Saturday, February 28, 2009

Purse Invitations

I must admit, I think these are the cutest things!!!! I had so much fun making these purse invitations for a church party. I am the enrichment leader for our church and we will be celebrating the Birthday of Relief Society in a couple of weeks. Our theme is--Let's get "Purse-onal" so I thought it would be cute to have purses for invitations.
Brandy helped me with the process of throwing ideas around and this is what we came up with. Aren't they adorable?? I found the template for the purses here. I just "Googled" printable purse templates and found a lot. I printed out one for my stencil and just cut around it 50 times with different patterned paper. Crazy, but so worth it.
I then was going to use brads to attach ribbons for the straps but Brandy made that a whole lot easier by suggesting I make two slits and slide ribbon through and tie knots. SO SMART. Then I was going to glue buttons on one by one for the clasps but found darling gem stickers at Wal-Mart and used those instead.
I think I am going to do these for my daughters birthday party this year!!!

This one is my very favorite

Finished productsInside. If I would have had more time I would have
put a border of cardstock behind the info didn't happen.

Conversation Cards

I found this great new site!! It's called LDS Activity Day Ideas. What great idea's. I look at it often, looking for ideas even for Young Women's. Click to here to print!

Friday, February 27, 2009


I just have to say I love this movie! I think every girl 15 and over needs to see this movie. I have been twice and it is one I will buy. Lastnight I went with two of my "sisters" to see it and one of them is 16. She is going to Europe in a couple of months with her school and it really made her aware that she needs to be careful while she is there.
I lived overseas for six years and lived what I consider to be a "sheltered" life. My parents would let me go with my friends to Venice and Florence without adults. We were 16-18 years old and I never would have thought that there were people out there that would hurt me. I felt invincible and I trusted everybody. Now granted that was 20 years ago (wow) and things are different now but it really made me think. My 16 year old "sister" said that everybody that is going on this school trip to Europe needs to see this movie.
It is about sex trafficing of teenage traveling girls and it is done with such class and accuracy. Liam Neeson does such a great job and I told my husband that if I knew Liam Neesons character in the movie, he would be my American Express card and I wouldn't leave home without him!
This movie reminds us that we need to be more aware. It showed that parents need to have good communication with eachother and with their children. The parents in this movie were divorced but there was deceit about their daughters trip to Europe. Alot of it could have been avoided if they would have trusted eachother. Some times I like to think that things like this don't really happen but the truth is, it does. So, if you like action packed, intense movies you would love this movie.
If you have seen this movie I would love to hear your opinion!

Cat in the Hat

Who doesn't love Dr. Suess? Monday, March 2, 2009 and is Dr. Suess's birthday. In honor, I went looking for fun Dr. Suess crafts. Yesterday we made these fun Dr. Suess, Cat in the Hat. Click here for lots of great ideas.
Click here for great Horton Hears a Who coloring pages. Click here to visit Suessville! Click here for a sight full of fun Dr. Suess ideas.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Freebie Invitations

How cute are these. Go here to print.

Take time to listen to laugh, and to play together.

"We live in a world that is filled with options. If we are not careful, we will find every minute jammed with social events, classes, exercise time, book clubs, scrapbooking, Church callings, music, sports, the Internet, and our favorite TV shows. One mother told me of a time that her children had 29 scheduled commitments every week: music lessons, scouts, dance, Little League, day camps, soccer, art, and so forth. She felt like a taxi driver. Finally, she called a family meeting and announced, 'Something has to go; we have no time to ourselves and no time for each other.' Families need unstructured time when relationships can deepen and real parenting can take place. Take time to listen, to laugh, and to play together."

-M. Russell Ballard,

Mandee and I have discussed this article several different times. I think that families need down time for several different reasons. I think we need it, just because need it, first of all. I also think that in this time of economy, one of the first things to go, will be the extras. Let kids, just be kids. Let them play outdoors and fill your home with laughter.

