Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Better Than CHIP Cookies

9:00 PM 2 Comments
If you live in Utah the latest craze is CHIP. CHIP is a chocolate chip cookie take-out and delivery joint started by BYU students. They only serve chocolate chip cookies and it will cost you $10 minimum for a box of 4 huge, warm cookies. Not a bad business plan at all! In fact, they are brilliant! I must say that they are pretty dang good. However, there is one element that is missing from the cookie and I hope they can correct it. In my opinion, there isn't enough salt. I love the balance between sweet and salty and CHIP cookies definitely need more salt. Other than that, I love the thick, warm cookie. If you're in the Provo area, check out CHIP and support their business. 

If you like your cookies with more salt try these cookies! The recipe is an adaption of Jacques Torres' famous chocolate chip cookies. My husband and I have been making these for years but we don't make them very often because the dough has to chill for at least 24 hours and our impatience gets the best of us. But the 24 hours is worth the wait if you can plan ahead. 

After 24 hours of the dough chilling, use a big scoop (this is a 1/2 cup scoop) or a spoon to dish out the dough. If you don't have a 1/2 cup scoop, form the dough into a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle some high quality sea salt on top. It doesn't take much. There is also salt in the dough.

One of the reasons why we only can get about 15 cookies out of one batch is because the dough disappears within the 24 hours of chilling. ;) However, the end result is worth it!

These cookies are massive and delicious! I hope you give them a try. 

Click HERE for printable recipe.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back-to-School Party

2:32 PM 0 Comments
I love the new school year. Being a former teacher myself, I wanted my own children to love school and learning too. 

When we moved from another state to Utah my daughter was enrolled at a new school with new classmates. We threw a Back-to-School Party for her and some of the kids her age in the neighborhood after school on the first day. We got a few pics of the setup before the kids arrived. 

When the kids arrived, we ate. They grabbed a cute, divided lunch tray and loaded up on some snacks: grapes, apples, veggies and ranch, Goldfish crackers, M&M cookies, chocolate milk and water. 

SIDE NOTE: I had some parents ask about the trays. I found them HERE on Amazon by Nordic Ware. I love that they are the perfect size. They hold a small milk container (as shown in the pic above) perfectly in a square space. They also hold a kid's IKEA cup, clear plastic cup (like the one holding the veggies in the pic above), or a small water bottle (pic below) perfectly in the round space. The large space is perfect for a hamburger or sandwich. 

We filled some pencil boxes from Walmart with a few school supplies as a favor for our guests. The black tablecloth is from Dollar Tree. A white Sharpie marker works perfectly to add the labels on the tablecloth. 

I took a picture of each child on their first day of school in the desk. (I had the 3 year old pose for this pic to see what it would look like and I forgot to take a pic of my own 1st grader! Oops.) I printed the pictures and delivered them later to our guests' homes along with a darling First Day of School questionnaire they filled out. The darling questionnaire can be found at Yellow Bliss Road.

We also played a couple of games to get to know each other and get excited for school. I was going to try the "shoe" game where the kids take off their shoes and try to guess whose is whose but it was too easy. So, I opted to try sitting in a circle and while tossing a bean bag, ask a question like "do you have any brothers or sisters? or, What's your favorite color? or, Do you have any pets?" etc. The person who receives the bean bag answers the question and then asks another question to another person while tossing the bean bag.

The second game included a tray of school supplies. They got to look at the tray for 1 minute. I took the tray away and then they tested their memories by trying to remember what was on the tray. Smart kids!

The kids had a great time and my daughter felt a little more comfortable making friends with the kids in the neighborhood.

Monday, July 31, 2017

13 Cleaning Games for Kids

9:47 PM 0 Comments

First off, isn't this drawing just darling? Head on over to Little House Studio and get your free printable! Click HERE.

I think I need to frame this because every night we clean up the house to prepare for the next day and we all dread it. The kids hate to clean and I hate getting them to clean. I'm no Mary Poppins but we try to make it more fun by playing games. We have tried playing "Beat the Timer" but my kids now know that it's not that fun to race against the clock anymore. So, we have gotten a little more creative. Here are a few of the games we have played:

Dump Truck: My kids "drive" around laundry baskets, making truck noises, and put things in their "trucks." When the baskets are full or there is nothing else to pick up, they go to their room and "dump" the baskets. They sort their items and drive them to where they belong. 

Santa: I will usually pick up toys and belongings throughout the day and throw them into one box. Then I will gather the kids and play "Santa." I sit a kid on my lap, talk a bit and ask if he/she has been a good boy/girl and then give him/her a "gift" (aka his/her toys/belongings) to put away. My kids think this game is funny. I really try to play up the Santa role (ask the kid's name, ask what he/she wants for Christmas, Ho Ho Ho, etc.)

Chutes and Hoops: This one is a favorite game but it takes a while. We have a Little Tikes slide and I set it on a low table with a toy basket at the bottom of the slide. The kids slide toys down the slide and it goes into the basket. Sometimes we put the basket under our Little Tikes basketball hoop and the kids "shoot" toys into the basket. If you have the time, try this game. If you don't have a slide, make a simple ramp out of a cardboard box or poster board.

"The Lady": This is another game that my kids think is funny. My daughter named this game "The Lady." She wants me to "be the lady!" I knock on their bedroom door and say, in my best British old lady accent, "Hello! I love your house! Can I come in? Oh, it's a wee bit messy in here. Can I help you? I've never been to your house before. Can you tell me where this goes?" I hand the item to my kids and they put it where it belongs. I ask again, "Can you tell me where this one goes?" and we repeat. This is also good to see if THEY know where it belongs. Does it have a place? If my kids don't know where it belongs, we either find a place or we throw it away. Sometimes I pretend that I don't even know what some of the items are. "What on earth is this thing? (Lego piece) It looks like a miniature ice cube tray. Perhaps for a Barbie doll or mouse. Good heavens! I hope you don't have mice living here." They think it's funny and I chill out for a second to have fun with my kids. 

Exercise and Clean: I challenge the kids to hop, skip, run, walk backwards, roll, etc. while they put things away. 

Numbers in a hat: Write numbers on pieces of paper (usually 1-10). Each kid draws a number and that number determines how many items they have to put away before drawing a new number.

Colors: I pick a color and everything that has that color must be put away first. Then we pick a new color.

Bigger or Smaller: Anything bigger than a _______ (toaster, laundry basket, etc) gets put away first. Anything smaller than a _________ (rabbit, shoe, etc) gets put away next. Choose any item your kids might think is funny and mix it up.

Guessing Game: I close my eyes and each kid puts away 1 or 2 items. I open my eyes and try to guess what they put away. You can make this a challenge with points if your kids are competitive. Or your kids can try to 'stump' you (or trick you) by putting away more items. It's harder for YOU to guess but gets THEM to clean more.

Relay Races: One child has a task and another child has a different task. See who can finish first. The tasks are usually similar like, put all the figurines in the figurine basket and put all the blocks in the block basket. 

Dance: Clean and dance to music. This is fun if you can switch the genres of music (ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, etc). 

100: First child to put away 100 things (on a really messy day) wins. 

Tickets: Reward your kids. For every 20 items, they earn 1 ticket (I get my tickets at Dollar Tree in the party section). When clean up is done, have a raffle or let them "buy" a treat from you. 

I hope this helps make cleaning a little more fun in your house for you AND your kids.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Indoor Date Idea: How to Massage

9:32 PM 0 Comments
Looking for a great indoor date night with your spouse? This one is sure to bring you together! Learn how to massage with THIS fantastic DVD set! I found this set on Amazon for less than $25.

I love these DVDs! They teach how to give a professional massage with proper technique so your hands don't ache or tire quickly. These DVDs are appropriate, easy to follow, and include 4 different massages: Luxury Facial, Indian Head, Back & Neck, and Full Body. This set also makes a great gift for your spouse. So, turn down the lights, relax, and enjoy being together.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pipe Chimes: Why I like them more than hand bells

10:14 PM 0 Comments
If you are looking to expand your instrument choices for Primary (or at home), consider some Pipe Chimes. You can find them here: Musical Pipes

Image result for pipe chimes

This page will send you to an Etsy shop where you can build your own set to fit your own budget and needs.

I purchased my own set last year after spending an arm and a leg on 2 sets of hand bells. I decided that I love the Pipe Chimes more than my hand bells. Here are some reasons why I think Pipe Chimes are better:

1) Price. Pipe Chimes cost way less than a set of handbells. You can also build your own set. A basic set includes 23 chimes for $30.00. Add $5 for 14 metal strikers. A 13-note hand bell set goes for $67.00 on Amazon.

2) Durability. These chimes are basically indestructible. I always worried about the kids touching the ringer or pulling the spring on the hand bells. I don't worry about them destroying the chimes. They are nice and sturdy.

3) Easy to play. Pipe Chimes are easy to play. Hand bells are tricky. You have to ring them "just right". Pipe Chimes are easy for little hands and it doesn't take a lot of coordination to make them sound good. Even the little kids in nursery can play them. (I don't organize a song for them to play, but they just love banging them.)

