girls getting their punk on

Every year, the last week of October is Red Ribbon Week, the anti-drug campaign, at all the schools in our area [and it may be in yours as well]. Both the kids and their teachers have dress-up days for fun during this week to help them remember to stay away from drugs. Yesterday was Pajama Day, so the girls wore their matching pink heart pj's to school. Since I worked at the school yesterday, I got to see some of the teachers as well, and some of them really got into it! So much fun for the kids.

Today is Punk Day. At first I had my doubts that we had anything around that would work, but as I began to rummage about I got a few ideas. So, this is what we came up with! It has a kind of 80's vibe, and I think it works for the girls. I had even picked up glow bracelets at Michael's dollar section awhile ago, so we broke those out and added them for more punk effect. I've never seen them more excited about getting dressed on a school morning! And tomorrow is crazy hair day. . .

Did I ever tell you about the time a couple of years ago that I wrote crazy hair day on the wrong Friday on my calendar and sent Libby to school with her crazy hair? She didn't really mind, but I was mortified! I think we'll get it right this year.


ghostly cake

Tonight for family home evening, I decided to stop being a slacker mom and make something really fun for dessert. So, we had a [gluten-free] double-layer chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting, with a host of Peeps ghosts haunting a mellowcreme pumpkin patch. The kids were thrilled. I even busted out the old cake decorating kit and did a border around it in chocolate frosting. I made them wait to have some until after we'd finished making our Halloween crafts [pumpkin magnets and furry spiders left over from the Oriental Trading Company order I placed like two years ago]. Fun was had by all, and no one even got burnt by the hot glue gun. Not even me, which is somewhat suprising.

character counts

Julia with her certificate and gift cards

certificate detail

Every month at school, each teacher selects a student in their class that best represents the character trait in focus for that month. Last week Julia was thrilled to be nominated for Character Counts by her teacher for Trustworthiness! She was very excited, especially because she received two gift cards as part of the nomination-one for Toys R Us and one for Blockbuster. She was over the moon about the gift cards! She had a good time picking out some Littlest Pet Shop toys and a movie to share with the family. She also gets to attend a special luncheon at school with her parents this week! We're all very proud of JuLiA!


circle of ghouls

I came across this picture on the internet [about.com if you want to see more in their photo gallery] while I was browsing through some travel research. Isn't it great? With all the beautiful color and open pasture, it seems so New England autumn-y to me.

Sadly I fear that our front yard will not look nearly as festive for Halloween. While I did put the garland of leaves and lanterns around our front door and sidelights [as we've done every fall in this house], I didn't put up the leaves and lights on the porch railing or the scarecrow [complete with black crow!] on the front porch in the chair. Nor did I hang up the cool flying bats from the balcony inside the house and the eaves outside. I love to decorate for fall and Halloween, but this year I just haven't had the time required to do it. I guess there's always next year. At least I did get out a lot of the "inside" stuff for Halloween: the cherished autumn/Halloween books and stuffed animals, garlands of leaves, luminaries, and the haunted tin house I found last year at Target. Even so, I still have a lot of stuff left in the boxes in the garage!


right on target

Collin standing in front of the brand new SuperTarget. Apparently the new stores are sporting a series of red concrete ball sculpture balls in front! Of course Collin thought that they were so awesome, so we had to get a picture.

And can I say how much I love Target? We already have a regular Target not too far from our house, but this new SuperTarget has groceries, too! You know, in case I need to pick up shirts for one of the kids AND some apples for lunch the next day. You've just got to love Target. I don't know what I'd do without it. Some people are crazy about Walmart, but I've always been a Target girl. If I had a Walmart next door and a Target across town, I'd drive across town in a heartbeat. Which is what I actually used to do before we moved to our current house nearly four and a half years ago. Anyone else have a preference, or am I just an incorrigible Target snob?

And it just occurred to me: with my blog's current musical selection [you know, they're playing "La Ti Da" in the newest Target ads] this could basically be an ad for Target. Where do I pick up my paycheck? :)


quote for the day

Seen on a T-shirt at the bank this morning:

"If I got smart with you, how would you know?"


julia and uno

A short movie featuring Julia with her baby hamster, Uno. [By the way, Uno is a month old now.] During the editing process, I played this movie over and over while fine tuning some bits. Collin busted up laughing every time he watched my finger get bitten. Every. Single. Time.


quiet moments

Julia reading aloud. . .

