Friday, July 23, 2010

Birthdays, Birthdays

I have a love/hate relationship with birthdays...birthday parties specifically. I love planning my kids parties, coming up with a fun theme, invitations, games and cake but they tire me out by the end of summer. That's what I get for having 5 kids in the Summer well, that and really swollen feet while I'm pregnant. I have four birthday's down and 1 to go.
Solomon turned nine this year and love's all things sports. This year he decided to go to the Oakland A's vs. Mariners game for his birthday. He invited two friends and we took them to the game, filled them up with junk food and got to see Ken Griffey Jr. play in one of his last games.
Miss Jocelyn June turned the big 8. We had lots of family here and celebrated with a fabulous tea party. We made these teapot invitations together:The girls decorated fancy hats and then sat down to munch on finger sandwiches, chocolate covered strawberries and jam cookies. Finishing it off with a perfect teapot cake (thanks Amy!)

Isaac turned four and chose a Shark Attack theme.

We made these invitations and cupcakes and got ready for the invasion of 9 four year-olds. He had a great time playing shark games and being the center of attention.

Penny girl turned one. She really deserves her own post but that will have to come at a later day. I made her a darling pink flower cupcake but things didn't turn out as planned. I had the cupcake sitting on her tray. Isaac asked if he could have that cupcake instead of the plain frosted ones I made for everyone else. After I said no, he sneaked it off and hid it in the bathroom. When I found it, it looked more like a mangled weed than a pink flower so Penny ended up with a plain white one. It was okay, she doesn't even like cake, I should have just given her a bowl of ice cream.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To my Dad

I've always been a Daddy's girl.

My dad has always been there for me, helping me with tough decisions and setting an example for me on how to live life. Here are some of my favorite memories of my favorite dad.

1) As a little girl I loved having my dad fix my hair. I felt this special bond with him because we both had blond curly hair. He would be so gentle and use his special fuzzy brush and talk about how pretty I was.

2) During school we would have a surprise visit from the 'principal' for lunch which always made the day more special.

3) On my 16th birthday my Dad took me out of school at lunchtime and we went on a date to the DMV to get my first official driver's license. Afterward we went to lunch at Taco Cabana.

4) A year later I got my first speeding ticket. I was too scared to tell my Mom, I told Dad and he helped me work everything out and even broke the news to mom for me.

5) I loved doing the swing and jitterbug with my Dad at dances. I even loved when he would give me lessons on how to keep the boys a 'safe' distance away at the dance.

6) Going on walks with Dad was a tradition. We had great conversations as well as him trying to embarrass me in front of the bus stop by doing little skipping steps in front of my friends.

7) I got my Dad's sense of humor, whether we are wrestling each other off of a footstool at the BYU bookstore or just teasing each other we have a lot of fun together.

Thanks for always being there for me Dad. Words can't express how much I appreciate your example and love. I love you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dollar store frames

I have always loved the looks of the large wall with the a large symmetrical display in matching frames. The problem always was it is expensive to buy 12 matching frames and then to find coordinating prints to go in them... I have this huge wall at the end of my kitchen and I needed something to fill it without costing a fortune. I have always loved the art on the back of the cooking magazine, Cook's Illustrated (best cooking magazine ever!) so I decided to use that. I found these unfinished wood diploma frames at the dollar tree and decided to go for it.

I spray painted all the frames red so that they would make a larger impact and then hung them in two rows across the wall. I taped paper up the wall in several different configurations but ended up liking this arrangement best. I may do one more row on the top (the ceiling is 12 feet)or a smaller row of 5x7 prints but I like this wall a lot better now.

I linked this to CSI. This weeks theme is dollar store. People have made some incredible stuff from the dollar store!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Guest bed make-over

Whenever summer time starts and I switch to my more easy going homeschool schedule I start getting excited for projects again. Last summer I worked on the girls room, I refinished their dressers, made curtains and decorated their walls. This summer I am at more of a loss of what to do since we will *hopefully* be buying a new house soon I don't want to do things specifically for the spaces we have in this house since they may not work in the new house. So I am trying to start with the projects that will work anywhere. I refinished a headboard for Grandma's room AKA the guest room. Side note: Jocelyn asked me the other day when we could have another baby when I asked her why she said she missed Grandma and wanted to see her again.

