My faith

I'm a Mormon.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I get knocked down...

...But I haven't gotten up again.

OK, so this having three kids 3 and under is really a challenge right now. Preschool? Non-existent. Sanity? Hanging by a thread. Sleep? Yes, please!

Blogging? NO time!!

Yes, I'm blogging right now, only to explain why I probably won't blog for a while. I'm struggling to find joy in motherhood. I never thought I would wonder "why did I have kids?" But to be brutally honest, that thought has crossed my mind lately. This is HARD!! There are a lot of things I'm having to let go of. I realized lately that homeschooling was causing me a lot of stress deep down, even though I'm not even doing it yet. So I've let go of that. If I can homeschool later, I will. But if I need to send my kids to public school, that will be wonderful too. I'm learning to accept what I can do, to focus on my kids as much as possible, and to LET GO of things that don't matter in the grand scheme.

Someday I'll blog again. But right now, I've got to stick with the essentials. :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Starting preschool.

All of my friend's with children DD1's age seem to be sending their kids to preschool. In fact, we are often asked where she goes to preschool. She doesn't. And she won't. In fact, she already knows everything she might learn at preschool, except for maybe following directions and sitting still, which I think are overrated anyway. :)

BUT, I have thought for quite some time that I would homeschool my children, and after talking with some homeschooling families, and reading THIS book(which I recommend if you have even the slightest thought that you might want to homeschool), my husband and I are confident that homeschooling is a path we want to pursue.

With that in mind, I must admit that I worry that I'll be able to be dedicated enough to teach my kids at home. I certainly don't want any major gaps in their education. And I want them to become thinkers, and to pursue what they are passionate about. I want to have adventures and to learn through real-life experiences. I want our learning to be genuine, and not forced by some politicians who know little about children and nothing about education (don't get me started on the politics of public ed right now, it's a downward spiral).

For October, our theme is Autumn. I'm excited to see where it takes us. I do want to outline a daily rhythm that is fairly flexible, and I'm excited to see how that pans out, especially with three children. I'm trying to be organized, but not to let that take away from any spontaneity that should occur through our learning together. I am sure the only way I will survive is if I have an outline of how I'd like things to go, but I must be willing to let that go (especially due to a hungry baby, a cold, lack of sleep, or any of the things that tend to mess up "schedules" when you have three kids 3 and under.)

The books we plan to read:

Leaf Man and Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, by Lois Ehlert
The Apple Pie Tree, by Zoe Hall
Leaves Fall Down; Learning about Autumn Leaves by Lisa Marie Bullard

Are there any other Fall-ish books that you suggest for my little ones?

The songs we plan to sing:

My Montessori Journey typed up songs that go perfectly with our theme. I'm so excited to sing these with my girls!

Other skills we plan to learn:
Sight words the, a, and, see
Counting to 100

Gospel concepts to learn
We Believe in God, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost

Social Skills to practice:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Any ideas for this one? :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Our sweet baby was born 3 weeks ago. We are SO in love with her.

But we're also exhausted. It seems that adding 1 little person to our family has quadrupled our "to-do list" and exponentially increased our fatigue.

Tonight I was preparing this Sunday School lesson for the 12-13 year olds that I teach and came across this familiar scripture:

D&C 64:33-34
33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

34 Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.

I needed this reminder. I may be weary as a mama of 3, but I am laying the foundation of a great work! These little people depend on me for almost everything, but if I am willing to rely on the Lord and be patient with them, and with myself, then I will see great rewards! I'm weary, but these small things I'm doing will bring about great things!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Things to read Thursday #5: manners

I've thought a lot lately about how to teach my children courtesy, social skills, and manners. Here are a few books I love!

1. Cookies: Bite sized life lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Make some cookies with your little ones and sit down to enjoy this book. I even have a copy if you want to borrow it! :)

2. D.W.'s guide to perfect manners by Marc Brown. My gals LOVE D.W.! This is a cute book that has motivated my 3-year-old to try and be "perfect." It goes over basic manners and helping out around the house! Love it!

3. Bears on Chairs by Shirley Parenteau A cute story about how bears work together to solve a problem. Great discussions on sharing can ensue.

In my opinion, manners and courtesy are things that need to be taught explicitly. You have to PRACTICE and MODEL, MODEL, MODEL for your kids!! Discuss every situation and ask questions that can help them figure out what to do!

More ideas:

Anticipate situations where your child may not act in a polite way. Birthday parties can be difficult for small children, especially siblings of the birthday kid. Some kids have a hard time when other kids are getting attention. Act it out beforehand. Play "Birthday Party" and have kids give each other "presents" (we wrap ours in blankets) and practice being glad for each other when another child gets a present. Do the same thing and have the present opener practice gratitude for the gift. We do this in a scripted way. The present opener must look the giver in the eye, say their name, and say "thank you for the gift." Practice makes perfect!

I've started giving my preschooler "do-overs." When she speaks in a tone of voice that is not polite, I say "Why don't you try that again?" Because we've talked about it, she knows that whining or yelling is not appropriate. We don't even yell "Please get me a drink." Tone is important.

A great article on teaching generosity.

