Teacher Appreciation Week Part 2

Teacher Appreciation Week is rolling right along. Yesterday was “give your teachers a hug” day, so we didn’t have to make anything for that. But today is “bring your teachers a card” day. And Laurel made these all by herself!

All I needed to do was set out a few supplies. A couple of blank chipboard cards, some acrylic paint and a few foam heart stickers.

Laurel enthusiastically picked 3 colors for each of her teachers. Then I took a brush and painted a little bit of paint onto the front of a foam heart sticker.

After I painted the heart I handed it over to Laurel to stamp away.

We used a new sticker for each color and put 3 hearts on each card.

After the hearts had time to dry, we flipped the cards over so Laurel could write a sweet message to her teachers.

Just look at that handwriting!!

Laurel did such a great job all by herself. She was so proud of how they came out, and she was super excited about giving them to her teachers today.

Teacher Appreciation Week

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week at Laurel’s school! So, everyday I’ll be whipping up something cute to show her teachers how grateful we are to have them.

On Thursday of last week, the PTO sent home a list of suggestions to help show the teachers that we are thankful for all the hard work they’ve put in this year. Monday was “bring a colorful pen or pencil” day so Laurel brought a couple of pens like the ones I talked about here. Tuesday is “make or bring your teacher a flower” day. And instead of bringing the teachers flowers that can wilt and be thrown out, we made these cute felt flower brooches.

I’ve made flowers like these before (here), but I put a little twist on these and wanted to show you how you could make your own. Maybe it’s Teacher Appreciation week where you are, too. But, if it’s not (or maybe you don’t have kids), these would make an awesome happy for Mother’s Day, which is right around the corner.

Here’s everything you’ll need to make 2 brooches:

Various colors of felt: 2 colors for each set of petals and green for the leaves
Fabric scraps
Button covering kit
Needle and embroidery thread
2 safety pins
Hot glue

STEP ONE: Cut the felt you’ve chosen for the petals into circles that are roughly 2.5″ in diameter. I used a small bowl to trace the shape. You’ll need 2 circles of each color.

STEP TWO: Cut a leafy shape from the green felt. Then cut the leaf in 2, so that one part is slightly larger than the other.

STEP THREE: Cover your buttons. Start by cutting a small piece of fabric. Place the fabric face side down over the white piece in the button covering kit. Trim off any excessive fabric and fold it down into the button. Place the back of the button over the fabric and use the blue piece to push the back into place.

STEP FOUR: Take each of the circles you cut for your petals and cut them in half. Cut slits evenly around the curved edge of the half circles.

STEP FIVE: Take a needle and thread some matching embroidery floss. Using a back stitch, outline the leaves with the thread. I didn’t draw a line or anything, I just followed the curve of the felt as best I could. Then I added a line down the middle to give it that leafy feel.

STEP SIX: I really didn’t like the idea of the thread showing on the backs of the leaves. So I hot glued the embroidered leaf to another piece of contrasting green felt. Then, I just trimmed around the leaf so that a bit of the lighter green was showing. Leave a little tag on the end… it’ll come in handy when it’s time to put everything together.

STEP SEVEN: Cut another circle from the green felt. It can be the same size as the circles you cut for the petals.

STEP EIGHT: Now, let’s put it all together. Starting with the leaves. Add a bit of hot glue to the end tag part of the leaf and stick it down onto the green circle. Arrange the 2 leaves any way you like. One on each side… both on the same side. Whatever you like.

STEP NINE: To make the petals, take one of the half circles and add just a tiny bit of glue… just enough to hold it together folded in half. Then take a contrasting half circle and glue the first piece to the middle of the second. Wrap the other half of the second piece around and glue down. Repeat until all the petals are complete. You’ll need 4 petals per flower.

STEP TEN: Arrange the petals around the green circle and hot glue down. The petals should be on top of the leaves.

STEP ELEVEN: Hot glue the covered button to the center of the flower. I added another felt circle under the button, but it’s not necessary… I just thought it needed something more.

STEP TWELVE: To attach the safety pin, add a tiny bit of hot glue to the part of the pin that doesn’t open and stick it down in the center of the back. To finish it off and add some stability, hot glue a small piece of matching green felt over the pin.

See how cute they are finished!

Plus, they last way longer than real flowers.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Spencer!

Yesterday my baby boy turned 2. And we celebrated. Toy Story style.

There is just something really special about the 2nd birthday. I felt it when Laurel turned 2 and I’m feeling it with Spencer. It’s almost like a signal of the end of the their baby days. I mean, he’s certainly come a long way from this squirmy little dude…

And he has developed his own little personality. Talking, running, climbing. And he definitely knows what he likes.

He never goes anywhere without Buzz or Woody. Those 2 are just as real to Spencer as his dad and I… and I am completely okay with that. We absolutely love the Toy Story movies and have been known to watch them 3 or 4 times a day when we’re home sick… ahem, Spencer and I, that is. So it was an easy choice to have a Toy Story themed birthday party!

