Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pelting With Pillows Activity

Here's another fun family home evening activity idea that our kids love. We use old, small throw pillows to have a small scale family pillow fight. We call it 'pelting with pillows' and it usually lasts about 10-15 minutes.

                                                                                            Photo by Danpape
 You can make different rules to make things more or less intense as your family's needs change. We usually say the pillow has to leave your hands before it hits the other person, which keeps it fairly mellow. To make it even more mellow, only allow two handed throws which prevents really hard flinging. Or if you have big kids, just go wild and use full-size pillows.

We all have a blast, although sometimes I have a hard time remembering the rules :).

Posted by Elizabeth Jr

Curried Sweet Potato Soup and Goat Cheese Biscuits

I was so excited to find this recipe. I'm posting this for those of you who may share my love for curry, sweet potatoes and goat cheese :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to Make Low-Sugar Cereal Soup

A great way to control the amount of sugar your kids get in their breakfast cereal.
Low Sugar cereal such as "Cheerios," corn flakes, "Chex," etc.
High Sugar cereals of your choice

Mix the cereals together in a big bucket.  Try 2 parts low sugar to one part high sugar.  Serve for breakfast.  Your kids will be so excited that mom is actually letting them have sugar cereal!

How to Make Quick Pickles

Home made pickles prepared in five minutes and ready to eat in a day!

Jar of pickle juice reserved after eating a jar of pickles
Cucumbers washed and thickly sliced

Put the sliced cucumber in the jar of pickle juice.  Refrigerate over night.  Enjoy!  Pickles taste stronger the longer they are left in the juice.  You can also pickle zucchini, carrots, celery, or any other veggie desired.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mini Paper Doll

Four pages of mini paper dolls to cut out and play with!  Store them in a decorated matchbox!

How to Make Easy Baby Leggings

The idea of "baby leg warmers" seems rather silly, until you think about the ease it will bring to diaper changing!!! (Just think: no peeling off tights, and heck, you could even put them on a little boy with a one-sie to protect him from rug burn!) You can make the socks as crazy or as conservative as you want, so they could even work for church.

Here's a link that shows you how to make them

Picture from the above link

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Inexpensive Date Idea--Nickels and Dimes

OK, this is totally cheesy, but it's one of our favorite dates. After your piggy bank is full of change (what, doesn't everyone have a piggy bank for their change?), empty it out and put all the quarters and dimes in a plastic bag. Then see how far you can get by just spending that change.

(We usually end up at Chuck E. Cheese playing "Guitar Hero" and then getting fruit and cheese at the grocery store, all of which can be done with a grand total of five-ish dollars. )

You'll be surprised how much fun this can actually be. :)

Popeye's Ice Cream

Thanks, Kelly Haws for this fun recipe, great for St. Patrick's day, and healthy, too!

Spring Green Ice Cream (Popeye’s Ice Cream)

¾ c. half and half or coconut milk
¼ c. agave nectar
c.  nonfat powdered milk or powdered coconut milk
2 c. spinach, lightly packed
1 ½ TB vanilla extract
2 ½ cups ice cubes
Add ingredients to a blender pitcher and secure lid.  Blend on high until smooth

How to Make a Trash Bag Kite

My Dad can do just about anything he sets his mind to.  From fire-by-friction to gardening, to carving and more, he goes from project to project becoming an expert in it all.

March isn't over yet, and it's the perfect time of year to learn how to make a trash bag kite.  From what I can tell, My dad's trash bag kite plans are better than any you can find on the web.  Here is a picture of the plans taken by my dad.  I hope you get a chance to use them!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Movie Improv

I just heard the best idea for a date or party from my brother-in-law. This is cheap, fun, and creative! Are you ready? You choose a movie (familiar or new) and turn the sound off. Then you fill in your own words! You can assign parts or do a free-for-all. You could even have someone provide an original soundtrack with a kazoo!!

                                                                                                                    photo from galawebdesign  :)

A variation would be to choose a really familiar movie, assign parts (or don't), turn off the sound, and try to quote the right words.

Posted by Elizabeth Jr.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Letting Go of Unwanted “Treasures”

An Article by Dad
For some people cleaning up relics from the past, such as books, hobby materials, and etc. can be a very hard job. Here is an idea that may help:
  1. Pray for strength to let go of the past.
  2. Make mental categories of the things that are taking up too much room such as: a) old school work, b) work items, and c) hobby items.
  3. Pick one of the categories that you need to clean up.
  4. Go through that one category only, separate it into three groups: keep, throw away, and store out of sight.
  5. When you are finished with one category pat yourself on the back. Then take a break or start on another category.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Our General Conference

Our family loves General Conference! The other day my daughter said, "General Conference is almost my favorite day of the year-- even more than Easter when we get all that candy!" We keep things really simple, but it's nice.

We usually wake up sort of late on Saturday morning. Somewhere along the way the kids decided that it's a tradition to have pancakes that morning, so they usually talk me into making some. I love pancakes, too, so it works out well.

I make little books for the kids to take their notes and draw their pictures in. I just cut a few papers in half, fold all the halves together and staple the side. The kids label or decorate the front with pen, pencil, or crayon if they want.

We all sit down together in the family room. I try to wear a dress and have a notebook and pen for myself. We all watch and take notes and draw pictures. There have been times when Daddy brings out some cold cereal to eat dry, or something like that. It's so nice to just sit and relax together and listen to the words of the prophets.

One of our favorite traditions is having people over for Saturday evening. The men go to the Priesthood session and the women stay here and make donuts, or pretzels, or cookies, etc. Then when the guys get home we all sit around the table and eat while they tell us girls about the Priesthood talks.

