Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pay It Forward

Lucky You!

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me!

My choice.

For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1.  I make no guarantees that you will like what I make! (Though I may ask some questions during the process.)

2.  What I create will be just for you.

3.  It'll be done this year (might take a little while).

4.  You have no clue what it's going to be.  It may be a story.  It may be poetry or an article.  It may be something sewn or crocheted.  I may bake you something and mail it to you.  Who knows?  Not you, that's for sure!

5.  I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch?  Oh, the catch is that you must repost this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same.

The first five people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift from me!

Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it!

Good luck!

Friday, February 27, 2009

In A Blur

That describes how Thursday and Friday have gone by.  I taught the Art Masters lesson at school yesterday, and it turned into a two day project.  Today was the finishing of the art lesson, volunteering in classrooms and random things that popped up.  Tonight is girls' night with scrapbooks and chit-chat so I'm looking forward to that.

This is from a website devoted to the sarcastic.  I love it.  Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wisdom for Wednesday

Real Simple magazine has had three great quotes days in a row and because I love learning and thinking deeply, I have to share. 

"An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight...The truly wise person is color-blind."
~Albert Schwitzer

"Tears are nature's lotion for the eyes.  The eyes see better for being washed by them."
~  Christian Nestell Bovee

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it has to be lived forwards."
~Soren Kiekegarrd

Tackle It Tuesday

The day didn't start out feeling like a tackle day.  Do you ever have one of those days where your brain can't make up it's mind which thing on the endless to-do list to do first, and then you shut down because it's too overwhelming?  During those times I am sure I can empathize with those who suffer from ADD because everything is there in my head all at once, and it seems impossible to sort and prioritize.  Normally, I would turn to chocolate, but since I just restarted the Healthy Living Challenge, that wasn't an option.  So what do you do?  I ended up putting on a CD of church hymns on guitar.  I needed peace in my head, and it worked.  As the hymns played I began to tackle one thing at a time, and by the afternoon, my entire house was dusted, vacuumed, mopped and scrubbed.  It turned out to be a "tackle it" day after all.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday's Mischief Managed

Today marked the return of the Healthy Living Challenge.  The first thing I had to manage was getting my head back in the game which was huge after a weekend of gluttonous eating and no exercise.  So here's the rundown of today's events:

• homemade pancakes made
• lunches made
• girls off to school
• healthy breakfast made for Dad and I
• grocery list made
• 90 minutes of walking
• un-packing finished
• 95% of laundry finished and put away
• living room un-decorated
• living room dusted and vacuumed
• kitchen vacuumed
• dishes managed
• healthy lunch made
• shopped fruit and veggie stand
• shopped Costco
• tackled homework
• more dishes managed
• family home evening w/ Grandpa


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Savor it Saturday

We made the most of our last full day here with a baby shower for cousin Susan, hair cuts for the girls, and a fun trip to a great outdoor mall here in Gilbert.  The little girls were so cute together that I of course had to snap photos.

It's been a quick weekend, but we've had lots of playtime for all.  I got to sneak some ice cream with my friend, Georgia, on Friday night, and then today I met one of my favorite authors, Heather Madder, at my cousin's baby shower.  Heather wrote a book titled, Walking on The Ceiling.  It was such a fabulously insightful and meaningful book that I have recommended it to everyone I know.  It was all I could do to remember not to go all fan-girly on her!  She was so fun to talk to, and I could just feel wisdom and peace in her countenance.  Tomorrow we're off for home!  

Celebrating Aunt Kathy

For Aunt Kathy's birthday, the whole crew went to TGIFridays for dinner.  

Joanna shines the spotlight on herself--there are a few of us hams in the family.

Here is one end of the table...
And the other end.
The staff came and did a rousing "Happy Birthday"
And we posed with Aunt Kathy and Uncle Chuck before saying good-bye.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A snake named Bella, a dog named Chance and a trip to Target

When we arrived at my cousin's house, I had happily forgotten that there was a ball python named Bella that lived here.  Today was feeding day and the girls got to see her kill and swallow a small mouse.  Who needs the Discovery Channel when you can see it live?
Right before feeding we all take a little feel of the reptilian scales.

One of the cuter additions is Chance, the new puppy.  He's a little grumpy sometimes, but cute as a button.

After Kasey got out of school today, we all trekked to Target to go shopping.  Kasey held Jenna's hand in the parking lot.  Just one of those sweet moments that mom can capture thanks to the handy purse-size camera she carries around.  *insert children rolling their eyes*

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

After sweet prayers from each of my daughters and 7 hours in the car, we have arrived in Arizona in safety.  I had a private giggle when I drove through Phoenix--I haven't been here since reading Twilight.  I know I'm a geek.  

