Monday, January 16, 2017

Of Books, Vintage Sheets, and Other Happinesses

Hey!  So you know the table runner and faux flowers, etc that I wrote about last week?
I did nada. 
Well, I found a milk bottle on Buy Nothing that I'm going to paint and use as a vase, but I haven't picked it up yet.  And that is all that I did.

But what I HAVE done has been pretty fun.  I've started gearing up for Chick's birthday party that will be at the start of February!!  You know how much I love to prep for parties!!!!!
Anyhow, it will be a cake decorating party...nothing too elaborate, but the girls will all get to decorate their own little cakes to take home.  And the fun part for now: they'll each get their own apron made out of vintage sheets.  Actually, some sheets may not be vintage...I don't know dates for them, you know.  But some are vintage, because they are the same sheets that I had growing up!!  (not the same exact sheets, but the same pattern.   You know.)  It has been super fun to scour the thrift stores for cool sheets.  And what I don't use for aprons will be used for EASTER DRESSES for my girlies!!  yay, I'm excited!!

Anyhow, I drew my own pattern based on an illustration that I found online.  They are no-tie cross-backed aprons.  I've just about gotten them all cut out, and the first test apron is done and ready.  Here it is:

Stay tuned for the rest...hopefully I can get 11 more aprons done in time!  (It totally sounds do-able, but it is amazing how the rest of my life can get in the way of these fun projects).

Ok, also this week was a trip to the library to pick up an obscene amount of books that were on hold for us (I think it was 25, but I also had books checked out already).  It is a big job keeping these kids supplied with books.  Chick is currently working on reading Newbery & Sasquatch award books for school.  Monkey and Moose both read whatever they can get their hands on.  All three kids are voracious, and Mr Fox and I have to be kind of mean about taking away books when we find post-bedtime reading (which happened a lot last week).

Anyhow, with all of this demand for books, I've come across some good series, and thought I'd share.

Monkey's latest series are: Emily Windsnap, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and The Cupcake Diaries.

Moose is currently devouring A to Z Mysteries (and Monkey is re-reading them...that probably is her favorite series ever, so far).  Moose is also reading Geronimo Stilton, Boxcar Children, Magic Treehouse, Kingdom of Wrenly, and we are trying out the Owen Foote books.

Our read-aloud is The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (We are reading these before we can watch the new shows that are/will be on Netflix).  We aren't very far into it yet.

On CD we are listening to The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo (who I totally love)...it's an interesting one!  Lots of repetition...feels like a dream-like poem, and it's excellently read.



Also this week was a fun evening out with my friend, Kary.  I don't get out much, so that was fun.
 
And I watched Thoroughly Modern Millie, which I haven't seen in a long time.  It was fun to watch again.  I don't remember it having so very MANY innuendos, but maybe the last time I watched it I was too unsullied to recognize them??

I also went to the Goodwill Outlet a couple of times.  Have I mentioned that I'm feeling a bit like a compulsive shopper lately?  I did have the excuse of needing to find sheets and a vase....  Anyhow, I had a really good time.  The Outlet is a crazy shopping experience: everything is in huge carts and you have to dig for your treasures.  And pricing is per pound.  You get some amazing deals, but the shopping style is certainly not for everyone.  I like it, but after going several times already this month I promised Mr. Fox that I wouldn't go back for a month.

Mr. Fox spent some time this weekend working on our kitchen cabinets!!  We bought RTA cabinets (ready to assemble), so there's going to be quite a bit of putting together before we can actually put them in.  It would seem like a long time, but since it took us YEARS to actually get the ORDER in...well, I think my patience muscles are getting stronger.  {Not really...wish me luck.}

Hmm, I guess that's it.  Have a great week!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Checking In!

Well hello there!  Fancy meeting you here!

It is late (which tells you how well I'm doing with the 11:00 bedtime, lol)...but I wanted to write a quick little accountability note & update on the week.

As far as my goals go, some are going great. 

I've been most diligent about doing the nightly kitchen cleaning, and I must say that I absolutely love it.  It is SO nice to wake up to a clean kitchen and to not feel like I'm behind already.  It hasn't always been easy.  The other night I had to wake Chick up at 11:00 to unload the dishwasher (her chore) because she hadn't done it and I needed to load it!

I've also done well with my morning scripture reading now that I don't keep my phone in the bedroom when I sleep.

I only jogged twice.  Maybe I should be happy that I jogged twice, since that is twice more than I would have otherwise done...but I worry that it will fall off my radar if I don't do it a bit more consistently.  The weather and kids haven't been especially helpful on this one, but those are just excuses.

Ok, those are the ones that I most wanted to write about.  Now for the update.

