Monday, January 31, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
So, what books are on my shelves right now? Well, I will tell you...there are a lot! I actually found out that you can check out up to 100 items from the library at one time (Cali mentioned this wonderful little fact too, I think). I thought it was fifty, and I was worried. But alas! The wonderful woman at the check-out counter must have been surprised to see my excitement last week when she informed me of this oh-so-precious information. I went home happy, and with a very heavy book bag that afternoon.
Friday, January 28, 2011
I have a new post over on Steady Mom today...let me know what you think! And don't worry, I will be posting later today about the library--oh for the love of books!--and story time. :) Bur for now, you can see what I've been thinking about lately, right here.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I wish my family would have used the library more growing up. I probably would not have struggled with reading as much. Who knows. I hated it as a kid. I still have a hard time starting a book now. (I have had Hunger Games sitting in my kitchen since Thanksgiving I think. Sorry Jenni!) There is just a bad taste in my mouth for reading. I was in special classes, tried hooked on phonics, etc. It was not fun. It can be fun I just have to get into it. I have blogged about some of my favorite books before, (Shannon Hale=Awesome!) but I still have a hard time. That is why we are trying to use the library in our family on a regular basis so that some day my kids will be the one hitting the checkout cap at the library. Someday you will see me with my kids checking out 100 books. I hope so at least!
So you, even if you don't like reading, use the library. If all else fails, you can check out a movie.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Yesterday we went to story time at our little library, and until I saw Drew's puppet show, I'd forgotten how much I crack up at this story (is that morbid since she ends up dying?). Anyone in the Renton area, GO SEE DREW at the Highlands Library! It's been a long time since something was so riveting that it kept both my kids still in their seats. I didn't think ahead enough to video tape it, so you'll either have to trust me or go see for yourself. Or, enjoy this rendition, as sung by the one and only Cindy Lauper.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
And so it's one of my favorite places to take my kids. I want them to feel the sense of endless possibility that comes when you're surrounded by books.
I'll take them to the library anytime and in any weather. But I've found that the best time for my kids at the library is story time. Is it because the librarian always reads the best books and does the voices and everything? No; actually, we've been to amazing story times and we've suffered through the most monotonous readers. Is it because I never have time to read to them at home? Heavens no! Reading is a staple at our house. Like pasta.
The best reason I have for taking my kids to story time at the library is this: There are a bunch of other kids there, too, and so I am much less likely to get glared at for my kid's noise by the other - child-free - library patrons. We can blend right in, even a mild tantrum will go barely noticed when it's story time (but if it's any other time, and one of the kids makes even a peep, well, we might as well just hang our heads in shame and go home).
I love the library. I love the peace I feel there, and the mostly friendly helpful people. And while my kids are small, and until they really learn to whisper in the library ...
Friday, January 21, 2011
I actually really love Mondays. Monday is my day to kick things into gear and get the week going the way I want to. It's today--Friday--that is kind of bitter sweet for me; sometimes I love it because I've accomplished so much during the week and can really enjoy a little leisure on the weekend. Other times I hate it because I look back and think, Where did the time go and what did I do with it? I'm not ready for the weekend yet! But that is a topic for another time...
Let's talk MONDAY!
Monday is hopeful. It's full of possibilities and aspirations.
Monday is promising. It is sure to bring new opportunities.
Monday is fresh. It's a new start every seven days. You don't have to wait until a new year to begin again with goals and plans for improvement. And you really don't have to wait for a Monday either, but it is such a good place to start!
On Mondays I like to sit down with my calendar and "To-Do" list and make a master plan for myself--I get my head on straight so that I know where I'm headed that week.
On Mondays I can see the future.
On Mondays I can make a difference.
What do you like about Mondays?
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Now that I'm a SAHM, Mondays are a good day. Sunday at our house isn't usually the "day of rest" it's meant to be. With my husband spending much of his day at church in his current service assignment, I don't get to see him much, and I don't get much rest during the day either. So, when Monday comes around, that's my recovery day. On a typical Monday, here is what I do:
- Exercise (which doesn't happen on Sundays, and usually only happens briefly on Saturdays).
- Put stuff away that was dragged out or tossed aside over the weekend.
- Making a new to-do list (I love lists!) of all that I need and want to get accomplished that week.
- Enjoy the thought of eating leftovers from a delicious Sunday dinner and not cooking anything too involved.
- Plan the night's Family Home Evening lesson and make treats with the kids.
- Go through the mail and/or my "stack" of stuff in my little corner of the kitchen counter (Doesn't everyone have a stack? Please tell me yes.).
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she'll know."
- Barbara Kingsolver, in Animal Dreams
Again, everyone has her own experience. Although I don't think about my miscarriage very often anymore, it taught me a lot about compassion and motherhood and hope. If you or someone you love is going through a similar experience, might I suggest this website as an excellent resource (I was there almost every day for a few weeks seven years ago, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it's actually still up and running. I admire the dedication of the women behind it to keep helping others through their knowledge and experience).
- (also, coincidentally) Barbara Kingsolver
Monday, January 17, 2011
At first I did my Jenni thing and just thought to myself..."Well, it's on the news. It must be true, right?" Then I got to thinking...
It makes sense that it could be considered the most depressing day of the year because of post Christmas financial issues and icky weather. Some of my new year's resolutions are just plain unreasonable now that I'm in the trenches of them but who decides these things? Does the media get to determine how I feel today? I'm actually feeling really great today and I think that it was my choice this morning. I did however do some research to see what the facts where and well, it bored me. I came up with nothing more then something about Europe and London being where it originated and companies where using it to get people to buy things....blah blah blah. I don't want to bore you and I was getting depressed just reading about it so I stopped and decided to make a list of things to do to keep myself out of this sort of rut. I know I'm not in "it" right now but I live in a pretty dreary winter state and I have had my days where I am down and I have no reason to be that way. Mine will hit this year and it will hit hard I'm sure so here is what I have come up with to keep me from having a "Blue Monday (or any other day for that matter).
- Be outside everyday for 20 minutes or more even if it's yucky out.
- Sit in the sunshine (like right now when the sun peaked through the gray for a grand total of 4 seconds
- Play happy music
- Help others. That always makes me happy
- Get dressed and put makeup on even if I'm not planning on going anywhere. (dress up counts)
- Sing in the shower
- Use a bright springtime umbrella when it's really coming down
- Eat healthy
- Make a new reasonable goal.
- Organize a darker part of my house
- Paint something to make it brighter
- Hang out with friends
- Clean up my yard
- Make plans for spring planting
- Go out on real dates with my cute husband
- List my daily accomplishments (no matter how simple or ordinary)
- Buy fresh flowers
- Get cozy with favorites (food, blanket, hubby, movie)
- Open the blinds to my windows first thing in the morning
- Dance when I feel like it
- Find new recipes to try and fall in love with cooking again
- Bake Fresh Bread
- Go exploring in the city on a rainy day
- Try something new
- Teach somebody else something I'm good at
- Revamp my family's budget
- Count my blessings
Saturday, January 15, 2011
When I hang a frame on the wall, I just kind of eye-ball it. Is it centered? Does that look about right? Yeah, sure! Pound in that nail! Done.
When my husband hangs a frame on the wall, first there is the stud-finding tool, with the red and green blinking lights and the beeping sounds. Then there is the measuring tape and the pencil. Finally there is the hammer and the nail, or maybe the screw driver and the screw, or it could be that special plastic screw-looking thing that you have to use when you don't have a stud and you're sending the nail (or screw) into just the sheet rock. And last but not least, there is the level. Thank heavens for the level!
Who knew a simple frame could bring out such differences?
I love how much we can learn from each other. :)
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I grew up with 3 brothers and 2 sisters. There was bound to be fighting and breakage going on in the house. I mean, wait, we were the perfect children. We all sat down for dinner and loved every bite, we did our chores immediately when asked, we never talked back, seriously, we were perfect. Well, I was. I mean come on, little Cali, Number 5 of the 6. She could never do anything wrong. And I never did. I was always framed for it. Alright, I was not, and am not perfect, and I framed my siblings as well. It was never anything too bad, just the usual sibling stuff.
There was the one time where I called my mom a bad name because my brothers and sisters told me to do it and it was supposedly a nice word. Yeah, I had to wash my mouth out with soap for that one. That was the last time I trusted them. Well not really, I still trust them, but I can read and know how to use the dictionary now, so it is better.
There was the time my sister Tiffany fell down the stairs and broke her heal and she told my mom that my other sister Kacie pushed her. Kacie said her that she did not push Tiffany. So I guess Kacie was framed. (I am pretty sure Kacie has admitted the truth 15 years or so later. I am not sure though. She did push me and cause my wrist to be broken, so who knows. I do love her though. Really. We did not get along for a long time, and now we talk all the time. I love my sisters.)
We always cheated at card games. We always tried to frame each other for that as well. My Grandpa was the best at that though.
There were a few holes in the walls, I am sure there were broken dishes, candy stolen from moms secret stash that we were always trying to pin on each other, or the notorious empty Diet Coke Cans. Come on mom, don't you remember drinking that can? I bet it was Kacie! She is always drinking your Coke!
Seriously, we have all been framed at one point or another. Weather it be family, friends, your crazy neighbor, etc. It happens. I am just glad I can laugh about them.
