Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter...I want a redo.

The Easter Egg Hunt Happend

It was Camden's first real hunt. He had no clue what was happening. It didn't take him long to figure it out. Every day since he has asked to go on a hunt.

Maya was thrilled to find out that even though she is technically a big kid now, she still got to participate.

Eggs Were Dyed. 

I don't have any pictures of this, oh, so fabulous tradition due to the fact that I was in a super bad mood, and didn't really participate other than setting it all up, oohing and ahhing, and then cleaning it all up.

Easter Outfits Were Purchased

Camden's tie didn't really match but he likes to wear a tie and his pants were high watered but I didn't realize it until we were taking these pictures.

We took them literally right before we jumped in the car to go to church. There was no one around to take pictures...except for Maya. She did a pretty good job.

She cut off my feet on that one and this next one didn't turn out so hot but she did get my cute shoes.

Dinner Was Made. 

It did involve pork, just not a ham.

Peeps Were In Abundance.
(even though I hate them)

According to the pictures, it seems like we hit all the high notes of Easter, but that was far from the truth.

Usually I start a few weeks before Easter preparing my family for this most important holiday. I have special Family Night lessons on what Easter means. I teach them about the symbols of Easter. We read from the scriptures of Christ's life and focus on the events leading up to his crucifixion. We talk about what happened in the Garden of Gethsemene and how he atoned for our sins. Then on Easter Sunday we read about His resurrection and what that means.

It brings a neat spirit into our home and prepares us for that special Sunday.

Well this year I blew it. I have a million excuses...we were out of town for part of the month, our house has been under construction which means every free and not free moment we have been working on it, Aric has had some exceptionally stressful weeks with work, I took on a new tutoring student, I've been training for my half-marathon,...yadda, yadda, yadda.

I blew it. I knew it and I felt it. 

The kids were fighting over candy. They were being demanding and ungrateful. I was making last minute shopping trips to get food for Easter dinner, the right gifts for the kids and the right accessories for Sunday outfits. We were all at each other's throats. The guilt was making me even more grumpy. 

Then after prayer and pondering I realized Easter is just one Sunday that the Christian world stops to officially recognize this holy event. But I don't need Easter to make me focus and honor my Savior. I can do it every day. Christ atoned for my laziness and he loves me inspite of my weaknesses. This is what I needed to teach my children. So on Saturday night I called off Easter...I told them that we had lost focus and there would be no Easter baskets and candy until we got back on track. We talked about what we could do on Sunday to put our thoughts back on Christ and how each of us needs to do our part to keep our home a "Christ Centered" home. I even took back almost all of the gifts. We kept it simple.

Easter morning Maya and I went to choir practice (yes I said choir, and no I don't sing...but that's another post for another day). I felt the sweet spirit of Easter. The one that I had been missing. I was so grateful to sing praises in gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who sent His son to suffer, die and then be resurrected for me and all mankind. I was able to feel His love for me and express my love to Him.

We spent the morning together listening to hymns and watching Music and the Spoken Word, we then spent the afternoon worshiping together at church. In the evening we had a relatively quiet dinner,(that Camden refused to eat), then we spent some time talking about what Easter should be and how we are going to "redo" Easter. I don't need a holiday in April to talk about Christ's atonement, His resurrection or His love for us. It is something that as a family we need to focus on every day of every month.

So for tomorrow's family night we will be discussing what Christ's atonement means to each of us and having a family testimony meeting. 

Thank heaven for do overs. In fact next year I have decided to start a new tradition, the Easter Bunny doesn't come until after Easter Sunday and he only brings Christ centered gifts. No more toys and just a tiny bit of candy. I get that this may seem drastic and it isn't for everyone, but it definitely is something worth trying for me and my peeps.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Facial Hair, Teasing, and Crazy Humor

That became the theme of Aric's Birthday 
"Roast and Toast"

I had asked all of our beloved's to come prepared to share something about Aric. Who knew that a theme would be born...

Our house is still under construction so the Romney's kindly offered their home for the festivities.

We had a table full of pictures of Aric growing up and with friends and loved ones who couldn't be here.

