2016 New Years Resolutions

Photo by Krista Stufflebeam

Photo by Krista Stufflebeam

I made a few resolutions this year. I’ve still got my second 101 Goals in 1001 Days going on, but after studying the scriptures for the Young Women’s Personal Progress Virtue #1, I decided that I’d work on a few things from Proverbs 31.

“She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.” – Proverbs 31:17
“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” – Proverbs 31:25

I want to be stronger. I already have a few goals in progress that fit this bill, like swimming 10 miles by the end of my 101 goals. But, I want to focus on my arms. I have carpal tunnel in both of my arms. Currently it’s my left arm that is killing me, but it switches back and forth all the time. I have a bunch of stretches and exercises that my chiropractor and a physical therapist friend have given me that I want to do consistently. I would, also, like to lift weights. I have no idea how to do this properly, so I might take a class. I don’t want to get buff, but I do want to have the strength to carry my children around when I need to.

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” – Proverbs 31:15

I want to get on a better sleep schedule. I used to be superb at this, but I’ve been a major slacker in adulthood. Last night, I went to bed before midnight, which I haven’t done in a long time. I woke up this morning, still wishing for more sleep, but able to take on the day. I have a salt lamp that I turn on in the evening, and I try to turn my electronics off before I climb into bed, so it’s easier to fall asleep. The hardest part will be giving up personal alone time, but I think it will make other aspects of my life more enjoyable, like parenting and housekeeping.

This isn't me, but this would be fun with the kids.

This isn’t me, but this would be fun with the kids.

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” – Proverbs 31:26
“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” – Proverbs 31:28

And, finally, I want to focus more on my children. I want to play with them more and set up a good schedule for reading and homework. I want to consistently have family home evening and try to include them in my everyday life. I’d like to offer them the chance to cook with me when I’m cooking and clean with me when I’m cleaning. Not in a forceful way, but more in a let’s do something together kind of a way. There are a lot of things I want to teach my children, but it’s kind of impossible to do without having a good relationship with them.

I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions, because I think resolutions and goals should be made constantly throughout the year, but this is as good a time as any to start these up, and I am very optimistic right now. My favorite thing about this is that they are spiritual, physical, and family all in one. The first goal I had before making these was to be more of a Proverbs 31 woman. These are just the smaller goals I set to accomplish that.

Improving a Bad Day

It’s amazing how doing something you actually care about can improve your mood so drastically. Today was such a downer of a day for me. I had no desire to do anything, but wanted so badly to be productive, so I broke out my timer method, which goes something like rest for 10 minutes, clean for 15, repeat until motivated. I never actually hit motivated, though my house is cleaner than it was before, barely. I hit such a low, that while my husband was getting Cute Stuff to sleep on his lunch break, I was napping. Now there’s nothing wrong with napping, sometimes it’s necessary, but my night time sleep hasn’t been too bad lately, and it just wasn’t something I wanted to do today.

So, when my husband and I had to switch off getting Cute Stuff to sleep so he could go back to work, I sat there, cuddling my baby, thinking about how in the world I could improve my day. I certainly had no desire to fall into a week of despair just because of one bad day. (I do that sometimes.) Then I remembered a blog I had stumbled across sometime last month, while in one of my weeks of despair. Laying in bed, completely miserable, I googled, “I’m sad. Make it stop.” The first entry was Alison Gresik’s blog about walking depression in creatives. She specifically is an author, so it was right up my alley.

Using the What Kind of Creative Are You? Quiz, I realized that I am the Dutiful creative, which means that I try to get everything I’m supposed to done before I do my creative things. As a mother, I can tell you, this means that I never get to do my creative things. When I first read all of this, I decided to do at least one creative thing a day before I started all the other things I was required to do. It worked great, but then life happened, and I became caught up in serving everyone else again, so I found myself completely bummed with life today, as my list included lame stuff like laundry and dishes. Yuck! Who wants to do that?

So, while snuggling Cute Stuff, I pondered over and over about what I could possibly have enough energy to do that would be creative enough to pull me out of this bad day. I thought to my 101 Goals, and decided that writing notes to friends would be a good one, and I would get the satisfaction of working on my goals. And here, you see the fruits of this depression killing technique I have stumbled across. After writing only four notes to people I love, I am able to crank out a 450 word prose about the remedy to my bad day. I’d say it worked pretty well.

Magnet Craft

The other day, I actually found the time to do some crafting with my girls. I  gathered the supplies over time, and then they just sat in my craft room forever, waiting to be used. Then, magically one day, the house was clean and I still had energy, so I piled the kitchen table high with flowers and sparkles and colors, and my girls and I went to town making fun magnets. This is what we came up with, and that is my husband’s programming on the fridge. We use it as a white board, which is totally awesome.


We have been in serious need of magnets since we got married. Why don’t people give these as gifts? They’re absolutely necessary. I got the round magnets at Hobby Lobby. They’re strong, which is nice, because they can hold up a few pieces of paper, which most magnets that you just buy at the store can’t. We started off by putting stickers on the magnets and then hot gluing a flat marble over them. Many of those have already broken, so if you have little kids, I don’t suggest doing those. Then we glued some sparkly fuzzies on and then some bright neon fuzzies. Finally we made flower magnets, which you basically make the same way you would make a headband clip, only you glue it to the magnet instead of the clip. Everything took less than an hour to make, so we had a lot of fun, but didn’t get worn out.

Remembering 9/11

AdorableIt’s been twelve years since that terrible day. Life continues as normal, although we have since experience a recession that we never fully recovered from. I have children now, who have no idea such a thing has occurred on the land they live on. One day I will teach them of that event, and how I was there, and Daddy was there, and Grammy and Papa and aunts and uncles, but we were on the other side of the country, so we were just watching the news in horror that day. I had teachers that disobeyed rules so we could watch the news all throughout their class. I remember the second plane hitting, and the plane in Pennsylvania going down. I remember my mom talking to me about myths that had started spreading that weren’t true, and helping me understand what was going on.

The next day, the moment of silence took place while I was in my health class. I wrote a poem in my English class. It wasn’t very good, because I was still too young to fully grasp what had happened. In my poem, though, I wrote about how we Americans came together and supported each other and loved one another. In my short life, I had never seen America so united, and it was wonderful and inspiring, and sadly short lived. For now, I teach my children about patriotism. They love the flag, and keep begging for fireworks. They got to see my cousin receive his Eagle Scout award, where they experienced a flag ceremony with a color guard and a room full of at least 50, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. And, one day, I will teach them about that day when something terrible happened, and America united.

Toddler Temple FHE


Today, for family home evening, we drove to the temple, and sat in the parking lot, while we explained to our girls what the temple is all about. They actually sat still, because they were buckled into their car seats. I explained that Mommy and Daddy got married in the temple, and some of the benefits of that, and that we can, also, do work to help the dead. When one of them asked to go in, we explained that you need a ticket (this made perfect sense to her, since we took a ride on a train a few weeks ago.) We told her it was called a temple recommend, and explained some of the things you need to do to get one. Then we let them hold Mommy and Daddy’s tickets, temple recommends. They thought it was really cool. When our short lesson was done, we got out and walked around on the grass and looked at the pretty flowers.

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Soothing a Sore Throat

sore throat remediesI got a sore throat in the middle of July. What a horrible time to be so afflicted. At least during the winter you expect to get sick a few times, but during the summer, you get sick and you have no idea why. I became a pro at soothing my sore throats when I moved into my first apartment during college. My roommates introduced me to the idea that hot chocolate is fantastically soothing to a sore throat, which it is, but later I reasoned that while it soothed my throat, it probably prolonged the sickness. So, I switched from hot chocolate to 100% orange juice. It’s very soothing, plus you’re coating your throat with high dosages of vitamin C.

Along with the orange juice, I drink a lot of water with drops of lemon essential oil in it. The lemon is very soothing to the throat, and helps to boost your immune system. The water by itself helps to keep you hydrated so that your body can effectively fight off the infection. I add the essential oil to my cup before I add water, otherwise the oil will just sit at the top, instead of penetrating the water

At night, I use a humidifier. This is particularly helpful during the winter, when the heater can make the air dryer than the Sahara desert. During the summer, when we have our swamp cooler running, even at night, it doesn’t make as much of a difference as far as humidity is concerned, but I add essential oils to a little compartment right in line with where the steam comes out. It creates a sort of cheap diffuser, and allows the oils to penetrate the entire room.

The best oil I have found for sore throats is On Guard, an essential oil blend by Doterra. On Guard is great for killing the germs that may be causing the sore throat. It has orange oil, which is used for sores in the mouth, and cinnamon, which is an amazingly potent spice when it comes to warding off disease. I rub the oil down my neck and along my jaw. I, also, use On Guard toothpaste to clean out my mouth and kill any germs that may be in there, and I gargle with a drop On Guard in a small cup of water, getting it as far back in my throat as I can without choking.

When I first started trying to soothe my sore throats, I was simply trying to find a way out of the pain, but in the process, I think I found a few ways to get over them quickly. My sore throats used to last a dreaded two weeks, and now I’m done with them in a matter of days. All of these soothing techniques are natural remedies that go beyond pain management to help promote health.

A Cell Model

1374720568539Glow stick parties are a favorite of ours. We create all sorts of crazy things, experiment like crazy, and always listen to Daft Punk. In preparation for fireworks on Pioneer’s Day, we had an awesome glow stick party, where even the girls were creating costumes. 1374721147708

At this party, I made a model of an animal cell out of glow sticks. I am calling it the nerdiest thing I have ever done. As you can see, there is a cell wall, and a nucleus within the cell. Inside the nucleus is a double helix, or what I consider to represent the DNA. In the next picture, you can actually see the cell dividing.

You Know You’re a Mom When… #1

IMG_20130707_182640Yup, that is the back of my smart phone. I take many of the pictures on this blog with it. Today, I was making dinner, and heard Lizzy saying something about my phone. So, I went into the living room, and found Leah coloring on the back of my phone. I haven’t tried to clean it off yet, and I’m almost inclined to just leave it. It’s kind of a cute case, specially designed by my Leah baby.

Teaching Sharing

IMAG0686Sharing is a complex idea for kids to grasp. They actually have to think beyond themselves, and accept parting with something they might hold dear, at least for the moment. We didn’t really get serious about teaching sharing until our church nursery had a lesson about sharing. Lizzy came home with a new tool in her arsenal. Rather than being the one to give up something, she began insisting that everyone must share with her. It was a bit of a face-palm parenting moment.

IMAG0689So, we began the slow process of teaching sharing. Toys are the obvious things for kids to share, but we, also, insist on sharing food and time doing a certain activity. As the parents, Michael and I have to ask nicely and coach the girls through the action of sharing. It can be aggravating when they aren’t willing to listen, but when they actually follow our directions, they get lots of praise and a serene moment with friends.

We usually can tell that we have a moment to teach when a fight breaks out over toys. We ask the child that wants the toy to ask nicely for it, which sometimes means telling them exactly what to say. And then we instruct the child with the toy that it’s time to share, which means it’s the other person’s turn, and it will be their turn again in a little bit. This doesn’t always work, and sometimes ends in time outs, but when the kids aren’t being obstinate, they practice the process of sharing. We’re hoping that after enough times practicing this skill, that it will become second nature.