Monday, May 26, 2008

Monthly themes for devotionals

I try to do morning devotional with the kids in the morning, but we don't get to it everyday. I decided to create these monthly pages (the info comes from the Primary program outline) so that I can have them out for each month and we can repeat the scripture (every day maybe) and sing the monthly song. I had to share them because I was so excited at how nicely they turned out. The first page took a little bit of time, but the second one (and all the rest) will be really fast because I just use the first as a template.

I know it's probably obvious, but I am absolutely loving photoshop elements - the creativity factor is amazing - the amount of control I have over my design is endless.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Char hair cut

The boys got haircuts this morning so that we could get rid of their unruly hair - It was getting so long. Charlie hates getting his hair cut and always makes a huge ordeal of it. Today, with help of bribery of a piece of gum, and lots of begging on our part, we got him to sit and he was very good for the whole hair cut. He liked when dad had shaved the top and the sides were still long. After he got the top and sides done Jeremy wondered if he should leave the back as a mullet (not really, what an unfortunate hair style). Tom always does well and has no problem with getting his hair cut and it only takes about five minutes for him.

I found a link to the BYU Women's Conference that has 'virtual sharing stations' where women have posted lots of ideas about various things - definitely worth taking a look at. I love BYU Women's Conference and wish that I could ever go - I could have this year if I would have planned it out ahead of time, but I didn't know about it until the day before.

Another great link I found is and index created on Sugardoodles website for Sharing Time from the Friend.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What do you do?

If there is one thing that I lack it is definitely consistency. Routine and schedules with my kids is hit and miss. One thing I've accidentally started doing is Friday chore day. Yesterday I was trying to be more than just the drill sargent for getting chores done, so I put my non-artistic drawing skills to use and drew pictures of what the boys needed to get done in order to earn a date. Although the pictures helped I still had to verbally motivate and remind them to stay on task. Charlie loves to clean the bathroom - I think it's using the squirt bottle that he loves.

I'm wondering what others do to get kids to do their chores?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Strapped In

The look on Becca's face is what made me want to make this scrap page - otherwise I probably wouldn't have taken the time to write about Rebecca's non-love of her car seat.

The look on her face reminds me that there really are lots of things in life that we endure, or put up with but really don't want to. I think one of the great things about being an adult is we really do have more control over our own lives than when we were little - at least to a certain extent. But even the things that can make us feel like we are putting up with, but not enjoying life, are up to us and our attitude. Attitude, and how we mentally approach a situation makes all the difference. I'm trying to develop more of a "Pollyanna" attitude (remember that movie) over the mundane things in my life (ie. housework) and find the joy and enjoyment so that I'm not just strapped in and enduring.

As a side note - I used photoshop elements a while back to create the effect on this photo, but for the life of me I don't know what I did. I really love how it looks, but I have no idea how to duplicate it. I guess I need to pay better attention, or take notes or something so that I remember what I learn.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008



Today's assignment for my digi scrapbook class was to use a template and add paper and pictures. The page on the left is the template original. I wasn't loving it, so the page on the right I left out a few things and I like the results much better. I'm all for simple and not getting things too complicated. I really didn't care for the weird curl on the template and was happy to leave it out. This still isn't a favorite layout of mine, but I definitely like the redo better than my original try. The whole concept behind templates is they are supposed to be fast and easy - this one wasn't for me - I think I spent the most time on this layout over all my other layouts - I think because I was trying to figure out how to make too many elements work together and it wasn't flowing for me.

The theme of this layout is "lunch". As long as lunch is cheese tacos or sandwiches lunch goes smoothly - no complaints from the kids and easy for me to make. So on the days when we are out of bread and tortillas we often do ramon noodles, which isn't a favorite for me, or I feel kind of lost and don't know what to make. The weird thing for me is I could eat sandwiches every day for lunch and have no problem with it, but if I had to eat the same thing for dinner each night I do have a problem. Why is that? Why do I need variety for dinner, but don't care at lunch time? Just something I have been wondering about lately.

Today is Jeremy's birthday! Happy Birthday love.

Aunt Sue

We had a fun visit with Susan this past weekend. The kids really love when she comes to visit. She posted a nice entry giving details of her visit and posted some cute pictures of the kids.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's hot!

