Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kids-work? Huh?

Happy New Year!

New Years is all about Organizing and setting goals. I have also set a few goals for myself. One of those goals is to enjoy my kids more than I have in the recent past. I also have a deep desire to teach my children to be more organized and to clean up after themselves. How is it, you ask, that these two separate resolutions can be reconciled?

while scrolling through blogland I found these fun games to play with your kids. They reminded me of the love and logic theory that the way to teach kids about work is to make sure that in the beginning they have fun while they work. The more fun they have the more they realize that work is a good thing and not the horrible nightmare that they think it is at first. It's always nice to add a few more positive games to the arsenal of cleanup time.

I always used to say, "If you're not having fun being a parent then you're not doing it right." I really believed that at the time. Now, with a few more children under my belt and with those children growing up and becoming more independent and more opinionated I realize that sometimes parenting isn't fun. Sometimes to be a good parent you have to be tough and you aren't going to be their best friend. ---and that's ok. You just keep doing your best and you keep trying to overcome your own weaknesses.

That being said, a little more fun is never a bad thing. Doing things in a more positive way has got to be a good thing and being their best friend some of the time has definite benefits. So, take a look at the fun ideas and just maybe 2010 will be the year that your kids actually clean their rooms all by themselves--without even being asked or maybe they'll put their shoes in their closet instead of on the floor or they'll put the games back into the boxes they came in after they are done playing with them. Who knows, maybe your husband will too!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Simply Christmas

I think that my favorite part of Christmas time is helping the kids figure out what gift to make for each other. I usually help them come up with the ideas and I get to work with them to gather the material and then put it all together but most of the actual work is done by them. That is why I have to give them a little help in the idea department--helping them come up with something that is easy enough for them to make as well as something that the other person will hopefully love. I love watching them spend real TIME figuring out how to put something together and when I watch them open up the gifts from their siblings and see them smile and laugh and give great big hugs---my joy is full. (corny as that sounds) The only thing better is finding a gift that you KNOW someone will TOTALLY LOVE--and being able to surprise them with it.
Bear made this memory game for Bone and I personally think that it turned out adorably cute. She cut out cardboard cards from cereal boxes and then covered them with scrapbook paper. Then she decorated them with either stickers or her own artwork or pictures of our family. She also threw in a few pictures of some superheros because she knew that Bone would love it. She just made sure to make each pair of cards exactly the same. I think their are 42 cards in all. We played it today and it worked great-aside from the "it's-not-fair-that-she-has-more-matches-than-me" arguments.

Belle made this Cute pillowcase for Bear. She decorated it all freehand and I think it is going to be so cute for both her and her sister to look back and see her very own artwork. The only thing better would have been for her to make the pillowcase because then I would have felt like I was actually teaching her some real skills but...alas, I ran out of time and we'll have to save that for some other rainy day.

Belle decided to make Bone some Puzzles. She made a total of 5 different ones. Of course she had to include Spiderman. She picked out the pictures herself and we printed them onto some glossy photo paper. Then she sprayed adhesive onto several layers of cardstock. (a medium size cardboard would be better but we were all out and I had to make do with what I had.) She attached the picture to the cardboard and then I penciled on puzzle lines on the back of the picture. She was able to cut them out. We put each puzzle into a cute little homemade box and there you have it. The little boxes are so cute and easy--I'll have to do a quick little tutorial someday soon.

Last year Belle made Bear and Bone some cute little pillows so this year Bear decided that it was Belle's turn. She picked out the fabric and decided that a flower was the shape she wanted to try for. For anyone that knows Belle they would know that the fabric is just about perfect for her little personality and I think for the most part it turned out so cute. Bear used pot lids as her template for cutting out the fabric. I think Belle will love this little pillow for a good many years.

Drew-bones contribution came in the form of little piggy banks made out of spice containers. We originally got the idea from here. I, of course, helped Bone with the cutting of the lids but he did all of the picking of colors and cutting and taping. He was so cute--he knew exactly which colors Belle would want and which ones Bear would want. The girls loved them. They have already added their stash of money to them. I can't wait to use them to help teach the kids more about monetary responsibility.

We really had a nice Christmas. There seemed to be more of a feeling of gratitude this year. I hope that to some extent that is at least in part due to the giving of some gifts made by hand. My plan is to start earlier next year---of course that is the plan every year so I do wonder if it will happen or be just a happy dream. Oh well, I happen to like good dreams.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Party like it's 1969

My baby's turning 40

No---not this baby

This baby...

