Friday, July 30, 2010

Shake, Rattle & MATCH: Sound Matching Game Tutorial

I've been racking my brain trying to think of something original to make for the Fireflies & Jellybeans Iron Crafter Challenge.  The secret crafting ingredient for this crafting throw-down was "knobs and hinges".

In the interest of not boring you to tears on a Friday afternoon, I will refrain from telling you the perfect storm of reasons why the craft that I am about to show you is THE PERFECT CRAFT--for me, for the Iron Crafter Challenge, for my blog, for my kids, and for this day.

But it is INDEED, perfectly right for right now.

It was also really fun to make with the special assistance of my eight-year-old friend, Josh!  This craft is truly "Kid tested and Mother approved!"  (Thank you, Josh!)

I now give you the tutorial for:

"Shake, Rattle & Match"
~~A Sound-Matching Game~~

You will need:

-12 small wooden boxes with lids (They should all be of identical size and shape.)
-12 small wooden knobs
-1 wooden tray that accommodates all of the boxes
-a drill/drill bit the same size as your knobs
-wood glue
-6 different colors of acrylic paint
-1 small paint brush
-6 different items that make distinct and interesting sounds.  I used:  pennies, rice, a large jingle bell, a glass marble, dry oats, small wooden beads.  Whatever you decide to use for your "sounds", make sure you have double of each item.

Here's what to do:

Step 1 - Flip your boxes over and color code them.  Do this by placing a dot of paint directly on the center of the bottom of each box using all six paint colors.  You should have two boxes of each color dot when you are finished.  This will allow the child to check their sound matches as they play.  Let the paint dots dry, while you play with power tools.

Step 2 - Measure your lids and mark the center using pencil.  Then drill holes in the center of each lid.

Step 3 - Apply wood glue to the knobs and insert them into the holes that you drilled in the lids.  Wipe any excess glue with a paper towel.  Allow glue to set.

Step 4 - Fill your boxes with the sound-making items of your choice, being careful not to mix up the color coding.  I filled and glued two boxes at a time, checking the color dots as I went.  Note:  During this step, you might also want to make sure that the sounds are distinct enough for your game.  You can always swap your items out for something else during this step, but not after.

Step 5 - Apply wood glue to the rim of each box and glue the lids on.  When the glue has dried, arrange the boxes on your tray and play!


Because of the nature of this game, I decided against embellishing the outsides of the boxes in any way.  Since it is a matching game that relies on listening, flashy designs would have just been a distraction.  With this game, the treasure truly is inside...and the beauty is something to be heard and not seen!  That said, I think that the natural wood is elegant in and of itself.
(And easy enough for a kid to make...double-awesome!)

Ok, are you ready to see it in action?

Here are two videos of my kid-testers, ages 3 and 8, playing "Shake, Rattle & Match"!


This is my first crafting challenge, and I am excited to say that I am now an Iron Crafter!
Click on the button below to check out what others have created using knobs and hinges.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Coming in August: Life Lessons Preschool

My number one and only son is starting preschool this fall.
I am happy for him.
He is so bright, talented, sweet, and amazing.
I will miss him terribly.

Instead of letting it break my heart into a million pieces (am I a Mother, or what?), I've decided to take just make sure he is as prepared for preschool as he can be.

Prepared for Preschool?  What?
I know.  I told you.  I am kind of hard core.

But just to clarify, I think he's already ready.  I think he could go straight into kindergarten and do exceptionally well, and I wouldn't be worried one bit.

I totally trust that he'll have wonderful teachers and that they will lead him down the path of academia with care and hopefully great skill.

But there are things that I want to teach him myself.

Things that I don't want him to leave my home not knowing.
Things like:  "We love you no matter what."  "You can dream big dreams."  "Enjoy learning."
"Work hard."  "See the good in others."  "You can make good choices, regardless of what others do."

Most of these things, I believe I have shown him or taught by example.
But I don't like to let important things go unsaid.

So in the month that I have left before I send my beautiful first-born out into the big bad world, I will be telling him things that I think are important for him to know in life...things that no one else will tell him, but me (and his daddy, of course).

I'm sure we'll teach him these things over and over again until he turns 18.
But this is a start.

I will share these lessons with you as well as the educational activities that I like to do with my kids during the dead of winter here in Pennsylvania.  Some people stock up on food all summer long, but as a Mother of small children, I am busy gathering fun activities for us to do in the bleak mid-winter!  Hopefully you will find them useful.

So stay-tuned for "Life Lessons Preschool" and my list of "Busy Work".
And please email me if you have suggestions that you'd like me to share with others.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm Going With Gladys

Thank you, everyone, for your name suggestions for my bike.
I enjoyed them all.

But in the end, I just had to go with Gladys, my grandma's name.

I think my husband thinks it's strange to name a bike after my late-grandmother, but look at this photo.  Is she not beautiful and vibrant and lovely and everything that a woman should be?  My new, old bike is just crying out to emulate this great, great woman in spirit.  Plus, it's red, and my Grandma always loved red.  Plus, she rode a similar bike in our parade each 4th of July (which also happens to be her birthday.)  When I ride my bike in our yearly parade, I want to honor her.  

Also, I want to be able to say, "Gladys and I are going out now.  We'll be back after a while..." and maybe she'll actually come along for the ride.

It's settled then.  Good.  Carry on.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Now That's a BIKE!

I know what you're thinking...Now that's a real bike!

My bike-loving husband picked up this little beauty at our neighbor's garage sale the day I sprained my ankle for a mere $5!

Apparently, when he bought it the tires were flat, the brakes didn't work, it needed a new wire-thingy, it had no beautiful basket, and it was covered in rust.  Oh, yeah, and the front "fork" was all messed up so it didn't steer straight.

He spent about 8 hours fixing her up and whispering encouraging words to her, and what stands before you now is a fully resurrected bike in all her glory.  My husband looked up her serial number online and discovered that she was built in 1972.  So, she's truly vintage.

And, yes, she's a girl.

It's been almost two years since I sold my magnificent first-car-I-ever-owned, named Wolfie.

No other vehicle has been able to fill the void...until now.

Now I am ready to love something on wheels again.

And I am ready to give my bike a name.

Won't you help me?

I was considering Big Red, since I also happen to love Big Red gum...but it didn't seem to really do this lovely bike justice.

Stay and admire her all you like, then leave me a comment with the name you find most fitting!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Golden Moments

My baby girl is sick with a fever.  So is my middle one, but for some reason she won't admit it.
So in addition to resting my foot, these days, I am holding sick babies.
I shouldn't look like I'm having so much fun, but any excuse to sit and enjoy them, to just hold them and be close to them and make memories of their precious pure gold to me.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Sah and Me

This is Me and my Great-Grandmother, Gladys Holman.
We called her Sah.

We became good buddies when she came to live with our family.
Apparently, I never talked before that time, but she helped me find my voice.
The family joke is that I haven't stopped talking since.

This photo isn't real.
Well, it probably really happened, but my husband photoshopped it for me from these two photos.

When we were first married I was telling my husband how sad I was that I don't have a single photo of Sah and me together.  The closest I could come to a picture of us was these two pictures taken the same day on our front lawn.  It must've been Pioneer Day, because of my dress.  And I was probably 2 1/2 years old.
So, he put the to together.  He did a great job, didn't he?  It made me cry.

Anyway, when Sah died, I inherited her bedroom furniture.

This lovely dresser was part of the set and I used it all through my childhood.  One summer, I was home from college, and sleepless.  I looked over at my dresser, which had always been covered in layers of white paint. I wondered what was underneath all that icky paint.

My neighbor at the time was always refinishing wood furniture, so I asked him to teach me how.
I worked so hard on this piece and was pleasantly surprised to discover a beautiful two-toned wood underneath.

But an even more meaningful surprise came while I was cleaning the drawers out.  Tucked inside one of the drawers, stuck between the wall and floor of the drawer, I found one of Sah's hairpins.  It had been there all along, and I never knew it.  In that moment, I felt her very close to me.  This find was the best part of refinishing the dresser.  I keep that hairpin in my jewelry box, and when I look at it, it always makes me smile.

So here I was, happy to have just a small hairpin to remind me of my relationship with my great-grandma, when years later, after my grandmother's death, I was given this:

I guess it was a necklace that she had which belonged to Sah and was meant for me.  
I'm a little fuzzy on those details, but I love it.

