8.29.2012

A picture is worth a thousand words...


 

Wouldn't you agree?

The AMAZING Hollie Hanson from Cherry Tree Photography did our family pictures a few weeks ago.  I adore every single one....but this one holds a special place in my heart.







We are SO excited that Johnson Baby #5 will be joining our family in April!!

Do I feel a little bit crazy?

Yep.

Do I feel like it is completely right?

Yep.

The kids are thrilled and so are we!  So far I have been feeling really yucky and exhausted but it is totally manageable.  I find the days I go walking or to the gym I have a lot more energy to get me through the day, so hopefully I can keep that up.

We are already starting to play the name game...and we've got nothing!!  Luckily we have a while before we need to nail one down.  I would love to hear some of your favorites though...for boy or girl!  I already have a Skylar, Kendall, Britton and Avrie...what sounds cute with those??

Thanks for your help, and wish me luck! ;)

8.28.2012

Wormy Apples Snack

 
Sounds like a delicious snack, doesn't it? ;)

Most days I try to have a snack ready for my girls when they get home from school.  They are always starving, and since we are learning all about Apples this week with the little ones I thought it would be fun to make a SUPER simple apple snack. 

Well...a Wormy Apple Snack that is :)




These took all of about 2 minutes to prepare.  All you do is wash and dry a few apples.  Then take a potato peeler and scoop out a circle shape as deep into the apple as you can.  Then cut a few gummy worms in half and stick them in the holes!!  

My little guy thought this was THE funniest thing...hopefully the girls like them too!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Its crazy how school is back in swing already and life just races on.  My little Kendall started Kindergarten today, and it just never ceases to amaze me how time flies with these precious little ones.  Its a good reminder to try and make every day count and treasure the time we have together :)

Linking up HERE

8.27.2012

Tattle Monsters FHE

Hello everyone!  

It's been awhile since we posted a fun family home evening and I wanted to share a quick one we did tonight that my kids enjoyed.

First off, I have to say...I take absolutely NO credit for any of these great ideas :)  I found the idea for these adorable Tattle Monsters at Giggles Galore.  Then I found the Tattle Monster poem and the printable of the difference between Tattling and Reporting at Teachers Pay Teachers.

If you haven't guessed yet, we had our FHE on tattling :)  This is something we really have a problem with in our family.  I felt like it needed to be addressed because I felt like my kids have been genuinely confused when it came to tattling.  They often get in trouble for tattling, but the older ones are also often asked to watch the others and let me know if they are being naughty.  It's kind of a grey area I think and something I have been wanting to talk about with them for awhile.

To prep for tonight I made these adorable little Tattle Monsters!



All I did was spray paint two empty Kleenex boxes, wait for them to dry, and then cover the front and top with polka dots.  I made my polka dots with paint and a large pencil eraser.  After the paint was all dry I cut a strip of white computer paper to look like teeth and then glued it to the opening.  Then I simply cut up an empty egg carton, colored in the black pupils, and stuck the eyes on toothpicks and our monsters were ready to go!




We were lucky enough to have some of our cute cousins over to join us, so we set the kids down and we quickly went through the differences between tattling or responding.  I LOVE this printable!!!  It was easy for the kids to understand and really helped me explain something I haven't been able to on my own ;)




We used some real-life scenarios and asked the kids if they were examples of tattling or reporting.  I felt like my kids had a much better grasp of what qualified as tattling and why we want to avoid that as much as possible :)

Then I pulled out our Tattle Monsters and this darling printable I found online.  I explained that from now on, if you feel the need to tattle, you get to sit down, write your tattle down on a piece of paper and feed it to the Tattle Monster.



I wasn't sure how much the kids got out of the lesson since we had friends here, but later on Skylar came running into my rooms saying, "Mooooooom...."  I know this usually prefaces a tattle so I sweetly said in response, "Is this something for the Tattle Monster?"  She got a sheepish grin on her face, and with a quick "never mind, mommy!" was on her way to rejoin her brother and sister playing.

Success!!

A small success, but we will take it!!

Hopefully I will be able to be consistent about making the kids use the Tattle Monster.  I think it will make them aware of their habit of tattling and hopefully help us start to change some patterns.

Thank you SO much for stopping by today, this week we are doing some fun Apple Activities and lots more, so come on back! :)

Linking up HERE

8.22.2012

"The Kissing Hand" Craft :)

Since my daughter Kendall is starting Kindergarten next week and my son Britton is going to be starting his first year in pre-school, I wanted to spend this week focusing on Back To School activities to calm their anxiety and get them excited for school!

