From Pinterest: Mustache Lollipops

I didn't intend to take such a long break from posting, but my computer is in high demand these days. Rachel and Lucy have been spending lots of time on their online reading program, Raz Kids. (I was reprimanded at parent-teacher conference a couple weeks ago. Lucy's teacher asked me very seriously, Does she have access to a computer at home? And in reality, the answer was No. I'm not very good at sharing my computer. But makes me sound like a terrible mother, so I am making some sacrifices.) And every time I sit down to write on my blog, I enjoy reading everyone else's posts so much that I spend my time doing that instead.

But I couldn't leave Kaleigh's valentines out. Especially since she is getting so good at posing for the camera. So here they are, Mustache Lollipops:

Maybe everyone else is getting tired of mustaches. I am not.

I saw this link on Pinterest, which came from this post by Family Fun.

If I were to make these again, I think I would make the mustaches a little smaller. And use a less curvy design to make the cutting go faster. I did not use a hole punch or knife to make a hole for the suckers, I just poked them right through the foam. I thought this would make them fit tighter, which it did. If you wanted to improve on this idea, you could use a small dot of glue to better secure the mustache to the lollipop stick.

Overall, these were the easiest of all the valentines we made. But that might be because Kaleigh didn't try to help me make them. . .

But she sure enjoyed trying them out:


From Pinterest: Paint Sample Valentine Bookmarks

Another great idea from Pinterest.

Saw this pin for bookmarks made out of paint samples. It just takes you to an image, but they are so straightforward that instructions aren't really needed.

Our school doesn't allow candy for Valentine's Day and second graders love bookmarks, so I knew these would be a hit for Lucy's class.

I loved all of the different shades of reds and pinks in the Pinterest picture. But Lucy said that Olivia only likes things that are blue, Layla loves purple, etc. . . and she didn't think the boys would be too excited about pink bookmarks.

So I went to Home Depot and picked out four different colors of paint samples and then went to Michael's where I got four coordinating rolls of ribbon. And in case you are wondering about the paint samples, I just walked up and took them.

Home Depot's Behr paint samples are about five inches wide with curved edges. I used a paper cutter to trim off the edge with the names of the paint colors and the other edge with the rounded corners so we were left with a section with straight edges and no words. (I actually liked the side with the rounded corners, but Lucy did not.)

We punched holes in the tops and three heart punches down the left side. Lucy tied ribbons in the top and I actually decided to apply a dot of super glue to the back of the knot because a few of them were slipping loose.

Lucy typed up all of the names of the kids in her class and I printed to/from tags out on Avery labels:

I love these little bookmarks and think I might snag a few paint samples the next time I go to a hardware store. These could be made with different paper punches (butterflies, snowflakes, etc.) and would be great for Primary kids or as something special to include with a book for a birthday gift.

From Pinterest: Superhero Lollipops

When I came across these superhero lollipops on Pinterest, I knew I needed to make them for Adam to take to preschool on Valentine's Day.

I bought red Tootsie Pops from the bulk section at WinCo, printed out the templates on heavy card stock, and cut everything out. (The eye masks take a while.)

I used a glue stick to secure the eye masks, but I should have followed the directions and used tape. If I were to make these again, I would probably use a lighter weight of card stock. Or possibly print the eye masks out on adhesive paper. . . but that would also require redesigning the template. So probably just use tape.

Really simple. And really cute.

I wrote the child's name inside the heart and "from Adam" on the backside of the capes.

From Pinterest: Friendship Bracelet Valentines

After hearing about our valentines, someone was saying how creative we were. Rachel quipped right back, "We don't have to be creative. We have Pinterest."

Yes, there's a lot of truth to that.

When I saw the pin to this post about friendship bracelet valentines, (originally inspired by this post on Design Mom) I knew it was the perfect idea for Rachel.

I bought four rolls of crochet thread from Michael's, and there is enough string left over to make a few hundred more bracelets. We came up with color combinations that were appropriate for boys and some cuter ones for the girls. I wish I knew the simple pattern Maude Blair used on her friendship bracelets; we copied Abby and did a regular braid with two strings of each color.

Rachel made about thirty bracelets and I made an additional fifteen. Rachel's bracelets were just as good, if not better, than mine. . . she is a good little braider. She gave them to everyone in her class, her older cousins, and some friends from our neighborhood. (She crossed out "class" on the tags for her cousins and friends and wrote in "family" and "neighborhood".

I printed out the tags on heavy card stock and cut them out with scalloped scissors. (Really wished I had a scalloped edge paper punch. I want to buy one for the next time we make these.)

And there definitely will be a next time. I loved these and was thinking about making them for the kids in my Primary class, but ran out of time. The bracelets were a huge hit in Rachel's class; even her teacher wore hers.

