7.22.2013

Pioneer Day Covered Wagon Craft


Hello, hello friends!!  Here in the great state of Utah July 24th is a pretty special day.  It is the day we celebrate our pioneer heritage.  I have always had a deep love for early church history and strive to pass that love onto my children.  Because I knew we wouldn't be having our normal family home evening this week we spent our Sunday morning doing a fun Covered Wagon Craft with the kids.

 
All you need to make one of your own is an empty cake mix box, white computer paper, two wood skewers and some Jumbo Craft Sticks from the great people at CraftProjectIdeas.com.


First I cut off the front of the cake mix box and set the piece of cardboard aside.


Then we hot-glued our jumbo craft sticks to our cake mix box, making the base of our wagon.
I have to add...that was Skylar's idea and I thought it turned out SO great :)


Using a small cup, I then cute 4 circles on the leftover cardboard from the cake mix box.  I cut these out and stuck them on each end of two skewers to make our wheels for the wagon.


Finally I just glued a piece of white computer paper on both sides of the wagon box and we had our very own Covered Wagon!


As fun as making our wagon was, the BEST part was playing with it after!

I had Britton go downstairs and get all of our dollhouse furniture.  As were were looking at all of it and picking out the mom and dad to put in the wagon I had a thought.  I told the kids to look at ALL those things in the bucket.  Then I asked them how much they thought they could fit in our covered wagon?


The answer was, obviously, not much!  I explained to the kids this is exactly what the pioneers had to actually do.  They had to leave behind all of their belongings and take only the things they could fit into a wagon.  I think it was great for them to see a visual of tables, chairs, beds and comforts of home...all left behind because they couldn't fit.  

I love when you can see in your kids eyes that they actually are getting it!  We spent an hour making blankets and pillows out of fabric for our "pioneers" and getting them ready for their trek west ;)

Thanks so much for checking out Blue Skies Ahead today and our Covered Wagon Craft!  Have a wonderful Monday and come back again soon :)


7.21.2013

Les Miserables Printable!

 
 A few months ago my dear friend, Hollie Hanson from Cherry Tree Photography, came over to my house and took some fantastic shots of our wild and wacky bunch.  Cohen was just a few weeks old, and I was so excited that she was actually able to get a picture of the ENTIRE family in all our glory ;)

I love how intimate and REAL this picture is.  I knew as soon as I saw it that this needed to be blown up, canvased and added to our mantle ASAP!  


Because I adore the colors we used in the pictures, I thought it would be fun to whip up a quick printable to add a little bit to my mantle.  The first thing that came to me was one of my favorite lines from the amazing Les Miserables.  I have loved Les Miserables since I was 10 years old, and the words of Victor Hugo seemed to sum up perfectly the way I feel about these precious people in my life.


Not gonna lie...I'm still searching for a great canvas deal before I print off my fantastic family picture :) BUT...I do have my printable up and I love the sentiment and fun, bright colors it adds to our home. 


Thanks so much for coming by Blue Skies Ahead today, hope you are having a fantastic weekend!!

7.18.2013

Why I am a bad blogger...

 
Every Sunday night after the kids are in bed, I sit down and make a list of things I want to accomplish the next week.  Somewhere on that list I always write "get caught up on the blog!"

Obviously this is not going so well ;)  Even though I have THE best of intentions, the weeks go by and there the blog sits...lonely and neglected.  

Honestly...I have a feeling this may continue through the summer ;)  I have so many fun ideas, crafts, and projects I want to do and want to share, but I gotta tell you...we are having one fantastic summer!  My 5 crazies are keeping me busy and it seems like we are constantly on the go.  Here's just a few of our highlights so far this summer...

We were so blessed to share a beautiful Saturday with our friends and family baptizing our amazing Skylar and blessing Baby Cohen.


Cohen has been the perfect caboose for our family!  He is the sweetest little guy, and absolutely has ALL of us wrapped around his little teensy finger :)


This beautiful girl has made me one proud momma.  Her baptism was something I will never forget.  My heart felt like it would burst with pride and happiness when she got up to sing a solo in front of all our friends and family.  Her sweet voice and testimony are something I will treasure forever.



