Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Typical December for Our Family

 1. Big Sister had her woman's choir Christmas concert at her junior high school.
2. We went to John's Christmas Casino themed work party at Vuz Resturant in Draper, Utah. We had a scrumptious buffet style food and enjoyed playing some black jack 21 with our "fake" money!
3.  We got up early on Christmas Eve to go last minute shopping and ate breakfast at Denny's!
4.  The Free family had a lazy Merry Christmas (we ate a lot of holiday food, took a nap, and watched several movies in our pajamas)! It was Jagger's first Christmas with us. We spoiled him with a couple new bones and toys! We also admired our "white" Christmas through the windows!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Counting My Many Blessings

Before November ends today, I want to share some of my greatest blessings in my life. I have a loving and hard working husband, two beautiful daughters, a cuddly dog, a large supportive family, many wonderful friends, and a baby on the way! We are very excited especially since my daughters will be 14 and 10 years old when the baby arrives! I will have some very eager big sister help with the baby! Life is good when you count your many blessings!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving in Sunny Arizona

On November 20-25, 2012, we spent our lovely Thanksgiving holiday weekend in sunny Arizona with several family members! We had a total of 92 people (family and close friends) at our Thanksgiving feast, which was held at a LDS church in Mesa, Arizona! My girls helped make the cute turkey table decorations. John and I were in charge of making four different jellos.  Our rainbow jello was gobbled up in a matter of minutes!  Below is a photograph of the grandchildren and great grand children that came!
These are John's parents, their children, and spouses. We were entertained by a couple musical numbers and enjoyed each other's company.  The next day was Jessica Free and Micah Hansen's wedding ,which they were sealed in the Mesa Arizona temple. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the beautiful bride and lucky groom because I forgot to bring my cell phone. Here they are at Thanksgiving dinner though (photo by Joe Free)! They are the cutest couple!  We are so happy for them!
While in Arizona, my husband and girls went swimming in my in-law's pool.  It was very cold due to the temperature being 80 degrees outdoors, brrrr. They still had fun nonetheless!
After the beautiful wedding reception, we went to the Mesa Temple to see the gorgeous Christmas lights. The photo credit is by my niece Becca Free!
We enjoyed spending time with many extended family members. Little sister went to the park to feed ducks, ride a train, etc with cousins, uncle, and aunt. I loved watching a chic flick with the girls (Sabrina with Harrison Ford) while the boys went shooting. We ate tons of great food and stayed up late talking. What wonderful happy memories we will never forget! I love my family!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 2012 Fun Fall Memories

1.  During conference weekend (October 5-7, 2012), we went up to Layton to stay with our nephew and niece.  We went on a lovely hike up Fernwood Trail Head near their home to see the brilliant fall leaves. 
2.  On Tuesday October 16, 2012, the girls went to the ward neighbourhood carnival hosted by the young men and young women at the church.  My husband was in charge of a bean bag toss game while my oldest daughter did some other fun games for the children.  My youngest daughter enjoyed face painting, prizes, treats, and got to take home a small pumpkin.
3. As a weekend family outing, we went to check out the new Scheels in Sandy, Utah on October 27, 2012. The girls enjoyed trying fudge, riding the Ferris Wheel, and looking at the fish.  Afterwards we ate at Astro Burger for dinner. 
5.  On October 30, 2012, Little sister and I went to Hee Haw Farms with the Nelson family while John and big sis went to scouts and young women activity. Big sis rode on a pony, pet the farm animals, went down the slides, rode a swing, and went on a Hay Ride.  We had a lot of fun despite the stinky farm animal smells!
6.  On Halloween little sister dressed up as a cheer leader while big sis was a pediatrician.
 Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spooky Halloween Layouts

