Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

I remember seeing a video years ago about Operation Christmas Child and seeing a group of kids screaming with joy as they unpacked their shoe boxes. In these boxes were simple things like a small doll, or washcloth or a game of jacks or a yo yo, but to them it meant everything.

I've always had it in the back of my mind as a project that I would like to do and this year is the perfect year to do it with Busy Bee.

We started around back to school time gathering school supplies on clearance (they are a BIG hit, according to Samaritan's Purse) and have added to our stash with stickers, small toys, hard candy, hygiene items, clothing etc. We now have enough stuff that I think that we will have to pack two or three boxes.

You can learn more about Operation Christmas Child here. Be sure to check out ideas for what to include in your box.

Samaritan's Purse asks that you donate $7 per box for administrative/shipping costs and if you do it online you can use their new tracking system to "follow your box." If your Busy Bees might be interested in hearing back from your Operation Christmas Child, be sure to include a self addressed stamped envelope and notecard. You just might hear back from your recipient.

The last step: check here for drop-off locations. (Or if you know me IRL, let me know and I can take yours along with ours) :)

I hope that you will join us in packing a box! I mentioned this to a friend of mine and her kids packed a box in no time with new items from their linen closet, pantry and "gift" stash. She said that it was a lesson learned that things that they weren't even using or had as "extras" could mean a brighter Christmas for a child halfway around the world.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A few more Halloween Ideas

Ok, so I know it's the 11th hour (literally) but maybe you're a night owl like me & conjuring up a craft project that you can do with minimal mess but spooktacular impact. Try a colony of bats!

{Martha Stewart}

We have them clipped up on our blinds. We like to move them around and hunt for them with binoculars. :)We also used the template to create a few for our windows out of black vinyl. You could also use black contact paper or construction paper.

Head here for the directions & template.
(My tip: who has time to spray paint clothespins? Seriously... a Sharpie works just fine.)

We made these last year for treat giving. Frankensteins from take out boxes. CUTE, cute,  & CA-UTE!


And as the name of my blog implies, I'm busy.. :) so a few projects didn't make the cut this year for one reaon or another.

Here are my favorites that are going in my inspiration file:

Pumpkin Topiaries

I wanted to do the topiarys last year. Oh well...

Welcome Wagon
This gets me every time. I can't stop thinking about the execution of this. Loooove it.

{Under The Table and Dreaming}
Mouse Motel
I like her version better than Martha's!

Oh well, there's always next year!

Bee Happy,

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Neighborhood Pumpkin Carving Contest

So, last year, 2 of my neighbor friends & I initiated a parade, party & pumpkin carving contest for our neighborhood. We entered 3 pumpkins.

Our witch was made from a green pumpkin, sported pom pom hair, a hat and nails in the stem for warts. :) This was Busy Bee's creation. I looovved it!

And our second pumpkin was similar to this ceramic one. I freehanded our last name in chunky letters for the teeth. I loved the way that it turned out & plan to carve it from a foam pumpkin sometime. (lol, by next year hopefully!)

This year I got a crazy design in mind & hunted for the perfect pumpkin. Gathered my supplies & commandeered my hubby's new drill to create this:

Well, one hour, a messy drill, some duct tape, electrical tape, & a few staples later I had a porcupine with half of the lights sticking out/half pulled back through the holes. I was ready to tackle that issue when I decided to test the lights again & plug them in. You guessed it. NOT working!!

So, I wasn't willing to do it all over again. I quickly moved to Plan B which involves floral foam and multicolored glow sticks. Hey, you try to find 60+ of the same color the night before Halloween. (not easy :) )

I'm calling this one a big FAIL.

I don't see this coming home with me tomorrow night:

I had this made for $15 and we'll pass it on from year to year. Cheesy, I know - but isn't that the point?

I hope that your pumpkin carving was better than mine. I may or may not post a pic of the final rainbow porcupine. Depends on how he turns out.

Bee Happy,

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Yummy Mummys

Aren't these little guys so cute?? Busy Bee & I made these adorable yummy mummy lollipops, although Busy Bee kept teasing me and called them "mommy" lollipops. When we gathered the ingredients together, Busy Bee asked, "Mommy, did you see this on Martha Stewart?" She cracks me up! I don't even watch Martha Stewart... :)

I found the idea over on How Does She? Be sure to check out their Oreo sucker tutorial first.
Head here for the Royal Icing eyes. Be sure to order a few extra, because a few broke in transit for us.

For some reason, our chocolate didn't melt really well so we had trouble creating the bandage look. We finally used the tines on a mini fork. We used two bags of the melts & ended up with 24 lollipops.

And guess what we'll be having for lunch on Halloween?
Mummy Hot Dogs, of course!


So cute, right? Can't wait to make those. Gotta run, we have one last house to BOO tonight!

