Football Photo Frame

A friend gave me a stack of foam sports ball embellishments, so I challenged myself to use the football. This frame was a lot of fun to make and would be great for displaying a team photo, a special autograph, or other memorabilia. This post contains affiliate links. 


Football Photo Frame



Paint the frame white. When the paint is completely dry, add evenly-spaced strips of tape vertically on the frame. Starting at the center, use number stickers to label the 50-yard line. (I didn't have enough 0 stickers, so I had to reuse it, which was a giant pain. Make sure you have enough stickers.)

Paint over the frame in green, using a pouncing motion. Don't use normal brushstrokes or you could get paint under the tape and stickers. 

I had to carefully paint around the areas that don't have their last 0 stickers yet. You won't have this problem, because you will have enough 0's for the whole project. 

Carefully remove the tape by lifting straight up. 

Now, peel up the numbers. I like to use a retractable craft pick for a job like this. (Note that even though the tool is completely ambidextrous, the printing makes it obvious that it was designed for/by right-handed people. Sigh.)

Anyway, use the pick to peel up the numbers. You may need to do a little bit of touch-up painting. When the paint is dry, use craft glue to attach the football to the upper right corner. 

Now just add your photo, autograph, or memorabilia and your frame is ready to display!


Harry Potter Travel Game Holder

In addition to their annual framed layouts, I made Harry Potter themed travel game holders for my goddaughters' birthdays. Paper House Productions sent me some adorable Harry Potter goodies (affiliate link here and throughout the post) and I couldn't wait to dive in and try them! I made a Hufflepuff tin for Ellia and a Griffindor for Kylinn. 

Inside each: a Magic deck, curated specifically for each girl by Trevor; Tant Fant, and the materials for a Native American stick game. There's plenty of room if they want to add dice, cards, or other game pieces. 


Harry Potter Travel Game Holder



Cut a strip of black cardstock the length of the lid. Apply red line tape and secure it in place. Punch a black circle and apply the desired house sticker to it. Use the dies to cut a label from gold cardstock. Attach the black circle to the center. Add narrow washi tape to the center of the black cardstock, then edge it with wider washi. Attach the label in the center. 

Obviously, you can change up the decorations any way you'd like. For Ellia's Hufflepuff tin, I put the narrow washi on both edges of the black cardstock, then added the wider washi below. I used a different label die and adhered it horizontally instead of vertically.  

Fill the tin with games (or collectibles, money, or anything else) and your gift is ready to give!


Updates to the 50 States Album

Trevor has added three new pages to his 50 State Album. Here's Virginia, from his March trip with his school. The trip included Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York also, but he'd already been to those states, so Virginia is the only new page.  

We just returned from Missouri and Kansas (as well as Idaho, but that wasn't a new-to-him state). Here are those pages:

While blogging and scrapbooking (and then blogging about scrapbooking!) are my preferred ways to document our trips, this simple format works well for Trevor. Slide in the postcard, write a paragraph and add a flag sticker, then choose one photo to represent the state. Quick and easy.

I absolutely love looking through Trevor's 50 States album. It's now 32/50 complete. You can see all 32 pages here, along with links to buy supplies to make your own album. Obviously, this idea isn't limited to the 50 states. Use it to document any sort of travels. Or, switch out the postcard for an invitation or a second photo and document pretty much anything else. It would be super cute to have an album about a child's birthday parties each year, or their Halloween costumes.


Family Cooking Competitions

As promised, I've finished organizing another category for my FUN WITH FOOD page. Presenting... Family Cooking Competitions!

Any guesses how many cooking competitions the deRosier family has done? Hop over to my Family Cooking Competitions page to find out! I've organized the page based around the Food Network show that inspired our competition... and ended up with a bunch that we came up with on our own. Reading these posts bring back lots of good memories of fun times and (usually) tasty food.


Ellia at 10

As hard as it is to believe my goddaughter Kylinn is 13, it's harder to believe that her little sister, Ellia, is 10. I was there when Ellia was born, which will always be special to me. Watching her grow up has been a delight.

Ellia at 10 (affiliate link)

Each year, it seems like one of the girls' layouts comes together much easier than the other. This time, Ellia's was the challenge. When I pulled the black of her outfit or her purple hair, the page was too dark and heavy for this happy, sassy, imaginative girl. The page worked so much better when I switched to the lighter background with pinks. 

Looking back at her 9 previous pages, I've used a lot of different colors and to capture expressive and creative Ellia as she's grown. But many of the words I've used to describe her have stayed the same from year to year, which is true for Kylinn and Trevor as well. It's so interesting to me that their personalities as preteens/teens are the basically the same as when they were toddlers.


