Disney World Prep

Our family will be going to a family reunion at Walt Disney World in Florida, this spring. So, of course I over prepare. I have a binder, read and printed lots of info, checked out just about every guidebook the library had and have started planning crafts to make for the trip.
One of the things I look forward to is taking photos. So, I scoured the web for photo ideas and lists. This is a list of photo ops I put together and it could even be used as a photo scavenger hunt. I have one for each of the parks at WDW, and one extra just for fun miscellaneous stuff. They are 4x6 for easy printing and carrying with you to the parks.
We are also going to spend one day at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure (my kids love Harry Potter and Jurassic Park). So there is a Universal IOA photo hunt list as well.


Butterfly Birthday Party

My 5 year old had her first 'friend' birthday party last month. She decided she wanted a butterfly theme. So, I made a chocolate cake with frosting flowers and white chocolate butterflies. We colored butterfly (and dragonfly) pictures while waiting for everyone to arrive. Then we made butterflies out of coffee filters, played pin the butterfly on the flower, danced around to pretty classical music, and played duck duck goose. The party was in the middle of the day, so there was butterfly themed lunch food. We had butterfly shaped sandwiches, butterfly shaped crackers and pretzels (pepperidge farm), and lots of yummy fruit. Then we opened presents and played until parents arrived to pick up their kids. It was lots of fun. But, I'm glad birthdays are done in our house until spring.


Halloween 2013

In the autumn the weather turns cold, the leaves change color and fall, and then comes Halloween. This year we used freezer paper stencils to decorate trick-or-treating bags. The spider was a pumpkin carving template, the web/spider were free clip art, and the 'I want candy' was a copy of something I saw on Pinterest. I used the font Hobo STD, and then found some candy clip art.

As for costumes, all were homemade this year. A Mummy, Captain Kirk (I dyed the shirt and painted the collar black), Princess Jasmine (from an old simplicity pattern), and a dragon (another simplicity pattern).


Testing, testing...1 2 3

I have had the privilege of testing some pdf patterns for the designer at Sewing Geek Patterns. They are super cute, easy to follow, and quick to sew up. Definitely something you should check out.

Here are some Comfy Shorts for my youngest, in an 18 month size

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Here is the Olive Dress for my 4 year old



And recently the Comfy Shorts pattern was updated for larger sizes. Here it is on my 7 year old

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Shark Attack!

It's teacher appreciation time again. My kids' school does a staff breakfast each year to thank the teachers. This year they did an underwater theme. So, I made this watermelon shark. He really made a splash!

Also for teacher appreciation, the K-Kids group that my oldest is part of (it's a children's division of Kiwanis) do 'secret pals'. The kids each choose a teacher or staff member (chosen randomly from a hat) and give a small thank you gift at least once a week for the month of May. At the appreciation breakfast the staff gets to find out who their secret pal is, and usually give a gift in return. This year we made a basket full of sunshine, filled with lots of yellow items (candy, pen, chips, juice, candle...), a bag of mint things (with a cute saying about how their involve-'mint' has 'mint' a lot to me), some homemade cookies (for making her one smart cookie), and a notepad and notecards (for a note-worthy teacher). She had such fun helping to put the gifts together and giving them to her teacher.
We also gave a gift to her regular teacher, as well as my son's teacher. It was various types of popcorn and tootsie pops, in a popcorn bowl from the dollar store, with a card that said "For a POP-ular teacher". I love doing gifts for others.


Valentine's Deployment Package

Since it is now after Valentine's Day, and he already got his package, here is what I sent my husband for the day of love <3 .="" p="">

There are 2 packages of Nutella To Go, 4 chocolate cakes-in-a-jar, Twizzler bites, lifesaver gummies, Blow Pop minis, Mike and Ikes, Hot Tamales, chocolate and white chocolate dipped pretzels with valentine sprinkles, conversation hearts, valentines PEZ, Lofthouse heart cookies,  chocolate m&m cookies and plain m&m cookies (in pringles cans for protection). Pretty much everything non-melty from the valentine candy aisle. My husband said everything arrived safely, except some of the pretzels broke. Now he'll go into a sugar coma from eating it all.


Once a Month Cooking

Have you ever done Once-a-Month cooking? The idea is that you do all your dinner cooking/prepping in one day and freeze it all. Then you have ready-to-go meals the rest of the month. It saves time and money, and it's healthier than store-bought freezer meals. I've decided to give it a try. During winter I do a lot of crock pot cooking anyway.

I'm kind of a picky eater (thankfully my kids aren't), and can't always find recipes we will all like. Over on Pinterest I have pinned a bunch of crock-pot and freezer meal sites and recipes. I sifted through them and found 24 recipes that I wanted to do, including ones I do already. 2 of the recipes even made double, so at the end of the day I had 26 meals ready to go.

On Friday, with only 2 of my kids shopping with me, I bought what I needed. And on Saturday I prepped and cooked. I spent about 2 hours prepping/cooking and $180 on ingredients (thank you Winco). I got freezer bags and pans at our local dollar store, and labeled them with masking tape and a sharpie. The labels have the recipe name and cooking instructions.

Here is what I made (recipes linked):
For crockpot
Honey Sesame Chicken
Curry (mine)…no link yet

For Oven
Cheese Lasagna (basic)…no link
Baked Macaroni & Cheese (mine)…no link yet

And a bonus link! There are a few recipes in here that call for a 'cream of --' soup. Instead of using a canned soup, I used this recipe, and will add water at the time of cooking.

Cream of "something" soup recipe