Anyway, today I am thankful for 

•  a safe journey
•  a car that performed well
•  my little girls behaving so well on the journey
•  good travel weather
•  getting to travel with my dad
•  a sweet friend who called during my drive
•  the coincidental timing of the trip allowing me to eat chocolate on the way :)
•  getting to see my cousins and aunt/uncle tomorrow
•  and a beautiful place to stay on our trip (thanks Jo!) 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm goin' on a trip, and I'm gonna take...

Hopefully I'll remember to pack underwear for everyone.  Sheesh.  Why is getting ready to go somewhere difficult?  Even when I make lists I stress until it's all done.  Maybe I need to start to gather things a day earlier than I do.  Oh well, tomorrow we'll be off to visit cousins in Arizona and celebrate a new baby to be, a birthday and just being together.  We are so excited!  Well, everyone except hub who is staying behind to work.  He's not happy with me, but when the bug strikes to go see my family, I gotta do it!  Stay tuned...tomorrow's post will be made from just outside Bella's home town.  *wink*

Tuesday's Truths

1.  Jenna has a sinus infection.  The fever that came two hours after the doctor's appointment confirmed that.  

2.  Eating anything you want isn't all it's cracked up to be.

3.  Rain makes the earth beautiful.

4.  A sense of humor can help you stay positive.

5.  Husbands who do dishes and cook are rare gems.

6.  Being emotionally connected to other human beings is one of life's greatest joys.

7.  7-Up is the wonder beverage.

8.  Having lunch with friends should be a regular activity.

9.  Two three-day weekends in a row can spoil you rather quickly.

10.  The four sweetest words in the English language are, "I love you Mamma."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meaningful Monday

Heather and Jenna were off on holiday from school.  We slept in, and when I mentioned breakfast at Mimi's Cafe, their eyes lit up.  We had a fun breakfast complete with mugs of hot cocoa.  
Some of my blogger friends from out-of-state mentioned not seeing Mimi's before, so I shot a couple of interior pics.  It's decorated as if in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

After breakfast we headed off to buy a birthday gift and do some errands.  It rained on us most of the time, but we had lots of fun and giggles.  Later in the evening we watched Mama Mia and had family night dinner at Zubi's Dry Dock in Huntington Beach.  The pizza was yummy and we sat next to the fish.  The girls dig the wood shavings on the floor too.  
After dinner we went to PetsMart to stock up on guinea pigs supplies.  We ended up bringing home two new fish for our tank--a swordtail that Heather named Dartainian (she wanted a "Three Musketeers" name and liked this one because of the "dart" which is how her new fish swims), and a black molly that Jenna named Shadow.  It was a fun day and I really enjoyed my sweet girls.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Savor It Sunday

We had Stake Conference in our stake today.  Kelly and I attending the adult session last night, and this morning I sang in our stake choir.  Both meetings were uplifting and a good part of that was that we were blessed to hear from President Hinckley's oldest son, Richard Hinckley.  He looks so much like his dad and has the same wit.  He made us laugh several times.  He says he doesn't speak about his dad much, but he felt impressed to share some things with us.  I think we all just hung on every word, especially when he opened one of his dad's journals and read a few different things from it.  To hear what a prophet of the Lord wrote in his journal, especially a prophet that I have known and loved, was a stellar experience.  I have given much thought to the messages that were shared by Elder Hinckley this weekend and have some more improving to do in my life.  I was very grateful to have been a part of those meetings.

Kelly had a bad headache today, and Jenna is still down with some sinus issues.  It was a very slow day, but one that was spent resting and visiting with each other.  We had a nice dinner together and watched a movie.  I usually don't sit down to do that, so I'm glad that I did.  

I remember when my mom would do something with us.  It was so rare that we were just thrilled to have her attention, even if it was just to watch a t.v. program together.  I realized today that if I'm not careful, those are the kinds of brief memories my girls are going to have about our time together.  I need to make more time to be with them and be in the moment, and have it happen regularly.  My time with them is so short.  I believe that I am reminded of things like this because Heavenly Father knows how much I desire to be in my children's lives. He's helping me not slip and get too caught up with the list of chores I sometimes focus on.  He knows me and cares enough about me to remind me to stay in the moment knowing that I will be so sad if I forget to do this.  I am truly grateful for the knowledge that my Father in Heaven loves and cares about me so much.

Valentine's Day Traditions

On Valentine's Day morning, the girls awake to a heart path that leads from their bedroom to the kitchen table.
The kitchen table is decorated for Valentine's Day, and breakfast is heart-shaped pancakes.
We usually have a little something sweet at the girls' places as well.

