Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's All About the Ears

Our Disneyland trip would not be complete without some Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse ears for my kids to wear. I considered buying some while we were at the Disney Store in the mall a couple weeks ago but just couldn't let myself pay $15 each for them. I kept telling myself "They are cute, but not THAT cute." So I came home and searched the Internet again to come up with some ideas. And of course! One of my favorite bloggers came through for me again and she had just posted a tutorial to make Minnie Mouse Ears! So, I got to work and had these finished in about 20 minutes without spending a dime! Head over to Honey Scrap and check out the awesome tutorial.



Isn't she the cutest Minnie Mouse you've ever seen!?


Next I needed to come up with an idea for Mickey Mouse ears for Kaleb. Since his shirt has Pirate Mickey on it I wanted to make him some sort of pirate hat. I have had a few bandannas in my fabric pile for years so I thought this would be a perfect time to finally put one to use. I made the ears using the same method as in the tutorial above. I cut out 4 round pieces of felt and cut out 2 circles from a cereal box. I placed the cardboard pieces between 2 pieces of felt, then sewed around the outer edges of the felt to create the ear.

Next I put the bandanna on his head to decide where the ears would go. I made a mark where I wanted them. I cut along one edge of the bandanna where it would go across his forehead and sewed a seam across. I also cut the opposite corner up towards the center and sewed seams to create ties for the back of the bandanna. After that I sewed the ears on where I had made my marks. I was concerned that they wouldn't stand up but once I put it on his head they stood up perfectly. Again this project only took about 20 minutes and didn't cost me anything!

"Yo ho, yo ho, a Pirate's life for Kaleb!"


My mother-in-law insists that we'll have the best dressed kids at Disneyland and I think I have to agree with her!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Budget Friendly Disney Shirts

I'm like every other mom out there. I want to give my children everything their little hearts desire. I will admit that if I had the money to do it they would probably be spoiled rotten. But since I don't have the money to do it I improvise, A LOT. I am always looking for ways to create new things on a budget. I have found that a little bit of creativity can go a long way.

I wanted my children and nieces to have some fun shirts to wear to Disneyland but I didn't want to spend a lot. I was so excited to find that our Dollar Store has a great selection of T-Shirts. They are actually name brand shirts like Hanes, Fruit of the Loom and I even found a Disney brand shirt. I purchased 4 of them and came home determined to create some fabulous shirts for these adorable kiddos. I originally wanted to do freezer paper stenciling but they didn't have any at our local grocery store so I decided to go through my felt stash and see what I could come up with. I searched the internet for ideas and this is what I came up with.......

Pirate Mickey Mouse for my son, Kaleb. Using this image as my inspiration I created this adorable shirt that he absolutely LOVES! I drew out my own Mickey pattern, cut it out of black felt and sewed it onto the shirt. I then cut out the pirate hat from red felt and sewed it on. I completed it with a gold button and even pierced Mickey's ear, making him one of the toughest pirates around.

Next was a Minnie Mouse shirt for my daughter, Andie. I again searched the Internet and found this image to inspire me. I had a terrible time cutting out the small polk-a-dots so I decided to use buttons. I sewed them onto the pink felt first, then sewed on a Minnie Head, which was actually the same pattern for the Mickey head. Then I sewed on the bow and other pink felt and it was done!

(Isn't my little model precious!?)

Next is a shirt for my sweet niece Kaitlyn. I have always called her "Princess". I found an amazing tutorial for this adorable Cinderella shirt on Honey Scrap. She made it for her daughter to wear to Disneyland as well. I made mine a little differently than she did but still love the way it turned out.

Next is a shirt for my niece Kylie who loves Winnie The Pooh. I used this picture to again cut the outline from felt. I sewed it to the shirt and then sewed the butterfly, or as Pooh would say "flutterby", by hand and sewed it to his nose using my sewing machine.

The best part about this whole project is that I only spent a total of $4! That is such a huge savings compared to how much they would have cost to purchase at Disneyland.


Please join me again tomorrow to learn how to make a Minnie Mouse ear headband and a Pirate Mickey hat!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Disney Time and Energy Saving Tips

Now that we have a budget worked out, let's discuss some more tips that will help you save lots of time and energy while visiting Disneyland. It is The Happiest Place on Earth after all and you don't want to spend the entire vacation so stressed out that you forget to enjoy yourself.

The first item on the agenda....PACKING! This is probably the worst part of going on a vacation, especially if you have a large family. Even if your children are old enough to pack for themselves, chances are you will still end up going through their suitcases before you leave to make sure nothing gets left behind. Here's a couple tips to help you cut down on a little bit of stress when it comes to packing.
One thing that I always do when we travel is pack a small shoe box size tote full of essentials. Since someone in our family always ends up sick on vacation, I pack everything I can think of that we might need; pepto, gas-x, ibuprofen, tylenol, cough medicine, NyQuil etc. You name it, I pack it. Other items I have in my tote are q-tips, a manicure set, floss picks, mouth wash, razor, eye drops, band aids, neosporin and more. I keep most of the items in it at all times so I don't have to pack them every time we go somewhere. It helps out so much if we forget something or if we end up needing something in the middle of the night, in a city we're not familiar with and don't want to leave to find a store. As I said in my last post, many stores around Disneyland have a higher markup on products so it is smart to be prepared and bring items from home.

Here is a wonderful packing tip that I found at Rocks In My Dryer. She uses 2 gallon ziplock bags to lay out an entire days worth of clothes for each child. It makes it so simple to pull it out in the morning and not be worried about having to find clothes for everyone. Once you're back home just leave the used bags in your suitcase and use them again next time.


Next is a section I like to call....KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.

If this is your first visit to Disneyland then you will want to be familiar with the layout of the park before you go. Maps like the one below are very helpful. It gives you an idea of where all the major attractions are located so you can plan which ones you want to hit first without running all over the place from one end of the park to the other and wasting a lot of time. You can find several maps of Disneyland Park here.

There are several other wonderful resources dedicated to saving time and energy on your vacation. One that is fairly new is the Mobile Magic application available through Verizon Wireless. Mobile Magic provides FASTPASS return times, attraction wait times for the park you are in, information on character locations and more for Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks. Since we have not been to Disneyland for a couple years we will be using it for the first time when we visit in 2 weeks. I think the $9.99 download fee will be well worth the time it saves us since we will only be there one day and want to be able to see and do as much as possible.


Two more helpful time-saving features of Disneyland Park are the FASTPASS and Rider Swap Pass. Rider Swap is when Guests take turns waiting with children too small to ride a certain attraction, then "swap" with another adult Guest from their party to experience the ride without standing in line twice. You can ask a Cast Member at any ride entrance for a Rider Swap Pass. A FASTPASS is a ticket that holds your place in line for a ride. It lets you leave and do whatever you want and then come back during a specified time frame to avoid the line and get straight on the ride.

You will also want to visit disneyland.com before your trip to check park hours and the scheduled activities for the time you will be there. You may want to make up your own family schedule ahead of time so you don't miss out on any shows or special attractions that you or your children want to visit.

WHILE YOU'RE THERE........

I strongly suggest arriving to the park early. If the park opens at 8:00 you will probably want head there around 7:00 to ensure a good place in line. It may seem early with small children but I can assure you that the park is very crowded in the afternoon and you will be grateful that you beat the crowds and lines. If you are taking the Anaheim Resort Transit,it begins running 1 hour and 40 minutes before the park opens and runs every 20 minutes after that throughout the day. The last bus of the day runs 30 minutes after the park closes.

Once inside the park our family likes to get a locker right away. There is a limited amount and it is on a first come, first serve basis. It also saves us from having to carry extra bags around all day. After that we like to head to some of the more popular attractions and get FASTPASSES right away. We like to ride as many of the big rides as possible in the morning when the park isn't as crowded and the lines aren't quite so long.

