Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Camping Frosting: Tree Mail!

I realize this post is late in coming
to be much good for most anyone reading,
but thought I'd share for anyone who might be
camping over Labor Day weekend (like us)!

My fun sister-in-law Kathy put together this "Tree Mail" activity originally for our family camping trip with my in-laws. Then I got my family on board to try it out too! Both times it made for a touch of great fun, specifically for the kids, but also for us adults.

How does Tree Mail work?

1.}Each person in your group has a pocket strung on a rope between two trees somewhere in or near your campsite while camping.
2.}Small gifts or notes are placed inside the pockets by everyone wanting to join the fun throughout your trip!
3.}Each day, or several times a day, you can go check your pocket for a fun suprise!

I sewed a small pouch from a piece of fabric cut  7"x14". Fold, iron and fold again to create a casing on top. Fold the length upwards and then iron the end down a bit. Then sew along the base of the casing and next up both sides. I would think you could even hot glue these if you needed or preferred. To keep it simple and quicker since I needed to create 28 of them, I didn't sew along the hem at the front part of the pocket- just the casing and sides. 

Get everyone involved and let them know
that they can bring or create small things to put inside!
"Mail" for us included:
glow sticks, pixie sticks, bubble gum, notepads,
bubbles, stickers, silly string, pencils, erasers, candies,
plastic bugs, window clings, stretchy bracelets, headbands,
soft jacks, licorice, super glue, toothpick dispensers,
pretzels, noise makers, mini slinkies, tissues,
silly putty, small flashlights, scrub sponges, harmonicas, 
small wildflower vases, toy cars, army men, crackers and cheese...

obviously anything goes as long as it's inexpensive and smallish!
Kids can write notes or draw pictures-
my niece colored a picture for each person
and put it in the pockets herself (with help from my sister)! :)

I used plain white labels to stick the names on the front of the pockets- masking tape works too.

This was a fun and simple way to add some frosting to our camping trips and now the pockets can be used again for future trips! Hopefully it will be an idea you can use sometime on your own camping adventures, too!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Assessing 30

Remember this post at the beginning of the year
where I had picked 30 things to try and accomplish
before I turned 30 this Fall?
Well, in just one more week- my twenties are a thing of the past...
I've been thinking for awhile now about
just how I've done crossing off my checklist of
30 rather simple tasks. Nine months- no sweat right?

 1. Sleep through a night
 2. Go on an overnight getaway with Stephen (see #1)  Well, kinda at least
 3. Sew curtains for the front room
 4. Sew a backpack for Coop, a skirt, an apron...Just sew more!
 5. Become coupon savvy I don't always take the time to coupon well, but at least I know how to do it now!
 6. Start and grow a design business on the side
 7. Make and store strawberry freezer jam
 8. Get a new family photo taken
 9. Fill a ward temple assignment
10. Plant a garden Didn't get to do the harvesting, but at least I did the planting!
11. Get new carpet! (this ones a stretch...)
12. Make carrot cake from scratch
13. Ride with Cooper on his own bike to the park
14. Host a backyard BBQ
15. Master homemade whole wheat bread

16. Pay for the person behind me in a drive-thru
17. Particpate in Time Out for Women Crossing this one off because my sisters, Mom and I are headed to Logan in just another couple weeks!
18. Take family photos for someone else
19. Go to a hockey game
20. Watch fireworks

All in all, I checked 19 of 30 off the list...

Strawberry jam? Not while I'm also trying to move!
And while my design venture was a great hope, it wasn't a great reality.
I did take on newspaper correspondence for a time, so that was a fun sideline instead.

And a hockey game? Why was that  important enough to add? Not sure now actually!
Curtains? Nope... probably a good thing in the long run!

The bottom line?
I guess it's just that there will always be
 "30 Things" type of lists in my life. There will, for better or worse,
always be those hopes that don't get crossed off or 
those earmarks that I look back on and
realize weren't important anyway. 

I think that what I'd be most satisfied with
isn't making and checking off lists,
but being sincerely ok with lists left incomplete.

Does that make sense?
In my next 30 years,
I hope I'll be able to figure our how to be satisfied
both with what does and doesn't get accomplished.

Later on I'll post a few more of my thoughts for those next 30 years too!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Looking Down

There are two, and specifically one,
little boys around here that think snakes are pretty cool.
And bugs and spiders and fish and frogs and birds... ok, just animals.
They don't get it from me- just making that clear... 

I missed last week's photo challenge with camping and all,
but I was actually looking forward and really thinking on
this and next week's assignments-
high vantage point and low vantage point.

When Cooper ran in the house earlier this week and
announced with as much excitement as humanly possible
that Dad had caught another snake, I followed with the camera in tow!
I say another because, yes, we already have one
camped out in a small my chagrin.
Anyhow, I stood up on a cooler and snapped down
as they scoped out the day's creature catch.
I felt like these pics captured a bit of boyhood somehow :)

I actually really like this angle for photographing.
I also did use my manual mode!
I adjusted mostly the shutter speed
as I watched to make sure the exposure was ok.
They didn't all turn out, but it was fun to get more familiar
with making quick changes on my own!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nothing Compares

 ... to Redfish!
 There are lots of other places we could go,
but none of them have the same nostalgia.
As always, it wouldn't be summer without Redfish Lake!

Yes, that's ME skiing! I didn't ski at all last year and this run this year was the best feeling I've had in a long time! So fun! Then my Dad thought my hair "looked awesome" in the boat just after and snapped this picture :)

In general, Cooper and Ryder both had as much fun as they could have
catching minnows and playing in the water.
Cooper really enjoyed the boat this year, but Ry is still scared of it!
Conner and Jodie and Cyndel and Ben were all great sports with the kids!

Cooper thought Grandpa's doo-rag was the best thing ever
and asked him if he could have "one of those hats."
He wore it more often than not this trip!
At one point on a gas run, the whole boat cam back with them on!

It was fun to watch my sister-in-law Jodie try to drop one this year!
Hey Jodie- from the looks of this picture, I'd say you got it! ;)

And my soon to be brother-in-law Ben,
like Cyndel says, is "pretty much good at anything he tries"- obviously :)

One evening we took the boys to the kid's fishing pond at the Sawtooth Hatchery. Both of the boys just love fishing! Stephen and I have a system where he fishes while I beach it and Cooper also went with him one day too- loved every minute! Stephen promised that next year he'd spend more time with me on the beach... here's hoping! But no matter what, it's awesome to be in a place that we can both do both!

One afternoon, Ryder kept kyping yogurt pretzels from Quincy
and feeding them to baby Brylee!
Poor Quince wasn't very happy, but it was pretty comical for us watching :)

Note to self: pack the wagon again next year!
It was a great way to get everything and everyone to and from the beach!

Grammie got sand balls rather than pretzels, I guess :)
 This tub is another great asset when we camp-
we stuff it with blankets to pack it and then use it to give the boys a bath!
Ry gives me the "stink eye" for taking pictures in the process!

And this was deja-vu seeing Ry play with the water spouts!
Cooper loved them too at this age...
Thanks to my awesome family for another great trip!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Paint Chip Matchbooks

I love a rainbow of colors!
How can you not be a little happier seeing ROYGBIV all together? :)

Awhile back, I started swapping matchbook notepads that I'd made using my paper scrap stash on whoodwhoop. I had to stop offering them when we moved cause I just couldn't keep up anymore! Not too long ago, I had the thought that the paint chip strips I'd been collecting through the summer might just be the perfect size for making the notepads and indeed they were!

And I think they are the happiest thing I've made in awhile! They are so easy and fun- a creative little something to stash in your bag for jotting notes. I love grabbing a few as we leave for church so Cooper can doodle during sacrament! I've also included them as thank you freebies with my etsy orders!

Want to make your own? I got these paint strips at Walmart- an easy place to pick up a few. At one end of the strip, fold a little bit up- no more than half an inch or so.

I used five sheets of plain white printer paper to cut small pieces 4.25" x 2"- these measurements are perfect and leave very little waste! Put ten sheets (or soat the bottom of the paint strip, tucked under the little tab you just folded!

Now fold the long piece down over the papers so it meets just past your little tab on the bottom. Sew a straight line at the bottom through all the papers and tuck the top piece in- you're done! So very easy and fast! If you don't sew, you can also punch a staple at the bottom. :)

All tucked in :) A simple little bit of happiness!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Night of the Grasshoppers

Last week as I was mowing the lawn,
I kept calling for Coop to come and capture the bugs
that were turning up as I eliminated their homes!
Before long, Dad took over the mowing and
Cooper and I began a full scale grasshopper hunt.
By the end of the night, we had captured
about ten of the interesting critters...

Yes, my kid is a mess. And Chick Magnet? Indeed! 
Meanwhile, Ry rolled himself around happily on his large ball :)

Simple Goodness... Boys Rule... Country Life Rocks... 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Soon to Be: Engagement Gift

My baby sister is about to marry the luckiest guy on earth... 

... and I couldn't let the chance to give a gift pass me by ;)

I thought they turned out awfully cute...

... the cups and the pics :)

I got these very mugs at Walmart- any mug should work great for this project :) Then I cut these words out on my Cricut using SCAL. If you have a Silhouette instead, this design is obviously really simple! Then I applied the vinyl right to the cups like any other thing- it adhered beautifully! I did have to warn them that the cups weren't dishwasher safe :)

 Kinda neat to document this awesome time in their lives :)  

Click through to Places I Link to see where I'll try to share :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ryder!

TWO already? No.... really? 

Just ask him, he'll tell you-
(while holding up his index finger and thumb kinda like a gun) :)

We love you, Ry Ry!
Celebrating this year while camping :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bold Colored "Frosting"

 This last week I've been having fun braiding these fun headbands to put in my sister's and nieces tree mail this next week! Hopefully they don't see this post before then :) I can't wait to see these on my little nieces! I followed Mandy's great tutorial at SugarBee Crafts! And decided I get along better with my sewing machine than my glue gun... :) But they turned out really cute no matter what!!

When I got them all done and looked down at the pile of braids, I realized they would work great for this week's photography challenge submission: bold colors! Aren't all these colors fun? I tried several modes on my camera and got a bit of practice with both shutter and aperture priority modes. :) I'm still so far from understanding it all like I want to- good thing there's still many more week's to come!

For anyone interested, check out
Laura Beth posted as part of this week's challenge!
I LOVE this- so helpful and cute too!
Pinterest Rocks :) 

And some more "frosting" from the week just because:

Cooper's horns are held up using another braided headband
I made recently from a tutorial at Make It and Love It
Maybe not what I had in mind, but so be it!
Love these silly sweet boys!


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