Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advice and Traditions

This comes via my mom via Maya Angelou.......because I am finding the holidays a tad overwhelming.....

Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.    Peace.
We look at each other, then into ourselves, and we
say without shyness or apology or hesitation:

Peace, My Brother
Peace, My Sister
Peace, My Soul

  M. Angelou

And then today while flying back to the cities I read a Lorna Landvik's 'Tis The Season . (seriously, read the whole thing in a 3 hour flight).   A quick easy read, but enjoyable.  Lorna is from Minnesota and I read her books when I am in the mood for something that is entertaining but light.

But near the very end of the story, I loved the idea they did for a new Christmas tradition.   Everyone in the room writes their name on a piece of paper.  Then everyone in the room draws a name from the hat.  For the name you draw, you must write them a fortune that you hope will come true for them before the next Christmas.  Then everyone folds the fortunes up and puts them in the hat and people find their name.  Then everyone reads their fortune out loud and they have to guess who wrote it for them.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good People

Very rarely, but so brilliantly, sort of like seeing a double rainbow.....do serendipitous things occur.  And one of those nights was last week, Thanksgiving Eve.  We were headed in to town to check out the deals out there on King-sized mattresses and beds(we have recently been visited-often--by two burrowing raccoons) and thought we would hit Tiger Sushi because of a giftcard we had.

First of all, KUDOS to Tiger Sushi.  The place is beautiful and the food excellent...but the one thing we were so impressed with is how excellent their staff was.  We walk in, they immediately notice the two hyper kids, so they walk us to the table and within seconds they bring us kid-sized waters and (Lightbulb goes off)...a portable DVD player with Curious George playing.  Now, I said I would never be one of those parents that plopped her kids in front of the TV in order to appease them...but I lied and have done this on occasion.  The one nice thing about it at a restaurant is that myself and the hubby can sort of pretend to be on a date for 5 minutes while the kids watched the movie.

As a side note:  Tiger Sushi has by far the best miso soup I have ever had.  They had these little pieces of broccolini in it and the tofu pieces were big.  The pieces were so big that we used this as our first chopstick teaching lesson and the kids knocked it out of the park. 

But the next part of my story..brings me to the title, Good People.  So this very beautiful couple, with equally beautiful children sit down next to us.  As is the case with people with other kids, you start chatting about kids and life and whatever.  And before long, this kind family was feeding our kids their dessert.  (how nice is that?  How mean am I that didn't even buy my kids dessert?:)  And by the end of the evening our kids were running around the restaurant and our kids are hugging each other goodbye...no joke. But seriously, when was the last time that out of the complete blue, you meet such kind and generous people?

Well, come to find out, the mom, is the owner of livesavvy headbands.  So that night, after having such a great time with this family, I hopped on the ole' internet to check out the headbands.  As many of you have witnessed, I am not adept at "DOING" my hair.  I mean really, I don't even know how to use a round brush.  I only recently started flatironing and that is only for special occasions.  And so when I saw these wickedly cool headbands I had to order one.  BUT...to top it off, not only is she a super kind person, 10% of the proceeds got to the Tubman Family Alliance that works to end violence in the home and the designs are sewn by the women at the Regina Project..a vocational training program for refugee women.  This is the double-whammy of gifts...you get something uber-fabulous and you give so much...which is how most of life should be.  I quickly pen a note to this family, thanking them for being so kind (I have learned not to just sit back and let moments pass by...recognize it, enjoy it and be thankful...because again, there are no coincidences.)

So today, after what was kind of a long, crappy today, I get this sweet package in a recyclable mailer with a classy label.  So right away my spirits are lifted....but not only is the one headband in there that I ordered, but two others that she kindly gave me to try out.  So, despite my total hate of pictures of myself, I am so excited to show you the livesavvy headbands that were gifted to me.


How lucky am I??  Thanks Livesavvy....Peace.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I am a sucker for ANY contest

To participate you must include all of the text, including the links, in bold below:

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year? 


a)All the Avett Brother CDs
b)A nice Chef's knife
c)A camping stove
d)A king size bed

e)A set of bicycles for him and I :)

2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received? 

a)a couple of different pieces of jewelry(i really dig my scrabble necklaces)

3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle? 

a)A funky advent calender


4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child? 

a)my bicycle.....I just loved the freedom

5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year? 

a)train tracks, of ANY kind
b)some new DVDs (Madagascar)

6. What is your favorite holiday food? 

a)cinnamon rolls on christmas morning

7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays? 

a)I have some ideas for some fabric ornaments and I would like to work on a Christmas outfit for my daughter

8. What is your favorite holiday movie? 

a)Sound of Music is always played at Christmas despite it not really being a Christmas movie.

9. Favorite holiday song? 

a)The Little Drummer Boy

10. Favorite holiday pastime?

a)I love baking and then making goodie sacks for all my neighbors. 


Click here to see an example.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

This is just so wierd...

(not that I posted three times in one day) but I go over to Tara Whitney(probably one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE blogs) and (twilight zone music comes on)....she is talking about the Just Be necklace and use the coupon code JUSTBE to get a discount......

There are no coincidences.

Times they are a' changin.....

I few days ago, the idea popped in my head that I should just change my blog name.   And well, I am. 

So henceforth....it will just be called Just Be......I am working to get the whole blog address changed, but until then....this is what you will get.   And due to Marlys introducing me to picnik....I will forever be changing the logo at the top. 

I love those chunky little thighs


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Confession time

It is so totally sick and wrong and over-the-top and GEEE-ROSSS that I  even contemplated spending $150 on Christmas cards.....

breath breath breath, but they are so cute.....

BUT THEY ARE JUST CHRISTMAS CARDS

okay....I think I am okay with it.....I will get over it....I am not possibly spending that kind of money on cards and I would never try and "recreate/copy" their design...because that is wrong.  I just thought you should see the card that you will never get. 


Pretty cute...huh?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

40 Things That I Want To Do Before I Turn 40





(idea stolen from here)

1)Go to Thailand/Bali.....somewhere or anywhere in that vicinity.
2)Write a children's book.
3)Go to Napa.
4)Learn to surf.
5)Spend more time camping with my kids.
6)Show my kids the joy of the ocean.
7)Go to Hawaii
8)Go on Colorado River Trip
9)Make an attempt every year to see my good friends (you know who you are)
10)Work more on giving away then acquiring
11)Eat more healthy
12)Go skiing (it has been awhile)
13)Let go of the bad stuff and appreciate the good stuff
14)Accept the things that I have been given in life
15)Save more money so I can go on all of these trips.
16)Try and read at least one book a month.
17)Take Josh to Cabo and go fishing for tuna and eat it raw on the beach with some wasabi.
18)See Oprah live.
19)(um having a hard time coming up with 40)
20)Camp in Havasupai
21)Go to many many good concerts.
22)Raise respectful and intelligent kids.
23)Laugh much and often...no matter what.
24)See my family more then once a year......
25)Save money for a fabulous retirement.
26)Have a family reunion with the Smith Girls side of the family.
27)Learn to garden like a pro and have an abundance of vegetables.
28)Enjoy my job.
29)Be active in my children's education.
30)Go to Greece and eat Greek Yogurt and eat Greek Salad.
31)Go to Tuscany and pick real olives from real trees.
32)Go on hikes with the kids.
33)Ride a horse at full speed.
34)Stare at many beautiful sunsets.
35)Run.
36)Use my sewing machine more.
37)See my siblings more.
38)Enjoy the arts.
39)Spend less time on my computer.
40)Eat good food.

Just a public service announcement

Organic fruit and veggies can be expensive, but here is a good list of what you should buy organic:
Apples
Bell Peppers
Celery
Cherries
Grapes (Imported)
Nectarines
Peaches
Pears Potatoes
Raspberries
Spinach
Strawberries

The reason: these veggies/fruits had a 91 percent pesticide contamination rate. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Look up, yeah up there...see that.....

My MIL (aka Birdie) made it for me...isn't it cool? You are jealous...aren't ya???


I bet you are wondering what we have been up too...I know it was probably just THRILLING to read about our canning adventures (just you wait until I discuss us making applesauce)...but no, we actually do fun things around here....for instance:

We arrange marriage for our children (Mason 2, Lily almost 3, older woman):



We feed our kids to sheep.


We put our kids in cages and let them jump until they are so tired they want to take naps. (I failed to mention all the good germs I just exposed them too...)
















We clone our kids......(isn't it odd how much they all look like each other?)









And we let them stare-all-googly-eyed at wierd mascots of unknown origin. 
You don't believe me....what is this thing? (it doesn't really matter, Kendall thought it was Gophy the Gopher..but what are the yellow flappy things on its face?)


We dog-pile on dad.

And we pile on dad some more.





We just like to have fun, and smile and be happy and "be a family"....and I love that kids say that everytime we are sitting together.....they say "we are a family".

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So long Summer, hello GRAPES!!




Yes, my friends, those beautiful purple orbs are grapes.  And no, we did not move to Napa (although I probably wouldn't hesitate if someone offered to send us there to live.)   Those Concord grapes were handpicked at our neighbor's (Dr. Larry).  We have also been the beneficiary of this lovely apple trees (thank you again Dr. Larry).

So I may just have to give up the title of Faux Martha and hand it over to the husband, Mr. Baux Martha...because he was the man behind our jam (not jelly, it has the skins in it so it is chunkier).  I helped skin the grapes, but really it was Josh who did all the work.  He got the recipe (thanks Susan!) and bought the jars and did all the prep work.....and it was awesome....I just took the pictures.

And this jam....WOWZERS.....talk about delcious...so dang sweet.  We were just spooning it out and eating it.   With the cold snap that recently hit, we just got another batch of grapes and so we hope to make some more in the next few days.  Maybe wine is next?

PS...all of my pictures are big...you can always click on them and see them on a bigger scale, more blown up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Come on people....it is PRESCHOOL

So maybe I read the directions wrong, but I swear the directions said something like "Work with your child to decorate the attached pumpkin(photocopied on white paper)....use things you have around the home, sequins, noodles, etc.)"

So I go to the kitchen I get a bowl of noodles, beans, fruity cheerios, toothpicks, popcorn and I bring them downstairs. I then grab orange, green, and black crayons.  I then grab the Elmers and with hesitation I set all of this down on the table in front of Miss K.  She with the biggest grin ever, goes to town "decorating" her pumpkin, with her style(i.e massive glue), in her own artistic manner. 

It dries and it looks really cool in a crafty sort of way.  (Side note: Mason her trusty sidekick also got to do the same.)

So today I put the "art project" in Kendall's backpack to send back to school (as we were directed).  I pick her up this afternoon and as I am walking down the hall, I suddenly stop to see the wall full of "decorated" pumpkins. 

Come on people....I may be wrong but about 50% of them were SOOO obviously done by the parents.  Everything so perfect and lined up.  One person had taken sparkly puff paint and followed all the lines of the pumpkin with the puff paint.....HINT HINT...kids at this age aren't really good at drawing a perfectly straight line, let along hold a bottle of puffpaint and draw a straight line.  I would KILL to take a picture of this madness but I am sure that would make me persona non grata at the next preschool meeting.  IT IS PRESCHOOL.....not Harvard. What a bad thing to teach your kids at an early age....

Give your kids some freedom people.  Lay down the old used tablecloth, pull out an apron and let your kids have some fun.  That is WHY they made Spray'N'Wash.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good Lessions

This past weekend I got to do something so fabulous......I went on my first ever GIRLS WEEKEND.  And these are not just your average gals...these are my old childhood friends (we are talking First Grade and up people)..... beautiful, amazing mamas, sisters, women....so amazingly fun and happy and beautiful.

It was like no time had lapsed......an hour into it the trip and the silly jokes and the laughs were a'flowinnnnng....their was absolutely no uncomfortableness.  I laugh daily or even hourly with the kids, but seriously my stomach hurt from the amount of laughing that went on. 

