Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Cupboard Under the Stairs

Maybe she'll grow up to be a wizard? What do you think?

Some of you may have noticed in my Simply Monday post that there was a playpen peeking out of the back of the closet. No - that's not just where it's stored. That's where it's used - if you look closely you can see Juliana's actually in there, sleeping (and no, that blanket isn't actually ON her face, she just really likes to snuggle). The closet in the kids room opens up to a small area that is under the stairs up to the loft. It used to be the kids' "clubhouse" where all their toys lived, but last month I decided I wanted to reclaim my side of the 'master' bedroom and move Juliana into the kid's room. However, there was no, you know, it looks like the playpen might just fit under these stairs.... oh look, it does! With a little space left for storage, too. It's actually quite perfect. So perfect in fact, that although I have a baby monitor, sometimes Abby wakes up before I do when Juliana's fussy, and she gets her out and brings her to me. OK, more like most of the time. Let's face it - she gets more sleep, so she doesn't sleep through as much noise as I can! And it's really only on Sat and Sun mornings that it happens and the occasional middle of the night. But it's so nice - it's almost as good as breakfast in bed. Well, for Juliana it is.
But her little cupboard is just perfect. And no, there's no spider on her socks under the bed.

Oh, one last thing. I've been wanting to share this for a while. We'll call it my craftiness for the month of January, since that's when I made it - but I couldn't show it off until I gave it to the person I made it for. It was a baby gift for a friend of mine who just a beautiful little girl, but I know that she reads my blog every now and then, so I didn't want to post it. But I finally gave it to her today, so here it is. I think she just turned out adorable and all my kids LOVE her. They all want one of their very own. Except, I might make Isaac's a boy....

Yes, she's a sock monkey - a real bona fide sock monkey. Made her myself, from a pair of socks. Too cute, huh? (She has cute eyelashes, too, but you can't see them in this pic.) And she was pretty simple to make. In fact she was so simple to make that I'm considering making a tutorial for anyone else who wants to make one. But first I have to get myself another pair of socks. This time I think I'm going to use a fun pair.... I don't know, we'll see. But until then, here's the link for the directions that I found. When you first read through them, they seem a little confusing, but trust me, it's pretty easy, you can figure it out....or you can wait for my tutorial.

PS - I took Cameron to see Twilight tonight (it was playing on campus for FREE) because he hadn't seen it yet (but he did read the books). I don't think I liked it as much this time. Maybe it was because last time it was a girls' night out. And while I was more than happy to be with hubby this time, we were also in a room with A LOT of single college coeds, just not the same groove- ya know. They laughed, they clapped, which I didn't mind, but..... I don't know. I still enjoyed it though. Well, I guess it could have also been the big room, small screen, not so great light situation that just didn't do it for me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Week #1

Sorry, my Wednesday got away from me. But you know none of you probably would have read it until to day anyway!
So I didn't do great, but I didn't do horribly either - here's the run down

Exercise: I somehow slept through my alarm and missed the last day of my jogging class -I even went to bed early! So now I have to make up that run next week. At least she's letting me make it up - that's 100 points! But in the 6 times that I've taken the class I've never missed the 5K (we run it twice a class), so she took pity on me and said I could run the first 5K with her new class on March 5th. I WILL be there.
Other than that - I had my last dance and movement class on Friday (2 hours), I had the same class, switched to PE now, but still moving us around, on Monday (2 hours), Tuesday I ran for 20 minutes before picking up Danielle and then walked home with her for about 15 minutes - that was a very successful day. Wednesday I had to run an errand right after picking up Danielle, so I planned to get up early and run, but Cameron got sick in the middle of the night, so I didn't make myself get up (yes, he seems to be doing better now - still not feeling great though). So there you have it. Some successes, some not so much, but over all I think I did pretty good.

Food: I've been busy with homework this week, so I haven't put a lot of effort into dinner planning, but I've been eating more sensibly for breakfast and lunch. I'm still craving chocolate like a mad woman, but I've figured out that if I put a piece of gum in my mouth it will at least put it off for a while. Hard to eat chocolate and chew gum at the same time.