I actually scrapped a page that had a picture of me. This photo was taken by Charlie in January. I was highlighting the fact that I have on warm socks and slippers and a jacket and am sitting in front of my heater (and fireplace, but there is no fire in the fireplace).
Well, now that it is hot like a furnace outside I am purposefully making my house cold and definitely am not wearing socks. Yesterday and today it's been over 100 F. Too hot too fast. I don't know what I'm going to do with my kids all summer. Once 10 am hits it's too hot to go outside. I usually take them to the park in the afternoon - now I'll have to take them as soon as they wake up (not really I won't, but in order to enjoy the park and not be too hot that is what time we would have to go).
In the past we've been able to go over to Jeremy's parent's house and go swimming all the time, but they are renting out their house and living in Pine Valley full time. Maybe I'll just go join them up in Pine Valley. It is about 20 degrees cooler there and mountainous and beautiful and the boys would love it. I am going to visit my parents in Idaho and spend a week or two with them, so that will be a nice break.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


One thing I've realized as I've been doing scrapbooking is it is hard to remember much detail from events in the past. As I was doing Becca's 10 month page I really didn't know what to write. I would say that the most important thing to be doing right now is writing down details as they happen, because I just don't remember later on. I know when I look at Tom's or Charlie's baby pictures I think, "cute picture", but I don't remember the specifics of that age.

This morning I had to be to church early and let before the kids were ready for church. Jeremy was lucky that he had my two sisters to help him in getting the children ready. When they showed up to church and my boys came walking up to me in their suits I thought, "my, what handsome boys I have".

Becca has a new little dance/walk that she does. She swaggers back and forth and saunters around. Little sassy girl. actually she has a lot of attitude lately and throws fits when she doesn't get her way - I guess she has hit 18 months old (next week actually) - tantrum time. Becca loves toothbrushes. She is constantly stealing someones out of the bathroom. She now has one of her own to chew on, so hopefully we won't have to hunt and search for the other ones anymore.

Tonight we were reading in Helaman of the Book of Mormon about Nephi and Lehi when they were put in prison and the still small voice comes and talks to the Laminites. I asked the boys who the still small voice was and Charlie said, "it's the Holy Ghost. I have a song I made up" and he proceeded to sing a cute little song about the Holy Ghost and how he whispers to us if we are doing something bad and he helps us have good feelings. It's moments like those that I know that I am doing something right as a parent. It's so fun to watch them grow and gain knowledge and understanding.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

3 Month Old Becca

I have been going through my digital photos - all 6000 of them - organizing them and trying to decide which ones to scrapbook. I never have made books for my kids and I would like them to have at least a few photos and memories from their childhood. 

Digital scrapbooking has just opened up a whole new world for me. This page of Becca only took me about 20 minutes to do.  I want to try to do a page a day - so not a lot of time involved, but a lot of results to show for the little bit of time.

One thing I'm trying to do is go through my photos and decide which stories to tell through which photos. I have a list of about 20 so far and the only reason the list isn't longer is I haven't gone through very many photos yet.

Tom and Charlie went on Fathers and Sons last night with Jeremy and his dad, Scott, and his brother, Brad. The boys love fathers and sons. Ever since they went last year they have been looking forward to the one this year. Charlie was so sad that it wasn't longer than one night - he wanted it to be a week long. They went up to Kolob - about an hour away. They had dinner with the ward, but then went and stayed at a friends cabin instead of sleeping out - Jeremy said it gets to about 30 degrees at night - I wouldn't want to sleep out either. Charlie said his favorite part was fishing and catching crawdads. The boys came home dirty and I sent them straight to the shower to get cleaned up before I spent time cuddling with them and telling them how glad I was that they were home.

My sister Susan is here for the weekend. We didn't plan a girls night out last night while the boys were gone because she was supposed to do something with friends, but it fell through last minute. I guess I'm getting old and boring because when she asked what we should do I thought, well, maybe a movie, but there was nothing to see, and I had no other ideas than that. If it doesn't involve kid stuff I feel lost - I don't know what to go do - especially at night. At night is when I try to fit in all the things I want to do, like my computer stuff or catching up on housework, etc. I think the problem is that I am fine with being a boring person - I don't require much to keep me occupied and satisfied - a good book, a project and I'm good to go. I do like playing card games and table games, but usually those are more fun with more than two people. Regardless, we had a nice night together and went and got some ice cream, yum.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Muddy Boys

These photos are from 2 1/2 years ago. Charlie was 3 and Tom was 18 months. Tom got it so bad because Charlie was smearing him with mud. The pictures of Tom standing at the window asking to come in are the kicker of these photos - he was sooo done with being muddy. I don't even remember if it was traumatic to clean them up - I'm sure I stripped them down outside and hosed them off and then probably put them in the tub.
The reason they always got so muddy was the yard had a low spot that always puddled with water from the sprinklers. To tell boys to stay away from mud is like telling them to not eat candy that is sitting out - totally impossible. As much fun as it is for them I'm glad we no longer have a mud spot.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Becca watches the bike riding

I created this whole layout from scratch - it was not a template - yay! for me. I'm learning so much. It does take longer to create this kind of page than the one I did earlier of the boys, but this was fun and a stretch for my creative side.

