My 3 Monsters: 2018

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2.10.2018

Welcome to The Butler House Blog

Hi guys!  If you have come here looking for My 3 Monsters, you are in the right place!! Read on...





I'm kicking off 2018 with a big new blogging adventure.  I started writing My 3 Monsters back in 2008 -- a DECADE ago! -- as a way to journal and keep in touch with my family.  With a little hard work and a lot of good old fashioned luck, my online journal about my kids and my hobbies has grown into a small business. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I have had over the past ten years and the amazing people who have supported my growth.  

A lot changes over the course of a decade.  My three little kids -- the "monsters" who inspired this blog's name -- are not so little any more.  They have grown into amazing, talented young adults who are preparing to leave the roost, so to speak.  The loving moniker "monster" no longer fits them.  And as I think about my personal future, I have a new vision of what I want to do and be.  The day-in, day-out tasks of young motherhood, which were all-consuming ten years ago, are no longer my reality as I look at becoming an "empty-nester" with my husband in the next few years.    

I earned a degree in interior design from Brigham Young University twenty-some years ago and have always longed for an opportunity to use that skill set in a more meaningful way.  I've shared some things we've done around our house here on the blog and I've done some design work for local friends, but I've always wanted more.  


So, what is changing?  With this new name and the coming blog redesign, you will see a clearer focus on my real loves -- the things that make a house a home: 

  • DIY Tutorials that will hopefully inspire you to put some blood, sweat and tears into your own homes like we have ours.
  • Room Redesigns with style boards as well as before & afters so you can see how to bring an idea into reality and add some polish to your spaces.
  • Food and Entertaining ideas because serving friends and family in your home is what gives it life.
  • I'll also be venturing into the world of E-Design Services soon, for those of you who want a little one-on-one decorating magic for your spaces at a fraction of the price of hiring an interior designer.

What's up with the new name?  I was hoping someone would ask!  Years ago, as a newlywed with a design degree burning a hole in my pocket, I dreamed of one day owning a home that I could turn into a real showstopper.  A place to try out everything I had ever learned and every idea I had ever had.  Three children, two apartments, and one rental house later, my little family finally bought our first house.  A tiny 1400 square foot, 3 bedroom fixer-upper in a good, quiet neighborhood.  On Butler Street.  

Thirteen years later, we still live in "the Butler House" and love it -- usually.  I have decorated and re-decorated every inch of space inside these walls, made a million mistakes, and am ultimately discovering what it takes to create a loving, cozy, beautiful home.  This home has given me a design education at least equal to anything I learned in school.  I hope to share everything the Butler House has taught me over the years.  I also hope y'all will come back again and again and that you'll find this little online home as warm and welcoming as we try to make our real-life home.  

How will I find you?  At butlerhousedesign.com AND at my3monsters.com .  Same site at both addresses.  I know this is all confusing! As I work on re-branding some of my old content and transitioning everything over from Blogger to Wordpress, I will keep the new posts coming here at my3monsters.com for the time being, but with a new name and focus.  When I'm all set up in my new home, y'all will be the first to know . . .  and I think you will love it!  Hopefully it will be a seamless transition (*fingers crossed*) and you, my loyal readers, will notice vastly improved content and ease of navigation.    


And if you ever find yourself in Arizona, feel free to stop by the Butler House and say hello. We'll probably be in the middle of a project, sweaty and in disarray, but we happily take any opportunity to grab a Coke Zero, sit down, and chat!!

Have a great day, friends!!

2.01.2018

DECOR || Valentines Day Hot Chocolate Station

Heat things up (literally) this Valentine's Day! See how easy it is to style a festive hot chocolate station for your family and friends. Because to me, love is synonymous with whipped cream and sprinkles -- you can never have to much! 

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase something I recommend, you will not pay any extra, but I may get a little something to help keep the fun ideas coming your way.  Read my complete disclosure policy here. Thanks y'all!


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

Hi guys!  Living in Arizona for 16 years, I don’t think I have a firm grasp on what “winter” is anymore.  Not like the rest of y’all do anyway.  Every day I see pictures on TV and social media of people who are up to their eyeballs in snow, wrapped in parkas and boots.  Gorgeous photos of Ice Castles and snow sculptures.  

