Friday, January 30, 2009

If you try to get something done

If you have two kids, one of them is going to be old enough for preschool.

When you go grocery shopping with one kid, you're going to need entertainment.

So when the kroger lady gives your kid a balloon, you'll take it.

But when you get one balloon, the other kid is going to be jealous when she sees it after preschool.

But you'll be prepared with food and distractions, and you'll be so prepared for the dr. appt after preschool.

So you'll drive 15 mins to the next town and do some shopping there, and you're going to run to the Target while you’re in the neighborhood.

When you run into Target, you can’t just look for the one thing.

Going to see that one thing you needed, plus another thing you think you needed, but you can’t remember what kind your husband wanted.

So you call him. While you’re calling him, your kids runaway and knock clearance aisle goods over.

So you're going to get all frustrated, shop really quickly and be ready for the doctor's office full of toys and movies. But you're going to the allergist.

When you get to the allergist's office, your kids are going to be tired of being in a cart all morning, and be ready to run around. But all the toys are old and for kids that read, and the old guy in the waiting room will be watching CNN.

Just when you get settled and are coloring on the examining table paper, the dr will come in and prick your kid with 10 needles for an allergy test. Traumatized.

You're going to need some stickers.

After you're all stickered and band-aided out, you'll get home and naptime will be a distant memory.

You've been busy all day, and the phone rings. You're all excited to talk to someone real, but don’t answer the phone, it’s a call to tell you that your house will be shown tomorrow to potential renters.

When you answer the phone, you're going to be all freaked out about how your house is a total trailer park tornado scene and you'll start picking up the whole house because you don’t’ want to look like a slob to people you’ll never meet.

Fast forward 12 hours to the next morning.

If it's the end of the month, you'll be visiting teaching. And of course you live all the way across town from your visiting teachees, so you'll stop by the store when you’re down there.

And you were so frazzled the day before, your kid will have taken your credit card out of your bag and left it in the doctor's office.

So you'll drive all the way there, only to find out it's closed for lunch. Because it's lunchtime.

But you'll have been so busy getting your kids and your lesson ready, you'll have forgotten food. And your kids are hungry.

So you'll go to chickfila real quick. And your kids are going to play on the playground. And never want to leave.

You'll finally get away from chickfila and their delicious polynesian sauce, get your credit card, and find out you filled in your daughter's birthdate as 1979. I have a 30 year old daughter. According to the allergist paperwork.

So you get home and have to blog so you're not yelling at your kids.

You're still reading? Look at you! By the way, what day is it? Friday? Sweeet! Totally going NOWHERE tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Once upon a time, I was a teenage girl, and a girl moved into my ward from Pittsburgh. Kassandra quickly became my ally in all things related to being a teenage girl, and her mom introduced me to Pierogies. Potato dumplings, fried in butter with browned onions, topped with dallops of sour cream. Polish comfort food. So good. (In case you didn't know, there's a lot of Polish people in Pittsburgh). Anyways, since my first bite in 10th grade Pierogies have been one of my favorite foods, I even threw a pierogi party once in college. (What? You were there? Wasn't that awesome? I know right, the Riveria rocked hard core. Sigh. Good times, good times.)

So....I used to buy em from the store and fry em up. John fell in love with them, but Wally world stopped carrying them, so I was stuck longing for them to no avail.

Until today.

There I was, reading the february 2008 Martha Stewart magazine in the library, while Natalie played with dump trucks and trains, and sneezed on all the toys, and I saw this recipe, originally from Martha Stewart's Mother, Big Martha. (Side note, I love her name, my great grandmother was known as Big Mother). I'd tried a homemade pierogi recipe a year or so ago, the dough wasn't elastic enough and the potatos were dry.

But Martha's? Perfect. What else would you expect?

A photo diary of my pierogie goodness:

And yes, those plates are from the dollar store and the yellow ones are the SAME 1970's yellow flower ones I had in college.
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Joy School Review

As seen in the last post, we're doing Joy School this year.

Jodi asked what Joy School was, and I wrote this huge long comment in response, then decided just to do a post instead.

Joy School is a co-op preschool, in which you have 4-7 kids, aged 3-5 years old(the 2 years before kindergarten). You rotate each week to a different child's home, and the mom is the teacher.

How is this different than any other co-op playgroup or preschool?

Well, the curriculum you use is the official Joy School curriculum- and it's all about teaching your children the joys of different parts of life, before you focus on academics. The idea is that the kids learn about the world, themselves and how to be socially aware, before you start academic things in a structured setting. There is also a kindergarten readiness program that focuses on letters/ pre math skills, but it is optional and is added on to the existing program. I've looked over it, and Sophia's mastered a lot of the skills on her own, so I'm not worried about it. Maybe I'll do it next year with her.

The full explanation of joy school and it's philosophy can be found here at Values Parenting.

We've liked it so far. It's cheaper than preschool($140 dollars for the year, plus supplies, and one time fee of $50). Once you've purchased the curriculum you can use it for all your children. We're doing it with other Mormon moms, which isn't necessary, but just our situation. I like learning how to teach, alongside Sophia learning new things. It's given me lots of ideas for Family Home Evening and it's been a crash course in having more than two children.

Feel free to ask me any questions about it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Marble Races and Book Balancing

So at Joy School on Thursday the kids learned about goals and order. So we learned a new skill, then tried to set a goal to get better at it. That part was lost on the kids, but they loved trying a new hard thing.

Here we are balancing marbles across the living room.

Pretty Soon they learned to hold it like Sophia is. They're too smart!
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

This week we...

Finally hung up our christmas present to ourselves.
Made some cupcakes for Natalie's Birthday. She's two! Hooray!
We ate em allll up

And Natalie got some reading material for her birthday. Ok not really, but she did walk around pretending to read it.
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Zutter Bind it All

This is what made all the family calendars possible. The Zutter BindItAll. Under 100 dollars, and oh so worth it in my opinion.

It punches 6 punches at a time, and then you close the binding through, all in the same machine.

So far I've made the following:
Family Calendars
Recipe book of random allrecipes cards (shown in picture)
Workout books for P90X
Bound Joy School curriculum

And will soon be working on-
Valentine's Day
Birthdays for the Primary.

Hooray for Scrapbooking tools! (Something I never thought I'd say!)
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Extreme Home Fitness: P90X!

We're almost done Phase 1 of P90 X.

What's that you say? You've never heard of it?
It's a 13 dvd set of hour long workouts, with different schedules to meet different fitness needs.

It's extreme home fitness- meaning not for a beginner, and someone in good health.
The program is in three phases, each a month long.You do three weeks of muscle/cardio workouts, then one week "rest" of easier workouts (yoga, stretch, etc).

Each month is successively harder and introduces new workouts, which confuses your muscles and keeps you from plateauing.

Things I've liked about it so far:
1. Big commitment of an hour every day/6 days a week. Sometimes bigger challenges are easier to buck up to than dinky ones. At least for competitive people like me.

2. Tony is good at explaining form and what is important for most exercises

3. Fast pace and lots of moves- so a bit overwhelming at first, but not totally boring when you've done it more than a few times

4. There is a time bar at the bottom, and you can mute it and see the name of each move as it comes up

5. I've become way more flexible since starting the program (I can touch my toes with my legs together!). And I can say that Kenpo, the martial arts movie will help me in the future, either in real life or while doing my street fighter 2 impersonations. (what john likes to do during the movies.

6. Good for men and women- John and I have been doing it together. One of the program schedules, "Doubles" has more muscle building workouts, and appears to fit mor of men's needs- more chest and back.

7. Ab workout is one of the best I've seen, as far as crunch workouts go.

Things that make it less than perfect:
1. You need weights, resistance bands or chinup bar to get best results

2. Tony can be quite annoying with his jokes/commentary after a few viewings. Now I just watch American Idol/random tv as I do it.

3. It is a big time commitment, sometimes I'd like to just do 2 hours every other day.


My sister's Christmas present was a Slanket/ Snuglie of her choice.
Instead of doing a blanket with sleeves, as most slanket/snuglie/snuglets are,
we did a humungous fleece poncho, that went to her feet and included a hood.
I basically folded the 3 yards of fabric in half, cut off a section and made a hood, sewed it on, and sewed up the sides leaving 12 inches of side for arm holes. And serged the edge of the hood for a ruffly effect. Tip- this could double as a sith lord costume, if done in brown.

Now lets go lounge around the house for hours and never be cold. Hooray for Slankets!
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Indiana Christmas

Here's baby Jonah, the newest member to the Daley family. He's a cutie, and loves ice cream already.

Here's some of the fun things we did in Indy: Play around in an empty crib, say cheese for madelyn's camera, jump on matresses, have storytime, and visit Snapperz.

Making Cookies with Grandma. What would Christmas be without it?

Auntie Holly. She's crazy but we love her.
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Friday, January 16, 2009

September 2008- November 2008

______This post is missing lots of Pictures- SORRY!________
November 17
Sophia's 4th Birthday
Check out our new photo album, Sophia's Party over here --->

Here are the highlights:

First, the invitations. Storybook ones, of course, for the storybook princess party.

So, the day before the party we made the birthday party mural. It only cost me 5 bucks to get the butcher paper from the local art store. I did simple shapes for most of the mural, then used some silhouette clipart from the internet for the hard parts (the horses, dragon and coachman). Now I just need to find a cheap laminating place so I can hang it in the playroom for all eternity, or something.

The Happy Birthday banner made an appearance this year. Sophia's new hobby is copying the letters down to make Happy Birthday cards.

Now for the party. All the prince and princesses arrived in royal regalia, and we got our game on.

First, we played sleeping beauty musical chairs...which means you sleep on a blanket when the music stops. We ended up not taking away blankets, so it quickly turned into sleeping beauty freeze dance.

Then we had a Cinderella race. You hopped on one foot to the finish line. We tried to mix up the shoes and have everyone pick a shoe then find it's owner, but that wasn't that fun. I guess I'll leave that to Singles Wards and youth activities.

Next we played pictionary like Ariel, because she couldn't talk to Prince Eric. Only I did talk. Whoops. But the kids were really into it, and I was able to whip out 20 or so random objects from disney movies for them to guess on the dry erase board. The best part of that was seeing some kids get the wrong answer, so they just scream it louder and faster trying to make me hear it. So half the time I was saying- No, it's not this, no it's not that.

Next there were crowns. Heather and I had taken gold foil wrapping paper, glued and doubled it up, and cut into crown shapes. Then we used the royal foamie pack to decorate. So everyone's crowns had castles, frogs, magic mirrors and castles. Plus letters for their name. Those went over pretty well, and they were able to take them home. Plus, they were busy while we constructed the cake.

Behold the cake. Two layers of cake, frozen with two layers of ice cream, then cut up and assembled to make a castle. Then covered in cool whip, cones and sprinkles and decorations. All in about 10 minutes. Hooray for talented friends!

I was kind of sad we didn't a pic with all the kids in front of the mural. Oh well. Here's some of the princesses.

So they also took some of these home, some homemade storybooks (scrapbook paper, staples and paper)

Hooray for birthday parties! Hooray for little girls! Thanks everyone for making our party a huge sucess!

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November 08
This is what I found the other day:
An empty chocolate bunny container, from Easter, with a doll inside.

What is it? Why, a baby potty of course.

Sophia and Natalie had all kinds of fun finding little animals to go potty on it. Then saying "Ohno! Hold it little bear! Here's the potty."
And it has doors, so they could have some "privacy."

And I've finally purchased a backpack for my 72 hour kit. "On sale" for 15 dollars. Or so I thought.

Yes, I moved the tag and the original price was 4 cents less. And I checked my receipt, they charged me 15 dollars. Should have checked. Grrr.

Natalie's newest silliness is singing "Go Diego Go" all the time, as she runs away from me. And she's a big fan of yelling HIDE AND SEEK! randomly, with no warning, then you have to come find her. Also, when you ask her where anything is, like her pants, or her dolly, the reply is " I don't Knoooooow" and lots of giggles. It's like she's in on a joke noone else but the missing object knows.

