Monday, August 16, 2010

My Etsy Store

Hi. Remember me? Just in case anyone stops by this blog (obviously I don't!), I just wanted to let you all know about my new etsy store- I have been a little crazy with the skirt making at my house. Clara and I have more than our share! I just have so much fun making them that I decided to see if anyone else liked them as much as I do. Check out the ones I have in my store and be ready for more. I'm in the process of making some strip skirts and bubble skirts and layered skirts- they're all so super cute! So, check it out and tell your friends. Thanks.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dr. Noah

The other day I was watching The Doctors. This particular episode they were having a game show, and one of the games, the contestants had to place bones and organs in their correct place on the body. Noah saw parts of the show, but I didn't really think he was absorbing much. But later that night this is what he drew:

Isn't that cutest drawing of the human body you've ever seen? Well, I think so, and I love seeing him transplant images from his brain to the paper.
I asked him if the red circle on the right is the heart, and he said, "No. It's just a red thing." Okay. By the way, the squiggly lines on the head are his brain, and don't you love the bones in the legs and arms? Cute!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A New Memorial Day Tradition

I've never done anything for Memorial Day with my kids, other than the family barbecue. I live an hour away from any cemeteries with family members, and we've never taken the time to drive there and visit their graves, which I feel bad about and should do. When I was little, every Sunday before Memorial Day we'd go visit my Grandmas' graves and other family, and I miss that.
This year, spur of the moment, I decided we needed to go to the local cemetery and teach Noah what the holiday is about. It's a big, old cemetery that I've always wanted to visit, so I decided that today was the day. I wasn't sure what my kids would think, but I was pleasantly surprised. Clara just stayed in the stroller, but she liked looking around. Noah loved it! He saw all the flowers and flags and wanted to know what they were for. It was a wonderful teaching opportunity. After learning that a flag meant that person had been a soldier, he was very excited about finding all the flagged marked graves. He also enjoyed looking at the different gravestones and monuments and learning from Mom and Dad that some of the graves were over one hundred years old.
My very favorite, though, was being able to teach Noah the proper respect needed at a cemetery. He's never been to a funeral or a cemetery before, so this was all very new. A few times he accidentally stepped on some of the graves, but after a quick reprimand from Mom and Dad, he was very careful to treat them more respectfully. That's when he started fixing any flower pots that had fallen over. If any grave's flowers needing straightening, he ran over there and lovingly put them upright. We also encouraged him to put a stray flower lying on the grass on a lonely grave that needed some love. It was very sweet, and I even enjoyed helping him. It brought such a special spirit into my heart, and I'm pretty sure Noah could feel it too.
Noah could have stayed there much longer than we did, but Clara was ready to go. Tonight I've been thinking that maybe this needs to be a tradition. It doesn't matter if we don't know any of the people buried in the cemetery. They are still our brothers and sisters, and it's important to show our respect for the lives they lived.
I thought maybe next year we could actually take our own flowers and place them on graves that are empty. Then we can walk around like we did today and fix the flowers that have fallen down. I think it would be a lovely thing to continue to do. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pinkfig Girly Patchwork Skirt

Some of you know that recently I've gotten a little obsessive about making these darling skirts. Clara has three, and I have two, almost three. My best friend has one, all my nieces on my side have one, and two of my sisters have one. Last week we got together and had a skirt sewing party, so don't get too excited- I didn't make all of those skirts. It was very girly and very fun. They're just such darling skirts- I can't get enough of them! Which is why I'm sharing it with all of you. Aside from being so stinking cute, I love this skirt because:
  1. it's easy to make
  2. it's a great skirt for teaching girls to sew because it's mostly just straight stitching

Obviously I haven't taught Clara how to sew them. She just gets to benefit from my madness. But if you have daughters old enough to learn, this would be the pattern to use. After they pick out fabric and assemble all those strips, they'll not only be proud of themselves- they'll be excited to wear it because they will look SO CUTE!

The pattern is by Pinkfig Patterns, and here's the website where you'll find the pattern, along with other darling ones. Her patterns aren't sold everywhere, but she has a list of stores near you where you'll find them.

Have fun sewing with or for your cute little girls!

P.S.- I figured out how to make one for Mommy sizes. Leave your email in the comments if you'd like the measurements.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lovely Design

The January issue of Better Homes and Garden featured a mom in Vancouver Canada who is also an artist who designs paper. She has an online shop and a blog where she writes about her creative life and her little daughter Adelaid. Her business is called Lovely Design, and she's got some fun and fresh ideas.

