Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Make Your Dreams Come True!

Prints from Lettered&Lined. Frames and mattes from a thrift store and spray painted gold.
Do you remember the scene from the movie Napoleon Dynamite where he doesn't have a presidential candidate speech prepared and his wise friend, Pedro says, "Just tell them, If you vote for me, all of your wildest dreams will come true."? Wouldn't it be great if making your dreams come true was as easy as a vote?  In reality, making your dreams come true is usually A LOT of blood, sweat and tears. There are setbacks and then some victories. It's quite a roller coaster ride! Today, I'm talking about how to keep your focus, and start to make those dreams come true.

 I love New Year's! I love the thought of a fresh start, the new possibilities. It's a clean slate. I always feel like I can do anything that first week of January! Anybody else feel like that? AND THEN the second week rolls around! I get distracted and start forgetting my goals and my high hopes!

A few years ago, I was introduced to a fantastic concept called Dream Books! I got together with a bunch of friends with a 3 ring binder and a stack of old magazines in hand! My friend in charge of this event had glue, scissors, more magazines and colored paper for us to use. She then set out the plan:


She shared with us that 85% of the things in your dream book would come true, if you kept that book out and looked at it often throughout the year as your are living and working toward your goals.

In my opinion, 85% of my dreams is pretty darn good!

In daughter's room. Print: lettered&lined
Since that time, I have had my family make these a couple of times. We have some big goals as a family, and I have some big ones for myself and my business this year, so I had us do them again. I love seeing what my kids come up with. I usually give them a quick pep talk about goal setting. I say things like "think of a big goal, then break it down into smaller short term goals that will lead to that big one". Yada, yada, yada. I get some eye rolling from the older ones, and some frustrated grunts from the younger ones, til we get to the crafty part of the assignment. Then, I tell them to think of some goals to better themselves personally, or in school, or in a talent they are pursuing. Whatever they want really, it's their project! I love the words that jump out at us as we scour magazines for the perfect lines or pictures to add to our books.

Now, you can make a book with different pages and some sections (like money, personal, business, home, spiritual, etc), or you can make a board of any size and fill that up to hang on your wall. Use whatever method will help you keep that focus. I use the boards for my kids because I can hang them on the wall by their beds and they can stare at it as they are waking up or going to sleep. (and maybe by osmosis whilst they sleep???!!! ;D)

I made a book because I can add more to it and focus on topics. Here are some pictures of our work to help get you inspired to get your goals up and in the open, so you can make them happen. Your family will see each other succeed in making dreams big or small come true! What an awesome thing to teach your children. Decide what you want, and go for it. Work hard to make it a reality.

Here is a great goal-setting printable from Homeschoolapalooza! Go print it out to keep a laser focus on a goal.

And finally, I have sprinkled in some of my favorite quotes, and a link to where you can pin them or buy them! (I am not affiliated with any of these fine shops, by the way. I just truly love their work!)

Happy New Year! 
Education goals for kids
Family page
Financial page
Me page

This one is being shipped to me now! House of Belonging

7 inspiring quotes

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Caramel Chocolate Pretzels

These are delish! A favorite at Christmastime. My kids love helping make these. Even my 5 year old helped!

These make a great friend/neighbor gift.

You can even get gluten free pretzels and they taste really good!

Here is what you need:

*Honey Wheat Braided Twists (There are many brands of these now. You can find them pretty much anywhere.)
*Your favorite caramel recipe. Here is a super easy recipe, in case you don't have one. You can also just buy caramels and melt them, if you don't feel like making caramel. (But homemade is better!)
*Milk chocolate

Easy Caramel (and it really is!)
1 cup butter
1 lb. brown sugar (Just over 2 1/4 cups)
1 cup light corn syrup
1 15 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter in heavy 3 qt saucepan. Add brown sugar, stirring until well combined. Blend in corn syrup. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches firm ball stage, 6-12 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Pour into buttered pan over toasted almonds, pecans or just plain. This caramel is also used for turtles. Cool. Cut into small squares and wrap in plastic wrap (or waxed paper). Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