The roast started off with an email from "Friend of Friends" Mike Sampson sharing a lovely memory of him and Aric trying to pick fights with random people at the park. Then Jessica shared some lovely text conversations that she and Aric have had over the past couple of months...

Many other stories were shared that made us all laugh until our cheeks hurt. They almost all included facial hair, friendly touching (Ryan has been the target of most of those), silly drawings being passed around during church meetings, medical emergencies turned comical and more funny text and email exchanges.

After the roast we played a hilarious drawing game and laughed some more. It was such a fun night, we definitely needed a break from the home makeover chaos.

We also had a small celebration with the kiddies. Aric requested banana cake minus the strawberries so that is what he got. He also got a new wallet, a facial hair trimmer and some sham wow's. What more could a guy ask for right!?

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And that is how we celebrated Aric this year...

The End.

*BTW...what does blogger do to my pictures to make them look so crappy!?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How To: Add a Little Spice to Your Living Room

I love my light green walls but I needed a pop of color in my front room so I decided to paint my piano red.

And here is how I did it...

My piano is over sixty years old now. We bought it about seven years ago from a neighbor who had purchased it from a local college. It looked like this....

Not pretty.

So the first step is to sand the heck out of it. (I took the above picture after I sanded it) I thought I did a pretty good job getting all the varnish off. I used 120 grit. Since I was not re-staining it, a good sanding is all it needed. But now looking back, I would have given it a little more sanding love.

Next you need to get some tack cloth and rub all the sanding residue off. 

Do not skip this step.

This is what it looked like after the first coat. It is supposed to look this bad. You want a light coat. I think I over did it a little and would have gone even lighter than this. * the lighting is horrible so the color looks a little off*

You wait a couple hours until dry and then sand. I used 120 grit again. Use tack cloth to get residue off. Apply second coat.

Then sand and tack cloth again before applying third coat.

This is the point I decided to take the front of my piano off. This is what I discovered...

...those would be canning tops. Hmmmm....I wonder who put those in there? No wonder it was sounding funny!

This is also the point I decided that the color I had chosen was to pinky red so I went and got another color.

So I sanded, tack clothed and applied paint two more times. Yes, that would be five coats and random touch ups. But it was so worth it, because this is exactly the spice my living room needed. (These pictures aren't doing it justice. It is not as shadowy as it looks in these pictures)

Those knobs belonged to a cupboard that my great grandma had. Now I get to have a little piece of her in my room and my girls love that they get to touch something that their Abuelita Tina touched everyday. It's their favorite part of the piano...and mine too.

So there you have it, a piano painting tutorial because I know you have all been dying to do this! I have to say that I have done a TON of projects in my life...sewing, painting, building, crafting, redecorating, etc...but this was definitely one of my most favorite projects...EVER!

BTW...I used 2qrts behr paint plus primer. The first color was red velvet...the color I ended up with is "BARN" a Martha Stewart color, I had Home Depot make it in Behr paint because I prefer it... I also recommend using a small foam roller and a small sponge brush. I normally tell people to stay away from the sponge brushes unless you are doing a pre-school project, but in this case they were definitely helpful.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How To Make Sure Your Family Eats a Decent Dinner Every Night

So I am not a "foody". I don't do meals. I prefer to serve either sides or a main dish not both. That would require too much work and way too much thought. So to say that I struggle in this area is a HUGE understatement. Realizing my weakness, and help me to not be a complete failure as a homemaker, I decided to make one of these...

I saw it on a blog somewhere and decided that it was cute and it would look good on my counter. I also hoped that it would help me be better at meal planing and feeding my peeps. I am happy to report that it has helped immensely. Unfortunately the rotation of meals is a small one because I only make like 12 things, but at least it's something right?

I think the reason why this is so helpful for me is because I hate that dreaded question....


Seriously that phrase can suck the joy right out of me. So on Sunday night I look through the recipes I have and look at the activities we have that week and plan accordingly. We don't stick to it completely, it can change but at least I have the ingredients on hand and I know if I need to throw something in the crackpot before lunch.

The craft is pretty simple. 