This week  was re-entry.  And it was rough.  We'd had two blissful weeks of sleeping in, staying up later than usual, and not having to run here and there for appointments and such.  I loved the vacation.  And then school started back up.  And with it came PTO meetings/responsibilities, and homework, and choir practice, and picking people up at certain times.  And I dragged myself through the week.  It really was hard.  I hope this week will be easier.  Especially since I wasn't the only one dragging, and there was one night when almost all of the kids completely melted down and ended up going to bed quite early.  Which was sooooo needed.

The good news: I enjoyed the PTO board meeting.  We have some fun stuff coming up!!  The things that I'm most excited about (that I'm in charge of) are an Arts and Music Festival at the end of March, and teacher appreciation week at the start of May: "Best teachers in the world" theme!!!  Super fun.  I love themed events.

Owl and Otter took their first ballet class on Saturday.  It was all very blush pink and cute.  They both participated, which is great (sometimes Owl will decided to be shy and just shuts down and goes into statue mode). 



Santa brought "experiences" for everyone this Christmas.  Horseback riding for the older girls, hockey for Moose, and ballet for the younger girls.

Mr. Fox was busy this week with his scoutsing.  They were picking up Christmas trees.  I think he really enjoys his scoutsing.

Lastly, I bought some artificial flowers.  I know that's not super exciting, and I don't even have any pictures because I don't have the right vase yet.  But I'm working on redecorating my living room, and I think these are really quite lovely.  I read articles about how to make fake flowers work.  While I agreed with the tips in the articles, in the end flowers that I got won't follow the rules.  They won't pass as real flowers.  But they aren't even trying.  They have a certain artistic flair to them that I think makes them more of an art piece and therefore are exempt from needing to look real.  What do you think?  What rules do you follow when using fake flowers (or do you NOT use artificial?).  I hope to find a vase this week.  And sew a table runner.  And get some pictures framed.  And FINALLY have the living room book table nicely arranged!  I'll post pictures when it's done.

Ok, that's all.  I need to get to bed.  g'night.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Quarterly FHE Plans!

Ok, I just spent some time getting the FHE plans ready.  It turned out that it was easy enough to do three months rather than just one.  Of course, making time & having things ready each week will be the bigger challenge, but at least we have a game plan.  It isn't entirely fleshed out, but pretty much done.

Here it is:

Week 1: Seasonal Topic
Week 2: Primary Theme
Week 3: Article of Faith
Week 4: Scripture Story
Week 5: Family Council & Preparedness

January:

2nd:   New Years
Lesson
New Beginnings/Goals
Mom
Activity
Resolution Charts & thank you notes
Mom
Treat
Chocolate Fondue
Mom
Songs

Mom

9th:  Agency is the Gift to Choose for Ourselves
Lesson
Agency
C
Activity
Wise man and foolish man enactment
D
Treat
Brownies
E
Songs

A & B

16th:  Article of Faith #1
Lesson
 The Godhead
D
Activity
Sarah Wagner's Sorting Game
E
Treat
Tapioca Pudding
A
Songs

B & C

23rd:  Adam & Eve
Lesson
 Story of Adam & Eve
E
Activity
 Coloring Pages
A
Treat
Pineapple Upside-down Cupcakes
B
Songs

C & D

30th:  Family Council & Preparedness
Lesson
 Family Council discussion
Dad
Activity
 Fire Drill
Dad
Treat
 x
Dad
Songs

Dad

February:

6th:  Valentine's Day
Lesson
Love
Mom
Activity
Valentine's making
Mom
Treat
Rice Crispies "kisses" in funnel?
Mom
Songs
"As I have loved you" & "A Happy Family"
Mom

13th:  When we Choose the Right, we are Blessed
Lesson
 "When we Choose the Right, We are Blessed"
A
Activity
Valentine's delivery to neighbors
B
Treat
Heart cut-out cookies
C
Songs

D & E

20th:  Article of Faith #2
Lesson
 Own sins, not Adam's transgressions
B
Activity
 Article of Faith #2 Puzzle
C
Treat
 Chocolate bars
D
Songs

E & A

27th:  Scripture Story
Lesson
 Jesus Healing the Lepers
C
Activity
 Henny Henny Cluck Cluck
D
Treat
 Popcorn
E
Songs

A & B

March:

6th:    King Benjamin's Address
Lesson
 Recap of King Benjamin's address
D
Activity
Set up tent in living room & watch LDS.org videos
E
Treat
S'mores (Hot dogs for dinner)
A
Songs

B & C

13th:  Living Prophets Teach me to Choose the Right
Lesson
 x
E
Activity
 x
A
Treat
Fruit Rainbow
B
Songs

C & D

20th:  Article of Faith #3
Lesson
 Through  Atonement of Christ, all mankind saved
A
Activity
 Something to do with start of spring….
B
Treat
 Root beer floats
C
Songs

D & E

27th:  General Conference Prep!
Lesson
 x
Dad
Activity
Gen. Conf. Center prep & restock GC booklets
Mom
Treat
X
Dad
Songs

Mom

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Resolute!

