Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Favorite Color

My mom planned my entire wedding (a blog for another day) with only a few exceptions. One thing I got to choose was the dominant color. I told her I wanted teal. I was so close to knowing what my color for life was going to be: blue/green. Any variation on turquoise. The colors in my good mail from Kelly are spot on. She sent me this hand made card and these address labels from . Thanks, Kelly, and I'm not planning on moving any more than I'm planning on changing my favorite color.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Best Slippers Forward

My house has cold porcelain tile from the front entrance through the kitchen. I chose it for its durability and magical powers: it looks clean even when it's dirty. Actually my husband hates that quality in our tile because he's always afraid the floor is dirty. I told him he just needs to assume it's clean.

I started wearing slippers when we moved into this house six years ago for two reasons. First, my feet were cold on the ceramic tile (we moved in at the beginning of winter - in the summer the floor is refreshingly cool). Second, the tile wears out socks like we're walking around outside on the sidewalk in our stocking feet. It takes a little longer to wear out slippers, but at Christmas time this year I needed new ones, so I put slippers on my list. I'm not very good at making a Christmas list, it's always short and boring, because of that I usually get everything on my list. So the slippers weren't a surprise, but I was happy to get them. These are my feet on Christmas morning - the only picture of me that day.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Lowly tar paper

Tar paper is now a classic decorating staple in my ward.
For this YW torch we projected and enlarged the image onto tar paper, traced and cut to make these giant torch cut outs that we tack up with black tacks to the burlap walls on either side of the stage for every major YW event.
At Christmas time the activities committee rolled out tar paper all around the perimeter of the gym and used chalk to outline an ancient Bethlehem style city scape. The possibilities are endless, and someone always seems to have a partial roll left over from re-roofing their garage or home.


Sunday, 25 February 2007


Today is Carmen's 8th birthday. What can I tell you about Carmen? She is what my oldest daughter calls, 'socially gifted'. She goes to all the birthday parties in her school class (which means half the time she's the only girl at the party). The best story I have about Carmen's outgoing nature happened when she was in kindergarten. My kids go to a small country school with grades k-9. One day when I picked up my kids after school Carmen was the one to get the seat next to the sliding passenger door of the van. Just as she was about to pull the door closed a jr. high girl called out, "Carmen! You rock!" How did this much older girl know Carmen's name, let along that she rocks? That's just Carmen. By the end of her kindergarten year she had pet nick names for many of the students in many different grades that they all answered to.

Carmen likes to get dirty. She was our last kid to get the hang of the idea that food belongs on her plate, on her fork, or in her mouth (even after her younger sister). There are suitable hobbies for this type of kid: she likes cooking, gardening, painting, and pottery.

Carmen is super girly. She likes any sport that involves hair and makeup, which for her right now is figure skating (minus the hair and makeup - I'm a mean mom) She likes flashy clothes, which is hard on her tshirt and jeans mom. We usually find happy middle ground.

Carmen is dramatic. She's up or down. When she was 3 years old I was curling her hair one day, and her bangs came out of the curling iron in a ringlet. I laughed and told her there was a poem about a little girl with hair like that. I recited it for her:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good she was very, very good.
And when she was bad she was horrid.

Carmen asked me what horrid means, and I told her. She then laughed and said, "That girl is just like me!"

Carmen can hardly wait to start activity days on Tuesday and to get baptized in 2 weeks. Her best friend in her primary class has a January birthday, so Carmen feels like she's been waiting forever to be eight.

Happy Birthday, Carmen!

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Life's a barrel of monkeys

Check out my new banner! The incredibly talented Chris created it for me. You're looking at the end result of her hard work.

I emailed Chris a picture of a wall in my family room. Based on the picture, and reading through my blog Chris came up with a first draft. She was so intuitive with what she came up with - she tied multiple elements of the essence of me into one banner. My favorite part of the first draft, though, were these monkeys. Now, my personal style is very edited: clean lines, simple shapes, repetition of one idea. So I asked Chris to edit the banner down to just that single element. She tweaked the color and the font to come up with the masterpiece that is my banner.

I love the retro-humor of the barrel of monkeys with the custom colors that are so me. Thanks again, Chris.

Friday, 23 February 2007

I've got mail

Woohoo! I got my first good mail today, from who else? Jill! She sent me my very own good mail delivery labels which all the rest of you will be benefiting from in the near future . . .

Along a similar vein, can I say that I consider your posts and comments to be another form of good mail. When I open my email and see how many items are in my inbox I'm so excited, because there's sure to be 'good email' from my new blogging friends.

