Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Creating a Refined, Peaceful, Home #1--Spiritual Tour

As I was sitting in the Temple last week, I felt so loved and so peaceful. The surroundings were beautiful and clean and quiet; the people were talking in quiet tones and were dressed simply but neatly; The music was quiet and soothing; There were people available to help and direct others; There were scriptures available to study; and there was time for pondering and praying.

I thought of my own home and how I have always had the goal, even when I was growing up, to have a home where people feel comfortable and want to be there. I asked myself the question I have asked so many times: Have I accomplished that goal? Is my home a place of comfort and peace where my family feels safe and wants to be there? It reminded me of a conference talk by Elder Gary E. Stevenson: "Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples" given last April at General Conference. He invited us to:
"take a virtual tour of their homes using their spiritual eyes . . . I testify to you that the application of these [Gospel] principles will help turn the doors of your home to the temple, or house of the Lord, and more fully allow you to make your sacred home a house of the Lord."

So I have decided to take that challenge and during the month of July I want to take a "Spiritual Tour" of my home and see if I can find simple ways to improve, or even happily notice simple ways I am already succeeding. Watch for future post about my findings! I would love comments about your own tours of your home environment.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to Make a Tissue-Paper Doll

Here is a craft idea created by my daughter. Here is how she describes how to make it:

"First you get one tissue. This will be the body of the tissue-paper doll. Then you take one rubber band (the thin little black ones) and then take one and put it in the middle of the tissue. Then you take another one and put it on the bottom.
Then you take the last one and put it on top.
Then you take one square of toilet paper and make it into a loop. You have to make two of them--these will be the arms of the tissue paper doll. Then you either tape or attach them somehow to the middle of the doll.
Then you color the shirt and pants of the doll with markers. Then you color the mouth and the eyes of it. The mouth and the eyes will form a face when you are finished. Then you color the hair and color the tissue part with the rubber-band and any part you want to be the hair. (Just be sure not to color the face yellow) Then you add like a ring or like a butterfly ring or CTR ring or any ring and attach it to the middle of the shirt. Forming another layer of rubber band, take the one that the ring is attached to and attach it to the center and then you have your toilet paper doll."

So cute! I have a little blogger.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Free Online Summer Reading Program

We signed up for Letterpals which is a free online Summer Reading Program for Grade School age kids. The pets from the pet shop send a grade-level email to your child Monday through Thursday during the week for them to go online and read. Then they answer comprehension questions, do a crossword puzzle and a word-search with words from the email, and earn points for prizes by doing so each day. It is free and my Daughter LOVES it! It even has a bonus that I say "finish your most important job list and then I'll let you check your mail in letter pals! She works so fast after that. She has also been working on her typing skills and her spelling with me while she completes the activities.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Teach Small Children to Read

I am including an email message from one of my friends with information about my FAVORITE resource for teaching reading. My daughter started with these level books just before she started kindergarten and although she was already a beginning reader, she very quickly went through these books with me. The beginning levels tell simplified scripture stories from the Book of Mormon. (Which is on Lliam's list of Most Influential Books) The last level includes actual scripture passages and after that she was ready to read the Book of Mormon herself! She is now starting second Grade and reads at a third-fourth grade level. She also LOVES Scripture Stories! The bonus is that they make Great coloring books for church too. :) Thanks Doris!!

"Below is an email from my mother-in-law who has written leveled books called "Book of Mormon Little Books." My mother in law has been a teacher for over 20 years and the past several years has been a reading specialist for the state of AZ. If you have children or grandchildren who are learning to read, these books are great and she even has made a lesson plan book to go with them.Another neat thing she has put together is when her kids were young, for her scripture study most days she would compile Book of Mormon Picture Pages. Basically she has gone through the entire Book of Mormon and has written out the scriptures on individual pages (most pages contain several versus of scripture) but she has organized them in such a manner so that her children could take a page and draw a picture relating to the scriptures, then they would each share their picture and learn the scriptures in a more hands on way. To this day the kids still talk about and remember a lot of the pictures they drew and my mother in law has notebooks filled with these picture pages her kids created. She has compiled all of these onto a DVD, they are blank pages for you to print out for your children to draw the pictures.Anyhow, she is discounting the prices right now so I wanted to just let you all know this. There is more information below along with websites if you would like to visit them.


"Dear Friends,Recently I've been part of the UHEA (Utah Home Education Association) Convention. I had the pleasure of presenting 2 workshops as well as having a booth where we sold my 32 Book of Mormon Little Books, Scripted Lesson Plans, and Book of Mormon Picture Pages (family scripture study for all ages). I'm offering everyone free economy shipping and UHEA Convention discount prices that are listed below through June 30, 2009!Please share this with all your friends.Thanks!Doris Johnson Please visit both websites:http://www.mormonlittlebooks.com/ UHEA Discount until June 30th!http://iceitnice.blogspot.com/ Family Home Evening & Other Occasions--Cake Decorating Fun for Everyone!
Until June 30, 2009"

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Comfy Cozy daughter's room all by herself!

Here is a before picture. It is not as cozy, right?
" Now the pictures are organized together as a 'unit' Mom!"

" Now there is a rug on my floor! (I just made it out of a blanket) But the only thing missing is I don't have any lamps! " We might have to go look at a thrift shop because Angela says it's never cozy without at least three lamps. :)
I am impressed. The room is clean, it is comfy cozy, and she did it all herself with no prompting (she even took the pictures herself).
Thanks Imaginecozy!

