Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mary Poppins Convention?

No.  It's just the summer craft club.

 Every week a different mom hosts the club, providing a craft or two for the 8 participating girls.  This is one of the projects we did at our house.  They traced simple drawings on to these cute umbrellas I found at Oriental Trading Company and then they colored them in with sharpies. 

They had fun and took their time making their own one-of-a-kind umbrellas.

Here's a close -up of Cami's Pooh bear version.

And my favorite panel of all, done by one of the girls.  It cracked me up every time I looked at her umbrella.

The girls have also tie-dyed t-shirts, painted birdhouses, made truffles, made beautiful bracelets, made necklaces out of ribbons and washers, and hand painted silky butterflies, and still have four weeks to go.

In the meantime, Emma is developing new friendships and experiencing first-hand the sense of pride and accomplishment  from creating something beautiful.

It really is a beautiful thing.  


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

200 miles in 6 days and just 1 shirt

Last week was one of the hottest weeks of this boiling hot summer and while I lazily ran from my air-conditioned house to my air-conditioned car to the swimming pool and back, Glen and Spencer with a few young men from the ward embarked on a 200-mile bike ride for a scouting High Adventure.

They started in McKeesport, Pennsylvania on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail and rode 30-50 miles per day.

They saw some big deal, highly touristy sites, like the Eastern Continental Divide which was a big whopping 2200 feet above sea level, wild turkey country, the PawPaw Tunnel, and OhioPyle (which is not in Ohio and does not have any noticeable piles).

There were a few minor injuries along the way, but "The Voo-Doo Witch Doctor" was able to take care of most everything...

After their long days on the trail in the heat and humidity, it was certain that most days ended with a splash (and some ice cream, which Glen totally avoided)...
(Look at my hot husband. He's the fourth one from the left and he is now within 10-lbs. of the weight he was when we got married!)

This picture was just too cool not to throw in here....

Glen also wanted me to put this picture in and point out that it was his first time in a white-water kayak, but personally I found this illustration of his awesome farmer's tan way more interesting than that...

And after five nights of sleeping like this...

On Saturday, there were 2 very happy boys to be back home with AC, homemade food, comfy mattresses, and much better smelling "roommates".

PS Does anyone notice anything about Spencer in all these pictures taken on different days during the week? If you need a hint, look at the title. He actually had the gall to brag about his feat when he got home too.

Thanks to Bruce for being the paparazzi in my absence. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting the Most Out of the FHE Lesson Packets

Family home evenings are a powerful tool for teaching our families the gospel and I believe that being prepared is vital to making them a success. It is my hope that these lessons will be helpful for you in this quest, so I have put together the following ideas for making your lessons as usable, durable, and organized as possible!

1. Print visuals onto heavy cardstock (67 lbs. or higher for greatest durability)

2. Cut out visuals

3. Laminate for increased durabilityMy workhorse laminator (Only $50, 10 years old, laminated thousands upon thousands of pages and still going strong) It's Royal brand.

Laminating sheets from You want letter size pouches in boxes of 100. They're buy 2 boxes, get 1 free and end up making each box of 100 sheets very affordable (looking at a per sheet basis compared to getting things laminated at an office supply store). Go in with a friend on your order to save money and shipping.

4. Cut them out of the laminate--leave a little border around the edge to keep it sealed

don't try to save time by laminating whole sheets of paper then cutting. You will not get as good of a seal on the laminate and they will not be as durable


Much better.

5. Divide your lessons into sections and store the separate sections in their own separate baggies or sheet protectors.
I like to put the story/summary/rules showing on one side and the visuals showing on the other, so everything I need for that one section are all together and visible at a glance. I recommend indicating on the outside of the baggie/sheet protector how many pieces are supposed to be there, so that you will easily know if one has been misplaced during the lesson)
Story summary on one side

laminated visuals on the other

6. Place all the of the parts of the lesson into a large manila envelope or folder

7. Label the outside of the envelope with the title of the lesson with subtitles for the individual parts. You may also want to include any extra materials that are needed.