Sophia' recent silliness, other than that baby potty, is posing for pictures all day long, and yelling "Mom it's a cute picture, go get your camera!" I've created a monster.
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Latest Craft Adventures

Here's a recent set of baby goodies I made for a friend, who is having a girl (hence the twirly skirt), but already has a boy (hence the boy dolly). A diaper clutch, a cherry appliqued onesie, twirly skirt and two dolls.

The dolls are from this book: Nature Babies by Tara Manning

Which is all about organic knits and crafts, but I'm not all that hippie. But the doll design I've tried on my own to design, and came up with a falling apart clown. I couldn't get the neck right. Problem solved with the instructions in the book. The best part? It was from my library. Hurray for public libraries!

So I cut out enough fabric from my scraps for a few dolls. As in 25. I'm not joking. So if you're having a baby in the next two years, or your baby is under the age of 3, I'll probably include this with a gift. I like em because it's almost all handsewing, but quick, so I can do it while the girls play and I listen to the tv. Natalie has some expensive dimple dolls from my parents that she loves, and these are pretty much the same size and cuteness, without the bell inside.

Recently we've had some minor WWF action over wearing the prized play pink gingham apron while helping me cook. I whipped up another apron to please Sophia's tastes. I love the apple and pear design for this project. I just can't bring myself to use that fabric for a normal everyday dress. But in the kitchen? She blends right in with my vintage 50's decor.

To give myself a break I serged the edges but didn't hem them, they could care less what the edges are like. And we HAD to make it FANCY somehow, the pink apron has lace. I convinced Sophia to do glitter glue on the fruit pocket. I was proud of myself for being able to cut a pocket that linedup with the pattern, it drives me nuts to see a pocket that goes against the pattern. It looks so much neater this way. Details, Details, I know.

Crafty things you should check out..

In other news, I've been following the Sew Mama Sew blog's homemade holidays for the year.
They post projects and tutorial links everyday for a different gift recipent, all homemade. It's a great starting off point to find projects you didn't know you loved.

And I've been randomly checking out Digi Free , the free digital scrapbooking search engine. Everyday they post what freebies are new, I've gotten a great library of digital scrapbooking supplies from them.

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Leaves are falling all around...
So autumn time hit us with full force the last few weeks. Halloween, cold weather, and a fall harvest of apples, pumpkins and carrots.

I uploaded some more pics to the Autumn 2008 Album, that you can find in the sidebar --->

Here's some pics from a recent day of baking pumpkin, apple pie filling and harvesting carrots. Enjoy!

Apparently I didn't get started fast enough.

The pumpkin cave Sophia made. after she kind of gutted the seeds. She used baggies over her hands because it's too slimy.

Mmmm Pumpkin guts

Sophia singing some song as she plays with all the apple peel strings. The apple peeler is a great job for a 4 year old, in case you're wondering.

6 cups of pumpkin, awaiting their fate of muffins, breads or soup.

The final carrot harvest

We didn't weed out enough of the carrots in some of the holes, so they grew around each other. I thought it was pretty cool. Spooning carrots. Or something.

My first waterfall magical moving water shot. If only it was more picturesque. The carrots were so crunchy they were breaking if I pulled them out crooked in any way.

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October 29
Just Kidding!

John and I have been watching the SNL coverage, and I discovered this gem of a skit. New favorite catch phrase. I used to say just kidding all the time we just expand for 30 seconds. Enjoy!
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My kids are cuter than yours.
I'm just saying. Look at that Trunk or Treat cuteness.

Natalie was kind of excited to run around like a mouse.

John was a CEO. See the golden parachute? And the bag of money?

I was Belle from "the provencal town" song.

We made these cardboard ball toss signs the day before the party. They worked, attached to a open basket, but would have been better on a table at eye level. Maybe next year.

Other cute things in our Halloween....Black Cat Cookies from DELICIOUS. Why don't you try them for the halloween party, you know the one, that you haven't figured out what treat to bring to? I made mine half sized, so it yielded about 48 cookies. But larger would make the candy corn eye less freaky. The mm eyes look more like owls or baby cats in my opinion. The texture was great though, thick and crunchy but still a little soft. MMM I think i need to make another batch....

Black Cat Cookies
SUBMITTED BY: Kathy Stock "Our children look forward to helping me bake these cute cat cookies each year. They've become experts at making the faces with candy corn and red-hots. --Kathy Stock, Levasy, Missouri"

RECIPE RATING:Read Reviews (26)
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25 Min
10 Min
35 Min

1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
24 wooden craft sticks
48 pieces candy corn
24 red-hot candies
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In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Roll dough into 1-1/2-in. balls. Place 3 in. apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
Insert a wooden stick into each cookie. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Pinch top of cookie to form ears. For whiskers, press a fork twice into each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set. Remove from the oven; immediately press on candy corn for eyes and red-hots for noses. Remove to wire racks to cool.

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October 23
Bragging about my savings

So here's what I saved on at Kroger this week:
(note- all the coupons are from sunday papers in the past 2 months, I don't keep track of the weeks, just clip and put them in my coupon book, some were expired, and sorry I don't have original prices, I base my savings on what I value it for, not what it usually sells for)
In no particular order:
3 Hershey's Dark Chocolate Candy Bars - On sale for 1.00
- BIGI coupon=.50 each
coupon 1.00 off Special Dark= Free!

Goldfish 1.00 each
(stock up! 8 means four weeks or more of Goldfish- and they now make "baby" mini ones)

Life Cereal 2.00 each
- coupon 1.00 /2 = 1.50 each
(we eat this as a "snack" instead of for breakfast)

Softsoap on sale for 1.00
– 35 c coupon (doubled)= 30 c each
(used expired coupons and the cashier said that was fine)

Reynolds wrap on sale 1.50
-50c coupon doubled= 50 c

Betty Crocker Frosting on sale 1.50
- 50c coupons doubled= .50

Betty Crocker Cookie mixes on sale 2.00
-40c doubled= 1.20 each

Hamburger helper on sale for 1.00
- 75/3 coupon
= 75 c each
(I don't usually buy this, and frankly getoffended when john calls my stroganoff Hamburger helper...but I thought it would be good to have if I ever need a quick meal)

Karo Syrup on sale for 2.29
- 50 c coupon doubled= 1.29

Quik chocolate milk (in milk aisle)
1.00- 50 c coupon double =free

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Another day, another dead pumpkin plant

Plant your pumpkins in full sun, or a white fungus will appear, poison the root then kill all your leaves. By the end of the season they'll look like this. So Sad.

