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World’s Greatest Farter Father’s Day Gag Gift Tutorial

In our family, we love to pick on each other and have a good laugh.We love to give gag gifts and funny cards. Every family should laugh together and have some fun because life is to short to always be serious.

In typical Dad fashion, my husband spends lots of time in the bathroom which is usually when I need to pee. Doug loves to gross Danyella out by farting next to her and then blame it on her. So she decided she wanted to create a gag gift for him for Father’s Day.

After doing some searching on gag gifts, Danyella decided she wanted to give him a roll of toilet paper and write her jokes to him on the paper. Well you can’t just write on toilet paper. So we came up with the idea of taking one joke and painting it on the toilet paper.

I am sure you will get different results with different toilet paper with different thickness and ply. We used what we had on hand which is soft, thick, double ply toilet paper and acrylic paint. She had to go over the words twice to get the letters to stand out. The black seemed to be thinner which was hard when it soaked into the toilet paper faster than the blue.

If you are looking for a quick and easy gag gift for father’s day or a birthday all you need is: Toilet Paper and Acrylic Paint!

Paint your message on the toilet paper, let it dry, wrap it up and give your gift!

joy

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Going Back to Public School plus June Student Writing Prompt

May Writing Prompt (3)

It is June and for most students that means the school year is coming to an end. Also, June is the start of the Summer season which kids look forward to but parents who need to occupy the kids do not. Whether school is still going or has ended for your student, it doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop when school stops.

Danyella’s homeschooling school year ends at the end of June but she is will be going back to public school starting the end of August. We will be using the month of July to prepare for her testing back into public school. Which she is fighting every step of the way.

This decision to go back to public school was not an easy one because of Danyella’s anxiety and difficulties in Math. At home, I am able to take the time to explain the work to her but at school the teacher may not have that time to go one on one with her. I am scared she will get lost between the kids in the school especially going into 6th grade and they will be switching classes and having multiple teachers.

On the other hand, I don’t think she is truly thriving in a homeschool setting because she fights me on doing anything and everything. I have tried to find subjects that she enjoys but she loses interest. She just wants to rush rush rush through all of her computer and written work. She tries to put the minimal amount of effort into whatever she is doing and it has caused fights between her and I.

Danyella feels that she should just be unschooled and learn when and what she wants to learn. That is not my style as a homeschooling parent. Don’t get me wrong, if unschooling works for you and your family that is great but for my child she needs the structure of a school environment. If I left her to unschool, she would sit on her iPod or watch tv all day and learn nothing to succeed when she is an adult.

In New Jersey, there is no structure for homeschooling and no monitoring unlike our neighboring Pennsylvania. So, I have had to create all of her lessons and pay for all of the materials to teach her at home. That adds up just on ink and printer paper alone. Then add the monthly fee for the homeschooling school that I found for her, workbooks, field trips, projects and other things and we easily put out $2000 a year on homeschooling.

When she goes back to public school, she will be going with her best friend and back to the first elementary school she attended where the students and teachers still remember her. I know she has anxiety about this big change in both of our lives but I think going back to this school will help her with the transition.

One thing that I will continue to have Danyella do, even when she is back in public school, is daily writing prompts. I think it is important that kids have time to write everyday whether it is journal writing or prompt writing. They need that outlet to get things out. Writing prompts have been a great way to get Danyella’s creative juices going and she doesn’t realize that she tells me things through the prompts like things that she likes/dislikes. These are things that she wouldn’t just tell me if I asked her.

Here is the June Writing Prompt which is good for 3rd-5th probably even 6th graders: June Writing Prompt PDF

May Writing Prompt (2)

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Track Your Spending Challenge

Track your spending challenge

Ever wonder where all your money goes? You get paid one day and it’s gone a few days later. You paid some bills and grab something to eat and ran to Target…. where did it go??

