Saturday, August 29, 2009

The funny things kids say, part 2

It's the end of "back to school" week, so I wanted to end this series of posts the same way I started them. I hope the ideas given were a help to you! 

So here you go....more funny things kids say from the kindergarten classroom:

"Miss Padilla, I know what pretzels are made of." 
"What?, I said.

The same boy said later, "Miss Padilla, I know where skittles come from."
"Where?", I said.

During center time, one of the boys said, "Look at David. He's a working man." This was so cute because David was building something with blocks.

One day after lunch, I was helping Joseph tuck in his shirt and I commented on his pull-up pants. I told him they were neat to have because they were easy. Then he said, "Do you have some pull-up pants?"

Daniel said, "Do you know what I want to be when I grow up?"
"What?", I said.
"A man."

After recess one day I told David that his hair was sticking up because he had been playing so hard outside. He agreed with me and said, "My hair sticks up because it's like straw."

One day in class, I told the students to draw a picture of a sound they hear at night (i.e. trucks, owls, crickets, etc.). One girl, Maddie, drew a picture of a night sky. I asked her what sound she heard at night. She said, "I can hear the stars go 'twinkle, twinkle, twinkle'."

Jimmy told me that some people live to be one hundred, and some do not. He said that when I reach one hundred years of age, the school is going to have to get a new teacher for the class.

We had a lesson with one of our readers. The story was called, "Come back, bug." We had a discussion about bugs, mostly about ants. I started mentioning fire ants to the class when Hunter raised his hand. He asked, "How do ants shoot fire from their mouths?" Of course, I had to explain what fire ants did to be given that name!

One day in Bible class I said, "What did God give Adam that He didn't give the animals?" The real answer is "a soul that can never die." Alysia raised her hand and said, "A wife!"

Have an enjoyable and fun school year!

Bailey's "going to school" bag

One of my nieces is starting school this year, so I made her a fun school bag.

It is a tradition of mine to give a "going to school" package when one of our nephews or nieces starts school. I wanted to make Bailey a bag and fill it with some fun school things. The bag measures 14" x 12 1/2" and is made using two fabrics. The green fabric is a lightweight knit that you would use to make a t-shirt. I fell in love with the pink paisley print so I put the two together.

I used a blanket stitch on my machine to place her initial on the bag. 

This was the first time I used rick-rack for a sewing project. Besides stitching some on the bottom of the bag, the handles show it off as well.

So you want to know what's in the bag? Lots of goodies, including pencils, a pen, stickers, books, ruler, window clings, and a learning CD-rom game. In the past, I've also put in a writing tablet and science or math activities. I know Bailey will love this handmade gift to start off her kindergarten year.

What fun things have you done for kids when they start school? I would love to hear your ideas!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cooking with Kids

Cooking with kids can be lot of fun, but it can be a challenge at times depending on how many students you have. I did very little with my kindergarteners, but the times we did, it was always enjoyable. We made home made peanut butter, vegetable stew (after our trip to the farm), and decorated cookies at Christmas time and Valentine's Day.

I've collected some cookbooks over the years that are perfect for the younger generation. Some were mine when I was a kid, and others were given to me over the years.

I don't know the availability of some of these books, but you can definitely try or and see if they've got them.

Young Children's Mix and Fix Cookbook, published by Parent's Magazine, 1975

Cricket's Cookery, by Pauline Watson and the Editors of Cricket Magazine, published by Randon House, Inc., and Open Court Publishing Company, 1977

Kinder-Krunchies, by Karen S. Jenkins, copyright 1982 by Karen S. Jenkins

Cooking with Mickey & Friends, by Pat Baird, published by Disney Enterprises, Inc., 1998

Bible Food Fun, by Lesley Wright, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2000

Alpha Bakery, produced and published by Gold Medal Flour, 1997 General Mills, Inc.

The Rainbow Bakery, produced and published by Gold Medal Flour, 1998 General Mills, Inc.

One of my favorite recipes from the Young Children's Mix and Fix Cookbook is peanut butter and jelly french toast. I loved making this lots of times when I was a kid! I made it again recently and still enjoyed every bite. Hope you like it as well.

Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast

1 egg
1/4 cup milk
4 slices white bread
peanut butter

1. Break egg into a large shallow bowl. Beat egg with a fork, then stir in milk.
2. Spread 2 slices of bread with peanut butter, then spread jelly on top of the peanut butter. Top each with another slice of bread.
3. Dip sandwiches into the egg-milk mixture.
4. Cook on buttered griddle or skillet until brown on one side, then turn over and brown on other side.
5. Serve hot with a spoonful of jelly on top of each sandwich. Eat with a knife and fork.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The 100th Day of School

I went through my pictures to see what I could find with the 100th day of school. The following pictures are from a few years in the kindergarten room. The ideas I'll share are what I could remember because most of my teaching stuff is in storage!

When the students came to school that day, they got to run through 100 streamers! One year I gave them 100th day of school hats for the celebration! We sang a 100th day song to the tune of "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ray!" This is how it goes....

It's the 100th day, let's shout, hip-hip-hooray!
We'll count and eat and play on the 100th day.
See all we've collected--100's on display,
Join in the fun and say, hooray for the 100th day!

Throughout the day, we had visitors pop into the classroom to share something with them that had to do with the number 100. Most of them read books that had the students count to 100 in different ways. One of my favorite books is One Hundred Hungry Ants, by Elinor J. Pinczes. Our visitors included our pastors, secretaries, and parents.

Right after our pledge time, I had the students recite Psalm 100.

Can you see Mr. Caterpillar up on the wall? On the first day, we start counting the days by adding on a numbered circle to his long body. On the 100th day of school, we counted to 100 by ones, fives and tens.

The students also read 100 words.

Then they were asked the question, "What would you do with $100? I had them draw a picture of their answer.

One of the highlights is the students showing their 100 projects. They did this with the help of their parents. I really liked the 100 buttons on the sweatshirt--his mom must have spent a lot of time creating this one-of-a-kind project.

The students really enjoyed shooting baskets into my small basketball hoop that I hung on the doorway. They kept on taking turns until 100 baskets were made.

One year I placed 100 balloons all over the room. At the end of the day, they got to pop them!

In the afternoon, we watched 101 Dalmations while we ate 100 snacks. Sometimes it was just 100 pieces of popcorn! One year as they watched the movie, they strung 100 fruit loop pieces on a string.

For a couple years, Q came in as one of the visitors. He bought a huge bag of M&M's and taught the students how to make ten sets of ten to equal 100 M&M's! (Of course they had to eat a few along the way!)

Have fun on your 100th day of school this year! Are you counting the days yet?:)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Art activities from the "olden days"

I know I'm not too old yet, but looking back at some of the art work I did at school makes me feel old! I'm glad my mom saved this stuff for me. It was fun looking through and remembering my school days. These activities are classics, but perhaps you'll get an idea here that you can do with your kids or students.

This is one of my favorites--a picture of me and my first grade teacher Miss Symons. I remember having to write a sentence or two each time we drew a picture. I know she was giving us some writing practice, but I always enjoyed drawing more.

That same year, we put together a "Pets" book. The bunny silhouette was made using wall paper or patterned contact paper (I don't remember for sure!). Inside the book are a few pages of pictures and facts about animals. The first page was another writing/drawing assignment about Creation. I drew Adam and Eve with the animals.

Mosaics are still so much fun for kids. I don't know how old I was when I made this picture, but I know it was a lot of fun. We simply used colored construction paper squares and Elmer's glue to make our pictures.

Ahh--scratch art! I still love this art activity and I did it a few times with my own students. First, we colored really hard with our crayons, using as many colors as possible. Then, we used black tempera paint to cover the whole paper. After it dried, we used a sharp tool like scissors to draw a picture.

I drew this self-portrait when I was in sixth grade. With me our my two egg "babies" that I took care of for a while. I was glad I got twins, but it was very hard to make sure they wouldn't crack! It was a fun project that our teacher had us do. These family portraits were part of the egg baby project.

Do any of you still have some of your own kid artwork? It's so fun to look back, isn't it?

365 Phonics and Science Activities

I found two books at thrift stores that are loaded with phonics and science activities. I wish I had found these when I first started teaching, but I'm glad I have them now. If I go back to teaching or teach our future children, I've got some great ideas at my fingertips!

