Pages

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine Coupon Book

Hi Friends!

I made this a few weeks back, but was afraid to post it too soon since I was planning on giving it as a gift to da hubs for Valentine's Day and didn't want to spoil the surprise for him. Cause he reads this blog. Sometimes. When I tell him to. 😉

And so I am giving it to those of you who are scrambling for a last minute gift idea to put together before your sweetie comes home from work. Or for those who are so on it, they are already prepping for next year. If that's you, good on you.

Can we first say that I LOVE VALENTINE'S DAY!?? Cue all the heart emojis Blogger has to offer...aaaaand GO: ❤❣♥♡💓💖💗💘💙💚💛💜💝💟😍💕💞

I really do.

It makes me feel happy inside.

Even in college when I didn't have a S.O. I loved Valentine's Day.

WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO CELEBRATE LOVE??

And to those of you who hate it because "you should be telling the people you love that you love them every day, you don't need a special day, blah blah blah, my name is Eeyore..." I hope you also hate Christmas and Easter, cause same principle applies!

Ah HA! I gotcha there, now didn't I??

ANYWHOOOO... Onto the booklet.

You can download it one of two ways which are as follows:
     ❥  Download only the pages you want. Hand them out as individual Valentines/Coupons, keep
          them all for yourself, etc
     ❥  Download the PDF and print them in duplex mode, making sure not to let Reader resize them,
          cut them out, and bind them however you like to (I just sloooooowly sewed mine together with
          my machine).

Now that that is out of the way, I must warn you; if you don't like terrible love puns about blubbery sea-creatures, then this ain't the book for you...



































Wait for it...
































And BEHOLD!
Front Cover | Download here


Butterfly Over Here | Download here

It's Irr-Elephant | Download here

Ugly Duckling | Download here

My Beary Favorite | Download here

Tweet Little Bird | Download here

Long Giraffe Love | Download here

Anatomy | Download here

Rat Here, Rat Now | Download here

Ensnared, Ensailed | Download here

Ring-Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding | Download here

-OR-

 DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE BOOKLET HERE.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Family Joy is Found in Righteousness

If you've read any of my other posts you've most likely discovered that I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love my church, and the gospel that I have found within its bounds.
One aspect of my church (differentiating from gospel here) that I have come to love is the concept of Home and Visiting teaching.
Each willing adult member of the church is given an assignment to minister to other families in the congregation (we call it a 'ward'). It's an assignment that can be really difficult for some.
It can be hard to go out of your comfort zone and befriend and try to converse with someone you know nothing about.
The first visit is always the hardest to set up. It's not that you dislike the person you've been assigned to visit with, it's just scary to reach out to someone who might say, "Eh, no. Don't come by and I don't like you."
I've been fortunate to cultivate many relationships through Visiting Teaching, and each time I'm nervous about an assignment it always becomes less of an obligation and more of a desire to actually love, serve, and minister to my assignee.
The church puts out a short message each month that we believe is inspired, and we're asked to share the message with our families.

This months message is "Family Joy is Found in Righteousness" and I love it. My favorite quote from the message this month was as follows:
And while our family members can sometimes drift away from righteousness like the Nephites did, Elder Scott said that a Christ-centered home still “provides the greatest assurance for peace and refuge in our homes.” He acknowledged that “there will still be plenty of challenges or heartaches, but even in the midst of turmoil, we can enjoy inner peace and profound happiness.”

I found this to be true in my home growing up. Every family has their struggles and mine was no exception. But as my siblings and I lost sight of our righteous goals, we always felt the peace and refuge that our home provided. My mother always made our home a place where the spirit could dwell, and I think that's why so many of our friends liked to congregate there - unbeknownst to them, what they were feeling was the presence of the Spirit.

I've seen something similar in my own home since starting my own family. My husband is a student and his classmates often choose our home for social events, even when our home may not be the largest or the most accommodating. It could be that it's just easier since we're the only ones with kids that need to be sleeping while we're playing, but I believe there is an additional element there, that others can feel something different when they enter our home.

