A Whole Bunch of Random

* since having her tonsils and adenoids out, mauryn has returned to sleeping in her favorite spot.

* i saw these button earrings ... so cute.  i made a few stops to find earring posts and put together a pair one morning.  so easy and fun.  they may become the new "go to" gift for morgan's friends.
* i tried cutting vinyl for the first time with my cricut.  i didn't use the transfer tape this time but i will use it next time, especially if i do a bigger project.
 * when lance and i were first married, i would take our christmas card pictures and cut them out to create a collage on our refrigerator.  {i had way too much time on my hands} then we had kids and i became more anal about having a clean refrigerator door and i stopped saving the pictures.  i always felt bad not keeping them but i also didn't want to make photo albums or find a place to store an album for each year.  this year when i saw an simple idea for keeping christmas cards i was totally on board.  i added ribbon to the metal ring and made a tag for the year.  

* landon and mauryn spent last week building their pinewood derby cars.  here is a little glimpse of their cars... details of the grand prix coming!
* lance took mauryn up to the mountain skiing on saturday. she wasn't too sure she wanted to go but once she got skiing she loved it.  when they got home she come up to landon and said "landon we have to go skiing together. i need to show you how to go fast!" 
 * i had my very first facial on saturday.  i had a gift certificate to use and i am not a massage kind of gal so this seemed like a better option. i ended up loving it. it was so relaxing i almost fell asleep.

* i have been working out at home since the new year, but hit the gym for the first time in forever on saturday. i was sure some type of alarm would go off since i hadn't been there in so long but i made it through the door without a problem. phew!  i met up with my favorite machine the step mill and then hit the track for a little run.  my muscles are revolting from my 6 month exercise hiatus.  i am SOO sore.

* morgan had a gymnastics meet on friday.  it was the first time in a year or two that i noticed all the girls having FUN.  they were happy, confident, and just enjoying the competition.  their team took 4th place and all the girls had a solid meet.  morgan, mauryn, and i had planned to stay for the next session to watch some of morgan's friends and ended up staying for the next two sessions to watch some of the upper level gymnasts.  mauryn was a trooper hanging in their for 10 hours of gymnastics.  
* i am setting my alarm for the middle of the night {actually early morning} on thursday so i can get online to order my iphone.  i can NOT wait. i have been saving up for one and just waiting for verizon to release their iphone.... i may just do a happy dance when it comes in the mail.

* i dread lunch time every day. the end. 


Celebrating the 100th Day of School

As Landon looked at our calendar and noticed we were almost to the 100th day of school he exclaimed "yes we are almost to the 100th day and school will be over!"

I guess he doesn't remember from last year that even though we celebrate our 100th day we still have about 70 days of school left.

Needless to say on day 101 I had a very disappointed boy.

The kids started the day by using their cute little selves to make the number 100.
We spent our morning focusing on activities around the number 100.
* making 100 day crowns and used 100 items to decorate them
* spent 100 seconds doing push ups {morgan - 80, landon - 73} and jumping jacks {morgan -125, landon - 120}
*writing their names with 100 dots
* read a 100 days poem with 100 words
* drawing pictures of what they would look like when they were 100 years old
* pick a spot and take 100 steps 
* writing what they would buy if they had $100 {mauryn - american girl doll, landon - "mote" control helicopter, morgan - cell phone and cell phone service}
* researching who our president was 100 years ago {william taft} and notable news stories of 100 years ago {new york public library opened}
* used a 100 charts and dice to play a math game
* we met friends at an indoor play center and played for 100 minutes
* their favorite .... 100 day snack.  there are 10 items and take 10 of each item


