Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Goals

I love to make goals. I'm just not so great at keeping them. I know a lot of you out there can relate. My problem is mostly that i make too many goals. There are too many things in my life that i want to improve on, and i get the mistaken idea that i can jump in with both feet January 1st and live up to my new self-improvement routine.

I used to have a friend who had a great idea - instead of making a long list of yearly goals that will fizzle out by the second week of January, she gives herself something to focus on every month. For example, January is usually for making plans and organizing, while one of the warmer spring/summer months is used for her fitness goals. Here are some of the monthly focuses i've seen her use:

-Eating Healthy/Trying New Foods
-Visiting new places (usually local adventures)
-Reading x number of new books
-Physical Fitness
-Decluttering and Invantory
-Spirituality/Daily scripture study, reading other religious study guides

I really like this idea, because it gives you an opportunity to focus on any number of goals you choose, each at its own time. And you don't have to beat yourself up if you didn't maintain your "exercise every day" goal all year - you just  need to do it for 30 days. You can keep it in the back of your mind all year, and do what you can, but you're not trying to give everything a front seat all at once.

So this is what I'll be doing. I haven't given each month a label yet, but I will be devoting January to organizing and goal setting. Goals to accomplish this month:

1. Make a Home Management Binder, using the following resources as inspiration:
                     -31 Days of Home Management
                     -How To Make A Home Management Binder
2. Dejunk - toys, books, movies, storage, etc. Donate excess (in good condition) to second hand store.
3. Invantory valuables. Take photos or video for insurance purposes.
4. Make goals lists for the rest of the year. 

So far i think that's enough to keep me busy this month.  I'll update at the end just to keep myself accountable.

What are some of your goals this year?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

*More* Fun With Calendars

Another project for your old calendars - a fun and simple guessing game for small children. 

Okay, I lied. I didn't use calendars. But the C.O.W. Bus, where I stole borrowed this idea, used calendar pictures. I just didn't have enough of a variety in the calendar pictures available - at least not for small children. 

Here's what I used...

If you are LDS, you probably recognize that blue box - this is an old Gospel Art Kit my mom gave me. I was happy to find that the pictures in the kit are standard page size, and depict a wide variety of scripture stories, which made them perfect! So if you don't have a calendar, find some magazines, or print photos off the computer!

Now, first, take the pictures out of your calendar (or wherever you've collected them from) and cut them down to 8 1/2 x 11 inches if they aren't already. Then find yourself a large manila envelope and write your game title on it ("What Am I?", "Guess the Picture!", etc.) and draw three boxes like so...

Cut out the three boxes, then slide your pictures inside.

The kids open the flaps to see portions of the picture, and try to guess what it is. Then, all you have to do is move a different picture to the front and go again.

This project takes a grand total of about ten minutes to put together (though, i didn't have to cut my pictures to size. And I didn't worry too much about straight lines and even text... Hey, you are welcome to fancy yours up if you want. :)

Though, that messed up R is not meshing well with my OCD... I'll fix it later. hahaha!

Until next time, have fun! 

Fun With Old Calendars

Every year, the C.O.W bus stops in our small town. Do you know the C.O.W bus? It stands for Classroom On Wheels - a school bus that has been hollowed out and decorated like a preschool classroom, with all sorts of learning games. And it's painted like a cow.

They had all sorts of homemade projects displayed for parents to copy, many of which used old calendars! brilliant! I know some people get a lot of those free calendars from stores with animals and things on them. We don't. We do, however, have a TON of art calendars. I get a calendar of Christ-centered art every year - Del Parson, Greg Olsen, Simon Dewey, there's even a Liz Lemon Swindle in there - and they are so beautiful i can't bear to throw them out! I've cut out some of the pictures  to hang at various occasions, but after six or seven years, you end up with a slightly overwhelming stack of art...

The project I decided to make was the calendar matching book. I thought it would be a fantastic idea for church, something to keep the kids busy and quiet during the meeting. Basically, you take the pictures out of your calendar.

Then cut out the small pictures on the back (you know, where they show you the pictures that are in the calendar)...

