For a Quick Reference

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Close call with a painful sting

Today I had an unwanted intimate interlude with the scariest arachnid of all: the scorpion.

I was minding my own business, innocently reading scriptures out loud to my children, sitting on the tile floor in my pajamas and bare feet.

I became vaguely aware of something tickling under my toes. I ignored the sensation until I reached the end of the verse, then cast a quick glance at my feet.

This is what I saw hiding under my toes:

Yikes! Seldom have I moved so fast! 

I flew out of my seat and yelled for my knight to rescue me from this terrible (albeit a mere three-inch) demon. 

Somehow it was my lucky day and I wasn't stung, even though it had been crawling under my naked toes. 

This *delightful* incident happened 15 minutes ago and I still have goosebumps and heebie-jeebies. Guess what I'll be dreaming of tonight?


Sunday, May 20, 2012

A tour through our whimsical garden

When it comes to interior decorating, I'm pretty hopeless. I could admire people's lovely houses and appreciate the aesthetic appeal of their decorating....but I couldn't tell you how they did it. 

I've tried to learn a bit more about interior decorating so I can create a lovely space. I feel like a beautiful home creates a feeling of harmony and peace. I should clarify that to me a beautiful home does not equal expensive accessories. I prefer beauty in a simpler way, like arranging colors in harmony. 

I tried really hard to make Sarah's room a relaxing retreat for her. It was so fun for us to work together on it. 

Before we begin the tour, let me show you what her room looked like earlier:

Isn't it lovely?! (If I could drip sarcasm from my text, believe me, I would.) This room was plastered with layers of wallpapers when we bought the house. This picture is our family ripping off sheets of wallpaper while we wiggle to Turkish pop music. We love listening to Tarkan while we clean. (Isn't all work more fun with invigorating music for company?)

 I had heard horror stories before regarding how difficult it is to get rid of wallpaper. We had our own week-long battle with this atrocious decorating faux-pas. After this intimate experience with paper and glue and elbow-grease, I've decided wall paper will never have a place in our home.

Here is where we are now:

We painted the walls a really light pink. We learned a lesson the hard way in our old house: when painting with pink, ALWAYS go several shades lighter than the color you originally picked. It's the only way you won't end up with atrocious, energy-sapping Peptobismal Pink. The lighting in your house is always darker than the lighting at the paint store, so the pink paint looks darker at home. Trust me. 

We found some whimsical wall decals to spice things up. ( I considered just painting them on myself, but this was so much easier and I know she'll grow tired of this look as she grows older, so why invest days painting this by hand? It's all going to come down in a few years anyway, so I decided to take the artistic shortcut. Don't judge.)

Our favorite spot is her flower garden above her closet doors.

Butterflies and ladybugs drift lazily across another wall...

This is a large picture frame we discovered lurking in our attic. 

Originally it had the dated dark brown and brassy look of the seventies. I stripped off the paint and painted it like this:

Nathan built a canvas to fit the frame. (I love having a handy husband. He makes everything look easy.) The canvas is waiting for me to paint it with a playful fairy tea party. Maybe I'll get that done this summer? Who knows.....

Since I know you're just dying to explore her room more (okay maybe not....those who aren't interested can leave.) I'll show you. 

This is her 'natural museum' space. She collects fossils, sea shells, unusual rocks, furs, and animal bones. Her skull count currently includes skulls from a cow, a chicken, and a fox. She gets so excited when she finds nature's artifacts. One of her favorite places to visit is the Austin Nature and Science Center.

She loves to make embroidered art. Here are an alphabet sampler and a favorite scripture on her dresser. The wall hanging is one I made for her years ago.

Her 'special things' shelf includes fragile glass unicorns.....and her treasured slingshot. Isn't it an interesting glimpse into her personality?

Her baby blessing dress graces the wall above her head. This is the same dress I was blessed in when I was an infant. I like to decorate with meaningful items full of  sentimental value.

Framed doilies hug the space above her bedroom door. It's a great place to tuck in one last piece of art. We found these little creations at an antique store. I think they're beautiful.

