This year I went crazy with our front yard Halloween decorations and I love it!
I combed Pinterest for the best DIY Halloween Decorations and I’m here to share it with you. These are super easy and the kids love them! Not to mention all my neighbors think they’re super cool too 😉
Let us begin with these adorable bats. My three- year- old loves these! They are so easy and it’s been raining here for a couple days and they are still holding up. Easy and durable, can’t ask for more than that!
Now, this pallet I wouldn’t really call “easy” unless you like hand painting letters. There is no cool printer transfer trick for this one, just straight up paint and paint brushes.
I picked up the pallet behind a store that I knew would have some to give away. I’ve had it in my garage for like a year! constantly reminding my husband that I had big plans for it! Finally I decided what to do with it and here it is! I love it. (did you notice all of the exclamation points?)
And, BONUS, after Halloween I plan to flip it over and use it for a Thanksgiving decoration.
I wrote the letters out with chalk first.
Then I started painting. I’ve never really done anything like this. But it was way fun!
I had a left over chalk board from a church party so I was excited to use that for the count down. You can find chalk board anywhere nowadays. I know for a fact they have them at Hobby Lobby.
We’re loving all our decorations so far and I hope you guys like them too!
Since my blog is still very young, I haven’t had the chance to share with you our cute Halloween costume ideas from the past couple of years!
I LOVE Halloween.
I look forward to it all year long and am always saving party ideas, halloween decor, and especially Halloween costume ideas. The last couple of years I’ve been so lucky to not only come up with ideas for myself but to have an amazing husband who will let me dress him up and two amazingly adorable kiddos to dress up too.
It’s the best.
Our first Costume as a family was in 2012 when we went as Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, and Pascal the Chameleon from the Disney movie Tangled. I was excited to be Rapunzel because my hair, at that time, was the perfect length to match Rapunzel’s at the end of the movie.
These costumes were super easy!! I got everything at D.I. and just added a couple of ribbons and claspy things and I changed some of the fabrics out of Porter’s Costume from orange to green. Goodwill and D.I. are amazing around halloween time. Always check there first before spending all your moneys somewhere else. Unless you don’t like second hand stuff which is kind of understandable. But it’s just for one night so just do as I say and go to the thrift store first!
I think I got my crown at Hobby Lobby.
Halloween of 2013 I was about 3 months pregnant with my second baby and didn’t have a lot of energy to do anything too crazy, so I grabbed some felt and my hot glue gun and went to work.
Porter’s Buzz Lightyear jet pack is made out of foam core, which I hot glued together, and felt, which I hot glued onto the foam core. I love hot glue. And then I glued some elastic strap onto the front for his arms to go through. Sorry I didn’t get a better picture.
For his suit I bought a white long sleeved shirt and white pants and, you guessed it, hot glued felt onto those too. To make the design for his shirt I just kind of looked at pictures of Buzz online and did my best.
Then, for mine and Zach’s outfits, I bought green shirts from hobby lobby and glued on some eyes and drew on the mouth. (we’re supposed to be the aliens from toy story if you can’t tell. “The Claaaaaaaaaaaw”. Those ones). Super Easy!!
I loved this Buzz lightyear costume. He’s just the cutest. Look at his cute hair!
And now we’ve come to last year’s Halloween.
We went with a Wizard of Oz theme. I was the scarecrow, Zach was the tin man, Piper was Dorothy, and Porter was the Cowardly Lion
Oh how I wish I had documented every step of the making of these costumes because they were so fun and, yet again, super easy! However, I did not… So if you’re looking for a play by play you’ll have to do as I did and just wing it.
I have to say that making a furry lion suit for a little kid to walk around in in October in Arizona was a risky move. Arizona is still really really hot in October. Poor little guy was very toasty.
It was really fun to paint his face. I used some random box of halloween face crayons I found at walmart or something. His eyebrows were black for like a week after this.
I got his little fur jumper suit from goodwill, hot glued the fur onto the front and sewed some little felt covers for his tennies.
And of course I had to make a tail.
I got the fur from Joanne’s Fabrics for super cheap. It was on sale and I was jumping for joy.
The hood really wasn’t that hard to make. I pretty much just grabbed his heavy coat and made a makeshift pattern from looking at it. I will say that working with fur can be very tricky so be sure to look up some stuff before you start hacking away.
For baby girl’s costume I just grabbed a big men’s shirt from Goodwill that had the pattern that I wanted and made her a little apron. It’s really just squares and straps sewn/glued together. If they’re only wearing it once, why stress out trying to make it perfect?
