i should be mopping the floor: August 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday's Freebie: Children's Visual Schedules {For the Morning}

Available in both boys' and girls' schedules, with several hair/skin tones to choose from.

If you're fans of my Facebook page, I really appreciate all of the insight and ideas for this new virtual schedule that so many of you helped me with last week. And let me start by saying, now that we're done with the first week of school {almost}, this schedule has {in every sense of the word} revolutionized the morning routine in our home. Revolutionized. Big time.

Mornings are a breeze thanks to this tool:
Both of my boys use them. When their alarms go off, they hop up and get to it. I can still be drying my hair while they are already up and at 'em and getting dressed. They love the responsibility and freedom this gives them.

{We do have some incentive attached to this...if we have smooth mornings for the first six weeks of school...and this means every single morning...we get cool new alarm clocks. They're both wanting the Lego ones.}

But truly, they don't even mention the Lego alarms too much...they really want to do these things and get ready for school on their own.

I uploaded mine to my local Kinko's/FedEx for printing {you can learn how I do that here}. I also had both of ours laminated. My kids carry them around with them in the mornings {from their rooms, to the bathrooms and then to the kitchen for breakfast}, so laminating has worked out so well for us. However this is designed for an 8x10 frame, too, and could be displayed anywhere in their room for them to see. It works best for us that it's right by their alarm clocks.


The only thing I do is lay out their clothes the night before {we already did this anyway}. They can get to the bathroom, brush, etc. all on their own {we're still sporting summer buzz cuts, so hair isn't an issue quite yet}. I don't come into this process until #6 when we all meet up in the kitchen for breakfast.

PLEASE NOTE: My lists are designed for {roughly} ages four and up. There are too many tasks on it for kids younger than that. But, my almost-eight-year-old loves it, too. The visual images are helpful for my kindergartner who isn't a full-fledged reader quite yet. 

As always, I really do appreciate a blog follow before downloading any of my printables {it's a super sweet thing to do, eh?}. To download the printable that's right for your child, simply click on the image below: 


     

     


      

Thursday, August 30, 2012

In Our Lunch Box This Week {No. 7}


It's been a while since I've done the "In Our Lunch Boxes" on a regular basis. But now that school's back in, I'm in full bento-mode again. Here's a few of the lunches the boys have had this week:



The above was the first day of school lunch for my oldest son. 
Includes: ham & cheese sandwich {with letters from cheese, glued on with mustard}, grape tomatoes, cantaloupe, gf crackers and a Trader Joe's fruit bar {his fave}

An easy to prepare lunch:
Includes: ham & cheese sandwich on bread round {cut in quarters and the quarters are stacked}, carrot slices, orange slices, cucumber slices {with an adorable mini bottle of Ranch dressing...I found those in the Japanese district in LA, he loved it} and letter Cheez-Its {not in love with the processed factor of this item, but, sometimes I cave}



M-I-C-K-E-Y:
Includes: PB&J Mickey sandwich {I used the below items to create this}, cucumber slices, grapes, those cool all-natural fruit things I found at our local grocery store and {yucky processed} letter Cheez-Its 


I bought these Mickey Mouse items at Disneyland when we were there in the spring. And the edible markers were at my grocery store in the cake decorating area. The template-looking thing is actually a  toast-indention thing {don't you love how technical I'm getting here? Ha!}. I pressed it on the bread and then outlined the impression with the markers.

Easy & Fun
Includes: Simple PB& J Roll-Ups {I gave the how-to on those HERE}, grapes and string cheese. 
There was also a cup of Greek yogurt in his lunch box, too.  

 Another Simple Lunch
Includes: PB&J on a bread round, string cheese, grape tomatoes, Cheez-It letters and cantaloupe








PB&J Roll-Ups {Crazy Easy & Fun!}


This is seriously the only way I can get my youngest to eat a sandwich. It's basically a deconstructed and then reconstructed {with a twist} peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Something about making it into cute little rolls makes these disappear a lot quicker. 

Trim the crusts off of two slices of bread and then roll them as flat as possible {without tearing the bread or wearing it too thin} with your rolling pin.

Apply a thin layer of peanut butter to each slice.

Then top that with a thin layer of jelly.

Then take each piece and begin to roll them up {jelly-roll style}, nice & tight.

You'll probably have a little jelly ooze out by the time you have it completely rolled. That's okay, I'm sure you'll figure out what to do with that {wink, wink}.

I like to use a sharp, serrated knife to cut my "logs" into three pieces. The serration will give you a nice, clean cut and won't squish the "log" down in the process.

And there you go! 

Perfect in a lunch box, for an after-school snack or even at a kid's party. 








Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lemon & Rosemary Crockpot Chicken {with printable recipe card}

Before you balk at the fact that I'm using a whole chicken {I know who you are, balker!}...please know that a couple of years ago, they wildly intimidated me, too. But, it's so cheap to use the whole bird, that it's basically the only way I buy chickens anymore. They were on sale for $.77 a pound at the store this week, so I scooped a few up {it makes an entire meal for us for less than $4...plus a side dish or two}.


 
For this recipe, I used:
- 2 lemons {they were on the smallish side}, sliced
- several sprigs of Rosemary {it's going cRaZy in my herb garden right now}
- olive oil
- butter {I used about 1/4 cup, sliced into pats}
- sea salt
- 1 whole chicken


Wow. What a flattering photo of this hen's, errr....cavity? Stuff a few lemon slices and some of your Rosemary in the cavity, before laying her breast side up {to see what breast side up looks like, again, see the post on the whole chicken cooking}, into a slow cooker that has been drizzled with olive oil {I do about two "whirls" around the crockpot with my bottle of olive oil}.

Tuck the rest of your Rosemary and lemon slices all around the chicken in the crockpot. Using your hand, work your way between the skin and body of the bird to separate the skin a bit. Tuck in several pats of butter. Season well...I personally, like to keep this recipe simple, so I only use my sea salt. But, feel free to add some fresh-cracked pepper, too {I have a five-year-old who has an aversion to seeing little black speckles on anything he eats, so I avoid the pepper currently}.

Turn your slow cooker on low and cook for 6-7 hours. Your house will smell amazing about hour number four! And when it's finished, the bird will practically fall apart and be so moist and tender.

This is super filling, too...we are low carbers and simply pair this with some garlic-sauteed spinach for a meal {I have to give my boys some fruit, too, because their grandmother has instructed them that a meal always consists of three items. What in the hee-haw is that all about?}

To download a printable recipe card {in both 4x6 and 5x7 sizes to fit your recipe files}, click on the image below:


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Easy DIY State Art {for $0}

I have this weird space in my kitchen that I previously dealt with by creating this for a few months back. However, the lid from my trash can knocked it off the wall dozens of times when my kids stomped on the petal like a cow driving a car {helloooo, we've talked numerous times about softly opening the trash can...does nobody else respect the lid?}.

Sooo, despite my OCD need to "fill the trapped white space", I have given in to the fact that the white space is actually lid-hitting space and truly can't have artwork on/in it. On to Plan B.

We had some scrap wood in the garage that we pieced together to form a "canvas".

And then we used more scrap wood to adhere it all together {along with wood glue between the slats}.

I used the leftover Frog Tape from painting my kitchen to "freehand" some stripes {I didn't invest a whole lot of time into this one...it was one of the quickest projects ever}.

I used the paint that I've also used here, here, here, here and here {on my third can and don't plan on quitting the blue anytime soon. Obsessed.}. I literally just slapped it on there. 

I let it dry for a couple of hours and then laid my pattern on top of it {I just did a quick search for "Texas outline" on Google Images}, enlarged it in Photoshop and printed it {on the fast draft because I'm a total ink tightwad}. I taped the printout to the board and used a ball point pen to trace it {pressing hard} so it left an indention into the wood underneath.

You can see the faint outline in the above photo.

I lightly went over it with my ink pen just to make sure I could see it well {the ink would get covered with paint, so I figured it wouldn't matter}.

