Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

31 ways

I came across this article today and really loved it. It's easy to get caught up in all the "Christmas Pressures", so I enjoyed the simplicity of these ideas:

31 Ways to Make Christmas Meaningful by Julie King Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The holidays are so full of things to do: presents to buy, goodies to bake, cards to write. We get wrapped up in accomplishing so many things that a lasting feeling of joy and happiness never takes hold enough to sink in. But you can make this holiday season one to remember for all of the right reasons. Here are 31 ways to make your holidays a little more special this year.
1. Declutter and donate. Help your kids go through their clothing and toys and donate them to a local charity. Also, go through your holiday decorations and donate any you no longer use or love.
2. Forgive someone. We only end up hurting ourselves when we hold onto grudges. Give yourself a gift this holiday season and forgive a person who has wronged you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone their actions, but allows you to let go of the pain. We may think of forgiveness as a sign of weakness, but it shows strength of character.
3. Take a day off. We often get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to enjoy this time of year. So give yourself a day off from shopping, gift-wrapping, and baking. Take a walk and breathe deeply the crisp air. Or call a friend and enjoy a leisurely lunch.
4. Call someone you love. Our days are often filled with piano lessons, carpools, and field trips. Take time out to call a loved one that you haven’t talked to in a long time. Let them know how much you truly care about them.
5. Write a thank-you note. I’m not talking about a “Thanks for the pink sweater, Aunt Esther,” but a from-the-heart letter full of gratitude. Maybe you want to thank your mom for enduring your rebellious adolescence or finally write your third-grade teacher who sparked your love of science.
6. Find a way to serve others. This could be a year-round goal, but we often feel more charitable around this time of year. Do something that you enjoy to help others. Read aloud to an elementary school class. Knit scarves to donate to a homeless shelter. One friend of mine who is Jewish volunteers at a soup kitchen on Christmas Day so that the regular volunteers can celebrate the holiday at home with their families.
7. Start a new tradition. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Make a gingerbread house with your kids. Take a drive to see all the lights in your neighborhood. Go ice skating. Have your kids help you make Grandma’s famous hot fudge recipe.
8. Introduce yourself to a neighbor. Many of us may not know some of our neighbors because we become consumed with our busy lives. Take a plate of cookies and go meet a neighbor you don’t know.
9. Apologize. Maybe you forgot to RSVP to a friend’s elegant birthday bash or maybe you did something you are ashamed of. We all make mistakes. We often fail to apologize due to our embarrassment over our insensitive actions, or fear that our apology will be rejected and forgiveness denied. Swallow your pride, do the right thing, and clear your conscience.
10. Downsize. The holiday season can easily become about things instead of people. Downsize your holiday by using the money you would have spent on one present for your child and donate that money or a gift to a program like Toys for Tots. At a certain point the holidays can become a cross-country exchange of gift cards with your adult siblings. Pool the money you would have spent on gifts for each other and sponsor a family for Christmas instead.
11. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind. Over the past couple of years we have all seen the devastation and destruction unleashed by the wrath of Mother Nature. It generally takes about 72 hours after a disaster strikes for relief agencies to arrive, but we all saw with Hurricane Katrina that 72 hours is no guarantee. You are on your own for the first three days. So, what do you need for a 72-hour kit? Go to or to get a list of essentials. Put a kit together for each person in your immediate family and know that you are prepared for whatever may happen.
12. Hit the after-Christmas sales for others. December comes and goes and so can that feeling of generosity and good will to all. Stock up on scarves, mittens, and hats when they are discounted after Christmas. Donate these items to a local domestic violence or homeless shelter.
13. Grieve with someone. Maybe a neighbor lost a baby, or a friend’s mother passed away. The holidays can be difficult as people celebrate the holidays while knowing a loved one is no longer there to share in the joy. Let someone know you are aware of their grief and be ready to be a shoulder to cry on.
14. Cut down your Christmas card list. Often we will continue to send Christmas cards to people we don’t really keep in touch with. Keep track of who sends you holiday cards for a couple years and then allow yourself to cut your first college roommate off the list when you don’t hear from her for five years.