365 Phonics Activities by Publications International, Ltd. (several authors) and 365 Simple Science Experiments with everyday materials by E. Richard Churchill, Louis V. Loeschnig, and Muriel Mandell can both be found at for awesome prices.

Here are a few activities for you to use now--have fun learning together.

From the phonics book:

Alphabet Train 

What you'll need: Boxes of various sizes and shapes, yarn, objects beginning with the different letters of the alphabet

If possible, collect 26 small boxes and one larger box. Leave the open side of each box facing up. Line up the boxes end to end, like the boxcars of a train, then punch a hole in the center of the front and back of each "car." Use yarn to thread through the holes to connect the boxes. Make a knot on each end of the piece of yarn so that the yarn will not slip out. 

When all 26 "cars" and one "engine" (the bigger box) are hooked together, write the alphabet on each of the small boxes--one letter per box in alphabetical order. When the train is assembled, as the child to find some object that begins with each letter and place it in the appropriate "car." 

Phonics Go Fish

What you'll need: 10 index cards, 10 pictures of objects cut from magazines, blunt scissors, glue or clear tape

The card game "Go Fish" is ideal for identifying words with the same beginning sounds.

Cut 10 pictures from magazines and attach each one to an index card. Each picture name should have the same beginning sound as another picture name; for example, bed/boy, cookie/car, lamp/lake, house/horse, roof/refrigerator.

Shuffle the cards, then deal five cards to the child and five to yourself. First, lay down any pairs with matching sounds that either of you have. Then take turns asking each other for a card that will make a pair when combined with a card you already have. For example, "Do you have a picture whose name begins like boy?"

The Missing D's

What you'll need: magnifying glass, household items that begin with the letter D

Role-playing is an important way for a child to learn, and pretending to be a detective can be challenging and exciting. Give the child a magnifying glass. The "detective" searches the home for things that begin with the letter D. Have the child collect the D things in a dishpan. (Hints: doll, stuffed dog, dime, dish, dice, domino, drum, diaper.) If the child has a yellow rain slicker, it could be used as an additional prop to make him or her look like detective Dick Tracy.

**I thought that you could also do this for any letter of the alphabet. Lots of fun going on treasure hunts!

From the science activity book:

Bubble in a Bubble in a Bubble

You will need: plastic cup bubble stand, bubble mix, bubble ring, plastic straw

Use a bubble stand to put a bubble in your bubble's bubble.

What to do: Turn the plastic cup upside down and wet the bottom of it, which is now on top. Using the wire ring make a large bubble and attach it to the bubble stand. Wet the plastic straw in the bubble mix and gently push it through the large bubble. Blow a smaller bubble inside the large one. Then carefully push the straw through the smaller bubble, and blow an even smaller one.

What happens: You get a bubble in a bubble in a bubble.

Why: Anything wet can penetrate the bubble without breaking it. The wet surface coming into contact with the soapy film becomes part of it. Do not touch the wet wall with your smaller bubble. If you do you will not get a separate bubble.

Balloon Amplifier

You will need: 1 ordinary round balloon

You're used to seeing big sound amplifiers that make sounds louder. These amplifiers are often called "speakers." But did you know a balloon can increase the volume of sound?

What to do: Blow up the balloon. hold the blown-up balloon right against your ear. Tap lightly on the side of the balloon away from your face. Do not do anything that will make the balloon pop while it's next to your ear. The loud noise of an exploding balloon won't do your ear any good at all.

What happens: The sound you hear is lots louder than the light tapping of your finger.

Why: The air inside the balloon is tightly compressed. When you blew up the balloon you actually let your lungs work as an air compressor, forcing the air to expand the rubber balloon. The air molecules are much closer to each other inside the balloon than they are in the air in the rest of the room. When you crowded the molecules closer together inside the balloon, that air became a better conductor of sound waves than ordinary air.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poetry Treasures

For a class in college, I had to make my own poetry file. I turned an ordinary 4x6 index card box into a treasure chest and called it Poetry Treasures.

I used felt, gold curling ribbon and a gold pen to decorate the outside. I lined the inside of the box with red felt and gold sequins along the top edge.

