Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Administrative Professionals Day Ideas

This year Administrative Professional's Day falls on Wednesday, April 21, 2010. I've made a few crafty gifts in the past and I thought I'd share them here if you're looking for an idea. This time I'm posting in advance so that people don't have to say, "oh that's nice for next year."

I'm learning.

When I'm not being a stay-at-home mom I substitute at my children's school. The front office staff is awesome. These are the people with their pulse on the student body. One of them handle's my social calendar...er, um...substitute schedule and the other one makes sure I write a note when my kids are out so the absentee police don't come a callin' for me.

Last year I repurposed some Starbucks Frappachino bottles for candy and altered fun. The other day I found that Starbucks is now making these treats in "lite" with Splenda so I will be able to make many more of these little gems. Possibly to thank all the teachers that used me as a sub this year. When I make them y'all all will be the first to know.

The other gift that I've made in the past is a bouquet of flower pens. Pens are always walking off at the front desk. I remember in high school having to take a hall pass with a huge sign that said "restroom" on it if you needed to um, go. I thought there might me a more elegant way to get the same point across.

I bought a few big (the bigger the better in this case), bright silk flowers at the craft store. I snipped each one leaving about 4 inches of stem and removing all of the leaves. Then I took floral tape and secured the flower with stem to the pen in three places. Once the stem and pen were connected I started from the bottom and wrapped the floral tape up the pen covering the entire barrel of the pen. I ended tucking the tape into the small opening where the stem and the pen meet.

I was able to make about half a dozen of these pens while catching up on the DVR. Very quick, very easy and very much appreciated. People are much less likely to walk off with a ginormous flower in their hand and the office staff isn't having to constantly replenish their stash.

Now off to find something new and creative to give this year. I'll let you know...


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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Mantle

I got my inspiration for my mantle here at Hoosier Homemade. Now that I'm all about gussying up just my mantle it makes holiday decor so much easier to manage.

Here is the full view of my very first ever holiday mantle. It's a St. Patrick's day gem.

I don't have a lot of things going on because I don't have a lot of St. Patrick's Day items, period. This lack of decor items was, however, an opportunity to hit the local church garage sales. I picked up the little shamrock plaque below for $.25. I set it on a frame holder and don't I feel Irish? The little green things spilling out of the green martini glass is shamrock wall art. The star is a chalkboard sign that I can reuse for each holiday.
Again, lacking items, I had to shop from my stash of generally usable supplies and repurpose them is decorative delights (I like the alliteration here). I turned a neutral colored candle holder upside down to use it as a stand for one of the shamrock tumblers I have to work the elevation look.
The sparkly shamrocks and the planter were also garage sale finds. The tissue was sitting around the house, but it's green so it found a new home among green friends.

I can't wait for Easter!
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Melt in Your Mouth Strawberry Muffins

These yummy muffins were served at a bambino shower I went to recently. One of the Mom Posse made them and they did indeed melt in my mouth. I think no one should be without access to these muffins so I've given you the recipe (below).

I've tried these with strawberries and I'm ready to try blackberries (on sale for $.77 last week) and blueberries (on sale this week). I found the recipe to be mighty darned versatile.

I will say that I lowered the temperature in my oven to 350* for my second batch. I think my oven runs a little hot even if the thermometer says otherwise. Baking at 350* for 21 minutes was just perfect for me.

I made several batches and then froze them in packs of four for breakfast on the run. The muffin and a yogurt (store brand or bought with coupons) is way better for my waistline and my pocketbook than a trip through the drive-thru.

Melt in Your Mouth Strawberry Muffins:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 375-degrees. In one bowl, mix together flours, sugar and baking soda. In another bowl, mix eggs, yogurt, butter & vanilla. Toss strawberries into the flour mixture. The pour yogurt mixture into flour mixture and stir. Spoon batter into greased muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.

Nutrition: Calories 150; Calories from Fat 45; Total Fat 5g; Carbohydrates 24g; Protein 4g; Fiber 2g."

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Make Over Monday: Chalk Board Buckets

This is time when I get to share with you the recreations I've done over the weekend. I love having the family home to do my bidding...um, er...share in the fun.

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week at our school. Yes, generally it's celebrated in May, but that is the end of the school year for us and it's crazy busy. A few years ago we decided we'd celebrate at a less chaotic time in a month that was slower than the holidays and the end of school.

This year I wanted to give the teachers something that would serve them even after the week of fanfare was over.

I had pictures of the creating process, but darned if I can find them now. I'll update later if I run across them though.

I found these buckets at my favorite treasure store. They were a shiny green that reminded me of an old time chalk board. That's when I thought, hey, these could be great chalk boards! I've see chalk board buckets at organizing stores for quite a bit of cash, but with some time and paint anything is possible (my personal mantra in life)!


I prefer the spray paint for this project. There is a brush-on variety available, but I like that for furniture or walls. I did sand the buckets with a super fine grit paper just to knock the shine off on the outside. Then I lightly sprayed each bucket and waited for dry time in between coats. I had at least 3 coats and four or more wouldn't be inappropriate. The trick is to spray thin and let dry. If you try to spray all at once the finish gets runny and drip spots show. There is a layered effect we are after.

Once everything was dry and I did all the touch-ups I worked on the ribbon trim. I went with 6 inches of hodge-podge ribbon from left over card making ventures and tied them on the handles using a simple square knot. I trimmed down any ribbon edges that stuck out and used seam glue on the ribbon ends that were frayed.

Finally I took chalk and wrote "Thank You" and their names on the chalk board and stuffed goodies (water bottle, granola bars, cookies) in the bucket. Now when Teacher Appreciation week is over they can change the bucket to "pencils" or "tickets" or "small children who misbehave". Just whatever works for their situation.

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