Saturday, March 31, 2012

Zoo Craft for Kids {preschool fun}

Way back in January, we made this cute craft in preschool. After looking for a new "zoo animal" idea, I saw a few similar ideas, and came up with this. It was a hit. The kids loved it.
Here is what you need:
regular size construction paper (1 per child)
standard sized zip-lock bag (1 per child)
animal crackers (5-10 per child)
pipe cleaners or chenille stems (6 per child)
crayons, stapler, single hole punch
Prepare beforehand:
Fold the paper in 1/2. Cut out a large rectangle in the middle of one side.
Punch 6 holes along both long sides of the rectangle. Write "zoo" on the top of  one side of the rectangle. Also, place the animal crackers in baggies.

 Let the children color their zoo. Then give them 6 pipe cleaners, and show them how to thread them through the holes, and bend the ends so that they create bars for the zoo animals. (You might have to help a few with the folding of the pipe cleaner ends.) Kids loved this part! For some reason, children this age really love pipe cleaners.

Next, place the baggie of animal crackers inside the folded paper and staple the edges. Now the animals will be safe in the zoo with no way to escape...- warn them to watch out for cracker-crazed preschoolers. Just sayin.

Have Fun and thanks for reading!
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Cardboard Tube Bunnies {by kids}

Last year I made these Easter Bunnies from cardboard tubes. Let's face it- no kids helped me create those-because if they did, they would not look like those . If kids helped me, I would get these:

 These are still very cute, but these are the kid-friendly version.
First I cut the tubes in a bunny shape, so that it was all one piece-ears and all.
Next the children painted them- expressing themselves-- with lots of colors. (ha ha) I used washable paint.
And last- I used tacky glue to attach googly eyes, a button nose, and a fuzzy ball tail, and I used a sharpie for the whiskers.

Pretty cute. And the best part- it was basically free- and the children loved and treasured their creation!

Thanks for reading! Happy Spring!
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False Pins, True Pins

I've been trying lots of recipes I found on pinterest. I have come to one conclusion: people will believe anything they see on the internet. AND we will pin it all! the next while I have a few pins to share with you that were true, and a lot that were false.
Seriously-  you cannot believe everything you read on the internet....(yes people- anyone can edit and add to wikipedia.... just sayin- it isn't all always true.)

AND I have come up with a few "pet peeves" about pinning. (check the source first- for example- and uploaded by a user is not a source.)

Anyway- if the kids let me, as in go to bed and all, then I may have time to get some blogs up on this very important matter. ha ha.

Thanks for reading!

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

I made a "Hey Girl" poster....for all you pinners

We have been laughing a lot at some fun pins...especially ones featuring Ryan and the "Hey Girl..."
So here is a fun one to show your husband. Maybe he'll rub your shoulders while you pin. That pinning is a lot of work you know!
Thanks for reading!
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

NEW Winner of the Mercy River CD

I hate when I have to pick a new winner....if you enter give-a-ways- make sure you check back to see if you won. HERE is the new winner. Please check if you entered. thanks!

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Best Baby Nose Sucker: Baby Comfy Nose (Fabulous Find Friday)

We have had a winter of non-stop sickness! It has not been fun. The nebulizer has been running all the time. So when my friend told me about this nose frida, I did a little research. I found something a little better-(in my opinion) BabyComfyNose. And guess what? On babysteals today you can get an awesome deal on 2 of them!

Here is how it works- it might look grose, but it is not- trust me. You put one end in the child's nose. In the middle part you put some tissue. This acts as a filter. Then you use the mouth piece to suck the snot out of your kid. It seriously works and NO- it does not go into your mouth- not even close.

We have some nice big bulb suckers- but this thing works so much better and my child did not even get mad when I stuck it in his nose. I think Baby Comfynose is so much better than the nose frida because you don't have to purchase expensive filters. You can just use regular Kleenex.

I wish I had discovered this product months ago! I'm sure we would have avoided a ton of trips to the doctor.
Check it out on babysteals today!

(I was not compensated for this post in anyway. All opinions are 100% mine.)
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Few Favorite Cleaning Products

It is Spring Cleaning Season! I recently had a birthday, and my wonderful husband got me a housecleaning service for 3 hours! I think I'm gonna save that for when the house is super duper messy. In the meantime.... I have been doing a little cleaning...even though with 4 boys it might not look like it....but anyway- I thought I'd share a few favorite products with you.

Mrs. Meyer's All Purpose Cleaner
My friend recently introduced me to this. This is like aromatherapy and cleaning all in one. It smells so good, and has a lot less chemicals in it than some other cleaners. I really like this stuff. It is a little more expensive than most cleaners, but it sure makes cleaning a much more pleasant experience.

