Posted in Family Corner, Utah Corner

2019 Pumpkin Walk

Every fall here in Cache Valley there is a Pumpkin Walk. It’s a free event for the entire family which makes it a great bucket list activity. πŸ™‚ Here are some of the highlights from this year…
A lot of creativity, talent and time go into each pumpkin-based scene.
I think this tractor is here every year.

The Lion King was my favorite display this year.

Maybe it was a tie with Alice in Wonderland.

And that was this year’s Pumpkin Walk. Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you’re enjoying this lovely autumn season. πŸ™‚

Posted in Craft Corner

Haunted Barn Halloween Cards

It’s been a while since I have made cards. I pulled out my Halloween papers and stickers last week and ended up making these haunted barn cards. I love that I live a country setting where barns are scattered everywhere. Sometimes I even dream of having my own crafting barn. πŸ™‚

I made my own barn template, which I admit was a bit tricky!

For these cards I used the following supplies:

  • Black cards
  • Halloween and fall themed paper
  • Wood themed paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Small leaf craft punch
  • Stampin’ Up’s owl punch
  • Halloween stickers
Poor witch!

Halloween will be here before we know it! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a fantastic week!

Posted in Craft Corner

Around the World Crafts (Canada, Italy, Peru, China & Greece)

This is a bittersweet post because it represents the end of my fabulous SURF Club (Sweet Unique aRtsy Friends) or my craft days with my sweet neighbor girls. This was probably our last activity, a three hour craft party in August before school started back up. (I say probably because my house doesn’t appear to be selling anytime soon, so I might have a reunion at some point. You never know!) This party was a lot of fun and 22 girls participated, which was a LOT of girls to host. Because of that, I didn’t get many pictures of their crafts and my cameraman, aka, my teenage son, took more photos of the girls having fun together. πŸ™‚

The theme for this party was Around the World. I chose five countries to represent and each country has a meaning for me and my family: We have lived in Canada and my son served a 2-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Calgary. We’ve also lived in Peru, twice, and my daughter served her 18-month mission in Cusco. I’ve visited Italy and Greece with my husband on a European cruise anniversary trip. My oldest daughter is currently preparing to move to China to teach English for a year.


Maple Leaf Craft- Canada

One of Canada’s symbols is the maple leaf. For this craft I provided the following supplies:

  • Outline of the maple leaf printed on white cardstock. Find one here.
  • Red crayons and markers (optional)
  • Red scraps of felt, craft foam, and scrapbook paper (I found red glitter paper)
  • Red pom poms
  • Glue sticks and Elmer’s glue (or try Mod Podge and a paint brush)
  • Scissors

To make: Choose from the materials available and glue each piece inside the maple leaf outline until it’s filled in. Scissors can be used to cut paper and other materials into triangular shapes to help with the leaf “points”. Red marker or crayon may be used to outline the leaf or color parts as desired.

The food we served to accompany this craft was maple bars. Yum!


Masquerade Masks- Italy

I brought back some masquerade masks as souvenirs when I visited Italy and these remind me of those. For this craft the girls used the following supplies:

  • Pre-cut paper plate masks, ready to decorate. (Use sturdy, plain white paper plates (these have a fun scalloped edge) and for eye holes, I recommend an oval craft punch or I had a cutting board with an oval stencil and cutting tool designed for that stencil. I spaced the eye holes closer together for younger girls and a little wider apart for older girls.)
  • Long craft sticks (the wide kind; I bought mine from Walmart)
  • Paint in a variety of colors
  • Paint brushes in a variety of sizes
  • Craft feathers and other embellishments, if desired (sequins, pom poms, etc.)
  • Glitter (optional; there are glitter paints which are fun and less messy)
  • Elmers glue
  • Scotch or other tape

To make: Choose one or two base colors to paint on mask, adding glitter and details as desired. Allow paint to completely dry before adding embellishments such as feathers with Elmer’s glue or tape (feathers can be added to the front or from the back). Once the mask is completely dry (or before painting if preferred), secure the craft stick to the back of the mask with tape.

A food choice for Italy could be pizza or gelato.


