Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Not much exciting goes on around our house on Wednesdays (other than it's my day to post on our little blog here - yay!). Afternoons have been a challenge for me with little kids. What to do between naps and dinner time? I'm usually feeling the afternoon slump and not wanting to do much, but the kids get restless and need something to occupy their time.

One of my goals this year is to do a craft with them once a week, at least while the weather keeps us indoors. It doesn't have to be much, sometimes it's just coloring together in their coloring books. Admittedly, it's not something I'm always excited to do. There's the getting out of the supplies, the refereeing when both kids must have the exact same color of crayon/marker/paint at the SAME TIME, and the clean up. But then I remember how I learned at a young age to love creating things with my hands and how that has grown into a love of making beautiful things for my home, family and friends. My brother and I used to flip through the pages of these books in search of the next awesome project to take on.

I'm sure my mom wasn't thrilled with the set up and clean up either (especially since paper mache' was one of my favorite things to do), but just like her, I love watching my kids create.

So that's what Wednesdays are for. Today is especially "ho-hum" with the dark clouds and rainy skies. It looked and felt like it was 6 pm all day long. So, since this is the song of choice around here, we added a little brightness to an otherwise uneventful and ho-hum day. I've come to love Wednesdays, especially the afternoons.

(This popcorn kernel being eaten may or may not have glue on it. There were others too.)

Wallah! Artwork worthy of the wall of fame!

How do you fit in creative time either for yourself or with your kids?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wednesday is Good for the Soul

Photo taken on our trip to Nauvoo, Illinois in 2005.
Just an example of the images in my mind as I've studied the Doctrine and Covenants this year.

I'm not good at schedules or regimen. I'm terrible at exercising and even worse at ... well, anything that takes planning and discipline. Which is why it is no small thing for me to say that every Wednesday morning since the school year began, failing only due to sickness or dangerous weather, I've been attending a religion class. Which sounds really unremarkable, I know. Except that for the first time in my life, I have been making scripture study and meditation a regular part of my day. Oh, I've started and stopped and started up again, knowing it's important but never quite making it work every single day over a long period of time. But this time, wanting to be an active participant in class each week (and, let's be completely honest, wanting to sound smart during the discussion), it's stuck, and I'm already planning what I want to study this summer so that I don't fall behind in this daily ritual.

With a home and family to care for, there's not much time left for Mama, as we mamas all well know. And when there is time, I'll admit I'd rather spend it sewing or reading a good novel. My inclination to skip over the spiritual aspect of my life is a hard one to break. But I'll tell you this: One day, after a particularly busy morning, I finally had both kids in their rooms napping, and all the morning's messes beckoned. I started to pick up the toys when I thought that maybe I should just sit and study for a while. But oh! the mess! What was I going to do about the mess? After a few minutes of inward battle, I finally picked up my books and my journal and started to read. And when I was done, there wasn't any time to do much housework until the kids woke up. But here's the point: after making what was good for my soul a priority, the messes just didn't matter. I got to them eventually, and while I don't remember what the exact subject of my stud was, I'll never forget what I learned that day: that learning what's really important, and then doing it first, makes all the difference.

What is the one thing, beyond everything else, that's good for your soul?
How do you make time for it in your busy life?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Easy Fabric Flowers

I know there are tons of tutorials all over the Internet for these, but people keep asking to have a tutrial here, so I learned how to make some. THEY ARE SO EASY!! I was terrified, really, they look so hard, but I made one in ten minutes. Seriously. Easy Peasy! Supplies

Fabric Scissors, or a Rotary Cutter (I would have used a Rotary Cutter, but mine is missing)


A hand needle

A Ruler or something to use to measure

Cut your Fabric into 5 Squares. Any size will do. I made a few different sizes, but i really like the smaller ones I made with 2.5 inch squares

Thread your needle and make it long enough to fit five "petals" on, before they are cinched.

Fold your squares into a triangle. You can press them if you want, but I didn't and it worked fine.

Sew the open ends of your triangle loosely so that it can be gathered.

Thread them on, one by one until they are all attached. Cinch them together as tight as you want to form your flower.

Tie the ends together.

Add a button or another embellishment to cover the center.

Ta-da! A easy fabric flower!

With fabric flowers, there are endless possibilities!

