Teacher Christmas Gift Ideas

Since my first child is in Kindergarten this year, it’s the first time that I need to think about what to get for a teacher for Christmas.  I’ve been searching and searching and I found some adorable, crafty ideas that are inexpensive and very creative.  So, instead of spending a bunch of money on something that your child’s teacher “might” like… try out one of these cute ideas!

Of course you could always do something like a GIFT CARD!  They are easy to get, and you have tons of choices.  Even better, you can always get an AMEX or VISA gift card so your child’s teacher can buy whatever they want.  The credit card gift cards usually have a fee of about 5-15% so be sure you figure that into the amount you are giving.  Another simple idea is BAKED GOODS!

Hoffman Christmas 1
Source: Life As Mama
This is an adorable way to give a teacher a bowl of candy!  Grab a small bowl at the dollar store, some crayons, and some hot glue, throw some candy inside and VOILA!

Hoffman Christmas Gift 6
Source: Every Day Mom Ideas
Super cute and practical!  My kind of gift.  Take a sheet of lined paper, throw it in a frame, glue something decorative to it, and add a dry-erase marker.  LOVE this idea.

Hoffman Christmas Gift 4
Source: Life As Mama
Super Easy… a small potted plant, decorate the pot however you (or your child) wants to… add a little personalized note!  This gift is great because your child’s teacher can put the plant on the window sill or his/her desk, and your child can see it in class everyday!

Hoffman Christmas Gift 7
Source: Designer Trapped
Lots of teachers get mugs as gifts, but this one is awesome because it’s made by your child (his/her student) and it’s personalized to them.  You’ll need a white mug, Oil Based Sharpie Paint Pens, Letter stickers which can be found at any craft store, and an oven.
Just place the sticker(s) wherever you like on the mug, have your child use the markers to dot up the mug all around the letter(s).  Give it time to dry before removing the stickers.  If there are any mistakes, just use a q-tip with some nail polish remover to erase any unwanted dots.  “Bake” your mug for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. At the end of 30 minutes, turn off the oven but LEAVE THE MUG IN THERE TO COOL DOWN!  And that’s it!  Soooo cute.

Miss Hoffman Christmas 2
Source: Life As Mama
A few highlighters and an adorable note make a very special gift that any teacher can use.  Don’t buy a bulky, impractical gift that your child’s teacher will end up tossing.  Find a small mason jar, again the dollar store has some of these, some yarn, highlighters, and a note (which can be found HERE).

Miss Hoffman Christmas 7
Source: Crafty Morning
This is a great idea for an entire class to make for their teacher.  How to get all the kids’ fingerprints without the teacher knowing, is another thing.  Not impossible, but it would take some work from the Homeroom Mom and other parents.  A blank canvas and some paint is all you’ll need for this one!

Miss Hoffman Christmas 3
Source: Life As Mama
This is by far one of my favorites!  Something so personal, creative, and easy.  All you need is crayons, a frame, and glue!  Stencil the letter that you will be using, cut the crayons to make the shape of the letter, and then glue them on the glass.

Miss Hoffman Christmas 4
Source: Craft with an Angel
Miss Hoffman Christmas 5
Source: Tip Junkie
This one will take a bit of work and a little bit of money (not much).  You’ll need (2) embroidery hoops, one smaller then the other, a hot glue gun, and a large box of crayons to make the wreath.  Just glue the crayons onto the embroidery hoops.  The rest of it is just adding some cute decorative items that you can find at a craft store, teacher supply store, office supply store, etc.  Just glue on whatever you want to, until you create the perfect gift!

Hoffman Christmas Gift 5
Source: Life As Mama
I love this idea for all occasions!  Thinking of throwing some of these up around my house!  It’s super easy to find greeting cards, or print out inspirational quotes, etc.  Throw them in an inexpensive frame and there you have it!  There is a great site that has FREE printable quotes too, you can find it HERE!

Miss Hoffman Christmas 6
Source: Etsy
I love homemade signs.  You can choose to put on them whatever you like, the picture above is a good idea for a classroom, I found it on Etsy, but you can easily make one of these.  All you would need is a blank canvas, some stencil letters, and some paint.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, and really I think that if you have a young child and they make it a bit messy, that would just make it more personal from your them to their teacher!  Pick a saying and go crazy!!!

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!!!
Have Fun.

