Friday, June 23, 2017

Pantry Living 5th Year Running

 I hope you’re as excited as I am. I think my hubby is most excited for my credit card to collect dust. My amazing hubby shapes minds and behavior as a Special Education Self-Contained Behavior Teacher for 10 months of the year. He just completed his 6th year at this school, and this is our 5th Summer in our beautiful home. Since beginning this journey 5yrs ago we’ve added a 4th child and a dog. We are happy and healthy and blessed with enough. But summer’s are difficult because despite teaching a summer program the teacher’s salary is only a 10 month contract. His district does not offer a 12 month option. I started Pantry Living to help us through July and August. It can be tricky, but I think it is a fun challenge.

So here are my self imposed rules
  • Live off my pantry stores and my freezer
  • No grocery shopping
  • Allowable purchases with a credit card: Dairy, eggs, bread, produce
  • Any other purchases must be made with cash (I have a small stash I squirrelled away.)
  • Start Date: David’s 1st day of summer vacation
  • End Date: David’s 1st day of school in September (usually 12 weeks)

We begin our journey with
  • 55 boxes of unopened cereal
  • 16 boxes of pasta
  • 11 jars of spaghetti sauce
  • 8 bags of flour
  • 6 giant tubs of peanut butter
  • 63 rolls of toilet paper (this won’t be enough I predict)
Pantry on June 22nd!

I don’t stock up a ton in June. That would defeat the purpose. I try to space out my shopping all year, shop sales, and keep a good food supply as a just in case. When cereal is on a good sale I buy 6 boxes instead of 2. I buy meat in bulk on sale and then bag it and freeze it in our family serving size.  I inventoried our pantry, and our freezer, and our bathroom closet. My goal is to finish the summer without breaking my rules, without running out of cash, and to have fun!

My garden is growing! This year I’m growing cucumbers, volunteer zucchini, bush green beans, and two kinds of tomatoes. I’ve already successfully killed all my herbs. I had cilantro, basil and oregano.

Wish us luck!
Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

My son is a loser, and that's ok with me.

My son is 7yrs old and is one of the best humans ever. He is smart. He is funny. He makes friends easily and he enjoys playing soccer. In the fall season his soccer team had 15 players that regularly showed up. He would not usually start the game, but would sub in and play about half of the time. They had a winning record. He learned many basic skills and enjoyed practice.

Spring season rolled around and he asked to play again. At the first practice there were about 7 boys. At the first game there were 6. His second game came along and they had to forfeit because only 5 players showed up. The other team had 14 so they shared a few players and they enjoyed a scrimmage. This spring season has been tough to watch. A few games were lost by 7 goals. My son played goalie a few of those times. Baseball and Lacrosse are more popular in our town this season and that is ok. My son’s team has lost every game, and that is also ok.  Learning to lose gracefully will help him. I keep my son in soccer for him to learn.

My hope is my son learns to be a good loser. That he learns to love his body and wants to keep it healthy. My hope is my children understand different sports and learn to follow rules. That they figure out strategy and teamwork. What I want my son to learn is not how to win. I don’t care if he ever wins. I realized long ago my kids probably won’t be olympic athletes. My kids won’t be movie stars. My kids are pretty average and that is ok because most people won’t win a gold medal or an oscar award. But most people will be employed someday. Most people will be married and have children.

My son is technically a loser but he never shies away from attending his games or practices. After practice I ask what he learned and if he enjoyed it. After each loss my only question is “Did you play your best?” As long as he can honestly answer yes I’m happy. I’m the mom who thinks kids younger than high school should receive a participation award. It is hard work to win, but it is hard to show up when you know you’re likely to lose. Most will lose and that is ok when you’re 7. Let’s teach our kids that losing isn’t the end. Cheer for the kid who scored a goal even if it was your son that missed the save. It might be that kids’ first goal ever. Congratulate the other team on their hussle. And thank the coach and refs. Let’s teach our kids what sports are really about.

My son is amazing and works hard. My son loves to play soccer. My son feels disappointed when the other team scores, but my son plays his best and that is a win enough for me.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Emoji Party was 😀😍😋!

Happy 9th Birthday to my gorgeous girl!
She wanted an emoji party and that is what we had. I found a smiley face in the teacher section of the dollar store and printed her invite on the back.
 We started with simple yellow cups from the dollar store and the girls used emoji stickers and markers to decorate them when they arrived. They could easily keep track of their cups all evening because they loved the big raspberry lemonade drinking fountain we had. 

After they decorated their cups they colored these coloring pages I designed. I saw a few cute ideas on pinterest. I busted out my sharpies, a bowl and ruler and got to sketching. These were the 3 I created. The double face sheet was popular and I only found this pre-colored version to share. 
Next we sewed mini emojis with felt. They loved this activity! I used a small bowl and traced it on a folded yellow piece of felt and got 4 circles from the one piece of yellow. I used red and pink for a small tongue, a bow, lips and heart eyes. Black gave us eyes and sunglasses, white for small white circles for eyes, and blue tear drops.

They placed 6 small cotton balls in between the two yellow circles and did a simple loop stitch around the edges. Then they used tacky glue to attach their faces. They turned out so cute!!!

I found this free Emoji BINGO  and printed it on card stock. For some reason the title wouldn't print properly but the rest of the page printed beautifully. You get 8 different sheets and a master sheet. I cut out the master sheet and mounted each emoji with their corresponding number on blue card stock. The girls used pretzel goldfish for markers.
I recently bought the cutest emoji cookie cutters from Pampered Chef. I decided to be fun and make rainbow sugar cookies. Just a matter of separating the dough, adding food coloring and then layering it. Super cute!

The girls received their goodie bags early in the party so they could keep track of their crafts and candy winnings from BINGO. They also each had a Paparazzi bracelet and Emoji Lipbalm along with a few fancy lollipops.
The party was super fun! The girls played from freeze dance, ran around the back yard and had ice cream sundaes instead of cake! This gorgeous birthday girl declared it was a hit!
 Hooray for 🍨🎉😄😛😍🌈!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

La La Loved it!

*may contain spoilers

Ice cream, hot fudge and a warm brownie was my delicious dessert before adding the cherry on top which is the latest Hollywood sensation "La La Land". Seriously, I loved it. I loved it so much I walked in the door and said to my husband "I want to write a paper about it. I want to critique it." He laughed at me, of course. This is silly; this is not necessary. I graduated from college 11 yrs ago and haven't felt the need to write a paper after a performance in a very long time. But I'm an adult and this is one of the perks.  I get to do what I want and post it on the internet.

First of all, I would say this movie is yellow. Yes, definitely yellow, well, the first half at least. After that it becomes more hombre and takes on a more sky blue feel, think back to the color of her sweater after the storytelling audition. During the opening sequence I began contemplating what I would wear on that highway exit. I loved the variety of colors, hair styles and shoes. I noticed two different women in yellow dresses. I wanted to be them. I wanted to wear a dress as bright as the day of sun. The sunny feel continued throughout the scenes: the dance with her friends through the apartment, the poolside, the glow on her face as she raced towards the movie theater. The change in hue came as she spoke on the phone to her mother and he to spoke to (the always fabulous) John Legend. Their dreams shifted: she quit her job and began to write, he accepted a new form of jazz. The mood continued to shift during their very real conversation at dinner, later her disappointment, and then her rejection of his apologies. The sky came back into view as he blared his horn outside her home. Her hope returned and she gave it one last shot. Her pale blue sweater was soft and comfortable. She needed to be comfortable with who she was and stop pretending to be someone else. She told of sweet memories that are unique to her existence. She shared a piece of her soul, only then did she become a success. Only then could she soar higher. We fast forward and find life is still beautiful even though it is different than one might expect. Joy is found in love and family. Happiness is achieved and dreams are fulfilled. Seb's is a glorious sky blue atmosphere, it is lively and full of music. And our lovers are afforded one last smile as they contemplate what "could have been". The film ends and all is well.

Mia wore beautiful dresses. Sebastian wore handsome suits. She only wore pants on a handful of occasions and her last audition was one of those. Her pants represent her strength. Mind you I don't find dresses weak, but pants are often a sign of command and power. Think of "wearing the pants in the family" for instance. In art nothing is "just because". In art the details matter, the details are why we like it. I loved those girls in yellow dresses. But in truth I probably would've been wearing jeans, my black converse with daisies on them and a funky headband. I would've been the first to jump on the hood of my car and my darling husband would've rolled his eyes at me. We love movies that we can correlate with life and I actually break into song and dance on a regular basis so this was not a stretch for me.

The dancing was ok. I usually love Mandy Moore (the choreographer, not the singer). But I was a bit underwhelmed. That's all I'll say about that.

Lastly, I love Casablanca. "Here's lookin' at you, kid." If you have not had the pleasure of watching Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman fall in love and then.......well, I won't give it away. Here's my point: Mia mentions the movie twice early on in the movie. Can we say foreshadowing?! He has a club. They have a special song between them. And the final goodbye. La La Land is the modern day Casablanca.

This movie may not be for everyone, but it is definitely for me. ✩✩✩✩

Thursday, November 3, 2016

DIY Vinyl Apron from a Tote Bag

Necessity is the mother of invention. I was throwing a "painting party" for my young women at church and at the eleventh hour I realized we lacked aprons. I ran to the dollar tree hoping to find something and I came home with 9 vinyl tote bags and 3 spools of gross grain ribbon. An hour later with my scissors, hot glue gun and sewing machine I had 9 vinyl aprons for my youth to wear and stay clean. Here is the super easy tutorial.
Turn this.....
...into this!

1. Cut the 2 side panels from you bag.

2. Lay bag flat and cut off one handle completely.

3. Remove only one handle strap from the other end.

4. Fold the corners at the top of your apron in making a triangle. Apply hot glue to the right angle.

5. Sew the strap you removed in step 2 to the spot you cut away on step 3.

6. Fold over the ends of both neck straps and sew with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying. Tie the two straps together in a simple square knot.

