1.31.2013

Let Your LOVE Show countdown!

 
Hey everyone!!  I know this is kind of last minute...but since I just got mine put together during naptime today I figured I would share :)

My kids LOVE holidays, and I love doing countdowns and advents to draw out the fun for even longer.  I thought for Valentines it would be fun to do a Let Your LOVE Show Countdown for the first 2 weeks of February!



This was SO easy to put together and turned out really cute.

All I did was cover a bunch of clothespins with Washi Tape.


Then I got some more of these SUPER cute striped bags I had from Pick Your Plum.  I printed out numbers 1-14 and glued them onto the front.  Then in each bag I wrote down an activity for us to do and sealed the bag with a little more Washi Tape :)


The activities I chose were really simple for young kids...just anyway my kids could let others around them know they love them.  Some that I did were:

Heart attack a good friend
Write a thank you note to your teacher
Do a secret service for one of your siblings
Call daddy at work and tell him how much you love him
Make valentines for Grandma's and Grandpa's

and lots more!

In case you want to do something similar, here are the numbers I used for our countdown.

Thank you so much for visiting today!  Please share...how are you helping your kids to Let Their LOVE Show this month?? :)



1.29.2013

The Iron Rod FHE...a repeat :)

Hey everyone!  How are you all doing this week?  We are surviving ;)

The sickness that everyone has been dealing with hit us last week, and yesterday...it finally got me!  My husband knew it was bad when I told him at 6 last night I didn't have anything prepared for FHE...SO not like me ;)  Thankfully, he is awesome and in tune so we ended up watching a conference talk our bishop had mentioned at tithing settlement and having a great discussion on it.  

HOWEVER, if you are following along with us on our quest to delve into the Book of Mormon, I wanted to repost a lesson we did months ago that would have been perfect to do last night.  This week we should have been learning about Lehi's Dream and the Tree of Life.  We did this super fun, simple activity to help our kids better understand the dream, and the Iron Rod.

  To start off I made this printable that we will have displayed for the rest of the week as our FHE reminder.




Since our kids are still very young, we tried to keep it very simple.  I found some great clip art HERE that worked perfectly for us.  I had my girls color all the pictures and cut them out.  Then as we
discussed what each part of the dream symbolized we taped it up on our magnet board.  We talked a lot about how important it is to hold to the iron rod and stay on the straight and narrow path.  Then we did a great activity to drive the concept home just a little bit more :)



I got a big, yellow rope we had in our basement and tied it to our front door.  Then we blindfolded the kids, spun them around a few times, and WITHOUT holding the rope told them to find the front door.  It was so funny to watch them...but really poignant too.  They were all going in the wrong direction, tripping over their own feet, and always scared to take the next step.  Not one of them was even CLOSE to the door when they took their blindfolds off.


Then we blindfolded the kids again, but this time I had a big yellow rope tied to the door handle.  Paul held the other end so the rope was tight and the kids were able to hold the "Iron Rod" all the way to the door.  Even though they were still blindfolded they pretty much ran to the door with no hesitation!


I loved those precious smiles when they reached their destination!!


I love object lessons...they just really strike a chord with me.  It was so interesting for me to correlate the fear my kids felt when they had nothing to hold on to and weren't sure which way to go.  Then to see the sheer confidence and joy they possessed when they were holding fast to the rope...it became so clear to me.  Life is always going to be hard, scary and difficult.  But by following the word of God, we are able to leave the fear behind and embrace the plan our Heavenly Father has in store for us.  I bore testimony to my children that I have the same desire Lehi had...for ALL of my family to partake of the precious fruit, the gift of eternal life.  And the way to do that is by holding fast to the Iron Rod and staying on the straight and narrow path.

Once we were ready for dessert all that talk about fruit was getting to me...so we made our families favorite fruit dip to go with some sliced up apples :)  I got this recipe out of a ward cookbook...aren't those always the best ones?!


