Jan 31, 2015

Birthday Lunch

Teach had the day off because she is working on Saturday this week. When she found out her schedule, the first things she said was, "Want to go to lunch for your birthday?" I don't know about you, but I love going out to eat for several reasons. First of all, I don't do it very often, so it is still a real treat. Second, it means no cooking and no dishes, two of my favorite things! Third, when one of my kids invites me, I feel loved and appreciated because I know how hard they work for their money.

Teach even invited along Baby Doll and Drama Queen and we all headed for Jason's Deli. I had never been there before, but Teach had and she said the best part was the salad bar and the free ice cream. I definitely have to agree with her. I wasn't all that fond of the sandwich I chose, but she brought me back a little bowl with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. Then Drama Queen slipped back to the salad bar and got me a little cup of crushed almonds to spread over it.

Love those mandarin oranges!
OK, I confess, I ate two little cups of ice cream and wrapped my sandwich up and brought it home for my sweetie. (He ate it right up, so I think it was just me.) Next time we go there, I think I will just take the salad bar and even forgo the croutons so I can eat the ice cream.

Did I mention the ice cream is free with a purchase?

My favorite price. Thanks, Teach! It was a lovely lunch.

Jan 30, 2015

Guest Blog: Testimony Almost Built By Elder Dog Walker

I know it's been a very long time since I got to guest blog about how my mission is going. It's going really successful as I feel pretty sure that's all what you expect. I may have already told all of you before that I extended my mission to go from January 2014- June 2015. For a Service Missionary, it's usually a one year mission, but I decided to extend because it would be awkward to end it right in the middle of the school year with the seminary children. So I decided to serve until the end of their school year. That would work a lot better than ending in January. What do y'all think?

Anyway, I also wanted to tell you that throughout the mission, a testimony is starting to build up. I want to explain it, but it'll be the same thing as I written to my mission president. I hope you don't mind what I said and I also hope you enjoy the letter.


Dear President Happy,

Here I am again. I promised to you that I would tell you more about my testimony and this will be the one that would work for this week. The mission is going really great. It feels like it’s been a blessing to me. The seminary kids really like it when I come. I wish there were a time that you would get to meet the children, but I know you’re busy with other Church service. I paid my tithing, but I didn’t give it to Heavenly Father’s servant yet. I just need to remember to give it to him.

My family and I are reading Ezekiel as the last one and counting that as reading all of the Old Testament. It was amazing last night when we were reading Ezekiel 40, it was talking about how a temple should be built. After we’re done reading Ezekiel, we’re going back to reading the Book of Mormon. I know the Book of Mormon is true and it’s another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that families are meant to be together for eternity.

I should at least know that I can be able to change the world more and so can every other servant of Heavenly Father. Most times, I feel like I’m doing the wrong thing, probably because I’m being tempted every time. But sometimes, I feel like I’m doing the right thing. Maybe I just need to listen more to the still small voice and then I’ll know how I’m feeling each day.

I just want to testify to you, President Happy that I know that the Church is true and I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live in the Celestial Kingdom and my family and I want to go there together forever. I’m also grateful that Gamer and Bossy would be sealed for all eternity, like Heavenly Father had promised. I’m also grateful that I’ll be able to know that I can do temple work for the dead, especially endowments and initiatories. Hope to hear back from you soon.


Elder Dog Walker

P.S. Sister Drama Queen’s getting prepared for a mission.


Jan 29, 2015

Medical Surgery Dolls

Last week Drama Queen spent many hours at Beauty and The Beast's house while they were in Florida on a work trip. She was just hanging out with the dog and cat and cutting out little brown people for me. Well, they aren't really for me.

She took the fabric we used to make Goblin Valley for the Engagement back in November and cut over a hundred little people to be used for surgical dolls. It was quite a task that made her fingers ache, but she was happy to help with our service project.

It's actually 3 little service projects. Tomorrow my Activity Days girls are going to stuff and sew the openings closed of as many little dolls as they can in just over an hour. Then on Friday we will do the same thing with the Girl Scouts.

On February 13, Princess is going to take all the dolls we have left and use them for her FACS introduction project at Bingham for her FCCLA Star Event. I've never actually done this project before, but I understand that Primary Children's Medical Center uses them for each child who has surgery and they mark out the procedure on the doll first with a Sharpie.

This helps the children understand what is happening to their bodies. Thankfully, I've never had to receive one of these. Have any of you?