We usually have Uncles or Aunts come join us for one or more session during the weekend and that makes things extra special for all of us. All in all it's a really pleasant time.

Posted by Elizabeth Jr. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Family Conference

One year we decided to make General Conference weekend our "Family Conference" weekend. We wanted to spend the entire weekend together as a family, so we cleared everything from the calendar (games, parties, etc.). Then, I printed up an agenda complete with a schedule of activities, menu, and assignments for the weekend. A few days before the conference, each member was presented with the agenda entitled "Home Can Be a Heaven On Earth." This agenda looked so official, and the menu was filled with such fun food that the kids started to think this might be a pretty cool weekend.

That weekend, we started and ended each day with a devotional, did service projects, went for drives, had story time, worked in the yard, had craft time, played in the backyard, had cuddle time, went on picnics, made cookies, and watched every session of General Conference. Everything was scheduled including food prep (which I kept at a minimum), clean-up time, bath times, and snack times.

Everyone has fun memories of an organized weekend with plenty of attention from Mom and Dad, plenty of cooperation, plenty of spiritual experiences together, and plenty of fun food!

If we do it again, I will make sure that we kick off the weekend with a temple session with the kids who are old enough to do baptisms while the younger kids visit the temple grounds to have a lesson on temples.

If you decide to have a Family Conference, be aware that you can only fit so much in a weekend. Families get stressed when they are overscheduled. Ours was on a 3-day weekend during Fall break. That's how we were able to do so much. Do what works for YOU. Follow the Spirit, then maybe you will come up with something even better!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Daddy Carnival

Sometimes for Family Home Evening we'll have a Daddy Carnival, usually for the activity.

Daddy chooses a few rides he's willing to do for the kids like Strawberry Roan, Spinning,  Flying Lessons,  Climb and Flip, Skin the Cat, Rocket, etc. Then they get a certain number of tickets or turns that they can use for the ride of their choice. The kids love it!

You could have older kids help with giving the rides (or with first aid ; ).

P.S. This is Elizabeth the Younger : ).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Free Date Idea

Do you and your spouse both love music, but not always the same genre? Well, here’s a fun, free date idea for you to try.

Emerson is really knowledgeable about classical music, and I know nothing about it. So, one day he made up a program for a “concert” of music by a certain composer. In the program he included the composer’s biography and picture, and information about the musical selection. Then, with our programs and treats, we listened to the music he had chosen. He told me about the pieces, why he liked them, and their significance in musical history. It was really fun.

You can try this with any type of music, with either spouse “in charge.” You’ll be surprised how much fun you have and how much you learn about each other’s musical interests.

Picture from

Crazy Eight Party

We did this for Cassandra when she turned eight, many moons ago.  Pass out party invites shaped like the number "8."  Invite guests to come dressed up "crazy."  Make a backwards party banner (!yppaH yadhtriB)  Play all games backwards, like goose, goose, duck, where you run backwards instead of forwards, etc.  Play songs backwards on the computer and let them guess what they are.  Serve ice cream cone cupcakes.  For the "cake," buy a block of ice cream.  Cut the block down the middle and lay the two halves down flat side by side.  Press together so that it looks like a square cake.  "Frost" the cake with tinted cool whip.  Party goers will love the surprise of biting into "cake" and finding ice cream and vice versa!  Passout Groucho Marx glasses for party favors.

Ice Cream Cone Cup Cakes

A birthday classic.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
12 flat-bottomed ice cream cones
1 cake mix prepared according to package directions.
I container of frosting or cool whip

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Fill the cones halfway with cake batter (no further or they will not cook thoroughly). Place each cone in a mini cupcake baking tin for stability. If you don't have mini cupcake tins, use regular muffin tins by folding sheets of foil into strips.  Bend each strip into a circle and put the foil circles into regular muffin tin cups.  This makes the opening smaller so the cones won't tip.  Bake for about the same time as cupcakes.
 Spoon or pipe on cool whip to look like ice cream.  Add sprinkles and top with maraschino cherries if desired.  Don't make these too far ahead-- the cones get a bit soggy.  Then again, the kids don't care!  Don't use the squirty whipped cream unless you serve it immediately--it melts!

Transporting tip:  To transport, "ice cream" cones, tape shut an empty cereal box.  Cut 12 small X's in box.  Push cone bottoms through X's.  This will keep the cones from falling in transit.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Easy Pillow Accents

I wanted to brighten up my couch pillows, so I made these flowers out of felt, mod podged them to make them stiff, and sewed safety pins to the back in case I ever want to take them off the pillows.


Book-page Wreath

I made this book-page wreath for my living room, and I really liked how it turned out. I learned how to make it at

Cassandra :)

Marshmallow Flowers

These flowers are pretty on cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, too.  When I used them, people often ask if I am a cake decorator.  They are always surprised when I tell them these flowers are made from marshmallows!

1 package colored mini marshmallows
1 pair kitchen scissors

cut each marshmallow three times to form 4 petals.  You will actually use 5 petals per flower.  Place the flower petals as close to touching in the center as you can.  Green "petals" make leaves.

Hard-Drying Sugar Cookie Glaze

Here is the icing for Bread Bunnies.  This icing dries hard which makes it great for cookie bouquets, etc. --Marci

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

  • 1/4 cup hot water

  • 2 tsp light corn syrup

  • Paste (gel) food colors

  • In a small bowl stir together sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup and milk in equal amounts.

    Divide into separate bowls, and add food coloring to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.  Let dry 30 minutes before packaging.