Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Update (February 2012)

I thought I would do this little update once a month to see how projects I created in the past or recipes or gifts have been working for us so far!  So here are a couple updates that I wanted to share with you!

Dry Erase Queit Books:
We finally got some use out of these when I took the kids on an hour long city bus ride to meet their dad after work.  They LOVED them and my son threw a HUGE fit on the bus when it was time to clean up.  The markers wash off real well from hands and faces (yes, I said faces) but clothes are another story.  Weird I know.  My daughter even continued to use her binder while shopping in Walmart.  It kept her quiet and it's great for her learning!

Bathroom Sign:
Well, we FINALLY got it hung up.  We got some 3M hooks that stick to the door and using a Pinterest idea, we hung the hook upside down and tied on the ribbon.  On the plaque, we glued on a picture hanging piece and strung the ribbon underneath it.

As of today, we still have not recieved back any picture from Disney World.  I'm hoping that it comes soon, but I think my daughter has already forgotten about it.  So if it does show up, she will be REALLY excited and surprised and if it doesn't, oh well.  It was a fun activity.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Free Photo Letters

Original Post: Shanty 2 Chic

Our Story:
I've seen these different places.  You can order them online, order different lettering to create any different word that you want.  Granted, the ones that I'm thinking of our a little nicer letters, but there were literally HUNDREDS of letters to choose from - I did NOT go through all the pages.  I stuck with one theme (I know, boring) and spelt the word family.  I just downloaded the letter that I wanted, saved it to my computer (make sure you download the biggest/best option, because it will print better) and then I sent the pictures off to Costco to get them printed.  I got the frame from usedeverywhere for $10!
I have an end project in mind, so no pictures of it on my wall QUITE yet - I will show you the finished project when I'm done though.  It will be a combo of this, the First Year Prints that I did along with a couple other frames that I already have.  I'm really excited!

I love the way it looks and I can't wait to get it on my wall!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Plans for the Week (February 27 - March 3, 2012)

Week Nine!

Free Photo Letters . . . What will you spell??
Updates . . . Do we still use these things?
Card Game Storage . . . Part One of a Two Part Series
Game Organization . . . Part Two!
Saturdays Recipe . . . Comfort Food!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Original Post: Culinary Cory


- Cook the chicken strips according to the package directions. Whisk the melted butter and Frank’s hot sauce in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Set the bowl aside. Fry the bacon in a small sauté pan until crispy. Remove from the grease and drain on paper towels
Brush both side of potato slices with butter; place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once
- Once fully cooked, toss the chicken strips in the buffalo sauce. Warm the tortillas for 15 seconds in the microwave. Place a single chicken strip in the center of each tortilla. Top each taco with even portions of cheese, lettuce and bacon. Lightly drizzle the top with ranch dressing. Makes 6 tacos.

 Our Story:
My husband is a HUGE fan of tacos.  Any kind of tacos, so can just imagine the look on his face when he found out what we were having for supper.  The kids, ah, they could take 'em or leave 'em.  We added the hot sauce afterwards because the spice would have been too much for the kids.

The kids enjoyed them.  My husband and I LOVED them and I will do them again because they beat beef tacos any day.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Original Post: Design Sponge

Our Story:
I have always loved to write.  Maybe that's why I decided to do this blog.  But I gave it up (along with much more) for something that I love even more!  My kids!  I gave it up because I didn't have time.  At night, I was so tired that I just wanted to collapse into bed and go to sleep so I could somewhat function the next morning.  This New Years, I made a resolution to start keeping a journal again - but I was scared about having to write a bunch and then keeping all these journals forever . . . blah, blah, blah.  But I found this AWESOME idea and I went to Staples for all of my supplies.  A recipe box, recipe cards and little index cards for each month in the year.
The idea is, each index card is a day.  Before you go to bed, you write the year, followed by one simple sentence describing your day.  Exampe: 2012: Went shopping with my mom.  The first year - kinda boring.  But after you have completed a year, every time you go to write in your journal, you can read what you were doing exactly a yeat ago (or two or three or four).
I decided to write the day on each index card.  When I was at the Dollar Store, I noticed you can by a date stamp for $1 - so I guess that choice is yours.  It's no extra work really.  I write the day on each night.  Come next year, I won't have to do it anymore.

