Menu buttons


Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School: Yearly Questionaire

I think back to school traditions are great, and ones that you do the same year after year are even more fun. So this year I decided to start asking Kaitlyn (and Ty when he starts) a series of questions right before school starts and see how the answers change from year to year.

My online scrapbooking buddy, Kathryn (remember these K?!) came up with this list a couple years ago:
When will you be grown up?
What makes your family special?
What's one thing you're really good at?
What's one thing you wish you were better at?
Who is the smartest person you know?
Who is the funniest person you know?
What will you wish for on your next birthday?
What's your favorite treat?
What's your favorite game to play?
What scares you the most?
What is the best gift you've been given?
How tall do you want to be when you grow up?
What job do you want to have when you grow up?
If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If you could choose a different name what would you pick?
What rule in your house would you get rid of if you could?
If you had a million dollars, what would you buy with it?
And Kaitlyn's answers:
When will you be grown up? When I’m 20
What makes your family special? She drew a blank every time I asked this one. Then about an hour later she said "Mom do you know why our family is special? Because I love you!"
What's one thing you're really good at? Building puzzles (she says because she’s working on one while we discuss these questions)
What's one thing you wish you were better at? Everything.
Who is the smartest person you know? Me (Kaitlyn herself)
Who is the funniest person you know? Aaliyah (her neighbor friend)
What will you wish for on your next birthday? I’m not telling. It’s a surprise! (She says with a smile)
What's your favorite treat? Popsicles
What's your favorite game to play? Outside games like Capture the Kissy Boy (one they seem to have made up at the BBQ this weekend)
What scares you the most? Nothing. Well, loud thunder I’m scared. Super loud.
What is the best gift you've been given? Noboday gave me my favorite gift yet
How tall do you want to be when you grow up? As tall as my daddy
What job do you want to have when you grow up? I don’t know. There are so many things to decide from.
If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Nothing
If you could choose a different name what would you pick? Hello Kitty
What rule in your house would you get rid of if you could? Tabasco sauce, I don’t like it (not that she’s ever had it! I threaten them with it when they say words I don’t like them to say)
If you had a million dollars, what would you buy with it? Everything! Everything in the whole wide world. That’s girl stuff. Hello Kitty.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

BBQ with The Girls

I have a group of friends that I've known since High School. We used to get together with once a month - I called it my Saturday with The Girls (for lack of a better name. We never did come up with a catchy one. I only mention it now because I know I've included some of our craft projects in the past so you may recognize the term). But life is crazy and those Saturdays are now more of a once-every-three-months thing. Once a year we pull the kids and husbands together with us for a BBQ - and last night was that night. I hosted, so I thought I would shared a few of the details. (because after all, I pretty much only remembered to take photos before everyone arrived and then left the camera inside and focused on chatting instead!).

If I'm going to plan anything, I always have to start with a theme, even if it's just a color scheme. I was very happy to stumble across a whole set of party printables over at DrawPilgrim (search for birthday month - she was doing a free one for every day in July) - so perfect! And not to mention inexpensive and easy! :)

For the party I did:
-pinwheels for decoration. I spray painted the cute Coke bottles from the DJ Hero Party and filled them with sand. Then attached the pinwheels to colored straws with a brad. When I found straws weren't quite sturdy enough, I threaded a bamboo skewer inside them and that worked just fine.
-used the cupcake picks on the water bottles I had printed more and put them on toothpicks but didn't end up sticking any in the food.

-printable labels so the kids could tell the drinks apart
-and I couldn't resist printing out some of these cootie catchers (remember making these in elementary school?!). The kids each got one of these before they went home and thought they were the coolest things. Mine have played with theirs most of the day today.
I really like the format we use for the BBQ every year. The host is in charge of the set up and things like plates and napkins. Everyone brings whatever meat/main dish they want for themselves and their family. Then we make food assignments for everything else. I was in charge of dessert and wanted to do something summery but also something I could make ahead of time. So I did a take-off on the cupcakes cooked in ice cream cones. The sugar cones are so much cuter than the other kind so I baked the cupcakes (without liners) as I normally do, then stuck them in cones. Covered them with frosting, sprinkles and added a cherry. Cute huh?
(the stand is a flat rate box from the post office that I cute holes in so the cones would stand up. I spray painted it white. And to dress it up I took a small strip from the pinwheel template, blew it up so it filled an entire sheet of paper, and cut the decorative strips from that)

*a note about the frosting - the kind I bought was too soft and started running over the side so I had to stick them in the fridge. Either remember that little trick, or buy/make stiffer frosting

Then the only other prep work I had to do was set up the tables and chairs and set out the napkins, etc. I ran across a party photo somewhere where they had all the plates, napkins, etc in a basket and thought it was really cute. Turns out is also really functional - the wind blew all the pinwheels over but the napkins in the basket stayed put without any problem. Ithas the added benefit of being easy to carry everything inside/outside as needed. I'm going to do this for all my future outdoor parties.