Thank you so much for checking out Blue Skies Ahead today!  Please leave a comment if you have any great FHE's that have been a success in your home!  I am always looking for creative and interesting ways to get my kids excited about the gospel :)  
 


1.24.2013

Crazy Kool Valentines!

 
Hey everyone!!  How are you all doing this COLD, icy, Thursday?  Or maybe that's just where I'm at ;)  My oldest daughter is home sick from school today so we decided to take an hour and put together her Valentines for her classmates.  These were SO cute, cheap and easy to put together!

I originally saw THIS idea on Thrifty Decor Chick last year and thought it was SO cute.  Then when I was at the Dollar Store the other day, I thought it would be fun to add a crazy straw and our Crazy Kool Valentines were born! :)


I had these awesome treat bags I ordered around Christmas time from Pick Your Plum.  They were the perfect size and color for these super simple Valentines.


We just stuck a Kool-Aid packet and crazy straw in each one, and then glued on this printable I made on Picmonkey.


I made two different versions depending on what color bag I was using, please feel free to click, save and print! 



Have you started thinking about your kids Valentines yet?  If so, what are you doing??  Share in the comments!

Linking up to THESE great parties!

1.23.2013

Mingle With Us Blog Hop!!

It's Time to Mingle!
 Mingle With Us Thursday Blog Hop
 
This week's guest host is:  Living D.I.N.K
 
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.
 
Interested in co-hosting the party with us?  We are changing things up a little now that it's a new year.  We are looking for a co-hosts to join the party each week and post the party on their blogs.  Please email one of us or leave a comment and we will be in touch.
 
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.
Mingle With Us Thursday Blog Hop
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!
 

Valentines Doughnuts...the easy way!


Are you all getting excited for Valentines Day??  I know we are at our house!  The last couple of years this has evolved into one of our favorite holidays.  I thought of a simple, easy treat to make this time a of year a little more fun :)

All you need to make these SUPER easy homemade donuts are a few small heart-shaped cookie cutters and some refrigerator biscuits.


I used a larger heart cutter for the main shape, and then used a small heart to cut out the middle.

Once you have your heart doughnuts, all you need to do is drop them in a pot of hot oil for just a few minutes.  Watch closely and turn once to make sure they brown evenly.
 

After they are done use a slotted spoon to get them out of the pot and drain on a paper towel.  Then sprinkle with powdered sugar and you have your super easy Valentines Doughnuts!  I also used the small heart cut-outs....TASTY!!!

These would be fun for your family, or a super cute gift for anyone special in your life.


I may or may not have eaten 3 of these while I was making them during nap-time today :)  They are quick, cheap, and fun for your whole family!  Thanks so much for stopping by today!! 

1.21.2013

Nephi Gets the Brass Plates FHE


Happy Monday everyone!!  Tonight we continued our study of the Book of Mormon, learning all about Nephi and the Brass Plates.  I made up this fun printable with the lyrics from one of my favorite Primary songs.


We spent a lot of time talking about how Nephi needed a lot of courage to do the things Heavenly Father asked of him.  After reading the story from the Book of Mormon Stories, we did a really fun activity that let the kids get their wiggles out and reminded them of all the courageous things Nephi truly did.  



In our living room I set up a REALLY simple Obstacle Course that symbolized some of Nephi's courageous moments...and would be lots of fun for the kiddies :)


Nephi's first obstacle was obeying his father and returning to Jerusalem...after they had just traveled into the wilderness!!  For this obstacle I just taped a long piece of ribbon on the ground and kids had to pretend they were tight-rope walking on it.


After Nephi and his brothers tried to trade all their gold and silver for the Brass Plates, not only were all their riches stolen but they were chased out of the city and almost killed as well.  They had to hide in a cave, so for this obstacle the kids had to crawl through a tunnel that we had.


