Friday, April 30, 2010

A Snack Sneaking Solution

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A lot of my conversations with my children revolve around food.
Snack food to be exact.

To avoid the typical conversation that begins with a constant stream of whining about needing a snack, I started making these snack trays. When I'm on the ball, I make up a snack tray for each child at the beginning of the day. I fill a mini-muffin pan with little snack foods as seen here. Normally, I'd put some M&Ms or mini-marshmallows in one of the slots just for fun, but I don't have any on hand today. So the kids have their snack trays and can eat from them whenever they want throughout the day. When EVERY bit of food has been eaten, then I refill it, which means that bit of broccoli has to be consumed before I put out any more Scooby-snacks. It's a good system.

And just for fun: here is one of my all-time favorite clips from the old 1970's Electric Company. It soooo reminds me of my kids (and me, for that matter, when I was a child).
I can totally relate to my children wanting to sneak snacks...who doesn't?
Maybe I need to make myself a snack tray too!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Topless Cookie Jar

Approximately 20 minutes ago, this was a really cute, cupcake-shaped cookie jar.

I brought it out of hiding this afternoon to fill it with freshly-baked chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies.

And then my son climbed up on the counter to get some more...and somehow the lid ended up in pieces on my kitchen floor. Just like that! Bye-bye lid.

So, maybe my medication is working...or perhaps it's the six-or-so cookies that I downed prior to this happening, but I didn't even freak out. Not even a little bit!
(thank you, thank you...high-fives all around.)

I just took my little Guy in my arms and held him before his tears got too bad and told him that I cared about him much more than I did a silly breakable cookie jar...and that I didn't ever want him to break.

To which he replied, "I don't ever want you to break, either Mama."

(Now, if the cookies had gone down with the lid, then we might have a problem!) :)

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Have I Mentioned that I LOVE CINNAMON?

I am baking my way through my Mom's cookbook "The Dough Also Rises".

I decided to start by baking these cinnamon rolls using my mother's special recipe, one that she received from her beloved friend Linda Zuro.

I have made these before, probably ten years ago or more, but I was totally shocked with how awesome they turned out this time! They were HUGE and so light and fluffy! I did a few things differently from the recipe. I mixed it all in my Bosch, not by hand. I made my own brown sugar, because I was out of it. And after I formed the rolls, I let them rise individually inside my over-sized cupcake pan.

The result was so fabulous, I just had to take some to a friend.
Baking things for people is my favorite kind of service.

Here is the recipe from my Mom's book:

Linda’s Bread Dough Recipe

This is Linda Zuro's recipe. She never used a heavy duty mixer. Always only her hands. The dough is so very soft and pliable. You want to mix it til just barely after the sticky stage. Personally, I don't think anyone but Linda can make ther rolls turn out like hers did...but I keep trying. Sometimes she added half whole wheat flour to half white flour. Still a very light, and airy dinner roll.

2 cups water

2 T. yeast

½ cup sugar for sweet rolls OR 1/8 cup for bread rolls

6 cups flour

¼ cup oil

1 egg

2 t. salt

1. Dissolve yeast in water and sugar. Let sit for 20 minutes til bubbly. Add 3 cups flour. Mix.

2. Add oil, egg, and salt. Add another 3-4 cups flour. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Mix. Knead and rise for 1 hour.

3. For into dinner rolls or make into cinnamon rolls***

4. Rise a second time

5. Bake 15-20 minutes in 375 degree oven

Depending on the humidity of the day, you may need more or less flour.

***Cinnamon Rolls: roll or pat out dough into a rectangle. Spread with stick margarine that has been softened. Spread with brown sugar to all edges. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up and slice.

For the icing: Mix confectioner’s sugar and little bit of milk at a time until the consistency you desire has been reached…thick enough to spread, NOT thin at all.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nephi's Bow FHE

After last week's FHE in a teepee, we just couldn't pass up buying these bow & arrows at the Lewisburg Arts Festival yesterday. They were by far the crowd favorite, and I'm pretty sure the seller made a killing with them. But you could make some yourself and have a fun lesson about what Nephi did in the Book of Mormon when he broke his bow (he made a new one, of course!). Here are some instructions that I found online. These bows are made out of 1/2 inch pvc pipe and nylon string. The arrows are made using multiple layers of foam padding tied around a bit of wooden rod with a notch at the end where the arrow and string meet.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Fortune Cookie Keepsake

Check THIS out, Readers!

My wonderful Mother-in-Law, Christie just arrived for a visit (from Colorado Springs, via Toledo, Ohio.) And she brought me this awesome Fortune Cookie keepsake to remember my special time of baking, and baking (and baking) fortune cookies for Haiti earlier this year.

