Easy Lego Storage

31 07 2013

I have loved Legos since I can remember and am extremely excited that my boys are starting to love them as well. I am not, however, excited about stepping on them everywhere. My husband and I have been discussing and mulling over different options to keep the blocks contained and organized. If you look up Lego storage or Lego tables online you will find many options and some really creative DIY ideas.

My husband’s idea of a great table is this (a rather good idea seeing as we have 3 boys):

lego table

I would love a lego/playroom wall to look like this one from iheartOrganizing:

OrganizedLegoStorage15

(Read all three posts for the complete picture. Fellow organizers may want to devote an afternoon to reading through the rest of her blog. I can’t get enough and funny thing, her name is Jen too!)

But my boys play with Legos like THIS:

lego mess

So after weeks of research and thought, and spying a great coffee table at our local Fred Meyer, this is what I decided on:

coffee table

kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this plan, the table looks nice and gives the boys a surface at their level to build on. At the end of the day if we need to use the family room, they can stick their unfinished projects in the basket. Or more realistically, just sweep all the Legos off the top of the table into the basket.

The Sterilite drawers on the side of the couch are also being used for Lego storage. The top drawer has base plates and instructions. The middle drawer has desk drawer organizers for separating little pieces. And the bottom drawer is full of Legos waiting to be played with by the kids or organized by me 🙂

In the basket under the table I’ve included small empty tubs for holding loose pieces they are currently using. These were from a dollar store trip when I was visiting my family in Ohio. Also from the dollar store are the small organizers on the right. (I wish I had a dollar store close to me!)

basket closeup

I would love for all the tiny accessories (ie hair, swords, flowers) to stay separated but I know it’s not going to happen! Maybe we I can have a session a few times a year to separate them? In the meantime, I am hoping this new set up will keep things corralled.

Jennifer
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Summer Fun and #DOLESaladsParty

21 06 2013

DSCN2110For the first day of summer, we created a Summer Fun To-do list inspired by this one from the Buente family. Everyone got to add their own ideas and decorate the poster. I tried to add some easy ones too, in case of boredom setting in…they won’t require too much work to be able to check those off.

Dole Salad party pack

I’m also excited to be chosen as a host for a Dole Salads Taste of Spain House Party at the end of June. The party pack came this week with these cute red rose hair clips and many goodies for the guests. So much fun!





Recipe ideas with Fillipo Berio Olive Oil #imabzzagent

13 06 2012

There are many different kinds of oils jammed into my cupboard, but the one that’s sitting in front is Filippo Berio Olive Oil.  Filippo Berio is one of the brands that I like to buy, so I was excited to participate in the BzzCampaign. I’ve been brushing up on the health benefits to using olive oil over butter and other oils. Inspired to make some meaningful substitutions in our family’s diet, I started looking for more places to use it beyond the typical sauteed onions and garlic.

Once I started keeping track of how many things I can use olive oil in, I was surprised by how versatile it really is. With a bit of balsamic vinegar, a cutting of basil from the garden, and some salt and pepper, olive oil makes a tasty dressing for grape tomato halves. Adding a splash of olive oil to jarred spaghetti sauce makes it taste more like homemade. (And it only takes a tiny bit to keep cooked spaghetti from sticking to itself while trying to keep it warm until the kids have finished cleaning their room and are ready to eat dinner…that can be awhile!)

One of the new recipes I tried was this one for grilled pork from Leite’s Culinaria, using olive oil in place of the canola oil in the marinade. When I broiled the meat, the olive oil made a shiny crust on the outside of the meat just like canola oil would have. And, my goodness, the board dressing should not be optional! Using Filippo Berio Olive Oil gave it a bright, almost fruity flavor that really bounced off the sweetness of the meat. My family agreed that it had exceptional flavor, and ate it up before I could get a picture.

So, I made it a point to get some pictures of another flavorful dish, our family potatoes. During grilling season, we eat a lot of potatoes cooked on the grill in foil packets. Usually, I add butter, but have found that olive oil makes it a less heavy side dish and doesn’t burn as easily. This is an easy dish to make with kids, who love to shake the spices on! Here’s the recipe:


Family Potatoes Recipe:

1. Slice each potato into 8 wedges.

2. Add potatoes, enough olive oil to coat the pieces, and your choice of seasonings to a sturdy plastic bag. (Think beyond salt and pepper to rosemary, Old Bay, dill, etc.) Close and shake until coated.

3. Wrap in foil and throw on the grill or bake in 450 F oven about 20-30 minutes, turning once, until tender.

If you need more exactitude in your measurements, try this recipe for Oven Baked Parmesan Fries. Love them with freshly grated parm!

My next step is to find the Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil and start subbing it into my baking and desserts. Here’s some of the recipes I’ve found on Pinterest that I’m drooling over:

Olive Oil Granola (from a blog called “Love & Olive Oil,” no less)

Olive Oil & Sea Salt Palmiers (I didn’t think those could be made in a healthier way)

Olive Oil Pancakes (I love pancakes!)

 Do you have any recipes with olive oil that I should try too?

