And here they are, the long awaited flowers that won't make you sneeze or wheeze, and yet at the same time, are made of a handy dandy material that can be used for wiping noses should the need arise. The best of both worlds, if you ask me.
These tissue paper flowers look hard (at least to me) and have always intimidated me. I tried making them once before from the Martha Stewart website but it didn't go well. Today will be Take Two. Let's see if these are post-worthy. Ah, who am I kidding. I'm gonna show you either way - if I work on it, I show it. And in the end, I made four different ones. I'm not sure I would use any of them in an actual centerpiece where company might be seated across from them, but I did stick one into the top of one of the windsocks that we made.
Okay, so to start, gather five sheets of tissue paper in different colors. They don't have to be all different, they can be three of one color and two of another and you can alternate them. Also, and I won't tell anyone, but you really can use the same color sheet for all five sheets. I promise. Your flower will be just as pretty.
Cut the sheets into approximetaly 5 inches by 15 inches and layer the sheets. Fold the pile up like an accordian, in medium size folds, maybe about 3/4 of an inch to an inch wide. And this is where I hit a wall. Do you fold the long side? The short side? Who knows? So I did it both ways.
If you fold the short side, you will have a smaller, tighter flower. If you fold the long side, you will have a larger, airier flower. But if you fold the long side, I would add two or three more sheets of tissue paper to the original stack because the larger flower looked a little empty to me.
Anywho, once they are folded, use a pipe cleaner and twist it around the center of the accordianed tissue paper. I know that a pipe cleaner is best, but I'll be honest, I didn't I have any, so I used a twist tie that came with the garbage bags.
With a scissor, cut both end points of the tissue paper accordian into somewhat of a rounded or top of a leaf shape.
Next, unfold the accordian into a kind of fan shape and separate the layers of tissue paper to form the petals of the flower.
Now, if you had used a pipe cleaner, you would now have somewhere to attach your second (green) pipe cleaner to make a stem. A twist tie doesn't really lend itself to that because it needs to be twisted tighter. So instead I threaded some thin ribbon through the bottom of the twist tie and now my flowers are hanging from the ceiling. Okay, not really the ceiling, the chain from the ceiling fan - I couldn't reach the ceiling. But ceiling, ceiling fan, it's all the same.
Here are the other ones we made:
Springtime is full of flowers and all things pretty - and sneezy. We have two full-blown allergy Sneezys (and they're pretty Grumpy and Sleepy too) in the house right now, and since we are spending a small fortune on allergy meds these days, we are going to be crafty with things we already have in the house, like tissue paper and paper towel holders.
First up: A Windsock. Yeah, a windsock. I had the same question. What the heck is a windsock? Is it really a sock? That blows in the wind? Why would I want one? And is this what you do with the socks who lose a mate in the dryer? Cause if it is, then I have (literally) a drawer full of at least 100 socks searching for their partners, but somehow I don't think hanging them outside and watching them blow in the breeze is either pretty or helpful in finding their buddies.
As there were no pictures accompanying the windsock instruction that I found, I will share my version of a windsock, using all stuff we already had. But I said that already.
Take an empty paper towel roll (or a toilet paper if you want to make a smaller windsock) and use markers to color it - or paint if you are feeling the love, but I don't think I am today. You can use some stickers and have the little ones stick on the stickers or use foam pieces, preferably the sticky-backed kind so you don't even have to take out the glue.
Can you tell it's a lazy day?
Anyway, after it's all decorated, punch a few holes around one of the open edges of the paper towel roll and tie some pretty string/ribbon/yarn/streamers through the holes. Another way of doing this - and the way that I ultimately did it, was to give in and take out a glue stick. The ribbons that I tied through the holes weren't working for me. I didn't have streamers, but I did have tissue paper so I cut strips of tissue paper and used the glue stick to glue the tips of the tissue paper streamers to the inside of the paper towel roll. Makes sense?
Then turn the windsock over so the strings are hanging down. Punch two holes in the other end of the paper towel roll, opposite each other and run a string through them - a string that is long enough that when tied together at the ends can be hung from a nail or a hook outside and still dance away in the breeze.
Okay, fine, I looked it up. You're welcome. According to mapsofworld.com, "a windsock is a common weather instrument used for measuring wind speed and direction." Obviously, a very necessary item for one to have hanging outside their window.
A windsock. Everyone should have one of these. And now you do.
Next up: Tissue Paper flowers. They don't make you sneeze - and if by some chance you do sneeze, then hey, look, it's made from a tissue!
Continuing right along with our Yom Ha'atzmaut theme, we will be celebrating Israel's 63rd birthday, with (what else?) blue and white cupcakes.
