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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 sid

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: It is durable.  It is open-ended and fosters imaginative play. It folds up small and can be stored with like-items in our toy storage system. 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 c

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... an

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 ment

Talk: Conference Prep

Justin and I were asked to speak in church last Sunday. Our assigned topic? "Listen to the Prophet's Voice/Preparing for General Conference ." Here's what I prepared: I love Conference. More now than when I was younger, perhaps because I’ve matured a bit, but I think it is because of the preparation I now put in before each session. I think some temporal preparation is required before we can really reap the benefits of preparing spiritually, so I’ll start with that. Temporal Prep:  I always try to keep our schedule clear. I want my kids to grow up knowing General Conference is special and important. I try to go to bed earlier than usual the night before, so I'm not tired (or as tired... because it seems like I'll never get caught up on all my sleep) during the talks. I do my best to get all of my chores done by Friday; things like grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc. -            Preparing for Children: If you don’t have children, or y

Valentine's Day

It has been a while since I took pictures of my kids with my L-O-V-E letters , and since I didn't have any with Max, I thought I would snap a few. I probably should have done singles like I did before because these kids were acting so silly. This was the best one of the bunch. I really need to get an 8x10 printed and add it into my Valentine decor. For breakfast, we had pink heart pancakes with sprinkles, heart bacon, and apple juice in "fancy glasses." I've never let the kids use these glasses before, so it was pretty exciting... During the younger kids' naptime I took a shower, and while I was up there, Justin snuck in and brought flowers into the house. I was so surprised when I came downstairs and saw these beauties. And he knows me well... I love Gerber daisies. I thought about giving the kids their gift from me (and Justin) during breakfast, but I knew they would want to eat them right away, so I waited until after lunch. They were

DIY Window Clings

I am a sucker for window clings. It all stems back to when I was a child. We had these Easter clings made out of reusable vinyl and I loved  putting them on our sliding glass door. It was very detailed; I could design the eggs with different colored stripes, and put the facial features on the Easter Bunny. I really need to ask my mom what happened to them. The only problem, is the window clings in stores now are made from some sort of weird gel. They are cute and transparent, but really don't hold up well after a year in storage. Or through a 5 year old trying to pry them out of their package. Or a 2 year old trying to pry them off the window and re-position them. They stretch and tear. I absolutely loved  the window clings I found at Target a couple of years ago. But when I pulled out my Valentine decor, we had already tossed half of them. This year I was very careful when putting them up, but the gel got weaker each year and a few more of them tore. Then I found all