immediately (because maybe they were not attached to their phone, they are kids, and were outside playing or weren't allowed to use their cellphone at that moment), tell your child not to keep texting their friend every 10 minutes until they respond.  What if they don't have an unlimited texting plan?  What if they are having family time?  What if you send your friend's mother over the edge with the constant texting and she throws the phone out of the window while driving down the highway?  Not that I would do that, I'm just using an example.
  3. Unless it is a homework emergency, calls should be stopped after a certain time put in place by the parent.  All children have a bedtime, but none of them are the same.  Do you want your child to be receiving calls all the way up until bedtime or do you want some down time?  Whatever your time frame is, let your child know that they cannot talk on the phone past a specific time and tell them to tell their friends that so that they are not calling all night long.
  4. Cellphones must be handed over and put in the parent's room at a specified time.  If your child is not allowed to talk on the phone after a certain time (this includes texting and social media), then they do not need their cell phone.  Putting the cell phone in your bedroom ensures that your child will not be using it later than allowed.  I taught high school for several years, and I was amazed at how many kids said that they were exhausted because they received text messages in the wee hours of the morning so they couldn't sleep.  Ridiculous, their parents were way too naive about cellphones and their misuse.
  5. All social media accounts will be monitored for content, parents will be friended, and parents will be allowed to "follow."  This includes all social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram.  I know I am probably leaving some out, but you get the point.  If children know that their parents are going to be keeping tabs on them, they are less likely to post words or pictures that they would not want their parents to see.  Good rule for kids to follow: if you wouldn't want your parents to see it, don't show it to your closest thousand friends.  I am not asking you to invade their privacy and read their diary, just know everything that they post on the Internet because that's not private anyway.  Do not be your kid's best friend, be your kid's parent.
Honorable Mention: Cellphones, telephones, or technology of any kind are not allowed at the table during meal time or during family time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What a Mom Wants and Does Not Want for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is coming.  The most useless of all of the Hallmark holidays.  I am not being unromantic or uncaring, but what is this day really for?  It's for the stores to make money off of poor uninspired (or incorrectly inspired) males.  I have been Googling "Valentine's Day gifts for her" just to see how misled the men in this country are, and I was right, it's bad.  This holiday is not a "one size fits all" gift giving day, no matter what the mass marketing efforts may lead you to believe.  Sure, it's great to feel as if someone cares about you, but hopefully you feel that every other day of the year too and don't need some outrageously expensive gift or misguided gift to make you feel that way.  If you do, you might want to head to the nearest psychiatrist's couch because you have some issues that a professional needs to sort out with you.  For the rest of us (and by us, I mean moms), let's explore what the marketing professionals think that we want and need for this wonderful day of hearts and cuddles:

  1. Chocolate.  They think we want chocolate?!  Ok, so we always want chocolate, but if they even knew us (or looked at our Pinterest boards), they would know that our New Year's resolution (which, might I remind you, was barely a month ago) was to get fit and lose weight.  Now they are trying to sabotage our efforts.  Thanks for not being supportive.
  2. Silk Robe.  Any of you ever try to hold a squirming baby or toddler while wearing a silk robe?  Let me clue you in: it is near impossible, they just slide right down.  Not to mention all of the spit up or grease stains from grubby hands that would be all over it.  Just something else we will have to clean.
  3. A Love Story.  One that rhymes.  No kidding, there is one called Me Without You and it rhymes just like Dr. Seuss.  So now you get to read tongue-twisters with your kids and during your alone time.  Sounds wonderful, I'm so excited.
  4. Roses.  My opinion on this is not going to be popular.  I think these are dumb.  I always have and I always will.  Why do you want to spend money on something that is going to die in a few days?  Buy an azalea bush, it will last years.
  5. Bath Salts.  Now, this is a nice idea, but with it there needs to be a written contract signed by the husband stating that he agrees to babysit the children in another area of the house where they cannot be heard in the master bathroom while mom takes a bath with the door locked for as long as she wants with no interruptions.  Otherwise, this too is a waste of money.
So that is what is being marketed to the poor unsuspecting male.  However, here is the list that they should be given:

