Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Making Use of my Sister's Throw Away Clothes

My sister gave me some interesting clothes from her toss pile, and the girls were in need of dresses, so

I took this

And this

And made these

Try not to look at the mess in the background. My husband took the pictures. I love how cute my girls look in them. Completely free dresses-I love it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quiet Book-Finally!

Anyone who has made one of these knows how wonderful it feels to get it done. This has been on my "to do" list for years, and I love how it turned out. I'm so thankful to all those who posted their great ideas for quiet books, and I'll do my best to link you to the one's I drew inspiration from. I love watching the girls play with this! Such gratification!
Apple and Orange (or peach) orchard

ABC's. They could also spell 3 lettered words.This one was a lot of fun. Though I may have done more clothes than I needed too. Make it a boy or a girl.

The little pocket holds hair accessories.
Counting Beads
Button on the flowers.
Stuff with candy and surprises!
Using the template from Homemade by Jill. Click Here. The animals are finger puppets. How fun!
Laundry Day!
Lift the flap page.
Pictures are ironed onto fabric with Iron-on transfer paper.

Make a puzzle. They put it together in the brown square, but I thought I would show what it looked like. There is also a star, and a flower. Just like in this website, from Crafty Chic
Weave a cherry pie!
I think I way overdid on this one, but that is because it was so fun. The Food Bag is a little bulky.
They can make several options of dinner, breakfast, lunch and snacks. It's a lot of fun and educational! My husband had to ask me what a few of them were (even though I thought it was obvious). Hopefully you can figure them out!
This one isn't quite finished. I have intentions to copy and laminate pictures of different kid movies and my girls, and they can change the channel on the TV by alternating pictures that slide in and out.
Envelope for letters. The other page will hold a notebook too, to write the letters. Another template from Homemade by Jill, Here.
Matching Shapes

Color WheelIn order to get it done, I had to use the finished pages as entertainment.

It actually was too thick to be one book. Now the girls don't have to fight over them.
Borrowed Ideas.
Naptime Journal
How to Make a Quiet Book-A lot of ideas and links here!

If you are interested in seeing how I made my cover click here for a tutorial.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Meal Planning Made Easy

Planning Your Menu a Year at a Time
WARNING: My meal planning method may make your life much much easier, for years to come.

With that said, I swear by this method. It may seem crazy that anyone could plan a menu for a years worth, and make it functional, but I do. And so does the sweet lady who taught me this method. And so do many other groups of women that I've taught this method to. I wish I could just link you to a word document, but I don't know if you can do that in Blogger. So I took pictures of documents, and if you would like the originals emailed to you, I can do that too. Hope this all makes sense.

The goal is to create a tentative menu plan for a years worth, so that you don't have to sit down every day, week, or month to plan a menu-which can take a lot of time. Once you have the basics established, you can do a years worth of planning in 1 hour, or less.

The very first step for me was something I was already doing. I keep a 3 ringed binder with sheet protectors that hold 4 4x6 pictures or cards. I found them at a scrapbook store. In this book I only put recipes that have been tried and found true to my family. I know they will eat it because I've made it before. Now you can follow the instructions below.

Meal Planning Made Easy

M- Make your master list
Go through recipe books and files
Make a list of all meals your family eats
Categorize them by poultry, beef, meatless, seafood, pork, etc.
Keep this for future reference and to add new favorite recipes

E- Evaluate each meal
How often do you want to have it?
Every month, every other month, quarterly, twice a year, etc.
You can use highlighters for each category, or make separate lists

A- Add all meals to a pocket calendar
Start by adding repetitive meals, like Sunday roasts, date night, eating out, pizza, etc.
Add a night for leftovers each week
Add in how often you want a surprise or new meal
Leave empty spots for holidays, seasonal foods, sales, garden food and so on
Fill in all the rest of the days from your list for a year

L- Look ahead
Check your menu each morning/evening
Consult your menu when making your shopping list
You have a whole year until you need to do this again!
Buying groceries at least a month at a time saves so much money!
Go to the store weekly only for perishables you need.