I didn't take a picture before I primed it but here is this old Oak head board. I found it on craigslist, it belonged to the former mayor of Fremont's son you know :) I got it from the lady who used to clean their house, they gave it to her about 20 year ago and now it's mine.

I wanted something bright and cheery to add a pop of color to the room. So Apple Green it became:

I wanted to make it a little more original so I found the perfect stencil and Martha Stewart here and made a stencil to add to the little squares. I distressed the whole thing and put it in it's new home. Maybe I will make the applique pillow too although the darling ruffle pillows my friend Emily made would look great too. Now Grandma has a new reason to come and visit :)

I am linking this up to the Martha Stewart challenge for the CSI project.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Grand Canyon

Joseph and I had never been to the Grand Canyon and so we wanted to take a family trip there while we are living within driving distance. Joseph had his heart set on camping the whole week we were there. I was willing to go along with it but not thrilled about tent camping for 5 days after driving for 14 hours with 5 kids. I am so glad we did. Being out in nature as a family was perfect. The kids never tired of playing with the rocks, sticks and dirt. I enjoyed getting up with the sun and not ever really knowing what time it was.

Day one:
Since we were only planning on driving 4 hours to Bakersfield we didn't leave until noon. After packing up our Odyssey to the roof we pulled out. We made quick time to Bakersfield arriving at our good friends Ben and Vanubia's at around 5:30. It was so fun to reconnect with old friends and meet new friends. The kids played great and Vanubia prepared a delicious meal for us to enjoy together. We stayed up and talked and played games.
Day two:
After packing the kids in like sardines Joseph made a decision that we needed a car top carrier. We stopped by Sears and picked up a carrier, loaded it up with sleeping bags and gear and could finally breathe in the car. I had printed up some games from a website for the kids to play in the car. We stopped and got Blizzards when they all got Bingo. All of us got into finding how many different license plates we could see. Solomon got really excited when I told him I would give them each five dollars if they found Hawaii. We never found Hawaii but we did find all the states except Hawaii, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. We got to the National Park just in time to set up our tent, roast some hot dogs and marshmallows.
Day three:
It was COLD at night! It was in the 20's each night we were there. Luckily the kids just burrowed down into their sleeping bags and penny slept in her snowsuit and blankets. I think Joseph and I were the coldest. We planned on going to church at 1:00 so we had time to take a hike out and get our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon. It is amazing and beautiful! We went back to our campsite to get dressed for church. There is a branch that meets in the park. It was small having only about 12 people. It is for all the people who work and live in the park. The four brothers who were the only kids in primary were thrilled to have our kids there. It's kind of funny that our kids literally doubled the primary :) After church we walked along the rim to the geology museum for awhile before heading back to play at the campsite for the evening.
Day four:
The Ranger programs were phenomenal! We went on the Fossil hike. The kids loved learning about the fossils and I was amazed how many we were able to find. Jocelyn found 104 different fossils! We took naps in the afternoon and played.
Day five:
We went to a program on the california Condor, and a geology talk and walk. This is the day Joseph started plotting our family hike down into the Canyon. It is 12 miles down to the canyon floor. Every mile you go down it gets about 8 degrees hotter. We knew we wouldn't be able to make to all the way down (next time Joseph!).

Day six:
We got up early and got the Bright Angel Trail at 9:30 AM. It was overcast and cold so we had bundled up well. About a mile down into the canyon it started to snow. It was beautiful. When we got to the 1.5 mile rest house the ranger there asked us how far we were planning on going. We told him we planned on going to the next rest house. He kept advising against it. I started getting a little nervous but we started down. Joseph had a goal for us to make it to the next rest house so away we went. We made good time to the 3 mile rest house, the last point that has water and bathrooms. By this time it was 80 degrees and hot. There were signs everywhere warning about dehydration and telling stories of people who had run the Boston Marathon who died hiking down into the Grand Canyon. We made it to the 3 mile rest house and were ready to turn around. We ate our picnic lunch and headed back at 12:30.

