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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Circus Party




The circus party was a hit!  The weather was great.  People ate the food and loved the popcorn!  The piñata was destroyed. The kids were able to swim.  Prizes and tickets were given out.  Jackie and Syd had a great time. I can't believe they are 2 and 4 now.  It seems like just yesterday they were little babies.  Now, they are little people who love to have parties.  Jackie was blown away but his birthday.  He asked, "Is it still my birthday?" the day after! 

This was the cake table. My sister got the table cloths online.  We made the red back board out of cardboard. The letters were made from the Carousel Cricut cartridge.  

Yes, I broke down and wore the clown wig.  It was only $3.99 from Oriental Trading but I thought someone should wear it.  
Sys and Jax taking a break!  It was also the Fourth of July so the kids were wearing their red-white-and blue outfits here.  I had a lot of popcorn containers that I've been getting from various places since I got my popcorn machine.  I also gave some away for kid's to keep their prizes and tickets in.
Family photo.  Note the popcorn decorations on the window.  We just used some cardboard popcorn containers that we did not assemble. 

The tent in the yard and the kids' table.


Kids eating cake made up a "cake lady."  We also got mini-cupcakes from the grocery store. I was going to make the cupcakes but just didn't have time as I had to concentrate on the decorating.   Kids are wearing birthday badges.  

Everyone loves piñata time!  The clown piñata that my sister ordered never showed up.  She got this donkey one at Walmart. 

As always, the candy was a huge hit.  I tried to give the kids cardboard popcorn containers for their candy.  One thing I do is only get "soft" candy.  There was some hard candy in this mix that I worry kids could choke on.  Also, we didn't use a blindfold because the kids had a hard enough time opening the piñata as it is.  

The only major snafu of the party was the balloon!  For some reason, the balloon tank this year was a fail.  The helium balloons only lasted about an hour or two.  My sister was able to take the tank back to Walmart and get a refund.  It's funny because I've used the same brand of tank several times and never had a problem. 

The lolipops were ordered online and my sister's mother-in-law printed up the clear labels.  I made the "For Clowning Around" bin that housed the form clown noses.  She got the idea from Pinterest.  I just re-used an old pretzel container and added a chalkboard contact paper label.  For the "white" chalk look, I used white sharpie.  I am tired of actual chalkboard paint markers, they just dry up and fray too quickly.  


                                      
The games were few.  We had a small duck pond, a ball toss, and a few other "easy" toddler level games.  It was hot and it was hard to get all the kids to participate at once.  That's why I don't teach younger kids! I did give out tickets but I think most of the kids were too young to "get it"....In retrospect, I should have just made favors out of popcorn containers!  We did have a lot of prizes left over that I will just throw in my school prize box for next year.
 I spent the day before the party filling water balloons for the annual battle.  However, I didn't have a covered bin this year and they ALL burst in the sun except for one.  Well, at least it didn't make a huge mess in the yard.
A terrific party overall.  However, next year, we have vowed no party!  We will see.







Friday, June 26, 2015

DIY Laundry, Dishwasher, and Cleaning Caddy

I had been meaning to make more laundry and dishwashing detergent for a while now. I finally had some time yesterday.  I had a bunch of little soap pieces to re-use.  I threw that in with the Fels-Naptha.  I actually find it better to use some bars of ivory because the Fels-Naptha is harder and creates more dust.  

I made a huge bowl of soap that I ground up with my old food processor.  I used a small food scale to just weight the soap that I would need. About 450 ML.  I just dumped in one cup of borax and super washing soda. I stirred it and broke up the clumps in the borax. Then, I individually re-ground this in the food processor.  The step is optional but makes the consistency more even.  The ivory soap really tends to clump together.

My borax and super washing soda had a lot of lumps and was very hard. I ended up having to rip the tops off the boxes and digging into them with a huge knife. I had extra boxes of borax and super washing soda, which I used.  

My mom and sister also wanted some natural cleaning products. I decided to just put the recipes on the labels so they could refill them themselves. Really, do I need to do everything?