Wendesday Wreath

Hello! This is actually Cali today, not Jenni. We swapped days this week, just so you are not confused.

Anyways, a few weeks ago I told you about a craft I had started, but not yet finished. I am actually going to break it up into two tutorials, since I can. So here is the Yarn Wreath. (You can Find the fabric flowers here.)

I have seen these all over recently so I decided to jump on the band wagon, and since I have had readers tell me that even though it is somewhere else on the Internet, they prefer to have the tutorial here, so here you go. That, and the tutorials I looked at did not tell me how much yarn to use, so you will get that here as well. Supplies

1 Small Wreath Form (I used the dollar store again.)

1 ball of yarn (I used about half of it give or take a little.)

That is it!

I started my wreath by overlapping some of the yarn as I wrapped it so it would stay in place.

I then tightly wrapped it around my wreath form.

It was really simple. A little time consuming, but I did not fell all that great that week, so it was nice to just sit on the couch with my rice bag and mindlessly wrap yarn around the form.

Anyone can do it.

This is what it looked like when it was covered. I just tied off the end. I am sure you can glue it if you want.

I wrapped a little bit of ribbon around it and added some fabric flowers. I just pinned them on so I can use the form for other holidays, or seasons.I am trying to figure out how to pin on a little Peep Bunny or Chick and not have it leave a mess.

So if you want another easy door decoration, here you go! There is just something about wreaths that make your house seem happy and welcoming. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coming Out

That is right, I am coming out of the closet. I have a secret. Well it will not be a secret anymore, but I think I love PBS Kids Shows, and Children's Music more then my 2 and 4 year old do.

That is all....
No seriously, we went to a Caspar Babypants concert at the library yesterday, and it is probably the 5th time we have seen them. They are performing today at a library closer to us and I am so sad that my 2 year old did not want to go. He said "We saw them yesterday." ("Yesterday" and "Last week" are some of his favorite words at the moment.) That is all I can think about. We are missing a free concert at the library.

It is not just them. We go to almost every free children's concert around, either at the library, or the summer festivals, etc. I just love them. Mostly it does not matter who is performing, but there are a few children's performers that I do not like and we have left early when we can. I just love children's music. My kids are going to be in high school and there mom is not going to be listening to the oldies station, I will be rocking it out to the Wiggles, or Caspar Babypants, or Lunch Money. (I think they are my favorite right now.) There are many others.

Also, during quiet time, I have to refrain myself from watching Word Girl, or Martha Speaks. (I do get my Ellen in, and I do like Ghost Whisper.) I know I can't watch them when my daughter is still awake. She will want to watch them too, and there goes my break! I fell odd watching them without with my kids. I'm an adult, I should be watching adult shows! In the morning, my kids get to watch two shows while I get ready. I am sad if I miss Dinosaur Train, I don't get to watch Sid the Science Kid, or I miss the super story answer on Super Why.
Seriously, I am really odd. But now you know. And when I come to you with a really odd fact about Palaeobatrachus (a Dinosaur that looks like a a frog,) the Elements, or I have a random use of vocabulary words, etc. You will know that I did not learn it from school, I learned it from a children's song, or PBS Kids.

Are you hiding any secrets in the closet? Join me in coming out of the closet!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mom Cave

I've learned since having children that many of the things I thought were "mine" really aren't. Like my expensive art pencils and markers that are now in the kid craft bin. Like my cute vintage pin cushion that is now a doll pillow (minus the pins, of course). Like my beaters that are now more part of the play kitchen than the real kitchen. Heck, even my 45-second potty breaks aren't even my own anymore! What I've also learned, more than ever before, is that "things" aren't what really is important.

That being said, I believe everyone (probably especially moms) should have an area, no matter how large or small, that is theirs and theirs alone. Enter my closet.

This is where I keep all of "my" stuff. This closet was originally built to house the washer and dryer, hence the electrical outlet, overhead light and fan. The previous owners of our home moved the w/d location to the garage, took the doors off the closet and made it into the computer desk. My dad built extra shelves, and after a nice coat of paint and some lovely new white doors, my "mom cave" was born.

