Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kindergarten? Bring it on.

I don't prefer happy endings. Don't get me wrong, I think they're great. I just prefer an ending that leaves me wondering what's coming up next. Because one thing I've learned from life so far is that nothing really ever ends.

Maybe that's part of what made today a really great day. You see, it's the very last day of my life as a mother without kids in school. My oldest starts kindergarten tomorrow. And like good mothers everywhere, I'm excited and nervous and sad and proud. I both can and can't believe how fast the time has passed, just like everyone said it would. I feel like everything I've ever learned from or taught her in the last five years culminates here; that we will be leaving some important part of ourselves in today when it ends. And it's a bittersweet feeling - the kind of feeling I love the best. Because it leaves me dying to find out what's coming up next.

Monday, August 30, 2010


As summer draws to it's close I am often drawn to ponder on the conclusion of certain extremely important parts of my life.  Things that are so incredibly important that I can scarcely imagine a world without them.  They are the things that allow dreams to come true, to make good men better, and that keep us all from falling flat on our faces.  By now I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about... it's almost automatic when the subject of "endings" is posed for ones mind to fixate solely upon the ultimate of ultimates, the one and the only, the end all be all of endings - the aglet.  By now I'm sure you also all know that this is not Jenni - it's Mark.  I hijacked her post this week to allow her to get the laundry done.  But none of that is important when pondering the complexity that is the aglet.  Some of you are probably wondering "What is an aglet" - if that is you, please go find someone that knows what an aglet is and let them laugh at you.  I'm giggling to myself just thinking about how ridiculous it would be if someone actually didn't know what an aglet is.  I'm actually ROFL - LOL - OMG - that would be something.  I think back to the time when I learned what an aglet was and it's importance in my life... it seems like it was just two weeks ago as I was watching Phineas and Ferb.

I do feel sorry for those who don't know that an aglet is the "ending" of your shoelace.  We really do need to make a push to let everyone know.  Oh - and I really also recommend telling everyone to watch Phineas and Ferb - it is one of the best shows ever.  And for those of you who were waiting for the "ending" of this post - here it is.

(Jenni's Husband)

Friday, August 27, 2010

A New Habit

After spending a wonderful evening sewing and visiting with my friend Kathleen, I have decided to start a new habit--and hopefully it will be a good one!

I seem to find millions of wonderful sewing and crafting ideas online, and then I think to myself, "I'll have to remember this for..." so that I can come back to it when I need it. I actually started a spreadsheet of ideas and links to blogs and tutorials so that I could find them a second time. I'm not very good at actually adding the info to it though, so that is one thing I can work on... BUT, for the ones that I really love, I'm just going to print them when I see them. I'm going to keep them in my wonderful pattern binder--or maybe start a Volume 2--and then I'll just have them on hand to peek at and choose from when I need to, or when I just want to. Inspiration at my fingertips and instructions for my own success!

Here is a tutorial for a skirt from Sew Mama Sew  that I am excited to try...except I think I'll make mine a little longer. :)

Thanks for the tip, Kathleen! Maybe if I pick up a few more of your habits I'll be as good as you are at all the crafty arts!

What habits do you have for successful craft inspiration and execution?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Odd Habits

I have a few odd habits. I will name some of them for your comical enjoyment. Most of them pertain to my self diagnosed OCD.

1) Every time I visit my parents/in-laws/any vacation for that matter, I love to clean out and reorganize the fridge. Odd, really odd, I know.

2) Every few weeks, I reorganize something in my fridge/freezer/pantry. I love to compact things and make them fit better.

3) I have a habit of sitting in front of the TV and doing nothing in the evening. I feel like such a lazy bum, but man it is so nice to just sit sometimes.

4) I have a habit of sorting through the kids toys once a month or so to make sure all the parts are there and in the right spot, so in a day they can all be mixed up again.

5) I have a habit of buying fabric with the intention of doing something with it to only have it stacked and looking nicely every time I am in the office.

6) I have a habit of walking all the back walls at Target and spending more time there then intended. I love finding deals.

