Friday, December 19, 2014

DIY Christmas Decor

 Pinterst is a wonderful idea generator. I found a Christmas frame  and a holiday wreath that I just loved. I recreated the look with things I found at the local dollar store. I wrapped a 12x18 picture frame in holiday ribbon. I hot glued some small ornaments at different lengths. I tied a simple bow using red ribbon. And finally I hot glued on the joy ornament we found at Target on sale for $3.  
Displaying IMG_3368.JPG free printable banners are a great way to make the house look festive without breaking the bank. Just find a pattern you like then get some colored paper, string, scissors, and a hole punch. Very simple and they look great.
Displaying IMG_3369.JPG facebook yardsale groups  are a great resource when it comes to budget hunting. We found a lovely white and gold ceramic nativity for only $5 complete with wise men, shepherd, and animals.
Displaying IMG_3335.JPG Dollar Tree  is a wonderful place to find Christmas decor on a budget. This year I got all of my red and gold ornaments at Dollar Tree. They won't break and if they do get beaten up by kids or pets you won't feel too bad because they are cheap and easy to replace.
Displaying IMG_3343.JPG I'm always looking for sales. Black Friday deals are lovely. We got this 7 foot tree at Target 50% off.
 I created this first Christmas together ornament using a clear plastic ornament picked up at Target for $3. I just cut up one of our many left over thank you card and stuffed it in. Stuffing it was the hardest part, getting it to look just right is rather tricky. You could easily do something similar for baby's first Christmas.

Happy Holidays and have fun decorating! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

DIY Thanksgiving Decor

I love making crafts. Its kind of my new hobby. I really enjoy having home of my very own that I can decorate and make lovely. The holidays are the perfect time to get into the crafting mood. I found this great fall wreath on pinterest and just had to recreate it for myself. It was quick, easy, and cheap. It was also fun to make with my husband. 
Thanksgiving Wreath (Love this!  Might add some berries in red, orange, or white...)
I picked up a grapevine wreath from Hobby Lobby for about $3, a wooden letter H for $1, some silk fall leaves for $3 and a burlap table runner $10 (I got way more than I needed since I'll use it for another project). I already had gold glitter, craft glue, and a hot glue gun. 
To start I covered the letter H with craft glue. I used as much as I could and spread it all around. Then I dumped loads of glitter on and let it dry for a good long time. Always be sure to do this over newspaper so things don't get too messy. (It looked like the pixie dust fairies visited my house according to my husband.) 
I cut the burlap into strips and hot glued them in an accordion fashion. The silk leaves just popped off the main branch and I then glued them in-between the burlap folds. I hid the messy end with the H and added the remaining leaves underneath. Make sure you find a large secure part of the wreath to glue the H to. You don't want it falling off.
Here is the finished project. I think it turned out rather well, don't you? 
I also fond this free printable and printed it out on card stock. Simply cut out the pattern, they use a hole punch and string or twine to tie the pieces together. 

Now its time for Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

DIY Mermaid

I have always been fascinated with mermaids. When I was about 3 years old I insisted on being called Ariel and wouldn't come when called by my own name. When I was about 18 I dyed my hair red and finally my childhood dream of becoming a fish out of water was about to be a reality. I have also been an avid crafter and sewer. I don't claim to be all that good. But I do try. So this Halloween I set out to finally turn myself into a mermaid. 
 For the tail I flowed the Martha Stewart instructional video. I cut the the organza into rectangular section. Then I ironed them and used a hot glue gun to attach them to the skirt. I added some shells to hid the glue. I used a pencil skirt to get a rough pattern for the skirt part. I had help from my sister-in-law pinning and planning out the skirt part. Its rather hard to pin yourself into something. I sewed a channel and added an elastic waist band. I used 2 yards of the green stretch fabric and 4 yards of the blue and white glitter organza. But I have a ton left over, you could get away with about half of that. The fabric was about $34 from Joan's. I didn't end up using the red netting I had left over from another project. 
To create the fish scale face I cut off the leg of a pair of fish net tights ($5). I then put it over my head like a bank robber and applied eye shadow in blue, purple, green, and white. It was a lot lighter than I wanted it to be, you can just barely make out the scales. Maybe try brighter or darker colors to get more of the effect. 
To create the mermaid top I bought a cheap bra from Walmart ($4) and covered it with seashells I found at Joan's ($3). I had some glass beads and fake jewels around the house so I added those too. I had two seashell necklaces so I added one and wore the other. I used a hot glue gun to attach everything. For the middle I used some white and green glitter I already had. I covered the middle section in craft glue and spread it out, then I dumped as much glitter as I could all over and let it dry for 2 days just to be sure. 
Here is the finished project. My husband went as a fisherman and I went at a mermaid of course! He just happened to have a fishing pole in his car. The yellow bib was about $12 and can be picked up at any sporting goods store. 