Christmas Light Displays in the Philadelphia Area

Koziar’s Christmas Village
782 Christmas Village Road
Bernville, PA 19506

Franklin Square Holiday Festival
Open until Dec. 31st 4:00-8:00pm
Franklin Square Holiday Festival
Entrances are located on 5th and 6th Streets between Arch and Market Streets – Philadelphia

Longwood Gardens
Open Nov. 26th – Jan. 10th
Longwood Gardens Holdiday Lights
Kennett Square, Chester County PA

Hershey Park
Open NOW
Hershey Christmas
00 W. Hersheypark Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

Shady Brook Farms
Open until Jan. 10th 5:00-10:00pm
931 Stony Hill Road
Yardley, PA 19067

Peddler’s Village
Open Year Round – Christmas Village Open NOW
Peddler's Village Christmas
2400 Street Road
New Hope, PA 18938

Sesame Place
Open until Dec. 31st
Sesame Place Christmas
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA 19047

Dutch Wonderland
Open NOW – Saturdays and Sundays
Dutch Wonderland Christmas
2249 Lincoln Highway East
Lancaster, PA 17602

Macy’s Christmas Light Show
Open Nov. 27th – Dec. 31st at select times
Macy's Christmas Lights
The Wanamaker Building
1300 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Rose Tree Park – Festival of Lights
Open NOW
Rose Tree Parl Lights
1671 N. Providence Road
Media, PA 19063



10 AWESOME Christmas Art Projects for Kids

Christmas is right around the corner, so the time has come for some awesome Christmas art projects.  I am sharing my top 10.

Have Fun with the Kiddos!!!

Christmas Light Chalk Stencil
Buggy and Buddy
This is such a cute a fun project that the kids can make and decorate the house with.

Ribbon Christmas Tree Ornament
Apartment Therapy
LOVING this one.  Kids can explore outside and find sticks to use, then grab a bunch of left over ribbon (or buy some) and tie them in knots to make a Christmas Tree.
There’s more detailed directions through the link under the picture.

Hand Print Christmas Tree – GREAT GIFT IDEA
Crystal & Co.
I’ve seen these everywhere but I’ve never done it.  Not this year! And SO SIMPLE too.

Snowflake Art
The Frugal Navy Wife
Anothy SUPER EASY one.  Put tape on a canvas in the shape of a snowflake, Christmas tree, or ANYTHING really… let the kids paint all over it.  Once it’s dry just take off the tape and voila, a work of art!

Paint Chip Christmas Tree Ornament
Glue Dots
Use FREE paint chip samples!  If your kids are old enough to use scissors they can cut the shapes, OR just pre-cut them and let the kids decorate.!

Dish Brush Christmas Wreath
Awesome, easy, self-explanatory!

Pom Pom Ornaments
Skip to my Lou
I used to have a few of these on my Christmas tree as a kid.  These have been around FOREVER, but they are still adorable and easy to do with the kids.

Pine Cone Christmas Trees
Scissors and Spoons
My kids have already collected about a hundred pine cones… now I have something to do with them!

Personalized Oven Mits – GREAT GIFT IDEA
All Things with Purpose
These are super cute for grandparents!

Milk Jug Snowmen
Savy Mujer
Great outdoor decoration idea!  Start saving your milk jugs!!!


Weathered Wood Sign

I made this sign because I had some wood left over from my Barn Door project and I couldn’t let it go to waste.  In order to create this weathered look on your wooden boards, planks, flooring, pallets, etc. just follow the instructions in my Distressed Barn Doors post – UP TO STEP 6.

Take varying lengths of wood and put them together however you want like.  Turn them all over and nail a 1×3 into the back of them (make sure that the nails are short enough that they will not come out the other side.  Here’s what mine looked like after this step:


I decided to add something small and simple.  You can find lots of different words, phrases, letters, etc. at any craft store.  They usually come unfinished so you’ll need to paint it.


I put liquid nail on the backside of the “Believe”, and placed it on the wood.  I then laid a towel on it and put a heavy brick on top so it would tightly adhere to the wood.  Leave it like that overnight.




Lastly you’ll need to attach a couple frame hangers like THESE which are only $2.49 at Target.

frame hangers

Happy Hanging!

Cool Braid Alternative

First take a small section of hair and do a regular old fashioned braid


Hold the two left sections of the braid apart from the third section. With your right hand, hold the single section to the right and pull it tight. With your other hand take the 2 left strands of the braid and slide them up to the top of the braid.