Then, the search began for the box to be filled with lots of fun poems for kids of all ages! I hand-wrote a myriad of them from different books, them placed them in categories.  My categories include:

All about me
Beautiful birds
By the Sea
Fun and Adventure
God's World
Land Animals
Months of the Year
Our Bodies
Our Great God

My kindergarten students enjoyed a poem or two at the end of the school day. I think their favorites were limericks. I'll share a couple of them with you--they are really fun for everyone!

There was a young lady of Lynn
Who was so uncommonly thin,
That when she essayed 
To drink lemonade,
She slipped through the straw and fell in.

There was an old man of Peru
Who dreamed he was eating his shoe.
He woke in the night
In a terrible fright, 
And found it was perfectly true.

Hope this gives you a start in creating your own poetry file. You can decorate your box however you wish and fill it with poems for your children or students to enjoy.

Creative bulletin boards

Here are a few of my favorite bulletin boards from my teaching years. I hope these pictures get your creative juices flowing for decorating your classroom, even if it's at home.

This is one of the first ones I made when I was in college. I got the idea from a book from the campus library. I colored everything in using pastel chalks then laminated each piece. This was a fun one to display at the end of the kindergarten year when the students were being introduced to the long vowel sounds. When I taught third grade, I changed what the title said to "Take a long look at homonyms" or to reinforce other things they were currently learning.

I created this board for the entire school to look at in the lunch room. On the sheets of paper I typed out a verse, compared the candidates' views, and reminded the students of the school-wide election. I made simple ballots for each student so that they could vote on the same day their parents did.

This was one of my favorites and I did it at the end of each third grade year. I don't remember where I got the idea, but it was a big hit with everyone! For a creative writing assignment, the students were to write a paragraph sharing what their favorite thing in third grade was, and they wrote it on the paper plate! This picture shows the picnic tablecloth with the ketchup and mustard bottles, but I think one year, we added ants and food on the plates.

This bulletin board was for kindergarten graduation. The students and parents could look at it during the reception. I wrote a detective play, so I came up with this interactive board. I asked the parents to give me a baby picture of their student and I color copied each one. I even put mine up there! Next to each picture is a piece of card stock folded in half that has clues on the front and the name of the student under the flap. The clues had to do with their "character" in the play. Parents and students took turns guessing who was who!

This board was also for a kindergarten graduation. Since the students performed the musical, "The Little Red Hen," I thought it would be fun for the students to come up with their own ending to the story. I typed out their version and placed that on the board next to their drawing. Some of them were really funny to read and were enjoyed by the parents.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The funny things kids say

It's "back to school" week here in town, so I wanted to dedicate these next few posts to anything and everything that has to do with school. I'll share some memories of my teaching, along with some fun activities, new and old that will be helpful. If you're a teacher or home schooling parent, I hope I can be a help to you this week!

I wanted to start off by sharing with you something that I began doing when I first started teaching. This journal you see was a gift to me and in it, I recorded funny memories that I had with my students. I still laugh when I read them now.

So here you go...a few of the funny things kids say:

During one of my third grade teaching years, I was teaching the class the four kinds of sentences. I was demonstrating an imperative sentence by singing, "Smile, you're on candid camera!" Time passed, and I decided to say, "Smile..." and the class concluded, "you're on candid camera!" It was very hard to stop laughing!

One of my students said, "In kindergarten, I never wanted to take a nap. Now in third grade, I can't wait to."

When talking about oysters in Science class, I asked the students to share an example of an irritation they encounter now, which turns out for the better in the end. I called on Danny and he said, "GIRLS!"

And now, some from those cute kindergarteners I had!

One of the boys was behind the bench at the playground. I asked him what he was doing. It looked like he was "stretching out." He said he was pumping up his legs to run faster!

At the beginning of the year, I kept emphasizing the importance of "ladies first." So at the playground, I'd remind the boys of that and they would always let the girls pass the gat first. Then, one day, the boys let the girls in, then they went in except for one boy. I said, "Derrick, don't you want to go in and play?" He said, "You said to let the ladies in first, so go on in." My heart just melted.

One day during Bible class, we were talking about all the animals God led into the ark. I asked the class if they thought fish were put in the ark. Most of them said "no," but then one of the boys had an interesting comment. He said, "Noah could have had a fish tank inside the ark!"

