Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Week in Pictures

Tonight is date night and I won 12 of these beautiful cupcakes from my amazing baker friend, Alicia's, giveaway!  Yay!  After a week that included a 3 year old with the stomach flu, decorating for an end of the year ministry dinner for 200 people, making the 3 teacher appreciation posters, a jog a thon at school, making 60 birthday treats for school, crazy hair night at AWANA on Thursday, construction going on throughout my downstairs, and just life, I am ready to have a relaxing night with my sweetie.

Here is a quick look at the week in pictures and numbers:

Six years old . . .T-ball time!  Our just turned six year old is loving his first experience playing baseball.

12 carame,l chocolate marshmallow pops.  I made these for a Girl's Night Out with some friends.  I love marshmallow pops!  Hot caramel made the marhsmallow melt a bit, but it was still gooey deliciousness.

4 months at the Crazy Chicken.  My husband worksin Marketing Finance for this company.  We sure are thankful for this job, and we love El Pollo Loco!

12 cupcake prizes.  Another picture of Alicia's amazing cupcakes.  They are red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese buttercream frosting.  Yummers!

60 marshmallow pops to hand out to Carter's class (2 per kiddo) for his birthday/being Star of the Week.

1 week of construction--about 1 to go.  Our family room, kitchen and small hallway are getting wall paneling!

ONE messy house.  This is the dust that is covering my downstairs.  I love the paneling that is going in my house, but I am a neat freak, and the dust from wood cutting is killing me!

7th day of work.  The inner paneling got installed.  No it just need the top and bottom quarter rounds and some paint!

7 pretty panels

4 pretty knick knacks.  If you read my blog, you know I l-o-v-e Costco.  I found these 4 malamine bowls with lids for under 20 dollars.

There is my crazy, blessed, busy, wonderful week at a quick glance. 

I didn't take a picture of my sick kiddo with "tummy bugs".  He was a trooper and barely cried even though it was his first time with the stomach flu.  He couldn't understand what was happening.  Poor little guy!

You can see my THREE superhero posters for teacher appreciation week in my last post.

Have a GREAT weekend!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Posters

If you read my last post, you know that I am in charge of making the three teacher appreciation posters for my son's kindergarten class.  We made one for each of the teachers (they are on a shared contract) and one for the general staff at the school.

I wanted to do something thematic and fun, so I decided to make a bright, colorful superhero theme.  I have boys, and even though the girls in the class might not like it as much, I thought it was cute.

Here are the final results.  The only rule I was given was that the kids have to sign the teacher posters, so I put a mini superhero for each child on those posters, and they can "sign" their name under their character.

Here are the two teacher posters

This is the staff poster.  I purposely edited over the school name--that isn't actually on the poster!

To make the posters, I simply used my Silhouette.  I was able to save the superhero images off the internet and use them for the first time.  I made the cityscape and superhero emblem myself using the line drawing tool.

Have a SUPER weekend!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Ideas: From My Years in the Classroom

It started with posters.  The room mom for my kindergarten aged son sent an e-mail asking for a poster maker.  No one offered.  Riddled with guilt and knowing I could easily whip up a poster (or three, which is what she wanted) with the Silhouette, I volunteered.

Suddenly, she is asking me to plan the week, get the kids organized and think of a gift.  She is new to the teacher appreciation week, and she doesn't have any prior room mom experience.  I'm doing what I can to help, but it is funny how volunteering for one thing can lead to more. 

I shared some thoughts with her and thought they might be useful for my readers too!

I taught elementary school for 9 years, and I loved that my district spread the fun out all week. 

The Monday of the week, my door would be decorated.  This can be with butcher paper and a banner or just with a poster.  If you have a creative bent, this is a fun task. 

You could make a space themed poster and say "Thank you, TEACHER'S NAME.  You are out of the world amazing!" or "You are a STAR!"  Add stars, a rocket, etc.  The kids can each sign the poster.

