Sharing Time (April 2012)

Features for the March & April Sharing Time will be posted soon. :)

Teacher Appreciation: Crayon Initial in a Frame

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7th-11th!

Here's a cute gift you can make for your child's teacher, to let them know how much you appreciate them! This is something I had seen all over the blogosphere, so I'm sure you can find a full tutorial with step-by-step photos & tips. I'll tell you this, it may have taken some time & effort, but it cost less than $5 to make it, with a frame & crayons from the dollar store! It takes a fair bit of time to get it right, but I was really happy with it in the end! Like the Tangled Barbie cake I recently posted though, when it was complete, I was really feeling like once was enough for this project ;)

Journey to the Fringe

I recently read a book called Journey to the Fringe by Kelli Swofford Nielsen, from Shadow Mountain Publishing.

It's the first in a series called "Stone Mage Wars" and it's a creative story about a time where magical men and women have special gifts to harness the power of the elements around them. As soon as I got into the story, I was really liking it! The story takes place in a time where the gifts of the stone mages are unknown by most people, so the characters in the book find themselves being trained to use this power they didn't know they had. Soon they are fighting for their home and their lives. It's a great adventure and the way it was written kept reminding me of what it's like to watch a movie- you watch (or in this case, read) as things unfold in front of you.

Journey to the Fringe is expected to be released on May 1st.

Disclosure: I received this book through Deseret Book, from Shadow Mountain Publishing, free of charge for review purposes. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and the thoughts I'm sharing are my own.

Tutorial Tuesday: Rubber Glove Finger Puppets

These were easy to make and a lot of fun! Here's what we used:

- rubber gloves
- glue gun
- feathers
- googly eyes
- Sharpie markers

Grab whatever craft supplies you have on hand, cut the fingers off of the glove, help your kids with the gluing, and before you know it, you'll have a great set of finger puppets to play with that your kids will be proud of! :)

Monday Moments (Kissers)

Katrina: "Mom, can I have a kisser?"

Feature Friday (Meaningful Mama)

1. I lived in England for a year.
2. I shattered my wrist in Africa.
3. I was once in the circus for winning a coloring contest.
4. I have auditioned for a number of reality shows, but I haven't made the cut...made it close in one.
5. If I had to choose one food to eat the rest of my life it would definitely be pizza.

My blog is a challenge for me to be more intentional in my parenting. Every day you will find a craft or activity, character development idea (new trait weekly and idea daily), and parenting tips. Every now and again I will throw in a favorite recipe since I love food.

American Flag Collage
This is an American flag collage that yields great results but is super easy to produce. Kids of any age can participate in making this work of art.

Cake Making 201
Cake Making 201 followed my Caking Making 101 post. It's an intro to working with fondant. Cakes have become a hobby and passion for me. I've loved to involve my kids in the process.

Homemade Lollipops
We made these simple homemade lollipops by breaking up hard candies, putting them on a baking sheet and baking them. It has definitely been one of my favorite activities and posts that I've done. It was so much fun, and I loved the whimsical, colorful and tasty outcome.

Day 84- Virtue in Celery
Each week we are working on one character trait that is accompanied by a Bible verse and daily activities, crafts or word pictures. Putting celery in food coloring was a word picture for virtue. It demonstrates that the images, people, language and media we surround ourselves with will be absorbed and can impact our behavior.

Independant Play Choices
I wanted to find a way to give my kids some direction when it was time for independent play. Popsicle sticks and a bit of Mod Podge resulted in my own solution to keeping the kids focused when playing by themselves.


How/Why did you start blogging?

Becoming a mother is hard. I learned that in the labor process, and I’ve been learning it ever since. This blog has been, for me, a desire to be more intentional in my parenting. I think I’ve spent the last four years of parenting living in the “I should” moments. I should really take my kids to the park when it’s cold outside. I really should get a reward system in place at our home. I should get off “Words with Friends” right now and spend some quality time with my kids. I should really invest in the character development of the kids more. I was tired of the “I should” and decided to become meaningful. This isn’t about me being an amazing mom. It’s about me trying to improve daily in this precious role. I have tips for you because I have found the observations of other moms and the advice I get from the “professional” moms as invaluable. As I was left floundering and questioning every decision in parenting, I reached out to others I saw doing it right. I got answers. As I implemented them, I saw them work…and quickly. As I became more intentional, I saw my kids thriving. I am now working on character qualities weekly - like joy, love, perseverance, obedience, orderliness, self-control, patience…and the list keeps building. As I’m working on those in my kids, I’m learning how much I need to work on those in myself. When focusing on a specific character quality, I’m discovering teachable moments around every turn. The scripture that backs up these qualities is being instilled in my kids. I want to use creativity, fun and play to aid in my children’s development as well as create the buy in to our family life. I want them to enjoy us, and I want to enjoy them. Is life at our house perfect? Absolutely not. Is it improving? Absolutely yes. I want to inspire others to be more meaningful in their parenting. Will I have Martha Steward moments in the process? Hopefully, a few. Mostly, I want things accessible. Things you can take away and say, “I can do that. I’m going to do that this week.” Do everything? No, but I am hoping you’ll take something away from these minutes you spend in my corner of the web that inspire you to turn the “I should…” into “I’m going to…”


Would you like to see your blog featured here? I'll be doing a "Feature Friday" post, featuring one blogger & their blog on Fridays throughout 2012. If you have a blog that you'd like to see featured, please send me an email to raisingmemories at gmail dot com to submit your blog.

Cricut Project (FHE Board Tags)

I made these simple tags for our FHE Board with my new Cricut!  All it took was some paper, a laminator, and a hole punch!

My Mother In Law shocked me this past Christmas by giving me a Cricut machine! I'm sure my face was a sight to be seen. ;) So, I'm going to share some of my projects with you when I actually photograph them ;)

The first project I completed was to make tags for our FHE board. FHE= Family Home Evening. (We have this family night every Monday- we stay home together, one of us teaches a little lesson, we sing a song together (someone plays the piano- including Talia who is taking lessons and Katrina who plays whatever she feels ;), and we discuss our plans for the week. It's all finished off with an activity & a treat. Start & finish with a prayer together. :)

FHE Board Tags - Cricut Project

Anyway, we've had this "FHE Board" for a while, but no tags for it! So, when I got the cricut, I set to work to make these cute little tags, and used my handy dandy laminator to help them last longer. So happy with them! :)

The Lasagna Test...

So, this month, as part of the Finish Blogger Program, we've been challenged to take a difficult-to-clean dish and put Finish Quantum to the test!

So, I took a lasagna dish that I normally would have let soak in water and then washed by hand, and I stuck it in the dishwasher with Finish & let it go.

Check out these before & after shots!!!
There were just a couple of tiny specks on the side of the dish that I was able to scratch off with my finger nail in a couple of seconds, and otherwise, it was perfectly clean! WAY LESS WORK than washing by hand!! I don't think I've ever had such amazing results in my dishwasher with a dish like that!

I really am impressed with Finish Quantum! After previous attempts, I didn't think it was even worth trying a pan like that in the dishwasher!

Disclosure: I am part of the Finish Blogger Program by Mom Central. I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own

Tangled Birthday Party

For Talia's 6th birthday, we threw a Tangled Birthday Party.
Here's what we did:

Decorations were pink & purple balloons & streamers. Pretty simple, but they did the job. :)

We played pin the pan on Flynn Ryder :) Ken found this printable Flynn Ryder Wanted poster and enlarged it, then traced it onto poster board. Then we found someone else who had done the same thing & created a free frying pan printable. Our printer was only printing bluish/purplish, so that's the colour of our pans. I wrote the party guests' names on the pans.

On the table were the Rapunzel cake, pans for the above game, treat bags, and dishes (pink & purple).

Here's a closer look at the treat bags. I just used brown lunch bags, sparkly stickers, and ribbon. I have honestly forgotten what was included in the treat bags!! (the party was a while ago ;) I know there were hair clips and hair bands and stickers, but I forget what else.

Of course, the cake. (Read more about it here.)

And the pinata (more about that here).

We also watched the movie (I was tired and had run out of games ;)

Here we are at the candle blowing stage. I hadn't planned for where to put the candles in a cake like this! :)

Monday Moments (Nail Polish in the Night)


This is what happened one night when I THOUGHT Katrina was sleeping. She got a stool, broke into the hall closet (it had a baby lock on the door knob), and got to the nailpolish.

In the following pictures you'll see that Talia was a snoozing victim in all of this. Katrina actually did a pretty impressive job on Talia's nails considering, AND managed to not get it on her beddng- I was impressed.


It was not fun to clean that nailpolish off of that leg... not to mention the carpet & wall. I didn't even try to save the towel. :(

Feature Friday (A Woman's Haven)

1. I have a 16 year old daughter, a 13 year old son, and a 2 month old son. Which often leads to me being asked how old I am because I am told I do not look my age.
2. I love photographing my family, pets, and nature!
3. I love living in Michigan...I can drive an hour or less in either direction and have a beach, city, forest, or farm country. Lake Michigan beaches are a favorite of mine.
4. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I complete a project...I am notorious for starting something, getting bored with it and then not finishing it.
5. I love making my home a haven for myself and my family!

I am a creative person who believes that our homes are our haven and that they are an outer expression of our inner selves. A Woman's Haven is a place where I gather the things that inspire me such as home, crafting, DIY, thrifting, photography and my family.

Our Travel Map

2011 Year in Photos

My Craft Space

Nursery Reveal

Favorite Posts


How/Why did you start blogging?

When I started my blog 2.5 years ago I didn’t realize how much a part of my life it would become. I was laid off from my job of ten years and had time on my hands. We had also just purchased our new home and I found a ton of crafting and decorating inspiration in blog land. I have always enjoyed collecting the things that inspire me whether it be photos, quotes, or ideas I have always loved cataloging them in some fashion. I have files with ideas I have pulled out of magazines, journals filled with quotes and books I have read highlighted to the hilt. My blog became another way for me to gather and share those things that I love. In the process of sharing the things that inspired me I also shared my home, creativity, family and friends.

Has your reason for blogging changed? If so, why?

My blog has evolved over the last two years considerably. It may not have grown with a ton of followers and I am far from being a blog “celebrity”, but I love the content of what I share with my readers. My love of photography has been renewed and grown. My love of nature has been captured many times. What others may have seen as mundane moments have become magical to me through the lens of a camera. I think that is what is wonderful for me about blogging…taking the time in the simplest moments to see beauty and for that today I am grateful.

More about Chas!

I love getting to know other bloggers! A favorite feature of mine is my House Haven Tour Series. In this series I ask other bloggers to share with my readers what makes their home their haven. It has been a lot of fun getting a glimpse into the beautiful, creative homes that have been featured.


Would you like to see your blog featured here? I'll be doing a "Feature Friday" post, featuring one blogger & their blog on Fridays throughout 2012. If you have a blog that you'd like to see featured, please send me an email to raisingmemories at gmail dot com to submit your blog.

Thursday Thoughts: I Believe Too

Thanks so much to those of you who have been joining the conversation in the comments on my post yesterday. I have really enjoyed hearing from you! Thanks for brightening my sick days with your comments! I hope you won't stop ;)

Now I want to share a new children's book with you that we've been enjoying from Deseret Book called
I Believe in Jesus Too by Mark S. Nielsen.

Today I thought I'd just tell you a little bit about it. The first thing I want to mention that I like about it is the art (by Craig Stapley). It really is beautiful and I just love the real expressions on the different children's faces throughout the book.

The book is focussed specifically on Latter-day Saint children and it takes you through several experiences and traditions that children have in common in their lives because they believe in Jesus (such as attending church, singing, praying, reading scriptures, family home evening, etc.), despite the differences in their homes and meeting places around the world.

It's a good level for Talia (who is 6) to read because she can handle most of the words, but the names of countries & the children's names that she is not used to give her a challenge and help her learn. It's also good for me to read to the girls.

I've loved using the book as a quiet picture book during church as well as reading it to my girls at home because it gives me a chance to ask them questions about their own experiences that come as a result of believing in Jesus. It has been a great conversation starter for us. It's also fun to talk about the different parts of the world represented in the book.