S- Sit back and watch your new menu plan bless your family. We, as parents, have a sacred duty to provide for the physical and the spiritual needs of our children.
You are setting an example for your daughters who will grown up to be mothers to their own children.
You are teaching your children the healthy eating and budgeting skills.
You are taking care of yourself, and you will perform better in your role as a mother and wife as you experience the benefits of regular, planned, nutritious meals.
You are conserving your time, money and energy to be used on other things.

Here is a sample of my food lists, categorized by meats, or the lack of. You could add a seafood list, but I can't stand the stuff so I don't cook it. I add in new dishes I've made with red pen, that I want to add into the next years planning.

Here is the calendar I have to wright my menu down. Buy them at the dollar store.

This is a sample page of a months menu planning.

The most important thing to remember in all of this, is that everything is subject to change. If you don't feel like taco's that night, trade around nights. Someone brought you dinner, forget your plan. Roast on sale, skip the spaghetti. But the glorious thing is, that you have a plan.

I usually save 150-200 dollars a month if I do all my shopping a month at a time. So when each month rolls around, I just look at my preplanned menu, make a shopping list, with perishables listed weekly. I buy all the groceries for the month, and if there are perishables you need to buy that week, only buy those. It works best if I have a list and give it to my husband to pick up after work. Then I'm not tempted to buy the things that look good, but I don't really need. I stretch the snack food to last a month, rather than buying needless junk. If ever I stray from this method, I end up spending so much on groceries.

Hope this all made sense, and I hope it can benefit someone out there. It really has made a difference in my home. I now have so much more time to sew and craft. Who out there can turn down those benefits?

Recommended Reading

For the other mommies out there who stay at home with there kids, I HIGHLY recommend this book. As a bonus, get it as a book on tape and listen to it while you clean, craft. or search blogs. Whether you like Dr. Laura or not, you will find yourself completely uplifted and with a greater appreciation and determination for staying home with your kids. It's not a bash on those who don't stay home with there kids. Just a praise for those who do, and ways for those mommies to embrace their situation in spite of the possible lack of social life and instant gratification. I was a new mommy after I listened to this book. Thank you Dr. Laura!

Homemade Flannel Figures

This is a project I begun 4 years ago. And now it is finished. Don't let that scare you, I just went way overboard. You may have heard of this method to make your own flannel figures, though I'm not sure where I heard it 4 years ago. I didn't look at blogs then. But it is an easy and adaptable way to make any flannel figure or story you would like to.

I found a copy of all these scripture pictures 4 years ago on the lds.org website. I'm sorry I can't link you right to them, I was having a hard time finding them again. You could print out virtually anything you want. Color them if they are not already colored. This is what took me 4 years to do. I could only handle coloring so much in one day.

Then you need some Iron-on Transfer paper, which you can find at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Staples, or anywhere for that matter. Copy your picture onto the transfer paper on an ink jet printer. Next get a piece of white felt, and iron on the transfer paper. Cut the figures out, and there you have it.

Check out my flannel board to make an easy fold up one for your new figures.

To store my figures I put them in a ziplock bag with the story.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I made this thinking it would be great for kids to bring to sleepovers at Grandma's house. Now if only I can convince Grandma to have sleepovers.

I think I found a pattern for it in a Simplicity pattern book, though I can't say for sure. Basically, you sew a big pocket onto a blanket, making sure the pocket is measured 1/3 of the blanket, and sewn in the center. My Grandma had one of these growing up, and it was perfect to bundle up in and stick my always ice cold feet in the pocket.

Building a Bathroom

When we bought our house, it was finished except for a big whole in the wall in the basement where a bathroom could go. So for a couple of years my husband held onto scraps of stuff from construction sites he worked on, and built this bathroom for almost nothing. All we had to buy was the sink and cupboards, toilet (which were the cheapest Home Depot had), and some paint. Pretty cheap bathroom, and very nice to have something in that whole. I love having a handy hubby.

I love the tile shelf he put in the shower.