Water: I just don't drink that much, but I know that I should be drinking a TON. Could be because there aren't usually clean cups around! Well, and I just don't care for plain water. Actually, the water here is usually really good, especially cold, but I don't know what they did, its started tasting different lately. But thanks to my mom, I have a cupboard full of Crystal Light, so I will try to incorporate that into my water intake since I'm not doing so hot with just water alone.

Weight: I lost 2 lbs this week. Not what I was aiming for, but better than nothing. And since I didn't meet all my exercise goals, this is no surprise.

Goals for this week:
Exercise: 4 out of the 7 days. Thurs (running), Mon (PE class), and twice on Tues (running and hula) is was it looks like for now...
Food: 1. Eat healthier snacks (and hopefully ditching the chocolate craving). I purchased healthier snack options this week, so that will be good. 2. Focus on eating a bigger lunch and a smaller dinner. Only because I usually don't eat dinner until about 8:30pm, so I can eat in peace ,and I really don't like eating so much so late. 3. Plan dinners for at least 4 nights this week so that we're all eating healthier.
Water: I'm going to make sure that I have Crystal Light in the fridge at all times for when I don't feel like water. AND I will try to get all the cups clean do that I can have one to use when the urge does hit me.
Weight: I'm going to go for 4 lbs again this week.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Simply Monday:

Well, I have to say that I didn't actually get my organizing task for last week completely done. Shame on me! But I had great plans to do it - twice - it just didn't happen. However, I have made some progress in the laundry area and I have decided that I AM for sure going to go through with it. And I think I've figured out a good way to do it. Instead of just getting rid of everything at once, we're going to whittle it down little by little. Abby and I did some of this today. I went through and took out clothes that were stained, too small, never worn, etc... Abby went through her own clothes and got rid of the things she didn't want any more. Now we're not down to what I want to get to eventually, but we made some real progress today. And I figure if I do this every time I do the laundry for the next couple of weeks I should be about there.
Now if I could just figure out where to put the hamper so that it's centrally located...

Anyhoo - here's a picture of the closet in question after our first going through. (Sorry, I didn't take a before pic, but there are definitely less clothes. Trust me.) That's Sunday clothes for all 4 kids, and shirts for the older 3. (Everything else is in their dresser.)

Since I'm still working on last week's task, I'm only going to add something small for this week. I don't want to get too crazy here. And besides, this project is sort of half-way done, too.

Before: This is a picture of our dining/kitchen area. The table and chairs are over to the right of the picture (you can kind of see the table leg there). It is basically the transition between our living area and the kitchen area. As you can see it houses the microwave and the chest freezer. Both vitally important to the happiness of our household. However, this area was just not working for me for a multitude of reasons: the microwave is on a TV tray, the top of the freezer is a dumping ground of anything I don't know where to put at the moment, just as the floor in front of it does for the bigger, bulkier things and among other things I won't bore you with, it's white, on white, on white. BLAH and seriously non-functional. And we're just not even going to mention why there is a bike there...

So I started working on it. I looked around for a microwave cart - I even searched in Utah over Christmas break (apparently they don't use microwaves so much in Sweden, because Ikea does not carry such a thing). But it was fruitless. I couldn't find what I was picturing would work. Then one day I decided to visit Kmart - I had not yet gone to one here on the island. Can I just tell you - I LOVE IT! I won't go into it all now, but I found a great "cart" for my microwave, with storage, which was the most important factor - storage with a door, even better. And I added my ribbon, bulletin board thingy to the wall for color and to, you know, to hold things. But as you can see, it's still a work in progress. I still have many things I need to find a home for. So that's my other job this week.

So there's the before and during pics and hopefully I'll have the after pic to show you next week. Keep your fingers crossed!

