Cheap and Easy Teacher Gift

Hey Folks! Just wanted to do a quick post to show you a

Cheap and Easy Teacher Gift

My son will be graduating Kindergarten on Friday (sniff sniff), and this has been a challenging year for him. He is learning to control his emotions, and have patience. I’m so grateful for his teacher and the staff at the school. It has not been easy for them this year.

I know teachers are looking forward to summer vacation just as much as the kids are! God bless our educators! God made certain people for this job, and I know I’m not one of them. My hat’s off to these great people.

Cheap and Easy Teacher Gift

 

I knew I wanted to do something, but I wasn’t sure what. With us moving, I don’t have a lot of time or money for anything outlandish. I found one of these cups with a straw on clearance and knew it would be perfect for a Teacher Gift for my son’s teacher. (Forgive the packing materials in the background)

Cheap and Easy Teacher gift
Cup with Straw

Cheap and Easy Teacher giftMost of my craft projects start out in much the same way: I get an idea, and I scrounge around for inspiration, and I usually hit the craft stores for materials. Sometimes, I find things I forgot I had, and they turn out to be perfect. This time, I found a roll of ribbon with pencils on it that I bought for a back-to-school theme I did at work. I happened to find it in my desk at work by accident. I thought it was in my craft drawers at home…I never would have found it otherwise!

The next step was to try and figure out what to fill it with. I don’t know her very well, and she is an older woman. I knew that cute nail polish and the like would not be a good fit. So, I decided that you probably can’t go wrong with chocolate and coffee! So here are all my supplies gathered up:

Cheap and Easy Teacher giftNow of course, the fun part..stuffing it all in there. I took the packets of coffee and stood them up all around the inside of the cup, facing out. Then, I piled the chocolate squares in the middle around the straw. I may have been a little happy that a few pieces of chocolate and two of the packets of iced coffee didn’t fit. 🙂

Next up, I searched Pinterest for a cute label. There are so many creative ladies out there who come up with all these printables for everything you could ever imagine! I found a great one over at http://brendid.com/the-5-minute-coffee-teacher-appreciation-gift/.

 free printable gift tag featuring fun coffee sayings.
From Brendid Blog post The 5 Minute Coffee Teacher Appreciation Gift

I like that it has one more suited for a gift card, and one that isn’t. So, whichever way you want to gift coffee is covered! I printed this out the other day, and then realized that I printed it on regular paper. I made a copy onto cardstock paper, so it would be a little more sturdy. (I’ll save the original in my craft patterns for future teacher gifts)

Tie the tag on with some ribbon and..Voila! Now you have a cheap and easy teacher gift!

Cheap and Easy Teacher gift
Teacher gift in a cup

I will have my son sign his name on the back for his teacher, and together we will give it to her on Friday!

Check out my other gifting ideas that I’ve collected on my Pinterest board here!

Share your teacher gifts in the comments below!

 

 

 

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Adventures in Moving

Hey ya’ll! Things have been pretty hectic here in my Nest lately! We are preparing to make this 1350 mile move from Florida to Massachusetts. The planning is a roller coaster ride. We’ve gone from the click-click-click, climb to the top, just waiting for the time to get closer for actual planning, to the heart-racing anxiety of what comes next. Lining up job details, housing, daycare, etc. With three weeks and closing fast, we are starting the downhill plunge. Ahh!

I’ve moved many times, and Mr. Nest and I are very organized. I don’t need the cute little checklists that I can print out from Pinterest. I have mental checklists, but it does help to write things down for my days off to make sure I’m not forgetting something. I also have my checklist checker who keeps me on track. I can always call my husband to see what I’m forgetting 😉 I see so many tips for moving that are already part of my routines, and others I giggle at how OCD some people really are. Come on, do we really need a number system for each box? Who wants to double check a list to find out where box 212 belongs?

A Sharpie to mark the side of the box is sufficient for me. Although, I do think kids would enjoy picking out their own color Duct Tape for the boxes for their stuff. Have you seen how many colors and patterns there are now? Momma might even pick a cute color for her stuff! Color coding boxes by room isn’t a bad idea. I have been browsing Pinterest, just to see what other people do. Plus, being such a long-haul move, I wanted to see if there were better ways to pack certain things. I have pinned a few interesting moving hacks that I never would have thought of.

This Pin amazed me with its frugality and simplicity. Why didn’t I think of this??