Sorry, this is a horrible picture! But, this is what it looks like after you slide the 2 sections of the braid up to the top of the third section.

Next, just loosen it up a bit, and secure it with a pin, clip, etc.


10 SUPER EASY Last Minute DIY Costumes

SUPER EASY Last Minute DIY Costume Ideas

Halloween Costume 1
Image Source: Popsugar

Halloween Costume 2
Image Source: Popsugar

Halloween Costume 3
Image Source: The Chic Site

Halloween Costume 4
Image Source: Photozup

Halloween Costume 5
Image Source: Camille Styles

Halloween Makeup6
Image Source: Buzzfeed

Halloween Makeup7
Image Source: Buzzfeed

Halloween Makeup8
Image Source: Gallant and Jones

Halloween Makeup9
Image Source: Gallant and Jones

50 Shades of Grey
Halloween Makeup10
Image Source: 2 Day FM

Keep your car CLEAN and Organized!!!

Today I was cleaning out my car an I was literally disgusted with what I found under the seats, in the seats, and in every nook and cranny that I didn’t even know existed.  Having 3 kids and being a crafty contractor’s wife, my car get filthy on a daily basis.  So I finally decided to try a few of the many life hacks that I have seen all over the internet.

Here are the top 5 Car hacks that I decided to start trying right away!!

(1) The empty Kleenex box
Life Hack1

Life Hack 1

I can’t believe I didn’t think of this myself.  If I haven’t stopped at Wawa in the morning, I am always missing a place to put all the trash that accumulates out of thin air,!  Thanks to a gal named Gina from Camp Clean I no longer have to.  GENIUS

Life Hack2

(2) A Trunk Organizer
I’m sure many of you already have one (or more) of these.  I’ve seen them before, lots of times.  But for some reason I’ve never gotten one.  I don’t have anyone in particular to credit for this idea because I’ve seen it on numerous blogs and pages.  This exact trunk organizer can be found HERE currently on sale for $36.99.  I haven’t gotten one yet but it has a lifetime warranty and got the best reviews I could find so I’m thinking it’s pretty good.  I’ll be ordering one later tonight.

Life Hack3(3) Organizing Pouches
These little mesh pouches are exactly what I need for all of the things that my kids want/need during each and every car ride!  They are see through, they all connect together, and they have labels!  What else do you need?  First-Aid stuff, snacks, activities, etc. etc. The list goes on and on.  I got this great idea from This Site, but I also found them HERE.  They are a bit pricey for my taste at $39.99 but still a great concept




(4) Use Adhesive Hooks
I think the picture speaks for itself.  I’ll be sticking these little suckers up all over my car tomorrow.  Thanks Good Housekeeping for this simple ingenious idea!

Life Hack4

(5) The Car Seat Catcher
Last but not least is the Car Seat Catcher!
Life Hack5  Life Hack5(b)

The worst area to try and vacuum in my car is all along the inside of my front seats.  Considering I eat breakfast while driving the kids to school every morning, I found lots of disgusting “left overs”,proving that I am a seriously sloppy eater!  The Drop Stop inventors call this place the “Carmuda Triangle”!!!  Besides the lost food problem,  the amount of times that I have dropped my phone down there and had to try to squeeze my hand down to search for it, is probably about 100.  If you need more places to put things I would get the “Car Seat Catcher” as pictured above. If you just want to avoid having things lost down there you could go with the cheaper alternative called the “Drop Stop”.
Life Hack5(c)
Both can be found HERE.

Happy Organizing!!!


Distressed End Tables

20151026_160238  20151026_160307

These end tables turned out SO NICE!!!  I am so excited to share how I did them…

End Tables 1

I purchased these end tables from an old friend for $25/each.  They are Ethan Allen end tables and they were really nice in their original state… they just weren’t my style.  Here’s what they looked like originally:

The materials that you will need to rehab solid wood furniture to look like these tables are:

  • Power Sander
  • Grit 120 sand paper
  • Grit 60 Sand Paper
  • “Linen White” paint
  • Paint Brush
  • MinWax “Dark Walnut” Stain
  • Rags/Paper Towels/Staining Pads

Step 1:
I took out the drawers and unscrewed the handles, then I sanded the entire table (excluding the legs) with the power sander using Grit 60 Sand Paper.
End Tables 2     End Tables 4

End Tables 3

End Table Drawers 4

Step 2:
Next I painted the entire table (including the legs) with the linen white paint.  Don’t worry about how perfectly the paint looks because you’ll be sanding it again in the next step.  Just use one coat on the top.  I originally thought I wanted the legs and the drawers totally white.  So I did spend a lot of time painting the legs, I probably used 3 coats on them and the drawers.