Does this sound familiar to you? It sounds familiar to me and my family. We get paid one day and then poof it’s gone but you don’t know where it all went. What I failed to realize that those cups of Dunkin coffee and donuts or stops at Burger King all add up! Do you know what you spend your money on?

Yes, it is easy to say oh this is only a $1 or $2 so what’s the big deal. Well after 5 of those its only $1 adds up to $5 which enough to buy milk and bread for the week in my house. The coffee I love to grab with a bagel and donut on Saturday mornings… $8! If I bought coffee, bagels and cream cheese at the grocery store and brought them with me the break down would be about $2 for my breakfast. (I totally don’t need the donut and its an impulse buy every single week lol) I could use that other $6 towards groceries, gas or savings.

For one month, I am taking a little notebook that I bought a while ago (yes we have a collection of those that I wasted money on) and tracking where my spending goes every day. This will help me see, on paper, where the money goes and where I can cut back on spending.

I am breaking it down into 5 categories:

Household/Groceries (g)

House Bills (b)

Transportation/Gas (t)

Misc Spending (m)

Saving (s)

In my notebook, I will record day by day what I spend money on and use my codes to keep the categories straight. This way at the end of the week and month, I can easily track where the money is spent. At the end of the money, I will be putting this into a spreadsheet on my computer so that I can lay out my budget plans for next month. My goal is to add more into our savings for incidentals and vacations.

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Check out my facebook page which will be updated on Sundays with my tracking numbers and watch where I am spening my money: Kaella Facebook Page

Are you ready to start tracking your spending and see where your money goes?

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One Pan Baked Ziti Recipe

I found a new obsession… my new cast iron skillet pan!

On Mother’s Day,  my mom and I took the girls shopping at Marshal’s and Home Goods. I was searching for a good cast iron pan but wasn’t a fan of what they had so we went to Walmart and I found a basic 12″ pan which is what I wanted. I won’t lie…. I have been intimidated to actually use the pan but this is my second dish and wow is it easy and delish! (The first dish is my signature Chicken Paprikash which was amazing too!)

This Baked Ziti dish is so easy and yummy that I had to share it with all of you!

One Pan Baked Ziti

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Great One Pan dinner for the family to enjoy.


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic; sliced or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can/jar tomato sauce
  • 1 16 oz box of pasta (ziti/penne/rigatoni)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Move the oven rack to the middle and Set oven to 450 degrees. Heat cast iron or another oven safe pan with your oil.
  2. Brown your ground meat.
  3. Once the meat is browned, add the garlic, basil and oregano and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Lower the heat to low/medium and simmer for 10 minutes; occasionally stir.
  5. Add the water and pasta. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and leave at a low boil for 15 minutes or until noodles are tender.
  6. Stir in the heavy cream, 1/2 the cheese, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the rest of cheese over the noodles.
  7. Place the pan in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is browned.Be cautious that pan is hot when serving the meal to your loved ones.
  8. Enjoy a dinner with the people you love.

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Do You Need A Lifestyle Audit?

Have you Audited Your Life Lately_

I am sure most everyone has heard how you will repeat the same bad habits or cycle until you do something to change it. How do you change those habits or the cycle of life you are in? You need to evaluate and audit your lifestyle!

What is working in your life?

  • Do you love your job and it brings you happiness?
  • Do you love being a mom and taking care of your kids?
  • Do you love the hobby you participate in?
  • Do you love taking a walk everyday?
  • Do you love to take the time to read?

What isn’t working in your life?

  • Do you love your job but not your hours?
  • Do you love being a parent but need other adult interaction?
  • Do you dread going to play basketball with your league?
  • Do you look for excuses to get out of something you used to enjoy?
  • Do you avoid doing things because you know you won’t enjoy them?

These are all questions to ask yourself when you are doing a lifestyle audit!

