Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family Portrait Wall Tree

Photo: Here's what I did on my living room wall.  The tree is done with joint compound and stencils I cut from card stock.

I just finished this wall display the other day.  The parts of the tree are made with joint compound.  I cut leaf and branch stencils out of card stock with a pair of scissors and then printed out a picture of a bird from computer clip art and cut around it for the bird stencil.  It was an easy project that took surprisingly little time.  Oh, I also rubbed the design on the frames with joint compound so that the frames match the tree.  It cost me very little money, and I am very happy with the way it all turned out!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fun Ways to Use Old Friend Magazines

 I enjoy collecting fun articles and pictures from the Friend magazine and making presents for kids from them.  So far I have made a recipe book, a book about Christ, and a book with Book of Mormon pictures, but I have ideas for more than just books.  The instructions these things are below, but first....

Here's how I collect the pictures:

After you get the new "Friend" magazine, open the old one to the middle of the magazine and cut it down the spine to separate all the pages.

Next, sort the pictures.  I do this by having a three ring binder full of page protectors.  Each page protector is labeled with a different category.

Notice that I don't worry about making this cute.  It is just to keep things sorted.  It is amazing how many pages you can stuff into a page protector.

Here are the categories of friend articles and pictures that I have sorted:
Book of Mormon Pictures
Church History
Coloring Pages
Easy Reader Stories
Flannel Board Pictures
General Conference
Jesus Christ
Miscellaneous Pictures
Piano Music (For Beginners)
Pioneer Stories
Prophets (Latter-Day)
Sunday Activities

Once you have been collecting articles and pictures for awhile, here are some ideas on how to use them:

Small Books:
My favorite books are made using a little photo book for 4"x6" that I buy at Walmart for $1.  This worked great for the recipe book I made for my nephew, Jesse, and the book with pictures of Jesus that I made for my grand daughter, Lily to look at during the sacrament.  The plastic pages make the books easy to clean and hard for a two year old to destroy.

Big Books:
For bigger books, like activity books, buy a binder and fill it with page protectors.  Slip the pages in the protectors, and your book is complete.  Try making one of the following:  "My Gospel Piano Book," "My Gospel Story Book," etc. For activity books, include a dry erase marker with eraser so that the activities are easy to do over and over.  For coloring books, include multiple colors of dry erase markers.  Alternatively, buy a sketch pad in the art section of a discount store, and glue one coloring page to each sketch pad page.  This makes it possible to use crayons or markers to color the picture.

Book Kits:
With a craft book, a game book, or even a recipe book, consider attaching a Ziploc bag with materials to make a book kit.  Look through the book to see what materials are needed to complete the activity and include them in the bag.

Magnetic Story Boards:
Glue flannel board figures collected from Friend magazines to magnetic sheets and cut out.  Let children tell gospel stories by displaying magnetic pictures on a metal cookie sheet or tray.

Gospel Fun Calendar:
Cut out month-specific recipes, activity ideas, stories, etc and form them into a collage on a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and display above each month's calendar.

Popsicle Stick Puzzles:  Make popsicle stick puzzles from pictures you cut out of the Friend Magazine.

I hope you have fun making these ideas and also coming up with ideas of your own!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gifts from the Heart

Every year for Christmas my family draws names and gives gifts, but these gifts are different than most, because the only requirement in choosing the gift is that it can't cost any money.  We have found that removing buying from gift giving increases the thoughtfulness behind the gifts.  We exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, and always record the giving since many are one-time experiences.

Here are some of the things we have given over the years made by the giver and always featuring the recipient:
Funny songs
Story books
ABC book
Games such as "Who wants to be a Millionaire" with trivia questions about the recipient
Drawn Portraits
Stories about when they were young
Photo Collages

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Zucchini Mozzerella Chicken Rolls

First, the real recipe that I found on Pinterest:

Here's the picture.  Click on it if you want to see the site.

Next, my version, made with stuff on hand:
A bit dusy on top.  Not very uniform in size, but then, everyone can choose just the right sized piece for them.

