Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Receipt organizer

I absolutely despise little pieces of paper piling up on my desk, kitchen counter, and kitchen table. I have tried many things to keep them contained, but nothing has worked yet. A lot of times these are necessary papers like receipts and coupons that I need to keep. I recently came across a tutorial for a VERY simple solution. This envelope organizer pictured below will hopefully save my sanity! Basically you lick (or take off the paper like I did) to moisten the sticky stuff and stick it onto the back of the one above it. Make sense? If you are like me and need a little bit more explanation than that because your afraid to do something wrong even on something as simple as this, then click on the link to go to the tutorial. I like mine even better though because the envelopes are straight across so you can not see what is in them at all.


Snickerdoodle Chex Mix

We made this very tasty snack today that we found on the back of the Cinnamon Chex box. I also found it on the Chex website.

Snickerdoodle Chex Mix
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups Chocolate Chex cereal
4 cups popped popcorn
1/4 cup butter or margarine

1. In small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon; set aside. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals and popcorn.
2. In 1-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated.
3. Microwave uncovered on High 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture evenly over cereal mixture; stir. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture; stir. Microwave 1 minute longer. Spread on waxed paper or paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

I couldn't find the Chocolate Chex so I used Chocolate Cheerios. This is a really yummy snack and I keep grabbing handfuls from the counter....I think it's cool enough now to store away so I don't keep eating it! I just have to keep telling myself it's for the kids!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dinner Tonight

For dinner tonight we had an easy and tasty meal. I just thought I would share because we love both of these things and make them often. And I haven't posted a recipe in a while.  We had Lemon Garlic Chicken and Herb-baked potatoes.

Lemon Garlic Chicken
1/2 cup of olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons (I used the bottled lemon juice)
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (Again, I used the kind from the jar)
Lawry's Seasoned salt

Place chicken in a large marinating dish. In a small bowl mix together lemon and olive oil, then pour over chicken. Lightly sprinkle each piece of chicken with the seasoned salt (both sides) and use a fork to poke holes in the meat so that the flavors can really penetrate. Sprinkle garlic over the marinating chicken.

The original recipe grills the chicken, but I did mine over the stove in a frying pan and they turned out really juicy. I've also marinated it for 30 minutes one time and a couple of hours another time. I always forget to put stuff in the marinade until it's time to make dinner, but obviously the longer you marinade the stronger the flavor.

Herb-baked potatoes
4 medium potatoes (I have also used the small red potatoes)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2-1 tsp. dried herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes and cut into cubes. Place olive oil in large baking sheet, add potatoes and turn over until all sides are well oiled. Sprinkle with herbs. Bake for 20 min. until potatoes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

I actually don't measure anything for this recipe, I just do how many potatoes I need and adapt the oil and herbs to that.

(No Tot School post this week. We had visitors over and we just did a lot of shopping. I'm preparing for this week though!)


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tot School

Tot School
M&M is currently 42 months old & Bubba is 13 months old

We finished up our snow/winter theme this week because I didn't get everything done last week that I wanted to do. We've never made homemade playdough before, but I've been wanting to do it for a while. I'm hoping this year to make it once a month to go along with holidays/seasons. We made "snow dough" this month. I got the recipe from Funny Days with Mommy and Maddie. We added glitter as well, but we added a touch of almond extract instead of vanilla to make it smell good. I got this idea and the idea to use cookie cutter letters to make the word snow from Counting Coconuts. M&M had fun using buttons, beans, ribbon, fake jewels, pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks to decorate her snowman. She made a baby and daddy one. 

I planned on doing the letter A this week, but didn't get all of the things done that I wanted to again. After a year of blogging about these activities with M&M I've figured out that it's okay if I don't get everything done. I don't have to do something just to blog about it. Maybe we'll get to it this week, maybe not. But either way that's okay.

