Saturday, April 30, 2011

Flowers on Fabric

According to the weatherman, we are experiencing the coldest Spring  in the recorded history of Seattle dating back to the 1800's. You can't always trust what the weatherman says, but this time I KNOW it is true! There are rain, and clouds and cold most of the time, it's like winter never ended! But, more and more days are breaking through the clouds with sunshine and blue skies--just barely enough for me to get my flowers potted and a few things ready in my planter boxes for the garden. However, those days are not coming around enough for us to warm up and really enjoy the beauty of Spring like I want to.

So what have I been doing instead? Well, without realizing it, I've been making small purchases here and there of things that bring a little Spring inside, where I can enjoy it. My Grandma Mac has been in town visiting for my brother's fabulous wedding (remember that wonderful news?) and so together we have ventured with my mom to several fabric stores.

I picked up a little bit of this...

and a little bit of this...

And I might go back for a small piece of this...

I can't say that Spring is my favorite season, because as each season begins I feel like it's my favorite. But right now, there is nothing I want more than to spend my days outside in a world that resembles something like the flowers on these pieces of fabric. So, until we can finally do that, I will continue sewing with a little bit of this...

and of course some of this...

and I'll make something to snuggle up in and stay warm during this cold, cold SPRING!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Favorite Things

Spring is my favorite season. I have always loved it. I think it started all because my birthday is in spring, but here is a list of some reasons why it is my favorite, even if I don't get to experience it all since I am in Washington now.

  • New Flowers

  • Everything is Fresh and Clean

  • Thunderstorms (when I lived in Colorado. We do not get them very often in Seattle.)

  • Fresh Cut Grass

  • The smell of rain (when I lived in Colorado. You do not smell it much in Washington since it rains so often, as odd as that sounds)

  • Spring Cleaning

  • Being able to open the windows and air out my house

  • The Tulip Festival in Mt Vernon, Washington

  • The random Spring Blizzard that usually happened in Colorado

  • Playing outside with my kids

  • Puddle Jumping

  • Rain Boots and Jackets

  • Getting our vegetable garden ready

  • Hanging Fuchsia Pots

  • My new hot pink razer scooter that I can ride with my kids

  • Garage Sales

  • Birds Singing

  • Strawberries

  • Shortcake with the above

  • Seeing my awesome neighbors again after the long winter.

  • Starting outdoor projects

Oh there are so many more, but I will leave you with these for now.

What are your favorite parts of spring?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pucker up!

The calendar says it's well into the spring season, but I'm not sure if anyone sent the memo to Mother Nature. We've had a few days here and there of sunshine, but even for me (and I'm someone who loves digging in the dirt), it's been too wet to get out and plant anything in our vegetable garden. I heard on the news the other day that you would have to go back to the 1950's to find a spring with less days over 55 degrees than this year. That being said, I'm happy to see signs of life and rebirth in the yard. My daffodils have been out for a couple of weeks, the tulip buds are starting to open, and the peonies are already forming buds that will explode into lovely light and dark pink pom poms by Memorial Day.

So, what have I been doing so far this spring? A little sewing (not as much as I would like!), a little playing, and a LOT of cleaning.

It's time for spring cleaning around here, and I'm down to my last two rooms to get done. So, that's why I missed posting last week (sorry!), but the only time I was really online was to find advice and tips for cleaning stubborn soap scum from the shower or splattered who-knows-what inside my unfortunately-not-self-cleaning oven without fumigating the whole house. I'm running out of steam, but what keeps me motivated is seeing all those check marks on my list (seen above) and knowing that I've taken complete mental inventory of everything in the house and I know it's clean!

Want to know what is possibly my most favorite thing about spring? This stuff:

Rhubarb! It's sweet, tangy, sour and juicy all at the same time. And it's in season right now. Growing up, we had a TON of rhubarb, and we used it all. We cooked it slowly until it was soft, mashed it up, and sweetened it with a little honey and ate it like applesauce. Or we cooked the big, tough stems until it was really, really soft, strained it and bottled the resulting rosy liquid in quart jars. Mix it up with a package of raspberry Kool-aid, a little sugar, some water and it's a perfect summer quencher.

Here's one of my favorite recipes using rhubarb. Serve it warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream...yum!

Rhubarb Dessert

1 pound rhubarb, diced
1 cup sugar
1-3 oz. box strawberry Jell-o
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter, melted

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Layer ingredients in order listed. Do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Try it and let me know how you like it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Blank Canvas

Ah, Spring! The season of endless possibility, the blank-canvas time of year! At least that's how it is at my house. See?