Finding Joy - Week 3

The joys:
* kids working together on a history project
 * valentine bark {similar to peppermint bark.... oreos, pretzel, and m&m's covered with pink candy melts}
 * sunshine and 50 degree days
* kids biking and playing outside
* mauryn taking an interest {finally} in learning to write her name
 * a rainy afternoon spent at the dollar movie theater
* changing our history curriculum to something that is a better fit for our family
* miss mauryn blowing on dinner
 * two unexpected lazy days at home
* an afternoon spent coloring
 * blog friends back to blogging
* a new cowboy statue for our living room given to us by our pastor's wife.  her father passed away in november and this was part of his collection. such a special gift
 * chocolate chip pie with Schwan's french vanilla ice cream
* journaling my joys each week. i realized i don't always remember from the beginning of a week to the end.  a journal is a great tool to keep me accountable and focused
 * i started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp... amazing. go out and get it now.  
* a four year old tea party with her very favorite doll
 * mauryn hiding under the desk getting warm on the vent
 * a full moon that lit up the sky
* dinner with new friends
* introducing our new friends to Just Dance 2
* phone call with a friend...always joyful and refreshing for my soul

Chocolate Chip Pie

If you know me or have read my blog you know that i have a slight addiction to I LOVE LOVE LOVE chocolate chip cookies.

The only thing I love more than a warm chocolate chip cookie is having a bowl of ice cream with chocolate chip cookies chopped up in it.  YUM!

When I saw a recipe for chocolate chip pie, I knew I had to try it.  The perfect dessert for a chocolate chip loving girl like me.

This pie is super easy to make and delicious, especially topped with vanilla ice cream.  It won't replace the chocolate chip cookie but it could be a close second.

1 unbaked pie crust {i used this recipe}
3/4 c softened butter
2 large eggs
1 c chocolate chips
1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven 325.  Beat eggs in large mixing bowl on high until foamy.  Beat in flour, sugars, and butter.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spoon into a pie shell.  Bake 55-60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.  Topped with whipped cream or ice cream.


We've Moved

We are no longer conducting school on our kitchen table and in the butler's pantry.  YEAH!  My kitchen table shows the wear of 4 years of school and projects.  It is on Lance's to do list for the spring/summer to refinish the table top.
 I have been wanting to move our school room for about 3 years.  The kitchen table worked great when it was just Morgan but once I added Landon into the mix the table did not work as well.  Last summer Lance agreed we could change the office into a school room.  In order to have the school room look like I wanted, we needed to sell our office desk.  I put the desk on craigs list and it sat there ...unsold all summer long.  Finally at the beginning of fall we moved the desk back into the office.  We continued having school at the kitchen table until one morning I just decided to move our table from the butler's pantry into the school room and start the transformation.  Although it isn't my ideal set up it is working out pretty well. Morgan does her school work at the desk while Landon and Mauryn use the table or sit on the floor.  
 Once we moved the table, charts, and calendar out of the butler's pantry it left this wide open space.  I have been searching craigs list for a buffet to put in this space but I haven't found the perfect one for the right price... yet.
While I was in the midst of moving our school room I decided to move things in our bonus room.  We have a HUGE bonus room {this is the area that sold us on this house} but sometimes too much open space can be an issue. I had not been happy with how we had things set up in the bonus room but wasn't sure how to move it.  Our furniture has to be in the same area due to the built in entertainment center so there are not many options.  The other areas offer a little flexibility and I was ready for a change. I enlisted the help of Mauryn and Landon and we got to work changing our bonus room into this set up.
1.  This is the view from the steps into the bonus room
 2.  the new kitchen/shopping cart area
3.  inside climber... my kids still use this all the time for a fort and ship. we thought we might be able to sell it this spring but since we have the space it will stay for a while.  mauryn's baby crib and strollers are stored on the wall right next to this climber
4.  this area is behind the big couch in picture #1... i love this little nook.  it has housed many things over the years but has mainly been the area for my desk over the last 3 years.  it was good spot for it as it has its own light and is tucked away. i did not like having our exercise equipment sitting out {used to be in the corner where climber is now}.  i felt like it took up too much space and just seemed cluttered to me. i moved my desk and put the exercise equipment in the nook. i like it so much better.
5.  my desk where i work on the computer, sew, etc...  this is now to the left right when you walk up the stairs. it sits there perfectly and i like its new home.
6.  another view of the desk {excuse the mess on floor}... you can see a door on the very left side of the picture that is a storage closet where we keep games, crafting supplies, and kids' toys.  