My Little Bewitching Princesses, 2005 
Credits: "Good Witch Garden" elements are by Natalie Braxton. Frames, ghost, safety pin words, papers, and staples are by Gina Cabrera. Pumpkin tag and bows are by Shabby Miss Jenn. Cauldron is by Shabby Princess. The witch hat, black spider web letters, and spider are by Dani Mogstad. Purple button and dot ribbon are by Stefanie Burt. The felt black and orange star is by Tabby Lewis. The fonts are: sabrina star and a charming font.  
What a Fright, 2007
Credits: The layout is by Ashley (hand cut template). I used the "Scared Silly" kit by Dani Mogstad and Jacaque Larson. I used grumble and font diner dot com sparkle for my fonts.
Hocus Pocus, 2009
Credits: I used "Happy Haunting" kit, the "hocus" alpha, and  black word strips are by Dani Mogstad.  The doodled colored string frame and felt flowers are by Natalie Braxton. The cauldron, flames, witch, cat, are by Kaye Winiecki from The Lily Pad.  I used love ya like a sister font and the "pocus" is an unknown font.
Costumes, Pumpkins, and Candy, Oh My,2011
Credits: The layout is by me.  I used "Goose Bumps" kit by Shabby Princess. The scarecrow, candy, wheat, pumpkins, hay, and black bird doodles are by Kate Hadfield from the Lily Pad. I used the following fonts: grumble and FO-Giggles.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Activity Day Bucket List

Oh, how I miss being an activity leader, sigh! A while ago, I typed up this wonderful activity day bucket list that I wanted to accomplish with my girls while serving as an activity day leader.  By the way, I did accomplish most of these great ideas!  As you may already know, I blogged about several of my activities over the past couple years.  I provided links to some of those and website links that helped me accomplish my activities.  I hope this list can help inspire you during your fun church calling as an Activity Day leader! 