Each year, around Yom Ha'atzmaut, the "in" cookie becomes the blue and white cookie (the colors on the Israeli flag), a take off of the beloved black and white cookie. I considered making those, but man, what a huge pain in the neck. I made them once and I think that was enough for me.
So we'll make a knock-off today. A much much easier knock-off.
First things first, bake yourself a batch of Duncan Hines (what else?) cupcakes. Any flavor, any kind, doesn't matter. It's all good. And be sure to let them cool. We made the marble fudge kind because that's what we had and also because for many nights now, Josh and I both keep saying we need to go to Shoprite - and then we fall asleep. Doesn't matter where. The couch, the floor. If we're lucky, it's in bed. But usually not. So fudge marble it is.
Then we did this: We made the icing. A blue icing and a white icing, but first the white because the leftover white becomes the blue. You'll see. It's not hard.
Here is the icing recipe:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons water
several drops of blue gel food coloring gel (liquid is fine too if that's all you have on hand)
Mix all in a bowl, by hand, until smooth and there are no lumps from the sugar. Divide the icing in half and remove to another bowl. Tint half of it blue.
There was more than enough icing for 12 cupcakes. You could probably even ice 18 cupcakes with this amount of icing.
And decorate to your heart's content.
Allow the cupcakes to sit with the icing for a while, until the icing hardens. Sing happy birthday, serve and eat. And don't forget to wave your flag and raise your glass and all that.
So we've added another phobia to the list - my two year old is now scared of, not only sprinkles, but the wind. Yes, that's what I said. The wind. As in, "it's windy, mommy, we can't go for a walk". So, today, on this beautiful day, we stayed inside. And because it is Yom Ha'atzmaut, The State of Israel's birthday and Independence Day, we made some super quicky projects for my very very young ones.
First up: Foamie Magen Davids.
At some point my mom had bought us a truckload of arts and crafts supplies and looking through them today, I found rectangle shaped foamie sheets with sticky backs. And so because we were standing at the windows looking at the wind, we decided to make magen davids (stars of david) to stick on the window. I cut the foamie rectangles into strips, took the backing off, and we stuck the strips onto the windows in the shape of the six pointed star.
The girls both stood on the radiator cover at the back window and did the sticking. We made one triangle from the very unevenly cut pieces and then another upside down triangle on top. And they had so much fun! And the cute part is that the foam is blue on the sticky side too so the magen davids can be seen from the backyard too, which I think the boys will get a kick out of.
And while we sat on the living room floor admiring our magen davids, we picked through a huge bag of beads looking for blue and white ones, the colors of the Israeli flag. We, (and when I say we here, I mean me, because these beads were pretty small and pretty much a choking hazard) strung the beads on stretchy bracelet string that I had found in this huge box of arts and crafts.
Except that it's not that stretchy because the baby managed to rip the string apart on one pull. So in case anyone was wondering, stretchy string is not so child friendly, and really, not that stretchy.
After picking up all the beads before anyone got the idea that there was candy on the floor, we restrung the beads on a regular, unrippable ribbon that was thick enough so that the beads stayed put and made a necklace for my two year old. She's in love.
And then we painted with blue paint. But I'll share that tomorrow.
To my Sisters-in-Mommying,
I usually get two kinds of comments from other mommies about this blog -
"I made your project with my kids, we had so much fun!"
"You make me feel like an inadequate mother".
The first comment can make my week.
The second, makes me weep.
The last thing in the world I would ever want to do is to make another mother feel like she is not all that. Because she is all that - and more.
"Trust me, a crafty mommy blogger does not a perfect mommy make."
Recently, several people have asked me how I have time for everything - cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework, arts and crafts and everything else that goes along with being the CFO of a family.
And this is what I tell them: I don't. I don't time have for it all, ever. I don't even think it's possible.
For example, my kids think dressers are there for climbing on because their clothes are never in the drawers. We live out of laundry baskets and my children think it's normal to go down to the laundry room to get a clean pair of underwear in the morning.
Everyone has to prioritize - and because I have been blessed with a very generous and understanding husband, I am able to make time for mod-podging mailboxes and baking from scratch and things that should be on the bottom of my to-do list instead of at the top.
The chores will get done - eventually. But the kids are only small once, and that is something I try to remember everyday.
"...you are the only one who knows what kind of shirt makes their necks scratchy..."
My prime motivation for blogging is to amuse myself. I don't have a lot of downtime, but pre-baby, I was once a paid writer and editor and I like to think that I can still, to borrow a phrase from an old work friend, bang something out. And my kids like the blog too, they like to look back and see all the fun things we did, and they especially like looking at the things we bake. They're always hungry.
Listen, some mommies go to work, and some stay home.
Some mommies bake cookies and some buy them.
Some mommies vacuum by themselves and some have help.
And some mommies grow tomatoes and some like to open a can.
