December 2013 - Rachel Teodoro

Top Posts of 2013

It's hard to believe that this year is nearly over.
I don't know about you, but the year just flew by!
In classic Holy Craft tradition, I have compiled the top posts of 2013.
I'm excited to be joining some other fabulous bloggers and look forward to getting some inspiration from them for the new year!
Hopefully you will find some inspiration here!
January

knotted burlap wreath

teens and technology
a parents guide

February
Vintage Valentines
Upcycled Dollar store silver chalkboard

March

twine wrapped carrots
feather headband 
Vintage airplane corkboard freezer paper transfer

April

How to make custom invitations with Silhouette

craft items you should buy at the dollar store
vintage chalkboard door

May
chipboard paper dolls with storage box
woodland bracelet
mod podge fabric suitcase

June
master closet built in reveal
Paula's pillowcase Project
sewing pillowcases for kids with cancer

July
crate update
Storybook lunch baby shower

August
Duck tape school supply update

September
mod podge poison bottles
crockpot applesauce

October

infinity scarf from a bed sheet
chevron bulletin board

November
Elegant feather trees and wreath
burlap Christmas gift bags

December
Why I broke up with Joann's craft store
Christmas craft and DIY roundup
Thanks for stopping by!
Take a second to check out some of the other 2013 round ups around blog land.
These gals will blow your socks off!

Flamingo Toes The Potter's Place Crafting in the Rain Classy Clutter The Creative Mom One Krieger Chick Measured by the Heart Holy Craft One Sweet Appetite Brassy Apple Whatever Dee Dee Wants I'm Topsy Turvy Shannon Makes Stuff Organize and Decorate Everything Grey Luster Girl My Craftily Ever After Call Me PMC
Flamingo Toes The Potter's Place Crafting in the Rain Classy Clutter The Creative Mom One Krieger Chick Measured by the Heart Holy Craft One Sweet Appetite Brassy Apple Whatever Dee Dee Wants I'm Topsy Turvy Shannon Makes Stuff Organize and Decorate Everything Grey Luster Girl My Craftily Ever After Call Me PMC Image Map
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Family travel bucket list

At the end of 2011, my husband and I realized that life with three kids at home was flying by!
In just a few short years, our oldest son would be leaving for college
{insert hallelujah chorus!}
and what seemed like endless years of child rearing, was actually beginning to look a little bit like a light at the end of the tunnel.
Knowing that when Aidan goes off to college, his school breaks will likely be very different than his {then} middle school aged brother and freshman sister.
And hopefully, his summers will be filled with employment or internships.
All of these things will inevitably make travel as a family of five more difficult.
So, we made a family travel bucket list.
Five places we wanted to take the kids 
{some of the places were duplicates of places we have already been but we wanted to experience again}

1. Washington DC
2. Disneyland
3. Great Midwest
4. Hawaii
5. Mexico

Washington DC

The other Washington {as we Washingtonians like to call it} is an amazing city packed full of history.
My son Aidan and I had the opportunity to tag along on a quick trip to our nations capital and loved getting to quickly see the highlights of the city.
You can read more about our 36 hours in DC in this post.
Fun fact, my great great great great Grandfather has a statue of himself in the Capital rotunda courtesy of the great state of Michigan.
We visited him.
We still need to take the younger two kids to experience the city, but I think it's fair to say we can cross that trip off the list for right now.

Disneyland

We are lucky that when the kids were little, my parents lived just minutes from Disneyland.
We took three different trips to the famous park when the kids were younger, the final one when our youngest son Owen was just four months old.
Because Owen was just a baby on our last visit, we decided that we needed to have a Disneyland re-do now that the kids were older and could all enjoy the rides and magic of Disney.
So in May of 2012, we packed up, and traveled to the happiest place on earth.
The kids were the perfect ages to enjoy the park {6,9,12} and the best part, they were all the perfect height to enjoy any ride in the park that they wanted!
You can read more about our Disneyland trip here.

