Tuesday, April 17, 2012


We have been reading sooo many books at our house the last little while and I wanted to say a few words about some of them:

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson- My kids all loved this book.  My oldest had read it before and so she sometimes gave away the next part but the younger two didn't seem to mind.  This story is good for boys and girls and is full of adventure and pirates.  It is also a fairly short book which is nice to have sometimes.  

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter- I read this to my girls each night before bed.  Their rooms are right next to each other so sometimes I would sit on the floor outside their rooms and read to them while they were in their beds.  The book is so wonderful! It has so many inspiring examples of gratitude and happiness and we have found ourselves playing the "Glad" game several times since we read this book.  I let the girls watch the movie after we finished the book and as usual they liked the book better, although this newest movie that we watched was very well done.  I would highly recommend this book for all girls.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling-  The girls listened to the first five together and then Olivia finished the last two books on her own.  We have been trying to get her to love reading and I think these books were the trick.  I also liked that she listened to the first several and then read the last few- I think by listening first it got her into the story and by the last book she was staying up late just to read.  We let her watch the movies when she finished the book which is a good incentive for her.  She is now obsessed with all things Harry Potter and we have at least one conversation a day based around the topic.  

Kaya (an American Girl)- Jayda and I have been reading this series.  Originally we started the books for the Liberty Girls group she was to be in but it fell through so we are just doing it on our own.  These books are so great for younger girls- they teach lessons that can easily be applied today and at the same time teach a lot about history.  We just finished a book today and have one left in the series.

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall-  I read a review of this book in a magazine and it said that if your child likes books like the Narnia books, they will like this book.  I completely agree with the review and would add that no matter what your child likes to read, they will like this book.  All of my children loved it- we listened to it in the car and my kids would want to stay in the car to listen even after we had arrived at our destination.  This book is a modern classic with stories of adventure, family honor and friendship.  My kids couldn't wait to start the second book.

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall-  I can't decide which of the Penderwick books I liked better because each has something different to offer.  The first book was full of summer fun while the second book is full of school pressure and some love drama (not anything crazy).  It gives the reader a lot to think about  and my kids keep comparing situations to the Penderwicks and how it reminds them of how so-and-so would act.  We have the third book, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette on order and the library so hopefully we can start that soon.  We finished this book today while we made rolls- I think it will make a good memory for all of us.

The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis- We had read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe last year and we all loved it, but I have to say I love The Magicians Nephew even more.  It tells the background of Narnia and how it came to be and introduces Aslan and the Witch and is so full of imagery and magic that I found myself having the strangest dreams.  I love the parallels that can be drawn to the Gospel and the beauty of the writing- it's too good- I can't even put it into words.  A definite must read!  My kids all loved it.  We listened to this one as well and the narrator Kenneth Branagh was sooooo good and did so many different voices that I forgot it was only one man reading the whole thing.

Uncle Tom's Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe-  It was my turn to pick a book for book group and this is the book I picked.  I had read it and loved it before and no one else in the group had so I thought it would be a good one.  I was again struck by the beautiful writing and descriptions by the author and loved the lesson that it teaches of forgiveness and faith.  We had a great discussion about it and I think everyone in the group loved the book.

The Seven Miracles That Saved America by Stewart and Stewart-  This is the book we are reading this month for  book group and so far it is so enlightening and interesting.  I haven't finished it yet but have learned so much about the history of this country that I didn't know before.  I think anyone who is interested in America and history would love this book.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friday Rides

We have been so busy but for some reason I haven't been bringing my camera along on all of our outings.  For the month of February we spent our Fridays with my mom and the horses.  We have had an uncommonly warm winter and most weekends have been sunny and warm so we loaded the horses up and took them to the Equestrian Center to let them run and let the kids ride.  I think it is probably both girls favorite thing to do.

 Watching my girls chatting while they rode makes a mama happy!

 Poor Sim is so allergic- he would rather stay in the truck.
 Sometimes others would join us- my sis, nephews and niece 

March 1st we finally had a huge snow storm, but it melted within a few days- I wonder what the next few months will be like?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Disneyland 2012

We finally took our family to Disneyland!  That was the big present for Christmas and January was a great time to go.  We left a day early so we could spend a little time with our BFF's the Whites.  The weather in Utah was beautiful and we had a great time with them even though one of our kids and one of their kids were sick.
 We met up with the rest of my family in Las Vegas.  It was interesting.  Geoff (my little brother) likes to dress up weird so here is his outfit while we ate at the buffet:
 Once we got to Cali- we went straight to the beach- which was frrrreeezing!

 But still fun- we walked out on the pier and ate lunch at Ruby's diner
 My sister-in-law, Adrian and her little girl Landri took a little break to pose for a picture.
 There was a great playground at Newport beach so the kids climbed and climbed.

 All of the grandkids with Nana and Papa
 Disneyland and California Adventure were so much fun!  The kids loved looking at everything and were great sports about going on most of the rides.  Simeon got a little traumatized on Tower of Terror (he's a little young) and Olivia was freaked out but not completely traumatized.
 Jayda pretty much stayed away from anything that resembled a roller coaster.

 The lego store was a huge hit for the boys.

I think Indiana Jones was the favorite ride for most of us.  It was awesome to have my parents and my brother and his new wife to help, as well as my other brother and his family to play with my kids.  It really is the happiest place on earth! 

Armadillo baby hat...

I have so many friends having babies in the next few months, I thought I'd find a new baby hat pattern to make for each of them.  I fell in love with this hat pattern the minute I saw it- the pattern can be found here.  It totally reminds me of an armadillo.  The biggest thing I like about the hat (besides that it's quick and easy to make) is that it will stay on a baby's head while they are in their car seat, it also covers up little baby ears so they stay warm.
I'm making 5 more hats in different colors- I'm in knitting heaven!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas surprises

Christmas morning the kids woke up around 8:00 and were so excited to see what treasures Santa brought them- they patiently waited at the top of the stairs until we said it was okay for them to come downstairs.

 The biggest gift this year was a biggie for our family: Disneyland here we come!  The kids each got a Mickey t-shirt and a fun disney bag to store things.

 They all got new slippers 
 And the holiday wouldn't be complete without at least one injury.  Simeon felt like he could fly and decided to try it- he jumped from the top stair all the way to the bottom (11 stairs) and had a little crash landing on his head.  We are lucky it was just a goose egg and not a concussion.
 My dad got all the older kids their own ukeleles- Olivia taught them two songs to play and they gave us a concert- sooo cute!
 One little member of the audience wasn't so impressed.

I love that the kids love music and are trying to learn new things- how fun if they all practice and can play together.  We had a full, blessed Christmas and I felt so grateful for all that I have and the amazing people in my life.  I am constantly reminded of the amazing gifts and blessings that these kids are and how much fun they are to be around.  For Christmas I got things that make me seem old: a tea kettle and some new sweats- it's all I wanted!

Twas the night before Christmas...

We had so much fun this year on Christmas Eve.  We had a lovely and delicious dinner where everyone got their own artichoke to dip in butter and we had yummy Cioppino (fish stew),  and creme brûlée for dessert.
 Sweet Simeon decided he needed to get dressed up for the evening.  After dinner we went on a walk to look at the lights around the neighborhood- we only made it about half a block because it was fffrrreezing!
 The kids got to open their one present of the night (pajamas of course)

 It was so fun to have Geoff and Sam join us on the first Christmas together.
 The jambes fit great and looked adorable and Olivia finished off the night with a song on her ukelele.

Some Homemade gifts

I do a few homemade gifts every year and try to have my girls do the same.  This year they both decided to make gifts for their Grandmas.  Jayda decided to make these no-sew coasters- she had a great time using the hot glue gun and she cut out all the shapes by herself.

 Olivia decided to do some embroidery and put the last initial of each Grandma on a flour sack towel.

 Both projects turned out great and both Grandmas loved their new gifts (of course)