Anyway, what we did do was an activity with animals. We went on a stuffed animal safari. This idea came from Mom's Marbles. (Can't find the exact post.) We started out by making these binoculars out of toilet paper tubes and wrapping them in construction paper. While M&M was decorating it with stickers I took some of her stuffed animals and placed them around the house. When I told her that she needed to hide in my room while the animals came out and hid, her eyes got so big and she said, "We're just pretending, right?" M&M LOVED this activity! We took turns "hiding" the animals and then finding them. She got a real, but really inexpensive, digital camera for Christmas and she had to take pictures of every single animal. (The elephant is hiding in my, new to me, sewing machine that I just got. I'm so excited to start to use it!)

Another activity that we did involved the alphabet. I saw this on The Activity Mom. I wrote each letter of the alphabet, upper and lowercase, on a paper towel tube. Then M&M would match them by putting the stickers onto the written letter. I just realized that The Activity Mom and I used the same stickers, haha.

I was trying to do some activities with Bubba so I gave M&M a jar of 15 bean soup and told her to
sort the beans. I wanted to just give her a small bowl of them, but she insisted on having the whole jar. Well, this didn't last very long. I'll try it again some other time, some other way.

I introduced Bubba to the sensory tub after seeing it on the early one-year-old page on the Productive Parenting website. He really enjoyed sticking his hands into the beans and putting them back and forth between the jar and the plastic container. Once he did this for a fair amount of time. I stopped him when he started throwing them around the room, though. That was enough fun with the beans for one day.Then I gave him a bag of pom poms to take out of the bag and touch....and then throw. He also helped daddy do the dishes by putting the clean dishes daddy just put away in the cupboard back into the the dishwasher. Then he helped close the dishwasher when daddy was done....well almost. (I realize that beans are a choking hazard for one-year-olds, that is why I was next to him every second, watching his every move.)


Monday, January 11, 2010

This is my year!

At the beginning of this year I have the same things on my list that I want to do better at that I have had the past 3 years. The difference is I have a plan this year instead of just saying this is what I want to do.

One, I still have about 10 pounds of baby weight that I would like to lose. My baby is now 1 so I think I've procrastinated long enough. My goal though is not necessarily to lose weight, but to live a healthier life. I've gotten away all of my life eating whatever I want whenever I want without the ill effects of gaining weight. That is now different after having two kids. I am not fond of vegetables, but there are some pretty healthy ones that I will eat, problem is I just don't make myself do it. I like fruit, but don't eat enough of it. I like carbs. Bread, pasta, cake, cookies, etc. Not so good for the losing weight side of things. I'm not going to do anything drastic like go on a no-carb diet, but rather just eating the right things and doing portion control for the other things. I will go through a whole day sometimes and realize I've only eaten cereal and a sandwich because I'm so busy getting my kids breakfast and lunch among everything else that needs to get done during the day. Then at dinnertime I binge, eating until I am stuffed. Then eating something again before I go to bed so I can go to sleep without feeling like I'm starving. That is all going to change this year.

This past week I've made a conscious effort to eat fruits and veggies. I also made myself sit down with my kids to eat lunch instead of trying to get stuff done while they are occupied eating. After a small healthy lunch I got a small glimpse of how much energy I could have during the day because I wasn't dragging by late afternoon before my husband gets home.  (BTW I hate the last hour before my hubby gets home, it drags on forever! Does anyone else ever feel that way?)  

Two, exercise. Obviously this goes along with eating healthy. I'm not one to go to the gym to workout. I almost feel like I have to get in shape before I go workout at the gym so I feel like I fit in and don't pass out in front of everybody. I've found my solution for this as well. Wii Active. This "game" is your personal trainer and has preset workouts with the option of making your own custom workouts. I've never been athletic or into sports or anything so I don't know how to exercise. This tells me what to do and how many reps I should be doing it. And I can do it in the comfort of my own home where my only audience is a 3 1/2 year old who looks even sillier than me doing the exercises. M&M likes to watch and sometimes participate in what I am doing. I also like this because if she sees me exercising everyday she will know that it is an important part of our lives. Caution: Do not do this around children who do not know how to keep out of your way! I thought it was great when both of my kids would just watch me workout so I didn't have to worry about what time of day to workout. There was an incident and I could have seriously hurt my little boy. Don't ask, I already feel like a horrible mother.

