Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas 2013

    This Christmas has been quite different.
    We have completely simplified things 
(you can tell by the fact part of our lights are out!).
    For starters, we only put up 1/10th of our decorations.
    We have even simplified the gift giving.  We have always given just 4 gifts (clothes, books, something fun, PJs), and Santa brings only 1.  But we have even simplified that.
    The fruit of less craziness is, I am all ready for Christmas.  I finished the last thing on Saturday.  
    Today was quite nice.  We cleaned the house, played in the snow, took around friend gifts, watched movies, played wii, went caroling, ate goodies, drank cocoa, had friends over.  It was very relaxing. It is just fine not to have everything perfect.   No more going overboard!
    I can't wait until tomorrow.  I usually am up until 2:00 am wrapping.  Then Christmas morning is so exhausting! What a difference it will make with a full night of sleep!
    I am hoping that this break we will be able to feel more of the spirit.  It will be nice to have a home full of love and kindness, instead of a home filled with stress and freaking out (yes, I freak out!).
Merry Christmas!


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Friday, November 1, 2013

November Means Family

The thing I am most thankful for is family.




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Halloween 2013

This year was quite different.  I usually take the preschoolers to the Pumpkin Walk during preschool.  So this year it was strange to only go once, and only at night.



Riding the bus to the Pumpkin Walk

Misses A and K hiding from the camera!!

Posing with cousins

Miss K had to have a photo-op in the Pumpkin's mouth

Little House on the Prairie

Super Mario

Princess Bride

Pixar!!

Star Wars


How many Minions tall are you?
 Daddy helped the kids finish their Jack-O-Lanterns.  I did the guts, he can do the precision work.
Dad helping Miss E carve her pumpkin

Miss K spent so much time on Hello Kitty

Miss D

Master A

Master J

Master A's 30 Seconds to Mars

Miss E

Thank you so much, Sir Spoil-Her-Highness

Miss K


Also, the girls all dressed up as the same thing.  Master J was a "Grim Reaper", Master A a Plague Doctor, and the Misses were Vampires.
Doctor A

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Home Teaching

As some of you heard in conference,  home teaching numbers are down quite a bit. When I first heard this about our ward, I was reminded of a story my grandmother told. I'm not sure if it was something she or a friend did, but it is quite a brilliant idea.
At the beginning of the month they would make a cake.  When the Home Teachers came, they would serve the cake. It didn't matter if it was the beginning of the month or the end. If they didn't come,  the cake was delivered to them. Not sure if it was a piece or what.
We tried this in August,  with the support of his wife. It worked. After not having Home Teachers but a handful of times since moving in 11 years ago, they came.  Hoping this will continue to be a good motivation in the coming months.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

What is Bullying & How to Stop It

So as I have been praying, doing research, and thinking about our situation.  Obviously most resources I googled are not from lds.org. So this morning I decided to only search the church's site.  Here are the articles I came across that have quite a bit of information to help us help our Miss K.


The first one is from the Friend Magazine.  I felt this one helped quite a bit, since in elementary school, bullying is different from the middle or high schools.  It is titled Stop Bullying Now by Hilary M Hendricks.
It discusses what constitutes bullying.  "Bullying is hurting others by scaring them, leaving them out, making fun of them, using mean words, or harming them physically."
It then gives steps a child can take to help.
1. Tell an adult.
2. Stay in safe places.
3. Tell the bully to stop.
4. Remember your worth as a Child of God.
There are also things to do if you see a bully situation that you want to stop.
1. Don't go along.  (Boy, this one seems to be what DOES happen quite often.  Sometimes we may feel that if we don't go along, the bully will turn on us.)
2. Tell the bully to stop.
3. Tell an adult.
4. Be a friend.  (I know from my own experiences that just having a friend who I could team up with,  made the bully lose their power over us.) 

