Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Disclaimer About The Bed Making...

Just in case...I wanted to let you know that the bed making post was not directed at anyone who reads my blog, nor was it supposed to make anyone think they were doing anything right or wrong. I truly hope that everyone does whatever works for them. In fact, my bed has not been made for days, even though I want to make it. I keep blowing it off and running to the next thing. It makes me sad, but I'm human and priorities happen. My girls' beds don't get made at all during the week, unless I decide that I want to make them in my free time. We just don't allot time for it in the morning, and they have bunk beds which is hard. I really just loved finding out that bed making is important to some people, and that someone else thought along the lines I do even if I don't get to the making of the bed as often as I would like.

Some day my girls are going to read my book-bound blog journaling and say, "Really? Bed making was important to Mom? Why weren't our beds made all the time if it was so important?" At least they'll know what I was thinking even if the action didn't always go along with it. *wink*

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Making a Bed

Do you make your bed each day? Why? or Why not?

This was the topic of discussion at a gathering of girlfriends several years ago. I am not good at making my bed every day--I am of the snooze hitting, last minute wink grabber variety--but I try. And since I had little ones to teach, I was teaching them how to make beds. One girlfriend whom I admired piped up and said, "Why make your bed? It's just going to get slept in again. What's really the point?" She really got me thinking that maybe there was no real point. It sure would be a lot easier if we didn't make the beds!

As time past, and I learned that this friend was a non-conformist for the sake of not conforming, I decided that although it was hard, and I wasn't perfect, we were going to attempt to make beds each day.

There is something about what a made up bed does to a room. There is order and peace. I can breathe more deeply. I can also walk around my bed without tripping, a pleasant side-effect. I can dump a clean pile of laundry on top, fold it and put it away. I can take a quick nap or simply walk by the room during the day and feel great just looking in. And when I turn the covers down at night and crawl in, the bedding just feels right.

In the April, 2010 issue of Real Simple (the absolute best magazine ever, and they didn't pay me to say that), an article appeared titled, "If you're going to stop and smell a flower, make it a Gardenia...And 21 other things in life that are really, truly worth your time..." For some reason, whenever I see a subject in print, that means that other people (a lot of other people) feel that way, and it makes me feel better. And there it was, "Making The Bed".

Author, Isabel Gillies, wrote, "The simplest, most satisfying activity I do all day is make my bed. In seven minutes or less, I accomplish something small but worthwhile. I give myself a new beginning...It is organizing in the most gentle of ways...Life is hard sometimes--hard for everyone differently, but hard...It (life) can be overwhelming, but I find making the bed is a good first step to getting a handle on it all."

I have been at peace for some time with wanting to make my bed, and attempting to teach my children to do so. How about you? Is it important to you? Do you find the time? How do you feel when you make that bed? Come on, I wanna know.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ben Franklin

Someday I will have to devote an entire post to Ben Franklin. I did a paper on him in college and was astounded at all of the marvelousness that was him. He's one of those people it would be really, really fun to know. At any rate, a quote from him today that will inspire me to make some good use of my time.

"Well done is better than well said."

~ Ben Franklin

Monday, September 27, 2010

Heatwave Postpones Cupcake Project

We didn't forget.
We had all the ingredients.
It was 96 degrees here yesterday.
We couldn't bear to turn on the oven.
Maybe one day we'll have air conditioning and it won't matter.
Cupcakes will have to wait until next Sunday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Birthday Time

Thursday marked my 43rd birthday. I'm not sure why, but 40 was not difficult for me, nor was 43. On the other hand, I had a hard time with 41, and an especially hard time with 42. I wish I knew why, but my theory is that 40 comes up quickly when we are still thinking we are 30-something. Somewhere during year 41, we realize that we are no longer 30-something, and during year 42 we mourn the loss of 30-something.

I was pleasantly surprised that on the morning I turned 43, I was at peace. I thought about what a blessing it was to be 43--to still have my health, the love of my family and to just be alive. I thought, "Here's to another year. I want to live this year and make a difference where ever I can." It was a good way to start the day.

The day continued to be wonderful. I had breakfast at Corner Bakery with my wonderful friends who made me feel like a million bucks. So many cards, gifts and well-wishes. I don't know what I would do without all these beautiful women. And I'm not saying that just because they gave me presents.

Speaking of beautiful women, I picked my girls up from school and we headed to Mimi's for lunch. They had some complimentary lunches coming to them, and I wanted to hang out with them. They are so wonderful.

After homework, we realized that I'd forgotten to pull out the frozen fish to defrost. So my wonderful husband took us out for a quick dinner. This was unexpected as I was running off to choir rehearsal, but it was a splendid treat. Throughout the weekend the birthday wishes continued. I just feel so very blessed to have so many, many wonderful family members and friends in my life. Thank you all for being made of awesome!

Sunday School

This is going to be a strange post, but bear with me. There will be a point.

During Sunday School today, we got arrived at the book of Isaiah. A friend of mine once shared that Isaiah was his favorite of all the books in the Old Testament. So nice for him, I thought. Every time I've ever tried to read Isaiah, my brain goes mushy. It could be because I am trying to read my scriptures too late at night when fatigue is already setting in. It could be that I once decided that I couldn't understand it, that I wasn't smart enough and that I may never get it. I have blocks like this over other subjects, for example, math.

