Friday, July 31, 2015

Paper Clip Bookmarks

These bookmarks are simple to make, inexpensive, and are a great gift.  Great for little hands to make too!

You will need:

Paper Clips (we purchased these giant ones at Target)
Ribbon of any kind or width (we chose Young Women value colors)

Measure out your ribbon so they are all the same length or have fun with varying lengths to make a fun pattern.  Tie a square knot to secure the ribbon to the paper clip and you are done.  You can use as many ribbon strands as you like.  

Happy Summer Reading!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Anniversary Cake

It's our silver anniversary this month! 
Can't believe 25 years!
Through all the laughs and tears, ups and downs, years of schooling, military diployment, moves and six kids, we've made it to this milestone.  

My husband is a "foodie" so I'd thought I'd surprise him with a homemade mini anniversary cake.
Kind of reminded me of the mini top layer of our wedding cake (although ours was a white cake with fruit filling---memories)
I started out with this chocolate cake recipe from Add A Pinch.  It's similar to our Texas Cowboy Cake but has more of a dark chocolate taste.  I pretty much followed the recipe but took out the espresso powder. 
I put the wet ingredients (except for water) in mixing bowl and combined the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Turn the mixer on low and slowly add in the dry ingredients.  Then add the boiling water.  Mix on high for a minute or two.

I prepared my baking pans with circles of parchment paper on the bottom and sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  
I can't say enough about lining your pans with parchment paper.  It makes your cakes so easy to get out of the pan after they are baked and easier to handle. 
 Just trace around the bottom of your pan with a pencil on the parchment.  Cut around the circle a little smaller than your traced line.  Perfect.

Bake as directed. 
 Your mini cakes will bake faster.  I poured the extra batter in a large cake pan to bake extra cake!  

Historically, traditional gifts for wedding anniversaries began in the Roman Empire when husbands crowned their wives with a silver wreath on their 25th anniversary.  (that would be cool)  Through time, every 5 year anniversary was associated with a certain gift. In 1937 the Jewelers of America (of course they came up with a gem assigned to each year)  and other groups expanded the list to every year up to 25 and then every 5 years after that. It's kind of fun to see what the gift items are:

After the cakes have been baked and are cooling, it's time to make a fun cake topper!
I thought a simple number would be nice,
of course with a little glitz of glitter
had to be Silver, since 25 is that color.

You can make a number cake topper by using our 
{Numbers Reversed} template.

 I picked up some glittered, silver card stock at Hobby Lobby.   Ran it through my printer (print on the back, non glittered side) for your number template.   When you cut out the reversed image on the back, it will be the correct direction on the good side of your paper. 


Hot glue your numbers on some toothpicks.

These are awesome!

For the frosting.  I found a really, delicious chocolate buttercream recipe at Savory Sweet Life.  So milk chocolatey!  It is a really thick frosting, so I would recomend decreasing the powdered sugar by maybe 1/2 cup or add another Tablespoon of milk (that's what I did).  Having it a little thinner  helps with spreading it on your cake.  And you want to spread it on right after mixing the frosting.  [after you've tasted a little of it, of course :) ]
Start adding your layers.  I've got 3 tiers.

Another cake tip:
 When frosting a cake, take 3 strips of wax paper and put it down on your cake stand or plate.  You just want it barely under the edges of  your cake round.  Then when you are frosting the sides, extra frosting will get on the wax paper, not all over your cake stand.  After frosting, gently pull out the paper.  You'll have a nice clean stand around your cake. 


Here's to another 25!


Monday, July 27, 2015

PJ Bottoms

My 9-year old daughter has really taken off with her sewing. We were out shopping the other day and found some cute flannel on sale at Jo Ann's. We decided to buy some so she could make her little brother new PJ bottoms. All her idea. Sometimes I don't think her brothers realize how lucky they are to have her as their sister!

We got our inspiration from this site. It has great step by step instructions. Below is our interpretation ;)

1. Roll out a piece of parchment paper (just what you use for baking) for the pattern. Place a pair of existing PJ bottoms on the parchment paper and trace adding a 1/2 inch seam allowance on the sides and a 2-inch seam allowance for the top and bottom. Once your pattern is traced, cut it out.

2. Place your pattern on the flannel. Fold your material in half and place the long outside pattern seam along the fold. This will give you one leg of the pants. Do this again for the other leg. If you don't have enough material to fold for your second leg, no problem. Just double your material, pin and cut. Then, with the two "good" sides facing each other, sew the long outside seam together. Now, you have your second leg complete.

