April 30, 2010

FHE Picture Binder

A couple of years ago, I made this for Christmas:

I just went through old church magazines and found any pictures that were full-page, or fairly large. I cut them all out and glued them on construction paper.

Then I put them in sheet protectors and put them all in a binder.

Since that time, the Church has produced an even better version of a picture book called the Gospel Art Book, including 137 pictures for only $3.50! (free shipping too!) I ordered one a few weeks ago and love it!

It comes as a spiral-bound book, and I had the idea to maybe take it apart so I could put the pictures in sheet protectors like my binder above. The only reason being that as the kids handle the book and point at the pictures, etc. the pages may not hold up very well. We'll see......

I am excited to use it for FHE, and I am also wanting to see if I can fit in a little mini daily devotional using these pictures to teach with.....more on that later!

April 29, 2010

I LOVE these Ottomans!

My dear Mother has ottomans like these in her house, and when we moved, this was one of the first things on my list of "must-haves"! Especially with kids!
Here are a few reasons I love them:

1. They just add to any decor, and come in a variety of colors.

2. The lids come off, and you can store things inside!!!! Like blocks, books, balls, trains, cars, trucks, and even little weird toys that don't have a home. They keep things out of sight, and yet very accessible.

3. They aid in the quick-clean moments of life. Like when a friend calls and is on their way over, and you have toys all over the place. Just grab an ottoman, make a clean sweep, plop on the lid and dear friend is none the wiser.

4. When you sit on the couch, you can sit back, kick your feet up, and relax. (Don't forget the bon-bons!)

5. When you have a lot of people over and not enough places for them to sit, you can use them as stools!

6. When they are not too stuffed with toys, your silly little ones might find it amusing, of their own accord, to sit in them and watch cartoons. (as pictured above.)

7. They are just the best.

The End.

P.S. I bought these at Target several months ago for $20.00 each! I also saw some at Walmart during that time for the same price, but just brighter colors.....like for back to school - dorm rooms. I think my Mom got hers at Ross or TJ Maxx.  Hope that helps! (Good luck, Stacy!)

April 27, 2010

Animal Matching Fun!

LM recently got these animal toys for his Birthday. And he got THESE animals cards for Christmas. Combining the gifts from these 2 holidays provided an afternoon of animal fun!

First, we talked about what each animal was, and then he matched the animals up to their matching cards.

But the fun didn't end there. We then set them up in a semi circle, and used a little blue bowl as a boat. Doing things Noah's Ark-style, he would go from card to card and pick up the animals for their boat ride. Then he would return them safely to their homes. (Rest assured: no animals were harmed in this jovial process.) :)

April 26, 2010

FHE: Be an Example

Song: I am Like a Star (Children's Songbook pg.163)


Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:12 

Activity: With yellow paper, cut out a few big stars. On them, write names of people in the scriptures who were good examples to those around them. One by one, have the child choose a star and listen as you tell the story. If you have pictures of these stories, show them as you tell! Then talk about how we can be good examples.


Treat: Fruit Smoothies (this is a favorite around here, and with summer approaching, this will most likely be an FHE treat often!)

In a blender, add any combination of the following (depending on how you like it and what you have on hand!): milk, juice, ice, yogurt, fruit: bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc. Blend and enjoy!

Tips: Ice is good because it makes it nice and cold, especially if your fruit wasn't frozen. And the more ice you add, the thicker it becomes. The banana helps make it creamy. The yogurt and/or juice gives it a lot more sweetness, but I think it's still good without the excess sugar.

April 23, 2010

Scripture Picture Books

I made these Scripture Picture Books 2 years ago for LM for Christmas, but thought it might be fun to share again. 

I cut out pictures of the Savior from old church magazines, and combined them with some of my favorite scriptures about the Savior that I typed up and glued on cardstock. I put them all in a couple of mini photo albums and I let LM look at them while we study the scriptures together as a family.

April 21, 2010

Thank You for the Gift - Cards

After LM's Birthday, we made thank you cards for his friends and family who gave him gifts. We used those same finger paints with which he created that stunning parrot portrait. This time we cut up the dried paint pages into small rectangles.

Then we glued on 2 pieces of cardstock strips, and 2 small cardstock triangles for the bow on top. Then we wrote on the card and sent them to all the generous gift-givers!

April 20, 2010

Impressive Roses

Quite a while ago, for Valentine's day to be exact, my dearly beloved husband gave me some roses. Now, that is  impressive, to be sure. But even more impressive is the fact that he hand-crafted them out of tissue paper! What?!?

Though I post this long after the fact, it is simply too amazing and impressive not to share with the blog world.

He may just have to start being a main contributor to my blog!

