Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Active Family~How we DO it!

In a world obsessed with fixing the obesity problem....I struggle with my own weight control....and putting and keeping weight on my kids!  That's right, PUTTING weight on my kids!  I bred small babies (apparently...they are all in the 25%tile or lower for weight and height!) and they don't like it one bit!

When I became a parent in the Spring of 2002, I knew right then and there my kids were going to be active!  I didn't want to see my kids struggle physically or emotional over something I could teach them to control.  As soon as each one of them were old enough, we started sports!  We have had one delayed season and one shortened season to injuries (neither caused by sports, thank goodness!) but other than that, my kids play some kind of sport year round.

We started with baseball (teeball rather, but same thing) and added football, wrestling, recently boxing and this coming winter we will be adding basketball to our long list of sports activities.  Now, this is just my boys, my daughter is quickly approaching the age in which she can start getting involved (not that she isn't already in our little way!).

When we have down time between seasons, we spend as much time as possible at the park, zoo, nature center or any where else they can be active.  We have had several Tag tournaments in our days at the park (my kids are scary fast!).

I give my kids time to have their screen and lazy time.  There are days when I feel like they spent too much time in front of their video games (but those days I can count on two hands after a year).  We stay on the up and up with the newest stuff (mainly because "Daddy" is a gamer himself) and I even get in on the action.  I decided when they started playing video games on a serious level (I mean serious in so much as the games got expensive!) that I should enjoy them too.  We have contests and I bought some "board game" video games so that we can play together.  Getting involved with everything they find interesting allows me to keep the trust level I have with them when it comes to being active.  When I tell them its time to turn off the game and get outside, I very rarely get an argument.

When going outside to be active doesn't work, the family has several options!  We are all members of our local Title Boxing Club.  That place is awesome! Here's a link to their webpage!  We can go as often as we want and the kids have fun (sometimes they forget they are working out!).  When we don't have that (or have already done that for the day), we have activities that we can engage in.

We dance!  That's right!  I put the iPhone on my speaker docks, crank it up, grab the toy microphone and we get busy!  We do this pretty often...even have some toy guitars that come out!  It's fun, my kids are hilarious and we have one yet of a pitch match!  Our latest favorite tune to get down to is the sound track to Pitch Perfect!  The kids attempt to re-create the money's great!  Everyone usually walks away with sweaty brow and that's how I know I am doing it right!

WAR breaks out!  There is nothing more fun  than shooting your kids with fully loaded Nerf Gun!  We have a massive collection of guns and we put them to use pretty often!  Most of the time, they are re-creating their video games and favorite movies and TV shows (which is pretty awesome in my book!).  They build forts and run about the house like crazies!  It's great fun and a great way to be active indoors!  Of course, Nerf Wars can happen outside as well...when the idea of playing sports is just too tiring.

The Spring and Fall seasons are my families favorites of the year.  We are outside the most during these times and not only are my kids active....but we are making memories that will last a life time!  We explore different and new parks in our metro area, spend a lot of time at the zoo (their favorite place is the playground there!), and we otherwise keep ourselves busy.

The kids got scooters from Christmas and although they have used them in the cold weather since then; I can't wait to see what cool tricks and races they come up with this spring!

If you do other things to keep your family active, feel free to comment below!  I would love to see what you guys do...might come up with something new to do with my kiddos!

~Happy Playing!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Financial Binder~FREE PRINTABLES!

 Financial Binder can one of the best tools you every give your family.  Many relationships end over a difference in regards to money (whether it be income or spending or how to save).  The top stress factor in my life is money (not that I am all about the money...but money provides my kids with their sports, food, cloths, home, etc.).  I can only imagine that this is the case for most everyone I know.  I do have a few friends that don't have to worry about it; their income far exceeds their expenses and simply sit on unspent and rather unsaved money!  Very few people I know how this problem!  So, I have decided to share with you what I am doing to solve the problem short of winning the lottery!

Step One is and always will be to get organized!!  What problem you have in life, something will work itself out if you just organize the situation!

Things you will need to buy: 3 Ring Binder (got mine for 2.74 at Walmart)
12x12 scrapbook paper (if you don't already have it...use the medium to heavy cardstock)
3 Hole Punch (surely, you have one already!  If not, they are $8 at Walmart)
Be sure your printer has ink and paper in are going to be doing a lot of printing!

