Monday, October 31, 2011

My Favorite Halloween Costumes

Happy Halloween!!!  The best costumes are always homemade costumes.  Make Something :Monday means lots of ideas for next years costumes.  I received most of this inspiration from our ward's Halloween Spooktacular.  Some of these ideas did come from pinterest and etsy though.

Anthony and I decided to be Linus and Sally from the peanuts.  Anthony's costume was super easy to make.  Just purchase a red shirt from Michael's ($2.50) and use a sharpie and ruler to make the stripes.  Find a pair of black shorts or pants and a blue blanket (we got his at Big Lots for $3.00).  I made my costume from a hand-me-down dress.  I cut of the bottom of the dress and use that fabric to make a ruffle.  I use a hot glue gun, but a sewing machine probably would have worked better.  I used a sharpie to make the polka dots.  Used some left-over material to make a bow and then I hot-glued that to a hair clippie.  I also bought cute blue socks ($1.00 at Big Lots).
<3 Linus and Sally. We are so in love! <3
 Here are two cute little ladybugs.  I was nicknamed after the ladybug... so I love these costumes!
 This lovely lady won first place in the Costume Parade with her home-made Wonder Woman Costume!
 The princess is timeless and classic.  Maya borrowed her's from Sis. Norman.  Proof that this costume can be used over and over again.
 Here is Abby sporting her awesome Sunflower Costume.
 This is hands-down my favorite this year!  R2D2 made with a bucket, a bowl, and some stickers his mom found online.
 Rapunzel from Disney's Tangled was very popular this year.  SO popular that the long braids were being sold out of the Disney stores almost before they were delivered.  Sydney, however, has gorgeous blonde hair so her mom braided it (she used several small braids that all combined into one two-handed braid) and put lots of little flowers in it.
 Laura shows off her creativity with this number.  She is a lawn gnome!  She decorated a watering can to go with it (although it is not pictured here).
 Such a cute family.  The Degraw's used a theme for their family.  I love that Tinkerbell costume.
 No-sew tutus are a must when it comes to Halloween.  I love it when spooky witches are made cute.
 I've seen this owl several times this October circulating through pinterest...and let's just say she is sooo much cuter than the owl I was for fourth grade.  Mine was made of a large brown paper bag.  I hated that thing. (No offense Mom- She never liked making costumes anyways...)
A whole family of angry birds is one hilarious sight to see.
 This chicken is stinkin' cute!  I love the beanie.
 Such a cute idea.  This would be a fun one to create.
 This would be such a fun way to dress the family up.  I don't know how you would make this one... but it's alright to splurge a little for a sweet costume like this.
 This is the first Halloween beanie that caught my eye.  They are perfect for cold nights out trick-or-treating.  Not to mention the fact that a baby dressed up as Mike Wazowski is to dye for.
  Boo would be super easy.  Just need a long pink shirt, some purple leggings, white slippers or tennis, and some killer pig tails to go with it.
 Everyone in my family was a pumpkin patch for our first Halloween.
 Anything candy corn is guaranteed to be darling.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Finding Peace in These Hard Economic Times

Today's Sooth the Soul: Sunday post is a recap on our Relief Society Mid-Week Meeting.  The Jones Family in our Ward are a particularly awesome family.  When my husband and I grow up I hope we will be just like them.  They are especially well known for their darling children, the fact that they are somewhat recent converts, and that they know how to manage their money.

I have known that the economy was bad... but, because I had an amazing job when I needed one, and my Anthony also had a pretty good job when we were newly weds... I always just thought people should stop complaining.  Then my husband and I moved to Turlock, CA.  We love it here so don't get me wrong.  But we have now been out of work for 2 and 1/2 months.  Not to mention the fact that we have both been busting our butts to try and find something.  Unfortunately... it's not my fault that I can't get a job; but rather the fact that I live in a place that has a horrible economy.

Needless to say... my husband and I have been having a very tough time trying to manage our fiances and trying to stay a float when there is no income. {Hoping to get some very soon}

So... I found Brother Sherman Jones' advice to be very helpful and a great ease to my troubled heart.

Here is what I got out of it:
-Every dollar that you earn needs a name
You need to make sure that every thing you earn has a label, a place to go.  Otherwise it will just disappear.  For example... tithing, groceries, rent, utilities, other bills, savings, ect.

-Finances and Budgeting are a team sport
If you can communicate through your finances you will improve the communication in other aspects of your marriage.  Financial problems are the main cause for divorce... so it needs to be a team effort.