7) I have a habit of leaving the kitchen floors unswept or mopped until till my awesome husband comes home to clean them. I hate sweeping and mopping. I will vacuum any day.

8) I have a habit of waiting to buy something until the price is right only for it to be gone.

9) I have a habit of wanting and choosing to buy something only to mull the purchase over in my mind until I talk myself out of it. (My husband hates this one. He is more impulse then I am.) I am just like my Dad on this one. He wants a motorcycle and has been looking at the same one for years now and has yet to get it. He probably never will. Who knows.

10) I have a habit of eating dinner at 5:30 or so everyday. It makes it nice when my husband can come home and dinner is already ready.

Alright, I think 10 is enough for today. There are plenty more to list, but you get the picture. We all have weird habits, and I am sure we all have healthy habits.

What are some of your habits?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

a beautiful family culture

The title of this post is Stephen Covey's answer when asked what is "effectiveness" of a family? He outlines methods of creating a beautiful family culture in this book:

I, like many of you I'm sure, have read his original book, and this is a follow-up using the same principle habits but focused on family relationships. I recommend reading the first one...well, first. The habits are pretty much the same in both, and it's interesting to see how habits like "Be Proactive", "Think Win-Win", and "Synergize" can take on drastically different levels of significance whether you're thinking of yourself individually or of your family dynamic.

This is a good read, no matter where you are in your family - parent, spouse, sibling, aunt/uncle, grandparent. I hope you'll give it a try, if you haven't already, and let me know how it has helped you better empathize, share, affirm, pray and sacrifice in your family.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Forming a Habit

It's over halfway through the year and I'm nowhere near meeting the goal I set as my New Year's resolution. Maybe you're in the same boat.

My resolution this year was to become a moring person. Or, at least, get myself up earlier than the rest of my family and do it without grumbling. I decided to make this huge change in my life not long after I learned that being a night-owl or early-bird may actually be genetically ingrained.

It hasn't been easy, but there's no way I'm giving up. I still have beautiful images in my head of those quiet, peaceful moments before the day really begins, maybe even watching the sunrise. I still dream of waking up on my own terms, rather than by an adorable little voice right next to my ear saying louder-than-is-acceptable "Mama, I'm hungry!" With that in mind, and with new resolve, I'm reviewing these steps for achieving just about any goal:

- Imagine your goal becoming a reality. In my mind's eye, I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:00 a.m.

- Set specific small goals. I'm renewing my efforts to get to bed at a reasonable hour, and to do it with the help of a regular bedtime routine.

- I'm writing it down. Right here!

- I'm making a deadline. Or reminding myself of my deadline. If needed, I'm breaking the deadline down into smaller bites.

- I'm reminding myself of why I set the goal in the first place. I want that time to myself at the beginning of the day, not at the end when I'm tired.

And finally ... I'm NOT - no way, no how - giving up! They say it takes three weeks to break a habit - I'm hoping it will take less than a year to form this one!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thumbs Up!

 I have an almost 5 year old little boy named Payton who is starting Kindergarten next week. He's smart and friendly and kind and funny...he should have no problem right? Well...the one thing I didn't mention is his little thumb sucking habit he picked up when he was 3. Not when he was an infant...when he was already 3 years old.

It's been two years since Payton saw a cute little girl sucking her thumb in church. Like any normal kid he decided he would give it a go. She loved it...why wouldn't he? I was nervous at first but decided to ignore it. I was hoping that his tiny experiment might just fizzle away if I didn't do anything to bring attention to it or discourage it. Well, I was wrong (AGAIN). He has sucked his thumb ever since and now I am afraid he is going to get his feelings hurt at school. I know there is a possibility that that particular thing might help him kick his little habit but I don't want his first experience in school to be scary and I don't want him to feel like he has to anything just because a classmate tells him to. Maybe I'm just over reacting...that happens a lot. He could just be one of many who do it. I did it until I was 5 and I don't any more. Either way I am wondering if there is anything more I can do to help him. I want it to be a loving. I don't want anything that tastes bad (tried it) and I want him to want to stop.
He only does it when he is being still (falling asleep, watching TV, sitting in the car, waiting for something exciteing to happen) so you see it's not like I can take all or any of that away from him.

Do you think something like this might work? I could make him one of these.

We have tried the sock on the hands thing.
We have tried the bad tasting stuff you put on the thumb which I believe to be serious torture.

We have had him sleep in a shirt that has the sleeves sewn shut.

We have told him that he might just turn into a wrinkly crinkly old man soon.

We have told him about all the little bugs that live on thumbs.

We have tried it all...at least that is how I feel. There has to be something else I can do.
I know it's a habit and habits are hard to break even for adults. Should I even be worried? I know there are bad side effects to this eventually. Any suggestions? Is anybody else going through this or has successfully helped their child over come this?


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Are you Paranoid like me?

With my two daughters, I have found that a Hello Kitty Band Aid can pretty much cure anything.

Oh, to be like a child, so soothed by such a simple comfort!

I, however,  have a little problem where I let my imagination get the best of me, and I conjure up these scenarios in my mind where EVERYTHING goes wrong. I get some incurable illness, or someone in my family gets terribly injured and I'm the only one there to administer first aid; one of my children is hit by a car or falls out a window or is attacked by a dog. Is this a normal part of motherhood, or am I just really messed up?

Well, in any case, my mild state of paranoia has motivated me to take a few extra precautions and pay attention to the advise given for certain undesirable situations. Most of them are not unusual, but do take a little time and effort to achieve. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to think about all the things you should do to be prepared. But when done a little bit at a time, it is very rewarding to know that you are ready for anything.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

72 Hour kits--have one in your home, ready near an exit to go with you where ever you might need to go.  There are many places you can purchase one, such as beprepared.com, and lots of places online to find lists of items to include in one you build yourself.

Escape Ladder-if you have a two story home, one of these emergency escape ladders for evacuation in cases of fire or earth quakes might help put your mind at ease. We keep ours in the closet of my daughters' room and practiced using it to be sure we are prepared.

Fire extinguisher--this was a purchase I made on a random shopping trip at Costco. I hadn't thought about it until I saw it there, and once I did, I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep unless it was safely tucked away in my house. :) Yup, paranoid.  And now that I'm writing this, I wonder if I should have one upstairs too...

The inspiration for this post actually came from a magazine I recently started reading--I got it at a local fair in a bag of 9-1-1 emergency coloring books and stickers handed out to my daughter. It has been a great resource, and you can access some of it online at 3days3ways.org.

A few things I plan to do next:

Get to know my neighbors and hold a "disaster preparedness block party"

Teach my daughter how and when to dial 911, as well as her address and phone number

Put a pair of sturdy shoes under my bed

Renew my CPR certification

Get those good-old Mr. Yuck stickers on all my house hold cleaning supplies

What things are you doing to be prepared...and reduce motherhood paranoia?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I love to save money and spend as little as I can each month. I used to be really good at budgeting, then we moved and things cot crazy. I got out of my habit of writing down everything that we spend and keeping track. Then entered Mint. It is a really cool online budgeting site. It is secure, like bank secure, and links all of your bank/credit accounts to it. I have still got to get things set up how I want it to be, but it tells you right there where you are spending your money. Like your types of purchases and things. It is much easier then going through bank statements and receipts. So go, try it! It will help prepare you for the future so you can have that rainy day fund you have been talking about. It is secure and pretty easy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is your pantry prepared?

No, this isn't my pantry, but I wish! It's courtesy of Living Off the Grid and is worth checking out! The title of their post with this photo is "Being Snowed In Is Different When You're Prepared." Ain't that the truth!

I'm in the throes of harvesting and preserving too. Already I've canned 14 quarts of apricots and 12 pints of apricot-pineapple jam. The fruit cost me exactly ZERO dollars. While we were in Utah, my cousin's 94-year-old sweetest lady of a neighbor was desperate for someone to clean off her apricot tree, so I stepped up. :-) Not sure what to do next...it all depends on if our tomatoes decide to turn red. If so, we're in for a bumper crop!