When you plan these things you kind of worry that you will have too high of expectations...but seriously...it was a total blast

the pictures I took can be seen on facebook.....

Seriously people.....don't hold back....go see your friends....don't wait....life is short.  We are going to do this every year until I die...if I can help it. 

Here is my favorite shot.




Which brings me to a post a I am stealing from Amy Tangerine who stole it from them

Highly happy people all share happy habits. It’s as simple as that. The happiest people I know share 7 very obvious habits. If you’re looking to expand your general happiness you may consider adopting these habits in your own life.




Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

-Abraham Lincoln



Be a Part of Something You Believe In – This could be anything. People may take an active role in their local city council, find refuge in religious faith, join a social club supporting causes they believe in, or find passion in their careers. In each case the physiological outcome is the same. They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in. This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives.

Share Time with Friends and Family – A happy life is a life shared with friends and family. The stronger the personal relationships are and the higher the frequency of interaction, the happier a person will be.

Reflect on the Good – Quite often people concentrate too much of their attention on negative outcomes and leave no time to positively reflect on their successes. It’s natural for a person to want to correct undesirable circumstances and focus closely on doing so, but there must be a healthy balance in the allocation of personal awareness. It is important to mindfully reflect on the good while striving diligently to correct the bad. A continuous general awareness of your daily successes can have a noticeably positive affect on your overall emotional happiness.

Exploit the Resources You DO Have Access To – The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicap person show intense signs of emotional happiness. How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy? The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have. Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.

Create Happy Endings Whenever Possible – The power of endings is quite remarkable. The end of any experience has a profound impact on a person’s overall perception of the experience as a whole. Think about reading a fairly well written, thought provoking novel. Now imagine the ending totally sucks. Even if the story was captivating up until the ending, would you still be happy recommending the novel to a friend? People always remember the ending. If the ending is happy, the experience creates happiness. Always tie loose ends, leave things on a good note, and create happy endings in your life whenever possible.

Use Personal Strengths to Get Things Done – Everyone possesses unique personal strengths. We all have different talents and skill sets. Emotional happiness comes naturally to those who use their strengths to get things done. The state of completion always creates a sense of achievement. If this achievement is based exclusively on your own personal ability to get the job done, the physiological rewards are priceless.

Savor the Natural Joy of Simple Pleasures – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best things in life are free. They come in the form of simple pleasures and they appear right in front of you at various locations and arbitrary times. They are governed by Mother Nature and situational circumstance and captured by mindful awareness. It’s all about taking a moment to notice the orange and pink sunset reflecting off the pond water as you hold hands with someone you love. Noticing these moments and taking part in them regularly will bring unpredictable bursts of happiness into your life.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lovely Weekends

In July, the day of Mason's birthday, I think it was 64 degrees out, overcast.  We had kids in jackets.  Today, September 13, it is 90 out......I love you Indian Summer.....

Mother Earth...if you would like to extend this well into November, you won't hear any complaints from us.

First off...big news....we have a preschooler in our house.....

I was doing fine and then she turned to walk in and I saw her massive backpack and her scrawny legs and I started the silent sobbing, wipe wipe, hurry don't want anyone to see,,,,but oh look at how cute she looks...wipe wipe, sniffle.  How the heck did this happen?  Where did the last 3.5 years go?  I am still looking for some magic fairy dust that will prevent the growth of my kids, but I guess until that time comes, I am just going to have to deal with the GROWTH, the LEARNING, the TALKING BACK, the AMAZINGLY CRAZY AND CREATIVE STORIES OF THE SPIDERS AND GRUFFALOS EATING ME IN MY BEDROOM, and the EXCUSES ON WHY I CAN'T GO TO SLEEP and THE BEAUTY OF HOW THEY (MY MONKEYS) JUST ADORE EACH OTHER and the FACT THAT I HAVE TWO OF THE MOST AMAZING KIDS EVER (not to say your kids aren't great....)

In the meantime, I will just feel blessed and enjoy my lovely weekends....