Friday, December 09, 2011

Teddy Bear Table Manners

For Activity day on November 30, 2011, I had the girls each bring a teddy bear.  They cuddled with their stuffed animal or doll while we discussed manners, table setting, and proper etiquette during sacrament meeting.
Sugar Doodle had some amazing ideas that I printed out (Manners and Etiquette Questions).   Martha Stewart came up with a cool way for kids to practice table setting, she included a template for download that could be printed out on paper-stock for the kiddos to cut out and practice. 

The Template by Martha Stewart 
We played a game using real paper plates, plastic cups, plastic utensils, and napkins. I had to girls practice a couple rounds then they started racing each other to see who could correctly set the table the quickest.   We ate Honey Teddy Grahams and Chocolate Chip Honey Grahams for a snack.
Next time I plan this activity I would love to do a small a tea party with some tiny cakes or pastries, sandwiches, veggies, and lemonade would be darling.  I didn't have much time to plan this activity due to my trip and school.  Hopefully they learned something new and had fun!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Fall Family Photographs

On November 4,2011, our sweet talented friend Mindi Youngblood took our family photos in Lehi, Utah.  Even though it was cloudy and cold, we had a lot of fun doing our photo shoot! I decided to do a navy blue and mustard yellow theme! We are stepping out of our comfort zones by wearing the color mustard but it was sure fun shopping for our clothes and accessories!  For our photo shoot backgrounds, Mindi picked an industrial area that offered many textured backgrounds such as an old red brick building, rusty metal warehouse, a red wooden building, tall yellow grass, cobblestone wall, fall leaves, and railroad tracks.  It was a perfect place to snap photographs!  In fact, there were a few other photographers shooting pictures at the same area. 
Free Family Established 1997

John wore Faded Glory jeans, Old Navy mustard yellow and navy blue stripped long sleeved shirt, and Dr Martens shoes.
 I wore David Kahn jeans (thrift), Old Navy mustard yellow tank top, Old Navy ruffled navy blue blouse, jewelry set by Chaps from Kohls, and mustard yellow Soda shoes from Forever Young.
My oldest daughter wore skinny jeans from American Eagle, Old Navy ruffled mustard yellow camisole, Old Navy long sleeved navy blue tee shirt, feather drop earrings (SO), and Navy blue Toms.
 My youngest daughter wore Old Navy skinny jeans, Mudd mustard yellow shirt, Old Navy blue and white stripped long sleeved shirt, Sketchers twinkle toes shoes, and navy blue flower hair accessory by Claire's.
 Thank you very much, Mindi!!!  We absolutely love them!!!

Thanksgiving in Mesa

This year we decided to make a road trip to SUNNY Mesa Arizona to celebrate Thanksgiving with many extended family members!  We left on Tuesday night November 22, 2011 around 8:00 PM.  We made a pit stop to southern Utah to rest for a couple hours.  Then we were back on the road at 5:00 AM on Wednesday morning. We took the Las Vegas and Hoover Dam route down to Arizona!  We sure enjoyed seeing the desert, cactus plants, and flowers along the way!  Here are the many wonderful family members, which we spent the long FUN holiday weekend with! 
The five Free siblings (John, Elizabeth, Matt, Dave, and Joe) out of eight total with their spouses were in Mesa this year.   Oh how fun it would be to have EVERYONE gathered in once place!!! Below are the many grandchildren.

We spent Thanksgiving with Dave/Kristin, Joe/Dave, Elizabeth/Ben, Grandpa/Grandma Free, Matt/Chiaki, and many nieces, nephews, and a couple furry friends (Bella and Nutmeg).  We had around 45 people at Thanksgiving dinner.
After stuffing our faces, we gathered in a large living area and sang a couple hymns and Christmas songs with the family.  Anna put hair wraps in the girl's hair.  We are so grateful for our wonderful loving family!  
Instead of "Black Friday"shopping, several family members got up early and went to the Mesa Temple.  The youth did baptisms while the adults did endowments and sealings.  By the way, it was big sister's first time doing baptisms for the dead.  It was a beautiful experience for me because I brought down some names of my ancestors.  I felt like we accomplished a lot of temple work because of the effort of many family members!
As for our Iron Chef Family Cook off, we divided into three groups. The secret ingredients were the following: bell peppers, mango, Italian sausage, butternut squash, zucchini, yellow squash, and chocolate chips.  We had to use all the ingredients by making an appetizer, entree, and dessert. 
John and I were on Team Smith.  We met at Jeff and Melinda Smiths (our niece and nephew).  
We made the following:  Bow-tie vegetable sausage with alfredo sauce, butternut squash/ sausage potatoes, mango salsa, and strawberry cheese cake crepes with melted chocolate. 
My niece Aisling made a YouTube of all our delicious food!!!
On Saturday November 26, 2011, we went to a baby shower at Brett and Aisling's house for Keli Silva who is having a boy in February.  We played some games, ate some finger foods, and awwwwwed over her new baby things!
While the girls were at the baby shower, the men and boys had a blast in the desert shooting guns and riding mini bikes.
On Saturday night, we went to Sekai Sushi with Matt, Chiaki, Dave, Kristin, Joe, Diana, Elizabeth, and Ben. Since Matt and Chiaki are sushi experts, they ordered for us!  The sushi was AMAZING!  I tried octopus for the first time! We had a fun time talking with each other and trying out sushi.  The eel was my favorite!  After dinner, we got some  Mesa Frozen Yogurt for dessert!  We shared a lot of stories, smiles, and laughter!  What a fabulous group date!
We went to sacrament meeting with Dave's family, changed our clothes, packed the car, and went home.  We took the Flagstaff route home.  It was a long 12 hour drive home due to slow traffic near car accidents and many potty breaks!  We were so happy to be able to spend Thanksgiving with the Arizona Free families!  We cannot wait to visit them again in the future!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Lesson and Activity

