Valentines Day

So it has been FOREVER since I’ve blogged but I now have an app on my phone so maybe I can do more…no promises. Anyway, I just finished the valentines for the boys and they are super cute. I, of course, found the idea on Pinterest but I loved it because it wasn’t candy. I feel like they get enough candy so this was a fun alternative.

Here’s what I used:

– loopy straws from Walmart – $.97 for six
– pretzel bags – $1.75 for 20
– 2″ round labels – $7.97
– scrapbook paper – 3 sheets – 4 for $1

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Wedding Gift

I have been super excited for the wedding of my step brother, Patrick, and his fiance, Katie.  I know it is going to be decorated so adorable because they have a vintage theme.  Katie is so crafty and they are making most of the decorations.  That being said I knew they would appreciate something homemade for a gift.  So I took some ideas from Pinterest and went with it.

I made them a casserole carrier from this tutorial.  I picked a really fun print for the fabric.

The only thing I wasn’t happy with is that the lady suggested making lines to mark where the pieces line up…however I don’t like that they are still visible.  It is possible that there is some kind of sewing marker that erases but I don’t know about it.

One thing I did different was used smaller velcro because I didn’t read that part and so I ended up sewing on a couple pieces for different size pans.

Then to go with the carrier I painted a wooden spoon the bride’s favorite color…yellow…with directions from this tutorial.  I couldn’t find any shellac at my local stores (and lets face it, waited til the last minute so ran out of time) so I used a coat of clear poly.  It seemed to work great!

Last but not least I wanted to include a casserole dish but wanted it personalized so I put the couple’s last name on it.  I saw this tutorial on Pinterest also and decided I could put their last name on it!  It worked out well!

Then I wrapped it up pretty after seeing some cute ideas on Pinterest (I love it don’t you?).  The bride and groom requested that guests consider recycling paper to wrap their gifts so I used a grocery bag to wrap it.  Then added a pretty ribbon and some stenciled letters.

I really hope they love it as much as I do!  I will be back to share pictures of their wedding day as I’ve been asked to do their photography too!

Brothers of the Sun Tour – Review

I had the pleasure of attending the very first concert at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis this past weekend. It was an amazing show. The show lasted 6.5 hours…that’s the longest show I’ve ever been to. There were 4 artists on the lineup…Jake Owen, Grace Potter, Tim McGraw, and Kenny Chesney.

I’ve seen the two headliners before but not the other two artists. Jake Owen started the show singing such hits as…’Alone with You’ and ‘Barefoot Bluejean Night’ . I enjoyed his portion of the show but felt like maybe he should have been the second act and let Grace Potter open up. She was okay but she is not the style of music that got with the rest of the crew. Her music seemed more like gospel to me but according to what I’ve read online she is a ‘rock’ singer. The bummer of her being there was she didn’t even sing her duet with Kenny…’You & Tequila’. That was a disappointment to me.

After a short break Tim McGraw opened his portion of the show with ‘Felt Good on my Lips’. He graced the stage with a pair of tight white jeans and a fitted white tshirt. He certainly is looking good at 45!! Tim put in his usual crowd-pleasing show with hits like ‘Just to See You Smile’, ‘Live Like You Were Dying’, and ‘I Miss Back When’. He started ‘Better Than I Used to Be’ with some inspiring words about becoming a better person. It made the song more emotional to me…but something about being at a live show always does that to me.

Then it was Kenny’s turn. He too put on a good show but I was slightly disappointed in having seen him this past winter and I felt like the show was much the same as the previous one. He is all energy however from the moment he jumped out of the stage in the middle of the crowd and rode his chair to the main stage. He sang hits like ‘Summertime’, ‘There Goes My Life’ , ‘Come Over’.

Of course at the end of the show Tim and Kenny sang a few songs together. They sang one of their own songs with their buddy and then they sang one that didn’t belong to either of them. This was the most disappointing part of the show to me as I had hoped they would sing more together and at the very least do an encore song but there would be no encore and I felt like I was left hanging. Some lucky fans (who had paid $400+ for tickets) got autographs while the band continued to play. There were lots of fans holding out hope that they would get to hear more but like myself were left hanging.

