Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ideas for eating healthy...

We've been gone  a while due to being so busy with school, but WE'RE BACK!

           Today's post is about healthy food. I know what you're thinking, and no it's not all about veggies and salad. Yes, even at Beck's Handcrafted Houses the fattening food calls to us. It's even worse trying not to snack while working on our houses. However, it's that time again when we realize just how unhealthy we have been eating over the summer and during the school year and try to turn the tides before Christmas gets here or at least start after the new year.

          Last year, in January, several of the teachers at our school decided to commit to Weight Watchers. It was absolutely the best decision for me because I really needed to lose quite a bit of weight.  After just 3 1/2 months of adhering strictly to the plan while not exercising I had lost 30 lbs. It was great because it is not a "diet" plan like others, but rather a way of eating where you can still eat those favorite foods, but you are limiting portion sizes.  Our hardest challenge with eating healthy is snacking and trying to find those healthy snacks that help fill the void of those fattening chips, candy, etc. Here are a few items we love to snack on that have very small amounts of points for LOTS of food.

 Special K Cracker Chips are by far the best snack to eat because you can eat around 27 chips for only 3 points. Yes, just 3 points and 3 servings to a box. You can find these at Wal-Mart, Target, and I've even seen them at Dollar General.



 
Special K Popcorn Chips are also another great snack just like the cracker chips. If you love snacking on popcorn while watching a movie at home, these are a great healthy substitute. Once again, you can have 27 chips for only 3 points.


Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can get a three pack at Wal-Mart and I assume many other places. You can eat one of the cups for just 3 points.


Always looking for a quick breakfast on the go? These are one of my favorites when I'm in a hurry to get to work in the morning. Amazingly enough they are pretty filling and tide me over until I can get a full lunch. These bars are only 4 points per bar.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School...

So it's been a few weeks since our last blog and finally things have calmed down a bit from the past two weeks for me to be able to find some time to blog again. It's been back to school for both my mom and I and as we always do, we're trying to get back into the routine again of waking up early, going to lots of meetings, eating at a certain time, and of course synchronizing our bathroom breaks with our lunch time. Since we spent most of this month getting ready to go back to school, I figured this blog could have an entire back to school theme to it and I can share some things I've created for my classroom this year (Some of which I can give thanks to Pinterest).

TRAFFIC LIGHT ($2) - As we started out the year, I found out that we have now implemented electronic device use into the classroom and in order to control when my students can use their devices I created my very own traffic light for $2. Yes, that's right I said two whole dollars. I thought up this idea when thinking about my students trying to use their cell phones at a time that is not allowed. This way, there is no confusion as to when they can or cannot use it. I began creating the light by using a long rectangular piece of cardboard, I cut out two holes for the green and red lights. I then painted the entire piece black and covered the holes using green and red tissue paper. Since I wouldn't be using the yellow light, I just painted it in one solid color. The key to making it light up is to purchase two $1 book lights from your local dollar tree. It's easy enough just to clamp them onto the side of the sign and then you're all finished.

IPAD WORD WALL ($0) - Along with our going digital in the classroom I decided to create my very own IPAD word wall to creatively display our vocabulary. Each word has an app button with an example for easy reference that displays the Elements of Art. It will cost you next to nothing to create this word wall because all you will need is a color printer, big piece of cardboard, black and white paint, and some glue. First cut out the cardboard into an big rectangle with rounded corners. Paint the entire IPAD black and paint a single line of white going all the way around it along with the circle home button at the bottom. Next, create your own custom apps either on a word document or through publisher. Finally, just attach all the apps in the order you will teach them and you are finished. If you want to add extra detail you can add a label to the top and even a WiFi and battery meter.

CREATIVE OBJECTIVE WHITE BOARD ($35) - I'm always having problems switching back and forth between my PowerPoint/Prezi and displaying my objective. I had no board left to write on after my smart board was installed in my room and in no way was I complaining, however I had to brainstorm a way to either buy an expensive big white board or create my own somehow. Therefore, I came up with my own way of creating a custom board. I first had to buy a big sheet of Plexiglas which was in no way cheap ($25), but was actually cheaper than if I bought a whiteboard that size. It's about 2x4 ft. Then I bought some canvas which I painted to look like a huge sheet of paper and then doodled in the columns as well as writing my grade levels with fabric markers. Once finished, I adhered it to a big piece of cardboard and then secured it to the Plexiglas. Now I'm able to change out my objectives daily and still keep the creative background. Overall the project cost me about $35, but was definitely worth it because I will be able to reuse it year after year. 

Lastly, I finally had some time to finish the painting I began of our school for one of our Assistant Principals. It's been painted from an old post card that included a photo of the original look of our school. It's one of the bigger paintings I have painted in a while and am glad it is finished and hanging in one of the offices of our building now. And yes, it's been noted that it closely resembles Hogwarts. Sad to say we don't have animated artworks in our hallways. However, this is where I'll leave you with the image (below) of our school, and as always, stay happy and stay crafty.



Monday, August 6, 2012

Where do you really come from?


