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School Keepsakes

October 8, 2012

I debated posting this because it shows how excited I get over organizing, keepsakes, and going to the office supply store. My oldest is in 5th grade and early in his school days I created hanging folders labeled per grade and added them to my file cabinet. Soon I created sets of files for my other two sons as well. They finally filled up a storage box so I felt justified taking a trip to the office supply store.
I picked up three “Really useful boxes” for $20 each. I thought the extra price was worth it when I checked out the cheaper boxes that had hinge lids – some even cracked. These should last a while.

I recently organized my husbands school papers in a binder. I kept in mind what papers of his aged well (photo copies, photos, certificates) and what didn’t (glitter, construction paper, painted art). Those things that were larger than 8.5×11 I either threw out or trimmed. Some stapled projects I unstapled so I could trim them. The items on my ‘don’t age well’ list I put in page protectors or threw out. The other papers I 3 hole punched. Easy enough!

The big self-debate was how to keep the papers from falling all over when the folder was opened. It bothered me that it was hard to look through the papers. In the end I went with two methods. Metal prongs (cheap) and book rings (cost a little more). I liked the rings best – when the folders were opened everything lays flat.

I dusted off my Silhouette for the finally personalizing touches. My finished boxes ready to go back to their spots in their closets. I was thrilled the other night when my middle son wanted to look through his box. I know as adults they might now be interested in my having saved so much but that will be their problem, not mine! And BTW – the idea is this box is all I will save. Plus their stack of photo books (one a year). I could send them off with worse, right?

Blueberries For Gram

July 10, 2011

It’s that time of year: Blueberry season. Since 2005 Grandma has been traveling from Idaho to Oregon to pick blueberries. It started out innocent enough – we were visiting here and my brother thought it would be a fun experience to take us all to the patch. She was hooked and can’t get enough of Those Bluerries.

So our adventure began a few days ago – the first day our favorite patch opened.

Tom’s Berry Patch¬†on Hwy 47 between¬†Forest Grove & Banks.

We were there at 9 am sharp with her so anxious she would have gone at 6 if I had taken her. We loaded our wagon with containers and snacks and surveyed the rows.

Three picking days later we have 301 lbs and she’s still not satisfied. Is anyone going next week that can take her along? She just needs room for her container and stool. And she’ll need freezer space becuase ours if FULL. I’m suprised she hasn’t offered to take me to Sears to get another one.

The dog is Maggie and the boys were much more interested in playing with her than picking berries. Our second morning out they brought a ball and tried to play fetch. The dog preferred fetching blueberries over the ball! Go figure.

What do you do with all those berries? That’s what everyone asks. We eat them every day in a bluberry smoothie of course. But still….300-400 lbs is an awful lot. She divies them out among family and a few very lucky friends.

This is how we process them. May not be the best but after doing it a few years it’s what works best for us.

1) Find all available containers around the house and fill them.

2) When home go through them a handful at a time and pick out the stems, greenies, and squashed ones.

3) Rinse them thoroughly. Note to self: get a bigger strainer next year.

4) Spread out on a towel on the counter or grass. Roll them around to dry them off as much as possible.

5) Scoop into freezer bags. We go through many gallon and then use quart size to fill in the small spaces of the freezer.

6) Use little pump to suck out excess air. I do have a vacume sealer but with how many we did I can’t afford so many fancy bags!

7) Freeze and enjoy all year long!

My Summer List

July 4, 2011

We’ve all heard of a Bucket List. I created a Summer List of everything I’d like to do this summer. We’re a few weeks in now so I thought I’d reflect a little on how it’s going.

First, I had to “make” something for it to be any fun. It started out quite elaborate but I finally settled on a simple calendar template out of word. I colored the backgrounds across certain dates to show vacations, company, etc. Printed on cardstock, trimmed, 2-sided tape the two pieces together, then simply taped it to the fridge.

At first I was seriously intimidated by how much time we have for summer break, ie. time all three boys are home All Day Long. But the weeks have been flying by and before I know it the summer will have passed. We like to cross of the days so they can tell how long until the next big event and I have a visual on how long I have to prepare.

Here are a few things we’ve already done on my Summer List:

Camping! In the backyard and at the ocean. I probably shouldn’t mention this night set off some nastly allergies for all the boys of the house. They all took the weekend to recover. I’m not sure I’ll get them to do it again.

Played tour guide for my Niece. Cape Meares lighthouse here.

Enjoying nature (ie. snakes) right in our own backyard.

Hiked Silver Falls Loop.

