Thursday, July 26, 2012

Small Towns Rule

I love small town life.
Going home for Atomic Days makes me remember that.

The boys love the Atomic Days parade! They get tons of loot, but their favorite part is when a small plane flies above Main Street and drops a load of ping pong balls for them to run into the road and grab! Then they can take the balls to the Sheriff's Office to trade for a 50-cent piece! It really is a super cool idea.

That's the thing about small towns it seems like... there are unique ideas and generous people that make them actually happen. There's just enough people to make efforts worthwhile and few enough to make it fun and successful, instead of just madness. There's also tradition that still matters in the mix of it all. Like the Lost River Drive-In that still has car hops, and the baseball tournaments going on and the booths in the park and the numbers painted on Number Hill. So often when we go out to the Lost River valley, my heart just so badly wishes we could be raising our family there ourselves, that there was some way. But at least we are closer now :)

This year my next youngest sister celebrated her 10-year class reunion and got (rather easily, I might add) talked into jumping on her class float as they turned on to Main. This was one of probably four class reunion floats- lots of years back had reunions going on and there were only more people involved as the time passed!

Then after the parade, the boys played with their cousin Quincy in the yard back at Mom and Dad's!

Another highlight of our trip home was taking the boat up to the Mackay Reservoir Friday night. We had a hot dog roast on the beach, then swam and skied both- even I skied! I have only had the chance to do it at Redfish for the last several years, so this bonus run was fun! I don't belong in my Mom or my brother's gear, but otherwise it was great! ;) I will never tire of watching me Dad and brother water ski- they are awesome!

Meanwhile, Stephen got in his element in his float tube up the bank and brought Cooper back this sweet fish. The next morning the two of them went fishing just up the creek from Mom and Dad's and caught four more nice ones- they all tasted amazing! I love real fish like that :)

Headed back just before dark-
good times in these small towns that I'll forever call home :)


Monday, July 23, 2012

Stand Fast

Not too long ago, Stephen and I got moved from teaching Sunbeams in our ward to teaching Valiant 9. It has been a good move- I love teaching out of the Book of Mormon. This last Sunday I got to teach them one of my very favorite scripture stories, Heleman's Stripling Warriors. I love the bold scriptures that praise these awesome young men and feel so strong when I read them! It was a neat coincidence, actually...

The later part of last week, Taron got to join the 14-18 year old young men in our ward at what was called "Heleman's Camp." They went to the Palisades area and had a spiritually charged, super fun and well planned trip. He came home with this sweet momento...

... an engraved, wooden sword. I asked him about the stacked letters, "IC" that are on the very tip of the handle. "I'm Committed," he immediately replied.

He went on to tell us about the devotionals and testimony meetings. It was clear as clear that he had been touched. He raved about the boating and the water slide and the paintball and the food and so on. But he also raved about how he felt while he was there.

He said that the leaders prepared and cleaned up the meals, while the boys had scripture study time. In everything he explained, it was clear to me that A LOT of work went in to this event... and that it paid off in the lives of these awesome kids, who, while they were tucked into the mountains over the course of just a few days, committed to serve our Heavenly Father in their future. They were like the Army of Heleman, they ARE, I should say- standing fast and being strict to obey, to rise above their peers.

Stephen and I were so proud of Taron as his leaders spoke very highly of him the next day at church. I've said before and will many times more, that I know Taron is a special, saved spirit. I know there is nothing he can't do! And, yes, he's pretty much a super tough ninja... ;)

Anyhow, regarding, the lesson... Hearing Taron's report on the camp made me feel even stronger about trying to convey it to our little band of nine-year olds. They, too, can look up to those young men that came forward to protect the liberty of their land and make sure that a covenant wouldn't be broken. I thought I'd share the quick handout I made, for anyone that might could use it with this scripture story in the future... :)

The small line at the bottom was space for them to sign their own names to remember to choose the right like the Army of Heleman :) You can click HERE to download a PDF with two on a page for easier printing too! Enjoy :)

Quick Dollar Store Bike Baskets!

I recently whipped up these cutey bike baskets for the boys and love how they turned out!
When Cooper got his new bike for his birthday, he was immediately asking me for a basket for it. They love having a way to carry things and gather treasures when they ride!

There are multiple cute bike basket ideas and options out there, but using an actual basket and only sewing a lining makes it faster (and more sturdy) for sure, which I needed! I also could've just tied on the basket without the liner, but it gives it personality and is lots more fun this way :) 

(These pics were all taken just the morning before his training wheels came off!)

For anyone else's kiddos out there who might like a quick bike basket too, I thought I'd share how I made these. :) If you frequent Dollar Tree much at all, these baskets probably look rather familiar! They really are an awesome size for kid's bikes.

I laid them out to create a pattern, which you can grab HERE :) Woo hoo for my first downloadable pattern! ((Insert novice disclaimer here)) Obviously your printer will prevent you from seeing the edges, since it takes up about every bit of the page. Set your margins to narrow and you should be able to fill in no problem though. :) So... you'll cut four of that piece, which is the sides and the top/ fold over section. Then cut one 6"x6" square of the same fabric as well.

This is not a double sided basket liner, by the way! I wasn't worried about my wrong sides showing, since they are inside the basket. If it bugs you, cut double of everything :)

These are the supplies I used- pattern pieces (side piece HERE and one 6"x6" square), fabric (my boys picked these out themselves- this would be a good project for the sometimes funky prints kids like to choose when they're tagging along at the fabric store!), baskets from Dollar Tree and the basic sewing goodies). Oh and ribbon that isn't shown. It was at this point that I kinda stopped taking pics of the process- oops! But, I did try to capture some details later...

Oh, and if you should want to not use this exact basket, you can obviously easily make your own pattern piece. Just be sure to choose a basket than has holes on all sides! It needs them in order for you to be able to tie it on to the bike :)

So, sew the side pieces with right sides together, one piece/side at a time, until you come back around to create the body of the basket liner. I had to think about this for maybe 8 seconds or so... no doubt you'll only need three or four to get it all pieced just right. :P Then pin your 6"x6" square, right sides together, at the bottom of the portion you just created, and sew each side one at a time- be careful not to catch any extra fabric, putting your needle down and turning as you go!  :) I trimmed all my excess with pinking shears, after "trying it on" first.

To finish, I added some ribbon along the top hem. I actually trimmed the fabric very slightly with pinking shears, then added the ribbon with a zig zag stitch for this one. I used a straight stitch for the other, so whichever you prefer :) To add the ribbon, you'll work with right side facing up, but the whole thing still inside out. You'll actually not turn it around at all- the inside as it is is what needs to be seen!

See how the top of the basket liner you just made kinda narrows again? This will make it look much nicer- I figured that out the hard way- but it does make it tougher to get on. In order to fold the top part down over the rim of your basket, you'll need to kinda squish it like this. Don't worry, the baskets were no worse for the wear and you'll only need to do it once!

Alright, you're pretty well done! See why I called it "quick"? Seriously, one of the fastest sewing projects ever! You'll probably notice that it's not perfect- it needs to be pushed in at the corners and the fold-over part fitted right and all. There will be a titch of space at the bottom like below. The wrong side is showing through the holes like below too. This wasn't a big deal at all for me, but if want to create a lining by doing what you just did again and then sewing the two right sides together and flipping right side out, you won't have that.

To actually attach it to the bikes, I got the liner fitted on the basket like above, then used the sharp tip of my fabric scissors to poke through both layers of fabric, in the spots where the side holes of the basket were. I threaded about 10-12" of ribbon through each hole, catching both layers of fabric and the basket. Hopefully you can see what I mean in the pic above. Then below is what it looks like on the right side...

Then I held the basket in place, grabbed the loose ribbon pieces, wrapped them around the bike sections like the pics below and tied!

If I were more picky or concerned about these lasting a long time, I would've marked and sewn actual button holes to lace the ribbon through. But, for me, time is of the essence always and I have no problem with how these raw holes look. Only a few months and the bikes will become garage ornaments again, then next year, there will be new fabric requests, so this works :)

Ryder's ribbon strands are left long so I can move his to his other training wheel bike soon :) You could tie with several strands of ribbon for a fun, froofy look too. :) Honestly, all of this will come really natural as you just do it- surely my trying to spell it all out only makes it seem confusing or goofy, buy it's totally not! If I can sew this, truly anyone can! For real.

