Monday, January 31, 2011

Direction Planning

I'm still working on my word of the year - direction.  I narrowed my wanna be list down to 11 things.  Some things are just for me, like reading and writing.  Other things are talents or goals I want to work on with one or more of my family members, like photography or piano.  And a couple are things indirectly benefit my family like family history and food storage.

With a more manageable list, I need to incorporate my goals into my life.  A list sitting on my desk doesn't mean anything until I put a plan in action.  Some things need attention daily, others several times a week, and still others weekly or monthly.  I keep my goals in mind as I plan out my week, ensuring they find a place on my schedule.  The goals I work on monthly are the most challenging for me to work in because it's easy to repeatedly bump them to the next week, until the month is gone. Now that I'm aware of my procrastinating ways, I should be able to do better next month. 

I was discussing a plan to achieve my goals with my children and explained the word of the year concept.  Being the comedians that they are, they decided to come up with their own words of the year - ice cream, rolls and cookies were suggested.  After I reiterated the word is supposed to be a verb, they tried again - eat, read and sleep were some ideas.  I would love to be young and carefree again; to feel comfortable with myself and adulthood is very far away!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Family Home Evening: Developing Talents

We started off our lesson with a interest survey.  I used the one I received from Venturing training for inspiration, adapting it to fit the needs of my lesson.  I'd be happy to email you a copy, leave me a comment with your email address or email me at RaejeanEasyAsPie at gmail dot com.  I gave everyone a few minutes to check off everything they were interested; some of the kids decided to go further and label how interested they were in the various subjects on a scale of 1 to 10.  

Next we discussed the Parable of the Talents.  The Lord expects us to not only develop the talents we have but to add to them.  Sometimes we have a hard time knowing what our talents are, other times we know what they are but we don't develop them.  I asked my family to look over in the interest survey and consider how many of the things they are interested in could be come talents.  We need to try new things and continue to practice what we already enjoy to find and develop our talents.  I don't know about you, but I wasted a lot of time during my teenage years that could have been used to develop talents before my time was full of raising children and maintaining a household.  I regret not using that time better and hope to encourage my children to not have the same regrets.  I asked them to choose one thing from their list and do something to see if that is a potential talent.

Our activity was similar to one we've done often, where we all draw a picture for a minute then pass our drawing to the person for them to draw on for a minute, until the picture makes it around the circle and everyone has drawn on each picture.  This time we drew a slip of paper with a topic to draw about.  The topics were things like "something that represents Valentine's Day" or "things you love".  I thought it was even more fun that way!

One of my kiddos made homemade Cream Puffs for our treat.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Sentament: Voices

I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. ~ Gordon B Hinckley

I saw this quote on Secrets of a Super Mommy.  What a great reminder of the power of our voices.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Favorite Feeds Friday: January 28

Remember when we were giddy over the start of the new year; making resolutions and declaring a fresh start.  Yeah, that new year is 1/12 of the way over!  How are you doing on your 2011 goals?  I'll fill you in on my progress next week.  Instead, let's focus on the last Favorite Feeds Friday of January. 
  • There were several cute card making ideas floating around.  Let's start with a bit of this. a bit of that's thank you card.  Simple and bling all in the same card!
  • Sherbert Blossom's card has purple and butterflies, two of my favorites.
  • I especially like the black and white card toward the end of the post at Stamp Away With Me.
  • If you prefer your paper in a good book, Booking Mama reviewed Pictures of You; because I need more books I want to read.
  • Switching over to another favorite topic - cookies!  Your Homebased Mom shares a recipe for Browned Butter Cookies.
  • Finally, see why Groundhog Day has a special place in my heart on Arizona Mama.
I also want to give a happy birthday shout out to my brother-in-law!
Please share your fun and exciting finds this fine January day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pinewood Derby

As the Cub Committee Chair, I help plan and prepare for the Pinewood Derby.  Out of everything Cub Scouts, nothing stresses me out like the Pinewood Derby.  Fortunately I have an awesome Cubmaster who stepped up and took on a majority of the responsibilities and Den leaders who ask for assignments and carry them out.  