Overall it is a show I would highly recommend (and I’ve seen A LOT of shows)! It was well worth the money I paid for it for sure! And it was a good thing we had to wait 7 months for the show because drinks were very expensive and I needed that time to save up. Also, great job Target Field in hosting their first show and I think the acoustics were pretty good. I’m sure they learned lots from their first show.

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Summer Reading Incentives

We all know how important it is to keep our kids reading over the summer.  In our house we are making them stay up on their reading minutes that we require during the school year and thought I’d add a little incentive to get them reading even more.  So I took the idea that our area libraries use along with a reading incentive program Blake’s 2nd grade class used and spun it to work for us.  I gave the boys each a booklet to track their minutes when they read.  You can find the booklet that I created here:  Summer Reading Minutes.

We then needed to come up with some incentives.  I made a list of a few that I thought would work and then sat down with the boys and they helped me come up with some more.  I assigned every reward with a value of how many minutes they need to achieve it.  Once they redeem their minutes for a prize they are gone with the exception of one item on the list which is worth 5000 minutes..they continue to accrue to earn this prize!

Here is our list of rewards:

 

–          Trip to Moondogs Game                                                                       5000

–          Alone time with mom or dad                                                               500

–          20 minutes Wii time                                                                              300

–          DQ treat                                                                                                    250

–          Pick supper                                                                                              200

–          Donuts for breakfast                                                                              350

–          Friend over to play                                                                                 1500

–          Picnic with mom or dad                                                                        500

–          No chores for a day                                                                                200

–          Movie night – pick movie from Redbox                                            150

–          Date night                                                                                                1000

–          Ice cream treat at home                                                                        150

–          Stay up 15 minutes late                                                                         450

 

I hope this helps inspire other parents out there who are in need of a way to keep their kiddos reading this summer.  We have already doled out one prize to each of the boys and I think they are starting to ‘get it’ now!

 

Izzy is growing up…

I introduced you to Izzy in this post when she had first come home with us.  Since then she has been growing by leaps and bounds!  She currently weighs 26 lbs at 14 weeks.  She has turned into one of the best dogs we’ve had.  She is very smart and Mike has her already fetching up dummies and jumping off the dock to swim.  We took her camping and we were slightly worried that she would bark a lot but she was the calmest puppy I’ve ever seen!  She just layed around and hung out with us.  We even took her to the beach and she didn’t even mind when other dogs were walking past.

She has been moved into her outside kennel for good as of this week.  We are still working through some issues with her not wanting to go potty in her kennel because she is house trained so well.  We haven’t had an accident in the house in several weeks.  We are so happy to have added Izzy to our family!

Summer has arrived!

We have been super busy with summer type things…baseball, camping, swimming.  It has been a fun but usy summer so far!  The boys play bseball two nights a week at mostly the same time.  We have been trading off as to who goes to watch which kid.  Blake’s games go longer so we sometimes can catch a little of it after Avery is done.  The boys LOVE playing and it is so great to watch them improve as a team every week.

Here is a couple shots of Avery ‘sliding’…but it didn’t go so well.

And here’s one of blake playing first base…

This is Blake on our first camping trip of the year.  We have a box of legos that stay in the camper so they are like new toys every summer.

Avery out swimming.

Blake and his friend Tyler playing in the mud while camping.

Blake, Avery & Tyler playing Soccer Guys (a great box of toys from Kaskey Kids)

And THIS (ladies calm down) is my husband!  I believe this picture was just after he tried to flick me off for taking his picture:-)

Teacher Gifts – End of the Year

I know I have sadly neglected this poor blog and I have so many things that I wanted to write about.  I am hoping that summer will allow me to catch up but not counting on it.  I’ll do my best.

Since today is officially the first day of summer I thought I’d share the gifts we gave the teachers for the summer.  You saw this post with the spa themed gift for teacher appreciation week.  So for the end of the year I thought I’d give them gifts that had a summer theme.

