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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trunk or Treat Ideas

Our annual Trunk or Treat is coming up next week.  If you need some ideas on how to decorate your car, check out these previous posts.





Plus lots more TRUNK or TREAT Ideas HERE and HERE.


I'll be back at the end of the month with the details for Trunk or Treat 2014.  




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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Conference Notebooks

Twice a year our church holds General Conference.  It's broadcast via TV, internet and at our church buildings throughout the world.  There are 2 sessions on Saturday and 2 sessions on Sunday where various church leaders inspire and counsel us.  If you'd like to hear for yourself you can check out all the sessions HERE or watch the highlights HERE.

Sitting through a 2 hour session can be hard for little kids.  Let's face it, it can be hard for older kids and adults too.  So to make conference more meaningful for the kids (and to keep them quiet so us adults can listen) I came up with the idea to make conference notebooks.  Now I'm sure someone else on Pinterest has thought of this idea and it's nothing new, but it was the first time we did it.


For the supplies I gathered up the following:
some old Friend Magazines (that is our church magazine for kids)
construction paper of various colors
scissors
glue
crayons, colored pencils, markers

The idea was to listen to a talk, pick out a word (or more) and find that object in the Friend magazine.  Then to cut it out and glue it onto the construction paper.  After conference we'd attach the papers together to form a book that would include what was talked about in conference. 

We did this on the floor in the office so we could watch Conference on the computer.  I also put down a plastic tablecloth for my 4 year old to color on top of to protect the carpet.

Now that was the idea.  

In reality, the girls loved making books, they just didn't make conference books.  I found some stencils and added them to the mix at the last minute and those were a big hit.  The girls used the stencils to make all kinds of designs and scenes.  

So while this didn't make conference any more meaningful for the kids, it did keep them busy and quiet so the adults could enjoy the messages and feel the Spirit.

Anyone else have any great ideas on how to get kids involved in General Conference?  We've tried Conference Bingo and giving out sweets for hearing various words but have found that becomes a bit distracting. 

I know this post is after the fact, our baby boy decided to make his arrival on conference Sunday.  So be sure to PIN this idea for next conference.



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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Our New Baby Boy

You may have noticed I've been a bit MIA on the blog lately.


Well, it's all because of this little guy:


Born Sunday October 5, 2014
8 pounds 14 ounces
21 inches long




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Monday, September 29, 2014

A Sweet Treats Birthday Party

On Saturday we celebrated Sweetie Pie's 10th Birthday with a Sweet Treats themed birthday party.  She requested an ice cream themed party, but I had trouble coming up with enough ice cream themed games, so I expanded it to include candy.  I don't think she minded at all.

I found the ideas from Pinterest.  You can check out my birthday idea board for inspiration HERE.

We made ice cream invitations and had ice cream decorations:

For party favors we had ice cream cones with cotton candy on top:

Once the girls arrived, we had them guess how many M&M's were in a jar (the winner got to take the jar home) and play with Sandzini until everyone was here.  I've included the amazon link, but I bought my at Michael's on clearance for $1.79!

They loved playing with the Sandzini and could have done that for hours.  Here is one of their creations:


Next up were the games.  I had detailed instructions of how to set up the game, how to play and where to play (just in case I was in the hospital having a baby during this party).  

GAMES

The first game was called Taste The Rainbow.

We gave each girl a straw and a plastic cup with her name on it.  The cups were placed on the kitchen island. There was a bag of skittles poured onto a baking sheet on a little table in the playroom (which is next to the kitchen).   On the start of go all the players must rush to suck a skittle onto their straw and race it over to blow it into their cup. They can never touch the candy with their hands. Play time is three minutes and whoever has the most skittles wins a prize.

Next up was a silly game called M&M mouth.
The girls sat in a circle and passed around a bag of M&M's.  Without looking the first girl reaches in and pulls out two M&M’s. If the colors match they can eat them.  If they do not match, they have to put them in their mouth and hold them there until their turn comes around again. They will have another chance to choose matching candies. Again if they do not match then they must be stuffed in the mouth, but not eaten.  Every player continues to play in this manner, making sure not to chew or swallow any of their candy until they draw matches. There is really no point to this game except the comical amusement that comes with watching others mouths become fuller and fuller with candy they cannot eat.  The girls didn't want to end this game.



