Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guardians of the Hearth

This months visiting teaching message really hit home for me for so many reasons. The lesson was entitled, "Guardians of the Hearth"

I read this message so many times during the month but I thankful that by the time my partner and I could met up to go visiting teaching the spirit was able to break through to me and teach me what I needed to know. 

In 1995 President Hinckley gave the world the "Proclamation to The World" during the Relief Society Meeting. After reading the Proclamation he stated to the women, "You are the bearers of the children. You are they who nurture them and establish within them the habits of their lives. No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God". 

Sister Thompson was in the audience when she heard the Proclamation. At the time she was not married and did not have children so she thought that this message didn't apply to her. But just as quick as that thought entered her mind another message entered her mind that this message did pertain to her. She was a daughter, sister, aunt, niece, sister, cousin and part of God's family. So she had a responsibility to help strengthen other families. 

This hit me right in the face. I am a mother, daughter, wife, niece, cousin, sister, and an aunt. But beyond that I am part of God's family. As being a part of God's family I have a responsibility to help strengthen other families. I may be prompted to make a meal, sending an email, mail a card (who doesn't like getting mail that it's bills) or calling someone to see how they are doing. 

I realized that I am a list person. I write my daily "To-Do" list with things that I need to do. On an average day I'll have about 10-15 things on my list along with the normal day-to-day living of dishes, diapers, etc.

Anyways with my list I always have some sort of service that I get prompted to do but then I get caught up with all my "to-do's" and unfortunately my service comes last or just doesn't happen. 

But the last part of the visiting teaching message really pulled it all together. Sister Thompson says, "The greatest help we will have in strengthening families is to know and follow the doctrines of Christ and rely on Him to help us." 

So this meant to me that I need to make sure I am keeping my spiritual needs met. Heavenly Father has given us so many tools like reading scriptures, going to the temple, attending church, partaking of the sacrament, paying tithing, etc. All will help keep my "Light of Christ" burning bright so I can first feel the spirit testify to me how I am to be a Guardian. 

So with that I wanted to make something not only for myself but for the sisters that I visit teach.  I made these...
I picked up some candle holders at the D.I. for 50 cents each and I already had some etching creme. So I used some of Mike's painters tape, wrote my message out on the tape, and used my wonderful exact-o knife to cute out the letters. 

Each candle says "Guardians of the Hearth" with a small tea light candle to represent the Light of Christ that everyone carries.
I added a small copy of a subway art version of the Proclamation that I found on Pinterest 
Proclamation to the World

I know as a mom that I am the bearer of my children. I am the one who nurtures my children and establishes within them their habits of their lives. But a huge lesson that  I realized from this month's visiting teaching message was that I am the Guardian of my Hearth (definition "family life at home) .  No other work, not even a job at Target :-), reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God. So this is why my place is at home. Being a homemaker is much more than list and diapers. It's doing God's work. 

So with stating that- we might be tight on money. But my spirit hasn't been more at peace than it has right now. And I know that the Ensign messages touch each person differently. The spirit tells you what you need to hear. I hope to not offend anyone who might come across this post; this post and it's message is all my opinion. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kung-Fu FHE

So with so many things just falling apart around us our family started to be in a real funk. So Mike and I pulled out the big guns to get some cheer back in our house. So tonight we made Family Home Evening SUPER AMAZING!!!!


The kids had no idea what we were doing. For FHE we talked about the reason why we had FHE. We read scriptures, sang a song, and talked about how FHE help families stay happy. After we talked for a minute Mike and I felt the kids understood what we were talking about. So we started the activity part of FHE.

Earlier that day I received a free Redbox code so Mike picked up Kung-Fu Panda 2 for us.


I made Chicken Stir Fry for dinner. I know Mike said I should of made noodles but I knew that wouldn't fill up my family.
But the kids enjoyed it. After everyone was done with dinner I pulled out these....
Target had these on markdown a while back from about $2.50 each. So I picked up 4 and tucked them away for our next themed movie night. Everyone was so excited to get a Warrior pack that within minutes ninja stars were flying pass my face.