Nephi's brothers became so angry with him they began beating him with sticks.  With the help of an angel, Nephi was able to overcome their anger and eventually receive the Brass Plates.  This was the kids favorite obstacle...they got to go absolutely crazy trying to pop a balloon...it was hilarious to watch! ;) 



Finally, Nephi's hardest obstacle was to follow Heavenly Father's ultimate plan for him...even though at first he was scared and didn't think he could do it.  For this obstacle to represent always AIMING to follow Heavenly Father, the kids had 3 tries to shoot our Nerf Gun and hit the bulls-eye!

The loved their obstacle course, and it was a fun way to recognize all the different ways Nephi had to have courage.  

I personally loved the reminder that Heavenly Father will ALWAYS help us find a way to accomplish the things he asks of us.  Whether that be attending the temple more, being a more patient mother, or a kinder spouse, he will NEVER leave us as we strive to become more like Him.  

Thanks so much for stopping by Blue Skies Ahead today, I hope you are off to a wonderful week! :)
 

Valentines Day Mantel, EASY burlap banner!

 

Today I am sharing with you my Valentines Day Mantel!  I am so excited about how it all came together...especially since I actually made some of it myself!  If you know me, you know a craft that actually turns out is pretty rare ;)

On one side I framed the printable I whipped up that you can find HERE.  I also found this blue birdcage I fell in love with...and inside are my two little love birds ;)


On the other side I framed a piece of fabric that matched our LOVE sign and covered a foam heart in pink tulle and twine.  I also scored some burlap balls 90% off in the Thanksgiving Clearance section...perfect!!


I made this LOVE sign last year, and updated it just a teeny bit this year.  I re-modpoged 3 of the letters to update the color. and I absolutely adore it.  Its the perfect focal point for my mantel.


Finally this year I made a burlap banner to hang up.  This was SO easy and quick to put together, I think it adds the perfect finishing touch!


All I did was cut triangles out of burlap and hot glue them to some pink bakers twine.  Then, using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, I painted hearts on the burlap with acrylic paint.  



And there you have it!!  Do you decorate for Valentines Day?  It is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays...just for the decor! ;)  

1.20.2013

Smiling this Sunday!

 
Hello everyone, and Happy Sunday!!

I hope you all had a fantastic week...here is a little peak into our lives and few things that are making me smile :)


These two cuties are more than a little excited to be starting dance this week...they were born to dance :)


WEEKS ago an amazingly talented friend of mine helped me pick out fabric and sewed some curtains for my front room.  I have been bugging Paul non-stop to hang them up and he finally did yesterday.  Every time I walk in I get a huge smile on my face, it totally changed the whole look of the room.

 

I have been on a mission at our house to cut out a lot of TV and computer time.  It has been so easy when I feel sick or tired to just let my kids watch nonstop shows and play games, but I don't like the spirit or attitude that brings into our home.  This was on Friday, at 6:30 that night when we pulled out the computer for the FIRST time that day...and we hadn't had the TV on either!  It was a rough few days getting the kids used to not constantly having them on, but I can already feel a change in our house and I am loving it!


Today this little girl is REALLY making me smile!  Last night we moved her into her big girl bed...and boy was I nervous!  She loved her crib and went down every night and naptime without a peep.  I was so scared to give that up!! ;)  However, this little cutie was fantastic and went to sleep last night without a single cry.  She came straight home from church today and crawled into her bed and is still napping right now!  I am SO grateful its looking like this will be a smooth transition, I don't know if I have the energy to battle her ;)


Finally, my cute big girl making pancakes for us this morning.  The last few weeks I have really been working on some cooking basics with her.  The realities of our life are that I will probably go on bed rest in the next month or two and I thought it would be so great if she could help out in the kitchen.  She spent the morning perfecting her pancake-flipping :)  I always tell her I couldn't have more babies if I didn't have such a big helper like her...she is my angel.

So many simple things to smile about this week...I hope you are finding lots and lots to smile about in your life too :)