Fluffy Llamas- Peru

These were my favorite out of all the crafts! They really turned out darling. For this craft I supplied:

  • The outline of a llama printed on white cardstock (My daughter drew the llama because she’s an amazing artist.)
  • Cotton balls
  • Craft foam or paper
  • Craft string
  • Tiny pom poms in bright colors
  • Googly eyes
  • Markers and crayons
  • Elmer’s glue and glue sticks
  • Scissors

To make: Stretch and pull the cotton balls to fluff them out. Glue the cotton fluff on the entire inside of the llama, avoiding the feet (it might be easier to color the feet first, if desired). Glue a googly eye so the llama can see. Cut a saddle or blanket out of foam or paper and glue on. Embellish with string and tiny pom poms, if desired. (Peruvian llamas often have tassels on their ears!) Give your llama a name.

The food we served to represent Peru was Salchipapas, which in its most basic form is French fries and sliced hot dog mixed together. Add dipping sauces for fun.


Chinese Dragon Bookmarks- China

DSC07478 (2)

This is the only photo I have of this craft! For this craft, I supplied:

  • Extra long craft sticks (see photo above)
  • Pre-printed dragon heads, sized for the bookmark (found online here)
  • Scrapbook or construction paper in a variety of colorsΒ 
  • Plain paper, such as white construction paper or printer paper
  • Craft scissors (the fun kind such as these)Β 
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticksΒ 
  • Mod Podge and paint brush (optional)
  • Markers

DSC07478 (3)

To make: Choose two or three colors of paper to alternate in a pattern. Cut the paper in small strips to fit the length of the craft stick. Use craft scissors to create scallops or zig zag edges. A glue stick works beautifully for this craft, or if you’d like to seal the paper to last longer, use Mod Podge with a paint brush to both glue and seal the paper (use Mod Podge both under and over the paper strips; it will dry clear). Once the “body” is done, color and cut out the dragon head, and glue it to the “top” with glue stick. For a tail, make and color your own out of white paper, cut, and glue to “bottom” with glue stick.

Even though fortune cookies are an American and Japanese creation, my daughter made each girl a fortune cookie to represent China. She used a recipe similar to this one and she used Disney movie quotes as her fortunes. These were a big hit with the girls.


Laurel Wreath Headbands- Greece

Isn’t my daughter cute? Here she’s helping a little girl make her laurel wreath.

This is a colorful version of the green laurel wreath. For this craft, I supplied:

  • Construction paper cut into long 2″ wide strips, approx. (I found an extra long construction pad at Walmart.*)
  • Stapler
  • Glue sticks
  • Pre-cut construction paper leaves, in a variety of colors and sizes
  • Embellishments, such as little pom poms
It’s coincidence that this crown has the same colors as my daughter’s. πŸ™‚

To make: Start with the band, made from long wide strips of construction paper. This band will be the wreath base and needs to wrap around the head comfortably. *Even with extra long construction paper, which is optional, another length of band was required to make the band long enough to wrap around the head. Use a stapler to connect the two band lengths together, but don’t staple the ends into a circle just yet. It’s easier to glue onto a flat band.

I pre-cut paper leaves for smoother sailing at this party, but your child can make his or her own paper leaves. This tutorial explains an easy way to make the leaves for this craft. Once the leaves are cut out, glue any way desired onto the band using a glue stick. Add embellishments if desired. Once everything is on the band, staple the ends together so that the band comfortably sits on the head. Band ends may overlap.

The snack we served with this Greek craft was orange slices drizzled with honey.


And that was our Around the World craft party. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today. I hope you’re having a fantastic week! It’s snowing here in Montana today. Way too early for snow in my opinion. It’s like fall barely made a show!Β 

Posted in Family Corner, Photography Corner, Places We Visit

Our Alaskan Cruise

Last month my family took our first Alaskan cruise. To describe it in a few words, it was beautiful, enchanting, and charming. This was the first time the kids and I have visited Alaska. We fell in love. Here are the highlights:


Our first port was Juneau. We took a small group whale watching tour guided by a naturalist. It was really fun! The first thing we did was pull up a crab pot and inspect the critters inside. Then onto the whales! We spotted seven different whales and the naturalist and captain knew their names. They tell them apart by their flukes which have different patterns on them. This was a perfect experience for Marissa who plans to become a Marine Biologist. What a glorious day.


