Ranger School Craft Challenge

When Zac left for Ranger School, I had no idea how I was going to occupy my time. I had a part time job, two fur babies and a whole lot of free time. We talked about all of the things I COULD do to fill my time, like working out, trying to make friends, or trying new recipes. And although I ended up doing all of those things, at the time the only idea we came up with that I thought I would stick to was a craft challenge.

The challenge was simple. For every week Zac was away, I had to complete at least one project and blog about it. In the end, he was gone for 13 weeks and I completed over 13 projects. There were a couple weeks I didn’t blog about my project because I didn’t want Zac to see it online before he saw it in person.

This challenge started as a way for me to fill time, but by the end of the 13 weeks, I had to find time to complete each project. I stepped out of my comfort zones and made friends, started going to the gym, and trying new things. When it was all said and done, this challenge jumpstarted my own “Ranger School” journey. I have changed and grown so much since the day I dropped Zac off. I did so much more than just wait for him to come home.

Well here it is! All the projects I completed in 13 weeks!

Ranger School Craft Challenge

Week One: Patriotic 4th of July Wreath

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Week Two: Travel Globe

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Week Three: Open When Letters & Batman Care Package

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Week Four: Office Chair Makeover

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Week Five: Rolodex Makeover

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Week Six: Keepsake Treasure Box Makeover

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Week Seven: Anniversary Care Package

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Week Eight: Paper Anniversary Gift 

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Week Nine: Olaf Painting

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Week Ten: Hawaii Care Package

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Week Eleven: Ribbon and Lace American Flag

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Week Twelve: Anniversary Date Wall Hanging

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Week Thirteen: Belle Dress & Beast Sign

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I am so glad I decided to do this. Not only did it give me something to do, it gave me something to talk to people about on the Ranger School Support groups. It made reaching out to make friends a little bit easier. And once I made those friends I found myself stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new foods, going to the gym, and eventually jump starting a new lifestyle. This challenge helped get me out of a funk that came from being in a new place by myself and now I feel completely at home. And completing a weekly craft or project has almost become a habit of mine now. I have several other projects in the works and I can’t wait to share them with you!

lyssa

MagicBands

IMG_9960My husband and I went to Disney World for our Honeymoon. Disney treated us to a lot of surprises. In this badly-lit, hotel room picture you see the things we acquired on the first day. Of course we got the wedding ears, and honeymoon buttons, but also in this picture you’ll notice my favorite thing we got that day. Our MagicBands.

Disney is always pushing limits and breaking through boundaries. I have been blessed enough to have the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World every six years from the first time I visited. The things I have seen change and develop each time I return, are mind blowing. But the one that caught and help my attention more than any other before it, is the MagicBand.

What is a MagicBand?

Simple! The MagicBand is your best friend.

It is your hotel key, your park tickets, your Fast Pass, your Memory Maker Pass, your money, and the most stylish AND functional accessory you will ever own.

Now I can see you thinking that it seems excessive or over the top, but allow me to break this down for you:

Upon arrival to Disney World, you will most likely need to check into your hotel. They will give you your hotel key. Then you will purchase your park tickets. You will need money to get food while you are in the park. You’ll need your camera and pretty soon, you’re wondering how you are supposed to carry all of this around without losing something. Especially if you have children!

But those days are gone, my friend.

You can choose from a variety of colors. Mine is pink and Zac’s is blue. They make charms to add to your band too! They even make customizations for your bands.

Your MagicBand IS your hotel key. You simply hold it to the Mickey Mouse sensor on your door, and when Mickey turns green, you’re in. (This only applies if you stay on Disney Property at a Disney Resort Hotel.)

Your MagicBand has all of your park tickets loaded onto it. You get into the parks in a similar way to how you get into your hotel room. Hold your MagicBand to the Mickey sensor and when it turns green, you place your finger on the finger print track. Once it confirms your finger print matches your band, you are in!

When you go to a dine in restaurant, you can charge your meal to your hotel room by using your MagicBand. You can also charge most souvenirs and things to your room the same way. This gets rid of the need to carry around as much money.

And with the ability to sync your Memory Maker Package to your MagicBand, there is no longer a need to carry around your camera!

And once you leave the park, don’t throw your band away! You can reuse your band for as long as they use the MagicBand system!

I recently learned that when attending the parks with children the band could help you locate a lost child who was separated from your group! No, the bands don’t have GPS trackers in them. (Although Disney can tell where you’ve been by tracking your spending and where you use your band.) But since you load your information onto the bands, if a lost child finds a Disney Cast member and the cast member scans the band, they should be able to access your phone number. This is an AMAZING feature. Be sure to tell your children what to do if they get separated from the group. Have a meeting place set. But also be sure to teach them that Disney Cast members are always there to help! Introduce your children to one so they know what they will be wearing. If your child did get lost and wanted to make their way to the meeting spot, a Cast member could help them navigate the park to meet you so they wouldn’t be alone, after they had contacted you!