Jan 28, 2015

Let Them Eat Pie

It was Pack Meeting Tuesday, but I wasn't in charge of this one so it was pretty easy for me. I made and handed out fliers (with Baby Doll's help) and I arranged a service project for one of Princess's friends who is working on his Eagle Scout project. He had 100 wooden cars that needed to be sanded. We had at least 50 people at Pack Meeting, so his part went quickly. Little kids just love sanding!

The Dog Walker did an excellent job with the awards and then we had a pie eating contest. But it wasn't exactly the sort of contest you would expect. The kids were given a pie and a weird utensil like a whisk or tongs and told to share the pie with family members.

Curly and Scout were on a team and Sport and Baby Doll were on a different team. They didn't really choose any winners, but everyone enjoyed their pies although Scout complained about trying to eat hers with a pastry brush. I told her to turn it around and use the handle and that was much more effective. I felt bad for the kid with the potato masher, but he did a great job making it work.

The Dog Walker loves being part of the Scouting program! Many of the boys look up to him and they can appreciate his strange sense of humor.

Next month I don't get off so easy. It's the Blue and Gold Banquet and I'm in charge of that one. No, wait, I mean the Dog Walker is in charge of that one, of course. ;)

Jan 27, 2015

We Are All Beautiful

A few days ago for my birthday post, I was asking the kids to find a decent pic of me to post. (You know how I feel about selfies...) Well, Teach sent me one and so did Princess. I randomly put in the one from Teach, but Princess was a bit offended so I told her I would post hers as well.

I have never been the sort of person to like my picture taken. I'm not fond of mirrors either. Why is it we have to get so hung up about what we look like?

I know my kids are aware of these aversions even though I tell them it doesn't matter and I'm not trying to impress anyone. Then why does it bug me so much? Why did I spend half an hour scrolling through pics to try to find one of myself that was acceptable?

Why is it so hard to practice what I preach?

 I don't believe we were all meant to look like we come from the same cookie cutter mold. And honestly, I don't like the pressure associated with having to look perfect all the time. I like to pull my hair up and play basketball in my baggy shorts. And I love wearing my sweetie's big comfy t-shirts.

I couldn't even tell you the last time I curled my hair or put on makeup other than Chapstick. So I guess 99.9% of the time I don't care what I look like or what people think of me, but on that one day that I turned 50, I guess I just didn't want to look like it.

One sweet commenter said, "You don't look a day over 30!" Thank you! That was so kind of you. It made me smile. I don't think I want to go back to 30 again, but I don't want people telling me "You don't look a day over 50!" either.

So where does this circular argument get me?

Right back where I started...

Looking for random pics of myself that I feel comfortable sharing.

Or not. 

Jan 26, 2015

Happy Day

I had a wonderful birthday! Thank you for all of your kind wishes. :)

We had church this morning and Dog Walker and I taught the Gospel Essentials class. My sweetie made these amazing steak sandwiches for lunch. Then it was choir practice where they sang to me, of course. When we got home, we watched Newsies and I got two more quilt tops ready to sew. After that our home teachers stopped by with a short lesson.

I told my sweetie I wanted a barbecue. We rarely have nice enough weather in January here in Utah to do such crazy things, so while we played a rousing game of basketball, he grilled hot dogs. We also had corn on the cob, chips, baked beans, and watermelon.

It was so fun and different! All the kids were here and their families. That's my favorite kind of birthday. If you remember, last year Teach was missing because she was in Texas on her mission. After cake and ice cream, the kids started heading in their own directions. I cornered the four youngest so I could get them prepared to go back to school tomorrow. They have been off since before Christmas, so they weren't very happy about that.

Then I talked on the phone for an hour to my sister. It was an awesome day. Except that I didn't take any pictures. Not a single one.

So I'm going to leave you with the beautiful picture of Princess from Friday night's Sterling Scholar banquet down at UVU. Her portfolio is finally finished and now we just have to see if she made the next cut for Region competition.

Prima Donna finally finished all her paperwork for her Gold Award. Yay! It's only been 7 months...

And how was your weekend?

Jan 25, 2015

The Big Five - O

Happy birthday to me! OK, give it to me, your best "50" joke.

My living room window and Baby Doll posing as a beauty queen!
I decided a few weeks ago that reaching 50 certainly beat the alternative, so here I am.

Half a century. Teach has been teasing me about being a half a Roman soldier, but I keep reminding her that is a Centurion, not a Centenarian

The kids had fun decorating the living room windows with the colored window markers we used on the newlywed's getaway car.

I did make them promise we wouldn't have anything but a family party. And guess what!? When we put the bottom layer of Beauty and The Beast's wedding cake in the freezer, I told everyone that we were going to pull it out and have it for my birthday cake! I'm pretty excited about that!