Credits: I used The Bucket List Kit from The Lily Pad and journal strips are from the PJ Party Kit by Eva Kipler. I used the following fonts grumble and love ya like a sister.
Activity Days
Learning and Living The Gospel
Atonement Lesson: I taught a great Easter Egg Lesson before Easter. Fill 12 plastic Easter eggs with small objects and scriptures about the Savior's Atonement. Have each girl read them.
Bee”Attitudes by Gordon Hinckley: Read and discuss them. Send the girls home with a handout to help them remind them the importance of having “bee” attitudes everyday in their lives.
Conference Talk: Have the girls read a recent conference talk and discuss how they can follow the prophet and his apostles.
Conference Activity Packet:  Print out a few conference activities for the girls to do while listening to General Conference. Follow up with them the next month about what they learned from one of the talks.
Good Music Choices: Look at the lyrics to a popular song. Talk about the importance of listening to uplifting music and how bad music can destroy our Spirit.
Have a “T” party at the Temple grounds: bring a snack or have a picnic. Walk around the temple and talk about the temple and take photos.
Make a Family Home Evening Lesson: We prepared a lesson kit for the girls to take home and encouraged them to teach their family the following week. For example, we did the lesson on Joseph Smith's First Vision.  We included the following in the kit: Book of Mormon Stories, On a Golden Springtime, Sacred Grove Color Page, First Vision Clip Art, First Vision Flannel Board Story, Timber GameBookmarks, and Quick Butterscotch Crunchies!  The girls loved making the quick, easy, and delicious treat!
 Pedigree Chart: Print a family group record. Have the girls fill out the names and discuss the importance of temple work.
Prayer: Have the girls paint a prayer rock and talk about the importance of prayer.
Scripture Reading: Have the girls make a scripture bookmark using ribbon, scrapbook paper, buttons, other embellishments. Talk about some important scriptures.
Sunday Sundaes: talk about the importances of keeping the Sabbath day Holy while doing an object lesson making a gross ice cream sundae using the following toppings: mustard, ketchup, relish, chopped onions, raisins, etc. Have one brave girl taste the gross sundae and describe what it tastes like to the group. Then have the girls make a yummy ice cream sundae afterwards.
Word of Wisdom: Make a healthy snack (either vegetables, fruits, whole grain crackers, cheese, etc). Play a food pyramid game using visuals or clip-art of food. Use masking tape to make the food pyramid and have the girls place the food in the correct section based on the food guide. Talk about the importance of good nutrition and the dangers of using drugs/alcohol. Encourage the girls to try eating healthy for a week and discuss the results next time.
Serving Others
Babysitting Night: Have the girls help babysit on ward temple night or during Enrichment night for the Relief Society.
Bake Bread for Sacrament: Teach the girls how to make bread.  and call a member of the young men's to arrange a date/time to drop off the home made bread for sacrament meeting. 
Busy Box for Kids: Gather some supplies to make games or fun activities: play dough ingredients/recipes, glow in dark jello recipe, goo or slime recipe, snow painting, finger paints, home made bubbles, I spy game, etc. Wrap the box and have the girls decorate the box as well as sign their names. Drop the box off to a family in the war with small children.
Clean the Nursery Toys: Bring tons of cleaning supplies and a snack for afterwards. The girl's enjoyed cleaning the nursery toys!
Cookie in a Jar: Find a cookie in a jar recipe that you like. Have the girls measure out the ingredients. Next, tie a ribbon and paste the recipe on the jar. Have the girls deliver the cookie jars to a neighbors, friends, less actives, non-members in the ward, etc.
Gratitude Lesson: We did a couple activities HERE and HERE on gratitude, which we discussed The First Thanksgiving, Helen Keller, made crafts, made turkey name cards, and ate turkey pop treats.  
Harvesting Food for the Needy Families: This was a great late summer and early fall activity.  If you have a ward or community garden have the girls help weed and distribute produce to people in their neighbourhood.
Make Service Coupons: Discuss The Good Samaritan and have the girls fill out information in the service coupons booklet.  Encourage the girls to do the acts of service for family members. 
Primary Chorister Help: Ask if she or he needs help coloring or preparing things for singing time. 
Respect Your Elders: Have the girls weed, rake leaves, wash windows, shovel,etc).  Make sure you visit with the Elderly afterwards and allow them to tell a story about their childhood.
Secret Service: Assign each girl a secret grandma. For one month they need to do four anonymous service activities (make a bookmark, make cookies, write a poem, make a card, give a flower, write a letter, etc).
Teacher Appreciation Service: We made Scarecrow Crunch for a snack and a Scarecrow Accordion Card.  The girls helped me make the snack, which we got to eat and set aside a small bag to give to their teacher.  Then we made the cards, which they each wrote a little note to their teacher.  The girls loved giving the treats and card to their teacher the next day at school!
Thank You Cards: We had three activities which we made darling home made cards out of colored construction paper such as Love Bug Valentine's CardMother's Day Flower Bouquet Card, and Scarecrow Accordion Card. Have the girls share their feelings of love and gratitude about their Mom, Dad, grandparents, teacher, friend, etc.
Visit a Nursing Home or Care Center: Have the girls sing a couple songs to the patients. Play games such as bingo, checkers, chess, etc with the patients. They could also do read stories or do manicures for the females.
Make Secret Service Jars: Do a lesson on service. Share several quotes about service. Print out a label for the Mason jar (a heart symbol WHO U SERVE).  Invite the girls share ways they can serve others, which you can write down on the chalk board. Decorate the jar with the label and have the girls write out random acts of kindness on paper slips.  This would a great December activity by using a Christmas tree advent that contains service quotes on the back and have the girls decorate a Christmas tree with a ornament.  Encourage the girls to share a service memory or great idea how they could serve somebody in their family.
Developing Talents
Art History Lesson: Check out an art book from the library and discuss the different styles, artist's names, famous pieces, etc.  Have the girls paint a picture.  
Art Exhibit: We took the girls to Carl Bloch Art Exhibit.  Check on-line or in a newspaper for local art shows that are going on near your community.  The girls enjoyed the mini field trip! 
Babysitting Kits:  I liked these ideas from Be A Great Sitter and Baby Sitting Kit.
Bike Safety and Ride: Talk about the importance of wearing bike helmets, traffic laws, etc, and then go for a bike ride.
Budgeting: We did a M&M's Budget Activity to teach the girls about making a realistic budget for themselves.  
Cake Decorating: Have a cup cake decorating party. Everybody loves cupcakes, right! 
Decorate A Picture Frame:  Get some wooden frames from a craft store.  Have the girls either paint them however they like with acrylic paints or they could Mod Podge pretty scrapbook paper over the frame.
First Aid: Have a nurse come speak to the girls about basic first aid.    
Fabric or Balloon Flip Flops: Have each girl bring a pair of flip flops. Tie fabric or tiny balloons on top of the plastic part of the flip flops.
Kitchen Skills: Teach the girls how to make soup, pizza, cookies, Chex mix recipes, etc).
Gardening: Teach the importance of being self reliant. Plant a seed (bring a bag of soil, plastic cups, water pitcher, and grass seed). Teach them to care for their plant by giving it sun and water. We made a simple Paper Flower Craft (supplies: paper, pipe cleaners, scissors, tape, and pencils).
Goals for a New Year: Have the girls write down some personal goals, spiritual goals, and calender goals. Read Amy's Goal from the Friend January 2010.
Gratitude Journals: Have the girls decorate a notebook with scrapbook paper, embellishments, etc. Encourage the girls to write in their journals daily!
Grooming: Do facials, nails, and hair. Talk about the importance of staying clean and good grooming skills.
Journal in a Jar: Help the girls come up with questions or topics that they could use to write in their journals.
Make a bean bag:  Teach the girls how to hand stitch a bean bag out fabric scraps. Have them add the pinto beans, sew the hole on top, and sew on a button.
Modesty Paper Dolls: Make a paper doll using yarn, wiggly eyes, and fabric for clothes. Get a fashion magazine find modest clothing and discuss the not modest ones).
Music: Learn a new song or how to lead music.
Physical Fitness: Talk about the importance of being healthy by exercising regularly. Play a sport like kick ball, Crockett, go on a bike ride, swimming, etc.
Scrapbook A Couple Pages: Plan a head of time by taking some pictures of the girls then getting them printed for the activity. Provide some scrap supplies (paper, markers, embellishments, stickers, alpha, glue dots, etc) for them to create their layouts. 
Self Defense: Have a martial art's specialist teach the girls simple self defense moves and safety precautions such as not talking to strangers, etc.
Talents: Talk about developing talents using scripture references. Have each girl share their talent (music, art, skit, poems, short stories, sports, hobbies,etc). It could be talent show where they present on stage in front of the audience.
Teddy Bear Table Manners: Have the girls each bring a teddy bear. They cuddled their teddy bears while we discussed table manners, proper etiquette during sacrament meeting, and played a fun table setting game! 
Articles of Faith
Mission Possible: Scripture theme: " But Jesus beheld and said unto them, with men this is impossible, but with God all things are POSSIBLE" (Matthew 19:26). We made cute manila folder invitations, planned fun evening of doing article of faith games, finger print decoding, discussed ways the girls could learn article of faith by using secret agent 

