5.31.2011

School's Out Activity Jar

Can you believe summer is already here?? I can't, especially with the weather we are having here ;) It is supposed to be in the 70's today so maybe that will help :) With this being the last week of school I decided to throw a little something together that will hopefully help from me hearing the words "I'm bored!!" all summer long!




I give you...the School's Out jar!!




I just got a Silhoutte cutting machine and man....I am in love!!! Oh, the possiblities are endless with this baby! For this jar I simply cut the wording, some big ric rac, and that cute little birdie...all in colors that match my kitchen. I am kind of wierd about everything matching :) Then I just glued it all together and wrapped it around a big glass jar I have had laying around. Inside the jar is full of pieces of paper that all have different activities on them. I tried really hard to make all the activities include things we always have on hand or that we could do at the drop of a hat. I also included about 15 blank papers...when the kids pick those they will get to choose something on their own. Also, not every activity in there is pure fun :) About a third are chores to be done around the house. I am all for playing and having fun with my kids, but I also want them to realize that to live in a home as a family requires work, and not just by mom!!





Here is the jar in my kitchen...I love how it will not only provide fun activities for my kids, but adds some cute decor to the room too!! Here are just a few of the ideas I put in the jar...if you try this come back and tell me some of the activities you did too!! Happy Almost Summer!!

Play with Play-Doh
Put on a puppet show
Have a read-a-thon
Wipe down the windows
Pull weeds outside
Make our own hopscotch
Have a dance party
Do an obstacle course
Make our own Play-Doh
Wipe down all the bathrooms
Make a fort in the living room
Watch a movie with popcorn
Finger paint
Play twister
Make treats for neighbors
Clean out playroom
Have a tea party
And lots more....:)

5.29.2011

Memorial Day family home evening




Skylar gave me the perfect intro to this family home evening last night. She said "Mom, what is Memorial Day? Why don't I have to go to school on Monday?" Well Skylar...I am glad you asked! :)


I think in our house we usually tend to skim over the real purpose of Memorial Day and just enjoy the day off work and school. We don't really have too many family members that have passed on with graves close by, so we don't usually visit a cemetary or do anything like that. I do, however, want my children to understand why we celebrate Memorial Day, and know that it is a day of remembrance, to remember all those we love that have passed on, and to remember veterans and to have gratitude for the freedoms they ensure for all of us and our country.


I found this great website HERE that has lots of info on teaching your kids the real meaning of Memorial Day. For our lesson we are just going to highlight some of the points made here. I also am going to throw in a little bit about the plan of salvation and how because of temple ordinances we can be with those that have passed on again one day forever.

Since we won't be visiting any cemeteries tomorrow I had a fun idea for a craft. We have made these handprint lillies before and I thought we could tie them into our lesson. We are going to talk about how you take flowers to the cemetary to show your loved ones that you remember them and are grateful for how they have blessed your life. Well, after we make these lillies we are going to write down something or someone that we are grateful for that we want to remember, perhaps like grandparents, freedoms of living in America, etc. Then we are going to attach each memory to one of the lillies and display them in our kitchen throughout the week. Hopefully this will remind our kids about the lesson and the real reason why we celebrate Memorial Day.



Finally...you know I love a good themed treat! I just got this Flag Jello Mold in the mail yesterday and think tomorrows fhe would be the perfect time to test it out :) HERE is where you can find directions to make this beauty, and if you don't have a mold I am sure a 9x13 pan would work just fine too!


I hope you all have a good Memorial Day tomorrow. I hope it is a day of peace, filled with remembrance and love for those that have gone on before us, and gratitude for all those that have in the past or are still protecting and serving our nation.




5.26.2011

It looks so easy...

Spray-painting, that is! I LOVE all the great projects I am seeing on different craft blogs these days that use a really inexpensive item and a little spray-paint to create something beautiful. I figured it would be pretty simple so off I went to the store! I had been looking for some artwork to go underneath some fabulous vinyl I put up in my daughters' room and found this picture at Tai Pan Trading for a whopping $2.50! I loved the print and could not stand the frame. That's where the spray paint came in :)



Spray painting is harder than it looks!! I kept spraying some parts way too much and having it drip and not spray other parts near enough showing way too much gold. Luckily the beautiful thing about this project was the fact that I was going for a shabby vintage look....so once I got a little sandpaper going it turned out just fine :)




Looks much better, right?! So after my first venture in spray-painting I am definitely going to keep at it, the possibilities are endless!! :)


5.23.2011

4 is fun! :)

(Yes, I realize this picture really only has 3 kids...but you get the idea!:)

That is what I have decided the last few weeks....4 kids are so fun! :) Is it crazy? YES! Is it loud? YES! Have there been a few pull-my-hair-out moments? YES! Overall though, its been a really great transition. It makes my heart so happy to see my children show so much love to their new baby sister. Britton took a little bit longer coming around, but now he always wants to hold and kiss baby Avrie. Avrie is an angel, loves her sleep, so much in fact that my biggest struggle with her is keeping her awake long enough to eat. She is a teeny one, still is not even back up to her birth weight, weighing in at a whopping 6 pounds so we are trying to get that girl chubby! :)


