Friday, April 29, 2016

Mother's Day Printable- "If Moms were flowers..."

I love flowers.
Whether in the backyard, pots by the door or in a vase inside.
I loved getting the paper flowers and drawing my kids would make in elementary school.
Enjoy those handmade gifts made by little hands.
One year my oldest daughter gave me a garden stepping stone that said
"If Moms were flowers, I'd pick you"
We put it right out in the dirt pathway around our little raised garden boxes.
It would make me smile when I'd see it.
That phrase came to mind last week 
and I wanted to make a printable of it to send to my mom.
I found this beautiful vintage flower graphic over at the Graphics Fairy.
And added the quote.

You can print off your own here:
It fits in a 5x7 frame.
When I last saw my mom, 
she mentioned that she couldn't wait until the weather warmed up 
so she could plant flowers in her yard and in the pots by the door. 
(maybe that is where I get my love for flowers!)
Along with the print, I'm sending a gift card so she can go out and buy those flowers.

If you are looking for a gift idea,
this might be the one!
Enjoy your Mother's Day
and I hope you get flowers!

Here is our Grandma Chalk Printable from last year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dill Dip

This is my go to dip when putting together a veggie tray. I absolutely love it! With summer picnics and BBQs upon us, this dill dip would make a great addition.


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 8-ounce carton sour cream 
3 green onions, finely chopped (I use just the white bottom parts.) 
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sour cream, green onion, dill weed and salt until fluffy. Cover and chill for a couple hours before serving. You can even make this dip up the night before. If the dip seems stiff after chilling, mix in one or two Tablespoons of milk to fluff up. 

Print this recipe {here}

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mini Maracas

Here's a fun craft for your kids to make for Cinco de Mayo
or anytime you want to shake things up and make a little music!
For each maraca you'll need:
1 plastic egg
2 plastic spoons
dried beans
duct tape

Open your egg and use the smaller end to fill 3/4 of the way with beans.

Put your egg back together and hold the spoons on each side of the egg.

Move them so the spoon handles touch.
Tape a couple times around with your duct tape.
There are so many cute duct tape patterns now, 
mix and match a few different styles.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Power's Out Emergency Box

The power goes out fairly often in my neck of the woods.  And when it does, you really want to know where your flashlights are!  We decided to help be more prepared by making an emergency box.  It is a simple box that contains useful items for a brief power outage- up to a couple hours.  We store it in a spot that everyone in the family knows about. It is also complimentary, or can be added to a more thorough 72 hour kit for longer emergencies.  
Our emergency box contains:

- 12 bottles of water
-wet wipes
-fire lighters, for candles or fireplace
-lots of batteries, a box for every flashlight type and needed tool we use
-flashlights, one for every member in the family
-clip on flashlight (so cool, a flashlight you can clip on your shirt to free up your hands)
-Candles, for our candle sticks
-Nutrition bars (helps to have a healthy snack)
-Peanut butter crackers (another healthy snack, we like to eat in emergencies)
-a fun treat, we like Swedish Fish
-a couple fun games to pass the time

Due to the food, water, and batteries in our emergency box, we plan on refreshing our box every spring and summer (general conference time).   That way, we can always eat and use what is inside!   This is a great box to put together for tornado, hurricane, and monsoon seasons which are looming just around the corner.  Add area specific items to your box or you could also include:  glow sticks, first aid kit, or a blanket.    Remember, this kit's purpose is to support a brief power outage.   

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Teacher Gift Printable Tag

Teacher appreciation week is approaching.
We have several teachers in our family.  
Teachers do so much,
give of their time, resources, knowledge and energy,
to teaching our kids.

I put together these fun tags 
you can add to any potted plant or bouquet of flowers for your teacher.
Your local grocery store or nursery has some beautiful plants out right now.
Find a pretty pot to plant in or just tie the tag right on the pot it comes in!
I love painted mason jars
and knew this would make a cute container for my plant.
You can find our post on how to paint a mason jar {here}.

Print off the {help me grow} tags.
Eight tags on a sheet. 
Print on any card stock or scrapbook paper.

I printed on scrapbook paper, cut out the tags and then mounted them on grey card stock.
There is a little room within the border at the top to write in your teacher's name and 
at the bottom for your child's name, if you want to personalize it. 
Punch a hole at the top and use bakers twine or ribbon to tie on.

I love mini cactus and succulents
and thought this might be a plant that would "survive" a classroom. :)
Isn't this one cute with the booming top!

Thanks to all our teachers!
We appreciate you!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Clothespin Picture Frame

With each vacation, our family tries to visit the nearest temple. It has been a fun tradition and we've had the privilege of visiting many. We are anxious to add two new temple visits this summer! I've always wanted a way to display all these temple pictures together - in one spot. I found my answer with the clothespin picture frame! It is super easy to make and I love it. We have our frame displayed in our den on our extended desk. I keep peaking my head in the room just to look at it. My kids also love the frame and have been reminiscing about our temple visits!

You'll need a frame, clothespins (I found some cute gold ones at Michael's.) and some coated picture wire.

Take out the frame's back and glass so you're left with an empty frame. Then, with a staple gun, staple the picture wire to the frame's back. Be sure to measure where to staple your wire first so you have enough space to hang your pictures.

Here's my frame with the two stands of wire stapled to the back.

Because I want to remember the different temple locations, I made stickers with my sticker maker to put on the photos. Here's a great post from Heidi explaining the sticker maker. We are in LOVE with ours!