Then we can talk about wedding memories instead of how old I'm getting...

Jan 24, 2015

Making Cookies

You know my Little Sis had her baby about 3 weeks ago, right before Beauty and The Beast got married. She does C-sections so she has been down and not able to drive.

That's a rough time when she has a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. So we have been trying to find a day when we could take care of her kids so she could get some rest.

Today was the day! Honestly, I hardly even knew they were here. They just sort of blend in with all the rest of the kids. Princess decided to make sugar cookies for her FCCLA project so she shared the fun with all the kids while I finished posting her Sterling Scholar blog. It's awesome! Here's a link if you want to take a look.


Hope you have a good weekend. Make some cookies!

Jan 23, 2015

George Barnhill -- Artist Extraordinaire

I'm not really a very good artist. There are lots of things I can do passably well, but drawing, metalwork, and sculpting do not fit into that category.

But we have a cousin who does amazing work! His resume includes:

"I worked on The Giver, a Jared Hess (Nacho Libre director) that is in Sundance right now, a TV series Galyntine which wasnt picked up by AMC, a few commercials, and then a few little church clips, etc."
But he is having a bit of a dry spell and with 9 children, including a missionary and a new baby, he could surely use some leads. His email address is gbgold7@gmail.com

Tell him I sent you. Maybe he can cut you a deal. Check out this sampling of his work.

Jan 22, 2015

Attitude Adjustment

I've had a rather discouraging day. I'm still struggling with Princess's portfolio and I actually tried cleaning off my desk...

So when Princess needed my computer to help a friend with homework, I gladly gave up my seat and headed to my sewing machine. I promised to make some baby quilt tops for an Eagle Scout project and I love the mindlessness of sewing a 9-patch.

It only took me a couple of hours to put together two of the tops. Both of them are the same and I think they turned out pretty cute.

But the best part is that sewing for a while greatly improved my attitude and though it's late now, I'm feeling like maybe things will work out after all.

And tomorrow is a new day. :)

Except that I have to take the little ones to the dentist...
And that portfolio is due Friday.

Jan 21, 2015

Chase Around Day

Today was one of those chase around days when it seems like I'm going 90 miles an hour and not accomplishing much that is important.

I did get to the grocery store and I gassed up the van. I went to Curves and I played a little basketball. We went to the library, sold more cookies, took kids to dance, and took advantage of 50-cent corn dogs at Sonic.

This is the last week of off-track for the elementary-aged kids so we have been working on their Soaring Leader awards and homework. I'm not anxious for them to go back to school next week.

Princess has her Sterling Scholar portfolio due on Friday and there are so many things to be uploaded. It's been fun looking through all the old blog posts, but I swear we posted pics when they were made FCCLA officers but I can't find them anywhere.

I have to confess my photo-saving techniques leave a lot to be desired. When I only had hundreds of pics I could remember where things were, but now that there are thousands, it's getting much harder.

Do you have a great method for saving things? I'm open to suggestions, because this isn't working...

Jan 20, 2015

MLK Holiday

Were you off work and school today?

Since our school district was out and so was the Dog Walker's school, my sweetie took the day mostly off (with a little work from home). We spent the morning running errands and cleaning the house a little and then we went out to lunch with our last bunch of free coupons for MacDonald's. I fed 10 of us for just over $11.00. :)

Then we piled back in the van and drove over to the church to see if the gym was free. With no cars in the parking lot, we rushed home and changed into gym shoes and grabbed the ball bag. It was so fun playing basketball with my favorite people!

Then we stopped by Menchies for free frozen yogurt before heading home. Princess had dance at 4:00, but the rest of us had a movie laundry-folding party and made frozen pizza for dinner. Then we had a rousing game of Bananagrams before we popped in one more movie to finish out our day together.

I tore the blocks for two baby quilts while we were watching the movie. Princess is helping a couple of friends with Eagle Scout projects and one of them is doing baby quilts for Primary Children's Medical Center. Of course I had to help with that!

Only one more week before my little ones go back on track. I'm not looking forward to that change. It's been so nice to have all this time off. I can't think of anything I'd rather do than spend time with my family.

Jan 18, 2015

Bubble Wrap Boots

Princess is a teacher in the Mini-Miner preschool at Bingham. She loves it! She tells me it is the highlight of her school day.

About once a month she gets to teach the class a lesson she has thought out and prepared all by herself. You know she is a super-over-achiever, so everything she does is really fun and age-appropriate. And she almost always tries out the activities with her own preschool sister first.

