25 Ways in 25 Days

My kids and I love counting the days until Christmas!
Usually, we have lots of ways we do this with countdown chains from school,
chocolate advents from Grandma, and our elf, etc.

I like to prepare an advent for our family about Jesus Christ
- his life, his stories, his miracles, his service, etc.
It helps us stay focused on what matters most during this Season.

Our church has prepared an advent reflecting this very thing.
This year all over the world, no matter your age,
your faith or religious beliefs,
you can do small things to help serve others.

It's beautiful and simple.

You can do one thing each day, or just do a few of things
throughout the month. No need to go overboard, or to feel guilt, or stress.

It starts tomorrow on Dec. 1st.
It will help you enjoy Christmas better, in a more meaningful way.

Go to this link to print out a pdf of the calendar, so you can follow along.

The idea is to #lighttheworld with small acts of service.

This initiative will help each of us remember Jesus Christ,
and more importantly come to know him.

This website will give you more information.
Share your ideas on social media using the #LIGHTtheWORLD


Thanksgiving Family TV Time

There are a couple of great shows coming up to watch on Thanksgiving Night as a family.

PBS is showing a new movie of Anne of Green Gables.
Check your local listings for the time.

BYUTV is showing a 1 hour movie called Winter Thaw based on Leo Tolstoy's short story called, "Martin the Cobbler".  It looks excellent!
The movie will be shown on Thanksgiving night as well.
You can watch the trailer on Facebook.

Happy TV Watching!


2 Easy Dinners and an Easy Dessert

Our family tried these recipes this past week and we all loved them.
And they were Easy!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew from Six Sisters Stuff

Place theses ingredients in your crock pot:
1 lb. beef stew cubes ( I used pork stew meat)
4 carrots sliced
4-6 red potatoes cut into large cubes
1 bay leaf

Combine these ingredients in a bowl:
1 (1 oz.) packet dry onion soup mix
2 cans (10.75 oz) cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (10 oz.) package frozen green peas

Then place this mixture on top of the meat and vegetables
in your crock pot.
Cook on low 7-10 hrs. or high 5-6 hours.
(I think I cooked ours for about 3-4 on high)

Chocolate Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding (3.9 oz.)
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream (8 oz.)
3/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. water
4 eggs
1 c. mini-semisweet chocolate chips 
6 squares white baking chocolate (1 oz. each)

In a mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, pudding mix, and sugar. Add the sour cream, oil and water; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased and floured (it has to be VERY well greased and floured or I use “Cake Release style Pam” which also works really well) 12-cup bundt pan (the smaller bundt pans are not large enough and the cake will spill over. If you have a smaller pan, pour a cup or two of the batter into a seperate Pyrex bowl and bake an extra mini cake!). Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (sometimes longer, just keep checking). Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. In a microwave or double boiler, melt the white chocolate; drizzle over cake. (I put the chocolate squares in a ziplock bag in the microwave. Mush the chocolate around every 30 seconds to  make sure it soesnt burn until it is fully melted. then snip a small corner of the bag off and drizzle.) Yield: 12-16 servings.


2016 Favorite Things

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 girls or boys // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16

I love sharing my favorite things with you.
They aren't exciting or glamorous items.

It's just a list of basic things.

Each of these items have helped me smile, survive,
and enjoy my home and family during 2016.

You can buy most of these items in your local stores.
Most of my links take you to Amazon to give you a price idea, and
to use as a resource to help you find the product and read reviews.
I am not affiliated with any of these products, companies, or websites.


Instagram Photo Ideas

Have you seen this video yet?
It was making it's way around Facebook a couple of weeks ago.


I've watched it over and over,
and still find new details that make me laugh.

I just found out that the girls of studio C helped write the commercial.
Of course!

I do enjoy using chatbooks. The above video explains it all.
You can use my code to get your 1st book free! JR3MJUA2

I used the Artifact Uprising App
to put up 25 of our family instagram photos on a wall in our home.
They had a discount that I watched for.

If you google instagram prints,
there are other companies to look for.
Shop around to get a deal that works for you.

I love the wall,
and liked the quality of the prints from Artifact Uprising.
(I'll let you guess which room in the house I put these prints.)
I hung each photo by using blue painter's tape.
It doesn't hurt the photos or the wall, but hangs up well.

Even though,
I haven't tried this idea for my instagram photos,
I like it.

Magnets made out of your photos.

She put her magnets on a framed magnetic metal board.
I think this is fun idea for a kids and families to enjoy their photos.


Activity Day Girls - Thankful Tree

I serve the 8-9 year old activity day girls
in my local (Mormon) church congregation called a ward.
Every 2 weeks we meet for an hour with about 10 girls,
and we do something crafty, fun, educational, spiritual, etc.
It's a lot of fun.