What an inclusive group of women. I'm so glad to have this way to interact with such amazing people.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Ken's photography is improving faster than my driving

Ken and I had a conversation not very long ago about why I don't share the camera very well. I tried to say it nicely, but my message just wasn't getting across. Finally I said, "Why do you always want to be the one who drives?" He laughed hard. He got it. I want good pictures, he wants good driving. Here's the pictures from the ski trip. They're home a day early - they were skiied out, and they missed mommy.

The three amigos: Jaclyn, Steven, Carmen

Carmen posing alone

Steven (with Ken using the law of thirds he learned about at a ward activities committee sponsored workshop I dragged him to awhile ago)


A cabin right off the hill - not ours

It's good to have everyone home. Chloe had just started to miss the other kids and be bored with me; it was a cute reunion. It's also good to have my camera home - I wanted to take pictures of my time with Chloe. Plus, no camera was cramping my blogging a little.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Self Portrait Tuesday

A self portrait is just not possible today: the camera has gone skiing. In fact, a picture of me at all is difficult to find.

Recently my husband took our most current photo book with him to a family funeral in Idaho. When he got back, he handed me the book and said, "Do you realize there is only one picture of you in this whole book???" I told him that wasn't true, but then when I looked, it actually was true. He hadn't noticed it on his own - one of his Idaho cousins was looking through the book and pointed it out. There are 11 pictures of Ken, and all the rest are pictures of the kids. What it comes down to is I take all the pictures. The only reason there was one picture of me in the album is because when we were hiking in the summer a friendly hiking stranger offered to get a group shot of our family for us. You're looking at the hiking picture cropped down to just me.

It looks like working on self portraits might be a good idea.

When the student is ready, the master appears. ~Buddhist Proverb

So cool - I just got a blogger address list from Jill. I have no idea of how she retreived my information!?! So much to learn . . .

Good times had by all

Well, it sounds like the skiers are having a great time. I'm enjoying what is feeling like my week off:

  • no make up
  • no cooking
  • no phone calls (very few people know I'm home)
  • all caught up on my mending
  • did a little sewing project with Chloe: we made a poncho for her baby doll
  • made a baby blanket for a friend who's expecting #5 any day now
  • played like a bazillion board games including a new one from Value Village: Ravensburger's Madeline
  • made name stamps like this
  • slumber party watching DVD's in my bed every night
  • all caught up on the photo book I'm working on
  • did an inventory of my food storage and a grocery list to replenish it (we're getting low on red lentils, which I sure didn't foresee when I first bought them - turns out the kids like red lentil soup)
  • started working on a photo wall for my master bedroom - it's going to be all places we love
  • ordered fabric from Cia's Palette for some future projects
  • ordered some supplies for a super cool top secret craft to do with my kids, neices, and nephews at my parents' cabin this summer
  • orgainized and wiped out the kitchen drawers, next I'm tackling the den
  • made clothes pin dolls
  • coming up: an easybake-a-thon tomorrow

My mom once told me that she wished she could have had each of her five kids spaced 18 years apart so that she could have enjoyed each one without the distractions of the other four. I'm getting a delicious taste of that this week.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Still here

Ken and the big kids left for the cabin yesterday, and I've stayed behind with Chloe. Obviously Chloe's still not feeling well, so she and I stayed home from church today.

I'm really glad I didn't miss church a few weeks ago when our bishopric spoke in sacrament meeting. My bishop gives great talks; I'd be all for him giving us a sermon every Sunday. I thought I'd share what he had to say that has really stayed with me. He shared a portion of 'The Ballad of Sir Andrew Barton' (the picture is the crest of Sir Andrew Barton).

"I am hurt, but I am not slain; I'll lay me down and bleed a while, And then I'll rise and fight again."

The bishop then encouraged us to adopt those words. To acknowledge our hurts, but also to keep hope. He said we need to give ourselves permission to lay down and bleed awhile, but then we need to rise and fight again.

Those feelings of hurt seem so isolating, don't they? Yet they're part of the universal human experience. I'm not hurting right now, but I still found the way my bishop spoke about it very reassuring.

Anyhow, I think I'm just putting this down for me. The time will come that I'll want to refer back to this post.

Friday, 16 February 2007

A few words before I go . . .

Hopefully we're leaving tomorrow for a family ski holiday. I say hopefully, because it looks like our youngest child is sick, which means we'll have to delay the trip by a day or two, or just the big kids and dad will go skiing, while I stay home with the sickie. We're waiting to see how she feels in the morning.

