Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creative costumes

Yesterday was officially the start of the holiday season! With the Halloween parties in the kiddos classrooms, I have the calorie intake to prove it :)

It's always fun to see the costumes parents and kids come up with. I love how creative and unique the costumes can get. One perk of this getting older thing, is having the kids in charge of choosing and putting together their costumes. I am happy to serve as their assistants. We spend very little money on costumes and use mostly things we have around the house. I spent about $5 this year on everyone's costume. We recycle costumes or take part from one to make another.

This year, we used fabric from a previous year's witch costume to make a no-sew bat costume. Our one "big" purchase was a headband with ears.

We also recycled the dictionary costume. It was a last minute substitution, so the "a" was drawn, instead of reprinted and glued. On the back there is even a UPC code.

I'd say poster board is one of my favorite materials! We made another costume out of poster board this year. It was a "necklace" of a big, purple, polka dot P. It's an inside joke with some people from church.

The funny thing will be to see who wears their costumes again today, now that it's actually Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mummy Dogs

To carry on the Halloween theme one more night, we had these little cuties for dinner last night. I've seen several different versions of Mummy Dogs. These use Rhodes frozen bread dough. I think this is the third or forth year we've had them. That should qualify as a tradition now!

I'd like to get a few more Halloween dinners to make the week more fun - as long as they taste good and don't turn my stomach looking at them :) Let me know if you have any suggestions to add to our celebration next year!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pizza Mummies

I found these cute pizzas on
The kids thought they were fun and tasty. Note to self: Read the package labels! They would have tasted better if the English muffins weren't honey flavored!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jungle Safari

This month's Cub Scout theme is Jungle Safari. A friend of mine made this cute cake for Pack Meeting. The boys did a fun activity matching the characters from "The Jungle Book" to the kind of animals they are in the book. They also went on a tiger hunt and learned about inventions that were inspired from different animals.

There's a website that has pages (around 50 of them) of ideas to go with the Cub Scout theme each month -
I think we'll do a jungle safari theme next summer for summer school and use some of their cool ideas!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Going Slow

A few days ago I finished a book called In Praise of Slowness. It's definitely food for thought about achieving balance in our activities and the speed with which we do them. I'm trying to not rush through my activities, and even enjoy them. If they aren't what I consider enjoyable activities, why am I doing them? The necessary ones are often to care for my family. Maybe I could look at doing laundry as a loving service to my family? I think I feel another article coming on :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Fun

Saturday our awesome neighbor treated us to a day of fun! First we went to the pumpkin patch and took a hay ride to choose the perfect pumpkins. The kiddos could choose one as big as they could carry :)

Then we went to the butterfly pavilion. As if that wasn't enough, we headed over to the zoo to pet the stingrays and watch the giraffes. She even took us out to lunch and sent us home with a ginormous chocolate cake. I don't know how we got so lucky, but we're glad to have her as an honorary part of the family!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hobbies Lead to Friends

When my photography club kiddo went back to school after fall break, there was a few class activities to share what the kids did over their breaks. My kiddo shared our camera shopping trip. A few other kids shared their intereste in photography too or had experiences that would have made great pictures. My kiddo has struggled a little bit to make friends and was excited at these new potential friendships.

It made me think of hobbies in a different way. I've always thought of hobbies as a way to relax or pursue interests. But now that I think of it, there is a often a social aspect to hobbies. I made some great friends through scrapbooking. Even a "solitary" hobby like reading builds friendships, through book clubs or exchanging information on good books with others that like to read. When my parents moved, my mom talked about how it was hard to meet people when you don't have kids at home and don't go to an office for work. They ended up buying a a sports car and joining a car club. And now, their calendar sometimes gets a little crazy too.

I'm grateful for the lessons my children teach me! It is always so interesting to look at life through another pair of eyes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Isn't It PRETTY!

OK, it's very similar to the picture in the post when I talked about shopping for a camera. But the shopping is done and now that camera is accessible! Although it's pretty funny to be taking a picture of a super-cool camera with my little PHD (push here dummy) camera. I am currently negotiating a "rental" agreement with my photography club buddy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I get cranky from time to time, shocking I know! Sometimes the kids set me off, or a rude cashier. Other times, I am grumpy and I can't figure out why. I usually assume it has something to do with my environment, or occasionally it could be hormones.

But maybe it's my diet. Irritability is listed as a symptom of thiamin and magnesium deficiency. And depression is a symptom of vitamin C, selenium, niacin, and vitamin B6 deficiency. Tuna is a good source of thiamin, niacin and B6. Beans, nuts and seeds are good sources of magnesium and selenium. We all know orange juice is a great source of vitamin C, but so are red and green peppers, broccoli and strawberries.

While a multi-vitamin is beneficial if your diet isn't what it should be, use caution when using vitamin supplements. There are many vitamins and minerals we can only achieve unhealthy toxicity levels through supplementation.

