Teaching optimism verses pessimism


One of my kids like to find the negative in every situation. Fed up with his constant complaints yesterday, I drew a picture of a green triangle on our white board. I then wrote everything good about it. I paused, allowing my child to read all the good things I wrote about the triangle. Then, on the other side of the board, I wrote all negative things about the green triangle. 

I explained that two people can look at the very same thing, but see it in two opposite ways depending on their attitude. Attitude makes all the difference! The green triangle (or circumstance) remains the same.

I continued by explaining the idiom “see the glass half full”. 

I’m sure this won’t be my last spiel about seeing things in a positive light, but perhaps this can help you paint a picture for your own child who is struggling with complaining about things!

No-sugar-added applesauce 


One of my favorite things to make in the fall and autumn time is applesauce! I looked through a few recipes online, which inspired this recipe.


3lbs apples

1 tsp cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
1 1/2 cups apple juice
1/4 tsp salt
A squirt of lemon juice
Peel and core the apples. I use this really nice Pampered Chef apple peeler.

The apples come out sliced in rings. Then it takes just a few quick slices to get nice bite-size pieces of apples.

Add all ingredients in a large pot. It’s not going to look like there’s much liquid. That’s correct! As the apples cook, they give off their own juice.

Bring the liquid to a boil. Since the apples are atop the liquid, just use your spoon to check and see when the juice in the bottom of the pan starts boiling.

Then cover, turn to low and simmer 20 minutes. (Stir every 5-10min). 

Pour it into your Blendtec in two batches and press the “sauce” button.

Allow to cool a bit (it’s boiling hot at this point). This is delicious warm or cold! 

You can put it in a jar and keep in your fridge for up to a week (if it doesn’t all get eaten in one sitting!). I usually let my kids eat a bunch and then still have enough to fill about 15 squooshies (reusable food pouches our kids love).

Valentine’s Day cards


Tonight at a Relief Society Enrichment meeting (a monthly group for the women in my church), we made homemade Valentine’s Day cards. I don’t know who to give credit to since I was supplied the ideas second-hand, but I wanted to share them here 🙂

Buy a box of blank brown cards (Hobby Lobby carries them) to make these. You can elevate the pictures on each card by doing dots of hot glue (and letting a layer dry before adding on top of it for more height).

I love homemade cards!!

Centerpieces for a baby’s funeral


This past weekend, I helped serve food at a family luncheon following the funeral of their 9-month-old infant. I was impressed by the centerpieces, and asked my friend to send me the files. Each table was covered with a table cloth, and then in the center of the table was a coordinating 12×12″ scrapbook paper. There was a mason jar with a ribbon tied around it, filled with flowers. The mason jar held up a small photo with these quotes, which come from LDS Primary songs.


My friend says, “I created these using quotescover.com. It doesn’t give you much control, but it worked out really well overall.”

Hopefully these ideas will help someone else as they are planning a luncheon or funeral for a heart-wrenching loss of an infant.

Homemade baby wipes 


Why would I want to make homemade baby wipes?!? Disposable wipes only cost a couple cents each, why bother?

Perhaps disposable wipes aren’t cost prohibitive and they seem easier, but have you looked at the chemicals in them? I’m hesitant to use them because they haven’t been proven safe over decades and decades of use. Call me paranoid, but baby bottles were “safe” and I used them with my 10-year-old… And then when he was a toddler, it was discovered that BPA is actually quite harmful. Oops. When I can, I just try not to take chances. So a few years ago, I did some research and decided to make my very own reusable baby wipes!

I cut up old receiving blankets (the ones that are really too small anyways to be of any use). I made 6″ squares, which has been the perfect size. Then I sewed two of the squares together using a zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to make them thicker. I don’t have a fancy serger, so the edges did fray some after washing them the first few times. But over time, they’ve held up just fine (this wipe is 2+ years old)…

I use an old wipe container to store them. I fold each wipe in half and stuff them in. It works fabulously! I usually fit around 25 wipes in the container.

 I read that people use a spray bottle and individually moisten each wipe when they use it. Yeah… with 3 kids 3 and under, I don’t have time for that! I wanted them to be ready immediately when I needed them. With a little research, I came up with my own recipe. I’ve been using it for the past two years, on two different babies. I haven’t had any issues or problems (but disclaimer, my kids don’t have any allergies…), and they’ve worked great!

