Teacher Appreciation Craft

Teacher Appreciation Craft

It’s Catholic Schools week in San Diego which almost means that it’s Teacher Appreciation time. Last year, we had just started preschool the week before and I literally just had a baby so our gift was a card and some money. It was greatly appreciated but I wanted to be a little more crafty, and frankly prepared, this time around. This year’s theme is “Bloom and Grow” so I put together this teacher appreciation craft for Big Nugget and me to do as a thank you gift for her wonderful teachers.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! `

Teacher Appreciation Craft

I knew I wanted to do something that used things that I already had and was somewhat easy. I also wanted to do something simple that a preschooler could help with – I didn’t want this to turn into a Mommy craft and kid watches type of project. The school had sent home flowers for the kids to cut out and color so that was where this idea stemmed from – see what I did there???

Supply List

Here is what you will need:

Card Stock – I love having this stuff on hand at home for projects.

Popsicle sticks – These were left over from our wedding but another good item to have on hand for projects.

Green paint – we use washable. Always washable.

Flower Pots – I found some Project 62 4 inch stone planters at Target on an end cap (and can’t find them online) but you could easily use something like this or small terra cotta ones and have your child paint them.

Gift Cards – I got two from Target and one from Starbucks. I liked having the cards say Thank You on them for the center of the flowers.

Black Beans – Used in the flower pot to hold the sticks up and they also look like dirt.

Glue – We used both Elmers clue to assemble the flowers and hot glue to attached the sticks and gift cards.

Side note: Michael’s currently has 2% back on Ebates. Read more about my Ebates rant here.

Instructions

I had Big Nugget paint the popsicle sticks green. I had her do this part first so that they had time to dry.

Side note…she did this while I was putting the baby down for a nap with minimal mess, followed my directions and she even cleaned up and washed her hands. Felt like a huge milestone.

Teacher Appreciation Craft painting

Traced the center of the flower with a water cup – I wanted it to be big enough to hold the gift card but not too big proportionally to the flower pot.

Teacher Appreciation Craft flower template

Big Nugget helped me trace the flower pedals using the small end of a plastic cup.

Teacher Appreciation Craft tracing

We did two colors per pot and you need 8 pedals per flower. I did 12 pedals on one page and that left me enough to do one flower in each color and then mix the colors on the third flower.

Teacher Appreciation Craft Pedal template

Glue the first four pedals down so they make a square.

Teacher Appreciation Craft first pedals

Fill in the other four pedals in between the first ones.

Teacher Appreciation Craft glue

These are your finished flowers. Let them dry completely before you glue anything else to them.

Teacher Appreciation Craft flowers no stem

Use hot glue to attach the green stems and the gift cards. Be careful glueing on the back of the gift card, you don’t want to get it on the magnetic strip or the scratch off and bar codes.

Teacher Appreciation Craft 3 flowers

Teacher Appreciation Craft flower bunch

Fill each pot with black beans and put three flowers in each pot. I also had her sign her name under the Starbucks gift card.

Teacher Appreciation Craft Finishing

Teacher appreciation craft complete and ready to be handed out at school.

Teacher Appreciation Craft flower pots group

It was such a simple teacher appreciation craft and easy for us to do together with minimal mess, not expensive and a fun way to spend time together. It’s the very least we can do to show our incredible teachers how much we appreciate all they do for our kiddo.

Teacher Appreciation Craft yellow pot

 Teacher Craft Two

Teacher Appreciation Craft – Pin It!

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday

It’s hard to believe that we just celebrated Little Nugget’s first birthday. She doesn’t actually turn one until this Saturday but we did the party a week early since we had family in town.

I said wasn’t going to go crazy, and I actually think I kept myself in check this time around. The guest list was small and I kept the menu simple since it was a mid morning gathering. I started to look for ideas on Pinterest and Etsy – at first just for some pink and gold party supplies. Then I found a “Wild One” birthday banner that was adorable and then I saw some ideas for a Where The Wild Things Are theme. Sold, that book is one of our favorites, especially big sister.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used.

