"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We Matchy

Now you get to see the finished dresses and ties with the people actually wearing them bodily. (I know the suspense has been just killing you, dear readers.)

Ta da:

The girls actually loved them, and that's saying something. They are quite picky when it comes to dresses. The colors are not your typical easter dress choices (ie white) because when I asked the girls what color they wanted for their Easter dresses, they simultaneously answered, "BLACK!" They are obsessed with it at the moment. I told them that the dresses could have some black, but they would have to choose another color too. It came down to turquoise and navy blue. I talked them out of the navy blue. I didn't think I could pull off Easter dresses made of black and navy.

I never finished a skirt for myself, but I had one in the closet that matched well enough. I found a shirt that sorta matches, but the downside is that it is one of those poofy kinda shirts that makes me look about 20 pounds heavier. The things I sacrifice for the sake of matching. I'm just saying...

Brandon and Mason reluctantly wore their ties. Rylan, of course, had no choice in the matter, but he didn't complain. I think they all looked very handsome.

Easter Weekend Fun

Easter weekend was delightful!
A few highlights:

Grandma and Papa

Aunts and Uncles



Delicious Food

Easter Egg hunt

Coloring Eggs

Candy galore

Beautiful Weather




Green Grass

Family BBQ

Rock Band

Easter Pillow made by Carlee (I LOVE!)

Easter Sunday
Sacrament Meeting
Singing Hymns
Reflecting on the Atonement of Jesus Christ

New Easter Dresses and Ties

Easter Baskets

Amazing Easter Dinner
Leg of Lamb
Fennel and Vegetables
Chocolate Trifle
Homemade Ice Cream




Mah Jong (Game)


Family and Fun

Hope you had a wonderful and peaceful Easter weekend as well!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Suspended Animation

One of the greatest delights the kids have in visiting Grandma is jumping on the trampoline. I'm one of those mean moms that won't own one of the beasts for the sake of neighborly lawsuits, broken bones, and other worries. Besides, they have a lot more fun jumping at someone else's house then they would if we owned one.

For some reason I love to take pictures of their determined concentration while jumping up and down.

Check out that static!

Wishing you all a "hoppy" Easter! (heehee)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Dresses and Ties

I sewed Easter dresses for the girls. AND I actually followed the pattern. Uh... mostly.

I am not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. I like to sew, but I don't really know what I'm doing. I don't think I have ever successfully followed a pattern to completion of a clothing article. Patterns are written in a foreign language in which I struggle to understand and which require full function of the logical side of the brain to decipher. I do not normally possess such skills.

But I pressed forward through tension headaches, much unpicking, and difficult, slippery fabric. I'm sort of amazed by the results:

Don't look too closely, because the zippers in the back of the dress look abominable. Fortunately there is a nice bow that ties right over the zipper. I also made a couple of huge, unfixable mistakes which almost ended with the dresses in the trash can. Let's just say that there are some "extra" seams in the skirts. They certainly aren't perfect, but the girls will never know.

I also made some ties for the boys and for Brandon.

Is it totally geeky that I made matching outfits for my entire family for Easter???

Wait, don't answer that question. I already know. Oh well. It was really fun, and I'm excited to see them all dressed up on Easter Sunday.

Now for the sake of candor, let me tell you that this was likely a one-time project. It was exhausting! And expensive. And extremely time-consuming.

Although I now know how to "slipstich", gather, identify a "zipper foot" and put in a real ugly zipper. Now that's experience money can't buy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Cookies

My cute little stinkers somehow talked me into making sugar cookies. I'm a sucker for their ploys.

Brandon actually made the dough with them. He is a pro at letting the kids "help" him make cookies. I get really frustrated when they are all grabbing things and reaching into the bowl and spilling ingredients all over the place, and fighting over who gets to add what. I do much better with the cutting and decorating part.

Averie was hilarious cutting out her cookies. She used it more as play-doh than cookie dough. Some of them turned out pretty lumpy. But no one minds.

We painted them with colored icing using paint brushes. The kids were in heaven. The girls licked the paint brushes an awful lot though, so if I were you, I would choose one that Mason decorated.

I've eaten an undisclosed amount of the horrible little things today. Curse you, sugar cookies, and your irresistible goodness. I'd share them, but I don't think anyone would want all the kiddie germs. Just not something you share with the neighbors.

Speaking of germs, Rylan is much, much better now. He is back to his old self, teasing Averie and all. You would never know he was sick. I'm so grateful for antibiotics when they are truly needed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Basement Building, Crafternoon, and, uh, Scarlet Fever

We are finally making some progress on the basement!!! And I use the word "we" very loosely. I'm very little help with drywall. I'm somewhat of a lightweight when it comes to lifting. We had the insulation installed and the drywall delivered last week.

Brandon's brother-in-law, Jason came to help with the drywall installation. They rented a lift and put in all the ceilings and some of the walls in just over a day. Woot! Mason has been sleeping on the couch for weeks because he and Rylan wake each other up (and thus wake ME up) repeatedly every night. I am counting down the nights until Mason will have his own bedroom. That's probably a bit shallow and selfish of me, but I would love to sleep through the night one of these years. Just once would be fantastic.

