What I Designed Today: Simplify Inspirational Quote Meme

I miss designing inspirational memes.  Mostly because I love quotes and pretty pictures — but also because back when I was designing one a day for RunHaven, I got pretty good at churning them out quickly.  Now, I barely have time to ponder inspirational quotes which is why, perhaps, this one is so perfect for me!  {#ironic} More to come on this ‘simplify’ theme, as these quotes are collected from the Regional Stake Conference held this past weekend.  If you have any additional quotes in your notes that you’d like to add to my collection, please share them with me!  SIMPLIFYQUOTE1

First Day of School 2013-2014

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The boys started school this week.  It’s Cole’s senior year.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Christmas Decorating for the Nativity

The world’s best designer was out of commission this year so I was asked to help decorate the refreshment room for our church’s community nativity display. I am by no means a professional but I am pleased with the results. You’d have to know what I had to start with to accurately judge, but since my goal was to PURCHASE next to nothing for this project (I like to throw money at problems when I don’t have time to deal with them!), I can honestly say I achieved my goal. The only two things I purchased: the whole bolt of chocolate brown burlap — and the two 96″ tablecloths used nearly all of that –and secondly, the teeny tiny nativity shown in the glass. It’s still too big but I was amazed at the lack of miniature creches available at Hobby Lobby in my small hometown. Rest assured I’ll be on the hunt for tiny nativities online! All in all, though, few purchases and yet a decent success. My favorite thing: the burlap camels from TJMaxx. They are adorable with or without the gold bells I put around their necks. I hope we get lots of visitors to the nativity display at the church this weekend and that all who come eat cookies and think of the true meaning of Christmas!

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One Idea for Keeping a Journal

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I am not the very best journal keeper, but I do try to document our lives every year or two…or five. I ran across this idea from Gretchen Rubin’s article in the February 2012 issue of Good Housekeeping and thought I’d share it, although when you multiply one sentence times four children and a husband (not to mention 3 pets!), it gets overwhelming and I don’t think one sentence could sum up any one of our crazy days. On the other hand, it might be good to choose one superlative memory from each day. Surely during a year of this solid endeavor, every child would be covered.

Another tip: I like to write down “Top Ten Things” for each of my kids. Sometimes it’s difficult to think of ten different things but I love looking back at the minutiae of their lives: stuffed animals, funny sayings, food preferences or dislikes. It’s the stuff that makes up great memories. I think I may try to cut that down to one thing each day, choosing just the very best memory and see how that goes for awhile! Happy writing!

Benjamin Franklin & Alma 37:6 — Small & Simple Everyday Things!

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Two facets of the same subject: First, I love this quote by Benjamin Franklin. “Human felicity is produc’d not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.” Secondly, it made me think of one of my all-time favorite scriptures. Alma 37:6 “Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” When we study that concept in seminary, I always try to warn my students that the reverse is also true: small and simple things can lead you down the path of spiritual destruction as well — those flaxen cords! But, mostly, I love this scripture for its acknowledgment in the great power of simple choices made repeatedly over time. Strength truly is consistency over time — whether it’s food, exercise, spirituality, or another choice. I love when quotes from unrelated parts of the world combine to affirm a universal truth!

Brilliant Lego Play for Boys

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I ran across this the other day on Zulily and thought it was brilliant. We’ve successfully used a large wading pool to contain Legos in a playroom but this would be even quieter. It’s temporary on Zulily and I don’t know how to find them elsewhere but the official name is Lay-N-Go.

Rocks and Raising Boys

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Anybody else’s kids come home with this many pebbles in their shoes? It doesn’t matter what KIND of shoes Ben wears, either. He’s managed this with his tennis shoes as well. On another note, I had a wonderful phone conversation with a very good friend from Houston and she told me that her 9 year old girl refuses to get rid of a stick that my boys carved for her (we moved 7 months ago now). I think that’s pretty cute. Rocks. Sticks. {Sigh} Boys.

A Small Thanksgiving

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So while I was sick (and clearly not in my right mind), I volunteered to cook turkey and make gravy for the Kindergarten classes. It was worth it to see all those pilgrims and Indians enjoying their meal.

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The kitchen looks so nice when it’s clean. I quickly sewed a couple of muslin slipcovers to go over our blue chairs since only two of the new kitchen chairs that I ordered had arrived by Thanksgiving! Gotta make do, right…they have unfinished hems but I have a fantastic idea for hemming them. Info and pics to come. Also, I need to share the tape method Cole helped me with to make the custom pattern for them – it helped so much when it came to sewing them from scratch. And if the resident sewing newbie (me) can do it, anybody can!