I built this! It was easy! Now what should I fill it with ... ?

I took the stones above from this part of the garden. Amid the wreck, I see a fresh start for what used to be the vegetable patch ... but what will it become?! (Currently we're thinking of filling it with all our squash and pumpkin plants this year.)

New raised beds for the vegetables! They were also easy - and inexpensive! About $70 for five beds, made with 2x4's and fence boards.

Peas!!! And all that brown stuff is alfalfa pellets (basically rabbit food), working their magic on the soil. They break down fast in all our springtime rain and then it doesn't look so odd, by the way.

It doesn't look like much from the photos above, I know. And it isn't ... yet.

After almost three years, I finally have some definite ideas for what I want my gardens to look like, really and truly. My head is spinning with ideas and plans. What should I plant under my new lovely camellia? What is it going to look like when all those daffodils I planted colonize into a little sea of springtime yellow? What should we use for a path between the vegetable beds? Oh, the possibilities are endless indeed! And that's my very favorite part.

What's your favorite thing about Springtime? What magic is happening in your garden?

Put It In a Pan and Bake It 'Til It's Crispy

One of my favorite things about Springtime, aside from the planting and the cleaning and the playing, is what I get to eat.  Morning time isn't so chilly that I have to have warm oatmeal, which by the way, makes me want to crawl back into bed, not run around doing fun things or being productive. So...

 It's GRANOLA Time!!!  Yesterday I put together the ultimate Jenni granola and was sure to add all of my favorite things to it.  Plus, because it makes so much, I got to bottle up a few pretty jars for some special our blogs cute Cali who had a birthday yesterday!  Happy Birthday Girly!!!'s my recipe:

Jenni's Favorite Things Granola

8 cups rolling oats
2 cups of crispy rice cereal
2 cups oat bran
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups sweetened shaved coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup real maple syrup
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teas. salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
2 cups dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Lightly grease or line a large roasting pan with foil.

Combine the oats, cereal, oat bran, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and coconut in the large roasting pan.  Stir together brown sugar, syrup, honey, vegetable oil, salt and cinnamon in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat.  Mix in dry cranberries

Bake in preheated oven for as long as it takes for it to get toasted and mostly dry.  Stir every 30 minutes or so for about 2 hours.  Cool and allow to dry completely before storing in an airtight container. 

Serve with milk or yogurt or even ice cream (but not for breakfast of course). 

My favorite is just with ice cold milk in a bowl and with a spoon.  I hope you love it!  I find it to be the perfect way to start my springtime day!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chain Reaction

The Columbine

The Colorado State Flower

And one of my favorite flowers.

12 years ago on April 20, 1999 my life was forever changed. A town known as Littleton, Colorado was forever changed, the United States school system was forever changed, and you may have been forever changed.

I am not sure how many of you know my background, but I grew up in that town called Littleton. One that will forever be known for Columbine. When people ask me where I am from and I say Littleton, they say that sounds familiar. Then I say, yeah it has been in the news. Then Columbine is remembered.

So, you are probably wondering, did I go there? No, I did not.

Littleton is bigger then you think. There were two school districts. I was in the other school district. I lived about 7 miles from Columbine. Although, Columbine is located by one of my favorite parks, Clement Park. It had a fountain, batting cages, softball fields, a snack shack, three different play areas, we had a blast there.

I was in 8th Grade at the time. A time to get excited because you are going to high school next year, but this tragedy made it terrifying. I get scared easily, I let things go to my head. My sense of security and safety were shattered. My perception of life and school was changed.

So why am I telling you this when the theme this week is "online." Because the King 5 news here in Washington is doing a wonderful thing to remember Columbine in a positive way, that you can find online. Rachael Scott was the first victim of columbine. A sweet girl full of compassion. Here in Washington they are promoting Rachael's Challenge. It has been going on for a while now, but it is nice to have it brought back to the surface. It is a challenge to pass on kindness and stop bullying in school. I am not in school, but I have children that will be. How can I raise them to make them be a better person?

I know that even though I am not in school, I can still pass on kindness and compassion. I know that I have been and will be upset by someone, it is life, it happens. But how am I going to react? I can go out of my way to be kind to them regardless of how they made me feel. I can serve them, take them cookies, show compassion.

So focus on kindness, focus on compassion. It only takes one person to make the world a better place.

Join me in being a part of the chain reaction.