We had a party to celebrate the "over the hill" birthdays of both Jeff and our 40 and fabulous friend Sheryl.

Of course because they were born in 1969 we had to make it a retro 70's themed party

Duuuudddde-------------- Don't you just want to lay a big fat smacker on this hot guy!!!!

and check these sistahs out------talk about HOT---They are Smokin' Hot!

...Paco here really was a member of the disco dollies--just ask him.

Jimbo---I'd be surprised if you made love not war in that get-up. he he he he he

Can you say....

(I think I've got an ich)

The cookie man even made it into the white elephant gift exchange. We're so proud to be the new owners of Cookie Sutra. Combined with the "Git-R Done" picture of Jeff we all came out winners in that exchange. Can't wait to see that hangin' up at the Prestwichs.

Thanks guys for a groovy party...

...It was a gas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's all about the Baby CD giveaway

I just entered the giveaway from Chocolate on my cranium for the Christmas CD. I love listening to good music and Christmas just doesn't seem like Christmas unless you have some Carols playing.

My favorite Christmas song as well as Jeff's is "God Bless Your Way" by Hillary Weeks. With her amazing voice and her uncanny talent for writing music that puts you right into the middle of the action this is one of those songs that we can listen to over and over. It is so visual and so real. That could be ME having to turn away that poor soul---or it could be ME that finds the room or the food or some small way to help.

The lyrics are as follows:

The dust was filling his sandals as he wandered his way through the streets.
Amazed at the flurry of people who had come to pay the king.
The night air grew crisp and chilly as the sun took its place in the west.
But the inn seemed warm and inviting and he needed somewhere to rest.
So he took a deep breath and got ready to knock.
when the door opened and before he could talk,She said,
“I have nothing to offer, oh I wish I could do something more.
I’ll be back in just a moment, wait here by the door.
All I have is this blanket. If you want it yours to take.
Good luck on your journey and God bless your way.”

He slipped into the crowd of travelers and he tried his best not to crywhen the glow of a flickering candle across the street caught his eye.
Through a window he watched as they gathered with their table meagerly spread.
And he wondered if this humble family could make room for one more head.
So he walked to the door as he let out a sigh,
when the question was asked the man softly replied,
“We have nothing to offer. Oh I wish we could do something more.
I’ll be back in just a moment if you’ll wait by the door.
All we have is this simple bread. If you want it it’s yours to take.
Good luck on your journey and God bless your way.”

Then he noticed the stable. He felt warm for the first time that night.
He went in and knelt by the manger. Drawn in by the glow of its light.
He gave the mother his blanket and the father the bread,
And his gift to the baby was a kiss on its head.
He said, “That’s all I have to offer. How I wish I could give you much more.
Your mother is kind and gentle, your father let me in the door.
They said you’re from heaven, and that you’ve been sent for my sake.
Good luck on your journey and God bless your way.”
God bless your way.

to enter for your chance to win the giveaway.
Thanks for the chance Cocoa!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What the...

I wandered into the bathroom to uh...use the facilities and was greeted with this pleasant surprise. Ironically, I almost peed my pants laughing.

Evidently Andrew has become somewhat concerned with the cleanliness of the toilet.

Thanks for lookin' out for the welfare of the family Bones!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Anatomy Lessons

" I can only imagine where these tiny feet will go in their lifetime.
My only hope is that they never forget the way home.""He speaketh not; and yet there lies a conversation in his eyes."
"Life is like a diaper. You put something in it and you get something out of it. And sometimes what you get out of it can be stinky."

"Life's short, play naked!"

""Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.""
Author: Joel Barker

Listen to the still, small voice, listen, listen;
When you have to make a choice, He will guide you!

"A baby is cuddles and tickles on toes, the sweet scent of powder, a kiss on the nose!"
"Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven."
Author: Henry Ward Beecher

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hats Off to YOU KC!