This week we talked about the 1st Thanksgiving in America.
I loved when I asked the girls how the pilgrims made it the new land.
Most girls said, "they walked". Then we played a guessing game.
Each girl brought something they were thankful for.
We went around the room trying to guess who brought what.

After the game we made these Thankful Trees.

Lindy made this same tree a few years back when she was in Activity Days.

How to make the trees:


October Family Home Evening

I showed my kids some episodes of this tv show.
It's perfect for the month of October.
We all enjoyed it!
(You can watch these shows through Amazon or YouTube.)

We also went to the
We let the kids pick short videos they want to watch.
These are always some of our best Family Home Evenings,
when we watch theses videos.
We always learn something, the kids pay better attention,
and each message is always very direct and important.

We also made pumpkin pie milkshakes!
I love this recipe from Our Best Bites.
Treats are the key to fun Family Nights.


General Conference Weekend - Oct. 2016

I was so excited this past weekend, I made homemade cinnamon rolls!
This has been a goal of mine for years.

We also listened to General Conference from our church.
We listened to our Prophet, President Monson and the 12 Apostles.


Home-Made Orange Julius

Last week most of our family was hit with a stuffy head cold. My favorite remedy for when we're not feeling good with aches, sore throats, and stuffy heads is home-made Orange Julius drinks.

It's surprisingly easy, and tastes delicious. Even if we're not sick. 

Orange Julius

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate (DO NOT MAKE ORANGE JUICE)
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1/4 c. sugar (You can omit this, or use less)
1 t. vanilla
8 ice cubes (It's better to add 2 at a time as you blend it)

Combine all ingredients in the blender, except the ice cubes.
Blend 1-2 min., adding ice cubes one at a time, until smooth.
*You want the drink to become kinda frothy from blending it.
(If the drinks sits for a bit in the blender, it may separate, just blend again!)

Recipe from food.com/8589


Settling into our Fall Schedule

Our family is settling into our fall schedule.
It always takes a good month or so to transition from
Summer to Back-to-School.

We've also been in our new home for 2 years this fall.
We all feel settled, adjusted and happy after the move.
It takes time.


Refuge from the Storm

I've been inspired by this video:

We can help by going to www.justserve.org

Even if my time is sometimes limited I can smile when I see them around our town. Now that my eyes and ears have been opened to them, I see refugees quite a bit now in our community - at parks, in the grocery store, at the dr's office, etc.

I can donate supplies.
Our church often has drives for assembling health kits, school supplies, blankets, etc.

Praying for them, is also a great place to just start.  I can recognize a prompting, and do my best to follow through.


Surviving Summer

How's your summer going so far? With kids?

Minute by minute we are either loving it, or we're wondering how we're going to survive it all.

I found this quote on instagram that I could relate to:
"5 min. ago, I was pulling cookies out of the oven and thinking how much I [love] my life.
4 min. ago, all 3 kids were screaming like horror movie extras.
3 min. ago, I crammed cookies in my mouth to keep from shouting.
2 min. ago, I took off my shoes so I wouldn't go outside
and hide in my Cheerio receptacle, I mean minivan.
1 min. ago, I was thinking how much I hate my life.
Right now, everyone is quiet and drinking smoothies, [I love my life]!"

Here's some of my summer survival tips:
Some things I've done through the years to enjoy my kids a little more, and SURVIVE.


Summer has started!

My kids finished school last Friday.

Lindy finished Middle school and 8th grade - High School Next Fall!
Kyle finished 6th grade
Tate finished 4th grade
Sadie finished 2nd grade
Brandon finished Preschool -He'll be at 1/2 day kindergarten Next Fall- I'll be a little bit of an empty nester next fall for a couple of hours.

The kids ran in the capitol classic race kids-only 1 mile race in downtown boise over the weekend.
Always a fun tradition.

We went to a ward social on Friday. We are in a brand new ward that was created in our stake.
We've all been calling less for 3 weeks now, it can feel a little nerve racking, wondering what you'll get when every calling is up for grabs. EVERY CALLING.

We burned our kids' school papers on Sat. night in a campfire in our backyard.
That was fun.

This week Kyle goes to band for the saxophone, Tate will start the banjo.
The kids have an art class this week.
Sadie will do a little cheer, and Tate also wanted to try karate.

We are sleeping in, and so GLAD to be done with school work and papers!


Romantic Songs

The movie Houseboat with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren is
one of my favorites.

I love when they dance to this song in the movie

La Vie En Rose is another favorite song that I like to listen to.