Thursday, December 27, 2012

Communication Center

I don't think I have told you all yet, I got promoted a few weeks ago.

My boss retired and I was selected to take over for her. The past few weeks have been busy with organization projects. I am pretty proud of the communication center I just made today.


To make this communication center, I started off by buying a piece of sheet metal. We priced several different ways but I ended up buying a 24 x 36 inch sheet from Home Depot. {The cost for the metal was $19.96.}

Next, I hit up the office supply store and found some acrylic file folders on clearance.I needed 4 folders so I had to buy two boxes. {The cost of the folders was $24.00.} The office supply store also had a peel and stick dry erase board on clearance. {$9.00} They also had random magnets, dry erase markers, and butterfly magnets all on clearance. {Total of the random items was $4.00.} Other random supplies I used: magnets {$5/for 52 magnets, chalkboard vinyl, super glue {both on-hand}.


I started off by adhering two magnets to each acrylic folder. I learned it was not enough so I added two more to each. I used my Cricut and the new Sophisticate cartridge to cut out the labels.  I cut 4 matching labels. I then adhered them to the front of the folder.


If I were making this project at home, I might have convinced The Husband to screw the sheet metal to the wall. But this is for work and we are not allowed to put holes in the wall. Instead, I purchased a jumbo pack of the 3M Command strips. The instructions on the box says that two strips will hold 12 pounds.

The sheet metal did not weigh close to 12 pounds but I did not want to take a chance that sheet metal would fall off the wall, so I used eight sets of 3M strips.


I ended up adding two more magnets to each folder, making a total of six magnets to each folder.  The rest was just easy. The peel and stick dry erase board took patience and time but was as easy as the name suggested. We added a bucket to put the dry erase markers in. The bucket is held up with a suction cup hook.   Decorative magnets were used to fill in space, but they are more than cute they are also functional.

For a total of less than $50.00 I created an attractive and fun communication center for the office.


I am looking forward to showing you all my office...but not today! It still needs a little bit of work!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Final Week: Elf on the Shelf

We said good-bye to Isabella last night.   The Short Chic woke up at 5:30 a.m. this morning and immediately ran downstairs. She proclaimed to the entire house that Santa had been to our home because Isabella was gone {Never mind the gifts under the tree!}!

Let's review her last week with us:


  Isabella was found one morning hanging from the kitchen clock. I think she was reminding us that Christmas was almost here!

As a side note, YES, the clock runs backwards. My Dad had a clock just like this one when I was growing up. It reminds me of him.



The next morning, Isabella turned our milk GREEN! The Boy was not too intimidated to try it but The Short Chic was. Finally she tried it, her response, "It taste just like milk. I thought it was going to be peppermint!"

 Actually, I did not get a photo of the next day. But we found Isabella on the kitchen table with her head in a bag of M & M's. She spelled out CUTE in front of The Short Chic's photo with Santa.  It was very hard to keep the family out of the M & M's that day!


When we woke up last Thursday, we quickly discovered it was storming outside. The wind was howling, the snow was falling and blowing all over the place! School was cancelled. We found Isabella hanging from the back door and she had wrote SNOW DAY next to her.


The next morning, Isabella was found in the Christmas tree bearing candy canes and sitting next to the BELIEVE ornament.


After that, we found Isabella in the bathroom brushing her teeth. She left a message for The Short Chic {The Boy had left to go spend Christmas with his father}.  Can I tell you The Husband was not happy as that pink toothpaste stains. I had to show him how good old fashioned bleach cleans counter-tops!


Before she left to go back to the North Pole, Isabella spent a night with her new friends. I think they exchanged email addresses and promised to stay in touch. The Short Chic proclaimed this was just "too cute!"


On her final day, we found Isabella sitting on her suitcase right by the fireplace. She spent her time making paper snowflakes. There was a note from Santa Claus to the kids. The note said that Santa was thankful that Isabella had come to stay with us but it was time for her to return to the North Pole. Santa explained how he sent a gift to each child for them to remember Isabella and to remember to do their best in the upcoming year.

The note also said that Isabella would not need her magic tonight as Santa was going to be picking her up when he delivered our gifts.  Since Isabella would not need her magic, the kids were allowed to hug her and kiss her good-bye.  The Boy had little interest in saying good-bye but The Short Chic kept asking for one more hug.


Their gifts? It was a snowflake light that comes with a suction cup and sticks to the window. The kids loved them and quickly put them on our front room window.

We so enjoyed having an Elf On The Shelf this year.  We are looking for her return next year!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

DIY: Etched Glass Bricks

Every year I attempt to make some type of homemade gift.  This year is no exception.

I have seen these cute glass bricks at the hobby stores and I wanted to see what I could make with them. I have to say the end results are fabulous and it looks like I worked much harder than what I really did.