Our corn survived. Here's the kids picking the corn. Round here, you have to earn your keep. Even if you're wearing the ugliest princess dress ever with crushed velvet and polyester. You earn your keep.

My friend also was kind enough to drop off some apples they picked up at a nearby farm. Delicious!
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October 20
5k Race
So I participated in a 5K race this weekend. I was supposed to run with a friend, but she got strep throat. So I was flying solo.
Here's some pics of the race trail, before I ran across John and the kids. Can you see the throngs of people cheering the runners on?

Neither can I. There weren't any. My family was pretty much the cheering section. That's because there were only 12 runners. Half of them were on the local cross country team. They all beat me by 10 minutes.
I was one of two women racers. I won. At 33:40 (this is not a good time for a 5k), I won.
Even though I was second to last. I won the women's division!!!
( Picture of Me running across finish line...oh wait, the camera batteries died. So sad for me)
I got a moderately sized trophy. So that was fun. Not too bad for my first time.
But that's not all...Sophia picked the raffle ticket. and we won. 50 bucks is a whole lot better than winning a two person race. Woohoo!
Who's running with me next year???

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The latest happenings...
So this past week has been too crazy for blogging.

Just too crazy. In addition to the items below, I had a dr appt, sugar cookies to make, a phone that is dying and I can't acess my contacts list....and normal things to do. So here's the fun things worth noting.

First, I finished Halloween costumes. HOORAY! We had some minor size issues with the snow white costume. It turned out to be 2 sizes too big. So came up with minnie mouse for Natalie instead.

On Friday, I went to both the YMCA book fair and Enrichment craft night. The book fair was amazing, and I got 20 books for 35 dollars, most in new condition. Amazing. Sorry, no pictures, I'm not that devoted to this blog.

Some other things of note...My daughter is officially Type A personality. Don't believe me? Do your kids pick out the cheerios that aren't whole circles and refuse to eat them? Sophia has for the past couple weeks...and just yesterday I noticed Natalie does.

And we added some sparkle and romance to a normal Walmart shopping trip. So, whenever I go shopping and I buy something John has requested, I usually end up saying "I've got some presents for you." Well, on Thursday I got some clothes on clearance at Old Navy (1 dollar for men's shorts! ) and so I wrapped them up, along with some items from walmart he wanted. Sophia decorated with her newest home accessory, a bag of fake flowers. Hence the creations below.

Sparkly and Romantic, no? Can you see the elelphant in the corner? He's ready for Halloween too.
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October 13
The many faces of Natalie

So today's been nuts. Simply nuts.

First I spent two hours in Joann Fabrics. Our trip included one leaky diaper, one tantrum and subsequent snack earning good behavior, 30 minutes of comparing fabrics, two cuts of fabric, one fabric mislabeled and costing 25 dollars more than supposed, one fabric return and a big sigh of relief when i finally pulled up to Target.

Thank goodness for pizzas, soft pretzels and cherry coke.

Then, at home during her nap, Natalie went #2, and proceeded to try to change herself. When we didn't appear to help her, She yelled out pee pee for 5 minutes until I arrived. I found her naked from the waist down, playing in one side of her crib, with a messy diaper and two suprises waiting for me. I think she's ready to be potty traind. Arrrgh.

One load of laundry later, we needed some relaxation.

This is the picture story of our afternoon in our backyard, as seen through the faces of Natalie.

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October 11
It's Pumpkin Time!
This week we've been soaking up the fall weather and activities.

I posted some pics in a Pumpkin Patch photo album, check it out. It's on our sidebar over here ------>

I'm halfway done with Halloween Costumes, one Snow White Dress and one mystery costume to make.

And this week we made some fall crafts.

First, a "nature viewer" to look at nature outside.

I cut up some scrapbook paper into strips, I used paper with photos of natural elements.
Then pasted them across a paper like this

Then glued and secured with tape, around a paper towel tube. The joy school kids liked it.

Look at all that nature! We went outside and found all kinds of things.

Second, we worked on my Jar O Lanterns, from Martha

I loved this project. For the past 6 months I had saved all my glass jars for some unknown future project. And then I stumbled upon it on Martha's website.

I did vary from the instructions, using acryclic paint for the inside, and then I used normal oil paint for the outside. Bad idea with the oil paint. It took 3 days to dry. 3 DAYS! I missed the word "enamel" in the instructions, pretty essential aspect of the paint. So, next time, I'm going to find a cricut, cut some black vinyl, and have it look way more polished. I also think that if I had the black wire martha has it would have looked better (mine is silver). Anyone want to buy my black oil paint for 5 bucks?

I'm scared to put a normal votive inside, but I think maybe I'll use a glade flameless candle insert.

My plan is to fill em with some candy and give away for visiting teaching/ john's home teaching/ my friends I like a lot. The pirate one stays with me though, it's my favorite.
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October 08
Swing Baby Swing

Virginia is a swing state. No, that doesn't make us swingers. (Ewwww) Northern Virginia tends to be democrat, while southern Virginia, or my neck of the woods, is more Republican. At least, most of it, except Blacksburg. All those liberal professors and northern virginia students and weed smoking PHD student hippies tend to mix things up a bit.

So we've been contacted three times by the Obama campaign, walking door to door. (No home phone= no election polling! Hurray). McCain hasn't tried to win us over yet. Not once.

Every other morning I run in a circle around my neighborhood and think about random things like what to make for dinner and what I would look like as a cartoon character and how I would contact my family if I collapsed right there half way through my run. But today I put all that mental energy into keeping track of campaign posters in my neighbor's yards.

The results....Drumroll please....

9 to 1

and 2 households who care about the Senate race

So basically, we can vote 3rd party all we want, but I think Obama's going to take blacksburg.

So, what's your neighborhood signage look like? Do they even post signs in Utah?

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October 05
Conference Weekend
All the happenings of a fall weekend...Apple pie making with Grandma...

Walking around campus with Aunty...

Hokie Flowers in a memorial wreath...