Every time someone started fighting in the movie the kids would play along and pretend to be fighting some evil villain. We had so much fun that I actually forgot all the trials we're currently in for that little while.

The kids laughed so much that I can still hear their squeals from when they were jumping from the couch onto the floor trying to copy the famous ninja kick. It was nice to have a reminder that even though things are tough for the moment we still need to smile. And that's what we did tonight. :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Broke Down

Yesterday was the day of all days. If this week already hasn't been the worse ever Mike was driving to talk to a guy about a job when our van broke down. And not a small tear broke but BROKEN DOWN to the engine where he has to tear down to the engine to even find out the problem.

So he was stuck at a downtown gas station. Called me up and was angry. But of course he was...I would be too. Satan has been doing this absolute best to keep us down. And up until today he was very successful.

So while Mike tried to do a quick fix on the van so he could get home. I prayed. I prayed so hard that I was crying. I was over my sink, washing dishes, talking to my Father in Heaven, crying my heart out to please help us. To have mercy on us and please help us. That I understand that this trial is a lesson for Mike and I and I don't want to take away from this lesson BUT please help us. If he can't help us find work, or can't help us with our finance, then please help me with my testimony. To please help my faith grow from this experience.

After I washed all my dishes with my tears I called Mike to see if he was able to do a quick fix. He told me that the manager from the gas station was driving him to Auto Zone so Mike could pick up a few things. While driving Mike and this man talked and found out he lives in our neighborhood and he knows our old bishop. So even though our van broke down God guided Mike to this gas station, to this man who was willing to leave his job to help Mike.

Mike made it home safely. But while driving back home some things were damaged in our van . So now Mike is fixing it all. But this moment was the first of many blessings that God gave us.

I called my mom for some help since I was running low on diapers. After looking I only had about 3. I was planning on going to the store before all this happened. But she wasn't able to help out. But then after I hung up the phone with her my Relief Society President called me to see how I was. She offered to take me to my job interviews if our van was still broke. But after telling her about my diapers situation she came over about 30 minutes later with 2 packages of diapers and a meal for me. A gluten free meal! I had a casserole in the oven so that pasta meal is going to be our dinner today. She even picked up some GF cookies for Cati. This is our 2nd blessing.

Then I texted a friend of mine for some help with getting Mason to school and she gladly accepted taking him to school and driving him home. So this is blessing #3.

Blessing #4- Mike and I go to a class every Tuesday night. But not having a vehicle I called our instructor and told her that we wouldn't be able to make it. And since we go to this class every week we have a neighbor/friend who helps us find sitters. I called her to advise her to call whoever's turn it was to pass it along that we weren't making it tonight. But she offered us her car for the night so we can make it to class. We accepted gladly and were so grateful that she would let us use her car.

Blessing #5- Mason is part of a carpool a few days a week. So today was a lady whom I visit teach and has become a great friend to me as she dropped off Mason she seen Mike working on the van.  A few hours later I noticed that she called me so when I returned her call she told me that her and her husband were going out of town until next week and if we wanted to use her car until then. We were so touched by her and her husbands generosity. We grateful accepted.

Borrowing her car has helped us so much. We let our neighbor know we that we didn't need her car. But I'm sure Heavenly Father will bless them for even offering it to us. But now with this car we not only went to class. Mike is able to go to the store for the parts that he needs and doesn't have to wait for one of his friends to get home from work. I can go to my interview later this week. Hailey can go to her doctors appointment. I am so grateful that we have such a wonderful  friends and an amazing ward that when someone see a need and they serve immediately.