Once we have ridden all of the larger rides we like to head over to Fantasyland
to ride the smaller rides. The lines aren't usually as long there in the afternoon and it's nice to slow down for a bit and recover from the busy morning. When the kids are in need of some rest we like to head over to the Enchanted Tiki Room and enjoy a show while resting our feet.

When it comes to choosing a time to eat, let me make a few suggestions. Don't go right at lunch time or right at dinner time. Brings snacks to hold you over and consider going mid-morning or mid-afternoon when the restaurants aren't quite as packed. We usually go to Pizza Port whenever we are there and we always end up standing there with our food like vultures waiting for a table to open up and then we swoop in on it. Since it is one of the more affordable restaurants in the park it is often very busy. You can also call in advance and make reservations for restaurants like theBlue Bayou and Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue.

I have one last tip to share that will hopefully save you some time and stress. There are several regularly scheduled events that take place throughout the day at Disneyland. Parades, shows, fireworks, and more. If you are staying there for a few days and don't mind missing these activities then head over to your favorite rides while everyone else is enjoying the show. The lines will be much shorter and you will be able to enjoy them without waiting for hours.

Well, that's all the tips I have for today. Thank you again for reading my blog and please come back tomorrow to see the shirts that I have made for my children and nieces to wear on our Disneyland adventure.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Disney on a Dime



Wouldn't it be great to wake up one morning, load the kids up in the car, fill the tank with gas and just go? No worries in the world, an unlimited amount of money to spend, no set time that you have to be back home? Your destination, of course, Disneyland! You can ride all the rides, eat as many churros and turkey legs as you want, buy a different Mickey Mouse hat for each day you're there, eat some more churros and maybe a chocolate covered banana, purchase a $12 picture after you get off every single ride (which always seem to catch you at the worst moment), eat a $22 Monte Cristo Sandwich 3 meals a day and still have money left over to buy your son that $45 Buzz Lightyear costume that he will wear once and lose in the back of his closet as soon as you get home (He just HAD to have it)! I would probably also throw in a few meals at the Bengal Barbecue, a couple Dole Pineapple Whips at the Enchanted Tiki Room, and a chimichanga or two (or three).

The truth is, this is my dream. To be able to experience Disneyland WITHOUT a budget. Unfortunately it hasn't happened. Does this mean that I won't go back to Disneyland until it does? Absolutely not! I LOVE Disneyland. As I walk in the front gates I get the same feeling that I do waking up Christmas morning. It's the one place that I feel like I can let everything go and just be a kid again. The only word to describe it is MAGICAL!

My guess is that we are not the only ones who have to experience Disney on a budget and there's nothing wrong with that. With a little careful planning, a little creativity and a lot of patience you can plan a Disneyland Vacation that meets your every expectation without robbing your child's college fund. I want to share a few tips that we have learned throughout our Disney travels.

First of all, we are a family of four with two small children so a lot of my tips are centered around the smaller ones. I'm going to break this down into a few different categories: Tickets, Hotel, Meals, Parking/Transportation, Souvenirs, and Miscellaneous Expenses. Tomorrow I will be discussing time and energy saving tips to get the most bang for your buck and make your trip stress free. (If that's even possible when you're surrounded by hundreds of screaming children)

1. PARK TICKETS

There are a variety of ways to purchase tickets for Disneyland. The first and most obvious is to buy them at the gate the day you arrive. Unfortunately, this is also the most expensive way to buy them. A one day park hopper ticket which allows you access to both Disneyland and California Adventure costs $91 for children ages 3-9 and $101 for ages 10 and up. You can also purchase tickets online at disneyland.com They offer special online discounts when purchasing 3, 4, 5 and 6 day hopper passes. The more days you stay, the more money you will save.

