Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent Calendar Update- Tucson Zoo

For Dec 8th advent activity we went to the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson AZ. It is a tradition we started our First Anniversary to go there every winter with our family. This was year number 3.

Why we like the Tucson zoo:

It is a smaller zoo. It takes us about 2 hours to do the entire thing.
It is a people friendly zoo, meaning the animals don't have much room to hide.
It's less crowded
Cheaper (although we have a membership this year so it doesn't matter)
It use to have a Polar Bear, but I guess it died so they didn't this year.
The main attraction: you can feed the Giraffes!

I thought Ryder was going to be scared or want to eat the carrot himself, but he knew what to do and loved it! It cost $2 per person for 2 carrot sticks. We think it is well worth it!

Part of our Tradition is going to A&W rootbeer restaurant  However we can terminating that part of the tradition and vowing never to go to A&W unless it is a stand alone building and not in a gas station. That was the most expensive crappy sandwich I've ever had! SO in the future we'll be packing a lunch and having a picnic. So much more fun!

What is your favorite Tradition?


You can see the whole list of activities for our Advent here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent Calendar Update- Wooden Nativity Blocks

 Day one of our advent calendar was to play with these Nativity Blocks. I made them that day for our Enrichment activitiy. They were super easy!

 All we did was paint the wood blocks and add stickers they got from Hobby Lobby! Then added mod podge to seal them. My little bug loves them. We first taught him the basic version of the nativity story and set it up. Then we asked him where different things were and he'd find that block. Then we just let him play with them how ever he wanted.

He had a lot of fun and it was the perfect way to start the Christmas Season.

Day two was to watch the Christmas Devotional on BYU TV. It will most likely replay at some point. Or you can watch it online on

You can see our full advent calendar list here.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Table

(This post was originally from when I was writing for ourdiydiaries so this may look familiar if you followed them as well.)

In my mom's ward they had a Christmas Relief Society Dinner. They had different people sign up to decorate the tables. So each person had a table. it was fun seeing all of the different ideas. My mom signed up and since she is not crafty I helped her.

We did ornaments on a cake stand for the centerpiece. We stacked it on top of some glass blocks. In the middle of the blocks were battery operated lights that added just the right touch.

We also put red sparkley tulle around the cupcake stand for some color and to hide the blocks a little.

Here is the place setting. We did a red charger with white plates. Then the napkins (alternated red and green). Tied with a candy cane. Then some goblets for the drinks. Sprinkle with kisses and it's done.
I think it turned out nice. What do you think?


Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent Calendar

Is it just me or is the last week of November going by real slow? One day it's Halloween and then the next it is Thanksgiving and then a month later it is December 1st. Anyone else feel that way? I think a lot of it had to do with Thanksgiving being early this year. I'm just so excited for Christmas season! I've tried putting off most Holiday things until December. Don't get me wrong our lights and decorations are already up, but waiting to get truly into the spirit. One more day!

I"m really excited this year because I made an Advent Calendar. It starts on the first, but we put it up today.

 To make this I just cut a 4x4 square out of Christmas Paper that came in a holiday pack that I will never use, I really like it for this though. Then I Printed off the numbers from studio diy. I cut those out and attached to the front with homemade glue dots.

Then I made up a little calendar and starting filling in which activities would be good for what days. I tried to keep the weekdays easy and do the more time consuming ones on weekends. After everything looked good I handwrote the activities onto the paper. I also added the date we should be on incase we get behind.

This will be tomorrows card...

I just hung them up with clothespins (I wish I would have painted or covered with paper). I hung them up with 1 in the middle and switching off. This way when we get to only a few days left all the numbers aren't to one side, they will be in the middle.

Here is our list of things to do. We'll see how much we stick to it. I'm planning on doing some posts on the activities.

24- Play with Nativity Blocks
23- Christmas Devotional on BYU tv
22- Unwrap a Christmas book and read it
21-  Play with Magnet Nativity
20- Make a homeless bag and give it to someone before Christmas
19- Unwrap a Christmas book and read it
18- Watch Muppets Christmas Carol
17- Go to Tucson Zoo
16- Go see Temple Lights
15- Watch Mickey's Christmas Carol
14- Unwrap a Christmas book and read it
13- Make and Decorate Sugar Cookies
12- Unwrap a Christmas book and read it.
11- Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
10- Watch Home Alone
9- Watch Mr. Krugers Christmas
8- Drive around and look at Christmas Lights
7- Visit Santa at Bass Pro Shop
6- Unwrap a Christmas book and read it
5- Watch Home Alone 2
4- Open Christmas Jammies and watch Polar Express
3- Go on Polar Express
2- Watch Elf
1- Play with Magnet Activity

I hope this gave you some ideas! I know this time of year is hectic with all that is going on. But make sure you take the time to enjoy it! Happy Holidays!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Zoo Scavenger Hunt

I just bought a zoo membership and I am feeling like the coolest mom in the world! I'm more excited than my little bug. Mainly because he has no clue what is in store. In celebration of my membership I'm planning a zoo day with some of my family members (4 of them have memberships too). So between the memberships and me getting a free culture pass at the mesa library everyone is getting in for free.

