Thank God For…

PrayNot because you need soemthing

The other night we had Family Home Evening. Where we get together, read scriptures and have a spiritual lesson, play game and eat a treat. It was my oldest turn to plan the lesson, I asked her to do it on being thankful and so we could start our traditional Thanksgiving tree. This year our tree is super simple as I didn’t have time to prepare much. IMG_1915

I basically took the back side of a quote board we have on our wall and taped on paper, drew a tree from tracing my hand and had one of my kids trace her hand and cut them out. Very simple and cheep. I usually do more, but this year we are just grateful to have a thanksgiving tree, pun intended.

Any way my oldest planned a great simple lesson based of a quote that I am sure to miss quote.  It says something like this,

If God called you home today and you could only take with you things you told him you were grateful for yesterday, what would you be able to take with you.

We all thought for a moment and most of us couldn’t take much with us. So we started naming things we were grateful for and posting them on the hands to tape on the tree. We are continually adding to the tree throughout the month of November. I have noticed in our family prayers the past few days that whoever is saying the prayer is mentioning more things they are thankful for in detail. I am grateful for this lesson my 12 year old daughter gave. It is nice to be reminded that we need to mention to God, our Heavenly Father, what we are grateful for. I believe that everything we have in life, given or worked for, is from God and he has a plan for us. Lets take some time this Thanksgiving month to show are gratitude to God for his grace, and love. All we have is from, him. I love my life, and I love that He has provided me with a home, a family, warmth, and education, the mountains, trees, ocean, animals, friends, love, heartache, sadness and joy. Thank you LessonsLearnedinLife.com for the quote which came through Pinterest and the thoughts it has given me.

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The Legend of Stingy Jack and My Perfect Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

The only really good part about getting all gooey and gross carving pumpkins are the seeds you can roast. However, over the years I have struggled to come up with the perfect recipe.  As we were carving pumpkins this year I thought, “why do we do this any way, who came up with such a yucky idea in the first place.” So of course I googled it. The Legend of Stingy Jack dates back for centuries in Irish culture. You can read about the legend here on History.com. Basically the legend says Stingy Jack made too many deals with the devil and when he died God would not allow him in Heaven, but the Devil didn’t want him either. So the Devil gave Jack a piece of burnt coal to light his way as he wandered in the dark. People in Ireland and Scotland started carving turnips, potatoes and beats, lighting them in their windows to keep Stingy Jack away. So now we all carve pumpkins and put them out for Halloween. I guess I have Stingy Jack to thank for this fun tradition.

Every year my kids look forward to carving pumpkins almost as much as they look forward to Christmas. I however don’t like the gross insides of a pumpkin and don’t enjoy it as much. My hubby and the kids get to do most the work.

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As you can see from this picture, each of my kids has a different reaction to the insides of a pumpkin. Everywhere from pure delight to the desire to throw-up shows up on my kids faces this special night. But their adorable pumpkins and their their Jack-O-Lantern make them so happy, it makes it all worth it.

My favorite part are the seeds. This year I tried a new recipe for roasting. RealSimple.com has one which used ground cumin. I had never used ground cumin to roast my seeds before so I thought I would give it a try. THESE ARE THE BEST WE HAVE EVER HAD! Simple, easy and so so good! They did have a bit of a kick in their flavor, but that is what made them very tasty. Usually the roasted pumpkin seeds are a bit bland and last along time around here, but these ones were gone in a few days. It almost makes me want to dig into a pumpkin again.

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Kellie Verified at 5 stars.

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How to Make a Gum Ball Machine Costume

My oldest was set on being a Gum Ball Machine for Halloween this year. We found a cute picture of one on Pinterest, on acasarella.net  and went from there. The picture we found used an apron instead of a skirt, but I couldn’t figure out what type of pants she should wear, so we made a skirt instead.

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We went to the local craft store and bought a white shirt, 1 yard of felt (I would have appreciated 1.5 yards) and cotton balls.

We followed acasarella.net on how to make the shirt. We used a plate to draw the circle for the cotton balls, practiced placing them in the circle to make sure they went were she wanted them. We then sprayed the circle on the shirt and replaced all the cotton balls. After all was said and done, she would have appreciated the cotton balls being placed a bit higher, but they were already glued on. We then sprayed the cotton balls, to make sure they stayed in place. Many of them fell off while trick or treating, but I’m not sure of a better way to glue on the cotton balls.IMG_1826 (7)  IMG_1823 (4)

We then found a pattern on Pinterest for a circle skirt, on danamadeit.com. I was very nervous to cut out the skirt, I’m not much of a sewer, despite my mothers teachings over the years. Here is how we did.

