Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More fun to teach than learn

We are really working hard at potty training with Max right now.  It is, as potty training usually is, very exhausting.  But it is really fun to see Max switch roles and be the "trainer" instead of the "trainee" when Lily insists that she needs a "potty party" too. 

 Now, if I could get him to consistently go on the potty himself, we'd be in business!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Favorites: Pinterest Valentine's Day Roundup

***Adam, Linda, Sybil, Douglas...Valentine Spoiler Alert!  Stop reading this post!***

Have you fallen in love with Pinterest yet?  Okay, maybe I was a little late to the game, but I've been making up for lost time over the last few months.  I still have two and a half weeks until Valentine's Day, plenty of time to do all the awesome things I've been pinning... (click on the links in the captions)

To decorate:
Felt Heart Wreath from The Idea Room
Ruffled Satin and Burlap Wreaths from my blessed life
Heart Garland from duitang.com
Kissing Balls from The Idea Room

For kids' school friends:
Free Printable Valentine from The Frugal Girls
Fun Monster Cards from Make and Takes
School of Fish Valentine from Bateman Buzz
Glow Stick Valentine from The Teacher Wife
Monster Boxes from Giggles Galore
Pop Rocks Valentine from Fiskars
Superhero Valentines from Little Bit Funky

For our friends and family:
Blow Me a Kiss Valentine from Bloom Designs
Love Note Cards from Little Birdie Secrets
Paper Candy Pouch from Peppermint Plum
"I love you this much" card for the grandparents from A Day in My Life

For my kids:
Heart-Shaped Army Eggs from Martha
Valentine-y Lunches from Lisa Storms

To enjoy:
Chocolate and Berries Yogurt Dessert by Betty Crocker
Marbled Red Velvet Cheesecake Bites from The Novice Chef
Neapolitan Cupcakes from i heart 2 stamp

Just for fun:
Heart Paper Clips by Design Sponge

and of course,
For my sweetheart (shh, don't tell, I'm pretty sure he won't see this!):
"I love you" Reminder Hearts from Moorea Seal

Okay, maybe it's a little ambitious.  But it's good to aim high, right?  We do love Valentine's Day around here, as you can see in past posts:

I *heart* hair!

If you haven't tried it and would like an invite to Pinterest, let me know!  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LensDay: Playing with Actions

I took some pictures of Lily in the bath the other night, and used them to play around with actions a little in Photoshop.  Here are my favorites, only edited in post with Camera Raw. 

This last one I loved because look how green her eyes look!  I thought she was blue-eyed, but not in these pictures.  I used this one to test out a bunch of actions I downloaded from Coffee Shop and Pioneer Woman.  It was really fun to see how they worked and what they could do.  It gave me some fun ideas for future shoots and edits....

Coffee Shop Perfect Portrait

Custom Black & White (Photoshop Default Action)

Pioneer Woman Colorized

Pioneer Woman Cooler

Pioneer Woman Fresh and Colorful

Pioneer Woman Heartland

Pioneer Woman Quick Edge Burn

Pioneer Woman PW's B&W

Pioneer Woman Seventies

Pioneer Woman Soft & Faded

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Monday: February Dinner Calendar

I think it's so much easier to get dinner on the table if I plan ahead, so I've been making monthly calendars of our dinners and shopping by what I've planned.  I rarely follow them to the letter, in fact I'm lucky if I actually make three planned dinners in a week, and I frequently switch them around because of schedules, lack of ingredients, or whatever, but at least I have something planned and then I can usually remember to get the ingredients when I'm at the store.

I hadn't been really consistent with this in the past because a whole month of empty calendar squares is intimidating.  But then I started leaving one day a week empty (Saturday).  Then if we decided to go out to eat, I didn't feel bound to the calendar because I knew we could eat that dinner on Saturday switch them around.  My next discovery I have to credit to Echo because she told me that once a week they were eating breakfast for dinner, and I got to thinking of our dinners in categories and putting one of each category in each week.  Lots of people do this on the same day each week, i.e. Taco Tuesday or Friday Night Pizza, etc.  I am more flexible than this and just put it somewhere in the week.  Our categories are Pasta, Taco/Mexican, Asian, Soup (in the winter, Grilling in warm months), and Meat and Potatoes or Casserole.  I was doing breakfast for dinner, too, but I've started putting in miscellaneous dinners instead and putting breakfast on Saturdays, then I can make a big breakfast on the weekend or substitute it for a dinner another time in the week if I want to.

Every family likes different dinners, and different types of foods, but I found it was nice to use someone's ideas to get me started, so I'm posting February's dinner calendar here in two formats.  One in PDF that is in a cute font so you can just print it and post it on your fridge, and make changes with a pencil, and one in a document form so you can type in any changes you'd like to make before printing.  I'll try to post one each month since I make one for our family anyway.  I'll make an effort to provide links to the recipes when I can, but if you ever want a recipe just put it in the comments and I'll post it!

download Google Document

Edited to add:

I forgot to mention one of the biggest helps in planning dinners: requests!  Every month I ask for requests, and it has really changed how I cook.  I found that Adam was asking for childhood favorites (hamburger gravy, tater tot casserole, shepherd's pie, etc.), and I had stopped making them because I felt like I had "outgrown" them.  But our kids hadn't been exposed to them at all, so now I'm making an effort to bring them back.  I also add in one request from each child, and I have gotten some interesting requests.  Like chicken noodle soup by candlelight. Or toast.  This month is a repeat of last month: chicken nuggets and fries, orange chicken, and curry.  

Also by request, here are links to recipes for most of the things on the calendar.  If I didn't include a link, it's probably because I cheat with that dinner (usually a store-bought sauce or it's a standby, etc.) or I figure everyone has a favorite recipe for it (like pancakes or shepherd's pie, for example).  But if you want to know how I make something and I didn't include a link, let me know (comments, Facebook, email, whatever) and I'll post it.  Even if it's admitting that I dumped a can of something and stirred.  Because I know you guys love me and won't think anything of that! 

Things I've posted about before: 
Peanut Noodles (I seriously need to update this post...remind me if I forget!)

And here are the new recipes I'm trying out this month (thank you, Pinterest!).  If they turn out*, I'll blog about them: 
Beef Stew *this is the one exception; I've actually tried this one out just recently and loved it.  I'm planning to share my thoughts on it after I make it again in February.  
Avocado Chicken Parmesan (I can tell you right now, I may wimp out on this one...Lily and I are the only avocado-lovers in the family.)  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Christmas Day

Adam wasn't feeling well at Christmas, and since it was Sunday as well and we had to get dressed and ready for church we were a little off our usual game.  I think it was still a good day, but I am a little sad that we didn't remember to take pictures at my mom's (she made a beautiful dinner for us, with china and everything), and that we didn't get to visit with Adam's family on Christmas.  And I completely forgot to get a shot of everyone dressed up, we all matched.  At least the kids had a good day!  Here are some of my favorite shots of them reacting to and playing with their gifts.  (Yes, I am in the background in a lot of these.  We lost our p&s camera briefly over Christmas, and couldn't take any video without it unless it was on a phone.  So Adam was taking still shots, and I was using a phone to video...I know I look super awesome, haha!) 

Hope your Christmas was fun, happy, and filled with the spirit of the Savior!