Saturday, December 1, 2012

5 kids + 15 hours + 1 car equals...

We make a trek down to Arizona at least once a year to visit our extended families.  Every year I try and fit everything I can into the van and plan out ways to survive the trip.  Here's the Grand Plan - I don't always get it ALL done but I try my best.

Road Trip Survival Ideas
· Fill up clean car with gas and clean the house because there's nothing better than coming home to a clean home after a long car trip. 
· Rent books on CD from the library and put on my iPhone.  Since I'm LDS aka Mormon, I also  like to listen to General Conference. 
· Fill balloons with play dough for squishy fun.
· With a cheap $1 picture album, make a Family Photo book so kids can remember names/faces of aunts/uncles/cousins.
· Pipe Cleaner creations
· File folder games
· Board Books for toddlers, bigger books for older kids
· Lacing Cards
· Glow sticks for nighttime
· Divider sheet with sticky Velcro – sticks to car roof perfectly for a sun shade or it can stop the “they’re looking at me!"      
· Bibs for toddlers because they will spill and you don't want to arrive looking like you survived a wreck.
· Dry snacks: raisins, popcorn, crackers, dried fruit, apple chips, cereal, jerky, chocolate chips, cheerios, pretzels, goldfish, marshmallows, m&ms, fortune cookies, mini oreos, ring pops, make fruit loop necklaces, suckers, dried fruit and fruit snacks. 
(KIDS FAVORITES:  Make a smores mix by filling snack size baggies with Teddy grahams, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.  Make a caramel apple mix by doing dried apples and Kraft caramel bits.  Trail mix with m&ms, pretzels and peanuts.)
· Seatbelt strap pillow for napping toddlers.
· Personalized water bottles with their name and picture on it using packing tape
· Label inside of kids shoes with name and phone number
· “Don’t get lost” necklace (Put emergency contact info on a necklace under toddler's clothes)
· Eye-spy game with TP tube binoculars and duct tape.
· Friendship bracelet kit for my daughter to work on.
· Road Trip pillowcase with handle to carry and a pocket on one side for a book
· Chargers and electronics only after working equal time on Scouting or Faith in God. 
· Rent XBOX game from redbox – I love that my van can do this!  Movie on one side and game on the other side of the screen. 
· Old DVD case turned into a coloring kit (paper on one side, colored pencils on the other)
· Put each outfit in a large ziploc bag with socks and accessories
· Trash bags in a lidded plastic cereal container so trash is contained

Sunday, November 11, 2012

LDS Nursery Ideas

I was called to serve in our Nursery and I have to say I was a little more than excited to go in there.  Those cute little faces, the funny things they say and I get to play, play, play.  I had planned on sharing this with the other wards in our stake at our upcoming Stake Training but I thought maybe someone out there might find it useful as well.  For some reason I can't upload the whole file so it's missing pictures.  Email me if you'd like and I'll send you the Word file.  (Also see my "More Nursery Ideas" post)

