11.29.2012

Mingle With Us Blog Hop!

It's Time to Mingle!
 Happy Go Lucky
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.

This week's guest host is: Turtles and Tails
Turtles and Tails
There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.

Please leave a comment so we know to follow you back.

Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others. There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.
We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other!

 

11.27.2012

Baby #5 is a....

 We have all been SO excited to find out what baby #5 would be!  Of course, we would love a boy to give Britton a little brother...but as much as I adore my girls I would never to be sad to have another little princess either :)

Since we are planning this to be our last baby, I wanted to do something really fun to find out what we were having.  We decided to do a very simple gender reveal party, and it was FANTASTIC!!  I didn't do anything cutesy or over the top, but having our family surrounding us to get one of THE biggest surprises of my life was amazing :)

Earlier in the day I went to Fetal Foto to find out the gender of the baby.  I told them I didn't want to know what it was, and they were so careful to make sure  I closed my eyes and didn't see anything I didn't want too.  When we were finished they put the money shot in a green envelope and gave me some pictures of cute little hands and feet and a darling profile.  I ran the pictures home and gave the gender shot to my neighbor.  She was going to type up what it was and stick it in a fortune cookie.  Then we all went around the room taking turns opening fortune cookies until someone got the lucky one!

When I went home I was looking through the cute little pictures when I saw something that made me cry!  They had a little box that said Sex and next to it was an F for Female!!  I wasn't sad that it was a girl...I was just SO sad that my surprise was ruined.  I couldn't wait to find out with my husband and kids and now I felt like the whole thing was a waste.  However, since we had already invited all our family over we went ahead with the party anyway and I just didn't tell anyone what the baby was.

Here's where it gets AWESOME...
but you have to watch the video to see why :)


video


Can you believe that?!?!  A baby BOY!!  I was SO shocked!!  Come to find out the F on the ultrasound...yeah...that was for me :)  Not my brightest moment!  But I stand by my argument...what MAN is at Fetal Foto getting an ultrasound?! ;)

It was such a rollercoaster of emotion.  I was so sad originally that my surprise was ruined...and then I ended up being MORE surprised than I could have ever imagined.

I cannot wait until our little man is older and we can show him this video.  He will always know how thrilled we were when we found out he was joining our family!

Now we just need to agree on the name for the little guy!  So far we like Coby, Blake, Timothy and Grayson.  Well...I love Grayson, Paul doesn't like it at all.  We'll see who wins that argument! ;)

11.26.2012

Being a "Bucket-Filler" FHE


Hello my LONG lost friends!!

I hope you all had a most wonderful Thanksgiving!  Between Turkey Day, a big gender reveal party for our little one, having family staying with us from California and just the day-to-day stuff we have been one crazy bunch!  This week I am trying to get back on schedule and wanted to share a really simple but effective FHE we did tonight on being "Bucket-Fillers" in our families and following the Savior's commandment to Love One Another.


If you and your family haven't read Have You Filled a Bucket Today? I HIGHLY recommend running out and getting it!  My girls were lucky enough to be introduced to it at school and it has really changed the way we try to treat others inside and outside of our home.

The gist of the book is that we ALL have invisible buckets.  When we are kind to others, we become bucket-fillers.  However, when we are unkind, we then become bucket-dippers.  The really cool part is that as we fill others buckets...OUR buckets then get filled as well!!

I loved the visual this created for my children.  It has been so wonderful to see a situation where there is unkindness and be able to say "is that being a bucket-filler or a bucket dipper?'  I knew going into the month of December I wanted to focus on how we could all be "Bucket-Fillers", especially in our home!


I made this printable to hang up as a gentle reminder...what have we done during the day that has made someones lives happier or better?  And in turn...making OUR lives happier and better as well!


Then we talked about how just as we all have individual buckets, we have a family bucket as well.  We talked about the importance of being "bucket-fillers" in our family, and all working together to fill that bucket and follow the Savior's greatest commandment...to Love One Another.