Then they played Gumdrop Mountain.

I had a mountain of flour on a cookie sheet and placed a gumdrop at the top.  The object of the game is to take turns removing a spoonful of flour until the gumdrop falls.  I didn't have any consequence for the 'loser', it was just a fun game to play.
 

Build a Sundae  was our next game.
The idea behind this is similar to pin the tail on the donkey, but the girls made a sundae.  I cut ice cream shapes out of card stock and taped the paper cone to the bottom of my sliding glass doors.  Each girl was blindfolded and had to add a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream and finally the cherry to build a sundae.   Sorry these pictures are dark, the light coming in from the door made it hard to take a picture, but you get the idea.


 Then it was time for a very fun and tasty game:  Roll a Sundae
I gave each girl a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a bowl.  They took turns rolling the die.  Each number corresponded to a topping they needed to add, or to switch bowls.  After a few minutes, you had to eat what was in front of you.  Of course I let the girls add whatever toppings they wanted after the game ended and it was time to eat their creations.   


The last game was another silly one:  Chocolate Bar Race
Each girl got a Hershey candy bar still in its wrapper. When I said 'go' the first girl to eat the chocolate bar was the winner.  The catch is you have to do it without using your hands.  This was hilarious.


 As if that wasn't enough food, we also had cupcakes.  I baked them in ice cream cones.  

However, I learned that you should cook them and eat them in the same day.  I made mine the day before and covered them overnight.  The next morning I found that the cones had softened up causing them to warp and fall over.  But of course the kids didn't mind.  We stuck them in bowls with what else, more ice cream.  

Happy 10th Birthday!




OK, so now I'm all done with the September birthdays.  Unless of course I have this baby today or tomorrow.  As of last Tuesday, my Dr. says I could deliver any day now.  I hope so because this boy feels huge!  



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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Be Happy Today (a personal post about pregnancy after miscarriage)


This is a personal post about my experience with pregnancy after miscarriage.  However; I think some of these same feelings could apply to any type of loss or disappointment and our desire to reduce that sadness by reducing our happiness.




After years of trying to get pregnant and going through infertility treatments we were finally blessed with two children via IUI.  Our first was born in December 2002 and our second was born in September 2004.  

So imagine our surprise when I became naturally pregnant in 2007.   After years of trying to get pregnant, surely I would have no problem staying pregnant.  I was wrong.  Sadly that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.  I was devastated and depressed.

Over time, I felt better and things got better.  Still wanting more children, we began to pursue the route of adoption.  I had accepted the fact that I may never bear another child and I was at peace with that.

So once again imagine our surprise when we found out we had naturally gotten pregnant in 2010.

This time things were different, I was different.  

Having experienced a miscarriage had dampened the joy of this pregnancy.  I mean what if ‘it’ happened again.  I couldn’t let myself get too happy, I couldn’t go through that disappointment again.  As if sadness is inversely proportionate to happiness. 

I kept my feelings in check and worried all throughout that pregnancy that something would go wrong.  I didn’t even want to take pictures of my pregnant self.  I think I only have 2, one being the day I went into the hospital to deliver.  In fact the day of delivery, I was certain something would go wrong.  When my healthy baby girl was born, I couldn't believe it and even wondered what was wrong with her. 

I had clouded that entire pregnancy worrying about the what ifs.  I never allowed myself to feel full joy and happiness because of some possible tragedy that might occur in the future.  It took me a couple of years (which included another miscarriage) to come to this point but now as I look back I realize that reducing my happiness and excitement of the moment, I wasn’t sparing myself pain, I was only preventing myself from feeling happy. 

I don’t want to do that again.  I want to enjoy the moment.  To feel happy, excited and joy when those emotions should be felt.  Yes, pain may come, but it will not be decreased by dampening our happiness.  Reducing happiness will not reduce pain.   I don’t want to miss out on life’s joys because I’m too scared of what might happen later.  I want to love today, I want to be happy today.