Clorox Pen
I used this to clean the grout recently. And it works pretty good. I only did it on a few places in the kitchen and the powder room/bathroom. But there was a definite difference! I do keep this on hand for hard to get out spots when doing laundry. I will be using this again. Thank you pinterest, for reminding me about this little wonder.

Lemi Shine (for the dishwasher)
We started using this product about a year ago when we noticed the hard water was leaving lots of spots on our dishes. Getting a water softener is not an option, so we use Lemi Shine. We love it. You only need a tiny bit, and you add it to your detergent. The dishes come out so much cleaner, and spot free!

My favorite all purpose cleaner! I add this to the prewash for every load in the laundry. It helps the detergent work better by breaking down some of the soap that would usually build up on your clothes. It also helps get out stains and mold or mildew. I notice my whites are whiter and my brights are brighter! And vinegar is very inexpensive- bonus!
Another thing it works well on is stainless steel appliances. Put some in a squirt bottle w/ water, and you have a great cleaner for wiping away finger prints on the fridge.

OxiClean This is another great cleaner for grout and laundry and everything else. I really like the spray for stains. I spray it on everything and get just about everything out!

I found tons of great cleaning tips while browsing pinterest....thank you pinners!

What are some of your favorite cleaning products? I would love to know!

Happy Spring Cleaning!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

WINNER of the Mercy River CD Higher

Thank you for all that entered the Mercy River CD give-a-way! If you did not win and still would like a chance to win one- check out the other blogs giving one away this month!

The winner is  SIMS FAMILY who said, "Looks like a great CD! I would love to win it!"
Well... you won (cause the first person never contacted me after a week....and there was no way to contact her...please contact me so we can get it sent to you!)

PLEASE contact me within 48 hours, little gems crafts (all one word) at gmail dot com or I will pick a new winner!

Congrats SIMS FAMILY!!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guest Post & Give-a-way: Mercy River

I have an exciting post for you today! Thanks to Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain Records, for introducing me to a wonderful group, Mercy River. This month they are on a blog tour.  Mercy River is 3 trendy, talented, and cute moms (Brooke, Whitney, and Soni)  who are doing what many of us do everyday- juggling the tasks of motherhood. These women also sing together and have recently recorded a beautiful new CD, titled Higher. They have 13 children between the three of them, and still manage to live their dreams as recording artists.

 So I wanted to many of you may want to know, How do they balance it all? How do you balance family, and music? Here is what Brooke had to say:

When we asked Sharla what she thought we should blog about, her answer was actually a rather common question: “How do you do it? How do you balance music and family”?

That question may be retracted if you saw my house in its current state. My laundry pile is practically breeding. My 1-year-old baby still has 3-6 month clothes in her drawers. My daughter is heading to school wearing the same hairstyle as she did yesterday. My 3 year old son has syrup on his face. There is a massive amount of hand prints on our stainless steel dishwasher. (OK, that one I leave on purpose. I’m sorry, but they’re slightly adorable.)

 And I am currently in my sweatshirt and yoga pants. We may or may not have PBJ for lunch.

AND dinner. Don’t put it past me--it’s happened before. So maybe our answer to that question should be “Not very well.”

But I think that’s normal mommyhood. We all have moments in our lives when our plates are filled with more than our kiddos’ demands.

The truth is we have had to find a way to balance family and music. Although the three of us are on essentially the same “Mercy River journey”, our coping skills are all very different. As a group, we have a set of rules we follow; we stick to 3 performances a month, we take our kids to every possible thing we can, (rehearsals, firesides, concerts), etc. But then we each have our own set of rules.

My personal numero uno rule- my marriage comes first. Always.
 First off, I need to share a piece of info with you.

Marriage is a lot of work.
What do you mean you already knew that?
A few years ago, I noticed my marriage wasn’t where I wanted it to be. School, work, kids, callings, and yes, Mercy River, were all very present in our lives and all of a sudden I discovered that my husband and I had been practically reduced to roommates. We decided we needed to refocus our priorities. I wanted to find ways I could make my husband feel loved, but he’s not one to open up about his feelings, (aka he’s a guy). I thought I would do some experimenting. I read that fabulous “Love Language” book, and started my own analysis to see if I could find HIS love language. And much to my surprise, I realized quality time was his thing. So now, we have a regular date night each week. And we’re religious about it-we don’t skip our dates. I’m RARELY gone more than 2 nights a week, and even that is pretty sporadic. We play board games every Sunday night when the kiddos are in bed. I’ve even learned to sit through a golf game or an episode of “Gold Rush”. (Granted, he usually rubs my feet while doing so. It makes it less painful.)

In return he has been my biggest support with Mercy River. He encourages me to rehearse, he loves coming to our concerts, and he talks about our group to a point where it can be a bit embarrassing. He is a fantastic dad, and gets excited to spend one-on-one time with the kids while I’m away.