I decorated the house with all things Toy Story. Including the toys we already had, like Woody and Slinky Dog. And paper decorations from a store bought pack. I even framed the invitation I designed. My good buddy, Eric Summers drew Buzz and Woody for me!

We made cupcakes and topped them with Toy Story sprinkles.

Spencer blew out a Buzz Lightyear candle.

And we opened lots of Toy Story themed presents.

But there were other things, too. Like this big ride on John Deere tractor that my mom and dad surprised him with. It was a BIG hit… with all the kids!

After the party was over and everything had calmed down a bit, we brought Spencer over to the growth chart in the hallway. Just like we do on each birthday (and at other random times), we marked how tall Spencer has grown.

And I know it’s cliche, but I still can’t believe it’s been 2 whole years. Sometimes I can look at him and it feels like he was just born and others it feels like he’s been with us forever.

Having a little boy has been such a rewarding experience. He shows me everyday how sweet and silly and loving he is… and how completely different he is from his sister. He makes me smile and laugh out loud. He also scares the bejeebus out of me (I mean, really, the kid has no fear), but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Happiest 2nd Birthday, Spencie Man. I can not wait to see how much you grow and learn over the next year!

A Springtime Apple Treat

Last week I signed up to bring apples for Laurel’s Easter party at school. It was one of the last things on the list. And because I am officially that mom, I couldn’t just bring sliced apples. So, I made these fun little springtime apple treats instead.

You know those moms. The ones who completely overdo and go way above what is required for the sake of being cute or crafty. Yep, I am totally that mom. And I am totally okay with that.

I love doing things like this. Especially when it’s for one of the kids. We get to work together and make something cute that we can share. And I know that one day (all too soon) these things will become just a fun childhood memory. So I will be that mom. For as long as my children will let me.

These are so fun and easy. You can make as many as you need for school parties, birthdays, or just an afternoon snack. It took me right around 2 hours from start to finish to make 16 treats.

Peanut butter
Gummi Worms
Large straw
Clear plastic punch cups
Saran wrap
Tissue paper
Paper banners
Hot glue

 STEP 1: First, I followed this tutorial and filled each apple with peanut butter and a gummi worm.

STEP 2: Crush the Oreos (about 2 per treat) and place into the bottom of each cup. Place the apple on top.

STEP 3: Wrap each apple and cup in saran wrap so that the edges are on the bottom of the cup.

STEP 4: Using an Exacto knife and a small plate, cut the tissue paper into circles.

STEP 5: Wrap each cup with a tissue paper circle. Hot glue some ribbon all around to keep it in place.

STEP 6: Make this springtime treat even more sweet with fun embellishments. Add flowers, bumble bees or butterflies. The ones I used are scrapbook stickers but you can use whatever you have around or can find at the craft store. Anything is fair game as long as you think it’s cute!

For the flags, I used premade banners, but you can definitely cut your own from scrapbook paper. Just fold the banner in half and hot glue a toothpick in the fold. Stick the toothpick into the apple top (going through the saran wrap) and you’re all done!

Laurel was so excited to take these to the party. She told me that all of her friends and her teachers loved them. So I’d say these were a big hit!

Meet Pipsqueak

We are so excited to introduce you to the newest member of our family. She’s small and soft and oh-so-cute. She doesn’t eat much or ask for anything and I only have to clean up after her once a week.

Her name is Pipsqueak and she’s Laurel’s new best friend. She lives in Laurel’s room and everyday we get her out to play.

 Sometimes she rolls around the house in her ball…

Others she plays in our laps or sits on our shoulders…

And sometimes she’s brave and ventures out onto the couch, and climbs pillow mountains.

Pipsqueak is a Winter White hamster. Which means in the winter months she gets almost completely white. While in the warmer months she gets darker, like she is now.

She’s adorable and sweet and the cutest little hamster I ever did see.

Spencer loves her too, and brings her ZhuZhu pets to play with. He even calls her ZhuZhu, which is so freaking adorable I almost can’t stand it. He’s not allowed to touch her much, because he kinda treats her like she’s a ZhuZhu and he doesn’t understand she can actually get hurt. So he settles for 1-finger touches and watching her run around in her ball.

Having her at home has really been so much fun. Laurel is so excited to see her every afternoon after school and she’s doing so well learning about the responsibility of having a pet. Every morning she checks to see if Pip needs food or water and makes sure that she’s okay before heading out. She’s becoming quite the little pet owner and it makes me so proud to see her this happy and excited about her new furry friend.

How To Make a Disneyworld Countdown

Are you planning a trip to Disney, too? Or another vacation? Maybe you have a birthday or other special occasion coming up? Creating a countdown is a fun way to keep track of the time and keep the excitement growing.

I mean, how great is it to get up every morning and have a fresh reminder of the fun thing you’re looking forward to and watch as each day gets closer to the big event. Plus, if there are kids involved (like Laurel) it helps corral all of those “When are we leaving?”/“Is it time to go?” questions. Laurel already knows that we aren’t leaving for Disneyworld until the countdown says 0-0.

