Monday, June 4, 2012

May Lofts Herald Entry

We had a great little vacation and ran off to the Beach with Shalah, Mom, Lexie, Sheri and all the kiddos. It was a lot of fun and a much needed little get away! The kids all had a blast with their cousins! We played in the water (I use the term “we” very loosely here. ;) and flew the kite, got some squeaky cheese, visited a lighthouse, went letterbox hunting and to the Marine Science Center and even got in a little shopping at the Outlet Mall.  McKayla said her favorite part was the day we went home because we crammed in so much fun stuff. One of the highlights of the weekend was giving Mom her iPad.  I caught a few great pictures to share.  She was very surprised and a little teary-eyed when she read the engraving. It says, "Dear mother, all flowers remind me of you. Happy Mother's Day 2012". The other highlight was getting to meet baby Brayden. What a cutie! 
For my Mom we did our annual Mother’s Day Yard Clean up and Planting day.  We were surprised at how great the turn out was this year. Everyone came!  He got the pond, creek and bathtub fountains all up and running and then we put him on Traeger duty. We had a great day. I got to hold baby Helen and I think she is just sooo cute! It could be that she looks like my sisters and I more than any other one of our kids combined. She is so sweet too. She always smiling and cooing and happy. 
I had to speak in Sacrament Meeting on Mother’s Day. I am not quite sure why I have had to speak twice in the past 12 months and Bryce hasn’t had to speak since we moved into our house about 12 years ago. Hmmmm... I might have to look into that one a little further. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Talk- Honor Thy Mother and Father