Nursery Snack Ideas for the Whole Year!
Remember to ask parents about any food allergies and try to avoid common ones like nuts.   Always be sure to wash their hands before & after they eat.  We like using a foaming hand soap pump and they love the bubbles in their hands.  Usually we put the snacks in a white coffee filter liner and they also receive a small cup of water.  Children love to please at this age so remind them to say “please” and “thank you” and clean up after themselves when they’re done.  The Friend magazine always has fun recipe ideas for kids so look there as well.  Below are some fun ideas to go along with each lesson.
Lesson #              Title
1              I Am a Child of God
Each child is unique just like no two snowflakes are the same.  With child safe (and washed) scissors, fold up a tortilla and have children cut out their own unique shape.  You could also have mini marshmallows for snowballs.
2             Heavenly Father Has a Plan for Me
Eat treats that start with the letter P, such as popcorn, peaches, pretzels, pears.  Repeat the name of the snacks and the word “Plan”
3             I Can Pray to Heavenly Father
Soft Pretzels – the story behind this snack is that a monk used leftover dough and looped it into this shape to remind children to fold their arms to pray.  You could also make edible play dough but call it pray-dough.
4             Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ Love Me
Make heart shaped rice crispy treats.  It should take them awhile to chew it.  J  You could frost it with some very light pink frosting – being careful not to mess up their clothes.
5             Jesus Christ Showed Us How to Love Others
Strawberries sliced in half, heart shaped snacks like cookies, bread, etc.
6             The Holy Ghost Helps Me
Ask the children to each help you prepare the snack.  An older child can help pump out hand soap, another child can pass out one treat, etc. and thank them individually by name, “Thank you John for being such a good helper today”
7              Jesus Christ Created the World for Me
Make large round sugar cookies and have kids decorate them with blue frosting for the water, green for land.  Remember to barely color the frosting so it won’t ruin clothing.
8             Sunday Is a Day to Remember Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
                Show the picture of Heavenly Father and Jesus appearing to Joseph.  We’re told they were as bright as the sun so we’re using very light colored snacks.  On a small flour tortilla spread marshmallow cream and add sliced bananas.
9             I Have a Body like Heavenly Father's
 Gingerbread man cutter for cookies, rice krispy treats, bread.
10           I Will Take Care of My Body
We can have healthy bodies by eating healthy foods.  Slice some apples, cut some carrots, etc.
11            I Love My Family         
Bring a heart cookie stamp/cutter and cut and/or stamp bread, cookie, large fruit slices.  Heart-shaped watermelon slices would be yummy and healthy.
12           I Can Pray with My Family
Again, Soft Pretzels – the story behind this snack is that a monk used leftover dough and looped it into this shape to remind children to fold their arms to pray.  You could also make edible play dough but call it pray-dough.
13           My Family Can Be Together Forever
                Use regular size goldfish and baby size goldfish to represent a family.  Can use other big/mini snacks such as showing a regular muffin and they eat get a mini muffin.
14           I Will Obey
                Use whatever leftover treats you have but ask the children to help you and as they do so thank them for being obedient.
15           I Will Be Thankful
Thankful cups if around Thanksgiving: fill with whatever snacks you want and ask them what they are thankful for.  Write it down on the turkey’s feathers and they can take the empty cup home OR
Thankful rolls: write a thankful message on a piece of paper, wrap in foil, then insert in the crack of rolls before baking.  Ask children to break their roll open and you can read something that we can all be thankful for – have each roll be different.
16           I Will Say "I'm Sorry"
                Make oatmeal raisin cookies, making a happy face with the raisins or do the same type of thing with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  It makes others happy when we say “I’m sorry”
17            I Will Share    