Marriage is not easy. Keeping it at the forefront of my priorities isn’t easy. But I’ve seen so many blessings from working hard at it, and it’s allowed me to be a part of Mercy River without destroying my family.  Mercy River is not forever. My marriage is.

Thanks Sharla, for letting us share! xoxo

Thanks to Mercy River for including this blog in their blog tour! I can relate to a lot of what Brooke said- especially the endless fingerprints....and staying in your workout clothes for a large chunk of your day.

If you want to read more from Mercy River, they are currently doing a blog tour. You can find a list of the blogs here. 

Their new CD, HIGHER is inspiring and beautiful. I have been listening to it for days and singing along. Let's just say, it is a good one.

 Would you like a copy of their new CD, HIGHER?
Leave a comment, and a winner will be picked and announced on Monday March 19th!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

5 Minute Trifle- Like Dessert

This is a great quick dessert, that can serve as few as one or as many as 12.
I made this to serve about 8 people. It really does take about 5-10 minutes.
It is also tasty for summer or spring. I call it a "fake trifle" because it does not contain alcohol, custard, sponge cake, or some of the other things a true trifle has, but it has the same look and similar taste as a trifle.
Here is the low-down:
NOTE: the amount you need will vary depending on how many people you are serving. I made one for about 8-12 people, and used 2 of everything (2 boxes, 2 containers, etc. I did use 1 1/2 boxes of the wafers though, and about 6 bananas.)
5-Minute Trifle-Like Dessert
You need:
vanilla wafers
cut up bananas
cut up strawberries
cool whip
pudding (make ahead of time)
Start with the wafers.
Next layer the pudding, then the bananas, cool whip, strawberries, and wafers again. Repeat as desired until the bowl you are using is full. End with cool whip. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Meeting Abby Rike from the Biggest Loser

About a month ago, I attended a Healthy Woman Event and met Abby Rike from The Biggest Loser.  She gave an amazing speech at the conference. She is the type of person that makes you feel like you have known her for years- even though you just met her. (photo from my new friend Pam w/ her iphone-thank you Pam!)
I just finished her book, Working it Out, and I have been so inspired and amazed by her story. It is definitely "a journey of love, loss, and hope" as it says on the cover.

If you don't know Abby Rike, let me tell you a little about her story. In 2006, she lost her husband, her little girl, and her brand new baby in a horrible accident. She spent 3 years trying to heal, but basically shutting down and not taking care of her health.  Years later, she found herself on The Biggest Loser. Abby was a high school teacher, and now she is a motivational speaker.
Her new book is raw, real, moving, filled with hope, love, and faith.
She helps us see that all of us have the ability to overcome anything with the help of Jesus Christ.
While I don't share her religious faith, I do share her belief in Jesus Christ. Whatever your beliefs may be, this book is very motivating and moving. After reading it, I want to be a better spouse, mother, friend, and take better care of myself physically and spiritually.

This is a great book, real, and full of hope!

And speaking of weight loss, my journey...well some of it- will be shared shortly on my weight loss blog:
Hopefully I'll have more on that soon!

Have a great weekend! Thanks for reading.

(All opinions are 100% mine. I was not compensated in any way or form for this post. It is purely my thoughts and opinions.)
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Leprechaun Craft: Dudes from Cardboard Tubes

Don't be jealous that I stayed up late tonight making leprechaun dudes from toilet paper cardboard tubes. Seriously, I know it is really cool, that I now how 3 more dudes that think I am "da' bomb", but you can have some too. tee hee-
 So I know this blog is turning into the "one holiday post a month..." and I am sorry-{sigh}. But when I get to my 62 sewing projects, you will be happy and lucky that you stuck with me. Now on with the lucky dudes... I have had this idea in my head for weeks, and since St. Patty's Day is around the corner, I had to get it out of my head.  
Leprechaun Dudes from Cardboard Tubes:
You need:
cardboard tubes
sharpie markers
button or scrap paper
Cut cardboard tubes to make a hat shape on the top half by cutting out the back part of the tube.  Paint the hat part and the back part that won't show green. I painted the face a cream color, and the crazy red orange hair by making random lines.
I used sharpies that were the same color as the paint I used, to cover my paint mistakes and do some outlining. I had some of that tape with dots on it, that I put over the black band part -which you could draw on with a sharpie or paint on, and glued a yellow button on top. That is it. I think kids would have fun with this craft. If you have little ones- I would cut out the shape of the leprechaun first, then they can paint it.

And I finally have a St. Patrick's Day decoration. ha ha ha. OK not really, but I have 3 more dudes in my house.
Thanks for reading! Happy March!
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