Part of me is a little jealous, but a bigger part of me is like, “I ate Mexican food Friday night outside on the patio of my favorite neighborhood restaurant without a jacket on.  Sorry, not sorry.”  That being said, I have been FREEZING all day at work for the past little while.  My fingers are like ice and the poor kids flinch every time I touch them taking their temperatures.   It has been winter here, too, even if it is a milder version of it.  Our thin desert blood can’t handle the cold, like, at all. 

I’ve been seriously craving hot chocolate ALL THE TIME lately!  Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I decided to create a little hot chocolate station and put a spin on it, leaning toward lighter colors and fruitier flavors instead of the red, and cinnamon, and mint that is traditional around the holidays.  Before I show you the end result, check out this Hot Chocolate Station Style Guide for my inspiration.


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

A. Ceramic Cow Creamer | B. Three Tiered Serving Tray | C. Wooden Disposable Spoons | D. Mixed Sprinkles (no longer available) -- similar here | E. Clear Glass Mugs | F.Clear Glass Jar with Metal Lid | G. Turquoise Glass Cookie Jar | H. Clear Glass Bottle with Stopper | I. Torani Raspberry Syrup | J. Hot Chocolate Printable -- free download here | K. Antiqued Gray Dresser (mine was thrifted, but this one is similar -- and cute!)| L. Whipped Cream Dispenser | M. Keurig K250 Coffee Maker in Oasis | N. Heart Shaped Marshmallows | Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate K-cups 

These are some of the essentials to throw together your own Hot Chocolate Station.  Obviously there are some luxury items here.  The mint green Keurig machine?  Hello, I’m in love.  I’m not a coffee drinker so I never really paid much attention to what Keurig had going on -- that is, until I saw Swiss Miss K-cups at my local store.  What. In. The. World?!  Have I been living under a rock??  Now, for just a little over $100, that mint-green sweetie is pretty high up on my list of wants needs.  I also don’t use whipped cream enough to justify the stainless steel professional whipped cream dispenser, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to have one.  The rest of the items are all basics – things that I own and use regularly.  Now, here it is in reality:


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

That chippy old gray dresser (that looks white in all my photos??) is my most favorite thrifting score.  And it was actually free!  We were dropping off some of our old stuff at Goodwill when, by chance, a good friend of mine pulled up behind us.  She asked if I wanted to look at her stuff before she made her donation.  I could not have had our husbands move that fabulous old thing into the back of my van fast enough!  It is perfect for storing linens and serving pieces that I only use occasionally, and it serves as a pretty great home for my hot chocolate station right now.


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

I designed this printable (with just a touch of sass) to serve as a cute backdrop for the display.  It is my nod to seasonal decorations.  The only holiday I really ever decorate for is Christmas, so framing this printable is a lot for me, haha.  You can download it in a couple of sizes here.  I also made a coffee version, if that’s more your cuppa’ . . .tea?  As always, the printables are free for your personal use.


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

This tiered wood serving tray was one of my Black Friday purchases a couple years back.  It is so versatile I have used it for every occasion, and in every room of my house.  I feel like you need a little height in your display to make it more functional and visually interesting. 

Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

Glass jars look classic for storing just about anything.  I love the vintage feel -- it reminds me of Mr. Olson's store on Little House on the Prairie when I was a kid.  I filled one with our favorite White Hot Chocolate mix and the other with packets of regular cocoa.  


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

I feel like everything is prettier when you take it out of its grocery store packaging.  I especially like these inexpensive syrup bottles from IKEA for holding flavored syrups to mix into your hot chocolate.  Sugar-free Coconut and Raspberry are favorites around here.


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

These clear glass mugs are also from IKEA.  I like that they are big enough to hold a good size drink, but because they are clear, they're not visually cluttery.  I also have a set of white mugs that will probably end up on the hot chocolate station as well.


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com
Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

Toppings are always welcome here.  Whipped cream?  The more the better.  And sprinkles?  Yes, please.  Marshmallows?  Why not.  Flavored creamer from a ceramic cow?  Be still my heart. 

Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com
My secret ingredients for extra-decadent hot chocolate are these Lindor truffles.  Drop one into your steaming mug of cocoa and give it a stir -- you'll thank me later. 


