Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fourth of July Rockets

These were super fun to make! I got the template from Skip to my Lou. She always has great ideas! When I went to her sight this morning she has a template up for a fun star garland!!

These were pretty easy to make. We printed the template, cut everything out and put the template around a toilet paper roll. However the rolls were a little big and the paper would wrap around but didn't overlap. So we used tape to attach the two sides. I used hot glue to attach the cones on the top and I also glued the fins on. I tried to not glue them and they wouldn't stand.

I also ran out of toilet paper rolls and we printed the template out on card stock and it worked just fine by itself. We just rolled it and taped the seams.
I thought we could use them as decoration, but my 4-year-old has been carrying his around playing with it. On Skip to my Lou, she put a bottom on them and filled them with candy and 4th of July treats. It makes a great boredom buster.

Friday, June 26, 2009

We have Winners

Thanks everyone for playing! It was great to see the many reasons that you love to live in this GREAT country. We are truly blessed!

Drum roll please............................................... And random integer say's our winners are:

Kris said...
I love the line from the song..."I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free!" I love that this country gives us the freedom to worship how we please and that this was a principle that not only helped bring about this country but also the Church.

Dana said...
I am Proud to be an American.This is a great country. I feel so blessed to live here and have the freedoms that I have. I am thankful every day to be an American! I am thankful to all those who have fought and died for this countries freedoms as well!God Bless America!!

Kris will recieve the picture holders and Dana will recieve the USA garland! Email us your mailing address to mandeeandbrandy@yahoo.com and we will get these off in the mail to you today!

Have a happy and safe weekend!

Book Review-The Orphan Of Ellis Island

My son Logan and I just finished this book and it was a great read. We read it everynight before bed and it was very captivating and entertaining. If you like time travel books you will love this.
It is about an Orphan named Dominic. He lives in New York and goes from foster family to foster family and has no idea who his parents are. His school takes a field trip to Ellis Island and he is left behind. He then somehow ends up in Italy a couple of centuries behind. He makes friends with some kids and then is forced to board the ship to come to America.
It is a great book and Logan loved hearing it and he loved that it was in Italy. I lived there while growing up and he asked me a lot of questions about things in the book. I highly suggest this book for boys.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Caution: This may distrub you

I must admit, I find this a little disturbing and in a strange way extremely intoxicating. It makes me giggle. I find it quite funny to be honest! So this is for all you Twilight fans out there.

I can just see all us 30 something Mom's carrying around a pocket Edward. HA, HA, HA! I've got to go. Laughing so hard, it's hard to type.

If your interested in printing it, click here. I found this on a great blog called Balancing Everything!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fun With Bubbles

We got "bored" and wanted to do something fun so we made homemade bubbles using:

3 cups water
1 Cup liquid dish soap
1/3 c light karo syrup

We had fun trying to figure out different things to use around the house to blow bubbles. A new Fly swatter was the favorite (millions of little bubbles), cheese shredder, metal hanger, strainer, paper clip, jar lid (worked the best), and then I just let them use whatever they could find. They wanted to try it with a hula hoop but.....we don't have one. It killed a couple of hours!!

The homemade concauction

Please excuse the frosting on my sweet daughters face!!

I must say that is pretty cool

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Young Women Camp Journals

I have to be honest. I don't know where this idea sprang from. Mandee and I did this when we made our cookbooks last year. I used the same idea this year for girls camp. They turned out darling! All you need is a 3-ring binder (.99 cents at Wal-Mart), modge podge and cute paper.

Cut your paper down to fit the cover of the binder. Use Modge Podge to adhere the paper to the front of the binder. Be careful that you don't use to much, because it will bubble if you do. Press the paper outwards to work out any bubbles.

Decorate the cover as you desire. If you want you can modge podge the cover to give it a glossy finish. We had girls who did both options. The one in the middle was done with gems and used thick dots to give it a 3-dimensional look. We didn't use modge podge on the cover. We used ribbon on a lot of them and just modge podged them on. Some of the girls did modge-podge their binders and then used the cork board letters on after it dried.

