DIY Christmas Tree from a Tomato Cage

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I know. I know. We didn’t even have Thanksgiving yet, but the retail stores have tricked me into the holiday spirit.

I’ve seen a lot of DIY Christmas trees on Pinterest, but I have to tell you I was unimpressed with most of them. Most were showing the wires and if they did look nice, there was not a tutorial on how to do it.

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I used a tomato cage I already had. One that was in terrible shape.

I then used this garden twine to wrap around the tomato cage, but I’m sure you could use what you have on hand to save you money. I wanted it to be circular, so I put this all around the cage so the garland would have something to grab onto.

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The picture below looks messy, but it still worked.

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I then wrapped it with garland starting at the top. I got 30 feet at Lowe’s for $5 and I needed about 45 feet to cover the tomato cage.

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I then prepared the base. I used my Cricut Expressions machine to do this:

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Then I put the tree on top of a plastic pot (upside down) and put my tree on top. In order to give it some weight and take up space I wanted to use water bottles and gravel, but I didn’t have any one hand. Wine bottles though, yeah I had those. 🙂

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I then put garland on top (I got a 15′ section at Dollar tree). Then I decorated! I used all ornaments and stuff from Dollar Tree and I already had the ribbon! You can’t even tell the wine bottles are there.

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I’m pretty proud of my creation! And it was MUCH cheaper than the store bought ones.

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Price breakdown:

Wash tub: Free- I already had as a planter- btw you may have to drill holes in the bottom so water can drain out.
Wine bottles/plastic pot-free
Ribbon- Free (I already had, but it sells for $5 at Lowe’s)
Garland- $10 for 30feet (Lowe’s)
Garland- $1 for 15 feet (Dollar Tree)
Berries- $5 Lowe’s (although I found them at Dollar Tree after I already bought them at Lowe’s)
Ornaments: $2 (Dollar Tree)
Start topper: $2 (Dollar Tree)

If you add lights, it will be an extra $5 (I’m making another one that will get lights)

Total Cost: $20
If you use ornaments you already have, buy the berries at Dollar Tree, and keep an eye out for cheaper garland, you could make it for much cheaper.

The store bought trees cost anywhere from $48-$100.

 

 

 

 

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Keeping a 4-year old busy

When I babysit, I have one rule. The TV must not be turned on. I know it may sound a little crazy (this may be the teacher in me) but I think if I’m babysitting them, we should be making memories, not viewing shows that really don’t matter.

So that’s just what we did yesterday- No TV and crafts only! She was a bit excited when I showed up with my craft bag! It was filled with stuff to make slime, thumbprint turkeys, and handprint turkeys. We also decorated Christmas ornaments, but that’s a bit too early to post on the blog. Let’s just enjoy Thanksgiving first. 🙂

Slime: Three ingredients- food coloring, glue, liquid starch. I used to do this with my 5th graders at least once a year and they loved it.

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She of course loved it too!

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Directions: 

1. Put glue- as much as you want- into a glass bowl. I used glass so it didn’t stain the plastic when we added the food coloring. I used 3/4 of the glue bottle you see in the picture.
2. Mix in food coloring to get the desired color.
3. Add liquid starch a little at a time while stirring. Keep adding little by little until the goo doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl and you have a clump.
4. Coat your hands in liquid starch so it doesn’t stick to you and mix it up with your hands. If it’s too sticky just add a little more liquid starch.

It’s that easy! And it occupies them for quite awhile!

The next crafts I found on Pinterest. The first one was from Close to Home where there are a quite a few crafts for kids. Ours did not turn out quite like the example, but here are our attempts at a thumbprint turkey:

Our turkeys-
I have to admit it was fun sticking our thumbs in paint and being so artistic! 🙂

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We also made another “Thankful Turkey.” I also got this from Pinterest, from Sortrature.

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Our finished product:

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I love that candy is first on her list!

Loving November for the first time, in a long time..

I have to say that this is the first November where I am actually enjoying the excitement of the approaching holiday season. I am not just trying to ‘get through’ the month. When I taught fifth grade, November was always a source of stress. It always meant tons of grading for report cards, then report cards, then conferences, and teaching on top of all of that.

November was always one of the most difficult months as a teacher because there was so much to do. It was plagued with worry and stress. How are you supposed to do all of this in the little amount of time you were given? You actually wonder how the hell you were going to make it to the end of the month!

It’s different for me now. I don’t have worries. I don’t have stress. I am not concerned with pleasing other people. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed meeting the parents. There are those parents out there that you wonder why they don’t have more children because they are amazing. But those report cards and conferences, the anticipation of the first ‘this is how your child is doing’ stresses you out a bit.

Since I quit teaching, I’ve actually been enjoying every moment of November.

My house is clean.
I’ve enjoyed mid-day reading at Panera with a hot chocolate in hand.
I walked my dogs several times last week.
I’ve been sewing, crafting, and decorating my house for Thanksgiving.
I’ve even been Christmas shopping already. I’m almost done with everyone.
I had a wonderful lunch last week with a friend.
I’ve been volunteering my time- seriously there is nothing more rewarding than that.
I cook and bake now too (and not just on weekends). This week I made chicken corn soup, baked ziti, and banana bread.
I’ve been spending time with my nieces and nephews, which has been so much fun.
Last week, when my nieces spent the night, we made a project for their dad (who ran the NY marathon) and I enjoyed photographing them too.

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And this is the project they did for their dad including everything “New York.” Sorry it’s a bit blurry.

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I’ve been wishing on ‘Wishies’. You blow them in the air and make a wish and they carry your wish. I haven’t done that since I was a child. 🙂

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Let’s not forget the silly faces during lunch with my niece.

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Or Tuesday when we went to the playground. I can honestly say I was the only adult actually climbing and going down the slide too.

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I’ve been exercising too and I’m doing well on my weight-loss team. Oh yeah, I’m “Sandra” on the actual challenge chart, but as you can see I’m doing well for the Red Team.

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I’m not exhausted on Friday nights.
I went to the grocery store this week during the day.
I even had time to cut coupons!
I don’t stress out on Sunday nights.
I love sleeping in.

I have  nothing exactly new to post… Other than it has been very nice to stop and enjoy life for once. It’s so easy to go through the motions and get ‘caught up’ in life. I can honestly say it’s nice to enjoy November.