Confetti popcorn

We love this popcorn and its so easy to adapt to each holiday but it’s ALWAYS yummy and it’s ALWAYS so pretty and colorful! First thing you will want to do is pop some popcorn.

The first thing we do is pop our kernels in our stovetop popcorn popper and then pour it into a large bowl. We used 2 TBS of coconut oil and 1/2 cup of corn kernels to make this batch.

Next, melt a bag of white chocolate chips in a medium bowl. We decided to go with confetti white chocolate chips we found at Walmart for a bit of a change. We always start with 30 seconds, stir and repeat in 20 second intervals until you can stir it smooth. Once it is melted completely you pour it over the popcorn and begin to stir. As it starts to mix in well I start to add the other items. For this go around we chose red and pink m&ms, sprinkles we had left over from our chocolate dipping, and pretzels sticks broken into smaller pieces (which we just break by hand over the bowl because who wants one more bag or bowl dirty to clean?).

Look how colorful and fun it turned out! And its tastes as good as it looks.

We put some in a bowl for dad and the rest in a bag for the kids to take to their sleepovers at Grandma’s. As you can see, it makes a lot! Switch out the candy and sprinkles depending on the holiday and it becomes an easy and yummy treat for kids, neighbors or yourself for anytime of the year! Hope you enjoy!

xoxo,
Jenny

tic tac toe, x’s and o’s

I’ve been told you are either a game person or you aren’t. I come from a family where we played games regularly and I still love it to this day so I guess that makes me a game person. I love to try new games but there is just something about the classics that never get old. We play tic tac toe often whether we incorporate into a lesson on the whiteboard, in the sand with a kid who doesn’t want to play on the playground while at the park or just with classic paper and pen.

So you know I jumped on buying this cute wood set from Hobby Lobby when I found it. You can leave it wood or paint the x’s and o’s like we did. We went with classic Valentines Day colors to give it more of a hugs and kisses look.

I got the set and painted it about 3 weeks ago and we have been playing it every Sunday since.

They almost always turn into tournaments with the whole family.

This little cutie won for her first time (like legit won without us going easy on her) this last Sunday. She may have her occasional pouting sessions but overall she is such a great sport. A huge blessing that comes from regular play where you lose some and win some.

Go pick one up at Hobby Lobby today or whatever your local craft store is, I’m pretty sure they are at Michaels and Jo-Ann’s too!

stained glass heart art

I love to do art with the kids around the holidays. We have some of our best conversations while we get creative with art because its one of the few ways I can get my kids to stay still for that long. 😆 For this craft we used water colors to make an image similar to a stain glass heart.

I got all of our supplies on Amazon and we got a handful since we now do art more frequently since starting to homeschool our younger kids. I love how many color options we have with this set and I definitely think the watercolor pencils are a must. To be able to have any lines blurred definitely helps give you a true watercolor look. My only warning is that the brush that came with the pencils is not great. It shed like crazy but the paint sets also came with brushes and they worked plus I had some extras on hand so it wasn’t a problem for us. Just make sure you have some other brush options if you are getting the pencils. The colored pencils themselves are great though. Your last supply needed is of course watercolor paper which is a necessity. Standard paper will get too wet and break easily, especially if you have young kids painting, they tend to soak their papers. There is a difference between hot pressed and cold pressed paper but to be honest, I didn’t do much research on that because we’re not trying to be expert watercolor artists here, we just wanted to make something pretty and this paper worked great for us.

I didn’t get a picture of what we did first but you can kid of see if you zoom into the picture. First, we used a colored pencil to draw a heart….any size and anywhere on their paper they wanted. Then we drew lines all throughout the inside of the heart. Then we drew lines coming out of the heart to the edge of the paper. You are creating your “glass pieces” by doing all of this. We talked about it looking like you had a heart etched in a piece of glass and then you dropped it and it kind of shatters all throughout without breaking.

Then comes the best part….painting! Get your brush wet, take it to your paint color of choice and get the color nice and wet and then start painting. We talked about all the different techniques we were learning as we went. Having a lot of color on and then using extra water to spread it out, layering colors, keeping it muted etc. The only real “rule” with this piece is that whatever colors you use in the heart you can’t use around the perimeter and vice versa. We also learned that it looks best when after you color each individual section you then go back over with just some water on your brush and kind of blur the line between the pieces.

Our preschooler did her own spin on our project. Looking all cute and proud. 😍

Look how cute they all turned out! We are excited to keep playing with watercolors and improve our skills over time. The best part of all of this was the creativity going on, conversation flowing and laughter throughout. You’ll never regret spending time like this with kids, but it also doesn’t have to be a time consuming, expensive, day project either. It’s all about balance and everyone’s “balance” is different. So don’t compare, have fun and make memories!

One last thing to add actually. For a true stained glass look, add black lines where you blended your colors. We worked on the technique of blending more this go around but if you want that true stained glass look you need those black lines!

xoxo,
Jenny

Intentions Matter

I’ve realized something lately, gone are the days of just getting by.  No more going through the motions and hoping for the best.  Now more than ever it is imperative that we live with intent, we study with intent, we teach with intent, we make decisions with intent and we never judge others because guess what, we don’t know THEIR intent. Here’s a little more detail in each of those areas:

Live with intent/make decisions with intent – Dieter F. Uchdorf said, “We would do well to slow down a little…focus on the significant…and truly see the things that matter most.”  I love that quote.  The reminder that we need to slow down in order to see what matters most is a reminder I need frequently.  The first step in living with more intent is to first realize what is most important to you, then to take time regularly to check in and make sure your choices are leading you to those things that are of utmost importance to you. Prioritizing your goals is what keeps us centered and focused when making each decision in life.  What to do, where to live, who to spend our time with….if it doesn’t line up with our priorities then it gets a lot easier to make those decisions.

Study with intent – In 2nd Chronicles 19 Jehosphaphat removes all idols (think temptations for us) and prepares his heart DAILY to seek God.  This is clearly not something he is doing lightly, it’s not an approach of “when I get around to it”, he finds time DAILY to seek God and tries to rid himself of all idols that could serve as distractions. I once heard someone say that if you want to really figure out what is important to you try this trick:  anytime you think you don’t have time for something change the wording from “I just don’t have time for personal study” to “personal study is not a priority to me” if that doesn’t feel right to you, if your reaction to that is that you really WANT it to be something you have time for than its time to sit down with your calendar and figure out a way to work that in.  Schedule it in somewhere and MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Teach with intent – So many of us were raised with “because I said so” being something we heard on a regular basis.  And for good reason, following our parents often time was the right answer.  With that being said, I think the time has officially come that we need to slow down with that phrase.  Are there times where it’s needed? Sure.  But there are also so many times when taking the extra time to explain the WHY behind our parenting is beneficial to our kids.  The world around them is going SO far in an opposite direction of how we are teaching them so it’s so important for them to truly understand why we are asking them to be different than the crowd.  Show your kids how to handle diversity, show them how to stand up for what you believe in, show them how to prioritize the gospel.  More than ever we have to be leading by example.

Stop judging  – someone recently said to me that people who voted for a certain presidential candidate were on the “wrong side of history”.  That got me thinking of all the terrible things that have happened in the word where it seems clear what the right and wrong side of history was.  Crucifixion of Christ, Holocaust, slavery…we could go on with many examples.  It’s easy to say that there is clearly a right and wrong side…or so it seems at first.  I can look at all three of those extreme examples and feel SO strongly about my views on them.  I mean, I can’t understand how anyone could think any of those were ever acceptable but here is a new thing that dawned on me recently…how do I know the intentions of someone who thinks the opposite of me?  The people who spat on Jesus, mocked him, killed him….we don’t know why they thought that was acceptable. We don’t have to ever agree with them or even be able to understand how they thought that was ok, but we can acknowledge the fact that we don’t know where they were coming from, how they were raised, what they were taught, what they thought to be true with every fiber of their being.  Know who does?  God.  Which then explains why we are explicitly taught to NOT judge anyone but to leave that to Christ.  So maybe if we did less attempts at trying to convince people why we are right, less judging them for their choices, and more listening to them to try to truly UNDERSTAND them we could learn to have more compassion for others.  And if after doing less talking and more listening we STILL can’t understand where they are possibly coming from we can choose to respect that they have free agency too and God will judge their intentions the same way He will ours and leave it at that.

Some other ways to be intentional: who you follow on social media, how you are spending your free time, looking for God’s hands in the details of your life.  Being intentional is a muscle, it takes time and consistency to grow into something strong and beneficial so keep at it, “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ” (2 Nephi 31:20) and remember that energy flows where your intention goes so keep being intentional and don’t give up!

xoxo,
Jenny

Ps. a great podcast to follow is Life Performance, episode 6 is a great one that goes with a lot of this.  Episode 1 is my all time favorite.

Valentine’s Day decor

If you haven’t been able to tell yet, I love Valentine’s Day. I really love a day (ok, we make it more of a month) of spoiling your loved ones, but I also REALLY love the decor. So we added more options to our Etsy shop.

I love our tiered tray and so we made a new piece for it this year. This cute mini 6.25″ x 6.25″ frame with felt garland will be the perfection addition to your tiered tray. If you are looking for a wood colored tiered tray I love this one.

I also love a good centerpiece for our dining room table. I already posted about our white wood box centerpiece and now there is a wood stain box available!

Mason jars (4) fit great in this box but if you are looking for some other bottle options I’m loving these.

We would love your support of our small business so if you know anyone who you think would like any of these products please share! Thanks!

xoxo,
Jenny

simple V-Day treats

So you want to do some fun, special things for your family for Valentine’s Day but you don’t want to be a “pinterest mom” and go to the extreme with extravagant treats, surprises, goodies and games. Well, you don’t have to! This is your friendly reminder that you don’t have to go to either extreme, you can do some fun stuff but keep it simple so more time is spent WITH your family than spent preparing stuff FOR your family.

I love getting the kids involved with our festivities whenever possible so they help do the dipping. We keep it real simple and use the container of chocolate dip you can find in the produce section of Walmart. For the white chocolate we just used a bag of white chocolate that we microwaved for 20 seconds at a time until it was melted all the way.

We used Nilla Wafers, Rice Krispy treats (make homemade or buy them pre-made and cut in half), pretzels, Oreos, vanilla & chocolate Wafers, strawberries and graham crackers. I also bought these cute large heart sprinkles from Amazon that we topped each treat with.

Arrange them on a cute platter after they have hardened (doesn’t take long, 10-15 minutes was it for us) and serve! So yummy, so fun and so little time!

The older kids had too much fun trying to make a tipee with the extra wafers.

Whatever keeps them having fun and wanting to spend time with us! 🤷🏼‍♀️

Another great, easy treat is the classic Muddy Buddies. Add some pink and red M&Ms to go better with the theme and add a little color.

More than important than anything though just remember that what people really want on Valentine’s Day more than anything else is to feel noticed and loved. Have fun with it and never pass up a chance to let someone you love know just how much you love them!

xoxo,
Jenny

Valentine’s Day decor

I seriously love Valentine’s Day. I love what the holiday celebrates, I love showering my family and friends with extra love and attention and I LOVE Valentine’s Day decorations. They’re just so pretty and cheerful and all my favorite colors. We have updated our Etsy shop with some more items including:

This particular sign was assisted by Andi who made the garland pieces to add to the wreaths

xoxo sign made with reclaimed wood and yarn wreaths with felt ball garland. $25
xoxo sign made with reclaimed wood and pink ombre yarn. $25

This wood table box is maybe my favorite item we have made so far. It is a perfect addition to add to any holiday centerpiece by adding candles or jars with floral arrangements. It can also be used at any picnic or food gathering to hold utensils, napkins, etc OR it can be used to hold school or art supplies. So many uses! And even more with your own creativity! $35

This box was painted by Cambryn. She, and Andi, will be paining all of our boxes sold

If you are interested in the jars above you can find them here. I LOVE them. They are great in this piece but also to hold juice at a brunch or do a punch tasting with kids on a hot summer day.

We have a wood stain box and one more fun decor piece for your tiered stand coming soon! We are going to regularly have pieces for tiered stands because I love them and highly recommend them. They can bring a little personalized touch to any entry table, kitchen table or counter and the pieces to decorate them are easy to store and switch out with each holiday. More info on how I do mine coming really soon! Here is the one I have. Can’t wait to keep the goods coming!

setting goals and sticking with them

Do you love setting goals for the new year or do you find it pointless?  Goals can be a great way to give us purpose and keep us intentional with what we are doing with our time. Now I set goals for years and by summer I would have completely forgotten what they even were or I felt like I hadn’t made any progress up until this point so what were the odds I was going to actually achieve it?  Might as well give up and try again next year.  That was until I figured out what worked for ME.  In this post I’m going to share what that is and maybe it will turn out to be what works for YOU too! 

I have found that the only thing that works for me is to have a word that sums up what I want to work on for the year and then to do a checkin every 3 months. Some of the words from years past: Fit, Growth, Intention, Service. This year, my word is CLEANSE and I get excited and sigh a little sigh of relief every time I think about it.

When you look up the definition of cleanse and look at the noun description it says, “a process or period of time during which a person attempts to rid the body of substance regarded as toxic or unhealthy…” and that perfectly sums up what I want this year to look like.  I’m not just talking about cleansing my body of toxins by drinking more water, I’m talking about removing ALL toxins from my life.  The people, behaviors, habits, and lifestyle choices that I feel are having a toxic effect on my life.  Riding our house of unnecessary items that are becoming distractions or creating chaos where I want there to be only peace and beauty.

Now that I have a word and understand the main goals I hope to achieve with that word, I then like to break it down to what the first steps are going to be to get there. I break it down into 3 months because if not I feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew and it feels overwhelming to me, more like a daunting task than something that motivates and excites me because I feel like its attainable. Another key for me is to remember that there is no “end game” with these words.  It is not a goal that you can achieve and cross of your list in December and say, “Good, I did that this year, now I’m done.”  I choose words that will help me create better habits that I will continue to do throughout the rest of my life.  So when the year begins to come to an end I can reflect on how far I’ve come and look forward to continuing the journey with the word moving forward. 

Ok, so back on track to my first steps.  In these first 3 months I’m going to focus on cleansing my social media & my relationships. I’m going to do this by:

  • unfollowing/hiding people who bring feelings of contention to me as I read their post (important to point out that I’m NOT saying anyone who disagrees with my beliefs. what I am saying is ANYONE who feels the need to tear others’ views down in order to make their point…bye bye to them.  I have so far unfollowed many who have the same views as I do but they go about it in a way I disagree with and I continue to follow a handful that have different views than I do but I appreciate their approach of teaching and it helps me to see things from a different perspective, which I always LOVE and encourage)
  • following people that uplift & inspire with their post
  • saying “no” to being around people who I feel uncomfortable around (contention is again a key word for me here) or who I feel do not accept me for who I am
  • spending more time with people who bring me joy, uplift, inspire me to be better and who I can be myself with
  • less time on social media & tv and more time listening to uplifting/fun podcasts and uplifting/fun music & most importantly more INTENTIONAL time with my family

Around Easter I will have a little “checkin” with myself to see how I’m doing with these?  Have I stuck with it?  Do I still have room for improvement?  If anytime before April I feel like I’m doing well with these and want to “checkin” sooner and start adding to my list I absolutely do, but I will still spend some time around April to look over my list (which, FYI, I keep in my journal).  Also, it’s great to have an accountability partner if you can.  My husband doesn’t set goals OR have a word for the year like I do but he is a great listener so every so often when we’re on date night I fill him in with where I’m at and what I think I can continue to work on and I ask for his feedback on any progress he has seen or areas he thinks I can still improve.  So, your accountability partner doesn’t have to be someone who is willing to do this with you, just someone who cares enough about you to support you.

Some other areas I hope to CLEANSE:

  • decluttering every room of the house (this is a great year for this since we have remodeling going on)
  • negativity – less negativity and more gratitude
  • self doubt – cleansing myself from nasty self doubt and having greater faith in God’s plan for me

I will continue to add to my list things that could go under my “CLEANSE” word so if you have ideas, please comment and let me know!  Also, if you need an accountability partner guess what?  You are in luck!  I can be one!  And everyone reading this can be one.  Comment below with your word for the year and when I check back in around April you can comment again and let us know where you are at with your word.  The most important thing to remember with setting a word/goal for the year is this: its ALL about progress and intention and NOT about perfection or crossing a finish line.  You CAN do this.  You can start taking steps to a healthier, more fulfilling life and it doesn’t matter if it is January or November…you can start RIGHT NOW.

xoxo
Jenny

faith to move forward

In my scripture study this week I used the TOFW study guide: Take Courage My Heart, where I was studying the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors.  I had so many incredible insights come to me that I had never really thought of before and I want to share them with you.

i’m a sucker for study guides, they are so helpful to me and this is a fantastic one

So first off, I have read this story so many times and we’ve talked about it in so many lessons over the years but I don’t think I have ever really thought of it from the angle of the parents before.  Here are these boys, many who are just becoming men, and they have been raised to know the importance of keeping the commandments and that doing so would help them prosper in the land.  So they weren’t raised around war and contention because their parents had long before buried their weapons and made a covenant with God to put their days of war, fighting and contention behind them.  Fast forward 15 years (roughly) and their freedoms are being threatened, they know they must fight and defend themselves but the parents promised not to fight and these young men were not raised to be warriors. So this amazing group of young men and young adults say that in order for their parents to keep their covenant, therefore assuring God will uphold His end of the covenant, they agree to be the ones to go fight.  Now, that is very courageous and must have taken a lot of faith for these boys to agree to go fight in a battle when they knew very little about war but lets also consider the amount of faith that it took for the parents to agree to this!  They agreed to send their sons off to war knowing that their sons were not prepared for war in the traditional sense.  They were not skilled in fighting, they were not well educated on how to use these weapons, but they agreed none the less to send their boys off to war because of their faith in the covenant that they had made.  They knew that if they upheld their end of the deal, God would uphold His and He would watch over their sons and protect their freedoms. 

photo cred: Arnold Friberg

In Alma 53:21 it says, “Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him”.  In the study guide it points out, “None of these words are typical for what you would expect from a description of a soldier.  Can they handle a sword? How are they with a spear?  These are the questions Helaman should have been asking.  Instead, Helaman would lead a group that was exceptional because of their faith in God.  They were true, sober, valiant, and loyal to Him.  And THAT is what gave them courage.”  If what made these men so great at war was their FAITH and not their SKILL, then what does that mean for us?  How can we take that concept and apply it to our life?