So during the end of this summer I decided to sign up again on Ancestry.com. Two years ago I saw their commercial and as usual was wondering if it actually was worth it. I was afraid it might turn out like those silly infomercials you see all the time, but I figured I would at least try it and if I didn’t find out anything then I could just cancel my subscription and only be out a few dollars.  It turns out it is extremely helpful with everything from finding your relatives, stories about them, their occupations, and what country they came from when arriving in the United States. Even with our family, we found out that on my mother’s side we are related to Roger Williams who began the very first Baptist church in the U.S. and has plenty of books written about him. We also have relatives that were King’s and Queen’s of Scotland and Sweden. On my father’s side we found that some of our relatives came to the United States from Ireland in the 1700’s and that's only some of the information we found. You’re probably asking, how did you find it so easily? Well, I’ve listed below a few of the really cool things they have to offer, and no I'm not getting paid to advertise. It turns out it's one of those things you purchase that actually works.


  1. HOW MUCH? You can sign up either through either the Monthly U.S. Discovery ($22 per month) or the World Explore Monthly ($35 per month). They have a few other options as well, but these are specific ones where you can opt out at any time. I signed up for the U.S. Discovery and it was great because when I was finished searching or didn't have time anymore I just canceled the subscription. *TIP* What they don't tell you is that you can either download a file that contains your family tree or even continue to sign online and view your family tree even after cancelling your subscription. The only catch is that you cannot make changes to it once your subscription is canceled.
  2. All of the census records have been uploaded in digital format as well as the original version. When you're researching census records you can either view the digital format or click on the original handwritten census record that has been uploaded as a pdf file. I prefer viewing the actual census record because a lot of the interesting information is not on the digital file such as occupation. *TIP* When looking at the file that pertains to a certain relative make sure and attach it to that person specifically. Once it's attached it will add it to that relative's timeline and you can come back to view it at any time. 
  3. THEY HAVE AN APP FOR THAT! Yes, Ancestry.com has an app that is available for viewing your family tree. Just today I went to the library to look up some information on one of our relatives and was using my app to view specific information such as names, birth dates, death dates, etc. 
  4. *TIP* Make sure that the person you are adding to your family is in fact the correct person. Your tree..err train could get derailed pretty easily if you don't fact check first. A few things to check includes: birth date, birth place, death date, death place, or any locations they have lived. It's best to set up a time line in a word document to keep track of the people and where they lived at what time.
  5. What's absolutely great about Ancestry.com is that there are sometimes other people that have been doing this genealogy thing a lot longer than you and their tree may be connected with yours. The good thing is once you get to a point where you are related to someone else who is also on Ancestry.com then you can look at the progress they have and after making sure it matches your tree you may copy their work. YES, I said it, it's OK to cheat on this website. An example: I have a great uncle who had added family photos and relatives that I did not know about. I linked our tree with his and voila it instantly added his progress he had made to our family.You can also contact these people in search of answers via Ancestry.com e-mail. *TIP* Don't worry if you hit a snag because clicking on the little green leaf will give you hints about your relative you didn't find on your own.
  6. The final awesome thing about this website is that you can also share with other family members who do not have a subscription. They only need an e-mail address.  I have e-mailed our tree to a few family members so they could view it online for free. They cannot add anything, but they can view it as much as they want and see all your work.*TIP* You can even publish your family tree in a book, poster, or calendar for your family.
So we can only hope a few of you decide to take the plunge and it works out as well for you as it has for us. Also if you have ever done genealogy for your family we would love to hear some tips or interesting news you've discovered about them. OR if you have any questions about Ancestry.com please contact us through our "Contact Us" tab at the top of our blog and as always stay happy and stay crafty.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Basic Craft Room Supply List

So whether you're thinking about creating your own craft room or stocking up on your own arsenal of craft supplies, we have come up with a basic visual craft supply list. As fellow crafters, I'm sure we could make a never ending list of items but we tried to keep it to the bare minimum and necessities. These are just some of the items we make sure to keep stocked up on to create our unique Beck's Handcrafted Houses. Hope it helps and
as always stay happy and stay crafty!



Monday, July 23, 2012

DIY Refrigerator Magnets...


So while going through some things in my craft closet and was trying to find some useful way to create things out of my spare parts. Needless to say I was really just making an attempt to get rid of some things in a creative way. That's when I had a great idea to make some cute refrigerator magnets out of my old decorative chipboard pieces I have yet to use. Anyone that knows me, knows that I absolutely love polka dots, which makes these chipboard pieces perfect for me. In just two easy steps and only 3 supplies you can also create some of your own decorative refrigerator magnets. If you are like me, then you know how hard it is to find refrigerator magnets that actual match your decor and this way you can choose your own patterns and designs. Another great idea I had as well was even substituting in some small broken jewelry pieces that you have no other use for in place of the chipboard (This may be another blog post for another day). As it is, you can see to the right and belowI have included a visual step by step (literally, just two steps) and a list of supplies you'll need. You can get all three of these at any craft store such as Hobby Lobby or Michael's. I spent a total of $5 and probably could make around 30 magnets with lots of magnetic strip left over. So, as usual, stay happy and stay crafty and let us know if it works for you! 
 
