Personalized Library Bags {Summer of 100 Books!}

 We are SO close to school being out...just one more day!!  One thing we are really trying to focus on this summer is reading more.  In fact, I have dubbed this summer the Summer of 100 Books!  We will be doing all sorts of activities and incentives to try and read 100 books before we start school again.  The first thing I thought we would do, is make our very own personalized Library Book Bags!

These were such a simple craft, my older girls did them before they went off to school yesterday.  For our bags we used plain canvas tote bags from Walmart (found in the craft section), fabric pens (found in the same place), and some really neat chipboard stencils I grabbed at Target the other day.

Once you have your supplies ready let your kids imagination go as they decorate their bags to reflect them and their personal style!  

My older girls did great with the stenciling, for younger kids though you may want to tape down the stencil so it doesn't move all over the place.  I did NOT do that for my 4-year old...but I actually love how her "abstract" flower turned out anyways ;)

Make sure you get enough bags to have one for yourself...nothing my kids love more than when I craft right alongside them!

Easy-peasy, and now my kids are asking daily when we can go to the library and use our new bags :)  The possibilities really are endless with this craft, you could also add glitter, stickers, poms, iron-on...anything!!

Do you struggle with keeping your kids reading over the summer?  I would love to hear what great ways you use to inspire reading in your home!


Flower Science Experiment for Kids

 Happy Friday my friends!  We are SO ready for this long weekend...and then only one more week of school!  We are wrapping up our week on Flowers by sharing a really fun and simple experiment we do every few years that my kids completely love.  

This is so simple and easy to put together, but the kids get a kick out of it and learn alot too!  All you need for your own Flower Experiment are some white flowers, plastic cups filled with water and food coloring.

Now our flowers have only been in the water for a little over a day, and already you can see the major changes taking place!  This is such a fun way to show your kids how plants absorb water, and also a great way to learn about predictions and graphs as well.  Check out how our flowers are doing so far:






I plan on keeping our roses as long as we can to see how dark they will get and to see if our predictions came true!  Most of us thought the blue and red would show the soonest and be the darkest, but the green and orange aren't throwing in the towel yet! ;)

Thank you so much for visiting Blue Skies Ahead today!  I hope you found something you liked and that you have a wonderful weekend!


Resist Watercolor Flower Paintings!

 This week we are studying and learning all about plants and flowers. We have a few science experiments cooking as we speak, so today we did a really fun and simple art project that my kids (and myself!) completely loved!

For this fun Resist Watercolor Painting all you need are a few pieces of cardstock, watercolors, and a white crayon.

If you are like me and have VERY suspect artistic skills you can search on Pinterest for how-to's on drawing flowers.  Or you can just draw the same simple flowers you have been drawing since grade school ;)  Either way, just take a white crayon and draw flowers on white cardstock.  Once you have done that give your kids some watercolor paints and let them have at it!

My kids absolutely loved watching the flowers appear on their papers right before their eyes as  they painted away.  

These abstract works of art turned out beautiful, and I love hanging them in our family study.  The kids were having so much fun I had to join in with them ;) 

Have you tried any resist artwork at your place?  The possibilities really are endless from tape, to crayons, glue and even stickers!  Thanks so much for stopping by today!


I Love to See the Temple Family Home Evening

Today we are sharing a VERY simple FHE we did last night all about temples!

I was inspired to talk to my kids about the importance of temples since we have the very awesome opportunity of attending the open house for the Payson Utah Temple later this week.  I wanted them to understand the importance and hopefully get really excited for their chance to go inside, see, and mostly FEEL what makes the temple such a beautiful place.

To get started I made this printable to put up in our living room.  If you are new to our blog, I like to make printables every week that focus on our FHE.  Then we can display them and remember all week long what we are focusing on!

I actually made another one too, to put up in my girls room ;)  Feel free to right-click, save to your computer, and print one up of your own!

After we sang I Love to See the Temple, we read from The Friend magazine some quotes from President Monson as he spoke in General Conference last month about temples.  If you don't get your own copy click on the link and it will take you right to it!  The kids loved adding up all the temples, from those already completed, those being restored, to those newly announced.  They were amazed to think that by the time ALL the temples are finished that have been announced we will have 178 temples all around the world!

At this point in FHE my younger kids are always starting to get more than a little antsy so we played a really fun game I found forever ago on Pinterest that I have been planning on using for Singing Time.  I figured out it would work just as well last night, and my kids totally loved it!  And I am SO sorry to whomever first came up with this idea...some of my Pinterest boards got hacked into and I lost lots of pins.  I have tried again and again to find the original source, but I cannot anywhere!  

