Monday, April 30, 2012

Instruments--Rent or Buy?

My daughter has almost completed her first school year having "strings" class in school.  She rents (well, we pay the bill :) a viola for this purpose.  We are a little unsure of the next step we should take.  She still really enjoys the viola and would like to stick with playing it.  We didn't think that would happen which was one big reason we were renting.  Also, for next year, it would appear she needs the next bigger size.  If we keep renting from the same company, we will just turn this one in and get the next size and continue to pay our 37.99/month.

Here's the thing:  my hubby found some new violas for sale online for around $100 (in bright, fun colors!).  So doesn't it seem logical to just purchase one of those in the next size and it'll be paid for in only a few months of not renting?

Well, I'm not mom said if the quality is too low sometimes the instrument cannot be tuned properly. The rental store will apply what we've spent on rent for this one to the purchase of a new high quality instrument from them.  But their brand new retail price is around $ even with our credit we'd still be looking at $400ish to purchase a "good" one.

Since neither my husband or I play musical instruments we are a little lost on this decision.  Do any of you musical readers have words of advice for us?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This times 4 :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

We Love Legos!

Our kids (the older 3) got Lego sets from their grandparents this year for Christmas and they were a VERY popular gift.  Each of them has spent hours building and designing with them.  Mr. Warmth even joined in when it came to this Harry Potter set.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beautiful Home-aha

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

He Eats!

One of the most exciting developments in our household as of late is this boys appetite.  Getting him to start solids has been a major issue for the last YEAR.  He wasn't interested at 4 months, put it off till 6 months...still not interested.  Finally, at ONE YEAR I had had it.  And then I got patient again.  And then at 15 months I asked the Dr. "What is wrong here?"

She diagnosed him with "oral aversion" and gave me a referral for speech/occupational therapy.  I showed up for that appointment with a mixture of excitement and relief that finally we were putting this chapter and struggle behind us.  The appointment turned out to be anti-climactic.  They tried to feed him, he tried a little, and acted as he normally does.  They seemed to be grasping at possible ideas that I'd already tried myself.  Their conclusions were less than helpful.  Don't be anxious!  He can read your emotions!  Scream and act excited every time he takes a bite!  Um, okay?

They seemed to struggle the whole time we had our appointment to think of any solution.  But it didn't take them long to want some money.  Two days later we get the bill.  Over $400!  For less than 1/2 hour of their time!  Which they spent most of hemming and hawing and not giving any scientific strategies.  Gah!  The insurance got the amount down a we paid $340.  I'm not impressed.  Especially because their treatment plan included weekly visits at the same price point.  Um, no.

I felt stuck.  Couldn't afford their services.  Want my kid to eat.  The good news is that he is very good at nursing and getting the nutrition he needs from it (he's always been at the top of the growth charts).  Sometimes that is the bad news too...One word:  Blisters!  Even if you haven't breastfed maybe you can imagine.

But...back to the end of the story.  The last 2 weeks he has decided to eat!  He's trying lots of different foods--swallowing some and depositing some in his cheeks for later.  It's been cute and exciting to watch!  We'll keep you updated on any further developments (like if he decides to start chewing the food :)!


At the last minute I got my son a set of Cars balloons on his birthday.  I was feeling a little guilty that we weren't doing much for any of the kids birthdays so I ran to the closest grocery store and found this on the evening of the big day.

Thankfully kids are pretty excited no matter how last minute something is and he loved his balloons.  A few days after his birthday his dear little friend had a birthday party to go to.  My little man decided that he wanted to give the biggest Cars balloon to his friend.  I thought that was so sweet.  This picture is of him walking to that friend's house.

True generosity is giving of ourselves, things that are special to us.  I am touched by your goodness, sweet boy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Crockpot Meatloaf

1-2 pounds of ground beef
1/2 C rolled oats
1/4 C chopped onion
1-2 eggs
1/3 C milk
salt and pepper to taste

Mix and mash and get your hands all disgusting.  Then wash your hands and turn the crockpot on to cook on Low for the day.  When it is all cooked,whip up this sauce.  BUT FIRST!  (this is important)  DRAIN THE LIQUID OFF THE TOP.  Then take the sauce, spread it on, and let it cook a little bit longer:

1 C ketchup
2 T mustard
3 T brown sugar

Monday, April 23, 2012

Filling in the Gaps

When we had our inspection on this house there were several things I thought would be "deal breakers," especially anything involved with the foundation or basement of the house after our debacle with trying to get a home built.

