My 3 Monsters: June 2010

Recent Posts


Oh, How I Love You Google

What did we do before there was the internet?  AndGoogle?!  How did we ever find any information.  Ever.  At all.  I've spent the past week or so giving my blog a little face lift -- adding a few elements, tricking it out, etc. -- and every single thing that I have ever done to my blog was thanks to looking for HTML code (or vintage images) on Google.  Every.  Single. Thing.  I do not read HTML code, nor do I write it, but thanks to Google I can cut and paste and modify it with the best of them.  Now, I'm not saying Google is perfect.  It can be overly eager in offering results for your search.  You may have to weed through twenty or thirty (or fifty) links before you find the two with information pertinent to your need.  But find the information you will.  I just love it.  I'm going to be that little old grandma telling her posterity, "I remember when there was no internet . . . "  And guess what.  They'll look at me in horror.  They will.  Because that's how great the internet is.  The end.


Vuvuzela Mania!!

We've been watching some World Cup Soccer around here lately.  And by "we" I mean my Baby Daddy. Perhaps you're already familiar with the sound of professional soccer . . .match (?).  I was not.  There is a constant hum in the stands.  And by "hum" I mean a sound similar to a swarm of a million bees only more irritating.  And it is unrelenting.  A constant hum for the entirety of the . . . competition (?).  That sound comes from a lovely . . .instrument(?) called a Vuvuzela. Guess what sound my family has taken a liking to.  Yep.  The vuvuzela.  Baby Daddy set it as his ring tone.  Sis got the vuvuzela ap for her iPod.  The boys re-create the very same sound using only their sweet little voices. Awesome.  So, I'm asking for a favor here.  Please DO NOT, under any circumstances, call my husband on his cell phone for a while.  Because I am fixing to lose my mind right quickly here.  Thank you.  How long is this soccer . . . sporting activity event (?) supposed to last, anyway?


Under Construction

Please excuse my bloggy dust as I move a few things around and spruce the place up.  I came across this fabulous tutorial at Kevin and Amanda {dot}com and kind of went a little wild with it.  Amanda has such great taste -- everything she touches becomes instantly lovelier.  I, on the other hand, struggle a little bit.   I think I know what I want so I create it, but when I put it up on the blog it looks all wrong.  Too busy.  Just not right.  The interior designer "rules" for mixing and matching patterns clearly do not apply to blog design.  That's why lots of my page elements aren't matching the backgrounds right now and things are looking a little crazy.  I just need to step away from the computer and come back to it another day.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe not.  So, just know that I know my blog is a hot mess right now.  Ok?  I'm walking away from the computer now.


On Doing "Nothing"

I guess I'm just a horrible person to live with.  Or so I hear.  Daily.  I don't allow my children to do anything.  They can't wander around town on foot all day long in the 110 degree heat.  We only go to the water park once a week.  The movies, too.  Just the once.  Every week.  They can only use the computer for an hour a day.  Each.  After that they just have to sit around watching TV all day long while I clean.  All day long.  We never have any fun around here.  In fact, we never do anything.  At all.

Funny, because there don't seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything that I would like to do.  And that's just the things I could do without leaving the house.  Really, there's so much more cleaning I could do, but  I try to limit myself to one task per day, never really getting on top of it.  Because I'm trying to make time for them.  The kids who are home now.  All day long.  I'm amazed at how many good books we're not reading with all this down time we have.    How many projects sit unfinished.  Or unstarted.  That my children have never once asked me, all summer long, if they could bake something.  Or play a board game with me.  Or for me to teach them something new.

I wish I could teach my children the joy of down time.  That when they are sitting around after our daily "event", bored to tears, they could be making their own fun.  Fun that doesn't involve going somewhere or buying something.  They could be feeling pleasure born from learning and creating.  From trying something new.  Or considering something they had never before supposed.  Really mulling it over.  Or the rush, followed by the peace, of emptying your brain onto paper.  Capturing that nagging inner monologue in writing and putting it to bed for a while.  I wish they knew how fleeting this time with their siblings really is.  How quickly they'll grow up and live apart from them.  How great it would be then to just sit and chat with them.  To laugh together for a while.  I wish they could see that when I'm sitting on the couch every morning, I'm not "doing nothing".  I'm soaking them in.  Saving every single memory to recall on a future day when I sit there all alone.