We had New Beginnings this week. I definitely feel that the middle of February is late in the year for New Beginnings. We probably should have done it in January, but I felt like we'd just barely put on YW in Excellence, and I wasn't ready for another YW event yet in January. Anyhow, I have a laurel who was finished all her personal progress except for her Good Works project. She told me the project was a surprise for me, and that she would give it to me at New Beginnings, which was so sweet. Right up there with a CTR 5 child giving her primary teacher a picture she made during sacrament meeting. This YW had obviously consulted with the YW secretary, because the presentation was printed up right into the program. She made me a book of quotes on service. It was so perfect, and so her. This girl has a quote for every subject we discuss in class. Her bedroom is practically wallpapered with quotes. She also wrote her testimony in the back of the book. And I thought I'd miss primary.

There's been an unexpected upside to the dishwasher breaking down and my choice to turn to disposable dishes: the kids' jokes have improved tremendously. You know how little kids try to tell jokes, but they just aren't funny. Well, no more. When I bought dixie cups I was really just trying to buy something that all the kids would use, which meant no disney princess, winnie the pooh, or anything else that might offend a 10 year old boy. The joke cups were the only other option.

So why is it dangerous to do math in the jungle? Because when you add 4 and 4 you get ate.

I have a couple of Value Village treasures trapped in the trunk of my minivan. The van is 9 years old, and certain functions are starting to go. The remote for the locks doesn't work every time on every door. In fact, the interior buttons for the locks don't always work. Another problem with the van is that quite often it won't register that the trunk door is closed. When this happens the wiper on the back window won't work, which means with the sloppy roads we've had around here, I have to stop frequently at a gas station just to clean my back window. I just came out of a long stretch of the rear door tricking the van into believing it was ajar. I was so pleased when after a trip to Value Village the rear door registered closed, and the wiper started working again. That was 11 days ago. I haven't opened the trunk since I left the store that day - I'm too afraid the next time I open and close that door I'll be back to a rear wiper that doesn't work. Good thing we're taking Ken's truck on our trip, not my minivan.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Happy Valentines Day to new friends and old.
In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends.
John Churton Collins

Monday, 12 February 2007

Today's work

My Grandma Phoebe embroidered a set of 'daily work' tea towels for each of her granddaughters. I'm sure none of us use them to dry dishes. These tea towels have turned out to be very me in that I'm a little rigid about my housework schedule. Monday I clean house, Tuesday I run errands and volunteer at school, Wednesday is laundry (I know, I know, the tea towel has laundry on Monday), Thursday I practise dental hygiene, Friday I get ready for the weekend which is different from week to week. I threw out the routine today and didn't clean house; now it won't be clean till next Monday, I guess. I worked on projects that have been piling up. Chloe and I finished her valentines for school, and I made some arrangements for our ski holiday that have been on my to do list for quite awhile. I also did a little redecorating:

I framed and hung the silhouettes of my kids over the telephone desk, and I added a couple of little somethings to my laundry room to make me smile. I've had these old sewing patterns for such a long time, and I wanted to put them up, but I was just waiting for the perfect way to display them.

Usually on Mondays Chloe doesn't have school, so she is my little helper with the housework. I really didn't need or want her help with what I did today, which meant she watched a whole lot of T.V. When we got in the car to go pick up the other kids from school she rubbed her forehead and told me, "I watched too much T.V. today. I have a mybraine."

Saturday, 10 February 2007

I'm living in a post card

The upside of our cold snowy weather is that it is SO BEAUTIFUL !
I took this picture this morning.

Friday, 9 February 2007

Paper or Plastic?

My dishwasher broke this week. It has an electronic control panel that's been collecting some humidity, and now the control panel isn't working at all. Of course I didn't realize the dishwasher wasn't working till I had a full load of dirty dishes and I tried to turn it on. It took 5 days of just washing dishes as we used them before we got to washing the dirty dishes sitting in the dishwasher. I've now turned to paper plates and plastic cups and cutlery. The recycler inside of me is not happy about it, but I'm not listening to her. My husband thought I was brilliant when I came home from the store with the picnic supplies. He'd happily eat off Royal Chinet the rest of our lives, which I think is very much a guy thing.

I'm going to have to wait till February 26th before the repairman can come. It's not all his fault, part of the problem is we're going away on a family ski trip for a week, so between his schedule and our vacation our dishwasher will be out of commission for a couple more weeks. Luckily, the cabin at the ski resort has a dishwasher!

Thursday, 8 February 2007


When I was ready to decorate the room my youngest girls share, I was into Cecily Barker's flower fairies. At around this same time the little girls were a little bit afraid of the dark, and needed nice bright nightlights. This is what I came up with. I bought wall lamps from Ikea, and then attached flower fairy pictures printed on transparency sheets to the fronts of the lamps.