I couldn't resist having a little fun with all of the cute hats that KC has. I love how adorable babies look when they wear hats. Somehow it focuses all of your attention on the innocence and purity of the facial features. These were all taken about a month ago. Oh how he is already growing SO fast. Now that I know that this is absolutely my last little baby I am hoping that he will take his time growing up. I am in NO hurry to give up this amazing time with him. I don't even mind the lack of sleep (usually). I can't seem to get enough of him. He is such a sweet little guy. We couldn't ask for a better baby. He truly is my little angel. He sleeps when he's supposed to sleep and eats when he's supposed to eat and inbetween endows us with the most angelic smiles and coos. There are times when I feel like my heart will just burst open wide because it can't possibly contain that amount of love inside it. That feeling has come with each one of my babies. I guess every mother out there has had those priceless moments when you have felt like that. What a gift we have been given.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Italian relief-work display

One of my favorite things to take pictures of when we were in Italy has always been the relief work. It is all over the place--everywhere you look, even on "regular" buildings you will find the coolest moldings and pillars and doors etc. I have always wanted to do something kinda cool with the picts. A couple weeks ago our ward did a super saturday craft day and one of the projects was these super fun picture blocks. They were meant to have pictures of your kids and family on them but I thought that it would be fun to finally put some of my Italy pictures to good use. The square blocks were already cut for me. I just needed to sand them down and then Modge Podge scrapbook paper to the sides (applying the MP to the underside of the paper.) After that was dry I printed off black and white pictures of my choice--just on regular paper. I cut them to size and ModgePodged those, again applying to underside of paper. After that was dry I painted on one more layer of ModgePodge to cover everything, this time applying the MP to the Topside of the paper. After allowing that to dry I was finally able to add my embellishments...and WahLah! Now I have a cute way to display my love of Italian rennaisance reliefs.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanks for the service

I blogged recently about visiting teaching and this week I have been "lucky enough" to be the benefactress of two really great visiting teachers. Since I had my little surgery procedure on Thursday my visiting teachers have been "Johnny on the spot" with watching the boys and bringing dinners. It was really wonderful to be able to go through the procedure knowing that everything was ok and that the boys would be well taken care of. (the girls were in school) It really is nice when someone sees a need and fills that--even if it's not totally neccessary. I'm sure that I could have taken care of the boys today--but I didn't have to because someone else volunteered--acutally more than volunteered, they insisted (politely). I'm quite positive that I have been able to rest a lot more and hopefully will recover a lot quicker. So...To all of you visiting teachers out there as well as friends of friends, my heartfelt thanks go to you and I hope that when the time comes, I will be able to return the favor.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Because I Have Been Given Much...

I have thought and thought about what I wanted to do this year for Thanksgiving--how I wanted to teach my children and get them to think more deeply about what Thanksgiving means to them. I decided to do a variation of the "gratitude box". We make available a box with a slot in the top, slips of paper and pens to write with. Then every day, or more if we want, we write something that we are grateful for on the slip of paper. Then we also add something nice that we are going to do for someone else. I want to make the connection that, as the song goes, "because we have been given much, we too must give." Hopefully we will not only be more consious of our blessings but we will be serving others and thereby blessing the lives of others as well. To go along with that I thought I'd try to record some of the things that I am thankful for here as well.

Today I'm especially thankful for KC's smiles. Because they are just emerging and are therefore still somewhat rare I appreciate them all the more when they do come. At times you have to work pretty hard to get them to come out--although they are becoming more frequent and joyful each new day. My heart is immediately filled and sunshine seems to wash over me the second he breaks into his lighthearted little grins. I just love-love-love him!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Goodie Bags

I meant to post these before Halloween this year but alas... procrastination--it's not a good thing.

Oh well--Here they are anyway.

I have been meaning to make these for several years and I finally got my rear in gear and did it. I love how they turned out. I think they are very cute and hope that they will turn out to be fun keepsakes that I can add to each year. It was so nice to actually have real bags this year instead of grocery sacks. I am pretty pleased with how they turned out. I left lots of spots to fill in a new picture each new year. There are some on the front and the back. I will also start one for KC this year. I just printed the pictures out on photo transfer paper and then ironed them on to the bags. The only question is whether or not they will weather the wear and tear of the yearly use. I hope so.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I seem to be addicted to these milk chocolate chips found at Winco in the bulk section. I keep blaming my kids for taking them before I have a chance to use them in some kind of treat but in all honesty--I think I'm the number 1 culprit. I just can't seem to stop eating them!
hmmm, maybe I need to read my favorite quotes again.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An apple a day...

