Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Plethora of Books

bookquote02We are a book family. We have books piled on the nightstands, covering most of the surface area on the desk, I have one in my purse and one in the glove compartment of my van. My 6 year old has two stuffed into his sock drawer for safe keeping. Our library box (yes, I said box, we outgrew a bag years ago) overflows while it sits next to the couch in the living room. The baby has bathtub books, and books made especially for him to teeth on. And that’s not even counting the eight bookcases we own that are bursting at the seems. One can never have too many books, in my humble opinion.

Reading is important to us. And I’ve found that the best way to encourage reading is to provide ample opportunities. We do family read alouds at lunch, bedtime stories at night, and audio books in the car. Our kids see my husband and I reading to ourselves all the time. And because of these things, I’ve noticed some important benefits. #1 My kids are interested in bookquote01words at an early age. #2 That interest motivates them to read at an early age. My 6-year-old taught himself to read when he was three, and is now reading on a fifth-grade level. My 4-year-old is reading on a first-grade level. #3 More importantly than their reading level though, is their vocabulary. As we read together, we come across words they don’t know, and we talk about them. Then they start noticing those words in other places and using them in sentences. A larger vocabulary helps them to communicate more clearly. And these are just a few reasons why reading with your kids is important. For more, check out this blog, where she goes into greater detail.


Read A-loud HandbookNot sure how to get started reading to your kids? It might surprise you, but not all books are created equal. And some books don’t make as good of a read aloud as others. There is a great book out there that I will highly recommend called The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. Basically, his premise is that kids can listen and understand a book of greater difficulty than they can read, and why that’s important. My family has found this to be true. We’ve read some fairly “hard” books for family read alouds, such as The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc. and my kids have really enjoyed them. Keep in mind that all my kids are under the age of 7. The last half of the book is an awesome list of books, listed by “listening level” that make great read alouds for families. I promise you this book is well worth the $9.00 or less that you’ll pay for it. Check it out!


And lastly, I thought it would be fun to list each member of my family’s favorite books. Seeing what other people like to read inspires me, and gives me new titles to add to my To Read list.

Husband’s Top 5 – In no particular order

1. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

3. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

4. Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage

5. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

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Six-Year Old’s Top 10 – In no particular order

1. The Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo Stilton

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone & Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

4. The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne

5. My Father’s Dragon series by Ruth Styles Gannett

6. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

7. Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish

8. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

9. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

10. Little House series by Laura Ingals Wilder

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Five-Year Old’s Top 10 – In no particular order

1. Classic Fairy Tales by Scott Gustavson

2. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

3. Press Here by Herve Tullet

4. Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

5. Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

6. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss

7. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess

8. If you Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff

9. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

10. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

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Three-Year Old’s Top 10 – In no particular order

1. Alice the Fairy by David Shannon

2. Bedtime For Frances by Russell Hoban

3. One Hungry Monsters by Susan Hayboer O’Keefe

4. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

5. Jessie Bear What Will You Wear by Nancy White Carlstrom

6. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

7. Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw

8. Jamberry by Bruce Degan

9. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

10. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson

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My Top 16 – Because I couldn’t limit it to just 10 – In no particular order

1. These is My Words by Nancy Turner

2. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

3. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

4. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

5. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

6. The Help by Katherine Stockett

7. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

8. The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

10. Wild Swans by Jung Chang

11. Farm City by Novella Carpenter

12. The Chosen by Chiam Potek

13. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

14. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

15. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

16. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pinwheel quilt tutorial


My favorite crafty thing to do has got to be quilting. I absolutely love everything about quilting. My mom taught my sister and I when we were young how to quilt. SO i have been doing for probably close to 15 years. I am by no means a professional and I have sold some but use them mainly to cuddle up with on the couch.

My mom is in town this weekend, waiting on the arrival of my second child. While we have tons of time we decided why not make tons of quilt tops. My mom brought me some amazing fabric, and i decided to show you guys a new technique she showed me. This technique was not made by her but she was taught by somebody else. It is an easy technique and I thought I would share it with all of you.

The technique is how to make a pinwheel block the “easy” way. Here's what it looks like when it is done.


This can be achieved by cutting four identical triangles with two different colored fabric but my way is easier.

So the supplies you will need to make just the TOP of the quilt, you will need more or less depending on your size blocks.

I choose a layer cake, which for those of you who don't know what that is, it is a collection of a specific pattern. It usually contains 42 different fabric types that are all coordinating. A lot of different fabric companies make them. They are 10 inches by 10 inches so fairly big. Mine is from a company called moda, and the collection I got is called “Mirabelle”*. I think mine came with 40 different colors and patterns and two that had multiples. I liked this one because of the nice spring colors. You can get layered cakes at almost any store that has fabric I think I've even seen them at places like wal-mart. Just make sure you see how many actual squares you are buying you may need two.


So you have your 42 10”x10” blocks, now you need coordinating fabric. I choose a creamy white to offset and match all the different colors and patterns. If you were going to choose just two different fabrics that were coordinating that would work to. With 42 blocks you can have a 6 block by 7 block quilt, which is a good lap sized quilt.

This tutorial can be done with any size block as long as they are squares.

So I choose the creamy white muslin. I cut 42 10 inch blocks.


This is the part were the tutorial actually starts, how do we make this pinwheel block?

IMG_0217 - Copy

Like the picture above, you are going to place the colored fabric and the white fabric right sides together. Now with a 1/4 inch seam allowance you are going to sew around the entire block, like i showed with the blue line. Yes you cannot turn it right side out, that's ok it’s suppose to be like that.


Now that you have sewn your block closed the fun part. You are going to cut corner to corner to make two triangles. It’s ok if it is not perfect, my sure wasn’t.


Now with each half triangle you are going to cut them in half again. I lined my ruler at the bottom so it was straight and with the corner.


When it is all cut you should have four identical triangles. the outside edges should be sewn. when you open them up they should look like this.


Are you with me so far?


You are going to turn them to make them look like a pinwheel. A helpful hint they meet in the middle, and the colored fabric and white fabric touch. No two colored fabric should be touching.


Sew the top two pieces together and the two bottom pieces together.


Then sew those two together, make sure you are lining up the seams as best you can throughout the whole process. This is your finished block. For mine I ironed after each step so they are crisp. I ironed the towards the colored fabric so you don’t see any funny colors on the white when it is all said and done. depending on your fabric you may have to iron one way or the other.

I haven't finished all my blocks but will show you a picture of other pinwheel quilts. I love the look of them, and with this technique it is so simple and fast.

Kendra's Quilt

Good luck on your own pinwheel quilt, I would love to see pictures if you decide to make one. This can be made smaller for a baby quilt, just by using smaller squares.



*this is not an endorsement for any Moda products, I just really love their fabric and they make amazing collections.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Preschool: B is for BOat

Letter B

The kids and I had fun with letter B. We mostly focused on boats, but a few other fun B activities snuck into the mix of things as well. Our story of the week was Toy Boat by Randall de Seve.  And the kids couldn't get enough of all the different boats and the faces painted on each one. I think the story is cute, but once again, the pictures are what sold me.

First we made our letter craft; a lower case ‘b’ as the mast of a boat. If you are interested in the pdf for the boat letter craft, download it here. We'll hang these up next to our apple A's on the kids' closet doors as part of our alphabet train. I think having the alphabet train out for the kids to see is a really helpful visual, and an easy reminder of the letters they’ve already learned. Often I will have the kids repeat the letters to me as I move my finger along the train at night before bedtime. It’s a fun and easy way to review the letters.

Another day we played a rousing game of boat bingo. Which unintentionally fit in really well with the Toy Boat story because of the different types of boats. The game was a fun way to work on our matching skills, even my (then) two-year-old was able to play without too much help. Click here for a pdf of our bingo sheet.

It was my turn to host the preschool co-op, and it was all about the letter B. We sang a welcome song, and the Adam's Family version of the days of the week. Then we had show and tell. This week for show and tell, I had them each bring their favorite book and tell why it was their favorite and show their favorite picture from it. Then I read them Toy Boat.

Next we did the B Basket. I had put together a little basket full of things that start with letter b. The kids took turns picking items out of the basket and showing everyone. In our basket we had: A capital B fridge magnet, banana, brush, broccoli, baby, bouncy ball, boat, Buzz Lightyear, bunny, bear, block, and bow.

Next we sang a couple of B songs: Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes (which I explained was about different parts of the body, another B word.)

Then it was time for some balloon bad-mitten. I made paddles by stapling a jumbo craft stick onto a small paper plate. Then I blew up 8 or so balloons and let them have at it. When they'd gotten enough of their wiggles out, we moved on to our next activity.

I had big sheets of butcher paper, and I had each kid lie down on one and I traced the outline of their bodies. Then we colored them and they got to practice writing their name next to their body. 

After bodies, we had a boat snack: apple slices with peanut butter on top, with a corner of cheese slice and a tooth pick stuck into it for the sail. And lastly, while we waited for the moms to come, we blew bubbles outside on the front porch.

Letter B1

Over the next few days the kids and I kept working on their body projects from preschool. We colored them, and cut them out and taped them on the wall in their rooms. They were so proud of them.

Letter B2

This project actually came at a perfect time too, because we just started Peter Pan (a junior classic version) for our family read aloud, and read the chapter where Peter loses his shadow and Wendy's mom rolls it up and sticks it in a drawer. The way the body cut-outs rolled up reminded the kids of Peter's shadow. So that was fun.

Next up is letter c, starring the very hungry caterpillar!


Signature Krystal

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 2014 LDS General Conference

I love conference so very much! I gather so much strength and faith from the words of our inspired leaders. I also love putting those inspiring quotes up around my house to keep them fresh in my mind. Today, Elder Holland’s talk really struck a chord with me. Here is a printable for all of you! As always, remember these are for personal use only. Thanks so much!


Elder Holland_edited-2



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Little Bit of Encouragement!

It would be great if everything went smoothly and on schedule, but it is not likely to work quite that easily.

I have been busy writing a paper about this concept in one of my classes. It is has been quite the learning experience for me. I have come to understand the different perceptions in a family and how much our choices can really have an affect on those around us and our future posterity.

Every family encounters crises--those moments in which our choices either move our family in an upward direction or create additional, perhaps more serious, problems to address. Crisis is best viewed as an opportunity paired with danger; as the term implies our response to these moments are critical to our further success.

So with that definition, let me ask you a question. How could a family in a middle of a crisis pull it together when it could very well pull it apart?

Not to go into too much detail, but my family had a very crisis moment when I was about 15 years old. I remember the time very well. Things were crazy at home, but I loved how my parents brought us together with the help of our religious beliefs. My parents planned out more family activities and often we would go to church outings together. Even though things were hard, it made dealing with the stress so much easier knowing that my parents loved me and my little brother and sister along with the feeling of love from my Heavenly Father. Now, I'm sure that trying to get me to go to these things was kind of hard. I had so much anger towards everyone in my family, even myself, that sometimes I was really stubborn when it came to doing things that parents knew would help me in the long run, but I just could not see it. We did make it through that time and now are closer together than ever. We help and support each other, even though we do not live near each other. We talk often and say "I love you." And we try to look at the positive things in life, because what's in the past cannot be changed. All we know is that we can change the future by what we are doing today.

If you are going through a crisis time with your family. Think of some ways that will bring you closer together so that when everything is said and done your bond is stronger than it ever was before. Look towards the future and have a goal that is reachable, but challenges you at the same time. And most of all stay positive. Say to yourself, "I can do hard things" and other similar sayings. You are loved and let others show you how much they love you. Be willing to accept help from those around you. Keep up the good work!

Here is a great video about a young lady who survived a horrible plane crash. Her testimony strengthens me and helps me to find the good in every day.

(Via Youtube, Mormon Messages, "My New Life")


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Heavy Whipping cream

For my post this week, I really wanted to do some recipes. I have been crazy about Heavy Whipping cream in everything. So I’m going to share some recipes this week that contain heavy whipping cream. So go get a quart of cream, and you will be set for my posts this week.

I’m using some Meadow Gold this week but any kind will do.

My first recipe is easy and maybe you have already done it, if not you are missing out.  It is a simple whipped cream recipe, and it only takes THREE ingredients and five minutes to make.


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Chill the clean bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. (sometimes if I’m in a hurry I just run cold water on the bowl and call it good) Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, you can use a hand whisk and a large chilled bowl. Whisk all of the ingredients until medium peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes.) Serve immediately.

If for some reason you are not making and serving this immediately then change the instructions a little. Only beat till soft peaks form, which is little peaks as you take the beater away but they immediately fall. Then store it in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve it then beat it to medium peaks.

You really don't want it to be stiff, but soft but still holds it shape slightly.

This is heavenly on anything, strawberries (my favorite), pancakes, ice cream, cakes, anything your heart desires. I wont even tell anybody if you eat by it’s self.

Have fun in the kitchen.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Yummest, Softest Sugar Cookie Recipe

I absolutely LOVE this sugar cookie recipe. These soft, yummy cookies taste very much like those Loft House cookies, but they are little more dense and a little less sweet...and that makes them simply PERFECT!! 

Even my hubby, yes the one who dislikes sweets, LOVES THESE!!! I leave him a few unfrosted, but he'll eat them both ways.



* 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
* 1/2 cup sour cream

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl (I use my Kitchenaid) cream butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla--Beat for 2 minutes. Add sour cream and half of the sifted dry ingredients; beat 1 minute. Stir in remaining dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Divide dough in half and roll each portion out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thick. (Make sure they are thick)!!! Cut with floured cookie cutter. Place cookies on greased cookie sheets; bake at 400° for about 8 minutes. DO NOT OVER-BAKE!!!! (They should be a tiny bit golden on the bottom).

*3 c. powdered sugar
*1/3 c. butter
*1 1/2 tsp vanilla
*1-2 Tbs Milk

Cream butter and vanilla till whipped. Add powdered sugar and a tiny bit of milk and mix until it is the consistency desired. Add food coloring & frost!!!

****Store sugar cookies in an airtight container to keep them soft.