Unfortunately the cause of my stress is that someone won't be happy with me; that I'll innocently overlook some detail that will break a little boy's heart or have his dad yelling at me.  My brain knows that everything usually works out fine, but my people-pleasing psychosis was about to have a nervous breakdown a week before the big event.  

Then illness and the like struck my leaders, including my Cubmaster. And to add to my anxiety, my husband asks me the night before who's in charge of bringing the tools.  Tools?  We need tools?  Aren't the cars already made?  Why do we need tools?  I don't know, do we need tools to set up the track?

My brain was correct, everything worked out.  Many gracious parents stepped in to help with all the jobs I didn't know how to do.  Everything was accomplished, no one yelled at me, and most importantly, the boys had a good time.  All the boys raced each other and raced four times "officially".  We awarded plaques to first and second fastest to each den, and gave pins to the rest of the boys.  The Primary Presidency awarded each car a certificate with different categories like "Most Futuristic".  

We started a half hour earlier than normal and ended pretty close to on time.  We served Nachos, knowing that many families would have a hard time getting there and feeding their families dinner.  It's so hard guessing how much food to prepare for an unknown number of people.  We ran out of chips and my kids were complaining about not having seconds.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Harry Potter and Cupcake Decorating

Slightly random post today because I'm playing a little catch up.  My latest post is up at Arizona Mama; it's the details to a Cupcake Challenge party - think Food Network's Challenge.  It was a unique and tasty way to celebrate the birth of one of my awesome kiddos.

I also realized I neglected to mention the recap of our Harry Potter book club meeting that was posted on Arizona Mama a few days ago.  This is great way to celebrate your children reading Harry Potter or it could also be converted to a birthday party!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Family Home Evening: Choose Faith

This week's lesson was based on the first Faith experience from the Personal Progress book.  We used a talk from the last conference called "Faith - the Choice is Yours" by Richard C. Edgely.  It was a great discussion starter; those often lead to the best lessons!

We played Outburst for our activity and had homemade chocolate milkshakes for our treat.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Sentament: Homemaking

A housewife’s work … is the one for which all others exist. ~ C.S. Lewis

I appreciate this quote I found on Chocolate on My Cranium earlier in the week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Favorite Feeds Friday: January 21

I hope you have had a great week and are ready to pamper yourself with a few minutes exploring the cute things I found in the blog world this morning.
  • Since they are such big readers, I thought my kiddos would like these cute book themed monograms from Crazy Domestic.  The liked the look, just not the idea of destroying a book.
  • Booking Mama reviews Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter.  Sounds like a good mystery and more!
  • While we're talking books, check out this cute bookcase at Design Dazzle.  Again my kiddos would like it, but would need about 40 of them to hold all their books.
  • Have any out-dated frames, revamp them with Make It Do's fabric makeover 
  • Since Valentines Day is less than a month away, One Pretty Thing shares a Round Up of cute ideas.
  • Sherbert Blossom shares a cute Valentines Day envelope.
  • And Somewhat Simple has cute ways to decorate Valentines Day cupcakes.
So that's where I spent my morning.What has caught your eye this morning?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Boy Scout Venturing Training

I recently completed the Leader Specific Training for the Boy Scout Venturing program.  I've been working with the Cub Scouts for over a year and a half, and have a firm grasp on how a Wolf and Bear den should be run.  I'm slowly understanding the Webelos den. 

I completed Venturing training as one of my goals for my Wood Badge tickets. We had to choose a diversity goal, where we learn about a Scouting program other than the one we currently work.  I chose one because I was asked to, not because I thought it was a great idea; until I finished the training.  I'm so glad to see the end of the journey that I'm starting these boys on!  Not only can I tell my boys Cub Scouts is amazing, but I can tell them that is the start of a fantastic journey that can give them so much.  

As a mom, I learned skills that can make me a better parent with my son and daughters.  I understand how the program is supposed to run, and all that it can give a youth when it's run correctly.  