Discuss actions of the characters in books you read and movies you watch. For example, Woody in Toy Story does not use kind words or a kind tone. Get your child thinking about it. Don't worry that bringing it up will make them copy the behavior. Set firm limits. "Shut-up you idiot" is not something we say to people.

Praise! Praise! PRAISE! Try and notice every time your child uses good manners, is polite, is generous, and praise them!

Write thank-you notes for everything! Gifts, play-dates, or other special things need to be acknowledged and is a great way to teach your child gratitude.

Keep a family gratitude journal. Brainstorm things as a family once a week, or more!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baby quilt! TADA!

Here is the front of my baby's quilt. Just need to quilt and bind! I love the green, yellow, and blue.

Sorry the pic isn't awesome. Camera phone...


It's funny. With my first daughter, I really wanted to have a natural birth. I think I was partly scared of having a big needle stuck in my back. I also didn't want surgery. I ended up with pitocin, an epidural, pushing for two hours, and feeling oh-so-grateful when she finally came out (thanks to the doc pushing on the top of my stomach.)

I've learned a lot since then. When preparing for the birth of my 2nd baby girl, I went a little crazy with the research. I was VERY intellectually prepared to have her. And I WAS going to do it naturally. Because that's what good moms do. And I didn't really enjoy the feeling of helplessness with DD1's birth. I wanted to GIVE birth, not just lay there feeling nothing until it was time to purple push and hopefully get a baby out!

But then I actually gave birth. And boy, did I feel it! Labor was fine, but pushing DD2 out was definitely painful. And I remember the fantasies I had about a peaceful birth being completely crushed. No wonder most women choose not to feel it! At that point I wasn't sure I would ever have a natural birth again!

Well, now DD3's birth is imminent! She's coming! Am I ready? What am I going to do? With this birth, my main goal is to have no regrets. I plan an unmedicated birth in a hospital. I have a great midwife who is amazing, and who has helped me prepare mentally and emotionally. (I've been prepared intellectually for a while!)

But sometimes I still catch myself thinking that all women should give birth naturally. I know this is wrong. A woman should have a baby however she wants. I thought this post explained, in a powerful way, that giving birth may not actually be the defining point in a woman's life as a mother! What a great perspective.

So I guess the point of this post is for me to share that birth is wonderful. Powerful. Beautiful. But I look forward to it more as a gateway to bringing another person into our family rather than a transforming, life-changing moment in and of itself. Of course birth transforms you, but I will not feel guilty if my birth isn't the spiritual amazing event that some women describe. I know that once I am holding my new daughter in my arms, I'll be holding a little bit of heaven. And that is enough!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Things to read Thursday #4

Im typing this from my iPod, so I won't be including links.

I've been thinking about some books that have changed my life and motivated me. So, starting with the most influential, I provide you with a list of 5 non-fiction books that every person should read.

1. The Book of Mormon

2. Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover (wish I'd read it 5 years earlier!)

3. Hence Goer's The Thinking Woman's Guide to a better birth. Even if you aren't a woman, or arent pregnant, this book has startling implications for health care in America! What's that? Doctors actually perform procedures for mOney or convenience and not because it is best for the patient?! No!

4. Taking charge of your fertility. How many people actually understand the dynamics of a Woman's cycle. Men should read this too!

5. The China Study by Colin Campbell. Re-think everything you think you know about nutrition!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things to read Thursday #3

Theme: Rhyme Time

We love nursery rhymes over here, and Dr. Suess is, of course, a big hit (although I made the mistake of checking out Hunches in Bunches once. Oh, how I despised that book, and of course DD1 loved it!)

Anyway, here are my top pics for fun picture books for the kiddies:

1. One fish, Two fish, red fish, blue fish, by Dr. Suess.

2. There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Boot by Linda Smith, illustrated by Jane Manning

3. Tomie DePaola's Baa Baa Black Sheep. Both of my girls love this one, and I enjoy his illustrations. He has a great book about popcorn, but I'll save that for another post.

4. Anything by Jack Prelutsky or X.J.Kennedy. Great kid's poets!

Personally, I am a huge fan of Emily Dickinson, so I reccommend any of her poetry!

And here's a great Sci-Fi for young adults and older:
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. I LOVE this book. That's all I will say because you should just read it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whit's Jewels

My sister Whit and her hubs recently moved to "Misery" to begin med school. She has a talent for crafting beautiful jewelry and is hoping to use her hobby to make ends meet so she can finish her LPN degree. Check out her site. Buy some jewelry! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baby quilt.

I have been looking for a while for an easy baby quilt pattern. I want to make this little girl I'm having her own baby quilt. I found this pattern, and I can't wait to get started.

I bought some material a while ago in bright green, yellow, and dark blue. I will post pictures of how it turns out! :) 4-5 more weeks until she gets here!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The truth about OCD

I have been wanting to post about this for some time. This post is meant to inform, not criticize.

Last week I was thinking about depression and anxiety disorders. Many people I know are under the impression that 1) depression and anxiety are "all in your head," and/or 2) depression/anxiety are embarassing problems that should be kept private. Why is it that we feel the need to hide mental disorders? Why is it that, if diagnosed with cancer, people will share that news in order to find support and strength, but upon realizing they suffer from a disease that can be so debilitating, they choose to suffer in silence?

Well, I'm breaking the silence. I have OCD.

My diagnosis came as a huge relief, about five years ago. I had been struggling with obsessive thoughts and was starting to worry that I was truly psychotic. The resulting depression was difficult to handle, and it was only a couple of weeks before I sought help, in the form of scheduling an appointment with a therapist at the university I attended.

As I discussed what was going on with the therapist, it became quickly apparent to her that I had OCD. She reassured me that I wasn't psychotic and explained her diagnosis. Talk about instant relief!

Today I came across an article on, and I wanted to share their definition of OCD, because I feel that it is concise and captures how debilitating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be.

OCD sufferers see danger everywhere, leading them to wash their hands until they are raw or check their door locks incessantly. Some also perform ritualistic behaviors to protect themselves from having bad thoughts. They may hide the knives or avoid the kitchen in an effort to ward off thoughts of harming the baby. Some women may avoid basic care, refusing to bathe their baby out of fear of thoughts about death by drowning. Unlike moms with postpartum psychosis (PPP) women with postpartum OCD are repulsed by these thoughts of harming their baby and know not to act on them.

Note: If you ever feel compelled to act on these thoughts, seek professional help immediately. You may have what's known as postpartum psychosis, a severe yet rare illness characterized by hallucinations, bizarre thinking, paranoia, mania, delusions, and suicidal impulses. PPP requires immediate medical intervention because of the increased risk of suicide for the mother and harm to the baby.

Now, I don't want to hurt any feelings, but if we focus on semantics, then we shouldn't say "Oh, I'm so OCD, I just can't stand it when the pillows are crooked." Please don't use the term "OCD" in this way, as it is medically incorrect and minimalizes the true anxiety and depression that OCD sufferers deal with.

If you have to have things "just so," or can't stand it when there is the slightest clutter because it messes with your fung shui, then just tell yourself you're anal retentive and you should probably not let it bother you.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about OCD: Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety, or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions. Symptoms of the disorder include excessive washing or cleaning; repeated checking; extreme hoarding; preoccupation with sexual, violent or religious thoughts; aversion to particular numbers; and nervous rituals, such as opening and closing a door a certain number of times before entering or leaving a room. These symptoms can be alienating and time-consuming, and often cause severe emotional and financial distress. The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and potentially psychotic. However, OCD sufferers generally recognize their obsessions and compulsions as irrational, and may become further distressed by this realization.

I also found out that there are nearly as many people diagnosed with OCD as with asthma or Diabetes meletus.

I've had a couple "relapses" with my OCD. I don't need to tell you the particular thoughts that cause me severe anxiety. However, I can say that no amount of telling myself that these thoughts are irrational does any good. I just have to "ride the wave" of the thoughts, or even force myself to think them until my anxiety lessens.

The way OCD was described to me by my therapist was this: People with OCD, for some reason, don't have the same filter in their brain to intrusive thought. A normal person can think "Oh, what if I drove in to oncoming traffic?" and there would be no problem. They can filter that thought right out. But someone with OCD becomes so anxious about the thought that they replay the scene in their mind until it causes so much fear and tension. They have to react with certain "rituals" in order to cope with the anxiety.

I personally don't have "rituals" that I perform. On a scale of 1-10 my OCD is probably a 3 at worst. But it is something I deal with in my life.

Do you or someone you know suffer from anxiety or depression?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things to read Thursday #2

It's been a long long time!

Here are my book picks for this week, along with activities:
Theme: Butterflies

Picture Book: Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly by Jane O'connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
Maybe not the best pick if you haven't got a little girl.
1. Create your own butterfly ballet
2. Butterfly art
3. Visit a butterfly garden
4. Have abutterfly party and have your little one write or illustrate the invites.
5. If you're into printables.

My three-year-old got really into reading about butterflies after Bonjour Butterfly, so we checked out a bunch of non-fiction butterfly books from the library. This one was our favorite, due to the rhyming, simple concepts, and fun pictures.
Non-fiction My, Oh My--A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
1. Go on a butterfly scavenger hunt.
2. Go on a nature walk and use a stick as a probicus to "sip" nectar from flower.
3. Leave a comment with an idea you did!

If you have older kids who like to experiment try this book: Pets in a Jar by Seymour Simon

Check out this list of butterfly picture books!

5-6 weeks until my baby comes, still limited computer access. Hopefully I can post more regularly!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Things to read Thursday

Teaching elementary school introduced me to a huge variety of children's books. Today I would like to feature a favorite picture book, a non-fiction book, and a favorite chapter book, with ideas to incorporate these books into activities with your children.

Falling for Rapunzel

What a delightful book this was, and a great twist on the traditional fairy tale. If you are going to watch "Tangled" with your kids, I suggest finding a variety of Rapunzel books for some fun compare/contrast activities. Here is a great site to give you some ideas.
Activities to do before/during/after reading Falling for Rapunzel:
1. Talk about communication. Do you ever hear each other incorrectly? What kinds of situations can arise because of miscommunications? Great time for listening practice.
2. Rhyming words games are great activities, and the fun rhyming in this books is a great way to point out word families and words that sound the same.
3. Act out the book. Dress up and be sure to have a part for everyone!
4. A puppet show is always fun!

Weather by Seymour Simon
Haven't heard of Seymour Simon? Well, all of his books are highly recommended, especially for ages 8+. I've read this book with my 3 year old, but we mostly just look at pictures. However, this is a great book to start introducing weather concepts to younger children.
1. Observe the different kinds of clouds. Are they fluffy or wispy, dark or light? Give your child the name for those kinds of clouds! I'm a huge fan of teaching vocabulary early. And if you wonder at whether the clouds are cumulous or numbus or stratus clouds every time you go outside, both you and your child will quickly remember the different types. And you'll teach them to be careful observers of their surroundings! You can also point out whether it is "mostly sunny," "mostly cloudy," ect.
2. Science is SO MUCH FUN!!! Here is a great site with some fun weather experiments: Science activities
3. is an amazing website I used all the time in the classroom! You can get a free trial to view some fun weather cartoon educational videos. Or, it's $80 a year to subscribe to unlimited videos. I'm considering doing this once we officially start "home pre-school" in the fall. I'm not in any way affiliated with Brainpop, I just love their videos on every subject imaginable!
4. Have your child keep a journal recording the different types of clouds they see, complete with illustrations! You can even have them find and print pictures online to have them practice cutting and gluing if they need to work on that!

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

My mom read the first few Little House books to me as a small child, and to this day I still love me a good frontier/pioneer/homesteading story! Some ideas for this book:
1. Play "what would it be like" and imagine different scenarios from the book and how you would have reacted.
2. There are lots of imaginative play opportunities from this book!
3. Some ideas other people came up with, because, hey, why re-invent the wheel? Here, here, and here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Times and seasons

Ok, I actually really love technology. But, I do have some regrets. Such as the amount of time I spent blogging when The Girl was a baby. I don't regret recording so much of her life, but I definitely could have been more productive during nap time, or at least taken more naps myself.

Now, as a sleep deprived soon-to-be mother-of-three, and without a computer most of the time, I find that I am completely enjoying being offline.

Let me give you an example. When I had computer/internet access all day, I would create to-do lists on Google Calendar. I loved it! BUT, every time I got on the computer to check something off or see what else I needed to do, I would spend 10, 20, 30 minutes because I would get distracted by Amazon, Facebook, or blogs. Now I don't spend hours a day on the computer when I should be with my kids, napping, or cleaning. I might spend a few minutes in the evenings catching up, but that is pretty much it!

I have to say, going offline has been great. I don't miss it! I can still check recipes and my email on the Ipod touch, but it is too much of a pain to do much else on that thing.

One thing that I've thought about is that there are a number of things I would like to write about. I have a posts in the works about infertility/adoption/infant loss, and I want to write more about parenting, homeschooling, media, what I learn from my scriptures, and things like that, but there isn't time. So I have come to determine that this is not the season of my life for being a prolific blogger. And that is ok.

Might I add, I am much more effective without my to-do lists. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Vineyard

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has great service opportunity online for it's members. Check it out here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lance, Julie, and Zachary

My sister Julie and her family are hoping to add to their family through the miracle that is ADOPTION!

We LOVE adoption! We have had an amazing experience filled with love, joy, and gratitude through witnessing the adoption of Lance & Julie's son Zachary. He is their son, and there is no doubt that Heavenly Father meant him to be in their family!

I thought I would write three different posts to help educate about three topics that most of us don't know how to respond to: 1)Infertility, 2) Adoption, 3)Infant and pregnancy loss.

I've thought a lot recently about infertility, pregnancy (duh!) and how important it is to be sensitive to others. Julie and Lance found out about their infertility right after my first baby was born. Of course they were so happy for my husband and me, but I worried endlessly about saying the right thing, or that my sister would hate me. When I became pregnant with my 2nd baby 10 months later, Julie was one of the first people I told, I wanted to make sure she could be as much a part of my pregnancy as she wanted, and that she knew I would be open with her.

This week, Julie wrote this post about infertility. I recommend reading it, especially to learn how to be more sensitive to couples who are facing this trial. Last month, the LDS Ensign published a great article about infertility. Infertility is so much more common than we realize.

Here are some things I have learned about infertility over the last few years:

1. Never, ever, ever (EVER) judge anyone because of how many kids they do/don't have or how long they are "waiting" to have kids. So many couples keep their infertility private. They are embarassed, because it is such a personal thing, and so they may say things like "Oh, we're waiting until we're more settled/have more money/have a home/done with school/etc." When really, they are waiting for conception to occur, for clomid or artificial insemination to work, for the funds for invitro, or for the right time/funds/resources to begin the arduous and painful adoption process.

2. Be sensitive. I have learned this the hard way. Imagine how difficult it must be when you would give ANYTHING to be pregnant, and all your friends can talk about it pregnancy, and how horrible and difficult it is. Don't whine about pregnancy to your friends who struggle with infertility. Whine to your mom or something. Don't post it on Facebook (I would say a good rule of thumb is to not whine on facebook anyway, it is just annoying and may give people an incorrect impression of you). Maybe you can blog about it, but even then, be careful. If the person isn't your best friend, just steer clear of in-depth pregnancy talk unless they ask.

Now, I tried with my last pregnancy not to whine to Julie. Luckily I have easy pregnancies. Even so, Whitney and I were pregnant at the same time and Julie & Lance were still waiting to be approved for adoption, so it was incredibly difficult for her to be around us.

Other specific things to be sensitive about:

*Going on and on about how certain children look just like their parents. It's salt in the wound of a couple who will never have a child with their "genes."

*Saying "Oh, I'd rather adopt, that is so much easier than being pregnant and giving birth." You might as well tatoo "I'm totally ignorant about adoption and the emotional hell adoptive parents go through" on your forehead. Seriously. Don't say that. Ever.

* "You are so strong, I could never do that," while well-intentioned, can be a hurtful thing to say. I do think my sister and her husband are strong. But most people haven't seen the tears and the days of depression that accompany a diagnosis of infertility.

3. Realize that Adoption cures childlessness, it doesn't cure infertility. The only cure for infertility, and the pain that lingers, is pregnancy and giving birth. It is difficult for many couples to know they will never experience the wonder of pregnancy, even though their hopes for children are met.

I realize that you can't live life worried that everything you say is going to offend someone. You wouldn't avoid talking about going for a jog with a friend who couldn't walk, especially if that was an important aspect of your life. You shouldn't totally avoid the subject of pregnancy or childbirth with those who experience infertility. But the key is to be sensitive. And really, whining is just not ok. My favorite quote from Jeffrey R Holland: "There is no situation so bad that whining about it won't make it worse."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Smoothie pops

Here is a healthy alternative to sugar/water pops. The Girl LOVES these!

Smoothie Pops
2 cups fruit (frozen or fresh, depending on what you have and what your blender can handle, I have to slightly thaw my froze fruit.
1 C milk (Almond milk is really yummy here, but we always need more fat and protein, so I use whole milk. Any kind will do, really.)
1 small container yogurt

Blend together.

Pour smoothie into ice cube trays, and secure plastic wrap on top. Cut slits with a sharp knife and have the kids insert the popsicle sticks.

Eat whatever leftover smoothie you have, and freeze the pops for about 4-6 hours, until froze. Yum!

*You can always add spinach. But, I realized you shouldn't mix dairy, or calcium with spinach because you probably won't absorb the iron. So use juice instead, and forgo the yogurt. There are lots of ways to mix these up!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A list

First, I want to mention that I do not believe that how much/little TV your kids watch is an indication of what kind of parent you are.* We all have different circumstances. I'm not swearing off TV forever (though I will admit I LOVE having it off.) After this break, we'll probably watch 30-60 minutes, and it will probably be as rewards for girls doing their jobs and helping out. I will try not to use it as a babysitter as much. But if that is what works for you, DO NOT feel guilty. I had to get to a point where I couldn't let myself feel guilty, I had to keep my sanity. Mountain winters are hard!

I also don't believe TV is inherently bad. The Girl knows all the letters and their sounds thanks to Leap Frog's Letter Factory (she actually had those down by the time she was 2 1/2!) Mickey Mouse Club House has reinforced a lot of the things I've taught her, and Little Einsteins is just fun, not to mention the classical music and art that show introduces small children to! But too much of anything is not good. And that is the point we are at!!

BUT...Spring is coming! And with it we will have so many more things to do than play outside!

Here is where I need some help. We could have many yucky weather days ahead of us, and I though I would compile a list of fun things to do instead of watching TV. What has worked for you on those days when you say "no TV" and your kids keep whining for a show? What activities do your kids LOVE? Leave me a comment and I will put together a list, or blog about it and I will link to your blog! Let's help each other. I think has great ideas for all sorts of things, and a lot of the homeschooling/preschool blogs have perfect boredom busters! And sometimes just getting down and playing make believe with my kids is the only thing to quench the whining. And quite frankly, I think they'd rather play with me than watch TV anyway. (Not to be cocky, but they love me...most of the time!)

My goal is to have a list of 100 different things to do that are easy to put together. Will you help?

*Though I have heard of parents who put their babies in a high chair all day in front of a TV. There is a point where it reaches neglect, but I doubt any of us have problems with that!

Monday, March 21, 2011

No TV week

After a complete meltdown by The Girl (DD1) last Saturday, because I wouldn't let her watch ANOTHER show, I decided it was time for action. We've watched a lot of tv/movies this winter. And I mean a lot. Are you aware of the AAP's recommendation for media? Well, we met or surpassed that most days this winter. It was clear that The Girl was addicted to watching shows, and it's almost scary to see how transfixed Sweet C (barely 18 months) gets any time the TV is on.

Yesterday was our first full day of no TV. It is probably the first time in the last 3 years we have not turned any tv or movies on. Actually, we have an old TV and don't have cable or a converter box, so we don't get TV service. But we didn't turn any movies on. And do you know what? I liked it. It was nice. It felt good and we played together, read LOTS of books (which is typical in our home anyway), and just enjoyed the relative quiet. The Girl was made well aware of the NO TV for a week rule, and she didn't whine ONCE about watching a show.

So, this week we will be TV-free. Wish me luck!

This week's activities

An inspiring message I found on a friend's blog:
"If I had my child to raise all over again, I'd build self-esteem first and the house later. I'd finger paint more and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I'd take my eyes off my wathc and watch with my eyes. I'd take more hikes and fly more kites. I'd stop playing serious and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I'd do more hugging and less tugging." ~Diane Loomans

Five things to do with my girlies this week:
1.Play dress-up and act out a book
2. Memorize the 4th Article of Faith
3. Make up silly rhymes and illustrate them together. The more absurd, the better. ("The fat cat ate the hat. Then the rat ate the fat cat who ate the hat...") This activity will teach your child to listen for words that sound the same and to identify rhyming patterns.
4. Make pumpkin wheat honey muffins together. (Recipe below)
5. Go on a Spring Time scavenger Hunt.


1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups white flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. (heaping) all spice
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup honey
Chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin liners or grease and flour muffin pan(s) (makes between 24 and 30 muffins).

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, and put in eggs, pumpkin, oil, and honey. Mix until dry ingredients are absorbed. Fold in chocolate chips if desired (1-2 cups). Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full.

3. Bake for 18-22 minutes in preheated oven, or until the tops of muffins spring back when lightly touched.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finger paint link & activity plan

Due to our recent purchase, I'm not allowed to buy anything for the next year. Yeah, I took a chunk of the money we had saved for a minivan to buy my piano. But already I think DH is convinced it was a good purchase. (I hope!)

Anyway,we don't have fingerpaints, so I googled "Homemade fingerpaints" and found this link. I don't have cornstarch, so I'll use the recipe that calls for just flour and water. I know The Girl (DD1) will love this, and I hope Sweet C (DD2) won't eat it. But if she does, it isn't toxic! We should try pudding painting sometime.

Also, I solved our rolling pin dilemna (remember that I wanted a rolling pin for The Girl to use with her Play Doh?) by purchasing 2 1" dowls from the craft store. Rolling pin total: $.50 each! Suh-weet! And it works great, I didn't sand it or anything, and the Play Doh doesn't stick. We'll have to see if it works as well for homemade play dough.

I thought I would just plan 5 activities for the week, to do each day. I'm struggling to keep up with the actual Montessori preschool/tot school stuff, and I think it would be better just to have ideas of things to do. My goal is 1 hour or less of TV each day, and 2 hours or more of playing outside, at least when it's above 45 degrees.

Five Activities for the week:
1. Finger paint
2. Nature collage (after a nature scavenger hunt, of course!)
3. Write and illustrate our own story
4. Field trip (I'm thinking I'll call the firestation, which is close, and see if we can visit.)
5. Put on a couple puppet shows. (I have puppets, we just need to utilize these more frequently).

I'm also going to try to be more consistent with circle time each day, and be better about using the Book of Mormon Reader each day to read to my girlies.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A few things...

1. Our hard drive got fried. Like, we could hear it sizzling. So I have only little computer access until we get a new one, which is not a top priority. lol. I actually love being offline, it helps me keep my priorities straight. And I still have our Ipod Touch, so I'm not TOO disconnected.

2. I bought a piano today. A digital. I love it. I'm so excited. My girls enjoyed playing it today!

3. A few things on my to-do list this week:
a)find out the gender of our baby,
b)finger paint with my girls,
c)host playgroup
d)quit playgroup, because it is too much stress (it is a "drop your kid off" kind of play group, which just doesn't jive with my Girl being barely 3, and it doesn't remotely help with my need for adult socializing).
e) play my piano at least an hour a day (I've played since I was 8, but haven't had a piano since I moved away from home last decade. I'm a little rusty.)
f) find some piano students, to help convince DH that this was a good investment.
g) start cutting out felt for my quiet book pages. Deadline for finishing the pages: April 15th!
i) make dinner and a banana cream pie for hubby on his birthday.

4. I've been really grumpy lately. By lately, I mean for the last month or so. Or maybe the last year? I don't know, but I have got to break this cycle of grumpiness. I'm hoping the warmer weather will banish sickness from our home. Which would improve my mood drastically.

5. I'd like to start walking 2 miles a day.

6. My toddler was diagnosed with RSV this week. Good thing she isn't tiny any more! Sheesh! We really haven't been healthy for more than a week at a time this winter!

7. I've done Montessori stuff the last two weeks, but I can't access the pictures on our fried hard drive. Sob.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring is coming!

DEAR March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat—
You must have walked—
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!

I got your letter, and the bird’s;
The maples never knew
That you were coming,—I declare,
How red their faces grew!
But, March, forgive me—
And all those hills
You left for me to hue;
There was no purple suitable,
You took it all with you.

Who knocks? That April!
Lock the door!
I will not be pursued!
He stayed away a year, to call
When I am occupied.
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come,
That blame is just as dear as praise
And praise as mere as blame.

I LOVE Emily Dickinson's poetry! Today, when I remembered it was March 1, this was the first thing that came to my mind! I don't want to wish time away, but I am so glad spring is coming. Although, here in Utah, we've probably got at least a few snow storms left before summer. (We often have freak snow storms in April, May, or sometimes even June!! Gotta love this Rocky Mountain weather!) Here I am with my kiddos last spring!

Anyway, I first came accross this poem in the Emily Dickinson: Poetry for Young People. I bought the entire series of Poetry for Young People while I was teaching school, and I have never regretted it! Shakespeare, Frost, Poe, Whitman, and even Lewis Carrol. And each poem has definitions of some of the more difficult or archaic words. Let's face it, one of the reasons poetry can be difficult to comprehend is because we don't use many of the same words!

Thinking about poetry reminds me of an activity I did with my 5th graders to help improve their reading fluency and expression. One of their reading assignments during guided reading rotations was for them to pick a poem (from The Highwayman to Shel Silverstein. They could pick ANYTHING!) Every Friday, we held a "Poetry Off." Everyone performed by reading their poem (they were NOT allowed to memorize) and I graded them on fluency (how fast they read), annunciation, volume (being loud enough to be heard) and expression. My students LOVED this!

Poetry is a great genre to read to your kids from a young age! Start with Mother Goose. The Girl loves my Emily Dickinson poems, especially "I'm Nobody." I adore Scranimals and Zoo Doings by Jack Prelutsky (who, in my opinion, is a better kid poet than Silverstein.) "Don't ever make the sad mistake of stepping on a sleeping snake. Because, his jaws might be awake!" (from Zoo Doings)

So, this post about spring has turned into a post about poetry. Ah, spring is so poetic! I guess that is fitting!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Montessori Monday #2

I can't find my camera. Which means I can't find the pictures I took last week. But I'll explain a couple of the things we did:

1. We played with a button snake. Great. Idea. I pretty much have bookmarked in my crafts folder every thing that Counting Coconuts has made for her son! She's my Montessori craft mom hero. You can also use the colored felt for patterns, sorting, counting, you name it! I love felt!

2. Speaking of love, and felt, I made some felt hearts for Valentine's day and painted numbers on them with fabric puff paint. I didn't add embellishments, because I wanted her to count out for herself. DD1 wasn't as interested in the hearts as I hoped. I had her use some of the googly eyes we had (that I purchased a while ago for a project I haven't started yet) to count. She played with those for an hour, and has since practiced sorting them by size. It made a cute picture. Wish I could find my camera...

3. We also played play-doh. A mini-rolling pin and a variety of cookie cutters are on my wish list. :)

4. DD1 started showing interest in writing her letters. I can't get her to hold her pencil even remotely correctly, but she'll draw a few letters, and they aren't too bad. To help with her fine motor, I made some stencils out of old cottage cheese lids. I'll have to post a tutorial after I find my camera. Hmmm. Where is that?

I'm linking to:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quiet Book Swap

I am the queen of unfinished projects. I will gather materials for a big project, start full steam ahead, and fizzle out quickly. That is, unless I have motivation. Things like my baby being due any day, or making a gift for someone else, or working on a project with others are all great motivators for me! I started a quiet book a while ago. I finished (almost) about 3 pages. But I didn't use any interfacing to line the muslin, so the pages were so floppy.

Anyway, I'm working on a quiet book swap. This will be tons of fun, and we need at least 10-15 people! Details are here (A great blog you should follow, by the way!) Email me with any questions or if you'd like to participate. Depending on how long it takes to get a group together, the deadline will probably be sometime before August. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wish list

I have a huge wish list for Montessori-type games, puzzles, and materials. One activity set that looks especially fun is this Alphabet Soup Sorting game! FUN! I LOVE it. But I don't want to fork over $36 for it. Especially because I'm pretty sure I could make something like that.

I've been toying with trying to collect 26 10-oz baking powder containers. Maybe these containers would work? I don't want glass containers, but I think cardboard would be more in line with Montessori thinking than plastic (a big part of Montessori seems to be using quality, real materials.) Besides, having to buy containers would sort of defeat the purpose of not buying the toy in the first place.

Maybe it's time to hit up Freecycle? Anyone want to start collecting baking powder cans for me? :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Montessori Monday #1

I thought I'd keep track of every time I actually post something about Montessori, on a Monday. If you'd like to know more, there are tons of great blogs, or you can just google "Montessori." I've started reading a couple of books, and hope to compile some information myself, but hey, I'll be proud if I can actually keep up with posting about what we're doing.

First of all, I want to mention how cheap (or even FREE) utilizing Montessori concepts with your children can be. I was overwhelmed when I first began looking at blogs and all the cool gadgets people had. But all the things I use are free. Or at least, they were left over from other projects or things I had around the house. You'll see what I mean. You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to have Montessori play time each day. You don't need to buy an expensive calendar to do circle time, or fancy beads for any activities. It's amazing how, the more you look at what people are doing, the more you see the potential for a Montessori activity in almost an object! (For example: buttons, beads, ice cube trays, rocks, leaves, pillows, straws, empty jars, cups, the list goes on and on!)

So, without further ado, here is our general morning rhythm, and what we did today during play time. *Rhythm is not the same as schedule. I like how flexible we are, and if something doesn't work out one day, I don't beat myself up. I'm working on consistency right now so my kids can know what to expect, but I like having a general outline, at least for our morning!

7-8 am: wake up and eat
8-9: shower, get dressed, etc (You can use Montessori Practical life here, your child can pick out their own clothes, practice buttoning and zipping, etc)
9-10: Clean a little (dishes, make beds and pray, etc)
10-10:30: Circle time (Calendar, numbers, shapes, songs, and stories, I'm trying to incorporate scripture stories here, but we're still working on getting through the days of the week and the weather, to be honest!) Here is a picture of my homemade calendar, my preschooler helped paint a cut up cardboard box and glue things on. Really easy, totally free! I also added a space for weather, and number, letter, and shape of the day. I'd like to start doing a scripture verse every day too!

10:30-11:00 Activity time. Many people do boxes or trays or other ideas where they have the activities all ready, and have trained their kids to know how to get them out, play, put them away, choose between multiple activities, etc. I'm not there yet. I'm just getting started, and I don't have a "space" for trays or boxes. Work In Progress! But here are some things the kiddos enjoyed today (DD1 just turned 3 and DD2 is 17 months. Yes, our 3rd is due in August. We're crazy. But we sure love them!)

We did play number memory, but DD2 kept trying to grab the cards, so I got the parmesan cheese jar and some straws for her to develop her fine motor skills. DD1 got jealous, ditched the memory game, and tried to take over DD2's activity. So I got out spaghetti noodles and an old garlic powder jar for her (a little small, a little more difficult.) Montessori moms with multiple kids: how do you get them to play together nicely!? ARGH!!

In the afternoon, we got out the pom-poms and some different colored plates to sort colors. That was a hit with DD1, and DD2 enjoyed the parmesan jar with straws again!

I'm linking to:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Montessori Curriculum

I have been meaning for weeks to post more about the Monterssori theory of education, and hopefully I will get a weekly post going about what I'm doing with my small fry, but until then, feel free to check out this site: Montessori Home-Schooling.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Women of Destiny

I have been wanting to blog about this collection of music for a while, but blogging has taken a back seat lately. DH is either out of town or working crazy hours until April, so I'm playing single mom for a while. And to be honest, I'm too tired to blog even when I do have time!

I received this CD in High School.

The words to many of these songs run through my head frequently, but one song in particularly is especially poignant right now. I thought I'd share the lyrics. Enjoy!

She is not a picture on a magazine,
She's the woman just behind you in the checkout line.
She may appear to be common but she mystifies
In all the ways that wisest men and children understand.
For she has eyes that sparkle with her love
And she has a smile that is gentle as a dove.
And no woman from the movies or an ad
Could ever hope to be
As beautiful as she.

She is not a highly honored diplomat
Held responsible to lead the world to peace.
But what she does is every bit as seriousAmidst the turmoil everywhere that will never cease.
For she has hands that wipe the tears away
And she has a voice that makes everything ok
And no woman from the papers or TV could ever hope to be
As indespensible as she.

And it breaks my heart every time I see her wonder
If she means anything in this world that pulls her under.
And she doesn't always see the way that Heaven smiles above her.
That's the reason I try to always tell her that I love her.

For she may not be known for giving millions
To the charities and auctions on the news.
But I believe she's given more than anyone
All the times she's ever had to choose
To give up sleep, to rock her children every night;
To give her heart to always hold their dreams so tight.
And the best that you or I could ever hope to be
Is as wonderful as she.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I made these earing holder frames for some of my sisters for Christmas. I don't have a tutorial, but all you need are:
- an old frame
-paint color of your choice
-screen (from Home Depot) cut to fit your frame
-hot glue or tacky glue to glue the screen in to the frame.

Sand, paint, glue screen in, and embellish. Don't forget to add something to hang your creation!


My friend Michelle is having a giveaway. She crafted some beautiful envelopes out of German calendars, so head over to her blog, leave a comment, and you just might win!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Counting Coconuts

I'm a teacher at heart, and sometimes I miss being in a classroom. Thank goodness for church, where I get to teach the 12-13 year old youth! When I think about it, I realize I can apply my training as an educator to my job as a mom. In fact, I'm pretty much obligated to do so! I follow quite a few homeschooling blogs, and while I'm not set on homeschooling my kids, one of my biggest goals as a parent is to provide a quality education for them. By this, I don't necessarily mean memorizing data, but actually inspiring them and giving them the tools for learning and creativity.

Many of the homeschooling blogs I follow focus on specific curriculum. I'm not saying that's bad: kids need to learn the three "R's", but why should education get in the way of learning? Recently I came across Counting Coconuts, which is an amazing blog of a preschool mommy who shares all her amazing ideas! I can't wait to make this month's sensory tub, or make our own calendar. I'm also intrigued by the Montessori system, and want to learn more. I had a student my first year teaching who spent his first few years of school at a Montessori school. His reasoning, critical thinking, divergent thinking, and problem solving skills were off the charts (though he was kind of socially inept and drove me crazy!)

Anyway, stop by and check her out, you just might be inspired!