7. Cut cross grain ribbons about 18inches long. Sew the ribbons at the first fold mark on the bag/apron.

Finished! It really is that easy :)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Pantry Living weeks 10 & 11

We did it! Pantry Living Take 4 has ended. I'm happy because it means I can freely grocery shop again. I'm sad because it means summer is over. My hubby and kiddos are back in school and the real work now begins. I will reflect on my entire experience in my next post. For now, let's wrap this baby up.

Unopened boxes of cereal after week 11: 11
Gifts received: 5 boxes of cereal from my parents, pack of diapers in exchange for simple sewing job,
Jars/ bottles opened: spaghetti sauce, flour, sugar, green beans, mustard, soda, toilet paper, wipes, diapers, glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, bbq sauce, chicken broth, black beans, ranch dressing, italian dressing, rice a roni, pasta, chips, cookies, crystal light rasp lemonade, graham crackers, peanut butter
Allowable purchases: gas, milk, bread,
Cash purchases: cute chapsticks for stocking stuffers ($1 each), party favor bags and banner for Lilia's bday in March($1.50 each), posters from Justice for Christmas gifts($1 each), matching pear dresses for my girls from H&M($5 each), silly paper and pen sets($1 each), new butter colored purse for me from Guess(amazing deal $40), giant glass measuring cup/bowl($5), travel carrier for cupcakes ($9), dish scrubber, front loader toy for Levi's birthday ($15 used a gift card with a few dollars cash) , 2 new school shirts for Max ($1 each) (I added up my savings that shopping day: $229!), lunch and dinner out, strawberries, bananas,
Cheats: pizza (it was a desperate situation. Found out while relaxing on the beach Max had soccer that evening. Ordered a pizza from the beach and picked it up on the drive home. Ate in record time and got him to practice only 3 minutes late.)
Garden: Green beans and sugar snap peas are finished, blueberry bush is still dead, but cherry tomatoes are making for delicious mozzarella caprice
Unexpected huge credit card purchase: a new hot water maker. Discovered ours was leaking. $1700 later we are good to go. ouch!
Pantry after week 11

I have an announcement to make. Technically Pantry Living is over but my hubby has asked if I could try to sustain it a little longer.  So for the next month I will be shopping minimally. Strictly what is needed and what is an amazing sale. I still have enough frozen meat to get us through the month as well as a lot of food in our pantry. This message is sponsored by my plumber and hot water maker.
Hope your Summer was amazing!
Happy September!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pantry Living Weeks 8 & 9

I can see the finish line.....This summer is flying past me and I am so close to the end of pantry living! It will be a pleasure to grocery shop again but I will miss my lazy days on the beach, late nights on the boardwalk and our adventures.

My amazing 10yr old niece just left yesterday. She made our family of 6 into a family of 7. She is tall and beautiful and ate as much as I did. This didn't hurt pantry living because I was prepared! I knew long before the summer she would be our live-in mother's helper for a month so I knew what I needed. We love her and miss her!!!! Can't wait until next year!
Pantry after week 9

Down to business (hope I can remember):
Unopened boxes of cereal after week 8: 23
Unopened boxes of cereal after week 9: 19
Jars/Bottles opened: peanut butter, Italian dressing, Ranch dressing, ketchup, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, olives, corn meal, flour, sugar, garlic powder, oreos, goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, chips, soda, box of candy bars, ziplock bags, juice, cake mix, can of pineapple, box of ramen noodles, paper towels, toilet paper, rice, tomato sauce, beans, macaroni and cheese, pasta, yellow rice, toilet bowl cleaner, capri sun, evaporated milk, syrup
Gifts: giant jar of peanut butter, baloney, clothes for my kiddos, candy
Cash purchases: doughnuts, treats on the boardwalk, Slurpee (bring your own cup day! we took a plastic gallon container from ice cream!), baskets, bday gift for a friend, picture frames, flip flops for my niece, sunglasses for me, tip at restaurant, strawberries, apples,bananas, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, celery, ice cream, milkshakes, pizza, bowling, chuck e cheese,
Allowable credit card purchases: bread, milk, eggs, raspberries, gas, cheese,
Cheats (hold on to your hats! I ran out of cash while I was running errands): chips(we have nacho cheese left.....this was an emergency), underwear for the kids(too good a deal to pass up), the cutest leather sandals ever for Levi (only $4), Minecraft (I've lost my mind), a dvd for Levi's upcoming birthday, a full length mirror for the boys' room (only $5), footless tights for Lily ($1.50), Lysol wipes (technically a school supplies need), an adorable and super soft jacket for Lily for Christmas ($15, I'm sure this beautiful color will be gone in 2 weeks time when this would have been allowable), lunch at Red Robin after our entire family enjoyed the open house of the Philadelphia Temple ( I was short on cash by about $10 so unfortunately I had to cheat, but at least I tipped in cash!)
Garden goodies: LOTS of cherry tomatoes, a few baskets of green beans, a few peas past their prime

Lessons learned this week: be better at watering the garden, carry more cash than I think I need, pick sugar snap peas sooner,

Happy Summer!