Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Advent Calendar

Last year, I briefly described an advent calendar idea in my blog post here. This year, I've improved upon this idea and should be able to reuse this calendar for many years to come. Here is what I did.

1. I got a large wooden advent calendar with doors at Costco, sort of like this one.

2. I bought this 24 piece wooden puzzle from Amazon. It actually came with 3 puzzles, so I took out one and put the other two away for when Jim is older.

3. I painted the puzzle over with red acrylic paints. I had to do 3 coats, then afterward I sponged on polka dots and glitter. Afterward the edges where I took the puzzle apart were rough and made the puzzle difficult to fit together. I used a nail file on the edges to sand down the paint so that the puzzle would fit together flush again.

4. I used a white acrylic pen to write on each piece. I'll explain what I wrote and why below. Finally, I sealed it all with acrylic sealant. 

5. I wrapped 24 gifts and labeled them with either a number (for the date) or an outline of a puzzle piece.

Here's what I did:

Date:                      Piece Says:                               Package Says:                 Package  Contains:
1                            "Get a Christmas Tree"                "One"                             Candy canes
2                            "Write a letter to Santa"               "Two"                           Letter and Envelope w/candy
3                             "?"                                            Piece outline                   500 piece Christmas puzzle
4                             "Get a new book"                      "Four"                            A new book
5                             "Read Santa Mouse."                 "Five"                             Chocolate treats
6                             "Look at lights"                           "Six"                               Treats for the car ride
7                             "Go to Alpenrose Dairy"             "Seven"                          Treats for the car ride
8                              "?"                                           Piece outline                     Gingerbread house kit
9                              "Donate a toy to needy kids"       "Nine"                            Chocolate treats
10                           "Watch a Christmas Carol"          "Ten"                             Treats for the movie
11                           "Pick a story to read"                "Eleven"                         Chocolate treats
12                           "Make Cookies"                        "Twelve"                        New cookie cutters
13                          "Watch the Grinch"                   "Thirteen"                          Treats for the movie
14                          "Take a family photo"                "Fourteen"                       photo ornament
15                          "Happy Anniversary!"                "Fifteen"                   Gift card for Cheesecake Factory
16                         "Have hot cocoa by the fire"       "Sixteen"                Hot cocoa packets and candy canes
17                          "?"                                           Piece outline               Supplies to make ornaments
18                         "Pick a story to read"                  "Eighteen"                          Chocolate Treats
19                           "?"                                          Piece outline               Supplies to make Christmas cards
20                          "?"                                           Piece outline                Apples to Apples (new game)
21                          "Pick a story to read"               "Twenty-one"               Chocolate Treats
22                           "?"                                           Piece outline                 A new story book
23                    "Read the Night Before Christmas" "Twenty-three"                 Chocolate treats
24                           "?"                                            Piece outline             New pajamas for entire family

I looked at the pieces and realized that there were a total of 7 uniquely shaped pieces. Those were the ones that could be used to match up with a gift, and I matched those with the biggest and best packages. Otherwise, the piece simply had instructions and had a small numbered package to open as well. (I think the outlines rather than numbers add a lot of suspense!)

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Photo a Month for a Year!

I did it! My baby boy is a year old and I did a photo every month on the 4th :)

 And for fun, I did a few newborn photo recreations :)

I can't believe my baby boy isn't really a baby anymore!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Curly Hair Problems in Pictures

I drew this last week, while agonizing over what to do with my hair. There will probably be future installments.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Girly Clothes...

... are fun to make!!! Here are some things I've been working on lately. The dress is a pattern I bought from GingerBabyPatterns, the bonnet is from Cottage Home Blog, and the ruffle bottom bloomers are from this Bella Bama tutorial.

Either I need to have a little girl next, or start finding cute patterns for boy clothes!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paint Eaters Unite

We've been having so much fun this summer with edible sensory activities. Most of them I found online (and a few on Pinterest) but a few I made up!! Here are some pictures of what we did, along with brief descriptions of how we made them:

Frozen Cool Whip + Jello Balls

Vanilla Yogurt + Duncan Hines Frosting Creations powder mix

Cooked Spaghetti + Gel Food Coloring + Vegetable Oil

Sand: 4 C. Whole Wheat Flour + 1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
(sorry, never got any good pics of the sand)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

In Case You Were Wondering...

... I didn't fall off the wagon. We've still been sticking to our budget and doing meal planning to save money. I just got overwhelmed with posting!! :)

So far we've saved around 600 dollars! I'm excited to look at the budget in a few weeks and see how much closer we are to our new home.

How many weeks until something is a habit? We are at 6 weeks so far!!!!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Week Three... Hanging in There

Last week's shopping trip was right around the $100 mark. I threw in a bottle of wine, and thank goodness. I needed it! (SOMEBODY learned how to crawl and has given me a run for my money.)
Here's what we ate:

Monday: Turkey and Peppers over Rice
One of my favorite easy meals.

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes from a can
The ground beef was real. I have been too lazy to make my own sauce lately.

Wednesday: Ham and Potato Soup
Left over ham in the freezer with purchased potatoes

Thursday: Left Overs
CJ worked late and had dinner out. I had soup.

Friday: Slow Cooked Chicken in Nachos
Thanks to Briana Mills for this one! Had it again it was so good.

Saturday: Homemade Garlic Chicken Pizza
Haven't gotten around to this one yet. Supposed to have it a few days ago but ran out of time. Now the chicken I'd saved for it has gone bad... so I will pick up more at the store today. And in case you were wondering, the crust is store bought and I'm just going to throw some toppings on it!

Sunday: Picnic Dinner
Haven't decided what this will be yet, as this is technically next week! Picking up groceries today. Ideas? Something good for eating in the wilderness and doesn't make you look gross while eating it?

CJ's Lunches: White Chicken Chili with Chips and Green Salsa

CJ's Breakfasts: Breakfast Burritos (at his request)

Valerie and Jim lunches:
Pita and Hummus
Cottage cheese and Fruit
Left over burritos from Week 1
Chicken Quesadillas
Left over soup 

Nightly Deserts: Three Ingredient Brownies with homemade buttercream frosting
I over cooked them. They were dry and hard. However, we microwaved them with the buttercream on them. The frosting melted and turned to chocolate sauce and made it very yummy.

Next week, I start a new term at work. This weekend is very full and busy and I really don't' feel like making ahead anything. Since Jim has been sleeping through the night this week, I am going to be getting up with CJ in the mornings and making him eggs and sandwiches each day. I will also be planning meals that are quick and easy that do not require make-aheads. I'm sure it will still be cheap since I'm planning ahead, even if I'm not cooking ahead.