A Little Bit About Me

I found this little questionnaire on a blog and I thought it would be fun to fill out this Friday. I did it a few years ago on a personal blog, and I haven’t looked at it in a while so I thought I would fill this out first then compare, to see how I have changed/ grown.

Why do you blog and how has it affected your life? I blog because I love to write and I needed a creative outlet in my life. As a mother I found that I frequently felt that I needed to do something for myself, something I could be passionate about, that might involve my motherhood, but also be more for me. And starting a blog seemed like a fun way to accomplish that goal. I have really enjoyed it and look forward to the creation process for the blog, whether it be just my thoughts, or actually doing something and then posting about it. 

What is your biggest fear? Losing a loved one. I really haven’t experienced much loss in my life yet and even though I have a very strong testimony that this life is not the end, and we will see our loved ones again, it still seems like losing someone I loved would just be the hardest.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I have no idea. That is the question we ask ourselves every day. I definitely hope our family will grow in the next five years and I hope the next five years are filled with adventures, but other than that, I don’t know where we will be or even what I want exactly. Time will tell.

What is your most awkward/embarrassing moment? Honestly I don’t know.  I am sure I am awkward and embarrassing more than I realize. Whenever this question is posed I always think of a time at church. I was in primary and was asked to give the closing scripture and prayer. My brother was standing in the back of the room to pick me up. I stumbled through the scripture and started the prayer with “in the name of Jesus Christ” instead of “dear Heavenly Father.” It was honestly so embarrassing for me, and it was even worse since my brother was there to witness it.

If you could meet anyone, real or fictional, who would you choose? I have been pondering this question for a while now. Probably an author. J.K. Rowling has always been my answer but maybe I would like to meet Karma Wilson, Jane Yolen, or Sandra Boynton.

What is something you wonder about a lot? I wonder about what I should do with my life all the time. I wonder if I am using my time here on earth to the best of my ability.

Where  do you find your greatest inspiration? Motherhood has been my biggest inspiration in my life so far. Being with a little girl who is so sweet, full of energy and confidence and creativity, it builds me up and inspires me to do the things I am most proud of.

Tell us about a favorite memory from growing up. When I was little we had these awesome stairs into our living room. My brother and I would get something like a slippery sleeping bag, my brothers basketball court mat that was really slippery or a pool floaty and ride it down the stairs over and over. I bet my mom loved that!

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter E

This week we took on the letter E. We were explorers of the wild and got to read Green Eggs and Ham for the first time. It was a great week.

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The Letter E Booklist

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This week we learned about engines, eggs, elephants, exploring, and Eloise!

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper-This classic is fun to read and has the best message-“I think I can!”

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss-Definitely a fun book to share with my daughter for the first time. She was very concerned that the main character was not trying the green eggs and ham! I love this story.

Elephant and Piggie | Elephants Cannot Dance! by Mo Willems-Elephant and Piggie are fun and cute characters. This cute story follows elephant as he learns to dance.

Eloise and the Very Secret Room by Kay Thompson-I like the character Eloise and when I was younger I thought it was very cool that she lived on the top floor of the plaza hotel. We tried Eloise at Christmastime, but it was too long, so this short story was much more manageable for my two year old!

Ellie by Mike Wu-This cute story is about Ellie the Elephant. She is trying to help out at the Zoo she lives in, but feels like she can’t help in the way the other animals are helping. When she finally finds her talent, the Zoo becomes bright and vibrant. I thought this was very cute!

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson-This is probably my favorite book of the week and the one we used for our activity. I love these two explorers and the illustrations are just beautiful.

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston-This book is all about eggs, it is beautiful and informative. Definitely one we will be checking out through the years.

Elephant in the Dark by Mina Javaherbin-This is a beautiful retelling of the poem by Rumi. It has such a powerful message so it is great for parent and child alike!

The Letter E Printables

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This week we have a Letter E Notecard and the the Letter E Do-A-Dot printable.

The Letter E Activity

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For this week we read explorers of the wild, which is a great book, and I told my daughter we were going to be explorers. We walked around our neighborhood picking up sticks, rocks, pinecones, and all kinds of leaves that are falling off the tree right now. It was so simple, but this intentional exploring was so fun. I loved when my daughter would tell me that she was an “xplorers.”

