Thursday, January 31, 2013

Good Clean Fun with the LEGO® YouTube Channel

Earlier this month my baby D turned 11.  You guys!  He's getting so big! {And I'm getting so OLD, but that's a whole 'nother post.}  He's right on that fine line between little boy and big guy that is so uncomfortable for us as parents.  He wants to be left home alone while I run errands, but I want to drag him along so I know that's he's safe.  He loves watching videos on YouTube, but I'm fearful about how easy it is for him to access things I'd prefer for him not to see. He wants a little freedom and I just want to hang on tight for a little longer.

{Yeah, my house looks like that on a typical afternoon -- coffee table full of crap, couch cushions askew...  There was a ton more junk that I cropped out of that photo.  Just keepin' it real.}

Can you imagine my joy at finding out LEGO® has a YouTube channel full of over 500 videos for kids, with more being added daily.  He's really into Ninjago right now so this was totally up his alley.  I was thrilled because LEGO® is a brand that I can trust to provide wholesome entertainment for my kid -- totally age appropriate and not too violent.  Win-win!

He had fun this week during his computer time watching a bunch of videos and saving some of his favorite to his very own playlist.  At one point he turned to me and said, "Mom, I could save ALL of these to my playlist.  I like ALL OF THEM!"  Hear that?!  A ringing endorsement from an 11-year-old boy.  He's watching on my iPhone right now and chuckling away.  I love that.

It is super easy to create a playlist:


1. Watch fun videos at YouTube.com/LEGO
2. Click on the box that says Video Options, then select Add to Playlist
3.  Log into YouTube
4. Add videos to your existing playlist or create a new one.

Easy cheesy! Your kiddos can do it themselves with a little instruction.  Here's the playlist D created.  I'm sure this list will grow as he continues to explore the site.  He thinks it's pretty cool to have a playlist he created all by himself.  I feel pretty good about him having some safe stuff to watch on YouTube. I'll say it again -- win, win.



The best part is that he can access his playlist from my iPhone so when I have a long list of errands to run and big brother and sister can't stay home with him, D can watch his videos on the go.  I can see this coming in handy A LOT.  Waiting at the doctor's office, road trips, rewards for good behavior.  YES!  It's something he and I can do together, which is really fun.  I like to try and stay connected with what's "cool" as my kids get older.  Plus, I think the videos are pretty entertaining, too.



Check it out!  Create a playlist with your little {or not-so-little-anymore} ones.  It's a good time!

Thank you to LEGO and Technorati for being sponsors. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Love You SEW Much
{Free Valentine Printable Decor}

Hi everyone!  My body can't decide if it's going to sick this week or not -- I've been keeping a cold at bay for about a month now, but every few days it tries to break out and I'm worn down.  I wish it would either just go away or come on in full force so I can get over it once and for all.  This being kind-of-sick-but-not-sick-enough-to-justify-not-doing-anything is for the birds!  Anyway . . . I'm feeling OK right now so I thought I'd share a Valentine's Day printable I put together.


I have had every intention of having this printed and framing it as the backdrop for a cute Valentine's sewing themed vignette by my front door.  It was going to be really adorable, I promise.  I was going to make a heart out of vintage buttons, a fun jar full of pink and white thread spools, and some measuring tape flowers. Maybe even a table runner that looked like a giant measuring tape.  And I was going to share it all with you here on the blog.

But then the annual camp fundraiser planning began, and my toilet flooded the main floor of my house so we had to pull up some of the wood floor, and one of our circuits has gone haywire so we have no electricity to the outlets in our kitchen and bathrooms. And I'm just so tired, y'all.  But I'm NOT complaining.  Lots of people have it sooo much worse.  Shoot, we have had it sooo much worse before that this seems like a blessing.

And I did get the printable done, so if any of you talented, fun, creative ladies wants to run with the idea, I'd love to see photos of what you put together.  Click on the link below the image and you'll be taken to my photobucket page where you can download the file to your computer. {Just click Options, then Download.}  This file will work for 8x10, 11x14 {it crops off a tiny bit on each side}, and 16x20 prints. 

