Saturday, January 31, 2009

YIP-PEE

It was another wonderful slow Saturday morning where I woke up to the sounds of my boys cooking in the kitchen. This morning though the conversation was super cute to listen in on. There were pancakes on the griddle and Elijah and Sam were getting all excited because they were almost done. Elijah I'm sure was doing his excited wiggle jump on the chair and was saying "Yipee". I guess Sam thought that was great and wanted in on the action. This led to Elijah teaching Sam how to say Yipee...

"Sam you say 'YIP'"

"ZIP"

"Pee"

"Pa"

"No Sam. PEE"

"Pa"

"YIP-PEE, Sam"

"ZIP-PA"

"Look Dad, I taught Sam how to say Yipee!"


Super Super CUTE!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grateful

I am grateful for sunshine in January and snowfall in the mountains.

I am grateful that my two boys are good friends and are cuddled together sleeping in the same bed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

14 Days of Valentines

I was thinking the other day and figured out that Josh was my first true Valentine. It is also true that that first Valentine's day(s) he won me over big with the 14 Days of Valentine's, a tradition he carried over from his mom and that still continues between Josh and I. Much like the 12 days of Christmas, the 14 day's of Valentines is a daily expression of the holiday for the 14 days of February leading up to Valentine's Day. For two weeks you have the opprotunity to express your love everyday in extra ordinary ways. I highly recommend it!

This year Josh's mother has jumped on the blog bandwagon (with a little help from her daughters and myself) and has created a Valentine's Day blog where she shares the many creative ideas she has come up with throughout the years of celebrating the 14 Days of Valentines.



Check out her blog and the plethura of ideas she has then try out the tradition yourself! It doesn't have to be fancy or cost a lot of money, just a little time and creativity.

Go grab a button and spread the love!

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's a Zoo... or maybe a Farm?

Over the past week or so Elijah has been going through a phase where he has been acting like a dog. Complete with barking, crawling on all fours, licking, panting, and sleeping on the floor. He has gotten Sam in on the action so I've had two little dogs running around the house. The other day they got themselves breakfast and had started licking it out of their bowls on the kitchen floor by the time I got to them.

Yesterday, though, the game changed and I am now the mother of two baby pigs. Elijah squeeks and squeals and Sam goes around saying "uck, uck" (his version of oink). Their beds are pig stys and their oatmeal is pig slop. Elijah was even acting like a pig at preschool yesterday.

I have some imaginative, silly little boys on my hands. They make life interesting and fun.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gratitude Moment

Today I am grateful for:

  • Josh being swamped at work because his qubits are looking promising--maybe even "very" promising--maybe
  • The boys going to bed easily tonight when I was doing it solo
  • For the internet that allows me to stay in contact with my family and friends and also provides a place for me to learn, try and share new things.

My Own Custom Template: Made By ME!

So my project for the last few days has been to create and figure out how to do my own template. There are some great resources out there that have taught me how to manipulate, add to and change the html in a blog. You may have been checking in on my blog the last couple of days and seen something random for a minute or two... that was me testing the results. Anyway, if you are reading this you are seeing the final result --for now. I may play around with it a bit more. Do you like it? Is it readable? Improvements?

If you desire to have your own custom template it's not that difficult. You will need a photo editing program like Photoshop, digital scrapbooking papers and elements, and a photobucket.com account.

I have an old version of Photoshop Elements that did the job well. The Cutest Blog on the Block says you can also use less pricy programs like "Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft PowerPoint, or a very cool program you can download for free online from a site called Paint.net"

As for digital scrapbooking paper and elements there are many availible for download for FREE, which is what I did. There are also kits that you can buy for a minimal charge. Check out these sites for details. I personally got my paper from the Shabby Princess.

www.shabbyprincess.com
www.designerdigitals.com
www.digitaldesignessentials.com
www.digitalscrapbookplace.com
www.scrapgirls.com
www.scrapbookflair.com
www.sweetshoppedesigns.com
www.twopeasinabucket.com
www.littledreamerdesigns.com

After you have downloaded your papers and embelishments (and unzipped them) you are ready to use them in your photo editing program. Shabby Princess has great video tutorials on how to do this and Cutest Blog on the Block has some step by step suggestions. Cutest Blog on the Block also has suggestions as to page size and resolution.