Well!  I am shocked that it has been almost TWO YEARS since I last blogged! But it is 2017 now, and my lack of blogging is going to change. 

So I've set some goals.  Not New Year's Resolutions...because really, I can't stay focused on the same goals for a whole year.  Sad but true.  But I think that I can handle focusing for a month.  So I set some January goals...and at the end of the month then I'll re-evaluate and set February goals.

Here are my January goals:

Jog.  20 times this month.  I actually did some beginning jogs this week...starting on my birthday.  Because I wasn't very excited to be turning...29.  (Ok.  40.  Now it's all over the internet and everyone knows that I'm horribly old.  Anyhow.)  I thought it was time for me to start taking care of myself again.  So I went for the first jog on my birthday, and a few others this week.  They are short jogs...I'm not setting any limits this month other than the amount.  20. 

Blog.  (look at me!  actually doing it!).  I honestly have missed blogging.  I waste so much time on the internet, and thought that it would be much better for me to spend some of that time on the blog...which is both therapeutic and fun.  I'd like to do it often, but for now I'm aiming for at least once a week (on Sundays).  If I have more time then great...if not, then once a week is better than once every two years.

Get a phone charger for out of the bedroom, start using an alarm clock, and keep scriptures by my bed for morning reading.  I didn't get a charger yet (I've been using Dave's, which he keeps by his side of the bed...which is why I need to buy one for non-bedroom use).  I did buy an alarm clock, though.  My hope is to waste less time in the morning scrolling through my phone.

In bed by 11, and start the day with a big glass of water.  Hmm...it's already 11:39.  I knew that I'd be up too late if I tried to work on some of these other goals, and chose to prioritize these over the 11:00.  I'm not sure if this one will work out.  But I do need to work on getting to bed earlier, so I'm going to aim for 11 on most nights.

Dishes done and counters cleaned by bedtime.  That has such nice alliteration.  Anyhow, I have never been so great at keeping up with dishes (or really any cleaning, to be honest)...but we're getting a kitchen update, so the least I can do is to get in the habit of keeping things cleaner.  And today I did get it all done before bedtime, but that was partly due to my SIL Becky.  They came over for dinner and games and she helped clean dishes.  So sweet, thanks Becky. 

Plan the month's FHEs (Family Home Evenings) in advance, along with crock pot meals for Mondays.  I haven't done this yet, though I have given it some thought.  I'll have to spend some time in the morning getting things ironed out and written down.

So there you have it.  The plan for January.  And now, I must rush off to get to bed...only an hour late.  Hopefully next time I'll have more time to be chatty about what we've been up to lately.  Life is pretty beautiful, so I'm excited to be blogging about it again.  And even when it's not...even when everything is horrible, I'm excited to be blogging again since it's helpful to write it all out.

Happy New Year!!  Welcome 2017!! 





Sunday, March 29, 2015

In my little world lately, part two

Ok, noteworthy moments from March.  March was a pretty exciting month, but a lot of the pictures I took are from random moments at home.

First off:  Otter's flair for fashion.  It's very exciting to walk to the bus stop when you are behind someone this fashion forward.


Owl is "fancy" a lot too, but on this day she looked pretty subdued in contrast to her sister.

After we got home from the bus stop, Moose built a boat.  I'm afraid I don't remember where they were travelling.  The Swiffer was the oar, of course.  Just before or after this, the chairs were a train and were headed for California.


 
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Last year I went all out for Dr. Suess's birthday. This time...I did not.  I went and read books to the kids at the school for their Read-a-thon, but that was about it.  Chick got really into the spirit of the day, though, and did a bunch of Suess-themed drawings out on the walkway.



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Chick, Monkey and I went to a princess-themed ballet that was performed by the BYU ballet team.  It was fun to get all dolled up :) 


There were lots of people that we knew there so we got a picture of the girls with a few of their friends.

 
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Monkey loves her baby, Ella.  She looks so young in this picture...and she IS young, but she's definitely working on growing up.  In fact, she read her first chapter book ("Holly the Christmas Fairy" from the Rainbow Fairies series) a week ago, and another 1.5 books since then!  Way to go, Monkey!


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The benefits of having a junk yard, continued: It's easy to have a library (the same area has been a post office in the past...it's flexible like that).  The girls wrote book titles on pieces of wood... my favorite was, "The Dog that Ate Peas."









While the big girls were getting literary, Owl inspected a baby slug. 


And Owl and Otter spied on the neighbor's yard.
(Owl is looking at the screen right now, and said, "Otter is wearing my coat there!  That's funny!")

