Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Perfect Day

By Jacob

4 cups of love
3 quarts of passion
1 awesome dad
1 son
A barrel of Laughter
3 gallons of quality time

Mix love and passion until the happiness bursts,
Then blend in a barrel of laughter,
Stir in one awesome pop and his loving son.
Add some quality time
Next bake with sunshine i n an oven of fun
Serve daily in generous helpings....
And enjoy!


I know I'm WAY behind but we've had a house under construction since April.  I will catch up soon!

I just wanted to post this cute poem Jake wrote for Father's day

Thursday, April 7, 2011

He has his prize in sight....

Caleb is definitely in toddler mode now.  We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen so we have our table in the middle of the room but the chairs are in the garage while we finish our new floor.

Caleb spotted some strawberries on the table and would stop at nothing to get his prize.  We keep all the bathrooms shut to keep him out so he couldn't find a stool and therefore had to come up with another solution. 

I wondered why I kept finding the colander in different places around the house......  at least it's sturdy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kindergarten appt...

The kindergarten Dr. Appt brings excitement, apprehension, and even a few tears.

Katie is so excited for her appointment and the impending shots because that means she's growing up and gets to go to school like all of her older siblings.

We are in the waiting room and she is enjoying creating hearts and mastering her newly discovered talent.

No tears yet only smiles, but there may be a few shed later by her (shots).  More than likely I will be shedding tears as another one of my precious gifts grows up quicker than I would like.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hailey's Swimming Spectacular

Hailey's birthday is exactly one week after Katie's so we had a busy couple of weeks.
Hailey opted to invite less friends and go to a local pool.  It was a much simpler production which was nice for me and she still had fun.

Cupcakes - I found these on family fun and they were very simple and turned out really cute.
Also I was looking for a new recipe for frosting and came across this recipe --
The Best Frosting I've Ever Had 
It was REALLY yummy (after I picked off the marshmellows).

Amber painted this painting for Hailey's birthday.  

The party was only 2 1/2 hours and that included driving to and from the pool so I decided not to even take a swimsuit and just watch from the side.  I figured Katie could wear a life jacket and one of the older kids could hold Caleb and take him down the small slide (with us watching of course).  The worst that could happen would be that I had to jump in - in my clothes to rescue a child.  Anyway  Dan decided to do the same.  I mentioned that to the lady when we were paying to get in and she informed me that children under 5 could not swim unless a parent was actually IN the pool with them.  I understand why they say this but I actually can watch better from the sidelines.

As a result, these two had to sit in the party room and watch everyone swim through the windows.

There were quite a few tears shed!  We'll just say that Katie may or may not have gotten her feet wet and ventured down the small slide.  I couldn't say if it's true or not.

Happy Birthday Hailey!!!

Katie's Princess Extravaganza

I had two birthdays in March and Katie's was first.  We went back and forth with what she wanted to do and finally decided on a princess party but we had boys coming as well so we found an invite that included knights as well.  Here are just a few of the things that every princess needs at her party.

Royal invitation

Hear Ye, Hear Ye,
By order of the King and Queen:

Prince James is cordially invited to the Castle to celebrate Princess Katie’s 5th birthday!!! The royal celebration will begin at 2:00 in the afternoon on the 1st of March 2011 (Tues.).

The King asked that you come dressed as your favorite princess or knight in your most royal attire.   Upon your carriage's arrival, princesses will be greeted with royal wands and gems.  Princes will be given royal swords for bravery.

The royal cook has prepared a feast of goodies for the celebration.  There shall also be festivities including a royal ball (musical chairs), games, and crafts and fun for all.... the excitement will heighten during the defeat of the royal piƱata. 

Have your carriage arrive for you at 4:00 in the afternoon when the celebration commences. Please RSVP with the Queen Mom at xxx-xxx-xxxx if you plan to attend this royal gala...The castle needs to plan for your arrival. This is a magical celebration not to be missed!

Grand entrance



Castle cake


I decorated one of our larger chairs to serve as the gift opening center. Katie and the gift-giver were able to sit in the throne together as everyone watched as she opened the gift.

We didn't want to leave anyone out so it ended up being a TON of kids.
  Luckily my sister and sis-in-law were willing to help.  Thanks for making the long trek up to my house.  I owe you big time.   

Happy Birthday Katie!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

They get a pass this time.

As I walked down the stairs after the kids all left to school this is what I found.

The kids are always in a hurry and dump all their old papers out so they can run out the door.  I grumbled and then looked a little closer.  The top paper had my name written out with some sweet things written on them.

I am still leaving the pile for the culprit to pick up but I'm not grumbling anymore just teaching them how to be responsible...

And I still am not sure who's pile it is...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blogging on my new Xoom tablet!

Just wanted to test out my new toy!

