i should be mopping the floor: August 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Free Printable Children's Schedules

The Free Printable Children's Schedules have been updated and improved. The original 2012 printable schedule suffered a bit of a technical issue on a previous server it was housed on. For your computer's safety, I removed it and have redesigned a new children's schedule for you. It's now housed in a new spot and in a new post.Old Printable Schedule
 Grab the new design 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}

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!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Easy Mini-Makeover with Paint {and a GREAT contest!}

I re-painted the kitchen last weekend {and into the first part of the week...our kitchen is 90% cut-in, 10% roll-on: it's a bit time-consuming to paint}. I had the pleasure of using Dutch Boy's new Refresh line of paint in the color Boulder Neutral {satin finish}.

Dutch Boy is currently giving YOU a chance to win a $5,000 makeover from HGTV's Lisa LaPorta in their Restore My Décor sweepstakes! {Details at the end of this post}

This is our before {it's also before I made my cafe curtains that are over my sink window as well as before we did our kitchen island transformation}. I'm not sure what I was thinking with this yellow...but it's been four years since I made that choice, so we'll go with the fact that it was way awesome back then {I guess}.

My goodies from Dutch Boy! I also received several products from Purdy to review as well. I'll be telling you all about them {along with yet another great contest} in the days to come.

Refresh Paint: Adds Beauty. Reduces Household Odors.  The first and only paint with Arm & Hammer® odor eliminating technology that beautifies and reduces odors at the same time. What more do you need in a paint...it's got it all!

Key Features of this AmAzInG Paint:
  • Exceptional hide and durability
  • Gives mildew-resistant coating
  • Zero VOC† / Greenguard® Indoor Air Quality Certified 
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty 
  • Also available in Ceiling Paint to maximize odor reducing performance when used with Refresh®

It was a GREAT paint to work with. Much creamier and smoother than most. It had superb coverage and I only needed ONE coat {that was a bit mind-blowing to me}.

Before painting, I thoroughly prep {I feel like the key to a good paint job is a great prep job}. I like to clean all the surfaces that will be taped up.

I tape. And then I smooth...and smooth some more. I can't handle leaky paint tape.

I also spackle any holes or imperfections. I can't stand our over-textured walls. Bleh. They've been a pain in my neck for five years now. Hate.

I also keep all of my plate covers in one spot. I used to try to put each one close to the outlet it came from...but that just gets crazy. One spot. Much easier to find when replacing.

It was crazy, messy madness. But way fun.

Before painting, I primed the whole room. Here I am on top of the refrigerator trying to prime that weird space over the pantry. Weird angles everywhere in this room.

Before rolling, I cut in everything that needs cutting in. I always do the cut in first. I've seen people get so sick of painting that they roll everything out...and then give up saying they'll "get to the cut-in later". Let's face it, cutting in is no fun. At all. But it's a necessary evil that must be dealt with. And doing it first ensures it will get done. Then on to rolling...which is fun, in my opinion. :)

After your paint is dry {and you've touched up any missed spots}, pull off your tape and enjoy!

I'm loving the new color. I think it will look even more awesome once I get those cabinets painted white!

And this paint is every bit as good as it claims. We do low carb...and seem to always be cooking bacon {although I recently learned the trick of cooking it on the side burner of my backyard gas grill}. But since using this paint, I never smell that bacon-y junk all day long like I used to. Love that.

Soooo much better than the yellow. I was looking for a good greige-color to neutralize the walls so all of my color can be brought into the space in other ways. And once that awful orange-y, builder-grade cabinet color is white, I think the color will be even more fabulous!

 I think I put the table back too far to the left...haha! Nothing seems to line up here.

And I love how the island pops against the more neutral backdrop. 

 Good stuff. 

Let's not forget the awesome contest that Dutch Boy is running! The Restore My Décor sweepstakes gives you a chance to win by submitting a “tired” and “boring” room you want to makeover to www.restoremydecor.com. The grand prize winner receives a $5,000 room makeover by TV Design star, Lisa LaPorta.

Happy Painting!