Lunch Box Notes

Do you want to make your husband or kids feel special while they are at  work or school?? Here is a couple of free printables to help you show them you are thinking of them while they are away!!

Alphamom has the cutest I have seen! Check them out!!

How Does She also has some really cute ones for kids.

Love her idea of “to keep and to share” !!

Have fun printing!!!

 

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Cupcake Liners

One of my first posts in this blog was about cupcake wrappers because I LOVE them!!!! Here is another take on them. I saw them and fell in love right away because of the possibilities. Other than cupcakes of course, I am thinking fruit cups, chocolate truffles, muffins, cookies etc

Check out Funkytime for instructions on how to make these!! So easy and really adorable!!

Also, Sibylle at Funkytime has some printables for the cutest cupcake wrappers below! Check them out and check out her blog, she is amazing!

 

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Applique Shirts

I love applique, I love to sew and I love personalized things!! I am not professional  at sewing (although I wish I was) but I can get some things done and applique shirts and onesies are some of my favorites. They really are SO very easy to make and  are awesome baby shower or party gifts.

Here is a very easy tutorial on how to make a simple applique shirt:

Materials:

- t shirt, onesie, bag, towel or whatever it is you will be using.

- fabric

- fusible web like heat and bond or wonder under (lightweight)

Instructions:

- Choose your fabric and desired shape. You can print a pattern from online or just draw it by hand. I usually do it first on a piece of paper and then on the paper side of the fusible web. If you are doing letters, remember to mirror them so that they are the right way when you put them on your shirt.

- Cut a square around the shape you drew on your fusible web and cut the same size square out of your fabric. if you are doing different pieces to your design, do this with each piece.

- Slowly iron the rough side of the fusible web with your drawing on it on the wrong side of the fabric.

- Wait a couple of minutes until it cools and check if it’s fused together. If it is, cut around your shape and take off the paper backing off your fabric. If it’s not fused, iron again.

- Place your fabric(s) in desired place and make sure it all looks the way you want it.

- Iron onto your shirt. This will  keep it stable while you sew.

- Set your machine to a zig zag stitch. You can have a tighter shorter stitch or a looser zig zag. Try on a scrap piece before you start to make sure you like it. Tighter will show more mistakes so keep it a little looser if you are just learning.

- Start sewing around your shape and stop and lift your foot when you get to curves or turns. (Make sure your machine is set to needle down position)

- To finish, I sometimes backstitch carefully if I am doing a tight stitch because you can’t see it as much, otherwise pull your bobbin thread a little bit, enough to make your top thread pull through. Use a seam ripper to help you pull it through all the way if you need to. Tie loose ends and knot it.

- You are done!! You can do this with towels, pillow cases, shirts etc.

Have fun making some this fall!!

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Favorite Applesauce

Every fall for the last few years, we have enjoyed going apple picking as a family. I have to admit my husband and I are not sure yet,  if picking with 3 young kids is really what we think about as fun. It is a little bit of a love hate situation. After going down and up the mountain pulling a heavy wagon, 2 full huge baskets of apples, a stroller and 3 tired kids, we always begin to wonder if it’s really worth it :) Once we get to the slushies and freshly made apple donuts, we forget about it and enjoy the creating of family traditions, preparing yummy treats, sharing them with others and eating them ourselves. :)

One of our favorite things to do with our apples besides apple pie is applesauce!! Soo much better than the store bought! Once you try it, you really won’t want to go back to the store for applesauce again!

Here is our most favorite way to make it!!

Ingredients:

- 8 McIntosh apples (or a mix of apples but definitely include mostly McIntosh)

- 1/4 to 1/3 c of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it, I try to do it with the least amount of sugar possible)

- 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

Directions:

I own a food mill and highly recommend them because it saves you lots of time in peeling the apples. They are unexpensive and you can use them to make jams and many other things too! If you like more of a chunky consistency, I would not recommend the mill as it will give you more of a smooth applesauce.  I like smoother applesauce so I am happy to use the mill and save some time :)

If you don’t have a mill,make sure you peel your apples before you slice them.

-  With or without a mill you have to cut your apples in slices.

- Throw them in a pot to cook with 1 1/2 cups of water, sugar and cinnamon for about 15 to 20 min or until soft.

- If you used a mill, put your apples though the mill. If you peeled you apples mash them to the desired consistency.

- I usually put my sauce in mason jars with pretty fabric, to share with friends. My girls also make labels for some of them. They love having applesauce from a jar that has a label with their name on it! :)

Enjoy!!! It will make your home smell delicious!!

 

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A Trip Around the World

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember having  a special interest and heart for the nations of the world. One of the only subjects that I can really remember is geography. I loved learning the countries and capitals of the world.  As an adult, learning cultures and the ways that people live is amazing to me!

