Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan: Catch-up Week

Since this is the 5th Tuesday of December, this is an "extra" week in the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan. So, whenever this happens, I take the opportunity to spruce up my food storage shelves and closet. I also make any purchases I've procrastinated in. It's just a good week to get caught up, and if you're already caught up, then it's a week to just relax! Yay!

We'll start all over in January, and continue to rotate through and fine-tune the supplies and stocks that we have on our shelves. This plan involves rotating through your storage so that you don't end up having expired food that you have to throw out. I've done that in year's past, and I vowed to come up with a way that I don't waste so much. This plan helps do away with the waste.

So, take this week to get caught up, and in a week's time, we'll start on January's items again.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Resolution: Daily Thank You Cards

I've been thinking long and hard about my resolutions for 2014. I try to keep them simple, and I also try to not have a list of a hundred different resolutions. If there are too many, it's just too hard to focus on them all, and I end up not really working very hard on any of them. If I keep it to about five items, it is pretty do-able.

Now, I don't think I'll share all of my resolutions here. Not much reason for that. However, I will share one of them, because it's sort of an experiment that I'll report on once in a while. I love writing and receiving Thank You notes. Doesn't it seem like note writing is becoming a lost art in this age of technology? I must admit that many times I write emails or texts to express my gratitude to people. While this is far better than not doing it at all, I still love a hand-written card received in the mailbox. There is something so personal and meaningful about it. The fact that someone has taken a few minutes to jot a note is wonderful to me! Especially when it is for something that is out of the ordinary... a lesson at church, a visit, a meal, advice, or whatever. It's fun to realize that someone felt gratitude enough to write about it.

So, on to the resolution. I have resolved that I'm going to write a Thank You card every day this year. Does that sound crazy? Which is more crazy... that I plan to write 365 Thank You cards, or that I've actually voiced it aloud? When I was thinking about wanting to show more gratitude to others, I thought about a gratitude journal, which I've done before, but I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to let others know about my gratitude for them and what they have done. I don't think I'll have any problem coming up with someone to write to every day. I could make a list right now that would be as long as I am tall, that would include all the people I feel gratitude for, and that continues to grow daily. How great to think about this at the close of every day and write a note to someone I am feeling particularly grateful for that day. I'm sure that there will be some who will get more than one note from me throughout the year, which is the way it should be.

I have stacks of Thank You cards just waiting to be used, and I just bought another couple of packages from Target. They have such great stationary!

So, wish me luck on this little venture. I hope to report in every now and then to let you know how it's going and what I'm learning along the way. My real desire is that by thinking about and expressing gratitude to others, I will "live with gratitude ever in my heart", as President Thomas S. Monson has said:

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Year's Eve Jar: Memories, Blessings and Moments from 2013

We started this tradition last year, and we loved it so much, it is definitely a "keeper". I think I like it because it's so easy to do and keep up on.

First of all, find a nice jar or container. It can be anything, but since it's best to keep it out in plain sight, make it something that is nice to look at, or that goes along with your decor. I chose a porcelain jar that I had already. If I want, down the line, I can easily change it to another jar or container. It could even be a wood box. Whatever works in your decor.

Then, make a stack of cards you can write on. I designed mine to look like index cards, but you can do anything that suits your fancy. You can just cut squares of scrapbook paper, or even just use plain paper... again, whatever works for you. I would suggest using something with the weight of cardstock, though, because it's fun to keep these from year to year, and they will hold up better with a heavier weight of paper.

And that's really all you need for the basic New Year's Jar. You can make a tag with the current year on it, and attach that to the jar somehow. But you don't really even have to do that.

We write on the cards all throughout the year. You can write about anything... memorable moments, blessings, achievements, funny things, etc. We like to keep it positive around here. And then, on New Year's Eve (or New Year's Day, around the table, etc), we open the jar and take turns reading the cards in it. It's fun to look back and remember some of the moments -- big and small -- that have happened to our family.

And then, I just punch a hole on the cards and keep them on a ring with the original year's tag that I had made to go on the jar. Easy enough to do, and it will be fun in the years to come to just glance through those cards and see the things that have happened through the years. Such a fun way, as the new year begins, to remember all that happens within any given year.