I think it turned out great.
For her ruby slippers I grabbed some hand-me-down shoes, coated them in glue, and put glitter all over them. As you can see it didn’t stay on super duper well. Next time I would use more glue, more glitter, and give it more time to dry. Like a week or something.
We had such a great night! We had a party with all our close friends and had a blast seeing everyone’s costumes.
I hope this will help any of you looking for Halloween costume ideas and please feel free to comment or contact me for more info if you want some.
Every night, as part of Porter’s bedtime routine, we get his PJ’s on, we brush his teeth, and he goes potty. A couple of weeks ago, while hubby was out of town on business, I had had a long and hot and exhausting day. I can’t remember exactly why I was so high strung and grumpy, probably a combination of not having my partner parent come home to relieve me after work and also because it was like 112 degrees outside. Either way, I was done with that day and just wanted my kids in bed! Is that too much to ask?
So we’re going through his bedtime routine and he is taking his sweet time getting his toothbrush going. I mean, I know I told him to not put too much tooth paste on his brush but at this rate we were going to be there all night!
So I snapped a little.
“Porter! Hurry up!”
As this impatient demand burst from me I saw, reflected in the bathroom mirror, an angry, tired, mean mommy, and a little boy who was just doing his job.
This stopped me in my tracks and time kind of froze for a second.
This is not me. What is wrong with me?! This is my precious little boy who loves me and all I can think about is hurrying him along so that I can be alone.
Seeing my face in that moment scared me. And I don’t ever want to look like that again.
How are we, as parents, supposed to always keep our cool? How can we keep from raising our voice unlovingly or demanding perfection unfairly?
I’ve been pondering these questions for the past couple of weeks since this experience and I’ve come up with a few answers.
Prayer is the answer to a lot of life’s problems for me, but especially for parenting. And not only because I believe in a God who will answer prayers and actually help me change, but because being quiet and pondering about my life and what I want to change and just taking a moment to reflect on things like this is, in itself, a really good place to start.
Since thinking about this outburst I’ve realized a good thing for me to do is to breathe. Take a moment and, even if both kids are screaming and throwing things and pulling at you, just stop, close your eyes and breathe. Sometimes I’ll even lock myself in the bathroom or my bedroom for a second. Knowing my kids, I can trust them to not get into any trouble during those 30 seconds, but judge this move according to your own kids.
This is a major part of parenting for me. If the kitchen sink is overflowing with dishes, laugh it off and turn on some dance music. If your 18-month-old drew with eyeliner all over her face, laugh about it and grab a warm wash cloth and your camera. If your 3-year-old just through his giant, stuffed elephant in your face at two in the morning and then continued to crawl in your bed and ask to play with you, have a good giggle and make him a bed on the ground. Seriously though, if you want to be a happier, less grumpy, less demanding mommy or daddy, try smiling. Happy people smile. Remember that.
4. Work it out
If you are overwhelmed and over booked, change something. Figure out what outside force is taking over your happy side and throw it in the trash. For me, I had too many projects going on. Blog posts, blog pictures, wedding videos, work videos, dishes, meal planning, grocery shopping, church callings. So many things are pulling at us! It’s no wonder we get grumpy some times. We’re human!! But if you are starting to crack, take a step back and work it out. I realized it was my projects that were piling up, so I made a calendar and a plan for how and when I was to work on each one and when I was going to set everything aside and play with my kids. I felt a lot better.
5. Say Sorry
No matter how hard I try, I really don’t think I will always and forever be the perfect polite and soft spoken and gentle mom. For one, it’s just not my personality, and for two, I’m human. And so are you so give yourself a break. If we snap at our kids or our spouses just say your sorry and give them extra love. We try to be our best selves, our strongest selves for our kids but sometimes bad parts of us will slip through the cracks. Explain to your little ones that you were wrong and that your sorry and that you’ll try to be better. Guess what will happen then? They’ll learn how to patch up their own mistakes too.
I hope all of us as mothers, fathers, students, professionals, bosses, employees, teachers, or whatever your title may be at this point in your life, take time to evaluate our patience with ourselves and the people we see every day. Are you perfectly patient all the time? If not, take a few seconds to ponder and make a plan for how you will be more patient today!
You won’t be alone!
Let me know what you think and how you battle your temper in the comments.
Have a great week!
P.S. I saw this video from Huffington Post this week and even though it’s an old Mother’s Day video, it’s amazing, and it goes really well with today’s topic. Take a look!
