Friday, October 21, 2016

Photo Books of Kids Art

Today I have to show off our super cute Art Photo books that I made for each girl.  I am a pretty sentimental and as a result I save everything from baby clothes to lost teeth to kid's art projects.  However, I am trying to do better/save-less and found a pretty easy way to downsize the kid's art.

Since my oldest was a little I've used our ottoman to store her art.  It was pretty under control until we added a second artist.  This summer I decided to do something about it so I sorted, labeled and then photographed their best/favorite pieces.

I ended up with 3 garbage bags of recycling when we were all done.  It was freeing and I didn't feel the loss since I had photos!

After uploading the photos to Shutterfly I made an 8x11 photo book for each girl.  I called them each "Volume 1" since I'll be making more of these in the future.

Both photo books were practically free (just shipping) as I waited to order them until Shutterfly had a free book promotion.

Shutterfly already had a template for little artists so it was very simple to slide in my photos and use the existing embellishments.  I also added a few photos of my artists in action.  

I recommend using the full page layout feature when possible as it makes a big impact visually.

And don't forget to take photos of other forms of art, not just paintings/drawings.

On the back of the book I included big photos of my cuties.

The ottoman is already starting to fill up again, looks like I'll be making another volume before I know it. :)

Tip: As projects come home from school take photos before recycling them.  I'm also taking photos of dioramas (for social studies) and science projects.

Shutterfly often has great promotions on photo books especially around the holidays.  Until November 14th if you're a new customer you can get a free 8x8 book using this link.  It will only cost a little to upgrade to the more art friendly 8x11 size.

For more of my Shutterfly projects check out:

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Lift & Load Depot

For my daughter's 5th birthday this summer I bought her a (almost) complete Lift & Load Depot #942.  We already had the Lift & Load Lumber Yard #944 and a few other small truck/worker sets so I thought this larger Depot would be a fun addition.

The Lift & Load Depot was the first of the Lift & Load sets and was made between 1977-1979.  Unlike other family oriented Fisher Price sets this was the first set to come only with three adult construction worker men.  The base is made entirely of plastic and there are quite a few accessory pieces and fun ways to play with the base and set.

The complete set comes with three vehicles, three people and four kinds of cargo (all plastic). The base came with a trolley car, hopper, chain, cage and lift-arm, but more on those later.

The three vehicles included (L to R) a fork lift w/yellow-spring action fork that goes up and down, dump truck with a tilting bucket and a front loader with a yellow bucket that moves up and down.  All of the vehicles were lime green and yellow.  There were no other color variations.  However, similar vehicles came in orange colors for different Fisher Price sets.

The cargo included 4 brown shipping pallets, 2 black oil drums, 2 grey "wood" crates and 2 orange colored crates.  All of these were made of plastic, no actual wood like the #944 Lift & Load Lumber Yard.  The cargo are pretty cool and can be used in a variety of ways on the equipment included in the Lift & Load base.

The front and one side of the base have lithographs on them.  This side includes a gas pump and has stickers with caution tape, warning signs (love the "No Smoking") and one way.  Also note that the building is number "942", the same as the set number.  Love the details!  Another extra detail are the "bricks" molded into the white plastic side of the base.  

From this view you can also see the top of the yellow trolley car and the black plastic "chain" hanging down.  This plastic chain is often missing from the set.  

A main feature of the Lift & Load is the dark orange bucket that moves up and down the light brown conveyor belt.  It is operated by a yellow hand crank on the side and is connected to a yellow lift.

Can I just stop right now and say this is super challenging to describe!!  I am out of my depth with this construction lingo, ha!  

So back to the set.  The orange "hopper" bucket holds whatever cargo the kids want to move, at the top the bucket pushes out the cargo and it falls through.  It lands either on the base or if a vehicle is under it will fall on that instead.  Note that the orange bucket is (easily) removable and a result is also often missing from the set.

The top of the base has a yellow "trolley car" that moves along tracks built into the base.  It has an orange hand crank on the side that releases the black plastic chain down through the set.  Attached to the chain by a plastic hook is a yellow cage.  This cage is removable and is very similar to the orange cage from the Lift & Load Railroad #943.

The trolley car has a seat for a worker to ride in.  The yellow cage can old cargo for loading, or even a little standing person if your kids are creative like mine. :)  Note that the trolley car can also let down the cage on either end of the set by moving along the track.

This particular set encourages more than one child to play together as there are many parts and pieces going at once to move the cargo up, down, on and through.

