Friday, January 29, 2010

Being Consistent

Don't get me wrong, I love what I do. I have always wanted to be a mom and be able to stay at home with my kids. I feel so blessed to be able to do that, but sometimes being a parent is hard. It can be overwhelming, teaching them to eat, sit-up, walk, talk, potty train (HATE that!), wipe their nose, say please and thank you, cough in their elbow, wipe their bottom, eat their veggies, clean their room, say their prayers, read, be nice, don't hit, love one another, serve others, be honest, be polite, do your homework, wash the dishes, vacuum the floor, turn in your homework, and the list goes on, but above all as a parent you must BE CONSISTENT!!! That is a hard one I think. It is hard for me. Sometimes at night you crawl into bed exhausted and think, was I consistent in anything today besides yelling at my kids :) Yeah, some days are like that. You can get discouraged thinking you aren't consistent, you aren't doing things right, but then I got to thinking to day as I was decorating a cake for Kansas Day, because we celebrate that at our house, and we have for years. Maybe I am not too bad at being consistent. Take a look. . .

So maybe I am consistent (at making a funny looking sunflower cake every 29th of January and hopefully some other things). But the important thing is to be consistent about being consistent--you have to keep trying--never give up. Love, laugh, and keep going, and enjoy those sunflower cakes, spilled milk, good-morning kisses, mountains of laundry, sweet bedtime prayers, arguing kids, snuggling to read stories, and endless errand lists because Life is sweet, very, very sweet, and I would consistently not want it any other way.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Our Art Wall

We have an art wall in our house. Being the daughter of a professional artist and art teacher, and my kids having a Grandpa who is an artist, we do a lot of art at our house. When we first moved in we had an empty wall in our downstairs hallway that I did not know what to do with. Then I got to thinking, with 4 creative kids we have lots of projects, pictures, paintings, and my fridge just isn't big enough, so I decided to dedicate that hallway wall as "The ART Wall." I found the wooden letters at a Wal-mart, painted them, hung them up, and the wall has been full ever since. We just use masking tape to hold the pictures up, but my sister-in-law told me about some kind of magnetic paint you can get now??!! How cool does that sound? You just paint the wall with the magnetic paint, and then paint over with the color you want on your wall. Cool, huh? I haven't gotten up the energy to repaint yet, but maybe someday. . .I think it is an awesome idea.
When the kids bring home new stuff, it replaces their older stuff on the art wall. Then, to avoid even more clutter I (try to remember to) take a picture of each kid with their art so we have a record of it just in case the actual art piece doesn't make it through the years, or through Mom's frequent de-cluttering episodes. This works well for us and helps us maintain just the average amount of art clutter instead of the colossal amount that we would normally have :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fishing line Snowflakes

Since we are on the downside of January, I thought I better show you my snowflakes that I put up for this month. These went up when the Christmas decor went down. I expanded my hangings into the kitchen over the kitchen table. That fishing line works great anywhere! I just hung these off the light fixture over the table--if you are really tall, which we don't have a problem with in our house--you bump into the longest ones, but otherwise they work well. Now I just need to find hearts for next month. Anyone seen any cute hearts that I could hang? Thanks to my friend Angie for finding some snowflakes for me!!!
It is no secret how I hang the ones in my entry. I have big wooden beams, so I just stick a tack in them, wrap the fishing line around the tack, and hang the snowflake on the end of the fishing line. I don't know how you would hang them on an actual ceiling? Would a tack stay in a ceiling? I don't know. Mine go into a wooden beam.
The snowflakes in my entry. There are silver and blue ones.

I like the blue ones!!

So have any of you tried out fishing line yet? What are you hanging?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bubble baths and What are you listening to?

Had to go to Wal-Mart this morning for stuff. Always need more of that. . .and Mr J found some Disney Cars bubble bath. $1.50 for bath time fun isn't too bad, so it made its way into the cart. Now it is right after lunch and the tub is being filled with water and "revved up Raspberry" Cars bubble bath! Life is sweet. I don't know how he will handle all day kindergarten next year because I know they don't let you take bubble baths in the middle of the day. Bubble baths are sweet!