We filled each binder with some lined paper, blank paper and sheet protectors so they could save any handouts that they recieved. We also gave them a ton of great quotes that I found here (if you have a calling in YW, you want to bookmark her page), that they could cut out and use on the covers or use to put inside their binder.

The possibilities are endless. These are just a few that I was lucky enough to get pictures of. They were all cute. Happy Modge Podging!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dutch Oven Potatoes

WE LOVE DUTCHOVENING!!! Seriously, we do this at least everyother weekend during the summer.

We play around with the "usual" dutch oven recipes and perfect them to our taste. My husband made these potatoes for a church party last weekend and they were the first to be eaten. That made him feel warm and fuzzy inside-except we didn't get to have any!

We use one 10 pound bag of potatoes, one whole package of thick bacon, three onions, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and Spicy pepper jack cheese.

Brown the bacon and then break it into desired size of pieces. Slice the potatoes to your desired thickness, slice the onions. Mix together and cook until the potatoes are tender. Shred the cheese and put it on top and replace the lid and continue baking until cheese is melted. YUMMY!! Perfect for campouts.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Mandee and I discuss this topic often. We all have them and yet we do not talk about them. They are the hidden skeletons in our closet that we try so hard not to show the world.

Women judge each other. Not only judge each other but compare themselves to other. "That lady down the street is so busy. I just don't know how she gets it all done. 4 kids, a busy church calling and she still finds time to do volunteer work. I could never handle all that she does." SOUND FAMILIAR?

Mandee and I have often discussed how we find comfort in being with each other when it comes time to go to big functions, such as a PTO meeting. We've got each others back! I have many insecurities and often feel that my ideas and opinions, don't really matter or that they are not as good as others. We lend each other support to speak up and more often than not, people like our ideas! And yet, we still dread stating our opinions.

How sad is our society that we feel this way? Maybe not all of you feel this way. I think lots of women put on a good show and make it look good, but secretly they feel the same way. At least I hope they do because that means I am not a minority. At the same time. hurrah for women who are empowered and don't let their insecurities inhibit them.

When did women begin to feel incompetent? When did we start to compare ourselves to others? Why do we compare? Shouldn't we just go out and befriend others and offer ourselves in service, be it to our family, our community, or our faith? Why am I worried about the mom down the street, when I should only worry about whether my children feel loved. If they think I am a good mom, then I probably am. I hope I am.

I am who I am and it's all I can be. I can't be any less, but can always be more. There is always room for improvent and bettering ones self. So today, just remember that it is okay to have dishes in the sink and to have laundry piled up. We can only do so much. So go and enjoy the weekend and play with your kids and be their mom. They will love you all the more for it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Free National Park Days

Who couldn't use a free day at a National Park this summer with the economy the way it is? I was so excited to hear about this because Brandy and I are lucky enough to live admist quite a few National Parks.

Each park has their own free days so you need to search for individual parks. Here is the link for Zion National Park, there will be a search engine that you can type in other parks to find out their free days. We will be in Yellowstone during their free day for a family reunion, it will be super busy, but at least it will be free!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Swiss Crockpot Chicken

HEAVENLY! DIVINE! MOUTHWATERING! SIMPLE and so agianst my diet, but well worth a few extra situps!

I found this recipe via, My Crazy Life! It is full of great recipes and she makes them in cute printables that are super fun! I have had it for probably 6 months just waiting for me to try it and it is a new family favorite!! It's so good.

4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 slices of swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 pkg Stove Top Stuffing
salt & pepper to taste

Place chicken breast in crockpot and season with salt and pepper. Layer swiss cheese on top of chicken. Mix soup, broth and milk together. Pour on top of chicken. Top with Stove Top and drizzle melted butter over the top. Cook on low for 5 to 7 hours.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flip Flop Birthday Cake

This is the cake I made for the birthday party. I am pretty tickled with the finished product. It was pretty simple and I am not a cake decorator. I did use a generic cake mix the first try and it fell apart to crumbs so I went and bought a Betty Crocker cake mix and it turned out marvelous.

