Posted in Family Corner

Our Family’s Christmas Traditions

This is a sad confession, but when I was growing up there was only one Christmas tradition that I enjoyed and that was spending Christmas Eve at my Grandma’s house with aunts, uncles, cousins, and my paternal grandmother. We always had a big turkey dinner with all the fixings, a talent show, and everyone got presents. My aunts and grandma often handmade gifts for each grandchild. One year we all received homemade Pound Puppies. Another year, the girls received sewing baskets. I remember a doll with fold-up legs and a wrap-around swaddling blanket. My favorite gift, and one I still snuggle up with today, was a Holly Hobbie blanket with green ties and trim.

Christmas 2007 27

The first Christmas I spent with my husband was the Christmas we were engaged and I was thrilled because it was the first time I was allowed to stay in my pajamas for Christmas morning. So one of the traditions I started with my husband was opening a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve.


Another tradition we started was reading a Christmas storybook every night from December 1st to December 23rd. This started with a binder of stories and then over the years I purchased storybooks until we had a collection of twenty three books which would be wrapped and randomly selected by a child each night. With my kids being grown or teenagers, we’ve sadly outgrown this tradition, although it half worked last Christmas. I’m sure we will pick it up again when there are grandchildren. This year my friend borrowed our collection of books to start the tradition with her children.

Some years, in place of the 23 stories, we’ve read one book for several nights in a row, such as A Christmas Carol. On Christmas Eve, we read the Christmas story out of the scriptures. We have a special binder just for that which includes carols and my husband takes charge and divides the readings among us.

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My girls and I started a tradition several years ago where we invite younger neighbor girls over for a Christmas craft party. That has been a lot of fun and has brought us a lot of joy. 


Every Christmas we plan a special trip to Salt Lake City or thereabouts where we dine out at a fancy restaurant and take in a Christmas play or concert or something else. We also walk Temple Square to see the lights and displays there. This year we are going to a hockey game and to a light festival.


Marcus’ birthday is on Christmas Eve so our tradition is to dedicate most of that day to him and do activities he chooses to do. One year we went ice skating. It’s also tradition to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol as part of his birthday celebration. We eat a big dinner on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. We usually have Prime Rib. On Christmas Day, we have my husband’s amazing waffles for breakfast and then snack all day long.


I love this photo of my baby girl who is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has been in Peru since January and we will miss her this Christmas, but we do get to Skype with her on Christmas Day so we are looking forward to that.


Here is a recent photo of her in her Christmas dress (on the very right), with her companion (on the very left) and an elder. They are spending this Christmas season spreading the light of Christ by teaching His gospel and serving God’s children in Juliaca, Peru.

♥ Other traditions we have are making goodie plates for neighbors, caroling with youth groups in our church, watching Christmas movies (Hallmark!) all month long, including the classics such as Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, Christmas Vacation, The Grinch, and A Christmas Story. My personal favorite that I have to watch every Christmas is White Christmas. I play Christmas music all month long as well, and I love to decorate my house from top to bottom, inside and out. We have many nativity sets, most from Peru since we lived there. On the Sunday before Christmas Day we attend the Christmas Sacrament program at church. We also give to charities at this time of year, and we often find a family in need to secretly give to or we buy gifts for the sub for Santa program. ♥ I would love to hear about your favorite Christmas traditions! Please leave a comment below to share. Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas! ♥


Posted in Craft Corner

Christmas Kid Craft Party

This past Saturday I hosted a Christmas craft party for my SURF (Sweet, unique, aRsty, friends) Club. I hosted 14 girls, ages 3 to 11. I created stations and put the girls into groups. It’s the easiest way for me to host this many girls at once. The girls made jars of love, ornaments, and graham cracker houses.


In my crafting cove, the girls made jars of love as a gift for anyone of their choosing. These are decorated jars filled with rolled slips of paper. Each paper states something positive about the receiver. Some examples for a jar of love to one’s mother might be: “I love your hugs!”, “I love your cooking.”, “I love your piano playing.”, etc.

For this craft I provided the following:

  • small plastic jars (I bought these from Michael’s in a bulk sale; they came in packs of 10)
  • Mod Podge
  • paint brushes
  • small paper plates (for the Mod Podge)
  • tissue paper squares
  • glitter
  • pre-cut strips of paper (I chose scrapbook paper I already had on hand)
  • thin markers and/or pens
  • white gift bags (optional)
  • blank cards with envelopes (optional)
  • Christmas stickers and washi tape (optional)
  • Christmas stamps and black ink pad (optional)
  • Christmas craft punches (optional)

Two of the girls made their jars for me!

Some of the girls glittered their jars. Others Mod Podged the tissue paper. Both looked pretty. While their jars dried, they wrote on their paper slips and scrolled them up. They also decorated gift bags and made cards so it was a complete gift ready to give.

“Straten (straighten) my sisters shoes” How sweet is that?

