Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Seems like only yesterday...

Seems like only yesterday that cute little Matt was carrying around his mitt, ball and bat everywhere he went.  He even used to sleep with them!  At the time, his favorite movie was The Sandlot and he would watch it at least once a day. 
For years we followed Matt around the baseball diamond.  Later we added the basketball court and later still the majestic Utah mountain ranges as he broadened his horizons and added snowboarding to his ever-growing list of talents. 
The two hardest workers that I know are Matt and his older brother, Mason (who returned from the Ohio Columbus Mission in July 2012).  Mason started a lawn mowing business when he was 12 and Matt has always mowed right along side him.  They both saved and bought their own trucks when they were sixteen.  When Mason left on his mission, Matt held down the fort (with some help from his little brother, Connor) more than doubling the clientele, keeping up with his schoolwork and working another job that would enable him to earn a four year college scholarship upon graduation.  Here's the clincher:  During those two long years of getting up early, working late, staying up all night sometimes to finish homework, sweating, sweating, sweating in the hot Utah sun, Matt didn't pay himself from the lawn mowing business.  He wanted to make sure that there was enough in the account to help with Mason's mission and for college when he came home.  Brotherly love...
And now...this morning...our Stake President hit the "send" button and my little boy, my cute little Matthew is waiting for his own mission call...broadening his horizons yet again...and I'm sad.  You know that happy, ecstatic sad when you know that they are beginning a grand adventure that will change them and others forever but you can't go...and you're going to miss them...a lot.
So, Matthew...Go forth and conquer!  We can't wait to find out where you will serve, to hear about all of your adventures, your new friends, your ups and downs...can't wait to fast and pray for your investigators and read your emails as a family every Monday night and even though you don't think I will,  I promise, no matter where you go...
I will send packages!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Here Comes the SUN!!

Did you know - according to Google, Finland only receives between four and six hours of daylight during the winter?  That is just crazy nuts!  I was raised in Alaska and I remember it would get a little light during lunch recess.  We walked to school in the dark and we walked home in the dark.  I can't remember it really bothering me too much when I was a kid but then again, it was all I knew.  I do remember loving the never ending daylight during our brief summers.  I recall my mother saying, on more than one occasion, "David?  It's two o'clock in the morning!  We've got to get these kids to bed!"  Funny how if it's light outside we think we need to be awake...and vice versa.
I'm currently serving as the Senior Primary Chorister (best job in the kingdom!) and our Primary pianist is serving a mission in Finland.  This week we also had the honor to host a new friend, Elder Nepia from New Zealand.  His plane arrived a day earlier than he needed to be at the MTC so we got to host him for the night.  Way fun!!  Well, it's summer in New Zealand and it is definatly NOT summer in Utah.   We decided to send them both a Box of Sunshine to help with the dark winter doldrums.  This package has been so much FUN to put together.  It's so bright and cheery!  How could you help but smile when you open this one?

I found this adorable printable (above) ready and waiting for me at olliebop.com.  CUTE!!  I printed them on card stock, cut them apart then handed them out to the Primary teachers.  The teachers had each of the kids write a short note or draw a picture to Sister Luedtke at the end of class time and then turned them back into me.  All I had left to do was tie them all together with a bow.  Ta daa!! Done.  You could easily hand these out to family, friends and neighbors instead of to a million kids.  Not everyone gets to serve in Primary.  I'm just really, really blessed.  For Elder Nepia, we just sent notes from our family.
While wandering around OllieBop.com (cute as heck site!) I also stumbled upon this free printable (above).  So, so cute and beyond perfect for the bottom of our Box of Sunshine.  Love it!  I just printed it out, trimmed the edges and put it at the bottom of our tissue lined box.  Awesome!  Thanks, OllieBop!! 
Now is the fun part.  Fill your box with goodies...just search for anything and everything that is yellow or orange.  Avoid reds.  It's not too long until the color scheme gets all muddy and the bright sunshiney effect starts to go away.  Note:  the green packages that you see in the background will get opened up and separated out into smaller bags (see below).  

Here's a few ideas to get your juices flowing:

Frito's Corn Chips
Cheddar Cheese Pringle's
Lemon Head's
Orange Slices
Trident Tropical Twist gum
Butterscotch candies
Lifesavers "Orange" Mints
Orange flavored Tic Tac's
Quacker Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip granola bars
Starburst candies (original flavor)
Kit Kat bars
Apricot or Peach Fruit Leather
Ritz Crackers
Goldfish Crackers
Wheat Thin Crackers
Trisket Crackers
Skittle's Riddles
orange juice
Koolaid Orange or Lemonade mix
Crystal Light individual drink mixes
Lemonaid soda
Orange soda
Orange Crush soda
Mandarin Orange Slice soda
Lemon Cookies
Oreo Cookies - you know, the yellow ones
*Note:  Do NOT send fresh fruit of any kind.
Burt's Bee's
(everything comes in that cherry yellow packaging)
shower gel
Hawaiian Breeze air freshener
(it smells just like summer...or Hawaii, I forget which)
Post it Notes
small notebook
...you get the idea.
Some of the bags of treats had way too much in them for one person and I wanted to make it easier for Sister Luedtke and Elder Nepia to share with their companions.  I made two sets of bag toppers that are designed to fit over the top of a Ziploc Snack size baggie.  I dumped all the candy into piles, divided them up into individual bags for each person, zipped them close and placed one bag topper over two candy bags and stapled them shut.  Is that as clear as mud?  Two bags of the same candy will be attached together with one bag topper.  Better?  You can download the bag topper here = click here for #1 and here for #2.  Print onto cardstock.
Note:  Line up the 'fold line' on the bag topper with a straight egde.
Run your finger over the edge to create a nice straight fold.

Fold the tissue over the top of your package and place a cover letter on top introducing the treasures found inside.  You can click here for the printable.  Your printable will print out as 8 1/2 x 11.  Just jot your message on a document and run the printable through your printer.  Easy peasy!!  What a FUN package to put together.