Thursday, December 29, 2011

Family Home Evening Magnet Board

As it gets close to the new year I start to have the urge to get a bit more organized, don't you?  I've had a few projects in the works.  We needed an easy way to rotate assignments and to keep track of everyone's job for family home evening.  I decided to make a family home evening magnet board. I used a picture frame purchased at a yard sale from my stash and added a fresh coat of paint.  For the inside of the frame I took an ugly metal sign and painted it cream.  Then I printed up the assignments we needed for our family home evenings onto some thin patterned paper.

I mod podged the paper with assignments printed on it to the metal sign.  I made a few glass magnets with family names on them that we will rotate each week. I'm hoping this will help to keep us more organized.

To clean up my closet, I confiscated my husbands tie rack (another yard sale find that wasn't being used).  Dear husband even hung it up for me on my side of the closet- nice guy- and now that is where I keep my necklaces, belts and scarves.  Much better than the jumbled pile of stuff that was there :o)

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Favorite Things

I've noticed several blogging buddies sharing a few of their favorite things.  I'd imagine a few of you have a gift certificate to use or a gift exchange to make.  So, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and share a few things that I have enjoyed.

I love my American Eagle Jeans.  Photo from their website.  I bought my first pair at Ross- then went to American Eagle for more (Ross was out).  I have very long legs and their jeans fit great!  My petite, vertically challenged hairstylist raves about how their petite jeans fit, too.  Most complimented jeans I've ever owned... enough said.

I love my apple peeler, slicer, corer because my husband LOVES apple crisp- and this is the tool of choice for easy baking- I use it to make applesauce too.

I like my Avon waterproof eyeliner- I have small, deep set eyes- and often find myself with colorful raccoon eyes by midday. This eyeliner stays put. I do have to reapply it if I'm going somewhere in the evening. I wait for sales to purchase it half off with free shipping.  1/16/12- when I tried wearing this under the lower lash line- it smeared... just fyi

And for the kids- I know I've mentioned it before but this plasma car has been the most popular gift ever.  Admittedly our home is perfectly set up for the indoor use of this little gizmo.  We have "miles" of tile and a full "loop" so the kids can race all around the house.  It is kind of expensive but considering how popular and for how many years this has been used- almost daily- I'd say it's worth the price!

There you go- a few ideas- I hope they help!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Activity Day: Sibling Christmas Party

Activity Day is a church activity for girls ages 8-11. We try to teach them a skill, reinforce keeping God's commandments, provide an opportunity to serve and help them to have fun.  This month's big event was a Christmas party.

To give the girls a chance to serve the girls hosted a Christmas party for their siblings.  Admittedly, I should have had them help more with the planning and given out more assignments.  The girls mostly just helped at the party.

So, what is a sibling party?  We only have a few girls in our group and most of them have siblings around the same age.  We invited all of them to the house for a Christmas party.  Making it "easy" we had "fancy" food- hot dogs, fruit salad, chips and cherry juice mixed with sprite. Then we played some games like pin-the-nose on Rudolph's face and Christmas Bingo.

For crafts we made popsicle stick ornaments (see the snowman photo at the top of the post), folded fancy paper airplanes and test flew them (a huge hit) and decorated cupcakes (always a favorite). While the girls helped host the event and run the activities (with my dear hubby) I pulled out family groups and took a few photos to be used in future craft projects.  Crazy fun!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Hobby Lobby Wrapping Paper= Love

Just thought I'd mention how much I LOVE the wrapping paper at Hobby Lobby.  It is thick, beautiful, and comes in HUGE quantities (seriously, I only purchased two rolls of wrapping paper this year and unless we give each child an elephant we'll have TONS of extra paper).

They print up coordinating sets of cute paper.  So, you don't even have to think.  You just pick out your favorite and one or two of its partners.  They also offer matching tags, ribbons and bows.  They put it on sale half off almost every week in the month before Christmas- it is the best priced paper I've seen- much better than dollar tree because you get SO MUCH paper.

