10.27.2011

A little Spooky Service...Trick-AND-Treating!

I usually try to not post ideas for activity's until we actually do them...but since we are doing this on Halloween I wanted to post beforehand in case anyone wants to try it out in their own family :)


Years ago I was serving in the Young Women's organization of my church and we did a really fun activity. The week before Halloween all the girls dressed up in their costumes and we went to several homes in the neighborhood to go Trick-AND-Treating. We would do a service project at each home (the trick) and leave them with some goodies (obviously...the treat :) I thought at the time that would be something really fun to do with my little family but my kids were still a tad too young.


This year my sis-in-law did this same activity with her YW and it got me to thinking...I really want to try this with my family. I tweaked it a little, but this is how our family is going to try and add some Spooky Service to our Halloween!


First up, I called around to a few local nursing homes in our area. I thought it would be wonderful for the kids to get all dressed up, make some treats, and deliver them to the people at the nursing home...all while providing a few tricks as well! ;) Make sure if you do this you talk to the activities director...then you can make sure they don't have anything already planned for the same time.

For our treats I wanted to do something simple,so we just bagged a bunch of store-bought Lofthouse Cookies and tied them with ribbon and a cute printable that said Happy Halloween. Then came the fun part....


The kids loved preparing their "Tricks" for all the cute people we will visit in the nursing home. We spent hours coloring pictures, practicing reading fun Halloween books and singing songs. They are so excited to share their tricks AND their treats! :)


We originally planned to do this earlier in the week, but things with work came up and we couldn't all make it (you gotta get there early before all the cute old people go to bed!) so we rescheduled for Halloween itself! It will actually work out perfectly, the kids will already be dressed up and ready to go. It will give them the opportunity to think about others and hopefully share some of the joy the give to me every single day to some people that could really use it.

Thanks so much for stopping by today and please let me know if you try this out with your family. I am hoping this is something we can do every year...a little Spooky Service to finish out our Halloween season!

10.26.2011

Halloween Sugar Cookies

On monday we did one of our absolute favorite holiday activities....we made Sugar Cookies! I have so many memories of being a little kids and LOVING making and decorating sugar cookies. I am so glad my children enjoy it too and I love spending time in the kitchen with my cuties. I have to admit...its hard for me to get started. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to think about all the work and all the mess its going to cause, but I NEVER regret it after :)
Today I am going to share my recipe for these soft, chewy, delicous sugar cookies. These are from my previous neighbor Jeanette. If you know Jeanette, you know everything she makes is absolutely divine...and these cookies are no different. I know everyone has a sugar cookie recipe they swear by...but if you want, give these bad boys a try! :)
Here's what you need to get started:
1 C butter
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C sour cream
3 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
First up, you want to mix your butter and sugar together. Once you have done that then you add your eggs and vanilla. After those are combined you add the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.


Once you have mixed all that together add your sour cream.

Now when you take it out of the mixing bowl it is going to be sticky. That's ok. :) Just make sure your surface is very well floured and don't be scared to add more flour once you start rolling it out.


Once you have rolled out your dough grab all your fun Halloween cookie cutters!


Just a sidenote: I made these while my kids were sleeping. I took half of the dough and put it in the fridge. That way when it was time they could still use the rolling pin and cookie cutters on that dough, and while those were baking they could be decorating the other half that I had already baked.

Once you have got your shapes ready to go bake your cookies at 375 degrees for about 9 minutes. You do NOT want to overcook them so watch them carefully and don't let them get too brown.


Oh man...don't you just want to take a bite?! :)



After that I mix up the frosting with a few drops of food coloring, get out the sprinkles, and let the kids go to town!

Yes...more frosting definitely ended up in Britton's mouth than on his cookies!



Let me know if you try out these cookies...they really are delicious! Have a wonderful day everyone and thank you SO much for stopping by this little blog :)

10.25.2011

Hello again! :)

Well, its been a little while hasn't it?!
Last week was full of pretty much one thing....
Laundry. And then a little more laundry. And then aLOT of folding said laundry.
I honestly have no idea how I got so behind! But its all caught up now and I am so excited to have this last week before Halloween to spend with my family doing the stuff that really matters. I'm excited to share my all-time favorite sugar cookie recipe, a wonderful activity to help your kids learn the joy of service this spooky season and some fun things to do with the kids while we countdown to the big day!
So until tomorrow....I will leave you with this complete overdose of store-bought, absolutely NO craftiness on my part, so-NOT-making-my-kids-their-costumes-this-year collage of cuteness :)
Man,I love them.

10.20.2011

Barnyard Boo!

I don't know what it is this year, maybe my kids are just at really fun ages...but I can't remember a fall where we had so much fun! Usually I am anxious for Christmas to get here, but this year I don't want October to end!
One thing I absolutely love about where we live are ALL the great family-centered activities around. This week we braved the UEA crowds and went to Thanksgiving Point to the Barnyard Boo. They had a bunch of fun halloween activities along with all the normal things we love to do at the farm.

Seriously?! So precious!