This is what I like to pictures because I don't have makeup on and my hairs a mess and take them instead...while Natalie likes being so trendy

This step says "That I may serve" in front of the War Memorial Chapel on campus. We didn't realize they held church services there on Sunday, we were suprised to see people filing in for church.

We picked some carrots from our garden, John sampled some

And Sophia got lots of swinging time with Grandma....who has a snazzy new dyed hair and cut.

We didn't include any pictures of Sophia throwing up this afternoon...all my family sprawled around my living room watching conference, or the impressive turkey-mashed potato-biscuits-gravy spread we put on last night. Or the homemade ice cream. I'll leave those things to your imagination...
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October 02
Adventures in HomeCrafts
Two things to display.

First, the cute bags I made yesterday, which I started while a friend was over and hanging out.
The first picture is fuzzy, but the best I could get, sophia couldn't stand still. Please excuse my nasty white thread. I was all out of dark colors.

This is the cutesie part of Homecrafts.

Today I went to a fabric store in a nearby town and discovered moda fabrics (which are so pretty, in an understated way, which i like)

And in the pattern section, I discovered a pattern that John's been waiting his whole life for me to to make him.
The 1970's were so sexy.

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Facebook status update

So, like most of the people in my demographic, I'm on facebook. I love it. I love the wall posts and the stalking and knowing people's business without talking to them. That's the appeal of blogs too I guess. But Facebook is more like the headlines, blogs are the stories. The epitome of headlines are the status updates. Jacqueline is....tired. eating chicken enchiladas. sewing dresses. I have some friends on facebook, who's status updates are literally every hour. Hello, get off the computer and live a little. While others, are all about waiting for baby to come, or the cold they're fighting, or how mad they are so and so wasn't kicked off Project Runway. Ever since I've joined facebook, I've found myself thinking of status updates in the third person. Especially when i'm running. Because there's not much else to think about except Jacqueline is...wishing her legs weren't so heavy. or Jacqueline is...feeling sorry for tech students who are still in college. Most of the time these updates don't make it to facebook. Because I'm not a very public person, about certain things. Here's some facebook updates you won't see anytime soon, but may or may not have been my status lately....Can you guess which ones are real? Jacqueline is..........sick of her kids
.....thinking her husband is HOT
.....going to cry because Hallmark commercials are so tender
.....ignoring her children as she looks on facebook at people she hasn't seen in 8 years guessing which couples only do it once a month
.....bleeding. For a week. With cramps. signing into someone else's email accounts to spy on them
.....running to the bathroom, mexican last night
.....plotting someone's downfall
.....better be so muscular from this workout. Or she's suing Denise Austin.
....thinks everyone on facebook should quit crying about the new facebook. Get a blog already
.....can't believe you walked out of the house in that
..... is choosing between sleep and kissing her husband.
......thinks your kids aren't really as cute as mine
......can be such a dork in normal conversation. What's your status?
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September 30
How do you get so much done?
I get asked this a lot. Few things- I regularly do things while my kids are playingI do nothing with children after 8 pm (John puts Sophia to bed)And I plan ahead. Far ahead. And I only clean up when someone's coming over or when watching tv. Lazy, I know. Also, I usually get asked this by people with more kids than me, or at least more rambunctious and mischevious kids. (And don't worry, I'm not talking about YOUR kids...of course not. )What makes me think my kids aren't as rambunctious as others?Sophia likes to color. A lot. This is what she colored in the past three days:

Sophia will color for a half hour at a time, 3 to 4 times a day. She regularly passes on lunch because she's not done coloring yet.
A close up:

Some of her recent themes: Her name followed by a modgpodge of 10 letters which I am informed spell "Care Bear"
Herself, her house, rainbow pumpkins, and clouds all around her name.
I just love the way little kid's minds work.
And if you look close enough, everyone has eyebrows. That is essential.
And what about Natalie? How does she keep herself occupied?

While I was writing this entry, she sang "rock a bye baby" to her little doll, pretended to change it's diaper, along with three other animals, and then put on her backpack and pretended to go to a meeting, perpetually saying goodbye for five minutes. So sometimes she entertains herself too.

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A year of family home evenings
So I was thinking I'll post our family home evening ideas every couple weeks. (Family Home Evening is a time every monday night, to sing songs, learn a lesson focused on spiritual things, and do an activity together as a family. We usually skip a treat because our kids don't have treats after 7)

Last week we learned about Gratitude. I used the new nursery manual from our church. If you haven't checked it out, it's amazing! Every family with a toddler should have one. I love that the pictures are bound in the book, it's spiral bound for easy copying, and every lesson has something to copy and color. PLUS all the lesson are focused on doctrinal things, and are written very well attuned to children of nursery age (1.5 to 4 years of age)

For the lesson, we talked about the ten lepers who were healed, and only one came back to thank Christ. I had the girls hold up their fingers to show how many were healed and how many came back.

Then we looked through some old parenting magazines, and cut out things we were thankful for. We then pasted them on one sheet per person. Sophia loved it, she loves cutting things out and glueing. We were excited to find toys they have in their play room and food they eat all the time. It was a good reminder to me that we have many things to be thankful for, even when you just count the small number of items in our home.

Sophia is thankful, yogurt, juice pumpkins, elmo, sunscreen and coloring

Mommy and Daddy's...John's is pretty much whatever noone else wanted.
But the girls love the mucas mascot for musinex, so they were all about his poster.
I think they think it's shrek or something like that.

So this week, we talked about the Creation and Seasons. We looked at a picture from the manual with animals and plants in it, and talked about the seasons changing plant's apperance and plant's activities (grow vs. bloom vs. be bare). And how animals are the same- some fly south in the winter, whales swim home in the summer, animals have babies in the spring, bears hibernate in the winter. Then we talked about all the things we as people do different in seasons. One thing is that all our birthdays in our family, and a lot of our extended family, are between halloween and march. We're winter birthday season people.

Then we went outside and gathered up ten kinds of leaves from our yard. And made leaf rubbings. Only the girls didn't like it.

So we drew pictures of rainbow pumpkins instead.

Our leaf rubbings

Here are the girls too interested in coloring
to look up. Lately Natalie has listened to Sophia spell out her name, and she says letters as she makes marks on the paper. When she's coloring I hear "B! E! V! O O O" . So cute.

September 22
Baby shower loot
So I hope none of my friends from my ward read this and know what a dork I am.

This tote bag I made from scrapbook paper. I folded two papers like this, each with one wide and two skinny sides, then slid the skinny sides so they overlapped the whole way, and taped up the side. Tape on the bottom to reinforce too.

Here's a detail of the bottom to see my folding.

Then I folded over the top for a finished edge, and added ribbon handles. Don't you just love the green and brown?

And a diaper clutch. I sewed on velcro, then sewed two pieces of fabric together, flipped rightside out and sewed the top opening. Then sewed the sides to reinforce, and sewed the pocket with the ribbon loop. The loop is for easy grabbing, for hooking onto a stroller, or for your keys. Endless possibilities. Need inspiration and options for these? Try searching on etsy.

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Alligator Clip Tutorial
So here's the tutorial all 3 of you want to see.

So here's what you're making

here's what you need:

Clockwise from the top left
1. Box of alligator clips. Sally beauty, $5.00 / box of 100 (yes, 5 cents each!)
2. Ribbon. Grosgrain works best, I used 3/8 inch for most, but up to 5/8 in works. Look for sales at Michaels or their bargain bins. I got many of mine for 1.00 or 50c for 2-4 yds.
3. A movie. I actually ended up watching little women. The girlier the better. Tv works well too. But I like movies I've already seen before, so it's ok if I get distracted. That's just my style.
4. A glue gun, small or large. If you have a large glue gun, you'll have to be careful how much glue you apply, it could get messy fast.
5. Pair of sharp scissors
6. Not in the picture- a child's sleeping, because this activity is not good with children under the age of 3. For your sanity and the safety of their little fingers.

First step: Cut ribbon to about 16 cm.

Now, to make a clip you glue the ribbon all around the clip, starting from the upper inside part. Confused? The pictures will help.

So first, you place glue on the inner top of the clip and glue the end of the ribbon here.

Place glue at outer top of clip, wrap ribbon around and press.

A better view

Glue around spring of clip, one dot of glue on each.

Glue around the outer part of the bottom of the clip. There should be one or two cm of ribbon left. I don't like to line the bottom inside of the clip because my girls have thick hair, it doesn't stay in as well. So I clip the ribbon (at an angle) so it comes inside the clip just a cm or two.


This is an alligator clip base. You can add some decorations- a big bow of the same color/size, so the clip blends in, or some rhinestones, buttons, etc.

For more ideas,simply search "alligator clip" on Haven't checked out etsy? You're missing out!

Stay tuned in a week when I make some more felt clippies.

Also, I would like to thank my children for reading books quietly for 20 minutes straight! Which allowed me to do more on the internet than stalk my old friends from college. Good work kids!
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Look Mama!
A day of the words of Sophia

I'm riding a princess bike! Oooo don't let me go too fast!

Look! Natalie's climbing the BIG ladder!

I made it to the top! We're doing the seesaw!

Look! I don't know how to get down!

Baby needs to slide too!

Look ! Natalie's at the top! (of a three tire ladder...eeek)
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September 19
A trip down memory lane...
So my friends Sarah and Carrie did this tag, and I liked it. So here goes...

20 years ago...
1. I was five years old, living in Poughkeepsie New York. My mom babysat some kids who were my best friends, we regularly had lemonade stands in the summertime, and tried to sell watercolor coloring pages by the side of the road.
2.I remember playing barbies and gi joes, mixed with my brother's star wars ewok village. I also remember recording myself singing for hours, and thinking my brother's nintendo nes was the COOLEST. THING. EVER. Tetris was my favorite.

10 years ago...
1.I was 15 years old, playing Varsity field hockey, dating a boy from church, and trying to assert my independence by regularly ignoring curfew and cursing way too much.
2. I was totally in love with Lauren Hill, anything by P.Diddy, Bob Marley, and I spent a lot of time watching Mtv afterschool at my house with Kassie. Oh! and I was sooooo cool because I had a free email account with Juno and I would email my friends all the time and have crazy font/background combinations.

5 years ago...
1.I was a newlywed, living in a little bitty apartment in Provo with John, taking 18 credit hours, and trying to see John as much as possible. And we got pregnant that year with Sophia, and both graduated with our undergrad degrees.
2.I think we watched every BYU game with Brad and Lori, and I would watch every Trading Spaces episode I could find. And I spent so much time decorating our cinder block walls, so it didn't look "cliche" newlywed provo apartment. Whatever that was, I avoided it.

1 year ago...
1.John graduated with his two master's degrees! Hooray! We moved to Blacksburg! Hooray! And we found a house to live in within 24 hours. And John started his new job.
2.Last summer and fall I remember being tragically bored and restless as a SAHM during one week, then the next week overwhelmed and not having any time to think about anything. Once I made friends and had a semi-good schedule, then threw myself into halloween, quilting projects, etc, all those baby blues mood swings subsided.

So far this year...
1. We've visited my parents a lot, and had a fun low key adventure to Indiana.
2. We've started saving for a car, and have been easing ourselves into buying/using food storage.

1.Went to the park with my kids, made some home made bread, and read lots of books.
2. I made the worst sopapilla recipe ever. Twice as much salt as needed. But my husband and children are nice and still ate it.

1.Sophia went to Joy school, while Natalie and I bought fabric for Halloween costumes, and hit up Walmart/Target. But we lost one of her favorite puppy dogs in my shopping frenzy. But I got a great deal on some oldschool vhs's at the library and lunch bags for 2.50. I'm kind of excited about that.
2.Attended Enrichment and decided to run a 5k sometime in the next few months.

1.We're going to clean up my house and play outside half the day.
2.I've got a night out planned with some friends at which I will probably eat too much and laugh really hard and come home way too late.

Next Month
1. I'll be sewing like crazy for Halloween and Christmas and starting the family calendars.
2. We have general/stake conference AND the Primary program. I am overwhelmed just thinking about it.

In the next year...
1. Maybe another baby! If I'm lucky!
2. Save some more money, maybe buy a house, maybe stay in this rental for another year, who knows?