With clothespins, hang your photos on the picture wire. So happy with this project!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How to cook Quinoa

I've been wanting to try out this popular South American "super food" for awhile now.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is naturally gluten free, a complete protein, high in fiber and loaded with minerals, nutrients and antioxidants. 
Basically, it's one of the best foods for you.
It looks like a grain but is actually the seed of a grain like crop similar to beets and spinach. 
It comes in different colors; white, red and black.
And comes in different forms; puffed, rolled into flakes or whole.
Here's what you need to do to cook it:
Quinoa should be rinsed before cooking.  Sometimes there is a residue or coating that may make it taste bitter if not rinsed off.  You will need a very fine mesh strainer to rinse it!  
The holes in my strainer were still a little big, so I lined it with paper towels.
I actually forgot to rinse it first, but it still turned out great, not bitter taste.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Bring 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until tender, about 15 minutes.  You don't want to over cook.  

Quinoa holds a lot of water, which can make your dish watery if not drained.
Drain it through your fine mesh strainer again.  
I'm using a paper towel so the seeds won't go through my strainer.
(think I have to invest in one with a finer mesh!)

Return the quinoa to the pot you just used to cook it in
and let it rest for 15 more minutes. 
 The warmth of the pot with help dry it out a little more so it's light and fluffy.
I found this great quinoa salad recipe {here} to try out the quinoa I just cooked up.
This salad recipe is delish!-- quinoa, brussels sprouts, cran-raisins and peacans--a great combination!
(I steamed the brussels sprouts for this recipe and used cran-raisins instead of cranberries)

I loved it!  Quinoa is great!
Easy to make, very filling and can be thrown into any recipe.
After learning about the great health benefits of it 
and liking the taste, I'll be on the hunt for more recipes!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tabletop Sandbox

A few months ago I saw this cute mini sandbox. It was probably only 9 x 9 inches. I tucked that idea away in my mind and then brought it to life this weekend! You see, my kids have been dying to get some Kinetic sand and I've been dragging my feet. Um, sand in the house?! They kept telling me how this sand is special and easy to clean up trying to convince me, but I definitely had some reservations. Well, I finally but it all together and thought, "I could make a tabletop sandbox like that cute little one I saw a few months ago and keep the Kinetic sand in it!" It was a huge breakthrough for our family :) So, I recruited my husband and we got the job done!

First, you'll need your wood for the sandbox. Here's a hint: If you go to a hardware store and ask for their scrap wood, they'll usually give it to you for free! We used free scrap wood for the base of our sandbox. I wanted our box to be a little bigger so more than one child could play with it at a time. Our base measured 16 1/2 x 12 inches. You can choose any size you'd like. You then need to get wood for the box's sides. We used two pieces at 2 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches and two pieces at 2 1/2 x 12 1/4 inches. You'll want your end pieces of wood a bit longer than the base so the corners overlap. Our sides are 1/2 inch thick.

Next, with wood glue, glue the two longer sides onto your base.

Use clamps to hold your glued sides in place. Keep the clamps on for at least one hour.

Then, glue your end sides on. Again, remember those clamps.

Let your glued sides dry for 24 hours. After 24 hours, nail a few nails along the bottom borders of your sandbox sides to secure them to the base. Then, spray paint.

Finally, the fun part! Fill your sandbox with regular playground sand or Kinetic sand. Find toys around your home for the box. We found some trucks, plastic animals, Playdoh molds, even a little plastic back scratcher that we now use as a sandbox rake.

My kids love the sandbox! Now, kids will be kids so don't expect a sand free table or floor. But, for the most part, everything stays pretty well inside that sandbox. The sandbox has been a huge hit the past few days as the weather here has turned cold and rainy. It's great to bring a little something of the outside in. Plus, I'm already seeing the possibilities: something fun to play with for a sick child who has to stay indoors, something to play with during those cold winter months or something to do when it is too dark to play outside. Enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fudgy Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

These brownies are so delicious!  The frosting is great for any cake recipe too!
Fudgy Brownies
4 Squares of Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate or equivalent Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs beaten
1 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Vannilla
1 tsp. Salt
Melt chocolate and butter together on medium heat.  Allow to cool.  In a separate bowl, cream sugar and eggs together.  Slowly blend in chocolate mixture and vannilla.  Stir in flour and salt.  Pour in 9 X13 pan and bake for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
6 Tbsp.  Butter
2 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1 tsp. Vannilla
Milk as needed
Cream butter and then add sugar and cocoa.  Add vannilla.  Add milk if needed to make creamy. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

School Bake Sale & Art Tags

Remember Fine Arts Night last year?
We are gearing up for another, night of art, music and talent
at our elementary school.
At this event 5th graders always have a bake sale,
to raise money for an end of the year (graduation) party and
to buy a gift for the school. 
We made some chocolate chip cookies for the sale.
To jazz things up a bit,
we individually bagged them up
and tied on these fun tags with art and music quotes.
Girls, sometimes it is the packaging that seals the deal to get those big sales!

Tied them on with different colors of tulle for some fun and a little color. 

I love these quotes.
Here are a couple;
"Every child is an artist,
the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up" -Pablo Picasso
"Creativity takes COURAGE"  -Henri Matisse

I took my original quotes tags
and added this whimsical border,  then printed them on scrapbook paper.
I'm sharing these tags with you,
for your next bake sale or art event.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Lemon Pepper Marinade

Here is a quick marinade that uses ingredients you probably already have in your house!  Its the best on pork or chicken, here we tried it on steaks.   As the weather warms up, its perfect for the grill!

Lemon Pepper Marinade

1/2 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Tbsp. Lemon Pepper Seasoning
2 tsp. Diced Garlic

Mix all ingredients together well.  Allow to marinade on pork or chicken for at least one hour.  
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