For myself, I am a creative person so I am having the same routine everyday feels like it kills my creative brain cells. I do not thrive in that situation and end up never finding the time to be creative because I lose that drive from focusing on my routine. Its a fine line to be a creative work at home mom and have the same daily routine with kids. Evie loves having a routine where she is fed, takes her naps, baths and bedtime at the same time everyday. With holidays and summer parties, there are days where her schedule is messed with and boy do we pay for it with a baby that refuses to sleep.  With Danyella being homeschooled, she has to have a routine or she will try to get out of doing her schoolwork (common occurence with a sassy tween). So what’s a creative mom to do when her kids need a routine? Find little ways to break up my routine so I don’t get into that blah feeling and avoid my creative side like changing up how I do my day each day. Plus, I tend to end up staying awake way to late after the girls are asleep to accomplish some of those mundane chores on my list that I avoided earlier in the day.

Now it is your turn! Print out the Lifestyle Audit PDF that I created for you to take a look at what is good and bad in your life. This will help determine what you need to change and what can stay the same to make your life the best it can be for today.

Lifestyle Audit

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3 Ways to Recycle an Old Shirt into No Sew Headbands

25 Poppasome Tokens of Appreciation (1)

If you have read some of my other Teach Me Tuesday posts, then you will know that I LOVE to upcycle other things into a new thing… especially clothing! Clothes can be given new life as something else if you put a little creativity into it.

Today, I am showing you how to take one shirt that is stretchy like a t-shirt or something similar and make it into 3 headbands. You don’t need to sew or glue anything just tie some knots and you are good to go. This is also a great way for a child who is learning how to tie knots to practice and make their own headbands for the summer.

Headband #1: The Turban Style Headband

Headband #2: The Tie a Bow Headband

Headband #3: The Double Braid Headband

Happy Crafting!

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Thankful For Our Armed Forced and How We Support Them Throughout the Year

Thankful For Our Armed Forces

This is not my typical Mom Monday post but more of a combination Mom Monday and Thankful Thursday combination post. Why am I doing this type of post today? It is Memorial Day which means we honor our veteran soldier and every soldier is the son or daughter of a Mom.

In our family, we are thankful for all that the soldiers have done to protect our rights and freedom that we enjoy everyday. I have many friends that went into the service after high school or after 9/11. I am grateful for the time and service they have committed to every single person in this country. 8cad8f35e8c3b88dbced403f30505fc4

As a way of giving back to the soldiers and to teach my children to support others, we joined Soldier’s Angels. Soldier’s Angels is an organization that supports our troops, veterans and their families. A few years ago, I was looking at ways to teach Danyella the importance of volunteering plus incorporate other skills, like letter writing, into her homeschooling. After doing a lot of Googling and research for organizations that write letters to soldier, I found Soldier’s Angels. This was exactly what I was looking for plus more.

Soldier’s Angels not only supports our troops through letter writing but many other ways. The way Soldier’s Angels works is there are different teams set up that a person can join. The different teams help different aspects of our soldiers and their families such as the Deployed Angel Team, the Letter Writing Team, Angel Bakers, Chaplain Support Team, Ladies of Liberty Team (exclusively for female deployed soldiers), Operation Top Knot (virtual baby showers for soldier families), Adopt A Family (holiday support), Sewing and Craft Support Team, Cards Plus Team (holiday and birthday cards), Living Legends (for families of fallen soldiers), and the Special Operations Team (for special forces soldiers). Plus there are programs for veterans and Wounded Soldiers. There really is so many ways to support our troops through this organization.

Along with volunteer opportunities through the teams, there are local ways to help plus donations of money are accepted. In addition, there are many different drives throughout the year, like a blanket drive for soldiers and vets in the hospital. There is even a special beer that when sold 100% off the profit is donated back to Soldier’s Angels for our soldiers. The beer is called Homefront IPA and you can click here to find out more.

To our SoldiersPast, Present and FutureThank You and God Bless You

One of the teams we have joined is the Deployed Angel Team which sends letters and gift packages to our deployed soldiers. We have adopted different soldiers from different services through the years. Sometimes we get letters back from our soldiers and sometimes we don’t because of how busy or the location the soldier is in. We love coming up with different themed packages every month to send our soldier.