Great Midwest

I spent 21 years of my life in Indiana.
My husband and I met when we attended Purdue University, we got married and moved across the country after graduation. 
I don't get back "home" very often.
When you are growing up, you take for granted the area that you live in.
I always assumed that I would be able to take my family to some of my favorite places when I was a kid, but because of the distance, the stories of my youth were just that.
We had the opportunity to head to the Midwest this past summer for a family reunion.
We turned it into a two week long road trip, flying into Indianapolis, renting a mini van and driving 1500 miles through Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. 
We got to see lots of old friends, walk through the 150 year old house that I grew up in {a highlight}, eat at every fast food place and diner I remember loving as a kid and be a tourist in the cities and towns I remember.
Take a tour of my old house complete with drawings I made on the wall in the 80's, here.
Read more about our great Midwest trip here, here, here and here.

Hawaii

Just after graduation from high school, my parents took my brother and I to Hawaii for a month.
It was a fantastic vacation filed with great family memories,  but it wasn't until 20 years later that I had the opportunity to return to the islands.
I have a fantastic friend who has connections with the airline and is able to let us travel for cheap with her.
Last Christmas, I was able to spend 5 days in Maui with her and another good girlfriend soaking up some sun and enjoying some girl time.
In February, my daughter was invited to the best birthday ever, and she was able to accompany her best friend Grace to celebrate her 10th birthday on the big island.
We have some amazing friends don't we??!
The fact that the girls get to check Hawaii off of the list, just isn't cutting it for the boys.
We are excited that as a family of five, we get to check this one off the family bucket list on a trip to Maui this summer!
We will be spending a week with my parents enjoying this beautiful island and making lots of family memories.

Mexico

One of our favorite vacations as a couple is to visit an all inclusive resort in Mexico.
Several years ago, we spent a week at Club Med Ixtapa with my husbands family and after free flowing {non-alcoholic} "peanut collatas" the kids have a hankering to go back.
This spring break, our oldest son will be serving on a mission trip with Azusa Pacific in Mexico, but his trip will be a far cry from the all inclusive resort lifestyle that he once experienced.
 
We don't have this trip planned yet, and we may not even end up in Mexico,
there are plenty of all inclusive resorts that I'm sure the kids would love to visit,
but the countdown is on.
We only have until 2016 to cross all these locations off the bucket list.
But I must say, being able to cross off four of them in the first three years, far exceeds my expectations!
I love that we have the ability to give our children an opportunity to see the world.
Do you have a family bucket list?
Anywhere you want to travel with your family?
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Skinit custom phone case

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Skinit.com. All opinions are 100% mine.

I finally joined all of you other smart phone users back in June when my husband purchased me an iPhone 4s for our anniversary. 

Nothing says love and stuff like a smart phone!

I quickly adapted to having a phone that does more than just text and dial and like many American's my iPhone has become the appendage that God forgot to give me.

It was an expensive investment and it never fails that at least once a week my iPhone is leaping out of my hands and on to the ground to it's near demise.

I held out long enough on a smart phone that I saw plenty of you with cracked screens, chips in the edges and phones that generally looked like they went to Iraq and back!

I knew I needed a case that could protect my phone and what better way then to try out the new Skinit inkFusion phone cases.  I was able to customize a case to represent my personality.

The first step is picking the type of case that you want.

The inkFusion pro case is a thermoplastic polymer fusion case comprised of a hard shell and an impact absorbing liner.  This case has a starting price of $39.99 {bonus free shipping!}.

The inkFusion lite case has a thermoplastic polymer hard shell case but no impact absorbing liner. It has an ultra thin, lightweight, low profile design with a starting price of $29.99.  

Both types of cases are available for the iphone 5/5s, iphone 5c, iphone 4/4s, Galaxy S III, and Galaxy S4. 

You can see more examples of the inkFusion iPhone 5 Case here and the here is the nkFusion Samsung Galaxy S4 Case

There are literally thousands of different designs to choose from or create a custom design from one of your images.

If I was going to go with a pre-designed case, I was thinking that these wooden stripes were pretty cool.

but I chose the custom feature and used this cool book spine design I found in a quick google search.

Once I selected create, I was able to upload the image that I found.

I enlarged the image to fit in the square parameters that are required.

I previewed my image and loved it!

I selected add to cart and completed the ordering process.

It took me less than 5 minutes to create a custom phone case.

I could have used a family portrait, a picture of my dog, or a logo from my blog.

