Celebrate Easter Part 2

April 17th, 2014 in About Me

I love the way the Catholics celebrate Easter. So for the week leading up to Easter I copy them. I just really find Holy Week fascinating, can stay in a Catholic church for hours, and find their artwork so interesting. Don’t worry I turn back to a Mormon on actual Easter day. But if you are looking to put more meaning into your Easter, looking up Holy week isn’t a bad idea.

So the week before Easter on Sunday is Palm Sunday, which I posted about yesterday. On Holy Monday they give honor to Mary anointed Jesus at Bethany. I’m sad to say I could not find the name of any of these artists.

Jesus at Bethany

Read scripture here: John 12:3–8

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On Holy Tuesday they give honor to Last Supper, of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial of Jesus. Then on Wednesday they remember more of Judas’ betrayal.

Last Supper

Read scripture here: Matt. 26:26–29; ( Mark 14:22–25Luke 22:7–20; )


by Leonardo

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by Liz Lemon Swindle


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The Last Supper of Jesus – Andre Derain, 1911, Cubism Art Institue of Chicago, IL USA

Judas’ Betrayal

Read scripture here: John 13:21–26; ( Matt. 26:20–25; )


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Judas’ betrayal kiss to Christ sculpted by Josep Maria Subirachs on the Passion Facade of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

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The Kiss of Judas (El Beso de Judas), Francisco Salzillo, 1754

Peter’s Denial 

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Robert Leinweber’s Peter’s Denial (date unknown)

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Caravaggio’s The Denial of St. Peter

Read scripture here:  Matthew26:33-35, Mark 14:29-31, Luke 22:33-34 and John 13:36-38



Where my Mormon religion comes in is tomorrow, more of how he suffered for us in Gethsemane. That is what I think needs to be honored and paid a lot of attention to. Stay tuned!

Celebrate Easter Part 1

April 16th, 2014 in About Me

Last year leading up to Easter I shared some artwork of Christ during Holy Week. I will do the same this week but with new choices of art. If you want to see the pieces from last year they are here, here, here, and here.


Read along with us: Matthew 21:1-11Mark 11:1-11Luke 19:28-44John 12:12-19


Procession through Jerusalem,” date unknown, Justin McCarthy (1892–1977)


Giotto, “Entrance Into Jerusalem,” (c. 1305)

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The Triumphal Entry, by J. Kirk Richards


Video to watch:

Baptism Day is Here!

April 11th, 2014 in About Me

The sweet girl of ours is getting baptized tomorrow morning. Had to show off these beautiful pictures of her by Kim Orlandini.

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dinner magic

April 9th, 2014 in cooking

I do not have dinner magic. I am trying to create it. Because for the past 20 months it has included a lot of shrill screaming and frustration. I am not going to say it has been scream free but I have found some things that have helped!

Special Touches: Why do flowers and cute plates help with the mood of dinner? I have no idea, but it does. I let the girls be in charge of decorating the table some nights. One night they will be fairies covering the table, the next night stuffed dogs. Also a fancy drink, but I don’t want to give them a sugar drink. So we have fun creating flavored waters.


See that pink ladle? That leads me to my next tip…

Games: Games that get people talking. So on days where I have no time or energy or creativity to do anything, I grab the ladle. I think of two questions and we pass it around the dinner table answering the questions. If you could be any animal for a day, what would it be? If you could be a character in any book, which one would you be? Another thing I do when I have no energy is my Would You Rather? App. Only mommy gets to read the app because there sometimes are grown up questions on there. Or weird political questions. But it gives a lot of fun ideas. Sometimes I will put a knock knock joke book in the middle of the table. But most of all when I can think ahead and be creative with the questions, it works the best. I try to think of questions that make the members of my family think about the other members of the family. Things like…I have noticed Abby has really been into _____lately. Three things that make me love Cameron are _____. Things like that are good for our family to talk about.

