Friday, April 9, 2010

File Folder Games

In an attempt to keep my kiddos a little quieter during our weekly church meetings, I decided to make some file-folder games. These were a lot of fun to do, and I look forward to finishing the rest of them! Here is how I did it....
Supplies Needed:
(1) File folder game books (or come and borrow mine. I've already paid for it, so save yourself some money!) They can also be found online.
Copies of the games, colored and cut out.
File Folders (I cut mine down to fit my laminating sheets. If you plan on taking your folders to Kinkos or somewhere to laminate, you can leave them full-size.)
Glue or tape (to attach the sheets to the folder)
(Above) The supplies gathered and ready to go!)
This particular game is a rhyming game. They need to match the pictures up with words that rhyme. (Car/Star, Tie/Pie, etc.)Once your papers are mounted on the folder, simply laminate.
**Spotlight Review. I have this WONDERFUL laminating machine that I received as an early birthday gift from my hubby. It is called the "Your Story" machine. Not only does it laminate, but it also binds books!!! Let me tell you that it has been the BEST thing ever! I have had SOOO much fun with it. If you ever need to laminate some things, give me a call!After laminating all the pieces, simply cut out. Using velcro or magnets, attach small pieces to both the file folder and on the "game" pieces.
We plan on taking a few of these in the car for our Disneyland trip. I hope the kiddos like them!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

Howdy! For some odd reason, my previous post on laundry soap has disappeared. The good news is that I have the recipe...the bad news is that I won't be posting any pictures today. I still have 5+ gallons of soap in my basement waiting to be used, so I don't need to make any more just yet. :o) I hope the instructions do it justice. Have fun!
4 cups of HOT water
(1) Fels-naptha soap bar, grated into small pieces
1/2 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda
Large pot
5 gallon bucket with lid
1. Add grated soap bar to hot water in a large pot. Cook over medium heat until all soap is melted. (stir frequently to prevent it from sticking and burning to the pot)
2. Using the 5 gallon bucket, fill half full with hot water. Next, add the washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved.
3. Slowly add the melted soap. Mix everything very well.
4. Now, fill the rest of the bucket with hot water. Mix well.
5. Place lid on bucket and let mixture sit overnight. It will thicken up into a gel.
To Use...
Add gel mixture to a 1 gallon container (or any laundry soap container.) Fill up container with 1/2 soap gel and 1/2 water. Shake to mix.
For top-loading machines, use approx. 5/8 cup per load. Shake container well before each use.
If you prefer powdered laundry soap, all you need to do is:
Add grated soap bar, washing soda and borax. Using a food processor, mix ingredients until it makes a fine powder. Add about 1 tbsp. per load of laundry.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Feeding Your Family On A Budget

Hello! First off, I'd like to welcome any new readers that attended my "Feeding Your Family On A Budget" class last night. I hope you learned something new!
As I began my post for today, I thought it might be more helpful to provide links to the homemade cleaner recipes I have previously posted. they are!
PLUS: My laundry soap post has mysteriously I will post the recipe again tomorrow!
P.S. If you came to the class last night, please leave any comments/questions. I'd love some feedback about the presentation. Thanks so much!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Snow!

Happy Winter! (You'd think at least by looking outside! LOL!)
To help with this "wintery" weather pass along in peace, I decided to blog about a snowman kit that was given to us as a gift this past winter. (The REAL winter, not this fake one that we are currently facing!)
SO, here is what it is....
(1) Basic felt hat. Simply sew the fabric into circles and add a nice brim.
(1) Felt scarf. SUPER easy! Cut felt into a long strip and clip the ends.
(8) or so.... Wooden circles with a hole in one end.
(8) or so dowels that will fit into the end of the wooden ball.
(1) can of black spray paint (paint the wooden balls and dowels black)
(1) plastic carrot
Snow!! My kiddos simply piled the snow in the yard and patted it firm.
Using the dowel/circle buttons, press them into the snow to make eyes, (a mouth, if desired) and buttons. Decorate the snowman using the remaining parts.
My kiddos LOVED this project in APRIL! Looking outside right now, it looks like we might be able to do it again tomorrow!
Happy Snowy Spring everyone!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Great finds at Target!