The possibilities are endless!

I was so excited to receive my custom case in the mail just a few days after ordering it.

It's exactly what I thought it would be.

Durable, functional and chock full of personality!

If you found yourself with a new phone under the tree or an upgrade was made from some Christmas money, protect your investment with a little personality.

Check out the new Skinit inkFusion phone cases!

Visit Sponsor's Site

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Epi pen price increase rant

Update: This post was written in 2013. In February 2016, we went to refill his RX and found that our out of pocket expense {with our high deductible insurance} was going to cost us $650.  I started to look at other options. I found that I could go to Canada and have the RX filled there for around $100 USD.  Not everyone has driving across the border as an option. 

Through the 17 years that my son has had this RX, nothing has changed that I can tell. The box is the same, the injector is the same, the only thing that I can tell that is different is that there are more people diagnosed with food allergies and it's necessary to carry an EpiPen with them at all times. Read on to hear this rant from three years ago as the price started to creep up.

A word of caution:
If you don't want to hear me complain, skip this post.
There will be whining but it's a whine of injustice.

My oldest son Aidan was nearly a year old when we found out that he had 
several life threatening food allergies.

We were flying on a plane to visit my in-laws when I ate some creamed corn.
{remember the days when they used to feed you on a long flight?}

I kissed Aidan on the cheek and his face started to get bumps on it, sort of like acne.
When he was 9 months old we attempted to give him yogurt as one of his first foods.
Again, his face began to swell up.

Mostly because babies don't tend to get food in their mouth as much as they get it on their faces!
We talked to his small town pediatrician who thought for sure that Aidan must be allergic to the laundry detergent.  You know, because food allergies were so very uncommon 15 years ago.
After a trip to an allergist who poked the living day lights out of him, we found out that Aidan was severely allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts.

Shell fish was a possibility too but because he already got so many pokes, we just elected to just avoid any and all shell fish just in case.

We started carrying an EpiPen because of his anaphalactic reaction to these three known foods.
In the 14 years since we have had a prescription to an epi pen we have never had to use it.
Every year it's looked at as a sort of life insurance. Something you buy into and pay money for but that you hope that you don't need.

Year after year though we are finding our "life insurance" going up at astronomical rates!
10 years ago we could fill the EpiPen  prescriptions for around $25. I get inflation and all, but the current price is ridiculous!

Last year the price of an EpiPen 2 pack {since 2011, they no longer sell them individually}
was $249.  A price I had to pay completely out of pocket.

This year as I was pricing them out {I called 5 different pharmacies} the price was anywhere from $310-$380. That is {on the low end} a $60 price increase in one years time.

I took to Facebook to rant about the price of the EpiPen last year and several friends this year sent me information on how to get free EpiPens. Free EpiPen?  Sign me up! I did everything in hopes of taking advantage of the "free" coupon on the manufacturer's webiste by the expiration date of 12-31-13. I even told several friends about the "free" coupon, and all of them said that by golly it worked!

Aidan's EpiPen expires in February, so I headed in to the pharmacy today to make sure I took full advantage of the coupon and that I had the most current EpiPen that would make it to the next year.

You see, the EpiPen expires each year. 12 months, that's all you get...if you are lucky!
I can fill the prescription in December, but the brand new EpiPen I just payed full price for could expire in September.

Through the years, I have learned to ask for the newest EpiPen on the shelves and sometimes I get 12-13 months out of a prescription, and sometimes I get 6 months. This happened once to me as I tried to fill the RX at a Canadian on-line pharmacy.

My son is in high school and since an EpiPen is a prescription medicine, he has to have a nurses plan each school year.  The school by law will not let him attend school or any outside events without a current unexpired EpiPen.  Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that because of budget cuts, our school shares a nurse.  The nurse isn't at his school during lunch time, the prime time when Aidan would be experiencing anaphalaxis.

The fact that a nurse with the medication isn't available doesn't seem to be an issue, though the expiration date of the medication does.  Only because of one word. Liability.