IMG_1783   IMG_1782  IMG_1780  Follow her directions, as I’m sure I cannot explain it well enough.  But I wasn’t really hard. I folded the material, measured her waist and length, did some crazy calculations she said to do and cut.  The skirt ended up being a bit short, So I took it to my neighbor who does sew quite well and she fixed it. We added a 2 inch waist band and a skirt was born.  My ever so kind neighbor also made a the hat, she said it was easier then she thought and found the directions on-line.

This costume was a bit hard, above my ability level and I spent more money then I wanted. But My Oldest had fun making it and wearing it. She was original and cute, I guess that is all the matters.

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How to Make a Cookie Monster Costume

I know its past Halloween, but I promised a “how to” on a few costumes.

cookie monster

Here is our cookie monster costume. We took the idea from several pictures on Pinterest. Little Engineer already had a blue dress so this idea was cheep and easy.

I went to the local craft store and bought the blue boa and the fuzzy cotton balls.

Little Engineer used a black magic marker to color eyes

Then She found paper we already had and made the cookies, gluing on the black paper for chocolate chips

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I wrapped the boa around her head and used blue twisty ties (like the ones on the bread bags) to hold the circle together. I used about 3.

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I then took the fuzzy cotton balls and hot glued them to the boa and to each other.

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It was really that simple. Her costume cost us around $7 and it was original and cute. I loved that Little Engineer did most of it by her self, just looking at the pictures we found.

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Costume DIY 

   Gum ball machine

Cookie Monster. 

 I will be Sharing our how to’s soon, but I thought I would share the picts today. Happy School Halloween Party day. Party hard everyone. 

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Gluten Free Treats of the Week

3Fav GF snacks

Today I thought I would share some of our tried and true quick snacks I make for the family.

1- Fluffy Banana Muffins.

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This recipe I got from freerangecookies.com. Often Gluten Free baked goods don’t rise well, that is why we love these muffins. They rise perfectly every time. I love the flavoring of them and texture. I do not seem to ever have one of the spices, “cardamom,” so I googled a substitute for it. The substitute according to foodsubs.com is “Substitutes:  brown cardamom OR equal parts ground nutmeg and cinnamon OR equal parts ground cloves and cinnamon OR nutmeg.” Of course I used my favorite GF flour, Grandpa’s Kitchen. The muffins are perfect for breakfast, snacks, traveling and on-the-go food.

2- Apple Cake.

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No matter how many times I make this cake, and no mater how many times I share it with others (gluten free and non gluten free people) this cake is a hit. I got the recipe from winndixie.shoptocook.com. The frosting is just as it should be “the icing on the cake.” But really the whole cake is loved by all. Again I used Grandpa’s Kitchen Flour.

3- Granola Bars.

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Since my allergy kid is also allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, most granola and granola bars are out for us. I actually have not found one processed granola bar she can have. So I make them, thanks to Alasakfromscratch.com. I always add a bit more honey so the bars stick to better a bit better, but that is an easy fix. These really are the perfect treat and the kids thank me every time I make them.

These are Kellie Verified all at 5 stars.

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Having Courage to be Kind

Have courage and be kind

This gem came through Pinterest not to long ago. I love the new Cinderella movie. Against so many obstacles Cinderella chose to have courage and be kind. Even at the end when she stood up to her step mother, she was kind about it and chose not to harbor bad feelings, but to forgive. I think forgiveness is the greatest mark of true courage and kindness.

When have you needed to have courage and be kind, even when you just don’t want to any more? The true character of a person tends to shine through in adversity. Frankly it is much easier to not have courage and not to be kind, but showing your kindness takes great courage when faced with hardships. I think the world would have more peace and love if we all had more courage and kindness and showed it. Thank you Cinderella for teaching us all this great principle.

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Make a Wish

Make a Wish

Everyday my littlest and I go for a walk. She loves to find “Wish flowers” and she is good blower. She sucks in lots of air and blows with all her might. She blows all the petals off the stem and makes a wish. I ask her what she wished for and every time she wishes for cupcakes.

Don’t you sometimes wish adult life was a bit more care free? If I had one wish I think I would not be wishing for a cupcake. But maybe then again a cupcake is really what I need to make a hard day better. What would I wish for if I only had one wish and it would come true, I really don’t know. Cupcakes for everyone, no more food allergies, peace on earth, a healing, understanding? What would you wish for?

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How To Make A T-Shirt Bracelet

How to make a T-Shirt Bracelet

A while back I found a great Pin nearly exactly like this picture.

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I thought It would be so fun to make with the girls to give as Christmas gifts to friends. I have been saving old clothes they could cut up and bought some little pearl beads. When it came time actually make them last week, the directions did not exist, it was just a picture. So we figured it out for ourselves. It really isn’t hard, but we had a learning curve.

Here is what we used

1- Gather old shirts, dresses, yoga pants, any thin cotton material. The rate my kids grow, it wasn’t hard to collect. In fact I had way to much material to use.

2- Buy pearl beads at the local craft store. I bought the brand In Bloom, they were 8mm Faux Pearl.  I found the center hole I would thread the material through was just perfect for the bracelet, but difficult for the needle. It was a bit difficult to thread. When I went back to the craft store for a pearl with a bigger center, I didn’t find any good ones, so we stayed with the 8mm.

3- I first used a needle with a very large eye, but I found I could not thread the material. So I ran back to the craft store and bought size 20 needle. I bought a pack of 6 so everyone could participate at the same time.

The process

1- We found with the old material, it had to be pretty thin, a normal good sturdy t-shirt did not work, it was too thick to thread through the pearl. But then we tried a dress which Little Me loved to wear but shrunk to fast, we found this thin cotton was too thin and shredded while we threaded the pearls. Eventually the material broke. So we tried a medium thickness cotton and though difficult at first to thread, after the first two pearls the material thinned out, but not too much, and we were able to add several pearls, and the bracelets are so cute. So it is a bit of a test and trial to find the right material and that was a bit annoying. Only my oldest and I persevered to the end.

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2- Cut the material into thin lines, about 17″ long for a child and 24″ for an adult (but I am a super small adult so maybe longer for others). Keep in mind the material stretches as you thread pearls. Use a rotary cutter and mat, that will probably be easier. I don’t have one, only good sewing scissors, so cutting was more time consuming. I recommend rotary cutter if you have one but it’s not necessary.

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3- Thread the material through the needle.

4- Thread the Pearls. The first two or three are a bit difficult, the material thins out as it stretches, and becomes easier to thread. I recommend using more pearls then you think you might like, more is prettier.

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5-Rap it around the wrist several times and tie a knot. I triple knotted ours.

After we got the hang of this I made 11 in 1 hour, but it took about an hour to get the hang of it.

IMG_1789 (2)Too thin of material, you can see it frayed too much while threading pearls

IMG_1804 (2)This material was the right thickness.

I’m not sure how to help you find the right thickness, as all the clothing items just said 100% cotton. But yet they were all very different. It’s trial and error.

This was a fun project to spend time with my girls, but a bit frustrating to figure out how to do this. I hope these instructions help and I would love to see some of your finished products. And if you have any tips when you make them please let me know. Thanks. I think I only spend abut $8 on the whole project and we have 11 friend gifts done. YAH!!!

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Wands-up, Magical Nature Wand

Magical Nature Wand

What little boy or girl doesn’t like to play imagination, becoming fairies and magicians. To be able to create anything you want is such freedom and child-like. Well, this year for the 2015 PTA Reflections contest the theme is Let Your Imagination Fly, so Little Me wanted to make a wand so her imagination could create anything she wants. We found this cute picture of a wand on pinterest through redtedart.com and it seemed so simple, so we created some wands our self. All the girls wanted to get in on the fun too. It was great to see how their imagination can turn ordinary materials into a beautiful works of art.

The wand is meant to be a Harry Potter Wand, though we love Harry Potter A LOT you can use this wand for anything. Little Me decided to be Hermione Granger for Halloween so she made two wands, (just in case her reflections project wins and she doesn’t get it back).

All you need, according the redtedart is:

  • A Chopstick
  • Hot Glue
  • Nature Item
  • Paints

We happened to have 4 chopsticks so everyone was happy.

IMG_1752 First use your chopstick, and find the nature items (Little me wanted to use a silk flower too, so she did). We have more then enough pine cones and acorns and rocks in the back yard, so the girls went hunting for the perfect item. We found the acorn didn’t glue on very well, so we used pine cones and rocks. We hot glued the item on the stick andwe used A Lot of glue to make sure it stuck. After about 15 mintues they were fully dry. IMG_1759IMG_1753IMG_1757

After they were dry, I held the glue gun and the girls turned their wands around the glue, creating an interesting pattern. They thought the glue itself was quite magical.

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After the glue was totally dry, we painted. I asked the girls if they can all use the same colors of paint or paint we already have to save me some money so they all talked and agreed on which colors to use. We bought some gold acrylic paint for the stick and some spray paint for the tops. We used blue, sparkly teal and we also happened to already have some green so we used that too.

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It took along time for the paint to dry, all of 15-20 minutes (the girls thought that was FOREVER!) After the sticks were dry we stray painted the tops. Here are some of the finished products.

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This was such a fun idea and the girls love that their wands look cool. All the girls are spending plenty of time casting all sorts of spells on each other. I’m glad the spells don’t really work.

Thanks for idea redtedart.com. Kellie Verified at 5 Stars

Funny addition: after I finished posting about a magical wand I turned on Sesame Street for the Little Munchkin. The episode is all about magical wands and Harry Potter. I hope Little Munchkin doesn’t think her magical wand will really do magic. But I think a tantrum will happen when the wand does not produce cookies, like it did for Cookie Monster. 

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