I made two of Alvin's cornstarch glass cleaner, a shower cleaner, and an all-purpose cleaner. I would have made more but I ran out of spray bottles. I also made a bathroom cleaner with vinegar, dish detergent, lemon juice, and baking soda.  Wow, that really foamed up. I thought it was going to explode but it didn't.  

Put everything in a cleaning caddy. I added a rag, a blind cleaner, and a sponge.  


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Online Teaching Videos

I have been on this "whiteboard" video kick for months now.  I watched a few really amazing geography videos for middle school kids and I knew that I had to make some myself.  I didn't just want to make them for my language arts and social studies classes but for my online classes that I hope to be teaching next year.

I have been working on my art appreciation elective for months now.  It is almost like a full-time job. For each week or topic, you need to have some type of video.  I made a few videos but I found them a bit boring.  In real life, I can always write on my electronic whiteboard or ELMO to show students what I am doing or writing. How could I do that in an online class?  I tried to investigate how those teachers did it to make those amazing geography videos.  I didn't get much information but I found out one used a mac.  I still tried for weeks and weeks on my Asus.  I used Power Point and screen-cast-o-matic but I couldn't get the Inuos Wacom pen and tablet set to really work with it.

So last week, I broke down and got the Mac Book Pro.  I got the 13 inch so I could use it on my lap.  Amazing!  I started using Keynote right away to make a presentation on prehistoric art.  I then finally found the software I needed: Ink2Go.  I can use the pen and tablet AND record at the same time.  I found it impossible to use on "slideshow" mode but it is exactly what I needed.  I can now write on the slides and add notes as I am talking.  I love it.  It is 19.99 but right now I am using a trial version. There are a lot of editing software apps out there that I will probably need to try in the future but right now, I am happy!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Back Up and Blogging

I'm typing this off my new MacBook Pro-again!

 For some reason this morning, the Keychain iCloud password thing started going crazy.  All these pop-up messages kept coming up and then nothing else worked. I called the Geek Squad. The guy was really nice but couldn't do a remote access or even get my system into safe mode. I got a Geek Squad appointment for 12 pm, which was great because at that point, it was 11:30 am. To make a long story short, they couldn't fix it and I got a new Mac!  Well, the other was only three day old and the guy thought that maybe something was wrong with the operating system.  Yay, I'm so glad that I got the Geek Squad protection.  It really worked for me this time. 

I am so glad to be able to blog again and access my iCloud pictures.  I did not sign up for the Keychain thing on this one!  Just say no.  I couldn't blog for so many months because my Asus was just not letting me get to my pictures. Plus, that beast is over ten pounds. Its great for some things but really needs cleaned out.  I did like the Google Drive backing up everything automatically. I did originally buy the Microsoft 365 but I realized that I just do not need it.  The Keynote on Mac is supposed to be better, I am learning Pages, and I just plain do not need it.  

Right now for my online course I am teaching, I am playing around with ways of using my Intuos Wacom pad and pen when creating videos.  I might need some type of "whiteboard" or "draw over" software. I love the fact that I can just go to the app store to get it.  So much easier! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Carnival Party Planning Continues




One thing people always say to me is, "Don't overdo it!" Hello, I can't help it. I overdo everything.  My circus/carnival party preparations are going way overboard.  I am supposed to be taking it easy due to my wisdom teeth. Yet I feel a feeling of frenzy. Like the party is going to be here and there will not be amazing signs for everything! First of all, I love the Cricut cartridge "Carousel." The images are great and easy to cut. For example, you only need to cut two colors and they look great.  I also am blown away by the font.  It is perfect.  I am using the Zip glue pen or spray adhesive for the glue because there are some smaller parts.

I ordered prizes, a game, a clown's wig, and giant sunglasses from Oriental Traded.  I also got a roll of tickets and little popcorn boxes so the kids can keep there tickets in them.  I really love the prizes.  Even though I teach 7th grade, I still have a prize box. I throw pencils and pens in there for kids who aren't into those parachuting guy toys or hamburger erasers!  I also have some prizes left over from Jackson's first monster party.  I may or may not hang onto to those.

