March 2014 Visiting Teaching Message printable

visiting teaching message March 2014 free printable

Free for personal noncommercial use, this is a free printable with a quote taken from the March 2014 visiting teaching message. I love this message. I have met many many beautiful “lights” in my life and I love the idea of being a light to others as well. Isn’t it neat that we have that in us? We have the ability to influence others in such a way that we can be a reflection of Christ’s light. It makes me so excited to keep working to be like Christ. I hope that everyone has great visiting teaching experiences this month :) God bless!

– Amber Mae

DIY Grandparent Gift/ Craft – grandkids photo display

DIY grandparent gift

It’s not like we live across the world from each other, we’re only a state apart, but we don’t get to see each other more than a few times a year so I often find myself missing our families. I especially miss seeing everyone with my babies. We try hard to stay connected. We call each other, Skype, and send the kid’s artwork in the mail, but every so often it feels like we need to do more. We were feeling exactly this way as we prepared for Valentine’s, after a search on Pinterest we decided to make these grand-babies photo displays to send to the grandparents. I sent them in the mail with more pictures than could reasonably fit on the display and somehow I feel less homesick when I think about everyone looking at the pictures we send. I love to imagine these displays at the grandparents homes, connecting us in spirit even though we can’t be there physically.

Here’s the tutorial on how I made them.

Supplies: 1 wooden board, stain, acrylic paint, sandpaper, two hooks, a length of yarn, hardware for hanging, pictures

Estimated Cost: Without pics less than $5 With pics: depends on the size you print could be anywhere from $10 – $20

1. First I sanded down a piece of reclaimed wood.

2. Then I stained it, waited for it to dry and painted over the stain with some watered down acrylic, after that dried I sanded again to give it a distressed vintage feel.

DIY grandparent gift

3. I messed around until I found a font I liked and painted on grand-babiesDIY grandparent gift

4. Next I screwed a hook into the bottom corners of the boards, making sure to keep them on the same plane as each other.

5. I then stretched some yarn across the hooks, tying it tight. You could use just about anything for this: yarn, string, twine, fishing line, etc.

6. I took 13 Clothespins and hung them on the line, just to try it out, then put them in an envelope for the mail.

7. I printed out some pictures and put them in an envelope to be sent with the rest of the gift. DIY grandparent gift

8. Finally, I mailed them with some push-pin wall hangers in a separate envelope so the grandparents could place them however they wanted to.

DIY grandparent gift


I got my “Pin”spiration: here here and here

Happy crafting!

My Expectations vs. Heavenly Father’s

best parent you can be quote from Jeffrey R Holland

This is a photo I snapped when our oldest was sick and refusing to sleep.

I had an overwhelming week… well, if I’m honest it was an overwhelming couple of weeks. I’m always really prideful and I hate to admit it when it gets hard but I’m admitting it right now. Sometimes it’s hard.

I have all of these expectations for myself as a mother. I’m supposed to keep my house perfectly clean, feed my family three nutritious meals a day plus healthy snacks, teach my children important life and educational skills, be a good wife to my husband, and never ever lose my temper because studies show that if you yell you will damage your kiddos for life, they will be hashing out your faults on some therapists couch for years to come!

On top of that I ran across some stupid crap online where a bunch of working mothers bashed stay-at-home mommies who aren’t really working you know. It was like someone was putting rocks in my pockets…. guilt… expectations… accusations… I was ready to explode. I did explode, well more like I melted. I’m one of those people who is more likely to have a crying fit than a screaming one.

It all climaxed on Valentine’s day. I was wrangling my babies, feeding them some not exciting or overly nutritious cereal, and thinking about last years Valentine’s french toast. As I recall it was heart-shaped and topped with strawberries and Nutella. Hubby came home to me crying and feeling SO inadequate. He didn’t judge. He didn’t scold. And thankfully he didn’t laugh. He just told me it was OK, told me that the things I was worrying about didn’t really matter, and that I was doing a good job. He then took the kids and entertained them so I could have a break.