Last year, the expiration date was an issue because while I was in search for a cheaper EpiPen his current EpiPen at school expired.  During the weekend he had a school FBLA state championship he was competing in and he was told that he couldn't attend without a current prescription.  His prescription was on order from an on-line pharmacy but because it wasn't going to get there until a day after the old EpiPen expired, he wasn't allowed to attend the trip.  I had to cancel the prescription order from the on-line company and pay $100 more for a new prescription from a local pharmacy just so he could seamlessly attend the trip.

Which had me thinking, does an EpiPen really "expire" after it's expiration date?


In March of 2013 a teenage college student accidentally ate a cookie with nuts in it.  His parents were advised by the 911 operator to not use the expired EpiPen that they had on hand.  The family used a neighbor's EpiPen but by that time, it was too late.  The teen died later that evening.

In 2000 a group of Canadian researchers collected expired EpiPens and tried to examine the potency of the epinephrine in them.  While the studies found that the amount of epinephrine in an unexpired EpiPen was higher than that of an expired EpiPen , there was still a surprisingly high potency of epinephrine in the expired EpiPen.  EpiPens 5-7 years past their expiration date had 70% potency, while those 2-3 years past their expiration date had a 90% potency rate of the original dosage.  The conclusion from this study and from the untimely death of a teenager is that old epinephrine is better than no epinephrine.

All of this has me thinking that the expiration date on an EpiPen could potentially be extended, requiring allergic individuals to have to buy every 18 months instead of less than every year.
I am thankful that over the years I have purchased 28 EpiPen and never one time had to use them.
I am thankful, but annoyed.

Each year I buy something I am {hopefully} never going to use and continue to pay more and more money for it.  Of course, that one time that we will need it I will be thankful that I kept purchasing that EpiPen each year, though my wallet will be thousands of dollars smaller.

The prevalence of food allergies is on the rise with rates doubling and tripling in many countries over the past 10-15 years.  Is there any coincidence to the fact that the EpiPen price continues to rise each year just as the amount of people needing the EpiPen continues to increase?  

Our family has a high deductible health insurance plan. Prescription medication is an out of pocket expense that we have to pay 100% of.

As I mentioned before, I call around to various pharmacy's because like any product that a store carries, the price varies from pharmacy to pharmacy. {read this to find out how to save money on prescriptions}

Each pharmacy tech I spoke with made an audible gasp or said an empathetic word when they realized the price I would have to shell out this year for my son's EpiPen.

I have a small voice, but I have a voice.

I'm frustrated at the rising cost of this medication.
Since this is the only medication that we refill on a regular basis, I wonder if other medications are increasing in price at the same alarming rate.

Are there people not refilling this prescription because of cost?

Quite honestly, if it wasn't forced on me to have a current prescription of an EpiPen for my son for school, I would probably only renew the prescription every 18 month to 2 years.

Am I the only one in this boat?
Anyone want to whine with me?
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Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to you!

Enjoy celebrating the greatest gift of all!
Please enjoy this free printable.
Just right click, save and print.
Personal use only

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Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

These are the two pictures we sent out on our Christmas cards this year.
No, the dog didn't make it in the shot this year!
{See some of her outtakes here.}


What started as a post on how to write a Christmas letter that people would read, it turned into a week long of sharing my witty husband's past years Christmas letters.
I continue that tradition, and leave you with our 2014 Christmas letter.

                                
                                        
Welcome to the 14th edition of the Teodoro Family Christmas Letter, an annual missive in which we attempt to captivate readers with tales from our past year, and hope for nothing more than a photo card featuring children we’ve never met in return.  This year we took a couple of mini-vacations to Lake Roosevelt and Whistler, but the highlight was our two weeks spent in some of the finest fly-over states America has to offer, in what we refer to as our Great Midwest Tour.  After flying into Indianapolis, we drove our rented minivan 1500 miles through Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, spending our Summertime journey visiting family and reminiscing with friends, breaking the monotony with stops at every restaurant along the way that sparked up nostalgia for Rachel’s youth.

Mike had another productive year, still gainfully employed with xxxxxxxxx, albeit in a different division then he has worked for the past decade.  He spends his days designing machinery, and his spare time holding out hope that his group will soon learn the name of their new department, which to date they haven’t been told.  This year Mike also renovated Rachel’s walk-in closet, took her on a weeklong trip to Mexico for their 15th anniversary, and continues (to hear him tell it) to be an all-around great guy.  Those searching for the less-than-rosy news will be pleased to hear that in January, when Mike took Owen tubing in the mountains with his Cub Scout pack, they were often forced to hike up the steep hillside instead of waiting in huge lines for the (apparently) confusing self-service rope tow, behind people who would clearly not be able to find their way off of a broken escalator.  So there’s that.

