Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How we can love others...

This is my husband's Grandpa. I have never met him, but I feel close to him. It is such an amazing thing. That is one of my favorite things about family history. Even though our family member dies their spirit is still alive. Watching over us. And sometimes the veil, or thing that makes us forget heaven or our pre earth life, is thin. I look forward to the day when I will meet him or see him again. There are things we can do while on this earth to strengthen our family relationships. Because I believe that families really are forever.

I suppose I should share with you why I think George loves me so much. Because I can feel his love. I know he loves me. There are three reasons why I think he loves me.

1. I think he is handsome.

I know that sounds silly and kinda simple. But I think he is handsome. And I don't think I am the only one. I have been blessed to have scanned his pictures and he tons of girls in them. He dated quite it bit before he met his love. (Don't you love the picture above? I love how they are looking at each other) I think George appreciates my good taste and sound judgment. I did marry his handsome Grandson, who shares similar features and qualities. When I mentioned how handsome he was some family members were surprised because they hadn't really seen pictures of him when he was younger. That is one of the reasons I love older pictures. It's easier to relate to others, especially for children, when they look close to your age. When I meet him again I am sure he will be resurrected and be his young self again. I'm not sure what age that will be. But in my head I always picture him like this.

2. I am teaching my children about him.

There is joy in posterity. I love seeing my children experience life. I can only imagine what is will be like watching my grandchildren or great grandchildren. All of us want to share our lives and wisdom with others. I know he appreciates that I take time to teach my children about him even though I have never met him before. And I admit. My knowledge is limited. But my kids love hearing stories about their ancestors. Especially funny stories. I love having pictures of him up in my house so my children can see him. He is my oldest sons namesake. I know Gandalf loves that connection. One tradition that helps us learn about our family is eating that person's favorite dessert on their birthday and telling stories. I quiz my kids, where did he serve his mission? What branch of service did he serve in? What temple did he get married in? What is your favorite story about him? One idea I just had a couple of weeks ago was to have a Facebook post and tag family in it. It's so hard to get everyone to respond to an email and write out a big story. But it's easier to type out a quick memory. This morning I did that and all the responses so far have warmed my heart. It's wonderful to share and remember or maybe learn something new about a family member. As we invest time into our family history, and especially as we share it with our children, something amazing happens. There is a connection. We don't have to wait till heaven to get to know our family. My children will be blessed as they learn of George's faith and testimony. As they learn more about him, their self confidence will increase. They will better understand who they are. And I know that he is watching over them. He is doing everything he can to help them.

3. I loved his eternal companion.

This is probably the biggest reason why. George left this earth when my sweetheart was in high school. Grandma only passed away a couple of years ago. That would be a hard thing. Being alone and not growing old with your best friend. I love Grandma. She is one I would call my friend. Even though there are years between us. I really tried to visit her and have my kids be around her. There of course are plenty who saw her more, or called her more. That is the beauty of big families. There are so many around to love each other. We would visit after apple picking in the fall. And I would try to visit the month of her birthday. Sometimes it was tempting to head home after our full day picking apples. But we never regretted going to see her. My husband would kiss me and thank me for telling encouraging us to go. Even though it was hard, because I would feel terrible every time we left (She had cats and I am allergic), it was worth it. We would leave and stop off at a gas station. I would wash my hands and rinse my face. When we got home I made everyone put their clothes in the washing machine. I would take medicine and go to bed. But it was always worth it. I know he appreciated that I loved his wife, that I tried to serve her. I would call or send pictures. I am so happy they are now together. I am so thankful for eternal marriage and the blessings that it brings.

I know as we try to learn more about our families we can become closer to them. This knowledge has blessed my  life so much. I would encourage everyone to spend time with family. To search them out. Learn and share their stories. Celebrate their lives and remember them. It will bless your life and the lives of your family. We can start small. And we don't have to do everything. I know it is hard to fit everything we want to do in our lives. Especially when we have young kids. And I hope I don't make anyone feel guilty, just inspired. Inspired to work on your family history. Start small and make goals. Maybe it's to write to your grandparents or send pictures. Maybe it's to write down your own stories. Or maybe it's to spend a couple of hours a month on family search learning about your family. As we set aside time, even if it's small, we will be blessed. I know I have been blessed.

