Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recipe for Walk To School Day Trail Mix

9 bags M&Ms (56 oz. each) = $70.92

20 boxes cereal (Golden Grahams, Trix, Kix) = $30.00

5 ginormous bags of pretzels (96.0 oz. each) = $19.45

20 bags of raisins (32 oz. per bag) = $69.90

7 boxes of Goldfish = $43.25

Baggies = 1, 000

Combined "Mom" hours to purchase, assemble, and distribute said Trail Mix = 15

Nights of forfeited sleep because of howling winds and rain beating on the windows hours before the big event = 1

Seeing so many smiles despite the rain and having a cute student with Down's Syndrome tell me, "You're the BEST!" after receiving his bag of trail mix = Priceless

**Have you ever made trail mix (or anything else?) for 1,000 people?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Meme of Six Random Things

I got tagged by Booklogged at A Reader's Journal to share six random things about me. A few months ago I shared seven random and weird things about me, so I'll try to just stick to random here and leave out the weird.

1. My favorite author lately is Shannon Hale. I got to hear her speak at a PTA Convention at BYU last week and I am just positive that if she had the chance to meet me, we would become best friends. She was delightful and funny and inspiring. She shared some great ideas about how to get kids to love books, and I thought I'd share just a few:

  • Always have at least 10 age appropriate books for each child.
  • Get them their own library card (ownership!).
  • Let them see you reading for enjoyment (neglect the thought that if it's properly depressing it must be helpful).
  • Read for 20 minutes daily with your children (duct tape works!).
  • Attend book events as a family.
  • Have a family read-a-thon.
She ended her talk by telling us "Don't let anybody tell us you aren't doing a fantastic job, you guys rock!" which came after our illustrious governor had just told us one of the biggest problems in our schools lack of parental involvement. Keep in mind, this was said to a room full of women and men who left their families and/or jobs to be trained on how we can become more involved as leaders in the Parent-Teacher-Association. He may have missed the "Know Your Audience" part of his presentation prep.

2. I have a really bad habit of buying clothes. I'm good at bargain shopping, but I make up for the low costs with large quantities. I finally cleared out my overflowing closet and gave six garbage bags of clothes to DI. You would think that left me lots of room in our spacious closet, but it's still pretty cramped. I'm trying to be better, really.

3. I have old lady hands with age spots on them already (I'm only 33! Can't the age spots at least wait until I'm 50?). If I had lots of money I'd do weekly manicures and acrylic nails to make up for my hand ugliness insecurity.

4. I think I am one of a very few number of democrats in Utah County. I became a democrat to bring balance to our fine state (and because I believe strongly in many of the tenets of that party--but not all). I think I'm a disappointment to some of my family members because of this, but a source of pride to others. When I declared myself a democrat, the sweet woman at the voter registration table marked it wrong so after I left there was some confusion. The people in line and the other helpers tried to clear it up (I had gone already) and someone finally yelled out "It's Lisa Ann Harper that is the democrat... Lisa Ann Harper!" So much for confidentiality. Ryan and I should have "His" and "Hers" political signs in our yard because we don't see eye to eye on some major social issues.

5. According to Coleman, one of the things I do best every day (mentioned during our sweet Family Home Evening dedicated to mothers a few weeks ago) is "eat cookies". I'm so glad I'm such a fine example to him!

6. My current nemesis is my lawn. We have dead grass, white top, morning glory, and crab grass. Every year I swear it will be our last of dealing with all these problems. I spend many dollars and many hours spraying, pulling, swearing (just in my head :)) and hoping, but with no luck. The sprinklers are working (thanks Ryan!) and I've got Stewarts and Chemlawn on my list of people to contact. I have a feeling I'm going to be sinking a lot more dollars in my lawn this summer. Cross your fingers for me!

I'm supposed to tag 6 people now, but I'm opting to just tag one--Laura from Eliza and Laura because I know she wants to play. If any of the rest of you want to play too, please share six random things about yourself on your blog, and make sure to leave a comment so I can read all about you!

Olivia's mama slam for the day: "Ew, that's just gross" when I changed into comfy pants in the family room. Come on! I kept my underwear on and everything!

**Are you going to share six random things about yourself?
**Who is your favorite author?
**Do you have any suggestions for my lawn-care woes?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Giveaway Winners

Thanks to all who entered! I used a random number generator to pick the winners ( Congratulations to:

Shally and Gurrbonzo who each won a pack of cards.

Momma Fidler who won the vinyl quote by Gordon B. Hinckley.

hil'lesha who won a Name and "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" Quote.
And finally, to BenGerritsen (Jenn) who won a letter/name of choice.
Thanks to all for playing... I'll contact the winners so I can get you your prizes. Next time I have a creative streak I'll do another giveaway!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good Gifts and a Giveaway

After being spoiled rotten on Mother's Day with chocolates and cards and gifts kind words and yummy meals (particularly Ryan's homemade frozen strawberry lemonade), I'm in a giving mood. I love to give gifts, and in the last few years I've really tried to give personalized gifts that are meaningful--much to the chagrin of gift-card and cash loving folks everywhere. I thought it would be fun to show a few things and give a few things away. All you have to do to enter to win is make a comment by 11:59 pm MST on Friday night (May 16, 2008). Include in your comment a favorite gift that you have given or received. All those who comment will be entered for each giveaways unless you specify otherwise.
You may know from my previous giveaway that I love to make cards. They have been a favorite gift for my cousins and siblings that are getting married, since newlyweds have so many thank yous to write. I have two packages of 9 cards each to give away--six are thank you cards shown on the left, and three are flowery blank-inside cards on the right, and of course I'll include the envelopes. Remember to send lots of good mail with these cards!

