Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Little Scout

 A few months ago (sheesh time is flying!), Billy had his first Blue and Gold Banquet for cub scouts.  For Christmas his leaders had given each of the boys a toolbox kit to build and they used these as part of the decorations for the banquet.  Billy was quite proud of his masterpiece and asked if he could share it on my blog, "since it's something he made."  I can't resist those dimples so here he is with his toolbox creation.

Can you tell he wasn't so excited by the end of the photo shoot? :)  So he built the box first, painted it all, then because he knew I could cut Batman stuff on my Cricut, decided that would make it awesome!  He really likes the Cricut.  We picked out the designs and he helped cut a few pieces and then got bored - it was a LONG process to cut out all the different layers in different colors.  He glued some of them together, but the stinkin' car and Batman himself had some teeny tiny pieces and I ended up finishing both of those.  However, he finished up by mod podging each thing on to the toolbox.  Mission complete!  He did a great job and I got to introduce him to the world of mod podge.  He now proudly displays it on his shelf above his bed where it holds his rock collection.  Good job, Billy! I love that boy!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Picture Me Domestic Contest

A couple weeks ago, as I was taking a minute for myself in between helping at school that morning, regular straightening of the house, getting things ready for Bill's birthday, and preparing for the kids to get home and start the routine of homework, piano practicing, chores, etc, oh and added in picking up Natalie from tennis practice, getting her home to change and back to the school for a band concert, I came across an announcement of a fun contest from Family Ever After.  Rachel from Family Ever After , the sisters from The Letter 4, and Aimee from Its Overflowing, have teamed up to host a "picture yourself" contest called Picture Me Domestic.  Here's Rachel's description of the contest:

What do you spend your days doing? What do you look like in your home element? We all spend different amounts of time at home, but at some point in the day, we are home. The point of this contest is to challenge yourself to take some fun/creative/interesting pictures of yourself doing what you do best. Or most. Or worst. LOL. We just really want to see you having fun, while attending to your life and daily tasks. So again, your challenge is: 
to take a self portrait somewhere at home. 
 We want to "picture you domestic!"

Rachel shared this post a while ago, okay a year ago, where she took some really cool pictures of herself in her kitchen.  It was actually one of the first things I'd pinned and really wanted to do "someday".  Well, this was the perfect motivation.  So as I was taking that "minute" for myself, I grabbed my camera and my tripod, and started having some fun while documenting some of the craziness of the rest of my day.  Here's some of what I came up with:

Savoring the last minutes of peace before the kids get home.

Baking birthday pies for my man.  Fluting my pie crust.

Awww, perfection!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Teachers and Graduates

 Hallelujah, it's the end of the school year!! I'm so excited to have my kids home.  Cheyenne and Natalie's last day was yesterday, well officially on Thursday, but since they didn't have to take the "fake finals" (attendance finals, so lame!) they're home today.  Natalie just has to go to get her yearbook on Thursday.  Billy, Chloe, Maddie, and Jon are just playing today and field day/last day of school is tomorrow.  I really do enjoy having my kids home, well, most of the time.

Anyway, it's that time of year for teacher gifts and celebrating graduates so I have a couple ideas for you.
First for the graduates, what is better than money.  (Kristen, don't tell/show Landon, because his is in the mail.) This is a really easy card to put together.

I used my Cricut and the Batman cartridge for the numbers and Locker Talk for the cap all cut at 1.5".  The "Congrats" are stickers by Doodlebug Design.  If you don't have a cutter and want to do it by hand, it's very easy to type your numbers in Word or whatever program you use and then flip them backwards.  Then print them and cut them out on the black outline.  Then you can flip the numbers over and the black outline will be on the backside and you'll have perfect letters.  I also used my Cricut to cut a small envelope for the inside for money or a gift card.  If you know your graduates school colors, use those to make it more personal - these are for two nephews and a friend of ours, or I've also cut the numbers out of "Congratulations" paper and mounted them on black.  That's really fun, too.

