Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Gift










So, for the boys this year, Santa got them a set of bunk beds and decorated their room for them. It's not as great as their old room in Iowa, which had more architectural interest, more white trim, and black carpet to pull it all together (refer to earlier post about our Iowa house to see pictures of their old room), but they do each have their own closet in this one. I think they will still like it. Here is the before pictures of the room and pictures of the finished product. FYI, Santa found these awesome bunk beds at Target.com, even though he vowed never to shop there again, after much aggravation with orders last Christmas. But, they were such an awesome deal, he couldn't pass them up. In fact, we think he got the last ones available because they went out of stock right after he ordered them. They convert into two matching twin beds. So, they should give us plenty of good years.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

More Christmas Gifts


So here is the main gift I've been working on for the boys. I made one for each of them This is the finished product. I'm a little dissapointed that they turned out so "cutsie"-looking. You can't really see in the picture, but there is a cut in the wood that extends the line of the jaw as well as one that continues the line of the mouth. So, they look a little better in person. I was also mad because I couldn't find leather strapping anywhere in town so I had to make the bridle and reins out of ribbon instead. Arghh. Anyway, here it is. I hope they like them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More Christmas Stuff







O.k., so we finished the block puzzle for Ben. Here it is. Ben is really excited about the baby on the way and is equally excited about all baby animals, so I made sure to include pictures that had baby horses as well. I think he's really going to like it. As soon as I can make it over to Home depot, I will make a base/frame for each of the puzzles to hold the blocks together.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Presents







So, we have been extremely blessed this year to be able to purchase a minivan to accommodate our growing family. However, it has left us with a very limited Christmas budget. Therefore, we are making alot of our gifts this year. Here is the first one we have made. This is for Nathan from Ben. Nathanael is really into superheroes this year. It is a block puzzle. Since the blocks all have 6 side, there are 6 puzzles that can be made from the same set of blocks. We picked out pictures from the internet, printed them out, cut them to fit the blocks and modge podged them on. It turned out really great. I think Nathan is really going to love it. Nathan is currently helping me make one for Ben (he doens't know he's getting one too). Ben is really into horses this year so Nathanael suggested we do one out of horse pictures for Ben. I will post pictures of it and the other gifts Cam and I make for the kids this year when they are done.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween



So, since I have been too anemic to accomplish anything the last few months, and since I still have not regained my strength, we will be recycling some old Halloween costumes this year instead of making new ones. These are the costumes I made for the boys and the dog two years ago. I was pretty proud of myself. Anyway, Ben will be the cowboy this year and Bella will still be the horse, of course. Nathan is just going to be Spider-man since he got a Spider-man costume for his birthday. Since the baby is not here yet, we won't have the roped calf this year. Too bad, because I really loved my calf face pacifier and little black cleft hooves. Oh well.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mothering--The greatest project of them all

So, I guess you could call raising children a project. You set a goal and work to accomplish it. I guess what sets it apart from other projects is what a long-term goal it is and how difficult it is to gauge your progress while doing it. For these reasons, I don't generally think of parenting as a "project", but I do think it is the greatest project of our lives. Hopefully, we will accomplish our goal and see our children grow to be happy successful adults. Anyway, during this process of child-rearing, I think parenting involves many small goals. For example, I have always had a goal to raise healthy eaters. For the most part, I have succeeded so far. One way I have accomplished this is that I don't force my kids to eat their meals, but if they don't eat them, then they don't get any more food until the next meal. Sheer hunger drives them to eat what I give them. Of course, I can't rule out the possibility that simple genetics is to be credited for my kids being pretty good eaters. Both of their parents love food and love healthy food, so, it's in their blood, but I do like to make my self feel good by believing it is due to my parenting, well, "skills" :). Anyway, lately, my oldest has been going through a stage where he tries to get out of a certain meal, or a certain type of food, by saying he is not hungry yet. Being that I am currently pregnant, I've been too tired, and too hungry myself, to fight him over it or postpone dinner. However, I have noticed that not eating together has had a negative effect on our family. Also, it has allowed my son to be able to weasle his way out of eating what the family eats. So, I have discovered a great solution that I hope will help other mothers out there. I still tell him that if he doesn't want to eat what we are having, then he doesn't have to, but it is what is being served for that meal and if he doesn't eat it, he can't have anything else until the next meal (which might be breakfast the next day). But, I have added a new stipulation. He doesn't have to eat the food, but he does have to sit at the table while the rest of us eat, and he must "smell" the food. This works particularly good if there is a prepared plate right under his nose to smell. Without fail, every time I have done this, he has eventually decided he wanted to eat the food. Some times he will only eat part of the meal and skip parts he thinks he doesn't like. But, the point is he is eating what I am preparing for the family and we are eating together as a family. I think the sumptuous smells of a good meal combined with a hungry tummy and the inability to distract with another activity simply lead to eating what is in front of you. Anyway, I just thought I would share in case there are other mothers out there who fell like they can't get their children to eat what they prepared. Try out the smelling technique and let me know how it works for you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Kids Playset