Not long after this I was listening to a podcast called Keeping Your Sanity in a Home of Little Ones. I missed half of the podcast because I was simultaneously cleaning the kitchen and entertaining a toddler, but I got snippets here and there and the basic feeling that the things I’ve been stressing so much over don’t matter, as long as I’m doing my best and relying on my Heavenly Father when things get tough.

What drove it all home was this quote from Elder Jeffrey R Holland who said, “If you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.” Wow, so are my expectations of myself really in line with my Heavenly Father’s expectations of me? It’s worth thinking about because it’s the kind of question that gives comfort but doesn’t just give you a pass, “Oh your child is running naked down the street while you text your BFF from high school? It’s OK you’re doing your best.” No, it’s more like, “Yeah, I’m feeding my kid cereal, but I’m also talking to her and playing with her and you know what, even though the kids screamed through it we still prayed on that cereal complete with the plea that those Lucky Charms give us the health and strength we need!”

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I will get overwhelmed with life, but I hope I’ll remember this quote and take solace that as long as I’m doing my best I’m not letting anyone down. In fact, as long as I’m doing my best it doesn’t matter if someone else disapproves because my Heavenly Father doesn’t. He’s proud of me and right there cheering me on Lucky Charms and all.

DIY Hot Chocolate Bar by Mindy

Today we’ve got a guest post from Mindy, the awesome founder of Tangled Up With String, a new blog craft blog that I’m sure ya’ll would like.

My “Hot Chocolate Bar”

Hey Everyone!

I am so excited to be guest posting here at Amber May Be… ! I love Amber and everything that she shares with us.

I am from a cute little blog called Tangled Up With String. There are five of us creative ladies working together to share our ideas with others and develop more talents ourselves. We are having so much fun and would love for you to follow us!

Today, I decided to share my cute little Cocoa Bar with you! I love having hot cocoa out for guests when they come over. And I always keep my tea pot ready to go on my stove.

DIY Hot Chocolate Bar 

1. I make a chalkboard printable to fit this time of year! I thought that it would be so fun to have it be a heart theme for Valentine’s Day. You can get the free printable HERE  in two different sizes!

2. I picked up a simple silver frame from our local dollar store.

3. These little silver trays were also from the dollar store. I wanted something to make it look more streamlined and connected.

4. A couple of years ago, I scored this apothecary jar from a second hand store in town. Oh ya! I keep our hot chocolate in it.

5. These are some of the mugs that we have (I really like white dinnerware. It is clean AND I can change the colors in my kitchen without wanting to buy new dishes…… yes, I already made that mistake!)

6. These little jars are actually old salsa jars from the store. After we used the salsa, I put them through the dishwasher three times. Yes, three times! The first two times didn’t get the salsa smell out. After the third time, I let them sit (with the lids on) for three days with some newspaper inside of them. I had heard that trick worked for Tupperware, so I tried it with these. Yep! It worked! After spray painting the lids sliver, everything matched perfectly! I added some mini marshmallows and creamer to sweeten up the cocoa.

Equipment List and Links for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Equipment list and links for Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a dayI just got the New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day Book. I’ve had it for about a month and let me tell you, the buzz is worth it. However, there is a caveat, if you’re going to turn into a serious bread baker you’ll need some supplies. It hasn’t been easy finding said equipment for reasonable prices, so I made a list of links to make it easier for other newbie bread makers to gather supplies. I didn’t link up ALL of the equipment they suggest, just the things I thought wouldn’t already be in your kitchen and of course what I thought most people would use :) So here it is: where to get what you’ll need to have fresh artisan bread in five minutes a day… without breaking the bank.

