3.31.2011

General Conference is coming...


and I am so excited!! I love love love this time of year! I think I was inspired before I was put on bedrest to prepare some things for my kids for the upcoming events in our lives that I knew I would probably be down for (conference, Easter, birthdays, etc!) I almost forgot that I threw these simple little things together a few weeks ago, but remembered last night and thought it was a fun way to get your kids excited about conference. Not only that, but these would be great if you are in Primary, Activity Days, or Young Women's as well. They were super easy, cheap and I think the kids will love them :)



One thing I have found with my children is how important it is to make things like Family Home Evening and General Conference fun and something they look forward too. They are still so young they are not always capable of getting the spiritual "meat" that comes from these things...but I am thrilled when my kids get excited because they know its Monday night or they know we are soon going to be hearing the words of our Prophet. I think this excitement will translate in older years to truly enjoying the real reasons we have these things...not just for the fun treats. But hey, who am I kidding?? I am 28 years old with almost 4 kids and I STILL love the fun treats :) Anyway, last October I tried to make conference a little more special by doing a fun poem with some fuzzy socks that tied into feeling the Spirit. You can read all about it HERE.


This year I wanted to do something simple to get the kids excited for conference and looking forward to it. Here is what I came up with :)


All you need for this is some cute ribbon, Otter Pops, and a little note. I have posted the one I made here, please feel free to use it and let me know in the comments if you have any troubles gettting it, I would love to email it to anyone.


Once I printed off the note, I simply tied 3 Otter Pops together with the ribbon, taped on the note and there you have it! "General Conference is coming....COOL!!"



I think I will have these out for the kids on Friday morning to get them excited for Saturday. I hope you all have a wonderful General Conference weekend and enjoy those Otter Pops!! :)


3.29.2011

Feelings Family Home Evening

Well we missed yesterday having family home evening, but with all this free time on my hands being on bedrest and all, I figure the least I can do is get some home evenings planned :)


One thing I have noticed in the week that I have been on bedrest is how my kids are dealing with it. Like with any big changes they are struggling. They love being with their cousins and playing all day, but when they get home they are confused, scared I'm going to have to go back to the hospital, happy to be with me, but mad at the same time that I can't take care of them. It is so confusing to them, and within seconds they can go from laughing to yelling to crying in my lap. I thought this would be a perfect time to have a fhe on on feelings, not only discussing diffferent feelings, but especially talking about appropriate ways to deal with them.


First I am going to start off by telling the kids about the parable of The Prodigal Son. I got a lot of ideas from the Church's Primary Manual lesson on Feelings. Everytime I say a different feeling, the kids are going to stand up. After we read the story we are going to talk about how Heavenly Father gave us all different feelings and its up to us to deal with them in appropriate ways.


Then I printed out all the following pictures of kids showing different feelings.

Worried Scared
Sad
Happy
Excited
Bored
Angry


When I hold up a picture the kids are going to yell out what feeling they think that is and they are going to show me their best "feeling faces!"


After that little activity we are going to finish by reading one of my FAVORITE books I have for my kids, its called No Hitting. It gives a lot of different scenarios where a child gets upset and wants to do something naughty, then goes on to say thats not ok, but here is something else I can do instead.

My kids love it and I think it will tie in nicely with our night.



I thought of a few simple fun things you could do for dessert: sugar cookies and let the kids put different faces on them, cupcakes with the same idea, etc. Since I am laying low we will probably just have something Paul picked up from the store:)


As I have prepared this lesson I have been so grateful for the counsel we have been given to have weekly family home evenings. It creates a loving environment with the Spirit present where we can address issues or problems we are having with our children, and have Heavenly Father's guidance as we strive to show our children more love and compassion.

3.23.2011

Coming to you live from...

my very own hospital bed! :) This baby, like all her siblings before her, is once again anxious to make an early arrival to our home. Unfortunately for Avrie, its a little TOO early since I am only 30 weeks. I was admitted into the hospital 5 am on Monday morning and will be here til at least Thursday to make sure we have gotten a little bit of control of the situation. Even though we have been through similar situations with each of our children, it is always a scary and unsure time. I have been blessed with much peace at this time and wanted to share a few things today I am truly grateful for! :)



Modern Medicine - what a gift that I am able to bring babies into the world in this day and age. I was able to complete my last round of steroid shots for the babies lungs this morning, and it is absolutely amazing to me the things they can do for preterm babies.

Family - What we do without all your love and support?? As my heart aches for my little unborn baby that needs more time...it also aches for my 3 children I have at home. NOTHING is as hard on me as being away from my kids, but my family takes such good loving care of them. They cried when they left the hospital last night, and that made me cry too, but I know they are in loving capable hands.