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE it when my kids get new toys. It’s like they have a babysitter for whole week! Obviously I don’t leave them all alone for a week but seriously, my 3-year-old will play with a new transformer toy for probably 5 days without even thinking about what I’m doing or asking for TV.
The problem is, every time we get a new toy, then we have a new toy. A new plastic thing floating around the house, getting under my feet, taking up all of my precious space and driving me crazy!!!!
I was listening to a podcast the other day, New Moms New Babies, and they were having a great discussion on toys. How many do you have? Wood v. Plastic, organizing, batteries or not, toy swapping parties, homemade toys, and the list goes on.
One interesting part was when one mom said she keeps a little toy box in every room. You must know that this mom only had an 8-month-old. So I understand why she would want something in every room, because 8-month-olds usually have to be with you all the time, and it can get crazy trying to always keep the toys in one room.
But just the other day I learned that a friend of mine has a rule that all the toys have to stay in the toy room. No toys in bedrooms and no toys in other rooms. This mom has three kids, the youngest being four. At first I thought that was crazy, but then it seemed like a really cool idea! No toys wandering into the kitchen or into my bed. And the kids wouldn’t have any distractions at bed time. Might be nice.
However not all of us can afford a whole extra room just for toys and playing! Someday… But it’s just interesting to know that there are so so so many different ways to run your household.
As for me, I have found one thing that makes my relationship with toys a lot better!
About a year ago I decided to start rotating my toys. So I will store away about a third or a half of all the kids toys in a bin in my daughter’s closet and then I’ll switch them out a couple months later.
My original plan was to switch them out every six months right around the LDS Genereal Conference weekend. This would be pretty brilliant because the kids would then have all their old toys back and be occupied so that I could enjoy listening. But this time around I just took them out one Saturday when I was doing some major mid-summer organizing. The kids loved seeing their old toys and it was awesome. The same day, I went through the toy box, throwing away weird trash that somehow got thrown in, and deciding which toys to put away.
It’s kind of hard deciding which toys to put away because my kids play with a lot of their toys. They don’t really favor any too much. But once I decide and a day goes by without them asking for the “put away” toys I figure that it’ll be ok.
Not only is this a fun way to keep your kids interested in their own toys, but it also makes them get creative with the toys they have, instead of having any number of toys at their fingertips.
And of course the main thing about this toy approach is to help our homes be less cluttered and therefore more HAPPY!
Anyway, that’s what I do. I would definitely recommend it!
Let me know what you do to manage toys. I’m sure I’ll have more conversations about this in later posts.
A couple of Saturdays ago I went crazy and decided to attack my baby girl’s closet and finally get it reorganized. I say RE-organized because I know that at some point it really did look awesome! I’m not a total slob all the time! But after a while, and after she’s gone up a few sizes in clothes (why can’t the clothes just grow with them?) her closet became the sad, dark place where old clothes got dumped. Along with old toys, old blankets, and pretty much anything that I didn’t want to look at anymore. So I jumped right in. It’s like they say, how you just have to rip off that band-aid.
Here’s the problem that I run into a lot, and that I think a lot of you do to. I hate going to walmart or target and trying to figure out what type of storage container to use. Should I get colored? Should I get square? Should I get giant or medium or big sizes? And then comes the cost that can really sneak up on you! All I need is like 5 boxes and at $8-$15 each I get discouraged thinking about spending $50 on plastic, and even though I know it’s for the sanity of my household, I just hate doing it!! (red face mad emoji) So I came up with a solution.
I always have a pile of these…
So I grabbed all of this…
Folded it nicely, snapped my fingers, and voila!
And the best part, is that the boxes are kind of free! I mean they cost like $35 when I get the diapers, but you know what I mean.
A big part of creating a happier home environment for you and your’s is to get organized!
I know it’s not everyone’s thing to be super organized and cute but it seriously doesn’t get much easier than this^
I hope this is helpful! Let me know how you like to organize baby clothes and toys and if this is helpful?
I’ve always really loved Taylor Swift. And not just because she’s only one month older than me and I know that we could be best friends. The way she writes her songs has always just clicked with me. Even her cheesy love songs have always hit home in my heart.
But I have always wondered how she would sound live. I mean anyone can sound good in a recording. You get to record a song as many times as you want until it sounds perfect and even after that there’s auto tune, and reverb, and probably a million other tricks to the trade of super star making. But could she impress me at a live concert? This question has been eating away at me ever since my cute husband gifted me two tickets to her 1989 concert as a Christmas present! He’s the best.
