Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Monthly Precept or Quote

Have you read the book Wonder by RJ Palacio? No? Well stop everything and go get the book! It is an amazing book on acceptance, overcoming difficulties, and life lessons. Part of the book focuses on Monthly Precepts. They are all good, but the one that stands out is:

When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.

You can get the book HERE!

I am going to try to live by this quote this month. And in turn reinforce it with my boys. I think we all need a lesson in kindness.

What is your favorite quote?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Earliest Childhood Memory

My first childhood memory was when I was 4 years old. 
We went to Disneyland and it was so scary. 

Number 4 Cardboard Cutout 

In my minds eye I remember it as if it was yesterday.Imagine going to the "Happiest Place on Earth" and being terrified. That was me. Terrified!

I remember 3 rides from the park, only 3. One was pretty cool in my 4 year old was It's a Small World. I loved all the children from all the nations and the music was so catchy I couldn't get it out of my mind.

The other 2 rides I remember were Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted House. I remember 2 things about each of these rides. They were scary, but I liked them also. I Pirates of the Caribbean I was terrified that the pirates were going to shoot me and that our boat was going to catch on fire. I was so scared I remember hiding under the front part of the boat, we were in the front seat of it. 

The Haunted House was frightening because it gave truth to my 4 year old self that ghosts DO exist. They were everywhere! Flying around me, sitting at tables, terrorizing each other, and me. The best part of this ride was when one sat next to me. He didn't scare me, he seemed friendly enough.

That is probably the most vivid memory I have. I wonder what my kids remember from their trip to the "Happiest Place on Earth". 

What is your first childhood memory?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Tribute

It's pretty safe to say that Robin Williams is probably my favorite actor. He was highly entertaining and embraced each role and made it his own. Truly made it his own.

Hearing his voice as the Genie in Aladdin was amazing. The many voices he used to create that role was simply genius. What made him so special was his ability to ad lib, which was approximately 90% of this role.

The last movie I saw in the theater was Patch Adams. That movie was so heart wrenchingly good. It made me cry. His determination to make being a patient fun and hopeful was heart warming. The idea that he wanted to have a care facility for those who couldn't afford to see a doctor, his willingness to take a huge risk with his career. Robin Williams made you feel for him and all the people he crossed paths with in this movie. 

My kids especially loved him in Mrs. Doubtfire. I loved watching his character find the balance between the fun dad and the responsible dad. All he wanted was the best for the three of them and he wanted to spend as much time as possible with them. His character just didn't know how to be "parent" until we got closer to the end of the movie.

My personal favorite is Hook. Watching his character learn how to be a Lost Boy again was highly entertaining. It also makes me realize that there is still a kid in each and every one of us. We just have to hang on to our imagination. Growing up and growing old is for the birds. 

Here is a quote to remember him by:

Thank you Robin Williams for all the wonderful roles you played. You are truly an inspiration to me and my kids.

What is your favorite Robin Williams movie?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Day in the Life

This is how I spend many of my weekends. 
At the track.
A motocross track.
This picture was taken by one of the many Lucas Oil photographers.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ella's Quilt

When we lived at the old house I would work on quilts a little more regularly. I had the space, I had my "sewing room" in the dining room. Ella, my niece, would come over and chat with me while I cut and pieced.

One day she went home and asked her mom if she could make her a quilt for her bed. Ella had recently received a quilt her mom had made for Christmas, but she wanted another one. She proceeded to ask her mom "How can we make Suzi make me a quilt?" Julia informed her that she can't make anyone do anything.

So I heard the story for the quilt and slowly, very slowly started to make it. I think it took a little more than a year to get it done.

This is the biggest quilt I have ever made. It was quite a feat. It was made for my niece for her queen size bed. Ella got this quilt on Valentine's Day. I'm pretty sure she is liking it.

This is the front. It is 100+ squares of randomness.

