Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Will Craft For..an excuse to stay inside. (Linky #5)

Here in Texas we are having the worst drought in history and it's been in the 100's for weeks. Yesterday, we fried an egg on the sidewalk. The neighbors dog ate it before we could snap the picture.

Due to a stinky housing market, we still also own a home in Maryland, which suffered an earthquake, a hurricane, and now flooding (I think it's OK, since I haven't heard from the renters otherwise). I think we should all just stay inside and be crafty.

Last week the most viewed link was this free printable from Hyphon Interiors. That's not surprising, since I think it's hysterical.

So please link up whatever wonderful things that you've been working on. I promise to visit everyone.  Party on!

Storage #2

I was relieved to learn from all the comments from my fabric storage boxes, I am not the only "Piler" out there.  I was thrilled to find these lime green crates at Wal-Mart for $3.47-so I bought 7 of them. (Last Friday, when I went back they were all on clearance for $2).  I  added hanging files to three of them to keep track of various files of mine.  The other 4, I'm simply going to use to hold more of my piles. 

I typed up some labels, and then double-mounted them on both patterned and black card stock.  Then I busted out my daughter's laminater (she actually asked for one for her last b-day-how cool is she?).  The I cut out 2 inch strips of fabric, punched holes, and tied a label on each basket.  Ton of very cute storage for very little money.

I'm still working on the craft room, so stay tuned for the big reveal.

I'm Linking up Here.

Lego Birthday Party Idea Round-up

My baby is having a b-day and can't decide between a Lego Party and/or a Star Wars party (ideas here).  We may combine them. 

 Since I haven't had an original idea since 1996, I've been scouring  the Internet to see what others have come up with. ( I'll share my Star Wars finds tomorrow) There are some really clever moms out there.

I haven't had much luck w/ cake pops (here's my fail), but I may try these marshmallow pops.
Lego Marshmallow Pops
I really like this party from Delia Creates.  My favorite things about this party were the plates (plain square plates that she drew faces on) and the cool table runner.  It looks like the green LEGO base boards, but it's really just bubble wrap spray painted green.  Genius!

My biggest concern with the Lego party is what would have the kids do.  Delia suggests "I spy the Lego Guy" and "Lego, Lego, whose got the Lego".

I also love this Lego toss by Homemaking Fun.

Tip Junkie is always a goldmine and you can find the 20 Best Lego Birthday Ideas and Eight Lego Birthday Parties

The Coolest Ever Invitation was done by Allison Waken

Here's a link to lots of Lego Party Ideas from birthdayparty.com. There are no pictures, but lots of ideas.

The Lego Font can be found http://www.typenow.net/themed.htm (#268)

For Little Lego Lovers, Crumbs and Chaos hosted a fabulous Duplo Party for her son.

While we on the subject, I can't decide if this is super cool/ or super disturbing. Thoughts?

If you have any other great ideas, pretty, please share them and link them up below (I'm leaving the linky party up forever-and this post still gets tons of pageviews every day so it's a little free publicity for you).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Star Wars Party Idea Round Up

I'm still planning away. Here's a bunch of fun Star Wars B-day ideas (Here are my Lego ideas).  My husband suggested that it would be much easier just offer my son a $100 and not have any party. Where would be the fun (and stress) in that?
I think I could even pull off this cupcake cake. (http://www.makeandtakes.com/star-wars-birthday-party-ideas)
Here's a tutorial on how to make these cupcakes (I wonder what the chances are that I could pull them off) http://dabbled.org/2010/06/how-to-make-clone-trooper-cupcakes.html

This idea just totally cracked me up.

How cute is this shirt? http://www.bringingupburns.com/2011/06/wyatts-star-wars-party.html Do you think I'm too old for a shirt?

Or if I can't still find pool noodles, we can make some out of balloons and TP rolls (http://zakkalife.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-make-lightsaber.html
Also check out Tip Junkie:   http://www.tipjunkie.com/star-wars-birthday-party-ideas/ and http://www.tipjunkie.com/star-wars-online/.
If you've got any more fabulous ideas from a Galaxy far away, please share. Pretty please either leave me a comment or link up below (It will stay up forever).  May the Force be with you.