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mouse Silhouettes

{Grandin Road}
{Martha Stewart}
{Martha Stewart}

I have LOVED this idea for years and years, but just got around to executing it this year. I set out hunting for a SVG file that I could cut with my Cricut & I found one at Michelle's Adventures with Digital Creations. I literally did a happy dance when I discovered it!

I loaded up my black vinyl and cut out 8 mice. 4 small and 4 large (Busy Bee and I decided that they are 4 mama mice and 4 baby mice).

Then we set out to place them all over the house... frolicing along the fireplace, scurrying down some steps, dangling from a window sill and about to get into our jar of candy corn. Those peksy little houseguests!

They were such a huge hit that I think I will be making more tomorrow for the outside of our house. Gotta love my Cricut, it cut them in under 10 minutes!

If you don't have a Cricut, try this template from Martha Stewart or if you aren't very crafty, you can order them from here. This is now one of my favorite Halloween decor items!

Bee Happy,

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Halloween Banner & Countown

Oftentimes I consider my computer my canvas. I love that in a matter of minutes, I can create, print and enjoy something. Most of the time that I'm blogging or creating, I have a nursing or sleeping Baby Bee in my arms. Tak about multitasking! ;)

This Halloween I knew that I wanted to create a cute banner that I could enjoy in my home, use as decoration for our preHalloween party and even hang on my garage for the night of trick or treating. I opted for orange and black damask and polkadots for the color and pattern scheme.

{sorry for the glare & yes, we will be painting those white walls!}

I wish that I could share it with you as a free printable, but unfortunately, I used some licensed papers in this project. Bummer, huh?

It would be easy enough to create with triangles of scrapbooking paper. I made mine about 4 x 6 in size and strung it on 3 feet of ribbon.

Our friend Martha has these darling alphabet templates that would work perfectly for your DIY creation!

I plan to add a 'Boo" banner to my collection too!

While I'm talking about digi-creations - I thought I would share another project with you! Busy Bee kept asking how many days there were until Halloween so we came up with this cute idea...a countdown! Don't worry, it wasn't candy everyday (LOL)!

I simply created the circles in my favorite picture editing software, printed them and punched them out using my 2 inch scallop punch. I suggest this one. Seriously you need one! You will be dreaming up things to punch.

Anywho, back to the project at hand. I then attached the circle to a magnetic clip... perfect for surprising my Busy Bee with Halloween tricks & treats leading up to the big day:

Bee Happy,
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Words

Whatever you are, be a good one.
Abraham Lincoln

Bee Happy,
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Pottery Barn Knock Off: Chalk Rocks

Hello New Pottery Barn Catalog!! How nice to see you... Hmm, what do we have here?

Wait, let's take a closer look...

{Pottery Barn}

That looks easy enough to replicate. And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't have chalkboard paint in the house. I just need to find some nice smooth river rocks.

Fast Forward to (*cough*) WalMart (my least favorite place on Earth). What do I spy when Busy Bee heads over to the fish aquariums:

BINGO!! And they cost under $3 for 6 of them.

Went home and painted them up while we waited for some water to boil.

Once they were dry, we seasoned them by rubbing chalk on them. This is a VITAL step or else the first thing that you write on them will forever be "ghosted" on the item. Ask me how I know. It has nothing to do with a small piece of furniture in my garage that needs to be repainted. :(

Then write your cute spooky sayings or scary faces!

Hurry before your Busy Bee snags them and does this:

No that wasn't planned! :) So sweet.

P.S. I think that they make super cute placecards too:

And I spent a whopping $3 for 6 of them instead of $4 each for the Pottery Barn version.

Bee Happy,
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Preserving Pumpkins

Do you know the best way to clean & preserve the gourds & pumpkins that you use for indoor decorating?
It only takes a few minutes and really makes a difference in how they look and makes them last longer.

First, give 'em a bath! In a solution of bleach water. I use 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.

Let 'em hang out in there for a little while. If you put the stems down, they won't bob up.

Then dry them off and buff them with some Vaseline. You can't tell a whole lot in the pic, but the one on the left is buffed and the one on the right isn't.

Now look how cute my little pumpkins look after their bath & buff!

In case you were wondering - the cute little BOO stickers came from Target in their scrapbooking section for .99! I did the same thing last year, but just drew the letters on with a Sharpie. They make me smile everytime I see them!

Hallween Kid Crafts

We've been having so much fun making halloween crafts every day! Here are a few of our faves:

Handprint Spiders

These cute little spiders are too cute & super easy! You just fold a piece of paper in half, trace your Busy Bees hands and cut out (cutting off the thumbs). Add eyes and a smile (if they are friendly spiders like ours!) :) I plan to hang these from fishing line so they look like they are dangling in the corner of the room. For now, they are getting a lot of laughs as we scream like crazy and call for Daddy to come and get the spiders in the dining room. Eeeeek!