15. Drink a lot of hot chocolate. I am a big chocolate fan and I don’t think anything beats coming in from a really chilly day and sitting down with a big mug of hot chocolate. Have fun and don’t scold your kids when they fill theirs to the brim with mini marshmallows.
16. Let someone cut in front of you in line. Lines at stores can seem to stretch on forever during the holiday shopping season. Notice the stressed-out mom juggling a toddler and an infant, or the elderly gentleman who seems tired from standing so long. Offer to let them move ahead of you in line.
17. Invite someone over who doesn’t have a place to go. One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is when my husband invited a co-worker and her fiancĂ©e over for Thanksgiving dinner. They are both from India and it was their first American Thanksgiving. It was great learning about another culture (they were having an arranged marriage) and we discovered how much we all had in common (like playing hopscotch as children).
18. Decorate your home with snowflakes. Cut snowflakes out of white paper and let your child make their room into a winter wonderland. Make a winter scene with a shoebox, some cotton balls, and their favorite plastic animals.
19. Say prayers of gratitude. So often our prayers are full of requests and demands. This is a time of thankfulness and we should let that feeling flow into our hearts and prayers.
20. Memorize all the verses of a Christmas carol. Too often we only know the first verse of Christmas songs. Let each child pick their favorite one and work on memorizing all the verses during Family Home Evening.
21. Have a snowball fight. Use bread pans to make snow bricks for a fort, or get out all those sand toys and use them in the snow.
22. Make homemade wrapping paper. Use the Sunday comics to wrap gifts or use white paper and have your kids use washable paint to make their own wrapping paper with their handprints and footprints. Grandma will love it and it’s a great way to see how much your children grow each year if you can save a piece for a scrapbook.
23. Show your gratitude for your home by helping someone else’s home become a reality. Contact your local Habitat for Humanity and volunteer to decorate a bedroom or stock a linen closet with new towels, soap, and toilet paper. We should not only say we are grateful, but show it.
24. Gather stockings and fill them with goodies. Homeless shelters are always in need of things like socks, deodorant, shoes, razors, and gloves. Fill some dollar store stockings with these items and donate them to a shelter. Or fill a stocking with things like perfume, pantyhose, gloves, scarves, socks and take them to a shelter for abused women.
25. Make a nativity from clay. Often nativity scenes are off-limits to small hands that can smudge and drop fragile pieces. Let your kids make their own nativity scene with clay so that they can have something to touch and something they can be proud of.
26. Focus on the feelings. The holidays have become extremely commercialized and the focus is often on spending money. In August, I was surprised to see Halloween decorations already on display. Instead of focusing on the spending, focus on the spirit you want to have in your home. Come together as a family and discuss ways to bring a spirit of peace into your home.
27. Consider a homemade Christmas. Now, I am no craft connoisseur, but homemade gifts can be simple and beautiful at the same time. Maybe your teenager can make an ABC book for your preschooler. Your preschooler can glue pictures on paper to make a reverence book for her seven-year-old brother. You can create a family calendar together highlighting your favorite memories from the year. Or create coupon books that include coupons like “Good for a free night of babysitting” or dad can create one with “Good for baking a batch of cookies together.”
28. Buy an ornament for each child. Have a tradition of giving a new ornament to each child on Christmas Eve to add to the Christmas tree. By the time your kids are old enough to leave the house and start their own tree, they will have a great collection of ornaments.
29. Go sledding. If you don’t live in a cold climate, get ice blocks and go riding on them down hills. It will give you a rush and remind you of the joys of being a kid.
30. Journal the year as a family. Pull out a family journal and have everyone write a few things about the year. Maybe it is the best and worst things that happened to them that year. Maybe it is the things they have learned in school or new sports or activities they have tried. This will be a great time capsule as children get older.
31. Ring in the New Year by watching home movies. Put some home movies on and leave them running throughout the day. It will remind you of some great times and might also give you some good ideas for activities to do in the upcoming year. Maybe you have forgotten what fun you all had on that trip to the zoo or wish you could go back to that corn maze again

