Monday, December 6, 2010

"A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas."

I am very much enjoying the book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. If you have never read it you should. It is very short and only takes a few hours to get through. Very enjoyable. I am not sure why I never read it sooner.

A few of my favorite lines from the book:

"It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child Himself."


"External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty."


"It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that, while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor."


"There might have been twenty people there, young and old, but they all played, and so did Scrooge; for, wholly forgetting in the interest he had in what was going on, that his voice made no sound in their ears, he sometimes came out with his guess quite loud, and very often guessed quite right, too; for the sharpest needle, best Whitechapel, warranted not to cut in the eye, was not sharper than Scrooge; blunt as he took it in his head to be."


"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!"


And of course:
"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!"

Elevator Psychology


I saw this at a YW training and had to share. I hope you watch it and enjoy it as much as I do.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Trials

"Each of us will face trials and tests, and . . . it is how we react to those difficulties that will determine our success and happiness. Each of us will face adversity no matter where we are. We are taught in the scriptures that there 'must needs be . . . an opposition in all things' (2 Nephi 2:11). We will each face times of difficulty, and the question is not when we will face them but how we face them."
James B. Martino, "All Things Work Together for Good," Ensign, May 2010, 101

I have been thinking much on the topic of trials and how we face them. I have friends and family who have been handed some very difficult cards. Things that infuse heartache into the deepest part of them. Some of them react with negativity, self-pity, or freeze up completely, unable to function. Now I am not saying that these methods are bad or wrong, sometimes that initial reaction is necessary. Sometimes that initial reaction will start us on a path for positive change. I think, like the above quote states that how we face these potholes in our lives will determine who we will become. Sometimes it is more than a pothole. Sometimes the road we are following just ends and we are forced to reevaluate everything in search of another path. Life is filled with moments that can injure and maim. I guess the trick is taking that initial reaction and evaluating or strategizing before we strike out on our path only to find that we have made things harder on ourselves that it really needed to be.

I don't even know if I am making any sense, but I have been thinking so much about how many people jump willing into traps that are clearly visible when looked at from the right perspective. We play the victim at times. For me, I have had to acknowledge that most of the troubles I have had (especially as a teen) were self-inflicted. I took the molehills and turned them into mountains. It's sad really. But I do not admit this for sympathy or pity of any kind. I admit my follies in hopes that someone out there can learn from my admission. Maybe someone will evaluate their life and see that they are making themselves a victim when they could be empowered with courage and faith. It may start a thought process for someone that will lead to a better choice, a happier life. I am glad that after all these years I am finally beginning to understand myself, make better choices, and I actually like who I am becoming.

Life can be happy. It is our decision. It is our decision to put on a smile, keep moving forward, or leap in faith.

Today I vow to choose to be happier. I will stop turning molehills into mountains. I will try my best to change my perspective when it needs changing. Listen to others who are trying to help me and pray for the Holy Ghost to guide me.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I have a confession.

I didn't know it. I was in denial about it, until I realized many of the books I wanted to suggest to people involved magic.

I admit it. I like fantasy books.
Not all out fantasy, but enough that I it surprises me. I like urban fantasy or a little dystopian science-fiction.

It must have started with Harry Potter, but that one is easy to admit to liking since it is widely known and liked.

One of my most recent favorites is The Magicians and Mrs Quent.
The Magicians and Mrs. Quent

"This book reads like an Austen or Bronte novel with a little bit of a Dickens feel. There were many things I really liked about it. The main character, Ivy is a strong female. The first third was like reading a version of Pride and Prejudice and second third almost felt like a strange version of Jane Eyre and then book came back together and went on it's own journey in the third part."
(Adapted from my goodreads review.)

Some of my all time favorite books:
Anything by Jane Austen (Especially P&P and Mansfield)
To Kill a Mocking Bird
North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell)
The Princess Bride
Daughter of the Forest (Marillier)
The Harry Potter books

I enjoy historical fiction.
I also like to read modern tellings of classic stories.
I also The Book of Mormon should be mentioned even though it is a religious book, because it is such a huge influence in my life.

I like to read the classics, but often I find myself reading modern fiction, especially YA (because it is usually clean). I wish I had a stronger desire to read "smart" books, but usually my brain wants a break from thinking.

This leaves me with three questions:
What have you been reading?
Do my book choices make me even more quirky?
And do I really look like Boo from Monsters INC? (My Young Women keep saying so.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Holidays the Shutterfly way.