Here is the front with a view of the back. There is lots of teal on the back of the quilt. Ella's room is teal.

And here is a slightly better view of the front. 
It turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.
Enjoy Ella.

Monday, March 31, 2014


Sooo we got a puppy. This is the third one in a year. We lost the last two. One due to an unforeseeable illness and the other, I ran the poor pup over. Booo Hooo! It was terrible, both cases. I felt so horrible and the kids were so sad......I started looking at Craigslist and at dog rescues.

When I was looking at Dog Rescues, I realized I look horrible on paper. We are good dog owners, but have had to give a dog away, one was hit on a busy road and died, another retired with Jeff's parents, we had a cat die of something (it was a stray to begin with), and then the last two. These "agencies" want ALL of your information, vet, references, names and reason's for why you don't have said animals anymore. Jeesh, give them enough time they will want your first born as well. It's crazy. I decided Craigslist was going to have to be our only option.

This is what we found. His name is Trooper. He is an Italian Mastiff and the boys fell completely in love with him. I think this one is the right fit. Isn't he cute?

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Parental Advice That Still Sticks With Me Today

When I was growing up my dad had a tattoo. It was simple. It represented something he believed in. It was something he was part of. He was a paratrooper. His tattoo was similar to this.

The advice my dad gave me is.....if you ever decide to get a tattoo, make sure it's something you truly believe in because it will be with you for the rest of your life.

I have tossed around a tattoo from the time I was 18. I have never gotten one and probably won't. What he said has stuck with me and it is advice I will pass on to my boys.

What advice do you remember your parents giving you?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What to do

What do you do with a 2 year old 11 year old who runs off when he doesn't want to do something? Who tells you "NO" because he doesn't want to do something? It's usually something that he is afraid of or that is miserable for him.

The latest? I was walking across the playground from one conference to another. I saw my boy and told him it was time to go to his conference. Well the teachers were running late and Trevor disappeared. When his teachers were ready for me they also wanted Trevor to join.

He was gone.



The office called him on the PA system. Twice.

He was hiding in the farthest corner of campus. In the tallest grass he could find. Which meant he was laying down. And he was using a soccer goal to help him with his camouflage.

What am I going to do with this kid?

Turns out the poor kid didn't want to go in and explain a problem from the MARS test. It's some sort of assessment the kids had to take. It involves "new" math. He says he doesn't know what he is doing and he didn't want to try to explain something he didn't understand. He also said he didn't know what to say since he says he did it all in his head.

Soooo we missed his conference all together. Tomorrow he gets to go in and apologize to his teachers for wasting their time and ask if they can make the time to reschedule. We had a long talk about his behavior and he did apologize for wasting my time. I just hope he has learned his lesson......for the time being anyway.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Favorite Peanut Butter Recipe

It's teacher appreciation week. Boy did that come fast this year. Each year our school hosts a lunch for all the teachers. They love it. Every year I make my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe, as it turns out they love it too. They are Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbs. milk
1 bag or so of Reese's peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. Cream butter, sugars, peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk. Add dry ingredients and mix well. It will be a soft, creamy consistency.

Using a melon baller or hands, shape into balls and put into mini-muffin tin, ungreased. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press peanut butter cups into the center of each cookie. Cool completely before removing from muffin tins.

What is your favorite cookie? And what do you do for your teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Things my kids will know before they go on vacation without me and with their friends

We go on a vacation with two other moms and all the kids, all boys I might add. It always involves water, rafts, and some good fun. As a mom who always takes kids it never occurred to me that there IS an etiquette for kids when they are on vacation with parents other than their own. I say this because I invited a friend for one of my kids (the other two have friends who come with the other two moms). I thought I was doing my oldest a favor and he did too.......until we got to the cabin.

DUN, DUN, DUN.....

