Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Win a free t-shirt quilt!!

As many of you know from previous posts, I am participating in a fundraiser to try to earn an iPad for the students with autism in my ASD classroom... read more about that here.

I am about halfway to reaching the 60 sales I need, and am trying to get over the hump and get those last sales.

I was trying and trying to figure out how I can use my crafting skills to help out with this fundraiser, and originally I was thinking about opening my own craft shop to raise the money (but realized that ThePuzzlingPiece fundraiser will be a much better program because they donate the proceeds to autism awareness).  I finally figured out... I could do a raffle!

So, here's the deal.  If you purchase a puzzling piece by Friday, July 27th, 2012 at 12pm EST, you will be entered in a drawing to receive a FREE customized t-shirt quilt, much like this one:

I will pay for you to ship 12 of your t-shirts that you don't wear anymore, I will pay for all of the materials and do all of the work to make the quilt, and I will ship it back to you.

You can order a puzzling piece necklace, such as this one, for only $20:
And you will also have a GREAT (hint, hint) chance at winning a custom-made t-shirt quilt, as well as help students with autism directly, and donate your money to autism awareness.

To order a puzzling piece, you can contact me directly or you can follow the instructions here:

We will now return to our previous scheduling.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Puzzling Piece Fundraiser

Good evening everyone!

I'm writing tonight to share a very important cause that I am taking part in.

I recently accepted my first teaching job as an Autism Spectrum Disorders teacher in a local Elementary School.  While researching technology that is available to help students with autism, I just couldn't ignore the prevalence of studies that show a strong benefit of the use of an iPad in the classroom, especially with students with disabilities.

After contacting numerous organizations, I found a great program called The Puzzling Piece which helps raise money for Autism Awareness by selling gorgeous necklaces, keychains, corkscrews and more.

The best part is, teachers and families who work with students with autism can participate in the program by doing their own fundraising.  If participants sell 60 pieces, The Puzzling Piece will provide that classroom (or home) with an iPad!

I began participating in The Puzzling Piece just over a month ago, and I am already almost halfway to receiving an iPad for my students!  I am now reaching out to people beyond my close circle to try to get those last 30 pieces.

I am asking you to help out by purchasing a Puzzling Piece to raise money for Autism Awareness and help provide the students in my ASD classroom with their own iPad.  If you do decide to participate and order a piece, PLEASE let me know through a comment on here that you have done so so that I can be sure to thank you personally.

I need as much help as I can to reach 60 sales, so buy a piece for yourself, your family and friends, and pass on the word!!!

To buy a Puzzling Piece, follow the instructions below. The most important part is to enter my full name (Amy Spears) before checkout!

Weight Watchers Crock Pot Taco Chicken Chili

Yummy! This was delicious!

Logan picked this Weight Watchers Crock Pot Taco Chicken Chili out while he was pinning over my shoulder (which he does a lot) and insisted we make it.  So we went to the store, bought the ingredients, were so excited, and...

the grocery bags sat on the counter for a week.

The thing about crock pot recipes is that you either have to prepare it in the morning so that it's ready when you get home from work, or prepare it at night, have it cook, save it in the morning, and re-heat it that night.

Either way, it involves getting up earlier than usual, and neither one of us were having that.

So it waited until the weekend.

But when we finally did make it, it was delicious! 

Chicken Chili
Sorry, no picture from me but here is the picture from the blog, redsie05

Some notes:

I drained the vegetables and the beans before I put them in the crock pot. I probably should have left the goo in there because we had to add water to the recipe half-way through.

It cooked much faster than we thought it would.

We ate this throughout the week, which is my favorite kind of recipe.  I added a blob of greek yogurt to the top and it tasted just like sour cream! I also made corn bread to go with it one night. Perfect!

It ended up being one of our few dinner successes, and Logan is already requesting it again.

Unfortunately, I'm set on trying all of those recipes on pinterest so I refuse to make big recipes more than once, therefore driving him absolutely crazy. *Evil laugh*

Frozen Coffee = Homemade Frapps!

I've been meaning to try out a pin where you freeze your leftover coffee in an ice cube tray.

At first, I saw this as just using those coffee ice cubes in  your iced coffee so it doesn't get watered down, but then I saw a pin where you blend the ice cubes with your favorite coffee creamer to make your own (healthy) frappuccino! 

I tried this yesterday morning with my new blender!!! (Old blender broke... blenderless for a whole 2 weeks and was DYING. My wonderful mom bought me a Ninja blender for my birthday!!!)

I think I needed to blend mine a little more... there was still a coffee cube or two in there at the end, but it was really good on that hot Saturday morning! (Like the touch of the whipped cream? That was just for the picture!)  I also should note that I added a little nonfat milk in there to liquify it a little more instead of using a ton of my yummy hazelnut coffee creamer.

Try this out! It's awesome!

I'm Back!!! Update and Camp Crafts

I'm sure you missed me so, but I haven't given up on crafting... I have tons of things to update you on! I'll just have to update as I remember what I've made... it's been so long!

I am also very excited to see that while I've been gone my blog has still been getting quite a few views! It has been linked to google... if you google 'diy rice neck warmer' my post is the first result!

It's amazing to know that other people are reading my blog... hello out there!!!

Anyways, instead of blogging I have been working at summer camp, traveling, doing schoolwork, and getting my...

wait for it...


I have been doing quite a few crafts at camp with the kids, some planned and some spontaneous.  I will include those in here.

Homemade Bouncy Balls:  

A few weeks ago we made the borax homemade bouncy balls from theidearoom.  The kids enjoyed it because they got extremely messy, got to work together, and got a bouncy ball...
for about 5 minutes.
Just a warning: as soon as you leave your blog of ball alone for just a few minutes, it flattens and is no longer a bouncy ball.
I'm sure the mothers were so happy to find a wad of goo in each kid's backpack at the end of the day... but hey, we tried it!

Homemade ice cream in a baggie from familyfun

We did this one awhile ago too. I do this every year with my kids and it usually turns out to be a milkshake instead of ice cream, but this year I had the support of the camp director who supplied the materials and we used actually rock salt, so I think that may have helped.  Again, messy, kids loved it, and it was SO delicious!

Bald Eagle Fourth of July Wreath:

From DLTK's Holiday Crafts for Kids.

We did this one right before the fourth of July, and it was really cute. The DLTK website provides all of the templates you need, so it was pretty basic to do even with our little kids.  They had to color the eagle, glue it together (they needed help with this part... figuring out where the pieces went), glue it on a cardboard ring (which we pre-cut out of cereal boxes), and add rolled up paper (we pre-cut the paper into strips).

I think this was a nice and different activity to do for the fourth of July.

Some of the other camp crafts we have done are listed over at my Teaching 365 blog, including:

Heidi the Hedgehog Book

Scavenger Hunt

Nature Suncatcher and Nature Pictures

Don't go away... I'll be back soon with some delicious recipes!!!