Next to the bucket I put a pad of stationary and a pencil.  Every time one of us sees someone doing something that is filling our family bucket we write it down on a paper, fold it up, and place it in the bucket!  We made a goal to have the WHOLE bucket full by our FHE in 3 weeks.  I am so looking forward to reading together all the little acts of kindness that have brought more love and charity into our home, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate the month of our Savior's birth than by following his greatest commandment.

11.15.2012

Mingle With Us Blog Hop!

It's Time to Mingle!
Happy Go Lucky
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.

This week's guest host is: Upward Not Inward

There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.

Please leave a comment so we know to follow you back.

Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others. There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.
We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other!
 

11.09.2012

Don't Be a Turkey...Give Thanks!!


Hello everyone!!  I wanted to share with you one of our families favorite Thanksgiving Traditions today.

I love the month of November.  I love the weather, the smells, the FEELING of it all.  I mostly love teaching and focusing on gratitude with my children.  Several years ago I realized it would be more fun if we could not just talk about things we were grateful for...but then put that gratitude into action!!  

I came up with our own kind of countdown to Thanksgiving, here he is...


This is our cute little turkey that we hang up 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.

In case you want to join us...I made one for you guys too :)
 




Once I printed out my turkey and feathers, I cut out each of the feathers.  Then on the back of each one I write something we are grateful for, and then a corresponding activity to go with it!


Here are the activities I used...you could of course come up with your own that are more applicable for you family :)

I am thankful for good teachers....make treats and notes to deliver at school.
I am thankful for a strong and healthy body...play tag, ring-around-the-rosy, and the Hokey Pokey.
I am grateful for good books...go to the library and check out some new Thanksgiving books.
I am thankful for my daddy...make handprint turkeys and deliver to his work.
I am thankful for my imagination...act out the first Thanksgiving with props and costumes.
I am thankful for good neighbors...make and deliver yummy treats.
I am thankful to live in America...read about the pilgrims and make pilgrim hat treats.
I am thankful for my grandparents...color them pictures and write letters to mail.
I am thankful for a warm and cozy home to live in...make blankets to take to the homeless shelter at Christmas time.
I am thankful for my family...look through scrapbooks and old pictures.
I am thankful for enough food to eat...go to the store and buy food to donate to the food bank.
I am thankful for this beautiful earth...go on a nature walk through the neighborhood.
I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father...do one random act of kindness today to pass that love on to others.
I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ...read stories about Him and write down my testimony.


Once you have all your feathers filled out and your turkey hung up, you let your kids pick one feather and focus on that activity for your day!  It is a wonderful way to teach your kids to be grateful, spend time with them, and enjoy the real reason for this Thanksgiving season :) 



My kids were very excited to wake up yesterday and see our Turkey up and ready to go! ;)

Have a fantastic day everyone!!


11.08.2012

Fruity Turkey your kids will "Gobble" up!

Let the Thanksgiving fun begin! ;)

I cannot believe how fast time is flying...Thanksgiving is exactly 2 weeks from today!  I knew I needed to get cracking on the Thanksgiving fun before we were moving onto Christmas.  I thought this fun Fruity Turkey would be the perfect after school snack for my kids and their friends!


All you need to make a turkey of your own is a pear, some grapes, cut up cantaloupes, and some toothpicks.
 

Once you have your feathers made from the cantaloupe and grapes, I just used mini-chocolate chips for the eys, a slivered almond for the beak, and some red frosting for that red-hangy thing I can never remember the name of ;)


When you are all done you have a darling Fruity Turkey that your kids will "Gobble" right up...and you will feel good knowing they had a healthy after-school snack!!



Thanks so much for stopping by today friends!  It is so fun to see you here, keep coming back for a really fun way to focus on gratitude every day with your kids until Turkey Day!!

Linking up HERE





11.07.2012

Mingle With Us Blog Hop!

It's Time to Mingle!
Happy Go Lucky
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.

This week's guest host is: Pinkie for Pink
Pinkie for Pink

 There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.