Things my kids WILL know before they go on vacation with adults that are not their parents, in no particular order:

1. You are the guest, but that does not make you exempt from helping load or unload the vehicle.  Be the first to ask what you can do to help.
2. When you are asked to do something, do it. Do it immediately, not at your leisure.
3. When other kids tell you to stop doing something because its annoying, hurtful, or just plain mean, it is your job to listen and to stop the action.
4. If you are the oldest, you are the example. The other kids will look up to you and want to mimic your behavior.
5. Don't name call.
6. Don't mock the younger kids.
7. Listen to the adults AT ALL TIMES.
8. Some of the rules may be lame, but it is your job to follow them. After all it is for the safety of you and the others.
9. Be respectful to everyone on the vacation.
10. If you have done something pleasurable or unpleasureable own up to it, don't pass the buck to someone else to get the heat off you.
11. Don't call your friends back home and tell him your are with a bunch of little kids and that they are annoying within earshot of people who brought you on the vacation.

However, there is a flip side to this. If you are the one inviting there is also an etiquette. So, to my oldest:

1. This is your guest, you don't get to check out just because he is a bit overwhelming. You wanted to bring a friend so as not to deal with one of your brothers.
2. You also are not exempt from helping out.
3. Spend some time with the friend who has been invited on the vacation......for you!
4. It is your job to make your friend feel welcome, feel like he is a part of the group.
5. Find out what he wants to do that doesn't include the younger kids.
6. When he expresses interest in doing something or going somewhere with you, do it. Don't tell him no and make an effort to get away from him.

Ahhhh, the joys of vacation. This won't deter me from bringing a friend, it just gave me insight. I need to lay out my expectations right off the bat, to all the kids involved. 

What is your worst experience when inviting a friend for one of your kids?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

5 Favorite TV Shows

I watch too much TV. Mostly at night. However I like to have it on as background noise while I clean or pay my bills. I especially like to "watch" Days Of Our Lives when I do those two tasks. I know, a soap opera, pretty pathetic right? A little bit. To my defense, it is a fond memory I have of my Nana. She would sit me down at 1 o'clock everyday to watch, we would stop what we were doing and watch Days Of Our Lives. I tried stopping, but I can't. It reminds me of her and the fun we had when I went to visit.

My 5 favorite TV shows are:

1. Grey's Anatomy

2. Chicago Fire

3. Survivor

4. Revolution

5. Modern Family

What are your top 5 TV shows?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Favorite Valentine's Baked Good

I love all baked goods. I mean I LOVE them ALL. So it's hard to just pick one. However the first thing that came to mind were sugar cookies. They are so simple. And the beauty is that you can cut them out as hearts and decorate them with messages for that special someone in your life. Or in my case those special someones.

Here is a basic sugar cookie recipe:

For the cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until soft and creamy. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Add in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour and continue to mix until smooth. Chill dough until firm, at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Roll out dough on a well floured surface until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with floured cookie cutters and carefully transfer them to the prepared cookie sheets. Bake cookies for 7-9 minutes. Cookies should NOT brown. Let cool completely before frosting.
I got this recipe from Cake and Allie. She has a lovely picture of her cookies with royal icing. They are lovely! I just wish I had the patience to decorate that intricately.
So tell me, what is your favorite Valentine's Day baked good?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

He is His Mother's Son

I remember when I was in 6th grade. It was tough. It was not fun. I had a teacher whose expectations were so great that more than half the class was failing. Failing in all subjects. How does that happen? Especially to students who are A+ students? Well, let me tell you.......the teacher would have been an awesome (and later did become) a high school teacher.

What I remember most from that year? I was on restriction for the better part of the year. I couldn't do anything. I had to come straight home from school, sit down and do my homework......In. My. Room. There was no TV, no phone, no social life. The only thing I could do was go to practice for whatever sport I was playing. That's. It.

My middle son is in 6th grade this year. It has been a challenge. I have been getting emails since the first week of school about him and his behavior. This week has been overwhelming. We battled about homework for science and that set the tone for the rest of the week. I was spoken to by 2 of his teachers about behavior and I got his progress report. The kid is not turning in his homework or isn't even doing it. His reasoning? Because if he becomes a construction worker he won't need to have any of this knowledge.

Well, it looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know he is seeking attention, but all he is getting is the negative kind. Not. Good. I just got an email from one of his teachers and she asked him if he would like it if I sat in the classroom for Homework Club. Not to just sit in there, but to sit with him. A lightbulb went off. The poor guy just needs some extra one on one attention and a bit of love. So this coming week we will have some quality homework time that doesn't involve helping his brothers, cooking dinner, and making sure everyone is on track. It will be just me and him sitting together, working on homework. I hope this is the start to a road of behavior recovery. I also hope this is a good start to satisfying his need for one on one time.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5 Valentine's Day Dates

For me, simple is better. Simple seems to take some thought, but is ultimately pretty easy. Five Valentine's Day Dates that I would enjoy are:

1. A nice long hike with my honey.
2. A picnic lunch.
3. Home cooked dinner in. And I mean home cooked by my honey.
4. A day at the beach.
5. I could even go for a movie on the couch.

I doesn't take much to amuse me. I would love to do these things with my honey alone, but they are all kid friendly "dates".

What is your ultimate Valentine's Day Date?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 Goals

So this month I am going to try to do the writing prompts provided by the SITSA's. There is a prompt a day for the month of February. Maybe this will get me back in the swing of things.

My goals for 2014 is to learn more about clean eating and implement it. With doing that I intend to find and post some recipes that I enjoy. This will be a process so it may be a while before I post a recipe I find worth sharing. My biggest problem is meal planning and preparation. I can wrap my head around it, but I feel like I am being told what to eat, how to eat it, and when. Sounds crazy right? Especially since I am the one making the meal plan. I think part of it is that I need to do a few days at a time rather than an entire week. One. Whole. Week. Of meal planning seems daunting and I run out of ideas. 

My trick, so far, is to screen shot other people's meal plans. I am doing this through some groups I have joined, all full of people who are on a similar journey. We check in daily to report what we did for exercise and how we would rate our food choices for the day. The coaches/leaders provide a lot of information, recipes, and we can all support each other and post what we had problems with and how we can tweak our nutrition so that we are successful.

Here's to clean eating! Wish me luck......

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 2014 Highlights

January 1, 2014 - We have been living on the hill, off the grid for a year.

January 7, 2014 - Both Trevor and Adam started a new sport. They are trying Lacrosse for the first time.

January 12, 2014 - Luke rode in his first dirt bike race! His seat fell off in the first heat so he placed last. He came in 2nd in his second heat. He didn't trophy, but came in 4th over all. Adam also rode in his first race. He got a First Time Rider Trophy, but did so well they placed him as a beginner. They didn't believe he was a first time racer. We had to convince them it was his first race ever. Adam placed 2nd in the first heat and 3rd in the second heat. He got 3rd over all. So proud of both boys.

January 19, 2014 - Luke and Adam are at it again. They raced their dirt bikes again today. All bikes were in working order, seats stayed put. Luke came in 3rd in his class but didn't get a trophy, there weren't enough riders and he needed to pass one more racer. Next time Luke! Adam placed 2nd in his class and got an awesome trophy. Great job boys!

January 31, 2014 - We brought home an 8 week old puppy. Her name is Riley.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Friday's Feature

Hi Everyone!
I have someone I would like you to meet.
Her name is Christie and she is my good friend who runs JoElla's Attic.
She's new to this thing we call blogging.
She just started so there isn't much material, but I know she is going to do a great job and give us a lot of useful, fun information. 
That's the kind of girl she is.
Feel free to check her out and give her some bloggy love.
Love you Christie!
I can't wait to see where this blog takes you.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hope's Quilt

Hope's quilt was a fun one.
I had joined an I-Spy fabric swap and received a lot of fun 4 inch squares with so many different objects on them. I ended up with 200 squares. I had joined other I-Spy swaps so I have an arsenal of fun printed fabric. 