With Pioneer Day coming up, I suppose it has turned my mind to my ancestors, all of them Pioneers in one way or another.  Sah came to the United States from England, and years later, along with my grandmother and my mother, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when some missionaries found them and taught them about the church.  I am so thankful for the heritage that has grounded me in the gospel of Jesus Christ and which compels me forward through a happy and fulfilling life.

I'm sure that we all have pioneers to honor this weekend, and I hope that we all take time to think of them and to teach our children about the people who made their lives possible!

Have a good weekend!
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keeping It Simple. Keeping It Real.

My blog is rather simplistic.

Have you noticed?

If you've found your way here...CONGRATS!
It was probably through word of mouth, and I mean that literally.  
Someone probably told you to come.

Why isn't my blog fancy?
Why don't I have ads and doo-hickies galore?

Well, first, it's because I'm simple.
Second, I'm a busy Mom (and I bet you are too).
Third, my blog serves me and my mission, not the other way around.

My hope is that the format gets the message across to other Moms out there who are trying to do what's right by their families.

I'm not looking to get much more intricate, but I would like to hear if you have any suggestions for improvements on my site, the content or how things are laid out....questions for me are also welcome.

I did add a "Like" button to my posts tonight.

Not sure what that'll do, but if it helps more people find what they are searching for, 
then I'll certainly "like" that.

Click on the Like button, won't you?
And let's see what happens.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Quick Peek Into My Soul

I have received a blog award from my friend Kendra at The Things I Love Most.  As part of the award, I have been asked to share seven things about myself with you.

1.  In general, I take dreams seriously and nay-sayers lightly.

2.  As a Mother, I often feel powerful.  

3.  In conversation, I try to listen closely to what the other person is not saying...something that probably developed out of the fact that I talk more than I should.

4.  I often laugh at my many idiosyncracies, but I make no apologies for the way that I am.  God made me this way for a reason, so I try to make the most of the strengths and weaknesses he has given me.

5.  I feel most alive, most humbled, and most closely watched over by the Lord during difficult times.  He has never made me walk alone.

6.  I think about every single friend I have ever once a day.

7.  My favorite scripture and the inspiration for my blog is:

"...We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophesies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."
2 Nephi 25:26

I don't think I could have ever predicted what a big influence this scripture would have on my approach to Mothering.

Now I pass this award on to the following bloggers because, well, I like you:

Cami at The Coulsons
Liz at The Cavage Patch
Somer at Rainy Day Wren
Kami at Yellow Kisses
Jackie at House of Sarager

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Irish Wit

I've aways loved Irish sayings.

For a long time now this one has been my favorite.  I even cross-stitched it:

But this Irish toast always makes me chuckle when I hear it:

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if he doesn’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we’ll know them by their limping.

I'm wondering who has been sending this toast in my direction, because I cranked my ankle today (napping while on duty is apparently a dangerous sport!) and I ended up in the emergency room for X-rays.

Whoever you are...I'm coming for you...
You'll "know me" by my hopping...and wincing.

As my friend Wendy always says, "Be well!"

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Little Warm Fuzzies

My last post had crawdads and worms in it, so I decided to do something a little less gross today!

Here are some sweet things that have come into my life in the last week.

First:  These S & P shakers...found at the thrift store for 50 cents.

Next:  This bunny who lives in our back yard/garden.

Lastly:  This great little origami bag that I won on Lynette's blog.  She filled it with her favorite things for me to enjoy!  Thank you, Lynette!

I hope that many sweet little things come into your life this week.

Take time to enjoy them when they do.
(Tell me about them too, I'd love to hear it!!)

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Beauty, Beasts & Blogaversary

Just thought I'd share this photo from our week of stay-cation.
I call it "Beauty and the Beasts".
We went fishing three times last week.  (You're welcome, husband.)
We caught a bunch of bizarre little critters, like a half-frog/half-tadpole and a ton of crawdads.
The kids love it!

My computer is still on the outs, but I am making due with two retired laptops that are slower than molasses.
But beggars can't be choosers, as my Mother would say.

I also realized that it is my 2nd Blogaversary this month:  two years of fun projects, meeting cool people, and making interesting self-discoveries.

