Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween 2016

Our ward's assigned theme for this year's stake youth costume dance was "neon and glow sticks." What kind of a theme is that??? A quick search on Google showed a bunch of costumes using black sweats with glow stick outlines:

With only a couple of days before the activity, I didn't think I could order or prepare something like that, and wasn't sure I wanted to anyway. Halfway down the page, though, there was a picture for a jellyfish costume. 
Glow in the Dark costume
Jelly fish glow, and come in neon colors, so we decided that would be a good costume choice, and something  we could create in a day or two. Bright and early the next morning I checked our supplies, went off to the store (multiple ones!) and got to work.

The first stop was Joann, looking for a couple of neon t-shirts. They had orange and green in the proper sizes, so that took care of the color choice, (although my grandson was disappointed our jellyfish weren't pink). I also picked up some ribbon, tulle and iridescent fabric. The dollar store had plenty of glow sticks, along with a few other things like foam board and shower poufs*. Unfortunately, they didn't have hats, so the next stop was Party City, where I found inexpensive plastic fedoras that did the job. Still no battery-powered light strands, so on to Home Depot. It's a good thing the Christmas decorations are already on the shelves!

*One thing I learned this week was that you can clip the string on the pouf and the ball turns into a long strand, perfect for the large jellyfish tentacles.

With the supplies on hand, it was time to start creating. The first step was to cut an 18-inch circle out of the foam board. Then cut an opening for the hat in the center and tape the two together. The instructions I found said to use hot glue, but that didn't work for me.

The next step was to tape the battery pack for the lights under the rim in the back. I tried the "hat" on at this point and it fell off the back of my head, so I made two adjustments that weren't mentioned in the various instructions I found online. One was to add a chin strap (made by poking two holes for a 6-foot by 6-inch piece of tulle) and to tape some spare batteries to the front to help balance the contraption. That did the job.

Then it was time to add all the tentacles. The shower pouf made three large tentacles, which I placed on the back and sides of the hat. Then I cut various pieces of ribbon and taped them all around until it looked right.

Most of the instructions then said to hot glue bubble wrap to form the mound. I did that for the green costume, but tried pillow batting for the orange one. Either one would work, but once again the hot glue didn't. I just kind of placed it in position, then covered the mound with a square of bubble wrap which I then taped to the brim in between the different ribbons. Hopefully this all makes sense, but  if you ever try this, feel free to make it up as you go along, that's part of the fun of the creating process.

At this point, I wound the light strand around the top and taped it into position. Then I tried covering it all with the tulle (4 layers worth). I discovered that pins worked the best for attaching this, and was grateful I remembered that little trick. I was getting a bit frustrated until I did, because neither tape nor glue was sticking to the tulle.

The final pre-party step was to overlay some shiny, translucent fabric over the top, again attaching it a few times with pins stuck into the foam. I wanted to be able to see clearly, so mine (the green one) has a short little "veil". Wayne wanted more of the jelly-fish like body, so his (the orange one) has a longer one. It would have been ideal to make this a giant circle, about 30 inches in diameter, but I got all the fabrac the store had left on the bolt, and there wasn't enough to do so.

Just before walking into the party, we added glow sticks to the hat by taping them to the shower-pouf tentacles. We also added a few more glow sticks around our neck and arms, turned on the lights, and were quite pleased with the results.

I love seeing the creativity that comes out for Halloween fun. We were really glad we didn't go with the stick-figure idea when we saw that another ward had! It was a fun evening. I wonder what we'll come up with next year, but I'm ready to wait a year to find out.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Beckham's Blessing

We were so grateful for the opportunity to share Beckham's blessing day with him and his family. It was a quick trip, but we packed a lot in and had a great time.

We were also grateful to realize that we'd been given a tender mercy when booking the plane tickets a few months ago. Originally we were going to go the week after general conference, but for some reason we checked flights for the next weekend, and they were noticeably cheaper and more convenient, so we went with that. Later we realized that would have been stake conference for the Provo ward, and in addition we were busy preparing for Hurricane Matthew that week. I just had to record that amazing little miracle. Now, on to the pictures!

We went straight from the airport to meet David at the model home for the house they're building.
And then we walked over for a quick tour of the construction site. They're making good progress and hope to be able to move in over the Christmas break from school.

