Window Monster Shadows

I just started making these last night and will post pictures tomorrow!

These are so simple to make yourself and a fun way to decorate your house for Halloween.

What you need:

  • Black Posterboard/Construction Board
  • Tissue Paper
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Directions:

Step 1: Measure

Measure the width of your window pane. Mark with chalk on the bottom the width you will need for your monster on the posterboard.

Step 2: Draw

Draw your monster with the chalk within this width constraint. I would recommend making the monster as large as possible.

Step 3: Cut

Cut out the monster silhouette, eyes, and mouth if drawn.

Step 4: Accent

Tape tissue paper to any openings on the monster. Example, Eyes and Mouth. To add depth, use (2) colors of tissue paper for the eyes. Place one color on top of the other.

Step 5: Tape

Tape monster in window pane with chalk showing on the inside of the house.

Depending on the lighting you have inside of your house, you may or may not need additional lights near the window to help show the monsters. I added some white Christmas lights under the curtain rod (behind the curtains). This way I can have my curtains closed but the monsters are still lit up.

Alternative: If you have some sharp scissors, make the monsters out of cloth. Use an old sheet or buy one from goodwill. You could pick black, color, or a fun pattern. This will allow you to store the monsters easier and be more durable for reuse year after year.

The busy life of a mom

The life led by moms now (and I’m sure then too) can lead to quite a crazy, hectic, and busy life. I have recently discovered I cannot do it all! This has become quite a harsh reality for me, and quite hard for me to accept.

I want my children to have all the opportunities possible, but this involves me driving everywhere all the time for soccer, tball, football, swimming, library, park. And dare I try to open up the world of dance, karate, gymnastics, or piano. Currently only my oldest is in the sports but being in multiple sports is becoming quite a pain. I have no idea if I can handle all 3 boys doing it at the same time.

Now outside of my children, let’s consider what I want to do with my time outside of my full time job (which is actually taking up more like 50 hours a week and not 40). I would love to keep up on my blog, actually finish the million of art/craft/cooking projects I had planned, read the whole book for my monthly book club, workout/exercise every day, and go back to school so I can have a job I would love.

Here I am actually attempting to do all of the above (seriously!) and I am so worn, and often irritable. So obviously I have pushed myself too much and I am slowly accepting that I cannot do everything. But now how do I decide what is most important? I am at a loss, but I will let you know if I figure out how to do it all.

Oh, just an FYI there should be more recipes coming up as the discovery of my sons milk intolerance has esculated to an extremity. If all turns out good I will have creamy pasta sauces, no sugar or sugar substitute cookies, and imitation ranch dressing. All dairy free and low cal!

Icecream Alternatives

I recently discovered my youngest son is lactose intolerant and I haven’t quite got the hang of making milk alternative foods. We were visiting the grandparents and of course they wanted to give the boys some ice cream- as my dad was handing my youngest the ice cream cone we realized he couldn’t have it. So we had to take it away- now it seemed like we were punishing him and we had to adapt quickly. Banana cone! We put part of a banana in an ice cream cone and top it with some peanut butter. He was just as happy as the other boys.

This got me to thinking what if we mashed up the banana and froze it so it would be more like ice cream- or maybe just the fridge? I will testing this theory out with some fruits in the next couple weeks to see if I can come up with a healthy lactose alternative.

Leave a comment if you have any suggestions!

3 Painting Collage Textured

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I’m so exited about finishing this project that I wanted to update everyone. We almost finished our 3 paintings collage with the kids this weekend. It took a few more coatings of paint then I thought so that delayed things. Depending on the paint this should be a 3 step project. The kids loved the idea of 3 phases and it uses different techniques for each phase.

Overall quite a simple and fun project. I love abstract art because you can’t mess up! I had each kid work on their own with the same colors and steps, each is similar but yet completely different and their own. If you are working with multiple children remember to put their name in the back before starting!

Supplies:

3-4 Acrylic Paint (complimenting colors)

3 Canvases (I used 5×7)

3 Sponge brushes (or any brush that you fancy)

3 Shaped sponges (I used 1 regular unused kitchen sponge and cut into squares but you can use any shape)

3 Eyedroppers/medicine dropper/plastic spoon/straw?

Optional:

Newspaper for table

Old t-shirts to cover kids

Step 1:

Pick 3 colors (or 4) of acrylic paint. Decide which one will be the base color, the primary color, and the accent color.

We chose metallic paints- bronze (base), blue & green (primary), and gold (accent)

Use sponge paint brushes to cover the entire canvas with base color. You may need to apply a second coat (wait for 1st coat to dry). Wait for paint to dry before proceeding to step 2.