I have to admit I thought she was crazy when she suggested this one.

So did Baby Doll.
The first thing we did was fashion a sort of shoe out of bubble wrap with the small bubbles. Then she tore off a piece of butcher paper (that turned out to be WAY too small!) and laid it out on the floor.

I rolled up the bottoms of Baby Doll's jeans while Princess poured washable paint into two paper plates.

Then she stood Baby Doll on the paper and told her to walk in the paint and then on the paper. Baby Doll was pretty hesitant. She kept looking at me like this might get her in big trouble. I finally picked her up and set one foot in the paint. At the same time, her first bubbles popped.

Princess set her other foot in the yellow and convinced her to step off onto the paper. Finally a smile emerged. She started jumping and popping, then doing tap moves, all the while spreading her paint around to make a fun picture.

She was actually a little sad when we picked her up and removed her plastic shoes.

This was a fun and crazy activity and I can't really imagine how it will be when she has 30 kids doing it at the high school! But she has promised me they are covering the entire hallway with paper so they won't accidentally slip and make a mess.

I just hope she remembers to buy all washable paint...

Jan 17, 2015

They Won't Shoot

Two guesses what I've been doing today...

Right! Basketball games. Curly's started at 9:00 this morning and none of us were ready to get out of bed yet. He ended up being 5 minutes late, but the game hadn't started yet so it was no big deal. Their little team doesn't keep score, but they have lots of fun and it was picture day so I took this one for you.

I missed Sport's game. He and Dog Walker went on the Klondike camp last night and they were both so tired it was hard to get him awake enough to play, but they were already missing 3 players. He held his own under the basket even though the opposing team had a 6th grader who was almost 6 ft tall!

They are doing their pics next week when the rest of the boys are here.

And then there was my little team where Scout is the star. They have picked up really well on the zone defense and mostly keep the other teams from running up the score. The problem is that I can't get them to SHOOT! Seriously, we have had 3 games with the score of 0. If the whole team puts up 10 shots during the entire game it is a miracle. I've even offered them bribes and nothing seems to work.

Any suggestions from all you coaches out there?

Oh yeah, and we sold a bunch of Girl Scout cookies. I'm ready for bed and it's not even 9:00 yet...

Jan 16, 2015

Guess What Tomorrow is?

Guess what tomorrow is?

Yeah, you are right. I have 3 Jr. Jazz games, basketball pictures, Princess and Prima Donna are working at the food bank, Baby Doll is going to a birthday party, Drama Queen is judging a speech and debate competition, Dog Walker and Sport are going on the Klondike camp out (brrrrrr!)... but I mean besides all that.

Girl Scout cookie sales start!!

I'm supposed to be having a girl scout meeting in just over an hour so I can give all the materials out to the girls and get them excited to sell. And honestly, we need to! Without the cookie money, our troop doesn't have funding for any activities. I have an aversion to charging dues, so this sale is very important to us.

If you have a little girl scout knock on your door tomorrow, please buy a box of cookies. I know we are all on diets right now (but you don't pay or get your cookies until March)..Hopefully you can spare $4 and it means SOO much to that child who puts it on the line every time she walks up to a porch with hope in her heart that she will find a friend when the door opens.

See you tomorrow!

Jan 15, 2015

I Pray When...

I've been trying to get to bed a little earlier. OK, Drama Queen annoyed me until I walked away from the computer after she promised to post for me. Only last night I laid in bed stressing all the things I had to do until I finally got up and did some of them. Now I'm dozing in front of the computer while the kids are watching Brave Little Toaster. Not my finest "mom moment."

My Thursdays seem to have gotten incredibly hard since the holidays! I'm still babysitting which I generally enjoy, but with all the basketball games and practices, not to mention Activity Days and dance, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and next week is worse. I've got cookie training tomorrow for my Girl Scouts and then sales start on Saturday. I can't even force myself to update the calendar since it already looks way too busy.

Prima Donna earned a spot in the competition one-act play at Bingham so here we go again with rehearsals starting next week. Princess is a Sweetheart's nominee so she has a million things to get ready for that competition and her Sterling Scholar portfolio is due next week.. Life rarely slows down here.

We did have a fun FHE activity I wanted to share with you. Princess taught the lesson about prayer and modeled it after something that had already been done on the internet, but the kids love having their faces out there for everyone to see (my sweetie... not so much).

These are our cute little "I pray when..." signs.

Maybe mine should have read "I pray when I'm stressed." I guess that would be the same as "I pray all the time..."