Home Economics: DIY mummy candle holders

imageHere’s another quick and easy DIY Halloween craft that you can use as a gift or to decorate your own home…. mummy candle holders! This project is so simple and requires only a few supplies. You will need rolls of gauze (I found mine in the band aide aisle at WalMart), some googly eyes (I bought a multi pack of different sizes at Michael’s), glue, and empty jars.

There is no right or wrong way to make these mummy’s. I thought it would be fun to put large eyes on the small jars and big eyes on the smaller jars. After I glued on the eyes. I used a dab of glue in the back to secure the gauze and started wrapping the jar until I was happy with the look. To finish off the wrapping, I tucked the gauze in the back and secured it with another dot of glue. Done!

I gave mine as gifts with a black tea light candle inside.

Homework: What is your favorite Halloween decoration?

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Special Assembly: Halloween made easy with a DIY costume

imageHalloween is right around the corner and I really hate dressing up. I always try to figure out a clever costume that is mostly made up of my own clothes. This year, we have a Halloween dress up day and dance on Friday the 24th and then I have a couple of parties Halloween weekend. I saw an idea on Pinterest and ran with it! I decided to be a bank robber since I had almost all the components in my closet. I started with a black and white striped long sleeved t-shirt that I bought over Columbus weekend at Banana Republic. Everything was 40% off, so this leather trimmed top was only $25. I’m going to wear it with black leggings, a plain black beanie, and black gloves. I needed to buy two things to complete the costume. The black mask that I found at Party City for $3.99 was perfect. The next item was a little more challenging. I needed a money bag. I found a plain canvas bag at Walmart for .99 cents and then bought black puffy paint, also .99 cents. I sketched a large dollar sign on the tote and the painted it with the puffy paint. Done!

Homework: What are you going to be for Halloween?

Home Economics: How to pack for a picnic

Summer is such a fun season and there are so many outdoor concert and movie options. I’ve been going to Movie Monday’s at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa for years. Over time, my group of friends has perfected the art of packing a picnic.

imageFirst, you need a chair and blanket. I love my Tommy Bahama backpack chair. It has a regular and an insulated pouch on the back. My leopard Snuggie fits perfectly in the top pouch. I received my Snuggie as a gag gift, but I actually use it all the time. It’s great if you need to stay warm and still have the use of your arms and hands!

Next, you need a good picnic basket and insulated tote bag. I inherited an awesome picnic basket when my friend Adam moved and not only is it useful, it has serious sentimental value. My insulated bag is from Trader Joe’s. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

imageAn inflatable ice bucket is also essential. I bought mine at a Duffy boat store, but I found a similar one here. It is so convenient, and it takes up no room. You blow it up when arrive and fill with ice and your drinks. I’ve also been bringing mine to hotel rooms to keep waters cold when traveling.

imageYou also need a table in a bag. It rolls out and has screw-on legs. You can buy a similar one here. You also need a tablecloth, battery powered candles, and cute serving ware. For this picnic, I bought sandwich baskets and plastic divided mini trays. I love that the sandwich baskets came with checkered wax paper inserts. I bought the plates, baskets and battery powered candles at Wal-mart. I also pack trash bags for trash at the end of the night and grocery store bags for the dirty dishes.

imageSince the movie for the night was “Spice World,” which by the way is the worst movie ever, I wanted to make something British-themed to go with the movie. When I was in London, I had the best sandwich ever. It was so simple… Brie cheese, cucumber, and tomato with a hint of mayonnaise on a crusty baguette. Once I made the sandwich, I wrapped the baguette in wax paper and divided it into six sections. I used tape to hold the wax paper in place and then tied each individual sandwich with baker’s twine. Not only were they delicious, they also looked really cute. The six sandwiches fit in a gallon sized Ziplock bag.

imagePretzel sticks are so great to serve with dips. I bought these at Trader Joe’s. They are stronger than chips and crackers, so they don’t break when dipping. I served the pretzels with Yummus, an almond spread similar to hummus. They sell it at the farmer’s market near my house. I go to the farmer’s market every week to buy more. It’s so good! The pretzels are also great with spinach dip and hummus.

imageThe friends I was meeting brought side salads and other treats from Whole Foods.
imageEven though the movie was horrible, we had a blast! Only picnic with people you love.

Homework: What is your best picnic tip?

Special Assembly: A party without a favor is just a meeting, Part 2!

imageThis past weekend I attended a reunion for my sorority. I’ve shared before that in my family, it’s not a party without a party favor. About forty girls were attending this reunion, so I racked my brain trying to figure out something fun and meaningful to bring for everyone. At first I thought Scrunchies, but knew no one would wear them. Then it came to me! Back in the 80’s when we would attend fraternity parties, we would buy plastic tumblers and decorate them with paint pens. We would put our name, date, and the party theme on the tumblers.
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Tumblers and paint pens were the perfect party favor! I found the tumblers at Walmart. A four pack was only $1 and I bought a six- pack of paint pens at Michael’s for $5.99. So for less than $20, everyone got to make a tumbler for the weekend. We asked all the girls to write their name and their pledge year on their cups. The cups then also served as informal name tags, since we spanned about five years of pledge classes. Some girls even had everyone sign their cups, like a mini yearbook.

