Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A to Z Challenge - Hairstyles for Sophia's Graduation Ceremony

During the month of April, I will be writing Monday through Saturday; and will exploring crafting, holidays, recipes, travel, and other items I've pinned on Pinterest. Each post will focus on a different letter of the alphabet. Today, I am focusing on the letter "H" and will be looking at my Hair board.



As I'm preparing for Sophia's high school graduation ceremony and party, I'm looking for ways to do my hair. A long time ago, I started a Pinterest board about Hair. As I was looking through the styles, some stood out as ones that I think would look nice at the ceremony:


I like the waves and hair off the face. It may be time to trade in my bangs or having hair that is off my face. I've tried it once before, but with shorter hair. Maybe it would be different with longer hair with more body.

Another one I like is having hair half pulled up and the length curled like this:


Another option is to pull up some of my hair and do a creative-looking bun. I think I would want more curls in the lower part, though.


This one is pretty - with hair pulled up and fastened on top with lots of curls:


As I look at the photos, there seems to be a pattern emerging. The first photo, now that I look at these together, may be more appropriate for a graduation party than the ceremony. 

Only 43 days until the graduation ceremony. Where did the time go?

Monday, April 8, 2019

A to Z Challenge - Graduation Planning

During the month of April, I will be writing Monday through Saturday; and will exploring crafting, holidays, recipes, travel, and other items I've pinned on Pinterest. Each post will focus on a different letter of the alphabet. Today, I am focusing on the letter "G" and will be looking at my Senior Year of High School board.



Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday I was exploring a new world with Sophia.



Before I knew it, she was a young girl.


And then she was in elementary school.


And now she's in high school. This year has gone by incredibly fast. I know at the beginning of the year that parents who have had seniors say that the year goes by quickly. You start in September and the months go by at lightening speed. It's true.


So, I as I look at the final two months of homeschooling Sophia, and realize that the graduation ceremony is next month(!!) and her graduation part will be in two months(!!), I realized I better get a schedule of what needs to be done or it won't get done.

I looked at each of the sub-sections of my Senior Year of High School board on Pinterest and created a master list of things that need to be done between now and first week of July (the week after Sophia's graduation party).

The main sections refer to preparing for Sophia's graduation party. The "Other Things To Do" sections refer to preparing for Sophia's graduation ceremony. I didn't include any things that refer to home and yard improvement; and the final things that need to be done with the fire recovery project (the repairs for the fire at our farm that happened on May 5, 2018) since those are specific to our family - not in general.

Perhaps this list will be of use to others planning a graduation ceremony and party. The dates for the former are May 21st and latter is June 29th.

April 1st - 22nd (for the graduation party):

- Pick a day and time – Saturday, June 29, 2019 from 1-5 p.m.
- Choose a theme/colors – Purple and Silver
- Location – Our home
- Rent tent – Ordered through the Lions - $35; pick-up on June 28th.
- Set a budget
- Rent tables and chairs
- Book entertainment
- Plan the menu
  o Look for ideas on the Graduation Party board
  o Open face sandwiches with edible flowers
  o Go through recipes in recipe binder and in recipes boxes 
- Order food if any part of the menu will be  catered
- Order dessert(s) - cupcakes with purple frosting and cake
- Create invitations to party - did this on Shutterfly when there was a 50% off sale
- Create guest list
  o Get addresses
- Get yard games
- Choose songs for the slide show/video of Sophia's life and education
- Choose photos for the display boards
- Upload photos onto Flickr of Sophia from 2013-2019 and have ones Sophia wants printed

Other things to do (graduation ceremony):
- Check re: make-up application on graduation date (cost)
- Get a haircut and eyebrows waxed – Olivia and Sophia respectively
- Everyone gets hair cut (1 month before graduation ceremony)
- Order a flower crown for graduation day: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/212795151128000211/

April 23rd - May 3rd

Other things to do:
- Look at graduation poems and quotes. Determine whether to use them in book or for decorations: https://www.pinterest.com/harvestmoonmn/senior-year-of-high-school/graduation-poems-and-quotes/

May 4th - 18th

- Send invitations to the party
- Make grocery list
- Create music playlist
- Entertainment follow-up
- Rental follow-up
- Caterer follow-up
- Make custom items – favors, decorations, card box, centerpieces, branches decorated with clear lights, buntings with Sophia’s name/words (e.g., joy), little tassels, wooden flower holder for the wall - Create slideshow or video about Sophia's life and education
- Create photo boards
o Idea for showing shows 1st through 12th grade photos
o There are display ideas here for the graduation ceremony in May and party in June
o Think about things to put in front of the display - something from China; harp and piano music; ceramics item; 4-H awards; college stuff; photos in frames, and/or books
o Nice format for a display board
o Early years display board with a poem in the center 

Other things to do:
- Determine if Sophia wants to decorate cap
- Get clothes to wear for graduation ceremony. For me and anyone else who needs an outfit
- Start on graduation quilt
- Make graduation money lei. Instructions for doing circles; put a verse and photo at the bottom; butterfly; flower; heart; and incorporating different shapes
- Make a money cake. Another idea is here.
- Do a gift card wreath

