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Oh, the Places You’ll Go – Future Graduation Gift Idea

Since the end of the school year is FAST approaching (hooray!), I wanted to implement and pass this awesome idea along. This one comes from Denise @ A Sprinkle of This. I LOVE it. Seriously, this ranks high up in fun gift ideas in my book.

For a baby shower gift, she gave the Mom-to-be a copy of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” for the Mom to give to the future baby as a graduation gift. Her idea was to have the Mom sneak the copy of the book to all of the child’s teachers from Pre-K through high school and have them sign a quick note, and then the parents then give this almost as a “teacher yearbook” to the child. That is so cool.

Also, if your kids (or grandkids) are already later in their school years, you could get some of their favorite teachers and some of their friends to sign it. I think that would be an awesome idea too.

I’m taking this idea to use for MY kids right now, but I may use this as a baby gift in the future as well (think nieces/nephews/friends/grandkids/etc.). My oldest is in 2nd grade and we have lived in the same place since he was in pre-K (miraculously enough), so I think I can still backtrack for his teachers. My middle one is in pre-K, so it will be easy to start this with him. And my youngest still hasn’t started school yet, so we should be good to go for her.

I just ordered three hardcover copies of the book (one for each child) from Amazon for $10.79 each (no, I don’t get anything if you buy from the link – I just wanted to make it easy for you to find). This qualified me for the free shipping, which saved me over $26 over buying it at the normal price with tax at the store. Good deal!

Thank you, Denise, for making a graduation gift that much easier for me to figure out. As long as I don’t lose the books along the way…… :)

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BEST Playdoh Ever. Really.

The other day as the kids were playing with Play-doh and I was weeding out the Play-doh that had dried out from the Play-doh that was still good to use, I sighed to myself and wished that I could find a recipe to make playdoh that would yield results like the good, soft, freshly-bought Play-doh from the store.

Then I got my lovely recipe holder from my 5-year old, and the recipe that his pre-K teacher had attached was one for Kool-Aid playdoh. She had very thoughtfully also put a packet of Kool-Aid on the recipe holder as well, so we were set to make some playdoh at home.

A lot of the recipes I have tried before either are really salty and leave your hands dry, or the playdoh ends up dry and flaky – no good. This one was a little different than the ones I had tried, and it was SPOT ON. Wahoo!

Ingredients

1 c. flour

1/4 c. salt

2 T. cream of tartar

1 envelope Kool-Aid

1 c. water

1 T. vegetable oil

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar, Kool-Aid and water in a medium saucepan. Stir in the oil.

Mix over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the mixture forms a ball in the center of the pan. This took me the full 5 minutes, and it takes stirring the whole time or it gets selectively clumpy – just a heads up there.

Remove from pan and knead until soft. I was afraid the dough would be hot, but it was just very warm and I could knead pretty much right away.

There you go! Awesomely perfect homemade playdoh. And the Kool-Aid packet makes very vibrant colors. I love preschool teachers – thank you very much!

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Potted Recipe Holder

We just had Muffins & Moms at my 5-year old’s pre-K, and this was the sweet gift that each child had made (with a LOT of help from the teacher) for their moms.

It is a recipe holder! I thought it was a fun idea and needed to be shared. And it is definitely an idea that I appreciated and will use for my printed recipes.

Each child painted a little terra cotta pot. You can tell that my 5-year old is pretty meticulous by the fact that the pot is painted in its entirety. And he knows that I love red. Sweet boy.

The teacher then put in a styrofoam ball just the size to fit comfortably into the pot.

She then put a fork in, handle side down, covered the styrofoam ball with spanish moss, and added a bow for a finishing touch. I bent the middle two fork prongs backward a bit so the recipes won’t get bent when I slip them in.

Cute, easy, functional Mother’s Day gift idea – I love it. :)

 

SAH 8

Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

I was having a conversation with one of my sisters a while back, and the subject of artichokes came up. Normal conversation, right? :) She was talking about how much she loves artichokes, and I was telling her that I had recently realized that I don’t know if I really have consciously eaten an artichoke. So she passed on this recipe for us to try from the Pioneer Woman.

That was delicious. And pretty easy too – artichokes and all. :)

Ingredients:

2 T. olive oil

1 lb. pasta (she does thin spaghetti – I prefer something with more texture)

2 T. butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 can artichoke hearts (14.5 oz.), drained

1 can diced tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz.)

1 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. chicken broth

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

salt and pepper, to taste

1 c. Parmesan cheese

 

Step 1: Cook your pasta. Drain, and set aside. (see? easy so far.)

Step 2: Put olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat & melt. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 2-3 min.

Sauteed onions have to be one of my favorite smells. And tastes. So good.

Step 3: Add artichoke hearts (drained) and tomatoes (with juice). Stir and cook for 8-10 min. I also chopped up the artichoke hearts before I threw them in so they wouldn’t be so hugely chunky.

Step 4: Reduce heat to low and add cream and chicken broth. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and keep cooking on low until heated through. Make sure you use enough salt so you have flavor. That means to test your sauce and make sure you can taste it.

Step 5: Place pasta in a large bowl, and pour Parmesan cheese over the top. Then pour the sauce over the top and toss to coat.

Done! That was very delicious, pretty easy and it made a LOT of food. My sister had told me that they usually have it for dinner, then for leftovers at lunch for a couple of days – which I interpreted to mean that my family would finish it off in one night. Nope. We also had it for dinner that night, and then happily had it for leftovers at lunch for a couple of days afterward.

Thanks Jen for passing that one on! And thank you to the Pioneer Woman for sharing this awesomeness in the first place. :)

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Picture Hanging Tip – and DSLR tutorial links

This is a tip for hanging those annoying pictures with the two hooks – the ones where they have a hook on each side to keep things level and distribute the weight evenly. Those ones.

I have a couple of larger pictures like that, and hanging them was a large pain – I measured the distance between the hooks, penciled in two holes that distance apart and hoped they would be level, and then did trial and error until it looked right.

This lovely tip from Aimee @ It’s Overflowing came to me right on time – my mom had sent a picture for our boys that happened to have the two hooks, so I could try it out while I still remembered it.

Hooray for timely tips – this was VERY easy.

You take blue tape (or scotch tape – just something that won’t ruin the backing) and cut a piece that fits from the center of one hook to the center of the other, like so:

Then you take the blue tape of wonder, stick it on your wall at the spot that you would like your picture, and hammer some nails into place (I ended up cutting my tape a little short, so I hammered one of the nails slightly outside of the tape):

Voila! Level, easily hung picture.

The great thing about this is you can actually check the tape visually (or with a level, if you prefer) to see if it looks level. AND you have the nails perfectly spaced. I loved that.

Thank you Aimee!

By the way, Aimee has a bunch of VERY helpful tutorials on how to use a DSLR camera in manual instead of auto. Start at the link I posted, and work your way through. I learned a lot! :)

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