by Sharla

Daily Doable 4/29/14

April 29, 2014 in Daily Doable, Family, For Fun, Kids by Sharla

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How to Create Memorable Birthdays!

First of all, shout out to my littlest guy, Sawyer!  He turns 4 today!  He is an angle without wings.  Really, to know him is to love him.  He is so full of happiness and fun and life.  Of course, as his parents, we would love to do some huge, extravagant party for him every chance we get, but my husband pointed out long ago (right about the time our first turned 3) that big parties, lots of gifts and tons of friends aren’t what he remembers most about his birthdays.  His dad started a tradition with him that has stuck, and I’m going to share it with you.

With your first kid every parents imagines every birthday being red letter.  Don’t get me wrong, it is.  But when you start having more than one child and birthdays fall close to other holidays or birthdays, life can get complicated.  So, Matt suggested taking a page out his father’s book.  We decided to let each of our kids have a party every other year, on the odd birthdays (1st, 3rd, 5th…..you get it) and the years they don’t have a party they get a date night out with just mom and dad.  Our oldest is getting ready to turn 12 this summer and she already has the restaurant picked out that she wants to go to.  We don’t put any limitations on it (after all, a party is always going to cost more than a meal).  Some of her choices were Wingers, Applebee’s, and most recently, our favorite steak house (ok, that one might have come close to the same cost).  My other son chose his first dinner date with us to be McDonald’s in the play land, and his sister was invited.

The point is, on the years the kids don’t have a party Matt and I get a break from planning all of the hoopla, but more importantly, we get the opportunity to spend some quality time on our child’s special day.  It’s a chance for us to connect and make memories with them, teach them good restaurant etiquette, and give 100% of our attention to that child.  Plus, it makes the years they have parties that much more memorable.  It’s a tradition that Matt and his dad still hold, because one day those little 4-year-olds will grow up and the parties and toys will be gone, but the tradition will continue.  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAWYER!

<3, Sharla

by Sharla

DIY Chinese Screen

April 28, 2014 in Creating by Sharla

DIY Chinese Screen

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Soooooooooooo, my daughter is in her middle school’s production of Mulan Jr. and she is loving it!  Are Matt and I surprised?  Considering he and I both have a long history of theatre work and her fun, outgoing personality, the answer is no, we are not.  Auditioning was a choice she made herself, but one that is in her blood.  Because she is working so hard on it, Matt and I knew we would be total jerks if we didn’t hep in some way.  After countless hours of painting, building, and reigning in middle schoolers, we are thinking…….maybe we should have given the volunteer thing a little more thought.  

At least one good thing came from it, and it’s this blog post!  They needed a Chinese screen for a couple of scenes and the director had one she had bough from a garage sale.  This thing was made of cheep, dented wood and cardboard with holes in it.  Solution?  FABRIC!

I’m going to be completely honest here, I get my fabric 95% from Jo Ann.  I almost never by it full price because I always have a copoun on hand. Click the link to check out the fabric I chose and hundreds of other options Quilting Fabric at Joann.com

What you need:

Fabric (enough to cover the screen)

Hot Glue

Paint

Razor Knife

The Method:

Paint the wood or frame of the screen.  I would love to do this with some bright colors, but for this project we went with neutral black.

Cut your fabric about 1 inch wider and longer than the area you are covering.  It would be best to buy a long enough piece of fabric that reaches from top to bottom, mine didn’t work out that way, but its still looks nice.

Now get that hot glue gun out (every crafters best friend).  Start at the top and run a line of glue.  Press you fabric to it, don’t worry about the edge sticking up.  Working in sections glue the fabric down all four sides of the rectangle.  Repeat with all sections.

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Lastly, use a sharp razor knife to cut away any extra material but pressing the tip if the knife into the edge of the fabric that butts up against the screen and cut it away.

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See how easy AND lovely!  

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And, as a shameless plug, if you live in the Salt Lake area, come see a fantastic production of Mulan at Draper Park Middle School.  Opening night is May 5th and runs the whole week.  Come and give your support!

Want to find the latest fabric that’s on sale?  Click the link to visit the discounted items at Jo Ann Sales & Promotions on Joann.com!

