Friday, October 07, 2016

Masquerade Daddy Daughter Harvest Ball

Masquerade Daddy Daughter Harvest Ball
Last year I helped accomplish a magical Daddy Daughter Date. It was a formal dinner, which we all dressed up in our Sunday best. I loved wearing my jeweled black dress and green mask! Each girl made a mask during Activity Days week prior to the evening. They also helped us make invitations, name cards, and napkin rings. Our goal was for it to sparkle that night by using lots of glitter, white lights, shimmery ribbons, and gems! We decorated the place in restaurant style each girl got their own table with their Father. We had servers (Young Women and Men from our ward) take their orders and serve them their food. We had a photographer take photos at a backdrop and provided some fun props. We asked a couple Young Women and Young men who were on the Ballroom team perform a couple routines for some entertainment. We then did three rotations of activities such as writing a letter to our missionaries, minute to win it games, and learn a waltz from the ballroom dancers. At the end, we did a group waltz dance all together. It was a fun night, which I hope the girls will never forget! 
The Invitations
We used 12X12 glitter scrapbook papers and embellished the invite with feathers, gems, ribbons, and black mask dye cuts (from silhouette machine)

Close Up on the Invites
Credits: The Frames and graphics are from The Graphic's Fairy, the dancing couple from here and black paper is by Zoe Pearn and grey paper is by Shabby Princess. I used the following fonts: Francine Hmk, Old English Text MT, and Bergamot Ornaments.

The Table Setting
We cut some burlap fabric in squares, made name cards, napkin rings, masks (template here), menu, pumpkin party favor (filled with candy), spray painted pine cones, black lacy paper over glass container for tea light, and candelabras (silhouette machine which we spray painted them).

Another Table Setting

The Menu
We asked six Young Women and Men in our ward to be servers. They were dressed in black and white. Credits: Graphics and frames are from The Graphics Fairy, papers are by Zoe Pearn and I used Imperator, Goudy Old Style, Bergamot Ornaments, Old English Text MT, and Francine Hmk for the fonts.

The Place Mat (Activities to do while eating) 
Credits: I found misc games from doing a Google search Tick Tac Toe, Pumpkin Maze, and Dot Game. I typed out some ice breakers questions for them to talk about during dinner. The silhouette dance couple is from here. The oval frames and silhouette of girl are by Allison Kimbell Designs. The other Graphics are by The Graphic's Fairy. I got the silhouette dancing couple from here and the man silhouette here.

Photo Booth and Props
We used white lights over a white curtain and layered it with gold and cream material, bought a few pumpkins (put gold and cream ribbons on the stem) and balloons. I found the Photo Booth Props templates from here -----> Keepsakes Photo Props 

Banners and Pumpkins
As you can see we went with the color theme of black, orange, purple, gold, cream, and silver. When I planted my garden last year, I made sure we did pumpkins! I painted the pumpkins black, purple, white, etc. I used some glitter, ribbons, and masks to embellish them.  I was happy to decorate my front door with the colorful pumpkins after the event! I used gold and silver spray paint to make the pine cones (great for Christmas decorations, ha). As for the banner, I used the Goose Bumps kit from Shabby Princess, orange paper and alphas was from Zoe Pearn's Something Wicked Kit, and then I tied colorful ribbons on the banner.

More Pumpkins

Entertainment and Games 
We divided the guests into three groups and did three rotations. I made a map to show them where to go. We did Minute to Win it games, Learn a Waltz, and Missionary Letters to our current missionaries serving from our ward. Credits: Papers are by Zoe Pearn and Shabby Princess, graphics and frames are by The Graphics Fairy, compass is by Kate Hatfield from The Lily Pad, and the waltz dance couple silhouette is from here.
The Overview of Lights, Table, Chair Setting, and Disco Ball 
What a wonderful privilege to be apart of this magical night! I have the best church calling ever! 

Monday, March 02, 2015

Mission Possible

For our 2015 Activity Day theme, we decided to do a Mission Possible theme.  We were inspired by Pinterest with a lot of our ideas.  The mission we desired for the girls to accomplish this year is having them memorize the Articles of Faith.