April 19, 2010

When you give the 3 year-old the camera....

. . . you get this: 


Which, actually, is quite a good picture of me. 

You see, that unnaturally bright glare on my face covers up any and all facial blemishes including but not limited to the dark circles under my eyes from a less than desired amount of sleep.

The acute brightness of my face actually aids in the process of making my hair appear silky and shiny, chic and smooth.

And there's something about that angle that makes my right arm appear as dainty as a porcelain doll.
I just may have LM take all my portraits from now on!

Anyone else? Photographer for hire!!

April 16, 2010

Mini S'more Pops

One of our recent Family Home Evenings included a treat called Mini S'more Pops. They were so much fun 

that I'd thought I'd share!
Get 3 bowls. One for mini marshmallows, one for melted chocolate chips, and one for crushed up graham cracker crumbs.
Use a skewer or toothpick and get a mallow, dip it in chocolate and roll it in the crumbs.
Then scarf! Yummy!

April 14, 2010

Homemade Sensory Tubes

We recently purchased year-passes to a child discovery museum in our town. We've been there a few times and love it! I saw some sensory tubes there that were fun for LB and his growing dexterity.

They looked pretty basic, and I knew there had to be a way to create something similar for him at home. I sat one day munching on my Honey Roasted Peanuts, and then it hit me. Ah yes. Use the plastic peanut tube! So I did!

 I put some colorful Easter grass in the tube along with a little bit of uncooked rice. It is fun to look at, and the rice makes fun sound. LB has fun with it as he and tube like to roll around on the floor.

Right now we only have this one empty Peanut jar. But there will soon be more because I'm chowing down the peanuts in those other jars like nobody's business! But let's be honest. I rarely need an excuse for eating anyways. ha ha.

April 13, 2010


LM had his very first dentist appointment a few days ago. He did great! And it was very helpful that at our Library's Storytime a few weeks ago, it was all about taking care of your teeth. LM even got to make his own pearly white smile!

April 12, 2010

Amazing Painting

LM got some finger paints for his Birthday. On the front of the box is a picture of a parrot. Every time he saw the box he would tell me how he wanted to paint a bird. We finally got the paints out a while ago and I let him go to town painting several papers with random strokes and a hodge podge of colors.

I don't know how it happened. And I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it for myself.

When I went to gather up all his painted papers, I found this:

Which looks AMAZINGLY like this:

I'm fairly sure that with his 3 year old skills he didn't really mean to paint a bird . . . or did he?
Either way, I dare say it's right up there with the Mona Lisa! Amazing.

April 11, 2010

FHE: Faith is Like a Seed

Song: Faith (Children's Songbook, p. 96)


Scripture: Alma 32:42-43

Activity: (You will need: Pot, soil, seeds.)
Talk about how faith is like a seed. In order for it to grow, it must be nourished and cared for. Plant seeds and care for them throughout the week and watch them grow!

Treat: Apple Pizzas
Apple Sauce
Cream Cheese
Hamburger Buns or Biscuits or English Muffins.

Put apple sauce, cream cheese, and cinnamon on toasted hamburger bun halves. Toast them for about twenty more seconds. Yummy!

April 8, 2010

Color Picture Matching

Memory is a fun game for Pre-Schoolers, but it's even more fun when you are turning over pictures of yourself . . . or your baby brother! 
For this fun Memory game, I found pictures of each of my boys emphasizing different colors and printed them off on cardstock. I used my digital scrapbook program to add the colored borders, but you could even use construction paper. I had these printed clear back around Valentine's Day, and forgot about them! But perhaps it was meant to be, because they were a perfect addition to the boys' Easter Baskets!

April 6, 2010

Home Organization Notebook

Home Organization Notebook Files now for Sale! For Information, Click HERE!

I enjoy the freedom to be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it.
I also enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that I used my time effectively and accomplished things that needed to be done.

What works for me is system that allows for flexibility, spontaneity, and unexpected change while also providing a solid, routine structure to ensure that I succeed in accomplishing what is important to me. 

And so  I present to you: 

Home Organization Notebook!

I actually tried to make one of these about a year and a half ago, but got so caught up in putting every possible thing that I might possibly like to have in it that I never finished it and lost steam in creating it.

This time around, I decided to simply put into this binder the things I actually wanted, needed, and that would fit MY life, MY family, and MY (perhaps odd) way of thinking and organizing. Therefore, this is NOT a binder of all the ins and outs, all the information, all the necessary documents of our lives. It is NOT a place for EVERYTHING, but rather a place for the things that would help me be more effective.

But before we get to the Notebook, I have 3 other documents that are not actually IN the binder, but which revolve around the things that are in the binder. These I have posted on our fridge.