Once again, Target has proven itself to be a GREAT place for bargains! I hit the Riverdale store late this morning to find some Easter clearance. They had some fun "basket stuffers" for 50% off. My personal favorite finds were: Lego Duplo Farm sets for $1.49/each, See & Say for $2.49, and a new Tag book for Branson for $2.49. In addition to these great finds, their Blue Dot $1 toys are now 50% off! They had cookie cutters, books, notebooks, games, stickers, and more for just $.50! SOO fun!
In addition to Easter items, they had some of the Sparkling Grape Juice (white and purple) with the Easter stuff on "clearance" for $1.57 each. They are good until 2012! They even have coupons on them for $1.00 off of two, so it makes them an even better deal. I bought a few to keep for special occasions and just for fun!

While you are there, be sure to check out the standard "back-isle" clearance. I found some Make Your Own Keychain sets for $1.49, some FUN Color Wonder sets for $1.49, Color-your-own-tattoo kits for $1.49 and much more for 75% off!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Crafting SANITY!

SO, I missed blogging yesterday....lets just say that I have been horrid sick since Monday morning and haven't felt like doing much lately. :oP

BUT, here I am today, looking at the mess that accumulated while mommy took a few days off! What a JOKE! I think the biggest joke of all is that my craft items, ie: laminator, book bindings, felt, sewing projects, etc, etc, etc. have no home! If my laptop was fixed, this is where I would download a picture of my pathetic "craft bin" in our room! (It would scare you--trust me!)

SO. This is where I need YOUR help!! What has worked for you as far as organizing your craft, sewing, project, etc. items in your home? Is there a trick or tip that you have found valuable in containing the clutter? If so, leave a comment at the end of this post. Hopefully we can all find some suggestions and solutions to help solve this craft dilemma!

Thanks so much!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Puzzle Pockets

Some of you might have seen this on my Facebook page awhile back, but I thought this would be a better place to file it. :o)

Puzzles are a HUGE hit at our house, but keeping the pieces together is a chore. To remedy this, I used some felt and my sewing machine to make a pocket to store the pieces in.

Step One.
Measure your puzzle. Cut two pieces of felt to fit on the back of the board.
Make one piece 2 inches larger than the other. This will allow room to make the "flap" on the pocket.
Step Two.
Sew around the felt making a pocket. I used velcro to fasten my pocket. Make sure to leave a pleat in the fabric when sewing to allow proper room for the pieces to fit.
Using tacky glue, place the pocket on the back of the puzzle. Allow to dry overnight.

Step Three.
Once puzzle is dry, open pocket and place pieces inside!
Easy-peasy! These pockets have been a sanity-saver for this mommy. My kids know that they are expected to place all of the pieces back into the pocket when they are finished playing. We haven't lost a puzzle piece in months! Hurray!

Friday, March 26, 2010

FHE Scavenger Hunt

One of our yearly goals is to hold a Family Home Evening for our children once a week. We usually try for Monday nights, but is doesn't always end up that way. :o) I have collected several Family Night books over the past six years, but we seem to have the most fun with lessons that I come up with in a pinch. (For a GREAT resource tool for families with young children, check out my previous post on the new Nursery Manual! We use this 2-3 times a month and the kids love it!)

Well, picture this if you will... It is 3:00pm on a Monday night. I haven't thought about dinner options, let alone a Family Night lesson. My children are sleeping (which is a RARE occurrence to get all three napping at once) and I am beginning to feel desperate. Thinking back to the previous week's FHE Lesson, I remembered how wild the kids were inside when it was so nice outside.
Alright, everyone see the picture??