To create your own DIY mermaid for Halloween here are some helpful links.

My sister-in-law made a baby mermaid costume for our niece and took her trick-or-treating too. Fun for the whole family!

If you aren't sure how to make a pencil skirt this video should help

Friday, August 22, 2014

Birthday Blog

Life has a funny way of working out...

My amazingly husband gave me the best birthday present ever! Yesterday, I turned 22 years old. That's right the big TWO-TWO! And what a magical night it was. Growing up my birthday was always the first week of school and you know how that is, everyone is busy and people forget. I'm not gonna lie it was hard for as a little kid, but its all good now! 

As a teenager somehow my birthday party sleepovers became somewhat of a tradition. It was a party to celebrate the end of the summer and the start of the new school year. I was lucky enough to spend most of these special days with the same people. 
Sweet 16
Dancing Queen 17
Finally 18
Young and Fancy Free 19
But a funny thing happened...sooner or later we would all have to grow up and move on with our own lives. Nikole was getting married just a few days after my 20th birthday. It was the end of an era. One last birthday sleepover/bachelorette party and it was time to move on to the next adventure.
So one by one we traveled the world, severed missions, graduated from college and got married. 
World Explorer 20
And then the summer before I turned 21 I feel deeply, madly in love. I knew that one day I'd marry that boy! 
Drinking Age 21
Last night, Michael and I went out for dinner at Texas Roadhouse. They have the best rolls ever! Then Michael surprised me with the most amazing birthday present a girl could ask for! 
It was pictures of all the time we spent together. The first picture we ever took together, all the selfies we sent each other, all the events we've attended as a couple, the vacations we took together, and the holidays we shared. Pictures and picture frames are my favorite! Anyone who knows me knows I can never have enough. If I had it my way ever inch of every bit of wall would be covered in them. But this magical memory scrapbook we can add too as the years go by and take with us where ever we go. We can show are kids just how silly and crazy we were. 
I'm super excited to add each and every birthday I spend with my loving husband to it as well as all the other memories we will make together over the next hundred years! 
This could be a rocky year with school and work and everything else that is sure to happen, but...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weddings are Magical

Weddings are such a wonderful and magical thing! Each love story is different and special! Each couple faces different challenges and obstacles. Everything has a time and a place. And where there is a will there is a way! And this certainly has been the year of weddings for me! 

I love the fact that I have been blessed to live in the same place with the same amazing people for so long! Life has taken twists and turns for each of us, but we have always been there for each other. I am so blessed to have all these wonderful memories to share with all these wonderful gals! 

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July 24, 2014
Nelsie and Weston met online 2 years ago and they have been together ever since. They have been married for a grand total of a day and are the newest addition to the married club! Nelsie has always wanted an opal ring. A stunning ring for a stunning girl! 

February 23, 2014
Kalee and Josh met in the singles ward and it was basically love at first sight (less than two months from meeting to saying I do). They have been married for 5 months and are still rocking it! Kalee's ring was a gift from her new mother-in-law. A pink marquise stone in a golden band. A non-traditional ring for a non-traditional set of circumstances. 

February 13, 2014
Michael and I met in California doing pest control sales over the summer. We have been married for 5 months and still loving it! I always wanted a blue ring, blue has always been my favorite color. A blue ring to match my blue eyes. 

January 17, 2014
Steph and Scott have been married 6 months and still going strong! They meet at BYU and hit it off right away. Steph's ring reflects her traditional values. A golden ring for a golden gal!  

August 25, 2012
Nikole and Taylor have been married for two years now! They met through a mutual friend. Nikole's ring reflects her personality. She has always stood out, you have to take notice of this girl and that ring! One of a kind for a one of a kind girl.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Messy World We Live In

Okay, fair warning this is going to be a rant post so just be prepared. Also its really, really long.

I for one and completely fed up with this Ordain Women business. The facts stand as they are. The Church of Latter-Day Saint of Jesus Christ has made their position clear. They have blatantly and repeatedly asked Kate Kelly and the Ordain Women movement to stop. It has been going on for so long that now they face excommunication. And let's be honest who didn't see that coming? They didn't head the warnings they were given. 