4) Range of notes. The Pipe Chime set includes 23 notes. It allows for a lot more participation and a better selection of songs to play. Hand bells are tricky if you don't have the right bells or enough bells or the song isn't written in a certain key.

5) Songbooks. The Pipe Chime website offers songbooks for $10 each if you prefer a printed copy, or for $3 for a digital copy. I find the digital copy very helpful in Primary for displaying through a projector. This allows for the children to see well and follow along easily. The songbooks are your own little "bell charts" without the work to create one. They are already done for you.

6) Made for LDS use! There are different songbooks available for purchase including LDS Primary Songs, LDS Hymns, and Christmas songs. There are also 2 other books available of other songs. There are also a few "other" songs available for download on their website for free like, "I Know That My Savior Loves Me".

7) One-Man-Band option. If you would like only one person to play multiple chimes, Pipe Chimes offers the option of purchasing "holders" for the chimes that allows you to lay the whole set out on a table. I love this option for a descant in songs like "Christmas Bells Are Ringing".

8) Easy to transport. Throw them in a bag and off you go. Hand bells need to be stored carefully in a bulky box to keep them from getting ruined. Pipe Chimes don't take up a lot of space and kids can help put them away.

9) Not just for Primary. My family has started a new tradition the past 2 Thanksgivings. After Thanksgiving dinner, we sit together, pass out Pipe Chimes, and sing and play Christmas songs out of the Christmas songbook. We have so much fun together. My mom has purchased 2 sets to accommodate our large crowds of family (close to 50 people). This has been my favorite part of Thanksgiving the past 2 years.

I hope this helps and I hope you check them out. They would be a great addition to any Primary and/or home.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Singing Time: Unbirthday Party!

7:55 PM 0 Comments
Our Primary only knows a couple of birthday songs really well. We could certainly improve. I've decided we are going to practice them (and perhaps learn one) and have an unbirthday party in Primary. I'm excited! 

Prep: I'm giving each child a birthday sticker to begin with. I decided that I won't do birthday hats because I can already imagine them snapping the elastic and either getting hurt and crying or breaking it and crying that it's broken. I'm going to avoid the tears. I'm also going to wrap up a present that is addressed to the Junior Primary, and another for Senior Primary. At the end of Singing Time we'll open the present. Inside will be individually wrapped cookies or small party favors for each child. I thought about cupcakes but we really don't need frosting or cake crumbs all over the church. I'll put some streamers up and a couple of balloons just so it looks like a party. We are the first ward in the building so it would be easy to get the decorations up before church begins.

We will pretend it's all our birthdays in Primary. We will take turns singing birthday songs to a group of kids for each song we review or each time we run through the song as if it is their "birthday". We will make sure everyone has a chance to get sung to.

Here are the songs that I'd like to review:

Feliz Cumpleanos CS #282 (this one needs some teaching)
Your Happy Birthday CS #283
Happy, Happy Birthday CS #284a
You've Had a Birthday #285

If you don't already follow LDS Primary Choristers Facebook page, join! So many great ideas out there. Since I've been planning this "unbirthday party" I have found some really great ideas to make these birthday songs more fun.

One chorister posted an idea for "Your Happy Birthday" (CS #283) that I love!! For "zip-a-dee-ay" and "heigh-dee-ho" she substitutes nonsensical funny words. She has a cute jar with 2 sets of different words- one set to substitute "zip-a-dee-ay" and the other set to substitute "heigh-dee-ho". She has come up with some pretty awesome words. Click HERE to see her original post. She was so kind to write up all her fun words for others to print and use. Click HERE to access her post with the document of fun words. This will be a hit for sure!

For "You've Had a Birthday" the same talented chorister posted another idea. Click HERE to see her post. She created different "personalities" for singing the song. When the song says, "You've had a birthday, shout hooray" she substitutes "hooray" for a word that one of the "personalities" might say. For example, if the personality is a cowboy, he shouts "yee-haw!" I just love this idea! The children will have so much fun choosing the different personalities.

For "Happy, Happy Birthday" all the primary kids that are singing to the children in the front will act as "birthday candle flames" where they sway and move. At the end of the song, the children being sung to get to blow out the "candles" and all the "candles" fall into their seats.

"Feliz Cumpleanos" needs some real teaching. The pronunciation of the foreign words deters the Primary from really learning it, I think. So we will practice the pronunciation really well so they will feel comfortable with it.

This would be a great Singing Time to hold in August when the first Primary was held on August 25, 1878. Then it would be a real Primary birthday party.

I hope this goes well because I really want to do a "Visitors Day" too where we practice welcome songs.

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