 

<3, Sharla

by Sharla

Daily Doable 4/24/14

April 24, 2014 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Where You Put Your Attention Expands

So, I am one of the crossing guards at my kid’s elementary school (no, I do not wear an orange vest because that would be a deal breaker) and generally I love it.  I get to know the kids as they pass by me every day, I get paid to drive my kids to school, and I get to go to faculty parties which are always something to speak of.  The biggest down side, however, is being in the elements every day of the school year.  Living in northern Utah presents some bitterly cold/windy/wet weather.  I have to admit, my attitude towards being a crossing guard tends to wane in the middle of January.  By then we have had 3 months of snow, there is no more Christmas to look forward to, only more gray cold days.  One day while at the cross walk I was standing on the corner, generally being annoyed by the layers of dirt filled ice crusted snow on the road when I saw the little leaf in the picture sitting in (of all places) the gutter.  It was beautiful.  This perfect little gem, left over from the beauty of summer, perfectly preserved and clothed in a blanket of frost crystals was sitting in the dirties, wettest place on the street.  It struck me how something so lovely could exist in surroundings so dismal.  I couldn’t help myself, I grabbed out my phone and snapped a shot.  That was over a year ago, and I can’t bring myself to erase it.  I think the reason why is written on the picture.  It’s no secret that I go to therapy regularly (I believe anyone in the world can benefit from a good therapist) and one day Karen pointed out to me that what ever you are focussing on is all that you will see.  If you think a lot about how your kids are making you crazy, they will make you more crazy.  If you think negative things about your neighbor, then you will only see those negative traits, blinding you to their good ones.  If you believe the world is a hopeless place, your heart will continually fill it’s self with despair.  So change your focus.  Think about and focus on the good around you.  Look for reasons to be grateful and happy.  If you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts try to think of something that makes you happy.  It’s a simple and profound truth.  If you look at your life through the blinders of negativity then negativity is all you will see.  This little leaf taught me that.  There is beauty and joy all around if you look for it.

<3, Sharla

by Sharla

Daily Doable 4/23/14

April 23, 2014 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Do What You Love!

What are you passionate about?  Forget about if it’s popular or silly or embarrassing, is there something that you just love…something frivolous, nonessential, just for the fun of it?  Well, Matt and I have this kind of love down to a science.  He is a great lover of Star Wars, comic books and super heroes.  Me?  Well, if you say the words “The Doctor” or “Downton Abby” I may just swoon.  For my daughter it’s Adventure Time, my middle son its Legos, and my littlest guy its, well super heroes (he takes after his dad that way).  The point is, the things you are passionate about give life flavor and variety.  It doesn’t matter what it is, just go out there and make some time to enjoy the things that are not nessisary!  For our family, ComicCon fulfills all of our requirements.  Our idea of heaven on earth is walking around a huge convention hall filled with people in costumes, novelties from our favorite shows, and so very many photo ops.  For you it might be scrapbooking, or watching “B” movies, or shopping.  Today’s Daily Doable is just that, make time to enjoy doing what you love to do!

<3, Sharla

by Sharla

Daily Doable 4/22/14

April 22, 2014 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Me and My Black Thumb

It’s true, I can’t keep plants alive.  Gardens, withered.  Potted plants, rotted.  Even growing seeds in a bag for my kid’s kindergarten class ended up moldy!  If you want to give me plants, please, make it cut flowers.  That way I know it’s not my fault when they die.  What is my problem with plants?!  Because of my black thumb I have given up on putting anything new in my yard for years……or doing yard work in general.  This year I decided it’s time to give it another go.  Matt and I spent a week giving our yard an exorcism.  It was so grown over and full of weeds (from 3 years of neglect) that we worked non stop for a week to get it in a good place.  Talk about baptism by fire!  But it made me brave.  So, I bought these lovely little Azaleas for about $3 each and put them in the pots in my front yard that have been home to every unwanted plant that can find it’s way into them.  You’d think these pots would be a safe bet seeing as how there is a drip line running directly into them, but I’ve killed every plant that I’ve put in those things!  I am optimistic this year.  And I encourage you to be too!  Today’s Daily Doable is to grow something this summer!  I’m not saying I can do it, but you probably can!

<3, Sharla

by Sharla

Daily Doable 4/21/14

April 21, 2014 in Daily Doable by Sharla

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Prioritize!

Ok, I disappeared off of the face of cyber-earth for a full month, did ya miss me?  Well, life got crazy and I was trying to stay on top of the kids, the house, the volunteering, the work I do that I actually get paid for (as in not the blog), the husband, and on and on and on.  So, as much as I love blogging, something had to go.  But don’t worry, I’M BACK!

Since I had some time off I gave the blog a little thought and decided to switch up the Daily Doables.  Instead of doing a video, you get a short blurb.  My BFF Amy mentioned once that she can’t watch the Daily Doables at work because they have sound, so here’s to slacking at the office and not getting caught!

