Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dirty Feet

Papaw's grapefruit will never be the same....

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Did you know that Stephenie Meyer is releasing a short novel on June 5th?  You can pre-order it now through your favorite bookstore or website.  Or you can get the book for free online from June 7th-July5th.

Read more about the release of  The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella HERE.

Looking forward to June 30th!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

General Conference for Kids

In a few days, we will have the privledge of watching our prophet and apostles speak to us during our semi-annual General Conference.

I thought I'd share a few fun things I found in my search to find some activities to keep my children happy & busy during conference.

First ... did you know that has a whole page dedicated to activities for children?  I didn't until today.  Go HERE to find online games and printable packets for kids of all ages.

More fun games & flashcards can be found HERE.

And then there is always the traditional packet ... HERE you can find the updated 2010 version.

I think Conference traditions are always fun and, like other traditions, give us a something special to look forward to.  Brunch and yummy breakfast foods are always fun.   We've done cinnamon rolls several times as well as crepes with pudding & fruit fillings.  I also enjoy something to keep my hands busy ... like a simple craft that I can quiety work on in the family room.  I feel like we've gotten out of the habit of conference traditions the past year or two though.  What are some of your favorite conference traditions?

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Qdoba - Kids Eat Free

Qdoba became a regular hang-out for our family while living in Pittsburgh.  Qdoba is very similar to Chipotle.  So, if you're out & about this weekend and need an inexpensive food stop, grab a bite at your local Qdoba!  I recommend their gumbo!

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Playing Hard

My kiddies were FiLtHy last night after a hard day of play.  Thanks to my brother for the fun photos!

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Easter Messiah

The Chandler, Arizona Stake is performing Handel's Messiah tonight in celebration of Easter.  The concert begins at 7:00 pm and families are welcome.  The Chandler Stake Center is located on Ray Road, just east of McQueen.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fathers' Blessings - Young Women Lesson 12, Manual 2

Please feel free to copy this handout which will go along with Young Women lesson #12 in manual 2 ... Fathers' Blessings.  It is 4x6".

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our Homeschool

People often ask me which curriculum I use for homeschooling. My answer is usually none. I don't follow one set philosophy or only buy books from a certain curriculum. I have tried a wide variety of books, schools, etc.  Here are some of my findings ... so far ...

If you are looking for inexpensive workbook pages (which are great for language art skills & math), I suggest Sam's Club. I've bought workbooks in there on a wide variety of topics ... Spanish, cursive, math, language arts, reading, maps, history, etc. I have also found great helps for science experiments & art projects in Sam's Club. Sometimes I can find something interesting in Costco, but Sam's Club definitely has a better variety.

When Penguin started Kindergarten, we tried Connections Academy (a cyber school that is available in many states). There were aspects that we really enjoyed and liked while we were with Connections Academy and other things that absolutely drove me nuts. I liked that twice a week, all the kids in Penguin's class put on the earphones & microphones for an online, interactive class. Penguin made friends through these classes that she emailed and talked to on the phone on numerous occasions. Connections Academy also had some great fieldtrips and families were always invited to attend. Compared to some other cyber schools, the amount of work we had to actually submit to a teacher was not a lot and we submitted everything once a month ... so it wasn't really a daily task that I had to worry about.

About 14 months ago, we felt we needed a change and less stress in our home. We decided to try a more traditional home school approach. I loved all the freedom that we had to pick our own topics, pick which days we wanted for vacation days, and the other countless perks that come along with homeschooling your kids. We've been doing our own version of home school until about a month ago when we decided to try another cyber school....

At the beginning of March, Penguin started attending K12. K12 is another cyber school (available in most or all states). K12 has a lot of different philosophies which seem to be working better for our family. K12 is mastery based which means Penguin doesn't receive letter grades. She has to master each lesson before she can move on or she can skip lessons that she has proven that she can master without doing the lessons. K12 also offers fieldtrips (but we haven't attended any yet) and a well-rounded school week ... all the basic courses plus Spanish, art, PE, music, etc. One aspect of K12 that I'm really loving is their curriculum. It is far superior to Connections Academy or any other school that I've researched up to this point.

Am I settled at this point with Penguin's schooling? Not really, but I may never like I'm 100% happy with her schooling. I think there will always be pros & cons. Will I try something different in the future? Quite possibly. I already have other homeschooling philosophies that I was to research ... maybe this summer.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

EVMCO Concert Update

Change in plans for our next EVMCO concert ...

We are now performing on Friday, May 21 ...
same time - 7:30 pm
same place - Gammage

Tickets will now go on sale April 12th.

For your listening enjoyment, here is one song that we (the symphony) will be performing:

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

EVMCO Spring Semester

**UPDATE (3/26/10):   Because of spring break, Early-Bird Registration has been extended to April 5th.  After that, prices will go up slightly & registration will close on April 8th.

Now is the time to sign-up for the East Valley Mormon Chorale Organization!  Registration is open now for our Friday, May 21st concert at Gammage.  The concert is titled O' America and we will be performing with William Joseph.

