Wednesday, September 30, 2009

From skirt to Jumper

I did one of my sewing projects last Saturday. I have seen some cute tutorials doing skirts or shirts to girls dresses and figured this khakis skirt would be perfect. It was one of my 25 cent finds and it was too small for me. I figured a khakis jumper would be great for Sandra (it will meet the school dress code, for when she starts school too).

I would have done it a bit different, but I decided to try to keep as much of it intact as I could. The tie on top and the zipper in back were the key points to save. There was a pocket on the side of the skirt and slits on the side which were altered a bit.

I think I like how it turned out. I'm glad I did a wider band for the shoulders, but it would have looked fine if they were smaller. The skirt had elastic on part of the waistband (now under the arms) so that is the only part that I think looks kind of funny. I like that I can make it long so that hopefully it will last a while!

Sandra picked the jumper to wear today so I'll get a feel for how it works on her body. I'm sure by the end of the day I'll have more opinions about it, but it is nice to get a project done in an afternoon :)!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Family Changes

I have been feeling recently that we have not done as well as we should have about setting our kids on the right path. Sharla and I had a conversation recently about really helping the kids set the right habits while they are young. As a result from that conversation we have made a few changes in our family.

  1. Personal Scripture Study: Talmage is reading really well. He and Grant will sit up at night and read the Book of Mormon after the lights are off in their room. Since they have a desire to read the scriptures we thought it best to build on that. Talmage now has a goal to read the entire Book of Mormon before he is baptized. He has a little over a year to do so. Grant is reading the scripture mastery scriptures (one per night) as well as Chica. Once Grant gets through all 100 he will probably move on to reading the entire book too. Talmage decided to read an entire chapter a day. He has been doing really good at it and should be done before the school year ends. He does it all on his own after school before scripture time that night as a family. He therefore helps Grant with his reading.

  2. Scripture Journals: Along with studying, journal keeping is important. You gain more from reading if you can capture the thoughts and impressions and write them down. It helps to let the scriptures sink in and bond with your life. We felt it important to promote this habit too. After the kids read their scriptures, they write down their thoughts about what they read. It is only a few lines but it has been great to see them put stuff down. This has also been nice to do because it gets them writing down the scripture references they read. They have been shown where the abbreviations are found in the Book of Mormon and are learning to use them and how to write chapter and verse (ie 3:7).

  3. Personal Journal: We had begun a personal journal for the kids a while ago on the computer and it has been a little sad that we have failed to personally keep up with that; despite reminders from the kids at times. We have made it so they can also write each day about something that happened and keep their own journal along with the scripture journal.

  4. Gratitude and Prayer: A while ago Pres. Eyring stated in Conference that he would make a list of a few blessings or ways in which God blessed their family before he went to bed at night. We felt this would be very wise to have our kids to start doing (us too). After listing 3 blessings, they list 3 things someone could maybe need help with. The best part about doing both sets of "3" is that then it works perfectly to help them set out in their head what could be included when they pray before bed at night. It has worked nicely so far. We hope this helps them recognize ways they can be of service and also to recognize God's blessings in their lives a little more.

  5. Writing: Along with all of these other things, it has been nice to see this whole thing also serve as a way for them to practice writing. It was nice to be there with Grant and help him in how to write certain letters better and teach them. Practice has and will be helpful.

  6. Family Council: We have designated a certain Sunday each month to be our family council. I should probably have been better at this. We organized all the following activities before but never in a foraml setting like family council. In this council we assign out the responsibilities for the family home evening lesson (kids and parents rotate through teaching the lesson) and topics, topics for the Campfire Night (currently Book of Mormon prophets), coordinate family activities (at least 2 a month), and general scheduling. The first Monday of the quarter is our family testimony meetings to help them learn how to bear a testimony in case they want to do so at another time. There are more details but that is the general idea.

As you can imagine, the nightly routine of reading and writing can take some time. This currently has seemed to take over the time we would spend reading as a family but maybe we will let that happen for a while until they get more independent like Talmage in reading and writing on his own. Grant won't be too far behind and then that may allow enough time to get family reading going again. To help with the writing, they each now have a journal binder and Sharla made a paper with room for all the things they should be writing about spoken above. Below you will see a picture of it.

