For the first year, Tyson very much had an opinion about what he wanted to get his teachers and how he wanted to present the gifts. I found these black chalkboard bags at Hobby Lobby and they were the perfect backdrop for Ty’s personalized artwork. I added some me & my BIG ideas tags (found in the All That Glitters paper pad) at the top with a glitter letter sticker to finish them off. They earned his stamp of approval, as did the Bux gift cards.
I fell in love with the black and gold me & my BIG ideas Christmas paper pad the minute I saw it. Glittery accents, gorgeous fonts, gold foil…swoon. And then I came across this kraft colored blank calendar sheet at Hobby Lobby. Done. Having never completed my keepsaking of December 2013, I finally got it done:
In the past, the boys and I have done Thankful Turkeys and Grateful Trees for the month of November. This year, I wanted to do something different and something with the whole family. I LOVED the me & my BIG ideas leaves the second I saw them. I also knew I wanted to something where each of us could write down a daily gratitude. We have used popsicle sticks and mason jar before with our Boredom Buster Jar, but I wanted to incorporate them into this project as well. I decided to use mini bags as the focal point, with the intention of trimming them down and transferring to my project life or making them into a gratitude mini album. One bag per person:
And a jar of popsicle sticks and Sharpie waiting for November 1. I love capturing the boys’ handwriting and look forward to having various pieces of their daily moments to keepsake…it can be one sentence, one word, one doodle. Ultimately, I am looking for one memory or gratitude a day from all of us.
Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, even more so since I have had the boys. Seeing the magic of Halloween through their eyes inspires me each year to come up with something fun and new. This year, I was inspired the second I saw the me & my BIG ideas Haunted Mambi Sheets paper pad. I have had this black tray sitting around the garage for months waiting for such an occasion:
This was such a fun way to use up old embellishments and pieces I have had lying around the house. All the paper in the background came from the me & my BIG ideas paper pad. Little jewels helped snazzy up the owl. I have had the spider jewel for years, with no idea what to do with him…until now. The little files each house black glitter. Pop dots were used on nearly all sticker elements to add extra depth. This project was so much fun.
Ribbon + stickers = a pumpkin that will likely last us until the Christmas decor goes up. I used foam pop dot stickers under each sticker to add a little extra dimension.
I decided to make sugar scrubs as gifts again this year. I loved them so much, I made extras so that I could have them all through the year. They really are super simple to make and the smell gets even better with time…
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups turbinado sugar
10-15 chai tea bags: cut open and add dry ingredients
2 cups grape seed oil
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
10-ish drops cinnamon essential oil
MIX dry ingredients, add wet ingredients. STIR. DONE.
This is a double batch using last year’s recipe. It merits approximately five 8 ounce jars. I made two batches to make sure I had enough to last ME throughout the year. And to keep a couple extra around should I need a quick hostess gift.
Every year, come the week before Winter Break, I find myself scrambling for teacher gifts for the boys’ teachers. This year, I am determined to help alleviate some of the December Craziness by attempting to get things done early. I immediately fell in love with the me & my BIG ideas Christmas stickers the second I saw them. I grabbed a few Pocket Pages cards, a piece of green card stock, a couple of Whisker Graphics bags and started to shuffle things around. Within in minutes, I had things organized for the makings of four gift bags:
A little bit of the process: I like to always get all my goods out to see what I have to work with. I grab all the things I think will coordinate or might work:
I narrow down the pieces I want to use. I had my eye on the felt Christmas tree. For these bags, I kept is super simple. One colored piece of card stock + one Pocket Page journal card = 2 layers, with the exception of the one “TODAY” card where the word itself served as a fun layer.
For the last four years, we have had to get creative with our class valentines as the boys’ preschool didn’t allow sweet eat treats on holidays. I fell in love with the concept and appreciated the fun goodies brought home in place candy. This year, I wanted to do something fun and crafty…but also wanted to keep it simple. I found this bookmark printable on Pinterest and loved the idea of giving Ty’s classmates a bookmark (as many are just learning to read). Having collected more washi tape than I’d ever like to admit, I thought the washi paperclip bookmarks would be fun. And served as a way to justify the purchase of Valentine’s themed washi. It’s a vicious cycle:
I will have him sign a few each night leading up to Valentine’s Day. I ended up cutting a small slit in the card, sliding the paperclip through, and securing with washi as they’ll all likely be thrown into bags on the big day:
Kept Jake’s class goodies super simple this year: silly straws from Target + THIS printable = fun non-candy goods…
I have become slightly obsessed with sugar scrubs lately. I had no idea how simple they are to make and how FABULOUS they are for your skin. I LOVE all of the teachers the boys have this year. Every single one. While I still plan to add something of the gift card or wine variety, the boys I made a vanilla chai sugar scrub for each of their teachers:
So so so easy. Mix dry ingredients. Add vanilla, honey, and oil. Stir. Jar. Done.
Whisker Graphics bags + twine + simple tag = wrapped and ready to gift:
There are a multitude of recipes out there, I altered the one I found on Pinterest to be a little bit more aromatic:
VANILLA CHAI SUGAR SCRUB
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar (or turbinado raw sugar)
1 cup + 1T oil (I used grapeseed oil)
6 to 10 chai tea bags, opened and added into dry ingredients
1 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
20-ish drops cinnamon essential oil
I have a feeling this will be a Thanksgiving Break activity for the next few years…we all love it and the final product makes me smile. I am glad we’re a little early this year as it just means a few extra days to look at the boys’ hard work. The boys were able to do the majority of the work. After helping to mix the dough, I divided it into two halves and let the boys roll it out:
And then handed over the cookie cutters:
I love how they are completely covered in flour…heh. On Ty’s face, shirt, arms…everywhere:
We worked in batches and the entire process took us about three days. I ended up making three batches of ornaments: two were perfect, one, I forgot to punch the holes in the top. Grrr. This is the third different salt dough recipe I’ve tried. I wasn’t happy with last year’s and gave this new one a try. I think it’s a keeper. Simple: 1 cup salt, 2 cups flour, 1+ cups water until thoroughly mixed. Bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours…
After letting the ornaments cool over night, I set the boys up for painting. Christmas music on in the background for inspiration, paints ready to go, and the boys went to town:
Batch one: success. I painted a quick, light layer of Mod Podge on each ornament after the boys went to bed:
As soon as they woke up, they begged to make the ornaments “beautiful”. I handed over the bling, sipped my coffee, and watched them beautify the ornaments:
Makes me swoon…
As I stringed the ornaments, I had the boys make super simple bead ornaments to add to the mix. All you need are a few pipe cleaners and beads. I put a star on the end and bent the pipe cleaner about 3/4 of an inch up to give me room to work with and finish the ornament:
Good for fine motor skills practice and takes a loooooooong time. One bead at a time…
Their finished ornaments:
And our family advent calendar. Each day, the boys will hang one ornament on our tree…
Loving the addition of Star Wars ornaments this year:
I had a little ornament-making fun as well:
Kid made holiday goodness…bring on the December crazy!!