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not ‘more’ of something – more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly or capable.  We don’t need to be ‘more’ of anything to start to become the person God intended us to become.  God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you.”  I LOVE this quote!  The way I interpret that is this, if I can increase my faith a little and believe that God is willing to work with me starting NOW then I can say:

If I feel prompted to ______(fill in this blank with whatever you feel your next step should be. go back to school, start a new job, focus on home life, homeschool your kids…whatever it is) then I don’t need to know how I’m going to get there, I don’t need to understand how He could possibly think I could achieve this, I just need to start taking steps to get that done and trust that He will make up the rest. 

How many times do we hold ourselves back because we doubt ourselves?  We think things like, ‘Surely He can’t think I can do that’ or ‘I can’t make a difference I’m too old/young/inexperienced/ordinary/not smart enough/uneducated/poor’ etc and we set all these limitations on ourself. Instead we should be trusting that God has a plan so much greater than we can imagine, so much greater than we think is possible, but we can’t get there if we are standing in our own way.  We can’t get there if we are holding ourselves back.  We can’t get there if we are doubting.  Us doubting in ourselves is to a certain extent us doubting in God as well.  “Well you can work miracles God but not that big of a miracle, I can’t do that!”.  I mean, when we think it that way it sounds absurd!  Of course He can!  He can do whatever He sees fit and only we can stand in His way.  His work will never stop, He’ll just move on and use someone else to do it. Don’t sell yourself short!  You deserve this next step in your life.  You deserve to have the righteous desires of your heart and our loving Heavenly Father will help you get there.  He’ll meet you halfway, He’ll make up the rest where you fall short.  He has a plan to help you, you just have to let Him.

In the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors they didn’t go to battle KNOWING that they would all be saved.  They didn’t know how it was going to turn out.  They did have faith that it would work out as God saw fit though and that was enough for them.  They moved forward with faith and let God take care of the rest.

I hope this helps hit home for someone else.  It left such an impression on me and motivated me to move forward more courageously, more confidently, and with more conviction than ever before.  I trust God has a plan for me, just as He does you, and that it is so much greater than what I could plan for myself. I have believe that if I move forward with faith He will help me know what the next steps are, He will guide me, He will help me where I fall short so that I can make it to where I’m meant to be. 

What have you learned throughout your personal study of the story of the Stripling Warriors?  Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,
Jenny

Etsy shop

Here are some of our items in, or coming soon, to our shop. Favorite our page to see when new products come in!

This sold out right after we put it up but I do have material to make a second one like this and I have some with a slight variation coming soon!

We have 2 printable valentines for you this year. Perfect if your children are still wanting to give valentines to some of their friends (or for class valentines if there are still classes who will be in person and having parties) or for you to print for your own children to have something on Valentines Day in case they don’t get to exchange them with friends. It’s $3 for the printable and you get to print to your hearts desire.

They also have super cute cactus bracelets on Amazon you can buy in bulk that would be so cute with these. Or cactus pencils, tattoos, pens…the options are endless! If you have a child wanting to do these for just a few close friends or you want to do it for your grandchildren or children, I highly recommend these cute bags to be paired with the tag.

This next set is one of my favorites because our son, Parker, drew and colored Yoda. Not only did he do a great job but I love the hand drawn look you get with these.

“Yoda best” also has so many great item you can match with it. Star Wars fruit snacks, pencils, pencils, glow sticks…the list could go on.

This next item is one of my personal favorites. This set comes with 14 mini cards. Now there are a few ways to use this. You can split them on Valentine’s Day to give to your children or my personal favorite, you give one card each day to your child starting on February 1st through February 14th. It’s like a little advent calendar count down but with a twist. Imagine your cute little one waking up each morning searching around wondering when and where their next card will pop up. Each card is blank inside so you can leave a little note for them saying why this card applies to them.

And a few individual pictures of some of the cards:

We have a few more items coming soon that I will share as soon as I can! Follow us on Instagram and favorite our page on Etsy! Leave us a comment and let us know what YOUR family loves to do for Valentine’s Day and follow us on Instagram to see what we’re up to you. Thank you for your support and love and I hope to get to know YOU as well.

xoxo
Jenny