But ultimately it makes no difference because YOU are the only one who knows how to kiss those kids goodnight, and you are the only one who knows what kind of shirt makes their necks scratchy and the only one who knows how to scramble their eggs and mix their drinks. (Ahh, a mixed drink. Don't you wish someone would bring you a mixed drink right about now? I do. With a little umbrella.)
My point is this: Whether or not you do projects from scratch, you plop your kids down with a bucket of paper, scissors and glue and leave them to their own devices, or if you don't know which end of the gluestick is up, you are a fantastic, dedicated mommy - and the perfect fit for your family.
And if by keeping myself sane by writing, I can inspire another mommy, in even the tiniest way, to break out the finger paints or maybe even just the crayons on a day when she would rather not, then I feel I have accomplished my mission of helping a fellow mommy for the day. And that's what it's all about in the end - being the mommy your kids need, and being the friend that the harried mom next door needs, because who knows, tomorrow you might (probably) be the harried mom next door.
Wishing you a Mother's Day filled with love, cards made from crayons and stickers and of course, crumbs in your bed.
Did you know it was Teacher Appreciation Week? Yeah, me neither. Which is kind of ironic because Josh is a teacher and I used to teach preschool - and yet I had never heard of this little fun holiday. Well, wait, let me rephrase, I had heard of it, I just didn't realize it. At a school where Josh used to teach, there would be a teacher appreciation luncheon each year, (I kind of thought they made it all up), but I had no idea that it was this whole thing. And it really is a thing - every single crafty blog that I have seen this week was devoted almost entirely to ideas for celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week.
And then this morning I got a nice little email from a fellow mommy blogger, inviting me to join her contest for best Teacher Appreciation Week gift. (Yeah, so apparently there are gifts involved - how fun!) But the catch, the cost must be less than $3* for each gift. Three dollars. That's not a lot of money. And I was also determined to only use what I had in the house because it was pouring out and I had no desire to get wet with the girls.
Teacher Appreciation Week wasn't really on my to-do list this week but seriously, it's sounds way more fun than laundry and how could I turn down a chance to win a contest? I mean, I don''t think there is a prize involved or anything, but as I teach my kids, sometimes it's nice to do something nice just because, not because you get anything back. Usually they look at me blankly when I say that, but I am hoping that one day that message will sink in.
So after some thought today, this is what I made with the kids after school. Well, we started it and got as far as the brownies. Everything else was done after they were in bed.
We started by baking the most awesome brownies ever and I am not at all embarrassed to admit that they are Duncan Hines Brownies. Yup, a mix. I have tried countless other brownie recipes and Josh and the kids always comes back to Duncan Hines. So Duncan Hines it is. And even though the Duncan Hines boxes have become smaller over the past year while the price has remained the same, we are still loyal customers.
My boys have six classroom teachers between the two of them. I thought about making these for the specialty teachers too but the truth is, I didn't have enough containers so as much as we appreciate the extra teachers - and we really really do! - it's just the regular classroom teachers who will benefit this time.
And because I am terrible at math and yet, married to a math teacher who was not home tonight, I wound up with twenty-four rather large brownies, after cutting each 9x9 pan into 12 brownie squares. What my plan had been was to give each teacher 2 brownies and a tea bag, all packaged up in a pretty box (aka a knock-off brand tupperware with a purple cover), with a note to a Tea-riffic teacher. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, it's so corny, I know, but it was all I could come up with. And it kind of came out cute.
Back to my math problem - four brownies won't fit into my little boxes so the upshot, I have 12 extra brownies sitting around staring at me, the girl on the 1500 calorie diet. It's not going to be pretty.
Moving right along, I stacked the brownies in pairs, and wrapped each set in plastic wrap and tied it up with a bow. I put a piece of pretty tissue paper into each container (3 for $1 at Shoprite a while back - the containers, not the tissue paper). Put a flavored tea bag next to the brownies, click the cover into place and, woohoo - a tea-riffic little gift. (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist).
To make little tags, I cut out small squares of scrapbook paper, glued them onto the covers of the boxes. I used some mailing labels cut smaller than the scrapbook squares and wrote "for my Morah!"** on them and stuck them on top. Write a little thank you note to the teacher, using the "tea-riffic" phrase and all done. So to all teachers out there, Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We love you for loving our kids, and even though we may sometimes have some "requests", we truly appreciate the love and care that you show to our kids and to all the kids in their classes.
*Under $3? Yup. All six gifts together cost me less than $5 (I already had the plastic wrap, ribbon, tissue paper, scrapbook paper and stickers, so they don't count, according to the rules.) And morahs, if you're reading this, it's the thought that counts, right? Right?
**Morah means teacher in Hebrew.
Man, I hope win the contest!
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)