Archive - July 2013

1
A Month of Instagram July ’13
2
I Heart Toddlers
3
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
4
Brotherly Love
5
California Dreamin’
6
Creating My Planner
7
Pork Carnitas
8
Disneyland Popcorn Guys
9
In Search of the Perfect Planner
10
Pinterest Win: Shower Grout

A Month of Instagram July ’13

sm July numbers

1. Patriotic ice cream sandwiches
2. Making coffee and donuts for Boo
3. Getting free Slurpees from 7-11 on 7-11
4. Fun at the library
5. What can I say?  “They’re brother and sister and best friends as well…”
6. Fun in the pool, Pipsqueak had moved on to snack time
7. Pumpkin Girl moved up a level in ballet and is now a blue girl!
8. Librarian mom is not amused
9. My blue mason jar, blue Cuppow lid and Endurance stainless steel straw
10. When Disney buys Star Wars…
11. Everyone needs a minion
12. Hedwig is all ready for Operation Christmas Child
13. The Waldo Canyon burn scar as seen from our dentist’s office
14. Somebody is missing Disneyland

I Heart Toddlers

How much do you love toddlers?

I think that I’ve said, “I love this age” about every six months since Pipsqueak was born.  I totally mean it every time, but there is just something about toddlers…

Making me alphabet soup.

AlphabetSoup

Falling asleep right in the middle of eating lunch.AsleepAtLunch

Loving his Most Awesome Big Brother.Brothers

Learning to “do myself”.DoMyself

Getting into things he shouldn’t.floss
Trying to hide when it is time for a nap.Hiding

Following in daddy’s footsteps.MickeyCrocs

Spending all day playing with his “troopers”.troopers

General silliness.

HappyMealHat

Yes, I think this is my favorite age.  What do you think?

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Not too long ago we went to see the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.  Philip and I have been to Mesa Verde…a very long time ago, way back before we were married. We were kind of surprised to find out that there are cliff dwellings not to far from us.  It turns out, these particular cliff dwellings were moved from somewhere else and carefully reconstructed in a way that lets visitors climb in and around them.  How fun!

Here’s the family right out front.  I would never have known those cliff dwellings weren’t built right there by the Anasazi if I hadn’t read up on them beforehand.

cliffdwellings1

Right before you get to the actual ruins, you’ll see this Pueblo style building.  It is the museum and gift shop.  I think it’s kind of cute.  The kids liked the museum, especially Boo, who is really into history.  It’s definitely worth stopping in and taking a look.  They’ve got lots of nice displays which help you get a feel for the Anasazi.

cliff dwellings museum

The gift shop is really big! Another reason to stop there first is try to get your kids to forget about all the souvenirs they see and want!  Actually, I really liked the gift shop, though we only bought the usual postcards, magnets and key chains.  One especially cool thing in there was this model of the cliff dwellings built right into the wall.  I wonder if I can get someone to do that in my house?

cliff dwellings gift shop

And being the tasteful, cultural sensitive place that Colorado is, there were fun, appropriate displays like this one.candy headdress

Yeah, no words, really.  Does it make me a bad person that I think this is pretty funny?

Ok, so onward to the cliff dwellings themselves.cliff dwellings inside

These may be somewhat smaller than the ones at Mesa Verde, but you can walk around inside these.

cliff dwellings outside (2)

I think the kids really exploring the cliff dwellings, peering inside window holes and climbing into rooms.  It made the whole experience much more fun than just looking and taking pictures.cliff dwellings outside

I don’t think Pipsqueak cared one way or another.

cliff dwellings outside (3)

If you go – make sure you check their hours, which are seasonal and based on the weather.  Call ahead of time to double check.  Admission is kind of pricey: $9.50 for ages 12 and up, $7.50 for ages 7 and up.  Check out this site for a coupon: Pikes Peak’s  Area Attractions.  They have picnic tables for you to use and you can either bring your own food or buy some there.  We did neither, so I can’t really comment on comfort or food availability or price.  Wear comfy shoes and dress appropriately for the weather!  For more information, you can visit the website here: Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Brotherly Love

I’ve got three boys
my house is loud
all by themselves
they make a crowd.

(A quick tribute to Dr. Seuss.)

myboys

My three boys and their dad. I never have a quiet moment.

 

Sometimes my boys get along famously, other times…not so much. Most days it is a little mixture of both.

The boys and Pumpkin Girl are participating in the library’s summer reading program. Pumpkin Girl finished the whole thing in 2 weeks, just like I used to do as a child. The boys are plugging along at their own pace. Bip is working on his reading skills and he is just able to read picture books to Pipsqueak. He needs to read for 20 minutes to be able to color in a circle on his chart. Pipsqueak needs to have 2 books read to him to color in his own circle.