There was this little gap that I thought might signal big problems.  Turns out (according to the inspector) all was well with the house and things that needed fixed were very minor--either cosmetic or to improve energy bills.  Nothing that meant it was a problem to buy this house.

Yay, yay, yay.  I still remember the excitement of hearing that news.  I didn't know it was still months away, but knowing we might have a house was very encouraging. of those minor things was just to fill in these areas with an expanding foam to make the wall more energy efficient.  Mr. Warmth handled that himself.  It's not pretty to look at, maybe not even interesting :), but I wanted to document all of the work we do to this place.  So many memories are formed in the fixing and beautifying and the restoring-to-life of our home.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Degrees of Tiredness

I well remember the shocking initiation into motherhood that was my 24 hour labor followed by weeks of interrupted nights.  That was quite honestly my biggest shock--something that just couldn't be understood beforehand.  A reason I would get depressed and downright panicky was because I didn't know if my baby would ever  sleep.  When she hit two weeks she seemed to sleep worse than when she was born!  I didn't know this was normal.  Thankfully as weeks turned into months her clock set itself on par with the rest of the world and by the time she was a year old I think we thought we were sane again.

Then, boom.  Pregnant again.  Not quite expecting it, but looking back, I'm so grateful for that timing.  My girls are two of kind who do everything together.  Wouldn't change that for anything.  But.  I had a baby.  And I was pregnant.  Talk about TIRED.  But I pretty much assumed if I got through that I could get through anything.  Good thing I didn't know any better :).

Now that I am a mom of four I feel the deep-bone tiredness that I think is deeper than I expected.  But since it's gotten better with time before I'm just holding out for the future.  One thing I've learned is to never say, "it can't get any worse."  It always can. :)

My seven year old had a freak playground accident last week and broke her leg.  There was no bruising or swelling so I waited a day to take her to the Dr.  I had no idea how serious it was.  Her first night clued me in, however, as I was up every few hours as she whimpered in pain or needed carried to the bathroom.  

Thankfully we got in the next day and got her cast, wheelchair, and the good pain meds.  Just being a mother of four now seems easy compared to being a mother of four when one is wheelchair bound.  You live and learn.  We all have our own trials and my compassion for those who parent special needs children has increased.  I don't know how they do it, but I'm sure they need our continued prayers for their strength.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Making my high-protein lists (breakfasts, lunches, and snacks) was so fun, I decided to make a list of high calcium ideas.

I'll give you a hint of how I got this idea:

My sweet daughter got a major leg break on her school playground.  As part of the Dr's protocol (the one who set her cast) we were given instructions to make sure she got plenty of calcium. per the usual :) I will proceed to make a list of ideas of ways for her or any of us to get more calcium.  Feel free to chime in your suggestions too!

Ways to Get more Calcium in your Diet

  • Viactiv chews (yum!  chocolate)
  • Milk, including flavored milk the kids get at school lunch
  • string cheese
  • cheese and crackers snack
  • yogurt
  • cottage cheese (yummy with fruit!)
  • Spinach, easy to get a lot in green smoothies
  • broccoli as a dinner side dish
  • fresh broccoli as a vehicle for any yummy dip

Again, feel free to share your hints with me!

This Picture is Old...

But I just had to add it to this family scrapbook of ours.

I don't ever want to forget the way my baby looked his first time wearing jeans and cowboy boots :).

Friday, April 20, 2012

Garlic Breadsticks

1/4 C warm water
2 t yeast
1 1/2 C hot water
1 T sugar
1 t salt
3 1/4 C flour
1/2 C butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine 1/4 C warm water and yeast;  set aside.  Mix together hot water, sugar, salt, and 1 C flour.  Add yeast mixture.  Add remaining 2 1/4 C flour.  Mix well.  cover and allow to rise for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt butter in sheet cake pan (sided cookie sheet) in oven.  Roll out dough on floured surface.  Cut into strips.  Place in pan, rolling in the butter.  Sprinkle bread sticks with Parmesan cheese and garlic salt.  Cover and allow to rise 10 minutes.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beautiful and True, I am So Grateful for My Life

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chalk + Board

So, we've had this chalkboard since a few weeks after we moved to Nebraska for Law school.  I used it next to my pantry in all 3 places we lived before moving here.  I used it to keep track of groceries we ran out of.