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday Elements

For Big Nugget’s first birthday, I did a time capsule for her with notes from everyone at her party. I wanted to do the same thing for Little Nugget and found an adorable Where The Wild Things Are piggy bank to hold all the notes from our loved ones.

time capsule 2 wild one birthday

I added photos of the Little one to the mantel and reused some gold letters that I had from Big’s birthday. I figured I had saved them for this long, I was going to find a way to incorporate them.

This blurry picture is typical of that morning for Little – early wake up, short morning nap and super clingy. At least her outfit was festive. I found the onsie and leggings from two different Etsy shops – linked below. Not the girly-est outfit but adorable nonetheless.

outfit wild one birthday

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday Menu

The birthday party started at 10am so I did a brunch menu. Fruit, PB&J sandwiches cut like crowns, baked ham and swiss rolls, donut holes, fruit and the best cinnamon rolls – the same ones I did for our Holiday Craft Brunch.

food spread wild one birthday

Food close wild one birthday

These jello cups were super easy to make and so adorable. I saw a similar picture on Pinterest and tried to recreate it.

Jello Boats Wild One birthday

First time eating jello, I think she liked it.

jello treat wild one birthday

When I think of my own childhood birthday cakes, I think of yellow cake and chocolate frosting. This cake tasted as good as it looked. The smash cake was a little healthier and was a spiced banana cake with a cream cheese frosting.

chocolate cake wild one birthday

smash cake wild one birthday

Safe to say that the birthday girl was a fan of her cake. She is such a ham. There were so many cute pictures of her and this cake that it was hard to choose just two to share. Big Nugget was not interested in her cake at all at her first birthday so it was fun to see the Little one so into it.

Last year I used Two Sugar Bees for party favors and loved giving away something cute and edible. They really did a great job with the theme and the cookies taste amazing.

cookies wild one birthday

After the cake smash, birthday girl got changed into her Carole the monster onsie. It didn’t last long since she got soaked playing in the water tables.

carol shirt wild one birthday

We had such a great time celebrating our Little Nugget with family and friends. We are all still coming down from the sugar high.

family wild one birthday

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday Party Resources

Recreating this Where The Wild Things Are birthday party would be super easy. Some of the items for the party I made myself, like the moss food tags and boat sails in the jello, but a lot of it I got through Etsy. I love shopping there because not only am I supporting small businesses but I also get 1% back on my purchases through Ebates. If you do any sort of online shopping and aren’t using Ebates, you’re missing out. I got close to $500 cash back last year from my online purchases. Sign up through this link and you will get $10 to your account. Get the browser plug in and it will let you know if there are any deals available when you go to your favorite websites OR you can browse their site to find the best deals.

Ok, Ebates rant over. Here are the spots where I found some of the party supplies, if there is something that isn’t listed, shoot me an email.

Onsies:  mi cielo

Leggings: Tiny Feathered Arrow

Garlands: Jordyn & Grace and Paper Confetti

Piggy Bank: MMIM

Where The Wild Things Are birthday printables: BGC Designs

Cake Topper: Brides 2 Babies

I did order a couple things from Amazon, the Crowns and Vines. They vines do have a strange smell to them so make sure you have time to air them out.

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday Cake

 

Checking In – The Challenge Begins

Checking In – The Challenge Begins

This post contains affiliate links.

I said that I was going to be checking in once a week with how I’m tracking on my goals for the year and I missed last week. Good thing one of my goals wasn’t to remain consistent. HA! I did have family in town for the last week and our routine and schedules were somewhat thrown into the wind. PLUS we celebrated Little Nugget’s first birthday Saturday so I was all consumed with that – stay turned for more pictures and a full party recap. But it’s a new week and I’m back on track, at least with my check in’s.

Cake Smash

Health

Even with my family in town, I still managed to get to the gym a couple times. What I’m most excited about though is that my gym’s 6 week transformation challenge started yesterday. I did it last fall and while I worked my butt off and was really happy with my results, I had to adjust my nutrition to keep my milk supply going. This time around, I’m not as worried about it so I’m excited to see the results. The kick off includes a fitness test, getting weighed and measured at the gym and setting 3 goals for ourselves during the six weeks. At the end of the challenge, we will do the whole thing over again and see how we measure up. It’s a great challenge and my Fit Mill family is so very supportive of everyone at every fitness level.

