Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Garden Challenge for teaching the tots!

As part of our Tot Time learning over the next few months we are going to be doing some gardening so what better thing to do than to take part in this Garden Challenge from The Homeschool Village!  The link ups happen once a month, the first one is obviously today!

Here's a couple of pictures of our current Gardening adventure. 

First, last fall the boys and I planted some bulbs after my husband (with help ha!) pulled out one of our big bushes.  We've been watching those bulbs start to push up through the soil.  I will say they are looking a little sad - they popped up when we had a few days that pushed 70 degrees but than we've had freezing temps again so we'll see if they survive

Second, I we have a box full of things to plant soon!!  The ground is still a little frozen and there are rumors of snow so we are waiting a little longer to plant!

Third, we do have plans to plant a small container style garden later this spring once the frosty temps really do stop dipping so low!!
We are getting ready to start our new month of learning and will be focusing on a few things - 1) Easter and 2) Spring. I have lots of resources that I've been pulling together but haven't finished my April calendar yet - plan on doing that this weekend!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving . . . that it seems like spring might almost be in the air.  I'm still hearing about the possibility of snow in the coming weeks but I also have flowers starting to pop up through the dirt too!

I'm loving . . . that my husband was home on Monday :-)  He isn't home very often so the rare days he does get to be home all day is a true treat!

I'm loving . . .  that we finally hung up Nate's one year photo college - the best part is that it is hung where our clock used to be so every time I look for the clock . . I see Nate ha!!

I'm loving . . . that I've had some time to scrapbook this week. 

I'm loving . . . that Josh has officially nick-named Nate . . ."Eat" :-)  I do believe the name will stick for a long time!

I'm loving . . . that my husband fixed my computer, got rid of the virus it had, and figured out how to restore everything I thought I had lost.  He's the best.

So, what are YOU loving this week? 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Project at a Time and The Two Week Spring Cleaning Challenge

One of my favorite sites is A Bowl Full of Lemons - Toni is the one that does the weekly organizational challenges that I participate in each week.  She is now also hosting a weekly link-up called

The link party is open each week from Tuesday-Tuesday and you can link up as the projects you are working on or have completed.  I think this is just one more way to get inspiration!  I don't know if I'll link up every week but I know I'll be linking up as I have stuff to do!  Projects are things I'm working on tons right now  - what better way to stay motivated than to share them with others!

There is another site that I started following recently called Ask Anna.  She gives inexpensive tips and ideas for organizing.  She is hosting a 2 week spring cleaning event that I've decided to join up with - more because I feel like I don't have time to get to deep cleaning the way I want and this might help jump start all of that, hopefully!! 

I've linked up with her for this and will be linking up for each "challenge" (hopefully) with hopes of winning the prize at the end!!  There is still time to join up if you would like and you can click here to get to a post that will also take you to the original post of explanation and to her post about what supplies you will need.  I've add the couple of items that I need to my shopping list for Friday. 

I told my husband recently that I feel like our house stinks - and why wouldn't it? Three kids in diapers in the house all day, windows closed, puke on the floor, crushed up cookies around in the corners . . I think it is time to really, really clean!! 

So - here's to Projects getting done and Clean smelling houses!!

Too Cute Not to Toot!

As always, lots of ideas I would like to make so I use these posts for two things - one to share the ideas I find with all of you and two, to save the ideas to make in the future.

One of my 40x40 goals is to make an apron.  I really like this one from A girl and a glue gun
I also saw this cute apron idea from While he was napping using placemats. I actually joined a giveaway on her blog to try and win one but if not, I guess maybe I'll have to try and make one instead. 
We just had a couple of baby showers at church so I'll tuck this idea away for the next one but this punch idea from Tidy Mom is so cute!
Just another hang up gives a really cute idea for making these adorable chicks to use for heating/cooling pads.

I love home decorating ideas (Not that I have room anywhere for new ideas but . . .well, I'm ready for some new things sometimes too!) Thrifty and Chic made this awesome mirror using PVC pipe.  How creative!!

I love this spring subway art from Today's Fabulous Finds
This baby blanket is so adorable - just one more sewing project on my list - this one is from Laura Thoughts.

This is a really cute craft idea for kids - a great spring break project or something for VBS too.  Check out the idea over at Mostly Food and Crafts
Enjoy Life and Love gives an easy tutorial for making a baby tag toy.

