Friday, June 29, 2012

Faithful Friday: Teaching Resources

I enjoyed compiling a list of Service Ideas last week, so I thought I'd compile another list---a list on something I've been thinking a lot about lately: family and teaching the Gospel to family...well, to a pre-schooler anyway.

I love taking the random moments during the day to explain Gospel principles to Widget, although it takes quite a bit of effort to be 'randomly' prepared...I never know what we may talk about in the next 24 hours. But I know that if I speak from my heart and pray for guidance, I can be personally refined- by my Father in Heaven -to be the best mother that I can possibly be.

Some resources I have found (mostly through can stalk me, if you like, LikeThemApples) to help me prepare and become a better teacher, mother and servant of the Lord:

  •  Great words to live by: 'Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid." by Albert Einstein. See visual here.
  • LDS scripture quiet book with printable templates by Laura Thoughts.
  • Another printable (same as above) of a Sheri L. Dew quote: 'We just can't let the Lord down. And if the day comes when we are the only women on earth who find nobility and divinity in motherhood, so be it.'
  • No sew quiet book examples from Our Cozy Nest.
  • A Year of FHE lesson plans. You can search by topic, year and even coloring pages. Lots of resources in one place.
  • Children's Music: LDS Children's song book  written music, lyrics along with mp3s of each song.
  • Gospel Art Pictures: available for purchase, or visit here to view and download individual pictures (also available in Old Testament and New Testament)

Just like last week, I'd love for you to add to my list in the comment section. 

And I'd like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
"When our wagon gets stuck in the mud, God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer; no matter how eloquent the oration."
 ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf. 

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Banana Surprise

Another Pinterest recipe-tried and loved! calls it Banana-Chocolate Bites, but at our house it has been lovingly dubbed "Banana Surprise!"
 My variation only has 3 ingredients: crescent rolls, banana and almond butter.
 I cooked the rolls at 375 degrees for around 10-12 minutes (varies by oven).
 Cut crescent triangles in half.
 Add a scoop of almond butter and a slice of banana to the widest part of the triangle.
 Roll 'em up. Pop it in the oven-
 And done!

Widget and I love these (the Hubby doesn't like bananas, so we make them while he is at work). Let me know in the comments if you try making these-I would like to know what you think :) Enjoy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sea Shell Magnets

Since we've been visiting the beach every week, we have collected a number of sea shells. So for Father's Day, Widget and I put together some Sea Shell Magnets for the hubby. It just so happened that I brought a handful of metal bottle caps from Missouri, my hot glue gun, and scrapbook paper.

I traced the bottom of the bottle cap (the smallest side) on my chosen paper, then cut it out.
And trimmed the edges to make the paper fit into the bottle cap.
Fill the bottom of the bottle cap with hot glue, then place the cut circle into the glue. Let the glue cool.
Pick out sea shells to put in each cap and hot glue them into the individual caps.
 I thought it might be nice to put a 'glaze' over the shells and paper, but the only type I had on hand is Mod Podge Dimensional something or I tried it on just one bottle cap, see the one that looks white?
It did dry more clear, but a little wrinkly and contained a number of air bubbles. So, I left the others as is, hot glued some flat round magnets on the back, and voila!

Easy (and quick) personalized gift...and it cost pennies to make :) (especially if you have all the items on hand). You could also use other items instead of sea shells: maybe legos, marbles, old jewelry, etc. Really, anything small enough to fit into a bottle cap will work! And scrapbook paper, construction paper, postcards, fabric or pictures (like here) can be used in the bottom of the bottle caps.

Have fun personalizing bottle cap magnets for your next Birthday gift or how about magnets for a bridal shower made from the bride's choice of colored paper...the possibilities are nearly endless --->go forth and conquer the bottle cap magnets!!!