We have a routine we follow every day. When I pick up the kids from school, Julia gets out first. We then have an hour to work on homework, read, and if time allows, go to the playground while we wait for Libby and Julia. If the weather is nice, we like to sit outside at a table somewhere and do homework and reading. Today was just lovely. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze was blowing, the sky was a brilliant blue and the clouds were amazing in their size and variety. It was such a pleasant day altogether that, while Julia was reading to Collin and I, I took some shots of our quiet moments together.

. . . and Collin listening and watching quietly

autumn solitude

Sunday afternoon I slipped outside before dinner and took a pleasant walk. By myself! That in and of itself made it all the more pleasant, but I had another motive in mind as well. I wanted to capture the [albeit slight] beginning of autumn in our little corner of the world. Aside from bright-blue-skied sunny days and cool-crisp-grab-your-sweater nights and mornings, not a lot is happening here autumn-wise. Blame it on longitude and latitude if you will, but I managed to find a few signs that autumn is indeed present and accounted for. I took lots of pictures, discarded my fair share of no-goods, and came up with a few favorites to share. Some are autumn-related; others are not. The whole lot of them is on Flickr if you'd like to see the rest.

During my walk I encountered a tree that had released its bounty of acorns absolutely everywhere. I found them in big heaps and also scattered across the sidewalk, the grass, the street. They were so compelling that I had to take some pictures, since autumn and acorns are such a pleasant mix.

See how the leaves are really trying to turn colors on this silver maple? I think it really wants to change colors. If it weren't so warm during the day, it might have more success. This tree was one of two trees I have seen that have actually begun the process of changing color around here. The trees are all still pretty green right now.

This one is not so much autumn, but I was pleased with how it turned out. I took many different shots and this is my favorite.


what we did last summer

A slideshow of summer highlights!


young samurai

I was inspired to turn Collin's antics into a short movie! Enjoy!


got moves?

After dinner tonight the family was just hanging out. It had been another long and busy week and I was ready for some serious veg time. I was sitting in the study where Owen and Julia were on the computer, trying to decide between reading or taking a short nap, when suddenly Collin bursts into the room sporting his Cars underwear and some pretty fancy moves! It was so hilarious that I had to grab the camera and get a short video of him in all his glory. He was really getting into it, whatever it was!


gluten-free girl

For those of you who are following a gluten-free diet, here is some information about a new book written by Shauna James Ahern, a woman who was recently diagnosed with celiac. I recently found her blog and have been following it. She's a great writer, cook, and photographer. So, if the book is as good as her blog, it should prove to be a great read! The book was just recently released and contains lots of gluten-free recipes. If you want to learn more about it, check out the book on Amazon. You can also get to her blog by clicking on gluten-free girl or by using the link on my sidebar under JUST FOR FUN.


hopeful harvest

One of the many blossoms on our lemon tree right now. I'm hoping this year yields a better harvest than last year. Due to the intense freeze we suffered last winter, we hardly had any lemons to enjoy from our tree. I think we had one or two good ones from the whole batch. Since we have even more blossoms this year, I'm hoping this winter will be mild enough to harvest some lemons for my kitchen! I love to use them for everything: pasta, salmon, lemon bars [yum], lemonade, lemon poppyseed bread, and whatever else I can come up with.

On a totally random note, does anyone else get confused for the nanny/babysitter/older sibling whenever you're out with your kids? I can't believe that at age 35 it is still happening to me. This morning I took my prescription to the eye doctor's office to order some more contacts and the nurse asked me if I was listed as a child on Owen's vision insurance! Seriously! I can't even count how many times I've been asked if I'm the nanny or the babysitter. Even by solicitors that come to the door. And this one is even funnier, although it happened about ten years ago. I was waiting for Owen in his truck while we was getting a crew started on a construction project, and they all thought that I was his daughter. I guess it's a good thing, although I'm starting to wonder if some of these people need to get glasses themselves. I do own a mirror. And I don't think I look that young!



Indirectly tagged by Megan, so here goes! This looks like a fun one.

10 years ago I: only had one child, had moved into the new house that we built in Utah, and was expecting child number two. I had graduated from BYU the previous year and enjoying just being at home with Bailey. Life was much quieter than it is now.

5 years ago I: had three children with the eldest in second grade. We were renting a home in Visalia while we built our current house. Much time was spent trolling the internet for house plans and then building said home. [Funny how stuff seems to revolve around children and homes.]