Bip hatched a plan. He could read picture books to Pipsqueak and they could both get credit of their charts! The only flaw is Pipsqueak’s 2 year old attention span. Things were going well for the first 10 minutes as the two of them sat on the couch together. I snuck away for a little time to myself.

A few minutes later I hear the two of them running through the house. Bip had two books in his hands and was chasing after Pipsqueak yelling, “Which book do you want to read?”. Pipsqueak was running away saying, “No more read me!”

Alas. The best laid plans of little men.

bipread

Let me read to you or else!

California Dreamin’

Dear Philip,

Let”s redo the front of the house to look like this one.

20130718-184724.jpg

And put a deck coming out of our bedroom, with a wrapping stair case, like this.

20130718-184750.jpg

And enclose the front yard like this.

20130718-184803.jpg

It might be a good idea, what with the drought and watering restrictions to have less lawn and more…something like this.

20130718-185757.jpg

You know, since we have to fix the gutters anyway.

Creating My Planner

After trying a couple of different planners over the years and wasting time doing extensive research on the Internet, I came to one conclusion. I need to create my own. Actually, in doing my research, I found several people who made their own planners. I guess planners are highly personal.

I was particularly inspired by how Jennifer at I Heart Organizing created her own planner pages. I like that they are colorful but clean. But still not with the week plus to-do list layout I wanted.

So I created my own pages. Clean, colorful, fun, pre-dated. One week on one side, matching To-Do list on the other. A Martha Stewart Discbound notebook as the cover.

planner cover

I really love this cover.  The blue is soothing and pretty, but the silver discs really make it sing.  I would have liked to have found it in pink (Hello, Martha- are you listening?), but this one is nice, too.The Perfect Planner

I  love, love, love how this turned out! Lots of space to write.  Bright and cheerful.  A To Do list.  What more could a girl want?

planner tabs

I used Martha Stewart tabs and my label maker here.  I can’t find the tabs anywhere anymore, I just happened to have used them on last year’s planner.  I actually couldn’t even find them in my house, either, until the day I took this picture. They are made from a sturdy card stock and the adhesive part is strong, too.  Martha? Yeah, you need to bring these back. (As if Martha reads my blog!)

True confessions time.  I totally copied the title page from Jennifer at I Heart Organizing.  I just really liked it and my inner graphic designer took over and I couldn’t help it.  On the other side is my “if found, please contact…” page. In the little pockets in the front cover I tucked our family cards and our Pumpkin Girl Designs business cards.
planner title page

I was surprised at just how easy this was to put together. I worked on it a little at time and once I got the template made it went very quickly.  I skipped monthly view calendars because I never use them.  I skipped a perpetual “special days” page as well, mostly because I couldn’t it to the right size, but I never use those pages anyway.  For filler pages I just used the pages that came with the binder.  I tucked them in the back for when I need more extensive notes than just a To Do list.

So there you have it!  Nothing to fancy, but totally customized to fit my needs.  What do you think?

Pork Carnitas

My e-maginary friend Brenda shared this recipe with me and 200 of our closest homeschooling friends. Brenda makes me laugh, she’s married to a tough fire fighter and she’s a 49er fan. Doesn’t get much better than that! As a bonus, this recipe is quick, easy, tastes great and makes a ton.

 

Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 1 pork roast (Cheap is good!)
  • 2 T oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cans (7 oz ea) or 1 jar (16 oz) verde sauce (Get Herdez brand if you can, don't sweat it if you can't.)
  • flour tortillas
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • sour cream

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet.
  2. Season roast with salt and pepper and sear roast on all sides.
  3. Place in slow cooker, cover with onions and verde sauce. Cook on low 8-10 hours.
  4. Shred the roast and serve with warm tortillas, cheese and sour cream
http://themacandcheesechronicles.com/2013/07/15/pork-carnitas/

Disneyland Popcorn Guys

A little while ago I told you about some of our favorite lesser-known spots at Disneyland. Those are the little details that I love! Another detail I make sure not to miss are the little characters that turn the popcorn in the popcorn cart.What would you call them, anyway? Popcorn crankers? Popcorn turners? I’ve always been fond of them. When I was younger I would try to figure out how the popcorn got out of their little machine and into the warming area.  (I will neither confirm nor deny that I was over 18 when I figured out that those little guys weren’t actually making the popcorn.)

