Friday, December 30, 2011

Enjoying Myself

We've been spending a fabulous two weeks with my husband's family in Michigan. Here are some things I've been enjoying:

Reading Devouring the Hunger Games Trilogy

- Hearing the crunch of snow underneath my winter boots

- Keeping warm by the fireplace

- Staying up late and sleeping in

- Homemade sushi, jalapeno poppers, and ice cream cake from DQ

- Playing dinosaurs with my 2 and a half year old nephew

- Going out to the movies

- Watching our city dog Barney have blast on our walks around the farm

- Meeting up with old friends

We head back to Michigan tomorrow - we'll do the 20-21 hour drive in one day again! Hope you all have a fabulous New Year's!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For New Year's Eve

As far as I can remember, our New Year's Eve plans have been booooooring (yawn!) And this year is no exception.

I'm just not a night owl and we don't live near the kind of friends who are up for partying all night!

The one exception to this was the New Year's Eve of 1999. My whole family took a trip to Egypt that year to visit my best friend (whose family are also missionaries). We rung in the year 2000 on a boat in the Nile river - it was definitely something to remember!!

Are you planning a shindig to celebrate the new year? If so, I found some charming printables you might want to take a look at:

Happy party planning! I'll be living vicariously through all of you :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesday: Back Next Year

I'm just popping in to say that I've been enjoying Christmas with my amazing in-law family, and that Tickle Me Tuesday will be back in January!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve!

Hurrah for Christmas Eve!

Hurrah for Christmas Eve!
Another day for shopping
For mom and dad
For bro and sis
For goodies to fill the stockings.

For all year long
We've been too busy
Just pushing the shopping date deadline
For this Blessed day out of our minds.

If we would only slow down,
Stop and remember.
The Gift is Jesus Christ,
And just loving each other
Is the best gift and prize.

D. Alsup

Friday, December 23, 2011

Re-using Your Gift Wrap

Before you go tearing into your gifts this Christmas, think about repurposing all of that lovely gift wrap! Below are some of my favorite ideas:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Naughty or Nice?

Last week, I read It's Christmas, David! with my Kindergarteners. Have you ever read this book? It's fabulous and funny to boot!

Anyways, I teach children with hearing impairments, which means they also have a significant language delay. They didn't know what "coal" was or what "naughty" meant. I had brought in some coal (a gag gift from the Dollar Tree) and they all decided that it was NOT a present they would want. The book provided plenty of examples of what "naughty" meant!

Afterwards we "wrote" (drew pictures) of what it meant to be naughty and nice.

What about you? Do you threaten your kids with reminders like "Santa's watching!!!!" And does it work?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!

I love reading The Grinch Who Stole Christmas to my students each year. This year, we did a fun extension activity where we wrote/drew what we would do to make the Grinch grin!

They looked a little bit like this (the fabulous Ms. Williams did this in her classroom too!):

I can't believe I forgot to take pictures of mine!

Anyways, there's lots of Grinch-themed inspiration on Etsy... take a peek:

PS: The lucky winner of the large ad space for Arizona Russums is Jaclyn!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesday, 49th edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Tickle Me Tuesdays, where we all share what's been tickling our fancy!

If you'd like to participate (and you know you do!!), here are the rules:
1. Write a short post with anywhere from one to five items that have been tickling your fancy recently. Please include pictures and links :)

2. Make sure to link back to the party in your blog post (you can grab the button or include a text link)

3. Come back here and link up your blog post!  

4. Visit some other links and HAVE FUN!

Now it's your turn! What's been tickling your fancy lately?

Missionary Kid Monday: Christmas in France

{For more on this series, click here}

When we were all still little kids, my parents decided we were going to do our own thing for Christmas and not celebrate the way the French do. Mainly, my family didn't like the idea of opening gifts on Christmas Eve.

Christmas was always a pretty exciting time. Some years, our grandparents flew out to see us! With suitcases full of goodies to spoil us!! Most years, our supporters back in the States were generous in sending us packages filled with random stuff we missed from America.... like Kool Aid, ranch dressing packets, peanut butter, and Oreos.

In later years there were fewer and fewer packages from the States. And that was okay - we always felt like we had enough presents. My parents support level can wane back and forth and I remember a few years in junior high when my mom fretted that there wasn't enough under the tree.

I think that was when we put an emphasis on making Christmas last for as long as possible. First we opened up our stockings, then we had a hot breakfast, then afterwards we opened the gifts under the tree... one at a time. Nobody started opening a gift until the previous person has finished and we had all oohed and aahed!

This tradition of making the merriment last as long as possible is still going strong in our family.

Do you have any special traditions on Christmas morning?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Today is an exciting day!! Once I survive our all-day Polar Express party at school, I'll be coming home to pack up all of our clothes and Christmas presents.

We're driving to Michigan to see family tomorrow!!

It'll be a 20 to 21 hour drive (with the dog of course) and we'll most likely go straight through. I'm looking forward to this road trip: snacks, chatting, sleeping, and listening to our favorite NPR podcasts (This American Life, and Radio Lab).

I'm looking forward to the snow, a warm and cozy fireplace, spending time with my husband's family, and eating to my heart's content (because calories don't count in December, right?!)

