5.27.2012

Smiling this Sunday!

Today's Smiling this Sunday is short and sweet!  

Today was just one of THOSE Sundays.  You know...the ones where no matter what you do, your kids are crazy and fighting.  No matter how hard you try to bring the Spirit into the home, there is an underlying feeling of contention and chaos.  

I woke up early with the kids and made them breakfast...they immediately started crying when I wouldn't put on a show for them.  I patiently reminded them that Sunday is a special day, and we don't watch our shows on Sunday.  I tried to read them stories from The Friend...they listened for about 5 minutes then started fighting about who knows what ;)  When it was time to get ready for church the hysterics began!  Little boys screaming about not wanting their hair done, and little girls screaming about not wanting to get dressed.  I'm sure you get the point....it just seemed to go on and on!  

By the time we got to Sacrament Meeting I was feeling frazzled, grumpy, and just plain annoyed.  Not the best way to walk into church.  Because we were running late the only bench seats left were in the front row, right in front of an older couple in our ward.  I immediately started to feel self-conscious, sure that my kids would be very distracting to this sweet couple behind us.  The older gentleman used to be our Gospel Doctrine teacher and I have always been slightly in awe of him.  He has so much gospel knowledge and SUCH a powerful testimony.  As church progressed I was constantly reminding my kids to whisper, taking little ones to the potty, taking a screaming baby out in the hall, etc.  By then end I was feeling so overwhelmed and just plain weary.  

As we stood up to go to our different classes, the sweet brother behind us stopped me as I was about to walk out.  He put his arm around my shoulder and said, "I just have to tell you Sister Johnson...your children were so well-behaved!"

WHAT?!!  That was so NOT how I was feeling.  I told him that and he simply said, "No, no...they were just wonderful!  You can tell they are loved...you are doing a wonderful job."

I got teary-eyed and thanked him...in fact I told him he had made my whole week.  It was a powerful reminder to me of how much difference a kind word can make in someones life.  Do I really think my kids were well-behaved today?  Nope.  Do I think a sweet old man saw a young mother that was feeling a little overwhelmed and frazzled, and went out of his way to build her up and restore a little of that confidence that she usually has?  Exactly.

That's why I am smiling this Sunday.  Such a little thing, that made all the difference in my day.  I vowed to be more like sweet that sweet brother...to take time out of my busy life to help build up those around me.  

So now its YOUR turn...lets all get positive and share ONE thing that is making you smile this Sunday...I can't wait to hear!!


5.21.2012

I love technology....

Admit it...after reading that post title you are singing the song from Napolean Dynamite, aren't you? ;)

I just recently got my first smart phone and I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I love all of its capabilities and all the COOL things I can do with it...but I hate how much time I spend on the darn thing :)   I am making a serious effort to put my phone away and not let it run my life...but I AM enjoying having a camera with me wherever I go.  I don't always lug my big camera around with me, so its great to capture some candid shots with my phone that really show our day to day life.  I thought I would share a few from just the last few weeks :)

You could say Britton is obsessed with the bike he got for his birthday.  If he has to go to the bathroom...he rides his bike to the bathroom.  If he wants a snack...he rides to the kitchen, puts the snack in the back pocket, and takes off again.  Such a funny boy!



One of my kids' most favorite places to go is our local Dinosaur Museum.  We were lucky enough to get to take their cute cousin Kade with us last time, and they all had such a great time!  




Avrie FINALLY got some teeth so she can eat some real food.  Her food of choice?  Corn dogs :)



I wouldn't know what to do with myself if at least one or two of my kids weren't sick during a month.  This last time it was Kendall and Britton's turns :)  Of course they HAVE to get really bad on the weekend so we get to make a trip to the InstaCare...luckily we had my phone to keep us entertained :)


One night Paul went into Britton's room to turn off his light, and this is what he found.  I LOVE how he sleeps...can't get enough of my little man :)


This picture pretty much sums up how Avrie spends her mornings.  She loves to crawl through the side of the shelf, sit on the bottom, laugh and wave to me....and then crawl through the side of the shelf and do it all over again.  Literally....she does it over and over and over!




Love this pic Paul took on Mother's Day.  It is a real representation of me and my kids...dirty dishes in the background and all!




