Saturday, February 27, 2010

Books to Have in Your Collection!

I had a gift card and used it to buy these wonderful relationship books. They have fun quotes, wonderful relationship basics and examples of how to apply them. Its nice to have extra information to keep the love going.
Book 1: "The 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships" By David Niven
Book 2: "What Happy Couples Do" By Carol J. Bruess, & Anna D.H. Kudak Pin It

Friday, February 26, 2010

Date Night with Daddy

I am so excited for our kids to have date night with their Dad. This will be such a great bonding time for them. I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with our children and have that 1 on 1 with each child. Since my husband works long and hard I wanted him to have the same opportunity.

I love how this date idea box turned out & I know it will help . To figure out the order, it was best to go by what day they were born in the month {Aulina: 1th will go week 1 / Taidan: 5th will go week 2 / Audra: 7th will go week 3 / Auri: 22nd will go week 4}. The dice is for them to roll and what ever number comes up, thats the section they will look in to find the idea (ideas came from Sometimes site will not work so some of the ideas are listed below) for their date. After they use that idea they should journal on the back and then put the card to the back of the pile of ideas.

1-I just got a file box, headband and flower(dollar store finds!).

2-After taking apart the flower, I took one of my larger scrapbooking brads and poked it thru the flower and headband.

3-Fold the top of the flower under the headband.

4-Using the blank side of the 3 x 5 cards I cut patterned paper to fit.

5-I used these tabs I found at the office store(they were .30 on clearance!) and labeled them with a permenant marker.

6-All 12 sections labeled. 1: indoor-put together a model car, puzzles,build a house of cards with a deck of cars then play a card game, talk about your favorite "collection"cake baking, build a candy castle, watch a movie 2: adventurous-hike somewhere, roller blade, ice hockey, rock climb 3: free- hopscotch on sidewalk, read a children's book at the bookstore, tour police/fire station 4: outdoor-climb a tree, find the smoothest stone in a river, play frisbee in the dark with flashlight 5: educational-visit museum, plan the date around a book from library, learn a new skill 6: theme-comedy, color, numbers, 7: games-play toss with odd objects, card, bubble gum blowing contest, catch at the park, arcades, picture drawing, 8: playful-play on the park equipment, run thru the sprinklers, whip topping fight, coloring contest, devise your own code & mail a letter to someone 9: cheap-buy a book from Goodwill & replace the names with your own. Read the new story, ride the downtown bus-talk about favorite site, bowling at college campus, frog jumping contest with plastic frogs, feed the ducks 10: daddy's choice 11: sporty-miniature golf, fishing, horseshoes, tennis 12: kids choice.

7-In each section I took the blank side and wrote the date idea (I like my handwriting and its a great keepsake) so it frees up the back side with lines. This is where each child can journal in (for their box) their thoughts and feelings from the date.

8-I made a label to attach to the top{ "Name" date night with Dad} to personalize it.

It is so important to have that 1 on 1 with each child so they feel LOVED & that they BELONG to your family.

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Date Night on a Budget

I hosted a poll this month about DATE NIGHTS because, I don't know about you, but I was curious to see how often the average married couple go on weekly date nights. Just curious! I love and cherish date nights with my husband, and we usually never miss doing something once/week. But lately we've not been able to afford to go "out" as often, and I noticed from the poll that many of us are experiencing that same issue, (which is no surprise with the way the economy has been.) I know that (for my marriage) date nights and/or "alone-times" are absolutely necessary for us for a super strong & happy marriage. So if we don't have babysitter and dinner/movie $$ in our budget, it's time to get CREATIVE!!

That's why I am so glad to have found Cher, over at

Cher has tons of awesome, creative date night ideas for those of us on a budget!! I love one of her great posts about dating in marriage, amongst many others. She and Heather think alike with their idea-keeping books!

Also, my friend Jo (young mom/wife) shared with me a great idea that she and her husband do for date nights on a budget (in her words)...
"My husband and I are in a 'co-op' with three other couples. Each couple takes all the kids for one Friday night a month and then we have the other three nights to go out. No one in our group leaves more than two kids (some of us with newborns take our babies) and rarely does it work out that ALL the kids are there due to other conflicts. It might not work out for larger families. But we love it, and the kids love it to. They look forward to it all week."
Thanks for the great inspiration, Jo! Pin It

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Date Night Polls

February 2010

My man and I go on date nights without the kids:
(142 votes)

Every Week- 48 (33%)
Once/Month- 40 (28%)
Rarely Ever- 54 (38%)

We don't get out alone much because: (66 votes)

No Babysitter- 19 (27%)
Afraid to leave kids w/ a sitter- 10 (15%)
Can't afford it right now!- 27 (40%)
Too busy- 7 (10%)
All of above- 4 (6%)
Are you kidding me?...

