Making Memories: A Fun DIY project

I love books! As a kid I loved workbooks and fill in the blanks. I'm a nerd for paper. And I still am. I ran across this pin awhile back and thought it was such a wonderful idea. Basically this blogger came up with 30 questions of things she thought her kids should know about her. What a fun idea! And the more I thought about, the easier I decided it would be to make it into a fun book! I used different fonts I had downloaded on my computer and typed out each question. Then I printed them out on card stock and doubled sided it. I made a cover page by printing a fun peice of digital paper and then feeding it back through the printer to print our names right on top. I paper clipped it all together and took it down to Staples and had them do a spiral bind on it. It was a fun and cheap project that turned into a keepsake! I keep thinking I need to print more of these books for some of the mamas and daddies I know. I know Mer will enjoy reading this later on.

I cannot find the site I got these digital papers from :( 

As you can see I haven't finished my book yet.

I love to use pretty colored pens to fill it out. 

This general idea of a book of questions is a great idea for kids as well! So many possibilities!



Maps! A fun DIY

I love maps! Like love love them! I have no idea how I came about this relatively newfound love but they fascinate me and I feel like just looking at them opens doors. I've been looking at some watercolor style maps on Zulily for months. But the smallest version is $30, and then it still needs a frame. And while that isn't a great deal of money, it was more than I wanted to pay. Two weeks ago I walked into Walmart and practically squealed! They had the word version of the watercolor maps for $5 as posters! Yay yay yay!! I scooped up both the US and world version and headed home to figure out how on earth to make a frame. After some Googling, I found a great site, that I can no longer find, and used it as a general guide. I measured the poster and then headed for Sutherlands (it's kinda like Lowe's). I bought three pieces of 8 foot lattice that is about 1.75 inches wide. It's a thinner wood, only 1/4 inch thick, which was perfect, as everything else seemed too big and bulky. I had the store cut them down about a quarter inch shorter than the poster (I suggest doing at least 3/4 inch smaller to avoid some extra steps).

We assembled the wood into frames on our patio and glued them together with wood glue. 

Toddlers can help too, ya know! We left the frames outside for a few hours so the glue would set. 

Nice feet honey! We used some wood joiners but I don't think they did much. 

Once they were dry I painted them a lovely and bright blue color. Again I left them outside for a few hours to get good and dry. It was about this time I realized that my poster and frame were just too close in size, I'd need something else to attach it. I bought 4 pieces of poster board, and used my dot runner from my scrapbook supplies to joint the pieces together so that they fit completely behind the frame, but were big enough to attach it to the frame. Then I used my dot runner to attach the poster to the poster board. 

Now all that's left is to attach it to the frame. I used packing tape all the way around the poster to secure it to the frame, as the staples in the staple gun were too long. I have a long shelf in my living room where I wanted to put them so I didn't use any hooks on the back or anything. A picture frame hanger would do the trick if you wanted to hang it. I slid these up on the shelf and have been admiring their beauty ever since. 

I'm thrilled with how these turned out. It was an inexpensive project that has offered lots of visual interest. The frames are light weight and it's so easy to change up the color. What have you been up to lately to change up your home d├ęcor?



Follow Friday: Mish Mash

TGIF! Another week is in the books and that means it's time for another round of follow Friday! When I was a kiddo, we had the most lovely substitute teacher, Mrs. Wooderson. As I got older, I learned that she was quite the crafter and scrapbooker. One weekend I went garage saling and stumbled upon hers, it was scrapbook heaven! I bought a huge basket of paper and stickers and little kits that I have used here and there and held onto for dear life because simply having those in my house makes me happy. About a year ago I was surfing Pinterest for some Project Life inspiration and found the most beautiful blog, Mish Mash, and it was hers! I could not have been more thrilled. As luck would have it I haven't run into her in Walmart since then to tell her what a huge fan I am but I'm sure I will soon. Until then I'll keep following her Instagram and her blog for inspiration and the most beautiful photos.

Her blog is so fun to read and her Project Life eye candy always gets me motivated to get back to documenting our memories. This post about canning is really making me eager to try my hand at it. Go visit Michelle over at Mish Mash and tell her I said hi!



Happy Birthday Book

Birthdays are the specialist of days in our family (and most others). The kids always get a fun themed party, the adults usually have a low key and enjoyable birthday dinner. With birthdays come gifts and with gifts come cards. I am so sentimental and I can't bear to part with cards. I keep them all. My mom has been keeping them for me since I was a kid. I have a big plastic tote full of cards. It is so special to go through and read the cards from my first holidays, especially the cards from my Gramma Ann who is no longer with us. I don't read them often, as they always result in tears and overwhelming emotions, but I treasure them. The Grents are big fans of cards and we usually get several at our birthdays. Typically these consist of one sentimental one and a few funny (read inappropriate) ones. I decided that instead of Mer having a bunch of birthday cards from us each year, I would make a book where we could write her a message and friends and family could do so as well. I hopped on Blurb and set it up so each page was a solid color, with each ages set of pages a different color, so all the pages for her first  birthday are the same color and so on.