Cooking with the Kids: This doesn’t happen as much as I would like. My girls really like to cook. When I don’t have a 2 and 1 year old fighting for my attention, I really like to cook with them too. One day we will go back to cooking together more, I miss it.

You Chose Options: Lately I have been trying to have more “bar” type or “create your own” type meals. Most of the time they can’t cook with me. But they feel like they are cooking when they put together their own meal. I get more veggies in them when I do this. Let me show you some ideas and tell you the rules I have when doing these meals…

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Peanut Noodles: Whole grain pasta or quinoa pasta tossed in a peanut sauce. Just google some recipes for the peanut sauce. I use sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, a bit of sugar, and peanut butter in mine. Topping ideas are carrots, red peppers, cilantro, edamame, peanuts, mushrooms, sprouts, and broccoli. Rule at my house when we eat this is, you have to try two new vegetables in your noodle bowl.

Pizzas: My favorite pizza dough recipe is here but this day I just bought a bag at the store. Get some extra veggies in the sauce by blending up some vegetables and adding them in there. The rule we have with pizza is you must have at least two veggies on your pizza. Topping ideas are meat, corn, spinach, peppers, tomato, broccoli, olives, tomato.

Sweet Potato or Yam Bar: Sweet potatoes are the go to dinner at my house when there is nothing to eat. I saute up some dark greens (usually I use collard greens) and those are a MUST to put on your potato, you have to eat those. Then you can pick whatever you want as the other toppings.

Panini Bar: Create your own sandwich that you then get to smush with a pan and grill like a Panini! Options could be sun dried tomatoes, olives, pesto, spinach, tomatoes, etc.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for create your own meals or bar type meals. Other than tacos, this is all I could think of!

Things I’ve Loved this past little while…

April 8th, 2014 in About Me, Beauty in Everyday

Braids. I wish I could do them on myself and for the girls. I can do pigtail braids and that is about it. But they are so perfectly pretty.


Shae went to her first real “friend party” and she was so excited. Can you tell in the picture? I bet she was really quiet when she went. But she was talking about it all day long when she got back home. Man I love her.


Poor dogs, they are tempted all day every day. I bet in Honey and Rocco’s dreams they fantasize about just breaking all rules and attacking all food that people tease them with. Also, everyone in my house loves that Pirate Booty stuff. I have never liked it. But ever since one of them threw it up, the smell of it makes me gak.


We stood in a very long line for a very long time to meet the author of Fablehaven. I told the girls on the way there that their daddy had trained his dog. Daddy scored quite a few cool points in their mind that day. Brandon Mull is also a pretty nice guy.


I hosted a neighborhood girls game night. Just a really easy one. I made some flavored waters and flavored popcorn. I think it was 8 years ago that I watched the Michael Chiarello neighborhood movie night episode. He made three different flavored popcorns to serve. I have had that in the back of my TO TRY file in my head for 9 years! I finally did it and I love how it turned out. That with some fruit and vegetables made for a pretty healthy girls night out! Here are the links to his recipes:

Basil-Parmesan Flavored Popcorn Recipe 

Chocolate-Orange Brown Butter Flavored Popcorn

Brown Butter, Rosemary, and Lemon Popcorn Recipe


Lastly…I love how easy it has become to take pictures of my children!! So easy, can’t you see?





April 8th, 2014 in Children Product Reviews

There is a reason that I sent my girls to science, engineering, computer, and culture camps. There is a reason I have a room set up in my house where we learn Native American basket games and put together Chinese rangrams. Where all the illustrations from the portfolio edition of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick are tacked to the wall to spark their imaginations.

There is a reason I buy my girls Goldieblox. I want strong girls and smart girls. Girls that know they can be and are smart at math, putting gadgets together, and engineering. Smart girls that aren’t stuck in the always princess mode. That sure maybe they can be in their favorite princess dress up but also are doing science experiments, rocking it at math at school, and building creations at home.

