"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm awsome

I love that Hyrum has huge amounts of self confidence.  That really is important for kids, right?
Yeah, pretty much.
(If your are viewing this post via email, go to the blog www.tarasplaceforeverything.blogspot.com to view the video.  The post will make a lot more sense.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas advent

I have held off posting for months now because I felt like I needed to catch up on everything that has happened since I posted last.  I keep getting further behind, so I am just going to jump in mid-stream and not look back.

We love Christmas, and anticipating Christmas is almost as fun as the actual day.  I love advents, and we always have one or two hanging around.  Well, this year, I decided I wanted one for each child.  Here is what I came up with:

This one is paper cylinders sewed in opposite directions at each edge.

 I made this one last year.  It is muslin bags with iron-on vinyl numbers.

This is the paper cylinders again, just different colors.

Last is this cool one I did with my Silhouette this year.  You have the option of boxes or drawers for each space, and maybe next year when I have  more time I will do the boxes.  As it is, I think it turned out pretty well.

In each of the containers is a small piece of candy, and in one of the four each day is a scripture relating to Christmas.  I told the kids they had to get their morning work done before they get to open the box for the day, and at 7:30 this morning every one was done, with no prompting on my part!  Yeah!  I love Christmas!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Best Mother's Day gift EVER!!!

I have finally grown up a bit and realized that Mother's Day is not about being pampered and petted. It is about being grateful for the gift of BEING a mother. So, my expectations of the day do not involve getting great gifts. But, this year, Brigham gave me the most thoughtful, unselfish gift I have ever received. He gave me...wait for it...a "big-huge-Mother's-Day-kid-spanking-stick". He even wanted me to try it out to make sure it worked and volunteered to be the test-y. And, this massive branch you see Hyrum holding is the actual stick. I should have gotten the picture with Brigham, but he is already on the bus, and the stick needs to be removed from the property before someone uses it for a big-huge-house-smashing-stick!

Okay, last thing. The night before Mother's Day, Brigham was saying his prayers, and I wanted to share an excerpt:
"Please help Dad, Joy, Paul and Hyrum to love me as much as I love Mom. I love her so much I don't even throw up on her." That, my friends, is true love!
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Making fun of my kids

What is the point of being a mother if you can't occasionally make fun of your silly kids? Today was a great opportunity for that. First thing after breakfast the kids decided they wanted to paint. (We are still down with colds, so we didn't go to church right after breakfast as we usually do.) As I wanted to get a little crafting done too, I readily agreed. Joy taught the boys how to make splatters on their pages, and Brigham took it to the next level.

You almost don't notice the healing burn or the hula hoop to the head scabs with all the paint.

Brigham and Joy really get along quite well, and after a bit of clean-up, they went upstairs to come up with a parade. I don't think that really caught on, because after a long while, they came downstairs bedecked it Silly Bands. They were rock stars, and Joy did her best to get her rock star attitude on.

Personally, I think the unbrushed hair was much more effective than the silly-banded pajama pants!

Then, this evening, Joy and Hyrum did this amazing stunt. I have been noticing lately that Joy is an exceptionally scrawny child! I mean, look at her arms! I think Hyrum's arms are bigger around than hers! It is a wonder he doesn't just fall flat and smash her like a pancake! Okay, he did a few times.

And speaking of scrawny, I couldn't resist this shot. Have you ever seen such a pointy bum in your life? It looks like an elbow joint, not a bum!

Well, that was cathartic. Maybe I will let them live another day...
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Super Hooper

It is amazing what a few days of practice will do for a person. You remember a few days ago, when I posted a video of Hyrum's cute hooping? He was pretty cute, but not very adept. Well, that has changed. He can now keep a hoop up as long as he likes. And, if I don't distract him, he can do just about whatever he pleases.
What you don't get from this video is how little he is. It is even more adorable when you see the action and realize it is being accomplished by someone who is only 41" tall! And, he is not even remotely modest. He will tell you he is a great hooper.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hula Hooper!

Joy and I have been doing a lot of hula hooping lately, and Hyrum has been fascinated by it. Unfortunately, his powers of hooping are not great. He stands still and spins the hoop around him. Well, in the last couple of days, he has figured out that, if you move your body, the hoop goes longer. So, I got a bit of video of his exertions.
Brigham and Hyrum wouldn't believe that I was recording, which is why they keep telling me to "take it". (For those of you who are getting this via email, go to the blog here and watch the clip).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

To-do list

This is Brigham's to-do list for today, of his own creation and origination.
In case you can't tell, it says:
- Laugh
- Run
- Play
- Scream
- Yell

It was quite a list, but I think he accomplished it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snow Day!

Talk about a snow day! After we finally got out, we had a lot of fun. The kids didn't really want their pictures taken, so just pretend the look happy.

School is cancelled for tomorrow, and I hear we are supposed to get another 6-10 inches tonight! Maybe we will be able to make that igloo Paul wanted to make.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New System

I am always looking for better ways to do things. Or, just ways to start doing them. On this occasion, I was looking for a way to get the kids doing their morning work without so much monitoring from me. As I ruminated, I eventually came up with a plan. Sure, it took me almost two months to get it from idea to implementation, but the important thing is that it got there eventually! And here it is.

In the boys room, I have a peg bar on the wall to hang stuff from. Each boy has a bucket, and each night I put their clothes for the next day in the bucket. So, after consulting with my dad on how to do it, I added 18 clothes pins to the bar. Now, each boy has six clothes pins that I fill up with chore cards. Each boy has five cards (color-coded per child) that say, "PJs Away", "Get Dressed", "Make Bed", "Clean Room", and "Brush Teeth". I left one extra spot for the time when I start giving them more work.
The idea is, when they get up in the morning, they need to do all their cards before they come out of their rooms. When a card has been completed, they take it out of the clothes pin and put it in their pocket. Then, when they have gone to school, I take the cards out of the pockets, check the work, and if it has been done correctly, they get rewarded. They earn one penny per card completed, and if they complete them ALL, they get an extra nickel. This money goes into their special banks (empty peanut butter jars with their initial on the front that I made especially for this purpose) that hang from the living room mantel.

Theoretically, it will only take the boys 10 days to earn a dollar, and Joy even less, since she has more than five cards a morning. Today was the first day we tested the system and it went okay, but I hope to report back that it has been a screaming success!
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's working!

As a parent, there are many times when I wonder if anything I am doing makes any difference at all. I mean, I am trying, but I fail a lot too. So it is always nice to have a moment that seems to say, "Yes, you are on the right track, it is worth it." Tonight I had one of those.

I went upstairs to remind the kids for the ump-teenth time that they were supposed to be getting their pajamas on, and this is what I found. No, Paul doesn't usually sit around studying the scriptures, but he was sure trying to tonight. He was following his fingers along the words and making up his own story, but he was in the scriptures! A few nights ago, I changed the way we do scripture study. Instead of me reading to the kids, we sit together, each child with their own Book of Mormon, and each person "reads" a verse. If you are a reader, you read. If you are not, I say it and you repeat. And, if you are somewhere in the middle, you read what you can and I help you with the rest. The scriptures live in the boys' clothes buckets, so they are always in the room with the boys. And, now I am glad they are, because they are getting it!
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Friday, February 18, 2011

March Craft Group is ON!

Yeah! March craft group is posted and ready to be viewed! This is what we are making:

Craft group is open to anyone in the area who wants to attend. Go to the craft group blog for all the details!

(Thanks, Brown Paper Packages for picture and instructions!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

While I was busy with other things, my boys were busy being creative. The created a pencil-spatula apple launcher. The process of getting the clip was a bit interesting, but in the end, we got it. Take One:
Take Two:
Take Fifteen:

Valentine's Mailboxes

I saw some super cute Valentine's mailboxes on a blog the other day and wanted to try them out, but I didn't want to drive 45 minutes to buy real mailboxes. So, I looked around the Silhouette store online and downloaded a pattern to make my own for $0.99. The kids picked out their paper, and here is what we ended up with.
The only disadvantage is that they are a little on the small side. So, I made coordinating envelopes for the bigger Valentine's to go in.
I think it would be an understatement to say that the kids are excited to open them on Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We were Heart-Attacked!

Sometime tonight, a devious crime was committed. When I pulled up in the driveway after picking Joy up from church, we found our yard covered in hearts. (It may have been there when we left to pick Joy up, but I was so focued on herding the boys I didn't even glance at the front yard!) I don't know who did it, but we sure appreciated it. The kids almost wet themselves in their excitement! And, I felt pretty special too.

Thanks, whoever you are!
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The kids' Valentines

This year I am a little ahead in my planning, so I let the kids make their Valentines. I found an idea on Family Fun and it turned out like this:
While Joy was at Achievement Girls tonight, the boys worked on their Valentines. Okay, I have to put in a little plug here. I wanted to do these, but I didn't want to spend hours cutting out 64 leaves and 64 hearts. So, I figured out how to make my Silhouette do the work. I took some existing graphics and modified them to create the hearts and the double leaves. The hearts were easy, but I impressed myself with the leaves. Then, just hit the button and let the machine do all the work. It was lovely.

Anyway, tonight, the boys wrote their names on the leaves, glued the leaves, and selected their suckers. I put a dollop of hot glue on the back of the sucker and attached the heart. My favorite part is that materials to do Valentines for all three kids' class ran me about $3.50 total! The 50 pack of card stock was $2.50 and I only used 10 pages, and I got the suckers after Halloween at a bag of 100 for $1. Can't beat that!
I was amazed at how patient Brigham was writing his name. Seven letters 27 times really adds up!
I let Hyrum make the leftovers. He was so excited to print his "H" and then have me finish his name for him.
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine's prep FHE

I have always tired to come up with traditions for our family and sometimes I am more successful than others. One of the ideas I have had for years but never put into action came to pass tonight. It goes like this:

On the Monday before Valentine's Day everyone writes love letters to each member of the family that are then delivered on Valentine's Day. So, tonight for FHE, that is what we did. We had a short lesson in which we talked about the Family Proclamation and what it has to say about love (husband and wife are to love each other, love their children, and to teach their children to love and serve one anther) and then the kids made Valentine's cards. As Joy is the only one who writes well enough to write a letter, I settled for having them make cards for each other. Super fun. And, with my fancy new Silhouette, I cut out mailboxes that I am going to put together later tonight. Valentines will be distributed to the boxes and the kids will have the opportunity to add to them throughout the week. I am really excited to get them finished tonight!

Here are some shots of the kids at work:

We had to leave the cards to dry, the kids still haven't learned that you don't need a quarter-sized drop of glue for each item!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Another successful FHE

Well, it appears that the ball is now rolling. For the second week in a row, we had a successful Family Home Evening. Funny thing is, we almost didn't have it. We didn't get things ready yesterday, and I almost decided to cancel for tonight. However, I didn't want to get in that habit, so we moved forward. It was Brigham's night to teach, and when I asked him what he thought our family needed to learn about, he said "healthy foods". Well, I told him I thought it would be a bit of a stretch to learn about healthy foods if we were having ice cream sandwiches for dessert. He was quick with a new idea that would go with dessert - cold foods! Lucky for me, inspiration hit. We decided we would teach a lesson on how to properly set the table.

First, Brigham helped me get out and stack on the counter five of everything we needed - plates, cups, napkins, forks, spoons and knives. That was almost a disaster since he thought I meant stack them all in the SAME pile! After that catastrophe was averted, we moved on to the lesson. Each child came over and Brigham gave them one of each item and instructed them to sit at the table. Once we were all seated, we had a lesson on left and right. Since the three youngest are still a bit fuzzy on that concept, we kind of slid through that. Then, I showed and had the kids all put each item in the correct spot. Easy. And, each night this week, we are going to set the table with all the silverware to help it set in. Paul led the kids in "When We're Helping, We're Happy" (one of my personal favorite propaganda songs from Primary) and Hyrum said the prayers. Woo Hoo! We are on a roll!

Oh yes, and we also did reverence practice. We have been having some problems being reverent in sacrament meeting and primary, so at FHE (and we may start doing it every night) we sit for 10 minutes and listen to church music. The kids have to sit on the couch or love seat and fold their arms reverently for the whole 10 minutes. If anyone gets irreverent, we start the clock over. It is amazing to me how well this calms them, and hopefully will even help with our reverence at church.

And, I just couldn't resist adding this shot of Brigham from this evening. Doesn't he look innocent?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

For the freezer

I don't know why, but lately I have been driven to make meals for the freezer. And, since it seems such a useful thing to do, I am chronicling my adventures over at my food blog. Just wanted to let you know in case you feel the world is coming to an end, or your are going to have a baby, and want to be prepared. So far I have 13 meals in the freezer, and there is no end in sight...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Now I Understand

I remember as a teenager listening to my mom say that she always felt depressed on Mother's day. She felt like it was a reminder of all the things she wasn't doing. I didn't get that. If you knew my mother, you would understand why. She was the mom all the kids only wished they had. Of course, she wasn't perfect, but neither were her kids (I mean, her other kids.) Anyway, I remember her making similar remarks on other occasions. Like after going to a visiting teaching conference. And now, as an overwhelmed adult, I finally get it.

I went to our ward's visiting teaching conference tonight. The speaker was good, and the music was excellent (just kidding, I sang.) But, as the speaker talked, I found myself feeling like I was laying in my coffin, and with every topic she covered, I was having shovelfuls of dirt dumped on me. She did a great job, but there are so many things that I wish I could be doing. You should meet the ladies I visit, they are wonderful! But, I just don't have the time to do all the things for each of them that really could be justifiably done. I guess I should rely on the Spirit to prompt me to the most important things. But, when one of the examples of how to do visiting teaching was to do for our sisters what their mothers would do if they were here, I almost cried! Oh well. Does anyone else feel this way? Maybe I am just crazy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Great FHE and activity!

For some reason, I have never really gotten a good grip on Family Home Evening. It always ends up with me, 10 minutes before start time on Monday evening, trying to come up with some meaningful lesson/activity/snack. You can guess how often I succeeded. Well, this year we have moved to the 9am meeting time for church, so we decided to make good use of the time on Sunday. I created an FHE assignment spinner and after quiet time on Sunday, I am working with each of the kids to prepare their part of FHE.
This week, Hyrum had the lesson, Paul the activity, and Brigham the treat. When I asked Hyrum what he wanted to teach about, he said, "Making Jesus happy." So, in a bu
rst of inspriation, we came up with a simple way to teach. I made simple happy/sad faces out of paperplates and craft sticks for each child. At FHE, we talked about what kind of things made Jesus happy. Then, we played happy/sad. I named something the kids might do, and they turned out the happy or sad side to show how it would make Jesus feel. Simple, but it kept their attention, and they seemed to enjoy it. We sang "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" for our opening song and "If You Chance to Meet a Frown" for our closing song.
Then, the activity. We made hula hoops. Yes, made them. It was really easy, and MUCH cheaper and better quality than buying them at Walmart. Now, if I could only find cheap colored electrical tape, we could get them decorated in something besides black. Anyway, here are the kids in action.
One of the cool things about making them ourselves was that we could make them the right size for everyone. Not that I think Hyrum will really get good at age 3, but stranger things have happened. If you are interested in making your own hula hoop, I used this tutorial.
I even got my own hoop, but the look of concentration on my face was a little much for the camera!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Music Man!

Lately Hyrum has become especially interested in violins. What, you don't see a violin in this picture? Well, I certainly see one. That rolled up piece of paper in his mouth? Yeah, that's what he calls his "violin." He has been doing this for a couple of days now. He rolls up a piece of paper, sticks a piece of tape on it (I don't know that it really matters where, apparently the tape makes it sound better), sticks it in his mouth, and walks around the house making tooting sounds with it. Yeah, I know, he's weird.
I just couldn't resist these two. It really isn't hot here, but the boys go out in their hats, coats, and mittens and run around and jump and then come back in the house where the temperature is simply unbearable to their overheated little bodies. So, since they are so dang cute, I let them run around topless until I get too cold looking at them.
And, doesn't this just look like a man who is proud of himself and his physique? I love it! I wish I were that confident!
On a side note, we had some friends over to play today, and Hyrum just HAD to hold the baby! It was adorable!

After a while, Hryum started asking about his baby doll, Scrabble. Since Scrabble was carelessly left on the floor and Daisy chewed his hands off, I took the opportunity to drop Scrabble in the trash. It has been at least two months since Hyrum even asked about him, so I figured it was safe. Did I tell Hyrum that? No way! Are you crazy? I just asked Hyrum where he put Scrabble last, and he got a dazed look in his eyes and moved on to another topic of conversation. Safe for now!
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