I enjoy the ease of just writing a quick sentence.  Sometimes it's hard to even think of ONE sentence, let alone a whole journal entry.  It's quick, easy and it's something that I look forward to looking back on year after year after year!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm Bored Jar

Original Post: Homespun Threads

Our Story:
My kids are not QUITE at the "I'm Bored" stage - I don't think my daughter knows what it means - but I know she's getting close.  I can tell when they are getting bored, so this is more an activity for me to initiate.  If you have older kids, they would be able to tell you when they wanted to use it.
I found an empty pickle jar and a label I found in my junk drawer and I started the project.  I went to the site above and printed the PDF file for this project and I ended the project.  Pretty easy.  While I cut out each "idea" my daughter put them into the jar for me.  There were SO many different ideas, I can't wait to start trying them!

I plan on throwing the pages out after we pull it.  That way we will be sure to get through all the tasks.  If this site is no longer available, I will just create my own tasks.  And no, not all the tasks are fun.  There are some chores in there . . . including clean mom's room!

We have already used the Bored Jar to use - my daughter told me that her toys were "Boring" and I asked her if she wanted to use the Bored Jar.  She got really excited and she happened to even pick a fun activity!  Build a fort with blankets!  So that's what we did - then they took in the playfood and plates and cups to have a picnic.  They even had a lantern for some light!  Wasted about 45 minutes!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First Year Canvas

Original Post: Brooke Bryand

Our Story:
I saw this canvas and fell in love with it!  It was SO super cute!  Problem is, the company is from the states and it's probably an expensive item anyways - so I'm going to have to come up with something myself.
Then, like magic, I get an email from Picnik (I've been a member with them for a long time, just the Basic Membership that you DON'T have to pay for) and in this email it says that they are closing and from now until April 19th, everything that they offer (including things that you needed a Premium Membership for) is absolutely free.

Well, this site has some AWESOME templates for collages, so that's what I did.  I chose a template with one big picture in the middle with 12 smaller pictures around - one for each of the first twelve months of my little monsters lives.

The plan was to send the picture to Costco and get a canvas made from there.  But it turns out that you lose 1.75 inches because they have to wrap the picture around the canvas - which makes sense, I just never thought of it.  So intead of getting my canvas that I wanted, I just printed a 12x12 picture and now I have to go and find two nice frames.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hair Tie Carabiner

Original Post: Life Hacker

Our Story:
I Repeat . . .My daughter is a real girly girl.  She loves everything that can make her look "fancy".  She has bracelets, necklaces, hair ties, hair clips, head bands . . . the list is really endless.  So I need something that would keep all those things organized.  She has a box for the big things (necklaces and headbands) - CHECK!  I found a small box for the little hair ties - CHECK!  I made a frame and ribbon into a Hair Clip Organizer - CHECK!  And I found this idea for the final pieces to the puzzle - the BIG hair ties!
We actually have random carabiners laying around the house, so this was super easy.  I found one and sat down with my daughter.  I showed her how to put on the first couple, then she took over and put the rest on. 

This is way more kid friendly to use than the ribbons/frame for the clips.  She keeps them all on there and it's easier to see everything that she has.  She has been asking me ever since we made it to find her another clip for her bracelets!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Plans for the Week (February 20-25, 2012)

Week Eight!

Hair Tie Carabiner . . . If you have a little girl - or yourself - with lots of hair ties - this one is just for you!  Bracelets, too!
First Year Canvas . . . I finished making it, now I just have to hang it!  But I'll show you what it looks like!
I'm Bored Jar . . . Already been put to good use!
Journal . . . Something to keep my inner most thoughts in - and I'm sharing it with you!
Saturdays Recipe . . . Mmmm, Mexican . . .

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes

Original Post: A Good Appetite

- Cut the Caulfilower and boil for approximately 10 minutes

- Drain, Mash and Mix in with the other ingredients

- Spray the skillet with oil and heat over medium heat
- Form the mixture into patties and cook until golden brown (approx. 3 minutes per side)


Our Story:
I fugured this would be a really healthy option for supper time.  It was the main course.  Cauliflower has a really powerful taste and my daughter didn't really like it, but my son gobbled up 2 patties.