Thanks for listening to me moan for a minute.  Have a great day!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monte Cristo Casserole {featuring Boar's Head Lower Sodium Deli Meat!}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boar's Head for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

It has been sooo cold here in Arizona.  I know, I don't dare complain because many of you live in much colder areas, but you guys!  It was only 25 degrees when I drove Dylan to school this morning!  In Arizona that is downright frigid.  It was only 44 degrees when I went to pick him up in the afternoon, too.  I was totally in the mood to make something warm and comforting for dinner.  Monte Cristo casserole is my ace-in-the-hole for nights like this.
I've never forked out the big bucks at Blue Bayou in Disneyland to try the original Monte Cristo sandwich, but I hear it is heavenly.  It would have to be for this wanna-be casserole version to taste as good as it does!  It's simple to throw together, too -- a huge plus in my book.
I was lucky enough to get to sample Boar's Head lower sodium deli meats and cheeses and use them to make this meal, so I used the Black Forest Smoked Ham (with 25% less sodium} and the Premium Oven Roasted Turkey Breast {with a whopping 47% lower sodium}.  Why is lower sodium a big deal?  I'm so glad you asked.  Did you know that 1 tsp. of salt has 2,325 mg of sodium and that the recommended daily sodium intake is only 1,500-2,300 mg?  Now guess how much the average American gets.  Guess.
3,400-4,500 mg!!!!
Why?  Sodium is a flavor enhancer.  So much of our food is processed and has no flavor of its own -- especially convenience foods -- so they rely heavily on sodium for flavor.  Boar's Head believes that if you start with the highest quality products, you can enjoy their natural flavor without adding a bunch of salt.
We loved our Monte Cristo casserole made with the Boar's Head meat.  In fact, we polished off the whole pan.  You can't do that every day, but on a cold night like this it was just what the doctor ordered.  Here's the recipe in case you want to try it, too.
Monte Cristo Casserole
1 C. warm milk
6 eggs
2 boxes of frozen french toast sticks
1/2 lb. Black Forest Brand 25% Lower Sodium Smoked Ham, diced
1/2 lb. Premium 47% Lower Sodium Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, diced
1/2 lb. grated swiss cheese
Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top and strawberry jam to serve on the side.
Warm your milk and gradually add it to eggs.  Whisk the milk and eggs together.
Spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cut french toast sticks into 1-inch cubes and place in the bottom of pan. Add diced deli meats and grated swiss cheese to pan and gently toss to combine.  Pour milk and egg mixture over the top.

Let sit for at least 10 minutes or over night.  Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with strawberry jam on the side.  {I know it sounds weird, but it is delicious dipped in strawberry jam.  Trust me!}

Happy healthier eating!  I'm going to snuggle under my down comforter now . . .
Visit Sponsor's Site 

 
Lil\'Luna

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Monday, January 14, 2013

My $4 Vintage Valentine Wreath

I told you last week that I had a fun idea using Vintage Valentine cards and I finally have it ready to show you!  I got this cool card-holder-wreathy-thingy before Christmas to display all the holiday cards we receive.  When it was time to pack up Christmas and put it away for another year, I couldn't bring myself to put this whosy-whats-it away.  Firstly because I don't really have a place for it.  All my Christmas boxes are stuffed and this is kinda' big.  Secondly, it's brand new and I didn't feel like I had had enough time to play with my new toy yet.

As I got to thinking, I realized that I could use this wreath thing-a-ma-jiggy in my house A LOT!  With vintage valentine cards like I'm showing you here, or with other seasonal photographs or images.  How cool would it be to fill it with wedding pictures for our anniversary in May?  Or with pictures of each child around their birthday?!  This thinger-bobber may be the best purchase I have ever made!

Now if I could just figure out what to call it.  I really don't know.

Anyway . . . I found all those adorable printable vintage valentines that I shared with you the other day.  I downloaded a bunch of my favorites and printed them out.  Actually, I put them all into a 4-page Word doc and had it printed at Staples.  My printer at home doesn't print bright colors like red and pink very well.  The colors always come out muddy and I come out disappointed.  Plus, ink is pretty expensive y'all.  For less than $4 I had all these valentines printed on Cardstock, which seemed like a good enough deal to me.



They are perfect!  I cut them all out and slid them into the coily parts of my card-wreathy-jobby, starting with the largest cards first and then filling in the gaps with the smaller cards.  How about that "You need a hug and you know it" card?  Apparently sexual harassment wasn't really frowned upon in the 20's like it is now.  It makes me laugh because that "hug" is so awkward looking.  Sheesh!

You might not have a card-holder-coily-doo-dad like I do, but you could still make a Valentine wreath like this by using straight pins or hot glue to attach the printed pictures to a styrofoam wreath form.


This is the first of several things I'll be making for a little Valentine's vignette on top of the dresser by my front door.  Can't wait to show you the rest!


 Lil\'Luna

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Printable Vintage Valentines!

I have a fun idea I'm working on to decorate my home for Valentine's Day.  It's not quite finished yet {I'll share it soon!}, but I wanted to share some great resources I have found for Vintage Valentines as I have been working on this project. 