Just for Fun Activities
Book Club: Make a trip to the library and check out multiple copies of the same book. Encourage the girls to read the book and discuss it during the next activity with snacks.
Daddy Daughter Dates: Dress up in formal wear, western wear, or costumes. Provide a lovely ball, western dancing, games, carnival, and dinner for them. We did a Western Daddy Daughter Theme, Princess School, Masquerade Harvest Ball, and Halloween dress up with treats and carnival games.
Game Time: Each girl brings their favorite card or board game. Snack on some popcorn and play games.
Hiking and sack lunch Have the girls bring a sack lunch and eat lunch after the hike.  Make sure they pack a water bottle!  We went on a simple trail to some waterfalls in the mountains.
Go to a local Pumpkin Patch, Corn Maze, etc.
Ice Skating and Hot Chocolate: Go to a local ice skating ring and then afterwards to a leader's house for hot chocolate and donuts.
Make Friendship bracelets: Get some floss and check out a book at the library or find instructions on the internet. I really liked this simple design from Friendship Bracelets!
Mom and Me: Have a PJ party! Do makeovers for Mom (facials, manicures, pedicures, hair, etc). Talk about the importance of daily prayer, reading scriptures and writing in journals. Watch a church approved movie and eat popcorn/goodies.
Visit the Fire Department and Police Station
Water Games: We had a back to school water game party!  We played tons of water games such as balloon toss, bucket toss relay, sprinkler fun, slip and slides, water pool games, etc.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall Leaves and Floral Wreath

Since I loved making my own cheap spring wreath this year, I decided to make a fall one too.  I went thrift shopping and to Walmart for the supplies.  I bet you could find a lot of this stuff from the dollar store too! I spent a total of $8.44, which is not bad considering most craft stores try to sell decorated wreaths around $20.00 and up.
Fall Leaves and Floral Wreath
wreath ($2.00 from a thrift store)
colored leaves, berries, acorns, pumpkins, etc ($1.50 from a thrift store)
 pine cones ($3.00 from Walmart )
orange and yellow sunflowers (.97 each from Walmart)
Glue gun and glue sticks
pliers to cut the flowers
Arrange your supplies how you like to design it. First, I glued on the leaves and flowers.  Then I started layering the other embellishments (pine cones, acorns, pumpkins, berries, etc). It took about two hours to hot glue it all together.  

