Monday, January 27, 2014

My Office Update

Can I just say that my husband is AWESOME!!  There is nothing he can't do - if he doesn't know how, he'll figure it out somehow.  We've learned that you can learn how to do anything from videos on YouTube.
He has been remodeling our house - room by room.  He's not fast but he does the best work around, a perfectionist, if you will.  He agreed to fix up one of the bedrooms for me before I move all of my STUFF in. It will be my office/craft room.  He does awesome work and it looks so much better now.  Just a little finishing work to do and then I can move in.

fixing the hall walls before painting
We even got the boys in on the project work - a little demolition work.  They pounded away at the tile window sill and got it all out so Paul can put in a beautiful wood one.

before carpet

before closet is put back together

awesome new LED lighting
so much better than the old fluorescent lighting

happy yellow walls
newly repaired and painted

this is an amazing thing - basement hallway has been full of construction materials for about 2 years.
Now its empty, painted and recarpeted!

my new office
with new carpet

This whole process has been prompted by wanting our family room back.  We used to have a game room in there, with a ping pong table.  And we want to have that again - in addition we'd love to put a pool table in there with a ping pong top.
So if I get this room cleaned out then we can have a fun game room again.  A place for all the teenagers to hang out.
its amazing how much stuff I have
wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, gift bags

I've spent a lot of time sorting thru all this stuff.
Its been a "cleansing" experience
I've thrown away A LOT
taken lots to the DI
and have sorted out lots of things to file
and figure out what to do with it
Hopefully I'll have a finished new office to show off soon.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Kamryn's Book Club

Kamryn and 6 other girls have been doing their book club for over a year now.  They are a great group of girls and it has been such a good experience for all of them (at least it seems like it).  Its fun to listen to them chat and its a little scary how much they have grown up over the last year.  They were talking about Justin Bieber and crushes - they're only in 3rd grade!

Kamryn chose the book "Mr Popper's Penguins"
It turned out to be a really fun read and easy to find fun crafts to do along the penguin theme.

Here they are all making stick figure puppets of characters from the book.  
The craft sticks are so cool - from Hobby Lobby.
(sadly no photos of their finished projects)

this is an example of the edible Penguin they all made
so cute
(and it turned out just like it looked on Pinterest)

Ava with her creation

Phoebe with her penguin

Olivia with hers

Kate with her penguin

And Kamryn with her penguin
and version of Olaf
It was fun to see how creative the girls were and added to their creations.
Kaitlin had to leave early so we didnt get photos of her :(

Jared likes to join in usually - but of course takes the boy approach.

Since there is a movie of Mr Poppers Penguins we invited the girls to stay and watch it.  It was fun to compare the book and movie and see how different they were.

Kamryn's Piano Lessons

 Kamryn has been taking piano lessons from Brooke for about 6 months.  Its definitely a challenge having a family member be the teacher but its working out.  The hardest part is being consistent with the lessons.  They don't happen on a regular basis but Kamryn is making progress.  She's doing very well and picks it up pretty easily.  She is good to practice almost every day without complaining.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


I guess this is THE THING now but it was news to me.
In our stake they've been having NEW BEGINNINGS for the whole stake (which is AWESOME).  It was a couple of weeks ago.  The 1st counselor in the Stake YW Presidency (who is also AWESOME) gave the main talk and it was AMAZING!!  Changed my life - seriously.
She spoke about the new year and the tradition to make resolutions and how for most people they don't work. I'm one of those people and had been thinking about goals and resolutions vs having a list of things you want to accomplish.
She then shared this idea of picking a word to focus on for the year.  Her word last year was DILIGENCE and she applied that to different things in her life.  She even made it her computer password.  To remind her daily of her WORD.  This year her word is PRACTICE.
This really hit me hard - and I thought about it a lot and decided that was the thing for me.  ONE WORD to focus on.  I loved it!  Later that evening as we were visiting with the girls and other leaders my WORD came to me - IMPROVE.  One of the other leaders thought that was too much, too big. But it depends on how you look at it.  IMPROVE means:

  • to make (something) better
  • to become better
  • to enhance in value or quality
  • to advance or make progress in what is desirable
  • to make useful additions
IMPROVE is not impossible.  Its just making better and that IS something I can do.