If you haven't heard of the book, "The Kissing Hand"...you are totally missing out!!  It is the most adorable book about a little raccoon that is scared of going to school.  Chester's mom kisses his hand and explains if he is ever nervous or scared, he can put his hand up to cheek and remember he is never alone and how much his mommy loves him.

Yeah.  I cry every time I read this book :)

We read "The Kissing Hand" yesterday and did a fun, SIMPLE little craft to go with it.

DISCLAIMER!!!  This craft really is more applicable for little girls, but you can make it work for boys too ;)


 

All you need to make your own Kissing Hands is the book, some construction paper, and BRIGHT red lipstick (my 5 year old was in heaven!:)



Take your construction paper and let your little ones trace one of their hands.  I had to help my kids, and then I traced my hand as well.  After they are traced hand over the scissors and let your kids try and cut out their hands.  This was really difficult for my kids, but it is awesome practice for all the cutting they will do in Kindergarten!



Once you have your hands ready to go, its time to put that lipstick on!



I had Kendall kiss my hand so I could keep that with me while she is at school, and then I kissed both Kendall's and Britton's hands.  After they were dry we laminated them and put them in their backpacks.  

Now anytime they are away from home, they can look in their backpack and remember JUST how much their mommy loves them :)





This is a fantastic activity if you have a little one that is a little more on the nervous side about going to school.  Ever since the wildfire that was RIGHT behind our house a few months ago, Kendall has dealt with varying degrees of anxiety about being away from me.  I've struggled with ways to help her, and out of everything we have done I felt this like has been the MOST helpful.  

Is anyone else sending a Kindergartner off to school this year?!  If so, how are they (and YOU!!) holding up?

Thank you SO much for coming by today!  We have so many fun things coming up in the next few weeks, make sure you keep coming back!!

8.21.2012

First Day of School!

 It has been a crazy few weeks at our house, but with school starting today I feel like it just might be possible to get us back on schedule :)


Here is my ADORABLE little Skylar...ready to take Second Grade by storm!  I love her spunk and her joy...she radiates happiness.  I hope this school year is everything she hopes it will be...I know she will make it a great one!  


Next week Kendall goes to Kindergarten and a week later Britton starts Pre-School.  It's the start of a whole new way of life for us, and I think we are all ready to embrace the changes headed our way!

I know fun posts have been few and far between, but I promise they are going to be making a comeback ;)  We are coming up on my favorite season...FALL!  I have so much I want to do with my kids, home, and self so definitely stay tuned :)



8.15.2012

Pepperoni Rollups...a new family favorite!

I found a great recipe a few weeks ago and tonight I finally gave it a try!  It was a HUGE success and I thought I would share (if you are like me, and one of the FEW people in the world that haven't made Pepperoni Rollups before ;)

I found this recipe at one of my newest favorite blogs, What About Pie.  I love the simplicity of it, and my kids loved dipping these yummy roll ups in our favorite homemade pizza sauce (oh yeah...I have that recipe too! ;)



All you need for this yummy meal is some frozen loaves of bread, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella, shredded parmesan, and Italian Seasoning.
 


First up, you need to spray a cookie sheet and lay out your loaves of bread to thaw.  I had mine out for  a little over 4 hours and they were just right when I was ready to start rolling them out.

Roll your dough into a square shape, and lightly brush with olive oil.  Then just place a layer of pepperoni all over your dough.



Once you have your pepperoni down then sprinkle your mozzarella, then parmesan cheese.  Finally lightly sprinkle your Italian Seasoning over the top.



Then roll this bad boy up and stick in your oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes!


Half-way through baking I brushed the top of the loaves with butter so it would come out with this beautiful golden brown top.  Once your rollups are done baking, make sure you let them cool completely before slicing into them.  They need to have time to set up fully...try to control yourself if you can ;)

My kids love anything they can dip, so I knew I wanted a great pizza sauce to go with these.  This is our families favorite pizza sauce that I got from my sister-in-law Jen...try it...its amazing!!

Best Ever Pizza Sauce

2 10 oz cans of tomato paste
1/2 C water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.


Once everything is cooled and ready to go, slice up your pepperoni roll ups and spoon out some Best Ever Pizza Sauce...and enjoy!!

Linking up HERE :)

8.13.2012

The Atonement, Sisters and Snow Cones :)

 


A few weeks ago we had an interesting thing happen at our house, and I have been thinking about it on and off ever since.  Tonight we had a really simple FHE where we talked about that experience and likened it to the Atonement and how it applies in our lives.  I thought I would share in the hopes that this will help others as you try to teach your children about the wonderful gift of the Atonement.