O.k., my first project when moving into this house was to build the kids a playset. I knew that if I was to get any other projects done, I needed the kids to have something to entertain themselves with. Since they so enjoyed the playset and swingset at our last house, I decided to build them one. However, all the pre-made ones that you buy and assemble were SO expensive, not to mention that they weren't exactly what I would want anyway. So, I spent some time designing a simple set, making up a product list and deciding if I could afford to build it. I was able to build it for less than half the price of an even smaller and simpler store-bought set, and I felt that my design was more appropriate for the ages of my children. I wanted a set that would be fun and safe for even crawling babies, as they like to try to do whatever their older siblings do. Since both of my boys started climbing before they started walking, I had to always watch them so close on our set in Iowa, where the baby could climb the ladder, but then was stuck at the top where there were three spots they cold simply fall off from. So, instead of a ladder, I built 5 platforms of consecutive heights so that babies can get both up and down safely on their. The set includes a small slide for smaller children (one we found in a dumpster and recycled in our own playset) and a larger slide for older children. I also included monkey bars for the older children that span from a platform that is only 2 feet high and, therefore, not a threat to a young child that may fall from it. The swing set kits are awfully expensive so I just bought generic brackets and built my own. The set is now one year old and, so far, it has held up quite well. The monkey bars are the only thing that I've run into trouble with. I made them out of PVC pipes so the kids wouldn't get splinters from wood or burns from metal. However, I attached them simply by countersinking them into the wood supports. As the wood supports have weathered and bowed over time, they have slightly separated, therefore causing some of the monkey bars to fall out. I will need to come up with a solution at some point, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Anyway, here are some pictures of the playset.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wooden Toys







So, for Christmas, I thought it would be fun to make the boys some wooden toys. I love wooden toys. Two of my favorite toys I remember from childhood are ones that my dad's grandpa made for him. One was a man that does flips when you squeeze two sticks together. The other is a toy called Jacob's Ladder that is really difficult to explain in words. So, those were my picks for the boys this last year. I made my oldest boy a flipping gymnast since he loves gymnastics and my younger boy a flipping bear. I really like the way the gymnast works because sometimes it's leg catches on the string and it looks like it is doing special tricks on the bar. I also made each of them a Jacob's ladder. Here are some photos and videos of the toys in action. The boys took their flipper toys to Grandma and Grandpa's house when we visited after Christmas and Grandpa liked them so well I made him one for his retirement. However, I was too dumb to remember to take pictures of it before giving it to him. He worked for the church in the Church Education System. So, if you hold the toy in one direction, it is a middle-aged man dressed in a suit and the stick says "CES--Church Education System". If you look at the toy from the other side, the man is an older man, dressed in a luau shirt, complete with wife beater tank top underneath, swim trunks, sun glasses, and a gold chain necklace that has a big gold bling pendant that says "CTR". The stick on this side says "CES--completely emancipated slacker". He really liked it. I wish I had a picture to show you because it's my favorite of all three of the flipper toys I have made. Oh well. I guess you'll just have to imagine it. I hope to carry on the tradition and make at least one wooden toy for each of my children every Christmas. If I had had more time, I would have liked to make some nice little wooden storage boxes for the toys so they last longer and can be a keepsake, but I've never gotten around to that.  SORRY THE VIDEOS ARE SIDEWAYS.
video video video

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wedding Dress
















So, when I got married, it only took one trip to a bridal shop to realize that I wouldn't be happy with any dress I would find. So, I decided to design my own and found an excellent seamstress to make my vision a reality. The goal was to design something simple, elegant, unique, and modest enough to wear in the temple without having to use any extra coverings. It was my first attempt at textile design. I have designed a few other things but don't have the sewing skills to bring them to fruition. I plan to learn pattern design so that I can start making the things I design. These are the design drawings I made to give to the seamstress and some wedding photos of the actual dress. It is made of white velvet.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Holy cow! Listen to this kid!

Holy Cow! I found a video of a 7 year old playing Fantasy Improptu. You can see it too HERE.

Piano

So, for the last little while I've been learning two songs on piano that I really enjoy. The first is Fantansy Impromptu by Chopin. We have it on one of our classical CDs and I immediately fell in love with it. So, I hunted down the music and learned it. It is now one of my favorite pieces to sit down and play. You can hear it HERE.
where it is played by Yundi Li. He is a wonderful technician. I don't think I will ever develop good technique on the piano. I have too many bad habits. But, I'm just happy to sit down and play through songs in order to relax. This has become one of my all time favorites.

The second song that I have really been enjoying is Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. It is an incredible song. I first heard it when I watched Fantasia 2000 several years ago. It too was a song that I instantly fell in love with. And, let me tell you, it is equally fun to play. It has become a family favorite and my boys and husband will request it and dance around to it which makes for a great night of family fun. Being that it is 30+ pages long, I still have a few parts to hammer out, but for the most part, I can now play through the whole thing (though many parts not as fast as or as beautifully as Richard Glazier plays them on this video). Here is a link to hear it if you are interested:
See Part one HERE.
See Part two HERE.
Again, I will never be able to play it with such impeccable technique, but I love it nonetheless. The story behind the song is pretty amazing too after you hear the song and realize how amazing it is in and of itself. Gershwin was asked to compose a piece for a symphonic Jazz Concert. but, being that he was still putting the final touches on the score of "Sweet Little Devil", Gershwin forgot all about composing a song for the Jazz Concert until he noticed a write-up in the New York Herald-Tribune that he, Gershwin, was busy on a symphony for the concert. So, he quickly got work and composed Rhapsody in Blue in 3 weeks! Anyone who has composed music recognizes that as a simply incredible accomplishment. So, as you listen, enjoy the genius of George Gershwin.

I hope you guys enjoy these two pieces as much as I do.

Friday, July 11, 2008

That's it for today

That's it for today. Hope you enjoyed my old house as much as I did. Sianara for now. (Did I spell that right?)

Nursery After






Note my crib bedding and roller blinds I made, the wall hanging I made that retrofits as a window covering for the octagonal window, the great kolaskis 3D wall hanging my sister found for us, and the awesome mobile my mom got for us! Also, don't you love my 1878 glider I found for a steal bargain at a local antique shop!?