Not to say that I don't share a bit of the space with the kids' games and crafts, oh and the punch bowl and fondue set on the top shelf. And this doesn't count my sewing machine cabinet that's set up in the living room or the corner of the dining room that looks awkwardly naked without the ironing board there. But for the most part, this is my little area for my bins of pretty fabric, papers, ribbons, patterns, books and whatever I find that inspires me. It may not look organized to you, but believe me I know where EVERYTHING is.

So, what is your little space that belongs to you? Even if it's a drawer of your nightstand, find or discover or create a little niche of space that you can call your own.

P.S. Don't tell my kids that one of those drawers in my closet is full of new batteries. I'll be changing toy batteries until next month! :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Come Into My Closet

Inspired by Jenni's post, I decided to take some time today and see what I could do to improve my closets within the couple hours that my daughter was at school. Want to see?

Okay, not really a closet, it's our entryway. But it works a little like a closet and this mess is the first thing people see when they come to my house - eep! It wasn't hard to fix, though. I just put the bags away and hung the bulkier coats in the coat closet around the corner (coming up next). Here's the after:

Next, the coat closet!

For this closet, I put away our winter coats and consolidated the things on the shelf. This is where we keep our emergency kits, as well, so I organized them a little bit too.

I still have some wintry coats here, yes, but we live in the Northwest; easy access to warm clothing is a year-round necessity. Oh, also, I'm in the process of painting all our trim and doors white, but the doors have to wait until it's warm outside. So, yes, the closet door is brown and the trim is white. For now.

In my/husband's closet:

I put away the laundry, re-stacked sweaters, and arranged hanging shirts by his/mine.

Not too bad for a morning's work. But it didn't end there! Once I was on that roll, I tackled:

The living room table:

(That stuff on the sofa is my growing pile of things to donate/consign after cleaning out the closets - hooray!)

And the sideboard (which is where I store most of my craft and sewing stuff these days):

With just a spark of inspiration and a little time, it's amazing what can be accomplished! Is there something you've been neglecting - whether temporal or spiritual, domestic or otherwise - because you've been taking care of everything else? Go on and do it! Chances are, it will be easier than you think.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Closet Therapy

With the sunshine peaking through the clouds and the clusters of crocus popping up in my neighbors yard I am itching to do some spring cleaning.  I love myself a good clean room but I get the most out of digging through a winter infested closet and ridding it of all it's dust bunnies and expired "stuff." Seeing it all neat and organized, maybe even pretty enough to leave the door to the closet open, makes me think that one day I might actually be able to have cupboards like in the above picture. 

My plan today failed...but it's only because my ambitious mind told me I could do it all in one day.  Never mind the fact that my day was pretty packed with normal mom stuff anyway. I tend to get way ahead of myself and today was no exception.  I started this project way back in January and I got through a good chunk of my house but I never finished.  I blame it on the gray color of everything and the laziness I feel in February and into March.  So I have a new plan. A little more realistic plan this time:

Five days (by Saturday at midnight). 

One mission. 

To organize or reorganize and beautify every closet in my home. 

Definition of closet:: cupboard: a small room (or recess) or cabinet used for storage space

That's a lot of doing and a lot of dust bunnies.  That's a whole lot of therapy to get me feeling good about my favorite season!  SPRING!!!

And to get you in the mood and to give you some inspiration:  Some loveliness!

Apparently these people only wear blue, green and white and they only own 3 designs and 10 shirts total. 

I adore baskets.  I am a basket junkie.  One day, if I could have it my way and not my husband's, everything I own will live in a basket.

still one of my favorite ideas!!!

How cute is this little girl's tiny closet space?

I think if I had some place like this I would want to clean every minute of my life.

Although my closets will never look like this I am determined to at least have them organized and cleaned out by the end of the week!!!

NOW...who's with me? 

* Maybe on Saturday I'll post some before and after pictures of my closet space....maybe!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hidden Conversation Bubbles

Image found here

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if we could read each other's thoughts? I think it would be scary to know just exactly what is going on behind the scenes--you know, in certain conversations when you can tell that the person you're talking to isn't really listening. They have that look of interest on their face, but behind their wandering eyes or blank stare you know there is something inner dialogue that is keeping you from really talking with that person. Well, I have a confession to make. And I wish that it was that I can read people's thoughts. Actually, no I don't wish that at all. But I am that person. I am the one who has something else going on in my head that takes me out of the real conversation and into something of my own creating. I don't like to admit it, but sometimes it is true--what you see on my face and what is going on behind my eyes are not always in sync. I get distracted easily, and I have a rather vivid imagination, so then I find myself unsure of exactly what to say when it is my turn to contribute to the real conversation because I've become more enveloped in the dialogue in my head. Or I miss certain details of what someone is telling me and then I am unsure of exactly how we got to that point.  I can often make it through with the correct amount of attentiveness and appropriate responses, but then later I can not recall anything meaningful, if anything at all, that was discussed. Hmph. Why do I do this? Is this normal? Does anyone else know what I am talking about?  Is this part of the "mommy brain" dilemma or is it just me?