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Our island could fit 6 to 8 places comfortably but since we already had one bench and one stool from another home we lived in, I gave up my idea for new seating completely and just ordered another small stool to flank the bench. I think it looks pretty good for using what we’ve got!

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I never thought I’d say this but I love that stupid freezer on the bottom that I resisted for so long. Now if I could just remember to not kick and shove it to close the thing!

While we were grateful for a small Thanksgiving gathering this year with new friends, we did miss being with family. We are kind of travel-ed out so I think for the holidays this year we will be staying put. Never fear, though, we ate like kings. Today (the day AFTER Thanksgiving), we all had pie for breakfast. What more could signify a successful holiday? We are thankful for many things: the gospel of Jesus Christ, jobs, home, family and friends…and technology.

Write It On Your Heart

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Another favorite quote sign that I have hanging in my home (a Goodwill find!): “Write it on your heart that the ones you love are life’s most precious gifts.”

Motivational or Inspiring Quotes

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Anyone who knows me knows that I ADORE great quotes. I picked up this sign in Omaha when I bought the other sign posted about here that seems to have sparked a nerve on Pinterest and has been repinned by so many. Since that one was so popular, I thought I’d share this one as well.

Oklahoma, O-K!

We love Oklahoma. We were all riding in the car and Ben piped up with the 2nd verse about his honeylamb so I figured I needed to get it on tape. We all stared at him in amazement since none of us knew all of those words! Apparently, this is what they teach in Kindergarten in Oklahoma and that’s OK by us!

Addicted to Pinterest

It’s almost better than reading books and much more instantly gratifying:  Pinterest.  I love this site.  It’s the new method of flipping through magazines for ideas and putting them all in one place:  quotes, decor, motivation, design ideas, garden ideas, etc.  Now if I could only get OFF pinterest and start working on my own abode…I’m still planning, okay?! This is everything I love all mixed in one.

Summer fun in Bartlesville

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The boys are taking a Shotokan Karate / Mixed Martial Arts class here in Bartlesville. Cole went tonight and made the other teenagers (and instructor) gasp when he did his self defense techniques. I am so proud of him. Nobody wanted to volunteer to “attack” him after his very first demo. It’s a great dojo and it will take quite a bit of adjustment for him to learn their style, etc., but if anyone can do it, I know it’s Cole. I’m hoping it’s like learning a foreign language and the old will come naturally to him – I don’t ever want him to forget the instruction he’s received in Gretna and Taekwondo. Mr. Staack and his crew were the best teachers I have ever met and we miss them terribly! Cole has been so lucky to study under that organization.

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This last pic is Benjamin sampling the cake balls that Cole made today. Thanks to Aunt Lili for the great Christmas present last year. They are so fun to eat – the kids just love ’em!

We’ve Made An Offer

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We’ve made an offer and it has been accepted – I think all docs have been signed until closing which isn’t until June 30th. I’m going to head to Omaha for a month after the kiddos are out of school while Don works his heart out here in Bartlesville. These next six weeks cannot pass quickly enough! I am so in love with this home — I’ve finally found everything I’ve ever asked for in a home: white trim, ranch, 4 bedrooms, farm sink, gas range, patio, good sized yard, fence, sprinkler system, all brick construction. Sigh. It will help justify the price tag. We hope this is our forever home. We really, really love this town.

Happy Mother’s Day & House Hunting

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Happy Mother’s Day to all! These flowers are from the crochet-a-long on Ravelry, pattern created by Claudia “delights“. Her blog posts many colorful versions – what a great idea!

I have a few extra minutes to write today because the boys went to visit the Skiatook Branch of the church we belong to today without me. I missed the children singing to their mothers! …but, on the flip side, I have a few extra QUIET minutes to write. We have been house hunting for 2 and a half weeks. I have mixed emotions. We’ve run the gamut: downsizing, acreage, old home, new home, in Bartlesville, in Skiatook, etc. We have some important decisions to make — there are pros and cons to each choice and combination of choices. The kids are begging for an acreage but the best one we’ve found has a FANTASTIC acreage but a really, really old ranch house that would need to be entirely redone. We found a fantastic house on an acre but no livestock (I want chickens!). We’ve found a fantastic new home in town with a large yard and also another, downsized fantastic new-ish home in town that would have little resale value (it’s the only newish home in the neighborhood). Lots and lots of decisions to make. I’m grateful to be able to make these decisions: thankful for my kiddos, for my husband’s job and for being blessed with the world’s greatest mother.