Another sweet thing is music. We love music in our house. There is always a wide variety of it playing throughout the house--on the piano, on the keyboard, on the stereo, computer, MP3, ipod. . .good stuff. We had our FHE lesson last night on listening to good music. These are some of our favorites we've been listening to lately.

Jen--I discovered Jon Schmidt's "Love Song meets Love Song" which is a piano/cello instrumental piece combining Taylor Swift's "Love Song" and Cold Play's "Viva La Vida." I LOVE this! I just hit the repeat button, play it really loud, and it is amazing the stuff I get done!

Ben--he has a much broader appreciation of music than I do. He likes everything I like plus a whole lot more. He is a big fan of the amazon $.99 or free album of the day. Some of the stuff he downloads I look and him and think "You like that?" Much, much, MUCH broader appreciation of music than I have, but the world would be really boring if we all liked the same thing, right? He's been enjoying Rodrigo Y Gabriella's "11:11"

Miss A usually has either High School Musical playing or Taylor Swift. Pretty predictable for a tween, and I can handle those too.

Miss O is always listening to Disney's The Lion King Broadway musical soundtrack. We took the girls to see that show last year (it is amazing! Loved it!), and she loved it. She got the CD from Miss A for her birthday, and it is by far her favorite.

Miss E almost always has her headphones on walking around the house. Her MP3 players batteries need to be charged every other day it seems because she uses it so much, but Miss E is not listening to music, nope, she is an addicted audio book listener. I don't think there is any room for music left on her player because she has it so full of books she likes to listen to. Her current read is Patrick Carman's The Land of Elyon series.

Mr J has been loving Sandra Boynton's "Dog Train" book and CD. That shouldn't surprise anyone--A CD with music about trains? He is all over that! It does have a song on it called "Banging on Pots and Pans" so he had to get his own pot and pan band to play along the other day. Oh yeah, banging on pots and pans. . .love that music!

So, what are you listening to?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Images from our week

Sunday Miss A had her first time in Young Women's at church. These are the cute YW in our ward.
I gave Mr J a haircut :)

Miss E had the "All About Me" board this week in her 2nd grade class

At preschool today the letter was "L" so we made real lemonade/limeade and squeezed the lemons and limes ourselves. Mr J did a good job.

What are you reading now? This is my nightstand. From the top. . .
-The Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs
-Dragon Kiss by E.D. Baker
-The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson
-The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
-Christmas Jars Reunion by Jason Wright
-The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
The Undaunted by Gerald Lund

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jen's 2009 Reading List

This post is for my amazing mother-in-law, who when I told her I had started a blog and explained what it was she said "That would be a good place to list all the good books you have read." This is for you mom! Love you!

Several years ago we started the family tradition that on the first Monday night in January we would write out our goals individually and as a family for the year. About 8 years ago I decided that I would read as many books that year as I was old-- so if I was going to be 25 that year, then I would need to read 25 books. I had kept up that goal each year since then, and I write the books down so I can remember what I have read. Some years I make my goal easily and go beyond, other years I am up reading Dec 31 until the ball drops to finish my last book. I am an English/Humanities major, so I love books, love reading; it keeps me sane. I tend to lean toward the juvenile and young adult genre rather than adult fiction because I don't want to waste my time reading books with trash in them. Sorry, life is too short to read a bad book :) So, if I start a book and there is too much language/sex/violence for my taste, I just don't finish it. So all the books I finish I like, and I really liked the ones I read this year. So without further ado, here is my 2009 Reading List (and no I am not 40, that is just how many books I read this year--I went WAY over my goal this year. . . .:) Enjoy!

