Thursday, July 28, 2011

YW Manual 3 Lesson #30

This week's lesson is on personal scripture study. Instead of a regular handout, I thought I would give each girl a scripture reading chart.

At the beginning of the summer, my daughter wanted to make a scripture chart to match her room.  (She would like you to know that it "was a pain and took her like 3 hours").  I thought the girls in my class would love one too.

The little bubbles remind me of  pills or vitamins.  Just like certain vitamins will make our bodies healthy and strong and able to fight infections and disease, scripture study helps make our spirits strong and help us be immune from sin and other spiritual sicknesses. 

PDF file (printed 2/ page) here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yet another $2.10

Here's my final $2.10 shirt.  To move it from fine to fabulous, I busted out my Cricut, freezer paper and a bleach pen and made this.  For more details on how to make them, click here.

Thoughts on Deathly Hallows

Can you turn the finale of one of the most beloved book series in the world into a movie that makes everyone happy? Nope. 
That being said here's my review (spoiler alert-stop reading if  you haven't seen it)

-I really love the cast.  Huge kudos to the casting department. I even liked the next generation in the final scene.
-I love the scene when Hermione takes the polyjuice to turn into Bellatrix-brilliant and my favorite part of the entire movie.
-I love how they handled Snape's death scene and his back story.
-I love, love, love that they hinted at a romance between Luna and Nevillle b/c didn't we always want those two together?

Disappointments-but in all fairness books are just always better
-I love when Neville kills the snake in the book and don't understand why they drew it out so much in the movie. In the book it's a great dramatic moment for Neville to really stand up as a hero while everyone watches, in the movie it was drawn out and frustrating and only Ron and Hermione saw him do it.   I lost count how many characters kept dropping stuff trying to kill it, but it was silly. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

-My favorite all time scene in the book is when Voldemort asks them to turn over Harry, and students and staff form a human shield. (it makes me cry) The movie also shows this, but on a lesser scale and it just didn't have the same emotional impact of the book ( I was completely tear free).

-I love when Mrs. Weasly takes on Bellatrix.  Through all 7 books she uses her magic only for household tasks (she's the trophy wife of the wizarding world) and it was great to see her kick a little witch booty.  In the movie, she just didn't seem as strong or as in command  as I imagined in my head.

-In the movie, it was basically Hogwarts against Voldemort, but in the book lots more creatures/ wizards show up to fight. I'll forgive them this, b/c you can't include everything.

-The end scene in the book is warm and funny.  The ending scene in the movie is a little cheesy.  All the characters have melancholy looks and it's just not fun.  I missed the characters bantering back and forth and the jokes about Ron getting his driver's license or disowning any kids that get sorted into Slytherine.

-My biggest frustration was that I thought the movie changed the entire point of the book: love is stronger than any magic.  In  the movie, Harry wins b/c he had the right wand.  In the book, when Harry sacrifices his life for his friends, he shields them from any of the Death Eater's curses and that's why they win. Why would they leave that part out?

So what are your thoughts? Loved it, hated it or are we all just sad it's over?

Linking up here:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I've heard some positive buzz about this book, and so I picked up a copy from the Library:

From Publishers Weekly

If you've ever wondered what your dog is thinking, Stein's third novel offers an answer. Enzo is a lab terrier mix plucked from a farm outside Seattle to ride shotgun with race car driver Denny Swift as he pursues success on the track and off. Denny meets and marries Eve, has a daughter, Zoƫ, and risks his savings and his life to make it on the professional racing circuit. Enzo, frustrated by his inability to speak and his lack of opposable thumbs, watches Denny's old racing videos, coins koanlike aphorisms that apply to both driving and life, and hopes for the day when his life as a dog will be over and he can be reborn a man. When Denny hits an extended rough patch, Enzo remains his most steadfast if silent supporter. Enzo is a reliable companion and a likable enough narrator, though the string of Denny's bad luck stories strains believability. Much like Denny, however, Stein is able to salvage some dignity from the over-the-top drama. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Check out my friend, Kammy's review here. (it's way better than mine)
My thoughts:
  I've endured way too many kid movies featuring talking animals that I was worried that this book would be cheesy.  However, I love that the dog was telling the story. He was a wise old soul with great observations on the family and who better to tell a family's story than the family's pet?

I didn't love how sad the book was.  I'm not a sad book type of person and there are some downright tragedies in this one, but the ending is satisfying.  I am also not a racing fan and so I skimmed whenever there was talk of cars or racing. Finally, I did not love the bad language in the book and so I'd think twice about recommending it to your church book club. 