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Step 2:

Use sponge shapes to stamp primary color.

Kids seem to go a little over board with the stamping, so to show some of the square shapes I helped them go over it with the 2nd primary color.

Wait for paint to dry before proceeding to step 3.

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Step 3:

Drizzle accent color. (can use paint brush, eye dropper, etc.) We used an old medicine dropper- but next time I think we will try blowing it out with a straw.

Depending on your paint you may need to add some water to get a good consistancy to drip/drizzle.

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Optional Step 4:

Paint edging/border black or base color.

If you want it to look more professional you can do this, otherwise it’s fine to keep as is.

Wait for paint to dry, cover painting with clear protectant.

Add hooks and hang.

I will post pictures of steps and the final product once it dries. It was still wet this morning.

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Spring is coming!

The sun is shining, green is starting to appear, and well the temperature is actually comfortable. Here in Wisconsin it will be in the 70s for at least the next 8 days. If you live in Wisconsin, you would know how incredibly strange that is for March. Usually our snow is just starting to melt- with the occassional snow storm still coming and in the lower 40s.

This beautiful weather has made me want to start decorating the house for spring! That means beautiful bright colors, and possibly flowers. 🙂 I live with all boys- 3 little men, and 1 big man, so flowers and girly stuff is normally a no-no. But I have decided to make it into a craft and I know the little boys will want to join in.

I’m trying to gather some ideas on how to make some beautiful fun flowers for our kitchen table. I think we will take a trip to the craft store to get some supplies and I already have some sticks, buttons, paint, beads, and craft wire. I think I will make 2 types of flowers- one with fabric/cloth and one with tights. I will let you know how it goes, since I’m still in the experimental phase.

The kids paintings should be up next week. Sorry I’m a little slow at posting everything, I just get so wrapped up in our daily activities.

What are you doing to get ready for spring? Decorating? Spring cleaning? Tell me about it!

Comfort Foods: Remade Healthy

It seems I focus my attention on one object at a time, and having some slight ADD issues this one objective is always changing! My new focus for the time being is to change my eating habits by making them just slightly healthier. I always joke with people and say I have an eating disorder- I can’t stop eating! I rarely feel full and I am in love with comfort food. Unfortunately after I stopped breast feeding, even with the extra exercise, I am not able to burn enough calories to continue eating the way I am. I have gained 20 pounds, eek!

The hardest part of a diet is sticking with it, and I’m not sure I would call this a diet as it is more a life style change. I already switched all pasta to whole wheat (years ago) and we switched out iceburg lettuce for spring leaf salads. We eat at least one additional vegatable at dinner besides the ones in the main entree. So how do I make that entree more healthy without costing flavor? If I cut out flavor this will not work, I am on the search for something that tastes amazing but is a smidging better.

Please feel free to post any recipes or ideas you have. I will try to update this each time I find a new way to make my comfort food slightly more healthy.

I’ll start you out with one I’ve already tried – macaroni and cheese! I kind of wing things so when I have measurements I will update it and probably post it up under recipes. Definitely a keeper. The great thing about this recipe is you can change it up. Use reg sharp cheddar and mix in peas and carrots, with a layer of broccoli.

Comfort Food: Macaroni and Cheese      
         
Description: My children love this more than any other version of home made macaroni I’ve made. It also comes out very beautiful when placed on the plate. 
 
 
         
Ingredients: Low-Fat/Skim Milk      
  Flour      
  Low-Fat Sharp White Cheddar Cheese (shredded)  
  Pepper      
  Garlic Powder      
  Italian Seasoning      
         
  Spinach       
  Mushrooms (sliced)      
  Tomatoes (sliced)      
  Whole Wheat Elbow Noodles      
  Bread Crumbs      
  Olive Oil      
         
Cook elbow noodles until el dente or not quite fully cooked (about 4-5 minutes). Spray nonstick spray on casserole dish.  Make sauce by heating milk until steaming (not boiling), slowly add flour for about 3 minutes until thickened. Add seasonings as preferred; salt, pepper, garlic, italian herbs. Remove from heat and slowly stir in shredded cheese. Mix noodles into sauce. Pour 1/2 of the noodles and sauce into casserole dish. Add spinach, sprinkle with shredded cheese, add mushrooms sprinkle with cheese. Top with remaining noodles and sauce, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Add sliced tomatoes to cover entire top of the dish. Spinkle breadcrumbs mixed in olive oil on top of tomatoes. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before eating. 