Thursday, March 17, 2011


Well, my hope this week was to post a tutorial for you, but I am only half way done with the project, and the part I am done with would be okay to post all by itself, but kind of boring. I am planning on doing it in two separate posts anyways, but I would like to post the finished project with the first part. If that makes any sense. So how odd it is that this week is "Behind the Scenes."

So here you have it, behind the scenes at my house. Another unfinished, but hopeful project. It seems that I am good at that. Well actually the fact that I started it is good for me so it should be easy to finish. Behind the scenes I am not good at starting projects. I like to find the ones I like, and collect fabric, paper, or whatever other medium is required for the project. I just have a hard time actually cutting into it and starting! I just need to get that courage. That and when I start a project i have to finish it, but recently i seem to have lost that drive. Hopefully it will come back soon!

So that is behind the scenes here. It is not to say that it has been a lazy week, just busy. From "Pi" day on Monday, to the fact that leprechauns caused some serious havoc through my house. It has been a very busy and a very fun week. Oh and there was even sunshine today, and when there is sunshine here in Washington, the projects can wait!

What unfinished projects are staring you down at the moment?

PS Here is another thing I have been doing this week. I am in charge of Sharing Time this week in church. (I teach the little children at church.) The topic this week is "We are led by a living prophet today." I have been studying about President Monson, the president of the church. In the June 2008 Ensign there is a pull out section all about him. (I wish I could find the link online!) The other day I decided to read the first presidency message. It was President Eyring, "Safety in Counsel." It got me really excited for general conference coming up, and goes along great with the primary theme this month. I highly recommend it. It has definitely been helping me "behind the scenes" with primary.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Eleventh Hour


Let me ask you a question. Have you ever had this experience, whether with a party you've hosted, birthday presents you've given, or even Christmas gifts you've created or purchased for loved ones? OK here it've felt relatively uninspired, but the occasion is approaching, and you have to do/give something, so you get or make something that will be appreciated and accepted with gratitude.

Then, it hits's the day before the baby shower, or Christmas Eve or whatever and inspiration strikes! You've come up with THE perfect idea or gift that you must give that person, and all other ideas or preparations you've already made for the previous gifts are out the window.

No? Well, it's a regular occurence for me. Maybe it's the inner dialogue in the recesses of my brain that tell me I thrive and come up with the best ideas under pressure. Like the year in college I took basketweaving (pause here for laughter) and I decided in November that I would make a handwoven basket for everyone in my family. Crazy? Yes. Feasible? Probably. Genius? YES!

Or like this past weekend when I was making preparations for my daughter's 2nd birthday. I purchased a fun book and some summer clothes, and I felt a little badly that I hadn't made anything for her. Not that she would even know or care, but I do like to include a little "handmade from mommy" gift for the kids.

So Saturday night at 9:00 I started cutting into my rainbow stack of felt. And cutting. And cutting. Oh, this is going to be good. No patterns...just winging it. She's going to love it! I finished up around 12:30 Sunday night (Monday morning), and I did what I set out to do.

During the party and present-opening pandemonium, she hardly got a chance to look at everything, let alone appreciate the gifts so thoughtfully given by her friends and family. She doesn't know that I stayed up late making her gift, or that any number of her friends may have been scrambling at the last minute to get/make/wrap their gift to her.

My long, drawn-out point is, the gift recipient shouldn't know what goes on behind the scenes. The party attendees shouldn't know how you, the host, were inconvenienced by the appetizers that didn't work out or the hours it took to clean the house before they arrived. They should enjoy the fruits of your labor, and you'll enjoy the satisfaction that you've given them a gift or experience they'll cherish, just like I did today: