Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Homemade Gifts

I have been wanting to do a post about homemade gifts for a while now and since we have a couple of weeks left before Christmas I thought that this might be a good time to do it. You are welcome to ideas :) The reason I wanted to post about it is because homemade gifts are often my favorite gifts to give and receive. My sister-in-law Trudy frequently makes homemade gifts for other people and she ends up loving her projects so much that she has started a mini album of pictures of projects that she has made! So here are some of our faves:

Children's Clothing
My mom made these pajamas for Annabelle and her Halloween costume for this year. Annabelle loves wearing these pajamas and she'll often tell us "Grandma made these!"

I remember having homemade pajamas myself when I was a kid. My mom told me about a nightgown the style of Annabelle's yellow one that I wore it until the hem hit above my knees and the sleeves were 3/4 length.

My friend Shelsea as well as my mom assisted me in making these tutus. They really aren't so hard that it takes 3 people to make them. BUT if one of those people is me and the material is tulle then yes, 3 might be enough.

I have been the recipient of SOOO many blankets! I still have some from when I was a kid that my grandmas made for me. Annabelle is lucky to have grandmothers that are good seamstresses because I am terrible! The white butterfly quilt to the left was made by my mother-in-law before we even knew that we were having a girl. She said that she already had a feeling that it would be a girl. I love the colors and the top stitching that is faintly visible in this picture.

The quilt and bumpers of Annabelle's cradle were made by me, my mom, my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law. The moms also made a bigger quilt with the same material that Annabelle now uses on her bed. (The cradle is kind of a gift as well. Mike made it for Annabelle the summer before she was born).

Mike's mom and my grandma made us quilts for our wedding. We love using them!
Trudy (my sister-in-law) is the master at making bags! She has made several cute messenger bags and totes out of old denim. She also makes cute little draw string bags. One of my favorite features of her bags is that she takes the time to embroider your name onto it!

Trudy made these two.

Why not dress up the ordinary? Or make one for a child? Mike's aunt dressed up this typical kitchen apron and personalized it. As you can tell - I do use it! When my friend Shelsea offered to teach us how to make them for kids I jumped at the opportunity (once again thanks to Trudy the sewing part of this actually happened)! My cousin Whitney makes really beautiful ones and sells them online (check her out - blog link is on the left and from there you can get to her shop on etsy).

Alphabet Books
I decided to make each of my nieces and nephews their own family alphabet book for their first birthdays. The way Mike and I designed them the child gets to to have their own page and the title of the book. Then the rest of their family and extended family fill in the rest of the pages with a poem and picture about the person. For example in Annabelle's book the letter "S" is Shauna. So there is a picture of Shauna holding Annabelle reading a book and the poem reads "S I am Grandma Shauna. We can read books together, Or we can play outside, if it is good enough weather. " To allow for Dad and David to exist in the same alphabet book Daddy gets "D" and David goes to "U" for Uncle David. Once the whole family is fit into the book we filled the remaining letters with familiar objects or favorite toys. The only complication is you have to enlist the help of others to get pictures of the extended family members from the other side of the family. It has helped Annabelle to learn and remember names of relatives that we don't see very often so that when we do see them they are familiar.

Here are some of our favorite homemade toys that Annabelle has received:

Shelsea made these iced and sprinkled sugar cookies for Annabelle for her birthday.
Paper Crafts

This is by far the type of crafting that I spend most of my time on. There seem to be an endless supply of ideas for what you can make with paper.

My sister in law covered this unused paint can with scrap booking paper and filled it with chocolate and gave it to us last year. I just recently learned how to cover these wooden frames with paper.
Well hopefully this has sparked your imagination. I love Annabelle's little saying "Mommy, I made it". She is so proud when she has created something. I feel the same, there is such a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in finishing a project and being able to share it with someone else. Often times I think that I receive more pleasure in creating than anyone gains from the gifts that I give them.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Jingle Bell Rock

Feeling excited for Christmas yet? Annabelle is feeling a buzz and loves listening to Jingle Bell Rock. Take a Look!
Sorry there isn't sound, but you know the song!


Saturday morning we woke up to our first real snowfall of the season.
We spent our morning playing out in the snow. Adam joined us with his red saucer sled.

We laughed as Annabelle discovered that she loved to eat the snow. She would walk around tasting snow from different places as if she expected each location to have a different flavor.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I have wanted to post about my grandfather since he passed away two weeks ago but I never knew what it was that I wanted to write. I have wanted to convey my love for him and to somehow convey what a wonderful person he was. I should have known that this is impossible after watching my mom try to write his obituary and after listening to my great uncle give his eulogy. You can't simply state the entirety of a person in a few sentences or even pages.
When I was a kid Papa was a bear. He was a big, strong, hairy bear. A bear gives bear hugs, he sucks your eyes out and loves to eat homemade pie. Up until I graduated from college Papa was in great physical condition. Every summer since his retirement and up until about a year and a half ago Papa spent his summer splitting wood. He would somehow find fallen trees, get them to the field across the street from his house and split wood to keep his house warm along with neighbors, friends, and ANYONE who needed it. I think the hardest thing he heard from the doctor besides that they couldn't do anything else for him was that he couldn't use his chain saw anymore. He loved fishing. He loved the mountains. He was gentle with his counsel to me as a teenager. He would advise me in a way that didn't make me feel defensive or like I was being treated like a child.
He had a great ability to love others. He immediately made Mike feel a part of the family. He took great joy in our good news. He didn't need to overstate it. You could feel his loving acceptance as you sat with him.