Because, really, most of the time we have in life is "down time".  The routine.  The rut.  The "events" are few and far between.  And if my children could just learn to enjoy a regular day they'd be among the happiest people to walk this earth.  Kids now days (at least my kids now days) always want to be out in the world "doing something".  I wish they could just see that, at least some of the time, they belong at home.  A home that nurtures and soothes.  Someday they'll see that just being in the presence of the ones who love them most is indeed something.  Maybe the best, if not the most exciting, something there is.


YW Theme Printables (Now with NO TYPOS!!!!)

I spent the afternoon creating an LDS Young Women Theme poster for our Young Women's Room at church.  We spent hours the other day cleaning out the closets and purging old junk that past presidencies had left behind and I decided the room could use a little freshening up, too.  Our Young Women President asked me a loooooong time ago to think about redecorating.  I'm embarrassed to say that I am just now getting around to doing it.  I'm just going to print these out at Costco, the main theme in a 20x30 inch poster and the 2010 theme in an 11x14 inch.  I'll frame both in cute, distressed black frames.  Because I put a bit of time into these and because I flatter myself enough to think they're so cute someone else would want them, I linked up my high resolution files for others to download and use.  Just follow the links below each picture and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page that comes up to download the file to your own computer. 

Click here to download in high enough resolution for an 11x14 print.

If you don't want to print them quite so large, you could just right click and save right from this page.  Have a great day!

*Designs created using the glorious free digital scrapbooking kits from*

EDITED TO ADD:  Sooo sorry about the typo in the poster last night.  I don't know how I missed it.  It's all fixed now! {And available on Sugardoodle here.}

I'm linking up again!  Check out all the other great ideas here:

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Last week we kept my friends children overnight so they could have a little getaway.  It was fun to have a babies in the house again, if only for a moment.  Their two year old daughter reminds me so much of Sydney at that age -- all chatty and sweet with a dash of sassy.  As Delia was talking, binky still in her mouth, about visiting the friendly cow and giving him a hug, my heart broke a little bit.  I used to have those conversations with Sis when she was a little chunk-a-lunk who would sit on my lap and chatter away for hours on end.  I miss that.  Kind of.  Our relationship now is equally enjoyable . . . just different.  Case in point:  We were at the store the other day spending her birthday money and as we passed the lingerie department I remembered I needed a new bra.  I asked Sis if we could duck in there really quick, fully expecting her to be mortified at the very thought.  She gladly accepted the idea and began looking at a rack of cute candy-colored bras, presumably for herself.  I was walking among the racks hemming and hawing, not knowing which one to get.  Sis walked up beside me, watched me for a minute, and said in jest, "Maybe you're not emotionally ready for this, Mom.  Maybe we should come back when you're more emotionally open to buying a bra."  WHA . . .?!  I assured her I was "emotionally open" to getting a new bra, I just couldn't decide what I wanted because at my age it's not just about the cute colors.  Ever helpful, Sis jumped right in.  "Well . . . do you want age-defying lift or wireless comfort?  Those seem like your best options."  I thought for a moment.  Both sounded good.  I could use both of those things.  Which was more important?!  "Oh, look!  Here's one with both!"  Sis excitedly held up her find.  This is my baby girl here.  When did she become my bra-shopping friend?  The transition happened so fast. I feel like I blinked and missed it.  Like I went to bed one night with a little girl and woke up the next morning with . . . something else.  Not really a woman, not my peer.  But someone I really enjoy being with.  Someone who can find a dang good bra when she puts her mind to it.  I'm just still trying to process it all -- trying to decide if I'm "emotionally open" to this whole growing up thing.