Of course I took this moment and talked with the kids about finding ways to serve others. Even if they are busy packing for a trip ( Blessing #5) or are taking care of their kids ( Blessing #2) or if all they can do is give a ride (#3) then that's what they are to do. That Heavenly Father will show you people who need your help and it's your choice to give it or to do it later. And we talked about how I prayed for help and then all these people offered us help. I told them that if you need help, as long as you ask God for help, since he loves you he will bring you the help. The kids really appreciated everyone's service..... but I think they really appreciated the cookies the best! :-)

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Leonardo

Since it's a holiday weekend I took myself off this laptop (from job hunting) and planned a date for Mike and I. We had a gift certificate for The Leonardo so we dropped off our 2 little ones and enjoyed this weird museum.

 I love art! Mike loves science and technology! So I thought that this museum would be a right mix for both of us to enjoy. But if this is what our 2 passions look like- then we'll keep them separate. There was plastic pieces warped to show algae. Google Map center to show the different cities in Utah. A movie staring chairs. All alittle too "out-there" for us.

But there was an activist photo gallery that showcased photos from the 60's during the civil rights movement. It was extremely touching looking at these photos that captured strength that African-Americans had during this period. Here's Mike with his favorite photo. Mike's a big fan of Gandhi. And a while ago we had a FHE about Martin Luther King so he really liked how Martin Luther King was following Gandhi's example as well.

Anyways back to the museum there was a small station that showed how life would be like with living with a prosthetic arm or leg. So we tried that out.

Mike did actually well making a tower with the hand-thing.

After all was done and seen we left and headed to McDonald's for a nice sweet treat. Total date was under $8. Not bad :-)

I love going out with my hubby. So I guess being unemployed has it's upsides since we get to spend more time with each other.

Let's get it out there.....

Mike lost his job! OK after the initial shock fades away lets get down to the facts.

We have 4 kids. No income. A small savings that will soon disappear since we have so many medical needs in our house. A home that we really love and will do everything we can to stay here. And the economy sucks! No matter what Obama or Yahoo News says it is still very hard to get a job now a days.

Since Mike came home with the news (wed.) I have been non-stop networking, emailing, updating resumes in hopes that he'll find a job soon. In fact I've been putting in application in as well. 

The 2 nights ago it really hit me. As we were eating dinner I looked over at my kids and the movie, "Cinderella Man" came to my head. In the movie they have a beautiful home, great clothes, a tightly rolled bundle of cash in his hand then the scene shows them in a run down shack, eating a slice of bologna for breakfast, and refilling the milk containers with water.

I know this isn't us. We are very fortunate to have 2 things. Unemployment and Faith!

Several weeks ago Mike recieved the impression that it's time for him to move on from his job. Mike has been at his recent employer for 2 years. For those 2 years is was a struggle every single day for him. The enviroment was unhealthy for him. He work was great, the pay was great, but the people....not so great. But for the last few months Mike's learned to not let their attitudes effect his behavior. Seems simple right? But it was alot harder than you think to stay happy when the people around you are so negative. But Mike found a way to not let them or anyone else in that matter effect him. He learned to....

Glorify God in all his doings. 

This simple little phrase helped him in more ways than I can count. So it was no wonder that he received this prompting that it was time to leave his job. So with this little phrase it's helped us know that Heavenly Father will help us. That God won't give us more than we can handle. So to everything that I said earlier...

We have 4 kids who are going to learn how to be resourceful. I knew people who were the children born from people who lived during the Great Depression. They have more skills than I could ever imagine. They learned to save and how to re-use everything. That you keep reusing something until there's nothing left to it. So our kids will be the children raised from the Great Recession. They will know how to have fun while only spending a $1 for all of us. They will learn to sew, mend, re-purpose, re-use, etc. Since Mike and I are the one's who make the habits of your children then they will learn some great resourceful skills.

We might not have an income but God will provide for us. Mike will get unemployment, we have our tax returns coming soon, and he's had to cash out some company investments so soon we'll have enough money to carry us for maybe 2 months. This will be a blessing.