(I know the video is long, but it is worth it. Join the chain reaction!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I {heart} Online Treasure Hunts

Curly Girl Designs

I am guessing you are like me and you find it to be so much fun exploring this online world.  There is so much to see and do and make and create!  It's all right there waiting for us to find it and then do.  So today I just wanted to share a few (believe me there are a million more) of my favorite places I have spent time exploring lately...

Now I need a few online Garden sights to fall in love with. I am loving the dirt thing right now and need some inspiration. Any ideas?


Friday, April 15, 2011

“I don’t have time for this” Thursday

This clock sure does make you stop and think, doesn't it? Image found here

Yesterday, that blessed Thursday, was one of those days where I got out of bed and my feet hit the ground running. Tell me if you’ve had days like this:

I woke up at 6:30 am and made sugar cookie dough, then made breakfast, then cleaned up from breakfast, then rolled, cut, and baked the sugar cookies, then cleaned up the cookie-making-mess, then showered at lightning speed so that I could run out the door to my daughter’s voice lessons, grabbing snacks and all the items we would need for all the events of the next five hours.

After voice lessons we rushed to get lunch before dropping my four-year-old at preschool--sugar cookies included. Then my two-year-old and I rushed to meet my mother and sister in town to find dresses for my brother’s upcoming wedding--upcoming being NEXT WEEK! After scouring the racks for all the right colors and sizes, calling three other stores to find just one more size...who knew finding two dresses in 4T would be such a challenge!--I ran back to preschool to catch the last fifteen minutes of the Easter party (for which those sugar cookies were required), before heading home to watch a few more kids while their mommy went to the doctor (which, by the way, was the easiest part of my day because my children were entertained and happy, allowing me to make some much needed phone calls).

Next, it was dinner time. I had not planned it out and was feeling too drained to care much. Thanks to a fabulous hubby returned home from work, we actually ate something great and I was able to take care of some more wedding details and planning. Then it was time for jammies and teeth brushing for the little ones, and off to a meeting at church for me. When I arrived home at nearly 9:00 pm, I spent a little time on the couch with my man, and then it was right to the computer to finish designing and editing the photo sign-in book for the aforementioned wedding. By the time I climbed back into bed at 11:30 pm, I was beat! That was a 17-hour marathon day!

Thursday was a whirlwind, sprinkled with phone calls and planning in between all the running around. I’m sure it’s not much different for many other mommies out there, and maybe even mild compared to some. But with all of the people I spoke to, and all of the things I did, the one moment that keeps replaying in my mind is one that I wish I could go back and change.

Picture it raining outside, because that is just what it does here, and I am standing at my daughter’s car door. Leaning in to buckle her straps, I am forcing her rigid body to bend into the car seat. She is crying and screaming and I am yelling in that repressed “I-don’t-want-the-other-mom-in-the-parking-lot-to-hear-me” tone of voice saying,

“I don’t have time for this!”

My poor daughter. How many days do I spend running around trying to do too many things, only to unintentionally tell her “I don’t have time for you today.”?

Granted, she was acting horribly. I am typically a mother of tough-love when it comes to fit-throwing, and this one definitely did not warrant any special treatment. But was her behavior simply a reaction to my busy and disconnected behavior? It was that moment, as those words came out of my mouth with such frustration, when I realized what I was saying. And I am sure she felt it just as much as I did.

I should have time to let my children express themselves. I need to have time to hear what they have to tell me.

So today, I’m doing things differently. This morning we played with legos together. We ate a cookie together. We took turns blowing each other’s noses. And now we’ll go have some lunch together. I’m not even dressed yet, but today I am making time for my daughters. I don’t care what day it is, today is a day to let myself slow down a bit. And that means not being too busy to stop and listen when they need me to, not being so rushed that I can’t pay attention to what they are telling me, and allowing myself to enjoy the process of mothering.

How do you deal with all the tasks and duties of taking care of children without forgetting to really care for them?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today is Thursday!

Yes, today is Thursday. That means yesterday was Wednesday. And yes, I am sure you know the days of the week, but sometimes I seem to forget which day it is. That seemed the case all day on Wednesday. Don't you hate it when you do that! It makes the week seem so much longer, but it seemed so much worse thinking it was Thursday when it was only Wednesday.

All day Wednesday, I was excited that tomorrow was Friday. I was excited that my husband was working from home, That we were going to be going on a date tomorrow, that we had nothing to do tonight, no meetings, scouts, etc. (Although I just remembered there is enrichment this week.)