Besides buying glass bricks, predrilled at a craft store, I also bought a bottle of glass etching cream. {I did not shop around too much and bought the first bottle I saw. It has a famous name on it and it cost me $25.00 minus my 40% off coupon. I am sure I could have found the same product without the famous name for way less!}



I bought some vinyl and used my Cricut to cut out cute letters and borders. I used a new cartridge, Sophisticate. I absolutely love the cartridge! Once the vinyl was cut, I peeled the sticky off the back and placed it on the glass brick. 

The key here is to get the edged sealed. It does not have to be perfect at all. {Side note: many of the glass bricks I have seen have simply stopped here and they have a cute finished product.}


Next add the glass etching cream. Make sure you read the directions on the bottle carefully. I will say it says to use gloves and be super careful. I was careful. I did not use gloves. The bottle comes with a little paint brush and I just painted on the cream. I started off following the instructions, leaving it on 20 minutes and then washing it off. 

In the end, I let the cream stay on longer, more like 40 minutes {I am not sure if it was needed or not but I enjoyed the TV time!}. I also stopped washing it off and started scrapping it off and putting the extra back into the bottle.  Gotta get the most out of my $25.00!


At the end of the 40 minutes, I scrapped off the excess, put it back in the bottle, then washed the glass brick with hot soapy water.  If the vinyl did not come off while washing, I then peeled it off and discarded it.


This is what the glass looks like after it has been etched, cleaned, and dried.


I added a light, or a strand of white Christmas lights and a ribbon to hide the glass plug. The end result is a totally personalized illuminated glass brick.

Oh yeah, and that $25.00 bottle of cream. I still have it. Over half full and I have now made 7 glass bricks this Christmas.

Cost Breakdown:
Glass Brick                    10.00  (per brick. Watch the sale ad's. Hobby Lobby had them 50% off)
Light                               3.50    (per brick)
Glass Etching Cream      25.00   (again, one bottle was more than enough for all my bricks)
Vinyl                              10.00   (Oh, And I have lots left over!)
Cricut Cartridge              40.00   (not necessarily to buy one if you already have one you love)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Stories of Isabella, The Elf on The Shelf

Between dance class, gymnastics, basketball, and the winter cold I have not updated you all on Isabella The Elf''s antics in our home over the past two weeks.

Isabella has been busy. The Short Chic has gotten way more excited in her morning hunts for Isabella!


 One morning we found Isabella in The Boy's room. She was sitting on top of his K-State Light holding a "Go Cats" banner and wearing a #7 button. We believe she joined in on The Boy's desire for Collin Klein to win the Heisman Trophy.


 The next morning we found Isabella in a car on a date with Aladdin. It looks like Isabella was trying hard to swoon Aladdin from Princess Jasmine! She borrowed a convertible and took him to the big city to see the pretty lights. Inside the car was a note for The Short Chic and The Boy. The note told them to plant some magic seeds before they went to bed that night. The Short Chic planted them in a "Flour" pot (the pot was full of flour and not dirt!) and left them on the kitchen counter.


The next morning, we found Isabella on the kitchen counter. Inside the "Flour" pot was sugar cookies with Frosty the Snowman's face on them! And Isabella...well she rolled around in the flour and was making flour-angels. She must have decided to make her own snow since we have not had anything close to snow here!



The next morning we found Isabella cleaning out the chimney. She wanted it to be really clean for Santa's arrival. Have you cleaned your chimney?


That weekend, we headed to Grandma's house. The Short Chic forgot all about Isabella but when she woke up the next morning, there was Isabella! While giving me a morning hug, The Short Chic looked over my shoulder that morning and said, "Um, Mom, Isabella is here!" Totally priceless!

As for Isabella, she found a Santa Sleigh with a Christmas tree, pine-cones, and ornaments.

 
The next morning we found her and Santa chatting under a decorative glass bell on our dining room table. I think Isabella must be getting homesick.


The next day, Isabella decided just to hang out. She picked a good spot in the kitchen hanging from the curtains. The kitchen is where it is at in our home. I am sure she had a lot to report to Santa that night.


The Short Chic found Isabella in her play room the next day. She was having lunch with her dolls. 


The next day, Isabella showed the kids the real meaning of Christmas. She brought the Nativity Scene up from the basement and set it up. Isabella spent the day holding Baby Jesus.


This Saturday we found Isabella in the family room with a tummy ache. She found the leftover Halloween candy and ate a lot of it. There were wrappers EVERYWHERE! I offered her some Pepto Bismol but The Short Chic and Isabella both reminded me that it was against the rules to touch her.


