Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Magnetic Menu Planning Board

{mid-way through my menu board creation.}
   I am not a fan of cooking!!! You have to shop for groceries (certain ones at that), store them in your kitchen, remember that you have them, hem & haw about what to cook for dinner, pull out the correct  ingredients and follow a recipe to make that meal (correctly, if you can.) THEN you take 15-20 minutes, if you're lucky, to eat the meal. I love a lot of things, but spending more time preparing for a meal than eating said meal is not one of them.
   When I got married, I was not the main cook. I was spoiled. Ten years later, I am doing my best to increase my responsibility for the meals. I have already come a LONG way in the last two years. The worst part now is unintentionally (or is it?) waiting until 4pm to decide what to eat. Sometimes that is not a problem, but many times not defrosting the chicken, not having potatoes, or not noting that the meal needs 70 minutes in the oven (after prep time, mind you) really impedes my goal of having dinner ready by 5:45 pm.
   In comes my heroine!!! I love/stalk A Girl and Glue Gun and when she posted her menu board, I knew I had to scraplift it! Here I will show you how I made my own with my twist to it (aka using materials I already had). (PS: get ready for a lot of pictures!)

1. 33+ Epoxy dots (from Oriental Trading Ccompany)
2. 33+ Bottle caps (from OTC and my own growing collection)
3. 33+ Small circle magnets (from OTC)
4. Avery Circle Labels 5410 (and my printer)
5. Small circle punch
6. 12 Rectangle magnets (from OTC)
7. 12 x 12 frame with magnetic board (from OTC on sale)
8. 12 x 12 scrapbook paper for background
9. 12x12 clear, blank month calendar (from OTC)
10. Scrap paper for names of months
11. Small ziplock bag
12. Craft glue
13. Frame/Plate holder

(PS: Yes, I love oriental trading company, but it is more of a bulk thing sometimes and supplies are definitely available other places. Materials come and go from their inventory, as other stores. )

Because I do not see myself planning 28-31 days in advance (due to pm schedules, etc.), I decided to make 33 "meals" but only display two weeks at a time. Some of my meals are duplicated, so I can repeat within the 2 weeks. Extra can be hidden, so feel free to display 5 or 31.

1. Write a list of meal names. I use YOYO for Your On Your Own, Out to Eat, Kids' Choice and ? as some of our meals. Once you get 33 (or more) pull up your Word document using the insert labels and use Avery 5410 as your template. Type your meal names in whatever font & color you choose. The bigger the better. Print them out using paper size 4x6.

2. Get 33 (or however many you want to have) bottle caps. If your bottle caps are from actual bottles, I will post a tutorial soon about how to easily remove the rubber seal. This time I used some blank ones from Oriental Trading Company. (Did I tell you I love this website !?!)
3. Peel and stick the meal stickers into the bottle caps carefully. Also peel and stick the great 1 inch epoxy stickers on top of the meal names. This will protect the ink and the paper. Some people use the plastic "bubbles" with clear craft glue, but I was nervous about how heavy they might become.

4. Now you are ready to add your magnets. I used small circle ones, but use whatever you have on hand. I do suggest making sure they are strong enough to hold onto the magnetic board on the front and back even through the clear month sheet. I used magnets with a sticky side. Just peel and stick as close the the middle of the other side of the bottle cap as possible.
5. Insert your 12x12 scrapbook paper and the clear monthly calendar into the 12x12 frame. I forgot to take a picture of this step without the magnets on. I did want to triple ensure that my magnets would work.

6. Some people used dry erase markers to label the changing dates of the month, but I opted to use more of my tiny magnets. I printed numbers 1-31 in font sizes 10, 12, 14 and tested the sizes with my awesome tiny little circle punch. 

7. I had tested the size of the punch outs to my magnets, and it was as close as I could get to perfection (without pain-stakingly cutting out circles on my own... in comes the ease of dry erase numbers.) Again, because my magnets has the sticky side, I just stuck the date onto the magnet and done.
8. I went ahead and placed the dates in the upper left hand corner of the correct days of the week for January and put some meal caps in the lower right corner. They fit perfectly. Woo hoo!

9. You can print out the month names on your computer if you'd like. Fortunately, I had some chip art from OTC that had cute month abbreviations. I laid it on my calendar....... and did not love it.  :-(

10. I decided to layer the month names which definitely led to an easier way to put rectangle magnets on the back. I used craft glue to attach the chip art and then used fun scrap paper and a corner rounder.

11. I am not a huge fan of the extra meals being on the front. Too crowded for me. I propped up my menu board on a picture/plate holder and now had easy access to the BACK. :-) I put all the meals on the back. Fortunately with my magnetic board, both sides are magnetic. (You can also use metal flashing or thin sheets available at hardware stores.) If you have a frame with a backing and want to do this with your extra meals, just don't use the backing.
{Cock head to the left. Sorry.}

12. I needed a place for my extra month names. Originally I used a medium (technical , I know) sized ziplock and then changed to a snack size because they all fit and it looked more organized. I laid it on the legs of the plate holder on the back of the board. Waa laa; hidden.

13. I placed it on my kitchen counter where I could easily access it. I wanted to be able to turn it around for edits or changes easily. When my kiddos came home from school (okay, after I picked them up from school), they saw the completed menu board and went NUTS! Of course they gave each meal I chose the thumbs up or down, and then they saw it! KIDS' CHOICE. They asked if this meant they got to choose what mommy & daddy have to eat. I said yes, and their faces lit up. (Almost more than Christmas morning.) They already started making plans on what we would have to eat. First idea was mom=cereal and dad=mac n cheese. Phewww, not tooo bad. They did not even mind that it would only be ONCE a month.

I hope this inspired some of you, but if not I hope you enjoyed my process. I have to say that we have followed the past week perfectly, and the stress level around here is definitely lower. Happy Day!


Monday, January 21, 2013

MLK Day in San Antonio 2013

   Martin Luther King Day has normally meant a day off of school for me as a student, a teacher and now as a parent. I never really did anything special on that day. I knew what MLK stood for and I applauded him, but I did not ever really "get involved" in anything related. Because my daughter is now old enough to be a Girl Scout, we are experiencing things together we might not ever have. The Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas invited Girl Scouts to participate in San Antonio's MLK march. It is touted as the largest in the nation at approximately 100,000 participants.
   Here are some girls from Troop 26 before the march began.
   I never thought I would ever participate in a march, but it was actually quite exciting. I love San Antonio and seeing the variety of cultures supporting such a movement was amazing! Seeing the Girl Scouts and families was inspirational, as well. There is no doubt that my 5 and 7 year olds focused more on "all the walking" (2.75 MILES) and want of water and snacks than the vision, but I know they will remember it. I am so proud of them surviving. They were actually more proud after they finished. Throughout the march we talked about the human race being equal and how much MLK brought the topic to light.  Every 20 minutes or so, I would lift up the kids to show them the number of marchers in front and behind us. Seeing their eyes pop was beautiful.
   A unique side note is that prior to the march I was interviewed by a local tv station and figured my quotes would not be worthy for air time. Little did I know that 6 hours later my girlfriend Michelle would FB me and say she JUST saw me on tv. Of course, that led me to scour the internet for the video clip, AND I found it!!! My hubby and I watched the video and laughed at my 2 seconds of fame. (Pay CLOSE attention to minute 3:10 if you are curious.) At least I did not sound like a total dork. The kids thought it was super cool that their mommy got two seconds on tv...actually, so did I.
   I am off to sign autographs... Have a great day!