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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: Fun Snack Ideas

For kids in school, there's nothing better than coming home to a yummy snack. Even better if it's fun! Like these olive penguins...


...or these rainbow fruit skewers. Pretty and healthy!

How about an apple and mini marshmallow smile?

Grown-ups need fun snacks too. I like these cucumber veggie rolls.

And these homemade mozzarella sticks sound easy and yummy!


For more fun snack ideas, check out my Pinterest board!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wedding Invitation Ornaments: A Naptime Project

Naptime projects are quick, easy projects that can be done in less than an hour while the little one(s) are asleep.

I know, wedding season is basically over. But I actually have two more weddings that I was invited to that will be in October. The rest of you can save this idea for next year...

I found this on Pinterest, of course, but here's the link to the original. It's so simple, and a lovely way for the couple to display their wedding invitation.

The first one I made for my uncle's wedding. I cut the invitation into strips, and rolled it around a pencil. I put the strips into a clear glass ornament and tied a pretty ribbon on top.

The second one is for my cousin. I like this one better, because I was able to get some of the strips to stretch out (like their names). In both ornaments I tried to get the parts with the important information (date, names, church, etc.) to show. It worked better in the second one, I think.

This project technically took place over 2 naptimes, because I started it and then the kids woke up, but it took me maybe 10 minutes total. Piece of cake!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I spent most of the weekend cooking 30lbs. of chicken thighs and legs that were on sale for 39 cents/lb. 12 containers and 2 jars (because I ran out of Tupperware containers) of shredded chicken, and 5 containers of broth later, I'm done. I still have 4 of 6 bags of free carrots left to cut up and freeze, but I only have a few small containers left, and I'm out of little ziploc bags too, so I still have to figure that one out. It sure is nice to have a well stocked freezer, though!

Monday: Leftover White Bean Chicken Chili
Tuesday: Veggie Pot Pie
Wednesday: Chicken Fried Rice
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Leftover Chicken Fried Rice
Saturday: Party at friends' house
Sunday: Probably something with chicken and potatoes...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: Back-to-School

This time of year always makes me nostalgic for school. I was one of those weird kids who absolutely loved school, and I miss being in the classroom. In honor of that, here are some fun back-to-school projects.

First up, how about this nifty school supply clock?


For taking snacks to school, here are some reusable lunch and snack bags, made out of plastic grocery bags. I've also seen fabric versions.

Link
For your school supplies, how about a tin can desk organizer? I've had a few cans saved to make one of these for awhile now, but I haven't done it yet.


There are several versions of this monogram gift, including crayons and pencils, but I thought this keyboard one was pretty nifty.


And finally, what school list would be complete without homework? I'm going to do this 30 day photo challenge in September.

What are your back-to-school projects?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

This week into next week are pretty busy for Jesse, so I wasn't sure when I would have the car to grocery shop next week. And so, our menu plan extends into next week as well.

Lunches are going to be pretty simple - sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, etc.

Dinners:

Monday: Ham Sandwich picnic at Bethany. The Divers are playing on the green.
Tuesday: Veggies & Noodles in a cream cheese alfredo sauce. To use things up. This was going to be yesterday's dinner, but Pastor K. and his wife invited us over for burgers.
Wednesday: Dollar Dinner at The Beacon (MSU's Campus Ministry)
Thursday: Sausage Mushroom Quiche. We'll be adding green peppers and onions as well.
Friday: Sausage Mushroom Pizza
Saturday: Salads and Loaded Baked Potatoes
Sunday/Monday: White Bean Chicken Chili. This may or may not have chicken in it. Depends on if I find a good chicken sale before then.
Tuesday: Veggie Pot Pie. And I'm going to make my own crust this time around.
Wednesday/Thursday: Chicken Fried Rice

I also want to make these Blueberry Muffins this week.

Plans tend to change unexpectedly, so I'm sure I'll have updates by the time next Monday rolls around...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What I'm Reading...