If I get really ambitious, I can make fancier year tags, but if not, these will do. I can't wait til New Year's day to see what has been written down throughout the year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December Week 4: Pam cooking spray, shortening

This week's food storage items are:

December Week 4: Pam cooking spray, shortening

If you use Pam (any of the varieties), figure out about what you might use in a year. Of course, this is only an estimate, but you can probably make a pretty educated guess. Do the same with shortening. Once you've come up a with a number for both items, write it on a shopping list, and go out in the next few days and pick up whatever you may need for the year. Once you have the items home, put them on your food storage shelves, and update your inventory sheet to reflect the new numbers.

Now since there are 5-ish weeks in December, next week will be a rest (or catch up) week. And then, we'll start all over again with January. Remember, this is never a job that is completely done. To have a good food storage with little waste, you will be purchasing and rotating constantly. But really, who doesn't have 15 minutes a week to handle that. That literally is all it takes. 15 minutes. Sooooo do-able!

This coming year, I'll just be putting short reminders up each week for the items of the week, with a reference to the original post for those items. In addition to continuing weekly food storage, I plan to do 72 hour kit plan so that you can get completely up-to-date on your 72 hour kits in a manageable fashion. I also am dubbing this year my "Year of Organizing". So, we'll probably get into some good organization projects, along with the usual recipes, crafts, gardening, and random fun.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Last minute Christmas food, gift-wrapping and gift ideas

Since we're nearly running out of time for Christmas food and preparations and gifts, here are a few super quick ideas...

Santa Hat Fruit Skewers 

All it takes are some long toothpicks or appetizer skewers, green grapes, bananas, strawberries, and string cheese (or as we call them around our house... cheese sticks).  Start with a grape, then a slice of banana (dipped in pineapple juice to preserve color), a strawberry, and then a slice of string cheese for the top of the hat, and to keep everything on. They are darling, festive, and refreshing after eating all the sugary sweets of the season!

Easy, Fun Gift-Wrapping Idea

I just wrapped the gift in brown kraft paper (I actually use painters paper from Home Depot. Cheap and comes on a large roll). Then I wrapped the gift with red and white baker's twine and stuck a few real pine branches in the strings. Add a gift tag (these are my chalkboard gift tags), and you're done! So cute!

Quick Neighbor or Party Gift

We made these for the gifts that Bob gave the ward families this year at tithing settlements. But they would be perfect for a quick neighbor gift or a party favor.

I got my jars at Taipan, but any little jar would do. Tie a red and white piece of baker's twine around it. Have I mentioned I love baker's twine? Have I mentioned I might even have a baker's twine fettish? Okay, maybe another subject for another day. After the baker's twine, I tied a couple of sprigs of greenery (fake pine and something silvery for these) into the baker's twine. Add a free printable gift tag, which are all over Pinterest these days, and throw a little tea light into it, and you're done! Couldn't be easier!

Friday, December 20, 2013

DIY Musical Chimes for Christmas

We had such a fun Activity Days yesterday. We made a Christmas Family Home Evening lesson that the girls were each able to take home to give to their families. We also spent some time playing the musical chimes. We've had these chimes for a few years now. My sister Sheri was the first one to introduce them to our big family Christmas gatherings. We've been playing those same chimes for years and years at Christmas time.

Several years ago I decided it was high-time my own family had our own set of chimes. I got the information from Sheri as to the exact measurements of each chime, and we went to work.

We bought two 10-foot lengths of 1/16 galvanized conduit pipe that is 1/2" in diameter. We cut each pipe to the exact size, using the chart below. It is very important to cut the pipes exactly to the size specified, or you'll end up with some sharp and flat notes where you don't want them. (I may or may not have a pipe or two that needs filing down a little... but we still love to play them!).

After the pipes are cut down to size, we drilled a hole 1-1/2" from the top of the pipe, using a drill press. We then strung some nylon cord through the holes. We have to replace the cord every other year or so. The edges of the chimes are a little rough on the cords. This year, to make it festive, I strung tinsel pipe cleaner. We'll see how long that lasts.

At the top of each pipe, we wrote the chime number with a permanent marking pen (see the chart below), so that we know which pipe is which for various songs.

We also got the biggest nails we could find at Home Depot for the chime ringers. You can use spoons, or little wooden dowels with balls on the end, or whatever you think works best.

My sister sewed a great little storage pouch for the chimes, with individual spots for each chime to slide into. I may just do that some day, but in the meantime, I found a #10 can (coffee can size), covered it in copies of old sheet music, and that's what I keep my chimes in. I also have a smaller soup can that I keep my large nails in.

So, the sizes go as follows in the chart below. Remember, it's important to cut them very accurately.

Key Size Number
A 13-5/8" 0
B flat 13-1/4" 1
B   12-6/8" 2
C 12-3/8" 3
C sharp 12" 4
D 11-6/8" 5
E flat 11-3/8" 6
E    11" 7
F 10-5/8" 8
F sharp 10-3/8" 9
G 10" 10
A flat 9-6/8" 11
A   9-1/2" 12
B flat 9-3/16" 13
B    9" 14
C 8-5/8" 15
C sharp 8-1/2" 16
D 8-3/8" 17
E flat 8-1/16" 18
7-6/8" 19
F 7-3/8" 20
F sharp 7-1/16" 21

We have lots of pages of chime music written out with the chime numbers instead of the notes. That way, those who are playing each chime knows when it's their turn to chime in. I've also made some large posters so that when we have big gatherings, we can have several more people standing all together and they can look down to the chart to see the song as it is played.

All ages can participate pretty easily. When we use the big poster board, I usually go along with a pointer and point to each note as we go so that everyone knows where we are, and knows when their chime needs to be played.

It doesn't necessarily have to be Christmas music that you use these for. You could use them for any music at all. It is easy to transfer the notes to the pipe numbers using the chart above. It might be fun to use them at a family reunion, or any kind of gathering. It's a fun way to introduce music to the event without someone having to perform all on their own. I'm a big fan of that, since I don't really do solos in any way, shape or form.

These make GREAT gifts! We made them one year for various family members and friends, and they all loved them. And it's something they really can use year after year after year and make fun traditions with.

The Christmas songs that I have are:

Away in a Manger
Silent Night
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
The First Noel
Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem
What Child Is This?
Deck the Halls
Jolly Old St. Nicholas
White Christmas
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Jingle Bells
Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
O Christmas Tree
Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Joy to the World
Oh Come, All Ye Faithful

I am happy to send you copies of the music that I have. Just post a comment below, specifying three (3) song choices, and I'll email them off to you.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Week 3: Hand-crank radio

This week's emergency prep item is:

December Week 3: Hand-crank radio

This is one of those great weeks where once you've got the item, it's done. Next year, when this week comes up again, you shouldn't have to rotate it or refill it. That's why I've put it on week 3 of December. I figured you just may have other things to do that week. :)

There are several different types and price-ranges out there. I obviously haven't tried them all, so I can only go by what I've got for my own emergency supply. I picked up a Voyager Dynamo & Solar V1 Radio. It can be powered by battery, solar power, and/or by hand-cranking. It also has a bright LED flashlight.

I got mine online at Emergency Essentials for about $22.00 on sale. The price is regularly about $30.00.

The specs are as follows:

Solar / hand-cranking powered radio flashlight with a USB outlet for your electronic devices. The compact Voyager V1™ radio offers multiple benefits all bundled together. Get standard AM/FM stations as well as shortwave bands to receive stations from around the world. The built-in flashlight add additional convenience and functionality. A USB outlet powers many handheld electronics like most smart phones (does NOT charge Apple devices). 

Radio dimensions: 13 x 6 x 5 cm
  • 1 Minute of cranking powers up to 15 minutes of radio listening or 1 hour of light
  • A built-in USB port lets you charge your small USB-rechargeable device like smart phones (Does NOT charge apple products)
  • Bands include AM/FM, and Shortwave
  • Super-bright, 3-LED flashlight
  • Built in HD speaker and earphone jack

The Voyager V1 can be powered by multiple sources. You can recharge an internal Ni-MH battery via the built-in solar panel OR cranking dynamo. The battery can also be recharged by a USB outlet using a mini-USB to standard USB cable (not included). The V1 can also be powered by 3 standard AAA batteries. 

I'm sure there are many different hand-crank radios on the market. It would be smart to do some research and find the one that best suits your needs.

After I got mine and saw what a nice small size it is, I thought it would be a great idea for stocking stuffers for my married kids. Hmmmm.