Simply Hair: Homemade Flower clip and braids

We tried the Babes in Hairland simple braids and a turkeytail. If you notice that it doesn't look like she has any turkey tails it is because her hair is not so thick as the one in the model and so it is looped up cute but you can't really see it. I like the fast easy ones on busy days.

Also, in less than one minute, I made up a flower accessory by having my dd choose a flower from her collection of silk flowers, grabbing a hair clip, taking out the plastic part in the middle and then sewing a few simple stitches through the petals and around the hair clip. Then I replaced the plastic center and clipped it into her hair. I even got to do a craft today
yeah! Since I love crafts and I love dong hair, this little adventure today was a time out for mom for sure. Taking the few minutes to do this and to post in here, really helps me feel like I got to do something fun and creative today. Simple really is best!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our New Comfy Cozy Reading Room

The Reading Room was already my favorite room in the house and it was pretty nice already, but I was excited to try out what I had learned at Enrichment Nightlast night with Angela, the creator of imginecozy. I so wish I had remembered to take "before" Pics but at least I can show off the results!

The chair with the red blanket on it was brought in from another room, the smaller white shelf was turned at an angle instead of right next to the larger shelf, and I went through the books and moved out lots of them and added some little "doo dads" as Angela would say.
The couch, piano, rug and tables and even the large picture are still in their same places (the picture needs to be rehung when hubby can help me) I added the black chest from another room, the white pillar with the plant from the corner where the shelf is now turned at an angle, and moved two red lamps off of the piano.

The red blankets were already in this room as accents but now I draped one over the back of the couch instead of just thrown on one of the arms, I put the lamps from the piano behind the couch. (I have decided to put them at a little different heights now although that isn't shown in this picture) I didn't have any tables to put them on so I just used a box and a suitcase behind the couch to set them on.
Thanks Angela! That was really fun and didn't cost anything and now it is an even comfier cozier room. And the best part was doing it together with my daughter who has now run off to do the same to her own bedroom.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I agree, President Uchtdorf, Creating maximizes my potential.

This quote is on that has made a big impact on my life and changed the way I look at things since I heard it:
"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty" President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

There is a great blog called "imagine cozy" which teaches design elements which you can use to create a space in your home that is beautiful without spending any money by rearranging things you already have in your home. I just went to a presentation given by Angela who is the creator of the site. It was so fun and my daughter, who went with me, learned a lot too and said that "I have new eyes now they are like her eyes! I want to change my bedroom now!" The whole time, I felt the words of the talk above going through my mind. The evening was completed as Angela brought up the same talk.

Check it out here. After all, Angela pointed out, designing a home where your family wants to be is one of the best things you can do. She was even featured in a radio interview which can be accessed from a link on her site.

The very best words came from my dd: "All you need to have a beautiful home is three things: love, beauty and service!" She is right.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sweaty smell and stains out of whites

Another quest I have been on last week was to figure out how to get even the armpits of my whites clean and fresh smelling. The idea that worked (again can't remember which blog I got it from) was to use electrasol dishwasher soap (I used cascade lemon scent) and soak the clothing in it before washing. Warnings: 1) this can work on some colors too, I used it on two brightly colored shirts and it was great but on one it didn't work but left bleached out areas--so always do a small spot test first 2) The dishwasher soap has warnings on the back not to mix even with handsoap or you might get fumes so I just soak my clothes in the washing machine for a few hours (or overnight) with the dishwasher soap dissolved first into the water, and then wash the next morning with only that and not add any detergent or other cleaners.

Got grease stain out of my shirt!

I wish I could remember which website I found this idea on but I searched so many I can't remember now. But this is the tip that finally worked to get a butter stain out of my shirt and it was so simple and easy: Just put some shampoo and rub it into the stain before washing. It really did take it out the first time and that was after the stain being washed a couple of times using other tips trying to get it out.

K12 First Grade Curriculum Review

I really enjoyed being a guide for my daughter this year as she completed first grade through a virtual academy public school which uses the K12 curriculum. It was a little challenging finishing the whole curriculum since we started in January, but overall it was a good experience. My favorite aspects of this program are:

-Free complete curriculum materials and lesson plans sent to me in the mail and available online.
-Online computer software that tracks where my child is at academically.
-Still considered a public school so there was a teacher assigned to my daughter and she did phone and internet classes with her and phone or internet classsroom instruction and question answer sessions and parent teacher coferences monthly.
-Very thorough and fun curiculum. She especially enjoyed the science and history sections
-online learning games and online audio stories which enhanced the study of the day.
-assessments for almost every lesson which we could take BEFORE c ompleteing the lesson and find out if it is stuff already known.
-Anything I considered to be minutes toward a specific subject was able to count so there was great flexibility: making necklaces could be art, reading scriptures together could be language arts, phonics , or history . . .

The challenges were:
-starting mid school year, although the teacher was very helpful
-Too much time on the computer for me (the guide) since I read through the lessons so I could teach them to her ... in the end I got very good at seeing the objectives and improvising so I didn't need to stare at the screen so long.
-remembering to keep track of the minutes spent in each subject so that I could post her minutes into her attendance each day.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Simply Hair: Knot Criss-Cross Ponytails

These cute ponytails were best to do with wet hair. I didn't have small enough claw clips so I put tiny rubber bands on after each of the four knots first, then separated the hair from each knot back into two strands after the rubber band and then followed the directions at BabesinHairland.


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