(Fast-Forward to about 4 minutes into the video to see just the song.  Choir is our own EVMCO in it's smaller days :) )

If you'd like to audition for the adult choir or orchestra, auditions are being held this week on March 23 & 24.  All choirs have their first rehearsal on March 25th.  If you're thinking about signing up your child for one of the kid choirs, I'm pretty sure you can show up on March 25th to the rehearsal and see what you think before you pay the money.  Starting March 29, the price for registration will increase.

If you'd like to attend our next performance (May 21 @ Gammage), tickets go on sale April 12th.  Good news ... because of the change in venue, tickets for this concert will be less expensive and will range from $15-25!

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Appreciating the Bishop - Young Women Lesson 11 Manual 2

This Sunday, I am teaching lesson 11 in manual 2, Appreciating the Bishop.

My favorite handout can be found HERE.

I also like the idea of bringing a photo of the bishop when he was younger & having the girls guess to see if they know who it is a picture of.

Good luck!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

If you're looking for some food ideas, crafts, & fun things for your kids to do today, go HERE or HERE.

I'm not into turning my food green, so we had Irish Oatmeal for breakfast.

More St. Paddy's Fun to come later....

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Did You Do Today?

Bet you didn't go swimming in your clothes!!

One was a little more cautious ....

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Bit of Spring

I have a bit of spring in my home that I'm totally loving ....

These flowers bring back memories of Pittsburgh & our home there.  Each April, we had oodles of daffodils pop up in our yard.  Now I have to go to Trader Joe's to find my spring time pleasures.  :)  (10 stems are about $1.60)


I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Priesthood: A Great Blessing (Young Women Lesson 10, Manual 2)

It's been a busy week and I haven't had time to work on my Young Women lesson until today.  Tomorrow I will be teaching lesson #10 in manual 2  ... The Priesthood: A Great Blessing.

In the section of the lesson called "Chalkboard Discussion", we are asked as teachers to share a personal experience that we've had when the priesthood has influenced our lives.  I am going to get a couple photos printed of the days when my daughters were sealed to our family & the day my son was born and talk about how each of my children became an eternal part of my family. 

I'm also working on saving this video to my laptop so I can share this short message as part of my lesson:

Here is a cute handout idea.  Or Here is another one.

Just made this real quick ... I'm just going to attach some Extra gum in the empty space provided.

(If you want to get it printed at Costco or your favorite photo printer, print as a 4x6" photo with lustre or matte finish.)

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Bushka's Baking Lessons

The kiddies had fun with Bushka this week ... they baked & decorated St. Patrick's Day cookies.

(Photos courtesy of Bushka :))

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free Book & More

If you're an educator (aka Mom!), click HERE to get a free idea book.

**Update:  HERE's another freebie ... ziploc bags & cleaning supplies!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the Princess & the Frog

We used to buy tons of DVD's.  After being "poor students" for so many years, we're more picky about what we buy now.  We haven't see Disney's Princess & the Frog yet ... not for a lack of trying though! ... but this is a movie that is definitely going to be added to our collection!!  We will be making a special trip to the store on Tuesday, March 16th just to buy this DVD.  If you'd like to add this movie to your collection, CLICK HERE for a $10 off coupon.  Coupon is only good until March 21.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Music Programs in our Schools

Music is such an important part of a child's life.  Please take a moment to fill-out this survery ...

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Monday, March 8, 2010

EVMCO Fireside

Penguin & I had a wonderful time on Friday.  We had many hours of rehearsal followed by a sold-out concert.  I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to play in the EVMCO Symphony and that Penguin can sing & make wonderful memories.  I was able to sneak in one quick photo of Penguin from my seat ... look for the pink star.

If you still haven't made it to an EVMCO concert, you have another opportunity this weekend.  The choirs (without the symphony) will be putting on a free fireside at the Queen Creek Stake Center (19730 E. Ocotillo, 85142) at 7pm.  I honestly don't know what will be performed, but it should be worth checking-out.

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Friday, March 5, 2010


There is a buzz in the air at my house.  The EVMCO concert is tonight! For Penguin, this is as exciting as Christmas morning!!  We have worked hard for this night for several months and we are going to have an incredible evening.  Tonight is the EVMCO's second concert ever and it sounds like we will be playing for a sold-out house, which just adds to the excitement. Brother Stewart has demanded hard work, lots of practice &, at times, perfection.  I know every single note of every single song ... there will be no measures that I fake or shy away from tonight. If you are attending, text me your seat location & I'll look for ya!

In the meantine ... more of Hot Mama:

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Thursday, March 4, 2010


Hubby & I have found a new obsession ... LOST!  We are officially Lost addicts.  We can not go to bed at night without watching at least one episode of Lost ... sometimes we watch several episodes in one sitting.  I don't know why I didn't watch the show until recently, but it's one of the best shows I've seen in a very long time.  We're a few episodes into season 2, so don't leave any comments that are spoilers for me! :)

Curious ... who is your favorite character?  I think I'd have to say mine is Jack although I'm intrigued by the Korean couple and, at times, Sawyer is hilarious ... he's growing on me.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 9, 2007

It has been almost three years since we were able to take Peacock to the Washington D.C. Temple to be sealed to our eternal family. YEAH!!