Then it hit me, I would remembered it was only Wednesday. Then I would go on thinking it was Thursday again forgetting I talked with myself about it only being Wednesday. I did that cycle about three times or so.

Now, I can actually be excited that today is Thursday. Like Rachel, a day with nothing much to do. Preschool, Enrichment/random church meetings, not much else. I might do some vacuuming, and the normal tidying up. That would be nice.

So Thursday, I am glad you are finally here. That means tomorrow is Friday and I have a weekend to look forward too.

Happy Thursday everyone, and yes, it is finally Thursday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fix-it-and-forget-it day

Thursday is usually our grocery store day. I've often wondered why I picked this particular day of the week, since my older munchkin is in preschool on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and if I went one of those days, I'd only have one kid with me. I'm still not sure, other than that's been grocery day for years. I went back to work when he was 6 months old, and I was home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it just made sense to go later in the week. Now I have the pick of days of the week, and it's still Thursday.

Anyway, sometimes we go in the morning and sometimes we wait until after naptime. Regardless, it's a day that I don't want to think too hard about what to have for dinner. Here's a delicious go-to dinner that uses things I usually have on hand, and it's so easy you don't even have to defrost the chicken!

I don't know what to call it, so we'll just call it Crockpot Taco Chicken, and it's super simple. Spray crockpot with non-stick spray. Layer 2 cups frozen corn, 2 frozen chicken breasts, 1 can of black beans (rinsed and drained) and about a cup or so of salsa. Turn on medium and cook for 6 hours. Remove chicken, shred it with two forks and return to salsa mixture. You can make it into tacos, burritos or taco salad with your favorite tortilla chips (aka Trader Joe's Baked Blue Corn Tortilla Chips) and fixings. Maybe I'll try warming it up on the stove with some chicken broth and making it into chicken tortilla soup.

We had this tonight for dinner, but I forgot to take photos. I'm sure you can imagine it. So, tomorrow we'll have leftovers, which will be even easier than it was making it today (if that's possible). Try it and let me know how you like it!

What Day is it Again?

Sorry, sorry, I'm late again. Yesterday was just too gorgeous to spend inside, so the kids and I stayed outside all afternoon. Then there was the PTA meeting and a date with my mama - a gardening class she signed us up for, taught by Marianne Binetti (and I am all full of ideas for my garden, I can't wait to give them roots - literally!). Today was full of appointments we had to reschedule since we were sick last week, and company for dinner.

But that was yesterday. And today. We're here to talk about Thursday.

Thursday is my day. On Thursdays I have nothing to do and nowhere to be. Thursday is the new Saturday night, as far as I'm concerned. Lately, I've been devoting my Thursday mornings to sewing and my afternoons to scouring the kitchen - two very different but very cathartic and renewing activities. And that's it. If I get those two things done on Thursday, I consider my to-do list completed. No apologies and no worries. I love it! Nobody writes songs about Thursday; as days of the week go it's probably the most boring. And I wouldn't have it any other way ... hip-hip-hooray for Thursday!

P.S. Also? If you live in Seattle, you might already know, but if you don't you should, that most of the major museums in and around the city have free admission on the first Thursday of the month. Lots of families go to the museums on this day, so it's my favorite time to take the kids - nobody glares at me and my little hooligans in the museum because we're not the only ones making a ruckus!

Monday, April 11, 2011

It all started on Thursday...

an entire 4 days of holding my breath and feeling like my heart was about to burst.  Music, especially sacred music, makes my whole soul want to sing and cry and rejoice.  This past week I surrendered to it's power willingly and I experienced the most amazing things.

I am staying with my family in Utah right now, waiting for my sister to have her baby and while I wait I am getting to have some pretty great experiences.  My mother and sister both play for the Orchestra at Temple Square and after noticing that they needed somebody to come play for this week's broadcast my mom was sweet enough to ask if I could come and fill in.  I borrowed a violin and for the second time (I never imagined there would be a second) I traveled to Salt Lake City to live out one of my dreams...again.  

Thursday we had our rehearsal and once again, like every other time in my life, I felt so blessed to even be in a sacred building like the historic Tabernacle, let alone get to play on the stage.  Just hearing the tabernacle choir warm up made me want to bawl.  My dream of playing in this group keeps coming true and I feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world.  The sound that comes out of this group is astounding but it is the Spirit that is undeniably their strength.  I love to look into the faces of those listening and see the light that goes on when the music and their talents testify of the truth and of our Savior.