There is so much more, but my heart is a little too full right now to write too much of anything that actually makes any sense! We have felt the love and prayers of people that we know, and still others that we don't that are praying for God's will in regards to our little Avrie. It is a challenging time for our family, but also one where we are able to closely feel our Savior's love for us and His involvement in our family. Thank you for all the love and support and we will definitely keep you updated!

3.18.2011

New baby family home evening

We are getting so excited to welcome a new baby girl into our family, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to have a family home evening that not only talks about some of the ways our lives will change when baby Avrie comes home, but relates some common baby items to our lives to help us make the choices to be together forever.

When the kids come in I will have baby pictures up of them all from when they were first born. Then will talk a little bit about how we are each special children of Heavenly Father and sing I am a Child of God. Then we are going to go on a scavenger hunt to find 6 items we will need to help us take care of our new baby.

Formula
Blanket
Baby Wash
Baby Books
Diapers
Big Heart

Once we have gathered all the items and placed them in a basket we will talk about how just like a newborn baby needs all these items to learn and grow, we too need to do certain things to help us grown and become more like Jesus.

Formula – We have been given a body by a loving Heavenly Father. We need to take very good care of it and nourish it with healthy food and lots of fun exercise.
Blanket – It is important that we use the Sabbath Day as a day of rest. Just like babies need lots of sleep, we need one day a week to slow down and think about Heavenly Father and Jesus.

Baby Wash – Just like babies get dirty and need lots of baths, we too in life can make mistakes and need to be made clean again. That’s why when we turn 8 Heavenly Father has given us the opportunity to be baptized and made clean.

Baby Book – Babies have so much to learn and need us to help teach them. We ALL have a lot to learn about the gospel, that is why Heavenly Father has given us the scriptures and the words of our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, to help us learn and grow so we can return back to our Father in Heaven.

Diapers – Babies get very dirty and need to be changed often with a clean diaper. We also need to make changes often by saying I am sorry and repenting. Repenting means saying you’re sorry and trying to not do those things anymore.

Big Heart – Mostly babies need lots and lots of LOVE! We too need a lot of love, that is why we can always go to Heavenly Father and Jesus in prayer if we are ever scared or sad. They love us so much and want us to be truly happy.

I made up some cute cards that I will attach to each item so we can read through them one by one.

For dessert I am indulging my kids love of potty humor and making these cute napkin diaper cups with whoppers inside :) Pretty sure my kids will think their hilarious!


3.17.2011

The pot of gold at the end of MY rainbow :)

That's what my kids are to me :) They are so wild, noisy, crazy...and they bring me so much joy. Today was a wonderful day spent enjoying them and making lots of fun memories in the progress. I can tell I have less patience and much less energy every week I get closer to having this baby...so I'm just glad I was able to pull something off at all.
Every year we start our day off with a fun, festive St. Patrick's Day breakfast and the go on a hunt for lucky clovers with gold on the back.
The kids loved their shamrock cinnamon rolls...I love those precious little faces!!

Then the hunt was on!! I LOVE this picture of Kendall...she was so excited to find a lucky clover!

Britton found one clover the entire hunt....but it was a lucky one so he didn't care!




Skylar obviously has the most experience, she totally cleaned house.


After our hunt we did a simple craft that was able to throw a little education into our day. I just gave the kids bowls full of equal numbers of each color of fruit loops. Then we made rainbows with them. It was fun for the younger kids to work on recognizing and sorting colors and Skylar just loves to do crafts of any kind!










This was Britton's attempt....:)






When we got home from picking Skylar home from school we found out a little leprechaun had been running wild through our home! He left 3 of these little vials for the kids with instructions to empty them into a bowl and add milk. Once you do that you have this yummy after school snack...




YUMMY!!!



We ended the night with our traditional dinner of fettuccini alfredo, breadsticks and salad, all green of course :) The kids had a fun-filled day, the highlight of which was that silly leprechaun turning all the water in the toilets green. They are so easy to please!
Another great holiday has come and gone, I hope you enjoyed it in whatever way you chose to celebrate. I am now going straight to my room for a hot bath, huge cup full of Iceberg ice, and a fun novel :)








Cutting the Chaos...the simplest chore chart around!

I have been on the hunt for the perfect "chore chart" for my daughter Skylar for quite some time now. I had lots of specifications: must be easy enough for a 5 year old to use, needs to look cute :), and needs to be CHEAP! Also, I didn't want something that would overwhelm her, just something that would help her remember the daily things she needs to do as they become habits. Almost more of a reminder chart than a chore chart. Well needless to say I was having a difficult time finding just what I wanted so I came up with my own spin :)
I made this sheet using my digital scrapbooking program. It took me all of about 5 minutes and matches my girls bathroom perfectly!


Then I framed it in an old white frame I had sitting around in my basement and put a dry erase marker in the unused toothbrush holder next to it.

This is a picture of the chart up in their bathroom...I was excited that it is not only totally functional, but looks really cute in their bathroom too!



Skylar loves running up and putting a smiley face next to each item as she completes it and every night I just wipe the dry erase marker off the glass and we are ready for the next day!

I would love to know what kind of chore charts you use and how you motivate your kids to help around the house...:) Have a great day everyone, and happy St. Patricks Day!!








3.16.2011

My favorite girls

I don't know what it is, but every time I get close to having another baby I feel a strong desire to spend as much quality time with my children as possible. I know their ( and my!) lives are about to drastically change...for the better I believe...but still a change. Its always an adjustment bringing a new baby home and I need my kids to KNOW how important they are to me, even once a new baby is taking up all my attention. Actually I am working on a family home evening for next week that deals with just that, so stay tuned! But I digress! :) This is a post about my cute girls :)

Friday night we went out for the most perfect, cliche girls night out ever! :) Dinner at Zupa's, shoe shopping, and topping off the night with frozen yogurt. It was just as much fun as it looks and I want to do it again soon. My girls LOVE to take pictures so you get to see one of me with each of them.




The best part about our night was being reminded of what incredibly amazing, different little girls I have! I learned alot about them, which seems crazy since I am with almost 24 hours a day, but for some reason they showed such personality when it was just the 3 of us. Kendall has a gift for telling stories...LONG stories :) But they are incredibly detailed and funny too :) I have always thought of her as my shy one, but she is proving me wrong. At Zupas she was in the center of the restaurant dancing and then proceeding to teach me how to get her moves "just right". I love her spunk...she is by far my most stubborn child but she has such a tender heart as well.

Skylar is the life of the party! She is a wonderful big sister that is growing up faster than I can believe. I depend on her so much, mostly for the example that she sets. She has the innate desire and ability to be obedient even when I am not telling her what to do. She knows the difference between right and wrong and strives constantly to make the best choices. Her siblings couldn't have a better example in our home. She says really funny things and is the most affectionate child I know...every few minutes she would kiss my arm and tell me how much she loves me.

I am so grateful for my girls, the two that I have, and the one that will soon be joining our family. Raising daughters sometimes feels overwhelming and scary to me, I so badly want to do a good job and help mold them into the women they are meant to be. I want to teach them self-confidence and to stand up for whats right...no matter what. Its not an easy job, and I KNOW it is going to get so much tougher as they get older. I also know what beautiful daughters my Heavenly Father has blessed me with and that makes me think everything is going to turn out just fine.

3.14.2011

St. Patrick's Day Week!

What a fun week we have planned! For some reason I really love St. Patricks Day, and my kids do too! Skylar has planned about 4 different green outfits she can wear that day...can I tell you how much I love that she gets into holidays?! We have done some really fun things in years past so I thought I would just share some of those ideas and link to some fun new ones too :)

If rainbow pancakes, leprechaun hats, and a very festive dinner are your thing, check out my this blog post HERE.

If you want to try a simple, yummy breakfast your kids are sure to love I think you will enjoy this post HERE.

And if you need a last minute family home evening for tonight check out this REALLY fun fhe about rainbows HERE.

Here are some of my favorite activities that we have done in years past:



When the kids wake up and come out in the morning they will find the living room COVERED in clovers. The trick is there are only a few that have 4 leaves, the rest all have 3. Then we go on a hunt to find the lucky 4 leaf clovers, and the ones we find have chocolate coins taped to the back. We did this last year and Skylar loved it. I was planning on cutting all the clovers out but ended up finding a bunch at a party store that worked just fine, then I just made the 4 leaf clovers. If you do cut yours out I would reccomend laminating them so you don't have to go to that much work every year :)



This awesome stamp is made by using a heart cookie cutter on a potato, and then cutting the potato to make the heart shape. Then you use the potato as a stamp and just use a paint brush to make the stem. We are going to stamp a plain white tablecloth that we will be able to use every year in the future for St. Paddy's Day!



Okay, this next one is really fun!! After reading some kind of book about leprachauns and their gold, we went on a search for the gold at the end of the rainbow. I just hid clues all over the house and eventually they led to fridge, where Skylar found this adorable little bowl full of square yellow jellow jigglers. It was a blast!

Finally one of our favorite traditions is to make Leprechaun Dust.



You just decorate some little jars, add pistachio pudding mix and then let the kids add the milk and shake up....VOILA!! Their very own magic, yummy leprechaun dust becomes a delicious treat.


I hope you all have a wonderful St. Patricks Day!!

3.11.2011

Rainbow Family Home Evening


This was a really fun family home evening that I threw together last year that the kids really enjoyed. One great thing about having so many young kids is you really can reuse some of these fhe's...especially the holiday ones! :) Next week we are learning about St Patricks day and Rainbows and I was happy to come up with something that would go along with our theme.

We are going to start by talking about leprachauns and how they are always looking for the end of the rainbow so they can get to the pot of gold. We are going to talk about how beautiful rainbows are, and what they represent for our family.

Red= Love
Orange= Service
Yellow= Happiness
Green= Knowledge
Blue= Faith
Purple= Honesty

On the floor we will have tons of squares of papers in all the different colors of the rainbow. One at a time, starting with red, I will ask the kids to pick up all the papers of that color. Then they will tape them all up on the wall and we will talk about what that color represents. For instance, Red=Love, Jesus taught us that we should love one another. We need to love everyone, even if people are mean to us. We will do this for each of the colors. This works out really great because it allows the kids to get up, run around and get out their wiggles inbetween our discussion of each color. By the end we will have a "rainbow" of squares leading around the corner. Around the corner I will have a pot of Gold (Rolos:). Of course, this represents what we will find if we do all the things represented in our "rainbow", eternal life and being with our family forever!

I am excited for this lesson for several reasons. I love a good visual, and I hope we can make the rainbow a reminder for our family of all the things we need to do to live with our Heavenly Father again. Last year for weeks after anytime we saw a rainbow we would talk about the different colors and what they represented. Skylar remembered all the colors then so I am excited to do it again this year and see how much more she and Kendall can understand! :) Here are some pics from last year...you can see how much fun it was :)














3.09.2011

A fun St. Patty's Day breakfast idea!

I know its a week early, but I had a great idea in the middle of night while I was busy tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable with this big belly of mine :) Why I was thinking of breakfast ideas for St. Patricks day I'm not sure, but I had to try it out today to make sure it would be as great as I imagined....and it was! ;)


If you remember from last year, I love going all out on St. Patricks Day, starting with a fun themed breakfast. For this years I went with something very simple, tasty and sure to please the kids. Here are ALL the things you need for this "lucky" breakfast:





Yep, thats it! Just a package of refrigerator cinnamon rolls, a small heart cookie cutter and a cookie sheet. Yes folks, I am in my 3rd trimester and that means refrigerator cinnamon rolls will do just fine for breakfast :) If you want to try homemeade....more power to you!!




I simply took the small cookie cutter and cut out 3 hearts. Then I used some of the leftovers to create the stem for our shamrock.







Didn't it turn out adorable! This is fresh out of the oven. And I have to apologize for the quality of pictures, my camera flat out stinks.







You can't have cinnamon rolls without frosting, and it can't be St. Patrick's Day if its not green...so there you have it :)




Because I am such a dedicated mother and care so deeply about my childrens happiness I had to test out this breakfast...it was quite delicious!! ;) I can't wait to make it for my kids next week, I think they are going to love it. Let me know if you try this one out!







3.08.2011

Cutting the Chaos, Party style!

This weeks Cutting the Chaos deals with something close to my heart...throwing parties!! :) I LOVE a good party. I love everything about it, the preparation, the planning, the actual party, and mostly the memories that are made. I am always thinking about my kids next birthday and with all these thoughts running around in my head I sometimes feel like my brain is about to explode! Plus, I am thinking if this pregnancy goes the way all the others have, bedrest may be soon on the horizon. If this does happen, I plan on being prepared! :) We have some very special birthdays coming up that I don't plan on missing. So I give you, my very own Party Planner! :)


This is the cover sheet I just quickly threw together using my digital scrapbooking program. Everything is better when its cute, right?!



This cute little page is on the back...I just liked how it looked :)


Now on the inside I have a bunch of dividers and then inbetween each divider I have plastic sheet protecters for putting print-outs, ideas, clippings from magazines etc.



Here are my tabs:



Party Details - this includes the theme for the different parties (ie Monster Party for Britton, PJ Party for Skylar, etc..). It also includes estimated date, guest lists and any thing else I need.



Invites - This is where I can put different ideas for invitations or if I am really on top of things where I can store the actual invitations after they are made. Also a good place to put guest lists.



Decorations



Food



Games / Activites



Favors



Gifts - I buy the majority (okay, pretty much all!) of the birthday presents at big clearance sales, like when Target puts their toys at 75% off. This is a great place to keep track of what I have bought so I actually give the gift I bought months and months ago.



The absolute BEST thing about this system is how it is allowing me to not waste and save as much money as I can. I often buy things out of season and then use them for things later. When I am unorganized I forget I have them and usually go out and rebuy more things! Not so any more!! Also, now if I find a great deal on something I will know exactly what I could use it for and I won't forget that I bought it 2 months later! :) I also run across a lot of fantastic ideas online and now when I see one I just print it out and stick it in the appropriate divider. I would love to know, do you enjoy throwing parties?? If so, what are some of your favorite tips?