Valentine Love

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I’m sure you’re like me and have been surfing Pinterest to find really cute ideas for Valentine’s. I wanted to share a few that I have come across and share the websites that I’ve found them on. Mind you, my youngest is a little boy, so naturally some of these are more for boys, which I figured is ok. You don’t see too many boy Valentine things.

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Star Wars is a big deal in our home, so needless to say that when I spotted these, it had to be pinned. Aren’t these just cute and perfect for boys. These can be found at designwashrinserepeat.com.

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Sara  M Style shared these cute and wild valentines. I think this one is my favorite!! You find these here at her website saramstyle.com.

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I love seeing all the “punny” Valentine quotes. I found these adorable Valentine printables at AmyistheParty.com. Click HERE to get to the pdf.

new valentines subway art

I am a sucker for subway art. I don’t want what it is. Maybe it’s the cute fonts put all together. I don’t know, but I’m starting to have a collection for each month. The girls over at Eighteen25.blogspot.com have made these available for free. Go HERE to find the print.

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So, last but not least, I saw this party in a box idea. My kiddos are growing and getting older. I’m hanging onto my baby who’s three right now with all my might. Needless to say, I don’t get too many requests to have Valentine cards ready for school. When I saw this idea, I thought how great! I have nieces and nephews that are still at that cute age where they LOVE this kind of thing. The girls over at TheCraftingChicks.com shared this idea HERE with all of us.

Hope these ideas helped, especially for those of you with boys.

Me, Personally: Be BRAVE!

It’s a new year!! 2014! You know what means . . . NEW YEAR = NEW GOALS.

Being a blogger, I follow many other blogs and get all kinds of inspiration from them. A couple of years ago, the blogger of LESSCAKEMOREFROSTING.COM put on a series where she featured other bloggers and had them, including herself, pick “one little word” for the year to describe them. I enjoyed reading through the posts and seeing what word each person chose.

I decided that I wanted to do that this year. Before the year ended, I knew what word I wanted. When I started creating the graphics for the post, I was having second thoughts. Maybe the word I should choose is CONSISTENT. Or BETTER. I talked about my dilemma with my daughter. There are so many areas in my life that I need to be BETTER at, but in the end figured out that in order to be BETTER, I needed to be BRAVE.

braveheaderOne of my big goals this year, is to work on my blog more. Many times there are things I want to write about, but don’t. Either because I think people wouldn’t care or because I worry about what people would think when they did read it. This is where the BRAVE comes in. I’ve decided that if I’m gonna be a blogger, I need to be BRAVE in what I post and not worry about everyone’s opinions. Otherwise, I have no business being a blogger.  I’m hoping to regularly post things that are on my mind. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. A blogger that I follow right now, Kristen Duke Photography, has inspired me to follow through with this.

I’ve also decided to be BRAVE in my networking with other bloggers. I always feel like it’s a club that I’m not cool enough to be in, but if I am not BRAVE enough to put myself out there, nothing will happen.

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I will be BRAVE in showing more love and affection to my husband and children. It’s sad I know, that I would be shy to show my love. Don’t get me wrong, I do say “I love you” often to my family. I just wasn’t raised where we said “I love you” every time we hung up the phone, or left for the day, but through others’ examples and even some of my children, I’m getting better at it.

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I will be more BRAVE in letting people know what I stand for, and inviting others to learn more about it. By the way, in case you didn’t know, I’m a Mormon. You can read more about that HERE. If you are LDS, have you ever filled out a profile on mormon.org? No? Do it!

Many times, I make goals of doing more service. It’s a commitment I unfortunately don’t follow through with always. I do get shy about it. I always worried about what the person would think. I make many excuses of why I can’t help and then miss the opportunity. On Instagramm the other week, a friend had been talking about how we shouldn’t throw the cliche phrase of “call me if you need anything”, because we know that more times than not, that person won’t call. I never did, when asked the same question, even though I may have at one time or another. A friend responded by sharing how her mother never said that. What she did instead was say, “What time would be good for me to take you to your appointment” or “should I pick up your daughter at 9am or 10am?” I LOVED that! It’s a new approach I think I will adopt.