Whenever I saw my Papa he would say "Thanks for Coming" even if he had come to visit me. Over time it became a competition to see who could say it first. Frequently my mom would walk out to meet him when they had pulled up to our house and before he got out of the car he would say "Thanks for Coming"! He had a great sense of humour. I miss him already.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mike at Joe's Valley

Well, while I was in Idaho Mike went to Joe's Valley (UT) to boulder with some buddies. Than came out from Colorado and they enjoyed great weather, hospitality and of course climbing. Here is a shot of Mike doing some route I should have found out the name for before I sat down to post this.

What a Stud! I think we'll go as a family in the spring when the camping won't be so cold.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Our Weekend in Idaho

Well I suppose it was more like "our 24 hours in idaho". My Dad, Annabelle and I went up to Idaho last weekend for my sweet cousin Jane's wedding. Due to a flight delay we only made it to the reception. Which was beautiful and relaxing by the way. We stayed with Jessi & DJ which meant that Annabelle and Annica played and jumped until midnight at which point we had to seperate them so that we could sleep. Here are the highlights:

Annabelle really enjoyed this rest stop along the way! Mike didn't come with us, but he had a great weekend doing his own thing - more on that to come!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tumbling Tot

Hurray for Tumbling! Annabelle has been in a tumbling class for a few weeks now and we are having a great time. Mike took the morning off yesterday to attend with her and she loved it. I wasn't sure when I signed up for tumbling what exactly "tumbling" class would entail, it is pretty much a gymnastics class for toddlers. We streach at the beginning of the class, practice summersaults, bear crawl and hopping. The remainder of the class is spent running through different obstacle courses that are set up around the gym.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Halloween

I know I'm a little early, but with Halloween being in the middle of the week we had to do some pre-Halloween celebrating over the weekend.
My mom made Annabelle this dress, the loops over her arms attach to the wings on the back.
My mom brought us this pumpkin from her garden. I have a second one I'd like to get cooked up and in the freezer for future use. We all helped to create our jack o lantern this year. Annabelle wanted star eyes & Mike and I designed the rest of it. Lucky for me Mike didn't mind carving it and I like cleaning out all the goop.I think Annabelle's favorite part was helping me to separate all the seeds. I tried a new recipe for the seeds this year that I found on . You make them essentially them the traditional way you just coat them with this mixture:
1 1/2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
They were delicious. I only used 1 cup of pumpkin seeds with this proportion of other ingredients and it came out flavorful but not overpowering.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Birthday Bliss

I feel like "The Birthday" this year was as exciting as any major holiday. We had soo much fun! In the morning we went to tumbling and play group. Both are a fairly new part of our schedule, Annabelle refers to her tumbling class as "my school, Annabelle's school" and further clarifies "not daddy's school". She loves it and I love that she is learning to follow structured play, turn taking, following directions, waiting in line and all of that.

Later our friend Sara took us out to lunch at the MOA cafe, it was so delicious. We couldn't park too close so Annabelle and Sara's son Benny had to walk quite a bit before we got there. For a while they were holding hands and Annabelle kept telling Benny (who has been 2 for 5 months now) "Benny I'm 2, I turned 2 Benny! Benny you're 2, you're 2 too!" She was so excited she just kept holding his hand and repeating herself. Benny didn't really seem to care, as soon as they reached the side walk he dropped her hand and announced "ALL DONE!"

Mike came home early from school and took the night off of work. After opening presents we went to the mall to play on "the big playground" and out to eat. We swung by to see some friends before having cake with Adam & Trudy.

It was so fun to spoil Annabelle a bit and to spend THE WHOLE evening with Mike! By the time cake was done Anna needed a bath - while she was playing with her toys in the tub she looked up and me and said "Mom, let's be friends". I have no idea where she learned the phrase but it was so sweet and funny. I laughed so hard. I think she was trying to ask me to play with her.

"The Birthday" was wonderful and I feel like we get to celebrate all over again next week with my Mom when my family comes out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Grandma

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy Birthday!

On this historic day for women in my family, Annabelle, Mike and I would like to extend a very happy Birthday to my Mom! On October 11th 23 years ago, my Mom celebrated her 23rd birthday with choclate cake and the greatest gift of all (her only daughter). I don't think she would have ever suspected that my daughter too would celebrate her birthday with us!
This picture was taken a few days after Annabelle and I came home from the hospital. My mom came out to Provo to take care of us and to celebrate "The Birthday". My mom came out last year as well. Each year she has made me my favorite: Cheesecake! Each year however her disdain for my gas oven has grown. We look forward to her visit next week, and a cheesecake if there is enough time and patience.
Although I planned to be induced on my birthday Annabelle brought me a few suprises of her own. Annabelle saved me labor pains and made arrangements for a quick and painless delivery, an emergency c-section. What a girl! We are excited for the big day tomorrow, streamers, cake, friends and hopefully not too many of those terrible 2's tantrums that seem to be more and more evident these days.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

BYU Homecoming Week

Well I admit that we aren't the most spirited BYU family but we've taken part in some of the campus activities this week. Annabelle really enjoyed going to the parade on Saturday morning. The older kids around her quickly taught her that when candy was thrown from the floats that it is perfectly fine to run out into the street to snatch it. She eventually caught on. Whoever thought of throwing candy onto the street? All of our road safety has been has been undone! There were some really cool floats and performers.

Earlier in the week some of my neighbors and I took the kids on a little tour of campus. The idea behind it was that in 20 years they could be going to BYU and there are a few landmarks on campus that are likely to still be around. For example Mike's parents lived in the apartment building next to ours when they attended BYU 25 years ago - so who knows, maybe these buildings will last another few decades!