Overall I'd give it a 3 out of 5.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rich Chocolate Cheesecake

This is my favorite cookbook.  We got it as a wedding present and it's living proof that while the south may not be perfect, they certainly can cook.

For some strange reason I had an overabundance of cream cheese and so I browsed the book until I found a recipe for "Rich Chocolate Cheesecake".  It did not disappoint.

For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
1/ 3 cup melted butter

Mix well and press into a 10 inch spring form pan. Bake @ 350 for 6-8 minutes
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
32 oz soften cream cheese
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tb cocoa
2 tsp vanilla extract
16 oz sour cream

Melt chocolate in the microwave (I cook for 20-30 seconds at a stir, and return to microwave until smooth and creamy). Beat cream cheese until light an fluffy.  Slowly add sugar.  Mix well. Add eggs 1 at a time.  Stir in chocolate cocoa and vanilla. Mix wellStir in sour cream.  Mix well.  Pour on top of crust and bake @300 for 1 hour and 40 minutes (that's seemed like a really long time, but it wasn't over done).  Let cool to room temperature on wire rack. Chill at least 8 hours.  Garnish as desired. (For me that means lots of whipped cream)

It was yummy!

Other yummy stuff here.
Linking up here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

$2.10 Shirt

So remember I told you about my T-shirt score at Old Navy?  I bought myself this one, and thought it looked at little plain.  I cut up an old white knit t-shirt, whipped up an awesome blossom and tacked it on.  I think it looks pretty fabulous for $2.10 and 5 minutes. 
Linking up here.
More ideas here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Sofa

Thanks for those you that chimed in on my couch dilemma.  I did go buy the one at Costco.  It's a little different than the one on line (and $300 cheaper).  The real challenge came in getting it into my mini-van.  Hubby set it up. It's fairly comfortable, but I do miss have arms to prop my head up on when I take a nap.

 I wouldn't want it in my living room, but think it looks fantastic in the game room and all 3 kids declared it AWESOME!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Trout and Me-Review

Product Details

I saw this on the recommended shelf at the library and thought it look like a fun book.  It's the story of  Ben, an eleven-year old boy that struggles  ADD and a lack of friends at school.  A new kid named Trout moves in and the two immediately bond through a series of pranks and schemes and become best friends and almost get expelled from school.

My thoughts:
 First of all, it's only 144 pages long and so I read almost the entire thing at swim practice.  The book deals with some pretty heavy topics, but Shreve did an excellent job of balancing series matters with warmth and humor so the book didn't become to heavy.

I didn't like that these boys did not have any adults that were capable or willing to help them or be there advocate. It was really heartbreaking, but probably a sad reality.

I love this line, "My bad reputation has followed me like a tail getting longer every year."   So sad, but so true.  Kind of like the old adage "First impressions last." I think kids find their roles and then fulfill that role until it becomes almost their identity.  They could be the teacher's pet, the class clown, the crybaby, the trouble-maker, athlete etc.   I worry that kids will take these labels on as self-fulfilling prophecies.

I actually read this a few days before spending the week with 19 Cub Scouts at Day Camp and the timing could not have been better. It helped me try and be more patient and to remember that I was dealing with little boys with little boy bodies and little boy attention spans.

I give it a solid 4/5 stars for being entertaining and reminding me to be kind.

Linking up here.
Some more thoughts on books here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why I'm MIA

So this has been the busiest summer ever-including last summer and we moved half-way across the country (basketball camp, girls camp, a church youth conference, and swim team).  All of this has been seriously impacting my crafting time.  This week I'm bonding w/ my middle kid at day camp. Luckily, bossing a bunch of boys around all day in 100 degree weather is not actually as bad as I thought it would be.  The camp is run really well and truth be told, it's even kind of fun. 

 Guess what is the least fun part of every day?  "Arts and Crafts".  Shocker I know.  I love arts and crafts, but somehow sitting around picnic tables w/ 29 little boys hammering bird houses is not as fun as it sounds.  In general, they don't like arts and crafts and get frustrated when their projects don't turn out.  Or they are just plain bored and do things like hammer random objects to the picnic table. Some of them are mad in general that they are wasting time crafting when they could be spending it shooting at stuff.   Boys. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Patriotic T-shirt

This post is really early for Veteran's Day or REALLY early for next year.

