Friday, March 20, 2015

The 5 Love Languages

Feeling loved is a primary emotional need for all humans.  There are countless poems, letters, stories, books, and songs written about love.

Here's one song that kept running through my mind as I contemplated writing this post -
Everybody.  The chorus repeats, "Everybody, everybody wants to love, everybody, everybody wants to be loved."  So, so true.

In Dr. Gary Chapman's book, "The 5 Love Languages," it says, "Child psychologists affirm that every child has certain basic emotional needs that must be met if he is to be emotionally stable. Among those emotional needs, none is more basic that the need for love and affection, the need to sense that he or she belongs and is wanted.  With an adequate supply of affection, the child will likely develop into a responsible adult.  Without that love, he or she will be emotionally and socially challenged." (You can listen to this book on YouTube).

Dr. Chapman shares a wonderful metaphor to illustrate the importance of feeling loved.  He heard this metaphor from Dr. Ross Campbell who is a psychiatrist who specialized in the treatment of children and adolescents.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The 5 Love Languages - Ideas for Couples

Click HERE to read my original post about The 5 Love Languages.


Need some ideas on how to speak your spouse's love language?  Here are some from Dr. Chapman's book:

The 5 Love Languages of Children

Click HERE to read my original post about The 5 Love Languages.

The 5 Love Languages aren't just for couples - They apply to everyone you interact with.  As a mom of three boys, I found this information very helpful in my parenting since I spend so much of my life focusing on my children (and my spouse).  We all know that each child is unique and that they each need different things from us.  After learning about the Love Languages, I feel that my parenting skills have improved.  (Too bad I didn't read it 19 years ago!)

Here are descriptions of The 5 Love Languages in regards to children:

Harry Potter Party

My brother and his darling family came to town for Spring Break.  My niece and I decided to throw an epic Harry Potter party.  What spurred this craziness?  Well, my niece was super bummed that she was going to miss a Harry Potter that the girls at her church were coordinating since she would be on vacation at my house instead.  So of course I told her we would have our own party.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Talk - Follow the Prophet

One of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter series is Dumbledore. He is wise, calm and often times can be found encouraging and counseling the Hogwarts students, especially Harry. On one occasion he says, “dark and difficult times lie ahead, soon we must all face the choice, between what is right and what is easy.”

We know and have seen many dark and difficult times during our life. Perhaps it was last week with terror acts, perhaps it was yesterday with a family member, perhaps it was over the past few years with wars and natural disasters. And what Dumbledore said was key, because we all have the choice to choose between what is right and what is easy.

It has never been entirely easy to follow the Prophet but we know it is right. Let’s take for example a few stories from the scriptures. Noah, a Prophet called of God to preach repentance to the people was met with ridicule, death threats and mockery. God, using his Prophet tried to preserve not only the temporal life but spiritual life of the people, but they would not listen. Why? Was it just plain easier to follow the crowd rather than follow the right? And, I have to wonder if there were times when Noah thought that too? But rather than giving into the easy, he put his complete trust in God and built the ark and gathered the animals and provisions even on the driest of days. And this is the best part – he and his family were blessed because they put their trust in God and in the Prophet. President Eyring teaches, “The failure to take prophetic counsel lessens our power to take inspired counsel in the future. The best time to have decided to help Noah build the ark was the first time he asked. Each time he asked after that, each failure to respond would have lessened sensitivity to the Spirit. And so each time his request would have seemed more foolish, until the rain came. And then it was too late.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Grammarly Study - People with Stronger Writing Skills Are Better at Their Jobs, Get Paid More

Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I love grammar, spelling, root words, vocab, etc.  I am a self-proclaimed Word Nerd.

When I substitute teach, I try to persuade students to understand that writing skills are crucial to all careers and that people are more successful when they can communicate effectively (both verbally and with the written word).  I bring language arts into all subject areas - science, social studies, and even math.  With the new "Common Core State Standards," students will be expected to have even stronger writing skills than ever before.

In the infographic below, Grammarly provides data and statistics to support my argument in this area.

In case you haven't heard of Grammarly, they claim to offer the "World's Best Grammar Checker." Their website says Grammarly "improves your emails, social media posts, and document by checking for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes."

After editing a ton of 5th grade essays this week, I would have appreciated some help from Grammarly so the students could have found their own mistakes initially and then brought more of a finished writing product to me. Not every student can receive one on one attention from a teacher or parent for every project. Even my three sons, who are actually really awesome writers, could benefit from using this program.  If you want to check it out, click HERE.

As a side note, when I graduated from college with a B.A. in English, I was hired by a wonderful educational toy company in Northern California.  The position was in the purchasing department and involved extensive communication with foreign and domestic vendors, banks, expediting companies, shipping companies, U.S. Customs, and various departments in the office.  My starting salary was higher than others who had been in that same position before I was hired.  The reason?  Well, they said that since I had an English degree they knew I had critical thinking skills and could communicate effectively.  They knew they could train me on all the other aspects of the job since I had those essential skills.  Sweet!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Hersheys Candy Bar Wrappers

I consider myself a pretty thoughtful person but usually I feel overwhelmed during the holidays so my thoughtfulness doesn't always end up matching my actions... well at least not without a lot of sleep deprivation and stress.  I'm sure many people can relate.

So this year I decided that I would get on top of the teacher gifts earlier than in years past.  That means not staying up late the night before the last day of school to get them all put together.  

My kids switch classes so that means I have 18 teacher gifts to make.  Plus my cute hubby decided he wanted me to make them for his coworkers so that added another dozen or so.

I have compassion on those who are in the same boat as I am so I decided to share my super easy gift with others to spread the Christmas joy and ease some stress.  The bars listed above have my personalized wrappers but I created a generic one for others to use (after receiving requests from several of my friends around the country).

Here's how to do it.

1) Design a candy bar wrapper (I already did this so you can use mine if you'd like). Click HERE to download my PDF file.  Or you can design your own by downloading free chalkboard fonts on this blog and a free chalkboard background at this website.  I used PowerPoint to design mine. If you create your own, be sure to save it as a PDF file as well.

2) Download the PDF file on to a flash drive and take it to a copy shop like Staples.  They can pull the file up from your flash drive to print.  Ask them to print it on regular copy paper.  There are 4 wrappers per page so just figure out how many you need to print. Note: You really don't want to print even one of these out at home because it will use A TON of ink.  I am way too frugal for that.

3) Buy your candy bars.  I bought a box of 36 normal sized Hershey bars at Costco for a little over $20.  I'm sure you could buy them individually someplace else if you wanted a smaller quantity.

4) Cut the copies so that you get 4 wrappers from each page.  Wrap the paper around each of the bars and tape on the back. The paper won't quite wrap around the entire bar (there will be a gap).  If they had wrapped all the way around, it would have involved twice as many copies.  I think I mentioned that I am frugal so I didn't want to do that.

5) The candy bars I made were personalized with my kids' names so the teacher would know who gave the gift.  You'll need to add a little tag or sticker to the back since these wrappers are more generic.  

If you want to spend some more money, you can attach something additional to the back of the candy bar.  For my high schooler, I attached a QT gift card to the back of the bar.  For my younger son, I attached movie ticket vouchers that I purchased at Costco.  My husband's coworkers were just given the candy bars.

Legal stuff: Please note that the fonts I used are free for personal and non-profit use.  If you decide to sell something using these fonts, you'll need to purchase them from the person who created them.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Kisses and Bear Hugs Handout

Here's a little fun handout I designed to go with one of my favorite sweet indulgences.  I am passing these out to the ladies that I visit each month.  This would also be great for a Valentine's Day treat or anniversary or wedding goodie.

Click HERE to get the PDF file to print from GoogleDocs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Black & White Wedding

I was honored to attend my brother's wedding this past weekend and it was awesome!  He married the love of his life and the "Happily Ever After" theme was quite fitting.


The guests arrived and we had a table set up in the entry area of the yard.  The table served a few purposes - gift table, water station, and also sign-in area.  I didn't get a picture since I was the one greeting everyone.

This was the sign that we had attached to a folding easel that I painted white:

Here's what we put on the table:
- A glass water dispenser filled with water, lemon slices and strawberry slices (and clear cups on the side).  Surprisingly almost everyone wanted water as they entered.
- A picture of the bride and groom.
- A tall, antique looking lantern to put cards in.
- An area to place the gifts.
- A vase to sign (instead of a guest book).
- A basket full of wedding keepsake fans (framed with white cardstock and attached to a wooden handle; people loved them and used them).
Front of fan
Back of fan


They were married next to the pool in SoCal and there was a beautiful ocean view from the backyard of my aunt and uncle's home.  They used a simple metal arch and added flowers and off-white, sheer fabric to it to make it pretty.  We used white pipe cleaners to attach all the froofy stuff (is that even a word?).  The put urns filled with ferns at the bottom of the arches to secure the structure since there was a breeze.


We had the table seating signs posted between the ceremony area and the reception area.  I designed these signs on the computer and printed them at Costco as 16" x 20" pictures.  I put them in frames that I spray painted white so they looked like chalkboards.  Believe it or not, people thought they were real chalkboards and were quite impressed. I 'fessed up that they were easy to make and I didn't have those awesome penmanship skills. You can get the chalkboard fonts for free on THIS WEBSITE.  You can also find free chalkboard backgrounds on Google.  I will do another post about how to make the signs.  (Note: names on the seating charts are fictional in case you were wondering ha ha).


We used my aunt's existing pool furniture to arrange a little area to hang out at near the bar.  It was a nice place for people to relax if they needed some space away from the crowd.

We had some fun photo props out in case people wanted to take pictures while they waited.  The wedding planner said sometimes she provides a photo booth area but we had a more casual approach and people could do their own thing.

Appetizers were served on a banquet table.  They served pulled pork, rolls, veggies and fruits.  There was also a cheese and cracker tray with fruit over by the lounge area.

Here are some close up pictures.  For those who struggle to make fruits or veggie platters look nice, you can look at these and get some ideas.


We had the serving tables shaped like an "L" and a chalkboard style menu sign at the front of where the serving line would start.  My brother's friends did all the cooking (they are HUGE BBQ fans) and it was truly delicious and plentiful.


My sister-in-law found good deals on the glass plates, glasses and silverware so she bought them instead of renting.  I think she shopped at the dollar store and IKEA.  She's one smart cookie!

We made chalkboard style table numbers and put them in glass frames on the table.  Everyone loved how the chalkboard theme ran throughout the whole wedding (including the wedding announcement that is not pictured).  You can't really see it but there are tall glass things in the middle of each table and a fancy electric candle inside that we used at night.  There are also little battery-operated candles around the table.  They added white rose petals spread around the table at the last minute so they wouldn't blow away.

We had nine table with about 10 people per table.  I believe my aunt made a lot of the black table toppers out of black sheets which is a frugal idea, plus it looked great.  They rented all the tables and chairs and borrowed the white tablecloths.  What you can't see is all the lights on the trees and walls. Totally beautiful even if it did take my relatives about 10 hours to put them all up.


Aren't they such a cute couple!  We hung that sign on the tree as a whim but it sure looked great in this picture.  They had another arch with lights behind their table.


This DJ did a great job.  He does lots of events in Orange County and if you would like his contact info, I can get it for you if you email me.  We had a dancing area near the food serving zone.  Not huge but it met our needs.  I'd post a picture of my brother dancing but then he might kill me so I won't.

My sister-in-law saw this concept on Pinterest so I copied the theme and made a sign.  She bought the flip flops at the dollar store and people loved them.  She tied each pair together with black ribbon.


The candy bar was well-received.  They had cupcakes placed on tiered platters (I'd bought the platters at Costco a while back).  The glass jars all held different candies.  The glass cake platters held lemon cakes and mini-brownies from Costco.  They put candles in the white tins from IKEA and it looked great at night. You can't tell but there are white Christmas lights underneath the white tablecloth so the table was lit up at night.  It looked quite fancy. Unfortunately the dessert table ended up crashing down at the end of the wedding after most of the guests had left.  We suspect one of the legs wasn't locked in completely.  We'd cleared about half the stuff off the table but some of the jars were crushed and we lost the extra treats.  Thank goodness that didn't happen DURING the party!

 My brother doesn't eat sugar or white flour so they made a watermelon wedding cake instead and put a topper on that.  It was perfect for them.

Overall, this was an awesome wedding if I do say so myself.  Susan was the wedding planner and she did a fantastic job and I learned a lot from her.  I know my brother and his wife are grateful to her and all the others who helped out.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Recommended Movie - Field of Lost Shoes

I am a huge supporter of worthwhile movies.  In fact, I will often go see them in a movie theater and then later buy the DVD just to show my support with the hopes that others will be encouraged to make quality movies that mean something and are more than just mindless entertainment.

Last week, my dear friend was able to attend the red carpet premiere of such a movie called "Field of Lost Shoes." This movie will be released this Friday, 9/26 and she said she highly recommends it. The movie has great ratings and is a family-faith-based film.  The director is Sean McNamara who was also the director for the movie "Soul Surfer" (which was also a wonderful movie).

Here's a little bit about the movie:
"Based on a true story and In the midst of a prolonged and deadly American Civil War in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln appoints a very different kind of general, Ulysses S. Grant, Chief of Union Forces.  Grant acts decisively.  He brings total war to the pristine Shenandoah Valley, breadbasket of the South. The superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) volunteers to send the Corps of Cadets to protect the valley.  A group of 274 young cadets must confront the horrors of an adult world when they are called upon to defend the Shenandoah Valley and marched northward toward the strategic valley choke-point of New Market.  On the day of battle, Confederate General John C. Breckenridge, former Vice President of the United States, and commander of southern forces in Valley, is faced with a horrible decision.  When Southern forces are jeopardized, he orders these young cadets into battle, leaving behind their youth, making the grave decision of what they are truly fighting for."

The movie has some fabulous actors and actresses in it like the following:
Nolan Gould (from Modern Family)
Love this guy!

Lauren Holly
Tom Skerritt
David Arquette 

FYI - Around November 2015, another positive movie will be released called "Starting Over."  I will post more about that one next year.