Thursday, October 17, 2013

No More Missing Library Books {or late fees}

Remember Arthur? The cartoon about a lovable gang of elementary age animals who teach great life lessons? Cartoon staple in my house growing up. I don't know if Arthur still airs on PBS. I sure hope so because one of my life mantras came from Arthur.

Having fun isn't hard, when you have a library card!

At my house, we have LOADS of fun with our library card. The first time we visited the library in our new neighborhood we came back with four good reads:

 The second time we visited the library, we came back with eleven good reads:

Good thing the check out limit is thirty-five because our fun just keeps getting better. Mister M. is really at home at the library and often has a hard time picking just a few books. I think he could spend all day reading!

Isn't that the cutest library patron you have every seen? He seriously sat there looking at that book for five minutes!
 Our addiction to books and the need for an ever larger bag on library day got me to thinking: I'm pretty sure, once we hit about twenty books one or two are going to get lost in the shuffle on due day. I know the librarian hands out neat little slips listing every item and giving the due date but really, who keeps those . . . oh, you do? Well, I don't. Until now this wasn't a problem for me because I could keep my stack of library books neatly shelved on my nightstand, but now I have a little crawler with tendencies to "read" his books in all sorts of places. 

So instead of relying on myself to actually keep track of the library receipt, I created this nifty bookmark. Now, when we get home from the library I sit down with my bookmark and list every book we checked out for the week. I also mark down the due date and use my new book list as a place holder in my current read.

Easy peasy. Lemon squeezy! 
{The man at Jiffy Lube taught me that ring-dinger!}
It really has been nice to have my list right in front of me every day. This way, when the due date hits I won't be as surprised by the menacing "PLEASE RETURN YOUR BOOKS OR ELSE" email from the library because I'll have glanced at the due date all month. I will also not be frantically looking in each of Mister M's board books for a library label on said date.

Having fun is definitely not hard when you have a library card!

Would you like to trade in your pesky little receipt for a delicious bookmark?

Click HERE for the downloadable version. And, if twelve spaces are not enough for you, click HERE for an optional backside to your bookmark.

Happy Reading!

I'm curious, what do you use to carry your books to and from the library? My cloth shopping bag is just not cutting it these days. Suggestions?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

15 Minute Taco Soup

It's not often that Hubster requests soup for dinner but this delicious recipe was at the top of his list last week!

Not only does this recipe a gem because it only takes 15 minutes, but it's ingredients can come straight from the pantry! We always have the things we need on hand so this is a go to on busy nights or when we are needing some warm comfort food.

15 Minute Taco Soup

1 lb hamburger 
½ pint salsa
1 large can alphabet soup 
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can yellow corn
shredded cheddar cheese
 sour cream
 corn chips

In your favorite skillet, brown hamburger and drain. In pot, combine hamburger, soup, beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and taco seasoning. Heat until boiling them reduce heat and simmer five minutes. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheese. Serve with corn ships for dipping.

I almost forgot, another great thing about this recipe is how well it freezes. We always have left-overs so I find myself putting a Ziplock full of Taco Soup in the freezer. We usually eat it within the month and it is always as good as the original! 

Click HERE for the recipe card.

And make sure to visit our Recipe Box for more delicious eats!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Play Time: Baby's Story Board

On one of the many parenting websites I follow, {Yes, I'm that first-time mamma!} it suggested constructing a felt story board for baby to play with. The author explained that learning to add and remove felt shapes from a board would exercise baby's pincer reflex, help him work on recognize shapes and objects, and allow some fun, pretend play. 

I was a little skeptical at first because Mister M. has two spirits in that little body and hardly sits still for ten seconds, but I thought that it was worth and try. Not to mention I wanted to get rid of a few pieces from  my ginormous pile of felt. 

I decided to attempt free hand drawing a few animal faces as patterns. Lucky for you those pictures were burned in a mysterious fire and I was able to convince Hubster to draw some instead. He's the real only artist in the family anyway. 

I broke out my scissors, pins, hot glue, and got to work.

The pictures are pretty self explanatory but here is a brief description:

First, I cut out my paper pattern on the biggest shape. For the frog this was the head. Then I pinned it to my base color {green} and cut that out. Then I cut the paper pattern again on the next shape - the outside of the eye. I pinned this to the appropriate color - white - and cut it out. I repeated the pattern for the smallest shape, and ended up with a blue eyed frog all pinned together and ready to glue. After gluing all the layers together, I used a Sharpie to add some details! Once it was complete I tested some of the glue to make sure my little slobber monster couldn't chew any pieces off and decided to add a stitch over each eye just to be safe. {I also stitched over the noses and ears of the other animals.} 

We ended up with a fine looking zoo!