Paul knows me so well...after he put the kids to bed on Mothers Day he surprised me with some of my favorite things...Pringles and Root Beer :)




He he...such a mean mommy!  Avrie was miserable in that little pool...but Paul would not let me get her out. Eventually it warmed up and she had a good old time splashing away with all her cute cousins.






Well, there are some random shots of us the last few weeks.  They may not seem like anything too special, but to me its these every day moments that I try so hard to cherish.  I know before long this little babes will be grown and I will long for "some" of these days again ;)

5.17.2012

Build-your-own Breakfast Sundae's!!

 Wow!  Could I be a little LESS consistent with my blogging?! :)  I have always struggled with balance...I am always all or nothing...you can tell the blogging has been leaning towards the nothing lately ;)

I did want to share a really fun breakfast we did for my daughter, Skylar, on her birthday.  Every year I try and do something really fun for the kids breakfast to show them how much I love them and to start the day off right!  I know this may be unheard of in blog land...but I'm really not into birthday parties.  I used to be...when I had one or two kids.  Now that I have 4 (and 3 of them have birthdays within a 3 week period!) it is just not realistic to throw huge bashes for every birthday.  As much as I LOVE the darling tables, party favors and all the teeny details that go into those amazing parties...they just don't work for me and my family right now.  Instead I try to do a fun, themed breakfast for my kids.  So far they have all been major successes!  If you want, feel free to check out our Princess Birthday Breakfast Bash, A Dora Birthday Breakfast Adventure, Skylar's Smoothie Shop and Birthday Breakfast at Tianna's Place :)

One thing that Skylar and I both share is a passion for ice cream :)  Seriously...we LOVE it!  I thought it would be perfect to create a Build-your-own Breakfast Sundae Bar where Skylar could make a delicious Breakfast Sundae to kick-off her special day!



Now, lest you think I am completely irresponsible...we did not have ice cream sundae's for breakfast :)  Instead of ice cream I got 3 different flavors of yogurt and used that in its place.  The kids got to choose between vanilla, strawberry, or peach yogurt that we put in waffle cone cups.

Once they had that all ready to go they went CRAZY with their toppings! :)


We had strawberries, bananas, Cookie Crisp cereal, crushed Oreo cookies, sprinkles, white chocolate chips, coconut, milk chocolate chips and Nilla Wafers.

Oh yeah...it was delicous!



Here is the beautiful birthday girl herself...my big 7 year old!  

So if you have a special birthday coming up in your home, but a huge bash is just not realistic with your time or money...try something like this!  Your kids will LOVE it...but mostly they will know just how much you love THEM.  

Thanks so much for coming by Blue Skies Ahead today!!

5.09.2012

Lil' Ladybug Treats!

 We made a really fun treat to go along with one of our favorite books today.  I love anything from Eric Carle and I knew The Grouchy Ladybug would be a must for insect week.  What else could we do but make some cute, tasty Lil' Ladybug Treats of our own? :)



I saw this idea years ago in the Family Fun magazine and instantly fell in love!  Not only are these little guys super cute, but they are a great after school snack as well :)

To get started you take some strawberries and hull out the center.  I just used my potato peeler, and then I sliced them in half.


Once you have your strawberries ready to go you take a bunch of grapes, cut them in half, and using toothpicks stick them into your strawberries to make the ladybugs' heads.


Then I let my kids get in on the fun and squish mini-chocolate chips into the strawberries for the ladybugs spots.  This is also a great way to work on basic math skills like counting...the kids love counting how many spots each ladybug has (right before they eat them :)



After our ladybugs were ready to go, we snuggled up on the couch with a great book and a yummy snack...is there anything better in life?! ;)





I hope you liked our ladybug treats...they were certainly a big hit at our house :)  



Make sure you keep coming back!  The rest of the week we are focusing on OUR personal favorite insect...Butterflies!!  Well...that may not be Britton's fave..but he humors us girls ;)  

Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

5.08.2012

Worm Paintings!

  We did a really fun, simple craft this morning that the kids LOVED!!  I like to call  it....

Worm Painting! :)



 Before we started we talked about how worms get around.  We all agreed they don't walk, fly or swim...they just kind of wriggle.  We created some real masterpieces by dipping our "worms" in paint and wriggling them all around our papers. 

All you need for this craft are some pieces of yarn, different colored paint and some white sheets of paper.



Then the kids covered the yarn pieces in paint and wriggled them ALL over their papers!