I guess every month she has a design she features. This is the design for March. I really liked the ideas she gave about what to do with the design. She has links for paper flower making, paper bird making and other fun things. It sounded like the perfect thing to do with my kids to help us get excited for Spring (since Mother Nature doesn't seem to be). Check out her blog. I think you'll like it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dad to the Rescue

Aren't Dads the greatest? The list of things that Moms do everyday is at least a mile long, but there are some things that only Dad can do.

The past week or so I had been having the toughest time with Noah. My sweet little boy was M.I.A, and I was desperate for his return. But nothing I could say or do would bring him back. That's when I called on Dad for some help. After Dad heard about the grief Noah was causing me, he called for Noah and they had a talk.

Dad explained how Noah's behavior was not okay and that it was making his Mom sad. He challenged Noah to go through the whole day without whining and throwing a fit when Mom asked him to do something. He told Noah that he knew he could do it because of what a good boy he is. At the end of their little talk Noah promised he would be better and not whine and throw fits for the day.

It worked! My sweet little boy returned, and I can't believe the difference it made! It was so much easier for me to be happy and patient when my five year old wasn't acting like a two year old anymore, and it was so much easier to love him. The effects haven't worn off either! He's been fabulous for two days in a row, and I don't see the trend ending any time soon because of how proud of himself he is. Yesterday he was very anxious for his Dad to get home so he could tell him how good he was. He's also earned a lot more fish points (someday I'll explain what those are).

It's all thanks to Dad! What would I do without you?!

Love you!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some Cute Books

I'm still here. I've just been hiding from my blogs. I'm also finding that it's harder and harder to find time to sit at the computer without having kids crawling all over me, fighting for my attention. Once they're in bed, I have a husband doing the same thing. I guess it's nice being needed.

I thought I'd post something simple- a book review! Yay for books! The two I'm showcasing are Clara's new favorites.

This one is "Giddy-up! Let's Ride!" by Flora McDonald. It's based on the nursery rhyme "This is the way the ---- rides." It's a very simple book, but kids love the repetitive, rhythmic narrative. The pictures are also fun, and if your child is like mine and LOVES horses, they'll love this.

Last the best of all the game, is "The Wheels on the Bus" by Paul Zelinsky. This is a pop-up version of the classic song. It is so adorable! You and your kids will instantly love this book. The pictures are so much fun. There are tons of stories going on with all the different people getting on and off the bus. Plus, the pop-ups are so cute. My favorite is the page with the crying babies and the shushing Mamas. The pop-up shows a Mom putting a binky in and out of the baby's mouth- so cute!! Clara wants me to read this to her a hundred times a day, at least. But I always read it with her because this is a definite go-on-top-of-the-bookshelf book.
*Don't quote me on this, but I think both of these books might be out of print, which would be a humongous shame if it were true. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I was able to get both of them on Amazon, but I got them used. Hopefully you can find them at your library too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Our Perfect Parent

I've been thinking a lot lately about the example of parenting from our Heavenly Father and the Savior. They are perfect, after all, so there isn't anyone better than them to look to. I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, and hopefully I can relate them in a coherent manner.

I've been reading the book "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay, and I really like it. The reason I like it so much is because the things they teach go hand in hand with how we are parented. The book is all about allowing our children to choose and lovingly allowing them to experience the consequences, whether good or bad. That is exactly what our Heavenly Father does with us. He gave us the gift of agency, which gives us the opportunity to learn and grow from the choices we make. Otherwise, there would be no point to this life. Likewise, if we make all our children's choices for them, they will never gain the knowledge they need to not only survive in this world but also to receive eternal life in the next.

The more I ponder the example of parenting and love set by our Heavenly Father and the Savior, the more I am filled with gratitude. In Elder Dallin H. Oaks' talk last GC, he said, "Think how it must have grieved our Heavenly Father to send His Son to endure incomprehensible suffering for our sins. That is the greatest evidence of His love for each of us!" And we all know the scripture in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

To say being a parent is hard is an understatement. And I don't know about you, but allowing my son to make poor choices is super hard! It hurts my heart and sometimes makes me angry, but I know I have to let him go through the experiences because they will make him better. I just don't know how the Lord does it. Well, I do- because he's perfect. But being perfect doesn't make Him free from the pain and hurt that comes from seeing a child suffer because of their poor choices. Yet, He knows that it is the only way we can return to Him. It all goes back to love.

Tonight I was reading this month's Ensign and thinking again about Heavenly Father's example of parenting, and I was filled with immense love. I felt strengthened and guided by it, and it allowed me to put what I've been learning into action. You see, there was a little boy upstairs who was very sad. He had thrown a nasty tantrum, so he got sent straight to bed. As I listened to his cries, I wondered what the Lord would do. What does he do with me when I make mistakes? Does he leave me utterly alone? Yes, for a while, but he comes back when I am repentant and want Him back. Does he lecture me? No, but he chastens me, and "whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth." There's a difference in lecturing and chastening, and that difference is love.

So, guided by the Spirit, I decided to go upstairs. I knew Noah felt sorry for what he'd done, so it was time to relieve him of his sorrow and show him some love. I gave him a big hug, and soothed his tears by singing his favorite song, "I Am A Child of God". I told him that sometimes I make mistakes too, so I know how it feels. I also told him that he was a good boy, and that tomorrow he could try again at making better choices. I also felt prompted to ask him what Jesus wants us to do when we make mistakes and are sorry for them: try again. Everything will be okay because we can try again.

After that, his tears were all gone, and he rolled over and went to sleep. As I went back downstairs, my heart was filled with love. I really felt like I had handled things the way the Lord would have. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to react in such a loving way, especially for me. I can be's say boisterous sometimes. And when I'm like that, I'm not exactly feeling a whole lot of love.

You know what the key is to feeling that love? How about some Seminary Answers? You said it- pray and read your scriptures! It's so easy and yet so hard, but I am constantly amazed at the spiritual strength I feel when I fill my spiritual reservoir. If I didn't have the gospel, I think motherhood would literally have me in an insane asylum. Not kidding. I just could not do it alone. So why is that I still try to? I suppose that's one of life's never ending lessons.

To end my smattering of thoughts, I just want to say that as hard as mothering can be, if we follow the example of our Perfect Parent, we will be okay.

P.S.- Isn't it funny how when you have been pondering something a lot, you find and hear things about it all of a sudden? This month's Ensign has an article "What Mother's Can Learn from the Savior." It's a good one. Here's a reassuring quote from it by Elder Faust:

"If you have done your best, which you usually do, your humble offering, whatever it may be, will be acceptable and pleasing to the Lord."
Here's another good one from President Packer:
"If your are helpless, he is not. If you are lost, he is not. If you don't know what to do next, he knows. It would take a miracle, you say? Well, if it takes a miracle, why not?"
P.S. 2- If you haven't read "Christlike Parenting" by Glenn I. Latham, you need to. It's a good one. The Book of Mormon isn't bad, either.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Puzzle Activity for FHE Lesson

This week for FHE I used Lesson #25 "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" in the Behold Your Little Ones Manual. I followed the lesson as outlined, but I did add my own little twist that I thought I'd share.

For an activity, I used the coloring picture they provide. I colored it myself beforehand and cut the picture out into four puzzle pieces: "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" quote, Jesus, Joseph Smith with quote, and scriptures with quote. Then, on the back of each puzzle piece I wrote down a song to go along with it:

"I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"
"I Am a Child of God"
"We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet"
"Search, Ponder, and Pray."
Before laying down each piece, we sang the song that went with it. I think Noah really liked this activity. It turned out to be a fun, simple addition to this lesson that helped drive home the meaning of it.
Just thought I'd share it.

easy magnet board job charts

I made this for my son a little while ago, and it works rather well. I have it hanging in the hallway just outside his bedroom, so it's the first thing he sees whenever he leaves his room. He has done a descent job at keeping up on his jobs by himself. I do have to remind him now and then, but having this visual has really helped him. The one chore he misses most days is picking up the downstairs family room. But he is getting better at that.

I bought the magnet board at Roberts Craft and found paper to mod podge around the frame. Then I made magnets from glass marbles/stones and coordinating paper. I bought the magnets is the craft department at Walmart. You simply trace the magnet onto the paper, cut it out and glue it to the magnet, then you glue the marble on top of that. They do take a couple of hours to dry, and you want to use a really good clear craft glue. For the different jobs he has listed on the side, I used paper mod podged onto chip board circles and glued them onto magnets. For the lines, I just used a sharpie and a ruler. Just figure out how many columns and rows you need and divide that by the length and width of the board you choose to use.