I've seen (and posted) about making the car mats before but this is a first for a race track.  This idea is from Chocolate Drool and Kisses (don't you love that name?) - I love that it can be rolled up and stored away for future use!
I just love this idea that is shared at Handprint and Footprint art - I had seen this idea last fall on one post and  couldn't find it again.  They show their version on this site and also give credit back to where they also saw it first :-)

She's Kinda Crafty shows a really adorable Easter Egg project.  It's a good thing Hobby Lobby is 45 minutes away or I might have to do a craft run . . .. maybe this weekend.  :-)
Here's another great necklace idea that I would love to make one of these days.  The idea comes from Hazel and Honeysuckle but I have seen it on other blogs as well.

This button art starting popping up a few months ago and I really like it alot.  This one for Easter is really adorable from Auntie Lolo Crafts shows one done in all pink buttons but I also saw one done in various pastels that also looked adorable.
Baseball is just around the corner and Sassy Sites shares a great idea for a treat bag for kids t-ball teams or it would also make a great Father's Day gift just by adding some tickets in the mix as well!
Just what I need, another idea for a project but when I saw this idea over at Miss Madisons Charmed Life it got me thinking.  My dining room table belonged to my parents who had it for years . .. we've had it for 9 years - it's a practical table but, sure, it could use a face lift.  This is just one idea, I've also seen one done in stripes that would be cute.  Some how I think this will be on the very bottom of my list though :-)
I'm feeling a little uncrafty lately.  I'm trying to work on some other projects going on here at home - the kitchen, the bathroom, getting ready to paint the house, and trying to get scrapbooking caught up  - and really had to let crafts go for now.  BUT I'm saving this ideas for the future and they are going to fit into my theme for next year (nope, not giving any clues!) once I'm done "simplifying" things this year!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Alphabet Date Idea

I wanted to share this great date idea that my husband and I did awhile ago.  I find many date ideas on other blogs that I follow so I felt it was only right to share! 

There is actually two parts to this date - the first part is something on going and the other idea is something you could do just one time and make it a theme for the night.

The first idea is to eat your way through the Alphabet.  It really isn't as bad as it sounds but instead, each time you go out, chose a restaurant that begins with the letter of the alphabet - beginning with A and working through to Z.  When we did this, it was tons of fun.  We tried restaurants we had never heard of - some were good and some were bad LOL  We only made it to letter J and life got in the way.  Sadly, now we go out so rarely, that we tend to go to our favorites :-)  When we did this, we took turns picking and would surprise the other one on date night.

On the very first date for letter A - Darryl got creative.  First, we went out to eat at Chinese Restaurant which we will never eat at again ;-)  After that, we went to the mall and had 30 minutes to wander the mall and find something for the other person that started with the letter A for $10.00 or less.  (you could go to Target or the Dollar Store even and have a lower budget).  I picked out the movie Airplane for him and he picked out a book called Attic Treasures for me.

We  met back at Panera bread for Coffee/hot chocolate and give each other our gifts.  We  headed home and watched his move.  It was so much fun. 

I also just read this "Dollar" date idea over at The Dating Divas which actually made me think of "our" date to share with you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happenings in this House

This week was busy.  Monday, Darryl was home after being gone for most of the weekend in training.  Tuesday I was gone all day scrapbooking and, thrown in was the fact that my computer picked up a lovely little virus from something I tried to open (I'm avoiding all 4shared documents for now!!) that took Darryl from Friday evening until Saturday evening to get taken care of for me!  Thankfully he fixed everything and I didn't lose anything.  So I didn't get a lot of pictures this week but one night, the boys had some fun with a laundry basket.  It became a "hiding place" and while one was inside it, the others would push toys through the holes.  The one on the inside would push them back out as quickly as they were pushing them in and everyone was laughing.  And yes, all three boys took a turn in the basket - even the biggest kid of all :-)

I hope you had a great week too!!

Weekly Challenge Week 9 - Purge!!

This week, Toni over at A Bowl Full of Lemons is challenging us all to PURGE!  I think everyone starts to get into that spring cleaning mode this time of year and wants to get everything out of their houses!! 
She makes a fantastic point --

Clutter = Stress

When you have clutter laying around everywhere, it adds stress to your daily life.  The stress of where to put stuff; of finding homes for everything; of keeping everything rolling when you can't find what you need.  Sometimes we think we need the "stuff" but, do you even know what you have??  Here's a prime example.  Last year, I was cleaning things out; I took a piece of "art" off the wall that we had made on our honeymoon (it was our name).  When I took it down, I found a huge moth nest behind it for one but, than I mentioned to my husband that I took it down.  His response? We had something hanging above the door?  To make it worse, when I described it . . .he had no idea what it was I was talking about!  That proved to me that we don't need all of the stuff we had because we didn't even know what we had!!! 