Becca was so cute this morning as she sat on the sidelines watching Tom and Charlie racing down the street. Really, she wasn't paying much attention to them, but she sat on the side for a long time like she was in the cheering section.

Riding Bikes

Charlie and Tom spent the morning taking their bike to the top of the hill and riding down together, again and again.
I took a ton of pictures, I was inspired by Heather's story boards on her blog as a fun way to show multiple pictures and let them tell the story.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Quotes anyone?

I'm wondering if any of you have saved up lots of great quotes. On my scrapbook pages I would like to put great quotes on them, but I don't have a stash to pull from. Or are there websites that have some to just cut and paste from?

My flower garden

I love pretty flowers, so I went and bought some to plant in my front garden by the front door. The yellow ones aren't doing so well, but the others are as beautiful as the day I brought them home. I've always wanted to do a "secret garden" English style. In England they have beautiful gardens full of beautiful flowers and grasses. I have an area to the side of my house that I hope to turn into my secret garden someday. In the meantime this will have to do.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Websites to check out

I've been finding lots of great websites and products lately and thought I would share them.

Amazing Action Alphabet - There are a few products from this company that we have - A flip chart of the animated letters, the activity book and the CD. The cd is our most recent purchase, since it just came out, and the kids are loving it. We listen to it in the car when we run errands - they not only love the cd, but there is no fighting because they are too busy enjoying the songs. These product teach the sounds of the letters and they are helping the kids to be able to sound out words.

Food storage - this site - Simply Living Smart - has video tutorials on things like sprouting, fruit leather, storage, etc. They also are a store where you can purchase food storage stuff. I've only watched the videos so far and they are great.

Children's Miracle Music - I don't know if any of you have heard of this yet, but I absolutely love this program. It's a set of cd's, one for morning and one for night, you put them on and the kids do their morning and evening routines. We really only use the evening one, but I need to start using the morning one more. When we turn on the evening cd my kids are ready for bed in 10 minutes. On the nights we forget to use it, it takes 1/2 hour or more. The kids love trying to get the different things (jammies on, teeth brushed) done before the song gets over - it's like timing them, only set to music. Charlie does better with it than Tom. Charlie is 5 1/2 and Tom is 3 1/2. Tom still doddles a little, so I have to stay near him to remind him, but it is still light years better than when we don't use the cd.

Page for Charlie

This is a scrapbook page I put together for Charlie from his "missionary" photos.
One thing I haven't figured out yet in photoshop is how to save my pages in jpeg, but still have a high enough resolution to send them to print. In psd it is many M's, but saved in jpeg it is only K's. I really would like to print out some pages like this to put in picture frames to put up in the boys room - but my own printer isn't that great, so my task is to figure out how to get better jpeg resolution.

Page for Tom



I don't know how to use the papers for scrapbooking yet, so I'm just using white backgrounds. The great thing about digital is I can go back and change this later if I want.

Tom is my smiley boy - and he has the cutest smile. This picture is from 1 1/2 years ago when he was two years old. The only reason I know that is thanks to digital photos that tell you when the photo was taken, otherwise I would have no idea. Looking at this picture I wouldn't have guessed it was from so long ago.

I love photoshop because this was an okay picture when I took it, but a few tweeks in photoshop and I like it so much more. I added the original photo to show the difference. I don't like that this blog puts pictures in opposite order - like how I decided to put in the original photo and it's at the top of the page instead of further in my post - I don't like that because it means if I don't prethink out where I want pictures to be they are in opposite order than what I want.

I have to brag on Charlie for a minute. On Sunday we had family council and set a few goals for this week. One of the goals was to be better helpers - to be quick to obey - when mom and dad asked the boys to do things. Charlie has been doing a great job at this goal. In the past when I've asked him to help do dishes he complained and whined that he didn't want to. This week he has not complained at all and he even has done it right away without procrastinating. His chore is to unload and he can do it all by his self - he just puts the dishes that go up high on the counter and I put them in the cupboard for him. He doesn't like to load up, because he doesn't like touching the dirty dishes - even though I rinse them first - so Tom is the load up guy.