I got the instructions here at the Betty Crocker website. It even has a template for you to print out to get the right shape for the flip flops. My husband and I worked together on it and had a great time. BayLee helped me put the candies on and I wish I could have found other colors of fruit by the foot but this just had to work.

BayLee was happy and that is what matters. HA watch out Martha!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I. Want. This.

Shelf Reliance is starting an awesome new feature on their blog called Free on Friday!! Every two weeks they will be hosting a giveaway and you will be able to enter to recieve a great product from Shelf Reliance. They have the best stuff! To kick it off they are giving away this beauty! MUST. HAVE. ONE!!!!
Shelf Reliance is giving away a Harvest 72" food rotation system! Visit the Shelf Reliance blog at http://www.shelfreliance.com/blog/ to enter. The Harvest 72" is valued at $459.99 and can hold up to 600 cans, making it perfect for a healthy food storage supply. The winner will be announced on Friday, June 26th, so hurry to the blog for your chance to win!

One Month from today...

(I know that it actually comes out on the 17th. I accidently posted this and since there was a comment on it, I decided to leave it!!)

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE comes out in theaters! It makes me want to do a happy dance. I seriously love the Harry Potter series. I have to admit, I love it even more than Twilight and I LOVE Twilight.

This movie looks amazing! I saw the trailer when we, Mandee and I, went to Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and I have been super excited ever since. This one is a little bit darker than the other films, but the last two books delve into a darker story line. I've heard people say that J.K. Rowling, wrote three exceptional books, and after book 4 she began to write books that would make exceptional movies, but not books. I don't agree with that. I love the entire series, and I think that the story had to get darker to evolve and let the story be told in the capacity that it need to be told. I also think that as Harry gets older the story changes because you see things through his eyes and life changes as we get older. Do you agree?

My kids love Harry Potter. We just recently took a few nights to read the stories of The Tales of Beedle the Bard to them. Tyson just got a Harry Potter wand at a Renaissance fair that we attended. My little girl has the middle name of Hermione! When J.D., my oldest was 2 and my middle guy was just a newborn, J.D. kept talking about his sister. I kept explaining to him that he had a little brother. Finally one day he got upset and said he did have a sister and she was in heaven. I asked him what her name was and he said, "Hermione." He talked about his little sister Hermione for 2 & 1/2 years until she was born and when we told him that we wanted to name her Piper, he added Hermione as a middle name and it just kind of stuck. People thought we were crazy, but it fits her.

This summer I want to read them to J.D. We have listened to them a dozen times, but I want to start out and read the Sorcers Stone to him and with him, because I think he will really enjoy it and I am excited to see him read it on his own.

Let your kids go play on the Scholastic website! They have a great Harry Potter sight, full of free downloads and games! It's awesome! Even for us grown ups who secretly wish we were wizards!

What do you think of the Harry Potter series? Do you love it or are you not really a fan?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dipping Caramel

I posted this back in the fall, but thought it was worth reposting! This is the easiest treat in the world to make and it is oh, so good! No mess, no clean up and you make it in the crockpot and it only uses one ingredient.

If your interested in seeing the recipe, click here!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flip Flop Invitations

I am doing the easiest birthday party this year for my daughter that will be turning 7. Our local Aquatic Center has a great birthday package. For $65 12 kids can get into the pool, have a hotdog or nachos, goodie bags, and decorations. How easy is that?

I wanted to do something fun for the invitation and came up with this idea. I just typed up the info in word in a narrow strip so it would be able to fit on the flip flop. I traced my toddlers size 5 sandal and used that as the template. I used glue dots and made a frame out of the purple paper. I used my stamps and put the cute flowers on. I was trying to think of how to make the toe straps----tada!!! Ribbon. I just used an exacto knife and cut four slits, pulled ribbon through and taped it to the back.

Super cute and cheaper than the store bought cards for pool partys!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Color Me Pretty

I don't really know where this idea came from. I have seen it done in primary, but I was just driving down the road today and had the thought that I wanted to let the kids do this for an activity and they had a blast!! I went and let each child pick out their own color butcher paper. Then I traced each of them and let them color them. They had a lot of fun! J.D. made himself into a cowboy and Tyson of course, was Spiderman! Super easy and fun to do. Cheap too, that is my favorite kind of activity!!!