We ♥ date night!!- 18 (27%)

Interesting results! Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings about this poll. We love your honesty in these annonymous polls, and it's so fun/interesting to hear some of the stories behind the votes!! Remember that if you share, please keep it positive and uplifting! ♥ Pin It

{You + Me} = Date Night

I absolutely LOVE going on dates with my hubby. I love to get all dolled up (wearing white pants even)and feel like a WOMAN and not a MOM for a night. It truely reminds me often why I fell in love with him. Its just us and we can feel/act like teenagers. How FUN is that! To prevent us from getting into a rut of going to "dinner and a movie" I decided to make a Binder of Ideas.

I organized the ideas into categories with some inspiration and more inspiration. To alleviate the burden of one of us always planning every Friday night date I've broken it down week to week.

Week {1} Temple
Week {2} Heather's Choice
Week {3} Temple
Week {4} Guillermo's Choice
Week{5} At Home

The Inside. . .

I just cut some paper to staple over the existing tabs.

The deocrated dividers. Section labels are: Babysitter Information, Fun Ways to Ask, Fun with Couples, Fun ways Romantically, & Fun Indoors & Out.

These are a couple of books I have for added ideas. They are wonderful.

I believe this is {one} of the most important things you can do in your marriage. I always try to remind myself that I want to know him when I'm old & gray.

Good Luck in your Dating Adventures!
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's Play Music!

I've mentioned this program before, but I just have to mention it again because it is one of the COOLEST things I have ever heard of and been involved in!!

This is a program called LET'S PLAY MUSIC. It's a 3 year program for children, teaching them MUSIC through songs and play. They start off learning basic music theory with the Solfeggio syllables and hand signs (do, re, mi, etc.) They learn to play on "bells" at first and learn the music staff and major/minor scales. There is actually SO much they learn in 3 years that I really can't even explain it all!! By the end of 3 years, the children will be composing/playing their own songs on the piano. WOW!!

My little girls are in their first year of this program, and I am EXTREMELY pleased and impressed!! I only wish my boys could have gotten this opportunity as well. It is seriously the NEATEST program ever in my opinion!! We have such a FABULOUS teacher here in Meridian, ID named Tina G. who we go to. There are teachers all over the US, and continuing to grow!

You can check out the Let's Play Music website for more info on the program. Also, if you hurry and stop by their blog TODAY they are doing a GIVEAWAY for a FREE METRONOME!! I entered, of course! Pin It

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dinner Time Fun

We had one of the best dinners; not because of what we ate but because we had great conversation! I found these alphabet tater tots at either Walmart or Winco {sorry-can't remember}. So at dinner we each took a turn with one of our "letters" and said something that we loved in general, then something we loved in nature, then we all had to spell something.
We also did our usual question of "Who did you serve today?" {I love this question! It helps them to THINK outside of themselves and DO for others from day to day}
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Lovin' A to Z

Last year while my girls were on track break from school we would do this daily activity. Its an A to Z of the things we love.

I just got those $1.00 photo books from Walmart and cut cardstock to fit in each slot. Then they took alphabet stickers, going in order, placed them on the cardstock. We decorated the outside with a vinyl name and some {free} mandalas (they were excited to color these and make it their own). There is even extra space to put some pictures of them doing activities with the letters.

A to Z
Then each day of the alphabet we would take some time to just think and write. Its fun to read what they wrote of what they love at this time in their lives. Since kids' "loves" change often I was thinking of doing it as a yearly tradition.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

AAA for Husbands

In no particular order, here is what the AAA stands for (as learned in a marriage class by Carleen T):

A good quote about marriage is from Pres. Gordon B. Hinkley... "I am satisfied that a happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well being of one's companion."

I agree with this quote! We ALL have needs. I know I do, and I feel so blessed and grateful to have a husband who desires to fulfill my needs, and who is truly "concerned for [my] comfort and well being". He is an amazing man!

Husbands have many needs in marriage as well, many of the same and some a little different. In my world, we understand that a man has three main responsibilities as a husband and father, in which I refer to as the THREE P's:
Preside, Provide and Protect.

