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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: Toilet Paper Rolls

Some of the best craft supplies are hiding in your house right now Like...toilet paper rolls! There are some amazing projects out there that start with these. The first few I have posted are kid crafts, because that's where my head is a lot of the time.

Farm animals! How cute are these?

This car garage also technically uses cereal boxes. But we have plenty of those too.

I like this one because it's a learning project. Sort by colors. And super easy too!


I will probably actually use these for treat boxes for Christmas this year.

And finally, because there are so many gorgeous "wrought iron" creations out on the Internet, these wall hangings are made from toilet paper rolls. Wow!

There's more! Go check out my board dedicated to TP Rolls!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Lunches:
  • Turkey Sandwiches x2
  • PB&J x2
  • Leftovers
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Beans, Cheese, Tortillas

Dinners:

Monday: Crockpot Bean and Sausage Stew

Tuesday/Wednesday: Chicken, Black Bean, and Rice Taco Bowls

Thursday : Dollar Dinner at the Beacon

Friday: Chicken Pasta with Peas (we ended up making Chicken Quesadillas instead of this last week)

Saturday: Stir Fry

Sunday: Waffles and Eggs

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Grocery Shopping with Small Children. I definitely agree that I don't want to spend my mommy time grocery shopping. I enjoy it, but I can do that with kids. Whereas, say, getting lost in a book and sipping a coffee, I cannot. (Books 'n' Other Stuff)

Savoring Time and Saving Time (At the Grocery Store and Beyond). There are definitely some "chores" that I've found have gotten easier and more enjoyable when I don't treat them as chores. Chopping vegetables comes to mind. Actually, pretty much anything in the kitchen comes to mind. Cleaning the bathroom is still a chore though. (The Happiest Mom)

Mind Blowing Cake Decorating Tip. It's pretty cool. (Dollar Store Crafts)
Link
Financial Balance and the 80/20 Rule. I like that he gave examples of how the 80/20 rule applies to so much more than just finances. (The Simple Dollar)

Selling Dishes: Is There Cash in Your Cupboard? I doubt there is in mine, but maybe in yours. (Northern Cheapskate)

Four Foolproof Alarm Clocks to Get You Up Each Morning
. These are funny. (Offbeat Home)

Appreciate What You Have; Don't Sweat What You Don't Have. (The Simple Dollar)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: Fun Stuff for Kids

There are so many brilliant ideas out there for not only entertaining, but teaching your children all sorts of things. And yet, it's sometimes hard to remember any of them. That's why once again I'm so thankful for Pinterest, where I can save all of these ideas.

I think this food memory game where you get to eat your matches would be fun for adults too. Or maybe that's just me...


I've learned very quickly that sometimes the best toys aren't really toys at all. Like this stuff the pom-pom game. Shove pom-poms through a hole into a container. Dump. Repeat. Jonah would love this.

Jonah is starting to get really excited about counting. So far he knows one, because, well that's where you start, and two, because that's how old he is. And I don't really know if he understands more than that, but what do you expect? He's two. Anyways, for kids who are a little farther along, here's an easy way to practice counting. (P.S. The website is in German, but I think it's pretty self-explanatory...)


Now that we've had a couple Christmases and birthdays, I can say that we officially have a car collection going. Here's an easy way to make a road to drive the cars on, and teach colors!


And finally, I always think those "special" lunches are so cool, but I've never really tried to make time to make one. If I did, I would probably have to start with this Tow Mater sandwich, because he's Jonah's favorite.

Being that I have two kiddos who are just starting to get into all this fun learning stuff, I've been saving a ton of ideas. For lots more fun for kiddos, check out my board!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jonah's Birthday Cake

My little Jonah is turning 2 this week! It seems so hard to believe he's that big already, but he is. Lately, he has been loving a few of the characters from the Cars movies. This impresses me, since he has never seen either movie, only a few clips online. But, since he likes them so much, I knew I wanted to make a Cars cake for him.

Since I'm just beginning cake decorating, I decided to keep it somewhat simple. I used my checkerboard cake set again, just because with racecars it made sense.

I did the initial layer of white fondant, and then added "red" checkerboards to it. The red turned out pretty pink. I was going to do black, but I was smart enough to realize that without gel, mixing food coloring drops to the fondant was probably going to just get to gray. I hoped red would work. Oh well. The squares are wonky on purpose, because the cake wasn't exactly level, and I had some fondant oopsies to cover.

I did crushed oreo cookies for the racetrack, and a few frosting garnishes. I still need more practice on those, but that went better than last time.


Jonah had seen the cake itself beforehand, but I added the cars and balloon while he was napping. Needless to say, he was pretty excited about the cake when he woke up!


Happy Birthday my cool kid!

Menu Plan Monday

Lunches:
Monday: Subway
Tuesday: Turkey Sandwiches
Wednesday: PB&J
Thursday: Macaroni and Cheese
Friday: Jonah's Birthday Lunch at Grandma DeDeyne's
Saturday: Beans, Cheese, Tortillas
Sunday: Egg Salad Sandwiches

Dinners:
Monday: Pizza Pockets (using leftover sauce and toppings from yesterdays pizzas)
Tuesday: Mushroom Barley Soup (Jonah likes this and Jesse's not as big of a fan, so since he's gone, we'll have it again)
Wednesday: Veggie Pot Pie
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Sausage and Veggie Omelets, Toast
Saturday: Chicken Pasta with Peas
Sunday: Shepherd's Pie using mashed potatoes from the freezer, so easy prep!