But my very favorite part- there are faint cutting lines on the back of the paper so that your scissors have a path to follow :o)


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Making Easy Filigree Earrings

Ever get in the mood for a new accessory?  I was on Tuesday.  Here is what I came up with.


Buy some cute jewelry findings from Hobby Lobby on clearance or print yourself a 40% off coupon.

Attach a jump ring and an earring clasp through one of the loops on the outer edge of the filigree pattern.


Don't try to take pictures of yourself wearing them- you'll get lots of fuzzy, hairline, blurry, craziness ;o)

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homemade Bread and Milk Chocolate Fudge

But not together.  I spent yesterday making milk chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge.  Then I spent some time wrapping it up for gift giving.  I used small tins from Target and some gift boxes that I had on hand.

Here are the packaging directions that I followed:
  • Wrap the fudge in saran wrap- to keep it clean and fresh
  • Wrap the fudge in the saran into parchment paper to make it pretty
  • Tie that bundle up with cute baker's twine- instead of buying the baker's twine in the candy section go to the crochet yarn and thread section- our craft store carries crochet thread that is identical to the baker's twine but TONS cheaper!
  • Make little decorative doodads out of polymer clay and tiny stamps to jazz them up a bit ahead of time and then tie these on-  here is a tutorial that is similar to what I did- I just used stamps instead of nature-
  • Add a tiny jingle bell- if you so desire

My husband spent the evening making his delicious bread.  He makes me 100% whole wheat no sugar (just honey) bread- for my healthy eating kick. Then he makes some that is half white flour and half wheat with some sugar in it for himself. Yep, I'm spoiled!  Both kinds of bread are super yummy and with the cold weather we've been having I've been making and enjoying lots and lots of toast.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Activity Day

For Activity Day (girl's church group ages 8-11) we made these cute snowman treats that I learned about on pinterest (picture from pinterest).  The girls struggled  some because a few of the heads fell apart when they tried to push in the nose- but they had a blast and they turned out pretty cute!

We also made these adorable little baby Jesus ornaments.  I couldn't find any small wreaths at our craft store so I substituted little birds nests that I found in the floral section of Hobby Lobby.  The store was also out of wooden stars so I substituted "metal" star buttons.  Sweet!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Making a Forever/ Infinity Scarf

I didn't used to be much of a scarf person- but I'm changing my ways.  I made a quick forever scarf using this tutorial and my serger.  While I was at it I made two more scarves and feel so "put together" when I wear them.

If you want to avoid seams showing where you attach your pieces of fabric together- you'll need about two yards of fabric- You need that much fabric so that you can wrap the scarf around your neck twice and only have one seam that you place in the center back of your neck- not seams going every which way!  Having this much length has a perk because you will end up with enough fabric left over (from the width) to make at least two extra scarves.  So, find a couple of friends and start sewing :o)

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mini Frames for Home Decor and Ornaments

I took some time to play with these adorable picture frames yesterday.

 They are so cute and can be used as ornaments or just around the house.... fun!

I especially liked the idea of putting pictures of the Savior on the formal tree in the front room.  I found the  pictures in an old 8 inch calendar by Simon Dewey purchased on clearance from Deseret Book.

 My daughter said that in Arizona at the temple visitor's center there is a tree covered with pictures of temples- that would be beautiful as well.  Dear daughter suggested making all of your frames a rustic antiqued cream and using sepia tinted photographs.....

Can't decide what to make for dinner- try Holiday Chicken Salad- yummy- even better with an added bit of mustard.  This is one of my favorite meals to take to families with a new baby or other need.  I just send over a package of croissants from the bakery and a disposable food container filled with the chicken salad and a head of lettuce.  Nothing fancy but it tastes good!  They can grab the meal out of the fridge anytime they want to eat- no prep- and they can throw away the containers when they are done- so, no dishes!