Happy Birthday Grandpa!!!
We love and miss you!
Looking forward to eating chocolate chip ice cream and taking about you  tonight!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Pictures

I love family pictures. We were able to get to church early on Sunday to snap some family pictures. Next week is General Conference, or pajama church, so we wore our Easter clothes this week. And I was thrilled to find two more Easter baskets to kinda match the Pottery Barn ones we were able to buy when we had one kid. ;)

Boy's Shirts and Pants: French Toast (Their choir clothes)
Baby Girl's Dress: Old Navy. Shoes: Tater Tot Moccs. (Local business)  Bow Handmade

My Top: Boutique Garage sale ($5! Score!). Undershirt: Skirt: Handmade Pattern found here.
Hubby's Pants: Walmart (From his Hans Costume) Bow Tie: Handmade

I love how much baby girl adores her daddy. I love getting pictures of them together. 

I love my crazy, hilarious boys! They are such loves! But before you think everything is always rosey  all the time I'll share what  crazy things my boys said Sunday morning. 

 Yoda complained about church being "too long". And Draco didn't want to get dressed and got mad at me. He said, "Remember when I told you I loved you this morning. I was doing "air quotes" He seriously cracks me up. (Our family loves to do claw hands for our air quotes like in the Lego Movie) I know he doesn't mean it. Usually it means he has a high blood sugar or he's just in a grumpy mood. They make me laugh and I love being their mom. Draco really had a fit about his pink bow tie. In the end he wore it. For baby girl. He has such a big heart and he would do anything for his sister. It one of the many things I love about him. 

I love my boys!!!

I LOVE that my iPhone has a timer. We can finally get a family shot with everyone. We try hard to be in pictures with our kids. They love it! And it is more fun...

And I always make Grady take one of baby girl and I. I wanted 12 years for a daughter. I want to have pictures of us all through her life!!!

Thanks for reading! Pictures make me happy and I love sharing them! Hope you have a great Easter or Passover!

Some of these items are affiliated links. You are welcomed to buy from anywhere. But I don't mind if you buy them from here. I only share items I really like or use. Thanks for your support!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter Traditions

I was able to take some cute pictures of my sweet girl this week. She makes a darling bunny. I love her undershirt which looks perfect with this hand me down dress we received. 

Easter is really the most important holiday we celebrate. More important than bunnies, candy, and egg hunts is the chance to remember and give thanks for the glorious good news. Christ has over come death. Our Savior Lives.

Here are some ways we like to celebrate Easter. 

  • Decorate Eggs. Like most kids we love to dye eggs as a family. It's a perfect family night activity. Some times I will use a white crayon and write surprise messages for my kids to discover. My kids love being creative and having fun

  • Easter Baskets. Our kids get Easter baskets Sunday morning. I try to raid the $1 store and get fun toys. I do give candy, but I try to keep it simple. My husband loves peeps so we have to get those. I like giving books, bubbles, and tooth brushes. Also sidewalk chalk, goggles for swimming, or any "summer" item I would wanna buy this time of year, like sand toys.
Gandalf, Yoda, and Draco with their loot Easter morning.
  • Hiding Easter Baskets. As a kid you always had to find your own basket before you could get any eggs. I usually beat my older brother, which is was great because he beat me in everything else. My kids love finding their basket. I'm excited now that we have a bigger place. I like hiding the older kids really well. Challenges are good for them.
Bubble guns were a bit hit one year...
  • Egg Hunts. We love doing an egg hunt. It's pretty standard but so much fun.

  • Matching or coordinating church clothes. You can check out my easy tutorial on making quick bow ties here.

  • Resurrection Rolls. This is a great breakfast dish or family night snack. We have been making these for years and my kids love it. It's a great way to have a discussion about the real reason for Easter.

  • Reading about Christ's Life. The week before Easter we start reading about the Jesus Christ's last week. It was my husband's idea and I really love it. LDS.org has some great helps.

  • Church Videos. My church puts out some amazing videos about our Savior each year. We love watching these as a family and sharing them with others. They bring hope and peace.
Of course I love taking pictures as well. I got these bunny ears at Target when Yoda was a baby. Isn't he adorable. I love this picture of him! Shari Hanson is to talented. These were part of his 6 months mini session. 

Baby Yoda taken by Shari Hanson

Easter Pictures with Shari Hanson 
Yoda and his best friend at 6 months

We love Eggs hunts with cousins. We are sure going to miss them this year!
All my boys adore their big cousin who is perfect at organizing games.

Baby Girl's 1st Easter

New traditions we want to try:

DIY bunny slippers with free pattern download

These adorable slippers from See Kate Sew. She is so talented. Aren't these perfect?

reeses peanut butter egg recipe

My Grandma gave me a candy mold to make these eggs. I need to make them and tell my children about her. Perfect way to do our family history and talk about the resurrection. A to Z's recipe looks great!

Glow in the Dark Easter Eggs!! The kids LOVED this!!! { lilluna.com }

This egg hunt idea from Lil Luna looks like a lot of fun. Perfect for a family night activity.