Not very long ago my brother called me up and asked me how I'd made the night lights because he wanted to make one for his little girl. When my jealous daughters found out I'd shared my secret design they wailed and whined, "We want to be the only girls in the world with these nightlights!" I noticed in my neice's birthday pictures she got a new nightlight as a gift from her dad so my girls are going to have to deal with it.

I actually wanted to make a light like this for my son's room, but he needs complete darkness to sleep, so a wall lamp with a NHL crest on it would go unused.

This difference between my kids who need light and the one who needs darkness to fall asleep causes problems when we travel to Grandma and Grandpa's house and all the kids are trying to fall asleep together in the family room in the basement. Next time we go down I'm going to bring a sleep mask for my boy and mini flashlights for my girls to see if I can make bedtime at Grandma's easier on everyone (including me).

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

I hosted book group today, so I got to choose the book. This is a book by a Canadian author, and it occurs to me that maybe this book isn't well known to my American friends? I'm not planning on giving you a book report, but I'll tell you it's a thinker. Not everyone in my book group liked my choice, I think partly because it turns out to be very metaphorical, and maybe too much like a book you'd be required to read if you were in an English class. Honestly, that's why I liked it: I got to dust off a few brain cells I don't get to use very often.

I went all out for the group today. I baked pi(e). I pulled out all our tiger toys for decorations (all purchased in the past by my husband who was trying to cultivate a love for his favourite zoo animal in his own children).

I printed up quotes from the book, and then made matchbook covers out of tiger print paper, so that you had to open what looked like a matchbook to read the quote. I got the matchbook-cover-for-quotes idea from my lurking days (not that long ago) on one of those evenings where I followed blogs from link to link, and I don't remember where I saw it. If you've seen the matchbook-visiting-teaching-message-quotes idea in your cybertravels, tell me where, so that I can post a comment on her blog and thank her for the idea.

Why do you like to read? For pleasure, as an escape, or for a mental workout?

Monday, 5 February 2007


All sources say we're in for a cold snap starting tomorrow, so I took advantage of the warm weather today. A friend and I took our youngest daughters who weren't in school to go see the new baby giraffe at our zoo. We parked at the entrance nearest the giraffe enclosure and headed straight over, but sadly the baby and his mother weren't out! So disappointing! Of course we didn't turn around and leave, we just enjoyed the rest of the zoo. I love the quote below - I think it applies to much more than wildlife.

The tiger is my husband's favourite animal. Don't you just want to curl up with this cuddly looking creature?

Alice the camel?

The zebra always surprises me with how small it is.

I love zoo pictures in the winter, because the animals really pop out against the snow.

Were you sad we didn't get to see the baby giraffe? We checked again at the end of the afternoon, and we were so happy to see baby Richard! Below: eating bark off the same tree as his dad. They keep the baby fenced away from papa, but doesn't it look like the father could just step over that fence if he really wanted to?

He looks pretty big when there isn't an adult in the picture to compare him to. He's around 7 feet tall.

The baby giraffe hiding behind his mama.

My husband grew up just a few blocks away from the zoo when he was really small, and his mom took him there all the time. She wants us to keep up this tradition, so she gives us a family zoo pass every year. Thanks! We love to go!

Sunday, 4 February 2007

There's no place like home

My sister's new baby was blessed in church today. She lives in my home town, so I drove down yesterday and stayed at my parent's house over night. I love staying at my parent's house, I should really do it more often. I sleep like a rock. I feel so totally cared for and taken care of. My confidence soars after a visit to my mom and dad, and I'm pretty sure I know why. They know my weaknesses, but they still treat me like I'm the best. Twenty-four hours of positive vibes radiating my way recharges me like nothing else!

Thursday, 1 February 2007

How I spend my Thursdays

When my patients ask me how many days I work in a week, I tell them 6 and that they're seeing me on my day off. On Thursdays I'm a dental hygienist. I pack up all the lunches for the family on Wednesday night, and I'm out the door before anyone else in the house is awake on Thursday morning. I start seeing patients at 7 am, so my husband sees the kids off to school before he heads downtown.

Yeah, that's really me in the picture. It may seem kinda weird that I have a picture of myself examining a patient, but this picture was taken for the website of the office I work in.

Why did I become a dental hygienist? My dad told me to. People laugh when I say that, but it's the absolute truth. I didn't know what I wanted to take in university, and my dad looked me in the eyes and said, "Barbara, I think dental hygiene would be a good idea." Parents long for that kind of obedience in a 17 year old, I know.

Now that my own kids are growing up a little (the oldest is 13 and in 8th grade) I wonder and worry about what they'll choose for their own secondary educations. Will they chase their dreams, or will they choose something practical?