So anyway, while the men were working in the dusty construction zone downstairs, Melissa (Brandon's sister) and I were holding down the fort with all 8 children upstairs. We threw a craft in the mix, just for good measure. Melissa brought all the goods to make these cute hair accessories:

Aren't they cute?!? The roses are made of felt and the "posies" out of silky fabric. The gold one is made of ribbon. I'd do a tutorial, but there are probably millions on the interwebs. That, and I forgot to take pictures. The cute little turquoise one matches the girls Easter dresses that I'm sewing. Yes, I am sewing. With a pattern. Following directions. I know. They may or may not be finished in time for the actual Easter Sunday. I've been pretty busy.

Last night baby Rylan woke up at 3:30 a.m., screaming and with a full body rash. He was also leaking green boogers out of his EAR. I'd post pictures, but that's just disgusting. No one wants to see that.

I took him to the doctor first thing this morning. He has a ruptured ear drum, double ear infection, and scarlet fever. Yes, you read that right. Scarlet Fever or Rheumatic Fever is pretty much just a strep infection with a rash. Only the strep is in his ear rather than his throat. Poor baby! A long time ago it was quite dangerous, but due to the miracle of antibiotics, he will be fine and dandy in a day or two. He's not very comfortable today, but he doesn't complain much. We just sit and rock a lot.

So, that's the rundown of the latest around here. Oh, and It's snowing right now. *SIGH*

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Review

I don't think I've ever done a book review in the history of this blog. Strange, because I read a whole lot of books! Maybe I'll have to throw a review on here once in a while.

I finished this book last week and the information just keeps popping up in my brain. It's one of those that changes the way you think about the world. It will stick with you for a while. The title is Outliers, the Story of Success, written by Malcolm Gladwell. It's non-fiction, and a fairly quick read. I highly recommend it.

The author was curious about the extremely successful and standout individuals of the world. The world's greatest musicians, Mozart, the beetles, computer geniuses like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, The world's most wealthy lawyers, the world's best athletes, The healthiest people on the earth, The statistical outliers that climbed to the top of their profession/field defying all odds. What do they all have in common? Are they just lucky? Is it simply a gift to excel, or pure hard work that sent these individuals soaring to the top?

I enjoyed the organization of the nearly-unbelievable facts in this book. There are lots of charts and statistics that make it easy to follow the logic and reasoning. It comes together nicely at the end and gives you an overview of the common factors that allowed these individuals to rise to the top. And those factors will completely surprise you.

It's not written from a religious perspective, but I could easily add my own religious views to the data presented. God puts us where we are supposed to be, when we are supposed to live, and gives us the opportunities, intelligence, and talents we need to complete our missions on this earth. What we choose to do with these opportunities is entirely up to us!

My favorite chapter is the 10,000 hour rule. It claims that the "magic" number of hours spent in any given field to acquire true expertise and mastery is 10,000. This is true of every field, including child prodigies. A quote from the book:

"The emerging picture from studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert --in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Of course, this doesn't address why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others do. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery."

How cool is that? It totally blows my mind. If I added up all the time I've spent drawing, painting, and making art, teaching art, I'm pretty sure I've far surpassed that number. But what about as an adult working artist? Not even close. 10,ooo is a whole lot of hours. At least I have a mark now, right? What about you? Is there anything you've spent 10,000 hours doing? Such an interesting topic.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Few "C" Words

Just a few words to sum up the weekend:

creative play
cute, cute kids
chili & cornbread
c-c-c-cold wind
and sCrapbooking ( I know, it's not a "C" word, but just pretend...)

Another nice "C" word for the weekend would have been CAMERA, as in, pick up the camera and take some pictures Brittany. Oh well.

We had a wonderful, relaxing time. Conference was powerful and uplifting. The inspirational words keep swimming through my mind. I can't wait to listen to all the talks again. The kids had such a wonderful time with their cousins. Melissa and I scrapbooked most of the weekend. I haven't done that in ages. We made and ate some yummy food. Brandon and Jason had a chance to kick back and relax. And I'm assuming they also did some "scheming" for future basement building plans. (hope, hope, hope!)

Despite the wind and cold it was a pleasantly perfect weekend.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Fools Me Every Time...

The meanest April fool's trick of all was the beautiful Friday weather followed by a frigid, gusty weekend. Blah! Go away bitter cold wind and weather, we're ready for summer! April is always miserable here. I just forget about that every year. That's why I say April fools me every year.

Anyway, we don't usually celebrate pseudo-holidays like April Fool's, BUT... we were having company come for the weekend, and I couldn't help myself. I had a to-do list a mile long, but I threw caution to the wind and threw my long list aside and started making uh... cupcakes.

I don't even like cupcakes. It's true. They sort of make me want to throw up. But they are pretty and I like to make them and look at them. And every so often, usually against my better judgement, I do just that.

You see, I found this blog post on this ever-so-creative cooking blog, and I totally copied the darling cupcakes. It was a blast. It was especially fun because my nieces and nephews came for the weekend, and they are cupcake eaters. (Most of my kids don't like cupcakes either.) I didn't get any pictures of them enjoying the cupcakes though. I guess we were just having too much fun.

Okay, so here they are:

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
(frosting, starburst, and caramel topping)

Spaghetti with a meatball and parmesan cheese
(frosting, Ferrero Rocher, strawberry jam, and white chocolate shavings.)

Peas and Carrots (green frosting and green & orange Starburst)

Ellorie, pretending to be astounded about the cupcakes while eating her bagel. She doesn't like cupcakes.

I still can't get over how real they looked. I used carrot cake for the cake part. I thought it was gross, but I don't really like cake, so I'm not the right person to ask about that. Everyone else seemed to like them. They are all gone now! It was a really fun little "trick".