Please leave a comment so we know to follow you back.

Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others. There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.
We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other!

 

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission Family Home Evening

Hello everyone!!

I can't believe how long it has been since I posted a family home evening.  It was funny, I was thinking that our FHE's have been really simple lately, and probably weren't worth posting.  But then I realized...sometimes the simple ones are the best ones of all!!  So even if its not some super creative idea, I still wanted to share our lessons and activities.  Hopefully they can jog some ideas or give you an idea or two to use in your own home ;)

Monday night we had a wonderful family home evening all about Missionary Work!!


The REALLY cool thing about this FHE was it was ALL my husband.  He has felt strongly lately about wanting to share some of his mission experiences with our kids and this was the perfect opportunity.

This FHE really was as simple as it gets.  The kids all gathered around daddy and listened to him talk about some special experiences he had serving in the Santiago, Chile mission.
 

Paul had a bunch of thing from his mission that he got to show and read to the kids.  They were so enthralled to read his mission call, and especially excited to see the signature of the prophet...they thought daddy was so cool!!


The kids all took turns wearing this bad boy :)  Paul talked a little bit about the responsibility that comes with sharing the gospel and being a special witness of Jesus Christ.  


Finally Paul showed them pictures of the people of Chile he had served.  The kids got so excited when they saw people he had baptized, or families standing outside the temple.  Paul also showed his bag that he carried for two years with holes worn in it.  He showed them his scriptures, so worn and so used.  Mostly, he bore testimony about those two wonderful years.  The lessons her learned and the influence they had on the rest of his life.

It was a wonderful night.  The kids were all SO excited to serve missions!  Well...mostly :)  Britton only wants to go if I can go with him (LOVE him!)  

So even though it was simple, the Spirit was strong and the kids got to learn more about one of THE best examples in their lives...their daddy :)

11.06.2012

Thanksgiving Mantle...with the cutest garland ever!

 
 I was so excited to put up my Thanksgiving decor this last weekend...and even more excited that it actually turned out better than I had hoped!

In my house I like to use some colors that aren't always traditional for the holidays.  I have a gorgeous blue rug that should be here any day, so every holiday I try and tie blue into my color scheme.  I also try and keep green in their too, and this mantle is no different.  

I have been LOVING the mustard/purple combo lately, and knew I wanted it incorporated into my decor.  Once I had all my pieces put together I realized...all my decorations perfectly matched our most recent family pictures!  And what would make a better garland for the holiday celebrating gratitude than pictures of the people in my life I love the most?!


This was SO simple!!  I just got some twine, strung it from my mantle, and then stuck some of my favorite family pictures up with clothespins!!  I did spray paint the clothespins with gold glitter so they would pop a little, but other than that it was the easiest (and I think cutest!) garland I have ever made!  If your families pics don't happen to match exactly...how cute would sepia-toned pictures or even some black and white pics be?!  I just love it!!


I love people that make awesome free printables!  I found this one HERE, I love the simplicity and colors of it.


I love a little metallic, so when I found this vase and pine cone at Hobby Lobby for 60% off, I knew we were in business.  I added a vase I already had to tie in that blue, and an 8x10 of my favorite family picture.

There you have it!!  Pretty simple, but sums up exactly what I am most grateful in my life during this month-long celebration of gratitude :) 

Do you ever stray from traditional colors when decorating for the holidays?  Do you find you have to get more creative since your style may not be in stores?  Or am I the ONLY one out there ditching the orange this Thanksgiving season? ;)

11.05.2012

LDS Wall Art Review!

 
Since I have started blogging a little more in the last year or so, I have been lucky to receive a few different opportunities to review different products.  Some I haven't taken advantage of because I knew it wasn't something I would really buy myself, and I really didn't think it would be anything that would apply or be of help to any of my readers.

A few weeks ago I received a chance to review a product that I could NOT let pass me by!

If you have read my blog for any amount of time at all, you have probably noticed I am proud to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  As such, I believe in the doctrine of Forever Families...that if we are sealed in the temple we will have the opportunity to be with our families FOREVER.