1) The Big Bucket – I didn’t want to pay 18 bucks for a bucket! That’s insane! Here are some cost-effective alternatives:

If it MUST be round try this one  from King Arthur Flour for $14.95 with shippingwhere to get supplies for artisan bread in 5 minutes

But seriously why spend 15 bucks when there’s this one at Wal-Mart for $4.97. Available in store. The biggest tupper is slightly smaller than the suggested 6 quart tub but after using it myself I can attest that it is in fact large enough, and although it is not a perfect circle the edges are rounded enough to easily scrape dough out of. tupper

2. Pizza Stone: Don’t spend $20 plus bucks on it! It’s at Wal-Mart with free site to store shipping for $13.97. Before you decide you can’t buy this one because it’s cheap let me tell you that this is the same one I’ve had for 5 years, and it’s still doing great. I haven’t ever dropped it mind you, but it’s still doing great!

pizza stone

3. Pizza Peel: This one is $12.88 from Amazon with free prime shipping. I didn’t buy one though, instead I slide the bread off of my edge-less cookie sheet.

pizza peel

4. Dough Whisk: Personally, I’ll just use the boring wood spoon I already have, but if you want the cool fancy looking one like in the book, this is the cheapest I could find. It’s $9.37 with free prime shipping on Amazon.


5. Lipless cookie sheet: The cheapest one I could find online is at Bed Bath and Beyond for $12.99, but I found one for $6 at my local Wal-Mart. Be warned your trading in quality when you get the cheapy one at the big box store. Just so we’re clear on that  :).

cookie sheet

6. Baguette Pan: Just because it’s cool. This would be a fun thing to bring as a white elephant or to suggest to someone as a gift for yourself! This baguette pan is $10.75 with free prime shipping at Amazon.

baggete pan

7. Oven Thermometer: There’s a cheaper one at Wal-Mart but the reviews are terrible. This one at Amazon is $6.98 with prime shipping, plus it has 4 stars and over 200 reviews.

oven thermometer

I hope this list is helpful to you! I wasn’t paid anything to recommend any of these products, but I totally should have looked into that before publishing this post ;). Happy bread-making!

P.S. if you are morally opposed to Wal-mart, most of the Wal-Mart stuff can be found for similar prices or a little more at other big stores like Target and K-Mart.

DIY letters made from cardboard and t shirt scraps

DIY letters made from cardboard and t shirt scrapsTime for another Valentine’s craft! The inspiration behind this craft is a little different. I ran across the oh so popular pom poms from T shirt scraps tutorial over at Crafter’s Anonymous and part of the tutorial looks like a letter C wrapped in T-shirt. Now, that’s not the actual purpose of the tutorial, but it still inspired me to make these. I love the way they turned out, plus I love that they were completely free!

Ready for your supplies list? Here it is: cardboard, scissors, a pen, and an old T shirt or two cut into long thin strips.

1. Start out by drawing your letters whatever style/size you want on a piece of cardboard. If you aren’t confident in your penmanship skills you can always print out the letters you want, cut those out, and then trace around them onto the cardboard.

DIY letters made from cardboard and t shirt scraps

2. Cut out your letters

3. This is where it gets tricky… wrap them with fabric. Just kidding! It’s not tricky at all :) Just place a piece of fabric on top of your letter so no cardboard is showing and begin wrapping.

DIY letters made from cardboard and t shirt scraps4. When you run out of fabric, or want to change colors, just tuck the end of the fabric into the wrapped cords on the back of the letter and start a new one. Begin by placing the fabric halfway on the back so the end doesn’t show and wrap away. P.S. sorry for the crappy phone pics. In order to manage kids and a blog sometimes my pics have to be taken with a phone… and have chipped nail polish in them… oh and little hands and feet grabbing for my project… I actually love that last part :)

DIY letters made from cardboard and t shirt scraps5. Keep wrapping until you reach the end, then fold the fabric over any showing cardboard and tuck the fabric ends into the back. This can get tricky with round letters and odd shapes, but it’s totally do-able.

DIY letters made from cardboard and t shirt scraps

You could do this with just an initial and have a hanging monogram on the door, or you could add some cute words to a wreath, or you could decorate the mantle. So many possibilities! For me this is way better than a twenty dollar letter at Michael’s. It’s personal, free, and quick to do. Woot! Woot!

