Thursday, February 27, 2014

Daily Craft - A paint swatch color book

We have a kitchen remodel coming up that is about to invade our house for the next couple of weeks.  This means we've been in and out of home improvement stores the last couple of weekends and, as a reward for his patience while we pick out backsplash and floor tiles, I decided to make Owen something using the paint swatches we'd given him to keep him entertained in the shopping cart (because it seemed safer than handing him power tools). 

Using this as inspiration, I set about making Owen his own color book.  I picked up a few sets of stickers at Dollar Tree (who carry a pretty decent selection of laser, 3D, and foam stickers) then went about matching the sticker colors to the swatches.  Once I'd decided on the color order, I used double-sided tape to stick the swatches to each other back to back.  Then I punched holes and bound them together using loose binder rings.  Finally, I personalized the front page for him.  I'm so happy with how it turned out!

I'm hoping that over time he can even add his own choice of stickers to the ones that I already included in the book.  That way it really is even more personal to him, as well as having the advantage of teaching him about his colors in a fun way!

There seem to be tons of paint swatch crafts out there, and I can kind of see why now that I've made this for Owen.  Very fun, not complicated.  Have you tried any yourself?  Please share if you have!

I'll be sharing photos of the kitchen remodel shortly as demolition starts on Monday - yikes!  In the meantime, I would also like to give Home Depot props for this sweet shopping cart, complete with steering wheel!  Owen loved "driving" like a big boy while I made our tile order.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Daily Dish - Let's talk spaghetti squash

Growing up in England, I can't say I ever really ate winter squash.  It wasn't until recently that I decided to try a spaghetti squash and it has quickly become a favorite in our house.  A lot of recipes for spaghetti squash use it as a substitute for noodles, which makes perfect sense given the name right?  Nutritionally (courtesy of, a cup of spaghetti squash has 31 calories (1g fat, 7g carbs, 2g fiber, 1g protein), whereas the comparable amount of regular pasta has 200 calories (1g fat, 42g carbs, 2g fiber, 7g protein).  It is certainly a low-calorie, low-carb substitute.  If you're looking for an identical texture, you'll be disappointed, but spaghetti squash has proven to be versatile, delicious, and filling. 

The trick is to bake the squash at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.  At that point, the shell is easy to pull away and you can either use a fork to pull out the inside as "spaghetti", or fill it with toppings. 

Last night's adventure was Pad Thai.  We used this recipe, which was enjoyed by everybody in the house, big and small!  The recipe was good, although I'd probably add a little more lime juice next time around.  The squash was also a little softer than I'd have liked to create the spaghetti strands.

Another really enjoyable recipe was this one, for a Southwest Spaghetti Squash. We added some lean ground turkey to the recipe, which also meant that we had a ton of leftovers.  The possibilities are really endless with what you can put inside.  Did I mention that there's broiled cheese?  Automatically makes it a winner in my book!

Having just bought another couple of squash at Costco, I think we'll be trying this spaghetti squash primavera next.  Seriously, so good.  Have you tried it?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Daily Art - Feeling the love!

It's Valentine's Day.  Here's my love, photo edition!

Love heart

Love is....Deuce "Bag", the smug, furry one


Love is....cousins

Love is....creation


Whether or not you celebrate Valentine's Day with a special somebody, or think it's the worst kind of Hallmark holiday, your love isn't just about a relationship, or just one day.  Go out and spread the love!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Daily Review - Groovebook (plus a free one for you!)

I suspect that Shark Tank is one of those shows that a lot of people watch but don't usually talk about.  I love it, personally.  There's always that moment of "that's brilliant, why didn't I think of that", or the eye-rolling at Mr. Wonderful's royalty based deals.  Recently, the owners of the Groovebook app were featured.  I'd actually heard of Groovebook before they showed on Shark Tank, but their appearance inspired me (and I'm sure many others based on how slow their servers were the weekend after the show aired) to give it a try. 

For those of you that haven't seen it, Groovebook is an app for printing pictures off your phone.  If you're anything like me, you have hundreds that may or may not get uploaded to Facebook/Instagram but then just sit in your phone memory.  For $2.99/month (incl. S+H), as a subscription service, you can upload 100 photos a month to Groovebook, and they send you a printed book with those photos.  The photos are 4x6 and perforated so that you can pull some out to give to friends and family, pull out to put in a scrapbook, or frame.  I just got my first book and I love it!  I just uploaded the photos for my second book (which was quick seeing as I think their servers recovered from the post-Shark Tank rush) and I'm already excited to receive it.  On the show, they did make a deal with Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary, so I'm curious to see what happens next, but I really hope they hold on to this original model.

The photo paper feels a little thinner than prints you might order from other services, but at $0.03 a print, they're a great value (compared to the $0.10 or $0.12 you might pay elsewhere).  I also love that each photo has the time and date stamped right above the perforation.  The app itself is pretty easy to use.  I like the advanced photo option where you can pick how many of each image you want in the book.  There's a little "ticker" at the top of the screen to let you know how many photos you have left.  Once you've selected them all, you simply upload to the service and a couple weeks later your book arrives.  I also like that you can order additional copies for others, which is great if you're being harassed by family members for new photos of the little ones!

I did notice that there was a coupon code (JACOBS87) for a free Groovebook in the back of mine, so I wanted to share it with you all.  Overall, this is definitely one I'd recommend to anybody looking for an easy, and inexpensive, way to get those photos off your phone and into your hands.  With a free coupon code, there's no excuse not to try it!

DISCLAIMER:  I received no compensation for this review.  I just think it's a neat product and wanted to share because I like you guys!