The best thing about the tag (love it when people provide downloads to their templates!) is that it doesn't say anything about Valentine's Day, so these friendship bracelets could be given out for other occasions as well. Hmmmm. Maybe I'll get a few more colors to mix in and make them for my Primary kids on their birthdays. Which means I need to go back to Michael's today. . . since the first birthday of the year is tomorrow.


The Valentine's Day Gravy Boat

Valentine's Day is pretty low-key in our family. We are all partied out from our birthdays to have any excitement left for another holiday.

And Steve always works on Valentine's Day. Always.

I took the kids to Chick-fil-A for dinner with my sister and her kids. Then we started on some errands and ended up at Bed Bath & Beyond. I told Rachel and Lucy to pick something out to give to their dad for Valentine's Day. After going up and down every single aisle in the whole store, the girls settled on this beautiful gravy boat:

It was perfect because #1 We don't have anything appropriate for serving gravy and usually use a plastic liquid measuring cup. #2 I still haven't learned how to make mashed potatoes, so Steve is the official mashed potato cook in our family. And #3 it was only ten bucks. Which was significantly less than the two hundred dollar blender I wanted to buy.

We tried the new desserts from Sonora Grill (Mango Mousse Cake is my new favorite) and gave Steve his present. He couldn't help but smile and made some comment about being old and finally being ready for a gravy boat. (We received three for our wedding and returned every single one of them.)

And then he pulled out some beautiful roses. So much for low-key.

Very happy that Valentine's Day is over and that the craziness at the restaurant should slow down for a bit. It's kind of the equivalent of Tax Day for an accountant's wife. Also very happy that I was able to reclaim the kitchen table, which has been buried in craft supplies for the last week. I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome from all of the valentines we made. I will write about them in separate posts.



You can read it here.

I had never heard of The Power of Moms until Saren, one of the founders, moved in down the street. She and her family quickly became some of our favorite neighbors.

About a year ago, I started a Learning Circle with some of my friends. . . we are pretty lucky because not everyone gets to have one of the founders (and author of many of the articles we discuss) in their group! Heidi, who is also in our group, wrote a really great description of our Learning Circle on her blog, so I'm linking you to her post.

I've spent the last few years with really great intentions of taking the time to read parenting articles and books on a regular basis; being part of a Learning Circle gives me a deadline to get it done. It is also very helpful to hear ideas from other mothers and have someone to report to about the monthly assignments that coordinate with the articles.

My answers for the spotlight were too long for the Power of Moms blog, so they cut out one of the questions. It was one of the questions that required me to really evaluate myself, so I'm including it here.

What coping strategies do you have for getting through hard times and hard days?

We were just discussing our coping strategies at our Learning Circle meeting last month. There was talk about running, bubble baths, and Diet Coke. But for me, it is my husband and my faith that get me through hard times and hard days. (Believe me, there have been plenty.) My husband repeatedly reminds me to allow my trials to bring me closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ. And although I don't spend nearly as much time as I should really studying my scriptures, I am grateful for the scriptures that I have memorized that come to my aid when I need them. One of my favorites over this past year has been "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." (Joshua 1:9) I also really like the scripture from the Book of Mormon that says "Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity." (Moroni 10:20) Those three divine attributes: faith, hope, and charity, can get you through a lot of things.


Speed Cough

Adam threw up in the middle of the night on Saturday. The next morning, he told me that he wasn't really sick, he just had a "speed cough". I didn't know what that meant. (Did he cough until he gagged?) So I asked him what a speed cough was. And then I quickly pulled out my phone and restarted the questioning so I could get it on video.


Time Out for Women

I am one of H.J. & Edna Milligan's 28 grandchildren. (Eighteen of us are girls.) Even though our grandparents have both passed away, I think I am probably closer to my cousins now than ever before.

When we were gathered for a family Christmas party in December, one of my cousins suggested that we go to a Time Out for Women together. So last weekend, Heidi flew in from Arizona and Jennifer, Natalie, and Melissa drove down from Idaho Falls and we all went to Time Out for Women in Layton. We ate at Sonora Grill, Roosters, and stayed up talking until about two in the morning.

There were lots of great quotes from the weekend. Some of these are from my notes from the conference and the others are things I remembered hearing among our group:

"I feel like I'm at EFY."

"There are flowers in the urinal!"

"We don't learn from successes. We learn from challenges." (James Ferrell)

"We shouldn't be worried about the holes in anyone else's boat." (James Ferrell)

"Do people still like Michael McLean?"

"I'm confused. I thought that was the closing song."

"Why is that milk green?"

"I don't remember the last time I got flipped off."
"You got flipped off at lunch."

"Eyelash curlers? Who even uses those anymore?"

"Let it go." (Chris Williams)

"Don't get in the way of the Savior." (Chris Williams)

"Was I just snoring?"