Not very spiraly, but, hey, its all about taste anyway, right?

I like the original recipe because it's healthy, and I had similar ingredients in the house tonight.
The original recipe is called Chicken Rollatini Stuffed with Zucchini and Mozzarella
What is rollatini??  My version isn't fancy enough to be called rollatini.
 Besides, I could barely roll the chicken.  I'd have to call it "foldatini")

Zucchini and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Rolls
(Gotta love the conflicted format)
1 tsp olive oil--I added more like 2 Tbsp in order to saute.
4 cloves garlic, chopped--I planned on mincing the garlic instead, but I couldn't find the microscopic piece that for some strange reason is not permanently attached to my garlic mincer.  It enjoys hiding from me.  So I actually did chop the garlic and it turned out fine.
1 1/2 cups (1 medium) zucchini, shredded --Rather than zucchini, I had summer squash.  Not as colorful, but every bit as delicious and nutritious,  maybe.
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Romano cheese (or parmesan) --I used parmesan because that's what I keep on hand In the freezer.
3 oz part skim shredded mozzarella--a nice low-fat cheese, and I have tons of it because Costco sells a giant bag of shredded mozzarella.
salt and pepper to taste
8 thin chicken cutlets, 3 oz each --What is a chicken cutlet?  I used three breast halves.
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs --I have two kids who can't digest wheat bran and a husband who shouldn't eat white flour, so I opted for oats instead of bread crumbs.  I put them in the blender with seasonings.
1 lemon, juice of--I didn't have any lemon, so I didn't use any.
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and fresh pepper--Fresh?  As opposed to frozen, or what?
olive oil non-stick spray.--I didn't have any olive oil spray, so I used canola oil spray.  Sorry.

First I preheated the oven to 450 degrees.  Then I had to defrost my chicken, then I filleted each piece in two.  I say "filleted" because I don't know how else to describe the way you cut the chicken.  Let's see...turn the blade of the knife parallel to the cutting board and slice through the chicken till you have 2 pieces half as thick as the first.  There.

 I sauteed  and seasoned the garlic and squash and spread it over the chicken.  I realized at that point that I'd forgotten the mozzarella so I sprinkled it over each piece.  Then I rolled up the chicken.  I dipped the chicken in egg instead of lemon and olive oil for no particular reason.  Then I rolled the rolls in the oat mixture and put it seam-side-down in a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Next, I sprayed the top of the chicken.  I should have sprayed it more so that the chicken wouldn't look dusty after being cooked.  I cooked the chicken at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

I served it with salad.  Made by Thomas.

(Tear Your Own Lettuce--Not noticed by Mom until it was too late.)
Served elegantly in the spinner

I have heard that you should have at least 3 dishes at the dinner table.  
Can I count salad dressing as a dish?   We had 3 kinds to choose from...

First Reactions to the chicken:

Brian: "What is that?
Thomas: "What is this?"
Miriam:  "What is it?"

Katrina didn't mention it.  Didn't eat it.  She just sat and decorated her plate instead--


In the end, everyone besides Katrina enjoyed the chicken and cleaned their plates.  It was a delicious, nutritious meal.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Make Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Mushrooms

I saw a recipe like this on the Food Nanny, and thought I'd try my own version,  I also consulted my favorite recipe website, allrecipes.com .  We served the sauce over pasta.  Brian, who is a food snob, absolutely adored it, and the kids loved it, too except for Katrina who refused to try it.   Here are step by step photos and directions.  Happy roasting!

2 peppers  (I used orange, but I figure red, yellow, or even green will do although green will be more strong and less sweet.  I'm all about using what you have and what you can afford.)
Olive Oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tsp dried basil or 1/4 c. fresh
1 c. milk
1c. cream
1/2 lb mushrooms washed and quartered
1 tbsp bullion (chicken, beef, or veggie)

Monday, April 23, 2012

I found these cute lollipops while on stumbleupon.com.  So cute!  Directions Here.

How to Make Tissue Paper Blossoms

Easy enough to make with the kids, beautiful enough to be displayed anywhere!   Find step by step instructions on spoonful.com .