I do feel a little bad for my son's future Scout leaders because I will be holding them to a high standard of expectations.  I've also decided that I will always be on the committee, even if I only take on a small support role, I will know what is going on in my son's Scout pack, troop or crew.  I further decided that as a member of said committee, I will become basic trained at each level to understand how the program is designed.  This is to be a benefit to my son's progression into a man of honor.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Aspirations of my Heart

Part of the discussion in Simple Abundance is being in tune with the aspirations of your heart.  It's interesting that if you ask a child what they most want right now, they will quickly blurt out something, even if it's silly or unrealistic.  A teenager might be less like to share or adjust their answer to the company, but they often know even if they are unwilling to share.  Once we become "grown up", our true aspirations often get lost in the needs in wants of those around us and we have a hard time picking them out.  I wonder if men have that challenge.

As I record the aspirations of my heart, some are basic things like peace and the ability to live in the moment.  Others are surprising and private.  All are eye opening and remind me of my word for the year - direction.  My aspirations help guide me to true happiness and joy; to becoming the person I hope to find at the end of my pursuit in excellence.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Military Themed Pack Meeting

With the business of the holidays, I neglected to post the details of our Pack's military Pack Meeting. Which is truly sad because it was so fun!  The Character Connection we focused of was citizenship.

My favorite parts of the evening was the skit and the activity.  The Webelos had us laughing with their over the top disregard of being a good citizen by blatantly littering.  When the were approached by a police officer (one of the boy's dads in his full police uniform), they mouthed off to him to the point where one of the boys was handcuffed and drug off the stage.  I think it's interesting that picking up trash and not littering are the most common example of being good citizens for that age group.  We tried to expand their worlds by including abiding by the rest of the laws and voting.

Our Cubmaster and her husband set up a super fun obstacle course that included putting on military fatigues, rolling on the ground, swing across a "river" and crawling through tunnels.  They also had to answer several civic minded questions along the way; like when is Election Day.  

The meeting accomplished teaching a principle in a fun manner so the boys and their families would pay attention.  I don't expect the boys to remember the answers to all the questions, but I do expect them to remember they had fun and the knowledge to seep into their brains and eventually strengthen them to men of character.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Simple Abundance

For the Christmas of 1999 a friend gave me the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it's a yearlong journey down the path of life toward comfort and joy with about a page a day to read and some great tools to help you on the way.  It goes along nicely with my lifelong Pursuit in Excellence.  

I've started reading this book several times in the last 11 years, but life kept getting in the way and by mid-March it was one of the too many things on my list and I give up.  I started the book again this year, and like all the other years I enjoy the good message and the focus on the things that are truly important and bring long-term meaning to our lives. 

Each day's reading starts off with a quote; that's where I found Saturday's quote.  One thing that has stuck with me from when I started it before was the Gratitude Journal.  I do that consistently and have a time set aside each evening for my children to do that too.

I'm hoping to actually complete the book this year.  Not only does it go with my long term goals of being the woman my Heavenly Father wants me to be, but it will help with my word of the year - direction. 

What tools have you found to help you focus on your word of the year?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Family Home Evening: The Plan of Salvation Again

With more than one of us working on Personal Progress, we sometimes get repeat lessons a little more often.  Last July we had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation that was also based on Faith, Experience number six.  I thought we just had the lesson and was surprised to see that it was actually six months ago.  This week, the lesson was a little more simplified.   

We played Harry Potter Uno for our activity.  

One of my kiddos chose "Panda Patties" for our treat.  It was a recipe we found in a coloring book about animals.  Another child had chose it for their dinner, but had to change their choice when I read the recipe and found it was homemade ice cream sandwiches.  We couldn't find the original recipe, so I Googled the title and came up with link to the uneatable kind of panda patties.  I added the word "recipe" and the first two links had hamburger recipes, which would work for the dinner but not so much for our FHE treat.  The third link was a winner and the recipe is safely stored on my computer. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Sentament: Life

You only live once - but if you work it right, once is enough. ~ Joe E. Lewis

Friday, January 14, 2011

Favorite Feeds Friday: January 14

Today's going to be a good day!  Why?  Well, it's Friday and the weather is supposed to be beautiful.  This is our reward time of the year!  And since it's Friday, it's another installment of Favorite Feeds Friday.  There are all kinds of cool blog posts to check out this morning.
  • Jump into A bowl full of lemons organizational challenge and tackle a project a day.
  • Was loosing weight one of your resolutions?  The Latter Day Woman shares tips for making a healthy lifestyle change.
  • For those of you totally on the ball, SeeMeVT has a helpful visual aide for February's Visiting Teaching message.
  • Having a party?  Make your own treat stand following the instructions at somewhat simple.
  • I think us desert rats could make these cool candle holders from Crazy Domestic in our freezer.
  • A bit of this. A bit of that has a sunny card with a blog hop to other cards using the same color combo.
  • It's National Pizza Week and Your Homebased Mom shares her favorite pizza recipe.
  • Finally, Travelin' Oma shares the joy of writing our memoirs.
I hope you have as much fun with exploring these fun sites.  Share the interesting posts you find with me, deal?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Random 11

In honor of 2011, here's 11 random things about me.
  1. I've been to eight countries.
  2. I finished reading one book so far this year.
  3. I want to finish scrapbooking 90 layouts by November.
  4. My 11th song on itunes is "867-5309" -  a classic.
  5. When I Google "Raejean Roberts 11", the first five hits are actually about me!
  6. It took me the first 10 days of 2011 to finish packing Christmas, who knows how many more until my house is back to "normal".
  7. I have a new top ten list posted at Arizona Mama.
  8. I have a weakness for sweets.
  9. I love finding a bargain.
  10. I exercise regularly - it doesn't show. (Just think what I'd look like if I didn't exercise!)
  11. My favorite color is plum.
Share something random about yourself!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just Dance

Ive noticed a disturbing trend the last couple of years, between January and June I've gained 10+ pounds before I level off and dip back down a bit for the new year.  I'm trying to end this trend by moving more and eating less (especially sweets).  Since I exercise consistently (and have for years),  one strategy is to increase my daily step goal.

Monday I was closing in on my goal, but running out of time and energy.  When one of my kiddos asked to play Wii, I gave a conditional yes.  The condition was that we play Just Dane 2.  Not only did I get to my goal, I got the blood pumping (which helps on these chilly nights) and I had fun doing it!  The kids even got moving with me.  You could be like one of my children (who shall remain nameless, but is the oldest at home) and just move your hand instead of really dancing, but that's not as fun or fit and doesn't help you to win.

Last night I was even farther from my goal, but not for long once we started dancing with the Wii again.  I do have a word of warning about playing Just Dance while you are cooking dinner, you might get a little distracted and forget an ingredient for your recipe and have to improvise some kind of funky fix at the dinner table.  I haven't personally experienced this, I'm just throwing it out there as a possibility.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Packing Christmas

I love Christmas and it's always a little sad packing up the decorations (not to mention a lot of work).  At the same time, once everything is packed away and tucked back into the closet the house feels more orderly, then I start noticing all the gifts that haven't found a place to live in our home.  The kiddos weren't very excited with the pile of stuff I left waiting in the box for them to put away.  

Now the decorations put away, I have a couple of pictures to hang up where the tree was and some of my other decor items that I take down to make room for the Christmas decorations.  I still have wrapping paper and gift bags in several rooms of the house waiting to be returned to the gift wrap closet.

All these things need to be done so I can feel normal.  As soon as I'm normal (relatively speaking), it will be time to play!

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Would You Work at If You Didn't Have to Work?

Last month I had an interesting discussion with my kids about work.  We noticed a beautifully decorated house and I made the comment that it would be able to afford the decorations and someone to put them up.  My adult daughter said if she had that kind of money, she wouldn't have to work and would have the time to put them up herself.  Last week I talked about what a wanna be I am, and it's interesting to think about how we would spend our time and energy if we didn't have to meet our responsibilities.  Would I clean my own house?  (Absolutely not!)  Would I do my own grocery shopping? (Probably.)  Would I do my own cooking?  (Sometimes.)  

If you asked the same question to my kiddos, I think some of them would spend 80% of their time reading, others would spend it playing.  Some are to the point of wanting to learn new skills and gaining knowledge, even if it means do what others might consider working.  I feel like it's part of my job as a mother, to help all my children want to get to that point, where they love learning and developing their interests (in many different ways) and want to continually improve themselves.  Now I just need to figure out how to do that!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Family Home Evening: Scripture Study

Our ward's Primary started a scripture study program for the children. Each week there is a theme, an assignment and a challenge.  I'm excited for the encouragement my children receive to go beyond their family scripture study and begin studying on a personal level.  

Last week's theme was "the scriptures are the word of God".  They were asked to read the introduction or title pages of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.  Their challenge was to share their favorite scripture or story from the scriptures.  One of our children led us through the reading and the challenge as our Family Home Evening lesson.  

It was interesting to see the variety of the scriptures and stories came to our minds.  It was one of those fulfilling moments as a mom, to see that my children are listening to what I'm teaching (along with church teachers and other relatives) and that they remember and internalize some of the lessons.

Monday, we started our family study of the Old Testament.  Just one week of study has opened a several discussions about the creation and the Savior's role in the Old Testament.  The Old Testament version of Scripture Study for the Latter-Day Saint Family has been an excellent resource for us.  I've also been reminded that I'm pretty good about remembering facts shared relating to specific scriptures, but I'm horrible at remembering where I heard or read the information.  It's very hard to find the specific wording when I don't remember the source.

Our activity was "2010 A to Z".  We all listed memorable events from last year, one for each letter.  Somehow, I was the only one who listed Disneyland for "d".  I guess there really is no need to go back, since it wasn't even memorable enough to make the list!

For our treat, we whipped up a second batch of Hot Chocolate Cookies, (my new favorite cookie).  I put some in the freezer for my Cub Scout leaders that make it to our Cub Committee meeting this week, because they are good enough to be an adequate reward for my dedicated leaders and one more meeting.

If you are interested in a copy of the program our Primary put together, email me at RaejeanEasyAsPie at gmail dot com.  I'm sure they wouldn't mind me sharing a copy.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Sentament: Attitude

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life. - John Miller

Hop over to Arizona Mama to see my most read posts of 2010!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Favorite Feeds Friday: January 7

It feels like New Year's was weeks ago (except for all the Christmas decorations I'm still trying to put away), but here we are with the first Favorite Feeds Friday of the New year.  You might expect this post to be filled with helps for setting goals in the New Year, but not so much.
  • We'll start out with the food.  My Favorite Recipes has a Muddy Buddy recipe.  It's one of those things I love, but have never made myself.  I'll have to get around to it one of these days.
  • If you want something a little healthier, Joy the Baker's Whole Wheat Molasses Bread might work.  I wonder if it tastes anything like the yummy dark bread from Outback.
  • Travelin' Oma shares a thought provoking post on using "real" language versus something more refined.
  • You scrapbookers might enjoy Bo Bunny's Layout Challenge Friday.
  • The most New Year-sy post is from Your Homebased Mom.  She shares her life lessons learned.  I've learned some of the same things, others I'm still working on.
What posts have inspired you today?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Most Inspiring Blogs of 2010

I started doing Favorite Feeds Fridays in August.  It seems like a good time of the year to recap which blogs caught my eye and inspired me most frequently last year.
Which blogs inspired you in 2010?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wanna Be

I admit it, I'm a wanna be.  I have a list as long as my leg of all the things I want to learn and master.  Even though I'm short , that's still a long list.

I wanna be a better writer.
I wanna be a photographer.
I wanna be a better mom.
I wanna learn to play the piano.
I wanna be well read.
I wanna motivate my Cub Scouts.
I wanna loose weight and be healthier.
I wanna learn how to use my new Silhouette.
I wanna learn Photo shop.
I wanna improve my blog.
I wanna find my long lost ancestors with Ninja family history skills.
I wanna grow a garden.  (I'm not sure I'll ever get that one down.)
I wanna have my food storage.
I wanna be a good cook.
I wanna decorate my home and create a peaceful atmosphere.
I wanna throw parties (not just my kid's birthday parties).
I wanna understand more about nutrition.
I wanna catch up on my scrapbooks with beautiful layouts.
I wanna spend time with my family and friends and not feel rushed.
I wanna appreciate the beauty around me.
I wanna have my own business.
I wanna help others.
I wanna strengthen my testimony.
I wanna finish my Wood Badge tickets.
I wanna celebrate life.
I wanna feel connected to those around me in a meaningful way.

Is that much to ask?  I guess it is, especially all at once.  Since I'm not taking a class this semester, I'm trying to decide where to focus my time and energy.  I think all of the things on my list have merit, it's deciding which is the best use of my time that has me a little dizzy.

Several bloggers have chosen a word to focus on for the New Year.  Last year I chose progress.  It's one of my constant words, but I had to go back and see what word I chose last January.  Several of the items listed above are goals I'll be working on this year and some will have to wait. This year my word is direction.  I need to choose the best direction to focus on and choose a plan to get there. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Numbered

I love January, the beginning at least.  I love looking back at last year, my goals and my progress.  I didn't meet all my goals, but I made progress - and that was the ultimate goal.

1/2 - Of the Old Testament read.  That is a very long book of scripture.  I'm hoping to finish it this year; I'm even studying it with the kiddos.
1 - Young Women value accomplished in the Personal Progress program.
2 - Classes finished.  Now I just need to put in my application and I should have a degree in my hands come May!
8 - Months of practicing the piano. It's amazing how quickly I forgot almost everything I learned! Yesterday, I pulled out the lesson books and started reviewing.
12 - Pounds gained, I'm definitely working on getting that number down this year!
18 - Trips to the temple.  My goal was 20.  I'll try to get to 20 this year.
19 - Nights spent away from home with Girls Camp, Wood Badge and our family vacation.
22 - Memories recorded.  I made a list of stories from my life that need to be written and hoped to record 25 of them.  I'll keep plugging along and shoot for another 25 this year.  The good thing about blogging is my current stories are being recorded as I go.
25 - Books read.  My goal was 30 (the same number I read the previous year), I'll shoot for 30 again this year.  
36 - Names checked for accuracy and completeness from my PAF (Personal Ancestral File) to Family Search.  My goal was only 25!
81 - Articles written for the Homemaking Cottage and Arizona Mama.  
88 - Scrapbook layouts completed.  My goal was to finish scrapbooking 2009 by the end of November.  I was close, I finished mid-December.
147 - Names added to my PAF.
5584 - Page views in 2010.

As you can see, didn't meet many of my goals.  But I came close; a lot closer than I would have with out goals and a plan.  How did you do on your goals?  What were your highlights of 2010?

Monday, January 3, 2011

December Numbered

I have several end of the year / New Year posts; hopefully you don't get sick of them by the end of the week.  First I need to wrap up December.

1 - Trip to see the Christmas lights at the Mesa Temple
2 - Books read, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer and The Book of Mormon
6 - Scrapbook layouts completed
8 - People sleeping in my room on Christmas Eve (The kids sleep on the floor in our room as a tradition.)
11 - Articles written for the Homemaking Cottage and Arizona Mama
29 - Blog posts
30 - Christmas cards received

What were your memorable moments from December?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Family Home Evening: The Tenth Article of Faith

We discussed the 10th Article of Faith and practiced reciting it for our lesson.  That one is a little tricky.  We came very close, but were still a few words off.  We'll have to practice more and try again.

We're still catching up on our favorite Christmas movies, so we watched Twice Upon a Christmas for our Activity.  We also set goals for the gifts we want to give Jesus this year.  I'm going to continue working on the Personal Progress Program.

Everyone chose their own treat from the cookies, fudge and other treats that we have accumulated around Christmas.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Saturday Sentament: New Year

I love this quote I read at 24/7 Moms, “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce


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