Again, I didn't follow the recipe EXACTLY.  We didn't have Panko so I used plain old bread crumbs (we make or own) instead.  Same amount.  And we didn't have any Cayenne Pepper so I used Paprika instead.  As well, instead of plain salt, I used Seasoning Salt and left out the pepper completely.

It was really healthy and I think I would make it again.  Just because one of my kids (or both for that matter) doesn't like something, doesn't mean I stop making it.  If we did that, we would be eating Kraft Dinner and Cereal for every meal.  It's important for them to try different foods and one day they just may like it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hair Clip Organizer

Original Post: Mary Janes & Galoshes

Our Story:
My daughter is a real girly girl.  She loves everything that can make her look "fancy".  She has bracelets, necklaces, hair ties, hair clips, head bands . . . the list is really endless.  So I need something that would keep all those things organized.  She has a box for the big things (necklaces and headbands) - CHECK!  I found a small box for the little hair ties - CHECK!  I found this idea on Pinterest - CHECK!
First step was the frame.  Found it at the dollar store.  If you could find a strong, sturdy wooden frame, that would probably be best because then you could use a staple gun.  But I couldn't/didn't want to spend the time looking for one.
Next step was to cut the right lengths of ribbon to wrap all the way around the frame.  Once the pieces were cut, I used the glue gun to glue each piece into place.  Done.

I sat down and put all the clips on her new organizer and showed her.  Her first words were, "OH!  Thanks mommy so much for making me that!  What is it?"  So I explained and now she loves it!  It may need a repair every now and then - and if I ever find a wooden frame, I think I'll make a new one!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daddy Frame

Original Post: Just a picture uploaded by the user

Our Story:
Every year for Father's Day I want to get something special for my husband, but not something that costs a lot of money (because he's the cheap one and I have to live with it) and I always want it to be something that reminds him of the kids.
So I cut out some letters from construction paper and gave them to the kids to hold on the couch.  I did my son first, cause I knew that he would be more difficult.  Both of them did great!  I bought a frame that had room for 6 pictures, so in the last spot, I put a picture that I had taken with both of the kids together. 

He loved it! And my parents loved it, too. I think they were a little jealous - I may have to keep this gift in mind for them next year! I think my mom even said, "Where do you get all these great ideas?" And that was when I told her about Pinterest . . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kids Names and Weights

Original Post: ETSY

Our Story:
I really liked these keepsakes, they were bright and personalize . . . and WAY to expensive for something that I could make for free - minus the cost of the frames, which was $2 from Craigslist.  First thing I did was make the keepsakes using the basic Word program on my computer.  You can easily follow these steps:
1. Center the text and type in the child's name.  You then highlight each name individually and change the size and colour.  I used 90 for the frst name and 50 for the middle and last.  I also used the font "Biondi".
2. Next step is the date of birth.  I used a font size of 110.
3. Year of birth typed out (39 font) and Year of birth typed out (39 font)
Weight and Length (25 font)
4. Next comes the tricky part.  Insert -> Table -> 2x1.  Type the time (80 font) in the column on the left and the hospital name (25 font) in the column on the right.  You may have to adjust the sizes of each column by dragging the middle bar over.
5. To make the lines go away from the table, left click on one of the lines (make sure your curser is a little arrow).  Table Properties -> Borders and Shading -> None.  You may have to do this with both cells.

Once these were made, I found the frames (they were blue, which was great for my son, but not so great for my pink/purple daughter). So I went to the basement and pulled out some paint that was leftover from when we painted her room and I painted the frame (first white, then pink).

Awesome! They look SO great! I can't wait to get them hung up in each of the kids rooms!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pantry Inventory

Original Post: Martha Stewart

Our Story:
This is something that I have been meaning to do for a long time, so I'm glad I could finally focus on it! I did the upstairs pantry first and came to the conclusion that we have WAY too many snacks in the house for the kids that are unopened.  Mostly we have baking stuff upstairs.
Then I went to the basement (pantry - not freezer - that's a WHOLE other project . . .) and came to the conclusion that if there were ever an emergency, we would be in REALLY good shape!  20 boxes of crackers?  10 boxes of cereal?  10 jars of tomoato sauce?  I feel like those couponer people who stock pile . . . but we don't use coupons - however, we do buy on sale (SOMETIMES with coupons) and then we stockpile.  But at least it's healthy stuff, right?