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to Make a Dishtowel Easter Bunny

I just found this towel bunny and I'm so excited to give it to my neighbor for Easter!  All it takes is a dish towel, two dish cloths, and a bit of ribbon.  Find instructions
from Family Corner by clicking HERE

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Folded Flower Pop-Up Card

If you liked my folded flower card post, you'll love this idea, too.  It comes from:  http://vimeo.com/9848893

Waffle Wednesdays

If you are looking for a fun, informal way for your kids to socialize with your friends in your home, read on.

Brian came home one day and told me about a mom who treated all her teenagers and their friends to a waffle bar every Wednesday.  Since we've always wanted to be that kind of parent, we decided to try the same thing.  This last Wednesday was our family's first Waffle Wednesday.  We served waffles and the following toppings:  Nutella, strawberries, syrup, and whipped cream.  The waffles were delicious, and the kids seemed to have lots of fun.  It promises to become a firm and delicious tradition!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gospel-centered children's gift ideas for LDS Parents and Grandparents

Since I am just beginning grand parenthood, a condition of which I am ecstatic about, I am putting together a list of things that I want to give as gifts to my grand kids.  First of all, I am planning to give them store-bought, church-related gifts for their birthdays and home made family-related gifts for Christmas.  I think.  Let's see how it all pans out:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How to Make a Cloth Napkin Rosette

I came up with the idea for these cloth napkin rosettes at Christmas time when we were setting our Christmas Eve dinner table. This is the one time each year where we use cloth napkins!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rice Pudding

My husband Brian's favorite Mexican fast food place and his favorite teriyaki  grill have one thing in common, they both serve little deli tubs of rice pudding that taste incredible.  They're so good that we eat often eat the rice pudding first, while waiting for the rest of our meal.  I tell you all this because my daughter Katrina and I found a recipe that tastes just like it.  It takes a long time to bake, but it's worth the wait!

Rice Pudding
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients except cinnamon in a 9" square pan.  Bake for 2 hours without stirring.  Pour into bowls and chill.  Garnish with nutmeg.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How to Make a Family Memories Board Game

I'm so excited about this wonderful family memory game, I can barely stand it.  The game is brought to you by Family Fun Magazine, the best magazine on the planet.  This link will take you to the basic instructions.

I took the basic instructions and turned this game into a one of a kind story-telling fest that is custom made for my family.  The object of the game is to go around the board sharing memories and learning more about your family while trying to collect all five treasures so that you can head Home Sweet Home.  I gave the game to my parents for Christmas, and it was a real hit at our family reunion the next month.  I will tell you what I did here so you can use, tweak, and enhance the ideas to fit your own family.  It may be a bit of work, but it is totally worth it.  BTW, when you play the game--make sure you have the camcorder running!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Make Harvest Shaped Dinner Rolls

Don't you just love Fall?  Of all the holidays, fall for some reason makes me want to do season crafts like this wonderful dinner roll turkey.  But why stop there?  Bread dough is the perfect medium for all your harvest bread needs.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How to Make Poinsettia Flowers out of Crepe Paper Streamers

After searching the web and not finding what I wanted, I came up with these cute flowers made of crepe paper streamers.  These flowers are very easy to make and are a great way to use up streamers left over from  birthday parties.  Make one with the kids for a present topper, or make lots of them with stems and give a bouquet to Grandma.

1 sheet card stock
12 ft. piece of crepe paper streamer 
White glue
For a flower with a stem:  Green Pipe cleaner or wire florist stem, 
For a present topper w/o stem:  wire or bag tie

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to Unwrinkle Clothes While Traveling

Miriam and Katrina discovered this method while on tour with their children's choir this summer.
1) Spritz the wrinkles and fold lines with a spray bottle.
2) With a blow dryer, blow dry.
This works best with lightly wrinkled polyester and polyester blends.
For heavily wrinkled, or cotton clothes, spritz and tumble in a clothes dryer with a clean dry towel for 5 minutes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Easiest Pumpkin Cookies Ever

If you are like some people I know, this time of year you are craving anything pumpkin.  If that is the case, you will love these simple pumpkin cookies.