The next article is from the New Era.  This is basically the same advice, just at a more mature level.  How to Beat Bullying.  "Matt Watson, a therapist with LDS Family Services, says a behavior can be called bullying “when there’s fear and intimidation or when someone says ‘Stop,’ but the behavior continues. There’s no acknowledgment of the victim’s feelings.” Bullying can make people feel worthless, friendless, and alone." 
I was surprised that the advice given was similar, with a few exceptions, for teens.
What others can do.
1. Say something.
2. Tell an adult.
3. Reach out.
If you are being bullied.
1. Try to appear calm and confident.
2. Tell an adult.
3. Avoid being alone.
4. Don't blame yourself.
5. Forgive.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Saga Continues...

The saga of the Bullying has continued.
A week after Miss K came home telling us about the bullying situation, I recieved an email message from her teacher.  This told me two things.
1) She has a super perceptive teacher.  I am so grateful for her.  I love her, and so does Miss K.
2)  This is a real problem.  Not just something that is being blown out of proportion.  If a teacher is noticing  such things, they are real.
We have been discussing the occurrences each day.   How was the day.  What did so and so say?  How did you handle it?  What did you say?  What can you do or say to make the situation more happy for all involved?

I also have been wondering what I should do.  Should I talk to the other parents?  Should I just hope that things get better.  Gorgeous Graduate, who was bullied, said that this is exactly how things began for her.  First it was one friend in the ward.  Then it lead to another friend, and another, until she felt it was the whole school.  I did, at the time, speak with one of the parents, who I felt comfortable discussing this with.  She said she had already seen a problem, but nothing she did or said seemed to work.  She had also spoken with another parent whose child was acting the same way.
Okay, so I will not go into more of that, just to say that I DO NOT want Miss K to feel the same way Gorgeous Graduate felt.
Sir Spoil-Her-Highness was against talking to anyone, but I told him I felt I should.  So this morning, while getting ready to head out for a run with my running mates, I asked their opinion.  It was a resounding, instant, "Yes!  Speak to the parents and do it soon.  Do not wait to see what happens.  It must be stopped. Now!"
So I did something that was so super hard.  I spoke with a wonderful friend and told them I needed help with this situation.  I needed the bullying to stop.  I will speak to the other parent tomorrow and have the same discussion.  (Yeah, it was a CRAZY day and I wasn't able to get the other call made.)
Miss K has been going to school happily (and on time, I might add, as opposed to last year, which was half an hour late.)  I did not want the same fight we had last year.  It was so hard to have this discussion.  But I think that now it will help.
I am going to let Miss K's teacher know that I have spoken with the parents, and to let me know if this has helped or made things worse.  I am hoping for it to help.
We shall see...
Pardon the run on sentences. Pin It

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Through Study and ... Even More Study

President Boyd K. Packer often reminds us that “all of us—leaders, teachers, missionaries, and parents—have a lifelong challenge from the Lord to both teach and learn the doctrines of the gospel as they have been revealed to us.”As simply stated by Elder L. Tom Perry, “Every position in the Church requires an effective teacher.”
Since every member is a teacher and “teaching is the center of all that we do,”  we all have a sacred responsibility to learn some basic principles of teaching. There are many principles of teaching and learning, and it is not enough for us just to read about them. First, we need to understand these basic principles, and second, we need to be shown how they are used by successful teachers. This can be done by carefully watching able teachers in our wards and branches and reviewing the worldwide leadership training meeting on teaching and learning found on the Church Web site or in Church magazines.
 I know that as a student, I also need to take the time to prepare for a lesson.  I read the material and come with questions.  I also like to discuss somethings with other family members, get a different perspective on the subject. 
I know it can be hard to fit everything in.  We read personal, couple and family scriptures.  We say personal, couple, and family prayer.  Then we prepare the lesson we will be giving.  Now we are suppose to find time to study a lesson we are going to listen to?
It doesn't have to be that intense.  We can simply read through the material.
For Sunday School, simply read the assigned scriptures.  For Relief Society or Priesthood meeting, read the current chapter of Teachings of the Prophets.  or talks.  This can take the place of daily reading of the Book of Mormon, if time is limited. Even skimming is beneficial.
I also like to listen to the lesson.  I will turn it on my PC or small portable device and listen as I put dishes away or fold laundry.  It brings the spirit into our home, and keeps me focused.  It also helps the teacher, as someone will be in the class who has a comment or question. Pin It

Friday, September 6, 2013

Princess vs Frog (Combating Bullying)

We have been enjoying the busyness of back to school.
Though it has been quite hectic (wasn't I supposed to have some down time?) we were all settling into our routines and doing very nicely, we have hit a bump.