 Old Navy had cheap t-shirts on sale for $3.49, which is pretty good.  They were buy 2 get one free and I got a 10% military discount which means I bought 3 shirts for a little over $6.  Score!
(stay tuned to see what we're going to do with the rest of them)

Sunday afternoon, my kid declared that she needed something a little festive for the 4th.  She was playing w/ my craft supplies and thought it would be fun to make ribbon stripes and button stars.  I didn't think it would look that great and tried to talk her out of it, but I was wrong and it turned out adorable.
Step 1: Lay out your ribbons on your shirt and pin them in place.
Step 2: Sew the first one day and watch it pucker and look horrible-try hard not to swear 
Step 3: Pick out first stripe
Step 3: Cut fusible webbing into strips and iron on the back of each ribbon
Step 4: Repeat Step 1
Step 5: Sew into place and appreciate the wonder that is fusible webbing
Step 6: Sew on all the buttons
Step 7: Admire your work

Step 7: Make a matching headband (I didn't invent this, but I just wrap fabric strips around a pipe-cleaner and twist.  Then I hot-glue a felt circle on the back.  I then get another felt circle and sandwich the 2 on either side of a head band.  Then I cut a pipe cleaner in half and made 2 smaller flowers for each side)

How cute is she? 

YW Manual 3 Lesson 28

The following are some ideas for YW Manual 3 #28 on Consecration and Sacrifice:

I was blessed to serve a full-time mission in Munich, Germany.  One of the best things about my mission was my mission president and his wife, Wayne and Sharon Boam.  I am surely a better person because of what I learned from them.

 At one of our missionary conferences, President Boam addressed us on the topic of “Sacrifice”.  Apparently several missionaries were going to some extreme measures in an effort to sacrifice for the Lord.  They were doing things like excessive fasting or sleeping on the floor. President Boam informed us that these practices could harm us and they are not the type of sacrifice the Lord requires of us.  Instead, he asked us to take stock of our lives and to figure out what things we could sacrifice to grow closer to the Lord.  We should sacrifice things like our fear, pride, time, jealousness, slothfullness, disobedience etc.   This has always stuck with me, and has helped me grow closer to the Lord as I’ve tried to rid my life of these negative things.

I love the story in Matthew 19: 16-30.  A young man asks the Savior what he needs to do to have eternal life.  In reply, the Savior lists the commandments and the man replies that he has always kept the commandments.  Then Jesus Christ tells him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor and then follow Him.  Unable to do this, the man sadly walks away.  Jesus replies, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”. 

When I was younger, I thought that this only applied to people of a higher tax bracket and therefore felt exempt.  Lately, I have realized that a man’s “camel” doesn’t have to only be monetary possesions.  It is whatever thing that  prevents us from becoming more like the Savior.  I will discuss with the girls what their “camels” are and how we can overcome them.  Maybe there's a tv show that's entertaining, but trashy or an outfit that's cute but not quite modest. Maybe there's someone we really can't stand and its fun to sit around and gossip about her. Getting rid of camels will surely be a lifelong job, and we shouldn’t get discouraged.

One of my very favorite scriptures is also found in Matthew 19: 26.  The disciples are concerned that no one will be able to be saved, when the Savior replies, “With God all things are possible”.  Giving up camels can be hard, but not impossible with God’s help and the rewards are pretty amazing.  By getting rid of camels we will, "Receive an hundredfuld and shall inherit everlasting life (Matt 19:30).
To make the handout, I just printed out the quote on cream cardstock.  I ripped the edges, b/c I liked the look.  I mounted it on a middle eastern looking piece of cardstock.  I also add a camel that cut out w/ my Cricut Paper Doll Dress up.  There's also one on the Animal Kingdom cartridge, but I didn't think it was as cute.  I'm sure you could also find a camel on clip art.

Thanks for stopping by:)

Check out some other YW ideas here.

10 minute T

Did July sneak up on you too?  Never fear, here's a 10 minute tutorial to the rescue.

I spent all afternoon making my daughter a patriotic t-shirt.  It turned out pretty cute and I will post it later in the week (although I'm wondering if I should bother and just wait until next year).  My youngest saw it and declared that he wanted a shirt too.  Since I had so much fun painting my pillows, I figured I'd paint him a shirt.  I found a cheap t-shirt on my kid's floor ( It may or may not have been clean, but it passed the smell test).  I used some painter's tape and put on some lines.  Then I used a star punch and punched some stars out of the tape.  Then I got out some craft paint and filled in the lines.  So fast (easily under 10 minutes) and easy and he will be styling for tomorrow's festivities. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stars and Stripes Pillows

I wanted to do some kind of patriot inspired pillows for my front bench (yes I know I'm a little late) and I wanted them to have some texture to them.  I played around w/ several ideas, but finally settled on knots.  I just cut some scrap white cotton into 1 1/2 inch strips and then tied a knot. 