Now for my kids' teachers, I don't do "teacher appreciation" gifts, I do end of school gifts.  I don't know, it's probably just me, but I hate when people tell me when I'm supposed to be thankful or appreciative or whatever.  Maybe I'm more like my husband than I thought with his dislike of Valentine's day for the same reason.  So anyway, since we happen to hear both of their teachers have Kindles, and one of them is retiring this year so I didn't want to give her "teacher stuff", we decided to give them Amazon gift cards and decorate these cute glasses for them.

I used some outdoor vinyl, which I've heard washes better and stays on longer.  However, the teal dots are regular vinyl, so I'm crossing my fingers that it holds up.  I used my Cricut again, to cut it all out, but again, I'm sure you could print something out on your computer, tape it onto your vinyl and trace around it to cut it out by hand.  So in the card I gave them, I wrote something about wanting to kick off the summer right with a tall glass of lemonade (included a couple lemonade packets in the glasses) and a good book.  I really hope they like them.  My kids have had such awesome teachers this year and have been just my kids have needed. 

So that's it, some quick, easy gifts for the teachers or graduates in your life.  Now bring on the summer fun!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Skylanders Birthday Party

Hey, Leslie's back today with another fabulous birthday party!

My oldest son turned 9 this weekend!  He didn't want many "toys" for his birthday this year and when my husband and I were birthday shopping, I felt a little sad because I feel like he is nearing a new stage.  Why do they grow up so fast?  Ok, enough of my boobing! 

This year, we did a family birthday party but he still wanted a "theme" (really, I don't know where he gets it from ; )    Last year was Angry Birds, but this year he and his brother are really into a game called Skylanders, so Skylanders it was.  I didn't go all out, but I thought if there are others out there whose boys love this game as much as mine, they might like a few of the things we came up with.

For the decorations, I drew the all important Skylander elements on the coordinating colored balloons.  I printed off coloring sheets of some characters here and then colored them while I finished up watching the last season of Parenthood.  (I love that show!)

I made some little confetti and/or cupcake toppers of the elements.  You can use them as well!  Here is a link to my file.  (If you print it, it will be a little pixely.  I took a black Sharpie and traced the edges to sharpen them up a little). 

But then, my son requested root beer floats and ice cream sundaes for the party, so I used them on top of the floats, but forgot to get a good picture of all the floats lined up. You get the idea:

Next, we had Skylander trivia.  The parents were out of the loop on this game... but the kids enjoyed it.  And, to save you time from looking up random trivia and learning more than you probably ever wanted to know about Skylanders... here is the link to our trivia!  Feel free to use it.

One last game idea:  you could take down the balloons and say the name of a certain Skylander character.  The kids have to run to the correct element that particular Skylander coordinates with.  I included a list of these under the link for trivia above.

Last, I made a little favor for the cousins to take home. I made them using a similar technique as described here (I use Glossy Accents rather than Diamond Glaze). Also, rather than use scrabble tiles, I wanted something bigger, so my brother cut these wood squares for me, which measured about 1 1/2" x 1 1/2". I found the graphics online, copy and pasted them into Word, printed them off and glued a character on both sides of the wood. Then I screwed in the key chain parts that I purchased from JoAnns. (If you want more details on how to make them, just leave a comment or email).
And yes, Tinker Bell is not a member of Skylanders, but there are fairies... so I figured my niece would rather have Tink than Terrafin!

Hope this gives you some ideas for a birthday party or a fun summer activity if you have little ones that love this game like mine!  (Or are mine the only ones???)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Baby Stats Sign and Custom Onesie

 A friend of mine just had a baby a couple weeks ago, so of course I had to make her something cute.  Lucky for me I found this adorable subway art sign on The Winthrop Chronicles a week or so ago.  I fell in love with it and knew I had to make one, too.  I also had some flocked iron-on vinyl that I'd been dying to try out and this was the perfect opportunity.  So here's what I gave her and her adorable baby boy:

For the sign, I first painted my board white, just around the edges and on the back.  Then I created the word art in Storybook Creator (my scrapbook software that I LOVE!), printed it out and mod podged it on to the board.  Easy peesy!  I like to cover the board with mod podge and then put the glue on the back of the paper, too.  It seems to bubble and curl less that way.  I also use a brayer (or credit card, or just your hands) to smooth out all the bubbles I can.  I let that dry well, and then put a coat or two on the top. Oh, I also sanded the edges of the board for a distressed look.  See the above picture for the finished product.