I think you can find good in almost anything if you are willing to look for it, and this last pregnancy has truly made me see the good in a difficult end to a pregnancy. I am SO grateful for the opportunity that I have to take care of my children the way I want to. I am so grateful for a healthy body that although doesn't look QUITE how I would like it too, lets me do all the things I want to do for my family. I am grateful for 4 children that every single day make me smile, and every single day make me want to better. I am grateful for the Spirit that has come to our home with Avrie, I feel amazingly content and at peace. I am grateful for all the service that was shown to me and my family, and especially grateful that I can now serve others!! Sometimes I need to be reminded how lucky I am to be able to keep up a home, and run my kids to dance class and soccer practice. How lucky I am to be able to cook nutritious meals for my family and spend quality time with my husband. NOT being able to do these things has reminded me what a gift it all is...I hope this is something I can remember for a long time! :)

5.22.2011

Flower and Plant Week

Well now that little Avrie has joined our family we are trying to get right back into the swing of things. I think the more kids you have the more natural it is to add another one! I have been blessed with another good baby and a great recovery so I thought it would be fun to get back to our weekly themes!! I LOVE having a weekly theme that makes learning fun and exciting for my kids, but also ensures that I spend some quality time with them. It can get so busy just keeping up the house and doing all the things that HAVE to get done, before I know it the week will be over and I won't have truly enjoyed my kids and the wonderful stages they are at.

Spring is here (maybe, if it will ever stop raining!:) and we have some fun flower/plant theme activities planned.

The first thing I am really excited to do with Skylar is a very simple science experiment. She loves the TV show "Sid the Science Kid" and is slightly obsessed! Every day she asks me when we can do an experiment :) One thing I have learned with my children is if they are showing an interest in something I need to jump on it and take every opportunity I have to get them excited about learning. And if today it happens to be science experiments, so be it!! We did this probably two years ago, but now she is actually old enough to understand :) All you do is get a bunch of white carnations. Then you fill up cups with water and different colored drops of food coloring, and as the flowers drink up the water you can see them changing colors! :) I think it will be a fun way to explain how plants and flowers need water, and I'm also thinking we could put together a graph showing which colors affect the flowers the most.

Another fun activity we did when Skylar was in a cute little playgroup a few years ago. One of the moms had the best idea :) She got little planters and let the kids plant grass seeds. The great idea was they planted the seed to form their first initial. So as the grass grows, it will form an S or a K for my girls, and I think they will love looking at them :)

Since I am now rocking a typical post-baby body I have dedicated myself to helping not only myself but also my kids be more healthy. I was excited to find some fun ideas for healthy snacks this week. First up we will be attempting this...










Ok, probably won't turn out QUITE like that, but I think it will be fun to attempt :) Nothing a little melon baller and some heart shaped cookie cutters can't handle...right?? :) Sometimes its also as simple as making PB&J sandwhiches for lunch and using the flower shaped cookie cutter...I don't know, my kids love it!!


I also went online to one of my favorite sites, www.dltk-kids.com and printed off a bunch of flower coloring pages. One day I will have the kids color these and then later on in the week we are going to go to some local gardens and take the coloring pages with us. I am going to put them in sheet protectors and then let the kids go on a scavenger hunt and see if they can find the different flowers they had colored pictures of. If you don't have any nice gardens by you, you could also just go to a florist shop. HERE is the direct link to the coloring pages


Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week and take some time to treasure all the precious moments we have with our little ones!

5.19.2011

Skylar's Smoothie Shop

For my kids I always try to do something fun for breakfast on the morning of their actual birthday. Last year we did a fun princess theme for Skylar you can see HERE and a cute Dora breakfast adventure for Kendall you can see HERE. This year I tried to think of what type of things Skylar was really into and it came to me!! (There is a plus to being wide awake with a baby at 2 in the morning...lots of good thinking time!) Skylar is crazy about smoothies. She asks me every day if we can go to Jamba Juice and get a smoothie. So for her special day I created Skylar's Smoothie Shop with fun flavors to choose from and her very own menu.





I didn't get a good picture of them, but in the frames are the different choices the kids had for smoothies. We had "Blues"Berries and Cream, Garfields Grand Berry Mix, Strawberry's Banana Berry Bash, and Princess Peachy Pleasure. I just chose some of Skylar's favorite characters and scrapbooked a page for each flavor of smoothie.

This is the little sign I had hanging up when Skylar came downstairs. She was SO excited and couldn't wait to order her smoothie! :)



Here is the darling birthday girl herself!




And these are the menus I made. Once again I just scrapbooked the different choices including smoothies and muffin options, then printed them out and laminated them. Then I gave the kids dry erase markers and they circled what they wanted. I think their favorite part was that I wore an apron and pretended to be a waitress while I took their orders :)


Just a side note: As I was at the store trying to get all the ingredients for 4 different choices of smoothies I found Yoplait Smoothie Mixes. All you have to do is add milk and WALAHH!! The truly awesome thing was they had 4 different kinds and they just happened to be the 4 flavors I was already planning on making. SO, that made it much easier to make about a million smoothies (Skylar loved that the smoothie shop was open all day!)


