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Monday, May 27, 2013

Dressed Up for Summer

 Happy Memorial Day!  Hope everyone is enjoying the fantastic long weekend - we sure are!  Usually these "smaller" holidays catch me by surprise and we're left wondering how to entertain ourselves.  This year the down time was very much welcome, and to add some fun to the mix we had a very fun BBQ with new neighbors Saturday, pool time yesterday (and probably again today) and today we will be heading out for some shopping and lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (our belated Anniversary celebration since Wednesday, our 14th anniversary, was crazy busy).
As usual, we have had all kinds of things going on including projects in the works.  Since I'm still in Spring Cleaning/Updating mode, the front porch was one of them.  We have a pretty great front porch - plenty of room and I love the stamped concrete.
 And it's just kinda sad to see such a great space go unused for so long.  So this year I told the husband that for Mother's Day I wanted furniture for the front porch.

 I really wanted rocking chairs, but they won't rock on the stamped concrete.  Adirondack chairs felt like the wrong style.  I eventually found a nice (and inexpensive!) metal bench online and on Mother's Day weekend we took a trip out to the Outlets to find some accessories.  I'm either really picky or shopping in the wrong places, because I only came home with a few pillows for the bench and a new door mat.

 Prompted by a Mother's Day card and cash from my mother-in-law (Thanks Jacklyn!) I spent a fun half hour in the garden section picking out annuals.  Oh - and did I mention I spent a few hours a couple weeks ago repainting the posts and railings?  And ta-da!  I think our front porch is all set for the summer!
 Look - I even remembered to put out the red, white, and blue wreath for Memorial Day. ;)
 I'm still going to keep my eyes open for a small table and maybe another chair for that far corner.  But for now, I'm liking the final results.
Happy Mother's Day to me! :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Teacher Appreciation (belated)

Teacher Appreciation was last week.  It didn't catch me by surprise, I just didn't get to it far enough ahead of time to blog it.  But if it's worth the work, it's worth sharing, right?  Even if it's late.  Give us all a jump start on next year maybe?  :)  Or end of the year teacher gifts.
Our PTO seems to follow the same schedule every year.  One day during teacher appreciation week they ask the kids to bring in a card.  Another day it's a piece of chocolate.  And a different day the request is a flower.  I always like to show a bit of personality while following along with the PTO requests and this is what I came up with this year.  First I found ran across the A is for Amazing printable cards.  (you can see print them here)  Then when I ran across the other letters (you can print the other cards here), I knew that was the direction I wanted to go this year.  Plus all I had to do was print them, get the kids to sign everything, and attach them to the gifts - easy!
The A is for Amazing card went to school the first day with a more in-depth Thank You from the kids inside.  The C is for Caring card (and chocolate!) seemed like the perfect addition to the extra-large candy bar.  Kaitlyn chose the letters for the other two - K (because well, her name starts with K) and S is for Smart.  I used one to go with the small potted flowers I had picked up.
And the final card went along with the bonus gift I send in on Friday.  Going above and beyond - that's what I do, right? :)  Plus, I think it sends the message to the teachers that we appreciate them enough to take a little time and effort to do something special, not just what is "requested" of us.  This year I decided to change up my countdown blocks and make a set for counting down the days 'til the end of school (that idea got the thumbs up from Miss Kate - she loves countdowns).  I really only had the black chalkboard type paper on hand that really screamed school, so I went with a black, white and red theme to make it work.
 I added the option to count down to the beginning of next school year - just for the fun of it.

 So there we have it!  Hopefully the teachers felt fully appreciated.
Time to start thinking about end of the year gifts and our Summer List...