The onesie I found a year or so ago on a super clearance and grabbed a couple just for this idea.  I've just never gotten around to it until now. :)  I found an image I liked and cut it out with my Cricut.  I like to give bigger clothes, like 12 mo. size, since it seems like I was always given tons of 0-6 mo.  So I didn't want something too babyish.  The P!ay Hard was perfect.  When I'm cutting vinyl of any kind, I always test my image by cutting it out on cheap cardstock first.  Why waste the good (expensive) stuff on errors.  Did my adjusting, and then cut it out of the Silhouette flocked iron-on vinyl.  This stuff is cool!  I can't wait to do more projects with it.  Then it was easy as ironing it on, letting it cool, and pulling off the top coating layer (I washed the onesie first, too).  Again, check out the top picture for the finished product.

I really hope my friend likes it as much as I liked making it.  Making things for others is just so much fun!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Menu May 14-20

 Happy belated Mother's Day to all you wonderful mothers out there.  I hope you had a great weekend, I sure did.  Thursday was Bill's birthday, and Sunday was our anniversary and Mother's Day, so we did a lot of celebrating all weekend.

Saturday was a beautiful day, weather wise, which means we had to get some work done.  However, we still couldn't get our garden planted since my FIL flooded (seriously about 4" of water ALL DAY LONG) our garden a couple days ago. lol  Oh, well, Bill got all the weeds sprayed and we're toying with the idea of not even planting it this year and just attaching the stupid vine that is EVERYWHERE and nothing seems to kill.  He sprayed the whole yard, put out some ground distillante, too, just hoping to keep the weeds in the field and out of our yard.  Not easy.  We also moved a little apple tree, I know, not the best time, but since the frost last week probably killed any chances of fruit we decided to move it.  That will make it easier to get the lawn mower in and out of the shed.

I spend most of Saturday afternoon cleaning out cupboards and drawers in the kitchen.  It's amazing how many crumbs and stuff accumulate in closed drawers.  I also attacked the lazy-susan in the corner.  I cleaned a few things out, but mostly corralled water bottles into a basket and all the lunch containers (sandwich holders, little thermos, etc.) into a basket.  Why did I do this before?!  It's genius I tell ya!  And I'm not taking credit, I saw it somewhere a few days ago and thought, duh, why haven't I done this.  So I had Jon skinny back into the cupboard to reach to far back corner and retrieve water bottles for hopefully the last time.  It looks wonderful! I also spent a good portion of the day untangling kites.  7 kites just sort of thrown into the shed did not make for a happy mama.  They didn't even wind up the string.  But it's all better now, and I told them if it happens again, the kites are going in the garbage. :)

Sunday was nice and relaxing.  Bill made us breakfast while I got to sleep in a little longer.  The triplets had presents they made at school.  Cheyenne gave me a purse that I bought for someone to give me. :)  Natalie gave me candy, peanut butter M&Ms, always a great choice.  And Billy (and everyone else, thanks to Bill) gave me a sno-cone maker!  It is so fun!!  It sure beats the Snoopy house sno-cone maker I always wanted.  So after dinner yesterday, we introduced all the kids to the wonders of a sno-cone - I think Cheyenne is the only one who'd ever had one before.  They loved them!

Like I said, yesterday was also our anniversary.  I can't believe we've been married for 17 years now.  We looked through our wedding pictures yesterday and boy, was I skinny then! lol  Cheyenne and Natalie just laughed, not at us so much, but at everyone else who was so young.  My sister and Bill's brother, my nieces and nephews who are in college now.  It was fun doing a little reminiscing.

On to the real reason for the post, this week's menu.