For dinner we enjoyed our family tradition of pizza at Brick Oven. It was a bit crowded due to Homecoming, so we were in two adjacent booths, but it worked out, and we even saw a couple of people from Florida. You know it's a great restaurant when the picky eater devours his entire dinner! And the non-picky eater was able to take home leftovers for a week of lunches. (You can read how/why the tradition started here.)
The purpose of the trip was to spend time with David's family, but since we have other children living in Provo, we were able to visit Michelle's new apartment and catch up a bit with the newlyweds as well.
Another little bonus surprise was finally being able to hear Nicala play her violin. Their apartment is in the same ward as David's, and she was asked to play a musical number in sacrament meeting. I wonder if the bishop planned that on purpose or not? We love visiting Wymount Terrace wards because it brings back fond memories of our experiences there many years ago.

While waiting for pictures after the block of meetings, Dallin found a stick. Little boys and big boys know that sticks are meant to be used as swords! Good thing Great-Grandpa always has one handy. 
We love our growing family!
Next on the agenda was a delicious picnic lunch, followed by lots and lots of visiting and relaxing.
After all the other visitors left, we walked over to the Provo Temple to enjoy the peace and beauty of the temple grounds. Other people had the same idea, and one of Dallin's friends joined the picture-taking session. 
Fall has arrived in Utah! 
Families can be together forever. We're so grateful for that knowledge and for all the beautiful temples that now dot the earth. We're even more grateful for our awesome grandchildren and their parents!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Rudolph Day - Family Circle

Only two months until Christmas! Sometimes you can find motivation and words of wisdom even in the comic section of the newspaper. Here are two of my favorites, which I clipped to keep in my Christmas Binder, mainly because they remind me that the message of Christmas isn't something to be relegated to just one day a year. We can feel the spirit of Christ all year round. That's one reason why I like these Rudolph Day reminders.

You can find more online at Family Circle. That's a great resource, especially since now we no longer get the paper subscription.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Special Days

As alluded to here, our 9th grandchild was born this summer, and we're looking forward to celebrating his special day this weekend. In preparation for that, I decided to look up some old pictures. You don't want to be scrolling down the page forever, so I made a collage.
I tried to arrange it by birth order, but that didn't work. It's kind of by families, but not really, so here's another one that makes it more obvious. Do you see our pattern of boy-girl-girl-boy-boy-girl-girl-boy?
This summer baby was another boy, so we're keeping the pattern going. And, even better, we get to continue the pattern and add a little girl to the family in January!
It's just fun to watch these cute babies grow up to become parents themselves. What great memories!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

I didn't make a copy of the above chart at the time, but this is what it looked like outside the morning of Thursday, October 6th.
And this is what it looked like on the computer models.
So we put up our shutters. Someone was supposed to come the day before, so we were getting a bit antsy, especially when everytime I checked the wind forecast the windspeeds were increasing. Fortunately, the workers did come. We helped them with the lower windows, but let them do the upper ones.
Just for future reference (which we hope we never need), it's easiest to take all the shutters from their garage storage space and place them by the appropriate windows. That way you know for sure which go where before installation. We also learned that if a window is only 2 1/2 shutters wide, you can overlap them instead of having them hang over the edge.

This shows you the difference between unshuttered and shuttered from inside the house.

With the shutters up, it was time to hunker down for a day or two.

It was nice to feel prepared for the forecast 77 MPH winds.

It was even nicer that they never came. We did get some rain, but the hurricane itself stayed far enough off the coast so that it didn't really affect us.  

We feel badly for those further north who did get hit by the storm but were grateful our adventure turned out to be a non-adventure.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rudolph Day - Christmas Cards

One of the tasks for the House and Holiday Plan for the month of September (week 3 to be exact) is to make the Christmas Card List. I like the one they suggest because it has check boxes for both sending and receiving, and it can be used for several years.
If you don't like that one, though, there are a plethora of other options. Just check Google.
I actually use something even more different. I created our address list on an Excel spreadsheet many years ago. Each year I copy that to a new file, editing it for address changes and new friends, then I print it out. After using it to address the cards we want to send, I keep it in my planner to help keep track of the cards we receive. Finally, it gets filed in the Christmas Binder as a resource for the next year. (It has also come in very handy at wedding invitation time!)

So, that's what works for us. What works for you?

I love the tradition of sending Christmas cards, even if it might seem to be a bit old-fashioned, so I plan on keeping it around as part of our Christmas celebrating. I think letting friends and family members know you're thinking of them is the perfect way to share the love and joy of the Christmas season!