So today I'm sitting in class and the thought occurs to me, "I have read Shakespeare and have been able to understand the text. I have read Jane Austen and laughed and cried with each story. I wonder if Isaiah could be another Shakespeare or Austen for me?" That strange thought translates thus:

Shakespeare and Austen were once enigmas. I did not understand any of the text. I didn't understand what others saw. But then I saw a live performance of Shakespeare and later read Austen with a more mature and patient brain, and I understood the brilliance. Perhaps if I were to give Isaiah the positive, determined attention that I have given these other authors I could actually overcome my barrier.

Okay, so I'm blonde. Or just simple, but it is the little lightbulb moments like these that seem to transform my thinking and hey, whatever works! Isaiah saw our time and spoke to our dispensation. I want to understand, and I've already learned that I can overcome mental barriers in my learning. I believe this can be done. I'll keep ya posted.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

For All My Friends in Utah...

Stephanie Nielson is speaking at BYU on September 30. Oh how I wish this were somewhere in CA. If you can go, please do. You'll be inspired beyond imagination. You can get the information here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

There was so much potential with these. They sounded yummy, and Jenna was excited to whip up her pick for the week.

Don't they look just dreamy? There were a few snags.

#1 The recipe, out of the blue, said to add the milk to the flour mixture. What milk? Good thing I had some.
#2 They tasted like a biscuit instead of a cupcake.

On the good news side, I did buy a new cupcake recipe book. We're going to be switching over soon.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Brownie Cupcakes

As I printed the tags for this week's cupcake, I saw the line that reads, "50 Cupcakes in 2010". With a little calculation I figure we can catch up from our hiatus if we make 8 recipes per week for the next 4 months. Well, that will most likely not be happening. But we will be baking!

This week I asked Heather if she would like to pick the cupcakes. She is so easygoing that anything chocolate sounded good, so we made what we had ingredients for--Brownie Cupcakes from the Cupcake Deck.

We are crazy for chocolate!

One of my goals as we get back into the project was to let the girls have more control. This recipe called for melting chocolate and butter and then adding eggs, a little more complicated than the average baking recipe. I helped for a minute and while demonstrating, told Heather how I learned how to do this from Grandma Carol. It was nice to remember my mom while we were baking. Heather did guess what would happen to the eggs if we put them in the warm chocolate. She's such a smart cookie.

As soon as the eggs were successfully mixed into the chocolate, Heather took over and mixed everything together.

Look at these yummies!
They are not exactly like a brownie, nor are they like a cupcake. They are a blend of the two--very brownie like in texture, but the flavor is not as strong as it is with a true brownie. They were actually a little chewy/sticky which I attribute to the nearly 2 cups of sugar that went in the batter. We may make them again...unless we find something better. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Getaway

Just after school let out on Friday, we grabbed the girls and headed for Uncle Kevin and Aunt Beth's house in Northern CA. We gave very short notice of our arrival and fortunately they were able to accommodate us. We were there just Saturday and Sunday, and we had a wonderful time. Here are the highlights:

Saturday - Oakland Zoo and LDS Oakland Temple Grounds

The zoo was fabulous. Such great views of all the animals. See if you can find Stellaluna in one of these photos.

One the way home from the zoo, we stopped by the Oakland temple and walked the beautiful grounds.

Sunday - Hanging Out

It's very tempting to visit lots of places when we are so close to San Francisco, but this time we opted to hang out at the house. With this backyard, who wouldn't want to?? The day was split between water fun and Aunt Beth's Wii.

We had SUCH a good time. Thank you Aunt Beth and Uncle Kevin!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

The Cupcake Project has been on hold since our Carrot Cake Cupcakes in May. I'm not sure exactly the order, but there were a few events leading up to the break including the project becoming more of a "to-do" on my Sunday roster, and the girls losing interest. I didn't blame them. Some of the cupcakes were a bit sophisticated for their taste or they just plain ole' didn't like the flavor. We took a break and I've been giving it some thought.

What I decided was that I needed to let the girls pick the recipes whether they were in the Cupcake Deck or not. We still have a few yummy sounding ones to choose from, but we've found some others that look scrumptious. The one thing I hadn't decided was when to start, however, this weekend, while up in Northern CA, Beth handed me a box of The Barefoot Contessa's Red Velvet Cupcake mix and declared herself "not much of a baker" (she is a phenomenal cook). I was happy to mix them up. When I realize that I was making cupcakes on a Sunday with willing taste testers, I decided that this was as good a time as any to get back into the project. So...we're officially back on.

They were pretty darn tasty. The frosting was really cream cheesy, so I would go heavier on the powdered sugar next time for the kids.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Day of School!

First day of school outfits...

Meeting new teachers...

Finding old friends...

3rd grade and 6th we go!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Last Day of Summer, For Real

It's here. This was it. Tomorrow the alarm will go off at 5:30 a.m., and we'll be up and readying the troops for their next educational experience. I can't believe it's over. I'm seriously okay with stretching it out a bit, but I guess the calendar wins.

Today we:

read beautiful post on NieNie and counted blessings.
shopped for shoes.
returned and purchased new shirts.
ate lunch at Panda Express.
swam and Madi's house.
swam at Activity Days.
watched Wipe-Out recording.
painted nails on fingers and toes.
waxed eyebrows.
watched Teen Titans so mom could see Raven.
read two chapters of Little House.
turned out the lights and blew kisses good-bye to summer vacation.