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Meal Planning for Dummies

March 1, 2011

Levi is learning to play chess. My DH mentioned to him he’s got a book called “Chess for Dummies” that he could look at. He was very clear that you don’t have to be a dummy to read it, it just simplifies it.

That’s what I need for menu planning. I know how to do it. I know I should do it. I know I would be less stressed during the day knowing I have it planned. And I know I would actually grocery shop and come home with food that actually makes a meal.

A while back I saw a very cut idea here. And another very cute idea here. And then made my own version:

Fridge Meal Magnets

I have used it for a couple of months now and I LOVE it! I actually USE it! Levi tries to sabotage it once in a while but that’s the worst that has happened.

Here’s what you do-
-Make a list of all the meals you typically make. Throw in a few you don’t typically make but thing it would be really fun if you did. I came up with 35 and that has been plenty. You could even make one for ‘new recipe’.
-Include Leftovers, or Eat Out. I forgot to do that but left some blank so those get put in place when I know we’ll be out for the day.
-I color coordinated it depending on what type of meal.
-Print it on that super cool printable magnet sheets. I bought some a long time ago and am proud to have finally used them. I love buying stuff like that.
-If you have a vinyl cutter then you can make the fancy border. If not just make titles with your magnet sheet.

You’re all set! Hopefully it works as well for you as it has for me!

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Tooth Fairy – Adam’s First Tooth!

February 18, 2011

First tooth lost that is. We are in that phase of life – way past celebrating that first tooth.

It began a couple of weeks ago when he jumped off the bus and showed me his WIGGLY tooth. I didn’t see any movement but he was sure there was. Then yesterday he showed me the progress – much more WIGGLY for sure! So by dinner he was complaining about not being able to bite anything. In the end dear Mom pulled it right out. It bled and he cried. But it didn’t last too long. He proceeded to call & Skype anyone he could think to tell.

That day I thought back to the tooth fairy days of his big brother. She had to really search around under that pillow – all the while afraid of waking him up. Something had to change. I remembered an idea of making a tooth pillow out of felt. Very sweet indeed but that would require me dragging out the sewing machine. As usual I opted for the more technical route.

Stashed in a desk cubby I found this:

It’s a gift card holder I bought on clearance at Kohls years ago. I pulled off the ribbon (wouldn’t want that now would we?) and replaced it with a sticker I made up:

toothfairy tin

He signed it – how cute is that?

I used photoshop with a 4×6 base. I used this awesome kit that I have found many uses for. I got it on Sweet Shoppe Designs but when I looked for it to link I couldn’t find it! Travesty! Sorry. (it’s called Grinalicious by Lauren Grier & Melissa Bennett in case you want to look).

Here he is sporting his new smile!

Glass Etching & Easy Holiday Table

February 17, 2011

I’ve had these canisters for a long time. They were purchased when my dear friend helped me stage my house for sale. You can decorate your countertops with flour? Really? Now I know.

But for a long time I have wanted to etch them. It’s simple really, you buy Glass Etching cream from Michaels (don’t worry – the expensive little bottle lasts forever), cut the words in vinyl, adhere, apply the etch, clean it off.

And there you have it. And it only took me one Diego episode.

One more thing. At Thanksgiving last year I bought a nice decorative table cloth. It was a PAIN! It was always sliding off, hard to clean, and generally in the way. I should mention – we USE our table. Every day. For a few years now I’ve been buying lovely clear plastic by the yard from JoAnns to cover the table. It works like a charm – when it gets marker & paint all over it that you can’t get off you go buy another $6 piece of plastic. So for Valentine’s I cut a bunch of hearts with my Silhouette and did this:

And for St. Patrick’s I did this:

I’ve got colored cardstock in my stash so it doesn’t cost me anything.

Photobook: Grandma’s Visit

February 12, 2011

My Grandma came to stay with us before Christmas and just left yesterday. This is her 10th year staying with us during the winter. She lives in Idaho, by herself, in her home. It is fun to have her company and it’s good to let her unthaw for a bit during the long winter. I love that our boys have a relationship with her and get to enjoy her energy and influence. After each of her visits I make her a simple book of photos. She’s getting quite a collection!