Once you've acquired your hand-crank radio, update your Inventory Sheets and then sit back and relax and enjoy your holiday. Remember, this is a week-by-week plan, so you can jump in whenever. I received an email from a reader last week asking if it started in January, and though the lists do go from January through December, you can start the plan anytime throughout the year without having to back up and "make up for lost time". It really is an easy, manageable plan that is completely do-able even for the busiest families. You can adjust it to your needs as your family's size changes. We have adjusted through the years quite easily. As you adjust and buy more or less what your family really uses in a year (and rotate, as planned), you will have less waste at the end of the year. Yay!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets

Sunday, December 15, 2013

29 Year Anniversary

Excuse me whilst I get personal for a few minutes. But it can't be helped. It is a great day!

29 years ago today, I married the man of my dreams. I know that sounds a little cliche, but I'm telling you... as a young girl, teenager, and young adult, I had the same hopes and dreams about my future. They never changed. When I was in grade school, I remember having to write down what we "wanted to be when we grew up", and I wrote two words: A Mom. My teacher didn't think that was enough, and tried to get me to write something in addition to that, but I couldn't come up with anything else. There wasn't anything else, as far as my hopes and dreams were concerned. Now, if I had been on my toes, I might have changed it to: Wife and Mother. But, to me they were all encompassed in one word anyway. That all went without saying.

And then, when I was 21, I met Bob. And that's where the hopes and dreams turned into a reality. I'm not saying our lives have been perfect and free from trials and challenges since we've been married. We've had our share, and I'm sure there's more to come. That's just part of being on this earth. But through it all, I've always been living my dreams. (Again, cliche) But there's no other way to put it. 

And who knew? My mom told me that through the years we would just continue to grow more and more in love, and I couldn't really comprehend loving Bob more than I did the day I married him. But now I get it. I know that what she said is completely true. 

Our lives continue to get more and more full. The experiences we have are like beautiful pieces of a quilt -- all different patterns and shapes, but fitting together and making the whole quilt more and more beautiful as it continues to grow. 

And I say to myself, "How can this quilt possibly be any more beautiful than it is now?". And then, as the next son or daughter-in-law, or grand baby is added to the family, their is more beauty. And even when we have something really hard and sometimes really painful to go through, as we make it through the other side of it, we take another look at our "quilt" and lo and behold, it has become that much more lovely. 

How little did I know 29 years ago, when I was that smiling, happy bride, that my life would be this deeply rich and sweet. Words can't express how blessed and eternally grateful I am for the man that has been by my side and made every bit of it possible. Oh, how I love you, Bob.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Taped Candy Treat Ball

If you're looking for a fun, easy Christmas game or activity for a party you are having, then this just may be the one to fit the bill. It's a good all-around game to play, and all ages can play. In order to play, all you need are: the tape ball, two dice, and a tray or surface that the dice can be rolled.

The rules are simple: Have the entire group sit in a circle, either on chairs or on the floor. This time around, we all sat in chairs, which makes it much more comfortable for us that aren't teens anymore. One person starts with the treat ball. They do their best to unroll some of the tape, thus revealing some candy or toys that they then get to keep. At the same time, the person to their left starts rolling the dice on the tray. The "dice-roller" rolls the dice until they get doubles, and once that happens, they get the treat ball passed to them, and the person to their left gets the dice ad tray. And then it all starts again, and the new person gets to try to unravel the treat ball until the person next to them rolls doubles. You get to keep whatever treats or prizes are opened during their turn.

To make the treat ball, get some cheap packing tape. You read that right. Get some CHEAP packing tape. We've played this game two different times now, and the first time around, I just used whatever packing tape I had on hand. We played it with a group of 12-13 year-old girls, and they had the thing unraveled in about 15 minutes, with no problems.

The second time that we played this was just last week. My husband brought home some packing tape from work. Apparently they use packing tape that is indestructible, unwrappable, and "once it's stuck, it ain't going anywhere". It was a little more difficult to unravel. Okay, ALOT more difficult to unravel. We're talking people using their feet to hold the ball whilst they put their entire body's muscles into trying to get a little tidbit of candy out. Oooooh boy. 

So, don't use industrial-strength tape. Enough said.  Pick something good to go in the center. My Christmas tape ball was just full of little treats and candies for the most part, so for the center, I used an M&M ornament that had M&M Minis inside of it. But you can use whatever you want. You could make that center item something grandiose. Or not. Either way, start with that and wrap some tape around it. Every foot or so, add a piece of candy or some small item. It's important to cut the tape when its 3 or 4 feet long. Otherwise, you could have one lucky party-goer unravel the whole long piece of tape in one fell swoop. And then everyone else would go home empty handed, and that may start some sort of brawl. 

