Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Heart Faces

I am thrilled to be able to be in Nashville the same time that I Heart Faces will be there in February!  And so just for fun I thought that I would post a portrait picture for this week.

The picture was taken the end of December 2009 on a little farm in southern Washington.  You can see the other portrait pictures on the I Heart Faces website.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Farm

The first evening that we were in Washington, we went to a little farm around feeding time.  We basically helped her do her evening chores by feeding the ducks, chickens, goats, sheep, horses and cows.  The kids LOVED it!







I think Ash spent most of her time trying to catch one of the chickens.  It’s just good to know that we have a “hunter” in the family if we need one.

Homemade Gifts

Now that Christmas is over I thought that I would post a few more of my homemade gifts. 

For Stephen’s parents I made a “Thompson” Frame.  He has 8 kids in his family and there are 8 letters in the name Thompson.  If there had only been 6 I’m sure we could have spelled family or something else, BUT this worked out perfectly with the 8.  The picture doesn’t really do it justice because of the lighting and the glass on the frame. 


Another homemade gift that didn’t quite get finished was Jacob’s Art book from Shutterfly.  I had taken some of his sketches and artwork from this year to make into a book.  But after looking at it I decided to wait to have Jacob help me finish it, so that I have all the pictures that HE likes.

Of course every year I have a little one that I can make a few colored batches of play-dough for.  It’s ALWAYS a big hit!!!  Some years I put in a few playdough toys, or pumpkin push-ins’.  This year I put in some of my old rubber stamps that I never use.


Homemade gifts are fun.  They are from the heart usually.  They are cheaper, a plus for my husband’s budget that he TRIES to keep me on.  HOWEVER, they do take some time to do!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Car Trip

Car Trip3

We took a little road trip for Christmas.  Little as in 18 HOURS!!!!  (AND we STILL have to drive BACK 18 HOURS!!!)

To make the trip happy and go fast I packed plenty of snacks and then tried to have plenty of games and projects.  We took Scattegories, Catch Phrase, also the cards from Disney Scene It to ask trivia.  Another hit game for Jerrica was her Fish Game

Car Trip6

We had glow in the dark bracelets for the night.  For projects we did beads,  the Crayola scatch off art, Window markers, Color Wonder coloring books….

Car Trip5

We also had movies.  Some of them we rented from Red Box and then would turn them in at different cities to get other movies.  And of course the kids had plenty of books to read along the way, just like their dad.

Car Trip4

I studied my photography books and practiced in the mirror as you can tell from the top photo.

My favorite trip idea that I have done for a few years is the velcro map on our van ceiling.  I LOVE it because the kids can see how far we have come and how far we have to go.  They can also see what is in the cities that we pass.  For example I had a cowboy for Cheyenne and Rebecca asked if there were “real” cowboys in Cheyenne.  Then that starts up conversation about where we are.  I just think it’s fun because the kids aren’t asking a billion times if we are there yet because they can see…

Car Trip2

Car Trip

We’ve had fun.  I feel like I have sooo much to post that I needed to sneak this post in tonight!

Friday, December 18, 2009


This morning I had a little stuffed frog on each of the girls pillows.  On the frog was an invitation to go see “Princess and the Frog” with me.  I couldn’t believe how excited they were.  Maybe I need to leave a little stuffed animal on Stephen’s pillow to get him more excited to go to movies with me!


Becki and Trinette took their girls too and met us there.  It was fun to visit with them. 

As for the movie, I thought that there were some parts that were a little dark.  I did like a quote from the movie and the girls and I talked about it on the way home.  The princess, Tianna, referred to a quote that her father always told her, “You GET whatcha GIVE”  I LOVED that!  It applies to anything both positive and negative.  If you serve and give happiness to others, well then you will get happiness in return.  If you give your time working for money, well then you will get money….  “You GET whatcha GIVE”

I hope their little frogs will be a fun reminder of our date.  I sure had fun with my girls tonight!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Husband Gift Idea

**Quite a few people have asked what I put inside my envelopes to represent the dates.  I have pictures, programs, gift cards, copies (temple recommend), directions to the place of the date (hike), then the home spa night has a little gift in it.  You could pretty much put ANYTHING into the packets!

Some of you may think that this a selfish gift because it is for me too, BUT if you knew my husband you would know why he is going to LOVE this.
My husband and I love date nights, yet at times it is hard figuring out what to do and finding the money to do it.  Stephen always feels bad when time passes and we haven’t went out. 
SOOOO I took some of my own money from piano lessons and came up with 12 different dates all paid, planned and ready to go!
Date Packets
Each envelope is to remained sealed until the first of the month, then we can plan on which day we are going to do the date.  I did quite a wide array of dates.  One packet is a deck of cards from the dollar store and then the note talks of a picnic at Fox Run Park with card games.  One is tickets to the University Theater thanks to my friend Becki for hooking up a great deal.  One is a raquetball with a Chipotle gift card.  We love to play together and always start the game so happy and then end quite competitively.  There’s a movie and dinner gift card … you get the picture.