So here I was with two tickets and I had to wait 8 months!! But it was worth the wait because let me tell you, not only does Taylor put on the show of a lifetime but that girl can belt her little heart out all night long without even breaking a sweat. Her show was amazing!! I’m so sorry for those of you who weren’t able to make it this time around. But I’m hoping you’ll learn from me and do whatever it takes to be able to reserve a seat for her next tour. Baaah! so amazing!
So here are some pictures I took. Just from my iPhone so they’re not amazing (I did just get a cannon EOS 70D though, and it’s in the mail, woohoo!).
Zach and I had so much fun! We broke our 100 Days food pledge to get some In-N-Out on the way and that was a very good decision.
This was an attempt at a panorama but the lights changed halfway through.
Vance Joy opened the show in style! He was so great! I’m listening to him on spotify right now.
Oh this was cool! Every seat had a wrist band thing taped to it and when the show started they would light up in different colors and were programmed throughout the show to flash different colors and do cool things like that. It was so fun. Made me feel pretty cool. And after the concert was over it still flashes if you shake it or tap it. Thanks Taylor for the cool toys for the kids!
I’ve never heard girls scream so loud. I mean these fans are very practiced in the skill of arena screaming. Very impressive.
Sorry I can’t remember which songs these pictures were taken during.
All of those white lights were the wrist bands.
The aisle that went down the center of the arena would lift up and spin until it was completely perpendicular. It was so cool. Maybe kind of scary for anyone underneath it…
I think this song pictured below was Clean.
It was so fun and it made me want be her! If you don’t know me that well, you might not know that I have done a lot of singing in my day. I even went to Berklee College of Music in Boston for a spell and loved it! So whenever I go to any type of musical performance, that itch to be on stage starts up again and I can hardly stand it.
Anyway, thanks for being you Taylor! And thanks for giving me such a fun night Zach!
p.s. I made a cool recap video from videos I took at the concert, but youtube kicked it off my channel for being copyrighted. Sorry I can’t post it. (sad face)
This morning was Day 1 of an 8 week running program to get me ready to run a 5k! Whenever I tell people I’m training to run a 5k I feel kind of silly because it doesn’t seem like that big of a challenge. But to me it’s a HUGE challenge! I am definitely not much of a “runner”.
When I was living in Boston I did pretty good for a little while, running outside and in the gym. But I never had any real reason to run, like I never had a race to train for or a goal in mind. So I’m hoping that this training program and my goal to run in the Gilbert Days 5k race in November will be motivation enough.
Plus, I’m planning on having another baby in the next couple of years and would like to gain some strength in order to have a more comfortable pregnancy (is there even such a thing) and a quicker recovery. I say that like my pregnancies have been terrible or something but they’ve actually both been super easy compared to some of you unlucky girls who puke 5-10 times a day. I’ve been very blessed with regard to morning sickness and pregnancy pain.
Ok, back on topic.
My challenge to YOU! Is to choose your own challenge and make a better you, better home, better marriage, better family, whatever it is you choose to work on!! Find a part of your life that needs a reboot and then go on Pinterest and choose a challenge.
This past year I was called to take part in our stake girls camp! We had the priviledge of going up to Camp Lomia in Pine, Arizona and spend 4 days and 3 nights together, playing, learning, and nourishing our testimonies of Jesus Christ and our roles as mothers and women.
Our theme this year was “Look With Wonder”. Based on a quote by President Hinckley that says…
I loved how this theme talked about some of the most basic elements of the gospel; our role as women and mothers, the importance of family, and the amazing power of the Lord’s Plan of Happiness.
You might be thinking, “that sounds like a very serious theme, how did you make it fun for the girls?” I’ll tell you!!
Going along with our theme “Look with Wonder” we had every ward choose a Wonder of the World to be their ward theme. For example, my ward chose the Savanna Desert and they decorated their cabin with tribal masks, and animal print, and they used some scenes from The Lion King in their skit. Some of the other wonders were the Galapagos Islands, the Harbor of Rio De Janeiro, the Great Wall of China, Victoria Falls, the Taj Mahal, the Northern Lights, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Grand Canyon. This made it fun for the wards because all of the wonders were so different and it made the skits awesome and so creative. Having the wonders of the world as part of the theme also gave the stake a lot of creative freedom to decorate the stage however we wanted.
If your stake hasn’t tried this yet you need to!! For our skits this year we had everyone video theirs and hand them in way before camp and we compiled them all together and showed them the first night of camp.