Today I cleaned the bathrooms and the boys helped. I sprayed the cleaner and they used the rags to wipe everything clean. They fought over who got to scrub the inside of the toilet, luckily we have two, so they each got to do one. I love such happy helpers.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

More digital layouts

I think I'll have to start a collection of my digital scrapbook pages someplace else so I don't bore everyone with my new hobby - but it really is fun and easier than I thought - at least using premade pages, I've yet to put together something like this on my own.

I found some great recipes today - a bread recipe, granola and graham crackers. We used to make graham crackers growing up and homemade are soooo yummy - try them - you'll be hooked. The one thing is I need to find the cool cutting tool that my mom has - it rolls along and scores the dough so that they can be broken apart.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Third times the charm

I've already posted this picture twice - but this is the first time I've used Photoshop on it. I'm really having a lot of fun with photoshop - and I'm extremely appreciative of Jessica Sprague's website that is such a great help with wonderful tutorials and free downloads. I've spent way too much time today with my computer - but I didn't neglect my kids - we still did chores this morning and our morning devotional. I took Charlie and Becca with me, while Tom was at preschool, to buy flowers for my flower garden by the front door. I put dinner in the crockpot at lunchtime so that we could have dinner. After a couple hours at the computer, while the boys colored and played and Becca napped, we then went to the park. I then spent more time on the computer until dinner and bedtime. And now that the kids are in bed, and Jeremy got called in to work, I'm back at it. I'm really excited at how much I've gotten done today - it's been awhile since I've been so productive.

My second Digital Layout

This is just a layout with out any paper background. I'm curious to try printing these out and see how they look in printed form.

My first digital layout

I am taking an online digital scrapbooking class that teaches Photoshop Elements. Thank you Marne for giving the heads up about this class. It's really neat because there are video tutorials that take you step by step through the process and show you where to find things - it is so much easier than trying to read it out of a book. Today's lesson used a pre-done background paper - we just learned about putting on the photo and words. Future lessons will teach how to do it all from scratch. Thank you to all you other digital scrapbookers for inspiring me to be brave and try digital.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Favorite picture for today

I took a lot of pictures today, but this one is my favorite, even though Becca is faced backwards, there is something about this picture that I really like.

Our Day


We made cinnamon rolls today. I've only made them once or twice before. They really aren't very hard - I don't know why I thought they would be. The boys love to help 'cut' them. We use dental floss to cut through the dough. Charlie remembered this from last time and ran to get the floss when I started to roll the dough up. They did a good job and I only had to help with floss placement so that they didn't make the roll size too big.
Becca showing some attitude - she's doing too much of that lately - little miss attitude.
Here is princess Becca. She found the hoop somewhere (I really don't know where she got it from) and put it on her head. Every time she would tip her head up it fell off and she would retrieve it and put it back on.

The boys wanted to make jello - they each wanted their own flavor, so we made two pans of jello and made it jiggler style so they could cut it out with cookie cutters.

Teaching our Children Reverence

I would like to thank Brittany for posting an article from Orson Scott Card about reverence. This is something we've been working on with our boys for the past year and they have made tremendous progress. I found this article to be very helpful - especially because it had concrete ideas as to how to train children when they are young. I've always known that it is important to teach them when they were really young - I was just at a loss as to how to do it. I think the main thing I took away from the article is the importance of taking an active role in parenting and not just hoping that our kids will 'get it'. It takes concentrated effort to teach and train our children. I think the main thing that has changed for me is that I've adopted a new 'attitude' of being an active trainer, rather than just allowing myself to get annoyed at my children when they are being mostly reverent, but still annoying and distracting.
Today, when I took Becca out of the meeting I didn't let her get down and run around, like I might have in the past. It seems so innocent to let them run around - they are little, it seems hard to make them sit for so long, etc., but it is not teaching them how to behave at church - it really does just reinforce that going out into the hall is more fun than sitting with the family. Previous to reading this article I would have thought that Becca was too young to start training, she's 17 months, but she does understand a lot more than I give her credit for, and this is a good time to start training her in good habits so that I won't have to untrain her in a few months from now.
Here is a blurb from the article that talks about a pattern to follow.

The pattern I'm about to tell you works. I have never seen it fail. My wife and I have used it with four children who are amazingly good, loving, happy, righteous, creative, free-spirited, and patient -- in short, civilized. We have also seen it used by friends and family members, with similar effects. The details of the process are infinitely adaptable; the fundamental principles must be followed without fail.

Set Clear Rules. You have to decide exactly what standard of behavior you are going to expect of a little child. Once you set these rules you are as bound by them as the children are. You must follow them yourselves.