I originally wrote this post months ago after finding out that I was pregnant with our 4th child.  It's taken me a while to get up the courage to share my feelings and personal experience, but I do think it's important to share.  I've been much happier this pregnancy, and loving it, and not worrying (so much).  I truly am choosing to be happy and it feels so good to share this happiness with others.



If you are interested in reading more stories from women about miscarriage, still birth and baby loss; here is a link called Breaking the Silence.  
"We speak and we write and we share not only for ourselves (though it is a balm), but also for the ones who will come after us and who will need light in their dark hour."



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Monday, September 22, 2014

Grandparent Gift


I mentioned in an earlier post that September is a busy month for us with several birthdays to celebrate.  I already shared what I made for my dad HERE and what I did for my 4 yr old's birthday HERE.  Today I'm back to share what I made for my mom.


I started off by cutting some wood into roughly 1.5 x 7 inch pieces.  I cut the top two pieces slightly shorter.  I sanded then painted them with some off white spray paint I had on hand.  Next I added some vinyl using my Silhouette.  I've had problems in the past with my vinyl coming off so I applied some Mod Podge over top the letters to make them stick.  Then I added a decorative ribbon to tie the blocks together.  So simple and so cute.  Of course, I didn't think of this saying myself, I got the inspiration from HERE.






 


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Party - sort of

Monday was the Babes' 4th birthday.  For months she had been requesting a rainbow unicorn party.  I did what I could starting with some rainbow cupcakes and a cake.


I made some homemade icing using the following recipe:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
approx 6 tbsp milk 
(adding a little more to make it creamy but not too much or it's runny and you'll need to add more powdered sugar to compensate).

Once I had the icing made, I divided it into 6 bowls and added food coloring to make the colors of the rainbow.

Here I am half way through icing the cupcakes and cake.


And here's the completed rainbow cupcakes and rainbow cake!


Since this wasn't just a rainbow party, but a unicorn party too, I wanted to add some unicorn flare to the cupcakes.  I looked in the cake decorating aisles but couldn't find any unicorn or pony cup cake toppers.  So I made my own.


I found some My Little Pony stickers and stuck them onto the ends of a toothpick as shown below.  Then the Babes added them to her cupcakes.  I know not all the ponies are unicorns but it still worked.  I expanded the theme to include horses, because I'm the mom and I can do that.


She really wanted to ride a unicorn for her birthday, but since I couldn't find one, we did the next best thing and went for a pony ride.  So of course she needed to get some cowboy boots.  She was so excited.  Not only did she get to ride a pony, but she also learned how to brush it.  


Big sister got to ride a horse too, while the Spencinator helped guide the little pony.  We went to the stables where the older two had attended horse camp this summer.  It was a fun family outing and everyone loved being around the horses again.  Overall this was a simple birthday party and fun for all ages.



 


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Candy Bar Poster Gift Idea

September is a busy month for us.  Not only are both of my girl's birthdays in September, but so are my parents.  Over the weekend we celebrated my dad's birthday.  What do you get a guy who has everything?  Well..... I decided to make a candy bar poster.  There are lots of variations floating around on Pinterest, you can check some out HERE.  I combined a few and used the candy bars I found at my local store to create this:




And since I couldn't find a way to incorporate this Twix bar into the poster, I decided to make a love note for my husband.  I'll spare you the mushy details, but inside the card is a list of reasons why I love him. 


Candy posters or cards make a great gift for the person who has it all.  It's fun, personal and delicious.




 


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Nursery in the Master

Our fourth child is due in five weeks!  I'm sure he'll come earlier as he's measuring big.  He'll probably be my biggest baby and that makes me a bit nervous.  The last ultrasound indicated that he's 6 pounds 9 ounces and that was at 34 weeks.  My other three babies weighed in at 6 pounds 15 ounces up to 7 pounds 9 ounces and they were born between 38 and 39 weeks.  I'm planning to have this baby early and need to make sure I have things all ready for him. 




First up was making room for the cradle and baby clothes.  We like to keep our babies in our bedroom when they are newborns so they are close by and I don't have to walk that far for the middle of the night feedings.  Since having the nursery in our master bedroom is only a temporary situation, I didn't want to buy any new furniture, I kept things simple and just used what we had.