This was so amazing because it took out a bunch of stress that some people feel when they have to get up in front of crowds and it eliminated a lot of the stuff that the wards had to bring up. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for live skits and getting girls, and leaders for that matter, out of their comfort zones and having fun in front of everyone, but having the video all ready to go was a very fun and new way to do things. We had so many creative and cool videos. Some people went to the temple and filmed around it, some videoed themselves underwater, one group even got a drone involved. It was a big hit.
(YCLs leading in camp songs)
CHALLENGES AND LANYARDS
We got all the girls lanyards with a little plastic pouch at the end that had their name and ward name plus each days schedule and the paragraphs from The Family: A Proclamation to the World that they were challenged to memorize. The main purpose for having the lanyards was to give the girls opportunities to be recognized and rewarded. We wanted to create opportunities for the girls to feel noticed and loved, so we told all the leaders to bring lots of ribbon and whenever they noticed the girls being nice to each other or being helpful or really just doing anything at all, they gave them a ribbon to tie onto their lanyard. By the end of camp everyone lanyards were covered in cute ribbons and looked adorable!
We encouraged everyone to memorize three different parts of the proclamation and when they passed it off to a leader, they got a special ribbon and we also gave them a treat that night at the night program. This is my lanyard and I’m just realizing that I didn’t get all the ribbons for memorizing the paragraphs! Lame! But I did get the giant candy bar so I guess it’s ok.
We had a couple of amazing activity planners and they sure delivered. We had everything from water games, ziplining, amazing classes, water balloon launching, hikes, to “Ride Like Thunder” (that’s what we called it). They made like five or six of these little wooden cars and the girls and leaders got to ride them down a hill up by the addies. This was such a fun adventure and a challenge for us. Even though the cars weren’t super fast, they would get some good momentum going down the hill and it was very scary for a lot of the girls and leaders. A great way to test your bravery and have fun at the same time.
(My cute ward. Love them!)
This is an example of the sign posts we made with the ward’s name and “Wonder” behind it so that we could rotate where each ward sat for the night program each evening. They came in quite handy!
Going along with our theme of motherhood we printed out a ton, and I mean A TON, of memes about motherhood and taped them up all over camp. We put them in the bathrooms, in the craft room, in the cafeteria, in common areas and on every door.
Personally, I loved having all the motivational quotes in my face all the time. It’s interesting how a little thing like a sign on a wall can turn your thoughts to God, or to your own strengths and dreams. It made me want to update my home with great quotes all over the walls.
My calling was over the night programs. One night we had a lesson on Motherhood and having a mother heart, which included a speaker and I created this video that we showed on that night.
My favorite night though, was Bishop’s Night when we played Family Feud with each ward’s bishop and the stake president. I gave all the girls a questionnaire to answer while they drove up on the busses, then I did my best to tally them up accurately, and then I used this amazing Family Feud Powerpoint Presentation to play the game. It was LEGENDARY! The girls loved it.
But my favorite part about our camp was the service project. This year was really unique because we had an amazing camp director who was so in tune with the spirit, and was able to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands as he guided her through the process of finding, raising money for, and installing this amazing statue that is now permanently a part of Camp Lomia in Pine, Arizona.
This statue represents what Heavenly Father wants for all of His children. To be part of a loving family for eternity. This was the “Big Picture” message that we wanted the girls to understand and feel ring true in their hearts.
The service project that our girls got to participate in was clearing and lining the trail leading up to the statue. It was hard work and turned out to be really good for the girls.
The trail is called the “Wonder Trail” and there is so much more to this statue than I can share in one post, so I’m planning on writing another one all about it. Stay tuned for that.
Everything about this camp was uplifting and edifying. I’m about to say “blessed” like a million times so prepare yourself. But seriously! I am so blessed to have been called to this calling in the stake camp committee and I have learned so much! Being a part of the leadership end of camp was totally new for me. I loved it. But also, just getting the opportunity to go to camp and learn was so wonderful. I felt so rejuvenated and motivated to do better in all aspects of my life, but especially as a mother.
Being a mother is a gift, and a privilege. I know that not every woman out there has the chance to be a mom, and I don’t know why I have been blessed with motherhood, but I just hope that I can try my best every day to soak in every moment I have as a mother, and to not let this time slip between my fingers.
The youth program in the LDS church is amazing. If you are not a member of our church but want a place for your teenagers or young kids to find good friends and leaders who will encourage them to make righteous choices, find your local mormon missionaries or church building and you will be welcomed with open arms.
I hope this can help anyone looking for Girls Camp ideas or any youth program ideas. Feel free to comment or share what you did for camp this summer.