Oh and in case you were wondering, those shelf doors flip up and slide back. And there is glass in the panels, but I didn't want to have to keep things neat in there for it to look good, so I ModgePodged some scrapbooking paper onto the inside of the glass. I think it came out spectacular! (And, yes, those are still our Christmas cards hanging up on the wall, I should really take those down....)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot Pie

Recipe is up on my recipe blog. Just thought you all might want to know!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Today is the big "one" for Juliana. Hard to believe that she's already that old. We didn't do anything too crazy - stayed home, opened a couple of presents, and ate cupcakes. Sounds thrilling doesn't it? Here's a pic of her eating her birthday cupcake (in her new highchair - isn't it cute?):

I was going to post a little phote montage of the past year, but it seems that most of my pictures are not on my computer and I'm too lazy to go find the external harddrive right now (I'm in bed already, aren't laptops great?). So I will try to do that over the next couple of days. But here's a couple of videos of the festivities for you to enjoy for now.

Here she is opening one of her presents - she starts dancing as soon as she sees it. She remembered playing with it at the store. LOVE her little dance!

The singing of Happy Birthday - I know it's dark, but look closely at how excited she is - it's too cute. Oh, and Danielle wouldn't eat her dinner so she couldn't have a cupcake - just a little explaination so you can understand why Cameron says he has some veggies for her to eat. It's pretty funny actually.

And just because she's so adorable and I cannot resist sharing - 9 seconds of peek-a-boo

Juliana really is such a cutey and she's just the sweetest little baby. We really enjoy having her around and we're so glad that we could celebrate her birthday today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

OK, so I didn't get around to it last week, but here it is for this week!

Exercise: This is the last week of my jogging class, in fact tomorrow morning is the last time we meet, so I'm going to have to figure out what I'm going to do from now on. My sister suggested that I jog before I pick up Danielle from preschool and then walk home with her. That is a most excellent idea, and I think that I will try that - at least until it gets too hot to run at 11am. I should be able to do it for a couple more months. And that will get me moving 3 days a week (the other 2 I have class, so Cameron picks her up). Mondays I have my PE Methods class which usually involves dancing, or other PE related moving around, so that's a 4th day - I don't actually get my heart rate up, but I'm exhausted and sweaty by the end of the 2 hour class, so I think that should count. Plus I have hula on Tuesday nights for an hour, and that does get my heart rate up and is a GREAT leg/butt work out. So as long as I get my butt in gear and actually run when I'm supposed to I should be golden. I'll let you know how it goes.

Food: I've actually been trying to be a lot better about what we eat around here. I'm trying to incorporate more veggies into our meals and eating more fresh foods. The reasons behind this are 3-fold. The first is obvious, Me. I've been too comfortably sitting at 165 lbs, but I'd like to keep losing weight, plus I'm not going to be nursing for too much longer, so that a lot of extra calories a day that I'm used to consuming. Reason #2, Juliana is starting to eat "real" food (as opposed to that fake stuff she's been eating thus far, right?) and I'm trying to make sure that she's getting everything she needs. Again, especially since I won't be nursing her for too much longer. And finally -someone (who will go unnamed) recently found out that their cholesteral and blood pressure are a little too high, so we're trying to do what we can to remedy that before medication is involved.

No weight loss this week, since I'm reseting the counter and starting from today. My current weight (according to my crappy bathroom scale) is 168 lbs.

Goals for next week:
Exercise - to run all of my 5K tomorrow without stopping, jog on my own on Tues and Wed of next week, plus my Mon class (no hula next week) - so that's 4 exercise sessions before my next weigh-in.
Food - I've been craving chocolate like CRAZY lately, so I'm going to work to cut that out this week and find something healthier to snack on (and look it up on the internet to find out what my body needs to stop this craving).
Water - DRINK MORE, 'nugh said.
Weight loss - If I stick to it, I think I can lose at least 4 pounds. I'm not starting off cold turkey, I have been exercising for the last 5 weeks, so I think that's reasonable.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Simply Monday