3. This is the tricky part. Turn one of your legs right side out and slide it into the other leg which has its material inside out.  Be sure to line up all the edges and the flannel is smooth. Below you can see what I mean. If done correctly, when you open the material at the top, you will see that the two "good" sides are facing each other.

4. Pin the waist/crotch area so it forms almost a U shape with the "good" sides facing each other. Now, sew this U shape.

5. If sewed correctly, your pants will look like PJs when pulling the one leg out of the other after stitched together.

6. Now, it is time to sew the waist. Turn your pants back inside out and iron 1/2 inch of the waist top down. Then, fold over again and iron 1 inch down. Pin this opening and sew along the bottom fold. Remember to leave about a 2 inch opening at the beginning and at the end of this stitch. You will need this area open so you can thread your elastic through.

7. Using 1/2 inch wide elastic, measure the elastic around your PJ bottom receiver's waist and add an additional 3 inches to the length. Cut the proper length. Then, with a safety pin fastened to one end of the elastic, begin working your elastic through your waist opening. The safety pin will help you inch the elastic through the entire waist length. Once your elastic reaches the end of your waist, pull on the elastic so the two ends are the same length. This motion will help gather the waist together. Sew your two elastic ends together before sewing the two waist band openings close. Now, your waist is done!

8. Finally, sew your cuffs. Press and pin your leg bottoms to the desired length and sew around the edge of your fold.

All done! Nothing better than new, cozy PJs!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer Bucket List

Summer is going fast!  Time to make your "bucket list" of all those things your family would like to do before school starts.  We wrote our favorite ideas to do on our chalkboard and will check them off once they are done.  We also wrote our master list of things to do on a piece of paper that we will check off once they are done.  No matter how long your list, make plans now in this fun way so your summer is one that you will never forget!
Happy Summer!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pioneers and Buttons

Pioneer Day is July 24th! What is Pioneer Day you may ask? Here is a link that will tell you all about it. In preparation for Pioneer Day, our Activity Day girls are going on a Legacy Hike. They will do a short hike before stopping to eat lunch. Then, after lunch, they will attend three "classes" to learn more about our pioneer heritage and how the pioneer legacies can influence their lives for good as they strive to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm really excited to be asked to teach one of these classes. I've been assigned to talk about the Legacy of Sacrifice. (The other two classes are:  Legacy of Faith and Legacy of Courage.) I want to share with you my thoughts and plans in hopes that you may find them useful for your own Pioneer Day celebrations or for an upcoming Family Home Evening.

My thoughts are centered around Bathsheba Smith. She is a woman of great strength,valiance and humility. I am always struck with reverence when reading her account. She left her home and most of her possessions behind in Nauvoo so she and her family could begin their trek to the Salt Lake Valley.

Here is her story along with questions the girls and I will discuss. 

Most of our discussion will focus on this question: What's In My Wagon? Basically, what activities, thoughts, possessions, goals, etc. do I have in my life? Do these things lead me to or away from my Savior? What sacrifices do I need to make so I can be sure that my wagon or life is following Jesus Christ? 

After our discussion, we will make button bracelets. Because the pioneers brought basic sewing materials with them in their wagons, we will make these bracelets to help us remember to fill our wagons or lives with the necessities of discipleship. The bracelets are very simple which perfectly match the theme. 

First, find or buy a largish button. Jo Ann's has some really cute wooden buttons right now. You get eight buttons for just over $2. I bought two packages along with some other buttons. 

Next, cut two strips of jute, baker's twine, embroidery thread or braiding cord. 

Weave one of the threads, jute, twine, etc. through one hole of the button so a loop appears. 

Then, take the two ends and thread them through the loop and pull. You now have one side of your bracelet complete! Do the same on the other side of the button. 

Finally, tie the ends together and your pioneer button bracelet is finished! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fabric Strip Banner

Here's a festive banner for any occasion-- just using fabric!
You'll need:
 fabric-1/4 to 1 yard in the colors you want
 (My banner is only about 3 ft. long.  I bought 1/2 yard each of 5 different colors and ended up only using half of it.)  
Some kind of cording, lightweight rope, ribbon or jute
When choosing your banner cording, consider if it will be mostly outdoors or indoor and how long/heavy the banner will be- buy cording thickness accordingly
I like using the craft cording below or nylon cording.

 Cut off white edges of fabric. Then I cut my fabric in half.

Cut snips on the short side of your fabric square every 1 1/2 inches.  

At that cut, rip the fabric to get your strips.

After you have all your fabric strips.  Decide what order you want them in and line up for an assembly line.

Fold the fabric strip in half and place under the cord.

Take your ends and put through the loop.

Pull through...


Keep adding your strips. 

Love it!  Stay tuned to see what this banner  is used for! 

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