Semi-Spooky Movies to Watch Halloween Night

When it comes to scary movies I am a wimp. When my husband and I were first dating we decided to rent a scary movie to watch together. I must have been trying to impress him by being brave and thinking I could sit through a scary movie and keep my cool. Well we chose The Others, and I honestly spent more that half of the movie hiding under a blanket asking if it was over.

When I was in High School my friends wanted to watch When a Stranger Calls, I had already watched it one time with friends, hello peer pressure, and I had decided never again. So when my friends put it in and started the movie I said goodbye and headed home. My parents were surprised to see me at 9:00 p.m. on a Friday night.It is just too scary!

I kind of like the thrill of a good kind of scary movie, but I just can’t take too much. Halloween night is the only night of the year we pick a movie to watch together that is a little spooky. It has become tradition in our household and I thought I would share some semi spooky movies that we have enjoyed over the years.

The Witches– This was one of the first Halloween spooky movies that we watched together as part of our tradition. We found it for free on Amazon prime, and although it is not a spectacular show (my husband doesn’t even remember it) it is perfect for someone who wanted to feel a little bit of the halloween spirit, but doesn’t want to be too scared. We also watched an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark- the old Nickelodeon T.V. show that terrified me as a child. It was kind of funny.

The Village– I could only watch this one because I had seen it before with friends in High School and I remembered it wasn’t too bad. It still freaked me out a little bit, but my husband was asking me all sorts of questions at the end because he was confused so we had to keep rewinding it to answer the questions. That made it a little less scary. Although I do remember I was nursing my newborn at the time, and she was still waking up multiple times a night so I had to sprint from my room to hers that night and that was a little unsettling.

The Sixth Sense– This movie is a little bit on the edge for me. It was almost too scary but it was also really satisfying. I’m not sure if I could watch it again, but it was definitely a good one for last year.

Tower of Terror– I have watched this movie once before, a long time ago, but I decided it would be the Halloween movie of this year (I always get to choose them). I think I will be able to make it!

Some other movies that would be perfect for Halloween include:

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken– This is a classic movie from my childhood. We would always watch it was cousins on a stormy night at the cabin we stayed at in the summer. It is spooky, but hilarious so it is perfect for anyone that just can’t handle scary movies at all.

Hocus Pocus– I think any child who lived through the 90’s remembers watching this movie on Disney channel. It is funny and scary and just a little strange. A perfect movie for Halloween!

Rear Window– This one isn’t too scary to me, but it is really good, and still a little spooky. Other Alfred Hitchcock films like The Birds or Vertigo also really good choices.

And if you are just not into scary movies, stick with It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, that one is always good!

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There you go. What Halloween traditions to you have? Other than scary movies we often make chili and cornbread. With the addition of our daughter we love to dress her up and go trick or treating. We always read our favorite Halloween books. And I think this year we will make caramel apples.

Halloween Do-a-Dot Pages

When I started the Teaching My Toddler Series I didn’t know how much she would love doing the letter Do-a-Dot pages. She thinks they are so fun, and it is a really good age appropriate activity that she can do all by herself. Since she loves them so much I though I would make a couple simple halloween do-a-dot pages that she could enjoy during this halloween season.

Candy Corn  Witch Hat  Ghost  Pumpkin

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Feel free to download these and let your little enjoy the fun of do-a-dot on Halloween!

 

But if Not…

A few weeks ago my husband prepared our family home evening lesson on prayer. It was a really wonderful lesson and he shared a conference talk that was given in April of 2004 entitled But If Not by Dennis E. Simmons. I have reflected on this talk again and again since that family home evening. It was a talk that spoke directly to my heart and helped me understand prayer more fully.

One of my main questions about prayer is how do I make sure my will and desires are aligned with God’s will for me? We are taught to ask of God who giveth to all men liberally. In church we learn that God wants us to ask for His help. So I have often asked for help from God in a very specific manner, but I have always wanted to convey my openness to God’s plan and that I want what He knows is best for me, even if I can’t understand it myself.