To give the kids an added bonus I made a scavenger hunt for them to work on while we are admiring all of the not so wild life. I just created a table in a word program and added pictures from the Phoenix zoo website. I found one online here, but our zoo doesn't have a hippo so I had to make my own. Hopefully you can use it too. If you want me to make a change for you let me know

Here is the link to print your own scavenger hunt! When they mark off 8 spaces they get a treat. When they mark off all 15 they get another one. I have these zoo fruit snacks purchased from Sams Club.

We tested this out earlier today. As you can see it was well used. The kids enjoyed it, especially my Nephew Wyatt who is about 3 1/2. Planning on making a different 2 based on the sides of the park. We only did half today so we didn't see all that was on our list. We still got our treat though!

Do you do anything to make the zoo more fun?

Happy Monday!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Applesauce Pork Chops

This is one of those things where you find a recipe, you try it you like it, but it is just too much work and unnecessary things. The original recipe called for things like apple cider vinegar, dry mustard and other things that I don't normally have around the house. That is fine if you are trying to impress food critics. But when it's just my husband and I that is there for dinner SIMPLE is what I'm looking for! So this is my simplified version...

4 pork chops (I've also done this with pork loin still in the long tubey form)
1 C apple sauce
1/4 C Brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix Everything together minus the chops
  3. Brush on apple mixture
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or so.
That's it, pretty easy right? You can also make a nice presentation and bake some apple slices with it. I hope you are willing to give this a try. Let me know what you think and any ideas you have to make it even better



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hair Bow Holder

Here is the before, I got the frame at Goodwill on their Dollar Thursdays so yep the frame cost me $1! The picture is horrible, but the frame was fine...

I tried to match the colors of the room. Hopefully I did ok. The first thing I did was spray painted the frame. I did about 3 coats. The spray paint cost $2-$3 I think.

Next I hot glued the ribbons on. I wanted to make it a little unique so I did the ribbons diagonal instead of Horizontal of verticle as I have always seen with these. It was hard to get them tight because I tried gluing to the inside of the frame instead of the back because in my mind it would look better against the wall. (It will make more sense in the next picture... hopefully) I tied a bow out of a piece of tulle and hot glued it to the bottom. It adds a nice touch I think.


See the ends of the ribbon? They are on the lip where the backing of the frame would sit instead of just the back. Not sure how it would turn out just doing the back.

I then hammered on some saw tooth hooks so it could be hung up. These are like $.97 at Wal-Mart for a pack of 5.

Total cost= $5 tops The ribbons I already had and the flower clips I made awhile ago. Not a bad project!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Puppy Party: Activities

This is post #4 about my little Bug's 1st birthday party. 

What is a party without some activities? 

The first activity we did was pass the toy. I didn't get any pictures of this game but basically it was like hot potato except with a dog toy. I was originally going to get dog songs to play, but well you know how it goes, put it off until it's too late. We just played whatever music I had on my phone because our stereo wouldn't play load enough. The puppies had fun squeaking the toy.

Next we did an obstacle course to see who was "best in show". There were some good puppies at our doghouse. This was the course...
First I threw a ball and they had to fetch it and bring it back to me.

Craft Day 2012

So I am planning a craft day on Saturday, November 17th from 10am to whenever you are finished. If you are near Mesa and want to participate let me know. I will have everything you need to finish the craft that day. If you sign up, please please please don't back out! If you can't come you can still get the kit and make it on your own. Any questions let me know. Here is the list of craft kits I am doing (will be updated as I complete each craft):

Burlap Banner= $3 for 6 pieces .25 for each additional piece
Choose between white, tan, red, black, brown, orange and green. I will have different colors of paint to choose from, but if you want to make sure I'll have something specific let me know what color you want. Also what word you are planning to spell out just so I can make sure I have the letters ready. The pieces will be pre-cut at around 2.5 x 3.5inches.

Santa Frame= $2.50 (5 Available)
3.5in. x 3.5in. opening. Buckle will most likely be different. This was just something I had on hand. (If you don't want to do Santa you can something else you have in mind.)
(I'm going to distress this more, just wanted to give you an idea. Different ribbons available.) 