I also think it's good for kids to be well-rounded and to be involved in a variety of activities, but I think that sometimes we as parents go overboard. I just thought this was a great quote and I wanted to share it. As I sit at my computer and blog. Makes me feel a tab bit guilty.

Click here for the full article: Daughters of God.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stranger Safety

We rented this movie from the library, the other night. I had heard a lot of good about it from other parents and had seen an advertisement on TV for it. OH MY GOSH!! It makes you laugh out loud. For all you parents out there, it can be a little bit over the top and sometimes obnoxious, but your kids will love it. Mine laughed their butts off!! They make it funny and the present realistic situations and settings, that your children may find themselves in. The Safeside Superchick is funny and she makes her point. I think they make it silly and fun and bright, so that the images will stay with the kids. If it was boring, what is the chance that they will remember it?

I have talked to my kids many times about safety and strangers. I have a situation in my neighborhood that warrants it. I thought this would be a great way to reinforce the talks that we have had and it was. I would recommend to any parent that you watch this movie with your child.

You can also check out The Safe Side, for more activities, downloads and tons of ideas for keeping your children safe. If your interested in ordering the video, they sell it on their sight. Check your local library, though. You might just get lucky!!

Has anyone else seen this dvd and if you have what do you think???

Leprechaun Trap

This was so much fun! St. Patricks Day is a holiday that gets overlooked a little in my house. We wear green and that is about it. I tried making corned beef last year but it didn't work too well. In my "Googleing" St. Patricks Day today I found these Leprechaun Traps and knew my kids would love to do this. BayLee wants to catch one to just say "Hi" and then let it go. They are so sure that this will I think on St. Paddys day I will put something in the trap and say that he left it behind and used magic to get out or something like that. We just covered shoe boxes in foil, then I pulled out the craft tote and let them do whatever they wanted to their boxes. BayLee put Lucky Charms on hers and paper coins. Logan drew on his and added a rainbow.
They are so excited to put it out the night before St. Patricks Day! I am so glad we did this today.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Shelf Reliance Recipe Contest

Who wants to win one of these?? I do, I do,!! I have entered several different contests, all trying to win one of these and dang it all, if it just never happens. Although, I have to admit, I would love to try the Thrive. If your interested in trying your luck, all you have to do is submit your favorite food storage recipe to Shelf Reliance. Click here for the rules and all the legal stuff.

In exchange for your recipe, you will be entered to win one of following three prizes!

1st Place = One (1) Harvest Food Rotation System ($459 value)
2nd Place = THRIVE Fruits and Veggies Essential Package ($283 value)
3rd Place = Three (3) Cansolidator Pantry systems ($135 value)

All recipes must be submitted by Feb. 28, 2009 by 6:00 PM MST. You can submit more than one recipe! Wahoo!
Good luck to everyone! I hope that they post some of these recipes. I love new recipes and especially ones that use my food storage!!

Play Dough

Nothing beats making homemade play dough. Kool-aid play dough, even better! We spent at least an hour and a half playing with cookie cutters and play dough yesterday afternoon! I think the kids enjoy making it more than playing with it.

Mandees Monday Menu

Monday: Breakfast For Dinner-French Toast, Sausage, and Eggs

Tuesday: Navajo Tacos and Rice

Wednesday: Ritz Chicken, Brocolli, and Rolls

Thursday: Cheeseburger Buns, Salad, and Green Beans

Friday: Baked Potato Bar (potatoes, chili, brocolli, bacon bits, sour cream, cheese, etc..)

Saturday: Beef Stroganoff and Veggie

Sunday: Cola Pot Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, and Rolls

Friday, February 20, 2009

You Must Visit Here Today

You won't be sorry. I promise!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Traveling Miracles

For my birthday and our 11 year anniversary my husband and I are going to DisneyLand! I am so excited to go on a little getaway with just him and be able to be at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Of course with the economy the way it is (man I am sick of that phrase!) I have been looking for the good deals out there and have saved us a lot of money. I wanted to share these sites with you so if you and your family are looking for ways to save money on a vacation you will have place to start.