Eat child gets a small cup filled with one color of Fruit Loops.  They must share with each other so everyone gets a color.  Can use Cheerios and Apple Jacks if you need more colors for more kids.  If you have leftovers you can make a necklace for them to take home.
18           I Will Love Others
Make heart shaped cinnamon rolls or sugar cookies with a Dove chocolate heart in the center.
19           I Can Be Happy
                Walmart brand fruit snacks are shaped like happy faces.  OR you could use leftover snacks and make happy faces with them – raisins for eyes, etc.
20          I Will Be Reverent
                Use pretzels to remind them how they should fold their arms.  You can make eyes from a large marshmallow and colored m&ms reminding them to close their eyes during the prayer.
21           Joseph Smith Saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
                Give each child 2 large marshmallows representing Heavenly Father and Jesus.  A gingerbread man could represent Joseph as a young boy.
22           The Book of Mormon Teaches Me about Jesus Christ
Make scripture snacks from graham crackers.  Red string licorice can be the bookmark.  Save some for the next lesson since you’ll probably have leftovers.   
Take home gift: Tape 2 gold Hershey’s nuggets to a black/navy construction paper and print off a short scripture verse on white paper, & add a red embroidery floss for a bookmark.
23           I Love the Scriptures
                Again, make scripture snacks from graham crackers.  Red string licorice can be the bookmark.
24           I Will Follow the Prophet
                Have the children paint with vanilla pudding on black construction paper a picture of the prophet.  They can take it home.  OR paint it on a large graham cracker and they can eat it. 
25           I Belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Use leftovers and lace up a necklace.  Each of us is a little different but we all belong in this church.
26           I Will Be Baptized and Confirmed
Sing “When I Am Baptized” which talks about rainbows.  Make rainbow cupcakes or waffles using food coloring and canned whipped cream.  You can also talk about how they’ll wear white at their baptism.  A great take home idea would be wrapping a Kit Kat with the baptismal covenant reminder to Keep His commandments, Always remember him and Take his name upon you.
27           The Sacrament Helps Me Think about Jesus Christ
                Give them a slice of bread (can be fun bread like cinnamon raisin, etc.) and break into pieces like the sacrament and as they eat a piece ask them to share with the other kids something they like to  think about during the sacrament that helps them remember Jesus.
28          Heavenly Father Blesses Me through the Priesthood
Fill some clear vinyl gloves with popcorn so it looks like a priesthood holder’s hands.  You could mix in some other snack in there as well if you like.
29           Jesus Christ Was Resurrected (Easter)
Resurrection Rolls – Wrap a large Rhodes roll dough ball around a large marshmallow sealing really well, brush with butter and roll in cinnamon sugar and bake as usual.  The marshmallow will melt and create an empty tomb.  Chilled hard boiled eggs might be fun to eat with this as well. 
Another idea that could be eaten there or taken home is “Some bunny loves you” snack bags.  Annie’s brand bunny shaped snacks (cheddar or chocolate flavors)
*Birthday Treat Ideas: 
Bake light-colored cupcakes in ice cream cones and “frost” with canned whipped cream kept cool in a lunch sack with an ice pack.  Kids love to see it squirt out.  Add sprinkles if you like.  Don’t forget to sing “Happy Birthday!”  The child who is celebrating their birthday gets to take home a little baggie filled with small treats and a Happy Birthday note tied with a ribbon.
*Christmas Lesson Treat Idea:
Make Star window cookies.  Crush hard candies and place in the middle of the stars when you bake. They will melt down and look like glass.  Remind the children the shepherds and wise men followed the star to find Jesus when he was born.  Also, you could slice an apple horizontally to find a hidden star inside.
*General Conference Prep Idea
Remind them to Make the Most (fun size m&m’s) of General Conference.  You could also print off a GAPK picture and make it into a lacing card for them to play with while listening to conference with their families.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Family Pictures