For my organizing lately I've been mostly concentrating on the house. I've been working hard to get things sorted and put away. If something doesn't have a "home" then I have to either find one for it or get rid of it.
As for the simplify part - Cameron and I have felt for quite some time that we just have too much stuff. It's not just the junk that you collect and can't seem to ever get rid of, it really is stuff. But we don't NEED this much stuff; we don't need it cluttering up the house, cluttering up our lives, cluttering up our minds. In fact I was just thinking yesterday that it was time to simply my children's clothing (no, I'm not skipping over me, I really don't have that much, I swear, Cameron has more stuff in the closet than I do). They just have WAY too much. And while it's nice that they still have clean clothes even when I don't get around to doing the laundry for 2 weeks, JUST THINK OF HOW MUCH LESS LAUNDRY I WOULD HAVE IF THEY DIDN'T HAVE SO MANY CLOTHES! Especially since I have to haul it to a common laundry - handy to be able to do all 8-12 loads (depending on the week....and the last time I did it) all at the same time, it only takes an hour and a half from start to finish (if I remember to go put it in the dryers right when it's done washing) but do I really need to be hauling that much laundry as often as I do. And then I have mountains of laundry to put away - which rarely happens. So here's what I'm thinking. I go through and they keep 10 days worth of clothes - that way I don't have to do the laundry on the same day each week and they don't have to wear the same 5 outfits to school every week. OK, maybe 10 days, but then add in 2 church outfits. So enough clothing for 12 days (and a few pairs of extra undies - we still have accidents every now and again). I mean really, over Christams break the kids each had 8 shirts (plus 3-4 long sleeved ones to wear under the short sleeves) and 2-3 pairs of pants. And they didn't need ANYTHING else. In fact, I think there were things that they didn't even wear. Ultimately my goal here is to centralize the dirty clothes hamper and just do a load when it gets full.
So - what do you all think - should I go for it? Maybe I'll just take all the extra clothes upstairs until I'm sure that I can do it. Or would that just be too convenient for it to really work?

Aside from my laundry musings, we really did get some stuff done today. I worked a little more on getting the loft put together. I really want there to be a nice area for the kids to do homework and read. It's getting there slowly. Cameron and I also worked on cleaning out the car - Cameron cleaned all the mats last week, so this week we did the floors in the car. It was quite the cleaning job. He was actually spraying water IN the car to rinse off the floor. And then he vacuumed it out with the shop vac of course. The floor looks great, but I have a feeling it's not going to be dry tomorrow, so we'll have to be careful on the way to school.

And I didn't make it into town today - the pharmacy that I needed to stop at wasn't open because it's a holiday - come on! So I'll go tomorrow. That will be better anyway - I won't have to take the kids. As London Tipton says, "Yeah for me!" (If you don't know who London is, you obviously don't watch enough Disney Channel!)

PS - I added a poll to the side bar, so vote there or leave a comment!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy {Belated} Valentine's Day

We don't really do much to celebrate Valentine's Day at our house. Neither Cameron or I have really cared for the holiday, so we just don't do it. People boo at us all the time, but oh well, boo all you want - it won't make any difference. Seriously, there are only 2 things that I do every year for Valentine's day - the first is that my kids all get new shirts to wear for the occasion, of course I totally forgot to take a picture this year, we were running late for school Friday, which is when they were wearing them. The second is valentines for school. Like everything else here in Hawaii, people tend to go a little overboard with the valentines, so I decided to do something fun with the kids this year. And I think it turned out pretty cute:

Here's what they were really supposed to look like (and here's the link to the instructions, if anyone wants it)

- but I made up my own ghetto version, because I wanted to use less supplies, what I already had on-hand, and take less time to finish them. And I think it worked. The kids just rip them open and gobble them down anyway, right?

For dinner we had Chicken Pot Pie - the recipe of which I will put up on my recipe blog - No, it's not actually there yet....but I will get it there this week - I promise!

It's very yummy, and decently easy. Could definitely be cooked ahead and frozen for later, but I haven't yet been motivated enough to do that. Though....I do have some friends that want to do a Big Cook soon, so maybe I'll put this on my list. Even the kids will eat it - well most of them, but then Abby doesn't like anything, so she doesn't really get a vote anymore.

I thought briefly about adding some red food coloring to make the insides pink, but then decided not to since Cameron wasn't too hip on the green Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup I made for St. Patrick's day one year. The kids would have thought it was cool though.