What Freezes Well and What Doesn't. (One Dish Dinners)

Facebook Updates I Don't Want to Read. This made me laugh. And then, sigh, because I've done a lot of them. (Mama Kat)
Organizing on a Budget: Keeping Up. (Northern Cheapskate)

Building and Using a Time Diary. This sounds really interesting. I wonder what I would discover about my productivity? (The Simple Dollar)

Change the Color of Your Cabinets Without Pissing Off Your Landlord
. Ours don't have that inner panel, but I bet I could still make them look pretty. (Offbeat Home)

Creating an "In Case of..." File. Know that if I die, all of my magazine subscriptions are paid for or freebies, and you can change the addresses to your own. You're welcome. (Unclutterer)

A Simple Path to Little Victories. (Life Your Way)

3 Letters That Will Radically Improve Every Blog and Tweet You Ever Write. (Jon Acuff)

Make Today Count. Because looking at the big picture is good, but so is taking it one day at a time. (The Happiest Mom)

Do You Make a Pretty Plate?
(Life Your Way)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: I Like Trees

I have been saving pictures to my "Decorating Ideas" board, and I started to notice a trend of trees. Apparently, I like trees.

I think this would be so cute to have for hooks in the bathroom.

These next two are from baby rooms, but you could adapt them to any room in the house. Shelves for branches:


and a pretty circle tree with pictures:

And then there are some pretty paintings that I would like to think I could kind of recreate if I took the time to do so. I like the swirls in this one:

and the circles and the four seasons in this one:


And finally, I think this is an awesome representation of a family tree for a big centerpiece in the living room.


For the rest of my decorating ideas, i.e. all the non-tree ones, go check out my board!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Easy Cards: A Naptime Project

Naptime projects are quick, easy projects that can be done in less than an hour while the little one(s) are asleep.

My sister-in-law and her husband's anniversary was last week, and my Grandma's birthday is this week. These cards were really easy to make - I took a couple plain folded cards, covered the fronts with scrapbook paper, and embellished.

For the birthday card, I just added a square box for "Happy Birthday!"

For the anniversary card, I used a cutout heart from a wedding card. You see, awhile back, I went through all of our cards and cut out pictures that I could use for gift tags or projects like this.


A little gluestick, and ta-da! Easy cards!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Breakfasts:
  • Cereal/Oatmeal x4
  • Eggs & Toast x2
  • Banana Bread
Lunches:
  • Turkey Sandwiches, Veggies x2
  • PB&J Rollups, Fruit x2
  • Beans, Cheese, Tortillas, Fruit
  • Macaroni & Cheese, Hot Dogs, Peas
  • Tortilla Pizzas
Dinners:

Monday: Leftover Veggie Minestrone Soup
Tuesday/Wednesday: Taco Chicken Bowls with actual Tortilla Bowls
Thursday: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes (I so hope these taste like IHOP's!)
Friday: Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Saturday: Seminary Picnic - I'm bringing a salad, probably the ever popular ramen noodle/peas/cabbage/sunflower seeds one.
Sunday: Veggies, noodles, and some sort of cream cheese sauce to use up the rest of the cream cheese from the taquitos and the pancake glaze. So an alfredo of sorts. I think.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Paper Towels and Frugality. We stopped using paper towels awhile ago. And the only napkins we use are extras from takeout. The only time I miss them is when I cook bacon, to catch the grease. (The Simple Dollar)

You Are What You Eat: What the Inside of Your Fridge Says About Your Household. I think ours would say...we need to go grocery shopping. Right now it sort of looks like a bachelor lives here - mostly condiments and a few random leftovers. (Offbeat Home)

What's Your Why? I think mine is making people happy, and doing whatever I can to help. And that includes sometimes helping myself, something that took me forever to learn. (The Happiest Mom)

Routines Can Make Even the Most Unsavory Tasks Easy. For me, it's doing the dishes. I've forced myself into the habit of doing them every night as soon as the kids are in bed. So now it's a habit. And there's never a mountain of dishes, unless I've gone crazy baking that day. (Unclutterer)

11 Excellent Reasons for Getting Rid of Your Clothes. No, not becoming a nudist. I'm really terrible at saving clothes for someday, because someday I'll magically like them better or they'll fit better. (I'm an Organizing Junkie)

Using Groupon to Boost Your Vacation Budget
. I am also a fan of using Restaurant.com to find cheaper food for some meals. (Money Saving Mom)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mini Umbrella Wreath: A Naptime Project

Naptime projects are quick, easy projects that can be done in less than an hour while the little one(s) are asleep.