-You should schedule a monthly budget meeting
Try to decide where the money is going before you receive it.  If you receive different amounts of money per month -decide a budget as soon as you get the check.

-Build up a financial reserve for times of trouble
If your household yearly income is $20,000 or less save at least $500.  $20,000 -$70,000 save at least $1,000. And if you make more than $70,000 per year save at least $2,000
Only use money from here if it's an emergency.  Ask your spouse before using it.  If one of you says no -they win.

-Avoid Bad Debt.  If you don't have the money for it... don't buy it.  This doesn't apply to mortgages, purchasing a car, or student loans.

-To pay off debt use the debt snowball method

-Keep good records
Train your hubby to put all his receipts in one designated place (a shoe box, or a folder), plan a time to type them into a system so you can keep track of expenses.

I hope that in these hard times we can all find a way to find peace.  I know that the blessings of tithing and fast offerings are real. I know that my husband and are are blessed because we try to use are money wisely and especially because we saved as much as we could.  I hope for brighter days in the future when our family finds employment.  We hope the same for all those who are unemployed at this time.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Autumn - There is Beauty All Around Us

Sometimes, Save Time For Me :Saturdays are a time to enjoy the beauty all around you.
Take a look:
 I would love to snuggle up on this bench with a blanket and my hubby.
 This would be a great place to read a book, write in your journal, or just daydream.
 It would be so fun to pile up all the kids and go for a drive.
 This looks like a picture from a fairytale.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of things we forget to look at the beauty all around us.  So, today I challenge you to just stop for one moment and look up at the world around you. And just appreciate God's creation this Autumn. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Corn Maze of All Corn Mazes

T.G.I.F. Thank goodness it's Friday!!!  Family Fun :Friday to be exact.  I think this is going to be my favorite day to post.  While all of the topics I've chosen are important to me... Family always comes first.

Last Saturday, Mom took my little sister, my self, and my husband to The Corn Maze.  I could never have imagined there would be that many people there.  If you have never been to a corn maze you should take the family sometime.  It was a blast!  I find it most fun when you try to complete the maze without the map... that way you get really lost and then you can work together to get yourselves out. 

The Dell' Osso Family Farm offers so much more than just one amazing corn maze.  They have a giant ropes course, zip line, walk-the plank, hay ride, tractor ride, speedway, haunted house, petting zoo, pony ride, food court, and much more.

Dad took Tony to the same place during the day.  Here is his post about there adventure.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Water - We Can't Live Without It

As this post is on Today's the Day :Thursday we will be covering the topics of emergency preparedness and food storage.  No matter what situation you are in you can start preparing today... and you should.

I would recommend you start with storing water.  Now, eventually you should have enough water stored so that each person in your household has one gallon per day for 2 weeks.  Now that seems like a daunting task, but you don't have to get it all at once.

First, find a cool, dark place where you can store your water.  The best place would be in a closet near an exit.  I choose my coat closet.  Now, if you need to clear some space... do so.  This will get rid of the excuse that you have no where to store it. 

Second, decide what type of container you are going to store your water in and the acquire one.  Whether it be a 55-gallon barrel (probably not best to store this one in a closet), cases of water bottles, one-gallon containers, or recycled containers (empty and wash out juice or soda bottles).  Some factors you want to think about are the amount of space you have to store enough water for your family, how often you want to rotate it, and how portable your water is in case you need to leave your home quickly.

My husband and I choose to store half of our supply in one-gallon containers... and the other half in cases of water bottles.  That way, if we need to it would be easy to take it with us in case of an evacuation.  It is also, easier to divide out or share with neighbors with small containers. 

Third, start storing slowly.  If you choose a large barrel, put some money aside each month until you have enough to purchase it.  If you choose water bottles or such, wait until it goes on sale and then buy one or two.  Continue to do this until you have reached your goal.

1 gallon = 128 fluid oz.  So for 1 person you need 14 gallons or 1,792 oz.  
My storage consists of 7 1-gallon containers per person and 53 16.9 oz. water bottles

Once you have all or even some of your water make sure you rotate it as often as you need to.  If you decided to store it in recycled containers you might need to rotate more often.  If you use water bottles, you can easily rotate this by using it in your daily lives and keeping track of how much you need to replace.  While, rotating is always good... water in a sealed container (like a water bottle) will never go bad.  It may not taste as good as fresh water... but it is still good.  Tip: If you move water back and forth between 2 containers it will taste better.  Since my family chose to buy sealed containers we will probably not rotate ours very often.