This picture didn't turn out too well, but these are some Valentine's I made this morning to give to my friends.  I found the sticker die cuts at the scrapbook store, and I had the yummy pink cards from Hobby Lobby in NM.  They had vellum envelopes which was a nice touch.  I'm just itching to get to my scrapbooks and this was a fun outlet.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday continued...

So I mentioned in the Thankful Thursday post that I was thankful for my husband's unique gifts.  Heather had the challenge of decorating a Valentine's box to enter in a contest at her class party.  She wanted to make a winner this year, and she had a great idea.  The problem was that her mom had no clue how to make it happen.  She wanted to create a "hippy van" like a Volkswagen bus.  I told her dad that I thought that it was a great idea, but that I couldn't figure out how to do it.  I offered the suggestion that we make a monster out of the box, but I didn't get to tell him the details because he interrupted me and said, "Oh--she's gonna win."  I knew right then that he had a vision and knew what to do.  He is very talented that way, and I had a feeling it would be great.  It was.  When I got home from choir that night, this was on the table.  Heather did the painting and I outlined it for her.  My hub's a pretty great guy.

Valentine Parties

Jenna's class had their party first, and they made some beautiful Valentines for special people.  It was fun to be with her during the party.
Here, one of the moms, and our good friend, helps Jenna with the glitter on her Valentine.

Heather was so excited about her creation.  Unfortunately, the voting became a contest of popularity and voting for friends.  Heather was pretty upset by this because she wanted to win.  I felt so bad for her because she really thought she had a great chance, and she would have, if the contest had been fairly run.  I was really proud of her for trying, and she finally remembered how the contest went last year and saw the folly of this one.  It was a good lesson learned in fairness and honesty.
Here she is making her cookie.
She loved the sprinkles and ate it right away.

Fit Friday

I was so tired this morning that I went back to bed.  After Valentine's parties at school and a hair appointment, I was getting ready to take Jenna to gymnastics when I realized I hadn't done any workout.  It was already 3:00 p.m. and I had at least two hours of work to do.  Kelly offered to take Jenna to gymnastics so I could workout.  It was pouring rain, but Heather was up for an adventure.  I packed her in the jogger with the rain shield over it and walked for an hour.  Then it was home to do a dvd workout.  Thanks to my family's help and support, I got all 4 points for the day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...

•  Advil and diet Dr. Pepper
•  really, really good friends
•  family
•  chilly weather
•  a husband who is a partner in life
•  talents and abilities 
•  a healthy body
•  hair color - the kind you can buy when you've lost yours
•  my husband's unique gifts (stay tuned for more on this tomorrow...)
•  fuzzy socks
•  hope

Who? What? Where? Why? How? Wednesday

Worked out, did laundry, shopped for groceries, went to PTA meeting
Neighborhood, home, grocery store, elementary school
12 point day, needed underwear, needed food, research
Before 10:00 a.m., all day, right before school pick-up, after school
No idea.  I usually get most things accomplished while eating chocolate, and I haven't had any for 5 1/2 weeks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday's Tidings

"Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun."
~George Scialabba

Does that mean if my imagination is somewhat limited that I'm not very intelligent?  Hmm...

Okay, moving on.  I want to say that I didn't get very much tackled, but I know if I make my "did it" list, it will prove me wrong so here goes:

•  pancakes made
•  children bundled for cold and off to school
•  60 min walk 
•  healthy breakfast made
•  some visiting with Dad before departure
•  grocery list written 
•  dishes managed
•  laundry started
•  catch up phone call with friend
•  part 2 of workout
•  healthy lunch made
•  trip to fresh fruit/veggie stand
•  dinner prepped (marinade)
•  homework done
•  research visit to RV site 
•  healthy dinner made
•  little t.v. time w/girls
•  girls tucked in
•  watched t.v. program with hub
•  answered emails/responded to posts
•  worked on art project for Primary

Okay, so I did tackle some things.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Managing Monday

It was a day off in our school district, so the girls were home. Aunt Beth and Uncle Kevin had breakfast with us, and then departed for home. Grandpa is still here watching the snow fall at home via the internet. Idyllwild hit 19 inches today with more to come in the next storm.

The girls had the kind of day every child would wish for--video games and computer access for most of the day. They started right after rising as I made breakfast sandwiches for everyone. Grandpa was available for emergencies while I did my first hour-long walk, but I don't think the girls even knew I was gone. Again while I went to voice lessons, Grandpa was available, and again, I don't think the girls missed me. Around 3 p.m., I finally peeled them away from the computer to practice piano and finish up some homework from last week. Then we bundled up and Heather scootered while I pushed Jenna in the jogger for my second hour-long walk. We were able, with Kelly's help, to have left-over tacos waiting for us when we got home, and then we had a fun family night with Grandpa playing Pictionary. 