Dad vs. Food

(Please excuse the horrible cell phone picture.  It's bad.  Real bad.)  We've been watching a lot of the travel channel lately around here.  Why?  My family is obsessed with the show Man vs. Food.  This crazy man travels around the country sampling local favorite in each area he visits.  He always ends the show by taking a huge, and usually hugely disgusting, eating challenge.  We were watching a particular episode recently where Adam Richman, the host, visited a restaurant famous for their pancakes. Big whoop. Pancakes is pancakes, right?  Not so.  At this establishment they cooked bacon and/or sausage right into the pancake.  Then, THEN, they topped off two huge, plate-sized pancakes with two poached eggs and drowned the whole thing in syrup.  Every member of my family sat in stunned silence as Adam ate those delectable pancakes.  And it was then that I knew what had to be done.  Father's Day 2010 . . . the year of the bacon pancake!  We also gave him a ticket to a concert and some shoe polish, but somehow I feel like those paled in comparison to the holy grail of pancake feasts we set before him tonight.  (Yeah, we eat pancakes for dinner here.)  I've been really blessed with a lot of really great men in my life.  Brent, Dad, Don, I love you all.  I wouldn't be who I am, where I am today if not for the love and support of each of you.  Thanks millions for all you've done and all you continue to do.


Art With a Wink

I was so inspired by this cool project at A Penny Saved that I plopped down in front of the computer this lazy Saturday morning and set about creating my own.  We decided not to reuse any of the art that was in our bedroom pre-makeover so I'm slowly figuring out how to fill up the empty walls.  Britt's example was a lovely, inspiring quote.  I liked it.  A lot.  I really did.  But the man of the house thinks the room is becoming a bit too "sweet" for his taste.  He hates the forks I shared yesterday.  He said, "I just don't think they go with what we have in our house."  "How so?", I asked.  "Well . . . because everything else we have is . . . cool."  Hmmmmph!  Whatever.  I'm keeping the forks.  He can have these immortal words from the ever-philosophical Ricky Bobby (Talladega Nights, friends?) on his side of the room.  Because we have nothing if not a sense of humor here.

Shake and bake, baby. 

Check out the Weekend Wrap Up Party:

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The Corner Office

I thought having a "corner office" was supposed to be a sign of success and prestige.  A luxury.  It is, right?  Then why does my little "office" tucked into the corner of my master bedroom feel so . . . not prestigious? 
I've lamented before. A 1300 square foot house affords precious few luxuries of the space variety.  You've all seen my "craft room", right.  While it's not spacious, per se, I think it's quite lovely now.  So, in an attempt to lovely-up my "office" this week I worked on a new take on the old memo board.  I have one of the ubiquitous magnet boards with a distressed black frame which I have used for years.  And loved.  I'm not hatin' on magnet boards here.  But since we redid the bedroom with the pretty board and batten wall treatment I wanted something new.  Something a little cottage-y.  Dare I even say kitschy?  Something to honor the impending release of the latest ubiquitous (twice in one blog post . . . nice!) vampire movie. . .
Come on people . . . Forks?  No?  I scoured my local Goodwill and snatched up all the forks that had any character to them.  Vintage silver would be so much better if you have access to it.  I lined the back of the frames with burlap (to match the floor in the room), glued on the forks with Gorilla glue and embellished away.

(Ignore the odd shape of the frames in the photo -- my camera got dropped the other day and now the lens is all wonky.  I assure you they are square.  Or rectangular, if we're being technical.)  Now I can just stick my random notes, lists, and appointment reminder cards in the tines of the forks.  Tres Magnifique!  And now I love my corner office.  The end.

I'm linking up, friends!

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My 6 Monsters: Now With Twice the Chaos!

We are watching my friends kids overnight tonight.  Three of them, the eldest being the same age as my youngest.  The youngest being four and a half months.   So, yeah.  I'll post about the super cute craft project I've been working on this week tomorrow.  For now, it's me and the kiddos.  And the pizza man who will save my life come dinner time.

