Wednesday, July 18, 2012

3 toddler activities.

**even though many of these activities are common knowledge to most mommies everywhere, i like to think of this blog as a scrapbook of memories, so i'm posting about them anyway :-)**

emery has officially reached that stage where a basic toy just doesn't cut it. she's always preferred to play by herself and do her own thing, but last week a switch was flipped. now she wants to interact, to be challenged, for her toys to engage her and make her think. my thoughts on this?

i'm in mommy heaven.

i've been waiting and waiting (since before she was born) for the day she would be excited about planned activities. my 5 years at the preschool were not in vain - they will now be poured into my little  girl as fast as she can take it.

because my time at the preschool was with *ahem* preschoolers, i'm still figuring out this toddler thing - what she's capable of, what she's interested in, and what's gonna go right over her head. so, for our first planned playtime, i started simple...

creative idea #22: outdoor water painting.
idea sparked by:


she loved playing with the ice and stirring it around with her brushes! obviously, this didn't keep her occupied for long {not much does these days} but we took it inside and played with the ice cubes on the floor in the kitchen and that kept her occupied for a little longer. she loved it! :-)

creative idea #23: box of stars.
idea sparked by:

i stabbed holes in the
box with closed scissors

just poke mini lights in
the holes and plug it in!

we had a blast reading, playing with toys, touching the stars, and playing peek-a-boo out of a hole cut from the side of the box. 

creative idea #24: playdough. {i shouldn't be calling this a creative idea.}
idea sparked by: ...basic common knowledge that playdough is awesome. 


i made myself a playdough bracelet and little emery got the giggles when i made it smaller and put it on her :-) i love having a girly girl!

love and sweet memories,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

psych party.

this is the number 1 post that makes me sad about my lack of photography skills. i love this party with my whole heart, but the pictures i took do not make it look like the dreamy, wish-you-were-here party that professional photographers capture. 

oh well. 

a friend from church is a psych enthusiast, who married her equal. naturally, a psych-themed wedding shower was born. this was by far my favorite shower to do - my "homework" involved watching as many psych episodes as i could to get ideas and get the exact quotes i needed! 

because there were a lot of people coming that had never seen the show before, i didn't want them to be totally out of the loop, so i made sure EVERY.SINGLE.DETAIL. had a printed quote to "explain" the method behind this seemingly random decor.

side note: the budget was only $60 so i had to be super frugal with what i got and resourceful with what i had. 

oh, and ps - sry about the weird layout, i wanted the pics extra large for this post so you could read the quotes, but for some reason all the pics are centered weird...{i'm probably the only one that notices...}

creative idea #21: psych party.
idea sparked by: um...psych. all ideas are actually original this time around, except for the framed quotes about gus. those came from an etsy shop, but the link is broken now.


for the drink table, i used butcher paper from Michaels, markers, army men from the dollar store, embroidery hoop from hobby lobby, and yellow post its from my friend to create the air hockey table/battle scene reenactment.
i picked up cups from starbucks to serve coffee in.

we just had water and coffee, but looking back, there should have been pineapple punch too...

this was the backdrop to the drinks table, to cover up a white board in the youth room of our church.
with shawn and gus being the food enthusiasts that they are, i was pretty pumped about the food table.  i asked a few people who had already offered to bring food if they wouldn't mind making specific things to go with the theme. the awesome ladies were happy to do it!
most of the food table...
i sprinkled the table with plastic gold coins. i would have gotten the chocolate coins to fit the quote better, but i ran out of money and already had these on hand from my preschool days. the plastic coins can be found at hobby lobby, and the chocolate coins can be found at party city.

i splurged on my favorite detail - see the giant wedding ring at
 the base of the bouquet?? $10 half price for 4 of them at hobby lobby. 
"and this is my partner," frames from michaels.

"Gus, don"t be..."
all 3 of these napkin patterns are from hobby lobby - 

2nd favorite detail of the party - i went to the preschool i used to work at and dicut the exact numbers for pi. favorite.banner.ever.

you can't host a psych party with out offering cinnamon pie. good gracious, it was yummy. the pie expert that made it though mentioned it should be baked a little longer than the recipe calls for. recipe can be found here. you are so welcome.
i have never loved the Dietzel family more than when they made these amazing mini pineapple upside down cakes. judging by the fact that they were pretty much gone by the end of the party {i think 2 people split the last one}, i'd say they were way better than the ones shawn made. {it could maybe be due to the fact that the Deitzel's used a real oven.} here's the recipe. oh and bonus points for life for my friend that let me borrow her prized possession easy bake oven.

please don't laugh at me. i tried to free hand the leaf...

this just took 2 pieces of poster board and some safety pins.


i should have brought an iron... 
another lady from church let me borrow her flag, and a friend copied the font from the american duos episode onto construction paper to help me make this backdrop. i especially love it because it's a bridal shower...american duos...get it?

in hindsight, i should have hot glued the cards to the yarn, and had less gaps. i don't like that you can see the yarn...
you can't forget a pineapple...and what better decoration than the actual show?? 
we also had water here

with a small selection of fake mustaches from hobby lobby

they look just like lassie...
lassie as a  baby...

so there you have it, my favorite shower ever.