Once we got through the baptism/blessing it was time for FUN!!  We are on a fairly tight schedule when the kids are in school, so it has been awesome to just go wherever we want, whenever we want!  One of our favorite places to go is our local aquarium.
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 My kids are also huge fans of our local "beaches".  Ok...they are not real beaches, but its the closest thing you are going to get in Utah ;)



Going up to the mountains has become a family favorite activity.  We love to take up stuff for s'mores, some camp chairs and head for the hills!  Cohen especially loves being up in that fresh mountain air :)

This little man turned 3 months old?!  How is this possible?  He was my fussy little guy for a while there, but we survived and he making me feel like one lucky momma these days, sleeping 11 hours at night and being an absolute joy during the day.


Gardner Village is fun no matter what time of year you go, my kids were so excited that they had a Historic Scavenger Hunt we could go do today.  And you KNOW they loved those cookies they got when it was all done too ;)
One of our favorite things this summer has been going to playgroup with our ward.  Every week they go somewhere different and one week we ended up at Thanksgiving Point with some of our favorite neighbors.

 We LOVE movies, so usually once a week we try to have Family Movie Night.  We have so far made it through all but one of the Star Wars Movies...we are looking for our next movies so feel free to leave suggestions!


Splash parks....need I say more?!  These are perfect for young kids that you don't dare take to a swimming pool :)

Tuesday means one thing for us...park and then library for story time!

I think we are single-handedly keeping the local Sno Shack in business

 We've only been once, but its not summer if you don't spend some time swimming at our favorite local pool :)



This little guy started his first season of Tball so we are loving going to games and practices.


And of course, when its 105 degrees outside and you have 5 kids including a new baby, what do you do?!  Go to the zoo, obviously! :)


Holy Moly, it was hot!  But we had a great time anyways, Avrie and I especially enjoyed the bird show :)


So there you go...my excuses for being a bad blogger ;)

I want to say I'll be back next week...but really...it might not happen til September.  We still have camping, and cabins, and reunions, and every little bit of summer fun we can squeeze in!  

I hope you are having fantastic summers with your families too, and thanks so much for stopping by Blue Skies Ahead!!

7.09.2013

3 simple ways we are getting back on track after baby!


So I don't know about any of you...but when I am pregnant my kids pretty much get away with murder ;)

Alright, thats a little dramatic, but they do definitely get out of the routines I work SO hard to get them into.  

I always start off the pregnancy with the best intentions...then reality sets in.  Once you get past the yucky, sick part, then we have a few months of normalcy when WHAM!  Its time for bedrest...and there is no better way to get a kid way off schedule than to have their mom go on bedrest for a month. By the time baby arrives, I have so many great ideas to implement...but I also have a sweet, cuddly newborn that needs to be snuggled :)

Now that we are at the 3 month mark with our little Baby C life is settling into our new normal, and I have been excited to do a few SIMPLE things to help cut the chaos in our home a little bit.

First up...my 1 millionth attempt at a chore chart!

Seriously...I feel like I have done them all!  But no matter what I do, something is always not quite what I want.  Either its not cute enough to have up (yes, I am lame like that!) or its not quite customizable enough.  Some days my kids have REALLY random chores to do...so I finally figured that dry erase would be the way to go for us!

 
I was at Tai Pan a few months ago when I found this large frame in their clearance department.  It was only 5 bucks...I was sure I could use it for something! ;)

After it sitting against the wall for 3 months I finally figured out what to do with it.  I just used push pins to put pictures of each of my kids on the corkboard.  Then I cut some cute, patterned paper and put them in the frames.  Now each morning before my kids wake up I write out their chores of the day with a dry erase marker.  The kids love wiping off each chore as they complete it, and I love that I can evaluate the things that need to be done each day and change up the chores as needed.  Some days the front yard needs to be cleaned, other days we need to weed.  I love the simplicity of it, and I especially love that my kids know as soon as they come down for breakfast everything they need to accomplish before they can play with friends.  It has made a huge difference in the kids attitude!

The next one we have done isn't quite so simple...but I swear by it!!

Snack Boxes!


 I will warn you...this takes a time commitment.  Every night I have to put these boxes together and portion out all the kids snacks for the next day.  Its definitely not the fastest way to go, but I feel the benefits totally outweigh any of the work!

