Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our gratitude chain

My gran called it counting your blessings.

We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas.
Family that loves us, a home that is safe, a country without war, earthquake, floods or famine. Every time I turn on the news I give thanks for my life.

And Miss E is learning that there is a world outside her very lucky world this Christmas. We have already participated in the school's "Adopt a family" tradition, and she has worked hard to earn money to buy a gift for under the giving tree. And this year we are reminding ourselves to give THANKS!

Every day we are adding an extra link to our gratitude chain, to remind us that we have so much to be thankful for. And hopefully friends and family and guests to our home will help our chain to grow during this holiday period.

Eliana wrote the first link. All on her own. I did not tell her what to be thankful for. *happy tears*

The reason ...

Merry Christmas Everyone! In all things give THANKS!

And we would love to hear what you are thankful for ... add it in the comments so we can all share!

Countdown to Christmas!

It's here!! It's here! I am SO excited!

Not only is it December - and the start of my FAVOURITE time of the year ... but my countdown chain from SUGAROWLDESIGNS on etsy arrived!!!

We use paper chain to countdown to all sorts of things. Now we have a beautiful, handmade item that we can treasure and use throughout the years! Every day we remove an extra loop from the chain ... when we are down to one it will be CHRISTMAS DAY!!

This is so much fun! Miss E is loving it, and it really helps us solve the "how many more sleeps" issue.

In fact, I love the idea so much that I bought a "non Christmas" rainbow version too ... countdown to New Years, school starting, birthday, easter .... anything!

Of course - you don't need to spend a cent to use this idea - paper chains work just as well and are fun to make. But we have another plan for the paper chains this year. Be back later with pics of that!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Reindeer dust! Or ... Mummy 1, Sugar 0

It's that time of the year.

When every second Christmas card and every well meaning shop assistant has a candy cane ready to rot the teeth of your child (and let's face it - the kids don't like them much anyway!)

The solution to all our candy cane woes is this. Magic Reindeer dust!

As the candy canes arrive we open them and crush them into little pieces. Add a sprinke of red and green glitter, and store in an airtight container.

Now we have reindeer dust ready to sprinkle on the lawn on Christmas Eve for the reindeer! Full of energy and magic to help them fly around the world!

And Miss E thinks it is SO magical! She couldn't wait to make it and there was no talk AT ALL of eating any of those canes! WIN!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas snacks!

Red and green ... the colours of Christmas!

We needed to bring a plate to school break up and wanted to find a way to get away from the stodge and sugar that is overwhelming this time of year.

Some cute Christmas boxes, skewers, an orange as a base and red and green grapes and we have a fun, yummy snack!

Now I just need to see if they get eaten!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Great teacher thank you gifts!

I come from a family of teachers. I love and respect teachers more than you could ever know. My girl is so precious to me, it takes a special person for me to trust her learning to. And to me, it is so very important to say thank you for all the hours spent working with my girl over the year, and helping her to become the young lady she will one day be.

Coming from a family of teachers I am all too aware of the amount of coffee cups, chocolates, soap and handcreme they are given for gifts each year. And, while any thank you is very much appreciated, I really wanted to be on the lookout for unique, fun Thank you gifts.

Some of our favourite gifts in the past have been the gift of time. Volunteering to help tidy or clean the classroom at the end of the year is very much appreciated. Gifts that allow teachers to make the most of their precious time off are also great. In the past we have given movie tickets, vouchers for the local coffee shop ... there are heaps of ideas in your local community!

We do avoid food. Maybe it is having a dietitian in the family but I would hate to give food and then discover an allergy in the family meaning the gift was not a blessing. Although a beautiful fruit basket would not go astray.

This year I found some GREAT ideas though! Here are some of my favourites...

I love hand stamped jewellry. I so wanted to get something beautiful and meaningful for Miss E's teacher this year. She has done so much to increase my girl's confidence and give her a real love of learning. When I found this from CTJewelryDesign on etsy I couldn't resist! I think it is perfect!

So many people don't realise that a great teacher often spends their own money on extra resources for their class. At the end of the year I like to find a book that my girl has treasured through the year and donate it to the classroom. Chances are - if my girl loves it so will other children. I am thinking of this book for 2010. It is the first reference book she has devoured and has great in depth information, presented in a format that she loved. Perfect for the beginning primary age group.

On my hunt for pendants I found these from JesseJanes on etsy. We *heart* handmade in our home, and these were bright, fun and would be a great little extra to tuck into a handmade gift! Made from scrabble tiles they are a heap of fun! Aren't they great!

Every teacher goes through a bucket full of stickers, especially in the early years. And again, the cost of these tends to come from their own pocket.

How great are these stickers from mystickers4u.com

They have a great range of personalised stickers including some for the dance teachers in our lives (and even the dentists!) The quality seems great. I think they would make a great back to school gift too to break the ice with the new teacher when your child goes up a year level as well. I LOVE these! You could always get a rubber stamp made up instead saying "Mrs xxx says you did a great job" but I love the colour in these stickers.

Of course - when it comes to teacher gifts I think the last idea should go to my dad. A man I really respect and a teacher of oh so many students (including me!)I asked him last year what gift he really remembered, what sort of gift he would like. He said the best gifts over the years he had ever received were the parents who took the time to stop and write a genuine heart felt note. Reading those letters of thanks, and the examples of how the time he put in during the year really was so special. These were the gifts that were treasured.

So amongst the excitement of presents arriving, and being wrapped, that is our joy for today. Paul, Miss E and I are going to sit down and write our thanks on paper. And somehow try to express in words the enormity of the gratitude we have for those who we trust with our girl, and for the love of learning and exploring they have instilled in her this year. It won't be easy. We won't be able to get it all down on paper. But we are going to try.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In our garden right now ...

Chillies ...

Tomatoes ...

Berries ...

The cutest capsicum you ever did see ...

More Tomatoes ...




It seems rain really does make a difference!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fun things coming!

There has been too much talking and not enough organising and creating on this blog lately!

This could be due to a busy time of the year, starting a new job, shift work, ... a whole heap of reasons really!

But I have some fun ideas ready to go! I'll start putting them up tomorrow. They involve some knick knacks from the $2 ... and a whole lot of spray paint! And a few of them are perfect for the upcoming holiday season!

Thanks for your patience guys while I went off track their for a little while.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A big shout out ...

To my friend Robin!

She makes these gorgeous bows ... and they are so reasonable! Lots of fun and they stick in the finest finest hair!

I love my girl - and I love spoiling her ... so when this parcel arrived in the mail it made BOTH of us happy!

Go check out her etsy shop