Now that I have a smart phone, I keep a running grocery list in there, which works better because with this list I still had to transfer it to paper before heading off for the store.  And my phone goes with me to the store where I can check off each thing, electronically, as I buy it.

Nowadays I use the chalkboard to keep a list of bigger chores that I need to remember to do that might get lost in day to day drama.  I draw great big boxes to check off!  Gotta love that sense of satisfaction.  Especially when it says "scrub toilets!"

Since I love and have loved having a chalkboard all this time, I'm considering a chalkboard WALL.  The wall you see it on...should I paint the whole thing with chalkboard paint?  Will it be too dark?  I think it would be really cute to have messages to each other or weekly menus featured there.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Something More

I got my degree in Business and in one of my senior "entrepreneurship" classes we had a challenge that we had to think of 5 business ideas/day and write them in our little notebook.  As I realized later, the purpose of that task was not so much that one of those businesses would be the next Microsoft or Facebook, but rather to train our brain to come up with new ideas on a regular basis.  I wasn't good at this before because every time I had an invention or business type idea, I immediately thought of the reasons it wouldn't work, and shelved it before I had given it any type of serious thought.

When I did this project for the school assignment, I couldn't immediately rule out ANY ideas because I was having a hard time just coming up with the assigned 5 per day.  ANY idea was one worth writing down.  That is where my thinking changed.  My professor probably knew it would do this...but to this day I still think of business ideas.  Not 5 per day, but probably 2 or 3 per week.  That part of my brain just won't shut off.

The good news is that I am married to an attorney, so he has the "know-how" to get my business entity started.  The bad news is that I have turned into a business idea factory and haven't gotten to the stages of really developing one particular idea and focusing my mental efforts on staying on that idea.  Lately, though, as I've thought about my future I've contemplated the following:

1.  Going back to school for a Master's.
2.  Getting a job outside the home.
3.  Opening a business (thus this post).

Option #3 appeals to me, because if I own the business I can make it family-friendly and do the kind of mothering that I want to.  Do any of you have any advice?


2 Nephi 25:26

26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that ourchildren may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Today at church, our teacher shared an interesting truth...that really stuck out to me.  She said we should forgive our children.  When they see and feel what it is like to have our forgiveness they'll notice the pattern and be more prepared to feel the Lord's forgiveness when they seek it.  I thought that was a beautiful concept.  I am thankful for the grace of my parents when I have done wrong and apologized to them.  I hope I can do the same for my children.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Finishing Up the Deck

It is not lost on me how many special family times have been provided to us through working on our "notsoperfect" house.  That is something God provided that we didn't know we needed.

Watching the kids eagerly join in painting the deck was a special moment for me.

**A note about the color--it was very orangey when wet.  And yes, that looked awful next to our reddish house.  But it dried a lovely chocolate brown, as we had hoped.**

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Deck, post 4

That is a beefy looking deck post.  Much, much better than the wimpy ones from before, right?!

Mr. Warmth replaced all of the 4 x 4's with 6 x 6's, bolted in like this one.

Now, that's a deck I'll let the kids walk on!!! :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Deck, post 3

Here is the lumber, all ready to go...

Should you trust a man who owns irrigation boots?

Should you leave him alone with your car tire jack?

Maybe not.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Deck, post 2

First Step:  Mr.  Warmth power-washed the deck.

The layer of grime made the deck a whole different color!  That was fun to watch!

And I got to help!

I hammered in loose nails wherever I could find them.

To see the rest of the project you can check out:  The Deck, Post 1, 3, 4, and Finishing Up the Deck.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mothers Invented Hard Work!

The Deck, post 1

This is what we started with.  The posts holding up the deck were 4 x 4's and if you look closely you can see some were barely hanging off their foundations.

When we toured the home for the first time, I said no children would be allowed to walk on the deck until it was repaired.

I assumed deck repair necessitated a group of professionals.

Wrong again.

My husband continues to amaze me....

(to be continued!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Kids get Crafty too!

After taking pictures of my diaper box adventures, my oldest daughter wanted to do some crafting herself.  She up-cycled this can we'd had rice or oats in (and had then cleaned) by covering it with fabric and hot-gluing liberally.

She picked some ribbon from my stash and made it fancier.

Great job making your world more beautiful, my sweet girl!