With a few creative free dates, it really wasn’t too much money to do the packets.  AND I LOVE that our dates are all ready to go.  So yes this may be a gift for me, but I know it will take stress away from my husband!

One of my favorite parts of dating is watching and listening to our kids. They comment on how we dress up and look, they ask where we are going and can see that their parents really do love each other. I think this important because our habit will carry into their marriages of how important dating is.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Want Boobs

Jerrica can talk really well, but just can’t quite get a few words.  And yes the way she says those few words makes a BIG difference in the context of her sentences.

She says “BooBs” instead of “BooTs”.  All of my other girls DO have a set of boots, but not Jerrica.  So she walks around trying on her older sisters’ boots and telling me that she wants BOOBS.   I sit there and think, “Ya, me too honey!”

I hear quite frequently as she is trapsing around, “Ash look at my booBs”  And of course enthusiastic Ashley says, “WOW they look great Jerrica”  Can I just say that this DOES NOT sound right!!!

Believe me I have tried working on this particular word confusion BECAUSE it is winter right now and EVERYONE is wearing boots here in Colorado.  And Jerrica keeps telling them “I like your BooBS”  or “You have BooBs”.  I like when they look at me and say with a smile what is she saying.  I very calmly assure them that she is saying booTs and let them feel dumb for thinking that she is saying otherwise.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Family Growth Charts

So for Christmas I give out the “friend” gifts, which were totally lame this year, and then “family” gifts to families that we are closer to.  I have a friend who has the Pottery Barn version of this and I have always eyed it hanging in her house.  I love how tall hers is so that as kids keep growing you can keep marking.  You can even mark the parents height.
Then I saw a couple verions here and there on the internet and decided to do it for a gift.  The boards I used were a little over 7 feet by 8 inches wide.
Growth Chart
I love marking how tall the kids are, but then the door gets painted over or you move on to the next house.  I think these boards are fun because you can take them wherever you move, heck you can even keep it until you have grandkids to mark on it.  I even think that it would be a fun tradition to mark the kids’ on their birthdays.
Looking back on past Christmases it seems like the family gifts I make are always something that I want to make for my own family and then just mass produce for a few more families.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


An old friend of mine, (well not really old because we are the same age, she just has been a friend for so long that she is considered “an old” friend), helped me make this.  I know I still need to do the neck strap but I’m waiting on the cherry buttons to come in.
I try to make one homemade gift for each of my kids each year for Christmas.  This year for my older girls I have done a little “baking” theme.  I made little recipe books here  AND you just CAN’T give a recipe book without an apron!
I had different colors of the same fabric print so that they each have their own color.  My favorite part of the apron is this cute little pocket.
Anyway, they were wayyyy fast to make, and as usual doing projects with friends is so much more fun because you can visit and laugh and before you know it the project is DONE.  I told Natalie that we need to have a project making day once a month!

Weekend Update

A few games of this


A date to see this


My boys did this for Scouts


An indoor game of this


Friend Friday brought smiles like this, thanks to Grandma Charla’s crafts she sent


Our Cut Out Cookies looked like this, but I’m not going to show you what they are making MY stomach look like!


AND Now I am officially caught up with the weekend and ready to start a new week!

Viking Fur

Kaylee had a Viking day at school.  I looked at the note sent home about the costumes and headed to Joanns for some fur to do a cloak.  However, after looking at prices I knew that was NOT going to happen.  SOOO I went down to our thrift store which usually comes through for me on these dress up days at school.  I found a soft leather jacket with a wooly inside for $6.  I further noticed that everything was on sale 50% off including this jacket so it was only $3!!!!  I came home and cut and sewed and created a little Viking girl outfit.  What I love about this kind of sewing is that it doesn’t have to be perfect!  It’s just a costume.
I cut the sleeves off to become leg warmer pants and then recut the rest of the jacket to be like a cloak.  It really was hardly any sewing.  I didn’t even do a button hole for the button.  I just cut a slit in the soft leather and figured that it would hold just fine.  Oh if all projects could be that easy!
She was so excited about her costume that it made me excited. 
I had to laugh when she came home from school, she told us that they ate fish and egg pudding at one of their stations.  She said, “I feel so sorry that they didn’t have grocery stores and had to eat that kind of food!”  The Vikings I’m sure were VERY grateful for ANY food!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christ Tree

I went over to a friend’s house the other morning for our little freezer meal exchange and was blown away by her Christmas tree.  It was over 17 feet tall, had little white lights covering it, then gold ornaments here and there like stars, balls, etc, AND then it had pictures of Christ in various gold frames all over.  The tree was so big that the bigger frames were still in proportion with the tree.  I just loved it!  I stood there jealous of her tree that was obviously the real reason for the season.
As I looked at the pictures closer I noticed that they were from Mark Mabry’s book.  If you haven’t seen his work, you MUST!  All of his pictures are photography.  Here is a link to some of his photos in a youtube slide show.

ANYWAY, I came home from her house looked at all of my little handmade ornaments that COVER my tree.  Sure they were made by friends and family, and I love the memories that each one give, but I decided then and there that I too want a Christ tree.  So watch out after Christmas sales, I will be clearing you out of all your gold glittery treasures.
Once again here is the link to his amazing book.  Reflections of Christ It truly is stunning and beautiful!

Santa Baby and the Grinch

This is my cute little Santa baby …



She hasn’t been able to be Santa today though, BECAUSE her older sister has been this…


Ash has been pretending for a few days now that she is the Grinch.  She even says, “I’m a mean one, Mr Grinch”… “I can’t stop Christmas from coming”  Jerrica has been her little dog, which granted Jerrica loves to pretend that she is a dog.  However, Ash asked me if I could tie horns onto Jerrica’s head … I think Mr. Grinch is getting a little too carried away in her role playing!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009



I have to blog Mimsy, because she has been part of our 2009.  Stephen and I took Rebecca on a date about three months ago.  She had a Build a Bear gift card burning a hole in her pocket.  So we went to Build a Bear, and that is when this cute little Rabbit, Mimsy came to live with Rebecca.  She is always dragging her wherever she goes and loves to cuddle her as she is reading

The three of us had a fun little date together.  As we were walking I remember commenting, “What if Rebecca was our only child, wouldn’t our life be different.!?!”  To which Rebecca quickly informed us that she would LOVE to be an ONLY child.  I said, “Oh Rebecca, you would miss not having brothers and sisters!”  She then replied at how she wouldn’t have to share, or play with the little girls, or have mean brothers that tease her, or have to set the table for lots of people in a family …  I sat there thinking, of all my kids, Rebecca probably WOULD be the one that would have loved being an only child with all the attention on her. 

Sorry though Bec you were born into a big family and we are SO glad to have you.  You keep us fancy!  (You can even see her fanciness in her little scarf, that she has been wearing incessantly!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teacher Gifts

Last year Kristy and I made these for Christmas to give all of our kids’ teachers.  I saw them on the teachers desks this year and couldn’t resist doing them again.

Teacher Gift

I bought the jar at Wal-Mart and pencils from the Dollar Store.  Last year some of the teacher’s names were Constantino and Schmuttermair – that was hard to fit with the vinyl!!!  Rebecca has Miss Smith and Kaylee had her last year so she ALREADY has one, BUT she is getting married over Christmas break so I will have to steal it off her desk to put her new married name on it!

Anyway, they are fun and quick to make.  I’m sad that you couldn’t make them with me again this year Kristy!!!

Gingerbread Houses

We have bitter cold temperatures right now AND snow.  The kids had a snow day, so we made the traditional graham cracker gingerbread houses.  Here are just a few pictures. 



3    4


6     8


I think that the kids are OFFICIALLY sick after all of the candy and frosting that was consumed making their houses!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Silver Dollars

I have a sweet friend who works a graveyard shift and is always finding funny or inspiring videos on youtube.  Well, as I was looking at her last set of “finds”.  I saw this one.

I have ALWAYS loved this story and didn’t realize that there was now a video clip to go along with it.  I immediately knew that it would be perfect for a FHE, especially now at Christmas time.  We showed it to the kids and talked about how we feel when we do good deeds for others versus how we feel after doing pranks that hurt others.

Then I gave each of the kids a BIG silver dollar (I say big because they were the older silver dollars)  I had picked them up today at the bank as I was running errands.  I encouraged them to keep it with their change in their purses or piggy banks and to NOT spend it, but to use it as a constant reminder to them in how they are helping those in need.

Sometimes its just the little things that we do which really help others in big ways! 

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Last year when Aunt Kristy was living here she taught us how fun the spray snow is.  We decided that we needed to decorate the kids bedrooms using Aunt Kristy’s idea.  First we all sat around and made snowflakes.  I think they are so fun as you open each one to see how it turns out.


Some of the kids thought that theirs were like masks …



After all the cutting was completed, the kids taped their creations on their windows.  Then the spraying BEGAN!!!!


After the windows were sprayed down we peeled off the snowflakes and saw our new snowflake windows.


The kids spent over an hour cutting out their snowflakes and then putting them on their windows.  My favorite was of course from my artist.  He had folded his paper only in half and made a spider eating a fly.  He did this just with his scissors, no stencil nor pencil were used.  I wish that I would’ve taken a picture of his snowflake because it was sooo cool, but I didn’t .  The snow version on his window will have to suffice.  The paper snowflake kinda shifted and skewed the image during the spraying though.


Oh the fun of SNOWFLAKES!!!

Notes to Smile At

Stephen and I went on a couple of dates this weekend.  One of the nights we came home to this …

Sweet Note

These sweet notes brought big smiles to our faces. 

Then disappointment on the other night as we came home to fighting and hearing that “Jacob is the worst babysitter ever”, according to the girls. 

Can’t they just ALWAYS get along, and stay busy leaving notes for us, instead of fighting!