I made my own dividers, simply because this is not a business or school notebook and I want to use my own colors!

I took a 12x12 piece of solid color medium cardstock and put in my 3 hole punch (it is important that you make sure your 3 hole punch is set to the right spots as your binder....I learned this the hard way!)

I then marked off where I wanted to cut down my page and where I wanted my "tab" to be.

I used my straight cutter that is made by Provo Craft (but the brand doesn't matter!)  The important thing is that you have straight lines (or at least that's the case for me!).

I made my own printables to keep track of everything, at the bottom of each picture of my pages, there is a link to follow so that you can use them as well!  I have used other people's free printables for some other projects and I want to return the favor!  These things are not easy to make but can really make or break a decor area or notebook! ;)

Monthly Budget

Download the Monthly Budget HERE!

Weekly Expense Tracker

Download the Weekly Expense Tracker HERE!

Allowance Tracker

Download the Allowance Tracker HERE!

Savings Goals

Download the Savings Goal Sheet HERE!

Savings Register

Download the Savings register HERE!

Here is how my notebook is set up:
  Under the Budget tab is my monthly budget, followed by four weekly expense trackers and four weekly allowance sheets (These 8 sheets are in between each monthly budget).  I keep track of the money that is allotted to me to spend on the house, myself, and the kids.  This allows me to see places that I can make better decisions in regards to what I buy and when.  There is always room for improvement in your spending, but can't change what you can't see.

Under my Long Term Accounts I have included my savings goals sheets and a register for each goal.  This allows me to keep track of what amount is allotted to each savings goal in each of my savings accounts.  I do not have a seperate account for each little item I want to save for.  This allows me to see where $100 transfer to my savings account is going (for example; I have three goals we are working on, we put 50% towards the largest goal and 25% to each of the smaller ones.)  Each register denotes that actual dollar amount and we can see just how close we are getting to each goal.

Under my Utilities Tab I keep the last three months of the following Bills:
Gas Company
Electric Company
Trash Company

Under my Other Bills account I keep the last three months of the following Bills:
Cell Phone
Student Loan
Credit Card

Under my Bank Account Tab I keep my paperwork that accompanies each account I hold.  This keeps that information with the relevant material in which in may be needed!

Since completing this and putting it to use, the fiance and I have been at ease about what is getting paid when and how.  We both agreed on how the budget will work out, how much goes into the Savings, etc. and we can see it happening on a daily and weekly basis.  We leave room for the both to have personal expenses that the other doesn't know about right off the bat (such as for holidays, birthdays, just because).

If you download and use these, please leave a comment and let me know what you liked about them!  If there is something you want to see, let me know that!  Also, feel free to link these, but please, give credit where it is due!

~Happy Financing!


Yep!  You read that right!  Dangerous things are going to happen now that I have this BAD ASS waffle maker!  This morning the kids were hungry for something more than cold cereal but we were tight on time.

So....a plan was hatched, cinnamon rolls....cooked in the waffle iron!  Cook time is cut so far down, I was surprised at the swiftness of their browning!

How did I do it you ask?  Well, pretty simple!  I opened a tube of Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls (because there are no other type to buy!).  I placed a cinnamon roll on each of the four sections of my waffle iron.

I had to put a little muscle into closing the lid...but since this is a flip iron, it was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be.  Watch it carefully, these will be VERY easy to burn!

They do stick to the top half (my guess is going to be because of the cinnamon right there on the top).  I took a pair of tongs and pull them off.

I then iced them and served them!  The kids loved it, I was able to save a TON of time, it was a total win-win in this house!

~Happy Eating!

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cricut St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks!

Cricut has been exhausting me with the lack of hard copy cartridges that have cuts that I want to use!  However, I did find a deal on a digital set that include St. Patrick's Day cuts (wish I would have found it a month ago because it has Valentine's Cuts too)!!!

The "cartridge" is called Classroom-February March and cost $19.99.  They have these for every two months at this price and they are Cricut Craftroom exclusive.  This means that they are digital ONLY and you must have the Cricut Craftroom Software downloaded on your computer.  This program is FREE and works with ALL of the Cricut Machines!

I have tons of ideas concerning these cuts, but here is the first of them; Shamrocks!