One day Phillip said, "Miss Padilla, I ordered a peroni pizza for lunch. I love peroni pizza!" 

One of the boys said, "Miss Padilla, don't we get a surprise for cleaning up the toys fast?" I said, "I don't always give treats for that, but if you know Jesus, then one day when you're in Heaven, He'll give you a reward." Then his face lit up and said, "YEAH! I'm getting candy when I get to Heaven!"

Derrick said to me, "You're awesome!" "I am?" "Yes you are," he said. "You have the same kind of glue stick as me!"

Stick around this week, and I'll share some more cute and funny sayings that my students said later! Hope your kids and grandkids are enjoying going back to school.:)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Raspberry-Banana-Yogurt Pops

It was a scorching-hot day today, so Q and I enjoyed one of these yummy pops this afternoon. I made them for the first time last summer, but I used strawberries instead. You can also use blueberries if you want. Enjoy this healthy and delicious treat before summer is over.

I found this recipe in Southern Living Magazine, June 2008 edition.

Raspberry-Banana-Yogurt Pops

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 banana
3 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup honey

Process the yogurt and banana in a blender for 30 seconds or until smooth. Bring the raspberries and honey to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using back of spoon to squeeze out juice and pulp. Discard skins and seeds. Cover and chill raspberry mixture for 30 minutes. Pour yogurt mixture evenly into 10 (2-oz) pop molds (I used Dixie cups). Top with raspberry mixture, and swirl, if desired. Top with lid of pop mold, and insert craft sticks, leaving 1 1/2 to 2 inches sticking out of pop. Freeze 6 hours or until sticks are solidly anchored and pops are completely frozen. Makes 10 pops.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Garden: the tomato experiment, part 1

After transplanting the tomatoes in our friend's garden, I noticed two small plants left in one of my big pots. I left them there for a while, and noticed that they weren't growing at all. I realized that the sandy soil they were in was stunting their growth.

So, in mid-July, I took these two plants and potted them in this ladybug pot I painted a few months back. I used better soil, and it really made a difference! The stronger plant began to grow, but the weaker one did not make it. I pulled it out so that the good one could flourish.

I've taken a picture each week to show the growth in my tomato plant.

Amazing, isn't it? I don't know for sure if I'll have tomatoes this fall, but it's worth a try.

The plant is strong and healthy and I hope it continues to do well.

I took this picture today and I continue to be amazed. I plan on putting it in a bigger pot to see if it will continue to grow and eventually give us some more roma tomatoes! (and it's not like we need anymore because we have about 30 plants bursting with tomatoes right now--just waiting for them to ripen!) I just wanted to experiment and see what would happen!

Next time...part 2 of "the tomato experiment"--will it get bigger or will it not make it at all? We'll just wait and see! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grocery Challenge Update: the results

I was just wondering if anything was announced on All You Magazine's website, so I checked it out. The ten semi-finalists have been notified and the grand winner will be chosen very soon.

And the sad thing is.....I am not one of the finalists.

The good news is.....that I saved Q and I lots of money and I learned so much doing this challenge. I would definitely do something like this again.

In the meantime, I'm continuing to learn how to save money in lots of ways and can't wait to try out canning in the near future. We also plan to have a garden at our new place in Lafayette.

I know that as we continue to strive to be good stewards of what God has given us, He will continue to provide for us in many ways. God is good! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mia's super hero cape

After seeing (and trying on) the capes I've made for little brother Jaden, Mia told me she wanted one of her own. She loved the pirate cape I made for Jaden at Christmas so much that I think she may have worn it more than him! Between the two of us, we decided that I'd make a reversible cape with one side showing a pirate princess, and the other side a super girl logo (like Superman, only pink!).

Mia's birthday is this week, so this cape is already on its way to California. I know that she'll like it a lot. The fabrics I used for both sides were pretty thin, so when I stitched the ties around the collar, it bunched up some. It's not perfect, but I think it turned out all right. I kept the measurements from Jaden's cape, and did the best I could to replicate it. It's about two and a half feet from where the top of the cape will lie below her neck. I placed velcro tabs on the ties, but if that doesn't fit right, Mia can tie them around her neck. 