May 19th - 23rd - Graduation Ceremony Week

Other things to do:
- Take senior photos around town and on graduation day. Ideas here
   - Go on a mural photo shoot around Minneapolis. There are 17 different art murals. It would be good to visit them and take photos – Sophia, Olivia, and girls together. They also could do these for a 4-H project
   - Go to Silverwood Park – there’s an island bridge used in photos
   - Photograph 4-H and Open Class Ribbons
   - Flower crown
   - Placing the cap on so it doesn’t look odd
   - Photo with progress made educationally. Need to get a chalkboard and chalk for this.
   - Photo with harp
   - Photo with parents. Another idea is here
   - Tossing cap in the air against a blue sky:
- Entertain out-of-town guests and go out to eat at a special restaurant the day after graduation

June 1st - 8th

- Confirm cake/desserts order
- Order balloons and flowers
- Finalize menu
- Purchase non-perishable food
- Get tablecloths, trash bags, cups, plates, napkins, and utensils
- Get silver polish and clean off silver serving dishes
- Get bug spray and citronella candles
- Get thank you notes
- Get a graduation guest book (for guests to sign at party)
- Schedule cleaning help
- Shop for clothes to wear for graduation party
- Anyone who needs hair trimmed should do so
- Make 2019 photo display for the wall in the garage:
- Paint wood letters and get pen for guests to sign for Sophia
- Do a shadow box with cap, gown, cords, diploma, graduation announcement, party invitation. Some ideas are here, here, and here
- Do a photo backdrop or two. Use ideas from here or here
- This board has some ideas for decorating

June 15th - 22nd 

- Review RSVP guest list
- Confirm caterer, rentals, entertainment
- Organize party items and decorations
- Print party printables
- Draw/plan drink station, buffet and dessert tables; set-up for eating; set-up for displays; set-up for card box, gifts, and sign-in book
- Choose card games and board games to put out on some of the tables
- Create little areas of interest in the backyard – like a Maypole and labyrinth

June 27th - 28th 

- Clean inside and outside of home
- Wash serveware
- Set up tables and serving areas
- Set up party decorations
- Prepare make-ahead food
- Check technology
- Prep camera and charge batteries
- Supply bathroom with extra toilet paper and hand towels
- Set up extra large trash cans and recycling bins
- Create extra space in the refrigerator
- Touch base with caterer
- Pick up tent from the Lions
- Pick up recycling containers from the County

June 29th

- Tidy up the home
- Buy ice
- Pick up food, cake, and balloons
- Prepare last-minute food
- Chill beverages in coolers
- Final d├ęcor touches
- Turn on music
- Take pictures and video
- Enjoy!

Week after the Party
- Return tent
- Return recycling containers
- Return any tables and chairs we borrowed
- Return any rental items
- Write thank you notes to everyone who gave gifts or money

July 1st - 15th
- Look at other ideas for gifts that will be given as Sophia goes to college next month. Also look at packing lists for college.
- Start working on memory gifts to bring to college

July 15th – August 15th
- Prepare “Open When” cards to give on the first day of college/moving in:

August 16th – 31st
- Prepare a packet for things needed the first week of college
- Make a college survival kit in hanging pocket holder

Friday, April 5, 2019

A to Z Challenge - Easter Ideas

During the month of April, I will be writing Monday through Saturday; and will exploring crafting, holidays, recipes, travel, and other items I've pinned on Pinterest. Each post will focus on a different letter of the alphabet. Today, I am focusing on the letter "E" and will be looking at my Easter board.



Easter is in 16 days so I thought I'd take a look at my Easter board on Pinterest for some things I want to do and make this year. 

For breakfast, I thought that this Baked Western Omelet looked good:



As a reminder why people celebrate Easter and the significance of Holy Week, I found this pin about the week leading up to Easter:



One of the traditions that my cousin's wife did where she grew up in Poland was the blessing of Easter baskets on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). I had never heard of this tradition and haven't found a church in Minnesota that does this type of blessing. As I read about it, it sounds like it is commonly done in Eastern European parishes. At any rate, this is an example of an Easter basket that would be blessed:


This is an explanation of what goes into a Pascha Basket:


We'll be spending Easter with my brother, sister, and their families. I'm thinking that it would be fun to bring a vegetable tray like this: 



We typically bring a dessert. In the past we've brought a decorated lamb cake. This year, we may do that plus bring some cookies. I saw this pin for Easter cookies:



Another old-fashioned cookie idea is that of Easter bonnet cookies. I like the floral and ribbon decoration on each one: 


A final Easter greeting that I thought was cute:

Thursday, April 4, 2019

A to Z Challenge - De-cluttering

During the month of April, I will be writing Monday through Saturday; and will exploring crafting, holidays, recipes, travel, and other items I've pinned on Pinterest. Each post will focus on a different letter of the alphabet. Today, I am focusing on the letter "D" and will be looking at my Ideas for the Winter Doldrums board.