Yep...this may get a little messy :)  There was some paint flung around...but it wiped up easy enough :)

One look at these faces and you can see our Worm Paintings were a smashing success!!








Thanks so much for stopping by!  Come by again tomorrow...we are focusing on ladybugs and you won't want to miss it! :)

Linking up HERE

5.07.2012

Insect Week...it doesn't have to be complicated!

Hey everyone!!  I am so excited to be back on track and here with some fun ideas on teaching your kids all about insects!

One thing I wanted to point out today is that doing weekly themes and different activities with your kids does NOT need to be a huge, time-consuming deal!  

Some weeks I feel like I have a lot of great, unique ideas and I am excited to see them come to fruition.  Other weeks I can only think up really simple or un-original activities...but here is what I am realizing:

My kids couldn't care less if its a super original idea.

They don't care if its super cute and matches our theme perfectly.

What they care about is spending some quality time with mom.    That's it.  So even though the things we did today were not all my creations and didn't take that much effort...they made for some wonderful memories with my kiddos.  They learned something new, and we spent some quality time together...isn't that what its all about?! :)

First up, years ago I found this song all about different insects sung to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus.  I love how it talks about a bunch of different bugs...its a great way to introduce some your younger children may not be familiar with.


Once I found my song I wanted some visuals to go with it.  I just googled insect coloring pages and found a coloring page to match each verse in the song.  Then I colored, cut and laminated them all.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...it seems like a lot of work.  But once you have it...you have it forever!!  I remember doing this with my oldest daughter when she was 3...she is getting ready to turn 7 next week :)  Its been wonderful to add new fun activities each year...but also have some in my Activities Binder that I can pull out at a moments notice.



I passed out three insects to each child and as we sang each verse, they would hold up their insect and do some actions we made up.




After we were done I told the kids we were going to have Movie and Snack Time!  Oh man...were they excited!!

For the snacks...not super original...but SUPER yummy :)

Ants on a Log!  Oh yeah...we don't do any raisins at this house...its chocolate all the way! :)




Then we ALL sat down together and watched one of my favorite Pixar movies...





It was really fun to point out to the kids all the different bugs in the movie...especially the ones we had learned about in our song :) 

One thing I realized was how RARE it is for me to sit and watch a movie with my kids.  Usually, if they are watching a show I am desperately trying to get some things done.  It was wonderful to snuggle up with them on the couch, eat our yummy snacks, and watch a favorite movie.  These are the things I will miss when they are all grown :)

So even though these ideas aren't TOO original...I thought I would share what we did today to learn about insects :)  Have a great night everyone and keep coming back!  We focused on my baby girls first birthday tonight, but next week I will have a new Family Home Evening and we still have LOTS more fun insect activities and treats.  Have a great night!!

Linking up HERE






Happy Birthday...

 



to one of the absolute squishiest, sweetest, happiest girls around!

This last year has been an amazing one.  Avrie slid right into our lives like she was always there, and really is the sweetheart of the family.  The kids adore her, and so do mom and dad :) 

I LOVE you my sunshine girl!!

5.01.2012

Springtime Jello Cookies!

Wow...where have I been?!  Honestly...no where too exciting :)  Just trying to keep up with the day to day of my life.  I went a few days without checking in, and today I was SHOCKED to realize how many people are following this little blog of mine!  Thank you all so much for taking the time to check in here...I certainly hope you find something you like!! :) 

Today I wanted to share something VERY exciting for you.  I actually attempted to make a recipe that I pinned on Pinterest!!  Aren't you proud of me?! ;)

I give you...Springtime Jello Cookies!!


I found these delicious (and adorable) cookies over at Just Helen.  She has SO many amazing recipes...make sure you check it out!


I have to tell you...this was probably my favorite cookie recipe I have ever made!  It was SO easy, smelled amazing, and the dough was perfect to work with.  These were quick and easy, turned out yummy, and added a tangy, fruity taste to a traditional sugar cookie.

On Just Helen, she does 4 different flavors.  Because of time I only did Lime and Raspberrry, but I loved both of them.  My taste-testers were split...Britton loved the raspberry but Kendall and Skylar preferred the lime :)

Make sure you check out the recipe HERE if you want to attempt these yummy little goodies...don't they just look happy?!



Thank you so much for coming by Blue Skies Ahead!  I have some really fun things in the works for next week and possibly even a craft or two :)  Have a wonderful day!!