I also got my body fat tested by getting tanked with The Body Fat Test. I did it last time and it’s the most accurate way to measure your body fat and lean muscle mass. Jolen, the owner, breaks down your activity levels and caloric needs taking into account your activity level and weight loss goals. I was pleasantly surprised that despite the holidays, I’ve actually gotten leaner since my last test at the end of October, not a lot but I thought for sure that I had gained since I didn’t really track calories.

Blog

I signed up to attend The Influential Summit in Carlsbad February 8th and 9th. I’m super excited to learn and grow my network. It was also the kick in the pants that I needed to design and print my business cards. I feel so official now.

Reflection

So far so good on the journal. I’m really enjoying that it’s only one line a day. Here is a link to the one that I’m using and it’s currently on sale.

Digital

Removing myself from my phone has been a lot harder than I thought. I did make a conscious effort to not be on a lot when my family was in town and it was a nice break that I need to continue.

Diet

Lots of dinners out with family and making two birthday cakes really put a dent in my diet. BUT – it’s a new week and the remaining cake has been thrown out and meals have been planned.

IMG_1581

Monday – Chicken Avocado Soup

Tuesday – Turkey Meatloaf and cauliflower mashed “potatoes”

Wednesday – Chicken Enchiladas and Cauliflower rice

Thursday – Turkey burgers, roasted broccoli (Mac and cheese for the kids)

Friday – Pizza night

Clutter

I made some headway on the closet that is my goal to get organized this month but it came out of a moment of desperation to find a missing tap shoe 20 minutes before we needed to be in the car on the way to dance. A frantic purge began and I ended up emptying out the closet and cleaning while we searched….and by we I mean me while my oldest “helped” by moving the same couch cushion and saying she couldn’t find it. I was about it give up when I saw my Hunter boots by the front door and thought to look in it. Sure enough, there it was. The work of an eleven month old. Why did I think to look there you’re wondering? Because the day before, I stepped into said boot and found a teether with a half melted ice cube in it.

What wins did you have last week???

 

 

5 Lessons Learned Replacing Our Windows

5 Lessons Learned Replacing Our Windows

When we bought this house, we knew that the original windows would need to be replaced. Other home improvement projects took priority, like rebuilding our dining room after a flood, but the windows were high priority. We knew the value of that project since we replaced the windows in our last home. It made such a huge difference. Here are the five lessons we learned replacing our windows.

1. Windows are worth the investment

Our house was built in 1979 and the original windows seemed like the bare minimum you would need to keep the Southern California weather out.

Before and after photos of our window replacement home improvement project. Not a DIY job for us but worth every penny of the cost. We went with vinyl windows instead of wood, and replaced the slider and screen instead of putting in french doors. Read the five biggest lessons we learned. #homeimprovement #diyproject #windows #interiordesign #investment #homedecor #beforeandafter

Some of the screens were gone or ripped and it took every ounce of strength I had to open most of them.

Before and after photos of our window replacement home improvement project. Not a DIY job for us but worth every penny of the cost. We went with vinyl windows instead of wood, and replaced the slider and screen instead of putting in french doors. Read the five biggest lessons we learned. #homeimprovement #diyproject #windows #interiordesign #investment #homedecor #beforeandafter

They were drafty and did nothing to keep heat in or out of the house. I couldn’t open the slider while the baby was sleeping, upstairs, because it was so loud it would wake her up from the deepest of sleeps. And that screen, was mostly just propped up.

Before and after photos of our window replacement home improvement project. Not a DIY job for us but worth every penny of the cost. We went with vinyl windows instead of wood, and replaced the slider and screen instead of putting in french doors. Read the five biggest lessons we learned. #homeimprovement #diyproject #windows #interiordesign #investment #homedecor #beforeandafter

We don’t plan on selling this house anytime soon but knew it would increase the value of our home even in the long term. We also had a specific budget in mind and decided that replacement windows were the way to go.