I'm linking up this idea round-up at these parties here.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Avoiding Dishonesty: YW Manual 3 Lesson #

No one likes being the victim of dishonesty. Over the past few months, I have been dealing with the effects of dishonesty trying to get my AC repaired (if you are curious, you can read about the drama here). It has been beyond frustrating and in the long run will be very expensive. I will ask the girls to share examples of when they have been treated dishonestly and asked them how they felt. However horrible these situations are, no one suffers the ill effects of dishonesty more than the person who is dishonest. A lack of integrity will separate us spiritually from our Heavenly Father.

My favorite quote on the subject is by Karl G. Maeser:
"I have been asked what I mean by 'word of honor.' I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls--walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground--there is a possibility that in some way or another I may escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of the circle? No. Never! I'd die first!"

I chose this quote for my handout. At first I was going to make it cutesy and add a brick or rock wall, but the more I thought about it, I like it simple. I used purple chalk, because purple is the color of the value integrity. I also wanted to use mostly white and black. We no longer live in a world where right and wrong are seen as black and white, but as varying shades of grey. This can be very dangerous to our spiritual salvation. When trying to decide what is right or wrong, I love Elder Marvin J. Ashton’s advice:

 Simply ask yourself: “ ‘Is it right? Is it true?’ not ‘Is it expedient, satisfactory, convenient, or profitable?’ ” Then follow your honest answer. (In Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 13; or Ensign, May 1982, p. 11.)

Good luck with your lessons.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Need a Good Book?

Between hanging out at football practice and having my husband gone, I've spent a lot of time reading lately.  These are some of the best books I've read recently and I would recommend all of them. I put links to all of them if you'd like more information on any of them. (the margins are weird, sorry- I tried)

1. The Girl in the Blue Dress-This is an amazing piece of historical fiction and would be great for book club (I may need to write an entire post about it). It tells the story of the marriage of Charles Dickens. He was so confident in his own morale superiority that he threw out his wife of 15 years and replaced her with actress that was younger than his own daughter-guilt free.  Even after 10 years in exile from her own children, she still wouldn't speak ill of him. She even donated all of their love letters to the Museum of London so that the world would know that he loved her once.  It isn't a happy book, but I couldn't put it down.

2. Bella at Midnight-A re-telling of Cinderella,  enjoyed equally by both my daughter and I.

3. The Iron King Series-Another series of paranormal teen romances.  Instead of vampires and werewolves, the main character finds herself in the land of Midsummer's Night Dream.  They are the types of books that you are embarrassed to read in public, but can't put down.  I thought it was only a trilogy, (and I am more than ready for everyone to live happily ever after and for it to be over), but I guess there's another one coming out next fall.  Parent Advisory: The beginning of the first book is a fairly realistic  interpretation of modern high school, complete with crude comments and foul language. It is less offensive once they enter the "Nevernever" but there's still some bad language.  Being a teenage romance book, there is lots of intense longing and they actually "become one" in the 3rd book (not on anyone's wedding night either). However,  the encounter it isn't described in graphic detail.

4. The Frog Princess-Disney VERY loosely based their movie on this book.  However, the book is more of a fairy tale and takes place in a land long ago and in land faraway instead of New Orleans.  They're quick fun reads and I think would be a great choice for young girls-or not so young girls.

5. The Penderwicks-This is a charming series.  It has the feel of books from gentler times, and I was surprised when one of the characters actually had a pager.

6. The Year of Wonders-  It is exactly about as happy as you'd expect a book about the bubonic plague to be. Don't get attached to any characters, because they will probably die  a few pages after they are introduced.  I think the title is misleading; The Year of Death would have been more appropriate.  That being said, I still couldn't put it down and it would also be perfect for book clubs.  I enjoy reading historical fiction and enjoy even more that I live in 2011.

7. Live Wire-I like to take Harlan Coben books on long plane rides. They are a bit gritty, but are all page turners and sure help pass the time. If you like a god crime drama, then you'lll enjoy any of Coben's books.

8. The Adoration of Jenna Fox-This was actually required summer reading for my daughter, but I enjoyed the book way more than her (mostly b/c I didn't have to do a project about it).  It combines a little sci-fi with some mystery to explore the issue of medical ethics.  Fascinating.

Need some more book ideas?  Here are some of my other book posts here. Check out my friends' Alicia's  and my friend Kammy's blogs too.

Linking up here.

Read anything good lately?  I've got months and months of football practices left and need suggestions. Better yet, link up your book related posts here and this week's linky party!

Oreo Dessert

My husband spent the better of the month in the jungles of Suriname on a humanitarian mission with the military (yes I am married to a super hero). I asked him if there was anything special he'd like to eat when he return.  He asked for Diet Coke w/ Lime, BBQ chicken pizza, and Oreo Dessert.  It's something that my Mom has been making for years (I think it originally came from my Aunt Peggy) and is his absolute favorite.  If you want to make some for the superheroes at your house, here's the recipe:
30 Oreos
1/4 cup butter
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (slightly soft)
Fudge sauce
Cool Whip or Whipped cream

Remove the cream (optional) and crush the Oreos.  We leave them kinda chunky.  Mix with butter and spread on the bottom of a 9X13.  Top w/ ice cream. Top with fudge sauce.  You can use the store bought kind or use this recipe (just make sure it's not too hot or it will melt all your ice cream.  Return to freezer till firm.  Top with the whipped topping of your choice. Enjoy!

1/4 cup melted butter
1 square unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine butter and chocolate until melted.  Gradually add ev. milk.  Add vanilla. 

Linking up here.
More foody fun found here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Linky #4: Will Craft for....COMMENTS

Week #4 was the best party yet. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your fabulousness with me.  There was a tie for the most viewed link. First were these very cool Batman shirts from Boy, Oh Boy! Oh Boy!

Second, were these fun clear bean bags from Lines Across my Face.

My kiddos started school this week and my house is deathly quiet. With all my new found time and quiet, I want to browse all your fabulous blogs. So link up your latest and greatest projects, rants, reviews, fails, etc. As a good host, I promise to visit each one and leave a really profound comment at each. Happy Linking!

PS:  I've got to plan a baby boy shower and a Lego Star Wars Party-anyone got any ideas for those?

Monday, August 22, 2011

My quest to become more tech-savy

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Techlicious for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am not one of those people who live on the cutting edge of technology.  I don’t own and Ipod, we didn’t a DVR until last year, and both my mother and my daughter have way cooler cell phones than I do.  So it made me question a little why I was asked to blog about a new technology website, Techlicious.

Curious, I checked out Techlicious (love that name) and was pleasantly surprised.  It was founded by consumer tech guru, Suzanne Kantra and has lots of information that even  I can use.  I started by searching. “why is my computer so slow” and found this http://www.techlicious.com/how-to/fix-a-slow-running-computer/

Techlicious also features buying guides for products like cameras, smartphones, navigation systems, etc.  It also has articles about how to protect your privacy and your kids from the dangers of the internet.  It even has practical tips like “How to clean your flat screen”.

It is quick and easy and FREE to sign up.  As a bonus for signing up, subscribers are currently eligible to enter the OpenSky giveaway. Two lucky winners will receive a $500 and $250 OpenSky credit respectively. Giveaway ends August 23, 2011. Go to Techlicious.com for details and official rules.

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I have a confession:  I am a piler.  In every room of my house, there is at least one pile of junk that I don't I don't feel like dealing with.  My craft room sometimes has so many piles that you can not even see the floor.  This was fine for the old craft room, but now that it's getting it's make-over I need somewhere pretty to put all my piles.  I was inspired by this at Positively Splendid.  I used an assortment of different size boxes.  I also wrapped my boxes a little differently.
First: I centered the box on my fabric, making sure the fabric was large enough to cover all 4 sides.
Second:  I cut from the corner of the fabric to the corner of the boxes.
Third (I forgot to take a picture), I folded the points to the middle and brought the sides of the fabric up.  I used hot glue to secure in place.

I based my liners on this tutorial here from Make it and Love it. Although I may not be very smart, and couldn't figure it out at first.  I'm adding a few pics that may help you.
Step one: cut out a piece for your main piece and for the two ends.
Step two: Sew the ends to the main piece/

 Step three: Sew up the sides (sew A to side A, B to side B etc.)
Step 4:  Make a narrow hem.
 Step 5: Put liner on bin. 
Step 6: Attach a tag (tutorial here)
Step 7: Admire your work

I steal have lots of piles-they are just hiding in pretty bins.

So know you all know what I've been up to.  What have you been up to?  I'd love for you to share at this week's linky party (click here to play along).  Thanks for stopping by.

