Sunday, July 31, 2011

Freebies: Back to School- Bag Tags and Book Labels

More from my Back to School Collection!  The PDF is an editable file, just click and type your child's name.  I like that the Book Label matches the Bag Tag for easy identification and coordination!  The printable label slips easily into Scotch Brand Bag Tags (I get mine from Amazon).

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Bag Tags and Book Labels With Edit

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sneak Peek Saturday: Parties- Spa Playdate

Here's a little sneak peek at a Spa Playdate I hosted for Big Sister and her friends.  See the rest of the party when I post more pictures and all the details on Friday.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Life As A Mom: Teaching Big Sister to Swim

Prince Charming and I decided this is the summer for me to teach big sister to swim.  She goes to a "year 'round" school, so her summer started in July.  After a month of lessons she is doing very well.  However, I am NOT a swim instructor, I am NOT trained in CPR, but I am a pretty decent swimmer.  She improves a little more at each lesson, but I like to start from the beginning each time and remind her of the basics.  Our lessons usually last about an hour and a half.  I like to give her a little time to have fun at the end of her lesson, and since there is someone at the gym watching Baby Brother, it is a great time to have one-on-one with Big Sister. 

What We Do:
 1.  Kicks- I have her hold on to the side wall of the pool, and practice kicking- straight legs, no splashing- her feet should stay in the water as much as possible
2.  Arms- She can just barely stand in the shallow end, so she stands while we practice "scoops."  She makes scoops with her hands and reaches out as far as she can to scoop the water that is furthest away.
3.  Kickboard- We try to kick with a kickboard, but most of the time she falls off to one side or the other.  She wants to put it under her chest, but I want her to hold it out front because I don't want her to get used to having her arms close by, and eventually I want her to practice on the kick board with her face in the water.

4.  "Swimming"- We use a pool noodle to help her gain confidence while propelling herself forward with her arms and legs.  She can now swim across the shallow end of the pool easily without me.  She puts the pool noodle across her chest and under both arms.  It helps her keep afloat and we concentrate on her big scoops, and keeping her bottom up so she is kicking close to the top of the water.  I know she could swim without the pool noodle but she feels more secure with it, and I would rather her be more cautious in the water than not!
5.  Floating- We practice floating on her back, and she will float several seconds before she realizes I am not holding her anymore.  I keep one hand in the middle of her back, and once she is relaxed and secure I remove my hand while keeping her mind on what she is doing with each part of her body as she floats by herself. 
6.  Swimming on her back-  I like to call it "Chicken, T, Rocket."  Once she is floating I tell her to make a "T" with her arms and "Rocket" off as she pushes her hands down towards her legs.  To bring her arms back up with as little resistance to the water as possible she puts her hands towards her armpits like a "Chicken," and then back to the "T." So while she practices this, and remind her of where her hands are supposed to be with the visual clues of "Chicken, T, Rocket"

7.  Diving for rings-  She loves to go diving for her rings, and at first couldn't get enough energy to swim down for them, but can now swim several feet under water and grab the rings from the bottom of the pool.  We have six rings, so I usually drop one from my right hand as far as I can reach, one from my left hand as far as I can reach, and the rest somewhere in between.  She holds her breath and dives under and can usually pickup all of her rings at one time.  And yet she still doesn't want to swim without her pool noodle! 

Big Sister does NOT know how to swim proficiently.  I keep my eyes on her at all times and am never more than 2-3 feet away.  I am NOT a swimming teacher, and these may not be the "correct" techniques for teaching swimming- but it works for us. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Home: The Great Sale of 2011- Preparation

Prince Charming has finally agreed that we have too much stuff!  We have a 5000 square foot fixer upper so there is plenty of room for the stuff, but I don't use it, love it, or even want it!  The best part is that he has agreed not to buy (or pick up from the trash) any more stuff AND to sell the stuff we have without regard to how much he spent on it or what he planned to do with it IF he ever got the time to do it.