End Tables 5   End Tables 6

Make sure you give the paint enough time to dry completely.  I left them out in the sun so they were good to go in about an hour.

Step 3:
Now it’s time to sand… AGAIN!  This time I used the power sander with Grit 120 sand paper.  I did NOT sand the legs or the drawers.  Here’s what they looked like at this point.

End Tables 7  End Tables 8


After sanding, wipe everything down with a clean dry rag or paper towels.  There was a lot of sawdust on these so I actually decided to vacuum the tables using a shop-vac, but you can just use the attachments on a regular vacuum, or a handheld one.

Step 4:
Now it’s time for my favorite part… staining!  My favorite stain color is dark walnut, so you’ll notice that I use this A LOT.  Anyway, take a rag or staining pads and saturate it in the stain.  Then just wipe down the wood with the stain.  This is where you can decide how light or dark you want your look to be.  For a darker look, leave the stain on the wood for a few minutes, for a lighter look wipe off the stain fairly quickly.  I left it on for only about 1-2 minutes because I wanted the white paint to really show through.  Take a look:

End Tables 9

Once the stain was dry, I flipped over the tables to finish painting the legs.  Ideally if you have a piece of furniture like this that you are painting two-toned, take off the legs and paint everything separately. I couldn’t figure out how to get them off so I had to improvised.

Again, I “thought” I wanted a stark difference between the legs of the table and the top of the table.  In the end, I changed my mind.  But here’s what they looked like at this point:



20151026_132836         20151026_132828

Step 5:
I wasn’t happy with the way this look turned out.  So I decided to distress the legs and the drawers just a little bit so that they would still be much whiter then the top of the table but not so different from each other.  I took Grit 80 Sand paper and just scraped up the legs here and there.  On the drawers I used a Grit 120 sanding block because I just wanted to take some of the shine off and distress only along the edges.

20151026_134637         20151026_134629

Step 6:
After wiping off any/all sand dust and paint chips, I stained the legs and the drawers using the same stain and method that I used on the rest of the table.  The only difference is, after rubbing in the stain on one of the legs, I wiped it off immediately.  I did the same thing with the drawers.  This way the stain hardly soaked into the wood at all.


After the tables are COMPLETELY dry, I sealed them with a spray sealer.  You can find these at any hardware store.  I let them dry overnight before touching them again.

Step 7:
Add some girly bling!
I chose the handles for these drawers because I love a little sparkle here and there.  And I thought they dressed up the tables ever so slightly.

20151026_160230  20151026_160307

And there you have it… Rustic, weathered, end tables!



Drop Cloth Curtains


These curtains turned out so much better then I expected.  And they are SO EASY!  All you need is:

  1. A Stencil that you like (I used “Ornate Damask” by FolkArt Home Decor – $15.99 at Joanne’s Fabrics)
  2. Canvas Drop Cloths (I used (2) Everbilt 9ft x 12ft – $26.98 at Home Depot)
  3. Curtain Clips (I used (2) packs of 3/4″ Home Decorators Collection Clips – $7.47 at Home Depot)
  4. Paint and Brushes
    I used regular flat paint BUT I would suggest using fabric paint instead.  I haven’t washed these curtains yet and I have no idea how they will hold up after being washed.  Plus the paint made the drop clothes very rough.  But it still looks great so it’s totally up to you.  Use a stenciling paint brush, you can get them at any craft store or at HD/Lowes)


Step 1:
Lay the Drop Cloth out on a flat surface and smooth it out as much as possible.  NOTE: Drop clothes are NOT paint proof so DON’T do this on carpet like I did.  Only the spots that were really saturated in paint seeped through, but the clean up wasn’t fun.  Start at the top corner and tape the stencil down.  Use your stencil paint brush and put some paint on it, then blot the excess paint off on the paint pan or something else so it’s not overloaded with paint.  Otherwise it will bleed under the stencil.  Now just blot the paint brush onto the stencil.  Don’t “brush” the paint on like you would paint a wall.  After you are done the first stencil you just repeat this over and over again.  IT’S THAT SIMPLE.

Step 2:
If you are using multiple stencils or multiple colors, let the paint dry overnight before you continue.


Just repeat step 1 with a different color or a 2nd stencil, let dry overnight and continue.