All you will need is one spice cake mix and one 15oz can (the small can) of pumpkin.
You may also want chocolate chips or a container of cream cheese frosting.

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  
Next, mix together the pumpkin and the cake mix.  
If you would like chocolate chips in your cookies, mix them in at this time as well.
Spoon the cookie dough onto cookie sheets and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
Serve immediately, or frost with cream cheese frosting if you'd like.
For pumpkin sandwich cookies, spoon frosting on half of the cookies, and top with the cookies remaining.
I hope you enjoy eating these delicious pumpkin cookies!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to make a Ric Rac Rose

These are so cute!  I found them on "The Crafting Chicks."  Click on the picture to go to the tutorial.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crochet Pod for Baby Sweet Pea

Isn't she cute?  The pattern for baby is here to download.
I came up with the pod, myself.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to Make Flower Pancakes

Aren't these pancakes the cutest?  I found the instructions on the wonderful blog "Not Martha" and thought I'd post a link.  Here's the Link.  Enjoy!

How to Make Mini Berry Pies in Muffin Cups

Katrina wanted to make something besides cake to go with her ice cream this year and I had been wanting to try mini pies.  When I suggested she make them for her party, she loved the idea. too.  Here's how we did it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Playroom of Dreams II

In my last post, I announced my intention to "build" a playroom of dreams in honor of my grand baby, Lily.  This post highlights the playroom I have created.  I hope it gets the old creative juices flowing.   
DISCLAIMER:  I do not present this as a decorating masterpiece!  I don't have the time for that, and I think that as long as it's a fun room, kids don't care about the rest.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Playroom of Dreams

Since the guest room is my room to use as I'd like when we have no guests, I am going to make it a playroom!  Yes, it will have a bed in it, but it will still be a play room.  I figure, I use the closet to store buckets full of toys anyway, why not have the toys out to play with?  If you know our family situation very well, with 4 teenagers and 2 adult children, and sweet little grandbaby, Lily, being so little and living so far away, you may be wondering who will play in this play room.  I have no idea.  Any little kid who comes along, I guess.  And as Brian said when I stated my plans, "If you build it, She will come."

"She," being  Lily, of course, which isn't really true, but, it sure is a nice thought.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to Make Easy Tres Leches Cake with a Cake Mix

I have made tres leches cake this way a few times now and everyone loves it.  In fact, my kids made this recipe for my dear husband, Brian's birthday just last week, and even though I was away from home, I hear it turned out great.  That's how easy it is!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Crocheted Leaf Pattern

I crocheted these leaves to go with the double flower and the single flower that I put on the hooded towel that I made for my little granddaughter, Lily.

In other words, these are the leaves that went on the flowers that decorated the hood that went on the towel that Marci built.  Lol!  And all for baby Lily.

Crochet Pattern for a Single Flower

This single flower looks especially nice when used with the Double Flower.  Here are two examples of how they can be used together.  Both examples are sewn on the Hooded Towel that I made my baby granddaughter, Lily.  Enjoy.

Crochet Pattern for a Double Flower

I got this pattern at BYU Women's Conference a few years ago.  They always have a crochet service project for you to sew if you want as you listen to speakers.  They took all the flowers we women crocheted in the two days of the conference, attached jewels to the center of them, and sewed them on to barrettes for little girls' hair.   So cute!  Since then I have made these flowers to decorate the little hooded towels that I made for my new granddaughter, Lily.  Enjoy!