Rachel continues writing a blog [holy-craft.com] to share her craftiness with her thousands of followers, and is quickly becoming one of those people that throw around fancy terms like unique visitors, page views, and other internet-y sounding words, whether or not she knows what they mean.  She also organized the 3rd annual Teodoro Turkey Trot 5k, complete with t-shirts she designed for the nearly 40 participants.  Rachel remains very active in the children’s schools, recently completing her first term as PTA president, and (to the delight of the community, it seems) did not seek reelection for what has to be one of the world’s most thankless jobs.  Actually, a thankless job would have been preferable to the steady stream of criticism and denigration she got for her efforts, but we digress.  

Aidan is now 15 years old and in the 10th grade, and continues to make a name for himself on the drum kit as one of the few sophomores selected to play in his school’s top-level jazz band.  He also drums with various other groups, from the church worship team and youth group to bands he joins for specific competitions.  Suffice it to say, it isn’t uncommon for us to catch a glimpse of a guitar player or two dragging their massive amps down the hallway, minutes before his latest band incarnation attempts to blow the doors off of our house.  This past April, Aidan had the opportunity to serve in the Washington State House of Representatives, and had a blast there in his weeklong stint as a page.  Most importantly to him, however, he was finally able put all his hours of X-Box racing to good use when he got his driver’s permit, and is now suddenly begging to chauffeur us everywhere we go.

Isabella is an 11 year old 6th grader, now midway through her first year of middle school.  She still shares two main passions with her mother, crafts and warm weather, and was lucky enough to enjoy the latter while joining her best friend Grace on a trip to Hawaii.  As the second girl across the finish line in the Turkey Trot, she clearly remains speedy, and as such decided to join her school’s track team this year.  However, besides the rain, the monsoons that seemed to arrive with every track meet brought with them another unwelcome visitor, the return of Little Miss Sunshine.  Those who remember her previous refusals to play soccer in the rain won’t be surprised to hear that the same attitude has followed her to the track.  We’re just thankful that her gymnastics is indoors.

Our little Owen is now 8 years old and in the 3rd grade, and continues in his attempt to join every possible activity.  He plays xylophone in the Orff Orchestra, rides in his school’s Unicycle Club (think biker gang, with less wheels), swims, plays soccer, and is game for anything else we’ll let him try.  In spite of his long list of activities, Owen’s biggest adventure of the year came during our trip to Whistler.  We realized there was a problem when, as the last people left in line to pick up their kids after ski-school, the head instructor arrived and asked if we were Owen’s parents.  Apparently he had gotten separated from his group, and while they were pretty sure Owen wasn’t lost, they didn’t technically know where he was, either.  As she returned inside to continue making phone calls on his behalf, and we stood out in the cold, attempting not to descend into a mad panic, guess who rolled up to the door in a TAXI?  Ever the resourceful young man, after losing his group he simply joined another (which happened to be based on the other side of the mountain) and an instructor there secured him a ride back, none the worse for wear.

            With that, we would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful 2014. 

                                                                         
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Christmas crafts and DIY round up 2013

Christmas is almost here, and once again,
I crafted a few new holiday decorations
complete with full tutorials just for you!

Here is a round up of some of my favorites!
Simply click on the underlined title to be taken to the full tutorial




Glass ball ornaments with Epsom salts and glitter







Duck tape holiday nail art
Vintage gold dot Christmas tree window
Gold glitter stag head canvas
gold dot shimmer beads infinity scarf
December free printable memory verse
cream cheese holiday cookies
Rustic burlap Christmas trees
Boxwood wreath
Elegant feather Christmas trees and wreath

Burlap Christmas gift bags
Glitter jingle bells
Tips for writing a Christmas letter people will read
That's it!
17 new Christmas crafts and DIY tutorials just for you!
Feel free to pin any and all of them so you will know just where they are next year!
Merry Christmas!
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