A few years ago a dear friend of mine was in the process of adopting a little girl. Her name was going to be (and still is for my dear friend) Hope. What a beautiful name and it was perfect for this little girl. So when the baby shower was planned and held I knew I needed to make a quilt for Hope and her new mamma. I went through all my I-Spy squares and found all the ones that had pink in them. 

The quilt isn't anything fancy (I can only do simple when it comes to quilts). I made the center out of four squares in order to make one 8" square and then added pink sashing. As you can see by the picture below I then sewed more squares together to make a larger square around the sashing. I did this until I felt the quilt was done. The back is a fun giraffe print. 

I still think of this little girl and the life she could have had with my dear friend. Sadly my friend's heart was broken when the baby mamma decided to keep the baby. In my mind she is still Hope and it saddens me that this baby could have had a wonderful life with the family that was willing to give her a new and amazing life.

Even though Hope isn't living with a new family the quilt sits in a drawer. Maybe it will be Hope's, but maybe it will go to another little girl who means just as much, if not more to my dear friend. Love you sweet lady.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Giggles for Kaley

A friend of mine is pregnant. Due in about 4 weeks. Well, I had to go ahead and make a baby quilt. As you can see her name will be Kaley. I am looking forward to meeting her. Her shower is this Saturday and I'm sure her mom will be excited to share this fun quilt.

This line of fabric is called Giggles by Me and My Sister. Isn't it adorable? I love the colors together. In fact I am tempted to purchase a few more charm packs and make myself one. I made this quilt using this version of the disappearing nine patch. It's quick, it's easy, and it's fun to put together.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

She's Open!

I'm soooo excited! For Such a Time Designs is back in business. Aly is back from vacation and hard at work today. I know I am excited, I have a few things on my list to purchase. I plan on ordering some spoons that say "My ice cream spoon" and have the boys name put on the handle. That will be perfect for Valentine's Day with a small cup of ice cream.

For my honey I am ordering a couple of forks, one fork will say "You and Me" and the other for will say "Forever". I also need to purchase a special order I had her make before she closed shop. I will have to show you when I get them.

The forks below are the ones I purchased late last summer for my honey. The handles have our anniversary stamped on them. June is a bit far, but I will keep them safe until I can give them to him for our anniversary. Go check out Aly's shop and tell me what you would order for yourself or a loved one.

KIng & Queen fork set with hearts - large font - hand stamped - perfect gift for a wedding, anniversary or everyday use

Monday, January 6, 2014

Word of the Year - Balance

2013 was a year of change. We had a lot going on and had to adapt to all the change. We moved, off the grid. It took some adjustment, but turned out well. We have all adjusted and it is working.

I am borrowing Pleasant Home's idea and assigning 2014 a word. My word is actually the same as hers......Balance. I have a hard time balancing it all, house, husband, kids, sports, errands, and my own bit of fun. There are things I want to do and things I need/have to do.

For instance I want to sew, take a hike, walk the dog, run/walk, do my exercise videos, garden, and the list goes on. I need/have to clean the house(s), do the laundry, complete Quickbooks, file paperwork, do the invoicing, go grocery shopping, cart kids around, pick up parts (sometimes) and that list goes on.

Now the tricky part is to find the balance to do it all. And do it successfully. Its tough, but doable. My priority now is to get my taxes done well before tax time so my accountant can better help me and my husbands business. I figure if I do it on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next month and a half I can get it done.

Another priority is to sew. I have about 5 quilt tops in progress. I need to focus on one and get it done. I know it will make me feel so much more accomplished if I can just get one done before I move on to the next. Again, it has to do with balance and prioritizing.

I'm thinking writing the word in big, bold letters might help me keep BALANCE in my life this year.

What is your word/goal for 2014?