Scripture Theme: 
Invitation:  I had the opportunity of designing and putting these cute invites together.  Supplies: manila folders, labels, paper clips, card stock for the cipher card, paper cutter, regular paper for the documents, scissors, glue,  Credits: The mission labels are from Inkablinka. I got the cool cipher alphabet card from Take the Side Street BlogUnited States Sealand office manila folder template is from Mirk Wood Designs.
Decorations:  We made a few signs:  A Mission Possible poster, Restricted Access Agents Only, Agents Report Here, 13 Footprints,  Welcome Top Recruits Level 8-11, Scan to Enter, and the United States Seal on podium. We set up a desk for check in and had each girl finger printed by the entrance. 
   Finger Print Decoding: We had the girls use their magnify glasses to read the tiny finger print which contained the 13 Articles of Faith, which was made by Linda. We also printed out the keywords worksheet using this Articles of Faith Puzzle.  Linda made a transparency of Jesus Christ for a visual aid while talking about having the light of Christ in our lives.
Secret Package: We gave each girl a bag filled with Special Training Devices such as: a tiny magnify glass, Articles of Faith music CD (Credits: paper is by Shabby Princess, Nancy Drew Silhouette but Linda put a hat on her, footprints Stock Illustrations , magnify glass, thought bubble, and reprise title font) an activity day schedule for the year, a calendar of each Article of Faith, Articles of Faith Memorization Cards are from Sugar Doodle. Badges: I made these badges for the leaders and activity day girls. The leaders wore lanyards around their necks while the girls had stick on badges. Credits: We Believe in Obeying the Law badges Mormon Mommy Blogs,  Spy clip art is from Can Stock Photo, and the fingerprints are from My Paper Crane .
Refreshments: Cupcake and water (made by Shannan and Amy). The cute cupcake toppers were designed by Linda. Article of Faith Match Up Game:  The girls had to match up the numbers to the right Article of Faith, which was printed under the footprints.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Developing Talents

Big sister has been working on developing her talents. Last fall, my husband found a great voice teacher who lives nearby to help big sis learn how to read music and sing better. Each Thursday night she meets with her voice teacher.  She had her first recital in December.  She did an awesome job! She is also developing photography as another talent. Big sis got some advice about how to take better pictures from our photographer friend since she is taking yearbook desktop publishing class.  

Capturing Life Behind A Lense
Last fall, Little sis signed up for a Vikings Cheer Clinic with her friend.  She learned a bunch of cheers from some local cheerleaders and then cheered at six flag football games. What she learned from taking Cheer clinic is she definitely isn't interested in becoming a Viking cheer leader in the future, but she still had fun doing it with her friend.  Additionally, we signed her up for ballroom dance lessons, which is before or after school program. Twice a week she goes to school an hour early to learn several ballroom routines. She will be competing in a few weeks. I'm thrilled with her enthusiasm of learning something new and gaining some confidence. 
Our Ballroom Beauty!
 As for little bro's talents, I love how curious and eager he is about learning new things. I believe he has an engineer mind like his Grandpa Free and Uncle Joe! For example, he takes things apart and puts them back together again.  He also likes to see how things works (clips, snaps buckles, etc).  His other talents include looking at books, giving hugs, and melting our hearts with his smiles.  Also, he was very well behaved while getting his first haircut because I distracted him by reading Go Away Big Green Monster over and over again! 
Big Boy Haircut

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Silly Selfies: Little Bro is Eighteen Months Old