1. No Place for Magic by E.D Baker (love the Frog Princess series by Baker, this is #5)
2. The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan (found the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, love it!)
3. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (thought provoking)
5. The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrace (part of the City of Ember series)
6. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
7. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (very good)
8. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
9. Riptide by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (thanks for this recommend Rachael!)
10. The Girl who could Fly by Victoria Forrester
11. When I Lay my Issac Down by Carol Kent
12. The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Thanks Whitney Bea)
13. The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (a series Stephanie Meyer loved, and I enjoyed too)
14. The Dragon Princess by E.D. Baker
15. My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison (super good, funny read!)
16. The City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
17. The City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
18. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (love Jessica's stuff!)
19. Forest Born by Shannon Hale (love Shannon's stuff)
20. Promises to Keep: Diane's Story by Dean Hughes
21. The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
22. Saboteur by Dean Hughes
23. The Disappeared by Gloria Whelan (her stuff is always so interesting!!)
24. Mira, Mira by Mette Ivie Harrison
25. Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George
26. Belle by Cameron Dokey
27. The Magician by Michael Scott (This is a good series--The Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel)
28. The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt (Ben and I read this together--funny)
29. The Sorceress by Michael Scott
30. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games book 2---can't wait until Aug 2010 for #3!)
31. Atherton: House of Power by Patrick Carmen (great series by an author we met)
32. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (Thanks sophistimom for this recommendation)
33. Atherton: River of Fire by Patrick Carmen
34. Atherton: The Dark Planet by Patrick Carmen
35. The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
36. The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison
37. Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (love this series!)
38. The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
39. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (just found his adult stuff, and really like it)
40. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (this is definitely adult, but enjoyed it)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A fun easy, free game--the magazine game

Monday nights are Family Home Evening nights or FHE at our house. This is set aside family time from about 6:30 to 8--so if you call us during that time, we won't answer the phone :) We start with an opening prayer, have family business, plan the week, someone does a talent, we sing songs, have a religion lesson/scripture story or similar, play games, and then everyone's favorite---treats!!! We alternate responsibilities for each job. This past Monday Miss O was on games, and she wanted to play the magazine game. Have you ever heard of that? This is a game I grew up playing and loved. I don't know where my parents came up with it, but we all thought it was great. I in turn taught my kids, and they also enjoy it. It is basically a free game that kids/adults of any age can play. Both my 4 year old and 12 year old can play it together and Ben and I enjoy it. All you need is one magazine for every player. I have a bunch of old Better Homes and Gardens from years ago that I keep just for this game. You can use almost any magazine as long as it has lots of pictures--Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Family Fun are some good ones. If you don't have any magazines, your local library usually is getting rid of old issues--12 issues for a $1. Can't beat that. So, how to play. . . .

Everyone has a magazine and sits in a circle. Place the magazine on the floor in front of you closed. Choose someone to go first. That person says "Find a fork" for example (you can pick anything) then everyone races to look through their magazine for a picture of a fork. The picture cannot be on the front or back cover. Whoever finds the picture first gets a point. Then you move to the next person and they choose an item "Find a __________" You can switch magazines after several turns and go to 10 points or however long you have. It is really fun. Monday night Mr J had the December issue of BH&G, and he said "Find some Christmas cookies!" Guess who was the first one to find that?? Yeah, smart kid. Happy game playing!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

14th Anniversary and baby advice

In between a birthday, Christmas, and New Years, Ben and I celebrated our 14th Wedding anniversary. Wow! 14 years flew by quick! I am so blessed to be married to the most wonderful man in the world. I got very lucky, and he is very smart--he married me :) We were able to get away to one of those themed room hotels which was just amazing! Thanks so much to my parents for watching the kids overnight. It is so nice to get away for a little while. We are blessed. I was reflecting this week over this same week 12 years ago. The week I had my first child was absolutely crazy. The week Miss A was born, Ben and I both graduated from BYU, had our first baby 2 days before Christmas, celebrated Christmas, moved, celebrated our 2nd anniversary, then had New Years. My neighbor at the time, said wow, we were hitting 3 of the 5 most stressful events in life being --birth, death, job change, moving, divorce. Yeah, we hit 3 in one week. Crazy! Then the week my second child was born Ben graduated from grad school, we had our 2nd baby, we moved, and Ben started his first job. Crazy week, and again we hit 3 of the 5 most stressful life events, so when I had my 3rd and 4th babies, and the only things we did those weeks was have a baby, and I was thinking this was pretty easy! So, my baby advice is having a baby in a week is enough stressful events for one week, just focus on that. I learned from experience and some days I look back and wonder how I survived :) But I did, and I am grateful. I guess with your first child you have no idea what to expect, so you don't know any better, and the 2nd was just like the first, so I figured it was normal, but with 3 and 4, I figured out how crazy we had been :) Live and learn. Life is good.