PS–Just a disclaimer, this is my own opinion of Filippo Berio Olive Oil. As a bzzagent, I got a free sample bottle as part of this BzzCampaign, but the opinions are all mine. You can take my review with a grain of salt…Or a whole sprinkle of salt over a small dish of olive oil with some crusty bread to dip in it. That would be nice.





Gifting the Grad

30 05 2012

If you do an internet search for graduation gift ideas, the first thing to pop up is usually money. Not my gift of choice. At least put a little a little thought into it. Money origami, anyone?

With several graduations coming up, I think I can do better.

I am plotting a gift basket for a college bound teen I know. Yes, “gift basket” sounds cheesy, but I was thinking more along the lines of a hip tote like these upcycled ones from TerraCycle. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a Clif Bar Duffel Bag teeming with some necessities they might not think of…like a pair of flip flops, s bottle of acetaminophen, those removable hooks that don’t mark up the walls…well, you get the idea.
And why not include some TLC for the grad’s hair? My new favorite line is Garnier Fructis. As a BzzAgent, I got to try the Sleek and Shine shampoo and conditioner. The smell is very light and, with the nourishing formula, makes for smooth, happy hair. I like how it virtually eliminated all my frizzies, but there’s several varieties to choose from to fit your needs. If you don’t know your grad’s hair type that well, go for something like Daily Care. Who wouldn’t want healthier hair? (I’m sure many teens would like this model’s hair too, but I can’t say that mine looks like that after using Sleek & Shine.) The product bottles are also made of less plastic, so there’s less weight to haul to the showers! They make a good fit with the TerraCycle bags, because Garnier is sponsoring a TC beauty brigade.

What would you put in a gifty tote for teens?





A few March things…

28 03 2012

As the month is wrapping up, here are a few thoughts and things happening around our house.

~Vegetables are making more regular appearances. When artistically displayed, they become even yummier. Here’s a lunchtime treat for two:

~My new favorite gift for kids: A dry erase board that clings to the wall plus some dry erase crayons. For a recent birthday party, we didn’t get this exact one, but it was something along those lines. Perfect for any the little ones who are just learning to write.

~Can’t wait to try this art project to make a brilliant cross: http://www.housingaforest.com/colorful-light-ray-cross/





A Few of My Favorite Things (#imabzzagent)

14 11 2011

Here’s a few things going on right now that make me smile…

Orange Vegetables
Yes, my grocery bags are being overtaken by carrots, squashes and oranges. Maybe because of their sunny hue (it’s been quite grey weather since the rogue snowstorm on Halloween weekend) or maybe my body’s telling me I need some extra nutrients, but I can’t get enough lately! This curried carrot soup is on my list to try next even though I have a butternut/carnival squash lasagna in the freezer I should finish up first.

Springerle Molds
Watch out, Christmas cookie season is coming up fast! While I’m no expert on springerle, I am fascinated by the old-fashioned cookie molds. Our mom has a growing collection that I’m looking forward to trying out. Meanwhile, I’ll just drool over beauties like these leaves.

Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Care
Right now, I’m also loving Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin. Having three kids leaves little room for any fancy beauty routine and my skin is as finicky as my toddler at dinnertime. Being a BzzAgent gave me the chance to try the new Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin line. (That’s a mouthful to say!) So here’s my morning beautification schedule… Every morning, I use the facial cleaner in the shower. It’s thick but not irritating and rinses off quickly (Anyone with little kids knows there’s a limited time in the shower before they find where you’re hiding out). After getting dressed, I pump a little bit of Burt’s Bees daily moisturizing cream, slap it on my face, pull up my hair and go. I particularly like the gentle scent of the cream that doesn’t fight with any perfume I might wear.  And it comes in this cute pump bottle (I’m a sucker for clever packaging) A month later and my skin feels awesome! My face hasn’t broken out like other products I’ve tried. I should really be using the facial cleaner before I go to bed although I don’t see how my skin could be much softer. The Sensitive Night Cream is on my list to try next, so maybe I’ll start using the facial cleaner at the end of the day, if the baby ever stops teething and goes to bed on a regular schedule again. *sigh* Well, I always have my morning pampering! Keep an eye out for coupons to try Burt’s Bees for yourself, like from their facebook page (hint, hint!)

 

So what’s on your list of favorites this week?

 





Hungry for more organic meat coupons…

23 02 2011

Quick links to some valuable coupons for some tasty organic products…

Al fresco chicken sausage $1 off any one product (Coupon prints at top of page, nothing underneath. Press the back button to print twice!)

I love their apple variety…heat them up then slice in half lengthwise and crisp them up in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil. Yum, yum, yum!

Coleman Natural Meats Take the quick survey on their homepage and be rewarded by 5 $1 coupons for different products. If you print from the pop-up-menu, they’ll all print on two pages, in color.

Laura’s Lean Beef If you sign up for their email list on their homepage (first name, last initial and a zip code is sufficient) you can print a coupon for $1 off any product. (The coupon prints at the top, with an ad in the middle. Press the back button on your browser to print twice.)

Since meat freezes well, I always keep a lookout for organic meats approaching the sell by date that are reduced for quick sale. Just watch out for any very brown “red” meats and packages that look or smell funny. If it doesn’t look good now, it sure isn’t going to improve in the freezer!