Monday, December 15, 2008

Decorating the tree

tree time

On Saturday we woke up at the crack of dawn and drove down to Pikes Peak National Forest to cut ourselves a Christmas tree. We had so much fun! The kids loved playing in the snow. We really liked hiking out to where there were no footprints and cutting down our own tree. We carried it back to the car piled in and had hot chocolate. We will never buy a tree from the store again.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Up in the air

I love when I can actually think of a clever post for what my post is about! I have so many pics of things that are "up in the air" right now, because they are presents. I can't wait to be able to show all the craftiness that's been happening around here!

Visiting Santa

Santa was really helpful this year and told B it would be really easy to give him Bakugon for Christmas, since that's the only thing he really wants. Thanks random Santa at the Wildlife Experience. I appreciate helpful statements. This one is hoping for ice skates. Santa said, "those would be fun! You sure love ice skating don't you". That was an appropriate statement. No promises, just good observations.

Now this little guy loves Santa. He was freaking out because he couldn't get up to see him fast enough. He's good with Elmo or Thomas and some Cheerios. I think Santa was just glad he wasn't crying.

Peppermint bark

How to make peppermint bark. Melt your chocolates. 1 bag of milk and one bag of white. First melt the milk chocolate and spread out over a lined cookie sheet. Let cool in the fridge to get hard. Next spread the melted white chocolate over the milk chocolate.
While the chocolates are melting, use a rolling pin to crush up half a box of candy canes. Pour crushed candy canes over the white chocolate while it's still warm. Gently press the candy in to help keep it all from falling off once it's cooled.

Finally remove from the fridge and attempt to break into huge chunks with hands. Realize that won't work and smash strategically with a hammer.

Eat your peppermint bark and laugh at all those suckers at the mall paying 25$/ box, Ha!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Journal

Here's another great idea borrowed from the Good Neighbor Moki. It's actually one of several big projects I've been working on that I just need to post about. Anyhow, the idea is to keep a journal through the month of December. You can put in it pictures, cards, have the kids write their thoughts in it, souvenirs from the day, whatever you want, then you have this great remembrance for next December of all the good things that happened this year. I love the idea! So, I went out and got myself a "C" encyclopedia. After many questions to Moki I went and found an old cookbook. I ripped all the pages out of the encyclopedia, ripped the binder section out of the cookbook, glued and reglued the rings into the book, covered it in bright cheery oilcloth, stuck some custom made pages in it, and voila, my Christmas Storey. How's that for a run on sentence? I really love how the pages turned out with the torn edges. I'm excited to start filling it up next week.... Already next week!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


This week we took some time to make donuts. We made both real ones and felt ones. They both look tasty, but only one was soooo good to eat. Actually, good enough to eat and eat and eat. Probably should stick to the felt ones.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

tasty treats

Today was a Baby shower for my good friend Wib News who should be having her baby in a week. There was lots of yummy food, but these were my contribution: baby cinnamon rolls and
baby chocolate cream pies. I ate too many and now feel sick, but it was totally tasty and totally worth it!

Friday, November 14, 2008


When I can't sleep, I lay in bed for hours trying to fall back asleep. Wen this guy can't sleep he sits on the kitchen counter and draws pics of "me and Daddy skateboarding".

Forget it!

I tried really hard to do the whole blogging every day thing. It's just not going to work. I have a lot that I've made, but can't show since it's that magical Christmas time of year. Some things need to be a surprise! Instead today I give you my water baby. I love these 2 pics. The first is one of him this morning in the tub. A lot of days I wish I was still little enough to take a bath and have the water come all the way up to my shoulders. The other pic gives me a lot of joy. Over the summer any time it would rain he would run outside to the gutter. He plants his little toes in the mud and holds his hands under the down spout to feel the rain water pour over his little fingers. Oh the joys of being small and discovering things!

Leaves and Lean To's

Do you ever have one of those Saturdays that is so fantastic, because you don't have to do anything? That was our Saturday last week. We had no obligations, so we played in the yard. After years of having a postage stamp size yard, it's wonderful being able to go out and play. It's wonderful having leaves to jump in. We cut down limbs that were falling down anyway from past storms.
C worked really hard on making herself a lean-to, as she calls it. I was actually really impressed with how it turned out, especially since she did it all herself.

And really are there many things in life that are better than running and jumping in leaves in footy pajamas?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lucha Libre

Sublime Stitching Lucha Libre pattern, part of yet another Christmas present! I think this is one of my faves. At some point I'm going t make one for B. He loves Nacho Libre. I can't wait to do this one again. I plan on using more satin Stitch and brighter colors, however, I am thrilled with this one.


( in front of the SLC temple 2005)
I have to say how grateful I am for religion and to be able to go to a church of my choosing. I am grateful for all that I feel my religion offers me. I love going to church every week and feeling uplifted. Here were a few of today's highlights.
How to Find Lasting Happiness instead of counterfeit:
Ask is this real?
Does this really matter?
Are my motives pure?
It our choice to be happy, or our choice to be miserable. It's something we decide.
I was really blown away by this talk. Last night I was having a pity party for myself and My dear friend the Good Neighbor said almost the exact same thing to me. I know that Heavenly Father speaks to me through my friends. I truly believe that He sticks people in my life and inspires them to say exactly what I need to hear at the time. I really sit up and pay attention when He makes sure I hear it more than once. It must be a message that I really need. OK, I choose to be happy!
The other great thing I heard today was this:
A member of the bishopric was counseling a young couple about to be married. He said to them in every marriage there are 4 little words that need to be spoken often, lovingly and tenderly. With these 4 little words you will eliminate fighting and just be a happier couple. They are " We can't afford it".
I loved that because that's something I need to work on telling myself. My husband says those words as he's breathing. It's so important to not have debt and so hard. I'm thankful for a husband with great financial self restraint. In a day of economic tsunami so to speak, it really is better to just hang onto your money. The three things we were told to ask ourselves before we make a purchase are:
Can we afford it?
Do we want it?
Will it affect our devotion and testimony?
I am grateful for leaders who are wise and inspired. I am grateful to feel really happy today for the first time in a long time. It's amazing how you can decide to tell yourself to do something and then just do it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

guitar hero

Part of a Christmas present. Don't you hate it when you make something and it's not quite what you thought it would be, but you have to go with it because you spent so much time on it and there's not time to redo it? I would have done 2 electric guitars with this set. The acoustic doesn't really fit in and I don't really like the colors on the electric, but oh well, it will have to do!!

Miss Amy

Why Can't Joanns carry Amy butler things so that I can use my coupon on them?! I just found these free patterns on her page today. I will be making this snow mum pillow sometime this weekend, but probably with a pink flower and brown background, maybe with some ric rac somewhere in there. Everything is cuter with ric rac! And, look at these gift sashes. Can you imagine getting beautiful gifts wrapped

How to be Really Alive

A long time ago I went to Tinkertown with Moki and picked up this postcard. I have kept it on my fridge ever since. My favorite ones are Dream of Gypsy Wagons, Dry your clothes in the Sun, Keep Toys in the Bathtub, Celebrate an Old Person and Delight Someone. I try to look through this often to remind me not to such a pessimist

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monkey Luv

Sublime Stitching Monkey Love pattern, part of a Christmas present.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Living Craft

I was finally able to find the Fall issue of Living Craft. Most of this issue focuses on wool. Take a peek at some of the yumminess in this issue: Needle felted hedgehogs, there's actually a whole story that comes with it.
How cute is this little owl and these little sheep!

Who wouldn't want a needle felted pumpkin basket filled with felted acorns as their centerpiece for Thanksgiving?

Adorable how to on making crowns for little ones

I hear the Winter issue is going to be the best one yet! Fortunately I found this issue way into fall, so I shouldn't have to wait long for the next one!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Don't let the bed bugs bite!

Sometime last year I was reading NieNies' blog. I am continually inspired by her strength and courage and constantly have her in my prayers, but that is a whole different post. Anyhow, she wrote how one thing she did every night was go around to her children's rooms before she went to bed to check on them. She would lean over and kiss them and then whisper secrets into their little sleepy heads. I remember being so taken with that idea that I started doing it that night and have been doing it ever since. It's fun to try and come up with something new every night. It's fun to hear them sigh as I walk away.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Now that Halloween is over, is it ok to come out publicly that all I can think about is Christmas? Honestly, I am in a panic that it's already November, am I the only one who feels this way? By the way, did you hear of the challenge to blog every day in November for National Blogging Month? I may just have to try that out amid all the other self-induced chaos, why not?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I saw these cute embroidery patterns on whip up and knew they'd be adorable as finger puppets. Happy Halloween! Or, should I say "Hoppy Halloween?"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

thirsty witch

Halloween papercut thanks to the Good Neighbor!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Sublime Stitching Tiki pattern, for part of a Christmas present.