Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Success or Failure?

Sunday, August 27, 2012

Today I sat in a wonderful Relief Society lesson.  One of the talks we were studying was, "That the Lost May Be Found," by Elder M. Russell Ballard.  The teacher highlight one of my favorite paragraphs from the talk, 

"Put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside your home.  Remember President Harold B. Lee's counsel that "the most important . . . work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2000], 134) and President David O. McKay's timeless "No other success can compensate for failure in the home" (quoted from J.E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization [1924], 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116).  

I have heard, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home" dozens of times in my life.  I have always brushed it aside thinking I am not a failure, so it doesn't apply to me.  Today I really thought about the phrase and how many days that  I have felt like a failure.  The days when dinner isn't ready, the laundry is piled high, homework papers are scatter across the kitchen counter, the baby is screaming, and I handle the chaos by yelling.  It is days like that I feel like a failure in my home.

I wondered, "What can I do to lessen the amount of days that I feel like a failure?"  Sure, I realize that there will be many days that don't go as planned.  I feel like often the crazy evenings of chaos come when I haven't properly manage my time and have over committed myself to wonderful causes outside of our home.  

The answer to the problem is exactly what Elder Ballard said,

"Put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside your home. "

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Ahead of Breakfast

At our house we prefer to eat something besides cereal for breakfast.  That said, we have had cereal a lot lately as we have scurried out the door for school.  

When it comes to cooking, eating healthy is a big priority for me.  I make most things from scratch.  The truth is I don't have time to make pancakes from scratch on a school mornings, nor do I have time to wait for muffins to bake.

Today I made made up bags of our favorite pancake recipe so that I  can quickly add wet ingredients and get pancakes made for breakfast.  

I also made a big batch of  "6 Week Bran Muffins."  I put them in the freezer so that I can pull them out the night before we plan to eat them for breakfast.  

I am also planning to boil eggs ahead of time and I always try to have fruit on hand to add to each breakfast.  

6 Week Bran Muffins
(My sister-in-law, Shannon, shared this recipe with me, it has been a favorite for many years!) 

2 cups flour (I use fresh ground white wheat flour)
1 cup oats
1 cup wheat germ
3 cups sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups)
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups chopped nuts
4 eggs
1 cup oil (I used 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)
1 quart buttermilk
1 25 oz. box Raisin Bran

Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls.  Mix together.  Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Store batter in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.  It makes about 3 dozen.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I came across this quote on the blog "320 Sycamore".   I am so grateful that Melissa shared it because it is such an important message that we all need to be reminded of.  It has been on my mind as I have planned my schedule during the busy days of going back to school.  

7 healthy easy meals

This is hard to read because I scanned it in.  It is 7 healthy and quick meal ideas.  Great ideas that I have used on busy nights.  I originally clipped this from a Mayo Clinic magazine.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

White. . .

If it can be painted, it will be painted white!  

I usually do a big refinishing project each summer.  This year I painted the coffee table and end table in our family room.  They are SOLID wood with a great shape, I just wanted to break up all the neutral brown.  Slowly but surely this room is taking shape. . .

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

3 Goals For The School Year

Today I had each of the kids (and me) write down three goals that they would like to work on at school this year.

My goals for the school year are:

1.  Get laundry done during the day.  (I used to fold it at night)

2.  Get dinner mostly prepared durning the day.  (less stress at the craziest time of the day)

3.  Work one on one with each of the kids 5 times per week.  (even if it is just for a short time)

No Stress Approach to School Clothes Shopping

This year  I decided to simplify the "buying school clothes" process.  Usually I want to buy the kids an entirely new fall wardrobe and make sure that they have jackets, jeans, and long sleeve shirts before school starts.  I know that I got into this habit because we used to live in a cold climate and school started after Labor Day.  Now the kids start in the middle of August and it has been at least 100 degrees this past week.  

The boys got new clothes for spring and have plenty of shorts and shirts in good condition.  I have a new shirt for each of them to wear on the first day of school.  I asked Hyrum if he wanted a new pair of jean shorts to wear.  He said no.  Easy, I am done shopping for him. 

Spencer said he wanted a new pair of jean shorts.  I asked if he would really wear them and he admitted that he would probably just wear basketball shorts.  Easy, I am done shopping for him.  

Abigail had a Birthday after school got out for the summer and got new clothes.  She also has many nice clothes that I bought her this Spring.  We went and bought her a nice new outfit to wear the first day. Done.

Alexis is starting Kindergarten.  She needed new clothes.  We hit a Lands End clearance sale with an additional 50% off.  We bought her the cutest new outfits.  The best part is that I have previously bought her Lands End clothes and she already has cute leggings that will match the dresses and skirts that we bought.  When it does get chilly she will be ready.  

I also bought Ellie a few new outfits we found on sale.  I found a couple of shirts for myself.  For less than $90.00 we are dressed and ready for a new school year!! 

Late Dates

July 31, 2012
Occasionally we have late dates with our kids.  One child gets to stay up later than everyone else and have one on one time with mom and dad.  Today Alexis really wanted to have a late date.  Justin had taken the boys to a summer soccer camp and the little kids were in bed.  I knew she wanted a late date and  I wanted to put the last coat of white paint on the tables that I was refinishing.  So, we compromised and the result was a lot of fun for all of us!

We invited Abigail to our late date and set up a small DVD player in the garage so that  I could paint while we watched.  We enjoyed eating popcorn together, watching and painting.  We all agreed that it was the best late date yet!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to the Balancing Act

It's that time again. . . back to the balancing act.  I am preparing myself to start juggling homework, lunches, and after school activities.  

We have backpacks filled with new school supplies, new first day of school outfits hanging in the closet, we have signed up for fall soccer, dance, and gymnastics.  

I am starting to panic as I think about the busy schedules and all the homework that I will need to help with.  I really like easy going summer days with everyone home.

Here are a few of my ideas of how to manage and balance the busy routines of everyday life as a mother of many children. 

1.  Simplify
For years I have had a sign hanging above my kitchen sink.  It simply says, "SIMPLIFY."  I need that reminder in every aspect of life!  

When it comes to extra curricular activities.  We have decided that our kids can only do one at a time. One activity each adds up to two soccer teams on two different nights of the week, dance, gymnastics and don't forget scouts and activity days, a weekly date for Justin and I, add Family Home Evening and our schedule is pretty full!  

In our house we try to simplify by following the motto, "less is more."  Less clothes and less toys = less clutter and less stress. 

2.  Enlist Help
I have decided that I can't possibly do everything myself.  I want my kids to leave home knowing how to cook, clean, manage a home and their time.  Daily they are learning the lessons that will help them later.  

I have found that it is easiest to get them to help when they know exactly what is expected and we are consistent with our expectations!  

I have posted on their bathroom mirrors and in the kitchen a simple list of what we expect them to do each morning.  Each child has a simple morning chore that helps our family to get a jump start on the day. 

Abigail- Help make lunches
Hyrum- Help make breakfast
Spencer- Empty trash cans in bathrooms and office into large kitchen trash
Alexis-  Unload dishwasher
Tanner- Unload silverware

At dinner time each child is expected to do one thing to help set the table.

Abigail- Milk and condiments
Hyrum- Placemats and plates
Spencer- Napkins
Alexis- Cups
Tanner- Silverware 

We also do Saturday morning chores.  I wrote about that here.

The simple things they do help a lot and they are learning so much in the process!

3.  Run Ahead, Not Behind

Planning ahead for dinner is one of the biggest ways that I try to run ahead.  I plan my menus and then each morning after breakfast  I look at my plan and see what  I can do ahead.  (Just before dinner is crazy at our house!!!!)  If I can thaw meat or chop vegetables it makes preparing dinner later a lot easier!  

I try to do a little laundry each day so that we don't have disastrous morning where no one can find clean underwear or shorts!  

During the school year I also try to have a consistent shopping day so that we don't run out of bread and milk.  

4.  Focus On What Matters Most

The fourth and most important thing that I do is read my scriptures each morning.  It really does help me to be a better wife and a nicer mom.  It is a great way to fill my mind with inspiration that will help me throughout the day.  

Lunch Idea

Susan Christensen just sent me this great lunch idea:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's for lunch?

Last year as I sat stuffing ziploc bags with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apple slices I wondered what we could do to add some variety to the cold lunches for the school kids and cut back on the messy lunchtime at home with the little kids.  

My Aunt send me an email with a great way to give cold lunches a new life!  

Have you heard of Bentos?  They are Japanese style, creatively packed boxed lunch.  The great thing about Bentos is that it helps you to think outside of a sandwich and make lunch time more creative and healthy.  

The first thing I did is make a list of items in every food group that we could have on hand for lunches. I have a "bentos chalkboard" in my kitchen.

english muffins

boiled eggs
lunch meat
peanut butter


dried fruit

string cheese 
cottage cheese

Then I went to the local Grocery Store (couldn't find them at Walmart) and picked up some new containers for our lunches. (The containers are Ziploc brand and were only a few dollars). When you consider the cost of ziploc bags or prepackaged foods it saves a lot of money. 

The third step in improving our lunches was to assign our 10 year old to help with lunches each morning!  During the summer we make Bentos lunches in the morning (when the breakfast mess is out) and then if we decided to go to the park we already have lunches ready to go.  It also saves on clean up time after lunch.  (once  I get little kids down for naps I would rather not spend the afternoon doing dishes:)  

There are many great websites that offer ideas and of course Pinterest has a lot of great pictures!  
I like the bentos ideas on this blog Thoroughly In Earnest
here are some of her pictures:

*I also bought little ice packs that I stick in their lunch bags with the bentos.  
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