Monday, August 1, 2011


Do you miss me?  I have my own domain!  You can find me at .

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More Thoughts on evo '11

I'm still smiling as I think of the gorgeous view from the Canyon's gondola ride up the mountain.  Besides the scenery, I'm missing the Park City weather - especially as we deal with muggy temps pushing 110 degrees.

I know evo '11 made a Friday Favorites and a Top Ten list, but I'm still go through my notes and working on all that I learned.  After digesting some of what I learned, I posted more reflections over at Arizona Mama.

Check out other conference attendees summaries and you won't want to miss out on next year's conference!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Photography Club: Wild

Our new and improved Photography Club was a success!  Thanks to all of you who voted. The photo with the most votes was Bright Flower.
The theme of our next challenge was wild.  We each had 10 minutes with the camera in Bass Pro Shop because you can't get much more wild than that! 
All the Better to Eat You

Deer Wild

Food Please!

Masked Bandit

Please leave a comment to vote for your favorite Wild picture!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Family Home Evening: Patriotism

While we were on vacation, we were able to have a Family Home Evening with my in-laws and some of my husband's other siblings and their families.  It is so comforting sharing spiritual experiences with my extended family.  My mother-in-law shared a lesson on patriotism.  We talked a little about the Constitutional Convention and she read a few stories of her ancestors.  We finished it off with reading some funny kids quotes. 

We finished off the evening with a couple of kinds of cookies.  It was a very simple and informal evening where enjoyed being together and celebrating our faith.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Sentament: Inspiration

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dutch theologian

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Favorites: July 15

It's been a big week for our family as we entered a new stage of life!
  • My favorite of the week (OK, the year) is being a grandma!  So much fun and way less pain involved than becoming a mother.
  • Settling back into being at home; including my sleeping in my own bed and using my own shower.  It's the little things that comfort me.
  • My awesome neighbor taught me I should have harvested my lettuce sooner; that's why it tasted bitter.  Then she showed me how to harvest the seeds.  I'm ready to try again after the summer heat breaks!
There's other cool things going on in the blog world too.
  • I love this all purpose card at Think Fast.
  • Check out these black and white parfaits Celebrations at Home shared.
  • I Heart Faces has a great post about cake smash photography.  I started reading Your Baby in Pictures by Me Ra Koh.  The post and the book go well together.  I was fortunate to hear Me Ra Koh speak at evo '11.  I enjoyed hearing her inspiring story.  It was empowering to realize creativity, in all its forms, is therapeutic. It helps us to make sense of the world around us and our place in it.  I've always enjoyed photography, and now its more meaningful to give it a purpose and direction through my children and grandchild.
What are you loving this fine Friday?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lettuce Harvets - and Carrots Too!

Now that the full summer heat is here, the lettuce sprouted flowers and is getting a little tough.  I realized I don't know when I'm supposed to harvest my little garden. This morning I picked the biggest leaves. There was enough for last night's Taco Salad dinner. We had to comb the leaves carefully to make sure we didn't eat any green caterpillars.   

I thinned the carrots and pulled the ones that fell and were growing between the lettuces.  They still need more time to grow, but it's exciting to see (and eat) those little beauties!

We have a lot to learn about growing a more productive garden, but I'd say our growing experiment was  a success - even if our potatoes died suddenly and I don't know why.  The green beans are still growing so we might get a handful of those out of the deal too.  I'm excited to try again after the heat passes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top Ten Things I Loved about evo '11

Sorry for the sporadic posts.  I meant to have some lined up before I went on vacation, but that obviously didn't happen.  I also meant to write more while I was on vacation; that obviously didn't happen either.  I was too busy having fun!

Since I'm still digesting my super fun evo '11 experience, I'll give you a more complete summary via It's a Crafty Life's Ten on Tuesday
  1. Beginning WordPress class by Jennifer Stuart.  I learned so much.  I'm hoping to make the switch within the next month.
  2. Progressive Dessert Party.  Imagine strolling through 10 super fancy suites, eating a variety of desserts.  Fun and food - my favorite.
  3. Early morning exercise classes to help offset all the yummy food.
  4. Growing Your Blog workshop by the folks from Baby Center.  This was a perfect example of the willingness of those more experienced with the rest of us.  Not only were they knowledgeable, I felt very comfortable talking to them.
  5. Bush's Beans Party at Park City Mountain Resort.  I loved the international menu and the rides down the Alpine Slide.
  6. The Syndication class was enlightening.  Again, awesome people who are easy to talk to and willing to share.
  7. The Business of Blogging workshop was empowering.  There are too many bloggers willing to give companies valuable advertising without getting anything in return.  We bloggers have power and should remember our worth.
  8. Me Ra Koh was the closing speaker.  She has an amazing story!
  9. BBQ at the Red Pine Lodge.  The gondola ride was breath taking.  The only downside was saying goodbye to all my new friends.
  10. I know I mentioned it on Friday, but the swag was amazing.  The sponsors were good to us.  The picture above is just what we received when we checked in.  We were continually showered with more gifts and perks throughout the conference. My husband commented on how much more expensive his training conferences are and there are no swag bags.  I guess he needs to hang out with more fun peeps!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Favorites: July 8 - evo 11

Welcome to the late edition of Friday Favorites.  I'm loving evo '11!  Not surprisingly my favorites are evo related.
It's so much fun! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bass Pro Shop Family Summer Camp

This is the final week of Bass Pro Shop's Family Summer Camp.  We went last week and had a blast despite a huge power outage.  Read about our fun at Arizona Mama.

Monday, July 4, 2011

June Numbered

I'm not sure how it happened, but 2011 is half way over.  For now, I'll focus on June's accomplishments.
  • .6 pounds lost.  So much for the stomach flu weight loss program.
  • 1 Toy Store themed baby shower.
  • 2 Wood Badge beads received.  It feels so good to have my ticket goals done and the beads around my hot little neck.
  • 3 books read - Pushcart War, Sarah's Quilt, and Star Garden.
  • 4 Scrapbook layouts completed.
  • 7 articles written for the Homemaking Cottage and Arizona Mama.
  • 26 Challenge projects completed.  I guess I know why June felt so busy!
  • 27 Blog posts.
  • 43 Comments!  Thanks for the input.
  • 1161 page views.
What amazing things did you accomplish in June?

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Saturday Sentament: Happiness

    Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~ Mahatma Gandi

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Friday Favorites: July 1

    Happy July!  What happened to June?  I can't believe it went by so fast.  For most of us here in Arizona, summer vacation is half over even though the heat is just really getting going.  Come on monsoon!  The 116 degrees aren't my favorite, here are some things I'm totally digging.
    • Bass Pro Shop has a fun Family Summer Camp on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  We went yesterday and they had workshops on Fishing, Bird watching, Hiking, and Archery.  The kids were also able to shoot a compound bow and a BB gun.  They even let me try the compound bow.  It was so fun!
    • Library Summer Reading programs.  The kids redeemed their prizes.  The older ones got movie tickets.  Harry Potter here we come.
    There's some fun stuff on the web too.
    Now it's your turn - what are you loving today?

    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Happily Ever After Girls Camp Gift

    I helped with planning our Ward camp for the Young Women from 12 to 17 years old. The theme was based off of Jenny Phillips program and President Uchtdorf's talk.  One of the things the leaders wanted to give the girls was a tile with the quote "Be true to the Royal in you."  A friend of mine did most of the hard work, but she let me help put the vinyl on the tile.  I also got to use my use my cool Silhouette machine and learn more about it, by cutting the tiaras for the tiles.  They turned out so cute that I had to share!

    We also put the girls names on denim drawstring backpacks and the tiara above.  I love how I can take one shape and change the size to fit my needs.

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    Pushcart War Book Club

    It's book club time again, yeah!  I say that like there is a regular and set time for our book clubs, instead of whenever Mom finally finishes reading the book everyone else finished days ago.  (OK, sometimes it's more like weeks.)  Pop over to Arizona Mama and read our latest happenings. 

    What are you reading this hot summer day?

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    All Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo!