Didn't it turn out cute as cute?!?
It could be made both girly and masculine for sure :)
If I had a girl to make one for, I surely would've added a ruffle instead of the ribbon for trim on the top!
I was happy that these ones didn't strike me as feminine at all!

Perfect for bringing Mom weed bouquets :)
And carrying rocks. And Kidizoom Cameras and popsicles and action figures and more rocks :)

And just looking cool... while still getting the hang of this pedaling thing ;)
Hope this is helpful and fun for you too!

Happy cutesy biking!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Achievements and Such

 Cooper just finished a session of private swimming lessons- his first ever! You'd never have guessed it, though- he is a water dog for sure! We spend a lot of time in the water somehow or another through the summer, so I'm grateful he's learning how to be safe and actually swim! His sweet teacher was so patient and clear- even though Cooper was particularly excited and inquisitive through the lessons. Meanwhile Ryder and I got to try to keep from melting outside the fence... he's practicing his "I Love You" sign that he just learned!

And woo hoo for no training wheels! I was sure nervous when Taron and Stephen took them off, but right out of the gate, Cooper took off, turned around and came back while we watched! Not more than a few minutes later he was starting on his own- he never crashed once and still hasn't yet! I remember this process being pretty painstaking for me (or my Dad and Uncle Brent, rather) as a kid learning at Redfish, so I'm  thrilled that it came so easy to him! Oh, and see the boys' cute bike baskets?! I'm hoping to post about them soon- they turned out super fun!

Summer seems to get my creative juices pumpin' and now that I'm done making Patriotic Wreaths, I've been able to do some fun things! This "water blob" above supposed to be one of them... I've seen a lot of these lately and everyone that's done it raved about how much their kids loved it and how simple it was, so I thought surely it would be a hit around here too. But, honestly, it was a bust for us :/  The boys were more excited about helping to fill it up with the hose than they were to actually play around on it. I spent a bunch of time and tape getting it together and patching the holes as it filled up, only to stop worrying about the leaks because there was no point! They did roll around on it a fair bit, but it took more time to put together even! Oh well, on to the next!

I saw this Jell-O Popsicle recipe at Crafting Chicks and thought it would be a good one to try out! We go through an inordinate amount of frozen goodies around here it seems, so I've wanted to find a homemade version we actually like! I've also been trying to take Red Dye and High Fructose Corn Syrup out of the boys' diets... needless to say I have to toss my hands in the popsicle department on that one for the most part. Even when I made these, I had pineapple jello but not pineapple koolaid, so I disappointedly added the red tropical punch. Which is a great flavor combo, by the way, just not great on the dye ;) Anyhow...

They are a big hit! Taron loves these too and the Jell-O really does help them not to just drip all over as they melt! I like putting a cupcake liner at the base, like above to help too... plus, it's just cute! :) Plus, any leftover can be saved back in the little cups :) For this one below, I tried out the strawberries and cream recipe from THIS post at Our Best Bites... :) No doubt we'll be trying some more combinations of both of these soon! Yum :) I know I need to be starting to get into school mode with Cooper starting kindergarten, but for now I'm in denial... summer is still in full swing around here!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

PVC Bike Mister!

Recently I pinned this fun looking PVC sprinkler idea that kids can ride their bikes through
and loved the idea! We set to work to build it right away- Taron was the muscle on this project
and it came together super quick! We followed the great instructions found HERE...

It's made using 3/4" PVC pipe and only a few different connector pieces. The part that makes it so fun and unique is the mister jets- we drilled holes, pushed in these mini jets and then dotted on PVC glue to seal it up. I was nervous it would all blow apart, but it works great and is super strong! The instructions call for it to be 5' tall, but we added an extra coupler to each side to make it 6' tall so even Taron and Keaton could ride bikes through.

The misters make the sprinkle light enough that even little Ryder totally loves it!
I didn't have the camera out when he was running through it,
but he probably enjoys it more than anyone else!
They've done more running through it on the grass than anything,
but it will no doubt be a mainstay in the yard for the next month or more!
One of my fav projects we've done in awhile- fun times!



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