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I will be BRAVE in reaching out to new people I encounter. I get anxiety doing this, not knowing what to say, but when I put myself in other’s shoes, which I have been before many times, I’ve appreciated so much when someone has noticed that I’m new and need a friend.

 

BRAVE will be my one little word that I will work on for 2014.

What will yours be?

New Year’s Activity Bags


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I have seen this activity posted many tims on pinterest and wasn’t interested in doing it until now. Our New Year’s Eve will be celebrated separately. I have to be at work, my older ones will be at a church dance and my  hubby will be at home with the littles. Soooooo, I decided to make these bags of activities so they had some fun while some of us were gone.

newyear1It’s pretty self-explanatory. I created clocks to put on each bag (you can print those out New Year Bags here). The celebrating will start at 5pm and end of course at midnight. The kids will get to open each bag at each hour to find out what activity they get to do. The great thing about this is that you can do whatever activity you want. So here’s what I did:

5PM: Help make and eat dinner.

6PM: The kids will fill out this sheet and share it with each other.

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You can print this sheet 2013InReview.

7PM: Pick out a movie or TV Show to watch.

8PM: This bag is filled with party hats and tiaras I picked up at the dollar store for the kids to decorate and be ready to celebrate the New Year at midnight.

9PM: I put a new set of Go-Fish cards for them to play a few rounds. If my older ones were home, I would put in UNO or Phase 10 (you could easily play that one until midnight).

10PM: Have a “Just Dance” competition. You could also do a bowling tournament with the Wii as well.

11PM: Make ice-cream sundaes.

12am: This bad will be opened at 11:50pm so that the kids will be ready. This bad has silly string and horns to blow when the clock strikes 12.

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Hope you have a great time celebrating tonight!!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

Holiday Pretzels

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Need a last minute gift idea? Need something that you can whip up real fast? Holiday Pretzels!!I kind of made up that name, but I think it works. I of course found this idea on the beloved Pinterest website.

So here goes. Pay attention now, it gets complicated . . . just kidding.

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Grab a bag of white chocolate chips, white candy melts, whatever is white that’s sweet and will melt. I threw my whole bag of white chips in a microwave safe bowl and melted the chips 30 seconds at a time until all the chips were melted.

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Add in your holiday pretzels. I picked up mine at Sam’s Club. I’m sure they have a Costco version. I love that have these cute Christmas shapes: tree, star, and bell.

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Gently submerge your pretzels under the melted white chips. You can use a fork to remove the pretzels. I tried to let the white chocolate drip off, that way you could see the shapes of the pretzels better.

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I placed the pretzels down and then sprinkled them with some Christmas sprinkles. Walmart was selling the Christmas sprinkles before the chocolate cooled. You will know if your chocolate has cooled down too much. The sprinkles will just bounce off the pretzels. LOL.

Now, I thought I was being clever by placing the pretzels on the cooling rack.I did that thinking that the chocolate would drip off better but it didn’t really.In fact, it stuck more to the rack when it dried, so it was a little harder to remove.

My recommendation is to place them on a piece of wax or parchment paper, then you can easily peel them off once the chocolate has dried.

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TA-DA!!

They are really good, so don’t make them when you are hungry because you probably won’t have enough to give away.

I made a batch and gave them away to some friends. I created some gift tags to attach to whatever plate of goodies you are giving away. Just click gift tags to download and print.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

 

Thirty-eight by 38!!

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So I had a birthday the other day. I turned a lovely 37. Can you believe that for almost the whole year, I thought that I was already 37?!

I feel a little a jipped —– I feel like I missed out on 36. I guess that’s what happens when you get old.

The day before my birthday, I did sit and think about what I wanted to do. I came up with a list of things.

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Yes, running was something on my list that I wanted to do on my birthday.

bday3I also wanted to spend time with each of my kids.

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I’ve got five of them, so it was an all day thing.

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Along with checking things off my birthday to-do list, I received goodies, birthday wishes, and texts all day long.

I WAS DEFINITELY FEELING THE LOVE!!