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

We don't currently have a working fireplace (adding one is on the slate for this year!!) and we refuse to use our heater -- I know, I know, I can hear your violins for my sob story.  Now I can get through the last few "frigid" Arizona winter weeks by making myself a cup of hot chocolate to sip on as I wrap up in a blanket and blog the evening away after work.  


Heat things up (literally) this Valentines Day with these easy tips and tricks for styling a Hot Chocolate Station in your home for family and friends! | butlerhousedesign.com  my3monsters.com

Did I miss anything?  What are your hot chocolate must-haves?   Leave a comment and let me know how you'll be heating things up (literally or figuratively) this Valentine's Day!

I got your hot chocolate station covered, but if you want some expert decorating advice to pull your room, or even your whole house together,  Havenly is an online interior design company who have interior designers to help. Check them out!

Have a great day, friends!

1.15.2018

ENTERTAINING || Valentines Day Cereal Party & Free Printable Valentines

Hey guys!  It feels like I can hardly keep up these days.  I just barely have time to clean up from one holiday before it’s time to start thinking about the next one!  It helps that I’m SUPER excited about the next one, though.  I think Valentine’s Day is so much fun.  At the school where I work we call it Friendship day, which just adds to the spirit of the holiday.  We could all use a little more celebration of love and friendship up in here, in my humble opinion!

This year I thought it would be AWESOME to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Friendship Breakfast.  Not your typical fancy pants breakfast -- no waffles or crepes or quiche for this shindig.  I live in a house of men now, remember.  This is gonna’ be a CEREAL PARTY!!!  Because I’m CEREAL-sly grateful for my friends! *insert eye rolls from teenagers here* 


Treat all your cereal-sly cool friends to a Valentines Day Cereal Party using these tips and free printables from my3monsters.com !
But cereal-sly (hee hee), the one food my family asks for more than any other is cold cereal.  We love it! And so do most kids, if I’m not mistaken.  Like I always say, every good party starts with a fun invitation.  I designed this printable invitation in a 5x7 inch size that fits two to a page or as a 3.75x 5 inch which fits four to a page if you’re planning on inviting a crowd.  I invited the 10-year-olds I teach at church and they were cereal-sly (OK, enough already) excited to come!


Treat all your cereal-sly cool friends to a Valentines Day Cereal Party using these tips and free printables from my3monsters.com !
Download the blank images here.  Upload the JPG images in a photo editing program like Photoshop or on a site like PicMonkey to add your own details, or print the PDF as-is and write in the details by hand.  The font I used for all my info is called Lemonade Stand.  You can download it here.


Treat all your cereal-sly cool friends to a Valentines Day Cereal Party using these tips and free printables from my3monsters.com !
For your party, set up a buffet table full of a wide variety of cereals, toppings, and milks – some sweet, some healthy (if that’s your thing). 


Treat all your cereal-sly cool friends to a Valentines Day Cereal Party using these tips and free printables from my3monsters.com !
I put my cereal in glass jars with metal scoops – mainly because that’s how we always store our cereal here, but also because it looks super cute.  I also used a few galvanized buckets with scoops to accommodate more flavors.  Variety is the key word here!


Treat all your cereal-sly cool friends to a Valentines Day Cereal Party using these tips and free printables from my3monsters.com !
For toppings I chose things like fresh berries, marshmallows, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and sprinkles (of course!).


Treat all your cereal-sly cool friends to a Valentines Day Cereal Party using these tips and free printables from my3monsters.com !
You gotta’ represent all the milk groups, as well – white, chocolate, and strawberry.  Glass milk bottles and tags up the cute factor by about a million.  Each guest can choose the flavor of milk they want, pour it over their creation, and then grab a straw to drink the extra.  Mmmmmmm, cereal milk!


Treat all your cereal-sly cool friends to a Valentines Day Cereal Party using these tips and free printables from my3monsters.com !
For “bowls”, I picked up some inexpensive white 32-ounce take-out boxes on Amazon for a steal and added my own labels to tie them in with the theme.  (It’s A LOT cheaper than buying cutesy patterned or colored boxes. Just sayin’.  I love me a bargain.)


We made up a few “recipes” in advance just in case our guests are wary of mixing and matching.  I don’t think we’ll have to worry, but they make cute decorations as well. The recipe prints, round labels, and milk tags are all available in my Cereal Valentine Party Pack here.  They are free for personal use only.


