Monday, March 31, 2008

My Wallet

I am not a purse carrier. I am not a diaper bag carrier. There are few things that I need at a moments notice. Whatever I need either goes on my person in a pocket or stays in the car where it is easily retrieved if needed.

What you can usually find in my pockets:
- keys
- variety of cards
- cell phone (when I remember it)
- fingernail clippers
- lip junk
- a bit of change

Back before I found my fabulous wallet I use to carry my cards loose in a back pocket. Since they slide around a bit, I didn't feel too safe about that, figuring one might work its way up and out of my pocket sometime. I looked around here and there at different wallets/purses, but for what I wanted to carry I couldn't find something that I was excited about.

One night after brushing my teeth I noticed my birth control pills case.

Small. Thin. No frills. Just about the right size. I pulled the cards out of my pocket, and wonder of all wonders, they fit beautifully. Perfect! Now I could happily carry my variety of cards in a convenient little carrying case. Even better, I get a free monthly replacement so when one wears out, I've got a ready replacement (and since they don't wear out monthly, I've got plenty of backups). When I first started using them they only came in gray, but now I've got them in purple and sea green. Lovely!

I've been packing my cards this way for a few years now, and the idea has been well-received by a few others (including my mom). My sister even stocks up on them for me, which has been a help a few times when I either wasn't getting the monthly refill or the prescrip I was on had the wrong kind of case.

The simple things truly are the best, aren't they?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sewing Scout Patches Tips and Tricks

Any scouters out there know that sewing on patches isn't always thrilling, but hey, we want to look snazzy, right? So it must be done. There is always the patch glue, but that looks terrible if you ever have to take patches off.

I had to add some patches on to my sons' shirts, and got to try out some patch tips I'd been given. They are so fabulous, I have to share.

TIP 1: When sewing unit number patches, sew them together first, and THEN sew them to the shirt.

This saves you from sewing 3 separate small patches. Bigger patches are way easier, plus then you don't have to keep trying to get them all lined up. This could work for the knot patches as well.


I noticed some tape sticking to a patch on one of the roundtable staff's shirt a couple months ago and asked her about it. She said she uses tape instead of pins when she's trying to put on smaller patches. I tried this out when I had to sew a couple arrow points on Sammy's shirt. First I taped over the whole arrow point and sewed right over the tape. This was fine, but the tape kept breaking apart while I was trying to peel it off. Then I tried keeping part of the patch untaped, sewed that part, and then peeled off the tape to finish. I liked that much better.

Both were excellent helps that made the whole patch sewing experience a lot happier with less unpicking. Try them out sometime!

Some other links you might enjoy...
I started a different blog to share excerpts of Baden-Powell talking about his life and thoughts. His words are so wonderful to read. Baden-Powell Stories

For a great post by a friend about a girl's perspective on boy scouts, read this.

I've created and shared some great Wolf scout leader records and 11-Year-Old Scout records and rank advancement tracking.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Telling Myself No

I read something a few weeks ago about telling your children "No" sometimes for things that are good for them, but the no is to make sure they are really ready for it. They were talking about kids wanting to really dive into studying, and that telling them no helps you to find out if they are really ready for it. If they forget about it after you say no, then they weren't. If they keep at you and beg and beg, then they are. This could easily be applied to something like piano lessons. Most people think it's a great thing if their children want to take piano lessons and jump at the interest. If you tell them no and they keep pestering, you know that the desire is really there and not just a whim.

In my decluttering journey I'm learning the value of telling myself no. Decluttering my bedroom really scares me. I don't entirely know why. Maybe partially because I know that to really do that, a lot of things will need to move elsewhere, but where? So then I think I need to finish the basement first. I think I'm also assuming that because they are in my bedroom I NEEEEEED them. I've had a hard time even thinking about it too much, and feel myself getting stressed when I start to consider different ideas. It stresses me even more because I know it stresses Jamie as well. So I've just tried not to think about it, figuring when I'm ready, I'll know.

Jamie left town again this morning dark and early (the sun was far from up), so I started thinking what I could work on while he's gone. I immediately thought of our bedroom, and started thinking, maybe now is the time. "No," I told myself, "it's not. I'm not ready." Immediately this feeling welled up, reminding me of my own childrens' "But Mooooooommmmmmm! I waaaannnnnttt toooo!!!!!" This is good, I thought.

I might do some minor here's and there's, but I'll keep saying no for a while if that's what happens.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Some Updates

I updated my 'Blogs I Like to Read' list, which I haven't for a while. You might find something interesting there.

While you're checking those out, be sure to take a gander at Clint's Washing Machine post. I don't often check back on comments after I comment, but this one I am. By the way, Clint is one of my awesome Wood Badge Raven brothers. I would love to see your interpretation of the washing machine there.

I found a FAR FAR easier way to check on the number of subscribers on your blog and other people's blogs than the way I shared in this previous post. Still in Google Reader, at the far right side of the long blue bar at the top of the screen just about the reading window, there is a little link right on the bar that says "show details." Click on it. Just like that, there it is.

