Date Night Funnies

Tonight, Paul and I went to see Tarzan. While we really enjoyed the movie, we also were in quite the silly mood, which led to some humorous moments (though perhaps only humorous to us, lol)

While waiting for the preview….

Me: Hey! I just thought of a great idea for my next book. George of the Jungle meets Tarzan, a coming of age story!

Still waiting for previews.

Me (pointing to the blank screen): So, what’cha watchin?

Paul: The Story of my Life

Overheard from the guy behind us while still waiting for previews:

My dad met the original Tarzan once in a bar in Europe. He (Tarzan) was drunk and hung from a chandelier while doing the Tarzan yell.

On the way home from the movie we were on the freeway with the windows down (the ac doesn’t work in either of our little cars) and Paul suddenly lets loose with a REALLY loud Tarzan yell, making me jump. Then he dares me to try it when we go to pass a car with their windows rolled down.

I obliged, but only got half way through, I was laughing so hard.

At one point, in between attempted Tarzan yells, I started coughing.

Paul: Bug?

Me: Tarzan problem #127. How do you not swallow bugs when yelling? Never mind “bug on windshield” problems while flying through the congo on vines….

So, highlight of the night… doing Tarzan yells at the top of our lungs while driving down the freeway… yeah, we’re that weird.

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Lizard’s Talk on Dealing with Adversity

On August 8th of 2010, Lizy gave her very first talk in Sacrament Meeting (the main meeting where the congregation meets together) at church . She wasn’t even 12 yet, but since we had just moved from Oregon and were new in the ward (congregation) and Paul & I were speaking, Lizy was asked to speak as well. Her topic was adversity. I remember her being nervous & I remember helping her with writing it. Encouraging her to look through her scriptures & use personal experiences.

Today Paul was cleaning out some files and found the copy of her talk that she used when she gave it six years ago. Reading through it now after all that has happened was quite amazing (I could hear her voice as I read it) – and I was impressed by her insight at the age of eleven.

This school year would have been her senior year, and I have to admit, it’s going to be a hard year. It’s hard seeing the senior pictures for marching band (she would have been there), or watching her friends take that next big step, seeing how they have grown and matured. We’re excited for them and for all they are accomplishing, but there is a pang in the heart as we watch these things happen without her.  But this, this was a sweet reminder that we will get through this year, just as we have the last four and we will be stronger for it & I’m sure blessed in more ways than we can possibly know.  This was a sweet tender mercy, a little hug saying, “I know it’s hard, but with Christ you can do it.”

I’ll let her words speak for themselves:

“Lizards Talk on Dealing with Adversity

“Heavenly Father has given us adversity, or challenges, to help strengthen our testimonies.  Adversity is supposed to be hard. When we face adversity there are two attitudes we can choose from.

“Choice number 1 is negative. When we are negative we usually say things like, “Why does this have to happen to me?” or “Why do I have to suffer this now?” or even, “What have I done to deserve this?”

“Choice number two is positive. When we are positive we might say things like, “what am I to do?” or “What am I to learn from this experience?” Maybe even, “Whom am I to help?”

“Often times, it’s not easy choosing to be positive, but when you do the challenge can be easier to deal with.  When my Dad first told me we might be moving here to Ohio, I was a little upset and even a little scared. I didn’t want to leave my friends behind and move to a place where I knew nobody. I had a hard time seeing what could be positive about moving, but then my parents started pointing out all the positive things, like new friends, new adventures and sights to see.  We also prayed about the decision as a family.  As we prayed I felt the spirit telling me it was the right thing to do. Another thing that helped me find the positive and deal with this challenge was receiving a blessing from my Dad. It wasn’t too long before I was looking forward to the move.

“My experience showed me that when we have adversity we should turn to God. In Alma 36: 3 it says:

“‘And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.’

“When we turn to God in adversity our burdens are lightened. Elaine Cannon said, “Every burden on the back can become a gift in the hand.”  If we try to be positive and ask ourselves those questions, what can we learn, who can I help and strive to remember our many blessings in our times of trial then our burdens can become gifts from God.

“When Alma’s people were in bondage to the Lamanites they chose to turn to God in silent prayer. Because they remembered God in their adversity and poured out their hearts to Him they were blessed as we read in Mosiah 24: 13-16:

“’13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

‘  14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

‘ 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

‘ 16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.’