If you can, it's a good idea to laminate them. I couldn't, so i just pasted them onto either side of six sheets of cardstock. The C.O.W bus had theirs laminated, hole punched, and in a duotang, which made everything snug and neat. The cardstock was too thick to be workable in a duotang, so I punched holes, added two extra pieces of cardstock for a cover, and used some metal rings from the stationary section of the store. They only had one size, otherwise i would have gone for some smaller ones.

I glued the small pictures on cardstock as well, since i couldn't laminate them and i wanted them to be a little more durable. Page 1 (or the inside of the cover) is where you put all the little pictures.

Now, here's where i messed up. I had this "brilliant" idea to use magnet tape. The C.O.W bus used adhesive velcro dots, and i thought, "That's neat, but it would be a bit noisy in church. How about magnetic tape? That would be quiet! I'm so smart!"


DO NOT USE MAGNETIC TAPE! Unless you can get some ultra thin stuff that is strong enough to hold the pictures on. What i had was heavy, which made the book awkward, and it DOESN'T STAY ON!

Use adhesive velcro. Use the dots, or cut strips into small pieces. Trust me, even if these are for church, the little extra noise is worth it. If you are going the non-laminating route like i did, just make sure the pictures are securely glued, as the velcro pulls a bit.

You will need 24 pieces of one side (hook or loop) and 12 pieces of the other. I had hook on the small pictures and loop on everything else. So, put 12 pieces of loop on the front page (as above - but NOT with magnets), and the other 12 pieces of loop go on each of the big pictures, anywhere where there is empty space is good.

Then the 12 hook pieces go on the back of your pictures. The pictures are stored on the front page. Then, the kids take a small picture tile and try to find its match somewhere in the book.

My kids love it! This project can be modified using number or letter tiles in place of the small pictures - ie. match up the three with the picture with three items in it, or match up the A with the picture that starts with A. Whatever you have pictures of.

I also had a calendar that didn't have the small pictures on the back, but was fairly sturdy.  I took those pictures, mounted them on cardstock, and cut them into squares to make a simple yet challenging puzzle. I made three, and they keep the six-year-old busy for a good portion of the meeting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sew Your Own Dragon Wings

I just wanted to pop in with this super cool dress-up idea.

The other day I was browsing dragon-y type things (just for fun) and I stumbled upon a fantastic dragon wing tutorial. I actually had all the supplies needed, so the next day I was anxiously awaiting naptime so i could whip up a pair of these babies.

One pair was not enough, obviously. The boys LOVED them. J actually screamed blue murder when i took them off of him to give his brother a turn.

The first pair was a pain to sew - I actually broke a couple of needles because i wasn't being careful enough around the "bones", and the stitches were less than attractive (no, i'm not showing you that pair. haha!). But the second (and third and fourth) were actually quite easy, and went together pretty quickly.

I let the boys pick out their own colors from what i had. E wanted pink and grey, R wanted green on both sides. I made red and dark green for J, since he didn't really care either way. 

You can find the tutorial over at I'm Feelin' Crafty. Your kids will thank you. ;)

My tips for this project:

- The instructions for Heat 'n' Bond tell you you don't need to use steam. When ironing the front to the back, I found my projects held together better when i steamed it on high heat first, then went over it again with no steam. It's hard for the heat to travel through all those layers and get the Heat 'n' Bond to really stick, and it just seemed to work faster and better with the steaming step.

- Sewing through Heat 'n' Bond can gum up the needle - it won't make it pull or break or anything, but it could make the machine miss stitches. When I'm sewing any project with Heat 'n' Bond, I keep a tiny bit of cooking oil on hand. Rub a teensy amount on your fingers, then rub it on the sewing machine needle (while the machine is stopped, obviously). Do this every 20 inches or so, and you won't have any missed stitches! It seriously only takes a tiny amount to work - if the needle is dripping, you've used too much.

- I didn't have a printer that could print on 11 X 17, and I couldn't find a way to make the pattern print on multiple sheets. If you have this problem, you may have to hold a piece of paper up to the screen and trace it. It sounds like a real pain in the butt, but it works. Make sure the page is scaled at 100%. (But honestly, if there are any tech wizards out there who can find out a better way, let me know!)