"Greatness is best measured by how well we respond to the happenings in life that appear to be unfair, unreasonable, and undeserved." (D. Kelly Ogden)

"All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection. You will not be denied anything." (D. Kelly Ogden)

"Summon bonum." (D. Kelly Ogden)

"This is way better than last night."

"Your feelings matter. They contain crucial information about your spirit." (Julie de Azevedo Hanks)

"Own your weaknesses and your strengths." (Julie de Azevedo Hanks)

"And now, I'd like to sing a little song that goes along with this." (most of the speakers)

"Good does not always reside within your comfort zone." (Emily Watts)

"Sometimes good needs a catalyst to get it going." (Emily Watts)

"Good often appears in disguise." (Emily Watts)

"They saved the best two speakers for last."

"Do you know how much this cupcake cost?"

"I felt like some of the speakers were like 'All you have to worry about is being beautiful on the inside. That's what matters. I know that I'm beautiful, and I'm skinny, and I've accomplished all sorts of amazing things. But for all of you out there. . . just worry about what's on the inside.'"

And the final quote before I said my goodbyes to everyone:

"Did you just lock the keys in the van?"

It was a great weekend and I am already looking forward to the next gathering, which is slated for May 2013 (for the Ogden Marathon).

Hope the rest of you will join us: (Angela, Leslie, Rachael, Julie, Jamie, Carly, Kacie, Kim, Jill, Robin, Candace, Jodi, Holly, Andrea, Lauren, Ally, Staci, Amber, Cassi and Jen!)

P.S. Steve was a good sport and let me host a girls' night at our house on his birthday. I started typing thirty-three things about Steve to post on my blog, but he told me what he really wanted for his birthday was for me not to post anything at all. . . so I didn't.


Birthday Weekend

I celebrated my 30th birthday over the weekend, and now I am officially a lady.

On Friday night, Angie painted my toenails. She asked me what color I wanted them painted, and I said red. Of course they needed to be red. And then once she did my toenails, I liked them so much, I decided I probably needed my fingernails painted too. When Steve saw them, he laughed. I'm just proud that I made it through Day 5 without taking off the polish.

Before Steve left to go move someone on Saturday morning he said, "Didn't I get you something really cool for Christmas that was going to count for your birthday too?" So I realized I would probably need to take myself birthday shopping.

But then I couldn't go downstairs because the girls were working on this sweet decoration for me and wanted it to be a surprise. It's a birthday chain that they hung up; there are 30 reasons why they love me. They are sweet.

Angie and I went to my new favorite store, Ume, and my old favorite store, DownEast. I got a whole load of new "lady clothes". More on what that means another day.

We took our kids to Spoon Me. I sure do like that place.

I picked Steve up from work just in time for the Hartmans to come over for dinner. We made pizza and played Reverse Charades. My kids can't get enough of that game.

Steve went back to work right after they left. He came home late and immediately started cooking chorizo and finishing his lesson for church. He was hosting Sunday brunch for the Ogden Visitors Bureau and taught combined Relief Society/Priesthood. Not sure if he actually got any sleep that night. I got eight hours for the second night in a row.

I took six kids with me to church. (Thank goodness for the newlyweds in the row in front of me who are willing to entertain rambunctious little boys.) I had ten eight-year olds in my Primary class. I only had to chase one of them around the Primary room. I took him to his parents after he tried to use a chair as a weapon.

Derrick gave me a day pass to Snowbasin for my birthday. On Monday, Steve and I took Rachel and Lucy to school, Kaleigh to Debra's house, and Adam to preschool, and then we went skiing. By ourselves. It was awesome. Except that I am a wimp and needed a break after going down twice.

Pulling things like that off -going places without kids- requires a lot of coordinating and made the rest of my afternoon completely chaotic. We drove home from Snowbasin. I dropped Steve off to shower. I drove Rachel and Lucy to piano. I picked Steve up and drove him to Sonora Grill. I drove to Clinton to pick up Kaleigh. I drove to pick up Rachel and Lucy from piano. I dropped Rachel and Lucy off to change into swimsuits. I picked up neighbor kids. I picked up Rachel and Lucy. I dropped off the kids for swim team practice. I went and picked up dry cleaning from Your Valet. I went and picked up Sundance tickets. I went and picked up pizza. And then I went home and had twenty minutes to shower and get ready.

I saw The Queen of Versailles with Angie. I heard it described as a riotous documentary, and that is accurate. Then I drove home, put the four little kids to bed, woke up the big one, picked Steve up from Sonora Grill, and went back to the theater. We saw Safety Not Guaranteed, which was an interesting sci-fi romance. It's the short film they showed before that I can't get out of my head. It was funny/disturbing. I love our tradition of going to Sundance for my birthday and love Zions Bank for coming through for us with Best of Fest tickets this year.

So, to all of those who asked about my birthday. . . yes, I'd say I was plenty spoiled.