Miss K has experienced a friendship hiccup.
She says they are going to "break-up".  
When asked what happened, she says that her friend just told her not to talk to her anymore.
After the long weekend, we thought it would have ended.
But it didn't.

Her friend would not let her play with her, and went to play with another friend of Miss K's.
So now it's 2 against 1.
This morning we decided to talk to her about it.

I had Sir Spoil-Her-Highness tell her about a time that his friends didn't want to play with him.
He just went to the other side of the playground and played alone.
Within 10 minutes his friends apologized and wanted to play again.

He then asked Miss K
What are you? A Princess, or a Frog.
Princess of course.
How are Princesses and Frogs different?
Looks, dresses,  green large eyes and legs.
How do frogs eat?
They catch bugs with their sticky tongues.
How do Princesses eat?
They use a fork or spoon.
What does a frog do if a Frog eats a yucky tasting bug?
It's stuck to their tongue.
What does a Princess do if She eats something yucky?
I don't know.
They spit it on their fork or spoon and place it on the edge of their plate.
Now, what does this have to do with being bullied?
If someone says something mean, you can be a Frog and keep it stuck inside.
Or you can be a Princess and spit it out.  Do not internalize it.

I am hoping this will be the best way to resolve things.  I am very much against bullying.  The next step will be to go to the teacher and/or parents.  Here's hoping. Pin It

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Day of School part II

Here is the letter Misses D and E's teacher sent home.  I love it!

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Monday, July 29, 2013

D.E.A.R.

Summer reading is such an important thing to do.  Kids can fall behind in reading in just those short busy months. 
Each summer we have done our library's summer reading program.  We go to the Summer Kick Off.  Get the bookmarks, have the kids keep track of their reading, go pick out the prizes each week.  But it seems like we still don't get the reading in that we need.
This summer I finally found something that is working (for the time being).  We have a set time (11:00am) for what is called "Drop Everything And Read".  D.E.A.R.
I have found that it can't be a thing I tell the kids to go do.  I have to be sitting with them and either listen to them, or read to them.  (Duh!  I know!  I am just wishing I could give assignments and then go do my own chore/project.)  After I finally succumbed to this fact, it has been fun.  I have been able to find some books I either haven't read, or great favorites. 
We do still read every night before bed.  That will never stop, I'm sure.  Master A, and Grateful Graduate J, who are 15 and 18, are the only ones who don't get read to.  And that stopped when A was 13, and J when she was 14.    Sir Spoil-Her-Highness reads downstairs  (currently Lord of the Rings), and I read upstairs (American Girl books).  Pin It

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Making Nursery Matter

Nursery has been sort of hectic lately.
We have a very large nursery, about 40 kids.
It is separated into 4 classes, 2 classes for the older, 2 for the younger.
One of the older classes didn't have a teacher for 7 months.
We had substitutes or combined the classes.
Finally the calling was filled.  Hooray!
Sir Spoil-Her-Highness has been given another calling, so he is currently doing double duty.
He really loves the nursery! So he is fine with it.
A couple was found to take our class, yet another couple teaching nursery moved.
We have taken their class.

The most important thing is to love the children.
Second most important is consistency.
A routine is very important to children.
Be there.  If you can't, then try to get the same substitute each time.

This past Sunday I was asked to do a training for our Nursery Leaders.

I discussed the importance of having a lesson.
Even 18 month olds can sit through a lesson.
Here is our routine:
We sit on carpet square samples.
Every child who wants gets to say a prayer.  
Sometimes this takes the most time.
We give the lesson straight out of the manual. It takes 2 minutes, max.
Only church approved coloring pages are used.
 
I also talked about singing time.
We have had a singing leader for quite some time.
Yet she is ready for a break (pregnancy, you know)
Since we need teachers quite a bit, the Nursery Leaders will do their own singing.
When I was Primary Chorister, I would go into the nursery for singing time each week.
But with 4 nurseries, there is no way that would work.