I just have to make one note: If you're reading this book, please realize that not all families in Canada live in Cabins ;) (had to get that off my chest.)

Here are a couple of links you might be interested in, if you're interested in this book:
Mark Nielsen's Author Facebook Page
I Believe Too Facebook Page
An Interview with the Author on another Blog
And of course, the I Believe in Jesus Too book page at Deseret Book

I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. As always my opinions are my own!

Thursday Thoughts (Blog Stats vs. Interaction)

Today I laid on the couch A LOT.
Yesterday I laid on the couch A LOT.
I'm so, so sick & so are my girls.

For some reason, during my on-the-couch-when-will-this-end days, I have found my mind wander a fair bit to blogging.

Maybe because there are things I had planned to blog about, blogs I had planned to schedule, photos I had planned to edit... etc. that haven't been done.

Once I got to thinking about blogging, I got to thinking about blog stats and things that come along with those.

Stats are weird. They help you judge what's going on with your blog. They tell advertisers what they want to know. They put a stamp of level of "popularity" on your blog. They urge you to compare yourself with other bloggers and your blog with other blogs.

They're kinda awesome for some reasons.
And they kinda stink for others.

When I first added the "Google Friend Connect" widget on my blog, I dreamed of getting to 100 readers. Now I've passed 1000 feed burner subscribers, and there is a part of me that longs for the day that I'll hit the 4 digit number on GFC... but really, deep down, how much do I honestly think that's important?

Sometimes I think it is & sometimes I think it isn't.

I think it comes down to interaction. It's so nice to know that people are actually reading what I post! So, those stats tell me that people must be reading what I write... but really?

I think as bloggers, it's just great when readers take the time to leave a comment so we know they really are reading & getting something from our posts. Interaction is the best. :)

Do you have a blog?
What "stats" do you use to judge your blog by?
Do you ever feel like you're getting sidetracked into caring about the wrong thing when it comes to blog stats?

Tutorial Tuesday (Personalized Gift Wrap for Kids)

Today I'm sharing a fun idea for personalizing gift wrap with your kids.
Head over to HowDoesShe to see more! :)

Have a Beautiful Easter!

May you have a beautiful day today!

Here is a sweet Easter song, sung by children:

You can find April's Sharing Time Link Up Here.

Sharing Time (April 2012)

Features for the March Sharing Time will be posted soon!

Giveaways Open Now:

Body By Vi Cookies)

Giveaway Winners:

Sarah, Tami, & Six Sisters (3-2-1 Stop! Ebook)
Wish you won? You can find the book at or !

How to Make a Tangled Barbie Cake!

For Talia's Tangled Birthday party, I borrowed a friend's Wonder Mold Doll cake pan, and made a Tangled Rapunzel Barbie cake!

I decided to use Talia's Tangled Barbie Doll because it would look more like the actual character. Also, we had a little situation with her poor doll- Katrina pulled a Flynn Ryder & cut its hair short. So, I figured that if I somehow ruined the doll, it wouldn't be the end of the world. (Talia's great grandma had just bought her a new Tangled Barbie to replace the one Katrina attacked ;)

Tangled Barbie Cake

Since Barbie dolls are too tall for the cake pan, I made a round cake as well. Here's how I constructed it:

how to make a rapunzel cake with a barbie

Once it was assembled, I wrapped the Barbie with cling wrap up to her waist & gently shoved her into the cake ;) Then I removed her to put the fondant over the cake for the skirt (and tucked it under at the bottom since there was a ledge created by the second layer of cake).

The day before I decorated the cake, I made marshmallow fondant. It was the first time I made it & I was happy with the outcome!

After the skirt's fondant was in place, I made an X shaped cut in the waist and put the Barbie back in her hole.

After a long time of bending over the table, designing & decorating, I came out with a very sore back, this lovely specimen, and a pledge to never make another one ;)

Rapunzel Barbie cake

I was very happy with it, but it sure did take a lot of effort ;) The purple parts are made with marshmallow fondant & the other colours are all buttercream frosting. I used a grass tip to make the braid. Next time I use fondant, maybe I'll master getting it smooth- I was a little scared of the fondant this time and didn't want to play with it too much, so I just hid the 'messy' parts at the back of the dress.