33+ Helpful Packing & Moving Tips Everyone Should Know ~ Use paper bags in place of newspaper for glass cups and small bowls!
Photo Source: Pinterest

You can find paper lunch sacks on the aisle with foil and wraps. For $2, you get 100 sacks at Wal-Mart. You could also use them for wrapping candles, jars, etc. I will definitely add this to my list of packing supplies.

Another tip that really helps is that when you know you are moving soon, keep the boxes for things you buy! This past Christmas I found a great deal on a set of dishes. I kept the box, so that when I move, I can neatly pack all the dishes just the way they came. We also had to buy a new tv when the little guy decided that Mommy’s pincushion held writing utensils for the tv… We kept the box so we could nestle it nicely.

I also like this idea:

The fastest way to pack a closet. This also keeps your clothes on their hangers, for much faster unpacking. Hang in closet when you arrive and tear off the bag and you are done! This would also work for off season storage.:

This hack popped up quite a bit while I was browsing. This is an easy way to corral your clothes. Also, since they aren’t in a box, you can lay them on top of boxes, or fit them into odd spaces that you can’t fit boxes in the moving truck.

I usually look for cheap and easy ways to pack for a move. Making a big move like this will require a bit of investment in some areas in order to protect items from damage. I don’t usually spring for the big roll of bubble wrap or shrink wrap, but this time I will. I will also buy a bag for my mattress, which I admit, is partially for the handles on the sides. I don’t know why they don’t make handles on King size mattresses anymore… but for under $20 at U-Haul, I think it’s worth it.

So all these hacks are great and all, but where to start?? I brought in my dozen or so boxes that I got from work and I stood in the living room with my hands on my hips, tapping my forefinger on my lips.

Uhhh. Hmm. It can seem like a daunting task.

Oh yeah!

Start packing what you don’t need for the next few weeks.

I always have the same thought: “If I won’t miss this for a few weeks, do I really need this?” I packed up the DVD’s that we have in the bottom of the TV stand. We dwindled them down the last time we moved, yet we haven’t watched 95% of them since we moved in here. I wonder how many of these are available on Amazon or Netflix now?

I try to do an “outside- in” method of packing. I start with the closets, usually the top where the lesser used items are stored, then the bottom, and the linen closets, coat closets, craft closet. Then take things down from the walls. Cleaning the walls after you remove pictures and decorations makes it a one and done job! This is where the Magic Erasers come in handy. I LOVE these little white rectangular miracles. I sure wish they had invented these when my daughter was 3 and she wrote all over the wall in marker! We had to use Kilz and repaint the wall before moving out of that house.

Warning! As tempting as it may be…Magic Erasers are not good on certain surfaces, read the package before using it on everything in your house! I learned the hard way that it will take the finish off a nice wood table. Another “Duh, Nik” moment.

Once you start cleaning it’s hard to stop! You begin to notice all the little dirt smudges on the door frames and around the light switch plates. Stay focused!

Declutter as you go! If you don’t remember the last time you used something, or didn’t realize you still had it..Donate it or Toss it! Don’t bring junk with you that will sit and collect dust in your next home.

After the walls, I start thinking of what I’m going to be cooking until the move. I pack away appliances I won’t need, and leave the bare essentials. I also plan meals around the food that I need to use up before the move. I may or may not be guilty of buying items to make a dessert with the one package of Jell-O in the pantry. I bought it for something I can’t remember what now. You gotta use it right?? I came across this on Pinterest the other day. A cold dessert sounds like a nice treat after a busy day of packing 😉

No Bake Lemon Cheesecake:
Source: eighteen25.com

This is where I’m at in my adventures in moving. T-minus three weeks!

Next time on the Nest, I will share my tips for packing for the long road trip with a Six year old.

What tips do you have for making a long-distance move?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bringing up boys

When you have your third child you naturally assume that you have done it all, know it all, and don’t need help.

This ain’t my first rodeo! I got this.

And then, you have a child of a different gender than the first two…and you realize how different they are. My first two children, both girls, were 22 months apart. I went through many stages simultaneously. Having two brings a different dynamic to parenting as well. When my younger daughter was 8 years old, we added a little boy to the mix.

Now every child is different in their personalities, and having two girls wasn’t a totally foreign concept to me, since I have a sister, but a boy was totally different! I have four nephews, so I thought I was knowledgeable.