My solution? I picture scavenger hunt! I quickly grabbed my camera and made my way inside, outside, upstairs and downstairs taking pictures of different objects. I then came inside and printed the pictures wallet size. Using my "quick-thinking" mode, I came up with little moral lessons for each object I had photographed. Here are a few examples....Clue #1. Our NASTY garden box!
We talked about "Following the Prophet" in his counsel to become self-reliant. We also talked about what we could do as a family to prepare our garden for the upcoming planting season.
Clue #2. Our Piano.
We talked about having good, uplifting music in our homes and cars. We sang a few of the kiddos favorite songs and hymns as a family.
Clue #3. The Mailbox.
We talked about how we can communicate with loved ones through the mail. We then referenced it to how prayer is communicating with our Heavenly Father and that we should do it often. We had the children color pictures for the grandparents and we sent them out in the mail the next day.

These are just a few of the 10 clues we had the kids find. Our last clue sent the kids to the temple picture in our front room. We then talked about how families can be together forever and the importance of temples. Behind the picture we hid $10.00. We then took the money and drove to Farr's Ice cream (which is across the street from the Ogden Temple,) and had a yummy FHE treat while enjoying talking about the temple.

Our children thoroughly enjoyed this activity, as did my husband and I. It was a BLAST because they didn't need to be able to read in order to participate and find the clues. You could use this same idea for days when the kids are restless and bored!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bonus post!

Just had to share! Farr's Ice cream in Ogden (Behind the Temple) is having their 90th Anniversary TODAY, tomorrow and Saturday!

To celebrate, they are having vanilla ice cream cones for $.05 each scoop!! Flavored scoops are $.90 each. They also have "vintage" ice cream quarts in vanilla, orange sherbet and pineapple sherbet for $.90 each!

PLUS! FREE coloring books for the kids! FREE gift certificates given out hourly!
Tour their 1929 Delivery truck and try their new "Blue Moon Vanilla" ice cream flavor!
Commemorative 4 qt. Ice Cream cartons are just $4.99!
This si sure to be a FUN, but busy event! If you've ever been to Farr's, you know that it is crowded regardless of the time of go early in the day and just expect a wait. Have fun!!

Mr. Potato Head

Hello again!
This was posted on my Facebook page awhile back as well, but I wanted to share it here in case you missed it!

I made some felt Mr. Potato Head dolls for my kids to play with in church and in the car. They have absolutely LOVED them! They were super easy and lots of fun to make. I hope you enjoy them.

I am not going to be super-detailed in the directions, as they are pretty self-explanatory. Please comment if you have any questions! Thanks so much!

Step One.
Make a pattern for your Potato Head using paper. Be sure to make a pattern for the back pocket as well. Trace patterns on to basic felt and cut out.

Mark where you would like your "parts" to connect to on your doll. Sew velcro to these locations.

Now, sew the potato together and add stuffing.
Step Two.
Make your body parts! Have fun with this part. I made four sets of eyes, four noses, five mouths, three pairs of ears and two arms for each Potato Head. I also left room in my back pocket to add more pieces later.Step Three.
Have fun and play with your new Potato Head!
I am going to be making up a bunch of these to have on hand for birthday gifts for my kids' friends! (So if your kiddos play with mine, just know you will probably end up with one of these little guys before too long! LOL.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sanity Savers

I am going to occasionally blog about some products that are "Sanity Savers" on those days when your kids are driving you nuts! (Yes, we can all admit that we have those days!)

Please understand that I am not telling you to go out and buy any of these products, but I will give reviews on the items that I blog about. I hope you enjoy it!

First up....

Window Markers!!Crayola makes these WONDERFUL little markers that work so well on windows. They run about $3.50 for a box of 8. I purchased mine at Target, but have also seen them at Walmart and Robert's Crafts.

