Sunday, February 27, 2011


...just a couple of thoughts that I'm drawing from.

This entire article is great advice!  Here is one quote:

"In our day, many children grow up with distorted values because we as parents overindulge them. Whether you are well-to-do or, like most of us, of more modest means, we as parents often attempt to provide children with almost everything they want thus taking away from them the blessing of anticipating, of longing for something they do not have. One of the most important things we can teach our children is to deny themselves. Instant gratification generally makes for weak people. How many truly great individuals do you know who never had to struggle?"
~Joe J. Christensen, “Greed, Selfishness, and Overindulgence,” Ensign, May 1999

Monday, February 21, 2011


I spend a good portion of my time searching for things.  For example, today I am on a rescue mission to locate Brian's Scout information back to the date of his Arrow of Light award.  I'm sure those cards and things are spread from here to the ends of Missouri.

But one of the Scout leaders gave me a great idea for organizing the little cards that come with the achievements and merit badges and rank awards.  Get the plastic baseball card sleeves and tuck everything in the pockets.  How easy is that, and why didn't I think of it?

Something else I am always searching for are the elusive papers from school.  The papers that need signing, initialing, or any other attentioning from me.  We are usually scrambling at the last minute to try to locate those.  I've tried putting information in folders, but then I'd forget that I put it there.  I'm a very "out of sight, out of mind" type, so I came up with a clip-up method to help with that.

I just used plain clothespins (thought about painting them, but why mess with a perfect product?)  I punched out a 2.25" scallop circle,  then a 1.5" circle to go on top.  Then I used an initial for each of the four kids.

Since I did not want to mess with drilling holes in the pins or nailing into the wood, I used some extra Command strips to hang the clothespins on the inside of the computer cabinet.

So far, so good.  I've been able to locate login information for the kids' school accounts and class lists, and even homework for the two little boys.  At least I can find SOMEthing!

Too bad I can't use this clothespin system in my brain. Life would be a whole lot easier.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hanging out with the kids today...

And they have been amazingly cooperative. With me and with each other. I'm not sure what's going on here; perhaps a shift in the space/time continuum or an answer to my prayers.

Today we have accomplished:
  • cleaning the living room and family room (they are both smallish rooms)
  • cleaning off the counter that attracts all of the junk
  • continuous laundry washing/drying/folding/disbursing
  • dinner halfway done (we're having the missionaries over tonight)
  • dessert in the oven
All this and it's not even lunch time!

Just a couple of things to share.  First, my book wreath.  The picture isn't great, as usual since I'm obviously not a photographer, but I love the look of the book wreaths, and I've been wanting to make one for ages.  I finally busted out the glue gun and a Reader's Digest Condensed book from the '60's (after reading it) that I bought for a quarter at the thrift store.

I looked at some tutorials from Living With Lindsay and Apartment Therapy, then decided to do it my way.

Sometimes not the best ideas, but I made it work.  I used a straw wreath form, and not remembering what sized they used in the tutorials, bought the largest size.

Not the best idea, but again, I made it work.  I recommend using a smaller form so the wreath isn't as big and gangly like the wreath I made.  I made the whole wreath from one book and lots and lots of glue sticks.  The finished size is about 3 feet across.

 I hung it over the bed, which kind of scared Andy, but like the look of it.  Sorry for the dark picture, though!  The sun has been hiding behind the clouds the past few days.

This is one of the Valentines that I made for the kids.  I pulled out some pink, red and white supplies and put them together for a simple card.
My valentine from Monkey.  So sweet it made me cry.  It says "Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is Sweet and I LOVE YOU" inside.

The house mini album that I made for my mom is on the Say It With Letters blog today. Go check out the post!  Thanks, Deb, for liking it so much!

I'm participating in these blog hops today:


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We all have our moments...

Joe is working on a project for school.  He had to choose a famous American and give an oral presentation, in front of the class and everything.  He chose Mark Twain, which I thought was a great idea! 

The other night we were listening to some an Elvis album {you know, the real vinyl record type!} and I said to Andy, "Joe could have done his report on Elvis!" 

To which Natalia replied, "Yeah, Mark Twain is boring.  He could have picked Thomas Jefferson.  At least he invented the lightbulb!"

Oh, yeah, she's my daughter.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Give a little bit of love...

Happy Valentine's Day!  We had a great night...
  • Valentine treats
  • Yummy dinner
  • Dancing to Elvis 
  • Early to bed for the kids
We almost always use cloth napkins, but I whipped up some new napkins out of pretty pink fabric I had in my stash.  I also used a big piece of pink fabric from my Grandma for a tablecloth, and Mario wanted to use the "Professional" glasses (cobalt blue goblets out of the china cabinet) and the Chinese cups (I'm guessing he called them "Chinese" because they were in the chine cabinet) for the Jello hearts we made in a silicone heart mold.

Menu consisted of:  Chicken Divan with rice, the above mentioned Jello hearts, Mixed green salad with red wine vinaigrette, Sourdough bread, and a little box of chocolates for each of the kids.

Joe had the best day ever at school.  That's what he called it, the best day ever.  It might have had something to do with the little stuffed bear that he was given as a special Valentine from one of his friends.  Who just might be a sweet little girl.  So cute!!!  Then he and Monkey sat down on the floor, dumped out their valentine boxes, and proceeded to trade candy.  The negotiations came to a standstill, though, until Monkey said,"Well, I'll trade you a Skittles for a Skittles, then!"  ???