We also have lots of leftover birthday cake to eat (I made Jonah's cake for Sunday since we were having people over). And we got a big bag of apples at the Farmer's Market, so we'll be munching on those, and probably making a big batch of applesauce.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Do Your Hours Keep Slipping Away? 5 Time Management Tips That Work for Me. I know technology is my biggest time suck, and the days I stay away from it are the most productive. To go along with that, here's another good one: Technology, Mothers, and Time. (both from The Happiest Mom)

Save Money and Simplify Things by Setting a Limit on Christmas Gifts. Yes, it is that time of year already. I like to try to look for deals for a few months leading up to Christmas, so I can get the most for the least amount of money. (Money Saving Mom)

12 Double Duty Decorating Ideas. I really like the one with the cookie cutters and candles. Never thought of that, but so simple! (Dollar Store Crafts)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Career Advice: Three Ways to Survive as an Offbeat Employee in an Onbeat Job. I'm not terribly offbeat, nor do I currently work outside the home, but I still found this interesting. (Offbeat Home)

How Do You Keep Your Kitchen Countertops Cleaned Off? Crystal's countertops are so inspiring. But I don't know if I could function enough to dig out my coffeemaker before I've had my coffee. And I don't have anywhere to store most of my stuff. But for the future...(Money Saving Mom)

The Kitchen Hour. I like this. I do some things while Jonah is running around, usually dinner preparation, but the occasional baking too. With Matthew it's tricky, because he will only tolerate his chair for about 5 minutes, or less. Once he's old enough to sit and play, I think it will become more regular. (The Happiest Mom)

Wise Words Wednesday: Ma Ingalls. A good reminder that we are blessed with a lot of conveniences. (The Happiest Mom)

How to Significantly Increase Your Income Without Working Harder (Part 2). Now if only I could come up with that next great idea... (Money Saving Mom)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crafty Link-Up: Cakes

Since I made my birthday cake this week, cakes have been on my mind.

This Cars cake is one of my inspiration cakes for Jonah's birthday. I like the checkerboard fondant (it will go with the checkerboard cake), and the red frosting around the edges. My decorations on top will be different though.


I love the color combination of this one - yellow cake, blue fondant, and white frosting. Gorgeous!


Jesse says that now that I'm a cake decorating pro, he wants a superhero stacked cake for his birthday in November, with Superman on top. Maybe something fairly simple like this one? I still think that might be too hard.


It would take forever to dye this many fondant colors and cut out this many little circles. It shouldn't be a surprise that this is a Martha Stewart cake. She always seems to do things the hard way. It's very pretty though.


And last, but not least, this gorgeous flowery swirly cake. Simple, but elegant.


These are just the tip of the iceberg. For more awesome cakes, check out my Cake Decorating board!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Birthday Cake

My birthday isn't technically until Sunday, but I wanted to make myself a pretty cake. I've wanted to do a cake with fondant and pretty frosting for years. Years. I've just never had all of the right stuff. But then I found a set of 4 frosting tips for $3.00 at Walmart. And 2 vinyl frosting bags for $2.00. And a recipe (kind of) for homemade fondant that only had two ingredients. It seemed like now would be a good time to try.

So. I did it. This was my first time doing fondant, and my first time using frosting tips. I actually found the fondant part easier than I expected, and the frosting harder than I expected. Because the fondant "recipe" didn't include any measurements, I guessed, and I ended up making way too much. Luckily, it has a bit of a shelf life, so now I have some for Jonah's birthday cake in a few weeks.

My fondant started to rip apart as I transferred it from my board to my cake. I figured I could fix it on the cake. But you really can't. At least not without ugly lines. Next time, put it back down and re-roll it. Lesson learned.

The bottom border of frosting was easy. Drawing lines and doing handwriting was really hard though. If there were any air bubbles in the frosting bag at all (there were), it made the lines go all wonky. And frankly, I don't have the prettiest handwriting anyways, so trying to make it look nice on a cake? Not so much.

I made a complete mess of the kitchen, ended up doing dishes 3 times in one day, got frosting on the floor, the wall, and in my hair. But in the end, it was a really yummy cake, and now I kind of have an idea of how cake decorating works. I'm really excited to do it again in a couple weeks for Jonah's birthday. I already have his cake planned out in my head. It will be similar to this one, but with extra embellishments.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Labor Day!

Monday: Mashed Potatoes with Chicken Gravy, Veggies. We have potatoes to use up, and I'm going to kind of make up a gravy to go over them.
Tuesday/Wednesday: Mushroom Barley Soup and Salads
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
Saturday: Lasagna Casserole. I'll just set aside some beef, noodles, and cottage cheese for Jonah before I mix in the tomatoes for us.
Sunday: Birthday dinner at my parents' house!

Also on the menu this week, I'm going to bake and decorate a birthday cake for myself. I have this checkerboard pan, which I'm going to do in pink and white. I'll use this fondant recipe for a pretty pink fondant on top. I'm cheating and using store bought cake mix and frosting, because this is really more a chance to try out cake decorating than baking. The only thing I'm missing is a frosting tip set to finish off the edges. I'm going to see what that might cost at Walmart today, and I'll decide from there.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What I'm Reading...

Make Better Use of Your Kitchen's Resources to Waste Less Food and Save More Money. I like the idea of having a list on the fridge of "eat this now", "eat this soon", and "saved for recipe". (Offbeat Home)

Organizing Children's Craft Supplies: The Ultimate Guide
. My favorite idea was to store all of the supplies, but keep out a basket or two with several miscellaneous supplies so the kids could do crafts without getting everything out, but still have options of what to use. (Life Your Way)

Hy-Vee General Mills Cereal Promotion
. This is how I get cheap cereal. You have through tomorrow (Monday) to get in on the deal. (Penny Pinchin' Mom)