- It looks like the creator sewed on only one side of the "bones". I'm a bit paranoid about things slipping around after a lot of use, so i sewed down both sides of mine to keep them firmly in place. To get nice and close to the "bone", use a zipper foot. It'll keep your needle close to the "bone", but still help you keep from running over it and breaking your needle. I sewed up both sides of the short "bones", and just on the underside of the long M-shaped "bone". Plus, i think it looks cool. :)

- Don't expect too much if you plan to photograph the kids wearing their wings. It's pretty difficult to take pictures of little dragons in flight! 

Have fun!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nifty Notebooks and Monster Bookmarks

Here in Alberta, it's the last week of school. Today was the last day for my boy, since he's only in kindergarten and doesn't have school on Fridays. I'm just here to share briefly what we made for his teachers.

First, I made some cute monster bookmarks, following THIS tutorial and pattern. I think they're adorable, especially when they're in the book, nomming your pages. hahaha!

Then my boy helped me Mod Podge some journals (see my tutorial HERE). There were three aids in the classroom this year, so we had four gifts to make. We bought a pack of neat looking pens, then my boy picked out paper to match them.

I opted for the journals over the composition notebooks, since the bookmarks fit best on right angle corners, and the composition books have rounded ones. Besides, they looked nicer inside. We tucked two monsters in each journal, then wrapped them up.

All ready to go!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 12: He is Risen!

Easter Countdown Day 12


And the angel answered and said unto the women, “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.” Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.” Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. … and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. … Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, “Peace be unto you.”

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Matthew 28:5-7; John 20:2-9,19, 30-31
(See also: Luke 24:36-51; 3 Nephi 11:8-15; 3 Nephi 15:13-17, 21)

... What does the resurrection mean for us? 
... What does Jesus life and sacrifice mean to you? 

Thanks for joining us!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Resurrection Rolls

Making Resurrection Rolls has become an annual tradition in our home. I blogged about them last year - you can check out the recipe HERE.

Basically, you make plain old bread dough, divide into rolls, and fill each with a large marshmallow. Then seal them well, roll them in butter, then in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, then bake them.

You have a delicious roll that is sweet and sugary on the outside...

... and hollow on the inside.

These symbolize the empty tomb and the resurrection, hence the name. We like to make them together, and discuss the symbolism while we do it. The marshmallow being the body of Christ, wrapped in white, goes into the "tomb" of the bread dough. Then we close it up, and after it's baked, the "body" is gone. I'll be bringing them to church for our small congregation on Easter Sunday.

Most of mine split this year, which i'm kinda sad about, but they still look cool. Luckily the splits are at the bottom, so they still look whole from the top. The ones the boys did were a little misshapen, so we ate those ones ourselves. I kinda like this one my six year old did - it looks like a snake head:

hahaha! Happy Easter, everyone!

Easter Countdown Day 11: The Stone is Rolled Away

Easter Countdown Day 11

a stone

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, “Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’” … Pilate said unto them, “Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.” So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
Matthew 27:62-66; 28:1-4

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 10: Jesus is Buried

Easter Countdown Day 10

a white cloth

When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimath├Ža, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

Matthew 27:57-60

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 9: The Savior Dies

Easter Countdown Day 9

A dark cloth, broken rocks

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?...
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent… Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

Matthew 27:45-46, 50-52
(See also: Helaman 14:14-20; 3 Nephi 8:19-23)

...Jesus felt the Father's presence removed from him for a moment while he was on the cross. Why was this necessary?
...What was the significance of the darkness, the earthquakes, the storms, and other tumults that occurred after the death of the Savior? 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 8: Soldiers Cast Lots for His Clothes

Easter Countdown Day 8


And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet… And sitting down, they watched him there.

Matthew 27:35-36
(See also: Psalm 22:18)

...Why did they gamble for his clothing? Is it significant that prophets knew such details so many years before they happened?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 7:Jesus is Crucified

Easter Countdown Day 7

a cross and a nail

And after that they had mocked him, and they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear His cross. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him… And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Matthew 27:31-32, John 19:17-19
(See also: John 20:25; 3 Nephi 27:14)

...Jesus had the power to save himself from all of this suffering and death. Why didn't he?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 6:Jesus is Mocked

Easter Countdown Day 6


And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

Matthew 27:28-30

...How did Jesus react to the mocking and abuse that he received? 