Our Plan
-We are going to have an indoor sale since it is way too hot outside AND we are getting rid of nearly everything in our living room, foyer, and den- we can set up all the sale items in these three rooms.
- Big Sister will be selling Lemonade as well as all of the toys she no longer plays with ,and will collect all of her earnings.  She is currently saving for a pink chair she saw on a recent trip to IKEA!
- Prince Charming was inspired by a recent trip to IKEA, and has decided to sell most of the furniture in our formal living room, and junky den to make room for a more comfortable living room, and a new media room.
- I will be adding to the mix by getting rid of all the extra chotchkies, and junk I have managed to collect over the years.
- I have even started going through my craft supplies and have listed several items in the Destash section of my Etsy Shop

So far I have collected 2 dining tables (we still have two more), 2 couches, 2 loveseats, 2 chairs, 3 recliners, a coffee table, a side table, 2 computer tables, a rocking horse, lots of china, lots of silver, and misc knick knacks that we never even put out in the house in the 5 years we have lived here.  Wheeew, that's a lot of work, and that's only from the downstairs, I haven't even touched the upstairs yet!

Keep an eye out for the results of our sale!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Freebies: Back to School- Cupcake Toppers

Use these for cupcake toppers, bag labels, lunch box notes, teacher notes, teacher gift tags, and much more.

Punch them out using a 2" round punch, or cut the square for a different look.  Complete directions are on the printable sheet.

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Circles Sheet Back to School

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Mess Management Monday: Game Storage

So Prince Charming hates to see clutter.  And yes, according to him, board games on a shelf ARE clutter.  He didn't mind the first few, but as Big Sister has gotten older, the board games have multiplied.  And now with Baby Brother here, we can't get rid of the ones she has outgrown for fear he might want/need them.

We went through the games and kept the ones we play/love and sold the rest in The Great Sale of 2011. But we still had the problem, of where to put the ones we kept.  Prince Charming doesn't want the kids to have a play room because he's afraid it will always be a wreck (maybe he's right).  So all of Big Sister's toys are kept in her room.  But the games can't be stored there because (1) there's no more room in her closet, and (2) we play them at the Dining Table.

Why not store them in the Dining Room?  But where?......

After The Great Sale, I was able to combine all of my table linens, serving pieces, silverware, tea sets, etc into the sideboard and had the entire bottom of my china cabinet empty for....GAMES!

You'd never believe how much fun we can have in a formal dining room- there's even room for Twister!

Do you have any furniture that does double-duty in an unexpected way?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sneak Peek Saturday- Back To School Printables

Tuesday's Feature will be these adorable Back To School cupcake toppers.  Check back Tuesday for the link to download this Free Printable and maybe even a few extras for Back to School!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Featured Friday: My Favorite Bakery- Lilah's Deli & Bakery- Wedding Cakes

Okay, so I am a bit biased, but I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Wedding Cakes. These wedding cakes are from my favorite bakery- Lilah's Deli & Bakery. I didn't have a cake for my own wedding, but maybe Prince Charming can make us something nice for our 10th Anniversary.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Recipe: Turkeys in a Blanket

Okay, so it's nothing new or special but Big Sister loves Turkeys in a Blanket.  I often forget about them, so I thought a quick blog might help me remember.

Big Sister was having her summertime weekly playdate with E., and made a special request for Turkeys in a Blanket.  Prince Charming even rant to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients- Turkey Hot Dogs and Refrigerated Crescent Rolls.

Super simple to make, I cut the dogs in half and rolled them up in the dough.  I used 4 hot dogs and two packs of crescent rolls (4 in each).  I used to put cheese in them (seal the ends if you do), but Big Sister has decided she doesn't like cheese so much.

Bake them according to the package directions and you are done.  I bake mine in the toaster oven.  I try not to use the full size oven unless I have to, especially now when it's 101 degrees outside!

Once they are baked and cooled they won't last long.  E. says, "I LOVE THEM!"  She wasn't a fan of the peaches though.  She's more of an apple or grapes kinda girl.  I will have to remember to pick up some fruit she will eat before next week.

What is a simple playdate lunch you like to make?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Freebies: Household Notebook- Meal Planning

I love using a combined list for meal planning and grocery shopping.  This way I have everything in one place.  I can easily see what meal I needed an item for, so I know how much to buy or what cut of meat I need.  I usually like to keep a blank one on the fridge right behind this week's meals so I can add basic essentials to the next shopping list as I run out!

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Meal Planning

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