In case you want a source for food preservation trouble shooting, check with your local extension office. Sure, you can use your trusty canning recipe book for the how-to, but the experts at the extension office will be able to tell you everything from why your dill pickles aren't crunchy even though you put alum in the jars, to why your peach jam went dark, to really just how long to process pears so they don't cause botulism but aren't cooked to death and mushy (yes, I've called them for all of these issues and they were super helpful).

Finally, I found a helpful checklist of pantry staples to have at all times that will help you make a variety of different meals. This list includes not only pantry items, but refrigerator, freezer and produce items as well. I edited it just a little bit for my family's preferences. Like, I took off the Dijon mustard and added sour cream and cream cheese to the fridge list. You could also make changes based on the season as well. For me, it came in handy having these things on hand the last few days when it was SO hot here that my menu plans containing anything cooked were abandoned. Because my pantry and fridge were stocked with the essentials, I whipped up some pretty darn tasty impromptu alternatives.

What are your trusty go-to pantry items that you always have stocked?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ready, Steady, Go! And don't be afraid to sing.

A stroller's-eye view of the Washington Monument

I'm late. I'm always late; and this blog post is no exception. My exuse this time? I was on an airplane.

I thought I'd write about traveling with kids, and that doing it after the fact would give me insight into what I wish we'd brought with us for the plane trip. But then it turned out to be one of the easiest, most fun trips on a plane that I've taken with kids. We had plenty of snacks, stickers and coloring books. On a cross-country trip including a stopover and plane change, we didn't even get around to the finger puppets I brought, or the chapter books for my reader. I've heard that a portable DVD player is a must on the airplane when you're traveling with children, but I saw it as quality time spent with my kids and we were all nicely entertained. It was actually a blessing that we couldn't all sit together - for half the trip one adult sat with the kids while the other got some R&R, and then we switched.

Today, however, the lesson came. And not in the way I expected it to. We are here to visit my family first and foremost. But in this town your'e cheating yourself if you don't get out and see some things, too. Today we thought we'd see one of the many museums on our list. But we didn't get there with enough time to really see it so we decided to change our plans and just go for a walk to see some of the city's sights. My sister dropped us off, so we were on foot for a couple hours. Right in the middle of our walk, wouldn't you know it, a downpour. We're from the northwest; we don't carry umbrellas. And besides, it was warm rain, not our native frigid kind. We all got soaked, and the kids were slightly miserable about it, but we were ready with good attitudes - there was nowhere to go but forward on our walk, so we might as well make the best of it! - and a couple of old hit songs (picture me singing as loud as I dared in this busy place "I don't care if the sun don't shine, I get my lovin' in the evening time, when I'm with my baby! ... ")

The Lincoln Memorial was the only shelter around. She was annoyed by the grown-ups' good moods in spite of the rain.

Sometimes being prepared is about having the right stuff - for entertainment on a plane ride or surviving an emergency. And sometimes it's about a flexible plan and a good attitude. And seriously, knowing the words to a few good oldies - and being willing to sing them out loud! - can be a lifesaver when you least expect it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Preserving the Taste of Summer

It's that time of year again. I have some peaches coming to me this week and I am getting so excited to get my canning done and my freezer jams made. Cali talked about U-pick berries here last week and we take full advantage of this luxury. My freezer is slowly beginning to get full and as I have been exploring the Internet, searching for new sites that have great food storage ideas, I ran across a few things I wanted to share with you.

This site is just a good basic blog to follow if you are like me and need a lot of help with this whole food storage idea.  There are great tips and recipes and fun ways to acquire and use your food storage.

I also found this site that has a yummy jam recipe I want to try. 

My main goal this week is to get my peaches canned.  I'm hoping it will cool down by the end of this week so that this can be a more comfortable goal.  Here is the recipe I think I might use.  I love Summer.  I love canning summer and then getting to taste it in the winter time. 
Happy canning!