I will try to catch up on my blog tomorrow.  This app should make it a lot easier.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Grandma's Memorial Valentine Party

My Grandma was a wonderful woman who LOVED the Gospel and her family.  She always made sure that we were able to get together with cousins and she often planned cousin camps and parties to make sure that we were able to forge bonds with one another.

As we grew and started families of our own she started having an annual Valentine's party for her great-grandchildren.  Before she passed away she mentioned how important it was to her and that she hoped we would continue the tradition ... so we have.   It is a wonderful time to catch up with our cousins and their families and it is always emotional as we view a video we have of Grandma at one of her last parties.

Here are some of the highlights:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Don't peek....

As many of you know I spent the entire month of January in deep organizing.  Also many of you know that I have seven kids so the organizing can only go so far.  Try as I may --- I just can't keep up with everything 100% and be a happy momma so there are things that I avoid purely for my sanity.  Here are just a few:

           *  I DON'T venture downstairs to the kid's play
               area unless absolutely necessary
           *  I avoid taking children with me when I'm going
               grocery shopping
           *  I RARELY look in the kids' drawers

People often ask me for tips on how I do it (handling 7 kids and remaining happy) - this is how.  I have discovered things over the years that trigger a little mom grumpiness in me and these are some of them so to remain a happy positive mom I avoid things that might turn me against the kids.  It isn't 100% fool proof as I still have my days but it definitely helps a lot.

Anyway, today the kids are taking some skiing lessons so after they headed off to school I had to venture in their rooms to find the right clothes for them to take to the mountain.  Needless  to say this was going to require me to hold my breath and dive into the kids' drawers.  You may be wondering what is so wrong with looking in their drawers -- I'll tell you why.  I don't really love doing laundry.  I know it may seem like I love it because I do it almost every day but the truth is sometimes we do things that we simply don't love.  The part I don't like about laundry the most it putting it away. 

I don't mind folding it, although I wouldn't pick it to do on a Friday night.  I have a ritual I follow.  I set up on the couch and turn on a show and fold the night away.  Everyone has a pile and then they each have to put away their own laundry.  As I hand them their pile I always remind them, "Please sort your clothes and put everything away in the right spot".  The "right spot" meaning the drawer or cubby where the clothes go.  Everything has a place when I organize their drawers for them (when the seasons change).  If they'd just keep putting their clothes away as I organized for them things would stay organized.  Right?!

As you've probably guessed, things don't run this way.  I wash, fold and hand them their pile of laundry with the friendly reminder and then they run upstairs and stuff their clothes wherever they please so when I open their drawers I get angry.  I see everything all mixed up.  Dirty clothes in the drawers and clean clothes on the floor and I usually start emptying their drawers and yelling at the kids that they need to come and re-organize their drawers the way they are supposed to be.  There you have it!  I don't enjoy being that kind of mom so I just keep their drawers closed until it is time for me to come in and go through sizes and switch winter for summer and vice-versa.

Today I started in the girls' room and it was pretty easy to find what I needed.   The drawers were sorted as they were supposed to be.  They weren't folded but at least their was some sort of organizing.  Then I opened their sock/underwear drawers and they had placed one of my organizing baskets in their for the undies and the socks were on the side of the basket.  They also had a little piece of notebook paper taped on the edge of the drawer with socks/ underwear scribbled down (they aren't allowed to play with my label maker).  I was very proud of them and it made my frowny face turn upside down.

The boys room was another story.  I looked vainly for what I needed without success then I ran out of the room and shut the door.  I will spend the remainder of the day trying to forget what I saw in there .... at least until Saturday and then they'll get it!  Want to venture a guess at what the boys will be doing with their Saturday????

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Been out of the groove...

It's been awhile. 

I've been waiting to blog until I felt inspired with some funny little quirk about my life but nothing's coming.  I decided that I better just write.

Today I was thinking about how great my life is --

I've got THE best husband and 7 wonderful kids.  Having a big family is a lot of work but I wouldn't trade any minute of it.  It helps that my kids are so great.  I know they aren't perfect, can be pretty silly, sometimes they talk back ( ... I know, hard to believe ;P), and they are messy but they are mine and I love them.

As I was sweeping the kitchen and thinking how unbelievable it is that there could be that much stuff on the floor, it crossed my mind that if I only had one or two kids it would be so easy to keep up with the mess.  Then I remembered that even as newlyweds I didn't really like to clean so the chances are that I would still have a large pile going into the dustpan, it would just take a lot longer to fill it up.

I am also grateful that (so far) my oldest is such a GREAT example to his younger siblings. (Except for the incessant teasing to his baby brother.)   We grounded him last week - can't even remember why - and I lifted the grounding today because he is just going out of his way to have a good attitude.  Even before I was married or had any kids I was so worried about raising teenagers.  I would look at the world around me and the constant barrage of evil influences and worry about how I could possibly help navigate children through this life.  I am officially the mom of a teenager and I am much less worried about it than I used to be.  Granted I still have the most pivotal years ahead of me but I think I can do this.  I know it will not be smooth sailing, there will most likely be arguments and disobedience possibly even heartache but I'm not doing this alone and that makes all the difference.  I'm not scared anymore!