This is one of my favorite quotes by President Hinckley and I have loved doing these vinyl lettering tiles for my brothers and sisters for their birthdays this year (sorry to ruin the surprise for those of you who haven't yet celebrated your 2008 birthday!). I get my lettering from are so many companies that do vinyl lettering, but I've always been happy with Cara's work. I posted pictures of some glass blocks that I made for Lindsey for Christmas here. With vinyl lettering, it's so simple to put together gifts like this. The tiles and blocks are pretty inexpensive at Home Depot or Lowe's and Cara sends instructions on how to apply the vinyl. For this giveaway, one lucky winner will get the vinyl lettering for this saying to be put on a 12"x12" tile (the tile is not included).
One of my favorite documents from my church is "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" and I love this little snippet which sums up what it takes to make a successful family (which is becoming harder and harder in this world!). I like to paint and antique a frame then personalize it with their name and marriage date and give it as a wedding gift. For this giveaway, I'll make a personalized name page with anniversary (8x10) for one lucky winner (the frame will not be included). These are pretty easy for me to make, so if you really really want one and don't win, I might be convinced to do a few more.
I made these fun letters for baby Grace and her sisters to hang in their room. One winner will get to choose a letter/name and general color scheme.
I've been making rag quilts for a couple of years (thanks to great instructions from my amazingly crafty friend Amanda) for my new baby nieces and nephews. This time I had a few extra squares, so I made some matching burpcloths for Grace. Some time in my blog future I'll do a rag quilt give-away, but for now I just thought these were too cute not to show off.

So, to recap the rules:

**Post a comment and tell me about a favorite gift you've given or received.
**Each person who comments will be entered in each of the drawings (unless you indicate otherwise).
**Winners will be randomly selected; I'll contact the winners and announce on the blog on Saturday, May 17th.

Hope to send a good gift your way!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Surprises

Flower delivery at my door at 8:30 pm (they tried earlier, but couldn't find our house--come on, we're on the grid system people!) from Lauren and her family. What a sweet way for them to say thanks for my going up there--although it wasn't necessary, Lauren knows how good it feels to get flowers and how very much I love calla lilies. Flowers make me smile :).

Early Mother's Day gift from Ryan--At our house we aren't very good at waiting to give gifts on the actual holiday--well, that's usually Ryan's MO, but for Mother's Day he gave me this beautiful picture of the Salt Lake Temple that he took last year and worked some magic on in Photoshop to make it look antiqued. This photo of it looks pretty good, but it's even more amazing in real life. What a great, personalized reminder of the place I love so much.

I am quite sure that we are the last family in the country to jump on the American Idol bandwagon this season. We have been hearing so much about David Archuleta and although we've been rooting for him in our own "we hope he wins" way, it took us until this week to actually tune in. His voice, his humility, and his smile are amazing. We are officially fans and hope David takes it next week.

**Do you ever give or get your presents early?
**Are you fans of David Archuleta too?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tigers stripes are like fingerprints...

... each one has a different set. And did you know that if you shaved off all of the tiger's fur, the same stripe pattern would be on it's skin? Olivia learned this and much more about tigers and gave a little presentation yesterday in her class. I promised myself long ago that I would NOT be one of 'those moms' that did their kids' projects for them. As you can see with the poster, I failed miserably at keeping that promise. We found the coolest book called Actual Size by Steve Jenkins that had a close-up of a tigers' face. Liv and I knew immediately that we had to try to copy it, and this is what we came up with. I loved it when she turned the poster over and her classmates saw it for the first time--there was an audible gasp from them all. As much as I want Olivia to do her own work, I'm kinda proud of the way this poster turned out. I did refrain from typing her report, she did all the research and put it all in her own words and then wrote it out in her very best handwriting (no patience left for the hunt and peck typing). I did try to let her help me glue on one or two pieces on the poster... does that count so that we can say with some honesty that we "did it together"? Below is a video (just a minute long) of her report. Somewhere near the end her poster slid off the easel, which sent all the kids into a laughing fit. We gave out "Trio Kisses" (delicious little gems of dark, milk, and white chocolate) because they are striped as a little treat.

**Do you ever do your kids' work for them?
**Do I get docked good mama points for doing her poster for her?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our little graduate...

While many friends across the country are celebrating graduation from law school or defending PhD dissertations, we have our own little reason to celebrate. Coleman made it through his first year of preschool and has proudly mastered his ABCs, counting, writing his name, simple reading, and even some simple arithmetic. He is now thrilled to have his days completely open to fill with playing with his friends and jumping on the tramp and asking if he can just please play Lego Star Wars for just a little minute. His cute teacher is going to have a baby in a few days, so they got out a month earlier than most schools around here. We hope this little ceremony is a first of many graduations for Coleman!

Each of the kids memorized a nursery rhyme. Poor Coleman's mom needs some lessons on when to press record... so we unfortunately just got half of it, but you get the idea!