Our family's sacrament meeting rules for toddlers are fairly simple: Because sacrament meeting is a time that belongs to the whole congregation for the purpose of learning about and communing with the Lord:

1. No talking out loud.

2. No interaction with people on other benches.

3. The child never touches the floor.

4. Silent reading and drawing are the only permitted activities.

5. No food or drink during sacrament meeting, ever.

6. Partake of the sacrament.

7. Any activity that results in laughter or loud noise must stop immediately.

8. No hitting or hurting of anyone, by anyone.

9. Bathroom needs, diaper changes, and physical injuries are the only acceptable reason for leaving the meeting, and only long enough to solve the problem.

10. Willful violations of the rules result in removal from the meeting and containment.

The "containment" is explained in his article and it is only for young toddler age kids. It seems like a nice gentle way to get a message to the child that sitting in sacrament with the family is better than having to be taken out in the foyer.

We follow most of them, but really need to work on the 'no child touches the ground' - I really need to help my boys sit - they are like yo-yo's all over the bench and it drives me nuts. One rule that we are more strict on is leaving for the bathroom. Sacrament is only just over one hour long and I think kids can wait to use the bathroom - if you start letting them leave, they start using it as an excuse to leave, or it plain just becomes a habit to have to leave during sacrament meeting. I know this is true, because if you watch it usually is the same kids that leave each week to use the bathroom. We have our children stop at the bathroom on the way to sacrament meeting and tell them that they cannot leave until after the final song. My boys are 5 and 3 and it is very rare that they have ever left because of a true bathroom emergency.

Missionary Tom

Here are Tom's "missionary" pictures.
Today was Stake Conference. I was happy that my boys did quite well. We took their new bags that I made - the crayon roll was great - the crayons stayed all together (except every time that Becca tried to empty it out).
The lady that sat behind us gave me a note at the end of the meeting. It said,
"What a beautiful family. Your children are full of love. What a precious gift Father has shared with you. True they are strong willed and determined - but this must be; that they may stand in these last days - and Return With Honor to their Creator. When the day seems it will Never end - remember you are equal to the task He has given you. Prayer is our staple in life. It will heal and strengthen us as we look to Him in all things. What faith our Father has in you!"
What a beautiful note. Even though I thought the children had done quite well at being reverent, I was in and out many times with Becca, and this note was a great boost to me. I'm going to keep it and read it on those days when I don't feel that things are going so well.
Being a mother is a great challenge and it's nice to be reminded of the great gift we have been giving - our children - and the great responsibility we have to teach them. I'm thankful for support and encouragement from others.

Becca Turtle

Becca had me put this sweater on her, then she started pulling on it like she was trying to take it off. When she got it up on her head she left it there and started prancing around. It was so funny, and she knew it - she was doing it for the laughs. Her walking around with that on her head reminded me of ET.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Crayon roll

To go along with the activity bag that I made for the boys I made these crayon rolls to keep their crayons all together. I saw this idea on the web a few weeks ago and thought it was nice, but once I was already in sewing mode making the bags it didn't take much longer to throw one of these together. I couldn't remember where on the web I had seen them, so I just googled 'crayon roll' and lots of sites came up. The website I found most helpful showed pictures of the different steps of how to do it. It took me less than an hour from start to finish. I just did it tonight and the boys haven't seen it yet. I hope it will help them from having to dump out all of the crayons all over. In this handy roll they can see all of the colors and can reach for just the right one.

Kids activity bag

Yesterday I was at an Expo and saw some kids bags that were in fun prints and had pockets on the outside for holding their crayons. They cost $30! ouch. I looked at them and thought maybe I could try to make them.
I took the kids to the fabric store to choose their own fabric - Charlie choose army material and Tom choose dinosaurs.
I checked the web and found a few websites that gave me an idea of how to make the bags. After a little bit of trial and error I figured out how to make them and they turned out very well, I was pleased with how nicely they turned out. I put the pockets on the inside - one large pocket and on the other side a pocket with slits for putting in pencils and crayons.
Charlie loves to draw and I hope this bag will help him keep his things together instead of leaving them all over the place.

Future Missionary

Last week I went to buy Tom some new church shoes and I took the boys with me to the store. After we found Tom a pair of shoes I remembered Charlie needed a new white shirt. While I was finding a shirt the boys were trying on suit jackets. "Mom, we need to get these." I thought they looked nice, but didn't really want to spend the money to buy both of them a suit - I couldn't buy just the jacket, they didn't have black church pants, they usually wear tan pants. I gave in to their pleading and begging and bought them each a suit.
I love how handsome they look wearing them and now they look forward to getting dressed for church and looking their very best.
Last Sunday when Charlie was getting ready he said, "Mom, you know what I look like? I look like a missionary". I thought he did too.