Our Family Story Wall Hanging

We have been renovating our house like CRAZY. I am excited to finally start putting things on our walls. I thought a "Our Family Story" would be a great addition to our wall. It has the day we met, our anniversary, and birthdays of all the kiddos. It can be made to accomodate any size frame. For this project I used an 8x10.

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1. The first step is to select some paper. 
  • white cardstock
  • black cardstock
2. The second step is to put in the correct dates and number of kids. To put in the dates change the text box. To add kids or change gender copy and paste the kids in front of each date. Here is the file.  After the dates are changed weld the text together otherwise it will come out in separate circles.
3. Cut this file with the black cardstock.

4. The cutouts can be removed two ways, with this Cricut tool flat, or bending the board and gently separating the cardstock from the board. This helps prevent the paper from bending.
5. The first time I did this I did not cut deep enough and the letters were stuck in the circle. Instead of using the scissors, I opted to cut again deeper and save myself a headache.

MUCH BETTER!

6. The sixth step is to clean the extra letters off the mat and put it away. This way the mat will not get sticky.
7. The next step is to arrange and glue the letters to the white cardstock.

8. The final step is to put the cardstock in a frame and put on the wall. My kids love this! Enjoy!

Check out some other family fun craft ideas from some of my friends.

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Thanks so much for 100 Directions, Mad in Crafts, 33 Minute Crafts and The Country Chic Cottage for putting this together!



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The Perfect Maple Cookies

Two years ago we moved up to the Northeast, Upstate New York to be exact. I never saw myself living in upstate New York growing up, except maybe that one time I did a state report on New York and saw how pretty it was. But alas we ended up in Upstate New York and are loving it. Every place has traditions and one of the traditions in New York and Canada is Maple Syrup. Maple syrup is harvested in the late winter/early spring from maple trees. It is a super long process and one I was going to try to do until I saw how much goes into making the syrup. That is when I decided to buy the syrup instead. The syrup is pricey, but once I tried it for the first time I could not go back to imitation maple syrup.

When I bought my first jug of maple syrup I wanted to make sure it did not go to waste because I paid so much for it. I looked up recipes for maple everything, cookies and cakes. I made these maple cookies below and I was hooked. I made them for everything until I ran out of maple syrup. I had to patiently wait for maple harvesting season again and for the Coronavirus business restrictions to let up before I could get it. But once I got it I made my first batch of maple cookies and they were as good as I remembered. I hope you enjoy this recipe.
I have included some tricks and tips below to get amazing cookies.


Maple Cookies


Super Soft Delicious Flavorful Cookies


INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  •  3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • granulated sugar


INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Cream the egg with the butter mixture until fluffy.
3. Add the maple syrup and the maple syrup to the mixture.
4. Mix the dry ingredients, flour, cornstarch, slat, baking soda, and baking powder.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture.
6. Combine the dry ingredients, flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tarter.
7. Chill in fridge for 30-60 minutes before baking.
8. Form round balls and roll in granulated sugar.
9. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes.
10. Let cool and enjoy!


One of the secrets to getting amazing cookies is to mix the butter and eggs until they are light and fluffy.
I use a disher to make my cookies into balls. That way they come out uniform in shape and size. I also use parchment paper so the cookies do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Don't these look scrumptous?
Here is the finished product!

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How to Freeze Berries

When I lived in Oregon there were berry field super close by. The berries were super delicious and super cheap. One time I picked over 50 pounds of berries. What did I do with all those berries? I made jam and I also froze them. Frozen berries are perfect for smoothies, shakes, making jams and syrups later, adding to a recipe, toppings on ice cream etc. The possibilities are endless.  My son prefers frozen berries to fresh berries. There are some important tips to follow when freezing berries, they are not complicated, but can make life a lot easier when pulling berries out. The secret is freezing the berries individually so they do not stick to each other.
1. Wash the berries in the container they came in first. 
This step is super important. If the berries are not washed the dirt and everything else will freeze to it in the freezer.
2. Freeze or use the berries immediately after washing.
Berries ripen even faster when they are washed. I made the mistake of washing and storing berries. They get all mushy and do not taste very good.

3. Slice strawberries. There is no need to slice raspberries or blue berries because they are small. 
Raspberries and blueberries are super easy to eat the size they are. Strawberries however are hard to eat whole. I sliced mine up and they turned out super delicious.
4. Use wax or parchment paper to freeze the berries.
It is super important to put something under the berries so they will not stick to the cookie sheet or whatever is used to freeze them.

5. Space the berries out. 
Spacing the berries is the most important part and something I could have done better with the above strawberries. It enables individual berries to be pulled out/measured etc.

6. Flash freeze for 1-2 hours on a cookie sheet or over night.
Flash freezing is important because it again makes sure the berries are frozen before putting them in a bag. I sometimes forget and take the berries out the next day. They can sometimes be a little harder to get off the tray.

7. Take berries off the tray/Put berries in a bag and label the bag with the date.
Now the berries can be stored together and they will not freeze together! Save and enjoy the berries at a later date.

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