As you can see, I also have my subway art already up, see my post St. Patrick's Day Subway Art to learn how you can get yours!  I made four different sized and patterned shamrocks on the Cricut.  They are the same cut, just a different size and different paper.  This was the first actual project I have done on the Cricut Craftroom.  The main reason is because to get to it, I have to move my machine from my craft desk to the kitchen home is too small to do otherwise!

Here's the process to these awesome little things on the wall!

First, you have to make the cuts.  This is technically a three layer cut....but I discovered the middle layer half way through this project....not having a hard copy of the handbook has been slightly confusing!  The end result is the base cut and the shadow cut.

I used 2.4, 2.5, 2.75 and 3 inch sizes for these.

I then, got out my 9 inch sticker maker with my permanent sticker refill.  To be honest....I have no idea how well these are going to come off the wall....but that is a problem I will deal with when it comes.  For a less risky application to the wall, do not sticker the bottom layer....use a tape or sticky tack of sorts to attach these to your wall.

Here is my sticker machine!  I also have a 2.5 inch machine....I love them both equally!  Both were bought at Micheal's with a 40% off coupon!
I think these look pretty good!  I can't wait until the rest of my projects comes together and I can reveal the final Mantel Project!
~Happy Decorating!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Things to do in/with the Snow!

I hate the cold!!  So, my kids rarely experience outside snow fun with their momma (not that they mind too much....they hate the cold just as much as I do!).

However, I have got to get them out of the house (I am already going crazy with their cabin fever!).  My babies are active little things (thanks to a life of year round sports and activities)!  So, to encourage them to get outside, I came up with a list of things they can do OUTSIDE!

1. Frozen Bubbles!  Any temp under 32 degrees F will freeze bubbles!  Way cool!  We have three of those colored bubbles by Crayola (my daughter is NOT spoiled, ha, who am I kidding!).

2. Snow Grafetti!  Water squirt bottles/water guns filled with water and a couple of drops of food coloring!  Paint away my babies!

3. Tic-Tac-Toe!  Simple and something we all should of thought of a LONG time ago!

4. Snowman building contest (they don't know everyone is a winner!)

Inside play is important....and the last thing I want is for them to stuck to that dang TV all day and evening!

So, we bring the snow inside!  Tiny snowmen and house on my toweled covered table!

And, of course snow ice cream!!!

~Enjoy the Snow-IN!

Snowed-in Ice Cream!

Here are a couple of Snow Ice Cream recipes to keep you busy while you are snowed in!  As soon as my boys get dressed and go fetch me some we will be trying this for ourselves!

Paula Dean's Snow Ice Cream
8 cups of snow
1 14-oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Stir all items together, serve immediately.

All Recipes Recipe

Gallon of Snow
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 Cup of White Sugar
2 Cups of Milk

Stir together until desire consistency.  Serve.

As I find more activities for the snow and for being snowed in I will post them!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Subway Art!

I am getting started on St. Patrick's Day Decor (Easter is two weeks this next month is going to be very interesting!).  My decor is going to be centered mainly around my mantel and my dining room table top (I don't have much else to decorate anyway!)

Anyway!  Here is the first step to my amazing mantel decor!  SUBWAY ART!  It's all the rage on Pinterest and I am finally jumping in!  I have a frame (the frame from my "Stockings Were Hung" sign) that is perfect for these!  I will printing one for each holiday/season and I am very excited about!

Download this bad boy right here from Funky Polkadot Giraffe! (Love that name!)

 ~Happy Decorating!

My Obssession with Hooks!

Oh yes!  With a household of 6 in a 3 bedroom townhouse, hooks have become my new best friend (well, at least as inanimate objects are concerned!).

My entry way is full of them!

My Key Holder!

This one I made and you can see my tutorial Here!  Right now it is holding my keys and the kids' "Blue Crew" badges for the Royals Stadium!

Underneath my Key Holder is a hook system that I bought at Hobby Lobby on a 50% off sale (think I paid $4.00 for it).  It's job is hold baseball belts and school backpacks!

Since I have four kids and only three in school, this backpack idea is working....but in a mere year and half, this will have to be re-thought!  I am not sure how I will find a hook system that goes with this color I will be changing this if we still live here then!

