Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Funny Comment...

Make fun of me all you want - but I am a spray butter fan. I have been a fan for years and I have received all sorts of ridicule and mockery, but it hasn't changed my habits! I use it on toast, muffins, rolls, corn on the cob, potatoes, asparagus - there is no limit to when I will pull out the spray. My children have been raised in a house with my example and they too love spraying. The other day, Hunter requested cinnamon toast. We had company over for dinner the previous night so I had a plate with a stick of butter on it on the counter. Not thinking anything of it, I took a knife out of the drawer and started to spread the butter. Hunter started throwing a little fit because he felt like I wasn't making what he asked for.

Me: Why are you crying?
Hunter: Because I told you I wanted cinnamon toast.
Me: I know - that's what I'm making for you.
Hunter: (Totally exasperated) Then why did you use that type of butter?


Type of butter? I've officially brainwashed my children if they think the stick of butter on a plate is a "type of butter". They think the real butter comes in liquid form and is easily sprayed with little hands. It's moments such as this that I feel like a successful mother!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More Curtains...

My parents are in town which means we're doing a lot of playing and hanging out and eating really well! But you all know I'm the project queen and I always have a few projects up my sleeve to pull out when the opportunity arises. With both my mom and dad visiting, the opportunity continues to arise!

I sat on the floor for almost two hours tonight cutting material for more curtains. After I make these, I think I might take a curtain hiatus (although there are still plenty of rooms that still need some!). Kneeling on the floor is doing a number on my knees and back. 20130226-photo (24) photo 20130226-photo24.jpg

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ski bunny...

I suffer from a self-proclaimed allergy to cold weather. It plagued me in Wisconsin and before that in Idaho. Due to my allergy - I have restricted myself from participating in certain activities; one such activity is skiing. Steve grew up skiing and has a family full of talented skiers. Although I skied several times growing up, it was far from enjoyable for me and I was never something I sought out.

The last time I skied was at Deer Valley right after we got married. I skied for the morning and my knees hurt so bad I called it a day after lunch. I hadn't skied since then, nine years ago - until this weekend. Our youth program planned a ski trip which I knew I had to be a part of. I convinced Steve we could make a fun day trip date out of it and he happily obliged.

It snowed 27 inches earlier in the week and the blanket of snow was beautiful from my nicely heated car! 20130223-photo (23) photo 20130223-photo23.jpg

I got cold feet (no pun intended) on the way up and was convinced the weather would be far to cold for me to be participating. I pictured myself curled up in the lodge with a good book as I kept tabs on the youth coming and going. We arrived and I stepped out of the car and nearly died of frozen lungs - it has been a long time since I've felt weather that cold! Arizona has thinned my blood!

As I rushed around (with the other adult leaders) making sure all 30 kids had what they needed I warmed up considerably and took the opportunity to ski with my husband. He was kind enough to do the easy hills with me until I called it quits halfway through the day. I knew my knees couldn't handle another couple hours so I quit before I became sore. 20130223-photo (22) photo 20130223-photo22.jpg We all had a great time and I loved spending the afternoon in the lodge hearing the kids recall wipe-out stories and scary moments. It was a great energy.

We made a stop for dinner on the way home and enjoyed ourselves some Idaho fries: 20130223-photo (19) photo 20130223-photo19.jpg The time I had with Steve in the car (almost three hours each way) was awesome. On the way up the girls riding with us were chatty and energetic - they slept the whole way home while Steve and I discussed our plans for changing the world and raising our family. Valuable and well spent time.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

School Carnival...

It's that time of year - School Carnival. Last year was a huge hit with the kids (here) and this year did not disappoint.

I worked with the PTA on the carnival committee so I had extra duty to support this activity. The weather was a tad bit chilly which meant Steve and I encouraged wasting tickets where we could to speed up the process, we still ended up being there far longer than anticipated!