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paper Medallion and Gift Tag Christmas Ornaments

Hope your Thanksgiving was fabulous!  On our way home from our trip to be with family we stopped in Durango, Colorado and sweet hubby chopped down a beautiful Christmas tree for us (after obtaining the proper permit). As we continued our road trip- and had traveled several miles down the road he caught his first glimpse of a cougar in the wild- as it climbed over a ten foot deer fence on the side of the highway.... I was reading in the back seat and missed the whole thing!

In other news- I made some paper medallion ornaments using gift tags from Hobby Lobby-50% off so they were $1.

And yes, it's weird but our ornaments are going to perfectly coordinate with the gift wrap on the presents under the tree this year....   we haven't really decorated this tree yet- I just stuck on a few ornaments for the pix.  However, the three trees in the bedrooms and the formal tree in the front room are decorated and stylin'!

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Make a Christmas Count Down

I purchased some ghastly gold picture frames at a yard sale and jazzed them up with some shiny red spray paint.  I printed this free printable and placed it behind the glass. 

The kids get to scribble out each day with a sharpie marker while they count down to Christmas.  At the end of the season the glass can be cleaned with glass cleaner and they can use it again next year.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm wishing you each a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving!  We're spending time with family.  I'll check back in later.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Activity Day: Family History

For Activity Day this week we visited the small family history center located in our ward building.  The girls learned about family history and tried indexing.  If they remembered to bring a name and some dates of a deceased relative they were able to pull up their own family tree and take a look at it.

I have found that the girls get extra excited if I pass out an invitation the Sunday before our activity.  Here is the invitation we used.

This was a fun activity for me because I was able to share one of my new hobbies with the girls.  Family history is so much fun!  Anyone that enjoys being a detective would enjoy doing some family history and indexing.  To do indexing you sign up at the above link.  Then you look at a photo of an old record.  You type the information found on the record into a form and upload it.  Then someone looking for that person's info is able to pull it up and learn about their family member.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Free Photography Actions for Photoshop

I have two nieces that are professional photographers.  So super talented.  One is located in Arizona.  The other is located in Utah.

Portrait photography is such an art.  You have to be a skilled photographer and be skilled in working with people- as I've said before- such a HUGE learning curve.  One of my new favorite inspirational blogs is Peekaboo Photography.  Wow!  Her work is amazing.

I took the above photo on Saturday.  Since trees and beautiful green shrubs are few and far between in West Texas we used an old abandoned house for the backdrop.  I've been having a blast learning about and playing with filters and actions for photoshop.  I'm so grateful for free actions like the ones offered at Coffee Shop Blog.  So MANY options!  Since I've started having computer problems I haven't been able to use my actions.... I'm hoping for some great black Friday computer deals.... maybe we can upgrade!

For ideas on displaying all of your great photos how about these adorable miniature wooden frames filled with family pictures.... after getting enough to decorate your own tree you might want to grab a few extra as these would make such a special gift for grandma.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Whole Wheat and Honey Pumpkin Bread

Well, the healthy eating plan has paid off!  I'm eating a healthy fats (like avocados & real butter), whole foods diet with only a few sweeteners like honey and maple syrup- with a touch of semi-dark chocolate.

Now I'm done losing weight.  Some would say that I could still lose ten pounds but I don't buy the Hollywood version of healthy.  With my doctor's approval I'm moving on to maintenance!

It would still be so easy to switch back to my old way of eating.  Especially as the holidays approach!!  But I'm trying to hang tough and to pay attention to the benefits- and not just the sacrifices- of changing my lifestyle.... any suggestions for staying motivated during maintenance?

I am putting together a file of well loved healthy recipes.  Since, I love pumpkin bread  my daughter and I came up with the following recipe (thanks Amber).  I hope you'll like it too!

