Friday, November 29, 2013

Would You Rather...

We are loving Studio C this season! There have been so many good sketches. Check out Savannah's favorite - Love From Afar, or the super clever International Relations, Inventors and Teddy's Story Joint. But the following sketch is one of my favorites. Seriously cracks me up!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Biggest Blessing

When I look at all the things I'm grateful for, these guys top my list!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Princess Suite

Sadie has a birthday party this afternoon. The birthday girl, Emma, shares a room with her two younger sisters. I didn't think they'd appreciate something that said "Emma's Room," so here's what I came up with instead:

I glued sparkly gems onto the tiara and letters. The color is the birthday girl's favorite. I think it turned out cute! Don't worry, we have a few treats for the birthday girl alone so she doesn't have to share her entire present if she doesn't want to.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Broken Heart: Letting Go Is Hard

Sadie loves ladybugs. We've called her our "Sadie-bug" pretty much since she was born and, probably as a result, she feels a connection with the spotted creatures. As the weather began to cool off earlier this fall, we started seeing ladybugs in the house. Sadie decided it would be a great idea to keep them as pets. She made them their own little habitat in an old cashew container complete with leaves, grass and water. She poked holes for air and happily kept them down in her room.

I forgot all about her little pets until yesterday. I went downstairs to help Savannah with something and I came across a basket with a tissue laying across the top. The tissue had writing on it and it was draped over Sadie's beloved ladybug home.

I love you Rosie
I love you Dasiy
I miss you giys!
You-ved moved on!
It's time to let go
and it's hard!

See the broken heart at the top? That's exactly what my heart did when I read this. My sweet, tender little Sadie. Just picturing her grief when she realized they were dead chokes me up a little. Can you imagine if it was a dog?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Faith and the Storm

We had some pretty wild weather in the forecast on Sunday: An unseasonably warm 68ยบ, high winds, heavy rains and tornadoes. There are few things that Sterling hates more than bad weather.

We attended church as usual. It was a special day with Sterling being ordained a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood. A few times during our meeting block, I could hear the rain coming in angry spurts, pounding down hard on the roof. After church, choir practice was canceled and we were encouraged to head home. Most members live 15-20 minutes away from the meetinghouse and there were several tornado sightings being reported in surrounding areas. The worst was apparently on its way.

Three kids went back to our house with Grandma and Grandpa Stowell who were visiting for Sterling's ordination. The other three came with me because Sam needed to stop on the way home to get a signature for a completed merit badge. We were in the car waiting for Sam and the wind was picking up. I wasn't worried, but I could see that Sterling was starting to fret. Sam was quick with his errand and we were on our way home. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sterling fold his arms and bow his head, obviously praying.

Within seconds the wind died down. It stopped raining and we started to see patches of blue peeking through the ominous clouds. A glance to the left revealed a rainbow. Through the remainder of our quiet drive, we were amazed by the awesome cloud formations. Sam snapped dozens of pictures with my iPod attempting to preserve the beautiful display. Here's just a sample (click on the photos to view larger):

Look close and you can see a faint rainbow to the left

By the time we arrived home, there were larger patches of blue sky. The winds picked up here and there over the next hour or so and we had a little more rain, but eventually the clouds cleared out completely and it was a gorgeous sunny afternoon.

If you followed the news, you know that there were several locations in Illinois that were hit by powerful, unmerciful tornadoes that day from this same storm system. The devastation in some areas is sobering. I don't know why the storm didn't hit us. We consider ourselves very blessed and we are thankful we didn't lose power or possessions or worse. I am especially grateful for a sweet boy who had the faith to pray and ask Heavenly Father to calm the storm.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Raking Leaves

Because our ginkgo tree shed all its leaves, there was plenty of raking to do! I sent the kids out the door this morning to start on the task and here's what we ended up with--

I think they all started out helping. However, as soon as there was a pile big enough to play in, only one stayed on task. The rest dove right in and buried themselves in the leaves. There were lots of giggles and even singing - at one point they were singing four-part harmony with leaves up to their necks - but the task was eventually finished with smiles all around!

The prize for most diligent goes to Spencer. He raked enough to cover everyone else. :)

Not a care in the world for this boy!