    I've loved this book since I discovered it when my first daughter was a toddler.  While I still appreciate the humor of the book, all too often it parallels the chain reaction that is life.  Here's my story in Ten on Tuesday style!
    1. Last week our TV died. 
    2. Because our TV died, it needed to be replaced.
    3. Because it was being replaced, my husband using logic beyond my understanding, replaced it with an even bigger TV - that doesn't fit in the space we had between the two tall cabinets we used as an entertainment center.
    4. Because of my thriftiness, we laid one of the tall cabinets on it side and used that as a TV stand. I am amazed at how much dust grows on those out of sight places. I am also amazed at how often I say that.
    5. Because there is half the storage space and since we mostly use digital music, we purged our CD's 
    6. After dusting the remainder, we stored them in another closet.
    7. We also purged movies and video games.
    8. Because we are only using one of the cabinets, there is an extra that needed a home.
    9. I rearranged the storage in my craft room and made room for the tall cabinet.
    10. Because I rearranged the craft room, I dusted all those containers before settling in to our newly arranged home.
    I wonder if the Little Bug in the book was as exhausted as I am?

      Monday, June 27, 2011

      Media Mayhem: Blogs

      Today's installment of Media Mayhem features three blogs. I'm thinking it would be inappropriate to feature my own blog posts over at Arizona Mama, so I'll feature three blogs that consistently inspire me. 

      Thanks to RJR Daydreamer for this really fun blog hop.  I enjoyed the people I "met" by checking out their blogs and those of you that were kind enough to leave comments on mine.

      Sunday, June 26, 2011

      Media Mayhem: MOVIES

      Today I'm continuing with RJR Daydreamers Media Mayhem blog hop.  Tune in next Sunday for our regularly scheduled Family Home Evening post.

      We do enjoy watching movies in this house as you probably guessed from our movie quote contest we had a while back.  Since we enjoy movies so much, I decided to take the easy way out and use the three movies in this picture from my movie night article I wrote for AZ Mama.

      This is my favorite movie!  I love the story of perseverance and friendship.  And of coarse I love the quote, "Can you hear the empty spaces?"

      Second Hand Lions
      This is my other favorite movie!  These two eccentric uncles make unlikely caregivers for their nephew, but they all help each other with the help of an old, worn out lion.  My favorite quote is, "Corn, corn, corn! Nothing but corn!"  You might be surprised how often it works into my daily conversation.

      Meet the Robinsons
      I don't think this one would make my top 10 list, but it's an enjoyable flick with a great moral.  The great moral also makes a great quote, "Keep moving forward."

      So there you have it, my three random movies of the day.  Now if you are wondering, "Doesn't she watch grown up movies?"  The answer is not so much.  I'm just a rated PG kind of a gal.  

      I did go see the new LDS film last night, 17 Miracles. It's about the Willie Martin handcart company.  I enjoyed it, even though I knew it was going to be sad.  There was a surprising amount of humor, mostly at the beginning.  It's definitely worth watching, especially with your kids.

      Saturday, June 25, 2011

      Media Mayhem: SONGS

      We interrupt our regularly scheduled posts to play along with RJR Daydreamer and his Media Mayhem Blog Hop.  Today's theme is songs.  I don't think I can pull off the level of coolness as Mr. Daydreamer, but here's three songs that come to mind this fine Saturday morning.  I don't know that I would call these my favorite songs, because favorite is often overused at our house.  We have hundreds of favorites in just about every category imaginable.  I think I'll stick to songs that make me want to dance around the house.  Yes, I only dance around the house.  Anywhere else would be too embarrassing for my kiddos (and me).

      • I'm not a Lady Gaga fan, but I can't help but dance when I hear her song Poker Face - especially in the Percy Jackson movie.
      • Smash Mouth's All Star is another song that calls out the be bop in me.  Everyone looks good with their fingers in the shape of an "L" on their forehead.
      • We'll finish off the list with a blast from my high school days; Brian Adams' Kids Wanna Rock.
      There's still time to join the fun and start with three songs of your own!

      Friday, June 24, 2011

      Friday Favorites: June 24

      Happy Friday!  It's is a happy day here because everyone who had the flu is on the mend.  Hopefully we are done with this run of the flu.  And there's other good stuff too.  Here's my Friday favorites.
      • I just read more details about the evo 'll conference and I'm so excited!  It's going to be a great party - where I get to learn cool stuff and meet awesome people! (You can see how excited I am by all the exclamation points!)
      • With my down time this week, I finished Sarah's Quilt.  Then I jumped into the last book of the series, Star Garden.  I love this series.  It even inspired me to write a story of my own.  We'll see how it goes.
      • Family history - I learned some interesting facts about the little island where my grandpa grew up.  It was called Sansego; the name was taken from the Greek word for oregano that grows on the island.  Just learning a bit more about where he lived, creates a connection to him.
      Of coarse I found some other favorites in my Google Reader!
      • I love the Around the World in 80 Days Reading Bingo Chart Chocolate on my Cranium shared!  (Try saying that 3 times fast.)
      • Silhouette has frosted vinyl - too cool!
      • Think Fast shares a super cute card with shrinky dink butterflies!  I never thought about running shrink plastic through my Silhouette.
      • Check out the cute key quotes at Your Homebased Mom.  She even shares a download of the poster she made for a graduation gift.
      • No Friday is complete without dreaming of treats.  Two Peas & their Pod share a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars that remind me of the ones my mom made when I was a kid.
      • If that's not sweet enough for you, try New Nostalgia's Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Caramel Funky Fritos.  This is one of those recipes where my eyes aren't sure it would taste good, but my brain would definitely give it a try.  Hopefully I'm not the only one whose body argues with itself.
      All of me wishes you a good weekend enjoying a few of your favorites - just share your plans so I can live vicariously through you.  Thanks!

      Thursday, June 23, 2011

      Differences Between Boys and Girls

      OK, we'll skip the most obvious difference between boys and girls and go straight to this week's focus - the flu.  A couple of my girls were the first to get sick.  They were miserable.  They laid on the couch and occasionally ask for something they needed.  If I asked, they would let me know they weren't having any fun and would appreciate if I'd pull out the genie lamp and magically cure them.  When they started feeling better, they even helped take care of me when I was sick.

      Yesterday, my son was down with the plague.  He laid on the couch and moaned and groaned and complained.  He spent so much energy focusing on how awful he felt, he wouldn't let himself go to sleep - which is definitely what he needed.  I did what any bad mom would do; I let him watch 20 something episodes of Phineas and Ferb.  Then he wouldn't go to sleep because he was wrapped up in the show.  Which was better on my nerves than his whining.  I knew men have a bad reputation for how they handle illness, I just didn't realize it started so young!

      I also realized I prefer Phineas and Ferb over Deadliest Catch; at least they don't have to beep out the cartoon.

      Wednesday, June 22, 2011

      Fruits and Veggies Around the World

      We finished our first week of Stay at Home Summer Camp.  The theme was fruits and veggies around the world.  Pretty unique theme - it's not mine.  One of my kiddos came up with it.  I posted the details over at Arizona Mama.  Check it out, leave me a comment, it's all good.

      Tuesday, June 21, 2011

      Upside of the Stomach Flu

      This weekend, the stomach flu busted through our family.  Fortunately not everyone got it, but it changed our weekend plans.  Now that we are on the mend, I thought I'd share the upside of the flu in honor of It's a Crafty Life's Ten on Tuesday.
      1. A phone call announcing the arrival of the flu didn't come until the end of date night.
      2. The kiddo that drives didn't get sick and was able to take the other healthy kiddo to church.
      3. No last minute pre-Father's Day clean up necessary.  It's amazing how nobody is interested in eating at your house when the flu visits.
      4. I think the best gift my hubby got was not having the flu.
      5. I didn't get it until early Monday morning, so I was able to cook a nice Father's day dinner for those who could eat it.
      6. I lost 2 pounds!  Although for all the trouble, I think it should be more.
      7. There's nothing like being sick to make you appreciate being healthy.
      8. There's also nothing like Mom being down and out to make kids appreciate having her healthy.
      9. My kids were very compassionate and helpful.
      10. I'm ready to pack away the red Gatorade and crackers until next time I sick!
      Hopefully you had a better Father's Day.  Here's to eating anything but crackers.