I spoke to them about what we will be doing.
We will have something for them to pick songs from.
(Our current singing leader has a gift bag with different props that go with songs the children choose.
A spider toy - Itsy Bitsy Spider, star - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, bus - Wheels on the Bus, etc)
I printed out some song books for the leaders.
I know that I forget songs I had in mind sometimes.  
I thought this would help.

The other thing I spoke about is remembering to use the child's name.
We will have twins in our class, so I'm going to bring labels to write their names on, and stick it to their backs.
I have been trying to learn who is who for a year and a half now, and have failed miserably.
I'm hoping that being with them each week for a while will help.
Their mom dresses them the same all the time.
Which is so fun to do (I do that myself, and/or fix their hair the same).
But it doesn't help me at all.

During free play, we play with them on the floor.
I will admit that Sir Spoil-Her-Highness is much better at this than I am.
I do the bubbles, coloring page, and lesson, and he plays with them.
He does a wonderful thing, which he did with our children.
He gets some toys (Little People, dinosaurs, Buzz Lightyear) and acts out scripture stories.
He will act out a story from the lesson, if there is one.
Or he will just tell a story that comes to mind.
I do enjoy the fact that Buzz Lightyear is always the hero.
Ammon, Samuel the Lamenite, Alma.
Well, until he went missing.
Now he uses a firefighter.
Very fitting!


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Save the Apricots!

We have had a couple of nights of freezing temperates.
It shouldn't bother me.
Ya know, living in the Northwest.
But our Apricot tree had already started blooming!!

So after talking to my Grandpa, here is what we did.





We put sheets on the branches as best we could.










Then we turned on a heat lamp and aimed it up at the tree.

So far I only see a few blossoms that haven't made it.
Fingers crossed!!





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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Real Beauty

Today in Sacrament Meeting our Bishop shared
a description of this commercial.

It really is eye-opening. 
Boy, don't we all need to look for the good in ourselves!


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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Down in the Dumps

Today's sacrament meeting was JUST FOR ME!  I know you have all felt that way.  But I know that today really was.  Everyone who bore their testimony was sharing something that would help me.  I really know that I am not "The Only One".

I have been dealing with depression for the past 12+ years.  It is something that is quite a trial for me.  I really started off thinking that if only I was a better person, or had enough faith, or kept my house cleaner, then I wouldn't be feeling this way.  While I was trying to figure out what I needed to do to improve my mood, I came across an article in the Ensign magazine that helped me so much.  I was able to realize that this wasn't because of anything I had, or had not, done.  It was a chemical imbalance that needed to be fix, and I wasn't alone.
Depression: A disorder in which an individual experiences feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lethargy for an extended period of time.
 That first summer after my husband left, I lay on the couch, not doing anything.  The kids had to fend for themselves.  Luckily they were 8, 6, and 3.  So they could get each other the things they needed.  I first realized I needed to do something when I lost over 10 pounds in a week.  I was already super thin, so this made a major difference.
One of the members of our Bishopric was a doctor, so I made an appointment with him, and he helped me decide what to do.  I knew I needed to do something, before school started and I had to get my classroom ready.  (I was teaching at a charter school at that time)
This made me feel like a total failure.  I had prayed and read scriptures, and I knew that what I was doing was the best for my family, but those feelings of inadequacy wouldn't go away.
Once I read the article, I felt so much better!  I knew that I had done all I could, and it was okay for me to be on medication.

This past winter has been really hard for me.  I'm not sure why.  A few thoughts I've had:  The sky has been cloudy, it's been super cold, I haven't been able to go running, I haven't had much adult interaction, my grandma passed away.  But all of this negativeness started in December.  It's just been a down hill slide.  I have felt that I can't do anything right, no matter how hard I try.  Everyone is against me.  Everyone thinks I'm dumb, or incapable, or they need to help me with everything, or my ideas are lame. I don't have any energy.  I either can't sleep, or can't get enough sleep.  I don't even want to sew, though I want to sew!!

There are things I can do!