Monday - Cheese tortellini - just frozen variety, quick and easy
Tuesday - Chile Colorado Burritos - can't wait to try these
Wednesday - BBQ chicken sandwiches - cook some chicken breasts in the crockpot for a few hours, shred
                      it, and add some BBQ sauce for another hour or so.
Thursday - Steak & Lemon Spaghetti (a recipe from Americas Test Kitchen)
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - hmm, I never decided, I guess, maybe chicken and rice.

And for some laughs today:

Mind. Blown.

Now that would be some awesome Hunger Games!! lol  Except who is the Gamemaster?  He's the only one I don't recognize - probably a scary movie, huh, we don't watch scary movies.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Thrifty Decorating - My Boys Room

Last week in this post about The Avengers, I told you we are big super hero fans here at our house.  I also told you I'd share with you my boys' super hero room.  It was not a big expensive redo, in fact it's been very thrifty.

My favorite part of their room, aside from the cute boys themselves, is this gallery wall.

There dresser has never been this clean since. :)  We need to replace this dresser now, it's too small for their clothes now, they're growing up and getting taller.  Decorating is a never ending process, isn't it?
Anyway, these awesome super hero pictures are old comic book covers, well, copies that were a calendar.  When my sister, Leslie, and I went to visit my other sister, Kristen, in Colorado a couple of years ago we went shopping in Boulder one day.  While walking around, we stumbled across this cool calendar and since both our boys were very into super heroes, it immediately caught our eye.  However, it was a little pricey, so we left it.  By the time we were clear down to the end of the whole shopping area and waiting for a table for dinner, we decided we did want it. lol  So while Kristen and her family kept waiting, Leslie and I ran back down to the store and bought it, planning on sharing it with this purpose in mind.  I know, random story, but I just love my sisters, and every time I look at these pictures it reminds me of our fun weekend.
Kristen, Leslie, and Me in 2010
Here's a close up of the pictures so you can see how totally cool they are.

Along with these great super heroes, I wanted my boys to have some real heroes to look up to, so I found these posters:
This is right in their doorway.  Boy, it is really hard to take good photos of pictures.  Reflections are hard! 

This is my favorite, I just framed this one, too, and it hangs over their desk.  These are all scripture heroes - great men, great stories, plus they still have swords and stuff so the boys love them, too.  I got these prints from Real Hero Posters.  My older girls have some in their room, too, you can see them here.  I'm not affiliated with Real Hero Posters in any way, I just think they are awesome!!

This is the rest of their room.  Billy's shelf, filled with lego creations, beds with Superman and Spiderman bedding (just cheap Walmart sets, nothing expensive so we can change it later), and a tall bookshelf at the far end of the bed.  A shelf full of books plus three shelves for pirate lego boats and accessories.  In the spirit of keeping it real, I didn't even clean up the mess of legos under the bed.  Guess what Billy and Jon will be doing when they get home today. :)

So the moral of this post, calendars are a great, inexpensive way to have nice art work in your home.  Now is a great time of year to buy calendars as they are marked down considerably. is one of my favorite places to buy calendars.  There are calendars for every interest and every theme and decor.  So next time you need some new art work for whatever room you're decorating, check into calendars first.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Menu for May 6-13

 I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, I sure did.  We took all the kids to Avengers on Saturday morning/afternoon - it was awesome!!  Chloe and Maddie looked a little bored during the movie, but after it was over they both said they loved it.  Everyone else loved it, too, and we were already quoting (okay, everyone else was quoting - my memory is not that good) our favorite lines by the time we got to the car.  We spent the rest of the afternoon and all of Sunday doing pretty much nothing, just relaxing, being together, I read a book I'm embarrassed to admit I read, it was just a nice weekend.

Anywho, it's a new week and unfortunately I have people here who insist on eating every day.  ;)  So here is this weeks menu.  Bill's birthday is this week, and our anniversary is on Mother's Day so we'll have plenty of celebrating to do.

Monday:  Chicken/broccoli casserole (one of the VERY few allowed in this house.) :)
Tuesday:  Philly Steak Sandwiches I pinned from here
Wednesday:  Breakfast for dinner
Thursday:  Bill's birthday so it's Thai food and chocolate cake filled with Bavarian cream, I think, or pie
Friday:  Pizza
Saturday:  Leftovers
Sunday:  Hamburgers on the grill, unless the kids come up with some other idea they want to do

I'll leave you with a great thought for the week:

Have a great week!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Avengers!