My second favorite part of the message that I loved was one of the 'Additional Scriptures', 2 Nephi 5:27 says, "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." I love that! I hope that as I continue to try my best to live in righteousness that I, like the Nephites, can live after the manner of happiness! My husband actually shared this quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland on facebook today, and I thought it fit right along with this message:
"If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." Elder Jeffrey R Holland.
I made up a few printables with my visiting teaching ladies in mind, and thought I'd share them with you if you'd like to share them with your families (and those you teach) too! They are sized at 16x20, but you can easily print them as 8x10s.
Download the Green one here

Download the yellow one here

Download the chalk one here



Friday, November 18, 2016

Nachooooooooos

Hi people.
In case you haven't guessed, this is a post about nachos.
And why I think I make them better than you.
Okay, maybe not better.
But perhaps different.
I think I know a thing or two about your everyday, non-Mexican restaurant nachos.
This is because I'm picky about them.
The best nachos I remember consuming came from a very special place.
Lagoon.
Yeah, the amusement park known for ripping people off with $7/strip chicken strips.
When I was a kid I saved up my pennies and bought my very own Season pass to Lagoon for a handful of years.
My mom would drop me off in front of the little baby white roller coaster at the top of the park and I would take the long walk to the entrance of the park wearing my close-toed shoes (back then they were required if you wanted to ride the Swings - my favorite ride at the time) and lime green purple heart mini-backpack full of sunscreen, a zip-lock bag, chap stick & lotion, about a dollar in quarters, and a $5 bill.
The sunscreen was for my pale complexion.
The zip-lock was to put all the other contents in when I went on Rattlesnake Rapids (DO NOT TOUCH THE MIDDLE HANDLEBAR! IT SMELLS LIKE THE MOST VILE OF ALL VOMITS!).
The chap stick and lotion was for my weird obsession with not being a dry and pale cracker.
The dollar in quarters was for $.25 water cups - I could get free refills on the cups and I'd usually need about 4 to get me through the day.
And, what you've all been waiting for...the $5 bill would get me one ginormous, heaping plate of the best nachos this side of the border.
These things were piled at least 6 inches high with all the things that one could possibly want in a nacho. Except guacamole. I let my friends eat the weird green goop and all the chips that touched it.
Beef, beans, cheese, sour cream, heaven.
For $5.25 I could get the most delectable item the park had to offer and an ice cold water to wash it down with.
Those Lagoon nachos taught me about life. They taught me that what people need is layers. Oh sweet, sweet layers.

There is nothing worse then diving into a plate of nachos only to discover that they aren't what they seem. The first 5-7 bites are great, and then you find the deception. Below those tasty 7 bites lies a lie. A sad, dry, toppingless lie. One that takes more than one ice cold $.25 water to wash down. A lie that, if told, will leave lips and mouths dry and salty and bitter with disappointment. And no one deserves to be told that lie. No one. Except maybe those people who steal other peoples coats when they are left on campus. Those people deserve a life of being told the Pathetic Nacho lie.

But that's not you. And so today, I'm going to help you. I'm going to teach you how to stop lying to people, and most importantly, to yourself.


How to Make Nachos That Aren't a Pathetic Lie

Step 1: Start with a thin layer.
Like I mentioned, Lagoon nachos taught me that nachos need layers. So you start by laying down a single layer of tortilla chips on a cookie sheet, or whatever oven-safe pan you're using. Spray it down with cooking spray too, unless you want to be scraping cheese off of your pan for the next several years.

What you're seeing on layer one: one single layer of tortilla chips, a layer of grated cheddar cheese, dollops of re-fried black beans, cilantro lime brown rice, and a smattering of taco seasoning.
I realized after this layer that I'd forgotten corn. Add whatever you'd like to this layer.


What I add to my nachos is greatly dependent on what I've got for leftovers. Last night we had tacos that I beefed up with black beans and brown rice. The beef was fully consumed last night and I was left with the beans and rice. I wasn't feeling a beefless taco. Hence this post.


Step 2: Add another thin layer

Rinse and repeat. But with corn this time.


A note about the cheese grating. I like to use the littlest side of my grater. It's not the zester thingamabob. It's just a tiny grater. I don't like thick, un-melted blocks of cheese on my nachos. I like thoroughly melted, slightly crispy cheese on my nachos. Personal preference. Skinnier cheese melts faster. Fact.

Step 3: Give it some heat
Pop the bad boy into the oven, or if you're making this massive helping for one like I am, the toaster oven.


Let's all agree not to talk about how disgusting my toaster oven is, mmkay? Mmkay.
Let it cook at 400 degrees until the cheese on the bottom layer is melty and the beans and corn are warmed through.


Hello nachoooooos.

Step 4: Prep the good stuff

This is a game changer. This is what makes our nachos what nachos should be made of. The 3 Musketeers of the nacho world.


You need salsa for obvious reasons. I mean, chips and salsa? It's what these things were made for.
But oh Sour Cream. Me and sour cream. We're very close. Well, only me and real sour cream. None of that fat free garbage. Blech.
Okay. Lime juice. Let's talk about lime juice. Lime juice and Mexican food are the best of amigos. My husband and I discovered just now much lime juice can take tacos to a whole new level when I was pregnant with my first babe. We haven't turned back, and we've made a place for lime juice in almost every Mexican dish we've made since.


