Friday, September 25, 2015

Zimbabwe Service Project!

For those of you in who live in Cache Valley, here's details on a service project that I heard about through USU Extension's 4-H Club...just by grabbing things from around your house to fulfill the below list, you'll be of great help to the people of Zimbabwe, Africa! 

I really want to share how good it feels to give back to those in need. Earlier this month our church gave word on a family who is going through some hardship, so my children and I opened our cupboards and closets and filled up 2 bags of things to donate to them, and then we again found more things to fill up 2 boxes to go to Africa. I love learning opportunities like these that really show my children to care about other people in our community and in the world, and how important it is to help out whenever we can!

Once your box is filled, simply drop off at the Cache County Office Building by next Wed. Sept. 30th between the hours of 9-5 pm. They're located on: 179 N. Main St. Suite 111 (first door on your left if you enter in from the back entrance by parking lot). It also looks like you can arrange to have your items picked up by calling the below listed phone number.

    iLead  *  iServe
                4-H Club
        Collect items to be sent to
            Zimbabwe, Africa!
              Cooperating with
          EYES 4 ZIMBABWE
We are collecting:
   *Clothing & Shoes for men, women,
        youth and children;
   *Medical/ Dental supplies & equipment; 
   *Baby Formula, new bottles;
   *Crutches, Walkers, Wheelchairs;
   *Non-perishable food;
   *School supplies & kits
   *Hygiene Kits,
   *Newborn Kits,
   *Sewing Machines,
   *New White Shirts,
   *Soap and other hygiene supplies,
   *Reading and sun glasses.
      Donations can be left at the
       Cache Co. 4-H Office by
            September 30th
 Call Becky Mitchell (435-535-6137)
to arrange pick-up of donations or
   if you have other questions.
  All donations will be taken to SLC    
  on October 8th for sorting, packing,  
       loading & shipping to Africa. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Away We Go!


Not much NO time to write much anymore. Sigh. Sometimes I wish I had a laptop so that I could just curl up in my bed at night and write because that is truly THE ONLY TIME that I have to myself (besides a hour and half little window our babysitter gives me one morning a week which I love using to work out or relax with some Yoga). BUT- other times I'm thankful I don't write at night since doing so often re-charges my brain instead of helping me wind down and turn off...So, there you have it. A blog that is not completely forgotten, just frequently put aside. ;)

Fun news to share is that in a couple of months Bart's work is sending him to a conference to.....can you guess? (photo above is a hint). SAN FRANCISCO!!!  It only took me about 2 seconds to say "Me too!" and thankfully they approved me to join him, so away we go!

Of course I had to do some pre-trip shopping so I bought these shoes (which very well could end up soaking wet), this rain jacket (which is fine if it ends up soaking wet), this book (which I find appropriate since Bart and I met at work), and some fun tops from a new store in our mall called Madison & Sixth (really worth checking out!). I'm sooooo looking forward to spending some time with my husband, sleeping in, exploring the city, checking out museums, shopping, eating out, and even a chance to read a book! :O We'd love any SF travel suggestions/recommendations of things to see, places to eat, please share if you have any.

Off I go now to dance away with my daughter ~ yes, they have dance classes for 2 year olds and it is beyond adorable....hope she continues to love it as much as I do!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Now He Is Six

Just had to share this perfect little poem today  ~ our oldest child Benjamin is now six, a proud kindergartner, wearing his first pair of lace-up shoes, and learning buckets and buckets by the day! We wouldn't want it any other way but some days I like to flip back through the years and remember him when he was younger. Regardless of his age, he's always reminded me to stop and discover something ~ a caterpillar on the trail, a cool new gadget that he's created, or a funny joke that he's learned. What wonderful years we've shared from one-to-two-to-three-to-four-to-five-to-six!

"Now We Are Six"

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.
 Author: A.A. Milne

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fun Teacher Gifts

School started this week for us! Could I get a virtual high five for surviving a summer with 3 young ones under the age of 5?  I send one out to all of you who are also in the same boat....a sometimes very rocky and unpredictable boat. ;) From what I can remember of it (funny how those past 3 months can turn into such a blur) we went to the park a lot. I even earned myself a blister on one of my hands from all of the jogging I did with Elyse! I've never been a great runner, so this was pretty big for me. I hope to keep it up for the next couple of months while we still have the good weather....I love what a great energy booster exercise is! Anyway- with school back in session, I like putting on my creative hat to think up some fun, thoughtful, easy, and inexpensive teacher gifts. Below are some shots of what I came up with (also click here for one done in years past).....

