Vinyl Chalkboard Menu

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cricut, however all opinions and statements are mine and mine alone.

I am making a new, concerted effort to feed my family “real” meals.  So as part of that, I had to make myself a nice Chalkboard Menu to keep us on all the right dinner track.

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I didn’t realize I had slipped in my dinner making efforts until after a recent conversation with my oldest son.  It went something like this…”Mom…are we going to be eating a REAL (insert teenage attitude) dinner tonight?”  Me: “Uh…we always eat a real dinner!”  Him: “What happened to all those yummy meals you used to make?” (listing meals that hadn’t been on the dinner table in a year or so).

And then it dawned on me.  I had slipped a little bit…or a lot on some days in my efforts at making a solid meal for my family.  It was true. Granted I have a lot of really GREAT reasons this happened…like dealing with my 7 major Food Allergies, five kids all with busy sports schedules including: ballet, piano, waterpolo, lacrosse, weekly church activities, basketball, homework projects and so on…

I had been doing so well with everything.  I was making my family a meal and then also making myself something that I could eat because it was too daunting (and expensive) to feed EVERYONE how I needed to eat.  But it got very difficult.  So, in an effort to survive, I started doing quick and easy dinner options like breakfast for dinner, grilled cheese, grilled chicken and veggies, and so on.  They were still great dinner options but were merely snacks for a growing, active teenage boy (did I mention he is on the swim, mountain biking and waterpolo teams?).

I didn’t want him to move away from home (which will be 1.5 years…gah!) feeling like he wasn’t being fed delicious meals.  I wanted him to miss my home cooking.  So I had to re-evaluate the way I was doing things.  I wanted to bring our REAL dinner time back but needed to find some ways to make it easier and not as difficult on me due to my food issues.  So we started having the kids make one meal a week this past summer.  BEST. DECISION. EVER!!

We sit down together on Sunday afternoon in our family meeting and discuss the upcoming week’s schedule.  Who is doing what and when.  We also discuss what each person would like to make for their weekly meal.  We scheduled each person a week night.  On rare occasions we have to make some adjustments according to our weekly schedule.  The kids pick a meal (sometimes with my direction) and we make a shopping list.  I do the shopping on Monday in preparation for the week.

And we made this menu out of Chalkboard Vinyl to help us stay organized and keep people accountable *ahem* for making a great meal.  And you know what? The kids are LOVING it!! I help them when needed but this helps free me up to run a kid to practice, or help with homework during the meal prep.  The kids are making great meal choices and sometimes I have to reign them in from making a 7 course meal!  There is overall less complaining about dinner and what we are having because the kids are so involved in the process and they are realizing that it hurts your feelings when someone complains about what they just made for dinner (interesting….haha).  And only a few questions (compared to a million) about what is for dinner because the menu is right there for all to see.  And…the kids are learning to cook…and bake!

Everyone has to clear the table and put their own dishes in the dishwasher until the dinner table it is spotless.  And then the person who made dinner has to clean up the pots and pans and the dinner making mess.  For the past few months it has been working very well for us. I hope we can continue to do this making a few tweaks here and there, as the kids get older!  But it has been a life saver for me.  It gives me time to make my own “version” of the meal that I can eat due to my food allergies!

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Anyways, after that rambling…if you are still with me, I am sharing how you can make your own Chalkboard Menu.  I made ours to stick right on the fridge door.  I did that mainly because I didn’t have any wall space to make one that hangs on the wall.  But you could certainly cut the vinyl out and put it on a painted board and display, or paint a board with chalkboard paint and then use the vinyl cut outs to put the words on the menu board.

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1. Print and cut out your Chalkboard Vinyl with your Cricut Explore.
Make it now with Cricut:
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2.  Peel out the word Menu and the days of the week, leaving the large section of vinyl.
3.  Place your transfer tape over the front of the Chalkboard Vinyl.
4.  Transfer onto your cleaned fridge surface carefully to prevent any wrinkles or bubbles.
5.  Rub the side of a piece of chalk gently along the entire piece of vinyl to season it.
6.  Enjoy your menu!
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Interested in the Grocery Sign? Learn how to make that here: Wood Kitchen Grocery Sign
If you don’t have a Cricut Explore, they are on sale right now for $249! Learn more here:
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*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cricut, however all opinions and statements are mine and mine alone.  I was given a Cricut Explore Machine to review, but all my opinions are mine and mine alone…plus I really love the machine!