THEME dance is coming up at Brighton
Its one of the more casual dances, boys choice
The THEME this year is AMERICA

Taylor planned this all himself
I helped with the execution of it a little
On the blueberries there are stickers that say "THEME?"
Under the cake, written on the foam board it said
With Tay-Tay (the girls nick name for him)

I drove him to deliver the cake and he was just going to drop it off and ring the doorbell
But her family was all in the driveway and leaving
So I just gave it to her dad and asked him to give it to her
He asked who it was from but I didn't tell :)

She answered him the very next night
He found this hat and huge bag of popcorn on the porch
Inside was a note that said
"Thanks for popping the question
YES I'll go"

Hopefully there will be more pictures to come from the dance

Strange New Years Eve

 It was kind of a strange New Years Eve for our family.  Most of the time we get to spend it at the cabin but it wasn't our turn this year :(
Brooke was out with friends and so was Taylor.  So our family wasn't complete :(
The worst part was that Paul was pretty sick and in pain with kidney stones so he didn't feel like doing much :(
So it was just me, Justin and Jared and Kamryn.  We got Chinese food to go - something we'd never done before.  Poor Kamryn bit into a really hot red pepper and burned her mouth and now doesn't like Chinese food.
But things improved - we played games and Paul felt good enough to join us in a game.  I didn't think I'd make it to midnight but we all did.
We watched the countdown and blew our noise makers at midnight.  And then I went to bed while the kids stayed up and watched a movie.
Happy New Year :)

We made up for our strange night the next night and played games all together.  We played this new game for our family - TENZI.  Its an easy dice game.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and 1000th Post

This is my 1000th post!

The above photo is of this yummy bread that we call "Grandma Parry's Po' Boy Fruit Cake".  Grandma Parry is my dad's maternal grandmother and the story is that she made this bread but was too poor to put the fancy fruit in and just put in raisins.  Thank goodness they were poor, because Fruit cake is GROSS!
This bread is such a tradition with me and my siblings.  My mom made every year at Christmas time and we all LOVE it.  She makes frosting for the top and it is not Christmas without it.  I'd made it one time before and it didn't turn out like my mom's so I never tried it again.
Well this Christmas I knew my mom wouldn't be making it so I decided to try it again.  Its a very strange recipe and the dough consistency is like a logey, at least that's what Paul said.  Thank goodness, it turned out and was a welcome site at our Christmas night gathering.
Its good enough that I want more but its tradition that we only have it at Christmas time so I guess it will be a year until we have it again.

3 out of 5 in their Christmas Eve Jammies

Christmas morning waiting for Dad to be ready to film everyone breaking thru the paper

what it looks like from Dad's side
 We had an awesome Christmas morning - very laid back and casual.  The kids are great about stretching out the morning and watching each other open their presents.
Santa brought:

  • Justin an IOU for an iTouch
  • Brooke a new guitar
  • Taylor a laptop
  • Jared a lego castle
  • Kamryn an American Girl doll named Emily
Since we are going to France in May we tried to keep it to a smaller, more simple Christmas.  The kids all wanted to draw names for giving to their siblings.  It was so much fun to have Justin back with us for the holidays.  He went shopping to find Kamryn a present and got her the Elsa barbie from FROZEN.

Kamryn's new dolls
Molly (Brooke's American girl doll from when she was 8) with
Kamryn's new doll Emily and Elsa barbie
 We don't have very many photos from Christmas because we take more videos.  One of my favorite parts of the morning was when Kamryn gave Jared a present (LOTR Lego video game) and he was so excited and he went over and gave her a big hug.  It started a sweet trend where each sibling when they gave their gift the sibling receiving the gift gave them a hug.  Made this mom so happy.

A big part of Christmas at our house has involved building Lego sets.
Jared had a great time building his castle and let Kamryn be his assistant.

My FAVORITE Christmas decoration are all these Christmas cards, especially the photos! I have such a hard time taking them down - in fact, they are still up :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Family Fun

Various photos of family fun in December:

Kamryn and Jared were so excited for the first really big snowstorm we had at the beginning of December.  They got all their snow gear on and played out in the snow for hours.

Jared and Kamryn have been part of their school chorus.
Every Mon and Wed mornings before school they had practice.
At the beginning of December they put on a really fun concert.

A couple of days after Justin got home Paul and I were able to go down to Provo with him to meet
Craig Gandolph, who's son Justin served with in France.
Craig owns Gandolph's deli and it was awesome to sit and eat lunch with him
and let Justin share mission stories with Craig.

That very first weekend Justin was home we went down to St George for a quick weekend trip.
On Saturday we were able to go to Snow Canyon for a fun hike around.

 It was fun to see all the snow in Snow Canyon.
St George had a pretty major snowstorm the week before and the snow was still there.

 Justin with the Truman family.
Tav is Paul's first cousin and lives in St George.
Their son is serving in the Lyon mission.

The main reason we went to St George was to attend 
James Wulfenstein's homecoming.
He and Justin were MTC companions and were lucky to see each other
several times during their missions.
They even lived in the same apartment towards the end of their missions.
It was really great getting to meet James and chat with him and his parents.