Have you heard of Goldieblox? There is this parenting facebook page called Mighty Girl that I adore. They promote different things on how to raise strong girls. From great book lists to products they recommend to empowering articles. One day they posted a link to Goldieblox. They are a toy company that are all about giving girls more choices with toys other than princesses, dolls, kitchen items, laundry items, etc.  And their toys really promote girls becoming interested in engineering. Do you remember their Superbowl commercial?

Anyways, the girls love their kits. You can actually build more than one thing with the kit, they come with a storybook, and have great theme. My girls loved the dunktank one. Let me show you a little bit:

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I love it as a mama. Sure my girls like cupcakes, and hair salons, and all that jazz. But I’m so tired of all the girl line toys only giving them that option. Goldieblox themes are just FUN and don’t put any gender stereotypes into their head. We are huge Goldieblox supporters! The price is fair, the quality is high, and the toys gets used over and over again at my house. You can find them at the Goldieblox website or Toys r us or Target.


I just want to see more toys, more kits, more products from them! We can’t wait!


Next time I’ll buy all four of them a kit, the little ones were pretty mad. Whoopsies.


Disclaimer: This is not a review post. We found these on our own, bought these with our own mula, and will continue to do so.

Abby’s…gulp…8th birthday!

March 27th, 2014 in About Me

I did a bridal shower for my cousins a few months back. For the decor one of the things I did was hang pictures on a clothesline documenting their lives. From their baby photo all the way to their engagement photo. I noticed something after their baptism photo on both lines—time started zooming by. I could see how they turned 8, their parents blinked, and then they were grown women.

Oh manny, I knew this 8 year old birthday was not going to be one of my favorites. Just LOOK at how old she looks:


I got an email earlier that week asking if I wanted to go on the news, show off some crafts, and talk about living in Costa Rica. I asked if I could bring my two oldest, then asked Abby if she wanted to do that on her birthday. She said yes and helped me pick out the activities. We went with showing how to do a Native American Basket game and also Chinese Tangrams. They girls did not get nervous, they got a little quiet when they were actually on though. Such cute girlies. Here is the link to the little segment, click here.


Then we decided to go to the Tumbleweeds Kids Film Festival for her birthday. It was nice to just take the two older girls somewhere. Abby helped pick out the films. We will not miss another year! It was such fun. They had films from all around the world, some subtitled, some didn’t have words. Some of them were all in English. There were films that my two year old would sit through all the way up to some that would interest teens. In the building they had all these free stations set up. My girls got to make their own personalized press passes, tried out new gaming systems, and make flip cartoon books. We stopped for yummy treats, soups, and sandwiches during the day. Abby’s favorite meal is just that; soup, sandwich, and a fancy treat.


For her gifts we of course followed the something pretty, something to wear, something to play with, and something to read tradition. Abby loves to sew and she adores Paris. So the locket, Tshirt, and bracelet were her favorites. Tied with the sewing machine she says.


That night we met up with the rest of the family for dinner. Abby stayed up with us to watch Home Improvement. And also eat cookies and milk out of our traditional breakfast birthday tray.

Such a fun grown up girl day, she loved it. So did I!

Abby’s Spa Party

March 21st, 2014 in Parties

Abby has had this party planned in her mind for over 6 months! She wanted a late night, girls night, spa type party.

Our Christmases are not over the top, the Easter bunny doesn’t come to our house, no elves, or traps for leprechauns. But I LOVE to do birthday parties. It is our thing that we love to do together. I don’t know why I feel like I have to start every birthday party post I do with that but…I do.



Abby’s Spa Birthday Party

Abby inherited my problem…not wanting to leave anyone out. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so we invite everyone! Do they have a little sister that could feel left out? Well, invite them too! So even though we swore that 12 would be the max at the party, we ended up with 22. And we realized we forgot two other neighborhood girls after the party. I paid three of our sweet babysitters to come help me during the party, so it turned out fine.

Party Favors:

When the girls came in I gave them their spa masks. These were the cheapest things at the party, just glued a couple pieces of felt together. Martha Stewart has a tutorial here. I made bags for each of the girls that were empty, they had to carry them around during the night to put in the things they made in them.