And Moose and Monkey spied on the tool shed :)


We've had some really nice weather days lately, which has provided lots of outside play time, and yard clean-up time for me.

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Chick's class had a field trip to the Aquarium and (thanks to my Mom for watching all of the other little people) I was able to go.  It was fun.  Most of my pictures didn't turn out, but it was really beautiful--I especially loved the variety of coral and plant life. 

Fun fact:  Scientists estimate that every grain of sand in the Puget Sound has been cleaned by going through a sea cucumber.





(Of course, Chick and I thought of OUR otter when we watched the otters)


(the girls in my group)


 
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The day after the field trip, Chick got an award at school.  It was for good academics overall. 


Next year she'll be changing schools because she'll be in the district's "highly capable" program.  Going to orientation, expo, and tour for that was part of the excitement this month.  She's not excited to change schools, but I'm really excited FOR her.  The program is an enrichment, project-based one...it was slightly intimidating (some things sounded more like my experience in COLLEGE than anything I'd had in elementary school!), but really really awesome.  Fun projects and really thoughtfully put together.  Plus having her be more challenged will be great.  In looking into the program I heard this quote from another parent:

"If you are the smartest person in the room,
then you are in the wrong room."


 
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The other day we went to Flower World, which I'd never heard of, but is a super huge nursery with lots of animals.  We didn't have much time there before they closed,  but loved every minute of it.  We enjoyed exploring the various ponds and such within the nursery, as well as the farm animals that were out on the grounds.

I bought a butterfly bush, columbine, hellebores, and astilbe.  Yesterday I got it all planted (the kids helped).




 
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We've read some good books lately.  I read "Enchantress of Crumbledown" which I'd read as a teenager.  It was still just as interesting and inspiring as before. 

I also read Outliers, which I found very thought-provoking.

Oh, and "Gone-Away Lake" as a pre-read to gauge how well it would go over for my kids (I'll be reading it again to them this summer).

My favorite that I really did read aloud to them was "The Castle in the Attic."  We all enjoyed it.  We did a poster-sized venn diagram to compare & contrast "The Castle in the Attic" with "The Indian in the Cupboard."  I enjoyed both books, but I think I like Castle better.  Fun book with good messages.

We'll be doing a kid's lit based weekly "camp" with some of our friends, so I've been looking into books in preparation for that.  I bought a few, and requested several from the library, based on reviews that I read about them.  I'm excited for the camp.  It'll just be for the older three kids, but they'll get to do fun projects and activities to go with the books and hopefully help bring the books alive.

In my little world lately, part one

So much of our days is routine and rush.  But sometimes we do fun things as well.  Here are a few of the latest adventures...these are actually all from February.  I'll do the pictures from March in a second post.
 
A few months ago our ward Relief Society had a service auction.   People volunteered things that they could make or do as the items to be auctioned.  Bidding was using points "earned" from filling out a questionnaire.  At any rate, I volunteered a set of custom party decorations.  The party ended up being an "Under the Sea" birthday party.
 
Banner with salt dough sea stars

 
 
Poster for "Pin the Starfish on the Mermaid"
 
 
Invitations (and there were also coordinated thank you cards & menu cards)
 
 
It was a fun project :)
 
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For Christmas Santa gave Monkey a new leotard & a voucher for some gymnastics classes.  She loved it and did really well.  She is a monkey, after all. (sadly it's done now...I'm on the lookout for a good deal for her to keep taking classes.)
 
 
 
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This is totally random, but here's a teepee that the kids made one day whilst playing outside.  Sometimes it is nice to have a junk yard.
 
 
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I've probably already mentioned Wedgits...Owl and Otter got a set for Christmas from Santa, and we ALL loved them so much that I bought more so that there would be enough for us to all play with them at once. 
At first there was a lot of tower-making. 
Then Moose especially fell in love with following the instructions on the design cards to make pre-planned designs. 
Chick then experimented to find different wedges (where the pieces stay together because they are wedged together.  So these are two pictures of the kids showing off their wedges...Moose with a BIG wedge, and the three older kids with a display of all of the wedges that they've discovered.
 
 
 
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Valentine's day was fun.  I made heart-shaped breakfast cookies and smoothies for breakfast. 
Then my sister came over for a nice visit. 
Then I spent the afternoon making lasagna for my valentine, the fantastic Mr. Fox.  It was SOOOOOOO good!  Seriously!  The best I've had since I was in Italy. (It doesn't look very pretty in the picture, but it was good.  EVERYONE loved it, which is really saying something).  I used THIS recipe.
For dessert we had heart-shaped apple hand-pies.  Yum.
I didn't put up decorations or do anything very fancy, but I did make fancy foods.
 
 
 
 
 
That's it for February.  Fun times with my people!