 Amazingly enough, when I set up the story board for Mr. M. he went crazy and played with his furry friends for an entire 8 minutes. I timed him! Hopefully we'll get some more animal friends soon but for now he loves to grab the animals off the board, give them kisses, wad them into balls, and them put them back on the board. I guess those experts know what they're talking about!

If you want to use my patterns to create your own felt animal zoo click 

Here {For the monkey and elephant}

and Here {for the deer and frog}.

            Erin Kay

My little guy loves monkeys and frogs. What animals does your little love most?


POST EDIT: For the actual board part of the story board, my original plan had been to attach a piece of felt to a foam board but since Mister M is in the standing/cruising stage and loves to climb on everything, I decided to attach two strips of elastic to my felt and slip it over a couch cushion. This way Mister M won't crack the story board or his head when he tries to attach himself to his animals!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Prophet Cards

While watching General Conference last weekend, I just couldn't get enough of the general authority fact cards and so I decided that some Prophet Fact Cards would be in order.
Here are the fabulous faces and interesting facts of the 16 Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Click here for download.

Stay tuned tomorrow, or Thursday, depending on Mister M's nap, park, play group schedule, for a peek at my other Conference project. Hint: It includes felt, hot glue, and cute animal faces :)


Friday, October 4, 2013

Let's Watch Conference! Now with Fact Cards

It's that time of year again! The leaves are changing, the football teams are playing, the air is cooling, and General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is coming . . . TOMORROW!!

If you want to be uplifted, edified, and regain a sense of hope amid the plethora of depressing headlines we read everyday, you should definitely tune in to General Conference. 

What is General Conference?
It is a bi-annual worldwide gathering of Latter-day Saints, and their friends {which means you}. We gather at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, in our homes and, in our chapels to listen to inspiring words from living prophets. That's right living prophets!

 Conference is held in four sessions:
Saturday October 5th 10:00a.m. - 12:00p.m. & 2:00p.m. - 4:00p.m. MST 
Sunday October 6th 10:00a.m. - 12:00p.m. & 2:00p.m. - 4:00p.m. MST

To participate in conference:
Listen live {here}.
Find what cable/radio/satellite channel airs Conference in your area {here}.
Or watch conference online {here}.

My favorite parts of Conference are wearing my pajamas all day, eating delicious snakes all day, and feeling the Spirit all day x 2. Two straight days of cozy, delicious inspiration. Last year, I posted {here} about some fun conference ideas and this year I actually completed a fun conference project in time to use it! 

I have seen these all over Pinterest, but here is my own take on Conference Info. Cards. 

Click the picture for download!
 Every six-months as we watch Conference, Hubster and I are constantly on Google looking up facts about the General Authorities {the Prophet and Apostles who address us in Conference}. So, this year I took matters into my own hands, and to add a little fun, I made each card an opportunity to color. Don't kid yourself, you love to color during conference. Oh, wait, is it just me that has a special "Conference Coloring Book"? You caught me!

Now I can color and answer obscure questions about each speaker. Score!

I plan on breaking out the crayons and then laminating the cards and combining them on a craft ring. Fact cards during conference; Fact cards for the Sunday Box. 

But. . . even if you don't need Conference Cards, please join us for Conference anyway. I can promise it will be fantastic!!


Watch this for more on Conference! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Family Docs Binder {Printable Included}

It is so great to be blogging again at Happiness is Homemade!

So many things have changed since my last post, {For more on that read this} but my love, nay my obsession, with organization is strong as ever! And what better way to kick off the relaunch of our blog than with some killer printables that will get you organized in a flash and on your way to a happy, cluter-free home.

Remember my Family Study and Budget binders? If you weren't previously introduced click here and here. Well, after having a baby and moving across the country, I decided it was time to consolidate our personal documents and binder #3 was created: the Family Docs Binder.

Move over FHE and Budget there's a new three-ring sensation in town.

As I brainstormed the most effective way to keep all of our sensitive documents (i.e. social security cards, birth certificates, church certificates, financial info) organized and safe, I remembered a packet my lovely mother had given me when Hubster and I were first married that listed all the vital info we would need handy in case of an emergency. Luckily I am a saver of all things brilliant and found the packet in the recesses of my file box.

My mom had received this packet at an LDS Relief Society Meeting and it provided an outline of personal, health, and financial documents that every family needs to have readily accessible. I did a little revising and came up with my own version that serves to organize my binder.

Because my Family Docs Binder includes super sensitive, personal information I don't have any pictures but I'll give brief explanations of each section and why having particular information is important.