Your Mother and Mine
Well, a mother, a real mother
Is the most wonderful person in the world
She's the angel voice that bids you goodnight
Kisses your cheek, whispers, "Sleep tight."
The helping hand that guides you along
Whether you're right, whether you're wrong
What makes mothers all that they are?
Might as well ask, "What makes a star?"
Ask your heart to tell you her worth
Your heart will say, "Heaven on Earth."
Another word for divine
Your mother and mine
~Wendy Moira Angela Darling
The love of parents for their children and children for their parents is one of the strongest influences for good in the world. Many people have been motivated to live good lives because of their love for their parents. How you live your life may bring honor or shame not only to yourself but to your parents as well. You can choose to commit to honor your parents by living righteously and expressing gratitude to them.
Since today is Mother’s Day I will mainly focus on Mothers, but you could easily insert Father instead.
Our Parents Care About Us
Our parents love us and want what is best for us. Think of how much time and effort it takes to raise a son or daughter. 
My mother taught me how to crawl, how to walk and how to talk. The alphabet and my numbers. She taught me how to use a spoon, and how to use the potty. She taught me how to use my inside voice and encouraged me when I needed to speak up a little. She taught me to look both ways before I crossed and to watch out for strangers. She taught me not to play with sticks because someone could get their eye poked out... and she was right. 
As I got older, she pointed out the girls in the Laurel class that I should look up to and the values and characteristics that I should emulate. She also taught me more practical things like how to sew a button, what I should and shouldn’t wear and how to tweeze my eyebrows (thank goodness). She taught me how to fold a fitted sheet (even if I still can’t fold them as perfectly as she does.) She taught me that even an old red barn looks better with a fresh coat of paint and that glitter has magical powers and it can make everything look sparkly and new. She taught me that choosing the right isn’t always easy, but it is best. 
I distinctly remember a time when I was a Mia Maid when the friends I had were gradually making different choices and I made the choice not to do those things and over time they weren’t my friends anymore and I was very lonely. She told me that friends will come and go but she would always be my friend no matter what. 
She taught me what to look for in a husband and how he should treat me.     She taught me that good things come to those who wait and patience is a virtue. 
Just last month she taught me by example about reaching out of our comfort zone and doing hard things. She teaches me of my ancestors and the rich heritage I am blessed to be apart of. 
When I became a mother myself it was only then that I caught a glimpse of all that she has taught me whether by her words or by her example.
Our parents have made a commitment to help us live a happy, healthy life. When our parents try to guide us, they are trying to help us be our best and be worthy of exaltation with our family.
Heavenly Father Wants Us to Honor Our Parents
Henry B. Eyring taught Now, here is my counsel to children. The Lord gave you a commandment with a promise: it is found in Exodus 20:12. “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” 5 It is the only one of the Ten Commandments with a promise. You may not have parents that are living. In some cases, you may not feel that your parents are worthy of the honor and respect of their children. You may not even have ever known them. But you owe them life. And in every case, even if your life is not lengthened, its quality will be improved simply by remembering your parents with honor.” (Henry B. Eyring, “Our Perfect Example” Oct. 2009)
•How do you honor someone? By showing them respect, obeying their wishes, listening to them, asking their advice, and following their example.
Throughout my life my Dad has shown me a good example of how to Honor my Mother and my Grandmother. He would do small things like dropping her off at the door on a rainy Sunday morning. Or by opening her car door, rubbing her feet at night, filling up the gas tank in her car. Cooking her dinner. By teaching my brothers how to treat their Mother and Sisters with respect. By taking the day off of work so he could hold her hand at the Dentist office. By encouraging my Mother when she has to do hard things like speak in church. And the countless times he walks into the room and says, “Hey Beautiful”. My Father has taught me how to Honor my mother.
My Grandpa has taught me how to honor my mother and my Grandmother. My Grandpa used to take my Grandma Donna to antique shops and art galleries. He would drive her to thrift store after thrift store. But what I remember as a young child Grandpa would come with Grandma to “Grandparents Day” in Elementary School. Now, I’m sure that this probably bored Grandpa to tears, It was a monumental task because there were about twenty grandchildren at Park Place at one time, so it was an all day excursion. Grandpa went anyway because it was important to Grandma. My Grand father taught me how to Honor my mother and my Grandmother. 
Finally, my mother taught me how to show respect and honor to her.  
My mother taught me how to speak to her in a respectful manner. She didn’t allow us to treat her disrespectfully or backtalk. Even as toddlers we didn’t tell her “no” and get away with it. As a teenager I remember my Mother took my sister, Carrie and I on a rare trip to the mall. As my sister and I got out of the car we hurried in ahead of my Mom and jokingly said that it was “so that we weren’t walking next to our “Mom” because it wasn’t “cool”. She taught me a valuable lesson that day that I haven’t forgotten. She told us to “get back here” and “that we would not disrespect her like that”. We tried to tell her that we were only joking, but she cautioned us that it wasn’t even acceptable to treat her like that in jest, because it could become habit. I didn’t realize at the time that we were probably testing the waters and I’m grateful that she was smart enough to realize it and didn’t allow us to dishonor her.  I also realized that I didn’t care what other people thought, but I cared what my Mom thought and I realized that treating her like that was rude and hurtful. 
As I got older it really bothered me when I would hear my friends or cousins or girls from my ward talk to their Moms disrespectfully. I remember telling my mom I didn’t like that they were speaking to their Mom like that about how I was surprised their mom let them get away with it. She told me I should say something to them the next time I overheard them treating their Mom that way. So I did. Every time I said something, my friend knew they had been rude and they were ashamed for their behavior. I doubt it changed their behavior all the time, but at least while I was around they spoke more respectfully and in a respectful tone of voice to their mother. My Mother taught me how to honor her.  
President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“Be true to your parents and your heritage. Regrettably there are a few parents who act in a way that does serious injustice to their children. But these cases are relatively few. No one has greater interest in your welfare, in your happiness, in your future than do your mothers and fathers. … They were once the age that you are now. Your problems are not substantially different from what theirs were. If they occasionally place restrictions on you, it is because they see danger down the road. Listen to them. What they ask you to do may not be to your liking. But you will be much happier if you do it” (“Stand True and Faithful,” Ensign, May 1996, 92–93).
When I was about 13 years old I witnessed this truth for myself. I asked my brother, Brian if I could share this story with you because although it wasn’t something that happened to me personally, it affected me directly.  When Brian was 16 years old he wanted to hang out with his friends non-stop, as most teenagers do.  He wanted to go to the football games every weekend and there was a girl there that he liked. I don’t remember all of the details at the time, but I do remember that Brian and Mom were fighting a lot and that the atmosphere in the home when Brian was home was contentious because he didn’t want to be there. Now, keep in mind that Brian was still a good kid that wanted to do what was right. He just didn’t see anything wrong with going to do these things with his friends and he didn’t have any intentions of doing anything wrong. But, my mom could see the potential danger and one night they had a big argument and Brian disobeyed my parents and he went to the football game anyway. That night my parents were waiting for him when he got home and they had another argument. My mom stopped in the middle of it and asked him, “Who are you and what happened to the boy I raised? What type of man do you want to grow up to be?” The following evening there was a fireside at Bro. James Bean’s house that Brian attended that changed his life and my entire family. This is what happened in Brian’s own words.
I found myself sitting on the floor of James Beans house listening to him teach the gospel and to teach the law of obedience. That night the spirit pierced my heart. Brother bean explained how much a parent loves their child. He told us that our parents loved us more than anyone else--just like our father in heaven loves us. A parent's love for their children is boundless... they would die for us. Then he said that we could "never go wrong" if we listen and obey our parents. He admitted that we may not have as much fun as we otherwise could have, or that sometimes we might miss out on a fun time with our friends. But he promised us that we would find true joy and peace in abiding by the counsel and direction of our parents. 
I knew this was true. I knew deep in the heart... deep in my soul that my parents adored me (still do). And that if I were to trust in their wisdom and follow their counsel that I would be blessed beyond measure. I resolved at that moment to obey my parents and to follow their counsel. The first step toward obedience was honoring the grounding I got from going to the football game without permission.
I started looking for ways to help out around the house. I began to seek my parent's counsel when I needed help with things. I spent quality time with my siblings. We rented kid movies and popped popcorn while my friends went to the football games and to school parties. I worked hard on being patient with my younger brother and my sisters. I volunteered to help my father when I saw him working. Little by little I began to feel differently about myself. I developed a rich relationship with my parents and learned to trust in their judgement. I learned fist hand that a parent's love for their child exceeds all imaginings. And if a child will but follow the counsel of a wise parent they will be blessed with a rich and full life.
To this day, I still seek the counsel of my wise parents and cherish their love for me. I have been truly blessed.”
My brother, Brian truly showed me how to honor my Mother.  He confided in her and he sought her counsel and he and my Mother developed a special bond. Let me tell you, Boys, if you want to know what a girl is really thinking, ask your Mom. Brian had the best dating coach he could ever have. Brian taught me how to honor my Mother. 
My husband has shown me how to honor my mother and my mother-in-law. For Mother’s Day this year he had the idea of giving his mother an iPad so he arranged for all of the siblings to pitch in. Last weekend we went to the Beach with my MIL and gave it to her.  He showed me how to honor his mother by taking the time to teach her how to use her new iPad.  He also has honored my mother, his mother-in-law by taking the time to serve her. Yesterday, we had a big family yard work party as a gift to my Mom.  Not only did he do it, but the other son-in-law’s took the time out of their busy schedules to help out as well. I don’t know very many son-in-law’s that would do that. My brothers-in-law and my husband show me how to honor my mother and mother-in-law.  
•How can honoring your parents help you enjoy greater blessings and happiness in your life? Our parents can teach us how to succeed at our goals and how to receive the blessings they have received. Because of their experience, our parents can also help us avoid many of the mistakes they have made or seen others make.
We Can Honor Our Parents by Living Righteously
3 John 1:4.   “I have no greater ajoy than to hear that my bchildren cwalk in truth.”
We Can Honor Our Parents by Expressing Appreciation for Them
by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“No gift purchased from a store can begin to match in value to parents some simple, sincere words of appreciation. Nothing we could give them would be more prized than righteous living for each youngster” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 348
I testify of the importance of honoring our parents and of the blessings we can receive by doing so. 
Consider the consequences of your actions and how they will affect your parents. Show appreciation to your parents and also to think, when you consider some action, “Am I doing my best to honor my parents?”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Brody The Elf Marshmallow Fight/Dance Party