Friday, September 2, 2016

HHP Week One

As mentioned last week, I decided to follow the House and Holidays Plan to help me prepare for the holidays this year. There wasn't necessarily a lot to do for holiday prep because over the years I've developed my own way of doing things that works for our family. I did pull out our "Christmas Binder" and reviewed our "values" worksheets, which showed that my ideas of a "perfect" Christmas haven't changed. That's a good thing. I also printed out our Christmas budget to keep in my planner, along with the master gift list. (Links to all of these forms can be found here, or you can create your own.)

My main focus for the week was to make progress on de-cluttering and organizing our office. The plan says to set up a household filing system. Ours is already set up, and I didn't really get around to thinning out files (that's a good January task), but I did clear off the desk, something that needs to be done on a regular basis, and I finally moved the stack of frames that's been sitting on the cabinet for months.
My main focus was the closet, so I pulled down the bins and went through them. Technically the craft room is for next week, but I have some craft supplies in our office. I got rid of some items, consolidating three boxes into two, but more importantly I remembered what's in them to begin with and started the "craft projects to finish" list.
I'm most proud of the fact that I can see the carpet again in the closet, and that the dresser top is empty. That's true because I moved that milk crate filled with photos to the top of the filing cabinet, but I think I like it better there anyway because its hidden behind the door and not in my face when I open the closet. It's also easier to getinto without the closet rod in the way.
Next week I'll tackle the sewing room, but now it's time to enjoy our Labor Day weekend!

Time to Organize

I just searched my blog for tips on de-cluttering and organizing things, and was surprised to find nothing. So, I guess this won't be a duplicate post. Anyway, over the years I've read many, many books on how to organize your home and family, with lots of ideas for different routines and systems. Since it's been five years since we moved, I've determined that this fall I need to go through our closets and cupboards again. I know there are things stored that I haven't touched for five years, and I'm working up the courage to get rid of them. To help with that, here are some notes that I've jotted down as I've read various "how to de-clutter" books and articles. We'll see if any of these ideas are motivating enough!

Learn how to declutter your life, organize your home and simplify everything
picture from

I am not the same person as I was ten years ago. Things change.

Release things we've outgrown or outlasted, even if they have value. Let someone else enjoy them. Surrendering to new things helps us grow and improve.

Learn to recognize when a phase of your life is over. It's okay to get rid of children's toys and old manuals.

Leave 20% of storage space free.

Ask yourself, "What does 'organized' look like to me? How does it make me feel?"

You'll never find time to de-clutter and organize, you need to make time.

You can choose to create the life you want or you can continue to deal with the life you don't want.

Keep nothing unless you KNOW it to be USEFUL, or BELIEVE it to be BEAUTIFUL.

Ask yourself, "Do I still love or value this item?"

It's not junk if it generates happy feelings.

Think STOP--Sort, Toss, Organized and Put away--as you clear clutter from your space.

If those statements don't work, maybe this one will:

Let there be an hallowed influence go from us over all things over which we have any power over the soil we cultivate, over the houses we build, and over everything we possess. - Brigham Young

And remember this as well: "We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best." (Elder Dallin H. Oaks)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Happy Birthday to You!

It may be his birthday today, but the kids wanted to celebrate it when we were all together a couple of weeks ago, (except for the newlyweds who were on their honeymoon), so that means the pictures are all ready to post now.
We started the celebrating with a delicious, yet very simple, dinner of salad, pork roast, baked potatoes, green beans and my brother-in-law's yummy homemade bread and jam.
Then it was time to for the party! According to David, it's not a party without hats. He liked the idea so well he wore two; Wayne said one was too much, and that it was choking him. I'm glad he was a good sport and wore it long enough to get a picture.
Then the gift appeared!
As you can see, the little kids enjoyed his humongous present as much as, if not more than, he did.
Inside the giant refrigerator box was a doll-house refrigerator.
Image result for doll house refrigerator tomy
One of our running family jokes is that every present is a refrigerator. The kids figured it would be nice to have that actually be the gift this year, with the understanding that it's also a symbol of the father's role to provide. We're grateful Wayne's fulfilled this role so admirably.
The balloons will be popped and thrown away, and the box will return to being a children's toy until it disintegrates, but the loving thoughts (along with the letters and pictures that were also underneath the balloons) will last forever. And so will the memory of the laughter and fun surrounding the opening of this great gift.

Lighting the candles was a multi-person effort, but it was managed without burning down the house.
And they all got blown out in one try!
Happy Birthday to You! We love you!!
Not everyone stayed still long enough to get a picture! I guess that means they were having a good time.