Confetti Banner {June’s Paper Pumpkin}

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned a time or ten how much I love Paper Pumpkin, Stampin’ Up’s subscription monthly crafting kit. If you’d like a creative escape for an hour or so each month, it’s totally worth the $20 cost. Of course, there’s a link on my Stampin’ Up! website if you’re interested…you can try it out for a single month, or choose other lengths of time. Anyhoo…June’s package contained the directions and ingredients for cards and/or a banner with confetti in each little triangle. Super cute. Banner-Heart-ChaosServedDai

I hadn’t come up with a good reason to make it yet, and then I read a fabulous blog post by my most favorite niece, who will be a senior in college next year. Entitled “Choose Love,” it’s about her efforts to make a difference by showing love.  It’s well worth the time to read it…check it out here, if you’d like (after you finish this post, or be sure to come back!). I was so impressed with her ideas, as well as her expressiveness, I thought she was in need of a care package. Okay, so actually, Princess Thundercloud was baking brownies with mini M&M’s on top for her before I read the post, but the post DID inspire me to make the package a little more special.  So I made a banner from my kit and included that.

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The first step was to stamp the die cut circles and put letters on each.  I used Mint Macaron and Tip Top Taupe, alternating them.  The letter stickers were metallic gold. I also punched out a crafty heart from some gold sticker sheets I had on hand, because I like the slightly asymmetric heart rather than the ones that came on the sticker sheet.

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Next, the instructions said to put “a pinch” of confetti in each little cellophane triangle. This nearly drove me crazy…next time I’ll use a teaspoon, so they’re evenly divided!  After the confetti was in the triangles, I put a letter-circle in each one and used the included washi tape (I know…washi tape and confetti in one project…woohoo!) to seal the open end, taking care to go all the way to, but not cover, the holes already punched.Banner-Filled-ChaosServedDaBanner-Taped-ChaosServedDai

After laying the banner out in the order I wanted, I cut a piece of gold and white baker’s twine about a foot longer than the banner pieces were. The kit came with plain white twine, but I wanted to use some gold and white that I had. It’s cuter, I think. Banner-Layout-ChaosServedDa Banner-Twine-ChaosServedDai

I threaded the pieces onto the twine, from front to back so that the twine stretched across the back of each piece, not the front.  I put a small (about 1/2″) piece of washi across the twine in the back so the pieces wouldn’t slide around, since I was planning to mail the banner.

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It sounds like a lot of steps, but took less than half an hour actually…the same as Thundercloud’s brownies!  The boys made something, too…my middle kid made a card with a nice quote in it about love changing the world, and the eldest made a sign that said “If you need happiness, take one” then had tear-off strips along the bottom with “happiness” stamped on each. It was quite cool…I should have taken a photo of that…a good mom would have. We also tucked in a good book, some pretty-smelling lotion, and a few other little fun things. Banner-E-ChaosServedDaily

Oh, I almost forgot…I folded it, accordion style, and slipped it into one of the envelopes that came with the kit. I used the stamps from the kit, along with a quote from Mother Teresa from a retired stamp set, to make a pretty tag.  I then used a little more twine to attach the tag to the envelope. All in all, a fun little project!

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Washi Altered File Folders

Folders-Title-ChaosServedDaI recently found myself with two problems.  I needed file folders for my student teaching stint in the fall, and I have collected so many cool washi tapes that I have nowhere to keep them, such as this amazing set from the craft store that matches my new planner (also justified as a student teaching necessity).

Folders-Tape-ChaosServedDaiLast summer, I found some file folders that were labeled backpack folders, and they were closed on two sides, like an “L,” with the folded side and the bottom sealed. I really like these, whether in a backpack or a totebag, because they stay closed. Of course, I couldn’t remember where I bought the ones last summer, so I had to improvise with some nifty teacher-ish folders I found in the Target Dollar Spot.  First, I used regular Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive to glue the bottoms of each folder closed. Folders-Glue-ChaosServedDaiThen I thought, why not use a little washi to make sure it’s really secure (as well as much cuter).  I ran a strip of washi along the bottom, leaving the majority hanging over, so I could wrap it onto the back of the folders.

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Folders-Backs-ChaosServedDaAfter running a bone folder over the washi tape overlap on the back, I flipped the folders to the front and added another, contrasting washi tape. Cuter by the step, right?