Brian got a special Valentine, too.  He got 5 different carnations delivered to him at five different time during the school day, each with a note attached:
  1. S (Sophomore)
  2. C (Class)
  3. U (Upside-down)
  4. D (Dance)
  5. ?
Yes, a girl asked him to the girl's choice dance.  And he's 16 and old enough to go.  And all of those times I've told him that he's not 16 yet and can't date are done with.  {SIGH}  I'm not ready.

My Valentine came home bearing an extra large dark chocolate bar.  Boy, does he know me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

They tend to surprise me...

Just when I'm at my wit's end, after an evening filled with rushing around to get dinner made and kids fed, to get to a basketball game on time, to track down the two youngest boys so we could leave the basketball game, then going back to track down the lost soccer ball, finding the soccer ball, driving home with tired kids and an even more tired mom, kids who don't want to do homework, or take a shower, or go to bed. 

So I threw my hands in the air and left them to it and pretty soon I hear some animated voices coming from upstairs.  I listened a little bit closer, and it was my 16-year old reading a bed-time story to the younger two boys.

So sweet and unexpected.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I don't know what it is, but I almost always like the accoustic version of a song much better than the original version.  It's true for this Natasha Bedingfield song with the amazing guitar accompaniment.

"Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten"

So true, and something I want my kids to remember.  No matter what everyone wants for them or from them, they print the words onto the pages of their lives, good, bad, or inbetween..  They have a fresh page every day!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You should see the other guy...

Yesterday I got an e-mail from the little league website with tips and drills to do during the off-season. I couldn't find the tip "play catch with your 16-year old brother and catch the ball with your eye" anywhere in that information. So yesterday morning was spent at the doctor's office to make sure the eye underneath didn't take a beating, too.

 Here are the cards from the last post.  I couldn't get the pictures to load!  So, I made two cards, embellished the envelopes, and made an 8-1/2 x 11 inch layout...all from 1 piece of white cardstock, three pieces of patterned paper, some letter stickers and a couple of buttons, and the lace and trim on the layout.  Not bad, if I do say so myself!  I love flowers, and can't keep them off of my pages, which is a problem when three out of four children are of the male persuasion.

Here's another look at the Treasure Map cake.

A cake decorator I am not, but it's always fun to try!  Disclaimer:  do not try to find the treasure by using this map.  It will just confuse you.

Now I'm off to pack umpteen lunches, make breakfast, send the kids off to school, and head to work myself.  And get rid of this cold I've seem to come down with.  Hope you stay healthy and warm!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I've been up to here with it...

that would be stuff. We've celebrated 2 birthdays, visited family, worked on projects for school and home, and basically have been busy with the want to's and the have to's.  

Here's an action shot of Monkey blowing out his candles.  He had a little party with some friends, and boy did they have fun. He wanted a pirate party, so I made a treasure map cake, with ideas from some cakes I found online.  I made two 9x13 cakes, but lined the pans with foil to make it easier to get them out of the pan in one piece.  Then I inverted them on the board side by side and frosted them with half chocolate and half tinted blue frosting,  The sand is crushed graham crackers which didn't taste that great with the cake, but looked great.  The flag has a skull and crossbones on the other side, and the x is made with red sugar because I forgot to buy some red icing.  Oh, well.  We just roll with it around here!

I've also been doing some crafting.  I'm working on putting things away where I want them.  Luckily there is a hallway to our bedroom that has plenty of room for a couple of bookshelves I bought used and a small dresser that are housing all of my scrapbooking and sewing supplies.  Since I'm trying to organize them I've been wanting to play a little.

I did a little bit of the opposite of what I usually do...I made some cards, then put together a page from the scraps.  Just a little different from putting together the page and making cards from the scraps!  The big red rectangle is the mat for the picture of Natty in the sombrero.

I've gotten a little bit of inspiration from the Winter issue of the Somerset Life magazine.  I don't usually buy it since it's not in the budget, but I found it at Costco, and it was 1/3 off the cover price.  I had to buy it since I had actual heart palpitations when I thumbed through it.  Seriously.

The next few pictures are my Christmas present to my Mom.  I altered a plain house cutout from Say it with Letters and made it into a mini album by drilling a couple of holes in it for book rings.  I had fun putting it together and used a favorite quote for the front.  The pages are random sized tags and paper scraps with a bit of this and that for the trims, and of course some paint under all of that.

Even though it feels and looks like spring here, everyone in the Midwest is under a blanket of snow and ice, including my family.  You are all in my thoughts and prayers! 

I'm comfy right here on my couch, sitting next to Monkey, who is snoring softly.  He's thoroughly worn out.  Up too early this morning, and now he's sporting a huge shiner after being clocked in the eye by a baseball thrown by his brother the birthday boy.  (Pictures to follow when I can get him to let me take one.) 

I can't believe my first born baby is 16 today!  I brought him home a Whopper for lunch, since I call him my Whopper Baby.  And that's for two reasons:  I loved to indulge in a Whopper (Jr.) when I was pregnant with him, and he was also a whopper of a baby. 

Well, I'm off to bed.  I'm hoping to get a good night's rest despite thinking about everything that is on the news tonight.  Egypt, the weather, and everything else.  Oh, my.
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