I knew as soon as I saw this project on Pinterest that I would be making it. I just had to find a time to do so. Naptime today seemed like a good time.

I bought these little drink umbrellas several years ago to decorate for something in college. I forget what exactly. It's been awhile. Maybe my birthday party freshman year? And they've been sitting with my crafty supplies ever since. I also used a dollar store wreath, and ribbon that I had on hand to hang it. That means, total cost for this cute little summer wreath: $1!

I poked somewhere around 22 umbrellas through the wreath. Then I made sure to trim the backs, because yikes! that would hurt. And would make it stand out from the door funny.

And then I hung it up. All in all, it took me about 20 minutes, but only because I tried a couple lengths of ribbon before I settled on nice and short.


How cute and summery!

P.S. Crafty Link-Up will be back next week. It slipped my mind to finish up the post yesterday.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's experiments were mostly successful. The chicken noodle skillet and the slow cooker sausage and bean soup were both delicious. The pumpkin cheesecake muffins were only so-so. I don't think I'll be trying those again.

Breakfasts:
Lunches:
  • Turkey Sandwiches x2
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Corn Dog Muffins
  • PB&J x2
  • Beans, Tortillas, Cheese
Dinners: The plan is to take advantage of yummy summer produce as much as we can while it's still in season.
  • Monday: Chicken Salads
  • Tuesday: Taco Salads
  • Wednesday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
  • Thursday: BLTs
  • Friday: Bacon, Eggs, and Toast
  • Saturday/Sunday: Minestrone Soup (although now that I think about it, we probably won't be home for dinner on Sunday, since we're taking a trip to Iowa to celebrate one of Jesse's classmates' installation as the pastor of a church there)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Crafty Link-Up

I meant to have this up earlier in the day, but for some reason I didn't realize it was Wednesday already. Ever have one of those weeks? Anyways, this week's post is a few goodies from my "Cookies" board. This first one is a genius idea:
Cookie bowls! Just flip over your muffin tin!


Some cookie ideas that I have saved are just decorating ideas, like these witch hats,

and these baseball sugar cookies. It is summer, after all.

On a more whimsical note, here are some Dr. Suess hat cookies. Secret: they have Oreos!

And finally, Peanut Butter Snickeroos. Because they look and sound amazing.

I have more saved to my board, so go check it out!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday and Lime Chicken Recipe

We are trying to use a lot of what we have on hand this week, things like a random can of pureed pumpkin. There was also a good sale on chicken last week, so we have lots cooked and shredded in the freezer and ready to add to meals.

Breakfasts:
Lunches:
  • Turkey Sandwiches, Veggies x 2
  • Leftovers x 2
  • PB&J, Fruit
  • Macaroni & Cheese, Veggies
  • Beans, Cheese, Tortillas, Fruit
Dinners:
Monday: Homemade Pizzas - one taco, one chicken/mushroom/spinach
Tuesday: Chicken Noodle Soup Skillet - I'm attempting to make up a casserole that tastes like chicken noodle soup, without the soup. In my head it works out perfectly.
Wednesday: VBS Dinner at the park
Thursday/Friday: Crockpot White Bean and Sausage Soup
Saturday/Sunday: Chicken Enchiladas

Lime Chicken Skillet with Green Veggies

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 3 cups green veggies (I used broccoli, cauliflower, celery, edamame, and peas)
  • juice of half a lime or 1 Tbsp. packaged lime juice
  • cilantro, salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • 2 cups rice
Directions:
Cook rice as directed on package. While rice is cooking, cook veggies in a large skillet with a bit of water in the bottom, until tender. Add lime juice, spices, and chicken. Heat through. Add rice and simmer for a few minutes to combine flavors. Serves 4-6.

Jonah thought this was pretty good, although he is still not a fan of broccoli or cauliflower, even if Mom calls them trees. He does like fighting peas and green guys (edamame) though, and will go through and pick them all out. Why do fun names make veggies cooler to eat?