This year, I am so excited to be starting our first year of geography and I have been anticipating all summer the beginning of our class, and be able to introduce my kids to this amazing world  and people that God has created.

Here’s a couple of ideas that might help you make it more interesting if you are teaching geography this year or even if you are just reading about different countries!

After some research, I found a really great curriculum at Confessions of a Homeschooler. It is called Expedition Earth and she provides many wonderful resources that makes this class really hands on. I highly recommend it!

Other ideas to complement this curriculum or any other that you are using would be:

- Get a little suitcase – I bought a set of cardboard suitcases, one for each of my kids, where we will keep fun little trinkets from the countries we are learning about, as well as a passport that we will stamping every time we “visit” a new country. The kids thought their suitcases are so cool!

This is what I put inside their suitcase:

- A passport and stamps with flags of each country (there is a printable one on Expedition Earth, I just did the cover of it on green cardstock, to make it look more real)

- I am trying to get little things from different countries any time I get a chance. I will use these as a surprise in their suitcases every time I introduce a new country. Some ideas would be, chopsticks from a chinese place, tea bags for England, little hand fans or origami shapes for Japan, anything from the mexican section at the grocery store, etc. You can be creative, it does not have to be expensive and you can usually get great prices or free things if you are thinking ahead! Last year I got a bunch of stuff from world market at their clearance section.

- Have pictures of friends or just people that live in those countries and pray for them. It makes it all the more real!!

- Last and most important one: Have fun teaching and learning with them!!

 

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Fall Vases

Fall is almost here and I have found myself looking and thinking for ideas for vase centerpieces for my home. The kind that when you go  into a house and find one of this, it immediately makes you feel at home and makes you want to sit down, relax and have some warm apple pie fresh from the oven.

I thought I would share  some of my favorite finds with you so that you too may find some inspiration.

1. Framed vases from Flamingo Toes. I LOVE her idea of the frames around it!! Although she calls them Spring vases, changing the colors of the frames to warm orange colors would make these perfect for fall too!!!

 

2. Pumpkin and gourd vases from Martha Stewart. This pumpkin vases are so easy to make and warm up a room in an instant.

3. Twig Vase from Martha Stewart. Pretty much anything with twigs, sticks, or nature elements always gets my attention. I love the rustic look of this and just how simple it is. I could also see it done with cinnamon sticks to add some good smell around the house.:)

4. Bootleg Vase from Family Chic. I love how different and out of the ordinary this vase is! Perfect for a desk by a sunny window or a great teachers gift.

5. Handmade Paper wrapped vases from Natural Home and Garden. Love these vases and love it even more how fast they can be made. They are made of all natural materials like cucumber and natural elements. Amazing!!  I think I would like to do these in short vases instead of the long ones and fill them with all fall flowers or little pumpkins.

This are all pretty easy to make and inexpensive to make. Hope you get some inspiration!!

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A Rainbow of Ideas

For our first week of school, we have been doing all kinds of rainbow activities because my girls seem to be so much into rainbows lately. I  decided to use this as the focus of our week and  also the focus of our year as far as character qualities and disciplines that we will be working on.

First, I gave them each a little box with their “rainbow colored pencils and crayons” and other basic school supplies. Also put in there a little rainbow card from me. Their faces could not contain the BIG smiles while I read the cards to each of them.

To introduce our year, I made a rainbow that listed the qualities that were important to me and that we will be working on throughout the year. I posted it right in front of their desks for them to see and be reminded every day.

To encourage them to work on these, every time they do one of them, they get a ticket. When they collect 4 tickets during the day, they earn the privilege of watching a movie and if they collect 6 or more, they can choose a “special snack or ipad time”. So far, they have loved getting their tickets and are really paying attention to the 6 things in their rainbows.

After showing them how we will be working, the subjects, their books and materials, we had an afternoon full of fun rainbow activities and every time we did a different activity, we remembered the things in our “character rainbow”. Here is some of the things we did!

1. Fruit loops rainbow: They loved making this.I did not let them eat any of it while making their craft but look at what they did next :)

2. A Necklace! They did have a little bit of leftovers from the rainbow, so they wanted to make a necklace with them and then eat them. They loved snacking on  their necklaces and my son loved packing up his play truck and eating them from there :) (This was a total treat for them because I never buy sugar cereal for them, they did come to the conclusion that they smell and look better than they taste:) )

 

3. A fruit rainbow: All 3 of my kids AND I LOVED making this one. We washed, dried, laughed, giggled and arranged the fruits all together and it was so good and fun to eat!

I will have more rainbow activities on a different post soon but I hope you enjoy these for now!!