How do you deal with all of that clutter?  This is the system I used last year when I went through every single room, closet, box, cupboard, corner of my house and cleaned out more stuff than I even knew I had. 

Remember - the clutter did not happen over night and it won't be cleaned out overnight either!

How do Delcutter
Supplies: Gather your supplies.  I would suggest three large Rubbermaid totes, garbage bags, either a label maker or a marker and labels (you may want packing tape to make sure the labels stick well!)
Time: Set aside time each day or each week to work on this project.  Even 15 minutes a day will knock the clutter out!
Location: Decide where you want to start and only work in that area until it is complete.  Don't get distracted!!

Take the three tubs and label them
1) Items to keep or stay in the room
2) Items to store
3) Items to donate/giveaway
4) And have that trash bag ready for everything else!

I'll give you a few examples of areas I cleaned out - I think it is easier than trying to lay out a general plan.
Our Study (which we no longer have due to kids LOL) - At one point, our study had gotten so full that there was no room to move.  I took my tubs and placed them in the living room.  Next,  I took items out one by one and placed them in the bins.  I was brutal.  The room is small and there wasn't much space for things outside of true office supplies.  In true "decluttering" fashion, you really shouldn't store things but there are things I really love yet I don't have room for them now.  Instead of getting rid of them, I did choose to box a few items up for the future.  Once I had completely emptied the room, right down to emptying out all of the drawers in the desks, I took out the multiple trash bags, boxed up the stuff to go to Goodwill and loaded it in the car.  Than, I took the box of things to go back in the room and made sure each item had a home.  If it didn't fit, it either had to be donated, thrown away or stored.  How long did this take me?  Only about 2-3 hours total. 
Here's one more example.  My basement had become over run with "stored" stuff.  I set up my tubs/trashbag and got to work.  This time I labeled the tubs by category for storage - such as "Home decor", "Educational items", and "holidays".  I than went through each and every bin that was in the basement and cleaned stuff out and organized it all by category.  While putting things away, I made a pretty detailed list of every item in a bin and than numbered that bin accordingly.  I now have a list of bins and their contents in my Home Management Journal.  If I need something (and I have needed to find things) this makes it very easy to locate everything.  Plus now, my basement is well organized.  How long did this project take?  I would say about 5-6 hours spread over the course of a few weekends. 

I live in a pretty small house so keeping clutter at bay is a daily (sometimes hourly) project - my dining room table is my "Hot Spot" - it is where everything gathers, it seems. How do I conquer this?  Every Friday and Sunday I do something called a "wrong room rescue".  I take time to purposefully walk into each room and look around for anything that is out of place or that doesn't belong in the room and put it away.  By doing this on Friday, we start the weekend "clean"; I do it again on Sunday because weekends tend to bring a lot of clutter out that isn't usually around like diaper bags and such.  I'm also constantly looking for ways to organize and containerize things where we use them without making my home look like the Container Store :-)  My other "weapon" is my husband - he doesn't like clutter.  Actually, he more than doesn't like it - it bothers him a lot.  Periodically I asked him to look around a room and point out things he thinks we don't need anymore.  It surprises me what he points out sometimes, really.  I'm grateful for his opinion though - I usually end up getting rid of half of what he suggests and than save the rest for next time ;-) 

So, what are you going to purge this week?  I am amazed by the number of people who have garage sales every spring . . I mean, really? I had one last fall and won't do it for a very, very, very long time again LOL

If you are cleaning out clutter this week, feel free to link up with me over at

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Creative Memories Spotlight - Memory Keepers Club

I gave you a little teaser last week but now for the "big reveal"!  Ok, it isn't that big, but it is a way to earn some free product!!

