Monday, December 26

Christmas Recap

Do you remember my Christmas to-do list?  Well, I thought I'd give you an update of how it all turned out.

Here's what my original to-do list and what it morphed into.

1 dolly made from mis-mate socks did not happen- was for Shiloh, who loved more than anything her $1 set of water colors.

1 blue linus blanket from the yarn stash (almost done btw) finished and Jenna is currently using it on her bed

2 ruffled fabric scarves for Anne and Belle became two pieces of art.  A horse for Anne and a lighthouse for Belle.

3 fleece beanies  these were for Ashton, Chris, and Jason.  It didn't happen.  Ashton instead got a video game we found on super sale, Chris got a large bag of M&Ms and Jason got a quart of home canned jalapenos since he's not a spicy food officianado.

2 large works of art (made by yours truly) these I remarkable pulled out at the last minute finishing them Christmas Eve.  One for my M-I-L and the other my my own mom.  Then one for my mom will grace my home until she is moved into her new digs in South Dakota in a few weeks.

I also added another piece of artwork at the last minute to my list.  Randall's step-mom, Cheryl, had been away caring for her mother and was not planning on us being able to visit them in NC.  But, as it turned out, her mother quietly slipped onto the other side of the veil just before Christmas and that meant we were able to spend a few days with them just before Christmas.  So, for them I made a painting of the ocean, one of Cheryl's favorite places to be.

And all of this without pictures.  I need to be better about that.  But, I think what warmed my heart this year was the comment Jenna made after what few presents we pulled together for them were all opened Christmas morning.  She said, "Oh , mom!  This was the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!".  I couldn't say it any better myself.


Tuesday, December 13

To say that these last six weeks have been an emotional roller coaster is an understatement.  But, what's more extreme than a roller coaster? A hurricane? A tsunami?  I feel myself slipping into the deep end some days.  I can't see how there could be a miracle coming out of all this.  And feel like questioning what God's plan for me and my family is.  We're standing at a crossroad, or maybe it's more like a fork.  We have two very possible plans for the future.  Job and house here, job and house there and everything hinges on being patient and waiting for someone else to make up their mind before we can follow through and put things into action.  You see, we had decided to move to North Dakota.  Randall can make double the pay he was making here and we could finally afford the house that we need for our family.  And almost as soon as we decided that moving would be our best and only option, a job opportunity here popped up.  And the pay is the similar to what he'd make there.  So, he applied.  It seems like he's a shoe in for it, but we have to wait for the man hiring to go through the applications and choose his candidates.  Which could take a while as the job won't even start until January, so it's not it the urgent pile.  So, we've mapped out on paper, what we'd do if we stay here and what we'd do should we be going elsewhere. And now, were just twiddling our thumbs waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop.

Now, my hubs can attest to this, waiting for anything is not my forte.  I hate waiting for even water to boil.  So, my emotions run the gambit from day to day.  I dream about "life A" and I dream about "life B" and I wonder what the Lord has instore for us.  Either way, we'll be moving so I've been packing and praying and hoping that my body won't give out and land me on bed rest for weeks on end with this pregnancy.  Yesterday I packed five boxes, did 3 loads of laundry and took out the trash and by lunch time I had searing pain in my belly and was down for the rest of the day.  So, today is cleaning grandpa's bathroom and doing his laundry and I've enlisted  3 strong children to help with the work...See, I'm learning...I have to give it to them, they buckle down and get to work when it's time; which might be the only way I'm going to make it this time.

Through out the day, I've been praying for peace to enter my heart.  Praying for the stress to melt away and what keeps echoing in my head is the quote "Come what may, and Love it!"  So, right now I'm choosing to find joy in the moment.  I can't control the future, no matter how much I wish that I could.


Monday, December 5

Christmas just got an extra dose of Christ

I'm sure you probably figured that Christmas this year for our growing family is going to be much different than ever before.  We've never had oodles of money so our tree has never been gorged with presents, but we've always managed to buy a few less expensive items on the kids Christmas lists just in time to surprise then Christmas morning.  But, this year, the number on the bank account summary just dwindles with no income in sight.  It's left me grasping for other options for Christmas this year.  Buying anything from the store would put us in a bind and prices no matter how "new" and "low" they are, really add up.  We typically spend about $50 a kid and about $80 on ourselves, including stocking stuffers.  But, as sad as it is to say, we don't have $310 to spend on gifts and that's just with us, that 's not all the extended family here, too.

So, all this to say, I'm initiating an old fashioned Christmas.  A "Christ"mas if you will.  Nothing can be store bought.  Just giving at it's most natural and simplest form.  It all has to be hand made from items around the house and in the garage.  I think my fabric stash and yarn stash are going to get hit pretty hard this year, but what's a years supply of craft items worth if you can't dig into them every once in a while!

