Saturday, November 7, 2015

Our Book of Thanks

One of my very favorite holiday traditions is our Thankful Jar. I love seeing those colorful papers add up in the jar throughout the month. Every year, after Thanksgiving is over and I am switching all of the decorations from Turkeys and pumpkins over to Christmas trees and stockings, I am kind of sad to throw away our collection of papers inside the jar.

A few years back, I read this post on eighteen25 about a book they keep every year. While their tradition only takes place on Thanksgiving day, and incorporates all of the guests they have over for dinner, I was inspired to create a book just for our family. Luckily, I had saved our papers for a couple of years! 

Here is our Book of Thanks...

I just designed the outer cover, and printed the inside blank.

Each year gets 2 pages. I usually snap a picture of all of us on the couch right before we leave for dinner somewhere, and then I hand copy all of the things we wrote and added to our Thankful Jar on the opposite side. Even then, there are always a couple of papers I can't part with that the kids drew on or make me smile. So I just glue them on. 

I love looking at it as I bring it out every year. Not only to read through things we are thankful for, but to see where our family was at that moment. Or to remember the time I burned my forearm pulling the rolls out of the oven right before we took this photo...

Or to remember the little turkey onesie I made for Max this year (and that in the chaos of getting everything ready to go I forgot to take our annual photo on our couch)...

That was also the year that every single one of Avery's papers looked like this.. 

And the year Harvey went from drawing pictures to writing words...

Time flies. And it feels good to slow down a little and appreciate all of the little things we have and do together. It fills my heart. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

DIY Canvas Car Playmat

So, my baby turned two yesterday.

And I just KonMaried my house and I am SO. OVER. the toys. And the kid clutter. Plus he has both a big brother and a big sister, and they have toys that cover all the basics. But we still have loads of birthdays and Christmases in our future, so what in the world am I going to give? Anyway, my internal brain rant ended when I came up with this idea. It meets all of my current criteria:

  1. It is durable. 
  2. It is open-ended and fosters imaginative play.
  3. It folds up small and can be stored with like-items in our toy storage system.
  4. It encourages cooperative play.

My hubby had a mat like this one when he was a kid, so I asked my mother-in-law to give me some details on how to make our own. I bought 60 inches x 45 inches of duck canvas and ran a zigzag stitch down the raw edges. Then, (after planning out the city on graph paper measured and accurately scaled proportionately, then folding the canvas to help rescale my plan) I drew in the city using some permanent sharpie markers.

I seriously can't stop looking at it. I love it so much! Maybe even more than the kids, although all three were delighted when Max opened his gift.  Justin has a tin of Micro Machines from when he was a kid and they are absolutely adorable on the mat. But I sized the roads so the regular Hot Wheels cars can fit on either side, and Max's Melissa & Doug Car Carrier will also (barely) fit on the whole road. They will need security to block off the other lanes of traffic. ;)

Before I started, I asked Harvey what places I should add to our city and he surprised me when the first thing he mentioned was the temple. I have to admit, it never crossed my mind, but I added it because he wanted it. Just a little thing that made me smile.

I added a little neighborhood, a church, grocery store, school, and bank.

 Another must-have was an airport -  with a landing strip, a gas station and a restaurant.

One of my favorite things about the original mat was the mountain scene, and river flowing into a lake so there could be bridges on the streets. I added the dirt road going to the mountains... complete with a little camp site at the end. And since the river is close by, I drew in a couple fish for another recreational activity.

I couldn't forget the "city center" with a round-about and a little fountain in the middle. It is surrounded by the city pool, office (aka "the place where Daddy works"), a police station and hospital, with a landing pad for the life-saving helicopters.

And last but not least, the river ends in a lake, with a beach and a little dock so the cars can watch the sun set over the water before they head back to their cul-de-sac for bed.

To make sure it lasts... (and it better last generations! Ha.) I ironed it to set the ink during washing. And I've got to remember to only wash in cold water.

Total cost: $13.50
Duck Canvas: $6.50
New Sharpies: $7

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Quote Pictures

I was so happy when the Young Women asked me to take pictures for them for their Evening in Excellence night. I mean, as much as I'm loving Relief Society... I miss my girls.

The YW Pres asked each of the girls to choose their favorite picture, and their favorite quote and then I put them together. I had a lot of fun:




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Study Stickers

Okay, I promise this is my last post about General Conference for a while! All of these things have been on my mind for a while, and I just want to get them checked off my to-do list...

As I searched through my Conference Journal a couple of weeks ago in preparation for my talk, I started thinking how fun it would be to make stickers for my side margins instead of just writing my impressions. I didn't think I would have time to make some up before this session, but I was too excited to let them slide. :)

(Aren't they cute?) I made these stickers specifically to go in my Conference Journal, but they are open-ended enough, you could probably use them for any study journal of sorts. I printed this .pdf on a full sized clear sheet of sticker paper, then cut out the individual stickers.

Here is an alternate link to download the file: Conference Journal Stickers

After I finished those up, I started thinking about what I want to get out of Conference this session... and my church calling (a volunteer "job" in the church for right now) kept coming to mind. I currently serve with the Young Women, and I want to be a better example to the girls (ages 12-17) I serve with. One of the ways I want to do that, is to recognize the young women values in my scriptures and in my life more often, as well as topics in the Come Follow Me lessons.


To help, I made up some more stickers... I went through the list of scriptures in the personal progress book, and marked each one with the color pencil in the coordinating value color and added the little value sticker in the margin. I love them! I also included a little silhouette of Christ with "Come Follow Me" on it to add next to an amazing scripture shared during one of the lessons. I think I am going to make some for my girls. Hopefully you can get some use out of them, too!

Here is an alternate link to download the file: Young Women Value Stickers

For more ideas on preparing for General Conference, click HERE.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Our General Conference Center.... New and Improved

I've been wanting to add a few things to our Conference Board, and I finally made the time to sit down and get it done. I'm so excited for my kids to use the updated board in a couple of weeks!

Here is the whole board, so you can see where I added new items:

I wanted to change the music section a little, because I noticed that Harvey didn't really do anything with it unless I prompted him. I figured it was probably because he couldn't read the words, so now that section is non-reader friendly. I split the two arrows up - one for the choir, and one for who is singing (men, women, or both). I also added little pictures of an organ and a music stand. I also included both a male and a female guest conductor, and a guest organist.

I also added a map. Jen Lund had a map on her original board, and I went back and forth on including it due to space, but I finally decided to make it work. I added an airplane, like she has, to move around any time a country is mentioned. I also added 5 of our favorite temples, so my children can place them on the map wherever new temples are announced.

I also liked her idea of placing her family members in attendance on their couch watching Conference, but I couldn't figure out where to add that feature due to space. Now I have added a picture of our family on the couch to move from session to session instead of the temple. (This isn't included in the download... for obvious reasons.)

I also wanted to add a little more diversity to our anonymous Quorum of the 70s guys, since there are men called from all over the world, after all. I added a couple more skin colors.

Lastly, I added a spot for my kids to write in a couple of the statistics given during General Conference; total members of the church, full-time missionaries, and total operating temples in the world. (Don't trust those numbers, I just guessed for the pictures.) The dry erase marker will wipe off the contact paper with a tissue.

Instead of trying to keep two different posts updated with the free printables, I'll update the first post. Just head back to the original General Conference Center post to download and make your own. :) 


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