Vacation book

Gram’s Book

I am an equal opportunity photo book user. Whichever presents the best opportunity – I use it! This time it was Heritage Makers since a friend of mine gave me her book credit she didn’t plan to use. Thanks Stephanie!

I already had all my photos organized by month. I just opened up fotofusion and set up a page template (borders, text, etc) and copied the page template to how many I need. Then it’s a matter of dragging in pictures, adjusting layouts, then saving each page (which FF does for me with one command). Then upload to HM, drag to each page (I had to resize each picture to fill the page – kind of annoying). Order, and I’m done! Just took me a couple hours. I love theme books! Quick and easy!

Activity Girls – Valentines Soap, Scriptures & Notes

February 8, 2011

We were in the Valentine mood for this activity. We thought rather than make sweets (like we typically think of) we’d make soaps! I prepped a batch at home so I sort of knew what I was doing when we tried it with the girls. Here’s what you need:

Simple melt chunks of soap in the microwave and pour into your mold. I picked up a silicone heart mold (Wiltons) from JoAnns. It was perfect because it was flexible so it made getting the soaps out really easy. And here’s what you get:

While waiting for the first batch to set we did a super fun scripture chase. I got the great idea from SugarDoodle. We gave them a page number and they had to find the word heart. The winner got a little bag of candy hearts. They loved it!

Then back to the kitchen for another batch of hearts. This time we got a little wild and colored them blue.

Then back to the room for card making to go with those soapy hearts. This was simply cut cardstock and they used hearts and words I cut with my Silhouette.

The final touch on the hearts was using metal letter stamps for their short sentiment. We all agreed soap is much easier to stamp than metal (a previous activity).

They went away with some adorable valentines to give to family and friends!

Grandma’s Birthday card – 100+ signatures!

February 7, 2011

My sweet Grandma, that I adore to no end is turning 89. We have the privilege of celebrating with her. I thought how fun it would be to show her just how many people adore her! So I found this fabulous site that made it possible. Group Card has many templates to choose from (none of which worked for me of course). You add your sentiment and then forward it on so others can sign it (or not). I chose it because everyone could choose different fonts, add a picture if they wanted, and in the end I can get it printed as a card, poster, or book.

I designed the cover pretty easily. She loves to read magazines (when she can’t find something to sew) so that was my inspiration. She would spend each day in the blueberry patch if she could. I threw in some titles to hint to her personality and ambitions, dug up a couple other pictures, and there you have it. Grandma in all her glory.

She was very excited when she saw all the signatures from so many people. I know she will enjoy looking at it over and over. I’ve seen how much time she can spend pouring over a Good Housekeeping magazine…I can only hope she spends as much time looking at this!

Ryan’s Photo Yearbook

January 31, 2011

I’ve been making yearbooks for the boys. Yep – that’s three books a year. Plus our family album. I do a page here & there as things happen. I try not to get too long of a list of “pages to do” but sometimes it happens. The kids yearbooks contain personal stuff like phases, likes/dislikes, friends, birthday parties, accomplishments, school work, etc. I keep the holidays and family trips & outings for the family yearbook.

I recently finished Ryan’s latest book. I got a bit carried away and it’s 40 pages – whoops!

It’s all digital designs. I use many kits I’ve collected over the years. When they are little I do the year birthday – birthday but then when they are in school it makes more sense to follow the school year and end with the summer. If I was creating books for a child that is already in Middle School I would do a baby book, preschool book, elementary book, etc.

child yearbooks

A week or so before their birthday I put out their stack of books on the coffee table. Sometimes they actually look at them. It may be a bit much – I admit. But if a stack of yearbooks is the worst that I send them away with I think I’m doing okay.

Details….I decided a while back to do all my books 8×8. Affordable, and I figure a square is versitile (ie I can go up to a 12×12 or smaller to a 5×5). I’ve done a few 8×11 and it messes with my head a bit to have a different size on the shelf but I’ve managed! I used to sell for Heritage Makers, which makes beautiful books and has much to offer – especially in the way of personal assistance. I love Shutterfly for their website, community, and how easy the template books are. But I typically use Walmart. Stitch binding, full bleed, fast website, and you don’t have to wait for a sale – their prices are sale prices compared to the other sites.

Is anyone out there as crazy as I am?