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These just took a few minutes (maybe fifteen minutes for all six folders) and allowed me to use twelve different washi tapes from my stash. As a bonus, I now have super cute folders that will keep my calculus from my algebra papers when I bring them home to grade!

Don’t you need some folders that put the “fun” in functional for your life, too?

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Summer Screentime Checklist

So my kids, while not thrilled, were at least mildly happy to see this Summer Screentime Checklist reappear on the frig this summer.

Screentime-ChaosServedDailyDuring the school year, we stick to the no screentime on weekdays rule, but in the summer, we relax it a bit.  When they’ve completed everything on this list, they get an hour of digital time. What they don’t seem to realize, at least not yet, is that by the time they do all these activities, combined with the “summer fun” activity or camp for the day, they’re pretty much wiped out and just want to read or go to bed!  I think they’ve completed their checklists 7 out of the 10 days they’ve been out of school, and they’ve played digital 3 or 4 of those.  That all makes the hubs and me very happy!

This list is not original…I’ve seen dozens of versions on Pinterest, but I’ve tweaked it to fit our family and created a free printable for you!  Simply click here to download it.  THe printable version doesn’t have the watermark on it, so take all the credit you’d like with your family. I printed ours on cardstock, laminated it, and used magnets to stick it on the frig. You could also trim it to 8×10 and frame it, if you’d rather.  Enjoy, and I hope it helps your family find harmony for the summer!

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Mochas, Flowers, and Chocolate..a Perfect Gift!

Here’s a quick idea for a fun friend gift… I dropped this off at a friend’s house to celebrate the end of school (she’s a teacher). It would be a great hostess gift if you’re headed to a 4th of July celebration, too.061716_0006_MochasFlowe1.jpg

A bonus to this plan is that the mochas come in a four-pack, yet you only need two…someone has to drink those two extras so you can use the bottles.  I washed the empty bottles, after removing the labels by filling the bottles with hot water to loosen the adhesive. Then they peeled right off and I used Goo Gone to remove the residue. After the bottles dried, I embellished with washi tape and filled one with M&M’s. 061716_0006_MochasFlowe2.jpg

I had some daisies and Queen Anne’s lace growing out front, so I just snipped them and added them, with a little cool water and flower preserver, to the remaining bottle.061716_0006_MochasFlowe3.jpg 061716_0006_MochasFlowe4.jpg 061716_0006_MochasFlowe5.jpg

Ta-da…gift finished!

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21 Seed Toast with Goat Cheese, Lavender, and Honey

I know, I know…you’ve fallen out of your chair with amazement that I’ve finally gotten around to writing a new post!  I’m pretty amazed myself.  As an excuse (or at least an explanation), since my last post in August, I’ve completed all of my coursework for teaching high school math.  Now all I have left to do is my student teaching when school starts in September.  I’ll graduate in December and be ready to teach all those reluctant math students (and hopefully at least a few who love math as much as I do!).Goat Cheese Toast ChaosServedDaily

But on with this post…my favorite local coffee shop, Schoolhouse Coffee, makes fabulous toasts.  Among their offerings, my two favorites are peach jam with sea salt and goat cheese with lavender and honey. I’m pretty sure you can figure out the peach jam and sea salt on your own, but I have a couple of tips for the goat cheese, lavender, and honey one. The shop uses fabulous fresh bread from an artisan bakery in Seattle, but I love Dave’s Killer Bread for the at-home version…usually the 21 Seed variety.

So, to make your own little taste of heaven, toast the bread and smear on a bit of butter.  Then, while it’s still hot, sprinkle about a tablespoon of goat cheese crumbles on each slice. I’ve tried using the goat cheese log, but it’s a little difficult to get to crumble (neatly), so I just buy goat cheese crumbles. Spread the cheese around a little, if you need to…it softens really quickly on the warm toast, so this is easy to do!

Drizzle a little honey over each slice.  I’ve been waiting to make this at home once the local berry shack opened with their honey for sale.  It is the best honey I’ve ever had!  Last summer, I bought a couple of pints, not knowing how good it was, then I was forced to hide it in the “way back” of the cabinet so the kids wouldn’t squander it.  I managed to ration it out until almost Christmas, y’all.