Hallie thought it was worth it to wait in line for this bungee jumper. I questioned the waiting several times, especially as the line in front of us continued to expand as kids were offering "back-cuts" to their friends. I didn't even know what back-cuts were! But evidently people don't want you to cut in front of them, so they say you can cut in behind them, so it doesn't affect them! Clever - however, very annoying when you're standing behind them. After several kids cut I finally had to speak up and declare the cutting would stop - or they would be kicked out of line. I had no authority to do so but they were young enough they believed me! It was a 45 minute wait. And we started tenth in line!

Once strapped in Hallie jumped and jumped; performing back flip after back flip. Pretty sure she enjoyed herself: 20130222-DSC_8164 photo 20130222-DSC_8164.jpg 20130222-DSC_8201 photo 20130222-DSC_8201.jpg

After the painfully long wait in the bungee line I swore off any more bouncers - luckily Hallie had already conquered the rock wall when the line was non-existent. 20130222-DSC_8155 photo 20130222-DSC_8155.jpg Hunter ran into his best buddy and was in heaven. (His buddy clearly didn't want his picture taken, no matter how many times I told him to look up. His sucker was more important!) 20130222-DSC_8203 photo 20130222-DSC_8203.jpg We made sure to hit the game booths where you win a prize regardless of your skill in the game. Always a favorite with the kids and the most annoying for parents as there is crying minutes later when their "prize" breaks or doesn't work! What do they expect? They got a toy for participating in the booth without having to meet any type of standard, they don't know how good they have it! 20130222-DSC_8218 photo 20130222-DSC_8218.jpg 20130222-DSC_8207 photo 20130222-DSC_8207.jpg 20130222-DSC_8202 photo 20130222-DSC_8202.jpg 20130222-DSC_8223 photo 20130222-DSC_8223.jpg 20130222-DSC_8206 photo 20130222-DSC_8206.jpg

Bennett wanted everything his siblings won - but mostly he wanted Hallie's sucker: 20130222-DSC_8205 photo 20130222-DSC_8205.jpg 20130222-DSC_8212 photo 20130222-DSC_8212.jpg 20130222-DSC_8216 photo 20130222-DSC_8216.jpg We let him play with a football instead - that satisfied him for approximately 30 seconds before he threw it down and walked over to a booth and grabbed his own toy out of the bin. I shoved a ticket in the box for good measure, I wasn't about to take the toy from him! 20130222-DSC_8228 photo 20130222-DSC_8228.jpg As the sun dropped it grew colder and we shivered as we chowed down on pizza and drinks. We still had tickets to spend so we quickly disposed of them between the novelty shop and the food section. We went home with a dozen Krispy Kremes and 3 fruit smoothies (it was too cold to eat them there, so we took them home to enjoy them. It is a rare occasion for me to pass up a smoothie!) And as cold as the kids were they were happy and completely smitten with their loot. Happy kids make happy parents. The only thing that could've of made me more happy (besides warmer weather of course) would've been kettle corn. They had it last year and I even set aside plenty of tickets this year to buy a bag or two. Totally disappointed- I was on the committee and I didn't even realize we missed bringing in kettle corn. I won't make the same mistake next year!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Office Progress...

Steve was out of town this week - it was a shorter trip - so my tradition of completing a project while he was gone had to be quick and easy. He left town and my once tidy office turned into my sewing room. 20130220-DSC_7980 photo 20130220-DSC_7980.jpg I sewed like the wind and completed my office curtains (using the same tutorial from Hallie's curtains here) with a fun gray/orange/aqua ikat pattern. I also finally hung the four clocks that have been sitting on my desk for far too long. My list to complete the office seems to keep growing but I'm chipping away.

My parents are coming to visit soon so I had extra incentive to cross a few things off the list. But I'm also secretly hoping to have my parents help with a few things as well. My list ranges from an afternoon project to the entire duration of their trip. I'm sure my mom is hoping for the former!

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Little teacher...