I drew the Superman logo freehand on a piece of pink felt. I glued that onto a piece of dark pink felt before stitching this applique onto the cape. Both appliques were stitched first before the two capes were stitched together.

I used this same skull and crossbones pattern for Jaden's pirate cape. I used fabric paint to write the words "Pirate Princess" on the crossbones. I also added a crown to the top of the skull. 

Happy Birthday, Mia! We love you! --Uncle Q and Auntie Cuqui (pronounced "cookie"--it's been my nickname since I was a kid, and I sure love being called that by my sister's kids.)

Thank You, We Love You, Well Done

This past Sunday was our last day ministering at Front Range Baptist Church in Fort Collins, Colorado. In the morning service, Q led the congregational singing as usual and I sang a solo. The choir director was gone, so I ended up leading the choir, too. The entire evening service was dedicated to us. Q selected the hymns to be sung and Pastor Redlin gave us an encouraging message as we look forward to the new ministry God has given us in Lafayette, CO. For some fun and laughs, Pastor brought Mike to church (his dummy--and yes, Pastor is an amazing ventriloquist!). Mike and Q sang a duet that will be unforgettable.

After the service, there was a nice cake reception for us. We stood near the table while many gave us hugs and words of encouragement. Although I tried to hold back the tears, I couldn't--after all, this church has been like family to me these past 12 years. Before Q came into my life, I was a single teacher at the academy and so many people at the church adopted me as their daughter. 

This beautiful flower arrangement was on the cake table, but it now sits on our dining room table. It's absolutely gorgeous!

When most of the congregation had left, we had this picture taken with the Redlin's. We have thoroughly enjoyed ministering side by side with them. Some of you may not know this, but Pastor Redlin was Q's youth pastor (in Pensacola, FL), so they have known each other for so many years. These past five years have been wonderful for Q to be under Pastor's leadership.

Pastor Redlin wrote a thank you to us in the church bulletin. He entitled the article, "Thank You, We Love You, Well Done." It means a lot to us, so I wanted to share it with you.

There are many words that people love to hear. For some, while not seeking them, the words "thank you" are deeply appreciated when offered for sacrifices made or services rendered. For others, the words "I love you" are at times difficult to say, but always sweet to hear. And the words that Christ used when teaching the parable of the talents are words that are to be savored. To the servant who had faithfully rendered service, the master said:

"Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:21

For the past several years, Pastor and Mrs. Johnson have labored faithfully within the ministry that God had entrusted to them here at FRBC. Today marks the conclusion of their ministry here, but an expansion of their ministry responsibilities elsewhere. The words "thank you" seem painfully insignificant, but certainly appropriate. The words "I love you" come naturally to a couple that has found a special place in my heart. And the words "well done" are fitting and appropriate. For their ministry characterized by a love for the Word, for their conduct guided by Christ-like character, and for their spirit clothed with humility, we say, "Well Done."

Pastor and Mrs. Johnson, thank you, we love you, well done.

When we got home, we read through all the cards that we received. Almost every one of them had a money gift inside. We were overwhelmed by the kind words and gifts of love. We are thankful for the way God has been leading and providing for our needs. We serve a great God, don't we?

Continue to pray for us as we begin ministering in Lafayette this week. Also pray that our condo sells and that God would provide more work for Q. He already has a temporary job lined up for this coming week, but we would like more. 

Thanks for your love and prayers during this transition time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I've been featured--again!

This time it was on a craft blog called, "Dollar Store Crafts." I submitted my idea for the family photo holder and they liked it! It was posted on there today, so I just placed a new button on my blog saying that I was featured.

Pretty cool, huh?

Go here to see the post on dollar store crafts. The idea is fun and affordable....and oh so easy for any one in your family to make. Then, check out the rest of the site. There are so many ideas and I enjoy checking them out every day. Have fun crafting! :)

Quick and simple postcards

I made two postcards this week for some family members--the first one was a birthday greeting for my brother-in-law, Brian.

I have several blank postcards, so I used a couple of these as bases for some scrap booking art! I glued decorative paper onto the card, then glued a matching piece on top of that. I made a balloon then spelled out "happy birthday" using letter stickers.