According to the 2017 Cost vs Value report done by Remodeling magazine, the return on investment for replacing windows with new vinyl ones is over 73%. So if I spend $10,000 on this project, I can expect to see $7,300 added to the value of my home. I’ll take it.

2. Get 3 quotes. Always get 3 quotes.

When it came time to take the plunge, I had three different companies come out to give us quotes. My first quote from from Window World. They had vinyl windows and came highly recommended from a friend who used them at their house. Their quote came in around $8,000. About what I expected to replace 14 windows and a sliding glass door.

My next quote was from Renewal by Anderson. The salesman told us, I should say, warned us that their windows were VERY high end. What I wasn’t ready for was how high end they really were. He quoted us $56,000. FIFTY SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS. And it was a hard sale too. Sign now and I’ll give you a huge discount type of sale. No thanks. Maybe if we lived in a harsher climate it would make sense but for San Diego weather? Unnecessary for this house and for our budget.

Finally I had US Window and Door come and give us a quote. They had replaced our windows at our condo and we had a wonderful experience working with them. I knew their product, Milgard, was good both from personal experience and their reputation in the industry. (I used to work in the building supply industry and had a lot of coworkers come from their organization.) They quoted two different styles and I actually preferred the look of the one that was cheaper – my husband was shocked – and they were in line with the first quote, around $8000.

Since we had such a good first hand experience working with US Window and Door before, we went with them. I think it’s important though to do your due diligence and get various quotes when you go into a big project like this.

3. Understand the process

Every step of the process was explained to us and both US Window and Door and Milgard were great to work with. The product was delivered on time and the crew showed up and got to work.

Before and after photos of our window replacement home improvement project. Not a DIY job for us but worth every penny of the cost. We went with vinyl windows instead of wood, and replaced the slider and screen instead of putting in french doors. Read the five biggest lessons we learned. #homeimprovement #diyproject #windows #interiordesign #investment #homedecor #beforeandafter Replacement Windows Delivered

Before and after photos of our window replacement home improvement project. Not a DIY job for us but worth every penny of the cost. We went with vinyl windows instead of wood, and replaced the slider and screen instead of putting in french doors. Read the five biggest lessons we learned. #homeimprovement #diyproject #windows #interiordesign #investment #homedecor #beforeandafter

Before and after photos of our window replacement home improvement project. Not a DIY job for us but worth every penny of the cost. We went with vinyl windows instead of wood, and replaced the slider and screen instead of putting in french doors. Read the five biggest lessons we learned. #homeimprovement #diyproject #windows #interiordesign #investment #homedecor #beforeandafter

I was amazing how quickly they transformed our home. They’ve made a huge difference in our utility bill and I don’t have to strain to open a window or worry that closing the slider will wake up the baby upstairs.

4. Manage expectations

When we redid our stair railing, we expected a huge visual impact. However with windows, the goal isn’t something that you see everyday, that they become something that you look through and don’t even think about. That’s exactly why this investment is worth every penny.

Before and after photos of our window replacement home improvement project. Not a DIY job for us but worth every penny of the cost. We went with vinyl windows instead of wood, and replaced the slider and screen instead of putting in french doors. Read the five biggest lessons we learned. #homeimprovement #diyproject #windows #interiordesign #investment #homedecor #beforeandafter Slider After window replacement

Before and after photos of our window replacement home improvement project. Not a DIY job for us but worth every penny of the cost. We went with vinyl windows instead of wood, and replaced the slider and screen instead of putting in french doors. Read the five biggest lessons we learned. #homeimprovement #diyproject #windows #interiordesign #investment #homedecor #beforeandafter

5. Keep warranty info handy

Our windows came with a warranty and I’ve had to have Milgard come out and fix a couple items right after installation. The slider screen is starting to separate and I’ve started a claim with Milgard. It’s an easy process if you have your information handy.