DSCN7539 20150807_131319

Step 3:
Add the curtain clip, 7 clips per drop cloth is actually enough.  Those little clips are SUPER strong.  Hang it up and you are DONE!

Curtain Clips  20151024_085349

Extra Info:
Instead of curtain rods, I used iron pipes and connected them to the ceiling instead of the wall.  I’m using this type of industrial “flare” throughout my new home, but if you’re interested, I’ve added the links for these materials below.

Black Steel Pipe
Iron Flange
Iron Threaded Tee
Iron 90 Elbow
Black Steel Nipple

Happy Curtain Making!!!


Distressed Barn Doors

Ok, so I have been dreaming about making my own barn doors for so long.  I think I have pinned over a hundred of them on Pinterest and read countless DIY boards about different ways to make them.  So I finally decided to give it a try.  I decided to make them for the coat closet in our new (still being renovated) home.  Since there is not enough room on both sides of the closet for the full width of a door, I had to split the door in half and have it open in the center.  Here’s how I did it:

Step 1:
Find some wood.  I didn’t want to rip apart pallets or buy a bunch of boards so I used some old unfinished hardwood flooring that my husband had laying in our basement. But you can use any kind of 1″-2″ thick boards.  I wouldn’t go much thicker then that or the door will be extremely bulky and weigh a ton!!!  I forgot to take a picture before cutting them, but all I did was measure the width that I needed for 1/2 of the door (18″ wide) and cut the flooring boards into sections.   20151014_112412
Then I sanded them all down to make sure that there were no sharp edges and everything was smooth to the touch. (NOTE: If you are using wood that has already been stained, painted, sealed, or anything else, you’ll need to sand them down until you get to the unfinished wood)
MATERIAL – I used a table saw to cut the boards. I used a power sander and 120 Medium Grit sandpaper
If you are planning on doing a lot of crafts and don’t have a power sander, buy one.  It is so worth the money.

Step 2:
After sanding, wipe the wood down with a dry cloth or paper towel.  Make sure you get all of the saw dust off of the wood.  I didn’t take a picture of this step either but I think you can figure it out 😉

Step 3:
20151014_112352 Next step is painting!  For this look I used a white paint called Moon Rise from Home Depot that I already had for Kitchen cabinets I’m redoing, but you can use any water based white paint.  It can be Flat or Satin but don’t get semi-gloss or gloss.  I am guessing that the shine from glossy paint will interfere with the distressed look (that’s just a guess though).  One coat of paint is fine because you will be sanding it down again in the next step.

Step 4:
After the paint is completely dry, it’s time to sand again.  This time use Grit 80 sand paper.  Do not sand each board exactly the same.  Change it up so that some boards have lots of paint leftover and other boards almost have none.  When you are finished sanding, wipe all the boards down again with a clean, dry, cloth or paper towel.



Step 5:
20151016_144909Time to stain! This is the fun part.  20151016_095952I used a dark walnut stain and staining pads that I got from Home Depot.  20151016_100003You can also just use a rag or a towel (but whatever you use will get ruined!)  When you put the stain onto the wood it will look really dark!  But put it on generously because it comes off super easy.  Saturate the wood with the stain and let it sit for a few minutes.

Step 6:
20151016_095900Wipe down the wood to remove the stain.   Staining and painting are totally different.  Stain soaks into the wood, the longer it is left on the wood, the more the stain will soak in.  So, if you want a darker look, leave it on longer.  I waited about 4-5 minutes before I started wiping off the stain.  You can always go back later and add more, so I suggest that you don’t wait more then 5 minutes before wiping everything down.  I used paper towels to wipe everything down, but again, a towel or those staining pads work great too.20151016_095852

20151015_140908Here’s the before and after comparison!!!!!  I am REALLY happy with this!!!



The next step was only done because I used hardwood flooring that locked together… If you are using planks, pallet boards etc, you can skip this step and move onto Step 8.

Step 7:
I glued each of the boards together with Liquid Nail.  This was a hassle!  But here’s how I did it.
MATERIALS: Liquid Nail and a Caulk Gun20151016_100318
You need to cut the liquid nail open at the end, do it on an angle.  Then poke open the seal inside the tube, there is usually a long metal piece on the end of the Caulk Gun to pierce open the seal.  The liquid nail is really hard to squeeze out!  I glued 35 pieces together and left them laying on the floor for 24 hours to dry.

Step 8: