babygym

DIY Baby Gym

January 27, 2017


Finding baby items that we like has been a pretty big challenge for my husband and me. After spending a few unsuccessful months trying to find a baby gym that we liked for our son, we decided to build our own! We found a basic design we liked and my amazing husband came up with a plan. Because I've had a few people ask me about it, I decided to make a step by step guide on how we made our baby gym.



*Materials needed:
  •  1 x 2 oak board (they sell these in one long piece as well as in the 2 ft size. We bought the long piece and cut 4 pieces at 2 ft each)
  • 5/8 in x 2 1/2 ft dowel
  • Two 1/4 inch dowels
  • Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax
  • String/Rope


























Directions:

1. After cutting your oak board into four pieces, sand it down until the edges are smooth.

2. On your four boards, drill a 5/8 inch hole 3 inches from the top.  This is the hole the large dowel will go through.

3. Drill a 1/4 inch hole 10 inches from the bottom of each board. This is the hole your rope will go through.


4. 1/2 inch from each end, drill a 1/4 inch hole on the large dowel for the smaller dowels to go through.

5. Sand the ends of the dowels so they are completely smooth.


6. Brush the wax on each piece of wood. This will help seal the wood and aid against any splinters or water damage. It also helps keep the wood lasting longer (and also defines the grain of the wood, which we love!)


7. Next, you are just going to assemble all of the wooden pieces together. Put the large dowel through the holes you drilled at the top of each board. They should fit rather snug as you slide it through. Once that's together, place the 1/4 inch dowels on the outside in the holes of the larger dowel.

8. Pull the rope through the bottom holes and tie knots at each end. I cut my rope to be about 12 inches long, but you can really make it whatever size you'd like depending on how tall you want the gym to stand.


9. This is totally optional, but I thought it would be fun to make the toys that hung from the gym. It was super quick and easy; all I did was get a few wooden teething rings, some string, and different sized/colored wooden beads. I created a little pattern with the beads and strung them together. 


Overall, it took us about 2 hours total to complete, including the little toys. We had such a fun time putting this baby gym together and love having something for our son that we built ourselves. It's simple, neutral, and our baby sure seems to enjoy it as well!






*We got all of the wood from Lowes, the small rope and unfinished wooden beads from Michaels. I got the colored beads and string from target, and the teething rings from Amazon!

More Than a Lofty Ideal

January 24, 2017


Lately, all I've seen online are harmful and hateful words coming from both sides of the political spectrum, and it is absolutely breaking my heart. I have scrolled through countless posts coming from all sorts of viewpoints, but each share the same hateful tone. It's been troubling to see such an amplified level of bitterness and cruelty suffused across my news feed and I felt it important to share my thoughts on all of this. No, not my political standpoint or how I feel about the new president, but rather, how I feel about the lack of  peace of mind that so many share at this time.

In our world today, we are surrounded by many differing opinions. Leaders and citizens alike struggle to find common ground. We try so hard to dehumanize whichever political party we don't agree with and forget that we are all just people. We are so much more than our opinions. We are our dreams, our hopes, our joys, our successes. We are our triumphs and we are our tragedies. We are more than whatever we label ourselves to be. In fact, we are more than just this world.

Have we forgotten that we are all children of a higher being, a being far greater than us? How have we so easily lost sight of our divine purpose and cause for being here? Truly, we are more than our opinions. Truly, we are more than just here and now.

We came to this earth not to argue or harm or name call or dispute. We came to this earth to give and to guide. To love and to cherish. We came here to be refined. We came here to grow. We came here to help one another as the spiritual brothers and sisters we truly are. We came here to lift each other up so that we can go back to our spiritual home - our real home.

So what are we accomplishing by sharing words we know will offend? We accomplish nothing but a momentary feeling of 'I told you so' and perhaps a like or two from people that agree. This is a destructive choice that pains others and, in reality, pains our Father above. He genuinely loves us. I say this because I feel it within me. I feel the truth that phrase resonates deep within my soul. He loves us. He loves His children - all of His children. He loves His democratic children, He loves His republican children. He loves his Muslim children, His Christian children. He even loves His children that love Him not.

In my religion, we are taught that the essence of the gospel is love. We are also taught that through Christ our Savior, we can always feel peace regardless of our circumstances. Joseph B. Wirthlin has said, "Peace is more than a lofty ideal. Despite dismal conditions in the world...peace within can be a reality. We can be calm and serene regardless of the swirling turmoil all about us." Peace comes as a result of action. As we learn of Christ, listen to His words, and walk with Him, we can achieve the peace that we each desire.

So be a little kinder (or a lot kinder) to those you don't agree with. Have hope that others will do the same. Know that through Christ, you can be calm and peaceful despite the tumultuous times we live in. Forget not your true purpose in this existence. Be loving, be peaceful. This world isn't as bad as we tend to think it is when we remember who so lovingly created it for us - all of us. Love your neighbor - especially the one you disagree with. Find joy, share goodness, and seek the peace in this world, because I know it is still there.






happiness

What God Told Me About Joy

January 11, 2017

I recently read a post by one of my favorite bloggers (Al Carraway) and discovered we have a pretty special commonality that I imagine many others share as well. For as long as I can remember, I have done my best to write down what I've been told in priesthood blessings immediately after receiving them. Al wrote a post about what God has told her about goals (you can read her post here) and it inspired me to share some of what God has told me about joy over the years!



Things To Remember About Joy:
  • You were meant to have joy in this life.
  • When you feel joy, so too does your Savior.
  • Be happy! Have joy. This is God's plan for you.
  • The Savior feels joy as you feel it. This is a crucial part of the atonement that you must not forget.
  • Remember to have joy, for this is the purpose of your existence.
  • You can be more than happy in this life; you can be joyous.
Obtaining Joy:
  • Joy is something you can pray to obtain.
  • The joy that comes from actively serving the Lord is far greater than the joy of sitting on the couch staring at a phone.
  • Take time to do those things that bring you joy. Joy brings you closer to Christ regardless of what the activity is.
  • True happiness comes from living the gospel. You know this. Let others know as well.
When You Are Without Joy:
  • You were sent to this earth to have joy and to bring joy to others. God does not want you to dwindle in depression and defeat.
  • Your greatest struggles in life will lead to the greatest joys of your life.
  • You deserve joy. Do your best to remember this when despair clouds your perception and judgment.
  • Others will seek to destroy your happiness. Disregard their efforts.
  • You are not the burden to others that you think you are. Be happy and have joy, for this is what people see in you.
  • You do not have to live in fear. Happiness will dispel any fear from your soul.
  • Satan wants nothing more than to deplete you of happiness. Conquer him. Conquer these destructive thoughts. Have faith that you deserve happiness and you will never fail.
  • Despair no more. It will bring you no good. Rather, be at peace. Find moments of joy. This will heal you.
  • Happiness heals when despair destroys.
  • At times when you feel that joy will never come, know that you would not be able to handle the joy that you will feel from the gospel in the future. You would not be able to bear it at this moment, but as you grow closer to the Lord, you will be able to handle all the joy that is in store for you.

Know that God wants you to be joyful! He is a man of happiness, of peace, of love, and of joy. Move forward with the knowledge that you deserve joy, and plenty of it. 
(Photo by Taylor Yardley)




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