The number one thing I hear at my house all summer long is "I'M HUNGRY!!"  It is a full-time job to keep 4 growing kids not starving.  Between that and feeding Cohen...I felt like I was spending all day in the kitchen.  One would come down and want something.  Then 10 min later another one would see that one eating...and would then want what they had.  It was never ending.  So we brought back our snack boxes.  Here is the beauty of snack boxes.  It gives both YOU and your CHILD control.  You control the snacks they will have throughout the day, but THEY get to control when they have them.  If my kids want, they can have all of their snacks before lunchtime.  However, once the bucket is empty...NO more snacks til the next day.  Yep...you may have a few rough days.  But I bet you will be surprised.  My kids do a great job of rationing their snacks for the day, and I think it cuts out a lot of bored eating.  When your kids know those are the snacks they get for the day, they think twice before scarfing them all!

This was the bucket we had today.  If it seems like a lot...it is!  My kids are snackers...and I am too.  As long as they are fairly healthy snacks I am totally ok with it, I am big believer in eating a lot of small meals throughout the day.  Today they had a kids Clif Bar, Fruit Rope, Apple with All Natural Peanut Butter, carrots with fat-free Ranch, string cheese, yogurt, graham crackers, an orange, and a 100 calorie pack of Kettle Corn.

Now when my kids get hungry, they can go grab whatever they want out of their snack bucket!  It is a beautiful thing :)

Finally, we have added one simple thing to our morning routine that has (most of the time ;) changed the feel in our home.  SUPER simple Morning Devotionals.


Since we are all together at breakfast, every morning before we eat we have a family prayer.  Then as the kids are eating I read a story from The Friend.  Then, if I remembered to assign it the night before (I only remember about half of the time ;) one of the kids will share a thought or an experience and we spend a few minutes talking.  It is such a simple thing, but it has produced some wonderful learning moments.  Just this morning we read a darling story about The Priesthood, and Britton asked some great questions and learned alot about something he wasn't super familiar with.  All in under 10 minutes...can't beat that!  Seriously, its a great way to start off the day with a wonderful message and a good spirit in our home.

So there you have it...3 simple ways I am ATTEMPTING to get back on track after baby!  I would love to hear...what are some simple systems you have implemented in your home to cut some chaos and more fully enjoy your family?!

7.03.2013

Rolled Fabric Flowers from Bandanas

 Here is a quick, simple way to add some Patriotic flair to your little ones this 4th of July!  Its also a great, inexpensive craft for Young Womens or Activity Days :)  All you need to make these cute fabric flowers are some bandanas and fabric glue...easy peasy, right?!


I cut my bandanas into strips, then once I had them rolled into flowers I hot-glued them to some barrettes I had on hand.


I followed this great tutorial I found HERE...she has wonderful pictures and step-by-step instructions!


This is the one Skylar helped me make, isn't she adorable?!  We did this with out 8-9 year old girls yesterday and they were all able to make them.  Now my mind is filled with possibilities...I'm thinking next year's 4th of July wreath needs to have these bandana rolled flowers!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  And if you like what you see, follow Blue Skies Ahead on Bloglovin!!!

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7.02.2013

Sparkler Favors with some Fun 4th Trivia!

 Hello my long lost friends!!

Is anyone still out there?! ;)  I have, once again, fallen off the face of the bloggy planet.  Something interesting happened to me.  

I had a baby :)  And like always, I just jumped right back into life, ready to tackle all the things I had wanted to do while I was laying around on bedrest for 4 weeks.  And you know what?  It was working out really well for me.

Then school got out for summer.

No Bueno.

I finally realized what all those tired, stressed-out moms were talking about!  It has taken me the last month to figure out how in the world to take care of these kids, my husband and myself.  Actually...thats kind of misleading :)  I haven't really figured anything out...I'm just finally feeling like my head is above water and I have a spare moment to get back to doing some fun things with my family...and actually taking the time to blog about them!

So today I am jumping back into it with a really fun Sparkler Favor you could use for your 4th parties or just for fun!  I am using them for my Activity Day girls.  The cool thing about this favor is not only will the kids love the sparklers....but they may learn a little something too!

Sparkler Favors with some Fun 4th Trivia!


To make these cute favors I just got 2 sparklers, rolled them up in a darling striped snack bag from Pick Your Plum, and tied them with some bakers twine.


Then I printed out this fun little tag I made up with some interesting 4th of July trivia your kids will love.  Heck...I loved it!  That's some interesting stuff!!


I found all these fun facts HERE

Just a quick, simple favor to add to the fun of the day and learn a little something too!!

Thank you so much for stopping by today, it feels great to be back!  I can't promise when I will post again, but I am hoping to get back on some sort of schedule ;)