Super-Easy Kid Art Hangers

My hooligans are a crafty bunch (and they make some fun art, as well), and they’re forever creating masterpieces that MUST BE SAVED. According to them, anyway.  And they always seem to use odd sizes of paper, so a standard frame just doesn’t work. But here’s something that does…Super-Easy Kid Art Hangers!

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Literally, these are hangers!  I just bought a pack of wooden hangers at Target (I think they were about $5 for 4), covered the black rubber part with washi tape, and hung up their art.  Two minutes and I was done. They’re light enough that I can just use push pins to hang them, which the hubs appreciates. Hanger-Close-ChaosServedDai

And, they’re so simple to switch out for the latest and greatest creations…the kids can even do it themselves!

These three hang in their bathroom, but I’m thinking of making each of them a gallery wall over their beds…instant and colorful headboards.  Or maybe a wall of them in the upstairs hallway…it overlooks the living room, so that would be fun to see glimpses of, yet not feel like I’m living in an elementary art classroom.

Anyway, it’s a quick and inexpensive solution to one of our everyday problems…too much creativity, not enough frames!

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TBT: Peach Panzanella

Wouldn’t you know it…just as peaches are really coming into season here and this salad would be a perfect no-cook meal for a hot evening, the highs here have been in the low 60′s all week. Not that I’m complaining…it was our first real rain since the end of June, and I do love cool, rainy days. But I feel like eating chili or soup then, not salads!  The forecast is calling for high 70s this weekend, though, so I’ve put this Peach Panzanella on the menu…and I can’t wait!

Here’s the post from last year…enjoy!

Traditional panzanella, with crusty bread, ripe tomatoes, and summery Italian flavors, is hard to beat. When I see it on a menu, my choice is made (if it’s the season for it!). However, I recently set out to tweak the traditional a bit. The resulting Peach Panzanella turned out to be exactly what I had in mind.

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Peach Panzanella

Serves 4

Salad:

  • 3 ears of corn, roasted and kernels cut off (or 4 cups of frozen corn, thawed)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 peaches, pitted and cubed
  • About half a loaf of ciabatta bread, cubed and toasted
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp peach jam
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Toss together all salad ingredients.

2. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over salad.

3. Toss until well combined and serve immediately.

Believe me, few pleasures in life compare to a plate of peach panzanella and a big glass of iced tea on the deck on a sultry summer night.Signature

Carbs, Schmarbs Gift Bag

You would think, with all the gift bags and boxes I can’t resist buying at craft stores and online, that I would always have the perfect bag on hand. Well, I don’t. But I do always have a brown paper bag (and usually in several sizes!), and they’re so simple to embellish to fit any occasion.

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Stampin’ Up! supplies: Yippee Skippee stamp set; Pool Party and Whisper White cardstock; Epic Day Designer Series Paper; Calypso Coral and Basic Gray markers; Scallop Border and Designer Label punches, Corner Rounder, Calypso Coral Ribbon; Vintage Faceted Buttons; Pool Party Bakers’ Twine

I kinda love the sayings in the Yippee Skippee stamp set, and this one makes a perfect tag for a little birthday surprise. Because all the best birthday treats involve carbs, don’t they? To cover the front, just cut a sheet of decorative paper the width of the bag and long enough to be covered by the flap when it’s folded over. Attach it with some Sticky Strip or adhesive runner. WHILE THE BAG IS STILL FLATTENED. Trust me, don’t forget to do this BEFORE you’ve added the treat inside.

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I freehand-cut the candle flame, but if you have the holiday Bitty Punches, the Christmas light punch is a perfect flame. I snipped the corners of a rectangle of cardstock t make a tag shape, then scalloped the edge to make it even less like a rectangle. Oh, and I used Dimensionals to pop the label out from the candle.

This took about five minutes to put together, and you’ll get credit for making it yourself!

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Anniversary Photo Flipbook

Last summer, my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and we wanted to make something fun and a little different for them. Here’s what we came up with…I think they liked it!  We certainly had a lot of fun making it!

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I’m sure you know the concept…as you hold the book in your left hand and flip through with you right, it looks (at least a little) like a movie.

We started by writing each of the letters we would need on 8-1/2” x 11” cardstock, then the hooligans decorated the letters.  Then I figured out which letters each kid needed to be photographed holding, to make a pattern.  We spelled out Happy 50th Anniversary…original, I know. Then we snapped the photos.

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I brightened and sharpened them a bit using Photoshop Elements, then created new images that were 5×7 white backgrounds. I put each letter photo onto the white background, against the right edge and leaving a couple of inches white on the left.

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I uploaded all the photos to Costco and printed them in 5×7 format.  We used a photo of all three hooligans for the cover.

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When everything was printed, I punched two holes and bound it with bakers’ twine. It really was quite cool!Flip-Page-ChaosServedDaily

We also included a 8×10 that I put all the images on, like a contact sheet, just for fun.

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These would be fun for any special occasion, or just to send a fun message to someone you love!

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TBT: Kids’ Charmed Friendship Bracelets

As you’re reading this, the hubs and I are on an Alaska cruise…WITHOUT OUR OFFSPRING! Don’t call CPS, though…they’re not home alone for the week. One’s in Oklahoma with my parents and the other two are at home with a babysitter (who’s a responsible adult). We’re celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary (a little late…it was in January), as well as his retirement from the military. And hopefully he’ll be starting his next career sometime in August!

While I’m away, here’s a post from last year that might help entertain your youngsters for an afternoon…Charmed Friendship Bracelets. And the best part? The charms are made from SHRINKY DINKS!

I made some similar bracelets last year, using word beads with inspirational words such as “Believe,” “Hope,” and “Create” on them, but that really didn’t work for a five-year-old. So I put on my thinking cap, looked over my craft stash, and spied some Shrinky Dink for Inkjet sheets I bought on a whim last year (when I had a coupon and nothing to use it on at Michaels).

But what if you can’t find those?  Well, you could use regular Shrinky Dink sheets and let your little artist draw charms, or you could use alphabet beads to spell out a name or word. See, easy peasy, and all sorts of ways to be creative with this!

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Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • Embroidery floss
  • Shrinky Dink Inkjet sheets
  • a 1/4” hole punch
  • Computer and printer
  • Oven for shrinking the charms

1. Design your charms, or print these on a Shrinky Dink Inkjet Sheet:

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If you design your own, print them at 50% opacity, or they’ll be way too dark when they shrink.

2. Punch or cut the charms out of the Shrinky Dink sheet. Use the hole punch to make the holes for the thread to go through.  I place mine on a piece of brown paper bag to bake them.  Bake according to the package directions. It only takes about three minutes, so my hooligans love watching them shrink through the oven door. It even inspired me to replace the burned out lightbulb in the oven, so they could see!

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3. Cut three lengths of embroidery floss to about 24” each. Thread all three strands through the charms from the back.  Then loop back through from the front to the back to hold it securely in place. To finish it, braid each side to the length you’d like and tie a knot in the end. Cut off excess, leaving a few inches to tie it. I also put a drop of E6000 under the thread on the back of the charm, as well, to secure it even more.Bracelet-Front-ChaosServedDBracelets-Back-ChaosServedD

4. To make an alphabet bead one instead of the charmed one, cut three strands of embroidery floss to about 24”.  Thread the alpha beads on, with all three strands going through the middle beads.  For the first and last bead, thread two strands through, then tie the third strand to the other two, securing the word where you’d like it. Again, braid to the ends and you’re done!

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It’s a quick way to whip up a bunch of fun little gifts. We made them with the school logo for a craft sale the fourth grader had to participate in this spring, and they were a hit. So let your imagination (or your kids’ imagination) run wild!

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Cute and Simple Barrette Holder

One of my favorite party favors (that my kids have received, anyway) ever is this cute Barrette Holder from a party Princess Thundercloud attended last year.