In the next 5-10 years...
1.I will go to Disneyland. Probably in another 5 years. If I'm lucky. And maybe we'll have 5 kids by then. But maybe not?
2. We'll move west and John will invent something and make us a lot of money. I'll become a yuppie farmer and have a huge plot of land with berries as far as you can see, and watch the green grass grow from my rocker. I'll probably be in the PTA, let's be honest.
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September 17
Are you really THAT cheap?
How cheap are you? I mean really?? ((Warning - this is a shameless boastful post. I promise to go back to being more self-deprecating in the future))Because I was thinking about how I can be so cheap sometimes. So even though I have started using the sunday paper, combining with sales, that doesn't make me that cheap. It's not stuff I would buy anyways, and half the time it's what the girls call "treats"- granola bars, snack cereal, cookie mixes, etc. So it counts as an indulgence, at least in my book. Because even if the granola bar box is 1.00, it's 1.00 more than I would have spent without it. So, what things do I do without coupons to prove my cheap-ness?I make my husband ride the bus or bike to work. A bus pass for a month? 6 dollars. Cheap. We only have one car, and it's old. 210,000 miles old. I bundle all my errands, and hardly ever go to one place while I'm out. The exception is a lone Saturday night when I need milk. I grind my own wheat and bake my own bread. And I made my own ice cream, but that was the same cost as buying it on sale for 2 dollars. But much much better tasting. I make my own pizza, which costs the same as a frozen, but makes twice as much. And tastes 10 x better. I pop popcorn in oil on the stove. That makes me a pioneer according to some family members. And we eat oatmeal in the wintertime. So cheap. I cut John's hair myself. And the girl's hair. I save all things reusuable- plastic food containers (cottage cheese ones make great tupperwares), cereal boxes to use to mail things or to organize my drawers, etc.I shop at big expensive stores during their yearly sales - Old Navy has a clearance blowout every July, Bath and Body works every June, Target every few months. Oh, and School supplies at Walmart in August. And then there's the obvious 50-75 % off discounts the day after holidays. My halloween decorations are ready and waiting for Oct. 1st. The best deals at those are the holiday kids shirts Target sells, cheap to begin with, then 50 % off the day after- and half the time they are subtule in their holiday decor. Sophia wears her black and rainbow colored "halloween" pants all year long. Plus the outlets, Children's Place especially has huge markdowns at their outlets. And I shop at Sam's Club, but only when I'm with my mom and use her membership. I try not to spend more than 5 dollars on a shirt or 10 dollars for pants for the girls, (Target, Old Navy and JcPenney sales) never more than 10 for a dress. And never more than 20 dollars for an item for myself, running shoes excepted. And I take handme downs, shamelessly. I stock up on baby gifts when they're on sale at above said clearance, and often make my own gifts for the little baby to be. Then I don't look cheap, though I am. Plus, I used the bath/body works sale for Bunko gifts once. It was sweeeeet. Coupons that are worth your time- the 40 % off normal price or 50% off normal price at Michaels/Jo-Ann's. Many times it pays to wait until an item isn't on sale to use the coupon, these stores regularly discount 30 percent for weeks, but not to the 40 percent mark. Our only phone is a cell phone on my parent's plan. They don't mind, I sure don't. We don't have cable, and we spend only about 30 dollars a month on internet. Though we are looking into a digital reciever so I can read the Jeapordy clues without squinting. Oh yeah, and so we get ABC and Ugly Betty. I still love tv, I just don't pay as much for it. Plus, watching youtube on my computer allows me to do things in my kitchen at the same time. We use the library instead of blockbuster for movie. They have more kid shows anyways. And I can renew for up to 3 weeks. I've finally decided we don't need a minivan until we have 4 kids. Which won't be for at least another 2 years. This was a hard decision to make, how I covet those sliding doors. So there you have it, me with all my cheapness, exposed. And this has nothing to do with cheap, but I saw on the ABC full episodes list that they have "My SoCalled Life" episodes with Clair Danes. It brought me back to middle school and my then love affair with MTv.

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September 13
Dreams REALLY do come true

It can happen to you. If you just believe.....

A Panera bread is being built about 2 blocks from my house.
I almost crashed from my lack of breathing and looking forward when I drove past the sign last week.
I just might have to change my jogging route, to breathe in that early morning artisan bread goodness.

For those of you that live west of the Mississippi and might not have tasted Panera, I apologize.
You're missing out. But you've got Jamba Juice so I guess we're even.
But it really is the best.

Bread that's hard and crusty but soft and chewy on the inside.
Sandwiches full of tender meat and decilious veggies with cheese names I never remember how to pronounce.
Creamy soups full of flavor and veggies
and lemonade with real lemons that make your mouth pucker.
And brownie pies with tons of nuts and caramel, that I can never buy because I would get terribly fat.
Because I wouldn't be able to stop eating.
Sometimes I have dreams, and in it I have their French onion soup with asiago cheese croutons.

Oh panera, thank you for making all my dreams come true.