For anybody who has had their hearts touched by music, you know it's nearly impossible to try and explain what it feels like.  Friday night my mom invited me to go hear her play for a Rob Gardner concert in the Tabernacle.  The work was called "Lamb of God".  It's message was about the atonement and was told through the experiences of those who were with him the last days of his earthly ministry. I wept from the very first note to the last.  I know that I forgot to breath during some parts of it, my body sat frozen for the entire concert so afraid that if I moved I would miss something, my heart felt so very full and my eyes allowed streams of tears to soak my face and hands.  I was lifted up, I was testified to and I was changed that night.  


I went again the next evening with my dad.  I wanted to experience it all over again plus I felt like if I didn't do something similar I would go through a spiritual withdrawal.  It was neat to hear it for a second time.  It was like reading the same scriptures over again only getting something completely different out of them. You need to hear this music.  It will change you and you will feel something very powerful if you allow it to happen.  It was neat hearing Rob Gardner tell about his experiences while writing this amazing piece of music.  I was also excited to hear that the recording uses the London Symphony Orchestra and you'll be blown away by the soloists.  I wish it could follow me back to Seattle and I could see it and listen to it again and again.

Then...because things couldn't stop there Sunday was the actual Music and the Spoken Word broadcast and I was kinda nervous.  First, I didn't like the idea of being on TV and second I didn't like the idea of recording something on the spot with very little rehearsal.  Even so my nerves were calmed before we began and my hands were steadied.  I felt my Heavenly Father there with me that morning and I know He was there to help me feel what I needed to feel in order to help share His message with those who were listening. I knew again in that moment that He loved me.

Pretty great couple of days huh?  I guesss that is why I play.  I know that that is part of the reason why I am here.  If it only saves my soul I will be grateful but if it touches another and brings somebody else closer to Him I will be thrilled.  

I have written about my love for music many times, I know and I apologize if this seems too familiar or repetitive but my weekend was so lovely and my time here has been one of good report and if anything on this earth is praiseworthy it is what I heard and saw this week.  I don't ever think I'll forget these moments but just in case I wanted to be sure I had written them down.  Thanks for letting me share.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Steps to Good Nutrition, Step One: Grains

I'm doing some posts on healthy eating over at Steady Mom. Using our lovely Rachel's family bread recipe, I'm going to discuss certain elements of nutrition each month, and modify the same recipe each time to show how you can really increase the nutritional value of your food--and it can be easy and fun! Let me know what you think. :) I'm always happy to have feedback and advise from people who know more than I do--which is all of you!

Thanks for reading, by the way. And have a great weekend!

The Comfort of Their Voices

image found here

For as long as I can remember, my whole family has gathered at my grandma and grandpa's house on the weekend of general conference. Together we watch and listen to the prophet and apostles and general authorities of the church. I look forward to this occasion almost like it's Easter or Christmas or Halloween. We don't get dressed up or have lots of candy or presents, but the anticipation of how wonderful it will feel to hear their voices, the voices of the Lord's servants, and feel their love, is equally as great.

It is those voices, that have been one of the greatest blessings to me. Their voices are so familiar, it is almost as if I was listening to a member of my own family speak. There is a certain sense of comfort that comes from that familiarity. Because I have been listening to them my whole life, and because I can feel the Spirit each time I do, the memories connected to these men and women who speak at conference are rooted deeply within me.

I want my daughters to experience that same joy. It is the joy of obedience. Taking time to recognize God, to follow Christ, and let their words become a part of me--this makes me happy.

So on Saturday my little family and I watched each session of conference here at our home, just the four of us. It was quiet and peaceful and I was so proud of my little girls for their attentiveness. They colored and listened and asked questions. I could only smile as I felt that same sense of family tradition beginning within the walls of our own home. We went to my grandparents' house on Sunday, but Saturday was a day to create a memory for my children--the memory of feeling the Holy Ghost together, in our home, and recognizing the simple and sweet blessing it is to follow and listen to the prophet.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What is General Conference

This April was the 181st annual conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is held the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October. There is a special session to the Young women of the church ages 12-18 and their mothers and leaders the weekend before conference in April. The weekend before conference in October is a special session for all the women of the church. Elder Holland spoke about what conference is. I thought for those of you who are not members of the church, might like some insight from an apostle. Elder Holland asked us not only to ponder the messages we heard, but what a unique phenomenon General Conference is.

  • There are no topics given. Each speaker seeks the Lord for revelation and guidance as they prepare to speak.

  • They prepare there talks for members and non-members alike. "Those who know us very well and those who do not know us at all... To families, parents, children at home, those single, those with no children, those far from home, young, old, youth, middle aged..." To everyone.