So after I had made my birthday to-do list, I started coming up with a list of things I wanted to do. A bucket list, if you will of things I wanted to do before my next birthday.

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I wanted to make my next year filled with a goals and adventures that I hadn’t done before. Some of these are things that I have not been able to accomplish, BUT hope to this time and continue doing. So here goes:

1) RUN A HALF MARATHON. I will do this.

2) PARTICIPATE IN SPRINT TRIATHLON. The last one I did was 7 years ago.

3) LOSE 30 lbs. I’ve done it before and I know I can do it again.

4) TRAVEL TO 3 PLACES I HAVE NEVER BEEN BEFORE. Did you know that AZ is the furthest east that I have ever been. Also, even though I have lived in Hawaii, I have never been to any other island other than O’ahu.

5) ATTEND A SESSION OF GENERAL CONFERENCE. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a Mormon. General Conference happens twice a year and is a big deal.

6) PRINT OUT ONE YEAR OF MY FAMILY BLOG INTO BOOK FORM. That is the whole reason I started a blog for my family in the first place. I am going on 6 years of having one for them and haven’t done this yet.

7) HOST A COOKIE EXCHANGE. I’ve done it once, 3 years ago.

8) READ THE BOOK OF MORMON FROM COVER TO COVER. It takes me a while to do this, but I want to be able to do it within the year.

9) DONATE BLOOD AT LEAST ONCE. I work in the healthcare field and know how important this is. Sadly, I have never done this once.

10) ATTEND THE TEMPLE EVERY MONTH. It’s a habit I need to be better at.

11) ATTEND 3 TEMPLE OPEN HOUSES. It would just be fun.

12) SEND BIRTHDAY CARDS TO EACH OF MY OWN FAMILY MEMBERS BEFORE THEIR BIRTHDAYS. I always have good intentions, but we all know how that goes.

13) HAVE A GIRLS’ ONLY WEEKEND. I love my girls and want to make new memories with them now that they are older.

14) HAVE AN OVERNIGHT WEEKEND WITH MY HUSBAND. Self explanatory.

15) COMPLETE THE 60-DAY RUN OF THE INSANITY WORKOUT. I want the shirt.

16) ATTEND A BLOG CONFERENCE. I want to connect and network more with other bloggers.

17) START A VEGETABLE GARDEN. Every Spring it escapes me.

18) TRY OUT 12 NEW RECIPES. I’ve got a pinterest board full of them.

19) PUT UP A FAMILY PICTURE DISPLAY IN MY HOME. Right now I have zero decorations up, and that’s the one I want to start with.

20) LEARN TO PLAY A NEW SONG ON THE PIANO. I miss playing.

21) WRITE IN MY JOURNAL EVERY DAY. I realize that this might be a little unrealistic, but I figured if I aim high, what I do end up with will be good.

22) DO AN ACT OF SERVICE EACH MONTH WITH MY FAMILY. I want my kids to love this.

23) TAKE AN ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE. There’s so much more to learn.

24) START A NEW TRADITION FOR THE FOLLOWING HOLIDAYS: NEW YEAR’S, VALENTINE’S, ST. PATRICK’S DAY, EASTER, MEMORIAL DAY, MOTHER’S DAY, FATHER’S DAY, 4TH OF JULY, HALLOWEEN, THANKSGIVING, AND CHRISTMAS.

25) READ 4 NEW BOOKS: FICTION/NON-FICTION. I already know which one I am going to start with.

26)  LEARN MORE ABOUT MAKE-UP. I need help, so if anyone wants to help me, let me know.

27) GIVE MY BLOG A MAKE-OVER. It’s time.

28) MEET AT LEAST ONE  BLOGGER THAT I FOLLOW. If I can do #16, I will probably be able to accomplish this one.

29) ATTEND A FAMILY REUNION. I’ve only done it twice in my life. I want to make this maybe not annual, but more often than naught.

30) CROCHET A SCARF. I haven’t crocheted since I was a young girl. I loved it and want to get back into it.

31) DO SOMETHING THAT SCARES ME. I have a few things on my list, but there are some that aren’t so life threatening that maybe I will try to overcome.