All you need to play Human Spinner is some sort of office chair that can spin around, like so :)

Then I put up numbers 1-5 all round the room.  Have one of your kids sit in the chair and stick out their legs, the legs being the spinner part ;)  Then let another kid spin them around and see what number their legs are closest too when they stop!

Then have them answer one of these questions about temples that corresponds to the number they landed on!

Since I have young kids these questions were pretty simple, you could change them up, add more, or do anything you think would benefit your family!  The kids LOVED spinning around and answering questions, they wanted to play again and again so we had to keep thinking up more questions ;)

One last thought :)  Our FHE last night went about like they usually do, one kid was crying and got sent to his room, two sisters were fighting and had to be separated, the 2-year old figured this was a great opportunity to destroy the house while we were all in a different room, and mom felt a little defeated when it was all said and done.

BUT!  This morning the kids came down and saw this printable in our living room.

They immediately started talking about how cool it was that we have 178 temples in progress or done around the world!  Then one said they couldn't wait to go inside the Payson Temple.  Then my little guy said he was so happy we were sealed in the temple, and that we were a forever family.
I teared up as I felt the Spirit teach, "Don't give up on family home evenings!!"  It is hard.  Lots of times I just want to throw in the towel and put on a movie so I can have a minute of quiet ;)  However, these little tender mercies remind me its all worth it.  We are doing a sacred work as we raise these children, and the Lord will bless us in this work.  I know it.  I feel Him with me as I strive to teach them something, ANYTHING, that might possibly strengthen them on their journey in this life.  Most fhe's aren't going to be Pinterest-worthy...and that is totally fine!  Sometimes the message will click, and sometimes it just won't.  Sometimes no one will get anything out of it...but sometimes someone will.  And if one child receives one answer to a prayer, or gains a testimony of one gospel principal, or has one experience where they KNEW they felt the Spirit...then it is worth it.  


Bird Feed Snacks and Feather Fruit Cups {Bird Week}

 Happy Friday everyone!  I don't know about where you are, but here it is RAINY!  Since my kids all have major spring fever and its too wet to play outside, I figured a fun, bright movie would be the perfect way to end our week all about birds.  Of course, that meant we are watching Rio, and I took a few minutes to throw together a fun snack they can munch on while we all snuggle up on the couch and watch the movie together.

First up we used our leftover feathers and googly eyes from our Paper Bag Bird Craft to make these Feather Fruit Cups!

We just glued feathers, googly eyes, and paper beaks to these plastic cups and filled them with mandarin oranges.  You really could use any kind of fruit you want, for lots of different, fun-colored birds!

We also threw together these fun Bird Feed Snacks...simply put popcorn, almonds, M&M's, and of course gummy worms in some cute snack bags and you are good to go!

Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!


Paper Bag Bird Craft {Bird Week}

I am totally in love with this fun craft we whipped up today, hopefully you and your kids will enjoy it too!  I completely spaced going to the store this morning so we had to improvise, but I love what we came up with.  Here are our simple and silly Paper Bag Bird Crafts!

All you need for this fun craft are paper bags, paint (I found some great paint brushes with the paint inside at WalMart the other day that we used), feathers, googly eyes, and orange paper cut into triangles.

Once you have your paper bags ready let the kids go crazy painting them any colors they want.  One tip-try and make sure your kids don't use TOO much paint, otherwise it will take hours to dry ;)  I had to get a paper towel and wipe off excess paint on most of ours after we were done...the other one I didn't wipe is still drying ;)

Once your bags are dry, just glue on googly eyes, an orange triangle for the beak, and feathers on the back for wings!  Your kids will LOVE their new Paper Bag Bird Puppets...mine sure did!

Thanks so much for checking out Blue Skies Ahead today, hope you have a great day!


Homemade Bird Feeders {Bird Week}

 This week we are learning all about birds at our house, and I found a fantastic idea from the gals at Eighteen25 that I knew would be the perfect activity for my kids...

Homemade Bird Feeders!

These were the perfect quick and fun activity to fill up our morning before my kids went to kindergarten, preschool and nap time ;)

All you need to make some of your own are bird food ( I got this bag at my local grocery store), gelatin packets, wax paper, twine or string, and cookie cutters.