Repeat 49 times. That was the easy part then I sewed on all 50 knots (which honestly was a little tedious and boring) to a simple blue pillow I had made. I considered busting out the glue gun, but since it's so hot here, I was worried that they'd melt off.
I'm fine w/ how it turned out, but I'm not doing cartwheels. If I did it again, I would use thicker fabric strips.

 I also wanted to make something w/ stripes on it.  I thought it would be fun to sew on rows of white and red ruffles, but all the knot sewing burnt me out and by this point I was just ready to be finished.  I made another pillow out of some neutral colored cotton.

I taped it off and painted red between the lines.
(Note: If you paint on the floor, you have the added fun of removing paint off the carpet)
Then I removed the tape and painted in white stripes.  I didn't want the lines to look precise.  I loved how it turned it out (almost cartwheel worthy) I don't think it took longer than 5 minutes.  I want to paint another pillow!

Green is Good When it comes to Oranges

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sunkist Growers for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


Sunkist asked me to tell you a little about Valencia Oranges, also called summer oranges.  This is their peak season which means they are at their best. Not only do they make  the perfect for delicious, sweet, and healthy summer snack, but they are also perfect for making fresh fruit juice.  They are not only tasty but a healthy addition to your family's diet.

They naturally ripen on the trees and turn bright orange, but sometimes the warm weather will cause them to re-absorb chlorophyll. This process causes their skin  to appear partly green. I always thought that the green skin meant that the oranges would taste bad and only bought bright orange oranges. However, when it comes to these oranges, green is good.  Even though the outside skin is a little green, the inside is ripe and yummy! The green skin has no effect on the flavor or nutrition of the orange.

To learn more about why green is good and other helpful hints from Sunkist's own Chef Robert Danhii, please watch the Sunkist Valencia Oranges Re-greening Video


Valencia Oranges are not  just for snacking, they are also the main ingredient in this re-freshing summer salad.

• 3 Sunkist® Valencia oranges, segmented and zested
• 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 lb. tub Bocconcini mozarella
• ¼ cup Opal (purple) basil, shredded into small pieces
• 20 whole wheat crackers
• Salt to taste
• ¼ cup fresh rosemary
• ¼ cup fresh thyme
• 1/8 cup fresh oregano
• 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
• 1 Tbsp. black pepper

Instructions: (Makes 10 servings)
• Cut the Bocconcini into halves.

• Zest the Valencia oranges using a micro plane or fine grater and set aside. To segment the oranges, cut off the top and bottom.

• Lay the orange on a flat surface, using a pairing knife remove the skin and white pith. Carefully cut and release each segment from between the membranes and set aside.

• In a blender, add the olive oil, orange zest and fresh herbs. Pulse until blended, continue to blend on medium speed until the herbs and zest are finely chopped, add the pepper and pulse quickly. Pour into a jar or plastic container. Leftover oil can be kept refrigerated for up to one month and used as a marinade for fish, poultry or vegetables.

• Toss the orange segments, cherry tomatoes, Bocconcini and basil lightly with ¾ cup of orange scented herb oil and season with salt.

• To Serve: Top each cracker with the mixture and serve.

I'm always looking for new recipes and was thrilled to learn that Sunkist has lots more recipes on their website: additional Sunkist citrus recipes


Here's some other helpful hints and tasyy tips from the people at Sunkist:

Fresh Valencia juice may be squeezed and refrigerated overnight. If tightly covered and immediately chilled, no loss of flavor or Vitamin C will occur.

-Smoothies are a popular snack out our house and fresh juice adds both great nutrition and great taste. Start with 1/2 cup of juice and 1/2 cup of diced orange in a blender. Add a peeled banana, some frozen berries and 1/2 cup of yogurt. Your body will thank you!

-Say "Valencia!" Valencias especially good to eat when cut into "smiles." Cut fruit in half crosswise; then cut 3 or 4 wedges from each half. My kids love these while playing sports or on trips to the park, especially on hot summer days.

-Peeling Valencias is easy: trim a thin slice from each end of the fruit, then set orange on one end. Cut away strips of peel from top to bottom, until all peel is removed.  You can even get a handy tool on their website.

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