January: Last Post

Being the last day of the month I can safely say I know how I did this month. This month was worse than the last with no savings at all. We went through a lot this month and I am encouraged to start saving again after finishing our tax return. The tax return will boost our savings account and we are SO close to being able to buy the bigger vehicle that we need. My goal is to save $1,000 for the next couple months and purchase a vehicle in May before our family vacation. This could possibly change once I start visiting the dealerships and cannot get the vehicle I want at the price I want. . But given I have trade in and I am willing to take a small loan out ($3000 max) that should cover an difference. I typically would not want a loan and just buy the vehicle completely but I need to start repairing my credit from 6 years ago when everything had gone into collections. It’s devastating to go through such a financial bind.

With the breakdown chart in the tracking expense spreadsheet I was able to determine I spend the majority of my money on 1) Rent 2) Recreation 3) Going out – now I categorized Recreation as anything that was not a necessity and I wanted to seperate when I went out from that because I knew this month I went a little crazy. Woo eee! I spent more money on frivilaious things than on rent!

Chart Breakdown

  Sum of Cost
Rent 550
Recreation 467.7
Going Out 237.32
Daycare 200
Gas 148.11
Healthcare 127
Toiletries 122.31
Food 109.1
Utilities 104
Insurance 94.78
Phone 40
Grand Total 2200.32

Expenses Sheet

JANUARY
           
Monthly Income $2,500.00 Savings Goal $1,000.00 Monthly Budget $1,500.00
           
Cost Item Item 2 Item 3 Date Category
$40.00 Game for Tony’s Birthday @ Amazon (1/1) Recreation
$39.31 Food @ Copps     (1/1) Food
$23.30 Socks @ Kohls     (1/1) Recreation
$30.36 Shoes & Socks @ Walmart   (1/1) Recreation
$13.17 Food @ McDonalds   (1/1) Going Out
$120.00 Hair Foil & Cut @ Hair by Jill   (1/4) Recreation
$27.00 Badgercare Monthly Bill   (1/4) Healthcare
$39.95 Tanning Lotions @ Amazon   (1/6) Toiletries
$32.03 Pampers DS #3     (1/6) Toiletries
$26.59 Luvs DS#2     (1/6) Toiletries
$42.00 2 16×20 Canvases @ artcow.com   (1/6) Recreation
$130.00 Nolan’s birthday party @ Bowling Alley (1/7) Going Out
$121.33 Packers Jersey for Dad’s birthday    (1/6) Recreation
$12.66 Birthday Party stuff @ Dollar Store (1/6) Recreation
$4.20 Soccer Cleats @ Dicks   (1/6) Recreation
$30.00 4 Bras @ Maidenform.com   (1/10) Recreation
$50.00 Gas     (1/11) Gas
$200.00 Daycare     (1/11) Daycare
$35.00 Water Bill     (1/11) Utilities
$69.00 Electric & Gas Bill   (1/11) Utilities
$94.78 Auto & Home Insurance   (1/11) Insurance
$16.97 Food @ Copps     (1/11) Food
$2.39 Food @ Copps     (1/11) Food
$23.74 Training Pants @ Walmart   (1/11) Toiletries
$50.00 Gas @ Speedway   (1/12) Gas
$18.31 Wine @ Walgreens   (1/12) Recreation
$10.54 Book for Book Club @ iTunes   (1/12) Recreation
$79.00 Amazon Prine     (1/12)  
$30.75 Drinks @ Drafthouse   (1/14) Going Out
-$20.00 Money from Anna for drinks @ Drafthouse (1/14) Going Out
$10.21 Drinks @ Olive Garden   (1/14) Going Out
$39.00 Drinks @ City Bar   (1/14) Going Out
$15.39 Food @ Copps     (1/15) Food
$48.11 Gas @ BP     (1/18) Gas
$7.43 Food @ Copps     (1/18) Food
-$20.00 Money from Marcus for Moms gift (1/15) Recreation
$85.00 Prepared tax return @ Beckett   (1/25)  
$26.22 Food @ Copps     (1/28) Food
$1.39 Food @ Copps     (1/27) Food
$10.69 Food @ Taco Johns   (1/27) Going Out
$10.55 Food @ Subway     (1/28) Going Out
$9.55 Coffee @ Starbucks   (1/28) Going Out
$3.40 Parking for Childrens Museum   (1/28) Going Out
$550.00 Rent     (1/28) Rent
$35.00 Gym Membership   (1/30) Recreation
$40.00 Cell phone w/ Virgin Mobile     Phone
$100.00 Deancare Bill     (1/31) Healthcare
           
           
$2,364.32 Spent of budget $1,500.00      
           
$135.68 Total Savings for  JANUARY