Friday, October 2, 2015

general conference notes

This weekend is the semiannual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It happens twice a year, in the Spring and in the Fall, and it's a chance for members of the church, as well as anyone else with access to basic cable or the internet, to listen to living prophets. This is something that I look forward to all year long! I love being able to relax in my own home (with some delicious food!!) and hear uplifting, spiritual messages.
But, as anyone with small children can attest to, trying to watch anything while your kids are awake that doesn't include animated princesses or dancing and singing animals is pretty much impossible. Last year I compiled a bunch of different activities from around the web to help keep your little ones busy while hopefully listening (at least a little bit). I've enjoyed using these different resources because I like to switch up what I have my kids doing during each session so they stay more intersted.

Image source
This year I wanted to make something that would work for a wide range of ages, I even enjoyed writing down some of my notes from last weekend's General Women's Session on it.
There are two spots for featured speakers, one area to write either a quote that stuck out to you, or an overall theme you noticed, and one spot to write your favorite song that was sung. You can either just use one page per session, or make multiple copies and record everything for each session.

My thought was that older kids can take more traditional notes, while you can help younger kids either write one or two words about what was said, or draw pictures to help them remember main points. That's why I wanted to keep it really simple with plenty of room for doodling.

If you'd like to make some copies for your own note taking, you can find it //here//.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! What plans do you have?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

guest post// 5 ingredient ice cream sandwiches


I’m Ashley from Blonde Girl Cravings. Blonde Girl Cravings is all about cooking sweet treats and savory eats that I am craving!
I’m thrilled to be guest posting for Justine while she’s on a little hiatus to welcome her brand new baby into the world! Congrats on your sweet little one!
ice cream sammy pic monkey
Oh sweet summer time, please don’t ever leave me!  I would eat ice cream year round, but there is nothing I love more in the hot summer months than a scoop of my favorite flavor. These ice cream sandwiches come together in minutes and are a perfect way to enjoy the last of the warm weather before fall comes round.
ice cream sammy (1 of 1)-3
These ice cream sandwiches are so simple to put together, and there are a million different combinations. Just pick your flavor of cake mix and ice cream and get creative! I choose white cake mix and strawberry ice cream and I swear, it tastes just like a frosted animal cookie!!
ice cream sammy (1 of 1)-2
ice cream sammy (1 of 1)-5
I choose to under-bake my cookies slightly so they are more chewy, but if you like a more crisp cookie bake for a few extra minutes. I went simple with sprinkles here, but they would be delicious with nuts, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, mini chocolate chips…. the possibilities are endless!!!
ice cream sammy (1 of 1)-6
5 Ingredient Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • 1 box cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons sprinkles
  • Ice Cream
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl,  combine cake mix, eggs, oil and 2 tablespoons sprinkles. Place cookies on parchment or Silpat lined baking sheets using a cookie scoop. Top each cookie with remaining sprinkles. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges just being to brown. Cool on cookie sheet.
Place cookies in freezer, this makes it easier to press them together with ice cream. After cookies are frozen, scoop softened ice cream onto cookie and top with another, pressing gently to flatten. I prefer to freeze them again to let the ice cream harden, but can be served immediately.
Makes 6 large sandwiches, but cookies can be made smaller for “mini” sandwiches

Ohmygoodness... when Ashley sent me this post I started drooling all over my keyboard! 
Thank you so much for sharing this delicious treat with us Ashley!

You can find Ashley on the following social media:

Monday, September 28, 2015

february 3, 2014

Today is the last in my series of birth stories. If you've missed any an you're curious, you can find my 2010 birth //here//, my 2012 birth //here//, and my 2015 birth //here//. Each one has been so different!
When you have two children that come early (38 weeks, and 38 weeks and 2 days) it can be pretty discouraging when you make it to 38 weeks, and then 39 weeks with no sign of imminent labor.
And let me just pause here to say that I know I have no right to complain because there are plenty of women who make it 41 weeks, 42 weeks, or even longer... all I'm saying is that it just messes with you a little bit.