(P.S. - Talmage reads and writes all of it on his own without our input on content. The exampe above was his first entry)

Keep in mind that these are changes we are making to improve our family. We have not been as diligent in promoting these good habits. We are not perfect parents and we for sure know that. We share it with all of you to serve as an idea of some things you could do with your kids while they are young (or older). It takes time and some effort to do but we feel it has and will continue to be worth it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Glories of Nature

Last week we went to the Botanical Gardens with our friends the Whites. The boys had been asking to go again, and they had a teacher in-service day- no school, so it worked out really well. It had been rainy so there was hardly anyone there too! The boys went on nature hunts and found lots of fun things: berries, leaves, rolly pollies, caterpillars, squirrels, frog (toad), turtles, and I'm sure I'm missing something. That squirrel was really friendly, he came so close to us. I think he's used to getting fed by people.

I also really needed a good update picture for Mhari. I try to do an 18 month photo, but I'm always late. I have a few that turned out really cute too. I feel like I'll be trying to take her picture again for her 2nd birthday all too soon! When did she get so old?

We really do enjoy the nature around here... turning fall is more like spring with the extra rain and green grass. We have such great weather to get out and enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thrifty and Nifty!

I have heard about this thrift store that has really cheap prices here in town (Family Thrift Center). I finally went a few weeks ago on the $1.50 day (everything in the store is that price on that day). I found a great men's shirt to redo into a women's shirt (that's at the bottom) and I couldn't wait to go back on the $.25 day! However it's also the craziest day at the store! I got a babysitter for the girls and I was glad I did. It was seriously crazy! Some people had 3 carts loaded to overflowing with clothes. I have no idea what they were going to do with all of that!

I went for a few specific reasons - first the girls really need dress up clothes and they have such pretty dresses (old prom dresses) that would be easy to cut up into play dresses! Second I am going to do Peter Pan theme for Halloween (that's right, no t-rex, deer, or Cinderella I convinced them all to do a theme) and I wanted clothes that I could transform into costumes. Third was if I happened to find more stuff for me, and Talmage needed new church slacks.

After about 2 hours I made it out spending under $5! That made it all worth my while! Here's some of the great stuff I found...

Cute dresses for the girls. Some will be princess type stuff and others might turn into cute church dresses (birthdays and Christmas are right around the corner!)

Here is the Peter Pan costume stash! The blue one is Wendy (Mhari), light green for Peter Pan (Talmage), dark green for the crocodile (Grant) and the pretty green dress for Tinker Bell (Sandra).

I have made the Wendy and Tinker Bell dresses. I only got a picture of Tinker Bell thus far. Sandra doesn't stand up that great for pictures... I think the dress fits her better than the picture shows. She loved prancing around the house in it yesterday! I'm in the process of getting the boys done.
It is amazing what starting with a women's size 8 dress can turn into. I'm still planning on making little bloomers or something like that to go under the dress (it turned out shorter than I wanted).

This was the Geoffrey Beene shirt that I found on my $1.50 day. I loved the flowy material and such a pretty color (like a silver with a light blue tint)!

This is the finished product. It's not the greatest photo, but whatever. I just don't want it to look like a maternity shirt (because I'm not prego).

I'm still learning from these experiences of cutting up clothes to make other stuff. Out of all of the mess ups or not sure if it's going to work, either way, I can't complain about material for $.25!! Each of the girls dresses so far have only been $.25, and there's no way I could've gotten that at the store for anywhere near that cost!
(I did end up cutting up slacks that were adult size and make them into Talmage slacks... that turned out pretty well, definitely a learning experience, sorry no photos.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Playing in the Rain!

It has been raining a lot the last few days. The first night it rained it was a fun surprise - seriously, I had no idea it was really going to rain and then when it did I didn't think it would be a storm! We went out on the patio and enjoyed the rainy evening. The kids played on their scooters while Jeff and I sat under the patio cover (it took Grant a little while to warm up to the wet rain, so he's not pictured, my batteries were dead by the time he got all wet).

When it turned into a thunderstorm we made the kids stay out of the rain, but by then they were soaked! After not having rain for a while it was a very welcome surprise. Since then the rain has just gotten more constant. It will be clearing out this week though.

It was really coming down in this picture!

