Throw Back Thursday {Sugar Eggs For Easter}

Easter is fast approaching & here's a fun activity to do as a family.  I first made these sugar eggs with my mom as a teenager & fell in love.  I've missed out the past 2 years, but I think this is going to be on our spring break fun to-do list this year... {re-blogged from my old blog Anticipation}

Sugar Eggs for Easter

For the eggs, you'll need:

1. Mix 1 cup sugar with 1 tsp. water and a few drops of food coloring.  Mix well with your hands until all the sugar is dyed (you can wear gloves for this if you like, but the sugar keeps your hands dye-free).

2. Press sugar firmly into your mold.  I used large, plastic Easter eggs.  You can also use egg shaped molds found in the cake decorating or soap making aisle at your craft store.  You can also find them on Etsy.

3. Gently scoop out some of the sugar from the center, making sure you leave a good edge.  You will be able to make the egg thinner in the last step.  Make sure the sugar is still packed into the mold tightly.

4. Carefully turn eggs out onto wax paper (like you are building a sand castle).  Allow to dry for a few hours to overnight (I think overnight is best).

**Each batch of sugar made two of my Easter eggs with a little left over...It made one large egg. If you like you can use the leftover sugar to make marbled eggs, by just packing in 2 or 3 colors**

5. When the eggs are completely dry, use a table knife to clean up edges and scrape out the center of the eggs a little more.

Now we're ready to decorate, for the Royal Icing you need:

1. In a large bowl, with a mixer fixed with a whisk attachment.  Slowly mix together 1/4 cup meringue powder (available in the cake decorating aisle) and 6 Tb. of water.  Scrape down the sides as needed.  When mixed well turn mixer up to high and beat until stiff peaks form.  Add powdered sugar and beat until thick and fluffy.  It should look like this <---. 

2. Add coloring to your icing if you like.  Fit your pastry bags with couplers and decorating tips.  Fill bags with icing.  Royal icing dries very quickly, cover any leftover icing with a damp cloth.

3. Decorate...have fun and be creative :) I added little sugar pearls to mine...there are lots of sprinkles and decorations that would be fun to add.  Allow icing to dry and fill with jelly beans or small candies...Although the eggs may look tasty, I don't recommend eating them :) 
Happy Easter! 


On My Desk

I had such high hopes for this year...blogging and getting my shops up and running at the very beginning of the year.  Then the flu hit. Hard.  I feel like the entire year has been filled with sickness and relapses and coughs and runny noses.  I guess that's what happens when you are a family of 7, although my 14 year old somehow remained healthy through all this.  But, now we are mostly on the mend (knock on wood) and I've been hard at work.

Back at the beginning of February I decided to start painting.  I've always loved typography & after much debate I decided to just do it.  So I started practicing...a lot....

I've found that I really love painting & typography more than I thought I would.  I have a lot more practicing to do, but I've added these to my shop, you can find them here...

And since I am celebrating finally getting my shop up and running again....
 use the code "backinbusiness" when checking out at Card Stock Shoppe for 15% off your purchase!

See Anna Sew will be opening back up April 1st, watch for more details.

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I'm up to.


Throw Back Thursday {Christmas Time Is Here}

Here are two holiday favorites from back in 2011 {& my previous blog}.  Our family loves to make snowflakes every year.  This tutorial uses tracing paper, which works great, but the past 2 years we have been using coffee filters (I like to iron mine first) which are a little more durable.  

The Christmas book countdown we still love to do.  It's so nice to gather as a family each night for this fun tradition...although the first night my 3 year old thought he was opening an actual present & exclaimed (not so happily) "ohhhhhh! I wanted a race track!".  After some explaining he was happy to join in & has looked forward to opening a "present" the last few nights.

Merry Christmas & Enjoy!

The Perfect Snowflake
I like to use 9 x 12 in. tracing paper to make my snowflakes...it is inexpensive, looks great, and is easy to cut through many layers at once...

I made 4 different sizes...whole page (about 9 in. square); half page (about 6 in. square); quarter page (about 4 1/2 in. square); and the smallest out of scraps (about 3 in. square). 


Christmas Countdown

This is my kids' favorite countdown...and it is so easy (if you are willing to spend some more time wrapping) :)

Gather together Christmas, Holiday, Winter, or any other appropriate book for the season...you will need 1 for everyday you count down (we started on the 1st...so 24 for us). We add a Christmas book or two every year, and I make up for the ones we don't have by printing off Christmas stories or poems I find online...Wrap and number each book.
Each night before bed we find the appropriate numbered book and open it...we take turns, luckily 24 is evenly divisible by 3 :) and read the story together. It is a great way to spend a little extra time together and feel the spirit of the season a little more each day.

Have a great Holiday Season!

p.s. I found my stories online here...
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints :)


Quiet Book, page 4 {bugs on leaves}

Do you ever feel like a year has gotten away from you? That's how my year has been...busy, busy, busy {I guess that's what I should expect with 5 kids...right?} and it has FLOWN by.  In all that craziness I completely forgot about pages 4, 5 & 6....oops! So here is page 4 of my quiet book for you "bugs on leaves".  It's another quick and easy design (the best kind).  It's more of a look, touch & feel page.  Younger kids will like the sensory aspect of just the different textures of the felt leaves and pompom bugs.  As they get a little older they can begin to count the bugs, name the colors, or match the colored bugs (try connecting them by drawing a line with a piece of yarn or string).