Teacher stamps and burlap sack, Target (placemats shown in background are also from Target!)
Rainbow Color Box stamp pad, Michaels
Chalkboard clothespin sign, Michaels
Giftcard to Apple Spice Cafe

Favorite quotes from Benjamin's teacher ~ "Kindergarten requires patience. Lots and lots of patience." and "I believe in teaching above the child's level as children will rise to the occasion!"

Almond Joy candy bar and the saying "Grant is so "JOY"ful for Preschool!"
Chalkboard clothespin sign, Michaels

Monday, August 17, 2015

Have to Share This

Found my daughter's shoes left out on our front stoop and I had to take a picture of them. Thoughts going through my head were..."Oh, I love how cute and little her feet are" and "I hope she never outgrows these!" Normally I'm fine with our children growing up....I know I've been there for every step of the way! But- that day these feelings caught me and took hold. Maybe because she's our youngest? Maybe because this is the first time we've had a 2 year old without another child on the way? I remind myself that I'm happy. We're blessed with 3 wonderful children. And how I GET TO spend my days raising them while learning more and more about them and myself.

Today I came across this article from this blog and I couldn't believe how much it instantly spoke to me....right to my heart. Tears flowed....still flowing in fact. ;) I want to write to the author and let her know that she put to words EXACTLY what I've been experiencing over the past 6 years as a mama. So true and so touching. Finding good-for-the-soul articles like these are what keep me in the blogosphere.

Last month when we were at my extended family reunion, the cousins of the youngest generation (the one I'm in) were asked to stand up and introduce themselves. When my turn came, I stumbled a bit which normally isn't like me! I'm normally very planned and together....but at this moment I was distracted and caught of guard...probably tired too. I think I said something like...."I'm a mom of 3 children age 5 and under---who I'm sure you've all seen running around here somewhere! My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years and we live in Logan, Utah." I later was kinda hard on myself about it...thinking why didn't I mention that I write?! Why didn't I at least list the names of my 3 children, why didn't I share what my husband does? These are all things that we've worked very hard at and are important, so why didn't I represent our family better? I know, kinda dramatic but I guess I was having one of those moments that made me think about how I may have been perceived on the outside was differently than how I feel about myself on the inside. After reading the above linked article, I no longer regret how I chose to describe myself because I too think being a mother is my best quality!

"When someone asks me to describe myself, I first say, "I am the mother of two boys," and that is no mistake. It's not because of regret or a confused response that I don't put myself first. It is my immediate response because it is my best quality -- not because it defines me. I am many other things. It's my best quality because what I continue to endure as a mother makes me feel strong. Every time I let go, every time I allow them to be who they are and go easier on myself, I feel amazing. It takes a warrior to love someone this much, and not completely lose your mind in the process.

If you are a mother, a soon-to-be mother, or a woman with the unstoppable desire to become a mother, prepare yourself for a lifetime of anguish and heartache. Prepare for disappointments, regrets, and feelings of helplessness at times. Prepare to be forced into reflection and constant change. Prepare to be the strength and the rock, and to love someone so much it causes pain. Prepare to be painfully astonished at how complete you feel because of it. That tiny human you created unknowingly forces you to become the best version of yourself. 

Over time, he or she is the protector of your life, the healer of your wounds, and the reason you feel completely safe. Our greatest victories in life come from those for whom we've worked the hardest. And that is why I will always be a mother first.

Because it tells the world I am a warrior."

I know how powerful life can be while staying present- not looking behind or ahead. Life has so many wonderful moments waiting to be discovered and I choose to do so with joy in my heart and satisfaction in my soul.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Colorado Adventure

We just got back from a 5-day adventure through the Colorado Rockies. It was our first big road trip with all 3 kiddos and even though our van is now a complete disaster (I'm soooo procrastinating on cleaning it! :O)- I'd say we all did pretty good and have my parents to thank for keeping us sane. ;)

When we took the kids out to NY a few years ago for my brother's wedding, I learned that less planning is usually better....just concentrate on maintaining the basics (such as keeping every one fed, changed, rested, and happy) and the rest will fall into place and that's pretty much how things went for us on this trip too.

 I am a huge fan of art museums. Ever since I can remember I've always been drawn to them and the Denver Art Museum (shown below) did not disappoint...even if we were one day early for the Monet exhibit :(.
LOVE LOVE LOVE these quotes currently featured at the museum.....

"What I need most are flowers, always and always."  


"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers." 

- Claude Monet 

Now that we have children, I love seeing them discover art and this museum had many hands-on activities for children (and adults!) to paint, draw, and create things.

My thoughts on the city of Denver: It's BIG. WAAAAY bigger than I thought it would be! It also has a lot of excellent museums and a ton of restaurants (although this one in Vail was our fave!), reminding me a lot of Chicago. The second museum that we made it to was The History of Colorado Museum which is also fantastic for children....who doesn't love an entire floor of TOYS?! (their current exhibit). Places we wanted to go to but didn't have the time were The Money Museum (our boys are currently obsessed with coins right now) and The Aquaruim- which is also a restaurant!  

We also had a wonderful time visiting with family (this trip was also a family reunion on my mom's side) and meeting extended family members of mine from all around the U.S.

Funny happenings along the way:
  • Getting as far as Ogden (1 hr away south of Logan) before boys were already in need of a potty break.
  • Grant painting himself with chocolate....this guy is resourceful!
  • Stopping at a Subway sandwich shop for lunch in Price, UT, only to hear Benjamin's disappointment when it wasn't a REAL subway (as in an underground train).
  • Elyse stuffing pretzel sticks into her water bottle....guessing she liked watching them expand? We're still not sure....
  • Diapers doubling as paper towels (they're actually MORE absorbent!) in a pinch (aka water spilling throughout our vehicle).
  • Hearing the infamous question of "Are We There Yet?" 1 million times (no joke).
  • The city of Denver turning into Gotham City at night from the view of our hotel room window and all of the children planning their attack on The Joker....(click here to see where the Joker was hiding out)
  • Finally getting the road warrior (aka Bart) to stop driving and let us stay the night in Laramie, WY and my Dad coming up with the motto of ....."The Adventure Continues...."
  • Benjamin repeatedly calling Wyoming- Wynomie....don't know why but this is still hilarious to us....guess this is what hours in a car will do to you.
  • When we randomly pulled over for yet another kid potty break, my Dad joked that it was so Bart could check out another mountain he hadn't seen yet (my husband is obsessed with the West, even though I kept reminding me that we live in it).

Hope you all have a fun 24th of July this weekend here in UTAH....I still will probably be recovering our van from the traveling aftermath and trying to catch up with laundry! I guess family trips are equal parts work + fun. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


I love this above cartoon by Cathy Thorne. While joyous and satisfying- parenting is round the clock hard work! Instead of me going on a rant of what a typical day-in-the-life here is like, I'll just say that I can very much relate with the above image as I try to do the BEST job that I can- challenges and all.

Never did I know this role as a mother would require so much patience, understanding, and preparedness from me EVERY DAY, but I do see how it's possible for me to navigate our family of 5 people (5 very different people I might add) through the complexities of every day life and still come out alright. My secret? Lots of forgiveness and early bedtimes (easier said than done, I know! :O).

Today I am reminding myself that I am capable. Like everyone, I make mistakes and that's okay. I know that most of the times I keep a positive attitude, am tuned into what brings me joy (as well as what I need to cut out), and consider myself very present in the lives of people who matter to me.

While questions about myself have arose in my head after having children, my children have also brought out a perseverance and dedication in myself that I never knew existed. I am propelled to keep going because I know that right now there's nothing more important than raising these 3 young souls....and a trying mama too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let's Have Our Cake and Eat it Two!

They say with each child the time flies by faster and I say I'd have to agree. Our youngest turned 2 last week and we're still trying our best to keep up with how fast she's changing, growing, and learning!

Here's some pics from her simple & sweet cupcake themed b-day gathering. Thank you to all of you who joined us in the celebration!

 Logan has a really cute cupcake shop called Temptation Cupcake. It was the perfect place to have her birthday gathering at because simple and easy was exactly what I had in mind for our busy and sweet 2 year old little girl. ;)

Here's a close up of the Mary Engelbreit party decor that I already had on hand....found at Michaels Craft store.

Love the beautiful selection they always have....they're of course delicious too!