In the mean time, here's a sneak peek at some future projects you'll be seeing here:

This lovely "chandelier" was Freecycled to me this past weekend.  The folks who had it before used the term chandelier very loosely.  Still, with a little magic it is going to be lovely in the little sort-of-hallway between our master bedroom and master bathroom.  Just you wait.

This glorious junk dresser was a mere $10 at a thrift store that I happened upon Saturday afternoon.  With a few coats of robin's egg blue paint, fun new knobs, and some moulding it will be a beautiful replacement for the tired old IKEA dresser in our dining room.  Wish me luck!


Pure Elegance

I recently signed up for eMealz, a meal planning service that creates a menu and a shopping list for you each week.  And it's coordinated to the prices and sales at several national food store chains so, theoretically at least, you save money.  I am loving it because one of my most hateful chores is grocery shopping.  I never know what to make.  Either nothing sounds good or everything does. It takes forever to organize myself enough to get to the store.  And when I was couponing . . .fuhgeddaboudit.  I love being able to print out a list and be out the door on grocery day without having to think about much.    But that is all beside the point.  One of our meals last week was "Elegant Pork Chops".  It was just pork chops and rice in a mushroom-y sauce.  Delicious, yes, but elegant?  Hmmmmmm. Maybe if you called the rice risotto (it was kind of creamy and saucy) it would border on the realm of elegance.  We teased about the name of the recipe back and forth the whole hour it was cooking.  We joked as we ate it.  Nearing the end of the meal Brent asked, "Kids, wasn't that the most elegant Sunday dinner mom has ever made?" to which my elder son replied (in all the seriousness his nine years could muster), "My eyes say no, but my mouth says yes!"  Holy moly.  What a troupe of clowns I'm raising here. 

Maybe it wasn't so very elegant, but we decided the recipe was a keeper so I'm adding it to my recipe list.  Try it and impress your family.  Just be sure to wash up the fine china and polish your silver first.  You're gonna' need it.

Little Lord Fauntleroy's Pork Chops

4-6 Boneless pork chops
3T. olive oil
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1-1/2 C. milk
1-1/2 C. instant uncooked rice
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
dash pepper

Preheat oven to 350*.  In a skillet, heat the olive oil and brown chops on each side.  In a 9x13 baking dish, combine all other ingredients.  Mix well.  Top with pork chops and cover with foil.  Cook 45 minutes.  Uncover and cook 5 minutes more.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Et voila!  Your elegance is served.


I Just Have to Laugh

This is what happens when you guest post on a blog significantly bigger than your own.  See that spike on Saturday?  Yep, funny.  This poor little baby of a blog of mine will never have so much company again, but it was fun for a day.  I'm not a statistician.  I don't put a lot of stock in the numbers.  At the end of the day, I don't write this blog for anyone but myself.  (Though the new followers linked up have lead me to some great new blogs and I have loved the kind comments from friends and strangers alike.  Thanks, guys!)  This funny little graph just made me chuckle tonight.  Mostly because I thought I was having a pretty good week, average-page-view-wise last week.  Sometimes it's fun to change perspective and see things as they really are in the grand scheme of things. . .  It keeps me humble.


The Birthday Girls (now with pictures!!)

Sissy is turning twelve today.  Twelve.  That's a lot of years for a young, fun, hip, young mom like me to have had a daughter.   That's a lot of hugs and a lot of tears.  A few bad days and a whole lotta' good ones. The older she gets, the more I realize how much I don't know.  How much I never did know. How uncool it is to refer to yourself as "hip".   All I know is that twelve years ago today, I won the daughter lottery. It was an emotional windfall that has only increased in rewards over time.  Yeah, I'm lucky (and cheesy) like that.
Did I ever mention that Sis and Cassie have the same birthday? Weird, huh?  Cass also has a cowlick and a personality as big as the day is long . . . just like Sis.  (Also, they both cried all night long for their first several months in our home. I'm just sayin'. ) It's like they were born to be together.  So today as the boys and I are making some kind of sweet, cake-y monstrosity to celebrate Sis's arrival in our lives, Sis will be making her own treat for her Sassy-gog.  Because I happened upon this fun blog post over at From Glitter to Gumdrops  just in the nick of time last night.  Puppy Cuppies?!  Muy Divertido!! Thanks, Christy, for sharing your recipe.