Another way to save money on tickets is to check travel agencies in the Anaheim area. A simple google search lead me to several agencies like THIS one that would save you an additional $5 off the already discounted online rate. In addition you can look for package deals offered through companies like Costco and AAA.

A search on Ebay also turns up many possibilities for drastically reduced ticket fees. Sellers such as wiiwouldliketoplay, offer deals up to HALF OFF the ticket price! It may seem too good to be true but its well worth looking into if you have the opportunity to save that much money!

2. HOTEL:


There are many things to consider when choosing a hotel for your visit. While cost is probably the most important factor, you may also want to consider proximity to the parks, if a continental breakfast is served, room vs. suite and so on. While there are 3 hotels located within Disneyland they can end up costing you hundreds of dollars a night so I suggest that you search for a DISNEYLAND GOOD NEIGHBOR HOTEL or other budget hotels in the area. Websites such as PRICELINE and EXPEDIA often have very good deals on hotels that can save you hundreds of dollars.

3. MEALS:








Lets just face the facts, food is EXPENSIVE at Disneyland. There is no way that the average family on a budget could afford to eat every meal at the park and still be able to afford all the yummy snacks and drinks they offer. My first suggestion, as I said above, is to find a hotel that offers a continental breakfast. You will save a lot of money if you're paying for one less meal every day. Our family also likes to pack donuts, pop tarts, granola bars and juice to snack on while we're waiting in line for the park to open. Another option if you are driving to the park is to pick something up on the way. There are several fast food chains located near Disneyland.

Coolers are not allowed in the park but you are allowed to bring snacks. We like to bring a backpack full of snacks which we leave in a LOCKER on Main Street (more on those in a bit) for easy access whenever we are hungry. We bring things like bottled water, juice boxes for the kids, jerky, fruit snacks and so on. I like to find snacks for the kids that have Disney characters on them so they still feel like they are getting something from the park. You can find many different varieties of Disney fruit snacks, cookies, crackers, and dried fruit crisps at Walmart and other grocery stores.

There are several restaurants within the park that serve great food but also are quite pricey. My absolute favorite and probably one of the most expensive is the BLUE BAYOU which is located in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Lunch entrees cost an average of $20-$39! Another restaurant, located in Frontier Land, is the BIG THUNDER RANCH BARBECUE where the average plate ranges from $15-$39 per person. There are a couple more budget friendly restaurants that I recommend. THE HUNGRY BEAR RESTAURANT, located in Critter Country and PIZZA PORT,located in Tomorrowland both offer great food for less than $14 per person. Another personal favorite is the BENGAL BARBECUE which is located near the Jungle Cruise and Enchanted Tiki Room. It offers delicious beef and chicken skewers, as well as pretzels and yummy deserts. The average meal is around $10 a person.

There are several other ways to save money on food when visiting Disneyland. Consider only eating one meal a day in the park. If you are staying in a hotel suite with a kitchen you can easily head back to the hotel in the afternoon when the children are in need of a nap and prepare dinner for a fraction of the cost you would spend in the park. You can also go to one of the many fast food restaurants located close by. Saving money on large meals will allow you some extra cash to splurge on some of the yummy treats that I mentioned at the beginning.

4. PARKING/TRANSPORTATION

One of the great things about staying in a Good Neighbor Hotel or other hotel located close to the park is that they offer transportation to and from Disneyland. The ANAHEIM RESORT TRANSIT. will pick you up in front of your hotel and drop you off right outside the gates of Disneyland. It runs approximately every 20 minutes throughout the day so it is very convenient if you need to head back to your hotel for a little rest! It saves you time and eliminates the stress and headache of dealing with SELF PARKING and riding the tram into the park. The cost for a 1 day pass for unlimited use is $4 for ages 10 and up and $1 for ages 3-9. They also offer 3 and 5 day passes for a discounted rate. Parking your own vehicle for one day at Disneyland ranges from $15-$25.

