Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I LOVE sewing!  I love seeing a finished product and knowing that I made it.  I have said many a time that I want my kids to be able to do the same.  My kids are at perfect ages right now where they are excited to do these projects of mine.

Last year we made THESE.  It was just sewing three lines.  This year I decided to do pajama pants.  It you think about it, it is just four straights of sewing.  Thread the elastic through and hem the bottoms and there you have it!

They are a quick and easy project that you really can't mess up.  We made a trip to Joann's for everyone to choose their fabric.  I made them choose flannel because it is a very forgiving fabric when it comes to sewing because it is just the right thickness.  It was interesting to see the kids' choices.  We had everything from pink elephants to blue guitars.

I KNEW that I would have to be mellow and not freak out at all or else it wouldn't be a good learning experience for my kids.  I also decided to do it with all the kids at the same time.  That way they older could help the younger and we could all finish together.  I LOVED seeing the older boys helping the little girls, reinforcing the steps that they had already done.

I only took a couple of pictures because things were quite busy.
I let Ashley pin her pattern on her fabric.  It kept her busy for quite some time and looked like this.
I did let Ashley cut her own pants out and then went back and "helped" cut a little more.  We really enjoyed this project.  I think that sewing Pajama pants has to be the easiest clothing project to make.  We finished all six in one afternoon.  My boys even loved it because they enjoy using the sewing machine with the foot pedal.
By the way ... doesn't a certain someone look cute in her elephant PJ's WITH her NEW haircut!
We sure LOVE the new PJ's!  They all turned out super cute and will be fun to wear.  I think I may even make it a summer tradition to do PJ's every year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What Number are YOU?

Need a reunion idea ...
Aunt Kristy thought that it was important for each of the grandkids to know what number they were at the reunion in Arizona.  Above are three numbers in a row.  And here below is little number 10 with her mom.
Reunion29 Let's take a look at number 19
Reunion28_edited-1 Have you figured out the numbers yet?!?!  The number represents where they fall in the order of grandchildren to Papa and Grandma Charla.  It was fun hearing them talk about "their" number.  The kids tie dyed T-shirts and then we ironed on the numbers.
Thanks for the fun idea Kristy!  My kids NOW know their number!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jerrica + Books = LOVE

When I first married Stephen and was looking through his wallet I found EIGHT library cards from all different states and places.  I asked him WHY? to which he responded that he may go back to some of these libraries someday, and may need them.  The man has a love for books and libraries.  What I didn't realize was that my children would have such a love for books.

As I was sorting pictures into folders tonight of each of my kids.  I was amazed at how many book pictures I have of Jerrica since January.  I shouldn't be amazed though because she usually has books around her!

Here she is waiting for story time with her chin on the stack of books that I'm "supposed" to read ...

Jera BooksED She loves to "read" outloud  looking at the pictures.

Books2 books

Most times she is reading to one of her babies.

Story Time5

However, she loves to read with her sister and I.

 Story Time3 Story Time4

Reading on the stairs has always been a favorite little reading spot.


There for a while my stairs were always looking like this with her babies lined across a step and then she would sit at the bottom going through the books with them.  I must have snapped this one in February judging from the books.

Story Time6

I'm glad that she loves books like her dad.  One day when I'm blind and lying there in the nursing home she will read to me!

Why I LOVE to blog

I love to blog as a form of journaling/scrapbooking for our family.  It is also a way to stay connected with friends and family that don't live near us.  Stephen even prints up post to send to our grandparents that aren't computer savy.  It's a place to store my recipes.  I also enjoy blogging to get input and ideas from others.  I learn from others. 

Another reason is the opportunities that come from blogging.  Remember my puppet giveaway from CSN stores?... Well, I was thrilled when they contacted me again to do a review this time.  They have everything from Dining Rooms to Diaper Bags.  If you are looking to buy anything right now just check out CSN Stores, they probably have what you are looking for.  I will have a fun upcoming post that will review a product that I have wanted for quite some time now and thanks at CSN Stores I will get to try it out.