Treat all your cereal-sly cool friends to a Valentines Day Cereal Party using these tips and free printables from my3monsters.com !
Easy planning. Easy set-up.  Pretty inexpensive.  The trifecta of a perfect party in my book!


Treat all your cereal-sly cool friends to a Valentines Day Cereal Party using these tips and free printables from my3monsters.com !
If you’re not into throwing a friendship breakfast this year, I designed a smaller version you can print eight to a page that your kids can pass out as Valentines at school.  Just tie them to a small box or bag of cereal or a cute spoon and you’re good to go!  Cereal-sly adorable, amiright?! 

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

1.05.2018

LDS || The Price is Right -- A Fun Budgeting Activity for Activity Days

Hi, guys!  I have been working with the 8-11 year old girls in our church for the past year or so in the Activity Days program.  We meet twice a month for fun activities (hence the name) that teach spiritual lessons, help the girls discover and develop their talents, and provide opportunities to serve others.   I have shared some of the more elaborate activities we have planned, like our Back-to-School Flamingle, and this "Experiment Upon the Word" Science Night.  Not every activity is that fancy, believe me!!  Some nights we just do a small craft or play games.

Earlier this year I was in charge of planning an activity about budgeting.  Yikes!!  How was I going to take a topic that is soooo boring I am not so fond of myself, and make it fun -- and RELEVANT -- for a bunch of active tweens?!  I decided to play The Price is Right to make sure they had an idea about how much common things actually cost.  It was SUPER interesting!!


Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com

Send home an invitation/reminder the Sunday before the activity to get the girls excited!  Download my design here and print them 4 to a page.  Just use a black marker to write in the names on the price tags and the info about the activity.




Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com
I made the whole game into a PowerPoint presentation, so I could just hook my laptop up to a big TV at church and make the whole thing go really smoothly. For the first game they were shown two products and one price.  They had to choose which product matched the price shown.
Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com
 The answer is revealed in the next slide:
Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com
We talked a little about shopping sales and using coupons, but I tried not to overwhelm them with information.


Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com
After several rounds of that, the next game was Higher or Lower! They were shown a product and a price and had to decide if the actual price of that item was higher or lower than the price shown.
Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com
 Again, the answer was revealed in the next slide:


Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com
They were actually pretty good at this one!  We played this game for several rounds, and then . . 

Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com
It was time for Squeeze Play!!  The girls were shown an item along with several numbers.  They had to decide which number needed to be removed to make the actual price of the the item.

Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com


Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com
It took some prompting to help them understand this game, but once they got it, they loved it!  I used the actual retail prices I found online or from stores in our area when possible for each item as I was putting the game together.  For a few of the items I had to google the average price and used that.  


If you would rather make up your own game using different items and/or prices, here are some resources that may help you:

Download the Price is Right font here for free. I used it to make titles and prices on my slides.




The Price is Right Theme Song is available on YouTube.  I had my tech-savvy teenager help me embed it in my presentation, but I don't remember how we did it.  Sorry!

Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com

The yellow name tag template is available here. Print one for each girl on sticker paper to wear like actual contestants.  Put all their names into a bowl and have your host draw one or two for each round and invite them to "Come on Down"!!


Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com
The entire Price is Right game actually only took about 30 minutes of our evening, so we also played this awesome game idea from Mormon Activity Days and called it The Game of Life in keeping with our theme for the evening.  It was a more in-depth look at how to budget a salary for common living expenses and gave them some exposure to the options they might have.  I would recommend pairing up one younger girl with one older girl for this game if you have enough girls in your group.  If you don't have enough to make teams, plan for extra time to help the younger gals count out money and do the math. They can absolutely do it, but if you have a big group it may be helpful to have your partner on hand ready to help answer questions!


Fun Budgeting activity idea for LDS Activity Days from my3monsters.com

For treats, you could serve one or two of the food items they learned about in the Price is Right game or this recipe for "Millionaire Bars" from Center Cut Cook would probably also be a big hit!  

The girls had a really fun time and were totally engaged THE WHOLE TIME, which is straight-up miraculous.  I would absolutely do this activity again.  Good Luck, friends!!  

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