5. SOUVENIRS

I can guarantee that at some point during the trip you will get so tired of your child saying "I want that!" " I need that!" "Will you buy me that?" that you will finally give in and spend a ridiculous amount of money on something they don't need just to shut them up. I know that sounds harsh but it is true. You may say, "We just won't go into the gift shops", but those Disney people are smarter than you. They won't let you avoid it. They suck you in by making you walk through the gift shops as you exit the rides. There's no other way out. They trap you and set you up for those "I want, I want, I want" moments. This is where your creativity comes into play.

There are several ways to save money on souvenirs. We are going to Disneyland in a couple weeks so I will share with you some of the ideas I have come up with. First of all, I made T-shirts for the kids to wear. I also made a Minnie Ear Headband for my daughter and a Mickey Ear Pirate Hat for my son which saved me about $12 for each if I were to buy them in the park. Using t-shirts I bought at the Dollar Store and all other materials that I already had on hand, I spent a whopping $4! I will have a separate post about them later in the week.

Remember before when I mentioned that $45 Buzz Lightyear costume?If your child insists on going to the park dressed up you can go HERE and find a similar Buzz costume for only $12. They also have a variety of Disney Princess costumes for $12-$19. Consider making your own autograph book by getting a small notebook and letting your child decorate it with Disney stickers. Another thing that I am doing for my kids is making them treat bags. A while back my church had a free yard sale and I hit the jackpot when I found some Winnie The Pooh and Piglet stuffed animals. They were brand new and still had the Disneyland tags on them. They are dressed in Halloween costumes and since we are going at Halloween time they are perfect for my kids. I will be putting them in the treat bags with other items like Disney coloring books, crayons, snacks, and many other Disney items found at the Dollar Store. I realize that this may not work for older kids but another idea to consider is giving them a Disney gift card that can be used at any location in the park. Once the have used it up, then no more souvenirs. You can purchase them on disneyland.com.

Now if you're not the crafty type and don't want to make shirts or hats there are still plenty of options for saving money. You can find Mickey, Minnie and many other Disney character t-shirts and sweatshirts at Walmart for as low as $5. You can also check party supply stores and websites such as THIS one for cheap Disney products.

5. MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES:

There are many other things that can make your trip to Disneyland very costly and you need to make sure you are prepared in advance. First of all, make sure you check the weather before you go. The first time my husband and I went it was beautiful during the day but turned cold very quickly as the sun went down. We ended up spending over $25 on 2 pairs of gloves at one of the gift shops. Don't make this same mistake! As I mentioned before, you can rent LOCKERS at Disneyland. They are located on Main Street back in the corner by the Ice Cream Shop. Prices run between $7 for a small one and $15 for a super jumbo one. I would suggest bringing a jacket, gloves, and maybe even an extra set of clothes for the kids in case they end up a little too wet on Splash Mountain! Which leads me to another item. Ponchos! You can purchase them at the Dollar Store and they come in very handy for people like me who don't like to get wet on rides! They also sell them for much more in the park.

A few more items you don't want to pay for at the park.....
-Extra Clothes

-Batteries

-Memory Cards

-Strollers
($15 for a one day rental. You might as well buy an umbrella stroller for the same price.)

-Medicines
(Tylenol for all the screaming kids!)
-Diapers

Also keep in mind that even the local stores outside of Disneyland still have a higher markup on many items so make sure you come prepared and purchase these items before you leave home.

Well, I hope I have given you some useful tips to make your next Disney vacation both affordable and enjoyable. It may take some time and energy to find good deals but it is well worth it in the end when you can give your children the trip of a lifetime without breaking the bank!

Thank you so much for reading my blog. Please come back tomorrow for some Disneyland time and energy saving tips!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Disney Week


In a couple weeks one of my favorite blogs, Someday Crafts, will be hosting "Disney Days". It is a week packed full of Disney tips, crafts and much much more. I am excited that I will be contributing to this amazing blog and sharing tips for enjoying a Disneyland vacation on a budget. To get prepared for our upcoming Disneyland trip (less than 2 weeks away!) I will also be devoting my blog to all things Disney this week. Monday I will share my money saving tips, Tuesday will be time and energy saving tips, Wednesday I will show the shirts I have been working on for my children and nieces to wear to Disneyland, Thursday I will show the Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse ears I made for my children (without spending a dime!) and Friday I will show some fun craft ideas and activities you can do to enhance your Disney experience!
Thank you so much for reading my blog! I hope you will join me each day this week and share my excitement as we celebrate the happiest place on earth! Next week I will post a link to Someday Crafts so you can head over there and check out all the other great ideas that people have to share!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Introducing Mathew Parker!


He's finally here! Yesterday we welcomed Mathew Parker Mortensen into our family! I am so excited for my sister and couldn't wait to share the news with everyone.
He was born at 1:35 PM on September 20th
Weight: 6 lbs. 7.5 oz.
Length: 20 inches

Toni had to spend a few days prior to his birth in the hospital due to high blood pressure. Lexi was very happy to get to visit her mommy. She spent the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa Fretwell. She is very excited to have her little brother here finally. I think she will be very helpful to her mommy and Trevor, perhaps a little too helpful!

Introducing....Mathew Parker!

ADORABLE!!!


The happy family....Toni, Trevor, Alexia and Mathew!


I'm very sad that I can't be there to celebrate this exciting time with them. I can't wait for next month when we finally get to go for a visit!
Congratulations Toni and Trevor. We are all so happy for you!





Sunday, September 19, 2010

Food, Food, and More Food!

I feel like I have been neglecting my duty to brag about my amazing husband lately. I have been so caught up in everything else going on that I haven't posted any updates on his schooling. He has also had a hard time remembering to take pictures of all of his hard work so I will let him share some of the blame.
It's very hard to believe that he started school almost 7 months ago. He is still loving it which makes me so happy. He has taken several different cooking classes, a math and communications class and he is just finishing up his baking class this week. After a minor setback a couple weeks ago when he fractured his hand, he is all caught up and ready to continue on.
I thought I would share a few pictures of some of his DELICIOUS creations.

Key Lime Pie! It tasted even better than it looks, if you can believe that!

Chocolate and Hazelnut layered cake....AMAZING!

Let me just say that I devoured that Apple Pie as soon as he walked in the door. The eclairs and cream puffs were also delightful!

Words can not express how proud I am of Jeff. He is following his dream, working hard and still manages to be the same loving, wonderful father and husband that we love. The year has been a tad bit stressful on us but I know that we are working towards an amazing future and we will one day be very grateful for all the sacrifices we have made to make this possible.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Fun Halloween Banner

I made another super cute felt Halloween banner with the tutorial found here @ Funky Polkadot Giraffe: http://funkypolkadotgiraffe.blogspot.com/2010/09/tutorial-candy-corn-bunting.html
I noticed after I had it finished that the pattern of a candy corn is actually white, orange, yellow. So lets just pretend that I meant to do it this way :)

My house is looking very festive now. We are getting so excited for the upcoming holiday season. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. It has finally started to cool off a bit here in Vegas and that makes me very happy!

I have a couple more fun ideas for holiday decorating that I will share soon. I am also going to make some shirts for the kids for our upcoming Disneyland Vacation. I will share pictures of them as soon as they are done.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Homemade Oreo Cookies

A couple days ago I made these homemade oreo cookies. They are so simple to make and are absolutely delicious! Here's the recipe....
You will need:
1 Chocolate Cake Mix
1/2 Cup Oil
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Flour
Cream Cheese Frosting
Mix all ingredients well. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on greased
cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 for 8-10 minutes. Cool and put cream cheese
frosting between 2 cookies. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Have You Forgotten?

This song always gives me chills when I hear it. I will never forget that day.......