 For our home-it's our home. If we need to move due to not affording it then we have to move. Our address doesn't make or break our family. And yes- the economy sucks. But all it really is is a numbers game (as long as we're not picky...which we're not!) The more applications you send out the best chance you will find some type of employment. So as long as we're diligent and keep applying we'll find something.

So I guess after letting it all out... we're going to be OK.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kids Party

This year for Valentines Day Mike and I held a party.
So we cleaned the house, vacuumed everything, locked a few doors and had 17 kids and just us 2 adults. Some might of thought we were crazy or over-our-heads. But Mike and I- we had so much fun!

But before the party the kids had Valentines parties at school. Here's Mason with his valentines box. Mike helped him make it the night before.
 Hailey had a party in her class. So right when she walked in the house she opened her bag of goodies and she shared her candy with Cati since she and Lily don't get to go parties. Thought....maybe next years party we'll hand out Valentines cards for those who don't go to school.
 But then 5 o'clock came and.....no one showed :-) Everyone was 15 minutes late. Mike and I laughed that everyone showed up exactly 15 minutes late. But then the fun began!

There was swinging....

 Laughing...TONS OF LAUGHING!!!!
 Sock puppets...
 Some chasing......

 More swinging.....
 And here's my helper Lily. She helped serve everyone drinks when it was dinner time.

 Movie time.....We rented Cars 2 from Redbox. 

 Our little Cati.... she's so cute!

She loved going down her slide.
 I know this photo isn't the best....But see her huge smile :-) That's so adorable to see her enjoy herself so much.

The party was actually pretty easy. We had everyone play for the first hour. Then at 6 we called everyone into the family room for dinner. We had Cati and a few other kids sit at the table so they could eat their gluten free pizza would not being contaminated. While all the other kids at on the floor. We enjoyed some healthy snacks and topped it off with some not-so-healthy Lilt Caesar pizza. After everyone wiped their hands down so no one touched Cati they all  went back to playing. Some in the slide, some in the clubhouse, some played the Wii.

Then it was movie time. We pulled out our popcorn machine; which all the kids thought was really cool that we even had a popcorn machine. But while the older kids watched the movie the younger kids (3 and under) went back to the tree house room. They enjoyed themselves :-)

But then it was time for parents to start coming so we gathered all the kids to the family room and tried to track down their socks and shoes. Which I still ended up pairing up incorrectly. Oh well.... all the kids kept saying that they had so much fun at the kids party. When the last kid was picked up our kids were asking to go to bed. Within 2 minutes they were in dreamland.

And Mike and I- we fall onto the couch and ........
started planning next years party. Yeah- we all had so much fun that we want to throw another one next year. So with a few modifications it should be even better. But it was a great Valentines Day.

PS. Mike and I did exchange gifts. I gave him a silly gift box with some treats and debit cards. He thought it was funny. And Mike gave me a giant chocolate bar, roses, and his helping hand for this party. :-) Which I thought was the best gift of them all. Happy Valentines Day everyone! :-)

What happens when a painter and carpenter fall in love?

Alot of Before and After photos....

Before.... Cati and Hailey's room
After.... Hailey now has a bedroom nook in one of the closets
Hailey has a top shelf with some bins for her clothes. A couple of shelves for all her knick knacks. A nice full size bed with all her pillow pets and teddy bears on it. And underneath she has a club house with a huge pillow and her box of toys.
Mike made the ladder gate for her and the frame for her bed.

 I painted it with the inspiration from those black and pink wallpapers (above) people can put on their blogs, MySpace, or cell phone. I told Mike I remember these from when I was a kid so I thought she would love it as well. And she did- she loves it all!

And the AFTER for Cati and Lily....

 Mike made them a bunk bed with a ladder and an awesome slide. They each have their dressers attached to their bunk bed. Underneath the bed they each have a corner for their toys. I painted the room to look like a treehouse. Mike and I always wanted a treehouse when we were kids so this just fit perfectly!