20130203-DSC_7773 photo 20130203-DSC_7773.jpg Hallie takes it upon herself to teach Hunter everything she knows, this works to our advantage sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't! The other day I heard her talking to him at the piano.

"This is where your hands go and then it goes like this." Hunter who was carefully trying to mimic his big sister ended up just plunking whatever notes he felt like. I could see Hallie's frustration surface as she knew he wasn't trying very hard but yet she kept teaching and her words of encouragement were real and believable.

They sat there for almost 15 minutes (without fighting) before we had to get in the car; two little buddies hanging out at the piano. It was lovely.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our little escape artist...

I was making bread this afternoon while Bennett played in the play room off the kitchen. He was playing with a puzzle that made sounds every time you placed the piece in - once my mixer stopped kneading the bread I didn't hear the puzzle anymore. I walked into the playroom and he wasn't there. I made a quick sweep of the house only to realize, he wasn't in the house. A quick look in the back yard showed he wasn't there either. Panic started to set in and I ran out the side door of our house to look for him. There was a man walking across our driveway and into our yard which created more panic. He could tell I was concerned and asked if I was missing a little boy - he led me to the lady who was at our front door holding Bennett.

Evidently, he had made his way out to the middle of the street as two cars were passing by. Fortunately both of them stopped to help our little ragmuffin. I was sick to my stomach and so grateful for kind hearted people who want to help. The man pointed out that the gate to our backyard was open and I knew instantly Bennett's new found trick of opening the gate was going to cause me a lot of grief. Fortunately there is a deadbolt on the gate - unfortunately, they didn't leave a key for it when we bought the house. I took Bennett into the house and dead bolted all the exterior doors and prohibited him playing outside.

20130217-DSC_7962 photo 20130217-DSC_7962.jpg (Awfully cute - not so innocent!)

Flash forward three hours.

Hallie came home from school and after doing her homework, lessons and chores she went outside with Hunter to jump on the trampoline. Bennett hates missing out on the fun and he went outside as well. I was cooking (I was delivering dinner to a family in need tonight) in the kitchen and I had a good visual on him the whole time. My phone rang, which took me to the office where my phone was plugged in. It was my sister and we talked for just a few minutes. As I was sitting in the office, I saw a neighbor walking across our grass. I quickly hung up with Kaytlin as I anticipated my neighbor needing something. As I opened the door I saw him holding Bennett. You can imagine how I felt about myself at this point! He found him on the sidewalk one street over and figured our almost two-year-old shouldn't be out without supervision. I apologized profusely and for the second time today my heart was full of gratitude for tender mercies.

Seriously, how does this happen two times in one day!!

I sent Bennett to his room and called my sister back (while I stood by his room, so I knew he wasn't escaping on me!) and relived my two most awful moments of the day. I knew that I would be making a trip to the Depot for a new lock, but in the mean time I was going to tie the door shut. My sister offered a better solution, "Do you have any zip ties?". Indeed I did, and our backyard gate is now unusable as I've zip tied the the door shut.

It's moments like today I think: Who in the world allowed me to be a mother??

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cinnamon Chip Bread...

Cinnamon is probably my favorite spice, which is no surprise why cinnamon rolls are my favorite dessert. But I would feel guilty eating cinnamon rolls on a daily basis so instead I enjoy cinnamon bread. One of my favorites is Great Harvest Cinnamon Burst bread. While living by Steve's brother in Milwaukee, they introduced us to the idea of making french toast with cinnamon burst - without sounding overly dramatic, it was life changing! So over the years I've made several different copy cat versions and tweaked it slightly to our liking. 20130218-DSC_7973 photo 20130218-DSC_7973.jpg

Cinnamon Chip Bread
2 cups water
2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
5 teaspoons yeast
2/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
7-9 cups flour
1 10oz bag of Cinnamon chips*

Heat water and milk in the microwave until it is warm - around 100-120F. Using a stand mixer or Bosch mixer, put yeast, 2 tbsp (of the 2/3 cup) of sugar and water/milk mixture in a bowl and let yeast bubble for 5-10 minutes.

Add the remaining sugar, oil and eggs. Mix well. Add two cups of flour and mix well - a minute or two. Add salt and remaining flour until mixture pulls away from bowl. Your dough will be slightly sticky. (don't add too much flour; it will make the dough tough and dense) Add cinnamon chips and mix - the chips will start to melt due to the warm bread, so work quickly. Let dough rise until doubled in size. 20130217-DSC_7959 photo 20130217-DSC_7959.jpg Shape into 4 loaves and let them rise again for 30 mins-60mins. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

*Cinnamon chips may be hard for some to find. Our local Wal-mart carries them next to the chocolate chips. Most grocery stores bring them in for the holidays and you can stock up! 20130218-photo (18) photo 20130218-photo18.jpg

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Late night crying...

I remember when Bennett was just a newborn, I read a talk given by Elder Richard G. Scott, "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage", that really impacted me, especially with the stage I was in. There is one part of his talk where he talks about his son:

"In this one night our little son Richard, who had a heart problem, awoke crying. The two of us heard it. Normally my wife always got up to take care of a crying baby, but this time I said, “I’ll take care of him.”

Because of his problem, when he began to cry, his little heart would pound very rapidly. He would throw up and soil the bed clothing. That night I held him very close to try to calm his racing heart and stop his crying as I changed his clothes and put on new bedsheets. I held him until he went to sleep. I didn’t know then that just a few months later he would pass away. I will always remember holding him in my arms in the middle of that night."


The same night that I read the talk, my own little baby started to cry. I quickly got out of bed and went to his bedside to comfort him. His crying didn't let up. So I picked him and held him close and the crying still didn't stop. I quickly became frustrated as I was running out of ideas to comfort him. Immediately, the talk came flooding to my memory and I held him close as he cried and savored the moment, it made that late night meeting much more manageable.

I hadn't thought much about that talk until last night. Bennett woke up just before I was going to bed at 11:30. He's old enough now that he's able to put himself back to sleep. But after the crying didn't let up for quite a while I went in to comfort him before going to bed myself. He settled down and I left the room. 10 minutes later he was crying again - I went in again and comforted slightly more frustrated than the first time. I went into his room 4 times last night, every time I would calm him and leave, he would start crying again. Elder Scott's talk came flooding back into my memory as if I had read it that morning. Against everything I believe, on my fourth visit to his room, I pulled him from his bed and brought him into my dark office where I sat and rocked him. In my arms he was calm. His breaths were even and consistent. I held him curled in my arms with his head on my shoulder for 40 minutes. There were several times where I knew he was sleeping, but I wasn't finished with the moment we were having.

What a kind reminder the talk was for me to take advantage of seemingly unimportant moments especially with my young kids, they grow too quickly and they'll be gone before I know it. I will always remember holding him in my arms last night and in my mind he was that same newborn baby that I held the first time the talk pricked my heart. DSC_6028-Edit photo DSC_6028-Edit.jpg

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Festivities...

Love day is over. Our children are safely tucked in their beds with sugar comas, only to awake tomorrow with sugar headaches and meltdowns. The things we do to celebrate holidays!! The kids enjoyed their school parties and came home with buckets of treats. I'm seriously boycotting candy in the Valentine's we give next year. I think they got more candy today than they did on Halloween. I was slightly distracted this afternoon as I visited with family and before I knew it most of the candy had been consumed. And Bennett had a good chunk of it still in his mouth when I found him. When Steve got home from work we went on a family date to enjoy two of our favorite foods; Tia Rosas and Frozen Yogurt. (Because the amount of sugar they had earlier was definitely not enough to make them slip into a deep sugar induced coma.) I suppose the yogurt was icing on the cake! I enjoyed a little scavenger hunt that Hallie and Hunter created for me to find my cards from them, Hallie is a clever girl and she's training her brother in her ways! According to Hallie, "You're the best mom ever and I love you so much. P.S. I love that you always cook me dinner." That alone made the day worth waking up for.