  1. Dinner cooked by someone other than Mom.  Here's the catch: no one can ask Mom where anything is in the kitchen or how to cook anything and the kitchen must be cleaned up by someone other than Mom.
  2. House cleaned by someone other than Mom.  The entire house, floors, dusting, toilets, sinks, everything.  Nothing says love like a husband who knows how to use a toilet brush.
  3. A bath.  Alone with no kids knocking on the door or sticking their hands under the door trying to get your attention.  And no husband knocking on the door asking how much longer he has to keep the kids because they are getting a little hyper active and they won't listen to him.
  4. Homemade card from the kids.  Because this will make a mom's heart melt like no other thing can. 
  5. The remote control.  Because frankly, we are tired of ESPN and the Outdoor Channel.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Top 10 Mommy Confessions

I do a lot of things that I do not like other people knowing about.  Mostly because I know that judging on some level will occur, but there is also a little bit of "if I don't say it out loud, it won't be as bad."  However, as a start to a new year, I am going to confess my top 10.  So, without further ado, here are my Top 10 Mommy Confessions (don't judge, just accept):

  1. I take my children's candy on the premise that they don't need it because it can cause diabetes. The truth is that I hide it in my closet and eat it when everyone is asleep.
  2. I justify hiding in my closet eating candy because I know that 30 minutes of cleaning burns 120 calories, but really I just need a candy break.
  3. My kids know to run and hide when the doorbell rings so that we don't have to answer the door. That's normal, right?
  4. I do not feel compelled to catch vomit with my bare hands. I let it hit the floor.
  5. I have jumped up 15 minutes before my husband gets home to pick up the toys and make the bed to make it look like I have cleaned the house.
  6. I get mad at my 9-year-old for acting just like me.
  7. I sometimes forget to brush my 2-year-old's teeth.
  8. All of my kids have a TV in their room even though prior to having kids I said that would never happen. It took 7 years for me to give in.
  9. My two year old falls asleep watching TV because that's easier than to break her of the habit.
  10. I don't ground my kids because it makes my life harder. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top 5 Mental Notes to Prevent Embarrassment

People of all ages do this.  It takes place all over the world.  As a matter of fact, if you do not do this, you are seriously debilitating yourself socially.  I am talking about making mental notes (or notes to self as I like to call them).  Mental sticky notes stuck all inside your head that remind you to do something, or, as in my case, not to do something.  Do not kid yourself, this is the same thing as talking to yourself.  Actually, if you stop and think about it, the best conversations probably take place inside of your own head.

I started thinking of "notes to self" yesterday while in the doctor's office, where I made an important mental note (I will get to that in a minute).  In order to save you people from the embarrassment that I have endured over the years and to give you things to think about, I am going to give you my top 5 "Notes to Self."
  1. Wear new socks to doctor visits.  I thought of this one yesterday as I was sitting in the doctor's  office wearing a hospital gown and dingy socks that were very worn on the bottom.  It dawned on me then that I should have bought new socks to wear because doctors are more likely to see your socks than your underwear.
  2. Turn off Justin Bieber or One Direction when your children exit your car.  Otherwise the people that pull up beside you at a red light or in a parking lot are going to think that you are rocking out to JB or OD, and that is just an awkward moment that no one really wants to live through.
  3. Remember that it could always be worse: you could look like you did in middle school.  When you are looking in the mirror thinking that you have aged or you are having a bad hair day or a bad eyelash day (surely I cannot be the only one who has these?!), just remember you could look like that awkward middle school kid you used to be that is documented in over a hundred people's yearbooks.  Doesn't that just brighten up your day?
  4. Teach your daughters (at an early age) to cover up from neck to ankles.  If moving to a colder climate, such as Alaska, is what it takes to make sure your daughter stays covered from neck to ankles, then by all means do so.  This stems from a conversation that I heard in a department store not that long ago.  Mother [to her teenage daughter]: You cannot buy that top because it barely covers your stomach, you might as well be wearing a swim suit in public. Daughter [to her mother]: Mom, that's a great idea!  I will just wear my bikini top with this mini skirt. Mother [to her teenage daughter]: That top is great, let's go buy it. 
  5. Do not walk through your house wearing just your underwear unless you have all of the blinds closed because someone standing outside will see you every single time.  The yard guy.  The yard guy was outside when I had to run to the laundry room to get my clothes.  He was early and we never spoke of it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mom Slob Disorder (MSD) Revisited

In light of the recent traffic my MSD, It's Real and It's a Problem post has received, I think I should revisit this topic.  If you have not yet read that post, please click here because I value your input.  Now for what I wanted to say about the topic: Mom Slob Disorder.

Yesterday, I sat down to write my New Year's resolutions.  I came up with a few of which I will share with you in a later post, but my biggest resolution that I kept trying to write down was overcoming my MSD (Mom Slob Disorder).  If you know me, you know that I do not dress up.  It is not that I do not have the clothes for it, it is just that I don't want to.  Actually, that is not true either [because sometimes I do].  The truth is, it goes beyond being lazy.  I am not too lazy to put on a pair of jeans, a nice top, crazy stylish shoes, do my hair and make-up (wow, maybe I am going a bit far, wait I'm not, I have a point).  I do not do these things every day because it is not appropriate attire for my day job (or my night job because let's face it, since when do moms get even a 30 minute lunch break).  If you were going to work in a lawyer's office, would you wear the same attire that a construction worker might wear?  If you were a construction worker, would you wear a suit to work?  I didn't think so.  So for my job as "Mommy," I do not dress up.  I wear my yoga pants and T-shirt every day of the week.  Unless I have an appointment somewhere, which I will dress up for, but I am changing the moment I come home.

Magazines always make me feel the worst about MSD.  Not that they have labeled this, but they refer to us as "needing a make-over."  I do not need a make-over, I own other clothes and makeup so thanks but no thanks.  I have read articles about how you need to look nice for your husband when he gets home from work.  Really?  Maybe that might have to fly in the beginning, but once you have a pint-sized human projectile vomiting on you, looking nice is not the goal.  Adapting to your surroundings, however, is.  I do not feel as if I can effectively be "Mom" if I am dressed to the nines chasing a kid around the park while wearing 4 inch heels.  Maybe I'm not the problem, maybe it's the way that MSD is perceived that is the problem.  Maybe instead of trying to change those of us with MSD, we should just educate the mass public that we are not lazy and there are reasons for our appearance.

Grocery Store: If you could have witnessed the scene my child acted out on aisle 3 when she screamed and cried for the cookies that were on the display in the middle of the aisle instead of staying on the cookie aisle where they belong (and the aisle in which we don't frequent because of such fits), then you would know why I am wearing this snot-covered T-shirt.  If we should meet later on aisle 7, you will note that I now have chewed-up-and-slobbered cookie crumbs on the back of my T-shirt because my child, who won the argument for the cookies, has now decided that I am the best Mommy in the world and hugged me with her little dirty hands.  When I accidentally bump into your buggy on aisle 10, don't be angry because now you can see that I am trying to wrestle the ink pen that my child stole out of my hand. She has obviously decorated the front of her shirt and now mine while I was looking for a can of beans.  If you are fortunate enough to catch me at the check out line, you will be the witness to the "leaving-the-grocery-store-meltdown" that occurs because I refuse to let my child have any of the candy that decorates the check out lane.  By this time, maybe you will realize that I did not want to ruin my "good" clothes for a trip to the grocery store and can be more understanding next time you see one of us when walking into the store.  We are dressed for the job.

Park: There is something about climbing all of the way to the top of the slide and not sliding down that my children absolutely love to do to me.  They claim it is fear, but I think it is payback for all of the candy I will not let them eat.  Either way, I still have to climb to the top of the slide to bring them back down (or slide down with them).  That being said, shoes with heels or a skirt or dress would not be permissible in this situation.  And have you seen playground equipment?  It is filthy.  If you, heaven forbid, actually have to slide down with them, your clothes are going to get dirty.  So, yes, there is a reason why sometimes I feel like the worst dressed Mom at the park.  I am dressing for what my kids are going to put me through when we are there.  I am dressing for the job.

Car Pool Line: If you have even read the two scenarios above, you know that I am not going home to change to go sit in a car pool line.  What would be the point?  Just know that if you come visit me in the car pool line, I won't be dressed to walk down any runways.  And I might just have on a red visor with a pink T-shirt [gasp], so please, don't be offended.  I had to put on a hat after my kid threw her lunch at my head and I did not have time to wash my hair because that would mean that she would be running wild by herself in the house.  Again, I am dressed for the job.

So when you see someone who is obviously suffering from MSD, realize that they are not lazy, they are just dressed for their job.  Do not judge them, but try to understand them.