Since the party is on the 4th of July, I got a box of red, white, and blue prizes and regular kid type prizes.
When I was a kid someone bought me those huge sunglasses. I loved them. I remember running around in them and they make you feel like everything is bumpy.  I always wanted another pair. Ha.

I have had those cardboard popcorn containers for years.  My sister wants to borrow my huge popcorn machine for the party.  It really needs cleaned.  I bought a popcorn cleaning kit last summer on Amazon but never brought myself to the task.  Ugh, I can delay no longer.  You really have to be careful when cleaning out the machines to not get certain parts wet.  
There are many silhouette type designs in the Carousel cart.  I'm randomly cutting some to use as party decorations. 


Is this clown creepy? Most people think yes!
As I said, I love the font.  This is a single word that comes with the cartridge.  Should I add glitter? I am so tempted to.



I used this circus ticket that I picked up somewhere as an inspiration for the party colors.  I am trying to stick with red, yellow, and black primarily. 

I am searching for my air pump everyone. I dread blowing this up. 
Please note the rubber duckies! This are for the matching game.  
I still have a bunch of signs to make.  I am also making some random decorations that we tape to the windows and doors. We never actually have time to put up all the decorations.  I still need to clean out the popcorn machine and get that ready for transport. 

 On Sunday, I'm going to make cupcakes and maybe experiment a little with different colored icing.  My nephew Jackson wants brown (or maybe white?) icing.  

I really wanted to make those soap fish bags but I feel like I might run out of time.  I might try to run into Michaels and see if I can buy the soap part there.  Where can I get little fake fish?

Better get back to work! 




Glow-in-the-Dark Pots

I make no secret of the fact that I am obsessed with glow-in-the-dark objects.  For about a year now I have been wanted to make the glowing pots that I originally saw on Pinterest.  I already had the glow-in-the-dark spray paint, the pots, the brushes, and even some glow-in-the-dark glitter.

Over Christmas break, I played around a little with mirror spray paint and the glowing spray paint on canvas.  It was pretty cool but I hate to use spray paint indoors due to the toxic fumes, so I never really finished.

Steps to Turning Old Pots into Glowing Wonders:

1. I finally found all the terra-cotta pots that I could find in my garage. There were all filthy so I washed them in my sink causing a huge mess.

2. A normal person would probably let these dry and clean them better but I had already waiting a year to do this so I just started painting.  I squirted a bunch of different blue acrylic paints together. I wanted a slightly marbled look.  I used foam paint brushes.

3. I let the blue paint dry.  I put down some newspaper outside and put the pots on it.  I donned my trusty apron and "gas mask." I really do plan to get a much better mask because this paint is so toxic.  I sprayed one layer.

4. The weather was not cooperating.  It started raining so I had to bring the pots back in.  I wanted to do a second layer but it has been raining on and off for days here.
5. I tested the "glow" quality of the pots.  It was lower than I wanted.  Since it was still raining, I used a "glow anything" kit that I bought last year and never used.

 All that was really in the kit were some stencils, a light, and two small tubes of glow paint. I coated the outside of the pots with the paint.  I tested them again. I still wasn't blown away.
5.  I broke out the Martha Stewart glow-in-the-dark glitter. I mixed a lot with a gel medium and coated everything again.  They are drying now.  I am planning to maybe coat these pots one more time with some sort of sealant.  I am planning to put live flowers in these and give these to my sister for around her pool and garden area.

* I also coated a ball jar (pictured below) with the mirror paint, blue paint, and some glow paint.  I stuck an electronic tea light in it and it looks really cool. I plan to make more of these which would be really cool because when you turn off the tea light they really glow!


I had crackled this frame over the winter. I used pink and gold and really didn't like it. I ended up using the mirror paint on it and it looks pretty good.  I also am working on a door knob sign where I mirrored one side and used glow paint on the other. I want to put something like "I love the moon" on it for the kids.

Wisdom Teeth Removal


Never brag that you have perfect teeth!  For 39 years, I never had a single cavity, braces, or problem with my teeth.  Then, right after my 39th birthday, I went in for my regular cleaning and bam! First cavity.  It was back on a wisdom tooth that a tooth brush just could not reach.  So I got it filled and thought it was fine. It wasn't!