And since we seem to be on an "establishing traditions" kick this summer, I'm posting the recipe here for my future reference.  Plus, I'm not saying I'm gonna eat one, but a person could. Hypothetically.  And they sound kinda' good. Whatever.


Mix: 3/4 c. whole wheat flour, 1/8 c. oatmeal, 1 t. baking powder, 1 t. baking soda, 1/4 c. plain yogurt, 1/4 c. water, 1/8 c. vegetable oil, 1 T honey, 1 egg, 1/2 c. grated cheese. (Some of the recipes also called for 1 med. apple, minced, but I didn't have it on hand, and so....they went without, nobody complained.)
Bake for about 14 minutes in a 375 degree oven.


Mix 8 oz of lowfat cream cheese (softened), 1 T. plain yogurt, 1 T. honey.

(She decorated hers with a cute little bone-shaped dog biscuit dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles.  I'm probably not that fancy, but follow the link to see her picture.  Pure cuteness.)

Here's that fun little wallet I was working on the other night . . .
It's a makeup bag for my beautiful-without-makeup-daughter who wants so badly to grow up.  I told her she could wear makeup when she turned twelve a long time ago when twelve seemed like a very far-off age.  We just got her a few things -- some powder, a lip gloss, mascara -- only the basics.  Because, really, if you have a complexion like hers you don't fix what's not broken.  Happy Birthday, baby!
(Also, I made an actual wallet for myself.  Brown and green. So fun.)



(I'm imagining the song from Fiddler on the Roof right now . . . )  Every so often something happens that changes the course of your family life forever.  Sometimes it's a big something, like an illness or a lost job.  We've had those somethings.  Other times it is something very small.  A simple act.  An off-hand comment that burns itself into the memories of your children so thoroughly that instantaneously a tradition is formed.  That kind of something happened for us this weekend.  Thursday night I lost a fabric flower that I needed for a cute little wallet I was sewing.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  I whined about it so much that Brent joined in the investigation.  We were both perplexed.  In a moment of desperation I offered to buy anyone who could find it a drink at Circle K the next morning.  Two of my children immediately jumped off the couch and returned with the flower in hand so fast that I still wonder if they hadn't hid it from me for just such a purpose.  The next morning  -- it was really mid-morning, after I had gone to the gym -- like brunch time -- we hopped in the car to make good on my promise.  While D was filling up his 44 oz. Icee (Mother of the year, right here. What what!)  Sis and I noticed the blueberry cake donuts in the case on the counter.  Blueberry cake donuts?  Yes, please.  So, we were driving home, each sipping on a highly sugared beverage with a donut in our hand, and I flippantly said, "Hey kids, this is the breakfast of champions right here,"  and thought nothing more of it all day.  Until the first thing D said to his dad when he got home from work that evening was, "Guess what?!  Mom bought us the Breakfast of Champions today!"  As if his father would know what he was talking about.  As if it were a delicious meal that everyone in the world but him had been enjoying for the entirety of his 8 years 5 months and 2 days.  We had a good laugh when I explained that, no, I had not bought a box of Wheaties --our children should be so lucky.  But here's where I knew I was really in trouble.  Almost as soon as I woke up Saturday morning I was bombarded by requests from my youngest son to "go get the Breakfast  of Champions again".  He was relentless.  And I complied.  And that is why I have to get up every morning to go to the gym.  The end.


How Fun is This?!