The other main group we belong to is the Letter Writing Team which has been a great thing for Danyella to work on her letter writing skills and handwriting while support our troops. This is fun because we will have the system randomly choose our soldier so we have gotten all the different services and recently received our first female. We always include our address and my email so if the soldier chooses, they can write us back. We have received cards, letters and emails from different soldiers which always gets us excited. Something crafty and unique is that we take pages from adult coloring books to make into envelopes with washi tape so they can use the picture to brighten their day.

We have been part of the Operation Top Knots team which is really fun when I make things for other people’s babies. Danyella loves to shop for little gifts for the siblings. Plus the Cards Plus team is a fun way to send cards to others and sometimes we will get cardstock and make the cards.

We would love to join all of the teams but there isn’t enough time or money in our budget to do them all. We support as much as we can and have taken breaks from supporting when life has been a roller coaster for us. Then we let our team leader know that we are ready to rejoin and we are good to go.

If you are looking to support our troops in little or big ways this is a great organization to help with that. If you are looking for support for a soldier or soldier’s family you know they always accept soldiers with open arms. For $1 a month which helps keep the organization running, you can help our soldiers while they keep us free and safe. I hope that you consider helping our troops today. Our troops spend their time and put their lives on the line for our comforts and freedom so cherish those soldiers and what you have in your life. f88ed0df7d85767390146686dfdc6764

Click the photo or any of the links to go to the Soldier’s Angels website and find out more for yourself or a soldier you care about.

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5 Kid Friendly Summer Activities That Won’t Break the Bank

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Don’t break the bank this Summer trying to keep your kids occupied and entertained. Here are 5 activities that will get you and the kids out of the house but won’t cost a lot of money. Bonus points for the air-conditioned activities to keep you cool while the kids are having some fun!

**Please note that I did not receive any compensation or anything in return for the suggestions and links that I provided. This is just helpful information from one parent to another parent or caregiver.

Fly a Kite: Let’s go Fly A Kite, Up To Its Highest Point… yes I totally had to sing that for you! On a more fun note: kids love to accomplish things and feel that wonderful feeling of doing it. Flying a kite can be a challenge that you can both do together because it requires getting that kite up in the air and keeping it up there. On a really windy day, flying a kite is a fun activity and you can find kites at walmart for $5.

Visit Your Library: Another great place to stay cool and keep the kids occupied is your local library. Both our local library and county library hold summer programs for free or a small fee. The local library has a reading program that the kids have different activities that they need to accomplish every week, bring the sheet to the children’s librarian and prove they accomplished these tasks. Then they get a sticker and small prize. They also get entries into a larger weekly prize or the big end of the summer prize (last year was a gift card and a tablet). Our county library holds different crafts and other activities throughout the summer which the kids love to make and take home.

Watch a movie: I mean go to the actual Movie Theater and watch a movie in their air-conditioned facility. The Regal Movie Theater hosts $1 movie days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am throughout the summer which is awesome on the budget. The movies are all kid loved movies and some are from the current year. This summer they have Paddington 2, Despicable Me 2 and 3, Sing, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Trolls, and a bunch of other awesome movies. Here is the link to see the schedule for the one closest to you: Summer Movie Express

Visit a museum: Many museums either allow kids in for a discounted amount or free as an educational encouragement for families. We love to go into New York and visit the Met which has suggested rates but kids under 12 are free and students with an ID can pay what they can which being an adult college student, I qualify for which is great. Check out museums near you and see what they offer for kids/students/families.

Local fairs and events: The town next to ours has a free Music in the Park one night a week. We can take a blanket or chairs and snacks or they sell snacks and ice cream for $1-$2. It’s nice to watch the sun go down while listening to a local band that’s kid friendly plus we support our local bands.

What free or budget friendly activities do you have planned for the Summer?