The hard part about hiking into a canyon is that the downhill part is first. We were already tired but now we were hiking UP the canyon. The kids were troopers and there was minimal complaining. I am so glad since I was barely making it, Penny in a hiking back pack was heavy! I got huge bruises on my hip from the constant bouncing. Just so you don't think Joseph was hiking fancy free, he was carrying many liters of water, food, coats and supplies, honestly I had the easier load. When we finally made it back to the 1.5 mile house the Ranger was so excited to see us. Apparently he had been off duty a while before but didn't want to leave until we had gotten back. He said he had never seen a family with so many kids hike that far into the canyon. We finally made it back to the top around 6:40. We were exhausted but thrilled with our accomplishment.

1.5 mile rest house

Day 7:

Waking up this morning I could barely move! I have never been so sore in my life. We took it easy today. We went to the Native American Ruins had a picnic right on the rim and the kids fulfilled their requirements and were sworn in as offical Junior Rangers.

Day 8:

We left for Santa Ana to visit my sister Tatiana. Tati was so nice to let us stop by and visit for the day since she was in the middle of moving to her first house. We spent a lovely and relaxing day at the beach with her and her girls. We also got our family pictures taken on the beach which is something I always wanted to do.

Day 9:
Home again, Home again. The trip home went smoothly. Like I said Penny was an angel. Isaac had a rough time for about an hour but we finally worked through it.

Picture Recap...

S'mores everynight YUM!

Picnic on the rim

The newest set of Junior Rangers :)

Wrestling in the tent with Dad

We made it back to the top!

Sand Monsters
Bathing Beauty

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Penny @ 10 months

Penny has been such a joy to have in our family. It's hard to believe that she is already over 10 months old! This last month she has started clapping, waving, playing peek-a-boo, and has mastered the art of crawling, even down the step into the front room and over the rungs of the kitchen chairs. She pulls herself up on everything but she hasn't figured out how to get back down. She is still such a happy baby, smiling at anyone who pays her any attention at all. She's just a tease though, if you try to take her from me she quickly panics and tries to get back to me. She will crawl around playing, keeping herself happy for hours. She hates baby food and will only eat something if there are chunks in it (despite the fact that she is still completely toothless). She sleeps through the night in her own room (a first for me by this age) and is the best traveler. She didn't cry at all on the 24+ hours we spent in the car on our family road trip to the Grand Canyon. It probably helped that she had her adoring brothers and sisters surrounding her.

How did we get so lucky?

*Sorry about the watermarks on the photos I am waiting for my copies but Lisa was an amazing photographer if you are looking for someone in so cal or colorado :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Have I Done Any Good?

I went to to look something up for my class I was teaching and the headline caught my eye. Have I Done Any Good in the World Today? It got me thinking about our family goals.
We set two family goals for the new year. One was to try and be more service oriented. We decided to do a family service project at least once a month. It can be a bit tricky to find a service project that an 8,7,5, and 3 year old can participate in.
After reading the plea to members to help Haiti I knew I wanted to find a way to help them as a family. We called the kids in and watched this video:

Then we asked the kids what we could do to help. They had ideas of sending food or blankets. We read them the article asking for members to donate to the LDS Humanitarian Service. Then we asked them how they could earn money to donate. Solomon and Jocelyn collect aluminum cans and plastic drink bottles for money. We suggested that we take the recycling that they had been saving up for the last 6 weeks and donate all the money that they made. I could tell Solomon was a little hesitant to give up his hard earned money, while Jocelyn ran off to her room to get the .86 cents she currently had to donate. We went out as a family and collected the cans and bottle, smashed them down and got everything ready for the recycling center. I hope they feel like the made a difference.

I would love any ideas/advice for great family service projects that you may have done.