Not so friendly with the two-year-old however. I traced her body and she was super good for that, but I looked over while I was helping Tyson and she was covered from head to toe in marker. So was my door! Thank heavens for Magic Erasers!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

LDS Creativity Corner

I had to share this site! Stumbled across this blog today, via Sugardoodle. Still looking at camp stuff. Sure will be glad when it's over next week! Anyway, LDS Creativity Corner is awesome! It looks like this gal is in Young Womens! I am super excited to have found such a great sight and that she is generous enough to share with those of us who are less, well let's say computer literate. Go check it out!

Lollipop Bouquet

I needed an easy birthday gift for a Young Women who was coming into the Mia Maids. I was put in as the 1st counselor on Sunday and her birthday was Wednesday, so I was looking for something quick. This is what I came up with and I thought it was pretty cute. I made a lollipop bouquet. I printed the flower template from Skip To My Lou. I found the little vase at the dollar store and put a floral Styrofoam in the bowl and filled it with colored confetti, also found at the dollar store. Super cute and super easy and easily adaptable for many different occasions.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Freezer Jam

I love freezer jam. I love how easy it is and how yummy it is! I also love that it doesn't require you to turn on the stove! It makes a great gift!

Freezer Jam

5 Cups frozen mashed fruit ( I did raspberries)
1/2 cup Corn Syrup
2 Cups sugar
3 Tbsp. Clear Jel

Mix sugar and fruit. Add corn syrup. Mix well, put in containers and freeze.!

Go here to see the other recipe I sometimes use. It's a lot more sweet than this was. Almost to sweet. But both are great recipes.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I thought this was beautiful. Found it at Creature Comforts, I love her sight! She has these little beauties all the time, that you can print off and use to decorate your house and inspire you!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

French Breakfast Muffins

3 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 C. sugar
2/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 C. milk
1 C. butter
1 & 1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 tsp. cinnamon

Lightly grease 12 muffin cups. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon or nutmeg. Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together 1 C. sugar and the shortening, then add eggs; mix well. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden. In a bowl melt butter. In a separate bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Dip baked muffins in butter, coating thoroughly and then coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

We loved this and it was so easy. We just served it with Garlic Bread and a salad.
1 lb cooked frozen meatballs, thawed
1 onion chopped
26 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 c water
8 oz spaghetti, uncooked and broken into 3 inch pieces
Combine meatballs, spaghetti sauce, onion and water in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours. Stir well; add broken spaghetti. Increase to high setting; cover and cook for an additional hour, stirring once during cooking. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Educational You Tube Video's

You Tube has some great video's that you can find to help your teach your kids anything from letters to numbers, to nursery rhymes. My kids watched a bunch of silly video's today and had a blast. We love this Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Video! Also check out this link for tons of ideas on teaching Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to your kids! Great ideas!

We loved this video of Swallow a Fly. The kids really had fun rocking out to the fun music and they love to watch video's of the computer. For some reason, that is extremly cool. We also love to look up vintage cartoons. Especially at the holiday's. You can find things on You Tube that you can't find anywhere else!! It really is a great resource for summer entertainment and education!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Movie Review-Night at the Museum

Instead of our usual friday night date that my husband and I take, we decided to take our two oldest to this awesome movie. It was so great. I know that sometimes a sequel doesn't do the movie any justice, but thank goodness that wasn't the case with Battle of the Smithsonian. It was done really well and it is one we will buy for sure. There was quite a bit of dialogue and a lot of slower places so I don't know how well it would be for younger kids but my 6 year old daughter loved it and wants to go back. It is a movie that I would pay full price to see it again.
It has a lot of the same actors in it which makes it that much better. When the Museum of Natural History is closed for remodeling and transformation, the museum pieces are moved into federal storage at the famous Washington Smithsonian museums. The main part of the movie brings to life the Smithsonian Institution, which houses the world's largest museum complex with more than 136 million items in its collections, ranging from the plane Amelia Earhart flew on her non-stop flight across the Atlantic and Al Capone's rap sheet and mug shot to Dorothy's ruby slippers, Fonzie's jacket from Happy Days, and Archie Bunker's lounge chair from All in the Family. Larry becomes another caretaker at the Smithsonian, where Kahmunrah, an evil Pharaoh will come to life with the reestablishing of a tablet as a magical force in the museum bringing the old exhibits (Such as Theodore Roosevelt and Dexter) and new exhibits (like General Custer and Al Capone) back to life, and in conflict with each other. Larry recruits the help of Amelia Earheart and together they try to put everything back in order while at the same time, they are falling in love.
It was a great flick and it made me say "To heck with a trip to Disneyworld next March. We are going to the Smithsonian!" Believe it or not, the kids were all for that idea.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Live in the Bat Cave

Have I mentioned that it is HOT where Mandee and I live? If I haven't told you before, it is!! My house faces west. I get the sun shining directly in my house from about 2 o'clock on, which is great for 8 months out of the year, but from June to September it makes my family room and kitchen unbearable. We have tried several different things to remedy this. We placed emergency blankets in our windows which was great because it let some light in, but it was still too hot. We have hung heavy quilts over the curtain rod which helps, but looks so tacky.

And then we tried blackout material. I found this at Joanne's and it's fairly inexpensive when you consider how much it saves on my electric bill. I think it was around $6.00 a yard. This is the material that they use when they make heavy draperies. Every year we pull it out and staple it into the frame around the windows. It works extremely well to block out the heat. It's amazing the difference it makes. This fabric is looking a little worn, but it has been used for several years in a row. I think I may have to replace it next year.

Here is my hubby stapling it up. We just pull it tight and staple. It does take 2 of us, but goes quickly.
You can't tell from the inside and it's so cool in my house. It's like I live in a cave and I do miss the sunlight, but don't miss the cooling bill! From the outside it just looks like we have curtains up. It's an option if your looking for something to help keep the cooling bill down this summer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Free Darling Fonts

I love love love to use cute fonts. I have searched and searched for the most perfect collection of fonts that were also ok to download. My husband is a computer guru and is really cautious about what can be uploaded onto our precious hard drive. I usually mess up the process so I don't blame him.

A little while ago I finally found Kevin and Amandas FREE fonts and now I have over 300 SUPER fun fonts. The process to download them is a little tricky (or I am just not computer savvy) but once my wonderful hubby downloaded them I was way excited.

I still hand write my journaling in my scrapbooks (I am refusing to go digital), but now I just type out the journaling in darling font, print it, and slap it in the scrapbook.

She also has free fonts for digital scrapbooking if you have crossed the enemy line. :) So go check out this awesome font site. Do you know of anyother great font sites??

Free Root Beer Floats at Sonic

On Wednesday, June 3, Sonic is want to thank their customers by offering Free Float Night!! They will be giving away free 10 oz. Root Beer Floats from 8 p.m. until midnight at participating Sonic Drive-In locations. Check with your local Sonic to see if they are participating and then take the kids out for a free float!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pizza on the Grill

We made pizza on the grill this week! It was so good! You just make up your pizza crust and place it on very well oiled cookie sheet. I put tinfoil down first. It makes less clean up. I preheated the grill for about 10 minutes and then turned it down to low and baked my pizza for about 2o minutes. It was awesome. I didn't have to heat up my house to enjoy a family favorite. This is one of those great things to do in the summer. I love to cook outside and keep my house cool. Especially as we are getting close to 100 and it gets up to 115 where we live! HOT, HOT, HOT!!!!

Before cooking

About 20 minutes later. Hot and yummy pizza and not heat in my house!! The only thing, is that the crust is a tad bit crunchier than if you had cooked it in the oven, so you have to watch it to make sure it doesn't burn.

I made my very own healthy pizza on a whole wheat,Italian flavored, flatbread! Super yummy and diet friendly, but be careful because it will burn if you leave it in to long. You just have to melt the cheese really.

Next time I'm getting poppa Murphey's! YUM!! And I don't think you can get much easier than that!