What we had was a handmade cradle and some plastic storage crates.  I brought this stuff up from the basement, cleaned off the dust and set it up in our sitting room.  Our sitting room is basically a hallway from our bedroom to our bathroom.  To the right is the opening to our bedroom and to the left are doors to the closet and our bathroom.  The wall on the opposite side has a large cabinet that houses my scrapbooking supplies.  Previously on this wall was a bookcase that I moved to one of the kids rooms so this blank wall became the new nursery.  The crates on the right side house all the 0-3 month baby clothes bibs and burp rags.  The bin under the cradle has sheets, blankets and towels.  The white bin on the left will hold diapers.  I hope to fit a rocking chair on the opposite wall.  As for a diaper changing area, that will probably be on the floor in the middle of the night and on our bed when no one is sleeping in it.

We'll also have a pack and play in our living room that has a bassinet and changing table feature on it so that will come in handy.   That is my next thing to set up.  I love washing baby clothes and organizing all their tiny things.  Can't wait to meet our little guy.  In the mean time, I've got both the girls' birthday parties to plan.  

How do you get ready for a new baby?  Do you set up a nursery in your bedroom?  




 


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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Practical Baby Shower

Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend.  I know I did.  I certainly enjoyed getting to sleep in.  Getting up at 6am to get my middle schooler off to the bus stop by 6:40am has been rough.  Boy oh boy has it been rough.  Last school year I'd get up at 6:30 to get ready before waking the kids up at 7, but getting up a half hour earlier has me dragging the rest of the day.  

 
I couldn't resist adding this picture of me at about 32 weeks.  
You can find my inspiration HERE on Pinterest.

OK, back to what this post is really about....

On Saturday, I thought I was going to a Labor Day cookout at my parent's house.  There was some reason, my mom explained, why they were having it on Saturday and not on Labor Day Monday.  It made sense to me and I didn't suspect a thing.  Turns out, it wasn't a Labor Day cookout, it was a baby shower for me!  

What a wonderfully unexpected surprise.  I didn't expect a shower at all.  This is my fourth time going through this, but because of the age gap in kids, I had gotten rid of most all my baby stuff.  My mom and I had been getting things at yard sales like clothes but there are some things you need to buy new.  So it was super nice to have a shower where I received all the practical stuff I'd need, as well as a few more cute outfits.  If you're looking for some practical baby shower gift ideas, be sure to keep reading.

Here's the sun room and dining room all decorated in blue and green.
In the picture above, the frame between the two bears has the shower invitation.  My mom loves to rhyme her invitations whether it's for our birthdays or family reunions.  This one was no exception.  
Here's what it said:

Christa is having her fourth, a boy
She is over filled with excitement and joy!
It is getting closer to the date she is due.
So we are having a 'sprinkle' of blue.
Since finding out she has been to yard sales
in search of greens and blues for young males.
Practical items are what she will need.
We hope to keep this a surprise indeed.
Please join us on Saturday, August 30th at 1:00
As we celebrate Christa's addition over lunch and fun!


And of course there were delicious desserts like the "It's a BOY" cupcakes and a cake.  

But before we dived into dessert, it was present time!
I received so many nice things.  My friends and family are so thoughtful and generous.  It was great to get some baby necessities as well as some more adorable clothes.  I feel readier than ever to have this baby.  


Practical Baby Gifts:
* Bath products: lotions and shampoos
* Diapering products:  diapers, wipes, rash cream
* Nursing products:  nursing pads and lanolin cream
* Baby toys and books:  yes, you can find these at yard sales but it's nice to have new ones that haven't been chewed up or slobbered on by other kids
*  Plain white onesie undershirts:  sometimes this item is overlooked when buying clothes
* Gift certificates and cash:  always a great choice to help cover the cost of diapers or to get some other needed item that wasn't gifted
*  Hygiene items:  hand sanitizer, baby syringe bulb, pacifiers....


Before the party was over the guests got to take home one of these really cute favors.  They are so simple yet so clever.  It's lotions and body wash bottles with tags that say:

"Thank you for coming!
From Christa's shower
To Your shower"



 Me and my girls.  I love how the Babes hugs my belly.  We're all excited for this baby to come.  Only 6 weeks to go (hopefully less)!

 


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