More storage ideas here.
I'm linking up at these fabulous places.
Tip Junkie handmade projectsVisit thecsiproject.com

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to have the coolest backpack in school

I am not one of lucky people that live w/ in reasonable driving distance of a Down East.  However, this summer on our Mother-of-all-road trips, I had the pleasure.  They sell monogrammed pottery barn back packs for $9.99 ($8.99 w/ my military discount).  My daughter loved it, despite the fact that here initials are not LMT.  The saleslady said you can pick out the stitching, which we did, but we could still see the outline. (I bought my son a red one, that looked perfect after removing the monogram).  I was making luggage tags for some storage boxes, and thought it would be a perfect way to hide it.
First, I cut up an old frozen pizza box into a 3 1/2 by 2 1/2 rectangles.  Then I cut out the inside of one of them.  Then I cut fabric rectangles, slightly larger.
Then I folded, ironed, and used Tacky Glue to  cover the cardboard w/ the fabric.

Then I stitched (close to the edged) along the inside rectangle and the top edge of the rectangle.

Then I placed the rectangles together and stitched along each side and along the bottom ( I left the top open so we could insert stuff later).
Optional:  Cut out some rectangles out of page protectors.

 She busted out some stamps and made herself a little tag. Adorable?
 So if you happen to see a really good deal on a backpack for someone named Giovanni, Melvin, or Florence, have no fear, just make a cute little tag to put over it. It is so much easier than changing your kid's names.

Click here for more of my awesome tips.

They are talking about me at CraftGossip.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

Road trip tips

Update:  The kids and I just got back from driving over 2400 mile road trip and it made me think about this post that I wrote last summer.  I think that I will add-"do not get rear-ended 18 hours away from home".  The car is ugly, but it still drives and we made it home safely.

If you haven't already, you can read about our "Mother of All Roadtrips" here.  I wouldn't go so far to say that everything was perfect, but here's some tips that helped (I'm sure now that school is starting and everyone is done traveling this will be really helpful):


I'm not sure what it says about our parenting skills, but I'm not beyond bribery-it's just how I roll.  At certain times during long car trips, I tell the kids that they can earn $1 for every hour that they don't complain.  If they whine or complain, their time starts over.  They can then use this money for souvenirs.  This works really well, I don't have to listen to whining and they do not beg for stuff at every gift shop and gas station we stop at. They are a little more choosey when spending their own money.  Each kid earned about $15 over the 2 weeks and it was a $45 well spent.

In addition to our favorites, I tried to buy fun new snacks that no one had ever tried before.  The international aisle at the grocery store is a gold mine for weird snacks. Let's face it, we eat on roadtrips to relieve boredom not hunger.  The weirder the  stuff and the funkier it tasted the more fun it was.  Before we left, I divided all the snacks up into brown grocery bags and labeled them 1-4 and sealed them shut.  Each morning, someone got to pick a bag.  It made it a little more fun. 

Most National Parks have the Junior Ranger program.  I LOVE THIS PROGRAM! We work on the booklets together and it helps us learn so much about the place we are visiting.  When the kids complete the booklet, they are sworn in and given a badge or patch (free everywhere but Zion's).

Penny Smasher:
My daughter started collecting these a few years ago.  They're fun, small and a pretty great memento for 0.51$  My boys always buy some junk that is lost or broken, before we ever get home, but my daughter keeps her pennies in a little folder and she'll hold on to them and remember the trip for years to come.

These are my best friends. Since you can return a movie to any location, regardless of where you rented it,  I let the kid's pick a few up and then we just return them a couple hours down the road.

We print out a blank map before we go.  Each time we see a license plate we color in that state on the map. I think we got 47 states this trip. Before our next trip, we may also print out maps of Mexico and Canada since we saw a lot of those too
We also keep track of animals.  This trip we saw:
24 deer
1 owl
4 Javelinas
6 elk
1 mule deer
11 road kill

Books on tape:
Before big trips, I always go to the library and get a few audio books. 

Somehow roadtrips are less boring, if you don't know where you are going.  The day before, I pack everyone's stuff up in laundry baskets.  Since overflowing laundry baskets are not a rare site around my house this does not raise suspicion.  After the kids go to bed, we pack up the car.  Early the next morning, we wake everyone up and tell them we are going on an adventure and they have to guess where.  Sometimes, I've even give them each little gifts to unwrap every hour or so as hints.  We've done this several times, but the most fun was when we surprised them with Disney World.
So there you have it.  How do you survive long trips?

Linking up here