Happy Valentine’s everyone! I hope your decorating is going wonderfully. Let me know if you try this, or if you use a different method to make letters, or you can tell me what you had for lunch! I love your comments :)




DIY His & Hers Key Chain

DIY His and Her Keychain

I was trying to come up with a fun little gift I could give hubby for Valentine’s, something inexpensive that would still feel personalized. I started googling valentines day gift and I found a cute his and hers key chain at Walmart, it was like the BFF ones for little girls with two sides of a heart that fit together. I thought it was cute, but I knew hubby wouldn’t want to put it on his key ring.

I could just hear the exchange at work, “Dude, is that half a heart on your key chain?” “Yeah…. my wife made me…” “Dude you are so not manly!” Yep, that’s how I imagined it. So I came up with this instead. The arrow is made from an old gift card and the heart from scraps. It’s perfect because I get something cute and he gets something cool that won’t raise manhood questioning eyebrows. I made it quickly, at night, without taking pictures, so instead of the usual visual aids you get my hand drawn tutorial.

1. Start with a square shaped scrap of fabric and fold it in half twice as pictured.
DIY His and Her Keychain

2. Cut out a heart shape the same way you cut out Valentine’s as a little kid. You should now have two matching hearts.DIY His and Her Keychain

3.  Cut out a matching heart from scraps of batting as well as two short strips of paper and one long one. Sew the short strips to the front of your front heart scrap just below the hearts humps, fold the long strip in half and sew it to the inside (back) of the back heart. See pictures for further explanation.DIY His and Her Keychain

4. Layer the hearts in the following order: back heart, batting, front heart. Make sure that the print of your fabric is facing out.
DIY His and Her Keychain

5. Sew around the outside of the heart. This took me a few tries. I used black thread on red fabric so the heart outline would show up and look cute. Now, just add a little ring and the heart is finished!

DIY His and Her Keychain

6. For the arrow, just punch a hole in the gift card and cut out an arrow shape. If you want to you can paint the arrow, but I left mine as is. I like the urban look it gave it.DIY His and Her Keychain

And that’s it! A fun key chain for your sweetie. Just in time for Valentine’s day :)
DIY His and Her Keychain

The Parable of the Popcorn FHE

the popcorn parable FHE idea

The Parable of the Popcorn, a modern parable based on the parable of the sowers

Opening Prayer

Opening Hymn: Popcorn Popping

Treat: Popcorn!

Lesson: Read the following parable to the family. Find examples of each type of popcorn in your bowl.

Behold at the time of harvest, the ears of corn did bring forth kernels which were dried and prepared for the Popper’s hand. And then it was that the Popper did take the kernels, all that did appear alike unto Him, and applied the oil and the heat.

And it came to pass that when the heat was on, some did explode with promise and did magnify themselves an hundred fold. And some did burst forth with whiteness which did both gladden the eye and satisfy the taste of the Popper. And likewise some did pop, but not too much. Behold, there were some that did lie there, and even through the Popper’s heat was alike unto all, some did just bask in the oil and keep everything that they had unto themselves.

And so it came to pass that those which had given of themselves did bring forth much joy and delight to many munchers. But those which kept of the warmth and did not bring forth were only cast into the pail and thought of with hardness and disgust.

And thus we see that in the beginning all appear alike, but when the heat is on, some come forth and give all, while others fail their purpose as chaff, so as to be discarded and forgotten – unknown source

Discuss the popcorn parable. For the very young just explain the analogy, for older kids ask some deeper questions, What does the heat represent? Why are we like the popcorn? What can we do to fulfill our potential?

Explain that we are all Children of Heavenly Father and we all have great potential, but we have to first choose to always strive to do good and choose the right.

If you want to, you can pass out this handout to go along with it. This printable is about 5″ x 7″.

the parable of the popcorn printable

Activity: Watch a movie together about someone who worked hard and did their best. The Princess and the Frog, Rudy, The Little Train that Could all come to mind. If you have any other ideas please share!

