Friday, September 21, 2012

LDS Popsicle Puzzles

I have lost track of how many Popsicle puzzle tutorials I have seen out there in blog land. I realized that this could easily become a Reverent Bag activity by using pictures from the Gospel Art Book.

I found the pictures with two on a page fit the jumbo sized Popsicle sticks perfectly. Each of those pictures used 11 sticks. I used modge podge, let it dry then an exacto knife. (If you are confused about how-- google it, there are SO many tutorials that I figured it wasn't worth the work to create another.)

This was fairly easy--it just took time to dry. And it makes looking at pictures way more engaging for a little Baby Bunny. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cream of {Fill-in-the-Blank} Soup

I love canned cream of something soup. Not plain. Eeeeeww! Gross! But so many of my favorite recipes call for it. And it is nice having on hand so I can quickly dump things together and make a quick casserole. But canned cream soups add up. And I realized I could make it for SO much cheaper, if I would just add my own water instead of buying water in the can. (If that makes sense.... And sorry I don't have a price comparison. Everything for the soup I already had... so free?! Even buying it though would not be that pricey.) Another bonus is this is fairly low calorie! :)

2 c. nonfat dry milk powder (like the food storage stuff)
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/8 c. (2 T.) chicken bouillon granules (I buy this stuff in bulk at Winco. I think there is a vegetable bouillon if you were a vegetarian.)
2 T. dried onion flakes
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. pepper

Pour all of the ingredients in a Ziplock bag and seal it. Shake well to mix everything. Store at room temperature. Yields: 6 cans of cream soup.

When ready to use, whisk 1/3 c. of can soup mix with 1 1/4 c. COLD water for 1 can of soup. (It has to be cold so the cornstarch won't clump together.) Heat on medium heat while stirring frequently until thickened. Once thickened, you can add 2-3 T. (or more if desired) chopped mushrooms or celery or etc to make any flavor of cream soup. (FYI: I normally leave this out.) Use in place of 1 can of cream soup in a recipe.

Also... just for your information... I have found that when I use this in a recipe, I don't need quite as much liquid. So if the recipe calls for extra milk/ water, I will leave this out or reduce it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Laundry Soap

So I researched A LOT of homemade laundry soaps.
For the most part, I followed the "recipe" by

I feel like I'm old schooling here by making our own soap.
Baby Bunny was helping me make the soap--so cute!
1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle
1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle
1 (6 lb) Container of Sun OxyClean- Found in the detergent aisle. (Winco has a generic brand of oxy clean. We have used it before and it works great. It is WAY cheaper than the original brand.)
1 box flaked Zote Soap- Found in the detergent aisle at Walmart (Winco did not have this. You could also buy two bars of zote soap and grate it yourself. You would save about $0.71 but it was worth it to me to not have to grate it because I read tons of people complain about how that took forever!)
4 lb Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle (I bought this at bulk from Winco. Way cheaper!)
1 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener- Found in the detergent aisle (So this is my tip. Add this stuff and it makes the cost of your soap go WAY up! I think when I make this again in the future I am going to try leaving this out and then just use dryer sheets and/or liquid fabric softener.)

Pour everything into a huge bucket. (This had some of our emergency kit stuff in it that I emptied out for the purpose of stirring soap.) As you can tell though, I poured things in a little at a time to create layers. Totally recommend doing this because it made stirring a lot easier!

The label on the bottle... Keep reading, I will share it at the bottom.
Here is the one benefit of adding the Purex crystals--reusing the bottle! The lid to the bottle has lines on the side (like normal laundry things). And here is the best part. You don't need very much soap!! Seriously 1-2 T. So I just use the lid from the crystal bottle and fill it to the smallest line. I know that sounds crazy but that is what  I read on How Does She. (And there are tons of reviews/ comments of there of believers of this stuff. I figured with enough good praise I would try it out.)
I don't own a funnel.
So I used the leftover paper from the label I printed off.
And I was so excited to try this stuff out. (Haha... excited to do laundry--that must be a first...)
It works great! I LOVE the smell!!! Everything is so clean and refreshing.