I have never been very good at sending our cards. Only in the last few years have I even bothered to attempt to send out any. The first year I didn't buy very many and had many people I mentally added to my list for the next year. Last year we send out our first "customized" Christmas Cards and for some reason it just was more fun. I was able to alter the card design how I wanted and add pictures. It was kind of fun. The shipping was fast and the product was good. This year I am going to use the same company. Shutterfly

Shutterfly is a company I had never even heard of until last year. There are so many photo sites out there that many people just use what they know. I am glad I found out about Shutterfly. There are so many designs and styles to choose from. Here are just a few of their Christmas designs . . .



Whether you are looking for something simple and classic, or fun like including your family's Top Ten Moments (See picture above), or almost anything you can imagine. They have photo cards that are around $0.55 a piece and the price gets lower the more you order. They are definitely worth checking out. Plus, if you blog about their cards you can get 50 FREE Christmas Cards. What to find out how? Click here. How can you say no to 50 free cards? 



Dreams

Mom said I had Night Terrors as a child. As a kid and adult I have had terrible nightmares. I was afraid of the dark for-ev-er! I used to be afraid of a lot of things, but a few years back things changed. It was a combination of Dave and Dan hiding under the stairs or trying to scare me by talking about my long time "friend'- the attic man, and coming to the realization that they are just another trial. It makes me sound like one of those crazy mormons, but I was teaching a sunday school class about Job in the list of things about him it listed restless sleep and nightmares. When I realized that the nightmares were just another test I had to be strong and face they lost much of their power. I think my perception changed and since then, very few nightmares. Weird. I know.

Anyway...
A month ago I had the saddest dream. It was heartbreaking really. I went to pick up Izzy from somewhere, school maybe. I don't know. You know how dreams are weird things seem normal and little info is given or needed. Everything in the dream was shadowed and dark. Most of the kids were gone. Izzy was gone. No one that was around the building knew where to find her. The streets were dirty and filled with questionable figures. Izzy was gone. Someone stole my baby. I was anxious, upset, and crying. I was so worried that some nasty pervert man had taken her. Then I woke. I was so upset I couldn't move for a minute. It had all felt so real. I almost couldn't function I was so sad. I went in and kissed both of my beautiful sleeping kids. They were safe and it was just a dream.

I felt sad for a while, but was finally able to go back to sleep. That darkness lingered even when I woke in the morning until Izzy came in and she was playful and happy.

It reminds me of what Henry B Eyring said something like this at our Stake Conference- "Perception is more important than reality, because perception makes us do things when reality could be the opposite."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Christmas 2010


Oh Holy Night Religious Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly.com for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.



I am so grateful that Jill posted about Shutterfly's Christmas Card promo. When I ordered our cards I saved a total of $104.50!
Thank you, Shutterfly. 







Sunday, October 31, 2010

Someone asked why I don't like Trunk-or-Treat.

Why I do not prefer trunk-or-treat:
(Disclaimer: I am not trying to put down the trunk-or-treat lovers. This is just my opinion. To each his own, right?)

Maybe I am just "old school," but there is just something special about trick-or-treating. Kids get to go to houses of people they may never meet otherwise. They get to see the neighborhood buzzing with people. There is a general ...sense of "community" and friendship. I love the sounds of kids going from house to house.
The trunk-or-treats I've been to, where you walk from car to car and get candy and then go home, (at least that is my experience with them), were just a bit undewhelming. I hadn't heard of a trunk-or-treat indoors before. That would be ok, but I still prefer trick-or-treating in the traditional fashion.


My biggest issue with trunk-or-treating is how it can excludes others. If you go trunk-or-treating then you usually don't go trick-or-treating later. What about people not of your church's faith, people not currently practicing  that religion, and those who are uncomfortable with church activities? Those people miss out on loads of costume clad children and interaction with the parents of said children. What if you didn't know about the trunk-or-treat and were sitting at home with a large bowl of candy, anticipating little cuties, and nary a knock on the door? I realize not everyone participates in trick-or-treating. Some people don't even like Halloween. I enjoy Halloween as a family holiday.

I see no problem with a church activity for Halloween, just have it the day before or early enough that you can go around the neighborhood after. In fact, I really enjoy Halloween church activities. They can be fun to play and dress up, and be with friends. How about a nice "soup n' scare" or the like. Everyone brings a dish. You can eat, interact, dress up, have games and activities for the kids (and/or adutls), and spend an enjoyable evening with friends indoors.

I also admit that trunk-or-treat would be a great activity for a ward (or church group) that may be spread out (like in another state or country). A ward where you have to drive over an hour to the church house or you live miles from your fellow ward members, etc. Does this make sense? But you could still do some put-luck activity with games and then trick-or-treat at home. Sorry this is such a novel. Really, I didn't mean to ramble on this long.:) I tend to do that.

So, I guess what my main point is, is that my ideal would be to have a fun night at the church, but trick-or-treat with your commuity.
 
Any thoughts?