Closing Hymn: I Have Work Enough to Do

Closing Prayer

I hope this lesson plan helps you have a great family home evening! Let me know how it goes, I love to hear from you :)

26 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Clean

How to keep your house cleanHow to keep your house clean“I don’t mind cleaning. I just don’t like to clean things that get messed up again.” – quote from a teenage boy on cleaning

“BWA HA HA HA” – what the adults in the room sounded like after hearing his quote

*mutter mutter* “crazy motherly folk” *mutter mutter* – teenage boy with a death glare on his face

Unless you are Snow White or Milly from ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ there are times when you don’t want to clean. Me too! That’s why I’m creating this totally awesome list of cleaning motivators. Even if it’s mundane and boring, cleaning house has some amazing benefits, which leads me to motivator numbers 1-20:

1. Having a clean home can reduce anxiety/stress

2. The act of cleaning your home can reduce anxiety/stress

3. According to some scientists at Princeton a clean space improves concentration

4. Dusting and vacuuming helps keep indoor air quality good by taking care of those nasty dust mites

5. A dirty home welcomes mice, bugs, and other unwanted critters. Adversely, a clean and well sealed home keeps them out.

6. I don’t know about you, but I’m about 100 times more likely to make dinner in an already clean kitchen, therefore clean home = home cooked meals

7. = delicious

8. = more family meals

9. = saving money on eating out

10. = puppies and rainbows! Or at least it may simulate the feeling of watching rainbows while cuddling puppies.

11. You are less likely to lose things in a clean home

12. In a clean home you won’t spend money on replacing things you broke or lost in your dirty home.

13. Your family will want to spend more time in the house with you.

14. In the winter/summer when you are stuck inside cabin fever won’t set in quite as fast.

15. The spirit in your home will be better

16. Your home will be safer – you won’t be tripping over junk, the baby won’t be trying to eat small dangerous objects that were left on the floor, you won’t be getting sick from the polluted air.

17. You won’t be embarrassed if people come over

18. You and your family will be more moral, no joke, BYU did a study! Having a clean smelling home improves your ethics :)

19. People are more likely to get sick and pass around bugs in dirty homes

20. You can burn a ton of calories! To find out how many use a calculator like this one.

If 1-20 didn’t cut it, then try out one of these motivators, we’ll callin’ in the big guns this time!

21. upbeat music

22. a timer – set it for 10 minutes and tell yourself that you only have to go until the timer goes off, you would be surprised how often you will find the motivation to keep going once the 10 minutes are up.

23. Watch this and you will want to clean your home within an inch of its life!

24. Same with this

25. Pretend you can clean the house with magic and watch this

26. Pretend you are Snow White, NOT Cinderella (we don’t need any resentment building now do we ;)

Good luck cleaning! If I didn’t list some of your motivating methods please add them in the comments section.

Thanks in Advance!

-Amber Mae

This is part of a series called Keepin’ it Clean in 2014. Up next: How to do an emergency clean, going from messy to magnificent in less than an hour. 


5 House Cleaning Tips from an Ex-pro

How to keep your house cleanHow to keep your house clean
I worked as a housekeeper to get myself through college. For an entire year of my life I spent 20 – 40 hours a week elbow deep in soap suds and bed sheets at the local hospital. I got pretty good at it. By the time I quit to take a marketing position elsewhere I could clean small rooms in 30 minutes or less and large rooms in the space of an hour. I was effective and efficient.

Then, not long after my stint in marketing, I had a baby and decided to stay home and be a full-time homemaker. I was pretty sure I could handle it. Baby care? Got it. Decorating? Easy. Budgeting? I am the queen of budgeting. Keeping the house clean? Well, I did spend a year cleaning professionally so it shouldn’t be a problem, right? WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Sorry, didn’t mean to yell at you there. *ahem* Yeah, so keeping my house clean was a big issue. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. If I could handle two floors at the hospital, why couldn’t I handle my two bedroom apartment? What was going on? After months of floundering I finally decided to sit down and do an old-fashioned compare and contrast worksheet to fix my problem. Why was my home so different from my old job? The following is what I came up with. And let me tell you, it made all the difference. My home isn’t perfect, but because of what you are about to read A) I no longer feel like I’m drowning in housework and B) I can do an emergency clean of my entire house in 1 – 2 hours. Interested yet? K, here are my housekeeping tips. How to keep your home clean from an ex-pro.

1) Routine: At the hospital I had a solid routine I followed. I could practically clean with my eyes closed. I knew the order of everything. Not just I’ll start with this room and go to this room, no it was I’ll start with the counters in the bathroom, go to the sink, then the mirror, then the lights above the mirror kind of specific. In order to keep my home clean I made several layers of routine. First, there’s the weekly routine (when I do my laundry etc.) then the daily routine (I have short cleaning sessions in the morning, afternoon, and evening) and finally the specifics routine (during morning cleaning session I start with the dishes, go to the counters, then the floors etc.) If I get enough interest I’ll post my exact routines for you.

2) Be decisive about stuff: At the hospital, the contents of the rooms rarely changed, if ever. I knew where away was all the time because, as the old adage goes everything had a place and everything was in its place. Obviously, this only works to a certain extent in a home where you have multiple people coming and going with their junk. My solution was to start being more decisive about stuff. When I did my general cleaning (clearing stuff off of floors and counters) I had to stop throwing anonymous items in random corners and closets and instead find them a permanent home. Now, If I can’t think of a good place for an item to live, I just toss it. So what about stuff I really need but really can’t find a home for? Well, I had this problem with my mail. I needed a place for bills etc. so I gave myself a deadline and crafted a cute mail organizer. Problem solved.

3) Have the proper tools: Housekeepers get possessive of their carts, no joke, I learned that the hard way, you do not want to mess with someone else’s cart! You get the same cart every shift and you get it all set up so that you have the tools you need stocked and at your fingertips. This same concept can be used in the home. Make sure your cleaning supplies are organized and arranged for convenience. For example, I like to do a quick daily swipe of my bathroom counters. To make it easy I keep a canister of antibacterial wipes in each bathroom. I also keep one in my kitchen. It makes everything quick and easy. I try to use tools that require the least amount of work possible so that the job is faster and easier (like the wipes I can just throw away). If I have a big job to do (like the oven) I prepare first  by purchasing the special tools I will need (foam oven cleaner). It’s hard to keep your home clean if your cleaning tools are a mess, such a simple concept but one I had to learn the hard way :)

4) Get Help: I didn’t clean the hospital by myself, and since I’m not the only one living at my house I shouldn’t clean it by myself either. Without sounding accusatory, I had some good long talks with hubby about how neither of us were very good at picking up after ourselves and we BOTH needed to pitch in around the house. Here’s a sample of how those talks went:

“Honey?” approaching sheepishly

“What?” eyeing me warily

“The house is a mess” maybe a tear or two

“I can tell” sarcasm runs in his family

“I need help!” Plus long exposition on my part

“OK, what can I do?”

Ahh, shout out to my hubby! He’s amazing :)  We discussed how we would divide responsibilities and started doing “clean days” once a week where we would work together to get the house really clean. Clean days kind of fell off the map at the end of hubby’s bachelor’s (he was also working full-time) but they’ve already started back up again and it makes a world of difference to have help.

5) Give it time: Housekeepers dread new hires. Not because they see housekeeping as an exclusive clique or anything, just because new hires are so slow! When I started, those thirty minute rooms took me over an hour! It was nuts. Keeping your house clean is the same way, it takes time to get the hang of it. It may start out slow, but if you keep working on it and getting used to your routines you will eventually get the hang of it.

Try to remember that no one has a perfect house, and this isn’t a competition. When you’re the primary homemaker you can’t just call in sick or take maternity leave. Life happens, things get busy. Just stay calm and do the best you can right? I know to some this will all seem insanely easy and simple, but to those of us who aren’t born neat freaks, it takes practice.

What are your housekeeping tips? Do you ever feel like you’re underwater?

This is part of a series called Keepin’ it Clean in 2014. Up next: 26 Ways to motivate yourself to clean.