Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ho'made Christmas challenge!

It was really fun to challenge myself to make ALL the gifts our family would be giving this Christmas, and like I have mentioned before I have pintrest to thank for most of the smiling faces of our friends, family, and teachers. 

We made 'hand' towels for members of both families, they were well received.  Cheetah got very creative with these...he traced (with my help) his hand on to iron on transfer paper (that can be picked up at Michael's, Walmart, or Hobby Lobby).  Make sure to select the paper that can be colored OR printed on with a lazerjet printer.  Each person recieved 2 towels, one with the hand print and then drew a picture he knew the recipient would love for the other. 

The aunt that will be moving into her new house soon received a fancy wipe off board.  I purchased a bronzed frame and dry erase markers to go along with the ribbon and scrapbook paper I already had on hand.  She loved that something so useful could be pretty too!  Great, easy idea!

For godparents, aunts, and coworkers we did hand painted or iron on transfers.  I chose items I knew would be used; like aprons, pillowcases, and tote bags.  The giftees were delighted with their unique and personalized items.

As my deadline was fast approaching I even enlisted Tarzan to help...little did he know he was helping me finalize one of his gifts.  :)  I picked 2 fun ideas for his presents; 52 reasons why I love you cards & a family 'portrait' made with our hands.  He seemed pleased with both.

The grandmother's and Cheetah's teacher gushed over his 'HAND'made Christmas tree.  I must admit it does look really nice hanging in my house as well.

I even went on Shutterfly and made a 2011 family album for my parents, the album included pictures from all three of their children's families.  To round out the packages I included homemade pralines and chex mix (both are family faves).

It was heartwarming to see such sincere smiles and hear the praise over something I made on my own.  I know Tarzan will try to change my mind but I'm pretty sure I'll be doing ho'made gifts again next year, I'll just have to try for an earlier start date.

Tarzan mostly stuck to the rules as well.  I was excited to see a wonderful photo book titled, "How do I Love my Mommy?" and some perfectly precise coupons for my personal use (1 free bug elimination & 1 Chick-fil-a breakfast are 2 examples).  So nice to know your SO loved. 

I must urge you to try the 'homade' route for your gift giving next year, the gifts felt so much more personal.  Homemade gifts can also prove to be easy on the budget, especially if you have a surplus of craft supplies and free-time in the evening.  My only advice is to keep within your skill set so your stress level will stay at a minimum as it gets closer to your deadline.

A death in the family....

I was so saddened when I heard the news that after 80 wonderful years on earth Cheetah (a chimp that was featured in the Tarzan franchise of films) died of kidney failure on Saturday.  From MY Smith family, we send lots of good thoughts and prayers to the employees of the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary, we know how hard it is to lose a family member. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The great bake-off!

I have enjoyed preparing for the 2011 Holiday Season, one of the highlights was attending a bake-off.  We got together days before and selected the recipes we wanted to try out or our family's 'tried and true' recipes.  We compiled our shopping lists, gathered our supplies, and convened very early in the morning.

It was fun getting together with my friends, we laughed, spilled, made a few mistakes, and we all had the chance to get a break from the holiday hustle & bustle.  All of our fellow employees really enjoyed the goodies and it helped to chase away the Monday blahs.

I strongly suggest getting a group of friends together, each person bring a recipe, enough ingredients to make several batches, and split all baked goods between all attendees.  It will be a blast and at the end of the day you've done all your holiday baking.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's a very 'pintrest' Christmas.

I really have enjoyed preparing for Christmas this year, it's been fun making all of our gifts.  It was a challenge that made me a bit nervous but thanks to pintrest, I'm gonna come out on top this year.  We celebrated Christmas with Tarzan's family over Thanksgiving and it was a blast.  Somehow I managed to not take a single picture of the gifts that Cheetah made for the familes.  He chose a picture he thought each Aunt woutld enjoy and carefully colored each one.  I then ironed the picture on to a cotton tote bag that I later filled with some supper yummy treats.

I made my grandmother's pralines, a staple from my family's Christmas celebrations.  I threw in a bag of roasted nuts to help combat the sweetness of the treats.

I also found a fun recipe on pintrest for homemade butterfingers, they were a HUGE hit!!  SO cool, who knew you could melt candy corn!?!

For Tarzan's cousin, the talented musician and member of Winchester Fletcher, we made a really neat candy 'dish'. 

We knew he would enjoy a gift rooted in music and since he's our 'Little Drummer Boy' we knew we had the PERFECT record to use for his gift.  

There were other gifts given, but they must remain a secret until part two of the Smith family Chrsitmas has taken place.  So far it seems that people not only enjoy our ho'made Christmas but seem delighted by their heartfelt gifts.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

PSA to prevent road rage:

As of late I can't seem to get a handle on my nerves, my aggrevation level has reached all new heights.  Driving on the streets of Cajun Country has become a real hazard for the safety of others, I felt that I needed to take a more proactive approach.  The best way to prevent mayhem is to educate those around you...

The 1st lesson is on 4-way stops:

After a full-stop has been made, vehicles have the right-of-way to proceed through the intersection in the order that they arrived at the intersection.  If vehicles arrive at approximately the same time, each driver must yield to the drivers on their right.  If more than one car arrives at the same time, the following right-of-ways apply in order: vehicles going straight, turning right, and finally vehicles turning left.

2nd lesson the definition of yeild:

Vehicle must prepare to stop if necessary to let a driver on another approach proceed. In contrast, a stop sign requires each driver to stop completely before proceeding, even if no other traffic is present.

3rd lesson is the roundabout intersection:

Slow down.  Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, yield to traffic on your left already in the roundabout.  Enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic and keep your speed low.

Also, I wanted to take this time to inform any future automobile purchasers of a featurere that no longer comes standard on all vehicles purchased.  The 'turn signal', (please follow the link for a tutorial on the correct use of a turn signal) if your car IS equipped with this device, please do us all a favor and use it.