When I first purchased these, I wasn't sure how the kids would react. I opened the front room blinds and handed the kids the box and told them to draw! They LOVED it! The first day using them, they colored on the windows for 35 minutes!

NOW, the pros and cons.
First up. Pros.
1. Promotes creativity
2. Gives mom a break while the kids have some "art time."
3. You windows get washed and cleaned when they are done!
4. They are inexpensive.

1. They dry out VERY easily. My boys didn't snap the lids tight on two markers and they were dried out the next morning. :o(
2. You have to wash the windows a few times to get them all the way clean.
They come off very easily, but leave a light "film" on the windows that you will need to clean off after the bulk of the color is gone.

I hope you have enjoyed this first-ever Sanity Saver review! Keep checking back for some other great products that ever mom shouldn't be living without!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Game Deals at Target

Just an FYI!
Target has Connect Four and Monopoly for $7.00 this week. In Sunday's paper, there were $4 off and $5 off coupons for the games, respectively. That makes them $3.00 and $2.00 each! An AMAZING deal! I have four extra of each coupon if you want one. Just send me a quick note! Happy Shopping!

Birthday Party Help!

Hello friends!
My Branson will be turning 3 in two months!! I can't believe how time flies by! For his birthday party this year, he wants a "Buzz Lightyearl" theme.
As most of you know, I tend to go overboard on the party part....BUT, I am trying to stick more to a budget this year and not buy so much "pre-made" stuff.
I also will be loosing two weeks of prep-time because of our Disneyland trip! (YAY!)

So this is where I need your help! Please comment with your ideas and thoughts for his upcoming party. Specifically, I need some cake ideas!

To give you an idea of what I have done for "themed" parties in the past, here is a picture of my Aiden's 4th birthday cake. Notice that I don't do my own characters! :o)
SO, if you have any ideas for a Buzz Themed cake that wouldn't be just green frosting and a plastic figurine on top, (because that is all I have come up with,) shoot 'em my way!

Thanks SO much!!! I can't wait to see your ideas.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Toy Story DVD Packs

Hello! How was everyone's weekend? Mine went WAY to fast! We found out that the mother board on my laptop is FRIED and needs to be replaced....thus loosing all of my photo-editing software, word processing software, etc. :oP The good news is that I still have our desktop computer, thanks to my amazing Uncle Jon!! I also had photography appointments, yard work, house work and the like. Sometimes I wish the weekends started on Friday mornings! LOL.

SO....if any of you are planning on purchasing the new Blu-Ray/DVD combo packs of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, be sure to print out your $5 off coupon here.
If you purchase both DVD's at Toys R Us for $21.99 each, you will get an additional $10 off plus the two $5 off coupons....making BOTH DVD's only $23.98 plus tax!! Excellent deal! (If you aren't up to driving out to Layton for Toys R Us, the DVD's are $22.99 at Target--PLUS you get a CD-ROM game and free movie ticket to Toy Story 3! This is what we are going to be doing first thing Tuesday morning.)

We are planning on purchasing them for our Disneyland trip as "reward prizes." I will post later in the week about our incentive program for the drive.

Well, this was a quick post for today....I am going to attempt to get some pictures loaded for posts later this week. Have a fantastic Monday everyone!!

P.S. Don't forget to look back at my St. Patrick's Day post for pictures! (Finally!)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekend Break

Hello! Like before, I am going to be taking weekends off from blogging...BUT will be back in full swing on Monday! I am hoping to have my laptop back by then to start downloading some fun pictures. Hope to see you back on Monday!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Project Disneyland

As most of you know, we are planning our first-ever Disneyland trip this coming April. We are so excited and can hardly wait!

First up on our "adventure" list is an art-board for the car. My boys LOVE to color and draw, and this was the perfect, inexpensive solution, to help them stay organized during the drive.

Supplies Needed:
Clipboards (I found mine at the Dollar Store!)

12x12 sheet of paper

Mod Podge

Paint Brush

(2) sheets of felt



Tacky Glue

Sewing Machine

1. Cut your scrapbook paper to fit the front of the clipboard. Simply trace the outline of the clipboard after laying on top of the paper. Cut out a notch for the "clip" part.

2. Using the paint brush, apply the mod podge to the board evenly. Place the paper on the board and smooth down until no bubbles appear. Let sit 10-15 minutes.

3. Now, apply mod podge to the top of the paper. I used a hard coat Mod Podge so it would be waterproof and I could clean the board if needed, but any type will do.

4. Set wet board aside to dry. (You can apply a second coat in 15-20 minutes if desired.)


5. Using your felt, decide how you want to design the back of your clipboard. I made a larger pocket on the bottom for colored pencils, a smaller pocket for the pencil sharpener and the elastic for their markers. You can choose to do yours however you'd like!
Here are the the pieces before I sewed them all together.

6. Sew the pockets and elastic in place. (I put a small pleat in each pocket to allow expansion room for the contents. This makes it easier to fit the items inside.)

7. Using tacky glue (or another type of glue,) apply the felt to the back of your clipboard once it is dry. Let sit overnight before "messing" with the pockets.
THAT'S IT! Easy, right?
Hope you enjoy it!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patrick's Day: Part Two

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

I love any excuse to celebrate the fun, simple things in life. Today is the perfect example of one of those days!

We started our adventures yesterday with the Leprechaun Trap post. Prior to this week, my kids were unaware of that St. Patrick's Day even existed. We started the week by telling stories about leprechauns, rainbows, pots of gold and wearing green things. The light and magic I saw in the eyes of my children will always be remembered.

Today, we made green jello-jigglers to enjoy as a family. I used a family recipe from Nick's grandma (G.G.) It is super simple and fun. Here is it...

(1) box, Knox unflavored gelatin. (each box has 4 packets inside)
(3) small boxes of flavored jello
4 cups boiling water
9x13 pan

Mix gelatin and jello together. Add 2 cups of boiling water and stir for 3-5 minutes. Slowly add the remaining boiling water. Pour into a 9x13 pan. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares and enjoy!!
When the kids woke up, they ran to their leprechaun traps. They were thrilled to find REAL Leprechaun gold coins in their traps. We figured that the leprechauns were too smart for us this time and they must have spilled some of their gold while running away.
For dinner, we had "Pot-O-Gold" Pockets (Chicken Pockets,) Irish Hay (rice-a-roni,) gold nuggets (corn,) and green jigglers. For dessert, I made green cinnamon rolls. YUM!
I hope your St. Patrick's day was a fantastic, fun one! I hope to have the pictures up and loaded as soon as my computer gets back from the shop. :o)

I'm Back!

As life has proved itself to be, once again, somewhat manageable, I have decided to respond to the numerous, weekly emails to start up my blog again. :o)

To help keep this thing under control, my blog will be a little different format than in months past. I will blog about our daily activities (with or without pictures,) as well as provide tutorials for the projects that we make. I hope you find it enjoyable and invite your friends to take a look too! Comments are encouraged and most welcome!!

NOW...let's get started on a fun St. Patrick's Day project!

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect opportunity to have some fun with the kiddos. This year, we decided to make Leprechaun Traps!

Aiden made a "rainbow ladder" for the leprechaun to climb up. In Aiden's words, "The leprechaun will like my rainbow colors and climb in to see what's inside. Then he can't climb out because the ladder is on the outside!" That is one smart kid if you ask me!

While helping Aiden cut some felt for his trap, Branson decided that the jumbo ink pads were just the right size for his hands to fit on....This is the result.

Notice the perfect hand prints on his cheeks. Too cute!

Now, back to the traps.... When we were finished with our traps, we put chocolate gold coins inside the trap to lure the leprechauns to the trap. We are hoping that we can catch one of the little buggers overnight! Check back to see our results....