“I know that if we pray for help, read our scriptures, and endure with patience as the people of Alma, then Heavenly Father will help us. As we do these things our testimonies will be strengthened and knowledge we gain will be a gift. I know that adversity comes to us all. We need to prepare now so we know what to do when adversity comes our way.  I know that Heavenly Father gives us adversity because he loves us and wants us to learn and grow and become like him and Jesus Christ.

“It comforts me to remember all that Christ suffered for me. In Alma 7:11-12 it says:

“’11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

’12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.’

“I know he understands all of my pains and sorrows because he has been through more than us and He and Heavenly Father will never leave me alone. I know there will never be a challenge that we cannot overcome.”

So many years later, sweet Lizard, and your wisdom at such a young age touches my heart. There was no way knowing what kind of impact your words would have so many years later. Love and miss you.


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Journaling in a Doodle-y way

I have always loved the idea of journaling and I have tried to journal many different times in many different ways. To me, a writer, the blank page begs to be filled and that got daunting pretty quick if I felt like I didn’t have enough to fill a page. A while ago I found a way of journaling that works for me and I’ve been journaling for a year and a half now – woot!  I love looking at my journals and I look forward to journaling now too.

Here are a few things that help me out:

I break up the page with boxes. The borders can be simple or fancy, but I try to keep boxes close together and fit shapes together. I still want most of the page filled up with writing.

I add color with pens or colored pencils.

I emphasize words by changing the size of the letters or by underlining, adding color, or lines to draw attention. I also use arrows to show direction from one box to another if I need to continue a thought in another box.

I try writing in different styles (I’ve gotten better at this the more I’ve done it and I’ve even learned new ideas as I’ve gone too!)

I add doodles – sometimes they fit what is on the page, sometimes they are there just because I felt like it, sometimes I leave them off because I have a lot to say or don’t feel like doodling a picture.



Here’s a page before I write on it or add color. I have gotten more creative with my box borders – but I save these fancier ones for when I have a little more time. I also add a doodle in a corner frequently, because I like to doodle here and there (I pull my ideas off Pinterest when it comes to doodles). Maybe you aren’t a doodler.  Maybe color isn’t your thing – that’s okay. Maybe you love fancy borders or just want to keep it simple. Maybe you like lots of boxes or just a couple large boxes. That’s what make this so fun, it’s all up to what you like.  If you are a wannabe doodler like me, I will say that your doodles get better with practice!


As you can see from the page above, rather than trying to write everyday, I often write highlights from the week – this take the pressure off feeling like have to write a page of amazing when there is very little that happened that day.  If I have a really awesome exciting day, then I can fill the page. Sometimes I have a big story to tell, so I type it up and tape in an insert with Washi tape (because it is fun & colorful). Sometimes, since I like to do larger doodles once in a while, I’ll tape in a doodle insert.

DSC_0778Sometimes I do fold-out inserts by taping to the edge of the page rather than the inside (but I don’t do these as often)


What do I journal about? Well, from the above you have some idea – I journal a lot of different things.

I journal about daily life in my highlights.

I journal church or other notes.

I journal my scripture study.

Some people like to have separate journals for these, I like to have it thrown all into one place.

I also like to journal lists, because someday maybe someone will read these to learn more about me (like a great-great-grandchild who’s heard stories of crazy grandma J, heh). Here are 3 examples of list ranging from simple words scattered about, to several doodles, to one large doodle incorporating the list.  Or you could just make a simple list on your page – I like to get doodle-y with it, but someone else might not.



Well there you have it! A new discovery that has brought me 18 months of joy and hopefully a lot more to come.

Do you journal? I would love to hear about what works/ doesn’t work for you! Post your ideas in the comments!

A final doodle for you that I did in April to remember our Elizabeth who we affectionately called Lizard (or Lizard breath).




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Family Chore/Job Center & Chalkboard Door

Some time ago I decided I needed to do something different for our chore charts. I wanted a job for hire board. I thought about checklists to help the kids remember the daily things they needed to do. I thought about regular rotating chore charts. It seemed like a lot of different charts to have to make. I looked all over pinterest and nothing stood out to me until I found this amazing idea. It seemed pretty involved as far as making it, but I loved the look and a lot of the ideas behind it – especially because it had all the charts I wanted in one place. I decided to see what Paul thought, since I would enlist him in building it, and he agreed. After a few months (mainly because we had so many other things demanding out attention that we kept shoving it aside) we finally got it completed today. I had a number of requests on Facebook for more details and some close-ups, so I obliged.

First off, here is what the whole thing looks like:


The ladder was not hard to build and Paul has a saw and  such, so I put him to work. He cut and sanded and painted. We have two pieces running along the back that we fixed the head board and all the smaller ladder boards on. I don’t really know dimensions – we just looked at the picture I found on pinterest and then we figured how big we wanted to make ours for the space where we wanted to put it.  I could have done it myself probably, but power saws and such make me nervous (I mean, good grief, look at what I did with a lawn mower and my toe in high school, lol).

Then I got to do the fun part.  I’ll start from the bottom up.


We talked about a bunch of ways we wanted to do the kids chore chart & checklists, and finally I decided I liked the clipboards the best for a number of reasons – namely they required the least amount of extra work.  These were plain brown boring ones I got at Staples for $2 a piece. I painted them to make them more interesting.  On the bottom is their daily checklist – it’s fixed permanently onto the clipboard. These are the things we expect of them daily simply because they are alive.  They are all pretty self explanatory except possibly “Your Stuff” which means to make sure your stuff is gathered and put away from around the house & “Observe” where we want them to observe 1 thing in the house that needs to be done and then do it without being asked. I laminated the cards so they can mark them off each day with a dry erase marker. If they complete their checklist for the day, they get to check the day off up above. Once a week I will give them a ticket for each day they completed their checklist.


The top card on the clipboard is the rotating chore job. They have 2 chores each week: a kitchen chore and a household chore. Those are laminated for durability and get moved each Sunday. On them I listed what I expected to be done daily & weekly in each chore area.

The next section of my board consists of a row of buckets. Target has adorable buckets for $1 I love color so I got colorful ones (and I might trade them out if other more colorful ones appear). You will find them in the $ section close to where you walk in. The buckets are utilitarian in purpose – that’s where we put the tickets they earn and store the dry erase markers for the kids to mark their checklists with.


Finally comes the upper section:

Just above the buckets is a little picture frame where I can write (in dry erase) the date of the next reward day (we will probably have one about once a month or so) and a list of what they can order with their tickets. We will probably change this up from time to time, but it’s a way to use incentives to motivate them. Then we have the Service bucket. Paul and I decided we wanted to have a spot where anyone could put in service they see needs to be done or would like to have done. The kids can pull out an act of service and complete it. Also in the service bucket is a dry erase marker & a regular pen (we though we might have an issue with ticket transference from one kid’s bucket to another, so the idea was proposed by our oldest to write names on the tickets so there can be no confusion). Finally is a little box where we keep help wanted chore cards and we might poke an eraser in there for chart cleaning, etc.



Across the top and above the little black box are our chore for hire cards. These are chores above and beyond what we would typically ask and are willing to pay for. We are pretty cheap parents and don’t pay much (mostly because we can’t afford to shell $10 out a kid each week, heh), but it gives them an opportunity to learn to work for a wage. We sat down and made a list of what chores we felt were above and beyond and the amount we were willing to pay and I made a set of cards. I’m sure I will add on to them as time goes and we think of more things. As we see or feel the need for certain jobs to be done we will clip them up – they are first come first serve and the child will bring us the card when they are finished. We will inspect and then pay them. Some people keep the money with the card – we don’t because #1 it can be a temptation to wander away with sticky fingers & #2 many jobs are under $1 or depend on how much is done (such as cupboard washing – we pay 10 cents a cupboard so it all depends on how many cupboards they wash). Finally, on the end is the roll of tickets. I think I mentioned earlier that these can be earned (1 each day) by completing the entire check list on the the clipboard.

At some point we will put some cute saying, quote or maybe just Chore Center in the black above the work for hire section, but I haven’t decided what I want there yet.


SO there you have it – our chore center largely copied from the one I found on Pinterest with a few things changed to fit our family personally. We screwed eye screws into the back and strung picture wire between them for hanging. When we put it up, we rearranged things to have our FHE chart, family clock, and blessings board (a really cute present from an awesome friend) all nearby.  It’s beside our front door and takes center stage in our living area to help us all remember to actively do our part in helping the home run smoothly.

Do you have a chore chart you love? How do you involve your kids in daily household doings? Share your success/fail (because we all have those too) stories in the comments!

I recently chalkboarded the door too, so it has become a center of family fun as well.  We did it with DIY chalkboard paint!



This was super easy and cheap to do. To make your own chalkboard paint in any color you want all you have to do is add 2 tablespoons of unsanded grout to 1 cup of paint and mix it really well. I chose a dark brown color (I felt black would be too dark) and since I was just doing 1 door, I bought a sample from Lowes for $3.50. Add the grout in just before you are ready to paint as it will gradually thicken and get clumpy after a time (a friend gave me her box when she was moving, but it’s not terribly expensive and lasts forever – so ask around if you know anyone who has grouted recently, or get a box to share because all of your friends will want to do this when they see your awesome door! lol).

Once your door is painted and completely dry, prep it by rubbing white chalk all over it in circular motions, then go back and erase it in circular motions and then voila you have an amazing chalkboard door that will be the hit of your home!


We celebrated our 18th anniversary on Monday! Woot! Robert was very proud of his “first boat ever, Mom!”.


Filed under Every Day Life, Family, Getting Crafty

Two Boys, a Man, and a Prayer

I was in between running errands. Home just fifteen minutes before running off to do the next thing when my doorbell dinged. Twice. I was annoyed. Partially because double dings always feel so impatient. I reminded myself that this was most likely no fault to the person at the door, but when I looked through the window and saw an older man I didn’t recognize the irritation came back. I yanked the door open fully prepared to tell the man we didn’t want any and go about my business.

He spoke before I could utter a word. “You have two boys, right? Jacob and James.”

“Yes,” I replied.

“I have something for them. Did they tell you about what happened yesterday when I was looking for my cat?”

“They mentioned it.”

He then proceeded to tell me a story. A story of two boys, a man, and a prayer.

He and his wife had lost their cat. They had been searching for four days. He was near our yard looking when the boys got off the bus. He told them he was looking for his cat and asked if they had seen him around. The boys said no and helped look for a while. After a bit they paused to rest, the man’s knees were bothering him. Jacob whispered in James’ ear.

“What are you two plotting?” The man asked with a laugh.

They laughed, whispered a bit more and then asked, “Can you kneel?”

“Yes,” he replied, “I can.”

“We want to say a prayer for your cat,” the boys said.

The three of them knelt on the grass and one of the boys prayed and asked for the cat, Biscuit, to be able to safely return home. After the prayer they stood and one of the boys looked at the man. “We prayed. God will help and your cat will come home now.”

The man looked at me, very emotional. “Our cat came home last night. He had gotten trapped in a neighbor’s basement area.”

He then proceeded to hand me an envelope for each boy. “I really appreciate the prayer they said with me. You have very fine boys.”

When my boys got home, I told them the man had come by and had left something for them and that his cat had been returned. Immediately my two boys knelt down to pray and thank Heavenly Father for the return of Biscuit, the man’s cat.


Filed under Children, Every Day Life, Miracles, Religion

Kid’s Proverbs

I was going through files tonight on my computer, deleting nonsense or unneeded files, organizing stray files into folders, etc, when I came across this gem & boy did it give me a great laugh!

Apparently, in January of 2009 I did an activity with my girls where I gave them the first half of a proverb and let them come up with the rest. The results were rather hilarious – especially six years later. At the time, Lizy would have been 9, Dot 8, & Em 6. The first line is the given line, the second is what my kids gave me😀 Some are wise, some are endearing, a couple are right (or pretty close), and a bunch are just plain funny! I didn’t change anything – just copy and pasted (so comments in paranthesis are what I wrote 6 years ago)

1. Don’t change horses
Until they grow up (Emily)

2. Strike while the
Bees are gone from the hive (Dorothy)

3. It’s always darkest before
The light comes up (Elizabeth)

4. Never underestimate the power of
God (Emily)

5. You can lead a horse to water but
Not to a lake with sharks in it (Dorothy)

6. Don’t bite the hand that
Is alive (Elizabeth)

7. No news is
Until morning – we only get news when it’s morning (Emily)

8. A miss is as good as a
Hit (Dorothy)

9. You can’t teach an old dog new
Tricks (Elizabeth – she didn’t know that is really the answer)

10. If you lie down with dogs, you’ll
Get dirty (Emily)

11. Love all, trust
Heavenly Father (Dorothy)

12. The pen is mightier than the
Eraser or a pencil (Elziabeth)

13. An idle mind is
Blank (Emily)

14. Where there’s smoke there’s
A fire – not always though (Dorothy)

15. Happy the bride who
Marries the groom (Elizabeth)

16. A penny saved is
Saving money (Emily)

17. Two’s company, three’s
Trouble (Elizbeth)

18. Don’t put off till tomorrow what
Is rotten (Dorothy)

19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and
I’ll cry with you (Emily)

20. There are none so blind as
One who can’t see (Dorothy)

21. Children should be seen and not
Hid (Elizabeth)

22. If at first you don’t succeed
Try to do it again (Emily)

23. You get out of something only what you
Need (Dorothy)

24. When the blind lead the blind
You fall (Elizabeth)

25. A bird in the hand
can fly away (Emily)

26. Better late than
kicked out of school (Dorothy)

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Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Humor, Lizy, Things Kids Say

How the Atonement of Jesus Christ Helps Me In My Darkest Hours

Today’s scripture study took me to this scripture about Jesus Christ:

“And l, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.” Mosiah 3:7

Which took me to this marvelous quote by Neal A. Maxwell:

“Imagine, Jehovah, the Creator of this and other worlds, ‘astonished’! Jesus knew cognitively what He must do, but not experientially. He had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before. Thus, when the agony came in its fulness, it was so much, much worse than even He with his unique intellect had ever imagined! No wonder an angel appeared to strengthen him! (SeeLuke 22:43.

“The cumulative weight of all mortal sins—past, present, and future—pressed upon that perfect, sinless, and sensitive Soul! All our infirmities and sicknesses were somehow, too, a part of the awful arithmetic of the Atonement. (See Alma 7:11–12;Isaiah 53:3–5; Matthew 8:17.) The anguished Jesus not only pled with the Father that the hour and cup might pass from Him, but with this relevant citation. ‘And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me’ (Mark 14:35–36).

“Had not Jesus, as Jehovah, said to Abraham, ‘Is any thing too hard for the Lord?’ (Genesis 18:14). Had not His angel told a perplexed Mary, ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible’? (Luke 1:37; see alsoMatthew 19:28; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27).

“Jesus’ request was not theater!

“In this extremity, did He, perchance, hope for a rescuing ram in the thicket? I do not know. His suffering—as it were, enormity multiplied by infinity—evoked His later soul-cry on the cross, and it was a cry of forsakenness. (See Matthew 27:46.)

“Even so, Jesus maintained this sublime submissiveness, as He had in Gethsemane: ‘Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt’ (Matthew 26:39)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1985, 92; orEnsign, May 1985, 72–73).

And that marvelous quote made me think back on those moments when I relied on the atonement to get me through my darkest hours.

Many ask HOW – 

HOW do we apply the atonement in times of great grief or pain?

For me, in those unbearable moments when one wonders if they can even breathe and the weight of grief on the heart threatens to tear you asunder, I pray. I pray and pray, pleading for help and some how, as though rays of sun forcing themselves through the thickest, darkest storm clouds, a calm and peace settles in my heart and mind, and I know God is with me, taking in his hands my burdens. And I turn myself over to him, accepting His will, no matter how agonizing it may be, because I trust Him. I believe Him. I believe His promises of eternal families, and that with Him all things are possible.

I remind myself each day that as I allow the spirit to comfort my heart and to feel the peace He is trying to pour into my soul, that I am strong enough, somehow, some way, to make it through the storm. And I look, I look for those bits of light and the more I look, the more I see, until hope shines upon my face with the full brightness of the sun, and in that moment, I know. I know the atonement is working in my heart and life.

And the amazing thing is, the more I open my heart, the more peace He pours in. The pain isn’t gone, it is still there, but the peace He gives, wraps it and buffers it until is is manageable. And hope – one of the greatest gifts of the atonement, because it pushes us to keep going, to keep trying, even when we fear all is lost or impossible.

So, back to HOW?

1-  I believe. I believe His words and promises are meant for ME!

2 – I pray – pleading and begging for relief.

3 – Just as the Savior did, I must accept God’s will – only then will the healing come.

4 – I strive to see the peace and open my heart to the Spirit. I allow myself to be comforted and filled with love and hope from the Savior. Sometimes this is so hard – it’s easy to miss – sometimes that peace might feel so fleating, or like a weak flickering candle in a vast darkness, but every time I grasp onto it, that peace grows as long as I am willing to let it into my heart.

It is a deeply personal and unique process and experience. It is most likely very different for others. But to me it is beautiful and each day, time, moment that I apply it in my life I feel my love and connection with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ increase. My faith increases and my soul is filled with an overwhelming hope that all will be fine in the end and that our family will be together for eternity. And, while the days feel long until I see my Lizy again, I know I will see her. And I know I have a loving Savior and Heavenly Father who will help me through the hard times until that day comes.

How greatly we are blessed. How much I have learned and grown. How much I still have to learn and grow. I love this beautiful plan that Heavenly Father has created for us.


Filed under Miscellaneous