Once you have your image the way you want your background to look save it as a .jpg or .gif. You are now ready to upload it to photobucket. You need a photobucket account so that you can utilize them to get the html code for your image that you will need to add into your blogger template html.

The exact place to put the html is explained in the steps on Cutest Blog on the Block. You must have your blogger template in "minima" for it to work.

Are you totally confussed yet?

I have also come across helpful information at the following sites as to how to manipulate the html code to change your blog format in addition to The Cutest Blog on the Block:
www.delightfuldots.com shows you how to change the colors and remove the header border. She also has some really cute premade templates for free.
http://sjhblogdesign.blogspot.com/ is very helpful with code changes

When I did my own template I wanted to change the column width of the text and sidebars as well as center my header to better fit my new background. I had to play around with the html in order to do this and found out that in order to shift things I need to change "wrapper" width. Originally the "outer-wrapper" was 660px. I changed it to 850px which made my posts and side bar more spaced out. I also changed the "main-wrapper" width to 550px. To shift the header more to the middle I changed the "header-wrapper" width to 780px. Don't be afraid to play around with the html. Use the preview to see the results of your changes without saving them but be sure to save the changes you like so you don't loose them.

One more thing I learned in all this experimenting. There is a way to have your text colors match your background that you made. In photoshop there is an eyedrop tool. If you go to choose a color but roll over your image the eyedrop tool shows up and you can pull a color off of your image. (Not sure how this option works in other programs) In that same color choice box a number will come up specific to that color. The number is called the color's "hex code". Copy and paste that number into a little box labeled "edit color hex code" in blogger where you can adjust the fonts and colors.

I'm also working on a post on how to create and share your own button but the html is proving hard to blog with. Hopefully I'll figure it out eventually.

Anyway, if you've gotten this far on this post you are probably as nuts as I am. I hope I haven't scared you off but intrigued your interest. If you have any questions I would love to help!

Have a happy day

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gratitude

I am grateful for hugs. Good squeezing hugs from all of my boys

I am grateful that despite all the wrestling, squaking, fighting, yelling, and sometimes hitting Elijah and Sam do have some tender moments when they hug each other and play really well with each other.

I am grateful tomorrow is another day

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chart Follow Up

Last week I posted on my random find in the Target dollar section. Thank you for all your comments and ideas. I eventually made my way back to Target and bought myself more of the hanging charts because I simply couldn't choose just one use for it. I'm still doing a bit of plotting but I have some progress to share. So far I have used one for my menu, one for Elijah and one for Sam. I'm still planning on doing a Chore Chart and possibly a FHE one (yes I bought 4 more at Target, call me NUTS)

For each of my charts I utilized my handy thermal pouch laminator. If you do not have a personal laminator of your own, put one on your wish list! They are wonderful to have. Great for FHE lessons, charts, flash cards, primary etc. I got mine at Walmart for around $25 and it will laminate up to 8.5x11 sheets. Walmart sells 20 pouches for around $8. My exact machine is made by Scotch. There are many other options out there for laminators, some of them rather expensive, but you don't have to invest a lot to get a good result.



For my MENU chart I typed up the meals that we eat on a regular basis and included the major ingredients. The idea is that I will go through and pick out the meals for the week, post them on my handy chart and highlight any items that I need to pick up at the store. I laminated each of the cards so that I can use a dry erase marker on them to make notes on needed ingredients. I hung the chart at the end of my alley kitchen in plain sight. Hopefully there wont be any more "I don't know what to make for dinner" panic moments.

For ELIJAH's chart I laminated blank 3x5 cards and used a dry erase marker (they make washable ones, great for kids!) to write different words for him to learn to read (thanks for the idea mom). He got very excited and wanted to write some of them himself. I'm thinking we will work on them everyday for a week and then erase them and write new ones. This idea is likely to evolve as we use it. There is still room on his chart for more cards and I am thinking of taking a picture of a clean room and putting him in charge of keeping it cleaned up for the week. Another idea I'm still toying with.

SAM's is similar to Elijah's but I laminated smaller cards and wrote letters on them for him to recognize and match the upper and lower case letters. I hung the boys charts in their room and I think we will work on them in the morning and before bed.