My First Attempt at Word Art

(if you're looking for the Easter Countdown, we haven't gotten to it yet - sometime tonight. sorry for the delay!)

I love word art. I love decor that is meaningful and inspiring. Last weekend was the 182nd Semi-Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

In short, our leaders spoke to us and gave us some magnificent counsel. Quotes from this conference have been used plentifully to make word art by a number of people. I'm just throwing my own hand into the mix. I spent a lot of time playing on Picasa and downloading fancy fonts from DaFont. I must say, I had a lot of fun. I still have yet to find out how to get a dark colored background on Picasa (all i can produce are washed out pastels that don't really appeal to me), so my quotes are on plain white. If white doesn't appeal, printing it on colored paper will work.

As i said, these are first attempts, so aside from their messages, they're nothing overly special. These are the two quotes/mottos that stuck with me.

First, a quote from President Monson. It was quoted by someone else in the conference, but it was Pres. Monson who said it first:

Next, a quote from Elder Andersen. Sometimes we focus too much on what others think of us, scared of the opinions of the world, and this simple question really spoke to my heart.

i like them. I still don't know if i'm absolutely crazy about them, but i may be a little cross-eyed from staring at them for too long.  Still working on my skill. :)

If you like either of these jpg images, they can be saved to your computer and printed off from there.

Here are some links to other conference printables made by people much more skilled (and obviously with much better programs) than me. :)

Spiritually Speaking
Our Hands, His Hands 
Bitsy Creations

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 5: Pilate Washes His Hands/Jesus is Delivered to be Crucified

Easter Countdown Day 5


When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” Then answered all the people and said, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” Then released he Barabbas, unto them: and when he scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Matthew 27:24-26

...Pilate believed Jesus to be innocent, and he had the political power to save him from death. Why didn't he?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 4:The Savior's Arrest/Jesus Heals the Soldier

Easter Countdown Day 4

A piece of rope and a soldier

And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.” And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, “Hail, master”; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
And Jesus answered and said, “Suffer ye thus far.” And he touched his ear, and healed him.

Matthew 26:47-50; Luke 22:50-51

...How did the Savior react to Judas's betrayal, and the arrest? Interesting note: In this culture, arresting someone at night was a highly illegal practice. Such official business had to be carried out during the day. 
...In other accounts, the apostle who cut off the soldier's ear is named as Peter. Why did Peter do this? How did the Savior react? Why did He heal  the wounded soldier?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 3: The Savior in Gethsemane

Easter Countdown Day 3

A Sacrament Cup

Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.” And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

Matthew 26:36, 39
(See also Alma 21:9; D&C 19:16-19)

Note: I feel that I should add something here. In my faith, the Savior's prayer in the garden of Gethsemane is a powerfully significant part of the atonement. I don't know enough about other religions yet to say whether this is a unique belief, but I understand that it is not a common one, so I thought I would add a little bit about what we believe on this for the interest of those who may be curious.

The Church website says this:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 2: Thirty Pieces of Silver

Easter Countdown Day 2

Three Dimes

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, “What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

Matthew 26:14-15
(See also Zechariah 11:12-14)

...Why do you think Judas did what he did? We can assume that the Savior would not have called him as a member of the Twelve if he was not in some way a loyal and devoted servant, so why do such a terrible thing?

...Some scholars speculate that Judas, as many others, envisioned the promised Messiah as a war leader who would physically overthrow the Roman government, and was disappointed in Jesus' humble, peaceful ministry. They think that Judas' betrayal could have been motivated by desire to put the Savior in a position where he would have to show his strength and power, and become a mightier figure in the eyes of the people.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Countdown Day 1:The Last Supper/Jesus Institutes the Sacrament

Easter Countdown Day 1

A Cracker

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28
(See also 3 Nephi 20:3-8; 3 Nephi 26:13; John 6:51)

...Jesus knew that this would be His last day, and he would soon be arrested and killed. He spent the evening with his Apostles, teaching them. They were puzzled by some of the things he said. Why do you think he didn't tell them exactly what was coming?