Let the Sun Shine In

 Open the curtains first thing.  If the sun isn't shining, then turn on all the lights for the areas you are in.
Thursday afternoon the sun was shining.  I went out and started raking and cleaning up the flower beds.  When the kids got home from school, Miss K wanted to help, but I had finished what I was planning.  She started raking some more, then went in and brought out a blanket.  She decided to set up a picnic for us.  I took out my book, and she grabbed hers, and we all sat on the blankets eating snacks and reading.



Get Active

 Friday I decided that I didn't care how late I was, I was going running with my friends.  Luckily Miss K left for school only 15 minutes late, so I was able to get there not much time after that. (I can't even get ready while she is still home, or she will not go to school) We ran 4 miles.  The sun was shining.  I HAD ADULT CONVERSATION!  I also was able to ask them for ideas that will help me.  And there were many!

Find Hope

One friend suggested that I study the word "hope".  Find all the scriptures and conference talks about hope.  So I after I showered I got the girls busy with a game, and pulled out my scriptures and laptop and kindle and started a new scripture journal.  I labeled the first page HOPE and went to work. I also followed all the footnotes. (I only got through the first 2 references in the TOPICAL GUIDE)  I went to lds.org and, under prepare a talk, I searched for HOPE.  I printed out the talks, lessons, scriptures to look up, everything. I am so excited to have a new focus after the "Book of Mormon in 100 Days Challenge"!


I will leave you with a quote by President Ezra Taft Benson:

If I immediately start tormenting myself for my weakness when I find myself dwelling on an unworthy thought, I don’t have enough strength or determination to resist the next temptation. If, instead, I thank the Lord for showing me that the thought is unwholesome and helping shift my mind away, I leave the situation closer to the Lord, grateful for the strength I have, and praying for greater strength in the future.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pierced Ears?


As I have mentioned earlier, Miss E hasn't pierced her ears.
I don't want her to feel like she has to.
I told her that her Grandma never pierced her ears.
I decided I wanted her to know the reason behind this decision.
I asked Grandpa for the inside story.
Here is what I found out:

The reason Grandma did not pierce her ears is:  When we grew up no one in polite society pierced their ears or anything else!  Piercing was not done.   Grandma never did change her attitude toward piercing.
Earrings had little screw findings on the back that would be tightened enough to hold the earrings in place and then later there were spring clips that held them in place.
Common piercing of ears did not start until the 1970's and then it was mostly the younger women that had their ears pierced and never men.
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Friday, April 5, 2013

Hamburgers I finally love

Growing up I hated hamburgers. They were just yucky. I hated when we would go out to eat at fast food places, because that was all that was on the menu. Then in junior high school, a major fast food franchise came out with chicken nuggets for a Oriental campaign they were doing. I had found something I could order and be happy with.
Well, about 7 years ago we went on a camping trip to Flaming Gorge with the extended family. There was a meal we were in charge of, and we decided to do hamburgers. S
o on the way to the "Gorge", we stopped at my sister's grocery store where my other sister worked in the meat department. I had ordered some hamburger patties and she was going to have them ready for us. A few nights later when we cooked them, I tried one, and they were delicious!!!
On the way back home, we picked up another order for a brother in law (as he loved them, too).
Well, not too long ago, I decided to ask my sister how I could make hamburgers that tasted as good as the ones she had made. She was no longer working for our other sister, so I thought she might divulge the secret.
It's Not a big secret at all!
The past few summers I have purchased hamburger when it goes on sale in those humongous packages. I take it home. Separate it into 2 pound sections.
Then start mixing. Add one package of onion soup mix and one egg to 2 pounds of hamburger. Mix together with your hands. Yuck! I know, but works the best. You can also add the following: Worcestershire Sauce, Cheese of any kind, Liquid Smoke, A-1.
Form the hamburger into patties. I usually make them just about as big as a bun and at most half an inch thick. Now cook.
I will also freeze them for later, separating the patties with wax paper.

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Birthdays, Everyone





Same Size
I like my birthdays, everyone.
Sharing a birthday with our twins, really is a blessing.
It might be chaos, but isn't that how everyday is?
Misses E and D

Miss E decorating her cake
Super excited about birthday clothes!
Miss D decorating her cake





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