Here's what you need:
1 piece of felt for the background, cut to 8 1/2 x 11 inches, I used bright blue
Green felt in two shades
1/2 inch colorful pompoms, I chose more "autumn colored" pompoms
Sewing machine + thread
Embroidery floss + needle

1. Cut out your leaves.  I know I say this a lot, but just free-hand it--you can do it!.  If it makes it easier, cut out a paper template first.  Make a large (about 9 x 5 inches) "football"...pointed oval shape, then just cut some notches out of the side to give it a more tropical leaf feel.

2. Arrange the leaves on the background, then pin in place.  Using a sewing machine, stitch the leaves onto the background, adding details for the leaf veins as you like (see pictures).

3. Arrange & hand stitch your pompoms in place using the embroidery floss.  Just knot your thread and sew through the background/leaves, into the pompoms and back down a few times to make sure they are extra secure.  Your stitching shouldn't show too much through the fluffy pompoms.  Add a few straight stitches around each bug's body for legs (see picture below). Repeat with remaining pompoms.  I added 5 pompoms to each leaf, one of each color.

And that's it.  Super quick and easy.  Enjoy!

Page 1: Lion
Page 2: Snakes
Page 5: Tropical Fish {coming soon!}
Page 6: Coconut Tree {coming soon!}


Throw Back Thursday {Thanksgiving Crafty Countdown}

A few years ago...or more, I guess it was way back in 2010...I blogged a series of six Thanksgiving/autumn themed crafts for kids {as always, from my previous blog}.  Follow the links for full instructions, enjoy!

Day one:
Cone Cornucopias

Day two:

Day three:

Day four:

Day five:

Day 6:


Gratitude Month

Each November our family likes to focus a little more on what we are grateful for (who doesn't?).   I try and set up a fun and special way to allow the kids to express their gratitude.

One year we did a gratitude jar...

another year a garland of all we were thankful for..

We've tied leaves labeled with what we are thankful for onto bare tree branches, created table "cloth" for Thanksgiving dinner, and last year, while hugely pregnant, I just hung up a large sheet of brown paper with "I am Thankful for..." written at the top & the kids wrote or drew pictures of what they were thankful for each day (or multiple times a day).  The ones I love the best are left up all month, the list ever growing, where we can see just how much we have to be thankful for.

This year I decided to take advantage of a large blank wall I have in the living room waiting for something to decorate it. I decided on a large tree branch "growing" out of the wall, to have leaves attached to it & fluttering down around it.  I really love how it turned out, and it was super easy. 

First I laid out a strip of brown paper (the packing & shipping kind).  I did this next to the wall, so that I could eye ball just how big I wanted it.  I then roughly sketched a silhouette of a tree branch with pencil & cut it out.  Don't worry too much about perfection, no tree branch is perfect.

I attached it to the wall using a glue-dot roller.  I've done it before, and it removed easily from my walls, but you might want to test it out first just to be on the safe side :)

I cut out a bunch of simple pointed-oval leaves out of patterned paper for us to write what we are thankful on (I would suggest writing before hanging your leaves....I was just a little impatient to get it up).  We have a pile of extra leaves on our desk ready to be labeled and added throughout the month.  I can't wait to see how it grows as the month goes on.


F.H.E Friday {Keeping it Organized}

When I was growing up my mom started letting us teach Family Home Evening (or contributing a part of the lesson) at a young age.  I've tried to do the same with our family.  I think it works perfectly along side the youth's new Come Follow Me curriculum, where our Young Women and Young Men are encouraged and expected to teach in their Sunday classes. 

We use the system that my parents used, and it works. Each week we rotate who's "week" it is. Each kid gets a turn, well, the ones who can talk anyway. While my husband is always presiding over our family, it is the responsibility of one of our children to "conduct" each week.  During their week their job is to make sure we say our meal/family prayers and assigns who says it (although we had to stipulate that they say one family prayer or meal prayer a week themselves...sometimes they need the little push to say one instead of calling on someone else all the time...except my 9 year old Owen, who is happy to say every prayer).  They are also in charge of Family Home Evening for that week, they make the assignments & teach a lesson.  I teach the lesson when it's the 3 year old's turn and usually use that week to focus on what my husband and I think our family needs at the moment.

We are, of course, a work in progress.  But one thing that helps is Family Home Evening files.  When I was growing up I remember my mom having a specific file drawer in the office desk full of F.H.E. lesson materials, all organized by topic. So on the week we needed to teach, we went and browsed through, what seemed to me, any topic I could ever think of.  I don't have a drawer, but here's my F.H.E. files, and how you can do it yourself.

Start by sorting all the materials you have already collected.  If you haven't saved any lesson materials yet--start saving it now!  I know I have repeated the lessons over the years, and it's so much easier to have everything collected and done.  Save lesson plans, object lessons, posters, flannel board cutouts...you get the idea. 

I use a three-prong folder to hold stories & conference talks.  Coloring pages or activities we need to make copies of, along with other small odds and ends go into the pockets.  The folder is slid into a large manila envelope along with anything else that doesn't fit into the folder. 

Then each file is numbered and goes into a file box. 

I don't alphabetize the files or sort them by topic in the box. Two reasons: 1. It's just easier to put something away by number.  2. My collection is ever expanding & this way I don't have to worry about re-organizing it...as long as the kids put the file back where it belongs.  I also put together an alphabetized list for easy browsing.

What do you do to make F.H.E. just a little bit easier?

and Happy Halloween!

Visit my mom at Anna, Clo't and Me