I'm not sure how the smell would be affected without the Purex crystals. Personally, I think it would still smell great because the Zote soap is amazing! And as I was pouring things in the bucket, I loved the Zote stuff but could not really smell the crystals at all.

Several people said they had used it on baby clothes. So I figured it was worth a try.
I found stains do need to be pre-treated (like normal). Everything came out clean except for the clothes Baby Bunny exploded on. I just tossed them in. Uh, no. When there are yellow stains on his clothes, they need scrubbing beforehand!

And now for the best part. I originally saw this on the Facebook page of Sugardoodle but I can't find it on that page anymore. I just googled it and found an 8x10 print you can download at Three Little Monkeys. I figured it was a good reminder to see every time I had to use the laundry soap. I printed it off then taped it on the bottle with packing tape.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gospel Art Puzzles

Another idea to fill our Reverent Bags...
(Make sure you click the label "Reverent Bags" to see all of the ideas in one place.)

This idea is SO easy and so affordable. Yeah! :D
And I imagine that thousands of people have done this/ something similar.
I thought this was a great way to help Baby Bunny
become familiar with pictures that teach gospel themes.

First, I got an extra copy of the new Gospel Art Book.
(Pictured on the left. Ignore the sticky note on the top covering up our name...)
And then I literally flipped through the book and ripped pages out.
I honestly felt a little bad about ripping up the book.
But I kept reminding myself that this was an EXTRA copy.
And the entire reason I got another one was to make crafts with it.
And so I kept ripping pictures out.

Then I trimmed off all the extra paper.
(Just a note with this step... The pictures are all doubled sided.
Make sure while trimming off the blank paper on one side
that you are not accidentally cutting off the picture on the back side.)
And cut each picture in sixths. 
For a young Baby Bunny, I figured 6--double sided-- puzzle pieces was enough.
However once he is older, I will cut other pictures that have more pieces and various shapes.


I put each page into its own cheap envelope
and then put all of the envelopes into a larger manila envelope. 

I am not planning on laminating this. 
It is cheaper to just buy a new gospel art book if the pieces all die.
And, I only made about 5-6 puzzles right now.
When all of these puzzles are used and loved,
then I will just make new puzzles with different pictures.

And... by the way...
Hold on to your "craft" gospel art book.
I have some more ideas for how to use it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

We Believe {FHE Idea}

I have thought a lot about the Articles of Faith since posting earlier about the Articles of Faith Puzzles that I made to go in our Reverent Bags. I realized that although I probably used to know them at one point in time, I wasn't very confident on reciting them. Shoot. Forget reciting them, I wasn't even sure I knew what some of them talked about. {guilty look} I was determined to (re)memorize them all again because I want to be able to teach Baby Bunny. I can't teach him that which I don't know myself. And so, this Family Home Evening was created. FYI: I am falling in love with because the ideas generally came from their Articles of Faith page. I even adapted this lesson from there. :) And there are TONS of ideas--if you want to look for a different activity/ lesson/ etc!

Opening Song:  


Scripture:  "...and they that believe in him shall be saved."  2 Nep 2:9

Lesson Intro:  What are the Articles of Faith? Who wrote them? Why were they written? How are they important to us today? (This last question might be something to think about during the lesson and then come back to it at the end.)

Story:  When Joseph Smith was the prophet of our church, a man named Mr. John Wentworth who was the Editor of the Chicago Democrat newspaper asked him to write a letter for him about our church.  This is what the letter that Joseph Smith wrote him was like.  (Read letter, and display picture of Joseph)  At the end of his letter Joseph Smith wrote the Articles of Faith, and that is how the Articles of Faith came to be.

7 March 1842

At the request of Mr. Wentworth, I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints, of which I have the honor under God, of being the founder.  Mr Wentworth says that he wishes to furnish Mr. Bastow, a friend of his, who is writing the history of New Hampshire, with this document.