      Sunday, June 19, 2011

      Family Home Evening: Tithing

      Our Relief Society lesson was about tithing, and the instructor sent us all home with Family Home Evening packets.  Since it was my turn to teach the lesson at home (and I was feeling overwhelmed), that's what I shared.  I read a couple of stories she included in the packet; Tithing and Pizza, and a picture story called Spencer's Potatoes.

      The rest of the lesson came from the Gospel Principles manual.  It lists six main purposes the church uses tithing funds.  Our Relief Society instructor quizzed us, since it was so much fun I quizzed the family too.  They figured out all but one. 
      1. Build, maintain, and operate temples, meetinghouses, and other buildings.  
      2.  Provide operating funds for stakes, wards, and other units of the Church. (These units use the funds to carry out the ecclesiastical programs of the Church, which include teaching the gospel and conducting social activities.)
      3.  Help the missionary program.
      4.  Educate young people in Church schools, seminaries, and institutes.
      5.  Print and distribute lesson materials.  
      6.  Help in family history and temple work.

      Did you get them all before you looked at the answers?

      Our activity was Harry Potter Uno.  (Didn't we play that last week?)  One of my kiddos tried a new recipe for our treat - Lemon Slice Cookies.  They were very good.  Definitely a keeper!

      Saturday, June 18, 2011

      Saturday Sentament:Fathers

      I saw this quote on Travelin' Oma a couple of weeks ago.  It is one of my favorite fatherhood quotes.

      Teaching his children is the mark of a civilized man ~ J. Ganz Cooney

      Friday, June 17, 2011

      Friday Favorites: June 17

      Happy Friday!  This week has been busy and most of my project deadlines end over the weekend.  I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit next week.  We'll see if that happens.  Through the craziness, I have several favorites.
      • Grass / Trampoline - The grass is finally in enough to open access to the trampoline which entertained kiddos for long stretches yesterday.  Trampolines + sprinklers = super happy kiddos!
      • Silhouette - My super cool toy totally intimidates me.  I'm so excited I used it successfully for a couple of Girls Camp projects.  I'll have to show you next week.
      • Plans that come together and people who help make that happen - My kiddos have been so helpful this week, often without even being asked!
      • Family Photo Challenge - Don't forget to vote for your favorite picture in our first challenge.
      There's some cool stuff going on beyond my little house.
      • It's Free Font Friday again at Creating Keepsakes, and they have a digital sticker download you can use on Photoshop.  The Photoshop thing would be cooler if I understood how to make it work.
      • Nellie Design has cute printable tickets for Father's Day.  This might work well with our gift for Dad.
      • I'm not a fan of creamsicle Popsicle, but I'd try Your Homebased Mom's Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes.
      • I heart Faces shares a tutorial on photo editing for those pictures that are too dark.  The even have a linky tool if you want to try your hand at the process.
      So what does your weekend hold?  Big Father's Day plans?

      Thursday, June 16, 2011

      New and Improved Photography Club

      Thanks to the suggestions and encouragement to my last post about our Family Photography Club, we made a couple of changes.  First, a couple more of the kiddos decided to participate.  Second, we added a hands-on challenge element that turned out to be a ton of fun!

      I still want to learn the mechanics of photography, but in small doses.  I caught the new kiddos up to what we learned so far, keeping it very simple and brief.  It really wasn't that much since it was mostly introductory material.  Then we briefly went over the standard focal length lens and discussed a little about how it relates to depth of field and distortion.

      Then came the fun part!  I had searched around for a few challenge themes.  We went with I heart Faces current theme - Bright & Vivid.  Everyone had 10 minutes to take shots in and around the house of things that are bright and vivid.  We were allowed to use photo software to crop our pictures,then we chose our favorite to submit.  Since their submission was already closed, I thought I'd post them here and let you vote for your favorite.

      Bright Flower

      Spiral Ball

      Toys, Toys, Toys

      Please vote for your favorite in the comments section!

      Tuesday, June 14, 2011

      Summer Bucket List

      We’ve been brainstorming for the last couple of weeks, deciding what kind of fun activities we want to accomplish this summer.  I was surprised that our list had a slow start, but now it’s looking very healthy.

      I made a pretty list and we’ll put a sticker by the ones we accomplish.  I probably should have done a little more research because one of our ideas was to go to an exhibit at the Center for Creative Photography at the U of A; but they are remodeling.  No exhibits until late August. 

      What’s on your summer bucket list?

      Monday, June 13, 2011

      Family Night Phantom

      Several Mondays ago the Family Night Phantom visited us with a knock on the door, a plate of cookies and this cute poem.  

      Family night is here again, time for stories, time for fun!  Heres a special treat from us to eat together when youre done.

      Next Monday night, its your turn to make a treat - not once, but twice.  Then two more families in our Ward will have a snack thats nice.

      Write this message out again, try not to give a clue on who the Family Night Phantom is, the secret safe with you!

      The Family Night Phantom
      We were pretty slow in passing on the fun, but better late than never. We will definitely enjoy more Phantom fun in the future and I thought I'd pass on the fun to you!

      Sunday, June 12, 2011

      Family Home Evening: Service

      Apparently I really needed to hear a lesson on service. Our Relief Society lesson was about kindness; which evolved into a lesson on service.  Then one of the kiddos did a lesson on service using the first experience for Good Works in the Personal Progress book.  I love the challenge of recognizing and acknowledging service others give to you for two weeks.  We talked about the times we give service without even realizing it and how much those seemingly little things can mean so much to those being served.  There are other times when we need to be aware of specific ways to serve; instead of asking "What can I do to help?", just offer "I'm bringing dinner tonight".  

      We played I Never for our activity.  Everyone started with 10 M&M's.  The first person stated something they had never done, everyone who had done that thing has to eat an M&M.  The goal is to be the last one with M&M's.  Loosing never tasted so sweet!

      Speaking of sweet, we had double chocolate cookies for our treat.  Those of us who bore our testimony at church had double treats.

      Saturday, June 11, 2011

      Saturday Sentament: Happiness

      We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do have. 
      ~ Frederick Keonig

      Friday, June 10, 2011

      Friday Favorites: June 10

      Happy, happy Friday!  The weatherman said summer is finally coming with it's 110 degree temperatures in just a few days.  I was really enjoying the below average temps lately, but they can't last forever.  Fortunately we have a few ideas of how to avoid the heat, I'm thinking movies and ice cream.  Here's today's favorites.
      • Mopped floors and a couple of kiddos who were not only willing, but eager to help!
      • Watching the ultrasound of my grand baby.
      There's some cool stuff in my little blogging world too.
      • A truck load of summer reading programs. I listed all the Arizona programs I could find over at Arizona Mama.
      • I have heard of Buttermilk Syrup; the Tasty Kitchen Blog shares the recipe and lots of pictures of the process.
      • Positively Splendid has a giveaway for wood craft shapes that should help keep the kids busy.
      • Creating Keepsakes is hosting Free Font Friday - CK Limerick is really cute!

      Thursday, June 9, 2011


      Not only is my daughter a talented web designer, (yes, I still smile and say "pretty" every time I go to my blog), she also embroiders cute things for my blog! 

      Wednesday, June 8, 2011

      Summer Sizzle

      As the sidewalks sizzle in the Arizona heat, how do we stay sane during the summer daze?  
      • Time for sleeping in and slacking off (to some extent)
      • Every morning, we strut our stuff and sweat to stay in shape
      • Showers and solace take us til lunch
      • Afternoons are devoted to summer reading programs, summer camp, book club, summer school and hopefully scratching something off the summer bucket list
      • And if that doesn't stretch me to the limit, I try to sneak in a cleaning project, a sweet new recipe and sewing lessons
      • As soon as the sun starts to set, we sometimes settle down with a good flick or other celebration.
      • Add the summer stuff to the rest of life's responsibilities, no wonder I'm stressed!
      Chocolate on my Cranium is hosting Wordfull Wednesday.  The challenge is to use alliteration to share a typical summer day.


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