As a wife and mother I am responsible for nurturing my husband and children. So I like to think of the THREE A's as a way to nurture the THREE P's...

Note: I'm no expert on being the perfect wife, but I sure love to learn ways I can be the best wife for my awesome husband!

1. Husbands need to feel Admired. This, to me, means to honor him and his manhood. To NOT be his "mother" (which, come on ladies, admit it. We've all done that.) We are his "help-meet" (as quoted in Genesis 2:18), which means that we are to lift, sustain and support him as a leader (presider) in our home.

2. Husbands need to feel Appreciated. We need to let him know by our words and actions that we appreciate and respect him in all he does, and NOT criticise him for his weaknesses!!

3. Husbands need Affection. We need to allow ourselves to be protected by him. He needs physical touch. This is sometimes the hardest one for me after being climbed on by kids all day long. But my husband really appreciates a hug and a kiss once in a while to know that I care. Of course, we all know how our husbands need that "physical" part of marriage... Sheesh! (But giving of ourselves in that way is truly a gift to them and will strengthen a marriage like no other... especially if we can find a way to enjoy it too! Just my quick 2-cents. hehe.)

Here is a little something that I started a few years ago on Valentine's day to show my husband how much I love and appreciate him...
I randomly add to it so he always knows how much those little things he does really mean to me. It is not his love language, but it is mine, and my way of expressing little thoughts of appreciation to him. The best part? It really helps me focus on my husband's good qualities and realize why I love him so much. Pin It

Friday, February 19, 2010

Love Games

Here are some great Love Games to play together with the HEART candy. Our kids have a blast!(we usually have to play the same game a few times before going to the next one)

Game 1{Steal My Heart} Set a bowl of candy hearts on a flat surface within easy reach of the players & hand each person a pair of chopsticks. Set a timer for about 1-2 minutes. At "GO" players start removing hearts from the bowl using only their chopsticks, placing the candies in front of them. When time is up, the player with the most hearts wins!

Game 2{Memory} Try to find matching pairs with the conversation hearts. Then turn them over and take turns trying to find the match. When you find a match you can either eat it right away or wait and count them all up!

Game 3{Calendar Drop}Take a February calendar and place it on the floor. "Tape" a line for everyone to stand behind. Everyone playing needs to pick a different color of the heart candy. Taking turns for about 5 minutes, players need to throw their colored candy onto the calendar. What ever day it lands on it your score for that turn. When time is up whoever has the highest score wins. (You could laminate the calendar for year to year use and it could also be used as a placemat)
Game 4{Tell A Story}Give each player a certain amount of candy hearts. Give some time to make up a story. When everyone is ready, then share the stories.
Game 5{Tower of Hearts}Each player needs to have a handful of conversation hearts. The object is to stack the tallest tower of candy hearts in 30 seconds. When the time is up count how many hearts you have in your tower. The one with the most wins.

Have FUN!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dialogue Books, "Talk Time" Tradition, and A Gift For YOU!!!

Dialogue Books
I have a friend (with the same first and last name as me, go figure, but she goes by Angie) that used to have a business called "Sweeter Homes". She is one of those moms I admire, and has given me lots of great family management inspiration! (She was also the inspiration for my punch cards. I used to use hers, but had to make my own when I ran out.)

Another thing I loved that she does with her kids is an "Exchange Journal", which I call "Dialogue Books". This is a lot like Heather's Love Notes book (below). It was a couple years ago that Angie gave me an Exchange Journal to try with my oldest child, and this is how she explains the book...

I'm not as good about keeping up with this one, but we do try. I have my boys (age 10 and 8) keep their little notebooks with their scriptures. I am trying to teach them to listen at church and write down notes and inspiration there as well in the notebooks. I also use these little notebooks for our written dialogue back and forth. My older son does better with it than my 8 year old. I decided to give these notebooks to them at age 8, but I think 10 might be a better age to start, at least for a boy (or maybe just for MY boys). :) It's been a neat thing to have and do, even though we are kind of sporatic with it.
"Talk Time"

TALK TIME is a special bed-time ritual in our home and one of my kids' most favorite traditions!! I got this idea from the parenting class that I've been attending on/off for the last 8 years. Each night of the week (Mon. thru Thurs. for us since I have 4 children) is one of the kids' "Talk Time". This means that at bed-time when tucking kids into bed, I spend extra time with one child just talking with them. I either kneel next to or lay down next to them and we just talk. I ask them about their day, their week, things that made them happy and/or sad, let them ask me questions, etc. My kids each know which night of the week is their turn, and they look forward to it and never hesitate to remind me!!

*One cool perk about this too, is that it helps get the kids in bed quicker. I tell everyone that we need to hustle to get to bed so it doesn't cut into so-n-so's Talk Time. (And usually that child will help encourage the others as well.)

Talk Time Tip: "Talk Time" is NEVER "Lecture Time"!! No lecturing allowed during Talk Time! Just listening, asking, answering, encouraging, building and bonding. (You get the picture.)

Punch Cards
(updated since some wanted to know)

Again, this idea came from my friend, Angie, who used to sell them as part of her business called "Sweeter Homes". She no longer runs that business, so I had to create my own punch cards since they worked so well for my family.

Punch cards are a great way to motivate the kids to do their jobs, go the extra mile, do an extra job, obey the first time, etc. I put my kids' name on their card, and hang them on the fridge with a clip. I have a star puncher that I keep nearby to punch them with. (They also love to punch their own cards, with my permission.)

Once they have all 16 spots punched out, they get to choose something from the "prize box"
and their card goes up by my calendar to schedule their real reward... Each card (for us) is worth ONE HOUR ALONE with either Mom or Dad, to do an activity of their choice. They love this!! And I love it cuz it works! (Note: These can be redeemable for anything you decide. We used to let them be worth a new, inexpensive toy from the store, but we have found that what our kids really cherish most is our TIME and one-on-one attention.) *What influenced this decision even more was this talk, given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.

Click HERE if you would like a copy of my punch cards! This is my gift to you for reading this post. Print them out on cardstock and cut. There are 10 cards to a sheet! Pin It

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Love Notes" Notebook

When my husband and I were dating we wrote each other little notes all the time. Now{12 years of marriage and 4 kids later} it hasn't happened as often so I decided to make a "Love Notes" Notebook.

I just bought a simple notebook from the dollar store and attached a pen. I love that its all in one book and I don't have to worry about the stress of filing little papers. I will write a note and then leave it on his bathroom counter and then he writes in it & returns it to my counter. It sometimes takes him a little longer to write back because this is not his love language but I'm thankful my wonderful husband indulges me.

This has been a great addition to helping our love grow within our marriage. I love these little, simple things that can have such a great impact for the GOOD.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Family Journals

It wasn't until my first child was about 19 months old and I was almost due with child #2, while I was writing in my journal some of the most wonderful inspiration came to me!

I've been a dedicated journal writer since the age of 8, and I've always felt that keeping a journal is an important and worth-while part of life. So when inspiration hit me, I decided right then that I would start a personal journal for each of my children.

So that day I ran to Walmart, grabbed two simple & inexpensive "composition books" and began the records of 2 precious little lives. I have 4 children now, ages 10 to 4 and those journals are some of their and my most sacred treasures other than life itself. My children and I love to snuggle up on the couch and read through their journals together, laughing and reminiscing about the cute things they used to say/do as they grew up. They also love to hear about my feelings as their mother through the years.

To this day I continue to write in their journals, but I now have them write in 'em as well. (We try to do it on Sundays after church.) I also have my husband keep record in their journals when he does Father/Child Interviews with them. (explanation at bottom of post)

If you feel inspired by this idea and want to know where to start, there are many ways to do it...

If you're a scrapbooker, you're doing it, including pictures and embellishments. And my hat goes off to you for your time and creativity!! I used to scrapbook a little. I got my wedding book done, our first year of marriage, and my first child's first year done. But the more children I had, the less time I had for paper and scissors. My other 3 children have scrapbooks too, but with only the important calendar items and a few pictures from their first few months. Since digital cameras and flash drives came about, all of our tons of precious photos are nicely organized by date on the computer (all backed up of course!).

I just write. With the exception of my first-born, I have started my kids' journals sometime during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy before their birth. I write down my thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy (the positive ones of course), about their anticipated arrival, and even about the spelling of their name (or about my feud with daddy over what their name should be). I always brought their journal to the hospital with me so I could write all about their delivery and first day of life. Then it is random journal keeping after that.

I am very particular with the way I journal. There is no right or wrong way, but here's how I prefer to do it...
When I do pages in my kids' "scrapbooks" the journaling is in first-person (as if it was them speaking).
*When I write in their journals, it is in my words to them (as in "You said this, and Daddy & I did this.")
**And when they are old enough to understand the concept, but not old enough to write on their own yet; I will write some of their own entries for them in first-person, using quotation marks, writing down their exact words (even if I have to figure out weird spellings for some of them). Many times after doing this, I still go back later and write a quick explanation at the bottom of the page about what they were talking about. Good to do when they are beginner writers too!!
***Oh, and when they draw pictures in their journals I have them write down what it is or tell me and I write down their words next to the pictures.
****I also like to randomly trace their hands on journal pages, (of course writing down the date and age). Favorites are fun too! Random favorites... fave food, best friends, size of shoe, etc.
Tips to always remember when journaling:
-The DATE!!
-Last names of PEOPLE
-AGE- (I always write down my kids' ages on each entry to take away having to do the math later)
-State simply the TRUTH- no more/no less
-Don't be afraid to express your FEELINGS. Everyone has the right to feel, and no feeling is wrong.

I certainly don't have the time to be very elaborate in each journal, and I have missed writing down too many memories to count. Five journals (including my own) is not an easy thing to keep up on! In fact, several times I've either typed or written one page talking about all 4 kids or all 6 of us, and made copies to glue into each journal. But I keep all 5 journals in my night-stand drawer and will pull 1 or 2 of them out as often as I can. I hope that my children will learn to love journal keeping as I do and continue keeping them throughout their lives. I'm not sure that I will ever quit keeping journals for them. Only time will tell.

Father's Interview: Daddy has one-on-one "interview" with child, going over anything they want to talk about with Dad, setting new goals and following up on old ones, special "talk time" with Daddy. (This is something that my own father did with my siblings and me growing up. He tried to keep up with it once a month. It's not something my husband grew up with, but still tries to do once in a while with our kids.) "Talk time", etc. are a whole other subject, and tradition that we will cover in other posts this week!

So stay tuned this week for more family (and spousal) bonding through both written and verbal communication. Heather and I have more great ideas to share on this subject!! Pin It

YUMMY Cookies!

If you are true Chocoaholic this recipe is for you!(I didn't put the red things on like it is in the picture)Because yesterday was special and I LOVE chocolate I made these cookies. {Sorry I don't have a picture, they all disappeared.} Pin It

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Nailed" Heart Decor

I wanted another Valentine's decoration for me (& our kids' rooms) so I used up some left over wood, nails and fabric. This will be a great keepsake!

1-Cut the 1x6 wood (one is 9" tall & other is 6 1/2" tall) and spray paint black.

2-Sand the edges to give "rustic" look.

3-Trace your heart pattern onto the wood.

4-Hammer old fashion nails into the wood on the heart pattern.

5-Cut fabric into pieces (1" x 5") to tie to the nails.

6-Ruff up fabric strips by running it against the edge of the scissors.

7-Tie onto each nail (double knot) with ends facing out.

8-Finish with embellishments or paint.
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Message of LOVE {day 12}

Just a set of cards to have fun with. (another bargain at the dollar store!)
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I've known about this fun website since December, but I haven't had a chance (until today) to sit down and read through it much. They are 3 gals from my town who take the time to research the web for really fun, wonderful ideas (along with ideas of their own) and share them with us. I found some great Valentine ideas on How Does She for HUSBANDS!!

Some of my faves are:
Shower Love Notes
Stay In Love, Keep Dating
Valentine Cards for Husbands
For Him gift ideas

Through HowDoesShe I also found this great site ! Can't wait to dig through this one for some great romance ideas too!! Pin It

Food That Says "I Love You" ♥

How Does She also has some really fun food ideas for this weekend's family Valentine meals! Pin It

Friday, February 12, 2010

Message of LOVE {day 11}

Since the kids didn't have school today we went on an adventure to find heart rocks to frame. I started a tradition with my kids last year that for the Holidays we would make crafts to decorate their rooms. Then, after the holiday, they can store them in their closets and later on (when they leave home) take them with them as a keepsake.

1-Find rocks that look like a heart shape.

2-Paint it a "love" like color.

3-Dollar store frame with scrapbook paper and sticker.

4-Seal with clear nail polish.

5-Use E6000 to glue heart rock to the glass of the frame.

6-Before the nail polish dries I sprinkled a little of "crystal" glitter. Pin It


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