Okay. That brawl didn't really start with the unraveling of the tape ball, but this did happen at the same party, so I had to share. I'm not sure what started it, or if any of the boys needed a reason to jump on, but they were having their own special kind of holiday fun, and they seemed to all have smiles on their faces. Go figure. Free entertainment.

Back to the tape ball instructions...

Then, start another piece of tape and wrap a few more candies in the ball. It will seem very mis-shaped and odd, but as you go along, it will begin to resemble a ball.

I even added a few toys, like Hot Wheel cars. Those were the things people were really going for. You could add things specific to that holiday, like little Christmas ornaments or Santas, or some such thing. Be creative!

Keep on wrapping and adding treats. Remember to start new pieces of tape every 3-4 feet.

Below is my finished treat ball. Layers and layers of Christmas candies and toys. It looked so fun and festive all at the same time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Merry Christmas" tree garland

Did you see the Christmas Pottery Barn catalog this year? They had some great holiday decor, as usual. One of the things that caught my eye was this "Merry Christmas" garland for the tree. 

My tree is (and always will be) full to the brim with ornaments from years past... from the earliest years of our marriage (when I made the ornaments because we didn't have extra money to spend on ornaments), to the "store bought" years (when I was busy with four kids within five years), to the present years (when I buy some, and make some, depending on the year). Every year, we've added a new ornament to the mix, including one for each of the kids. Somewhere on the ornament, I've written the year, so that we know which year the ornaments were added to the collection. And when the kids have gotten married, I give them their box of ornaments -- one for each year -- with their names and dates on them. And one day they may be able to use them on their trees. It makes decorating the tree very nostalgic and fun! 

I always do some sort of garland tucked around the ornaments, but I was getting ready for a change from the one I've been using for the past few years. The Pottery Barn garland was exactly what I was looking for!  I saw it in the magazine, took a day or two to think about it, and then by the time I went back to it, it was sold out. Soooo, I looked again and realized it would be pretty simple to make on my own.

I bought a package of chipboard from Joann Fabric. The chipboard I bought was plain and uncut, but I know you can buy chipboard letters that are already cut out, so that would be an option, too. In my case, I had Bob use his magic laser-cutting machine, and he cut my block letters out to be about 4-1/2" tall.

I punched out all of the letters.

I was worried about what to punch the holes with. I didn't know if the chipboard would be too thick to use a regular hole-puncher, but I was able to do it easily with my old hand hole-puncher. I punched holes in the top of each letter so I could string the baker's twine through it later on.

Now, for the glittering. I have glittered more than my share of items before (think back on the parade float). I know that glitter gets everywhere. When we did the parade float, we used Elmer's Glue, painted it on the item, and then doused the thing in glitter. And the finished product was glittery and beautiful. But, I had a lot of letters to be done, and I didn't want it to take all day.

So, I decided to use glitter spray instead. Krylon Glitter Blast, to be exact.

It is so much cleaner and easier to use than gluing glitter. I coated all the letters with just two coats, and they turned out perfect! And there wasn't much of a mess left, either. Soooooo much easier!

After the paint dried (pretty quickly, for a cold day out in the garage), I used some gray and white baker's twine and strung the letters onto the string. Because of the weight and texture of the chipboard, I didn't have to knot the string at each letter. They just sit nicely on the string wherever I position them.

I know this kind of a tree isn't for everyone. But I love how I can walk by and see an ornament made from a paint stick that my son made when he was six years old, or the little fabric ornaments from a pattern my mom's good friend gave me when she was going through her craft supply -- years and years ago. I also have beautiful ornaments that friends and family have given me through the years, and I love all of them hanging together -- the humble little hand-made ones from 29 years ago hanging proudly right next to lovely collectibles.