Today I am doing my first- ever guest post on the fabulous craft and decorating blog, Under the Table and Dreaming.  I have lurked in the internet shadows stalking this really cool blog for some time now so you can imagine my surprise when Stephanie Lynn e-mailed me last night offering me this opportunity.  I'm geeking out about it a little bit here, really.  I shared my Funky Wall Art idea over there.  You should go check it out to see her version of the project (stunning, of course) and while you're there check out Stephanie Lynn's classy and stylish decor ideas.  A couple of my recent favorites are the Oversize Wooden Abacus (I so need one in my living room) and the Cereal Box Sunburst Mirror (you won't believe it).  And her kids' playroom is to-die-for gorgeous.  Seriously, go check her out.  Thanks for this fun opportunity, Stephanie Lynn!


Excuse Me if I Gave You the Wrong Impression

Talking to my oldest son this morning, I was amazed at how he and I could view the exact same scenario with such vastly different eyes.  He said to me, "Mom, I don't know how you do it.  I get up at 6:30 in the morning and I am exhausted.  All I want to do is lay on the couch. But you get up and your all smiling and say 'Let's have family prayer!' and 'I'm going to the gym!'  I just don't get it!"

So, my first thought was: If you're so exhausted at 6:30, why do you get up?!  Why not roll over and sleep some more?! 

Then, my second thought was:  I'm so glad he thinks I'm so happy in the morning.  What a blessing that he can't hear my inner monologue grumbling, "Ugh!  I hate waking up.  I just want to go back to bed.  Why do I have to be so fat.  If I was thin I could sleep in and not go to the gym.  I REALLY want to go back to bed.  Working out bites.  Do we really have to say family prayer today?  Maybe if the kids aren't up we can just skip it.  CRAP!  Why are the boys up so early?  I may have my workout clothes on, but I could still just get back into bed. Fine!  GEE!  I'm up.  I'll go work out.  How early can I go to Circle K and get a Coke without looking like a desperate junkie?" 

I was just so glad my little boy thought of me as a happy mom that it didn't even bother me when he went on to say, "Your pills must really work good now!"  Yes, son, they do.  Whatever it takes, you know. 


How is it Possible . . .

. . . that I could live in the great outdoors and sleep in a yucky old cabin for five days with nary a bug bite to speak of and then, in the comfort of my own home, get stung by a bee in bed last night?!  You heard me!  I got stung by a bee lurking between the sheets of my bed as I was drifting off last night.  Talk about your rude awakenings.  Guess who has two thumbs and will be making her bed everyday from now on?

                                                        This girl!!!


Happy National Donut Day!!!!

Fact: Everyone loves a good, warm, melt-in-your-mouth, glazed donut. 
Fact: It's my husband's fondest dream to open a donut shop of his own. 
Fact:  Donuts are not good for you, even though people in the 50's would have liked you to believe so.  They are, however, good to eat.

So pick up a dozen to share with family and friends in honor of this special day.  You know you want to . . .


Back in a "Flash"

We're home from Girls Camp!!!!!  Hooray!!!!!  I really think this was my favorite year yet.  My girls all got along (for the most part) and we had a great time together.  Sydney had a blast -- the archery, the dancing, the skits, the obstacle course . . . . Especially the obstacle course where she fell into the "Pool of Peril" instead of swinging over it and they renamed it "Sydney Harbor" in her honor.   Super fun.  We hiked. We laughed. We cried. We froze our little booties off.  I braided hair.  I wiped tears.  I re-braided hair. I danced like a dork and embarrassed my girls. (Though I know they really loved it or they wouldn't have kept coming back for more.)   The girls learned how to "Find the Hero Within" by reaching out to others and using their unique talents and gifts to bless the live of those around them.  As "The Flash"  my girls learned to run, not walk, away from sin just as Joseph ran from the advances of Potipher's wife. And that a virtuous young woman who keeps herself free from sin is the most precious thing in this world -- even more precious than rubies (or "diamond" Swarovski crystals, which is what I found to put on the necklaces I made for them).  I wouldn't trade the last five days with my daughter and my "cabin daughters" for anything in the world.  (But I'm glad to be home where it's not a quarter mile walk in the dirt to use the restroom in the middle of the night and I can shower more than once every five days.)

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