What is the craziest, best, silliest, or aggravating thing you have been framed for? I would love to hear!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
In recent months, I have fallen in love again with hand embroidery. Oh, we were never "on the outs" with each other, but I got busy with other hobbies to try, responsibilities to attend to, books to read, momentary random talents to attempt. But hand embroidery was the first type of sewing I learned to do before I even touched a sewing machine, and I've been reminded of how much I enjoy it. I once embroidered two sets of pillowcases - you know, for my trousseau :-) - then I handed them over to my grandma who crocheted an intricate border around the bottom. Kind of old-fashioned, huh? Well, I'm so glad I have those treasures now.
Anyway, how many of you have heard of redwork? Basically, it's a form of hand embroidery that traces simple illustrations using two strands of red embroidery floss. Simple, right? Of course, you can use other colors, but they would be called *name of color*work. When redwork came to America from Europe, it was called Turkeywork since turkey red was one of the few colorfast colors at the time. A little stitching history...use it to impress your friends.
Martha's tip for ironing linens with embroidery to make it nice and smooth and also make the design really pop. This frame didn't come with a cardboard insert, so I wrapped the fabric (with a layer of thin quilt batting underneath) around the glass that did come with it. I'm not sure if I like it yet since the frame is kind of modern, so I'm thinking of taking it apart and sewing on a scrappy pieced fabric border and get a larger frame. What do you think?
Well, I'm off to cozy up on the couch for a little stitchin' time.
Our stairway has these big blank walls, and I wanted someplace to to display my kids' art that wasn't "in-your-face" but also not just confined to their bedrooms. These walls are perfect! If you stay in the main part of our house you don't see them much, but they're there to greet all the members of our family as we walk downstairs from our bedrooms every morning. As you can see, it's not finished yet ... I still have frames in the garage to paint, and plenty of wall space to fill (I'd love to just cover these walls, like a gallery). This little red guy is one of my favorites. My daughter made it when she was probably 3-ish, after reading "Frederick" by Leo Lionni.
This hangs in our living room right now. It's hard to see, but it's one of my favorite things ever. When my mom made my wedding dress, she added some beautiful white-on-white hand embroidery and beading. On the train of the dress, she put this butterfly. But she wasn't satisfied with it, so she took the entire panel of the dress out and did it again. I think it's perfect. I had it framed to remind me of how much my mama loves me, and that most of the time we are the only ones who see our imperfections.
These are our family rules, hand embroidered and framed by one of my dearest friends. I love that we have them right there where we can see them every day, and the way they're presented is so friendly and warm.
In the kids' bathroom. This is the front of an old t-shirt my daughter grew out of years ago. But I loved the little bird, so I bought a thrift store frame, stretched the shirt over the wooden back, and trimmed it. Easy!
And this is in my son's room. My little sister made it after he was born. She took a thick, smooth frame and Mod-Podge'd paper squares all around. Then she added ribbon and a C for his first name, then she replaced the glass with a sheet of metal and added some cute little magnets. It's great for switching out art, or sticking photos and important reminders, like the one above. :)
This is in our hallway, exactly across from the kids' rooms and right next to their bathroom, as a daily reminder. It's another thrift store frame, with the glass removed and the backing painted with chalkboard paint. Again, super easy. I used to have our family calendar written in chalk there, and it hung in our kitchen. So there's another idea.
This is in my daughter's room. Yet again, I removed the glass, covered the backing with cute paper, then used a glue gun to attach ribbons to the backside. You could also put hooks on the bottom for necklaces and headbands, etc.
Also in my daughter's room. These cuties are actually stationery that she received as a birthday gift from one of her best friends. Most of these ones have "I love you Mom" written on the back. Which still makes me smile when I see them, even though I can't see the words anymore. I just thought they were so cute and so her that they should have a special place on her wall.
This one's yet another glass-removal project. Actually, I think on this one the glass broke somehow. In any case, I covered the backing with some of my favorite fabric, then screwed some of my favorite knobs through. This one hangs in my bathroom right next to my mirror.
And this is our "we don't have a bed frame, let alone a headboard" solution. The colors of my bed linens change so often, and right now they're so bright and colorful, that I wanted something simple on the walls. Simple black and white and silver frames, with just black and white family photos all around, suits me just fine.
And finally, this is my plea for advice. This is a piece of embroidery that my mom started years and years ago, and I'm too intimidated to finish. She meant to make it into a piano bench cushion, but I've been thinking of framing it. But! Should I? Or should I do something else with it (maybe a pillow cover? or ... ???) And if I frame it, should I leave it as-is, with all the pencil marks showing (I sort of like it unfinished, it's somehow symbolic to me in a way), or should I try and work up the courage to finish it first?