The little black dots mark which days he needs to do a specific job. Some are daily, others only one a week. He is responsible to keep up with the jobs and marking what he has done.

I have liked his job chart so much that I have already made one for my little girl. Her one and only job right now is to fall asleep without all the drama she goes through every night.

She watches her brother put magnets on his board and knows that it is a good thing. I just hope that it will mean something to her soon. Wayne and I could use the sleep!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I tricked my kids into eating something green and good for them. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!
I've been making this extremely healthy smoothie for my husband and me that calls for, among other things, spinach. You can't taste the spinach or see it because of the overbearing blueberries in the shake, but you get all the healthy benefits.
I decided to throw some into my kids' smoothie, and what do ya know? They couldn't tell! Clara wasn't drinking hers as well as Noah, so I decided to make them into popsicles, and...we were two for two!
Here's how I made them (the measurements are really up to you):
handful of blueberries
handful of strawberries
half a banana
half a thing of yoplait strawberry yogurt
a little bit of milk
a little bit of grape juice
a big handful of spinach
Make sure you blend it up without your kids noticing the scary green things you put in it. My kids would not be eating it if they knew what was in it. You can also do whatever fruit you want, just make sure you put in blueberries or blackberries- something dark that will cover up the green color.
I got my popsicle makers at some kitchen store. I'm sure you can find them at Bed, Bath,and Beyond.

I guess Jerry Seinfeld's wife wrote a book about deceiving your kids by sneaking in healthy stuff in your kids' food. I've never read it, but I've heard she's got some good ideas. It's called

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food
by Jessica Seinfeld

Have fun tricking your kids to eat healthy!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Talk

Sometimes when I put Noah to bed I like to lay down next to him and just chat for a minute. It's actually pretty special. I like to think we're building a bond that will help us through the difficult teenage years. Hopefully, even when he's fifteen and embarrassed by me, we'll still be able chit chat about nothing and talk about something. As soon as Clara's out of her crib, we'll be able to have these talks too and build our own special bond.

You never know what a five year old is going to say, which is what makes talking to them so much fun. You're always in for a laugh. Tonight, of course, our conversation turned to baby brother. No, I'm not pregnant, but Noah for months has been talking about how "soon" he's going to have a baby brother. Tonight it went further than that. He said he wanted two brothers and two sisters, and my eyes got real big.

"You want me to have 4 babies in my tummy?" I asked.

"No, six," he corrected.

"Six? Six babies in my tummy?" I hear stories of young kids saying things to their parents about future children that they end up being spot on about. That worries me a little when he talks like this.

Then we started talking about twins and how his Grandma (my Mom) is a twin, and the baby talk continued some more after that, until we came to the question all parents hope to avoid for as long as possible.

Noah talked about how babies come down from heaven and into their Mommy's tummy, but then he got confused. "How do the babies get into Mommy's tummy?" he asked.

I gave him the easy, safe answer. "When a Mommy and a Daddy love each other very much, they make a baby."

I thought that was a good answer myself. But did it satisfy this thoughtful five year old? No.

"But how do they make a baby?"

I thought maybe he didn't hear me the first time, you know kids are. So, I gave him my first answer again, adding a little inflection to my voice, kind of like when people always yell when speaking to people of a different language. Surely that helps them understand better, right?

It didn't with Noah. "But..." sounding more confused and determined to understand, "how do they make a baby?"

At this point I just stared at him, totally without a clue of how to respond. Then I started to laugh at the awkwardness and the shock that I'm already facing this issue. Luckily, Noah is easily distracted by laughter. We both lied there laughing, and I was grateful for the convenient way the topic was pushed under the rug. Beneath my giggles, I told Noah we'd talk about it more when he was older.

Can you believe he's already asking this? He's too darn smart, seeing past my veiled and sprinkled with hearts answer. His father must be consulted on this, and I'm more than half tempted to turn it all over to him. I definitely think he's too young to know everything, but he's obviously not convinced a Mom and Dad fall in love and POOF a baby appears inside Mom. Sheesh!

What do I say if and when it comes up again?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Solving the Winter Time, Cheapskate Blues

Here's some more honesty. I'm not really a cheapskate, but I'd like to be one. Frankly, I'm lousy with the whole money managing thing, but unfortunately, it's largely my responsibility. Since I don't want our family in financial ruin thanks to me, I'm determined to figure things out and overcome my weaknesses. To do this, I came up with a list of cheap/free activities to do with my kids. These winter months can be unbearable, especially when the need to be cheap binds you to your home. But there must be some things you can do outside the home during winter time that don't cost a million dollars? Well, my brainstorming told me there are. Plus, it's so easy to forget the simple but fun things to do at home to brake the monotony, and my brainstorming reminded me of those as well. Here's what I came up with:
  1. Library (my goal is to keep this free by not getting any more late fees!)
  2. Make something using things already in the house
  3. Explore the house, finding lost things; look for specific things, like the sounds different objects make when tapped with a stick, etc.
  4. Go to the FREE zoo (the pet store)
  5. Dance
  6. Sledding (we're so lucky to live right next to an awesome sledding hill!)
  7. Make a fun snack or treat
  8. Play games
  9. Have a friend/cousin over
  10. Visit Grandma/cousins
  11. Have a picnic in the living room
  12. Build a fort
  13. Have a read-a-thon
  14. Write letters to people
  15. Visit Dad at work
  16. Write your own book by taking pictures of things in the house and making a story out of it
  17. Write an "All By Myself" book using your kids as the main characters (i.e. "I can brush my teeth...I can make my bed...etc.)

What are some things you could add to this list? Where else could you go to get out of the house in the winter time without spending a ton of money, hopefully spending none? What else did my itty-bitty brain fail to come up with?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Invisible Woman.

Okay, I'm so computer illiterate. I don't know how to upload movies, but I have a movie all you mothers need to watch. This message will make you feel so good and yummy inside. Click here to learn about the Invisible Woman.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Real Intent

I have to be honest: I've been avoiding this blog. I've barely looked at it since my last post. Maybe that's because I see the date of that post and realize it's about dang time I posted something new. But then I feel the gnawing at my stomach reminding me that I have no clue what to post next, or ever, for that matter.

This blog has become something I didn't intend for it to be: something that glorifies my mothering skills, gives the impression that I am full of wisdom, and that I am benevolent enough to share it with the masses. I feel so much pressure with each post to give you all something amazing, inspiring, enlightening (go ahead and throw in your own positive adjective), when really, I have no wisdom. And when I pretend that I do, I feel like a fraud. Let's face it, rarely do I have a completely original idea or suggestion. And why does the Mom who didn't start swearing until she had kids think she can give others advice? Yes, it's true. I admit it. Perhaps that was TMI, but I'm sure I just made you feel a lot better about yourself, didn't I?

Now, let me clarify. I am not writing this as a "poor me" post. Rather, I want you all to understand who I really am. I don't have all the answers. Every minute of every day at our house is not sunshine and flowers, and I hope I have not given the impression to the contrary. Sometime I feel really stupid that I even have a parenting blog.

So, why did I start this blog anyway? Frankly, I can't really remember my exact reasons, but I think I mostly wanted a blog where Mom's could share their good ideas, their wisdom, their ups and downs, etc. Notice that Mom is plural. I really did not intend for me to be the sole contributor on this blog (ahem...all you other contributors- you know who you are), but it looks like that's the way it's gonna be. So, since that's the case, you need to understand some things:
  1. Posts will be as frequent as my good ideas and thoughts come. Don't ask for more than that.
  2. I'm changing the name of my blog.

Let's talk about that last one. Just the title of my blog, "Teaching My Kids: How will they know unless we teach them so," intimidates me. It intimates that I actually know how to teach my kids. But the truth is, I'm just learning as I go.

That's what I want this blog to be about, which is why the new name is- "Learning As I Go." At least, that's part of the new name. I still want to incorporate the original title so that it goes along with my blog address. I'd love to change that too, but that would be a pain. I'm not quite sure how to work in the new title with the old one. Here are a couple ideas:

Learning As I Go On How to Teach My Kids: How will they...


Teaching My Kids and Learning as I Go: How will they...

Those are my two ideas. What do you like better? Or do you hate them both? Leave a comment and let me know.

I hope this post makes sense and that you understand me a little better. Sometimes I really do feel embarrassed posting things that make me look like a perfect mother. My neighbors on the other side of my walls know that's not true. But I'm working on it, and one day I will be a perfect mother. It will just take a lot of tries, a lot of ups and downs, and a whole lot of learning as I go.