It was a lovely day of love. Hopefully Steve and I can celebrate another day (sans kids) when not all the babysitters in the area are being used! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kids valentines...

I pinned all these fun ideas for the kids valentine's this year. But then I looked at the calendar and realized it was the 13th and I needed something ASAP. I ran to Wal-mart today and wouldn't you know it, they were out of everything but Barbie (which I was totally against). They had a box of angry birds as well which would've been great but they only had one box and 10 additional valentines. I was kicking myself for not picking them up sooner, I'm still not sure how I completely missed the boat on this one. They did have some valentine pencils which was as good as I was going to get.

For Hunter, I used the valentine's I made for Hallie last year. New class, new friends - easy as can be. He had to sign his name on every valentine and he loved the process.

We used the pencils for Hallie's class and I designed a little tag, "You're the "Write" Valentine for me." She carefully wrote "to" and "from" on every tag and made sure she wrote every class members name in all caps and her name on the "from" line was in lowercase, "It just looks so much better that way." A designer in the making. 20130213-DSC_7942 photo 20130213-DSC_7942_zpsc0d7b9cd.jpg My panic session at Wal-mart ended up being completely unwarranted as this ended up being just as easy. Hallie's box is already at school and Hunter made one at preschool. We're ready to enjoy the day of love and overdose on sugar.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Funny Comment...

We have early morning church these days which means we do everything we can the night before to ease the morning rush. Last Sunday I was in the bathroom curling my hair (I had slept on it wet the night before and it was already a little curly) when Hallie came in asking if I would curl her hair. I looked at the clock and knew there was no way we would have time. I declined her request. She came into the bathroom just a short while later when I was finishing getting ready asking again. We were getting ready to walk out the door and I told her no, she left the room pouting.

After church we were in the kitchen eating some lunch when Hallie commented how pretty my curly hair was. Hunter decided it was time to enter the conversation:

"Mom, that was not very nice of you to take all the time to curl your own hair this morning and not curl Hallie's. She really wanted her hair curled too and you were selfish and only curled your own hair."

His comment was not only out of character but rather surprising. I knew without a doubt there was no way that he came to that conclusion all on his own! I turned to look at Hallie and she was bright red. At first she denied saying anything about it to Hunter. I asked her if she was mad at me that morning for not curling her hair. She shamefully admitted she was upset and had vented to Hunter. I finally made eye contact with Hunter and with his matter-of-fact face he said, "It still wasn't very nice."

I'm sure it won't be the last time they talk about why they are mad at their parents!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Craft time...

I've got crafty kids - go figure. And as frustrated as Steve gets with my messiness while I'm crafting, I share the same feelings towards my children. I encourage their desire for craft time; But every marker gets dumped out.

Every colored pencil is mysteriously broken which requires use of the fun electric pencil sharpener (which means shavings on the floor).

Of course no project is complete without gobs and gobs of glue which never stays on the paper and instead ends up on the table/counter.

And there has to be cutting. Lots and lots of cutting which means tiny pieces of paper everywhere.

Usually craft time is contained in the playroom. I can shut the door and not be bothered by the large amounts of paper on the floor. But when little brother is threatening their special projects, they relocate to the kitchen bar. They extend the playroom mess into my dinner making space. It's annoying to clean-up but I actually quite enjoy it. I get to observe and listen while I prepare dinner. As long as Bennett is out of the picture they're quite happy and content and could continue for some time. It's the best they get along so the mess is totally worth it!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bumble Bee Valentine's Day Box...

Two of Hallie's favorite things are craft projects and school. When her teacher sends home assignments that require her to be crafty she is over the moon excited. Of course the minute she walks through the door she wants to work on it. Knowing the assignment isn't due for some time I push her off. Multiple times a day she talks about the project, "Can we start it now?" I had pushed her off long enough and she started coming home telling me about all the projects that had already been returned to the school...It was time, we finally crafted her Valentine's box.