When I was fourteen I began to ponder religion.  I knew that all the churches couldn't be right, so I went to a grove of trees, and asked God which church was true.  He told me that none of them were, and that in the future I would know the fullness of the gospel.  A few years later an angel came and told me about the gold plates, and that I would be the one to translate them and bring the gospel back to the earth.

On the 6th of April, 1830, the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" was first organized.  We as members of the church were treated very badly by people that didn't believe the same way we did.  We were driven from county to county, and state to state, and many of our people were sick and dying.  We
arrived in Illinois in 1839, where we began to build Nauvoo, "our city beautiful".

Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unshallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may raise, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purpose of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.  (the articles of faith follow this)

                Joseph Smith

 Activity:  Play with the Article of Faith Puzzles. Could make it a race to see how fast you can work to get the pieces all together. Or give everyone their own card(s) and have them find all the pieces they need for their card then read each Article of Faith. 

Challenge: Memorize all 13 Articles of Faith. I printed off some punch cards to keep track of the progress. (Note: I used the ones in the link--just edited them and took off the green background to save on color ink.) Then on the back of each of our punch we wrote down a reward. I would suggest that it be a non-food reward for each person individually. Examples: 13 minutes staying up later, 13 minutes of extra screen time/ video games, 13 minute massage, etc. Have everyone pick something that would be a reward to them to help keep them motivated to memorize. And then once everyone in the family has completed their cards then go out for ice cream.

Closing Song:  

Closing Prayer:

Treats: We "Bee"lieve (pick a treat to make... or simply have something with honey...)

(And seeing the cards everyday has helped!
I currently have 12/13 memorized. 
The last one I need to work on is #10.)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

to see from the i

A few pictures for everyone's delight.

1. Devin loves to touch his bottle. He doesn't hold it but rather just exploring.
2. Kick back and relax.
3. {just happened a bit earlier this evening--Sept 15} Devin laughed for the first time. He has an absolutely adorable laugh!
4. Devin can still fit in his NB clothes. Except he is preparing for the flood.
5. Touring the Brigham City Temple Open House. Sweetest thing ever: Devin slept through the long line and video and long line again. But once we entered the temple, he woke up and was grinning for most of the tour.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Articles of Faith Puzzles

So I'm slightly torn with creating Reverent Bags.
I'm worried that Baby Bunny will think he has to have constant entertainment.
That is way not the point.
My goal with Reverent Bags is not merely to keep him occupied.
Occupied implies a need of constant entertainment and
going through withdrawals of not "playing" when he is a missionary.
My goal is to keep him engaged.
He is involved and {hopefully} listening.
I still maintain that I would never teach a class with nothing for the students to do.
Therefore, I don't want to attend Sacrament Meeting empty handed.
But at the same time...
I don't want to have so much stuff in the bag that he takes it for granted.
It is a balancing act.
I'm not sure how much "stuff" I will put in each bag.
Some things may rotate occasionally
or change as he gets older.


My first idea...

(It is not quite done yet--don't judge)
And everyone will LOVE this idea because it is so easy!

If you have a black and white printer (and maybe some card stock), you are in luck.
I found these Article of Faith Puzzles at sugardoodle, designed by Heather Baer.
I printed my puzzles out at 4 to a page because I want things to be small.
I know that big is easier for a young child but it is also waaaaaaaay more distracting to everyone around them and it won't fit as nicely into our Reverent Bags. Quarter scale it is.
I colored the puzzle pieces but not the "board game." Color makes everything way more exciting!

I still plan to cut out all the pieces and cut around on the square lines on the boards. Then I want to laminate the individual boards and all of the pieces. Lamination is not a must... but I'm hoping to make each project for our Reverent Bags ONCE and then they will last for many, MANY years to come. Also, when everything is cut into pieces, I plan to put everything into one ziplock bag. You could put each puzzle in its own bag (or envelope) and it would be easier but I figure having to hunt through all of the pieces, will help make the activity last longer. Then the Articles of Faith puzzles will be randomly assigned to a week (for example: put all of them in Reverent Bag Week 1).