Finally, after several days of sporadic contractions, I woke up around 3:30 in the morning on February 3 (two days before my due date) to a VERY strong contraction, and as I was dozing off I felt another one coming on. I tried keeping track of them while laying in bed, but it's just a testament to how exhausted I was after several nights of contractions waking me up, that I kept falling asleep. I finally came to the realization that I better get out of bed because I really had no clue how far apart these contractions were.
And that's when I realized they were already 6 minutes apart. My doctor had told me she wanted me to come when they were 5 minutes apart for 30 minutes. I was trying to decide if I should wake Mike up yet or not when they suddenly went to 5 minutes apart, then 3-4 minutes apart, yikes! I quickly woke Mike up and after we gathered our things together, we got in the car for what would seem like the longest (and was definitely the most uncomfortable) car ride of my life so far.
During the drive my contractions leveled out to 5 minutes apart and we arrived to the hospital at 7:00 am. We checked in (which seemed to take way too long for a woman in intense labor who had pre-registered, but whatever) and they took me to a triage room. I told the nurse that I was already feeling a lot of pressure, so she said she would check me right away. I remember that I was in so much pain and I turned to Mike and said, "If I'm not at least 5 or 6 centimeters, I'm going to be really depressed."
I will never forget how excited I was when the nurse said, "Well, how does an 8 sound?" That excitement was followed by a lot of nervousness though, as I knew at that point there was no way I'd receive my antibiotics for Group B Strep in time (I had tested positive).
They took me to a huge "delivery suite" for some reason, which was WAY bigger than what we'd seen in the hospital tour! I got settled in, they asked me if I wanted an epidural (no thanks!), and my doctor broke my water, telling me that she be back at 8:00 am and we'd have this baby.
Well, I guess that no one told my unborn daughter that, because when she came back I was just NOT feeling the urge to push. Lots of pressure, but when she would tell me to push I just felt really disconnected and couldn't do it. It was such a strange feeling and not something that I had experienced with my other two births.
I remember that I kept apologizing for some strange reason, and of course they were telling me it was fine, that the baby was still posterior and sometimes that makes pushing a little harder or longer of a process.
Oh, great.
After about two hours I really wanted to get out of bed and try a different position because I was having a hard time relaxing between contractions (flashback to my first labor!!) and I still wasn't feeling any type of urge to push. I got out of bed and stood by the side, and Mike started applying counter pressure to my hips during contractions. Finally, finally I started feeling the urge to push... so I started doing little pushes... while I was still standing up beside the bed...
Here's the thing, the nurse had told me earlier to try little pushes during contractions to see if I started feeling that natural urge to push, and then to let her know. BUT... as anyone woman who has gone through labor will tell you, pushing just feels so good because you're relieving all that pressure and eventually even little pushes start taking on a mind of their own and they turned into harder pushes... and it suddenly dawned on me that I was starting to feel the baby's head crowning.
And I was still standing by the side of my bed, with no medical personnel in the room. Well, technically my husband is a doctor (DDS does stand for doctor of dental surgery after all)...
We quickly buzzed the nurse back in and somehow she and Mike were able to get me back on the bed. The doctor wasn't even in the room yet and they kept telling me not to push and I told them that I wasn't anymore! At this point the baby was just sort of coming out on her own a little bit with each contraction, which at this point were right on top of each other.

Our sweet princess (who had turned from posterior on her own at some point) came out before the doctor could make it in the room, my wonderful nurse technically delivered her, although she almost delivered herself. From start of regular contractions to the end, this labor was about 7 hours, 5 hours shorter than the last one! Once our little lady decided to come, there was no stopping her.
Since I hadn't received the full round of antibiotics in time we had to stay an extra day in the hospital, but then we were both given the okay to go home, and I became a mother to three kids under the age of four.