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Hummus and Chicken Wraps

I love weekends and I love to cook but it seems  like every time lunch time comes around on the weekends, I do not feel very inspired to cook. I just want something quick so we can keep going with whatever it is that we are doing. Here’s an idea that I came up with one day, while scrambling around my fridge trying to find something quick to feed my family. It is quick, delicious and healthy. Definitely one of our favorites!!!! Even though I make it often, the kids get excited every time they see me making this wraps and they love making them too.

Ingredients:

Flour tortillas (if you have a Trader Joe’s close by, I HIGHLY recommend getting their handmade tortillas, they are 100% better than what you get at a regular supermarket. Also Cosco has some good ones)

Grilled chicken cut in strips (we like ours seasoned with greek seasoning, salt and freshly ground pepper)

Hummus

Avocado cut in thin slices

Tomato cut in slices

Cucumber cut in slices

Lettuce (any kind you like would work great)

Feta cheese or monterey jack cheese

Even though we like them just with the ingredients above, additional options would be bacon, hard boiled eggs slices, bell peppers etc

To make them:

- Warm up your tortilla in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

- Spread the hummus

- Put your chicken and veggies on

- Roll it up

- Enjoy!! It is so good!!

Serve with some fruit salad, fruit kabobs or a smoothie for a perfect lunch!!!

 

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Fabric Scrap Necklaces and Headbands

I have a never ending stack of scraps of fabric that I can’t seem to find any use for, but I don’t ever want to get rid off. I always think I’ll figure something to do with them and YEARS have gone by and the stack lays there, growing rapidly but never touched. Finally, for the first time I was so happy to find something to do with them after seeing someone wearing one of these!!! I made braided necklaces and headbands. My girls and I LOVED them! It only took us 5 to 10 minutes to make 4 of them, so it is super easy!!!

I do have to say they are addictive!! Once you make one, you will not want to stop. I keep thinking of ways I can use them and add ons  I can do to them!! Example? At first I was just going to do just a necklace, then I thought…. why not a headband?? Then, I thought of key chain, bag handles, bracelets, gift wrapping, belts, etc. The possibilities are endless when you are making  something so cheap and easy!!

What you need:

- 3 different fabric scraps (preferably long so you don’t have to keep tying scraps together)

- Security pin

- sewing machine or needle and thread.

- If making a headband, elastic.

Instructions:

- Take your fabric and cut a little snip at the beginning and tear the fabric all the way to the end. (tearing as opposed to cutting, gives it that frayed look)

- About an inch apart, make another snip and tear all the way down.

- Do this with all 3 of your fabrics. They will look something like this.

- Now grab your  3 strips of fabric, stack them on top of each other and put your security pin through the beginning of your fabric and attach the security pin to your pants or the carpet. (I know, it’s a little weird but it will keep it from moving around)

- Make a braid as long as you need it.

- If you are making a necklace, make sure it’s long enough to go over your head or whoever you are making this for! Then, go to your machine, stitch the ends together and cut out leftover fabric or make a little bow with it!

- If you are making a headband, grab your elastic and place right in the middle of one of the ends and stitch it in place.

- Make sure you know how big you need it to be, before you stitch the other end!! After you have measured it, go ahead and stitch the other end of  the elastic  in place.

- Cut leftover fabric and elastic and …

You are done!! That was easy!!!

Enjoy making them  and let me know if you find any cool uses for them too!!

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Mexican Pizza

Here is an awesome recipe for a pizza that is  definitely not real mexican but it is really good!! Perfect weekday dinner, and those days when you want something good and quick!! I always buy my dough at Trader Joe’s. It is only  99c and it is awesome!!

Whenever I make this, I let my 6 year old daughter roll her own little pizza and let her put her own toppings on it because she does not like anything spicy :) Although I really don’t consider this to be spicy, little ones might , so you may need to do something like that if they are too sensitive to spice!! My 4 and 2 year old have no problem with it, so it just depends on your kids!!

This recipe has been adapted from a Food and Wine magazine recipe by Spike Mendelsohn

  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded  iceberg lettuce
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • jalapeno peppers (optional)

Instructions:

  • Put your pizza stone on the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°.
  • In a food processor, combine the black beans with the roasted red peppers, garlic clove and chili powder and puree until smooth. Season with salt.

  • Stretch the pizza dough to a 12-inch round. Spread the black-bean puree on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with the cheese, tomatoes, olives and scallions.

  • Put your pizza on the preheated stone and bake for 12 minutes, until the bottom is crisp and the cheese is bubbling. Serve it with lettuce,  a dollop of the sour cream and some jalapeno peppers if you like food to have a kick to it! I do!! I actually used spicy italian peppers but I think jalapenos would satisfy my need to have a little bit more of a kick!
  • Enjoy!!!!

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