Friday, January 31, 2014

DIY: Matchbox Treasure Keeper Necklace

I'm back at Star Club, (at my girls' elementary school), helping out once a week, & loving crafting with the 4th graders. (Star Club is a reward program for 4th graders, where they get to choose from a variety of different activities & projects every Friday, if they've completed their work for the week & have not had discipline issues.)

This week we made these treasure keeper charm boxes. The original idea, found at Lilly Cakes, was for a Mother's Day Matchbox Locket. I just made the project more flexible for kiddos. They can fill the embellished matchboxes with treasures & keepsakes. So, I take no credit for this SUPER CUTE crafty idea. (Lilly Cakes locket is MAJOR adorbs!) I've had this pinned on a Pinterest board for a very long time & was so excited to actually make it!

I will not write out instructions, so just follow along on Lilly Cakes blog. 
But here are a couple tips...
•The little part that slides in & out of the matchbox? Ours were mostly white, so we didn't bother painting them. Instead, we just stuck a tiny piece of scrapbook paper on the bottom, inside. 
•We used yarn instead of ribbon, to wrap around our necks.

The decorating & embellishing was the best part! The girls went nuts. I forget how much that age love stickers. What am I talking about? I LOVE STICKERS!

I was so impressed by my crafty crew!! I love their creativity & imagination. Even though half of them were talking about boys. Boys? You're 9 & 10 years old.  Whatever. Just pass the glue stick...

Before we even began crafting, one girl told me, "You make the best crafts!" I had to agree with her. (Hey, since when is tooting your own horn a crime?)

You can definitely craft these in a Valentine theme & fill them with treats for your friends!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Week in Review: January 20-26

((I had SUCH a happy week!))

I made granola with my mom. I've always wanted to try making granola, but just never have. I actually have a lot of things I want to try, but never attempt. I get too busy, or forget, or figure there are other things more important to tackle. So, I decided to make a checklist of things to achieve every month. And, so far, so good! Click HERE for the recipe. It's from & is very delicious! I followed the baking time, but I should have kept a keener eye on things, because it was just a wee bit too long. Every other bite gives you a slight burnt taste. The girls & I love it though. We are already tackling the 2nd of 3 bags. Next time I'd stir more often & watch the happenings in the oven more closely. You know how the first time following a recipe goes sometimes. Yeah. And I am discovering something about myself in the kitchen: I am an absolute klutz & mess-maker-extraordinaire. I mean, I always have been. It's just getting worse as I get older.

And speaking of getting older...Guess who just went to the eye doctor & has to get progressive lenses? *points to self*
This old lady, right here. Gah. I'll be picking out new frames this week.

 The family & I took an early Sunday evening trip to a local ice skating pavilion. The Mr., with his bum knee (from kick-boxing), had to sit out & watch his girls. Another realization about this old, uncoordinated lady: She will never be a professional ice skater when she grows up. Or even an amateur one. Holy moly! A few times around that rink & my ankles were so shaky & weak that I almost purposely flopped on the ice, just so someone could drag me back to home base. 

Since the busy holiday-ness has faded, my mom, grandmother, sister & I have reinstated our monthly tea & breakfast. Our first tea happened right after I moved back from Nebraska, in the summer. We had such a lovely time together that we decided to make it a monthly thing. And it has now turned into a full-on yummy breakfast. I made THIS Cajun-style hasbrown dish for the morning meal. And then I gave everyone a concert on my ukulele. Everyone clapped, especially grandmother. She's so cute. I'm really practicing a lot on the uke & loving it! Can't believe I waited 9 months to redeem that birthday gift card. My fingertips are all awesome & calloused. 

One afternoon last week, the girls & I spontaneously plopped down some watercolor supplies & got to creating. In fact, the mess is still all over the dining table. That's how we roll. Those little people of mine are so inspiring. They make the coolest things.

It has been 5 1/2 months since I played around with making Foodie Cinema Vines. I used to LOVE making those silly 6-second films! So I got out the veggies & the smartphone & the tiny props & had a blast. Take a peek at the 1st of a 3 part series. (Find me on Vine: Nikki Mans) I'm just gonna have to make more time for the things I love doing. 

Here's what else happened last week...
•Zoey's basketball team played on Saturday. Zoey had a surprise when unexpected guests showed up to watch her play: her papa, mimi, & GG. You should have seen her jaw drop as she stepped onto the court & saw them. So adorably shocked! Icing on the cake was that her team won their game! Woohoo!
•I got THE happiest package from my Susan friend, filled with knitted lovelies & chocolate covered potato chips. A tiny knitted Lucha Libre doll with a pink cape & mask for me? I have the best friends. 
•So, I'm trying to go to Zoey's 5th grade Camp Wooten Outdoor Education trip in March, but got rejected as a cabin counselor. What?!?! They don't know what they're missin'! Haha! So now I'm trying to get in the door by volunteering to help out in the kitchen. Me & the kitchen ladies are gonna have THE. BEST. TIME. EVER. But first I must be accepted into the position. Here's hoping I'm not a two-time {volunteer} reject... 
•The Mr. got to sit in on Zoey's strings class one morning. He came home, saying, "It was so cool." He even used this word to describe it: MAGICAL. The massive sound of all the instruments playing together was such a thing that he'd never heard before. Oh my word. My heart did flips to hear him talking like that. Cutest ever. He thinks we should all go to a symphony now. (Quick! Sign him up before he changes his mind!)
•As I was cleaning the house on Thursday, I got a surprise visit from my Tia friend. I will always accept visitors during cleaning time. I'm just putting that out there. To just sit & chat & giggle & sip yummy hot drinks with a friend is the best. 
•I took the girls for their first appointment with their new doctor. Just a well-check visit. But suddenly I had serious nightmare-ish flashbacks of taking them to the doctor when they were little: They acted the exact same way! Jumping & bouncing & doing acrobats on the examination table & climbing under chairs. I was the embarrassed mom who couldn't control her children. I did get them to hush for a moment when I asked the doc about getting them "flu shots". 
•And finally, grandmother seems to be getting along ok, after her heart attack on the 1st of the year. Though she does get weak more quickly & tired more often, she doesn't require as much assistance as she did when she first came home from the hospital. She does physical therapy twice a week & has nurse visits once a week & happy Nikki visits at least four times a week.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week in Review: Dec 30-Jan 5