I think the Atonement can be a really difficult subject to help little ones understand.  We often tell them that Jesus died for us...but what does that REALLY mean?  How does Jesus dying help us?  I know my kids haven't always quite grasped the principle and I have struggled with ways to teach them on their level.  Then we had a simple experience that showed them exactly what the Atonement has done for us, and why it was necessary.

A few weeks ago my daughter Kendall was just plain being a stinker.  We were going to go get snow cones as a family, but I kept warning her if she didn't change her behaviors she would not get one.  She continued to ignore my warnings and finally I said, "Kendall, if you hit your sister one more time you are NOT getting a snow cone!"  Not more than 5 minutes later I walked in the room just in time to see her give her sister a big swat on the leg. 

I did what I had to do, and told her calmly that she had lost her chance for a snow cone.  She was devastated.  Screaming and crying, over and over saying how sorry she was and that she just wanted one more chance.  I wanted so badly to give her that chance, but I KNEW I had to stick to what I said or she would never take me seriously.  It was really, really hard.  I love her, and so wanted her to be able to enjoy that snow cone that we had been looking forward to all day.  

As we were getting ready to leave, my oldest daughter Skylar ran up to me, holding her wallet, and said, "MOM!  What if I use MY money to buy Kendall a snow cone?!"  

It was the perfect solution.  Being a responsible parent, I could not go back on my word, and their had to be justice, or consequences, for my little girls actions.  However, by her sister being willing to pay the price for her snow cone, Kendall was able to receive mercy and after apologizing and changing her behaviors receive the same treat she had been looking forward to all day.

It was so easy tonight to tie this experience into understanding the Atonement.  We helped our children see, that just like we try to do, Heavenly Father is bound by what He says.  He has said no unclean thing can dwell with him, and just by human nature, we will ALL fall short of being able to return to Him.  However, because a loving Savior, our brother, Jesus Christ, was willing to pay for OUR sins, (just as Skylar paid for Kendall's snow cone), we are able to obtain mercy and live forever with our Heavenly Father and our families.

Such a powerful lesson from the littlest ones in our family!  I hope this experience helped my children understand just a little bit more about the Atonement...I think it did.  It encouraged me to think even more on the infinite gift of the Atonement in my life, and make sure that my Savior's sacrifice for me was not in vain.  A few years ago I took an institute class with my sister in law and I will NEVER forget one thing our instructor said.  He said one of the apostles had said in a talk given at the MTC that  as important as it was to teach our children about the commandments...it is SO much more important to teach them of the Atonement.  The fact is, every child will sin.  They have to understand there is a way back, that no sin is ever too great, and that because of the price paid in Gethsemane by a loving Savior it is NEVER too late.  

I hope you all had a wonderful family night and I would love to hear any suggestions...how have YOU taught your children about the Atonement?!

Back-to-School Shoe Shopping at Famous Footwear!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Famous Footwear for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

 

I am still trying to wrap my head around this...but school starts in TWO WEEKS here!!

This year I am sending 3 of my little ones off to school, and that means one things...we have some major shopping to do :)  Surely I'm not alone in this, but its like overnight all 3 of my kids outgrew every pair of shoes except for their dollar store flip-flops.

FF-BiggestVictory-GIF_300x250(1).jpg

Luckily for me (and you!) we have Famous Footwear to help us out.  When we walked into the store the other day, the first thing Skylar said was "LOOK at all those shoes Mom!"  I tell you, the girl was in heaven.  Besides having a wonderful selection, the staff was super friendly and helpful and we were out in under 30 minutes!  And let me tell you....for a mom of 4 children 7 and under...that scores major points with me ;)

Surely I am not the only one trying to clothe their littles on a budget, so thankfully Famous Footwear is offering up a great deal right now!  You get 15% off PLUS Buy One, Get One Half Off!  All you need to do is print off your coupon and you are all ready to go.

BOGO + 15% off Famous Footwear Coupon

If you are like me and need more than one pair of new shoes, this coupon couldn't have come at a better time.  Print yours off now and use in stores between 8/2-8/18.

Oh, and just in case you need ONE more reason to stop by Famous Footwear, make sure you check out their Free Rewards Program, too.  You can earn points for every dollar you spend in store or online, accumulate those points to earn certificates up to $100 a year, and get a discount offer just for signing up.  Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!  Especially because if you are already are a member of their rewards program or become one...that awesome 15% off coupon?  Oh yeah...its jumping up to 20% off!!

Have you started your Back-to-School shopping yet?  If you are like me and just getting around to it, best of luck to you and here's to another great school year! ;)

Visit Sponsor's Site

Back-to-School Shopping at Old Navy!

Believe it or not...Back-to-School shopping time is here! This year I have two of my girls going to school and they could NOT be more excited. We traditionally make Back-to-School shopping a big event, date night and all! Nothing better than a little one-on-one girl time with cute clothes, shoes, and ice cream to top it all off ;)


 I don't know about you, but a lot of factors go in to our shopping. There MUST be a great selection (two little girls that have two very different styles!), I've GOT to be able to stay in my budget...and the clothes need to be pretty darn cute too! This year my girls are ALL about skirts, dresses and leggings, leggings, leggings!!  



One place where I feel we can stay in style, find a great selection and STILL stay in our budget is Old Navy.  I love that it is one-stop shopping...great finds for my 15-month old all the way up to my 7 year old.  And you better believe my girls already have their first day of school outfits picked out...complete with Cheetah leggings and all!  As a mom of 4 growing kids, I'm starting to see it really IS expensive to have a big family.  I'm always happy to find deals that allow my kids to express their own sense of style, while allowing me to not break the bank either!  

Oh yeah...and our store has a little table with crayons and coloring pages...LOVE that!  

So I'd love to know...have you finished up your Back-to-School shopping yet?  Do you stick to a budget for your shopping or do you just get what your kids need?  I can't believe we are down to a the one week countdown...Back-to-School here we come!!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

8.07.2012

Our favorite Back-to-School Breakfast...Apple Pancakes!

 

I can hardly believe it...but school starts in 2 weeks!!

I LOVE this time of year.  I love school clothes shopping, going and getting all the new supplies, and seeing how excited my kids are.  I also love planning a fun breakfast to make the first day of school extra special :)

We made these fun Apple Pancakes last year and I thought I would share.  Whoever thought of putting pancake batter into condiment bottles to create shapes is an absolute genius...I thank you! ;)

If you haven't done this before, give it a try!  You can turn plain old pancake batter into something really fun and special for your little ones and the possibilities are endless!  One tip though...make your batter a little on the runny side and blend WELL.  There is nothing worse than getting a big lump stuck in the top, squeezing a TEENY bit too hard...and having the lid pop off and batter ooze out all over your griddle.  May have happened to me once...or twice ;)

To make these apple pancakes you need to separate your batter into 3 bowls, and using food coloring make one bowl red, one green and leave the other natural.

Then pour your batter into condiment bottles and get your griddle good and hot!




Draw the outline of your apple and then quickly fill it in.  Using the natural batter I made the stem, and then topped it off with a leaf made out of the green.




Flip it once, cook on the other side, and you have yourself some adorable Apple Pancakes!



For an extra yummy twist, whip up some apple syrup to go along with these...here is my favorite recipe :)

1 cup sugar
2 tbls corn starch
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice 
(nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger)
2 cups apple cider
2 tbls lemon juice

Stir and Cook constantly until thick. Boil 1 minute, then add butter.

¼ cup butter

Seriously...its amazing!

Thanks for stopping by Blue Skies Ahead today and please share...what fun ways do YOU celebrate the first day of school?!

8.02.2012

Printable Zoo Scavenger Hunt!

 

Hey everyone!  I cannot believe it is Thursday already!  There are just not enough days in the week to do all the fun things I have planned ;)

Usually Thursday is our Field Trip Day, but we had to switch it to Friday this week.  My kids are SO excited to be going to the zoo tomorrow, and I thought I would share the scavenger hunt printables we will be taking with us :)

I made these two printables last year and my kids LOVED them.  Just take a few clipboards and pens and you are ready to go.  It makes the zoo just a little more exciting and keeps the kids engaged too.

The first one I made is for the younger kids, I laminate mine and then give my little guy some dry erase markers.  He can circle each animal as he sees them, or make marks to tally how many of each we see!



My girls REALLY loved this other scavenger hunt.  The kids have to try and find animals that start with each letter of the alphabet.  This is a great way for the kids to practice spelling and writing, and for my almost 5-year old, letter recognition.


Print them off, laminate them, and you have your own scavenger hunt anytime you go to the zoo!

Thanks for coming by today, and don't worry...you didn't really think I would go a whole week without a fun snack, did you?! ;)  I'll be back with one a little bit later!!