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Young Women "Armour of God" Evening in Excellence

October 2, 2012 was my daughter's Evening in Excellence night.  She had to give a talk about how personal progress is her "Armour of God".  Robert D. Hales said, The "helmet of salvation" guards our reasoning, intellect, and thoughts. The "breastplate of righteousness" helps us to have the Spirit with us always, guarding our heart and soul. Having our "lions girt about with truth" gives us the foundation to build on faith and develop our testimony. The "sword of the Spirit" is the word of God to pierce the darkness so that we may have light and truth to guide our way in life. The "shield of faith" helps us withstand the fiery darts of the adversary. Having our "feet shod with preparation of the gospel of peace" by reading and studying the scriptures helps us be obedient to the laws, ordinances, commandments, and covenants of God. My daughter shared a couple experiences in her life when she was tempted to do the wrong choice but made the right choice of not following the crowd. I admire her strength and desire to do what is right especially in a world filled with chaos!   She did a fantastic job and didn't seem nervous at all speaking in front of many people! She also brought things and pictures for a display table that she has been working on for personal progress this year such as developing talents in cooking, singing in choir, taking photographs, and reading The Book of Mormon.  We watched a slide show of the young women wearing  a body armour costume!  After several talks we got to see the display tables and ate red velvet cake.  It was a wonderful evening and great way to start October!  I hope my daughter will always remember the importance of staying true to her young woman values by always defending herself when she is faced with evil temptations from the world!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Family Fun Layouts

Fall is my most favorite season! I love seeing the beautiful leaves change into autumn colors and there are so many fun activities going on too. Some of my most favorite fall memoires are driving up the canyon, hiking in the mountains, going to a pumpkin patch, getting lost in a corn maze, going to a haunted house, and going to a state fair.
Fall is in the Air, 1999
Credits: The layout is by me. The tree, leaves, strings, felt circles, butterfly are by Natalie Braxton. Papers, brown stitching, tag with safety pin, and ribbons are by Shabby Princess. "Fall" word art and brown bolt are by Shabby Miss Jenn. For my fonts, I used love ya like a sister and Susi's Hand. 
The Colors of Fall, 2006
Credits: I used "Shabbylicious Fall" kit and elements from "Cherry Wood Farm" kit by Shabby Miss Jenn! The brown brand is from Shabby Princess and frame from Digi Scrap. For my fonts, I used Love you like a sister and PS I love you.
Iron County Fair, 2007

 Page Two
Credits: The layouts are by me. The papers and elements are from the County Fair kit by Dani Mogstad.  I did this layout a long time ago and forgot who made the frames, stitches, pigs, buttons, and flowers.  The font is unknown.
Hiking Squaw Peak, 2008

 Credits: The layout is by me. The papers and some elements are from "Softly Falling" kit by Dani Mogstad. The other elements and some papers are from "French Country Side" by Shabby Princess. For my font, I used love ya like a sister.
Fall Canyon Drive, 2011
 Page Two
   Credits:  The layouts are by me! The papers, elements, word art, and doodles, are from the following kits "Autumn Medley", "Bountiful ", "Hopscotch", and "Plentiful" by Shabby Princess. For my font, I used mareen's print.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Creamy Coleslaw

A couple days ago, we made BBQ pulled pork in the crock pot.  For our side dish, we decided to make a creamy coleslaw to go with it.  Here is the recipe we came up with using some things from our garden.  This would be a great side dish with baked chicken, pork chops, BBQ sandwiches, etc.
Creamy Coleslaw
2 c. chopped green cabbage
2 c. chopped purple cabbage
1/2 c. shredded carrots
1/4 c diced green pepper
2 T. chopped onion
1/4 snipped parsley
1/2 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 T. vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. salt
few dashes of ground pepper
In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, green peppers, onions, and parsley. For the dressing whisk together mayonnaise or salad dressing, vinegar, sugar, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a glass measuring cup.  Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss together lightly. Cover and chill.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Recent Trip to the Local Library