I originally wanted to hang the clipboard, just like in the picture, but I think it will be more functional for us to tape/sticky tack the pages to the inside of one of the cupboards. Now the only thing we have to do is actually CROSS THINGS OFF and ADD THINGS TO the list.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Plans for the Week (February 13-19, 2012)

As you can tell, I'm not the best at actually STICKING to the plans for the week - but they are kind of just a guideline - I try and get those things done, but sometimes things get in my way or another project just fits better into my schedule!  So bear with me - everything that I write down WILL get done - just maybe not that week.

Week Seven!

Pantry Inventory . . . So far so good, it's keeping us a little more organized!
Kids Names and Weights . . . Something I created - definitaley a favourite!
Daddy Frame . . . I think my favourite homemade gift I've ever given my husband!
Hair Clip Organizer . . . Finally found the gluegun!
Saturdays Recipe . . . I hope you like cauliflower!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

Original Post: Saving Money Living Life

- Prepare rigatoni according to pkg directions. 
- Spread oil on bottom of 11x17 in baking dish; add onion in a single layer.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or just until tender.  Transfer onion to large bowl, set aside.
- Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between paper towels. 
- Stir in rigatoni, spinach, chicken, & next 4 ingredients into onion in bowl. 
- Spoon mixture into dish & sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake covered at 375 for 30 minutes; uncover & bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly. 

Our Story:
We love to eat spinach, chicken and pasta so to get all 3 ingredients in one dish is awesome.  I followed the recipe completely this time (which is rare) except (OK, so not completely) I used cheddar cheese instead of mozza because that was what I had opened in the fridge.

We all loved the casserole but it took a little longer than I like my weekday suppers to take.  I would save this for a Friday night (when I get off work early) or a weekend for sure.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentines Day #2 2012

Original Post: Craft Gossip, Danielle's Place

Our Story:
Finally we decorated the whole house for Valentines Day PLUS we made (most) of the our Valentines for our friends!

The valentines were a lot of fun.  I cut out the hearts, my daughter wrote her friends names on the hearts, plus her name and then she glued on two feathers with a glue stick.  Afterwards, I wrote the saying in the middle.  On the example one, she wrote the word "FRIEND" on top and "ME" on the bottom.

This project was great for two reasons!
1. I've never made valentines before, but it was lots of fun and I can't wait to do it next year!
2. My daughter has never been better at writing the letters in the alphabet!  She did it ALL herself and I've never been prouder!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Storage Room Boxes

Original Post: Craft Zine

Our Story:
In our storage room we have the "aisle of doom".  It's right between the washer/dryer and the freezer.  You have to squish in to do laundry.  And it doesn't matter how often we try and organize it, it multiplies, EVERY TIME!  I saw these boxes and I thought that it would be a great idea.  My husband didn't really like the idea because A) It cost money (that's always his reason for not liking things) and B) He thought it would just take up MORE room/floor space that we don't have.  Which I agree.  So we went with something cheap and it takes up no floor space!

One crate is for things to sell/give away/presents, one crate is for clothes that are too small/need to sell, one crate is for clothes that are too big (once the crate is full we move the stuff into boxes in our MAIN storage room that are labeled by sex and size) and the last crate is for stuff that needs to be put away.

I'm so glad my husband finally got around to hanging these up for me.  I won't lie, we still have some big stuff in the "aisle of doom" that is too big to put in crates, but I'm HOPING it won't be there for long.  I can't say that it will be completely cleared, but it will only get smaller!  Here is a before and after picture of our "aisle of doom".

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Bath Salts and Bath Bombs

Original Post: Martha Stewart

Our Story:
Like I said earlier, we were sticking with a cheap and easy Christmas this year and I know most women LOVE bath things and we had a few women on our list to buy for so this was what we did!  I found the idea originally at Martha Stewart, but to be honest, I didn't like that site so I used this one instead.
Craft Bits was really easy to use and you can find anything on there!  I can't wait to try more things there next year!  I made really simple bath salts (epsom salts + food colouring + scents) and bath bombs. 
Bath Salts: Easy Peasy and Cheap.  Awesome gift!
Bath Bombs: Not so easy.  Not so cheap.  Awesome gift!  These took a while to master and even in the end, they weren't the best.  But they were good enough.  The Citric Acid that you need is fairly expensive (I got mine from the Bulk Barn - bad idea).  But it didn't scare me away from trying them again next year!
As for peoples comments on the gifts - all the girls loved them and couldn't wait to use them!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Grocery Bag Storage