And I realize that Devin will not understand the meaning of these when he first starts using them. So therefore, it is just like any ordinary puzzle, right?! Wrong. Eventually he will know the meaning and by that time, he will already be in the habit of only church activities at church. Besides, babies absorb WAY more than we give them credit {I think}. Maybe this will help him memorize the Articles of Faith at an early age. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reverent Bags

This will probably come as a shocker to everyone.
Children are not naturally reverent.
I know... huge revelation right there.
Ha, ha, ha!

I continued to think about this though.
President Marion G. Romney said,
"By and large, children... will be just about as reverent 
as they are trained to be and no more"
("Reverence," Ensign, Oct. 1976, p. 3).
So if they are not naturally reverent,
it means someone has to "train" them.
And I am blessed with that opportunity to teach Baby Bunny.

There is a HUGE difference between being reverent
and simply being quiet.
As the Primary song says,
"Rev'rence is more than just quietly sitting:
It's thinking of Father above,
A feeling I get when I think of his blessings.
I'm rev'rent, for rev'rence is love"
(Children's Songbook, p. 31).
How do I instill in Baby Bunny the desire to be reverent instead of just being quiet?
How do we teach him about the gospel?
How do we help him find his own testimony?

Granted Baby Bunny is only 3 months old.
However, he won't stay that way for long.
And I already feel the weight of responsibility for training him.

I have also remembered when I was teaching preschool at BYU.
Or even when I was teaching Jr. High last year.
I would never, ever, EVER start the class with nothing for them to do.
Problems arise when children are bored.
If I kept them occupied and engaged,
even the pill children were tolerable.

With thinking about Reverence.
And knowing I needed to come up with a lesson plan.
I created these...


A Reverent Bag is something that will go with us to church each week and will have activities to keep Baby Bunny engaged but still thinking about Gospel related things. I did not want this to just become a "quiet bag" of things to keep him occupied. I want it to be something that he can learn from and something that helps his testimony begin to grown. As you can tell from the picture, there are 4 bags because each week will have a different "lesson plan." (And on 5th Sundays, we will just take one of the other bags--maybe Devin can pick his favorite week.) I wanted to make each week different so it would keep him (and someday future siblings--not an announcement!) engaged. 

So far, each Reverent Bag is labeled with Week 1, 2, 3, or 4 and has a gospel themed book. These books are not the cheapest but this was a blessing in disguise from when I had to spend hoooooours cleaning out the BYU nurseries. I inherited a lot of duplicate things. I would suggest searching the D.I. before dishing out the cash for these things brand new. Or skip the books all together (just check back later for more Reverent Bag ideas).

I have searched online and found tons of FREE printables. Thank you kind internet people that have already taken the time to make Reverent activities for my child. Even with other people already making the activities, it still takes time to print/ cut/ assemble/ etc. I will slowly be posting new ideas for what I'm putting in our Reverent Bags. Feel free to copy exactly or change completely what I'm doing to make you Reverent Bag(s) work for your sweet little ones.

BTW: some of my ideas and quotes came from an article published in the Church News on Aug. 25, 2012.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Scriptures: a friend in disguise

My little sister is down to her last days in the MTC. A letter she wrote home a few weeks ago told us how she was preparing for a fireside. She went with an open heart, seeking answers to her questions. Her answer was to memorize scriptures in Spanish.

When, I wrote back to her, I sent her this quote.

"Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change. (2011 October General Conference, The Power of Scripture, Sat. Morning Session - Richard G. Scott)"

Anyway, I continued to think about what Elder Scott said. I need someone that can give me inspiration and comfort all the time. Being a mom is hard and I often wonder what I'm doing. Sometimes I just want a hug and the only one around is the fussy baby. I decided to take Elder Scott's challenge. I'm working on building life long friendships (in English).

