Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Truffle Wreath (teacher gifts)

Our class puts together a basket for Grace's teacher every year, and this year my contribution is a truffle wreath.  According to Grace, her teacher loves chocolate truffles (who doesn't?).  I hot glued peppermint truffles from Lindt Chocolates* to a wire frame that I picked up at the craft store (the smallest size).  I loved that it only took about 10 minutes to do the whole thing.  I added a bow to finish it off.

I had enough truffles to make one for Harris' teacher as well!

*When I visited the Lindt website, I noticed that today they are having a flash sale for 50% off! The exact box that I used to buy these truffles is only $12.50! Wouldn't it be cute to get the pink ones and make a Valentine's wreath?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Festive Moose

Even though Harris didn't want a Christmas tree in his room, doesn't mean that he doesn't have any Christmasy cheer in his room.  We strung garland on Melvin, his felt moose, to add just the right festive touch.

P.S.  Just in case my Mother is reading this; I know the kermit picture is too high, but I needed to cover up a hole that was already in the wall and didn't feel like patching (that was two years ago! ha!).   I'm sure that I will get to it soon!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Tree For Grace

For many years Grace has had a darling pink tree in her room during Christmas time.  Last year, or maybe even the year before that, we heard the first hint that maybe a pink, fake tree was not exactly her style and perhaps we could replace the pink tree with a real tree?  So this year we made it happen by purchasing an inexpensive mini tree at Home Depot (we think it's the top of a tree!).

Grace popped popcorn and threaded it and cranberries to make a garland for her tree.  Her Gran and Grandpa had already given her battery operated lights so she added those and her favorite little gnome. She also made a star for the top.

 All in all it's a charmingly simple and festive tree!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Christmasy Bar

We have a little tray table that we use as a sort of bar, usually with just a decanter or two, in our living room.  When our Christmas tree gets put up, the tray has to be relocated to our dining room to make space for the tree.  I actually really like the table in the dining room and have been on the lookout for several years for a replacement of some sort in the living room, but have had no luck.
This year, I put out more libations than we usually have and I think it's fun, festive and ready to celebrate!

When Bryce and I were first married, I saw in a magazine an old cocktail shaker that had been made into a lamp and knew I wanted to make one too.  It was on my first visit to Scott's Antique Market in Atlanta that I found both the shaker and the tray table.  Up until that point I had been a "no antiques" sort of person, but looking back I realize that that trip changed my perspective and it's been since then that I've been drawn toward antiques and vintage items.  

I switched out our decanter stopper for this Santa wine stopper and Bryce added the scarf!

I also put out our glass frog drink stirrers.  I'm not entirely sure what stirrers are really for (they sort of get in the way when you go to take a drink!) but I love them!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Physics Project

The past month or so, Grace has had a physics block at school.  A teacher came in especially to teach this block and he did really wonderful, hands on experiments with them (having them use a pulley to pull him up to the second floor of a barn, pulling his car with a rope in the parking lot, etc.).  He made physics, for Grace at least, fun, exciting and approachable.

At the end of the block, he gave the children the option of doing a project or taking a test; Grace chose the project.  The only requirements for the project was that it had to incorporate all 6 simple machines- a screw, lever, pulley, wedge, incline plane and a wheel and axle.

Grace made lots of plans and notes for the project and then enlisted her Dad to help her put it together (he had to man the power tool!).  Even though she did much of the work herself, it was a wonderful opportunity for them to work together.

(can we all agree to ignore our messy basement)

When Grace first started working on the project, she had the game Mousetrap in mind and her final project does remind me a bit of the game.  She also wanted a big finale, so she and her Dad rigged up some electric lights (Harris got in on the action too) to come on once the metal ball hit and completed the circuit (I have no one here to confirm that that's how it actually happened, but it sounds right!).  

A little video of the completed project...


Monday, December 8, 2014


Weeks ago, I caught I nasty cold and even though I'm most definitely feeling better, this stuffy nose just won't quit!   When my nose was at its stuffiness, I picked up some eucalyptus at the grocery store since it can help clear sinuses.

My grocery store carries stalks of eucalyptus that they will sell whole for about $4.  I cut the branches off and tied them in bundles to dry.  I took a bundle and tied it around our shower head hoping that the steam would release some of the sinus clearing power from the leaves.  I found that the scent was strongest if the leaves were in the stream of water for at least a little bit.

I can say without a doubt that having the pretty eucalyptus hanging from the shower lifted my spirits and I enjoyed the fragrance, but I can't say that it cleared me right up.  However, it felt like I was bringing a bit of the spa to our home so I would definitely do it again.  Plus, it just feels good doing something to combat not feeling well!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Favorite Things #45

I use a lot of olive oil.  A lot.   Growing up I don't ever remember my Mom using olive oil and so I'm not sure at what point I discovered its wonders, but it usually features in my cooking on a daily basis. Now that we've been off dairy for Harris, I've been using olive oil in the place of butter and it's worked beautifully!

(I always decant my olive oil)

This past summer, Bryce brought home an olive oil that a colleague brought him from her families vineyard in Italy and I couldn't believe how good it was!  It quickly became clear I had never really had great olive oil!  This prompted me to start doing a little reading and research where I discovered that many olive oils that consumers use are actually mixes of various oils and not virgin olive oil at all!  I was dismayed to learn that my regular olive oil was on the "fake" list!  It was about that time that I spotted California Olive Ranch in the grocery store and liked that it was from the US and that it was affordable (I also liked the bottle)!  I bought it without reading any reviews or doing research, but was pleased to later learn that it's a highly recommended olive oil and featured on the lists of "real" olive oils!

I love this olive oil!  It has a very clean, distinct taste that we love and I can't imagine going back to using the bland, tasteless olive oil that we previously used!

P.S.  I would love to have an olive oil tasting party like this one.  Who's in?

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