How about a spring flower theme with words like "You helped us bloom this year!" or "You helped me GROW and love learning!"  Have a flower for each kid with their picture in it.

A superhero theme is fun in primary colors with a big "You are our HERO!" written across.

You get the gist.  Have fun with it.

One day of the week, we got flowers.  Each child was responsible for bringing in ONE flower.  Many were pretty flowers from their garden.  Some would bring in a few rather than just one.  The room mom just had to provide a vase (it could be given back and returned to the room mom) for all the flowers.  Even if some kids forget to bring a flower, the teacher still gets a beautiful bouquet to brighten her day.

Another day, we got school supplies.  Kids just brought in one thing the teacher might find helpful in his or her class--paper, wipes, whiteboard markers, crayons, pencils, etc.  It depends on the grade, but this is often an easy thing to pick up at the grocery store or even around the house, and it practically helps the teacher out greatly!  I live in California where teachers get a small, set amount for supplies, and it doesn't even begin to cover the cost of what they use during the year.  Donations are a lifesaver!

Another day of teacher appreciation week, we had the PTA provide a lunch for us.  Other ideas for a fun day are to have the class bring in the teacher's favorite lunch during her lunch break, have a breakfast basket made by the room moms, or have each kid bring in a bath treat to give to the teacher (lotion, bubble bath, anti germ gel, fancy soap, nail polish, etc.).  This last idea works best for a female teacher.

Finally, we'd end the week by getting our class gift.  It doesn't have to be huge or costly.  My favorite gifts were when the students each gave me a page in a book telling me why they appreciated me as their teacher.  Pinterest is covered with ideas for homemade, meaningful gifts.  One of my favorite thematic ideas is to put soda pop, popcorn and a gift card to the movies in a bag and have a card that says, "For a POPular teacher."  End the week with a fun, thoughtful class gift and let your teacher know how much you appreciate his or her work for your child.

I hope this gives you ideas to spoil your teacher!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tidy Mom's Enchilada Puffs

Do you know about the Tidy Mom blog?  Cheryl is very sweet, and her blog is amazing!  It is full of great recipes and crafting tricks.  She is a great photographer too!

Tonight we made her enchilada puffs for the first time, and it was a delicious hit!  My husband had three helpings!

It is a simple recipe, with very little prep time.  You can read Cheryl's recipe and see her simple directions here.

I boiled a chicken breast and cut it into small pieces. 

I mixed my cheeses.

After I softened the cheese and mixed all the ingredients, I had a yummy enchilada mix.

I filled my crescent roll puffs with the mixture and sprinkled on some cheese.

The crescent rolls came out of the oven bubbly and smelling delicious.  This will be a repeat dinner!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another birthday and an ombre scripture sign

Both of my boys have March birthdays.  It was Micah's turn to have the big party (see the airplane party post from earlier in the month), but Carter still got to take a friend from school, his cousins and a friend from church to a bounce house place and then home for pizza and cupcakes. 

I decided at the last minute to make the mini party baseball themed for my little T-ball player.  He loved it. 

Friends eating cupcakes and ice cream (birthday boy isn't in the picture!).

(Carter's birthday poster)

Micah enjoyed his cupcake

Carter's baseball banner I made for him . . .

I also promised to show pics of the ombre blue and mocha scripture sign I made.  My friend gave me her favorite verse and I knew she had both sky blue and tan decor in her home.  I had fun with the ombre effect, and she was happy to have a new scripture piece for her house.

Thanks for stopping by!  I pray your weekend was as full of blessings as mine!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thankful Friday

Do any of you know Matt Redman's song 10,000 Reasons/Bless the Lord?  You can hear it here.  I love the lines:  "Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes." 

It is Friday.  It hasn't been the easiest week--nothing crazy, just a little hard.  We had friends get bad news, I'm nursing a horrible headcold/sinus infection, my youngest has a minor cold, and my oldest is upstairs crying that his tummy hurts.  No matter what my circumstances, though, I can joyfully praise God for my eternal state and the fact that my trials and pain are temporal and nothing compared to the glory I will someday experience in Heaven.  This Genesis 3 world is fading and I will someday see clearly.