Burlap Bubble Wreath: $10
Choose between white, tan, red, black, brown, orange and green (refer to picture above)
I'm thinking I will pre-cut the Squares... maybe!

Wonderful time sign= $5 (5 available)
Not done with this one either (Shocking I know). Just picture this on a almond colored board. Will have hooks on the back to hang up on a wall.

Magnet Board= $8 3 magnets included (3 Available!)
Tons of paper to choose from. There is also holes drilled at the top and ribbon to hang it up with.

Snowflake Wreath= $10

I need an order form by November 14th! If possible, I'd love to receive payment then. Or atleast half...

You can email form to or fb or just give it to me in person.
Click here for an order form

I'm really excited and I hope you are too! Feel free to invite a friend or 2!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Puppy Party: Decorations

This is post number 2 for my little bugs 1st Birthday. 

This post is going to focus on the decorations that we used. The theme was a puppy/dog theme and I wanted the kids to get that feel as soon as they came.

In our carport we laid out paw prints out of red, blue, and yellow paper that I die cut at the nearby scrapbook store.  It was a nice touch and showed that the party was in the backyard and not the front door.

The guests would then see this sign.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Puppy Party: Invitations

My little bug turned 1! I am still in shock, I don't know what to think. Like 6 months ago or so The Hubs and I decided to get our Bug a dog for his birthday, so going with that I started planning a puppy themed birthday party. Well we ended up getting 2 golden labs for free a few months later, but I kept with the theme.
This is a few days after we got them. (Tonka and Ella)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

 Is it just me or does bacon make everything better??? 

If you agree you have to try this recipe!

1 bunch asparagus
1/2 package of bacon

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Homemade Mod Podge

I found this out and feel like it is my duty to share the word with everyone. I found this at Life in Rehab. I guess it should be common sense that mod podge is just glue and water, but I never would have had the guts to try it myself first.

All you need is water, school glue (like elmers) and a jar. Take equal parts water and glue, pour in a jar, and shake, shake, shake!

It works great! Costs like 50 cents. I made it for a favor for a craft day I hosted along with a foam paint brush. It was a nice touch.

I'm probably going to reference this post a lot since I have already done so much with it.

So go ahead, give it a try. Let us know what you created with your super cheap homemade mod podge!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chicken Cesar Salad

I made this the other night for a potluck with the in-laws. Big hit with the fam! I always hear, "I don't like Cesar salad, but this is good!"

Cesar Dressing
1C Mayo
1T Lemon Juice
1t Worcestershire Sauce (such a funny word...)
1 Clove garlic (the other night I just used like 1 1/2 t garlic powder instead)
1/4t Salt
1/8t Pepper
1/2C Parmesan Cheese (the powdery kind) 
1T Milk or half and half

Just mix together

Cesar Salad
I like to make a "not your typical Cesar", because really who wants a salad with just lettuce? So along with roman lettuce I added tomatoes and cucumber. Then the normal croƻtons and grated Parmesan cheese (I didn't have any) and the chicken of course. We've done it 2 ways, the recent was just grilled chicken and then in the past we did breaded.

(How I make my breaded chicken is dip in egg, dip in Itailian bread crumbs, bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Dice chicken and add to salad.)

You can either add the dressing to the salad and mix, or let people add it themselves. For this big salad (hard to see how big in the picture) I only used a little over half of the dressing.



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Painting Pumpkins

What is Halloween without pumpkins? Traditionally it's carving pumpkins, but with a toddler I wanted something that would involve him. How about Painting Pumpkins???

My little bug loved it! He had so much fun! It took him about 30 minutes and he didn't want to stop there.

This was a fun way to include him this Halloween  His pumpkin sits outside our front door and he admires it anytime we go outside.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Emergency Preparedness!

This topic has really been on my mind lately. Last night at my Ward's Relief Society we talked about storing food storage. I'm teaming up with my sister in the next few months to work out making a rotating can shelf.

My goal for 2013 is to really get a 6 month supply. Ideally a year would be great, but I'm starting small. I would say start with a 3 month, but I think if we really needed to we could get by for 3 months. Well minus water!

I came across a blog called Prepared LDS Family. It it a very nice reference, one of those this is what you should buy this month type of things. I'm probably going to be referencing it a lot next year. Here is the link.

Any tips or tricks that you have would be awesome! You can comment here or email me


Monday, October 22, 2012

Spooky 7 layer bean dip

Ok so I love this time of year! It's not my favorite, but it means my favorite is getting close! Every October my family and 2 other families we've known since before I was born get together and have a black and orange dinner. What is this you might ask? It is so much fun! All the food is black and orange. Ex. black olives, baby carrots, Doritos  Whatever people want to bring. The main course is dinner in a pumpkin. I'll do a post on that later. We also always have orange jello with those plastic spider rings in them. So much fun. The last few years we've tried stepping out of the box. This is what I came up with last year.

