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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Iron Craft Challenge #7: On Trend

The challenge this time around was to do a project based on one of four trends: nautical, floral, geometric, or radiant orchid.  I really like the lines and colors I've seen in geometric projects, so I wanted to mimic that in a couple of felt Christmas ornaments.  Yes, Christmas ornaments.  Why not start early? (late?)
I cut up some scrap pieces of felt into squares, and cut each square into one larger and two smaller triangles.
This is the point where a rotary cutter would have come in handy, but I don't have one, so I just went with sharp scissors and approximate lines.
I used my favorite simple stitch with embroidery floss and sewed them together.
We'll call them imperfect geometric. Is that an oxymoron?  I still like them...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Matthew's Tow Truck Birthday Cake

A few weeks ago, I asked Matthew what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. He said, "A huge huge green tow truck!" He later changed his mind on the color, but stuck with the tow truck.

Pretty much all my real food rules go out the window for cakes, but birthdays only happen once a year, so I'm okay with making a sugary concoction for that special day.  In this case, I actually made both the cake and frosting from scratch, which doesn't always happen, but they're so chock full of sugar that they still don't really count. :)

I baked a standard chocolate cake recipe in two loaf pans.  The first one was the bottom half of the cake, and the second I cut, slightly over halfway, at an angle, for the top part of the truck. I then cut a smaller square from the remaining cake for the back.
 
Since I had some cut pieces, I decided to do a crumb coat of frosting, a step which I should probably do all the time, but I usually skip.  It helped hold everything together, although a few crumbs still wound up showing through.

I made the tow hook sticking out of the back from half a graham cracker, broken in half again, with frosting in between and around the outside.  I shoved it into the square piece on the back, and because the homemade buttercream hardens up nicely in the fridge, it stayed put.  I was very happy about that after last year's fire truck fiasco.
The actual tow line was a piece of a Twizzler's Pull N Peel, a candy I would only ever buy for cake projects.
Mike and Ike's work well for lights, and cookie wheels. I'm pretty sure I used those for the fire truck too.  They're cheap and they work great, so why not?
All in all, this turned out a lot better than I expected it to, especially considering I only had about a half hour to get it done the day before the party.  The kids all thought it was great, and we ended up with just two pieces left over, so it was the perfect amount!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lego Organization Part 2

Jonah has been a fan of Legos for quite awhile now. We had stored each pack in a small container, but he is starting to build his own creations now, and taking pieces from multiple packs meant that they weren't really organized very well.
With that in mind, we decided to organize by color.  I got two 3-drawer organizers from Hobby Lobby (saved 40% on one with a coupon too!) and we got to sorting.  We also reused some of the smaller containers from the previous storage method, so that helped too.
I grabbed some labels from the desk and colored them with the color and stuck them on the drawer. They are already peeling off though, so I think I'll have to redo them with packing tape on top to really get them to stick.
All the little people get their own container (although I'm not sure why the ladder is in there).

And the directions. Right now they are stuffed into a big ziploc bag, but I'm hoping to get a big binder and some page protectors to slide them in, so that Jonah can find what he needs when he wants one, but they won't get destroyed otherwise.
I'm pretty happy with this method, although Jonah is still working on being able to find all the pieces he needs when he does actually want to build something specific to the directions.  But I know some of that will come with age too.  How do you organize the Legos at your house?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Goals And Blog Break Announcement

Last month was Catching Up Month here on the blog.  But. I still feel behind.  I have an even longer to do list than before. And I'm tired.  Lately I have been feeling like I have too much on my plate. Maybe it's because it's Lent, naturally a busier time of year for a pastor's family.  Maybe it's because I give myself too many projects.  Regardless, it's time for a break. 

So, after a few more posts this week, I'm taking the rest of April off from blogging.

I really love this blog, even though I don't have many followers that I know of.  It's fun for me to write here, to keep track of things, to share ideas and projects.  But right now, it's too much. So I'm stepping back.

With that out of the way, here are my goals for April:

Blog (later this week!):
  • Post about Lego Organizing.
  • Post about Matthew's Tow Truck Birthday Cake.
Home:
  • Finish my photo projects now that my computer is (mostly) back on track.  This includes the 2013 family photo book and replacing pictures in frames in the living room.
  • Go through Money Saving Mom's 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home series for some spring cleaning (1 project each day M-F for 4 weeks). 
Parenting:
  • Attempt potty training (again) with Matthew.
  • Work on transitioning Hannah out of her mid-day bottle into more table foods.
Beyond all that, if I get more done, I will consider it a blessing. I hope to get back to blogging in May, refreshed and ready to share all sorts of good things. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Goals Update

My goal for March was to catch up on a lot of stuff.  I did fairly well, although I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to.  What is a goals list if not a chance to aim high, though?

I was also planning to do a few things this past week, and then my computer screen died.  I had just saved everything to our external hard drive the day before, so it was not a data loss, but the fun of setting up a new computer (transferring files, setting up printers, downloading software, and so on and so on) takes awhile, and I'm not quite done with all that, so my picture projects got put on the back burner in favor of getting that set up.