The Southern Institute

Friday, June 22, 2012

Faithful Friday: Service Ideas

Well, one mental breakdown a week ain't too shabby...okay, so not complete melt down...just a medium size tantrum is all :( But, I've calmed down (and it's days later now) so my thoughts are a lot clearer; however, not perfect. I am loved, I am needed, AND I am enough. that that is out of my system, onto brighter topics ;)

I think a lot about service in my life. Service is one of the characteristics I believe Christ to have, and it is very important for us to have and/or work towards. I believe that service and charity go hand in hand, and that charity is the Pure Love of Christ. Service is also a main part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which I belong. And there are many ways to serve...not just through a church, or to friends, or in your families (which are all great!), but through other organizations and venues as well.

For instance, I've been looking for a service project to accompany an activity for the women of our church (happening in July) and I even emailed the ladies in our ward/group for ideas. The range of ideas in this area is amazing, and I am so glad that I do not have to pick the final project for this activity (considering the activity is for the group of women in Missouri, not Puerto Rico-where I currently live).

Here are some of the service ideas the ladies emailed me, along with a few I've seen pop up around blogland recently:

-Ronald McDonald House Charities: the Kansas City area receives help from volunteers year round with party decor, handmade cards, etc. Other RMHC may use this help as well.
-Hospitals: some hospitals take donations, like handmade hats for babies and/or cancer patients, stuffed animals, and/or blankets. Another helpful item may be activity books (mazes, coloring sheets, crossword puzzles) for the waiting rooms.
-Fire Departments/Police Stations: some FD and PS take donations of stuffed animals to give away to children that have experienced some sort of trauma (think car accidents, violence, etc.)
-Women's Shelters: many shelters need toiletries, blankets, pillow cases, etc.
-Quilt Tying: many different organizations take quilt donations and distribute blankets to foreign countries that experienced natural disasters; including the LDS Humanitarian Center.
-Enchanted Makeovers: helps organize sewing capes for children staying in shelters, giving kids an item to play with that doesn't take up much space and gives the gift of creative play, among other projects.
-New Mothers: make baby blankets and/or burp cloths for new moms in your area, or create support groups where new moms can come learn, enjoy each others company, and get out of the house :)
-Foster Care Foundation: one current service project for Foster Care Foundation is called "Skirting the Issue." To see more info, go here. Other projects are probably going on as well, I just don't have the info.
-Humanitarian Service: many ideas here and LDS Humanitarian Center ideas here.

-Teeny Tears: an organization that helps grieving loved ones of angel babies. Read their blog here and see another blog post about a specific project.

Okay, so I know this list is not all encompassing...but it's a good place to jump start anyone's willingness to serve. I'd like to open up the comment section for you guys to include ideas and links for other service projects and opportunities. I think it would be a great idea to have a running list on the blog for the next couple of months, because summer is a great time to utilize your kids' energy and crave of structure to teach charity and service for please feel free to send your ideas my way! (This is me pleading with you!!!)

May your hearts be full of love for another, who may cross your path today ;)

The Southern Institute

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Third Thursdays with Tash

Remember, every third Thursday of the month, there is a series on the blog called Third Thursdays with Tash. My sister-in-law, Tash, posts something creative to share with you (my stalkers!)

Tis a gift I am sewing...

Hello everybody, I hope you have had a fabulous month. Since we last spoke I have found my self in need of gifts. No. Not me wanting gifts, although I wouldn’t mind that either. I have been in need of gifts to give away. The first one was for my 6’2" little brother, who I like to call Bug. Bug graduated from high school and went on a trip to Deutschland for a foreign exchange with some of his German class buddies. Before he left, I wanted to give him something special to use while away from home.

I went on the same trip when I was his age, and I remember that my friends were always asking me for pain killers and allergy medication. Towards the end of the trip I felt terrible saying no, but when your supply is low and you feel your own head aching…. you get the idea. So to spare him from the guilt of saying no, I sent him off with his own mini pharmacy in a convenient drawstring bag. In case he forgot what was in the bag, I appliquéd a large red cross on the front. Can I just say I thought appliqué was difficult? Thanks to the expertise our (Ashley & Tash) awesome mom-in-law, it was a cinch! (editors note: insert drum riff here)

The second gift was for a baby shower. This friend has two rambunctious little boys and is now having a girl. The first thing I made her was a large pink flower that screamed girl. However I quickly remembered that most babies are bald...This posed a problem. How was this baby girl supposed to declare her femininity without a way to wear the hair flower? Thankfully I had a white t-shirt that nobody was going to use that made a fast and simple headband. Hooray for ingenuity and scrap fabric! At the shower, this friend was given even more hair flowers and head bands. Now baby will have a fashion for every day of the month.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “…love is really spelled t-i-m-e….” This is why I like giving homemade gifts. The time and thought put into the gift is more valuable than how much it cost. Then again, I can spend forever in a store looking for the perfect gift. What do you think? Is home made or store bought better, and why? Does it depend on the person or item? I would love to hear your thoughts.