Original Post: The Family Handy Man

Our Story:
Grocery Bags are taking over our lives.  Normally, we use the resuable bags/bins, but sometimes we just don't have them with us.  And we do reuse them.  We have had a pile in the kitchen for every day things and we have had a pile in our sons room for those diapers that smell just oh so special - and really those diaper genies do NOTHING to mask the specialness smell of them - but OK, off topic.  So I found this brilliant idea (which my husband again, did not like) and I went around the house finding the least full boxes of Kleenex.  I took out what was left and put them on top of the other boxes (yes, yes I did).  I didn't want to tick off my husband TOO much this day, so I didn't hang the boxes on the cupboard door, I just put them exactly where the piles of bags USED TO BE!  It just looks tidier.

I love when things look tidier.  And when you go to pull a bag out, you do have to be carefull that you don't pull them all out - but really, that was the way our piles were getting.  So I like it.  And if I ever want a change/if it breaks - we will always have the extra boxes laying around.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Plans for the Week (February 6-12)

Week Six!

Boxes in the Storage Room! We finally finished and I'm SO happy!
Hair Clip Organizer I just need to find my gluegun . . .
Grocery Bag Storage The clutter is gone!
Valentines Day 2012 This should be the end! 
Recipe of some kind! I'm thinking Chicken/Spinach . . .

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds

Original Post: All Recipes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
- Brush both side of potato slices with butter; place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once
- When potatoes are ready, top with bacon, cheese, and green onion; continue baking until the cheese has melted

Our Story:
This was a super easy recipe!  I baked them for a full 40 minutes but skipped out on the green onions because I didn't have any.

The kids devoured these and just kept asking for more!  I can't wait to make these OVER and OVER and OVER again.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Valentines Day #1 2012

Original Post: Drake House Museum, Room Design Guide

Our Story:
This is just the first part of my decorating for Valentines Day.  All the stuff is from the Dollar Store.  This is my first year on collecting holiday goodies like this.  I'm sick of JUST decorating with Window Decals - but I can only get so much stuff at one time.  I plan on decorating a little more next weekend, so I will show you more then!
House is getting a little more red and white!  And I want to add that I DO have those candies on the table in the wine glass.  The first two days that they were out - that was ALL my kids wanted (at least they asked first - well, my 4 year old did), was those candies.  So I let them have a few and now, they have totally forgotten they are there.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Write to a Disney Character

Original Post: Couponing to Disney (search Walt Disney World Communications)

Our Story:
This was another pin that I got from my mom.  My daughter is IN LOVE with princesses and Disney.  I made the mistake of telling her we would go one day and now every day I hear, "When are we going?"  To get ready, she helped me by getting the envelope, a piece of paper and a pen.  We sat down together and I explained to her that we would write a letter to a princess.  She wanted to write to Sleeping Beauty.  So I wrote the letter, writing down every word that she said.  At the bottom, I wrote her name and address and then on the bottom half of the paper, she wrote her name.  We put on a couple stamps and sent it away.
As of right now, we are still waiting for the response.  I really hope that this works, because my daughter will LOVE it!  I plan on framing the 8x10 picture that we get and putting it in her room.  I will keep you all updated on the Disney Picture Process . . .

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Original Post: The Kitchn

Our Story:
For Christmas this year, we were trying to keep things cheap and simple because, well, money's tight.  And besides - who doesn't LOVE homemade gifts!  For my daughters teachers, we decided to make some Quickbread.  Really easy.  You put all the dry ingredients in a jar, write the instructions and tie them onto the jar.  Cheap.  Easy.  Done.
My daughter actually did NOT help me make these.  I made them one day while they were napping just to get it finished so that we could do something else when they woke up.  However, it would have been easy for her to help - just make sure you have a funnel handy!  The teachers really enjoyed the gifts!  Now these teachers also enjoy baking, so I guess you would have to know the person a little bit before you give this kind of gift.  I also put nuts in ours, which would be a no-no if there were allergies!