  • Conference is not just meant for members, it is to uplift others from any faith. It is to warn and expound on the moral and physical values affecting the world. It is for everyone.

  • "When they speak on difficult subjects that most of the audience is not guilty of such things, but under a solemn charge to issue warning to those who are."

  • For those who are doing all they can and the best they can, by teaching and listening with the spirit at least one of the speakers will speak for you in your own certain circumstances. "One way or another, God will have his voice heard."

  • Every testimony is one of love and a warning. "Even as nature will testify herself will testify in the last days."
What a unique phenomenon conference really is. If you are not a member and are interested in watching, hearing, or reading some of the messages. You can find them here. Conference is always streamed live as well in April and October. I know that the prophet is real and that he speaks the work of God. We are so blessed to have a prophet on the earth today.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Higher Education

My daughter on the staircase of the library at my alma mater.
She told me today she doesn't want to go to college , because she doesn't ever want to leave her mama.
Awwww ...

I always knew I would graduate from college, and indeed I was the first woman in my family to do so. I had hoped to go to graduate school, but our all-wise Heavenly Father had other plans for my life. And I am extremely grateful. Then, to add blessings on top of blessings, there is General Conference. I know, Conference would happen regardless of whether I have a Master's degree. But since I don't, I like to think of it as a different opportunity for a Higher Education. Truly, every time I listen - really listen with my heart - there is always something said that takes aim right at my heart and teaches me exactly what I need to learn the most.

One such lesson last weekend came, as with Jen's post, from Elder Lynn G. Robbins' address. Here's what caught my attention:

"A sweet and obedient child will only enroll a father or mother in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong ... to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and an opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience and long-suffering and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?"

Now, I've always believed that our particular children are entrusted to us because we are the ones who are best suited to help them learn and grow. But I've never really taken to heart the possibility that our particular children are also sent to us because they are the ones best suited to help us learn and grow. And finding myself in possession of the blessing of being enrolled in Parenting 505, it really does make perfect sense. I hope it's a lesson I can keep remembering when my frustration rises; I hope I'll remember to think of those moments as blessed opportunities to become more Christlike.

Higher Education indeed.

Monday, April 4, 2011

"to-do" vs. "to-be"

Are you a list maker like me? It's easy for me to overwhelm myself with tasks swirling around in my head that need to be done, and it's only when I write them on a list with a check box next to them that I feel like I can conquer the pile of things that need to get finished.

This past weekend, I didn't do anything on my checklist except watch and listen to General Conference. One particular remark from Elder Lynn G. Robbins caught my ear as he talked about "doing" versus "being."

"Many of us create to-do lists to remind us of things we want to accomplish, but people rarely have "to-be" lists. Why? To-do's are activities or events that can be checked off the list when done. To be, however, is never done. You can't earn checkmarks with be's...As a parent, when can I check a child off my list as done? We are never done being good parents, and to be good parents, one of the most important things we can teach our children is how to be more like the Savior."

It seems like I learn more often from them how to be like the Savior than I teach them. I guess we teach each other. So, just when I start to work myself into a tizzy because I'm not getting enough done or checking things off my list or finishing that lingering project, I will remember to look at my children and just be. All I have to do is watch them to know how it's done.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Make the Middle Memorable

image found here
Wednesday |ˈwenzˌdā; -ˌdē|
the day of the week before Thursday and following Tuesday

And that pretty much sums it up for me. Wednesday is usually just the middle of the week. No swimming lessons, no appointments, no commitments...but LOTS of possibilities. And I love it! This week Wednesday was....

Cleaning day
Friends day
Happy day

I got my house clean--not spotless, but cleaner than it has been in a long time.
I had friends over--a few that we see regularly, and some that we had not seen in a long time. :)
And I was happy...happy to spend time with some of my favorite people, eat yummy food, and just enjoy the middle of the week.

I realized that usually I'm focused on getting a lot accomplished at the beginning of the week, and working toward plans for the end of the week. Somehow I seem to go from the beginning to the end, and lose the middle in the jumble of life. Wednesday, like I said, is full of possibilities, but often I forgo the the more enjoyable possibilities of the day for the more necessary ones. So, after such a wonderful middle this week, I'm going to try and make every Wednesday count a little bit more toward simply enjoying and enhancing the quality of life. And, that will include cleaning, because it feels so GOOD to live in a clean home. But it will also include more friends and more fun! Why can't the middle of the week be just as good as the weekend?