Needless to say, the temple is a pretty special place to me and my family...and for sometime I have been searching for some beautiful wall art to represent those feelings and display the beauty of the House of the Lord.  When LDS Wall Art contacted me and offered me the opportunity to review one of their enhanced prints I JUMPED at the chance!



As you can see from my picture above, these pictures of the Temple from the Fine Art Temple collection are absolutely stunning!  I love the modern take on it that fits right in with my home decor.  I chose the Salt Lake Temple print, as it holds a special significance for my family...my husband and I were sealed there for time and eternity a little over 10 years ago :)

Are you interested yet?  If so, PLEASE go check out LDS Wall Art and their beautiful Fine Art Temple collection.  If you do decide to order a picture, keep in mind it will be printed on museum quality canvas that really will add to the Spirit of any home.  Another cool option they provide is to customize your canvas with up to two lines of personalized text!  You could put the day you were sealed, your families name, etc.  The possibilities are endless!

Just because the people at LDS Wall Art are SO cool...they are offering my readers a 50% discount off any item from the Fine Art Temple collection from now until the end of the year!!  All you have to do is enter code TEMPLEPTSKJ50 and you are set.  I am thinking this is going to make for some amazing Christmas gifts ;)

If you want any more information, check out LDS Wall Art on Facebook!  There you will be the first to hear about any new promotions and new products as well.

Thank you so much LDS Wall Art for the opportunity to review such a beautiful piece of art...I am excited to have it in my home!  Now I just have to find the PERFECT place for it...;)

11.02.2012

Guest Post-Kimberly from Five Little Chefs!

I am so glad to welcome Kimberly from Five Little Chefs to Blue Skies Ahead today!!  She is a fantastic mommy that is creating some precious memories with her "little chefs" in the kitchen :)


 Hello! I'm Kimberly from Five Little Chefs.  I want to thank Tonii for inviting me to Guest Post here today! We are SUPER excited about this opportunity! My kids or "Little Chefs" as I call them LOVE to help me in the kitchen and LOVE to watch cooking shows. We are enjoying the memories we are making together.

 

 Today we will be sharing a Butterscotch Sauce. We love to have ice cream night with just our family, or with some additional family and friends. The best part of ice cream parties are the choices! This Butterscotch Sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. My Little Chefs are always curious to know how different bottled foods are made. This was a great chance to show them!
  We started out by measuring the sugar, whipping cream, corn syrup, vinegar, salt. Then we unwrapped one stick of butter. For some reason unwrapping that butter is the messiest job! My Little Chefs are good at remembering to spray the measuring cup before pouring in the corn syrup so it slides out easily.


   My Little Chefs couldn't stop stirring even though the recipe said stir frequently! After coming to a boil reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the vanilla. This recipe is quick enough to hold the attention of even the smallest Little Chefs.


   As the sauce cools it thickens. See how it sticks to the spoon and slowly drips off, yum! Use this sauce in other recipes such as Butterscotch Brownies. Swirl a little of this sauce in your mix for something different.

 
Butterscotch Sauce
Good Housekeeping 

Ingredients
4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 1/3 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
4 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven (do not use smaller pot because mixture bubbles up during cooking), combine brown sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup, butter, vinegar, and salt; heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, 5 minutes.
2. Remove Dutch oven from heat; stir in vanilla. Sauce will have thin consistency when hot but will thicken when chilled. Cool sauce completely. Transfer to jars with tight-fitting lids. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat to serve warm over ice cream.

  Thanks for letting me visit here today. I'd invite you all to stop by Five Little Chefs to see more of our recipes and to enter our giveaway - an 8x10 canvas from Printcopia. Enter here to win!

Holy Moly....that looks amazing!  Thank you so much for being here Kimberly, I love your blog and all the delicious new recipes I am finding there ;)

If YOU would like to guest post at Blue Skies Ahead...let me know!!  Email me at blueskiesahead6@gmail.com.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!!