I also added a shameless ad for my website to the sidebar. Tell all your friends.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Our Rockin' Blue and Gold

I'm posting this by request of one of our den leaders since he couldn't be there. I'm sorry if this makes other cub scout dens out there feel sad. Our pack rocks. Our boys rock. Our cub leaders rock. We even have a den leader named Rock. That's all there is to it.

Anyway, the theme for this year's Blue and Gold (held last month) was Chinese New Year. Our amazing and talented primary counselor created this awesome dragon head so we could have a dragon dance. This is proof - no one has a primary counselor that cares as much as ours (thank you Christy!). Here is Sammy modeling it so I could get up close and personal shots:

As for the real dragon dance, picture this: not only did we have the awesome dragon, each of the dens had decorated part of the 'tail' (which is why each section is different), there was real dragon dance music playing, and real fireworks sound effects (bubble wrap being popped in front of the microphone by our den leader Caleb, bummer I didn't get a picture of that). All together, an effect too amazing for words.

The picture with the cubmaster inside is one of my favorites of the night. :)

Of course we couldn't have Chinese New Year without authentic Chinese food. Well, I guess we could have, but since we have Amy in our ward, a Chinese lady we all love, we definitely couldn't. She was more than willing to spend tons of time preparing food with us a few days before and the day of. We had spring rolls and pot stickers...

...three kinds of sauces on chicken, and of course, rice.

One of the more comical parts of the evening, three of the babies present playing in our cub scout fire that we light at the start and douse at the end of every meeting.

Sorry there aren't many pictures of all the people and especially the boys. Permission and all that. But if you happen to see this and you happen to have been there, I would be happy to search out pictures of you and your family members to add them on. Though if I post them and you happen to have your mouth open eating and don't like the world seeing that, I would again happily remove them. :)

Review - Stories of Jesus

I'm subscribed to an interesting podcast called The Cricket and Seagull, hosted by Steven Kapp Perry. In it he "features the unique voices of authors, artists, musicians, scholars, and fellow Saints." I've learned about some great books and music through the Cricket and Seagull.

About a month ago I listened to a podcast on the CD "Stories of Jesus" by Melanie and Roger Hoffman. Follow the link to hear it yourself, where Perry talks with the composers and they share samples of the music. I was so impressed by the short samples that I had to buy it for our family.

As the title suggests, the songs are all about the life of Jesus, starting with his birth and ending with remembering Him and His life. In a way I guess this could be like Handel's Messiah for children. All the songs are so beautiful it is tough to pick a favorite. I asked the boys if they have one - Adam said "the run one" ("Run to Egypt") and Sammy said "the news one" ("Good News!"). I'll ask the girls in the morning and add them on. One unique song is "Gethsemane," a song about the atonement. Like the composers mention on the podcast, there really isn't a children's song about the atonement.

The CD insert quotes Melanie Hoffman: "I know that as children learn who Jesus is, they will look to Him, anticipate His coming, and want to be like Him, because they will know Him and love Him."

The music and lyrics are done so well that it is a CD our whole family enjoys listening to. Learning more about the Savior's life through this music has been a great testimony strengthener for all of us. I highly recommended buying this for your home or as a gift.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Every Website Should Have This

I just found the best wait-while-things-load toy ever. Go to Jamba Juice and look to the bottom right corner. Pick up the chalk. Draw with the chalk. Does it get more fun than that??

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mommy Oops

What happened you ask?

Melanie has a bit of a fever and sore throat. I went to get her some medicine, shook it up, untwisted the top (but left it on), set down the bottle to get the medicine measuring thingy, picked up the bottle and (not thinking) gave it another shake... Oops. There was lots more coverage than shown in the picture. Dripping down the oven door, splashed across some clean drying dishes. You get the idea.

The thing I don't understand - if ANYONE else here had done this I would have jumped in to help them clean it up or entirely clean it up. Why is it that everyone came in to take a gander when they heard me burst out laughing, but I don't get the same???

At least my hands have a pleasant bubble gummy smell now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

P.S. on Time

Okay, so I wrote that last post, went to work on some jewelry orders (Easter is coming) and couldn't stop thinking about time. So here are a few more thoughts.

We know we all have the same amount of time, and that it is our choice on how we use it. Yes we are busy, but I doubt there is anyone out there that doesn't have SOME free time they have a choice over.

During my brother's 2nd tour of duty in Afghanistan I remember something my sis-in-law (his wife) said about the soldiers - that what they do with their free time largely determines who they are when they get back. I know two people that made poor choices with that time, and they and their families have suffered because of it. Every letter we got from my brother was inspiring. I know he spent his time well.

How am I using my time?

We give our lives to that which we give our time.

With so many people demanding my time, I've tried to cut out more and more extras that I know don't benefit me or my family. Some of those are actually things, because it takes time to take care of things, and I've noticed a big difference because of their absence. I've also cut out some time wasters, and again I've noticed a difference. Unfortunately, other things are always trying to jump in to fill the void.