 The first is where it all comes together: My Weekly Plan which I have mounted on pretty paper and placed in a sheet protector so that I can use dry-erase markers on it and re-use it each week.

The top half has individual boxes for the following categories: 

Exercise - where I will write my exercise plan for that day.
Chore - where I will write the weekly chore I'd like to accomplish that day.
LM - where I will write what preschool activity I'd like to do with LM that day.
LB - where I will write what activity/song/etc. I'd like to do with LB that day. (gotta give 'em equal time, right?) :)
To-Do - where I will list the things I'd like to get done that day.

The rest of the paper is a layout of the day by 30 minute increments from 6:30am to 10:30pm. This is where I can write down appointments, etc. and then write down when I'd like to accomplish the things on my To-Do list for that day. I've also blocked out time for my grocery shopping, storytime at the library, FHE, and Church. The other boxes that are darker are to indicate generally the times when the boys are napping or down for the night. That way I can plan to accomplish personal goals or things I can't do when they are awake. 

I've already changed this layout quite a bit and most likely will continue to do so to figure out what works best for me.

The second  thing on our fridge is our Weekly Meal Plan. (Also in a sheet protector to be re-used each week.) This will be where I write our plans for Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks, Dinner, what needs to be prepared the day before for tomorrow's meals, and a grocery list. At first I was just going to list dinners since that's the main meal that needs to be planned. But I thought that I would also list the other meals to help me and my family eat healthier. We'll see how it goes.

And finally, our Daily Chore List: 
I read a fantastic post called "The Daily 7 for a Highly Effective Household" over on the blog Totally Together. Basically, she has 7 chores that she and her family would like to accomplish each day. Like me, she says that she likes living in a clean house, but doesn't like to spend a whole weekend cleaning. By attempting to accomplish a few simple chores each day, you ensure that you don't have to spend hours and hours on a given day trying to do a major cleaning! She gives great explanations of each chore in her post. I adjusted the same idea to our home:

And now, the Notebook!

First of all, the basics: I just used a plane ol' binder. Nothing fancy.
And dividers. I put stickers over the tabs because these are actually some old ABC dividers I've had for quite a while.

Then I figured out just what I wanted in this book, and made the tables, charts, etc. just how I wanted them. I will attempt to explain my reasoning for these documents, and if you want a closer look, just click on the picture. These are extremely easy to create in Microsoft Word or Excel.

Section 1: Weekly To-Do. Basically, I wanted a place where I could jot down all the things that need to get done in the upcoming week. This  page has space for each of the 4 weeks of a given month, organized vertically. I have boxes for things on my To-Do List for that week, People to Contact, Personal & Family Goals, and things to get at the Store.Then, when I go to plan my week using the My Weekly Plan on the fridge, I just have to plug in what is on this page to my plan!

Section 2: Running To-Do List.
I wanted a place where I could quickly jot down things that I want to remember to do, but that aren't necessarily top-priority at the moment. When I'm planning my week, I look at this list and see if there are any of those things that I could finally get done that week. When they get done, they get checked off, and new things get added on as times goes by.

Section 3: Monthly Dinner Plan. 
One of the hardest things for me to do is to be organized with cooking. So, I had the idea to write down a month's worth of dinner recipe ideas so that I had a well to draw from when it came time to plan our dinners for each week. The numbers are not days, just a basic list of options to choose from. When I used this week, I realized that it helped to first write down what meats I had in our freezer, like chicken, ground beef, pork, fish, etc. And then based on how much I had, from there come up with recipes to be able to use it up for the month. I used recipes I've done a thousand times, some new recipes, and some that were just quick and easy no-recipe things like hamburgers, spaghetti, etc. 
As I wrote down each main dish, I wrote down in the far right column what ingredients I didn't already have that I would need to get for that recipe. That way, when I plan my meals for the week, I can quickly see what ingredients I will need to purchase.

Since I did this for dinner, I also think it would be helpful to come up with a list of healthy breakfast ideas, and lunch, and snacks. I will add those soon!

Section 4: Grocery Spending.
I am a couponer. And I love it!
Because I go to several different stores each week to stock up on the best couponing deals I can find, it has been difficult for me to keep tabs on exactly how much I am spending...especially when I justify my spending on the fact that I am saving so much money! So, I created a place where I can quickly jot down the totals of my couponing shopping sprees and make sure I am not going over our budget.

This is also a place where I can write down how much I am saving. Just because I like to see it! :)

Also in Section 4, I have another form for other expenses. Again, to help us stay within our budget.