32) GET PUBLISHED. Not ready to expound on that one yet.

33) BE FEATURED ON ANOTHER BLOGGER’S SITE. I want to expand my audience and reach out to more people.

34) GET A MANI-PEDI. I have done both, not at the same time. I know this one probably sounds silly, but I’m sure doing them both at the same time would be divine. It’s been a while, since I have had either.

35) HAVE A REFLEXOLOGY SESSION ON MY FEET. I have wanted to do this ever since I was pregnant with my 3rd child. She is now 13!

Ok, so coming up with 38 things to do was kind of hard. So hard, that I haven’t been able to do it. So if any of you have any ideas for me, let me know. When I think of more, I will come back and add it to the list. And by all means, if any of you have any suggestions for me to add to my list, please feel free to send them my way.

I will be sure to blog some of these things and my progress with my list.

I’ve got 363 days left. Wish me luck.

40 Things To Do This Summer

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Summer is here! Has the anxiety kicked in yet? What am I going to do with these kids?

Well. Here’s a list of things I compiled.

While most of these things are meant for AZ, I know that other states have some of the things I’ve listed that you can do with your kids.

So here are 40 things I came up with:

1. GEOCAHING – If you’ve never done it, you’ve gotta try it. It’s tons of fun and you don’t need a GPS unit any more. Register for FREE on geocaching.com, download the app, then go on your hunt. Here’s some of our geocaching finds.

2. LEARN TO COOK – Plan a day a week to teach your child some basic cooking skills. At Kids Cooking Activities, it gives you tips on what and how to teach different age groups, including toddlers. There are even age appropriate recipes.

3. JOIN A SUMMER READING PROGRAM AT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY – They have all kinds of incentives and prizes for reading. See your local library.

4. HAVE A SUMMER MOVIE NIGHT – Plan a fun night of friends over for a movie, having popcorn and other treats. If possible, have it outside.

5. HIKING – Get up early and hit some favorite hiking spots. Or if you are adventurous, drive up North where it’s a little cooler for a hiking trip.

6. CHEAP SUMMER MOVIES – Check your local movie theater. In AZ, they have a cheap summer movie program. $5 for 10 movies. The movies are ones that have been released for a while, but it is fun to go with friends to the theater and watch again.

7. PUT TOGETHER A MODEL – Your local craft store sells models of all sorts of things that kids can put together. Some them are only $5.

8. START A QUARTER COLLECTION – Ever since they’ve made the different state quarters, I’ve always wanted to see how many I can collect. One summer, for my son’s Cub Scout collection belt loop that’s what we did. Read here on how we did it.

9. BUILD A BIRD FEEDER –  See how many birds come to your back yard. Here are some easy bird feeders to build.

10. PLANT A GARDEN: HERB, FLOWER OR VEGETABLE – You can learn here how to use any container to plant seeds and watch them grow.

11. VISIT THE ZOO – It’s always a crowd pleaser.

12. VISIT A CHILDREN’S MUSEUM – The Children’s Museum for Kids is full of never-ending activities. My recommendation is that you pack a lunch, because you can literally spend all day here.

13. VISIT A SCIENCE CENTER – The AZ Science Center is full of exhibits and activities for kids to learn from.

14. TOUR A FACTORY – If you gather a big group of friends, some companies offer tours of their factory where you learn how they make things. In AZ, Cerreta’s Candy Company offers group tours to groups of 30.

15. VISIT A FARM – There are some local farms that offer tours and even let you pick your own produce. A big one in the valley is Schnepf Farms.

16. MAKE A  SUMMER SMASHBOOK OF ALL YOUR ADVENTURES – Here’s a great video on how to put one together.

17. COOK OUTDOORS – Sit down and plan a BBQ menu and let your kids help out in preparation and cooking.

18. HAVE A BOARD GAME MARATHON – Invite over your friends and have a marathon of games.

19. PUT ON A BIKE RODEO – Invite other kids over and test their bike riding skills. If you are still not sure what a bike rodeo even is, here’s a site that explains it.