If you are in San Diego and looking to replace your windows, give US Window and Door a call and please tell them I sent you!

Before and after photos of our window replacement home improvement project. Not a DIY job for us but worth every penny of the cost. We went with vinyl windows instead of wood, and replaced the slider and screen instead of putting in french doors. Read the five biggest lessons we learned. #homeimprovement #diyproject #windows #interiordesign #investment #homedecor #beforeandafter

Checking In – Serious Fangirl Moment

Checking In – Serious Fangirl Moment

This post contains affiliate links

I’ve decided that I’d check in once a week to see how I’ve done so far on my goals for the year. It will keep me accountable but will also give me a chance to update on anything I’ve learned. I’m also sharing our meal plan for the week.

Have you heard about the one word for 2018 trend? I decided that my word for 2018 is ‘grow’. It encompasses what I want to get out of my Detox and Deepen and my friend from Sweet Lilac Prints did this amazing hand lettered graphic for me. Check out her page, she’s so super talented.

One Word Grow

Health

I didn’t get a run in this week but I did make it to my gym 3 times. Win.

Blog

I had a really great call this week with Dawn from Live in Your Light. I’ve worked with Dawn before after the loss of our baby. She really helped me heal and I wanted to get her perspective on my new venture. It was a call that left me energized and motivated and ready to welcome and build new opportunities.

Reflection

I’m 6 for 6 in writing in my one line a day journal. It’s surprisingly easy and I’m really enjoying it. The hardest part was to remember to keep a pen at my bedside table. I’ve also been meditating every day. I’ve been using the Simple Habit app and they have some wonderful 5 minute guided meditations, most are free.

Digital

I haven’t fully kicked my cell phone out of my bedroom yet but I have cut down on my phone time quite a bit. So much actually that I finished an entire book this week. Sister’s First is written by the Jenna and Barbara Bush about their family, upbringing and bond as sisters. It’s a great read. I tweeted about it when I finished and Jenna responded back to me this morning. Total fangirl moment.

Tweet from Jenna Bush Hager

Diet

I may or may not have eaten a handful of chocolates this week. BUT, we stuck to our meal plan and had some really healthy dinners and lunches. Here is our meal plan for this upcoming week:

Monday: Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese

Tuesday: One Pot Sausage Pasta

Wednesday: Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Thursday: Turkey Burgers/Mac&Cheese/Use up veggies

Friday: Pizza

Clutter

I haven’t started on that coat/shoe closet yet, I’ve been thinking about it though so that counts right? I feel like I’ve actually been adding to the clutter in the house because I’m getting things ready for Little Nugget’s first birthday party. Where did this year go? I’ll be sharing some sneak peaks of the Where the Wild Things Are theme and the decor I’m making/buying so be sure to follow me on Instagram – @nuggetlands. Here is my first idea board for the party…

WTWTA inspo

Meal Planning

Meal Planning

This post contains affiliate links but they are all products that I use in my daily life.

One of the things that I think my husband and I have gotten pretty good at is meal planning. He likes having the week planned out and I like having a full fridge – especially now that I’m home each day. We sit down on either Saturday or Sunday and plan out what we are going to have for dinner at least through Thursday.

Benefits of Meal Planning

Sitting down and meal planning might seem daunting but there are so many benefits. My husband is the type who could have chicken/rice/beans each night, I need to switch things up. Plus it’s better for the kids to be exposed to a variety of food. Getting it done on the weekend gives us the opportunity to do our weekly grocery shop and precook anything on Sunday.

Meal planning also gives us control over what we’re eating. I know that sounds obvious but if I’m not prepared for lunch or dinner then I tend to make easy choices and most of the time easy isn’t always healthiest.

Sometimes it’s easy to jot down a few things, other times, it feels like the hugest chore. The last thing I want to do is schlep two kids to the grocery store at 4 in the afternoon – which happens to be our witching hour.

No.

Thank.

You.

So taking the time to figure it all out on the weekend saves me from that, most of the time. Worth it.