Thanks again for all your ideas and sharing in the creativity!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Radical Redbox

Josh and I often rent movies from our local Redbox. We rarely make it to the movie theaters so we wait for the movies to come out on DVD and then rent them for a dollar a night. I'm sure many of you have heard of and probably used your own local Redbox's found at McDonald's, Walmart and even some grocery stores. BUT if you aren't using their internet options, you are missing out on the full beauty of the Redbox.


It's amazing, you get the urge to watch a movie, you sit down at your computer, go to redbox.com and instantly you can search by movie or redbox location. It will tell you what movies are available and where AND then you can reserve it ONLINE. You simply create a log in, enter your credit card info and the movie is reserved. Then all you have to do is pick up the movie at your own convenience knowing that the movie you want is saved just for you. Simply swipe the same credit card at the correct redbox and out pops your movie. If you can't make it or forget to pick up your movie Redbox charges you for one night and makes the movie available for rent the next day.


Many times I'll get the urge to rent a movie early in the day, reserve it online, and Josh will pick it up on the way home. Easy!


Anyway, Josh and I got one such urge to watch a movie last night on our newly upgraded TV (we have finally graduated from 13"-land) and on a whim rented Eagle Eye not knowing anything about it other than what info Redbox had online. It turned out to be a great movie! It's a really good conspiracy movie and we really enjoyed it. The storyline keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat. There are two characters who are "enlisted" to do a mission for some unknown person who knows everything about them and is able to manipulate technology to do just about anything. If you are in the mood for a great action movie check out Eagle Eye.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Year, New Look

It is hard to believe that I have been doing this blog thing for a YEAR now! I've learned a lot about blogging in that year. I've journaled and linked and uploaded pictures and videos and now I have quite a collection of posts in my archive. I've hesitated to change my boring, standard blog template for fear of loosing all my link lists and side bar information. It wasn't until today that I realized that if I used one of the templates that is simply an html gadget that I wouldn't loose anything. DUH! Anyway, I'm toying with a new look but I'm tempted to utilize my new found (very basic) digital scrapbooking skills to come up with something original... we'll see.

Also, with the close of year I am wanting to some how make a hard copy of my old posts. I like the idea of putting it together into an actually book. Has anyone looked into or tried any of the websites out there that allow you to do this?

Eating Rubber

Elijah is becoming more willing to try new foods or at least take one bite of foods he claims he doesn't like. The other night I made Chinese Hot and Sour Eggplant for dinner (a very good recipe despite the story to follow). Neither of the boys were thrilled, but there was rice involved so they ate. I had added red pepper to the eggplant and we told Elijah he need to try a bite of either the eggplant or the pepper and we put both on his plate. He opted for the red pepper, liked it and eventually ate more. What really surprised me was that eventually he tried the eggplant too. Well, the eggplant skin for some reason, either that paticular eggplant or me not cooking it quite long enough, was a little bit squeeky against the teeth when you chewed it. That intrigued Elijah so he proceeded to chew the eggplant despite his original disdain.

After finally spitting out the eggplant Elijah exclaimed, "The eggplant squeeked on my teeth like when you put a bouncy ball in your mouth!"

mmmm, YUM

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Game Review: Lost Cities

We received this game for Christmas from my parents. It is a two player card game that has has one a few awards, has many positive reviews and has been on the top seller list of Fun Again Games for months.

Josh and I have played it probably 5 or 6 times now and I will be honest the game has really frustrated me.

The rules are simple enough, game play is pretty straight forward, but the stragety was (and still is a bit) hard for me to figure out. I was extreemly frustrated that I kept loosing and didn't know why or how to change it. There is a lot of luck in the game as to what cards you end up with and if you don't get the cards in an ideal order you are likely not to do well that round.

I will say that once I got through my initial frustration I like the game. Josh even says he likes it better than Canasta, another 2 or 4 player card game. My need to figure out the best way to play has proved to be addicting and I can say I am getting better.

Overall, I recomend this game but be warned that there is a lot of luck involved in the game play and for those of us that like to have a little more control in a strategy game it may prove frustrating for awhile. (Though I don't think Josh ever got as frustrated with it as I did)

My Buddy

I am grateful for my little buddy, Sam.