See you next month!

P.S. Here is a sneak peak at a work in progress…

The Southern Institute

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Pajamas!

I've been meaning to make pajamas for Widget since last Christmas...I was supposed to make her some as a Christmas present, but I was lazy and bought some instead (although I purchased pj's for super cheap). As you may have already guessed, this pattern (which I'm quite certain I bought at Walmart) has sat in my sewing room/studio for at least 6 months...But I finally put it to good use :)

I grabbed the pattern, and I cut out the smaller pattern for the pants (ie: size 3-6 instead of 7-12).

I only used 1/2 yard, and I made the pants into shorts (perfect for hot Puerto Rican weather, right?!?!)

Here is Widget modeling the pants after I sewed the waist band and lace cuff

She loves the fabric...I mean, who wouldn't? It's a faux patchwork of princesses, castles, frog princes, and horse drawn carriages.

Oh...Have you ever experimented with elastic thread? Oh my! I have now shirred at least three pieces of clothing...and I just can't stop! I thought these pajamas would be super cute if they had a 'bloomer' effect, so I sewed 4 rows (of shirring) about 1 inch up (towards the crotch) from the pant hem-and they look even cuter than before :)

This is Widget practicing her letters ('Mom School') while I sewed her new pajamas.

This white shirt was from the Target clearance rack (around $3, if I remember correctly). The colors where pretty close to the fabric I had on hand for the shorts (since I could only bring a tiny part of my fabric collection with me to PR). Because there was no dark blue/navy color in the princess print, I added a bit of navy (albeit darker than the shirt) onto the bottom of the shorts. I also sewed 3 rows of shirring around the sleeve openings to create more of a 'puff sleeve' than a 'butterfly sleeve' hopes of making the top match the bottom stylistically (he he he...I love using big words that I can spell).

*Sorry these last few pictures are funky...I had to wait until bedtime to get pictures of the whole 'outfit' together.
*P.S. the pant legs are really the same length, even though the left pant leg looks much short in the pictures. And even if they aren't perfect, you can't tell in person because the child moves too fast :)

...and then Daddy made her laugh :)

I would call this a Sewing Success!  It may be an understatement to say 'I am happy' with the results of this project! Widget even loves her new jammies, and has worn them every night since they touched her body. I'm glad I left a bit of fabric in the seam allowance, too...since she's been growing a lot, I was worried that she'd only get to wear these for a month or two. So I cut a size larger in the pattern, and used about a 1" seam allowance, and I left fabric in the waist band so I can 'drop the crotch' if necessarily. Just trying to plan ahead, ya know? And, if the fabric shrinks anymore in the wash, I have a little bit of play room to 'fix' the shorts if needed.

How about you---have you made pajamas for your children? Do you use a pattern or do you make it up as you go? Have you altered a pattern in some way (making pants into shorts, shirring, etc)?

The Southern Institute

Friday, June 15, 2012

Faithful Friday has been a long, long, time since a Faithful Friday post...
Good thing that doesn't mean that I've had such a long time between 'faith realizations'....

Well, I can say that I have been tested, as usual...but I am still breathing, I haven't yelled at my husband in days...j/k (seriously though). Something about trials in faith (or trials period) increase my stress level, which has a direct correlation with the volume of my voice. I'm not proud of this fact, but it's the truth.

Now that we are finally living in Puerto Rico, life is not magically simple, carefree, easy, or near perfect (although, wouldn't that be nice? At least for a day or two?) Nope, life is, way it should be. I still stay home with my pre-schooler who practically dances circles around me (in physical energy, spunk, attitude, and verbal runoff). I still have to decide what to feed my family (and don't even get me started on my new dinner dilemma, that's for another post). I do not have a vacuum to clean my all-tile-floors...which is a bummer (I'd pick vacuum over broom any day of the week).