They had a bunch of fun games the kids loved playing...and a bunch of cheesy prizes and treats that they loved even more! I think the pumpkin bowling was probably their favorite :)

Can't forget this little princess!! She truly is an angel, she loves to just sit in her carseat and play with her little toys.



And then when she gets tired she just pulls her little sleeping mask down and takes a little snooze ;)


Although it was an hour wait, my kids just LOVE getting their faces painted!



And finally....I found my newest food obsession. They had a little stand selling these fresh out-of-the-oven mini donuts...they were AMAZING!! We may be making another trip next week, thank goodness we have a season pass ;)

Cornbellys 4-pack Winner!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to enter! The random generator picked number 9 to be our winner which means...


Jenny P
is going to Cornbelly's!!! I will email your tickets to you promptly and congratulations!

10.19.2011

Witch Scavenger Hunt

Have I mentioned I love Gardner Village?! :) I know...only about a million times or so! But honestly, this place just has an amazing feel to it and has provided my little family SO many wonderful memories. Although we had already been once with friends, we decided to go one more time for the season and go on the Witch Scavenger Hunt. The weather was perfect, kids were well-behaved and darling, and the day ended with cookies and hot chocolate...perfection!! :)


Isn't it gorgeous there? Makes me want to go back again :)

The kids always look forward to taking bread and feeding all the ducks...I always look forward to surviving the duck feeding without one of my children falling in the water. Success!

Then the Witch Hunt begins!! There are so many fun witches to see and the kids each have their favorites. The top 3 would have to be the hula-hooping witch, Witchy Poo, and the one having a hot dog and a Diet Coke :) I am STILL obsessing over that one witch we couldn't find....where ARE you witch with the "eye" phone?!?!



You can't see that fun witch hula-hooping without getting in on the action yourself :) My kids rocked the hula-hooping...see for yourself! :)



What a wonderful afternoon! Avrie was there...she just slept in ther carseat the whole time :) I love doing things like this with my kids. It takes all the mundane out of motherhood and replaces it with joy and excitement. I'm so lucky to have these little kids of mine, they are perfect for me. If you haven't gone to Gardner Village and you live here in good ol Utah....GO!! Just maybe wait until after UEA, we went then last year and it was a total madhouse :)

And if you ARE looking for fun things to do with your family, enter my Cornbelly's 4-pack giveaway! The contest ends tonight and I can't wait to give one lucky follewer this great prize! Have a wonderful day everyone :)

10.18.2011

Cornbelly's Giveaway!!

I am absolutely THRILLED today to be participating in this wonderful giveaway!
In our family we have made going to Cornbelly's an annual fall tradition and we all love it. There are so many things to do and so many different ways to enjoy this wondeful season with the people you love most!
Cornbelly's has generously offered to giveaway a family 4-pack of tickets, valid for all the non-spooky fun for any day they are open now until October 29th. Amazing, right?! Here's all you have to do to enter:
Make sure you are a follower here at Blue Skies Ahead and answer this trivia question correctly:
What is the name of the worlds largest cornfield maze company that had their original cornmaze in American Fork, Utah?? (Hint...the answer is under the About Us tab at Cornbellys.com :)
I will randomly select a winner from all entries that let me know they are following us and have the correct answer! Hurry up and don't be shy...you only have until Wednesday October 19th to enter for your chance to win!

10.17.2011

Weekend Wrap-up!

And what a weekend it was!! You already saw how we spent our Friday night, enjoying our first of what I hope to be an annual Witches Night In party. Saturday was packed from start to finish and was a truly fantastic day.
First up: we had the girls last day of soccer. I was happy that they both played and enjoyed it so much...and happy that it was over! :) I am excited to have our Saturday's back again, but I know they will miss it too. Here is my fave pic from the whole day: all 3 of my big kids looking at the camera and smiling?! NEVER happens! :)


Now on to one of my FAVORITE events of the year...Witches Night Out! This is the 5th year we have attended and it has become a Johnson family favorite tradition. I am so lucky to be apart of such a wonderful family. I don't think I always realize how amazing it is that I get along with my in-laws so well, but I truly do. My sisters-in-law are my best friends, and my mother-in-law is honestly one of the most sweet, giving, and accepting women on the face of the planet. I love them all dearly and look forward to spending this night with them all year long! :)

We always start off the night by going to dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. Delicious!


Then comes my favorite part of the night...The Witchy Awards! Years ago Camille and I thought it would be fun to give awards to each woman that attended our Witches Night. It has evolved into a wonderful tradition where we honor each other and celebrate what we love so much about all the amazing women in our lives. There is always one woman that gets the "Witch of the Year" award, and she is then responsible for doing the awards the next year. It has been so fun to see what different people do, one year everyone was given a color that represented them, one year a princess, one year a type of shoe, and this year a word that best described them. I always leave the awards in awe of the amazing women we have in our family and full of gratitude for having them in my life. I love you girls! :)

After that its time to head over to Gardner Village and Party! Well, maybe not party completely, we are some of the more reserved ladies out that night...but we still have a great time :)

The highlights from Witches Night Out 2011?

