Friday, March 30, 2012

One year older & wiser too!

This sweet little boy is all grown up!

Scott ended up having his birthday off. We went to lunch at Runza, bought dog food at Walmart, and made omelets for dinner. Then we had his favorite, Jello poke cake!

Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

{Creating Joy}

I wish I had more time to create...

Morgan has been trying to memorize the Articles of Faith. She did really good with the first two but then it got hard. I saw this really cute idea for flash cards and instantly new that was what she needed. She takes them with her to study during Sacrament Meeting and she took them on our road trip. They are the perfect size to carry along any where!

This is where I found them. This lady is amazing! All I had to do was upload all her hard work to Walmart and pick up my prints an hour later.

I cut them apart and used scrapbook paper to create a list of key words on the back of each card. I laminated them just to make sure they hold up to lots of use. Then I punched a hole and strung them on a ring. When Morgan came home from school and saw them she almost cried tears of JOY. Yep. That day I was the Best Mom Ever!

What do you do with plain, white, cloth diapers and pretty ribbon? Make burp cloths, of course! These diapers are the BEST burp cloths but just not so pretty. My friend had a baby girl and I needed a cute gift for her.

These were so easy! I think washing and drying the diapers took the longest, and that was done by a machine. Make sure you cut your ribbon a little longer before you stitch because it really does shrink up a little. Learn from my trial and error. :) Then trim your end when it's all stitched down. If you can sew a straight line, you can make these.

Creating food, especially dessert, brings lots of JOY to this household. I made Banana Beignets and we devoured them. It's basically a fried banana muffin ball rolled in cinnamon sugar. The banana makes them healthy, right?

There is something about creating with my hands that truly brings me joy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The JOY of Work

Several years ago I created a chore chart using magnets. When we moved it got set aside and covered in dust. Recently, I've had discussions with several friends about the importance of chores and teaching kids how to work and I decided it was time to revamp the old chore chart.
It was sad to remove Brittany but she has her own home to clean now. (Although, I wouldn't mind if she came and washed dishes occasionally.)

I re-did all the magnets and covered the bare metal with some cute scrapbook paper. It's not exactly the right shade of blue so I will be recovering it again, I'm sure. (Does it really matter? No. But it makes me feel better when it looks so cute hanging on my kitchen wall.)

I added pictures to make it easier for Zane to know which chore was which.

Morgan & Zane love it! They love to see what needs to be done. And they love to move their magnets when they have completed a task.

"One of parents’ most important responsibilities is to teach their children to work. Even young children can begin to experience the benefits of working when they are involved in household chores and in service to others. Wise parents will work alongside their children, will provide frequent praise, and will make sure no task is overwhelming."
~ Bishop H. David Burton, Dec. 2009

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I get it!

Morgan is a kinesthetic (hands-on) learner. Fortunately, I realized this at an early age. She never wanted to sit and color. She wanted to be outside exploring – collecting rocks, leaves, bugs, and sticks. When we would go to the store she would handle and touch everything as she asked,
“What’s this? What's it for?”

Unfortunately, public schools are not always designed to be supportive of this learning style. Maybe that’s why her favorite subjects have always been science and recess. And I know that’s why she memorizes her spelling words best while climbing under and over the bench at our dining table.

Multiplication has been a HUGE challenge for her this year. Her teacher would send home extra worksheets for extra practice and have her stay in from recess to review flash cards. Neither method was working. (Although she was starting to memorize the answer pattern on the worksheet.)

One night, she was struggling with staying focused long enough to finish her worksheet. Then she blurted out, “I just don’t get it!” That’s when I got out a bucket of beans. Using paper circles to represent groups she counted out the number of beans in each group for 4 x 6, then 2 x 3, then 8 x 9. We did the rest of the worksheet creating groups and counting beans. Her face lit up as
she wrote the last answer and she exclaimed,
“I get it!”

She is not the fastest in her class but she can at least tackle the worksheet without so much anxiety. And now, instead of memorizing the answers she actually understands what she is doing. More importantly, she can apply her knowledge to calculate the answers on other worksheets.

Having a learning experience with my child brings me the greatest JOY!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finding JOY in the Green

St. Patrick's Day was never a big deal. We would try to wear green and I would make something green for dinner. (A few years ago I was asked not to make the mashed potatoes green anymore.) But I never heard about catching leprechauns and all the tricks these little guys play until we moved here.

Morgan came home from school on Friday determined to catch a leprechaun! We discussed real and fantasy. We talked about myths. We chatted about pretend. She smiled and nodded and then asked for a jar to make a trap. Catching a leprechaun was REAL to her.

Not getting much support from me, she asked Dad for help. He helped her set up a trap in her room before bed. She was up at 6:30 Saturday morning, concerned that the leprechaun had nibbled on her bread but had not been caught in the trap.

After lunch she set the trap again and we hurried off to soccer practice. When we returned she found her bread gone and her jar dusted with green sparkles. The pennies she had added to the trap were also gone (except for one he must have dropped by the door on his way out.) Morgan was over-joyed and about to cry as she exclaimed, "See! They are real! He was here!"

Zane freaked out and ran for cover. "What if he's still in here!" he yelled as he jumped onto the couch. I convinced them leprechauns don't like Christmas music. We turned the music up real loud to make sure we scared that naughty little dude away.

I tried to make shamrock pancakes. (Use your imagination!) And the great thing about green butter is it turns your pancakes green as it melts. Yummy!

Happy Leprechaun Day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Does the Journey Seem Long

After 3 weeks of severe wind, scattered snow flakes, and cold temps we had a week of nice weather foretasted. It happened to be a week that Morgan had 2 days off from school so we took off an extra day and set out across Wyoming.

That morning was grey with icy fog hanging in the air but it was warming up so we were not discouraged. After a late start, and far too many pit stops, I wondered if we would make it all the way to Utah in one day.

This was actually our lunch stop on the way home. By the time we got to Rock Springs, WY we were all crying and Zane was mad. He thought I forgot to drive through the tunnel. How did he miss that tunnel?! I'm sure the McDonald's workers thought I was a terrible mother. It didn't help that there was no playland there.

We made it to Little America and I let the kids run off some energy before we headed through more mountains. It was the shortest 10 minutes of their lives! But they were anxious to see Brittany's new home so the complaining was brief.

We made it just in time for dinner! And we loved Brittany and Levi's new place, especially the stairs. Morgan asked me when we were going to get a house with stairs. They had fun running up and down and playing catch and rolling their stuffed animals. (Hopefully the neighbors are forgiving.)

My blessings!

As we were driving in to Logan the moon was big and resting on the mountain. I tried to take a picture through my window, while driving. (Totally safe!) The kids wondered where the 2nd moon came from when they looked at the picture. Made me smile.

We had a great time! Brittany cooked us dinner every night and took us shopping. Levi found the nail in my tire and replaced all of my wheels and tires for me. Our prayers were answered - we had safe travels.

We cried a river coming home but are looking forward to seeing Brittany and Levi again soon!

Our theme song for the drive home:
"I'm gonna miss you! I'm gonna miss you! Looks like I'm gonna miss you after all!"