Kylinn at 13

I gave my goddaughters their birthday layouts yesterday, so I can share them here now. Here's Kylinn at 13:

Kylinn at 13 (affiliate link)

I am proud of the teenager she's become. Kylinn is very interested in social justice and equality for all. She speaks up against injustice and is a kind and caring person. 

As always, I didn't look back at the previous layouts I've made for her until I finished this one. If I had, I probably wouldn't have chosen a purple color, since I've used some shade of purple on 6 of the previous 12 layouts! On the other hand, she does have purple hair and a purple tie in the photo, so the color scheme was pretty well set for me. I'm pleased to see that I haven't used this particular arrangement before either. There's only so many ways to put a title, one 4x6" photo, and list of adjectives on a 8x10" page. I'm very happy with how this turned out. 


Family-Friendly Things to Do in Boise, Idaho (Part 7)

This is the seventh and final post about our family's adventures in July 2019. If you haven't already, I recommend reading the firstsecondthirdfourth, fifth, and sixth posts about this trip. 


After our week exploring Missouri and Kansas, we flew to Boise, Idaho for a family reunion. My parents and my sister's family live there now. My aunt, uncle, and cousins and their families drove over from Spokane for a long weekend.

The first morning we were there, my mom joined Steve, Trevor, and me to do the Boise Urban Adventure Quest. It started at the State Capitol.

The Quest took us by Freak Alley, JUMP, the Anne Frank Memorial, the Boise Art Museum, and the Basque Block.



We also passed by the library. Or, more accurately, the Library! The next time I'm in town, I'm going to visit the four branches to find the one with exclamation point shelves.

As always, we had great fun doing the Quest. It wasn't our best showing (2 mistakes) and our time was terrible (we stopped to tour JUMP, took photos at a bunch of places, and looked around a bit at other sites), but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And it introduced us to places we didn't know existed that we'll explore further during future visits.

We finished the Quest a half block from Boise Fry Company, so that's where we had lunch. We've eaten there during both of our previous Boise trips, and it never disappoints. We did find it funny that we went all the way to Idaho and they had Heretic on tap... it's only a few miles from our house and hosts Steve's homebrew club meetings.

And check this out! Idaho potatoes, of course... but I spy California sweet potatoes. And the 'Ruddy Spuddy' boxes are labeled California Potatoes. Funny!

We spent the rest of the day hanging out with our extended family (19 people) at my sister's house. We played a bunch of games, indoors and out. That's my nephew, Timothy, with cousin Aiden on his back and cousin Lillian as his cornhole partner. 

Here are cousins Trevor, Ethan, and Aiden playing a non-standard version of cornhole while Lillian and Allison watch. 

My godson Teagan and my niece Allison both helped me work on a Diamond Art project (affiliate link here and throughout the post). Both kids are 6 and did a great job. 

Meanwhile, Timothy, Lillian, Trevor and Grandma played Harry Potter Labyrinth. We LOVE Labyrinth. It's one of our favorite games

We ate a lot, too.

On Saturday, we did a float trip on the Boise River. 

It's mostly relaxing, with bursts of excitement here and there. In addition to the excitement of the rapids, there was unexpected 'excitement' when my brother-in-law helped save a young girl who was not wearing a life jacket. He was injured in the process, but all ended well. Please, parents: insist your children wear life jackets, even if they're strong swimmers. And wear your own!

We stopped for lunch along the river.

In the afternoon, we returned to Kari's house for more food and family fun. And a group photo.

This Disney-themed Eye Found It game is great fun for all ages. 

Nertz is a family favorite, too. 

All too soon, it was time for us to head home. We had a fantastic time exploring Missouri and Kansas, plus returning to Idaho. This trip brings us up to 32 states... only 18 more to go! Follow the link to see our updated map, plus recommendations for all 32 states we've visited. Any guesses where we're headed next?!


Family-Friendly Things to Do in Topeka and Kansas City (Part 6)

This is the sixth post about our family's adventures in July 2019. If you haven't already, I recommend reading the firstsecondthird, fourth, and fifth posts about this trip. Because I blog about educational travel, I received complimentary admission tickets, media rates, discounts, and other benefits for some of the places we visited throughout the trip. Many attractions are free to everyone; I paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I share is something that I recommend without hesitation.


Family-Friendly Fun in Topeka, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri

While we spent the majority of our trip in Missouri, we did dedicate a full day to exploring Topeka, Kansas. We had a great time!

It took about an hour to drive from our hotel just north of downtown Kansas City to our first destination, the Kansas Museum of History

Right from the start, it was obvious that the staff has put a lot of thought into making the Kansas Museum of History fun, educational, and accessible to all ages. I absolutely love this display of activity guides for kids (or adults!). Trevor worked on the BINGO card and loved it. 