Anyway, back to the toast. After the honey, sprinkle some lavender buds on top, and enjoy!  Or impress your family with your gourmet creation.  I bought food-grade lavender at a little farm in my town, but it’s available in gourmet sections of grocery stores, or at farmer’s markets. Be sure you’re using food grade, though.

Now, I’m off to enjoy my last full day of alone time before the hooligans are released for the summer.  Hope yours is off to great start…this toast will guarantee that at least your morning starts off well!Signature_thumb.jpg

 

 

Quick and Easy Tea Towel Apron

I make no excuses for my love of tea towels (also called dishtowels, but I’d rather clean up from a delicious afternoon tea than dry dishes…at least in my mind, I live a high tea kind of life!). And my sister-in-law is kind enough to indulge and enable my addiction with fun and fabulous towels.  For my birthday, she sent a fun “Keep Calm and Bake On” tea towel, and I really, really didn’t want to relegate it to a drawer.  So, instead, I turned it into an apron!

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To make one from your favorite tea towel, you’ll just need the towel, 2 yards of 1” to 2” wide ribbon (you want it comfortable around your neck, but not too thick to tie easily around your waist), and some fusible (iron-on) tape or needle and thread.

First, fold back triangles at the top, from about 4” in on either side and down about 12”.  The easiest way to make them equal is to fold the towel in half lengthwise, then tuck the triangles into the center.

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At this point, you can cut the triangles off.  I left them, because I might want to take out the stitching and just have a towel again at some point.

Next, cut a piece of ribbon 18” long, and attach an end under the top of each triangle, either sewing it or using the fusible webbing tape.  Cut the remaining ribbon in half and tie a knot at one end of each piece to prevent fraying. Sew the unknotted ends to either side of the apron, just below where the triangles end on the sides. I tucked the ends under before sewing, to prevent fraying.

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There you have it…a cute new apron in about 5 minutes. How much easier could that be?  And, I’m pretty sure my food tastes better (and my mood is definitely better) when I’m wearing an apron I love!

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Lovely and Simple Lavender Syrup

I know what you’re thinking…why in the world would I need lavender syrup?  Trust me, you do!  A couple of weeks ago we went to the Lavender Festival in Sequim (pronounced “squim” ) on the Olympic Peninsula.  Sequim is in the rain shadow of the Olympics, so they enjoy many more sunny days than we do here on the other side of Puget Sound. That’s why they can grow such wonderful lavender…it’s hot and sunny!

Lavender Farm CHaosServedDailyThe day we were there, that certainly held true…we arrived around 11:00, and by noon were in desperate need of shade and refreshment.  The food booths offered pretty much anything you could name, combined with lavender for the event.  While the rest of my family stuck with boring Italian soda flavors (cherry, root beer, and limeade), I thought the lavender one sounded refreshing…and it was!  They all tried it, and were sorry they hadn’t chosen that instead of their pedestrian flavors. Of course, they kept trying mine, and I really got to do little more than eat the ice, by the time they were done!

I thought it would be a simple enough task to find lavender syrup here in the home of coffee syrups, but it proved impossible.  I did find it available to order online, but at $15 a bottle, decided I could make it myself!  AFter steeping some of the lavender buds I bought at the festival in a simple syrup, I made Italian sodas for the family.  They declared them as tasty if not better than the one we shared in Sequim.  It’s a new family favorite with popcorn for movie night!

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Lavender Syrup

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lavender buds (I used dried, but you could also use fresh)

1. Combine all in a medium saucepan over medium high heat; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Strain, using a fine mesh strainer, into a jar and refrigerate.  Syrup-Strain-ChaosServedDai

3. To make Italian sodas:  Fill a tall glass with ice, add 2 tablespoon of the syrup, then fill with sparkling water/club soda. Stir well to combine.  If you’d like a cream soda, also add a tablespoon or two of cream. Enjoy!

You can find loads of other recipes using lavender syrup with a simple online search…I’m thinking I need to try out a lavender mojito, or perhaps a lavender, vodka, and lemonade slush!

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Prosciutto, Basil and Balsamic Nectarines

Finally…a new post!  After being cajoled in person at Bunko and my neighborhood 4th of July party, as well as on social media, I found myself newly motivated to post today!  So thanks for the encouragement, y’all!

This is a super quick and easy recipe…Prosciutto, Basil, and Balsamic Nectarines.  I made a big plate of these for lunch yesterday, and, of course, just as I was sitting down to enjoy, the hooligans wandered in and “shared” them….good thing I’d made a lot!Nectarines-ChaosServedDaily

Prosciutto, Basil, and Balsamic Nectarines

· 3 nectarines, sliced into 8 wedges

· 8 wafer-thin slices prosciutto

· 24 small basil leaves, or 24 pieces of large basil leaves

· Balsamic vinegar glaze

Cut the each piece of prosciutto into 3 long “ribbons.”

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.

Place a basil leaf on a slice of nectarine and wrap with a ribbon of prosciutto.

Place in preheated skillet, with the side with the end of the prosciutto down, and let nrown. Turn and let other side brown, then remove from skillet.

Drizzle with balsamic glaze (and a little shaved Parmesan, if you’d like) and serve!

I had somehow run out of Parmesan, or I would have shaved a bit over the nectarines just before serving, using a vegetable peeler to make the shavings. Oh, and these are tasty with peaches, as well, if they’re in season where you live. These are really an appetizer, but I love them for a light lunch, too.

So I know you’ve been wondering (just humor me…I know you haven’t wondered!)…what’s up with the long absence from blogging?  Well, life, basically!  Nothing exciting or traumatic…I had a really tough semester, but finished 21 credits and passed (with flying colors…I have to brag a little, I was so stressed about these tests!) all my state- and college-required exams on math content.  I have two more terms of coursework, then a term of student-teaching, and I’ll graduate in December of 2016.  I’m so glad to have a light at the end of the tunnel!

My favorite GI Joe retired from the military last October and started a new job helping veterans transitioning back into the civilian world.  Then, just last week, he switched to a healthcare company, where he’s a strategic planner.  Whatever that means.  What it means to me is that he’s pursuing a new career course that still lets him help others, which makes him happy!

The hooligans are thoroughly enjoying their summer, sleeping late, spending a ton of time at gymnastics practice, swim lessons, and various day camps, and generally being kids.  I crushed their little happiness bubbles a bit yesterday when I told them summer is one-third over this Friday…but they decided they need to squeeze in more fun, if that’s the case!

We had a great Fourth of July…as usual, starting off with funnel cakes and berries for breakfast, a small-town parade, the neighborhood cookout, and fireworks on post.  I hope yours was amazingly fun, too!

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Crown of Thorns Family Project

Since tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and my kids are all old enough now to grasp the concept, I wanted to make a Crown of Thorns to help us to observe Lent this year.  When I explained the idea to them, they all seemed eager to participate.  The plan is that each time they do a good deed during Lent, they remove a thorn from the crown.  I’m hoping it will prove a good way to get them to think about their actions a little more than they usually do.

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The supplies for this are simple…a grapevine wreath (I found mine at the dollar store), some toothpicks, and some wood stain or ink refills to color the toothpicks. I put a few drops of Early Espresso reinker in a ziptop bag with a couple of tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, dropped in the toothpicks and made sure they were all soaking up the color, and let it sit for an hour or so.  Then I just took the toothpicks out and let them dry on a couple of layers of paper towel overnight.

Once the toothpicks were dry, all I had to do was randomly stick them into the wreath.  Ours is on a rustic wood-slice pedestal in the middle of the dining room table, so we see it everyday. I think I’ll be able to save the wreath and toothpicks to use year after year, too, so that’s a bonus!

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A Dozen Great Valentine Ideas

I thought I’d post some of my favorite Valentine ideas from the past…this year, we’re making the Cozy Toes Cupcakes for the teachers, and various non-candy class Valentines.  If you’re still looking for ideas, here are a dozen!

Teacher’s Valentine Treat Box

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Fortune Cookie Class Valentines

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Cozy Toes Cupcakes (with Fuzzy Socks)

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Lollipop 3D Valentines

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Significant Dates Love-ly Art

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Home Is Where the Heart Is Burlap Canvas Art

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Personalized Carved Heart Platter

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Easy Heart Mints

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Bee Mine Bit O’Honey Jar

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Dark Chocolate Cherries with Amaretto

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Bee Mine Honeycomb Canvas Art

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and, to make a baker’s dozen…Heart-Healthy Overnight Oatmeal in a Jar! It’s perfect for those you love and want to keep around for a while!Oatmeal-Jar-ChaosServedDail

And now, back to studying!  I’m taking my Math Content Exam next Tuesday, so send good thoughts my way, pretty please!