(We are not sure what purpose the cookie keepsake was intended to serve. Is it a pill box? Someone called it a "dream keeper". Since I am a big dreamer, that is what I will always call it, my little dream keeper.)

I am so touched.

Isn't she sweet?

I hope you all have such thoughtful MILs!
And here she is reading to my kids.

We've got lots of fun ahead of us this weekend.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What Isaiah Can Teach Teens

I've been enjoying a blog lately called Scriptorium Blogorium. It's like this insightful woman just decided to take the notes she'd been writing in the margins of her scriptures and post them for all of us to ponder as well.

As I was perusing the site today, I realized that she has quite a gem in the book that she is writing called "Isaiah Insights to Teenage Temptations" and it is everything that the title implies.

She tackles different topics affecting today's teens in each chapter. Some of them are: bullying, peer pressure & friends, the media, chastity, pornography, dating, modesty. She quotes some Isaiah verses that apply to each individual topic and then offers a brief synopsis afterward. It's brilliant, insightful, and could prove to be a powerful tool for teens and parents. Check it out!
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just For Fun...A Blog Award

So...this post is just for fun, because I have been presented a blog award!
How sweet of my friend over at Surviving A Family of Nine to nominate me!

Part of accepting this award is listing Ten Things that Make Me Happy.

Here goes:
Dinner already cooked
my husband playing with my children
people who keep promises
infectious laughter
old friends
cinnamon-sugar toast
my children in the morning

Here are some blogs that I really enjoy.

I am hereby passing this "award" on to them. Check them out!

My Dad's New Blog: Chez Rabelais

The Damsel's New Old School

Elizabeth at So Wabi Sabi

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Monday, April 19, 2010

FHE In a Teepee

In the recent General Conference, Elder Bednar stated that, "the best family home evenings are not necessarily the product of prepared, purchased, or downloaded packets of outlines and visual aids." Yes! I think it is so true. Although, I do love getting cool ideas from others, I love it best of all when I feel the spirit guiding me as I tailor my lessons to fit the needs of the members of my family, and when a Family discussion is taken to a whole new level of teaching, because of the Spirit, and because of listening and sharing between parent and child. Again, I see nothing wrong with getting a little help in the creativity department, just don't skimp on receiving heavenly inspiration on how to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to your own your own way.

Tonight's Family Home Evening lesson is sort of an example of this. We had planned to do a lesson on tithing, but I feel that our children need a lesson on prayer. Specifically, we will discuss the fact that we pray to talk to Heavenly Father, not to be heard by others. I have noticed lately that our kids seem to be praying, especially at the dinner table, to be heard by those present (a habit that we no-doubt cultivated by saying "Great prayer!" after every prayer they say!), but I want to make sure they understand that they are not praying for our approval, but for personal communication with God. And instead of doing a lot of instructing, I'm hoping to just pray together, so that by example, they can gain a better understanding of how this communication should go.

I know, you're wondering about THE TEEPEE. Well, we made this teepee with the kids today, just for fun. I have friends who like to have FHE in their tree house during the summer months, so I thought, why not have it in a teepee! Having a secret place to hide-out when you just want to be alone with your thoughts is a good thing. Part of our family home evening lesson will include an opportunity for the children to find a quiet spot to pray alone. I call the teepee!

You can make one too. It's very easy. I followed these instructions.
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Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Mighty Good Man

"If all men had been and were and ever would be" this Man--My Man--then every little girl would be smiling like my girl was tonight as she went off to dance with her Daddy at their first Daddy/Daughter Dance!

I'm so thankful that I am married to such a mighty fine man.
And that we have been blessed to raise such sweet children together.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Quiet Moment In The Garden

A quiet moment in the garden
long ago, but not forgotten
dandelions, children fair
words of love
spoken there.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Find The Golden Plates: FHE

We've got a fun Family Home Evening planned tonight with friends.

I've made these "golden plates" using cardboard wrapped in tin foil. After we talk about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, the children (there will be nine of them!) will have to hunt through our back yard to find their family's set of Golden Plates. Then they'll be able to practice writing on their plates as a family using blunt pencils. This "hide & seek" game with the Plates might be fun to continue while I bring out dessert. There are also these bookmarks that I'm printing out. Thanks, Mom for the hide & seek idea!
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Friday, April 9, 2010

I Like Spring! I Like Spring!

I like spring! I like spring! I like a kite On a long, long string.

I like the blue Of a bright spring sky, Pink pussy willows, A butterfly.

I like fluffy clouds, The golden sun, White woolly lambs That jump and run.

I like the robins And the songs they sing. I like spring! I like spring!
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Children's Book Club: Let's Go Fly a Kite

This Saturday at 11am, I will be leading a Children's Book Club meeting at Page After Page (located just three miles outside of Lewisburg on Route 45).