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What little girl doesn’t need a place for barrettes?  We certainly do!  I’m sure you can figure this out on your own, but here’s a look at the back:

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The ribbon is about an inch and a half wide and about 30” long. And it holds a ton of barrettes that previously weren’t used because it was too difficult to find them all jumbled together in a drawer.

The top flower is a pre-painted wood cutout from the craft store…I think they’re about 60 cents each.

Barette-Top-ChaosServedDail At the bottom, the ribbon is cut in an inverted “v” to prevent fraying and a large button is sewn on with contrasting thread, to add weight so the ribbon hangs straight.

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Even if you don’t have a party to make favors for, this is a great little project any little girl you know!

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Lemon, Berry, and Angel Food Trifle

So try as I might to cut sugar from my diet, I occasionally just can’t resist a lemon dessert.  For some reason, the hubs bought a pack of individual angel food cakes from Costco.  I think he was going to make something for my birthday and made Strawberry Tiramisu instead. Anyway, I was cleaning out the garage frig the other day and found a dozen cakes. So I had to make something with them before they passed their sell-by date!

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This was a perfect summer dessert…light and fruit-filled, sweet and tart. I did use coconut milk and Greek yogurt in the filling, so it’s a bit more whole food friendly. But then I had to top it with a little whipped cream, just to finish it off!

Lemon Berry Angel Food Trifle

Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp butter, in small pieces
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

To finish:

  • 8 individual angel food cakes
  • Fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, or chopped strawberries)
  • Whipped cream

1. With a whisk, combine sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Stir in coconut milk, egg yolks, and butter. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 6 minutes. Continue cooking for two minutes after it begins to bubble.

2. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature, giving it a stir now and then to prevent a skin from forming. Or press plastic wrap on the surface and let it sit.

3. When it’s cooled, stir in the Greek yogurt and refrigerate at least two hours, until ready to serve.

4. When ready to serve, layer cake and filling in glass bowl. Sprinkle with berries and top with whipped cream.

Serves 8

Click here for the printable recipe

It seems like a lot of prep, but it really took about 15 minutes of cooking, then another 10 to assemble when we were ready for dessert. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

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TBT: Parachute Cord Flipflops

Now that the 4th of July is over, and you might be looking for a fun craft to while away an afternoon, I’m sharing this post from last year. I am still wearing my Parachute Cord Flipflops this summer, and they look great…really! But I think I might need them in a different color, just to give myself an excuse to make another pair. If you missed it last year, here’s the how-to:

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Here’s how you can make some of your very own!

Supplies:

  • Two 16’ lengths of 550 cord, cut into 8’ sections
  • Two 18” lengths of 550 cord
  • A pair of flipflops
  • Scissors and a lighterFlipflop-Supplies

Before you start, be sure to use a lighter to melt the ends of all your cords.  That will keep them from fraying and make the whole process so much easier. Remove the flipflop part from the sole. Save it to use as a template.

First, you’ll need to make a knot to anchor the flipflops to the sole.

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Next, you’ll braid the section that will be between your toes and secure it with the 18” piece and two square knots..flipflop7-ChaosServedDaily

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Now the most fun part, I think.  After dividing the cords three to a side, you’ll just tie square knots using the two long cords on each side and the short cord as the center, until your flipflop side is as long as the original that you removed.

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Finally, push all three strands through from the top to the bottom and tie securely.  Cut the ends off close to the knot and use a lighter to melt the ends.

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There, now…custom made flipflops.  I love these because regular flipflops are usually too loose for me, and especially when the plastic or cloth stretches.  With these, I can make them just the right size. And they’re really comfortable, as well as cute!

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Fun and Easy Kid Thank You Notes

One of my favorite things about my kids growing older is that they’ve learned to write…and now they can write their own thank you notes, instead of me doing it!  Granted, Princess Thundercloud just finished kindergarten, so her writing skills are super slow.  For her birthday, I made some simple fill-in-the-blank thank yous for her to complete. They’re a little impersonal, I know, but she gets the concept of gratitude a little more when she has to put in a bit of effort to thank people!

For the front of the panel card, I made a collage from her party and printed them in 5×7 size at Costco…39 cents each, I think. I used Photoshop Elements to make the collage, but you could easily use an online service such as Walgreens, Costco, or Shutterfly. Those are just three that come to mind, not necessarily a preference. In the actual collages, the guests faces showed, not snowflakes, but I wanted to protect their privacy on the internet!

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To finish the cards, I printed this fill-in-the-blank form on white cardstock, then cut them in half. I used adhesive to stick them to the back of the 5×7 collage, so that a small amount of white matted the collage. I’ve made collages before with the fill-in part in the center of the 5×7, but there are two problems with those The photos have to be really small to leave space for the writing, and it’s hard for little ones to use a Sharpie to write on photo paper, without mistakes, that is.

Anyway, just click here to download the fill-in-the-blank portion.

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Princess Thundercloud felt so grownup, writing her own notes, and her little guests loved getting a photo of themselves from the party.

Speaking of her party, we did a Frozen theme (because what else would she want, as a 6-year-old girl this year?).  I found lots of great ideas on Pinterest, including her cake, which was a little like her big brother’s Campfire Cake from December.  It has hard candy “ice” shards, which are hard to see here.

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It was her first sleepover party, and it turned out to be a lot of fun…we watched Frozen, of course, with snacks of white cheeseballs (Bunnytails left from Easter), snowman noses (carrots) and arms (pretzels) with ranch dip, some lemon Muddy Buddies that were powdered sugar covered, and frozen grapes. The frozen grapes were the biggest hit of the whole smorgasbord! Oh, and we also made individual pizzas, but there’s nothing Frozen-themed in that!

I also copied some water bottle labels that I found online and wrapped those around small bottles.

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The party favors were simple…just blue rock candy sticks with a little snowflake-embellished tag tied on them. I used a snowflake shape from Photoshop Elements on a blue background, left a strip of white, and printed them.  Then I just made a tag from kraft cardstock using a tag topper punch from Stampin’ Up! and tied the tag on with some sliver and white ribbon. Easy-peasy.

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All in all, it was a fun, easy party, and the thank you notes (remember, that’s the real point of this post!) took no time at all to make. Love parties like that!

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Throwback Saturday: The Very Best Raspberry Limeade Ever!

This post is a couple of years old, but my views on limeades haven’t changed!  This is still my favorite limeade, and I’ve been craving it as our days have grown warmer (and sunnier).  Why don’t you grab a good book, mix up a pitcher of these, and spend the afternoon reading on your porch?  That’s what I’m planning to do!

Now, don’t be hater, but I can’t stand limeades made with Sprite or 7-Up.  I’d rather have no limeade than those. The best limeades in the whole wide world come from Braum’s, a dairy and ice cream chain that’s found in Oklahoma and a little bit of Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas. I think their limeades perfectly combine tart, fizzy, and a bit of sweetness with cherries and syrup.

When I was in college in Colorado, I’d try to time my drives back and forth to pass through Salina at a time that would justify a limeade, since it was my first or last chance, depending on my direction of travel.

DSC_0039On Fathers’ Day, I was trying to come up with a festive drink to have with dinner, and found a can of limeade concentrate in the freezer. Obviously I had forgotten to use it to make another pitcher of margaritas.

Anyway, I combined it with 48 ounces of sparking water (made with my Sodastream…best Mothers’ Day gift ever, last year!) and about 1/4 cup raspberry syrup (the Torani kind, for coffee or Italian sodas).  It was perfect and tasted almost exactly like Braum’s Cherry Limeades. Wahoo!

To serve it, I poured it over ice in pint Mason jars.  I used a cupcake liner in place of the metal lid, and tightened the metal band to hold them in place. After poking an “x” with a small knife, I popped in some straws.

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While not spill-proof exactly, it made it easier on the kids…and harder on the bugs to get into our drinks on the deck!  That’s not an original idea, by the way…I saw it on Pinterest. But I did copy and execute it well, dontcha think?

Limeade is the perfect summer drink, I think…and who doesn’t love a pink, icy drink, that’s what I’d like to know?!