Back in July, my brother-in-law and his wife took some family pictures for us.  We had a free photo pass to Thanksgiving Point so we headed there and the kids had a blast zooming around in the golf cart after hours.  Too bad they turned off their huge, man-made waterfall before we could get pictures in front of it.  Oh well, I think we got some good ones.  I'm so thankful for these healthy, happy kids.  We are truly blessed beyond measure.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nana's Centennial Celebration

My beloved Nana (my father's mother) passed away just a week before N was born.  For her 90th birthday we had a huge party for her and all her friends came from near and far to visit her.  It was so much fun.  She was such a great influence in my life and so on what would be her 100th birthday I decided to celebrate her life and share with my kids pictures and stories from her life.  We ate her favorite foods, did some of her favorite things, I even made a quick little video of all the pictures I had of her.  Unfortunately I was a little sick that day so we didn't do everything I had hoped for but it was still fun.

Nana used to wear a "cobbler" apron because she loved to cook and keep a clean house. I wish I had a picture of her in her apron. I remember her making pies the whole day before Thanksgiving. I made most of the food the day before since I still have young children at home. :)
Breakfast: Canned peaches (she liked canned cherries too), homemade whole wheat toast with sharp cheese, ovaltine
Lunch: Fruit salad, real turkey or cheese/nut sandwich on sourdough bread, bake semisweet chocolate chip nut cookies and be sure to share some with a neighbor
Snack: Cinnamon rolls
Dinner: Chicken Supreme, potato rolls, salad, cherry & pecan pie with real whipped cream and a big scoop of Breyers natural vanilla bean ice cream
Find Pictures from her life and read Aubrey's Life story that she helped compile, "Life of a Gentle Man"
Go hiking with blue socks and chant as you hike, "I left, I left, I left my right foot home"
Play 42 with dominoes
Her favorite TV shows were The Cosby Show & Wheel of Fortune
Visit the Temple and sing "Families Can Be Together Forever" and share favorite memories of her, what she taught me
Nana's favorite scripture- Jesus blessing the Nephite children 3 Nephi 17
Sing "I need thee every hour"
I'm still searching for a video my Dad did a couple years before she passed away. He asked about her life history and I would just love to hear her voice again.  Isn't she beautiful?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

First Day of School Pictures

Early morning seminary for my 9th grader - I was too tired to take it at 6am so this was when he came home
 7th grader - nobody teases this tall guy
 5th grader who loves to make and take her lunch
Kindergarten - we almost missed the bus because I was too busy trying to get the perfect picture.  It's tradition for us to follow them to school and take a picture with Dad.

He had a wonderful first day and was so excited to ride the bus

One more to go (it goes by too fast doesn't it?)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ten years old

E turned ten years old the end of August. It's been a whirlwind of a summer so now that the kids are back in school hopefully I can catch up.   I bought her 10 different presents to open one each hour until dinner. (Simple little things that lead up to and hinted at her favorite, big present). Needless to say she was surprised we actually got her what she wished for and we're still suffering from sticker shock but it ended up being cheaper than throwing a party which we couldn't do this year because of the Parade of Homes and all that that entailed.

The boys were ecstatic when I told them the packing peanuts dissolve in water. Silly boys...  :)

Menu Plan for the month

I don't know about you but I love to plan.  It makes me feel prepared which makes me feel calm and in control and even if things don't turn out exactly like I planned... I still like having a plan in place.  I enjoy making up menu plans for the month because it helps me shop for only what we need to buy instead of buying random items and we tend to eat better when we have THE PLAN in place.  I also don't get asked, "What's for dinner?" anymore because they can find out by looking on the fridge where we post it.  I also love the change of seasons and how that affects our meals.  Have you seen the colors are starting to change along the Wasatch Front?  Gorgeous! 

Anywho... We're pretty simple folk so I like fast, cheap and easy because that works for a mom with five kids.  BTW, my kids LOVE breakfast for dinner so for that reason they usually inhale all the food in our fridge before Saturday night just so they can have waffles.

September Dinner Menu


*Recipes from Best Bites
Black Bean soup and quesadillas
*ice cream sandwiches
Bear Trapper
*Stuffed Pretzel
Spaghetti and salad
Chicken casserole
Beef soup & crackers
Pizza, Subway, movie
Leftovers or
breakfast for dinner
Orange Chicken and fried rice
*Spider webs
Mac and Cheese
*Pretzel Crayons
Quicky Sticky Chicken over rice and cooked carrots
Taco Salad
Chicken soup & crackers
Pizza, Subway, movie
Leftovers or
breakfast for dinner
Chicken Enchiladas and salad
*Apple Cider donuts
Spaghetti and salad
*Caramel popcorn
Chicken Nuggets, corn and peas
Grandma’s Tacos
Potato Soup and rolls
Pizza, Subway, movie
Leftovers or
breakfast for dinner
BBQ chicken with carrots and tator tots *Pumpkin cc cookies
Mac and cheese
*Apple Cider Floats
Chicken Pasta Salad
Taco Soup with Quesadillas
Easy Lasagna w/ zucchini, salad, rolls
Pizza, Subway, movie
Leftovers or
breakfast for dinner

Roasted Veggie Penne with diced ham *Caramel Apples