Thursday, June 16, 2011

How To Store All Those Cool Ideas

Have you heard of Pinterest? It is soooo great! It is a place where you can store all the great ideas (recipes, crafts, decorating, gifts, etc) that you find online, and categorize them and make them easy to find! You can also see what others are "pinning" and "repin" their stuff too! I love it, and has really freed up all my saved internet pages and "starred" google reader stuff.

For example, here is a link to my "crafts I want to try" page -

I also have categories for recipes, pretty to look at, kids crafts, cool ideas, etc. It is a great way to keep all those ideas in one place! I highly recommend it! You have to get on a waiting list for an account, but it is usually about 48-72 hours. Go here to get started,!

That's what works for me, click here for more Works for Me ideas!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Get Your Day Started Right

I am back on WW. And I am actually following the program, so that's always good. ;) The hardest thing for me was breakfast. I was having a light yogurt every morning, and while it was low it points, it also made me hungry by 10am.

At my WW meeting, someone mentioned oatmeal. Now I have NEVER been a hot cereal type of gal. My grandmothers both had cream of wheat every morning and I thought it tasted like paste. I put all hot cereals in that category. But I was desperate, so I figured i had nothing to lose. I went straight to the top and got steel cut oatmeal. Not instant- the kind you have to cook nearly an hour.

But man, does it work! I eat some of these, and I am full for the whole morning. I can't believe it. They are really tasty too! I make a full batch and night, and then divide it into 4-6 containers. Then I just heat it up at work in the morning for 1 minute in the microwave, add a tiny bit of chopped walnuts and craisins, and I am good to go!

I use McCann's Irish Oatmeal. You can buy these oats at many grocery stores, but I have found them cheapest at Trader Joe's. Having a filling breakfast really works for me! For other works for me ideas, visit We Are That Family.

Monday, June 13, 2011

B Turned 7!

We are entering the "odd years" with our kids, and by August they will be 9, 7, and 5. B's birthday was this weekend. She is in love with the Disney movie "Tangled", so that was our theme. She actually had three parties - #1 at school (10 minutes, max - i brought in donuts and juice - they sang); #2 at out house with family friends (had the fancy cake, did a few of the activities with the kids); and #3 her official with the friends she wanted to invite party (about 7 girls from school - whole shabang: fancy cake, 2 crafts, 1 game, lunch, movie, and favors). It was actually all fun, although I really needed to start working on all of it earlier than a few days
before. I had been planning it way before that, but just didn't get around to actual prep til way to late!

My favorite thing was the cake. I found several versions of this online, and put my own spin on it. I used Entemann's pound cake, a dowel, and mini chocolate-covered Krispy Kreme's. I love a cake that is no baking, and just assembly! B loved it. This is the second one. B insisted I add the little picture of Rapunzel (that I just cut out of paper). The "house" on the top is a cupcake, with a ice cream cone on top. The braid is just icing, as are the vines and flowers.

We used everything we could find on the Disney Family Fun website, and the kids made the Pascal party blowers and paper lanterns. We also played pin the flying pan on Flynn Rider, after using a projector to blow up the printable on the website.

For favors, the girls were given one of these necklaces I made with bottle caps, and a box of colored chalk (Rapunzel loves to paint and draw, and uses chalk with little kids in the village).

All in all, a very fun party. A little nuts, but still fun. At the grown up party we even launched a real "floating lantern" with fire. But we were scared and attached some yarn to keep from burning down the neighborhood. It didn't go up very far with the string weighing it down, but it was still cool.

And now my little B is 7!!! I can't believe it. She is 100% girl, very witty, and incredibly witty. I can't wait to see what the next year will bring.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spring Break - part 2

When we left Columbus we made a small stop. I am a HUGE sucker for random Americana. World's largest ball of twine? Awesome! Foamhenge? Can't wait to go. So we had to stop and see the world's largest picnic basket that also happens to be an office building! I know! so cool! It is the headquarters of Longaberger - a company that makes baskets, of course. Is this awesome or what? People WORK in here. I LOVE it.

After indulging my weirdness, we continued on to Pittsburgh. Let's start by saying Pittsburgh was awesome! There is no RV park near the city, so we were about 25 minutes outside. Found the greatest hole-in-the-wall restaurant, for some great food! If you ever end up in Washington, PA - go there! On Friday morning we went on a ride on the Dusquene Incline. The kids loved it! There is a small museum on the top that shows the pulley system that makes the whole thing work - very cool. Then we headed to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. I grew up outside of Boston and am a total snob about children's museums - but this is probably the best one I have ever seen! We could have been there for 2-3 days, easy. To say it is interactive is an understatement. We spent a few hours in the garage - where kids can build stuff, make simple electronic circuits, use levers and pulleys, climb, etc. The also loved the Attic, and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. K and I could have spent all day in the art studio. It was just really great.

Saturday morning we went to try some famous Pittsburgh pretzels. The place was a little take-out joint in an adorable area called Southside Flats, but man those pretzels were great. There were no tables, so we had a fun tailgate in the back of the pick-up. Then we headed downtown to the Carnegie Science Center. Yet another fabulous museum. The kids really like the special shows (one on electricity and another on fire), the robots, and the submarine!

Soon, it was time to head to the park for the baseball game. Despite a short rain delay, we had a great time. The Pirates stadium is fantastic. Right on the river, with views of many of the bridges. I had an amazing pulled pork & pierogi sandwich on a pretzel roll (with onion jam!). And the kids were thrilled when 2 of our own Washington Nationals Racing Presidents ran with the pierogis in between innings.