THANK YOU for reading, commenting, and sharing your lives with me!
I value your friendship!

Although, I am still on semi-hiatus, I thought I'd let you know what I've got mixing around in my little bag of tricks.

In August, I plan on sharing with you the things I am doing to get ready to send my number one son off into the big bad world of Preschool.  I hope to also share with you some of the tools that I use to teach my kids at home and do a review of some cool educational products from CSN, an online store which sells everything from dining room furniture to educational products for children.

I want this dining set, but maybe with yellow chairs instead.  The vinyl is tugging at my heartstrings.
Right now we have fabric covered dining room chairs...and they are difficult to keep clean!
Anywho.  Check them out and stay tuned for my review of a few of their really nifty educational products.

In September, I am planning on joining in with some other great bloggers in a "Proclamation Commemoration" to celebrate the 15 year anniversary of the announcement of The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  I am looking for "guest bloggers", people who want to do a blog "exchange", share ideas, and anyone who would like to contribute to a BIG Family Proclamation GIVEAWAY! As I mentioned this will be happening on multiple blogs across the blogosphere.  
This was Cocoa's idea...I'm just jumping on her bandwagon!
Let me know if you would like to participate!
Just shoot me an email at
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Birthday Ripples: Celebrating A Birthday Through Service

I read this post by my bloggy friend Lara over at The Golden Seven some time ago, and I immediately knew that I wanted to follow her example.  To celebrate turning 37 earlier this year, Laura did 37 random acts of service/kindness to others.  She picked up trash with her daughter, gave money to a homeless person, mailed a letter to a friend, paid for the car behind her in a drive-through, taped exact change to vending machines, and left candy bars and even gift certificates on the cars of perfect strangers.  

I have thought about this project a lot over the last few months, and with my birthday coming up in October, I am wondering how I can work this into my life.  I am trying to scale back my "projects", but this one combines my two favorite things:  Service & Birthdays!  It's a no-brainer!  I will, however, have to serve in my own way, since I am of limited time and means.  I will let you know how it goes, though.  And if you try this out, please let me know about your experience as well!
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God

Mothers, I believe this, I really do.
And I am thankful for the Mother who taught me these truths.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

She Wants To Marry Me

These are my kids.

As my brother-in-law observed during his visit, they've got big personalities and do everything with a lot of character.  The last night of their visit, Scarlett and Guy had their first "sleepover" away from me.  They spent the night in the hotel with the grandparents, aunt/uncle, and cousins.  As soon as they returned, they were shipped off to their first "kid-only" birthday party, so that was a long time flying solo without Mommy and Daddy.  

As soon as they returned, Scarlett told me with much emotion, "I WANT TO MARRY YOU...right now!"
She was so sincere about it.

I said, why, because you love me?
I figured she didn't like being away from me for that long, so I assured her that, we are sort of "married" to each other--we are "sealed" to each other because Daddy and I were married in the temple.  I told her, "You will always be my daughter.  I will always be your Mommy.  Guy will always be your brother...And you will always be his sister.  This will always be the case, even if we are apart for a little while."

I asked her again later, if she still wanted to marry me.  She said yes.  I just wanted to hear her say it again, because it made me feel good! :)  Hee hee.

I didn't think that Guy was too phased by his time away until it was bedtime.  He cried and called out for me. When I finally came in to his room, he said he wanted to snuggle.  So we did, in my bed, and he told me that I didn't snuggle enough with him when the cousins were here.  And that I should never forget to snuggle with him like that again!

Yes, sir.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Me In Real Life

This is me in real life.

This is the man I love.

These are the children who light up my life.

This is them acting normal.

This is my niece Ella wearing the necklace I whipped up for her on the 4th.

She's lovely, just like her Mom.

This is my son Guy enjoying a kiss from his cousin Zachery. 

This is my daughter and me during our neighborhood 4th of July Parade. 

These are the friends who joined us.

These are the cousins during "pinata lessons".

There is so much to tell from my adventures in the "real" world, but for now I must sign off.

I've got beaches to explore, sunsets to watch, gardens to water...oh, and my son wants an Oreo cookie....(and apparently won't rest until he gets one.)  Good-bye again for now.

And thank you to family members who joined us this weekend.
We had a wonderful time with each of you!
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