And I almost forgot! The Mesa Easter Pageant! We have never been but need to go this week! 

One of my favorite friends shared this post with me. We already read about Christ's last week but I love the activities you can do with your children.

Kinda a long post but I loved looking through all the old pictures. Life moves too fast these days. I love traditions that bring us closer. What traditions does your family love?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Women's Conference

Tonight was the General Women's Conference. It is always uplifting to attend. (If you missed it you can click on the link above to catch it)

This marks 100 years since the inspiring revelation that we should hold Family Home Evening, or FHE. (Every Monday night we gather as a family and teach our children truths and eat treats)

This idea has blessed my family so much. As we gather to study and learn, though sometimes we just share a short story, we grow closer together and closer to God. We bond and laugh as we share and eat treats after. I am so thankful for a living prophet. I am thankful for families. And I am thankful for a Heavenly Father who teaches us how we can strengthen our families.

The messages tonight encouraged me to keep focusing on strengthening my family. Seeking the spirit is crucial so I can be guided on how to protect my family. And am I setting a good example? Do my children know I delight in motherhood? Am I raising my sons and daughter and teaching them about the most important roles they will have when they get older? 

I loved the message about helping and supporting each other in what ever circumstances we are in. We can seek the spirit to know how to help others maybe even being an answer to their prayers. I hope we can encourage and support each other in our moments of sorrows and joys.

I am thankful for families. I am thankful for revelation. And I am thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Deliver Us

Buy Tickets Here

This is my little Yoda. I love this boy. He has the biggest heart. He adores his baby sister and wants to do everything like his big brothers. He is so excited to finally be in choir with his brothers and dad. He loves singing and he loves Professor Stewart. I love hearing him sing in his room when he is playing. I love that he is learning about good music and developing a joy for singing. I love that he is around teachers who are passionate about music. And about teaching good music to children.
If you are in Southern California, Utah, Dallas Texas or Mesa, Arizona you need to attend a concert. The concert in Arizona is on the 24th and 25th of April. And it will be Yoda's first concert.A couple of weeks ago was attire check. I had a couple minutes to snap pictures at school before we went to practice. Yoda looks so grown up. He loved wearing his choir clothes. He told me he sang very well at practice that day.
My husband is also in the choir. The music sounds amazing. I love hearing him practice! This concert will have music featuring the composer Felix Mendelssohn. This concert is built around the idea that following prophets helps us draw closer to God.  And God helps to deliver us from both physical and spiritual bondage. Music for this concert will focus on  Noah, Moses, Ezekiel and finish with Elijah. "It will be visually stunning and musically powerful." according to my handsome husband.

If my husband's description of our concert doesn't make you wanna buy tickets check out these words from Professor Stewart below. I am even more excited for this upcoming concert. I think I want to read and study Elijah before hand.

5 Reasons Why You Need To Get Your Tickets NOW:
For months you have been hearing (or reading) us go on about the power and life-changing impact of the upcoming concert, "Deliver Us!"  So what's so great about it?
1. For starters, the hair-raising music from the film The Prince of Egypt, including "Deliver Us" and "When you Believe."  It will lift you out of your seat. 
2. Do you remember what MCO has done to well-known hymns and anthems like "How Great Thou Art?"  Well, prepare to be marveled by a brand new monumental arrangement of "Come, Come Ye Saints" for combined choirs and symphony orchestra. 
3. And how could those kids get any cuter after the tear-jerking "Snowflake" song at Christmas time?  Well, just wait until you see them perform "Ezekiel's Dry Bones!" and "Sing a Rainbow," and "Build an Ark!" 
4. Oh, and if you haven't guessed already, there is a big story about Elijah in there somewhere too. And fire descending from the ceiling.  And costumes.  And music and acting that will leave you speechless.  This is one of the greatest stories and pieces of music in the history of the world. 
5. Youth Group Ticket Rates?  YES!  We are offering youth group rates (majorly discounted at only $12/person) for organized youth groups to attend at our 5:00 p.m. concert.  Read the advertisement and spread the word!  It's super easy - the leader of the youth group needs to contact Kerinda Van Wagoner at info@ocmco.org to gain approval and receive the youth group code. 
Folks - this will be one of the "EPIC" events in MCO's history.  You, your friends, your neighbors, and your entire extended and extra-extended families will sorely regret missing it.  SO DON'T!!!
I am so excited that all three of my boys will be in this concert. I can't wait!!!