How to make a Hooded Towel from a Bath Towel and a Washcloth

This little hooded towel is becoming quite a tradition in our family. My mom gave each one of my kids a towel when they were babies, lovingly edging each one with crochet. Now I am making two for my own little grand daughter, Lily.  I crocheted it while she was in the NICU, struggling for breath.  Now she is home and the happiest baby in the world, especially when she is wearing her pink hooded towel!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Make Salt and Pepper Shakers out of Mini Jelly Jars

Recently, Brian and I enjoyed a wonderful two nights in a charming-old world inn at a near by ski resort.  For breakfast we feasted on delicious croissants topped with jelly from these tiny jelly jars.  The jars were so cute that when the server came to clear the table, I told him I wanted to keep the jars and take them home.  Yes, it was a bit embarrassing,  but totally worth it!  When I got home, I asked my girls what I should do with the jars, and Katrina immediately came up with a great idea--make them into salt and pepper shakers! Here's how I did it:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to Flick a Soda Pop Can Pull Ring

This idea is just one of the fun activities you can find in my "How to Have Fun in the Great Outdoors--Without any Special Equipment."

Finding an old soda pop can pull ring is becoming more and more rare these days, but if you do find one, make sure you show your kids how to send it spinning!

Friday, July 29, 2011

How to Have Fun in the Great Outdoors--Without Any Special Equipment!

Growing up, an excursion into the "mountains," was always a blast.  We kids rarely brought any special equipment in order to have fun.  With tadpole catching, rock hopping, and exploring, no extras were needed.  The other day, Brian, Thomas, Katrina and I went off on a mountain adventure.  The boys had fishing poles and licenses, Katrina and I had nothing.  Nothing except our own sense of fun, that is!  Here are some of the things we did.

How to Make Build-Your-Own Fruit Pizzas

I like fruit pizza. In fact, Brian and I ordered fruit pizza on our first date.  We made these build-your-own fruit pizzas for my daughter Cassandra's baby shower and everyone loved them.  Building your own is good not only because you can choose your own stuff, but also because your fruit pizza won't be soggy.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to Make Quick and Easy Girl-Party Decorations

Miriam, Katrina, and I made these streamer and tissue paper flower decorations for Cassandra's Baby Shower.  Really the only reason we made the flowers is because the dollar store didn't have pink balloons, but I was quite surprised to find that I thought they looked much cuter that balloons would have.  Find the tissue paper flower instructions here.  We just cut the leaves out of light green cardstock.

We decorated the TV, too because Cassandra's shower was a long distance shower, and she and other guests were participating via Skype.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How to make Unique Baby Shower Favors

 My daughters, Miriam and Katrina and I came up with these adorable favors for my oldest daughter, Cassandra's baby shower.  They are economical, creative and cute.  Our guests loved them and so will yours!

Edible Favor

Wearable Favor (lotion)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Make a Swing Set Chair and Hammock

Even though Grandma Maxine didn’t have a swing set, we always found lots to do out in her yard.  We’d climb the grapefruit tree and sit on the two branches that were twisted into a throne or a toilet depending on who was sitting on it at the moment.  We liked to play “bop ‘em, frisbee or badminton in the front yard even though the giant cypress tree would always eat our beach ball, Frisbee, or birdie.  At Great Grandma Gertrude’s house we’d climb the fig trees growing along the back of her property and eat figs.  But Grandma Patricia’s yard was by far the most fun.  It did have a swing set—a big tall one.  It also had a big watering trough made into a swimming pool with a rope swing tied to a tree above, and an old car to climb around in. So how does my yard compare to my grandmas’?  Well, we do have raspberries and apricots to pick and we also have the biggest apricot tree in the world to climb.  Add to that our new improved swing set, and I think out house is beginning to cut the mustard.

How to do a long distance baby shower

My daughter, Cassandra, is expecting her first baby--my first grandchild--in ten days and we're so excited!  That's the happy stuff.  The sad stuff is that Cassandra lives far away and we haven't seen her and her husband, Emerson, for quite awhile.  In fact, we have never seen her baby bump "in person."  Pretty sad, huh?  I am going to go visit when the baby is born which is definitely more happy stuff.  But until then, we wanted to have a shower for Cassandra.  So how do you have a baby shower for someone who is far away?  To make it work was definitely a family group effort.

Monday, July 4, 2011

How to Paint a Sand Dollar

This little craft is right up Grandma Maxine’s alley.  It’s made of something you find instead of buy, and it comes from the heart.  In fact, Grandma told me that she recently took up painting.  Even though we live far apart, doing this craft made me feel closer to her.