The Memory Keepers Club is something that has been around Creative Memories for awhile - I started really getting into scrapbooking about 10 years ago and it was around back than so it has been a LONG time ha!  Back than, one of the great things about the club was that there were usually some exclusive things that you could get that weren't for sale in the catalog.  About a year or so ago, Creative Memories pulled the program in order to make upgrades and changes.  As of yet, they have not come out with the "latest and greatest" customer appreciation idea but are encouraging consultants (that's me!) to come up with their own creative ideas to offer their customers.  So . . .drumroll please . .. allow me to introduce you to my version of the . . .
Memory Keepers Club

What is it? A way to earn free product.  
How do I do this? Anytime you order either directly from me or online (I get a notification so you don't even have to contact me!) you earn points.  One point for every dollar spent (merchandise total not including shipping and tax) - it adds up quickly!
How much do I have to earn? Once you have earned 250 points, you will be able to chose from a select list of items.  This list will change periodically so don't worry about running out of things to pick from! 
Who keeps track? I will do my best to keep track of your points but, I will also send you a card that looks like this (either in the mail or via e-mail - your preference).  That way, you can trust me or you can track for yourself! :-)
How do I get my reward? Once you reach that 250 point level, I will notify you and all you have to do is let me know what item you choose.  I will than order it and have it mailed right to you (or I'll deliver it if you are local!)

So there is very little, if any, work for you other than to start shopping to earn your points!! 

Current Items for Memory Keepers

Option 1:
Ebony 12x12 Coverset
 A standard coverset

Option 2:
Any 12 x 12 Power Palette Simple Set

Option 3:
Puzzle Maker
Any Shape maker

Option 4:
Any of the page planner idea kits

Option 5:
The Daisy Project Tote

Option 6:
Cottage Garden Content Collection CD for PC
Choose from a large selection of digital download CD's
*The majority of CD's are included, but there are a few that are not included please feel free to ask for clarification

Option 7

A $15.00 gift certificate credit to toward whatever you wish in the catalog!!!

Lots of options, right??  I hope you enjoy this as much as I do :-)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Simple Stroganoff

Simple Stroganoff
I promise it tastes better than this picture looks!

This is a family favorite in our house.  My sister-in-law, Lynnette gave me this recipe years and years ago and I am so thankful because it is easy, inexpensive and so yummy!!

Simple Stroganoff
Lynnette McMaster
1 pound ground beef
¼ cup chopped onion
Dash of garlic salt, salt and pepper
¼ cup milk
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 can cream of celery soup

Brown meat with onion and garlic salt; drain.  Blend soup and milk; add to meat mixture and heat well.  Reduce heat and add rest of ingredients.  Serve with noodles or rice

In our house - we love this over those extra wide egg noodles :-)


Today I am linking up over at:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

April Tot Ideas

I'm doing better this month with planning ahead for our Tot Time.  I'm actually getting things prepared a week in advance (instead of a day late!) It is a very good feeling!!

To start preparing for April, though, I've already started searching for ideas.  Not only do I hope this post helps some of you with young kids, it also helps me keep things all in one place!  So enjoy these ideas :-)

Crafts by Amanda gives a video tutorial on how to make these adorable lambs . They are great for Easter but also would great for other Bible Story lessons or Vacation Bible School
And what's a holiday without a handprint?  This cute idea is also from Crafts by Amanda

Oopsey-Daisy has put together a "Z is for Zoo" packet.  She always does such a fabulous job with so many great ideas!

I never used the Resurrection eggs when I taught - the younger grades always used them - but now with little kids of my own I really love the concept.  Dukes and Duchessess gives this easy less on how to make them along with a printable with the meanings and scripture.

Mydeliciousambiguity gives a bunch of activities to do with Easter Eggs.
She also gives a Song and Fingerplay book
She also has a linky party called "The Idea Box" that is open for a month and this month's link is Easter/Spring ideas so keep checking back to see more ideas at the party.

Domesticgoddesque gives some really cute ideas for Easter crafts - one uses paint and bubble wrap.

Handprint and Footprint Art shows a cute calendar craft to do with, what else? Footprints.
2 Teaching Mommies has created a Flower unit that you can get for a donation of $2.00.  The donation is being used to help them raise funds to go to a blog conference.  There are many sites that do units like this and sell them for between $2.00-$3.00 so I feel it is a fair price - the fact that it is a donation is just another way to give.
Itsy Bitsy Learners also has a unit for sale for $3.50 that is focused on Pirates. (Not sure how this fits into spring but I liked it so it's going on this page LOL)
I'm still digging for some more spring ideas - I think because Easter isn't until the end of April there hasn't been quite as much popping up yet.  That's ok - there are so many great ideas out there, I know I can fill up our calendar!  Come back next week for more ideas (because I know I'll find them!) as well as a link to our calendar as well. 

Happy planning :-)