I guess she felt a little silly after her over indulgence because she showed up today with a gift for the family.  A box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  Of course she also had a dozen doughnuts for herself. I think this elf has a bit of a sweet tooth!

So, there you have it! Another two weeks have gone by with Isabella. She is only here for one more week and then she will return to The North Pole.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Ear Piercing Adventures: Part One

When my daughter was born, nearly five years ago, my husband's extended family sent her a little set of pink diamond earrings. That is how I learned how different his family was from mine around ear piercing!

Needless to say, I did not pierce her ears when she was a baby. I wanted to wait until she wanted them pierced.

Well we have been talking about ear piercing for some time now.  And with all the talking about it, I made a startling realization! My own pierced ears have grown closed. (WOW! I thought it was a little extra hard to put earrings in the last time. Just did not realize I was forcing them through!)

The Short Chic and I made a date to go get our ears pierced. I would go first to show her it did not hurt.  She was excited when I gave her the tiny box with the cute pink earrings in them.

On the way to get them done, she held the box, ever so gently and proudly. Then she tells me, "MOM, I lost one!"


Sadly, it was true. After nearly 5 years of safekeeping, she lost an earring on the way to the store to get her ears pierced.  Even though the store had earrings very similar to our pair, she was not interested in going through with it. 


So, I went first and got my ears pierced. AGAIN. And The Short Chic's ears remain hole-less. Maybe later!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Unbelievable Grief

Unbelievable acts occurred today. They are incomprehensible. 

I have no answers to explain why these things happen. I only have unanswered questions.  Why a school? Why young innocent children? Why does this keep happening? Why can't we make it stop? Will it ever be safe?

I have no magic words to ease the pain. My heart is torn wide open and screams in pain.  I know I am not alone. We are all at a loss. 

In my line of work we see horrible acts inflicted on children on a daily basis. There have been many times when I have dashed home to hug my children. I could not wait to see my children this afternoon. As I watched my four year old play with her friends, the reality that many of the victims of today's horror are her age. 

When I look at her I can't help but smile. The innocence. The playfulness. The magic. She has no idea why I won't stop hugging her or touching her or telling her I love her. 

The Boy understands. He lives in a world when there could be violence in school. In his world, they do not just have fire or tornado drills but they also have shelter and place drills. 

Tonight, twenty-eight families are forever altered. Their grief has touched a nation. Maybe even a globe. They do not grieve alone. 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One Week of Elf on The Shelf

Isabella, our Elf on a Shelf, came to live with us one week ago. {You can see her debut here.}

She sure has provided us with a lot of smiles and a few giggles in the past week.


 Wednesday, Isabella was found on the kitchen table making snowflakes out of q-tips.

 Thursday, we found her hanging from the entryway chandelier in her new skirt.


Friday, she was hungry. Syrup is one of the Elf's four major food groups.


Saturday, Isabella got a little mischievous.  Guilt written all over her face, we caught her nearly red handed marking up our family photos. By the way, The Short Chic did not think this was funny one bit.  She nearly cried when she saw her photo. She said, "Isabella, that was a really good picture of me!"


God made Sunday's for rest and relaxation. So, Isabella decided to soak in a marshmallow bath. The Boy found this less than humorous as he had no way to brush his teeth!


Monday, Isabella caught up on her sleep. All this traveling to the North Pole is hard, exhausting work. She crawled into Princess Aurora's bed in the Disney Princess castle and slept away!


Today, Tuesday, Isabella hung out and read books all day! She particularly loves the Olivia books.

I am so looking forward to the next week. I wonder where we will find Isabella next?

Stay tuned....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Have Cried A Million Tears

The first boy that I ever willfully kissed was a boy named Shannon.

We were in junior high. I was spending the night with my friend Jamie and we were hanging out on her porch roof. I remember him looking tan. Or at least tanner than I have ever been.  And he had thick dark hair.

In high school, our lockers where next to each other. Nearly every day between classes, he use to turn himself sideways so that he could block me from getting into my locker. His family nicknamed him "Fri". {We thought it was because of the Fry Gang from McDonald's but he would tell me years later that he had that nickname long before McDonald's marketing.} I can still hear the jingle. Oh, what a sense of humor he had!

While we never really dated, we were super close. {I would say the same thing about nearly everyone I went to high school with. You just don't go to a small school and not make lifelong connections}. I have always held a place in my heart for him. He was so personable. And funny. He could make anyone laugh and brought so much humor to my life.

circa 1987

After high school our lives went different paths. Determined not to live in the path of my elders, I went to college. Got a job and started working a career in public child welfare. Shannon on the other hand, struggled with a life of addiction. For years, we had no direct contact with each other. I kept up on him through high school friends.