Sadly, it has been a while since my last trip to the library or when I last read a book to be honest.  On a dreary rainy summer day, I went on a quest to the local library and searched for books from authors I have never read before that were on my "to read list" from my Good Reads on my iPhone (a very handy application right at my finger tips, while away from home).  A couple days later while suffering from a terrible head cold and lack of sleep, it was the perfect time for me to get engrossed in fictional lives! The following books below, I highly recommend that you read them when you have the time or able to reserve them from your local library!  They were all fabulous books that I thoroughly enjoyed very much and thankfully they made my life more bearable while sick!  
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
My thoughts: Along for the Ride is the first book that I have read by the popular New York Times Bestseller young adult author Sarah Dessen who has a collection of other books that I look forward to reading in the future. To my surprise, I read Along for the Ride in less than 24 hours!  I was very sad when I reached the last page of the book because I fell in love the all the characters and wanted to read more about them!  Each character in the book had some flaws and by the end of the book they each transformed realistically into something better.  There were characters you will love and hate in the story. The main character Auden made the biggest transformation of all and it was truly inspiring to watch unfold!  Auden never experienced life beyond her academic studies and she was socially awkward. She discovered more things about herself after spending one summer in Colby with her father, step mother, and baby step sister near a beachy board walk.   Along the way, Auden made friends, discovered her strengths/weaknesses by taking some risks, explored new experiences by setting aside logic, and allowed herself to be free to an open mind.  It was an easy and fantastic read that you will not be able to put down!  
Mr. Darcy's Diary and Mr. Knightly's Diary by Amanda Grange
My thoughts: If you are a huge fan of Jane Austen's books then you must read Amanda Grange's books, they will enlighten you!   Amanda Grange retold the classic stories Pride and Prejudice and Emma from the leading male character's point of view (Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightly) through journal entries!  Darcy was a devoted brother and friend, yet a stubborn and arrogant gentleman. In Darcy's eyes Elizabeth was intelligent and witty, but he struggled with her less agreeable family members and lower rank in society!  It was funny how he battled against his affections for Elizabeth! I absolutely loved how Mr. Darcy's Diary included a couple months after his marriage to Elizabeth Bennett.  I always tried to imagine what married life was like for them and I was satisfied with her take on the "happy ending". As for Mr. Knightly's Diary, I find it interesting that he struggled to admit his true affections for Emma until somebody pointed it out to him.  The depth of his love for Emma was obvious in the beginning since he had such high expectations of her of being a proper refined lady and became extremely jealous when he saw Emma interacting with Frank Churchhill.  Also, Mr. Knightly was annoyed by some of her character flaws of silly matching making and arrogance, but at the same time he still saw lady like greatness in Emma too. Both books are simple and enjoyable reads!  After reading these two books, it made me want to re-read Austen's original classic stories all over again! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Memories of Mom and Me PJ Party

In May 2009 while being an activity leader, we planned an extraordinary mother and daughter activity around Mother's Day.  We had a very fun, silly, girly, and uplifting PJ party!
Decorations: We did a living room theme. We moved all the couches and chairs from the foyers into the gym, brought blankets  pillows, bean bags, rugs, fake plants, lamps, pictures (from the church library), stuffed animals, large screen for the movie, etc.
Mom and Me Photo Shoot: In the foyer when you first walk in a church, we set up a bedroom backdrop using a toddler bed, bedding, pillows, flowers, pictures, stuffed animals, etc.  The photographer had the mother's holding a Book of Mormon while the daughter was holding a journal and lounging on the bed.
Manicures and Hair: The girls and mothers painted each other's finger and toe nails while listening to some calm music.  Then we had a wacky hair contest.  The girls were given hair supplies such as rubber bands, clips, barrettes, flowers, ribbons, pipe cleaners, etc (most were from the Dollar Store) to style Mom's hair.  We passed out papers and pencils to vote on the best hair.  As for the winners, they each received a chocolate candy bar!
Spiritual Message: We divided everyone into three groups.  We did 10 minutes for each rotation. The leaders discussed the importance of daily prayers, reading scriptures, and keeping a journal.
Let's Get Crafty: We set up chairs and a long table for a craft station. We bought some cheap scrapbook supplies from Walmart (paper, elements, frames, and markers) to build a scrapbook page or frame.  The purpose of the craft was for them to scrap or frame their photographs, which we took during the activity.
Movie and Popcorn: As for the film, we watched Reflections of Christ DVD while eating popcorn, which you could buy here.  Lastly, the primary president bore her testimony about all the things we learned that night and we had a closing prayer.
Mom and Me PJ Party, 2009
Credits: The template is by L Reiber. The papers, alphas, elements are from "PJ Party" kit by Kaye Winiecki. The black paper is by Karah Fredricks. The PJ party word art is by Kate Hadfield.  You can find all the stuff from The Lily Pad. For my font, I used segoe print.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Scaling New Heights:American Fork Canyon