love and fake psychics,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

recipe organization.

a few years ago i was in dire need of help. my recipes were ALL OVER THE PLACE. i had some of them in misc piles, in binders, on the computer, in magazines, etc., etc. i hunted high and low for organization ideas. i'd seen lots of different methods, but i needed something that worked with my train of thought not someone else's {every body works differently, so should their organization. i needed something that fit me}. 

i finally came up with a game plan that merged several different ideas i've seen over the years and i've never looked back. it works perfectly for me! not gonna lie, it took sometime, but i did it all in 3 phases, which helped to break up the daunting task.

in a nut shell, i created folders to hold all the recipes i've saved that sound yummy, but i've never tried. i also created a family cookbook, full of recipes that we've tried and loved! no more going to multiple places to find recipes or sifting through things i haven't made mixed with things i have. the best part about this though is that it's STAYED ORGANIZED! it's so easy to temporarily store something i don't have time to specifically file, keeping things decluttered until i have the time to put it right where it goes. hope this helps you think of a method that works for you!

creative idea #20: recipe organization.
idea sparked by: sadly, i don't remember where all the bits and pieces of the idea came from. it's been awhile.

PHASE 1: recipes you HAVEN'T tried {loose pages}.

  • folders. {# depends on how many categories you chose.}
  • magazine holder.
  • address labels.
  • sharpie.
  • loose leaf recipes.
  • gather all the recipes you own, that you've NEVER made before. tear them out of magazines, print them off your computer.
  • determine how you want to sort them and begin separating them into piles. i chose:
      • breakfast.
      • drinks.
      • condiments.
      • snacks, apps, and sides. {these 3 things overlap in my opinion, so i combined them.}
      • entrees.
      • salads.
      • bread.
      • dessert.
      • food facts. {i keep misc info here like how to substitute oil for butter.}
  • place each pile of paper into a different folder. 
{i put all the small pages on one
side and the full sized pages
on the other so they're easier
to find.}
  • use an address label and sharpie to label each folder.
  • place all folders into magazine holder. through out the week, as i find recipes i like, i stick them in the magazine holder. whenever i have the time, i sit down with the stack of unsorted recipes and put them all away.
{i chose a different design
for each folder so i can
remember which design is
which category and grab
what i need quickly
rather than pull out each
folder to find the "entree"
one, or whatever.}
  • give yourself a high five.
PHASE 2: recipes you HAVE tried {loose pages}.

  • a binder. i went with a 2 inch one.
  • page dividers.
  • 3 hole punch.
  • printer paper.
  • tape.
  • loose leaf recipes.
  • gather all the recipes you own that you HAVE made before. tear them out of magazines, print them off your computer.
  • insert labels into page divider tabs that are the same as the categories you chose in phase 1.
{i need to redo my tabs.
i never finished them.}
{i also added tabs for things like:
  • Grocery List - i keep notebook paper behind this tab so i can make my list easily. 
  • Try Soon - for recipes i can't fit in this week but that i don't want to forget that it sounded so good! i check here first when i'm meal planning.
  • Seasonal Produce - I'm trying to get better about shopping what's in season, but i can't meal plan around it if i can never remember what's fresh! i printed off a list for all 4 seasons. }
  • BONUS STEP: add subcategories. i only did this in the entree section with the following subtitles:
      • crockpot.
      • sandwiches.
      • ethnic.
      • grill.
  • 3 hole punch all your recipes and place in the corresponding section of your binder.
  • any recipes that were small on a large piece of paper, i cut out. i taped these, along with other small recipes, to computer paper and hole punched them. i wanted this to be as uniform as possible! i didn't want all my pages to be different sizes.
  • give your self a round of applause.
PHASE 3: recipes you HAVE tried {cookbooks}.

  • notebook paper. {1 per category in your binder - including subsections}
  • pencil.
  • all your cookbooks.
  • at the top of each page, write a different category name.
  • go through every stinkin' cookbook you own. if you made it and you would eat it again, write it down on the corresponding piece of notebook paper with the name of the cookbook and page number.
  • when you are FINALLY finished, insert each page at the beginning of each corresponding section of your binder.
  • whenever i made a recipe we loved but don't have the time to hole punch it and put it in the right section (sounds silly, but it happens...), i just stick it in the front pocket and get to it when i can!
  • treat yourself to a nap.
how does this work?
  1. anytime you make a new meal from your folders either throw it away if you didn't like it, or insert it into your binder if you would make it again.
  2. you have now created your own personal cookbook. a giant go-to for all your favorite recipes. no need to shuffle through recipes you don't really like to find something to make for company, you have tried and true recipes at your finger tips!
misc. tip:

take notes on all the recipes you keep. i like to write down: 
    • if it would be great for company.
    • what i would change next time i make it.
    • if it would freeze well.
    • if it would be a good meal to take to someone.
    • what would go well with it.
    • who we made it for if we had company over that night. it's fun to go through the binder and remember all the fun times we've had at the dinner table. :-)
love and organized recipes,

ps - i'm working on rearranging my pinterest food boards to line up with these categories also, and to only include recipes i haven't tried. i'll delete any i have, to remove visual clutter and keep the concept the same as my folders/magazine holder. i'm all about uniformity.