Friday, August 13, 2010

A Tradition of Fun

(2009 Birch Bay trip, my daughter, Sophia, testing out the water)

After another wonderful trip to our family vacation spot in Birch Bay, WA, I knew what I was going to share this week.

These are my wonderful Grandparents, Clark and Jerrie Bean. Grandpa's family started going to Birch Bay when he was just a kid. Then he and my grandma brought their five children, who brought their children (that's me!), who now bring their children!

 (2009 Birch Bay trip--My dad and my little sister in the pool with an underwater camera)

(2010 Birch Bay trip, my daughter Naomi getting ready to find some treasures on the beach)

Five generations of our family have enjoyed the wonderful beauty and fun that is to be found on this sandy, rocky beachfront. For one week out of the year we all come together and just enjoy the sunshine and the clouds--because this is Washington, remember!--the water and the sea life, the pool and the food, the laughing and the fun.

 (2010 Birch Bay trip, playing on the beach as the tide comes is)

 (2010 Birch Bay trip, building and decorating our littlest sandcastle ever)

It doesn't really matter what we do, we always have a good time just being there together. We have favorite traditions that must be done each year--go karts, train rides, sand castles, and family dinners each night. But the best part is just being together, relaxing, and having fun. There are so many things I love about this annual trip, but the most praiseworthy part I recognized this year is the wonderful tradition of simply having fun.

(2009 Birch Bay trip, Sophia again, only this time getting a little more than just her feet wet!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You Pick

I find this time of year extra Praiseworthy. Why you ask... Because it is Blueberry season, and blackberry, raspberry, even late strawberry season this year. Yum! It is so fun to go out and pick your own fruit. You do not need to have a patch of your own. There are plenty of others willing to let you come pick for way less then you can buy them at the store. And they are so good right from the bush! Here are two of my favorite you-pick sites

(They have canning and jamming directions too.)

(This is local to washington and lists farmers markets too.)

So go pick some delicious berries. You will be praising yourself for doing it as you eat them. Delicious!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The nature of one praiseworthy thing

We spent the last two weeks on a road trip to Utah to attend family reunions in the great outdoors. While we were camping here with my family, we witnessed *daily* some pretty spectacular shows of thunder and lightning, one day resulting in a drenching summer rainstorm. Sure, that makes for a challenge to get and keep everything dry, but our reward every evening was another incredible display of "lights" as the sun went down. Here is a progression of three photos that span about 10 minutes.

This is only a small snapshot of what was an expansive panorama of Heavenly Father's creation. It is easy for me to forget sometimes, as I'm surrounded by day-to-day tasks, cell phones ringing, and paved roads, that these kinds of places even exist. It was a much-needed reminder to me of the gift I've been given to live on this glorious earth, and also of the responsibility I have to be a caretaker of it.
"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required..." (Luke 12:48)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Praiseworthy Thing: Really? Just One?

When I learned that this week's topic was "One Praiseworthy Thing" my first thought was "Just one?! But there are so many!" How was I ever going to narrow it down to just one?

I stewed and I stewed and I stewed, until finally in a fit of manic housecleaning I remembered

I had recently read in Sunset magazine, by writer Anne Lamott. It's so perfect for my life right now, and if you're a busy person (whether by necessity or by choice) I bet something in there will speak to you, too.

Here's my favorite bit ...

"Will they give me one hour of housecleaning in exchange for the poetry reading? Or wash the car just one time a month, for the turtles? No? I understand. But at 80, will they be proud that they spent their lives keeping their houses cleaner than anyone else in the family did, except for mad Aunt Beth, who had the vapors? Or that they kept their car polished to a high sheen that made the neighbors quiver with jealousy? Or worked their fingers to the bone providing a high quality of life, but maybe accidentally forgot to be deeply and truly present for their kids, and now their grandchildren?

"I think it’s going to hurt. What fills us is real, sweet, dopey, funny life."