Whole Wheat & Honey Pumpkin Bread

1/3 c. applesauce

1/3 c. vegetable oil

1 ½ c. honey

2 t. vanilla

4 eggs

1 15 oz. can  pumpkin (Libby’s or a good tasting organic brand-  and there is a not so pleasant difference in the taste of different brands of canned pumpkin)

1 3/4c. whole wheat flour

1 1/2 c. brown rice flour

1 t. salt

2 t. baking soda

½ T. cinnamon

1 ½ t. ginger

1 t. cloves

½ c. water


1 c. chopped nuts

1 ½ c. semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix the moist ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients together and add them to the pumpkin mix. Blending just until mixed. Add the water. Mix. Gently add nuts and chocolate chips.

Pour batter into two well greased bread pans- lick the bowl. Bake at 325 for 50 min. or until toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Remove from pans and cool for 5 hours before slicing.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Activity Day: Gratitude

Activity Day this week focused on gratitude.  I saw this super cute idea of turning a picture frame with glass into a dry erase board for the holidays over at brown paper packages.  We adapted it by buying an inexpensive picture frame at Dollar Tree.  The girls painted their frames.

Instead of using vinyl lettering I just printed the words on cardstock and we placed the paper into the frame.  The girls can write what they are thankful for as they go through the month- and they can invite family members to add things as well.  I used a free typewriter font and a free image  (I photo edited mine to make it black and white) off of the web.

I used the clever idea of writing on the glass with an ultra fine sharpie marker- it doesn't smear like dry erase markers but wipes off easily with a damp cloth- another great idea from the brown paper packages blog!

During activity day we also played gratitude charades where the girls acted out what they were thankful for and we all guessed.  The person who guessed correctly had the next turn.

The girls also took home a small "gratitude" journal- a 99 cent notebook from WalMart.

We used this talk for our discussion on being grateful.  Hope that helps.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Make Your Own Photo Props: A list of links

I've been looking for super cute and affordable photo props and I'm not finding too many.  So, I looked for links on how to make some of my own and I thought I'd share what I found.  Here are a few of my favorites. 

These cute headband crowns that can be easily altered and then used for birthdays, for princes and princesses or for super heroes.

Grosgrain's tent that folds down for easy transportation and storage.

Spunky toddler tie  (girl's or boys)- For some reason I especially like these in black and white photos.  Here is another pattern (no elastic).

Wood Crate and you can add "vintage" labels from here.

I did get two banners made- one girly and one with "boy" colors. 

Here are the simple instructions: Draw a triangle the size you'd like your flags to be on paper.  Mine were about  seven inches across the top and about 11 inches center top to bottom point.

Pin to fabric and cut around.  I cut out seven flags (triangles).  Use the same pattern to cut out seven flags from felt (this gives your banner a nice weight so it hangs nicely and doesn't get all curled up in storage).  Place one decorative fabric flag on top of one plain felt flag and serge or zig zag stitch around your banner flags.  Get two packages of bias tape.  Leave two feet (for tying) and then begin zig zagging your flags onto the bias tape.  Equally space the flags.  I put mine about three inches apart.  When you run out of bias tape just open the second package and sew the new tape on top of the old, overlapping about three inches.  Keep adding flags.  Leave another two feet for tying.  Display behind a cute munchkin and start snapping photos.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Technical Difficulties

I'm having some computer issues and will be back as soon as we fix them or get a new computer :o)

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Crochet a Baby Hat

I made another little baby hat.  I didn't use a pattern- just crocheted in the round adding a different stitch every now and then for a bit of texture.  I found some more cute free baby hat crochet patterns that I'd love to get to...

Alli shares the cutest baby hat with ear flaps.  I'd want to do this in so many fun and fanciful colors!

I'd like to crochet this sweet little bear hat- I think I'd leave off the face and just make the basic hat with the fuzzy little ears... sweet!

I'm still loving these crazy adorable elf hats.

Now that the weather is finally cooling down a bit I'm in the mood to sit and watch old movies and so I'm looking for projects I can do while I watch.  I'm liking the old reruns on netflix too- currently I've been watching the Dick Van Dyke show.  Silly fun.

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