We started with a special exhibit called "105 Counties 105 Stories." This outstanding display includes a single story from each of Kansas' 105 counties, including stories of "rain wizards, war heroes, artists, business adventures, hard times, and happy endings." 

The Main Gallery tells the story of Kansas from its native people to its recent past. We thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I took these two photos because both exhibits featured places we'd be visiting that afternoon!

In addition to the galleries, the Kansas Museum of History has a Discovery Center for young children. At 13, Trevor has long outgrown puppet shows and pretend play, but I saw quite a few happy kids playing in the space. No photos, of course, since I don't photograph strangers' kids. Instead, here's a gorgeous piece of woodwork from outside the Discovery Center. 

A 2.5 mile trail winds through the grounds of the museum. We crossed over a bridge (an Eagle Scout project, as it turns out)....

... and set off in search of a geocache. Success! 

We saw tons of birds and butterflies, particularly as we crossed into the native grassland area. What a treasure this trail is!

We had lunch at the outstanding Bobo's Drive-In. While not huge, the seating area seems enormous compared to Carl's Drive-In! The food was just as delicious. 

Hey, look! Guy Fieri was here.  

On the recommendation of many locals, and Guy Fieri, we tried the Spanish burger, onion rings, and a slice of their famous apple pie. Delicious!

Next, the Kansas State Capitol

Trevor got a stamp in his Capitol Collection book. 

We asked about the Liberty Bell replica, as we had not seen on the grounds or in the lobby, the two places where most states have theirs on display. With a big sigh, the man on duty told us that the bell is in storage. Then he offered to take us to see it. We headed downstairs, through the parking garage, and to a utility closet. Inside, this. 

He told us that he's been fighting to get the bell back on display, which I was glad to hear. But repairs need to be done and there are apparently concerns about people ringing it if it's on display. (This does not seem like an issue to me. You can ring the replicas in some states; others have the bell behind plexiglass or otherwise blocked off.) Anyway, for now the bell is in storage and you might be allowed to go see it if you ask.    

After seeing the bell, we poked around the Capitol for awhile, waiting for the Dome Tour to start.

The Dome Tour is not for the faint of heart. Or the faint of back, neck, knee, or feet. Nor for young children, people in improper shoes, or people who don't like heights. The tour began easily enough. We climbed about 75 steps and stopped to learn interesting facts from the docent and take some pictures. 

More climbing, then more listening and learning. 

Then, more climbing. Up to this point, the staircases were wide enough and located around the dome. The air conditioning didn't reach this high and the temperatures were climbing with each step up. The last of the 296 stairs were very narrow and steep, and went straight across the opening of the dome before spiraling to the very top. 

Steve, who is afraid of heights, was out. Trevor and I talked about going up without him, but we were really hot, had somewhere else we needed to be, and ultimately decided to all head down together. We were not the only ones in the group to bail out. Here you can see some of the brave (and apparently heat-resistant) tourists starting their way up. 

The Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ended legal segregation in public schools. The National Historic Site is housed at the once-segregated Monroe School. Much of it has been restored to its 1954 appearance. 

Start in the auditorium with a 30-minute introductory video called 'Race and the American Creed.' Then proceed to the various galleries. Some parts are hard to see, but so important.

This map shows states with mandatory segregation (green), optional segregation (blue), laws forbidding segregation (red), and no laws regarding segregation (grey). Kansas is blue. 

There's a gorgeous mural between the NHS and the parking lot. 

A former coworker of Steve's lives in Kansas, so we headed to Q39 to meet him and his wife for dinner.

The place was huge and jam-packed. It was easy to see why - the food was outstanding. This is the Baby Berg with pork belly lardons. YUM!

We thoroughly enjoyed our time. Definitely try Q39 if you're in the area. The original location, which we did not try, is in midtown Kansas City. 

Stuffed from dinner, we headed back to our hotel for our final night in Kansas City. The next morning, we packed our stuff, checked out of the hotel, and headed to our final KC destination: the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. To be honest, my main reason for wanting to go there was to see the World's Largest Shuttlecocks. 

There are actually four on the grounds of the museum, along with many other sculptures. 

Because of the heat, we toured the outside area first while it was still relatively cool. 

This glass maze was really neat. As you know, Trevor loves mazes

Trevor also loves mini golf and was thrilled to see the Art Course on the museum grounds.

Unfortunately, all the tee times were taken, so we had to settle for watching other people play. The holes were so original. It's impossible to pick a favorite, but for me it might be this one, which is a model of the museum and grounds. 

When it started getting uncomfortably warm outside, we headed indoors to the galleries. We spent the next hour or so enjoying art. 

We ate a late lunch in the museum's outstanding Rozzelle Court Restaurant

Our final stop in Kansas City was at the airport... but we didn't fly home! Tomorrow I'll share the final leg of our three-state adventure.