Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teacher (or anyone) Gift and How to Dress Up a Gift Card

I love gift giving!  It’s one of my top two love languages.  I also love my son’s teachers.  I have a special place in my heart for teachers obviously.  I decided to go with a basket gift filled with dinner and a little goodie.  Here is a gift idea for a teacher, but would also work for a neighbor or friend. 

Basket Gift

My mom makes a really good Tamale Soup.  It’s super easy and great for a basket gift.  I included all the ingredients (recipe below), along with the original recipe, directions, and a box of cornbread.  I also added a mug with a Starbucks gift card inside.  I found these baskets at Walmart for about $5.  I love the chalkboard label on the front.  I was going to write their name on it, but forgot to get chalk or a chalk pen (can’t believe we don’t have chalk).  Then I wrapped it in cellophane and tied a ribbon around it.
I included only one can of each to half the recipe (they can still use an entire taco seasoning packet).


-2 cans chicken broth
-2 cans pinto beans
-2 cans hominy (white and yellow)
-2 cans corn
-2 cans of tamales (or 1 large can)
-1 packet taco seasoning
I rinse the beans, hominy, and corn (my mom doesn't so it's up to you).  Then combine all the ingredients and cook on the stove for 20-30 minutes.  I like to top mine with cheese and make some cornbread to go with it.

The details of the basket: I stuffed the bottom with grocery sacks, then topped it with white tissue paper, and added some of that shredded Christmas paper on top.  Then I placed the items on top in a decorative manner.  Wrapped it up and it’s good to go!  In each cup, I added some candy to surround the gift card.
Another good recipe to include in a basket would be this taco soup recipe (could just add the dry and canned ingredients) and include the recipe with it.  They only have to add water, onion, and ground beef.
Teacher Gift

Next up is how to dress up a gift card.  I’m not a big gift card giver, but sometimes it really is the best gift for someone.  I cannot just hand over an envelope with a gift card, so I thought I’d stuff it in a mason jar with candy.  Much prettier to receive, plus they can enjoy some candy instantly since their gift has to be used later.  You could also add things like rolled up fuzzy socks, nail polish, gloves, etc. 

Dress up a gift card

I used festive holiday colored Snickers and Hershey Kisses.  The Snickers take up a lot of room so you’re not using as many Hersey Kisses.  Candy can get pricey so this is a good way to make it look fuller.  For my bigger jars, I placed a few Snickers on the bottom, then the gift card on top and filled the rest with Kisses.  For the smaller jars, I put the card in first and filled the rest with the combo candy.  I also added these circle stickers to the top of the jar.  You could also add a tag with the person’s name, “Merry Christmas,” or “From: Your Name.”  Tie some ribbon with the tag attached and you’ve dressed it up even more. 


HERE is another teacher gift idea I did for the beginning of the year last year, but would certainly work as a Christmas or birthday gift for your child’s teacher.  Do you have any good teacher gift ideas or ways to dress up a plain gift?

I’m off to bake 20+ “cakes in a jar” for my husband’s co-workers!  I bake for them all the time, so this will be a little fancier version of a goodie.  I’ll share the recipe and method soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#oliviaeveryday2014 Week 49 and 50

2014 is almost over.  I kind of can’t wait to start 2015!  I feel like I’m finally turning a corner with Maddox and getting a little bit of a normal schedule back into my life…and you know I like a schedule.  Once again, I’m combining two weeks worth of daily pictures.  Like I mentioned before, I like the daily pictures but I’m most likely not going to document it the same next year.  Here’s what we’ve been up to the last couple of weeks.

Day 337: It had been a really rough few nights with as little as 3 hours of sleep.  I didn’t feel bad about indulging in waffles covered in syrup!  Who am I kidding, I rarely feel bad about indulging in food.  But I earned those calories a couple of weeks ago.  Luckily, we are past whatever sleep regression Maddox had.

Day 338: The barista at Starbucks must have heard my prayer request for an easier day…she gave me a free scone.

Day 339: My best friends husband coaches basketball, which works out great for me since Ryan is gone a lot as well officiating basketball.  We spent Friday evening at their house.  With 5 kids it’s kind of crazy, but with pizza, beeritas, and your good company, things are much better.