On that note, it's time for me to find some healthy food to put into my body!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Camera Shopping

I took my photography buddy (one of my kiddos) camera shopping yesterday. My kiddo isn't ready to buy, we were looking at features and prices. Mostly, we were trying to figure out which camera model and the goal amount to save. After a disappointing trip to Ritz Camera (they closed a couple of months ago), we're thinking the Canon EOS T1i. Hopefully it will be in my kiddos hands within the next couple of months!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oh Fudge!

One of my kiddos chose fudge for a Family Home Evening treat, so I made a big double batch. I'll add fudge to my stash of no-bake and chocolate chip cookies in the freezer. This is the time of year I like to make extra goodies to freeze and get a head start on my Christmas baking.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Year's Supply

Thanks to yesterday's shopping trip, I can now add Parmesan cheese and taco seasoning to items on the year's supply list! Combined with the brown sugar, chicken bouillon, macaroni, mustard, rice, salt, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, tuna, white beans and yeast - I'm making progress. It seems like a random list, but if I keep plugging away at a little here and there every month, we'll be set soon enough. I also need to do some serious canning. I have a bunch of meat in my freezer that I'm hoping to can in the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homemade Ice Cream

We made homemade ice cream a couple of nights ago. One of my kiddos found a really easy recipe, but it was too sweet. It didn't make much and it was gone before I could take a picture.

A while back, we tried a recipe that had eggs in it. But when we cooked it - so did the eggs. We called it scrambled egg ice cream. It tasted OK, but the texture wasn't quite right. So far my favorite recipe was one I found in a cookbook from the library. Why didn't I make a copy of that recipe?

I need your help with a good homemade ice cream recipe, preferably without eggs!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Paper Plate Owl Family

So one of my kiddos found several paper plate crafts for this fall season. They are cheap to make and a great way to be creative. I hope you enjoy our little family of owls! We're going to hang them right next to our pumpkins we made last week. I think we'll hang them in the tree out front on Halloween night.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Have you heard of Carotenoids and Flavonoids? Flavonoids are my favorite - they are the healthy phytochemicals in dark chocolate. I like any excuse to make chocolate healthy! While these healthy phytochemicals are found many fruits and vegetables, studies are inconclusive of their effectiveness as supplements (you know, pills). One interesting theory is phytochemicals in foods actually stress our cells just enough to kick them into gear, whereas larger doses overwhelms the cells and do damage. It's almost like our bodies were made to live on all these foods that grow naturally instead of the processed stuff that lines supermarket shelves.

The biggest reminder I'm getting from my nutrition class is the more we learn, the less we know.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Am Not a Speed Junkie

I don't know how it happened, but unlike the most of my family I am not a speed junkie. I'm not even an adrenaline junkie. Sure, I like to drive over the speed limit. OK, sometimes the posted 75 mph on the highway is a little scary and I catch myself only going 70.

Yesterday we went to the lake to play and ride a jet ski. I went on the jet ski a couple of times, but I don't really like the feeling of the wind hitting my face that fast. The best part were the parts of the lake that had 100 - 200 feet rock walls bordering it. There were a bunch of interesting caves and crannies blowing by as we sped through the water. I'm thinking it would have been much more enjoyable if we were cruising at about half the speed, stopping to take some great pictures!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I recently talked to a couple of friends who were not feeling like the best moms in the world. We've all had those days. They both brought up my blog, like I was this great mom. One of them even said she banned her kids from visiting my blog so they wouldn't feel jipped by having her as a mom! You know who you are - and you are awesome! The purpose of my blog is to mark my progression to becoming the person I'm hoping to be someday. It's been a long journey and I still have a long way to go, and sometimes it doesn't feel like I'm making any progress. Posting my progress helps me be more aware of where I've been and how far I've traveled. Sometimes it's a reminder that I haven't done much and I need to get moving again.

Do I have bad days full of insecurity and disappointment? You bet I do! I see my shortcomings and weaknesses all the time, and I don't really want to see them here. I want a place where I can review and feel good about myself. I want a place I can connect with others who struggle and sometimes triumph. Isn't that why all of us who have blogs love comments - to connect and feel understood. I hope that as I practice being positive with myself, I will learn to be more positive toward my family and those around me.

