Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ABC Nerf Gun Target Practice

I love coming up with little activities to teach my children the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.  It's important to me that they enjoy learning.  While Princess is at school I focus on the things that Goofy and Bud need to learn.

We happen to have a couple of Nerf Guns from our Spy Family Party so I thought I'd make good use of them.  I made a couple of targets for the kids to shoot at (free printables at the bottom of this post).

Before I let the children shoot the guns, we went over the letters, shapes, and colors on each target sheet.

I would call out a letter, color, or shape, and the kids would try to hit the one I said.

Bud loved shooting his gun.  I mainly focused on colors and shapes with him.

He cheated a little by putting his gun right up to the target.

The kids loved this activity.  I love how versatile it is.  You could use it for any subject!

Here are the target practice sheets that I created.  Feel free to use them with your own kids!  If you don't have Nerf guns you could use rubber bands, marshmallows and/or marshmallow shooters, or throw pom-poms.  

Your kids will love it!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

I Love to See the Temple - FHE Lesson

Temple dedications are a blessing for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a. the Mormon church).  The re-dedication of the Odgen, Utah temple was a special treat.  I wanted to help my children understand the importance of temples as this event took place.

During the Open House we drove to Odgen and walked through the temple together.  The children loved how clean, beautiful, and peaceful it was inside.

It's pretty beautiful outside as well don't you think?

My children were all too young to attend the re-dedication, but I wanted to help them understand what had happened and that the Ogden temple was now a holy place.

So, for family home evening the Monday after the re-dedication we drove to the Mount Timpanogos, Utah temple.  We laid out a blanket and sat on the temple grounds.

I asked the kids if they remembered going through the Ogden temple and what they felt.  I told them that on Sunday daddy and mommy went to the re-dedication.  That meant that a special prayer was said and the temple became a holy place.  Now, only worthy members of the church could go to do the work there.  I mentioned that even the temple grounds are prayed for and become a special place.

Princess couldn't get enough of the temple.  Goofy kept saying that I married my prince (a.k.a my hubby) in the temple.  We talked about being sealed together and forever families.  I told the children that we need to keep the commandments and our baptismal covenants to enter the temple someday.  They were particularly excited when I told them that they could do baptisms for the dead at age 12.

The kids enjoyed sitting in front of the temple and taking in its beauty.  We closed our family home evening by singing "I Love to See the Temple."  There's something special about singing that song on temple grounds!

Try taking your kids to the temple for FHE.  It will be a sweet memory that you will cherish forever.

I know I will.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

3-Ingredient Thin Mint Cookies

There are times when I crave Girl Scout cookies.

I mean, I gotta have one.

Not even kidding.

Right now!

(I'm not the only one right?)

I was in one of those "I will die without a Thin Mint" moods, but there was not a Girl Scouts to be seen.  What's a cookie deprived mom to do?

Hop onto Pinterest, that's what!

I found a terrific little recipe from Averie Cooks.  It only requires three ingredients and I just happened to have them on hand.  YAY!

All you will need is Ritz crackers, peppermint extract, and semi-sweet chocolate chips.  (Recipe at the bottom of this post.)  

When I bit the cookie, put it down, then proceeded to take this picture my hubby laughed at me.  Hey, I could have popped the whole thing into my mouth!  The things I do for this blog...

Hubby also said that he would have preferred milk chocolate over semi-sweet.  I will have to give that a try next time I am in a Thin Mint mood.

Bud had no complaints.  (I love chocolate-y baby faces.  Don't you?)

3-Ingredient Thin Mint Cookies
(By Averie Cooks)
18 Ritz crackers
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 t peppermint extract
*optional, but recommended - 1 T shortening (I used coconut oil instead and it worked just fine)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Make sure to clear out a space to fit the cookie sheet in the refrigerator.

Using a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and shortening.  Heat on high for 1 minute.  Stir and heat for 10-15 second intervals until chocolate becomes very smooth.

Add 1/2 t peppermint extract to the melted chocolate and stir.  (For more mint flavor add another 1/4 t.) 

Place one cracker in the chocolate.  Coat the cracker and remove with a fork.  Allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl before placing the cracker onto the parchment paper-lined sheet.  Repeat with all cookies.  Place in the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to harden.

These cookies really hit the spot!  Give 'em a try (you won't regret it).  

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ballerina Birthday Party

Princess turned 6 last week!  I'm not old enough to have a six-year-old am I?

This year Princess has been a little obsessed with ballerinas.  Perhaps it's because we put her into beginning ballet this summer.  So, when I asked her if there was a certain theme she would like for her birthday, she responded without hesitation, "BALLERINA!"

The good thing about Princess being in school (you know, other than the fact that she is learning new things and making friends) is that I could work on decorations while she was gone.  I love making the decorations a surprise!

When she woke up in the morning she found ballerinas all over the walls of the house.  There was even one on the door to her bedroom.  I made these all by hand (never have I appreciated my Cricut machine more).  I didn't have a cartridge with a ballerina on it and I didn't want to have to go buy one.  Instead, I picked up some pink poster board from the grocery store, stenciled ballerina silhouettes onto it, and cut them out.  Talk about time consuming!

Perhaps it would have been better to buy the cartridge after all...

But Princess and Goofy loved them.  They ran around the house trying to count all of them.

Step into my pink kitchen.  I used a pink tablecloth (from the dollar store), tulle, balloons, and finally put ballerinas everywhere.

Here is the ballerina that was hanging from the light.  Yes, I made her a little tutu.  My husband lovingly reminds me that I'm crazy.  

The living room was filled with balloons (Bud's favorite decoration by far).

Princess thought it was funny that I gave the TV a tutu to wear.

Finally, here is the front door.  The large ballerina on the door was Princess' favorite.

Here's a little closer shot of the ballerina.  I hot glued the tulle onto the ballerina in pleats and topped it off with pink, polka-dotted ribbon.

I follow this rule when it comes to birthday parties: even year birthday = family party, odd year birthday = friend party.  So, this year we had a family party.

Princess is a little bookworm (maybe it's because of all of the family read-a-thons we like to have).  The only thing she asked for this birthday was a book.  She was excited to get a whole boxed set.

I think she got more than a book don't you?

Time for cake.  I had envisioned how this cake would look ever since Princess decided on ballerinas for her theme.  I knew I wanted it to be pink (her favorite color) and I knew that I wanted it to have a tutu.

I measured my tulle around the cake pan to get the approximate size.  I then sewed the pleats and glued the ribbon over the top.  After I frosted the cake I placed the tutu on it and hot-glued the ribbon ends together so that the tutu wouldn't come off.

Princess "oohed" and "aahed" over the cake so I guess I did alright.

Happy birthday my sweet ballerina.  You are so kind, considerate of others, helpful, and fun.  
Don't ever change!  

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prepare for Conference FHE Lesson

We have had some phenomenal Sunday meetings these past few weeks: regional conference and the re-dedication of the Ogden, Utah temple.  The messages shared have uplifted and inspired me.  They have touched and strengthened my family.

Sister Nelson only spoke briefly in regional conference, but she posed a question that stuck with me: 

"How will we prepare for general conference?"  

Great question!  And one that I felt merited discussion in family home evening.  

I started out the lesson with a game.  I printed out a picture of the First Presidency and the 12 Apostles.  (Click the link or the image above to print out your own.)

I then created a board that had the names of the talks given by each of these brethren in the April 2014 General Conference and cut out the squares.

The goal of the game was to match the correct talk title with the person who gave the talk.  It was an eye-opening experience for our family.  I realized that the only talks I remembered were the ones that I had re-read.  What a testament of the importance of revisiting and studying the messages!  

I then asked the same question that Sister Nelson asked, "How will we prepare for general conference?"  I gave each family member a paper where they could list ways to prepare for general conference (pictured above).  We took time giving each other ideas and writing them down.  

Here are just a few that we came up with: 

1.  Go to bed early the night before to be awake and attentive.
2.  Watch/re-read conference talks from the April session to prepare our minds.
3.  Have paper and a pencil handy to write down things that touch you during conference.
4.  Wake up early and turn on church music to invite the spirit.
5.  Pray before each meeting for inspiration and the spirit.  

What ideas will you come up with?  

If you would like to play your own Conference Talk Matching Game print off the picture of the the First Presidency and 12 Apostles (posted earlier) and the following pictures:

You can also print off the "Ways to Prepare for General Conference" sheet (above) to discuss ways your family can prepare.  

I challenge you to read a conference talk a day leading up to conference.  I will be reading right along with you!  Leave a comment and let me know if you are in.  Feel free to share your favorite quote and your thoughts from your conference study.

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