Sep 19 2014

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Souvenir Board for all our Travel Magnets!

Our family loves to travel and explore new places!  If we could we would go on more adventures, but time and other priorities take first place for a good chunk of the year.  We are thankful for all the neat trips we’ve been able to take and for opportunities to visit with family and friends.  A few years ago we decided (the idea stimulated from my cool sister-in-law Becky who already had a fridge full of magnets) to start collecting magnets when we visited a new place.  Before that we would random souvenirs such as a picture frame, cup, magnet, or something else.

We wanted to start consistently collecting something that was relatively small, easily transported, not too expensive, and could be found at the majority of places we visited.  So we decided on the “magnet” because it was something we could find almost everywhere, they don’t take up that much extra space in our luggage, they are usually a good price, and didn’t cause too much clutter once we got home.  As we continued to travel we noticed our fridge began filling up with the neat magnets we had accumulated.   It was fun looking at the magnets and reminiscing about the adventures we had on the various trips.

A couple months ago our fridge died.  After several weeks of research we finally decided on a new fridge and got it installed.  The problem was I didn’t really want the magnets back on the fridge for several reasons – the magnets tend to scratch the fridge (which wasn’t a big deal for our really old fridge), the magnets tend to get bumped or fall off (causing them to break), and the fridge was starting to get a cluttered look.  So after a few weeks of deliberation my husband made this amazing magnetic souvenir board for me.

I LOVE the magnetic souvenir board my husband made for our family!   We got the picture frame at Hobby Lobby when it was on clearance, he picked up a sheet of steel at our local Lowe’s store, and it assembled in no time at all!  Now it is hanging in our dining room with our travel souvenir magnets.

Magnetic Souvenir Board

Magnet Souvenir Board Directions:

  • Picture Frame 24 x 36 (or whatever size you want)
  • Sheet of Steel 24 x 36
  • Souvenir Magnets

We picked out a picture frame that specifically fit our sheet of steel so we didn’t have to do any cutting or trimming on the steel.  Please be wear gloves and be careful when handling the steel as it has sharp edges.  If there is any glass in your picture frame remove it (hint – it is usually less expensive to purchase the frame without glass plus you don’t have to figure out what to do with the extra sheet of glass once it’s removed).  Place the sheet of steel into the picture frame.  The metal will be a little heavier and when you add the magnets the frame can get pretty heavy so depending on your frame you may want to add a hook that will be able to hold the weight evenly.  Add your magnets!  Hang it up and ENJOY!

Magnetic Souvenir Board

Every magnet tells a story and holds precious memories for our family.

You can make one for your family as well.  This can be a reasonably priced project especially if you use coupons or shop a sale, it’s easy to put together, and looks great.  You can get whatever frame will look the best for your home decor!  Feel free to share a picture of your Magnet Souvenir Board with us!  Happy traveling!

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Sep 17 2014

This song has been in my head since singing it in church recently.  I am thankful for God’s faithfulness in my life.  My favorite line is “I will look back and see that you are faithful.   I look ahead believing you are able.”

All the worries of this world
I will lay them at your feet
Surrender every anxious thought
For perfect peace
Your perfect peace

Oh the loved ones I hold dear
All my hopes and dreams and all my fears
I will choose to trust your name
In everything
With everything

I will look up for there is none above you
I will bow down to tell you that I need you
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of all

I will take you at your word
Jesus you have taken hold of me
All my life is in your hands
You’re my strength
You’re my strength

I will look up for there is none above you
I will bow down to tell you that I need you
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of all
I will look back and see that you are faithful
I look ahead believing you are able
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of All

Prince of Peace
Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on you
King of Kings
Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on you

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Sep 15 2014

Some weeks there is so much to squeeze into the schedule I am not sure how it will all get done.  This weekend I realized that it is impossible to do everything and sometimes tasks that I do accomplish they are not always done very well.   This week I really need to work  on making positive steps forward because the “to do” list will always be longer than the hours in the day.  Part of what I need to be doing is prioritizing to make sure I am taking care of my family first. One of the first steps is making sure the menu is in place so I know what I need to prepping for meals.  Here is our menu plan for the upcoming week:

Our Weekly Menu Plan

  • Monday (Beef or Seafood Entree): Special Event – Back to School Night (Pizza Meal at School)
  • Tuesday (Kid’s Night to Cook): Hot Dogs, Steamed Vegetables
  • Wednesday (Chicken or Vegetarian Entree): Easy Crockpot Chicken Tacos, Fresh Vegetables
  • Thursday (Pasta or Pork Entree):  Pasta Casserole, Salad
  • Friday, Saturday, & Sunday:  Leftovers, Family Preference, and Hosting

I have a general pattern I try to follow for my weekly Menu Plan (for example Monday we have a beef or seafood entree and so forth).  It is my goal, at least in the beginning, to have at least the main dish and one side planned.  I will put together the remaining side dishes (veggies / fruits) based on the food items that need to be used up first and compliment the main entree.

Setting a weekly menu plan helps me utilize my time better, thus freeing up extra time to spend with my family.  On the days that I am working longer hours I can prep the meal in advance so it will be easier to pull together once I am home.  As I go through the menu planning process I will try to share some of our favorite family recipes.  If there is a specific recipe you would like please let me know and I will do my best to accommodate (some recipes are a toss together meal and I do not use any set measurements).

As a family of four our life can get busy.  What’s for Dinner is our weekly menu planning series and one of the ways to help keep us organized, on schedule, and within budget.  Our family typically eats 6 to 7  dinner meals at home a week.  We do try to go out to eat at least once a month as a special treat.  Breakfasts are eaten at home before work and school, lunches are eaten at work, school, or home, so dinner is our main meal together as a family.  Dinner is our time to reconnect, share, and enjoy being together after a busy day.  Our weekly menu plan covers Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday only because the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) is our time to spend with family and friends.  The weekends tend to be more spontaneous and my husband (who is the better cook) likes pitching in therefore we keep the menu open for variety.  We use up the leftovers throughout the week for our lunches and on the nights that we are busy or can’t cook.

Photo by Liz

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Sep 10 2014

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The Fall Season is just around the corner!  Even though Fall officially starts on September 22, 2014 it is already starting to cool down in our area.  The leaves are falling, apples are ripening, and animals are scurrying around to finish stocking up for the cooler months.  Recently we received a package and this adorable barn was inside from Febreze, Walmart, and SheSpeaks!  Let’s just say the kids were as excited about seeing the barn box as I was about getting all the amazing fall Febreze scents and goodies!

One of my favorite parts about Fall is all the amazing Fall smells from toasted nuts, pumpkins, fall harvest, apple picking, pears baking, and more amazing scents of the season.  What are your favorite Fall Scents?  Febreze has come out with their Fall Home Harvest Collection!  Have you already tried the Febreze Home Harvest Collection?  If not it is a great way to get you ready for the upcoming Fall season!  They have some perfect Fall scents to get your house and car ready!  Some of the scents you might want to check out this Fall season are Vanilla Latte, Autumn Harvest, Spiced Pear, Toasted Almond, Sugared Cranberry, and more.

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We opened up our Febreze Fall Home Home Collection barn box and were pleasantly surprised with all the cool scents, goodies, and activities included.  What a great way to get excited and prepared for the Fall Season!  Febreze truly eliminates odors so your guests will only notice the freshness of fall when they enter your home.

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We received a Febreze NOTICEables Warmer with two NOTICEables NOTABLES.  One was the Autumn Harvest which is a blend of sandalwood and chai – smells amazing!  The other NOTICEables NOTABLES was the Vanilla Latte which is a blend of vanilla and sugar – absolutely love the smell of this one!  Reminds me of a fresh hot cup of coffee on a cool Fall day!  Febreze even took care of bringing Fall to our car!  They sent us a Febreze Car Toasted Almond vent clip which lasts up to 30 days and smells delicious!  Even the teachers have commented that they really like the scent when I pick the kids up in car line at school.

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The barn yard is complete with the awesome Febreze Fall Home Harvest Collection, activity cards in the scentspiration box, a gift card from Walmart, and cute decorative picket fence, wagon wheels, and hay bales!

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They thought of everything!  Included are some delicious Fall Recipes, fun Fall Activities to do with your family, and Fall Home Decor to get your home ready for the Fall Season!  We will share a few of the ones we have done so far below.

Febreze Fall Home Harvest Collection

We are already enjoying the Febreze NOTICEables Warmer with NOTICEables NOTABLES Vanilla Latte!!!   Makes the house smell amazing!  Do you like having a different fall scent in each room or one scent filling the whole home?

One of the recipes that Febreze included that will make your house smell like Fall – Oven Baked Smores:

Febreze Fall Home Harvest Collection

What you need:  A graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate bar per Smore and an appropriate baking sheet to fit all the Smores you are making.

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Place graham crackers on a baking sheet.

3.  Press marshmallows between your fingers to make them a little flat, then place them on the graham crackers.

4.  Bake until the marshmallows have puffed up and the edges turn a light, caramel brown color.

5.  Remove tray from oven, and firmly press a piece of chocolate down into the marshmallow.  You want the warmth of the marshmallow to melt the chocolate.  Enjoy!