She adores her room and spends so much time there now. It's so welcoming and cheerful, even the boys are drawn to it. We love to sit in her plush reading chair and read aloud together. 

I'd call this one decorating success. Now if I could just figure out what to do with my own room...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cowgirl Aspirations

Last week Sarah said, "I can't be a cowgirl since we don't have any large livestock. I guess I'll have to settle with being a chickengirl."

She thought, then added, "Somehow chickengirl doesn't sound quite as exciting."

Our little peeps eye the camera
One of my favorite play-writes, Oscar Wilde, says: "People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately." 

He was right. I don't know exactly how many chicks we hatched this spring, because we can't count them before they all mix themselves up again!

As best as we can tell, we currently have around 35 chicks. When we add in our laying flock, we have a total of 50 chickens. Isn't that fun?

Sarah is planning on selling the eggs once these babies start laying in a few months. She's planning on calling them "Sarah's Eggleberries"

Tonight we begin building modifications in our chicken coop. We're remodeling the entire thing. Ripping down walls and building new floor plans.

Doesn't it sound like a perfect Friday-night date? (Okay, if you can't tell, I'm not even a little sarcastic here...) I really am excited. I love working side by side with my husband. He's such a heart throb!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Matthew's Milestone Moment

We fed over 65 people in two days. In our little house. I hear you asking, "Why would we do that to ourselves?"

Ready for the feasting to begin
For the best reason possible: Matthew was baptized!

I'm so thankful for a husband who holds the priesthood who has authority to baptize our son. It was a lovely service. He was surrounded by grandparents, uncles, and friends. 

We really wanted to celebrate this joyous milestone in his life. Nathan and I cooked for 2 days preparing for the affair.

We served his best ever chili (Seriously. That's literally the name of the recipe.) A friendly word to the wise- if you don't like to cook all day, don't ever try this chili. After eating this version, you'll never be able to even choke down any other chili again. There's no going back after tasting this bowl of happiness. However, this darn recipe has 30 ingredients! It even asks you to make your own chili powder by grinding smoked chilis. That's just not my cup of tea....I don't enjoy cooking. I officially resigned from ever making chili again....this is now Nathan's realm in our marriage! Nathan creates this recipe the way I create a painting- very lovingly.

We also served 6 types of cornbread, Rudy's-style creamed corn (I think only Texans know what magic that name conjures. Rudy's creamed corn=ambrosia from heaven. You don't even want to know how many calories it has!), veggie trays, 5-layer bean dip, green salad (not surprisingly, this wasn't eaten much. I can't blame anyone. Salad pales in comparison to such yummy food.), lemonade, and chocolate cake. I think everyone felt like they were rolling out the door.

I was feeling a rare creative impulse earlier that week, so I had indulged the in my inner need to create decorations. (Disclaimer: Before you start comparing yourself to me and assume that I make amazing decor for all our parties, let me say this: I haven't decorated for even birthday parties in years. I don't even do crepe paper or balloons.......this party really was a rare event wherein I actually WANTED to decorate for my own satisfaction. Please don't think I'm 'on top of things'....because I'm really not.)
Our "Happy Birthday Wreath" fit the color scheme nicely, so it joined our party.
I wanted to decorate with things we already had. Luckily mason jars have become really popular lately as party decor. I have an entire closet full of these glass beauties, so we just dressed them up a bit with cheerful colors. Sarah and I cut colored vellum sheets and tucked them into each jar. With a bit of bright ribbon and raffia they looked finished. It really didn't take very long and this was an easy project for little helpers to assist me.

I arranged jars down the centers of each table. I also scattered colorful confetti on the tables to add a playful touch of color. I love bright colors, they are so cheerful! We added tea light candles inside each jar and lit them before guests arrived. It created a welcoming ambiance (really, I was just hoping they would be distracted from my fixer-upper house!).

 We let Matthew choose who to invite for this party. We were blessed with the attendance of his grandparents (who drove 32 hours round trip to be here for ONE DAY! We felt so blessed with their dedication!), his school teacher, school friends, neighbors, church friends, and even dear friends from our old hometown 20 miles away.

With the expectation of 35 children coming over to play, I created some games for them. I made a 'scavenger hunt' sheet for each of them to do. It listed 25 activities to do on our property. When they completed the list, they could choose a refreshing Popsicle (or was pretty warm that afternoon!). It helped provide loose structure to the children's play and I think it helped prevent boredom or contention. The list included items such as:

Push someone on the tire swing
Give a ride to someone in the wagon
Climb a tree
Collect an egg from the hen house
Pet the dog
Ride the disc swing
Draw a self-portrait with sidewalk chalk
Do a silly dance
Find an ant carrying food
Ride the teeter-totter swing
Jump on the trampoline

Anyway, you get the idea. The children had so much fun doing the activities.....we even had teenagers doing the scavenger hunt!

 It was a wonderful day of eating, laughter, eating, happy conversation, playing outside, and eating some more. I'm so thankful the friends who were able to celebrate this special day with us!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth

Recently I had a fleeting glimpse of what this scripture from Proverbs means:

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

What a beautiful view of motherhood I saw yesterday!

After our traditional Mother's Day Tea Party (herbal tea only....remember, Mormons don't drink regular tea) I indulged in a short afternoon nap.

I awoke to an unearthly scene.

While I had slept, my children had schemed together and created a Mommy-Spa. An armchair full of pillows stood before a steaming foot bath. On the accompanying table were rows of nail polishes, massage lotions, chocolates (they know my weak spot for Rocher chocolates!), and a cup of cherry tea. My children giggled as they eagerly ushered me into the armchair, then proceeded to pamper me for the next hour.

They tenderly brushed my hair, lovingly massaged my hands and feet, and carefully painted my nails. (Okay, I admit, Matthew's first-ever attempt at painting toenails was a bit comical. His heart was in the right place and he was trying so hard....I decided not to point out that nail polish is meant to stay only on the toenails. I ignored the little spots of pink dribbled accidentally between my toes. Sometimes mothers just have to bite their tongue.) One child fanned my face while I reclined luxuriously on the pillows.

They were so attentive and anticipated my every possible desire. "Would you like a chocolate? Here, I'll unwrap it for you!" "How is your tea, do you need more sugar?" "Are you too cold from my fanning? I'll bring you a blanket and tuck you in!"

While all these things are lovely, the best part of the experience was this: they worked together happily as a team the entire time without any inclination to disagree with each other about the details. Oh that was heavenly. I felt like a queen doted on by adorable fans.

This thought ran circles in my mind the entire time:

It's so true!

My sweet husband was so thoughtful the entire weekend. Loving friend that he is, he encouraged me to attend an overnight women's retreat for our church. I felt so strengthened, empowered, and inspired from those wonderful women! We laughed and cried together and forged meaningful friendships. Oh how I LOVED the Relief Society retreat! I love the way the teachings of Christ bring people together in positive ways!

I came home Saturday to a clean home with homemade bread and rolls cooling on the counter. The children had scrubbed the bathrooms and bathed before I returned home. Nathan cooked up a storm preparing food for our Tea Party. He baked cranberry-orange scones with sweet orange glazing and cream, miniature quiches, deviled eggs, and chocolate cookies. It was all so delicious!

We invited over some dear friends who I admire as wonderful mothers. It was lovely to share the day with them and strengthen a friendship with people who are gems.

Yes, sometimes it's hard to be a mother. But sometimes the intense joy of motherhood takes my breath away. Yesterday was a perfectly blissful, wonderful day. I felt such deep happiness to be surrounded by my little ones. Motherhood truly is a joy.

Here's some beautiful parting thoughts I'd like to share:

Did you notice the words that were used? Highest, holiest, next to the angels – we should all feel like that, and we can, when we stop comparing ourselves to others and seeking the praise or approval of man. Who you are is enough, you are doing the best you can. If you doubt that pray and ask Heavenly Father He will tell you how loved you are, He will let you feel of your true worth.

These lovely printable quotes were made by Spiritually Thinking.
Read more: