At The Same Moment, Around the World by Clotilde Perrin

June 4th, 2014 in Children's Books

At The Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin atthesamemomentaroundtheworld atthesamemomentaroundtheworldchildrensbook atthesametimearoundtheworldkidsbook

At The Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin, I don’t want to jump the gun, but I believe is at the top of my list for favorites. In the book you are taken eastward from the Greenwich meridian, from day to night, with each page showing a different time zone. It shows a bit into the lives, scenery, and cultures of children all over the world. Oh my these illustrations, I wish I took more pictures to show off more. At The Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin is just a gorgeous book. Do you see in the last picture of how it even includes a map in the back? Such a wonderful book.

The Island by Marije and Ronald Tolman

June 4th, 2014 in Children's Books

The Island by Marije and Ronald Tolman The Island Marije and Ronald Tolman The Island Childrens Book

It has been a long time since I have showed you all a new children’s book that I love. Now most of the time we buy books they are chapter books. But these were beautiful and the girls and I were glad to find them. The Island by Marije and Ronald Tolman is a father and daughter team that made this beautiful picture book. You follow the polar bear along his adventures. The illustrations are so imaginative, whimsical, and detailed. We love to sit and talk about what the polar bear maybe was thinking or saying.

The Island by Marije and Ronald Tolman is an addition to our collection that we were thrilled to find.

You Are My Sunshine Baby Shower

June 3rd, 2014 in Parties

I hear by proclaim that I am retiring from “showers” for a decade. If one of my 12 year old nieces need one in a decade, sign me up. But until then, I am retired. I loved doing Laura’s shower as my last shower for awhile though!

My little sister Laura is having a baby boy at the end of the summer and she requested a You Are My Sunshine Baby Shower.

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I was kind of sad that I just had to set up, say hello, and run. We had to do it when it worked for everyone and I just ended up being the odd man out on the planning. Abby had a dance competition. So I wasn’t around for the games or gifts or anything. It was brunch and we served different berry sweet rolls, a yogurt parfait bar, fresh fruit, quiches, juice, and donuts.

But I heard she had a wonderful time! I liked this sweet theme a lot.

Boy banner from TwoChikkadees on Etsy

Sunshine wood decor from TheDoubleDubs on Etsy

Last Missionary!

June 2nd, 2014 in About Me

All my siblings are done with their missions. I was the 1 of the 5 that didn’t go! Do you think I can request a 2 year span of my life where I get lots of extra attention and love from them? I’ll submit my request when all my girls are teenagers at the same time.

Sarah went to Thailand, Laura New England, Bryan Mexico, and Jonathan just got back from Nicaragua. When we lived in Costa Rica we actually drove through his mission and saw 10-12 other Elders.

So when Bryan and Jonathan have had a Superman vs. Batman rivalry for awhile. When Bryan came back from his mission Jonathan dressed up like Batman, and the rest of us wore Superman gear. Now this time around it was switched. Bryan showed up dressed in a Superman suit and we all showed our loyalty to Batman.

Bryan showed up to say hi to the kids as Superman and then drove his motorcycle to the airport. Ask me how many girls were taking his pictures on the way and at the airport? If any of them were too flirty I would have ran them over with my mini van. Well no no no that isn’t right. Unless I would like them as my future sister in law, THEN I would not run them over with my mini van.

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We had too much fun with that photo shoot. Ok so then we waited for Jonathan to get through the gate!

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I like to hide on the sidelines and get a picture of my brothers when THEY first see their families:

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MAN! I can’t wait for my girls to do this. Well no I can wait, I’m not ready for that yet.

So he ran through the banner and was back!

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Wala, all done with the missionary stage for quite awhile. We shot some sibling pictures…because they are OKAY. I guess. A veces.

Also, no I’m not pregnant, I am having a chubby summer. I’ll get back to normal.

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Book Club Idea

May 31st, 2014 in About Me, Parties

I hosted my neighborhood book club earlier this month. I only get to do it once a year, actually with all the members we have I probably won’t get to do it next year. So I was excited and maybe over did it.

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Autobiographies are really just my favorite type of book. I love being able to transport myself into someone else’s mind and their life experiences. Also every time I read someone’s stories it makes me think of my own. Firoozeh Dumas is tied with Ruth Reichel as my favorite authors in this sphere of literature. Sweet Firoozeh even took the picture of our book club meeting and posted it online. Made my whole day, whole week. bookclubfoodtable

So for my turn at book club I had everyone read Laughing Without an Accent by Firoozeh Dumas. I also asked them to write a short story/essay, an experience from their lives. To read outloud so we could get to know each other better. Everyone was so nervous to do that but it was great, there was crying and laughing. The perfect mix, right?

Since one of the lessons I took from Frioozeh’s book is the beauty of culture, the respect we need to have to others’ cultures, things of that nature. I had all the women attending message me where their family line was from. Then for the food I prepared something from each of the countries. I took a trip to an eastern european deli downtown, then to a western european deli downtown, then had only two countries that didn’t fit in that mix. So it really was no too hard.

 

For the decor I found a vintage travel poster from each of their countries and printed it out.

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I also printed out a photo from each of their countries, just to see if they could pick out which one they were from.

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Celebrating our cultures, who we are, and having good food was a recipe for a great night.

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You know what! I have two extra copies sitting in my closet of Laughing Without An Accent by Frioozeh Dumas. If you want one, be the first or second person to comment, and I’ll mail it over right away. 

Things I Have Loved This Past Little While

May 30th, 2014 in About Me, Parties

First off, I love my neighborhood. I do. I am having a not my best stretch for the past while, and my neighborhood and ward have been one of my saving graces. When moving back from Costa Rica I wanted to live downtown. I still have many days where I drive there for the girls’ different things. I still one day want to live down there. But we moved back and nothing—oh man, I mean nothing–was available. So I settled on Daybreak because it had the feel I wanted and also all the parks. I’ve never been in a ward or a neighborhood where I have felt more loved. I don’t know what I would have done without all the smiling faces, friends, support, etc. It is wonderful to see how things should *work* no not perfect, but they work very well. It doesn’t erase problems, but you can see how it lifts people. It is nice to see how a ward works when people support each other, care about each other, even when they might be going through things at well. Who am I kidding, we are ALL going through things. It is sure going to be a sad day when we leave, because we are not here for forever.

I’m also so lucky to have a group of girlfriends that make me laugh, spend time with me, and I can be silly with. They are all old blogging friends that I have known for…I want to say 5+ years. Emily, Evonne, Lindsey, Leisha, Kristina (boo Kristina, put back up your hilarious writing), Kim, and Stephanie. We get together about every 6 weeks with a lot of funny texts and Facebook messages in between. When someone has internet trolls ripping them apart, we make huge hilarious cards to paste to their door. When someone has an awful Christmas, we drop a Christmas off at their door. If someone isn’t feeling well, we bring them dinner. Some very sad things have happened to some of us over the past few months, and we have been lucky to have each other during those times.

The last time they were at my house I thought up the best game. This would work really well for a group of girlfriends you have that know each other pretty well. I’ll explain it really fast:

*Draw names

*Give everyone a couple weeks to think of their person’s two most favorite things, and one thing they hate. Ask them to buy those things. Our budget was 15 or under.

*At the party, mix everything up and display it

*Have them guess everyone’s 2 likes and 1 hate

*Whoever gets the most right wins the tackiest thing you can find at walmart (mine were gangsta gnomes)

*Everyone goes home with their 2 likes. And then switch around the hate things to someone who likes your hate.

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The night ended as Evonne dressed as JayZ and myself as Beyonce  lip synching. Who knows what happened, but I love my silly friends. 

I love this little girl below. Boy is she a hard one! But she also has so much pizzaz in her, I can’t wait to see who she is one day. I love that whenever I sneeze she runs to find me and asks, “MOM!! YOU OK?!”

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I do not love that my fairy garden does not look like this anymore. Someone help me find all my fairy pieces that took forever to collect around the neighborhood! One day I will have nice things that stay nice, right?

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I REALLY loved going overboard with Abby on her book report project. She picked a scene for her favorite book series (Sisters Grimm) and we went crazy. It even talked about a smell of the room so we bought a car fragrance thing and put it behind the curtain. I MEAN LOOK AT THIS!

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Lastly, I love date night. Dear Tyler Brown, every date night I think, I really like this guy. We have the longest list of the best babysitters and we spoil ourselves to regular date nights.

Cameron Anne

May 29th, 2014 in About Me

Man, I don’t know what I would do without my girls. They sure do exhaust me, and some days make me cry like a baby. But all their love, hugs, kisses, smiles, sweet notes, and how much they love me. I don’t know where I would be without them.

I bought this little dress when I struggled with infertility for a couple of years. It was so beautiful the day that Abby was old enough to wear it. Now my second baby girl fits in it! (actually this was a couple of months back)

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Cameron is just so interesting. At times it is hilarious, at times it is borderline worrisome, at times it is just the coolest thing to watch. She checks out books from the library on palm reading and dream reading. She takes notes on what she learns in her big notebooks, then she practices. When we go back to the library, she finds another book on it to learn more. She asks us what our dreams were about in the morning and if it matches something she has learned, she tells us what it means. She was reading The Book of Mormon and found the part on Lehi’s dream. She brings it up all the time and wants to focus on small parts of it and talk all about what it could mean.

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She also does not take crap from anymore but those closest to her. If a boy is bugging her she will grab their toy, take their scooter, tell them what she thinks, etc. But if someone in the family is nasty to her she gets so upset when they get in trouble.

Sweet Cameron spends most of her day writing in her notebooks. Poetry is something she loves. The other day she wrote this to Abby:

Love

Love is like a bird flying by
and like a hug good bye
Wind blowing in your face
as you stand in place
Love

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When we go to the library she runs to the comic book section first. This feisty lady doesn’t let adults boss her around if she doesn’t agree. At school the teacher was asking her to read and she refused. She stubbornly told the teacher that the books were far too easy for her. They were, she is on a reading level N, and her other classmates are A/B. So, she opted for a frowny face in her behavior book instead of reading.

Her dad tells her everyday before school, “CAMERON! QUESTION AUTHORITY!” She is good at doing that. I just wish she expected those closet to her to treat her better.

This little girl is just INTERESTING. I mean that word in a good way, I wish my mind worked like hers. It would be the most adventurous day to live in that little mind of hers.

I think naming her after Anne, with an E, AnnE, was a perfect choice.

These are snapshots of one of her notebooks from about oh quite a few months back. But I had to post them before I lost them on my overloaded computer. The first one was all the lyrics to a Primary song she was learning. The second one is random lines. The third one is a list of all her best friends. And last was written right after her birthday about being 6!

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Minnie Mouse Bridal Shower or Disney Bridal Shower

May 28th, 2014 in Parties

My sweet neighbor friend and I threw a bridal shower for another beautiful woman in our neighborhood. She is a big Disney fan, and was proposed to by her now husband in Disneyland. So we wanted to do something to match that at her shower. LISTEN! It was so hard finding a cute, not overly DISNEY done, or not little kid looking decor. I wasn’t going to post this party. But then I thought, it could really help someone out one day!

I got the easy end of the deal and was in charge of invitations, farming out food assignments, and the games. My friend did all the decor, she did such a beautiful job I had to post some pictures.

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If you email me any additional questions on this Minnie Mouse Bridal Shower or Disney Bridal Shower, I won’t have the answers to them. Since I didn’t do the decor, and don’t have any downloads for you. But hopefully this gives you a guide to a beautiful Disney themed shower. Good luck to you!

Easter 2014

May 9th, 2014 in About Me

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My girls did not look like this on Easter. But they were in these dresses. This was their Easter hello to family that I never sent. We used to make lots of videos for family, their birthday and things. But then I noticed I would send them and they were never watched. Except for the ones sent to grandparents, of course, they never get sick of grandkids!

MVI 3716 from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

Easter I spent cooking! I was in a cooking mood. My sister mentioned pita sounded good and there is a famous pita bread recipe in the family. So I told her to bring that and I would make the fixings. I went overboard on the fixings, but I was in a cooking mood. I made three different meats for gyros, with three different sauces. I made hummus, greek salad, greek rice, and greek potatoes. It was enough for five families but there were only two. I tend to do this. I think it is a sign that more of the Brown family needs to live close by. Of course then I do it overboard on cooking and don’t want to cook for two weeks after that. But I really do have fun, in the moment, making meals like these. I had never made Greek before, or lamb, it was fun to do.

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My sister brought an Easter egg hunt for the kids and I for some reason tried to slap mustaches on them. The babies loved it. Then when I asked my little niece their age to do it she totally wanted to as well.

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My table was GORGEOUS. Me, myself, and I said that to my head. This is probably why my mother in law needs to live closer, she would have appreciated the table.

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And I mean, COME ON, look at these cookies. I made them all from scratch. Lie. I bought them all myself. Truth. One of my special talents is, I know where to BUY the best things.

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My sister brought the famous Brown chocolate peanut butter eggs. Oh my goodness which reminds me, there is still one in the fridge. Could it still be good? I must figure this out.

We ended with a Christ walk, which none of the babies were into. And the adults chose talking inside. But the older girls and I had a fun time. I just put some events of Christ’s last week into bags with a scripture. We took turns going from bag to bag taking things out. It ended with a bag with a picture of Christ in it for them. Which I think they promptly all lost in 3 minutes.

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But you know what? Sometimes I do things that I love for ME. Me, myself, and I. Mich, ik, yo, ek, eu, ben, moi. Because raising this family is a lot of work. And if I want to spend two days making greek food, decorate a table that makes just me feel good, and buy lots of beautiful easter cookies. That is fine with me, it doesn’t bug me a bit, and it makes raising this family of mine fun for me.

Easter Bunny

May 9th, 2014 in About Me

Tyler and I got into a tiff before Easter. I was telling him that I was so glad we weren’t doing the Easter bunny anymore. That even though it was hard last year, that I had done it, I had not celebrated the Easter bunny. I remember it being a very different Easter. To which he replied that I had never done that. That at the last minute I felt bad and left something out from the bunny. I was convinced that he was crazy. He was convinced that I was just trying to save face. Which I wasn’t, I clearly remember not doing it. Last year we did have a better Easter, for a good 7-10 days before Easter we remembered Christ in many ways. The whole day had a very different feeling. To my credit, THAT did happen and the same with this year.

So this Easter when I sat down the girls to remind them that we were focusing just on Christ this year. After a full week of talking about Christ’s last week of life. Cameron looked at me with her FOR REAL sad eyes saying, “YOU MEAN WE AREN’T GETTING ANYTHING, NOT ANYTHING FROM THE EASTER BUNNY? IS HE NOT REAL?!” Lots of sobs. Then I stalled. More importantly then I remembered I was having deja vu. Oh dang it all, Tyler was right, we did celebrate the Easter bunny. Because last year Cameron had done the same thing. So on Easter Eve I suddenly remember I had ran around the house finding something that could be considered a present. So I whispered in her ear this year before she went to bed. I reassured her I was being crazy and I had decided that I would let the Easter bunny leave something little for her. So then again I was scrambling around the house trying to find something he could leave. The only chocolates I could find with mocha flavored chocolates I had picked out of a bag of assorted chocolates.

Maybe the way it had turned out for the past two years was ok. We don’t talk about the bunny until the night before. I spend no extra money, it is very low key, and he only leaves something little.

But NEXT year, next year, he is gone. When the two older ones are old enough to hear he was just something funny to do. And before the two babies even remember who he is.

Right? Hopefully if I remember.