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Delicious Oven Baked Smores!  You can put another graham cracker on top if you want as well.  You can probably use a little less chocolate too, but we enjoy the extra sweetness!

Febreze Fall Activities – Whistle with an Acorn Top

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What you need:  An acorn top.  I recommend washing your acorns with water first to make sure they are clean and bug free.

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Directions (once your acorn is washed):  

1.  Make a fist with your hands, then place your hands together with your fingers touching.

2.  Place the acorn top on the top of your index finger.

3.  Put your thumbs on top of the acorn top, angling them so that the tips of your thumbs make a “V” shape.

4.  Blow over the top of your thumbs, and you’ll hear a whistle!

Our whole family tried the various acorn tops for whistles.  Jake won the contest for the the loudest and most shrill whistle!  These were a little more difficult than we expected, but if you got your fingers and acorn top just right you can get a really loud whistle which brings smiles to the kids faces.    Do you have any of the great scentspiration activities you would like to share?

Febreze Fall Home Decor – Acorn Centerpiece

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What you need:  Acorns, leaves or flowers or ribbons, a vase, Febreze Air Effects

Directions:

1.  Gather lots of acorns.

2.  Take the vase of any shape and size and fill it to the top with acorns.

3.  Add colorful leaves or flowers if you want to cover the top of vase.

4.  Lightly spray the top of the arrangement with your favorite scent from the Febreze Fall Harvest Collection for a unique final touch, and then put it on display.

Do you decorate your tables with seasonal decor?  Have you ever used Febreze to add an extra festive touch to your home or used Febreze scents to enhance your home décor?

I would love to hear how your family prepares for the Fall Season: 
• Have you ever tried making toasted almonds?
• Have you ever tasted sugared cranberries?
• What is your most popular pears dessert recipe?
• Do you have another version of one of the recipes, decorations, or activities that I shared today?
• I would love for you to share any pictures of the Fall scentspiration activities you have tried.
• Are there any scents or designs that help inspire the ideas for you?
• What new ideas do you have to get your home fall-ready?

More information about Febreze:

A special thanks to SheSpeaks, Febreze, and Walmart for sponsoring this post!  Any specific product information was provided by Febreze, Walmart, and SheSpeaks, however, the opinions expressed in this post are our own.  We received a complimentary products  for sharing information and our family’s experience.

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Sep 08 2014

The week ahead of us is looking pretty busy with a few extra activities tacked onto an already crazy schedule.  As we were looking at our schedule this week my husband suggested that I do easy and simple meals this week.  Thankful for a husband who is understanding and willing to be a little flexible with the family dinner.  These meals will help us cut back on our food budget and make it easier to prep with everything that is going on during the week.  While the menu is not overly exciting it keeps us fed during a busy time.  Here is our menu plan for the upcoming week:

Our Weekly Menu Plan

  • Monday (Beef or Seafood Entree): Poor Man’s Pasta, Fresh Fruit (we are altering our normal weekly beef/seafood night)
  • Tuesday (Kid’s Night to Cook): Pizza, Salad
  • Wednesday (Chicken or Vegetarian Entree): Steamed Rice, Vegetables
  • Thursday (Pasta or Pork Entree):  Leftovers
  • Friday, Saturday, & Sunday:  Leftovers, Family Preference, and Hosting

I have a general pattern I try to follow for my weekly Menu Plan (for example Monday we have a beef or seafood entree and so forth).  It is my goal, at least in the beginning, to have at least the main dish and one side planned.  I will put together the remaining side dishes (veggies / fruits) based on the food items that need to be used up first and compliment the main entree.

Setting a weekly menu plan helps me utilize my time better, thus freeing up extra time to spend with my family.  On the days that I am working longer hours I can prep the meal in advance so it will be easier to pull together once I am home.  As I go through the menu planning process I will try to share some of our favorite family recipes.  If there is a specific recipe you would like please let me know and I will do my best to accommodate (some recipes are a toss together meal and I do not use any set measurements).

As a family of four our life can get busy.  What’s for Dinner is our weekly menu planning series and one of the ways to help keep us organized, on schedule, and within budget.  Our family typically eats 6 to 7  dinner meals at home a week.  We do try to go out to eat at least once a month as a special treat.  Breakfasts are eaten at home before work and school, lunches are eaten at work, school, or home, so dinner is our main meal together as a family.  Dinner is our time to reconnect, share, and enjoy being together after a busy day.  Our weekly menu plan covers Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday only because the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) is our time to spend with family and friends.  The weekends tend to be more spontaneous and my husband (who is the better cook) likes pitching in therefore we keep the menu open for variety.  We use up the leftovers throughout the week for our lunches and on the nights that we are busy or can’t cook.

Photo by Liz

Share and Enjoy.