So go on and read the rest of it! And if you're willing to share, come back and tell the rest of us what you'd be willing to exchange for the thing you really want to be doing with your precious time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

  This week as we thought about things that are praiseworthy I couldn't help but think about this video. Two weeks ago as I sat with my dad late at night,we watched this...he wanted to show it to me. After I had just watched my own mother put on two beautiful wedding days for my two sisters I began to wonder what she must feel like. How she had done it! If she ever felt like I did about how difficult it can seem to be a mom.
Right now I get to be a mom and am beginning to barely understand some of what goes into motherhood. It's hard a lot of the time. It makes me grow everyday but it's one of the most joyful things I can and will ever do. Follow this link, watch it and then let it seep deep into your soul. Don't ever question how important you are.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Sound of a Summer Breeze

Well, Caspar Babypants is at the top of the list for summer soundtracks at our house too. Along with Elizabeth Mitchel and a few random library finds like Cali's--although, ours all seem to include Elmo right now, which is one voice of which I can only take so much. And for us the volume always seems to crank a little higher in the summertime too! :)

HOWEVER, my four-year-old has developed a taste for some of "mommy's music," which is a joyful thing! She often asks for a little Colbie Caillat and recently has discovered a new favorite--because it's the one I can't stop playing.

I love hearing her sweet little voice sing these words along with me. At a time of year when so much of life is splashing in a pool and laughing in the sunshine, I have been grateful for a few moments that are more like a soft summer breeze, and this song captures life the way I am going to remember it this summer.

This is Priscilla Ahn singing "Dream." I love the acoustic guitar, I love the message, and I love the way it makes me feel. I can't listen to just part of this song, I have to hear every last note. Please, listen to the words as well as the wonderful music. Every piece of this is, well, wonderful. Truly, wonderful. Here's a few moments of summer for reflection.

A Kid's Summer Soundtrack

So I have no clue right now what is current in the world of music. I just got back from a vacation where it was 12 hours there and 12 hours back in a car. Did we listen to "adult" music. No. Why you may ask? Because we listened to what our children would enjoy. Now it was not strait kids music, there was some kids movies mixed int that with our handy DVD player, but still, I have no clue what is current these days. Do I miss it? in all honesty, no! There is some great kids music out there, and what is more enjoyable then having your kids singing along and happy in the back seat. Here are some of our current favorites, in no particular order. Most of these have been found browsing the Children's Music section of the local library. I love that place!

We love this guy! All his music!

Ziggy Marley
Family Time
He is the son of Bob Marley. I actually really enjoy this CD myself.
Field Trip
This is a group of elementary school teachers. There music is geared more toward Elementary aged kids, but my 4 year old sill likes them. Especially the Marshmallow Farm song.

I Love My Shoes
He has written some pretty funny songs. Lunch Money
They are very easy to listen too. Indy Rock type. It almost sounds as if it is not a children's CD, but you know it is by the lyrics. I am tempted to buy there Cd's. We have had the library copy for a month or so now. I think we have hit our last renewal. Time to return it I guess. I think they may be one of my favorite finds.

Go to your local library and check them out or find something that looks interesting. You may be quite pleased with what you find. And if you don't like it, you can always return it. We have had our fair share of busts too. You can also click on the links. It will take you to their personal website. What children's music are you enjoying right now?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sweet giveaway winners!

OK I know I would announce the winners of the "sweet" giveaway last Wednesday, but I haven't had internet access until today. Sorry 'bout that. So...the randomly-drawn winners are:

#9 Gena


#11 matt and michelle ray

Email your mailing address to lovelypraiseworthy@gmail.com and I'll slip it in the mail to you. I have a couple of little extra surprises from our road trip that aren't shown in the original post!

Thanks everyone for your comments on your favorite sweet treats. Now I'm off to enjoy some homemade ice cream. :-)

American Honey

So, I've already confessed to you all my annual summer love affair with country music. This year is no different, so stop by anytime, and amongst the squeals of the kids playing in the back yard, you're sure to hear some heartland-inspired music.

"American Honey" is by far my favorite this summer. How can you not love anything by Lady A? Sit back, watch, and wait for the nostalgia to hit you like a freight train.