Our second port was Skagway. Most of us took two excursions that day, but we split off into different ones in the morning. Zach and I took a photography tour. Marissa and Marcus took a dog sledding tour. And Grandma and Darcie took the Red Onion Saloon and city tour. The Red Onion was a brothel in the Klondike gold rush days. I don’t have pics from their tour, but they sure came back with all sorts of stories to tell us! In fact, it was Darcie’s favorite excursion of all! We all thought that was rather funny.

That afternoon we took the historic White Pass scenic railway as a family. Wow! We thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. It was another beautiful and full day in Alaska.

Glacier Bay

The next day we sailed through Glacier Bay National Park. So spectacular, impressive and cold, haha. Half the ship was outside on the upper decks, all bundled up in winter coats and hats. The wind was whipping away and it was freezing, but the views made it worth it. There was a park ranger (or someone like that) aboard who gave us narration all the way through. We all loved Glacier Bay.


Our final Alaskan port was Ketchikan. We took a boat excursion as a family and enjoyed the sights. We saw multiple eagles’ nests, the smallest lighthouse I’ve ever seen, and little islands. It rained on us on the way back to shore, but we didn’t mind because it was all lovely scenery.

And that was our Alaskan cruise in a nutshell! Have you ever visited Alaska or taken an Alaskan cruise? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for visiting my blog today. πŸ™‚

Posted in Homeschooling Corner, This and That

11th Grade Homeschool Curriculum & Schedule

Is it just me or did summer just fly by? We had a stellar summer. My youngest daughter came home from an eighteen-month mission in Cusco, Peru, and we ended the summer with a fabulous Alaskan cruise that we enjoyed as an entire family. Also, our house is finally getting some interest, though no offers yet. Keeping our fingers crossed that someone will fall in love with it soon.

We’ve officially begun our new homeschool year. I’m down to my baby and this is his junior or eleventh year. His older siblings are 26, 24, and 21. I have one college graduate and two returning to their higher educations.

He loves to make his own stir fry.

We are still utilizing a wonderful distance program through a Christian private school, Liahona Preparatory Academy. Marcus’ core classes will be through Liahona. These accredited courses are Mondays through Thursdays for 32 weeks. He has the option to watch each class live or recorded. Because he tries to watch these classes live, this sets his daily schedule:

9:30am (approx.) Unfortunately, two of his courses are at the same time so he will likely watch his math class live and his history class recorded. This year he is taking Calculus, using Calculus of a Single Variable by Larsen & Edwards. His history is World Civilizations/Geography, using Our Old World Beginnings: European History

10:30am (approx.) Science this year is Chemistry, using Chemistry Concepts and Applications by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill

11:30am (approx.) English this year is History of Language and Literature. I’m excited about the books he will be reading in this class, in the following order: Beowulf: translation by Stephen Mitchell; Wulf the Saxon by G. A. Henty; Hamlet by William Shakespeare; Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain; Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell; A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

We just finished Marcus’ first week of these classes and it worked well for him to watch his history class right after English, and then he completes his math assignment.

Beautiful Feet Medieval History Senior High Pack

What I am most excited about is our Beautiful Feet Medieval History Unit. πŸ™‚ This is our first experience with BFB so I’ll be posting more about it, but I expect this will be a favorite part of our homeschool year, especially since we are tackling it together. I honestly feel like this is a blessing for us because so much of what he does now that he’s in high school is independent work, and that’s great. I know he needs to become more independent every year. But I also believe that just because he’s a teen doesn’t mean our learning together is over.

Do you see a cross-over? Beowulf. His English teacher chose another translation than the one BFB chose so hopefully we can get a taste of each. I’m just excited that this unit will tie in with his English and his history classes this year. He’s sure to make more connections that way.

We plan to read from our Medieval Unit books every day and spend more time on it on Fridays which are class-free, except for Seminary. Seminary is a youth scripture study program in our church. For the rest of this year, he will be studying the New Testament and then in January he will switch to The Book of Mormon.

So that’s his curriculum and schedule. Now if we can just get our house sold. We had a showing this afternoon and it threw off our day, but hey, the house looks pretty amazing for the weekend, so there’s that. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by! Let me know your weekend plans. We don’t have any so far, but it won’t be spent cleaning!