So all 3 girls are in 1 room now. But then again the way we did it we made 2 rooms from 1 bedroom. It works for us.

And I don't have a before photo of Mason's room since he and Lily shared it for alittle bit. Then Mike and I made the nook with Mason in the same room with Hailey. Then it didn't feel appropriate since Mason is entering the pre-teen stage so we changed it all and put him in his own room. 

So this is his AFTER photo...
 This room took us around 8 hours to complete. Mike made those brick shelves to look like the bricks from the game. And made Mason his bed frame from some wood blocks.

And the rest of the room  was me and tons of paint. I seen that you can buy these decals from anywhere $25-75. So I used all those art lessons that my parents gave me to paint Mason all these pictures.

Mason was so happy when he seen this room. And I had so much fun painting all of this. Mike helped me realize that the reason why we redecorate so often is because we both have these skills that we hardly ever get to put to use so we find ways. That I miss painting so a couple of times a year I just have to paint. So I have tons of canvases in my house (aka the walls) so I just grab a brush and go at it. And Mike's the same way. He has the talent of design and carpentry that he just needs to make something other than fixing those little boring things in our house.So I am very thankful to have a spouse who understands this urge I get. 

So what happens when a painter and a carpenter fall in love? Inspiration! 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Er' Thang

Er' thang was the first slang word that Mike thought me. It means "Everything" so here's er'thang with our family for the week.

* Mason and Hailey had parent teacher conference last week.

Hailey is doing great. (The grade scale is based on 1,2,3's. 3's being like A) So she received mostly 3's on her progress report. She had a couple 2.50's mostly due to missing a number on her address or writing a letter backwards. But the main concern was that she is saying a few sounds incorrectly. But for not having her hearing aid until now the teacher, Mike, and I were very impressed that she's done so well without hearing most of it. So with the help of her hearing aid she should have a better report card next term. Great job Hailey!

Mason entered school right in the middle of term so his grades were given much leeway at this PTC. Mason received  3's in his favorite subjects. He also had a few 2.50's but the sad news is that he received 3- 1's. Well in all honesty his teacher said that he would of received like .50 for these subjects but didn't want that to show up on his permanent record so she left these subjects blank. We were all very thankful for this. Mike and I talked with Mason that everyday he's going to have to work on these 3 subjects so on the next report card he'll have better grades on them. So everyday he's working on his keyboarding, cursive writing, and his math. But we're very proud of him for doing this well after only being in school for such a short while before the report cards were produced.

* Something else.....One afternoon I walked into the kids bathroom and found this! Lily didn't like how her hair was getting into her eyes. So instead of telling me so I can trim her bangs she took matters into her own hands.
 This hair was not all of it. I found hair in the garbage can, on the floor, and in the shower. So the next day I took her to get her first haircut. I know, she's 3 and she's never received a haircut. I just give her a haircut since she only likes one style, which is her bob, since she dislikes her hair touching her neck and wants her hair out of her eyes.

Here she is after her haircut. The stylist was really patient with Lily. But that doesn't mean that Lily was patient with the stylist. I had to bribe my daughter to even let the woman cut her hair since she was feeling those tiny little hairs on her neck which caused her to freak out.  So we're at the McDonald's inside Wal-Mart.
 After I ordered her an ice cream sundae she finally took her hood off so I can snap this photo of her hair. Short, Sweet, and layered to hide all those mis-matched spots where she cut.
 The look of delight from a bride!

* Something else..... 2 weeks ago I helped out in nursery. Which I was really delighted since I was able to spend more time with Ducati. But when I was there I was bothered to find out that since there's no permanent teacher in her class; there's only floaters who change every couple of weeks; no one knew that Ducati had Celiac.