Using more decorative paper, I made this postcard for my parents who will be celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary this week. I thought that the "for life" sticker was perfect, because after all, marriage is for life, right? I am proud that my parents have committed to being married for the rest of their lives.

What quick and easy craft have you done this week?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Q: How do you make an older shirt look like new?

A: By cutting the sleeves shorter and hemming them up, of course! I used another shirt as a guide to give this older shirt some cap sleeves. I love red gingham, but the way the sleeves used to be were restricting and didn't look so good on me anymore. This is the first change I've done out of a few clothing articles I want to tweak. I've also been working on hemming and fixing clothes so that they can finally go back in the closet.

What has been your latest sewing project? No doubt that after I wear this shirt a bit longer that it will be made into something else. Will keep you posted!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Grocery Challenge update: week 4

Q and I finished All You's grocery challenge earlier this week. We did great, having only spent $25.62 for the week. The food we bought was for a get-together with friends, and we ended up going out to eat on Sunday. We go to an assisted living home once a month, so we usually go out to eat with the teens that join us.

And now for the grand total for the four weeks: $93.85!!! That's less than half of what we were allowed to spend for the two of us. If we had not had food out a couple times, it would have been much lower than that.

We have learned that we can eat healthy, be creative and save money on groceries every month. This challenge motivated me to bake more things (and freeze some of it) to make our supply stretch even more. Our garden helped us out immensely. And--having friends over (and them having us over) for meals was a great blessing! God does provide for our needs in unique ways at times.

I'm about to submit my final comments for this contest, and I can't wait to hear if I've made it to the top 10. Wouldn't it be awesome to win a thousand dollars for groceries?

I'll keep you all posted on how I do....

Cookie dough surprise cupcakes

For a special treat, I made these cupcakes for the teens at our last youth group meeting this past Wednesday night. They are a combination of two cupcake recipes. I used one for the chocolate batter and the other for the cookie dough filling. I used my favorite frosting recipe from Wilton to top it all off. This is an awesome treat for the cookie dough lover!

The batter and cookie dough recipe came from Taste of Home.

The chocolate batter:

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs 
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The cookie dough:

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Make the cookie dough first by creaming the butter and sugars in a small mixing bowl. Beat in the flour and confectioners' sugar until blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Set aside. 

Next, make the batter. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, water, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened (batter will be thin). 

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with cake batter. Drop filling by tablespoonfuls into the center of each; cover with additional batter until you've filled each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

The frosting: (from Wilton Industries, Inc.)

Chocolate buttercream

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened but not melted
1 lb. confectioners sugar (about 4 cups)
3 tablespoons milk or water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate

Cream shortening and butter. Add sugar, water and vanilla. Blend on medium speed until all ingredients are mixed well. Blend a minute or two more until creamy in texture. If using a hand mixer and icing is not creamy, use high speed or add more milk a drop at a time. This icing can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using. Yield: 3 cups stiff icing. To thin icing, add 2 teaspoons milk per cup of stiff icing.

This cupcake recipe will make 20-24 cupcakes with some frosting leftover. You should have enough cookie dough for all of your cupcakes--unless, of course, you succumb to eating some while you bake! (really....they are that good!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The faces we will miss, part 2

Here are more pictures of our teens....

Grant, Jon and Jason

Nicole with younger brother, Josh

Taylor and Andrew

Bessie with the two sisters, Bethany and Abigail

Will and Nathan

While we will miss these teens, we know that God is leading us to a new group of people to minister to. But, we also know that the impact made on these teens will last a lifetime. We hope and pray that what they have learned and will continue to learn will help them grow in Christ. Down the road, Q and I hope to say this:

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." III John verse 4

The faces we will miss, part 1

Last night was our final time in youth group. We had a great time watching old videos and looking at pictures from Q's five years of ministry with the kids. We laughed so hard the entire time! At camp, Q and I took some pictures of the kids that weren't just action shots. We wanted to get some posed "smiley" pictures. We were able to get most of the kids, so here you go--the faces we'll miss in our current ministry....

Bethany and Brooke

Dave and Iman

Nicole and Kimia

Jordan, Matt, Garrett, Colin, and Austin

Jenny and Makenzie

Next time....part 2 of "the faces we will miss"