At another station, the girls created ornaments from craft kits I bought from Hobby Lobby. The pieces had sticky backs so no glue was necessary. I provided markers for coloring. I also provided paper snowflakes and we discussed how December 1st was Worldwide Service Day. Each girl wrote acts of service she would try to do at home or in her community this week.


At the kitchen table, my daughter supervised the graham cracker houses. For this project I provided:

  • Graham crackers
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic knives
  • Sandwich bags (for makeshift frosting bags)
  • Mini marshmallows (the fruity kind)
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Smarties, Red Hots, Sixlets, gummy bears, and other small candies
  • Christmas sprinkles
  • Paper or foam plates (I bought the oval shaped ones)


For many of the girls, it was easier to make tents.


The last station was for the wish ornaments. A wish ornament simply contains a written wish scrolled up inside it. For this craft I provided:

  • plastic ornament bulbs (purchased in a set of 25 from Michael’s)
  • craft snow confetti
  • tiny beads
  • sequins
  • anything miniature and Christmasy from my craft supplies
  • pre-cut strips of paper (I chose Christmas scrapbook paper)
  • thin markers and/or pens


The girls filled their bulbs as they chose. They also wrote a wish on a piece of paper and scrolled it up. Since this station didn’t take as long as the others, the girls also made a get well poster for a club member who was sick and missing out on the fun.


To help the girls keep their creations together in one place, I always provide an extra table. I gave each girl a gift sack to collect their ornaments. That made it easy for them to bring them home as well.


The girls also had a snack. One mom was kind enough to make these delightful wreaths out of crispy noodles. Yum! There was also cheese and crackers, apple and orange slices, and juice.

♥ Merry Christmas Everyone! Thanks so much for reading. I’d love to hear from you. Will you be hosting a Christmas party this year? ♥

Posted in Craft Corner

Winter Craft- Penguins


My SURF Club’s last November craft was penguins. This was requested by one of the girls. 🙂 In fact, she made the penguin pictured above.


For this craft I gathered the following supplies:

  • black paper or cardstock (for the penguin’s body and wings/flippers)
  • white felt (for the penguin’s belly and face)
  • orange craft foam (for beaks and feet)
  • small brads/paper fasteners (optional; to attach the wings/flippers)
  • black buttons (for eyes)
  • chenille stems
  • pom poms
  • pony beads
  • Christmas fabric scraps (optional; I had some on hand)
  • assorted craft foam
  • cotton balls
  • craft glue, glitter glue
  • scissors
  • markers


I pre-cut the bodies, bellies, wings, and feet to make it easier for the younger girls. Just like each girl, each penguin is unique.

Could this be any cuter? I think not.

This was a fun craft to transition us to winter and the Christmas season. On Saturday we are having our Christmas craft party and then I’m taking a break from crafting with my girls until January.


Also, I’d like you to meet our newest family member, Casper. Casper was rescued by my son outside his workplace, two weeks ago. It was early morning and this wee one was all alone and shivering in the cold. The vet thought he was maybe 6 weeks old at the time. My son took him around to the neighboring homes, but no one claimed him. So we gladly adopted him. He has added a lot of cheer to our home! He likes to cuddle, play, and be close to us.

♥ It started snowing our first real snow of the season here today and this morning we had the thickest fog which made for a slow commute. Thanks for reading and if you live where it’s winter, I hope you’re staying warm and cozy. ♥

Posted in Craft Corner

Thanksgiving Stain Glass Art and Turkey Cupcakes

My Friday craft group had one extra day with me before Thanksgiving break, so we did some easy Thanksgiving stain glass art and transformed cupcakes and cookies into turkeys.

My 3-year olds colored their pages directly with washable markers.

For the stain glass art I provided:

  • Sheet protectors
  • Printed Thanksgiving coloring pages
  • Sharpies (black, green, yellow, orange, purple, red, etc.)

For the cupcakes I provided:

  • Cupcakes, baked and unfrosted (any flavor)
  • Frosting (any kind)
  • Milano cookies (Similar shape to Nutter Butters, but peanut-free for those with allergies)
  • Candies (I could not find Candy Corn as it’s already out of season! So I chose Dots, jelly beans, Mike and Ikes, and Swedish fish)
  • Oreo cookies (optional, I just had them on hand)
  • Decorating gels (to make the eyes)


To make the stain glass art, simply put a black and white printed coloring page inside a sheet protector. Then use the Sharpies to color it on the outside of the sheet protector. My girls found it easier to color inside parts first, and then outline with black Sharpie.


For the turkey cupcakes, first the girls frosted each one and set them aside. Laying the Milano cookies flat on the table, the girls used left over frosting to “glue” candy of their choice to form a turkey beak and wattle. They used the decorating gels (the colors I had on hand) to make eyes. We discovered that the decorated cookies needed to sit flat for a few minutes for the gel and frosting to set before standing them up in the cupcakes. Once they were in the cupcakes, the girls added “feathers”. Some used the Mike and Ikes or jelly beans. Some used the cookie part of Oreos and tilted it behind the Milano “body”.

♥ So, what are your Thanksgiving plans? We will have a relaxed Thanksgiving at home with the five of us (my youngest daughter is on a mission in Peru) and two guests who are friends of my oldest son. My husband is home all week (he currently works out of state) which is really nice. As much as we’ve lived apart for half of our marriage, it never gets easier. We’ve started putting out our Christmas decorations and that will continue throughout the week. I have a LOT of decorations I’ve collected over the years. I love, love, love decorating my home for seasons and holidays. 🙂 We are also getting a Christmas package together for our missionary and her companion. I’d love to hear your Thanksgiving plans.♥

Posted in Craft Corner

Thanksgiving Craft- Colorful Foam Turkeys


For the second week of crafts this month, my SURF Club girls made turkey families out of craft foam.

For this craft I provided:

  • Three sizes of pre-cut craft foam turkey bodies (they look more like snowmen or bowling pins, haha)
  • Pre-cut turkey feet (all the same size)
  • Googly eyes
  • Craft feathers
  • Chenille stems (optional, any colors)
  • Pony beads (optional, any colors)
  • Markers
  • Craft/Elmer’s/glitter glue
  • Extra foam (scraps work well, for beaks and wattles)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks (for gluing the chenille stems onto the foam)
  • Scissors


No brown turkeys here! Some of the girls chose to make their turkeys represent their own families. One girl used pumpkin seeds as her turkey beaks. She colored them orange first. I thought that was pretty creative.

♥ Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving week with your family. ♥

Posted in Craft Corner

Fall Storybook Kid Craft


This month I decided to hold weekly craft days for my SURF Club which is made up of 21 neighbor girls ranging in ages from 3-17 years old. (SURF stands for: Sweet, Unique, aRtistic Friends.) Because of the high number of girls, and different dates of availability, I’m holding two hour craft sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after school in my Craft Cove.

Can you tell this is a well loved copy?

For this first week, I did something different with the girls. I read them a fall story called Pumpkin Town! from my family’s library, and that became the theme of our craft.


For this craft I provided the following supplies:

  • Printed copies of a full page pumpkin outline on cardstock (my own drawing)
  • Orange markers and crayons
  • Orange tissue paper, Mod Podge and paint brush (optional)
  • Green chenille stems
  • Brown construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue (Elmer’s/craft glue, glue sticks, glitter glue)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pre-cut foam rectangles and triangles (any colors, small enough for the inside of the pumpkin)
  • Tiny flat buttons, Pom poms, pony beads, and sequins (optional embellishments)


First the girls colored their pumpkins orange and then they cut them out. They cut their own stems out of the brown paper and used the green chenille stems for the vine. A fun activity was threading pony beads onto the “vine” and twisting it. Homes were made from the foam shapes and pumpkin seeds were glued on to represent the town from the story. Embellishments were added as the girls chose.


♥ It’s always a delight for me to see each girl’s creation. 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog today. My posts have really slowed down because I am sharing my computer with my daughter so she can use my Photoshop for a video she’s putting together for a class assignment. She is in her final semester of university and soon will have her English degree. I’m so proud of her, and for all you homeschooling moms out there, she was homeschooled. She has done exceptionally well in college. She also took a gap year. ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner, My 52 Stories

My First Homeschool Conference

I’m not sure why I didn’t write about this much sooner, but it is still relevant and I hope it might help a homeschooling mama considering whether or not to attend a similar conference. In all of my nine-plus years of homeschooling, I had never attended a homeschool conference until September of last year (2017). I just never took the opportunity until then, but I had always wondered what they were like. Now I know!

This conference took place at The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee.

This was a Wild + Free conference. I had never heard of Wild + Free before I signed up for this event. My lovely friend, Audria, told me about it and before I knew it we had each booked our tickets, months in advance. I definitely recommend going to something like this with a friend. It makes the whole experience sweeter, plus you can figure things out together. 🙂

The location for this conference was a lot of fun, and it was my first visit to Tennessee so that was exciting, but what I want to focus on is the experience itself: There were dynamic speakers and talented musical performances. The focus was on building one another up. There were hundreds of other homeschooling mamas, from all backgrounds, in attendance. Honestly, it was thrilling to be there because I felt a part of something bigger than myself. I realized that I am not alone on this journey, and that was my biggest take-away.


The speakers tackled a variety of parenting, family, and homeschooling topics. Some were addressed to the entire group while others took place in what I’d call “workshops” which we chose to attend in smaller groups. Each was motivational, yet realistic. By that I mean that the speakers were down-to-earth and relatable. There was also musical performances which were upbeat and energizing. I came away feeling encouraged and supported in my homeschooling. And that is why I’m glad I seized an opportunity to attend a homeschool conference.

♥ If you homeschool, have you attended a homeschool conference? I’d love to hear about it! Thanks so much for visiting my blog today. ♥