Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Raising an Original - Book Review

Whether you've got one kid (like me) or eight kids (like the author of the book Raising an Original), you probably want to raise your kids right.

Whatever "right" means.

And there's the rub. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting.

Each kid is different and unique and so needs a different and unique approach to how he or she is raised. But how do you determine just what kind of approach will work for your kid?

Read Julie Lyles Carr's book Raising an Original! This mother, blogger, public speaker, nonprofit founder, and psychologist gives you the guidelines you need to figure out just what makes your kid special and how you as a parent can help to bring forth that God-given specialness instead of hinder it.

And there are plenty of ways that parents can hinder their kids originality. You might not even know you're doing some of these things, but Carr will call you out on it in this book!

The book includes a little quiz to help you determine which of four personalities your child has (The Director, The Inspirer, The Steadfast, and The Curator), and you can even take the quiz yourself to find out what kind of personality you have. If you and your kid have clashing personalities, this book will help you understand how to NOT make them clash.

This book is all about helping parents realize that they can't make their kids be someone they're not. That the ultimate goal isn't necessarily to raise a child to make a lot of money or be famous or have a prestigious career. The ultimate goal is just to help your child thrive being himself or herself, no matter what that means for their future. The ultimate goal is to see each of your children for who they really are and help them live their lives with the courage to be original.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - December 5

I recently reorganized our recipe binder and was reminded of some really great recipes that we haven't had in awhile. So that's what this week is devoted to. Here's what we're bringing back to the meal plan:

Sunday: Sausage Alfredo Skillet

Monday: Loaded Baked Potato Skins

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes

Wednesday: Monte Cristo Chef's Salad (Apparently, I've never blogged about the time we made this salad. I'll have to remedy that!)

Thursday: Pasta Carbonara

Friday: Chicken Cordon Blue Paninis

Saturday: Cheesy Baked Ravioli

Thursday, December 1, 2016

3 Tips for Doing a December Daily


Is it December Daily time already? Hard to believe that we're in the last month of 2016, but it's true. I plan on doing a December Daily album again this year, and I've got all my supplies ready to go.

I've been doing a December Daily since 2011, and each year I feel like I have a different technique when it comes to getting it done. I always try to adhere to a few basic rules, though. I find that it just makes everything go a little smoother.

1. Pick out your album now
It doesn't have to be a specific December Daily album. Any old album will do. You can probably find ones on sale at TJ Maxx, Marshall's, or Big Lots. Don't forget the scrapbook aisle at Walmart. They always have inexpensive supplies. I actually found a great Recollections chipboard album at Michael's for $4.99! (Binder ring chipboard albums make it really easy to add in Christmas cards that you receive because you can just punch holes in your cards and insert them as regular pages!)

I found this Recollections chipboard album at Michael's for $4.99!

2. Lay out your pages ahead of time
This doesn't always happen in my busy life, but in the past when I've done this, it has been a lifesaver! It will require you to have your papers and embellishments already picked out. If you have scrap paper and leftover embellishments from last year's holiday scrapbook pages, then this would be a perfect opportunity to use those up. (That's what I'm doing!) December Daily albums are generally smaller albums, so you don't need full-sized paper.

A December Daily album is a great way to use up the Christmas scraps from last year's Christmas scrapbook pages!

3. Don't Stress About Taking a Picture Every Day
Not every day is going to be a day where something holiday-themed happens. And that's okay. The album is more about quickly jotting down the holiday memories that happen throughout the month. So if you have a holiday cookie exchange on a Monday but then don't go ice skating with the kids until Friday, don't sweat it! The holidays are already a stressful time. The December Daily doesn't have to be part of that!


My very first DD! I do them differently each year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Run in Color Scrapbook Page


I did The Color Run again this year, and I got the pictures from it scrapped the other day using up some extras from a page kit. I had used the other parts of the page kit to scrap my half marathon pictures and last year's Color Run pictures.