8. File them in a box or filing cabinet in an order that makes sense to you. I keep mine in alphabetical order by title to make them easier to locate.

9. Use them and enjoy them!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Farmer's Almanac by Lara

Winter 2010: Snowiest winter in DC history

Summer 2010: One of the hottest summers in DC history

July 16, 2010: Biggest earthquake in DC history (woke Glen, Emma, and I up from a sound sleep, while the rest of the kids slept through it)

I hereby predict that tomorrow it will be hot.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fitness Challenge

Anyone who knows me somewhat well, knows that I've got a bit of a competitive streak. And if you don't know me well, you can just ask Glen about the cold shoulder he gets when he cheats and beats me at Scrabble. Whatever you do you don't want to ask Kristina who might tell you some lie about how I clawed her after losing to her in a battle of "defend the closet", but that's all just lies. I would never have lost to her in a battle involving my fake Guess jeans.
So, about 6 weeks ago my sister started excitedly talking to Glen and I about a fitness challenge she was participating in. Since the prize at the end is bigger with the more people that participate, she put a full-court press on us to join in too.

We hemmed. We made excuses. We flatly told her no.

But somewhere along the way she appealed to our competitive natures and we decided to jump in and win the 12-week-long challenge!

The first couple of weeks were ugly with me being all grumpy at the lifestyle changes I had to make, but now half way through the challenge, I'm finally ready to blog about the challenge minus the attitude.

But wait! I guess I'm getting ahead of myself here telling you how hard it was at first. Maybe I should tell you a little bit more about the challenge before we go there.

Here it is in a nutshell:

Everyone sends in $25 to the pot.

We get points for each of the following challenges:

1. Exercising 30 minutes per day
2. No desserts
3. Reading the scriptures daily
4. No snacking after 7:30pm
5. No soda
6. Weekly challenge that changes each week (no sweets at all, keep a food journal, count calories, etc)
7. Weekly FHE

Each daily success is worth one point with a bonus 7th point possible if you are 100% for all 6 days for that challenge (Sundays are free-for-all days). We have spreadsheets and we keep score. Whoever has the most points at the end gets "the pot", which I believe is something like $400 or so. There is also a smaller monetary award for 2nd prize.

Any long-time readers of this blog, know that I'd already been doing the no dessert thing since February, I don't really like soda, and I love FHE. So for me the biggest challenge was making exercise a part of my daily routine and reading the scriptures individually (since I'd been lazy and counting our family scripture study as good enough).

As mentioned above, that first week was exceptionally rough. The weekly challenge was no sugar at all (a step up from just cutting out desserts). School was still in session, so life was totally chaotic. I had PMS and I was waking up early to exercise, which made me exceptionally tired, achy, and grumpy.

We had just pulled into the drive-through of Chick-fil-A at the end of a challenging day and Glen told me that we probably shouldn't get any sweet and sour sauce with our chicken, since it was too sweet for the weekly challenge. Things get a little fuzzy at that point, but I'm pretty sure that after I stopped hyperventilating and muttering curse words under my breath that I yelled a few choice phrases which may not be fit for my dear blog readers to read.

Thankfully, things got better after that. My competitiveness kicked in. I'm in a routine and now for the first time in years I've put 2 and 2 together. Daily exercise AND healthy diet at the same time (plus scripture study).

I only missed one task on one day, which made me lose 2 points (the daily point and the weekly bonus point), so I think that my chances are already ruined for winning, but Glen and I are already concocting a way that he and I together can continue living the challenge's tenets long after it ends.

By the way, if you're interested in following along with the challenge here's the link to the official Fitness Challenge blog.

PS Does anyone know where I can buy any trick Scrabble tiles that you can flip around to become the letter you need?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Business Plan Guaranteed to Increase Profits by 362% in One Day

This business plan is guaranteed to bring success to the most humble of small businesses...

1. Come up with a brilliant and innovative plan. In this case, it's keeping water bottles in a cooler of ice and just adding a Crystal Light packet to make it lemonade. No fuss. No mess. No cups.