Spa Stations: When the guests first walked in in I also gave them a name tag that  separated them into groups. I sent half the girls into the other room to make bath bombs, sugar scrubs, and lip glosses. This is what my sweet babysitters helped all the girls do.

Spa Services: So with the other half of the girls (then we switched) I helped them do some spa services. I bought some large plastic tablecloths and put them on the ground so no one would get anything on the carpet. Everyone picked a partner and they painted each other’s toes or fingernails.


While they did that I put their yogurt face mask on. It was just greek yogurt, honey, and a little bit of lavender oil. I put it on them with a basting brush. Then when they were done painting each other’s nails I told them to put on their cucumbers and relax. I normally don’t put pictures of other kids on my blog. But I figured that their faces are covered, so this one is ok!



Games: I had everyone sit in a circle and gave them a wrapped dollar present. They were all spa type items like a lip gloss or nail polish or something like that. Then I would say things like stand up and switch if….you like to write stories or play soccer or have blue eyes or are the oldest or have been to Disneyland. Then after 15-20 questions, they opened their gifts. This was their last party favor that they put in their bags to take home.

The other game I did was quizzes, Abby LOVES these. So I got a quiz book, photocopied it, and hung up the answers to the quizzes on a window in our house. So if there was extra time at the end or in the beginning waiting for people to come…The girls got to do quizzes!


Food: We did an ice cream sundae bar, had mini cupcakes, and just a little cake for Abby. The girls LOVED doing their own ice cream sundaes.


A tradition in our house is to always have the girls’ birthday flowers out. This year I did them on the cake!

Man this girl HAD SO MUCH FUN. One of the things I love about her is how friendly she is. She makes friends wherever she goes, with everyone. And she is a darn good friend too.


Native American Basket Game

March 13th, 2014 in Crafts

(psssst…looking for the Tangram instructions? They are here.)

Cameron did a summer camp at the Natural History Museum last year all about Native Americans in Utah. (Abby is signed up to do it this summer, she is thrilled!) Cameron has been talking about it non stop since August! She talks about the dancing, the storyteller, how you basket weave. She was so obsessed with the cactus candy they gave her that I gave it to her for Christmas. They taught her how to play a game like the Native American children love to play. It was just so fun and simple that I decided to make it for the house.


Craft Paint



Basket with handles that has some sort of lip on it. I bought this one at Ikea.


Lets talk about the wood. If you have an old yardstick you could cut up, that would be a good weight and thickness. Those sticks that you stir a paint bucket with are too thin and don’t have enough weight to them. These shims in the package below or the long wood below are the perfect weight and thickness. They are called WOOD LATHS.  Home Depot carries them for under 50 cents a piece and you don’t need more than two. 




1. So saw the wood to pieces about this size…


2. Then sand the edges just a bit so the kids don’t get splinters.



How to play the game:

1. Place all the blocks with the painted side down.


2. Decide ahead of time how many flips or shakes or throw in the airs you will give each person in the game. If you are just starting out, maybe 10. When you get really good, 2.

3. The person who starts takes all their turns in a row. After you flip (think taking a pan like fancy chefs do, tossing the pasta in the air, and catching it back in the pan) each time look down and see if you have turned a “pair” over. The pair is the blocks with the matching colors. If some fall on the ground, they don’t count but you can pick them up and put them back in the basket for your next turn. However many matches you make in your set turns of flipping is your score.


4. The other players refill the basket with all of the blocks, and do the same thing!

It is such a simple simple game, but fun! Lots of times the best things are really so simple.



March 4th, 2014 in About Me

I do love you baby girl.

I might wish I could fast forward my life a full year until hopefully you get out of this 18 month phase of yours.

But you kind of also are the best:

REAGAN reaganhappy reaganhappy2



I know, poor Shae in the background, right? She wasn’t happy about something that morning.