My teeth!
A few weeks later while eating popcorn, I thought I cracked a tooth. I accidentally crunched down on a kernel.  However, nothing seemed cracked so I forgot about it.  Then, a few weeks over that,  my tongue got poked by a sharp tooth.  Hmm, I never had a sharp tooth like that before did I? I made a dentist appointment.  Sure enough, I had a wisdom tooth that had cracked in half.  I got a referral to meet with the dental surgeon. Fine, right? No, I started to have more and more pain in my lower jaw and back tooth. I assumed this was from the cracked tooth. I was out to dinner with my family one night. My mom and I split a New York cheesecake.  (I prefer anything chocolate but this cheesecake is always fantastic.) I ate one of the strawberries and thought I was going to pass out. The pain was like nothing I knew existed. It throbbed, my heard started racing, I was holding onto the chair for dear life.  Did I mention it was Friday night?  I though, I can make it until Monday.  It hurt over the weekend and then got better.  It was near the last week of school. I thought I could wait but I couldn't.  I made it to the dentist after school on Monday, got the antibiotics and x-rays. I had an abscess. I thought I could stand it but it could to the point that I almost lost my sanity.  On the last day of school for students, I was sitting in an assembly. All I had to do with sit there and I couldn't. The pain in my jaw was like someone was hitting my in the face with a hammer.  To make a long story short, I asked to leave and drove directly to the dentist's office! I never got to say goodbye to students.  However, I couldn't take the agony. My dentist gave me a few shots and numbed it. It turns out that the abscess was in the tooth I had the cavity in.  My other wisdom tooth on my other side was chipped!  I went to the dental surgeon consultation and sure enough, all four wisdom teeth needed out.
I put the ice packs in a dish towel and then wrapped a scarf around my head. I look terrible but it was a big help.

I had the surgery yesterday. I couldn't eat or drink past 12 am, I had to take a valium an hour before the surgery, no make up, jewelry, or nail polish.   It went great because none of the wisdom teeth were impacted.  I really didn't feel all that out of it.  My aunt took me and drove me home.  I really feel pretty good except for the gauze that was choking me.  I went to sleep for a few hours.  I had really issues with blood.  My dental surgeon gave me very strict instructions to follow:
-no drinking out of a straw
-use ice packs after the surgery
-take Motrin
-DO NOT EAT ANYTHING FOR THREE DAYS!  No chewing of anything at all.
-Do not go or do anything for three days
-Rinse with a prescription mouth wash twice a day after the first day
-Don't brush teeth the first day, after that be careful
-No soup on day one, stick to jello, pudding, and applesauce
Gargle with a few cups of water with one teaspoon table salt. Don't spit but let the salt water dribble out of your mouth. You don't want to dislodge a blood clot and get dry sockets.

I am terrifying of getting dry sockets, where the blood clots comes out, so I am following everything to the letter.  I feel so lucky to have a great dentist and amazing dental surgeon. I go for a follow up in a week or two.  I never want to go through the agony of an abscess again.

My advice is to follow your dentist's instructions exactly. Do not eat until they say you can. Food can get stuck in the sockets.  Also, no straws or smoking for at least a week.  Don't spit but just let the salt water or mouth water dribble out of your mouth.  Take the Motrin or Advil to reduce swelling.  Stay away from anything carbonated or too acidic like orange juice.

Before the surgery, buy foods like:
-chicken broth or beef consume'
-jello
-pudding
-applesauce
-ice cream
-mashed potatoes

It's DAY 3 and I still have zero pain.  I ended up going to Best Buy suddenly. I did feel like my sockets felt a little strained when I was talking.  (Of course, I always run into people I know.  I tried to not overdo and spoke slowly.) I took a Motrin and gargled.  My mood is very low. I ate two cups of puddling.  I already lost seven pounds!  I'm craving pizza so much. I have a family party tonight. I know I should probably stay home because I don't want to overdo it and talk too much.  I also am in a very foul mood.  Who wants to go to a party and not be able to eat or drink?  A few more hours:( Not that I am going to go into heavy chewing tomorrow but I may eat something softer.