Yes, its a tree full of memories. Oh, and I'm sure to put the ones that won't get broken near the bottom. If you look closely at the photo below, on the little light blue present, you'll see a little red wooden block ornament that my little grand-baby was inspecting the other day. I left it right where he left it for future inspections. ;)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Week 2: Popcorn

This week's food storage items are:

December Week 2: Popcorn - microwave and regular kernels

You may be wondering... Why popcorn? I've purposely put popcorn in December because it makes it a very easy food storage week (which, for me, is a necessary thing in December). And if you don't really eat popcorn at all in your home, then you're free and easy this week. Which means you can do one of three things: scratch "food storage" off your list for the week, and just do Christmas shopping; or, you can catch up on a previous week that may not have been completed; or, you can take a few minutes to organize your food storage shelves.

Now, if your family eats popcorn, then figure out what you use in a year's time and get to the store and pick up the popcorn. Then, add the popcorn to your food storage shelves, and update your inventory sheets. It's that simple!

Before you completely dismiss popcorn as a food storage item, check out the article included below, from USA Emergency Supply. (to read the entire original article, click on USA Emergency Supply). Note also that popcorn, if stored properly, can last 10-15 years. You can buy it canned, online from food storage warehouses.

"You may have considered popcorn to be junk-food. However, it actually supplies a lot of nutrition and is suggested as a snack by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Popcorn contains substantial amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, many of the B vitamins, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Pantothenic acid, Copper, Manganese, Linoleic acid and all the essential amino acids. And for how inexpensive popcorn is, popcorn will give you very good nutritional bang for the buck in your food storage or every-day eating. It's inexpensive, easy to pop and great fun to eat.

Hints for getting the best popped corn: Don't pop popcorn in butter as the butter will burn before it can get hot enough. Popcorn pops best in temperatures of 400-460 degrees F. If your oil starts to smoke which happens at 500 degrees F, you've got it too hot. Any oil will work. Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. For your health, you should choose a light cooking oil or better yet, skip the oil all together and use an air popper. The movie houses use yellow dyed coconut oil which does a great job of popping the popcorn although there are healthier oils you can use than coconut oil. To see if you have the oil hot enough, drop a couple of kernels into the hot oil. If it's hot enough, they should pop in just a few seconds. If you don't have a popper, any thick bottomed, high walled pan will do. Popcorn can even be easily made in a Dutch oven over a camp fire. When your oil is the right temperature, pour in your popcorn, shaking the pan to cover all the seeds in oil. Do this with the lid on to prevent burns should the hot oil try to splash out of the pan. Using a lid helps the kernels to heat more evenly and keeps the popping corn from flying all over the place. (If you are using a popcorn popper, shaking it isn't necessary because of it's rounded bottom.) As it begins popping, it's important to continue to shake a flat-bottomed pan. This helps any un-popped kernels to settle to the bottom of the pan where they can pop. As soon as you hear the popcorn stop popping, pull the pan off the heat and pour the popcorn into another container. It will burn if you leave it in the hot pan."

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets

Sunday, December 8, 2013

JOY Christmas Sign

I remember seeing a sign similar to this floating around the internet last year. I ran out of time to make one last year, so I grabbed a big scrap of plywood from my husband's scraps, and put the board in my holiday storage closet so that this year I could actually make myself that sign. When I pulled out my holiday decorations, I noticed the board and was excited to get working on the project. It was EASY. So easy. And absolutely no cost. I used scrap wood and paint I already had. Yay!

I left the plywood the size it was when I found it, but it could be made in any size that works for your home. I painted the wood a creamy white. It only took a couple of coats of paint, and dried quickly.

I didn't want it to be perfect, like it would be if I had made templates with my Silhouette, so I just decided how tall I wanted my letters, and drew block letters on craft paper. I made sure the letters were all the same height and that the thickness was pretty close to the same for each letter.

I cut the craft paper letters out and laid them on the board until I liked their positioning. I taped them in place so they wouldn't shift around while tracing them. I just used a regular pencil and traced the letters onto the board.

After tracing, I followed the pencil line with a paintbrush, using red paint. You can see here that I basically outlined the letter first, and then filled it in afterwards.

The letters took just a couple coats of red paint. I wasn't really concerned with them being perfect. I just did my best with my paintbrush, and that was plenty good enough for this project!

After the paint dried, I took my electric sander to it to give it some age. And then I used a little bit of glaze and rubbed it on all over the sign, rubbing it off with a cloth almost simultaneously with rubbing it on.

Then, I coated the whole thing with three coats of exterior varnish, and that's it! It was super simple, and didn't require me to go out and buy anything at all. (Oh, how I love that kind of project!)