Throw your sour cream and salsa into zip locks and snip the tips off.


Step 5: Reconstruct the Layers

Now's the time to Layer the good stuff into the other good stuff. Like a-so:


New Layer Numero Uno^^


And a splash of that lime juice all over each layer.


There ain't nothing worse than running out of sour cream with half of your nachos left. #firstworldproblems
Now that will never happen to you again. You're welcome.


Step 6: Enjoy some lie-free nachos

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

You don't meet a girl like that every Dynasty.

Halloween is upon us, y'all! Last year I waited a long time to post my Halloween costumes because by the time I had pictures of the boys in them it was after Halloween and I figured people wouldn't be looking up costume ideas in the middle of December...maybe I was wrong?

Anyway, this year I figure why the heck not post? If this post gets buried under a year of other posts across the world wide web it'll just join every one of my other posts.

I just said posts four times in one sentence. Let's ignore that cause I'm not rewriting it...

This year I had grand plans for Halloween. Ever since I was a senior in high school I've always wanted to dress up like Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy and have my kids be house-elves. So this year I figured I could go for it.

It turns out that 3 1/2 year olds have opinions on what they get to be for Halloween. Bummer.
My oldest told me he wanted to be a fish for Halloween. A fish. Laaaame. Trying to be creative I decided he could be Flounder, my youngest could be Sebastian, my husband could be Prince Eric, and I could be Ariel. That'd be fun! I started brainstorming the boys' costumes (luckily not buying materials yet) when my oldest started getting really into Mulan. Like, really really into it.

We'd borrowed the soundtrack from the library on a whim, "Hmm, this might be fun, throw it in the bag..." and that kid glommed onto it so hard. He was watching the movie at least 4 times a week. Every car trip was 4 songs on repeat, and most conversations we had were in some way related to Mulan. I'll tell you what, I wasn't complaining. I love Mulan! I love the music, I love the humor, and now, as I parent, I cry several times throughout it, each time I watch it; I can't help it.

So when I asked my bud if he was sure he wanted to be a fish for the eleventy-millionth time and he said, "No, I changed my mind. I want to be the funny guy. I want to be Mushu the dragon!" I wasn't surprised.

I was hesitant at first. How in the world was I going to make a dragon and cricket costume??? But after some digging, and some ideas of my own I got to work, trying to make it as simple as possible.

A Very Mulan Halloween

Starring D as Kri Kee, L as Mushu, Shawn as Li Shang, and Morgan as Mulan

Kri Kee

For D's costume I stumbled upon this photo on the Googles:
It's adorable and seemed really simple to DIY. I dug around in things I had on hand and was able to make this costume quickly.

What I had on Hand:
  • An old blue onsie 
    • I unpicked the sleeves and hot-glued black ribbon in lines across the little belly.
  • A set of warm navy blue underclothes
    • I did have to buy sweats - I had the thermal top.
  • Purple felt 
    • I hot-glued the wings to the shirt and will probably go back and stitch it on.
  • Black & white felt
    • I hot-glued them to the beanie.
I purchased:
  • A purple beanie from Value Village
  • Black pipe cleaners
    • I just fed the pipe cleaner straight through the beanie, fed it back up ~ 1/2 inch over, and wrapped the end of it around the top to avoid sharp ends sticking into heads.




Krik Kee - 

Mushu

For L's costume I found two points of reference. I took bits and pieces from the following:
  • This picture:
  • This YouTube video (just concepts, not technique...)


After doing the full-body suits last year (and knowing that Shawn's costume would be a lot of work) I knew I wanted to start with a red long-sleeved top and some sweats as a base so I wouldn't need to create everything from scratch. This was a good choice. Unfortunately I had very little on hand for this costume. 