I have wanted to express my true faith in God that He can accomplish anything I ask of Him, while being humble enough to recognize that He may or may not grant me my specific wants or needs in the time that I ask for them, or even in this life.

In his talk, Elder Simmons relates the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and how they would not worship the golden idol. Nebuchadnezzar was furious and commanded they be thrown into a fiery furnace and posed the question “And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego responded “Our God whom we served is able to deliver us, and he will deliver us out of thine hand.” And then, in true faith they added “But if not… we will not serve thy gods, or worship the golden images thou has set up.”

I loved Elder Simmons full commentary on this scriptures story, so it is definitely worth reading or listening to, but I especially loved the phrase “But if not.” I feel like it is the piece I have been missing in my prayers in order to more fully communicate my desires to God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had full faith that God could and would deliver them, but they also had full faith in God that if he did not, they still refused to do what they knew was wrong.

I often feel like I have full faith that God can and will help me in the ways I stand in need, but the real question is will I continue to have true faith in Him if he does not.

I don’t think God gives us trials to see if we will turn to Him so He can immediately take them away. If He did this we might learn that God is there for us, but how else would we grow and develop? I think the purpose of some trials in our life is to see if we can walk through them, ever having faith in God until the day and time he allows that trial to be lifted.

This is hard, especially when we have righteous desires. Marriage, having children, having good health, finding a good job, all seem to be really righteous endeavors, things we pray continually for God’s help to accomplish, and yet sometimes we are not granted those things, at least immediately.

I know for me it is difficult standing in the present moment looking forward, wondering if in five years I will be blessed with my current righteous desires. I have complete faith that God can grant me all the blessing I seek, but do I have the true faith that is required for the “but if not.” It’s something I am still developing.

I do however have a profound experience in my life where I have had righteous desires and waited (sometimes not very patiently) for those blessings to come, and they did come. The amazing thing about it is that I was able to experience my own personal miracle, I was able to see for myself and in my own life that God is a God of miracles, and now I hold onto that experience. If God had just granted me all I ever wanted, whenever I wanted, I would not have been able to participate in that miracle, and it has become a huge source of strength in my life.

I love one phrase in particular in Elder Simmons talk. He says “We don’t seek tribulation, but if we respond in faith, the Lord strengthens us. The but if nots become remarkable blessings.”

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I know that is true.

A Good Day

Have you ever read the book A Good Day by Kevin Henkes. It starts off with a bad day, things are happening to little animals that make them sad, scared, or frustrated. But then things turn around and the problems they faced are either fixed or they gain a new perspective. In the end one of the little animals problems turns out to bring a little girl joy and she declares “What a good day!” It is a  sweet little story that I love to read with my little one.

Yesterday was a hard day. Things were happening that brought on some stress and despair in my life. I was feeling a little hopeless. Then my daughter woke up from her nap. For some reason she really loves wearing her jacket and this brand new pair of socks she just got and refuses to take them off, so even though it is quite warm she decided she needed to keep them on for her nap. She was a little sweaty, and needed a bath anyway, so I decided to forego our usual afternoon routine and just give her a bath. I was in my own world worrying about my own problems while my daughter was in the tub when she wanted me to help her put some of her tub time letters on the wall. I got down on my hands and knees and helped her place letters and name letters. I watched her “swim” in the tub and we talked about how fun it was to swim in the pool during the summer months. She sang songs to me and I helped her with the ones she couldn’t quite remember. She was loving bath time and it was fun to see her excitement. After a while I got her out and wrapped her in her towel and held her like I did when she was a baby. We went to the rocking chair and rocked, she sang more songs to me and with me, and it was just so sweet. She does not normally like to cuddle or be held like that, but for some reason she let me hold her. After a while I suggested that she get dressed and she said “mama I just want a hug.” So I gave her a big hug.

This little experience really turned my day from a hard day to a good day. I needed my daughters sensitive soul to lift me in a time of need. I realized that it was only after I set aside my own thoughts and worries and gave my whole attention to my daughter that I was able to receive this gift. It was such a good reminder to me to be in the present moment with my daughter and enjoy all that it has to offer.