On Sunday, it was Easter. That crafty Easter bunny somehow managed to hide eggs in a travel trailer, due to rain outside. So although it wasn't the longest Easter Egg Hunt, the kids still had fun. We went to a small church for services, and were treated to a very nice Bell Choir.

All in all, a great adventure! Fun time had by all and kids can't wait to go back to COSI and the Children's Museum in Pittsburgh!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Preserving Memories

Someone was asking me about this the other day, and I thought it would make a good idea to share. My mom died 7 years ago, and I still miss her nearly every day. ( I swear, a week or so ago one of the kids did something, and my first thought was to call her up!) But one thing I did when she passed continues to bring me happiness.

Several months after her death, my Dad and I went through her clothes. I pulled out 5-6 outfits, that really spoke to me. Some were just casual clothes, but they really reminded me of her. A few were special outfits (like the dress she wore to my wedding). I found a woman online who agreed to make a quilt out of these random pieces of clothing. I'm sure you could find someone on Etsy who would do it in a heartbeat. It was only a few hundred dollars, but I love it. The fabrics don't go together - either in color or pattern. It was really an eclectic group. But it came out fantastic, and now hangs in the entry-way of my house. I LOVE it. It reminds me of my mom everyday, and makes each day a little brighter.

So if someone special in your life is gone. Think about something simple like this. It works for me! For more works for me ideas, visit!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spring Break - rv/baseball style

So last month (ok, in April) we went on Spring Break. We took the RV and went on an adventure to see 3 major league ballparks. (when we got the RV we decided we wanted to try and bring the kids to see every MLB ballpark before K graduated from high school). Weft on a very rainy Saturday and headed to Cleveland. The game on Sunday was thankfully not rained out. It was a beautiful, albeit windy and kinda cold, day. And the Indians won. Big Man LOVED all the mascots - especially the racing hot dogs. We also took the kids to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Other than some ok local pizza, that was it for Cleveland.

On Monday we drove to Columbus, dropped off the RV with some friends we would be staying with, and headed for Cincinnati for a Reds game. Only 30 hours later, and what a change. The weather was GORGEOUS - sunny and in the high 70s. We had fun at the game, although the Reds played TERRIBLY. We did like the park - and got to enjoy some Cincinnati Chili, as well as the best hot dog I have ever had - called a "Beef and Swiss". If you ever get to the Reds park (which site right on the river), get one of these. You will not regret it!

We spent the next few days in Columbus. What a fun city! We visited the Columbus Zoo (of Jack Hannah fame), which is amazing. They have polar bears and grizzly bears and lots of cool animals. These bears were fighting inches from us! (several inches thick of plexiglass, but still!) It was very cool. We also went to Spaghetti Warehouse, which was B's favorite, and to Graeter's for some AWESOME ice cream (banana cream pie!). We spent a whole day at COSI, and could have been there for several days. K road a high-wire unicycle, and did the awesome Adventure in to the Valley of the Unknown (a cool scavenger hunt mystery). The other two loved the Oceans exhibit, KidSpace, and the Space exhibit. Very impressive museum!

Rest of the trip in a few days!................

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Little Chefs

When K turned 9 at the end of April, she wanted a cooking party. (Well, first she wanted a pool party, but thought of it too late and all the indoor pools were booked). It worked out great, so I thought I would share what we did.

First, we kept it small. She invited 8 girls from school, and only 6 were able to come. Awesome!

Second, we kept it simple. The girls were "making" three dishes. We did pizzas, smoothies, and cookies.

Third, we had tons of fun!

When each girl arrived, she was given a chef's apron off (ebay - $2 each), a small rolling pin ($1 each), and a chef's hat ($1 each). We had written the kids' names on both the hat and the apron in fabric marker. They could then spend 15 minutes of so decorating them more.

Then they washed their hands, and came and sat at the kitchen table. They each got a pile of flour and a lump of dough. On the table were bowls of sauce, cheeses, and pepperoni. Once they rolled out their dough and made their pizza, I put it on the pizza stone to go in the oven. If I ever do this again, I will figure out a way to label them, because it was hard to tell whose was whose when it was done. Ditto for the cookies later!

We cleaned that up, and then the girls lined up outside the kitchen. They came in two at a time (I had two blenders) and helped put together their smoothie. We had vanilla yogurt, mango, orange and apple juice, frozen mangos, bananas, strawberries and raspberries. We also had big straws and fancy drink umbrellas. The smoothies were a HUGE hit. The girls loved trying the different flavors and combinations.

They ran around playing a bit, then the pizza was done. The girls came in and ate, and then we had our one organized game - feel the shape. I bought this 101 cookie cutter pack, and we laid about 50 of the cutters on a table with a sheet over it. The girls had to reach under the sheet and try and determine the shape of the cookie cutter without looking. Each girl could get up to 5 cookie cutters.

Then it was back in the kitchen, where they were given a lump of cookie dough (premade by pillsbury) and tons of sprinkles and decorations. Again, wish we had somehow labeled whose cookies were whose! There was also frosting when the cookies were done. The girls had a blast with this (and despite a few tears over cookie-owner confusion), and loved their designs.

They each left with their outfits, rolling pins, and cookie cutters.

It was a big hit, and everyone had fun!