More from the Tangled Party Here.

Body By Vi Giveaway!

So yesterday after I posted my Body By Vi Review, Janet emailed me and said she wanted to do a giveaway!

She's going to send one of you a box of Nutri-Cookies! :)

So, here's how you can enter:

Do one or all of these things & leave a comment for each one you did!

Like Janet's Facebook Page
Leave a question or comment on Janet's Facebook Page
Like Raising Memories' Facebook Page
Leave a comment here, telling why you'd like to win!

This giveaway is open to Canadian & U.S. addresses. Contest will close on April 19th. Winner will be announced on this post as well as that week's Sharing Time post.

Body By Vi Review

Ever heard of Body By Vi?  Here's my Body By Vi Review.

I had heard of it before, but not really paid attention to it. Until someone I knew started talking about it on her facebook page. :) I've known Janet for years. Her family moved across the country when her husband got a job in another province and I hadn't seen her in quite a while.

Then I saw this little before & after posted on her facebook page!
Body By Vi Review

Craziness! Then she sent me this Body By Vi Shape Nutritional Shake Mix:
body by vi shape nutritional shake mix

so that I could test it out & tell you about it.

I'm here to report that the shakes actually do taste really good! They call the flavour "sweet cream" and I'd say that's very accurate. I tried mixing it two ways: once shaking it by hand in a Tupperware Quick Shake container (it worked pretty well, but it had little bits of shake mix that didn't fully mix in). I also tried a hand blender which worked perfectly- there were no bits that time. Janet says she uses a Magic Bullet and it works great with frozen fruit, etc. A blender also works well if you want to make a larger "batch", but I prefer something smaller if I'm just making one shake.

Another reason I liked the shakes? My personal goal is not so much for weightloss as for nutrition. Some days I am so busy with the girls that I find I haven't really eaten a "real meal" and I eat "junk" for meals way too often. So, I love having the mix around for those days when I am too busy or the fridge is too empty to find a good meal for myself! (Plus there are days when the girls would love to have peanut butter sandwiches or kraft dinner for lunch, and I'm just so not in the mood- so the shake can give me some nutrition to supplement whatever I eat, even if I'm opting out of the meal I'm feeding my kids).

I should also mention that because of the flavour, you can add pretty much anything you want to it! One day I made one of our typical "smoothies" with frozen fruit, yogurt, milk, etc. and added the shake mix to it. It was great!

Janet has athletes using it as a recovery drink, older women using it for nutritional reasons (they don't have the time or energy to cook), moms, University Professors with desk jobs who rarely exercise, and guys who are on a Military base, just back from Afghanistan who took it with them there! There are so many reasons for using this shake that go beyond weightloss that I never would have considered!

If your interest is peaked, you should definitely contact Janet! You can even earn your shakes for free, which is pretty great if you want to give it a try! If you're like Janet, you could become your own walking billboard & people will be coming to you, asking how they can try what you've tried!

Find Janet on facebook where you can ask her questions on her wall, or just grab her email!

Tutorial Tuesday (How To Make a Pinata)

For Talia's 6th birthday, we threw a Tangled Birthday Party!
One of the activities for the party was a piñata.

It was the typical balloon piñata. We just used flour & water to make a paste and strips of news paper to cover the balloon with.

Ken rigged a sort of frame out of some wire that he wrapped around the ballon before we started covering it with strips of newspaper, and made a loop at the top, to hang the piñata by later.

The next day when it was dry, I glue-gunned tissue paper around the piñata so that you wouldn't see newspaper peeking through when it was finished.

Then I started glue-gunning crepe streamers around it, and cutting the edges like this:

And here's how it turned out:

Ken attached it to the end of a stick and held it out for the girls to hit, like so:

And it was so fun to watch them hitting it (with a pot... cuz in the movie, there's a lot of hitting things with a frying pan. And because a frying pan seemed like a little much for these little girls ;)

More from the Tangled Party Here.