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Latest Read..trying out goodreads
These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 : A Novel by Nancy E. Turner
My review
rating: 4 of 5 starsThis book was extremely well written, witty and poignant, so full of emotion, I felt pulled in and comfortable in the wild and hard world of ranch life. It was very well researched and had so many small details that added a richness to the time period. The plotline is full of small intense adventures that keep you turning pages, mixed in with everyday musings and ponderings on Sarah's life. Not to mention romance. And a lot of rifle shooting and ranch defending. The author did an amazing job of putting words to all the conflicting feelings Sarah has about her life: her extended family, growing up, children, the passion and fear that coexist, the everyday struggles of married life. There was such weight and truth behind Sarah's conclusions. The author has beautiful imagery in comparing one's life to the hard land and hills of the Arizona territory, and put a voice to some of the struggles and vulnerabilities I've been feeling lately. I loved the relationship between the two main characters, and thought the author really captured the complexity of marriage and how simple and comforting and it is at the same time. At first I didn't like the way the book covered such a long time span, which made me attached to characters then so sad and distraught to see them gone, and impatient for them to fall in love already. But the long time line helped me see the ebb and flow of one's life, and further drove home how life is so long but short at the same time, that while struggles and adversity seem so crushing and final, they are actually so short in the course of one's whole life. And, as usual, I'd love to do this as a book club book- so many quotes and imagery and applicable struggles to discuss. View all my reviews.
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September 11
The Politics Post
I have a confession. I have no cable, but I still get in an hour of CNN, Larry king live and msnbc stupid gossip everday. The internet is amazing. I have been following along with the political campaign, keeping my husband who's too good for tv informed, and reading some of the criticsicm on the internet (as in the Huffington post, or watching NBC's critical coverage of the RNC). I was pretty excited about Palin, my mom is from Wasilla, we vacationed there when I was growing up, so I like her. I just wish I could see an interview or something, so far everything she's said has been during a speech. So here's some of the interviews I've deemed hilarious, worthy of your time, and very revealing. First, Barack was interviewed by O'Reilly last week, and Bill stretched it out over 4 nights, because he wants ratings. Though I don't like Barack, I thought I'd listen to him, then if he becomes President, I know what promises he's made. And I like yelling at the tv, this is good for that. The segments topics were- National security, the economy, his dubious associations, and I can't remember the last one. Oreilly's website didn't have an obvious embedding tool, so Here's the first part, with a link to the foxnews player, on the war in Iraq. The rest are in the playlist below the player, on the site.
Second, McCain's daughter has written a book. I didn't see the segment on the today show, but I did see an article about her, and the blog she has. I checked it out, it has AWESOME pictures. I've always want a photographer following me and my kids around to capture all the tender moments, apparently that is possible with a political career. Or a reality tv show. Or are the same thing? Anyways, check out her blog- it really does make him more human and personal, and I think it's fun to see what it's like to be on the campaign trail. Her blog?
Third, Michelle Obama was on Ellen Degeneres this past week. She spent most of the time talking about her two girls and how they keep them grounded. But I was stunned when Ellen asked her if she would be having more kids- Isn't that a RULE- you just don't ask that??? Michelle Obama handled it with grace though. Here's the link to michelle on Ellen (the first part, the second is in the sidebar)Last but not least, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. He was my gateway drug into becoming a news junkie in the first place, back in high school. If you've never watched him before, there may be some profanity, which is a shame, because his coverage is so smart, and cunning and HILARIOUS. Mainly this video is pointing out how silly the Pundits are. Which really, they are quite ridiculous. Jon Stewart's writers are just so good at making it obvious. Here's the Link to Comedy Central. ENJOY!p.s. Sorry for the Web .5 huge links. I'm just so mad that the embedding is so rough with msn. Grrr.
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September 05
Distractions fit for a Princess

Aren't they wonderful? As my husband can attest, I am very easily distracted. At least when it's tv, webarticles, emails, books, or phone calls beckoning my attention. Children distracting me from these things, I've got attention of steel.

So what's been distracting us lately? Or in better terms, enriching our lives?

For starter's we've been listening to these cd's

It's got all the things I love about Disney- the music, the wit, the memories, without all the revealing outfits, long movies, evil witches, and too much action for a 3 year old. So it works.

So I've been plotting and planning for Halloween (yes I do know it's only Sept 5th). Sophia wants to be Cinderella, we decided Natalie is Snow White (she loves woodland animals, no joke). So I originally planned to make the Simplicity Liscenced dresses, but apparently they've been discontinued? So we're going with Butterick.

I toyed with the idea of making Belle's blue dress, that she wears in the beginning of the movie, for myself for Halloween. So we did some market research and watched the youtube video here. In a side note, Sophia now says "BONJOUR! instead of Hello.

In the process of looking at patterns and things last night, I found this article, What's wrong with Cinderella? It explores the different opinions of the Disney Princess empire, what it means in terms of feminism, and why some poeple (like me) have a love/hate relationship with the whole idea of princesses and little girl's obsession with them.

So this book sounds related, but it's not really. This week I read "The Princess Academy" by Shannon Hale. I liked it a lot, I'd highly reccomend it to any girls in late elementary school. It's about girls from a small mountain town training to be princesses, but not in the way Disney envisions. I love the way the characters transformed with their education, and blossomed with the hope of something better for themselves or their family.

So the distractions not fit for a Princess?

These chips are distracting my diet from healthy-ness. A friend left them after the BBQ on monday. Nothing like the Republican National Convention and some Salt and Vinegar.

This book, Cute Things (I know it's in japanese, I have the english version)

is distracting me from my chores. Cinderella has no time for that. But I could see Snow White making some appliqued bags for the Dwarves. I'm just saying. I need to make all my christmas gifts out of it, so I can feel justified in getting this book,Cute Dolls.

And why not? Between little purses, tissue covers, animal scarves, and water bottle cozies, my christmas will be awesome.

Now I'm in the mood for some chips and endless Jo-Ann sale flyer perusing. MMMMM

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Going about our biz-nassss
So this week has been a bit crazy.


Well for starters, I had the most stressful Sunday ever. I was the only Primary presidency member there, we debuted a new music leader, and it was a Fifth sunday. Who cares about that? Well on Fifth Sundays our teachers go to a lesson by a Bishopric member, and leave their classes for sharing time. I didn't know I was supposed to remind people to sit in for them...and thus it became two teachers and the music leaders trying to keep 18 kids attentive and nice to each other.

I came home, a little overwhelmed.

Then on Monday, Labor Day, we had a few friends over. But first we spent all day grocery shopping, cleaning up our yard, cleaning up our house, and baking brownies. I was ready to just sit and do nothing at the party. So I did.

Tuesday- First day of Joy School! Sophia loved it. I went to the library during Joy School, proceeded to look up 10 different novels to read, and only could find 2. Grrr. And then checked out 14 children's books. Because we are hard core readers like that. And I'm indecisive, so I just get them all.

Wednesday brought a visit to a good friend, who's very active 3 year old son has a broken leg. Now Sophia prays his leg will get better. I'm thinking Heaven must hear those prayers. I was really tired but still stayed up late doing some Primary stuff.

Thursday was another joy school day, a create a bulletin board for Primary day, a laundry day, a watch Project Runway day, and make Spaghetti for dinner day. Mmm.

So here I stand, facing Friday, with some of Sophia's friends coming to play, needing a Potluck recipe for a church party tonight, and wishing I could just sit in the sun and read. If only I could find the book club book for this month. Who's got an extra copy of Tale of Two Cities?

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