Learning that once again, you really can use duct tape for anything :)

Getting my pic taken with Winnie from Hocus Pocus ;) (Skylar about DIED when she saw it!)

Asking myself and all the others around me..."DO we care about bosoms??" :)

Another weekend for the books! I'm so blessed to be completely surrounded by friends that became my family and my family that have become my best friends.

10.16.2011

"Witches Night In" Party!

Well, our "Witches Night In" party was a success! I just have to say...my kids are so fun! :) They get so excited about everything and totally play along with all my goofy ideas...I love em! :) We had a wonderful night together and really, it was pretty simple and very inexpensive to put together. This will definitely be something we do every year.
First up we had to have our Witchy Dinner, consisting of Brains and Eyeballs (spaghetti and meatballs), Witch Fingers (breadsticks with pepperoni nails), Witch Hats (sugar cones filled with candy on top of a cookie), and Witches Brew (rootbeer with dry ice). They were VERY relieved when they saw what was for dinner :) All day Skylar was saying, "Mom, they're not really eyeballs right? Because you would have to kill someone to get eyeballs....you wouldn't kill someone, right?!" They are too fun :)


Here are the kids doing their best witch impersonations...this is Britton's go-to face for pictures now :)


After dinner Paul took Britton out to do some "guy stuff", I put Avrie to bed, and we danced to some of our favorite Halloween songs like Thriller and the Monster Mash. The girls got decked out in their Witchy Headbands and their fabric tutus we made a while back...too cute!

Finally we put on our favorite Witchy movie "Hocus Pocus" and pigged out on our Spooky, Slimy Popcorn! Okay, it was really homemade caramel popcorn with eyeballs made out of mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips, and man was it tasty!

I must be getting old because when Paul got home with Britton the movie was almost over, the girls were sitting on the couch totally entranced, and I was in the middle of them dead asleep on Skylar's shoulder! Those little witches wore me out! :)

What a fun night I had with my little witches, I am already looking foward to next year!

10.14.2011

Witches Night In Party sneak peak...Witchy Headbands!



Every year all my sisters-in-law and I go to a local annual event called Witches Night Out. It is a wonderful tradition that we all look forward to. Every year Skylar is sad that she can't go with me so this year I thought I would have a little Witches Night In party with my girls the night before :) Our party is tonight and the kids are SO excited!

Originally I thought it would be fun to get everyone witch hats we could decorate, but then I saw the "hat" my sister-in-law Camille got for herself :) It was the cutest little headband with a small witch hat on top...I loved it! I thought something similar would be just right for my little witches and I wanted to share it with you today!

I'm sorry I didn't take any pictures while I was making this...I am not quite that talented. But all you need is a headband, small witch hat (Hobby Lobby:), tulle, feather and hot glue! My kind of project!



I didn't know exactly how I wanted this, but the way that ended up looking the best was glueing the feather down first, then putting a few pieces of triangle-shaped tulle on top of that. Then I glued the Witch hat on with another piece of tulle scrunched up on the back of it. I finished it off by adding some beads around the middle of the hat and there you have it!

It was so simple and I can't wait to put them on all my little girls tonight! Stay tuned for more Witches Night In fun...I love taking something simple like watching our favorite Halloween movie and turning it into a night we will all remember :)

10.13.2011

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Okay, last pumpkin activity for a while...I promise! :) I found these years ago from the AMAZING Bakerella and thought they would make for a fun treat this Pumpkin Week!
Everything is cuter mini...and pumpkin pies are no exception!

You can click on the link for Bakerella's tutorial, but mine were really as simple as rolling out refrigerator pie crust, cutting with a pumpkin cookie cutter, stuffing into a mini-muffin tin, and filling with canned pumpkin pie mix :)

Then you bake them for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees and you come out with these little cuties! :)

Thank you so much for visiting Blue Skies Ahead this week! We have done so many fun pumpkin activities...I am excited to see what next week holds for us (probably TONS of housework since I kind of slacked on that this week ;)

10.12.2011

Pumpkin Bracelets!

So...are you sick of pumpkins yet?!

We're not! :) Today we did a VERY simple craft that ended up being really fun, the kids could do it all on their own, and it was actually quite educational too. I give you...
Pumpkin Bracelets!!

All you need to make some of your own are different colored beads and some pipe cleaners. It's really that simple.

Once you have your supplies ready to go let your kids string beads on the pipe cleaner until they have enough to cover their wrist.

Once they had enough I just twisted the two ends together and then stuck green beads on to make a stem. I wrapped the remaining pipe cleaner in and around the pumpkin bracelet so it would stay put!

Not only did these turn out pretty cute, but as I said it was a great educational activity as well. We worked on patterns with the girls and for my little guy it was a great way to practice fine motor skills and color recognition.

Sometimes (alright...almost all the time) with young kids these simple crafts are the ones that turn out best and that they enjoy the most! :)

Glad you stopped by today, we have lots more fun stuff coming up! I never blog this much...but this is just such a fine time of year I feel like I don't want to waste a moment or an idea. Have a wonderful day!!