Vintage Valentines from the 1930's through the 1950's are super cute and a little bit quirky.  They would be fun to print on cardstock for your kids to hand out to their friends or to use in your Valentine craft projects.


 These adorable printable images can be found on Vintage Holiday Crafts.com.  The sayings on the cards are silly and dated, which just adds to their charm.


This card comes from a personal collection of cards that have been scanned and made available to download and print in this online gallery.


Tipnut.com has a fun collection of vintage images to print, too.

 This cute bee can be found in this Flikr set of vintage images

I hope these resources are helpful to you guys as you begin thinking about Valentine's Day crafting.  I can't wait to share what I am working on with you!



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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Most Favorite Thing Right Now


Recently I have discovered a new obsession: the Draw Something app on my phone!  Granted, I am late to the smart phone party, but how did I not know about this sooner?!  It may be a good thing that I didn't . . . When I'm not blogging or wasting time doing important research on Pinterest, I am usually doodling on my iphone for my friends.

That's not entirely true.  Usually I am waiting for my friends who are kind enough to humor me to draw back to me so that I can draw again.

That's also not entirely true.  I'm almost always doing a combination of any of the above at the same time.  How did we ever entertain ourselves without all this technology?!

You know how it works, right?  You draw a picture and send it to a friend.  They have to guess what it is and then draw something {hence the name} back to you.  I find it endlessly entertaining.  If I could make a career out of playing Draw Something, I totally would.  If any of my blog friends wants to play with me, I'm amyg1973.  Totally serious.  I wanna play with all y'all!!

Don't make me beg . . . 

Back tomorrow with some great links for Love ya, friends!

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Favorite Laundry Products
{and they're all on sale!}


Don't you love it when all the stars align and things seem to magically turn in your favor for a while.  Like when you set a goal to be better at doing laundry and then your favorite store has a really great sale on all your favorite laundry products.  I love that, but then I've never really been hard to impress.   I've shared with you my favorite quote that has changed is changing my attitude about laundry and my plan to makeover my laundry space.  Today I want to share a few of my favorite {totally mainstream} laundry products.

1. Downy Unstoppables: There are few things quite as enjoyable to me as the smell of fresh laundry.  These little magical pellets magnify that enjoyment a thousandfold.  That might be a little exaggeration, but they do make that enjoyable smell last longer.  They're also great for those unfortunate times when a load of laundry accidentally sits in the washer too long.  A sprinkle of Unstoppables in the re-wash takes that nasty smell right away.  But I'm not going to have to use them for that any more.  Because I'm going to be better at doing my laundry.  Correctly.  I am . . .

2. Tide Boost:  I try to use a spot remover spray on all the potential stains that I know about on our clothes, but there are inevitably some messes that I miss.  I don't inspect each piece of clothing before I throw it in the washer.  I just don't.  And I'm pretty sure I won't.  Ever.  I just throw one of these in the washer on top of the dirty clothes and they really help to catch those stains that I miss.  Love it!

3.  Ultra Tide:  I love the smell of Tide.  This is the smell of my childhood. It is what I remember my clothes smelling like when I was growing up.  I've used other brands {shoot, one time I even made my own detergent} but I keep coming back to Tide.  Aside from it's classic aroma, I feel like Tide gets my clothes cleaner.  'Nuff said.

4. Pepsi:  Because sometimes I need to knock back a cold one to keep the old energy up on laundry day.  Whatever it takes to get the job done.

5. Bounce Dryer Sheets {not pictured because I already have a stash -- I bought 2 Tides instead!}  I know some people are anti-dryer sheet, but I love them.  It's so dry here in Arizona that things get soooo static-y.  I hate that and dryer sheets help.  I also like to put them in my drawers and under the seats of my car to keep them smelling fresh, too.

So, all these great laundry helpers {and many more} are on sale this week at Kroger stores.  Plus there's an online game you can play daily to save even more.  I got an extra $1 off my purchase, but you can win up to $15 if you're lucky.  That would make these items nearly free.  Just sayin'.

Just so y'all know, today I am actually doing my laundry.  Yep.  And so it begins . . .

Shop and play to win with the Buy 5 Save $5 sale taking place December 30-January 12 at the Kroger Co. Family of Stores! Automatically save $5 at checkout when you use your Shopper’s Card, just by buying 5 participating products. In addition, you can play this quick and easy online game for a chance to win up to $15 off your entire trip.