To start off you simmer 1/4 C water with one packet of gelatin.  Once your gelatin is dissolved you take your pot off the heat and let cool for a minute.  Once its cool add one cup of bird seed and mix well!

Then you just put your cookie cutters on some wax paper and fill them up about halfway.  Cut a piece of twine and push it down in the middle, then fill the rest of your cookie cutter and pat it down hard!

This little cutie loved picking out her cookie cutters and packing in the bird seed...the hard part was waiting for them to harden ;)  The original post said to wait overnight...we were way to impatient so we only waited about 3 hours and then stuck them in the fridge for about 30 just to make sure they would hold together.

Once they were ready we popped them out, and ran outside to hang them up!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out our homemade birdfeeders, hope you are all having a wonderful week where ever you are! :)


Conflict Resolution Family Home Evening

 Hello everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and great Mother's Day!  Today I quickly wanted to share a FHE I prepared, that we are actually going to be using if its a total flop I apologize in advance ;)  

We could not be more excited for summer at our house, however, there is one thing that happens every summer at my house that drives me crazy.  The fighting!!  The kids seem to get bored easier, annoyed quicker, and it drives me crazy!  To try and combat this yearly craziness I thought we could do a family night addressing different ways to resolve conflict.  First up I found some great information on Pinterest, and put it together on a simple printable we are going to hang up permanently in our family study :)

One by one, we will go through the different ways you can resolve conflict.  Some are pretty simple, like ask for help, share, take turns and apologize.  Laugh means to just find humor in the situation and be able to laugh at yourself.  Chance means to either flip a coin or do rock, paper scissors to make a decision.  Avoid means sometimes there are fights that are just not worth fighting, and its ok to just walk away!  Finally, compromise is where you both give up a little, but you also both get something you are happy with.

Then for our activity we are going to talk about different situations that "bug us", and then decide what tool we can use to resolve that conflict.

I made these cute little bugs that we cut out and taped up on our big chalkboard.

On the back of each bug I wrote down a real-life scenario, something my kids have encountered recently.  The kids can then take turns hitting a bug with a fly swatter, and then taking it off the board, reading the scenario, and finally deciding how they can effectively and kindly resolve the conflict.  Some of the scenarios I used were:

My little sister takes my things without asking
My friends want to jump on the tramp, but I want to ride bikes
I do something silly on accident and everyone laughs at me
I lose my temper and say something mean

You get the idea ;)

To finish off the night we are going to read one of our families favorite books, Enemy Pie.  If you haven't heard of it, I totally suggest it!  It is an awesome story about a boy whose dad helps him find a creative way to resolve his conflict with a neighbor boy.  I love that if focuses on kindness, that is what I really want my kids to try and get out of this FHE.  No matter what, there is always a chance for us to be kind!


My green front door

 So about two years ago we bought a lot right next door to the home we were renting with plans to build a new home.  About six months later we actually got moving and started construction on our lot.  It was BEYOND overwhelming...mostly because I really didn't know what I wanted and there were so many choices.

Although I was really in over my head, there were a few things that I knew I wanted...basically a white kitchen with blue subway tile, a dark navy blue exterior on the house, and a bright, fun door!  My husband was with me on everything...except for that bright fun door ;)  It took some serious compromising to avoid another plain white door, but I finally got him to give!  (Just in case your are wondering, I had to give in to the ridiculously big shower he wanted that I thought was a total waste of space.  Now I absolutely love it so it actually worked out all right for me ;)

I remember posting the paint swatch I wanted to use on FB and asking all my friends what they thought.  Everyone seemed to love it, and really...I had already make up my mind and was just looking for some positive reinforcement ;)  For YEARS now I have been loving the blue and green combo, so I figured a funky lime-y, apple-y green would be a great compliment to my dark blue exterior.

Honestly, it turned out even better than I imagined!  I love how it brightens up my entryway and shows off a little bit of our family's crazy personality too.

I have also loved how easy it has been to decorate for the different seasons.  I just threw this wreath together a few nights ago with some hydrangeas, floral sprays, and ribbon from Hobby Lobby.  It took under 10 minutes to glue everything together and I love the finished product. 

According to Pinterest a green front door evokes feelings of peace, health and growth.  These are ALL feelings we strive for in our crazy, loud, and exciting family of 7...especially the peace part ;)

So what do you think about the painted front door trend?  Do you have a fun front door, or do you prefer something a little more classic?  Thanks for checking us out today and have a lovely Wednesday!