Here is my recipe:

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 Tbsp. castile soap

1 drop tea tree oil

1 drop lavender oil

In a small pot, bring the water to a boil. (This sterilizes the water so you shouldn’t have any mold issues, and also makes the coconut oil melt!). Turn off heat, and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Let cool slightly, then pour over top of wipes.

What does each ingredient do?

Coconut oil- helps wipe to glide along baby’s skin

Castile soap- helps cleanse baby’s skin

Tea tree oil (aka Melaleuca)- has purifying qualities

Lavender oil- soothes skin and helps relax baby

I generally go through my box of homemade wipes within two weeks. I’ve never had any issues with mildew, and they’ve stayed moistened without any issues. They smell so good and are a great natural alternative!

Ecosystem Preschool Lesson


Last month I taught a preschool lesson on ecosystems. A few moms and I take turns every Wednesday from 9-11:30am teaching preschool to a small group of our 3 year olds. 

My lesson was about different ecosystems. I started off by letting the kids play with my box of plastic animals. As they played, I’d hold up animals and ask where they lived.

I got a TON of books from the library about the following ecosystems:

  • Rainforest
  • Ocean
  • Desert
  • Forest

After I read about each ecosystem, I gave the kids 3 animals to color and glue behind the appropriate ecosystem. 

(This is what the finished product looks like)

And here are the two sheets you’ll need to print out. I’m not an artist.. So I’m really proud of myself for drawing animals that were actually distinguishable!

For snack time, I just gave the kids goldfish (we talked about where they live) and raisins. I didn’t have time or energy to think of anything more creative.

After snack, we sang the song “Ten Little Speckled Frogs” and “Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree”. They loved the songs!

Then they worked on this sheet to practice hand/eye coordination:

Activities to do with the toddlers


My little kids (ages 1.5 and 3.5) have been driving me crazy lately, and I think its because I need to have more activities and time focused towards them.  So much of my day is revolved around housework and homeschooling, I think they act out to get some of my attention.

I’ve worked hard to eliminate clutter from our home (I found the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo to be very inspiring), which makes it so I spend less time putting things away all day.

And I’ve gotten into a good homeschool routine with our older child.  The daily schoolwork expectations are:

  • Piano practice (3o minutes)
  • Computer time (30 minutes)
    • Khanacademy
    • typing.com
    • xtramath.org
  • Journal (1 page writing on a given prompt)
  • Science (Mon/Wed), History (Tues/Thurs), OR Art (Fri.)
    • I’m using Abeka for Science, “Story of the World” for History, and art projectsforkids.org for Art ideas
  • English lesson (~60 minutes from “Rod and Staff” textbook)
  • Math lesson (~60 minutes from “Saxon” textbook)
  • Reading (60 minutes)

Generally our 9-year-old can do the majority of his schoolwork alone.  There are some oral drills in English and Math occasionally, and I’m always nearby to answer questions– but the lessons are written in a manner that he can read and learn pretty independently.  (I check his schoolwork DAILY, and go over any problems he misses with him to ensure he’s understanding everything… I think this is key).

So tonight I decided to invest some time in planning activities and projects focused towards the toddlers in my life.  Here is a list of things I’d like to try with them this Summer….

  • Yogurt Silly Putty:  Mix together a cup of yogurt with 3/4 cup corn starch  (found this idea here)

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  • Fireworks Painting Activity (idea found here)

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  • Pasta Threading activity (idea found here)

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  • Giant toy-filled ice cube (idea found here)

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  • Homemade bathtub paint (idea found here)

1 tbsp cornstarch

4-6 pumps baby shampoo (about 1/8 c.)

2-3 drops food coloring

1-2 tsp water

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  • Little Boy Dream Activity Board

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  • Homemade Playdough (recipe found here)

1 cup water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup salt

1 tablespoon cream of tartar (do not omit– helps keep dough fresh for 6 months!)

Food coloring


1 cup flour

Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm. Remove from heat and add flour. Stir, then knead until smooth. Store in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

  • Homemade finger paint (recipe found here)

4 tablespoons of sugar,  1/2 cup of cornstarch,  2 cups of cold water,  Food coloring

Stir sugar and 1 cornstarch together. Add cold water and heat over medium heat until the mixture is thick (the mixture will further thicken as it cools).  Divide into containers and add food coloring.