Friday, September 10, 2010

Craft Therapy

Last night I had a friend over for some much needed craft therapy. Like me she is a stay at home mom and with only one car she spends her days at home taking care of her son while her husband attends school. We decided that we need to do a craft night at least once a week so we can relax and take a break from the stresses of everyday life!

I have seen a lot of great tutorials lately for fall and Halloween decorations. One of my favorites is this Halloween Banner by Army Wife Quilter: http://armywifequilter.blogspot.com/2010/09/halloween-banner.html

I wanted to make a banner too but didn't have the time to put as much detail into it so I came up with this very simple idea made using felt, hot glue and ribbon.


The project we did together was these cute burlap pumpkins. We used the tutorial found @ Middle Ground: http://my-middle-ground.blogspot.com/2010/08/i-have-fall-fever-i-am-sooo-ready-for.html
Both were very simple projects. It only took us about 2 hours and the best part was that I had all the supplies on hand, so it didn't cost a dime! Can't wait to do it again next week!

5 Years!

5 years ago today I married my best friend.......

Some people thought I was crazy......

But I knew I was the luckiest girl in the world.....
He makes me laugh until I pee my pants.....

Holds me when I cry.....
And always treats me like a princess, even when I don't deserve it!


In the words of Julia Child's husband......
"You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life"

I love you Jeff, more than you'll ever know.






Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh no! Not a chore chart!!!

I remember absolutely dreading chore charts when I was younger. My mom was constantly coming up with new ideas to get us to help out around the house. They never lasted for long but I remember promising myself that I would NEVER make my kids use a chore chart!
Well......I am now breaking that promise. A certain 3 year old little boy that lives in this house has a very hard time listening to his mommy and cleaning up after himself! It is such a battle to get him to clean up his toys, brush his teeth and say his prayers at night. I have been searching blogs for a while trying to come up with ideas but I haven't found exactly what I was looking for. So yesterday I came up with a very simple idea to get him to start helping out around the house and to teach him a little responsibility.

I bought this magnet board for $1 at a thrift store a couple years ago. It has been sitting around collecting dust and now it finally has a purpose. I tried thinking of 5 main things that I want him to do everyday. I decided on making his bed, brushing his teeth, feeding the cat, picking up toys and saying his prayers. I just printed off basic clip art and colored them. I put contact paper on them so they wouldn't be damaged easily and I glued magnets to the backs.

To show that he has completed a chore I glued magnets to 5 pennies. We are going to Disneyland in a month and he is very excited to make a book of pressed pennies. He has been collecting them for months (from my wallet, in the car, out of daddy's pocket) and I thought this would be a perfect chance for him to start EARNING his pennies.

He was very excited when he woke up this morning to do his chores. He completed all 5 very quickly and when he was done he counted the pennies on the board that he had earned. I then counted out 5 pennies for him and he placed them in his bank. I sure hope his excitement continues and he is able to learn that we all have to pitch in around here to keep our home nice.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Homemade Christmas

I've been working on a lot of Christmas presents lately but haven't gotten around to taking pictures of any of them. So far I have completed presents for 12 people. I have made everything my self including the gift bags and I have spent less than $30! I will post pictures soon if any of you are looking for cute but inexpensive ideas. This is the gift I made for my little sister Paige. (I really hope she doesn't look at my blog!) She's turning 12 this year and is getting quite obsessed with hair and clothes and nail polish and all that other fun stuff. So I made this to put on the back of her bedroom door. The mirror is removable, it has plenty of pockets for hairbrushes and makeup and the ribbon is to hang headbands and hair clips.

Other Christmas projects I have in the works:
Hand Warmers
Roll Up Chalkboard Mats
Roll Up Felt Kitchens
Felt Dr's Kit (For Kaleb)
Felt Garden (For Andie)
"Where the Wild Things Are" Hand Puppets
Tons of Felt Food
Ruffle Necklaces
and much much more!