Week Update

This week we were busy...

Watching Toy Story


Relaxing getting pedicures with Angie and Nicki ...


Fighting with water  noodle guns ...


Watching Stephen play his late night sand volleyball game.  (He still has it!)

Jumping on the trampoline ...


Camping at the 11 year old scout camp

Chilling at the zoo on Teddy Bear day ...



Walking around the zoo with this hot husband ...


Chilling on the chair lifts ...


Throw in cleaning, cooking, gardening, fighting, piano playing, washing laundry, laughing, teasing, soccer playing and there you have our week!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup


I was sad to see team USA lose today to Ghana.  The interviews after the game always annoy me a little.  They just lose and the reporters are in their faces asking them what they thought about the game and why they think they didn't win ... Who would want to answer those questions when you are probably still upset for losing.

I feel that we have a privileged life here in America.

  • Kids here play with aired up new soccer balls
  • They have fancy colored cleats
  • Shin guards to protect them
  • Nice uniforms WITH warm-ups, even matching practice shirts
  • There are nets to kick goals in
  • Water bottles for quick drinks
  • We also have refs and coaches for games
  • Even something as simple as grass to play on.

I'm sure I have left out other luxuries that we enjoy.  While I was in Ecuador I saw many a soccer game where kids were playing in the dirt without shoes on.  Some of the balls they played with didn't even really resemble a ball.  Yet they were happy and would play for hours.  I remember once we gathered quite a few  little shoe shine boys together one afternoon in Quito.  We fed them lunch, taught them a welfare lesson and then organized a little soccer game in the back of the church's courtyard.  I will never forget their smiles and the fun we had that day. 

I don't think you need these expensive camps or clubs to be good at soccer.  It seems like there are quite a few third world countries advancing in the World Cup.  They are showing that money means nothing, its talent and passion for the game.  Maybe I need to send Nathan to the slums of Brazil instead of the soccer camp this summer.

I had to include this video.  AND as you can see you don't need the list I put together above to enjoy soccer.  It looks like they are doing just fine!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


During free read I have assigned each of the older kids a day they have to read to the little girls.  I read to them on Friday, but the other days of the week it's total free time for me as everyone is reading and the little girls are getting read to.  It is good practice for the four older ones to read to the little girls and has been fun for them to hear their older siblings read and share their favorite picture books.

I still fit in a read aloud time that I read to ALL the kids.  In the summer you can read outside on a blanket or the trampoline.  I even think it would be fun to take on a hike and read up in the mountains.  We have been reading and loving this ...
We laugh and cry with Ida B.  She is such a character and kinda reminds me of my Ashley.  I have loved our conversations about Ida B. You can check it out more here Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World
I also recently finished this and don't know what took me so long to start it.  I have LOVED Shawni's blog for quite awhile now and her book is filled with so many inspiring secrets to help any mother. This is the link for her book  A Mother's Book of Secrets

image There are so many bits of advice and inspiration in Shawni's book.  There are so many parts that I have highlighted but I think I will share this quote that says,

"No matter how much I will want time to slow down and beg my kids to quit growing so darn fast, this time with young children will still slip away.  BUT the joy that I let myself feel while I'm in the moment with my kids will not fade with the years like the pictures and memories; it will become part of ME.  It will become part of my children."

Isn't that so true!  The moments that we share together are what makes us who we are and what develops our relationships.

Anyway our next book came from Trenya's suggestion.  It is the "Misadventures of Maude March".  I'm liking these books with girls as the main characters because we went thru a spell with books that had boy characters.  Oh how I have enjoyed the books that we have read together over the years.  I wish I had money to buy each one of my kids each of the books that we have enjoyed together so they have their own little library to leave home with.  Oh well, a family favorite list will have to do!

Anyone else have good read alouds that you have enjoyed???????

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Acknowledge First

Many times when I hear the kids playing, I can hear phrases and sayings that I tell them.  Sometimes they are bad, and it is usually Ashley that is repeating them.  (Maybe its because I always have to use the bad phrases on her!)  But today it was something good and something that I try to do.

We went to Toy Story 3 in the morning and ended up picking a Jessie doll up in the afternoon.  She was fought over and adored.  She was the doll that the girls were using my phrase on, BUT before I tell you the phrase I have to go back a few years where I learned what a difference it makes.
Toy Story
I was at a soccer game chatting with another mom.  As the game ended her husband came up and yelled, "That is enough talking, COME ON!"  He was probably  upset about something but as they walked off they continued bickering.  Then the very next game, almost the same situation occurred.  Except this time I was talking with a lady whose husband has excellent communication skills.  I have admired them on quite a few occasions.  ANYWAY, once again I was chatting with another mom when Ken came up and said, "I know how you love to talk with Shauna, but I could really use your help right now."  Well of course she excused herself right away and went over helping him with the kids and their stuff.  As I watched them walk away smiling and talking, I couldn't get over the difference.  Maybe it was because both incidents happened within hours of each other.

I analyzed the words Ken used.  He acknowledged what Meredith was doing at the time and validated that she liked to do that.  Then he explained what he needed.   I realized that there are so many times when I just give a command and expect the person to happily stop what they are doing and find what I need them to do, to be of more importance.  I feel however that it is so important to acknowledge and validate whatever one of my kids or someone else is doing so that they know I recognize they are doing something.

SO instead of yelling "Get in the Van! WE have to Go!"  I have tried hard to say, "I know how much you love to color, but we really need to pick up your brother from soccer"  It is AMAZING how much better that works rather than the first command.  It's Ken's phrase, "I know...(whatever they are doing), but I need (the explanation of why you need them to do something different)  It is magic on anyone I tell you!

ANYWAY, back to my original story about my kids picking this up without telling them about it.  Today Ash and Jerrica were taking the new Jessie doll around and were saying, "I know how you want to play with Buzz, but I want you to jump on the trampoline because you can go high"  I did a double take as I heard the phrase and was thrilled that they are learning postivie communication skills,....yeah there are some negative ones that I'm sure they are getting from me as well, but I'm TRYING!
Toy Story2

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Catching Air

I took the kids to a BMX park that is nearby.


Some of the hills were steep and some were a little skeptical of their abilities.


But after they started I couldn't get them to quit to go home.




Kaylee was even quite acrobatic when she would catch air.


Just kidding.  I took that last picture of her on our trampoline but couldn't resist putting it in since she was the one that caught the most air and I never could get her on the camera.




The view was breathtaking.  It almost looks like she is going over the edge in this one.



I SOOO enjoy taking my kids to places like this because I can play with my camera as they play at the park.  We are ALL happy!

Concert in the Park

It's that time of year again with concerts in the park.

We went to Manitou Springs with the Hopkins' on Monday.  I always love to chat with Trenya and our kids enjoy each other.  We took Subway sandwiches and had Costco's fruit sorbets for our dinner picnic. 



We had the kids sit and listen to the symphony for a few songs and then let them take off onto the playground.  I love listening to all the different instruments contributing in each song.  The kids on the other hand, love listening to their friends' laughter...



Thanks for the fun night Trenya AND Little London Symphony!

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Another" Canvas

When we paint its usually on a blank white paper or canvas.  THIS project made me think of other mediums to paint on ... a phonebook or dictionary.  With water colors you can see the words underneath which adds another dimension.
We did butterflies and bugs to make a collection.
After they painted I had them loosely cut the butterflies out.  Then I added a few white drops here and there and did the eyes.  I had a long frame so we stuck them all into it to complete our collection of butterflies artwork.  The picture really doesn't do it justice, its quite a cute piece of artwork.
People ask why I do so many art projects with my kids.  First of all, I LOVE art and creating.  Secondly, I love how my kids open up and talk about things as we are sitting there together painting, gluing, sculpting, drawing....  So it is a way to hear them open up.  Then of course I love seeing the creative juices flowing out of each kid and how differently they think and create things.  And last but not least it makes for gorgeous displays to decorate our home.  So there you have it!