Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yes, I am still here.....

So I can't believe how long it has been since I've updated my blog. We are here in Utah trying to enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday. However, week one and we've all been sick! Stomach flu! It started with Austin, then moved on to me and Cameron, Erik was next in line and we are hoping against hope that it ends there. So needless to say we are ready to be well and finally start our vacation. Before the sickness struck, I did manage to go and see Twilight with my mom and sisters. We had such a blast! The movie was good (laughable in some parts), but of course it didn't quite measure up to the book. Overall, I liked it and I want to see it again. As always, it was great to just be out with the girls! So as for the rest of our trip, I am looking forward to doing a little shopping, doing some crafts and taking the kids down to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights, so everyone better get better quick!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quick, Inexpensive and Easy Christmas Gift

Bookmark Tutorial
(I hope this makes sense. Please feel free to comment with any questions that you might have)

Step 1: gather supplies

Step 2: Cut the elastic to 22"

Step 3: Using a small piece of wire bend to make a threader, side it through the bead and pull the elastic through the bead. Repeat on the other side. You should now have 2 beads on each end of your elastic.

Step 4: Now pull opposite ends of elastic back through the beads forming a loop. knot the ends and you're finished.

Step 5: Cut a piece of wire about 6" and loop over the finished bookmark

Step 6: Attach a crimp bead to secure. Begin stringing beads in desired pattern. Be sure to tuck the stray end into the beads to hide.

Step 7: After attaching end bead, string a crimp bead and one final bead, bend wire around and thread the end back through the crimp bead and adjacent beads to hide the end (you may need to trim the wire down at this point). Holding the beads tightly together smash the crimp bead to secure.

That's it! The perfect homemade gift for all the people on your list who love to read.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

For all Moms....

Invisible Mother......

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously, not.
No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ... Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.
It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my daughter to tell the friend she's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want her to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to her friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's A 2 Bath Day...

Gotta love it! I had Austin all bathed last night before bed, smelling and looking good and then first thing this morning, this is what I found:

(The marker went all the way up to his thighs)

After finding him in this state, I began to worry that if there was marker all over him, then it must be on other things too. So upon further inspection, I found out that my suspicions were correct.

(The Cocoa Pebbles add an additional design element don't you think?)

What is it with this kid and markers? When will I learn to put the markers away, out of his reach? Lucky for him covered in marker or not, he is pretty cute!

On another note, Austin said the family prayer last night for the first time with a little help! It was so cute and we all cheered for him and the boys gave him high fives for being such a big boy! Yep, we love this little guy! Now I guess I'm off to mop my kitchen floor. (sigh)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today's the day

Get out and vote! Happy Election Day! I'm off to the polls.

Monday, November 3, 2008

FHE "Secret Service Agents"

We had a great Family Home Evening tonight! The boys really participated and enjoyed the lesson and that made for a very pleasant evening. Don't get me wrong, little Austin still ran around in circles and tried everything he could think of to distract his older brothers by making them laugh (little stinker), but overall it was a great night. I adapted this lesson on service with the amazing story of the Candy Bomber. Now you can see why my boys were so into this lesson. What little boy doesn't love bombers and candy? And if you can combine the 2 even better! So we read the story and we talked about service and then Brett and I challenged the boys to perform a secret act of service for a member of our family. When the service is completed, they get to leave a heart that says "You've been served" behind. Erik said it was like being "Secret Service Agents" How cool is that. So I will be watching for little hearts to start popping up all over our house this week. Then for dessert....Brett's favorite....the best Texas Sheet Cake ever!

Texas Sheet Cake from Allrecipes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup butter
1 cup water
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

6 tablespoons milk
5 tablespoons unsweetened
cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10x15 inch pan.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix in the sour cream, then beat in the eggs. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the water and 5 tablespoons cocoa. Bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly, then stir cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing until blended.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
4. For the icing: In a large saucepan, combine the milk, 5 tablespoons cocoa and 1/2 cup butter. Bring to a bowl, then remove from heat. Stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, then fold in the nuts, mixing until blended. Spread frosting over warm cake.

*There is a picture book called "Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot" that tells the story of Col. Halvorsen (the candy bomber) I have it on hold at the library and I am going to read it to my children this week. Check it out!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween

The Costumes... The Loot... According to Erik, this was the best Halloween ever! Hope that you all had a wonderfully, spooky Halloween night too!

Trick-or-treat re-enactment

So proud!

Just had to brag about Erik. Thursday at school they had an awards assembly and Erik received 2 awards. One was for making the Honor Roll (all A's and B's) and the second was for making the Principals List (straight A's)! Brett and I could not be more pleased! Way to go Erik! Keep up the great work!!!