We have a love of super heroes in our home, both boys and girls, the bigs and the littles.  We all have our favorite heroes, our favorite cartoon episodes, our favorite movies, my older girls and I drool discuss our favorite actor super heroes (I'm a little partial to Thor!), the boys' room is all super heroes (I'll show you next week), our little 4 all dressed as super heroes a few years ago for Halloween and then lived in those costumes for a long time.  In fact last night we were given a little music concert performed by Batman, Spiderman, and Harry Potter, they have grown into the bigger size costumes however. :)  So, in honor of the movie coming out today, a little ode to The Avengers!

They're so little!

If only I had these skills:
I apologize for no sources on many of these.  I found them on Pinterest and most didn't have any sources.  If anyone knows where they came from, I'd love to give credit for them.

Okay, so this one isn't technically all Avengers, it's still pretty dang cool!

For the little (or big, actually) Avengers in your life:

Who wouldn't love some Avengers Legos?!  Billy must not have seen these or they would have been all over his birthday list. lol

For the girls:

Feel like getting your Avengers groove on?  Check these out:
She gives you detailed directions of how she created these fabulous looks.

Now wouldn't you love a manicure like that!

Ahh, so much fun!  I can't wait to see the movie.  I hope we're going tomorrow, of course that's after Bill sees it today.  It's his Friday "training film" for work. :)  So is your family as super hero crazy as mine is?  Who's your favorite super hero? 

P.S.  We did go see it on Saturday and it was AWESOME!!  The whole family ages 37 to 7 loved it!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Give Clothes a New Life

We're starting the countdown to the end of school at our house.  We even got a message yesterday that my youngest 4 get out a day earlier than planned. Yeah!  Now if your kids are like my kids, their clothes are starting to look like it's the end of the school year.  I don't think Maddie has one pair of jeans that don't have holes in them.  The boys do, only because they grew and needed new pants a couple months ago.  Many shirts are stained and my kids are starting to look like little rag-a-muffins. :)  So a little DIY clothing rescue is in order.

First up:
Seriously stained shirts, even my awesome Stain Pretreater couldn't get these really set-in stains out.  At my children's school, Friday is "wear red day" so a red shirt is an absolute must (they get a prize if they wear red.)  So these shirts had to be salvaged.

This was the best picture, after several, without Billy looking like a dork. lol  They do like each other. :)

Billy's shirt was a simple fix.  I used iron on vinyl, very simple.  It was Silhouette vinyl, however I cut it out with my Cricut.  Iron it on and I'm the coolest mom because he now has an "infected" shirt (a version of play on "Halo" that uses that symbol.)

For Chole's shirt, I did a reverse applique, my first time ever.  It was fun!  I found this great tutorial from Sweet Verbena.  The shirt had a few more stains that the applique didn't cover so I added a few circles of the same material just stitched on (they were small enough that I didn't use interfacing on them.)  I also decided to add a little more color by just dabbing on some fabric paint in the flower petals.

Finally, I turned a shirt of mine, that was now to short into a shirt for Natalie.  She doesn't like long-sleeved shirts, but 3/4 shirts are okay so I couldn't let this one go to waste.

First of all lay down the shirt to be altered, inside out.  Lay a shirt that fits on top of it.  Match shoulder seams and center it.  I use an old piece of soap - best tailor's chalk ever!, to carefully trace the edge of the top shirt.  Then just stitch up the new seam and turn right side out.  Since this was such a little adjustment and not a work of art, I just left the extra material because Natalie didn't care.  If it was a big adjustment, you could cut off the extra and serge or just zig-zag the edges.

Just a little more fitted and a little shape to it now.  Natalie liked it, yeah!

Here are a few more ideas I've shared for recycling and getting more use out of the clothes that you pay good money for:

Now to tackle the pile of pants I cleaned out of their drawers to turn them into shorts for the summer. :)  What's your favorite way to extend the life of clothes at your house?

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