What I had on hand:
  • Batting for the tail
  • Diaper pin to pin the tail on.
What I Purchased:
  • Red top and bottoms from Walmart
    • They were each only $3.88, the color is very vibrant, and the sweats feel so soft and warm. Score! I could only find the top in a 5T which I decided would be perfect; since it's not warm enough to wear alone, he can wear a warmer layer underneath.
  • Black ribbon
  • 1/4 yard of Yellow cotton fabric for the tummy
    • I sewed the black ribbon in stripes across a strip of this (getting farther apart at the widest places and closer together at the thinner areas). I hand-sewed the striped strip down the middle of the shirt and made another strip (that narrows at the crotch) and machine sewed it to the pants.
  • 1/2 yard of red cotton fabric for tail
    • Cut out a long strip of red that was larger on one end, sewed up the sides, turned inside out, used a piece of at the bottom of the tail to make it curve up, and stuffed that thing so full it is bulging.
    • Sewed along the top - pinned to back of pants.
    • I used a piece of the red felt (below) and cut it in a 'fire' ish type shape and sewed it onto the end of the tail.
  • Red and yellow thread.
  • Red beanie
  • Red, Black, Blue (2 shades) felt for ears, horns, and back plates
    • Similar to the video I used foil to shape the horns and covered them with felt with hot-glue.
    • Unlike the video, I cut the back of the shirt open and sewed the back plates into the shirt so that they would stand up better. It was way easier and looked a lot nicer.
    • Unlike the video, I hot-glued the horns and sewed the ears to the beanie since I didn't have a hood, and I assumed it would have more support than a hood.
    • Unlike the video, I glued a piece of black felt on top of the ears instead of coloring them with Sharpie - it looked a lot better.
  • Yellow pipe cleaners for whiskers
    • I just threaded them through the bottom of the knit beanie similar to the way I did Krik Kee's antennae.



Mushu - 

Li Shang

For Shawn's costume I found a super awesome YouTube video, a picture, and a blog post that I used as a point of reference.
  • The picture :


  • The YouTube video:

What I Had on Hand:
  • Off-white button up long-sleeved shirt
  • Long tan skirt (mine)
  • Khaki pants
  • Black church shoes
What I purchased:
  • Black material - I found 1 yard of 'speaker' material in the remnants bin for cheap.
    • I used this for:
      • Shoulder cover thingy-ma-bob
        • Watch the video, I did it almost exactly like she did
      • Wrist guards
        • Made similarly to, but much more poorly than, the video
      • Shin guards
        • Just wrapped fabric around the legs like in the video.
      • Belt/Sash
        • Cut a long strip that would go around Shawn's waist 1.5 times, folded it in half, sewed up the sides (I was okay if it wasn't totally lined up because I wanted it to look a little 'bunchy'...is that the right word?), turned it right side out. I wrapped starting in the back and then safety pinned the two ends to the shirt and other part of sash.
  • Gold ribbon for wrist guards and shoulder cover thingy-ma-bob.
  • Grey wide tank dress from Value Village
  • 1 yard red cotton fabric for the cape
    • I did not sew anything, I just tied it around his shoulders.
  • Black Beanie
  • Black Yarn
    • The wig tutorial I'm sure is awesome, but I was not good at it and our wigs are completely ridiculous. But they made us laugh, so we'll keep it.
    • I followed the Cinderella bun tutorial for Li Shang's wig.
    • I used some of the Mulan ribbon I purchased (below) to tie around the bun.





Li Shang - 

Mulan

For my costume, Thrifted Transformations came through again with a companion YouTube video for Mulan. I took ideas on what types of items I could use or thrift and then used the picture below (because it was the most basic outfit Mulan wears in the movie) as a point of reference. I also used the same Blog Post on wigs to attempt mine. It was a terrible flop, but I tried...
  • The picture:
What I Had on Hand:
  • Green (tealish) deep V long-sleeved blouse
  • Tan tank top
  • Shawn's old navy blue t-shirt
    • I measured my above my bust, waist, and hips; armpit to waist;  and waist to hips.
    • I folded the shirt in half.
    • Starting just under the collar I measured a 1/4 of bust measurement from fold toward sleeves (not getting all the way to the sleeve) and marked the line (this will be the top of the garment).
    • I measured from there down my 'armpit to waist' measurement and marked a line from fold towards sleeve (this will be the center of the garment) the length of 1/4 my waist measurement.
    • I measured from the that mark down my 'waist to hips' measurement and marked the 1/4 hips measurement line (this will be the width of the bottom of the garment).
    • I cut that out, sewed up the sides, hemmed the top and bottom and called it a day.
What I Purchased:
  • Yellow maxi dress from Value Village
    • I wore the dress around my waist to get me the length I needed.
  • Wide maroon ribbon
    • Wrapped a length of the ribbon around my waist several times and safety-pinned it in place.
  • Black Beanie
    • For wig (baaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha...)
  • Black Yarn




Mulan - 

And that's a wrap! My boys LOVED their costumes this year! L has told me about 10 times that he wants to wear his Mushu costume LOTS of times, and D wears his hat all day everyday. If you want to check out what we did for Halloween last year you can see them here.




Happy Halloween!