His personality is different, and the family dynamic is way different, since I’m remarried. Raising my little man is vastly different from when my girls were little because my life is very different.

My son is six, and has had social issues since he started daycare.  Even before daycare, when I took him to toddler story time at the library, I noticed that he did not want to interact with the other kids. He did not want to sing and dance. He stayed right by me. I thought he was just shy. When he started daycare, he had a lot of tantrums. He has improved dramatically, but we are still having constant issues. I feel like I’m ill-equipped to handle this. We talk, we discipline, we love. I just feel at a total loss for what to do.

The main issues we are dealing with is that he does not know how to handle his emotions. He gets upset about something minor, and then when he is asked to calm down, he can’t. So when the teacher threatens to call me, or indicate that he will get in trouble, he totally loses it. He has been removed from the classroom numerous times. Recently, the students have been moved to another classroom, so that he could be dealt with.

We’ve also encountered several instances of him being bullied, and lashing out at the kids, which gets him into trouble. We’ve  made it clear to him that hurting other people is the biggest no-no.

I give many kudos to his teacher, she has been a saint! Honestly, I was really happy when he got an older teacher this year. I knew that he needed a well-seasoned teacher who was more familiar with handling behavior issues. I just didn’t think that a twenty-something, fresh out of school, would be ready for my son! The principal, and the counselor, have also been involved in my conferences. The school has been really awesome with him. I can tell that they truly care about his development, both socially and academically. Lord, I pray that his next school will be just as great with him!

Academically, he is struggling. Aside from the screaming, the teacher is constantly barraged with his pleas for help…with everything. He wants her right beside him all day helping him do his work. He gets very upset when she has to help other children. I myself have a difficult time trying to teach him anything. He has never wanted me to do anything remotely related to him learning something. The only thing he lets me do is read to him, which we try to do everyday. When I try to get him to read his sight words in a book, that I know he learned months ago, he refuses. I have successfully gotten him to “read” one very short reader book! I was so excited!

What’s difficult about having issues at school, is that I feel powerless. I am not there to help him calm down. They have called me a few times, to talk to him,  and I have had to pick him up from school twice. Luckily, they don’t call me every time this happens, or I would have been fired already. The other frustrating thing is that he is not like this at home. I guess it’s because he doesn’t have other children to interact with, and he has more freedom at home.

He is such a sweet, loving boy. He tells us that he loves us multiple times a , and always wants a kiss. I love that. I soak it up, because I know that will not last! He’s very caring, and has a big heart. He wants to be a good boy. He even yells it when he’s angry.Untitled design (2) I desperately want to help him connect the dots on how to accomplish that.

As adults we do that too. You can start your day out in prayer, and feel like you are peaceful and serene, and then an hour later, walk into work and be sucked back into negativity.

Now enters my biggest problem in life: me. I want to help him. I have taken him to a behavior specialist. They diagnosed him with ADHD a little over a year ago. Okay, I really already knew that. We did not want to put him on medication because he is so young. We’ve also discussed whether or not to test him for Autism. At the time, I didn’t want to pursue any counseling with a therapist, because I didn’t realize that I chose such a crappy healthcare plan at work, and everything was out of pocket. So, all I could do was partner with the school, and try to work with him as best we could at home. Fast forward to the start of this year. New insurance plan, but did I call to make him an appointment? No. Why?

I am the biggest procrastinator ever.

After the situation with the girls, I have realized that I’m a hopeful ostrich. I tend to think that in the long run, this too shall pass. If there are no issues, I think things are getting better. And then something else happens, and my husband says we need to do something, and I agree, and then still do nothing. It’s a viscious cycle. This right here, has caused more problems in my marriage than anything else. I don’t follow through. But why?? He asks. Honestly, I don’t know the answer, but I need to find it. I’m always reminded of Paul’s verse that says “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15. This one verse describes much of my personality. This problem, has rendered many of the consequences I face right now.

Romans 7:15

I did call the dr’s office again recently. I had to leave a message, and nobody ever got back to me. So, life goes on and I forget about it, until the next email from the teacher. Now that we are moving, I have to put this on hold, until after we get settled.

Following through on addressing things I need to take care of, is my biggest struggle, and I am making this my biggest prayer to overcome.

 

 

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Zoom out to God’s Perspective

In my last post, I told ya’ll that God had been reminding me to wait for Him. To be patient. He is continuing to remind me that He has a purpose.

Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (NIV) This is the Bible verse for my Bible study! I’ve been seeing similar verses and reminders everywhere! I think He is reminding me to hold on!

I’ve been doing a Bible study focusing on the book of Ruth. This story is only four chapters, but her story shows us how God’s Will prevails, in unexpected ways. I’ve always heard a lot of praise for this small story, but I’ve never understood what all the hype was about. I’ve read it several times, but it just didn’t mean that much to me. What was so great?

What’s her story?

Naomi had two sons. Both her sons married, and after about ten years, they both died. Her husband being passed away, Naomi took both her daughters in-law and set out to live in her hometown. She urged both the women to return to their own families. One of the women left, but Ruth chose to stay with her mother-in-law.

Factoid: Naomi’s other daughter-in-law was named Orpah. Sound familiar? Yep, this was Oprah’s intended name, but a typo gave her the famous moniker we all know. That is, if you believe everything you read online. Anyway….

Let’s pause here for a moment, and zoom in to street level.

Ruth was married to her husband for ten years. We don’t know how the brothers died. Perhaps it was war (it was Bible times after all..always a war somewhere), maybe it was an illness. I’m sure Ruth’s hopes and dreams were crushed. She no longer had her husband to grow old with. What about dreams of bearing children? This is not what she had in mind. I can relate. We have our lives planned, and then stuff happens. Suddenly, we find ourselves on a path that we never wanted to be on.

Naomi had lost her husband, and now her two sons. When they got to Bethlehem, Naomi told the people to call her “Mara”, which means “bitter”. She was a bitter woman after the tragedies that she experienced. I imagine her life was not what she wanted it to be either. We know that she was a woman of God. I bet she prayed for the protection of her husband and sons. Perhaps she prayed for God to spare them. Yet He did not. She was returning to her hometown at the lowest point in her life. She had lost her identity.  She told everyone that “the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21) Was she trying to understand why God had done this to her? Why didn’t He answer her prayers? Why had He taken away her family?

As Christians, we like to believe that if we pray hard enough, and are faithful, that God will answer our prayers. We can get so caught up in what we want in our lives.When your prayers don’t get answered, do you believe that other people are not following God’s will, or do you accept that it is part of a greater plan?

Let’s jump back into the story.

Ruth does what she has to do: find work. She meets an honorable man who looks out for her. Long story short, they marry. Their son would be the grandfather of the great King David, and sixteen generations later…Jesus was born from this lineage.

After I had read the book of Ruth the other day, I put it on the coffee table, and just shrugged my shoulders. I still didn’t see what the big deal was. I thought about the story, and pondered. Meditating on His Word.

Later that night, I was lying in bed thinking. It was as if the light switch came on.

Bingo!

When you zoom out, way way out, from Ruth’s story,  you see why things happened the way they did. From God’s perspective, you can see how the pieces shifted and fell into place. You realize that Naomi’s husband and sons died for a reason. Ruth’s husband died, to fulfill the ultimate purpose of God.

From God's perspective, you can see how the pieces shifted and fell into place.

These women were brought to a place of deep sorrow.  But their suffering was not inflicted to please God, but in order to make way for Jesus. The horrible things we face in life. Things we pray for God to NOT allow, or beg God to give us, that we never receive, may be the very things He intends for us. Not because He doesn’t care, but because He does. We pray for God to take away illnesses, or for our loved ones to do the things we want them to do.

If we pray God’s will in our lives, are we really prepared for what He wants. Are we willing to move in His direction? Do we doubt doing the right thing if it seems difficult? If it seems totally crazy, or if we just don’t like it? Was Ruth scared, or angry? She may have questioned, but she went. She chose to work to provide for herself without expecting what God had in store for her. God gave her a new life. A loving husband, and a son. He restored her joy, and gave her more than she expected. Naomi also had joy restored with a grandson. This life would not have been possible. The lineage of Jesus would not have been possible, if not for the tragedies they endured.

You’ve heard the saying “hindsight’s 20/20.” It is easy to see God’s hand in our lives, when looking back. Seeing it in our lives in the moment is the hard part. Our tough situations that we pray long and hard for God to take away, just might be what He has given to us on purpose. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) As a human, Jesus did not want to suffer, so he asked for God to spare him, but he wanted God’s will for him. God’s will was for him to be a living sacrifice for us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

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None of us want to suffer. “Be we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3). This verse coupled with Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” give us some pretty strong promises to hold on to!

Hang on my friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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