20. MAKE A TERRARIUM - After you’re done eating those animal crackers, save that Costco-sized container to make a terrarium. What is a terrarium? They are little ecosystems that your kids can make. Here’s how to make kid-friendly terrariums.

21. GO PLAY AT A SPLASHPAD – AZ has many different locations for splashpads that are open to the public.

22. LEARN HOW TO KNIT OR CROCHET – Remember learning how to knit from grandma, or crochet from Aunt May. If it’s been a while, you may have to visit your local Walmart and reinvest in some knitting needles or crochet hook and watch a few youtube videos to remind yourself how to even do it. Teach your kids how to do this skill. Once they get the hang of it, have them start on a simple project. Martha Stewart has a video on how to teach kids to knit.

23.  THROW A CUPCAKE DECORATING PARTY – Make a couple dozen cupcakes, invite friends over assigning them a decorating item to bring: frosting, candy, sprinkles. Have different frosting tips and let the kids go to town decorating their cupcakes.

24. BAKE A TREAT AND TAKE IT OVER TO A NEIGHBOR.

25. PLAN A WATER DAY – Invite friends over and play all sorts of water games. Here’s a few ideas of what you can play.

26. HAVE A CAMP OUT – Set up a tent in the backyard and have a camp out.

27. GO ON A PHOTOGRAPHY SCAVANGER HUNT – Have the kids print out their pictures and make a poster showing the things they found.

28. MAKE A COLLAGE – Give the kids a topic and have them find pictures in magazines and make a collage out of them.

29. COLLECT LEAVES AND MAKE SOLAR PRINTS – With summer in AZ, this shouldn’t be hard to do. You can learn how to make them here.

30. LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT ARTISTS- Each week, teach your kids about different artists and have them work on an art piece using that artist’s technique. Here are some links to different lessons on different famous artists.

31. START A BLOG – blogspot.com let’s you set up a blog for free and you can even customize it to be private and only allow who you want to view it. Your kids will have fun uploading photos and recording what they did that day.

32. MAKE A CRAFT USING DUCT TAPE – this is a popular and easy craft, because usually you only need the duct tape and scissors. Also, there are all kinds of designs that duct tape makes, making it more fun when it comes to craft projects. Here are 45 projects you can work on.

33. TEACH YOUR KIDS HOW TO DO BASIC SEWING – Skip To My Lou Blog has a great series on teaching kids how to sew.

34. LEARN HOW TO DO ORIGAMI – A fun inexpensive project for kids to learn and do. Here are a list of origami activities.

35. VISIT LOCAL HISTORIC SITES – In Hawaii, I did this a lot, visiting old palaces and war memorial sites. AZ has a lot of Native American sites, especially up North in Flagstaff.

36. MARSHMALLOW SHOOTERS – Tons of fun, but I do recommend kids be supervised and these shooters be used by kids over 8. Here are some instructions on how to put them together.

37. DO A MUSIC VIDEO CHALLENGE – This is one our family is going to do. We got this idea from a family friend that is in the middle of doing this with their family. We are going to make our own version of the Harlem Shake and post it on our family’s FB page. The challenge is for our relatives in Hawaii to come up with their own video of the same thing. Have you ever seen the Harlem Shake? Here’s one of my favorite versions. There are Harlem Shake apps that you can download to make the video. But the music video challenge can be a dance routine to any song you pick. Have fun with it!

38. HAVE A PIZZA MAKING PARTY – you make the dough, and invite others, assigning them to bring a pizza topping. Divide the dough into mini pizza sizes and let the kids make their own pizzas.

39. MAKE FITNESS GOALS – sit down with your kids and make a fitness goal. It can be walking, running, biking, you choose and decide how many days or miles you will accomplish to complete the goal. Have the kids make a poster to record the progress throughout the summer. Here’s a great example of that.

40. HAVE A BAKE SALE – This one’s a lot of work, but fun, especially is you have a “cause” in mind. One year, my kids and I baked up things to donate for the Tsunami relief in Japan. There are many good things your kids can raise money for and it will make them feel good that they are doing something good.

There’s your list.

Have a great summer!!!

Yours Truly,

The Busy Coconut