I did get all 4 exercise points today, but I had to laugh at my determination. This is the last week of the 6-week challenge I entered. It's "push" week, so I am trying to best my best week. My best week was pretty good, so I'm going to have to shoot for near perfection this week. For today that meant doing my first walk in a storm. It was sprinkling when I left, and within the first ten minutes, the driving rain began. The wind was so strong I had to lean into it! It was kinda spooky how hard it was blowing. I was able to stay dry on top with the help of Kelly's running jacket and a good hat. The bottom half of me didn't fare too well as you can see in this picture. I was pretty soaked and headed for a hot shower upon returning home. I'm hoping the rest of the days this week will be a little milder or I'm going to have to head to REI to buy some gear! 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Savor It Sunday

Today's pace was perfect.  We were ready for church early, and my dad went with us.  After church, we watched Harry Potter 4 and 5 for Aunt Beth who hadn't seen them.  I was able to block out lots of things I could have been doing and just sit and watch with everyone.  I also had time to make a yummy taco dinner which we all ate together.  Now it's off to bed and a wonderful good night of sleep without having to get up early tomorrow.  Yay!

Friday Fun and Stormy Saturday

Friday night was Jenna's cake and ice cream gathering.  She insisted that she did not want a party this year.  She wanted to invite her friend Sarah for cake and ice cream, and then later the list expanded to her friends Jacob, Kristen and Rachel.  It was a small gathering, and the kids had fun being silly together.  

On Saturday, we continued to be able to see the storm roll through from the coast.  Kevin and Beth were in for the weekend.  Kevin and Kelly went to open a trust account and sign escrow papers, and Grandpa, Aunt Beth, the girls and I went to Mimi's Cafe for breakfast.  This shot was outside Mimi's--we were dry on the way in, but we sure got soaked on the way out!
Heather, Aunt Beth and Jenna

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It was funny to see how many people were out walking in my neighborhood this morning.  Everyone was trying to beat the storm.  We don't have many storm type days here near the beach, so this one was fun to watch roll in.  

To the east...
and to the west

As I sit here tonight and listen to the rainfall, I am grateful for the basic necessities that we enjoy--a warm home, nutritious food, and warm clothes to wear.  These are the things we often take for granted, but never should.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Mommy and Daddy gave Jenna her Disneyland pass for her birthday. The Magic Kingdom also threw in a gift card worth the price of admission for her to spend in the park. That was extra sweet! We were just so happy to make it there after the bike crash! Isn't that shiner just extra special? She even had her ID picture taken with it. Why? I have no idea, but she thought it was the greatest thing ever.

We all went together and split up to shop with the gift card. Heather and Daddy rode some rides while Mommy, Jenna and Grandpa hit a few shops.

Here is Jenna with a birthday treat--a churro, her favorite-- and with her first purchase--a super soft and fleecy Mickey.

Grandpa shows us that you're never too old to have fun!

Jen and Heather

We were still able to get home to open some presents and have birthday cookies before heading off to bed. Everyone was happy, but exhausted!

Life Happens When You've Made Other Plans...

After picking up Heather, we were waiting around for Daddy to get home so we could leave for Disneyland. This was the day we picked to get Jenna's pass renewed, and since she's having a party on Friday, we thought we'd make a night of it and celebrate while we were there. Jenna is dying to get back on her bike so I tell her it's okay, but that I have to run to the restroom. As the toilet flushes and the noise subsides, I hear this hideously awful scream/crying. I ran to the drive way to find Jenna getting up from the ground where her bike toppled over during take off. She had hit the handle bar with her eye! After calming her down and calling the pediatrician, we dashed off in the car to their office to get her checked out. Fortunately all was well, and we were able to head to Disneyland after all. This so did not need to happen today! Here's our little trooper with her new shiner.

Someone turned 7 today!

Yes, seven years ago today, I was recovering from a C-section. Okay, so you didn't want to know that. Jenna turned 7 today! She started out the day with her favorite, M&M pancakes complete with candle.

She is very excited about her new age.

All ready for school in new shirt, skirt and birthday badge. We took cookies to school for her to share with her class.

Jenna had a super fun day at school and couldn't wait to tell me how fabulous it was! The first thing she wanted to do when she got home was ride her new bike she got for her birthday. Daddy took her to get it last night and she was so proud of her choice. She rode for a few minutes while we waited to go pick up sis.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Month of Love

Today I had some fun with the Valentine themed items we have in our February box.  It was kind of fun to scatter bits of red and pink in my living room to remind us of this fun holiday.

p.s.  Yes, those are M&M's on the piano, and they called to me all day..."Melisssssa...come and eat us..."  I didn't, but it was tempting.