1 year ago I: was pretty much doing what I'm doing now. Getting kids ready for school, packing lunches, taking kids to school, cleaning house and running errands, picking kids up from school, supervising homework and piano practice, making dinner, putting kids to bed, then waking up and doing it all over again. Although I didn't have my blog yet. . .

Yesterday I: sent Bailey off with his saxophone to march in his first parade; recorded Saturday conference to watch at my leisure later; cleaned the hamster cage, washed all the bedsheets, washed all the laundry, finished Julia's science project [don't ask me how many hours I spent on that thing]; took Julia to Build-a-Bear in the mall so she could get an accessory bear, then watched with pride as she changed her mind and decided to keep her money to save up for one of the big bears; ate See's candy [more than what I had planned on], hosed down the front yard, and stayed up no later than 11:45 pm to clean my entire house from top to bottom [oh, except the master shower-must remember to get that done Monday].

5 snacks I enjoy: microwave popcorn, mini charleston chews, red seedless grapes, pretzel sticks and cheese dipped together into dijon mustard, hot apple cider

5 things I would do with a million dollars: pay off our house, go on a trip [anywhere-it doesn't matter], stash away college/mission funds for the kids, add to my library of books, buy new furniture

5 places I would run away to: New England in the autumn, any cozy nook to read in, someplace to get my hair cut, Banana Republic on a spending spree, Washington D.C. [wait a minute-I really am going!]

5 TV shows I like: LOST, Everyday Italian, stuff on History Channel, Gilmore Girls, COPS [ha ha-just checking to see if you're paying attention]

5 things I hate doing: spending all day doing laundry and thinking I'm all caught up, then looking at the clothes hamper again after the kids have gone to bed [4 kids + 1 set of clothes each = mucho clothes]; cleaning the floor [again]; what's for dinner?; filling the car with gas; trying to reason with a cranky pre-schooler who didn't want to nap today

Biggest joys of the moment: autumn is finally here; leaving for the East Coast in a couple of weeks; playing the piano; kids who really do try to please their mom; a husband who helps around the house and with the kids!

People to tag: I'm looking at you, Jennifer!



Collin and I went to Lowe's yesterday on a hunt. Our mission was to secure a variety of inexpensive seeds for Julia's science project [which is actually a seed collection]. On our way into the store, we went in through the garden area and I was immediately sidetracked by all the beautiful flowers. Camera in hand, we wandered down the outdoor aisles, looking for the most winning prospects to photograph. My favorite turned out to be this one. Aside from the delightful color and shape, I am really into those perfectly curled stamen! Nature creates the most awesome details.

We did actually get to the seeds, but not before Collin was sidetracked by the Christmas display set up inside. [I know. Christmas. In October. I just can't get into it.] Anyway, there was a train set up that was moving along a circular track through a tunnel in this Christmas mountain that Collin was just fascinated by. He adores trains. It's such a sweet little boy thing. So, we sat and watched the train go around and around for awhile before we selected our seeds and made for the checkout.

So now Julia and I have a science project to complete. All students at the kids' school do a science project [lucky me, we have three] but the kindergarten and first grades only have to submit a collection. Fortunately Julia's will be easy to complete. Between what I gathered around the house, those I received from my mom, and the ones from our foray into Lowe's, Julia has about 50 different seed specimens to display on her science board. I'm hoping to help Julia get hers done by Saturday night so that I can help Libby with hers next week. And then I get to make sure Bailey gets his done as well. Oh, the joy. How did my mother ever get through all this with five kids and still manage to hang on to her sanity?



"The mushroom is the elf of plants, At evening it is not.

At morning in a truffled hut It stops upon a spot

As if it tarried always; And yet its whole career

Is shorter than a snake's delay, And fleeter than a tare."

Emily Dickinson

Last Friday afternoon Collin and I took a walk through our neighborhood. We brought the camera along in case we came across anything interesting. We had found some flowers, a really cool zen cat, and gotten shots of a couple of my favorite houses [click on the Flickr link to see everything] when Collin started to get a little antsy. We were heading back home when he started playing around and goofing off in front of a neighbor's house. I was encouraging him to follow me home when I noticed something underneath some trees. As I stepped in closer for a better look, I found these really great mushrooms! Ever since I was a little girl I have loved mushrooms. I loved to look at them, draw pictures of them, and of course eat them. So whenever I see mushrooms growing it's a wonderful and unexpected find.