2. Find a willing partner to share the burden. Younger siblings and your BFF make for great company and cheap labor.

3. Look for simple ways to increase your traffic. In this case, it would be to cajole mom into leaving the comfort of the air conditioned house and driving you to a busy intersection where more than 3 cars per hour pass by.

4. Be professional. Just look cute and wave at all the cars that pass by.

5. Look for ways to do good. Hot, sweaty missionaries riding by make perfect charity cases in this kind of business.

6. Don't forget the "little" people. To keep your cheap labor and matronly supervisor happy, make sure they are properly compensated with quarters and/or free samples.

7. Frequent quality checks. Make sure you sample your products frequently to ensure that everything is up to par. You never know when the composition of the Crystal Light + water could drastically change.

8. Choose your location wisely. It's not all about traffic. Large trees or a row of bushes out of sight of the road are invaluable in this type of business where frequent liquid sampling is required.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Glossary of terms:

sil·ly: - ludicrous, foolish, given to frivolity;

bănd: A thin strip of flexible material used to encircle and bind one object or to hold a number of objects together:

sil·ly + bănd: bright colorful elastic bands that come in different shapes and will snap back into shape after being stretched (see illustration); extremely popular amongst children between 5-18, with peak obsession tending around age 7; used as currency in some social circles;

boy: a male child, from birth to full growth, esp. one less than 18 years of age; usually high in energy and low in cleaning factor

mŏm: underpaid, self-sacrificing female adult who nurtures children, husband, and home without thought for reward; usually soft and warm; while no concrete evidence has ever surfaced, circumstantial evidence points to a primitive second set of eyes; short for momma

sil·ly + băndz + boy: known to incite extreme silliness and/or protectiveness; some mild cases of OCD have been associated when other children are involved; greedy consumer of children's tooth fairy monetary funds;

sil·ly + băndz + mŏm: Where did all your money go? Yikes! Your hand is turning purple. Honey, the washing machine filter is clogged...again! Son, you need to take off at least 47 of those before church--please. No I have not seen your rainbow unicorn band.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Way to Go Private

A few weeks ago my brother and sister-in-law announced that they were making their blog private.

People have a lot of reasons for making their blogs private and I understand and sympathize with all of their varying reasons.

But I can't lie.

I hate every single "We're going private" announcement like it's a glass of milk gurgling around in my empty lactose-intolerant stomach. I miss not being able to subscribe to their posts anymore and I'm sad to say that the private blogs are the first ones I "forget" about as soon as life gets busy.

Matt and Karey, though, have found a new way. A brilliant plan that I'm hoping that the whole private world wide web will soon embrace.

Basically what they did is they created a new private blog and transferred all the posts over to it from their old blog.

Then they took off all the posts off the old blog, but kept it functional and told everyone to stay subscribed to it.

Now every time they make a post on their new top-secret blog, they also make a post on their old non-private blog with a link and a teaser to the secret blog.

It's perfect. They keep all their exceeding cuteness top secret and their update teasers get pushed right up to the top of my subscriptions, so they don't get forgotten. :)

Check out this brilliant plan in action here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

8 out of 5 people...

Okay, so maybe 8 out of 5 people won't find this as wildly hilarious as I did, but it's 6 bajillion times funnier than mowing the lawn and pulling weeds in the 98 degree heat, so....

Watch closely at 19 sec. for the guy knocked out by a potted plant. That's about how it feels outside today. :)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cami by the Numb3rs

#1 Awesome Cook
2nd teenager in the house
3+ years in braces + more orthodontics when that's over
4 birthdays in her lifetime that she's actually spent at home
5th grade when she won an essay contest sponsored by the Washington Post
6 dozen cupcakes I brought up to Girls' Camp today
7 days overdue in the middle of a hot steamy Baltimore summer
8 lbs. 15 oz. with the cutest rosy cheeks
9-years-old when she finally outgrew her size 6 clothes
10 months old when she got immunized against the chicken pox the old fashioned way (with a case of the chicken pox)
11 small children (at least) who adore Cami and call her by name. One even calls her "My Cami". She's a popular babysitter.
12 years, 11-1/2 months before she finally got her own room
13 years old today and now she can officially read Twilight!


