Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby!

Our daughter just celebrated another birthday. I really CANNOT believe how time flies and how old my kids are getting.
It was a miracle that she was born and we are so thrilled to have her as part of our lives. She is truly a little ray of sunshine and happiness. I love her kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity. Whatever recipe was used when she was made had an awful lot of sugar and sweetness in it because that's what she is...the personification of sugar in a kid.

Wishing you many years of happiness and joy to come!
Happy Birthday Sweetie!

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Spin the Teacher

While I'm on the subject of primary music ideas, today I repeated one that I've used before and the kids STILL like it.
We had a review day and so I grabbed a swirly chair (one that twirls all the way around) and hauled it into the primary room.

I wrote the names of 6 songs the kids have learned so far this year on different sheets of paper (one song per page) and placed them at regular intervals around the chair on the ground.

I then told the kids that whichever class sang the best, their teacher would get to choose the next song. I started by asking the kids to raise their hands if they had the best teacher. The Sunbeams (3-4 year olds) quickly all raised their hands, so their teacher became my first victim.
She sat in the twirly chair and one of the kids from her class came up and spun her chair around. She straightened her legs so that they became the pointer and when her chair FINALLY stopped, wherever her feet were pointing became the next song we sang.

The kids really love this because they love to see their teachers spin (I personally wouldn't be spinning, rather running for the bathroom). I love that the kids really get a kick out of this - sometimes I let them be the one spun, but it is a great review tool and requires VERY LITTLE prep time/work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Musical Measles!

I am the music lady at church. After our first hour of service with everyone together, I spend the next two hours (not completely without interruption mind you) with children...teaching them Primary songs. I have to say that this is a very difficult of the toughest parts about it is that I can't just open up a book, read some scriptures and carry on a discussion about the scriptural text and applications.

I have to catch the children's attention and hold that attention for extended periods of time...working with kids from 18 months to 12 years old - quite the spectrum. However - the toughest part about this calling is that the kids want something interesting and fun, and I pretty much have to come up with a new idea every week. I occasionally try to do do-overs, but they generally seem to crash and burn the second time around. So - I scour the internet, I pray and ponder, and I search for new ideas to grab the kid's attention and help them learn the songs. Sometimes we are very reverent, sometimes we are not as reverent as we could be, but by golly, they are learning those songs and having fun at the same time! (Yes, I taught them disco moves to one of our songs this year - sorry you missed it!)

Several weeks ago I did this one.

I'd read about a similar idea, and then I made it mine. I cut out different colored and sized polka dots. I wrote songs on them as well as singing styles (girls only, teachers only, stacatto, loud, soft, humming, opera, cowboy etc.)

I also covered my face, hair, etc. with round colored stickers and burst into the room singing (I quickly changed in the hall just before heading in). I told the kids I had musical measles and they might get them if they too sang.

Two children came up and picked polka dots from my sweater and skirt. We then read their backs to find each song title and singing style. Then we sang. Once the kids were singing well, my assistant 'George' (my husband really is a great sport) walked around the room placing stickers (musical measles) on all of the kids who became infected.

A friend Brandon seems to stop by frequently to check us out and see if I'm wearing funky wigs or anything that he could possibly tease me about in the future. He caught me in my polka dot glory just before I headed in a couple of weeks ago.
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I would like to announce that the garden is officially in!...despite the cooler than normal spring we've been having.

We started 2 more raised beds last Saturday but actually only finished one of them on Saturday. The last one wasn't finished until yesterday morning. Something about my very handy husband stripping bits like they were going out of style. I however, stripped no bits and finished it all up without him.

We had grandiose plans for planting and Family Home Evening on Monday, but alas, we had a blizzard instead. No gardening that day.

Tuesday morning I went to the lumber store for new bits and screws and finished up the boxes. Then I planted our peas, carrots, swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and beets in our smallest raised bed (yes Liz, the price of arugula has sky rocketed and we have to grow it ourselves now!)

In the evening, we put in the 18 tomato plants that had been hanging out inside the house for a while. They are now all cozily snugged up in their water walls growing happily. We also checked out our drip system.

Today, I threaded the water hoses throughout the beds, coming up from underneath and planted a couple more tomato plants. I also recycled all of the dead grass which we raked, aerated, and thatched from our lawn earlier this spring, placing it around all of the beds to help keep our weeds at bay. Finally, I repaired the drip lines in several places.

Really - if you have been calling us lately and haven't gotten hold of us, we aren't ignoring you. We've just been busy buying bits, and working outside trying to get everything set up on the automated system so that we can truly be lazy gardeners.

I'm thrilled that we are almost there! Tomorrow I get to spray lots of round up on all of the left over weeds. It seems wrong to be so excited about this, but there it is... and you probably shouldn't call for a few more days if you actually want to get hold of us. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another busy weekend

We've had a very busy weekend. We were invited to join some family members for some outdoor fun this weekend, but decided to be responsible and try and clean up our yard and get some work done. It turns out that this was the better choice (possibly not quite as fun), because we really made some great progress. With our injuries and health problems last fall we weren't able to winterize anything or really do a fall, we got to do it this weekend.