Alaynee woke me up bright and early (5:30am) to come and experience the magic of Christmas. She wanted me to see what Brody had done last night. Mom was a little slow to stumble out of bed so she came back in and this time she asked imploringly, "Mommy, will you please come and see what Brody did!" So of course I woke right up and we tiptoed into the dining room and found him and Barbie having a Dance Party. They had the Christmas music playing and marshmallows everywhere. 

He even left a trail of marshmallows from their room to the dining room table.

Miss Alaynee-ous sure does love having him here! She carries him all over the place and she put Barbie next to him on the shelf so he'd have a buddy. I cannot express how much I love this little Elf for bringing the anticipation and magic of Christmas to our home. 

Brody The Elf- Gone Fishing Day 1

Brody left a note that he was "Gone Fishing". 

The kids were ecstatic that Brody showed up last night on our doorstep. 

They found him first thing in the morning because they woke up and had to go potty. McKayla did a double take before she sat down. It was pretty funny!

Homemade Omnidroid Robot Costume -The Incredibles Robot Costume

My daughter actually came up with the idea herself that she could be The Robot. I instantly had a vision of what it could look like in my mind because I had experience with a giant paper mache ball before. 
I was Mike Wazowski when my daughter was 1. My husband was Sully and my daughter was Boo.

Unfortunately we were poor college students and had very little money so I had to use what I had on hand for leggings and longs sleeve shirt. It would have been so much cooler with green. But, as it was the impact was fantastic! 

This costume was very inexpensive and simple to make. I started off by busting out my Core Secrets Exercise ball. 
Pretend like it's all blown up and big. 

I didn't do this tutorial as I went along because I was too frantically trying to get it finished. SO you'll just  have to use your imagination. Next I Paper Mached it. If you're not familiar with Paper Mache it is really messy and fun. You rip strips of newspaper and then dip them in a flour and water mixture that is the consistency of pancake batter. As you pull it out of the mixture you slide it between the fingers of your other hand to remove some of the excess mixture. There are several recipes and different mediums to use, but I find this to be the simplest, cheapest, most sturdy method and quick too! I prefer to use Newspaper Strips because newspaper is thin too. Just Google or Youtube it if your not sure what to do. Then you just cover the entire ball. I did a layer and let it dry and repeated four times. I wanted it to hold up. This took me about a week of my time because I'm a busy gal. I let it dry overnight and then put a new layer on in the morning. Oh and I set the ball in a flat bottom bowl to keep it from rolling around all over the place.


Be sure not to cover your plug hole! You need to be able to let the air out when you're all finished to let your ball out. Several people thought that you would have to pop a hole in your exercise ball in order to get it out. This will be the bottom of your ball where your body will go through so it can be fairly big and open. 

Once it's completely dry it's ready for paint. Take the ball out first! It'll kind of stick to the sides so just reach your hand inside and help to peel off. 

YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO A PRIMER COAT! I made the mistake of going through about four cans of green spray paint when I made the Mike Wazowski costume before I decided to go back and do a primer base. The newspaper print just shows through. I usually use a brush and acrylic craft paint for the primer coat. I find it to be a good solid coat and I don't have to use so much spray paint. I chose to use white as the base because I wanted the silver metallic to really pop and be very true to color. When I did Mike Wazowski I used a pale yellow base. I painted in stages. I painted the ball before I put on the arms and then again after I put on the arms.

 I found two things at Home Depot that I couldn't live without! Silver Metallic Spray paint by 
Rust-Oleum. It claimed to be 2x the coverage. I found it to be pretty accurate. I used almost two cans. I also found Chrome duct tape by Duck brand. This stuff was a lifesaver! 

Once you've got it all painted you're ready to cut out the holes. I started by cutting the head hole first using a razor blade or an exacto knife. I started with the head because I wanted the rest of the structure to be as sturdy as possible when I cut it out to give me the most strength.
I measured my daughter's head and took a rough guess. On my ball there are circles which actually came in very handy! I just cut along the circle that I thought was the size of her head.  
I used my handy dandy chrome duct tape and wrapped the edges so it was finished. Then I taped in a headband.

The other detail I think added a lot to her costume was the headlamp. It actually was very helpful for Halloween night too!

This is the top where her head came through. You can see I had to add strips of duct tape because the head hole was a little too large for the costume to stay on. I slipped it over her head and figured out where her shoulders could come out. This is just a guess and trial and error thing. I cut X's and then went back and made them circles. Be sure they are kind of a tight fit for your dryer ducting to fit into. Better to be too small than too big. Here is the inside view.

I used the chrome duct tape to secure it to the exterior and interior.

My dryer ducting was originally white, but you could have saved time and a step of painting by using silver. I got this for free so I used what I had. I think there was about 25 ft. but I didn't use that much.

Then it was time to put on the claw parts. This was a joint effort by my husband and I. 
I cut out the cardboard X shape by just free hand drawing. Then I bent it a little to give it the effect of being a pincher.
It was Daddy's job to figure out how the heck to attach them to the dryer ducting. Thank goodness he is a man and thought of zip ties. I think I need to utilize this amazing tool much more often! They need to go into my crafting supplies box so I remember them.

Once secure it was time to paint all the arms. We only chose to put pinchers on 4 of the six and shortened the two side arms so that she could stick her arms in and actually hold her candy bucket. 

Then VOILA! You're a The Robot! Oh and the silvery pants she wore were hijacked off a Disco Barbie Costume from about 10 years ago. I'm sure you could find some or sew some or spray paint some. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Incredible Halloween!

We had a fantastic Halloween this year. We were The Incredibles and The Omnidroid 10,000 Robot.

I usually start thinking about what we're going to be for Halloween the day after Halloween of the previous year. I had been wanting to do the Incredibles for quite a while, but we had a problem. We have two girls, not just one. So I started asking the girls who would like to be another character from the movie? I suggested one of them be Mirage or "E". I happen to think being Edna Mode would be hilarious! Neither of them were thrilled and so I suggested they could both be Violet. My oldest piped up, "How about the Robot?" I knew instantly it was going to be a FANTASTIC costume... and cheap! Which was good because I was on a pretty strict budget this year. I started searching for Homemade Incredibles Halloween Costumes and came up with some pretty great ideas and used some of my own as well.

To begin I hit up my favorite local thrift store Red, White and Blue. I needed red leggings, black underwear, red long sleeve shirts and black boots for each of us. I knew I wanted my costume to cover up a bit more than that so I was looking for shorts or a skirt. I hit the jackpot with a black swimsuit skirt. My daughter saw that I had a skirt and she wanted one as well, so I figured why not? I found a dance skirt for her. A few red shirts and some leggings later we were set.

 Next we needed some symbols. I had read about someone using felt and I thought it was a great idea! I found a free printable logo here. I did have to sign up to be able to print. I then cut it out, but it came out a lot smaller than I wanted. So I resized it and cut it bigger. I used Tacky Glue to fuse the pieces together, but I wasn't thrilled with how it turned out so I ended up sewing it together and it turned out fantastic!

Here it is small.

I think it turned out much better in the larger size!

I know you can't tell from the picture, but the outer edge of color is actually an orange/gold color. The i in the center is a much brighter yellow. 

I don't have a big fancy camera, so this is the best I could do. ;)

I knew I wanted our red workout shirts to be usable once we were done with Halloween so I bought this double sided fashion tape to stick on our logos and it worked fantastic! I used it to stick my shirt to my skirt so it wouldn't have a gap and so it would look like all one piece. I also used it to stick on my belt and Violet's, as well as her black ribbon collar. 

I didn't have time to sew her a collar like I did for Dash. I found an old red pajama shirt for him and I wasn't planning on taking the logo off so I could do whatever I wanted to it. I took off the original collar and used it as a pattern to sew on a new black one. It was a good thing my mom explained how to do it or I'd have wasted a little time. I found a picture diagram here for you. 

The other problem I ran into with Dash was boots. I just couldn't find any decent black boy boots that were in my budget and not just covers. But, I had an idea to cut a pair of black socks to be shoe covers. I got the idea from another person that used black shoes and just pulled up their socks. I took it a step further and put the sock over the shoe so it looked like a boot. I used an old pair of my friend's husband's black gold toe socks. I put the sock on over his shoe and figured out where to cut the tip. I turned it inside out and sewed it at a slightly rounded angle and voila! In order to make them a little less slippery I added some lines of hot glue across the bottom.  It turned out great! If I hadn't been finishing up the day of our party I'd have made them a little nicer so I could have kept them. We used them for our ward Trunk or Treat and then on Halloween. By the time it was all over he had a hole in the bottom of his socks. But, in a pinch they were perfect!

I also had to sew some black shorts for his costume. I just wasn't satisfied with anything I had found. I used my daughter's volleyball shorts as a guide. They were a little too big for my pattern size so I used a pair of ratty old leggings. Since I'm doing this tutorial after the fact I can't find the leggings, so you'll just have to imagine them. ;)
Please excuse the chocolate smears. I knew if I didn't just take a picture of them now I'd never get around to finishing this tutorial.

If I were to sew them over again I would make them a little longer. 

Here is the comparison with my daughter's shorts. See... way too big for a template. But I was able to use them to figure out the easiest way to sew them.

The fist line is where I cut my pattern, but if I were to do it over again I'd have made them a little longer. That was it! 

I think it turned out great! 

Now for Jack Jack.

I just used a pair of fuzzy bugs (foot pajamas) and used fabric paint to paint the bottom of his feet, sleeves and collar. Then taped on the logo. His was a piece of cake! 

Bob Parr and Elastagirl. 

My husband was not exactly comfortable wearing tights and a speedo, :) so he went as Bob Parr. He looks pretty Incredible to me.

This is me trying to look stretchy.

That's it for The Incredibles. Stay tuned for instructions on making The Robot.