There's a pin on my Beating the Winter Doldrums board with an image of decluttering 40 bags in 40 days. 


This concept has been promoted on the internet to do in conjunction with Lent, which is happening now and goes through Easter (April 21st this year). 

I started to do this informally back on Ash Wednesday which was on March 6th. So, as of today, I should have 25 bags either donated, recycled, or thrown away. I only have 9 bags done so far, so I'm a bit behind. 


My goal this weekend is to go through my home office and get rid of fabric and craft supplies I no longer need or will use. That will easily catch me up to where I need to be. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A to Z Challenge - Card Making (Flag-Fold Card)

During the month of April, I will be writing Monday through Saturday; and will exploring crafting, holidays, recipes, travel, and other items I've pinned on Pinterest. Each post will focus on a different letter of the alphabet. Today, I am focusing on the letter "C" and will be looking at my Card Making board.



One of the pins I found was for a tutorial for a flag-fold card on Beccy's Place. I have never made a flag-fold card before so having the tutorial with exact measurements helped. Instead of greeting card, I did a "Memories" card. It was a pre-printed cut-out that was included with the scrapbooking paper packet.


Each of the five "flags" on the inner folds would be great to write a memory on or attach a little snippet of a photo.


The front of the flags each have the decorative paper and the back side is plain.


With plenty of scrapbooking paper and cardstock from past projects, it was easy to find paper to use for the project without going out and buying sheets. This does not take a lot of paper or cardstock, and it is a great way to use up what you have on hand.

After doing one of the cards that I had pinned on my Card Making Pinterest board, it has encouraged me to go back and look at other cards I could make. 

With graduations coming up during the next couple of months as well as birthdays and holidays, there's always a need for cards. I might as well use what I have at home rather than purchasing cards with generic messages. In this way, people will know I took some extra time to create a card especially for them.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A to Z Challenge - Blueberry Coffeecake

During the month of April, I will be writing Monday through Saturday; and will exploring crafting, holidays, recipes, travel, and other items I've pinned on Pinterest. Each post will focus on a different letter of the alphabet. Today, I am focusing on the letter "B" and will be making Blueberry Coffeecake which is on my Food board.



The pin for Starbucks copycat recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake leads to Laura Fuentes' website. It is an easy recipe to follow. Although I made a couple of modifications to the recipe, it would be taste equally as good as originally printed.

This is a delicious coffee cake and I would definitely make it again. It tastes very rich, so the pieces could be cut smaller to yield more servings.


Blueberry Coffee Cake - Starbucks Copycat Recipe

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 16

Ingredients

4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup Greek yogurt (I used vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 lemon, zested (I did not include the lemon zest)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups blueberries (I used frozen blueberries that I rinsed briefly)
5 tablespoons butter, chilled

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F and place baking rack in the middle of the oven. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder, and salt. Give it a quick mix. (I did this by hand rather than using a mixer.)

To the dry mix add milk, Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of softened butter, lemon zest, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on low speed (or by hand) until combined and there are no visible clumps. The batter will be thick.

Gently fold in blueberries with a spatula.

Pour mixture into greased baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/3 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cube cold butter and place inside the flour mixture. Create a fine crumble as you mix it with a fork or with your hands. Distribute crumble mixture over the batter.

Bake for 50-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool down to room temperature prior to serving.

Note: To prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom, give them a quick toss in 2 Tablespoons of flour. Coating them with flour will prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

Monday, April 1, 2019

A to Z Challenge - Alaska

During the month of April, I will be writing Monday through Saturday; and will exploring crafting, holidays, recipes, travel, and other items I've pinned on Pinterest. Each post will focus on a different letter of the alphabet. Today, I am focusing on the letter "A" and will be looking at my Alaska board.



To celebrate Sophia's graduation from high school, we will be taking a family trip to Alaska and Washington (the Seattle area). I created an Alaska Trip Pinterest board to look at possible ideas for places to visit and things to do.

Some of the things we'll be doing include:

Visiting the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska


Taking the Seward Highway to go from Anchorage to Seward.


While in Seward, we plan to visit Exit Glacier where we can do hiking and get close to a glacier. There are some helpful ideas and information about traveling there - especially in the off-season (Labor Day weekend to Memorial Day weekend) when we will be there.


On the way to Girdwood, there's a place called Potter’s Marsh Bird Sanctuary. It is south of Anchorage, and has a half mile of boardwalks over the marsh to view local bird species. Supposedly, people are able to see Arctic Terns, Seagulls, Yellow Legs, and more birds. Moose frequent the area too.


One of the highlights of the trip will be visiting the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. We will be doing a special tour there where we can feed a porcupine and one other animal.


We also are looking forward to being able to feed puffins at the Alaska Sealife Center in Anchorage.


It should be a fascinating trip with hiking; interacting with animals; visiting museums; and learning more about the history and culture of Alaska.