Friday afternoon I decided to jump into another project and so I ordered some wood from the lumber store. While we waited for the delivery, my daughter and I weeded the already existing garden bed. We were pleased to see how well the plants are doing!

Once the wood arrived, we built another raised garden bed - this one measures 4 x 8 ft with a height of 16 in. I have to say I really love tools! I love pulling out the circular saw and the drill - it is so empowering to me. Maybe because I grew up with a handy dad who did all of the fixing and I never learned to fix many things. Except the FHE where he taught us to fix washers for the sinks...I can do that, but that's another story.

We got one bed into the garden and filled it all up with lots of dirt. We also cleaned off our back porch so that we don't look like the white trash people anymore. (Well, there were no cars, but enough other stuff to compensate!)
It was a good day's work and we fell into bed.

Saturday morning I woke up early and tackled my scriptures, wrote in my journal and jumped into my laundry - trying to get caught up. After about four hours, I could see my floor in our bedroom and everyone's closets had been refilled with the clean clothes that had been hanging out in baskets in my room.

My husband took the girls outside - promising them a VERY fun project. I stayed inside and processed 50 lbs. of pears. I made three pans and a dehydrator full of dehydrated pears, and then I canned 12 quarts of them. I was thrilled to be able to cross that off of my list since they'd been ripening and I was worried that they would spoil before I got to them.

My husband gave the girls sections of our back yard to weed and clean up and they did a MAGNIFICENT job! They even carried all of the old trampoline pipes to the trash... It looks great.

I headed out and we worked on our last raised bed - a 4x4 ft one, but we quickly realized that while we only had about 10 more screws to screw in, our bit was completely stripped and we definitely need a new one before we can go any further.
The great news is that we worked on these raised bed forms together, and we were successful. We didn't even argue (which often happens when two people with very different ideas of how a job should be done work together)- which was great!

My husband set to watering, pruning and spraying weeds while I weeded the remaining flower beds around the periphery of our home. It is so calming to see clean flower beds with beautiful plants popping out their blossoms everywhere.

Today we went to church, took naps, and then made cookies which we went out and delivered to several friends and neighbors. The kids got to bed late, but they went to bed happy. We are SO ready for school to be out, but know that it is coming and summer will soon be here.

FHE tomorrow? Raised bed finishing and garden planting. YAY!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First Race of the season!


My husband participated in a local race recently. It was a 10K and his first race since his marathon (and subsequent ripped open hand, then sprained ankle) last year.

It was in the rain, and it was a trail race with a 1,200 foot incline pretty close to the first mile. Fairly grueling. He finished in 55.52 - he was shooting for around 54, but the mud was slick and some of the trail was precarious.

It was great to see him out running again, and even better that it was on part of his normal running trail and very close to home.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My latest project

I started a new project last week.
I know I previously mentioned how excited and inspired I've been by Knock Off Wood blog that I've been following. The blog is all about making your own furniture, and much of it from recycled and reclaimed wood. Ever since I found the blog, I've been thinking and dreaming about starting to make a few items that I'd like to have around the house.

In the bathroom for instance. I HATE to have messy toothpaste and toothbrushes on the counters. But that's where I always seem to find them. Blech!

I spent the day last Friday on my very first project. I grabbed one of the halves of the old bunkbed that was sitting in the garage, and decided that I was going to make myself a medicine cabinet/toothbrush & paste home.

I learned how to use our Kreg Jig - (a VERY nifty and fun tool I must say). I got it 89% finished and was just trying to finish hanging on the door when I realized that it wasn't going to work and that I needed to hang the door differently. Unfortunately, I realized that the screw was cheap and had stripped going in. That put an end to my finishing the project on Friday.

Here are the nifty toothbrush holders I made with the jigsaw and then sanded down with my little dremel.


My husband said he thought there was a tool to back out stripped screws and so we stopped and got one Saturday night. it didn't work. I was so bummed, and racking my brain trying to figure out a solution.

For Mother's Day I got a Dremel tool. I tried and tried yesterday to figure out how to get it to work and I just couldn't find a small enough bit to attach the rotary cutting bit. Finally, I called Dremel this morning just before heading to the store to get the right attachment. It was so simple. Within 2 minutes, I was merrily on my way. Sparks were flying, I wondered if my eyebrows or hair would start on fire - or the house for that matter, but finally, the entire hinge fell off, and I got to finish off the screw head as I watched it turn orange and begin to glow.

I figured out the hinge thing and re-did it, sanded and sanded and sanded, and finally filled all of the holes with filler and stained it.

Here's the inside view


My husband helped me to hang it this evening and wallah! I no longer have messy toothbrushes on my counters.

Here's the full finished product

While the workmanship may not be fine, I'm pretty thrilled that I did it! I didn't have any plans and I learned TONS. I learned how to use a circular saw, a jig saw, a kreg jig, a dremel, and got lots of drill time.

