Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Little About Diana

I've decided to start a monthly feature called A Little About Diana where I share a little about my daily & personal life on my blog. I'll posting this near the end of each month and by the time 2014 starts, you should know me a lot better!! Feel free to leave comments on what you'd like me to tell you next month.
I picked the the silly picture above for this series because I am a light-hearted funny person. Or at least I think I am! I like to make others laugh and can laugh at myself.

Where have I lived? I grew up in Arizona and went to college in California. I met & married my husband in San Diego. We moved to Hawaii not long after that because my husband was in the Navy. Our first child was born there. When he got out of the Navy we moved to his home state of Illinois. Being that I lived in warm weather my whole life, I was skeptical to live where it gets cold. I ended up falling in love with this area, and was very sad when we moved to Houston for a job opportunity. By then we had 2 children and I transitioned from teaching to being an at home mom. We really missed Illinois and returned after 2 years. We did get a great opportunity to live for 4 months in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia while we were in Texas which was really cool.

How did I get into blogging? 8 years ago we decided to adopt from China, so I started reading adoption blogs. I decided to start my own blog while we waited. That blog is sorely neglected these days. 5 years ago a friend from my online adoption group asked me if I could design her blog since I was into digital scrapbooking and had been the webmaster of our adoption group. That worked out well and I started my own custom blog design business. It wasn't until 6 months later that I decided I needed my very own blog to ramble about whatever I wanted, hence Diana Rambles. People that know me well say it's a VERY appropriate name for me! I've run many blogs over the years, but my current main ones are this one, my blog design business, and Bento Blog Network.

What does a typical day look like? I get up between 7 & 8 and get my kids off to school. I used to make cute bentos for my daughter everyday, but now I just make a quick basic lunch for her. After I drop her at school, I might go shopping for the household (Sams, Walmart, or Aldi) or volunteer in the schools. When I am home I am often on my computer, which is a desktop set up in the corner of our bedroom. I used to have a laptop so that I could blog/work on the go but it wasn't necessary once my daughter started elementary school. I am set up in our bedroom because it's out of the way of the main living area and it gets good wireless reception. Afternoon pick-ups begin around 3pm, followed by dinner prep around 4:30 or so, and then any evening activities. I often stay up later than my kiddos (2 younger kids) and my hubby. Luckily, the light from my monitor doesn't bug my hubby. I usually go to bed around 11 or 11:30 after catching up online and with my phone ap games. Exciting, eh?

Kudos to you who have read this far! My life isn't very exciting! What should I tell you about me next month?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Valentine Candy Bark

Here is the latest version of my popular toffee bark, just in time for Valentine's Day! We call it crack because it's made with crackers and is so addicting!!
Valentine Candy Bark (CRACK)

Saltines (1+ sleeves depending on the size of your cookie sheet)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Candy/Topping of choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with little lip around the edge) with cooking spray. I use a cookie sheet liner instead. Arrange crackers to cover the bottom of the sheet. Melt butter, add the brown sugar, and then boil for 3 minutes. Pour over the saltines and put in oven for 5 minutes.
Remove and sprinkle choc chips on top. When chocolate chips look glossy (about 2 minutes) spread the melted chips evenly across the top. Sprinkle your favorite toppings on top. I used M&Ms, mini marshmallows, conversation hearts, Andes mint chips, and sprinkles. Put it in the fridge to harden and then brake it apart into uneven pieces.
This post was featured at~
This Silly Girl's Life Bowdabra Blog
Sweet 2 Eat Baking

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Girl Scout Cookie Time Game 2013

It's that time of the year again~ Girl Scout Cookie Time. We begin sales this week. Our council is doing direct sales now. That means we placed a huge order and then will have them in hand when we ask people if they want to buy. I've been very busy the last few days with helping sort & load cases of cookies (at the district level) and then counting & sorting for my troop. I am so happy to have a small troop. They say that we should sell more cookies this way, but I am not really sure how it's going to work out. We do have 2 cookie booth dates set up...one at the mall and one at a grocery store, so that should help with sales.

Since half our girls are new and we have a new cookie (Mango Creme) this year, I decided to create a board game for the girls to learn all the varieties. Our council also offers people a chance to purchase cookies for the troops, so I created a game with 9 colors. I printed out the game board on regular paper and the game cards on card stock. I also got glass gems & dice from Dollar Tree.
girl scout cookies board game pieces
I laminated the game board and cut up the game cards. Each girl got a baggie with the game cards, 4 gem game pieces, and a die.
girl scout cookies game board
I wanted this to be a thinking activity, so I split the girls up in groups of two and had them create the rules to the game. Most decided to turn the game cards over and try to make matches. Then when they got a match they would move forward to that next color or roll the die to see how many spaces they moved. One group decided that landing on the blue star (Cookies for the Troops) allowed you to move double spaces. Some girls removed the solid color card and just used the other 2 of each color for matching. You can swap those out for the named cards later as they learn the cookies better. My version has the girls start by rolling the die. The number they get represents the # of boxes a customer wants. When they give the correct cost for the customer then they get to pick a game card and if they can name that variety, then move forward to that color. Game directions are included in the download.
Girl Scout Cookie Learning Game
My parents report that their girls have been playing the game all weekend are are learning all the cookie varieties.

I'd like to offer this game to all scouts. There are 2 companies that make Girl Scout Cookies and I have created the game for both. Click on the images of the cookies you have to download that bakery's version.
Girl Scout Cookies Little Brownie Bakers
People have asked if I ship cookies. I do not. I encourage you to find local scouts to buy from. Go here and enter your zip code to find our locations & times of sales in your area.
Girl Scout Board Pinterest

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pin Me Linky Party #17

 
Great party last week with many fun Valentine links!! Clicks were WAY down. After you link up please visit at least 3 others. I am ending the party on Tuesdays from now on because the later linkers just don't get views. Blogspot Users: PLEASE turn off word verification. Here's how! I may not comment if it's on!!
Click on each featured photo below to link to it's post.
Image Map

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My TV Shows

It's been a while since I've had a ramble, so I decided to talk about the TV Shows I watch. Last night was the season finale of Parenthood. I just love that show!!! They wrapped up all lose ends with Drew getting into Berkley and (his ex) Amy getting into Tufts across the county. I was worried that they were just going to gloss over that storyline last week. Amber & Ryan are back together and he's getting help. Crosby & Jasmine are having a baby. Sarah picked Hank, although he moved to Minnesota. Kristina is cancer free and she & Adam enjoyed their trip to Hawaii. They were just so adorable on the beach! And the most tearful part of the show was Victor's adoption being finalized. It was a beautiful ceremony and it reminded me of my daughter's adoption.
image courtesy of NBC
Now here's the problem. The season ended with no questions asked (other than what will happen with Sarah). Sure seemed more like a SERIES finale than a season finale. There are lots of rumors out there that the show is going to get cancelled. I just *LOVE* the Bravermans and sure hope that it's brought back for another season!!

A guilty pleasure of mine is The Bachelor. Not because I think that forced relationships on TV are going to produce a beautiful marriage, but rather because I love to make fun of all the dumb contestants. In fact, I get together with a group of friends for a viewing party each week. I've created a game called Bachelor Bash, where I create questions before each episode that everyone answers. It's certainly enhanced the viewing experience. I award a (virtual) prize for the person who scores the highest each week. They are silly prizes that relate to the episode. I will be creating a real trophy/award for the overall winner to be given out after the finale.
image courtesy of ABC
That 50 Shades of Grey chick was CRAZY! I call her 50 Shade of disGREYce! We always vote on the ugliest outfit and count how many different plaids we see. It's a bunch of fun, albeit totally inappropriate!

New shows I am liking this season include The New Normal and Go On. I was recently watching a Go On episode on my computer (I usually catch shows on Hulu after they've aired) and my husband found it entertaining. I've never particularly been a fan of Matthew Perry, but he's perfectly cast in this show!

We are just a few weeks away from Survivor & Amazing Race. Survivor is returning with Fans vs. Favorites on Feb 13th. Favorites? Some of them I don't remember at all...and others like Brandon Hanz is just there to stir $&!+ up. Phillip looks to be crazy as ever. Malcolm is a true fav! This was filmed while last season aired, which could provide a big advantage to Malcolm.
image courtesy of CBS
This is my first look at the Amazing Race cast. I just *LOVE* this show. My hubby and I live vicariously through the show and will talk about which task we would perform or how we would react. We both participate in an online game like my Bachelor Bash above where were guess what will happen each episode. I stay away from spoilers with Amazing Race. Looks like it's going to be an interesting season! This next round starts Feb 17th.
image courtesy of CBS
I have a few other shows I like, but wouldn't miss if they went away. I do enjoy catching episodes of House Hunters online. I particularly like the International version, and imagine myself living in these other countries they visit. What about you? What are your favorite shows?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Customized Gift Card Wallet

I recently bought a new road atlas because we are in the midst of planning 2 trips. I told my hubby that I needed to keep the old atlas for crafting. Not long after I thought of a fun idea. My son was going to a birthday party for a friend who just turned 14. We were going to give him a gift card and I stumbled across a little ATM card wallet that the bank gave us. Since this boy recently moved from Tampa Bay, I decided to decorate the little plastic wallet with a detailed map of the Tampa area.
I (not very gently) tore out the Tampa map from my atlas and grabbed some scrapbook paper. I used some Mod Podge to apply the map to the wallet. After it dried I trimmed the edges and applied some more Mod Podge. I ditched the scrapbook paper for a bright yellow. I just cut out TOM by hand (therefore not very straight) and used a little blue highlighter along the edges to make it pop and Mod Podged it on!

It was a fun & quick project that the birthday boy and his folk really liked! He got several other gift cards at the party to put in his new wallet!
I was featured at:
Designed Decor

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII Free Printable Cupcake Toppers

Free Printable Cupcake Toppers for Super Bowl XLVII. 49ers vs. Ravens in 2 styles.
Click preview to download.
2013 Superbowl and Chili
This post was featured at:
Crafty ConfessionsFeatured on Snappee Turtle button Show Off Your Shell PartyToo Much Time On My Hands