As for the message, it’s simple.  PRIORITIZE!  I had to give up something that I loved to get my junk together, but I didn’t give up forever.  Sometimes, sacrificing a little goes a long way to show the ones you care the most about that you love them and that they are the most important thing to you.  Maybe my 9-year-old doesn’t realize I wasn’t blogging this month, but I was able to focus on throwing him a kickin’ birthday party.  My 11-year-old daughter might have noticed (only because she follows the blog on Instagram), but I was able to help prepare her school play for opening night.  My 3-year-old certainly didn’t notice, but we had some serious snuggle time.  I’ll tell you the person who did notice, my husband.  He saw me sacrifice just a little bit to put our family first, and it went a long way.  Does he expect me to give up the things I love forever? Of course not!  But that little bit I did let him know he is more important to me than anything.  So, with that in mind, greet this Monday with the spirit of putting those you love at the top of your list this week.  They are worth it!

<3, Sharla

by Sharla

Lego Party!

April 1, 2014 in For Fun, Fun, Kids, Parties by Sharla

Lego Party!

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Seriously, what is hotter for grade school boys right now than Legos?  I’ll tell you, NOTHING!  If you want a sure fire way to please a bunch of little boys do a Lego party, you don’t even have to have the actual toys!  Just label it a lego party and make everything colorful and rectangled.  I am the Cub Master for my son’s Cub Scout troupe and we had our monthly pack meeting as a Lego theme and the boys were over the moon about it.  First, we did the usual cub scout stuff (flag ceremony, talked about the core value, and gave out awards) then, after we closed, I simply had four stations set up around the room that the boys could play with and explore while having treats and the parents could talk.  That, my friends, is what I call a win-win.  

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In addition to the stations I had lego candy bags (they taste like runts and are inexpensive in the bulk food isle), just 5 streamers of different colors in a circus tent pattern hung form the celling and some construction lego paper decorations on the walls inspired from my “Scouts.  The Universe Hates Me Pinterest board.  This pack meeting easily converts to a birthday party or other gathering.  It was a blast, and if you have a Lego lover in your life, I highly recommend doing this party!

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Station #1: Sugar Cube Sculptures

Let’s start with what’s simple.  I didn’t have a single actual Lego at this party, did the kids notice?  Um, no.  I just used the idea of geometric shapes and a lot of bold color to remind them of Legos (it also helped that I had the song “Everything is Awesome” from the Lego Movie playing in the background).  Above you see a picture of one of my more genius ideas.  Sugar cubes for building with.  The kids loved making sculptures that they could eat, and can you blame them?  I left a stack of small bags beside this so they could take some home with them.

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Station #2: Giant Lego Building

Have you seen these cardboard blocks?  I bought mine for about $40 from amazon and the kit came with about 30 different sized blocks.  Best.  Purchase.  Ever.  I have used these over and over for parties and my kids play with them constantly at home.  I just set them out and told the boys to build a giant Lego sculpture.  This is their giant Lego robot.  I couldn’t get the boys away from this activity.

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Station #3: Lego Coloring Page

I found the coloring Lego page online and then printed a picture of the hero from the Lego Movie so the kids had a reference to color with.  Simple and fun.

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Station #4: DIY Lego Heads

This, by far was the favorite part of the party.  This is a simple, easy craft with very little prep.  

What you Need:

  • Yellow construction paper for faces
  • Brown, black or yellow construction paper for the back of the head/hair
  • Staples and stapler
  • Crayons
  • Circle cutting tool

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Start by making the eye holes.  I have this handy little circle cutting tool.  It’s from Making Memories Scrapbook Supplies, but there are many circle cutters out there that would work great.  Measure about half way up from the bottom and about 2″ space between the holes and cut the two holes.  Mine are 1″ across, very Lego face-ish.

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Now color the face.  I thought the kids would like some ideas for faces so I printed the picture below to give them some guidance.  When the faces are done simply choose the color for the back of the head and staple both sides to make a cylinder.  

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Now slap that puppy on.  I know boys who kept their’s for weeks (until mom finally got sick of them and snuck them to the trash).  The point is, the boys loved them, and it was simple, inexpensive and fun!

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The final touch that really added to the fun of the party was a simple app.  It’s called Block Cam and I used it to transform each boy into a lego self portrait.  I printed it at home on computer paper and they each got to take their picture home.  This would also be a great idea for a Thank You card.

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There are so many ways to adjust these ideas to suit any party.  Make the sugar cube or giant Lego building a competition.  Have the boys make their own live action movie with their Lego heads.  Have a dance contest or play the freeze game with the Lego Movie Song.  Through in some cake, ice cream, and presents, and that, my friends, is a party to remember!

<3, Sharla