Mike and I have been racking our brains trying to figure out how she was getting gluten when we've cleaned out house from top to bottom. But then after today I found the source- CHURCH! I was in complete panic mode when I seen all the cross contamination in her class. The soaps, the crumbs, the table with left over snacks that the kids can just grab.....(frustration*) But I was also very thankful that I received that call so I was able to see her and her class room environment. The next day I went to dollar tree and picked up some small containers and wrote this on them...
 The following Sunday, last week, I wrote out a letter to the teachers that is being kept in their lesson box so whomever is in the room will see and be able to read all the facts on Ducati's Celiac.

Here's Cati with her snack pack. Every week I plan to make her her gluten free snack for nursery so ensure that she's kept safe.She was so excited to be taking her snack pack with her last week. She felt like such a big girl!

 * Something else....our girls are really loving this fish tank! They stood in front of it for about 30 minutes while Mike went to see the doctor. He's been in pain for a few days so he went to the InstaCare a few days ago.
 That's where he learned that he torn his tendons off his sternum. Ouch! So all he can do is get some R&R and not lift anything over 20lbs. So he can't even lift Ducati for a week since she's around 24 lbs.
(staring contest. Cati's so funny)
 So Mike is off work for a week to give him time to heal. But after talking to his boss and being honest of how and when it accident occurred his bosses put him on "Off Duty" so that he can still get paid. We're are very thankful to hear this. I admit I was alittle worried; 7 days off work can put a real damper on our budget.

* Something else....
 I love the neighborhood that we live in. Everyone is so friendly towards us. So friendly that we will often be given some sort of baked treat. Previously I would accept it. Mason, Hailey, Lily, and I will eat it and I'll make something else for Ducati and Mike. But then I got to thinking...that it wasn't not only fair but it was border line selfish to take something meant for the family but not everyone could eat it. So I made this window sign that says

"No Thanks :-) We are Gluten Free"

It's not meant to be rude towards others generosity. I just want to keep my family safe. So I'm really liking this new home boundary that we have.

*Something else....

Our house is feeling alot of love right now. For the past 3 Valentines I've dread this day. I don't feel that it's a consumer based holiday. I actually like Valentines Day. I've just had some past issues that bring up some bad memories with this day. So this year our family is re-inventing this Valentines Day. No more romantic, mushy-gushy holiday. This year I'm focusing on the silly kid like feeling that most people get when in love. So this year our family is having a kids party! I made an invite, posted on our neighborhood babysitting forum and so far there's going to be 15 kids in our house for a few hours while their parents get a night of romantic mushy gushy love.

So for the past few days the kids and I have been decorating our house so the spirit of Valentines can dwell here. We  had fun making valentines hearts and making other party decor. It's been really great that I'm getting really excited for this years Valentines  Day.

Well I think that's Er'thang for the moment. Well at least er'thang that comes to mind right now.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Blue and Gold

Last night Mason had his Blue and Gold Scout meeting and it was really fun. Mike went into work late since Mason was getting his Bear Badge tonight so we all were able to make it.

But part of the evenings entertainment was a cake decorating contest! I know.....This contest was so in the bag! Well that's what we thought so I helped Mason make his cake entry but I did NOT do it myself.

I helped with the baking and cutting of it. But he did most of the frosting. But here's our cake end result

OK I also did the border and wrote BSA to cover up a few spots. But most of what makes cake decorating beautiful is covering up those cake flaws. But either way we still WON! Mason won the Most Scoutiest Cake! He was pretty excited! He said he never wins anything so he was really excited and thankful that I helped him.

So after the awards were given out, the cakes were judged, the dinner that was provided was all back into the kitchen- the tables went up and the kids went crazy playing so many games.
But when most kids seen that there was a cotton candy machine most the lines for the games went empty while all the kids were in this line. But since it was around 7:30 we left. 90 minutes of Boy Scout fun was enough for our kids. Plus Mike needed to get to work. But tonight was an extremely fun night for both Mason and all of us. :-)