 


Saturday, July 21, 2012

To the Beach...

So I got a little behind on blogging due to a recent illness, but thank goodness after a doctor visit, then the ER, and then lots of medication I am finally good to go. Before I got sick we went away recently on vacation to the beach. OH yes...I said the beach. It was extremely relaxing and we had an absolutely awesome time. It was a break from regular everyday life as well as our crafting, but I always take time for art and also to say hello to our Beck's Handcrafted Houses customers, friends, and fans (as seen below). Hope you all get a chance to relax a bit on vacation. As always, stay happy and stay crafty! 




Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 4th Craft Show...

Better late than never to post, but we've been on vacation and had a few set backs as well (more pics and explanation to come in next  blog post). So we were out and about on July 4th for a local craft show and it was extremely hot. It was over 105 degrees the entire time we were outside. On the up side of things it went well and we sold a few houses but mostly networked a lot with our fellow locals. We even got to use our new banners (as seen below) that were self made and finally figured a way to set up our houses where it appeals to our customers using multiple levels. What was great about the booth is that we had an identical table set across on the opposite side as well.  Even more interesting than that is now you can see our various sized houses sitting next to each other.
Oh yeah, and we even gave away one of our houses...yup..resulting in one super excited winner who coincidentally happened to be her birthday.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beck's Houses Newsletter...

We've decided another great way for our customers to keep up with our shop online, where/when we will be selling our shops locally, and our newest houses was to create a monthly newsletter. We promise it WILL NOT be spam. We hate spam as much as the next person and we aren't talking about the food (not a fan of that either). As an incentive we will be offering random discounts through these newsletters to those of you who subscribe. YES, we do in fact mean coupon codes for our shop. Awesome right? So if you are in fact wanting to sign up for our monthly newsletter, the easiest way is to visit our Facebook shop and click the E-mail sign up tab located underneath our cover photo. Below I'm including a sample of the newsletter that was sent out for this month to our current subscribers. 

We are now entering the digital age...

So upon discovering a new app on my iPhone this past year, it just now hit me months later just what I could do with this app in terms of our houses we currently sell on Etsy. Check out our new virtual characters that you can add using your own smartphone or tablet. Sorry the video may not be awesome quality due to filming with our iPad, but hopefully you can see how we have added a virtual world to one of our houses.  For better viewing of the characters, view full screen and definitely turn up the volume. We will begin adding characters to our other houses as well. Definitely looking forward to adding some to the Dinosaur one. Let us know what you think! Comments are welcome.

-Be happy and be crafty.
BHH
video

Sunday, July 1, 2012

DIY Sold Sign / Wedding Place Card Holder


In preparation for our upcoming craft show we were thinking about what things we needed that we did not have at our last craft show. One of the things we always need are sold signs. We usually have customers who want to purchase a house but want us to set it back for them until they are finished looking at the rest of the craft show.  Makes sense, however, for our shop we may only have one of that type of house and if we set it back then our new customers may not see an item we offer in person. Our solution was to make sold signs. So today I am including a tutorial of our signs that we made to go with our houses and it may be a good idea for you other crafters out there who have the same problem or could even be used as a DIY wedding place card holder. We'd love to hear feedback to let us know if you're SOLD on this idea and it worked for you. :) 


Supplies you'll need:

  • Scissors
  • Some type of picket fence (Popsicle sticks would work, just cut them in half)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wooden wheels or wooden piece for a base (You can get these at most craft stores on the wooden aisle.
  • Any color of scrapbook paper
  • Some type of grass yarn (We used sea leaves Riot Eyelash Yarn)
Steps:
 
1.     Cut one picket off of the fence or if using Popsicle sticks cut one in half. *Note: If using Popsicle sticks you'll need to paint it if you're wanting a non-wooden color.* 
2.     Next, add some hot glue to one side of the wheel and add picket standing straight up. 
3.     You'll then need to slowly add a small bit of hot glue at a time while wrapping the base in the yarn. Continue to add yarn until the base is covered. *Note: I didn't cover the bottom so it would stay flat and stand up better.*
4.     Lastly, you'll need to cut off a small rectangle of any color of paper you want. (We used red for a more eye catching color.) You can draw on or even print off your own sign for the top.  Would be a great idea for table numbers or even reserved seat signs.
5.     Just attach sign and YOU'RE FINISHED!



Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's been a while...

It's been quite a while since we've blogged last and we've had tons of new houses in our shop since our last post. We've been quite busy with school, work, and other things, but in our free time we have added some new creations to our shop. We're also going to start posting some tutorials on how we make a variety of things for our shop such as some creative craft show displays we've been working on as well as a few other things. Hopefully we can finally start to find some time to begin blogging at least weekly since it's summer and we're currently out of school. We'd love if everyone checked out our newest houses below and even visited our shop to see how much it has changed in the past year @ http://www.etsy.com/shop/beckshouses or even like us on our facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/beckshandcraftedhouses.