Here are the memories that I recorded a few years ago:

"We drove out there on a Thursday night and then got up and played most of the day Friday ... had to hit Tyson's Court!! Friday evening, we went back to our hotel room, changed into our Sunday clothes and headed towards the temple. It think it was supposed to be a 20 minute drive to the temple, but it turned into a drive that took an hour & a half because of rush hour traffic. Because we were running late by the time we got to the temple, there wasn't time for photos before our appointment.

Our wonderful friends Seth & Jane met us there. We're so happy that we could have someone join us for this special occasion. The girls were taken into a special children's room with toys, snacks, beds & some very fun grandma-like caregivers. Hubby & I worked on the appropriate paperwork and then we were ready to begin.

Seth, Jane, Hubby & I met in front of the sealing room and a few minutes later our girls came down the hall with their caregivers. Tears came to my eyes as I watched my girls coming nearer to me. They looked so beautiful in their white dresses. I can still see them now in my mind. An image I hope to never forget! Seth graciously accepted the duty of acting as one of our witnesses and before we knew it, Peacock was eternally ours!

After the ceremony, we were able to take a couple quick pictures outside, but by that time it was dark & rather chilly. Afterwards, our family, along with Seth & Jane, went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner to celebrate."

I think I'll break out the "I am Special Today" plate next week & make Peacock a meal & dessert of her choice to celebrate this special occasion.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

LDS Homeschooling

Latter-day Homeschooling

Yesterday was the Grand Opening of a new website: This website is full of resources of all varieties.  Even if you do not homeschool or not are LDS, this could be a great resource for you & your family.

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Monday, March 1, 2010


Don't know about you, but my weekend was anything but relaxing & quiet.  My excitement began when Peacock came in from playing outside Friday night and she was having a hard time catching her breath.  Around 4am, she seemed to be getting much worse and really struggling to breath, so my husband took her to the children's hospital.  Crazy night with very little sleep.  Penguin & I had to get up & go to an early rehearsal for our concert that's coming up this Friday and we didn't get done until about noon.  I was ready to go home for a nap, but this hot mama ...

... was starting to have some strong contractions, so while hubby watched the kids, we ran to Target to do some last minute get-ready-for-baby shopping.  Later, I tried to go home & nap, but it seemed like I was interrupted every 10 minutes by something.  We decided to head over to the new Tia Rosa restaurant that opened in Gilbert for dinner ... it's a small restaurant where you walk-up to the counter to order your food ... nothing too fancy.  It took them ONE HOUR to prepare our food.  Totally insane!  And I was somewhat disappointed by numerous things.  The refried beans were burnt, rice was just so-so & when you buy a large bag of chips that comes with salsa, you only get about 4 tablespoons worth of salsa to go with your large bag of chips!  Salsa was just OK too.  I think I'll be going back to Gecko Grill next time I want some good Mexican food ... better food, better service,  unlimited salsa & I don't have to wait an hour to eat!

My goal was to get in bed at a decent hour Saturday night to make-up for some missed sleep.  Around 1am, my cell phone started beeping.  Hot Mama had gone to the hospital.  So, then I couldn't sleep cause I wanted updates, I was worried about her & I couldn't turn off my brain.  Around 2am little Turkey started crying ... he was just mad at the world.  Nothing I could think of made him happy or helped him get back to sleep.  Finally around 3 am we fell asleep together in his bed and around 5am I went back to my own bed.  Around 7am I was wide awake thinking & worrying about Hot Mama cause we hadn't heard anything for hours about her progress.  Shortly after 8am, I get a phone call ... "Hot Mama wants you in the room to photograph the birth!  Get down here ... she's at an 8!".  Totally unexpected!! I jumped in the shower & got ready.  Just as I'm about to run out the door I get another call saying she's at a 10 & will start pushing soon.  I raced to the hospital & the nurse double-checked with Hot Mama to make sure I'm wanted in the room.  I barely had enough time to get my camera out & set-up before I could see little bits of the baby's head & hair coming out.  Within a few minutes, I was in rapid-fire mode trying to catch every split-second of Baby A coming into this world.  What an amazing experience!!  How many of us get to see a baby born except for maybe our own children?  Hot Mama did beautifully & I think I met my new OB/GYN.  Dr Cox ... look her up.  Super nice and her philosophies are so different from when I gave birth to Turkey ... I think it saved Hot Mama from a lot of extra pain & problems that I experienced after Turkey was born.  But back to Baby A ... watching her come into this world is something I will never forget and I don't take it lightly that Hot Mama allowed me in the room to witness this miracle.  Amazing!  Amazing!!  AMAZING!!  I stayed with Hot Mama & her new family for several hours to take lots of photos & just make sure she was OK before I left.

I finally made it home & was able to have a little afternoon nap before I was off to another rehearsal.   Now I'm ready to catch-up and get everything done that I wasn't able to get done this past weekend. Or maybe I'll just forget the to-do list and go hold Baby A some more ....

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