We looked through different sized boxes and had a couple ideas, but when I came across the peanut butter pretzel tub from Costco a light clicked on; we could make a butterfly or a bird or a bee or a bug and use the canister as the body. Hallie was convinced the bee was the way to go and we started crafting. I taught her out to use the straight edge cutter (the tool I never let her use before!) to cut the yellow stripes and even taught her how to use a glue gun. I would draw pencil lines on the paper and she would carefully cover the lines with the glue. She tried several different designs on the wings but decided the valentine stickers were the way to go. After almost two hours of paper, glue and scissors we finally finished. A minute later she was asking if we could make the Valentine's for her classmates. I pushed her off - we don't have to turn those things in until Thursday!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

DIY Wall Art...

Sometimes I envision a project and even go as far to purchase the materials and it takes me a while to actually start the project. I just like having projects on hand at any given time!

One such project I envisioned while living in Milwaukee. We had moved Hallie out of her crib into a twin bed and we were redoing her room. I knew I wanted a large monogram in her room, so I bought a large pine circle (2 feet in diameter) at the depot and painted it white. I had a hard time deciding which wood letter I wanted to attach to it, and the project sat. And sat. Three years later we moved and I found it under her bed, I was tempted to throw it away then so it wasn't a reminder of yet another unfinished project. My frugality won out and I knew I would find a special place for my large wooden circle.

Fast forward another year and a half. I finally found a home for it...in Hallie's room...with a monogram...I could never get my original project from years earlier out of my mind!!

I purchased these zinc washers from the depot in various sizes. (You could do pennies or buttons or something else round and fun)

I used spray paint (matching her room) to paint a variety of sizes in the same color. I printed the letter I wanted to monogram from my computer to scale.

I cut out the letter and traced it on the board.

Hallie and Hunter helped by placing all the washers within the monogram outline. I went through and moved a few around so they would fit better.

I then used wood glue and a toothpick to carefully glue each washer in it's place. I say carefully because it will show if you're not careful, it does not dry clear. I thought about using a hot glue gun but the strings of glue would have drove me crazy!

Before too long I had some inexpensive wall art:
The board was $15
The washers were $16
And the spray paint was $3.50 (I already had three of the four colors I needed from another project)
There are very few projects I complete that don't require some sort of power tool, but this is one of them!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

According to Steve...

Have you ever grabbed someone's phone and flipped through their pictures? I know I can't be alone in this. I've had plenty of people look through my phone's pictures and watch the videos. There's that immediate nervousness - I hope they don't find anything bad on there. And then there's chuckles and jokes and of course there's always a couple pictures/videos that demand an explanation. Our phones tell such a story about us, from the apps that we download to the music we listen to, to the pictures we take. Our lives play out through those little devices. I was flipping through Steve's pictures this evening and had myself a good laugh, they definitely tell a story! I would say about half of all his pictures were work related, the other half family.

So here is life according to Steve.
A third of all his pictures look something like this: He snaps pictures in PetSmart stores for reference and when he comes across interesting products at other stores he takes a picture.

The plane he flies on for the majority of his work trips. Unfortunately flying this way does not lend itself to frequent flyer points!

Documenting cool things to show the kids while on his travels:

Interesting work and team building activities:

His whiteboard at work that the kids decorated last time we were there:

He always sends me pictures of the kids when I'm away for an extended period of time, like when I went to Montana:

Date night:

Mischievous kids: Capturing the tender moments like "towel baby":

His phone tells me he is dedicated to his family and has a weird obsession with animal related products...or perhaps works for a pet store. It's funny to see what captures his attention enough to warrant a picture - I love that he uses his phone to construct his "story".

(He always claims my blog is so one-sided...but when I ask him to make a guest appearance he kindly refuses!)
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