Since the indention was in place, it almost acts like a "flood space" to catch excess paint. I outlined first and then went through and filled in the middle. I only did one coat...I wanted it a bit rough and somewhat opaque. I may go back later and sand and weather it a bit...still thinking on that one.

Ta-Da! And the little heart is over the city we live in {created with my Sharpie}. You know the area, where the stars at night are big and bright...

Yes, there's still some trapped space...but now my trash can be used by all members of the family again...not just the one person who can exercise some restraint when applying pressure to the pedal {seriously, family, how hard can this really be?}.

This concept can easily be done with any state or cool shape. And it was FREE!







{NEW!} The Tuesday Ten


If you haven't had a chance to link up to this week's Mop It Up Mondays, you can still get in on the party action here!

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As I mentioned at this week's party, I'm making a few "upgrades" here and there to the blog...the first is the addition of The Tuesday Ten! I'll be featuring my personal top ten favorites from the previous day's party every Tuesday. Be sure to stop by and check out the fun! We will still have features going on when the party comes out on Sundays, too...but now those features will be the ten most viewed links by the readers. {I have no idea why I'm so partial to the number ten...just seems like a nice rounded number}.

Thank you to everyone partying with me on Monday. If you were featured, feel free to grab a button:

mop it up mondays feature


{Cranberry Muffins with Oatmeal Crunch Streusel}

Libby from Twirl & Taste is giving us a taste of fall with this delicious recipe.
This seriously made me get up from my chair and throw a cranberry Scentsy thingy into the warmer. Seriously.


{Dr. Seuss Graduation Open House Banner}
Anna from Bean Bug Crafts shared a tutorial to make this awesome Oh The Places You'll Go banner. This would also be super fun at a baby shower or in a child's room.

{Tie Skirt~ Upcycled Neck Ties Make a Fun & Flattering Skirt}
How cute is this? Crystelle Boutique created a great skirt from men's ties. I think this would be so adorable with some smart knee-high boots and a sassy swagger. :)

{Mini Oreo Cheesecakes}
Mmmm....Julie from This Gal Cooks has been up to some yumminess with this special treat. I'm pretty sure I love mini-anythings. Add Oreos and I'm a goner.

{Kids' Chore Chart}
My UK Blogging Buddy, Natasha, from Serenity You, created something perfect for helping kiddos help out around the house. The little cards are held in an empty toilet paper roll....genius.

{DIY: Shabby Mini Topiaries}
I'm such a sucker for a topiary. Alderberry Hill linked up a set of adorable ones that she made to take her right on into the fall. Love these. Can think of about dozen places in my home that I could use them.

{Tortellini Salad}
Melissa, the Alchemist, linked up a fabulous recipe for this delicious pasta salad. I always feel like tortellini is a double treat since not only is it pasta, but it has a savory little surprise inside. This is such a colorful salad...YUM.

{Chevy}
Rachel from Remastered Relics recovered this ottoman in the prettiest chevron fabric {and took us through the process on her blog}. She bought this at a garage sale, peeps. And, no joke, you've got to go see the before photos. Wow.

{School Spirit Rag Wreath}
There's so many reasons I love this wreath linked up from Amanda at My Heart's Desire. First off, my husband is a high school principal...so we bleed green & white from August through May. This would be so fun on my front door to bring a little school spirit on home. I also love it because it's the colors of my kids' school...and I'm thinking it would be an adorable teacher's gift! Love.

And my NUMBER ONE favorite link this week is:
{My Stenciled Closet Makes Me Smile}
And you know what, Miranda? It makes me smile, too. Pressing On linked up her beautifully done closet. And I've totally been waiting for this one, too. I featured her redone office a few weeks ago on Mop It Up Mondays #28....it was gorgeous {and striped...my favorite}. This is the closet for that office...and it did not disappoint!

So happy you've stopped by today. Don't forget to come back for the party next week where reader picks will be featured. Now, I'm off to go look at my boring plain-walled closets and contemplate another project that my husband can roll his eyes at. Just kidding. Kind of.