Skylar's Smoothie Shop was a hit! It is so fun to try and find something that is special to your child and incorporate it into their special day. Now I just hope I can think of something to do for her next year....:)


5.18.2011

Some fun birthday ideas for the little artist in your life

Just two days ago my Skylar turned 6 years old! I cannot believe it has already been 6 years since I held my little 4 pound baby for the first time. Now she is preparing for her Kindergarten graduation, reading everything she can get her hands on, performing in dance and trying out soccer for the first time, and being the best big sister and helper I could ever ask for.


Once again her birthday came RIGHT after the birth of our newest baby so we decided to just do a little something at our monthly family dinner. Skylar LOVES her cousins and was so excited to celebrate her special day with them.


For the last few months Skylar has become obsessed with coloring! She will sit at the table for hours just coloring away. I have loved seeing her develop this interest, and we thought it would make the perfect theme for her little party.





For the cupcakes we went very simple (remember....one week old baby here!:) I just made some yellow cake cupcakes and we frosted them in all different colors. Then just because Skylar and I thought they needed a little something more we stuck a crayon in each one. Sidenote: I found spray on food coloring at the store....LOVE IT!! It was SO much faster than using food coloring to color 6 different batches of frosting. This way I frosted all the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and then quickly sprayed them whatever color I wanted.



For the activity at the party I found the coolest website that will allow you to upload any pictures that you have and it turns them into coloring pages! I simply uploaded pictures of all of the children and then printed out their very own coloring page. This is Skylar's...isn't it cute?! Just go to THIS website to get started on your very own personalized coloring pages.




Finally we made these adorable crayon treats for the little gift bags. You simply take pretzel rods, break them in half, then dip each end in melted white chocolate chips. Now, originally the directions tell you to color the chocolate...we had to improvise. Apparently the gel food coloring makes the melted chocolate harden instantly! Skylar saved the day when she suggested we just cover the melted chocolate with sprinkles! I actually think it turned out even cuter this way....the girls a genius I tell you! :)




THIS awesome site is where I found the directions for the crayons and the free printable crayon wrappers.




Then we wrapped four crayons in a cellophane bag, attached little name tags I made with my digital scrapbooking program and tied them all up with a ribbon. I think they turned out adorable and I am thinking these will have to be an annual back to school treat or teacher gift...they are just too cute! :)


Skylar LOVED her coloring party....it was bright and fun just like she is! Stay tuned for another fun birthday breakfast idea and cute baby pictures!! :)



5.11.2011

How I'm spending my time these days

Yep, that's pretty much how I am spending my days :) Avrie is such a little sweetheart, I love the calming effect she has on me. Today Paul went back to work and it was my first day with all 4 of my kids. I couldn't believe how natural it all feels, like we have always had her. The best parts of my day are the quiet moments holding my new daughter, watching my 2 year old son give baby Avrie kisses, and even listen to my girls fight over who gets to hold her first :) She is such a blessing to us all, a little piece of heaven right here in our home.

5.08.2011

Avrie Deawn







She is here!! What a beautiful little girl we have been blessed with. Avrie Deawn was born on May 7th at 6:51 pm. She weighed 6lbs 5oz and and is 19 inches long. I just hold her and stare...no matter how many times we do this the absolute miracle of it all come racing back to me and I am completely overwhelmed and overflowing with JOY. Holding her in my arms has been the best Mother's Day present I could ever ask for :)

5.05.2011

STILL pregnant!

And quite thrilled about it, I might add! :) I thought for sure the next time I updated this thing it would be with darling pictures of the newest addition to our family. However, as already proven, Avrie seems to have a mind of her own. Last week I went completely off bedrest and my medications. I was prepared to have the baby by AT THE LATEST....Sunday. Here we are the Thursday after and no baby!

What a gift this last week has been! Although the contractions are painful and sometimes limit my activities, it has been so fantastic to be a contributing member of my household again! I have never had the experience of being able to be ready when a baby comes. But I gotta tell you...I am loving it! The house it pretty much spotless, all the laundry is washed and folded, babies room is decorated and ready for the little princess, fridge and pantry are well-stocked once again...now I just have to try and keep it all up til Avrie decides to make her grand entrance.

The best part has been being able to be a mom to my kids again. Today we went to the Dinosaur Museum and I was so grateful to just BE with them. They are each so unique and special to me, and I am so glad to have these last few days (or maybe weeks!!;) to truly treasure them and enjoy this stage in our life.

I hope you stay tuned for some fun things I have planned in the next few weeks! Lots of fun crafts, activities to enjoy and teach our children, family home evenings and more. While I was on bedrest I made a list of things I was going to do as soon as I was off. When my husband saw it he said "Don't forget you are actually going to have a baby to take care of too!" Of course, that is what I am looking forward to the most.