A cluttered life is a life that you do not have control of. It is a life in which the things you have surrounded yourself with, and allow to use up your time, are controlling you and negatively influencing your happiness and eternal progress.

I've heard in so many instances that when you're trying to get rid of a bad habit, you need to replace it with a good habit. I didn't think about that applying until now, but I've had some not so busy afternoons when the house is decently clean, the kids aren't needing me for a few moments, and I find myself wondering what to do with myself. My first inclination is to use that time to study something or to read, and it's always a pleasure, knowing I'm doing it without taking away from anything else. I must admit that the computer is always a draw and it's easy to rationalize that I need to check on orders and such. But being honest to myself, a time waster.

A mother should never allow herself to become so involved with extras that she finds herself neglecting her divine role.

(He shares more on mothers and fathers, but you can look that up.)

Are my 'basics' being taken care of? Are the things I truly value the first things I spend my time on? I truly believe, more than ever, that I can have help answering this, and making changes as necessary.

Quotes from Elder William R. Bradford, "Unclutter Your Life." I plan on reading his talk a lot more closely.

Missing the Blogging Boat

So much to do, so little time.

For about a month I was waiting to share the great question, "Here we say that if March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb, and if it comes in like a lamb it goes out like a lion. Soooo, in the southern hemisphere do they say the same about September?"

I have all these great pictures of the kids swinging away on February 29, then the swingset covered in snow March 1.

I've been meaning to write a post about Sammy and his amazing Lego creations for a month or so. I keep adding more pictures for that one.

I want to write about how our first week of trying out household jobs went.

I've got a post in my head with pictures to go along about our past homeschooling week (it's been a fun one).

Posts with pictures are fab, but it takes more time to pull them off the camera, crop, etc.

So many things I want to be reading.

And I need to prepare a class on the Family Life merit badge for Thursday night.

Not to mention the 500 other heres and theres.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Book Review - Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes

I learned about this wonderful story while reading this book (thanks Lara for posting about it). I'm so happy our library had a copy!

"The Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes" (written in 1939) is about a little country bunny who wants to be one of the five Easter Bunnies someday. Low and behold, she ends up with 21 children, which means a lot to take care of. She realizes that she can't do it all alone and be the Easter Bunny, so she teaches her children how to help around the home so she could fulfill her dream. When her chance comes, originally she is told she can't because of all her responsibilities at home, but she explains all the things her children can take care of on their own, and she is given a chance. Of course she is wonderful at it, and she returns home to find the house entirely in order.

It is one of the most beautiful and enchanting stories I've read, and it is definitely one that will be joining our home bookshelf before long. I thoroughly enjoyed it as a lesson to me, that I need to allow my children more opportunities to grow and learn by teaching them how to help take care of our home. The kids loved the story as well, and after reading it together it was an easy sell to get them to sign up for things they would like to be assigned to do here at home.

I thought it was quite interesting that a review on the book cover calls it a feminist book, and another says she "managed to realize her ambition in spite of her twenty-one children." I don't see it that way at all! She embraced her role as a mother, teaching and training her children to be self-sufficient while she fulfilled her dream one night a year. She became the Easter Bunny because of her children, not in spite of them.

Run out and find this one. It's a keeper!

* Here is more from Lara and Talk about Tuesday. *

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bedtime Woes

I don't know if you've gathered it or not from some of my past posts, but I love reading to my kids. I just discovered a wonderful book I plan on writing a review about (sorry to keep you in suspense, but you don't even get the title yet, and no it's not anywhere else on here). I love discovering new gems like that and sharing the stories and lessons they hold for us.

I've been reading "Holes" with the boys. I've read it before, but the three of us are deep into it. The chapters are short, making it very easy to get sucked into the "One more chapter, PLEEEEASE!!!" Especially when I want to keep going with it too!

Last night we read for over 1/2 hour past their bedtime, but of course they can't jump their little hineys into bed as soon as we're done, even if they are already pajammered and brushed, so by the time lights were off it was at least 45 minutes past bedtime. And boy, did I pay for it this morning. I don't think I heard one kind word from either all morning. Sammy especially doesn't do well on less than normal sleep, and since we were in the getting-read-for-church rush it made it all the worse.

Tonight I said they had to be jammered and brushed AND on their beds before I started reading, and that I was going to quit 10 minutes before actual bedtime in case there was anything extra they needed to get up for after we were done. When everyone was ready and we could finally get going, we had 7 minutes to read (we watched a movie tonight that finished just after 8:00, so getting the girls ready for bed pushed back them getting ready). We had one longer chapter that actually took us 8 minutes to read, so when I was done with it I closed the book and got them settled in.

While Sammy was getting ready I told Adam that I love reading together even more than they do, and that it makes my heart hurt to have to cut the time so drastically, but that no way no how am I going to have them up if it means that I get punished the next morning the way I did today. I don't mean this to be a whiney post, but a lesson hopefully finally learned. We've run this cycle before here and there. Maybe I've got it now.

Even if I do hate it.

I feel like I'm the one the law is being laid down for. That stinks.