Little bro is finally 18 months old. He is 20 pounds 2 oz (4%) and 32 inches long (33%). He continues to struggle with gaining weight even while calorie packing and g-tubing him several times a week.  To our surprise he still has to sit rear facing in his car seat.  As for feeding him lately, Sadly, he throws up a couple times a week from either burping, coughing, crying too much, feeling full, playing, laughing, or other unknown reasons. It's also frustrating that he refuses to eat sometimes. I think with all the throwing up he has developed another oral aversion. There are days when I just dread feeding him because of the daily battle of him either refusing to eat or drink or throws up. As you can imagine, his eating behaviors causes me a lot of grief. There are days when we both are in tears during meal time.  I've found that it calms us down when we listen to classical music or distract him with toys during meal time. Thankfully, he has a g-tube, which we have been relying on lately. I'm grateful for the support from is dietitian and feeding therapist. They are exploring all kinds of ways to help him such as having him tested him for celiac, which came back negative. Next, we are using some antibiotic medication to help him empty his stomach quicker. We will know in a few weeks if that medication will make a difference. As for other developmental milestones, he is delayed socially and not speaking yet.  Little brother has extreme separation anxiety from his family members and rarely will interact with anybody outside our intermediate family. I'm hopeful that when little bro attends nursery at church on a regular basis he will be able to develop some healthy social interactions.  Additionally, in January he will be doing a music playgroup at Kids on the Move. As far as communication goes, he started signing "more" and grunts while pointing at objects.  I am confident that he is understands us and is very intelligent. For example, he will retrieve an item when we ask him to get something for us and seems to understand us even though he cannot communicate to us. We will be following up with a genetics specialist in March to see if he can determine if Zach has any other syndromes. 

Scattering Service Jars

Service Lesson: Scattering Kindness Jars
A lesson on service is a perfect December achievement day activity.   For my lesson and discussion, I made an interactive visual aid. I taped a Christmas tree similar to an advent calendar using a brown paper bag, white card stock, scrapbook numbers 1-12, and hand written quotes inside.  I basically folded a rectangle into a square, used a glue stick to attach the circle numbers and quotes.  I got the Advent numbers from Pinterest: DIY Advent Calendar I also made a star and glued gold glitter on it. 
First, I had the girls take turns picking a number and reading the quote. Then I asked each of them how they could serve others? After they shared their idea, each girl helped me decorate a small Christmas tree with paper ornaments while my co-leader wrote down the ideas on the chalk board.  I got the Advent Christmas ornaments from Pinterest: Christmas Advent Wreath, which I used a needle and thread to hang them on the tree. These are the following quotes I used for my lesson:
Service Quotes:
1. “Our Savior gave Himself in unselfish service.   He taught that each of us should follow Him by denying ourselves of selfish interests in order to serve others.”  -- Dallin H. Oaks
2. “As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.” --Dieter Uchtdorf
3. “The happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.”-- Gordon B. Hinckley
4. “The greatest service we can provide to others in this life, beginning with those of our own family, is to bring them to Christ.” --Todd Christofferson
5. “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” --King Benjamin Mosiah 2:17
6. If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.” – Marvin J. Ashton
7. “As we give, we find that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven, and in the end, we learn that it was no sacrifice at all.” -- Spencer W. Kimball
8. “He who gives money gives much. He who gives time gives more. He who gives of himself gives all.”  – Thomas S. Monson
9. “No one has ever become poor from giving” -- Maya Angelou
10. “Fill your life with service to others! As you lose your life in the service of Father in Heaven’s children, Satan’s temptations lose power in your life.”-- Richard G. Scott 
11. Find someone who is having a hard time or is lonely, and do something for him or her.” -- Thomas S. Monson
12. We can give the Savior gifts, by serving others. Fill a jar with slips of papers with ideas. Each morning, close your eyes and pull out your service idea for the day.” – Dieter Uchtdorf
Credits: Designed by me using Shabby Princess' Christmas kits. As for the fonts, I used That's Font Folks and 2 Pea's Heart Delight.
I summarized the lesson by sharing some of my favorite memories of serving others and reading the following quote: “Often small acts of service are all that is required to lift and bless another: a question concerning a person’s family, quick words of encouragement, a sincere compliment, a small note of thanks, a brief telephone call. If we are observant and aware, and if we act on the promptings which come to us, we can accomplish much good.” – Thomas S. Monson  (see above image that I made for this).  Afterwards the girls, decorated their jars with a label my co-leader made "U Love Who U Serve and wrote down several service ideas on folded pieces of hearts from pretty scrapbook card stock paper. We used markers to color them and tied ribbons on the top of the jar. Here are some service examples that the girls and leaders came up with.
Acts of Kindness Slips in a Jar 
Pick up trash
Give flowers
Help make dinner
Say “thank you”
Do an extra chore
Donate toys or clothes 
Write a letter and mail it
Hold the door open
Send a care package
Write to a missionary
Smile at 10 people
Bake cookies for a neighbor
Teach Family Home Evening
Call a relative
Make a card
Give a Hug
Make a new friend
Share a treat
Rake some leaves
Collect food for a shelter
Share your testimony
Read a book to a small child
Babysit for free
Feed the birds
Give a compliment
Send a card to a solider
Leave a surprise on the doorstep
Make a dinner basket
Visit a nursing home
Paint your Mom’s nails
Help an elderly neighbor
Donate hygiene kits to a shelter
Give a treat to your mail carrier
Pray for the sick
Make somebody’s bed
Write a note to your teacher
Make a fleece blanket for a new baby
Make breakfast for Mom and Dad
Clean the windows
Say ”I love you” to all your family members