I have a coat rack (because my children are short like their mother and can't reach the bar in the coat closet!).  I bought this full price at Target for about $20.  This particular day I was in a fit over the coats thrown about the house (not just by my kids either).  What I am trying to say is, this was impulse buy and I don't suggest it!  Hobby Lobby puts their hook systems and single hooks on sale ALL the time.

My newest hook system was almost another impulse buy due to the fact that my kitchen does not accommodate for lunch box storage.  I was strolling through Target and happened upon this one!  It was on clearance for $15.00!

I love that it is hooks, a shelf, AND a chalkboard!!  As you can see it is holding lunchboxes, KC hats and baseball trophies!

That makes four hook systems in a single area of my home!  I wasn't kidding when I said I am obsessed!  The hook obsession doesn't end here tho!  I will be adding quite a few more over the course of the next couple of months.

Here's what for:
1.  Hoodies!  Currently, they reside on the coat rack and create a bulking eye soar that is not easy to move around when all 6 of the people that live here try to get through the entryway.  There will be one for the boys, one for the daughter and one in my bedroom for the grown up ones.

2.  Towels!  We do have those rods that towels drape over in the bathroom and on the doors to the showers.  They suck, especially when you have three growing boys sharing a bathroom!  I will be adding a hook for each boy to hang their towel on (I will be getting them from Hobby Lobby).

3. Medals!  We have quite the collection of Wrestling Medals.  Since I added the shelf hook system, I have to find a new place to put them (they used to hang on tacks, ha!).

~Happy Organizing!

Book Review~Scandalous Sisters!

If I find a good sucks me in!  When a good series catches's a week long trip into "Fairy Tale Land."  I found this series in one of my "Free E-book" searches on Amazon.  There have been two occasions that this trap on Amazon has worked on me....this being the second time I have downloaded a free book that is one in a series and then eventually bought the remaining e-books!

The series is titled Scandalous Sisters and they are all written by Rose Gordon.  

Book 1 is titled Intentions of the Earl and is still currently FREE!!  (I Love Free!)

Download it HERE!

The time frame of the book is set in England about 20 years after the United States has won its Independence.  The sisters are American born girls in England on a family vacation to their father's homeland.  The main character of this book is the Elder sister, Brooklyn.  It's suspenseful and a little dirty, you won't want to put it down!

Book 2 is titled Liberty for Paul and is currently $3.99.

Download it HERE! 
This a sequel and picks almost right where the first book leaves off.  Liberty, the youngest sister of the trio is the main character of this book.  In this one,  we follow her as she discovers a life outside of the shadows of her two pretty older sisters.  Liberty plays a major role in the first book, which is what had me begging for more when I found this one.  Unlike some other sequels I have looked into, this truly is a continuation of the first book (and I love that!).

Book 3 is titled To Win His Wayward Wife and is also $3.99.

Download it HERE!

This book is slightly different in set up than the other two.  It takes you straight to the issue and then flashes you back to figure out how the story went from the end of the second book to "now."  This one obviously centers around the middle sister, Madison.  Many unanswered questions from the first two books are answered in this final book of the series.  Like the other two books, it can get a little dirty, but it is important to the story line and the terminology had me laughing out load and needing to explain myself to those around me!

I hope you read them (and enjoy them)!  They are good little break from everyday life!

~Happy Reading!

Monday, February 18, 2013

My 28th Birthday!!

As I get closer and closer to the 30 mark, things start to get more and more real!  I have FOUR kids!!!   The oldest is almost 11!!!!  I don't own a house, yet! I haven't finished my degree (mainly because I want like 100 different degrees...ugh!)  I have so many things I want to do in life...things I keep putting off...things that I will no longer put off!

Enough of the "I'm getting old, poor me" bit!  Here's some photos of the family taken at "birthday party" at my parents house!  My DAD cooked us dinner (pretty awesome if you ask me!)!

Apparently, my future husband knows his way around a sewing machine or what we will be getting???  That's right!!  I'm gonna start making my daughter and I some cute clothes that don't cost an arm and a leg!

~Happy Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Teacher Gifts!

 I did something simple for my teacher's this year.  I did a little research on their favorite candy, bought a small vase, hotglued some cute Valentine's ribbon to it and filled the vases up with the candy.

I wrapped them up to add a bit of a surprise element to them and attached a little note to each one!

~Happy Valentine's Day!