Well, that's about it for me. I'm excited to post my first Simply Monday tomorrow, though it will probably be later in the day, so most of you won't see it until Tuesday - sorry. I'm planning to drive into town (Honolulu) tomorrow for some things -and I'm pretty excited, I haven't been to town in over a month because I just send my Wal-mart and Sam's list with Cameron when he goes to his doctor's appointment there - it seems silly to waste gas when he's already going. But have some other errand taking me down that way, and it's a holiday so I don't have school. On the minus side, that means the kids don't have school either, so they will probably be going with me, but it will be fun.

Alright, off to bed with me. But I did want to leave you with a quote my Auntie put on her blog the other day that I just fell in love with. I'm serious - I think I've going to embroiderer and frame it. OK, well, maybe just print it off really nice and tape it to the wall. It reminds me of that country song "Bring on the Rain" - I think that's what it's called, I know Tim McGraw sang back-up....ok, hold on I have to look it up now. OK, it's Jo Dee Massina and here's the video to boot (I love that I know how to put videos in now).

And after all that - here's the quote.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Goals and Aspirations for the (ahem) New Year

OK, so it's already the middle of February, but I still thought I'd share. There's nothing too particularly exciting, and it's a short list, but I'm looking forward to working on them. To help me keep on track I'm going to try making some new blog features on to find out.

1. Organize and Simplify: Doesn't that sound so easy? Really, this is the one that I want the most, will take the most work, but will also have the greatest reward. But it is a complicated goal. I want it all organized, the house, life, school, and whatever else I can think of. I think that this is the ultimate goal for everyone when you come right down to it. Since this alone can be a totally overwhelming task, I'm trying to break it down into smaller bits. If I were really organized I'd assign different bits to each month and concentrate on that area only during that month and then build on it. That was the original idea, which is why it's taken me so long to get to this post. And since I haven't done that part yet, I've just decided to move forward anyway. So, I'm still going to concentrate on just a bit here and there, but not on a schedule, just as I see the need I guess. So each week I'm going to come up with something to concentrate on for the week and then revisit it for the next week and see if I need to work on it more or if it's time to move on. To do this I'm going to try (I'm not promising anything here) instigating what I will call Simply Monday. Each Monday I will talk about what I have and have not done from last week and what I will work on this week. I've already got some things in the works for Monday, but I'm going to save them, so you'll just have to tune in then.

2. Keep up the Good Work: I've been pretty good about exercising so far this year, but that's only because I've been taking my jogging class again. When it ends in a couple of week I'm not really so sure what I've going to do. I want to keep exercising, keep the momentum going, but I know from past experience that I have a had time doing that without a grade to motivate me. And I have considered taking the class again for the second half of the semester, but I just can't seem to bring myself to do it. So along the same lines as Simply Monday, I am going to try out something I've seen on other blogs called "Weigh-In Wednesday" and my totally cute friend Elise does something similar on her own. But it will help to keep me accountable for my successes and failures in this area. So each Wednesday I will hopefully (again - I'm not promising anything here) report of my efforts for the last week and what I want to change up or add for the coming week. Am I going to start today you ask? Well, we'll see if I get to it. It always takes more time to post than I think it's going to.

3. Create: I've really got so much stuff going on that I don't get a chance to exercise my creativity as much as I'd like. I miss "having" to scrapbook each month for my monthly hostess club with Close to My Heart. It was the perfect excuse to scrap. And while I haven't done much scrapping here in Hawaii, I would love to. And I have been doing other crafty things. Here and there. But I would like it to be more regular. Even monthly would be great right now. So I will try to do something monthly and share it with all of you. But now my problem is, should it be Monthly Masterpiece or Crafty Concoction? While monthly masterpiece sounds better, I'm more of a "concoction" type of gal. Hmmm, I'll have to think about it. Or maybe I'll come up with something completely different - or maybe you will! If you do, tell me, tell me, please.

Really that's pretty much it - everything that I want to work on, to better in my life, pretty much fits into one of these 3 catagories, they are just smaller details of the bigger picture. So as I want to focus on them specifically I will choose those for my weekly posts.
And yes, this post to WAY more time than I thought it would. Seriously - almost an hour. Granted there is a baby that has been constantly crawling in and out of my lap the whole time, but still. Well, I better get a move on, I haven't even had breakfast yet and it's almost time for lunch - Yikes!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hauli Hula Girl and Our Pet Cat....