First of all I figured since it is just him and I going I would look into flying. I wasn't having any luck with Orbitz, Travelocity, or any of the other sites out there so I pleaded for help on my facebook and was given the advice to checkout southwest. So, I did and found GREAT airfares. They have a really good promotion going on right now on one way tickets. My husband and I are flying from Vegas to LA for 200 dollars ROUND TRIP. That is for the two of us! Isn't that amazing?

Second of all, we needed a rental. I searched through southwest, found great deals but by the time I had money to book the car, the deals were gone. OH GREAT, I thought. So I went to hotwire to see what they could do for me and we get a rental car for four days for $80.00! That is $20 a day!

Third, we need tickets for DisneyLand. This is a little side note, because we aren't going with kids, but there is a website Get Away Today and for $800 a family of four can have a four day vacation at DisneyLand! That is for three nights stay in a hotel and four three day parkhopper tickets! A huge saving!!!! But for Adam and I we are just going to take advantage of the Adult play for the kids price ($70 savings) and then my birthday will be free. 2009 special-play for free on your bday at DisneyLand.

I got a hotel room for the last night there (the other nights will be spent at a family members house) for $50 at So my whole trip: Airfare, Rental car, DisneyLand Tickets, and Hotel comes to less than $700!!!

So, there are deals out there! Cruises are really inexpensive right now too! See, there is something positive about a recession.

I Heart Albertsons!!!

Another successful and slighly intoxicating grocery week! I used to HATE to go into Albertson's, because they really are expensive, but boy, do they know how to have a good SALE! Now I LOVE them!! I wanted to take pictures of all of this, but my hubby was helping me put away and he thought that was a silly idea and I'm all for letting him help out if he wants to. I was going to pull all of this out and take a picture, but why?? It's put away. So here you go, I bought:

1 loaf of bread, (my only item I didn't have a coupon for)
2 Betty Crocker Warm Delights
3 Pillsbury Ready to Bake Cookies
4 Betty Crocker Cookie Mix's
4 Betty Crocker Frostings
5 Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
5 Campbells Soup at Hand (72 hr kit item)
11 Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
11 boxes of cereal (Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Trix)
12 Progresso Soups
17 boxes of fruit snacks / fruit roll ups (It's insane, I know, but I have kids at my house every day, and some of them will go into 72-hour kits, but mostly they will be hiding at the top of my closet)

My Grand total before coupons and sales was $239.91. My total out of pocket cost was $43.14. Just so you know, I love Grocery Smarts as well!! I also love Pinching Your Pennies. I use them to preview sales and also they have some amazing coupon links that I haven't found on Grocery Smarts.

It would have even been $10.00 less, but I messed up on my first transaction and missed buying 1 item, in order to recieve an additional $10.00 off coupon. But what do you do? I'm soooo happy with my shopping. Can't wait to see what's for sale next week.

Cubed Steak with Potatoes and Gravy

This was really tasty and easy. I got it from a blog awhile ago and I wish I could remember where I got it so I could give her credit. So, if this is yours please let me know!!! It was a great hit with the family. Next time I will make enough for each of us to have two though.
4-6 pieces of cubed steak
1 pkg onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 C water
5 potatoes
Brown steak pieces in small amount of oil in large skillet. Mix onion soup mix with cream of mushroom soup and water. Pour over cubed steak, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Scrum potatoes and quarter them. Add to skillet and cook for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
You can also do this in the crock-pot, cook on high for 5 hours or low for 7 hours adding all ingredients at once.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Let's talk about 72-Hour Kits

Preparedness was my major goal for 2009. I'm am continuing to work on my food storage. I don't think that will ever be finished. Especially when we keep eating it and having to replace it, but I sure am glad to have it :)! But lately, we've been working on our 72-hour kits. Just rethinking them and making adjustments, where needed.

Whenever I heard the phrase, 72-hour kits, I felt OVERWHELMED!! My husband and I put ours together several years ago and I felt an immense amount of relief over having them together. It is a monumental task to acquire everything that you need. That is why you should do this in baby steps! Most of the items that you need, you probably have in your home. When we put our kits together we budgeted money out of our tax returns to do it in one big mass project. Was it worth it? Yes! It's a great way to budget the money needed and acquire some peace of mind.

When we originally started out, I bought 4 sturdy matching back packs from one of our local outdoor store. They were expensive back packs that I happened to find on clearance for $15.00 a piece. With the growth of our family, we have realized that they just don't provide enough room. So we upgraded my husbands pack to his full-sized hiking pack. Hopefully he doesn't get put back into scouts!! It's nice though because he can carry much more and it makes it easier for us to take along some extra items that will certainly provide an added measure of comfort, such as sleeping bags and a full size tent. We are going to upgrade my backpack also. We have tried to have the same items in each of our packs, in the instance that we may get separated. That way we would each be just as well prepared. Each of the kids has there own backpacks, which will basically have there clothes and food in them, I think. I am rethinking the logistics of all of this. However, I know that it's ultimately up to my husband and I to carry what we can.

I saw a great idea, where a family purchased rolling luggage, in which to pack their 72-hour kits. I love it! Easy and portable. However, what if you had to travel over rough terrain, where you would have to manually pick up and carry that heavy luggage? I've seen 72-hour kits in buckets and in sweatshirts. Which I think is the strangest idea yet. A sweater for warmth, but then how do you carry everything once you've taken it apart?

Am I over thinking this? Hopefully we never really need to use these. For us backpacks work. There are tons of idea's out there on how to make 72-hour kits and what to pack in them. I think that 72-hour kits have to personalized to each individual family and what works for them. I wanted to make our kits, because then I would be aware of what was in each kit. I will share with you what we have in our kits, but that is for another day. For now concentrating on finding a suitable backpack or means of conveyance. And then we'll talk......

Or if you do not have the patience for putting together your own kit, click here and here for premade, ready to buy kits.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Peanut Butter Bars (well kinda)

One of my very favorite recipes!!! I changed it a little bit. All I did was add 2 cups of chocolate chips to the recipe instead of frosting them with peanut butter and chocolate frosting. Makes a great cookie bar!!! LOVE them as peanut butter fingers too! Just depends what your in the mood for. I also break these down and bake in 2 9x13 pans. They cook better this way. I have also done it in a sheet cake size pan, you just have to cook them a little longer.

Peanut Butter Fingers

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 tsp. soda
½ tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, peanut butter, and vanilla; cream. Add remaining dry ingredients. Spread on a sheet cake sized cookie pan. Bat at 350 degrees for about 15 to 18 minutes. Take out of the oven and spread with a thin layer of peanut butter. Let cool and cover with a layer of chocolate frosting.

Cute Valentine Frame

Posted by Picasa
We made these darling picture frames at the Valentine Party for my daughters first grade class. They were a hit! The kids were so excited to get their pictures taken and then make the frames for their moms, dads, grandparents, or whomever they wish! A few of the hearts fell off of hers but nothing a little glue won't fix. Actually if I were to do this again I would use...GLUE DOTS!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mandees Monday Menu

We are going to start something new. I make a menu each week to prevent standing in front of the fridge at 4:00 each afternoon wondering what to make for dinner. Making a weekly menu also helps me stick to my budget. It helps me to not impulsively shop when I do my grocery shopping.

If you are interested in the recipes leave me a comment with your email address and I will shoot you an email with the recipe.

Monday: Baked Pork chops w/lemon and lemonpepper, roasted potatoes, and Greek salad

Tuesday: Spaghetti w/ meatballs, garlic bread, and green salad

Wednesday: Cubed Steak and potatoes w/ gravy, Green beans

Thursday: Taco soup/Rolls &butter

Friday: Lasagna, salad, and garlic bread

Saturday: Tin Foil Dinners

Sunday: Salmon, brocolli/cauliflower, cheddar bisquits

Friday, February 13, 2009

Math Bean Bag Toss

Sometimes Blogger frustrates me! It wouldn't let me rotate this picture and save it as the rotated picture. But hopefully you can get the general idea.
I am so excited for the Valentine party in my daughters classroom. I am going to have two kids toss a bean bag on two different numbers, and the two of them will have to add the numbers together to get the sum. I just took four big posters and taped them together, cut out a heart and put numbers on the heart.
I had my daughter test it out just to make sure they would think it was fun (never know!) and she loved it. Her and I played it for a long time and had fun and learned all at the same time.

Painting with matchbox cars

This was a lot of fun for the kids to make. We cut out white hearts and placed them inside a shirt box and then dropped splotches of paint all over the heart. We then used cars to paint the heart, by running the cars through the paint. We sprinkled ours with an iridescent glitter and they looked so cool! The more tread the tires have the cooler the paint job. This is also fun to do with marbles and let them roll around in the box.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pink Rice Krispie Hearts

I am the "party mom" for my first graders class and I have been trying to come up with some fun snacks. I know I will be overloading them with sugar but Valentines Day is my very favorite holiday-it is also my anniversary.

I just took the basic Rice Krispie treat recipe off the box of cereal. I added food coloring to the melted butter and marshmallow right before I added the cereal. I then used a cookie cutter to get the heart shape, and melted chocolate to put a heart in the center of the Rice krispie. I finished it off with sprinkles.

I think they turned out really cute and hope the kids will enjoy them. I am making a couple other things too but I think Brandy is posting the heart oreo cookies. She made them for her sons preschool class and they were a success, so I will be doing those as well.

Conversation Heart Sorting Mat

Cute, cute idea! Got this off of Sugardoodle, one of my favorite places to visit. She made this cute little sorting chart to go with conversations hearts. My boys had so much fun! We colored them and then I gave each of them a box of hearts to sort out. You could adapt this idea to many diffrent degree's depending on the children you are working with. Melanie has lots of ideas to go with it.
Click here to go directly to Melanie's post on this idea!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Twilight Inspired Valentines ~ Free

OH MY GOODNESS!! Click here!

Lot's of Valentine Day Ideas

I love to blog hop and I have found oodles of great and easy valentine ideas that I just had to share.

How easy is this?? Go to Bakerella for the homemade version or cheat and do this instead!

I'm so making these tomorrow!! Mandee and I are running to town bright and early and home I come to make these for the preschool party! Found these at No Fuss Fabulous.

Looking for great idea's to tell your sweetheart, that you love him?? Check out a Bushel and a Peck for some great ideas! A telegram!! Never would have thought about that.

How cute are these? I fell in love with them. Found em over at Secret Agent Josephine. She has been so nice to share these! You can either print them off in color, or give yourself a minute to put up your feet and read. Print them off in black and white and let the kiddo's color them! Click here to go directly to her link.
For other great free printable, click here and here!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Man, I need your help!!! My 10 year old son is approaching that age where there are beginning to be a lot of "questions". He is wanting to know what "sex" is(to put it bluntly-I don't even think I KNEW that word when I was 10). He is starting to ask how it happens. Up until now I have been able to divert the conversation elsewhere and go to my room and scream in a pillow. :)
My husbands and my approach are totally different. My sweet hubby just comes straight out and answers his questions. I am 33 and it makes me nervous but Logan just sits there and wants to know more. YIKES. So I kindly nudge my husband and he changes the subject. The other night he wanted to know the difference between "intestines" and "testicles". ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! I am not ready for this. BOOO YAAA. So, my husband, who also happens to be an EMT with all the flashcards you could imagine, pulls out the "testicle" flashcard and the "intestine" flashcard. Which then of course he wants to know more and more. As I am dying of sweat on the couch trying to distract my 6 six year old by sending her to the bath. My son seemed to want to learn about the whole body and wasn't going to quit until he learned it all.
I know this has to happen I just don't know how to do it. Should I just let my husband take care of it since he is the boy and I will take care of the girls? Holy moly. Has anyone read any good books on how to share this "talk" with the adolescents of today?
It is so scary that at 10 I have to have this talk. I know it needs to happen.........

2 of My Favorite Books

I hope that every mom has had a chance to read Love You, Forever. It's one of the sweetest books ever. I got this for a shower gift, when I was pregnant with my oldest. I read it before I even had him and I cried and cried. It's such a touching story about the love of a mother and how being a mother, never ends. It goes on and on. Each of my boys have one of these books for their keepsake box, because it conveys the way that I fell about my boys. I will love them forever!!!!!

Right after I had, my little girl I was standing in line at Dessert Book and just happened to pick up this book. I had tears streaming down my face in the line and I carried the book up to the counter and paid for it. I absolutely had to have it. This is a sweet story about a mother and her daughter. It starts out as her daughter is a baby and transitions into childhood, adulthood and eventually motherhood. It's absolutely a beautiful story and one that will surely have you reaching for the tissue's. This book is not really for the kids, but it's one all you mothers will cherish. Someday, your children will appreciate the beautiful illustrations and the meanings behind the words. One of my all time favorites.

Both of these books would make great mothers day presents. But be sure to include a box of tissue in the package, because both are proven to make mothers cry!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Congratulations to Shaylyn

Congratulations to Shaylyn. She is the lucky winner of our Hugs book. Shoot us your information at Thanks to all for participating.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Random DisneyLand Facts

I am a huge fan of Disneyland. I am always telling my husband I want to live on the park somewhere, anywhere. Well, he is taking me there for our 11 year anniversary next month and I am so excited. I have DisneyLand on the brain so when I saw this article on Yahoo this afternoon I had to share.

I dream about taking a "behind the scenes" tour. I would give anything to have a "connection" to fill me in on all the secrets of DisneyLand. Very intriguing to me.

So go ahead and check this article out. It was very fun to read.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fun and Easy Card for Grandma

This card has become a tradition for my kids to make my parents each year. It is fun and easy. First you trace the childs hand (we do one from each child), then take a paper and fold it accordion style and glue it to each of the hands.
On the outside write "I love you this much" and as they open the card it stretches. My daughter wants to do this for each person in her class. Oh boy........... :)

Chicken Enchilada

My hubby loves these. The recipe orgiinally came from Simplify Supper.

1 & 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed (I use more, because I want a beefier or is it chickinier (is that a word?) enchilada)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can green chilies, small can
1 can diced olives
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
6 Tortillas
Mix the soup, sour cream and green chilies in a bowl. Spoon filling onto edge of each tortilla then top with chicken and sprinkle with cheese. Fold into enchiladas and place in a coated 9x13 pan. Spoon any extra ingredients on top of enchiladas and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Most Popular Saturday Lunch

This may not look too appealing but let me tell you. This is what my kids want almost every Saturday for lunch. It is so easy and soooo yummy. This was one of my favs as a kid too.

Elbow macaroni
Tomato Juice (not sauce or paste)

Boil water. Cook noodles. Drain water. Open juice. Pour into pan with noodles. Heat. Add salt to taste.
How easy is that??


Sometimes I forget...

that simple things are so enjoyable for kids. I blew up some balloons yesterday and we had hours of fun! Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, it's the simple things that kids love! While we all love to be creative and do crafts, sometimes simple is better.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Few Valentine Treasures

Look how cute these are!! Dang it! I already let my kiddo's pick out their valentines, or I would definitely be doing these! Saving this idea for next year!
These little darlings, can be found over at Bunny Cakes.

Make your very own, personalized conversations hearts, by clicking here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Rainbow Cupcakes!

So I made the rainbow cupcakes. I didn't actually do the recipe that used the sprite and cake mix, although that is something I will be trying. I don't have any Sprite in my house today so I just used, my Alison's Pantry Creme Cake Mix. This was so easy, and I thought it would be time consuming. HA!! I am in love with this idea. I think this will be our new birthday cake at our house, because it really is cool to look at. What a fun new tradition! The kids thought it was great fun and loved it.