Saturday, December 19, 2009

And a Little Tutu

Project #2 has been Kendyl's tutu. I'm not especially impressed with it--I saw a tutu I was trying to copy and apparently in my mind my abilities are far greater than what they actually are. But it's done and it's just for dress up so hopefully she'll be happy.

On to Project #3.

Not a Moment Too Soon

Apparently the Jedi Robe will be arriving in the nick of time.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Jedi Robe Master

Don't die of shock that I'm actually posting something again. I can't even explain the busy summer and apparently fall and wow, it's December already. I have something to share now, so maybe I'll make a habit of this again.

One of Garreth's current obsessions is Star Wars. He spent the summer running with the pack of neighbor boys, all of whom were brandishing their light sabers and wearing coats or bathrobes because they were Jedi's. Now my child usually wants to be the bad guy, but apparently his light saber is green which is the Jedi color so he had to settle for being a good guy this time. And it dawns on me. I could make a Jedi robe. How cool would that be? I have this awesome dark green fabric that I bought on sale one day and I vaguely remember buying a costume robe pattern too.

So I go in search of the pattern--only to discover that it's an adult size pattern. Why I thought I would need an adult sized Jedi robe, I don't know. Anyway--I tried to use it as a guideline to make a smaller size robe (with the help of another variety of robe pattern that actually was the right size) and it turned out mostly okay. The sleeves are a bit odd, but since it's supposed to be a big and drapey, hopefully it won't matter much.

Now here's the best part of the story. I bought him a new light saber (not a top of the line model, but a one-step-up-from-what-he-currently-has model) to go with the robe. Weeks later while we are at ShopKo looking for church shoes for Brenton, he disappears and I find him in the toy aisle lovingly fingering the exact light saber that I already bought him. I can't wait for Christmas morning.

I'm finding more joy in Christmas this year than I ever have before and I think it's because I've invested more of myself in my gift giving this year. I'm reminded of a quote my good friend told me, "To be a good gift giver, you simply have to be a good listener." This friend also told me to give more of myself in my presents. So that's my new goal--to be a better giver and to invest of myself. And ultimately that's what the Master Gift Giver does. He, whose birth we celebrate, listens and knows us, and his gifts are perfect. I am ever grateful for His birth, His life, and His everlasting gifts to us. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Half my family is in China. OK, technically it's only a third. And while I'm used to my husband being gone on business trips, I am not used to my daughter being gone for 11 days. It's disconcerting. It's like a part of me is missing all the time. Anyway--that's beside the point. The real point is that you would think with less family here, I would have more time to blog. Sadly, this has not been the case. With her gone and my son on a scout camp, all the weeding, watering and lawn mowing was left to me today. I'm very tired. But apparently, also in need of some self-expression since I'm finally sitting down to add something new.

I just finished reading Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons last week. Very touching little book. It's about a little girl who is orphaned and the road she travels to find safety and love. One of my favorite quotes from the book is:

"I open the door to my house and look around for somebody to squeeze. And she is there each day in the kitchen and that is something when you consider she does not have to be there but she is there so I can squeeze her and be glad."

When our first daughter was born, our budget would not balance based on just my husband's income. But we both believed strongly in me being home so I quit my job and we reduced our outgoings to match our incoming. We have had to do without some things over the years, but we have never looked back.

The quote sums up just one of the reasons why I am home--so that when my little kids come home from school or from playing or from wherever they've been roaming, they'll have someone waiting for them. And while I could be somewhere else, I want to be there for squeezing and for listening and for feeding and loving. I know it's a hard thing sometimes for a family to do, and I know that sometimes there truly is no other choice. But for us, it's been a decision we have never once regretted, no matter the trips we couldn't take or the cars we couldn't drive or the houses we couldn't live in. I would never trade any of that for being able to squeeze my children when they come home and have them be glad I'm there.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Extravaganza!

Our school has one main fundraiser all year--the spring Extravaganza (carnival). As part of the festivities, the 5th graders are asked to each donate a cake for the cake auction and cake walk. How long have I known that my son would be a 5th grader this year and that we would need a cake? A long time. But we've been on vacation. My brain is still on vacation. This has totally tapped my creative capacities for a long while. And they weren't even my ideas! At any rate, they're done and I think they turned out pretty fun. We had a good time working together on them.

You're welcome to come bid on cakes or buy a snow cone or have a little dinner tonight with hundreds or sugar-high, summer-anxious hyper kids tonight at Rock Canyon school between 4:30 and 7:30. I can't wait!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy 16th!

We hit 16 years last week! Who'd have thought we'd make it this far?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Things I Don't Get

To steal a title from my good friend at, I don't get:


Seriously. They drool.

They're needy.

I also don't get this, but that's not the dog's fault.

But this I seriously don't get. I watched a guy jogging with his dog this morning, stop while the dog pooped, then pick up the poop in a plastic sack and continue to jog with the bag of poop. Now, I'm all for removing your canine feces from innocent grass, but jog with poop? Are you kidding me?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

All Earth Day

Is it just me or is "green" simply a code word for "really expensive"??

Monday, April 20, 2009

Assorted Snacks

My favorite appetizer at Bombay House is the Assorted Snacks. So here is an assortment of random thoughts for Monday.

After waking up to 8 inches of snow in our yard Thursday morning (yes, this is mid-April), it was more than a pleasant thing to jump in the car and head south for Spring Break. I think I may have been laughing hysterically at the time. I've so had enough of winter.

So after two flat tires, the back door of our car breaking so you couldn't shut it, the car battery going flat, and backtracking to get the tires fixed, we finally made it to Toquerville, Utah, which is just outside of Zion's National Park. And we found sun! We were originally going to camp in Capitol Reef, but when their forecast called for snow too, you could've lost a limb had you gotten in the way of my frenzy to make a new plan.

Now the first sun of the season is always dangerous for me. It feels so absolutely heavenly to sit in it and drink it up and I never truly believe that I need sunscreen. The secret to sunburns, I've found, is to never sunburn your entire body at once. So this weekend I worked on my arms; my legs shall be next. And I declare a pox upon the people with actual pigment in their skins who can sit in the sun for no longer than 5 minutes and come away with a healthy glow. I've got a glow, all right, but I swear you can see it throbbing right before your very eyes.

So my next random thought regards something funny. I must declare in my most Uncle Albertish voice that, I love to laugh. And this is one of the funniest things I've seen. And it does not get less funny to me the more times I watch it.

Happy Monday. And if someone wants to share how I can actually post the link for this, that would be great. I think my brain is sunburned too.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring According to Me

Here are my rules for Spring:

Spring is for flowers.
Spring is for planning the garden and dreaming of children weeding it all summer long. :)
Spring is for warm weather after a terribly long, cold, long, long, long winter.

Spring is for remembering my grandpa and for going with him to pick up sweet little widow ladies for church on Easter.
Spring is for drinking in the sun.
Spring is for picnics.
OK, spring can be for rain. Flowers need rain.
Spring is for walks in the rain with my husband who should have had webbed feet.

Spring is NOT for sneezing.

Spring is for our annual Easter egg hunts.
Spring is for remembering the real reason for Easter.
Spring is for my grandma's amazing Easter dinners.
Spring is for children.

Spring is NOT for last minute snowstorms and thermal underwear. That is just wrong.

Spring is for the short sleeves and capris that have been hiding all winter.
Spring is for walking outside and for listening to birds singing in the morning.
Spring is watching the kids on the rope swing and riding up and down the street on their bikes in small teeming masses.
Spring is energy.

"Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn't permanent." (Jean Kerr in Finishing Touches) Good-bye winter.

Spring is hope.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Walter Wonk

The 5 year old went on a field trip last week and came home very excited about it. I had no idea what he was talking about. I could understand "Walter" and that they had been somewhere, but it wasn't until I got the weekly newsletter from his class, that it all became clear. They had been to the BYU Museum of Fine Art to see the Walter Wick exhibition. We cannot convince him that his name is Walter Wick. He insists on calling him Walter Wonk.

For those of you who don't know Walter Wick, he is the owner of the clever brain that makes the I Spy books. He also does optical illusion photos. For the record, I don't like optical illusions. They hurt my clever brain. Or not so clever as the case may be.

So for FHE last night, we decided to go to the museum as a family and let him be our guide. I have never seen a child so excited. He took us downstairs
and very loudly and animatedly (is that a word?) showed us all the pictures and how you need to look for the little peg-head man in each one. The exhibit is brilliant. It's at the MOFA till August 1 and is well worth the visit. It's colorful, it's clever, it's captivating, it rocks. Kids absolutely love it and OK, I quite enjoyed it myself.

But for as great as the actual exhibit is, by far the best thing about our trip was a little boy getting to be in charge and getting to share with us something he had learned and experienced apart from us. That doesn't happen often enough for the little caboose--he often feels left behind because he's too young to go where the big kids go. Thank you, Walter Wonk, for a magical evening.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Baby Steps

I finally finished my apron. I've seen these pretty frilly things for sale and figured I could make one if I just had a pattern. I found this cute pattern at and it was pretty simple. There were a few tricky parts but I finally got through them and am very pleased with it. I'm thinking I'll have to make myself a few more before I'm done.

I've been reading some books set maybe 50 years ago on various farms. One of the characters mentions putting on her apron to do some work at about the same time I had finished my apron. I'm quite sure her apron was not a frilly thing. It called to mind again how blessed I feel to have not only the necessities of life, but some luxuries as well. I felt like making a pretty apron, so I bought the pattern, found some fun fabric and I made it. I wasn't struggling to make a living, I didn't have to save up for months to buy the fabric, and I didn't have to work from sunrise to sundown harvesting anything. By all accounts, I live a very easy life. If anything, I spend too much time dealing with excesses--I make trips to DI to empty our house of clutter, I exercise because I've eaten too much . . .

I hope that the next time I feel that I need something new or I that I need a little break from my spoiled life, that I will take a minute to think about those who have less. That I will appreciate the bounty of my rich life and express gratitude. That I will look beyond myself and my selfish desires. I often hesitate to help because I don't feel capable of solving world hunger, or of righting a great wrong. And while I may not be able to help someone on the other side of the world, I do know of a friend who is ill. Surely I can offer something small--something that will show that I am thinking of someone other than myself. Something that maybe only I can give--or maybe it's something that anyone can give and I will be the one lucky enough to actually do it.

And maybe I will wear my apron while I do it. I can't become too selfless all at once or no one will recognize me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile

This would be the 5 year old.

He makes me smile a lot.

Is it wrong to laugh at this? The accident report is so cute.

Still my all time favorite. Your day can't possibly ever be as bad as this:

He makes me crazy every day, but I absolutely love him.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day to Me!

Just had to share my beautiful new clutch that arrived in the mail today from my friend, Bill Devaney, at Abas Leather. You can see their full line of products at They have beautiful things. I typically go for black--clothes, accessories, shoes, handbags . . . This is kind of exciting and brave for me to try "berry." Maybe I'll turn over a new leaf and be more adventurous. We can always hope.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I am a cool mom. My oldest son has been working on a Colonial unit at school and some of you will remember the coat and vest I made him for that. He wanted to dress up again as Paul Revere for one of his projects so I made him a matching hat yesterday. How cool is that? I was going to post a picture but it turned out kind of retarded. So I guess that lowers the coolness factor. Significantly. At least he was happy with it and went off to school wearing it today.

That's the story of my life. I guess I've always been a nerd, although I won't admit that to my husband. But I have halfway cool ideas and I try to prove that I am, after all, a cool person. But then my execution fails slightly and in the end, I'm still a nerd. Oh well.

It's shocking really when you see how well I used to dress:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Art of Saying No

I want to be clear that whenever possible, I like to say yes. I've been helped immensely in my life by people who couldn't say no, and even better--they did it cheerfully! That being said, I want to post a small part of something I found on

How to Say NO, and Still Feel Good About Yourself

Many people find it very difficult to say no when someone makes a request of them. They will say yes even when they know they really don't want to do it or don't even have the time to do it. Keep the following information in mind the next time someone asks you do something so you can say no and still feel good about yourself.

1. It is important to remember that saying no is a choice. In any situation, you have the choice to either say yes or say no.

2. Be a person of integrity. To be a person of integrity means saying no sometimes. Saying no simply means that you want to stay true to the commitments you have already made.

3. Keep your priorities in mind. Saying no to the things that are not on your priority list is perfectly acceptable.

4. Saying no is not a sign of weakness. It indicates that you know your own strengths, abilities and limitations. If you don't want to say no, then learn to say 'not right now' instead.

5. Compare how you feel when you say yes to something and want to do it to when you say yes to something and really wanted to say no.

I firmly believe that there are times to say no. I have a tendency in my life to agree to too much. My ambitions or good intentions or feelings of guilt or wanting to please, etc. etc. entice me into putting too much on my plate. Then I end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed and guess what--I take it out on my family. It is a constant challenge for me to keep things balanced and to only take on what I have the time and energy to fulfill.

Something I learned a long time ago is that if I don't protect my time with my family, no one else will. There will always be some cause or demand that will take everything I have to give and will not care in the end that I didn't do what I really wanted to do--be loving and patient and fun with my family.

So, here's a thought for you and a reminder for myself: It's okay to say no sometimes so you can choose to say yes to the things that are really important. So if you want me, I'll be snuggled up with my 5 year old and some books and a cup of hot chocolate. Don't call.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Little Heat for January

It's cold and my furnace is having issues. If anyone else needs a little heat in their January, here's one of my favorite recipes--Cajun Chicken Pasta. Also, if anyone is interested, check out and search for her Crash Hot Potatoes recipe. I made them last night and oh, my. It's my new favorite. One other note--nothing I cook turns out like the pictures in the recipe. My potatoes were definitely nothing like hers--but they were so delicious. Keep that in mind with this recipe and know that it's yummy even if the pictures are lame.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
4 t Cajun (Creole) seasoning
4 T butter or margarine
16 slices each green and sweet red pepper
8 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
2-4 cups heavy cream
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 t salt
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t pepper
8 oz linguine, cooked and drained

Place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl or resealable plastic bag; toss or shake to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter until almost tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add peppers, mushrooms and onion; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Reduce heat. Add cream and seasonings; heat through. Add linguine and toss; heat through.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Here's to Plodding Along

The cat has taken over her drawer again. I had a half-finished project in her drawer for a few months and she was displaced, but she has returned. I sometimes feel like my life consists of half-finished projects. I read a blog recently where she said when we work on resolutions we should be like the tortoise, not the hare. I liked that idea because if anything, I am a tortoise. I'm not fast and I'm not flashy, but if you want consistent effort, I'm your girl.

So I resolved for the new year to get caught up on scrapbooks. When my oldest was little, I started scrapbooking for her and worked on it every month. She has a book for every year of her life. Now that I have 4 kids, it makes me crazy. But I can't give up their books--I hate the thought of the youngest thinking he is less important than my first. Isn't that what youngest kids always think since there end up being less photos of them? So I'm determined to prove something--that I'm a good parent or that I really love all my kids or something. So I counted up how many months I was behind on all their books--for a grand total of 29. I figured if I finished one month a day, I could be caught up in a month! Beautiful goal. And so far so good. I stayed on track last week and finished 2 months' worth yesterday. The success makes me giddy.

Obviously the principle applies to anything we want to accomplish. Break the insurmountable goal up into little pieces and consistently hack away at it. So that's my brilliant thought for the day. Good luck, keep plugging away, and sooner or later you'll get there and the cat can move back in.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Fresh Start

It's that time of year again. Time to evaluate where we've been and where we're going. I recently read a talk by Gerald Causse, in which he observes:

"In his philosophical short story The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery describes the confusion of a little boy who, on discovering a field of roses, perceives that the flower he has, which he has tended with such love, is not unique but very ordinary. Then he comes to the realization that the thing that makes his rose unique is not its outward appearance but the time and the love he has consecrated to taking care of it."

I thought I had learned this lesson years ago, but apparently I didn't. I have been feeling overwhelmed with my "tending" tasks--tasks which never seem to end and which have to be done over and over again. And by overwhelmed I mean that I feel like a raving lunatic by the end of the day. I seriously think they lied to me when they installed my granite countertops. I swear they're large black magnets. Yet, I should be feeling joy--joy that I've been blessed with a handsome husband who works hard to provide for our family, joy that I've been blessed with four lovely children, and joy that I'm able to spend my time and love on my little family.

So for this New Year's resolution, I hereby resolve to stop complaining so much, and to see my time tending my little roses as a consecration. To lovingly prepare dinner for them. To patiently respond to a thousand questions about why we can't wear pajamas all day or poke other people with the Pick Up Stix. To cheerfully clean all the toilets in the house.

Bahahahahahahahaha OK, that's pushing it. But I'm sure you see the point. That's the resolution anyway. Be sure you remind me on January 15 when I'm complaining about dirty socks all over the house, what my resolution was. In the meantime, stop and smell the roses, hope they're wearing clean socks and that their mom is not in the asylum. Happy New Year's!