We are all trying to improve in our own way, and that's what is important - that we keep trying. Please know that I'm far from a supermom, I'm just pushing on like most moms. I hope that when I figure something out that works, I can share it with you and maybe it will work for you too. When we share and learn together, we are all uplifted!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Harry Potter Book Club

Wednesday, we had our family book club "meeting" for the last Harry Potter book. The kiddo that offered this book as a choice also chose the activities. We had a word search, a word unscramble and a crossword puzzle. We made up some spells of our own, "chocowent" for make a delicious chocolate cake, and "regigulus" for give everyone the giggles. You get the idea. We also did 7 word reviews - review the book in exactly 7 words. Here's what we came up with:
  • Harry beats Voldemort! He has two hallows!
  • Cool - happy - exciting - amazing - lots of wars!
  • Finally! It took Harry forever to arrive.
  • Harry defeats Lord Voldemort in the end.
Our final Harry Potter activity was the Magic Wand Game. We had a pair of dice that went around the circle, each person having a turn to roll them. When someone got doubles, they put on a witch hat and used their magic wands (chopsticks) to get as many Hagrid's magic seeds (candy corn) out of the jar as they can until the next person rolled doubles. We only played for 5 minutes to limit the sugar intake! To keep anyone from feeling bad for not getting to many seeds, we had some dementor therapy - chocolate.

The last part of the book club, is choosing the next book. I can't wait to read the kids "The Prophet on Yonwood", the third book in the City of Ember series.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Paper Plate Pumpkins

Try saying that three times fast! Tuesday we made these fun decorations. Talk about some super easy and cheap entertainment! It's always fun to see how different everyone does the same project. The best part about these pumpkins, even in the Arizona heat, they won't rot!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Decorating for Halloween

Monday, we finally put up the Halloween decorations. I didn't think we were way behind on celebrating the season, but some of my kiddos didn't agree. I think it's fun having the house decorated, it's definitely more festive. It's great that my kids enjoy helping and get excited about the holiday. But, there are parts of my house that look like a Halloween giant sneezed on them. My back door, for instance, has 10 decorations on it; one of them is over a foot tall and another is sideways. We have fake spiderwebs clumped on one of the poor scarecrows because my youngest doesn't get the concept. Since I'll be looking at those parts everyday for the next three and a half weeks (and repressing my OCD), I didn't take pictures of them for my blog. Here are a few pictures of my favorite parts of the Halloween decorations!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Birthday dinner

Sunday, we had a birthday dinner for someone really old! It was great to have so many family members join us for the celebration. There were birthday presents, lasagna, and the traditional Oreo cake. I was short a candle, so we improvised with a tea candle on the decorative Oreo cookie in the center. We finished off the evening with watching home movies from the birthday girls first birthday. (It's so nice to have them on DVD!) Now the younger kids want to watch some home movies from when they were actually alive :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Conference Weekend

I love General Conference weekend. The LDS church has a worldwide conference every April and October. We listen to the leaders of the church encourage and guide us. I don't remember exactly when we started making watching the Saturday sessions a priority, but I'm so glad we did. We get even more out of it, now that all the kids are old enough to sit quietly and listen. We do have some activities to keep everyone's attention focused. During the morning sessions, we have a bingo game that we do. We put an M&M on a word when one of the speakers talks about the subject, like family. When we get bingo, we eat an M&M, clear the board, and start again. In the afternoon sessions, we have a snack for 6 different random key words. Today, M&M's were for love. The kids loved Dallin H. Oaks talk! They also had word searches and mazes. We had mini bagels for breakfast, which we don't have often so it's a special treat.

While it sounds like it's all about the food, it is an overall special weekend where we enjoy not only treats but also being spiritually fed. Half of us record the speakers, their topics and our impressions throughout the weekend. It is refreshing to take time away from the world and turn our focus back to our Heavenly Father and the things that truly matter the most in this life.

I'm grateful for the gospel and peace it brings to my life. I'm grateful for our Savior, for the example he set for us and the sacrifice he made for us. I know that without Him, none of us can return to Him and our Heavenly Father. I'm grateful for modern day prophets who are the mouthpiece for our living Savior. I'm grateful that families can be together for eternity. I pray daily that I will be able to meet my Savior again and be united with all my family in His kingdom.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Welcome Fall

It's under 100 degrees here in Arizona, that can only mean one thing, Fall's finally here! The 70 degree weather this morning actually felt pretty chilly. Around 5 pm, it was down to the 91. It felt so nice. Everyone outside of Arizona can laugh at us when it's 115 in the summer, but now it's time for our reward!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Honoring the Flag

I said the Pledge of Allegiance when I was in school, I knew you didn't let the flag touch the ground, and ... well, that was pretty much the total of all I knew about honoring our country's flag. I've been working with the Boy Scout organization for a few months and I felt very unsure of when to stand and salute. Fortunately, I was able to spend some time with a Wolf Pack and learn proper etiquette during a flag ceremony. The first thing I learned was when the flag is being carried into a room, stand as it passes you. Do not to salute a flag in the furled position, I didn't even know what a furled position was (in case you don't either - it when the flag is held to the pole, not waving). And finally, after the flag is unfurled, salute and begin saying the Pledge of Allegiance right away. I'm so glad my children have the chance to learn how to show respect to our country's flag!


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