I found this awesome app from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It helps you memorize all of the scripture mastery verses and Articles of Faith. I installed "LDS Scripture Mastery" and started using it. Because lets be honest, I definitely don't have these all memorized even though I'm a seminary graduate. And even the ones I did have memorized once upon a time could for sure use a refresher course. My goal is one verse a day!

So here is to creating comfort, finding inspiration and making life long friends.
(And another motivation to memorize is so I can teach Baby Bunny the scriptures better. Win-Win!)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Devin's Data: THREE MONTHS

Weight: 12.6 pounds

Height: 23 1/2 inch

Clothing Size: he started wearing 0-3 near the end of August. His legs are just too long for NB.

Diaper Size: 1

Milestones: plays with his hands and often grasps them together. Holds on to toys. Has a huge noise vocabulary and uses multi syllables. Turns to look at loud noises/ bright lights. Sits well with support. Can roll in both directions. Is starting to teeth (He is crazy young for that!)

Eating: Mommy's milk and a lot of it. At least 7 ounces before bed from the bottle but sometimes up to 9. With teething though, he struggles to eat because it hurts. Poor baby!

Sleeping: we moved him to his own room the very end of August. He now sleeps soundly from around 9:45 until 6:30. Then eats quickly and back to sleep until 9 ish.

Communication: smiles a lot, esp at mommy and daddy. He is exploring his voice and makes all types of squeaks, squeals, grunts and cries-- we tell him his vocabulary is expanding. Some of the sounds healed have multiple syllables.

Likes: staring at his mobile as it plays the lullaby-- doesn't help him sleep but for sure entertains him. Sleeping with the white noise maker on in his own room. Smiles at daddy when he comes home from work. "Talking" to mommy throughout the day. Going on car rides-- he normally stays awake now and talks to us. Smiling after he spits up.

Dislikes: being by himself or when he feels I'm ignoring him. Cool milk--it has to be really warm to eat from the bottle. Milk that does not come out fast enough. The taste of his vitamin. Teething!!

Nicknames: Baby Bunny (I'm pretty sure the name is stuck for life)

Most Memorable Moment(s): both of us watching him roll over for the first time together-- too bad I didn't record it!

Hardest Part: hearing him cry and cry and cry and not knowing why and then he wants to just cuddle with me the whole time and I don't know if I should let him or put him down so he can learn to comfort himself. A teething baby sure is challenging but I love Tylenol and the teething tablets!

Lisa's Favorite Part: watching Devin smile when he hears my voice or when he smooshes his cheek against mine and we cuddle

Casey's Favorite Part: when Devin holds on to me

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hello Autumn.

Long pants.
Cute socks.

Homemade soup.
Pumpkin cookies.

Happy Halloween.
Happy Thanksgiving.

My birthday.
His birthday.

Double rainbows.
Yellow trees.


Saturdays are family days. At least that is the goal. But with Casey starting school and working, Saturday might quickly be filled with catching up and homework. Someday life as we know it will not be filled with paying tuition and expensive books and long hours studying. But until then, we sure are going to find joy in the journey! :)

We took Baby Bunny to Brighton a week ago to walk around Silver Lake. We thought it would be a good walk for the stroller because the hike had a boardwalk the whole way. Note to anyone with the same brilliant idea: Baby Bunny went uh-uh-uh-uh the entire way around the lake. Boardwalk is made of slats and is way different than sidewalk. It was extremely bumpy. Live and learn.

Devin was awake and happy for most of the picnic and walk despite the obnoxious wheel bumping along every slat.

He rode in the stroller without the car seat. This was a first. We saw two moose, some ducks up close, several chipmunks/ squirrels, one of my former (pill) student and a former co counselor from summer camp. We also remembered how fun it is to hold hands! I'm excited for someday when Baby Bunny will actually understand what we are doing and anxiously run the trail with his tiny legs and adorable itty bitty shoes! :)

My BEST friend!
What is this? Why are the straps done up so incredibly tight?
Tickle, Tickle...
Love how my hair is totally in his face.
But the best part is all three of us are smiling!! :)