And a final parting shot of the kids. They only see each other once every year, so they don't know each other very well (in fact I'm pretty sure they don't even know each other's names!) and were all kind of shy and clingy at the beginning. But by the end of the evening they were all playing so nicely together and having so much fun.

(Alisha's two year old, Beau Dee's 5 year old, and Ty)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lunchbox Ideas

My daughter is a picky eater. And she's going to be in school all day this year. Which means we have a problem. Lunch.

Now, I know I used to have to eat whatever the caffeteria was serving that day but I'm afraid trying that would just be a waste of money in this case. And that means we're going to have to pack a lunch for her. Every. Single. Day. So we may as well make it enjoyable for both of us, right? That's why I've been keeping my eyes open for any and all ideas and products to make packing a lunchbox easier and more fun.

I outfitted her with a cute lunchbox (had to be Hello Kitty - her collection just keeps growing and growing and growing...), containers, and an ice pack (really cute flower one, that I forgot to pull out of the freezer for the photo). I was happy to find some sandwich cutters in Target's dollar section. I have a bunch of fun cookie cutters that I use on sandwiches too, but I like how the sandwich cutters are designed to cover most of the slice of bread so very little goes to waste.

Then came the collecting of ideas. First, the food. I've become a little obsessed with food the last week or so - menus, lists, how to get the entire family to eat healthier and with more variety... I even made it the focus of our Book of the Week activities - more on that when we've finished them.

My list so far looks like this:
-peanut butter sandwich
-turkey slices (rolled up on toothpicks) with crackers and cheese (if I can find a portable kind Kate likes) or a tortilla
-breasticks and sauce
-yogurt and yogurt parfait (with granola and fruit)
-bagel and cream cheese
-chicken noodle soup
-celery and peanut butter
-add a veggie option: snow peas, carros, cucubers and dip
-add a fruit - thank goodness she likes pretty much any fruit
-nuts/trail mix
I've been told they have access to a microwave so that may open up some options too. I would have to make up some little Cheat Sheets so that she would know how to reheat different things.
And when things get boring and I need more ideas I want to explore the myriad creative combinations for Muffin Tin Meals and Bento Boxes. Wouldn't it also be fun to do a theme once in a while? Like everything is a certain color, or they all start with "C", shapes, holidays, etc.

Any other suggestions you have had success with that I should add to the list? Please share!

I have also found a TON of cute things to slip in the lunchbox to make it a little more fun.
-notes from home. These can be as cute or as quick at you want them to be. I found some really cute printable ones here and at other sites (I could kick myself every time I use something and don't write down where I found it). Some have preprinted sayings, some you fill in yourself. And there are some adorable "fruit labels" at with sayings like "you are the apple of my eye" that you can print on sticker paper and stick onto fruit.
-riddles and jokes
-mazes, word searches. Could even do a running game of hangman or tic-tac-toe
-cute drawings or clipart
-a photo from home (of family or maybe of the child doing something fun or silly that they will enjoy sharing with friends)
-fun napkins
-cute toothpicks - to use instead of utensils or as mini-kebabs for fruit or cold cuts
-fun muffin liners (to dress up containers for a little color), unique containers and baggies

I took some time the other day and printed out a bunch of things to get me started - notes (blank and preprinted), riddles (found these at, mini-quizes (found them here), games, clipart (mostly Dutin Pike freebies). I gathered a few stickers too, and stuck them all in a manila envelope that I will keep in the pantry so I can grab them once or twice a week.

So I guess we're all set. Wish me luck! :)

*Update 8/25/10
We're 2 days into the new school year and lunches are going great! Kaitlyn was so excited to pack her lunch all by herself first thing in the morning. And she ate every crumb! I was so happy!
One thing I did want to add: My best lunch idea yet was having Kate sit down and help me make up a lunch menu for the first week of school. I had her concentrate on including items from 3-4 of the food groups so that she got a good variety. And I have to say, this makes packing the lunch SO easy. Just a quick check of the list, grab everything and go. I also made sure I checked the list before shopping for groceries on Saturday so that I knew we would have everything on hand when the time came. Easy!