A note about firm ball stage: You can use a candy thermometer (the stages are printed on mine along with the temps. Or, you can do it the old fashioned way, like my mom taught me and have a bowl of ice water sitting by the stove and you test it by dropping about 1 tsp caramel into the water. Let it cool for several seconds then make it into a ball. You will be able to tell if it's soft ball or hard ball by the consistency. Firm ball stage makes a firm, but not hard, ball. Hence the name. :)

Once caramel is done, let it cool a bit and then get dipping. I put mine on waxed paper or plastic wrap ( I have an obsession with waxed paper, for some reason. I think it reminds me of my grandma or something) If your caramel isn't quite firm enough, you may have to 'wrap' it back around the pretzels and then let it cool completely either on your counter or pop it outside or in fridge. Then, I melt my milk chocolate, and put some in a little plastic bag with a small hole cut off the tip. I pipe the chocolate onto the caramel, as shown in the picture above. I have a piping bag, but I hate the clean up! The baggie is so easy to just throw away once I'm done! You could also dip these in chocolate, but they are pretty rich, so the drizzling is nice.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Green Onion Cheese Ball--Quick and Easy!

This is one of my very favorite, tried and true recipes. It's so quick and easy to whip up! A friend shared it with me many years ago. I make it several times each holiday season, taking it to parties or just eating it around the table with my family. This also makes an excellent neighbor/friend gift!

1 8oz cream cheese, softened
2-3 green onions, chopped fine (use more or less, to your taste)
2 tsp butter, softened
About 1/4 tsp salt, to taste
chopped nuts of choice for rolling (I have used almonds, pecans and walnuts and love them all),optional

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whirl til mixed well. Scoop mixture out onto plastic wrap. Bring plastic wrap around the cheese and form a ball. Twist the end closed so the ball stays formed. Refrigerate for about an hour. Remove the plastic wrap, and roll ball in nuts if you like. I love the nuts! Serve with your favorite crackers. My favorites are  Wheat Thins, Ritz crackers or Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triskets. Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Secret Elf Project

In my husband's family, they did something called 'The Secret Elf'. They started at some point in December, and would do it til Christmas. We have continued this tradition with our kids, and we love it. Here is what you do:

First, have everyone write their names on little slips of paper, and put them in a container. Have everyone draw out a name, making sure they don't get their own! Haha.

Each day, you do some kind of little act of service for your person. You must try your best to keep it a secret! It's so fun. I love the sneaking around and giggles I hear, as people are doing their good deeds. When the kids were littler, my hubby and I had to help quite a bit. Now that they are older, they do a fine job of thinking up their own! There are chores done, notes on pillows of 'I love you' or a compliment, pictures drawn, and I have even seen cash! I also keep a little bowl of Christmas candy on the counter and we use that, too. One year, I had Chris, my husband.  I didn't want him to know it was me, so I kept having different kids write my notes (I kept them generic, so they couldn't guess, either). I had him fooled the whole time. See, it's even fun for the grown ups!

We choose a present to give our secret person in order to reveal our identities on Christmas morning. Some years we buy something, a few years we have made things for each other. Those are my very favorite years!

All in all, it is a wonderful time. It brings a sweet spirit into our home. Just now, my husband went in our room and found a note and candy on his pillow from his secret elf. I know who it is, and she happened to be walking through the kitchen when he found it and yelled, "I got something from my Secret Elf!" She grinned so big! My heart is bursting. This project will teach your kids about offering loving service. The kids talk about it all year long, and say how they can't wait til it's Secret Elf time again. They love the getting, but they also love the giving!

Good luck. I would love to hear how your 'Secret Elf Project' is going this year. Leave me a comment here or on Instagram or Facebook. Find me under Bedhead Designs. Merry Christmas!

For more ideas for family traditions, go here.