I created these pretty bookmarks from this blog post I found on Pinterest.  It used some of my sewing skills that I don’t get to use often and I also got to make some of my favorite fabric flowers!

Then I created a Sweet and Spicy BBQ rub for grilling from a recipe that I found in a magazine.  I put it in a goodie bag with a label with instructions and tied it with a ribbon.  I hope that was good because I didn’t try any of it!

We added one of those glasses with a straw that you can pop in the freezer and finally an A&W with a label saying ‘You are A&Wesome!’

Then to tie it all together I added a little note in a thank you card that said ‘May you have an A&Wesome summer filled with grilling, reading, and sipping by the pool!’  I hope they enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed making them!

 

RECIPE: Chocolate Chip Cookies

We all have a recipe that brings us back to our childhood and this is mine!  For those of you who grew up in New Richland you will remember the Quiram’s Bakery chocolate chip cookies.  I think this recipe tastes just like them and I LOVE them!  So I’m sharing them with you so you can get a little taste of nostalgia!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c white sugar

1 c brown sugar

10 T sweet cream butter, softened

10 T shortening (Crisco brand makes a difference!)

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 2/3 c flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 package mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place butter and shortening in the mixing bowl.

2.  Add both sugars and beat until smooth and creamy.

3. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.  Also add vanilla.

4.  Add flour, baking soda, and salt in small amounts and beat until incorporated.  Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are mixed in.

5.  Add chocolate chips and beat until they are all mixed in.

6.  Scoop dough onto pan leaving enough room for them to spread out.  I sometimes like to do small cookies so I just use my 1 T scoop.  If you want a larger cookie the 2 T scoops work well too.

7. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges but not too dark.  I bake them until they are just barely looking done.  Then I leave them sit on the cookie sheet for a minute because they will set up and are then easy to scoop off the pan.  Place on a cooling rack until they are cool enough to stack.

Just a note…try not to eat all the dough raw.  I have an issue with this and end up eating several cookies worth of dough!  ENJOY!!

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

It’s that time of year again when we need to say a huge THANK YOU to the teachers in our lives!  They mean so much to me as they take care of and teach my children every day.  I truly appreciate everything they do…so I like to show them that they are appreciated.

Here are the gifts that I put together for them:

I used this recipe for the body scrub.  I put it in a simple canning jar, tied a ribbon around it and made a cute little label.  I also put a label on the back with instructions on how to use it.

The foot scrub and hand soap were purchased from Bath & Body Works.

I added a little note that said ‘Pamper yourself…you deserve it!’  Something simple but I’m sure they’ll love them!  I know I would!

So don’t forget to get the teachers in your life a little something special…and don’t forget it is also daycare provider appreciation on Friday…this gift would work for them too!

Meet Izzy

We are in love!  Our new puppy, Izzy, joined our family just a week ago!  She is adorable, loveable, playful and sweet.  She loves to take naps, loves her belly rubbed, plays tug-o-war and so far seems very smart.  We are training her to ring a bell when she needs to go outside.  She started using it less than 24 hours after we brought her home.

We knew she was coming home but we got her sooner than we thought.  We wanted to surprise the kids so we told them we were going to look at a camper,  All the way there we kept waiting for them to say ‘this is the way to where the puppy is’ but it didn’t happen until we drove into the breeder’s driveway.  Blake took one look and knew that we were there to see the puppy.  Little did they know we were bringing her home.

Her name took us a long time to agree on.  Mike was dead set on naming her Nelli (short for Benelli which is the gun he shoots) but I wasn’t sold.  So we kept making lists for each other trying to find a name that all of us could agree on.  Nothing hit either of us as ‘the one’ for quite a while.  One day Mike mentioned Izzy and although it wasn’t a favorite for either of us we did like it.  We went back and forth until the drive over to get her.  I finally decided that if Nelli was what everyone else wanted then it could be Nelli.  However then Avery wasn’t sold on it either.  When we got out of the truck and started playing with her we decided Izzy it would be!

So Izzy it is and Izzy it will be.  We are so excited to have this new addition to our little family.  There is NOTHING cuter than a lab puppy.  Here are some pictures:

How can you not love that face??