Section 5: Chores
You saw the Daily Chores I have posted on our fridge, but unfortunately, there's more to it than just those! So I made a form to list several chores that I'd like to do each week. At the beginning of the week, I will assign these chores to each day (except Sunday) and when they get done, I will check it off for that week. I don't want to spend my whole life cleaning, so I determined that most of these chores could easily be done in about 5 minutes.

Also in Section 5 is a form listing monthly chores. These are the things I have listed on our Chore-Sticks (see this previous post.) I feel 10 minutes a day is fairly reasonable to accomplish, or at least attempt these. And once they are done, they get checked off for the month!

Section 6: Recipes
I don't have a whole lot of cookbooks, but when I skim through them, sometimes I find recipes that I think I'd like to try sometime. I figured if I had a place to write them down, then when I go to plan our month of meals, I'd have a quick resource of new recipes I'd like to try out!
I have papers for dinner recipes, dessert recipes, and other recipes.

I also have some blank paper to jot down recipes I find in books from the library, or magazines etc. that I'd like to try.

Section 7: Project List
It seems to be my lot in life to have an ever-growing list of crafts and projects that I'd like to do, and never enough time to do them. This list is a place to keep track of all the things I'd like to do......someday......when I have loads of time! Or at least accomplish one once in a while.

Section 8: Family Home Evening
Each week, we have family home evening. (What is family home evening? Click here.) As a way to both help me organize my ideas, and to be able to refer to them quickly when FHE rolls around, I created these pages to help us.

Section 9: Pre-School Plan
I am in the process of organizing my time with LM better, so I created these pages to aid me in the process. (More on this soon!)

Also in this section is a place to jot down awesome ideas I see on other blogs, etc. that I want to try!

Section 10: Health
Right now this section is focused on my personal exercise regime. This first page is a place to make my monthly exercise plan. When I'm planning my week, I look at what I had planned on here and make the necessary adjustments depending on our schedules, etc.......

......and these pages are a place for me to account for what I accomplish. I think it will help me stay on track to have a place to record my exercise endeavors. :)

Section 11: Scripture Study
As I study the scriptures each day, I learn & grow closer to my Heavenly Father.  As I study, the Spirit often teaches me, comforts me, guides me, or prompts me to do something. I have found that having a place to write it down helps me grow and also shows the Lord that I am listening to the inspiration He gives me. As I have done often throughout my life, this is my personal scripture Study Journal.

Section 12: Travel
I found these templates on orgjunkie.com. The first one is a checklist of things to remember to pack when your family is traveling (which is extremely helpful when you have kids and babies and their millions of accessories!). I haven't looked over everything on this list yet, but will soon, and cross off the things that don't apply to our family, and add the things that do.

The second checklist is for Camping trips. Again, a lot to remember to pack, and you sure wouldn't want to be out in the wilderness without your marshmallows!

Section 13: Fun Stuff!
In our neck of the woods, there is a monthly publication for our county that details all the fun activities that are going on. Since we've moved here, I have often looked through that calendar and seen many fun things we could do, but then forgot about them! So I added these pages to my Notebook. I'm going to go through the lists of activities and highlight the ones that are possibilities for our schedule and budget. Then, when I'm planning our week I will try to fit in some of these fun things!

Section 14: Notes
Blank paper for other notes, etc. (no picture)

Section 15: Family Dates & Addresses
And finally, in the back pocket I have a thin monthly planner. I am fully aware that this planner is for the year 2009---but the year is inconsequential. This planner has each month laid out and I use it generically to record the birthdays for our extended families. That way at the beginning of each year, I can quickly use this calendar to add all those special dates to our new calendar.

There is also a section for address which I use for our families' addresses for when we send cards, etc.

I also keep my stamps in there.
And there you have it!
I finished this last week and just started using it this week. So far, I'm loving it! I am going to test it out for a month and then make whatever adjustments I need to make to ensure that it is a help and not a hindrance in my life.

In the event that this post has inspired you to do something similar, I encourage you to figure out what works best for YOU! And feel free to let me know, because it just might work for me too!

Creating the documents for my Home Organization Notebook wasn't very difficult as I simply used Microsoft Word & Excel. Anyone could make them! But, it did take some experimenting and a small chunk of time to create them. If you don't want to mess with making them yourself, I am selling them all for $5.00!

The documents you will receive will have our personal information removed, and you will be free to edit them in order to fit your life, home, and family. NOTE: These files will only include the ones which have created. There's a LOT of stuff here so don't get overwhelmed. I actually use some of these more than others.

To purchase these documents just click on the Buy Now button and you will be taken to PayPal where you can set up an account, pay through credit card, and I will send you an email including all the documents I have created. The email will be sent to whatever email address you provide on PayPal. (note: sometimes it may take me a day or so get the email sent. But please let me know if you haven't received it after a couple days.)