That's a lot of leaves!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11-12-13: A Golden Birthday

Sterling up in our ginkgo tree 11-8-13

Sterling is twelve today! Twelve on the 12th and it just happens to be 11-12-13 for his special day. Just look at this handsome guy. In October he auditioned for the Illinois Music Educators Association Junior Orchestra. As a 6th grader, this is his first year of eligibility. He had a great audition which qualified him to play in the Junior Orchestra in Decatur this past Saturday. Sterling was the only one from our county to attend. He and I drove up together and were surprised to find out that Sterling had been chosen as concert master! Wow!! That was especially surprising because Sterling was one of the youngest players. He did very well, but if it were up to him, they would have picked up the pace a bit on a couple of songs. They played them much slower than the music indicated and Sterling loves to play fast! Overall, it was a good and worthwhile experience. (Sadly, I forgot the video camera. Rats!)
When Sterling was in 4th grade, he played the violin while jumping on his pogo stick for his school talent show. In 5th grade, he played while riding his Ripstik. This year he decided that it would be cool to play violin while riding on a unicycle so Sterling was pretty happy to get a unicycle for his birthday (Jeff's idea). If I know Sterling, he'll figure that thing out and be zipping around our garage in no time. I am, however, going to insist that he use his old 3/4 violin for the talent show. I know, mean mom. :) I'm anxious to see if he can pull this one off. If anyone can, it's Sterling!

Happy Birthday, Sterling. You are a great young man. I love your kindness and your patience. Thanks for putting up with school even though you'd much rather be home. You are a great friend and a terrific buddy and brother. I'm excited for you to receive the priesthood. I know you'll take your responsibilities seriously and be a blessing to so many. Your musical ability astounds me and I can't wait to see where it takes you. I love that you like having me around and I hope you never grow out of that. I think you're pretty awesome and I'm so glad you're mine!

I hope twelve is your best year so far!! 


Before and After: Our Ginkgo Tree

Our ginkgo tree is my favorite tree in our yard. It's tall and straight and has cool leaves. It doesn't drop seeds or helicopters or poky balls. One of the best parts is that, with a ginkgo, you rake once and you're done. That's because it loses all of its leaves in one day after the first hard frost. That day was today.

<<<Yesterday    ~    Today>>>

Friday, November 8, 2013

Easy Peasy - Treat Box From a Paper Cup

I love cute and fun ways to package gifts. There's something cheerful about a little package containing a small treat to say "Thank You," "Get Well," or "I'm thinking about you!" I saw a picture of these adorable treat boxes and knew I had to try. These would make fun favors for a party. They would look so cute at each place setting for Thanksgiving or another memorable occasion. Bonus: They are super easy to make! Here's how...

I used paper cups from the dollar store. They came 12 cups to a package. Any paper cup should work. If you like, use cups with a pre-printed design or put on a fun sticker or something to fit the occasion. I added a "Y" sticker to mine because we're crazy about BYU around here. (Go Cougars!!)

Start by cutting the top white rim off the cup. Then cut slits down from the top, evenly spaced, all the way around. I cut mine just over an inch deep and I cut 8 slits. You can have as many tabs as you like, just make sure they are evenly spaced. Fill it with your treat then fold each tab down in order around the cup, tucking the last tab under the first. That's it. Super cute!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sunset Reflected on the Clouds

We had a stunning sunset this evening and the sky on the other horizon was so full of clouds that the light reflected off them as well as the trees and made for a beautiful soft glow. It's been a brilliant fall!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Preserving Fall

We are in the thick of the most beautiful display of Autumn! Every single time I am in the car, I find myself wishing I had my camera because the trees are so amazing this year. So today, I loaded up a couple of kids and we drove around town taking pictures. Then we headed to a nearby state park and took a bunch more. So pretty! The pictures really don't do it justice at all, but there are a few that come close. Just picture these 10X more vibrant than they look here. I wish you could really see how the trees look like they are on fire as the sun hits them. I just want to preserve the memory. It's not every year that we get a fall like this!

I think this one is my favorite!

This is a close-up of the tree in the previous photo. Look at all the colors in that one tree!! So pretty!

This is a sunset from a few days ago. It was beautiful and looked like the horizon was on fire.