Here are my two youngest boys. (Yes we have already fixed Draco's belt by adding another hole.) My oldest may not have wanted to get in these pictures. I am so thankful for this amazing music program that has blessed my family so much. Check out their concerts. I promise you will love it!
April 24th and 25th
April 29th
March 27th
April 28th
Also CD's are available for purchase.
That Easter Morn
This is an amazing CD that is perfect for this time of year.
Some of these items are affiliated links. You are welcomed to buy from anywhere. But I don't mind if you buy them from here. I only share items I really like or use. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cheater Bow Ties: An Easy Tutorial

I love it when my boys match. Especially for church or holidays.It's too adorable. But I don't always have time to make them matching bow ties. And regular ties take even more tie and material. I really wanted to make them some green bow ties for St. Patrick's Day, along with a dress for baby girl. But I couldn't squeeze it in.

I just love hounds tooth!

I made some for Christmas using these. I liked them but sometimes my youngest boy's bow tie just didn't stay on for the whole three hours at church. Then I got a great idea. Why don't I just make a simple bow tie and put it on a ribbon. That is the most time consuming part for me. Sewing thin strips, ironing, and attaching the hardware or Velcro. If I could just make a bow and slip that sucker on a ribbon my life would be so much easier. Here is the tutorial. Hoping I can make your life easier too...

Cheater Bow Tie Tutorial

Sewing Machine
Fray Check
Cutting Mat and Rotary blade make it easier.

Start with cutting two long rectangles. Mine were 3.5 inches by 10 inches. Sew rights sides together around like so.

Turn it out using a pencil or drum stick. Press when done.

Fold the ends behind so you have a smaller rectangle.

Cut out two smaller rectangles. Mine was around 3.5 " by 2". Sew two side together and turn right sides out. Press. I ended up folding it in half to make it thinner. Get a needle ready with a knot at the end.

Pinch the middle of your large rectangle.

Wrap your smaller rectangle around the middle. When bringing down the top piece, keeping the ends behind your bow, I like to tuck the unfinished end under. 

Using your needle stitch the smaller rectangle in place. You can sew them togeher but be careful not to have any stitches showing from the front. 

You can use a safety pin to pull the ribbon through your back of your bow tie. Finish off your ribbon ends with Fray Check so it won't fray.

Tie around your son's neck and tuck the edges in like so.

I was able to make 3 of these in about an hour. Perfect during nap time or when the kids are in bed. I can't wait to make more for my boys. Using a rotary blade and mat really saved time as well. I love my big mat from Fiskars. They were a sponsor at the Elevate Blog last year. I received scissors and this huge mat which really helps me as I am a visual learner.

I love picking colors for Easter. This year the colors are Blush and Bashful. Some might say Pink and Pink, but I would disagree. I bought this dress at Old Navy last month. I just love the soft spring color. Baby sister needed her brothers to have matching bow ties. (Daddy might just have one too!)

Every one of my boys made a comment about the pink, including Dad. I tired to tell them it's Bashful. My sons are in a anti girl stuff phase right now. I told them there is no such thing as a boy or girl color. I can't wait to get some pictures of them this week.

I needed these ready by this weekend because Easter is falling on General Conference this year. Glad they are made and I wasn't caught off guard.

I hope you get a chance to make a quick bow tie or two. Happy Sewing!!!

Some of these items are affiliated links. You are welcomed to buy from anywhere. But I don't mind if you buy them from here. I only share items I really like or use. Thanks for your support!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Treasure

The first Monday of the month around here is like a treasure hunt. After we drop off the older boys Yoda and baby girl and I drive around and look for treasure. The first Monday is the day to put out large trash items people don't want anymore. I found this small bookcase which helped organize my Harry Potter closet. I also found wood for this fun project. I love taking something and making it look better. Finding beauty in items brings me joy.

This treasure was put out by my dear neighbor who was moving. We both agreed it is a sturdy table, it just needed some love.

It was scratched, dusty, and my nose was saying possibly some cat hair. I loved the detail on the side of the table. And I loved that it was already painted black. Perfect for if I decided to sand some areas down. I went to Lowe's and bought Valspar flat paint in Caribbean Walk and made it into chalk paint using the recipe found here. I have used this recipe with my lovely yellow dresser I acquired from a dear friend. I taped off the opal detail because it was too pretty to cover. After painting I decided to sand and distress it to show off the lovely molding on the side. (Thankful for my dear friend who I can text and get her thoughts!)

Does't it look stunning?!? So much nicer. And what a shame it would have been if it ended up in a landfill.  After distressing it I sealed it with some MinWax Finishing Wax. I loved how it turned out.

Add caption
Don't you love the sides? I hope you have been inspired to give something a makeover. Or to see beauty or potential in something that needs some love. Unless you live by me, then go ahead and put it out by the curb ;)

Some of these items are affiliated links. You are welcomed to buy from anywhere. But I don't mind if you buy them from here. I only share items I really like or use. Thanks for your support!