And to make it even more fun we brought out our other Lift and Load Lumber Yard set and the two sets worked well together.  

For more information on the Lift & Load Lumber Yard #944 go here.

Happy constructing!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Roasted Zucchini and Shrimp Recipe

I've been watching videos on Facebook of recipe preparation again.  There is something mesmerizing about watching someone prepare an entire recipe in 30 seconds.  I end up with dozens of these how-to recipes saved in my account but I rarely actually make one.  Today's recipe was the exception.  

Tasty linked to a recipe called Zucchini "Linguine" with Roasted Shrimp from Buzzfeed. It looked so easy and included simple ingredients that my family (usually) likes so I went for it.  To hedge my bets I made it a side dish rather than the main dish...just in case it was a fail.  Hey, it's happened to me before.  Nothing like preparing a dinner and ending up eating cereal.

I digress.  This recipe was a winner due to it's simplicity and my family actually liking it.  Win-win!!  Next time I'll make it the main dish and skip the extra protein (I did a surf and surf meal - ha-ha- by adding my always-a-winner Ahi with lemon-butter cilantro sauce recipe).

Roasted Zucchini and Shrimp

2 medium zucchini 
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 lime, juiced (about 2 Tbsp)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
Parmesan (we preferred shaved) 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Using a vegetable peeler slice the zucchini into long ribbons (like linguine).
3. In a large bowl mix the zucchini ribbons, shrimp, bell pepper, lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil (I used my hands to evenly coat it).

4. Spread the ingredients evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.
5. Add a little shaved Parmesan to the top and enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

National Coffee Day

Today is one of my favorite "holidays", you know right up there with National Donut Day and National Puppy Day.  Today it's National Coffee Day, the day where millions of people celebrate by drinking coffee just like every other day of the year except their drinks may be FREE!

Just a few of my favorite cups from the last year. :)

For today's freebies and specials check out:

If you are an Einstein Bros Bagel club member check your email because I received a coupon for a free cup of coffee with purchase.

Chick-fil-A is giving away a free iced coffee with purchase.

Dunkin Donuts is celebrating National Coffee Day and their 66th anniversary by offering a cup of medium hot coffee for $0.66.

Krispy Kreme is offering a free cup of coffee AND a free donut. Amazing!

Once again Starbucks is not offering any coffee freebies although they will donate a coffee tree for every purchase of a cup of their new Mexico Chiapas hot coffee.

Now for my local peeps here's what's up in the Phoenix area:

Cartel Coffee Lab is offering a free large cold brew or hot coffee if you register your email with them. 

Dutch Bros. Coffee will donate $1 for every purchase to local charities.

Sip Coffee and Beer House will give out free hot coffee if you show them that you follow on Instagram or Facebook (Scottsdale or Phoenix locations).

Do you know any other freebies?  Pass them on to me.  

Now, speaking of coffee my BFF and I stopped by a new central Phoenix java spot and it was lovely.  How beautiful are these little cappucinos?  The shop is called Kream Coffee and it has a walk up bar (7am-6pm) and seating inside as well (after 10am).  And the best part is that the coffee shop is inside a beautiful store with eclectic and artistic collections called For the People.  

So whether you celebrate at home, in your car, in a coffee shop or ALL three Happy National Coffee Day!

Friday, September 23, 2016

New Fisher Price Classic Toys - Baby Rattles

I recently discovered the cutest little baby rattles that look like the oh-so-familiar classic Fisher Price toys of my youth.  I am so sad that I no longer have a baby of my own to give them to. They would have been so cute connected to rings on car seats and strollers.  Sigh.  Those days are long gone but I still bought a couple and I think they'd be the best little baby shower gifts.

I bought two of the baby rattles, they are much smaller than the original toys and a bit larger than the Christmas ornament versions.  They were $3.99 and $2.98 each.

The Rock a Stack Clacker makes clacking sounds when you shake it. It looks a little like the #740 Giant Rock a Stack but mostly like the #1050 or #627 newer versions.

Next up the Roly-Poly Chime Ball that is a tiny little version of the #165 Roly Poly Chime Ball.  It chimes a bit but mostly rattles when you shake it.

It doesn't have lithographs inside like the original, but it has the same colors.

There are three other toys too including a My First Farm, Puppy Pal Clacker, Happy Apple and a Corn Popper Rattle.  I bought mine on Amazon and I've seen them at Target too.