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2 Strawberry Infused Water Recipes for the Summer

Summertime is coming which means lots of fresh fruits and herbs to enjoy. It also means lots of heat so hydration is important. I’m not one that likes to drink water just plain… I need some taste to my water. One of the best ways to add taste to my water is by infusing it with fruits, veggies and herbs.

When Summer comes so does all of those delicious fruits, veggies and herbs. Plus, when our local grocery stores put some of the fresh fruits on sale I will stock up and freeze them for my waters. Last week, our local grocery store had a super coupon which I had to use… 2 pounds of strawberries for $1.99! I bought 4 pounds which Danyella ate just about 2 pounds herself. The other 2 pounds were cut and frozen. Plus, the best part of freezing the strawberries is they double as ice cubes.

Everyone talks about how the infused waters are great for detoxing your body and other health benefits. I am focusing more on the taste with my infused waters because just drinking water helps to detox the body and gives so many health benefits. I a bottle from a tea company because it has an infuser built into the lid so the leaves don’t get out while I am drinking the water. I use 2 bottles because while I am drinking one then the other one is infusing.

These are my 2 favorite strawberry infused water recipes for the summer:

Strawberry Lemon Basil Infused Water:

1 cup strawberries; sliced or cut

1/2 lemon; sliced or cut

3-4 basil leaves, fresh

16+ ounces of water

Add the strawberries, lemon and basil to the water jug of your choice. Add your water over the fruit then store in the fridge until you are ready to drink it. I will continue to add water to my bottle through the day while I am switching between my 2 bottles. The fruit continues to infuse the water throughout the day and still tastes yummy.

Strawberry Mint Infused Water:

1 cup strawberries; sliced or cut

3-4 mint leaves; fresh

Add the strawberries and mint to the water jug of your choice. Add your water over the fruit then store in the fridge until you are ready to drink it. I will continue to add water to my bottle through the day while I am switching between my 2 bottles. The fruit continues to infuse the water throughout the day and still tastes yummy.

*Another alternative to the mint is using chocolate mint, which I plan I finding a chocolate mint plant soon so I can try it. Chocolate Mint Strawberry water sounds divine!

I love hearing new ideas so what are your favorite infused waters to drink?

 

 

 

 

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100 Act Of Kindness Days

healthy (2)

Danyella has been dealing with bullying and mean girls the past year so as her mother, I have been working on her self-care routine through her school work. She doesn’t realize that when I have her write a positive sentance everyday… its self care. She doesn’t realize that when I have her take 15 minutes before bed to write down her feelings…. its self care. There are many way I have incorporated self care into her homeschooling routine but self care isn’t just about what we do for ourselves.

Self care is doing things for other because it is good for our soul. It doesn’t mean you need to go all Oprah and giveaway cars, electronics or other awesome gifts (unless you can afford it). You have heard the stories of the people who start the giving lines at Starbucks where the car in front of them purchases their order for them and then it keeps on going. Or the person that surprises a child with a new bike that their parents can’t afford to buy them.

These little acts of kindness make us feel good about helping others and to see the smile on someone else’s face makes those acts completely worth it. Yes, we do need to make sure we are happy and secure in ourselves but doing things for others when they don’t know it’s coming or asking for it adds to the happiness we feel in our lives.

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It is small things like:

Giving a friend a hug when they are down

Holding a door open for a mom with kids in each arm and on each leg

Writing a letter to a soldier serving our country

Leaving a cold bottle of water for the mailman in the summer

Making a meal for someone who is ill

Donating food to a food bank

The possibilities are endless….

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Danyella and I are starting our 100 Act of Kindness Days challenge today. Each day we will find something nice to do for someone else. We will record what we did and how it helped someone else. I want to teach Danyella that among all the mean people in the world, be one of the nice people. Who wants to join us in this challenge?

Here is the pdf printable of chart we will use to keep track of our days: 100 Act of kindness Days PDF

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