Sam is out growing his nap and that means that Tuesdays and Thursdays while Elijah is in school Sam and I get to spend some one on one time together. The last few times we have been running errands together. Sam is the cutest little helper and a great shopper. He loves to just sit in the front of the cart and jabber to me and many of the people we past. He says "fast" and "slow" for how he wants me to drive; he comments on the colors of items and says whether he likes it or not; he says "Hi" to random people and always says "Bye" to the cashier. Overall it makes for a fun shopping trip and I am grateful to have the cute little guy with me and I am grateful for his friendly example.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My little Christmas Elf

Elijah's preschool put on a Christmas program at our stake center. Elijah was super excited about it for weeks and he sure didn't disappoint come performance day. Call me a little biased, but he was the cutest little elf, BY FAR!

Their first song was "'Til Winter Comes". The school director does daily music time with the kids and has created her own selection of songs that the kids love to sing and dance to while she plays the guitar.


video

The second song they did was "Jingle Bells". I guessed they would be doing this song because Elijah has been singing it a lot at home, even the "dashing through the snow..." part. When it came time to perform though, it seems that all of the kids, Elijah included, forgot to sing. But they got the bell part down.

video

Elijah has been absolutely loving preschool! We had parent/teacher conferences in November and both his teacher and his teacher's assistant love him and consider him a great verbal model for the class. He is great at sparking class discussions with his thoughtful questions.

Creativity in Question

I found this at Target last week in the dollar section. It was just screaming with possibilities, the question is what exactly should I do with it?


It is a green canvas wall hanging that is 16" by 26" with 8 clear pockets in which there are white strips of cardstock each 2" wide. It came labeled as a schedule board.


Some of the ideas that I have been throwing around include:
  • a menu board
  • activity planner
  • projects list
  • chore chart
I'm throwing the question out to YOU... any ideas on how you would use this? (and then you can run to your nearest Target and nab one for yourself, you might just see me there!)


PLEASE SHARE!





Side note: for those of you bitten by the annual get organized aka dig yourself out of the Christmas-created clutter, Target also had some darling cardboard magazine file boxes in their dollar section.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Sounds of Gratitude

I am grateful for Saturdays...

This morning I woke up to the subtle (and some not so subtle) sounds of my three boys cooking breakfast in the kitchen. There was Josh giving directions on what and when to add stuff to the bowl, Elijah jabbering constantly with inquisitive questions and random insights, and Sam excitedly using his FINALLY growing list of words including "Faffle" "'poon" "s'ir" "hot" "on" etc. I lazily laid in bed enjoying the peace of the moment to actually think (imagine that!) and be grateful.

That is why I'm grateful for Saturdays.
(That, and Josh is cleaning the bathroom as I type this!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Take a deep breath---and just dive in

Long time no see!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I'm sure some of you are wondering where in the world I have been. Well, we made our annual 2+week trip to Utah for the holidays and thus I was mostly AFK (gaming term for "away from keyboard" for those lucking enough not to know the lingo). We got home Sunday night but I'll be honest and say I've been avoiding blogging. With the things that have built up, like all the holiday news and events, I have been waiting for the perfect moment to regurgitate it all for your reading pleasure. Unfortunatly days have passed and the ideal moment has not come along. So I sit here writing while my husband and two year old mess up the kitchen making dinner just to let you know that I'm alive and well and I am still planning on keeping my blog up and going.

I will say that we did have a wonderful trip seeing family and friends. I love the holdiay season because it's all about FAMILY, and it is one of the few occasions when all of Josh's family is in town at the same time. Elijah and Sam had such a great time with their grandparents, aunts and uncles. It was so hard to pull them away from them. We were lucky enough to have storms come through that initiated us to leave a little earlier than planned and stay a little longer than planned. I'm sure the extra time with family was appreciated by all.

I am so grateful for the blessing of family- my little family, the family I grew up in, and the family I married into. Their unconditional love supports me and sustains me even from a distance. I am grateful for the Christmas season and the opprotunity it gives me to focus my thoughts and efforts more on my Savior and the special gift of His birth and life. I am grateful for childhood and the wonder and joy of seeing life through the eyes of my children. I love sharing that joy with our extended family. I am grateful for the New Year and the symbolism of renewal and the resolve to change. (Expressing gratitude is a renewed goal of mine)

Well, I'm still trying to dig myself out of the residue of Christmas decorations and chaos. After I do I have a few projects and cute pictures to share!