But I still get ready for the day, every day (it makes me feel better about myself). I eat at least 3 meals a day (I tend to overeat when stressed, so sometimes I drop meals to 'make up' the difference in caloric intake...which is unhealthy and I'm working on will power against being unhealthy). I can work on 'school' topics with my daughter (alphabet, Spanish) during the day while the hubby is at work. And my husband and I find time every night to read our scriptures together (in help me learn, because I am apparently a super slow learner when it comes to Spanish). And, I try to pray to my Heavenly Father (personally) at least twice a day.

I'm not sharing these things to brag...far far from it...I have come a long way in the last few years, and typing these things out is a great reminder of what I have accomplished and where I can improve. And believe me, there is definitely room to improve! My Heavenly Father does not judge me against others, only against myself (He knows what is in my heart)-so that is how I should judge myself. Even my husband and I are very different in the ways we handle life (even when much of our life overlaps), but we will not be compared to each other in the end (which is awesome, by-the-way, he is so much cooler than I am). I must learn for me, implement new behaviors according to my feelings, personal inspiration, and feed back...and strive to live according to God's will and in my own capacity to do so.

Of course I struggle even though I have successes. Of course I lose my temper, but it's my actions when that happens that define me. I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend (and don't forget blogger :)  )...and I should be treated as such-even by my self-in the nicest way possible. And I totally know that I am my own worst critic.

I am not perfect about only comparing myself to myself, but I know it can help my sanity. Have you noticed that when we compare ourselves to others, we compare our short comings to others successes? Our worst characteristics to their best? Doesn't that seem flawed? Flawed or not, it is usually what happens (at least in my life). Because I compare my lack of will power, when it comes to food, to the mom across the street that has a Fabulous figure and tan...which says to me that she has time to work out, she eats healthier than I, and is a natural beauty...I get caught up in superficial ideals and psych myself out of taking care of my body, since it will never look like the mom's across the street. Now, I know this is a lame way to view life, but I am human and I want to wish my 'issues' or 'trials' away instead of facing them head on, confronting, or over coming them...and re-assigning my guilt or discomfort because I do not look like someone else is a cowardly way of 'getting rid of' my hardships.

First of all, I do not tan...well, I do a little I guess, if you call the color Eggshell a tan. I have been blessed with fair sensitive skin, which is mine to take care of, and will always be a porcelain complexion. Second, just because I do not look like a super model, does not make me unhealthy. Yes I am not at 8% body fat (not even close), but I try my hardest and I have more energy to spend time with my family when I treat my body right. Third, looking 'fit' or 'in shape' does not necessarily mean anything. The mom across the street could look at herself in the mirror and only see the extra 5 lbs she cannot lose, versus all I see is near perfection, or maybe she has had plastic surgery to look like never know :) But again, this is an example of me comparing what I see as my worst assets to her best. This is why it is important to do our personal best, and not compare ourselves to someone else.

I am not perfect; I have bad days along with the good days. I have room for improvement, a lot of room, but I should not dwell in the negative. I know that I am a child of God and He has given me a beautiful body, the body which created life, and He has given me many other characteristics that make me the best Mom for my daughter. I know that Heavenly Father loves me, and wants me to succeed.

Anyway, sorry if this post is a bit ramble-y...just some thoughts I've had the last few weeks.
Thanks for being my Stalkers!!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Honor...

In honor of the upcoming Father's Day (which also means my Hubby's bday is around the corner as well), I'd like to share a few more pictures of a great Dad...
 Excited to leave
 Getting into the car
 The drive there
 Daddy showing the way
 Making sandcastles

 Met a new friend

 She ended up with lots and lots of sand in her pants (sigh)
Hope your weekend looks like the pictures above (I know ours will)...but if you are no where near a beach, I hope your Father's Day celebrations are full of warm feelings (like a beach!) and big smiles :)

Thanks for reading!