It was so much fun watching the girls decorate their tumblers. It’s amazing how quickly the sorority girl “dot writing” came back to everyone! I’m so glad they were a hit!
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They also looked cute in pictures!

Homework: What is the best party favor you ever reviewed?

Lesson Plan Reflection: 4th of July recap!

imageMy 4th of July didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned, it was even better! The day started out in downtown Huntington Beach with the parade. We found seats at Sharkee’s by joining a group of some serious characters. It was a very entertaining morning… The parade and the company! I wore a $5 flag t-shirt from Wal-mart that I DIY’d into a workout tank top. After a quick nap, I headed over to my friend Patti’s house for her annual party. I wore my favorite white Gap boyfriend jeans with a red, white, and blue plaid shirt that I bought years ago at Banana Republic. I only wear it on the 4th of July! I added my C. Wonder pearls, a monogrammed clutch I received as a gift, and my gold Tory Burch flip flops. Pearls, plaid, and a monogram… perfectly patriotic!

imageAs a hostess gift, I brought a bunch of fun 4th of July accessories to Patti’s house for an impromptu photo booth. I found everything at the .99 cent store. She had a great group of people over and there was so much good food! And my s’mores bar was a hit! All in all, a fun day with good people and awesome fireworks!

Homework: What was the best part of your 4th of July?

Home Economics: A deluxe s’mores bar!

imageI’m bringing dessert to a 4th of July BBQ and decided to kick things up a notch. I love a s’mores bar and they have been a big hit each time I have created one. In addition to the traditional s’more, I’ve added Reese’s peanut butter cups and a Ritz cracker and Rolo option. Can’t wait for the salty/sweet combo! I bought the s’mores forks at Walmart and picked up the rest of the supplies at Vons. I used some baskets that I found on sale and keep on hand for food presentation. I store them in my garage and use them all time. Once I get to the party, I will open all the packages and make everything look cute! I have some adorable pinwheels and 4th July decor I found at the 99 cent store that I will add and take pictures of at the party! Enjoy!

Homework: What’s your favorite dessert to serve at a BBQ?

Physical Education: Think Thin bars

imageI discovered Think Thin bars several years ago when I was working with a nutritionist. I met up with her midway through my weight loss journey when I had lost 60 pounds and hit a major plateau. She developed a great plan for me that encouraged clean eating. She recommended these delicious bars as a meal replacement option if I was too busy to eat a proper meal. She liked that Think Thin bars have the proper protein/carb/fat ratio. I like that they taste good and they are filling. I almost always have a Think Thin bar near by in my desk or purse. They are great when I am in a rush in the morning because they are easy to eat the car as I’m driving to work. If I’m stuck in a meeting, I can grab a bar on the go for lunch. I don’t like to complete rely on these bars, because I prefer whole foods, but I need to be realistic and it’s better to eat a protein bar than grab fast food or go without eating. I used to buy these bars individually at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts, but I recently discovered that you can buy a box of 5 at Target or Walmart and you save almost $3. More money to spend on fun clothes or accessories!

Homework: What is your favorite protein bar?

Home Economics: We want s’more s’mores!

imageWe celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week this week at my school. I put out treats each day for my teachers and ended the week with a special treat!

imageMonday: An apple for the teacher! Baskets filled with apples
Tuesday: You were “mint” to be a teacher! Baskets filled with Lifesaver mints
Wednesday: Our teachers are out of this world! Baskets filled with Milky Way bars
Thursday: Our teachers are smart cookies! Baskets filled with a variety of cookies
Friday: We need s’more teachers just like you! Baskets filled with s’more fixings

imageI’m a huge Pinterest fan and saw a few different ways to put together a s’mores bar. Since I don’t have a fire pit at school, I had to come up with a quick and easy way to toast the marshmallows. I used terra cotta pots that I had on hand (I have at least 40 that I sprayed painted gold for another event) and lined them with tin foil. I put a sterno can that you would use in a chafing dish inside each terra cotta pot. The tin foil protects the pot and also keeps the sterno’s flame lit and protected from the wind. I then put out baskets with the s’more fixings… marshmallows, graham crackers, mini Hershey chocolate bars, and Reese’s peanut butter cups. If you haven’t tried a s’more with a peanut butter cup, you are missing out! They were a big hit with all the teachers. Also, if you look closely, I found special square-shaped “s’more specific” marshmallows. I just needed to add some skewers and sticks for roasting/toasting and plates. I found the sterno’s, square marshmallows, and skewers at Wal-mart when I was buying the rest of the supplies. One of my secretary’s had the “most interesting man” cut out that her daughter used for a video project at school. We thought he needed to come to our s’more party! You know you have a hit on your hands when everyone is taking pictures before they dig in!

Homework: What is your favorite kind of food bar? Chili, baked potato, nacho, etc?