You will need:

a picture frame with glass, 

a piece of scrapbook paper to fit in the frame, 

a piece of velum, 

and a dry erase marker.

Pick a font and print off the days of the week on the velum. Then put it on top of the scrapbook paper and then into the frame...TA DA! Instant menu. Your kids will love it. They will never have to ask you that nasty question again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My "Only Exception"

Happy Birthday Aric!

(Aric wanted me to do a post a long time ago about his first steelhead fishing trip but I never got around to here is the picture of the first steelhead he ever caught.)

So today isn't going to be full of celebrations that would reflect how important your birth really was. Instead you will go to work and deal with people (some rude, some not) and try to solve their problems while they have no idea it's your birthday. Then you will come home and kill your knees and back while installing our new floors instead of kicking your feet up and watching a game.  For dinner we will have cereal and soda instead of having a special dinner and birthday cake. Sorry Babe.

Not to worry though...Fun times will be had, and cake will be made...just not today. 

You are awesome. I love you. Thanks for making my "only exception" something I've never regretted.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'm here.

So I have written a few posts that haven't quite made it out there because of a number of reasons. Some will eventually make it to publishing, others may not. But this one, I assure you, will make it to "publish".

I have had a lot on my mind the past few weeks and today has been a doozy so I have to write.

Aric and I are in Arizona. We bought an investment property in Surprise. We are so happy about it and we feel really blessed.

We were able to meet with our contractor and get everything in order so that it can be ready for a renter as soon as possible. (Anyone looking for a rental in Surprise? It's 3400sqft and awesome!)

We got to enjoy some sunshine. I didn't really get any pictures of the actual sun, but it was heavenly. However I did get pictures of a different kind of sunshine...

I got to spend some fun time with Natalie and Christy...Sorry Christy but this picture was way better of me and Nat then the other one. Besides you are so pretty it totally doesn't matter that your eyes are closed!

Aric and I also got to share a really neat experience. We met Stephen Nasser, a Holocaust survivor.

He is a family friend of Christy's and he wrote a book about his AMAZING survival. He spoke at a school and we were able to listen to him and get a copy of his book. I'm still reading his book. It is heartbreaking and inspiring. I feel so honored that we got to meet him.

The best part of this trip, besides the frozen yogurt bars and Carrabba's, was spending time with Aric...alone. You don't realize how much you have to talk about until there are no kids interrupting or work distracting. We had a great time hanging out. He was very supportive of my training. He even sat on the curb, under a streetlight in a Lowe's parking lot so that I could be safe running intervals.

We also enjoyed watching General Conference alone, uninterrupted. We were able to discuss talks and enjoy the spirit together. It was the perfect way to end this weekend.

So this evening, we went outside to enjoy the sun and get some reading in since it was our last night of calm before the storm. (our flight is early in the morning and as soon as we land at noon we will be ripping out our floors and replacing them on the main level of our house...yikes!) The calm didn't last long. We got a call from Aric's dad because my mother in law was in the hospital. She just finished a chemo treatment that left her dehydrated and dizzy. She ended up passing out and on the way down she hit her head on the wall. Thank heavens she is fine now, but they are keeping her overnight just for observation.

Love you Grandma K!

Just as we were processing that we got another call. Aric's brother Micah and his wife Sara had their baby four weeks early. They have lost their last four pregnancies and this one was quite dramatic too. So little Kohen is a miracle and we are so glad that he made it here safe and sound.

Love you baby K!

So as I sit here, still processing the days events I feel so present. I am more aware than ever before that God is a loving Heavenly Father who has his watchful eye on each of us. If we trust Him and turn over to him the reins of our lives, come what may, we will be happy and have peace. Even when it feels like the path He is taking us on is uncomfortable and not even close to the direction we wanted to go, if we just hold on tight, the blessings we will receive will be beyond our wildest dreams. My favorite talk during general conference was Elder Paul V. Johnson's talk. (I can't link it yet but as soon as I can I will)
My favorite quote from that talk is...

 "Marvelous blessings are on the heels of great tribulation."

His whole talk is still stirring in my heart. There is more I want to say about that but I think it will have to wait.