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Western Theme Daddy Daughter Date

Guess who recently got called to be an Activity Day leader and happily accepted? Yes, I was thrilled to join the Activity Day team for my new ward. During the months of August, September, and October, I helped planned and prepared for the annual daddy daughter date event.  I spent many hours designing paper decorations for picks, game signs, game map, watering hole sign, food cards, menu, etc.  I also designed the invitations, a fun activity place mat, and subway art.  Thankfully, we planned activities for the girls to help us out with cutting, assembling, coloring the backdrop, and putting other decorations together. On the day of the Hoedown, I was in charge of setting up the decorations, food prep, and was the photographer during the evening.  Since I had no cowgirl attire, I went shopping for some boots, hat, jeans, shirt, and belt. As for my belt buckle, I was honored to wear my great grandmother Ruby Coleman's belt buckle that was passed down to me.  It was fun to watch my husband and daughter interact with each other all evening! 
The Invitation
 I designed this invite using digital scrap book supplies, buttons, red thread, needle, glue sticks, and 3d foam adhesive stickers. The girls assembled the invite, stitched together the pockets, and placed the invite inside the pocket. 
Credits: I used The Happy Trails kit and other misc supplies by Shabby Princess and the wood and denim supplies are by Gina Cabrera. For the fonts, I used Hoedown, IFC Los Banitos, Three Dates One Night, Duality, Bergamot Ornaments, and WM Western1. 
The Decorations
Here are some examples of the decorations: food cards, picks, the invites, the DIY cow print cups the girls cut out from their own design using sticky black vinyl, the paper flowers wrapped around the mason jars, lots of raffia tied on things, rope, bandannas, denim and checkered table cloths. The Templates  Credits are the following: Sheriff BadgeCowboy HatBoot TemplateNapkin TemplateWagon Wheel, and Horse Shoe.
Another amazingly creative talented activity leader brought a fence to display other decorations (cow boy hats, rope, signs, boots, etc), she designed the vintage posters, made some picks, wanted posters, name cards, square hay bales center pieces, etc. She also helped the girls hammer a design in a soup can then spray painted them red, which we placed a light in the can, there were mustache and lip cutouts pulled through straws, and she designed the awesome napkin rings.

My Cowboy Subway Art: I downloaded several fonts from all over the internet. I found most of them off Pinterest, which had direct links!
The Photo Booth and Props: First, I took pictures of them while country music was playing in the background. As for the backdrop, cowboy/cowgirl hats, lips, mustaches, signs, sheriff badge, cowboy lingo, and robber eye mask were made by the other talented leader!  She also drew the backdrop which the girls colored with chalk for the photo shoot. I made the shooting booth sign red taped on the table.
The Menu: We tried to keep it simple...  We made BBQ Pulled Pork, bought Rolls, Baked Potatoes, Potato Fixin's, Salad Ranch, Broccoli and Cheese, water, and lemonade. For dessert: Root Beer floats and Smoky S'more Pops. The girls and their Dads enjoyed the cowboy table place mat games!  After they all ate their grub, we had somebody from our ward read a cowboy poem and a "real cowboy" did a demonstration on how to saddle up a horse, etc.
The Games:  Next, they played a few games. We split them in four groups. These are the game signs that I designed, which were hung on the doors. We had wheel barrow races, three legged races around a fake fire, potato sack races with a twist they had to dress up in random cowboy gear, pin the tail on the donkey, and they learned a western line dance.  Lastly, we had them gather together in the gym and do the country line dance that they learned and served root beer floats.  We sent the girls home with their wanted poster, name cards, etc. 
Yee-haw, what a rootin' tootin' night! It was a huge success because of the team work of the incredible activity leaders as well as other volunteers from our ward who helped us!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Free Family Fall Fun

As a family, we strive to savor each season by doing fun activities together.
First, we went on a small family hike near Grovecreek trail.

Next, we played at Hee Haw Farms!   The girls absolutely loved the slides while little brother enjoyed playing in the corn pit.  We all enjoyed the hayride and petting the barnyard animals!
One Sunday afternoon we went for a drive up Alpine Loop, had a picnic, and enjoyed seeing the beautiful colorful leaves.
Lastly, for Halloween 2014, little sis was a Spanish dancer, little brother was Cookie Monster, big sis was "A" from Pretty Little Liars, John was El Macho from Despicable Me II and I was a cowgirl.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Goodbye Stanley

 On September 9, 2014, we were given the instructions from little brother's dietitian to start weaning him from his G-tube since he finally reached 20 pounds!  It will be hard work to calorie pack him and get him to drink Carnation Instant Breakfast, but we are absolutely thrilled that he no longer needs over night feeds and determined to keep it that way!  Our goal is having the doctor officially take the G-tube out next spring!  Stanley is the named we picked for little brother's feeding pole.  Little brother has been using "Stanley"every night since March 30, 2013 (thanks to IHC Home Health Care). We can thank Stanley for helping little brother gain weight and making major milestones, but we also have encountered a lot of unexpected uh ohs too!
1.  It takes a lot of extra time to get him ready for bed (open new feeding bag, calculate fluids, prime his tubing that connects to his feeding bag, change his diaper, put on loose fitting pajamas (absolutely not zipper kind whatsoever), place gauze pad over g-tube site, put on g-tube extension, tape tube extension two times to secure it in place, flush tube, feed him a small bottle, connect tube to his g-tube extension, read a book or listen to music, rock him to sleep, etc! The key is he has to be asleep before we will lie him down otherwise he will play with his tubing, ugh!!!
2.  I have failed to properly close the tube right after flushing the tube! As a result, water or Boost Essentials leaked all over me and baby, yikes!
3.  I didn't attach his tube extension from his g-tube site by turning it properly and within minutes Boost leaked all over his clothes!
4. Due to little brother preferring to sleep on his stomach, occasionally his g-tube extension pops off and leaks Boost all over his clothes, bedding, etc!  What a rude awakening and mess for us to clean up! Now we tape the extension on the top near the g-tube button to keep it in place!
5.  For whatever reason, on a few occasions the iv pump stops pumping boost and says it's done when there is still a lot of fluids in the bag! Huh?!
6. The machine freaks out if we try to prime before it cycles through the rate and dose numbers after turning it on. So then we have to shut it down and try again! The key is patience!
7. While baby brother tosses and turns in his sleep he gets the cord wrapped around his body and a couple times his neck, ack! So scary! I recall his doctor noticed his umbilical cord had a small knot after birth probably from him flipping and moving around in the womb. He moves all over the place while he sleeps!
8. I'm not a huge fan of the chocolate Boost! Not only does it stain his clothes, bedding, etc when his extension tube pops off during a feeding, his bowl movements are shockingly similar to the color of his chocolate Boost the next day! Little brother also seems upset during the night with the chocolate Boost compared to the vanilla or strawberry.
9. Obviously, it's been challenging to get him to self soothe and sleep train him while tube feeding him when we cannot leave the room until she is finally sleeping! Luckily, I've been able to get him to take naps during the days without a hassle. He can go to sleep without me holding or rocking him now!
10. After his tube feed is done, occasionally we wake him up when we disconnect the tube extension from his button and rip the tape off his side. I am surprised that he can sleep through it most of the time!We definitely won't miss Stanley! Goodbye Stanley!