Here's a close-up of the party invites that I made. I simply used these circle cards from Paper Source for the cake part, then trimmed them to fit some ribbed cardboard that I shaped for the cup part, along with these square envelopes, and voila- a DIY cupcake card!

 Party gifts carried the cupcake theme with mini gift bags that had a Build Your Own Cupcake sticker book (so that the kids could decorate their own cupcake) and a little cupcake bubble necklace all found online from Amazon.

Friday, June 12, 2015


After processing the cost of new carpet ($$$!!!) in our basement, I decided to dig deep in my designer file cabinet (which is actually my brain) to try and come up with a better solution. A solution that would be more budget friendly while still providing us with all the look and comfort of beautiful carpet (don't act like you don't sometimes stop at Home Depot or Lowes and pet the carpet's okay, that's what they're there for). Sooooooo, we're thinking of possibly installing FLOR carpet tiles ourselves in our basement. A place that we like to hang out and watch tv in, play ping pong in, and learn in. They so far seem to fit the bill with what we're looking for....playful, cool, and perhaps best of all, easy to fix simply by replacing a square if when they get damaged. You can also order them as a rug!  I'll be sure to keep y'all posted on what we decide.

I recently began incorporating fish back into my diet (just 1-2x per week). It's been 15 years since I've had fish (aside from a daily fish oil supplement) but so far so good, make that really good. The need for this came on once I started working out's like my body was officially telling me: EAT SOMETHING OTHER CARBS! And I listened. Favorite fish product right now are these Wild Alaskan Salmon patties from Sams Club which I like to cut up and put over a mixed green salad with Zesty Italian dressing....yum. yum. I still have no interest in any red meat, chicken, or turkey and still consider myself a vegetarian. A vegetarian who is doing what I can to stay healthy and take less from animals (this includes avoiding products that unethically treat animals) and our earth's resources. I'm glad this awareness is present in our children too.

Bought our sons some Nerf guns. My husband and I (okay, me) have been on the fence about them for some time, but after a long while (like a year) of them repeatedly asking, school getting out across our neighborhood, and the two of them looking older lately (okay, I just threw in that last one) we gave in and so far they've been listening and behaving well with them, but I would like my "I told you so" to be on the record if someone gets hurt! :O

Hearing the word literally so frequently lately has been driving me a bit nutty....reading this article let me know that I'm not alone. Since when did someone decide that it's possible for definitions of words to change?

LOVE this clip (you really should watch's hilarious!!!) that my friend Sam shared from comedian Michael McIntyre about the changes that occur once one becomes a parent. My husband and I both were quoting lines of it at dinner the other night....while sighing and saying "So, so true, so, so true."

That's it. Hope you all have a fun weekend. We're going to do some Farmer Marketing and I've got plans to catch a movie + frozen yogurt with my girlfriends. Gotta love those relax and do whatever kind of summer weekends!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

To try...

Kids first time BOWLING!
Taking on a better perspective around here and giving myself big boosts of "YOU CAN DO THIS!" attitude because even with the monsoon of rain we've been having and less of a schedule for my kids, I'm choosing to enjoy our days- whatever they're filled with! This blog has given me a lot of good mothering and yougogirl! things to think about too.

These fun ideas for Kid Science Activities (we tried the Marshmellow Launcher one, it was easy and, my boys flip for anything that includes the word "Launch." The kits are amazing too-soooo worth the $!)

This book (haven't read it yet, just heard it was a goodie)

This fake tanner (sworn by fave by Carrie Underwood)

English muffins over bagels (again says Carrie Underwood)

Planting my first flowers. In the ground. As bulbs. This is big for me folks! End of March I picked up a bag of Dahlias from Sams Club and planted them about a month exciting to see them already popping up!

Saving $. I'm so not good at this but have a goal. After having some water leak into our basement (we've since found a solution of attaching on a extender to our back drain pipe), we NEED new carpet in our family room and I know Home Depot always runs a free install special around Thanksgiving/Early Dec. So, we are saving for that now. As much fun as it is to buy all the other decorating home stuff I heard this rule...."Work from the bottom up" and that we shall do. Maybe by 2017 we'll actually have a sectional down there too. No joke. Until then, my little olive green love seat from my single days and some bean bags for the kids will have to do!

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend. Bart took an extra day off and it was soooo nice to have so much quality family time for 4 whole days!!! Looking forward to more of that feeling this summer.