Now I have to brag just a bit.  We pride ourselves in the fact that we are raising nerds and not athletes.  I have nothing against sports (in fact I think they're great!) but most people don't grow up and use a lot of those hours and hours spent in sports towards anything useful.  If one of my kids has a fierce love of sports, sure I'll let them play to their hearts content but so far none of my kids have much interest in anything.  They've tried out different things over the years but that is not our forte'.

Anyway ... Jacob is in the Gifted program at school and they have this thing called the Math bus.  I don't know everything about it but the jist (?spelling) of it is --- they have the kids that really excel or love math get on a bus once a month.  They take a math test, have a feast and go back to school.  Yesterday Jacob had the best score out of the entire valley.  Way to go!  Also when we had his parent/ teacher class, his teacher told him that he had some more advanced math books and that if Jacob wanted to --- he could go ahead of the class and learn on his own (remember that this is already the gifted class).

I will try to conjure up something more fun for my next post...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Seriously, I have the best husband....

What kind of man does so many kind things for others?  A great one and that's what I've got.

Today was stake conference and a very special one.  Year after year we have stake conference and my husband leaves over an hour early to make sure we get cushy seats.  He does this mainly for me because he knows it is important to me, and the fact that it helps the kids to pay attention and sit quietly.

We have been caught in the back a few times and it is always a nightmare.  Loud kids who can't really tell why we're at the church because they can't even see who's speaking much less hear them because of all the action figures, barbies, and crayons getting banged on metal chairs.

We were very blessed to have been visited by Elder L. Tom Perry at our Stake Conference this weekend.  What a wonderful event this was and I got to meet him twice.  I feel so lucky.  I met him long ago but I'm having a hard time remembering when exactly.  In college we used to go sleep on the street in Salt Lake waiting to attend General Conference and that is where I met Elder Oaks as he walked casually down the street to the Tabernacle but I can't quite place when I would have met Elder Perry but I do remember thinking how tall he was.

Anyway .... back to the present.  I was asked to give the benediction at last nights adult session so Dan and I arrived early to make sure I wouldn't have to make the trek to the stage from the back of the chapel and ended up sitting on the front row.  Then today my sweet husband got to the chapel an hour and a half early to make sure that we had good seats.  I always stroll in about a quarter till but today I was good and made it by 9:30.  I found them on the second row --- GREAT seats.  Let me tell you there is nothing quite like sitting there having an apostle of the Lord look into your eyes as he gives his sermon.

 Thank you sweetie for getting such great seats for our family.  About halfway through the meeting it really touched me that Dan would get such great seats for our family.  In fact he wasn't even in there to enjoy his cushy seat but was out in the lobby with our rambouctious toddler.  That is love! 

At the end of the meeting we were able to go up and shake Elder Perry's hand.  When he saw curly haired Katie he said, "Now here's the second row crew ... what a great family!"  Priceless

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm Done!!!!! Now that's wishful thinking....

Day 21 of the 21 day challenge has come.  The challenge for today was to pick your own challenge.  Easy enough right?

The only problem with that is I had a VERY hard time finding the inner strength to actually think of a challenge.  I really wanted to just call it good and take a break for the day.  About 12:30 I finally thought of something that needed organizing. (There is actually plenty that still needs organizing but finding something that I wanted to work on today.)

Here's my project:  Sort, itemize, bag up and haul away the donation pile

I know - not really something that will stay with me but something that needs to be done anyway.  Over the past 21 days we've already hauled away several donation piles but a big one had accumulated again.

Here's what I started with:
Then I sorted everything into piles so that it would be easier to itemize.
I made a list of everything I'm donating and the condition it is in.
There you go! All the piles are bagged and boxed and ready to drive down to the Donation Center. Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for my oldest son to get home from school so that he can haul it to the car!

I'd like to thank Kristen for joining this challenge so that I could find it and Toni from A Bowl Full of Lemons for putting this challenge together. The last several months I've really been feeling the need to get my house in order but didn't know where to begin. I often start projects and don't finish them because with 9 people in the house my days can get busy really quickly and I'll often put projects off for later.

This challenge was very motivating for me because I knew that I couldn't put things off for tomorrow because tomorrow there would be a new challenge. It feels great to have gotten so much done. I've created a mental list of things that I still need to organize. But I need a little R & R first .... is that really possible? We'll see.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Master Closet

I actually did this a few days before it was assigned ... yea me!

I've only got this one before picture. I already had my system in place but things needed a little tidying up. Hailey and Katie were more than happy to earn a little money helping me in here.
Some new finds ---

I found this at Bed, Bath & Beyond a week ago and thought I'd give it a try. So far, so good!
I found this belt hanger in the dollar section at Target only right now not very much is actually only 1 dollar. I think it was $2.50 but I wish they had more! We took the last one and I haven't seen anymore since then.
I also found this scarf hanger in the same section. I bought one for each closet but haven't gotten that far yet.
We got these shoe cubbies at Costco a few years ago. It has really help keep things organized. The girls loved helping me put away my shoes. We emptied them all, picked the ones up off the floor and re-loaded. I moved the summer to the back of the closet and put the boots closer to the front.

We started buying these milk crates at back to school time when they are on sale. I've stacked and zip tied them to the shelves to create cubbies. Cheap and easy fix. I have to sort them a couple of times a year to switch seasons.


Desktop & Keepsakes

Have I ever mentioned that paperwork is my nemesis??? Well ... now you know. I have many flaws as I am far from perfect, but I would have to say that paperwork is right their near the top, if not at the top!

If you've come over and their has NOT been piles left around for later that means that it was stashed away out of sight. Not dealt with but successfully hidden. All you have to do is open a few desk drawers or some cubbies and you are bound to find many stacks of paper.
Or as these pictures show, just look at the desk! Embarrassing, but true!
For all of the above reasons I approached the assigned tasks with great trepidation and fear. Can I really conquer paperwork? That has yet to be seen but I'm certainly willing to give it a try.

I'm not gonna lie and say that I've finished this task but I've gotten an excellent head start. Since I started the challenge late I never did the desk top so I figured I'd start there. We have a very large table so I made that my command center and moved everything off the desk on to the table so I could give the desk a good dusting. I put everything back in the office (minus the paperwork) with a master plan in place. How can I create a space that will make paperwork easier for me? I found these paper boxes at Walmart and decided I'd make a box for things that I need to keep track of that wouldn't involve me filing right away.
I have 5 total for right now:

1. Taxes - We get my husband's W-2, and then lots of 1099's for my Internet business. Not to mention all the statements from the mortgage company, banks, property taxes and such. I can put them all together and file them after tax season. We wait until April 15th because who wants to send money earlier than needed.

2. Donations - I itemize everything! Therefore, before I take anything to Goodwill or DI it involves an itemized list and a note of it's condition. This way I can create the list, put it in the box and then attach the receipt when we finally take the load.

3. House receipts - I'm going to put a few files in the bottom of this box for different years. When we get home from Home Depot or do any renovations, we just drop the receipt in the box. If it gets full I can file it away but at least everything will be in one spot.

4. Business expenses - We have an online business so this box is for any receipts or paperwork involved.

5. Medical receipts - this isn't for medical bills but all of my out of pocket expenses. Prescriptions, co-pays, etc. We have a flexible spending account and anything over that can be put on our taxes.

It took all day but I got task #2 complete! The Desktop

As I said, not completely done putting everything back into place but the table is only half full still. We ate in shifts today. :)

This doesn't fall into a specific task but I'm excited about it still. Along with the desktop I cleaned out the cabinets over the desk. I temporarily took out all of the DVDs & Cd's and ordered some new holder's for them. This was an idea I got off of Toni's blog at A Bowl Full of Lemons.

With these containers from the Container Store:

I will take all these movies, music, software & games -
And fit them on this shelf!

We already have a version of this system in place for the kid's movies. There's are in one of those big notebooks but I think this will be better. It will be kind of like the library. I will make a chart inside the cabinet door that tells them what number slot each movie goes into. They should easily be able to get out what they want and put away what they watch. It will take some training but I know my kids are capable of doing this. I just need to lay down the law!

I'm excited for them to arrive!

On to Day #18 Keepsakes --

I don't actually have this done because I don't have all the supplies yet but they are on their way and I created a space for them.

Over the years I've tried many different versions of this but I'm excited to try a new one. Maybe this one will catch on especially with my new found determination to conquer paperwork.

My last system was the file cabinet and cubbies and since we all know how good I am at paperwork I have stacks of papers to put away and the kids end up getting into them before I'm done. The cubbies were supposed to be where they put their paperwork from school and every once in a while we go through them and pull out what we really want to keep and file them away. The kids have taken ownership of their cubbies and it is where they keep EVERYTHING including unfinished sandwiches. (Yes I have found a baggie with a half eaten sandwich in my 4 yr old's cubby)

Anyway we tried and failed so I'm gonna try Toni's system and see if I do better at it. I ordered a paper holder that has eight slots and conveniently fits on this shelf where these plastic ones are:

I know your probably thinking why not just stick them in the notebooks in the first place but I've come to realize with me that is just not going to happen. I love this idea because it gives me a place for my "stacks" of paper in an orderly way and it gives the kids something to do when they are bored. It's a win - win!!!