For each birthday I have a 2 page spread which notes which birthday it is, and this is where I'll put a few birthday pictures (eventually haha!)

Next is a message from Mom and Dad.

Followed by a place for messages from friends and family. We set this out at each birthday party.

I included two more blank pages after this for more messages or photos.

Here are our messages from her second birthday: 

This book has pages for her all through her 18th birthday. I made this on Blurb and I'm very happy with it, but it was pretty pricey. With some of the recent changes on Snapfish, you can easily make this on there and get it when they have a half off sale for much cheaper. This would make a great gift! 




When I grew up, my mom made some of the absolute best meals in the world. Most of her recipes she just made up as she went along. Her lasagna has always been one of her most requested meals, probably only second to her mancotti. When I was in high school, she would invite over my whole cross country team for dinner. Dinner at mama Angie's was highly attended every year and always consisted of some kind of pasta.
I love my mom's lasagna, but I also loved by grandma's lasagna. Grandma Annette's lasagna couldn't have been any different from mom's. They used different meats, sauce, techniques, cheeses. When I "grew up" and starting cooking in my own home, I decided to take a little of this and a little of that from each recipe and come up with my own.
Jamie thinks my recipe is absolutely ridiculous, because adding cottage cheese to lasagna is just blasphemy. That is a direct quote. But I LOVE my lasagna and the last time I made it I attempted to freeze it. I'll let you guys know!

Grocery List
12 Lasagna noodles
1/2 pound italian sausage(use a pound if you like more meat)
1 Jar Pasta Sauce
10 ounces of Ricotta Cheese
6 ounces large curd cottage cheese
2 cups mozzarella
Italian Seasoning
1 egg

1. Cook noodles as directed on box(careful not to tear them)
2. Ground italian sausage and pour off fat. Preheat oven to 375 F
3. Mix together ricotta, cottage cheese, 1 c. mozzarella cheese, italian sausage, egg, and seasoning in bowl
4 Lay out noodles on clean counter
5. Put couple spoon fulls of mixture on each noodle and spread across the noodle

6. Cover bottom of baking pain in sauce
7. Roll up each noodle and arrange in pan so that the loose edge is on the bottom

8. Cover noodles in remaining sauce
9. Sprinkle 1 c of mozzarella on top
10. Bake loosely covered for 15 minutes and then uncovered for 10 minutes

Some notes:
I normally cook more than 12 noodles. I always seem to tear a couple of them and it makes it much harder to put together. I always cut up the torn noodles and throw them in some butter with salt and pepper for lunch so they don't go to waste! You can switch the sausage for hamburger if you prefer. It is still very good! I use Marinara for sauce, but you can use whatever you like! You can do the layering technique as well, but I prefer to do the roll ups because it is so much easier to serve and less messy to eat.


Follow Friday: Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Hey guys! I'm back with an all new Follow Friday! This week I want to fill you in on the awesomeness that is Kristen of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. First of all, anyone who hoards cookbooks the way I want to, is a-okay in my book. Second of all, she makes the most swoon worthy desserts that make you hungry and ready to get busy in your kitchen. I have found numerous recipes off her site that I love, as well as a whole bunch on my must try list. Like, these Brownie Batter Truffles, or these Snickers Cheesecake Fudge Brownies . I think Kate would love these Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies!

Kristan is hilarious, and honest. She is real about life with a toddler and a school age kiddo, and it's both refreshing and relatable. I LOVE checking out new blogs and if you aren't already reading hers it's definitely worth a follow. Tell me about your favorite blog!



Perfect Portions Make Me Happy

Happy Wednesday everyone! The week is flying by and that is A-okay with me, as we're headed south to attend a wedding of an old friend, and I can't wait! Today I want to talk about Perfect Portions by Ziploc. These little bags are the most useful little things, and seem to be the most difficult things to find these days. I haven't been able to find them at any of our local stores recently and even checked at some stores in the nearest big city, still no luck!  

No worries, I just ordered some from Amazon! I have found so many uses for Perfect Portions and I'm sure there are many I haven't thought of. Our most common use for them is storing frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts. We buy large packages at the grocery store, then we trim them, cut them in half, and store them in packages of four, the perfect size for our family! Just like in the picture on the box, you can put your clean hand in the bag, pick up the chicken and invert the bag around the chicken, then I tightly wrap the bag around the chicken and stack them up in a gallon freezer bag. This makes it easy to thaw only what I need. I've used this same method on veggies, cooked shredded chicken, and ground beef. I've been making Mike bean and cheese burritos lately, and since I haven't been able to find Perfect Portions, I've had to use plastic wrap. That stuff is what nightmares are made of! If you can find, get some of these babies, they come in handy all the time! And if you can't find them in the store... There's always Amazon. Tell me what you use your Perfect Portions for!