Follow along by downloading your own copy:

Black and White
 And, for those of us too lazy to buy a new ink cartridge.
Blue and White

Cover Page: A House of Order
I chose to title my binder - yes, binder's need titles - A House of Order because it is so very true that when our house in order, it is a happier home, with happier occupants that can more readily feel inspiration and love. {See here for more}

Personal Records
This section includes important personal documents for each member of your household. There is a separate checklist for adults and children. You should print off one for each member of your family, gather the listed documents, and fill in any blanks on the individual checklist. I use the checklist as a cover page and file the listed documents behind it in a sheet protector

I added spaces for important numbers on each individual checklist because I often find myself on the phone with an insurance company or doctor's office that needs a social and instead of digging through my paper files - or really digging through my mental files - this sheet gives me a quick reference.

WORD OF WARNING: Because this system suggests that all of your personal files be stored in the same place be very careful where you store this binder. I would suggest leaving it off the office shelf and instead putting it in a safe or another very safe, very confidential location. Also, NEVER take the entire binder with you because this risks the identity of your entire family. If you need a specific form of identification, remove it from the folder. {Of course you will take the entire binder in case of an emergency that requires you evacuate your home.}

Health Records
This section includes a Personal Health History log. Again, print one off for each member of your family and fill out the spaces. Also include immunization records and, if possible, brief medical records especially for the littles in your life.

Soap Box: Please keep an accurate health history for each member of your family! It only takes a few minutes at the end of each year to update any new information and can save you, your insurance agent, and insurance agency hours of headaches requesting medical records and verifying information when you are looking for new coverage or a new health care provider. I worked in insurance for a really long time and value an accurate health history.

End Soap Box.

Church Records
This section includes a checklist and ordination record specific to LDS church members. Feel free to alter these pages to fit your own religious needs or let me know what you are looking for and I can whip up some customized pages.

Financial Records
This section will definitely take you the longest and will be the most detailed. There are sections to list cash accounts, credit cards, safe deposit boxes, vehicle information, insurance policies, and other financial assets. Having this information handy in case you ever face an emergency is vital so you can identify your assets to authorities and claim what is rightfully yours.

Why should we keep this information organized and readily accessible?
When I was in middle school, there was a massive oil spill in a small town just north of my city. Every resident of that town was forced to evacuate with maybe 10 minutes notice. A family friend and her two small children stayed with my family for nearly a week. Because they had to evacuate so quickly they were only able to grab a few essentials; they packed a change of clothes, necessary medication, and, you guessed it, a personal documents file. Even though they were away from home for a week, they didn't have any issues purchasing new clothes or accessing bank accounts because they had all of the necessary paperwork neatly filed and ready to go.

Heaven forbid an emergency befall any of us but unfortunately things happen and we need to be prepared. My friend and her family would have been fine without a complete set of personal documents but what if they hadn't been allowed to return home? What if their home had been destroyed? What if they had been forced to permanently relocate? Having a quick, organized way to document important life events and personal information is essential for each and every prepared family.


What system do you use for organizing personal documents?

Did I miss any important information that needs to be included?

Want customized pages? Shoot me an email.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We're Back!

To Our Gentle Readers,

It has been 501 days since we last posted. 5-0-1. That's a lot of days. We expect that most of you have given up on ever reading another post from Happiness is Homemade and we can't even really remember why we left, but . . .WE'RE BACK. {And, might we add, better than ever.}

A lot has changed since our last post all those days ago. Here's the Reader's Digest version:

Erin and Hubster were blessed with a beautiful baby boy in February. He is anything but little, full of energy, and teaching her so much everyday! At 7 months, he is finally mobile, which is exciting for him and scary terrifying for mom and dad. Their little family as also relocated to East Tennessee where Hubster is working on a graduate degree. {It's like they live for school or something!} Since the move, Erin has traded in her full-time job for another full time job: mother/homemaker. She will take the diaper pail over the filing cabinet any day! She still loves to craft, organize, create, and is finding joy in just living on love while on this adventure called school.


Rachel and Mr. Handsome added another adorable baby boy {Mr. B} to the bunch in December.  Little Man loves being a big brother and is learning how to share.  They are loving life with two little boys!  Mr. Handsome is working full-time and is a few months away from receiving his hard-earned degree.  Little Man loves any form of transportation {cars, planes, trains, etc...}, playing in the mud and dressing up like superheros.  He is full of energy and is soon embarking on the much anticipated adventure of potty training.   10 month old Mr. B is a handsome little guy full of smiles and an adorable, playful personality.  He decided it was okay to grow up and is walking like a champ, says a few words {uho, mom, wow} and is so excited to be able to follow big bro around.  Rachel works hard and plays hard from 'sons up 'til sons down' and loves being a mommy.  She is also pursuing her love of capturing life's beautiful moments through the lens of her camera as the owner of Life is Beautiful Photography.  Life is good :)

We really hope you all find your way back {and bring a friend} as we resume journaling our pursuit to bring happiness, beauty, and peace into our homes! We have SO many awesome projects and ideas that we can't even wait to share; along with some stellar free printables and delicious recipes.

So, welcome back! We missed you.

Check back tomorrow for another great 'Binder' post! 
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