Posted in Craft Corner

Summer Crafts- Tic Tac Toe Travel Game and Pool Noodle Creatures

This week at SURF Club my girls made Tic Tac Toe games and pool noodle creatures. They don’t necessarily go together, but both were super easy and inexpensive to make.

For this craft I supplied:

  • 5×7 fabric pouches (I bought these from a party store)
  • Cut up foam board, between 4×4.5″ and 4×6″ approx. (I just eye-balled it and I used a craft knife to cut the foam board; could also use cardboard)
  • Soda bottle caps and small soda/water lids (8 caps per game)
  • Fabric markers
  • Paint and paintbrushes

First, the girls painted their bottle caps/lids. I thought four “x’s” and four “o’s” were the perfect amount. Some of the caps required two coats of paint to completely cover.

While the caps were drying, the girls put their unpainted boards inside their fabric pouches so they could color the outside with fabric markers. One option the girls had was to add a tic tac toe board directly on the bag. That could eliminate the board, but the board still served a purpose (to keep the markers from bleeding through to the other side of the bag).

The last step was to paint the boards. Most of the girls chose to paint a solid background color and once that had dried, they added the lines. I had to remind some of the girls what a tic tac toe board looked like: two evenly spaced parallel lines and two evenly spaced vertical lines, making 9 spaces in total.

For this craft I supplied:

  • Cut up pool noodles (I just sawed them with a bread knife, eye-balling it)
  • Craft glue (We used a hot glue gun, supervised of course)
  • Googly eyes
  • Chenille stems
  • Feathers
  • Paint and paint brushes (optional; my girls just love to paint!)

There are not really steps for this craft. Just put out the supplies and let the kids use their imaginations. πŸ™‚

These were fun and simple crafts the girls of all ages enjoyed. Thanks so much for visiting my blog! Have you been crafting with your kids this summer? How about having a family crafting party! I think crafting together is lots of fun, and a great way to get away from screens.

Posted in Craft Corner

Summer Craft- Ocean Creatures

Continuing with our ocean theme, this week my SURF Club girls made three kinds of ocean creatures- jellyfish, crabs, and sea turtles.

Jellyfish, sea turtles, and crabs, oh my!

The idea for the jellyfish came from my husband’s desire to use up left over bowls after a family event. When I showed him a similar picture from Pinterest, he exclaimed, “Someone stole my idea!” So I’m giving him the credit for these as he had every detail planned out in his head. πŸ™‚

For the jellyfish craft I supplied:

  • foam bowls
  • paint and paint brushes
  • string
  • large googly eyes
  • craft glue (we used a hot glue gun to attach the eyes easier)
  • ribbon gift bows and curling ribbon
  • scissors
  • scotch tape

First the girls painted the outside of their bowls. Then they glued on a pair of big googly eyes. To string the top, I poked a pin-sized hole in the middle and created a loop, taping the ends to the inside of the bowl. I had both premade ribbon bowls and curling ribbon for the girls to attach to the inside, allowing the ends to dangle down. Easy peasy! Great for all ages.

For the sea turtle craft I supplied:

  • dessert size paper plates
  • paint and paint brushes
  • craft foam
  • scissors
  • googly eyes
  • craft glue
  • brads

First the girls painted and decorated the outside of their plates. I had pre-cut some green craft foam for the younger girls. Older girls could choose to use my templates to cut their own head, flippers, and tail. I thought it’d be fun to attach the front flippers (at least) with brads so they could move. Other parts were attached with glue. Googly eyes were glued to the head.

For the crab craft I supplied:

  • snack cups (I bought these from the party store)
  • paint and paint brushes
  • googly eyes
  • craft glue (we used a hot glue gun to make it easier)
  • chenille stems
  • scotch tape (optional)

Note- I’ve seen these made with cut foam cups and that might be more durable for little hands, but I thought I was being so clever with the nut cups, and for the most part they worked great. I told the girls to paint them lightly and one thing I learned was that it was easier to poke the necessary holes before painting. First the girls painted the outside of the cups. Then they cut pieces from chenille stem. Each crab needed six legs and two pinchers. Googly eyes were glued to the top of two more pieces of chenille stem. I found that taping the chenille stem ends on the inside of the cup made it more durable for playing.

All my girls of all ages enjoyed making these sea creatures and the supplies were pretty simple. Sometimes the simplest crafts are the best!