MagicBands are game changers. And I’m sure in 5 years, when I hopefully go back, they will have found some way to top them. But until then, I will be amazed and share them with the world. I can’t wait to get back to the parks and use my favorite accessory again.

lyssa

Avocado “Quesadilla”

wpid-wp-1443810286156.jpegI love quesadillas. But after completing the Advocare 24 Day Challenge and losing 16 pounds, eating that much cheese just doesn’t seem worth it to me. Luckily, I found a way to eat a healthy “quesadilla”. If you are looking for a healthy lunch thats quick and easy, look no further.

Ingredients:

  • Tortillas
  • Avocados
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Red Pepper to taste
  • Green Onions
  • Paprika to taste
  • Chicken (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • Non Fat Greek Yogurt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cover half the tortilla in smashed avocado. If the avocado is small, it may take the whole thing to cover a half of a large tortilla. If its a medium or large avocado, half should be plenty. wpid-wp-1443808608653.jpeg
  2. Add seasoning to taste. I like the kick you get from red pepper and paprika. For a little more kick, add some cumin.
  3. Cut up your tomatoes and green onions and spread them around. wpid-wp-1443808617873.jpeg
  4. If you want to use chicken, cook and cut into small pieces. Add to tortilla.
  5. Add olive oil to a medium sized frying pan. Heat the tortilla in the olive oil until both sides are browned.
  6. Serve with Non Fat Greek Yogurt, as an alternative to sour cream.

It’s that easy! I tend to use canned chicken when I’m in a hurry. It fills me up, but my husband usually needs more. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

lyssa

Oreo Truffles

Last month, I was putting together my third care package for my husband. I had filled the first two with store bought goodies and he loved them. I decided I wanted to fill this one with home made love. So I made a couple things, and shared the extras with friends. Those friends made things for their husbands and gave me some of their extras. So a lot of what I sent was made either by me, or my close friends. I really think he is going to feel the love in that care package. I knew right away that I wanted to make Oreo Truffles for my ranger. We had made them together for Christmas and gave them to all our loved ones. They are so easy to make and they taste SO GOOD.

wpid-wp-1441144512075.jpegIngredients:

  • 1 Pack of Oreos
  • 1 block of Cream Cheese, softened
  • Melting White Chocolate

** Depending on the size you make your truffles you may need more or less white chocolate. I bought 4 boxes just to be safe.

Directions:

  1. Using a food processor, crush up all of the Oreos.
  2. Mix in softened cream cheese.
  3. Scoop out balls of the mixture in the size you need. I made mine very small so i could fit more in the containers I was using for the care package. If you aren’t packaging them up, I would make them the size of a cookie dough scoop. Place on wax paper covered, cookie sheet.
  4. Let sit in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes to set.
  5. Melt white chocolate, dip Oreo balls into the chocolate and place back onto cookie sheet.
  6. Let set in refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

lyssa

Grippos Bar-B-Q Crusted Chicken

gripposAs Cincinnati natives, my husband and I love our Grippo’s Bar-B-Q chips. If you have never had them, you are truly missing out. You can buy them in bags, like any other chip on the market. But most people would recognize them from the box you buy them in for parties. My mom brought us a box of the deliciously addicting chips, for Zac’s Ranger School graduation party. Once everyone left, I started to get worried we weren’t going to be able to finish them before they went stale. We have been trying to eat healthier, so snacking on chips wasn’t something we do regularly. It would be a terrible crime to let them go to waste, so we decided to make Grippo’s Bar-B-Q Crusted Chicken with them, and it did NOT disappoint.

wpid-wp-1443138367360.jpegIngredients:

  • Chicken, cut into nugget sized pieces
  • Grippos Bar-B-Q Chips
  • Eggs
  • Water

**Determine how much chicken you want to make. It was toward the end of the week, so we just cut up all the chicken we had left for the week. Two eggs worked great for us. And we just kept adding chips until all the chicken was coated.

Directions:

  1. Line a baking dish with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using a food processor, grind/crush chips into crumb sized pieces.
  3. Put eggs and a some water into a shallow dish or bowl.
  4. Add the crushed chips to another shallow dish.
  5. Drop chicken into the egg mixture. Make sure to coat the whole piece with the mixture.wpid-wp-1443138389423.jpeg
  6. Move chicken to the crushed chips. Coat the chicken in the chips.wpid-wp-1443138398003.jpeg
  7. Place the chicken into the baking pan. Spray chicken with olive oil cooking spray and dump any extra chips over the top. Spray again. wpid-wp-1443138457306.jpeg
  8. Once all pieces are coated, bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.
  9. Serve immediately with ranch or Grippo’s Bar-B-Q sauce. wpid-wp-1443138469107.jpeg

Although Grippo’s always set my mouth on fire, we loved our Grippo’s chicken. We may have used a lot of ranch, but it was delicious. It was an amazing taste of Cinci. I know we will be making that again the next time we can get our hands on some Grippo’s!

lyssa

Paper Anniversary Gift

IMG (432)One month ago, my husband and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. As most of you probably know, the first anniversary is the “paper anniversary”. Because Zac was in Ranger School, we spent our special day apart. We had to wait until his first graduation pass to exchange gifts. Zac had limited resources to gifts while in Ranger School, yet he still managed to knock it out of the park. He wrote an amazingly heartfelt poem and read it to me when he got home.