Finding Joy - Week 2

The joys:
* a fireplace on a rainy morning
 * a hot cup of tea
 * a morning spent in pajamas building with blocks
 * little girl braids 
* little girl non sense songs
 * landon quietly creating while waiting for his sister to finish practice
 * a diligent student
 * a son who serves his little sister without asking.... making her breakfast, helping her get her shoes on, and buckling her in her car seat.
* my friend jeni's son sawyer... seriously how can you not find joy in this sweet smiling face.  i can't help but smile every time i see him.
 * mauryn swinging on the bar and practicing her gymnastics moves during her sisters meet. my first reaction was to say no BUT she wasn't bothering anyone or in the way and she was so happy so i said yes.
 * morgan overcoming nerves and fear... her joy at having a successful first meet
 * valentines day banner
 * subway art sign created for less than $5 {want one... go here to download it}
 * my two littles {and neighbor Amiah} loving AWANA.  it is a highlight of their week. i love hearing them sing their songs and say their memory work
* the wonderful support and comments i received after these posts ... you are all wonderful and i feel blessed to have you in my life either through the internet or in real life
* monthly monday get togethers with other homeschool moms ... it is always a wonderful time of fellowship, encouragement, support, and laughter

you can find week one here.



She has been waiting for this time since she started competing 3 years ago.  

Watching the older girls, practicing the dance part of their routines, and waiting.  

Waiting until she was an optional

As soon as her last meet as a compulsory was finished, she was already in the planning stages for her optional routines.

Throughout the spring, summer, and fall she has worked diligently to learn her skills and routines preparing for the competition season.

As the competition season approached, fear and nerves set in and her confidence was shaken.

In the weeks leading up to the first competition of this year, we have been having many conversations about working hard, doing your best, and having fun. 

On Saturday, she fought through those nerves and fears to have a fairly solid meet.  Are there skills she needs to work on and things to clean up in her routine? Sure.  Did we see her confidence start to return and the sparkle back in her eyes? YES!  

I need to take notes from my eleven year old.  To be brave. To push through fears and nerves to come out better on the other side... better just for trying if success is not gained.  

She lived a good story on Saturday.

Silver Bells Meet from Kristen Cheney on Vimeo.

* i wish you could hear her floor music a little bit better... it is really cute
* she paused at the beginning of her floor routine as the girl running the music hit the pause button... you can tell she was surprised!
* she needs to smile more :o)


Sew Easy Projects

Almost two years ago I began a little love affair with my sewing machine.

I am pretty sure that after two years I could still not follow a pattern.


The internet is full of wonderful tutorials that include pictures and step by step instructions which are perfect for a visual leaner like me.

If I can create any of these projects, so can you! They are really sew {:op} easy.

- the zippered pouch.  this has been my go to gift lately.  they are perfect for morgan's friends filled with nail polish or lip gloss or even a gift card.  my kids like to use them to house their toys.

and to keep their money.  
- applique blanket.  i found this blanket in the grocery store of all places... so pretty and soft. morgan was sending it to her pen pal for Christmas so we picked some fabric and added her first initial. 
- superhero cape. a few years ago i sent lindsey an email asking if she would make landon a cape for his birthday.  she responded that they were so easy she would tell me how to make them. at that point i didn't have a sewing machine and even if i did i thought there was no way i could ever make a cape.  they are easy, fun, and my go to gift for little boys.
- pocket tissue holder. perfect to throw into a gift or keep in your purse for yourself
- one word canvas. morgan chose this for her dance teacher's gift. she picked the fabrics, which i thought were a little busy but i think it works. simple.
- composition notebook cover. i have had this project bookmarked forever.  i had notebooks i picked up from target sitting on my shelf waiting to be covered.  one day over break i dug through my fabric to see if i had any big scraps and tried to make the notebook cover.  it was fairly easy and plain... nothing fancy. i put it on my shelf. morgan got invited to a birthday party last minute so i added her initial to the front and a pocket for pens on the inside.  i threw together a zippered pouch to match with more pens and a little chapstick.
- headbands. i can't find a picture of just the headband but i have one of mauryn wearing her headband.  these are really really easy. the hardest part... turning them inside out. i have a pile of them ready to be finished but i am dreading turning them. ugh!  these have been so fun and the perfect gift for morgan's friends.

My stitches aren't always straight,  my projects don't look perfect, and things might be uneven but the gifts have been created with love and a joy of creating.