Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sock Monkeys

Christmas is only days away!!! 

Are you excited!?

I honestly don't have the time to be excited. Most of my time and thoughts are currently being taken over by crochet hooks, sewing needles, paint, buttons, thread, and glue guns. 

(and all of the injuries that go along with them)

I absolutely love giving away homemade gifts. There's so much thought and time that goes into something handmade and it's extremely budget friendly. I do admit that this year has been slightly overwhelming with the mountain of gifts I've decided to make but I'm just trucking along all merrily. 

My sweet, sweet Mike has tried to help me with some of these handmade gifts. He's been a big help.
 Too bad the guy can't sew or crochet yet. Maybe I'll teach him how in 2014? Mike, add that to your new year's resolution K?

Just kidding. I'll just start even earlier next year. 
(yeah right!)

I do want to show you one gift that I made this year. Others can be shown after the wrapping paper has been torn away.

See these awesome socks? I got them for under a dollar a pair off of You can find the exact socks I used by clicking here.You can chose from over 20 colors!

And what did I make with them you ask? Well sockmonkeys of course!

How many did I make? Well let's just say that every one of my preschool students will get one, and I have a total of 9 students. That's 99 cents and 2 hours of sewing per student. I've been a busy, busy girl.

The boys get the blue monkeys and the girls get the green and pink monkeys. I actually had a parent ask me NOT to give his daughter something covered in pink. 

Each monkey is given a unique bow so I can tell who's is who's. No fighting over "that's my monkey!" "not it's mine!". Ha! I have it all on a list in my desk! Take that kids!

I won't show you how to make them since there are plenty of good sock monkey tutorials out there, like this one.

Are you giving anything handmade this year?

What's the best handmade gift you've ever received? 

Leave a comment below and share the Christmas Spirit!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

DIY: Christmas Photo Backdrop

Good Sunday Morning Dear Readers!

I know that Christmas is next month, but we preschool teachers like to plan ahead! I've got a December calendar that I need to get out to parents as soon as possible. We like to add pictures of the kids on calendars so I'm always looking for a creative way to "shoot" my kids.

So first I got a bunch of colored Christmas lights and a white blanket.

I grabbed my big kitchen playset that I have in my classroom and lightly duck taped on the blanket. I then use masking tape to hang my lights.

I taped them to the top of the kitchen, then down on the carpet, then back up again on the kitchen, then down again on the floor.

I made a little X on the floor so my kids knew where to sit when I took their picture.

I turned off the lights and this it the effect I got. The kids were mesmerized by the lights and I got some pretty sweet smiles. Because of obvious reasons, I can't show you their faces but I can give you a glimpse at what they look like.

I zoomed in on their faces and voila! Beautiful Christmas photos for their families to cherish.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Preschool Fall Activity: Friendly Scarecrow

Happy Saturday Morning Readers!

I can't wait to share this preschool activity with you!!!!
It's perfect for little ones and my kids found it to be so terribly exciting!

First, I found some clothes in a back room of our preschool and I both taped and stapled a long sleeve shirt to a pair of pants. I did this with the clothes inside out so the kids wouldn't get stabbed.

Then I made a little head out of a paper bag, shredded recycling paper, and a pompom. I twisted the end and secured it with a rubber band. We're leaning about triangles right now so I gave him triangle eyes made from a 3x5 card.

I drizzled glue all over his head and stuck him in a bucket, head first, of yellow shredded paper.

The day before I got help from a volunteer parent in the office and shredded a big box full of recycling paper.
This didn't take long since the shredder was already almost full of paper already.

I can't show you my kid's faces so enjoy these artificial smiles! Trust me, they were all beaming!

They LOVED making a BIG mess all over the floor and they wouldn't stop giggling while stuffing the arms, legs, and body.

A little teacher assistance was needed near the end but the kids did a great job stuffing this guy full of paper.

Of course this made a big mess and I had to vacuum up a ton of paper...

And here's our finished product! 
I attached the head by squeezing the neckline of the shirt around the "neck" of the paper bag. I secured it with those twisty ties you use for trash bags.

I stuck on some gloves and socks (slightly stuffed with paper) and secure them with little rubber bands. We dressed him up with a winter hat and tapped on a pair of glasses.

He turned out really well! We'll take a vote and give him a proper name on Monday.
I can't tell you how many times I turned to say something to our scarecrow thinking it was a student.

This was a super fun fall project for my preschoolers and it was budget friendly! Let me know if you make one too! E-mail me a photo and I'll post it on the blog!

Happy Fall!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Little Goes A Long Way

Happy Friday Afternoon Readers!

I love my job, but I can't tell you how happy I am that it is Friday. Sleeping in, crafting, and blogging are all that I want to do right now. Any teacher would tell you that the weekend is a blessing from the Lord. It gives us all a chance to catch our breath before the next round. 
(yeah, sometimes it's like running a marathon) 

Anyways, I wanted to share a little something that happened to me this week. I really needed some encouragement because of this and that and God seemed to work things in my day that brought my smile back. 

I have a few ESL students at preschool and I love them to death. One little sweetheart came from Turkey and I've been trying to build a relationship with her and her family ever since she enrolled. She wears these beautiful head scarves/band things when we play outside. I asked her where she got it and she said "My grandma!" 

Later that week I saw her mother and who I thought was the grandma. They were all wearing the headbands and I just started a conversation with the mom. She speaks a little bit of English and is getting better and better every day. I mentioned the headbands and how much I admired them. I asked about the grandma who made them and explained that I crocheted too. 

Right then and there the mother took off her headband and put it on my head. She arranged my hair and the band and told me to look in the mirror. After I complimented the headpiece and started taking it off she said "No, for you." 

I fought so hard to keep the tears from flowing. This mother was so selfless and gave me HER OWN headband at the drop of a hat. (ha ha, see what I did there?) I was so touched and thanked her several times.
I've been wearing it every time I go out and I'm even wearing it now as I type.

It was just a little thing, but it meant so much.

Okay everybody, here's your homework.

Do one little, but nice thing for a teacher next week. Drop off a Starbucks drink (they're bogo right now!) or even a stack of stickers (we always need those)
Just do a little something sweet. You'll make their day, and maybe bring back their smile.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hands On Preschool Pumpkin Activity

Today our preschool class cut into this mini pumpkin. 
I can't tell you how much the children's eyes lit up when I told them that we were actually going to get to see what was inside. 

I got some interesting guesses too...

4. A Bumblebee (?)

So we talked about pumpkins and how they grow on the ground. We even entertained the idea of pumpkins growing on trees! (just for kicks) 
We talked about the shape of the pumpkin and the color.

I had roasted some pumpkin seeds the night before. I wanted my preschoolers to have the chance to taste the pumpkin seeds after our activity. 

Each of the students had the chance to look inside the pumpkin and pull out some seeds. There were lots of giggles, "ewwws!", and smiles.

I left the pumpkin out for the kids to play with. They enjoyed putting it back together like a puzzle, and my classroom smelled like Fall. 

What happened afterwards? I took that baby home and turned it into pumpkin bread.

Yeah baby!

P.S. Here's the recipe I used.

The Memorial

Hello Readers,

Before we go anywhere in the memorial details, I just wanted you to know that Mike and I have both started healing. The pain of losing both of our babies will never completely vanish. Any mother or father who has suffered the same understand this. 
We believe that God planned our lives to play out this way and this is meant for good and his glory. God makes no mistakes. He always loves and cares and understands. I don't understand why he did this to us, but I don't need to understand. I just need to trust and obey my loving God.

Here we are at the hospital right before my surgery. The doctors and nurses were so kind and took very very good care of me. Mike and my parents stayed by my side and prayed with me right before I had to go in. While I was sleeping (thanks drugs!) I dreamed about my babies and heard the song "I'll Never Forsake You" in my dream. You can listen to the song by clicking here if you want. 

We contacted a funeral home because we didn't know what else to do. The man working that day donated his time and this urn for our babies. They were too big to fit into the heart I talked about in the vlog (my babies are overachievers!) so he placed them in this urn instead.
It comforts my heart to know that nothing can ever get to my babies. I had nightmares of wild animals trying to dig them up.

We honestly didn't know what to do in the pictures. Do we smile because our babies are in heaven? Do we cry because we're sad? It was kinda awkward, but I am so glad that we did take photos. I really needed something to hold on to.

We buried our babies with these two stuffed animals. I know that you can't take anything with you when you die, so this was more of a sentimental thing for me.
Giving my babies their first stuffed animals helped me with the healing process.

Sadly, this is the only ultrasound photo that we have of our babies. They aren't very clear because they just didn't feel photogenic that day. On their own, they looked great on the ultrasound...guess the sibling rivalry started early. 

I wish that I had asked the doctor to take a clearer picture the day we found out their hearts had stopped beating. I think that I was so in shock that I didn't think about it until that night.

I hung these two Christmas ornaments in the tree where our babies were buried. They represent the guardian angels by babies had, and the angels who are watching over my babies even now.

I took my babies inside and sealed them in a special vacuum bag with the stuffed animals. I wrapped them in the pretty gold fabric and tied a bow with red velvet ribbon. 

I then placed the little ones in a white box and tied that with green and white satin ribbon.

Next we started our memorial service. We had family and a few close friends gather on our lawn by the tree. My dad spoke about the assurance that we have of our babies being in heaven without a doubt. He talked about beginning to heal and the amazing love of our God.

Then came the hardest part of the memorial.
Right before we ended in prayer, I carried my babies over to the grave my husband had dug. I stopped and fixed the bows on the box and pretty much broke down. I knew that this was when I had to let the go. Mike placed a bottle of Bible verses at the foot of the angel and put his arm around me. Together we placed our babies at the foot of the angel.

We knew that our babies were in heaven and happier than they could ever be with us on Earth, but giving up their little bodies was the hardest thing I've ever done.

We placed them at the foot of an angel to remind us how well they are being taken care of right now. They are so happy, and they are together. They are walking and running along streets of gold. They are enjoying the fruits of heaven and if they are anything like me, they have fruit juice all over their faces and clothes. They never had a reason to cry or feel pain. They'll never need a band-aid or a time-out. They're living in a perfect place and they are so terribly loved.

I am so blessed to have Mike by my side. He loves me so much and he loved our babies. He is helping me heal while trying to heal himself. I couldn't have asked for a better partner in this life.

I miss my babies so much. My body is physically hurting from the surgery, but my heart hurts even more from the emptiness of my womb. I take comfort in the fact that my babies were not ripped from my womb, they were gently carried to the arms of my heavenly father. The first face they saw was his. The first voice the heard was his. The first love the experienced was his.

I might talked more about my grieving process, but dear readers please know that I've started to heal. I can't wait to share with you the joy of the Lord and the comfort that he gives me in these hard days to come.