My next project will be with plans and will be a kids picnic table I can't wait to start!
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

What better way to celebrate Mother's Day than to learn of your children's achievements and see their progress?
We raced home from the theme park yesterday to a piano recital, getting there at 7:03. While I'd left a message to the teacher that we would be getting there just after it started, she missed the call, and our youngest daughter was first on the program. I was relieved that there were a few families who got there later than we did!

Here are our kids with their piano teacher prior to the recital

After the children all played their pieces, there was an awards ceremony and the kids got to find out how they did at their Guild competition at the beginning of the week. We were THRILLED to find out that our oldest daughter was one out of two students who received all 'commendations' and nothing in the 'needs attention' category. Both girls did fantastic in their divisions and we are so proud of them. We were also pleasantly surprised when our oldest daughter ALSO received a prize for being one of the two students who the teacher felt had made the most progress throughout the year!

Here are all of the kids with their certificates and awards.

Mother's Day was such a fun day. It was filled with laughter, which I loved. I really enjoyed the homemade gifts the kids made for me, and playing an M&M (mom & me) game with one of our daughters. You closed your eyes, pulled out an M&M and then answered the question that corresponded to the color of the M&M. It was quite enjoyable.
The girls made me their favorite cream of wheat for breakfast, then waffles and strawberries for lunch, and helped dad make spaghetti for dinner. Simple and yummy, and delicious because they made them and did the dishes.
I also took a very nice long siesta which was very appreciated and then we played some games together.

My husband knew that I've been working on some woodworking projects and so he thought that I might enjoy a dremmel. Yep...we've got some major role reversal, but I've been getting excited about tools and he just looks at me and shakes his head. Anecdotally, last Friday I was working hard on something that I'm making and while I was using the circular saw, I was trying to avoid my fingers. I was so studiously avoiding them, that I was surprised to suddenly notice an increase in the amount of sawdust I was kicking up. I thought I'd better check it out and realized that I'd been cutting the table along with my wood! Good thing it was the craft table at least. I got a pretty good laugh out of that one!

Finally, I thought I'd include a silly photo from our waffles and strawberries lunch. Somehow, (I'm really not sure how) my husband ended up with whipping cream in his hair. He then (with his extra long arm span) wiped it all over my face, and I grabbed another handful and chased him around the kitchen trying to retaliate. Yes I know - not very mature behavior when your kids are watching you, but I guess they enjoyed seeing us have fun together anyways. They couldn't believe how we were acting I guess. Here my husband has already washed his face because I did get him pretty well!
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This is the kid who looked at this ride last year and wanted nothing to do with it! It looks like she's growing up

Here we are on the spinning rides that our girls seem to love...blech!

Here is our daughter getting ready for her very first roller coaster ride!


Here she is after her first amazing roller coaster ride
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Recent Photos

We decided to spend some time at the temple this weekend, and decided to really make a weekend of it. We ate at 5 guys burgers and fries for the first time ever, had fun in the hotel pool, and spent some time on Saturday at the local theme park. Here are some misc. photos.



As we walked in, they wanted to take our picture - we told them they'd need to take one with our camera for us as well. It actually turned out pretty nicely!

While this was probably her last year in kiddie land, she really enjoyed the bumper cars... boy can I totally wait until she's old enough to drive!
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Before and After

Yesterday I set out to clean my kitchen's tile grout. (No matter how you write that sentence, it sounds funny)
I took out the hydrochloric acid and went to work. Here's my before photo:

It took a couple of hours. By then the sun had changed position and it wasn't quite as light as it had been (I wish the difference was SO distinct), but here's my after photo. I can't tell you how relieved my grout is, and how nifty that hydrochloric acid is. Yep - I can cross that project off of my list for the next several years!

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Urgent Care

A new urgent care facility just opened up in our area. Being the good citizens that we are, we decided that we needed to work harder to help keep it busy.
Last week we got to visit two times!

Our kids were practicing their back flips on the trampoline and one of them landed wrong and suddenly couldn't feel her back. We brought her inside and laid her down and then my husband gave her a priesthood blessing and then we took her to the urgent care facility. There they took X-rays and finally determined that she would be all right as long as she took it easy for the rest of the day.

A few short days later our other daughter was at gymnastics and was racing someone to some extra time on the trampoline. As she got there she landed on her foot wrong and couldn't walk for the rest of the evening. We compressed it, but found that there was no swelling so it couldn't be her ankle. Because of her pain, we took her to the urgent care facility and she too got X-rays. Luckily, her foot wasn't broken and before we ended up leaving, she was able to start putting weight on her foot.

Thrilling I know... we just can't seem to stay away from those doctors this year!

Piano Guild Competition

Our girls participated in a National Piano Players Guild competition yesterday.
This means that they had to memorize between 7-10 piano pieces and perform them for a judge. They've been working on all of their pieces for the past 5 months and while they were nervous, they both did a great job! Apparently the judge was very nice too. Here they are right afterwards:



After their performances we headed to have lunch with dad at work and then I took them to an ice cream shop for a special treat.
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