Parenting:
  • Teach Jonah and Matthew v.1 of "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna" (Hymn 279). Done! They are ready to sing this in church in a couple weeks.
  • Switch Hannah's clothes to 12-18 months. Done! I also organized the rest of the baby clothes so that it's easier to see what we have.
Food:

  • Make another food off of my Intimidating Foods list. I thought about making tortillas, but we ended up having enough store-bought ones that I didn't.
  • Decrease my sugar intake. I can track this through My Fitness Pal, so I'm going to figure out my average for the past few months and work on lowering it. I figured out my average, and tracked it with the data from My Fitness Pal and an excel sheet (up until my computer died). In the day-to-day, I was doing pretty well, but those days I splurged and had Starbucks or Ben & Jerry's really upped the average, so I just need to limit those and I should be fine.
 Personal:

Crafts/Home:

  • Add Hannah and Micah to the birthday board.  She's 9 months and he's 6 months. Nope.
  • Work on 2013 Family photo book through Shutterfly. I picked pictures and got as far as uploading them before my computer died. So I still have to finish making the book.
  • Order photos and redo picture frames with updated pictures. I made a list of pictures I need to find but I haven't ordered them yet. I did redeem My Coke Rewards points for 100 free pictures from Shutterfly, so I'll be able to order those at the same time as the photo book when I do finish it.
  • Order photos for Hannah's baby book and update a few things in there. Same as above, I made a list of what I need but I haven't ordered them yet.
  • Finish magazine holder from Iron Craft Challenge #2 in January.  I spent more time on other projects so this still isn't done. And my magazine pile is getting bigger again. Sigh.
If I Get Ambitious:

  • Go through the bins of smaller baby clothes, purge (again!), and add dividers to split each size into "boy", "girl" and "gender neutral". Done!
  • Mend several pairs of pants. Not done, and I think we actually added two more pairs to the pile. What is with little boys and holes in pant kness?
  • Copy printed recipes onto note cards and reorganize my recipe binder. Not done.
  • Go through my Pinterest boards and delete links I'm no longer interested in keeping. Not done.
Overall, I think I did okay.  I didn't quite get everything done, but it was a long list, so I'm not surprised.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Menu Plan April 1-15

It's time for another menu plan! Two weeks goes fast...I did a freezer inventory and realized we have 15 individual soup portions in there, so we will be having soup and sandwich lunches quite often this time around.  Saving that one or two portions of leftovers really adds up! I am trying to use up a lot of what is in the freezer so we can start filling it back up with new stuff.

Tuesday, April 1
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Soups and Sandwiches
Dinner: Mexi Beans, Rice, Lettuce, Tomatoes and Avocado

Wednesday, April 2
Breakfast: Eggs & Toast
Lunch: Chicken and Black Bean Salads
Dinner: Lent Dinner at Church - I'm bringing Ramen Noodle Salad

Thursday, April 3
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Chicken and Black Bean Salads
Dinner: Lasagna, Garlic Bread

Friday, April 4
Breakfast: Eggs with Veggies (Mushrooms, Onions, Peppers), Toast
Lunch: Black Bean Burgers, Side Salad
Dinner: Lasagna, Garlic Bread

Saturday, April 5
Breakfast: Chocolate Banana Muffins
Lunch: Soups and Sandwiches
Dinner: Sloppy Joes, Carrot Fries

Sunday, April 6
Breakfast: Chocolate Banana Muffins
Lunch: Soups and Sandwiches
Dinner: Chicken, Poblano Sweet Potatoes

Monday, April 7
Breakfast: Eggs and Leftover Sweet Potatoes
Lunch: BLTs
Dinner: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Tuesday, April 8
Breakfast: Yogurt, Granola, Fruit
Lunch: Chicken and Mushroom Salads
Dinner: Leftover Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Wednesday, April 9
Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
Lunch: Baked Potatoes with Ham, Broccoli and Cheese
Dinner: Lent Dinner at Church - I'm bringing Pumpkin Chicken Chili

Thursday, April 10
Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
Lunch: Soups and Sandwiches
Dinner: Grill Out - Hot Dogs and Brats, Sweet Potato Fries

Friday, April 11
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Leftover Hot Dogs and Brats
Dinner: Sausage, Tomato, and Spinach Pasta

Saturday, April 12
Breakfast: Whole Wheat Chocolate Pancakes
Lunch: Chicken and Black Bean Salads
Dinner: Pizza with Sausage, Mushrooms, and Olives

Sunday, April 13
Breakfast: Whole Wheat Chocolate Pancakes
Lunch: Chicken and Black Bean Salads
Dinner: Veggie Spaghetti

Monday, April 14
Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti
Dinner: Fish, Broccoli

Tuesday, April 15
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Soups and Sandwiches
Dinner: Egg and Cheese on English Muffin Bread (from the freezer)

I'm linking up to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.