I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Second Step in My Quest for Laundry Supremacy

You might be thinking that the best way to get good at doing laundry is to just start doing it.  You're probably right.  I mean, sure, that's one way of doing it, but {to use one of the most horrible phrases in the English language} there is more than one way to skin a cat.  Remember the episode of friends where Phoebe tries to teach Joey to play guitar?
You can't just jump into things like that!  So today while I was out in the laundry area of my garage contemplating how I was going to ever accomplish this goal of mine,  I had a vision.  A vision of the laundry space that would make me want to do my laundry.  A place that would not feel creepy and dirty and like the neighbor's cat could have snuck in there and could attack me at any moment.  Wait, what?

The thing is, our laundry "room" is really just a small area in the back of our garage. And it feels like a garage.  And I don't like it.  But that is neither here nor there, really.  I think that I can turn even the crummiest little space into something kinda' great, using mostly scraps from other projects that we have sitting in our garage anyway.  Here's the plan:


Faux planks to cover the unfinished drywall.  Leftover vinyl plank flooring to cover the cement floor.  A deeply discounted runner rug to lay in front of the washer and dryer.  I'm toying with the idea of mod podging old sewing pattern pieces onto the walls of the washer/dryer enclosure and spraying my old white appliances a pretty aqua.  {People do that.  Look it up on Pinterest.}  For years I've wanted to invest in a couple giant galvanized tubs to sort clothes in, but how much cooler would it be if I covered the outside of the tubs in burlap and labeled them?!  I will also put some open shelving above the washer and dryer so I can organize all my laundry and cleaning items in cool containers I will find at the thrift store. The white curtains lined with gold and white polka dot fabric are strictly a luxury that, really, I could do without if I had to.  I will probably have to.  We'll see.  I also have a big "folding table" out there that I will probably paint aqua, too.  And I need to scour the Habitat 4 Humanity ReStore to find a better light fixture.  Of course I'll add my framed laundry quote and a clothespin wreath to cute-it-up some.

All in a day's work, right?  Those are {maybe} a few of the fun projects you'll be seeing around here eventually.  Yes, I will be doing some actual laundry in the mean time, but don't expect me to write too much about that.  It's not pretty or fun . . . yet.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcome 2013!
My Goal for the Year and a Free Printable.

After an extended {and somewhat unplanned} break from blogging for the past couple of weeks I am back and ready to go!  What is it about January 1st that gives so many of us the kick in the pants we need to try something we've never done before or to do better at the things we have?  A brand-spankin' new calendar is like a fresh beginning.  There are no missed appointments or bad days . . .yet.  I feel like I can be anything I want to be in the coming months. 


This year I want to be good at laundry.  I really do.  It's the only goal I've set for myself for the whole year.  Because it may just take me that long to accomplish it.  There seems to be a never-ending mountain of yucky dirty clothes in my garage/laundry area.  Sometimes I feel like the more I wash the more it grows.  And I only have three kids!  Someone is always looking for their gym uniform or a pair of socks around here. 

My husband, bless his heart, has really helped lately.  The problem with that is we don't communicate about who is doing what.  He starts loads at night that I don't know need to be finished in the morning.  More than a few times clothes have sat in the washer for a day or two, getting all stinky and gross.  There's nothing worse than that.  Nothing. 

Well, pretty much nothing.  {I'm really airing all my dirty laundry here tonight! Har, har.}

There's no kind of system for sorting or washing and folding in our house.  I'm pretty much a disgusting pig when it comes to keeping our clothes clean.  Em. Bare. Uh. Sing!

Before I start assigning days to everyone in the household to do their washing or reading a gazillion blog posts about "the right way" to do laundry {bt-dubs, you will never, ever find one of those here.}, I'm approaching my attitude about laundry.  I am living a truly blessed life.  I have a wonderful husband and three healthy kids.  We're not extravagant, but we have everything we need . . . and then some.  In the process of living this blessed life we dirty some things up.  That's OK.  I have several machines that wash stuff for me.  I know, right?!  Think about it! I have a MACHINE that washes my clothes for me.  {And one for my dishes, too!} My life is AWESOME!!

I love this quote from the current president of our church:


People used to tell me to enjoy my kids while they were small because in the blink of an eye they grow up.  I would chuckle to myself when someone would say that and think, "Promise?!"  But now my kids are not little anymore and I can't figure where the time went.  Before long they'll be all grown up and living on their own.  I don't know that I will really miss the piles and piles of laundry {just like I don't really miss the poopy diapers of yesteryear}, but I will certainly miss all that they represent -- a happy, crazy, noisy, busy, loving family under one roof.

There's no time like the present to get started, right?  I prettied up that quote so I could print it and hang it over my washing machine as a daily reminder.  If you would like to use it as well, just click on the image above and save it to your computer.  Maybe tomorrow I'll actually get around to doing a load of laundry . . .  

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