"O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of [wo]men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God."
2 Nephi 9:28-29

All this attention is tearing people apart. Families and friends are picking sides and the debate is only getting more hated. This is precisely what Satan wants. He wants good people to start fighting among themselves and tearing the Church apart. The Church as the power to do so much good in the world, to serve so many people, and to bring millions unto Christ. However, when the focus is shifted to other questions such as women in the priesthood that power to do good in the world is threatened. I believe this is what the Church is trying to stop. 

I believe that all men and women were created equal. I don't pretend to understand everything, but I do know that my Heavenly Father has a plan for me and for each of his children. And if that plan is that I never marry, or never have children,or never hold the priesthood then so be it. I isn't going to be easy but I have faith the Heavenly Father knows best. I have a testimony that when I get an answer I don't like I still have to follow that direction. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet and therefore the mouth piece of God. I have agreed by my own free choice to follow his counsel and direction. If I should ever feel out of sorts with his direction then perhaps my services would be best outside of the Church.

If you won't want to live and follow the rules set but a certain community then you are asked to leave. This shouldn't be news to anyone. When you break the rules you are removed this is true in pre-school with time-outs and it is also true with countries and treason. So the same should be expected of the LDS church. If you choose a different path the choice is certainly yours, but you also choose the consequences that go along with that choice.

I really think this is just another way that Satan is attacking the family. He simply loves to watch people fight and get all heated up.

We face many problems in the world these days. There are wars, and hate, and violence. But I honestly think that if we went back to a simpler way of life things would improve. Take our eating habits for instance. Women left the home to work for one reason or another and homemaking skills were taken out of schools. So now instead of being self-reliant we go to Walmart or Burger King for deep fried prepared meals. Our health is suffering in a big way. People don't know how to cook any more. Much of our food is no imported and filled with chemicals to get is it here. This not only hurts the local economy but also damages our health. We have a rise in weight related deaths and illness which are causing quite the problem with the healthcare system.

73% of African-American children grow up without a father. Their mothers and grandmothers do the best they can, but working 3 jobs and raising a family can't be easy. If these fathers would commit and raise their children I think there would be less crime and gang violence.

But why do so many men and women run from parenthood? Pre-marital sex, teenage pregnancy, lack of money, fears, lack of support from family or partner. Children younger and younger are having babies when they still are babies. And then they abort them when there are many loving home that are waiting to adopt.

Not to mention the pornography industry. They encourage pre-marital sex. But they have a skewed idea of love and sex. They market a false ideal. We have women dressing extremely distasteful all in the name of Feminism. They claim that the should be allowed to walk around town nearly naked and then are outraged by the men that notice them. If you are going to dress like a porn star then you accept the consequences of that choice. When in reality we should be teaching both men and women respect of others and more importantly self-respect.

So then we have young mothers who don't have time to cook or nurture their children and fathers who for what ever reason aren't in the picture. And there is little respect for anyone across the board.

Let's just get one thing straight families are the basic building block of civilization. You need a mother and a father to make a baby and therefor keep the population going. That's not my option it is just basic biology. After that child is born he or she will be helpless and will need someone to provide constant care and guidance for a good many years. Someone will have to teach them how to gather food (cooking/shopping), and how to take care of themselves (education).  

Feminist have created more problems than they have solved. Equal rights should be more about equality and less about a new double standard and male basting. I see all the problems we face as a connected assault on the family. The Church clearly warned us about this in The Proclamation to the Family

Men and women are equal and were both created in the image of a loving Heavenly Father. Everyone should be treated with kindness, but I think in seeking equality we miss the mark. Look at children what do we tell them, you are unique and special. There is on other person like you in the world. So why then do we try and force everyone into the same model? 

Women and men have different but equal roles. Women are the caregivers of the world. Historically being mothers, nurses, educators. Men are the protectors. Again, historically being warriors, guards, bread-winners. There is a reason the vast majority of the world split itself into these gender roles. Not because of the oppression of man but because these gender roles do the most good for the most people. Whether you are male or female your gender affects you ever single day of your life. Whether your put on a bra or pee standing up. Its something you can never get away from and why would you want to? You are different and special your gifts and talents are yours and yours alone. 

The female body is beautiful and it is build to have children there is no question about that. The male's body is also beautiful but it is built for a different purpose. He has large and strong shoulders to carry, protect, and provide. 

The end point I'm trying to make is that men and women are intrinsically different. That is not a bad thing. The sum of the whole is greater than the halves alone. 