We will read some Spring-themed poetry and each child will make a real working kite to take home and enjoy! Please RSVP to me to reserve your spot for Saturday!

I just had to add this photo to show you how well these kites fly! My daughter is still 2 years old and she can even do it! We've been playing with these kites all morning. They are a blast. If you cannot make it Saturday (I know most of my readers live outside of PA), just click here to find out how to make your own. They are so much fun!

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Read Me: The 30 Day Book of Mormon Quest

Last month, I read the Book of Mormon, cover-to-cover, in thirty days.
(Thank you, Marla, for the suggestion!)

I set Easter as my deadline.
I got a little bit behind while my sister was visiting, so I had to read 50 pages a day the last few days to catch up, but it was totally worth it.

Recently, someone questioned me about being a Mormon. I shared with them my testimony of Jesus Christ and explained that my faith in Him is inseparably connected to The Book of Mormon, because The Book of Mormon truly testifies of Jesus Christ. It clearly explains his Mission, the affects of his Sacrifice, and our relationship to him as our Savior.

Because of this, The Book of Mormon actually strengthens my testimony of the Bible. Like the Bible, The Book of Mormon is written by prophets of the Lord who sought to persuade their people to repent and follow the commandments, and to worship his Son, Jesus Christ. Both books are true and compliment each other.

I am who I am, because of the truths found in the Book of Mormon. It has brought me so much happiness and wisdom. It has helped me to understand the world in which we live, and to see how I might safely, and happily, return to my Heavenly Home.

I hope that you will take the time to read The Book of Mormon, and decide for yourself if it is true. If you are a friend of mine and live nearby, I'd be happy to bring a Book of Mormon to you to read. Or if you'd like to order a free copy online, click here.

Do you have 30 Days to read the Book of Mormon?

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Downloading General Conference

This post is dedicated to Serene...because I feel like "one-upping" her about our General Conference experience with three toddlers! If you are feeling like you barely heard a word of conference this weekend because your kids were too wild, just read Serene's "Conference VS Kids" post. But just so Serene knows...It was so loud at our house during General Conference, that I didn't even get a picture of it* (so Hah!)...I was probably too busy rocking back and forth in the fetal position! (*The picture above doesn't count...this was pre-egg hunt and the promise of candy had them pretty much doing whatever we wanted them to.)

So, in an effort to show my children the value that we place on listening to the words of the prophets, we missed a lot of the actual talks! No worries, though, because I totally rely on listening to General Conference online to catch what I've missed. I listen while I am cooking, or cleaning, and if I could only find my MP3 player cord, I'd also listen while I run. It's like downloading wisdom. I love it.

It's so useful. Now, in addition to finding talks by session and speaker, you can search by topic and keyword. You can also just listen to the music of conference. It's very cool. Check it out!

Also, our visit with my parents was wonderful. We really enjoyed just being with them.
We also had fun doing our Testimony Egg Hunt...Thanks to my friend Marla for the suggestion!

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Friday, April 2, 2010

General Conference Wall

Surprise, surprise...I make my kids sit through all four sessions of General Conference.
(You weren't surprised, were you?)

I realize that this is asking a lot of toddlers, so to be fair, I do try to come up with like a million ways to keep my 1, 2, and 4-year-olds happy, interested, and occupied during the eight hours of TV viewing. This year, I was just realizing that the kids will have already received a ton of candy from the E.B., so I don't have the promise of candy on my side. I was picturing using this to my every time someone says "faith" we all eat a chocolate, but that reminded me too much of a drinking, I moved away from that. :)

And my kids are still a little young for Bingo...but I saw this idea for a General Conference Wall and I tweaked it to make it our own.

Here's how it works: Choose some pictures from the Gospel Art Kit to hang on your General Conference Wall. I chose topics that are fairly likely to be mentioned, such as temples, Jesus, and Book of Mormon, and stories that my children are very familiar with and would recognize if mentioned, such as Samuel the Lamanite and Joseph Smith's First Vision.

I printed off a current set of Apostle cards and laminated them. Now, the children will be encouraged to listen to the speakers and a) recognize who is speaking, and b) listen for the speaker to mention any of the topics on our Wall. If they mention something on our Conference Wall, then the children can tape the Apostle's picture on the appropriate Gospel Art Picture.

As a reward, each Gospel Art Picture has a "prize" attached to it. The prizes consist of coloring pages, quiet games, stickers, General Conference busy work, and other special treats.

It's going to be 80 degrees all weekend I'm sure we'll do our fair share of running around in the yard during "musical breaks" and going out for ice cream in between sessions.

We'll also be blessed to watch Conference again with my parents who are coming to visit.

Enjoy General Conference everyone!
What a blessing it is to listen to a Prophet of the Lord give us direction for our day.
This is truly something to rejoice about!
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