Summer 2012 Bucket List: Vacation

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Summer 2012 Bucket List

I really enjoyed having goals to work towards last summer and decided to do another family bucket list. I asked the boys and the husband for ideas and wanted to put something together as a visual reminder. I debated a chalkboard but ultimately used the peg board left over from our Christmas Advent Calendar. The finished board sits in our family room where everyone can see it, the boys are so excited about the tasks they chose and their excitement serves as great motivation to get them all done.

Kept the cards and tags super simple:

I plan to display evidence/keepsakes/photos of our completing each task on the accompanying board. Our Boredom Buster Jar has already got a lot of love, I am really enjoying it and the boys love feeling as though they are “choosing” an activity:

The actual list:

What’s on your summer bucket list?


Choosing Joy: Smash Book Style

I bought the Smash Book a few months ago with intentions of keeping up with it daily and focusing on my “One Little Word”. Yeah, not so much. I was able to make the cover page and then it sat. Until recently. I like having a place to focus on my story, solely, completely. Not having to hold anything back. My goal for May: a daily gratitude picture and entry. Last month, I made an effort to take a picture a day, of something, anything that makes me smile. A few of the April entries/pages:

A smashy place to be feminine in a sea of boys. Finally, a chance to use up my girly embellies:

Happy moments from the first week of April, the boys’ Spring Break. They were truly partners in crime and completely inseparable. I, found joy in drive thru coffee. Why haven’t they made a drive thru everything for moms yet? Drive thru Trader Joes?

I like that the Smash book is forcing me to work with colors and papers out of my comfort zone. I had no idea what to do with this woodsy tree background. Stumped me for a few days. Ended up working out perfectly. Love the outdoors, love my boys’ love of the outdoors:

Yoga + running = my happy places:

My plan of attack: I made a collage of Instagram photos, printed it out at Costco, and plan to incorporate them into the book as a daily gratitude/smile journal. My April photos are printed, cut out and ready to go, just need to sit down and glue them in…loving the simplicity of the Smash book:


The Day I Conquered My Fear of The Whole Chicken…

I don’t think I am a terrible cook. I am most definitely NOT a fearless cook. I am good at following directions, the teacher in me still lives on. I am the kind of cook who follows a recipe EXACTLY.

When it comes to meats, I don’t venture out of those falling into the plob-able category. Otherwise known as meats packaged in such a way as to be plopped into a pan, crock pot, cooking contraption without being touched. By me. With bare hands. We eat a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ground turkey, lean ground beef…

And then I started reading The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Ten Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks by Kathleen Flinn.

And I was inspired to conquer a lifetime long fear: the whole chicken.

Laugh if you must, but there is something about touching a whole chicken, CLEANING a whole chicken, giblets…that totally skeeves me out. A lot. But I figured it was time. I have paced my culinary kitchen endeavors throughout my marriage to where roasting a whole chicken would be a big day. And a new milestone, elevating me to a new culinary status.

Armed with a recipe, I shopped for the goods. Picked up my soon-to-be nemesis and prepared for battle:

“Are those gardening gloves?” Oh, no she didn’t.

Oh, yes I did.

I broke out my apron, because isn’t it like a super hero’s cape, infused with magic and super power traits? Meant to protect me from bodily harm from a fowl experience gone foul.

I prepped the garlic. Cut the lemons. Had everything ready to go and started to read the recipe:

“Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry.”

HOLD THE PHONE. FEATHERS?!@#

I quickly re-evaluated: I could drive to Costco in about ten minutes, spend a third as much on a rotisserie chicken, PLOP that bad boy on a platter and no one would be the wiser. No giblets. No FEATHERS.

Intent on conquering the fear and showing my boys I could be all apron-y and cook-y in the kitchen, I powered through. Nearly lost my lunch. The feeling and textures and cavities…were NASTY. No lie.

But I did it.

Me: 1, Chicken: 0. This day could also be known as the day I broke the hand washing world record…

 I jacked up some of the skin removing the bacon half way through roasting. Another yuck, touching bacon. Blech.

I was crazy proud of this damn chicken. Hence, the numerous photos. Proof.

The house smelled amazing. The husband LOVED it and was shocked. I am certain he didn’t really believe I had cooked it myself. Yet further proof of my culinary pacing success, heh. Just imagine if I had done this years ago, I’d be stuck cleaning and de-nasty-fying chickens on a much more regular basis.

Whole chicken: roasted, eaten, in the books. Holla.

Big day.


Christmas Card Mini-book

Super simple solution to make all the photo cards we received this Christmas into a keepsake booklet. Just punch holes, add binder rings, voila – done. I added a piece of thin cardboard to the back and a clear plastic page for the front for stability.

Last year I consolidated cards into a 12 x 12 scrapbook page but ended up losing a lot of actual card/photo. I love that the booklet keeps them all intact and doesn’t take up much space.

Simple embellishment for title/cover:

It will go in our Christmas memory box with a few other goodies:


Summer Bucket List 2011: Update

Not bad…having a defined set of goals really helped. A few of these will simply move over to a Fall Goals/Bucket List and a few will likely remain something to really shoot for in the future.

  1. Lawrence Hall of Science Dino Exhibit
  2. Take the boys to their first pro baseball game
  3. State Fair
  4. Lake of the Pines
  5. Sing in the car with the windows down
  6. Scandia
  7. Monterey Bay Aquarium
  8. Boys renamed this one: Adventure Day
  9. Purge and organize playroom
  10. Make a “Summer Bucket List” Scrapbook In the works
  11. Kid free weekend
  12. Scrap night
  13. Host a *Book Club* meeting Date set
  14. Get family caught up on dentist and doctor’s appointments
  15. Laugh til we cry
  16. Fix up backyard
  17. Bake a cheesecake from scratch
  18. Host play date
  19. Run through the sprinklers
  20. Join the lady friends for a first wine tasting outing Date set

Art Supply Caddy

One of my goals this summer is to organize and de-clutter our house. The husband and I conquered the garage yesterday: donate, sell, trash piles abound. I conquered our kitchen this morning, which namely consisted of cleaning off our counters and organizing the boys’ art supplies. Thanks to Pinterest, I have wanted to make them art caddies for weeks now, but most of the art caddies pictured on Pinterest are for the older-won’t-draw-on-walls-or-furniture crowd. I took advantage of the Back-to-School sales and made my own preschooler friendly versions for the boys:
Ty’s art caddy:
Jake’s:
$3 shower caddy + $1 cups. I figure we can use the cup itself when water coloring. Sticks for glue projects, colored pencils and brushes. Crayons in pencil case.
I have had my eye on a set of four art trays at Lakeshore. They are substantially more than the $1 serving tray that serves the same purpose: easy clean surface, confined area for art supplies so that the crayons don’t roll off, and if dry time is needed for a project, I can simply keep it on the tray and find a place for it on the counter.
Best of all: both sets fit nicely, and out of the way, on top of the fridge.