Civilization+Individuals=Makes a beautiful world 

Therefore: Men+Women=Make a beautiful world  

Monday, May 19, 2014

How to do Disney on a Budget

1. Step One: do some research
You will read lot of blogs with great advice, but really they all say the same thing. Go early avoid the lines, take a break at the busiest time of day (also the hottest part of the day). Use the fast passes. Go during the off season to avoid the crowds. Take in your own food/snacks/drinks to avoid theme park prices. Make a plan and visit the top attractions first. All useful and helpful advice.

2. Step Two: find some discounts
Disney does have a rewards card that you can earn points on and it might save you 10% inside the parks. But don't be fooled like I was, the perks aren't really all that great. The 10% doesn't count towards food or most things. But they do have an initial start up offer of $50-$200 Disney gift card that is after you spend so much on the card, so shop around and see what you can find. One nice thing is that there is a special meet and greet for card holders. We got to meet Mickey and Goofy after only a 5 minute wait and we even got a free print. Now, those print normally cost $20 a piece so that right there might just make it worth it. There are also online discount ticket sellers, but beware a lot of them are scams. Make sure they are trusted by Disney, call and ask to double check. They will give you a break on the more day passes you buy but if you are only planning a short trip it might be more expensive than through Disney themselves. The savings aren't massive but they are there so look around and keep your eyes open.

3.Step Three: pack for the weather
Florida is hot and humid, if you are traveling with little kids that burn easily or aren't used to the climate remember to pack for their needs. We invested in a Camelback backpack/water bottle. It turned out to be perfect. It was an extremely easy way to carry our snacks and water. The straw kept us hydrated without having to think about it. We used free ice waters from food stands to refill it which kept use refreshed and cool. It also acted as a ice pack for those hot days. These types of backpacks can be found just about anywhere and come in a wide variety of styles, colors, sizes, and of course price. You don't need anything too fancy just something for the size of your family that won't be too much of a pain to carry all day around in the parks.

4. Step Four: bring snacks
Here is where the real savings come into play. Disney has many many food choices, very yummy choices I might add. They range anywhere from a $5 Mickey ice cream to a $50 full course dinner. They have snack carts and restaurants all throughout the park. For the higher end restaurants you might need a reservation 3 months in advance, but for quick service just find something that looks and smells yummy and head on in. The average quick service meal is somewhere around $10, not bad. However, if you are going to be there a while 3 meals a day times how ever many people in your group....$30+$30=$60+... that's over $60 a day on food alone. The cure for that is snacks. Head to the local super market and stock up on fruit snacks and crackers. Plan for one meal a day in the parks and maybe a Mickey ice cream here or there. This will GREATLY reduce your budget. And if on some days you get a little hungry its okay to bust the budget a bit. If you are traveling with small children you might not be able to just make it on gummy bears alone, but its an idea worth trying. Another think, Disney meals come with sides most of the time, if you ask for them without the fires it will be a few bucks cheaper so give that a go also.

5. Step Five: hotel costs
I so happen to own a timeshare, so hotel costs are cheap if not free which is super nice! However, if you didn't buy a timeshare with blood, sweat, and tears you could see about renting one online. There are many options for vacation home rentals. If you are staying for a week or longer with a large group of people it might be worth it to get some kind of condo for a week and have everyone sleep on the couch, beds, floors, what have you as opposed to getting several hotel rooms at $120 a night. Disney also has great resorts and hotels. They often do cost a bit more but during the off season you might get a steal of a deal. Disney resorts have their own transport to the airport and all the parks. They offer meal plans at a discounted price, and they also get you into the park before opening and after closing for extra magic hours. They have package deals that might save you a bit of money. The convenience might be worth a little bit of extra money.

6. Step Six: use the app
Disney has a great app for your smart phone. My advice is USE IT. You can get your fast passes ahead of time, a day before at the earliest I believe. You get to pick 3 attractions and are given times. Make them for as early as you can because as soon as you use them head to the nearest Fast Pass kiosk and they can help you get more. You can get one at a time after that, when you use them you can get more. You can get a fast pass for any attraction at any Fast Pass Kiosk. The app also has a great  map with GPS so it guides you to where you need to go (it has an arrow that will point you in the right direction and show you where you are). You can also make dinner reservation for those higher end restaurants, but I have my doubts about that part of the app (it never did work for us). If you want something nicer check with guest services to see what times and places the have available. Some places take walk ins but most don't and without a reservation during peak season there isn't much hope. But another place might have the opening you need so check around.

7. Step Seven: have fun
Above all remember that you are on vacation to have fun and relax. Take it easy and don't get too stressed out. You are there to have a good time, don't forget that. The crowds and expense can be overwhelming but don't worry you are in the Happiest Place on Earth so enjoy it. Take the kids and have a blast!