I however, had ALL the time in the world to work on my gift since I didn’t have to worry about him coming home and seeing me working on it, so I knew mine would have to be good. I completed his gift as one of my weekly projects but didn’t post it because I wanted him to see it in person before he saw it on social media.

Here’s what I came up with:

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Supplies:

  • Large Piece of Sturdy Paper (I used poster board)
  • Large Piece of Sturdy Paper in Contrasting Color
  • Frame
  • Spray Paint (optional)
  • Staple Gun and Staples
  • X-acto Knife
  • Mod Podge

Directions:

  1. Choose a picture to work from.
  2. Draw (or trace if you don’t think you can draw) the picture to the size you want on your darker colored paper (I used black paper). If you want a large picture and you feel the need to trace it, you will need to blow the picture up in order to do so.wpid-wp-1442941649974.jpeg
  3. Cut the lighter piece of paper to fit in or behind your frame.
  4. Using an X-acto knife, cut around the outside edges of the subjects of your picture. Since my picture was a wedding picture, I also decided to cut out all of the white accents, such as: my dress, my veil, my tiara, Zac’s bow tie and parts of his tux.wpid-wp-1442941635639.jpeg
  5. Once you have all the pieces cut away, glue the darker piece of paper to the lighter piece using the Mod Podge. (Be careful about dragging the glue across the darker paper, it may smear.)
  6. Let dry.
  7. Once dry, insert into frame. I didn’t use a traditional frame with glass, so I stapled the paper to the frame with a staple gun.

I worked long and hard on that gift. I cut until my fingers hurt. So i was extremely happy when Zac loved it enough to want to hang it in our bedroom where we would see it every night. I thought I chose a gift that fit the “paper” theme that hadn’t be over used or too terribly common. I guess I better start figuring out how I’m gonna top that for next year!

lyssa

DIY Bam Bam and Pebbles Costumes

1900117_10152370685432617_3365013254769095359_nSince Halloween is right around the corner, I figured I would share the costumes I made for my husband and I last year. We didn’t have a lot of time to pull these costumes together, but I think they turned out pretty well.

Supplies:

For Bam Bam:

  • Orange Fabric
  • An Orange Hat
  • Brown Fabric
  • Safety Pins
  • A Small Dog Bone
  • A Medium Sized Dog Bone
  • Black Felt
  • Hot Glue
  • Scissors
  • Cave Man Club

**We found the plain orange hat at a hat store that custom embroiders hats. We found the Cave Man Club at Spirit Halloween. The Bones are all Nylabone bones. You can get them at WalMart,Target, Meijer, and Petsmart.

For Pebbles:

  • Green Tank Top
  • Light Blue Body Con Skirt (or blue shorts)
  • Black Felt
  • Medium Sized Dog Bone
  • Hot Glue
  • Scissors

Directions:

For Bam Bam:

  1. Start by measuring around the waist of the person who is going to be wearing the costume. Then have them measure how long they want their costume to be. Keep in mind that you will be cutting pieces off, so be sure to find out how long it needs to be for them to be comfortable.
  2. Next cut triangular shapes out of the orange fabric.
  3. Have the wearer tie the fabric around their waist where they want to wear it.
  4. Measure from the front left hip bone, over the shoulder to the right side of the lower back. Add about two inches and cut out a strip of brown fabric. Cut triangular shapes out of the brown fabric.
  5. Safety pin the brown fabric to the orange fabric. (Be sure to pin it so you can’t see the pin.) Hot glue the medium sized bone over the front safety pin.
  6. Cut out various sizes of triangles out of the black felt.
  7. Hot glue the black triangles all over the orange fabric.
  8. Cut out smaller triangles for the hat.
  9. Hot glue them all over the hat.
  10. Hot glue the small bone on the back of the hat.

For Pebbles:

  1. I found my green shirt at Plato’s Closet and ended up liking it too much to want to hot glue anything to it. So for mine, I cut triangles out of black felt that hat sticker backing. It didn’t really work as well as the hot glue, but it saved the shirt.
  2. Wear green shirt with blue skirt or shorts.
  3. Complete look buy wearing the last dog bone in your hair. I hot glued a bone to a hair thing.

It wasn’t the most difficult DIY i have ever done, but we were able to pull the two costumes together quickly and with very little money. I can’t wait to see what we come up with this year!

lyssa