So, I am going to post some photos that give thanks for the BLESSINGS of the week.  There might be some trials, but they are nothing compared to His overflowing grace in my life.

The Diaper Genie is seeing its last days.  My just turned 3 year old is doing well with potty training, and we will be diaper free before we know it.

My oldest turns 6 next week, and he is full of life and joy.  He is waiting for school to start in this picture as we sit in the car lineup at school dropoff. 

My little guy just turned 3 last week, and he is still my little buddy.  He loves his ga-ga (his blue blanky in the picture) and snuggles next to me when he gets up in the morning. 

My 3 year old had his first speech class this week (here we are arriving), and he is making great progress with his articulation.  He is such a happy little guy.

Spring is here.  My azaleas are showing off in the front yard, and the roses are all poised and ready to bloom in a few weeks. 

This sign I made for a friend this week says it all.  God allows every circumstance in the day today, and my response is to trust and be glad in the fruit of what He allows to come my way.

My pretty necklace came from the Apple Blossom Shoppe.  I'm wearing it now, and it is so pretty!

How can you be thanking Him at the end of your work week?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Our Ireland Trip

In honor of St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, I am sharing our summer 2002 trip to Ireland.  Our pictures are all from FILM (this was right before we bought a digital camera), and I haven't scanned the pictures yet, so you'll have to forgive the quality of these photos.  Taking a picture of a picture is always interesting.

The summer before our wedding, Ryan's parents took Ryan and I to Ireland with them, and we met up with Ryan's sister, Katie, who was in Europe traveling already.  Over the years, Ryan and I traveled to many countries, but this was our first big trip together and my first trip to Europe!

We left LAX on Aer Lingus--seriously one of the nicest airlines I have ever flown!  Here we go (me in the back, Ryan pretending to read, and Ryan's mom in the front):

We didn't go up north into Belfast.  We went north on the west coast and worked our way down and around the coast, ending in Dublin.  The trip ended with a few days in London, but that is another whole post and set of pictures.

Our first stop was at Bunratty Castle, where we had pub food at Durty Nelly's.  It was the first of hundreds of castles we would see on our trip.

We stayed in Ennis our first night, at the Temple Gate Hotel.  We loved the cute little town, but we were late in arriving and everything was closed.  Our 9:00 pm dinner was forced to be Chinese food, which I've eaten in almost every country we have visited!
Our Hotel in Ennis (Susan, me, Ryan and Katie)

A funny picture in Ennis

We had a nice all day drive up to Clifden (the farthest north we went on the west coast).  We drove past their famous mountains--the Twelve Pins.  We also stopped at Aughnanure Castle and got a Heritage Pass--a great price saver if you are going to see a lot of the tourist attractions.  The weather was just gorgeous!  I wrote in my journal that an Irish man told us at the end of the day, "That was our summer.  Hope you enjoyed it!"
We stayed at Abbeyglenn Castle in Clifden.  They served us tea and scones when we arrived, and then we went on a walk where we stopped to skip rocks into the Atlantic Ocean.

Aughnanure Castle

Our hotel in Clifden--Abbeyglenn Castle

Tea and scones at the castle hotel

Skipping rocks into the Atlantic Ocean in Clifden

Getting ready to leave the hotel in Clifden

We left Clifden the next morning and drove to Connemara National Park.  We saw a bog museum and did a mini-bog hike.  Just so you know folks, bog is like a swamp/peat.  It stinks.  It is important in the history of Ireland, but I am glad we don't survive off bog now.
We also stopped at Kylemore Abbey and took pictures.  We drove to Doolin for the night, which is near the Cliffs of Moher (we say Moor).  We stayed in a working farm B&B.
The Cliffs of Moher took my breath away--I can't explain how amazing they are!  It was one of the most beautiful spots I have seen--so green and filled with the sheer majesty of God's creation. 