My shop will be on vacation mode until January 3rd. I've scheduled a few blog posts till then, but don't you worry! I'll be back in January with something super secret I've been working on and some fun new designs for my store :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

O Christmas Tree

For my whole life, I've only ever had a real Christmas tree, or an artificial green one. And our ornaments have always been an eclectic mix of sentimental handmade ones and random store bought ones over the years.

Have you ever done a monochromatic Christmas where you try to stick to a color scheme? The idea intrigues me. Here are some people that pulled it off really well:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Star Sponsor Feature: Along for the Ride

Meet Laura:

Hi there! I'm Laura and I'm along for the ride. No really, I am.

Along For the Ride isn't just the name of my handmade shop and my blog, but it's how I see my walk with the Lord. I am along for the ride He has planned for me, and what a glorious ride it is!

During the day (and lots of times at night) I spend my time running a residence hall on a college campus. My husband and I live in the hall and our neighbors are 400 loud, silly, messy, wonderful college students. We have a kitty baby named Jupiter that shares our little apartment.

When I'm not working in the hall, I spend my time with a glue gun in hand, making lovely things for my shop. My motto is "keep is simple" and I try to make simple accessories that aren't too dramatic or fussy, but add just a pretty touch of whimsy to an already beautiful you.

"Keep it simple" is my motto for my life as well and I blog a lot about the simple, little, imperfect things that make life sweet.

Take 20% off your order with coupon code TEACHER20

Star Sponsor Feature: Sweet Caroline

Meet Caroline:

Hi Friends! My name is Caroline and I am the crazy person behind the shop Cotton Lane and the author of the blog, Good Times Never Seem Sew Good. When I'm not blogging about my life a as a newly wed, DIYs, fashion (sort of), and other tid bits, I am either busy creating fresh goodies for my handmade shop or working non stop at a local fabric store. Are you tired yet? :)

Take 10% off your order with coupon code YESTEACHER10

Star Sponsor and Giveaway: The Arizona Russums **CLOSED**

Meet Jen:

My blog is a place where I share my adventures as a newlywed living in a new state, the joys and pains of grad school, and little bits of home management advice and inspiration along the way. Mostly, it's an outlet where my I share about my faith in Jesus to encourage other women.


Jen is giving away a one month large ad sponsorship on her blog!!

Here's how you can win:

Follow Jen's lovely blog

EXTRA entries:
+1 Like Jen on Facebook
+1 Follow Jen on Twitter
+1 Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter
Sample tweet: Win a FREE month of advertising with @jenrussum over on @yes_teacher 's blog!!

This giveaway is open worldwide and will end on Tuesday, Dec. 20th. Winner will be emailed and announced on this blog! Good luck!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesday, 48th edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Tickle Me Tuesdays, where we all share what's been tickling our fancy!

If you'd like to participate (and you know you do!!), here are the rules:
1. Write a short post with anywhere from one to five items that have been tickling your fancy recently. Please include pictures and links :)

2. Make sure to link back to the party in your blog post (you can grab the button or include a text link)

3. Come back here and link up your blog post!  

4. Visit some other links and HAVE FUN!

Now it's your turn! What's been tickling your fancy lately?

Missionary Kid Monday: You Know You're an MK When....

Because we are caught between our parents' home culture and the cultures of one (or more) other countries,  missionary kids have become their own culture. It's why some people refer to us as "Third Culture Kids".

This is a long list that's kinda famous. Some of it may even apply to you! Below, I've picked some of my favorites:

You know you're an MK when:

  1. Your family sends you peanut butter and Kool-Aid for Christmas.
  2. You think VISA is a document stamped in your passport, and not a plastic card you carry in your wallet.
  3. You go to a church you have never been in before and find your picture on their bulletin board.
  4. Someone asks you where you most enjoy just hanging out and you immediately think of happy hours spent in international airports.
  5. You don't know whether to write the date as month/day/year, day/month/year, or some variation thereof.
  6. You know how to pack.
  7. You can't get past "Oh, say can you see ..." in the national anthem, and you have to watch to see what hand to use.
  8. You mess-up your idioms without even thinking about it.
  9. You feel like you need to move after you've lived in the same place for a two months.
  10. You meet another MK, and discover that you share the same best friend.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Important Shop Announcement

My shop will be on vacation mode from December 15th to January 3rd! So if you've had your eye on some cute Christmas cards or mini notes, NOW IS THE TIME!! :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gift Giving Traditions

I inadvertently started a gift giving tradition in 2004. It was the year we were all together in California with my grandma:

See how young we all look? (And it was only seven years ago!)

This was the year I made my grandma a scrapbook calendar. To say she loved it is an understatement. Here is ooohing and aaaahing over it:

I was so pleased she was happy with the gift! But now? Now she would like a scrapbooked calendar for every Christmas! And I can't blame her because they are pretty special. But it is a lot of work... a labor of love for me as I look back on our year and collect all the photos I can.

Do you have any gift giving traditions?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Christmas Mantel

One of the things I would love in our next house is a fireplace.

With a mantel.

That I can decorate for the holidays!

But since we don't currently have one, I'm just drooling over everyone else's :). Here are a few of my faves:

Do you have a mantel to decorate?

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!