Friday, May 27, 2016

Milk Bottle Box Caddy

Kind of loving milk bottles.
I even recently found these with lids and straws at the dollar store--score!
They were too cute just to have stored away. 
This little box caddy is just the thing to display, serve from and transport these fun bottles.

You'll need:
2 knobs
paint, stain
nails, wood glue, drill
a pine board 4" x 6'
cut this into three 16" pieces and two 2 5/8" pieces

Take your three 16" pieces, these are your sides and box bottom.
With a combination of wood glue and nails,
attach the sides to the bottom.

Next, put a little wood glue on the sides of your small pieces and slide them in on the ends.
Secure with nails.


Then paint your box.
I'm using Americana Snow White.
I always love that distressed look, 
so I sanded the edges and added a little wood stain.

Next up the fun knobs.
On each side, drill a hole where you'd like to place the knob.

I found these faux glass knobs at Lowes.

Just screw on the knobs.


Ok, I love this box and the knobs take it to the next level of cuteness!

Not to mention functionality, 
for when I'm carrying out some cold drinks to the patio.

Very excited about this project.
Just in time for Memorial Weekend barbecues!

Make your own milk bottle caddy!
Leave us a comment if you make one. I'd love to see the colors you use and the cute knobs!

Summer Road Travel Activity Book!

This summer my family is hitting the road and traveling across America to our family reunions out west in Utah.  We will be traveling through a total of 10 states round trip!  Along the way, we will see some famous sights such as Mount Rushmore, National Parks and .....the Mitchell "Corn Palace"!?  To make the trip fun while traveling in the car and to give a learning experience of the sights and places we will see, I am creating a travel activity book.  It will contain information and historical background for the places we will see, maps of the routes we will take, several other maps of the United States to help in learning state capitals and Native American reservations, and of course lots of games and fun!  It has taken some time to put together and I am still working on it!  But, I am excited for my kids to discover and hopefully appreciate more of our trip together.  

My four kids have their own book and they each have the same games and information inside.  The front of their travel book has some silly pictures of things they enjoy.  

Each booklet has a pencil pouch in the front where they have dry erase markers and crayons along with an old rag to wipe their writing off.  I decided to put each paper in a pocket protector so they can reuse and rewrite on all the pages.  

The booklet is divided up by sections- Day 1 to Day 5 and then driving home.  Each section or day has specific information on the places we will see that day and pictures to go with it.  

Since we will be traveling through several states, I have some fun and even silly facts about each state (things my kids would enjoy)- who knew there was a mashed potato wrestling contest in South Dakota every year!  

Each day has a Seek and Find list of things for the kids to look for while we travel such as an RV, horses, or state license plates.  When they find all of the items, they get the daily prize (yummy treat)!

There is also a quiz on the information that they read about for each place we see.  This one is for South Dakota, they have to match the picture with the description.  Yes, that is Bob Barker, he was born in South Dakota!

My husband and I really enjoy maps and we thought it would be fun to include several in this travel book.  Each day there is a map of the area that we will be traveling through for the kids to map out our route and see how we will travel.  We also included some info on each state such as the state bird and flower.  

Each national park, historical sight, or stop has a page giving background information on it.  This one is for the Badlands National Park and it show animals that roam throughout the park for us to look for on our hike-fingers crossed we don't see a Bobcat!

Some fun games that I found off of the internet!  My kids range from 13 to 5 so I tried to have something for each of them.  Some fun ideas for games to include:
Where's Waldo
Find the Panda
Hidden Pictures
Mad Libs
Optical Illusions
Word Search
Drawing Space
Journal pages
Paper Battle Ship
Tic Tac Toe
Spot the Differences

Here is one of the maps included in the book.  This one identifies the Native American Tribes that we will be traveling through.  

Enjoy your summer and if you are traveling, I hope it is full of fun family memories!  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Are You Ready? Summer Activity List

I don't know about you, but I'm itching for summer! My kids get out of school on Friday and I can't wait!  Last night, we sat around the kitchen table and made our annual summer list. We brainstorm ideas of summer activities. I really like this list. I keep it close by and refer to it often when we find ourselves with a boring day. I also use our list when planning our week. I can plug these ideas in here and there. Here are some of our ideas:
  • Picnic dinner at the lake
  • Sign up for summer reading program at the library 
  • Hike!
  • Have s'mores for dessert
  • Play knock out (the basketball free throw game)
  • Family PJ movie night
  • Kayak
  • Game night
  • Tin foil dinners for dinner
  • Picnic lunch at the park 
  • Go camping
  • Make flavored popcorn. Here's another recipe. And another. One more
  • Geocache
  • Family bike ride
  • Make sock puppets
  • Dessert parfaits 
  • Summer workbooks (I make my children complete workbooks during the summer. They just love it :)
  • Play disc golf
  • Family sleep over (My kids love sleeping in the family room together.) 
  • Crafts (Be sure to check out the Summer Fun Friday button on the right hand column.) 
  • Jump on the trampoline with the sprinklers underneath
  • Make snow cones
Hopefully, some of these ideas will help you beat the summer boring blues. Brainstorm with your family tonight! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes Skillet

Here is a delicious spring pasta!  Enjoy it for dinner tonight.

 Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes Skillet 

1 Box Penne or Ziti  Pasta
1 Tbsp Butter
1 lb. Chicken, cut into chunks
1/4 tsp.  Cayenne
1/2 tsp. Oregano
2 Cloves Garlic, minced 
17 oz. Jar Sun Dried Tomatoes ( go with a higher quality jar- it costs more but it makes a difference here)
2 Cups Spinach
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
3/4 Cup Cream
1 1/4  Cup Milk
1 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook your pasta according to box.  Drain and set aside.  Heat butter in skillet over medium high heat.  Sprinkle cut chicken with Cayenne, Oregano, and salt and pepper and cook on skillet.   Drain chicken and set aside.   Drain oil from jar of tomatoes and chop into smaller pieces.  Add them along with your garlic to the pan.  Cook until fragrant.  Add your cream, milk, broth, and cheese to skillet.  Stir until sauce is smooth and bubbly and cheese is melted.  Stir in cooked pasta and chicken.  Add your spinach- it will cook down quickly.   If needed, add extra broth or cream to thin or thicken sauce.  Salt and Pepper.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

America Holiday Board

Summer is almost here.
And we've got a holiday board for the season!

You'll need:
pine board 6"x 4'
Americana acrylic paints: Santa Red, Warm White, Uniform Blue
stencil brush, painter's tape, sand paper, wood stain

Paint one side of your board red.
Paint it on roughly, leaving some of the wood showing.  Then you won't have to sand to give it a rustic look. 
(You can paint on the back of one of your other holiday boards to save storage space!)
Cut a star out of some scrap pine.
Here is our Star Pattern
Paint the front with blue.

Don't have access to cut a star?
You can tie a cute ribbon around your board or look for some other patriotic decor to use at the top.
(I'd love to see your variations!)

Lay out your stencil letters, 
starting at the bottom of the board so you can figure out your spacing and where to place the "A" at the bottom.
Tape down the "A" and stencil.
Remember the key is to have very little paint on your brush, layering the paint.
Then the paint won't go under the stencil.

I placed each letter with the bottom of the stencil touching the top of the last letter stenciled.
(Also below, you can see the how the red was painted roughly to leave the wood showing)

Take the star and sand the edges and do any sanding you might need on the board.
Stain the star front and sides with wood stain.
Also stain just the front of the board. 
If you have another holiday on the back and haven't stained the sides, do that now.
If you don't want to put another holiday on the back, stain all the way around the board.
Glue on your star and let everything dry over night. 

I've got this out by my front door.
Welcome Summer!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Personal Histories

Our parents' 50th anniversary is next month! My siblings and I have been working on plans for the big anniversary weekend/reunion off and on for close to a year. We'll be posting more ideas as the event approaches.

One of my contributions for the anniversary is to write my parents' personal histories. Neither one of them kept a journal and this past Fall I felt an urgency to record their lives. I started this process in November and I'm so happy to report that next week I'll be sending off their histories to be printed and bound in a book! What a relief! Although this project has been consuming at times, I have to say that I am so grateful for this opportunity. I have been blessed in numerous ways one of which feeling my love and appreciation for my parents grow and deepen. At one point, I honestly felt as if my heart physically changed. I was sitting at the computer and as I wrote and edited, my heart swelled for the two of them. Our many, many conversations will be treasures through the years. We cried on the phone and did a lot of laughing. I learned things about my parents and my grandparents that I never knew. I can't wait to share my parents' book with family members and for my children to read their histories. I have a feeling that my children will be inspired to follow their examples.

There are many ways to record a person's life history. I learned this quickly when I started to research how I would approach this project. Some of the ideas I found online just simply overwhelmed me. So, I decided to take my own approach. If you are interested in taking on such a project, here's what I did.

  • First, you have to get the "logistics" out of the way before you can move onto the more personal stories. Record their name, birth date, where, and parents' names. I also asked my parents why their parents named them what they did. 
  • We then talked about the neighborhood they grew up in. I recorded their childhood home address and what games/activities they participated in with their neighborhood friends. 
  • We talked about their elementary school years. I asked them about what they liked to do (hobbies/interests), what activities they participated in, what the names of their friends were, and what they liked to study. 
  • We also talked about their parents. I asked my parents to describe each of their parents to me. This was a special conversation. I learned things about my grandparents that I never knew.
  • I also asked my parents to share with me about their relationships with their siblings. What did they like to do together? What did they learn from their brothers and sisters?  
  • Another conversation was dedicated to their junior high years. I followed the same questions I asked for their elementary school years. 
  • We then talked about high school and along with the usual questions, I also asked about part time jobs. I learned so much about my parents' wonderful work ethic in this conversation! 
  • Another phone call was dedicated to their college years. My dad told me how at a young age he knew he wanted to be a dentist and worked so hard to prepare for dental school. I then followed up with questions regarding why he felt so strongly to pursue this career. 
  • We talked about their five year courtship and it was fun to hear their two sides. I also recorded how my dad proposed and details of their actual wedding day. 
  • I asked about my dad's service in the Air Force shortly after they were married. My mom told me about substitute teaching during this time and the arrival of their first child. 
  • Our conversations then shifted to their years raising their family. I recorded about their community activity, the many different church callings they held, their personal hobbies, my dad's dental practice, my mom teaching elementary school, and their friends. 
  • My dad is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I of course wrote down his conversion story along with my mom's feelings. I also recorded their temple sealing and the events surrounding this special day. 
  • We touched upon what they've been up to since retiring - moving to a different state, serving a service mission at the Provo MTC, my dad's work in the Provo Temple baptistry, etc. 
  • Finally, I thought it would be fun to end with a list of their likes - what makes them, them. This was a lot of fun. For example, my mom's "likes" include pearls, snowflakes, pussy willows, lady bugs, gardening, strawberry shortcake dessert, etc. I really feel like this list will help us preserve the little things about them that makes them so loved. It will be fun for the grandchildren to relate to them as individuals with loves and hobbies. Forever, when I see a lady bug, I'll think of my mother. 
I took a chronological approach and our conversations tended to address one time period of their lives. I would then type up my notes into descriptive sentences that flowed creating a story of their lives. Periodically, throughout the process, I emailed my parents the working draft for their edits and additions. At the end of the process, I scanned dozens and dozens of photos for the book. I used Shutterfly for the book layout and printing. 

Like I said, this was a HUGE project. However, it is one that will be cherished forever! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fabulous Finds

Here are some of our latest great finds!
Let's break it down: 
1. Large milk bottles with straws and lids, just from the dollar store
(stay tuned to see what we do with these beauties!)
2. I use a planner that will fit in my purse to keep track of our crazy schedule
Found this cute floral planner in the dollar spot at Target! 
Also, love the fact that it is July 2016-June 2016- more of an academic calendar works best for me!
3. Home Sweet Home rug pillow found at Marshalls
Love the red, white and blue.

4. Can't wait to use this metal serving tray
Lovin' the turquoise!

5. The cutest, "Oh, Baby" gift tags in blue and pink from the Target dollar spot.
6. I love the fragrances of these DW Home candles
found these at Marshalls for just $2.99
7. Fun sticky note pads from the Target dollar spot
8. My new favorite lip balm for summer ChapStick Aloha Coconut

9. Can't go without a new pair of flip flops for the summer
Target had these great faux beaded strapped flip flops
10.  Find a summer scented lotion
11. Really cute printed cups at the Target dollar spot
I think my daughter is going to take these to college
12. Polk a dot, chevron and stripe pencils again from the dollar spot

What are some of your fab finds for summer?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Graduation Decor and Printable Banners

We had another graduate this year!
Our first from college!  We're so proud of her!

A few close friends and family came over for an "after party" to celebrate.

I went with turquoise, gold and coral as our colors
and found this cute tassel banner {here},
perfect to hang on the wall.

We made packets of gold confetti 
with our Hip Hip Hooray bag toppers for guests.

This burlap canvas came with the white already painted on it!- score for easy and cuteness.
(found at Hobby Lobby)
I just stenciled on the phrase, 
"She believed she could, so she did"

We decided to go to a local gourmet cupcake shop for our treats.
We got a variety of flavors, red velvet, Oreo, peanut butter, strawberry cheesecake, blueberry lemon.....

The cake toppers were punched out of card stock
and then "congrats" rub on transfer wording applied.
Simply glued a toothpick on the back. 

Of course we had to have a banner!
This is our {Mini Grad Banner}
Just click the link  to print your own copy. 
This printable has all the numbers so you can print the current year!
With the pattern, cut large pennants out of card stock, 
print and cut the small number pennants out of scrapbook paper.  
Glue the small triangles on top of the large.
Sew a thin 1/4" wide ribbon across the top.

Your banner can be just be the year
or you can add the two extra pennants with the name of your grad or the school--
you can edit the pennants!

You can also make our large graduation banner with this link:
All numbers are included so you are ready to make one for your graduation year!

Check out our Grad subway art printables (now without the year and 2017)
for an 8x10 or mini subway for treat bags!

Congrats class of 2017!
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