January's Service Project: Mini-craft Bags for Children's Hospital {Serving with young children}

Today we wanted to share with you a really fun service project that we put together last night!  It is always kind of hard to find something that our whole family can participate in, and also something that the kids can really get passionate about...this service project was fun, simple and the kids loved every minute of it.
A while back one of our sweet nephews had an accident and ended up at Primary Children's Hospital.  It was pretty scary for a while, and we were just in awe of the amazing people that took care of him.  When we went to visit we were able to go to this amazing craft/playroom they have for patients and visitors.  Aside from all the really cool, fun toys they had an amazing arts and crafts area.  My kids are STILL talking about the silly putty they made there :)  I was really touched and asked the volunteer there if they accepted donations.  She told me the majority of what they are able to provide comes from donations, and I have been thinking about that ever since! 
I finally decided to get my bum in gear, so for our Family Home Evening last night we put together these simple, mini-craft bags to donate to the children's hospital.
The fun thing about this service project was the kids got to make all the crafts and then assemble all the different pieces in bags.  After that I made instructions that we printed out and stapled to each bag.  We made about 10 bags of each of the 3 crafts, and we were able to stay under $15, also using supplies we had on hand, for the entire project!
These are most of the supplies we used to make our 3 fun crafts!

For our Beaded Hearts we just used red and white pipe cleaners with white, red, and clear pony beads.  Print out the above instruction sheet and you are good to go!
 Our heart chain craft was really simple as well, all you need for this one is strips of red, white, and pink construction paper and a stapler :)

Finally, my kids favorite, were the Love Bugs we made :)  I find the inspiration for these HERE, and I think they are just adorable!  For these you need clothespins, poms in pink and red, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners. 
Now we have our craft bags ready to go and we will be delivering them to Primary Children's tomorrow night!  If you are interested in doing something for Primary's too feel free to check out the information HERE...there are some great ideas and things that CANNOT be donated as well.
Thank you so much for stopping by today...and please share!  What are some of your favorite service ideas for families with young kids??


Johnson Family Theme 2015!

Hello, hello!  I am so happy to finally be getting another blog post up :)  It seems like no matter how good my intentions are, I just cannot seem to find the time to sit down for a few minutes and compose a few scattered thoughts into a blog post.  However, as soon as I do, I remember how much I enjoy this little place of mine to share a few rambling thoughts and pieces of our lives. 

Today I wanted to share with you what we have chosen to be our Johnson Family Theme of 2015!  (Doesn't that have a nice ring to it?;)

Deciding on a theme turned out to be a really cool experience for my husband and I.  I mentioned that I wanted to pick a theme, and asked him to think and pray about what he thought our family needed this year.  I told him I would do the same, and we went on our separate ways for the day.  That night, before bed, I asked him if he had any ideas that he felt strongly about.  He said that one thing kept coming back to him, that we needed to teach our kids more about SERVICE, and the hymn Because I Have Been Given Much.  The interesting thing was, I had been having similar thoughts, about service but also about different types of giving as well.  I kept having a scripture come to me, where King Lamoni's Father is praying to Heavenly Father in the Book of Mormon and he says "I would give away my sins to know Thee".  From our two thoughts and the guidance of the Spirit we came up with our theme:

I just LOVE this theme!  In the short week that we have shared this with our kids we have already seen some great things and small blessing every single day.
We introduced our theme on Monday night for Family Home Evening, and did a fun activity to go along with it. 
I decided we needed simple ways to help the kids serve in little ways every, single day.  To help them get in that habit, we created a Simple Service Jar! 
All we did was tape this printable around a mason jar and fill it will slips of paper.  On every slip we wrote small, simple acts of service we can do for one another.  They were anything from giving 3 compliments that day to helping mom with the baby while she makes dinner.  Shoveling a neighbors driveway to writing letters to missionaries from our family and ward.  The whole point of this jar to help the kids see that serving can become a way of life, that a little bit of effort on our part can greatly bless the lives of others. 

I am happy to say we have already pulled 4 or 5 papers out of our service jar when the kids are bored or grumpy, and it really is amazing how doing something kind for someone else can change the attitude and spirit in our home! 
Going along with our theme of Giving this year we will be doing monthly service projects and as many other things as I can possibly think of.  Hopefully I will be on top of it enough to share some of those things here ;)  Thank you so much for stopping by and please share: do you do a family theme in your home?  If so...what is your family theme for 2015?!


Primary Balloon Birthday Gifts

Happy Monday everyone!  I am still lucky enough to get to serve in our wards Primary as chorister, and we did something new for birthdays I thought I would share today!  These turned out so cute, and when we did them for the first time yesterday the kids seemed to really love them.

I actually saw this cute idea HERE, but I made my own balloon printables to include lyrics from our favorite Primary birthday song.  Once I had my balloons printed and cut out I just taped them to the top of a silly straw and they were ready to go!

I just went to my local dollar store and was able to get a six pack of silly straws for $1, not too shabby!  In our ward we also have the kids show their balloon to the bishop after church and he gives them a treat as well. 
Feel free to right-click, copy and print away with these balloons and make some Primary Balloon Birthday Gifts of your own! :)


New Years Resolutions Printable...For the Kids!

Hello my long-lost blogging friends!!  I have missed this little old blog of mine, so I thought I would share something you may enjoy doing for New Years with your family :)  We had our kids fill out these resolution pages last year, and it has been so fun looking at them as this new year approaches, seeing how much they have grown and changed in one little year!

To do this fun activity with your family just have your kids either glue a recent picture of themselves in the middle square or draw a picture of themselves.  Then have them answer all of the different questions in each bubble.  I love how the questions all focus on different goals, things the kids can give, see, learn, try and become!

Just print off as many as you need and then sit back and enjoy all the cute things your kids come up with!
And make sure once they are filled out to save them for next year so you can look at them in 2016! ;)
I hope this New Year's Eve finds you and your families happy, save and full of love!


Chalkboard Thankful Tree

Hello my friends, how is your November going?  This is one of my favorite months of the year, and we always try to do some activities to help us be more thankful and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
  Unfortunately, more often then not, I come up with a super cute and super unrealistic activity that takes lots of effort and usually fizzles out by the second week of November...can anyone else relate?!  This year I decided to simplify, and thank goodness I found THIS genius idea on Pinterest...
A Chalkboard Thankful Tree!
In our study I knew I wanted a HUGE chalkboard, and since I could never find one that I wanted we just slapped some chalkboard viny on the wall and framed it with this great Ikea frame.  We have used it tons already, but it really came in handy for our Thankful Tree.  As you can see, we just drew lots of branches on our tree and every morning after breakfast we go into the study and take turns saying one thing we are thankful for.  Some are silly and some are serious, but I LOVE that for 10 minutes out of the day we are thinking of nothing but ALL we have to be grateful for.
We just started this 3 days ago and our bare tree is really starting to already fill in!
How do you help your kids show more gratitude this month?  Keep checking back, we have a few simple service projects we are doing and as always some yummy treats and crafts...have a fantastic day!


Making Oatmeal Monday...Funfetti Cake Batter Oatmeal!

 Hello friends!! It has been a LONG time since I posted something on here...is October as crazy for everyone else as it always seems to be for me?!  I cannot believe it is already November, time is flying by like it always does!
So it seems like every Halloween we have so many treats leading up to the big night, and then SO much candy after, that I am always trying to get back some healthier habits come November.  One thing that has been driving me crazy lately, but I have been too lazy to do anything about, is that my kids are eating sugary cereal pretty much every day for breakfast.  This bugs me on many levels.  They are filling themselves with sugar immediately as they wake up, they stay full for approximately 7 minutes, and they get completely addicted and go crazy if I try to have them eat anything else!  I decided to cut it out, except for the occasional weekend treat.  I knew this would not go over well, so I am trying to do some fun things to introduce different breakfasts to my kids...and one of my favorites is oatmeal!!  I love how filling it is, how many different ways you can make it, and there is nothing better on a cold fall morning ;)
I told the kids every Monday we would try a new oatmeal recipe, so today we kicked off our Making Oatmeal Monday with something I KNEW my kids would love...
Funfetti Cake Batter Oatmeal!

Seriously, how fun is this?!  I found this recipe at Amy's Healthy Baking and knew my kids would love it.  I mean, sprinkles for breakfast?!  And, its actually pretty healthy too!
The key to making this oatmeal taste like cake batter is using butter extract.  I had never heard of it before, but it made the oatmeal taste exactly like cake mix and I was able to pick some up this morning at WalMart in the baking aisle.  Here is the recipe in case you want make some for your family too! :)
1 1/3 C rolled oats
2 2/3 C skim milk
1 tsp butter extract
sweetener to taste
Cook oats and milk on the stovetop at medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the oats.  Then let stand until the oatmeal thickens.  Stir in your butter extract and sweetener of your choice (I just used about a 1/4 C of brown sugar) and then add a sprinkles to the top!
This was a HUGE hit!  The only thing my kids said for when I make it next time is that it was a teeny bit TOO sweet...so you can add less sweetener and it will probably be even better :)
Make sure you stop by next week for another Making Oatmeal Monday, we are trying something tasty....and if you like pumpkin you won't want to miss it!


11 Fall Favorites at Blue Skies Ahead!

  Before we get to all of our Fall Fun, I need to announce the winner of our Styling Cents Ebook Giveaway!  Thank you so much to everyone that entered...and Rach is our grand prize winner!  Look for an email coming your way to hash out all the details ;)
Today we wanted to share 11 of our favorite fall activities, snacks and crafts.  This is our favorite time of year here at Blue Skies Ahead and we hope some of these ideas can help you enjoy it to the fullest!

Make some delicious Apple Cider Floats with your family...the perfect treat after an evening of pumpkin picking :)
Looking for a simple, fun festive gift to give this time of year?  Try these homemade Candy Corn Bath Salts!
And if you still want a little more candy corn, check out these Candy Corn Cupcakes in a Jar.
Maybe you are looking for a little bit of a healthier treat?  These Orange Pumpkin Treats are perfect for parties or just an afterschool snack.
Maybe you need some fun new Fall decorations?  These Washi Tape Pumpkins may be just the thing for you!
My kids and I LOVE making homemeade playdough, and this Pumpkin Playdough is perfect for October!
My kids beg to make caramel apples every year...switch it up by making a Frankenstein Caramel Apple your kids will get a kick out of!
If you still need more Fall food inspiration, make sure you try these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting, they really are amazing.
Do you have a free afternoon with your kids?  If so, read them this darling book and make your very won batch of Homemade Pumpkin Soup with all your little helpers :)
Your kids will love burning some down-time making these Pumpkin Bracelets, and all you need to provide are some pipe cleaners and pony beads.

Finally, these Wax Paper Leaves are not only a great activity, but they make beautiful decorations to hang up in your windows too!