We heard that the U of I was allowing people to come and pick their apples for free last week. I guess because of the early frost the apples were not going to last much longer and they would rather people be able to use them instead of just letting them rot on the trees. We decided to take full advantage of this situation. We hopped in the truck and herded our "cats" out to the orchard. We picked about 4 boxes full. Some were Rome and some were Golden Delicious.
Drew--ever the inventor-- made this "apple hammer" and had more fun chucking apples across the orchard. You'd be surprised how far those suckers could go.I decided to take advantage of the fun scenery and indulge in a little photo op.
I love love love it when I can catch my big manly man acting fun and silly with his little girls. There is something Oh-so-sweet about a father/daughter relationship. It literally makes my heart ache to watch them have fun together.

Notice A's gap in her teeth. It is now even bigger b/c she lost the other front one yesterday. I have to admit--it's so cute.

I've canned about 14 jars of applesauce and some pie filling. I should probably do more pie filling but I ran our of jars and frankly, I'm a little tired of canning. It seems that every time I can--I screw something up. When I did my peaches earlier this year I scalded my dining room table, broke two bottles and I put marks on my almost-new stove this last applesauce go-around. Not to mention forgetting to screw the lid on one of the bottles-hence losing that jar. Then I forgot about the pie filling in the canner and it cooked way too long and some of them didn't seal properly. -----------I am not Molly Mormon! Maybe I should just go to Winco!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Visiting Teaching

I was impressed by the Women's Broadcast this past month. One quote in particular made an impression on me pertaining to visiting teaching. Julie B. Beck said, "This (visiting teaching) is one duty we have in the Church where we are certain to have the help of the Lord if we ask for it. This is one responsibility that is certain to increase our faith and personal righteousness and strengthen our own homes and families as we become partners with the Lord. A sister in this Church has no other responsibility outside of her family that has the potential to do as much good as does visiting teaching." then a little later she adds, "Faithfully serving as a visiting teacher is evidence of our discipleship."

Those are pretty powerful words to describe something that in essence is so simple and easy and yet so easy to disregard or procrastinate. I often wonder what I can do to serve others and go to great lengths to find ways to serve, which is a good thing--however, If I am ignoring or just doing the bare minimum for the sisters that I am assigned to visit teach then I am dropping the ball and I cannot partake of the blessings promised to those who make visiting teaching a "way of life" rather than a "task".

I have made a promise to myself to improve in this area. While thinking about this and thumbing through the great lds blogosphere I came upon a really neat blog that has given me some fun ideas on how I might present my visiting teaching message. I thought I would share it with you.

Hopefully, as I improve, the measure of my discipleship will not find me wanting.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

I wanted to participate in Chocolate on my Cranium's "Wordful Wednesday" assignment this week. Lucky for me the assignment consisted of only writing "6 little words". We were to write our own six-word biography. This is actually tougher than it looks. I decided to go the "extra mile" and add a bit of alliteration just for fun. Here's what I came up with.


You can check out all of the great wordful wednesday posts at:

Laundry list

Look at these piles of Laundry-----What do they tell you?

How is it possible to even use that many clothes all at the same time?
It is definitley time to purge!
There are many days when I wouldn't mind going back to the good ol' days when people only had two sets of clothes--everyday work clothes and their sunday best.
*note: At least they are all clean.

Monday, October 5, 2009

3 Days OUT

The Zoo crew happened to be out of school for 3 days last week. Day 1 was spent cleaning, fighting, destoying and cleaning again. I decided I couldn't take another day like that so on Day 2 after doing the morning "contributions," we loaded the baby up in the stroller and headed downtown. I armed myself with the camera and the bright idea taken from this past months Family Fun magazine. I told the kids that we had to find all of the letters in the alphabet made up out of different shapes that we found along the way. I thought that it might be a little on the hard side for them but they got the hang of it pretty quick and they had a blast searching for things that would make up the letters. Even Andrew had fun searching for the letters--although he just looked for them on the signs. Here are a few pictures of some of our letters that we found. Can you figure out which letters they are supposed to be?

They found all sorts of ways to entertain themselves along the way. I'm pretty sure that since this particular building is a city building--someone would have had a heart attack if they had seen the kids doing this. They would have dreamed about lawsuits that night for sure. We might even have been banned from walking had we been caught.
We had to stop and play at friendship square while we were there. We hardly ever go downtown and so the kids were thrilled to be able to play here. I was just glad that no one fell in the fountain as they were chasing each other around and around it.

Ahhh, the bubble window--classic.
After making it home just as the baby was waking up I decided that I was given a little blessing. Day 2 refueled my energy and made it possible for me to wake up on Day 3 with the assurance that I CAN do this. I CAN enjoy these kids and I CAN make it through another child--and have fun doing it.