This past week I home made some fall color crayons (idea from My Magic Mom) by recycling yellow, green, brown, red, and orange broken crayons in a mini muffin pan and preserved some colorful leaves for a cute fall decoration craft.
Fall  Recycled Crayons
Crayons such as yellow, green, brown, red, and orange colors,  mini muffin pan, X-Acto Knife, Butcher Knife, and cutting board.
We used a X-Acto knife to peel the crayon wrapper off.  Then I used a butcher knife to chop the crayons into small pieces. Bake at 250 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  Allow them to cool on a baking rake then transfer the pan into the freezer for 30 minutes.  Use a knife to carefully remove the crayons from the pan.
Colorful Leaves Strand 
Modge Podge, paint brush, brown twine, mini clothes pins, and  an assortment of colorful fall leaves.
 I tied both ends of the twine and hung them up with a tack.  Then I coated the leaves with a layer of modge podge.  They dried by clipping the mini clothes pins on the twine!  
For the lesson on gratitude, I discussed Helen Keller because even though she was lacking her eye sight and hearing that she had enhanced sense of smell and touch.  She taught us to appreciate the beauty all around us!  I found a wonderful lesson LDS Family Fun, which I shared with the girls.  For a craft, I printed out a thankful tree and some leaves for my girls.  They colored the tree and then colored their leaves with the groovy homemade crayons.   We also placed a leaf behind the paper to stencil the texture of the leaves.  The girls enjoyed that the most! Lastly, they wrote down some things that they are grateful for and shared them with the group.
Stenciling Leaves!
I made Turkey Pop Treats for our "thankful treat"!  They were rice krispy balls, dipped in chocolate, and candy corn as the feathers, beak, and eyes!  They were delicious and cute!
What a yummy treat! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Carving Pumpkins and Halloween Day

What a busy fun weekend.  My oldest daughter went to a Halloween party on Friday night and a birthday party on Saturday night. We bought seven pumpkins on sale a week ago (nine cents a pound) and decided to carve them this weekend.  Here are our spooky designs! We got a couple of our pumpkin stencils from some websites.
Daddy's Pumpkins
Jack Skeleton
Our Last Name
Mommy's Pumpkins
Big Sister's Pumpkins
Did Her Name
Little Sister's Pumpkins
Sissy's Own Design

We roasted a batch of pumpkin seeds and I was surprised that my kids loved snacking on them.  We generally do not keep the seeds to roast them instead we throw the pumpkin guts and seeds away!  I am glad we cleaned them and baked them. Pumpkin seeds have been a very nice salty treat these last few days!
On Saturday night, my youngest daughter and I enjoyed watching Matilda and Hocus Pocus  while big sissy was at a birthday party.  We also enjoyed some yummy pumpkin and vanilla frozen yogurt from our nearby grocery store!

I hope you had a Happy Halloween!
My husband decided to to dress up this year.  He is so goofy!  He shaved half of his face, tucked in one side of his shirt while leaving the other side not tucked, tucked in his socks on one side, wore two different shoes (dress shoes and sneakers), and combed half his hair (left the other half messy).  He went to work looking that way!  He was very brave, lol!  I didn't bother dressing up!  I am lucky that I wore an orange jacket vest!
This year my oldest dressed up as a NERD.  We had some goofy black 3D glasses, she rolled up her jeans, wore a flannel shirt, cream colored suspenders,and black converse shoes.  During her Friday Halloween party, she was voted the weirdest costume!  
Little Sis wanted to be Red Ridding Hood.  I put her hair in cute pig tails tied with red ribbons. We bought her red cape from ebay, basket with apples from Winco, and wore a black t-shirt, white ruffled skirt, black leggings, and black Toms shoes. At her school Halloween costume parade today, I noticed she was the only Red Ridding Hood!  Yay!
  For dinner, I made a crock pot chili and bought some crazy bread sticks from Little Caesars.  The girls did a neighborhood costume parade, which had pop corn and apple cider.  We had perfect weather for trick or treating! For the first time, we didn't have to go trick or treating with our girls!  Both girls went with some friends this year! So I did some homework while John handed out some candy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Fave Fall Scraps

Falltastic Memories, 2002
Credits: Template by Cindy Schneider Sweet Shoppe Designs, leaves by Dani Mogstad from Sweet Shoppe Designs.  Papers and elements are by Shabby Princess (Autumn Chic and Autumn Medley).  I used lady rene and segoe print for my fonts.
Not So Scary, 2003
 Credits: Template by M Originals, Boo Kit by Shabby Princess, Trick or Treaters by Kate Hadfield from The Lily Pad, Happy Halloween word art unknown artist, and grumble font.
Black Island Farms, 2009
Credits: This one is one of my favorite layouts!  I used Autumn Medley kit and Bountiful kit by Shabby Princess.  I used love ya like a sister font.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Family Outing: Alpine Loop

On Saturday October 22, 2011, We went out on a family outing!  We packed a lunch and headed up to American Fork Canyon.  We drove on the breathtaking scenic route Alpine Loop.  We made a lot of stops along the way so see the beautiful fall leaves and went to Tibal Fork to look at the lake surrounded by pine trees.
 We found a picnic area that had a beautiful cobblestone theater-in-the-pines!   The girls enjoyed playing on the stairs while I collected some colorful leaves for a fall craft project!
For our last stop in Provo Canyon, we stopped to see Bridal Veil Falls. We put our feet in the freezing cold run off near the bridge by the falls.  Then we headed over to Winco to get some pumpkins that were 9 cents a pound!  We look forward to carving some cool jack o' lanterns next weekend.