Each Disneyland popcorn cart has a different theme to coordinate with the land they are in, and the popcorn cranker is different in each one.

This is the Rocketeer from the movie of the same name.  He is the first one I ever noticed as being different from the others.  You can find him in Tomorrowland.  I love his little boots!
RocketeerPopcorn

Check out the creepy undertaker!  He is found in New Orleans square, next to the Haunted Mansion (of course), in front of the train stop.
UndertakerPopcorn

During Halloween, the undertaker is replaced by…the Oogie Boogie!  He might just cook a special batch of snake and spider stew!

OogieBoogiePopcorn

This guy can be found in Toon Town.
ConductorPopcorn

The clowns are usually found near It’s a Small World.
ClownPopcorn

Scary Yeti is next to the Matterhorn.  Just take your popcorn and back away slowly…
YetiPopcorn

Dapper Dans can be found around Main Street, USA.
DapperDanPopcorn

But during Christmas, Santa takes at turn at the popcorn!
SantaPopcorn

As far as I know, the popcorn turners are unique to Disneyland.  Have you ever noticed them?

In Search of the Perfect Planner

It’s the time of year where I go in search of the perfect planner. I feel like Lancelot searching for the Holy Grail – I know it’s out there, I just can’t find it. I’m a fan of the academic year calendars so I can write in an entire school year’s worth of activities at once. Those calendars and planners come out in July or August, so it is time to mount up and seek glory, er, go shopping.

My favorite format so far has been Amy Knapp’s Family Organizer. It has one week at a time on the right side of the planner, with a to-do list on the left hand side. Each day has enough space to write what I need and I love keeping a running to-do list on the other side. This is by far my most favorite ever layout. It has a spiral binding so it lays flat. Honestly, without some sort of lay flat binding, I won’t even look at a planner.

FamilyOrganizerPlanner

The problem with the Family organizer is…well, it’s kind of plain. I’m all for a clean, uncluttered look, but this one needs some oomph. So I went in search of something pretty. And pink. Pumpkin Girl says pink is my signature color.

I didn’t find pink, but I did find Sandra Boynton’s Mom’s Family Desk Planner . (Link goes to Amazon.com, but I don’t get compensated at all.) The right side has the week’s calendar, the left side has a full color Sandra Boynton cartoon. It really doesn’t get more fun than that. I wanted to fall in love, but I could only get as far as “really like.” Even though the included stickers are the cutest ones out there, I missed the to-do list every week. I wish Sandra Boynton would sell the calendar stickers separately and more of them. The set with the calendar only came with 5 “dance class” stickers. Really? Who only takes 5 dance classes? Pumpkin Girl takes 5 classes a week.

MomsFamilyDeskPlanner

If only I could get the cute and fun design Sandra Boynton’s planner with the functional layout of Amy Knapp’s organizer, my quest would be complete and I could die happy.

I have scoured the Internet looking for my perfect planner. Only Moleskine has the week plus to-do list layout that I like. But not spiral bound and sort of plain. Lots of pretty planner pages are available to purchase and download on etsy, but none had the layout I wanted.

What’s a girl do to? I’ll show you next time. Until then, do you have a favorite planner or calendar?

Pinterest Win: Shower Grout

I love me some Pinterest! Have you heard of the blogs that feature Pinterest fails?  They are kind of funny, but sometimes it seems like the person was deliberately trying to fail. I have to admit, there are a number of pins that I’ve seen that make me think, “Yeah, right.  There is no way I’m going to pull off those projects.” But I’ve actually tried some of the other ideas I’ve found. So I thought I’d start a series of posts highlighting my Pinterest Wins.

To start us off  is the idea to use cotton coil (found in beauty supply stores) and bleach to clean shower grout. The original idea can be found here: Getting Mold Out of the Shower.  I rarely use bleach at all – it stinks and it can ruin anything it touches.  But showers sometimes need that level of help.  Like mine…grout beforeSo I did pretty much what the original link said: line your icky shower grout with cotton coil and gently pour bleach over the cotton coil.  Here’s a hint from me- get a cheap squeeze bottle to help control where the bleach goes.  Use a Q-tip to push the cotton right up against the grout.  Wait a while, check the progress, remove when done.  That’s it!  It works because the cotton coil keeps the bleach in constant contact with the grout, instead of it running down the drain.

grout after

What do you think? Easy and cheap, that makes it a Win!

I ended up getting cotton coil through Amazon.com as an add-on item after I’d forgotten for the bazillionth time to stop by Sally’s Beauty Supply while I was at Target (they are in the same parking lot).Grout Collage1

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