I reconnected with him in the past year and  I am thankful for the time I have shared with him.  It was clear to me that he was not in good health. It was also clear that he was not seeking medical attention or doing much to improve his health. I got the sense that he had really given up on this life.

He died Friday night.

I have cried a million tears since then.

I have prayed for you many times since we reconnected. I have prayed for your peace. For your health. Now I pray for your family. Your mother, your sisters, your children, your grandchildren, your nieces  your extended family.

I pray that you are finally truly at peace.

We can't change Shannon's path but you might be able to help someone you love. If you know someone who is fighting addiction, please ask them to get help. Keep asking them.  If they won't get help, go yourself. You might learn some new way of helping them.


God Bless You, Shannon "Fri"
October 26, 1968 - November 30, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dreamin' Big!

Missouri Powerball is tonight. The jackpot is 550 million dollars.

That is the second highest jackpot in Powerball history.

I am sure I am not alone in allowing myself to dream about winning it.

Dream. At least for a few moments.

What am I dreaming about?


  1. A new home. One with an indoor basketball court and walk-in closets!
Of course the house would also have to have a great kitchen. A crafting room. A play room. And plenty of room for the kids and their friends.


                                Lakeview Chicago mansions

2. A lake home.

Wouldn't a home on a lake be a great place to spend your weekends. Think of the family memories.

                               

3. Maybe a new car?

Absolutely...a new car would be in order!

                   
                             

4. And of course, I would need a new boat to go with the lake house.

                              

5. I know everyone says they would, but I would not quite my job. But I would travel.

All over the place. England. Ireland. Tuscany.  Hawaii. Easter Islands. New York City. Greece. New Zealand. China. Bora Bora. I get excited just thinking about it!

                              

Okay, dreaming is all over! The dishes are calling my name. {WAIT! Is it too late to add a housekeeper to my list!}

Oh yeah, and I need to go buy a ticket!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Elf On The Shelf

I have seen the cute photos on Pinterest. 

Some of my friends joined in. 

I tried to resist.


But Santa sent this cute little scout elf to live in our household.

The family {OK, so really The Short Chic} named her....Isabella.

The Short Chic was less than thrilled with the no-touch rule. I gave her one long hug before we named her. Then on the tree Isabella went.

Do you have a scout elf? Where does he/she like to hide?


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cheesy Baked Grits


The Husband has turned into quite the smoker. {Not the tobacco type. The type you cook meat with.} As he perfects his cut of meat, his rub, and his smoking technique I am left trying to find a dish that is worthy to sit next to his ribs.

My Grandma grew up in the south.  Grits are something I have been familiar with for a long time. I use to love them fried. I still love them for breakfast. I find that you either love Grits or you hate them. There is no in-between. These grits are cheesy. And buttery. And smooth. With a tiny crunch on the outside.

Awesomeness in a side dish. They hold there own next to the smoked to perfection ribs!


Baked Cheesy Grits
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup uncooked grits (not the instant type)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 grated Parmesan Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

Bring milk to a boil in a pot over medium heat. Melt 1/2 cup butter in the boiling milk. Slowly add the uncooked grits, cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, add salt and pepper. Mix in the Cheddar Cheese and 1/3 cup of butter. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan Cheese on top. 

Bake 1 hour, until firm.

Enjoy!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Night Project!


My boss is retiring in a few short weeks. My coworkers and I are busy pulling together a retirement party {in between a crazy busy work schedule}!

Tonight, I am overhauling this mailbox. It use to belong to one of my coworkers. And then it got damaged. She got a new one and passed this one off to me. The Husband banged out the dents and reattached the flag.  I am painting one side of it with chalkboard paint. 



I am so excited to use this at the retirement party!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

Election day. I was at my polling place before 6:00 a.m. I was met with a long line of traffic to get to the polling place. The parking lot already packed at 5:50 a.m.  

                                       

I was not expecting the line. {Evident by the fact that I did not wear a jacket. I did bring my coffee!}

It took me 45 some minutes from the time I got out of my car to the time I got back into it. 

I can't complain. A friend of mine, who lives in Miami, posted on Facebook this past weekend that she waited in line for 9 hours in order to vote. 

Then I came home and watched the evening world news. My heart goes out to all those voters who live in New Jersey and other places hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.  My little 45 minute wait seems pale in comparison. 


I can't explain why but I always feel strong after I vote. Like I just accomplished something big.

I am like many of my friends, I am ready for the political mudslinging to be over. {Is it me, or has it been worse this year?}

But before today ends, I am going to take a moment to thank all who got out and voted. Some of you overcame more barriers than others and I say THANK YOU for your patience, your dedication to democracy, and for your passion!




Now, I am going to curl up in a blanket. Grab a glass of wine. And watch the returns.

Please feel to share any Election 2012 story that you have. I would love to hear it!