Monday, October 25, 2010

I want this.

I found out about this spray mop just after Dave bought me the Swiffer Wet Jet.
Rubbermaid Reveal logo

Reveal Spray Mop


I was sad that I was going to have to buy cleaner refills and pads all the time.
I am a cheapskate and try to be good friends with nature, so I love that with the Reveal I could refill the cleaner with my own homemade concoction. I also love that I would be able to just wash the pads. I will be buying one of these little babies if I don't win it from Mommy is Green. I love giveaways, especially when I win.
Mommy Is Green


I hope I win. Then I won't have to buy it.

See, I told you I was a cheapskate.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Your testimony will never leave your children

“If a child is not listening, don’t despair. Time and truth are on your side. At the right moment, your words will return as if from heaven itself. Your testimony will never leave your children. “As you reverently speak about the Savior—in the car, on the bus, at the dinner table, as you kneel in prayer, during scripture study, or in late-night conversations—the Spirit of the Lord will accompany your words.”
Neil L. Andersen

Thanks to Google Reader and LDS Daily Gems I read this quote today.
Sorry I haven't been around much lately. Summer has been busy.
Testing for Kindergarten is today.
School starts for Corban next Wednesday.
I am watching more kids every month. :)
Life is busy, but busy is good.
I always find time to read. It helps me keep my sanity. I used to hate reading.

Anyway, gotta run.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling
 
 
(This has been in my head all day. The first two lines especially, they just "pop" in there like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man (Can you name the movie?). I had to get it out. I think I post it at least once a year, but I just like it so much. Truth is always powerful. This poem is powerful.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blog on the back burner or This post is way to long and boring for you

Yes, as much as I love to ramble on and on about myself and other glorious topics I just haven't had the time to update the blog regularly.

It's hard to believe that Pioneer Day is tomorrow, which means July is nearly over, which means there is only one month before Corban is back in school.

We had a great time with my family for a little reunion in Park City. July 4-7 my parents and sisters and our families were able to celebrate Independence Day, my dear ol' dad's birthday, and just have a great time letting the cousins play on the rocks. Yes, the kids just wanted to play on the decorative rocks outside the house we rented. I need to get some of those for my own house. It was a great week.

Girls' Camp with the Young Women and leaders was July 12-16. It was my first experience as a leader. I had a good time, and hope I did everything right. Now that I have been as a leader I can be better prepared for future camps and will hopefully be of more help.
I joked with some friends that because of camp that "oh, no. The secret is out! I am a big nerd."
But, at least now they know how quirky I can be. It's cool.

We have some fabulous girls and wonderful leaders. It was fun to see some of the shy girls find their voice. It was fun to get to know everyone and share experiences wacky (the Bishop and I had the same color nails after the girls painted our nails) and serious/spiritual with them. I loved it, and I can't wait to get to know the girls even more. I hope I am a positive influence on them. I know I get so much more out of this calling than I give to it. Callings are unfair in that way. As a teacher you learn so much. In preparation for things you gain knowledge and only really get to share a small portion of that. I am grateful for my callings past and present and I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I really am so spoiled.

Speaking of spoiled.... Since it is Pioneer weekend I can talk all about my way of keeping a grateful perspective on life, though I have shared this before. I have a tendency in my life to compare things to the mormon pioneers, the founding fathers, or people who lived during the 1800s in England (What can I say, I like Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell). We have things so much better than they did. I am grateful I have a gas stove and oven, and I can cook immediately without have to stoke a fire all day long. Glad to have a fridge and freezer and canned food. Glad to have fresh fruits and veggies, alright I am more grateful for the fruits than the veggies, but I am trying. Happy I can go to Costco and buy my chicken breast the way nature intended.... in a bag in the freezer section. Glad I have a flush-able toilet and don't have to walk out back or heaven forbid use a chamber pot. I am happy I can turn a silver knob and out comes water at whatever temperature I desire for washing dishes or having a glorious bath or shower. No one has to cart a heavy bath tub up the stairs to my dressing chamber and then bring bucket after bucket of boiled water (boiled in that fire I am glad I don't have to care for) and then have to cart all the dirty water downstairs. Or worse back when you would get a bath ready and the whole family shared the water starting with Dad on down to the baby.... ever wonder about the expression don't throw the baby out with the bath water, a gross thing to share bath water... ew! I am so glad I get my own clean water. I am grateful I am educated (Not that I am the smartest person, but compared to some I am very fortunate.) I can read and write when there are so many people in developing countries or even here in America who can't. Grateful for technology: Cell phones, internet, computers, printers. Some people in this world are working all day everyday just just to get their next meal, they don't have time or money to work on education. Thank goodness for the library. (Orem's library is awesome.)
Anyway, I could go on and on and on about how great I have it. I am grateful for my pioneer ancestry. Thankful for those who had the tenacity and strength to persevere and the faithfulness to move forward. May I remember them and their sacrifice this weekend and may I move forward with my own faith and strength to become my best self and to help others.

Friday, July 2, 2010

You're the Shark and you know it!

"I...Im only a dolphin ma'am."

I found this on the floor today. Corban had traced his plastic dolphin and tried to draw on some features. I love it. I instantly thought of the SNL skit from the late 70's or early 80's. Enjoy. The last part (1:09 to the end) is the best. 


Monday, June 28, 2010

Exciting.

I like Harry Potter. Does that make me a dweeb? I am pretty sure I would be one without the addition of enjoying Young Adult fiction, so without further ado, here is the Deathly Hallows preview. (Insert annoying teenage squeal.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Death of the washing machine

You never realize how much you rely on something until it is broken, gone, or damaged beyond repair. Like when you cut your finger and it makes everything you normally do with your hand awkward. 

The washer died over the weekend. Sad. Trying to wring the water out of jeans is nicht so gut

Thankfully, Dave saved the day and today we picked up a new-to-us washer at the Appliance Exchange center. We even got a 2 year warranty just for giving them our broken one. 

Having even just a few days without a washing machine made me think of how much I have. I know I am always aware of my pioneer (and not pioneer) ancestors shaking their fists at me for being picky or "spoiled" even when I think I have it bad. I am glad I have running water that is clean and drinkable... ooh, doesn't a huge glass of water sound delicious?.... I am glad I have a heater, a safe house, and a computer. I am glad I could have my babies in a hospital with an epidural.... not hanging on to tree branches for this lady. I am grateful for cell phones and my Volvo wagon. And so many other things. 
Even the poorest people in America have it better than so many people in the world. 
Speaking of America, I can't help myself, but I still cry when I hear "God Bless the USA" when they sing the part  about "and I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me." 
Random. I know. Don't even ask me to sing it. 


For girls eyes only....

I mean it. Males, don't read it. I warned you. Some of you ladies might not like this either, but I just have to share this.....



I have wanted to tell more people about the Diva Cup for ages. For some of you a reusable menstrual cup sounds so gross. For others it is just the thing you have been looking for. I know my mom thinks it is weird. It is really not so bad. I have converted at least 5 of my friends and a few are undecided, but that is only because they haven't wanted to put up the money to buy one. I probably would convert more if I wasn't afraid of bring it up with every female I know (I guess I am telling quite a few with this post). I have had mine for at least a year and a half. I love it. I can't even remember how I came across them, but I am glad I did. It saves me so much money (I was able to get mine on sale for only $18), it is easy to use, and I get to be best friends with the environment (again). I still use other feminine products now and again, but it is more comfortable than tampons and less icky than pads. Think about it. What do you think?

Tell your friends.

The view from my roof.

I am so lucky to live behind an orchard.

We were up on the roof so Dave could show me the swamp cooler so that I would be able to troubleshoot if anything went wrong during the day while he was working. I turn around and was struck by the view. I have never been up on the roof and we have lived her 4 1/2 years. It is great to have an orchard behind your back yard. Lucky us. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Personal Progress

I am Mormon. I enjoy church. Not everyone does, but I do. Either way, it's ok. Not everyone needs to like church. Some go because they want to be obedient and they really struggle with certain views the church has, but, still, they attend. Others skip church all together. Some like to attend, even enjoy it. In each category there are many levels of "activity." Like in Mansfield Park when Fanny Price says, "there are as many forms of love as there are moments in time." (I love that book, that movie (1999 and 2007), and that quote.) So too, there are as many types of people as there are moments in time. We all progress at our own rates.

I love my calling with the Young Women (12-18 year old females) in my ward (our local congregation). There is a program for the girls called Personal Progress. It aims to help the girls, "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).  It really is a good program and I am enjoying my experience with it. As a "leader" I get to work on getting a medallion just like the girls do. I should mention that this is my second time through the program. I received my medallion for completing the program as a teenager and now I get to try out the new program with my YW. The point I like to emphasize is that each girl should make it a personal journey. Hence the name, "Personal Progress." She should not worry about how fast or slow she is compared to others. She should make goals for herself and at her own pace. Gain her own testimony of the truth of things. Accomplish things for herself. I love people. I have a tendency to "fall in love" with people easy. I want the best for people and hope that we can all help one another through life. That we can lift one another's burdens and befriend (and be friends with) others. One of my favorite quotes is by Spencer W Kimball. He said, 


"God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other. . . Unless the way we live draws us closer to our Heavenly Father and to our fellowmen, there will be an enormous emptiness in our lives."


What things help you to progress personally without worrying about how you compare with others?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I like her....

Go check out this blog- She is open and great and funny and maybe a little crazy and love this post.


I found her because of Jill, my sis-in-law. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In Honor of My Anniversary....

My favorite Shakepeare Sonnet.
SONNET 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
     If this be error and upon me proved,
     I never writ, nor no man ever loved.



William Shakespeare
(1564 - 1616)


If you want so fun entertainment check out Shakepeare Retold.
My favorite is The Taming of the Shrew. It just may be my favorite movie.... at least lately.
I didn't really care for Mid-summer night's dream or Macbeth. I only bought it for Macbeth.... Richard Armitage (Think BBC North and South). At least I wasn't disappointed in the rest.

Hello, my name is Rachael, and I am addicted to BBC period drama and the like.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Strawberry Jam

My first attempt at canning jam. Winco had strawberries on sale again. $2.98 for 4lbs. I wasn't planning on making jam with them, but the idea just popped into my head this morning. I have only done freezer jam before, so hopefully this small batch works out ok. Half of the lids have already sealed, I love that popping sound. The sound of success.



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

7 years.

I am married.
This is us now.... (and Jill.)

and this is us on our wedding day.
(Too bad I don't look like this anymore.)

My anniversary is on Monday. We celebrate 7 years on June 7th. It is our good luck year. (Alright so I made that up, but I can pretend all I want. I have a thing with numbers, for instance, I prefer odd numbers. I digress.)

My husband and I are very different. He has a beard, I don't. I am a prude, he isn't. He likes to ride, I like to hike. I like to eat an entire bag of chips within a couples days... ok sometimes in one sitting, he would never do that. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Marriage is different than I anticipated. It is hard sometimes/most of the time/always. We didn't start out like many other couples. Our "honeymoon period" was short lived. We started to get under each other's skin quicker than most. I turned into a backpack for a while. We've had sort of a rocky road, and I am not talking about ice cream (I wish). It has been probably the hardest thing to deal with a struggling marriage over the years, and....

I would not trade it for anything. I am so grateful for my husband, for my marriage.

Maybe it comes down to the whole, "opposition in all things" thing (2 Ne 2:11), I don't know. I just am glad that we have stuck through so many things. I love my husband. He makes me better, stronger. He drives me crazy, I drive him crazy, but in the end I know I have come through the trials a better woman. I have had to face things within my own character and learn and refine myself. Dave and I are both stubborn. Maybe that is what has kept us together over the years, neither of us wanting to fail. While part of that may be true, I know that I love him. Even when I'm mad at him, I love him. I know I have to give credit to following the Holy Ghost's promptings. During the most difficult times I wanted to leave, it would have been easier in some ways, harder in others, but it always came down to the fact that I knew in my heart that I was supposed to be with him.... "for better or worse."

I am so glad that my sweetheart fell in love with me despite my issues, despite my awkwardness (I'm so awkward!), despite my boy-crazy ways, despite the fact that I had braces (again) when we started dating.

Thanks, Dave, for everything. 
I love you! 
Happy Anniversary!

How about a few pictures to end this fantastic post...

(One of our engagement pictures. I'm so cool.)


On an outing to cut down Christmas trees.


(How many of you can get your man to dress up as Winnie the Pooh for Halloween?..... None? That's what I thought. This was early on in our dating.... you can see my gorgeous brace-face.)


We're so in love. We are on the left next to he-who-will-not-be-named.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I need to win this...


We do not have a very good track record for cameras. I think we have had at least 3 that have been broken since we were married. 

To find out more about it go to- http://www.trying2staycalm.com/2010/05/casio-s8-review-and-giveaway.html


Friday, April 23, 2010

Greatest Advice?

My mom always has the best advice:
-It is ok to agree to disagree.
     (i.e. going to bed mad is sometimes a good thing. Gives you a chance to calm down and think about it.)
-Kill them with Kindness.
-Never wear high heals on a soggy lawn.
(. . .just to name a few.)

I have a friend on FB who asked
what is the best advice anyone has given you? 
What is your favorite advice about life? Love? etc. 

For me, I think the whole "have an attitude of gratitude" plays a huge role in my life. I also regularly think of D&C 122- through trials, persecution, etc, "and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee.... these things will give thee experience and will be for thy good." I know that is extreme, but for me it helps me remember that regardless of what it is I can get through it and there is something I can learn from it. I am strong. You are strong. I've heard it said that God allows trials that are difficult but that ultimately we can overcome. I believe this. Yes, I kick and scream my way through some things in life, but I do try to remember what the point of all this is. You know? I am also a weirdo and am always saying things (in my head) like, "I bet my ancestors are calling me a whiney baby"- "They (the pioneers) are probably trying to smack me upside the head." I mean, I am lucky. I have a home, running water, toilets, washers of dishes and clothes, cell phones, email, can buy a bag of chicken breasts at Costco (I am picky when it comes to meat on the bone), etc. I might be low on funds, have high stress, or what-have-you, but in all reality I have it pretty good, most of us do, when you think about it. Even at our worst there are others who might have it worse. There is usually someone out there with a harder situation than your own. Can you even imagine being a pioneer and coming to the Salt Lake valley and seeing this...

(image by William Henry Jackson)
Then you hear, "This is the right place." I would have been thinking, "I am tired. Where is the hotel? This is it?"
Thinking back on history like this makes me grateful for those who were strong enough to trek and settle here. This is also where I remind myself to be grateful that didn't have to wake up this morning with my hair frozen to the ground (read the 8th paragraph down, "We started..."). 

So what are your great pieces of advice? What inspires you?

What you can do with an afternoon and the neighbors' old bricks...



Not bad for a budget of $0. Now I just need to reseed around it. 

The neighbors were getting rid of these bricks and I had a sizable bald spot near the garden. Now I can sit on a chair on my miniature patio while the kids play. Or they can sit and watch me weed after I banish them from the garden for not listening and walking on the plants. 



(I know it is not squared off... there is a beam in the dirt there to mark where the garden is.... maybe when I finally get around to putting in railroad ties I can move it back.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I love this

"Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten." - G.K. Chesterton


(Thanks to Matt for tweeting this.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

To Coupon or Not To Coupon?

I like good deals, coupons, and freebies.
I am not a coupon clipper. I print them sometimes, but I don't get the paper since they don't offer the deal I had a few years back (I only paid $16 for a YEAR of Sundays). I find that many offered coupons are items I don't normally buy, so it usually isn't something I really want/need. My MIL is amazing with coupons. If I did coupons like her it might be worth it to get the paper. It is nice that you can print so many coupons now-a-days.

For me I like a consistent low price and I stick with it, but keep an eye out for a good deal. I glance through the ads, mostly looking for pull-ups for cheap, produce deals, or a great sale on meats or poultry. I buy many of my staples at Costco: Milk, cheese, bread, meat. I shop my local stores for canned goods, etc. I love a good case lot sale. I subscribe to the diaper newsletters only for the coupons.

Here are a few of the sites I follow on google reader: Freebies4Mom and Hip2Save.
I would love to hear your tips, favorite websites, etc for how you get the most food for your dollar.

OK but I don't like it.

For those of you who have already seen it, I apologize. Here are the pictures of my hair. 
It was just a little trim. It used to be almost shoulder length.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

I cut my hair. I think I even like it.

Who is ready for the Compliment Challenge?
I know there are a few interested. Cassie, I would love to get the sources of the other places you have heard of this. Fun.

All aboard!
Admission is free.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia. ~Charles Schulz

Ready for a Challenge?

Who doesn't like a compliment? When I was growing up my awesome mom would sometimes feign deafness to hear a compliment from me twice. "Mom, your hair is just lovely today." Her face would clear and she would simply respond, "What?" with just the right amount of mock innocence. She is wonderful and as I have heard on more than one occasion she has students tell her to "Stop being so positive"- She knows how to find the bright side of almost any situation. Now, not all of you were lucky enough to have a momma like mine, but cheer up, I am sure your mom was great too.

Here is my initial idea for the challenge: Once a week for a certain number of weeks I want us to share positive things about our bodies and personalities. The first few weeks will be about physical appearance. For example- "I am totally hot" or "I love my legs. Not because I have cute legs, but because they are strong and get me around to the places I need to go." or "I have nice eyes."  The next batch of weeks would be about our inner self. For example- "I love that I am determined." or "I like that I love most people." The last weeks would be about looking for good in other people, appreciating a beautiful women instead of hating her, noticing the little things that others do for one another. For example- "I love seeing my neighbor with her kids because her example make me want to be a better parent." or "I saw someone go out of their way to help so-and-so do such-and-such". Maybe it would be easier to have a daily challenge that only lasts for a month.

I have a friend who stands in front of the mirror regularly and picks something she likes that may be underappreciated about her body. Mind you, she does this in the buff. A scary thought for me. Try it. I dare you. Instead of hiding from your body accept it, appreciate it. One of my goals this year is to be happy to be me. To be content with myself, comfy in my own skin.

Most people are beautiful and strong, but for many confidence is buried deep down where is is hard to reach. I think this "compliment challenge" will be hard, it will be personal, and maybe inspiring. There is a shortage of positive people. I want to read about women and men who love life, who find the positive things. I have often heard, "have an attitude of gratitude." I want to cultivate that within myself.

Time for me to ask for feedback. What do you think? What ideas do you have? Additions or subtractions? I want to get as many people participating as possible.

Who is in? Tell your friends.

What do you dream about?

Lately, I find myself daydreaming about time away from the children.

I dream about have a few days all on my own, Dave can join me if he wants. Can you even imagine having 2 days without children? Here comes the sad part, I dream about this time alone because I imagine all the cleaning I would be able to accomplish. I imagine all the things I could get caught up.

Sad, but true. Who dreams about cleaning. Maybe it is just because I am more relaxed when the house is clean. Does this make me a grown up? When did/what made you realize you were a boring grown up?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Best friends with the environment.

I am using my first bottle of this.
So far so good.
It is good for the earth.
It seems to wash the clothes well.
It smells nice (scented with essential oils).
The clothes are soft- one of the few ingredients is a softener. 

On their website they sell the 210 oz for $20.50 but it is only $12.99 at costco!!!
1 bottle= 210 HE loads or 105 regular loads.
It is cheaper than regular Kirkland brand detergent.
Ingredients: 100% natural anionic coconut kernel oil-based surfactant, horsetail plant, lavender, coconut based fabric softener, essential oils of magnolias and lilies, purified water.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Holy Fetch

This is a fun website. I found it because of Sue.

Giveaways and Freebies

I want to win this and this, and I really, really, really want to win this.



Trying to Stay Calm is always giving away something.

I am not one who usually facebooks and blogs about giveaways, ok I do sometimes. Once in a while I just want to win something, so I figure, "what the heck"- and so well . . . I still won't win, but it is worth a shot. There are so many giveaways out there. I like to know I am going to get something for my efforts.... so one of my favorite websites about freebies is Freebies 4 Mom.

I don't always have or make time for blogging. I am not, what you would, call funny and I am sporadic in my blogging attempts. What I lack in motivation and talent for blogging my in-laws do not. My mom-in-law (she just posted about her 37th wedding anniversary!) and sisters-in-law (see how tricky I am? 2 links) give stuff away too, and when they don't have giveaways they are funny and informative.

I also enjoy The Sartorialist (thanks to Lindsay), because I am, obviously, so hip and fashion forward. The looks are sometimes ugly and entertaining, but I enjoy seeing the good ones. Do you watch Project Runway? I love that show.

What blogs do you really like? What goodness am I missing out on?

(Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg.... I have friends with great parenting sites, fun ideas, etc, but this is what my brain came up with on the spot. If I listed all the sites on my google reader we would be here all day and we don't want that, do we?)

You'll never guess.



We love our easel and were taking turns drawing things and guessing.
Can you guess the content of these wonderful drawings by Izzy? 



What is it? The other day Izzy's answer was always the same. 
A cat.
So here you see two of her 5 cat pictures. My kids have all the talent. 



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another reason I love vinegar.


A month ago I ran out of Jet Dry and the dishes were starting to come out filmy... you know. I missed the shiny glasses and went online to see if I could find a coupon. Then it came to me, there must be a homemade/natural alternative. I googled it and found some great news; You can use Vinegar as a rinse agent in your dishwasher! So much cheaper!



I already use vinegar as a sort of all-purpose cleaner(windows, counters, walls, spots on the carpet, etc). In a spray bottle mix 1 part water, 1 part vinegar. You can use it in your steam cleaner and it is better on the carpet because it doesn't leave a film behind like many of the soaps. You can soak your shower head to remove build up. You can mix it with baking soda to clean or deodorize drains, get stains out of your carpet, and more. Plus, if you shop at Costco you get two gallon bottles for a little over $2. While you are there grab the $5.99 monster bag of Baking Soda.  I use baking soda for laundry (booster and stain removal), drains, cleaning the shower, etc. Many recipes for natural cleaning involves one or both of these. Ammonia is another option for cleaning, but I don't buy it very often. I am a cheapskate, or maybe just trying to be frugal. Like the old saying goes,
"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

There are so many ideas for less expensive and better for the environment cleaning supplies out there. You can make your own wood polish out of  olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar and essential oils. My mom (in-law) even made her own laundry soap. I need to ask her how she is liking it. Anyone else have homemade/natural cleaners that they like?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My easiest trip to Costco . . . ever!


I carried her in, transferred her to the cart. She NEVER stays asleep after a transfer, especially into something like a shopping cart. She slept sitting up the whole time. She woke up when I got to the car, fell back to sleep. When I got home I carried her to bed and she slept another half hour. Great afternoon!

navel gazing at its finest: $150 Valentines Day Giveaway (How's That For An Original Title? I'M A GENIUS!) to Dippidee, Wild Grape Bistro, & Sego Lily

I love Sue. I have never met her in person, but I enjoy her blog. She is funny.

navel gazing at its finest: $150 Valentines Day Giveaway (How's That For An Original Title? I'M A GENIUS!) to Dippidee, Wild Grape Bistro, & Sego Lily

Trying to Stay Calm

There are some chaotic times in life. I am trying to learn to be the calm in the storm for my family.... but then the kids do something and I turn into a dragon for a few minutes. After the crying and time out, I dry my cheeks and come out of my room to ask the kids why they cut off all their sister's hair, or put glue all over the carpet, or broke every egg in the carton and wiped it all over the kitchen floor. The self given time-out is much better behavoir for the dragon than in times past.

I find that usually I am the one who needs a few minutes to be sure I am calm and then I can address many situations logically and rationally and decide how much yelling or screaming needs to be done, which is usually none. Most of the time there is a quiet and peaceful way to work things out. Sometimes if I have gotten up upset, I stop myself, tell the kids I am sorry, and that we should say a prayer to help mommy calm down. Now that is super embarrassing to admit that I get short tempered with my kids, but it is the truth and I know I am not the only parent out there that gets angry too quick.

Parenting is harder than I ever imagined. I love it. I would never trade it for anything. Sometimes it makes me crazy. My main goal is to never let emotions explode. It is a learning experience with much trial and error, but I am making progress. Reading my scriptures and prayer seem to make the largest difference in my behavior. Also getting a break once in a while helps. This is a wonderful talk about motherhood. It is interesting how you can freak out over something then later wonder why you thought it was such a big deal. Baby steps, right? Sometimes I like to imagine there is someone in the other room, you are always a better parent when you are around other people. And think about how easy it is to change your voice when you are getting angry and then the phone rings and you answer the phone with a friendly hello..... Try to change attitude about the situation and you won't have to feel bad about your behavior.
My mom advises that when the kids are driving you crazy pretend they are someone else's, you will be nicer.


Our kids learn how to handle things in life by our example. Just something to think about.
What are the things that help you to be a better parent? What tactics do you use to keep your cool?

I am loving this blog. Tons of great ideas and info. Check it out.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Does this make me a mooch?

I like free stuff.
Any good giveaways out there?

Misspelling

A friend of a friend posted this link on facebook and I find it very useful and entertaining.
Please read it, then share with everyone you know.
Bye.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 11th? Really?

Time must have tons of frequent flier miles, because lately it feels like all it does is fly.


I can hardly believe it's almost mid January. We had a great Christmas, a good New Year, and things look like they are just going to go well in the future. (Knock on wood.)

I was going to make a huge list of things I did/learned in 2009, like "Replaced my first light switch. (End of December... but that is still 2009. Thanks Marty.)" and "Lost 20 pounds." But my brain is tired and begs for sleep so I will keep this brief by only listing my "resolutions" for 2010.

-Lose another 20 lbs. Slow and steady wins the race....I have 11.5 months to do it.

-Organize my house better. This is on again off again for me. Sometimes things go great. I get a room cleaned out, organized, and fresh. I feel great. I start another room, then life takes over. Etc. I hope to clean out the whole house and repaint (interior and exterior) by 2011. The simplest fix I have come up with for this one is making a weekly “To Do” list of possible projects. My ideal outcome is to make my house organized enough so that if someone had to come in and take over they would be able to find things easy and not have to deal with chaos and mess. (My mom used to have us clean the house before vacations so if anything "happened" the RS wouldn't have to wade through a mess (something like that).... Smart woman. Maybe she was a Boy Scout. She was always prepared.)

-Find a way to earn income from home without too much disruption for my family. … meaning find a way to make income without feeling overwhelmed and crazy. There has to be a way.

- Attend the Temple as much as possible. Ideally I would go weekly, but I would be happy with monthly or even better twice monthly…. We shall see. This season in my life is preventing me from getting my way as much as I would like.

- Be myself. This is a biggie. I am a people pleaser. I am always trying to smooth any creases out of my relationships and the relationships of other people. This year I was to be COMPLETELY comfortable in my skin. I know I am on the right road. I am leaps and bounds ahead of what I used to be, but I have a long way to go. It’s ok to be me. People will still like me…. Maybe.

- Cut down on stress. Budget, organize, plan ahead as much as possible. Thus helping me be mentally prepared for things, but be ok when the course changes unexpectedly. This one will be a toughie.

Anyway, there is a peek into what is going on in my mind for future goals. I am headed to bed. Maybe I just don't have enough time for the blogging world. I am beat and stayed up for this silly post. My lesson in YW today was on spending leisure time wisely.... No time to go into it, but maybe it is time to say goodbye to a few things on the www. We shall see. :)