Well, I got on this morning to get a little more homework done before class, but somehow (I can't imagine how) I've gotten sidetracked by blogs - yet again. I love being able to read about all my friends, and lots of people that I don't actually know, but it does eat up a big chunk of time. It's not so bad using Google Reader since I don't have to click through all the blogs I like to peruse, but it still takes time.

Anyhoo - I'm gotten sidetracked again:) I thought while I had a minute I would try to do some double duty and post on a couple of my topics - finally!

First, let me tell you about Our Pet Cat......erpillars. (You knew that was coming, right?) There's a couple time a year when there are monarch caterpillars in abundance on the milkweed plants in the community. Well, that time was just a couple of weeks ago. The kids pass a huge milkweed plant on the way home for school and one day they decided to bring a little friend home with them. I thought it would be fun to set up a little home for him (or her) and so we set about doing it. First we had to head over to a friends house to get some milkweed leaves for him to eat - that is the ONLY thing that they eat. And of course, while we were there we spotted many more caterpillars and somehow we ended up with 3 more, one for each of the children (don't ask my why Juliana needed her own, but she did). So here they are in their caterpillar form:

This is Abby's, she named it Blossom

This is Isaac's, it's name is BYU.

These are Danielle's and Juliana's. The one at the top is Danielle's, Flower, and the other is Happy, Juliana's.
We fed them (taking MANY trips to the milkweed plant) and cleaned out their little home. And when they started getting fat and juicy we went and bought some screen to put across the top of the container. And looky what happened:
The chrysalises are so beautiful. They are a green apple color with a delicate black and gold stripe around the top and little gold spots on the bottom. Then after about 10-14 days the green turns really dark and gets translucent and out pops a monarch butterfly!
Yes, we did end up with more than the original 4 caterpillars, but we had a little bout of some parasite that killed a few off. But we did end up with 5 chrysalises and 4 of those actually hatched butterflies. The whole process was really fun to watch and the kids got really excited about letting the butterflies go. Abby even took them to school for a project last week. All in all, it was great, but I'm glad that we're done. Maybe we'll do it again next year.....
And now onto the Hauli Hula Girl - me, of course! For those of you that don't speak Pigeon (or even know what it is) hauli is a Hawaiian slang term for a white person. Sometimes used in a not so nice way, but I personally haven't come across it meant that way too many times. But I am definitely the white girl in our hula halau. There are a couple of other fairer skinned gals, but they both grew up here, so they don't really count as hauli.
So back in October a friend of mine convinced me to start coming to her hula group (halau) with her. It didn't take much convincing, I've wanted to learn hula since we moved here. So I started going each week. There was a hula festival at the Polynesian Cultural Center back in January and our halau danced in it. We danced 3 songs - none of which I knew until a week before the festival. We had been learning other songs and then at the last minute it was decided that we would dance something else. The women who have been dancing with this halau for years of course already knew these numbers, but I had to learn them - quickly. We practiced a lot the week before the festival, so it wasn't so bad. Here's the last number that we did (the ending is a little messed up because we were dancing to live musicians and they slowed it WAY down). I think I did pretty good....and I got to dance on the stage at the PCC, so that was really fun, too. Oh, in case you can't tell, I'm the tall white girl in the middle of the back row:)

OK, that's it for me. I have a paper that is due in an hour, so I'd better hop to it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I had every intention of blogging today. Like real stuff, not just about vacation. But it didn't happen. There's a lot of things I intended to have happen today that didn't, but that's a whole 'nother story. (That phrase really doesn't translate into writing very well, does it?)

So instead I will add to the list of topics to (hopefully) soon be discussed:
The big 41
Hauli Hula Girl
Got Milk?
That girl's got some moves

Mostly I just think it's fun to peak your interest and then leave you hanging! Well, that is fun, but really, I do plan on blogging.....someday.