Day 340: I discovered that my mom’s banana bread bakes perfectly in a jar!  Some of you asked how it comes out of the jar.  With a spoon!  If you want them to slip out in loaf form, you have to use a jar without a neck.  I know the half pint jars are made like that.  This makes a perfect gift for neighbors or co-workers.  I’m making some tonight for Ryan’s co-workers, but with this disappearing cake inside.

Day 341: On Sunday, we ran some errands (Ryan was still gone) and we stopped for lunch, but ate in the car since it was easier to stay in.  By the way, he thought this was the coolest thing ever.  Who knew.  It reminded me of when Ryan accepted Jesus as his Savior when he was a little kid.  He was sitting in a parking lot with his mom.  How sweet.  Made me think of how my kids will invite Jesus into their hearts.  I’m with them all day, most every day, so I know I’ll have many conversations about Jesus with them.  It’s exciting and also encouraging to SHOW them what Jesus is like in human form.  It’s what life’s all about.  Without Jesus, what hope is there?

Day 342: We had lunch with Ryan on his lunch break.  It’s always fun to meet up with him, especially during reffing season.

Day 343: M looks up to Beckham.  I cannot tell you how much he loves his older brother.  He’s the one that makes Maddox laugh the most.

Week 50:

Day 344: Last Wednesday, we went to visit Santa.  When we showed up, it was a different Santa.  I knew it would happen one year, but I was kind of bummed.  Then the “photographer” took 4 photos…this being the best.  Sigh!  Santa didn’t even ask B what he wanted for Christmas.  B was walking off saying, “purple dinosaur”…what he’s been asking for and preparing to ask Santa for.  Then a couple of days later, I learn that the old Santa that we have the last 2 pictures with, IS at that location.  They must change them out for breaks and such.  Needless to say, we’re going back for retakes.

Day 345: Beckham had his first school program ever.  It was their Christmas program.  They sang Jingle Bells and he did great!  The cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

Day 346: At a boy Beckham…make mama some money!  Haha.  Yeah right.  He kept saying “Let’s play football” and then hitting the ball.  He swings a club left handed, so none of these clubs suited him.  But, he’s actually pretty good at golf.  If only it were a more affordable sport.

Day 347: Ryan took B on a walk on Saturday to run some errands.  They walked by the fire station and the guys let him explore.  They are so sweet to him.  I need to bake them some goodies.

Day 348: At church.  Smile Beckham.

Day 349: I plan to start solids after his 6 month appointment at the end of this month, but he kept eyeing our dinner on Monday night, so I grabbed a jar of applesauce that I received a while back (you know those free samples they send) and decided to see what he did being spoon fed.  He did NOT want me to feed him, but grabbed the spoon and fed himself.  So funny.  He looked disgusted at first, but ended up liking it. 

Day 350: Elf brought a movie and cookie for an after school snack. 

SOme more pictures from the last couple of weeks:

Stove top potpourri.  I got the recipe HERE.  I gave these as gifts with some jarred banana bread.

My new coffee mug.

Glimpse of big kid status.  Reading his book from Santa while we wait to pay.

Beckham insisted that Maddox come in the tent with him.  M looks a little scared.  I would be too.

Working on sitting up.

Park time.  We’ve had some nice weather lately!

How cute is my little chunky moneky.

Love.  Brothers.

I made some brownies with Oreos on top.  This was a picture before I baked them.  I ended up melting some icing and pouring it on top.  So good.

Christmas time!

“Mommy, I’m sweeping the dirt.”  At 10:30pm…he thought that by sweeping up dirt, I would let him stay up.  He kept coming out of his bed last night.  This is what happens when he naps.

#oliviaeveryday2014 Week 42

This was a busy week, a trying week, a week of perspective.  I’m looking forward to saying NO and diving into my kids more!

Day 288: Mean muggin’ it! 

Day 289: A successful tummy time!  His best yet!