Monday, January 10, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
Do you recognize that slogan? It's from Safeway and I think it's one of the most clever grocery store slogans out there. As a girl who enjoys cooking and, well, eating food, I have spent a lot of time searching the isles for the right ingredients, and many more hours in the kitchen measuring out those ingredients to make the perfect meal or tasty treat for the people I love.
I still remember learning to cook for my sweet, new husband during our first year of marriage. The first time I made something with thyme in it, I didn't know what that spice was, much less how to say it. But Mmmm, the creamy goodness of that Chicken Alfredo still lingers in my memory with the love of that first year. Since then I have learned how to pronounce thyme (taɪm), and I have learned that I pretty much love any recipe with thyme in it.
But did you know that love is actually spelled T-I-M-E ?
Time is such a valuable ingredient for life. I can't forget how Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained:
"We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home."
So much of my time is spent doing things for my family--cooking, cleaning, sewing, shopping. But somehow in the hustle and bustle of all that I do every day, I often forget the purpose of what I am doing. And so I have come to love this single phrase: "The purpose of the task is to strengthen the relationship."
And maybe time is like other ingredients--it can be used fresh, dried, chopped, minced, crushed--there are many different ways to season with it, and in its different forms it has different strengths. So time spent cooking a family meal might be different than the time you spend eating it together. And time spent scrubbing a stain out of a shirt is totally different than time spent in the pleasure of a hug and a kiss when your husband walks in the door. But each of those uses of time is a ingredient for love, and each of those forms of time adds to the savory sweetness of life--the recipe, if you will, for love at home.
While working on this post at my kitchen table, I pulled out that cookbook from my first year of marriage, eager to relive a tasty memory and make a little Chicken Alfredo, when I came across another recipe (which is much easier to prepare when hungry children are waiting) and it includes one key ingredient: thyme. (ah, sigh, smile...it just makes my mouth water!) So I thought I would share it with all of you.
Herb Chicken (from this cookbook)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 cup herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Rinse chicken breasts and pat with paper towels to remove moisture. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken. Stir together until well blended. Place each chicken breast in herb mixture and coat on both sides. Place on greased baking sheet and cook at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Makes 6 servings
When I made it, I had to make a few substitutions and the recipe looked more like this:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced in half
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs
1/4 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
Follow all the same cooking instructions, but be sure to use a baking pan with sides so that you don't start a grease fire with all that melted butter running off! I don't really think it's necessary to grease the pan either, again because of all the butter already on the chicken. And, thanks to the butter and thyme (how could you go wrong with those two things in abundance?) it sure turned out wonderful--the seasoning was perfect, the chicken was juicy and tender, and it made really good leftovers!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
It is a hard habit to break!
It seams like by Christmas break I was getting a handle on the schedule of school and things, then we had a two week break and now I am starting back at square one! Seriously why is it so hard to wake up early when you don't have to be somewhere for a few weeks. Why is it so hard to get out of the house when you don't have anything planned. Seriously. It has thrown me off. Now I am at a new normal as well. I have new church responsibilities that have thrown my brain and focus on the fritz. Why do I do this to myself. I will never get more time, I just have to make something of the time I have. I have to set a new routine and stick to it!
Here is to getting back on track with the new year! Here is to new routines and time management! Good luck on your quest as it is surly a quest for me!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The Lion King is in my top 3 Disney movies, and this at the end is a big reason. The most important part of this clip is when Simba embraces Rafiki, and his baboon friend simply says, "It is time." Then Simba takes his rightful place as King and Pride Rock returns to its former glory.
Lately I've been thinking "it is time" for me to take a more active role in my life.
Sometimes I feel like an observer of life rather than a participant. It is time to wake up!
I tend to overachieve in some areas and neglect others, so it is time to find balance.
It is time to follow through. So many times I find myself saying to myself, "Someday I'd like to ..." or "I wish I could make ______ happen." What am I waiting for?
I don't think it's overly prideful to say I think I'm destined for great things. We should all think that. It is time to be a DOER.
The fact that I've been thinking this for months reassures me that this isn't a fleeting resolution whose fire will diminish to a weak flicker in a matter of weeks. It will take small steps, no doubt. But what I know is that IT IS TIME for my ambition to catch up with my dreams.
What is it time for you to do?
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
It's been years since I read this book, but I love it. I love the premise ... I mean, really, saving time? What a ridiculous idea! This book was an awesome reminder that time is meant to be used - to the fullest! It was an eye-opener to the fact that despite modern "time-saving" methods and devices, we don't really have the power to actually save time - we only have the power to choose how we will spend it.
And I do believe I'll be spending some time soon reading this book again.