Friday, January 29, 2010

Menu Board

Ever since my mother in law gave me a new cookbook with delicious recipes in it, I've been so excited trying new recipes. My family agrees that when I plan out meals, we eat better. I haven't done the math but I think you save money too!

I had this magnetic board that needed some personality to go with it. Once again, no before picture, but I promise to do better. Since, my new obession with green, I decided to use the leftover paint.

Does anyone else get stuck on a color so that when you are at the store looking for fabric or paint, you almost inevitably come out with something that has the same color in it, or in my case, green. Green isn't even my favorite color, it's just the color that I see everywhere now!

Ok, back to the menu board.

I painted it black and decided that it needed more excitement, so I used painter's tape and made stripes. I used some black paint to paint on the tape before I did another color. It seals it and makes a crisp line. I didn't do on the first ones because I wanted to do it FAST, but it pays to take the time. I can see a big difference.

Hey, but you can't! Yeah, I could have zoomed in on a picture for you to see my imperfections, but I'm going to let you think I did a perfect job!

On with the lettering. I wish I had a Hobby Lobby in Calfornia. All the things I hear people getting there just makes me jealous! I got these lettering at Jo Ann's. Modge Podged some scrapbook paper for the words "Menu" which just happen to be very close to the design of my curtains in the kitchen.

If you look closely, the "N" is actually a "U" and an "I". I was getting impatient with how long it was taking the store to restock. I gave them a long 3 days! I also bought lettering for the days of the week and once again they were out of stock of the "W", so I just used the "M". I just painted them.

Making the recipe tags, I first gathered all of my cookbooks together and typed up my favorites. I made tags for them, and used contact paper. Lamination is the best, but I'm anti-Kinkos and haven't found an alternative yet. I also put a magnetic strip on the back.

Be sure to include some like these:

Got a box from IKEA and filed them in:

Something that you might not know is that you can use a Vis a Vis marker to write a new recipe on

and use a wipe or cloth to erase it.

Dry erase marker may work, but I think vis a vis' are better. That way, when you are trying a new recipe you can just write it down and if it is a keeper than you can type it up later.

Another thing that I did is that I made a master list so I could see at a glance what I have. I also left blank spaces so I could add new ones that I discovered. I just put in the door of my cupboard.

My oldest loves this board because she doesn't have to ask me everyday what we are eating. It sure makes cooking more fun!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mt. Diablo

Went on an "adventure" to Mt. Diablo. While watching Pippie Longstocking and all of her adventures, "M" told her Dad that she never goes on any adventures. I thought we went on plenty of adventures, but not according to "M". Last year was "Year of Discoveries" where we ventured out to new places. This year, we have dubbed it, "Year of the Adventurer". I'd like to go on more hikes and trails with the fam and the area that we moved to has plenty of them. I'm just getting into the habit of calling our fun outings "adventures".

Mountains in California look like babies compared to ones that we are used to in Utah. Mount Diablo has an elevation of 3,864 but that's nothing compared to Mount Timpanogos' elevation of 11,749 feet.

I found this beautiful moss colored rock. The orange looks great with the green grass don't you think?


Sometimes I think, why do I buy the kids toys when they are perfectly happy with rocks and empty boxes? "X" could spend the day throwing rocks into the lake and feel like it was a day well spent.

And it would all be FREEEEEEEEE!

I like that word.


Here's Mr. Grump. He's been a little grumpy man lately. Love the terrible threes!

Sadly, "M" missed out on this adventure because she was sick, but we had to bring her back something.


Mt. Diablo had tons of snow to play in and so we transported some via car. Just enough for a tiny snowman for "M".


Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM!

"X" loves to tell me what he wants to learn about. The other day it was bugs. Today he said, "I wanna do Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM!" With the "BOOM" being yelled in a good way. Try it. It's fun to yell for fun.


Found this fun counting book that you can do here. I used those print or write circle labels that you can get in the office supply section. I used a brown permanent marker and colored them to make the coconuts.


After coloring the page, "X" put the amount of coconuts in the tree. We extended the activity by placing pennies on the coconuts as we counted.


There are tons of resources and activities online. Here are just a few sites to check out:

Hubbards Cupboard

Making Learning Fun
A to Z Teacher Stuff

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stinkin' Shoes


Yes, you are right. It says, "stinkin'". I don't have a good "before" picture but the box in the back if where you are looking. But, let's go back a little while. I found this beauty in the dumpster a couple years ago. We lived in a giant apartment complex with people moving in and out constantly. The dumpsters, were to say the least, a paradise of hidden treasures. We found so many treasures there. In fact, in the picture above, the table was also a found treasure.


My mother in law, worked on this piece and I worked on the table. We sanded, painted, sanded, used some gel stain, and polyurethane to seal it. Here's what they looked like after. My mother in law rocked!


Here's the table I did.

I don't have a vinyl cutter but had some vinyl laying around and just printed out the font and lettering that I wanted and used an exacto knife and scissors to cut it out.


Now, where in the world did I come up with "stinkin'"? Well, we have made this the kid shoe box and I hear my kids every now and then say, "Ewww, it stinks in here!"

My husband wanted to put a nonsense saying on it. That's what he calls the wooden signs with words or sayings on it. Go here to get the his explanation. Since, we had limited vinyl, I went ahead. Good thing, because if "B" was in charge, he would have put something like "Pimple" or "Yoda" on it.

Anyways, I thought the words, "Stinkin' Shoes" fit perfectly. I wonder if my kids will find the humor in it?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Using Children's Books

Some people you meet during your life leave a lasting impression on you. I used to teach first grade and had a co-worker who was the "Super Teacher". Not only did she do super projects with her kids, she shared them with her teammates. One thing that she did alot of was making books. If she was teaching candy corn math, she would make a little booklet. Teaching the water cycle, another book. She also used Children's Books to pattern children made books after.

Because of this woman's influence, I now make books with my kids. The other day, I read this book to my kids.

I sometimes find it entertaining for me (chuckle, chuckle) to teach about things in the winter; snowmen, mittens, animals migrating, penguins etc. Living in California, we don't really have a winter and my littlest one barely remembers what snow is. I think he has played in it once while visiting family in Utah.

Anyways, I still love teaching these themes even if we don't have any snow to play in or mittens that we wear. Back to my idea.

I read the book and then came up with a book that Xander could make.

The book was about a little girl who lost her mitten and imagines all sorts of places of where her mitten could be.

So I made "X" a book about his lost red mitten.

I love all the places he thought of.

I especially love the last page where he finds his mitten on a whale!

So read one of your favorite books and create a one and only book that your child can make! Thanks to a very special lady for this idea!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Making Silhouettes in Photos

I was reading my creative sis in laws blog (creativity runs through their blood:), and she had made silhouettes of her boys. It reminded me years ago when I taught school, I made silhouettes of all of my students and principal for a bulletin board. I got the lovely projector out and taped my black butcher paper on the wall and had each kid sit super still so I could trace their silhouettes. Not the most time efficient process.

As I was thinking about what my sis in law did to make her silhouettes, I thought, "There's gotta be an easier way than what I used to do." So I set out to see if I could do one with a photograph.

First, I took a picture in front of the door with the light coming in so I could get a backlit picture. Hey, now that I think about it, this is one of the few times I have deliberately wanted a blown out background.


Then, I cropped what I wanted and made the picture black and white.

I played around with the exposure and levels to get it to look like this:


Using Photoshop, I cleaned the picture up using the eraser tool and blur tool to soften the edges after I erased the unwanted background area.


Viola! Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy! Now I can print it out and frame it or use it for whatever craft I want to.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Handmade Fabric Flowers


Ooooooo it is my first post on this blog. I'm so excited because I've been wanting to link to my sis in laws totally awesome blog. I'm hoping this blog will eliminate my urge to have a blog for every interest and simplify things a bit.

I was looking for something I could make for my other sis in law. When I saw this, it screamed at me and told me I must make this for "A". Although, I cannot take credit for this idea, I feel the need to share it with the world. It's so fun and easy. I found this idea from a friend's cousin who is extremely talented.


Go here for the tutorial. She explains how to do it step by step.


Some tips:

*I found that I wanted to make all different sizes. I have 3 little girls that I wanted to make some for too! The smaller sized flowers, I actually found that using tongs was helpful when singeing the small pieces of fabric.

*My favorite synthetic fabric to use was satin. I loved the look. Try all different kinds for a different look.


And then. . .

All the possibilities of where you could use these little lovelys popped into my head. You could really get creative with this. Have fun!