Make sure to put 3 gallons of your overall storage per person with the 72 hour kits.  :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Whistle While You Work

It's Why Whine? :Wednesday.  So today's post is about all things dealing with organizing and cleaning.

I thought I would do this first Why Whine? :Wednesday post with a little inspiration from one of Disney's Classics.


Now we don't all have magic wands like the fairies in Sleeping Beauty, or magic powers like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia.  And I hope no one has singing mice that help them like in Cinderella; or cockroaches, pigeons, and rats to be your cleaning companions like in Enchanted.  I assume there isn't anyone who has magic powers that come from a ring like in The Scorcerer's Apprentice. And certainly we don't all have a forest full of animals like Snow White.  However, if we take things one step at a time we can all have clean and organized homes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Best Sugar Cookies

Today is Tasty Treats :Tuesday! The day we talk about anything food and learn new recipes.

I was given this recipe by Sister Walton.  It is my very favorite sugar cookie recipe and it is so easy.
You will need:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tb. milk

Preheat oven to
Cream butter and sugar.
Add egg
and mix.
Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.
Let hubby {or the kids} snitch some dough
 Refrigerate for 2 hours to roll out... or roll in hands
and place on ungreased cookie sheet
Press flat with sugar coated cup.
 Bake for 12 min. or until lightly browned on bottom edge.  

This recipe yields 30 cookies.

Note: My oven is funny so I had to bake my cookies at 350 Degrees for 8 min.  Just be on the safe side and check your cookies periodically while they bake.  There is nothing more sad than a batch of burnt cookies.

You can leave unfrosted and they will be plenty sweet or if you are up to it make your favorite frosting and decorate them. I make my frosting with butter, powdered sugar and milk.  I just eyeball the measurements on this one.

I hope you enjoy your yummy cookies! ...better yet make them, eat one or two, and give the rest away.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Decorations - with common houshold items

It's Make Something :Monday which means it's time for a fun craft. 

I think the best decorations are home-made decorations, and it doesn't hurt when I can do something cute for little to no money.  So, I searched through my closets and around my apartment to find supplies that I already have.  I found tissues, cotton balls, a black sharpie, some white string or thread, a couple pieces of ribbon, a long strand of pretty lace, some fake flowers, wax paper, and a whole bunch of paper.

First I had my husband help me to make the bats.  This project is fairly simple, but it is nice to have a buddy to help do all the cutting.  This could make for a fun Family Home Evening activity.

You will need:
black paper (we used sparkly black paper, which makes them even more awesome)
tape (painter's tape would work well)

Basically, you do this project like you would make paper hearts for Valentine's.  Simply find a bat you like or use your imagination and make a quick template.  Fold the paper in half and trace your template. Cut them out.  Tape them to the wall, or door.  If you keep them slightly folded they look more realistic.  Add the more bats the better.

Here's my inspiration.  I love her blog!  Turns out she got her inspiration from country living. (this happens to be on pinterest as well)

 Let's see how they turned out...

The next project I did was Paper Pumpkins.  For this project cut 1 inch strips of paper and punch holes in both ends.  Then thread a ribbon through and tie a knot at both ends.  Add embellishments if you so desire and you are finished.

Take a look:

This next project I came up with all by myself...

Here's how I did it.  First I decided on what I wanted the banner to say.  Then I choose how large the font of the letters should be and I choose a different font for each letter.  Print.  Cut out.  Glue to background paper.  Punch holes.  Thread lace through.  Tie knots around the "or" so it stays 3 distinct words... and VIOLA!  Cute, simple, I love it!

Here are some other things I made...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Know He Lives!

Today is Sooth the Soul :Sunday.  On Sundays the posts are meant to help uplift you.... whether that be through, music, the words of the Prophet, or a spiritually experience I am prompted to share. 

I love this song! Today was the Primary Program in our Ward, and I felt the spirit very strongly.  I love the simple messages that only young children can give.  This message is a powerful testament that Christ lives and that He loves each one of us.  As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I will follow Him faithfully.  To learn more about the church go to or

Here are the words to the song so you can follow along:
I Know That My Savior Loves Me  -words and music by: Tami Jeppson Creamer and Derena Bell
"A long time ago in a beautiful place, Children were gathered 'round Jesus. He blessed and taught as they felt of His love.  Each saw the tears on His face.  The love that he feels for His little ones I know He feels for me.  I did not touch Him or sit on His knee, Yet, Jesus is real to me.  I know He lives! I will follow faithfully.  My heart I give to Him.  I know that my Savior loves me."

Perfect Love By Del Parson

Under His Wing By, Jay Bryant Ward