Kylemore Abbey

Cliffs of Moher

We then drove toward Kilarney the next day.  Thankfully, we decided to drive around the Dingle Peninsula.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and we stopped in Dingle for ice cream.  We drove to Slea Head and saw sheer drops, narrow roads and sheep everywhere!  If you are a nervous driver, don't go around the Dingle Peninsula or the Ring of Kerry.  There are some CRAZY spots where only one car can go by at a time.  I witnessed tour buses backing up around winding, sheer drop roads.  Yikes!

In Dingle

We went to Killarney where we were staying.  It was the quintassential Irish town.  The narrow streets were lined with flowers and colorful buildings.  We stayed at the Caraglea B&B, which was really nice.  It was right next to the National Park, which was gorgeous.  While in Killarney, we took a jaunting car around the national park (a horse and carriage is a jaunting car).  We saw the Abbey, the laakes, the Torc Waterfall and Muck Ross House.

We also drove the Ring of Kerry while we were in Killarney.  Like the Dingle Peninsula, their were many ruins of the old huts people owned during the Potato Famine.  They dotted many of the hillsides.  Jim really wanted to go visit a Bog Museum in Glenbeigh called the Kerry Bog Village.  I have already shared my love of bog in this post (ahem).  The highlight of the museum was the huge pile of dung/bog in the middle of the village.  That night we enjoyed going to a touristy shop and trying on silly hats.

The Jaunting Car in Killarney's National Park

The Bog Museum--Ryan is pretending to eat it, and Katie is holding the bog cat we saw.

We had to take this picture, because I am known for stopping at any available restroom when I travel.  You never know when you'll find the next available restroom, right? 

The Kerry Bog Village

We had our first day of rain when we drove away from Killarney.  We were heading to Kinsale--a darling, seaside town.  This was where I discovered that they like malt vinegar on their fries.  I picked up what I thought was a ketchup packet, only to pour malt vinegar all over my fries.  Ummm--not a fan.

We walked to Fort St. Charles from Kinsale.  It was a great fort in the shape of a star.  The walk was beautiful--the path looked like heaven to me.

Cute Irish storefronts

The infamous lunch where I poured malt vinegar all over my fries

Hydrangeas were EVERYWHERE in Ireland.  They are thick and huge there--I had to take a picture of this person's driveway filled with hydrangeas.

We left Kinsale for Dublin.  It was a little over 4 hours to get there, and it was finally really raining on our trip.  We were staying in a hotel near Temple Bar.  We had Boxtys for dinner--little potato crepe like wraps.  They were filled with things like filet mignon, irish stew, or corned beef. 

The next day we toured Dublin Castle.  The word Dublin comes from the Viking word Duv Lin--Dark Pool.  We saw St. Patrick's Cathedral and took a hop on/off bus tour of Dublin.  We stopped in Grafton street and shopped.  We also went to Trinity College where we promptly got kicked off the steps where we were sitting and eating lunch.  People don't like you to sit on steps in Europe--I got kicked off similar steps in Italy. 

The BEST part of Dublin was seeing the Books of Kells, the gospel artifacts from the Bible, dating back to the 8th century.

The nicest meal I ever ate was in Dublin.  The last night, we met one of Jim's business friends, who was from Dublin, who treated us to dinner at Shanahan's.  I can't begin to explain the generosity of this man I didn't know.  It was an amazing meal and experience!

Now I look like I'm in Ireland!

A break in the rain and a stop at Trinity College

JP and his wife, from Dublin, took us all out to the nicest dinner I've ever had.  Scrumptious!

So, that is Ireland in a nutshell.  If you ever have thought you'd like to visit there, you should go!  It is such a friendly, beautiful country.  We traveled all over Europe before we had kids, and Ireland was one of my favorite spots.  I hope this little tour of our Ireland trip got you ready for St. Patrick's Day!

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