Mhari getting soaked while riding the scooter.

Sandra and the scooter.

Saturday our primary did an activity at the Dallas Temple. It was too bad it was raining so they couldn't walk round the grounds very much. It was a good experience and besides a few sad children it was nice to go to the temple. The kids were so cute in the rain and with their umbrella that I had to take pictures :).

Here is the group shot of all the kids! We had a good turn out despite the rain.

Sandra in the rain.

Talmage Sandra and Mhari enjoying the pretty flowers

Playing with the effects on the camera... so precious!

I loved Sandra's face in this one!

Talmage was so sweet... One of the girls was standing by her siblings, but wasn't under their huge umbrella. Talmage went over and shared with her to keep her out of the rain.

Mhari had a hard time before we headed out. She was hungry... so I gave her a snack. Then she shared the snack with her siblings and she was still hungry. Hard to be little and hungry :). She ate lunch in the car so that helped a lot!

The kids were really excited about Moroni and the flowers so it will be nice to go back to the temple some time when its not raining :).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Walk and the Park!

We didn't do anything exciting for Labor day. We had planned a house project, but that is postponed for a bit (waiting for the tile so we can tile the kitchen). Since it was a free day to play the kids decided that they wanted to go on a walk. I have been walking in the mornings before the kids are up. It turns out that everyone is sad that they don't go on walks anymore so they planned a walk for us. It was a pretty warm day, but it was good to spend time with the kids. I pushed the girls in the stroller and the boys rode their scooters. It was good exercise to push that stroller!
We walked to a park nearby and the kids played. At the beginning the boys only wanted to ride their scooters all over. Then they started playing. There are ducks at the park and we shared some crackers with them. Someone was walking their dogs and the kids got to pet them so that was a treat also(no pics, sorry). It was a nice morning and it did tire out the girls for naps. Those boys seem to have endless energy though!

Here go the boys.

Grant had to bring his tiger to the park. He had fun bringing him all over the playground!

Talmage of course also had an animal. He said his little puppy had never seen the outside world before. Too funny.

The girls did really well together. They loved going up and down the slides. Mhari can do almost anything the others do so she was very busy.

Sandra learned how to do her first fire pole at the park. Well, after she went down Mhari wanted to go down, but she wouldn't reach out and grab the pole, she just grabbed the bars by the entrance to the pole. That seemed to work quite well for her though. She grabbed them and got her feet off and her hands slid down the poles til her feet were close enough to the ground and she let go. I was never fast enough to get a picture though!
Here is Mhari trying to go up the strange ladder thing. She did really well, but I did help on this one. She really does think she's all grown up!

The kids are fun and they seem to really enjoy planning our family adventures :). While we walked and played Jeff mowed the lawn... it was a good morning :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Happy September! I can't believe how quickly this year is going by! I figure that if I'm going to have time to make the kids Halloween costumes I need to get working on it. Last night I asked them what they wanted to be for Halloween (to give me an idea of what I'm up against!). Here's the decisions:
Sandra wanted to be a mermaid... then I asked her if she wants to be Cinderella (she's in a big princess phase and has started pretending to be Cinderella, to the point of telling us that's her name)... so she then changed her mind and wants to be Cinderella. We'll see how that goes..
Grant wants to be a T-rex meat eater! Hum, not sure how to pull that off.

Then it was Talmage's turn and he said he wants to be a deer. Really?!? a deer? I guess I should say that Talmage definitely has very interesting costume choices when it comes to Halloween. Two years ago he was a pink pig, last year he wanted to be a white kitten (I convinced him to be a tiger instead) so I shouldn't be surprised, but I didn't see that one coming! Crazy kid.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them. I'm glad Mhari is not intelligible enough to get an opinion from her yet. I guess everyone will be surprised for Halloween, because honestly Cinderella is hard enough to try to make let alone a t-rex and a deer!
Here are some fun pics so you still get to see the kids :)

On the trip back from phx. Talmage and Sandra in the back. They did pretty good together.

Here's Mhari after she stole Grant's bunny (that he took home from Grandma's house). Mhari was very happy, Grant was not. We had to make a trade to get the bunny back for Grant.

Grant was happy with the bunny again...

and Mhari got the dinosaur - good trade :). Kids are funny!