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter D

This week we learned about the letter D. I think my favorite part of this week was when we were doing our craft activity. It was such a simple activity but my daughter was so proud of her project, it made my heart happy.

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The Letter D Booklist

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D is for Dinosaurs, Dance, Dots, Dragons, Dogs and Day

Dinosaur Dance! by Sandra Boynton-This book is fun, although you might want to brush up with how to pronounce different dinosaur names before you start reading this book out loud. We used this book with our activity.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae- I have loved this book since we added it to our personal library. It’s a great book to do a little dance with too!

Dot Town: Where Are You Blue? by Sonali Fry- I love this story, it’s so cute.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds- I love the message with this story. It could be a fun book to do a dot drawing activity with.

The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola- I love the artistic style of Tomie dePaola. It is so unique and really reminds me of childhood. This is a fun book I hadn’t seen before, or at least in a long time.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin- I love this book. It is hilarious. I love the story, I love the pictures, and my daughter loved pointing out all the dragons.

Duck & Goose by Tad Hills-I love the Duck & Goose duo, all the books are cute and the board books are perfect for a younger audience.

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion-This story is cute. I told my daughter that Harry got so dirty and needed a bath, so the whole time my daughter was really concerned about when the dog was going to get a bath. It made me laugh.

What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry-I just love Richard Scarry, and this cover had a lot of D’s to point out.

The Letter D Printables

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This week we have the normal Do-a-Dot sheet and the the letter D card.

The Letter D Activity

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For this activity I just cut a simple dinosaur shape and some different colored shapes my daughter could glue on. It was super simple but it was so fun to see how proud my daughter was as she glued each piece on and brought her little dinosaur to life. We read Dinosaur Dance with this little activity.

Next week we are learning all about the letter E!

What books might you add to the list? What activities could you create around the Letter D?

What Do You Do All Day?

I am a mom. A stay at home mom. What do I do all day as a stay at home mother of one little two year old? Today I thought I would try to share daily life around here.

I wake up before the sun rises to have an hour or so of time just for me. I write or shower in this time. I read if I am lucky. I watch the monitor to see when my child wakes up, and when she does I give myself a few minutes to do every last thing I need to do that would be 10x harder if she were there before I go in and greet my toddler.

I discuss very important things that happened during the night with my two year old. Things like sleeping and dreaming, and being cozy in the blanket.

I make breakfast for two. Usually eggs in some form, scrambled, banana egg pancakes, fried, or if I have prepared a breakfast casserole we just enjoy a slice of that. Sometimes (every day) I take too long according to my toddler. She has to practice patience.

We both get dressed and ready for the day. I put on my make-up while my daughter plays, then we get her dressed and ready.

We almost always have a morning outing to the library, grocery store, or just on a walk to a playground. It takes a long time to get out the door. I have to practice patience. Sometimes I have to break out my acting skills and pretend like I am going to leave without my daughter.

I make lunch for two. We eat. It feels like meal times take forever. I have to practice patience.

I read 3 stories before a nap. I do my best not to pick the three shortest stories on our shelves, but some days that is all I can do.

I clean, read, write, create, or occasionally if I am so so tired I take a power nap.

I have another very interesting conversation with my toddler about nap time. She often describes how she sleeps in a crib and a bed.

I try to get a little learning in. Right now we are working on learning letters. We usually  enjoy some play time after we are done until daddy get home.

Daddy get home and it is the best.

I make dinner, serve dinner, and we eat as a family.

Usually we have a little family time together to go on a walk or play.

I bathe my daughter and get her ready for bed.

I follow our bedtime routine and kiss her goodnight.

I made it.

As I write all this down it doesn’t seem like much, but there is so much lifting, guiding and helping when it comes to little ones. I have to practice patience all the time. It is an absolutely exhausting job.

But as I rest my head on the pillow each night and talk to my husband about the day, we reflect on all that our daughter is learning, the things she did that made us laugh or made us proud, the growth she has achieved recently, and it is the sweetest joy to know we are a part of that.

So I end my day content in my bed with joys of motherhood filling my soul.

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