Monthly Archives: August 2011

Project Idea: Teacher Gifts

Last week was so emotional. My daughter moved up a class and changed teachers. I have such mixed feelings about this, as I did at this time last year, when I felt EXACTLY the same way. For a full year you put your trust in these teachers, you get to know them, and they are one of the few, aside from yourself, who knows all your child’s quirks. Their attitude. Their nuances. And even though we only moved classrooms, and these teachers are for the most part still there, it’s never quite the same is it? (Excuse me while I run to get a tissue) Some of these teachers left – as they’ve found new opportunities – there were tear-filled goodbyes.

I wanted to show them how much we appreciated them over the past year, even though a gift can never speak as loud as your thoughts. I know they get paid for their job, but for someone who watches my child 50 hours a week, I can never express enough gratitude. Last weekend, my Mom helped me sew together the zipper bags. They turned out so cute! I was so happy with the results.

I wrote an individual note to each teacher, sharing our appreciation (all from my daughter’s perspective of course). I designed a card and included the thank you pictures I took from the previous weekend. And to add a touch of “personalization” – I cut out a “bite mark” in the upper right corner of the cards – as she is well-known for her biting habits (not good, I know). But truth nonetheless.

I then printed out her most recent photo to include. Made some labels from a template I found via Pinterest. And voila! Handmade with love. Seriously.

Very easy. Very sincere. Very doable. Need I say more. I hope they were well received! It didn’t hurt that I may have also loaded them down with cookies.


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DIY: Recycled Tire Rocker (aka Tire Teeter Totter)

I pinned this DIY a few weeks ago on my Pinterest board, thinking it was a cute idea, but really? would I ever have a chance to execute it? All signs pointed to “doubtful”. Then I got an invitation to a 1st birthday party for my friends’ little girl and on the bottom of the invite it read “Regifted, reused, or repurposed gifts only…” – and I thought BINGO! It was really a battle between two options. a. the tire and b. the pillowcase mat – I didn’t own any cute pillowcases and I couldn’t find any standalone for purchase at Target, so… tire rocker it was.

I wasn’t worried about where to get the tire, I knew my parents had plenty out at their place. They use them yearly to plant their zucchini/yellow squash harvest. The tire serves as the mound. Anyway, they said to come on out and take one off their hands – and they had plenty of scraps of wood due to a project they’ve been working on. So off we went on a Friday afternoon, hoping for the best, not quite certain how we were going to execute this – though my husband felt confident.  So, observe. The Tire Teeter Totter project. I would map out all the supplies for you, but I was on baby duty and dinner duty and supervision-of-project duty all at the same time and not quite certain I’d be able to remember everything, but you might be able to gather everything from the pics.

Step 1: Find yourself a tire and saw it in half. Be careful! Tires have steel threading in them (a new discovery for me – but if I would of thought about it, that makes sense!) Cip off any extra ‘wires’ with wire-cutters for safety reasons. We also pressure washed it to remove the grit/grime so our primer/spray paint would stay on!

Step 2: Spray paint your tire with a white primer. You can opt to save this step for after your screw in the 2×4’s.

Step 3:  Once your primer dries, cut 2 2×4’s the width of the tire and level, then screw in. 2 screws on each side.


Step 4:  Cut a 1×8 plank (we used cedar – as it was the sraps we had available) to the length of the tire. We measured 1 inch over on both sides to have a little overhang.

Step 5:  Attach the plank to the 2×4’s already attached to the tire.

Step 6: Sand down the plank to create a smooth surface. And round out the edges (safety!)

Step 7: This is where you can save the tire priming for. Make sure to get good coverage on all pieces. We primed the inside of the tire too, but it’s your choice. I don’t think it’s entirely necessary. 

Step 8: Once your primer dries, use your color of choice to spray paint all items – don’t forget to spray the screw heads as they will show!

Step 9: Reassemble your pieces.

Step 10: If you want an added safety feature, add a rope for your kiddo to grab on to. We added it when we reattached the cedar plank to the 2×4’s. Pretty simple.

And to personalize, we added a “C”

I thought of another great idea for this if they “rocking” doesn’t pan out. You could easily add two bolts to the sides and hang it from the tree as a swing.

If you have any questions about this project, just leave them in the comments section! Enjoy!


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Do You Stress Bake? I do!

I’m stressed out. Lots of things on my plate right now. And instead of relaxing and vegging on the couch to watch a good chick flick like a normal human being, my neurotic tendencies seems to increase ten-fold. So what do I do? I bake. Not necessarily for myself or for my family. Nine times out of 10 I’ll send it to my husbands work the next day. But it’s what I do. Either that, or I clean. And that didn’t sound quite as attractive tonight.

Luckily, my stress-release coincides with my daughters last day of Infant III class. She’s moving classes and changing teachers. I have such mixed feelings about this, as I did at this time last year. For a full year you put your trust in these teachers, you get to know them, and they are one of the few, aside from yourself, who knows all your child’s quirks. Their attitude. Their nuances. And even though we are only moving classrooms, and these teachers will for the most part still be there, it’s never quite the same is it? (Excuse me while I run to get a tissue) Some of these teachers are leaving – as they’ve found new opportunities. So there are going to be some tear-filled goodbyes.

And on top of all this, I am dealing with the issues of finding a balance between work and life. Oh, that golden question, that never has the easiest of answers, now does it?

I was browsing Pinterest recently (find me: Colleen Koenig) , as I can be found most late evenings and early mornings, and came across several glorious baking recipes. I have always loved to bake. Not so much cook – those recipes never seem to work out right. But baking, has always panned out (good pun!). In fact, here I am at age 7 or 8 holding my blue ribbon from a local 4-H Baking Competition (please don’t hate the ’80’s style – it was SO in back then):

I made a Hummingbird Cake – I’ll never forget that thing. My mother picked out the recipe – I thought it sounded terrible. I only remember trying it maybe a handful of times. But I’ve been known to have a bit of a theatrical streak – and I did end up getting my BBA in Marketing – so I think my sales techniques must of really rubbed off on the judges. And when it was time to go to auction (yes, a baking auction!), kaboom! $100. for. a. cake. Have you heard of this nonsense? I love it! One day I’ll pay it forward to my local 4-H  – if they are even still doing this anymore. Do kids even appreciate $100 anymore? Or would they scoff? All these questions…

Anyway, back to my point (I tend to ramble, stop me if you can)….

Pinterest. Right.

I came across a delightful recipe from the Lovin’ in the Oven blog – Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies – and boy did I have to try these bad boys. I mean…hello?? A cookie, that uses another cookie as an ingredient in a recipe?!? That’s INSANITY. I had to. I just did. So I stopped at the store on the way home, got all the ingredients I lacked, and whipped up a batch when I got home. Observe.

STOP! This is where you get to vent your stress and beat the you-know-what out of some cookies! Choose your weapon:

and unleash the FURY!

And I think you know where to take it from here. I made enough to take to KT’s teachers and also to take some extra to work. Can’t wait to see what the review is on these guys!

As a side note: I need to work on my food photography. There are no plans to turn this into a foodie blog, but on occasion I’ll post something and I’d at least like to make the end result appear scrumptious!


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