Today I drove through this beautiful part of Virginia...

so I could visit my birthday girl at Girls' Camp and drop off some cupcakes to help celebrate.
Happy Birthday Sweet Cami!!!!
We miss you.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

High Quality Junk

Guess which East Coast iconic restaurant we introduced the cousins to tonight?

It wasn't too bad (for a burger) and officially declared better than In-N-Out by the Utah cousins.

Now if I could just get those five guys to roll me to my bed....
We'll miss you Alex, Catherine, and Devin!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Cousin Shots: Then and Now

(By the way, I'm still working on the FHE lesson on Pioneers. Hopefully it'll be done some time in the next day or two. Getting back from the beach and entertaining guests has thrown me for a loop. )

1997: Spencer with cousin Devin being all cute and coy on the bed.

2010: Spencer and Devin lying on the gravel at Great Falls, because they'd "shot" each other with imaginary darts. most. ANNOYING. game. EVER

2000: Spencer and Cami with cousins Devin, Catherine, Sebastian all cute and decked out for a big treasure hunt Grandma Sandy planned.

2010: Spence and Cam with Catherine and Devin looking suave and stylish and getting ready to "shoot" each other with more imaginary darts.

2000: Cami giving Catherine a big cheesy grin on the swing.

2010: Tall, sophisticated, beautiful, and on the verge of teenagehood.

Where have all my cute little babies gone? sniff, sniff.....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Monosyllabic Beach Wrap-Up

The following post will be written at the level that my brain is currently functioning. In other words it will be entirely monosyllabic.

Years back, Glen searched on hand and knee for a beach prize so rare, but it proved too vague and he left foiled in his work. His failed quest has been a sore point for all these years, but on a bright sun filled morn last week the beach gave yield to the prize for which he sought. Yay for Glen.

My first-born son had a case of wave torn shorts which gave view to a side of him we wish not to have viewed. It is my joy to tell you that this vile pair has now been tossed and the back side of Spence is once more hid .

The beach house beds squeaked, but we did not care. I liked that we got to rest and wake up when we felt like it and I liked that Glen did not have to work.

I still cooked and cleaned and took care of sick kids, but I liked that we got to laugh and play and have fun and no one had to rush or run. True life seems so hard when passed this fun time so great.
Oh beach, fine beach. We hope to see you next year !

PS I hope to find full use of my brain soon, so I can stop to write in a more straight form so as not to bore, mix up, or put off all you nice blog friends. Wish me luck. :)

Can you leave a word back in the same form as me? It's a bit more of a stretch than you'd think, huh?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Facebook Profile Pics and Status Updates for the Whole Family...

Note: This post is rated "PG" for a wardrobe malfunction.

Glen Hanging out with bro Alex at the beach. The waves are the best yet tonight and the body surfing was epic.

Ellie 101 degree fever and they're still dragging me to the beach. Also lost 2nd tooth, but the tooth fairy didn't know where to find me....again.

Lara's kids are accusing me of being a little snap happy with the camera. I, for one, am proud of my hours spent knee deep in the ocean capturing awesome shots. All with nary a drop of water on my camera.

Spencer My belly is scratched up like hamburger meat, but you can now call me Wave Master of the Universe.

Cami chilling with cuz at the beach and looking cute all the way!

Devin and Catherine (cousins) First time in the Atlantic Ocean and first time seeing fireflies! The East Coast is awesome!

Adam Fever Shmever. I caught at least 97 baby horseshoe crabs today.

Emma is loving the waves, the sand, and all the snacks lying around the beach house.

Bethany Beach is enjoying the view of the moon tonight (and I don't mean the one in the sky).

Disclaimer #1: The last picture has been modified from its original form to be appropriate for all audiences.

Disclaimer #2: The "moonee" and his parents were unaware of his wardrobe malfunction at the time this photo (and several others) were taken. After the little problem was brought to his attention (by several children pointing and laughing ) he took efforts to be a little more modest. He was mildly successful.

Disclaimer #3: No teens were bribed or hoodwinked in the publishing of this post


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