The idea for our Disneyworld countdown sparked when I was cleaning up some unused Christmas craft supplies. It was just after my parents told me that they were planning the trip and I had been thinking of a special way to tell the kids. I knew we would need some visual reminder for Laurel since she’s really bad about asking and asking and asking about things like that. And because she had done so well with the Christmas countdown calendar, I knew a Disneyworld countdown would be in order. That’s when I came across 3 wreath forms… one large and 2 smaller ones… and I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

Here’s what you’ll  need to make one of your own:
Wreath forms – 1 large and 2 small
Black yarn (almost a whole skein)
Felt in various coordinating colors
A needle and embroidery floss
Hot glue
Safety pin
Keychain rings
Hole punch
Chipboard letters
Spray paint

STEP 1: Grab a wreath and your black yarn and start wrapping. There’s really no easy way to do this that I’ve found. It’s time consuming and tedious. It does help a little if you cut the yarn into smaller sections rather than trying to wrap straight off the skein. Secure any loose ends with hot glue. Wrap each of the 3 wreaths in the black yarn.

STEP 2: Attach the smaller wreaths to the larger one to make a Mickey Mouse shape. Use a bit of hot glue to secure the “ears” and then take a length of yarn and wrap the two where they meet. Secure the yarn end with your hot glue and repeat for the other ear. Pay attention to the placement of the ears to achieve the optimal Mickey Mouse look.

STEP 3: Create the numbers. This can be done a variety of ways. I designed the numbers on my computer and then printed them out on cardstock. I trimmed around the circles and then glued them down to more cardstock that I had trimmed to 3”x3”. The double layers give it more stability and durability. As an alternative you could use chipboard numbers attached to cardstock, or even the Disney paint color swatches from HomeDepot.

STEP 4: After the glue dries, punch a hole in each of the top corners of the square cardstock.

STEP 5: Add a keychain ring to each hole. Make sure to keep the numbers in order (counting down) and all going the same way. Those keychain rings can be a little tricky!

STEP 6: Spell our your message in chipboard letters. And spray paint them the color of your choice. Again, use what you have… a cricut or silhouette, your own printer, whatever makes it easier for you!

STEP 7: Make a bow. I wanted ours to be Minnie Mouse so I made her a bow. Cut a strip of felt about 2.5” wide by about 11” long. Fold the ends to the middle and secure with a dab of hot glue. Cut a smaller strip of felt. Grasp the bow in the middle and scrunch it down. Then wrap the smaller piece of felt around the middle and glue the ends down. Add glue to the bow and attach it to the ear.

STEP 8: Put it all together. Run a piece of yarn through the keychain rings and tie the ends to the large wreath. Put a little hot glue on the knots to keep it secure. Arrange your message and glue the letters down. Add some bunting and felt stars and pom poms. Whatever you think to make it fun.

For the bunting: Cut small pieces of felt into triangles. Use a needle and embroidery floss to thread the triangles and then tie the ends around the wreath.
Click here to see how to make the pom poms (follow the same directions as for the flowers).

STEP 9: Open a small safety pin and hook it under the yarn on the back of the wreath. Add a 3M hook to the wall and hang your wreath from the safety pin.

Tada! A fun, visual countdown for a super special event. I clearly wanted our countdown to be Disney themed, but you can totally tweak this idea and use it for any occasion.

So, tell me. Are you planning any big trips for the summer? And how do you handle the constant questions from a 5 year old? I’d love to know!

Let the Countdown Begin

Yesterday was a special day. We got to give the kids some of the best news you can give a kid. The kind of news that makes Christmas look like any other random day.

That’s right! In just about 2 months we’re headed to see the Mouse and we couldn’t be any more excited!

We’ve been keeping this big secret for a couple of months now, when my parents surprised us with the news. (Mom and Dad are footing the bill and taking our whole family… Mark, me, the kids, and my sister!! I have the best parents!!) And we’ve been secretly communicating about it in their presence, but never spilling the beans until just the right moment.

Because Laurel is the type of kid that if you tell her we’re doing something at any point in the future, she will ask and ask and ask about it until it’s finally time to go. haha. So we didn’t want to tell her too soon. And 60 days out just seemed like a nice round number. I also made a cute little countdown to help us track the days until we leave.

So, yesterday Mark and I sat both kiddos down on the couch and showed them the countdown. I asked Laurel if she knew what it was, and she said “Mickey Mouse.” I asked her if she knew where Mickey Mouse lived and at first she said “Florida!” And I asked her where in Florida and she screamed “Disneyworld!!” And then we told her that in 60 days we were going to Florida to visit Disneyworld. More screaming ensued. There was jumping up and down. And the biggest smiles ever. The kind of moments that melt your parental heart.

To help us always remember the moment, we recorded a little post announcement interview with Laurel. You can see it below.

Can’t you just hear the excitement in her voice?! The anticipation might kill us but it’s going to be a fun 2 months!! Let the countdown begin. Disney, here we come!

P.S. I’ll be back tomorrow to show you how I made the countdown!!


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