Archive | September 2012

DIY Yearbooks

This time of year has me thinking about football games, marching bands, and field trips…and all the other great school adventures that go into a yearbook. That is something my kids are “missing” being home schooled – no yearbook. We have photo books to chronicle our favorite vacations and for various sports teams the kids have been a part of over the years. So why not create a yearbook for your family? We make a photo-review for our Christmas cards of the highlights of our year (and yes, I am already putting that together). But those get mailed out. Sure I keep the file on the computer, but that isn’t something the kids can look through and remember. So beginning this year (and possibly going back through previous years) I am putting together a family yearbook. It will include pictures from our favorite vacations and outings, holiday celebrations, birthdays, and those priceless silly moments captured on film. We use Shutterfly for our family website and to create all our photo books, but there are many great options out there. These are simple books that the kids can look at without fear of damaging my hard work scrapbooking (and those fancy scrapbooks ended when Middle Child turned 2. All the stuff from the last 6 years is in a box with the notes of what I want to do with scrapbooks. I will get to putting it all together when I’m not so busy living life.). They love to look over the books of our vacations. I hope the kids will love our family yearbooks just as much!

Kitchen Quick Tip: Most Used Recipes

We all have a few recipes that we use regularly. What a pain (not to mention potential mess) to have to go to the computer or have the computer in the kitchen with us to prepare our favorite items. Instead of keeping those most-used recipes on the computer or in a recipe box, put them on the inside of the cabinet door where you prepare the food. At our house the recipe for Whole Wheat Pancakes, baguette bread, pizza dough, and our favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are kept on the kitchen spice cabinet, which is where most of the ingredients for these recipes can be found.

TIP: If you don’t want to hand-write or tape things to your cabinets, or if you are worried about the recipes getting messy, print out your most-used recipes and put them in durable binder sheet protectors. Use 3M Command Adhesive to secure the sheet protectors to the cabinet door without the fear of damage.

Saturday Project: Car Seat Protector

Anyone with kids knows how messy car seats can get. Especially as we approach the holiday travel season, a car seat protector is a must. Bubbly Nature Creations has a great tutorial for making a cover to protect your seats from all the “love” the kids bring to the car.

TIP: This would make a great baby shower or Christmas gift for someone expecting or for older kids. You could get really fancy and embroider or iron-on a kid’s name to make it a great personalized gift for your own kids or for nieces/nephews etc. What kid doesn’t love a gift personalized with their name on it?

Week of 9/24 Menus

Breakfast Menu:
M: Eggs
T: French Toast
W: Chocolate Chip Muffins
Th: Egg Breakfast Wraps – eggs, bacon, cheese wrapped in a tortilla shell
F: Blueberry Muffins
S: Whole Wheat Pancakes
S: Snickerdoodle Muffins
Dinner Menu:
M: Chicken, Broccoli, Mushrooms over rice 
T: Meatball Subs, veggie sticks
W: Hot dogs, veggie sticks
Th: Pizza, salad
F: Nebraska Beef Buns, peas
S: Panini, veggie sticks
S: Alfredo pasta, salad

Talk Like A Pirate Day Celebrations (9/19)

September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day (yes, there is actually a day for this)! At our house, these strange holidays and observances make for a lot of fun. Why not make your own pirate flag or work on math skills with gold coins from a treasure chest. Here are some great crafts and foods to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Coloring Pages, Crafts & Printables

Easy Pirate Crafts from So Crafty

Pirate Crafts & Printables from Craft Jr.

Pirate Crafts from A to Z Kids Stuff

Pirate Sandwiches & Snacks

Pirate themed pasta dinner

Pirate snacks from Recipe Hut

Christmas Planning: Money

It is the middle of September, so around my house that means it is time to start planning for Christmas. If you haven’t been saving for Christmas purchases now is the time to start. We set aside a certain amount each paycheck to go toward Christmas purchases, so that when the time to start buying rolls around we aren’t surprised by the expense. But if you have not been doing that now is the time to start saving in earnest.

Set a budget. Include items like new household decorations, neighbor/teacher/gift-swap gifts, wrapping expense and costs of hosting or attending parties and other Christmas outings. Figure out your total amount needed and then start saving. Don’t go into debt for Christmas. Pay cash!

Once you have your total budget set and savings started, get detailed. Assign an amount to each person you will buy for and the other categories, and stick to that amount. If you want to give more to someone (your kids for example) get creative. Make gifts for others (lots more on this in coming weeks!), buy good condition used toys so that you can get more for the kids, or sell items you have but don’t use to raise cash for your Christmas purchases. But stick to the budget. You are not helping your kids or teaching them anything good by giving them everything they want (but don’t need) and by going into debt for Christmas purchases.

Do you have a great way to save money for Christmas? Share your thoughts in the comments or Submit Your Tip!