This is my first Week-in-Review of 2014! Woot! Woot! And it was a doozy...

I put away Christmas on New Year's Eve. The Mr., unaware I was getting it all organized back in boxes & tucked away in the basement while he was gone all afternoon, came home & gave me a giant bear hug. I guess he really likes a clean, tree-less house.
In case you missed the previous post, my friend Julie & I participated in our own private Polar Plunge, spontaneously jumping in the COLD, COLD, COLD river on New Year's Day with our daughters. (Her son & our hubbies remained dry on shore.) Best first day of a new year ever. After I finished giggling about the fact that we had just done it, I couldn't stop talking about the fact that we had just done it. People, I'm sure, were sick of hearing me go on & on about it. I don't care. Afterwards, Julie & I were wondering how January 2nd was going to beat January 1st. 
On the same morning of the Polar Plunge, my grandmother had a severe heart attack. I spent several hours in the hospital with her, & being a support to my mother. Pretty scary stuff. Family came in from California & Western Washington to be with grandmother. I love my family so much. It was pretty great to see them. Grandmother is, of course, not so strong as she once was, needs lots of TLC & got to come home from the hospital yesterday (Sunday). 
I am currently on the "New Year, New You!" bandwagon, trying to get back on track with my healthy eating & healthy living that got lost somewhere a few weeks before Thanksgiving. It's such hard work! I have no self control when it comes to lovely holiday sweets & treats. My tight jeans are a testament to that fact. 
Speaking of New Year, I was a complete fuddy duddy on New Year's Eve. I was sooooo tired. I rang in a fake New Year with my girls at 7:33 PM. We celebrated with sparkling apple peach cider + vanilla bean cupcakes. And then I headed straight for bed with a movie & warm covers. Boringsville, huh? We've never really made a big hooplah over New Year's Eve. We like the snuggly house routine anyway.
Did you make a New Year's Resolution this year? I keep hearing, more & more, about having a "word" for each new year. I wonder what my word for 2014 would be. Maybe "write". Not only is writing a passion of mine, that I just don't make enough time for, but I have all these thoughts & ideas floating around in this giant noggin of mine & if I don't WRITE it all down, I lose it. And I'm tired of losing it. And I'm almost certain I'll feel a ton more organized when what is in my brain is written on paper. Written with a kooky bedazzled pen, of course.
I have decided, for 2014, to make monthly goals. I think it will be fun to have a small checklist of things to accomplish every month. They might be fitness goals, crafty goals, spiritual goals, etc. This month, I am making it a goal (among other things) to FINALLY make granola. I've never made granola & have always wanted to try. I also want to start knitting socks. And maybe unpack a couple moving boxes that have remained tucked away for 4 months. 
I really do hope to unleash a bit more creativity in this new year. I have been sorta overwhelmed lately with doing a lot of administration-type stuff with the new evangelistic ministry that the Mr. & I started a couple months ago. Not always fun stuff, but necessary stuff, ya know? 
I look forward to 2014. Who doesn't love the fresh clean notebook feeling of a new year? I can't wait to see what this year brings!

To see the photo play-by-play, click HERE.
To see my 2013 YEAR IN REVIEW, click HERE.

New Year's Day

My friend Julie & I started talking a month (or so) ago about doing The Polar Plunge. (Also called The Polar Bear Plunge. It's basically crazy people jumping into a body of low temp water.)
So we spontaneously found ourselves down by the river on New Year's Day afternoon, with our hubbies + kids + our Tia friend, the photographer. (She didn't want to jump with us! *sad face*)
All the females in our clans jumped. Woohoo!!
Julie's hubby got a video of the whole thing. (I'll post as soon as I get access to it.)

First, Julie's 2 daughters jumped together. Then, Julie & I held hands (so one of us could not escape & change our minds) & jumped in. After that, Julie's oldest daughter came around again & jumped off the dock with my two girls.

I have never felt so cold in all my life. I came up out of the water SCREAMING. Tia (who witnessed & photographed the whole thing from shore) was certain my guttural cry began deep below the surface of the water.

Someone mentioned that, in this picture, I look like one of those people from the shark attack videos. Haha! Meanwhile, Julie was searching for pretty rocks on the bottom of the river. (Not really!)

Still, I'm screaming.
We just wanted to get out of there as fast as we could. The rocks under the water hurt my feet so badly! Ouchie mama!

I cannot tell you how wonderful that tiny towel felt around me. My feet were in so much pain though---until I finally slid them into some fuzzy boots. My knees were freezing, which is weird. And I could NOT stop laughing. I got the giggles, somethin' fierce!

I didn't even realize I jumped in with my glasses, which immediately fogged up. I look like real winner. 

I am so proud of us! What a way to start the new year! Unforgettable, really.
The first & last time I'm ever doing that again. For reals.