There are a ton of meal planning services that you can subscribe to that range from cooked meals delivered to your door to planned our recipes and grocery lists. I usually pull from my favorite cookbooks, websites and old standbys. I keep the days organized in my Erin Condren planner.

If you are trying to lose weight, eat healthy, stay on budget or just be more organized in the new year, then the first place to start is with meal planning. Read about how to plan weekly or monthly meals for your crockpot, batch cooking or freezer stash for your busy family. #mealplanning #recipe #organization #dinner #newyear

Cookbooks

Skinny Taste Fast and Slow – I feel in love with this website when we were doing Weight Watchers a few years ago. This cookbook doesn’t disappoint. It has a bunch of great recipes that are either ready quickly or go in the crockpot. I think I’ve made about 60% of the recipes in this book and haven’t made a bad one yet.

Roasted – this was an impulse buy at the grocery store and was a BH&G special issue. I’ve probably used this at least once a week if not for a full recipe than just as a reference on time/temperature for a certain meat or veggie.

Oprah: Food, Health and Happiness – My husband and I are opposites in a LOT of ways and our opinion on Oprah is quite different. I think she can do no wrong and this cookbook is testament to that. It’s full of AMAZING recipes, even if they are a little out of reach for the busy family. Great inspiration though and lots of healthy tips.

Websites

Social Media – anytime I see a recipe video that looks good on Facebook or Instagram, I save it to a collection and peak back at them every so often when I need some new dinner inspiration

Skinny Taste – Like I said above, I found this website when we did Weight Watchers a few years ago and it has the most delish meals. I’ve never made anything from this website that wasn’t good or didn’t need a ton of tweaking to the recipe. She has a wide variety that could fit almost any dietary need. Some of our favorites in heavy rotation are the Chicken Parm, Broccoli Cheese and Potato soup, and all of the lasagna roll ups.

Minimalist Baker – I first heard of this website through TheGoodPathSD on Instagram. We like to do meatless Monday as much as possible and this is a great vegetarian/vegan/GF resource. These Buddah Bowls got us hooked. So good and so easy to throw together.

Two Peas and Their Pod – This is a go to of mine for treats but they also have a ton of great salad and dinner ideas. All yummy and easy to make. She also offers a meal planning service.

Go To Dinners

When I don’t have time to make our planned meal or the inevitable happens and I’m missing one key ingredient and don’t want to go to the store….these are some of the things we keep on hand so we aren’t tempted to go out to eat or order take out.

Turkey Burgers (Kirkland @ Costco), Annies Mac and Cheese and roasted veggie

Orange Chicken (from the freezer section), brown rice and roasted veggie

Easy roasted Salmon, rice/mac/quinoa, veggie from the freezer

I like to make a big batch of pasta sauce to portion and keep in the freezer as well as some homemade chicken soup or Vollmer chili. Easy to defrost and get on the table quickly.

 

If you are trying to lose weight, eat healthy, stay on budget or just be more organized in the new year, then the first place to start is with meal planning. Read about how to plan weekly or monthly meals for your crockpot, batch cooking or freezer stash for your busy family. #mealplanning #recipe #organization #dinner #newyear

This Week’s Menu

Monday – Vollmer Chili – it’s a New Years Day tradition.

Tuesday – Brown sugar/mustard Salmon, roasted sweet potatoes and quinoa/brown rice. This salmon is so easy – spread the top with dijon mustard and a little bit of brown sugar. Coat with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes at 375. SO DELISH.

Wednesday – Picadillo and brown rice

Thursday – Vegan Minestrone soup

Friday – Pizza Night – not sure if we will go to our local pizza joint or get the best frozen pizza there is – Against the Grain. We usually have one of the bagged salads from Sprouts along with it.

Saturday – Stuffed turkey meatloaf. This is an old recipe of mine, coming soon to the blog.

If you are trying to lose weight, eat healthy, stay on budget or just be more organized in the new year, then the first place to start is with meal planning. Read about how to plan weekly or monthly meals for your crockpot, batch cooking or freezer stash for your busy family. #mealplanning #recipe #organization #dinner #newyear