Third, coming closer to Christ. I never got into the habit of reading my scriptures everyday growing up, thinking that I could make it a habit later in life when I'm older and have a family of my own. Ha! Little did I know as a teenager that I would be busier now than I was then. As soon as I put Bubba down for his nap the first thing I do is read my scriptures and/or an article in the the Ensign. M&M will sit with me and look at pictures in the Friend  or another magazine. This has been especially good because she will ask questions about what is happening in the pictures and that will lead to more questions because she is a 3 year old and that's what they do. I end up spending a lot of my time telling her stories about the gospel. It's been a special time for us as I realize she's getting older and eager to learn all she can. As I come closer to Christ I know that it will help me be better in all other areas of my life, whether it be being a mother, wife, Young Women leader, friend, etc.

Every once in a while I will post updates for my own sake.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tot School -Snow

Tot School
 M&M is currently 42 months old

It's good to be back doing Tot School again. I took a 3 month break because I was getting overwhelmed. We also had a lot of things going on during October, November and December so I decided to just do holiday crafts and such.

Anyway to ease ourselves back into doing Tot School again we just did some winter crafts this week.

Our first craft was a snowflake made out of white paper lunch bags. When I saw this idea here I really liked it because it was 3D. They are really big though. I love making things to hang on our light fixture over our kitchen table because that's where we spend most of our time.

We made the button snowflakes that I've seen all over blogworld. The one that inspired me the most was the Funny Days with Mommy and Maddie blog. I don't mind doing something that many others have done especially if it's easy, fun and I already have all of the supplies for it. M&M really liked putting the buttons on in whatever order her heart desired.

I saw this really cute idea on the Frugal Family Fun blog. They put wax paper on their feet to "ice skate" around the house! I knew this was something we had to try. M&M did not want to do it on the carpet though. She insisted on doing it on the tile floor. She would purposefully slide and fall on her behind.

Another craft we did involved paint and tongue depressors. I originally saw this idea in the Oriental Trading Company catalog where they sell kits with all the supplies. I wasn't about to pay for a kit when I already had all of the supplies at home. To make it I taped together 6 tongue depressors, turned it over and had M&M paint it black and white. I drew a line and told her the top needed to be black and the bottom half white. She tried really hard to keep the paint on the right side of the line, but of course some carried over. It doesn't matter though because she then painted one more tongue depressor black and we glued it on over the line. We glued googly eyes on and then used a round sponge brush to paint the mouth on. I drew a carrot shape for the nose and she painted it orange. I try really hard not to do things for her when it comes to crafts because I am such a perfectionist. I resisted the urge to make her put the mouth further down and round it more.

 I didn't get to all of the things I wanted to so we might do some more next week. I have a plan to continue with the letter of the week until we get through the rest of the alphabet.

Side note: Bubba (12 months old) decided to do his own activity. He took this bag of crackers out of the box. Then took the crackers out of the bag and put them in the box. He was at this for a little bit just rearranging the crackers from the bag to the box to the floor and back again. He likes rearranging things, but his favorite thing to do right now is walk and try to keep up with M&M. Now that Bubba is able to do more stuff it has me thinking about what I can do with him Tot school-wise. I'm not there yet, but I'm just gathering some ideas.  I did find this great site, Productive, with activities for each age group and there are a ton of ideas!



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pencil and notebook holder

During my little blogging break I made two colored pencil and notebook holders for my nieces. My sister provided this adorable material and she was happy to hand the sewing part over to someone else. With (A LOT) of help from my mom and her amazing sewing machine, we put these together. It really didn't take too long to do. I used the instructions found here, but added a few things like handles and a stitch at the bottom so the pencils wouldn't go down too far. I have some material to make one for M&M, I'm just waiting on a sewing machine. My mom is sending her old one down to me and I'm really excited to have one in my home so I can go and sew whenever I feel like it! When I make one for M&M there are a couple of things I would change from the instructions like putting the ribbon to close it more in the middle and making the pocket inside not as tall.



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