Handprint Ghosts

These ghosts are so simple but so cute! I just love how the palm makes little mouths. Looove

Apple Print Pumpkin Patch

This is my favorite and will definitely be framed and put out year after year.
We did the pumpkin shape by slicing an apple in half and dipping it in paint. I just love all of the characters. Top row: (L to R) Vampire, Witch, A cup (?) :) Bottom Row: (L to R) Bat (on it's side), Cat, Owl
Could these be any cuter??

Thumbprint Halloweenies

Another favorite activity is thumbprint pictures a la Ed Emberly. I just love to do these because all you need is an inkpad or two and a marker and your imagination. Busy Bee's creation didn't photograph well, but here is a pic to give you an idea and inspire you. These little cuties are so adorable! Get them here!

If you are a crafty momma like me and you don't have one of his books, you need one!

Bee Happy,
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Do You Boo?

Last year Busy Bee & I started a new tradition with booing! You've probably heard of it, but in case you haven't - it means leaving a treat on a neighbor's doorstep. They then pass on the boo by leaving a treat for another neighbor and so on and so on! Once you've been booed, you hang a cute little ghost in your window to let others know not to boo you. Our goal last year was seeing most of our neighborhood with that little guy hanging and we did it!  (We enlisted the help of 2 accomplices to start booing at the same time so that we would have 3 "chains" going.)

To make it easier, I created a BOO packet in an envelope to pass along with the treats. It includes a poem, instructions & the "We've been Booed" signs. Yes, I reallize that some people might compare "booing" to an annoying chain letter... but it's for the kids! And let me tell ya'... Busy Bee loves it! I let her pick the target & what we do for the treat.

Last night was our first "Booing!" We'll do 2 more to keep the Booing going later in the week.

I love seeing the excitement & anticipation build. We practice being quiet  and make up silent hand signals. So fun! We do not do the "ding, dong, ditch" version that some people do. We leave it at night to be found in the morning.

PIC REMOVED :) Until after Halloween... we don't want to give ourselves away!!

Check out this site for printable poems and ghost signs.

Here's the little ditty that I compiled from different sources online along with instructions. Feel free to borrow it!

Since this is the time for goblin and bats
Halloween spirits and ghosts and cats...
Happenings are silly and witches make brew
The following things are the things I wish for you.

May the only spirit you chance to meet
Be the spirit of love and friends that are sweet.
May the only goblin that comes your way
Be this neighborhood ghost that's coming to say:

Happy Halloween & Have a Boo-tiful day!

So in the next few days,
pick a friend down the street
and give to them a Halloween treat.
Fill this container with goodies galore
then leave it for them at their front door.
As this pail moves along from friend to friend,
All good wishes go on and never end!

1. Enjoy your treats!
2. Post your ghost sign for others to see that you've been BOOED.
3. Feel free to to reuse this container or do something new.
4. Choose a neighbor (or 2) to BOO!
5. Be sure to include with their treat a poem and sign for them to hang.
6. Pass along the envelope with poems and signs for them to use when they boo somebody.
7. Watch as hopefully the BOOING goes aroud the neighborhood.

Bee Happy,
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Wednesday Words

There are certain people who bring out the best in you. Just being around them raises your game, makes you a better version of yourself. Let go of those who whittle you down, little by little, to fit you into their smaller experience of the world.

-Karina Allrich

Bee Happy,
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Caramel Corn


This has been on my "to try" list for a few weeks. We decided to whip up a batch for a train ride that was coming up. We had to postpone the train ride by a week & thanks to that and some hungry houseguests - we are all out and will have to make another batch!

A few tips:
We used organic microwave popcorn & I suggest using an unbuttered variety.

Coat your measuring cups & spoons in nonstick cooking spray.

Clean up is a breeze! ( I was surprised!) Super hot water loosened everything in a jiffy.

You'll probably use about 3 bags of the popped popcorn.

Have enough ingredients on hand because you will be making this again & again.

If you see a lot of unpopped popcorn, it's worth fishing out the kernels.

I was worried about how long it would stay fresh for... stored in an airtight container, it stayed fresh for 6 days before it was all gone! :)

You are welcome! (Because I know you will be thanking me!)

Heard from Busy Bee: "Yummmmmmmmmm this is sooooo good. I can't stop eating it, it's so good! Yummmmm!" {Insert happy noises} I think that you will agree!


1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 quarts popped popcorn


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popped popcorn in a very large bowl.

In a 2 quart casserole dish, or other heat-proof glass dish, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Heat for 3 minutes in the microwave, then take out and stir until well blended. Return to the microwave, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave, and stir in the baking soda.

Drizzle over popcorn & mix well.

Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.
 Bee Happy,

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