Cricut Explore Giveaway

A couple of days ago I shared one of my very first Cricut Explore Projects with you…this I Love You a Bushel & a Peck Pillow.  And today, I get to give ONE OF YOU your very own Cricut Explore Machine.

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The overall look and design.

You can literally plug and play with your machine right out of the box.  Set up is effortless.  Storage compartments for the Cricut cutting and vinyl tools.  Cutting mat slides under the feet for a nice storage spot.  Quiet…like super quiet!

Cuts Perfectly.

The Cricut Explore cuts with the perfect “kiss cut”.  You just set the dial and cut.  A deep cut blade is available that allows you to cut thin leather and thin sheets of wood.  It will also cut fabric with heat and bond.

Design Space.

Instantly create a project from hundreds (and growing) pre-designed “Make It Now” projects or create your own.  *Design space is an online program so for those of you with limited internet may want to consider that.

Access to images.

The new Design Space library offers access to 50k+ images you can choose to create your projects. Just signing up you’ll have access to over 2300 images for FREE.  Add your existing Cricut cartridges to your Design Space account.

Upload your own files to cut.

I saved the best for last. Finally, Cricut is enabling users to cut their own files. SVGs, PNGs and other cut files, the new Design Space will let you cut whatever your creative heart designs (for the most part). Some of us have been waiting forever to see this come to reality… I know, some of you have no idea what I’m talking about. Trust me, do a little jump for joy and call it a supportive leap of happiness.

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Alright…who wants to win one?  If you would like to be entered for a chance to win a NEW Cricut Explore please enter in the Rafflecopter Widget below.

*You may need to enter from a computer instead of a mobile device.  Sometimes it takes a minute for the Rafflecopter widget to load, so please be patient.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Click on image above to see the latest Cricut products.

 

*Fine Print: Giveaway ends at 11:59pm (MST) on April 21, 2014. One winner will receive a gift certificate as specified above.  Must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the U.S.A. to enter. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook or Pinterest. Facebook and Pinterest will be completely released by each entrant. One entry per person. Entry includes filling out the Rafflecopter form above. Winner will be chosen using random.org. and will be notified via email within 24 hours of the giveaway closing time. Winners will be announced on the post, not on Facebook. The winners must respond within 24 hours of receiving the email or a new winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary.

Bushel and A Peck Pillow

I am finally able to share with you this Bushel and A Peck Pillow, which is one of the very first projects I made with the new Cricut Explore machine. You may remember when I shared with you about how I came to love Cricut’s new machine. I shared with you a sneak peak of this pillow and many of you asked how you could get one for yourself! Well today is that day (and yes…there are STILL no pictures in my photo frames…ha…I give up ;)…

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I, for one, particularly LOVE this pillow and project.  My mom used to sing this to us when we were little.  I think that many of you may feel the same way about this fun little song.  So I thought, since I have sung it to my kids, it would be fun to display it in our home.

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I simply made a pillow cover using this pillow cover tutorial I have shared with you earlier.  I made it out of a painter’s drop cloth.  I have almost used up that drop cloth now after using it for several pillows and other projects around my home.

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Then, using the Cricut Design Space, I designed this fun phrase from the song and cut it out in vinyl.  You can cut it out in iron on transfer material if you want, but I wanted to stencil the words on so that it had a more faded vintage look to it.  Either way will work great, depending on your own tastes.

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I used the vinyl as a stencil for the pillow and stenciled it on with some black fabric paint.

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Be sure to put a piece of paper or cardboard in between the layers of fabric (especially if you use a thinner fabric) so that the paint does not bleed through onto the back of the pillow.

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Then after it has dried completely, put your pillow insert in the pillow cover and display in your child’s room, nursery or family room.  Right now it is sitting in our family room.  We had it there for Valentine’s as part of our decor…but I have left it out on display because it makes me happy when I see it.  It is a good reminder of when my babies…were…well babies.  I kinda miss that stage!

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One of my favorite things about working with Cricut is that you can now MAKE this EXACT project with the click of one button on your own Cricut Explore Machine.  Seriously…how awesome is that?!

It will cut out exactly how I have it here, or you can change it up a bit to fit the size and needs of your own style.  Want to print it out for a painted sign?  Or put on a blanket?  You can do that too…

And? If you don’t have a new Cricut Explore machine, stay tuned…we have something exciting in the works!

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Click on the image above to see the latest and greatest Cricut products.

Is this a phrase you use in your family? If not, I would love to know what phrase or quote you use!



The New Cricut Explore™

You guys…

I have a secret I have been keeping…

for a long time.

And I am finally able to share part of that secret with you today!

As you know, I love a great crafting tool.  I LOVE anything that allows me to actually create something beautiful that starts as a thought and idea in my crowded little brain.  If you LOVE the creativity process as much as I do, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

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Before I get ahead of myself, let me back up…so I can tell you a bit about my journey over the last several months.

Over a year ago I was contacted by my friends from Cricut.  They wanted to talk to me about a new “top secret” machine that was in the works.  I was intrigued…but I had only used a Cricut machine a couple of times before in my life.  I had other means of doing things but was interested in what they had to say.  So I went, and learned, and signed all sorts of Non-Disclosure contracts ;).

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Cricut’s new machine sounded promising, but without actually having the machine at my fingertips, I was reluctant…and told them so and that was that.  Some time passed and in April, some more discussions took place,  yet I was still reluctant.  I am a visual learner so I needed something concrete, but the new machine was still in production and beta testing.

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Finally, this fall, I connected with Cricut again and made arrangements to go out to their headquarters and actually see and use the new Cricut Explore for myself.

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You guys!  I was not prepared for how much I would love the Cricut Explore Cutting Machine.  Like so much so, that I actually gasped…outloud…twice!  Once when I saw the Cricut Explore open and once when I saw how beautifully it could script out calligraphy.  And if you know me…calm and collected Amy…that is saying a lot.  I got a little bit out of control with excitement.  But no worries…I regained my composure again quickly.  haha!

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I was given a machine in early December to start playing with and have been working with the Cricut team behind the scenes on some really fun things.  In fact, I have about 10 projects right now that will be featured in the Cricut Marketplace (in just a few weeks) that others (like YOU) will be able to click a button and reproduce EXACTLY on their end…

I KNOW!! Right?!

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I have told you before how very careful and deliberate I am about the things I share with you here.  I actually am very picky and turn down several opportunities that come my way,  if I don’t think it is a product or a company I can stand behind completely.  I think it is a reflection on me and I don’t want to abuse your trust in any way.  So, with that being said,  I want you to know that I will ALWAYS be completely honest in what I share here with you.

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And just so you know…I am loving this new machine and it’s capability.  I have a feeling it is going to take my creating to a new level…and that is exciting for me.  I have so many ideas floating around in my head that involved new mediums…and that my friends…

makes me giddy…giddy like a little school girl…

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Ashish Arora | Cricut CEO

In the meantime, I will continue to be working closely with Cricut behind the scenes and will keep you updated.  I will also be sharing an in-depth look into the new Cricut | Explore™ Machine so you can see what I am so excited about.

The Cricut Explore™ system blends an electronic cutting machine with Cricut Design Space™, the free online design software, to help you make polished DIY projects. Create by using the hundreds of ready-to-make projects, the 50,000+ images from the Cricut® library or by uploading your own images. You can even use the Cricut® cartridges you already own by simply uploading them into the machine (which can only be done once and to one machine).

The Cricut | Explore™  will be available February 12th on HSN and in stores March 15!

Want a sneak peek of one of my projects?  Coming soon…

Feel free to ask any questions you have…I will try to answer all of them to the best of my ability or ask one of my contacts at Cricut for you.

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The pictures in this post are from a Cricut Event that was on January 20 and 21st, just a couple of weeks ago.  Cricut invited several bloggers to an amazing event to release their new machine, Cricut Explore, so you may have already heard some rumblings about it.  All of the items shown in the pictures were created with the Cricut Explore.

click on the image above to see the latest Cricut products…

And…by the way this is not a sponsored post.



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