I did add some other embellishments just to spice things up a bit. There are two stickers on here from my stash, and the blue patterned paper in the background is also from my stash. It came from a giant paper pad that I really never use, but the color seemed to fit with The Color Run colors.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Host a Cookie-Decorating Party


Over the weekend, we had some kids over for a cookie-decorating party. It was the first time we'd ever done this, so I didn't really know what to expect. Do I buy refrigerated sugar cookie dough? What kinds of decorations should I get? If you're thinking of hosting a cookie-decorating party this holiday season, here are a few helpful hints!

1. Make your own dough!
Sure, it seems like buying the pre-made refrigerated stuff would be easier, but depending on how many kids (or adults) you have, it could get expensive. Plus, I did some research online and apparently the pre-made stuff doesn't work very well if you're making cut-out cookies. You have to add extra flour to the dough or something, and I didn't think I wanted to experiment for this party. I just wanted sugar cookies that would turn out right so that the kids wouldn't be disappointed.

So I found a sugar cookie recipe in the December issue of Family Fun Mag. The recipe isn't available online, so head out to your newsstand and pick up a copy! The recipe uses cream cheese, something I've never added to a basic cookie recipe, and it's so easy! (It is NOT gluten-free.) Just make sure you leave enough time (30 minutes) for the dough to chill in your fridge before you get started. The recipe makes two to three dozen cookies.



2. Have a few cookies already made!
I baked seven cookies (one was for me to eat - I had to make sure they were okay!) so that the kid wouldn't have to wait for their cookies to bake before they could start decorating. We put the cut-out cookie dough in the oven, and then I brought out the already-baked cookies and let the kids decorate those while we waited for the other cookies to bake and cool off.

3. Cover your workspace!
You're dealing with a lot of toppings and icing and kids, so things are bound to get messy. What I really wanted to do was cover our dining room table with butcher paper, but God only knows where I'm supposed to go around here to find butcher paper. So instead I spent $3.50 (!!!) for a disposable tablecloth. And then I used painter's tape to adhere freezer paper to the top of the tablecloth to give the kids space to roll out dough and decorate. I used freezer paper because the painter's tape wouldn't stick to parchment paper. And I used painter's tape because, well, we didn't have masking tape.



4. And about those toppings...
We kept it pretty simple in terms of decorative toppings for the cookies. Just a few colors of icing, sugar sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, and red and green M&M's. If you want your guests to help out and bring something, ask them to bring some of their favorite cookie decorations.



5. Make it easy for your guests to take their cookies home!
I bought holiday-themed plastic containers at the Dollar General to package up everyone's cookies for easy transport home. Whatever type of container or packaging you want to use is great!

And, of course, have fun! We had kids and adults decorating cookies at our party, and it was really fun! The cookies don't have to look perfect. You are going to eat them, after all. It's just a fun way to get together and share in a little holiday celebrating.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - November 28

After yet another break, the Monday Meal Plans are back! Here's what we've got on the menu this week:

Sunday: grilled cheese and soup

Monday: cheesy potatoes and chicken sausage

Tuesday: chicken caesar salad

Wednesday: on our own

Thursday: turkey burgers and fries

Friday: tuna sandwiches

Saturday: chicken tenders and potatoes

What are you guys eating this week?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Just a Few Weeks Scrapbook Page


This little munchkin is what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving. I got the inspiration for this layout from one that I saw on Pinterest. It contrasts the baby at a certain number of weeks old in an ultrasound image with a picture of the baby at that same number of weeks old post-birth.

So on this layout I have our 21-week ultrasound (when we found out she was a girl!) with a picture of the baby at 21 weeks old outside of the womb.


I loved the background paper, with its "You'll never dear how much I love you" sentiment. It was part of an American Crafts paper pad that I purchased a long time ago. And I just happened to have another hot air balloon embellishment to match.


I just kind of went crazy picking out random embellishments from my stash that I thought would go with this layout. The "weeks old" stickers were from an Echo Park sticker sheet that my mom gave me.


I really wanted to keep this layout simple, but it looked a bit plain on its own, so I added in coordinating patterned paper strips from the same American Crafts paper pad to add a bit more color. The letter stickers are from the Target $1 Spot.