Day 290: I LOVED this moment.  We were running around like crazy on Friday, getting ready for my Fall festival gig the next day and we stopped at Chick-fil-a (M in his car seat asleep).  When it’s just B and I eating lunch here, he will eat his entire lunch BEFORE he plays.  I give him the option to go play if he wants, but he sat here so good and we just chatted!

Day 291: On Saturday, I took some signs to my high school’s Fall Festival to sell/showcase.  My mom is a Kindergarten teacher there and she stayed with me the whole time and we chatted for hours at my booth!  Y'all she is "the man" around there...everyone loves her!  Not surprising.  It was the chillest day!  I knew so many people there and met new people as well.  I didn’t sell near as many as I thought I might…there just wasn’t a whole lot of people there compared to last year.  It was a good experience though and I did get a couple emails already for custom orders.  Ryan was home with BOTH boys and I didn’t have to change one diaper or hear one cry.  I was nervous for Ryan, but when I got back home (I was gone 8 hours), he said it was “fine” and “they must have had a good day.”  I kind of wanted to kick him in the knees for having such an “easy” day, but I was thankful the boys were good for him…kind of!  Haha, just kidding. 

Day 292: On Sunday, we went over to some friends house for the Cowboys game!  How bout them Cowboys!  6-1 record so far.  I bought these little jerseys at Albertson’s.  They only had a 12 month onesie for Maddox, so I figured he would be able to wear it all season.  Holy moly, that thing is kind of tight on him!  This kid is huge!

Day 293: My cute lunch date on Monday!  I wait till after Maddox’s nap to grocery shop on Mondays if I haven’t gone on the weekend.  So we hit up McAlister's before our grocery run since it was lunch time!  Sweet Maddox slept the entire time.  B was happy because he got juice in a big cup.  This grandma (sitting with that man behind B) came up to me a few minutes after we got there and said “you’re such a sweet mom.”   It was just what I needed to hear that day.

Day 294: This is me every night…hair up, make-up wearing off, shirt covered in slobber or vomit or both, at my computer working, praying both boys stay asleep and telling myself “I’ll go to bed earlier tonight” and never do.  Every time I want to feel sorry for myself, I think of the Proverbs 31 woman who is a “hard worker, always busy looking after her family’s needs, knows the value of her work and works late into the night.”  It encourages me. 

On Wednesday, the trash man comes.  Beckham’s favorite time of day!  He’s peeking out the window to watch him.

We went to the store later that evening and Beckham pushed his first cart ever!  Y’all he was so proud.  You could tell he thought he was big stuff and he acted like he was 20!  It was adorable.  I only got run over 36 times and only 3 people had to dodge him. Lol.

Working late on Wednesday, but I’m obsessed with my new Family Rules sign.

Everyday after pre-school, he HAS to go to the side of the entrance and scream into this pipe.  He cracks himself up every time.

Target!  Looking at some décor for B’s room!

Friday was crazy…I love Starbucks!  I just do!

Things got crazy on Friday night…you can read my Mom Honesty post HERE.

Saturday was Fall festival time…oh you know just pumping before it started in my mom’s classroom!  8 months to go!

Get home to give this little one a bath!  So precious!

Maddox had a weird morning and woke up at 6:45am.  He was napping when we needed to leave for church and would have needed to eat soon after church started.  We just moved into a facility that does not have a family room so I decided to stay home with M, while Ryan and Beckham went to church.  I read my devotional and drank coffee while he napped.  This is by far my favorite thing to do these days.

Later that day, we were getting ready to leave for our friends house when Maddox had a blowout all down his leg and onto the pillow he was standing on in his exersaucer.  It was disgusting so we had to do a bath.

These are friends we used to watch the games with before any of us had kids.  We used to eat dinner in actual seats, watch the game, and talk to each other.  Now, 7 kids later, we make cupcakes with kids while the game is on inside the house (where the husbands are). 

On Monday, I was trying to get a good photo of the boys in their “brother” shirts…I can tell this photo stuff is going to be hard to synchronize them. 

We opted for this so Maddox would look at the camera.

I’m trying something new with M’s schedule so hopefully his 4 month update (what?!) will have some good comments about his sleep!  So far, he’s doing well tonight.  Have a great week!  Pumpkin patches and low key things for our week ahead!