Here's what my to-do list looks like this year.
1 dolly made from mis-mate socks
1 blue linus blanket from the yarn stash (almost done btw)
2 ruffled fabric scarves
3 fleece beanies
2 large works of art (made by yours truly)

I'm sure that when I tell the kids all this today, my list will grow exponentially with all the projects I'll be ask to "help" with, too.  But, I'm excited.  It's a challenge that I think might just wake up my creative juices.  They've been hibernating while i whined about Christmas being here already.


Saturday, November 19


Ya know, when life throws you for a loop, my most common reaction is to hold it in and go it alone.  I don't want to impose on others or listen to the potential whispers in the halls at church or have that common southern phrase be used in reference to me.  You know it..."Bless her heart, she's to poor to remove that toilet paper from her shoe, she might need it later."

So, I was at our ward Relief Society meeting on Thursday and all my emotions, fears and prayers just bubbled to the top and in an epic emotional spewfest I told anyone who would listen how I was struggling.  I couldn't help it.  Call it hormones or call it the spirit moving me to share, but it happened.  And do you know what happened?  They put their arms around me and blessed me so abundantly.  A dear friend of mine took me home with her that night and gave me six bags full of groceries, plus an extra turkey she had bought on sale.  I ran out of Vitamin B to keep my nausea at bay and another sister brought me two bottles, which by the way is enough to last my whole pregnancy and then some!  But, apart from the physical needs they rallied around and shared with me their stories of times when they had gone through similar things and then testified that there is a way out, God never leaves us comfortless and will always provide a way for things to happen.  He never allows his children to be tried more than they can bear.

And now as I sit here reliving those feelings of friendship and sisterhood, I can't help but remember the scriptures from the book of James in the bible when he speaks of pure religion and what it really means to be a disciple of Christ.  I think that any time I read those verses, the memory of that relief society meeting and the faces of those sisters who put their arms around me will be forever ingrained in my memory.


Wednesday, November 16

Ties that bind

I made three loaves of bread today.  It's become my ritual.  2-3 times a week I make another batch to get us through a few more days.  But, our flour reserve is running low and i'm unsure how much more I can make.  But, today I have three loaves.

It's something I'm actually enjoying.  As I pour the flour in the bowl, I'm always transported to my childhood.  Growing up, we didn't have much, but I remember my mom always making bread and I remember getting a warm slice and buttering it and putting some jam on it.  It was always a treat.  As I kneed the dough, I think of all the women who have come before me in my family who had to make bread for their kids when there weren't stores.  Whenever Grandpa Bud sees me pull out those loaves of bread he says, "Looks like you've been busy.  I don't know how you get it all done, everything you do.  Ya know, my mom always made bread when I was growing up.  We used to hang around the kitchen and wait for the bread to come out of the oven.  The lucky ones got the end of the loaf.  It was a bigger piece of bread you know.  My mamma was a small woman but she was hard as nails..."(every time, never fails)  It usually grates on my nerves hearing the same stories over and over, but today I just smiled.  I could see her in her kitchen with her wood burning stove, her apron safety pined to her shirt and flour in her mussed hair.  Her time worn hands doing what they've always known to do to keep her family well fed.

I feel like my life has come full circle.  Eight years ago we moved here to help out after Norma passed away.  We felt so strongly that this is where the Lord wanted and needed us in his vineyard.  I remember trying to convince grandpa that he really didn't need to wash and reuse every piece of foil and every plastic bag, there wasn't any shortage.  But, today I found myself washing and reusing 3 plastic ziplock bags to put the bread in the freezer.  I used to think he was crazy for doing stuff like that, but now I can see the wisdom in the old adage Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do or do without.


Tuesday, November 15

Well, baby #4 has finally relieved me of the constant nausea.  I think it helps that I started taking my prenatal vitamins at night along with an extra dose of vitamin B.  But, although physically I'm feeling better, my heart aches and I worry for the future.  Randall was laid off for the second time in two months at the beginning of November.  I love spending time with him, but I wish we could at least find answers to all the prayers.  Actually, I have a confession.  Today was the first time since Randall's layoff that I actually got on my knees and prayed.  I told Randall that I felt bitter, but I think it's more like I felt like "what's the point?".  I pray and he gets laid off, I pray and money stops, I pray and we eat beans and rice and even butter and milk are out of our price range.  So, I felt like it didn't do any good; like my words were falling on deaf ears.  So I stopped; no prayers, no worship, nothing.  Well, I say nothing, but I did participate in family scripture study and I helped my children say their prayers, but there wasn't anything personal going up to heaven from me.

But, this morning, I woke up to a quite house.  The first glow of day shining through my bedroom window and my first thought was we need a miracle.  And then I thought maybe all this has happened (baby #4, almost no food, no money....) in order for Him to prove to our family the He is a god of miracles.  That He is still there and does hear, but that maybe the answer is He is preparing us as a vehicle to perform miracles in the lives of my children and anyone that we may come in contact with over the next few years and throughout our lives.

On Sunday, all the talks in church were about enduring.  Not just enduring for a moment, but eternally and patiently.  And yes, I got it, loud and clear.  He was speaking directly to me.  I cried the whole time.  Maybe it's because I'm pregnant, but I think not.  He touched my spirit; spoke directly to me through countless scriptures.  So, this morning, in the stillness, I prayed.  I prayed for this man I love, I prayed for my babies to be feed, I prayed for our direction to be made clear and I got up and went to work.  I did the dishes that I hadn't managed to get to in days, I swept the kitchen, got Grandpa Bud ready for his doctors appointment, made hot chocolate for my kids from the last dregs left from last Christmas and did what I could to show my Heavenly Father that I am grateful for what He has provided for us.  We still have a roof over our heads, central heat and air, beds for everyone with blankets to spare, dishes, soap, HOT water, flushing toilets, telephones, fridgerator, car, books to read, clothes, toys, some food storage- beans, wheat, tomatoes and green beans, and most importantly we have each other.


Monday, June 27

Dear 2yr old Potty Training Genius,

You sure had me snowed!  I had thought that because you so vehemently despise diapers that you would be different than your brother and sister.  I thought that the poopy messes of the past would not revisit our home.  But, this evening when I saw you fussing over the poop smeared on your arms, hands, belly, legs and somehow between your toes, I knew I was living in a beautiful dream land with unicorns and ponies.  And that you had, at that moment, every intention of giving me a rude awakening.  I am totally mystified as to how you managed you drip poop from my bedroom to the living room and still have it all over you.  But, at least you did not smear it on me, my bed, the walls or either of your siblings, so maybe you are the genius still.

With Love,
Your Pooper Scooper aka Mom


Friday, June 17

In the Aftermath

My life has gone from total chaos, raining cats and dogs really, to a dull spitting pitter patter.  Since April, I planned and coordinated all the food for our entire stake for girl's camp.  I helped our little group of 7 girls get all geared up and ready to spend a week away from home.  All in the middle of birthdays, chores, work, and homeschool, ya know...the everyday stuff that has to be done to survive.

But, now with all cupcakes bakes, frosted and eaten.  All salads chopped, tossed and consumed.  All decorations put up, adored, and taken down.  Glitter shaken from my clothes after my rock star reception of appreciation at Girls Camp.  I took a week to re-cooperate and now...Now it's time for re-evaluation, reinvention and new beginnings.  After much prodding from a friend, and most anyone I gift anything to, I am embarking on a new project...
I'll give you all the details in the coming days and weeks, but for now, just know that  it's totally awesome.


Friday, April 1

It's a Birthday Extravaganza!

In the spirit of playing catch up...still, I needed to post a few more birthday details from the last month.
First was Shiloh's birthday.  She turned 2, but since we were going out of town and I had to do the food for Pre-Camp, we played it low key this year and just did a family party with some simple cupcakes in her favorite flavor, strawberry.  And since Ashton doesn't like very many fruity flavors, I made chocolate ones for him.

Next was mine, and since I turned 29 this year and I really wanted to celebrate, I decided to go all out and make myself an awesome cake and decorate my kitchen table too!  (It's still decorated!)  Here's so of the great photos that my sister took:

I did make the roses in this photo too.  And if you want to make them too, go here.  And if you're digging the roses on my cake as much as I am, then go here.

Wenesday was Randall's birthday and once again church called.  Luckily, as always, he's easy to please.  All he wanted was brownies.  And for dinner it was pot pie.  I can't tell you how much I love that man for all that he is, all that he wants to be, and for loving me in spite of me.  If you know me you would know that I can be intense and moody more often than not.  And sometimes I'm surprised he's still there when I wake up in the morning.

Thursday, March 31

Playing catch up...

I feel like I've been a day late and a dollar short for a while now, but especially for the last few months.  I have just spent some time reorganizing my files and uploading pictures from my camera and then organizing those.  So, I should be posting more in the coming days of what life has been like around here, some new projects I'm working on, and projects I've finished along with a few dashes of inspiration.

So, in an effort to get started with all this, I'm going to start with the beginning of this years birthday season.  My son turned 8 this year and wanted to be baptized as much as we wanted him to be, too.  Here's a picture of him all dressed in white...

And for his birthday this year we all got terribly sick!  It was awful!  But somehow, I managed to make him a cake.  It wasn't as fantastic as I'm sure he had imagined, but I think it turned out okay.  What do you think?

The transformer face was done in royal icing.  I think he turned out okay for my first attempt at royal frosting images.  I should have probably done him a full week ahead.  I gave him two days to dry and he was still pretty pliable.  If you'd like some more information on how I created this image, click here.  Marian does amazing work and I would love to create sweets as wonderful as she does!

I hope your days are as inspired as mine have been!

Friday, February 4

Super Hero Training

Wednesday night was our New Beginnings Program. (Every year with the youth we kick off the new year by introducing the theme and also welcome the girls who has turned 12 or will turn 12 in the coming year and then also talk about all the cool things coming up in the coming months.) This years theme was the 13th Article of Faith. I was inspired by all the qualities that are listed and that we aspiring to be in our lives. They reminded me of super qualities. Character traits that our heroes have. So, this became our theme for the evening.

As we were putting together the details for the evening, I really wanted to combine the Young Women values with the qualities from the Article of Faith. And as I did some digging, I found this booklet about scripture super heroes. And it gave me a jumping off point for what I created for my girls. I made my own booklet with scripture heroines that exemplified each of the eight values and the qualities from the theme.

For the program this year, we talked about the women of the scriptures and each of us as leaders took a few values to talk about. For instance, I talked about Good Works: Tabitha, Virtue: Mary the mother of Jesus, and then the ultimate super hero, Jesus Christ. Then one of our girls, Tiffinique (I love her name btw.) sang Hero by Mariah Carey. It was awesome! Then, one of the bishopric members, Dave Chance, said a few words and we closed and had refreshments.

For decorations, I made buntings that said We Believe for the area behind where we spoke and then above the food table. I had shields that I printed off that had each value and color on them. We hung those from the ceiling around the room. I made a cake with a super girl busting out of the top of it. And, for the girls, we made booklets for each of them and put them in clear gift bags with a card that had the theme on it, a bracelet that had the words we believe on it and a box that we made and put a shield shaped cookie in. Check out the pics...


Sunday, January 23

Operation Organize: Jewelry Hanger

I think Ashton is a better photographer than I am, but here's a quick shot at my new jewelry organizer on my bedroom wall looking so amazing that I can't take my eyes of it.

Here's a close up from the side:

For this project, I recycled everything from around the house. The frame is an old armoure door where the panels got busted out. The first thing I did is paint it with some black spray paint which I had on hand. I found the wire in the woods behind my house and scrubbed it with a wire brush and painted it too. I then cut the wire down to fit in the panels and used a staple gun to attach it to the frame. After that I added some fabric I had in my piles and stapled that in too. Then i had these coat hooks from a projected that I no longer needed and I screwed those to the frame at the corners and in the middle. Then to add a little fun I made some fabric roses and hot glued them to the frame in two opposite corners. Then I hung it up and filled it with all my jewelry that was tangled all together on my counter in a box in the bathroom.

I used the hooks for necklaces, I hung my earrings on the wire panel on the left and on the right I put my pins, bracelets and rings. Here's a few more close ups of what the wire panels look like:

The bracelets that don't unhook, I tied to the wire with ribbon I had left over from the cake I did for Nicole. And any earrings that didn't hook on to the wire, I added to a ribbon that I just pushed the stud trough and then put the backs on. ( it's the pink bow hanging in the first few pictures...)

At first I just had all my rings jammed on to one of the coat hooks, but I was afraid that they would all fall off, so, in the end I did spring for some s-hooks that I could hook on to the wire and then add my rings to them. To get enough I had to buy 3 packages of hooks and at $.99 each, I think $3 is a still for my new organizer turned art piece. What do you think?



In 2010, I started the "learning to make a fantastic cake" process. So, I used my girls at church as guinea pigs and did a cake that used a new technique for all of their birthdays. Through out the year I've made 6. So, earlier this month I made another testing out my skills and this it what I took to church for Nicole (which happens to be the name that I chose in French class).


Something New...

This is one of my favorite pictures of myself now. And guess what? Ashton took it! I can see a future filled with beauty that his talents create. Now, I did add a little Photoshop action to it, but he did a good job for me. By the way, this is my new favorite hairstyle. It takes me a long time to do it but I think it's so worth it. The more I do it though, I think I'll get quicker at it. But really, this post isn't totally about my hair, or my son the budding photographer. It's really about my need to show off my awesome new scarf. It's really a lace shawl that I turned so the point was in front and wrapped the ends back around the front then added a broach and wa-la! I love it.

It's this pattern, Haruni, made by a generous knitter, Emily Ross done in some of my favorite North Carolina Alpaca yarn that I usually get a skein of when I go to visit family. I love, love, l-o-v-e it!