Fifteen years ago, John and Jen fell in love... 
For our 15th anniversary on August 14, 2012, we went up American Fork canyon for our milestone anniversary date!  Since we love the great outdoors, we thought it would be fun to explore some new places and go hiking.  We packed a lunch, camera, sunglasses, sunblock, camel backpacks, etc and headed towards the rocky mountains.
  First, we stopped at The Timpanogos Cave Visitor's Center to purchase our tickets for the breathtaking (literally) 1,092 feet hike later in the afternoon.  Then, we went to Cascade Springs. Wow, what a gorgeous place!  There was a lovely board walk path nestled around the natural springs.  John was most impressed about seeing a brown trout swimming in two and half feet deep clear water.  
Next, we pulled over and ate our sack lunches (sandwiches, carrots, celery, and apples). Around 2:00 PM, we headed down the canyon to the Timpanogos cave entrance (elevation 5,638 feet).  Little did we know, we were in for a crazy HIKE that nearly wore us out! We had to stop a lot to catch our breath several times.  At one point, I didn't think I was going to make the 1.5 miles due to almost passing out. I kept telling myself: "I can do hard things!" Luckily we had a lot of ice cold water to drink from our camel backpacks while hiking up the mountain trail.  Also, many people along the way encouraged us as we reached closer to the cave entrance. 

Finally we made it to the top of the trail 58 minutes later (elevation 6,730)... We refuelled our bodies with granola bars and dried apples while we waited for our tour guide.

We explored the magnificent limestone caves without a jacket, which was okay for us during the summer since we were sweating from the hike, although next time I will bring one just in case I get chilly. There were many interesting cave formations (helicities and anthodites).  My most favorite rock shape was the dazzling "Heart of Timpanogos", which is seen in the bottom right photo below! Hiking Timpanogoes trail and exploring the caves is definitely a wonderful summer bucket list activity to do in Utah!
The hike down the mountain was a piece of cake and I am glad we survived the trip up to Timpanogos Caves! It has been over 18 years since my last hike up there! We had a lot of fun and were extremely sore for several days after our adventurous hike!  We look forward to embracing the future together sharing more laughs, tears, triumphs, failures, joys, fears and so on. "Life by the yard is hard but by an inch, it's a cinch" -Thomas S. Monson 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A is for Apples: Back to School

On Tuesday, August 21, 2012 was the first day of school for the girls!  We officially have an 8th and 4th grader in our household!  I fought back tears after I dropped off little sister to school (we walked together with our dog Jagger). Big Sis recently got contact lenses.  She is very happy to not have to wear glasses to school any more!  They are growing up too fast! 
In the evening, we made dinner plans with the Sleaper family since Pam was in town from Texas. We shared our favorite treat a sweet and sour apple snicker salad!

 Apple Snicker Salad
1 bag of Granny Smith green apples (10-12 apples)
 1/4 c. lemon juice
1 (16 oz) Cool Whip
2 (3.4 oz) packages of vanilla pudding
2 c. milk
1 (11.18 oz) bag fun size snickers

Directions: Chop the snickers into small pieces, set aside. Cut the apples up into bit size pieces and place them in a bag with lemon juice. The lemon juice will prevent the apples from turning brown and add a refreshing lemon"tart" flavor to the salad.  In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, pudding, and cool whip.  Add the apples then fold the snickers in last. Allow the salad to set up in the refrigerator for a couple hours before serving! Yum!

  Although it was the first day of school, we played like it was a lazy summer day by swimming and boating with the Sleaper family on Utah Lake.  What an A+day!