Roast Marshmallows (thanks brother!)

Visited Multnomah Waterfall. This time we did the hike from Wahkeena waterfall over to Multnomah. Certainly easier for the little ones.

Played in the river at Hagg Lake.

Rode the Banks to Vernonia Bike ride. We made it 3.5 miles north. I’d still like to ride the entire route but will have to wait for longer-legged company!



It’s about time…Yearbook

June 29, 2011

I figure it’s about time I either retire the blog or post. I’m feeling little crazy tonight so I’m going with Post. Where to begin? I guess with the project I blame for beginning the whole snowball effect.


Yep – I’m the PTO Historian. In normal terms that means take a few pictures throughout the year and come up with a little ‘history’ at the end of the school year to keep on file. For the third year now I’ve turned it into a full blown 36 page yearbook available to all for just above cost. Pictures from all events, most field trips (thanks to parents pictures), class activities, all the school staff, class pictures, and more.

That was May. It’s been a blur since then.

I had great help from others on the committee and the printer did a fabulous job this year. Thanks Minute Man Press! I checked around for other quotes but no one could come near their price. We have a fabulous PTO president who also helped pictures and completed the (seemingly tedious) task of figuring out all the student names.

At the beginning of each year we debate if we are doing it again. By the time they are complete I’m beat and never want to do one again. We’ll see what next Spring brings!

Cover is the finalist in a contest among the fourth graders (our senior grade at the school). Then the teachers vote to narrow to the top three. Then the third graders vote for the finalist! Back covers are also done.

Inside pages are all laid out and filled in FotoFusion. I could not do this project without that software. I can flip through all pages, I can use the image browser to see what images I’ve used (and prevent duplicate), I can easily adjust brightness, crop, zoom and insets.

I use photoshop for pages like Fall Festival and other details but try and keep it simple.

It’s a huge time commitment from taking the pictures, sorting/editing pictures, page design, and press. I look forward to seeing the kids so excited to receive their books and hear about the ones that pour over every page to find themselves and their friends. I can’t use my own boys as a gauge since they hardly notice one is in their backpack…


Activity Girls: T Party

May 15, 2011

Our last Activity night was for the girls and their guest. It was a Spring theme and we chose to use Manners as our topic – which contributed to a Faith in God requirement.

We set up a table with two different place settings to practice. The took home this Basic and Formal place setting card. I printed them as 5×7 two sided and then laminated them.

I found the Emily post website handy and used their downloadable handout for Table Manners for Kids. I cut it up and the girls read them.

Newspaper for Dad

April 27, 2011

My Dad turned 60 this past weekend. He is one of those guys who has EVERYTHING and not only one but two or three of EVERYTHING. So we don’t get him much for holidays. Usually a gift card to eat out or the movies. But this was a big birthday – one that ended in a “0” so it felt like we should do more.

I came up with a (literally) crazy idea. He is obsessed with newspapers. He reads 1-2 of them every day no matter where he is. So I thought it would be fun to make him a personalized newspaper just for him. Once again…What Was I Thinking??? Hours and hours later I collected articles from arm-twisted family members, gathered photos (thankful I’ve digitized them all), created comics (thanks to Pickles), created word puzzles, and even a coupon insert. SO thankful my sister was here for finishing up those last few articles and ads – she made me sit down and finish it!!!

Custom newspaper

-I used Publisher for the page layouts. 14 pages in all.
-Pages are 11×17 printed both sides. Believe me- I tried to find somewhere to print on REAL newspaper but a job of just 10 copies is hard to qualify.
-Saved as a pdf and took to Kinkos. They had it done in a day. I stood there and folded each page individually per paper.

At his birthday party each grandson was given a copy and yelled “Extra Extra, Read all about it!” to deliver them to the adults. It was pretty cute if I may say so myself.

Now on to the next project…and it’s another big one! Yikes!

ABC Flashcards

April 14, 2011

I’ve been doing flashcards with my three year old. They are simple ones with the letter on one side and the coordinating object on the other. We practice the colors as well. I’m bored with them so I thought I’d personalize them a bit. I pulled all the pictures and set up a template in fotofusion and this is what I came up with:

Costco has their 4×6 prints on sale for $.09 each. I think flashcards for $2.34 isn’t too bad! I just had to stage one letter – Y (yogart). And I did have to use a google picture for V (Volcano) since we don’t have any violin players around here.

With any simple editing program you can open your picture and add a letter. I used Comic Sans. I made the letters different colors so we can practice those as well. Save As and order!