If you have never made a 7 layer bean dip before start! They are so easy and always a big hit. My usual bean dip is this (Layer in order)

Refried beans
Sour cream
green onion

For this Halloween one I focused more on the halloween colored food showing; green guacamole, orange cheese, and black olives. I also ended with an extra layer of sour cream to make the web. I just put sour cream in a zip top bag and cut the end. It was pretty simple to do. I LOVE my little spider made out or an olive!

It was a huge hit! I'm trying to brainstorm ideas for something fun for this year, it's Sunday!


Partying with:


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Puppy Party- Doggie Bags

This is post #5 on my little bugs 1st Birthday Party. Scroll to the bottom for links to the other posts.

This will be the last post. It was so much fun to see how it turned out in pictures it was a lot of fun and not as much work as I was worried it would be. 

This post is for the Doggie Bags, loot bags, treat bags, prizes, whatever you want to call them. With it being a Puppy Party, doggie bag fit perfectly.

I just used the white lunch sacks and decorated them. I actually had these on hand from my Nephew's birthday party. I just decorated them with a strip of yellow paper with paw prints stamped on it. I die cut some dogs and wrote each kids name on it. Then added a collar out of ribbon. I like how these turned out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Puppy Party- FOOD

This is post #3 on Little Bug's 1st Birthday Party. One thing that I always hate about doing posts on parties is I never get all the pictures I want to do a detailed post. I'm seeing now what I should have took pictures of.

For the food we didn't want to do a full on meal because we wanted to keep this party to minimal spending. So we offered a few finger food for party guests.

Monday, October 15, 2012

5 little ducks felt board song

5 Little Ducks (Please forgive my camera)

I've been wanting to do something like this for awhile, you know make those fun kid songs a little more fun. Since I'm lacking a computer and my little bug is too young to criticize my artwork I just drew my animals. I'm sure you could find cute clip art of different ducks to use.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Candy Bar Boquet


Are you still needing a gift for your sweetheart for tomorrow? It's not too late, this project only took about 15 minutes once I had all the stuff gathered.

When Valentine's Day first started appearing at the store I noticed this candy bar bouquet. It looked like a fun gift for a guy. Immediately I thought I could so make that! So I took another challenge, could I make one cheaper than what they sell them for??? I decided to make one for the hubs!

 This one was at Fry's. It came with a vase, Dove chocolates, 3 Hershey candy bars and one of those $1 box of chocolates that aren't really any good. (personal opinion). Then of course the cellophane and ribbons... This particular one was selling for $16.99.

So I set out to make mine... I gathered all of my supplies. Most of it I already had on hand I just needed the candy and the foam to stick it into.
 You will need:
tissue paper or cellophane (I only had tissue paper on hand)
foam (I bought it from DollarTree)
Your filler I used the Crunch heart shaped chocolates.
Candy Bars I decided to use 6- Crunch, Kit Kat, Heath, Almond Joy, Hershey Almonds, and 100 Grand
Ribbon or tulle
First fill your vase with your filler. I didn't even use an entire bag.
Then tape your skewers to the candy bars. I was first rolling the tape and sticking it on with the stick in between, but later they would fall off so I would recommend just putting the tape on the normal way.

 Then get your form. I never realized how messy these were.... then stick your candy bars in. I laid it down because it wouldn't stand up straight.

 Wrap your form with tissue paper and stick into vase... Tie with ribbon or tulle.

Then add your own personal message

Now for the price match up. I think it might be close...
Frys to buy it was $16.99.

For me to make mine cost was...
candy bars- $3.75
filler candy- $3 have some left
foam form- $.50
Total= $7.25

However that was because I had a majority of the stuff, If I were to buy everything estimated cost would be...

Vase- $3 (cheap ones from Walmart)
Skewers- $1 for a pack of 100
Candy filler $3
Candy bars $3.75
Tape $1
Tissue Paper $1
Total= $12.75 
You would still spend less AND have stuff left over. Sounds like another win to me! I understand that when buying from stores you are also paying for the employee to assemble it together for you, but seriously this took very little time. 

So if you have a craft closet like mine you could make out with a nice gift for your valentine for under $8. Are it is more customized because you can choose his favorite candy! This would be perfect for any gift giving holiday or just because. Men love surprises too, almost as much as chocolate:) Or maybe I'm thinking of me...

I've also seen these with different snack items that would be fun also. Do you have any out of the ordinary bouquet ideas? One of these days I'm attempting a fruit bouquet.


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